I am sitting here in the living room, listening to the loudest thunder I have heard in a very long time. The sky got very dark, the rain started pouring, and there are BOOMS resounding overhead. The cats are on high alert, staring out the window and flinching with each one. A sense of wonder is filling me as I hear and see the rain pounding on the deck, and hear the variety of sounds it makes as it pours over the trees and onto the grass. I hope and pray that east of the mountains is being treated to the same rain we are getting – it would be such a relief to the unrelenting dry and all of the fires they are fighting in so many places. There isn’t a time that I can recall when I didn’t appreciate an amazing rain and thunder storm . . . even as a child they gave me a feeling of incredible awe. As I type this, the intensity of the rain is slowing down, the sky is getting lighter again and the thunder is moving into the distance. As quickly as it began, it is coming to an end. Incredible, absolutely incredible. Life is like that though, isn’t it? Each day we face moments of storm and turmoil, but as quickly as it begins, it comes to an end, or at least reduces intensity. The skies in our lives lighten up and life settles back into a rhythm that is comfortable and familiar. Those moments though, when the thunder shakes everything in us, when the rains flow like rivers through our hearts and heads, those moments are absolutely FILLED with the very essence of life and excitement. As I sit here and breathe in the moment, it makes me glad to be alive.
Gorgeous Grandma Day – I adore my Grandma H and I shared about her birthday, and our five generation picture, with you a couple of times this past week. Today I will give to my Gorgeous Grandma – Grandma K. I’ve mentioned her many times before, and this won’t be the last time I share about her, but she was so special that I feel blessed to have had her in my life. She wasn’t just an amazing Grandma, she was someone who I looked up to and wish to emulate in my life. Grandma was a beautiful woman, and her heart and spirit were even more beautiful than what was on the outside. To be in her presence was to be blessed. The very air around her was charged with the electricity of her kindness and the spirit of Jesus radiated from the very center of her soul. I remember when we would drive to my Grandparent’s house to visit, the last few miles would be excruciating! They took SOOOO long! My brother and I would be nearly bouncing in our seats with excitement. We pulled into the driveway, the flowers and gardens surrounding the house with vibrant color, testimony to all of the love and dedication both of my Grandparents put into them, and there she was. Standing on the porch, drying her hands on her ever present apron, smiling from ear to ear. As we tumbled out of the car and raced to her, her arms stretched out, enveloping us in the biggest, warmest hug ever. She gave the BEST hugs. You could FEEL the love just reaching out and holding you close – through and through. Her hugs were physically gentle because she was delicate and hurt easily, but the strength of love that came through made you feel absolutely and completely wrapped and surrounded by the most intense feeling of devotion – the physical manifestation of everything the word love is supposed to be. From the kitchen we could always smell the aromas of whatever she’d been busy cooking all day while she waited for us to arrive – more evidence of the love she poured out every day, for everyone who was fortunate enough to visit her kitchen. It never mattered WHAT she fixed, but that SHE fixed it. The very fact that her hands prepared the food meant that it was going to be delicious, simply because she was the one to prepare it. When I think of Grandma I always think of laughter. When she laughed, everyone around her laughed too – it was utterly infectious. I can close my eyes and picture her – she would get so tickled that she would hold her sides and stomach with one hand, her mouth with the other, double almost all the way over, tears falling down her cheeks as her eyes crinkled up around the edges, and the giggles just erupted out of her, from the depths of her tummy. You couldn’t help but laugh with her! It was impossible! At night after I settled down in my cot that was always set up in the dining room, she would sit down next to me and stroke my hair and hum to me until I fell asleep. As I drifted off to sleep I could hear her whispering prayers to Jesus to keep me safe and help me sleep peacefully with only happy dreams. She would tiptoe back to the kitchen to visit with Mom and I would lay there, straining to hear what they were talking and giggling about, desperately wishing I was in the kitchen with them, sharing in those moments. Eventually I went to sleep with the music of her hushed laughter in my ears. The day I graduated to that inner circle of grown up women in the kitchen late at night was one of the best times of my life. We never talked about anything special, but just being with them, snacking on the honeyed walnuts made from the nuts that Grandpa had picked from their own trees – painstakingly shucking and drying them each year – and sipping tea or cocoa, was enough. We should all try to be like my Grandma, for the way she lived her life, because the way she lived her life was exactly what the Bible speaks of when it says to try to be like Him. She did her very best, every single day, to do just that. Of course she had those human moments we all have when she fell short of this, but she would quietly ask for forgiveness and move on with her day. I know, without any shadow of doubt, that she is sitting next to Jesus, holding Grandpa’s hand and laughing until she needs to hold her sides. I wish for all of my readers that they have someone like my Gorgeous Grandma in their lives. I miss you Grandma – every single day of my life.
