There She Goes Hodgepodge

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? My maternal grandfather died in Persia before my babushka immigrated to the U.S.A. I was closer to my little maternal babushka. We visited my paternal grandparents regularly and honored them but never were as close to them as to my little babushka.

Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

Me and my little babushka on my wedding day. She was a believer and prayed for me all her days and tried to teach me to embroider. She embroidered with one hand because she lost one hand up to her elbow when she was young.

My paternal grandparents loved us as they could. We enjoyed a Russian Banya (Steam bath/sauna) at their home regularly growing up.

2. What’s an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I have not one item from my childhood that I’m attached to, in fact I have not one item from my childhood.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Out my current windows I see trees but no forest. I see houses no big views.

4. Do you like sour candies?
I enjoy Mike and Ikes.
Which of the ‘sour’ foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats
limes
Have you ever eaten a kumquat?
Yes, I have. Growing up in Southern California our relatives had kumquat trees and we’d enjoy them fresh off the tree. It’s fun getting past the sour skin to the inner sweetness.

What’s your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?
I like the effect and taste that limes add to pica de gallo and I enjoy lime in my gin and tonics.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it’s going so far.

Becoming grandparents and watching our granddaughter grow makes 2017 a stand out year.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Summer is great but it’s not my favorite season.

Linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond. Joyce asks the questions and we answer them.

Free to be Me Hodgepodge

1. When and where were the best fireworks you’ve ever seen? Speaking of fireworks…do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

The collage above is taken at Disneyland with Josh and Dan in the early 80’s before Katie was born.

Disneyland puts on a great fireworks show every night.

My hot buttons are pushed when someone who is outspoken speaks out including me in their opinion and then because it’s so against my principles I have to speak out. Those kinds of scenarios make me sweat uncomfortably. I could keep quiet generally and not make a scene but I can’t stay silent when someone includes me in their convictions that are totally against my own.

2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

Just hosted our first summer party on the 4th of July with 14 people we love. Some family and some dear friends. The weather was right and the food was satisfying. For me an outdoor party is perfect when the weather, food and people align well. I like an outdoor party with a close home base where the food can be set out inside and people can gather outside with access to the food and facilities close by. Another key to a great party is when everyone who comes contributes to the food table.

3. What does freedom mean to you?

I am so grateful to have been raised in the Home of the brave and land of the free. I love the U.S.A. I am even more grateful for the freedom that I have in Christ.

Galatians 5:1  “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Galatians 2:4 “…our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus…”

John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month…what annoys you most about people’s cell phone habits?

I don’t appreciate how loud people are when talking on the phone in public places. The worst thing is looking in your rear view mirror riding down the freeway at very high speeds and realizing the person behind you is texting! Yikes, if the traffic stops will they notice in time before crashing into me? I have changed lanes to get away from these scenarios.

5. What’s your current summer anthem?

God Bless America

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can’t get enough of this little smiley face! She has rolled over from her tummy to her back and now she just rolled over from her back to her tummy! She will be 4 months on July 20th!

Thank you Jo From This Side of the Pond for coming up with the questions and prompts for us to react to on Hodgepodge Wednesday. Click over to read more responses.

A Snail’s Pace Hodgepodge

It’s time for Wednesday Hodgepodge and it’s the first Summer edition of 2017!

1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you’d put on your list of  quintessential summer activities?  The collage above has some of my ten.

  1. Decorating and having folks over for fourth of July is one of my favorites.
  2. Eating summertime fruit and baking with it.
  3. Entertaining out of town guests with all our area has to offer like canoeing on Lake Washington.
  4. Casual barbecues with family or friends.
  5. Day trips to see a new town or area.
  6. Completing projects outside.
  7. Going to Canada for a summer get-together with the MGCC and their husbands.
  8. Taking some walks.
  9. Enjoying summertime flowers and decorating tablescapes with them.
  10. Going to the Lavender Festival in Sequim.
  11. Attending soccer games in warmer weather, oops that’s 11.

Will you try to manage all ten this summer?  No. Our fourth of July party probably won’t be on the 4th this year and with summer company coming I’ll probably miss the lavender festival since it’s not something little ones would enjoy.

2. Do you collect seashells when you’re at the beach? 

If we can find them we do like to collect them.

What do you do with them once you get them home?

