Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday Stealing Q & A Fun

I am joining Bev for this week's Sunday Q & A.

Today it is all about food.  Lets face it, cooking is not my forte' so we're just going to have some fun today.  Okay?

1.  How often do you make food and eat it?

Almost every day.  We choose to eat at home most of the time because of costs, dietary requirements, and mostly because we just like to do our own thing in the evenings.  We are very high class folks, in case you weren't aware.

2.  Do you consider toasting bread, preparing instant noodles, or boiling an egg to be cooking? Why or why not?

Some days, that is about as close to cooking as I choose to get.

3.  What’s your favorite dish to make?

The dish of leftovers from the night before?

We rarely eat the same thing over and over; however, we do like asparagus and salmon baked in foil packets.  Easy and delicious, not to mention healthy.

4.  Cooking or baking: what’s more fun? What’s more difficult?

Cooking would have to be more fun, and baking the more difficult, simply because I don't do it.

5.  Who did most of the cooking in your house when you were growing up?

How about all of the cooking?  My Mom!

6.  How have you learned the cooking skills that you have?

A lot of trial and mostly error!

7.   Have you ever taken a cooking course? If so, what did you learn? If not, would you like to do one? What would you like to learn?

I took Home Economics all through high school, but this could not be construed as a cooking class; therefore I learned very little.  My teachers gave good grades for appearing interested.  No, I have no plans to take a cooking class, and am frankly not interested in learning any new cooking skill.

8.   Have you tried cooking food from another culture? What did you prepare? How was it?

If using curry counts, then yes.

9.   Is it cost-effective to do your own cooking? Can you save money by cooking?

Of course!  Why else would one choose to do it?

10.  Would you rather do the cooking or do the washing up afterwards?

I actually do both at the same time.  I wash as I go and have minimum cleanup afterwards.  I cannot stand a messy kitchen.

11.  Do you use recipes to cook? If so, where do you get the best recipes? Do you get them from friends, family, online, or from cookbooks?

12.  Have you ever tried to prepare some food and just totally ruined it? What happened?

Nothing gets thrown out in our house.  Just say'n'!

13. Do you prefer cooking at home or eating out at a restaurant? Why?

Refer to #1

14. Is cooking a social activity for you? Do you like to do it with other people, or do your prefer to do it alone?

At our house, cooking is not a social event.  It is strictly one of necessity.  Occasionally we will combine efforts on a meal, but most of the time, it's either him or me.  Of course there are always times he comes in real handy.

15. Do you have a lot of cooking equipment? How often do you use it all? Do you have any pieces of equipment that you rarely ever use?

When we moved recently, we culled down to the bare minimum of what we would need, so there is very little excess in our kitchen.  But, I'm still trying to figure out why I kept the cookie sheets.

Thanks for joining in the Q & A fun this week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring Eternal on the Hodgepodge

Yes, we are springing forward on the Hodgepodge today.  Again happy to be joining Joyce for the questions and discussions this week.

1. "Hope springs eternal"...discuss. 

The first thing that came to mind when I read this were the words to an old hymn.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness;  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand"

This is the only solid basis for hope for eternity.

2. Last time you needed to 'spring into action' or 'spring to someone's defense'...explain. 

Actually as I was writing this.  Dick had taken his car to the Toyota place thinking the work would only take a couple hours.  When he texted, "Come pick me up!" I sprang into action.

3. Tulips or daffodils?

Can it be both?  I've told you I have a mystery garden because we never know what is going to spring up.

Today we discovered a tiny little white tulip under one of our outdoor chairs.

The little patch of daffodils have been such a joy.

I know you didn't ask, but just let me show another surprise that popped up this past week - Native Iris.  I love them.

   baby birds or baby bunnies?  I see more baby birds than bunnies, besides bunnies grow up to be rabbits.

