Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ethel Answers a few Questions in the T'giv HP

An old  lady named Ethel came into my life last night. Read my answers, but know that she is tackling #8. 

Thanks, Joyce ,for serving up a tray of good questions once again.  (And by the way, Joyce is not the old lady. Let's be clear.) 

1. Are you settling for something?

It would seem I'm settling for just treating my blog like a weeklong Hodgepodge hangout. I really MUST do better.  Now that my camera is back in business (long story),  and with a family gathering just around the corner, I think I can revive it soon.

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

I'm totally against making Thanksgiving a shopping day.  They should start calling it "Thanks. Gimme."    I will not be among the shoppers, and in fact, I stay put on Black Friday, too. I just don't get into bargain hunting enough to fight the traffic and crowds. It starts the Christmas season all wrong for me.

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul. 

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?

No, I've not.   But if I could choose, then Vienna, but not for the shopping, per se.  More for Vienna itself.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight?

Romantically? I can't remember. However, I often light a candle on the kitchen table and eat lunch by it.  Sorta counts, right?

Who am I kidding? I guess I'm settling for a tuna fish sandwich and a pickle when I 'd much prefer
shrimp alfredo and a Caesar salad in an Italian ristorante with l'amore de ma vie.

5. What do you have too much of?


6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan?  Did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  Will you/have you seen Catching Fire?  No spoilers please!

Contrary to what I presumed, I actually DID like the Hunger Games movie. Did not read the book, but helped my son do a diorama of it last year. He liked the book so much he is going to see Catching Fire with his big sister tonight!

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner?  If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday. 

Thanksgiving Day: home, just the three of us, vegging out and/or getting ready for Sunday when the family comes over.
I'm looking forward to having all the kids, their spouses, my parents, and my sister, BIL, and THE BABY!!!   She is a show-stopper, let me tell you! Forget the sweet potatoes, pass the sweet baby girl this way!  The term "just want to eat her up" comes to mind.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Got a phone call last night, 9:30.   An elderly woman named Ethel  was on the other end.   I guessed her to be in her 70's, with a sweet southern accent. 

Me: Hello?
Her:  Oh, hello, honey!  You must be the one the charity told me about! I am just so excited...
Me:  Charity?
Her:  They said you signed up to bring someone a Thanksgiving meal if they called you. Well, they gave me your number. It's just so kind of you ...I was sure not wanting to spend another lonely Thanksgiving by myself.  Bless you for offering to bring me a meal!
Me:  Um...I am...not sure...
Her: What's that? Please speak up, honey. I can't hear you very well. 
Me:  Um,  well, I ...  I don't remember any you mean church?   

(I'm trying to recall saying something in my Bible study about having Thanksgiving Day free and ....the homeless...or something...Nothing's coming back to mind .)

Her: You just have no IDEA how much this means to me.  Do you like candied yams? I could make some. 
Me: Yes ,I like them but.....  
(I'm thinking I should ask her to come Sunday when the whole family is I want to rearrange all my plans for one person?) 

Me:  I think you have the wrong number. 
Her: (she pauses, and when she speaks, sounds heartbroken)

Her: They gave me this number and you sound so nice, honey. You CAN come Thanksgiving to keep me company, CAN"T you, honey?  Why it would really mean so much to me. 

Me:  (thinking now this is a trick of one of my dear sons...certain as the seconds tick away...)

Her: Speak up! I can't hear you. 

ME:   (looooong pause...waiting for the punch line)

Her:  And by the way, could you also bring an enema and some rubber gloves with you? It's been one of them weeks, ya know? 


Yes, indeed, my oldest son punked me.  I texted him and he said, "O, did Ethel call you? She's lonely and looking for someone to spend the holiday with. Glad you can keep her company."

Thanks, son.  You rotten, rotten apple!!!!  Good thing you're CUTE!!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Twenty-Word Hodgepodge on the 20th

Restraining myself to just twenty words for my answers today is  a necessary discipline, for time's sake and your sake. 

1. What lesson has failure taught you?

Humility. (I'm not perfect.)
Compassion. (Other people struggle as well.)
Correction. (What not to do.)
Discernment. (This ain't my thang!)

2. What decision are you glad you made?

To follow Christ, although it was His initiative and grace that wooed me. 
The joy of knowing Him is  indescribable!

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?  

No, we don't decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving!  One holiday at a time, please. Decking halls here starting Dec. 2.

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join? 

