That’s Fishy…

028_28-001It’s time for Hodgepodge Wednesday and Joyce has some fishy questions for us this week. I’m eight or nine in this photo and my father was back from a deep see fishing trip where he caught this huge Yellowtail off the coast of Southern California.

1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven’t been fishing is that something you’d like to try?

The only fishing I have done is Grunion hunting on the beaches in Southern California when I was very young in the late 50’s. We’d line the beaches in the moonlight and then you’d hear the cry “the grunion are coming, the grunion are coming!” You could see little silvery fish emerge from the waves onto the beach and they would start digging into the sand to lay eggs. We’d have buckets ready and catch them by hand and put them in our bucket. We would then go back to our campground and my mother would cook them on the camp fire.

First, do you know what grunion are? For those not familiar, Grunion are a species of fish that leave the water at night to spawn on beaches during the spring and summer months throughout Southern California. For four consecutive nights, beginning on the nights of the full and new moons, spawning occurs after high tides and continues for several hours. Peak spawning is from late March to early June. Here’s a link to see what grunion looked like on the sand.

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, or cut bait…which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

This one is easy, I’m a Fish out of water. We are still trying to figure out if we are truly retired or just unemployed. Every day but Sunday is Saturday at this old house. It’s weird. Dear is here every day instead of leaving to work so my days are up in the air and my roles are up in the air. We are on hold. I know things will come to light sometime in the future. I do enjoy this next kind of fish out of water and on my plate!

the-thames-1102. What’s something you’re always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

A pen and something to write on.

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?

Most fish tales are not my favorites and I find them disturbing like Jaws and Jonah. I did really enjoy the show Flipper!

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

I think I’m daylight because of my sunshine tendencies with a smile and always wanting to keep things light.

5. What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

Thankfully it’s not my underwear. I have a pair of vintage warm-up pants I wear for my exercise classes that are my son’s from their junior high and high school soccer days.

6. We’ve got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What’s been the best and worst part of your winter so far?

hb-walk-036Our trip to California in January for a beautiful wedding, sweet baby shower, family and friend time and beach walks was the best. The worst part of winter is if I have to drive in snow or ice. Not a fan of slip sliding in a vehicle.

16473741_10212134529706768_6284983107549192089_n7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day…will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what’s your favorite JB tune?

13700009_10210144477716712_7053405028671820558_nOnce we get to our son and daughter in law’s tomorrow evening a margarita will be in order for sure. On the rocks with no salt, please.  Not a Buffet fan that I know of. Do you ever wonder who makes up these National whatever days?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

hellebore-17-003We are close to the season of Lent and I am always so thrilled to see my Lenten Rose blooming during this season. Lent begins on March 1st and I’m considering what I might set aside during this time. Growing up and beyond we did not observe Lent. We always observed Good Friday and Easter in special ways but never really talked about Lent. Lately we have been more contemplative, adding readings and choosing to do without certain things during the 40 days of Lent. Do you observe Lent?

Linking up with Joyce from This Side of the Pond for Hodgepodge Wednesday. Thank you Joyce for asking the questions!

I hope to visit later tonight as we’ll be on the road much of the day. Hand/wrist update: It’s something that should get better without any major intervention. It is feeling better already. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

A Grand Hodgepodge…

img5681. What do/did you call your grandparents? If it’s something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you’re a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?

I called my grandparents babushka and dzedushka growing up. My parents both were born in Russia. Their families escaped separately into Iran and my mom and dad met in a village outside of Tehran and were married there and then immigrated to the U.S. after WWII. Most of their family members immigrated after them. My maternal grandfather/dzedushka died in Iran. The top photo is of me with my maternal grandmother, babushka Vera, on my wedding day. The next photo is of my paternal grandparents, dzedushka Timofei and babushka Marfunia Bogdanoff. We were a lot closer to my maternal grandmother than my paternal grandparents.

img5782. Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? If you were to take a trip along the California Coast what’s one attraction you’d have on your must-see list?

honeymoon-001Dear and I were born and raised in Southern California. Greg was raised a stones throw from Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Why yes we have taken some road trips along the coast of California. On the first night of our honeymoon we stopped in Ventura and then traveled north making stops in Solvang, Carmel, Monterey and San Francisco.

In 1985 we took a bicycle trip with 2 other couples starting in wine country and to the coast at Mendocino and south to Russian river. This is all north of San Francisco.

Since then we have made trips from Camarillo to the Central Coast of California staying in Pismo Beach.

