Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Feelin' Gettin' Stronger: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

I had a long day at work (Monday), so at 3:15 p.m. I was taking a much needed nap.  My energy level is usually around a 4 at that time of day.  Most days, a nap brings it back up to around a 7 or 8.  The other days?  Not so much.  Rarely can I make it through the day without a nap.  That's one of the reasons I'm taking a week off before driving out West--to retrain myself not to have to get up at the apex of dawn's butt crack every morning.

A Frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

A tantrum--and no, not from a small child, a grown up (or two).  We are doing some much needed renovations at work, so certain areas are temporarily off limits to us and the customers.  The staff is rolling with it and adapting to the brief inconvenience as best we can.  The customers?  Most of them understand, but there's always THAT ONE (or two) who throws a wall-eyed fit.  Really dude?  Really? 

What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

  • A full night of uninterrupted sleep.  (see the answer to question one)
  • A newer car because of my upcoming long drive (and my car is more than 20 years old--reliable, but old).
  • Some extra money since I'm not sure how long it will take to find the right job once I'm at my destination.
Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?

In all areas, I don't feel that I am at my strongest, but I feel that I have gotten stronger over the past few years and will continue to do so.

Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

Yes.  My favorite book set in the past is City Girl by Lori Wick.  It is set in the West in the late 1800's.  It's part of her Yellow Rose Trilogy.  All three books are good, but that one is my favorite.

Insert your own random thought here.

It's less than 3 weeks before my departure and my excitement is growing more and more intense.  Keep sending up prayers for a glorious outcome.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Collect"

My most prized collection is my book collection.  At one time it was huge, but a "temporary poverty," as Louisa May Alcott would say, forced me to sell many of my favorite volumes.  After I got on my feet again (and again), I promised myself that no matter what, I wouldn't give up my library again.

I've been very frugal in my book purchasing; canvasing library book sales, thrift stores, yard sales, used books on Amazon, and bargain book sections in stores like Ollie's and Dollar General.  The collection isn't as large as before, but it is growing.

Now that I'm making yet another move, I've been paring things down; tossing, selling, and giving away items that won't fit in my Honda Accord.  However, my book collection remains.

Why?  Books are like friends to me.  I have nothing against e-books, of which I have a growing collection of bargain books and free classics, however, paper books are tangible, they are comforting, they are familiar.  They just "fit."  Reading a brand new one is like making a new friend.  Cracking open a familiar tome is like reminiscing with a long time "bosom" friend (yes, I like Anne of Green Gables too).

So, as I embark on my new adventure in just three short weeks (eek!), know that along with my essentials, the trunk of my car will be crammed full of my book collection--hopefully, to soon find a home.
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Friday, July 21, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 20

Book:  Better Than Before.
Author: Gretchen Rubin

Info: Copyright 2015: Farmington Hills, MI:  Thorndike Press

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮ 1/2

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:  Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project presents her detailed study of habits.  Through her studies, she's developed her own brand of the personality assessment known as the "four tendencies."  Rubin explores the relationship between these tendencies and how habits are made or broken.

Favorite Quotes: 

"There's no magic formula--not for ourselves and not for the people around us.  We won't make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people's habits, even the habits of geniuses, we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best." - p. 83

"Many strategies help us change our habits, and four strategies tower above the others:  Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability.  They're so ubiquitous and familiar that it's easy to take them for granted--but they're invaluable." - p 85

"Research suggests that when we have conflicting goals, we don't manage ourselves well.  We become anxious and paralyzed, and most often we end up doing nothing." - p. 370

"When we do stumble, it's important not to judge ourselves harshly.  Although some people assume that strong feelings of guilt or shame act as safeguards to help people stick to good habits, the opposite is true.  People who feel less guilt and who show compassion toward themselves in the face of failure are better able to regain self-control, while people who feel deeply guilty and full of self-blame struggle more." p. 275

