Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Having Said That, May I Present the Next Hodgepodge?

So I was just saying (post before this) that I had vowed not to reduce my blog to just Wednesday Hodgepodges, but I've not been very wordy about life in this corner.

Oh well, here we go...

1. What news story are you following right now?

The wildfires out West.  I am troubled for family and friends but so far all are safe.

2. What's the last thing you wanted but didn't get?

A cookout with my kids and their spouses to celebrate two birthdays (belatedly) and my DIL's college graduation.  I wanted it to happen--and had tried to make it happen--sometime this past weekend, but
home improvement projects here and at my oldest son's house, plus an MRI and the hangover from the sedative I needed for it, plus some miscommunication and hurt feelings because people are human (most of the time), I didn't get what I wanted. I spent yesterday pretty much feeling sorry for myself.

3. May 28th is National Hamburger Day...when did you last have a hamburger? Other than your own kitchen or BBQ grill, where is your favorite place to go for a hamburger? And for all you non-meat eaters out there...when you're invited to a cookout what is the one side dish you hope is on the menu?

Five Guys makes hamburgers the way I like them--juicy and loaded!

4. How have your priorities changed over time?

     a.  I care less and less about what people think of me. 
     b.  I'd much rather spend time with my family than with friends. 
     c.   My health is more important--and improving it is higher on my priority list.
     d.  Doing more little things now--when I have the opportunity--and doing them with love is more important to me than doing "great things" in the name of serving God. 
     e.   Knowing that God loves me the way he loves His own Son  has changed everything. I really firmly believe that I am cherished that way by Godpp and, oh. what freedom!  I am almost healed from legalism.

5. What's a favorite memory with your grandparents?

My paternal grandparents lived in the small town of Sterling, Kansas for decades.  When I was 8 and 9 years old, we also lived near there. Our 4th of July celebrations with small town parade, turtle races, and the fireworks over the lake just really made me feel a deep sense of belonging. 
I've got a small town soul.

6. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being fantastic!), how good are you at multitasking? Share an example.

Gonna say a  3.  Might be a stretch at that.   I don't think anyone really "multi-tasks", but some uni-task in rapid succession better than others.  I work well from a list with tasks broken down into smaller tasks and starting with verbs.   (Sometimes I try to make a game of starting all tasks with the same letter. For example,  Dust family room, Declutter mail counter,  Decide on dinner,  Dunk 3 loads of laundry,  Drink 4 glasses of water,  Dab floor cleaner in kitchen.   It somehow seems more fun to say "dunk" than 'wash"   or to say "decide" than to "fix".  Agree?)

7. How would you summarize your highs and lows for the month of May?

To brag on God and not myself, I will say that He has grown me in patience and --how do you say--not feeling the urge to control everything and everyone.  I have not arrived (see answer to number one)  but the bathroom remodel did not stress me out . I was happy to leave the bulk of the decisions and timeline to my husband (which is easy because he has good taste and a work ethic unparalleled).  I only mildly felt jealous of the time he was spending on the project instead of on me (you know how we like to be the Center of our Guy's Universe).  I was happy to be the go-fer to Lowe's and Home Depot even when it was inconvenient (which was every time).  So that's a high --in addition to the beautiful bathroom he created for us.   

The lows--definitely my shoulder pain from my January injury.  I had an MRI (which went very peacefully, thank you for praying, if you did).  On Wednesday afternoon the doctor will give me the results and treatment options.  I sure wish I had started this process a lot sooner; in my optimism I thought I'd be better, not worse.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Should I put our house number on the mailbox or paint it on the bucket?

Coming Attractions

Seems the only blogging I've been doing lately is Wednesday Hodgepodge. I told myself once upon a time that I would not let myself reduce my blog to just a meme, but every time I sit down to write, I come up blank.

Or I haven't uploaded my photos .

Or I have uploaded them but am too tired by the end of the day to put words to them.

Or I have the energy in the morning but feel guilty that I'm wasting my physical energy on a sit-down job.

