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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A SNOWY NEW ENGLAND HODGEPODGE!


     Well, it is official! The house interior has been decorated for Christmas! The Christmas tree is up and decorated. The garland has been strategically strung. The army of snowmen and nutcrackers have been deployed for duty.  Christmas stockings have been lovingly hung from the fireplace mantel. We are ready for Santa Claus' visit.
     Being Wednesday it is time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce Daley for another fine series of questions.  

1. 'Hurry less, worry less'...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?
     My strategy is to employ a philosophy I call "Constructive Apathy." I choose to not get amped up over minor issues that can take on monumental proportions during the holidays if you let them. It is kind of like that "Don't sweat the small stuff" cliche and remembering that it is all small stuff. 

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?
     There are a number of tasks that need to be done to prepare for the winter season. Just to name a few, turn off and insulate the outside water faucets. Order and then stack a pallet of wood pellets (seventy five 45-pound bags). Order our heating oil (500 gallons). Remove the window and door screens and install the glass panes. Clear off the rear deck and store the furniture for the winter. I do most of it myself.

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?
     The list sounds like fad diet stuff. I get the vegetables. I love vegetables both raw and cooked. I am not sure about the other things on the list.

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?
     I am okay with the color purple. I have never seen the movie. I do not wear the color often. One of our artificial Christmas trees is the color that shall not be mentioned. Nobody in their right mind would ever put me in charge of selecting colors.

5. Favorite book read this year?
"From Angel to Man" by Barric Kent. It is the first book in a trilogy. I know the author and have spoken with him at length about his novel. It is a quick read.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
      What do you see when you look at your Christmas tree? When I look at our Christmas tree I see the history of our life. 
     We shared our first Christmas together as man and wife in 1972. We were in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in New Mexico. We were poor as church mice. We bought a paint by number wooden Christmas ornament kit. Those ornaments still adorn our tree. 
     We still have a crumpled brown construction paper deer that our son made in grammar school.
     We have a hand painted glass Christmas ornament that we obtained in the United Kingdom while we were stationed there. 
     Every ornament on our tree evokes a memory of the time when we obtained the ornament. Our Christmas tree is a nostalgic walk through history, our history. SWMBO and I have been lavishly blessed. Have a wonderful week. 



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE...HODGEPODGE!



     Today is camel day. How do you like your camels...one hump or two? I hope that your hump day is going well so far. Being hump day it is also time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks to our Hodgepodge Mistress, Joyce Daley, for another series of probing questions.
     I urge you to participate. You will not be sorry that you did. In any event, enjoy this weeks offering.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?
      "We Keep Getting Back Up!" Sometimes in life you take some hits. Some of those hits ring your bell, others knock you off your feet, so to speak. A wise man once said that you never lose a fight if you keep getting back up.
     When the hits keep coming, you know, those financial set backs or a bad  report from your doctor, or the loss of a loved one, you keep getting back up.
     SWMBO and I keep getting back up !
  
2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?
     I suppose the most common thing that we reheat in the microwave oven are all sorts of leftovers. The "radar range" is very convenient but I think we could survive, that is, get along without one.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?
     My choice is "O Little Town of Bethlehem." I envision myself walking through its starlit streets until I came upon a manger on the outskirts of the tiny hamlet and witness the birth of the baby Jesus, Christ the Lord.  I would love to see that "new parent" look on the faces of Joseph and Mary as they held their new born Son for the first time. I imagine the sound of the heavenly hosts singing "Hallelujah, Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to the new born King!" I also can see in my minds eye the shepherds coming in from the fields to behold that which the Angel told them about, the Savior, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger...with a look of awe upon their faces. What a wonderful experience that would be.

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.
     SWMBO and I are fortunate to live in NH. It is a beautiful and scenic state. The most beautiful drive we have ever taken was a sunny fall day through the White Mountains. We drove through Franconia Notch and the Kancamangus Highway, NH Route 112. The views of the surrounding terrain is awesome. It speaks volumes of the majesty of God.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)
     I really don't have a Christmas Wish List. SWMBO and I started a tradition when we became empty nesters where we buy one gift for each other. This tradition avoids the whole "I spent more money on you than you spent on me" competition with the attendant bad feelings. 
     For example, one year we bought a new high definition television. Another year we bought new iPads. This seems to work for us.
   
6. Insert your own random thought here.
       One of the things that continues to amaze me at Christmas time is the thought that Almighty God, the Creator of all that has been created, left eternity and lived among us as a human, and a humble human at that.   He subjected Himself to all the laws of physics. He experienced things that are common to all of us. He got cold. He got hungry. He felt pain. He felt love. He laughed. He cried. He was like us in every way except one...He was still God. He was God in the flesh, but He was still God.
     Can you imagine how much love that God must have for all of us that He would do that? I cannot! So, during this Christmas season I urge all of you to consider the spiritual ramifications of the Christmas Holiday. I urge you all to truly keep Christ in Christmas.
     May God lavishly bless all of you!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A POST THANKSGIVING DAY HODGEPODGE!


     Good morning to all and to all a good morning. I hope that you all had a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving holiday. Are you sick and tired of turkey leftovers yet? SWMBO and I spent the dat with some dear friends who live close by. Thank you Doug and Linda for your hospitality and great food.
     Thank you Joyce Daley for your weekly series of questions. Thank you for your Wednesday Hodgepodge and for granting us fellow Hodgepodgers the privilege of participating. Here is this week's episode. I hope you enjoy you visit.

