Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Down in a hole hodgepodge

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 405

Jumping in with Joyce and others for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I would love to hear your answers to the questions. If you have a blog, copy and paste the questions into your own blog, answer, and connect over at From This Side of the Pond.

From this Side of the Pond

1. Have you done more binge watching this past year than in 'normal' years? Any plans to break that habit in 2021? Tell us one or two shows you binged last year that you really liked. 

Our binge watching consists of allowing ourselves to watch 1 episode per night. A few times we have splurged and watched 2! hahaha! We watched Third Rock From the Sun, Chuck, and now we are watching Absentia and it is absolutely gripping. It is a thriller. It is not a show to watch with your children but we are empty nesters so no problems there! We have two episodes left and are going to wait until Friday and Saturday to watch them. Hubby found out this week that they are releasing season 4 in July!!

2. January 26th is Australia Day. Have you ever visited or lived in Australia? Have you ever tasted Vegemite, and if so what did you think?  Is a trip down under on your bucket list? We answered a question about travel three months ago (the October 21st Hodgepodge), but let's revisit now...where are you when it comes to planning or even imagining travel this year? 

I've never been to Australia but think it would be so cool to visit Australia and New Zealand. I've never tasted Vegemite. What does it taste like? We have actually planned a trip to the beach for June with our children and grandchildren. I hope we can at least do that this summer. Yesterday, my husband arrived home from work with a piece of paper where he had been researching trips to Tibet and surrounding areas. That would be such a cool trip. We have our 2022 trip planned to Germany and Italy (was supposed to happen in June of 2020 . . .it was cancelled).

3. Something that zaps your energy? Something that energizes you? I'm either an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert. So being with people often energizes me but sometimes it zaps me, too. 

4. On a scale of 1-10 what are your eating habits like these days? (1=all junk food all the time and 10= juicing every green thing in the frig) Healthiest meal you've eaten in the last week or so? 

We've never been juicers but as my husband said last weekend, "we are eating high on the hog." For those of you who have never lived in the south that means we have been eating well. We've been eating well planned meals with lean proteins and lots of good veggies.

The picture does not do this justice.
It is a lightened up version of
Alice Springs Chicken. Recipe is
from Pound Dropper (with my

These are a new favorite - also by 
Pound Dropper. They are sausage
and cheese drop biscuits but I
made them in muffin tins.

5. What's your most often 'Back in my day....' thing to say? I was recently talking about being a young mother and said, "back in my day, we didn't have social media." I was saying how alone I felt at home with preemie twins and I felt like everything I did was wrong. I was wondering if social media would have helped me or hurt. I think help because I could have asked "anyone ever , . ." and surely someone out there would have experienced the same thing.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I shared with y'all that my aunt died and her funeral was last week. This weekend I took a dive into an envelope of old pictures. I think my step-mom passed the envelope to me a few years before she died. I was cleaning out a closet and found the envelope. I posted on social media that I had fallen down an "old picture hole." It was glorious and sad and bittersweet. I texted with a first cousin on both sides of my family trying to figure out who the people are in some of the pictures. After the pandemic is over, I need to get with my sisters and we need to figure out who is in the pictures.

These are pictures of me with my mom
and dad. I was the baby of the family.
There are a lot of pictures of me in the
pile so I guess that is why my
step-mom gave the envelope to me.

The pictures were so dusty that I spread a blanket
on the island and I had to wear a mask the
whole time. Pandemic masks to the rescue!

I L.O.V.E. this picture of my mom.
She worked for a brief time at a
cement plant (I think that is correct)
and I'm wondering if this was at work.
She was so tiny - she was maybe 5' 2"
tall and weighed 102 pounds. She has
been dead since I was 15. I wish
I had known her longer. Everyone
says I look like her. (I wish I weighed
102 pounds!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Thank God for Rainbows Hodgepodge


Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 404

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop over to From This Side of the Pond to add your link to the party. See you there!  

1. What's something we'd find you doing most afternoons? Due to covid, we've been closing the office at 4:00 each day and I actually feel like I have an "afternoon" because it is still daylight when we get off! I drive home and immediately put on comfy clothes. I usually start supper and then I go upstairs and ride the bike for 30 minutes. Sometimes I burn supper. Seriously. 

2. Who do you take after? In what way(s)? I look a lot like my mom. My Uncle Henry (now deceased) used to whisper in my ear every single time he saw me, "you look like your momma and I love you!" Since my mom died when I was 15, I have no idea whether I'm like her in actions or not. She had a strong faith in God and she did pass that on to me. I think I'm more like my daddy in regards to my temper. I can lose it in an instant and I don't like that about myself. I actually think I've picked up actions from my mother-in-law, too. I've been her daughter-in-law since 1984 and she has been my mother for all intents and purposes. I take after her in the kitchen because she taught me how to cook a lot of things. She, too, is a strong woman of faith much like my own mother.