Or , or , or.

Just to let you know, we have had a lot of activity around this place and I will be posting soon, Lord willing:

A master bathroom reveal


A new landscape


maybe I'll show a new haircut


some doll quilts I've been working on

and of course I'll be abuzz

 a trip to New York City (after it happens, which is very soon).

Will you stay tuned?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Have No Fear, Hodgepodge is Here

A great bunch of questions this week. I have only 16 minutes to answer them this morning.

1. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?

a,  When Plan A didn't work and I need Plan B very quickly. I process well quickly. 
b.  When I'm in  a hot bath without pressure, relaxing.  I process better when relaxed.

2. Are you a risk taker? What's one big risk you've taken?

I'm adventurous but not a risk taker, really.  Yesterday I took a risk of turning left in front of a speeding car. Not smart. But since Plan A was to turn, a quick Plan B was to gun it!

3. Some of the most common phobias according to the National Institute for Mental Health are-fear of spiders (arachnaphobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), heights (acrophobia), fear of spaces from which escape is difficult (agoraphobia), fear of thunder and lightening (astrophobia), fear of dogs (cynophobia), injections (trypanophobia), social situations, flying (pteromerhanophobia) and fear of germs and dirt (mysophobia). True phobias affect only about 10% of adults, but of those listed which would you rate as your greatest fear?

Snakes and enlcosed spaces. Don't you dare put me in tight space with a snake, or my sorry soul will be taken to heaven in a bolt of lightning with a scream that breaks the sound barrier.

4. Are you settled or do you feel the need to move somewhere new?

Feeling restless right now. Looking at real estate. Planning projects to put the house on the market within the next year or so, probably.  We don't have to move, but we want a property that's easier on the knees and closer to our married kids.

5. What is something you find annoying when dining in a restaurant?

People talking too loudly.  "Inside voices" --some folks don't have them. 
I also don't like to dine with people who are really picky about their food.  

6. Daffodil yellow, sunset orange, spring green, or sky blue...your favorite color this time of year?

Daffodil yellow.

7. If you were going to take a holiday all by yourself, where would you go?

I wouldn't want to do that,  but I'd choose a beach cottage not far from mountains and plenty of shopping

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of claustrophobia, please pray for me if you're the praying kind.  Tomorrow night I have an MRI scheduled for the weird hour of 10 pm.  It's to rule out a rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder.  I have this fear of what comes with results too: surgery (fear of losing more memory cells due to anaesthesia) , pain during recovery and physical therapy, but a greater fear of the permanent limited mobility in this major joint. So it must be done. Thanks in advance.  

Boom! I wrote that in 15 minutes and now I have to spell check  and publish. Have a great Wednesday, HP peeps! No editing for me, so I apologize in advance to fellow grammar police.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pickled Herring with my Cheerios in the Hodgepodge

1. It's still May, right? When were you last in the middle of something that might be described as mayhem?

I looked up the word mayhem and realized I've been hearing and using it wrongly . I always thought it meant chaos, madness, bedlam.  But mayhem is an act of violence intended to destroy someone or something.

Yowsa.  I'm glad I can't think of anything except demolition of our master bathroom.  And as anyone doing a construction project knows, the areas around said project can turn to chaos, madness bedlam.  Maybe I'll just start calling our master bedroom our master bedlam.

2. When did you last feel dismayed?

Dismay-- (again, looked it up for clarity).  It means to cause (someone) to feel consternation and distress.   I have been dismayed periodically for the past two months that my daughter has been dismayed over her job. 
She has been sick from stress and has decided to quit her teaching job at the end of this school year.  
3. What's a food combination you like, but other people may find strange?

I like green olives as a topping for Rocky Road ice cream.  (Just kidding. Did you just throw up in your mouth?)  How about ketchup on my pancakes?  Nope, just kidding about that, too. 
Onions on my bran flakes?  Ha. You see a pattern here? 

4. "It is never too late to be what you might have been." Do you think that's true? Why or why not?

