Saturday, December 26, 2015


You thought, I completely abandoned you, didn't you?

So, Christmas in the Toyoda household!

Things got to be a little too comfortable, if you know, what I mean!

      I let it slide for a while, allowing Hanah and Sonny to recuperate from an intense schedule of study and work, and they took full advantage! 
This is a scene of winter "hibernation" in our home. Sonny is under a blue blanket, hiding from my camera, Chickie is happily napping on his lap and Hanah is that big lump next to Sonny.

images (262×192)As Christmas Eve arrived, we began making plans for a Holiday dinner. Hanah and Sonny watched Great British Baking Show for the last week of their hibernation and, I guess, got a little inspired (or cocky), because Hanah announced that she'll make a chicken pot pie! Taka reminded me every day of his desire to partake of the chirashi sushi rice, so, that's what I decided to make.

Hanah pulled out our tiny Christmas tree and decorated it. She also decorated Sonny!

     In the evening of the day before Christmas she and I made the last brave attempt to buy some more presents and groceries, but still forgot certain things!

     On the morning of the Noel... Well, it, actually, was the afternoon, when I made the kids clean up the living room, and we gathered to distribute the gifts. Poor Sonny has terrible luck with his presents. Even though his present was the first one I bought online, it still didn't arrive in time for the Christmas. He had to contend with the promise, that it will come! I got myself, Hanah and Taka some sweaters as well as slippers and a new electric toothbrush for Roberta. 
By the time we finished our gift-giving, it was already late afternoon, and my children still had to buy some missing ingredients for their feature dish - the pot pie!
     They started to cook after five o'clock. I decided to remove myself from the kitchen for the reasons of wise parenting, as well as because of my poor health. Of course, I helped by washing dishes, cutting vegetables and offering advice, when they asked for it, but they, largely, did everything by themselves.
Sonny made bread out of the ready bread mix and the pot pie's crust. I secretly had serious doubts about their ability to cook that dish, but they had a good time, and I tried not to dampen their spirits.
I made chirashi sushi rice and waited. Tick-tock! By nine o'clock dinner was ready, table set (my mother would turn in her grave to see such shabby table) and the members of the family gathered around.
Z (238×212)I asked Hanah numerous times, how we were supposed to eat the pot pie. Usually these are made as individual meals and have runny contents inside the crusts. She haughtily rebuffed my questions. Her pie was contained in a big pot that we have. 

As Sonny cut into it, I understood that, my doubts were in vein: the pie's contents became so thick, they didn't ooze at all! To our polite

inquiries Hanah admitted that she "followed a few recipes", which, of course, meant, she didn't follow any of them! But the pie's crust was perfectly light and flaky! Sonny might have a real talent for baking!
Each of us got a big slab of a pie and some of rice. My dish  couldn't lose: it contained shrimp, smoked salmon and caviar! Yum!

All in all, it was a good evening, although Hanah was totally pooped out and declared, she was heartbroken because of her failure to produce a tasty pot pie. We all heartily ate it, except for Roberta, who, with an aspect of a cat, suspicious of some unknown food, carefully pushed it to the edge of her plate.

The Merry Christmas was over. An evening of feeling stuffed and bloated has begun!




     I often remember a line from C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe": "Always - winter and never - Christmas..." Where I come from, it was like that. 
     What's Christmas? Just an agreed upon date. We now know that, Jesus wasn't born on Dec. 25. Why do we strive so much to mark this day in our year with its special traditions and a nostalgic desire to do better by our fellow - human beings?
     In Russia we were taught, God doesn't exist, and the Bible and the story of Jesus were just a myth. Yet, the greatest of the Russian thinkers and writers were devoted Christians, whose works are imbued with the references and principles of that religion. Those books were the only source for us to learn about spirituality, unless our parents managed to impart on us their own religious traditions.
     Ethnically my family was Jewish. My parents grew up following some Jewish traditions, but they didn't carry them into their own lives. We sometimes ate certain things to mark a holiday, but all of us were confused about the meaning of what we were doing. 
     I lived in a fog. Literature and art alleviated my pain and confusion, but emotionally I felt like there was a spell on me - a pressure, holding me down and preventing me from reaching happiness. 
     The greatest day of my life came, when out of desperation I, for the first time, prayed, and Heavenly God answered my prayer. The next years, while my family moved to the West, were filled with many discoveries of His boundless Grace and  love. 
      My parents and most of our relatives thought, I lost my mind. 
     What do we need most in life? I am talking, other than the basic survival. Why do even the richest people, who seem to have everything they might need in the world, - or any people - become depressed or look for satisfaction in the most untoward places? 
     We need to feel, we are loved and understood. Unfortunately, we, humans, are very inconsistent in providing those things for each other.
     That's why the knowledge that, with all of our mistakes and hang ups God loves us, makes such a difference! As the children of the Almighty, each of us also have the value of an unsurpassed significance! 
     Dec. 25. On that date or another, Jesus was born into this world, because we needed to realize, how much God loves us. The baby Jesus - the son of God - lay in a filthy cave, that served as a stable. His mother swaddled him in a horse blanket. Why? The most important reason for it was, I think, for us to see that he was one of us. At thirty years of age he was still a carpenter's apprentice. At thirty three he gave his life in order for us to regain the value, which we have lost. 
     Do you love music? Poetry? Art? Imagine, Beethoven died at an early age, before he wrote his works. Or da Vinci - before he made his impact on the world. How much poorer would the world be for the death of those talented, but flawed people! Jesus was so much more than that. He alone knew the Heart of God and was one with Him and the universe. How much then did Heavenly Father sacrifice, when He allowed Jesus to die? That is how much He loves us!
     I am getting too preachy. All I want to say: without knowing God's love we can't be happy. We can survive, just putting one foot in front of another, but the real colors and joy come into our lives only when we comprehend: He always accepts us - completely and unconditionally! 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


