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East Coast USA, United States
Lowcountry porch sitter. Appalachian Mountain lover. Finger Lakes dreamer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 83

1. What do the words liberty and freedom mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does head in the direction of doing what you please?
Would most days blend these together to frame around gratefulness to have the liberty and freedom to just "be" regardless of where and how "being" transpired.  However my thoughts turn to a quote that my father has hanging in his kitchen window, who in his way sets the tone for how he feels about country and growing older. The pic says it all I think.

2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and over 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?
Have to say I like them every which way, but most days give me a dog dressed with dill relish and mustard and I'm a happy camper.  Where I get picky is the dog itself, I'm partial to kosher all beef style, Hebrew National is really my first choice.

3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?
I'd never enter an eating contest, a tasting contest yes, but never an eating contest~I don't like feeling miserable from eating. But if I were to engage in a a culinary competition in consumption I'd do the research to discern what foods can be easily consumed quickly and digested with the least amount of discomfort (is there really such a thing?) I really don't even want to think about it.

4. Do you run your house more like a dictatorship or more like a democracy?
I guess if you asked the pets its a dictatorship, living on a schedule and never deviating.  If you ask me, certainly a democracy where the time of day is only reflective what is desired in activity.  If I had kids, I'd lean toward a democracy...which may explain why I'm a favorite "auntie."

5. What was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?
Pawley's Island~Murrell's Inlet~Surfside Beach: all South Carolina coastal areas where our family spent one week every summer at a guest cottage, most years being Surfside.  For those unfamiliar with the destination it is now part of the greater Myrtle Beach area.

6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?
For years my guest room served as an office and rarely took the shape of a hospitable environment, unless you were in need of an office and its attributes.  I moved to a coastal destination and the number of guests and visitors seemed to increase exponentially so the value I placed on the comfort of my peeps became far more important.  Thus, the office found another dedicated space in the house, a guest room was created and even a sleeper sofa and several comfortable cots are included in lodging.  I many times sleep in my guest room simply because I can.

7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July?
Tend to hang with family and approach the day with nothing but lounging and eating on the agenda and it ALWAYS includes fireworks. This year the only thing hanging in the air is exactly where the extended components of our family will celebrate.  It's coming down to the wire on that decision soon.

8. Scent can carry great meaning and emotion~whether its the dryer sheets, meat on the grill, an old shirt, a new car, a favorite person or a fresh bouquet of flowers.  As humans we are driven by our olfactory.  I, indeed, believe we engage or disengage by our's natural instinct and memory recollection.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 82

1. Summer officially rolls in the HodgePodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway.  What song says Summer 2012 to you?
I can peg the summer of 1981 with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." The summer of 1991 with Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway." The summer of 2001 with the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends." The Summer of 2012 with the Maccabees' "Feel to Follow."

2. What is your quintessential summer food?
Every summer I tend to lean toward a specific farm fresh produce.  Last summer it was watermelon with daily tweets on hip and trendy recipes.  This year I was leaning toward mango, but finding in the few days leading up to the true start to summer that I'm really hooked on the idea of arugula, a fresh bitter green. (I'm broadening my palate of arugula recipes, tweet yours to me!)

3. Did you know the rest areas on the NJ turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, Grover Clevland just to name a few.  Of those listed, who would you have most like to have known and why?
That's easy, Walt Whitman the father of free verse. Song of Myself one of my favorite collections.

4. At what age did you move out of your parents house and what prompted the move?
Simply said, high school graduation provided the obvious exit ,but better put as college bound endeavors required a change of scenery to succeed.

5. What's more satisfying to you saving time or saving money?
Smiling at you!
Saving time is the likely answer given my habit for organizing and list making.  Though there's cause to say saving money became a far more diligent virtue when the economy slowed to a snails pace.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.
 A smile.  People in general like to smile and sometimes they just need a smile to invoke their inner radiance.

7. Will you being taking a vacation or a staycation this summer?  If so, where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?
Staycation. Living in the South provides ample opportunity throughout the year to feel like you're on vacation; however, we find friends and family more likely, due to school recess, summer work breaks, to take advantage of their schedules to visit here.  Travel for our household tends to transpire in the nonsummer months.

8. Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Title IX.  That's what's going on in Washington this week.  40 influential women will be recognized on the anniversary of a federal law that requires equal access to academic and extracurricular activities for women and men.  I agree with this article, there's still a great deal more work to be done.

    "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 81

1. In what way are you your own worst enemy?
I tend to approach each day with "productivity" as a driving force behind the day.  I've mellowed as I've aged (I hear some sighs of relief from those familiar with me or perhaps laughter in disbelief?!), but needless to say every now and then I have to remind myself that not every day has to be productive. I keep a slogan on my refrigerator "Slow Down Feel Love" and play a couple tunes from the Makepeace Brothers album (with same title) if I need to be reminded. "Letter J"
2.Jacques Cousteau's birthday was Monday, June 11, ever been scuba diving? Is that something you'd like to try? What's your favorite under the sea creature?
Underwater adventures remind me of outer world adventures in space. Both appeal greatly.  I've snorkeled, but no scuba diving on record just yet.  My all time favorite is the sea horse. Their graceful.

3. On a scale of 1 to 10 how comfortable are you around water? Do you know how to swim, if so how and when did you learn?
I'm a 10 when it comes to water. According to a story my mother would tell I'm 3 years old sitting on the edge of the "kiddy pool" at our neighborhood public pool, she turns her back for a second and when she returns her gaze to the water I'm would any mother panic ensues and as she's stepping toward the pool, there I am swimming underwater already half way across the length of the pool...I wish I had asked her  before she died if it just seemed like I swam half way or did it really happen?  I like to think it happened.

4. What's something you do to tick off an item off your to do list?
I start each week with a "master list" of the things I'd like to accomplish (note some of the items listed are notoriously far-fetched, but I list them anyway") and then each day I pull items from the master to include in a daily list of things to do...and yes, some items continue to get listed and transferred into the following week or weeks.

5. What makes a good neighbor?
I think I fall in the category of person that wants to be a good neighbor.  I live in a great neighborhood...where people talk to each other, the kids stop by to see what your dog is doing (or to raid your refrigerator)...I'm forever getting updates on the escapades of my cat "Chickabee" sometimes mortified to learn she's explored through houses, work sheds and even napped on their doors are her vice.  I have a tendency to hibernate at home, but have a really top notch neighbor that calls me up and asks how I'm doing, everything ok and would I like to go to lunch.  She's the good neighbor in my hood!

6. Who loads the dishwasher in your house? Is there a right way or a wrong way?
That would be me, I load the dishwasher. I have a very carefree attitude about using the dishwasher, but am reminded every time I'm offered assistance in cleaning up after a dinner party that there are those that take the dishwasher far more seriously than I do.  Rinsing before loading seems to be the line of demarcation.

7. You know it's summer when _________________.
When the marsh grass is this raging shade of brilliant green.

8. Relaxation. I made the point to tell someone I cook to relax, though I suspect my cooking may appear like a great deal of work rather than an act to relax, but it does.  I also advocate the traditional forms of relaxation that set one aside from life and the world, a facial, a massage, a sauna...but having made the point I found myself reflecting on exactly why it relaxes me...I'm not paid to cook nor is it necessary that I perfect it for the masses, it allows me to contemplate (seek a recipe), create (prepare) and enjoy (eat). Thus, relaxation is a matter of mind, body and spirit, isn't it?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Boil a chicken and it will fall apart

Recently I was asked if I was a good cook. (Of course I am! That is, if one were to rate me on the scale of home cooks that remain passionate about learning the chemistry and dynamic nature of food products, not the perfection in visual appeal or the correct culinary term to define it.) Naturally, I responded in my usual quip fashion to this question~which sometimes in delivery loses the intended sincerity, but I knew this person rather well so they no doubt expected such from me.  Thus, I uttered "I boil a whole chicken down for the meat and chicken stock what does that tell you?!" My hope in delivering this particular remark was that the individual would grasp the point that I relish the process of cooking. To take the time, step by to step to arrive at an ending that may or may not be what I expected~ it's the journey, not the outcome that defines the moment. My endeavors in the kitchen are always therapeutic.  Therefore, the time from start to finish is relished with great satisfaction. And in case you were wondering, I do boil a chicken most every week, drawing stock and tender meat for use in a wide variety of dishes to serve myself or a party of people. The recipe I link with this post is simplistic and nets the sumptuous meat falling off the bone factor I strive for in the endeavor. Change it up however you will in terms of vegetables and spices, but trust in the process: boil a chicken it will fall apart!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 80

