Five Question Friday: November 2, 2012

Good afternoon! First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the folks who were affected by Sandy. She was a fearsome storm that was felt even here in Cleveland, OH. For those who have lost loved ones, homes, prized possessions, please accept my condolences. If there is a bright spot to be found amidst the devastation, it is in how neighborhoods have rallied to help their residents, often stranger helping stranger. Support the American Red Cross because they are the ones who know what to do and how to help when natural disasters strike.

Following are the questions for this week. Have a go at it if you like.


1. What terrifies you the most?

The thing that terrifies me the most is the possibility of losing someone I love and being helpless to do anything about it.

2. Favorite fall/winter drink?

I am an avid coffee drinker. I have started my day every morning for decades with a cup of coffee. Sometimes I like to put a cinnamon stick in it to add just a hint of spice to the flavor. I drink it year around so I don’t really know if you could call it a fall/winter drink. In fall and winter I will occasionally have a cup of hot apple cider which is also very tasty!

3. Do you and your spouse have the same political views?

Yes, our views are similar. We both have a strong sense of social justice and concern. It pains me to see the vitriol in this country that is directed toward the young, the old, the minority, the unemployed, the sick, the ‘other’ whoever the other is, etc. I just don’t get it. Social conscience is not socialism, it is caring for those who fall on hard times, or who are sick or in need. I blogged about this a while back, Homeless in D.C. My husband and I are both concerned about the radicals who dominate the headlines anymore. When we stop caring about our neighbors, or lending a helping hand to those in need, we are headed for a fall.

4. What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

I’m not sure you want to know. Everything I read anymore is very academic. The last book I read was about Existential Therapy. It was excellent, I loved it and I learned a lot. But is it a book I would recommend? Only for others in the counseling profession. I can’t remember the last “fun” book I read. Hmmm…. not good.

5. Do you look forward to the snow each winter? Why or why not?

Not really. I grew up where the weather was sultry hot. I miss it. I hasten to add though, that when I lived in New Hampshire I loved the snow. Cross country skiing was a favorite activity. People there knew how to play in the cold and that makes a difference. Where we live now, we don’t play so much. And the cold temperatures seem to bother me more now than they use to. So, give me the hot lazy days of summer any time.😉

That’s it for another week.

Cats . . . The Big Ones! (And a few other animals, too)


Course requirements dictated that I attend a week-long colloquial in Arlington, Virginia, USA, this week. Hundreds of us, all grad students working (or hoping to work) in the mental health field converged on the city just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, to spend six intense days of study, learning and experiencing in a classroom setting. The day before classes were scheduled to begin, a friend and I took part of a day to venture into the capital district to visit the National Zoo. As you will see in the following photos, I was captivated by the big cats! Enjoy.

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About Global Food Disparity!

I had not planned on posting today (except for River of Stones) but came across this link at Doris Nygrin’s blog, Truth With Doris, and felt compelled to share it. In a very simple, straightforward way, the viewer is shown the disparity in diets around the world with accompanying comments…brief statements about the weekly food costs for families in different parts of the world. I urge you to take a look.

Daily Kos: Global Food Disparity

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

I’m a little late this week but better late than never! I don’t know why I didn’t think of these photos before, but my trip to Chicago this fall provided lots of “between” photo ops! Here are a few!


Five Question Friday: Nov. 25, 2011

Well, I’m a day late, but that is a testament to the wonderful time I am having with my family. Seeing folks I haven’t seen in decades is mind-boggling, and fun! We’ve eaten good food, shared many laughs, cried a few tears, and have said over and over that we will not wait so long again to do this! Family gatherings in our home are cherished. I hope your family gatherings have been joyful, too.

Now, on to the five question Friday questions! (with a few minor changes to suit our traditions.)

1. Is there a special dish you prepare that you are famous for?

Not really. I can put together a really good meal on special occasions, but I am really not known for my cooking. I do bake a mean Amaretto Cake, and I make great salads. But special dish that I am famous for???? Nahhhh…. Not me.

