Simple advice for a better life.

Commemorative Tribute To My Dad

commemorative tribute - special flowers

It is hard to believe that few weeks have already passed by, since my Dad (Tato – in Ukrainian) passed away.

It is always very difficult for those who stay behind, to deal with such sad times in our life, losing a loved one, no matter how young, or old they were.

Time heals wounds.  Faith in God, prayers, support from family and friends, and sweet memories of the good times we shared together with our departed loved one, keep us moving forward.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to my Dad; to reminisce about some of the things he enjoyed in his life,  and to share them with you, through pictures.

commemorative tribute

These are my parents on their Wedding Day, 63 years ago.

commemorative tribute - Ukrainian Church - Dobra, Poland

This is a Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Dobra, Ukraine (now Poland), where my Father was Baptized.  It has been renovated after World War II, and became a Polish church.  The leaning cross by the fence, is part of a Ukrainian Cemetery, where many of our family members are buried.

commemorative tribute - pigeons

My Father loved domesticated pigeons, and as long as I can remember, he always had a bunch of them.  These birds could be annoying in the city, but in the suburbs, they make a quite entertaining pet.

commemorative tribute  - horses 2 commemorative tribute  - horses

My Dad loved horses.  These horses reminded me of the way a Bride and Groom used to ride on their Wedding Day, as my parents did too.

commemorative tribute - bee keeping commemorative tribute - loved fishing

He liked fishing, but he really enjoyed beekeeping.  The above pictured bee hives are in  my brother-in-law’s back yard, with whom my dad loved sharing his beekeeping expertise.

commemorative tribute - Kolomeyka dance Kolomeyka dance

My Dad’s life had numerous ups and downs, growing up without a father, who passed away when my Dad was 5 years old.  There were 5 children left behind, with the oldest being 12, and the youngest only few weeks old.  My Dad became to “stand in” father for his youngest sister.

My Dad worked hard to help his mom to carry on, as she never remarried, but he also knew how to forget his sorrows, and enjoy life.

He loved to read, dance, participate in plays, play various instruments, and most of all, he loved  singing.  I was the lucky one to inherit some of his traits.

In the picture above, at the age of 88, he is doing very well keeping up with some intricate steps of a traditional Ukrainian Kolomeyka dance , with these young ladies who are more than 60 years younger than him.  He felt very young at heart!

commemorative tribute -Bandura player commemorative tribute - playing his song

In the pictures above, my Dad is reliving his younger years, watching these artists perform, and remembering the days when he was singing, and playing these instruments, at numerous weddings and plays.

My Dad would always sing me at least one song, during our phone conversations.  If I was worried about something, he would say “let me sing you a song”, and at an instant would come up with an uplifting song for me.

The last song he sang to me will never cease to resonate in my mind, and my heart.  Little I knew this would be our last song, so here is a link to this song, if you would like to hear it.

commemorative tribute - Taras Shevchenko - Washington DCcommemorative tribute  -Ukrainian Cathedral in Philadelphia

Four years ago, I was very lucky to spend a considerable amount of time with my Dad, here in the US, while he was visiting with my sister, brother, and sister-in-law.

It was a very lucky year for all of us, here in the US, since he was also able to attend a Christening of his great-granddaughter, and a wedding of his grandson.

He was such a good sport, walking everywhere with us, while visiting Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City.

The above picture is of my Dad in Washington DC, next to the monument of his favorite Ukrainian Poet, Taras Shevchenko.

My Dad had practically memorized the whole book, Kobzar, written by Taras Shevchenko.  He often would quote some of the passages from Kobzar, to support the advice he was offering  to me.

He felt very connected, being able to enter the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia, as seen above. He longed for the Ukrainian community life, and its church, since he was not able to enjoy these freely where he lived.

commemorative tribute - walnut tree

I will end this short journey of sweet memories of my Dad, with my favorite picture of him, taken in our back yard, while he was anchoring a young walnut tree, to protect if from wind damage.

This tree was gifted to us by my uncle, my father’s younger brother, whom my Dad had not seen  for 70 years, from the day his little brother was taken by the Germans to a Forced Labor Camp in Germany, during World War II, until this day.  It was a very moving meeting of the two brothers, to say the least.  Who would have thought this was their first, and last visit together.

