Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's my Birthday and I'll Hodgepodge if I Want To

And not just ANY birthday, folks. This is my 50th! Yup, the big Five-O.  

The big celebration was on Sunday with my family, but I have plans with my daughter today.
This is also the day she moves to Florida.
So I'll cry if I want to. 

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

Order school uniforms for my son. He has grown a few inches and lost weight. I have no idea what his inseam is now.

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

I can't remember. (I'm 50; there's a lot I can't remember.) There is a street nearby call Whitt Road and I've always thought it'd be funny to live at the end of it .

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

Currently I'm working through some "deep end" stuff by choice.  It's hard; I hate confrontation, but in order for me to get closure on certain issues, I need to have certain conversations.

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

My kneejerk reaction would be "ever" and it would depend on the situation .If it's an ethical matter, then probably not. But there are occasions when "just get 'er done" (whatever works) to solve a problem is okay.  Sorry, my brain is in sleep mode so I can't substantiate this point with examples.
(I stayed up very late making a pillowcase for my daughter as a going-away present.)

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

Hearing a strange noise in the night

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

 Pass the dark chocolate, please, to end it.  Mussels aren't my thing, so being forced to eat them could put me into a bad mood.

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

Cleaning out the garage.  It's where things go to die. Sometimes literally.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

For my birthday I bought what I've been saving up my earnings to buy for well over a year: a Janome MC 8200 QC sewing machine.  It's the "cat's meow" with its 11 inch bed (the distance from needle to the body), its purring quietness, its automatic thread cutter button, its monogramming capabilities, and sew much more.   I am in love with it. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

3 R's and ZZ's Big Z in the Hodgepodge

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question  submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla! 

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?   

I first felt like a grown-up when my first baby was about three weeks old. I distinctly remember packing everything up to take him somewhere all by myself.   Diapers, wipes, toys, extra clothes, pacifier, wallet, keys. All check.

But as I begun to shut the front door behind me, I realized he was still in his baby seat on the couch! I gasped! It really hit me that he is totally dependent on me--another human being needs me in every little way of his life. 

What keeps me young now is having a teenager who keeps me current on the lingo and music of "kids." 

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

January of 2013. We had tried to get 200K miles out of my minivan, but it was starting to have one major problem after another--not the least of which was the driver's window that wouldn't roll down. (Think opening your door at every drive-thru. Ugh!) 

Research had already begun, so we knew what we wanted when the time came. Found one for a good price online, but it was hubby who went to the dealership after work to test drive the thing. The experience was not pleasant --it was about a 2--as the finance guy left early, and the salesman clearly didn't want to be there, and falling snow prevented a long test drive. They also tried to push the package (for an extra $2,000) where they offer free oil changes for life and manicures and yada yada. You can't sell us anything extra and you WILL NOT tell us the computer puts it on there automatically and you need a manager to take it off! 

But the vehicle (Hyundai Santa Fe) is paid for now and I've loved it since Day 1.  We'd buy another one, but never again from that dealer!

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

Corn on the cob--and it goes GREAT with Maryland steamed crabs . That's what we're having at my son's new house this Sunday to  celebrate my upcoming 50th birthday.  (Which is next Wednesday!)

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Quilting. It requires math, people.  However, the little doll quilt above is one I'm working on
that is about as close to math-less as you can get. This one's a birthday gift for my now 2-year-old niece. 

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

Stand and Deliver.

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Receive God's love.
Resist the devil (and he will flee from you).  James 4:7
Report to the doctors who are working together to diagnose my main problem.

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

I made two pound cakes the other night for feeding the homeless. It was much easier than I thought it'd be (except when I was halfway through and didn't have baking powder. I ran to my friend Bonnie's). But don't ask me why one cake turned out better than the other.  Same batter, same size loaf pan, same oven, same time. I also made blueberry topping and served it all with whipped cream. It was big hit.

I also made my own balsamic vinaigrette, then marinated  and grilled about 40 slices from this monstrous zucchini given me by Bonnie, along with the baking powder.  (Hi, Bonnie!) It fed 23 at the homeless meal! And they loved it. That's always music to my ears to hear "Can I get seconds?"