We lived close to the coast in Huntington Beach (1975-1984), Ventura (1984-1988) and Camarillo (2006-2010) during our married life. The photo below of Josh and Dan at the beach is in Ventura 1986.

venturaI would have to break up the coast of California in sections and pick a favorite in each section. The coast of California is very long and varied. North of San Francisco I’d say Mendocino, but inland of course you have wine country Napa and Sonoma. So maybe a combo trip that takes in Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino. San Francisco is a stand alone city to visit. South of San Francisco I’d say Monterey, Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo, this is also an area with lots of wineries inland from the coast.  Farther south Santa Barbara is a stand alone destination. South of Santa Barbara is Malibu and Santa Monica. I’d skip the next several miles south until you get to Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach are all doable together. Lastly I’d do La Jolla and San Diego together. Besides beaches and wineries there are several California Missions along the coastal areas of California.

In January our whole family was in California for a wedding on the coast north of Santa Barbara. I stayed on in California after my family traveled back home and enjoyed a couple days on the beach in Huntington and Crystal Cove.

joe-hannah-090I’d like to add a northern coastal trip in California some day. From Mendocino up to Oregon.

3. What are three things you don’t know how to do?

Fly, Scuba Dive and Figure Skate.

4. Tom Peters is quoted as saying, ‘Celebrate what you want to see more of.‘ If that’s true what will you celebrate and more importantly, how will you celebrate?

Right now we are celebrating getting past 10,000 steps with our fitbit keeping us informed and motivated being connected with family members on fitbit, too. I want to see more of this kind of movement in my life and I want to achieve those steps out in nature as much as possible.

5. Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer-an Almond Joy or a macaron? What’s something you make that calls for almonds?

Almond Joy! My famous cheesecake recipe calls for almond extract.

6. What does Saturday morning look like at your house?

These days Saturday morning looks like any morning since Dear has been unemployed for 8 months. Last Saturday morning we went for a walk at a local bay park. Hopefully a morning walk will be a habit on Saturday mornings before we have a doughnut!

7. Share with us a favorite book you’ve read this winter.

The Great Reckoning by Louise Penny. The latest Chief Inspector Gamache novel.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We are in count down mode for the arrival of our first grandchild a little girl who is already named, Addyson, Addy. We are going to be traveling to northeast Washington for an open house/baby shower for our kids next week. We are hoping for a good travel day across the Cascade mountain range there and back again. While at Dan and Jamie’s, Dear will be painting Addy’s nursery and a dresser they will be using for Addy’s things. Dear’s first job was painting with his father. He’s very good. As soon as we hear that Jamie is in labor later in March we will hit the road again and travel east to catch a very early glimpse of our first grandchild. Not sure what we want to be called. Maybe I’ll stick to my roots and have her call me baba/babushka. Maybe Dear will be called Papa. Time will tell.

Linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. Thanks for the questions Joyce.

Super Wednesday Hodgepodge

more-snow-0231. What’s the last thing you did that someone else thought was super?
16473741_10212134529706768_6284983107549192089_nDear and I drove some important papers that needed to be north about 80 miles from us on Tuesday morning. The roads were fine on the interstate but when we arrived in Bellingham the side streets were compact snow and ice. A little tricky to drive on. We were happy to make it there and back again in record time and safely. Our son thought we were super to do this for him and his firm.
2. The last thing you ate that tasted superb?
pictures68While in California we had many superb meals with family and friends. One day my sister and I picked up our dear old pop and took him to his favorite Armenian restaurant in Montebello, Golden Skewers. The food is superb and we all enjoyed our choices.
 3. Supersensitive, superstitious, superwoman, superambitious, supercilious, supervisor, superficial…pick a super word from the list and tell us how it relates to your life in some way recently or currently.
When I am in a large group of people I’m superficial. I find it hard to engage with anyone in particular and I buzz about without landing anywhere for any meaningful exchanges.
4. Do you love easily? If you’re comfortable doing so, explain why you think that is.
I think I’m cautious when it comes to love. Once I love you I’ll love you forever. I might not like you at times but my love will continue.
2015-02-12 Valentines
 5. Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday this year. Will you mark the day in some way? If you’re celebrating with a dinner out somewhere will it be on Tuesday or will you celebrate over the weekend?
2015-02-15 V-Day projects
This day is hit and miss at this old house. Some years we celebrate big and I pull out the Valentine bin and decorate and some years we do not. Nothing is planned for Tuesday except typically on Tuesdays we go to our local Mexican restaurant for lunch or dinner. We call it Tequila Tuesday.
 6. What’s something you are loving right now?
The anticipation of the arrival of our first granddaughter who will be our very first grandchild. Today we got a message from our DIL with a photo attached of her in the womb and she’s hanging on to her foot with her hand. They say she’s chubby and hairy!
addys-shower-0587. Write a three word (or less) phrase you’d like to see on a Valentine candy heart.
I’m For You
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Signs of Spring 007
Linking up with From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge.