1. How many students were in your high school graduating class? Did you know most or all of them?
One would think the class president would know the answer to this question, however as time has slipped I'd literally have to do a page count in the year book to be accurate (and I'm lame).  The number 343 comes to mind quickly and I was 10th in my class. A comment about my graduating class is in order...we were a class of students who had been split into 3 high schools our senior year so I fathom what the true count would have been (hence why they built new schools to accommodate the population of students).  I knew most everyone as I was the editor for the year book and one can't pour over that many photographs and not become familiar in some sense. But true credit goes to FaceBook for the virtual reunion and recollection of my teen years.

2. What was the last thing you photographed?
Chickabe "Bebe"
In this era of smart phones with great cameras installed I'm not sure there isn't a day I don't take a photograph. Literally the last captured in digital format would be a picture of a one of my cats attempting to insert herself into my luggage to travel with me.  I don't think I've pulled out a conventional camera in a very long time, but I do own one.

3. Pickles, love them or loathe them? If its love what's something you eat that needs a pickle?
Pickles of all varieties~spicy, sweet, sour~appeal greatly.  I think every deli meat sandwich should have a side of pickle. One of my favorite dining options when visiting New York or New Jersey is a delicatessen's community bowl of pickles served at every seating. All time favorite jarred commercial product, Wickles Pickles; otherwise it's the "canners" back home that do it up right, best hostess gift in my book is a jar of home canned pickles.

4. What's a stereotype that you seem to perpetuate without meaning to?
That blondes have more fun. Though as I age the less platinum the shade the better chance at respect for the brain seems to be applying.:)

5. Ever been horseback riding? If so, is it something you enjoy? If not, do you have any interest? Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Will you be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown this weekend?
Have been horseback riding, but would not classify myself as an equestrian.  Luckily my life circles include quite a few horse people so I get a fix either vicariously through them or at their invitation to take a ride.  As well, the circles of race horsing fans are wide in this part of the country so no race goes without a gathering of souls in elaborate hats with booze. I wouldn't miss the opportunity for gathering in celebration.

6. What is your favorite wedding movie?
I could very easily insert "Bridesmaids" here because I truly enjoyed the film for its stark look at the emotional upheaval friends incur when nuptials are in play, but I really never tire of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" or "Four Weddings and a Funeral." After that the second string would include,  "Mamma Mia," "Wedding Crashers," "27 Dresses," "Monsoon Wedding."

7. What is one tourist attraction in the USA that you'd like to see in person?
Has to be Yosemite National Park.  I have rarely ventured out West in my personal travels and this is the one site I would most like to take in before my last breath.

8. (Random Thought) I've known and know quite a large of lot amazing people in my lifetime. Some take a national and international stage in their accomplishments, while others simply achieve local notoriety. But none stands out in my mind like a local "singing librarian," Amanda Brewer.  Her talent is huge and only (in my opinion) overshadowed by her humble nature.  She's local and I'm only connected to her in a causal way through a local television reporter and a musician, but her story of desire for something beyond the reference desk is not one I take lightly. First of all librarians are my favorite people (it's blogged here) and second when someone's journey to carve out their niche in life is compelling you can't help but not want to call attention to it. If you've ever wished someone good fortune it would be Amanda Brewer so when she takes the stage this week as a guest "sit in" artist at Piccolo Spoleto with the band Blue Mudd I'm going to be there to hear and cheer her.
Life Enrichment is like a travel and learn program...offering infusions that make every day life thereafter far more interesting! ~ Ann-Marie Adams, Reflections on a Meaningful Life