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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PRE-TURKEY DAY HODGEPODGE!



     Good morning to everyone out there in Wednesday Hodgepodge land. Summer has definitely gone bye-bye here in the Granite State. Temperatures have become more seasonable, that is, cold. I was compelled to start the pellet stove to heat the house thereby officially kicking off the 2017/2018 heating season. My beloved SWMBO was happy that the house was nice and toasty. I am happy that SWMBO was happy. Happy wife...happy life!
     Thank you Joyce Daley for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. I am thankful for these weekly essay questions. And now....the Hodgepodge.  

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?
     Crowds! I do not like standing-room-only type crowds. That's why I do not like Christmas Shopping. I hate the rude people who bump into you, push you, cut in front of you and who are generally unpleasant. 

2. Your least favorite spice?
     My least favorite spice is Nutmeg. SWMBO loves a few sprinkles of Nutmeg in her eggnog. I do not.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?
     There are so many changes I would like to make. I am a seriously flawed individual. Where do I begin? Perhaps one small change I would like to make is to complete one more blog per week in addition to the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)
     I do enjoy visiting historic homes. I love history. We have a home called Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborogh, NH. It was built in the early 20th century by a wealthy industrialist with innovations way ahead of its time such as central vacuuming, ammonia brine refrigeration and intercom systems. Another historic home is the poet Robert Frost's Farm in Derry, NH.

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?
     I have not visited any of the listed historic homes. I would love to check out Monticello. I am a huge fan of Thomas Jefferson. I also would love to visit Mount Vernon, the home of our first President.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?
      There are a couple of things that I think will be obsolete in ten years. One would be incandescent light bulbs. It seems to me that LED lights will replace them for better or worse. Another thing that quite possibly will be gone is cable TV. A lot of people are cutting the cable and turning to online streaming services where they can choose what they want and only pay for what they want. These streaming services such as HULU, Netflix, etc, will become more popular as greater bandwidth becomes more available. 
     I am not sad or glad about either prospect.
    
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     With Thanksgiving Day being just over a week away I thought that I would share a few things that I am thankful for. First and foremost I am thankful for the God of the Bible who has lavishly blessed me in my life. My salvation is dear to me and will be throughout all eternity. 
     Next, is my beloved SWMBO. She is my next greatest blessing. She has been my friend, my partner and my greatest joy for over 45 years. 
     I have been blessed with two wonderful children who have grown up to be wonderful adults and parents. I have been blessed with four wonderful grandkids. 
     I have a nice home. I love where I live here in NH, notwithstanding the harsh cold winters.
     I have a wonderful church family of devoted christians who excel at showing love to each other and the world around us.
     Last, and by no means least, I am blessed to live in the greatest country on the planet. Despite our faults, and there are many, we are at our core a noble people. Many foreigners leave their native land to come to this country, often at great risk to themselves, to enjoy the blessings of liberty and to build a better life for themselves and their families. 
     This list is not complete by any means. As I have mentioned many times, I am lavishly blessed and the foregoing are just a few examples.



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A HEARTBROKEN HODGEPODGE!



     Good day to everyone on this beautiful Fall Wednesday. Last night I started our pellet stove for the first time since the Spring. The 2017/2018 heating  season has officially begun. My beloved SWMBO was very happy to wake up to a nice and toasty warm house. 
     Our Hodgepodge Mistress has once again supplied us with a series of probing questions. Thank you Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. 
     If you have not participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, I urge you to do so. Here is this week's edition...

1.  In a rut, in a jam, in the groove, out of synch, off balance, out of touch...which saying best fits some area of your life currently (or recently)? Explain.
     All of these apply to some aspect of my life. I suspect that I am not alone in this regard. Furthermore, from day to day aspects of my life may change from one status to another status on the list. 

2. What is it about somebody else's style of work (coworker/employee/shared volunteer project/household chore) that makes you crazy? Why?
     My beloved SWMBO and I cannot work together on most tasks. I absolutely love my wife without qualification or exception. That being said, my wife is Type "A" and I, to be kind, am less organized. Also, she has a way of doing things and I have different ways of doing those same things. Our ways of doing them often conflict with each other and lead to, shall we say, less than loving interactions.  Therefore we divide tasks according to our particular strengths. 

3. What's a tradition that always makes you feel at home?
     When I make the first batch of my meat stuffing is a tradition that SWMBO and I look forward to every November. It is my maternal grandmother's recipe and it is delicious.

4. A favorite song with a girl's name in the title or lyrics? Any reason why this is a particular favorite?
     There are two songs from my youth..."And Along Comes Mary" by the Association and "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys. These songs evoke some very pleasant memories.
    