  
1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?
     I have learned that I write better than I speak. I think the reason why is that with my writing I can revise and extend my remarks. I can think and evaluate more fully what I commit to paper. When I speak I only have one shot to get it right. Once it is spoken, it is out there, unpolished and often times flawed. Blogging has clearly taught me this truth.

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?
     I am in the heat and reheat camp. I also sometimes eat leftovers such as Turkey or meat cold. Another thing that I like eating cold is my meat stuffing. It makes a wonderful tasting sandwich.
     That said, I have left things in the fridge so long that they turned into an awful, moldy, space alien like substance. EWWW! 
     My favorite leftover is chinese/shepherd's pie. I don't know about what I cannot abide as a leftover.

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

     I love being with people. I am also one of those people who are comfortable in their own company. Many years ago I was told that boredom is self inflicted. I believe that is true. We have all manner of things to stimulate us when we are flying solo. I like to read, play music, and watch TV to name a few. I also like to sit alone and just observe nature and get lost in my thoughts or spend time in prayer. Boredom is indeed self inflicted.

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
     The reasons why people come to me for help are as varied a the people. Sometimes it for advice for a personal problem. Some times it is a question about a teaching in Scripture or my opinion on something they heard or read about a teaching in Scripture. 
     I seldom get consulted on home repair or automotive issues due to my lack of skill in those disciplines.

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.
     My childhood would smell like onions frying in a cast iron pan. Our house often smelled of onions cooking. My grandmother, who did most of the cooking, almost always began by peeling, slicing and cooking onions.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     I can hardly believe that the year 2017 is almost done, but a quick glance at the calendar confirms that it is. It is at this time of year that I look back and think about my year. I think about goals that I have achieved and the goals I have fallen short of achieving. I think about the New Year and what goals that I want to achieve. Some goals will be carry overs from this year. Other goals will be new.
     Being a seriously flawed individual I have a lot of room for improvement. I am not perfect and let me add as an aside that those of you who seem to be perfect who seem to have everything together are particularly annoying to those of us who aren't and don't.
     How about you? Have you achieved all of your goals for 2017? Are you thinking about your goals for 2018?  
     I urge you to set reasonable, achievable goals and to work towards them. Do not spend your life wandering through it aimlessly. Set at least one goal and take steps to achieve it and then set another goal.
    Have a great week!



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A THANKSGIVING DAY GOBBLE! GOBBLE! HODGEPODGE!


     HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone! I sincerely hope that your holiday will be a blessed and memorable one. This is a special time of reflection and expressions of gratitude for the blessings all of us have received in life. I believe that everyone has been blessed to some extent so everyone has something for which to be thankful.
    Also, with the arrival of this holiday and the ensuing shopping orgy, the annual meeting of the Ebenezer Scrooge Admiration Society is called to order. BAH! HUMBUG! Come on, say it with me, BAH! HUMBUG! (See question #6 for more info on the Society)
     Thank you Joyce for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. So now, let us begin...
     
1. Tradition...how tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?
     It has been my experience that tradition, like life, is fraught with change. SWMBO and my holiday tradition(s) are different now that we are empty nesters than what they were when we had children growing up. Some things have not changed. We always have meat stuffing and turkey with all the trimmings. We watch the parades, football or binge watch a series of movies or a television show. We always find time for a nap, to name a few.
     We have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home at one time or another. It felt different, unusual and awkward. 

2. Help...is it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?
     It is not easy for me to ask for help. I have swallowed my pride from time to time and was forced to admit to myself that I was not capable to deal with the situation at hand and have asked for help. This usually involved a repair or other task where my skills were lacking. 
     I also tend to carry my own water on most personal issues. However, I have consulted with those more wise than me from time to time. 
    
3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?
     The color red. SWMBO loves a dark shade of red and painted the kitchen counters and cabinets red a few years ago. 

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?
     Here is the little thing that I am thankful for. A few years ago SWMBO gave me a flashlight on a lanyard. At the time I laughed and told her that I would never use it. I was wrong. This light has come in handy more times that I can mention. I am thankful for that little light. 
     The biggest thing that I am thankful for is my relationship with the God of the Bible and for my beloved SWMBO.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?
     The key to living a more grateful life is understanding that you have been the recipient of grace. There have been times when you did not receive what you deserved, but were given grace instead. 
     This is the essence of the Gospel. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. While we were sinners God sent his Son to die for us and pay our penalty for our sins. He died, was buried and was raised. Now, because He lives, we likewise live.
     My gratitude for this grace from God, and the grace that I have received from others compels me to live a grateful life.

6. State your own random thought here.
     Several years ago I founded the Ebenezer Scrooge Admiration Society. It is born of the attitude Ebenezer Scrooge had about Christmas. He clearly articulated his views in the classic story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Scrooge said Christmas was a Humbug! He opined that it was a false and commercial holiday. A cursory look at the way Christmas is celebrated today would seem to confirm old Scrooge had a point.
     The so called Christmas shopping season seems to expand every year. All you see on from mid November to New Years Day are ads for all manner of material stuff. The true purpose of the holiday is often missed or ignored in all the commercial hubbub. 
     I urge all of us to return to and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all. The gift of Immanuel, God with us and the salvation that He extends to whosoever will!
     Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!


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.