Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. July 20th marks the anniversary of the first time man stood on the moon. Flash forward 42 years to July 8, 2011 which marked the start of the final Space Shuttle mission. Should we continue to explore space? Should nations devote more or fewer of their resources to exploring space? Would you want to go into space if the opportunity arose? I would never want to go into space -- I'd hate the cramped quarters, the inconveniences, and the never ending darkness outside my window.  As for whether or not space travel should continue, I don't know. There must be a huge number of factors to be considered in that decision.

2. What are three things in your freezer? Bread, ice cream, and ice packs (the kind you use when you've injured yourself -- yeah, I keep a bunch on hand for that).

3. If you could see any band/artist perform live tonight who would it be? It has to be someone Beatles, Elvis, etc.  Amy Grant. Love her music -- it's been the soundtrack of my life in so many ways. And her concerts are very relaxing and always interesting and well done.

4. Ice-cubed or crushed? Or are you one of those people who don't like ice? I don't much like ice in water, but I like ice in certain other beverages -- in which I prefer it to be cubed, thank you.

5. The owner of a small restaurant outside of Pittsburgh recently announced he was banning children under six, saying they regularly disrupted other customer's meals. You can read the story in more detail here but isn't this a perfect topic to discuss in our Wednesday Hodgepodge? Have at it friends...what are your thoughts? Personally, I hate paying good money for a meal and then having the experience ruined by the family at the table next to mine -- where the 2 year-old is carrying on fit to beat the band and Mommy and Daddy are futilely trying to placate little Cletus instead of whisking him out of the restaurant for a good sit down outside. And, my personal opinion aside, the bottom line in our free country is this: privately owned businesses are free to make their own "house rules" in order to better their business. Period. It's not illegal to say "no children under 6" in a private establishment.

6. What was your first car? How did it come to be yours? It was my mother's car, and it was a 1961 Chevy Impala (which I got in 1975). I really loved it and was heartbroken when the transmission blew out.

7. If I had a nickle for every time I _________________ I'd be rich. Say the words, "Close the door -- we're not heating the great outdoors here!"

8. Insert your own random thought here. Randomly speaking, I am peeved as all get out at J.K. Rowling and all the others who had a hand in the recently released film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2."  What WERE you all thinking? You completely removed all of the depth and nuance from the final showdown between good and evil and turned it into nothing more than a shallow action movie cum star vehicle for the three leads.  The wonder is that Rowling allowed it -- she crafted the books with such care, and the last was incredibly satisfying, bringing the story full circle. Thumbs way down on the movie -- and I'm disappointed in Rowling for selling out like that.

Thanks to Joyce, as always, for some great questions! You, dear reader, will find other entries at Joyce's blog  today or you may even play along and link up your own answers there.

- Catherine

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ah, the weekend

Saturday afternoon was spent at one of my favorite spots on this earth: Provo River Falls in the High Unitas mountains of Utah.

The river is a perfect torrent this year due to an extraordinarily long winter and wet spring. Indeed, summer is here only in fits and starts it seems, for after the sun and heat of the weekend, we are back to cloudy, cool weather today.

I'm consoling myself with these pictures (taken last year, but it's the same this year):

The main falls are so full this year that you get sprayed by them when you stand near the edge.

Further up the mountains -- more falls.

This is a view of which I never tire, looking upriver from the top of the main falls.

Our last week of work has arrived, and, with it, the last week for me to enjoy the company of Numbers 4 and 4.5.  Provo River Falls is on the list for a repeat visit this coming Wednesday afternoon: lazing by the river, wandering up the mountainside, just letting the sound and the beauty restore our spirits.

- Catherine

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nylon fallout

Much has been made of the Duchess of Cambridge's choice to wear sheer pantyhose with all her outfits during the Wales' recent tour of North America.

Why is the wearing of pantyhose a newsworthy item?

Oh yeah, because several years ago, the fashion pundits and designers decreed that women should be bare-legged at all times. Even in the snow.

Nearly all of those pundits and designers are men, by the way. And they wear long-legged garments pretty much all the time, unless they're at their beach home in the Hamptons or the South of France.

I hereby applaud the Duchess's choice.

Yes, she has fabulous legs and could go without hosiery. But if you're attending a formal or professional occasion, you should wear hose to finish off your outfit.

I'm guessing here, but I'd say that 80% of all women "of a certain age" have less than fabulous legs. I'm in shape, but the skin on my gams and my feet definitely shows the wear of 53 years.

I need hosiery.

I even like hosiery -- because it gives my legs a polished look.

For the last several years I have eschewed wearing dresses and skirts because of the hosiery-is-so-last-century issue. But not anymore. I'm happily going back to sheer hosiery (which, thanks for Her Royal Highness's favor, will more than likely begin to include many more choices for us to wear!).

To the fashion designers and pundits, I say: Neener, neener, neeeeeeeeener! In one 12-day trip, you've been undone by a 29-year old woman with a better sense of style than you'll ever have.

