Category Archives: Deep Thought Thursday

How do you like your philanthropists?

dogooder2On lo, these many Thursdays, I’ve answered a question in order to give you, my readers, a bit of insight into who I am. But today, I’m turning the tables. I have a question for you. A question inspired by the holidays, and the featured news stories in this season of giving.

I am wondering, if a person does something nice for someone else, and then tells other people about it, does that take away from the generous nature of the action? Does it then seem like the do-gooder only did it for the glory, for the praise from outside sources? Or could you believe that the do-gooder is hoping by telling humbly of his actions that others will be inspired by his example to follow in his footsteps, thereby magnifying the effect of his original deed?

I personally know people who do good things for the sole purpose of bragging about them, and while the deeds are still inarguably good, they feel tainted somehow. On the other hand, I know everyday heroes who never say a word about their actions, and I feel that if they spoke up, others would be inspired to follow their examples.

Your answers are important to me, for reasons I’ll try to explain in a future post.

Please vote, then leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

1 Comment

Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Deep Thought Thursday, On Life



sc in next 2 dc, ch 7, sk next 7 sts…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Question 123 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
What’s one of your hobbies?

In many circles it makes me a second-class citizen, but I am proud to be a crocheter. (Having only purchased yarn in large craft stores in the past, I didn’t understand the depth of the discrimination against crocheters until I shopped in dedicated yarn shops in England. Lots of knitters believe that crochet, with its one hook, is not a “real” hobby.)

I wasn’t always good at crochet. My mom tried to teach me years and years ago, but I couldn’t seem to get past the chain stitch. I would sit for hours and make chains. Miles and miles of chains. It frustrated Mom to no end. “What the hell are you going to do with all that chain?” Ever resourceful, I coiled them up and made rugs for Barbie and Skipper. Lots and lots of rugs.

Years later, once I had a little more coordination and Mom had regained her patience, I asked her for a couple remedial lessons in single and double crochet and reinforced that instruction with some rather detailed diagrams from a how-to manual. But no amount of tutelage could regulate my yarn tension. Every single Red Heart project I tackled–scarf, afghan, dishcloth–came out as a trapezoid, or an hourglass, or worse. Embarrassed, I unraveled all of them, rolled the yarn into balls, and nearly gave up. Mom had some leftover less-stretchy cotton thread, so I picked up a small hook and attempted to make a doily. My tension issues weren’t to be blamed entirely on the yarn…my first couple doilies had a distinctive cup shape. Once I successfully produced several flat ones, I graduated to fillet crochet, which was a definite test of my newly regulated tension control.

Finally, I gained enough confidence to go back to patterns requiring worsted weight yarn and made myself a ripple afghan to take to college. Since it came out square, and did not fall apart after repeated washings, I decided it’d probably be safe to make my grandfather a blanket for Christmas. I’ve made and gifted a couple other adult-sized afghans since then, but by far my niche seems to be baby blankets.

You’d look at the size of them and think, “She could whip this up in a couple evenings while sitting in front of the TV.” But I am notorious for picking patterns that take FOREVER to work up. My current project, for example, requires three rows and about 90 minutes to add a mere 3/4″ to the overall length.

I’ve got twenty-three days before I’m supposed to present this afghan as a gift to my cousin’s brand new daughter. Saving a day to add the border, that’s 3.6818181818 rows per day. I usually have about an hour to crochet in the evenings. I’m no mathematician, but something doesn’t add up.

Gotta go…I’ve still got 2.3484848484 rows to go tonight in order to stay on pace.



Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Deep Thought Thursday, On Me, True Life



Good intentions…screwed

screwsQuestion 6 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
What’s something you intended to do today, but didn’t? Why not?

I intended to post some items for sale on craigslist, but didn’t.

The hubby was working through his to-do list and had come to “repair shed,” which required an extra set of hands. Well, ditching my to-do list didn’t help him get anything crossed off his, because neither of the cordless drills was charged and the screws we purchased specifically for this project weren’t long enough. By the time we’d done as much as we could (we measured and cut all the boards, and marked where the screws will go, once I get the right ones) and cleaned up the mess, it was time for lunch.

Then it was time to wash up and change clothes so I could head into town.

Then it was time to go to the AT&T store so they could fix the new phone I got last night so it would actually make or receive a call.

Then it was time to go to the eye doctor for my yearly exam (two years late).

Then it was time to go to Office Depot, Walmart, Hobby Lobby (OMG–it’s only the second time in my life I’ve ever been in there and I almost totally derailed the whole rest of my evening walking up and down the aisles drooling), and Lowes–to buy new, longer screws for the shed project.

Then it was time for Wine and Whine.

Then it was time to pick up Chinese for dinner on the way back from town.

Then it was time to eat–the hubby had nearly fainted from hunger by the time I arrived home.