3. 'After every storm comes a rainbow' or 'the calm before the storm'...which phrase do you relate to more right now? Tell us why? Surely there is a rainbow coming, right? Actually, yesterday was a pretty crappy day. We buried my aunt and a man literally fell out at the graveside service and had no heartbeat. The people standing near him did chest compressions and someone called 911 and all along, the funeral kept happening. They got his heart restarted and I don't know how he is doing now. I was pumped full of adrenaline when I drove back to the office and then I crashed around 3:00 so I started home. We hosted (via zoom) the young professionals group last night, as we've been doing for many years. My co-worker (who is an Old Testament scholar - really!) led the study (and it was excellent) but I could feel myself continuing to free fall. At the end of the session, one of our sweet young women asked if she could share the screen. The young adults had made a video for us thanking us for continuing on through the pandemic. They recorded themselves telling us how much we mean to them and that they thank us and love us. Let me just tell you -- a true rainbow after the storm. God uses people in the most amazing ways to let us know that he is still there - he is still with us - always.

4.What are your plans for the day after tomorrow? I'm assuming that you mean Friday? I'm going to work half a day and then I'm getting a much needed haircut and color!

5. Complete this sentence-"After all is said and done_____________________." After all is said and done, I still need Jesus. After all is said and done, my life is good and we are blessed. After all is said and done, I want Jesus to say to me, "well done good and faithful servant."

6. Insert your own random thought here. It has been too cold to walk outside so I've been walking on the treadmill every morning. I think I told y'all that I made a goal during the pandemic to exercise 365 days in a row. I think I'm on day 290+ at this point. This morning it was a balmy 44 degrees outside at 5:30 and I walked outside. Walking outside beats treadmill every day PLUS I got to see this.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday Stealing

I haven't participated in Sunday Stealing in a long time. Bev scours the blog world for questions and combines them for a fun Sunday blog post.

a. annoyance: people who make lots of chewing noise when they eat. I may be more annoyed at the fact that lately people seem to think that rules don't apply to them - especially traffic rules. Examples: There is a stop sign here - it is not for me! This is a no passing zone - well, I think I'll pass.

b. bestest friend (s): I met my friend, Phella, when my twins were 6 weeks old and we've been close friends ever since . . .and my twins are 34. I also have several other really close friends. There are four of us that normally meet for lunch once a month. Covid has screwed that up. I also love the other wives in our supper club. Covid has also messed that up! Then I have a couple of really close friends in the office plus a few other great friends. I feel truly blessed with friendships. I know most married people will say that their husband is their best friend and I will say that especially over the last few years Mark and I have become even closer. I can't imagine my life without him.

c. car: I bought a black Lincoln Nautilus a little over a year ago and I love it. Mark drives a black pick up truck.

d. day or night: I'm definitely not a night person. I think I'm a morning person, not necessarily a day person. We get up at 5:00 and before I arrive at the office at 8:30, I have exercised, usually completed at least one load of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, cooked breakfast (simple), packed a lunch, possibly done some meal prep toward dinner. I guess you now understand why I said morning, not necessarily day.

e. easiest person to talk to? this is a tough question because I have several folks that are easy to talk to in my life. (see b above)

f. favorite month: Maybe June? I have seasonal allergies and they usually get better in June plus my birthday is in June.

g. gummy bears or worms: I don't have a preference. My daughter-in-law and granddaughter love gummy bears so I'll go with that!

h. hair color: Naturally, my hair was very dark. I started getting a lot of gray hairs in my early 30's and started coloring it blond and my eyebrows are naturally very light and I have green eyes so blond works.

i. ice cream: homemade (custard cooked on the stove) vanilla

j. jewelry: I usually wear my engagement ring and wedding ring but I don't remember to wear them every day. I like lightweight earrings - usually something that is somewhat dangly (is dangly a word?)

k. kindergarten: I didn't go to kindergarten. I don't think we had public kindergarten in my hometown. I think that maybe you had to go to private and I imagine tuition of any kind wasn't in the family budget.

l. longest car ride: does a bus count? We drove across country to Denver for a church youth choir tour when my kids were in high school. It took 30+ hours and I have never been so happy to arrive in a place!!

