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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HOT WATER BLUES HODGEPODGE !



     A very pleasant Hodgepodge Wednesday to everyone. A thank you to Joyce Daley, our Hodgepodge Guru, for her efforts in bringing us the Hodgepodge questions every week.
     The world is still going crazy. Our country is still going crazy. My beloved SWMBO is still going crazy and she's taking me with her. In short, situation normal, all fouled up! 
     Here's the Hodgepodge!  

1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?
     Ten things? Here goes...(1) Beach trip(s); (2) Fishing; (3) Light reading; (4) Yard work; (5) Trip to the Mountains; (6) Trip to the drive-in; (7) Yard work; (8) Spontaneous Naps; (9) Trip(s) to the lake; (10) Did I menton Yard work?

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas
     I don't collect seashells. If I did collect seashells, my only options would be the NH, MA, and Maine beaches. I have not visited any of the listed beaches. I wouldn't mind visiting any of the listed beaches at all. I would probably add a few beaches in the Caribbean Sea.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.
     "Shell out money" seems to be applying to us this year. We've been hit with the ancillary costs associated with SWMBO's cancer treatments that are not covered by insurance. Earlier this year we had to replace our furnace and water well expansion tank. Now, it appears that our well water softener is on the fritz and our washing machine is about to give up the ghost. Sheesh! This is turning out to be a very expensive year.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?
     I hate yardwork! Why? Because I hate yardwork!

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?
     "Free Speech" and it bothers the #@$&*%$# out of me. One of our guranteed rights is the right of free expression. However, the notion that offensive speech is not permitted is being enforced through violence on college campi throughout our beloved nation. "Safe Zones," or "Free Speech Zones" are concepts NEVER contemplated by our founding fathers.
     The United States Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that offensive speech is protected speech. 
     Therefore, if what I write or say offends you, understand that I am a repeat offender.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     Neither the U.S. House of Representatives nor the U.S. Senate are capable of conducting an investigtion. It is absurd to think that a room full of people with no expertise or investigative experience limited to five minutes to ask questions will get to the bottom of anything.
     I watched several of the recent hearings and heard people testify under oath that there is NO EVIDENCE that the president did ANYTHING illegal. That's not stopping them from throwing millions of dollars down a rat hole through the special prosecutor who has been appointed to look into the fact that the president did nothing illegal.
     Like Jeff Foxworthy says..."We are a nation founded by geniuses and run by idiots. SHEESH!




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GRANITE STATE HEAT WAVE HODGEPODGE!


     This week Summer 2017 has come with a vengeance. It has gone from unseasonably cool temperatures in the 50's with rain, to the hot and muggies of late Summer. Yesterday was our third day in the 90's, officially making it a heat wave. SWMBO is happy and doesn't have the decency to sweat, uh...um...excuse me, I meant to say "to glow." As for me, I have been "glowing" like a pig.
     Our Hodgepodge Mistress, Joyce Daley, is back with another Wednesday Hodgepodge after a brief hiatus last week. Joyce has been publishing the Wednesday Hodgepodge for over six years. It must be challenging to come up with a theme and the questions related to the theme. Joyce has been masterful at the task. Please join in on the fun. You'll be glad that you did.   

1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)
     No, I don't fly the American Flag at my home. I often wear an American Flag lapel pin on my suit or sport coat. I have never visited the cities of Philadelphia or Baltimore. 

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.
     When I was in military basic training and it got to be dangerously hot, they would fly a red flag indicating that all strenuous physical activity was suspended for the day. The last three days have been a red flag day. I stayed inside and tried to stay cool.

3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?
     I do stay in the car sometimes until the end of a song. Not just any song though, it has to be one of my favorite songs. 

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? What's an expression you associate with your father?
     I believe that a good dad possesses unconditional love and patience for his children. He also possesses an attitude of forgiveness and encouragement. The phrase that I associate with my dad that comes to mind is something that my dad would always say when we were playing chess. After I made a move and just before he lowered the boom on me he would say "That's a good move just in case you don't know it." Within three moves I heard him announce "checkmate!" thereby winning the game. The day that I officially became a man was the day that I finally beat him at chess. 