Not Solitaire; I'm too social. Rummy? I always lose . Old Maid? Forgot the rules.  Go Fish?  Yes? I could win!

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type? 

Unfortunately, I am a mood eater. I eat when stressed, eat when happy, when bored, when excited, when sad. Ugh.

6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable? 

No. But I keep meaning to write a good review for my sewing machine (Janome DC 1050) for this retailer

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday? 

During ladies' Bible study, we encouraged one grandmother who hasn't seen her four-month-old grandson.  DIL refuses her requests. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Today is the day I will --"come hell or high water"-- clean out my bedroom closet. I need cheerleaders, hear me? 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hodgepodge 150 on 11.12.13

What a cool date, huh? 11/12/13

and today is a milestone for the Hodgepodge as Joyce brings us Volume 150.

I won't even charge you a "buck fifty'" for reading my answers--although I should--considering they're not exactly brief today.

1. Describe a typical Sunday from your childhood.

-We always went to church, dressed in our "Sunday best."
- When attending a Baptist church, there were services morning and evening, and we went to both.
- My earliest memories, in fact, take place in church. The plump lap of Miss Iney (my preschool Sunday school teacher),  my dad happily handing each of us girls a quarter for the offering basket, my  boldness as a child requesting the same hymn ("The Old Rugged Cross," #93) every time the song leader took requests, and the brown lunch bag of candy that Mr. Krueger shared with kiddoes after the service. (He was Fred Krueger, if you can believe that!)
-Sunday lunches were simple and my parents always took a nap, dare I say "religiously"?
-Their naps were often the times I decided to do things I shouldn't have done. Especially since I was the preacher's kid.

2. How comfortable are you with uncertainty? Explain.

Not very. I like to be "in the know," to be prepped. I don't really like surprises.  I am a planner, even though I can be spontaneous. Many of my worst experiences in life have been when information has been withheld from me and the result was something like:    A. We're moving across the country and you'll have to wear knee-length dresses to school every day.     B.  All the rabbits mysteriously disappeared from their cages, leaving only fur and blood  C. Will I carry this baby to term or lose again?   D.  What leaders can I trust?

3. What have you accomplished recently that might be described as crafty, as in 'arts and crafts' crafty?  If crafty doesn't work for you, how about handy? Or both?

I just finished sewing a really cute quilt top for a doll.   It's   16"x18" in pinks, yellows, greens, and creams.  I plan to finish it and wrap a new dollie in it for a girl who will get a shoebox from us through Operation Christmas Child.  (Pictures by Monday, I hope!)

4. Have you ever worked in a 'food place'? What did you take away from the experience?

I've worked in too many of them.  One summer, I worked at both Hardee's and Burger King. I took away a knowledge of the public (for better or for worse), how to count back change, and how to flex in order to please two different bosses.  Another summer I worked at a restaurant adjacent to a bowling alley, and I took away a fair number of tips in exchange for good service and some well-timed flirting.

Following my freshman year of college, I worked at Rehoboth Beach, getting up at 4:30 am to put frozen croissants on trays at The American Pie (cafe) to thaw for breakfast customers; also at the Candy Kitchen on the boardwalk and a Christian bookstore just off the boardwalk. I worked 18 hours a day that summer and took away a loathing for croissants, fudge, and marijuana  . Later, as a college student, I also worked at a Holiday Inn restaurant. I learned that most large families don't tip well, and most gay guys do.  I also took away some bitterness for being falsely accused of stealing from the cash drawer, and a creepy feeling from a GM who sexually harassed me.

Hmmm, would you conclude that working in food places wasn't altogether healthy for me?

5. Cold turkeytalk turkeywhat a recent days, which turkey phrase or idiom best applies to you and why? Click on the word turkey if you need to read more about the meaning behind each phrase

I need to talk turkey with someone and I keep putting it off. It's eating me up inside, but I hate confrontation, especially because I feel defensive and I am just not sure I will be well received, but this thing won't go away with time, and I've examined my heart to see if it's an offense I can overlook, forgive, and move on from without a conversation. Since it keeps churning, and since I can see it objectively (I think), I need courage to go through with talking turkey.

6. If you could have any one guest join your Thanksgiving dinner table, who would it be?

My Grandma Kathryn, who passed away almost 25 years ago.  I would express my thanks that she cherished me. She came to Maryland from Kansas when I was born and took care of me and my 14 month old sister for  six weeks while my mom was in the hospital. I would thank her for singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow" to me when I was an 8-year old  pianist "accompanying" her.    I'd thank her for playing dollies with me and making a doll bed and doll blanket for me. I'd love to see her joy upon meeting the four  great-grandchildren that came from God through me.    I rejoice that, because she was in Christ, we WILL gather around a thanksgiving table again someday.

