Historical Red White and Blue Jersey Kind of Hodgepodge

Summertime is definitely here in East Tennessee: heat, humidity, and the weather pattern of daily afternoon/evening thunderstorms.
Joyce has thoughtful summer questions for us this week. Click on the logo above to visit her blog and see what other participants had to say.

1. Security or freedom? Can you have both? Explain.
I definitely think you can have them both. I think we've had them both in my lifetime in the U.S.A. Or, it could be that that's just the way it was and I didn't know any different.

2. If you could visit any historical American site what would it be? Why?
I'd love to go to Boston and see all of the historical sites there. My youngest brother lives just outside of Boston; I just haven't gotten up there yet.

3. Free as a bird, free reign, be free of, free enterprise, free trip, walk away scot-free, free for all...which 'free' phrase can best be applied to your life in recent days or weeks? Explain.
Free as a bird. Summer vacay; no kitchen remodel going on this summer. Nothing else needs to be said!

4. Something in your frig that's red? Something in your house that's white? Something in your view that's blue?

5. July 27th is National New Jersey Day. Have you ever visited The Garden State? If so where did you go? Are there diners where you live? Have you tried Taylor Pork Roll? Do you like to play Monopoly? Saltwater taffy-yay or nay? How do you feel about shopping at the mall? Springsteen, Sinatra, or Bon Jovi-you have to pick one.
If the Newark airport counts, then, yes, I've been there.
We have Waffle House...does that count?
I don't even know what a Taylor Pork Roll is!
I don't really care for Monopoly.
Saltwater taffy: 😋
Shopping at the mall: 👎
Springsteen for sure with Bon Jovi coming in a close second.

Raise your hand if you know why these add-on questions are appropriate on National NJ Day.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Here it is almost July & I feel like my summer is gone. Once I get back from a conference in a couple of weeks I'll have to start gearing back up for another school year. 6 more beginning of school years to go. The countdown is on!

Hot Enough For You? {Wednesday Hodgepodge}

Things are steamy here in East Tn. Is it hot enough for you where you are? If so, stay inside, crank that air up, and read up on the answers to the questions  Joyce provided for us!

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.
1. See my son graduate from Law School. (Check)
2. Spend time with Robert's uncle when they visit in July.
3. Spend a few days in Nashville for a conference.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?
I went to the Small Town's pool almost every day. My mom made sure we had season passes so that's where a good part of the summer was spent.
The neighborhood kids used to come to our yard in the evening to play "kick the can", "hide and seek", or "rolly bats". We'd play until it got dark. Good times!

3. Rooftop or backyard? Why?
Backyard. I don't know that I've ever spent any amount of time on a rooftop.
This is a really cool backyard in New Orleans. There is a stage set up for jazz:
You go in, select your beverage(you can also order some hors d'oeuvrs)  and find a seat outside. This is a view of the back of the building:

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?
I mainly look to see what the serving size is.

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?
I don't know that I'll have one. I rarely just listen to one song over and over.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
As I mentioned in my previous post, this summer is sooo different than last summer. There's a lot less stress, for sure! I've read, watched some shows (The Ranch & Shetland), and done some writing. I'm still walking the dogs around 5:45 a.m. The squirrels are still asleep, but a family of raccoons crossed the sidewalk a couple of mornings ago. I didn't even think about that possibility!

Scenes from the Backyard: Dusting off my Camera

close up of a Canon camera with the words "What's in the backyard?" above the picture
Picture courtesy of Pexels
It's been ages since I've done a post on scenes from the backyard. I decided to dust off my camera last Saturday, sit on my back porch, and enjoy. What a difference this summer is from last! I'm not a prisoner in my own living room this summer (see: State of the Kitchen a.k.a. The Kitchen Remodel from Hell). I'm free to sit on the back porch in my pjs until 10:00...and snap away!
purple blooms on a butterfly bush
These blooms belong to the butterfly bush below.

Overgrown butterfly bush beside a back porch
 I kind of forgot to cut the butterfly bush back at the end of last summer. Oops!
Get ready for some bird pictures! 
A robin perched on a wire

small brown bird on a wire

brown bird in the grass with a morsel in its mouth
Ahhhh, success!!!
Cardinal perched on a branch of a tree
Of course, there's a Cardinal picture!
Squirrel with its back to the camera climbing on wires
You may remember my acrobatic squirrel from this post.
Rabbit sitting on the other side of a fence
This bunny is safe...as long as he stays on the other side of the fence!
2 Purple wildflowers
These flowers are right on the fence. I don't know what they are (I'm sure they're just weeds) but they're really pretty.
Blonde terrier mix sitting in the grass turning to the left
Gurl Dogg let me take quite a few pictures of her.
Robin bird perched on a broken branch looking toward the right

Close up of a black and white dog
I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get a picture of a hummingbird. One came to the feeder but as soon as I moved to put the camera to my eye she flew off. It's amazing to me what I see as I'm sitting on the back porch, especially since we're in town. It was nice to dust off my camera and see the scenes from the backyard!

Splurging on the Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce has more questions this week for us. Click on the logo above to see how everyone else answered these questions.

1. What happens to the mail at your house?
I distribute it, look at mine and throw away the trash, put CH's on his desk, and leave YS' on the kitchen table where it usually stays until I end up throwing it away.