 

The Abalone shell is from Dear’s early years in Southern California.

The Ginger Jar is full of shells Dear and I gathered our 4 years while we lived in Camarillo from 2006-2010. Most Saturdays while we were living there we’d drive to Emma Wood Beach in Ventura and walk along the seashore just as the sun came up. The little glass bowl has shells and little pine cones from somewhere before we got married. The spiny shell is one we keep out of reach.

These larger more dramatic shells are from Dear’s parents who got them from his Uncle and Aunt who were stationed in Hawaii for a few years with the Air Force. Right now they are living on the bottom shelf of the tea cart in a metal tray, the shells, not Dear’s folks or aunt and uncle.

What’s your favorite place to comb for seashells?

Emma Wood Beach is the most recent and favorite. And for the record winter beach combing is my favorite. I like to avoid southern beaches in the summer.

How many of these ‘best beaches for hunting seashells’ have you visited?

None.

Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey’s Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

I think I’d pick Shipwreck Beach. I like the name.

3. At a snail’s pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which ‘shell’ phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

At a snail’s pace is the one I’m going to pick because we seem to be waiting on things that might develop to make plans that might come to be if nothing else changes and in the meantime nothing has changed.  So we are waiting…

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

Pool parties that involve little ones who might or might not be watched properly by their parents.

5. What’s something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Actual reporting of the news. Too many opinions, not enough facts. Yes it bothers me.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We got these photos by text on Tuesday the 20th. I love all of her expressions. We get to see Addy May on Friday! Woohoo. She’s changing so much every week. It’s been a month since we have seen her in person.

It’s the first day of summer and we had…wait for it…rain! I added that for Vee’s sake. It’s not just in your corner of the world!

Thank you Joyce for asking the questions. Click over to From This Side of the Pond to see more Hodgepodge.

Flying Proud Hodgepodge

Welcome to Wednesday Hodgepodge where Joyce asks the questions and we come up with some answers.

1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A.

Do you fly your country’s flag at home?

We fly the U.S. flag and the Marine Corps flag at our house. They will be flying proudly on Flag Day.Sometimes, often, or every single day?

When Andrew, our son-in-law, was in Afghanistan and serving in other parts of the U.S. we flew the flags more often. Now we fly them on special days like Flag Day, Memorial Day, Marine Corps birthday, Fourth of July, Armed Services Day, 9/11, Veteran’s Day and Election day.

This is a blue service star flag/banner. It is issued to families who’s sons or daughters are deployed in harms way. Both times when Andrew was in Afghanistan we kept it in our window until he came home safely.

Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House?

No and No but if I did visit I’d want to see her house.

Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)

No but I enjoy singing the The Star Spangled Banner at every Sounders home game with 40,000 other people and I always am thankful for the Marines and others from different military branches who hold the flag and wave the flag with respect.

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.

Do you mean Red flag warning or white flag of surrender or parley? I see danger, it’s part of my makeup. This makes me very uncomfortable at pool parties or watching little ones at the beach. I might as well have a red flag flying from my head at these venues. I’m sure we’ll be seeing red flag fire danger warnings in Eastern Washington this year. And as far as the white flag goes I don’t surrender easy except for when it comes to sticking to a diet.

3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?

No and I don’t know.

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad?

I think a good dad cares for, supports, guides and prays for his children.

What’s an expression you associate with your father?

“I praying for you, pray for me. I’m thanking God for everything.” My pop who is 94 still gets down on his knees every night and prays for all his kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Every time I call him on the phone he reminds me he’s praying for me and asks me to pray for him. His English is still sketchy.

5. What’s one rule you always disagreed with while growing up?

My mom was a somewhat legalistic Russian Baptist. Somewhat to say she wasn’t as legalistic as many of my relatives and other Russian Baptists. No drinking, no dancing, no smoking, no playing cards, no going to movies. My parents let us go to movies.

I disagreed with the no dancing and no playing cards. I wore my parents down on a lot of the rules. I went to school dances. One other rule we had growing up was no whistling in the house. Did you know that whistling invites evil spirits into your home? And no, I don’t believe that but it was something passed down to my mother and father.

Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?

I’m still adhering to the no smoking rule and it’s a good thing.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

In about 2 weeks we’ll be seeing our little granddaughter in person again. Our Son and DIL text us photos that we really enjoy. Here are the latest. Addy was 12 weeks old on Monday. The first year of life has so many leaps of development.