5. Share a favorite quote, verse, or saying relating to gratitude or thanksgiving.
     "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for." Epicurus

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     This has been another week of heart break. A church filled with God fearing people in worship were mercilessly mowed down by gun fire. Twenty six people are dead. Many more are injured. Once again the killer, in a final act of cowardice, took his own life.
     Is nothing sacred anymore? Have we come to the point when we can no longer worship God in peace and safety? Do churches now need to have armed personnel on site to protect the congregation? 
     I find it curious that these cowards don't commit their outrageous acts at a meeting of outlaw bikers or organized crime. No, these cowards prey on the weak and defenseless. 
     As a christian I am conflicted! As a man I am outraged and angry! I pray for the members of that little church in Texas. I pray for the families of those who were killed. I pray for the injured and the families of the injured. I pray for all who were traumatized by this heinous and cowardly act. I pray for America! 


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A SPOOKY HALLOWEEN HODGEPODGE!


     Happy Halloween to all you fellow Wednesday Hodgepodgers. We are an eclectic and interesting group of people. Happy Halloween to all you visitors as well. You too can become a part of our eclectic and interesting group. I promise you you will be glad that you did. Simply, start a blog and link it to Joyce's blog. Just like that you have become eclectic and interesting.
   The weather here in the Granite State continues to experience some wild mood swings. The rain and wind on Sunday and Monday did some major damage to  the state. A couple hundred thousand people are without power as I write this. Some roads have been damaged or washed away. Flash flooding was the order of the day. 
     So, by way of distraction and without further ado...here's the Hodgepodge!
     
1. What does/did Halloween look like at your house this year? Did you decorate? Pick pumpkins? Carve pumpkins? Expect trick or treaters? Wear a costume to a party or event? Make a costume? Feel glad you didn't have to come up with a costume? Cook a Halloween themed treat? Eat all the leftover candy?
     This year we did not decorate, we generally do not decorate. We don't get any Trick or Treaters here because the road we live on makes it unsafe. 
     Our two Chinese Cresteds dressed up in Scottish kilts that SWMBO made for them. We made Trick or Treat bags of candy for our grand girls and SWMBO's co-workers.  
     No pumpkins at all. No costumes for us. A little leftover candy to munch on. Our church did have a Trunk or Treat at the church parking lot.

2. What are you waiting for? Elaborate
     I am waiting and praying for a cure for Multiple Myeloma, SWMBO's cancer.  Fighting this disease is incessant. The battle ebbs and flows. There are good days and there are bad days. However, cancer does not last forever...it will come to an end. SWMBO and I long for that day for us and everyone else who are engaged in a similar battle.
     I am also waiting for the Lord's promised return. A sincere faith in God really helps me put things in perspective. Nothing I have in life, material goods, power, or wealth will last forever! All the stuff that drives the news coverage of the day will likewise not last forever. 
     However God's love is forever. Our promised home in Heaven with God is forever. We often sing a song at church that says "This world is not my home I'm just passing through," and "O Lord you know I have no friend like you," and " I can't feel at home in this world anymore." Jesus taught that our treasures should be stored up in heaven where they will last forever. That's what I'm waiting for.

3. Do you wish you were friendlier, braver, more creative, more athletic, or something else? Explain.
     I suppose, like most people, there is room for improvement in all the listed areas. I think I could particularly use some improvement in being more productive. That is, becoming more task oriented and more diligent at getting needed tasks done.

4. When it comes time to paint are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone? What was the last paint job completed at your house? What room most needs painting now? How do you feel about wallpaper?
    I suppose most rooms in our not so palatial estate could do with some sprucing up. We prefer paint rather than wall paper. 

5. What is one specific thing you felt gratitude for in the month of October?
     See my Random Thought.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     From time to time up here in the Granite State we experience loss of electric power for various reasons. Most of the time it is weather related. Sometimes it is because a graduate of the Helen Keller School of Driving crashes into a utility pole. Some of these power outages can last for days, if not weeks. A lot of homeowners use gas powered emergency generators to power their homes during such times. SWMBO and I bought our generator years ago after an ice storm knocked out power for weeks.
     Recently, a friend upgraded his transfer switch from six to ten circuits so he gave me his old six circuit transfer switch. The transfer switch is directly connected to the breaker box to power the most essential circuits in the house.
     Another friend is a licensed electrician and was kind enough to install the transfer switch for us. 
     For us, our priority circuits are our well pump, our furnace, our pellet stove, our refrigerator and a few outlets to power our fish tank, freezer chest and a lamp or two.
     When power goes out, now all we have to do is start the generator and connect a power cable from the generator to the transfer switch to power those circuits. We simply flip six switches to go off the grid and onto the generator. So now we will have heat, water and hot water for the duration of any outage. It is quite the upgrade. Thank you Lord!
     As I have shared before, SWMBO and I are lavishly blessed of God. Enjoy your week.
     


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NH WEATHER CRAZINESS HODGEPODGE!


