A Tough Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What is something you'll never forget about the age you are right now?
Wow.  Joyce is starting out with a hard one!  Gosh, I have no idea.  I love the age I am now:  my kids are grown, and CH & I have the freedom to do some things by ourselves, and we're enjoying it!

2. What's a household chore you've never done? How have you managed that???
I can't think of anything.  I'm sure after I read everybody else's responses I'll hit my forehead!

3. Does nature shape our personalities more than nurture? Explain? 
I definitely think that your environment has an awful lot to do with shaping your personality. I've seen kids that come from awful environments have the drive and determination to make something of their lives, just like I've seen kids from similar environments sink further into that environment.  On the flip side, I've seen kids from wonderful environments have drive, just like I've seen kids from that environment think that the world owes them.  So, I think it's hard to say.  Who knows what the difference is?

4. Friday (February 28th) is 'Something on a Stick Day'...funny because Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens recently sent me an idea for a question relating to this topic. What's your favorite food eaten on a stick? 

5. Which of your five senses do you treasure most, and why?
There's just no break with the hard questions today!  When I first read this, I thought about sight, because I've worn glasses since 2nd grade (although I needed them in 1st grade) and I have horrible eyesight.  But then, I started thinking about hearing, because it's pretty crucial in my career.

6. What's the best music, theatre, or sporting venue you've been to? What made it great?
A few years ago, I was really into going to the local Semi-pro hockey games.  It wasn't the most glamorous and definitely not the fanciest venue, but what a great atmosphere!  There's no other place where yelling "You suck" is not only acceptable, but expected!  (Hope that doesn't offend anybody!)

7. It's the last week of the month...in five words or less bid adieu to your February.
One month closer to June!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Finally:  A good night's sleep!  It just took a killer headache, and I was out like a light before 8:00.  It was great...until 1:30, 2:00 a.m. when I woke up.  It took me a while to fall back to sleep, but I did it!  And, I think figured out the cause of the headache was a lack of caffeine.  I hadn't had any coffee since last Thursday.  I had some this morning (after feeling like the headache was coming back) and I felt great.
Last night's Bachelor episode was no where near the drama the previews made it out to 
be.  A tad bit disappointing.

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was just too short.  Isn't that the way most of them are?  You don't hear very many people saying, "Wow!  What a long weekend!  I sure am glad today's Monday and I can get back to work!"
Friday was very low-key.  CH called me on his way home and said he was feeling like some Captain D's.  When YS asked what we had for dinner, he asked if it was Lent already!  Nope, not yet.  But it's coming!
Saturday was another low key day.  A little laundry, a little Olympics, and the movie "Meatballs".  What a great movie!  Bill Murray just makes me laugh.  I wonder how many of his lines were true lines, or improvised.  And how did all of those actors keep from laughing at him all of the time?
Sunday, the flute choir had our first "gig" of the year.
We played during a service at our director's church.  Everybody was so incredibly nice and thanked us for coming and playing.  We had a pretty good performance.  The highlight was the potluck lunch after the service.  Those people know how to put on a good spread!
I got home, watched a little more Olympics, and then...the finale of "Downton Abbey".  Thank goodness this season didn't end with a tragedy!  The way it ended made me think that there's going to be quite a bit of love stories next season!  I even managed to stay up for the whole thing...I'm still having trouble getting to sleep.  I'd just like one night of laying down, falling asleep, and sleeping the whole night.  I'm beginning to think that's not ever going to happen again.
I managed to get MS' & YS' FAFSA done last night.  That's the last one for MS!  When I had to fill out the first one for OS, everybody was talking about how awful it was.  I haven't found it to be difficult, just a bit time consuming.  It's actually quite simple; they tell you where to find the numbers you have to put into the form.
Here's to everybody having an awesome week!  We're expecting some "winter weather" Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, so we may or may not have a full week of school...which would be 2nd full week since Christmas Break.

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

~  I had every intention of writing this post last night, but I was having trouble with my speech blog.  I had the bright idea to disable my right-click on that post, and couldn't remember how I had done it.  I must've played around with the Template HTML and didn't put it back like it was, because I was having some trouble with codes not turning into pictures.  (Does that even make any sense???)