Getting so strong and holding herself up.

Sitting pretty with her mommy’s baby shoes on.

Just can’t get enough of these. Sweet Addy May. Looks like she can give you a good left punch.

Click over to From This Side of the Pond on Wednesday to see more Hodgepodge answers.

Wimpy Hodgepodge

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” ~ J. Wellington Wimpy 1932 from the Popeye series.

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

I’m a list maker and when I can check off everything on the list I feel accomplished. A freshly mowed lawn always gives me the feeling of accomplishment. I’m thankful that I can still accomplish it with a minimum of aches and pains.

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

Queen Elizabeth: Being the longest reigning Monarch she must have some interesting tales to tell. Now how to get her to share those tales would be quite a feat.

Billy Graham: He’s always so engaging in his interviews and since we have the same Spirit within us it would be a rich time together. I could thank him in person for how his ministry played a huge roll in the life of our family.

P1040573Jamie Oliver: He’s a great chef and a fun person who is interesting and seems to love life.  The photo above is of Josh, Laura, Dear and me with Jamie Oliver in one of his restaurants in London. We were having breakfast and he walked in. We asked to take a photo with him and he obliged and we had a very nice conversation, too.

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? No

What’s in it?

For me it’s not what’s in it but what’s on it.

The patty should be seasoned well and then load on the onions either raw or caramelized or both (I like my onions on a burger), thick slice of tomato, Kosher pickle, mustard and ketchup.

Where is your favorite spot to order one out?

In-N-Out Burger. I’m still waiting for them to come as far north as Washington State.

Side note: In high school and early college years our church youth group would go to a restaurant in Alhambra, California called Twohey’s. They had the best hamburgers and Ice cream Sundaes. I’d always order the Stink-o-burger. It was loaded with onions and stinking wasn’t something I had anxiety about. 🙂 I just googled Twohey’s and they still have “The Original Stinko Burger on the menu. Just onions and pickles!

4. What’s the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

I really don’t have a regular anxiety producing thing that I have to do. Irregular anxiety producing things in my life are going to the dentist and driving in horrible conditions like snow, ice, or downpours. One other anxiety producing thing in my life is speaking in front of a crowd. The collage above is of me speaking at a Mennonite Girls Can Cook event. I was shaking and sweating and so happy when my little segment was over.

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.
Staying as cool as possible. Visiting our kids in Eastern Washington and seeing how our little Addy has grown. We will be having summertime house guests in July.

6. Insert your own random thought~I’ve been in California for a week and am flying home early Wednesday morning so I’ll be late in coming around. Also this Hodgepodge made me ask my sister to take me to get an In-N-Out burger on Tuesday afternoon after I typed up this post. There happens to be one close to her home.

Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. She provides the questions and we provide some answers.

I Smell a Rat Hodgepodge

2016-07-27 Beatrix potter6

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm…

Are you a pack rat?

Maybe I’m a pack mouse.

Seems like I’ve been hoarding receipts and paperwork over the last several years. I’ve been weeding out stuff around here and what a hoard of paper I’ve been shredding and recycling and refiling. I’ve been sighing a lot!

Even if you’re not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what’s yours.

I like to hang on to keepsakes and things I’ve collected over the years. And then there are dishes and goblets and tea things and tablecloths and napkins and napkin rings, oh my.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don’t?

Read instructions. Bake Pies.

3. Do you crave sugar?

I do enjoy sweets, doughnuts and sweet rolls. I can’t have them alone though. I usually need something savory, too, or a cup of black coffee with them.

Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea?

No.

Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes?

Never.

When dining out is dessert a given?

No, but if we do order dessert it is usually shared by 2, or 4, or more.

Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

No. Our oldest kids are working on it after watching documentaries on sugar. I did post a recipe for loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies on Mennonite Girls Can Cook with 1/2 cup less sugar today.

4. What’s a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can’t imagine living without?

A smart phone.

5. What’s a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
– O Lamb of God, I come!

The photo above is from the Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade in 1963. My father took us to the crusade every night. My father started his life of following Christ at this crusade. My life as a follower of Christ started in 1963, too. The song, Just As I Am always reminds me of the Billy Graham Crusades and our time at the crusades and what this time meant for the future of myself and my family.

