Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Family Face-Marti

Hello family & friends. I'm bringing back an oldie but goody today for your enjoyment. I'm talking about the Friday Family Face. You know where we get to know someone in our family just a little bit better. Well guess who finally sent me back the original family questionnaire? It is none other than my favorite older cousin Marti. See I can say that without hurting any ones feelings since Marti is the only cousin I have that is older than me. She was the first grandchild in our particular Manning family tree. She is the daughter of Joni, grand daughter of Edith & Merlin.

I love my cousin Marti. She was always the happy one in the family. I don't remember her ever being sad. She is quite the optimist. I loved when we would go to their house or they would come to ours when we were children. I always had a good time with Marti. I just wished that we lived closer now so we could see each other more often.
Here is Marti's family (minus hubby Larry) in 1990

I asked Marti to tell us about her interests and/or hobbies: My business is Balloon Works and Event Design. You can see my online portfolio at We have been in business since 1997. I say ‘we’ because it is a family endeavor. My crew and staff are my children. Each one of them has worked with me on jobs, they can inflate, build, rig, repair and pop balloons. Some of them are great at designing and coming up with new ideas for events. Their least favorite thing is when I have to get them out of bed to do an early job. I appreciate all the help they give me. Aside from learning how to do balloons, they have learned how to work together, making a plan, design concepts, color theory, patience, time management, working with clients, listening skills, how to work, pricing, billing, etc. Colleen even wrote her college entrance essay on why she hates balloons. It worked, she was accepted to BYU!
This photo is from 1962. From left to right is Marti, me, Becky & Eric. I would have been about 4, Marti 5, Becky 3 & Eric 2.

Here are the questions I asked Marti & her responses:
Your full name? Marti Bunker Graff
Your age? 51
Spouse’s name? Larry Lee Graff
Children’s names & ages?
Erin Blue Winters 29 married to Mark D. Winters
Sean Michael Graff 27 getting married 5/23/09 to Paula Rosenthal
Kira Rose Pope 26 married to Stewart A. Pope
Colleen Elizabeth Keske 24 Married to Andrew A. Keske
Kathleen (Katie) Anna Harp 22 Married to Seth M. Harp
Lauren Lee Graff 19
Ian David Graff 17
Daniel Benjamin Graff 14
Job description? Homemaker, full time caregiver to my mother-in-law, business owner
Where do you live? Templeton, California
I nabbed this photo off of Marti's blog. This is Marti & her daughter Katie

Places you have lived? Provo, Utah; Simi Valley, Northridge California and Templeton California
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Close to my family
Education? Some college
One word that describes you? Only one word? I am now over 50 and have accomplished much—ummmm one word, the most cherished title I claim is MOTHER.
Happiest childhood memory? So many absolutes—digging holes in our back yard, getting my drivers license after failing the test twice, having a happy home to come back to everyday, any Christmas- I love telling my kids about the Christmas when we had a blue tree.
Happiest memory of teenage years? Being Laurel class president. I learned a lot about leadership in that calling.
Happiest moment in life? Giving birth is high up there! And every time I get a new temple recommend
Marti & her grand daughter Kylee

What makes you happy and mad as hell at the same time? When you save a toddler from running out in the street
What makes you laugh? Lots of things; anytime we (family) are all together, we giggle and laugh.
What makes you cry? Excellence, ie: watching athletes attain greatness at the Olympics; our National Anthem; listening to beautiful music in Sacrament Meeting; being taught by the Holy Ghost; when my heart is broken; chopping onions
What has been your biggest challenge or something you struggle with. Fear
Who has been the biggest influence on your life, or who is your hero? I was asked this question when I was a teenager and did not have an answer. Now I would tell you that it has been the people who have moved through my life that have influenced me and shaped my character. My mom and dad were the cornerstone. I have had some great role models and try to pattern their strengths into my life. I have learned to look to the Savior and work to mirror his character. Jesus Christ is my hero.
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? Cry? Run around in a panic? Repent? Contact all my family and tell them what was in my heart.
Marti & her sister Emily (another of my cousins)

Before you die, you would like to: Live!
What do you (or did you) want to be when you grow (grew) up? When I was young, the only options for girls were to be a school teacher or a nurse, neither interested me. I was also stumped when I needed to declare a major in college, so I told people I was going to go to school to be a scholar.
What is your ultimate goal in life? Live so that when I meet my Savior, he can say to me “Well done.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Wife, Mother and Homemaker- it is not as easy as it looks! I started working on drafting a “Homemaking Diva” course and listing what skills you would have to master to merit graduating with this degree. Here is a partial list:
Cooking- steaming, stir fry, roasting, braising, sauces, seasonings & spices, etc.
Baking- pies (crusts & fillings), cookies, cakes, muffins, quick breads, yeast breads, etc.
Decorating- window treatments, table settings, painting, wallpaper, flower arrangements, hanging pictures, furniture placement and care, style, color theory, bedding, shelves, storage, etc.
Cleaning- laundry, stain removal, house, floors, carpets, kitchen, fridge, oven, bathrooms, etc.
Time Management- calendaring, scheduling, keeping track of all the family appointments, callings, scripture study, family prayer, FHE, etc.
Finances/Budget- coupons, living with in your means, debt control, savings, etc.
Home Maintenance- plumbing, appliance repair, spackling, knowledge of tools, car repair, etc.
Preserving- foods, canning, drying, freezing; memories, photos, journals, antiques, heirlooms
Yard Maintenance- gardening, vegetables, flowers, lawn, landscaping, watering, etc.
Sewing- clothes, mending, quilts, etc.
Health- nutrition, first aid, hygiene, exercise,
Personal- hair care, make-up, dressing modestly and with style, get adequate sleep!
Other- relationships, communication, patience, discipline, effective parenting

