Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Dog Days of Hodgepodge

Well, I have returned safe and sound from our whirlwind trip to Ohio.
It was as hot and muggy as it was down surprise there.
The weekend was crazy fun, running from hither and thither, 
seeing the faces of nieces and nephews I hadn't seen since 2010 at Mom's funeral,
and loving on my siblings, minus one.

We were able to Face Time my brother, Bob, who was. as expected, unable to be there.
One sister took her phone around to every person there, allowing him to talk to (and see) them.
We plan to get a group together soon to go visit him in South Carolina.
Meanwhile, back at the pool...

It's always fun to get a photo of all of the grands together.
They are all growing up so fast...Dacey and Dylan are young men already...
...they need to just slow it down a bit!
Oh makes this Mawmaw feel old.
The time went by way too fast as it always does and everyone had a great time!
So now, let's get on with the Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce asks the really hard questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here they are:

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

Wow. Joyce...that is pretty amazing that you have hosted 315 hodgepodges! So, I am writing this on Tuesday and yesterday at 3:15 I was watching Judge Judy, waiting for President Trump to speak. Although I do find Judge Judy rather entertaining, I only watch her occasionally. but I do make a point to watch Mr. President when I can. To tell you the truth, I have never thought much about my energy level at that time of the afternoon. On a normal workday, 3:15 just comes and goes and all I am really thinking is that 5:00 isn't far away. I'm not really tired...or maybe I am...tired of sitting at my desk and ready to get home for the evening.

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

My brain is still in vaca mode and this is a hard question. The first five are definitely out...I can't remember the last time I threw any one of those things or visa versa. Even though I can't be specific on dates and times, let me just say that life, in general, can throw us all a curveball at any 'ol time. Jesus has certainly caught His share of curveballs for me and for that I am thankful!

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

Only three?? Right now...this very minute?? Let's about the willpower, determination and the wherewithal...whatever you want to call lose the extra pounds that have been hanging around way too long. The older I get, the harder they are to lose and becoming more of a burden.

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong? 

Yes, I would say that I'm strong. I've made it through many dark places and I haven't lost hope because I know who holds tomorrow...."and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness." ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10, The Message 
5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

I do enjoy historical fiction and I remember being glued to the pages of East of Eden when I read it a while back. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

August begins next week and Walmart will be filled with Christmas stuff...just one aisle over from the Halloween costumes. Here we go again. 😕

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mid-July Hodgepodge

Hey, didn't we just do the Hodgepodge yesterday??

Wait a minute...maybe we least I DID...HAHA!
As I was in the process of getting this post ready on Tuesday,
I inadvertently hit the publish button and was shocked to see my friend Cindy had left a comment.
It wasn't at all finished and what was there was messy and didn't have the link-back on it yet.
I immediately went back as soon as her comment appeared in my email and unpublished it.
How embarrassing.........oh well.
So to all of the 14 other people who according my blogger stats viewed it, 
just forget what you saw.

Anyway, it is hard to believe that another week has passed by so quickly!
It's another hot, hot week here in the Tar Heel State.
We will be traveling to Ohio later this week for my family reunion on Saturday.
I do hope for cooler temps...a little break in the heat would be a good thing!
Unfortunately, it will be another reunion without my oldest brother, Bob.
Two years ago when he was preparing to come to our last reunion (from SC), he was hospitalized.
The past couple of years have been a roller coaster ride because of his health issues.

I edited him into the group photo of the seven of us taken that day.
We will certainly miss his presence...once again.
So let's get on to the matter at hand, today's Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce asks the questions on her blog wand we answer them on ours.
1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

Unfortunately, I don't have any real memories of my grandparents. Everyone, with the exception of my mother's father had already passed by the time I came along. I was a little over two years old when he died but there may be just tiny snippets in my memory bank of him. I seem to have a slight recollection of a moment when I was in the kitchen of his house and two images come to transferware dishes and a Ritz Cracker tin. I have no idea is this is a true memory but it is somehow related. A less cloudy scene that pops up when I think of him is of a little toddler (me) wondering around among a sea of legs at what was no doubt, his funeral.

This is my father's mother, Mina. She was born in 1885 and died in 1920 at the age of 35  from complications during childbirth. My dad was only nine years old.

