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Random stuff about me (cont.)

I can always count on Jason to pick somewhere a meme that I find hard to pass by (especially, when I lack inspiration to come up with a gripping narrative). Here is the two-part new compendium of facts about yours truly. (If anyone is so inclined, the old compendium is here.)

The first part is a things-you’ve-done list. If I have, it’s bolded.

  1. Gone on a blind date.
  2. Only once as I recall, and it was neither memorable nor led anywhere.

  3. Skipped school.
  4. I have a vague recollection of skipping classes in 4th grade to go to the movies with half of our class, and later I regularly “excused myself” from attending some of the boringest periods during my time as a Komsomol functionary in high school, but I don’t believe that I ever skipped an entire day at school.

  5. Watched someone die.
  6. Not in the sense of spending someone’s last hours with her or him, at least.

  7. Been to Canada.
  8. Relatives in Toronto, skiing in Mont-Tremblant.

  9. Been to Mexico.
  10. Cancun, Riviera Maya.

  11. Been to Florida.
  12. Orlando/Disneyworld, plus we own a timeshare south of Dayton Beach, where we went to once in something like 12 years.

  13. Been to Africa.
  14. Not yet.

  15. Been on a plane.
  16. More frequently than I am naturally inclined to.

  17. Been lost.
  18. Echoing Jason, Who hasn’t from time to time? Even the satnav system occasionally loses its bearings.

    Curiously, my first association with me being lost comes from all the way back to when I was 3 or 4 years old and spent the summer in the countryside with my parents. One afternoon, my Dad took me for a walk through the surrounding woods and, city creatures that we were, we surely got lost. I was bravely scaring the imaginary wolves and bears away with a toy pop-gun. I can’t say for how long we were stumbling around in that forest, but the sun was already setting down by the time we somehow reached a country road that took us to an unfamiliar village and on to ours.

  19. Gone to Washington, DC.
  20. Literally the very first trip that Natasha and I took together was to meet up in DC with a college friend of ours. It was also the only time we traveled by Greyhound.

  21. Swam in the ocean.
  22. Atlantic only, so far.

  23. Broken a bone.
  24. Cracked, more like. Several times, though.

  25. Been in a traffic accident.
  26. Once. A minor fender-bender. Should have been less intent on being an engaged guide to my visiting cousins.

  27. Cried yourself to sleep.
  28. I can’t avoid tearing up at movie happy endings, but I have stoic tendencies when it comes to pain and grief. So, not that I can recall.

  29. Been on TV.
  30. Well, almost. Natasha once starred in a Russian news story – while I stood next to her. I have to look the clip up to see whether I might have been in the shot. We were attending a concert of a very popular singer with a group of friends, and the news crew approached us with questions regarding what we liked about his music. They then asked whether one of us could sing a song of his. Natasha gladly volunteered.

  31. Stole traffic signs.
  32. I have a friend who used to collect street signs, but I’ve never had much interested in that myself.

  33. Played cops and robbers.
  34. I’m going to say yes, because I am pretty sure that I played games in my childhood that could be closely called that.

  35. Recently colored with crayons.
  36. I don’t think I’ve colored anything with anything since very early years.

  37. Sang Karaoke.
  38. One of my most favorite activities in the company of friends.

  39. Paid for a meal with coins only.
  40. What’s the definition of meal here? I certainly paid with euro coins for bratwursts and such on my travels. I suppose that counts. Since the smallest note over there is €5, carrying around a comparatively large amount of money in coins is sometimes unavoidable – and I prefer to get rid of them at my first opportunity.

  41. Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
  42. I would be suspicious of anyone claiming never having done that.

  43. Made prank phone calls.
  44. I vaguely seem to remember that my best school friend and I once hatched a scheme for making some sort of prank calls to a couple of girls that we were interested in, but I have a feeling that he did all the calling. I’ve always been… disapproving, for lack of a better word, of activities that may be viewed as bothersome by others.

  45. Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere.
  46. Snorted while drinking – yes, with predictable results. Laughed until every muscle on my face and my entire head hurt – yes. Probably even came close to peeing myself while laughing – there are no recorded instances, but I know the general feeling. And that’s as close as I can think of coming myself to expel liquid after a long bout of laughing.

  47. Caught a snowflake on your tongue.
  48. I want to say that every child who ever spent any reasonable amount of time under falling snow must have done this in his or her life. I must have, too.

  49. Danced in the rain.
  50. Skipped, definitely. Danced? Not sure.

  51. Written a letter to Santa Claus.
  52. If I have, my memory of that is gone. But it’s unlikely. I don’t think writing letters to Дед Мороз is a common part of the process in Russian culture.

  53. Been kissed under the mistletoe.
  54. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a celebration where a mistletoe was present.

  55. Watched the sunrise with someone.
  56. Or, rather, kept awake through the night while outdoors and couldn’t help but notice the sunrise.

  57. Blown bubbles.
  58. Quite recently, too.

  59. Gone ice-skating.
  60. My two daughters are rather accomplished figure skaters, and Natasha is pretty good too. Me – I can’t even keep standing on skates, to say nothing of actually skating.

  61. Been skinny dipping outdoors.
  62. Not as frequently as I am naturally inclined to…

  63. Gone to the movies.
  64. Er… Is this a trick question?

  65. Have a nickname.
  66. There was a period in middle school when I was not universally liked by my peers for being a top student and some of them gave me a not-exactly hurtful, but somewhat annoying nickname. Зубрила. Best translated into English as a person who constantly bones up on all school subjects. It was as silly as it was inaccurate, given that I barely ever needed to open textbooks. That nickname did not stick and no other ever replaced it.

  67. Body piercings.
  68. An emphatic no!

And now the second half, the specific questions:

  • Favorite drink?
  • Red wine. Sparkling water, in non-alcoholic category.

  • How much do you love your job?
  • It pays the bills, you know.

  • Birthplace?
  • Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

  • Favorite vacation spot?
  • So many to choose from, but Tuscany if I had to select one.

  • Ever eaten just cookies for dinner?
  • Unlikely. I am not too fond of sweets, after all.

  • Favorite pie?
  • Would Shepherd’s Pie count?

  • Favorite holiday?
  • New Year’s. But I am a much bigger fan of getting together with friends for no occasion whatsoever.

  • Favorite food?
  • Practically everything that Natasha makes, which includes broad range of cuisines and dishes. Meat, first and foremost. Never refuse such Russian staples as borsch or Olivier salad. At a restaurant, a medium-rare steak, with some form of potatoes on the side.

  • Favorite smell?
  • At a danger of appearing tacky, the smell of her lips.

  • How do you relax?
  • TV, books, occasional day-tripping.

  • How do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • Retired, carefree, with a glass of wine, on the veranda of my Tuscan villa.

Fat chance of that, I suppose.


  1. mama

    Funny, but I recently remembered the same from your school years: I told the story to my coworkers of my altercation with school teachers, when you got the first “2” (dvoiky) as score in the quarter and I tried to convince them that it was the best award for you and how you actually was happy: from “zybrilka” to become “dwoechnik” and be equal with your other peers!
    As you can remeber, we (me and father) never punished you for this and I was in full defensive mode visiting the school. I was always hate to do this, so your father have to visit all meeting (involuntary) with teachers and other administaration-both for you and your brother.
    See you soon. Mama.

  2. Ilya

    I’m pretty sure that you’re mistaken, Mom! I never got a bad grade in a quarter. What I did get – once, in either 6th or 7th grade, – was an “unsatisfactory behavior” (“неуд”). I certainly made a lot of noise then about being happy to be lumped together with all of the delinquents in my class.

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