Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Yay for Hodgepodge

I'm joining up with Joyce and friends for Wednesday Hodgepodge! 

1. What's one thing you're excited about in the coming month? Let’s see . . . I won’t bore you with the whole “we have a move back in our house” date! Our youngest granddaughter is turning 4 in July and we are going to her Tea Party birthday party. Right now, we have nothing else planned due to my first boring really exciting to me fact.

2. What was your life like when you were ten years old? Well, my birthday is in June so since I'm writing this in June . . . I would have just turned ten and I was headed to the fifth grade. We rode bikes in the summer and played lots of “beauty pageant” that summer. I’m pretty sure we were still playing with Barbies, too. Our family usually took a vacation to the beach and stayed in these little cinder block houses that were about a block away from The Seahorse. The Seahorse was in Laguna Beach (near Panama City) and it was such a cool place. I remember walking in from outside where it was blazing hot and it was actually dark and cool inside. The floors were wooden and I’m sure I never had on shoes. In the back of my mind, I think they had one of those giant wooden barrels full of dill pickles. We only ate out once during our week each year, but it was always at a “nice to us” restaurant like Captain Anderson’s. I remember my mother always ordered fried snapper throats. If we were back in our house (see #1 haha!), I would go look for some pictures because I’m pretty sure I have some from that year.

Another thing I remember about that year is the fact that the following May, while I was still 10, we had fifth grade graduation before moving on to the middle school. I was Salutatorian that year and I remember giving a speech. I think we also had a fifth grade banquet and I probably have pictures of that, too.

3. What's something from your childhood you still enjoy today? I couldn’t think of an answer and then I remembered two things. I still love dill pickles and I still like to ride a bike . . .even if it is stationary.

4. What state (that you haven't been to) do you most want to visit? Tell us why. I would like to visit Alaska. Mark will be going for his second time in August but they are going to a fishing location that isn’t really conducive to me tagging along and just hanging out.

5. Do you like to drive? Tell us how you learned to drive. I prefer driving over riding because I suffer from motion sickness. My daddy taught me to drive in our driveway. I could pull forward and backward as many times as I wanted. He then took me around and around the block. I also took Driver's Ed with Coach Seale and remember it fairly vividly which is amazing since it has been 50 years ago. How could that be? How in the heck did I get old???

6. Insert your own random thought here. If you follow my blog, you may remember that I said I was going to do something to celebrate the longest day of the year and I did! Mark was not supposed to be home but his schedule changed and he was. We grabbed a cold drink from the fridge and went downstairs to the sidewalk in front of the apartment and sat outside until it was dark. We had a rain shower earlier and the night was actually fairly cool for June in Alabama. It was really nice.

It was really lovely -- there are some
things I will actually miss about living
in the apartment!

Mark said something about the
direction we were facing so I opened
the compass on my phone. He is
rarely wrong about outdoor
kinds of things but this time


Sunday, June 25, 2023

This and That Over the Last Week

 Last Monday, we did a food insecurity simulation for our 3rd-5th grade students. Each table was assigned a "family" and they were given a dossier (for lack of a better word) describing their family. They were told how many people were in the family, the ages of those folks, any special needs, whether or not the family had a reliable car, and they were told the occupation of the parent(s) and the monthly income of said parent(s). Included in the packet was "monopoly" money. Around the perimeter of the room, we had a benefits office where families with low incomes could apply for assistance. We had a food pantry, two grocery stores, two restaurants, and several bus stops. One grocery was considered discount while the other was higher end. We named our grocery "Whole Foods" and the other group chose "Aldi" as their name. One restaurant was fast food and one was a nicer restaurant. The food pantry was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The buses, benefits office, and food pantry was closed on Sundays. The families had to figure out how to feed their family every day for 7 days. Two of the families were below poverty level; two were high income; the remainder of the families fell in between. It was quite interesting to watch the kids and it was really interesting to hear their comments afterwards. It was a meaningful experience. I was able to slip away from my "real" job to participate. I love that we are encouraged to collaborate with each other on our church staff. By the way, one of our staff people is a social worker by education and former work experience. She heads up our Outreach ministries. She had heard of a similar simulation but it cost $3,000. She wrote her own program for us to use and she did an amazing job.

Our grocery items at "Whole Foods" included
organic fruits and vegetables, yogurt,
cheese, milk, meat, bread, prepared
meals, etc.

The electricians started hanging our new light fixtures. I think we made some great choices.
The room below is the family room/living room/whatever we call it these days. We had a ceiling fan in this room and neither of us like ceiling fans so we replaced it with a cool light fixture.

