Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hodgepodging Summer's End

Birthday Boy
Little grandson, looking slightly lost
at his birthday party on Sunday afternoon.
His parents put on a spectacular party.

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1. It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over')
I rarely waffle. And mostly on things like: Should I use a filter on this photo or not? or One crutch or two?

2. It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you? I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included-

It seems to me that the school year beginning in August is responsible for rushing us into fall. I don't like seeing Christmas decorations and goods in the stores so far ahead of the holiday, or Valentines rushed onto store shelves the day after the Christmas sales. The only season that should be rushed is winter, if we could somehow confine it to three months instead of five.

As for the second part of the question, I don't like S'mores, I'll read a book at home on the porch, I won't be attending the state fair, I'd rather eat something bad for me that I've made myself, and actually I see that none of the others apply to me this year either. I'm not doing too well, am I. I think I'm starting to sound like a cranky introvert. Oh, that's right...

make s'mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close?
So I won't be doing any of those things, but I will soon be tracking my husband and son on their England getaway. That's exciting even to me, who will not be going along, but will be here with my granddaughter - a real treat for me. We'll have a week of baking, photo excursions, soapmaking, reading, journaling, etc..
I'm looking forward to her visit!

3. Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?

Clouds and blue summer skies. If you're following me on Instagram, you'll have noticed that I can't seem to stop posting photos of the clouds I've been seeing from our front porch. They look a lot better in real life and on Instagram. And yes, some of these should look familiar. I hope to be getting out and about to get new photos - soon.

4. Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying 'We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.' Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else? 
Oh, I think that's totally true!  Trying not to do that is something I work on and pray about almost every day. I hate a self-righteous attitude from anyone, especially myself. 

5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate. 
This is a really tough question. I think I'm good in a crisis, but I suspect we all are when the responsibility is ours alone. In the case of an accident, if someone else competent and trained is there who wants to take charge, I would definitely prefer to take orders. The example I can think of is if I came upon a farmer with their arm caught in the corn picker (doesn't happen often anymore, thank goodness.) But think about it. Isn't that a horrid situation??! I realize that accidents happen all the time, but at least we now have cell phones to call for help if we're first on the scene. Shudder.

6. What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?
Salad. Lots of salad, which means a combination of lettuces or cabbabbages and tomatoes, peppers, any other fresh garden vegetables, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, shredded Dubliner cheese, and a drizzle of dressing. I'll make it year around. A couple nights ago I made chicken strips and hot apricot/mustard dip. Whoa, was that good!  Check out this OLD blog post with the recipe.

August 2015 garden collage
This year we have tomatoes and peppers and peas - That's all.

7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?

I've heard that people find coloring to be relaxing. I can't imagine it being relaxing to me, unless I were coloring with one of the grands. I think I'd prefer to try watercolor or fancy types of lettering (from someone whose penmanship is barely legible these days, but then I do suffer from years of typing.)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 Littlest granddaughter on top of 'The Big Hill,'
aka the top of our alfalfa field.
Do you think she's watched The Sound of Music  ?


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hodgepodging Various and Sundry

Bright-eyed baby robins

Baby robins, must be mama's second batch, were found by Mr. C. on a rung of one of the ladders leaning against the wall of the work shop. We thought it would be another week or so before they flew the nest, but they were all gone this morning. Nest is still intact, so I don't think there was foul play involved.

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Correction to last week's Hodgepodge: I forgot to include the 'Never Any' roasted turkey from Aldi in that favorite sandwich recipe. It's a pretty important ingredient.

1. I read here four creative activities to try this month. They were-calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance or learn a new type of dance, and letter writing. Which activity on the list appeals to you most? Will you add it to your August? 

I went through a calligraphy phase years ago, I've kind of written my own cookbook (several ring bound cards of my favorite recipes) which I gave to my kids, I won't be adding any kind of dance to my August, and I'm not sure what is meant here by letter writing. If you mean actually hand writing a letter, I don't know that anyone would prefer receiving in the mail something they  have to struggle to decipher over an email which has a very legible font. I could start sending cards with a short message in my own hand, I suppose. But anything longer would tax one's patience in the reading of it.

Cherry tomatoes coming on fast

2. Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, 'To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.' Agree or disagree? Explain. 

