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Wednesday Hodgepodge – Survivor Style

It is currently 3:10pm, and I am only now able to write my post for the Hodgepodge.

This week – well, every week – is definitely about surviving. Seriously though.

So, here’s how the Hodgepodge works. Joyce posts her questions on Tuesdays. You answer on your own blog, visit hers on Wednesday, link up with Joyce, and visit other people. Easy peasy, unless you’re me and had a hectic Tuesday so you couldn’t write, much less schedule a post, and then are left to doing so in the waning hours of Wednesday.


Let’s get to the questions.

1. What’s something you resolved to do this year? Have you done it?

Let’s see . . . I’m not big on making resolutions really, so this is a little tough. I guess something we, meaning the hubby and I, resolved to do was clean out our house. We are in the process of fighting with our insurance company – a very well known company that shall remain nameless until the day I write an angry post about them – to get repairs paid for from Hurricane Michael, which hit over eighteen months ago.

We are making headway in the cleaning – not with the insurance lady. I better not talk about that too much because I’m still angry.

We have thrown out a lot of stuff and have been moving things to a storage unit so the house is uncluttered when we get new flooring (among other things).

2. Where do you go to find quietude?

Right now, quietude exists on my back porch. It’s screened in and catches a lovely breeze. I spend hours upon hours on the computer each day because I am teaching online. Being outside is my respite from the craziness of the decluttering that is happening inside.

3. A friend asked this question on her Facebook page and said I could borrow it for the Hodgepodge…you’re only allowed to buy 5 things at the grocery store, and all must start with the first letter of your first name. Whatcha’ buying?

Since my name is Nathalie, I guess I need to think of things that start with the letter N. This is a difficult letter, by the way.

Nut butter (I cheated here)
Nerds (I do love this candy)
Nutritional Yeast (a vegan’s go to for all things cheesy)
Nuts (because the hubby likes to snack on them)
Nutmeg for flavoring all of the things.

4. The television show Survivor, the Gloria Gaynor song ‘I Will Survive’, survival mode, survival of the fittest…pick one and discuss.

I think it’s fitting that I have an EASY question after the previous one. I see what you did there, Joyce.

Hands down, the show Survivor. I love this show and have watched almost every season. I think I’ve missed one.

This season has been the absolute BEST because they brought back some of the most famous winners and have pitted them against one another. Every single week is full of twists and turns, and the tribal councils have been shocking. I like to text my daughter-in-law during/after the shows (she’s two hours behind me) so we can discuss the happenings.

5. Share a favorite quote or saying about strength.

I’m not always good at the laughing without fear, but this verse speaks to my heart every time I see it.

6. My Random Thought

I have to share the most random discovery I made recently.

Do not ask me how I came upon this YouTuber. I started out by watching a video about how to improve your Zoom meetings.

Well, you know how YouTube “suggests” other videos, right?

So I saw another video by the same girl that had tips for the “mature woman” on how to apply eye shadow.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I’ve been doing things wrong.

All of my life.

This lady’s handle is HotandFlashy, and she’s amazing.

Look her up for more videos.

She’s good. I’m serious.

Here is a selfie I took last week – for comparison purposes . . .

Here are a couple of pictures of me the first day I tried some of HotandFlashy’s tips.

Excuse the hair. I’m sure she has videos for this as well – videos my crazy life hasn’t let me have time to watch.

I got better with my second go. Here are pictures from today’s application . . .

My world has been rocked. I will never apply eye shadow the same way again.

Have a great rest of the week! Thanks for visiting!

Karaoke Hodgepodge

Good Wednesday morning! I cannot tell you how glad I am that Joyce restarted her weekly Hodgepodge posts because they have helped me get back into the blogging game and keep at it during hectic teach-from-home days.

If you want to play along, answer on your own blog and link back up with Joyce.

I’m going to try to do a better job of visiting other bloggers. Last week bit me in the rear, let me tell you, so I apologize if I did not reciprocate.

This week’s theme is karaoke, and y’all, this is going to be interesting.

1. In Monday’s post I mentioned I would incorporate the word I was given for letter K into this week’s questions. That word was karaoke. On a scale of 1-10 how excited would you be to find out there was karaoke happening at your next gathering/outing with friends? 10=gimme that microphone!, and 1=I suddenly remembered there’s somewhere else I need to be. Have you ever actually done karaoke? If you had to perform karaoke what would be your ‘go-to’song?

I have been to a karaoke thing once while on a cruise several years ago. I did not, however, sing. I’m not brave that way, so I’d put myself at a 3 as far as how excited I’d be if there was going to be karaoke happening at my next gathering. With that said, I have to rave about my Chicky girl. She bravely did karaoke during one of our cruises, and it was hysterical. She and one of my nephews did a Grease duet, and we were rolling. I’ve decided to save the world by not doing it. Ever. I once heard my voice that I’d accidentally videoed years ago when we were singing happy birthday to Chicky. It took me years before I sang out loud at church after that.