There is a layer of dust on the floor but I grabbed a snapshot of the bedroom right before the workman put the paper down to protect it.

On Friday, we had Granddaughter #1 for most of the day. She and I went for pedicures. She actually had a pedi and mani!

She wanted us to have matching toes so we did!

After lunch, Pops took her to Highpoint Climbing. She climbed the adult walls - the tallest was 55 feet high. I made a couple of screenshots from Mark's phone. He recorded both climbs and he is so funny in the background cheering her on.

On Friday night, we headed over to Mark's sister's house. Her oldest and youngest sons were in town and we ate dinner with them and hung out on their porch. It was a nice night.

Saturday morning, we headed back over to the house to see what else they had done. Our son built the bar table below several years ago. The workman laying/staining the hardwood floors asked Mark about the table and actually offered to buy it! He said it was really well made. Mark told him that our son made it and it wasn't for sale. The man refinished it as a surprise for us. It has been sitting on our porch this last year and was looking kind of sad. It looks gorgeous now. What a nice surprise!!

More progress is below. Our new island is in and they put the granite back on. I'm very pleased!

Mark really wanted a piece of Alabama marble and we were able to get it for the new bar top and backsplash. We actually went to the "stone store" and picked out the slab we wanted and Mark picked out the two sections he wanted. There is a line in the backsplash that mirrors the line on the countertop. It is beautiful.

Below is another fun surprise. Both of our upstairs showers have these
tiny glass shelves in the corner. They are so cute!

Mark had to stay at his mom's on Saturday night and I worked this morning. We did get together with his siblings and his momma for lunch today after church. We've had a quiet afternoon at home. It is hot as heck here today so I stayed in. I'm studying for my summer mid-term plus I've been putting some boxes together to pack. I can't believe we finally have a move-in date!! July 12 . . .I'm holding my breath!!

I Can't Pick Favorites . . .Sunday Stealing

I'm joining up with Sunday Stealing and I didn't spend a lot of time on these answers today. I mention this below, but I am not good at picking favorites!

1. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? I drive a car every day. I have ridden a horse a few times (Smoky Mountains, Hawaii, and maybe a couple of other places). I rode my bike everywhere when I was a kid and now I ride my stationary bike every day. I like them all but I guess I would rather drive a car simply because it gets me there quickly.


2. Who is your favorite author? I don’t have a favorite. I love so many different authors!!


3. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why? I’ve never been to Alaska so I’m going to pick Alaska . . .but I much prefer a beach vacation and Hawaii is beautiful with lots of beaches.


4. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I really wouldn’t want to erase any of my life. Only because I’m having to study so hard in Biology . . .I might go back to 1976 and go straight to college or 1984 (when we got married) and continue taking classes. Our brains at 65 seem to have to work harder to retain information.


5.  What's your favorite zoo animal? I love all of the big cats!


6.  What's the tallest building you've been to the top of? I have no idea. For years, I worked on the 10th floor of a building downtown. The express elevator made me motion sick for the first six months I worked there!! I’ve been to restaurants on the top floor of buildings before. I honestly have no idea what is the tallest building I’ve visited.


7. How often do you buy clothes? I buy clothes when I see something I want. Sometimes I buy clothes because I need them when items wear out.  I buy 99% (guesstimate) of my clothes online. I don’t enjoy shopping in the mall/stores anymore.


8. What was the last thing you recorded on TV? We’ve been living in a rental apartment for the last year so we have rental TV’s and we’ve recorded nothing.


9.  What was the last book you read? Right now, I have a book on my phone I’m reading and a different book on my kindle I’m reading PLUS I’ve been reading Concepts of Biology quite often.


10. What's your favorite type of foreign food? I am not good at picking favorites but I think Mexican would be my favorite . . .and I don’t really think of it as foreign 😊.


11. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? I probably use the microwave every day.


12. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn't real? How did you find out? I’m embarrassed but I think I believed until I was 10 or 12. Of course, another kid in the neighborhood said, “seriously? You still believe in Santa?” I’m pretty sure I replied that my parents told me that when you stop believing, he stops coming. I do remember doubting before then.


13.  What was your favorite subject in school? I loved English over all of the years but I also loved BOE (Business Office Education). I was fascinated with Shorthand and Typing and loved both of those. In college (first time around), I loved Spanish and wish I had kept it up. This college go-around, I’ve loved Sociology.


14. What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten? My family ate mayonnaise on corn on the cob rather than butter. I was a young adult before I found out that other people put butter on their corn! I don’t know that I could eat it that way now.