What I liked:
  • The four tendencies framework was interesting.
  • No aside boxes.
  • It was well written as far as grammar and mechanics goes.
  • The tips and strategies for dealing with habits was helpful.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author starts out the book by saying that she wasn't going to tell the reader what habits to cultivate, yet spends most of the book telling us what habits to cultivate (and not cultivate).
  • Rubin makes some very sweeping statements that just aren't true, and some that are just plain ridiculous.  For example, she asserts on page 117 that exercise doesn't promote weight loss.  No, exercise alone doesn't promote weight loss (but it does promote fitness and health); it must be coupled with a balanced, healthy, sustainable diet.   Also, on pages 120 and 121, she arrogantly assumes that people who want to form the habit of drinking more water are wasting their time.  Says who, other than her?  She just said earlier that everyone's habit formation doesn't look the same.  Maybe people are trying to drink more water to substitute for drinking less of something unhealthy like soft drinks or alcohol.   She also contradicts these statements when she confesses that she exercises and eats low carb because she was concerned about her weight and that she consumes mass quantities of diet soda instead of water.  Mighty convenient, don't you think?
  • Yes, Gretchen, we know you're an upholder and better than everyone else.  You don't have to remind us in every chapter.
  • Speaking of arrogance, the attitude of this book borders on downright insulting.  In one such barb on page 128, Rubin cites a study about outer order contributing to inner calm and creativity.  She was going along fine until she inserted this little nugget, "I love to throw in research--it's more convincing to people if I can cite a study."  Do what?
  • Look, I'm working hard at not being too harsh with this book, but she asked for it.  It gets much worse...and personal.  I was dealing well with the condescending attitude of Rubin's writing until I came across this little ditty on page 400,  "We can get locked into identities that aren't good for us; 'a workaholic,' 'a perfectionist,' 'a Southerner...'  **record scratch** HOLD UP! WTH?!  Since when is being a Southerner an identity that isn't good for someone?  What WAS her point?  Oh, she's messed in her Easter bonnet now!

  • My first try at this book was the audio version, which the author read herself.  Oy vey!  I couldn't stomach the snide attitude that came through, so I decided to trudge through the large print version. 
  • Some chapter numbers would be nice.
  • This book suffers from the same problem as The Happiness Project: Rubin quotes a lot of research, but cites no sources for it.  She gives suggestions for further reading, so I guess that's something.

I didn't know what the word dilettante meant until I read this book.  Rubin has a lot of interesting and informative acquired knowledge, but not a lot of wisdom as to how to relay her ideas without sounding like a jackass!  (There's that ghetto thug again). 

So why did I read the book?  I'd read her book The Happiness Project and enjoyed it.  The review is here if you're interested.  I also enjoy her podcast Happier.  I think the problem is that unlike her podcast, this book doesn't have the buffer of another person's perspective.  Her sister, Elizabeth, is the co-host of Happier. Her laid back, accepting attitude tempers Rubin's air of vast superiority and make listening more enjoyable.

I really like Gretchen Rubin's ideas.  But the book was less about the reader becoming better than before and more about Gretchen letting us know she was better than everyone else.

OK, I think the horse is dead now.  On to the next book.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Great Adventure: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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Growing up, were you close to your grandparents?  Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

No, all of my grandparents, save my maternal grandfather, passed away before I knew them.  My mother's father passed away when I was 11.  I loved Granddaddy Dave, but I don't have particular memories of him to hold on to.  My older sibling remember him and our maternal grandmother more than I do.

What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

When you say "attached," do you mean a security-blanket type item?  If so, I didn't have that; my parents didn't go for that kind of thing.  If you mean simply an item I played with and kept way past the worn out stage, I do have one of those.  The first baby doll I got when I was six years old.  Through the years of messing up her hair (she was a little black doll, but she didn't have black-people hair), the paint for her eyes wearing off, and playing with her so much that after a while only one of her eyes would close when I laid her down, I didn't get rid of that doll until I was 30 years old. 

When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Both.  I see both the individual tree for it's beauty and the forest full of beautiful flora and fauna.

Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

Sour candies?  Oh, gag, no!  Out of the sour foods listed, I'd say plain Greek Yogurt would be my favorite.  I wrote about how I use it here.  And, no, I don't even know what a kumquat is.  Sounds like something you get a cream from the drugstore to get rid of.

July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

See random thought below.

