My Surprising Life Hodgepodge

1. What’s surprised you most about your life or life in general? 
Looking back the things that have surprised me most in life are the people God has put in my life, the places and adventures I have enjoyed and the protection from God that I benefited from on these adventures.
Here’s a short list of some surprises in my life:
That God brought Dear and I together during our time as part of a Christian Rock Band performing in the U.S. and Great Britain.
That we had three children.
That we moved to Washington State away from all our extended family for Dear to pursue a whole new career.
That our three children married helpmates who love God and we’ve enjoyed so many adventures with all of them.
That through my blogging experience God blessed me with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Who would have guessed I would be part of this group of women who love God, their families, are growing disciples of Jesus and who love to feed orphans and widows with our royalties? The adventures I’ve had with this group alone is mind boggling.
That we are now enjoying our first little grand.
That it looks like we’ll be moving away from the City to the Country. I’ve been a city mouse all my life…
That God is good to me and has surprised me my whole life long.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie…you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
It’s a toss up between butternut squash soup and sweet potato fries.

3. What’s a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

I went to Goodreads and looked at their list of top 200 books from Washington State and I haven’t read even one. My daughter read all the Twilight series. The top votes went to Snow Falling on Cedars. The only book on the list that looks interesting to me is The Boys in the Boat.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas…have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

No, I have not shopped at all yet. We have just had our family discussion on what Christmas will look like this year. The only thing that is organized for the holidays is the fact that I have everything in the attic in it’s proper containers. The holidays that I choose to gather decor for have their own bins, etc. I hope our kitchen and master bath renovations will be completed (kitchen) before Thanksgiving and (master bath) before Christmas.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you’d like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

SeaJack #6 010The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis’s Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee’s Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

SeaJack #6 025Back in May of 2014 our daughter and I drove from Seattle to Jacksonville, North Carolina to set her up in an apartment just before her Marine husband returned from a long tour of duty in Afghanistan. We drove through part of Tennessee to get to North Carolina. Our first stop was Hendersonville to spend the night at the home of one of Andrew’s Marine buddies who was in Afghanistan with him. The next day we drove through part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and had a sandwich in Gatlinburg. We drove through Pigeon Forge to get to Gatlinburg. That is one weird town. Click here and you’ll see my post from our drive through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

I’ll have to pass on traveling to Tennessee again.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Mommy and Addy. We had 7 days enjoying her and watching her every move from October 12-19. She cut her first tooth upon turning 7 months old.

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond who asks the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. And thank you to everyone who took the time to read my answers. I appreciate your time and comments.

 

Directional Hodgepodge

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can’t find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I’ve been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.

When I drive somewhere I’ll never forget how to get there again. When I’m in the middle of a large city I need help knowing which way is what when looking at a map. I always depend on Dear or our daughter Katie to point me in the right direction. I’m not afraid to ask directions. So I’ll say 5!

I would be lost in the London Underground without these two getting me on the correct train!

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don’t count!) 

I love maps and look at them frequently, especially when planning a road trip. I looked at a map last week.

back east, down south, out west, up north

Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.

I’ll choose “Go West Young Man” even though it’s not on the list because I wrote a paper about Horace Greeley when I was in junior high school and he was credited with popularizing this phrase. He was a newspaper editor and author. Greeley favored westward expansion. (1811-1872)

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical?

Hmmm…I think it was 50-50. When I wake up in the morning Dear has been up for a few hours already and he is ready to have a listening ear and then I have to remind him I really can’t listen to a technical description of how the gears work in a starter and why the car didn’t start up this morning before I’ve had my morning coffee. When I’ve been up for a while I might take over on the talking.

Describe your yesterday in one word.

Staging: We have a realtor coming over Wednesday morning to check out our property and give us an assessment and suggestions on selling our home.

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity…which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?

Oh boy, you are hitting us hard this week. I’ll say water-power-resources. I have a long way to go to be a conservationist.

4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid?

The simple answer is no. I was in college before I took my first plane trip with a friend.

Tell us something you remember about a family road trip from your own childhood.

We did take a few road trips and those were always north from Los Angeles to Central California, San Francisco and Oregon. The black and white above is from Crater Lake. We always visited friends or family and stayed in their homes when we traveled unless we were camping. We had a few camping trips to Big Bear and a camping trip to San Clemente State beach.

I remember getting up in the “rear package shelf” of the car to look up at the sky as we drove along. When in 6th grade my teacher noticed I had trouble seeing the black board and suggested to my parents to get my eyes checked. I was nearsighted. When I got my first pair of glasses I was amazed at how clear things were when driving in the car.

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?

I would love to grow avocados (tree). I enjoy a variety of dishes that are great with avocado and a favorite treat is avocado on toast.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of road trips, we are tripping over to this little girls house soon.

