Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End of Year Hodgepodge

This is our last hodgepodge for 2015. So let's see what Joyce @ This Side of the Pond has in store for us!

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.
My FAVORITE moment from Christmas is spending time with my family. 

Me with my grands! I love these little ones!

My sisters and I getting pedis and wine before we cooked Christmas Eve dinner!

We played minute to win it games: Boys V Girls... Girls rule!

They had to shake their booty to get the jingle bells out of the tissue box!

The goal is to get your Oreo cookie from your forehead to mouth with no hands.

We even had Daddy participate! My 81 yr old father sucked up ornaments and dropped them at another location.

We only give gifts to our great-niece and nephew. Miss A is into unicorns. I got her this puzzle. It has bigger pieces and she has already put it together like 10 times! She's too smart.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?
Story of my 2015 life would be a drama. I have no idea what the title would be.

3. What made you feel patriotic this year? Meeting an WWII POW veteran at my school. I listened to his story and then talked to him afterward. His story was interesting and he deserves accolades even though he doesn't want them. It is his stories that we need to continue to tell.

4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?
Having a year of concerts. I love to listen to music and have really enjoyed my year of concerts! 

5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

Changes by Tesla

Changes, time's makin' changes in my life
Rearrangin', can't seem to stop the hands of time
I remember, I was so young, I was much too young to see
Now I'm older, growing older, and I see things differently
Oh can't you see, it's changin' you and me

 6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?My perception of  2015 was and I put it about a 5. You all know about my mom and watching her be defeated by cancer and then taking care of dad. In reality it should be about an 8 or 9 because I have all those memories of mom and then new ones I am making with dad. I know the year was more than mama's sickness but my vision hasn't expanded to see it all. Even with all the crap our family is going through, I am grateful for many things and need to keep positive!

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about? Getting married (no date yet). Also seeing what 2016 has in store for me. My word has chosen me so I am looking at what balance is going to look like.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
True story! I dealt with them all in my town except the blizzard. Yes. We rode out a tornado! You can read about it here.

Tornado in December at Christmas

Yep, you read that title right!

The day after Christmas, LT and I enjoy hanging out together (I spent a week in Oklahoma with my dad) in our lazy boys (well mine is a lazy girl, but whatever). We found out we are in a tornado watch, but not concerned. Watches mean something might happen, but rarely does. And it's December! How can you have a tornado in winter?

Well, the day was about 70 degrees and a cold front was barring down on us. We expected the rain and were ready for it. LT and I were watching TV and it was looking pretty bad on the news about the weather. I told him we needed to get prepared: put on shoes, gather my purse and his wallet, get Gavin in his harness with his leash in the closet. I also grabbed Mama's wedding ring. It was a little silly, but then the electricity was dimming and coming back on and it was really faint. In my mind I questioned what I was seeing.

Then it happened. The electricity went off and the tornado sirens went on. To the bathroom the three of us went. We had our phones, but didn't get cell service, only text messages. My sister in Oklahoma was keeping us informed. My other sister was in the bathroom at her house 10 miles away, alone. We tried not to use the phone much because the battery would drain. So on the floor we sat. And listened. Then I heard it. The train. It didn't last long, but I heard that roar of the tornado. Quiet followed. Still no electricity, but everything was good at the house.

On a side note: Gavin did awesome in the bathroom! He just laid there and let me pet him. Heck I think he might have been taking a nap!

When LT and I went outside to see what was happening, it was surreal. Complete darkness. A couple of flashlights moving down the street. We decided to head towards the main road to see if we can get out of our neighborhood. Walking down the street we start to see Styrofoam here. insulation there. Gutters. Metal. Fences down. Tree branches hanging. Generators humming at the hospital. We get to the main road and there are cars driving around so there was some light.

Walking in a parking lot, we take in awnings down on businesses, metal roofing off, debris everywhere. The funny thing about walking around is you get tunnel vision. You are in awe of the damage all around and you don't pay attention to what is in front of you. Luckily I saw we were walking straight to a down power line. After we maneuvered around, electric poles were snapped in two everywhere. That is when we decided it was stupid to be out and to get home.