15. What's your favorite family recipe? The recipe I use the most is brown sugar brownies (my mother-in-law’s recipe). Mark has been using her recipe this summer to make homemade cooked custard ice cream.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Longest Day of the Year Hodgepodge

 I'm joining up with the Wednesday Hodgepodge Bunch. Joyce writes the questions and we answer!

1. Hello Summer! In the northern hemisphere anyway. What's something on your summer bucket list? Do you have an actual summer bucket list? If not, use your hypothetical list. For the longest day of the year, I had originally planned to go downstairs to Moss Rock Tacos and Tequila and buy a margarita and sit outside on the park bench until dark. I’m afraid that by the end of the day, it might be raining. I also want to make time to go to our neighborhood pool. I know we aren’t supposed to love being in the sun . . .but I love a tan. I use tan towelettes but they aren’t the same as a real tan.

2. What for you is the defining scent of summer? The smell of freshly mown grass . . .which kills my allergies but I love to smell it!  The other defining scent would be of tomatoes fresh off the vine or peaches fresh off the tree.

This was last June in Austria . . .
and they were cutting the field below
us and I actually said to Mark, "fresh
mown grass smells the same in
Alabama and in Austria!"

3. What's a (music, food, wine, or flower) festival happening in your part of the country that you would like to attend if tickets/travel/timing was no object? We used to have a summer Jazz Festival in our park but they discontinued it several years ago. I wish they would bring it back. I think it was a lot of work for those in charge. I know I had some pictures of the Jazz Fest and thought I had used them in the blog but I can't find them. I love fireworks so maybe I’ll go somewhere and watch fireworks! I know that isn’t a music, food, wine, or flower festival but I can’t think of one!!

4. Apparently a military whistle blower claims the US has a UFO retrieval program. What say you? Do you believe aliens are out there? My husband has been talking about this . . .and I think he thinks there may actually be some UFO’s out there. I’m not so sure.

photo cred - Wikipedia
I don't think they would look like this
if they do exist

5. Besides your wedding day and the birthdays of any children you may have, what are three of your top experiences in life? This is a hard question!! Let’s see . . . the first time I gave a talk on an Emmaus Walk was a spiritual high. When I was in Israel for the third time, I was able to climb to the top of a big hill that I had been unable to climb two years before. That was an amazing feeling. Speaking of Israel, my trips to Israel and our trip to Ireland and then our trip to Austria, Italy, and Germany have ALL been top experiences. As I'm typing those things, I realize that the day Granddaughter #1 was born and they placed her in my arms . . .oh my goodness. I didn't know you could fall in love IMMEDIATELY with a grandchild. I felt the same way when #2 came along. (you said children . . .not grands :-))

6. Insert your own random thought here. Our granddaughter #1 is staying at granddaughter #2’s house this week. Our daughter has been sending us updates and pictures and oh my goodness – they are so cute together. I feel like we’ve missed a whole year of their lives. I know we’ve seen them a lot but we haven’t had everyone in our “home” in so long. The apartment isn’t big enough. Speaking of the house, they bumped the date again . . .final cleaning on July 7. One year anniversary of the fire is July 9. I am beyond ready. We won’t be able to move in that weekend because we will be at granddaughter #2’s birthday party and I had to miss her party last year because of emergency surgery the week after the fire. Our lease is up on the apartment on July 26 so we have to be out by then.

story time at their library


Monday, June 19, 2023

Some of Last Week . . . PLUS Weekend in Review

Mark stayed at his mom's last Monday night and I needed to study and I didn't want to sit in our apartment. There are a couple of restaurants below us so I headed down to Moss Rock Tacos and Tequila. I sent a picture to my kids and told them I was acting like a true college student. I was studying in a public place while drinking a margarita. It just happened to be Karaoke Night and goodness gracious . . .one guy sang quite well. Another lady sang not so well. I finished up and came on upstairs to study some more.

Wednesday was my birthday and I felt celebrated all day long. My friends at work gave me balloons and gifts. We picked up our neighbors, Lu and Dave, and went to Big Whiskey for a celebratory dinner. It was ok. I had a good burger. Mark had Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos and he liked them. I normally pick Hot and Hot or Blueprint on Third for a birthday dinner but this was fun and casual.

While I was at work on Thursday, Mark went to the Firehouse Shelter and helped cook and serve lunch. In retirement, he is doing lots of volunteer work. 