National Hot Dog Day – Today we celebrate hot dogs, one of America’s favorite sandwiches – and since it is summer, they are front and center on the grill, at picnics all across American, and at ballparks. They are sold from carts on city street corners in big cities – though I worked in downtown Seattle and never actually saw a cart that sold them. Maybe they are there . . . just not where I was every day. With that said though, I did have a hot dog from a vendor who had a very small spot at the edge of a building that was about the SIZE of a cart, even though it was not on wheels. Delicious! It was an amazing chicken pineapple hot dog that I covered with a spicy pineapple relish. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Americans consume hundreds of millions of hot dogs on Independence Day alone, not to speak of the rest of the year. It used to be that hot dogs were considered to be tube shaped mystery meat, but that isn’t the case – well, ALL of the time anyway – today. Hot dogs come in a variety of meats, a variety of fat and sodium content, and to fit just about every taste – including vegetarian! Normally I don’t spend this much time with a food holiday – but I found a really interesting trivia question and answer site and I had to share it with you! Let’s see how you do . . . the answers are at the bottom.
A) Vienna, Austria
B) Frankfurt, Germany
C) Chicago, Illinois
D) Good question!
2. What did New York Polo Grounds hawkers call “hot dogs?”
B) Tube steaks
C) Dachshund sausages
A) 1921 World Series
B) St. Louis “Louisiana Purchase Exposition” in 1904
C) The Oscar Mayer company picnic in 1928
D) Boston’s 4th of July parade in 1918
C) Los Angeles
D) New York
5. Which of these presidents served hot dogs at an official White House function?
A) Bill Clinton
B) George W. Bush
C) Harry Truman
D) Ronald Reagan
6. How Long Was The World’s Longest Hot Dog?
A) 76 feet
B) 567 feet
C) 1,996 feet
D) 1 mile
7. What color is the belt awarded to the World Hot Dog Eating Champion at the annual contest held in Coney Island?
8. Why did the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council flew more than 37,000 hot dogs to Bosniain 1996?
A) For distribution to the local residents, as part of their campaign against hunger
B) “Operation Wienerlift”, celebrating National Hot Dog Day, was done to say “thanks”
C) To feed the troops in support of their efforts
D) A fire at a production plant made them “unfit” for sale, and the Council did not want to see them go to waste.
A) He has them for dinner every night
B) He has worked for Oscar Mayer for 60 years
C) He has made his own hot dogs for the past 30 years
D) Absolutely nothing – he is highly allergic to them
10. In addition to Mr. Potato Head, what other food friends did Hasbro also produce in the 1960’s?
A) Stanley Steak
B) Peppermint Patty
C) Burger Buddy
D) Franky Frank
11. Tony Packo’s Cafe` in Toledo, Ohio, made famous by being mentioned by Corporal Max Kinger in a M-A-S-H episode, has fed many celebrities. To commemorate their visits, the café proudly displays
A) Pictures of the celebrities with Tony
B) Celebrity pictures which cover all the walls
C) Signed buns
D) Hot dogs that were bitten by the celebrities
12. How many hot dogs will Americans eat in major league ball parks during baseball season?
A) 4 billion
B) 26 million
C) 3 million
D) 11 billion
13. “Little dog” sausages became standard fare at ballparks in 1893 in which city?
A) New York City
B) St. Louis
14. Hot dogs aren’t just for baseball fans! In 1995, three Seattle Seahawk football players were fined $1,000 each for eating hot dogs on the sidelines of a pre-season game. Why were they eating these hot dogs?
A) The smell of hot dogs wafting down from the stands was simply irresistible to the hungry players
B) In celebration of National Hot Dog Day
C) A young boy bought the hot dogs for the players
D) It was lunch time
15. According to a new National Hot Dog and Sausage Council poll, how do most Americans prefer their hot dogs cooked?
C) Pan Fried
16. What’s the favorite hot dog condiment of Americans age 35 and up?
C) None – they are best eaten “au natural”
17. What city’s citizens prefer their hot dogs topped with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese?
B) San Francisco
D) Kansas City
18. What should be done with condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog?
A) Licked away
B) Wiped on your shirt or pants
C) Wiped on a napkin
D) Wiped using a wet-nap
19. To serve hot dogs:
A) Use plastic dishes
B) Use your hands
C) Use paper plates
D) Wrap it in newspaper
20. What is the “right” way to add condiments to a hot dog?
A) Put condiments on the bun, then add the hot dog
B) There is no right way
C) “Dress” the dog
D) Dip them by hand into condiments of choice
21. Where and when did the first WienermobileTM cruise the streets?
A) Detroit, 1931
B) New York, 1928
C) Boston, 1934
D) Chicago, 1936
22. How much does a WienermobileTMweigh today?
A) 8,000 pounds
B) 2 tons
C) 5,000 pounds
D) 1,000,000 hot dogs
23. On what television show has the WienermobileTM appeared?
A) “Love Connection”
C) “Sesame Street”
D) “Let’s Make a Deal”
24. In how many movies has the WienermobileTM co-starred?
25. What was the name of the man who handed out WienerwhistlesTMto children from his WienermobileTM?
A) Wee Willy Wiener
B) Oscar Mayer®
C) Little Oscar
26. What city almost banned the Oscar Mayer® WienermobileTM?
A) Chicago, Illinois
B) Madison, Wisconsin
C) Detroit, Michigan
D) San Francisco
27. What are the people who drive the Oscar Mayer® WienermobileTM called?
A) “Hotdoggers” are the people who drive the Oscar Mayer®WienermobileTM s.