That little bit of damage we saw was nothing compared to the destruction two blocks away. As of right now we have not assess any damage outside our neighborhood. Most roads are either closed or so congested it would take hours to get around and back home. We are hoping to get, and see what is going on in our city, and get some groceries.

It is weird. We are going on with our everyday life (now that electricity, cable, and internet is restored), but two blocks over, there are people who have no idea what they are going to do, where to go. Grateful is a small a word of what I am feeling. I know once I get a full visual of what is going on it will really hit me.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa Baby


How much fun can a person have? I don't know but I think I was in the zone last night!
A couple of coworkers and I went to a Painting With a Twist party and painted that little cutie patootie Santa! The best part is that I pushed down my type A personality and just went with it! Best part was it was pre-drawn which too the pressure off of me!

You know I usually go into these types of things worrying about what I look like, how well I am going to do, what other people think of me. Last night, those thoughts were on a very low volume. Let's face it, I can't get completely away from those voices overnight! 

One thing I learned was to walk away. Instead of trying to make it like the picture in the advertisement or the class, or like my neighbors, I would tell myself to walk away. Every time I picked up my brush to "even" something out or "add" some shading, I would stop myself and walk away. This is HUGE! In my mind (thanks parental units for doing this to me) I had to be perfect. I am learning it is what it is and it is the way it is supposed to be. If you jack with it too much, it gets jacked! (I just made that up on the fly and like that saying. i wonder if there is a market with that saying on a card?)

The other thing I learned was to loosen up! Who cares what people think! This is another hard one (thanks again folks) because I am always concerned about what I look like (usually look like a fool!). Come to find out, I am pretty foolish and funny, but it allowed others to be that way too! It seemed they needed someone to do it so they knew it was ok to do it too.

We were the Scooby Doo squad! I am Daphne on the end. We were supposed to be scared. I don't think I am looking in the right direction, but oh well. We laughed so hard after!
Ho! HO! HO! A little Christmas fun with Santa an the Grinch. I was roped into being Rudolph
I don't think I had a problem being Rudolph do you? Just as a side note, most of my photos has my mouth open. Don't ask....
Moral of my night out: Go have fun. Don't think, just do. Don't over analyze, just go with the flow. And finally, just put down the brush and enjoy. 

I think lately we have our heads in our phones and not taking time to be in the moment. It doesn't matter if we are alone, with friends or colleagues. We need to learn to enjoy were we are, Find the laughter and joy, and make memories. I know this is what I did last night and I had one of the best times! 

(By the is ok to laugh and smile at my Rudolph. I had fun and want to share it with y'all! I just don't do parites lol!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Coloring Hodgepodge!

Where does Joyce find these questions? She is amazing. Check her out at her blog From This Side of the Pond to see what she is up to and to join her hodgepodge!

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

My family LOVES to tell stories and they are usually the same ones over and over again. Daddy is the one that starts it off and whoever he is talking to is the topic of the story. More often than not I am one of the starts. I guess I am a pretty funny gal!

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

Yes and no...mostly yes. Here is why: I don't want to hurt peoples feelings I would rather deny my happiness for others (and have). I have also felt the results of said opinions especially at work. Let's just say you don't get the plumb assignments when you state your opinion.

Mostly. if I don't know you, I will let you know what I think. If I know you, I will somewhat keep my trap shut and deal with whatever. This has not worked out for me well in certain areas, and that is something I am going to work on in the upcoming year.

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

1st I didn't know there were colors of the year and honest, don't understand why we need it. I do know I want to be the person who comes up with color names, case in point: serenity as a name.

2nd the colors are fine. Nothing life altering. I don't care for them in my home or in my closet because those are just too light for me. I am a jewel and earth tone type of gal. 

3.rd I do like the balance concept of the two types of tones (warm and cold). Makes me think of our society of not hurting ANY ONES feelings no matter what has happened or they have done. Let's just stay down the middle and everyone wins.