Mark is on the left inthe blue shirt; Billy on the right
and I think Pat is in the back

As soon as work was over, we headed south for a visit with our daughter. We spent Thursday night and Friday night with them and came home before lunch on Saturday. The traffic on I-65 through Alabama is HORRIBLE in the summer time. We left early and still hit one area of standstill traffic but made it home in time to do laundry, etc. Mark grilled fish (some Halibut from his Alaska trip in the freezer) for dinner and it was yummy. Let me back up and tell you about our time with daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. 

Friday morning, we were able to tag along and go to swim lessons. She will be four in July and she is doing a wonderful job learning how to swim. Mark swam well (swim team, etc.). Our kids are both strong swimmers and learned very early. Both granddaughters love the water and seem to take to the water easily and learn quickly.

Sweet girl jumped off the diving board and did a rudimentary crawl to her teacher at the ladder. Her other grandparents are moving into a house with a pool so this is the perfect time for her to learn these things.

On the way home from swim lessons, we saw a guy riding a motorcycle and his helmet was a . . . . 


Friday night, we went to the Mexican Restaurant by their house for a birthday dinner and went back to their house for birthday cake and gifts. 

Our house/cat sitter sent pictures while we were gone!

For Father's Day, I gave Mark a new cover for his Pit Barrel Cooker and this cool drink kit that I found on Etsy. Here is their website. Here are some different drinks on Etsy. We actually took it apart and weighed all of the ingredients in case we want to make some repeats. We ate lunch with his family on Sunday after church and celebrated the fathers in our family.

What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Sunday Stealing

 It is time for Sunday Stealing - thanks to Bev for stealing the questions from the internet:

1) What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day? I could answer this question in a million different ways depending on my mood. Today, it would be fun to be at a water park with a lazy river. I would be floating all day on the lazy river sipping an ice cold beverage!!

2) What do you look forward to every week? I look forward to Tuesday nights when the young professionals descend (actually ascend) upon our apartment to eat, hang out, and study together.

3) Name three pet peeves you currently have: I may need to lump it all together – bad drivers!

4) If you were to win an all expense paid vacation for two weeks to anywhere in the world, where would you choose to go? What are some of the things you would like to experience while you were there? I think I would choose Australia and New Zealand and I would want to experience as much as possible. This is another one of those questions where I could have multiple answers because there are so many places I still want to visit.

5) What was one of your favorite toys as a kid? Did you save any special things from your childhood that you still have today? I had a stuffed monkey who had a tiny banana in his hand. I evidently chewed on that banana until there was very little left. I also loved my bike. We rode bikes all of the time. I have a little green dress that I wore in a wedding when I was a flower girl. I’m not sure if I have anything else.

6) What is your favorite holiday? What is your least favorite holiday? I love Thanksgiving – everything about it. I love the fall colors, the food, and the fellowship around the table. I don’t know if I have a least favorite. I also love Halloween because we go all out in our neighborhood.

7) Have you ever met anyone famous? What concerts have you attended? Well, I didn’t meet him but Matthew McCaunaghay has been all over Alabama filming a movie. His entourage used our parking lot one day this week. We didn’t see him but the next day, he was spotted in another parking lot. I was disappointed we didn’t see him. I’ve been to several concerts over the years. One of the most fun was when I was young and it was homecoming weekend at a nearby University . . .and I went on a date to see the Beach Boys.

8) Are there any expressions that people use that really annoy you? If so, what are they? I must not be annoyed by any today because I can’t think of any. When I read all of your answers, I’ll shake my head and probably agree.

9) Do you like your name? Are you named after anyone? Is there a story how you got your name? Would you change it if you could? If so, what name would you give yourself? I like my name. I don’t think there is a story. I probably wouldn’t change it but I remember wanting to change it when I was younger!!

10) It is said that it's the little things that make life worth living. Name five of those little things in your life (some are big but I just had to list them . . .and a few are silly and small)

               i. my family (this is huge – not little)

               ii. our friends (same thing – not little)

               iii. diet pepsi (love it . . . and this is little)

               iv. sunshine and blue skies

               v. a good frozen margarita

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

It's a HodgePodge Kind of Day

1. What does productivity look like to you? Productivity is “getting things done.” I am a list maker so a productive day is a day where I have marked everything off my “to do” list.

2. What was your fondest (or one of your fondest) memory of High School? Even though my mom died when I was a Sophomore in high school, I can look back on many good memories of High School. I mentioned one of those events in a recent blog. Another family in our church hosted a surprise 16th birthday party for me. I was also in the school beauty pageant during my senior year and placed in the top 15. I was in the color guard and LOVED it. I made All State Choir in high school – I sang alto. I can’t sing at all anymore. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

3. What did you do the summer after High School? I actually went to work at South Central Bell on the morning after graduation. My 18th birthday was about two weeks away from my start date so my daddy had to sign a “minor’s release” form in order for me to go to work! Throughout that summer, I dated my boyfriend from my senior year of high school.

