Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Hodgepodge of White Snow, Black Ice, and a Great God




As I start writing this Hodgepodge, I'm remembering how my kids used to pronounce

"snowman."

The first sang Frosty the Toe man.

The second sang Frosty the Foe man.

The third sang Frosty the Show  man.

The fourth sang Frosty the No man.

It's one of my favorite songs because I still hear their darling little voices in my head. 





1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell 

someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last 

tell yourself to 'chill out'?

Yesterday,  as a matter of fact.

Last Thursday my youngest son sprained his knee in gym class. The Patient First doctor who treated him the next day said "no physical activity till you're pain-free."  I guess my son didn't hear (or he selectively heard) that.

Yesterday morning while having breakfast, I told my son to find homework to do during gym class, and told him not to even bother packing his gym uniform.

I picked him up from school and said, "What did you do instead of gym?" He said, "Oh, I went to gym class. I told the teacher it didn't hurt that bad. We played ga-ga ball."

 I went ballistic.  "What do you think I meant when I said "find homework to do instead of gym, and don't bother packing your gym uniform???"

"You didn't say 'don't take gym' If that's what you meant, it wasn't clear."

"Oh, come on.../!"

"Calm down, Mom, it didn't hurt me!"   He might as well as have said, "Chill out," but I was not having it. I continued my rampage  lectire all the way home.  I have had another son pop the tibia tubercle off his leg in a freak accident and be laid up for weeks. I wasn't going to watch another child suffer from stupidity.



2. What most recently caused your heart to melt? 

A video my daughter sent today of one of the little kids she nannies. This boy is 20 months old, very bright, says just a few words, but she has taught him some sign language. Today she videotaped him building the stacking blocks I gave him for Christmas .Of course his favorite part was knocking them over and giggling. Sarah said, "Can you say, 'Thank you, Miss Zoanna?'"  He touched his fingers to his chin and then pulled them away, smiling  into the camera. ( It's the thank-you sign. )  Awwww.

3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An 


inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton  

Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an 

inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an 

inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?

Funny you should ask this today.  I found out a neighbor fell and broke her hip on black ice last week. She's laid up for 3 months.  Immediately my mind flashed back 13 years when I ripped out all my pelvic ligaments giving birth, and had to be on bedrest for many weeks straight.  It was more than an inconvenience--it took me to the brink of despair at times-- but I learned so much through it, and was so grateful for meals that people  from church provided.

So tonight I made a spaghetti dinner for my neighbor and her hubby. It was the sexiest meal I could come up with on short notice. Not much of an inconvenience, and honestly I enjoy the adventure of helping someone in need.  I was able to minister directly to her by saying, "I know severe pelvic pain, and I know how hard the recovery is." And I was able to share how sweet the Lord was to me during that time and , looking back,  I'd never trade our closeness for anything.  One time, at midnight when I was so scared of the dark that I cried out to Him,"Be my Light!" he flooded the sky with moonlight that lit up my entire kitchen where I slept in a hospital bed! I mean I could see my husband asleep on the sofa in the next room, that's how bright it was!"

 My words made her weep a little,  as if touching a nerve, but she looked up and smiled. "That's an amazing testimony ," she said, encouraged.   She is also overcompensating with her shoulder when she uses her walker to get to the bathroom ,so her shoulder is really in severe pain, too.  How well I know shoulder pain after a fall.

I never imagined at the time that my experiences would be used to comfort someone else someday in the same way, but God is a Redeemer. Nothing is wasted in His economy, not even our pain and despair.


4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate 

cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?

Easy-- root beer in a frosty mug--with a scoop of vanilla ice cream , s'il vous plait.  And would you believe how powerful this suggestion was,  Joyce?   After reading the question around noon, I craved a root beer float all day. Tonight I caved. I didn't have root beer on hand, but I had some Coke and butter pecan ice cream. Good enough!

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.

A symphony, but during the instrument-tuning, pre-concert time--you know, when every instrument sounds out of tune, but you know it's going to get better?

 Last week alone I was dealing with my sister's cross-country move by guiding her to a hotel via text when all rooms within 100 miles were booked and cost $250-300/night (thanks, oil companies in TX); a family funeral; a son's knee sprain (while I was out of state at the funeral); a hubby packing for a 4-day business trip to  New Orleans while we waited for a snowstorm of "potentially historic" proportions.  And the sump pump broke while he was packing, which sent him to Home Depot after printing his boarding pass. I also was having abdominal pain so badly for three days that I thought I'd be in the ER without my husband .

