the hyphens that define my life

Pie Camp September 9, 2013

With all of yesterday’s drama, I almost forgot to research an ad I saw in the Sunday edition of Spokesman-Review for a pie-in-the-big-sky culinary event introducing Upper Crust, a sophisticated Pie Camp featuring the “Pie Whisperer” Kate McDermott at Paws Up Resort in Greenough Montana.

What? Pie Camp? Sign me up! My super talented cousin goes to knitting camp, certainly I should go to Pie Camp.

Who is this Pie Whisperer? I don’t watch TV so I assumed she is someone of Food Network fame.

Doesn’t “paws up” mean you’re dead? What kind of resort is this? Where is Greenough Montana?

Let’s draw the line in the sand right there to show my ignorance and socio-economic class. Now that poor and stupid boundaries of this discussion are drawn, let’s continue, shall we?

I started on Amazon to find Kate McDermott’s cookbook. If you whisper to pies, you should have a book. No book.

Who is Kate McDermott? A Google search informed me that Kate McDermott is a reknown pie maker that the likes of Dorie Greenspan (one of my favorites) is quoted on Ms. McDermott’s Art of The Pie website (, “I would do anything to take an Art of the Pie class from Kate.” I don’t know who Ms. MsDermott is, but she is obviously someone that I should know! On her website, she offers her regular crust and gluten-free options. Kerrygold butter seems to be her wingman.

Ms. McDermott is a fellow Washingtonian from Seattle that has people bending over backwards to take her pie classes. Again, I need to go to pie camp!

Next I Googled Paws Up Resort. Let me backpeddle here. Paws Up doesn’t mean you’re dead, it means you surrender to glamping in incomparable luxury and unspoiled wilderness. You know I’m a sleeping bag on the ground in a tent kind of camper. Though I love a great resort and have stayed at several, I’ve never glamped, definitely not like what Paws Up has to offer.

Clicking on Events and finding Upper Crust, I nearly choked on my Sunday morning coffee when I saw the price. For a mere starting price $5,361 you receive 3-nights inclusive package for two. Sorry kids, no semester of college, no soccer or video games or food. Mom needs to go to four classes at camp, which I could swap out classes for shooting clays or horseback riding.

Here I am hoping to win a blue ribbon and $10 prize for my pie at the county fair while serious money is being spent and people are travelling from all over to learn to bake pie. Really? Hmph! (Dear Boss, There is serious money to be made in pie…I may need time off to investigate. Wife of Boss, please share my thoughts, since he’s too busy to read my blog himself).

Though I’m outclassed financially (bottom crust, not upper crust apparently), I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need no dang pie camp to bake me some pies. Some damn good pies at that, thank you very much.

I stomped around the house tonight and squaked over the ridiculousness of the whole thing, then shut up and made a blackberry pie using the local Green Bluff berries we picked last month. My sweet as pie (today) seven-year old suggested “we” should make a pie every week. God love him! Of course, he quickly followed this up with the great idea to stuff as many Hershey’s bar into a pie and see what happens. I agreed to make a chocolate cream pie next, so our weekly tradition is now set in stone, with his dad’s eager agreement.

As soon as I served the blackberry pie tonight, my charming seven-year old quickly asked, “When do we get pumpkin pie?”

I’m sorry, Ms. McDermott, I have no time to attend your camp, I’m too busy baking pies.

pie 1

Here’s the morale to my story: Cook for your audience. Though my pies may not be $5K worthy to the upper crust, my family loves them and that, my friends, is priceless.


We Made It! June 22, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:22 am
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Yes, we made it. We are home.

We passed the best sign in Oregon, “crossing the 45th parallel. You are halfway between the equator and the North Pole.” Awesome.

We honked as we crossed the Columbia River and entered Washington.

Then we drove into the driveway of our new home.

At our final goodbye at the park, one of my friends asked what was our plan for the coming week. Not able to see past 1237 miles to cover in three days, I didn’t have an answer.
The radio provided the answer:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
I’m going to make this house your home.