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My birthday celebration has begun with total strangers (well, not total, but people I've never met in real life).  
First i got a wonderful selection of fat quarters (fabric pieces that measure 18x22) from my online quilting group that does a birthday swap and some sweet cards along with them .

Then, to my great surprise, a birthday card and a gift card from one of my fellow Hodgepodgers who has become a friend. Hi, Sally from Cali!  You made my day, my week, my month and my year. (Sounds like the Friends theme song!) I was dancing a happy dance when I saw pulled her envelope out of my mailbox. Such thoughtfulness and love, I just had to share it with you! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Partial Kitchen Reveal; Vote for Curtain Fabric

We've been making a lot of decorating choices (and when I say "we" I mean me, because my hubby weighs in with his opinion, but leaves the final decision to me).

I thought I'd show my readers (all 3 of you) some recent choices in the kitchen.
Specifically, curtains that I want to make with new fabric. I'm on the hunt. Whatever I choose might also carry into the family room as it's one big open space.

A trip to JoAnn's gave me umpteen choices. I snapped several and sent them to my daughter as I shopped. She has good taste in decor.

Would you like to cast your vote?

First up: Neutrals.

 A.  Grey-green paisley

B.  Cities of the World

C.  Slim Botanical

D.  French floral

Oh, let me show you what the kitchen looks like, in part, in matters of color anyway. 

Brazilian Koa wood floors. 

Maple cabinets in Fox stain

                                              Granite with greys, creams, and copper in veining

Brushed nickel faucet, stainless steel sink

Now here are some choices for the prints with color: 

E.  Floral on black

F. Medallions on linen

                                                           G.  Foliage on dark sand

H. Coral on grey

I.  Bright fall 

J.  Bright spring

Pay no attention to the price tag. No way on earth would I spend sticker price 
for that fabric. These choices are just preliminary for the sake of 
color and pattern for my window treatments. (Just toppers as we need
the natural sunlight to flood that side of the house.) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Get Moving in the Hodgepodge


1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?

Last time we relocated was in 1999. We moved a half hour north to another county to be closer to my parents, my sister, and our church.  We moved ourselves.  We foresee putting our house on the market in the spring (after we fix it up even more and fall in love with it  all over again!) because we want to downsize to a house on one level on a level lot.  Best thing above moving to a new city or town (used to be) meeting new people.  I'm not so enamored of developing new relationships now (does that sound terrible?) but spending more time with the people I already call friends. The hardest thing is leaving the people you've come to love. Second hardest is going through all your  crappola and making 87, 298,234 decisions.  

2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.

I'll be vulnerable here. I've been struggling with depression lately and it takes nothing to move me to tears.  I've mainly been thinking I'm a loser of a mom ,and it's hard to convince me otherwise. The sadness is overwhelming at times--to an abnormal degree (I recognize AFTER the fact) so I'm going to see my doctor this week for an adjustment to my medication. I've been having other symptoms too--memory loss, stiff fingers, chronic headaches, eye twitching, higher BP. 

3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?

No rules. My hubby just doesn't like anything sticky on the steering wheel.  Last thing I consumed in my car was ice water.  And some Goetz's caramel creams. (I LOVE those things!)  

I don't have a go-to snack for long-distance trips, but my hubby HAS to have sunflower seeds. He nibbles and drives and programs the GPS and changes the music and gawks at scenery BEHIND us, while  simultaneously steering with one knee  ,in and out of traffic on mountainous highways under construction. 

Those sunflower seeds keep him "focused and relaxed ." 

4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

All I can think of "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys.

5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?

Not S-bucks. I've been boycotting that place for years, ever since the CEO told stockholders who don't agree with what the company supports to go elsewhere. He was referring primarily to the el-gee-bee-tee agenda. Why would anyone who doesn't support that in principal support it with money? I also know that S-bucks funds Planned Parenthood. Infanticide. That's beyond sickening. Heinous, repulsive, purely evil.  
I frequent different drive-thru windows to stimulate the economy  and quench my thirst. Sometimes I thirst for a milkshake.  

6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?