Then it was time to finish and submit a job application.

Then it was time to wash off the war paint and find my jammies.

Then it was time to write and post today’s blog.

And now it’s time for bed.

So craigslist will have to wait till tomorrow.

Unless it’s time to repair the shed.



A snack, a good book, and a place to lay my head

velmaIt’s Thursday, a day I’ve set aside on this blog to answer deep, thought-provoking questions. The idea was not only to allow readers a bit of insight into what makes me tick, but also to bring myself some clarity on certain issues. Well, tonight, I got nothin’ deep. The hubby and I just returned from seeing Captain Phillips and I am emotionally and mentally spent. So I’m doing “fluff” questions today. You still might learn something new about me, but don’t look for any deep philosophical revelations.

I found a great blog, This Is Me Challenge, that is encouraging followers to record their own personal histories by answering a few questions each week. I randomly chose question set #30 to tackle today, but I scanned some other entries and not all of the questions are this easy. If you’re a parent looking to preserve family history for your children (or a child wanting to find out more about your parents), you might want to check it out.

1.  What is your favorite snack right now?
Normally, I’d say Oreos (hey, did you hear on the news yesterday that they are as addictive as cocaine??). But I’ve recently found that my body feels better when I don’t eat wheat, so I’ve cut out most everything containing wheat flour. Which means my beloved Oreos are off-limits. So my go-to snack now is kettle corn. I tell myself it’s better for me than many other snacks like potato chips or cookies (although I’ve not actually compared food labels to confirm this). Salty, sweet, crunchy…it ticks almost all the boxes for an ideal snack food. Unfortunately, I don’t have an off-switch once I get started eating kettle corn, so it’s good that the brand I like best comes from a popcorn stand 90 minutes down the road.
2.  What is the last book you read?
Testimony by Anita Shreve. I’ve read four or five of her novels, and without fail, they leave me wondering what I would have done if I had been in the same situation.
3.  If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?
I’d be Velma from the Scooby Doo cartoons. We might not share many physical characteristics (I am not vertically challenged, she does not have 20/20 vision), but intellectually we could have been twins. She and I nearly always solved the mystery at the same time, regardless of how much the rest of the gang was hindering the process. 
4.  Where was the last place you spent money?
Walmart. I bought a new pillow this afternoon. I wasn’t expecting to spend any actual cash–I had a gift card that I won in a poker game last weekend, but the card wouldn’t scan at the register (card malfunction? register malfunction?). If this pillow means I wake up without a splitting headache or crick in my neck, it’ll be worth every last cent.
5.  Who was your first crush on?
Brad Weeks. He talked too much in class, and I never said boo to anyone, so our fifth grade teacher moved his desk next to mine. I was mesmerized by his freckles, brown eyes, and radiant brace-filled grin. My heart would flutter every time he’d lean his head next to mine and whisper, “Can I borrow a pencil?”


I ain’t skeered…well, maybe a little

100_1262-001I’ve gotten in the habit over these past several months of choosing a random question to answer on “Deep Thought Thursdays” (some thoughts have been decidedly deeper than others). I’m not sure how deep this one is, but being the season of ghouls and goblins, I found a rather timely question at The Daily Post this morning, in their Daily Prompt: Fright Night.

Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t.

I’ll read a scary book (which may or may not have a lingering effect…see Tuesday’s post about It) and occasionally watch a scary movie (the hubby loves this, as he comes home from the theater with an armful of bruises where I’ve grabbed him). I can close the book or close my eyes if things get too intense. But I absolutely cannot handle scary surprises. Namely haunted houses.

I think I was about eight years old. There was a special party for all the kids who had collected money for UNICEF while trick-or-treating. My younger brother had filled his little cardboard house with donated coins, but was sick the night of the party, so I alone donned my costume and Mom and I set off. The school gym was filled with apple bobbing stations, bowls of peeled grape eyeballs and cold macaroni brains, and boatloads of cupcakes–all the things you’d expect at an elementary Halloween party. There was also a haunted house. Even at that young age, I was not fond of being scared, but I agreed when Mom asked if I wanted to go through it. I knew that with her by my side, I’d be okay.

Except when it came time to walk through the haunted house, Mom was not invited. An older girl, probably a high school student, was a guide for the haunted house, said it was just for kids, and promised she’d stay with me the whole time. I resisted, more than happy to skip the whole thing to stay with my mom and eat another cupcake, but was eventually coerced into going with the guide. Turns out other kids’ parents got to come into the haunted house. Also turns out the guide was not just a guide. She was an actor, and needed a young sidekick in a supporting role to sell the story that had been devised for this very elaborate haunted house. Way too elaborate for elementary kids. Way too realistic for young, impressionable children. Way. Too. Scary.