5. What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?
     I really don't know! 

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     I haven't been able to get out much since SWMBO's stem cell transplant. SWMBO and I have been essentially quarantined, staying at home for the most part for the last 100 plus days. Upon reaching the 100th day post transplant we have been given a bit more latitude. 
     I have a friend with whom I share a special bond. We love to share a meal and just talk about all manner of things. We discuss our families, current events, books that we've read, grandchildren and a plethora of other wide ranging issues. We're also able to have frank discussions about how we are doing personally, i.e. physically, emotionally, spiritually and so forth. 
     This morning I was able to meet with this friend for breakfast at a local restaurant. What a great time we had! It's been months since we've been able to meet together and talk.  
     God has lavishly blessed me with the people He has put in my life. This friend, of whom I speak, is one of these special blessings.  
     You may count yourself blessed if you too have such a friend!



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

POST MEMORIAL DAY HODGEPODGE


     I hope that you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. As a nation, we have been tremendously blessed with having so many of our fellow citizens freely give their full measure of devotion by laying their lives on the altar of freedom. Thomas Jefferson once observed that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots. This past weekend we honored these patriots. 
     Today being Wednesday we participate in the the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another edition of the Hodgepodge.

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.
     I feel accomplished after cooking a full meal of meat, potatoes, and vegetables. I also feel accomplished after reading a difficult book, one that requires you to keep a dictionary nearby and necessitates reading the same paragraph or page more than once to comprehend the passage.

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.
     If I had my own talk show I would have, in no particular order, (1) Victor Davis Hanson, Historian and political commentator. He's a fascinating speaker who provides a wide breadth of knowledge and a historical context to what's happening today; (2)  David Grohl, former drummer of the grunge band "Nirvana" and leader of the rock band "The Foo Fighters." David has a devotion to, and knowledge of, Rock & Roll history. His documentary "Sound City" describes the history of a defunked recording studio in Los Angeles, CA, where many of the icons of Rock & Roll recorded. The Foo Fighters album and documentary "Sonic Highway" is a tour around the country paying tribute in song to each region's contribution to music; (3) Billy Graham, Evangelist. Need I say more.

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?
     I do not have a great burger recipe. I do not have a favorite burger place either. My favorite burger has lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions and bacon with a dollop of ketchup and/or mayonnaise.

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?
     The biggest anxiety producing thing that I do these days is navigating the highs and lows of combatting SWMBO's cancer. She has been absolutely remarkable in her courage and attitude and perseverance in her fight against this pernicious disease. It's the carnival ride with ups and downs, highs and lows that you just cannot get off no matter how much you may want to. 

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.
      SWMBO and I haven't made any specific Summer plans as of this writing.  I think that we'll take a day or two and do something. Maybe another trip up Mount Washington, this time on the Cog Railway. Who knows?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

     Yesterday was a good day. SWMBO got to have a visit with our granddaughters. It has been way too long of an absence. They love to do crafts together. This week's craft was creating tie-dyed tee shirts. I placed a tarp on the garage floor (rain was predicted) and off they went. Each girl made two tee shirts apiece. SWMBO made two shirts apiece for each of us. It was great to see her and the girls so happy. The girls hands and arm and legs looked like a rainbow. They had a lot of fun! However, it did take a toll on her energy. She is paying for it today. Was it worth it? You bet you sweet "donkey" it was! We live for days like this. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CLOSING IN ON 100 DAYS HODGEPODGE!