4. June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day...are you a fan, and if so will you celebrate? How do you make yours? Have you been strawberry picking? If so what do you do with all those berries? June 14th is also Flag Day and more importantly June 14th is my birthday! I used to love strawberry shortcake but I don’t eat sweets anymore. I do still eat strawberries and I love them!! My mother-in-law taught me to make her Strawberry Shortcake. I grew up eating those little round cakes (dessert shells) from the grocery store. I didn’t know there was a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake until I became an Elliott. We use our basic waffle recipe but add more butter and sugar and bake in an 8 X 8 pan. After cooking, slice a square and then split the square horizontally. Put fresh sliced strawberries in between and strawberries and whipped cream on top. My husband likes to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and THEN add the whipped cream. You can decorate the piece by placing a whole strawberry on top of the whipped cream.

5. What's something you always splurge on? I probably splurge on food/drink items more often than anything else. I do splurge a little on shoes – I prefer good sandals with arch support. I splurged a little on the glass knobs for our new bar we are having built in the house and we splurged on having our bathroom re-done even though it was the only room in the house with no damage.

6. Insert your own random thought here. Matthew McConaughey is in Birmingham filming a movie. On Monday, the "in charge" person showed up at our church (remember I'm on staff at our church) and asked to rent our parking lot and a large inside room for Tuesday in case of rain. When we got to work this morning, our parking lot was covered with catering tents and make up trailers, etc. We were told that we could even eat lunch with the crew (not cast . . .but crew!). I even wore mascara to work today (I rarely wear eye make-up . . .or much make-up at all to weekday work). It didn't rain and they had moved on before lunch. We didn't get to meet Matthew nor eat with the crew but it was still a little exciting knowing some of them were in our parking lot. Matthew has been spotted at several restaurants around town - very local ones! - and according to all reports has been very nice. We were so close . . .(just FYI - none of us saw him so we don't know if he was here or not). I had planned to run out and take some pictures of all of the trailers, etc. but didn't. This is all I have:

Monday, June 12, 2023

Weekend in Review

This is a review with very few photos . . .I guess I was busy just living life!

I know when the weekend begins officially, but sometimes other nights feel like a weekend. Last Wednesday night I met Mollie at Soho Taco for happy hour. I had a delicious margarita, a few chips and guac, and a soul filling time of conversation.

Thursday was a normal day at work and I think Mark was at the farm and I probably studied that night!

Friday morning, the apartment manager and helper showed up to service the HVAC. Servicing the HVAC literally meant changing the very nasty filter. Bless the guy's heart . . .he tried two different filters and neither was the correct size and he then had to leave and go pick up the correct size.

Friday lunch was at Ashley Mac's with my three monthly lunch buddies. We enjoyed chatting and eating together and caught up on all of our families. 

I ran by the office and did a few things and right before I left, I scanned my homework using our copier and emailed it to myself. When I got home, I realized that it had scanned and saved it as a TIF file which is unacceptable to submit through Blackboard. I had a hissy fit just like a teenager. I know we've been under a tremendous amount of stress for the last 12 months and sometimes it just erupts. I dislike that about myself. I called our young friend, Hannah, who reminded me that I could use the notes app on my phone and scan the document. I did . . .and I submitted my homework . . .but first, I had to call the professor and leave a voicemail asking her to delete my first attempt (the TIF) so that I could send a PDF. I then took my 10 question quiz for Chapter 2 and I'm pretty sure I failed it. I was so agitated from the previous SNAFU that all knowledge promptly flew out of my brain.

Friday dinner was with our supper club. I made Asian Slaw. The hostess/host grilled pork tenderloin that was delicious and she made a new potato salad with herbs and vinegar and oil. It, too, was yummy. One friend brought the appetizer which was a hot Kale dip sort of like a hot spinach dip and she brought pita chips and carrots sliced like chips for dipping. Our other friend brought dessert which was a trifle. A giant black standard Poodle lives at their house and he was outside in the pool house with one of their granddaughters while we ate. He came in to visit and guess what he did? He stood on his hind legs and started eating the Kale dip! He sure did. It was quite funny. Luckily, we had eaten most of it and the rest went into the trash can. I think he tried to get the pork tenderloin, too.