Now, if I suddenly developed a voice, I’d do the song Part of Your World, from the movie Little Mermaid. I don’t know why. I’ve just always loved that song.

2. How do you listen to music these days? Favorite app or do you listen the old fashioned way? Do you have music playing often in your home? Is there still a CD player in your car?

When I’m in the car, I listen to XM Radio. I believe that I have a CD player in my car, and I do have CDs in the house, believe it or not, but I don’t listen to them in the car. When I’m out for a walk, I listen to a cardio playlist from songs I’ve downloaded. When I’m at home, I’ll play music through Alexa or the Pandora app on my TV.

3. The HP lands on US tax day this year. Or what used to be tax day before everything including filing your taxes was cancelled, delayed, postponed or extended. FYI- filing your taxes has not been cancelled, only delayed for a bit.

Besides staying away from anyone and everyone, what have you found taxing lately?

Honestly, this stay-at-home thing hasn’t been too hard for me. I am an introvert and have been struggling with anxiety since October, so staying in has been fine with me. The most taxing thing about being home is shutting down the computer at the end of the work day. I love, love, love working from home, but I am trying to learn how to balance myself a little more.

3. You’re without power so no oven, and you can’t open your frig or freezer in order to keep what’s in there from spoiling. And you don’t have access to take out. What will you make us for dinner?

This question immediately reminded me of what we went through after Hurricane Michael. We had no electricity for twelve days, so we had to get creative – or rather not. I ate soup straight out of the can. I also ate fresh fruit, which I picked up from donation centers. So yeah, we’d be eating real fancy around here. 🙂

4. I’ve seen this exercise going around Facebook and thought it would be a good one to include in the HP…what are five things everybody seems to love and go crazy for that you personally don’t care for?

This is so easy for me and will probably surprise people given that I’m a vegan. I personally do not care for avocados, sweet potatoes, coffee, blueberries, and beer.

5. Insert your own random thought here.

I am so glad that we are working from home right now because yesterday, I woke up with a headache. This, in and of itself, isn’t unusual for me with my allergies being as they are right now. But, the headache ramped up to a 20 on a scale of 1-10, and I found myself in bed with an ice pack on my head. It was one of the worst headaches I’ve ever had.

Gambit was pretty concerned and snuggled up super close.

The Mr. took good care of me and even, at one point, brought me a thermometer. It’s sad when you can’t even have a migraine these days without worrying.

I read my temperature as 99.6, and we were nervous . . . until the Mr. walked out of the room for a second and then returned to tell me that he thought I’d read the thermometer upside down.


So we took it again, and it was 96.9, which I later read is actually okay.


By early evening, I was able to return to the den and watch a little TV.

The headache is gone this morning, thank heavens, although I am walking on eggshells a bit.

Have a great day and thanks for visiting!

Springing to My Feet for the Hodgepodge

Hello everyone. It’s Wednesday, which means that it’s time for another round of the Hodgepodge. Joyce has cooked up some fun ones for us, so let’s jump in. Post your answers on your own blog and link up with Joyce here.

Oh, and thank you for visiting today!

1. Has spring sprung in your part of the world? How can you tell? Did March come in like a lion where you live? Going out like a lamb or something more ferocious?

I live in the Florida Panhandle, so spring has definitely sprung! it always amazes me how quickly we go from frigid 50-degree weather to blistering 80-degree temperatures. Talk about going out like a lamb!

Here’s a sign that spring is doing its thing . . . the revival of one of my plants.

I’m really enjoying watching it come back to life.

2. The last thing that caused you to spring to your feet?

Yesterday morning, I was out on my back porch and minutes into my first Zoom meeting of the day with my students when all of a sudden, my sprinklers came on. I figured I’d be okay, aside from the noise, but then I noticed that the sprinkler closest to my porch was actually spraying into the area where I was sitting. I had to grab my laptop and paperwork from my table and run inside.

I need to go back, at some point, and adjust that sprinkler.

3. Do you have a spring clean to-do list? What’s one chore on the list you’ve already managed to accomplish? What spring clean chore do you most dread?

This question made me chuckle because I don’t do spring cleaning. I clean when and what I can, and right now, that’s not much.

Now, I will say that the Mr. and I have already been cleaning out closets and cabinets in anticipation of the repair work that will need to be done in our house – repairs from Hurricane Michael.

I’ve also been selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace, so my house is a disaster. I’m choosing to turn a blind eye for now.

