For this swap, the challenge is to answer 20 questions and email them to three partners. Below are my answers to the questions.
What's rocking your world (making you very happy) today?
I'm going to the State Fair with my daughters and watching them compete in two categories each this year. Sophia is doing an illustrated presentation about bunions and their surgical removal (sharing her experience of going through two surgeries to remove bunions and then being able to watch a bunionectomy in the operating room at our local hospital) and competing in the Crafts project area with her Russian lace necklace made from 1,200 beads.
Sophia with the necklace she made.
Olivia also is doing an illustrated presentation. Her topic is on caves and cave exploration (sharing what she learned about different types around the world; and what she saw and learned about visiting ten caves this past year).
Olivia with the photo she took.
She is competing in the Photography project area as well with a photo that she took of a sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park that illustrates the Leading Lines concept in photography.
What are you most worried about this month?
Figuring out where the money is coming from to pay for a major home repair that happened back in June and is still being worked on.
The new walls and steps to the basement.
All of this area had to excavated and rebuilt
because of water and mud damage.
There also are aspects of the rebuilding process from the fire that are not covered by insurance.
The garage in progress.
We found out that building the garage is costing more than the hobby shed was insured for...so there are parts that we have to pay out-of-pocket.
What characteristic do you value the most in your friends?
That's a tough one because I value two characteristics equally: loyalty and honesty. To me, they go hand-in-hand. It's the friends who stay with you through a crisis, who are there for you at your lowest point that are truly valuable. Friends who are honest are ones you can trust.
What characteristic do you find most irritating in other people?
Self-absorption drives me crazy. People who are always posing for "selfies" and posting them on Facebook, to me, shows someone who is very insecure and needs affirmation from others. They aren't able to be comfortable with who they are or what they have to offer this world.
What would you like to hear from your boss or your teacher?
I don't have a boss in the traditional sense since I'm not employed. My job is homeschooling and raising my daughters; and volunteering in the community. So, my "bosses" are essentially people who interact with my daughters in some way - their music and art instructors; teachers at the homeschool co-op; and directors at non-profits where they volunteer.
Sophia talking with someone at the farmers market about a project
she's doing for Sole Hope that she's inviting the community
to be a part of this Summer and Fall.
She has collected blue jeans and is cutting them into pieces using a pattern.
The pieces will be used by cobblers in Uganda to make
shoes for children so they don't get jiggers
(little insects that burrow into one's feet and can cause crippling pain and even death).
Olivia is coloring pictures to donate to Color-a-Smile
which sends them to seniors who are homebound or in nursing homes as well as
veterans and those who are actively serving our country.
Whenever I hear positive comments about the girls' character and/or the impact that they are making in the world, that makes me very happy.
A woven clay breadbasket that I'm making.
What's the single most important factor to you, when looking for a job?
As my dad asked me whenever I took on a new job, "Does it make you happy?" I think that is one of the guiding questions throughout my life; and I can hear him still ask me that question now whenever I take on something new.
There are many elements that would contribute to a job making me feel happy - type of work, the level of challenge, pay rate, benefits, how I can dress, and how far it would be from home. Ultimately, though, the most important factor is: am I making a positive difference in the world?
What’s one thing you’re not good at, no matter how hard you try?
Drawing is something that I can't seem to do. It would be nice to be able to draw realistic-looking nature scenes, birds, flowers, and people. However, that's not a skill with which I've been gifted.
If you could live anywhere and have everything and everyone you love with you, where would you want to live?
I would live someplace where the temperature ranges from 30-75 degrees; is not humid; there are no mosquitoes or annoying insects; and where there are lakes and rivers; hills and mountains; forests and prairies.
I would like to see colorful flowers where I live.
I would want to be able to see both east and west - to see the sunrise and sunset; and where it is dark enough to see the stars at night.
I would want to see views of the clouds and sky.
I would want to live somewhere where it is quiet, peaceful, and people are respectful and caring towards one another, the environment, and animals.
Geese that crossed the road to a nearby pond.
We waited a while for them all to cross the road.
If they were still living, my parents and grandparents. I would talk with them as long as I could; listen to what they had to say; and tell them - repeatedly - how much I love them.
An old photo from the 1980s of my grandma, me, mom, and dad.
Otherwise, having anyone from my family sit with me would be nice. Spending time with people who I love is very important to me.
Which is your favorite time of day: sunrise, early morning, daylight, twilight, or night?
That's a hard question. I like early morning because I'm awake and can get things done while everyone else is asleep. It's so quiet and I can hear the birds waking up and singing as they start their day.
Birds in one of our trees.
I don't have a clear view of the sun rising now that the evergreens have grown in so much over the past 23 years that we've lived here. Otherwise, that used to be my favorite time because I could see the sun rise and the sky and clouds change colors...often times as I walked the dogs.
If you could choose an age to be forever, what age would you choose and why?
Again...another tough question. I like the 5-6 year old age range because I was old enough to do some things on my own, didn't have a care in the world, wasn't stressed out or anxious about anything, loved to learn, enjoyed playing outdoors, could play for hours indoors with my sister (brother was too young), and could color in coloring books for the longest time. Everything was new, exciting, and safe. Life was a sense of wonder and exploration.
