Sunday, October 25, 2015

Car Accident

Our daughter, who is now living in Florida, was in a four-car crash on Friday afternoon.
She was on her way home from work, driving on a major highway.  Traffic was moving normally.

Suddenly the Ford F150 truck in front of her slammed on his brakes.  She slammed on hers. Why would the truck stop so fast?  That truck was so big, she couldn't see in front of him.

She saw a bike lying on the side of the road but didn't realize it was involved.

Sarah was the fourth vehicle, the last one in the wreck. When a policeman arrived, he took quite a while gathering facts for his report. But when he finally came to her window after having talked to the first three drivers,  he told her that normally he'd be giving her a ticket (and all the others).

Thankfully, he said that would not be the case here. The first car had bikes hooked onto a rack in back. One of the bikes came loose and flew off. Hence, the fault was the driver of Car #1.

Our daughter is fine, thank God! It could have been so much worse.  Her 2005 Santa Fe is totaled, and she is feeling pain in her knees (they hit the dash) and her clavicle (from the seatbelt) and her right side (for reasons she has no idea why).  No doubt she will feel pain eventually in many places because of the nature of tensing up and being jolted.

I'm thankful she wasn't rear ended.
I'm thankful she wasn't at fault.
I'm thankful that the truck in front of her only sustained minor damage.
I'm thankful that the truck was larger than hers, so it probably protected her from anything flying toward her.
I'm thankful that the bike was not being ridden.
I'm thankful that the family she's living with are compassionate, understanding Christians. The husband came to her aid, and the wife took her out that night for a girls' night to decompress.

I'm thankful that she called me first when it happened. Unfortunately, I was in the tub and couldn't hear the answering machine. But to know that a grown-up child still wants to call her mama when she's hurt is very comforting.

I'm thankful she then called her dad at work,  and that he is an insurance expert. It helps that he's been 31 years in the biz. His knowledge and easy-going manner are reassuring.

I'm thankful that Sarah's vehicle was paid off.  Naturally she is upset that she has to replace it. It only had 93.000 miles on it, and she was planning a cross-country trip in the spring.  She is also nervous about buying a new vehicle without her dad able to be with her. (Can you tell she's a daddy's girl?)
But it will be good for her to trust God in this new experience. I've told her it'll be okay. She can trust that God will lead her to a good, affordable new (to her) car.

My baby girl is fine. And I can exhale.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time Traveling Hodgepodge

Some of today's questions from  Joyce require that I put on my Thinking Cap.  Have you ever noticed how your Thinking Cap feels like it doesn't quite fit right on the mornings when your brain feels dwarfed by a short night's sleep? 

So here goes my attempt at forming somewhat thoughtful answers under said circumstances. 

1. October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?

I saw the movie but none of the sequels. Truth told, I probably would not have paid to see it but I was a big fan of  Michael J. Fox.   In the fall of 1985 I was falling in love with the man I'd spend my future with.  (That was a lousy sentence, but did you follow?)  

We were attending the same college, but he was working full-time and going to school part-time at night. I was going to school full-time during the day and working part-time at night. So we saw each other from about 10pm- 1 a.m on weeknights, and as much as possible on the weekends.

These days he is asleep by 10 pm and we have no plans to go back to our old pattern of starting our talks at that time and ending three hours later!

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past?

Nope, neither. I've thought about this concept several times over the years, and the older I get, the less it appeals to me to go either back or forward in time. Yes , I do wish I hadn't made some of the mistakes I made, and I wish I'd spent more time with certain loved ones. And at times I'd like to get a glimpse into the future to see what it holds in terms of future grandbabies and such, but it would most certainly also include the absence of my parents, and that is too sad for me to wish to travel forward in time. 

3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass).  Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good? 
My greatest fear is the increasing rate at which devices are dividing families from interacting face-to-face when they're in the same room or same vehicle or same restaurant. It's evident that young people are not learning the social skills of conversation and empathy that come with having "everything" in the literal palm of their hand. 

4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food?

