Wednesday, October 11, 2017

An Unseasonable Hodgpodge

Greetings from the tropics!


Just kidding.
But if I didn't know better and someone led me outside blindfolded,
I might very well be convinced that I was in the Bahamas.
This is what it really looks like when I walk out my door...


...plenty of falling leaves and a tad of color but it feels nothing like fall right now.
Our local weather forecasters totally missed it.
Thanks to Hurricane Nate, we are experiencing this "lovely" taste of the tropics.
Now don't get me wrong, I love a tropical paradise when the surroundings match the temps...
...but this is a bit extreme.
Oh, and remember that chili I was going to make over the weekend?
Well, the hamburger meat is now in the freezer
and the other ingredients are waiting (impatiently) on the pantry shelf.
I even bought that bag of tortilla chips for my nachos...MAN!
So.....my taste buds have been put on hold.
~
I'll stop complaining about the weather now because it's time for Joyce's Hodgepodge,
and because I can't do anything about it anyway!

You know the drill...she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here are this week's questions:
~
1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.

I think I have a pretty good sense of direction and would probably rate myself at about a "7". And this all depends on if I am doing the driving or the navigating. If I am just one of several passengers, you might as well forget it if we are heading somewhere unfamiliar...I am usually too busy running my mouth rather than paying attention to the route. Normally, it just takes a couple of times to feel confident about where I am going and I rely a lot on landmarks, not necessarily the road signs since I don't see them well until I am right up on them!

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!)

It has probably well over a year. I have only had my iPhone that long and did not have a car with a built-in navigation system until I got my CR-V earlier this year. I didn't use an atlas but I did print directions off Google maps and go by them.

Back east, down south, out west, up north...choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.

I've never been out west and I've always lived closer to the east or the southeast. That would leave up north. There are many places much more "northern" than Ohio but that has pretty much been where most of my northern travels have been limited to.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Talking. Is that typical? Yes, but not the rule. Describe your yesterday in one word. Positive.

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?

If I am being honest (and that is how we are to answer these questions, right?), I have to admit that I find myself wasting time more than anything, which can then become a wasted opportunity, am I right? I don't think that we need to be busy 100% of the time...we all need down time to just do nothing in particular or to do the things we like to do. This is how I see myself, anyway. I have never had anyone else tell me that I'm a time waster. Lord knows that there are many things on my to-do list...and the key word here is LIST. When I make a list, I get 'er done!



4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.

When I was growing up, a family road trip consisted of piling in the old Buick on a Sunday afternoon and heading about 20-30 miles out to the country to visit various aunts, uncles and cousins. We had a blast traveling down those back roads, especially when we convinced Dad to take that hill just a little faster (when there were no other cars coming, of course). Losing our stomachs when we reached the bottom of the hill was the high point of the day! I wrote more about the things that make me go aaahhhh over on my childhood memories blog. When you are a family with that many kids and Dad was the one and only breadwinner, an actual vacation was something we knew nothing about. But you know what? I never ever had one regret about the way I grew up and what we could and could not afford...you don't miss something you never had. I was actually about 13 or so before I left the state of Ohio. My youngest older brother took me and two of sisters on a road trip to South Carolina to visit our older brother and his family. I not only got to experience the Smokey Mountains along the way, and stepping into the Atlantic Ocean at Myrtle Beach for the first time was all it took for me to want to go back to those places as often as I could...or anywhere else for that matter.

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?

Sunflowers and milkweed because they both attract butterflies...




...and because milkweed pods and those wispy seeds are among my favorite things. I'm still a little upset that the field of milkweed, the one pictured above, has gotten mowed down twice this year. 😒


6. Insert your own random thought here.

Gee, a nice warm bowl of chili sure would hit the spot. Some day.
~
So that's it for this Hodgepodge...and enjoy your break, Joyce. 
I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be some baby lovin' on your itinerary. 👶
And maybe in a couple of weeks, I'll be wearing my winter duds, who knows?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Old MacDonald Had a Hodgepodge...

Happy
y'all!

After a week of 90 degree heat, the autumn breezes are gracing us once again.
The cool down came just in time for the weekend, perfect weather for a campfire in the backyard...
...hot dogs with all the fixin's and s'mores too!
Oh, I just LOVE fall!
~
So it's Wednesday and that means it's Hodgepodge Day...

...where Joyce asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Let's get right to them.
~
1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?