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?
Having a cleaning service come in once/month to clean the house. No guilt whatsoever. BUT...why is it when you hire someone they do a great job the first couple of times but then I start feeling like I could do a better job? I've suspended my service over the summer (I can't justify having them come when I'm not working) and I may look for someone else when school starts back up.

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?
Definitely ask about attending church, especially if they don't attend church regularly and if they are not of the same religion. (This could be a whole post on its own!!!)

Kids. Make sure you're on the same page about wanting kids. That would have been a definite deal-breaker for me.

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?
As long as there's no blood, let the boys go at it. This was a time when the boys were little and they were driving me crazy with the fighting. I called him and asked him how they did it with 10 of us. That was the answer he gave me.

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?
Father of the Bride was the first one that came to mind. Maybe it's a result of this week's questions?

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I spent an afternoon with one of my sisters. She lives out in the country & has a fantastic view of a mountain from her back porch. As I walked out the front door I saw a cardinal & mentioned it to her. Then she showed me this in one of her bushes:
3 just hatched baby cardinals in a nest
She was able to get close enough to count 3 baby cardinals in the nest. So sweet!!! 
On my way out to her house, I saw a sign on the side of the road so I stopped on my way out to see what it was. Very interesting!
Sign with historical background for The Black Sulfur Spring

I'm assuming this is the spring. 
2 creeks meeting in the woods

Have you seen anything interesting in your neck of the woods lately?

Now You See It, Now You Don't {Wednesday Hodgepodge}

Joyce has concocted a very creative now you see it, now you don't Wednesday Hodgepodge for us today! Click on the graphic above to see how other bloggers answered the questions. Don't forget to leave a comment!

1. Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.
Where did they go?

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?
Exercise. I can think of a gazillion things to do instead of exercising.

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway, this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?
Bookshelves (there's nothing like holding a real book in your hand and turning actual pages!), drip coffee makers (I think coffee from a Keurig tastes funny), alarm clocks (although I don't use it I still have one beside my bed), file cabinet, printers (how do people print things without a printer???), china cabinet (it was my mom's), entertainment console (my dad made mine so it's not going anywhere!), and DVD player. Oh, and I have a VCR sitting on the floor next to my entertainment center. It isn't plugged up but it's an easy fix!

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?
Maps. And actual mail.

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?
I went to work, and since my birthday fell on Holy Thursday this year, I went to Mass, played my flute with the choir, and had the privilege of being one of the 12 people who had their feet washed. No, definitely not typical but it was pretty cool. And humbling. What better way to spend your birthday?

6. Insert your own random thought here.
If you didn't see my previous post, I'll summarize: I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog to "Life in a Former Small Town" since the Small Town has grown and is expected to grow even bigger in the years to come. I'll keep the URL the same, just change the title. Thoughts?

Is My Blog Title a Farce?

A brook flowing out of a fountain in a park
Sometimes I feel like my blog title is a farce. Oh, I definitely live in a small town (population around 9000...which is an increase of 1000 over the past few years and a growth of 2000 since I was in high school) but I know there are a lot of people out there living in a true small town. Plus, this small town seems bigger than it is. We have quite a bit of shopping and eating establishments so it's not like we have to drive to go shopping or out to eat.

Progressing into the Future

Big things are happening in the Small Town. Our claim to fame used to be 3 aluminum plants owned by The Aluminum Company of America (a.k.a. "ALCOA"). Those 3 plants have dwindled down to 2, and 1 of those isn't in full production; it hosts a recycling plant. ALCOA has also now split into 2 different companies, so now it is called "Arconic". (That is how I understand it anyway.) The location of the "West Plant" stands empty. The buildings were all torn down but environmental issues questioned how usable the land is. That now appears to be taken care of so plans can be made for that area of the Small Town. For a few years, the citizens have been speculating as to what is going to be built. At first, we were told by the commission that it was going to be a sort of downtown area. Then we were told a Sam's Club was coming in. (Yep, that got my dander up a bit!) Now we're back to a downtown area, complete with multi-family housing, single-family housing, housing for the elderly, shopping, hotels, offices, trails & greenspace, and community garden/farmers market. Looking at the concept, I'll say this: If they can pull it off so that it looks like the pictures (and it's successful), it will be really nice. The land is being cleared and the roads are being paved. It's really strange to see all of those trees gone. There is some speculation that the land being cleared is responsible for a lot of downed trees this time last year during a storm...the trees acted as a buffer; since those trees were gone a lot of houses were damaged. Of course, that's just speculation on a lot of people's part.
new high school with parking lot in front
The Small Town is just going to get bigger. Someone told me the other day that the school system is already phasing out tuition students. Since it is a city school, some students who don't live in the Small Town can attend if they pay tuition to attend school here. The sad thing is that Small Town High isn't going to be small much longer, which was a huge draw to the town. A bigger high school was built a few years ago in anticipation of growth.

Time for a Change?

So I feel like I'm in a dilemma. I feel like my blog title is a farce. I'm thinking "Life in a Former Small Town". Any other ideas? I would keep the URL the same, just change the title.
If you've changed the name of your blog, weigh in with your opinion!

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