The Best of January Hodgepodge

1. Can you believe it’s the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?

mohai71

January had so many good days. Days in California by the Pacific Ocean, a family wedding, a baby shower for our sweet little granddaughter arriving in the Spring, time with my dear old Pop and sisters. Three birthdays in our immediate family. Three birthdays in our extended family. My time in California ended with a memorial service where I was able to spend time with several old friends from friendships that began in my youth and in the 70’s. January was filled to the brim with good relational events so it is very hard to choose one day in particular.

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?

crows 006

Interesting question. I have the choice as to what the background noises are in my life if I turn those noises on like the stereo or the T.V. If those noises aren’t on at this old house the noises that we hear are street noises predominately cars and trucks traveling on a busy street nearby or crows. We have a murder of crows around this old house every day.  I’m happy to say that mostly I allow good affirming noises to settle in my brain and not the negative.

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead). Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?

I will ask for help from God to continue to drop gossip and judgement and I will focus on what I love and keep this next verse from the Bible in my memory bank.

Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

4. What is sacred to you?

P1050860

The life I have because of what Jesus did for me on the cross is the most sacred thing.

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?

I really enjoy Oatmeal cooked in water with some salt and then topped with raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and milk.

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?

P1040985

The feelings that twilight stir up in me are rest, refreshment and relaxation.

7. Something you’re looking forward to next month?

djs-new-digs

Looking forward to heading east across the Cascade Mountain range and beyond to attend our kids open house and baby shower. We will have the chance to paint the nursery and meet and enjoy Dan and Jamie’s friends and family in their new home.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I hope February is a brighter and more positive month on social media. I am weary of all the angry noise.

Linking up with Joyce From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge.

February is starting very chilly here in the Seattle area. Our thermometer outside is below 20 degrees. I’m headed to the Navy Exchange with our daughter this morning. Hope your February is starting well.

Starting Fresh with Hodgepodge…

1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.
 15747502_10211510518384524_8505381520756214670_nOur Nutcracker Christmas Crackers had little whistle/flutes in them and instructions to toot some Christmas songs together. It was so much fun with us laughing so much we snorted and maybe drooled a bit while trying to toot our whistles upon demand. Each whistle was numbered to created the right tone/note. Oye…it was fun!
2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?
swedishSwedish pancakes on Christmas morning are the best. 1st because Dear cooks them. 2nd because we all love them. A tradition that will not be broken.

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

pictures65

People, people, people are the most beautiful things we saw over the holidays. A very beautiful thing was that our oldest flew to eastern Washington to help his brother and sister in law move into their new home in frigid temperatures. Our boys have a way of being able to motivate and help each other in good and tough times and it’s a beautiful thing to see and hear about.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

Fresh Start was the name of my home cleaning business that I started in the late 80’s and early 90’s and that’s the first thing that came to mind with this question. Dear was in Pharmacy School for a mid-life change in his profession and I cleaned toilets to make money in several homes and at a medical and dental clinic. Of course I cleaned more than toilets but you get the idea. The work was so aerobic and I was so skinny.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.

If I take my fluff out of the equation I’d give myself an 8!

van 2 035I’m still fluffy but besides that my health and outlook are good. I am not taking any medications. An IT Band Syndrome is still plaguing me even though I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. Exercises to strengthen my core and take the strain off my IT band are helping. It generally takes a lot to get me down and I’m thankful for that. So…I’ll stick with an 8!

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they’d like to see banished from the Queen’s English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you’re like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it’s used. There were quite a few on this year’s list I’d never heard before. Here’s the 2017 list of banished words-You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption. Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

I’m tired of hearing about Town Hall Meetings. Another one I’d like to not hear again is “Gun Control”.

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.
misc-stuff-028I got this fitbit for Christmas and I’d like to add the light goal of moving more.
My deep goal is to pray more.
 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18:
Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve got a recipe for Crock Pot Potato soup inspired from bj’s blog and Paula Deen up on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. It was easy and satisfying. Click on over to see it.
The illustration at the top of this post is Russian and the words translate Happy New Year. I wish you all a very Happy New Year!
Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. She provides the questions and we provide the answers.

Mid-December Hodgepodge

1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.

I am Martha not Mary… I’d love to be Mary and if I work at it I can be more like Mary but I fall back to being Martha-ish..

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day…do you own/wear pearls? If you’re a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a ‘pearl of wisdom’ with us here today.

P1050403I have some fake pearls that I sometimes wear but only wear them at events like weddings, etc. I do not vacuum with pearls on.

My pearl of wisdom is if you can’t afford pearls don’t buy them!

3. Speaking of pearls…oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

cdb89ba0-6ae6-4016-b989-d60ea7c63394_zpsakpjglptBefore 5 years ago I would gag if you talked about oysters. Now I can enjoy an oyster shooter with great spicy sauces. In the mosaic above my sisters and I are enjoying a weekend in Victoria, B.C. celebrating my 60th birthday in April of 2011. The top shot in the mosaic is an oyster shooter I ordered at the beginning of our meal.