~  I was having trouble with getting the code box under a button, too.  Fortunately, a friend has a daughter who works on blogs, so I shot her a request for some help.  It took her all of about 5 minutes.  At least I think that's all it took; she said it didn't take any time at all!  If you need some help, I highly recommend her.  You can find her here.

~  The First Grade was on a field trip this morning and one of my kids was absent, so I saw a total of 4 kids all day long.  I have 1 evaluation to do, and it's on a First Grader.  I did some planning and re-organized some, so it was a good day!

~  Zero Hero made an appearance today since it was the Kindergarten Classes 100th day of school.  He went in and talked about adding zeros to numbers.

~  Where has this warm weather come from?  They're calling for  "winter weather" on Wednesday, so I don't think Spring is here yet!

~  YS hasn't been around much; he's busy with school and working.  He's settling into school nicely; just wish he'd settle into taking care of his laundry!  I don't do it for him, but it's really aggravating when I try to do our laundry and his clothes have been in the washing machine for a couple of days.  Which means they have to be washed again before I can wash ours.  Gripe session over.

~  Is anybody else sad to see the Olympics end?  It seems like they just started.  I don't like that some of the athletes are saying some events were rigged; it is what it is.

~  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Hodgepodge of Olympic Proportion

Joyce has some excellent questions for us this week!  Join up by copying the questions into a new post, answer the questions, and don't forget to go back to Joyce's (click on the button above) and link up!

1. What's the biggest change since your childhood in the way people think or act?
I think people are a lot more liberal...or maybe just more outspoken.  

2. The Olympic Biathlon involves cross country skiing broken up with either two or four rounds of target shooting. Which part of that would stress you out more? Or would you love them both equally?
Cross country skiing.  Unless I kept missing the target; then it would be the shooting.

3. February is National Canned Food Month...what is your most often purchased canned food item?  What was in the last can you opened?
Cream of chicken or mushroom soup to add to recipes.  Cream of chicken soup was the last canned item I opened; I used it in Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops.

4. What river (anywhere in the world) would you most like to cruise?
The Danube. 

5. It's the middle of the night and you can't sleep...what do you do? Count sheep? Toss and turn? Watch television? Or do you get up and do something productive?
I say the Rosary.  Puts me to sleep every time!  My friend, Patty, told me that her MIL told her that when you say the Rosary and fall asleep, your Guardian Angel will finish it for you.

6. How important is keeping your cool?
I think it depends on the reason you're getting all worked up in the first place.  I'm a firm believer in cutting loose if the occasion warrants it!

7. I've got white stuff on the brain so why not run with it? White lie, wave the white flag, white knuckle it, white wash a situation, or white as a sheet...which phrase could most recently apply to your own life in some way?
Wave the white flag.  I'm learning to "Let go, Let God", which was the Small Town's German teacher's motto during out trip last summer.  I'm trying to realize that the boys are grown men; I was the best mother I knew how to be, so what they make of themselves is up to them.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.
After saying last week that I just wasn't into the Olympics this time, I was totally and completely engrossed in it over the weekend.  From Emily Scott's story, to Bode Miller, it is amazing at the trials some of the athletes went through to get to Sochi.  And, TJ Oshie's response when he was called a hero following the USA's win over Russia:
Photo: #Truth!
This boy's mama raised him right!

Weekend Wrap Up

 Friday started out with a 2 hour delay at school.  It turned out to be a really good call; I only encountered ice on the bridges.  I wonder why they don't use that delay more often?