Sounds poetic but I have to disagree. Sometimes it's too late.  Sadly, the most obvious explanation is death before getting to be what you might have been.  Sometimes it's too late because the opportunity was once-in-a-lifetime (someone who proposed to you and you said no, then he married someone else? Guess what? You might have been his wife, but now?)  Or sometimes age, health, and other factors make it too late to your being the athlete you might have been.

I'm realistic enough not to believe a similar slogan: You can achieve anything you put your mind to .   I'm pretty sure that putting my mind to bearing another child would be an exercise in futility.  And being a size 6 or 8 again unless I put my mind to starving myself isn't going to happen.

5. US News and World Report listed the best historic destinations in the US as follows-Washington D.C, Philadelphia PA, Williamsburg VA, Charleston SC, Boston MA, Richmnd VA, Savannah, GA, Santa Fe NM, Yellowstone, San Antonio TX, San Francisco CA, New Orleans LA, and Charlottesville VA.

Of those listed how many have you seen in person? Which two sites on the list would you most like to see in person?

I've seen 7 of those (DC, Philly, Wmsburg, Boston, Richmond, SA and San Fran).  I'd like to see Santa Fe and Savannah next.  My aunt has owned the Casa Pacifica Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe since 1985, but I've never been there. Shame on me.

6. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. If you had to participate in a single fitness activity for the next half hour, which activity would you choose?

Walking. I know, I'm boring, but it's the only thing that doesn't stress my knees or hurt my shoulder.

7. What did you like best about the city, town, or neighborhood where you grew up?

Grew up in? We moved around a lot, but I guess I grew up from 5th grade till high school graduation on a 3-acre farm in northern Maryland.  I liked the wide open spaces, big sky,
fresh country air, our horse, the Christian school I went to, the churches we attended (one Methodist, then later Baptist).

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

On Sunday I witnessed something disturbing and am still wondering if I did the right thing or if I should have gotten more involved. We were on our way to our oldest son's house for a Mother's Day cookout and had to stop at the grocery store. While my husband ran in (for 10-15 minutes) I stayed in the car with our youngest. 

He noticed a cute golden retriever in the back of the SUV parked beside us.  I noticed the windows were up and it was a warm day. (In the mid-80s.) The dog was panting but did not look distressed. I don't know how long he'd been there. Could've been a minute before we were. Could've been a half hour.  I thought I should call 911. My son thought that was overreacting, I waited a couple more minutes , then my husband came out. He checked the vehicle and indeed, all windows were up. I called 911 as he drove away telling me that cops probably wouldn't do anything.

The dispatcher took the description of the vehicle and said he'd send the nearest officer over.   Had I been alone, I think I would have stuck around for the cops to come. Or if the owner came out, I would have said something.  What would YOU have done in my situation?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Yesterday: A Very Happy Mother's Day, for a Change

Yesterday--Mother's Day--ranks as one of the three best Mother's Days ever, and I give God the thanks for that.

Most of my Mother's Days throughout the years have been, as my daughter's pastor put it yesterday, "complex"--

fraught with pain, guilt, loss, bitterness, anxiety, jealousy, and other things.

I say that to be perfectly honest that, while I thoroughly enjoyed my day yesterday and am pleased with my children and proud to be their mom, I completely understand the woman who feels like a failure--

with toddlers and teens alike,

who has skipped church on Mother's Day because she has lost babies and all she could do was cry through the whole service,

who has made excuses not to be with her own mother because of tension in the relationship,

who has felt too guilty about her mistakes made in anger or out of fear that she doesn't want to be lumped into the category of deserving of praise.

I've been the Christian mom who has felt that way, done those things. I've been the one who wouldn't accept Christ's forgiveness even when He said, "I  will remember them no more."

But yesterday was different.  Yesterday showed me that I'm not that same woman, not that guilt-ridden, self-loathing mother, bitter daughter who used to dread Mother's Day.

I'm not the woman who stayed home to avoid pregnant moms or little babies because she simultaneously grieved for her own babies in heaven and felt as if God wasn't hearing her prayers for just one more baby of her own.