I only wish I could answer yes to every part of this question. The only times I have spent on a farm is when I was a young girl visiting my aunt and uncle or just visiting some sort of farm that was open to the public. I have always yearned to live on a farm or in the country in general. The closest I ever came to homegrown pumpkins is when my dad grew a wide array of gourds in his garden when I was still at home...but I guess that doesn't count as a "yes" does it? I have been on several hayrides in my day but have never driven a tractor or milked a cow. It looks like part of my life-long dream may be coming true as we are planning our move to the Tennessee countryside...AND...guess what?? Directly across the road from the meadow where we are building our farmhouse is a farm with just about every kind of farm animal you'd ever want to see.


Our future neighbors have a petting zoo. I think this is about as close as it's going to get for me...but I'll take it!

2. What's something younger you would like about you now?

I think the younger me would be happy to know that she still has a close friend...someone that she can relate to...a peer, so to speak. Although I consider myself much wiser and am thankful that I've learned many lessons over the years (some of them the hard way), I am also thankful that I still feel young inside...even though the outside of me is growing old. Having a young heart and a smarter brain can be a good combination...what's not to like, right?

3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?

More often: travel, spend time with the younger grands, get lost in the country
Less often: punch in, punch in, punch in.
Does it sound a little bit like I'm ready to retire?? 😏 

4. What's on your nachos?


This depends on where I am eating them. When I make chili (mmm...think I'll make some this weekend), I love to make nachos. I take a handful of tortilla chips, pour a generous serving of chili over them and top it off with shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato, black olives (if I have them) and a dollop of sour cream on top. One of my go-to menu items at our favorite local Mexican place is their Fajitas Nachos...a bed of tortilla chips covered by a combo of grilled chicken, steak, onions and peppers and then smothered with queso sauce. Mmm-mmm, good!

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

Well, I just went through my purse and didn't find any random items. I guess finding that bread stick from Olive Garden from a couple of weeks ago was enough randomness to hold me over for a while. 


I am showing this photo again for those who may have missed it. Needless to say, it did NOT need to stay there and it didn't once I found it. As far as my wallet goes, the most random thing I found in it was a book of stamps...really not so random though, right?

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The right words are just hard to find after the unspeakable tragedy in Las Vegas this week. May our merciful Lord give peace and comfort to everyone who has been affected by this horrific act of violence.


And so, another Wednesday, another Hodgepodge...
...before you know it, we will be wishing each other a Merry Christmas!
I don't know about you but I don't even want to think about that yet. 😟

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Late September Hodgepodge


Falling leaves hide the path so quietly.
~John Bailey
~
Yes, we can actually say it now...it's officially fall, even though it doesn't quite feel like it yet.
It's in the air though...the mornings and evenings have that certain something about them
that let you know the atmosphere is changing.
~
I snapped these photos at our local Lake Michael last Friday morning.



I got there just in time to catch the sun peeking out from behind the trees.
Fog was hovering over the lake and it was really quite beautiful.



Just that little hint of color lets one know that it's only a matter of time.
And speaking of time, it's time for Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.

The first pet that I remember was Tippy, our sweet family mutt. He was a gold colored mixed breed that had a furry tail that curled up over his back.





He was a very even tempered dog...except for that one time. He was lying on the steps going into the house and he was in my way. When I couldn't get him to move, I just stepped right on him (I was really little) and he bit me in the leg. Served me right, didn't it?! He forgave me and I forgave him.


Throughout the years, there were several cats, none that I can remember having names although I'm sure they must have. I do remember dressing one of them in doll clothes and pushing it around in a baby buggy. My mom put her foot down on having any more cats right after she came into the kitchen and found one of them on top of the table eating noodles right out of the pot. BAD KITTY! There were a few other animals in later years, one being my tiny pet chameleon, Cam. He was beautiful and I enjoyed watching him change colors to match his surroundings. He would sometimes lie on his back in the palm of my hand and I would rub his belly. Then there was Bugger the hamster (yes, that was his name) and after a photo shoot (yes, even back then) in my mom's flower bed, he somehow got away from me. After hours and hours of searching for him, I finally gave up...he was lost in the great outdoors, never to be seen again.😢

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?

Jim is home after working a 9-day stretch...laundry is on the to-do list or sure.

3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?

Ten years ago I was right here doing the very same thing (well, not blogging)...but I was living in the same house, working the same job, doing the same thing I have done for the past 24 years. There is something to be said about continuity but I have to say, am ready for a new adventure! Lord, are you listening?? 😩

4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?

That's pretty funny, I just saw where it is National Pancake Day...but I guess they are somewhat related...I mean if you are talking about both being full of carbs, right? Actually, I don't eat much of any kind of dumplings but it's not because I don't like them. Jim is not fond of wet, bready substances but now if you are talking about an apple dumpling, well that might be a different story because he does love him some pie! My dumpling of choice would be either gnocchi (Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi Soup...YUM) or the good old fashioned chicken and dumplings my mom used to make. And no, I have never made any dumplings that I recall.