Friday night, CH & I went to Subway.  It was really all we wanted, and we had the place to ourselves for most of the time we were in there.  After that, we watched "Last Vegas".  I just love Morgan Freeman!  If you haven't seen that movie, I'd recommend it.  It had us laughing almost all of the way through it.
Saturday was...well, Saturday.  I watched the Olympics and did a little laundry.  Very much a "down" day!  Saturday night ended with this little surprise:
That's just about all we got, but it was a fast accumulation, and it was all gone mid-morning on Sunday.  It was nice enough to take Laika & Pepper to the dog park:
There were a lot of dogs out that day.  I took Pepper into the small dog section for a little bit...until Laika started missing her and attempted to get in that section with her.  She almost had success when I opened the gate to let Pepper out.  She slipped in, but I was able to grab her collar and get her back out.  There's no doubt she would've had fun with the little dogs, but I don't think their owners would have appreciated it!
On Monday, CH & I took both of them to the park right next to us.  We take them over to a field and let them off their leash.  Pepper listens well enough to come when we call her; Laika has a training collar, so if she doesn't come, she gets a little flick.  She does really well, though; we CH hardly has to use it.  She listens real well to him.
While we were walking, we saw the remnants of the big snow:
Apparently the Small Town is too lazy to go back with a ladder to take the bows  & lights off of the top part of our Christmas Tree.  Maybe they're just going to leave them up until next year.  Who knows?
And now, one of my favorite spots in the park.  The "King and Queen's Chair" is in back of the fountain.  Good childhood memories!

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

~  After all of the snow we got, I thought for sure we'd be out of school today, but....no.  A 2 hour delay.  Maybe if we hadn't taken a whole day on Wednesday when nothing happened until that night, we'd be off.  Can't wait to see how many kids actually show up.

~  I like Fridays.  It's the day when I only have 1 group...I see a few kids individually that day, and I have time to plan, catch up on paperwork, and eval kids (if needed).

~  Has anybody seen the previews for "Resurrection"?  And "Mindgames"? They look interesting.  I'm ready for  "Suits", "Revenge", and "Scandal" to come back on.

~  I had planned to get some materials ready over the couple of snow days, but I didn't.  I guess I'll be doing some of that over the weekend.

~  When I took Laika out for a walk yesterday in the snow, we saw this in the park:
Oh, sweet memories of childhood!  Except we weren't allowed to go sledding on this hill; we had to go on the hill directly across from the house.  This hill is in the same park, just on the other side of our snow hill.

~And, now, since I'm from the South and this is what we do when it snows, I'm going to bore you with snow pictures!
The fountain in the park:

We also saw this in front of fountain:
Just in case you can't tell, it's a snow person with his legs crossed.  
My house in the snow:
Yes, I have my Christmas flags still up...don't judge!  I figured it has a snowman on it, and who can see the holly in his hat?  Yep, it works for January!
My sweet little girls (who peed on the porch before it was cleaned off...but it's concrete, so I wasn't too worried about it):
I'm fairly certain this will be Ally's (the schnauzer) last winter.  She'll be 15 in April.
Last (but certainly not least!), here's Laika showing off her new snow trick:
~  Because of the snow (and because our director lives about an hour away), we had flute choir a couple of hours earlier than usual, which means I got home right at suppertime.  Luckily, YS didn't have to work, so he fixed the dinner I had planned.

~  If you have a long weekend, make it a good one!

The Morning After

We got snow last night, y'all!  Or, I should say, "more snow"!

Last night:
 This morning:
Last night:
This morning:
It's so deep, Ally & Pepper won't get off of the porch...they're doing their business on the porch.  It's concrete, so I'm not that concerned about them ruining anything.
The bird feeder may give you an idea of how much snow we got:
And my car:
Apparently somebody forgot to lock up when they left the stadium at the Univ. of Tn. last night:
Looks like they were having a great time...until the police came!
I love that my favorite meteorologist (who is from Colorado) is encouraging everybody to get out and play in the snow!
The main road in front of my house looks fairly clear...for now, but as I look outside I see it snowing.  CH is working from home, YS doesn't have class, and, of course, I'm out of school today.  Looks like I probably will be out again tomorrow, and we're out Monday for Presidents' Day.  
As I sit on my couch, this is my view:
Not bad.  I'm enjoying it, because I know it won't last.  It will probably be gone by tomorrow night.
If you have bad weather where you are, stay warm and safe.  And, as NC governor Pat McCrory said, "Don't put your stupid hat on!"

A Truly Wednesday Hodgepodge


Time again for the Hodgepodge!  It seems that lately this is just about the only post that I manage to write!  