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

In the story A Christmas Carol? Christmas past to relive family times and be able tosee everyone who has passed on and no longer with us. 

As in a song? "Mary Did You Know" because it would be wondrous to see it act out.

I am unsure what this question is about and think I am taking it too literal so I will leave it at that (See question #2) I am sure I will read what others wrote on this question before I post. LOL I am terrible I know!

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I love pastries! Cookies and cakes oh my! But atlas my bum (my butt not LT) has told me nay nay on the sweets. 

If I did sweets, it would be at Corsicana Bakery (worth the 1 hour + drive) to get their cookies and red velvet cake! If I wanna stay closer, Sprinkles Cupcakes will do very well.. All red velvet, of course!

6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.

I do not have the spirit this year. I do have a bare minimum up, but with issues with foundation and some leaks from the heavy rains, I do not want to decorate.

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

I guess it was a few months ago in the middle of the night. You see LT had a dream. Long story short he tried to push himself out of a car in the dream. In reality he pushed is body up the bed and hit his head on the wall. Scared me at first but when I heard the story, I busted a gut so much I couldn't breathe! I still giggle when I think of it.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Preparing myself for the new year of 2016, what I want to accomplish and what I want to focus on for myself. Also there is only one more week of school and two weeks off to recoup! So many things I want to do and prepare for next year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Resolve to End Resolutions!

2015 is creeping to a close and it is usually around this time we start the panic of what is on my list for the new year? Let's be honest, we do not follow those lists we make in January. I'll prove of hands who 1) knows what was on their list in January 2015 and 2) stuck with it. Yeah, that's what I thought...not many if any can answer these questions. And if you did, it is because it is the same resolutions you have every year so it is just ingrained in you! Be honest!

Why do you do that to yourself? Why do you set yourself up for failure? You do realize you fail right when you set that goal. Why even set a goal? Why not have just ONE word that will resonate within you for the whole year. That is easier than beating yourself up because it is December 7, and you haven't lost those 30 lbs you wanted to all year and now you feel like a loser. Break the chains, my friends!

I will let you in on a secret.... I stopped doing resolutions and now follow one word for the year. You can find all about it on my blog. Here are two of my words I focused on. BRAVE 2014 and LIVE: 2015. Usually in December my word just comes to me...BAM!

Now that is out of the way, let me interject some insight. 2014, I totally rocked my word. It kept springing up everywhere. I kept focused, had a bird symbol throughout my house and job to keep me on track and immersed myself in my word.

In 2015, my word sucked. I felt I just grabbed some word to make it work. It didn't "fit" me. I guess maybe I was trying to say I want to "live" while mama was dying. I never "lived" or focused on my word and I floundered that year...bad!

My word for 2016 is....

Cliff hanger!

Do you do a word of the year or resolutions? How are either of them working out for you?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

About Me in Threes

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and it looked kinda cool, but I am not into doing it on Facebook. I have never gotten into doing those. Then a light bulb about burnt my hair...Do a blog!

We love to get to know each other, so let's do it!

1. Laura (Daddy calls me Lauralee)
2. Lolly
3. Kitten

1. Kansas
2. Georgia
3. Texas

1. School System
2. Clothing stores
3. Movie theater/drive in theater

1. LT playing bass guitar
2. Fire in the fireplace
3. Gavin running around or just being cute!

1. NYC
2. Europe: England, France and Italy
3. Mexico (Cancun on the beach, baby!)

1. Mexican Food
2. Tacos from Kate's in Dodge City, Kansas
3. Salt: Pistachios, nuts, chips

1. Getting my new recliner
2. Getting married (sometime!)
3. Holiday vacation from work!!

Now it's your turn! You can put your list in the comments or on your page, but be sure to let me know so I can come and check it out!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hello December Hodgepodge!

I am alive! I may not be well, but I am alive. As I stated, I had acute upper respiratory infection and I have been to the doctor for the second time. I am hopeful! The bad news is I gave it to Dad! I think he is doing better than be and I am fine with that!