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let’s take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

I’d nominate Cliff Barrows for man of the year. Cliff Barrows, music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, who once led congregational singing and Crusade choirs around the world with Billy Graham. Here’s a quote from him, “I’ve had no greater joy than encouraging people to sing,” said Mr. Barrows. “Every great moving of the Spirit of God has been accompanied by great singing. I believe it will always be so!”

Cliff Barrows, April 6, 1923 – November 15, 2016

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it’s a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

decor-snow-003

We are ahead of the times at this old house. Our kitchen and hall ways are filled with greenery!

easter 2016 007

6. Today I’ve had too much…This hasn’t been a too much of anything day it was all just right.

7. Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

IMGP1040

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

While I was downtown yesterday at the Seattle Sounders Victory Parade Dear chose our mystery tree. When I came home we cut the strings and had the reveal. Another great stress free tree. It’s not perfect but it smells good. I hope to have it decorated by the weekend and I also hope to have our cards mailed by Friday, too. Our noses didn’t freeze off at the parade and rally. It was fun.

sounders-parade-155Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. She supplies the questions and we provide the answers.

Bonus: I’ve got a simple Pear Soup recipe up on MGCC blog today. Click over to get the recipe.

Happy News Hodgepodge!

1. Let’s all think happy thoughts…share one of yours here. 
15036604_1356018304417236_4867337359558403527_n
We have the best of news that we have permission to share now with the world. Dear and I are grandparents for the first time and will  be able to see our new little granddaughter for the first time in person sometime in March or April depending on when she pops out. Even though our little granddaughter is not born yet we consider her our granddaughter already as God is wonderfully forming her right now.
2. There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “If you want happiness for an hour take a nap, if you want happiness for a day-go fishing….” What say you? If you want happiness for a day _____________.
10570497_10211352172425902_7840964481559702568_nThis is my 93 year old Pop and what he’ll tell you is if you want happiness you need to Love the Lord your God and follow Him all the days of your life because He will give you the contentment you need everyday whatever comes your way.
3. Where do you go to decompress from the world around you? 
2016-11-04-discovery-park4
One of my favorite things to do to decompress is go out into a part of the world I haven’t seen before. A little day trip works better than Calgon in a bath! In the last couple months we explored Discovery Park in Seattle and took a Fall drive to the Skagit Valley north of us.
fall-drive-065
 4. What song never fails to make you happy? 
jeremys-photos3
Our daughter, the bride, singing heartily at her wedding.
Songs/music are one of my love languages. I’m tempted to have conversations using lyrics. I met my husband in a music group. My church youth choir has an album and recordings that were broadcast behind the Iron Curtain back when there was an Iron Curtain. Whenever my extended family gets together we end up singing at least one or two songs in harmony, in Russian and English. We passed out music to two songs (The Battle Hymn of the Republic -groom’s choice and Come Thou Fount -Bride’s choice) at our daughter’s wedding during the reception and had the guests all sing together and then my family sang one in Russian, too.
This Beatles tune always makes me smile and especially so on my 64th birthday!

“When I’m Sixty Four”

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four? Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?
Ho!
5. Wednesday is National Fast Food Day. Should that be a thing? Apparently it is, so tell us what’s the last ‘fast food’ you consumed? If you were putting together your own version of a ‘happy meal’ what would you include?

Does a Costco rotisserie chicken count as fast food? Now that we are empty nesters and almost retired we don’t do fast food unless we are desperate or have a craving for fries. Now if I lived close to an In n Out I’d be really tempted for one of their burgers and fries. The animal version. An Animal Style burger also includes extra Thousand Island spread, mustard grilled patties, and extra pickles.
 6. In a few sentences tell us why you blog.
My younger brother encouraged me to start a blog way back in March of 2007. At that time he had a blog and knew I visited many blogs and left comments. I also would send emails of encouragement to family. He basically said that I already was blogging but I just didn’t have a blog yet and needed one. Blogging gives me the opportunity to use my gift of encouragement and also an outlet for creativity. My blog is more interesting than I am in person.
The above photo was taken on the day my brother set up my blog back in 2007.
 7. List seven things you’re feeling especially grateful for today.
p1060924
Here are my seven: Our developing granddaughter, Our home church, Our children and their spouses, Friends that we can be ourselves with, my dear old pop and his love for the Lord, My sister and her family who are caring for my pop in their home, my husband “Dear” and his integrity.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I am looking forward to our Thanksgiving days next week. Our kids from Eastern Washington are traveling across the pass to spend a few days with us. We will enjoy a huge Thanksgiving gathering with friends on the day of and then some smaller celebrations with our immediate family here in our home.
Thank you to Joyce from This Side of the Pond for Hodgepodge Wednesday. She comes up with the questions and we come up with the answers.