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Wednesday, December 30, 2015


     It seems like it was just 12 months ago that we were writing our last Hodgepodge of the year! As I get older time seems to pass by more rapidly. I'm certain that my experience is not unique. I thank Joyce, our Hodpodge Mistress, for her effort to come up with these questions every week. Her questions often challenge us. They sometimes evoke wonderful memories or humorous musings. Visit her blog page "From This Side of the Pond" and join in on the fun. 

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.
     SWMBO and I had a wonderful Christmas dinner, just the two of us. We had a beef roast with all the trimmings. We are so happy in each other's company. We love cooking and dining together. The fur baibies were not too intrusive and we ate in relative peace.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?
     It would have to be a Romantic Comedy and the title would be "Turtle's Bone!" The title is an enigma and "No!" I won't divulge the secret.

3. What made you feel patriotic this year?
     Nothing specific comes to mind. I feel patriotic when I see the stars and stripes unfurled blowing in the wind. I feel patriotic when I read about the exploits of our Navy Seals and other Spec-Ops personnel. I feel patriotic when I see a serviceman, or woman, come home early from a deployment and suprises their family. 
4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?
     I would not like to do much from last year over again. Our year was taken up with medical appointments and managing a beloved pet that is experiencing the throes of canine geriatrics. We got away for a day or two and visited a favorite vacation spot in Vermont. That would be kind of fun to do again.

5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?
     "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen. This year has just gone by too fast!

6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?
     I'd give it a 5 or 6. Nothing extraordinary, just an average, wonderful life, despite the items mentioned above in question #4.

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?
     I am not excited about any part of the year. I look forward to the Super Bowl, the Red Sox reporting for Spring training, March madness and the Boston Marathon. All of these things have one thing in common...they are the death knells signalling the end of winter. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
      We have three dogs, a yellow Labrador Retreiver and two Chinese Cresteds. Our Labrador is 15 years old and is having a hard time negotiating daily life. She joined our family 11 years ago. 
     One of the Cresteds joined our family a couple of years ago. The othe Crested joined our family earlier this year.
     The Labrador, Becke the wonder dog, is progressively experiencing difficulty walking. She can no longer do stairs without my assistance. She can no longer walk on linoleum floors without her hind legs giving out. She has a hard time getting comfortable on her bed(s). She has one in the living room and one in our bedroom. She has given us unconditional love for as long as we have had her. We now will endeavor to do the same to her in her twilight years. Our pets really do become a significant member of our families.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


     Welcome to the week before Christmas Wednesday Hodgepodge. It astounds me that another year has come and is almost gone already. I must be getting old! Thank you Joyce for these weekly writing prompts. Many are challenging. Others are just fun and still others are thought provoking and often calls to mind wonderful memories. I hope that you enjoy this week's edition.

1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?
     In my humble opinion our biggest "first world" problem is "National Security." It takes two forms. First, there is an entity who is at war with the United States. That entity, Radical Islam, is intent on bringing death and mayhem to our shores. Our leaders have essentially said "We're not playing, our war is over." It does not matter if we decide not to effectively engage the enemy, the enemy is going to engage us, and sooner rather than later.
     The second form is our unsecured borders. Our government, whether run by republicans or democrats, have failed to secure our borders and control who is admitted into our country. Every civilized country on the planet secures its borders and yet, we seem to be afraid of offending people if we secure our borders and really vet who gets in.

2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 
     I suppose that it's an interesting exercise to try to come up with who had the greatest impact on events during the year that is about to end. In my view it is largely subjective and ultimately meaningless. Angela Merkel is as good a choice as anyone. Other candidates might be Pope Francis, or Vladimir Putin, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, Kim Kardashian, and on and on and on ad nauseum.

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.
     We do have a nativity set in our home. It has been a part of our Christmas decor for the better part of 40 years. It's a simple cardboard manger with the usual players. Over the years we have lost the original cast and pressed ornaments (camel) and one or more of the Magi. We display it where ever there is space to accommodate it.

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?
     I try to make an effort to give back year round and not just at Christmas. I encourage people appropriate to the situation at hand. I empathize, offer suggestions and sometimes I'm just there holding their hand or being silently present.
5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?
     I don't have a favorite person to shop for because I don't particularly like shopping.