This is my Grandpa Solomon Billhimer, my dad's father, who was born in 1882 and died the year I was born in 1954. He married his second wife, Martha and they had another whole family together.  Although I remember her when I was a girl, she did not have a close relationship with my dad or his children and I never really considered her as a grandmother figure in my life.

This is the only photo I could find of my mother's folks, James and Mary Ellen (Flora) Davis. Somewhere, I have the dates of their births and deaths but I do know she was about 65 when she died and it must have been 1956 or 57 when he passed. So as you can  see, my grandparents were really OLD.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

Like many little ones, I had a certain blanket that was my source of comfort. It was pink and started out with satin edging. Through the years, the satin edging rotted off and the blanket itself began to shred a little more with each washing. I still have a small piece of it somewhere among my memorabilia.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

YES! 😊 Seriously, if you were to look out any window in my home, there would be not much else but trees to see no matter what direction you were looking in...that is the literal answer. But there is a bigger picture because I know what's on the other side of those trees. Figuratively? I think I'm pretty good at seeing the forest.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite? (grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats) Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

Yes, I do like tart, sour candy. Among my favorites are Jolly Ranchers, Starburst, lemon drops and SweeTarts. I like most everything listed here although I wouldn't drink the buttermilk but I would cook or bake with it...and I've never tasted a kumquat but I might like it. My favorite sour dish would be sauerkraut cooked with some sort of pork or even kielbasa...with a side of mashed potatoes. Oh, and a tart cherry pie for dessert. 😋

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

I have no complaints thus far, only that it's too hot. This too shall pass.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

If you count the number of words in my previous answer, you would see there are FIFTEEN words...and it was totally a fluke. I could never do that again if I tried.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Here we are, nearly half way through July already.
When it gets into the 90's like it is now, I'm ready for fall.
Bring on the pumpkin pie, I say!
Okay, I know this is out of my hands but I would be happy with fall temps all year 'round.
One thing I do love about summer is the position of the setting sun in relation to my backyard.
Every evening the filtered sunlight coming through the woods creates the most gorgeous contrasts.
I was out puttering with my camera and these leaves just seemed to speak to me.

Do you hear them too?
So okay, enough of this...on to why we're here...
Joyce's Hodgepodge

...where........say it with me now...
she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

Just a couple of days ago, actually. The conversation came about after her little schnauzer, Amelia, has become determined the past few days to make our yard her yard. She was even coming up on our back deck, peering into the glass door...apparently her way of way saying "Can Oscar and Tasha come out to play?"  Of course my two went ballistic whenever they would see her. During the conversation I had with my back door neighbor I found that young little Miss Amelia has come into her "season" sooner than expected and she was looking for a boyfriend! The heck with Tasha, she wanted Oscar! Poor old Oscar has never been with a woman and he was beside himself. I guess we'll be going out the front door for the next couple of weeks. 😉

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why?

Hmm...I'm having flashbacks of that old Barbara Walters interview when she asked Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be. I have never likened myself to any kind of body of water. When I really think about it, I'd say that depending on what was going on at the time would dictate what my answer would be, including one that isn't on the list...a stagnant pond. If I'm being honest here, I have to admit to the times when I have felt like that stagnant pond...nothing really flowing in or flowing out...getting kind of "stinky" and self-absorbed. Getting "re-hydrated" by The Living Water is ,of course, the remedy for make it possible to go with the flow of life, like a river that never stops...even if it dumps you off at the falls. It's always a good thing to never let go of that "Life Preserver". Whoa...that was going out a little deeper than I had intended...

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?

I have never been to Delaware and the only significance July 13th has for me is that is the day when I gave birth to my baby boy, Adam, back in 1982. Adam will be 35 on Thursday. Gee...I feel old.

Happy Birthday, Adam  

And while we're I'm on the subject, as I was looking through photos of him. I came across this one I posted on his facebook page a couple of years ago on his birthday...

I will never forget that morning when he was somewhere around two...I heard something in the kitchen one morning when I was still in bed and when I went downstairs, there he sat... all up in his high chair, a half a box of Rice Krispies poured into the tray and he was eating them dry by the handful. Resourceful little guy, huh? I would have loved to have been able to see just how he managed this! I was glad I had my camera loaded and close by. Okay, enough doting on my baby boy...back to the rest of the question...