But the symphony sounded good after all: I found my very tired sisters a room at a nice hotel for $166; my SIL's mom who passed away went quickly into the arms of God; my son's sprain was ONLY  a sprain; my hubby takes such good care of us; he had good weather in New Orleans and we only got 3 inches of snow here--enough to close school for a day. Yay! I haven't had any more abdominal pain since hubby left, either.


6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?

Well, the first lyrics I thought of were these, from an old hymn:

"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow."

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the 

hardest to leave behind?


Our grown children. They all within a half hour of us.  But after that? Maryland blue crabs.  (Okay, maybe there's a lot in between my kids and Maryland crabs to be missed,  but if you mean what I'd miss about Baltimore,  that's it.)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My heart is still broken, and will be for a long time, over the horrific tragedy of the Annapolis mansion fire 8 days ago. Two grandparents, Don and Sandy Pyle,  were having two sets of grandchildren (four total) spend the night in "the castle" before the school holiday last Monday (MLK Jr Day).  The house caught fire around 3:30 a.m and burned to the ground in a matter of hours. Everyone perished.  I imagine being one of the mothers. I imagine being a school friend of one of the kids. I imagine being one of the firefighters.  I'm still undone.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

I Had a Dream (that Fellow Hodgepodgers will Appreciate)

You know you're rather connected to your bloggy friends when their stories mix with yours somewhere in your subconscious, where dreams take place as you sleep.

Such was the case last night.  The thing is, not only do events take place in a dream, but deep-held values, strong feelings, vivid colors, humor, and tears emerge.  "The whole nine yards," as they say.

Here was the dream:

A large auditorium, similar to an upscale gymnasium, was the setting for a convention of a Christian women's seminar.  The first tier of seats had wood bleachers, near the floor. The second tier, with theatre size seats, were grey cloth. The third tier, in the nosebleed seats, were covered with Granny Smith apple green vinyl.

There were maybe 100 women and 12 men, including my dad, because he goes everywhere with my mom.

The speaker was a short, skinny woman with a serious personality who tried to be charming and witty and engaging, but her smile was fake and her humor just wasn't natural. She seemed like a school marm in her tailored navy blue suit, smart pumps, and a bad hair color job of the purplish auburn family.

Lea was sitting to my right. She leaned to me and said, "Joyce looks good as a redhead."  April, sitting to Lea's right, leaned around to whisper,  "My thoughts exactly."  I thought, "Southerners. They lie. Her hair looks terrible."  But I zipped up my opinion.

"That's not Joyce," I said. "Joyce is blonde right now--and tall.  Plus this lady's voice is low and dull. I've never  heard Joyce speak, but I don't think it's low or dull."

"You KNOW that's not Joyce? Then you should SAY something, Zo!" said Debby.  "But this lady is talking about the wedding! How would she know it was June 22nd and why was she thanking us all for being there?"   (June 22nd, for the record, was my son's wedding date.)

It was odd, to be sure.  "I don't know," I said. " Maybe she reads the blog.  Maybe Joyce paid her to stand in for her. But it's not my place to bust the imposter."

"Go ahead! Be brave! We all paid good money to hear about this wedding from Joyce, not from some short, dull, redheaded fake," said Marla , making us all laugh out loud. Suddenly the short redhead flashed a look that had the familiar "would you like to share that comment with the whole class?" feeling about it.

I needed an extra reason to get off my green apple vinyl bleacher anyway. It was narrow and my backside wasn't.  So, buoyed by my bloggy friends' "encouragement" and my own desire to move to a grey cloth, wider seat, I got up and stepped down in my long apple-green gown and silvery sandals.
Praying to God I wouldn't fall, although such a sight would be worth paying for.

As I clunked down the bleachers, I saw a black curtain to the far right ,partially pulled back,  and there was Joyce's daughter, the bride, in a black silk, V-neck dress and red slippers.  She was talking to a small crowd on the other side of the curtain. She was directing a comment to my mom.

"Mrs. Dauber, I have mailed you a check for $665.23 to reimburse you for the rehearsal dinner.  I felt so bad that my sister and her best friends didn't show up after you had paid for them, so I want to repay you for all the guests who ate."