So on to the Hodgepodge! Thanks again to Joyce @ From This Side of the Pond for her every wide range of questions! Please join us!

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why?

I watch a little while I was cleaning! I would have to say that I love Snoopy and Woodstock and their relationship!

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."~Linus  

Would you agree? 

Of course! First you HAVE a troubled mind to be sitting in a pumpkin patch and all that waiting, what else will you do but think and work things out!

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind? 

Easy peasy: Catholic Church bells. I grew up to this sound. Mom would let me wonder the neighborhood, or my little world, as long as I was home when the church bells rang! Whenever I hear the bells, I think of my awesome childhood!

3. You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec? 
Definitely want to see the Aurora Borealis. It is on my bucket list! Least favorite would be to stay in and Ice Hotel in Sweden. I'd love to see it but not experience it. I am so cold nature. I want warmth! This is not idea of fun.

4. Who or what keeps you humble? 
LT. He definitely keeps me grounded and humble. I am not sure if this is a good thing...LOL!

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain. 
The Nativity scene I put out. There is a history to it. You see when I was like 6 or 7 Mom, Dad and I went to Jr's house to dinner. While the adults were in the kitchen learning to cook grits, I was playing with Jrs' Nativity scene. He saw the joy I got out of it and just gave it to me! It holds special meaning because of this. It is well over 40 years old.
On a side note, my folks were talking to Jr within the last 10 years and told him what joy I get out of that Nativity every year and he goes "Is that were it went? We never remembered what happened to it." He refused to take it back and said it was a gift. (Jr. drank in those days!) 

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?
Gingerbread cookies...bring it on especially with apple cider. Oh the memories in New Yiork. 
Gingerbread house...not so much. Pretty to look at but no patience to make.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year? 
I'd like to say all these lofty and amazing things: clean out closets, put all decorations up, organize kitchen, make something new, but I think picking out my new word of the year will be about as far as I go.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
I feel like I am leading two lives. One with LT and one with Dad. I am not sure the solution, but I know I have to get some priorities and make some really really hard decisions and live with the consequences...and trust me people will be disappointed no matter the decision. I HATE that! I am the type to give up my happiness so others are happy. This isn't really going to end well, will it? 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ode to December

My little Ode to December, you know to get into the spirit of things! 


Driving to see Christmas lights and family celebrations
Embers of the fire glowing warmth
Christmas songs playing throughout the day
Enjoying the magic of Jack Frost chocolate to warm up the insides
Brrr...cold weather taking breaths away
Excitement of the season...and presents!
Rushing around forgetting the reason for the season

What would be in your Ode to December?

Being Sick...Memories of Childhood

As kids, we want to skip school, especially during that test we know we won't pass. In my house, you were questioned as to the extent of your sickness.

You see in my house, if you were too sick to go to school, you were too sick to do ANYTHING including anything after school. When I was sick, I had to really think is this worth it? Most of the times it wasn't. I got to the point, unless I had a fever or vomiting, I went to school.

This has carried on into adulthood. I rarely took any time off of work, unless fever or vomit. Then, Mom got sick and I learned to take time for myself. Now we are back full circle and I don't time off. Here I am, sick with acute upper respiratory infection bronchitis and I have not taken any time off of work. Sure I was sick during the holiday break, but still I should have taken time off to get better.

It is like I tell my students. We all have choices to make and we have to deal with the consequences. I have chosen not to take time off and my consequence is a long recovery with the threat of additional sickness and more money spent of prescriptions. I really prefer the choices that gives me good consequences. This just isn't one of those times.

So while I sit here and type, cough, spit and blow (sick I know), I wish I could throw it all to the wind and take a day off to recoup. Maybe during my conference I can go into dream land where I am laying on the beach, the sun baking my chest and healing me while the waves relax me to a comatose state.

Until then, I am feeling better to be at least be posting! I am already for tomorrow's Hodgepodge!

Enjoy your first day of December!