Christmas advent calendar

This year I received small and hilarious presents in the form of an advent calendar from my sister-in-law Brigitte who lives in Germany. This is traditions in their family, a very nice tradition and I sure had lots of fun opening and coming up with an idea for a picture for 24 days before Christmas. I know it’s past Christmas time, but maybe this will give you a great idea for your next Christmas. Enjoy:)

Day 1. Small statue from Egypt

Day 2- Body lotion

Day 3- Hand soap

Day 4- Red fluffy covered note-book

Day 5- A cactus salt shaker

Day 6- Hand knitter socks

Day 7- Chocolates

Day 8- Cappuccino mix

Day 9- Funny chore list

Day 10- a White dish to hold candy

Day 11- More candy

Day 12- Cactus pepper shaker

Day 13- Epson salt aromatic bath mix

Day 14- Cake in a cup mix

Day 15- Christmas napkins

Day 16- A second small statue from Egypt

Day 17- Traditional german cake

Day 18- Dish soap

Day 19- Toilet bowl fragrant refresher

Day 20- More cappuccino

Day 21- Hand-made necklace

Day 22- Garbage bags

Day 23- Laundry soap capsule

Day 24- A green top:)

They were meant to bring a smile on my face, and that’s what Brigitte accomplishes:) I loved every moment of it:) Thank you Brigitte once more:)

Enjoy the slow and typical slideshow:) It’s the best I could come up with for now:)

God Bless:)


Tonight while watching the Netflix Original documentary, Quincy, I found out something interesting I never knew about Chet. While living with Grandpa Charlie in Skyway, Seattle, he met and formed a friendship with Quincy Jones’ mother Sarah Wells Jones.

During an intermission of the Bill Gothard Christian Conference called “Insitute in Basic Life Principles” in 1988 at the Seattle Center, most likely at the Key Arena, while reading his Bible outside on a bench a thin lady sat down next to him and soon a conversation began, mostly about the Bible and God, creating an instant bond between the two. Soon after, Chet began visiting her small apartment downtown where she watched a small boy and girl most days. He remembers the good humor they shared while spending time together despite the age difference and the odd homeless look she seemed to have about her. He also noticed that something was a little off with her at times.

In their conversations, the name of Quincy Jones and his brother Lloyd came up and that’s when Chet realized the connection and wondered why would the mother of Quincy Jones live in such a small run-down apartment, knowing absolutely nothing of the personal history between the two. Sarah Jones seemed to be more proud of Lloyd and his important job at the Komo TV station, mentioning him often in the conversation, while hardly mentioning Quincy.

The relationship lasted about six months while Chet moved on to other things in his life and even though their friendship was short-lived, throughout the years he still thinks about her fondly.

Well, I learn surprising new things every day:)

God Bless:)

Chet-Happy B-day:)

Meant to be a Jill (his mom though Chet was going to be a girl and both parents were very surprised when Chet turned out a boy:), Chet was born in a young family of three. His older brother, Mark, is his only other sibling.

As a young boy Chet was very cute and his sweet personality was a breath of fresh air. His childhood was a normal one, shadowed now and then by his older brother’s teasing episodes. From an early age, Chet became fascinated with comic books, motorcycles and drums. As a result he began played drums in 7th grade, worked and purchased his first motorcycle at the young age of thirteen and owned a few nice comings books which he read often, loosing himself in the fascinating world of superheroes.

As a teenager he was extremely shy when it came to his interaction with the opposite sex and kept busy with his small gang of friends; John Adams, Mike Swanzey and Jeff Reid, getting in a bit of mischievousness.

After high-school, Chet moved out of Kingston and lived with his grandfather, Charlie, in Seattle. He had a series of odd jobs, some lasting only two weeks. At the age of nineteen Chet became a believer and wanting to be prepared for the mission field, in case he felt a calling in that direction, he moved to Bremerton where he began working in construction for couple of years. Not cut out for construction work, Chet moved back in with his parents, worked for Puget Sound and continued his collage night classes education. During this time he saved a good amount of money intent on going into the aviation school then career, but the start of the Golf War in 1990 put a stop to that dream.

His brother, Mark, who just graduated from film and video college pulled him into a new direction- a career in film and video production. Together they began a small business, that took a while to get off the ground.