4. Tell us something you’ve learned about yourself or the wider world as a result of social distancing/the virus crisis.

Gosh. There are so many lessons I’m learning through this pandemic.

I’m learning that I can make do on much less than what I thought.

I’m learning just how much stuff I have wasted over the years and how rewarding it is to find ways to make things stretch.

I have learned that it takes much less toilet paper to get the job done than one thought before this pandemic made the good stuff so hard to find.

5. Something you love that’s the color pink?

I am having a hard time with this question. I guess I’d have to say that I like certain fingernail polish colors that are pink.

Baby Pink

6. My Random Thought

I am on Day 3 of online teaching, and I don’t mind admitting that I am slap worn out.

My end-of-the-day face

Monday, I got up early, put on makeup, and sort-of fixed my hair because I had an online training to attend.

After my training, I spent at least three hours on the phone with students and parents.

In between, I was averaging between 25-30 emails an hour.

Yesterday, I hosted five or six Zoom meetings with my students to give them an overview of class and how their online instruction would proceed.

It was great to see their faces. In fact, at one point, I had about fifteen kids in one meeting, and it was chaotic and noisy, much like class had been some days.

It was wonderful.

Many students expressed the wish to return to school. They are overwhelmed with the magnitude of actually having to manage their education from afar.

Teachers are feeling that way too.

We know, though, that we will adjust. I’m sure that give or take a week, we’ll have our new routines figured out and will be able to breath a little easier each day.

Right now, it feels like we are running through our days at a full-out sprint. We are ready for the foot to come off of the accelerator as we ease our way back into the slow lane.

The Hodgepodge is Back!

From this Side of the Pond

Y’all, I am so excited that Joyce has revived her weekly Hodgepodge! One of the blessings that the COVID19 quarantine has given me is the free time I needed to resurrect my own languishing blog. I’m sure you understand how the minutia of life can bog us down and prevent us from doing some (ahem) of the things we want to do.

Anyhoo, let’s move on . . .

If you’re not familiar with how this works, what you do is copy the questions, paste them on your own blog, answer the questions (on your blog), and then post your link at the end of Joyce’s post. The best part is visiting other people to see how they answered. I’ve made some great blogging friends this way.

So, let’s get to my answers.

1. Howdy Hodgepodgers. It’s kind of fun to be back, isn’t it?  Last time we met was September, 2018. Tell me something big-important-happy-or sad that’s happened in your life since that date. Just one thing. We don’t know how long this current isolation situation is going to last and we might need to dole out our news bit by bit.

Gosh, since many of you already know that my town got hit by Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018, let me share a different BIG happening.

My Chicky got engaged right before New Year’s – December 30, 2019, to be exact.

Her guy, let’s call him B, called the Mr. a few days beforehand and asked his permission.

Be still my heart!

But, true to the male species type, the Mr. didn’t think to ask B when he planned on popping the question, so we sat on the edge of our seats for DAYS waiting.

We were actually grocery shopping when Chicky called, and I knew this was what she was going to tell us.

Imagine being in the produce aisle, talking to someone you’ve run into, and quickly explaining that your daughter is calling to tell you she’s engaged, and you need to run.

Is she not the cutest thing?

2. Might as well get this out of the way early on…COVID-19. On a scale of 1-5 how serious are you about keeping your distance? Explain. fyi-I didn’t create the scale but have seen it several places online. Also fyi-we won’t only have virus related questions each week, but for this first one it feels right.

1-Not at all, living normally 2-Cautious but still going out 3-Going out as needed, mostly home or working from home, still seeing friends/family 4-Extremely limited, only going out when unavoidable, minimal contact with people 5-Full lockdown, no one in or out

I’d say that we are at a 4 right now. I have run a few errands – mostly last week. We were out of town visiting family when things got super bad, so when we got home, I had to have groceries. Although I used Publix’s delivery option the first week, I still found myself in need of items, so I went right when the store opened a few days after my delivery, scored toilet paper as I walked in, and did my shopping. It was unnerving, let me tell you.

Publix delivery for the win!

On Monday, I ran to my school to grab some much-needed instructional material and a few other items like my essential oils diffusers. Even then, I saw two people, said hello from a distance, and carried on. Schools in the state of Florida are “out” until April 15th . . . for now. Teaching is supposed to resume on the 30th though.

The Mr. has had to go by his office to grab a few things to work from home, but he’s pretty much staying home as much as he can. He has Crohn’s disease, so his immune system is compromised, and he can’t afford to get sick.

3. Raise your hand if you think you might run out of steam in the cooking department before it’s all said and done? What’s something delcious you’ve cooked or eaten in your own kitchen in the past week?