      SWMBO & I are closing in on 100 days since her stem cell transplant. We will be seeing her oncologist to flesh out exactly what that means. Thus far we have been essentially quarantined in the house to avoid the possibility of her picking up any germs that may tax her new immune system. Her immune system has rebounded significantly. We are hoping for some relaxing of her restrictions so we can go back to church, Bible small group, and even a restaurant. So thank you all for your past and continued prayers. 
     Are you like me? Are you a luddite struggling in a high tech world? I'm surprised that I'm able to navigate the technological requirements to get the Wednesday Hodgepodge posted. Lately, I have been mostly unable to grab Joyce's new Wednesday Hodgepodge pin and post it to my Hodgepodge entry without narrowing my page margins, and once narrowed, I'm unable to widen them to their normal width. Today is an exception.
     This is just one of the many tech related problems that plaque my luddite existence. 
     Well, enough whining; Now for this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Join us, I guarantee that you will meet some amazing people in the blogosphere!   

      1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?
     When it comes to decorating the house SWMBO has complete discretion, with the exception of one room...my office. That is the one room in the house that has been declared an "Estrogen Free Zone!" That said, the predominant color in our home is a moderately light shade of green. As far as being glad goes, if SWMBO is glad, I'm glad. 

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?
     I will never drive the White Mountain Auto Road again.  I drove it last summer because SWMBO thought it would be a fun thing to do on our vacation. She had a ball taking in the views! I was focused like a laser beam on the road trying to keep from driving over the edge. There are no guard rails and the drop offs are precipitous. The trip is about eight miles of white knuckle driving...each way. Next time, I'll pay to ride in a tour van that makes frequent runs or I'll ride the Cog Railway that also makes several runs per day. Then maybe I'll be able to enjoy the view(s).

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.
      The ways that I fit the stereotype is that I take care of all the "man stuff" around the house, like taking care of mowing in the summer and shoveling in the winter. I make sure that there's gas in the car and the auxiliary generator is maintained and stuff like that. I am also very protective of my beloved SWMBO.
     A couple of ways I don't fit the stereotype is I'm not afraid to show emotion. I also do stuff around the house that are stereotypically woman's stuff. For example, I do the food shopping, cook meals and wash the dishes and clean the kitchen, and I do laundry, sometimes correctly. 

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?
     I have never owned a motorcycle nor do I have the desire to own one. I have ridden on a motorcycle a few times, both as the rider and as the passenger.  Being the rider is much better. If the opportunity presented itself I would most likely pass. I enjoy my life too much to risk it.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?
     I am like the Chinese. I am inscrutable. I am an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a riddle. 
    If you seek an understanding of me, I can't imagine why you would, read the New Testament, particularly the Epistles. Watch any of the cop shows, NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Blue Bloods, to name a few. Listen to the music of the 60's and 70's...Creedence Clearwater Revival; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Kansas; The Beatles; & Boston and such like.
   
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     On Monday there was another terrorist attack. This time it was in Manchester, England. A suicide bomber detonated himself outside the venue of an Ariana Grande concert killing 22 concert goers and wounding over 50 people. ISIS has taken credit for this attack.
     These victims were kids who were having the night of their lives before their lives were changed forever. 
     These evil, murderous and ungodly animals need to be removed from the planet. They want to meet Allah, So I pray God that the military forces of the world's freedom loving nations unite and arrange that meeting very soon.  They need to be removed from the planet, terminated with extreme prejudice, and sent across the river Styx. Other than that, I have no strong opinions on the matter.
     Join me in prayer for the dead and the wounded and for their families. Please prayer for England as they mourn this cowardly attack and begin their recovery. Thank you!




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BEHOLD, THE IDES OF MAY HODGEPODGE!


     Good morning to one and all. I was absent from last week's Hodgepodge due to the fact that I had a memory access malfunction (mam) and forgot. Hopefully the hardware that resulted in the "mam" is now working properly.
     Thank you Joyce for the Hodgepodge. I am happy to participate and enjoy the exercise each week.
     If you have a blog of your own, click on over to "From This Side of the Pond" and join in on the fun. If you don't have a bog, start one and then click on over and join in on the fun. And now...this week's Hodgepodge! 