7. What is one thing you must accomplish today? 

I must round up 3 empty shoeboxes and get them wrapped and filled before Sunday, which is the last day our church is collecting them for Operation Christmas Child.  I've been picking things up throughout the year,  but I always look forward to kicking off my holiday shopping by doing this shopping with my child(ren).

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

The typhoon in the Philippines has really brought home the reality that I could have lost someone special to me.  One of my students (from last year)  went there with her father and two little brothers in September to do mission work.  They wanted to stay through November 9th, but the visa department denied their request, and forced them to leave on November 6th.   I can't help but believe that this girl and her family have grown in their gratitude for God's "no" as an answer to prayer!!!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook seems like an efficient way to compose my meandering thoughts on this Veterans' Day. 


Outside my window... flies the American flag proudly on my front porch in honor and memory of people near and dear to my heart.  

I am thinking that my husband wouldn't be here, save for God sparing the life of his father who was an Army medic in World War II.  I tried a few different times to get Dad to talk about his experiences, but his standard line was, "Oh, girl, you don't wanna know." 

I am thankful... that God spared the lives of my Jewish ancestors who survived the same war at the hands of Adolph Hitler.

In the kitchen...  is a sparkling clean fridge filled with groceries fresh from the store this morning, a dishwasher running with 1/4 cup bleach along with regular detergent, to fight the mold that likes to build up inside, and the aroma of Beef Burgundy in the crock pot. 

I am wearing...a teal 3/4-length sleeve top, khaki pants, tan socks, black clogs, and an apron I've had for probably 25 years.  As I was cutting meat this morning, I was remembering my late father-in-law's generosity when we were poor newlyweds. He bought and carved red meat with excellence; back in his teens he'd been a butcher's apprentice.

I am creating...different things with fabric. Remember these? Most are now in blocks and strips, awaiting the shipment of batting from Amazon. 


I am be making some yummy meals this week:  Fettucini Alfredo, BBQ and Old Bay Drumsticks, Turkey Chili, Steak Fajitas, 
Chicken Stir-Fry, and of course tonight's Beef Burgundy. 

I am wondering...what it will be like to have Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving this year. It's the only way to make sure we can have all the kids around our table, since we have to do that little thing called "share" them with their in-laws this year on "the" day.

I am reading... . and copying, verbatim.  the book of James.

I am hoping..the leaves linger on the trees.  I sure do love the brilliant golden hues that adorn the woods behind me.  But alas, as I type this, a leaf falls every few minutes, like a  brave but beaten comrade.

I am looking forward to... our anniversary, and pray that the weather cooperates so that we can get away. I'm thinking a cabin in North Carolina would be romantic, but I'd settle for a Sheraton in western Maryland. 

I am learning how to be just a helper using an often lousy curriculum in a public school. 

Around the really is time to admit that cold weather is here to stay. I must do the seasonal clothing-changeroo and I hate it. Hate the doing and the reason for doing .

I am pondering... the comments from my son's teacher at last week's parent-teacher conferences.  I spoke with three of the teachers,    His math teacher said, " He is really bright, but he needs to work on his handwriting--and not providing running commentary while I'm teaching."
Science teacher said, "He is so funny, and sometimes I tell him, "Joel, if that weren't so funny, you'd be in trouble."  His literature/Latin/Bible/history/homeroom teacher said, "He's gotten a lot of his gold stars for humor, and he's very organized and social, but he needs to grow in self-control."     

A favorite quote for today...Looking in the mirror at my hair before I brushed it this morning, I remembered a famous line from my then-five-year-old sister looking at my mom's teased-up-but-not-yet-styled hair. 
Rachel said, "Not bad for a witch." 

One of my favorite things... is pancakes. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: taking my 1950s Singer into the shop to be rewired so that I can use it safely; attending Bible study; trying a new small group at the church we now call "home."

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Middle School Boy Answers Hodgepodge Questions

Today I'm adding a spin to the  Hodgepodge by Joyce. 

In addition to my personal answers,  I've asked my 11-year-old son to answer the questions in his own words which I'll type in red.  Enjoy his, mine,  and then "ours"--i.e. the answers of other bloggers joining in for today's Hodgepodge.   (Hop around by clicking on this cute button after visiting.)