The cherry tree or the dogwood tree?   Dogwood

Jelly beans or peeps?  Neither

March madness or spring training?  Spring training

Peas or carrots?   Carrots

4. I read an article here on the South's best cities on the rise. They are-Baton Rouge Louisiana, Fayetteville Arkansas, Greenville South Carolina, Huntsville Alabama, Lexington Kentucky, Norfolk Virginia, Tulsa Oklahoma, Waco Texas, Wilmington North Carolina, and Winston-Salem North Carolina. Of the cities listed how many have you seen in person? Which one on the list would you most like to see? Have you spent much time in the southern states (USA)? Any spring road trips on your calendar? 

I have been to the following and am in fact going to be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana next week.  The others are:

Fayetteville Arkansas, Greenville South Carolina, Lexington Kentucky,  Tulsa Oklahoma, Waco Texas

I would most like to see Winston-Salem, NC

I was born and raised in the south and have never lived anywhere else.

I will be leaving on Sunday to spend a few days with my sisters in Cajun land in Louisiana.  That will probably be my farthest road trip this spring.

5. Tell us how your outdoor space needs sprucing up this spring?

I have already written about our landscaping the front flower bed and all that is going to entail; however, we learned this week that there is solid limestone beneath the 10-12 inches of top soil.  That is going to make planting a whole new challenge.

Post winter storm and before plant removal

Today, after dead plants removed.  Fortunately, the HOA took care of the removal and will do the replanting eventually.  They only have thousands of plants to replace.  So, there will be lots of sprucing up going on here this spring.

This was only one of the many, many piles of dead plants waiting to be shredded into mulch.  Yes, it will be a huge and expensive undertaking.

 Which do you enjoy more (or hate the least-ha!) yard work or house work?

I actually enjoy both


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

While we're talking about the outdoors and sprucing things up,

I found this on half-price at Hobby Lobby this week and thought it would brighten up the otherwise dull front door.

This beautiful planter was an estate sale find last weekend.

Is it not gorgeous and definitely brightens up the front entry.

Speaking of bunnies and brightening things up! Hand painted Fitz & Floyd "Bunnies and Blooms."

If you love outstanding vintage and antique glassware pieces, you must check out my daughter's Instagram page.  She has finds there you won't find anywhere else, and trust me, the prices are the best.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Our Village Neighbors and a Gift from Argentina

My Interesting Neighbors

Yesterday I introduced you to several of our new neighbors and today I want you to meet three more.

One of our front door neighbors is Val.  She is 80 years old and still very active as a realtor.  Val at one time, owned her own real estate business, where she was one of the most successful multi-million dollar realtors in the area.  When she sold her business, she transferred to probably the largest real estate company in the Dallas area.  She is still a very busy lady and is as gracious as she can be.  Her sister lives next door to her and the two of them keep the roads hot and the local businesses in business.

Perhaps one of the first people we met was Dick because he is an HOA Board member in charge of all the landscaping.  He came over to look at our yard and to give us some idea of the rules regarding any changes we wanted to make.

He even helped us figure out the crazy configuration for getting a TV to work here.  So, yes, he is an overall really friendly, nice and knowable guy.  A couple weeks ago, we invited him and his lovely wife Deana to come over for cake and coffee.  We must have spent three hours getting to know each other.

We learned that they attend the same church we do and have a son who lives in one of the million dollar homes in an adjoining neighborhood.

Dick and Deana were high school sweethearts in San Diego where he worked his way up to an executive position overseeing technology for IBM.  He was transferred to Dallas where he completed 30 years of employment.  He was then hired to help develop the technology used for running the toll roads.  He is now retired but hasn't slowed down because his volunteer job of overseeing the landscaping in The Village is a huge job, especially right now.  We are so glad to be getting to know Dick and Deana.

Our unit shares a garage wall with Bill and Laura.  The day after we moved in, Laura met me on the driveway with a crystal carafe filled with the most delicious chicken soup.  The next day, she caught us outside unpacking boxes and took our picture to post in the HOA Newsletter that she edits.  That was embarrassing to say the least.  Why couldn't it have been on a day when I had at least combed my hair.  Thusly, we were introduced to the community.  The good thing is, it could only get better from there.