Insert your own random thought here.

So far, 2017 has proven to be a year of great change for me; some good, some bad.  After the death of my housemate, I had to make some tough decisions regarding my future.  After much prayer and thought, I feel that God is leading me to pack up part and parcel and head west to the Denver, Colorado area. 

So, Auntie is going on a great adventure.

I will be leaving for Colorado on August 13th.  I plan to be make the trip in 2-4 days, with a brief stop in Tulsa, OK to (hopefully) see friends.  I also may do a little sight seeing in Kansas, since I've not been there before.

I'll share as much as I can here and on social media.  I covet your prayers;  prayers for God's best.

After years of asking the Lord for a new start, I believe that this is God's open door to the life He has for me.  It's won't be easy, but sure will be fun.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 19

Book:  Jayber Crow.
Author: Wendell Berry

Info: Copyright 2000: Thorndike, ME:  Thorndike Press

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:  This "as written by himself" novel is a first-person account of the life of Jayber Crow.  As the town barber, he has ringside seats to the happenings (and non-happenings) in the little town of Port William, Kentucky.  It is a portrait of the life of one man, but it also chronicles the changing times and attitudes, and the struggles we all face that come with such change.


I really can't divide this book into things to like and not like.  It was a good an odd sort of way.  I could complain about many things, but they really didn't detract from the overall novel.  Thought quite lengthy (686 pages in large print), the narrative draws the reader to keep going with the story.  Though the accounts can get quite convoluted, the author has a way of getting to a certain anticipation of the climax of a scene, then pulls back and changes gears just enough to keep the reader interested. 

The lead character's struggles with theology, love, anger, and hatred are themes to which many can relate.  Barry's descriptions of scenery and events paint a vivid picture of small time life in the early part of the 20th century. 

I enjoyed this venture into something different. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Comfort"

"Tidings of comfort and joy."

It's no secret that one of my greatest desires is to have a house of my own.  The dream is not only a comfortable, joyous place for myself, but also for those who visit.

But, what does that look like?  It's not just comfy furniture, soothing paint colors, welcome spaces for both adults and children, or lovely outdoor areas; it's an atmosphere of God's peace.  Comfort and joy because one feels God's love in my home.

Those are tidings of comfort and joy...and they're not just for Christmas.
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Right Now: The Weekly Hodgepodge

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for the Hodgepodge link-up!
When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

I've only been to one fireworks show, so I don't have a comparable list to pick a best from.  The show was a couple of years ago at the Jacksonville High School football stadium.  I was still in the Community Band then, and we played several patriotic tunes as part of the live entertainment.

Speaking of Community buttons.  I know, I know, dead horse, BUT for some dumb reason I keep hoping the director will come to his senses.  Anyway.  Two of my biggest hot buttons are people talking down to me, or treating me like I'm stupid.  The last time my hot buttons were pushed?

**This is the part where I keep my mouth shut. **

Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

No, and no.  A great outdoor party is one with good food, music that isn't so loud that conversation is impossible, and conversation that isn't so impossible you wished you could just listen to music.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just friendly and open.

What does freedom mean to you?


July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

A customer who will not get off his cellphone long enough to handle a business transaction.  I see it everywhere I go, plus customers do that to me also.  They don't speak or even make eye contact with the person serving them.  It's pathetic, not to mention downright rude.   I wish we could post a sign that said:
"Before approaching the front desk for any reason, please get off the freakin' phone!  All violators will be punched in the throat!"

What's your current summer anthem?

Insert your own random thought here.

I started to go on a rant here about someone peeing on my Independence Day fun at work because they didn't feel it was a "black" holiday, but I'm going to share some good things instead.

So there!

Didn't know that JackVegas had a Little Free Library just off the Square.

Saw this at a gas station in Oxford, Alabama and thought it was hilarious.
Made me think of the Commodores song Too Hot ta Trot.

Meet my new ride.  I have named her
The Green Hornet

We have a new baby coming to our church family and this couple likes
handmade gifts (Yay!).  I got the chance to sew another one of my big
bags and fill it with goodies.  Enjoy, Baby Calvin!