Looking forward to some cuddle time and seeing all she’s learned since our last visit together.

Linking up with Joyce From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Thank you for visiting here today and for your comments. I do appreciate each one.

Berry Pickin Hodgepodge

 
1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm?
Yes.
Tell us a little bit about it.
When I was young my family stayed with Russian farming friends in Central California. I did not enjoy the fresh milk from their cow. My family would also drive to different farms in southern California to pick fruit for my mom’s canning endeavors. The black and white above is of the whole family picking something, maybe berries of some kind. I can also remember picking sour cherries, about 40 pounds total when we were done. She would cook and can the cherries for a sweetener for tea. A favorite with my Russian relatives. As an adult when we were in England we enjoyed an afternoon on a farm picking raspberries, picture below.
This was in 1973 or 1974. In 2006 we stayed on a sheep farm in England (bed and breakfast) for a couple nights. We enjoyed the farm noises and the walks along the Derwent River that the farm was adjacent to.
Since being part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook I’ve enjoyed times on a couple farms and at Farm markets in Abbotsford, B.C.
Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
no, yes, no, no…
I’m pretty sure I’ve been on a hayride somewhere but I can’t pull up the time and place.
2. What’s something younger you would like about you now?
 That I’m still smiling even though I don’t look like I did in that Berry picking photo with those cool shades.

3. What are three things you’d like to do more often? Three things you’d like to do less often?

Walk, read, and pray more often. Eat, b***h, jump to conclusions less often.

4. What’s on your nachos?

When I have them which isn’t very often, cheese, jalapenos, and diced Anaheim peppers.

5. What’s the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

A tape measure might be the most random thing and it doesn’t need to stay there but it comes in handy when shopping for certain items that need to fit in defined or tight spaces.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Too cute not to share! She’s 6-1/2 months and this is her trusty furry friend Rayna.

Linking up to Hodgepodge Wednesday with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. She comes up with the questions and we answer them.

We are resuming our small group at our home on Wednesday night. It will be fun to see who shows up. Hope you all are having a good week.

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.

Goodbye Hello Hodgepodge

Goodbye to Summer, Hello to Autumn!

1. What’s something you’d rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

First and foremost being redeemed by Jesus is always something that is a 10/10 because I’m at peace with God and enjoy all His benefits. But here’s another little something that rates 10/10 these days.

Being a grandparent rates a 10/10 for me. We’ve only been grandparents for 6 months now but it has been delightful in so many ways. It’s fun to see our children step up in new roles surrounding this little one. So many new things to experience while watching her grow in the first year of life.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?

I do not think I’d be a good manager. I’m just tempted to do things myself instead of telling people what to do.

3. When did you last take a fall?

Thankfully it’s been a while since I’ve fallen. My last significant fall landed me in the ER for several hours. I met a few rainy, slimey cement stairs with my face and had to have x-rays and be put on an antibiotic because of the significant cut on my nose. It was not a pretty sight, for a very long time.

What’s something you’re falling for (in a good way) these days?

Having Dear (my husband) around all the time. Now if he could be around and get a paycheck, too, that would be grand!

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America’s best fall festivals-
National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed?
  No

Which one appeals to you most?

I think I would really enjoy visiting Maine so I’ll pick Harvest on the Water in Portland, Maine.

Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?

Seattle and some neighboring cities have some (Sausage Festival, Octoberfest, Autumn Leaves) but my hometown does not have any. These days I’m not a fan of navigating through crowds of people so I won’t be making a point to attend. I might take an Autumn drive to see some changing of the leaves.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?

Adios smoky dry summer! Come back next year with less dryness and no forest fires, please. The air quality was so bad in Addy’s hometown that she had to stay indoors for a significant amount of time lately. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Our grandparenting skills will be put to the test this Saturday as our kids have their first evening out planned since Addy was born. They are flying in Thursday evening (Addy’s first airplane ride) and will join good friends for a concert in Seattle on Saturday evening. Addy will have a couple days to get used to seeing us again before she gets left alone with us. We get to put her down for the night. Here’s hoping she won’t refuse a bottle. She’s not a fan of bottles. Mommy is best. But…we have a saying in Russian that loosely translated says “by the time she gets married this will have healed”. She and we will survive whatever may come.

A big thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions.

A Wordy Hodgepodge

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

Yes! Don’t tell me, show me. I’m a visual person and a visual learner.

And I have many words for the photo above of little Addy May chasing cheerios. Look at those sweet fingers and the concentration!