I actually only cook a couple of times a week, so I’m not finding myself doing more than usual. Thankfully, most restaurants are offering curbside service, which I took advantage of on Saturday when I saw that one of my favorite places was offering margaritas to-go. Ahem.

4. What’s a television show or movie you’ve seen recently (it could be an oldie) that you really liked?

I finished watching The Circle on Netflix.

The Circle on Netflix

I’d started this series a few weeks back but stopped because some of it made me cringe a little. I wound up going back to it and am so glad I did. It’s about a group of people who use a social media forum called The Circle to communicate with each other. They aren’t allowed to see each other real-time but can only chat via a Facebook-like app. This allows some of them to misrepresent themselves, which others either suspect or don’t know at all. It’s a competition where they essentially vote each other off until there’s one winner.

I found it fascinating and so relateable given how we use social media today.

5. Share something funny you’ve seen or heard this week.

Oh gosh, y’all. I know that this virus is serious, and trust me when I say that I do not think it’s a laughing matter. My heart hurts for those who have lost loved ones or are either sick themselves or are watching those they care about fight it. I’m also stressed out, majorly, for those providing care to the sick. It’s so overwhelming.

With that said, moments of humor are good for the soul. As a teacher, I have especially enjoyed all of the homeschooling/parent/teacher memes and videos. I hope that parents will give teachers a little more credit now that they’re getting to facilitate their own children’s education.

This video got me though. All of it is TRUE! Ha!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can we just talk about all of the fur baby love that’s happening right now?

Raise your hand if your baby is as happy as mine now that they’re living neverending weekends?

I watched a news segment Monday evening that talked about how pet adoption numbers have gone up exponentially during this crisis. As the mama of four adopted fur babies (well, Gambit actually adopted us), my heart soared when I saw that.

Hope you guys are practicing safe physical distancing protocols (I like this term better than social distancing) from your non-furry friends.

An Attention-Getting Hodgepodge

Look at me participating in the Hodgepodge for the second (or is it third?) week in a row.  You know it’s summer when Auburnchick starts writing consistently.


Thanks for stopping by to visit!  Don’t forget to link up with Joyce.

1.  I feel most energized when I _______________________.

I feel most energized when I watch students reach their goals.  Last year was incredibly rewarding as I witnessed between 70 and 80% of my students pass the FSA, ACT, or SAT . . . checking off a very important box for graduation.  Their whoops and tears of joy invigorated me!

2.  Where were you ten years ago?

I was here, in Podunk, Florida, and had just finished getting my college degree.  I was busy applying for teaching jobs.  Chicky was about to be a junior in high school, and Rooster was getting ready to start the ninth grade.

SO much has changed since then!!

3.  July 17th is World Emoji Day. Do you use emojis? Which one’s your favorite? Your most used?

I LOVE emojis!  They are wonderful for conveying that extra feeling when you text someone!

The one I use the most is this . . .

I am forever laughing about stuff.  Life is such that you have to laugh as much as you can.

My favorite is probably this one . . .

How many times do I want to slap my head in a What the heck kind of way?

4.  What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?

How about this one, by Carrie Underwood . . .

5.  What deserves less of your attention? More of your attention?

I think that social media deserves less of my attention.

If I stopped checking all of the socials, I might be able to give more attention to the housework that needs to be taken care of.

Of course, I wouldn’t be having so much fun, so there’s that.

6.  My Random Thought

Did you see my post from a couple of days ago?  It’s the one about the annoying noise I kept hearing in my car.

Well, I am proud to say that I ran errands yesterday, and my ride was noise-free!

That was probably the best thing I can say about Tuesday, but more on that tomorrow.

A Nostalgic Hodgepodge

I haven’t participated in the Hodgepodge for awhile, so I thought I’d give it a go this week.   If you’re new to my blog, welcome!  If you’ve been here before, hello again!  Thanks for stopping by, y’all!

1.  What’s something in your house you’d like to get rid of but can’t?

I want to get rid of a futon that’s taking up a LOT of space in a spare bedroom, but I can’t because nobody wants to pay what I’m asking.  It’s actually much better quality than what you’ll find in many stores, so I’m going to be stubborn and hold my ground.  I figure that it will sell eventually.

2.  When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.

When the Mr. and I go to our neighborhood’s pool, I’m frequently reminded of when my children were toddlers.   We lived in Miami when they were little, and I took them to the pool twice a day, just to wear them out.  This was where both of the kids learned to swim – Rooster caught on before he was two years old!  Whenever I see littles at the pool, my heart does a little lurch, and I’m swept back in time to those exhausting, yet fun, days.

3.  You’re only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet…which three do you keep?

The pressure of this question is giving me a touch of anxiety!!!!  What the heck, Jo?  Ha!

I guess I’d have to keep my email because seriously, though, how would I function without it.

