Far from Perfect Hodgepodge…

From this Side of the Pond 1. What is one area of your life where you’re a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

Cleaning. Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea with this answer. My house is NOT that house that is always spic and span and where you can see vacuum trails and everything sparkles and you can smell cleaning solutions and you are afraid to sit down for fear of messing something up. But…when I do finally decide to clean an area of my home I go for every corner and nook and cranny and behind and under. That’s when I can announce that it’s clean! This is a photo of me getting ready to wash the floors on my hands and knees. Perfection??

Knee pads. Three pocket apron where I like to keep glass cleaning rags in one side and on the opposite side non glass cleaning rags. Never mix chlorine and ammonia as in bleach cleaners and window cleaners! Middle pocket I use for trash and other things I pick up along the way.

The hard side of what I define as clean is when we rent a place to stay and someone says it’s clean and I can see dust bunnies and all other kinds of things that are not clean. I get miffed especially when they add in a $200 cleaning deposit!

Last but not least I want to say I enjoy a cozy home, it does not have to be perfectly cleaned, unless I’m paying for it to be clean.

2. What’s something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Older women in leggings without their bum covered with a long top.

3. What’s a skill you’ve developed by way of that old fashioned saying, ‘practice makes perfect?

Being able to put a meal together that’s edible in a flash or over the course of a day with whatever is in the pantry or refrigerator or with all the special ingredients shopped for ahead of time. In other words, we can eat like common folk or like kings and queens at this old house because of much trial and error and success in the kitchen. There’s very little fear in my kitchen today except for my latest conquests that involve waiting for yeast to rise!

Growing up and into my adulthood before I was married my mother made every meal including school lunches for her 8 children. Her love language was putting food in front of us. Kids in our Russian culture stayed home until they got married. I did not cook or bake or do anything (maybe I made cookies) in my mother’s kitchen growing up. When I got married is when it was all on me. This wasn’t as bad as it sounds because I did learn from watching my mother that many great things are possible in the kitchen with limited resources. I should mention my major in college was Home Economics and I learned a lot in those school years.

4. What’s your idea of a perfect breakfast?

Something savory with a little something sweet, too.

5. What’s a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you’ve taken that you’d rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

Any trip we’ve taken to Great Britain ranks a perfect 10 in my book. Why? The history, the architecture, the pubs, the Full English Breakfasts, the scenery, the museums, the cathedrals, the Bed and Breakfast establishments, the villages, cobblestones, castles,  Austen,  Tolkien, Sayers, Lewis. Should I go on? Long live the Queen!

6. What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can’t do perfect, how about one that comes close?

“Practically Perfect in Every Way” I think this quote can cover most anything because of the practically part! I don’t expect perfection on this earth. I’m looking forward to perfection when I see Jesus face to face.

Philippians 3:12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

7. How would you spend $300 today?

On baby equipment that a granny/baba would find useful to have in her home. If you have any suggestions let me know. What have you found useful? I’m thinking of looking at garage sales for some of this kind of stuff.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

March is an exciting month for our family. Our little Addy will be making her debut before the month is over. Our son and daughter-in-law will be a daddy and mommy for the first time. Our daughter and son-in-law celebrate 6 years of marriage. I’ll be a year older very soon and I intend to celebrate all month long. Spring arrives in March! Can I hear an amen!? Spring flowers will be popping up all over.

Thank you Joyce From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Click over to join in the fun.

 

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.

By the Sea Hodgepodge

hb-walk-009

1. “The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea.” (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has ‘cured’ you most recently?

I know I enjoy a walk along the seashore and find it refreshing and exhilarating. In the last 12 days I’ve enjoyed several days at the beach. A beach house rental, a beach side wedding, a walk on the pier at Huntington Beach, breakfast on the beach at the Beachcomber in Crystal Cove. I marveled at the waves, the ebb and flow, the tides, the power of the sea. Most of all I was in awe of our God who keeps all of this under control.

crystal-cove-069

2. What’s something you can’t eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all?

I do not like oatmeal when it’s not salted in the cooking process. I enjoy salt to enhance the taste of most anything. I really enjoy salted sunflower seeds. When I was in the first or second grade I was hospitalized because of a kidney infection. My salt intake was totally restricted and I had to drink several glasses of water a day. A Sunday tradition in my family was to stop by a street vendor who sold sunflower seeds across the street from our church. They sold the seeds in small brown paper sacks. Plain, salted, and pumpkin seeds, too. We made a mess as a family enjoying those seeds on a Sunday afternoon. It was torture for me when I couldn’t enjoy those seeds on the Sundays during my infection.

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand…which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 

I can typically be a bury your head in the sand person but lately I’m ready to draw a line in the sand especially when it comes to being politically correct. The major thing that I will not stay silent on is the killing of unborn babies. This is not a good thing for women and I think too many are haunted by this act that they have been deceived about.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme?

I asked Dear for his answer to this question and he came up with Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’dell. Since we were just on the California Coast with views of the Channel Islands where the setting of this book might have been. I’ll give this question and answer to Dear.
port-heuneme-051

A story of survival, based upon the true story of a girl who was left upon an island near the coast of Southern California. She lived there for 18 years, alone. While she waited for rescue, she kept herself alive by building shelter, finding food, and fighting her enemies–the wild dogs.

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so?

16265595_10212122633486947_7943960224829511106_n
Another timely question. I’m answering these questions on Tuesday so yesterday was Monday the 23rd of January. I was totally in the hands of others for the run of my day. It was my last full day in Southern California and I was staying with my sister in Huntington Beach. I attended a memorial service for a good friend’s mother and then spent the rest of the day and evening with this friend and her family and two of my sisters. We had a meal together and spent time reminiscing about our families and the times we had with each other.

misc-so-cal-1-17-038

This is me with the children of Mrs. Kaluzny. Heidi has been a dear friend since 1969 and her younger brother George was dear to me, too.

6. You’re on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran?

My island holiday would be in Washington State instead of the tropics so I might be kayaking or rowing and also finding good restaurants and shops to enjoy.

Sisters wknd 116

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?

I think we take tomorrow for granted. We don’t know if we’ll be here tomorrow or what tomorrow holds. We also don’t know if our loved ones will be here tomorrow. We need to seize the day and be present in the day and know who holds our future in His hands and trust Him.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s so good to spend time with friends and family but it’s always good to come home again to get my bearings. Eleven days in beds that are not my own make me really appreciate my own home and bed and space. I hope to be making long overdue visits to your blogs now that my feedly is working again.

Thank you to Joyce for asking the questions. Click over to From This Side of the Pond to see more answers or join in.

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.