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

It probably would be easier to say which parts we’ve never driven on. Dear and I were born and raised in Southern California. He grew up right next door to Santa Monica. On our honeymoon we traveled up the Pacific Coast as far as San Francisco. We lived in Huntington Beach and Ventura in the 70’s and 80’s before we moved to the Seattle area. In the mid 80’s we went on a bike ride and traveled on the coast from Mendocino down to the Russian River. For our 25th wedding anniversary we met our friends in California and stayed at Bodega Bay (The Birds) for the weekend. When we lived in Camarillo, Ca. from 2006-2010 we made a few weekend trips up the coast to Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach and beyond. We’ve made a few trips to the coast of Oregon and Washington.

The collage above is from our trip to the Oregon Coast where we came home via Multnomah Falls and across the Columbia River to Bonneville Hot Springs. The falls were in the path of a huge fire recently and the brave firefighters saved the historic lodge situated at the base of the falls.

Too many great spots to pick a favorite.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

I’m so thankful to finally have landed in a state where I can enjoy all four seasons and the changes they bring. Growing up in Southern California there were only slight differences. I can get a little blue in the winter if it has long stretches of bleak and dreary. Light has a good effect on my mood. I think for the most part I look forward instead of backward.

4. It’s your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

I do not lie about my age since I’ve been an adult. In my youth I tried to sneak an age or two older for certain privileges. Now about that dinner…We are having a butter basted barbecued rib eye, some roasted root vegetables with lots of onion and seasoning and a fluffy souffle for dessert with red wine for the main course and a glass of champagne with the dessert.

5. What’s a life lesson you’ve learned recently?

I’ve been reading and listening to lessons on prayer these days and on being persistent in it like the parable of the persistent neighbor from Luke 11…

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Today, September 13th is my parents wedding anniversary. On my mom and pop’s 70th wedding anniversary my mother died. That was four years ago today. My mother was ready to go to her eternal home and to see her Savior.  I’ll be calling my dear old pop today to talk to him and hopefully encourage him. It’s hard for him as he lives these days on earth without his wife and companion of so many years. Thankfully my oldest sister and her husband are gracious in giving him room in their home to live and thrive as best he can at 94 years of age.

I’m linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. She comes up with the questions and we answer them.

Rolling On Hodgepodge

1. Can you believe we’re rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What’s a project you’ll labor over this fall?

Our fall projects will include continuing sorting through and getting rid of stuff we really don’t need. We will also prune trees and clean out planters. Baking in the Fall is always a great project, too.

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?

I really never worked at a job with perks except for when I was an elementary school teacher and enjoyed summer vacation and other holidays even though I wasn’t  paid extra. I enjoyed traveling with my husband with his job responsibilities but had to pay my way. I thought that was a great perk regardless. I traveled to places I’d never have planned on like Milan, Chicago, Washington D.C., Orlando, Atlanta and San Antonio.

Then with the Mennonite Girls for book launches and signings and play openings we traveled to Winnipeg, Steinbach, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Vancouver, Fresno, Indiana Amish Country and Ohio Amish Country. We had to pay our way for the most part but the perks were meeting lots of great people, funding our missions, and being with the “girls”.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC?

I have been to SC to go to our son-in-law’s graduation from MCRD and his successful entry into the Marine Corps. Our daughter and I stayed in Beaufort. The Marine Corps graduation was an amazing experience. We did enjoy our time there although my hair does not agree with the weather. Beaufort is a small southern town with great architecture and other southern charm to enjoy. All my photos from Beaufort are being held hostage at Photobucket. I do have the photos saved on CD’s and Memory cards that I’ll need to upload onto this computer.

Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina…

Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville’s charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 

Which is most appealing to you today? If you’re a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?

Charleston is the most appealing to me but not in the summer!

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short…your favorite kind of rib? What’s a dish you enjoy that really ‘sticks to your ribs‘?

Barbecued Ribs please.

I love food and unfortunately it sticks to my mid section. But to answer your question I enjoy dishes like Stroganoff or Prime Rib with potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding. So I’m more of a beefy girl. Fish is rarely my choice unless it’s Fish and Chips or fish tacos.

5. What’s one important skill you think every person should have? Why?

I think everyone should be able to cook meals for themselves, that includes men and women. My dear old pop almost starved himself to death after my mom passed away. Dear and all of our sons and daughters can cook and I’m grateful for that. I’m sorry Home Economics is dwindling out in schools or completely eliminated. And Dear says if you drive a car you need to know how to change a tire!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

This little one is always in our thoughts. Our Labor Day weekend will be filled with extended time with Addy and her parents. We are also going to be able to enjoy a wedding reception barbecue half way to our kids home. Our hairdresser was married last weekend in Seattle and she and her new husband will host a country barbecue reception on their 270 acres in the Okanagon area of Washington State.

Linking up with Joyce From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. She asks the questions and the answers are up to us. Do you have Labor Day plans.

We continue to follow what’s happening in Texas and we pray for all the displaced people and for relief of the suffering that everyone is enduring.