B) “Little Oscars”
C) “Wiener men”
D) “Frank Furters”
28. Who took a WienermobileTMfor a test lap at the 1988 Indy 500?
A) John Andretti
B) Tony Stewart
C) Al Unser, Jr.
D) Robby Gordon
29. How much did WienerwhistlesTM cost at the 1965 New York World’s Fair?
A) 2 cents
B) 5 cents
C) a dime
D) they were free with the purchase of a hot dog
30. Who wrote the wiener jingle for Oscar Mayer?
A) Paul Anka
B) Richard Trentlage
C) Paul Simon
D) Oscar Mayer
31. Which symphony orchestra recorded the familiar ditty “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer® Wiener?”
B) New YorkPhilharmonic Symphony Orchestra
C) Madison Symphony Orchestra
D) ViennaSymphony Orchestra
1. D) Good question! – While sausages are mentioned in historical texts as far as the Odyssey of Homer, written in the 9th century B.C., the variant known as the “frankfurter” is rumored to have been invented in Frankfurt, Germany around 1484 A.D. However, the citizens of Vienna(Wien), Austriapoint to their own “Wiener” as the progenitor of the hot dog.
7. C) Yellow – On July 4, 2004 champion Takeru Kobayashi set a new world record and walked away with a yellow belt after eating 53.5 wieners with buns in 12 minutes, earning the coveted mustard yellow belt and retaining his official world crown for the fourth year in a row. Known in the competitive eating world as “The Tsunami”, he earned his title by winning Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York, a competition which started in 1916. Kobayashi also holds world records for eating cow brains. There’s just no accounting for taste, huh?
14. A) The smell of hot dogs wafting down from the stands was simply irresistible to the hungry players – Free safety and defensive captain Eugene Robinson, quarterback Rick Mirer, and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy were fined for violating team rules. During the third quarter of a pre-season game in San Francisco, the three players were caught eating hot dogs while standing on the Seahawks’ sideline. The three had seen action in the first half of the game and were not slated to return. If not for the presence of network television cameras, they might have been able to consume the hot dogs without being detected. The cameras, however, caught the players “trying furtively to eat the hot dogs.”
Hot Enough For Ya Day – Every once in awhile someone will ask me if it’s “hot enough for me?”. I’m never sure how to answer that. I don’t like the heat. I like things a little warm – mid 70s maybe – but heat and I just don’t get along at all. I get moody, headachy and just plain grumpy when it gets hot. If I wanted to live in an oven I’d move to Arizona! I know it’s just something that people say in an attempt to be friendly, but yeesh! Some years are hotter than others – for example on July 23, 2011, 14 all-time temperature records were broken and seven were tied in this country. Cameron, PA reached 106 degrees, beating the previous days record by 4 degrees! That’s far too hot. So, is it hot enough for ya today? I know for me, with a lovely summer rain falling outside, it’s definitely PERFECTLY hot enough for me. I LOVE this! Can you tell I’m a born and bred Pacific Northwest girl?
This Day In History –
1904 – Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri fills a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream, and the ice cream cone is invented.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Vanilla Ice Cream Day – Vanilla ice cream is amazingly refreshing and is such a wonderful canvas for other flavors and toppings. Chocolate ice cream may be America’s #1 choice, but vanilla is a close second! It’s easy to celebrate this one on a hot summer day – my favorite vanilla ice cream is a soft serve in a cone, you know, with the little curly q on the top? I remember getting them with my Grandpa, and we’d sit there and race each other to get them eaten before the drips escaped down the sides. One or both of us would end up with brain freeze, but oh my goodness it was so worth it. And the best bite? That very last one with the ice cream in the bottom of the cone. For some reason that one always tasted the very best. Here are some interesting treats made with vanilla ice cream from www.food.com. That second one sounds interesting! Hmmm. . .
- Bev’s Classic French Vanilla
- Vanilla Ice Cream With Olive Oil & Sea Salt
- Frozen Kahlua Creme
- Vanilla Latte Ice Cream
- Boston Cooler
- A Little Piece of Heaven on a Plate
Well, today you celebrate two foods, amazing Gorgeous Grandma’s and the heat. A variety for sure, but a good variety, don’t you think? And now, as much as I would LOVE to sit here and listen to the rain all day, I’m off the computer to go get the guest room ready for my wonderful mother-in-law. I know there are jokes out there about mothers-in-law but they weren’t aimed at mine. She’s pretty awesome! I’ve had the mother-in-law of the jokes – heinous and awful example of humanity she was – and I hope to goodness I am never the mother-in-law of those jokes! I have a great example to follow now, so at least I have that in my favor, right? God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!