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?
     At a recent Christmas Party there was a particular pie that had cream, caramel, nuts, and other stuff that was absolutely delicious!
7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.
     Singing Christmas Carols! Songs and music have a special power to lift the soul and lighten the heart.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
     There have been a couple of troubling trends here in the Granite State. The NH State Police have made several arrests of people who were driving in excess of a 100 miles per hour. One "Rocket Scientist" was clocked driving 80 miles per hour a couple of hours after making bail on his getting arrested for driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. He said that he was angry at how much he had to pay to get his car out of the impound lot.
     Another trend has been people driving the wrong way on the interstate highway. One woman drove almost sixteen miles northbound in the southbound lane before NH State Troopers were able to stop her. Of course, significant alcohol consumption was the wrong way drivers, not the Troopers. 
     The surprising thing is that in all the incidents of excessive speed and wrong way driving, no one was killed. It has got to be Divine providence at work! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


     Today we are having unseasonably mild temperatures...AND LOVING IT! Last year at this time we had snow rectum deep to a bull moose and the bitter cold to go with it. If we could get just a "little" snow for the Christmas holiday, you know the Currier & Ives kind of snow, that would be good. 
     Another Wednesday is here and therefore another Hodgepodge ensues. So join the battle and express your thoughts and experience the fun. Thank you Joyce!

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.
     We don't have a specific story but we do reminisce about different events in our past. A couple of examples would be the account of our daughters birth in England or visiting my dad and watching him play chess with his grandkids. All of a sudden he'd disappear with the grandkids. He took them out for ice cream. Those are just two of several stories we revel in.

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?
     HECK NO! I refuse to allow "political correctness" or anything else to deprive me of my 1st Amendment Right to free, unfettered expression. I do not deliberately seek to offend anyone but I am certain that there are those who find my views to be offensive. Too bad...for them!

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?
     I have trouble being interested in "color." It's muck akin to my interest, that is my lack of interest, in flowers.

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?
     It would have to be "The Little Drummer Boy" because I have a great sense of rhythm. 

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?
     SWMBO and I will probably partake of some type of pastry. Cream Horns are our favorite. The last time that we bought some pastry was today.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.
     I can take it or leave it! SWMBO loves it...therefore, we decorate!

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.
     I can't remember. We tend to laugh a lot because I'm silly. I love making people laugh by telling a joke or saying outrageous things. I envision that my funeral will be a laugh riot with lots of "Do you remember when he...." stories being told about me and my time on earth.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My prayers go out to the San Bernadino community this week. I also feel a sense of pride in the way law enforcement, my former profession, ran towards the sound of the guns and thereby kept the body count down and resulted in the rapid capture of the two responsible murderers/terrorists. 
     Some of the people who were killed in the attack died using their own bodies to shield their co-workers from gunfire. Their sacrifice is not unusual of other Americans in similar circumstances. Americans are a noble people who willingly sacrifice themselve for others. God bless their families as they mourn the deaths of their loved ones.
     May God bless America and protect us from those who would seek our destruction.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


     We are in the waning days of the year 2015 A.D. That's right! I said A.D. and not that C.E. crap...but I digress. Are you thinking New Years Resolutions or is it too early? At this time of year I spend most of my time doing Christmas shopping/planning or helping SWMBO with Christmas Shopping/Planning or trying to answer that annual question "What do you want for Christmas?" I always have trouble answering this question because I do not want for anything. Well, it's Wednesday so onto this week's Hodgepodge!

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why?
     I did not watch the Charlie Brown special on Monday. My favorite Peanuts character is Linus. He seems to have a quiet wisdom within him and you got to love his "blankie."
"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."~Linus  

Would you agree? 
     I would agree. This kind of makes my point about his quiet wisdom. Sitting alone, away from the cares of the world and the cares of your world can be very therapeutic.

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind? 
     The sound of a tenor voice wafting through the house in the mornings. My dad had a beautiful tenor voice and would sing while he shaved or performed some other task in his morning routine. It signified that the day has officially begun and I needed to think about getting up and starting my day.

3. You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec? 
It's the Aurora Borealis in Norway, please. It may not be exciting, strictly speaking, but it would be spectacular. I am certain of that!

4. Who or what keeps you humble? 
     My grandchildren keep me humble. If they ask you to do something with them, you generally do. It's the same thinking that no matter how big and tough you are, when a child hands you a toy phone you take the call and talk to... ? 

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain. 
     Christmas Cookies and Egg Nog! Our tradition is to have cookies and egg nog available as we decorate the house. By way of full disclosure, I have a bit of a Scrooge like attitude when it comes to Christmas preparation.

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?
     I can take it or leave it. Mostly I leave it so making a gingerbread house is not part of our Christmas tradition.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year? 
     Nothing comes to mind. It's not because I don't have such items, it's just that it has escaped my consciousness.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
     Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, once observed that if you repeat a lie loud enough and often enough people will come to believe it no matter how outrageous the lie.
    I am reminded of Herr Goebbels during this time in our history when the notion is put forward with a straight face that bad weather is more of a threat than an organized fanatical militant group who repeatedly announces that they are coming to kill us and then prove their intentions by their actions. If they succeed than it won't matter how severe the weather gets because we will all be dead!
     Herr Goebbels observation is also relevant given the level of political discourse during this silly season more commonly known as the election cycle. It seem to me that our politicians are more interested in scoring debate points than they are in the truth of what ails our society.
     What is really sad is that the more news I read, the more news I watch, the more convinced I become that Herr Goebbels was right!