2. Are you (did you) go Black Friday shopping ?

I am not now, nor have I ever been a big shopper. I have never participated in the Black Friday shopping event, nor do I ever plan to. I don’t get it, although I have friends and family who look forward to it and treat it almost as if it is a sporting event. I will just enjoy that distinctly American custom vicariously through them.

3. What are your strangest holiday traditions?

We observe the Jewish holidays, and by some folks standards we have some strange traditions and observances, too many to go through here. But Succot has some beautiful traditions that may appear strange, like eating in the Sukkah, or shaking the lulav.

4. Pecan or pumpkin pie? (She actually asked “Apple or pumpkin?” I just T-giving’ed it!)

I love both, but pecan has got to be a favorite of mine. I’ll leave it at that.

5. When will you put up your Christmas tree?  Chanukah begin this year?

We light the first Chanukah candle on the evening of December 20 this year. We will light a candle each night for eight nights to commemorate the miracle of the oil centuries ago. I will write more about this as we near that beautiful holiday (it’s closing in on Midnight now, and to be honest, I just don’t have the energy.)

Well that is it for this week. I hope to be back up to par next week, and I will fill you in on some of our strange traditions in the weeks to come. But for now, I’m signing off. Hope you and yours (in the USA) had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. For those of you beyond our borders, may your lives be filled with gratitude. Thanks for stopping by.

Five Question Friday: November 11, 2011

Good Friday everyone! First of all, I would like to salute all United States veterans. I think that most of us in the US have had at least one family member serve in the armed forces. so on this day, I salute US veterans everywhere.

Today this will be short. I have THREE papers due before the end of the day, plus an appointment with my academic adviser. To be honest, I shouldn’t even be here, but I just couldn’t resist.😉 So, join me if you wish, but let’s get to the questions for today. Enjoy!🙂

1. What’s the last thing you spent too much money on?

I spent $100 on a pair of shoes that were not even attractive! but they purported to be good for exercising one’s legs. Weeks later, I found that I could have gotten the same pair at a discount store for less than half the price. :-(  Next time, I’ll shop around first!



2. What celeb chef would you want to make you dinner?

To be honest, I don’t know any celeb chefs; we don’t have a tv. But if I could have any chef cook for me, it would be Susie Fishbein, author of the Kosher by Design recipe book series. Her recipes are phenomenal! I have three of her many books and frequently refer to them. I can’t say enough good things about her dishes. If ever you get the chance, check out her blog at Kosher by Design Blog.


3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over or do you let them see the real deal?

I don’t usually hide things when people pop over. They have to take me as they find me, however the Sabbath or festivals, I scoop up everything that hasn’t found a “home” yet and toss into the “catch-all” room (we’ve had one in every place we have lived) to be dealt with after the Sabbath or holidays are over.  No pictures for this one. Not much to see really, just a junked-up room.

4. Who is your oldest living family member?

Uncle David, Mom's brother

In my immediate family, Mom is the oldest at 82 years. But she has a surviving older brother who is 85 or 86. He looks good for being 86 years old, don’t you think?  I don’t know Dad’s extended family, so I can’t say if there are older folks or not on his side. His family has the genes for the age though! Many live into their 90’s. The photo to the left is Uncle David, Mom’s brother, who has lived in Louisiana as long as I have been alive. He and his wife have been married for over 60 years.



5. What is your favorite DQ treat and/or Sonic drink combo (ie: cherry vanilla dr. pepper)?

Oy . . . don’t do those either. We buy ice cream from the super market and bring it home to enjoy when we want. When the kids were growing up we often made homemade ice cream which was a treat. When I was growing up, coke floats, or Dr. Pepper floats were popular. Mmmm. . . maybe I’ll make one of those today. Sounds good!

There you have it. Have a great weekend, and we’ll do this again next week.