     Welcome back Joyce and thank you for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. I had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting something today. That something was the Wednesday Hodgepodge.
     The weather up here in the Granite State has been erratic. Some days it has been cool and raw. Other days it has been humid and unseasonably warm. Still other days have been wet and humid as well as wet and raw. It is so true that if you do not like the weather around here, just wait awhile it will certainly change.
     Now onto the Hodgepodge...

1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general? 
     I am surprised that I have survived to reach my present age. I have taken many foolish risks while growing up.
     I am surprised that I am such a God fearing man. People who knew me pre-conversion are also quite surprised.
     I am most surprised, AND very thankful, that my beloved SWMBO has chosen to remain with me all these years. We are still very much in love and are unwaveringly devoted to each other. We still yearn to be, and enjoy being, in each other's company. Ours is a love that songwriters and poets write about.
  
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie...you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
     I am going with the baked sweet potato. I do enjoy several of the other items on the list though.

3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?
     The most famous book set in New Hampshire I suppose is "The Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. I have not read it so I cannot say where to rank it on the given scale. 

4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?
     No, I have not started my Christmas Shopping. How do I stay organized for the holidays...I don't!

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?
     I have never been to the state of Tennessee. I would like to some day. There are a lot of attractions that I would find of interest to me. I think that I would most like to see Nashville, the home of Country Music.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My beloved Red Sox are out of contention for the World Series. The dreaded Evil Empire, A.K.A. the Yankees, are also out of contention, having been beaten by the Houston, Astros who also beat the Red Sox. I am hoping that the Astros go all the way and beat the L.A. Dodgers in the World Series. Houston could use the uplift after the hurricane disaster earlier this year.
     My beloved Patriots seem to be making progress towards playing good football. They performed very well against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. I do not bear the Falcons any malice mind you. They are a good team with an excellent quarterback and other excellent key personnel. 
     It should also be noted that the teams that met in the Super Bowl were not the same teams that played Sunday night. There has been a number of personnel changes on both teams. GO PATS!
     Have a great week everyone!



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL HODGEPODGE!


      Good morning to everyone. The Hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the southeast and Puerto Rico continue in full vigor. The wildfires in the northwest and the Golden State continue almost unabated. This has been an awful year for natural disasters to torment our great nation. Please continue your prayers and, where you can, financial and other material assistance. Also, please pray that no further disasters strike our great land.
     The investigation into the shooting incident in Las Vegas continues as well. How much more suffering can we endure? 
     Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and pull up a seat and take a break and enjoy some positive diversion that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another series of 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 am SWMBO's human GPS. I have been blessed with an innate sense of direction. At the risk of sounding immodest I would rate myself a 10. When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 
     I used a folded paper map a couple of years ago when I was in an area that had no cellular coverage. We were in Maine. I usually have one as a back up. back east, down south, out west, up north
Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.
     I choose "back east" and by back east I mean the northeast. I choose the northeast because in my humble opinion it is the best part of the country to live. We have no indigenous land dwelling creatures that are poisonous and can kill you. The ocean is a different story. 
     Winter is a challenge but I see it as the price we must pay for the privilege of enjoying the other three spectacular Seasons.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.
     I did more listening yesterday. Yes, it is typical. One word...SWMBO!

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?
     I guess I'm most guilty of wasting time. What I might do to change that is to procrastinate less and focus more on being task oriented and more productive.

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.
     My family would often take a road trip to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. My dad's brother, Uncle Blackie, lived there. We always had a great time. Uncle Blackie was always fun to be around. He was an avid Canadiens fan. I am an avid Bruins fan. We had many good natured arguments about this storied hockey rivalry. I usually lost those arguments because the Canadiens usually won.

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?
     If I had the proverbial green thumb, I would grow the standard fare of tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, etc. In addition I would grow watermelon, pumpkins and corn.
     I love farm fresh vegetables. I also love fresh corn on the cob with butter and salt, watermelon and pumpkin seeds.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
      Video of the damage caused by the recent wildfires in northern California are heartbreaking to see. Video of the damage inflicted by the recent hurricanes is likewise heartbreaking. I cannot imagine how I would feel if I lost everything I owned in one fell swoop.  My heart goes out to those who have. 
     Once again the American spirit is on display. Many of those who did lose everything and consented to be interviewed have expressed thankfulness that their loved ones are alive and unhurt. They express further a great optimism and determination to rebuild their homes and recover from their losses, no matter how long it may take them.
     So I ask again what I asked in my opening paragraph, to be in prayer for these people who have been affected by the storms and the wildfires. Also, if you are able and so inclined, please help financially as well. After all, it is the American way...it is the Christian way. God bless you and protect you!  