m. most missed person: My mom died when I was 15 and my dad died when I was 25 and I would love to have some adult conversations with them. We've also lost a couple of close friends to cancer and sometimes I miss them so much that it is a physical discomfort.

n. number of siblings: I have two older sisters. One is 8 years older and the other is 13 years older.

o. one regret: I try to use "regrets" as lessons and learn something and move on. I will say that I regret telling my kids to "hurry" all of the time. I also regret some other choices from when my kids were growing up. I don't think I was a good mom all of the time. I think I yelled way too often and lost my temper when a calm and loving attitude would have worked wonders.

p. part of my appearance I like least: I used to hate my nose but I've finally decided it goes with my face. I don't like the loose skin in the middle of my body that remains after losing all of this weight but I'm not having skin removal or a tummy tuck at this age. I wish you had asked what part of my appearance I like - I like my smile and I like my eyes and I like the muscles in my legs!

q. quote: Mark and I have still been quoting Christmas vacation. We've had a cold snap here and one of the quotes is the one where Clark is at the counter in the store with the beautiful woman. I won't actually quote it because I don't want to offend anyone.

r. reality TV show: I'm sitting here watching Home Town right now and I really enjoy this show. Is that considered a reality show? Mark watches a couple of shows about living in Alaska and they are pretty interesting.

s. shoe: flip flops -- all of the time! I would truly wear them ALL of the TIME if possible.

t. time I woke up: Normally we get up at 5 but we actually slept until 6:30 this morning! 

u. unpredictable: the weather in Alabama! I have no idea what is unpredictable about me - my mood, perhaps?

v. vegetable I hate: beets!!

w. worst habits: I have too many to name! I think one of my worst habits is not listening enough - or maybe I should say that I'm listening but I'm forming my answer which then often causes me to interrupt the person who is talking. 

x. x-rays: A few years ago, I did a hop, skip, and a jump over a basket in my office and I felt like I had surely broken a hip. Brian (boss/senior pastor) drove me to the ER and I had an X-ray. It wasn't a broken hip but a torn hamstring. It was painful!

y. year I was born: I'm old - not as old as some!

z. zoom: yes! I've been using zoom since week 2 of the pandemic. I teach Sunday school via zoom and I facilitate on Tuesday nights via zoom. We have several meetings a week on Zoom calls.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue Hodgepodge!

Thanks to Joyce for the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then link up here to share your answers!

1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? I haven't been a guest in anyone's home since January or February pre-covid. I'm not counting family - we've been to our daughter's home and our son's home. We go eat with my mother-in-law every Sunday. These are the people in our bubble. We've been invited to sit on a neighbor's porch and a neighbor's back yard and we did that. Back in February when we were in Israel, we ate dinner in the home of a Palestinian family. We signed up pre-trip and paid the extra $'s. Our tour guide told us to meet up in front of the hotel at a certain time that evening and he told us that we would have a different tour guide. The appointed time arrived and we boarded the bus with a few folks we knew and some folks from another church located in our hometown with our hostess gifts in tow. We drove from Jerusalem to Bethlehem which requires crossing the border at night. The bus LITERALLY PULLED into a parking lot and there were several cars waiting. We were told to go get in the appointed car for our group WITH A TOTAL STRANGER IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. Y'all - I'm going to be honest. It was an unusual feeling. I kept telling myself that the tour company surely knew these people! We made small talk with our driver who took us to his parent's home. He actually lived nearby. We ate "upside down chicken" which is the national food of Palestinian families. I found this blog that describes it. I don't think ours had cauliflower in it. We sat around the table with a grandmother, her granddaughter, and the four of us. The grandfather came in and met us but he chose to eat in another room. She served fresh whole fruit for dessert and Mollie and I both had an orange and we both agree that it was the best orange we have ever eaten. Here we are in their home with the grandmother and daughter. Mollie brought them a t-shirt from our church. That was a memorable and eye opening dinner.
I do love to entertain in our home and this is one of the things I have missed so much during COVID. I love to have people around our dining room table.

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? Knots are not my thing - ha! My emotions are tied up in knots this week due to the current political situation PLUS my sweet Aunt Faye died of COVID this week. I am so very thankful that she and I spent at least half an hour on the phone just a week and a half ago. She hadn't even been diagnosed at that time.

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? I want to reach my goal weight. I've been doing WW (weight watchers) for several years (3) and have lost a lot of weight but I still need to lose the last 20 pounds. If I would get my butt in gear (actually, I exercise every day so another expression would be better) and eat exactly my points for the day and not any extras . . .I could do it.