What do you think is the world’s biggest problem? Not keeping the commandments of God.
Are you a spiritual person? I work on it daily.
What is something you believe in? The Atonement
What has been your hardest decision in life so far?
Marti & her grand daughter Kylee. Marti made the dress for Kylee's blessing. Isn't is beautiful?

What is the craziest thing you have ever done? At the tender age of 18, I went to Europe for a month.
What are your goals for the next 5 years? Finish raising our sons, see that they graduate and send them on missions. Build a stronger, loving relationship with my husband, Larry. Hope his Parkinson’s progresses at a slow pace; greet our new grandchildren with open arms and warm kisses.
What are you really good at? Delegating; canning (I am a Master Food Preserver); cooking; balloons, tole painting; decorating for events; being creative in general; punting (the skill of moving from plan “A” to the nonexistent plan “B” when everything goes to pot)
Do you weigh yourself? And if so, how often? Either my jeans fit or they are too snug. I am allergic to large numbers, when I see them on a scale, I break out in guilt.
What are you listening to these days? Talk radio, books on CD and whatever music is left on by the teen last driving the car.
What song describes you & your life? “ I Stand All Amazed”
What are you most proud of? My children!!!!
Marti the baking queen!!!

What is something no one knows about you? If I tell then it won’t be a secret.
Are you a dog or cat person? Arf, arf-Dog
Are you a morning or night person? Night, but I still have to get up to see my boys off to work and school.
What is your pet peeve? Be careful when answering this one, it indicates a person’s personal flaw. What I mean is, often the answer you give is one of your own weaknesses and that you cannot tolerate seeing it in others. I will take the fifth.
What do you love about your spouse? That he is working to improve himself.
When & where did you meet your spouse? One beautiful Sunday afternoon, in a small dark disco called ‘The Sugar Shack’ in North Hollywood, as extras in a movie.
Marti being silly

When & where you married? Los Angeles Temple, January 12, 1979, we just celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary!
What do you love about motherhood or fatherhood? All the mushy stuff
What do you love about being a grandparent? Little arms around my neck in a strong hug.
What is your theme song?
What is your motto? “It could be worse….”
What celebrity crushes did you have as a teen? David Cassidy and the Monkee’s. I liked Davy Jones best but my cousin Kim liked him so I had to pick another one, it was a tie between Peter and Mike. I think Becky liked Mickey, so I couldn’t pick him either.

One thing you love about your body? It works!
Something on your mind lately is? Ummmmm, wonder what I am going to fix for dinner?”
Your life would be more simpler if? That money tree would finally grow and produce fruit.
What surprises you most about your adult life? Time goes by so quickly.
Who would you love to meet living or dead? Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Corrie Ten Boom and her family (read The Hiding Place!), George Washington and the other founding fathers. I do not know what I would say to them, except “Thank you!” I think I would be tongue tied and feel small in their presence.
Marti with her Dad & siblings at her Dad's 75th birthday party. I nabbed this photo from Tina's blog. Tina is Becky's daughter.

What is the nicest compliment anyone has offered you? That no one has ever spoken poorly of me.
Name 2 objects you use in your everyday life? Computer, fridge
What did you do for Halloween? Drove Daniel to a party and waited for it be over by going to the church and participating & cleaning up from the Trunk and Treat multi-ward activity.
What are you going to do for Thanksgiving? Stay home and invite friends over, cook a lot of food, EAT!, clean up, play games.
What are you going to do for Christmas? Rejoice! We get to concentrate on Christ’s birth and the impact he has made in our lives ...And...we get to have family around our dinner table, breakfast table, in the living room, waiting for their turn in the bathroom, piled up on the couch, oh all around, it is great.
Favorite food or drink? Chocolate
Favorite food or drink that is not good for you? Chocolate
Favorite treat or dessert? Wanna guess? Brownies, M&Ms
Favorite ice cream? I asked my dad this question years ago, his answer was vanilla, how boring! With all the great flavors to choose from, why plain old vanilla? Then I was introduced to toppings-my favorite is vanilla if ice cream is being served in a bowl. When I go buy a cone, I often try one I have never had before.
Marti's family at daughter Colleen's wedding

Favorite place to eat out? Thai
Favorite vacation spot or place to travel? Tahiti was fun
Favorite color? All the colors I see in a sunset or on a tree
Favorite movie? “People Will Talk” with Cary Grant
Some of the Bunker clan from our family reunion in San Diego in 1990 (not positive of year)