5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon
So which kind are you?

I really think I am the first kind. I have always had an adventuresome spirit and even though I can be perfectly content and satisfied by the normal day-to-day, a change of scenery and routine can be quite exciting...and a little bit scary, as I may be finding out soon!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Temperatures are dropping here this weekend and we're planning to have one of these!



See you in October!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Hodgepodge is falling! The Hodgepodge is falling!!

The weeks are flying by faster than ever it seems.
How can it be Wednesday again already?
And in another couple of days, fall officially arrives and I am ready!
But you knew that already, didn't you?
~
We are having another little warm spell, this week before it officially become fall.
It has been pleasant...in the low to mid 80s with big puffy clouds filling bright blue skies.
Little by little, the trees are beginning to show some color and according to the weather man,
 it's supposed to be a very pretty fall...I guess this depends on several factors...
the summer's amount of rain, drought, temperatures, etc.
We do hope to be able to find some time for a little drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway,
one of most favorite places in the country.



So if it's already Wednesday again, it also means it's Hodgepodge day...

...where Joyce asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours!
So here are the questions for this week...

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

Wow...thinking of something right off the top of my head is not easy...whatever it is has to be pretty awesome to rate a 10 out of 10! So after doing some pondering, here is what has come to mind...and most of you will probably think I must be very strange. But I have to say that my brother's "home going" (I choose not to call it a funeral) service a few weeks ago was a "10" as far as that type of thing goes. My brother spent all of his adult life in South Carolina and although I knew him well, I found out so much about him at that service that I never knew before. The pastor and other friends who spoke had known him for 40+ year and told stories and gave testimonies of how he had touched their lives and many other's as well. Although we were all were dealing with the fact that we would no longer have him here on this earth, the spirit of this service was so very uplifting and it actually made it kind of difficult to be really sad, considering all of the circumstances. Does that make sense to anyone?

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?


It would be a toss up between a teacher or a public speaker. Although I love children, I don't have the patience that the job would require...although I can remember some of the teachers from when I was in school and wondered to myself how and why they decided on that as a career! I think I mentioned a coupe of hodgepodges ago that just the thought of speaking in public makes my stomach hurt.

3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?


The last time I remember taking a fall was the winter before last. I actually had two falls, just weeks apart. My first one came when I was gingerly trying to navigate the icy three brick steps that go down into the side door of the garage to get something out of the freezer. I fell hard and my butt hit the corner of those sharp steps and I could swear I saw a few stars! A few weeks later, for my next trick, I stepped down from the deck (three icy wooden steps) onto the brick patio, I lost my traction on the last one and fell, once again, hitting the exact same place that was just beginning to feel better. I was bruised and hurting for weeks. These days, I am falling in love with fall, as I do every year at this time, with the cooler temps and the falling leaves....



...and many of these are also falling. It won't be long now before the deer start gathering in the yard every evening for a midnight snack.


1. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-
National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)
Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?


No, I have never been to any of the above and if I could choose one on the list, the Apple Harvest Festival in PA sounds like it would be right up my alley. We do not have a celebration in my town in the fall (we have the Dogwood Festival in the spring) but every fall we host a huge fall festival at our church as an outreach to the community. Every year more and more folks attend and last year we had over 450 I believe. My back is already aching just thinking about painting all of those little faces for 1 1/2 hours straight...oh me oh my!

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?

Buh-bye, summer...don't let the door hit you on your way out!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Tasha says she's read for fall too...the crunchy leaves tickle her belly!



Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Hodgepodge for All Seasons

Happy Wednesday, friends.
It's good to be back to normal (what ever that is) after a couple of bumps in the road, 
some expected, some not so much.
And then everything really gets put into perspective when events like Harvey and Irma happen.
We were able to dodge the bullet here in central NC once Irma changed course and headed west.
We have several loved ones that were right in Irma's path but thank the Lord,
they are quite drenched but safe and sound.
~
So we're here for the Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here are this week's questions.
~
1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

I am a visual person so I say yes, yes, 1000 times yes. For example, there are just no words that can really describe the vastness of the sea...


...or the solace and refreshment of a cool, shady trail in woods.



What words would you use to describe the minuscule details when you get up close and personal with a geranium bud?


Words aren't needed to tell the story of a cold and wet cardinal as she waits her turn to grab a morsel.



What about the raw emotion that pictures like these portray? Words just aren't needed here.


But on a much lighter note, sometimes a picture tells a different kind of story. Like the time you bring home that extra bread stick from Olive Garden so it doesn't go to waste...and then you forget about and find it three days later in your purse, hard as a rock. Yes, I found it Sunday morning before I left for church.


