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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PRE-TURKEY DAY HODGEPODGE!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A HEARTBROKEN HODGEPODGE!



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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A SPOOKY HALLOWEEN HODGEPODGE!


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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NH WEATHER CRAZINESS HODGEPODGE!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL HODGEPODGE!


      Good morning to everyone. The Hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the southeast and Puerto Rico continue in full vigor. The wildfires in the northwest and the Golden State continue almost unabated. This has been an awful year for natural disasters to torment our great nation. Please continue your prayers and, where you can, financial and other material assistance. Also, please pray that no further disasters strike our great land.
     The investigation into the shooting incident in Las Vegas continues as well. How much more suffering can we endure? 
     Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and pull up a seat and take a break and enjoy some positive diversion that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another series of questions.  

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.
     I am SWMBO's human GPS. I have been blessed with an innate sense of direction. At the risk of sounding immodest I would rate myself a 10. When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 
     I used a folded paper map a couple of years ago when I was in an area that had no cellular coverage. We were in Maine. I usually have one as a back up. back east, down south, out west, up north
Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.
     I choose "back east" and by back east I mean the northeast. I choose the northeast because in my humble opinion it is the best part of the country to live. We have no indigenous land dwelling creatures that are poisonous and can kill you. The ocean is a different story. 
     Winter is a challenge but I see it as the price we must pay for the privilege of enjoying the other three spectacular Seasons.

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

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?
     I guess I'm most guilty of wasting time. What I might do to change that is to procrastinate less and focus more on being task oriented and more productive.

4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.
     My family would often take a road trip to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. My dad's brother, Uncle Blackie, lived there. We always had a great time. Uncle Blackie was always fun to be around. He was an avid Canadiens fan. I am an avid Bruins fan. We had many good natured arguments about this storied hockey rivalry. I usually lost those arguments because the Canadiens usually won.

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

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



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PRAYERS FOR LAS VEGAS HODGEPODGE



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

THE FULL MOON AT THE ASYLUM!


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

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

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

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

4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?
     I must confess that I missed that one. I do not have a dumpling of choice nor have I ever made a dumpling.

5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon

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

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



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A. HODGEPODGE!



     Have you been watching what is happening across our beloved Nation? One of our liberties, our freedom of speech, is under attack.  There are those who hold the notion that perceived offensive speech is equal to violence and that it is appropriate to meet such offensive speech with physical violence.  What has happened to the principle..."I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to the death to say it."  
     We have no such problems here at the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  It seems to me that opinions are expressed without reservation and are respected by all. Without further delay, here is this weeks hodgepodge.

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.
     One of the few things that I enjoy in the winter is on a clear night, looking up at the stars. I never fail to be in awe of the awesome sight of the billions of stars strewn across the black sky. That is something that I rate at a 10/10 in my humble opinion.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?
     I would be terrible at being a groundskeeper. I absolutely hate yard work and have to really motivate myself to get it done here at our (in our own mind) palatial estate.  I also don't have much talent for groundskeeping.
  
3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?
     Last winter I was walking down our driveway to our mailbox and hit a snow covered icy patch and unceremoniously fell to the ground.  Not only my pride was hurt.  That was the last time that I took a fall.
       I do not have an answer to the second part of this question. We are in the "pumpkin everything" part of the year up here in the Granite State. I like pumpkin pie and perhaps a pumpkin spice coffee once in a while but not to the extent that it proliferates at this time of the year. Although, come to think of it, it is apple picking season. I love a nice juicy Cortland apple with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese. It is one of my favorite snacks at this time of the year.