I can generally make decisions fairly quickly.  But I'm slowing down, and I don't like that. The most recent was on Saturday when I had to choose paint color for our little bathroom. I put about 15 swatches down on the floor and narrowed the field rather quickly (under pressure from hubby who was ready to go to Home Depot).  I walked into the bathroom ,out again, and then said, "I'm going back in to pick one. Let me see which one of these makes me sing."

My hubby and son piped up at the same time, "Okay, then we'll get the other one."    

(Like Rodney Dangerfield always said, "I get no respect.")   

7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?

It was when I went an hour and half away south of here to pick out granite a couple months ago.  I got there okay, but afterward was so hungry by 3:30 that I had to find somewhere to eat. The GPS was as helpful with directions as a two year-old.  I went round and round looking for something (not fast food, I wanted Mexican and needed to get off my feet). I never did find the one the GPS pointed me to. I had to get back on I-95 and then realized I needed both air in the tire and gas in the tank. I ended up getting some a pack of peanut-butter crackers at the 7-Eleven. Stressful, yes.  I do better without the GPS half the time.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm nervous about seeing my aunt tomorrow. I haven't seen her for 20 years. Not nervous about seeing her, but making lunch for her. She is such a phenomenal cook (and runs a bed & breakfast) so it feels a bit like being a contestant on Food Network.  But I want her to bless her and be as hospitable to me as she has been to me.  I've just kind of lost my cooking mojo and it takes a lot to motivate me these days. What's a girl to do? Pray for grace, that's what!

Daybook Entry, 8.11.15

The Simple Woman's Daybook is linked here.  A very good way to let out a smattering of thoughts with a bit of cohesion.

FOR Tuesday, August 11

Outside my window… raindrops linger on the sliding glass door from the deluge we just had. It came and went in five minutes. Now the sun is shining again and all the trees are vivid green .

I am thinking… about my upcoming 50th birthday on August 26th.  

 I am thankful…for my hubby's hard work on remodeling both the kitchen and the half-bath this summer. They are both about 98% finished. 
In the kitchen… I'm heating up some homemade tortellini and meatball soup that I froze a few weeks ago. It's smelling really good, considering it's now 4:00 pm and all I've eaten today was a banana at 9:30. 

I am wearing…  a mint green V-neck tee and some khaki shorts.  And bright tangerine nail polish. That's what you really wanted to know, right? What color are YOUR nails today? 

I am creating… a red and white sampler quilt. Without a pattern--hence without math and measurements already done for me. Haven't I mentioned a time or two or 208 that math and I don't get along so well? This quilt could take longer than usual. Ahem. 

I am reading… the Bible--trying to ready four chapters a day. Why? Because a couple weeks ago we had a young guy and his girlfriend here selling us some meat (not Capital Meats, but the guy used to work for them and this company is much better). We're suckers for young entrepreneurs or anyone who really works hard for their money. Anyway ,the guy (early 20s) asked my husband if he'd ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People. My husband said yes. The guy replied, "I've heard that if you read that book three times, it will change your life."   I said, "Oh, really?  The same is true of the Bible."  He then began talking about when he was saved and how he should get back to church and start reading the Bible again. In the moment that I responded that the Bible would change his life,  the Holy Spirit prompted me to read it again (cover to cover) which is about four chapters a day. I need my life to be changed again . 

I am looking forward to…  seeing my Aunt Linda, hopefully this evening or tomorrow while she is still in town. It's been 20 years.

Around the house… half clean, half warehouse from tools and extra boxes of flooring and stuff that had to be moved during the remodel  .  I'm about up to "here" with the disarray in the living and dining rooms, so I try to hang out in the kitchen and family rooms on the other side of the house. 

A few plans for the rest of the week… two doctor appointments, a visit with my aunt, a difficult talk with someone, planting some flowers, selling some fabric, giving some away ,serving a meal to the homeless at a nearby church.
A peek into my day.... purging my sewing room. This is about 20% of what I'm trying to unload at the moment. 

Happy August! I have 15 more days of being 49.  Seems just yesterday I was 49 days away from being 15 and it was much more thrilling.