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? We have this really cool bookcase that we bought at a family estate sale back when we were dating. It was old then so it is really old now. Our coolest "old" thing is this door. Mark is refinishing it and will replace the glass panels with screen and the bottom panels with screen and we are going to use it on our screen porch. We know it is over 100 years old. Mark found the skeleton key that fit perfectly in his daddy's stash of stuff with a handwritten tag on it! I want to laminate the tag because his dad has been dead for many years and to have his handwriting is cool.

I shared our cute chair/bed with y'all last week and it is new and blue.
I'm sure I have something that is borrowed but I cannot think of what it might be. In the past, we have borrowed a rocking chair from my mother-in-law for when our youngest granddaughter spends the night but we have returned it.

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing.  Last year, a young couple from our Tuesday night group was to be married and before Lent, they asked their friends to send advice and they planned to discuss during the 40 days of Lent. Here is what I sent (first) and the second part is Mark's addition:

Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the Elliott household. I’m copying Mark on here in case he wants to add any wisdom from his perspective.

Never go to bed angry (really). If you can, at least come to a peaceable place before bed and finish working it out tomorrow.

Never discuss anything important after 9:00 p.m. Wait until daylight.

Get couples counseling when needed (I wish we had done this when we were young – things might have been easier).

Always remember the vows you make to each other and to God – those vows are until death do us part (yes – I know I was married before and divorced . . .but Mark has always been so good to remind me that we are in this for the long haul even when I started packing a suitcase many years ago).

Take care of your own spiritual health. If you need to get away for something like an Emmaus weekend, do it.

Know (in advance) that there are going to be some things that drive you totally nuts about your spouse.  

Find some couples (it is nice if they share your faith because you can always discuss things) that y’all both like and be intentional about hanging out together – do life together. Eat together once a month.

Be intentional about saving money (Mark did this for us and I am so glad because I’m horrible with money).

I’m sure there are a million other things that will come to me as soon as I hit send . . .know this – marriage is NOT easy for most of us but it is so worth it. I truly cannot imagine my life without Mark . .who always makes me laugh (that is important, too – laugh a lot!!)

From Mark

Don’t discuss important thing after 7:00 not 9:00.    If your spouse packs a suitcase tell them that they are not going anywhere because you both were  given a life sentence.  Ha Ha

Don’t call attention to little things you do not agree with but talk out the big things over a couple of beers.

Don’t spend time on social media when you are suppose to be spending time with your spouse.

Listen first and talk second.

I am not saying we do these all the time but it is a good goal to shoot for!!

6. Insert your own random thought here. It is so cold here (cold for Alabama!). Usually, our winters consist of a few cold days and then warm days and then rain and then cool again. We've been in a cold spell pretty much since Christmas. Yesterday, the high was 36. Today the high is 41. This morning we had frozen fog and it looked almost like snow on the ground. It looked like the heaviest frost I've ever seen. The weather man said we have also had graupel today! I borrowed this picture from our favorite local weatherman's facebook page -- this is what "rime ice" from frozen fog looks like!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Hodgepodge in a new year!

Thank you to Joyce for the questions this week. Answer on your own blog then hop back to her page to share answers with the world wide webbers. See you there! 

From this Side of the Pond
1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? I need to remind myself to keep my eyes on God - to not allow the things of this world to suck the joy right out of my life. My other advice to myself is to remember how good it feels to exercise every day. Back in late spring/early summer, I made a goal to exercise every day for 365 days. I've completed 277 days -- I ride the stationary recumbent bike at least 30 minutes and I walk a mile and a half every day. My advice is to keep going!!

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? I love a good party with margaritas and tacos and quesadillas and chips.

3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21. I was newly divorced (yes, I made a huge mistake and married when I was 18). Back then, there were not many LGBTQ people in Alabama and my ex was a tortured soul trying to fit into a heterosexual world. We were married 18 months. At 20, I was working full time at South Central Bell (pre AT&T), going to UAB at night, and partying hard on Wednesday nights and Friday nights.

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? We had pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and veggies on Monday night and last night we had hamburger steak (93/7) with onions, broccoli, green beans, and carrots. I think I may drive through Chick-Fil-A tonight for salads!

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? I need to keep reading and I need to spend less time scrolling on my phone at night. I need to be present with people when I'm with them. I need to do more listening and less talking and more exercise and less eating!

6. Insert your own random thought here. I love book recommendations and since last week's Hodgepodge, I have read The Dutch House and American Dirt. Thanks for the recommendations, Joyce!! I finished American Dirt last night and I did not want to put it down. It may be my all time favorite book. I enjoyed The Dutch House but I'm glad I read it first.