By the time we neared the exit, I was practically climbing up the guide to escape the hands reaching out of the darkness from all sides, no mean feat since I was simultaneously covering my ears to escape the screams and groans from the other actors and covering my eyes to escape the strobe lights and the frightening images revealed with each flash. I thought my hell had finally come to an end when the guide reached for the doorknob to let us out of the haunted house, only to find there was one last surprise. The knob was rigged to shock her, and she fell to the floor gasping with her final breath that we should leave her behind, save ourselves.

I was mad that she promised my mom to see me safely through and was now dying on the floor. I was scared to death being left to fend for myself. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. But there was no way on this earth I was touching that doorknob. Finally some other kid’s dad came bravely forward and we were free. I nearly trampled a ghost, a princess, and a pirate trying to get back to my mother, and nearly dislocated her shoulder trying to pull her out of the gym.

To this day, more than three decades later, I cannot walk through a haunted house. A couple months ago, the hubby and I went through the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds in London. By “went through” I mean that I ran as fast as the guide’s pace would allow, dragging the hubby in my wake. He wanted to linger and enjoy all the actors jumping out at us from dark corners. I wanted to get the hell out of there.

There was a commercial on TV the other night for a nearby theme park’s Halloween Haunt. Essentially the entire park becomes a giant haunted house. I’m not sure once you’re through the gates that there is anywhere safe to escape the “bloodcurdling horror and nightmarish madness.” Hubby asked if I wanted to go. I was instantly nauseous. Uhh, thanks, but NO. I’d rather stay home and reread It. Or maybe poke my eyes out with a stick.




Oh, the places I’ve been: The US version

Question 366 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
How many American states have you visited in your lifetime? Which was your favorite and why?

Thirty-six. THIRTY-SIX!! I’ve been to 72% of the states in this country! I knew I’d visited a lot, but until today’s question, I hadn’t actually counted them. I’m sort of impressed with that tally, if you couldn’t tell. With only 14 left to go, there should be no problem crossing “See all 50 states” off my bucket list. 🙂

Of the states I’ve visited, I’d be hard-pressed to pick just one favorite. Each state is unique, and I could list a favorite quality or two from each one. But if I were to be sentenced to live the rest of my life in just one state, never allowed to cross out of its borders, I’d have to go with North Carolina. The Outer Banks are my absolute favorite beaches, especially in the off-season. I’m equally drawn to the mountains and lakes in the western half of the state…in short, no matter whether I’m in a beach or mountain mood, NC has it covered. Add in the decent climate and the friendly southern charm of native North Carolinians, and it’s a definite winner.

As for the 14 states I’ve not yet visited, I’d say Alaska and Montana are the two at the top of my list. There’s just something about rugged terrain, opportunities to see different wildlife, and low populations scattered across huge areas that I find very appealing.

Judging by the white areas on my map, I think an Alaskan cruise might be in order, followed by a leisurely drive across country from the Washington coast. Even if the hubby and I did nothing more than drive a straight-line course due east until we reached North Dakota, then made a 90º turn to head due south to the middle of Nebraska before heading due east once more to Iowa, I could color in seven more states (eight, including Alaska) on my map. That’d leave just six on my to-do list…


Hey, hon, whatcha doin’ during your furlough time?



Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Deep Thought Thursday, On Me, True Life



Please pass the tissues

tearsPhoto by Vassil on Wikimedia Commons

Question 741 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
What brings a tear to your eye?

Oy. What doesn’t? I’ve got to rank in the top 10 of the world’s biggest saps. Happy tears, sad tears, the waterworks seldom stop. The hubby is forever asking, “Why are you crying now?”

Is anyone old enough to remember that Folger’s coffee commercial where Peter comes home for Christmas? Total sob fest.

Other things that make me well up:

  • Budweiser Clydesdale commercials
  • Hallmark cards
  • children singing (especially Christmas carols)
  • onions
  • the national anthem
  • when tribemates’ relatives visit on Survivor
  • news stories of children being massacred in their classroom
  • when the autistic (parapalegic/blind/insert other physical or mental challenge here) equipment manager is called onto the court in the final minute of the game and sinks a three-pointer
  • Glory (seriously, from about minute 15 straight through till the end)
  • random acts of kindness
  • refugee camps
  • gut-bustingly funny stories
  • other people crying
  • Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes
  • good Samaritan stories
  • animal cruelty awareness campaigns (“Help a Little Donkey” was especially hard to watch)
  • proud parents hugging their contestant offspring on X-Factor/The Voice/American Idol/America’s Got Talent
  • a mother screaming, “You’re stupid,” at her child in the supermarket
  • flags at half staff
  • homecomings
  • farewells (and occasional until-we-meet-agains)
  • homeless people
  • happy endings
  • anything and EVERYTHING when I’m excessively tired



Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Deep Thought Thursday, On Me, True Life