More importantly is taking time to examine those wants. Am I craving love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and mercy -  or do I think I can't possibly live without a new pair of jeans or a piece of pottery?  I could probably do without the next book I want, but then I was given two Amazon gift cards for my birthday, so... But overindulgence is never good, and material things are never what brings lasting happiness.

Should I keep the gift cards or give them away? Hmmm. Please don't ask for a follow-up on that.

Our barn and silo, needing some serious TLC

3. August 17th is National Thriftshop Day...are you a 'thrifter'? If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds. 

I'm not a thrifter, in that I don't get out and about to garage sales or thrift stores on a regular basis, but probably one of my best finds has been the several copies of Richard Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels that I've managed to collect (and give away all but one) over the years.

 Our beloved old snowplow, waiting for winter
I'm afraid it won't have long to wait.

4.  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1= almost none and 10=loads) how would you rate your sense of wanderlust? What kicks your wanderlust into high gear? 

Wanderlust?  Probably a 10.  There are so many places I'd like to go: England, Italy, Montana, Colorado, Montreal, Quebec, San Diego, Spain, Normandy, Provence. Just thinking about it is fun. Planning a trip is one of my favorite things. I love getting all the accommodations arranged, tickets for transportation lined up, places to see, things to do... I love pouring over maps, Googling everything about a place, going over packing lists, etc. And all of that is before ever getting out the door!

What kicks it into high gear is a drop in airfare or the exchange rate being slightly more in our favor. Or seeing a photo of someplace I'd like to go.

5. Has life felt more like a marathon or sprint so far this month? How so?

A marathon or a sprint? More like a slog. I hadn't realized that when the two months of no weight bearing were over, it would still involve at least another month on crutches, then learning to  retrain knee, leg, and foot muscles that have been mis-trained for 2 and a half years. But I'm not whining. 

Okay, I am.

Grandson at our local totally Americana cafe

6. What do you need to get a jump on before fall officially arrives? 

I'm planning our mid-October Family Early Thanksgiving. Now that all the kids are living in two adjacent states, we can resume our tradition of early Thanksgiving. It makes so much more sense in Wisconsin to have Thanksgiving in the most beautiful part of the year, IMHO, when the weather is crisp and cool, the woods give us a magnificent display of color, bonfires are more appropriate to the weather, and snowstorms and icy roads aren't preventing anyone from being able to participate.

7. What's the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time? 

Normally speaking? That would be time spent in a used book store. But more recently, literally losing track of time, would be the other evening when I fell asleep watching a movie (now there's a rare event for you - just ask my kids) When I woke up, it was dark out (have you noticed how quickly we're losing daylight now?? We're spiraling down toward the shortest day of the year.) Anyway, it was also dark in the house, but I could hear Mr. C's  soft voice faintly mumbling off in the distance. I glanced at the clock. 2:45. I hobbled to the living room and there he was, sitting in the dark, talking on the phone. I asked him sweetly who on earth he was talking to at 2:45 in the morning. He laughed and informed me that it was 9:15 and that he had just finished the movie. Ok. So fine.That's what's deceptive this time of year if you take your cues from what you see out the window or on the hands of the clock. 9:15 PM and 2:45 AM look exactly the same. Well, they do.

 View of the front yard maple tree from the porch

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

The Great British Baking Show is on Wisconsin Public Television again. I was wondering who gets the job of cleaning up what Paul and Mary don't eat. I'd be happy to take on that job. Anyway, it led me to remembering the delicious fresh fruit tart I enjoyed at Cafe Latte in St. Paul, and after I had Googled that and printed out the recipe, I also somehow ended up with a recipe for hummingbird cake, which I'd never heard of before, but which I'm going to make soon. All the pecans sold me immediately on this idea. Oh. and cream cheese. And it's several layers. Doesn't that sound wonderful?!

Grandson and I made a batch of Florentines yesterday, after watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. They are so easy and SO good!

Our grandson at Sand Creek
I love this kid!!

All of the photos in this post were taken on my itty bitty mini droid smartphone. They look a lot better on Instagram, believe me. But for those who aren't on Instagram, I decided to post them here. They pretty small because they look really grainy if they're enlarged. I will be getting back to using my real camera soon.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hodgepodging the Family Reunion

 Our Entire Family
(Minus the Thirteen Who Didn't Make it)

Since we don't all get together at any of the major holidays, I created my own in August, an excuse we would have for getting together during summer vacation.  Hopefully, next August everyone will be here. I did suggest that they write it in Sharpie on their calendars. Here we are, having come from lunch at Brit's Pub in Minneapolis, getting our pic taken in front the huge windows of Orchestra Hall. My other crutch must be perfectly aligned with my daughter's left leg!

