Ode to a Pigeon Hodgepodge

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.

When I was little my father decided to build a pigeon coupe in our back yard and he acquired several pigeons. Back then there were only four of us siblings and we each chose a pigeon for our pet. My pigeon was Green Neck because it had a lovely iridescent green neck. Creative name…not so much. We frequently fell on lean times back in the 50’s and during an exceptionally hard time my mother and father killed some of the pigeons to make soup. Oh the trauma the four of us siblings felt when we realized our pets were the base of the soup we were suppose to eat for dinner. We rebelled and would not eat that soup! My poor parents, it must have been hard for them to be forced to take such drastic measures to feed us. I’m not fond of pigeons anymore. We now call them rats with wings.

Other then these pigeons we really did not have pets growing up. It was hard enough to feed 8 children without adding a dog or cat to be fed.

The photo above is of me and my siblings before four more were added. These are the four whose pigeons were sacrificed for broth.  I was seven and the youngest when my next sibling was born and then another, rounding up to 8 when twin siblings were born when I was 12.

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?

Putting the clean sheets, duvet cover and pillow cases back on the bed!

3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?

Ten years ago Dear and I were living in Camarillo, California while Dear was working for a company in Thousand Oaks. It was during the time that we lived in Camarillo that I started my blog.  Here’s my blog post from that day where I asked for prayer for our eldest who was in an emergency room in Tacoma after he became disoriented and had slurred speech. It was so hard being 1200 miles away.

4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi…which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?

We did not celebrate dumpling day…

…But I have made Pelemeny with my family which I call Russian dumplings.

These are filled with a combination of ground chicken, lamb or beef. Recipe here.

5. ‘There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don’t.’ William Trogdon

So which kind are you? I’m all for an adventure!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Here’s a little color from the beginning of Autumn around this old house. This is our Forsythia Bush.

Linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. Thanks Joyce for coming up with the questions.

Hume Lake Christian Camps

In my 66th year I continue my reflections on my life with a very significant year, 1963, my twelfth year on this earth. A year with a decision that has shaped the rest of my life.

Nestled close to  Kings Canyon National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada is the Youth Camp that I was able to attend in 1963, 1965 and 1967. I was 12, 14, and 16 during these wilderness adventures.

I was raised in a family who attended church regularly and often, very religious. The church I was raised in gave me the impression that because I was Russian and a member of their church that I had an exclusive connection with God. What I learned at Bible Camp was that the only exclusive connection I could have to God was through Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Being Russian and being a part of my father’s religion did not give me a direct link to God. In 1963 at Hume Lake while listening to a speaker talk about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners I was moved to step out and become a follower of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation was exclusively through his perfect son Jesus, who is fully God and came to earth to live a perfect life among us and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I knew I was one of those sinners and I needed a Savior. This decision began a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, but a journey forward with my God and Savior. When I began my new life following Jesus I was clothed with His righteousness and reconciled to God. I continue on this walk, never perfectly but with God’s grace I carry on. He will be teaching me by His Holy Spirit all the days of my life. My God and Savior is and will be faithful to see me through all of my life on this earth and I look forward with the Hope of seeing Him face to face in heaven. During this same year, 1963, my father began his journey of following Jesus after hearing Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum share the truth of Jesus Christ and why He came to earth over 2000 years ago. 1963 was an epic year for me and my family. For my father and me we became part of God’s movement of love and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother was a follower of Jesus when she married my father. My two older sisters had started following Jesus before my father and me.

I’ll share this verse that Billy Graham proclaims in every interview I’ve ever heard him give. John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP 1967

Reflections of my story from age 18 onward of my life will continue in another post.

Presently we are still waiting for that phone call. We are happy for it coming later than sooner since baby Addy is enjoying the womb and continues her growth in that comfort. We have a bag partially packed so we don’t have to wonder about something we forgot. We keep the car gassed up and ready to go. We are still in a very rainy pattern here in the Pacific Northwest. Plants should flourish well here this Spring. How goes it where you live?

Just Because…

…today marks my sixty sixth year on this earth, I reflect.

I was the fifth child born to my Russian immigrant parents.

I arrived on the scene just four years after my parents settled in East Los Angeles from Tehran, Iran.

Our first sister died before she turned two in Iran and that’s why you only see four of the five of us born to my parents here.

Our mom always made sure we had new clothes for going to church on Easter and Christmas.

After 7 years of being the baby of the family my brother Tim arrived. We were still in the black and white photograph era. In the fourth grade I memorized these verses from the Bible in the King James Version and these verses are still among my favorite from God’s Word. I was on a journey that would lead me to a significant event in my life when I was twelve. I’ll share that in a later post.

John 14: 1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

After Tim and moving on to the color film era three more siblings were added to our family, the last two being twins. Oops, my older brother Fred is absent from the photo above. These reflections are from my first eighteen years.

I will add more reflections on my sixty six years in the days to come. For now the most significant change that will come to me in my sixty sixth year is that I will be able to hold my first grand baby, Addy, for the first time.