My mom was mortified. I could feel it from many feet away.  It was her pleasure to pay for the dinner, and even though no one should fail to RSVP, it happens. (Young people these days!) But rule one: don't embarrass the hostess.Take her aside later, I thought. Apologize in private, not in public!

Who knows why my mom was hosting the rehearsal dinner for the wedding of MY bloggy friend's daughter, but hey, it was a dream, remember? Dreams are weird.

After that little interruption and seeing the daughter of the real McCoy ,I knew I had to follow through. I approached the stage. I walked up to the redheaded school marm and said, "You're not Joyce, are you?"

"My name is Joyce," she said, flustered in front of the huge crowd.   (Gotta love my hypocrisy.)

"It might be, but you're not the Joyce we're here for. Where's she?"

"Behind the curtain," she said, as if referring to the wizard of Oz.

"I thought so," I said, and then took the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen," I said, "and yes, I include gentlemen, although I'm not sure why you're at a women's convention and maybe you aren't sure either.  I mean ,do you care about wedding make-up and flowers and shoes and first dances?  We care! But  whatever, enough of this warm-up show . Joyce! Yoo-hoo! Joyce!" I called louder. "Would you please join us in coach class on this side of the curtain and tell us all about the wedding?"

And then Joyce, tall and blonde, made her way to the stage in her long, bronze sparkly mother-of-the bride dress and glitzy shoes.  I gave her a big hug.   "Hi, Joyce. I'm Zoanna."

She laughed, "I know who you are, Zo, and  I love your dress."  (It was a bridesmaid's dress.)

She then took the microphone and said to the whole gathering,  "So, let's talk about the wedding, shall we?"

And all the women stood and cheered.

The men looked at each other like bored seventh grade boys.   The redheaded fake sauntered off stage, apparently to do another lousy impersonation at some other gig.

















Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chewy Granola, Giraffes, and a Move in the Hodgepodge





My apologies for the wonky formatting. I have no idea what's going on. Don't have any more time to fiddle with it right now. 

1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever 

watched? 

Yes, I've watched probably 10 seasons. Some weren't worth the time because of the

 judges and the wasted time on terrible contestants.   I am watching this season, as I

 did last, because I love the judges. Not only are all they gorgeous to look at (Harry 

really knows his music  theory, and is absolutely hilarious and did I say dreamy? or something akin to that?/and I tend to agree with his judgments of the performances more often than  I 

do with JLo's or Keith Urban's. 



If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you

 sing?

"His Eye is on the Sparrow."  It is near and dear to my soul and is one I can sing solo in the right key and still hit all the range of notes. Would I make it Hollywood? I can pretty well say with assurance, that's a big fat NO. 


2.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in 

the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first


So when did you last have to 'eat a frog'? Or two? How'd that work out? 


I think my innerds are half frog. Too many examples within the family setting to 

mention. 



3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you'd want to see?

A giraffe. They mesmerize me without frightening me. 


4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or 


crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let's exhaust this topic in

 honor of the holiday okay?

I do like granola bars, prefer chewy ones, especially a chocolate-peanut butter kind. 

 I love granola cereal and the best is the homemade recipe from my friend Kelly G. 

  When it's warm from the oven,it might as well be dessert. 


5. If only  my hair would cooperate for more than two weeks after a great cut....




6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be? Keep it family friendly please.



Teehee.   How about I call "a seating area" an item?  I want two cream colored club

 chairs, a small table, and a vase of fresh flowers in my bedroom. 


.



7. What is one thing you've enjoyed about winter thus far? If it's not winter in your 

corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you've enjoyed about 

whatever season it happens to be?


I have loved hearing four  little words a couple of times thus far:  ''School is closed

today."




8.  Insert your own random thought here.


My sister Andrea is moving today from Arizona to Kentucky. Her husband is not going. She is

 unable to take her beloved pets because she'll be living in a hotel until she buys a house.  While my

heart is broken for her, she is being as positive as possible, and she will be in a climate that her

asthma should be better. Her doctor said if she stayed in Arizona, where it's dry and dusty all the 

time, it could eventually kill her. 