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1. Are you watching the Olympics? Your favorite summer Olympic event? I read recently a list of the most iconic Olympic moments in history...what stands out in your mind as a great moment from some past summer Olympic games?

I don't watch the summer Olympics at all, and minimally watch the winter Olympics. I like the downhill skiing, the ski jumping, and the luge. I have no interest at all in the summer Olympics.

 My favorite summer sport: The Family Hayride

2. Have you ever been to Rio? How about the place that started it all-Greece? Have you ever been to any of the Olympic Games in person? Is that something you'd like to do? Have you ever met an Olympian in person?

'No' to all of the above except for...

 My Favorite Olympian - Mr. C.
Who has been SO good to me, taking care of me, taking care of company, taking care of EVERYthing since I'm still unable (and not supposed) to walk without crutches. Hopefully, this too shall pass, for I should be putting full body weight on that right leg by the end of August. But I hope that Mr. C. won't stop being such a kind and nurturing person. Stay tuned for an update on that. ;-)

3. The ball's in their court (tennis), cross the finish line (track and field), on target (archery), make a splash (diving), on a roll (gymnastics), out of one's depth (swimming)...which Olympic-related idiom best applies to your life right now? Explain.

 Out of my depth

The ball IS in my court. I'm doing everything the doctor said to do, being the great rule-follower than I am; I will cross the finish line. I'm definitely on target at this point, I won't be making a splash anytime soon, I'm on a roll for watching SkyNews, Vera, and George Gently far too much, and I'm totally out of my depth when it comes to anything Olympic Games related.

4. What have you earned a 'gold medal' in recently?

This one is easy: enjoying the grandkids being here. We had the entire weekend together, which was wonderful fun for me. They're the sweetest. xoxo

Elton John and his admirers
at Brit's Pub

5. What is it (or who is it) that motivates you to eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be healthy?

I would say that the greatest factor is wanting to avoid having to be on medications of any kind. And maybe because my parents were a pretty good example. I also feel so much better when I eat right, that it's not worth it to indulge in junk food. I wouldn't say that Brit's fish and chips is exactly health food, but it's only an occasional blip on the food radar. I am looking forward to being able to exercise, but really just gardening, walking and hiking, and work. Did I say work? Yes, actually. I hate artificial exercise. I do think that as a child of God I have a responsibility for keeping my body as healthy as possible. I'm glad that includes dark chocolate, almonds, and an occasional fish and chips. It does, right?

 image from somewhere on the net
It's this kind of lettuce I use for the following sandwich
Bibb lettuce maybe?

A really good sandwich I've been enjoying for recent lunches is: 
1 slice Coborn's Gluten Free Bakery: Ancient Grains Bread
   (unlike other GF breads, this is soft and thick and doesn't fall apart)
Thick layer of GF hummus
Pepper cheese slices
Huge leaf of lettuce on top, instead of that second slice of bread.

...and sweet granddaughter

6. Are you young at heart or an old soul? Explain.

In some ways, I do fit the description of an old soul. Then again, I hope that I'm young at heart, for that's the only part of me that IS young (except for the brand new hip joint.) I gave up on coloring my hair, except for the occasional low-lighting (which is very overdue, as you can tell ), because otherwise I'd have young-looking hair on a headful of wrinkles. Who wants that??! And looking at the photo above, I see that I have my mom's eyes and my dad's nose. They say your nose never stops growing. I just had another birthday this past weekend (the excuse for the reunion), so this kinda scares me. I mean, look where we already are!

7. It's National S'mores Day (August 10th)...are you a fan? Will you celebrate with a s'more today?

The only thing I like about S'mores is the campfire. S'mores are way too sweet for me. I'll be happy with a piece of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds.

This photo sent to me by John, their dad.
It's at our house, from the past weekend, 
where the grandkids found Tuppence sleeping on our bed.
They love that cat!!

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

In spending time with the family, I am reminded of what a blessing from the Lord each one is. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday, and I hope that very soon I will be able to start blogging more often. Thanks for all your kind comments, my dear blogging friends. I totally do not deserve them, but appreciate every single one!

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