In 1993, Chet got on a plane to Romania as a videographer of a local missionary team from Bainbridge Island leaded by John Stabb and met me, Carmen:) Six months later he returned to Romania, we got married and came back to America in October of the same year. Together, we had three children: Merrill, Meleah and Alex. Chet had a few jobs but slowly prospered in his film and video field, specializing in video editing. Today he works full-time at Amazon as a video editor and he absolutely loves it.

As a family man he moved around quite a bit, and settled in Seattle for the time being.

As a father, Chet is fantastic. His patience and common sense have been a God sent blessing and he absolutely loves spending time with his children.

As a husband Chet is the best. His patience and understanding helped me get over some part trauma, something I’m sure wasn’t easy on him at times but Chet was committed from the moment he said “I do.” He still owns comic books, a motorcycle and loves playing drums (even if not as often as he would like) and we have a great life together. To me Chet was absolutely God sent and I love spending my life along-side him. I absolutely love his dimples when he smiles:)

Today, is Chet’s B-day!!!!! Happy B-day my love and I wish you all the happiness in the world. The other emotions are more private and meant only for him;)

Thank you God for blessing this world with such a great man like Chet McKnight, and I know I speak for my kids and all the people that know him when I say: Chet’s a really great guy:)

Tibi the Lion


First picture: Left to Right; Iulian, Leo and Alex.

Second picture; Leo, Denis his little boy and Nicole:)

Leo the Lion, that’s his nickname. Leo is short for lion. It comes from his dense golden hair he was born with, sticking straight up and giving him the look of a lion’s mane. Apparently my mother had to push quite a bit with Leo while in labor, because he loved the warmth of the womb and was in no hurry to come out. To this day I think Leo would much rather relax in front of a nice meal with loved ones than stress over other things.

Born number eight in our family, Tibi is more of an observer with a poetic talent showing great amounts of respect for humanity in general. There’s a touch of diplomatic language in Leo’s vocabulary and he tends to see the positive side of life, despite the abuse he also endured. He too has a fantastic ability to forget the bad stuff and focus on the good side of life, with an ease most people find charming. No wonder Leo and Sergiu ended up living closer to each other, their personalities are so very similar, along with their looks:)

One summer vacation, while in high school, Flesh and Leo went to visit Sergiu where Leo became a goalie, for a short period of time, in the same soccer team Flesh played. Unlike Flesh, Leo was more interested in the produce served after practice than the game itself and found himself kicked off the team soon after.

Right after high school, back in Hunedoara, he left for Bucuresti attending collage in tourism management. I have to point out one important fact I forgot to mention in the earlier posts: every single one of my siblings who attended collage did so on their own financial efforts, including boarding, food, and other expenses. To this day I wonder how they managed? I know Sergiu paid for two of my brother’s collages, but I can’t remember quite well which two. I also know that Sergiu helped out my brother’s with pocket money, Alin helped with housing and food and I helped with money now and then, focusing mostly on my parents  for many years. I helped my brothers far more once they were married. Okay, back to our story:)

After collage, moved by love Leo moved in Oltenia where he learned “that women were dangerous.” Next he came back home where he was met with a cold shoulder by my father which pushed him to find work and move to Timisoara. There he worked in a few places, mostly as a waiter, and according to Chet, whom in one of his visits to Timisoara ate at the same restaurant Leo worked in, he was the best and most polished waiter Chet encountered.

Leo met Nicole, his wife, while she worked as a waitress in another cafe and after few years of courting they married. Right after the wedding they left Romania and moved in with Sergiu and Brigitte, who just bought a house in Berlin, Germany. Sergiu helped them with the paperwork process, making their stay legal. He also provided Leo with a job in the same company Sergiu is the COO. A year later they moved out on their own and had a little boy, bringing us to date. They’re planing on expending their family soon and I can’t wait to see what else lies in their future.

In our family Leo is known for his great poetic gift, and he writes poems with great talent. Hopefully soon he can publish his own book of poems or Leo and I can collaborate on a book together. That would be fantastic:)

P.S Leo speaks 2 1/5 languages:) Romanian, English and half of German thus far:)

Delia the Beautiful


First picture-Me and Delia (and a bit of Marius:)

Second picture- Delia’s family as of today:)

It’s no secret that Delia’s beauty is admired by many:) It’s like she was made in a field of beautiful flowers and everyone smiles when they see her (or gives her envious looks).