- Catherine

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. How has your hometown changed since you were a kid? What has changed most about the neighborhood you grew up in? I grew up on a farm in a rural township in NJ, about 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean (as the crow flies, that is). The area is no longer rural nor are there any farms except for a few horse farms that breed thoroughbred horses (you know, the expensive ones!). So, it's all changed completely and the population is much larger than when I was a kid. The modest houses that lined the rural roads are gone too -- razed and replaced by McMansions. All house and almost no yard in some cases. The township still has only one high school, but it's gargantuan now -- if you look carefully, you can just about discern parts of the original building that is still at the core of the monstrosity.  Hope they have more than a 3-minute pass between classes! Oh, and the houses I grew up in? Gone, as is the farm. It's a strip mall, of course.

2. What song makes you laugh?  "I'm Still a Guy" by Brad Paisley

3. Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Read the books? Seen any/all of the movies? Will you be standing in line somewhere close to midnight later this week? For those of you playing along today who live outside the US or UK is Harry Potter a phenomenon in your part of the world?  I'm a big fan of the books, less so of the movies. I've read all the books more than once and seen all the movies more than once. I won't be standing in line at midnight to see the upcoming movie (although I did just that for the last two books, I must admit). We'll see the movie a day or two after it opens, I think- -- and I am looking forward to it, although I'm afraid I will be disappointed by how they depict the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort. The book did it so very, very well! I can't imagine the movie being as satisfying.  We'll see ...

4. If the truth hurts, will you tell a lie? Are we better off as a society in a world that allows no form of deception whatsoever? Hmmm .... this is tough, Joyce!  Okay, I'm not fond of falsehoods, and I think that lying to manipulate a situation for one's own benefit is truly despicable. But sometimes the situation actually can warrant a fib -- such as when someone who is senile needs to be reassured that everything is all right, and the only way to cure their agitation is to say what they need to hear. So, while I believe that truth is an overall must in life, especially life lived in the presence of God, there are shades of gray for me: sometimes it is kinder to the other person to occasionally omit information or to carefully dance around it.

5. What is your favorite 'sauteed in garlic and butter' food? Or garlic and olive oil if that makes you feel better.  Shrimp. Kale. Brussels Spouts. I can't decide! Pretty much anything sauteed in garlic and butter will be good, right???

6. Attending any reunions this summer/year? High school? family? Other? Do these events stir up excitement or dread? My 35th High School Reunion is taking place in early August and I am going. I'm really looking forward to this one because so many of us are now in touch via Facebook, and the excitement has been building among us since the reunion was announced. 

7. Lilac, hydrangea, peony...pick one.  Lilac! I love the look of the flower, and the scent is just extraordinary on a spring breeze!

8. Insert your own random thought here. Vacation is two weeks away -- I can't wait!!

Thanks, Joyce, for another round of questions! I'm glad I was able to participate this week!

- Catherine

Saturday, July 9, 2011


How do you title something that is the product of an exhausting week and will exceed my randomness quota for the next little while?

Follow along with my wanderings, dear reader, if you dare:

In two days my Dad would have been 90 years old. He passed in 2007 and while time does level the everyday grief, the holidays actually seem to become harder as time goes on.

The Harry Potter movie comes out next week and I will be seeing it. But it's hard to imagine the movie doing justice to the excellence of the book - especially the final scene between Harry and Voldemort. Think I may have to indulge in rereading the book after I see the movie.

Fake tans are wonderful things for those of us who were not blessed with the natural ability to tan. Too bad I can't make money from my incredible ability to sunburn.

Why do tech guys assume that women don't know anything about technology? I walked into Staples today to get some assistance with my android tablet. Specifically, I needed help because the tablet could no longer connect with any wireless networks. Despite working fine with the available networks here for the past several weeks, the tablet's wifi function simply quit yesterday. I explained the problem to the young man at the desk at Staples (where I purchased the tablet) and his first observation was "Well, the wifi is probably turned off."  "Yes, it IS turned off," I rejoined. "I turned it off because it was running down the battery while continually scanning for networks to which it was unable to connect!" He shut up and finally admitted that he didn't know anything about the tablets. Epic fail. I ended up researching it online and fixing the problem myself. Thank you.

The Duchess of Cambridge shares my name: Catherine Elizabeth. She's a lot thinner then I, though, and she would look great wearing a paper bag. Phhtttt.

Tim was watching an old John Wayne western today. As I passed through the room, the Duke uttered the sentence, "I've made up my mind." But my 21st century ears heard "I met'em online." Boy, have things changed!

Speaking of old movies, Pygmalion - starring Lesley Howard and Wendy Hiller - is one of the very best. The chemistry between them makes the Professor Higgins - Eliza Doolittle relationship much more understandable.

End of random wanderings. Time to return to work. Less than three weeks until vacation!

- Catherine