Tag Archives: Ken

A Stroke is Clearly Out of my Control

28 Mar

Honey Almond Pie


Honey Almond Pie

There are times when we think that we are in control of our lives (for the most part anyway) and then something comes to remind us what an illusion that is.  I was reminded of the truth last Saturday.  My cell phone rang with a number that I didn’t recognize though I did determine it was from a Florida area code.  The call was from my Dad’s girlfriend, Eileen.  She called to say that my Dad had had a stroke and that he was in the hospital.  Eileen did her best to paint a positive scenario, but I knew that I would be heading to Florida very soon.

There was one issue that I had and that was how to get back in time for an event that I was to cater for my dear friend Ken in two weeks.  At first I thought, “I can still handle this” because I didn’t want to create any problems for Ken (clearly I have not dealt with anyone having a stroke before).  Just as I was considering what to do, Ken called me and asked casually, “How are you doing?”  When I told him what was going on, without hesitating a moment he said, “Go and take care of your Dad… we will figure this out.”   The permission Ken gave me to let go and focus was tremendous and greatly appreciated.  (I told you he was a dear friend).

Before I took a red-eye flight out of town, I had a few hours and “needed” to feel in control of something and so I baked a pie for Ken to thank him for his compassion and understanding.   Now if I may, I’d like to ask for healing prayers for my Dad.  And if you have any experience with strokes… please share that if you can.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Baking and Love – One and the Same?

4 Sep

This last week was pretty busy around here.  There were so many things I wanted to do with our Japanese exchange students, Saya and Hitomi, and it seems that our time together went by so very fast!

Last Tuesday I gave them a couple of baking lessons – the first to make pecan shortbread cookies – and the next was to bake a chocolate cake for one of their classmates.  They really seemed to enjoy the process and were delighted to present Yuta with his birthday cake!

Saya holding pastry bag as Hitomi adds more whipped cream

Putting the finishing touches on the cake

A very happy Yuta – on his 20th Birthday!

We also were able to squeeze in a trip to Grant’s Pass to visit Cary’s of Oregon (they make the best english toffee ever!)  And on our last night with our girls, we took them and a few friends out to dinner.   It was a great evening.

The next morning, as we helped the girls prepare for their trip to San Francisco, and then home to Tokyo, they presented us with a photo book that they had stayed up to the wee hours of the morning making.  It is so amazingly thoughtful – and filled with pictures of all the things we’d done together.  At the very end of the book they’d pasted hand-printed thank you letters to us; as you might imagine,  we were both in tears.   We feel so very fortunate that we were asked to host these girls.  It’s been such a wonderful experience.

Our lovely photo book from Saya and Hitomi

Lest you thought I forgot, I did find time to make a few pies this week.  The first was for my friend Ken who was celebrating his birthday Friday evening.  His favorite pie?  Blackberry.   Knowing this, earlier in the week I found a blackberry patch and picked a large bowlful of berries – and escaped with only a few scratches!  Once the pie was constructed and in the oven, I made one of my favorite appetizers for Ken’s party – Spanakopita!  It was one of the first things I learned to make at the Culinary Institute of America (taught by Chef Vitoulis).  A delicious treat that is really quite simple to make.  Here is a recipe I found that is very similar to the way I learned to prepare it.  It’s definitely worth the time and effort!

Spanakopita and Blackberry Pie

The second pie I made was for our good friend Anny who recently completed her studies at Seattle Culinary Academy , a branch of Seattle Central Community College.  Anny earned perfect scores on her final baking projects – one of only a handful of people who have done so in the last ten years!   We are so very proud of her accomplishment and are very excited about her upcoming paid internship in Paris.  Way to go Anny!

Prep for Anny’s Pie

As for today – I plan to spend a quiet day at home – and will likely bake something yummy to give away – and I’ll be thinking of my sister Nancy on her 18th anniversary in heaven.

Day 131: Ken

15 Aug

Ken and Stephan

My family met Ken more than 10 years ago when we were out hiking in the mountains. We kept going up and up and I couldn’t wait until we reached the summit. After what seemed like a very long time, there we were – at the top of the mountain. And what was there? A fire lookout tower!

I’d never been to a fire lookout tower before and really didn’t know much about them. The lookout, Ken, was happy to have some company and invited us in for a “tour.” That day I learned that from the tower you can see in all directions – and a fire lookouts job is to watch the surrounding area for signs of fire.

Ken remembers that on that first day I was not in a very good mood. I was hot and tired and didn’t seem much interested in the view. I looked around and found a photo album and began to flip through the pages. On one page I found a classmate from my college days and I asked Ken why he had a picture of this gal in his album. “That’s my daughter Lynn” he told me. It was incomprehensible to me that this man and my friend were related. What were the odds of that happening?

From that day we have made it a point to visit Ken at least once a year at his tower. I have always tried to bring him a treat of some kind or another. And today was no different. In fact, today I made two “pies.” The first pie was a sweet treat for Ken – a strawberry-raspberry-rhubarb crumb crust pie. And then I thought that by the time we got up to the tower it would be dinner time and so I baked a broccoli cheddar frittata (which is just a quiche without the crust).

As always, Ken was tickled to see us. He showed our exchange student Stephan all around the tower and explained how he located and called in a fire. And today Ken told us that there are only three lookouts left – that the rest of the towers have switched to using cameras instead of firefighters. He said it was a “cost-efficient” move. But we who have been to the top of the mountain, know that this kind of experience cannot be replaced with a camera.

Tonight I offer my thanks to all the men and women who have worked as fire lookouts. It is an incredible service that you have rendered to your community.