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PRAYERS FOR LAS VEGAS HODGEPODGE



     Once again evil has reared its ugly head.  This time it was in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our Nation now mourns for the families of those who were murdered .  Again we pray for the swift recovery of those who were wounded.  Once again the nobility of the American citizen was on full display. 
     Once again it is Wednesday which means that it is time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks to Joyce Daley, the creator of the Wednesday Hodgepodge, for another set of interesting questions. So without further delay, I give you this week's Hodgepodge.

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 have visited farms from time totem but I never spent time on a farm. I have never grown my own pumpkin, either. There is a competition here in NH to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin. Competing gourds can grow as big a 2,000 pounds plus. Now that's an impressive pumpkin.
     I have been on a hayride several times. I came to appreciate mulled cider from my hayride experiences.
     I have never driven a tractor nor have I ever milked a cow. I'm a country boy but I'm not that country.

2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 
     I think my younger self would like my sense of empathy for others. I am certain that my younger self would like my sense of humor too.

3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?
     This question kind of question begs a couple of follow up questions "If you want to do them more often, then what's stopping you?" and "If you want to do them less often, then what's stopping you?"  
      There are things that I would like to do more often, go to a movie or a play with my beloved SWMBO. I would like to eat out more often, again with my beloved SWMBO. I would also like to get away somewhere that's quiet and secluded to read, pray, meditate and just enjoy the natural beauty around me.
     The things that I would like to do less often is eating those things that are bad for me. I would like to procrastinate less. Finally, I would like to overthink things less.
     I plead the fifth on the follow up questions above.

4. What's on your nachos?
     On my nacho's are the following: French fries, salsa, diced tomatoes, jalapeƱos, onions and of course melted cheese.

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
     I guess my Concealed Carry License. Yes, it definitely needs to stay there.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My heart is broken at the growing division in this country. The bodies were still laying in the concert venue when some politicians, news reporters and others tried to exploit this incident for their own agendas.
     A lawyer for CBS said that she had no sympathy for the victims because they were mostly conservative and presumably gun enthusiasts and therefore deserved what they got.
     Politicians and news talking heads wasted no time in calling for more gun control laws. Lost on these people is the fact that the perpetrator violated several "gun laws" in the execution of this heinous act. I would also like to point out that we have laws prohibiting murder and the possession of controlled drugs. You cannot read a newspaper without reading a story about someone being killed or arrested for drug possession, often with intent to sell. MORE LAWS ARE NOT THE ANSWER! RESTRICTING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS IS NOT THE ANSWER!

     SWMBO UPDATE: SWMBO spent five days in the hospital. She is home now and doing so much better. Thank God for her doctors and especially her nurses who gave her excellent care. The doctors believe that the problem was caused by her electrolytes going way out of balance. I pray God that there is no repetition of this incident. Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging words.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

THE FULL MOON AT THE ASYLUM!


     Good morning to all my Wednesday Hodgepodge Peeps. The past two weeks have been disastrous for so many people with Harvey, Irma and Maria passing through and wreaking havoc throughout the south Atlantic islands and southern United States.  We will be rebuilding for many months. Puerto Rico is completely offline. God help us!
     Today is Wednesday which means it's Hump Day and time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, make yourself comfortable and enjoy a few minutes of Hodgepodger introspection.

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.
     I had a goldfish that didn't last two months. I had a little green turtle that suffered the same fate as the goldfish.  SWMBO  brought a cat into our marriage and we had other cats during the early part of out marriage. The most cats we had at one time were sixteen. That's right, sixteen, but that's a story for another time!

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?
     I have to drop the Littles off at daycare in the morning and remember to pick them up from daycare in the afternoon.

3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?
     I was still living where I live tody. I was in the waning years of my law enforcement career. It is hard to believe that I retired six years ago.

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?
     I must confess that I missed that one. I do not have a dumpling of choice nor have I ever made a dumpling.

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'm the kind of adventurer that prepares for every forseeable event and then strike out taking on whatever comes their way.  I am a "Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you" kind of adventurer.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     For those of you who have been following SWMBO and me on our journey that is cancer there has been a recent bump in the road. 
     SWMBO has been dealing with frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting and other intestinal problems for the past few weeks. The doctors could could not figure out what was causing the problem. It all came to a head last Sunday.
     SWMBO was feeling fine until about mid afternoon. She began feeling nauseous and then began vomiting again. In addition, she developed vision problems. She had trouble moving her fingers and was feeling tingly in both hands and legs. We thought she was having a stroke or at minimum a TIA. So off to the emergency room we go. Enroute to the hospital the symptoms intensified. 
     At the hospital they ran a bunch of tests. Her electrolytes were found to be way out of balance, but there was something more going on.  She was admitted to the hospital and has been there since, while they try to figure it out.
     Good news is that her neurological symptons subsided by Sunday evening but the doctors still don't know what caused them, which means that they do not know how to treat my beloved and her symptoms can recur at any time.
     We would appreciate your continued prayers and I will keep you posted. Have a great week.