And it's an ongoing story as well. I may never get the garlic smell out of my purse! Now, where did I put that Febreze??

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

No, I have never been anywhere even close to the Pacific coast. I have never had a longing desire to go there, although if someone were to offer me an all-expense paid trip, I would certainly take them up on it and I'm sure I would enjoy it. Visiting Ireland and Scotland now, that's a different story...bucket list for sure.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

I consider myself fortunate to have always lived where I can enjoy all four seasons and I can't think of any real ways that the changes affects me. There are things I love about each one of them and I'm always ready to welcome the change when it comes. Although summer can be full of fun things to do and all of that, the heat and humidity does get to me a bit but as long as I have my A/C, I'm good! I do get rather giddy when fall is in the air because it is my favorite season. But even when the trees have lost all of their leaves and the wintry winds begin to blow, I take delight in hunkering down in front of a cozy fire...and there's always that one little thing to look forward to...Christmas, which is even better if its "white"! But after a couple of snowfalls, I'm pretty much done with winter and you will find me out looking for signs of spring...and the world goes around and around and we start all over again. If there even is a season to season transition that bothers me, I guess it would be the spring/summer one. It seems many years it starts to get hot before we have the chance to enjoy much springtime weather. That's one of the joys of living in the south!

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Funny you should ask! My birthday is this Friday and I am hoping to enjoy a yummy meal out with the hubs somewhere. The All-You-Can-Eat shrimp special at Red Lobster always coincides with my birthday, although I am not sure that's what I'll be having...I must ponder that for the next couple of days...and no, I never lie about my age.😉

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?

To never take 'just a regular day' for granted...as hard as it is to do.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.



                                                                    'Til next time.....                                                                  

Friday, September 8, 2017

And then there were seven.

He was just one week shy of turning twenty and already serving in the Air Force
stationed in South Carolina when I came along.


He came home as often as he could but South Carolina soon became his permanent home.
My first memories of him, although somewhat faint due to the fact that I was only three or four,
was when he would pick me up, balance me in the palm of one big hand
and extend me up to the ceiling, all the while chanting, "Way up high! Way up high!
I can also remember Mom offering this warning..."Now, Bob, you be careful with her!!"
Funny thing is, later on he performed this trick many times with his own three little girls.
~*~
 I remember looking forward with great anticipation to his arrival when we were expecting a visit.
You could find me perched at the window that faced the end of our road throughout the day,
not putting into perspective the 13+ hour drive it took to make it to Ohio.
What does a little kid know about perspective, anyway?
~*~
 Back then I called him Bobby and he called me Little Sis.
Later on, he was just Big Brother and I was Dee-bor-AHHH.
He had a nickname for just about everyone and mine was his quite unique interpretation of Deborah.
The name stuck with me all throughout my life and if he would have felt up to it,
I'm sure he would have called me that when I saw him a few weeks ago.



Judging by the shirt (and the wallpaper) this photo was surely taken the same day as the first one.
These are my other two brothers, Jerry on the guitar and Doug on the fiddle.
Music has played a huge part in our lives and you could always find a collection
 of stringed instruments stashed here and there throughout the house.
They say it all began with our dad although the only instrument I ever heard him play
was the harmonica, which he called the french harp.



Fast forward to what looks like the 70's (above) and sometime in the 80's (below).



This is one thing the Billheimer brothers were kind of famous for...well, maybe not exactly famous.
Now, I don't know how to play either one of these but I can only imagine how difficult it might be to strum someone else's guitar with one hand and chord another's mandolin with your other hand...
...all at the same time!


The video above was taken several years ago at one of our reunions.
They really all can sing quite well but this is just an example of their crazy shenanigans.



Group photos through the years...






He wasn't able to be with us for the past two reunions.
Cancer that he thought was behind him returned, this time with vengeance.
He fought the good fight until he just wasn't able to fight anymore.


Last Wednesday, August 30, his three beautiful daughters were given the gift
of singing him into glory.


It's really kind of difficult to wrap my brain around—losing a sibling.
I've tried to imagine what it would be like, especially since all of us are getting up there.
Although, due to miles, we weren't able to be together as often as we would have liked, 
our moments together as a family were such blessed times.
~*~
Over the past several weeks I am learning that one of the greatest losses in life
surely must be the death of a brother or sister...
 ...and many of us will have to face the loss of a sibling more than once.
Our siblings share many of the same memories and family history 
and when one of them passes away, 
they take one of our connections to the past with them.


My family and I miss him so very much already, 
yet we are rejoicing that he is with the One that he had served for so many years.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
~*~
So I want to say "thank you" for the sweet and kind words of condolence
and particularly for the prayers for me and my family.
You all are the best.

Much love,
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