L.J. & Pat; “He” and “She”; “They”

Pat and L. J. ~ November 2, 1951

L. J. and Pat

“He” and “She”



He was born in Louisiana and grew up on his parents’ cotton farm. She was born in Chicago and moved frequently from urban area to urban area, depending on where her dad found work. He was the younger of two boys with eight years separating them. She was the third of six children, each born two or three years apart. He wore a leather jacket with slicked back wavy hair and drove a Harley Davidson, the epitome of “cool.” She dressed demurely in modest dresses and sang in the church choir. Their paths converged at Louisiana Tech when he saw her across a room and was smitten. He asked her for a date, which she accepted on one condition: he had to attend church with her. He didn’t have to think long or hard for that was a small price to pay for a date with this gal. Yes, he was smitten. The rest is history.

They married on Nov. 2, 1951 in a small church wedding. He was heading to seminary in North Carolina, and they had stars in their eyes about what the future might hold for them. But whatever it was, together they would forge their path through life.

He became a minister for a while, and church remains a vital part of his life. Even after leaving the ministry, he ponders the deeper meaning of life, its joys and its vicissitudes as any true existentialist would. He wrote the stories of his imaginings, being the creative thinker and writer that he was and is. Eventually he became a bookkeeper at a nearby mission, followed by providing the same services at their church home, the place where they have worshiped for over 40 years. He finally retired during his 80th year.

She was the pragmatic one. In the early years she worked as a lab technician in local hospitals. Eventually she would leave that work to become a middle school life science teacher where she earned accolades for her creativity and enthusiasm in the classroom. When she retired from teaching, she became a naturalist at a state park until her retirement from that position when she was approaching her 80th birthday. Through the years she sewed her own clothes, reupholstered furniture to make others’ discarded junk a piece of art in her home, grew her own vegetables to preserve, and fed the family throughout the year. She sang in the church choir into her 80’s, teaches Sunday school, chairs the mission committee, and continues visiting friends and friendless alike. Today she makes doll clothes for dolls that are given to hospitalized children, hoping to alleviate each child’s fear . . . at least a little bit.

Through the years they relocated many times, reinvented themselves almost as often, raised four motley children, enjoyed the blessings of nine grandchildren and now three great-grandchildren with two more on the way. They traveled extensively and embraced life in all of its beauty and complexity—good and bad.

Camping was a salve for their souls as they hiked through woods, forged mountain streams, spelunked through caverns and repelled down cliffs.  As a young family, they began their camping “career” in an old, smelly baker tent (that was often sworn at . . . poor tent.) From that humble beginning, they quickly graduated to a full-scale teepee modeled after the Oglala abodes. They made the teepee themselves. She sewed, wearing out at least one sewing machine. He cut down tall Louisiana pines, then stripped the bark and dried the poles. They hauled the teepee throughout the country, east and west, north and south, on annual family camping trips. When they retired the teepee, back packing became their mode of camping and seeing the country. For years the two traveled when they got the chance, hiking with their packs to places most of the rest of us have only seen in photographs. When the two adventurers and life-long lovers finally hung up their packs, they converted their van into a makeshift camper so that they could continue their travels. The two did not slow down. But even the van eventually became too difficult to “camp” in. Not thwarted however, they bought a small camper trailer to pull behind their van and they continue their journeys, albeit a little slower and closer to home than in past years.

In addition to the adventures of travel and camping, the two spent their lives supporting the downtrodden, visiting the sick, grappling with issues of social justice, poverty, inequality, racism and more. They stood by their beliefs and their love of the human race when others wanted to silence them. They appreciated the simple things in life, were thankful that their needs were met, made do with what they had, and as a result their lives are far richer today than if filled with tawdry material things that eventually wither away and become burdensome objects for their children to dispense of.

You see, L.J. and Pat have spent over 60 glorious years building a life together and inspiring all who know them to be better people, to do better work, and to think better thoughts.

L. J. and Pat, the “he” and the “she”, his motorcycle “Fonzie” to her modest “Pollyana” created a masterpiece with their lives that we, the privileged observers, now celebrate.

 November 2, 1951 – November 2, 2011

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.