That will be a very nice gift for my sixty sixth year as I move on to the Baba/Grandmother stage of my life. More to come. I’m headed out on a little birthday adventure with Dear today. I am blessed. I’ll check in later to see your posts.

Linking up to ABC Wednesday for J is for Just because…thank you jubilant hosts.

Five Hats I’ve Worn…

It’s time for Five on Friday with Amy at Love Made My Home and Friday’s Fave Five with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

I’m sharing five of the hats I’ve worn and continue to wear over the years. These are the earlier years before marriage.

Daughter to Moisi and Nadia Bagdanov, Russian immigrants whose families escaped out of Russia into Persia and immigrated to the U.S. after WWII.

Younger sister to Kathy, Vera and Fred.

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Kathy, my mom, me in front of her, Fred and Vera. I was the baby of the family for 7 years before the siblings doubled!

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Fred, my Pop, me, Kathy and Vera.

Older sister to Tim, Steve, Lana and Leonard (twins).

Student in the Montebello Unified School District. Schools I attended were Montebello Gardens, Fremont Elementary, Montebello Junior high and Montebello high school. I grew up in suburbs east of Los Angeles with many Hispanics and a fair share of Russian, Armenian and Jewish families, too. A great melting pot.

img332Mrs. Nicolaus my 1st and 2nd grade teacher was one of a handful of my teachers that I knew were fond of me. I was a voracious reader and she recommended that I be skipped from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. (Top Row left with my curly “do”)

Junior High1Graduate: Junior high graduation with my little maternal babushka (grandmother) and High School graduation with my little babushka.

Pictures15College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Home Economics and a Elementary teaching credential. On the left me and dear before we were married and on the right me and my brother Fred. We graduated the same year and from the same college.

So daughter, sister, student, graduate and number five for this week is part-time employee. All through the end of my senior year of high school and through college I worked part time to save and pay for my college education. My parents could not afford to pay for my college education.

img441This photo is from the parts department of Montgomery Ward in Rosemead, California. I worked here during the years I attended Cal-State Los Angeles my last 4 years of college. College was 5 years for me as I had an extra year to earn my teaching credential. My first year of college I worked as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Russian department at the University of Redlands. In my high school years I worked as an office assistant at Link-Belt in Montebello. See the huge Icthus I’m wearing? I was never shy about the fact that Jesus Christ was and is my Savior. This was also the early 70’s when the Jesus movement was going strong in Southern California.

Thanking God today for how he’s been with me all these years leading and guiding and protecting me. All the way my Savior leads me…

Saturday I turn 64!

img818My life started when I was little in East Los Angeles.

img817I was a real swinger.

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Black and Whites1I started out a brunette and then became a blond and then switched back to brunette. Now I’m suppose to be gray, but funny thing, I’m still a brunette and I owe all the credit to my fine hairdresser, Sherri Bell.

img331Kindergarten at Montebello Gardens Primary School. This school only went to the 3rd grade at this time. Starting in the 4th grade we were bused up to Montebello (over the Rio Hondo river) to Fremont Elementary. Montebello Gardens (not a garden by any stretch of the imagination) is part of Pico Rivera. (Top Row Left with my Buster Brown “do”)

img332Mrs. Nicolaus my 1st and 2nd grade teacher was one of a handful of my teachers that I knew was fond of me. I was a voracious reader and she recommended that I be skipped from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. (Top Row left with my curly “do”)

img333The majority of the children I went to school with in my primary school days were Mexican/American. Of course now the politically correct title is Hispanic. My growing up experiences were not in the era of political correctness. (Top Row right with my Buster Brown askew)

I tried to count the candles on this cake to see what birthday it was. It looks like 7 but I’m not sure. This was at our house in Montebello Gardens/Pico Rivera, 4635 Oak Street. It’s funny how the old addresses stick in my head. My sister Kathy on the right with my cousin Jim Loscutoff. On the left is my brother Fred and my sister Vera.

img645Since my brother Tim looks like he’s 1 in this photo I’m 8 years old.

I know this is later than the photo above since my brother Steve is sitting in the highchair and my cousin Tanya is sitting at the table. My best guess is that this is 1960 since my brother Steve was born in December of 1959 (my 9th birthday). My cousin Valia, cousin Vera, cousin John, and cousin Walter blurred along with my brother Fred blurred.  Looks like a store bought cake for this year…

When I was in the 5th grade we moved across the river into Montebello and I was able to walk to school. During my 4th grade year I was bused. Speaking of 4th grade, I talked too much and my handwriting was messy. Funny how the criticisms stick with you all your life. My 5th grade teacher gave me the distinct impression that she did not like me at all. She made me stand up once in class to chastise me and I remember thinking in my head “I may be standing up on the outside but I’m sitting down on the inside!”  My 6th grade teacher was a gem who encouraged me with his kindness.  I worked in the cafeteria in the 6th grade and got free lunches. The cafeteria ladies were another group of adults who encouraged me.

img369High School Song Leader Squad. I hope to see some of these gals in April.

Junior High1Graduation from Junior High and graduation from High School with my dear maternal babushka.