I’d also keep a GPS app because I am the queen of getting lost.

The third app I’d keep would have to be Safari because I can browse all the things with a web page.

Ha!  How’s that for being smart?

4.  July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What’s the last thing you baked?

Yeah, no blueberries for me, thank you very much.  If it’s a super food, I’m not having anything to do with it.

If I was going to eat muffins, I’d probably choose the Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe I cooked up a couple of weeks ago.

Y’all, I just discovered this gal, and so far, the recipes I’ve tried have been spot on!

The last thing I baked were her Soft and Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

You’d never know that these don’t have eggs or any other dairy product in them!  I’ll be working those off later today – and every day.

5.  What’s the biggest way you’ve changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?

The biggest way I’ve changed is that I’ve grown more comfortable in my own skin.  Am I still self conscious?  Yes.  Do I mind that I’m a bit odd and march to the beat of my own drum?  Nope.

One way that I’m the same is that I am still extremely shy and introverted.  That surprises people who know me, but you guys, I don’t do crowds very well.  I’m not your party girl either.  Please don’t make me introduce myself to new people (except my students, where oddly enough I’m not shy).  I don’t know that I’ll ever outgrow these things about myself.

6.  My Random Thought

Ok, so I posted about this on Facebook yesterday, but I’m going to write about it here as well.

Why is it that when I go out looking my rattiest, I run into people I know?

Take Monday, for instance.

I had a hard time getting going.  My back was bothering me a lot and honestly, the longer that summer break goes on, the later I sleep in.  Don’t judge; I wake up at 4am during the school year, so I pay my dues on the front end.

I threw on some clothes to work out in.  I knew that there might be a possibility that I’d need to go to the store, but I pushed on.

I have a pair of twenty year old, khaki stretch shorts.  The drawstring has been AWOL for years now.

They are comfortable though, and I usually wear them when I’m doing yard work.

The Mr. loathes these shorts.  He has often told me to expect them to go missing one day . . . that they aren’t fit to be seen in.

I put on one of my favorite Hogwarts Running Clubs tech shirts from a race I did last year.  It’s pink, as you can see from the picture below.

Oh yeah, and my hair.  Can we discuss the fact that I was wearing it in the easiest way possible?  Messy buns and headbands are my thang, y’all.

It’s summer, after all.

So, after I finished sweating it up, I thought to myself, “Do I change, or do I leave these clothes on.”

Laziness won out.  I wasn’t going to be too long, after all.

I forgot that I live in Podunk, USA, where you can’t even run to the gas station without seeing someone you know.

I walked in and sure enough, I ran into one of the store managers – a drop dead gorgeous girl and the wife of someone the Mr. works with.  I’d met her a month or so ago.  Oh, hello, please excuse my nastiness, I wanted to say.


Then, in the produce section, I spied a young lady from my church.  I think she’s Rooster’s age and, like the other gal I’d seen, gorgeous.

I kept my head down, but we ran into each other again, and I knew it would be rude to ignore her.  I covered my brow and mumbled an apologetic hello.  I actually told her that I was hoping that she wouldn’t notice me because I wasn’t exactly dressed for the public eye.


So when I got home, I posted my warning to all of my Facebook friends that one should never wear ratty clothes out in public.  Ever.

The Mr. got home, caught up on social media (including my post), and came out long enough to say, “Really?  You just had to wear those?”  Sigh.

So on Tuesday, I figured I’d be way smarter.

I dressed in my Nike workout shorts, Nike tank top, and matching socks with ASICs shoes.  Heck, even my headband had the Nike emblem.  I could have been a model, minus the magazine-cover-worthy face and great makeup and hair, for them.

I’m holding up one finger because I only had one repeat left in my cardio workout.

I worked out, sweating prettily of course (you know I’m being sarcastic, right?), and ran out to our health food store to pick up a few items.

Guess what.

I didn’t see a single person I knew.

Oh no, because at that earlier time (I’d actually gotten out of bed before 9), it was only the older people who were shopping.

Not one person, y’all.

I told the hubby about this when he came home for lunch.  His response?  “You should look nice every time you leave the house.”


Forget random thought – you got a random story.

Have a great day!

Heeding the Call of the Hodgepodge


How awesome is it that it’s Wednesday already?  As a person who tries to look at the glass as half-full, I’m happy that Friday is only two days away.  Ha!  I’m loving Joyce’s questions this week – so much fun!  Play along by answering your own and linking up here.  Oh, and thanks for visiting my humble corner of the world!

1.  They say you learn something new every day. What did you learn yesterday?

I’m always learning something new from my students.  Yesterday, while discussing how to organize information for an essay we are writing, one of my students told me that he’d had an elementary teacher who had taught him to use a web (cluster) to organize narrative writing and an outline for informational writing.  I was a little dumbfounded because I’d never heard of that.  I asked him a few questions and learned that since narrative writing is more visual in nature, the planning of it, with the web, meshes well since it’s a visual planning too.