On the bright side for me, she will be only about 8.5 hours away from me, a very doable drive or a

 quick flight.  My younger sister is helping her drive their personal truck while a moving company 

handles the big truck.  I'm praying for their safety and my sister's comfort as she starts basically a 

new life this week.  



Monday, January 19, 2015

My "101 in 1001" List Update

 Wow, is it ever hard to believe that I'm just a little more than 3 months away from my 1001st day of a "101 in 1001" list I started in  August of 2012. Inspired by Joyce who was inspired by someone else (her daughter, maybe? I forget), this list is sort of a bucket list, and sort of a New Year's resolution list.   The main differences, as I see it, are that it's longer than a year's worth of goals, and shorter than a lifetime's worth.   About a 2.25 year's worth of "things I'd really like to do." 

Here is the list I made way back when, in no particular order.  The red cross-outs were completed as of last April 28.  Today I will cross out and comment in blue. 
1. Sponsor a new child Joel's age (8/15/12, Marcos)
2. Pack boxes for Samaritan's Purse at a packing facility at Christmas
(Tweaked this one by packing 9 boxes with our small group, assembly line style, praying over the boxes when we worked on them.  I decided that making doll quilts  for Samaritan's Purse was more rewarding (or just as rewarding as going to a packing facility.)
3. Make empanadas    This accomplished desire  fit nicely into son's 7th grade geography presentation of Uruguay. We made them together and they were a big hit with the whole class. 
4. Learn watercolor
5. Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art
6. See NYC    went with son's 6th grade class  in June 2014
7. Lose 2 dress sizes by June 1, 2013 (as of 8/15, down 5 lbs), 3 sizes by Jan 1, 2014) and 80 lbs total by 4/28/15) Went back up 5 by Oct 1, but went off gluten Oct 1 and lost 10 lbs that month.  Eh...I've kept one dress size off.
8. Sand off faux finish in the master bathroom
9 Strip wallpaper from master bathroom
10. Give away 27 things a month 12 times (2x in Aug '12) (27x2 bags Nov '12, 1 in Dec 12, 1 in Jan, 1 in Feb, 1 in March, 2x in April, 1 in May) lost track but gave away 9 bags in Jan 2015
11. See S&A get married  GREAT DAY JUNE 22, 2014
12. Find a good chiropractor and have at least 6 adjustments
13. Read a book on classical education
14. Visit friends in KS again  Barb, Laurie, Vi, Uncle Norman and Aunt Ida Mary   October 2014
15. Make a trip out west
16. Give blood
17. Talk with my folks about their will and final arrangements :(
18. Get 200K miles out of van  Van made it to 152,XXX  January 2014
19. Write 3x to female soldiers
20. Join a nursing home ministry visited n. home w/ school kids May 2013
21. Teach more art camps at home
22. Host 3 game nights with friends
23. Get my hair cut by Mario (8/25/12) not worth the cost
24. Find a new church home  (been attending the same one since Dec; not sure it's home)  Settled into one we call home w/o having officially joined yet
25. Sell the Victorian organ
26. Replace all carpet in LR, hall, and BRs
27. Get new mattresses for the boys
28. Make a guest room when SG moves out   doubles as sewing room
29. Make a hobby room when S moves out  -- S's old   room is now J's room; J's old room is now guitar room
30. Write a song
31. Send 24 greeting cards (Christmas doesn't count) (12 to date)  lost count, I'll estimate 20 to date