Settle down, it will all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost you can always be found.

Just know you’re not alone
I’m going to make this house your home.

-Home lyrics, Philip Phillips

My work is cut out for me.


Coundown to our move to Spokane T-1: She Ain’t What She Used To Be June 18, 2013

Do you know this children’s song?

Oh, the old gray mare
She ain’t what she used to be
Ain’t what she used to be
The old gray mare
She ain’t what she used to be
Many long years ago.

Right here, right now, this is the story of my life.  I am the old gray mare.  I ain’t what I used to be, ain’t what I used to be, many long years ago.

Don’t say, “you’re only as old as you feel.”  That phrase doesn’t help me at all.  If this phrase is true, I feel about 90 years old right now.  I’m sore, I’m tired, and my back is going to snap in half.

In case you’re wondering, moving sucks.  Moving has always sucked.  It hasn’t gotten better with age.  Clearly I haven’t either.

I asked my husband last night, “why do we have to be cheap ass DIY-ers? Why are we doing all this work?” Ok, ok, frugal would have been a better word choice but it doesn’t convey the heartfelt message. I’ll work on my word choices AFTER I stop hobbling along like an old woman.

This could be my last move.  I don’t think I have another one in me just for the energy required to make the shift.

Then again, you know with my track record I can’t honestly say that.  Let’s look at what I would do differently with my next move…

  • Hire movers
  • Have the kids around to help – work and social outings should not be allowed during crunch time.
  • Be in top physical condition, focusing on biceps, core and quads
  • Schedule daily massage and chiropractic visits
  • Get physical clearance from my doctor
  • Get more sleep
  • Ease up on the drinking and partying the weekend prior to the move.
  • Eat healthy (the whole not cooking thing backfired on me this week.  Restaurant food, whether gourmet or fast food, makes me feel bloated and stodgy.
  • Don’t sell your washer and dryer earlier than planned.  I’m typing this post from the laundromat.  I’m bringing my closet full of skeletons with me to Spokane, but I will not travel with dirty laundry.

A good list but it would be easier to just stay put than to do all this just to move.  Then again….

We’ve covered old, gray, nag – oh no, I’m the mare in this song, not a nag, I’m the nag at home I forgot.

Here’s the real bummer.  We’re just getting started.  I’m whining about loading boxes into a truck.  137 boxes.  That’s it.  We sold our furniture.  I’m not even doing any heavy big furniture moving.  We drop the boxes at Amtrak today to be shipped to Spokane.  I did say we’re cheap right?  My husband researched and discovered that shipping our boxes with Amtrak was far less expensive than any other shipping method.  fascinating.  We are driving 30 miles to Union Station to drop off the boxes, 30 miles home and then….we’re going to Disneyland!

My husband and I agree that we should rent wheelchairs and make the kids push us around all day.  This old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.


My Daily Blog: T-2 Family Ties June 17, 2013

My husband’s family is from Bellingham Washington.  I don’t know all of the details, forgive me if I unintentionally misrepresent the family, this is the story I’ve been told, or at least what I can remember this morning:

Back in…, I don’t know when, long ago in a land far, far away, two Ivecivic-Bakulic brothers left Croatia for America, one was my husband’s great-grandfather. They landed in Bellingham Washington.  Croatians are natural fisherman as the Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea off the Croatian coast provide stunning scenery and incredible fishing. Bellingham Washington is at the very tippy top of the U.S. providing access to bountiful fishing in U.S. and Canadian waters.

After the two brothers land in Bellingham, one stayed, and shortened and Americanized the last name to Bakulich.  The other brother takes the Ivecivic last name, then and changes it to Ivich and moves to Ciudad Obregon Mexico. Eventually parts of the Washington contingent moved to San Pedro California, for the temperate climate, great fishing and similar landscape to Croatia.  The Bakulich family now extends from Washington to Mexico.

My husband grew up in San Pedro and always wanted a fishing boat.  My husband remembers his father pulling him aside and telling him, ‘I have a surprise’.  My husband responded, ‘You bought a fishing boat?’ ‘No,’ his father replied, ‘I bought a bowling alley.’  What?  Needless to say my husband is a really good bowler!