Saturday afternoon, Dick and I were sitting outside as Laura completed her walk around the block.  She has scoliosis terribly bad and uses a walker.  We invited her to join us but she declined.  A few minutes later she came back and asked if the invitation was still open.

That is how we got to know the story of one of the most fascinating persons so far.

Laura is from Argentina.  She has a teaching degree from the University of Buenos Aires and taught elementary grades while working on her post graduate courses.  She got her Master's degree in Math and Economics and her PhD in Business Administration.  She served on the faculty of the University's School of Economic Sciences, and taught math and economics for several years.

I have learned that the University of Buenos Aires is one of the most prestigious schools in that part of South America, known for its research and business programs.  In fact, it is ranked #66 in the world, and it's business school is ranked in the top with significant international influence.

She also served on the Board of the Stock Market of Argentina and helped shape the economic base of the country at that time.

It was all this that got the attention of the then US Ambassador and along with her teaching, she began working directly with him to develop business plans for United States entrepreneurs wanting to invest in Argentina.  During this time she became acquainted with Henry Kissinger and worked directly with him on several projects.

Because of her expertise in all these fields, she was invited to teach a 3-week course on how to start up new businesses, at the University of Texas in Dallas in early 2000.

While here, she was assigned to one of the professors in the Math Department who was to serve as her guide and liaison.  Three weeks later, they were married and continue to live happily together right next door to us.

Bill left teaching shortly afterward and they opened their own CPA firm and Laura contributed using her training and love for math and economics.  It took her five years to get her citizenship, in 2005.  She shook her head sadly and said, "It is very expensive and exhausting to become a legal citizen in this country, while illegals' simply cross the border and get full benefits."

She has been trying to help her son in Florida get his entrepreneur citizenship for several years and even did his business plan which was accepted on first issue, but the State Department keeps throwing up road blocks. Yes, it is a sad day for our country when well educated and productive emigrants have such restraints and those who choose to do it illegally have none.

We look forward to meeting and getting to know other interesting folks who have chosen to live in this delightful Village of Prestonwood.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Neighbors in The Village

My Interesting Neighbors

The very first neighbors that we met were Charlie and Glenda.  They live across the street from us.  They are very devout Catholics from Cajun land in Louisiana.  We became instant friends because they said it was about time there were more Louisianans in this neighborhood.

Charlie's background suited him well to be The Village's HOA president going on 12 years.  He is definitely a respected leader and runs the HOA like a well oiled machine.

Charlie got his start in the oil and gas industry in south Louisiana before being hired by Ross Perot.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Perot, he was a memorable Texas business magnate, billionaire, and philanthropist, who ran for President in 1992.  Charlie was responsible for making sure all the technology was up and running in all his businesses both in the States and abroad for 35 years.

Glenda taught in a Montessori school for many years while her three children were growing up.  She remembers many times when her children went to work with their dad and swam and played tennis on the massive Perot Estate in Dallas.

One afternoon as we were walking, a gentleman using a walker, came out of his garage and spoke to us.  We struck up a conversation and soon learned that Bill had worked at the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, now known as Lifeway, in Nashville, TN for many, many years.  We actually knew some of the same people.

We went back a few nights ago and met his lovely wife, Mary Todd.  They are some of the dearest people we will ever meet.  Neither is in good health and are considering a move nearer one of their sons.

Across the street from Bill and Mary Todd is a lady we haven't met, but learned an interesting story about her daughter.  She and her family are missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Malaysia.  In early 2020 she brought her daughter to the states to enroll in college.  Shortly afterward, travel was banned and she has still not been permitted back in the country.  She has been away from her husband and teenage son for over a year, and still no date of when she can return.  So sad.