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?
     I have not ever been to any of the harvest festivals listed above. I'm not really a harvest festival kind of person. I am not opposed to going but they hold little appeal to me.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?
     Well Summer, until next year. Thank you for enough water to keep our wells full. Thank you for moderate warmth for the most part. SWMBO thanks you for the days of the hot and muggies. I thank you that they were not excessive this year. All in all you have been good to us this year. If you happen to run in to Old Man Winter, please ask him to be kind to us this year and to go easy on the snow fall and to keep the freezing rain to himself. Take care Summer, I look forward to your return.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A...Blogger With Attitude! The Bill of Rights gives us the unfettered right to say whatever we want to say.  It especially protects that speech which is deemed to be vile, obscene or offensive.  There is a significant body of  U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming our right to free expression, particularly unpopular speech.
     On many college campi if you want to express an opinion in public you must do so in a designated "free speech" zone and only in a free speech zone. If a speaker is invited to speak at some colleges at the invitation of a college group and that person happens to hold "offensive" views, demonstrations breaks out and to avoid an unpleasant incident such as violence or outright riots, the speaker gets disinvited.
     These are just two examples of what is transpiring at colleges across the country. Both of these things are an affront to and a violation of our constitutional rights. These things must not be allowed to stand.
     To make matters worse, if a person is going to speak and their views may cause some angst to their hearers, trigger warnings are given and a safe space is provided where students can go to avoid the trauma of hearing challenging views.  This is outrageous!
     Therefore, I for one will continue to be a B.W.A. and I will continue to be as offensive as I want to be. God help us!



Thursday, September 14, 2017

ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY!


     Good morning to all. I hope your Wednesday is going well. Hurricane Irma is finally dying and becoming less of a threat to life and property. She has done incredible amounts of damage and so far ten people have lost their lives. Now the recovery begins in earnest. An army of electrical workers has descended upon the state of Florida to rebuild and restore their electricity infrastructure. May God bless the people of Florida as they begin to recover and rebuild.
     Not even the fury of a hurricane can stop the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So say a prayer for Florida and don't forget Texas and those impacted by hurricane Harvey. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or other relaxing beverage. Take a comfortable seat and enjoy the Hodgepodge.

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
     I think that this cliche is mostly hyperbole. Pictures are valuable to spark a memory, to freeze time for a moment or to record an event. Like a lot of things pictures can be manipulated via photoshop and other editing software thereby presenting a false narrative. A case on point is the movie "Jurassic Park" where dinosaurs walked the earth and interacted with human actors. 
     However, a single photograph can spark a stream of memories that would easily take a thousand words to adequately describe. 

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?
     I cannot say that I have. I did drive along the coast from San Diego to an area located just north of La Jolla. I would like to drive the entire PCH someday. What little I did see was beautiful.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?
     As Summer becomes Fall the cooler temperatures serve as a warning that much colder temperatures and, dare I say it, snow are not too far off. It's time to begin to batten down the hatches and to winterize the house and the cars.
     The season transition that bothers me the most is Fall into Winter. I think it's because Winter is so challenging to navigate, especially as I get older. Winter seems to be the longest season of the year and the cold aggravates the arthritic joints in my knees and hands and makes it painful to move. 

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?
     My birthday menu would be a nice Prime Rib cooked medium well done, with gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables and bread rolls with butter. For dessert we would have Pecan Pie with whipped crime followed by "two fingers" of a nice Scotch Whiskey as we engage in conversation as we digest our meal. 
     I do sometimes misrepresent my age. "Lie" is such an ugly word, accurate... but ugly.

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?
     No matter how badly you hurt, you must still move. Pain is Mother Nature's way of telling you that you are still alive. Somedays I am really alive. It also makes you better appreciate God's promise that in Heaven there will be no pain. In my youth when I was essentially pain free, this promise rang hollow, a kind of "that's nice" attitude. Today, by the grace of God, I am a wiser man.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In previous blog postings I extolled the character of the people of Texas for their response to the devastation left by hurricane Harvey. I suspected at the time that Texans were not unique in this regard. The people in Florida have begun to prove that I was right,  in the wake of hurricane Irma.
     Despite our problems as a nation, Americans continue to prove themselves to be a noble and compassionate people.  I am confident that the people of Florida will recover from this disaster because it is in their DNA to pick themselves up and press on. It will not easy or quick but it will get done.
     Please continue to pray for the people who have been affected by the two hurricanes. If you are able, please make a financial contributions from time to time to a relief/recovery agency throughout what is sure to be a lengthy recovery. It's the American way. 
     Thank you in advance! God bless you and God bless America. Also, ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY! 




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BACK TO SCHOOL HODGEPODGE!


     Have you seen where the Summer went? It was here just a minute ago! Here we are the day after Labor Day already. 
     In a lot of places the new school year has commenced. Parents are rejoicing everywhere! I hope that everyone has a productive and wonderful school year. I pray for our teachers and the Herculean task that they have trying to fill the young heads full of mush with valuable information under less than ideal circumstances.
    It is of course Wednesday and therefore it is time for another set of probing questions that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another fine set of questions. Enjoy!