1.What makes love last?
Communication.  I'm finding that as we grow older, we're redefining our relationship.  It definitely takes communication to keep that love light burning!

2. The Beatles made their US debut fifty years ago this week. Are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite Beatles tune?
I've never been a big Beatles fan.  

3. Valentine's Day-your thoughts? Do you celebrate in any way? Do anything special for the people you love? Expect anything special from the people who love you? 
We were discussing this the other day at school.  Some of us aren't real big into Valentine's...we think our husbands should do things for us through the whole year...not just one day.
I always make sure the boys have a pair of Valentine's Boxers and a treat.  Except, one year I decided to do something different than the boxers.  OS told his then girlfriend that he always gets boxers, and was a little disappointed when he didn't get them that year.  I went right back to them the next year!

4. Steak or burger...you have to choose. Now that that's settled, how do you like it? 
Wow, Joyce is being a hard-a_ _!  Okay, I say steak...grilled medium with just a touch of seasoning.  

5. The Hodgepodge lands on the birthdate (February 12th) of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America. Lincoln is quoted as saying,'Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test his character give him power.'  Do you agree? Why or why not?
I can completely understand this.  Power does some crazy things to some people.

6. Honest Abe's image is featured on the US penny (1 cent coin) so I'm wondering...what do you do with your pennies (or your country's equivalent)?  It's been suggested the US stop making the penny, and two bills have been introduced proposing just that, but neither were approved. What say you?
Well, I guess you never know when you need a penny.  What would we say if it was gone, "Find a nickel, pick it up; And all day you'll have good luck"?  Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it.

7.  Do you think pop culture deserves serious study?
"Serious" study?  I'm not so sure.  I think more and more pop culture is part of our history, so I suppose it should be given some consideration.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Monday at my "Mountain School", there was a bit of excitement, and I learned about it through an email since I'm not there on Mondays.  It seems that anytime some excitement goes on, it's on a day when I'm not there.
One of the Kindergarten Teachers got engaged at school, during the day.  Her TA will soon be her MIL, so she was able to tell him when to come.  Her students were at Art, so that's when he did it.  Here's how she knew something was up:
She was completely taken by surprise, and he gave her a gorgeous ring.
1 more "random":  Last night, school was called off for today in preparation for the big snow event we're expecting.  2 weeks ago, early dismissal was a bit of a nightmare.  The principal at the school where I was did a really good job, but it caught most people by surprise.  It looks like the Atlanta area learned a valuable lesson, too!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are we always responsible for our actions? Are there any exceptions?
I can't think of an instance when we wouldn't be.

2.  Has anyone from your home town become famous?
If you follow sports (and specifically the Packers), you may have heard of Randall Cobb.  He played football with my 2 oldest boys.   He's the only one I can think of.

3. January was National Slow Cooker month. Do you own a slow cooker/crock pot? Did you use it last month? What's a favorite dish you make using a slow cooker or crock pot?
I got this baby for Christmas, and it's been getting quite a work out:
In fact, tomorrow, we're having ranch pork chops:  Pork Chops, a packet of dried ranch dressing, and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.  I'm really liking that after the time is finished, the temperature switches over to "warm" so the food doesn't dry out.

4. How do you feel about private companies collecting data about you?
I haven't really thought about it.  I know some people get really freaked out about it, but I'm indifferent to it.

5. The Games of the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off with their opening ceremony this coming Friday....will you be watching? Which Winter Olympic event would you most like to see in person? Have you ever been to Russia? Any desire to go, Olympics or otherwise?
Figure skating.  It's so beautiful, and it's inside.  I have no desire to go to Russia, especially after going to the former East Germany last summer.  I don't really have any desire to go to the Olympics.  I'm fine watching it on tv.

6. Share a good or bad sports related memory from your childhood or teen years.
This is from my college years, but it's the only one I could come up with!  I was a little sister for a fraternity in college, and we played intramural basketball.  We had one game that came down to the wire.  I had the ball (right around mid-court), and we were down to the last second.  I had no one to pass to, and everybody was yelling, "Shoot it!"  So, I shot it and it went in.  The coach yelled, "Hail, Mary!"  (although he may have actually meant a different form of the word "hail"!)  I have no idea how that ball went in.  I'm definitely not a basketball player!

