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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!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A LENTEN HODGEPODGE



     Welcome to the month of March 2017. How is your year going so far. As for me, it could be a lot better. If you have read my blog posts you know to what I am referring. Seeing, however, that our friend Joyce Daley has gone through the trouble of coming up with another set of Hodgepodge questions, perhaps I should get busy and try to answer them. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge....

1. 'Slow and steady wins the race'...tell us about a time this was true in your own life. 
     There have been several periods of my life where this phrase was true. For example, when I began my law enforcement career I also went to college. Slow and steady was definitely the order of the day. Married life is another area of my life where this phrase applies. Finally, my beloved SWMBO's battle with cancer is a race where slow and steady applies. 
     This phrase is the other side of the coin from "Haste makes Waste."
2. 'As slow as molasses'...Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 
     I don't care much for molasses. I do like maple syrup, caramel and butterscotch. My favorite is maple syrup and my favorite food would be a hot stack of pancakes with maple syrup lavished over them.

3. Your favorite slow song? 
     Our favorite slow song is "Colour My World" by Chicago. That is our special song.

4. Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot? 
     My favorite thing is Beef Stew. SWMBO makes a terrific Beef Stew in the crock pot. She also makes a superb Corn Chowder.
5. 'You may delay, but time will not.' ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?
     Mr. Franklin's statement is axiomatic. I am not a hurrier, which drives SWMBO absolutely nuts. I am delaying completing my taxes for the year.

6. Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.
      Three things that are annoyingly slow are: (1) Retail Tire Shops take forever to install new tires. (2) Grocery check-out lines. Our store has about 15 checkout lines, but only two or three are open at any one time. (3) Healing from an injury or getting over a cold or flu.

7. March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. 
     I am not crafty but SWMBO is. There is no craft that I plan to try in the forseeable future.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
     Major League Spring Training has begun. The Red Sox look like they have improved, judging by the few games I've seen so far. Winter is dying and that's good. The Celtics and Bruins are playing fairly well also. Could another Boston champion be in the making? Could be! 
     SWMBO is still having a rough time recovering from her stem cell transplant. She is still in the hospital as of this writing. I am not sure when she is projected to come home. As far as I'm concerned, it cannot be soon enough. Your continued prayers are very much appreciated.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A NEW BEGINNING HODGEPODGE


     As I write this I am winding down from my busy day. Frankly, I wasn't sure that I would be able to "play" this week, but here I am. SWMBO is still in the hospital up in Lebanon, NH. Our "Littles" (our two small dogs) are still alive and well under my care. They are having as normal an existence that I'm able to provide. Since I have some time and as long as Joyce went to the trouble of coming up with these questions, I thought that I'd try answering them. And now...the Hodgepodge...

1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?
     I have been fishing many times. I sometimes catch fish. I enjoy catching any type of fish. I'm a catch and release kind of guy. I don't eat fish due to an allergy.

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?
     These days I'm kinda a fish out of water. Those things that SWMBO did on a daily basis that I took for granted, I am now doing. She made it look effortless. I assure you that it is not!

2. What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?
     I am usually fishing out my debit card. I use it to pay for groceries, to pay for gasoline, to pay for the odd lunch.

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?
     I don't know that I have a favorite "fish" movie. I like the original "Jaws" movie. I thought "Finding Nemo" was cute. Nothing else comes to mind.

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.
     I am definitely a night owl. I hate mornings with a passion. Early mornings are the worse. I am at my best late afternoon and through the evening.

5. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?
     I have a N.E. Patriots winter jacket. I received it as a present from my daughter. As each year passes the rattier the coat looks, but I still wear it.

6. We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?
     I've been feeling the need for a getaway for many, many months now. However, I cannot and will not be able to get away for many more months to come. Most of you know why.

7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?
     I will not be celebrating. I'm not a margarita drinker. I do like Jimmy Buffet but I'm not a "Parrot Head." Margaritaville is my favorite Buffet song.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     SWMBO Transplant Update: My beloved SWMBO was admitted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Wednesday. After a massive dose of Chemo on Wednesday night, she received her stem cell transplant on Friday. She is having a rough time of it. She is suffering from serious nausea and vomiting, lowering blood pressure and rising heart rate to name just a few issues she's contending with. Today is day five post transplant. The attending physicians tell us that she is doing as expected at this point. Hopefully, she will turn a corner and improve dramatically over the next few days. 
     I travel up to Lebanon to see her two or three times a week. Every day we do speak to each other, either by phone of on "FaceTime." When we're on FaceTime she gets to see the Littles and they get to see her. It's not optimal but it's better than nothing.
     Thank all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement. They truly are a big help in easing our navigating these troubled waters. Have a wonderful week.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH HODGEPODGE!


     We have had two, that's right two, northeasters strike the granite state within a week. They deposited fifteen inches and ten inches of snow respectively. I understand that it snows in Winter but does it have to fall in the same week. Following each snowfall is a procedure commonly known as shoveling, but I call it "Canadian Archaeology." You have to rediscover your rear deck and stairs, your front stairs and walkway, and sometimes your mailbox. Also, the oil company needs a clear path shoveled to the oil tank filler tube which, lucky me, is located at the rear of my house. I am getting too old for this stuff!
     Well, enough whining about snow and Winter. Joyce Daley has provided us with another set of interesting Hodgepodge questions. So without further ado...

1. What do/did you call your grandparents? If it's something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you're a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?
     I grew up in the same house with my maternal grandparents. I called my grandmother "Memere" (Mem-May) and my grandfather "Pepere" (Pep-Pay). They are traditional French Canadian appellations for grandparents so there is no unusual story to tell. SWMBO and I both chose our own moniker. She chose "Granny" and I chose "Pepere." 

2. Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? If you were to take a trip along the California Coast what's one attraction you'd have on your must-see list?
     SWMBO and I have not taken a road trip along the California coast. We did take an interior route from San Diego to Yosemite National Park. I think a trip along the California coast would be a beautiful ride. Maybe someday!

3. What are three things you don't know how to do?
   I don't know how to do brain surgery. I don't know how to rebuild an engine. I don't know how to speak Mandarin Chinese. 

4. Tom Peters is quoted as saying, 'Celebrate what you want to see more of.' If that's true what will you celebrate and more importantly, how will you celebrate?
     I've got nothing!

5. Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer-an Almond Joy or a macaron? What's something you make that calls for almonds?
     I do like almonds. I would prefer an Almond Joy and then the macaron. I make an ice cream sundae with crushed almonds.

6. What does Saturday morning look like at your house?
    If the dog's cooperate SWMBO and I try to sleep in an extra hour or two. SWMBO normally gets a call from her cousin and they share updates on what's going on in their lives. I get up, have some breakfast, take my meds and then plan the rest of my day.

7. Share with us a favorite book you've read this winter.
     Sadly, I haven't read a book this Winter.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     On this Wednesday my beloved SWMBO is entering the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, NH, to undergo her stem cell transplant. She will be in the hospital for two to three weeks. Once she is discharged and is allowed to come home she will be housebound until at least the beginning of June at which time her immune system will be restored and functioning as intended. 
     The medical center is a two hour drive from the house so that makes frequent visits problematic. We'll stay in touch via video-chat and I will visit as often as I can but it will be difficult being separated for such a long time.
     On the positive side, the transplant team has done hundreds of thousands of these transplants with a very high success rate. 
     Many of you, and you know who you are, have forwarded encouraging comments and have offered prayers on our behalf. Thank you all, very, very, much for all of it. It really has been a help and a comfort. Please keep the prayers coming. Again, thank you for your support. Enjoy your week.