     What's new? I have trouble finding a topic for my next post. 
     Days blend into one another, and I often am surprised, when Saturday, when we do the weekly grocery shopping, rolls is. "What? The week is gone already?!" 
     Roberta looks particularly posh and festive in a new, burgundy colored, velour robe - a Christmas present from an acquaintance. Despite Taka's reluctance to commit to buying presents during these Holidays, I went online and purchased some gifts for a few people in the family. I yet have to get an idea, what to give to my husband. 
     That's about all the news there is. See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 14, 2015


     It's 6 am, and I've been awake already for two hours. First, I heard Roberta's walker scrape into the dinette. She got up and wanted a snack. I offered her some yogurt and went back to bed, only to be woken up again by Sonny, leaving for work. Then Taka turned on the light for the weekly 5 o'clock prayer.          
images (222×212)     Since I decided to leave the Unification Church, I   don't participate anymore in that ritual of bowing to Mr. and Mrs. Moon's picture, reciting "the Pledge" - a set of promises to be good little soldiers for the Moon's movement, and a prayer. 
     It's a good thing, there is nothing scheduled for today, and I can stay in bed until 10! That's if nothing else comes up, that'll deprive me of sleep...
2Q== (290×174)     I guess, that's - normal family life. Of course, there is nothing normal about one spouse bowing to the ground to a picture of people, whom the other spouse despises. But, I think, it's better for me to tolerate Taka's adherence to the Unification Church rituals, as long as he tolerates my desire to become a Christian. I feel, we both are walking a thin rope, trying to find balance between our beliefs.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Encouraged by Mr. P., I asked Taka, if it was possible for him to treat me with a little more kindness. By that I meant, being attentive and not get resentful, when his needs weren't met, when I wasn't feeling well. 
     Taka didn't much like, what I told him. He did get resentful and wouldn't let me finish even one sentence! I told him then: if it was so impossible for him to open his mind and ears, when I pled for understanding, it could be better, if we separated. 
     Some of you might think, I am a vain and foolish woman, demanding, what her husband is unwilling to offer, even at the cost of the marriage. as well many times ask myselfwhether that's so
     Taka's response? At first he readily agreed with me. We had a couple of days, when I felt like the Earth fell away from under my feet and prayed a lot, and he... he either began to Google, how much it could cost him to separate from me, or also prayed for guidance. I don't know. The fact was: he began to ask me about how I felt and kiss me goodbye in the mornings, which didn't happen for the last few decades!
     Now he is back to ignoring me, but it could be because he is very busy at work and with whatever he does in his office. 
     Nevertheless, I praise my Heavenly Father for Taka changing his behavior for the better! Perhaps, it's not too late for us, and I can find real affection in my marriage!   


     I'm doing better. My foot doesn't hurt, when I'm at rest, and I can be grateful for that!
     Z (251×201)I hurt the insole (under the arch) of one foot about a month ago. It's still giving me trouble. I now am able to do some light housework and cook, but every ten minutes or so I have to sit down and gather some courage to continue. 
     And then, one night I tried to get off the couch, and a thigh muscle on my other leg just seized with pain! Sonny tried to help me, but it hurt terribly, so I couldn't make myself get up. Sonny woke up Taka, who pulled me up (I screamed), sat me on Roberta's walker, named Mercedes, and wheeled me to the bathroom. 
tumblr_mpdtb1YhUz1qb5gkjo9_r1_400.gif (356×200)     I spent hellish few days. When Sonny and Taka were at work or too occupied to help me, I had to steel myself in order to rise from a sitting or lying position in order to hobble somewhere in terrific pain. I just made up my mind that, it was a blood clot in my thigh, getting ready to not only deprive me of one of my limbs, but also to fly suddenly into the lungs or the brain and kill me instantly
     I emailed my Nurse Practitioner. She assured me: my symptoms didn't sound like a blood clot. Then, like most everything in the world, the pain passed. Now I thank God for every day with less suffering, than I already endured.
     giphy.gif (500×359)
I am happy to report: Sonny helped me a lot during that time. He did most of the house chores, as well as
My bearded son
went grocery shopping and
, to some degree, took care of Roberta. Taka immediately flew into his "I know, what you have to do!" moods and began to give me lectures on nutrition and exercise. 
     I didn't mind. You see, a few days before we had a real face off!
     Tune in to the next post for a spine-tingling explanation