Now the third and fourth Bakulich generation moves to Washington.  Not moving to Bellingham, though we did visit there once and considered moving there years ago, the timing and the vibe weren’t right for us.  Fishing is on our to-do list in Spokane.

My husband grew up fishing on the Pacific Ocean. My childhood summers were spent fishing in lakes in Ohio and Michigan. Between the two of us, we will – well, we should – be able to teach our kids something about fishing.  We have taken then kids fishing in California with no luck, except for that one time at the trout farm but that doesn’t really count.

One definite rule once they actually do catch some fish,  they have to clean what they catch. Nothing like chopping of fish heads, managing fish guts and scraping scales to appreciate fishing.   Eating what they catch will be fun too. The older boys will eat what they are given, our youngest is very picky…yet he ate a raw oyster not long ago…so there is hope.  We have hope there is fish to catch, clean and eat in Washington.

In addition to my husband’s family history, my family has migrated to Seattle in recent years.  My mom and stepdad transplanted from California almost 10 years ago.  My  sister moved from Michigan to Seattle 2-3 years ago.  Though Seattle is a 4.5 hour drive from Spokane (or a 50 minute flight my husband likes to point out), Seattle is a closer commute than what we currently have in California.

Washington knows our families that have come before us.  Washington has treated them well.  Though Spokane is new to us, we have Washington in our blood, like family.

Editor’s note:  I’m no longer aloud to go out drinking then write a blog post.  I forgot to hashtag!  I love hashtags and thought about my missing hashtags all day. 


My Daily Blog T-11 The Love of Friends and Cake June 8, 2013

“A heart is not judged by how much it is loved, but by how much it is loved by others.”  
The Wizard said to the Tin Man, The Wizard of Oz

Our hearts are full of love for my friends that hosted our going away party last night as well as for those in attendance. Over 100 people ate, drank, went swimming, played water polo/soccer and hung out in support of us, our children and our decision to move from Placentia, California – the OC – to Spokane, Washington. Nothing makes a party better than street tacos, beer, sangria, sodas, salads, dips and, my favorite part, cake.  Thank you my dear friends, my six senoras, that hosted the party.  I love you for your thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity and, most of all, your friendship.

I have to give a shout out to my friend made this Fiesta Cake for the occasion:


The bottom layer is an inside-out german chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  The second tier is sour cream almond with strawberry filling with buttercream frosting.  The third tier is ooey-gooey chocolate with chocolate buttercream frosting.  All wrapped in fondant and decorated to match our fiesta theme.  Was it any good?  I made the ultimate sacrifice and ate (not tried, ate) a slice of each.  Which flavor was best?  That is a tough, if not impossible call.  I had to have a second slice of the sour cream almond just to confirm that all flavors are fabulous!  How lucky am I to have leftovers in the fridge!! A huge thank you to my friend that made the cake.

As party favors, I gave each family a jar of homemade strawberry jam.  For the kids, we gave addressed and stamped California postcards to send California love to the boys.  Hopefully this will create a fun summer pen pal program and help keep everyone in touch.

Thank you my friends.  You are not easy to leave.


T-27 The Journey May 24, 2013

Filed under: Family,Life — multihyphenatedme @ 8:17 am
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A few years ago I started a cooking blog, Funky Chicken and Alligator Tongues.  I enjoyed this first blog attempt, but postings were sporadic.  The problem that I had with my cooking blog was that it only provided an outlet for my cooking.  All of my other talents, thoughts, stories, blunders and commentaries were left bottled on the shelf.  Last year I started Multi-Hyphenated-Me as an outlet for all of me.  One of my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more frequently; in fact, to blog every day.

Blogging every day is no easy task.  What was I thinking?  With my life?  With all I juggle?  I, obviously, didn’t start out the year as hoped, though not for the ridiculousness of the idea.  I couldn’t blog what I couldn’t talk about.