Pictures15Graduation from college with my Dear and with my brother Fred.

img080Honeymoon with my Dear, December 1974.

P1050481This year it’s time to sing that great Beatles tune, “When I’m Sixty Four” and appropriately this photo of me is taken in jolly old England and I still have an attitude!

“When I’m Sixty Four”

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?
Ho!

fam xmas 003

Tonight (Friday) we are going out to dinner with some wonderful friends of ours and on Saturday (my actual birthday) I’ll be going to the Sounders Soccer game with Josh and Laura. We’ll celebrate my birthday and Katie and Andrew’s anniversary on Sunday. We are being threatened with a mighty storm on my birthday…what does the weekend hold for you?
Thank you Lord for saving me and leading me all these years!

Reminiscing…

We have always called my mom’s friend Zena, Aunt Zena.

img615This photo of my mom and Aunt Zena was taken in Tehran, Iran in the 1940’s. In the late 1940’s our families immigrated to the United States.

These immigrant families got together often in the 1950’s in the Los Angeles area.  My mom upper left next to Aunt Zena, Mrs. Hamzieff, my aunt Nina, my aunt Anna, Mrs. Katkov and Mrs. Titov.  I’m not even going to try to explain the fact that all but one of these ladies are sister-in-laws to one or more of each other. There was also a photo taken of the “guys” on this occasion. I’m wondering why there are so many more guys than gals…

mom-zenaThis photo of my “Aunt” Zena and my mom was taken in 2007.

Aunt Zena’s daughter Tamara, who we called Timi, is in Seattle visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We connected via email and planned to meet for coffee on Thursday morning. Timi came with her daughter Tamara and Katie came with me for our coffee date.

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Tamara, Tamara (Timi), Ellen, and Katie.

So much history and good memories between our families. We had a lot to talk about and the time flew by quickly. Thank you, Timi, for contacting me and making time to meet.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. I John 4:7 (ESV)

Sunshine & Birthdays!

We’ve had a wonderful streak of sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. It really has been a blessing for all the back and forth trips we’ve been making to the garage to store some of our furniture while we get all our floors redone.

Monday is a big day as we celebrate my youngest siblings turning 50! I remember the day that Leonard and Lana were born in Montebello in 1963. We had just gotten home from a week of family camp at Forest Home. The only way we could afford a week at family camp was through scholarships that Forest Home gave us after I wrote a letter to request some funding so we could go. In 1963 I was 12 and I’m so grateful that my family was afforded a way to be able to spend this time away from home. While at camp my mother hiked around and everyone was so concerned she’d go into labor any minute. We arrived home on the weekend and then on Monday my dad went to work and my mom went into labor. Although my Pop was fully aware my mom was pregnant he did not know that my mom was pregnant with twins. My mom was too upset to let him know that she was having twins.  At the time of this pregnancy my parents already had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. She didn’t know how they would be able to afford one more child and then to learn she was having two shocked her into secrecy. On that Monday we were thankful to the Lord that my mom had a good friend close by who could take her to the hospital. A relative of my mom’s sister in law, a wonderful lady we called Aunt Zena came to our rescue and transported my mom to the hospital and then let us all know that my mom had delivered twins, a boy and a girl.

Here’s my mom with Aunt Zena in 2007.

When my dad finally got home from work my little brother Tim ran out to our station wagon and announced to our pop, “Pop! Not one but two babies! We have two babies” My poor father was in shock now, too. He came into the kitchen and asked for a glass of punch!

Here’s a photo of “our twins” taken at Disneyland in 2011. It’s always fun to celebrate with these two! What an adventure it was for the whole family to raise twins.

This year Dear and I were able to celebrate the big 5-0 with Lana, Lana’s husband Steve and Steve’s parents here in the great Northwest. We tried to plan a combined birthday bash for both the twins at our home this summer but it wasn’t to be this year. We plan and God directs what will be.

Lana 501

Lana 50It was a great treat after a day of hard work at this old house. Have you ever eaten Beef Cheeks? Oh my did they melt in your mouth.

I leave you with this sweet photo of our little twins from 1963!

twinsHappy 50th Birthday Leonard and Lana! What a joy it has been to be your big sister all these years. God bless you both with many more years of celebrating life!

1963 was a landmark year for my family. In September of that year our pop accepted Christ during the Billy Graham Crusade at the Los Angeles Colliseum. This decision changed the course of our family forever. My decision to follow Christ earlier that summer during Hume Lake Junior High Camp at King’s Canyon National Park made attending the Billy Graham Crusade even more meaningful to me and to witness my pop accepting Christ the same year was life changing.

billy graham conventionNight after night we filled our station wagon and drove downtown to the coliseum. It was so cool to listen to that many people singing Just As I Am

We worked very hard at this old house this weekend. We have our living room and 2 bedrooms on our main floor emptied out and ready for the old carpeting to be removed. Our garage is full of furniture and every available space on our new hard floors is being used to also free up the rooms that will be carpeted soon. We managed to take a break to go to dinner to celebrate Lana and a break to attend church on Sunday. How did you spend your weekend?