I love Beef Burgundy which I make on a cold winter's night occasionally.  
My whole family loves it and it's great for company as well. My favorite fast food--don't judge--are McDonald's fries.  Hot and sprinkled with extra salt.

5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now? 

No time like the present.  As I've mentioned before, I have recently taken a second tutoring job, and my two students (10 year old  girl and  her 7 year old brother) are Chinese who have only been the US a little more than a year .  Two weeks ago the girl (I'll call her Liana) was reading a short book I took over called Zaccheus Meets Jesus. I thought she'd have trouble pronouncing "Zaccheus"  but she did okay with it.  It was the name "Jesus" that she hadn't heard!  She said "Jess-iss? Who is Jessiss?" 

My heart stood still and raced at the same time. "Jesus," I said, suddenly realizing that I had never had to explain to anyone who Jesus is!  "He's the Son of God," I said. And Liana then asked, "Who is God?"   

Then, two nights ago, I sat down to dinner with them (the mom and kids, as the dad is gone for weeks on end with his job). I prayed as I usually do (they have me eat with them every night I'm there). When I finished, Liana looked at me and said, "Miss Zoanna? Will you teach me how to praz?"   I said, "You mean pray?" She said, "Yes, that thing you do before you eat."

People, I cannot get my mind around the thought that this is 2015 in America and I'm new friends with people who have never heard the name of Jesus nor understand the concept of praying! I'm speechless. Which, if you know me, is a miracle in itself. What an incredible calling, honor, privilege, burden, and challenge I have right in front of me, to teach a child who God and Jesus are, and how to talk to Him in prayer!  

6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel?

When I was in third and fourth grade, we lived in Alden, KS (population maybe 200 then?). Uptown (which is what everyone called Main Street--which didn't even have a real name, nor was it paved--just sand) there was a general store where we could buy penny candy. It was attached to the craft store. Now the whole area is one big quilt shop.  While I love what it has become, I did wish I could buy some candy cigarettes and Bazooka gum the last time I was Uptown. 

7. Describe your comfort zone.

Home. PJ's. Feet up  in the recliner. Dog at my side. Hubby on the sofa watching TV. Son nearby. Coffee with creamer.  Quietness mixed with low voices and sometimes laughter. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I've shared enough thoughts for one Hodgepodge. I'll take a pass on the random, for your sake, dear reader. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Patience! Patients! in the Hodgepodge

Okay, folks who said they missed the wordier me last week.  You might just be eating your own words this week!

1. What's something that has recently 'tried your patience'?

Getting this quilt block right. I made a practice block since it was new to me, and I didn't want to mess up the better (and very limited) good fabric.  This block is called by a few different names , Snail's Trail being the most popular. I got a couple pieces out of order and it sure tried my patience to unsew not just once but twice. (I'm not always a quick study.)

2. Do you think patience comes to us naturally or is it something you have to learn as you grow? On a scale of 1-10 generally how patient are you? (1=I blow up at the drop of a hat and 10=I've got all the time in the world).

It is definitely NOT a natural trait, or else it would not be named with the fruit of the Spirit . Humans are, by nature, impatient.  Any hungry baby will prove that fact. Fruit is only produced with growth. That said, some personalities are more easy-going and some people are very good at hiding their feelings of impatience.

I've definitely grown in this area over the past several months, and that is by God's grace. I don't get rattled as easily, am slower to blow up, and feel genuinely as if this fruit is finally becoming more characteristic of me.  So, at this moment, I'd give myself a 7.  

3. Share about a time when you felt like you could fly. Or a time you wished you could fly. Or a time you felt like you were flying.

Yes, this is a G-rated blog, a family-friendly blog, but honestly the first thing I thought of was how my husband makes me feel on the horizontal. There, I said it.  Did I make anyone blush? (Kids, if you're reading this, I don't apologize.)  Okay, moving right along...

4. Your favorite song with the word fly in the title or lyrics, or your favorite song that relates to flying in some way?