So probably the most popular nickname for North Carolina is "The Tar Heel State". The reason why is just too long to explain but you can click here if you want to know. I have not really given this a lot of thought but if I was in charge, I might give NC the name "The Best of Both Worlds", you have the mountains to the west, the sea to the east. What's not to love?

4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?

Many of ours are potlucks are on Sundays after church at lunchtime. A crock pot of meatballs, a mashed potato casserole and a razzleberry pie were the last items I brought and they are easy and delicious. The meatballs are bought frozen, thrown into the pot and nothing could be easier than dumping out a bottle of chili sauce and a jar of grape jelly onto them.  The casserole is also among the easiest of dishes...prepared instant mashed potatoes (I like the Idahoan Baby Reds, adding some sour cream) layered with shredded cheddar and then topped with more cheddar and French's onion rings. The pie is usually a Marie Callender's and although I can bake a pretty mean berry pie myself, I will not be doing so on a Saturday night before church the next day. EASY is the name of the game! :)

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

Now that's a tough one, especially in this day and time...but first and foremost, I'd say lean on God and ask for His wisdom. You'll need plenty of His grace and mercy as well. If you have a good mom, get her input and take some (a lot) of her advice and suggestions. And don't be afraid to ask her to babysit. That is all.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

It is 10:00 PM on Tuesday and I'm ready to hit the sack. 
So, that's it for another Hodgepodge...
Good night and God bless!
Didn't Red Skelton used to say that??

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Red, White and Blue Hodgepodge

Hello, and I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous July 4th holiday!
Jim was working his 5-day stretch so Aaron and Michelle had me over on Monday evening.

I had to share this photo of Aaron's very organized looks like a summer food wreath!
If you ever saw the inside of his shop, you'd also find it very organized as well...
...a place for everything and everything is in it's place.
He did not learn this skill from his mother, unfortunately. 😒
After we feasted on dogs, burgers, fresh corn and squash and red velvet cake,
the boys presented us with a little fireworks show.
My phone was just about out of juice and this is the only photo I got...oh well.

This is my sparkler...some people never grow up.
As I write this post, it's Tuesday afternoon and I have spent the day just hanging out with the dogs...
...this kind of dog too.
I rarely eat hot dogs but something happens around the 4th of July and I get a real hankering.
I wasn't going to fire the grill up for a couple of dogs so I did the next best thing. works great!
It was delicious and I plan to have another for supper. 😉

So anyway, let's get on to the Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.
Click on over and join us!
1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? The best fireworks display that I ever remember seeing was several years ago in Troy, OH when we were visiting my oldest sister. We sat out in her backyard and had the best seats ever since they live right across from where they were shooting them off. They went on and on and the grand finale went on for even was AWESOME! Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/do to set you off? I don't really have many...but OK....people driving like idiots would probably be close to the top of my list. And just let me say can mess with me but you better not mess with one of my kids, especially when they were young. Now I'm not saying that they didn't deserve getting messed with...if you get my drift. 😠Then there are those people who are still, after six months, not able to accept the fact that Donald Trump is our president and choose to spew hatred toward him on a daily basis. When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons? Hmmm....don't remember...that's a good thing, right?

2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Nope. Attended any? Yep, last night. What makes for a great outdoor party? Not too hot and no bugs.

3. What does freedom mean to you? It really means everything to me although I would be lying if I said I have never taken my freedom for granted. Oh, unintentionally, for sure, but it's easy to do when we don't have to live in constant fear and just settle into our little comfortable lives. More and more, I am being reminded on a regular basis of just how precious it is. Not only the freedom that I have of living in this country, but the freedom of being able to know and have a personal relationship to The One who sets every captive free.

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits? I've mentioned this before. For the life of me, I don't know why in the world some people think that perfect strangers want to hear their personal phone calls as they walk the aisles of the stores...or the bathroom stall next to you...talking away in voice loud enough to be heard 50 feet away! What is wrong with people??? OR... how about the person you are in a face-to-face conversation with constantly looking down at their phone?