Saturday mornings are my weekly WW (Weight Watchers) weigh in and I had lost weight - always a good thing. I then headed to a local church parking lot where Mr. Bennie sells his fresh veggies on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday morning. I had my first BLT of the year for a late breakfast when I got home. Mark and I drove to Bessemer to Simmons Sporting Goods where he purchased some kind of fishing worms and I bought socks and Bloody Knuckles for our brother-in-law, Bob's, birthday gift. (Those commas do not look right before and after Bob's but I'm leaving them.)

Veggies from Mr. Bennie

We grilled two GINORMOUS tomahawk steaks for dinner. I ate about two ounces of mine. They were massive and a gift from friend's who had a cow butchered. I prepared fresh squash to go with the steaks and we had some leftover Asian slaw from the night before. We watched a couple of episodes of Will Trent and went to bed.

I worked on Sunday morning and Mark went to church and then we met at his mother's for Sunday lunch. We celebrated my birthday (which is Wednesday) and my brother-in-law, Bob's, birthday (there are those pesky commas again) which was today. My sister-in-law made a giant bowl of fresh fruit as my "cake" and Bob had requested homemade coconut cake. Mark made homemade ice cream for everyone (the cooked custard kind).

Sunday afternoon was pretty lazy - I studied and made flash cards. Mark went over to check on the house. I made cheese straws to go in the freezer for our granddaughter #2's birthday party (tea party) in July. I rode the stationary bike and made even more flash cards and watched the three videos for my class assignment. Around 8:00, we realized that it might rain during the night so we drove (a whole block) to our house to make sure the windows were closed. The actual reason we drove was because I needed to get gas for my car! After that, we watched one episode of Frazier and went to bed.

Did you do anything interesting this weekend?

Dark Walnut stain on the new hardwoods!!

Limestone hearth for the new

A lot of cheese straws for the
Tea Party

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Sunday Stealing


*Have you tried anything new this year? I’m taking Biology 101 right now and it seems pretty new to me!


*What would you do if you don’t have wifi for a week? Since I’m taking an on-line class (see above), I would be up a creek without a paddle without wifi. I couldn’t do my job without wifi, either. If work or school wasn’t an issue, I would love to read and talk with friends.


*Do you like summer, why or why not? Yes, I love the long days! When we get up at 5:00, it is almost daylight and it is still daylight until about 8:15.


*What’s one restaurant that you like in your city? what food do they sell? I live in a “foodie town” so I can get excellent cuisine anytime I want it. We have Hot and Hot and Blueprint on Third. We have Bricktops and Perry’s. We have Pita Stop for kebabs and hummus and falafel. The list goes on and on.


*Do you prefer digital book or real paper book? For pleasure, I enjoy reading on my kindle. For studying, I prefer a paper book.


*What’s one thing that you are interested to buy, but it’s a bit expensive, so you haven’t bought yet? We are going to have to buy several pieces of furniture. We are looking but haven’t purchased yet.


*What tea brands do you like? I don’t drink a lot of tea. I actually have one glass of unsweetened decaffeinated iced tea every Sunday at lunch.


*What’s one food that you can binge eat a lot? I try not to binge eat. It is easy to eat too many nuts or popcorn or sugar free fudge pops. Before I lost 50+ pounds (over the last 5 or so years), I would eat way too many cookies or chips.


*Write one random thing that happened to you this month. One day last week, a friend was telling me about an unusual potato salad she made that was delicious. On Friday night, we went to dinner at another friend’s house (who doesn’t know the first friend) and she served that exact same potato salad. What are the odds of that happening?


*How many long-term penpals do you have right now? (people who pen pal with you for more than 3 years) I haven’t had a penpal in many years. I did have one through middle and high school and we kept up with each other when our kids were little. She and her husband divorced and I have no idea where she is now.


*If you own a small food trailer, what food do you want to sell? I would want to sell something that was easy to make but could turn a profit. I make excellent Brown Sugar Brownies – that might work.


*What’s one handmade gift that you received and really liked? I loved to get gifts from my kids that they made. Glenn made a table for our porch that I love but I also loved those crafty things they made in pre-school and elementary school.


*What’s your ideal Saturday like? I would like to sleep until around 7:00 a.m. I would like to go to the neighborhood pool and float around all day and have pizza delivered and have a friend with whom to chat. That would be my “simple” ideal Saturday. A more elaborate one would be to wake up on an island somewhere with a white sand beach and have a server bring me frozen drinks all day (that wouldn’t make me gain weight). I would enjoy having my friends and family around and for everyone to be happy and healthy.


