Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thankful Hodgepodge

Oh, thank goodness! It's the Hodgepodge! After reading my answers and leaving a comment (kind of like kissing the cook), head on over to Joyce's where you can see what everyone else is offering up. Take a sampling from here and there and soon you'll find yourself stuffed with laughter, memories and good times. Come on, you didn't really want to start your Thanksgiving cooking yet anyway, did you? I didn't think so!

1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?
It's called Stovetop at our house!

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
Anybody who seems to be doing just a little worse than I am. 

3. When were you last inside an airport?
In March I traveled to Huntsville to visit a friend who's like a sister. At the last minute, I upgraded to business class for an extra $50. I may never fly again because I don't think I could ever go back to coach. I can't. I won't.

4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?
I think the only side dish I would actually want in the turkey would be stuffing. It may all go to the same place, but I don't want the turkey eating my mashed potatoes before I do.

5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?
Christmas Shoes. It's not really about Christmas, it's not happy or joyful, and the lyrics seem deliberately designed to try and drive listeners to tears. I very much prefer something like, I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas.

6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?
I've tried saying "no" when asked for money, but somehow my kids get it out of me anyway.

7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.
When we lived in Uganda, we had to travel a long way and pay a lot of money to get a very small turkey for Thanksgiving. It was worth it. We had as traditional a dinner as I could make, and then we watched a recorded version of the Super Bowl from the previous year. We'd never seen that particular game, and it was a great one. It didn't matter how old it was. It helped make it more Thanksgiving-y.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I've never yet seen a Black Friday deal so fantastic that I thought it was worth getting out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, or standing outside in line all of Thanksgiving night. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pie to the Power of Pumpkin

There's something very wrong about referring to a Thanksgiving dessert in math terms, but since I've spent so much time lately helping one child with algebra II and another child with pre-algebra, and a third child with algebra I ... well, you can see why I've started speaking math phrases.

Thankfully, though, (did you like that segue there?), this post is not about math. It's about pie. We're not really pie people in our family. Probably because I'm not much of a pie chef. If I'm going to bake, I'd rather be doing cookies or cakes.

There is one time of year, however, when pies are an absolute necessity. And that would be at Thanksgiving. We always have pumpkin pie and chocolate pie as part of our Thanksgiving Day dessert. I usually also make some third choice because having the same thing every year can get monotonous. (This year my daughter-in-law is bringing that third choice. Yea!) Even when I branch out, though, I get complaints if the requisite pumpkin and chocolate pie choices aren't part of the equation.

Sorry. Slipped a little math back in.

At any rate, I'm not all about the pie crust. I've made them from scratch before--I've made pretty good crusts from scratch, if I do say so myself. But when I eat pie, I'm not admiring the flaky crust. I want the filling. And the whipped topping. That's the reason for pie as far as I'm concerned. I've done enough "from scratch" that I don't feel the need to prove my abilities every year. So most years I go with a ready-made pie crust.

I've also made the pie fillings from scratch. In fact, one year I actually cut up and canned a pumpkin, and then used that to make my pumpkin pie. I mean, you can't get anymore homemade than that! But since the kitchen is not my favorite room in the house, most years I settle for Libby's canned pumpkin pie filling. My family likes it too, so why mess with what works?

As for chocolate, jello pie/pudding mix works for me. And my family actually prefers the taste to a homemade chocolate pie. (maybe they just prefer the taste to my homemade chocolate pie, but that's another blog post.) The important thing is, I'm pleasing my family and getting off easy at the same time.

It just makes no sense to me to spend all that time on homemade efforts that aren't worth the trouble, at least as far as my family's tastebuds are concerned. I've got to spend all my effort on the stuffing and mashed potatoes (both from scratch, thank you very much). Plus the dozen other sides that go with a traditional Boyd Thanksgiving Dinner.

Now Christmas dessert? That's a whole 'nother story. We're probably having Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.

Hey, we don't mess with tradition.

P.S. What about you? Does the dessert make the meal, and will the family forgive you if you don't slave over every aspect of it yourself?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paraprosdokian Anyone?

No, it's not a seasoning--even though it sounds like one. Paraprosdokian is defined as "figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation." "Where there's a will, I want to be in it," is an example of paraprosdokian. I think a couple of these listed here would go well on a t-shirt. What do you think?

Learn from the mistakes of others. You will not live long enough to make all of them yourself.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right---only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening,' and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

 I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Going to church doesn't make you Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The One Year Hodgepodge

Come on; you can't miss the anniversary of the Hodgepodge! Fifty-Two weeks of fun, laughing, deep thinking--and that's just when Joyce comes up with the questions! Wait'll you see what happens when people start answering. Well, what are you waiting for?
1. Of all the tools and gadgets you own which do you most enjoy using?
I love my iphone. But if someone were to give me an ipad, I promise I would love that more.

2. When (if ever) is impatience a virtue?
I find it hard to believe that impatience could be a virtue. Although it can be a means of inspiration. For instance, if you're losing patience with our politicians, it might inspire you to do something about it. 

3. What temperature do you keep your thermostat set to in winter? Do you have another way to heat your house besides a furnace of some type?
I keep it at 71 degrees, but Indiana likes it at 73. We refer to these times as the thermostat wars. We have no other means of heating our home, but he would love it if we had a wood-burning stove. Not that it's more efficient. I think he just likes fire.