I have a vivid memory of riding Big Wheels with my sisters and friends in the huge, wide-open basement of our apartment  complex when my dad was in seminary, circa 1972.  There must have been older kids around who were singing or playing the song, "I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane, " because it wasn't exactly something straight out of the Baptist hymnal. And I learned it very fast.

 "I'm leaving on a jet plane, 
don't know when I'll be back again.
Oh, babe, I hate to go..."  

I think right then and there is when my wanderlust started. The thought of being able to go away with no concrete plan of returning somehow buried itself in my inner core, because I often go there in my mind.  Off and away, see ya, I'm going exploring and I'd rather be spontaneous with flights.  That's never ever happened because I'm so daggone responsible-- and kind of being a wife, mom, and employee ties me to certain planning. 

5. What's in your fall picnic basket and where are we picnicking in your neck of the woods this time of year?

Royal Farms fried chicken, homemade mac and cheese in a thermos to keep it hot, some pistachios, some cut-up kiwi and a banana. And a slice of the cake I made a couple weeks ago,  Jewish Apple. I made it using this recipe, and snapped a photo. I also sprinkled the cake with powdered sugar without dirtying a sifter (which I don't even own).  Just put about 1/4 cup 10x sugar into a ziploc baggie, closed it, poked holes in it with a fork, and --voila!--a disposable sifter. 

I put it into a brown box for a friend who is battling cancer. Thought she could use a jazzy gift of the edible kind to go with the Paula Deen stew I made. 

6.  Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping...which skill would you most like to possess and how would you put that skill to use today?

Carpentry.  I would customize shelves and drawers for my sewing room, for starters. I'd put up window trim which I think  is  lacking .  I'd make crown moulding and have my tall men install it everywhere in the house. 

7. What's something you think is too expensive to justify buying lately?

Airfare to Florida . We wanted to go visit our girl over the Columbus Day weekend because my son had off school.  But at about $350 a pop, a three-day weekend was simply too short to justify that outlay of cash. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My hubby has a very serious  heart surgery coming up.  We haven't met with the surgeon yet, but he's one of the three best in the world and he's at Hopkins. One doctor there called him a "ticking time bomb," so I'd imagine after we meet with the surgeon on November 4th, we'll be scheduling surgery ASAP.  Without it, my beloved  man risks dying of a ruptured aorta, just like his mom and  one of his brothers did before Hopkins began a 20-year genetic study of this connective tissue disorder in the family.  (They said we are famous there. Great. Doesn't everyone want to be famous for a faulty gene?") 

His two older brothers have had this same surgery by the same surgeon we'll have, and the success rate overall is 98%.  Still, the very words "ticking time bomb" have made us ever mindful of the brevity of life. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Catch-up and Musta-Heard

I know. Corny title,  but what do you expect from me ?

It's been so long since I wrote a bona fide blog post, I've almost forgotten how. Sometimes I get so far behind in blogging about life around here, that I think, "Why bother? Some of that was so last month." Or the month before that.  My 50th birthday, for instance. I'm gonna say it's a current event till I'm 51.

The whole month of August I kind of celebrated and got spoiled rotten.  First by a gift card to a favorite store (which I mentioned once already) from a dear bloggy friend.  (Hi, Sally!) Love me a shopping trip to look forward to!

Steve hosted at their house the Sunday before my actual birthday;  they had a crab feast waiting for me! I didn't get pictures of that, though; by the time I thought of it, I was elbow-deep in Old Bay and juicy corn. My parents and sister and niece came later for dessert; they don't eat meat.  It was a beautiful August night, neither muggy nor buggy. A cool breeze and a table surrounded by my loves and a chair with a big "50" balloon tied to it." I felt pretty darn special.

We took the party inside for dessert.

     So much for decent lighting, but we did the best we could.
I had chosen cheesecake, so Sarah bought a sampler .  Chocolate raspberry for me--yum!

And another special evening my lovely daughter treated me to a lavish fondue dinner at The Melting Pot.   Can you say "loved.every.bite"? Filet mignon, tender chicken, tuna, vegetables, bread cubes--all delicious and all skewered and "fondued".  Sarah had asked me weeks in advance how I wanted to spend my birthday with her; she gave me choices, and I chose this one. The Melting Pot was a first for me, and she used a Groupon (she's the queen of frugality, but also is generous--an excellent combination, don't you think?). We went out the Saturday before my big day.

