Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Take a Trip on the Hodgepodge Rail

It's Wednesday and that can only mean one thing.  Well, okay, maybe not the ONLY thing, but it's on my Wednesday mind. (Do you have a mind for every day of the week, too? My Wednesday mind has a Hodgepodge on it.) Thanks, Joyce, for jotting down a broad mix of questions that have sort of "corraled" us Hodgepodgers for "two hunnert and some odd" weeks, as they say around here.

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

I struggle most with my fears.  Anxiety is something I didn't struggle with or even understand, until about 10 years ago, and it is a kissing cousin to fear, so I have to really remind myself of scripture and God's great power over all things (real and imagined) and dwell on His love which "casts out all fear."   

Once I do that, finding the good in life comes easily!

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

Call me boring, but I'd get a new kitchen gel mat to stand on when doing dishes.  

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

Ego trip, just a couple hours ago.  We had our friendly Comcast rep stop by again for a problem with our installation, and while she was standing in my foyer, she noticed a painting I had done a few years ago. It was my first "big" acrylic sample for a class I was teaching on painting cylinders and spheres. The rep loved the colors, the composition and said it would look great in her new place that she wants to do in a modern style .She said, "Seriously, if you were to say you'd sell it, I'd buy it!" 

I laughed. "You've got to be kidding!"   
"No, I'm serious. It reminds me of my mom who is a painter, and she's going through some health issues, but the painting itself is just great!"
"Well, thank you! Sure I'll sell it!"  (I was so flattered.)
"Seriously?  You would?" (I was nodding.)  "Then think about a price and when I come back on the seventh, you let me know what you want for it." 
"How about 25 bucks?"

It was so funny because just this week I was wondering if my paintings would ever grab someone's eye enough for them to pay for one. I'm still kind of "high" from her offer to buy it!

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Walking down a flight of steps without holding onto a railing for fear of falling.  I'm not joking.   (See question and answer 1.)  I would use that skill every day, several times a day ,to get from here to there as needed--much faster and more smoothly.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

Yes to swimming, ice cream cone, corn on the cob, gardening (though it's not fun in my inventory), deliberately unplugged, taken a road trip, and read part of a book. 

The ones on the "have not done yet this summer" list can stay there and I wouldn't be disappointed. 

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

What will you do to regain America's trust in the power of government against her enemies?

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

I can't think of one. But I  can tell you that we were all ready to be out of country music land by the time vacation ended, though.   What's really creepy is knowing how OLD some of these guys are who are singing about the girl in shorts up to there and and gettin him all hot and bothered till daddy comes looking for him in the Chevy truck with a loaded 22. 

(Maybe I should write a country music parody and call it "Twang Ain't my Thang.")

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

As I write this, my husband's cousin is having emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm. She's in her 40s.  Please pray for her. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Most Appealing Public Restroom in the South

I do make a habit of using restrooms, but not blogging about them. Especially not public restrooms.

This one in Kentucky, however, had blog fodder written all over it from the moment I walked in.  (Bloggers understand that anything can be material.)

We were at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, a stop that my hubby really wanted on the itinerary. It's a  bourbon whiskey distillery, and while I'm not a bourbon drinker (and can only take it in "trace" amounts in desserts) we humored the hubs and went along. Not that we had a lot of choice; he was literally in the driver's seat.

I didn't take pictures of the distillery because :
a) I didn't feel like lugging my big camera around
b) you can find them online
c) I didn't have much battery power left on my cell phone

But I had just enough to shoot pictures of the most appealing, exceptionally clean public restroom in the South.  I daresay the most delightfully memorable restroom ever.

Did I just say that on the worldwide web? (I need a life.)

  •  Beautiful wood doors with barn door latches
  •  Earthy granite that reminds me of my own new kitchen granite
  •  A whiskey barrel trash can
  •  tile floors  in warm, pleasing tones
  •  And a cheery yellow arrangement of roses and sunflowers 

When I finally emerged from the pretty bathroom, my son exclaimed, "It's about time! What were you doing in there, taking pictures?"

I chuckled and showed him my phone.

"Really, Mom? Really?"