During my last few conversations with my Dad, he expressed pride in the decision he made few decades ago, assisting me with immigrating to US, alone, as a young teenager, and starting new life in a free country.

Living a free man, was something he always longed for, and tried to achieve several times, but unfortunately was never able to realize this dream.



Vichnaya Tobi Pamyat.

(May You Rest in Eternal Peace)

St. Patrick's Day - Corn beef and cabbage dinnerCorned Beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes, make a perfect meal for St. Patrick’s Day.

Actually that is probably the only time I prepare corned beef for a family meal, because it just tastes so much better that day.

If you like corned beef, how often to you include it on your family menu?

I purchase the ready treated corned beef from my local grocer, and prepare it per suggested instructions, thus boil it until done.

Once the meat is fully cooked, I cut up green cabbage head into 8 sections, right through the core of the cabbage, so the sections do not fall apart during cooking.

I boil the cabbage sections for at least 15 minutes, in the corned beef broth.

Remove the cooked cabbage and set aside.

I peel potatoes, quarter each, and boil for 20 minutes in the corned beef broth, as well.

Before serving, I saute Italian flavored bread crumbs in butter, and sprinkle them over the cabbage.

Potatoes are also served with sauteed onions in butter, and flavored with salt and pepper.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

spring 2012This year’s mild winter weather is very favorable for my garden, and my spring flowers.

Isn’t this a gorgeous bloom of a Daffodil?

My mom’s garden used the have lots of White Daffodils with orange rimmed centers.  They were much more fragrant than these yellow ones.

Spring is my favorite season of the year.  I love the fresh air, after a long winter, the vibrant colors of new growth on plants and trees.

It looks like the earth is waking up from a deep sleep, getting ready to show off the beauty of nature.

Hardy Pansies

I planted these hardy Pansies last Fall.  They stayed green and blooming throughout  winter (thus slightly weathered looking), and now are picking up new spring look.

Johnny hop-up

Hardy Viola, also survived the winter with its original foliage and blooms.  Now changing to a more springy shade.

Crocuses 2012

Today’s warmth of the spring sun, coaxed these Crocuses also open up nicely.

How is your flower garden doing in your area?  Any blooms yet, or maybe even more than here?  Please share with us.

Maxine Humor

MaxineTime for some humor.  It has been a mild winter, but a long one, none the less, hence cabin fever is setting in.

How about you?

Are you ready to put a smile on that pretty face of yours?

Of course you are, and so am I.

This calls for may favorite “Maxine Humor” photos.

Maxine - calm down

Isn’t that the truth…..

Maxine - making noises


Maxine - complaing men

Funny, but I would not try this one…

Maxine - getting older

Hold on tight….don’t let this happen to you….

Maxine - hitting escape

Oh, do I wish there was such a button to press in other places, besides the computer…

Here is a cute one from one of my email friends:

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape.

So I got  my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.

I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.





Jumped up and down

Perspired for an hour


By the time I got my leotards on





Hope your enjoyed this, and finished with a smile on your face.

February Cupcakes

It’s time to showcase February’s  Birthday cupcakes, baked by Sue.

February cupcakes - Pinacolada 2

These Pina Colada cupcakes,  were favored by the Birthday Girl.

February cupcakes - Pinacolada 3

They were very moist, and flavored with coconut flakes inside and out.  As you can see the coconut flakes on top of these cupcakes were gently toasted, for added color and flavor.

St. Valentine's Day treats

We only had one February Birthday celebrant in our work family, but  Sue also treated us to these super yummy St. Valentine’s Day treats.

Don’t they look delish, and awesomely cute at the same time?

Sue made them out of stripe chocolate kisses, slightly melted on top of  mini pretzels, and topped off with M&M.

Her daughter (who inherited her mom’s culinary talent, as she made perfect Perogy, on her first try) spotted this idea on Pinterest.  Her mom loved it so much, that she prepared a nice batch for us to enjoy at the office.

We are such a lucky bunch!