*What things do you like to buy on Etsy? I haven’t purchased many things on Etsy but I have one item sitting in my office right now that I need to wrap for Mark for Father’s Day. I’ll tell you about it later 😊


*What kind asian food do you like? I make a killer Asian Slaw - - I actually made it and took it to our friend’s house on Friday night. I also like Chinese food (Americanized). Mark loves Thai food and he loves Sushi.

10 on the 10th

10 on the 10th…

I'm joining up today with Marsha in the Middle for 10 on the 10th!

What is the most amazing thing you remember about your wedding? We just celebrated our 39th anniversary a couple of weeks ago! We had a lovely wedding - not too big - just right. My sister-in-law filled a picnic basket with goodies from the reception along with a bottle of bubbly and some glasses. I thought that was so sweet!

Tell us about your wedding dress. It was lovely. It was actually my second wedding but Mark's first. I wore white anyway. 

Did you include all three things (they start with b) at your wedding?  Care to share more? I know I had a blue garter. I'm pretty sure I carried a handkerchief as the borrowed item. What in the world is the third "b" - bouquet? 

Where was your wedding held…church, park, neighborhood bar? We were married in our church. Mark has been in this church his whole life and I've been here over 40 years at this point. The picture below is a photo of a photo of a photo so it isn't very clear. 

What is the worst thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? I can't think of anything really bad. I was thinking about this wedding though . . .we were at a VERY HOT wedding reception about 10 years ago. First of all, the wedding was outside (HOT) PLUS the reception was outside in late July or August IN ALABAMA. It is hot and humid here. When we went to the reception, they had shrimp on the buffet. There was some ice around it but not enough. Mark grabbed my arm and said, "Do not eat the shrimp." He knows that is my favorite. I actually ate two snocones at that wedding and that was it! They were smart and had an actual snocone machine!!

Do you think less of a bride who doesn’t wear white? In today's world, I think a bride can wear whatever she wants. In Alabama, we still see lots of white dresses on brides.

If you got married tomorrow or sometime soon, what would be in your bouquet? My bouquet in the picture above had Rubrum lilies in it. They were gorgeous. I'm not sure I could carry a bouquet of lilies today with my allergies as crazy as they are. I love peonies and tulips and gerber daisies and tiny roses and I love sunflowers so I could probably be happy with a bouquet of any of those.

Have you ever attended a celebrity’s wedding?  (Yes, I’m looking for name droppers!) I've never attended the wedding of a celebrity.

What wedding tradition means the most to you? I loved having our wedding in our church. We were married here. Our children were baptized here . . .and married here. We've buried quite a few family members from here. We have our niche in the colubarium here so we will be buried here. (yes - that is way more info than you asked for!)

Describe your perfect wedding. Remember I'm a long way from the young girl who married here back in 1984. I think the important thing about a wedding is to be surrounded by those you love - friends and family. I remember when our son was getting married and then when our daughter was getting married, Mark reminded them that no matter what happened that day - whatever mishap, etc. - at the end of the day, they would still be married. Our pastors always tell couples that the wedding is just the beginning . . .it is the life lived afterwards that is so important.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Age Is INDEED Just a Number Hodgepodge

I'm joining up with the Wednesday Hodgepodge group! Joyce comes up with the questions/prompts and we answer!

1. Tell me something you remember (or if you're not there yet, something you look forward to) about being 35. Wow . . .that is a long time ago. I wish I had some of our pictures to share but I would probably fall down into the “well” of looking at pictures and never write the post. Laura and Glenn were born when I was 28 so I guess they turned 7 that year. We were deep in the trenches of raising children.

2. Last time you 'burned the candle at both ends'? I feel like I’ve been doing that lately since I get up early to exercise and get ready to go to work and then I’m trying to study at night. On the nights Mark stays with his mom or is at the farm, I have a tendency to get up even earlier and go to be later.

3. Are you someone with the 'gift of gab'? Elaborate (which shouldn't be a problem if you answered yes teehee).  Oh my goodness, yes! I can talk to a brick wall. On Monday I was picking up take-outs for lunch and another lady, a total stranger, and I had to wait for 15 minutes. I don’t know her name, but I know so much about her! Hahaha! I’m also the person who goes through the line at a place like Walmart and the cashier tells me their life story. When I was growing up, I was a straight A student EXCEPT FOR CONDUCT. One time I received a C in Conduct with a note, “talks too much.” My daddy said, in a long, slow, drawn out, slightly raised voice, “It seems to me that someone as smart as you should be able to keep her mouth shut.” That sentence alone should tell you that I talk too much.