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.
    I am most certainly guilty of being a pack rat. My office is best described as being "organized chaos."  I have two desks in my office and I am writing this in SWMBO's office because my desks are too cluttered with stuff. I have trouble parting with anything,  for reasons I am unclear about.  Perhaps I'll make that a project this year...and then again, perhaps not.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?
     Only two? I think I should have a better understanding of maintaining small engine tools such as lawn mowers, power generators, chain saws, etc. I should have a better understanding of electricity and how to perform minor repairs of light switches, outlets, etc.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.
     I do indeed crave sugar! I add sugar to coffee but not tea. I do not use any artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes. When dining out SWMBO and I are usually too full to contemplate, much less eat, dessert. The sugar dragon is alive and well.

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?
     My beloved SWMBO dragged me kicking and screaming into the 21st century and forced me, that's right forced me, to get an iPhone. Now that I'm hooked, I can't imagine living without it.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.
     That's easy! The Rolling Stones "Jumping Jack Flash." This song evokes the  memory of me playing catch with my best childhood friend in the street in front of my house with that song blasting through the screen windows. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     At the beginning of the baseball season my beloved Red Sox were predicted by the talking heads to lead the American League and potentially be in the World Series this year. Well once again the predictions appear to be falling way short. The Red Sox are just a couple of games past .500 and are about 9 games out of first place in their division. There is still much more baseball yet to be played and there is still hope that the Sox can turn it around...but I'm not holding my breath.
     On a positive note, the Boston Celtics have exceeded expectations and have made it to the Conference Finals. If they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron James, they will play for the NBA Championship. Most talking heads don't give the Celtics a chance to take four games from the Cavaliers. They say at most the Celtics may win one or two games but the Cavaliers will be making a return to the NBA Championship Series. 
    I take hope in the fact that the talking heads are often wrong in their predictions. Have a great week and...GO CELTICS!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DAYS AFTER MAY DAY HODGEPODGE!



     It's the beginning of the merry month of May and it's Wednesday so that could only mean it's time for another Hodgepodge. Thanks to out Hodgepodge mistress, Joyce Dayley, for another series of writing prompts cleverly disguised as probing questions. So let the weekly exercise in writing commence.

1. Can you tell I'm embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?
     I am not a fan of Mexican cuisine but I will eat it on occasion. I like taco's and burritos with chips and salsa. I usually go with rice for a side dish. I don't care too much for the bean side dishes. My heat tastes run to medium, but I have been tricked to making a foray into the high heat fare. I will not be observing the Cinco de Mayo holiday with Mexican food or drink.

2. Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven't been is this a place you'd like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?
     I have never been to Mexico nor do I have any desire to visit our southern neighbor. I can speak enough Spanish to get my face slapped.

3. What's one thing you may accomplish this month?
     I will try my best to stay alive. SWMBO is getting somewhat stronger and she's beginning to go stir crazy. It is kind of like living with a wounded bear.

4. If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what's one thing you'd like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you've ever seriously considered?
     The one thing I would like to accomplish is to eliminate wasteful spending. I have no desire to run for public office. Even if I had such a desire I could not run because my parents were married.

5. What's something that may be popular, but that you just don't get?
     I guess I'll go with RAP Music and Hip Hop. I just don't get it!

6. Can't let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in 'May the 4th be with you' ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'I've seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year', and 1 being, 'what's a Vader?' -where do you land?
     I am a fan of the Star Wars franchise. I've seen all the films but I don't own any action figures or other paraphenalia.

7. Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?
      My fourth blog post is from August 24, 2010, titled "LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT A FEELING." The general theme of the post is that love is something that we choose to do. It describes the genesis of my relationship with my beloved SWMBO and how I came to understand that love is, in fact, a choice.  I still believe it today. I'm sure I'll write about it again at some point in the future. 
  
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My heartfelt prayers are going out to our fellow citizens who have been victimized by horrific flooding or who have lost everything in the recent tornado's that have devasted sections of the south. I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose your home and all your possessions in one fell swoop.
     I pray God's grace upon those who have been affected, that they may recover quickly and return to some semblance of normal very soon.
     God bless all of you reading this post!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A COMEBACK IN THE MAKING HODGEPODGE!