Oh yeah.  My mind was blown.  I’m still processing this.

2.  Have you ever had a now or never moment? Elaborate.

This is a tough and philosophical question.  When I think of now or never, it sounds like a person has an ultimate decision to make about something and the person can’t go back and make a different decision.  Am I overthinking this?  Probably.

With that said, I think that some decisions can feel like now or never moments.  For instance, when I had my second ankle surgery to remove the hardware that had been used to put my ankle back together after I broke it, I had a moment when I felt like it was now or never.  It was kind of an elective surgery that was kind of necessary to help me progress to the next stage of recovery.  I remember taking a deep breath as I was wheeled in, knowing that many people live with the hardware forever.  I also felt that if I didn’t go ahead and do it, I’d never get around to it.

Another example is that I’ve been considering getting a tattoo (or two), but I haven’t quite said yes in my brain.  If I do make this step, I’ll definitely have the now or never feeling.

3.  April 25th is National Telephone Day. Do you still have a land line or have you gone mobile only? When you receive a text message do you respond immediately? Last time you turned your phone off?  In two or three sentences share with us a story/memory/incident from your childhood (or something current if that’s too hard) where the telephone is featured.

I do still have a landline thanks to the Mr.’s job, which requires it.  When he retires, we will go mobile only to save some money, although I suspect that my landline is part of my cable package, so there’s that.

I am a person who responds to text messages immediately.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by doing otherwise.

The last time I turned off my phone was probably a week or two but only because I needed to update it.

As far as phone memories . . . I remember that I stayed on the phone all night years ago while talking to my boyfriend (he’s now my hubby).  I had watched one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and was petrified of going to sleep.  He talked me through the dark hours of the evening until I dozed off at twilight.  I don’t do scary movies, y’all!

4.  Close call, at someone’s beck and call, call the shots, call a meeting, call it quits, call in sick, call on the carpet, wake up call…which call have you ‘heard’ recently? Explain.

I’d say that I’m constantly at someone’s beck and call right now since there are still four and half weeks until the end of the year, but who’s counting.  The kids keep me on my toes, let me tell you, and that’s saying something considering that I teach teenagers.  They are in the process of writing an essay, and I promise you that they are asking a bajillion and one questions.  I feel like a mother of multiple children who are constantly calling, “Mama, Mama, Mama.”  All they really want is for me to write their essays for them.  Ha!

5.  What subject do you wish you’d paid more attention to in school?

I wish I had paid more attention in math.  I struggled so much with this subject, but as an adult, I wish I hadn’t let it beat me.  I wish I’d been more interested so that maybe I could have done better on the math part of my ACT.

6.  My Random Thought

The weather around these parts is slowly starting to warm up.  It’s still being a tad fickle, but I’ll take the warm, sunny days when I can get them.  Last Saturday night, the Mr. and I drove to the bridge to attend a wedding reception.  The couple had rented a house on the beach, and the view was incredible.

I’m a sucker for sunset beach photos.  The light, as it makes it way through the clouds is always awe-inspiring.

I don’t know how people can not believe in God when you see such handiwork.  Folks, this doesn’t happen by chance.

Buckets of Fun With the Hodgepodge

Look at me . . . two weeks in a row of participating in Joyce’s Hodgepodge.  Can I get a round of applause?  Ha!  Thanks for visiting today!  If you’ve never done this before, grab the questions from Joyce, link up there, and make a few new friends!

1.  Three things on your spring bucket list? If you don’t have an actual list that’s fine, pretend you do.

Spring, where art thou?  It’s been a weird one so far with hot and then cold temperatures.  Oh well, that’s not going to stop me from adding my first trip to the beach this season as item number one on the list (not a true bucket list item, I know, but can we just go with it?).

Number two:  Increasing my run intervals.  Ankle recovery is in year two, and it’s still a process, let me tell you.

Number three:  Getting abs like Autumn Calabrese.  I’m going to be starting a new Beachbody program, 80 Day Obsession, soon, and although I know it’s going to take 80 x 15 days to maybe start to see one can of a six pack set of abs, a girl can always dream, right?

2.  Where do you find rest? What restores your soul? When was the last time you did whatever it was you answered here?

Where, as in literal where or figurative?  Hmmm.  I literally find rest in my recliner at the end of each day.  I figuratively find it in the quiet hours between getting off of work and the Mr. getting home.  Empty nesting provides a lot of time for rest, and I do not keep a busy schedule, homebody that I am.