Yesterday I was the changed woman who understood God's love in a deeper way than she's ever felt as a mother.

I was the mother who was invited to church by her daughter, and who went eagerly, and appreciated the pastor's tenderness in his message. He talked about the woman that Jesus saw in the funeral procession on the way to bury her son.

I said  a prayer for my friend, Sandy, whose 26 year old died on May 11, 2006.  I'm grateful that she is not bitter toward God.  I am beyond thrilled that He gave her twin grandbabies right before Mother's Day this year.

Yesterday I was the daughter who looked forward to seeing her mother and didn't hold anything against her. The daughter who told her mom to watch out for the dip in the driveway and held her chair steady while she sat down. I was the daughter who filled an entire card with sincere thanks to her for all she has done for me, for us.  I was the daughter who couldn't wait till Mother's Day to give her mom some flowers, so delivered them in secret to her doorstep.

Yesterday I got to see three generations of our family together. 
My parents are the last living grandparents that 
my children and their spouses have.
Yesterday I was the mother who got to sit back and relax while her son grilled the meat, while her daughter-in-law did all the cleaning and orchestrated the who-brings-what.

Yesterday I was the older sister who received a  gorgeous FTD bouquet sent from her childless-by-choice  younger sister who always has high praises for me. Too high.

 Yesterday I was the older sister who got to play with her baby sister's baby girl to my heart's content.  This was a first Mother's Day for that sister. Aren't they precious together?

Yesterday I got to watch my daughter walk her little cousin around and get the backache I used to get when  I walked my daughter around like this.

The girls in this family seem to be loaded with maternal mania.
That's very attractive to their mates and wannabe mate.

Yesterday I was the younger sister who got a call from her older sister wishing her Happy Mother's Day.  Wishing we could all be together but it's kind of a 3-day drive or an all-day flight.

Yesterday I was the not the only one who wondered if this was a 4th of July party instead of a Mother's Day party.

There was a lot of red-white-and-blue happening. And, for the record, the man in blue stripes says he was just scratching his nose.

Yesterday I was Momma Z,  who got a sweet card from the big man in red in that second corn hole photo. The man who has only been in our lives for a couple of months but fits in oh-so-easily.  The man who loves landscaping so much that he has offered to redo ours out front next weekend, and suggested purple and yellow as a theme. How did he know I love that combo?

Yesterday I was the mother-in-law who got a big chuckle out of one her smallest gifts--a tub of cotton candy.  If you have been reading along here for a while, you'll remember the prank  where They Got Me Good.

Yesterday I was the wife who snuggled up to her husband, when the lights were out at night, telling him we make good babies and thanked him for being such a good dad.  He nodded and said he would be going back to the oldest son's house the next day because the son is desperate for (free) help with drywalling their the basement.

This mom is very grateful for the help she's had in raising good men and a good woman. What a pleasant thing to know, day in and day out, that our efforts have not been in vain.

And because of yesterday's pleasant, deep-down, thank-you-God moments, my memories of it will forever be a highlight.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Redoing Our Master Bathroom

I thought I had taken a before picture of the whole bathroom, but if I did, I can't find it. Suffice it to say it's was a 9x5 room stuck in the 90's.   Faux finish painting. Wallpaper border at chair rail height. 

Then, cosmetics aside, the bathroom developed a leak one day that wouldn't quit. 
It necessitated the remodel. 

My husband has been THE MAN IN COMMAND of this redo, and I'm so proud of him.  He started with the plumbing in the shower.   He learned that the plastic pipes really do hold better than soldering sometimes.

He removed wallpaper.

 He took out our ugly, stained seashell sink.

And the hideous mirror.

He tore out walls, vanity, and toilet.

He supervised our son who could hardly wait to begin demolition.  Boys just love to destroy stuff.
I have to admit, it always makes my heart swell when I see my husband teaching his sons some practical skills. 