1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?
      When I think about the future I fear the continued deterioration of common sense AND common decency. What I hope for the future is that the character and selflessness on display in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Harvey would become so common place that it is no longer noteworthy when it happens.
    
2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house? What's a favorite dish made with chicken? What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?
     We really like chicken at our house. We have chicken, on average, once or twice a week. A favorite chicken dish is Chicken Pot Pie. 
     Something that I am "chicken" about doing or trying is skydiving. I have never seen the positive side of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. In my humble opinion only two things fall out of the sky...bird crap and fools, and Mama didn't raise no fool.

3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?
     I really do not want for anything. SWMBO and I are fairly content with our lives with one or two exceptions.  So, in no particular order of importance I would like to own (1) a portable ice maker. Our freezer is often too packed with food to use ice cube trays. It would be nice to be able to make our own ice as we need it.  (2) A large weather tight storage shed. We would like a safe and secure place to store summer furniture and other seasonable stuff for the winter. (3) A BluRay DVD player. It seems everything is coming out is on BluRay these days.

4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate.  If you answered one, which one?
     I would like to be a jack of all trades. It would be great if I do things for myself that I now have to rely on others for. It would be equally as nice to be able to share these skills with those who might have need of them.

5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?
     I like both, depending upon the food. I use mustard for Ham, Hotdogs and Bologna sandwiches. I like ketchup on meatloaf, roast beef, french fries and onion rings.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     I mentioned in my introductory remarks above that the school year has begun. I am reminded that our founding fathers strongly believed that our citizens ought to be well educated. They believed that all citizens should receive instruction on the U.S. Constitution, how our government is organized and what was the intent of that organizational paradigm. Citizens should understand the limits imposed upon, and the specific powers granted to, the federal government. Citizens should also understand the power of the individual states and individual citizens.
     Another area that needs to be brought back is a course in life skills. These are the skills everyone needs to be able to take care of themselves. Some of the skills needed are basic cooking, basic sewing, laundary, money management, basic housekeeping and manners. 
     I believe that if all students were well educated in these two areas, as well as the basics of Math, Reading, Writing, History, and Geography, and other disciplines, we would not have as many problems in our beloved Nation that we now have. 
     God bless our teachers and their students as the new school year begins.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HURRICANE HARVEY HODGEPODGE!


     Unless you are living in a cave completely off the grid you are aware of the devastation that has occurred, and is continuing to occur in southeast Texas as a result of hurricane Harvey making landfall. I cannot imagine the concept of rainfall being measured in feet as is the case in Texas. The photographs coming out of Texas are heart breaking. 
     I am happy for the weekly diversion from reality that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. What I mean to say is that it is good to have something else to focus my attention on for awhile. Join me in prayer for our fellow citizens affected by hurricane Harvey and now...the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?
     I cannot say that I am surprised about the arrival of Labor Day. It happens every year about this time. (Parum pum crash!) All kidding aside, the older I get the more quickly the time seems to pass by. 
     One project that demands my attention as the prospect of winter begins to loom on the horizon is getting caught up on the yard work. It has been difficult to give it the attention that it requires for a variety of reasons, some reasons being legitimate, other reasons not so much. #Ihateyardwork 

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?
     One of the best perks of being a police officer was the things that I got to do that most people never get to do. I was assigned to work with the U.S. Secret Service on two occasions. 
     The first time was when then Vice President Dan Quayle came to Litchield NH. I got a peek behind the curtain and see what the Secret Service actually does to prepare for a visit and how they conduct themselves during the visit and during the aftermath of a visit.
     The second time, I was assigned to augment a neighboring police department to help with airport security for a visit by then President George H.W. Bush. On this occasion I got to see some of the toys the Secret Service have in their vehicles that support a presidential visit. I also witnessed the communications set up and the make up of counter sniper teams. 
     At one point during his visit, as the president was leaving I was standing on the tarmac about 25 yards from Air Force One as the president got out of his limousine and boarded the aircraft. It is the closest that I have ever physically been to a U.S. President.
    Both of those details made for a long day but it was a lot of fun.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...

Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 

Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?
     I have never been to the Palmetto State. Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach appeal to me should I ever have the opportunity to visit.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?
     My favorite rib is barbecued pork spare ribs with medium hot bbq sauce. A dish that I really enjoy that sticks to my ribs is homemade, AKA SWMBO's, beef stew. It is simply AWESOME!