4. Do you request a special meal on your birthday, and if so tell us what that meal is? Do you want the same kind of cake year after year or will any flavor work? Do you want cake at all? Growing up were birthdays a big deal in your house? Are they a big deal now? My birthday is next week, and I have requested fruit rather than a cake. Last year, I had two watermelon cakes!! When my mother-in-law, who is almost 98, was still able to cook Sunday lunch (which is when we celebrate all family birthdays), I used to ask for either Leg of Lamb (then it got too expensive) or roast beef and a German Chocolate Cake. These days I don’t eat cake anymore. I think we might have roast beef for Sunday lunch soon to celebrate. I only had one party that I remember when I was growing up and it was a Sweet Sixteen party and it was the year after my mom died and some family friends did a surprise party for me. We used to have birthday cake and a few presents, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I tried to make birthdays special for our kids. We hosted lots of birthday parties over the years. I’ve shared this before but my mom died right after her 50th birthday. I feel like every day since my 50th (we had a HUGE party for my 50th) is a gift.

This is one of our German Chocolate
Cakes - I made it several years ago.
We use my mother-in-law's recipe and
it is THE BEST German Chocolate

5. 'Age is just a number.'..agree or disagree? Tell us why. I do agree that age is just a number. I will be 65 next week and I don’t feel a day older than 50. I work with a lot of younger folks and sometimes I forget that I’m not their age.

6. Insert your own random thought here. I love the length of the days right now. We get up at 5:00 and it is almost daylight at that time. It doesn’t get dark until around 8:00 p.m. I love it!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Weekend in Review

We had a fun weekend which was much needed! On Thursday night, we met friends for dinner at a place called SoHo Tacos. The weather was pleasant and we ate outside. Yes -- those are frozen margaritas you see!

After dinner, we walked next door (literally) to the Homewood Theatre to opening night of Sandy toes and Salty kisses. It was a cute play set on our gulf coast.

On Friday, we drove to Auburn and checked into our hotel. We got ready and headed to the rehearsal dinner for Kyle and Hannah. The dinner was held at a local restaurant, Acre. The chef has a garden growing right beside the restaurant. You can read a little about the restaurant here.

The couple had a signature drink. Mark had three. Just saying it went down easily. You can see the appetizers in the background. We had homemade pimento cheese and paprika chips and a charcuterie board.

The rehearsal dinner took up the bar side of the restaurant. I think there were about 60 folks who attended.

The dessert was also served on a charcuterie board. I didn't eat any but I know it was bread pudding and peanut butter pie and something chocolate.

Here is a picture of the restaurant and you can see the garden!!

We slept in on Saturday morning which NEVER happens. I didn't get out of bed until almost 8:00. Seriously, I do not remember the last time we slept like that.

After eating breakfast at the hotel, we headed to the Arboretum. We spent over an hour there looking at all of the plants and trees. It was quite lovely.

Here are just a few pictures showing the beauty and diversity of native plants.

The small waterfall made a lovely sound as it tumbled down the rocks. The iPhone camera still amazes me. It caught the drops of water in the air.

This was by the little lake - these are cypress knees!!

Mark was simply enjoying nature! You can see more cypress knees behind Mark.

There were lots of Oakleaf Hydrangeas. Aren't they lovely?

We grabbed a quick lunch to go from Salsaritas and took it back to our hotel room. We tried to take a nap but had slept so well the night before, it wasn't needed! We headed down to the hotel gym. Mark walked on the treadmill and watched Auburn baseball on tv. I rode a stationary bike and watched Young Sheldon!

We headed back to the room to shower and get ready. The wedding started at 5:00 p.m. and it was outside and it was HOT. It was a beautiful venue but it was HOT. 

Thank goodness the reception was indoors and it was lovely.

We hung out with some of our young adults from Tuesday night AND we met Cole's girlfriend.

Lindsey was one of the bridesmaids and she is in our group, too. I loved the bridesmaid dresses. I think they can actually wear them again!

The bride and groom . . .look at his shoes . . .all the groomsmen wore the same.

Here is a picture of all of us (from Tuesday nights) who were there. Kyle is the groom with Hannah, his wife. Our other Hannah is on the left. In the very back is Cole with his girlfriend, Rebecca. Morgan is between Mark and me.

In the wedding ceremony, our pastor talked about how young and beautiful they were today but they still needed to love each other when they were old and ugly. I think the picture below shows both (just kidding sort of).

We drove home on Sunday morning and immediately fell back into the melee that is family life these days. Mark stayed at his mom's on Sunday night and I prepped for Tuesday night and studied Biology.