Marsha, also known as "The Cook" in the neighborhood, is our across the yard neighbor.  She is an interesting person indeed.  Marsha is still a very active though retired Minister. She began her service ministry in 1995, after nearly 30 years in corporate leadership.  Her religion is called "Centers for Spiritual Living."  This was new to us, and I'm not at all sure what exactly they believe.  I just know it doesn't have anything to do with Jesus.  She has a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies.

Marsha got my attention even before we moved when I learned she had offered to prepare a Christmas meal for anyone in the village who wanted one.  This was amazing enough but then I learned she was giving six (6) options each of chicken or beef with all the sides and dessert.  I emailed her to say how impressed I was with her thoughtfulness and generosity and that I looked forward to meeting her.  That's when I found out our front doors face each other.

She has maintained her reputation by sharing delicious cookies.

Another across the street neighbor retired from an executive position with IBM.  He recently lost his wife after a lengthy illness we understand. Last week, he drove up in a new black Audi convertible.  He said he had always wanted a convertible but his wife's health didn't permit it.  Now he has one and keeps it in the road and spick and span.  Don is such a friendly guy, and I wonder if he might have found someone else who likes his car too.

This is enough for now, but don't think there isn't more coming, because there are more interesting folks who live right here in The Village.  I can't wait to tell you about Laura.

Sunday Stealing Q&A

I am joining Bev again this week for Sunday Stealing

1. An unforgettable day in my life.

Only one?  

2. My favorite snacks

The Lady Loves Prana

3. My biggest fashion accessory

I never leave home without my best friends!

4. My biggest celebrity crush

I'm pretty sure I'm his non-celebrity crush as well.

5. One Hobby I would like to learn

To paint a beautiful landscape

6. My OCD habits

I much prefer calling it something else such as "the way that makes me happy!"

Throw pillows being straight,
Making the bed, pictures straight on the wall, clean kitchen countertops, chairs placed around the table, anything having to do with symmetry......

7. If I could eat one last meal

German Chocolate Cake topped with Brownies

8. Working on my fitness

Just so you know, I am all about staying fit

9. What I spend money on

Hair and feet

10. My favorite recipe

The one someone else uses and shares with me

11. The best part of each season

Winter - Christmas
Spring - Easter
Summer - Nothing
Fall - Everything

12. A life lesson I’ve learned
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

13. My inspiration to blog

After retiring, I needed a creative outlet and a friend recommended I try it.  That was almost ten years ago.

14. What’s inside my closet?

In my dreams!

15. Let me brag a minute.

This beautiful granddaughter will be graduating from Trine University with both her BA and MBA in May!  S
mart, gorgeous, and sweet is one winning combination!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Turning Green on the Hodgepodge

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you!

Joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for this week's questions.

1. This week's Hodgepodge lands on St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear green? Eat corned beef and cabbage? Drink green beer? Have you ever been to Ireland? Is it on your travel 'bucket list'? 

No to all of the above

2. Something you think is 'worth its weight in gold'? 

My secretary is one of my favorite pieces of furniture because not only is it pretty, it is extremely functional.  It displays some of my treasures, it is currently my desk, and it provides tons of storage.

3. Something that makes you 'green around the gills'? 

There isn't much that makes me nauseous.  However, the current national affairs do make me pretty sick to my stomach.

4. What puts a 'spring in your step' these days? 

The anticipation of being able to create a lovely outdoor oasis in our yard.

5. Write a limerick using one of the following as your theme....March, St. Patrick's Day, Covid, 2020 and/or 2021, the color green, or life lately. Yes, you can do it. 

Marching through March has been in a line

of Bible study, meals with family & friends which was mighty fine.

Doctors visits and road trips

and eating at home saved us tons of dollars on tips.

The end of the month will bring lots of reasons to not whine.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We have been doing a lot of walking in our neighborhood and as a result have met some of the most interesting people.  I'm thinking it may deserve it's own blog post.