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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

SWEATING MY "DONKEY" OFF HODGEPODGE!



     The "Hot & Muggies" are the order of the day this week in the beautiful Granite State. High heat and humidity have moved in for awhile. That's okay though, SWMBO loves it and is very comfortable. She has become very good at walking around the puddles of sweat that used to be me and should she miss one, thankfully she is a very good swimmer. (I know, EWWW! Right?)
     Well, hot and humid or not, today is Wednesday and our friend Joyce Daley has seen fit to publish another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Here we go...

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.
     Growing up, I never knew my paternal grandparents. They passed away before I was born. I did however live with my maternal grandparents. I was very close to both of them. My grandmother was French Canadian an didn't speak much English so I grew up speaking French. My grandfather was a devoted Red Sox fan and he slept in the front, downstairs room of our house. I often snuck downstairs after bedtime and watched a Red Sox game with him. That was kind of our special thing. 

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?
      As a child I was attached to my tonsils. Then one day, at the promise of endless ice cream and ginger ale, they were ripped out of my throat. It was a cruel hoax to play on a child. Who could eat or drink when your throat was in such pain? It was pure evil!

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.
     My beloved SWMBO and I are blessed to live in the idyllic setting of the foothills of the Uncanoonuc Mountains. They are a pair of mountains. Not as grand as the Grand Tetons out west but their name means the same in the language of the indigenous peoples who lived in this area hundred of years ago. Indigenous men seemed to be fixated on women's breasts because there are so many mountains named after them. But I digress...There are plenty of trees on, and around, our not so palatial estate. It makes for some real fine country living.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 
Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?
     I am not a fan of sour candies. I would say that lime is my favorite of the listed foods. I like key lime pie and I'll occasionally drink lime in an ice cold lager beer on a very hot day on rare occasions. In place of beer I'll drink club soda with a lime wedge instead.
     I have never eaten a kumquat to my knowledge and I would not know a kumquat if I was hit by one.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.
     July 1st also marked the 45th trip around the Sun as man and wife for my beloved SWMBO and me. 
     So far this has been a difficult year. SWMBO's recovery from the stem cell transplant is ongoing but at a snails pace. SWMBO, being a type A+ person tries to do more than her body will allow and she pays the price for it and needs a day or two to recover. 
     On a good note, we have been cleared by SWMBO's oncologist to attend church again as long as we avoid people who have colds and other ailments. It does us both a lot of good to be with our church family again.
     So in summary, we are doing okay and making the best of life and handling what comes our way as we always have,...together and in faithful trust in the loving providence of God!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     This weekend the dreaded Evil Empire (Yankees) visited Fenway Park for a four-game series with my beloved Red Sox. The Yankees have a rookie right fielder named Aaron Judge. He stands 6'7" tall and weighs 270 lbs. He looks like a NFL linebacker! He's a big boy! He has some real skills and he seems to be a good man. His only negative from what I saw this weekend is that he is a Yankee. 
     The series was split at two games each. One of the games is under protest and may have to be played again but it was a good weekend all the same.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

GRANITE STATE SUMMER HODGEPODGE


     Summer is well on it's way here in the Granite State. We have been having a greater number of thunder storms this summer some of which have been quite violent. Last year we were in drought conditions. This year we are not. Lightning is Nature's fireworks display and is stunning in appearance. We have been blessed with a number of awesome displays.
     The Wednesday Hodgepodge is also stunning but in a different way. It's Americana on display. Voices from all over the country giving opinions and recounting their life experiences on display. Thank you Joyce for your continued efforts in providing this weekly pause from the rigors of life. And now, the Hodgepodge...

1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)
     It''s been awhile since I have chatted with a neighbor. We often exchange pleasantries in passing but the opportunity to engage in extended conversation just hasn't presented itself. When we do speak it is usually concerning work/retirement, family and current events.

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why?
     I think that I am most like a river. I am always moving forward. Sometimes I am smooth and placid, other times I am rough and choppy but I am always flowing on. Sometimes I am overflowing and affect those around me. Sometimes I am low, revealing things that were usually hidden. Yeah, I think that I am a river.

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?
     I have driven through Delaware but I have never visited there. My state is called the Granite State and the name makes great sense to me. There is granite everywhere. It also fits the character of the people who live here. We are a hearty and independent minded people. Our state motto is "Live Free or Die." Our state constitution explicitly gives us the right to revolt and overthrow our government should the government ever come to oppress the population. You gotta love a state like that.

4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?
     The last dish that we brought to a pot luck was a fruit salad consisting of watermelon, strawberries and blueberries. I do not have a go-to meal, it's generally pot luck.