My sister and I on the swingset in our backyard
when we were growing up.
She was a bunny and I was a dog for Halloween.
My parents and grandparents were alive; and my sister, brother, and I all lived at home with my parents who cared for and loved us.
The flip side of that is that I didn't have Sophia and Olivia yet - our family was not yet complete. So, I would say another age when I would like to live forever would be around 40 years old. The girls are young, I'm still active and not dealing with lower-back pain, and we all are out hiking, playing, and exploring together. The world is ahead of us with opportunities!
If you could be in any movie, which would you choose and what character would you play?
One of my favorite movies is Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. If I was a gifted and talented actress, I would enjoy playing Meryl Streep's part. However, what would be more rewarding would be an extra or a supporting character who would get to meet and work with Meryl. Learning from her would be inspiring!
If you could meet any fictional character, who would you want to meet?
I haven't read a fiction book in a long time. I tend to read non-fiction books so this is a challenging question. First thing that came to mind: Christopher Robin.
It would be great to be able to have talking animals - like Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore - and be a part of their world.
What are some of your favorite foods?
For breakfast, I like cinnamon raisin rolls made from my grandma's recipe (I'm the only one who knows how to make them) and waffles.
For lunch, a good BLT, tuna fish sandwich, or egg salad sandwich would be good.
For dinner, I like tacos/nachos and anything that's made on the pellet grill, especially if it is barbecued. The smoky flavor and caramelized barbecue sauce are wonderful!
Homemade salsa to go with tacos.
For dessert, homemade ice cream that Sophia makes. She has made a variety of different flavors this summer - all of which have been delicious.
Homemade mint chocolate chip, strawberry, and vanilla ice creams
that Sophia made.
Are any of these healthy foods? Not by a long shot. However, they are all special treats for me that I have once in a while.
Which is your favorite season, and what do you like best about it?
Fall is my favorite season after the first frost because there are no insects (like mosquitoes, gnats, or hornets) and the leaves are changing colors to brilliant yellows, golds, oranges, and reds. The temperature is in the range that feels comfortable; and the mornings and evenings feel slightly chilly. Sweaters and jackets are worn daily...which I like.
The dogs can go on walks again because they aren't bothered by the horseflies or high temperatures and humidity. The roads are a comfortable temperature on their paws.
The horses love the cooler temperatures and will gallop more in the pasture.
Colorful leaves in October 2012.
We have fires in the woodstove again and things feel cozier and more comforting in the Fall.
Which season is your least favorite, and why?
Winter is becoming my least favorite season because of dealing with snow, ice, and extremely cold temperatures. Last winter, we had our water line freeze that went to the house and our well pump burned out as a result of that.
The truck in the backyard doing work on the well.
So, we started the beginning of the year with no water and then a multi-thousand dollar bill to fix the line and well pump. It wasn't a good way to start the year.
What item (that you don't already have), would you most like to own?
The fire that happened at our farm on May 5th took many items that had special meaning to us - books that I read to the girls when they were little, Christmas plates that belonged to Paige's parents, cards and gifts signed by and given to the girls by my parents, and bikes that we used to ride together.
Going through books that were destroyed by the fire.
There were children's books that we were holding onto to
give to the girls when they have children of their own.
What seemed like a great idea at the time, but turned out not so great?
We were just talking about this the other night at dinner. At our home on Morgan Avenue South in Minneapolis, which was a 1 1/2 story home, there was an odd, useless rectangular space at the top of the steps as you went to the second level.
I went to a home and garden show and saw an indoor garden with a little waterfall which I thought would be nice to do in that spot. The landscape company came to our home and built an indoor garden with a waterfall. The catch was that rather than real plants in the garden, they used fake ones since there wasn't enough light for plants to survive.
Needless to say, although it looked fake to us, it was realistic enough for our cat to think it was a playground for her. She would use her paws to mess up the bark chips and toss them in the water, monkey around with the plants, and drink the water.
It became an eyesore after a while - a place where plants never changed or were fragrant and life seemed "dead" rather than alive and growing. We have never had an indoor water garden like that again. Once was enough.
What’s something you almost always have on-hand?
The obvious thing here would be baking supplies, toothpaste, and things along that line. Something a bit out of the ordinary would be Watkins Menthol-Camphor Ointment and Petro-Carbo Salve.
These two items are things I grew up with and that are a staple in our home. The ointment is something that we use as a lip balm and under our noses to help with breathing.
What will you do after answering these questions?
It's 7:08 a.m. and it's time to start getting ready for the day.
The girls and I need to patch a hole in the fence that our miniature horse is getting out of and into another pasture (that is ours) where there is more grass. He gains weight on air, so he needs to be one of the two pastures that he already has access to.
The third pasture is one we don't use anymore now that we don't have sheep. It has very tall grass - taller than him - so it's also not safe for him to be back there. With coyotes around, it's better to be in an area that he can see all around.
After that it is breakfast time, I'll feed the animals (dogs and cats), and pack to go to the State Fair. It's going to be a long - but fun - day.