5. What's your current summer anthem? "On the Road Again". We will be heading to Ohio in a couple of weeks for my family reunion. Later this summer, we plan to return to Tennessee to watch the kiddos for a week and hopefully will be able to sneak a beach weekend in before fall.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. If you like fresh lemonade but don't want all of the sugar, you might want to try this....oh, it's SO good! And it makes it taste more like fresh, old-time lemonade by cutting a slice of lemon and adding it to your glass. It only has 15 calories and 2 grams of sugar per 8 ounce glass. 

And while were on the subject of old-timey stuff, have you had any Cracker Jacks lately? I was in the Dollar Tree today and picked up a few boxes. I used to get SO excited when I was kid and Mom would come home from the store with some. Well, the Cracker Jacks might taste the same (although I'm sure the boxes were bigger and so were the kernels back in the day), but the so-called prizes inside leave A LOT to be desired...just look at this....a dumb little sticker of some kind. Where's the "diamond ring"?

So..... that does it for another Independence Day and another Hodgepodge.
Enjoy the rest of your week.😊

Monday, July 3, 2017

Stuff and Things

Well, I'm back!
I've been home nearly a week and haven't posted nary a thing.
I was counting on the Hodgepodge to get my two cents in for the week but well...
you hodgepodge...but that's okay.
So for the lack of coming up with something better,
I present to you some stuff and a few things.
When I last posted we were getting ready to visit the yungins in Tennessee.
And that we did.
What was predicted to be a rainy weekend turned out to be just gorgeous
with only a small shower or two on Friday.
This was also an occasion to celebrate Adam's and Jim's birthdays which are later this month.
For Adam's birthday, I had the idea to make a Waterlogue canvas print of their home.
I was able to sneak a photo off of his facebook page, "Waterlogue" it from my phone,
and then I had it made into a 16 x 24 canvas print.

I ordered it through Amazon and it was to be delivered to their home while we were there.
It actually came the day before we arrived and sure had them guessing where it came from!
Ordering something sight unseen online can be risky and I must admit I was a little nervous about it.

But they did and excellent job...Adam and Carrie were both thrilled with it!
They have some gorgeous purple cone flowers out front of their house
and you can almost always find butterflies or bees on them.

I had never seen a zebra swallowtail before and it was stunning!
Notice how it's wings are somewhat can see the color of the flowers through them.
(Please excuse the quality of these photos. The sun was so bright leaving a stark contrast... editing has left them a bit funky looking.)

Adam surprised Jim as well and gifted him (us) with a picnic table for his birthday.
He had it set up down by the creek (close to where we will be building) before we arrived.
Now that's the kind of gift I that I can enjoy too!

On Saturday we packed up a picnic lunch and spent a good part of the day across the road...
...talking over and planning the next steps that we will be taking...."X" marks the spot.

Here's a better look at it.
It's exciting and a little nerve wracking all at the same time.

I'm not sure what they were pointing at but I'm sure they did!
The kids had fun wading in the creek and catching crawdads.

It almost feels like you're in a different climate down by the creek...
so cool and refreshing and soothing to the soul.

Parker has learned to handle the 4-wheeler well and enjoys taking Olivia for rides in the meadow.

And no birthday of Jim's or Adam's is complete without the celebratory black raspberry pie.
Since their birthdays are in July, they usually share theirs.

There seems to be a running joke (a good joke) about my pies.
At one point in time, Adam started saying "This is the best pie you've ever made, Mom"...
...even when I know good and well when it's not...
...not enough sugar, the crust is too hard, the pie is too juicy, bottom crust is soggy, etc.
But I do have to say that this one was pretty darn good!
This has also become the favorite dessert of Parker and Olivia.
I see many more black raspberry pies in my future, as if their weren't already! :)
So back on the home front, a nearly ripe German Johnson awaited me when we returned.

This is the first time I had grown this kind of tomato.
They usually grow to be quite large...and they make for the best "mater sammiches" :)

And in other news, my trusty Jeep Liberty has a new home after 13 years.
I drove her off the showroom floor in 2004 and she has served me well.
But 230+ thousand miles is a lot of miles and it was time for something a bit newer.

It was actually a tad emotional for me to see her with a FOR SALE sign in her window.
But before I even had time to squeeze the first tear out, someone bought her up...
...ONE DAY was all it took sitting at the corner of Aaron's front yard!
I will miss her, maybe a little....BUT...

I really like my new-to-me Honda :)
I may be back tomorrow but if not,
have a safe and fun Independence Day!

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