1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?
When I think about my future, I reflect on my parents and the struggles they had towards the end of their lives with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, strokes, diabetes, and a heart attack. I think about the financial challenges that healthcare poses.
My parents on a trip to Pella, Iowa, during the tulip festival.
(Taken April 30, 2009.)
Fortunately, for them, my dad had a pension and both had enough savings to draw upon to cover their healthcare expenses. Had my mom lived even six months to a year longer, things could have been very different for her since at-home healthcare was quickly depleting her savings. I don't have nearly the resources or the pension that they had.
My hope lies in what I can do to make a positive impact on others - my family as well as those who I will never meet. Seeing Sophia and Olivia having hearts filled with a desire to help and serve others - that gives me an incredible sense of hope that they will continue our family's legacy of wanting to make a difference in this world.
2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house?
We eat chicken about once a week for dinners. Often times, there are leftovers so we'll have chicken for lunches too.
What's a favorite dish made with chicken?
When I was growing up, my mom made oven-fried chicken by putting some butter in a 9"x13" pan and melting it. She would dredge chicken pieces in liquid (milk or egg - I can't remember off-hand) and then roll them in crushed up potato chips. A healthier version is using corn flakes rather than chips.
Mom, Dad, Olivia, and Sophia having lunch together
at my parents' home.We weren't having chicken,
but this was one of many meals we shared together.
(November 4, 2009.)
What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?
After adopting Sophia and Olivia I decided that aiming to get my private pilot's license wasn't worth it - even though I was very close to getting it.
When I was doing touch-and-go's one day (the last day that I ever flew in the pilot's seat), I had a bad landing that my flight instructor and I couldn't explain. The entire plane was shaking on impact and it was difficult to regain control of it.
This isn't the plane I was flying,
but it is similar in size to the one I flew.
Sophia and Olivia are next to this plane
at an airport show on September 8, 2007.
I asked how I could have handled it differently and why it would have occurred, he had no explanation or suggestions. I never flew after that, despite his encouragement to do so. I never wanted to go through a similar - or scarier - situation like that.
3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?
I'd like to own these things if money were no object:
- a fully-furnished art studio that would have multiple rooms for different types of creative arts. This would be something that we could all use plus - potentially - could be a source of income if we offered classes or studio rental time.
- sensory equipment for both the girls to help them with sensory processing disorder including teen/adult-size items that provide what they need, but are multi-functional (e.g., hammock, hammock swing)
4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate. If you answered one, which one?
Being a jack of all trades would be more rewarding for me because I would be able to do a variety of things. My life would always be exciting because there's something different to do. Having the knowledge to do many things - even house repairs - would be satisfying for me.
5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?
I use both ketchup and mustard on hamburgers, hotdogs, and brats when I occasionally eat them.
Olivia and I roasting hotdogs at Itasca State Park.
(Taken on September 5, 2012.)
6. Insert your own random thought here.
We spent three days at the Minnesota State Fair last week so the girls could compete with their 4-H projects. Olivia earned a trip to the fair for her video "A Better World for Animals" and Sophia earned a trip for the website she created. Both won blue ribbons; and Sophia won a purple ribbon (grand champion).
The girls also did a joint judging for the 4-H club's One Stop Donation Drop - the big community pride project that was done in November 2016 that enefited 23 non-profit organizations.
We were able to spend one day at the fair on our own. No competing or having to oversee anyone else's schedule. It was great! One of the highlights was seeing beautiful kaleidoscopes of flowers and plants in the Ag-Hort building.
Sophia had the idea to use her iPhone to take photos of the images that were created as the flower pots were spun. My images from my camera pale in comparison to what she was able to capture.
Another fun thing we did that was also very relaxing was an aquamassage. You lay on a massage/chiropractic table and the top of the machine goes over you. There's a layer of thick plastic between you and the water. A powerful jet spray that is the width of your body goes from your neck to toes.
Needless to say, when we were done with the 15-minute massage, we were very relaxed and felt rejuvenated. It helped our feet and legs make it through the rest of the fair. We definitely will be doing this again next year at the fair!