A Puzzling Hodgepodge

 Joyce asks the questions, and we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. January 29th is National Puzzle Day. Do you enjoy puzzles? What kind (crossword, jigsaw, sudoku, etc)?  How often do you work a puzzle? 

I like puzzles. I had a couple of jigsaw puzzle apps on my tablet but took them off because I was spending too much time on them. I've been doing Wordle for a few months. Some of my sisters & I text our results daily. We're also doing Connections, also from the New York Times. You're given 16 words that you have to put in 4 categories. You only get 5 tries though. Some of them are extremely difficult. I also do the free mini puzzle from the NYT.

2. Something you currently find 'puzzling'? 

There are so many things I can say to answer this question. From politics to social media, there are just so many things...but I'll keep my mouth shut.

3. What's your go-to dish to take to someone who needs a meal (new baby, bereavement, etc)?

I haven't taken anything to someone in forever, although I appreciated the food that was brought to the house after CH's passing. A friend brought some excellent tortellini soup; another lady brought some amazing ziti. 

4. Do you watch any HGTV and/or The Food Network? If so, what's your favorite program there? 

Every now and then I'll watch International House Hunters. I usually only watch the Food Network around the holidays.

5.  Wrap up your January in five words, with a five-word phrase, or with a five-word sentence. 

I'm so glad it's over. The cold snap we had with the snow that stayed on the ground for over a week (very much a rarity!) was mentally exhausting. I was so worried about the camper van...the battery can't get below a certain temp. and CH & I decided we weren't going to winterize. (This is a 4-season van; all of the water pipes are inside the van except for the gray water tank which has its own heater.) I didn't think just a space heater would keep the van warm so I used the van's heating system instead. This was the first time it had been used for any amount of time and I was concerned about it not working properly. There was a little bit of trial and error with setting the heat to be on continuously and not stop after a day, and there was an extremely nervous minute or two that had me shaking (literally...I was really anxious about it!) but I figured it out with the help of the FB group. She behaved exactly as she was supposed to and the temps are back where they should be, if not a little warmer. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Gurl Dogg and I went on our first solo camping last week. We only went to a KOA 30 minutes from the house, but it was a good first run. It would have been better if it hadn't been raining; we had to stay in the van most of the time. But, GD did well for the first time; she was a little nervous at first until she found "her space". I'm still thinking about what to do with the van and if I even want one. I found a small one that would be perfect, but this is the first year it's been out so I'd need to wait until the next one comes out to make sure the kinks are worked out. 

Maeve Anne in our camping spot

Gurl Dogg all tucked in. Since the bed is so high, I had to lift her to put her in/take her out of the bed.

Tipping for the Hodgepodge

Joyce asks the questions, and we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Do you have a word for the year (WOTY)? If so, and you'd like to share, please share. How do you decide on a word? If you don't have a word are you still on the hunt for one for 2024? 

This is the first time in about 4 years I haven't had a word. Usually the word just comes to me. As I'm typing this, the word "Adventure" came to mind. CH made me promise him that I would travel and I have 1 trip planned with family in April. I'm hoping to go on another trip later in the year but I'm waiting to hear if I can get a spot or not. 

2. January 23rd is National Pie Day...will you celebrate? Do you like pie? What's your favorite? 

As luck would have it, I had an errand to run right next to Buttermilk Sky Pie yesterday so I picked up a few small ones. So, I'd say we'll be celebrating at my house! I'm not a huge pie person; I prefer icing cake. I like a good Key Lime Pie or any kind of cream pie the best.

3. Tipping. What are your thoughts, expectations, as to who, when where? Do you appreciate a store/restaurant giving a 'suggested amount'? Have you ever left an extravagant tip? 

CH & I had a running joke about knowing how much to tip. When we first got married, I'd tip $5. It didn't matter how much the bill was, the waitress would get $5. TN's tax is right at 10% so it's easy for me to figure out how much to tip. If the service is exceptional, I'll tip more. The only huge tip we've given is when we go to a local restaurant for dinner and have a coupon for a free meal for 2. We would give the server the amount that the meal would have been. 

4. Share with us one household 'tip' that works for you. 

Wiping down my bathroom countertops/sink and toilet before I go to bed at night. I love waking up to a clean bathroom! I had been trying to sweep my kitchen floor before I go to bed but I've gotten a little lazyish lately and haven't done it. 

5. Influencers on social media are people who've built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular subject. Do you follow any influencers online? Have you made a purchase or tried something new because of that 'influence'? If there's one you particularly enjoy tell us who they are and why you enjoy them. 

Ugh. Really? I'm not a big fan of the word; it really leaves me with negative feelings. I'm not sure if these people can be called "influencers", but I do follow a couple from NC who are campers. They started in a van similar to mine but have since upgraded. I bought a mattress topper that he recommended because I figured it must have been a good one since they're roughly our age. Van Trekking Lifestyle

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I honestly don't know how you Northerners do it. We had a snowstorm that came through 8 days ago and we still have a lot of snow on the ground. Schools are still out but hopefully will be back in session tomorrow since the temps are finally supposed to stay above freezing. I don't ever remember snow being on the ground for this long. 

This was our first day out in the snow. Laika (the big dog) was not a fan!
Someone made some beautiful snow angels in the park!
The glaze on the snow was beautiful when light shone on it.

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