Part of my pop’s story was shared in a book that Billy Graham’s grandson’s published. You can read about it here.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We are promised some sunshine the next few days! Woohoo! Today I’ll be having tea with our daughter for a belated Mother’s Day celebration. On Friday we are headed east again to see our Addy and her parents in person.

Thanks to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions for us to answer. See how other people have responded here.

A Mother’s Hodgepodge

Here are the questions and the answers to Wednesday Hodgepodge this week!

1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother.

My mother was an immigrant from Russia who was learning how to be an American when she had me. Communication was difficult with her very limited English. Her love language was in her homemaking skills, sewing and cooking. I always had a new dress for Easter and Christmas and the first day of school. She cooked every meal for us and sent us to school with packed lunches. These memories are cherished memories.

If you’re a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother’s experience.

One of the huge differences between my mother and me is the fact that I could drive a car. Till the day my mom died in 2013 she never drove. She was a real “stay at home” mom! My father did the grocery shopping and anything else that demanded a car. When my father’s work took him out of town, we kids would walk to a grocery store a mile up the road from us to pay the public utilities bills with cash. As a mom I drove my kids everywhere for their extra curricular activities. I was at every sport game they played in. I was at every school function they performed in. Even as a teenager I would drive my little brothers to their baseball games. My stay at home experience was very different from my mom.

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.

This photo has three teachers who I would say have the gift of teaching which I categorize as a higher expertise than just being a good teacher. I was an elementary school teacher before our first son was born but I don’t put myself in the gifted category. I got the job done and was good but not gifted. My sister Kathy with the red sweater standing next to me is a gifted teacher. She was trained to be an elementary school teacher and had her own classrooms and now in her late 60’s still substitute teaches. Her heart and mind are wrapped around her skill to inspire and teach. She turns everyday experiences into a learning experience for her grandchildren, too.  My mother-in-law, Verna, is another woman who had the gift of teaching. She’s on my left side in this photo. She taught in a one room schoolhouse in Kansas for her first teaching assignment in the 1940’s. Teaching came naturally to her and she was a lifelong learner. Our daughter Katie had the best one on one learning experiences with Verna in her early years while Verna lived with us and before Verna died in 1997. Katie was able to read at 3 years of age and read quite well at the age of 4. My sister-in-law Kelly on the left of Verna is another teacher extraordinaire. She home schooled her four sons and in that process started a home school academy in her community taking her students to national recognition several years in a row. Even when her four sons went off to college she continued the academy. She is now a nanny 3 days a week to her one granddaughter who is reaping the benefits of Kelly’s natural guidance with hands on everyday learning experiences.

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad…which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

A tuna melt, pretty please.

4. Do you have a desk?

We have more than one desk but this is the one where all the important stuff gets done. Dear was working from home for several months and he took it over for his work space.

Is it organized?

Yes, it is generally organized. This time of year it’s the most organized since we had to get things together for the tax man a few months ago.

If so, share your secret to keeping it that way.

I think the secret lies in the fact that the desk has space for everything. Smaller drawers for writing implements and all the office supplies you would need. A filing folder drawer where I have files for every monthly activity. A large pull out drawer with two large shelves to house current bills payable with check book, register, stamps, etc.  I even have a nice drawer for correspondence with room for cards, address book and stationary. It’s in a space where visitors rarely come to so if it’s a mess it really is no big deal.

We also have another small desk in a spare room where I used to sit to blog. Another large desk area in the basement where our old large desk computer sits with a fax machine/printer.

Where do you normally sit to blog?

These days I sit in our family room on the couch with my laptop in my lap to blog.

5. When I was nine years old….

I was nine years old in 1960.  In 1960 the major news stories include… US enters Vietnam War, the IRA starts it’s fight against the British, John F. Kennedy wins presidential Election , Chubby Checker and The Twist start a new dance craze, Soviet missile shoots down the US U2 spy plane, Aluminum Cans used for the first time, The US announces 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam, Xerox introduces the first photocopier.

And speaking of Chubby Checker, I won the twist contest at my elementary school in the 6th grade…don’t tell my mom and dad and especially my Russian Baptist relatives. Dancing was a no-no!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m a little late to the party today but just wanted to add that the sun has been shining three mornings in a row here in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you Joyce From This Side of the Pond for the questions to answer!