I just kept feeling like I wanted the evening to last forever. It's such a rarity to spend a
leisurely three hours with a grown-up daughter when she lives in another county .And now in another state.

Our flirtatious waiter snapped a couple pictures at my request.  He asked, "Besties?" And I said, "Yes! This is my daughter." He asked, "Whaaaat? You don't look old enough to be her mother."  Yeah, sucker .You want a big tip, don't you. Well, you're gonna get one if you keep those comments coming. Because I'm tipping. 

My daughter hates those same comments because she says , "See! Another person thinks we're about the same age, which means I must look OLD!"

I did get to spend my actual birthday with her on her very last day in Maryland. She was leaving for Florida that evening and had a lot of last-minute errands to run. So I ran them with her. 
The last stop was at my oldest son's house. The girls were all excited because they were going down to Florida for the few days  together. They truly love each other like sisters. 

I also got a big special lot of fat quarters (fabrics that measure 18x22 or so) from an online quilting forum I'm on. We have this birthday swap that is so much fun. I requested bright prints or black and white.

And flowers from a son and daughter-in-law, because it's just not a special occasion for me without some flowers. I have kind of made that known.
As evidenced by yet a second go-around of flowers. These are (were) the houseplants in an arrangement sent by my older sister. I didn't say I was good at keeping flowers alive, so I won't show what they look like now. 

The morning after my birthday, I found
my balloons like this in the kitchen. 
My mind feels like the Happy Birthday one, 
but my body feels like the other.

I was once a baby, right? Then I blinked and was 30-something like my
sister. Blinked again and I'm 50. 
I should just stop blinking .

Unfortunately, my parents left the party before I could get posed pictures with them. I was so upset about that. They weren't feeling well, but I didn't know that, and while we were taking pictures of the younger generation in the kitchen, my mom and dad slipped out. I failed to say. "We are going to take pictures of everyone in groups in the kitchen where the lighting is good." Oh well.  I tried not to let it ruin my birthday. You know, tried not to be a baby about it.  So I'll choose to remember that 99% of my birthday celebration was wonderful. And I will forever wish I had photos of my parents on that day.

I got this blurry one of my dad. I thought he looked happy.  I'm not sure why my son looked so stiff. He's normally pretty relaxed .All six and a half feet of him tend to sprawl on a couch.

Truly, I am one very blessed woman and have been for 50 years. In the next phase of my life, I am eagerly anticipating grandchildren. As of yet, no one has announced a pregnancy, but I pray and I wait patiently. In the meantime, I love on the littles and the not-so-littles in my everyday life, and pray for them all wherever they roam.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

It's a Great Hodgepodge, Charlie Brown

 Today being the 7th of October, I will limit my answers to 7 words. 
Think I can? 

1. It's October so let's get this out there first thing...have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon? How so?

Yes. Bought pumpkin coffee creamer and pie. 

2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible." Francois Duc De la Rochefoucauld  

What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

Reacting calmly to my teenager's "hot flashes."

3. The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has its own (click hereto see the list). Are you happy with yours? If you were in charge what would youdeclare your state's flower? If you're outside the U.S. what bloom would you like to see labeled as your country's national flower?

Love Maryland's Black-eyed Susan. Happy, hardy perennial. 

4. What have you lost interest in recently?

Gardening. I simply don't "dig it" anymore.

5. In your opinion, who's the best living musician?

Phil Keaggy. The  guitarist has phenomenal talent.

6. S'mores-love 'em or no? Ever make them indoors? Last time you sat around an outdoor fire? Are making s'mores and sitting round a fire pit on your autumn bucket list? Do you have an autumn bucket list?

Like. No. New Year's Eve, 2010. No.

7. Your favorite small town? Why?

Alden ,Kansas. Best part of childhood there.   

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Meet Manny, my son's mini Goldendoodle puppy.