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?
     Think "Tag Team." It took two of you to create this new life and it will most certainly take the two of you to raise and care for the little bugger. Sometimes your partner needs to tag out and get some relief . There will be times when you need to tag out for the same reason. There are no "Your Job/My Job" tasks. Both of you are responsible to get the jobs done. Love each other, support each other and take time for each other.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     Lately things have been difficult for New York law enforcement. A NYPD officer, a 12 year veteran and mother to three children, was assassinated while sitting in her department vehicle. 
     Two days ago a New York State Trooper was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance. 
     Men and women willingly answer the call to serve by laying their lives on the line to make their communities safer and a better place to live. They, more than anyone else, understand that they may be required to make the ultimate sacrifice and do so without hesitation. 
     God bless the men and women who serve in law enforcement. May God watch over them and protect them and bless their families. Please say a prayer for your police officers and their families this week. 
     Enjoy the rest of your week.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

THE WASHINGTON KABUKI THEATER HODGEPODGE!


     A belated happy Independence Day to all of you out there in Hodgepodge Land and elsewhere. America celebrated its 241st birthday yesterday. Upon reflecting upon the Declaration of Independence I come away with a few thoughts. First, the Declaration is an amazing document. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest documents ever written by man. Next, the men who signed the Declaration, by signing it, committed the capital offense of treason against the British Crown. Knowing this, they signed it anyway. Third, the men who signed the Declaration pledged their lives, their property and their sacred honor. 
     When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to participate in another Wednesday Hodgepodge, we do...

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?
     I have seen a fair amount of firework displays in my life but none of them stand out as exceptional. I've witnessed a few lightning storms that were remarkable.
     As far as hot buttons go, I am pretty laid back and am not easily angered. One thing that is sure to evoke a reaction from me is any perceived threat to my beloved SWMBO or other family member. It's been a very long time since anyone was dumb enough to push that button.
  
2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?
     I have not hosted or attended any outdoor summer parties. I have attended one or two outings where it was just SWMBO and me and another couple. I think a great outdoor party has three ingredients; (1) Great Food, (2) Great Music, and (3) Wonderful People.

3. What does freedom mean to you?
     Freedom means the ability to worship God as I choose, when I choose and how often I choose. Freedom means the ability to go where I choose, when I choose, for as long as I choose.  Freedom means the ability for me to say what I want, how I want and about anything that I want. Freedom means that I can associate with whoever I want and I can choose to not associate with anyone I choose. 
     Freedom means doing all the aforementioned things without fear of reprisal from any level of government.  

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?
     There are two cell phone habits that annoy me. First, are people who persist in using their cellphones while driving, in clear defiance of the law. Second, are people who are conducting business at a counter or other place and who don't have the courtesy to suspend or end their call while conducting their business. 

5. What's your current summer anthem?
     "Turn the Page" by Bob Seeger.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     The "Swamp" continues to flourish in our Nation's Capitol. I seem to remember that part and parcel of the campaign promises of most of those running for office during the last election cycle was to "drain the swamp!" It seems to me that the swamp level is rising. 
     The attempt to replace Obamacare, which is imploding, is a HUGE disappointment. The Republicans, you remember them, they're the party in power, cannot get it's act together. The Democrats are predictably conducting themselves as obstructionists. 
     In short, it is the same old Kabuki Theater that the American people voted against during the last election cycle. God help us!



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HOT WATER BLUES HODGEPODGE !



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GRANITE STATE HEAT WAVE HODGEPODGE!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

POST MEMORIAL DAY HODGEPODGE


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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Insert your own random thought here.

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CLOSING IN ON 100 DAYS HODGEPODGE!


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

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BEHOLD, THE IDES OF MAY HODGEPODGE!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DAYS AFTER MAY DAY HODGEPODGE!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A COMEBACK IN THE MAKING HODGEPODGE!



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


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

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

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

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

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

6. Your signature clothing item?

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

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

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


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.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

FEBRUARY, SO FAR SO GOOD HODGEPODGE!



     We are seven days into the month of February and so far no major events have transpired. SWMBO is recovering from her oral surgery and is now scheduled to enter the hospital for her stem cell transplant on February 15th.
     Today (Tuesday) we celebrated the occasion of our youngest granddaughter's 6th trip around the Sun. She is such a cute and wonderful child. SWMBO and I are truly blessed. 
     Tomorrow being Wednesday means that it's Wednesday Hodgepodge time. Thank you Joyce and now, onto the Hodgepodge...

1. What's the last thing you did that someone else thought was super? 
     I replaced the kitchen faucet tip with a more "gadgety" tip which SWMBO absolutely loves. The faucet swivels, it sprays, and it has a lever to control the water flow intensity. Like I said, gadgety!