1. My sister is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday little sis! What's one way you're like your siblings?  If you don't have siblings how are you like your lifelong best friend or cousin?

My answer:   I have three sisters and no brothers.  One way we're all alike is that we  all enjoy organizing things to varying degrees. My older (firstborn) sister is an assistant manager for a  major kitchen retailer.  I  enjoy teaching, which requires classroom and curriculum management. My younger sister oversees land management for Uncle Sam in a southwest state. My baby sister is an executive admin assistant for a government contractor. 
The 11 YOB (year old boy) says:  I have two older brothers and an older sister. How am I like my siblings? We're all cool.  

Humble, too, right? 

  2.  What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yourself at age eighteen?
 Me:   Rebellious. Walking away from the Lord.   I chose a college far from home, not just because I had a great scholarship, but because I wanted to get away from parental rule. And God's rules.  

Son said, "When I'm 18, hopefully I won't be doing drugs. I'll be driving, probably about to have  my first car accident."  

(Sheez! What kind of achiever am I raising here?????  How many accidents does he foresee having????)

3. Sculptor-actor-painter-dancer...if you could excel in one of these arts, which would you choose and why?

Me? Painter.   My maiden name means "painter" and it's something I  would very much like to be really good at doing. For now, though, I simply enjoy the process of expressing beauty while honing the technical skills. 

He said, "Show me the choices again. Sculptor, actor, painter, dancer.   Actor. Because they make the most money. 

I guess he's never heard the term "starving actor."  

4. What's a scent that takes you back in time, and where does it take you?
Me:  There's a fragrance that was worn by the school librarian, Mrs. Fountain, when I was in third grade. I don't know the name of it, but on the rare occasion I catch a whiff of it (on an old lady), I am once again 8 years old having the date ink-stamped on that index card in the back of my library book.

Him:  I dunno. I can't think of anything. 

Maybe he hasn't lived long enough...? 

5. November is for Peanut Butter Lovers (National Peanut Butter Lovers Month).  Are you a lover or a hater?  What's your favorite dish/recipe that calls for peanut butter? 

Me: Peanut butter lover!   Favorite recipe? I would say PB cookies. Nothing quite  like warm, soft, peanut butter with criss-cross lines made by a sugar-dipped fork.  Love them .  I also love a PB&J sandwich once in a while, with cold milk .  Then there's the way peanut butter pairs oh-so-yummily with chocolate in Reese's cups . 

He answered,  "Peanut butter lover or hater? In-between.  Favorite dish? Peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

6. What do people thank you personally for most often?
Making breakfast and packing lunches or other foodie things.  On Facebook today, my 24 year-old daughter posted that she was thankful to me for teaching her to cook and to enjoy it.  She has the reputation among her school staff for being the gourmet of the group. That made me smile.  So I guess food-related gratitude is what I'm most thanked for, and that's fine because I feel like I live in the kitchen (and I despise despise grocery shopping). 

The 11 YOB said, "Hmm. For saving them in dodgeball.  I always jump in front of people and catch the ball and they're like, "Thanks!"  

7. What event this year are you most thankful for?
My second son's wedding. It was absolutely beautiful, and I had such peace and joy over it.  I gained a wonderful daughter in the exchange of vows, and saw the answer to many years of prayers come to reality.   Every night at 9:30, they turn off their computers, put their college books away,  and have devotions and prayer together.  Can it fill my heart any more with joy and thanks to see a young couple so in love with God and each other--and to hope for grandkidders from their union?  

Oh, and very, VERY close behind that (on the happyometer) was the birth of my precious niece, who seems like a grand baby to me. I can only imagine how good grandmotherhood is going to be if being an "old aunt" to  a newborn is any indication. 

The 11 year old said, "I'm thankful for Christmas." 
I said, "Christmas hasn't happened yet this year." 
He said, "I know, but it's going to. And I'm thankful for that!"

Methinks he has a list ready and waiting.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I finished my quilt top! Wish I could show a picture, but my only decent camera is awaiting a new battery charger in order to juice up the dead batteries. I think my blog needs more photo love, don't you? Amazon, I am one click away from making that happen. 

His random answer: (giggling while eating cereal), 
"Narhwols, nahrwols, swimming in the ocean.
Narhwols, narhwols, causing a commotion."  

Me: Huh? 
Him: (still giggling) "It's a song." 

I love to hear him giggle. Best part of the whole Hodgepodge "interview."