We went on the tour led by a charming older guy named Jimmy. What were my take-aways from the distillery tour?

a. Limestone and the extremes in temperatures make for ideal natural element for brewing bourbon.
b. Bourbon is only an American concoction.
c. Buffalo Trace Distillery only uses oak barrels, and never uses one twice for distilling. "It's like using a teabag twice,"  Jimmy told us. "Not bad, but not the best flavor the second time around."
d. "Trace" is the old West word for "trail." Many bison resided here in the lush green grass, providing food, hides, and horns for tools made by the native tribes.
e.  Whiskey makes for some good medicine. During Prohibition, the only whiskey allowed by law had to be prescribed by doctors.   Wouldn't you know, people discovered quite a few things that ailed them during that time.  Some 20,000 prescriptions were filled.
f. At the tasting after the tour, I found a delicious beverage: bourbon cream. Great with root beer!
g.  "Kentucky" comes from several variations including the Iriquois word "Kah-ten-tah-teh,"meaning "Fair Land of Tomorrow" and the Cherokee  that sounds like "Keen-tock-AY"  and means "Place of Meadows." 
h.  That bathroom! People, I'm telling you, it was picturesque!

So next time you're blazing a trace through Daniel Boone territory (or following one already blazed), and find yourself wanting bourbon and a bathroom, you must check out Buffalo Trace Distillery.

You even have my permission to skip the tour. Just use the ladies' room (hubby said the mens' room was cool, too, but he wasn't about to stand there and take pictures). And grab some bourbon cream on your way out.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Castle and the Sandbox (Wednesday's Words on Thursday)

Another "Once Upon a Time" story, inspired by Wednesday's Words, thanks to River over at Drifting Through Life.  


Once upon a time there lived twin princesses.  Hilda lived with the king and queen,  without a single pet, inside an opulent castle.  Their grand abode was surrounded by lush, green gardens and sandboxes filled with kitty doo-doo. 

Hilda's twin sister Helga lived with five calico kitties in a sandbox at the edge of the east garden. Hilda and Helga played together every day in a courtyard between the castle gate and Helga's hideous, stinky sandbox.

One fine morning, Helga said to her twin sister, 
"The castle is so beautiful, Hilda,  but I daresay the aroma of antiseptic spray is one to which I could never become accustomed."

"Nonsense!" replied Hilda. "Anyone who enjoys feeling clean could become accustomed to the aroma of antiseptic spray. It's rather like perfume to me now, darling sister."

"Like perfume?  Good mercy!  Would you suspect that any boy would want to get near you if you smelled
like antiseptic spray?  I hardly think so."

"Try it," said Hilda. "It's worth a gamble."

Go Fourth and Sparkle

This year we got to be in Ohio visiting family for the Fourth of July.  Brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, nephew, great-nieces and great-nephews, in-laws by extension.  I wish we had gotten a big group shot but I didn't think about it. (Not that it wouldn't have been a Herculean task to round up 24 people  into one spot at the same time anyway.)

What's the 4th of July if not great summertime eats?  Yummy hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad,  corn on the cob, baked beans, and even birthday cake to celebrate another year for a (very quiet) firecracker.

My brother-in-law's house in an ideal location for the 4th festivities: it's on a cul-de-sac that's perfect for kids to play in, ride bikes, twirl sparklers, and watch fireworks being shot off in the distance.  No driving, no crowds, no worries about where to find a bathroom. (You think about these things when you've lived through almost 50 "fourths." )

The youngest sparkler (and ever so serious)
 A warm, blurry glow from the sparkler

Don't let the sparkler fall on your bare toes!
A quintet of sparklers 

A sparkling birthday girl

 Notice the hand holding the boy's hand while he holds a sparkler. Unfortunately, 
after the sparkler was done, my great-nephew thought it might taste
like a lollipop.  Poor little fella burned his mouth!  (He's okay, though!)

That's right...hold the sparkler down so you don't get burned...

When will all the noise be over? Firecrackers and sparklers aren't my thing.

The dutiful dads getting worn out from keeping watch on the sparklers

My fourth's face sparkling on the it.

I might have sparkled inside watching the oldest girl cousin with the youngest boy cousin.

Mr. Clean's wife? Sparkling teeth!

Watching the sparkler till its dying ember is finally gone.

Playing with kiddoes always makes my girl sparkle.

A mother-daughter moment amidst the sparklers

 My hot flame has made me sparkle a time or two in 28 years.

We all ended the evening by watching the comedian Tim Hawkins' video 
called "That is the Worst."  Oh, my word. That man makes me laugh till 
I wheeze. You've got to watch him! A great way to end a very sparkly