2. The last thing you ate that tasted superb?
     Last night I had a cake that was superb. It had coconut and pineapple cream. Yummy!

3. Supersensitive, superstitious, superwoman, superambitious, supercilious, supervisor, superficial...pick a super word from the list and tell us how it relates to your life in some way recently or currently. 
     None of those "super" words relates to my life recently or currently. Especially the "superwoman" one, I'd never pass the physical and I thank God for it!

4. Do you love easily? If you're comfortable doing so, explain why you think that is. 
     I think that I do love easily. I think the reason stems from my belief in God. He loves me without measure and He requires me to love others as I love myself, better than I love myself. So I try to imitate God's example because I believe that it pleases Him. Also, some people are easy to love.

5. Valentine's Day lands on a Tuesday this year. Will you mark the day in some way? If you're celebrating with a dinner out somewhere will it be on Tuesday or will you celebrate over the weekend?
     I will mark the day in some way. Because my beloved SWMBO might read this post I won't specify how. 

6. What's something you are loving right now? 
     I am loving my life right now. Even with all the trials and challenges I am lavishly blessed and mostly content. God has shown His presence and providence in tangible ways. Additionally, my beloved SWMBO's devoted love had shown itself to be true over and over again. I got no complaints.

7 Write a three word (or less) phrase you'd like to see on a Valentine candy heart.  
     "Guess Who?"

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
     At the risk of sounding like I'm gloating, my beloved New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champs for the fifth time. It was an exciting game.  It was one of the most exciting games I have seen. The Atlanta Falcons played a spirited and tough game. They could have easily won if one or two things broke their way. Up until the fourth quarter, I believed that the Falcons were going to win. They were up by 19 points. When the Patriots missed a point after touchdown kick I figured that it wasn't the Patriot's night. I was wrong! 
     The Falcons head coach and quarterback showed a lot of class in their post game interviews after what had to have been a heartbreaking loss. I am certain that they will be back in the Super Bowl again. Their team is too young and too talented to not make it back to the big game.
     Today the city of Boston closed down for the day and the Patriots had a parade through the city to the resounding cheers of Patriot Nation who were lining the streets.  It was cold and snowy but the parade would, and did, go on. It was well deserved! GO PATRIOTS!



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DIE ! JANUARY, DIE ! HODGEPODGE



     Welcome to the day before we wait with bated breath for the weather prognosticating rat to tell us if he see's his shadow. If he see's his shadow, we get another six weeks of Winter. If not, we get about a month and a half more.
     We have come to another month and, being Wednesday, another Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Thank you Joyce Daley for another series of probing questions. Now onto this week's answers.

1. Can you believe it's the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?
     January 31st was the best day of the month because with the passing of the 31st the month of January died with it. See my random thought for the reason why.

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?
     The sounds of grandchildren laughing and playing dominos and Score Four with their Granny and Pepere. 

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)

Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?
     I guess there are two things that I need to drop. "Regret" and "Negative Self Talk." I tend to be my harshest critic and I have difficulty letting go of things I should have done better.

4. What is sacred to you?
     God, my beloved SWMBO, and my faith.

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?
     I am a huge fan of oatmeal. I like it with a little cream and sugar or maple syrup.

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?
     Nostalgia...for events of the day, the highlights of the year and friends and occasions of the years past.

7. Something you're looking forward to next month?
     My beloved SWMBO's Stem Cell Transplant. It had to be pushed back two weeks for reasons I won't go into. She is currently scheduled to enter the hospital on February 15th.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
     This month has been an economic disaster. It began with our vehicle needing rotor and brake pads on all four wheels. 
     Next, SWMBO needed oral surgery which is only partially covered by our dental insurance. 
     Next in the January hit parade, last Thursday our oil furnace gave up the ghost and had to be replaced. Fortunately, we have a wood pellet stove so we had plenty of heat. At least that's what I thought. During the overnight from Thursday to Friday a car, who's driver is apparently a graduate of the Helen Keller School of Driving, took out a utility pole on our road knocking out power. No power...no pellet stove...no heat. Happily, our utility company was able to restore power within a few hours. 
     Finally, while the furnace installers were replacing the furnace, they inadvertently nudged our water well's expansion tank which proceeded to fail, spewing water everywhere. So the expansion tank had to be replaced before the furnace installation could continue because we have a forced hot water system. We were without any water for several hours until the tank replacement was completed. 
     So the month of January has put us in a deep hole which will probably take years to dig ourselves out of. That said, our God has explicitly said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is our rock and our refuge during times of trouble. He is ALWAYS faithful. So we're fine! With God on our side, how can we not be? 
     Enjoy your Wednesday and thanks for listening.