32. Design a set of 4 songbird greeting cards (1 chickadee 8/5/12)
33. Paint flowers A to Z
34. Give Daddy my first landscape painting (for his birthday ,Nov 2012)
35. Choose the new mailboxk  (installed 4/26/13)
36. Design the remodel of the kitchen
37. Walk 26.2 miles a month 3x
38. Ride a horse
39. Test drive an Audi A6 or A8  (tested and bought A4)
40. Host international students for an American holiday
41. Have a personal or mini-retreat w/ praying friend(s)  (4/27/13)
42. Troll around in a boat on a lake
43. Get piano tuned
44. Learn to draw 3 animals well (horse, bird, golden retriever)
45. Brush up on my Russian  GIVEN UP: see no purpose
46. Visit TX and NM relatives   
47. Read a biography of a martyr
48. Get my tooth implant done
49. Start Joel's school memento book and do up thru grade 5
50. Develop the rest of my old film
51. Do J's baby scrapbook 
52. Buy B&D's wedding photos
53. Frame and hang wedding photos
54. Take a drawing class (10 weeks, fall '12)
55. Read Battlefield of the Mind
56. Help S set up her new classroom (8/7/12)
57. Serve my three friends who have MS in a meaningful-to-them way
Wow. Reading this took my breath. One of my three friends, Carol, passed away  in July 2014. Her husband assures me she knew I loved her and helped her practically and emotionally and spiritually.  Another friend was uplifted by my visit. The third was helped with yardwork by my strong firstborn. 58. Make a pie crust from scratch
59. Sew two new family room pillows  (one for me, one for DIL)
60. Fast from the computer on Sundays, at least 7 times
61. Teach Reilly a new trick (play hide-n-seek with tennis balls I hide in house, per Andrea, 10/12)
62. Get zoom lens repaired  had to replace it 
63. Make Christmas stockings for everyone (made 4 thus far: B,D,St,A ...12/12; made S's 2014)
64. Clean out one drawer a month (kitchen junk 1/14/13, FR 2/13, SG's 3/13, DR 4/13)
65. Sell, give away, or repurpose old entertainment center
66. Organize all important phone numbers and addresses (11/1/12)
67. Play the hammered dulcimer 
68. Have a mega-cooking party to serve singles and/or the sick (Mama, post-op, Sept 2012)
69. Get mammogram again
70. Serve a military family in a practical way 
71. Go on a school field trip **Franklin Institute, Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit
72. Shop for master bath fixtures w/ hubby   summer 2014 complete.I really need to post the bathroom reveal. .As soon as I make the new curtains, I will. 
73. Take an elderly or non-driving person to the polls to vote in Nov (offered, none needed)
74. Take a Chinese cooking class w/ hubby from his cheffy friend
This is upcoming in Feb--Asian glazed salmon, not by his cheffy friend but a personal chef our daughter hired (as a Christmas gift) 75. Make an Indian dish
76. Host a birthday party for a friend
77. Learn Pachelbel's Canon in D Major on piano---  started, but I'm so rusty
78. Read through the Bible chronologically
79. Keep a prayer journal with columns (Request, Date, Answer) (ongoing)
80. Attend a horse show, race, or other event  Planning on the Kentucky Derby with my sister this year!
81. Host a ladies' brunch   Helped at church's Christmas Tea 2014
82. Make a baby quilt  Made 9 for charity, 3 for Jordan, lap quilt for Renee',
83. Make curtains for basement in Ravens colors
84. Watch an old home video with the kids
85. Watch Ben's wedding video for the first time
86. Have a conference call w/ my 3 sisters at least 3x
87. Sell the Saab  May 18, 2013
88. Visit Savannah, GA
89. Meet a blogging friend for 1st time in person
90. Exchange 2-3 hours of cleaning for someone Revising this to say "give someone  hours of cleaning , not an exchange because she's too sick.
91. Do a Daniel diet (10 days in a row meatless)  Jan 2013
92Complete a women's Bible study with a group   Feb 2013
93. Thank a good employee in front of his or her manager
94. Repaint wicker porch furniture  changed white to red, fall 2014
95. Learn to make sushi
96. Do something scary (face one of my big fears) Packed an evacuation bag . Oct 29 for Hurricane Sandy . 
97. Attend a professional performance of the Nutcracker (not professional, but saw it for first time 12/12)
98. Apply for tutoring job at local college (writing lab) OR be hired by school for art  (revised; got tutoring job, but not at college)
99. Encourage hubby to have Manhood Weekend with the boy for "that talk" on his 11th b'day  encouraged, yes, didn't happen on 11th or 12th b'day.  Hoping 13th they'll get away together (next month)
100. Do deep purge of the basement storage area (see #96) summer 2014 but needs more still
101. Hold an Ebenezer dinner to recount answered prayers in the last 6 months


I've completed 42 out of 101.
While I really thought I'd have more accomplished than that by now, I wonder what would have happened without the list to guide and encourage me?  I should have printed it out and kept it more visible. Many of the things left have to do with organizing photos--my nemesis. I love photos, but I am easily overwhelmed by the choices, and also am not sure why I delay watching wedding videos. It's not for lack of time or desire. What could it be? 
At any rate, by God's grace, I will complete at least 51 by the time my "term limit"of 1001 days has ended.