What restores my soul is time at the beach.  I find it very restorative to just lay there, listen to the surf and birds, and just be.

I last went to the beach a year ago when Chicky came to visit.  The Mr. was still too sick to go, so I didn’t get back there during the summer with my bum ankle and all.  We are planning on going a lot this year though.

3.  April is National Celery Month. Who knew? Do you like celery? What’s your favorite dish made with celery? On a veggie and dip platter which would you reach for first-carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes? 

There is a National Day for everything, it seems.

This is from a couple of weeks ago.

I do like celery,, but I can’t really say that I have a favorite dish made with it.  I use it often as the base for stews.  I’d probably go for cucumbers (peeled please) or celery from a platter.

4.  I read here eight things to do before 8 am to make your day less hectic-Start one load of laundry, drink water, empty the dishwasher, read your Bible, know what you’re having for dinner, get dressed, brain dump (two lists-one what you’re thankful for and one what’s weighing on your mind), and after the brain dump make your to-list for the day

How many of these are you currently doing? Which one do you think would help the most if you added it to your early morning routine?

Things I’m currently doing (can we pretend that I’m writing this in the morning?) are drinking water (after my pre-dawn walk), getting dressed (the work life, y’all), and reading my Bible (I try to read the First 5 app in the mornings but don’t always get to it early).

I’d love to add starting a load of laundry, but I am out of the house by 7:15, so I can’t follow that up with putting stuff in the dryer.  I am not a list person, so I will never do a brain dump as described above nor make a to-do list.  I hate lists.  My mom always left long to-do lists on weekends, which completely ruined my time off from school.  No thank you.

5.  Describe the view from your window.

Looking out my friend window, I see a rose bush that’s grown quite tall, a lot of weeds in my flower bed, and the pond across from my street.  It’s not a bad view at all!

6.  My Random Thought

I’ve been walking in the mornings before work, slowly increasing my mileage and backing up my alarm (ugh) to give me enough time.  Yesterday, I went the farthest I’ve gone since breaking my ankle . . .

That photo is from 2.5 miles in, and yes, it was pretty dang dark.  Thank heavens for the street lamps in my neighborhood.

My friend, Leanne, told me that my pace was really good.

I very slowly jogged the last half mile, which probably helped.

I have goals . . . a specific one in fact . . . an item for a non-spring bucket list.

A Musical Hodgepodge

After a bit of a hiatus, I am back and excited to participate in this week’s Hodgepodge.  Thanks, Joyce, for posting these questions, even as you’re snuggling that precious grandson of yours!  Now, let’s get to my answers!

1.  April is National Jazz Appreciation Month. Are you a fan? If so what’s a favorite you’d recommend to someone new to jazz listening?

I can’t really say that I’m a fan.  I do appreciate music, but I don’t listen to jazz it and probably could only list out a few  musicians in this genre.

2.  Mandolin, ukulele, harp, accordion or banjo…which would you be most interested in learning to play? Or do you already play one of the instruments listed?

I think it would be fun to learn how to play the banjo.  Growing up in the South, I grew to love the sound of this instrument, and I always enjoy it when someone at church pulls one out for worship.

3.  Do you judge a book by it’s cover? Elaborate. You may answer in either/both the literal or figurative sense of the word.

I’m human, so I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do, sometimes, judge a book by its color.

I think that teaching has changed this tendency, though.  A lot of my kiddos present tough exteriors as defense mechanisms.  I’ve learned that taking time to get to know them . . . to compliment them . . . to show them that I’m interested in them goes a long way and removes some of the walls they keep around their hearts.

As far as books and covers, well, there again I do judge them, initially, from how they look on the outside.  Let’s face it, folks.  Publishers need to help their writers market their books with eye-catching covers.  They are the first things that entice us to pick up their books and at least turn them over to read the blurbs on the backs.  I’ve often skipped over books (and have probably missed out on great plots) because the covers weren’t alluring enough.

As I said, I’m human.

4.  According to a recent study the ten most nutritious foods are-almonds, cherimoya (supposed to taste like a cross between a pineapple/banana), ocean perch, flatfish (such as flounder and halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, pork fat (shocking! but I don’t think they mean bacon), beet greens, and red snapper. Are any of these foods a regular part of your diet? Any you’ve never ever tasted? Which would you be most inclined to add to your diet?

I would have to say that almonds and chia seeds are a regular part of my vegan diet.  I’ve never tasted cherimoya (sounds interesting), Swiss chard, perch, flatfish, beet greens, or red snapper.  I guess I’d be most inclined to add the fruit to my diet, if given the chance.

5.  Besides a major holiday what is the most recent thing you’ve celebrated with your people? Tell us how.

The most recent thing I’ve celebrated with my people was my birthday last month.  Chicky was on Spring Break, visiting a guy friend nearby, and drove over to eat dinner with us.