He scraped and sanded that old faux finish. It took hours! He sanded till he was ready to faux up.
I wanted to help but it hurts my shoulder (the one that needs surgery or PT).

I taped paint samples to the wall, so that's something. Basically I was a Home Depot go-fer and design coordinator.  Not that I think anyone is impressed by the latter title except for me.

I photographed his hands because I love them.

This part made me nervous...

He put up cement board...

 and removed trim in his cute, fuzzy brown slippers. I asked him if they were certified handyman footwear.  (He ignored me.)

He recruited our oldest son who has the youthful strength to move things like vanities and drywall.  We were so grateful for his help.  (Our second son helped on a different day, but I didn't get a shot.)

 He found floor and wall tiles and I found accent tile. We made our choice in about 15 minutes. That was so easy and I really like Home Depot dates that go so smoothly.

That's Part One.

The tile is all now completely installed (for which he had help from a tile specialist) but not grouted yet.  I'll write another post when the second phase of the bathroom is finished.

I can't express how thankful I am for my husband's hard work. I keep telling him "handy is sexy" and he keeps giving me that smirk that says, "Oh, puh-lease."  But I think a little flirting is great for morale when you're covered in sawdust.  It's the least I can do.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Simon Says "Let's Hodgepodge Again"

1. Share something you appreciate (or something you appreciated as you were growing up) about your mother.

Oh, so many things I appreciate about my mother.  She gave up her ambition to become a nurse in order to be a stay-at-home mom , which made her always available to me and she gave her best energies to raising her children.  She taught me to read and write. She encouraged academics and music. She led (and still leads) Bible studies. She cares for the needy. She has a great sense of humor. She's a good listener. She taught me to enjoy cooking and how to set a pretty table. On and on I could go.

2.  A quote most commonly ascribed to Plato reads "Necessity is the mother of invention." When did this last play out in your own experience?

Somehow I lost the mop pad that came with the Shark steam mop, so I rigged a different pad using a rubber band on each end.  Problem solved (but not the mystery of where that darn bona fide Shark pad went).

3. Share one of the earliest memories you have from childhood.

I remember when my foster brother ran through our glass front door and bloodied himself from head to toe.   It was all because he wanted to get on the bike that they had to share.  His brother had gotten off the bike to come in for a minute. I remember the sound of all that shattering glass (in the days before tempered glass). The thousands of shards on the floor and what seemed like a hundred on his arms and legs.  My mom gingerly picking the glass from his skin. Him shrieking and crying in agony.

4. When did you last 'hit the mother lode'? What was it?

I hit the mother lode of warm fuzzy feelings when I saw this post and picture by my daughter on Facebook:
My mom has seriously been my shoulder to cry on, ear to talk off, and biggest encourager in my life lately... Not sure I could be going through life as well right now without her love and support. Love you, Mom'  

5. What is/was your favorite dish mom made? Do you make that dish for your family/friends now that you're all grown up?

 Breakfast--Jiffy biscuits. She would use an upsidedown glass to cut circles in the dough.
Lunch: grilled cheese (white bread, Velveeta, low heat, lots of patience)  and Campbell's tomato soup.
It was the 70's, people. Wonder Bread all the way, baby! And sodium? We didn't read labels back then.
Dinner: beef stroganoff.   I have not made Jiffy biscuits nor the stroganoff for a very long time.

 But I do make a grilled cheese about once a month (whole wheat, real cheese, medium heat, very little patience).  It takes Velveeta and patience to do it Mama's ay.   I fix Campbell's tomato soup with it when I get a hankering (maybe 3 times a year).

6. Mother May I? was at one time a popular children's game. It required no equipment or parts to play. What was your favorite childhood game where you could just turn up and play-no gear needed?

I still play "Mother, May I? " with the lunch bunch kids every week when I go to my daughter's classroom.  And I play Simon Says with the little girl I tutor (but I do it to stretch my stiff joints).

My favorite no-gear game?  I loved hide-and-go seek. I was a really, really good hider.   I also liked the game called 7-Up when we had indoor recess.