4. Do/did you have a close relationship with any of your grandparents?
This picture shows my Grammy on the left, along with my mom, me and my daughter. Grammy had red hair and freckles, and she loved to write, and I love that I got that passion from her.

5. When did you last have a family portrait taken?
We had pictures of the kids made a couple of weeks ago, and we're going to surprise my husband with some framed portraits for Christmas. Shhh! Don't tell!

6. What does the word patriotism mean to you?
Patriotism means loving your country enough to do something for it. It also means standing up against anyone who doesn't love your country or tries to hurt it. And that goes for either terrorists or politicians.

7. Do you like to play cards and if so, what's your favorite card game?
I like Rook, but it's no fun to play unless everyone playing understands both the rules and the strategies. I absolutely love Dutch Blitz. No strategies, just lots of fun and fast movement and winning. At least there's winning when I play.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
There are only forty-five shopping days left until Christmas. In case you were wondering.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Fifty-First Hodgepodge

Come on and answer the Hodgepodge questions this week! Answer them on your blog or on facebook, and then link up with Joyce and see what everyone else had to say. You know you've been wanting to, so this is the week to actually do it. Well? What are you waiting for?

1. Who taught you how to cook?
Don't hold this against her, but my mother did. At least, she tried. It just didn't stick. Although my rice usually does ...

2. Have you been told you think too much? Are too much of a perfectionist? Are too sensitive? Were they right?
I think my problem is usually not thinking enough rather than thinking too much. And I'm only a perfectionist when it comes to someone else's work. 

3. As a child did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it.
I had a doll with red hair, and her name was Cinnamon. (I know that sounds like a stripper name, but I didn't make it up--the doll came with that name.) You could turn a button on her stomach, and her hair would get shorter. Than if you wanted to make it longer again, you grabbed the ponytail that was coming out of her head and pulled it to full length again. We were high-tech, I tell you!

4. What 'institution' do you have the most faith in?
The mental institution I call home. You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps.

5. Chrysanthemums-pansies-burning bush-ornamental cabbage...your favorite in an autumn garden?
Since any autumn garden I would be in would clearly not be my own--what with my black thumb and all--I don't think I can afford to be choosy. I'll take whatever I can get.

6. What superpower do the kids in your neighborhood seem to posses?
I'm not sure if it was a teenager or an adult, but someone had the ability to disappear after running into the side of my car, which was parked on the street for the night.

7. Are you a fan of the cranberry?
I've tried to be. Really I have. But I've finally decided that cranberries were not added to the Thanksgiving meal for taste, but rather for the color they add to the table. And I'm okay with that.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Today I helped my son calculate logarithms. I did it all by myself, following the instructions he was given and not using the score key for help. For a gal who's always believed that x = 5, I think that's pretty good. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Injecting Incentives

Some of you may (or may not) remember that last year about this time I started commenting occasionally about losing weight. Losing some weight had been a necessity for some time, both due to appearances and health, but I had a really good incentive to get serious about it (because serious health problems are not enough of a reason) when my son decided decided to get married.

Obviously I wanted to look my best for the wedding since, as the mother of the groom, I was completely unimportant the most important person there. Clearly, the way I looked was the most important part of the day for these two.

Seriously. Don't let the picture fool you.

At any rate, I was quite pleased as I chiseled melted the pounds away. You may even recall that I boasted about losing almost seventy pounds. I still have more to lose (I say that with shame), but I've been really proud of what I've accomplished so far.

Until now.
I've enjoyed getting new clothes and tailoring others down to fit me again. I know I look better than I have in a long time. But just recently I discovered something that sucked a lot of the joy out of my new look. I've discovered that I'm just as bad at math as I ever was.
You might wonder what that has to do with anything. It had a lot to do with everything when I realized that I had not subtracted properly and I'd actually lost sixty pounds instead of seventy. And please don't comment that it's still an accomplishment. Yes, I know it is, but would you be happy if you learned that you'd lost ten less pounds than you thought you had? I didn't think so.

In addition to that disturbing news, my weight loss has dramatically slowed for the last few months. My doctor ran more blood tests and discovered that my sugar levels are still too high and, in his words, my body was still struggling toward diabetes. On the heels of that distressing revelation, the doctor assured me that I wouldn't be getting diabetes on his watch. I was more than ready to cheer on his determination and his efforts (since I had none of my own) until he told me what he wanted to do to get my sugar under control.

It seems there's a new medicine on the market that helps control sugar levels. A new, injectible medicine. I must say, he had my attention when he started talking about injections. I started shaking my head just that fast. I couldn't imagine trying to stick myself with a needle every day.

The doctor assured me that it wasn't that big a deal, and that the medicine was a great incentive. I'd say so. I was already plotting what promises I would make about getting my diet back on track if he'd hold off on the injections for a while. Unfortunately, he wasn't convinced. And he said that as long as my sugar levels were off, trying to lose weight was an exercise in futility.

At least I'd be getting some exercise.

After showing me the injection pen and the tiny needles, I finally agreed to give it a try. I must admit, though, that my motives weren't strictly for my own health. Indiana Jones has a huge fear of needles and the thought of his face when I told him I'd have to give myself injections was enough to make me say yes.

The medicine is working, my weight loss is back on track and now I have lost almost seventy pounds. Plus, Indiana shudders and groans every time I mention something about the injections. I guess it's a win-win. Or maybe a loss-loss.

What would you call it?

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