7. What's a must have song for you on a work out play list? If you don't work out, run, swim, bike, walk, or anything else that could be construed as 'exercise', then what's a song that motivates you to at least get up off the couch?
Why am I drawing a blank on this one???  Weird.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
OS made it to his destination okay, and I'm resting easier knowing he's there.  It's a little strange to think that he's so far away...he's been 2 hours away for the past 7 years; now he's all the way across the country.
On a different note:  did anybody watch Catherine & Sean's wedding on tv?  If you did, did you think it was a little strange that she walked down the aisle to 2 cellists playing Michael Jackson's "Human Nature"?  Strange.  Just strange.

Go West, Young Man

This weekend began the realization of a dream.  When OS was in college, his dream was to go out west (originally to Jackson Hole, Wy.) to work.  OS is our "Nature boy"...that child loves the outdoors!  From kayaking, to white water rafting, to hiking, to zip-lining, to camping, to snowboarding, he pretty much does it all.  And apparently does it well.  He definitely has a bit of daredevil in him!
As it does for all of us, life happens and dreams change.  After living in Asheville for 1 1/2 years, the opportunity came up for him to go west.  And he's taking the bull by the horns and doing it.  As I wrote this (on Sunday morning), he's completed the first leg (out of 3) of his trip.  It should have taken him around 12 hours, but it took him around 17 with the weather.  At least he has the good sense to slow down and take his time, but this mama was restless until he arrived at my sister's house.  The middle leg saw him forge through Nebraska and into Colorado.  I don't know if Google Maps is optomistic about the drive time from place to place or if OS is just taking his time and taking a lot of breaks, but this took him around 11.5 hours...not the 9 hours Google Maps indicated.  He'll arrive at his destination today (Monday).  Hopefully he'll be able to do all of this in the daylight...this part should take at least 6 hours; which means it will really be around 8.
When I went into the liquor store on Friday to pick up a bottle of wine for OS to give to my sister as a thank you gift, I saw a van with license plates from the state OS will be living.  That was the first time I've ever seen a license plate from that state.  Saturday morning, as we were leaving the place OS had been staying (we had to pick up his bed), there was a road that had that state as part of the name.    Suddenly, this state is all around me.
Friday night, CH & I headed to NC.  Here's a picture I snapped as we crossed the partially frozen French Broad River as the sun was setting:
And, a view on the way home:

We took our camper and camped near OS' house.  Ever since we've had the camper, we've tried to camp at least once every month.  I think we missed February last year, because it's just too cold in February!  We're able to get January in because of our trip to the The Keys.  Since Friday was 31 January and Saturday was 1 Feb., I think we're able to count that!  CH said he wanted to camp in the snow.  Weeeelll, as luck would have it, our campsite was in a patch of snow!  It wasn't deep, and if they had put us in a different site we wouldn't have snow, but I think we can count that, too!  
 Our night consisted of staying in the warm camper, watching the PBS series "Sherlock Holmes" through Netflix.  It was pretty cozy!
Saturday morning we met OS at his place and packed up the bed.  His initial plan was to leave around 6 a.m., but he ended up leaving around 8:30.  After CH took a look at his tires, he suggested that OS meet us in the Small Town to get a new set of tires.  And, it's a good thing he did since he ran into some snow.  
I got teary-eyed when I hugged him and we said our goodbyes, but I didn't cry.  It's so hard to let go, especially for this control freak!  I don't know what his future is going to be like; I just want him to be happy with wherever life takes him.  My favorite band mom when I was in high school left this reply on a FB post of mine: We know we raise them to have 

wings to fly and see the world --we just didn't think they really would. Letting go is one of 

the hardest things we do as parents ."  She should know:  she's had a couple of sons that have lived in other countries, and none of her 4 children live in/near the Small Town.  

By the time this post is being read, OS will be looking at the last leg of his trip, and, thankfully it will be his shortest.  I'm excited for him to be living out his dream, and excited to see where it will take him.

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