     In the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur, "I have returned." I have been away from blogging and the Hodgepodge for awhile due to my beloved SWMBO's need for me to be there for her as she went through her stem cell transplant. She, and by she I mean we, had a really rough time of it. We are 67 days post transplant and although we still have a long way to go, SWMBO is beginning to get back some of her strength and stamina and is returning to some semblance of normal. 
     Many of you have offered prayers and words of encouragement over the past few months. They were of much comfort and help and are very much appreciated. Thank you...and you know who you are. Now onto the Hodgepodge...


1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April? 
     We received a good amount of rain here in the Granite State of N.H. Our drought has been significantly abated as a result. 
     I don't usually carry an umbrella but I do keep one in the car just to keep my options open...and for my beloved SWMBO. I do not wear a rain slicker, I make a break for it, running between the raindrops. 
     My April has been filled with doctor appointments and taking care of most of the household chores, i.e. cooking, cleaning, laundry and such. SWMBO is really motivated to get stronger because, although she really appreciates my efforts, my domestic skills are greatly inferior to hers. 

2. What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?
     There are three subjects that I would feel comfortable talking about for 30 minutes extemporaneously...(1) The Bible, (2) American History; and (3) Constitutional Law.

3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.
     My maternal grandparents lived with us during my childhood. The smell of onions cooking often wafted through the house. My grandmother put onions in pretty much everything that she made. To this day the smell of cooking onions evokes some wonderful memories of my childhood.

4. What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?
       My song is "Stairway to Heaven." What I thought Robert Plant was singing was "There's a wino down the road."  What he was actually singing was "As we wind on down the road." I'm sure that there have been other songs where I misheard the lyrics but this is the one that comes to mind. 

5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are-
Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.
     I've been to Niagara Falls and Faneuil Hall and Boston Market. SWMBO and I enjoyed both venues. I don't know if "overrated" is accurate with respect to these two tourist sites. Boston is teeming with American History and Niagara Falls is a natural wonder.  Sea World in San Diego is a tourist trap because it is so expensive. However, I do love to visit the park when I have the opportunity.

6. Your signature clothing item?

     If you tortured me until I screamed out a clothing item, I suppose I would say a "crusher" style hat. I have a camouflaged hat that I wear during cooler times of the year and a navy blue Boston Red Sox hat I wear during the warmer times. When I'm not wearing one of my crusher hats I wear a Red Sox or Boston Bruins ball cap.

7. What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?
     This is really a tough question and a great question. My answer is "unconditional love." Everyone should experience unconditional love at least once in their life. As a Christian, I have experienced the unconditional love of God. As a man, I have experienced the unconditional love of a woman, my beloved SWMBO. The beauty is that I still experience their unconditional love time and time again. I am lavishly, and undeservedly, blessed in this regard.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
     On February 15th SWMBO entered the hospital for her stem cell transplant. She had the transplant on February 17th. While in the hospital a number of side issues arose that made SWMBO's recovery difficult in the extreme. She spent three weeks in the hospital, being discharged on March 8th. 
     It was really great having her home, but she was very weak and tired. Her first Sunday home I had to take her to the emergency room because she had become seriously dehydrated which dangerously lowered her blood pressure  and caused her heart to beat erratically. She was stabilized and rehydrated with IV fluids and sent home that same day.
     It took a few weeks for SWMBO to recover a small level of strength and stamina and to overcome a myriad of side issues that cropped up.
     Today, 67 days after transplant she is much stronger but she is not where she was prior to the transplant. Doing simple physical tasks still tires her out quickly, so she needs to rest often. Progress is tediously slow but, thankfully, happens bit by bit every day.
     So, in a nutshell, that is what I've, and by I've I mean we've, been up to for the past several weeks.  It's good to be back. God bless all of you!