7. Which TV mom (past or present) is your favorite, and why?

Olivia Walton.  She had the size family I dreamed of having until I actually started planning for a real family!  She was thoughtful, compassionate, wise, hard-working. She could get feisty and hold her own.  She was a woman of deep faith. Michael Learned was her real name. Unlike so many other TV moms, she commanded respect and was not just one-dimensional, not a whiner, not a ditz.  Thinking about her now, she bore a striking resemblance to my husband's mother. 

Michael Learned:

My late mother-in-law

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

A bit of bragging here on my son. He told me that he'd be playing in the handbell choir performance at school last Friday night. But he did not tell me that he was playing three of them. He's a natural when it comes to music, and the director gave only him that many to play. He did a wonderful job. They gave him a special round of applause, which I'm sure went to his head!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

My A to Z Reflection: I Didn't Enjoy it This Year

I'll make this brief.  I did not thoroughly enjoy this year's A to Z Challenge. 
The main reason was it was a lot of work with very few visitors stopping by . 
I was hoping that joining a group of 2000+ bloggers would mean I might see--maybe--10 new faces a week.  
But on the contrary, it ended up being very few--and I mean zero to 7 total new commenters total, and
even those were not repeat visitors. The saying "small fish in a big pond" seems apropos. 
I visited others' sites and, for the most part, they visited in return, but there seems to be no lasting effect.  

I don't regret my theme one bit. But truth told, I have my daddy's journal in hand and so it's preserved in its entirety. 

What I do regret is not listening to the voice of wisdom in March, the voice that asked these rhetorical questions: 
"Do you really want to blog every day just because you like a challenge? Just because you've done it in years past? Just because you "failed" last year by dropping out at the letter T?" 
Bad idea to reject wisdom.

It's doubtful I'll join the club again next year.  With my blogging time budget, I'd rather 
post at my pace, journaling my everyday life more, toss in more meaningful photos. 
But real life meant a remodel going on here, a part-time job, a volunteer job, plus all the 
time it takes to be a mom and home manager. 

Thank you to those who did stop by--new and "old" alike. I appreciate it very much. It makes me feel like I'm not talking to the wind.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Z is for Zoanna Marie

I had just finished the introduction to this post last night at around 10:00 when we lost power. It wasn't supposed to come back on for three more hours, and there was no way I was staying up just to make sure I posted on April 30th.

Unlike most other bloggers, it just so happens that my first name starts with  Z.  And it just so happens that my theme, "Daddy's words," includes a poem he wrote for my birthday in 2001.     If I remember correctly, he had stumbled upon the word pusillanimous, and was itching to use it.

  1. showing a lack of courage or determination; timid.

He wanted to describe me as the exact opposite of pusillanimous. At least, in most cases he's right about that.  Or else he sees me as braver than I see myself.

          Zoanna Marie

From young she was social, made friends in an instant
And found pleasure from chatting with all;
Yet her closet friends, she'll say in an instant,
Are her Lord and that fellow named Paul.

She taught her kids to spell and read,
And compete in sports with the best;
Whether soccer or Scrabble, tennis or chess,
She urged them to use their God-given zest.

Now I'd like to tell you he never knew mischief--
Never darted through graveyard on horseback;
Never mangled a bush jumping off neighbor's porch,
Or got grounded for giving us flack.

But then any is hurting she'll comfort with touch
And pray aloud that God may heal.
"Will I die?" asked an injured child.
"No," said Zo. "God will make you wholly well."

She defends our language, that language called English--
On her using it well we are unanimous.
And on matters of values she'll give her views--
None dare say she is pusillanimous.

Another birthday is now in her path--
She can't dodge it, deny it, or bust its chops.
She just takes it in stride, and seems not to mind it--
To all of her kin she is tops.

And that, my fellow A to Z participants and others, marks the end of this challenge. I'm zapped of energy. I've got zero, zilch, nada left to give after 26 letters. Congratulations to all who stuck it out.
We deserve a medal, or a ribbon, or chocolate. Something!