Our plans to move were top secret.  At first the secrecy was because we were unsure that Spokane was right for us.  We chose Spokane as a possible home based on internet research and what we heard from friends and familiy. My daughter and I took a “Day in the Life” trip.  We went with to see and experience what a day in our life would be like if we moved to Spokane.  We checked out school districts, neighborhoods, shopping, restaurants and activities to see if we could live there.  We needed to see Spokane at its’ “worst” so we went in January, a steady 24 degrees F, snow on the ground, roads icy.

To a Southern Californian, “worst” and “winter” sounds really cold and miserable. I’ve had my share of earthquakes and fires but I’m not a true SoCal Gal.  I’m weathered.  I lived through the Ohio Blizzard of ’78, one of deadliest winter storms in Ohio history.  I also lived in Teton Valley Idaho during one of their worst winters on record.  I also lived at 7200′ in Parks Arizona where snow and whipping wind were a challenge.  I know cold and 24 degrees F without other conditions for 5 days was manageable and tolerable.

Once we made the decision and moved forward with the house, we still couldn’t talk about Spokane because we wanted to wait to tell the kids first.  This wasn’t  a devious plot, we just wanted to enjoy our family ski trip in February and we wanted our sixth grader to have fun at Outdoor Science Education in March.  We told the kids on Easter, after the egg hunt and breakfast. In case you’re wondering, nothing pulls your kid out of a sugar high quicker than kissing your life-as-you-know-it goodbye with a newsflash like “We’re moving!”  Go ahead, try this at home.

Did you pick up on the point that goes unsaid?  We researched Spokane.  My daughter and I went to Spokane in January.  My oldest son and I went to Spokane in May (see post T-29 Soccer Success).  There are three other people in my family that have not yet been to Spokane prior to our move:  our two younger sons and…my husband!

[The plot thickens]  Yes.  My husband is packing up, moving 1,237 miles all because I gave Spokane, a place he’s only read about yet never been, two thumbs up.

My husband has clearly lost his mind.  He has placed total trust and completely blind (hello!) faith in me with this move.  My husband is smart.  He’s strategic, extremely focused and incredibly particular. All of this makes me uneasy.  I make kneejerk decisions based on my gut instinct, say what I think and clean up the mess later.  It’s not always pretty. In spite of my eye twitch, I really think I got this one right.

Wives – would your husband trust you with this big of a decision?  Husbands – would you trust your wife with making this decision?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

As moving day nears, I’m getting more and more nervous.  He won’t hate Spokane.  How could he?  Spokane is beautiful.  Our house is beautiful.  There is a yoga studio within walking distance and he has already talked to several people about boating and waterskiing on the many lakes.  He may freeze his skinny little Southern California born and bred butt off even though he did survive the Parks AZ years just fine.  My response to complaints of the cold are already prepared – dress appropriately.

Now that, true to my resolution, I’m blogging everyday, good luck shutting me up. Or is it shutting me down in blogspeak?  Though our current focus is our move, I love our journey and our story thus far.


T-29 Soccer Success!! May 22, 2013

Filed under: Family,Life,soccer — multihyphenatedme @ 8:20 am
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Our oldest son plays competitive soccer.  We have all been fortunate to be part of an awesome signature team, JUSA Crew, now club Chelsea 00 Blue, in Placentia.  Leaving this team in order to move to Spokane was a really difficult decision. The coaches are great, the players are talented and good kids too for a bunch of scrappy 12 year olds.

We knew we had to get our son on a new soccer team in Spokane as soon as possible to help him through the transition.    Internet research, phone calls and emails to various teams, organizations, clubs and random people were made in attempts to find the best team options for our #33.

My son and I took a 4-day trip to Spokane in April to meet and try out with three different soccer teams.  One was lame, we said no thanks.  The second was great and the third had potential.  Tryouts with the second and third teams went well and we were told we’d know the outcome the week of May 20.

The week is here and we are happy – thrilled – to report that our son was selected for the Premier Club team with FC Spokane.

Soccer team – check.  [sigh with relief].