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?
     One important skill that every person should have, and there are several other needed skills besides this one, is the ability to sharpen tools. This includes kitchen knives, hunting knives, chisels, axes, and any other tool that holds an edge. 
     When it comes to getting things properly done, sharp tools are essential. Knowing how to sharpen tools is also a much needed and valuable basic survival skill.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In my opening paragraph above I indicated how heart broken I am over the pictures coming out of southeast Texas. Here I'll share my pride in the conduct of many of our fellow Americans in general, and Texans in particular.
     This disaster has required "All Hands on Deck" to deal with the devastation and to save lives. The U.S. military and first responder agencies have conducted themselves in such a way as to reflect great credit upon themselves and their respective agencies, going above and beyond to the strict call of duty in many instances. No surprise there.
     What has reinforced my hope in the American people are the every day Americans who have risked their lives to save their neighbors and fellow Texans. Neighbor helping neighbor is the order of the day. There is no regard given to race or gender or political affiliation or any of those things that so often divide us. 
     Another group of Americans deserving of thanks are those who have come from the far flung corners of America bringing bottled water, food, and other disaster relief supplies to the Lone Star State. 
     Then there's the "Cajun Navy," those private citizens who own small boats who responded to the area and are going from house to house looking for survivors. Several thousand survivors have been rescued to date.
     This proves my thesis that the American people are a noble and compassionate people...period! So, my fellow Americans please pray for all of those who have been affected by hurricane Harvey and if you are able, donate to a relief agency. God bless Texas! God bless America!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WE SURVIVED THE 2017 ECLIPSE HODGEPODGE!


     I sincerely hope that all of you are having a wonderful week. On Monday there was a cosmic event that held everyone's attention for a couple of hours. You may have heard of it. You may have even seen it. Yesterday my beloved SWMBO and I had our grandgirls visit for a few hours. Color Granny Happy!
     Today is Wednesday which means that our friend, Joyce Daley, has more questions for us to ponder and answer. So on to this weeks Wednesday Hodgepodge... 


1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?
     SWMBO and I watched the eclipse being streamed over our electronic devices. We watched while sitting together on a glider on our back deck.  It was a very nice time.
     From the list that was provided I'm definitely going with Moon Pies. Up here in the Granite State we call them "Whoopie Pies." I absolutely love Whoopie Pies.

2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?
     I don't think that "these days" I'm over the moon over anything. My beloved SWMBO comes to mind but I'm always over the moon about her. I'm over the moon about my grandchildren, but that's not new either. SWMBO and I are liking the fact that we are able to interact with out church family more these days. We have really missed them during our quarantine/home confinement. So that's about all.

3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?
     I am an aerophile. I love all things having to do with powered flight. I sometimes will go to a nearby regional airport and listen to the Air Traffic Control radio traffic on my scanner and watch planes land and take off. I am amazed at the size of some the aircraft and how gracefully they land and take off. It's amazing that they can get off the ground, much less fly.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?
     I remember getting new clothes, pencils, rulers, pens and notebooks. I also remember getting a new book bag. It was exciting to begin a new school year. 
For the most part I enjoyed school.

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.
     Unconditional Love, Forgiveness, Perseverance, & Faith. These are the things that should make up one's character. God is the perfect model of all these things. We would do well to be as much like God as is humanly possible.
These words touch my soul for that very reason.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My beloved Red Sox are playing some pretty good baseball of late. They are in first place in their division. The took three out of four games from the dreaded Evil Empire over the weekend. The Sox have had an impressive month of August so far. Their rookie third baseman, Rafael Devers is hitting like Ted Williams and fielding like a seasoned veteran. I pray that their good play and success continues through the post season and they win another World Series Championship. GO SOX!



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

OOPS! I ALMOST FORGOT TO HODGEPODGE, HODGEPODGE!



     Yesterday, my beloved SWMBO and I had our usual Tuesday visit with our granddaughters. As usually happens, by the time they are picked up by their dad everyone is tired. SWMBO, the two Littles and yours truly were spent but it was a good kind of tired. My point, you may be asking yourself, is that I forgot about the Wednesday Hodgepodge until late Wednesday morning. So better late than never, here's this weeks Hodgepodge.

1. Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.
     To be completely honest, not always. Sometimes I find myself going against my own advice. Sometimes situations arise where a different course of action is called for and so I adapt my response as the situation warrants. 
2. Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new tricks...now doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?
     I would say "dog tired" and "can't teach an old dog new tricks" apply to my life right now. I have been experiencing more fatigue these days and I'm not sure why. I recently went to the vet for a routine follow up and all systems are operating as designed. 
   Regarding the Old Dog/New Tricks thing, I tend to be set and comfortable in my ways and no matter how hard I try I cannot change my bad habits. I still persist in trying but it seems hopeless. It is similar to the conflict the Apostle Paul describes in the 7th chapter of his letter to the Romans.
     Just for the record "It's a dog's life" is not a negative thing in our house. Our dogs have a lavish and full life style. I should be so spoiled!

3. Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?
     There are two books that come to mind. WHITE FANG by Jack London and THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY by Shirley Burnford. I read both books during my youth.

4. What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?
      This is really a great question. This is really a difficult question. I am sure that there are things that I lack the confidence to try but I can't think of what they are. Maybe directly confronting someone who is out of line? I will have to ponder this question. 
    
5. August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.
     Little Johnny was sitting on a park bench and eating a bunch of candy. An old lady was walking by and saw Little Johnny eating all that candy. She stopped and said "You shouldn't be eating all that candy at once. You could get cavities, acne and a stomach ache." Little Johnny replied "My grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 105 years." The Old Lady asked "Did your grandfather eat five candy bars at one time?" Little Johnny answered "No, he minded his own freaking business."

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     WARNING...DOUBLE STANDARD RANT! 
     Recently there have been two glaring examples of a double standard reported in the so called news media. The recent tension with North Korea and the kerfuffle in Charlottesville, VA. I'll dress only one of these issues this week.
     THE FIRST ONE: The nut job with a bad haircut leading North Korea made fairly specific threats that he was going to launch ballistic missiles on the United States. President Trump warned him, in no uncertain terms, that the United States was prepared to meet such an attack and respond with sufficient force leading to the destruction of North Korea. 
     Then some in the news media chastised President Trump for speaking so provocatively. They urged the president to not say anything that would make the bad haircut guy angry. They had nothing to say about the bad haircut guy  repeatedly speaking provocatively and threatening the United States and our allies with a nuclear attack.
     It is my humble opinion that if someone threatens to kill you, you would be wise to believe them and take reasonable steps to protect yourself. This is wise at the personal level as well as at the national level. I stand with the president on this one.
     



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WELCOME AUGUST HODGEPODGE!



     Good morning to one and all. I hope that you are all well on this August Wednesday morning. The weather has been a bit unsettled this month. It rains, the Sun shines, it rains again, and so on! Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind. This is not unusual for the Granite State.
     Our friend Joyce Daley has seen fit to publish another series of Hodgepodge questions. So, we might as well answer them. Therefore, here is this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.
     I do not set rules for how I use my time. I go as the spirit moves me and try very hard to be a good steward of my time because I really don't know how much time I have left. The fact is that none of us know how much time we have left.

2. Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person-

Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?
     I have never visited a lighthouse up close. There is a very popular lighthouse in southwestern Maine. It is called the Nubble Lighthouse. SWMBO and I have visited it on a number of occasions. I don't really have a strong desire to visit lighthouses. 
     I don't get the last question. Oh well!

3. What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?
     Normally, when I stop doing something it is because I chose to stop doing it. I cannot think of something that I stopped doing that I should begin doing again. I sometimes get behind in my Bible reading from time to time but I just pick up from where I left off. 

4. We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.
     One grand moment is the sixth anniversary of my retirement from a 30+ year law enforcement career. Still living the dream with my beloved SWMBO!

5. Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.
     "Don't Worry Baby" by the Beach Boys.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     North Korea is creating a serious international kerfuffle. How serious is it? Last weekend the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose economic sanctions upon that imprisoned nation. That means that both Russia and China supported the imposition of the sanctions.
    As you know, Korea has been improving its ballistic missile technology. It is now believed that they possess the technology to reduce the size of a nuclear weapon which could be launched inside one of their missiles.
     I pray God that cooler heads will prevail and that North Korea will cease their bellicose programs and rejoin the community of nations. Enjoy your week!