We went out to a popular Mexican restaurant . . . a local establishment that has divine food.

Unbeknownst to me, she arranged for a surprise after we’d finished.  Of course, we had to wear the special sombreros . . .

I was both mortified and entertained by this guy (I do not like to be the center of attention).  He certainly earned his keep, let me tell you.

The singing came with dessert, which I couldn’t really eat.  Chicky dug into it though.

The evening was definitely memorable!

6.  My Random Thought

So, while we’re on the topic of birthdays, allow me a moment to share what my sister gave me.

But first, the video of me opening it.  Excuse the hair (ahem) and lack of makeup.  I was about to go for my pre-work, o’dark’thirty walk – no fixing up required.

After I finally got it opened, I found this . . .

The Mr. had snuck into my jewelry collection and given her a list of the charms I already had.  Of course, he told me later that he had a hard time getting to the bracelet because I wear it almost every day.

Here’s a closer look at the charm . . .

It was the perfect gift given my love for books and my job as a reading teacher.

I discovered that it opened up and had a special message inside . . .

“Ignore the things you have to do and just enjoy a book or two.”

What a lovely addition to the other charms!

A Taxing Hodgepodge

Y’all, it’s been over a MONTH since I’ve blogged.

I’m so ashamed.

Life.  It’s getting in the way.

For now, I’m here, so why don’t I just try this again, beginning with Joyce’s Hodgepodge.

1.  Are you currently operating at 100% capacity? If not, what % are you? What’s keeping you there?

Well, that depends on where I am.  At school, I’m running on 300%.  I put the blame on testing season.  It’s not pretty.  At all.

At home, I’m operating at 50% capacity.  I’m fighting either a chest cold or spring-time temperature changes.  I feel yucky when I first wake up, go do my job, and then feel yucky at night again.  It’s been a vicious cycle.

2.  Have you done your taxes? Planned/booked a summer holiday? Thought about or started your ‘spring cleaning’? Besides what’s listed here, tell us one task that needs doing before spring rolls around.

The hubby filed our taxes a few weeks ago.  He’s good like that.  We are planning a summer holiday to visit Rooster and his sweet wife.  We haven’t picked a date yet; that’s dependent on Rooster’s work schedule, which is always up-in-the-air (literally, since he’s in the Air Force).

Spring cleaning will begin as soon as I start feeling better.  I’ve got company coming or else I wouldn’t bother.

What needs doing?  Um, everything?  Ugh.  It’s going to get very ugly before all is said and done.

3.  What’s a favorite food from your part of the country?

I live near the beach, so even though I don’t eat meat, a local favorite is seafood.  Personally, I’m digging Chick fil A’s sweet tea.  That’s food, right?  I mean, I do live in the South, y’all.


4.  This isn’t a leap year, but let’s run with it anyway…look before you leap, a leap of faith, grow by leaps and bounds, leap to conclusions, leap at the opportunity…which phrase might best be applied to your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

I think the phrase that best fits my life right now is that I’m growing by leaps and bounds.  I’ve had a new prep this school year – getting juniors and seniors ready for the ACT, SAT, and the FSA.  So much test prep – in the hopes that we can get them graduated.  It’s been quite the learning experience and one that I am enjoying immensely.  I still get to utilize my knowledge of helping kids with their reading skills, and there’s added pressure with the kids so close to graduation, but it’s fun to interact with the older students, as opposed to the tenth grade kiddos I’ve taught for the past six years.

5.  As the month draws to a close list five fun and/or fabulous things (large or small) you noticed or experienced in February.

The LAST appointment with my ankle surgeon! Remember that I broke my ankle in November 2016.  The recovery continues, but this was a HUGE milestone!  I’m planning on blogging about my progress.

Incredible weather – what a teaser for the spring!

Early morning / before-school walks – a new thing for me and something I’m enjoying immensely

Gorgeous sunrises – the BEST thing about being up so early each morning

The opening of Which Wich, my new favorite fast food restaurant.  When you live in Podunk, USA, you appreciate things like this!

6.  My Random Thought

I mentioned that we are in the throes of testing season.  Well, actually, we’ve been in that season all year long since I’m teaching upperclassmen this year, but we just started a big round of it.  As always, I grabbed some treats for the kids . . .

This is the first time that I’ve gotten Now and Laters.  The kids LOVED them.  They were still talking about them on Tuesday.  The kids who weren’t in my testing room were actually complaining.  I’m a strict teacher, but I try to be extra gentle on test days and spoil the kids rotten to alleviate their stress.  I think I’ll pick up another box or two of the beloved candy before we test next month.  We still have three more days.  Fun times, y’all!

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