Favorite book? I was just asked this question by a good friend of mine who is an English teacher, she was surprised when I answered- Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. As the kids have been in school, I have tried to read what they are reading- for a number of reasons 1) so I know what they are studying 2) I can help them with their essays 3) these books are often classics and describe elements of the human condition 4) to increase my goal of being a scholar. I like the book Frankenstein because it is so masterfully written. The story is so wrongfully retold in the movies, that the plot surprised me. It is truly a horror story about what the denial of love can drive a man to do. Over the years I have read lots and lots of books, mostly the classics. I do not want to waste my time on junk. I also like to read the Newberry Award winners. Contemporary authors I enjoy are JK Rowling (her work with the Harry Potter series will be on the shelves as classics, this is a topic I love to discuss), Eoin Colfer (Artimus Fowl, etc.), Tolkin, Funke, Steinbeck, etc. I look for books written for young adults, they are ‘safer’ in their content and language, yet have creative enjoyable stories. Since I spend so much time in the car, I ‘read’ books on CD. Since the kids are often with me, they listen to the books too and have me ‘catch them up’ with the story. It has been a great family activity and they are exposed to this great literature as well.
Favorite thing to do or favorite pastime? Pastime? Pastime? This phrase does not compute.
Favorite holiday & why? Christmas, it is all about believing and family
Marti's family at grand daughter Kylee's blessing.

Favorite decorating style? Comfy
Favorite day of week & why? Sunday, we get to attend church and take the sacrament. Everyone in the house is doing what they should and I do not have to crack the whip.
Favorite time of day & why? When I crawl into bed. It feels so good!
Favorite thing about yourself? I am capable of accomplishing almost any task.
Favorite memory of Grandma & Grandpa Manning? One summer I went to spend a few weeks at their house, I was around seven. Grandma and I went to Colorado to visit her family. (Remember Aunt Edna? She would reach out and pull you into her huge, warm, soft breast for the best hug ever! They would also fix breakfast that would make Kings and Sultans envious.)
Grandpa was not home when we got back. Grandma was very upset that the house was in such disarray. There was white powder on everything, the bed in her bedroom was pulled away from the wall, drawers were open, etc. I think it was a phone call from one of her friends that she learned that her house had been broken into and robbed the night before. Because we (Grandma Manning and I) were not there, Grandpa was sleeping in the den. A robber climbed up on top of the shed in the backyard, tore the screen, opened the window that was over their bed in the master bedroom and entered the house. He thought no one was home and went through all the drawers as he made his way through the house. I think he was surprised when he found Grandpa asleep in the den. Then woke him up to open the HUGE black safe. The thief was armed. Sometime during the robbery the gun was discharged and the bullet ricocheted around the room, leaving a gouge in the floor and a dent in his desk. After he took what he wanted, he threatened Grandpa and left by the front door.
All of the white powder was from the police dusting for fingerprints. Grandma and Grandpa’s friends came over as the story spread and I heard the story about the ‘break in’ over and over. I remember that my stomach hurt. The thing that puzzled me the most was I could not see the crack in the ceiling where the house broke. Children are very literal.
OR how about one summer when Grandpa collected a jar full of HUGE grasshoppers and took them to City Hall to complain that they were eating his garden.
OR swinging on the back porch swing during thunderstorms.
Or staying in a cabin at Rainbow Lake. Fishing with Grandpa and watching Grandma crochet doilies.
OR enjoying the great lunches Grandma would pack for our drive back to California after a visit.
Or how she would make us strip off our clothes in the backyard when we came back from spending the day on the Bunker farm.
Favorite possession? My testimony of Jesus Christ and my membership in His church.
Your advice to others? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Choose to be happy. Work beside your children. Smile.
Your advice to others? Stay strong, decide what you value and live accordingly. Learn to know God and his son, Jesus Christ. Listen to the still small voice. Repent with out being compelled. Fight for the principles of liberty and freedom. Love your family, build good relationships, laugh often, forgive freely, enjoy the sunshine. Serve others. Say goodnight to the sun along with a prayer of gratitude for a good day-no matter what your day was like.

Bunkers at the Langston's house in 1990. This was the last family reunion we had. At least I think it was. We need another family reunion. Who wants to join in? Let me know & we'll plan one for next year.

Well that does it for another episode of Friday Family Face. Thanks Marti for all your answers. I think you get the prize for being the most thorough on your answers. I'm glad that you played along. I love getting reacquainted with everyone in our family. Don't you?


Prescott family said...

Gosh Marti, I wish you lived closer to me!! There are so many things I could learn from you (cooking & baking only being a few). I love your outlook on life & I have witnessed the love you & your children share. I espire to be the mom you are - that is a great compliment. I am in awe of you in so many ways! Thanks for reminding me why.... Love you! Andrea

Prescott family said...

Sorry it should say that I aspire to be the mom you are! Whoops, spelling error. I'm not studying to be a scholar :o) But I should be!!

Sean, Paula and Killian said...

We love the photos. I finally got to see Sean as as a little kid.

Vivienne said...

What a great way to connect with family. Your blog is wonderful!

Your Momma Somma said...

Thanks Andrea, that was very nice.