Born the fifth one, she was a quiet and very determined girl, in a sea of noisy brothers. She always had a tenacity about her and pushed for the things she wanted. Spared a lot of physical abuse- my father had a weakness for his girls- she endured her share of emotional insults and came out stronger for it.

Due to our age gap and my immaturity at the time, I wasn’t too close to my sister either but I loved having her around. To me she had a aura of mystery about her. Later on we had the opportunity to spend more time with each other and I found out, to my utter surprise, what a fantastic artist she is. Her paintings are absolutely beautiful, wish I had a picture of one of her painting to show it to you.

As you can imagine she had many suitors but she stayed true to her heart and her goals.

She finished nursing school in Romania, found a way to get to Roma, Italy and eventually she worked as a nurse in the Vatican Hospital for many years, in pediatrics more precisely. There she cared for many critical cases, tirelessly pulling many long hours as well as night shifts. In Italy she met and married her love, Sami and together they have two children. Their wedding was absolutely amazing and I had the privilege to be there with Chet:)

Last year they moved back in Romania and built their house, a big project that’s almost done. This year she’s helped tremendously with my ill mother and has been a God sent blessing. Can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. I’m glad to see her happy:)



Thank God for her life.IMG_4696




Sergiu the Resilient

In our childhood, Sergiu made us laugh constantly, thus one of his nick name, “The Joker.” But to me he’s more “The Resilient”. We sat all bruised and hurt after another one of our father’s angry episodes, but Sergiu found a way to always make us laugh bringing such light in a dark world, even if it had to be whispered.

Out of all twelve siblings, Sergiu was the third and abused the most, in a very hateful manner. But looking into his face now you would never know it. He has the most positive and forgiving nature, bouncing right back with such ease it amazed me. I asked him one day how he could do that. He shrugged his shoulders then responded:

“I just don’t think about it. I think of the things I want to do and do them even if I get in trouble. I’ll get in trouble no matter what, I may as well do what I want. It’s worth it.” To him exploring and having adventures was worth the pain he knew he would endure later on. In a way it prepared him for the tough life ahead. He ran illegally into Germany right after the revolution, got caught and sent back to more abuse only to try again. And he succeeded. He entered Germany with the clothes on his back and a small Bible, worked very hard and now he’s the COO of a multi-million dollar company in Berlin, married to Brigitte, a pure breed German girl and together they have one daughter Michelle:) He gives orders all day long and works with employees from many nations, has a house and a very nice life. He’s helped my parents and siblings financially for years. Since he had a few dollars in his pocket he always thought of the rest of the family and sent back thousands upon thousands of euros (or deutschmarks back in the time). He is known for his love to surprise you and pulled lots of surprise visits:)

Sergiu, the resilient:)

I remember caroling with Sergiu and Alin, and every house/apartment we entered Sergiu found a way to walk away full handed with something. He stood in those long nightmarish lines Romania and Eastern Europe was known for during socialism/ communism times, usually taking him all night long during Siberian winters temperatures just to get a few loaves of bread or one kilo of milk or half a butter or few eggs or one kilo of sugar or one kilo of oranges, you name it. He also had the wits to push in the front of the line and walk away with something when so many were left only with empty disappointments. (There was never enough food during that time, and just staying in a line for half a day did not promise a happy result). Sergiu had street smarts and gumption. Still does:)

Sergiu, the resilient. I miss him everyday:)

It has begun- Alin the Musician-


First picture- article in Hunedoara newspaper done on Alin:)

Second picture; Alin and his twin nieces, Oana’s girls:)

Alin around seven years old:)

Alin in one of his stage costume:)

Every year around this time I began to mourn for Fanu, my little ten year old brother who died a while back. His B-day is in December, but fall brings a whiff of Fanu’s memory with it and my heart cries from such precious loss. To divert my sorrows, I think of my other siblings.

I’ll start with Alin:)

ALIN-the Opera Singer

Second in command, he’s a boss in his own way:) A self made man and a brilliant engineer, his work in Germany is appreciated by many. But its his stage performances that define him for who he is. His love for music was know since early ages of his life. He performs on stage all over the world:) Beethoven is his favorite composer. Alin is a ball of mysteries and he loves it that way:) A natural born intellectual it’s a pleasure having a conversation with him on many subjects, but its his direct and honest opinions that puts a smile on my face every time we talk. He has a diplomatic way of telling you the truth about yourself, without the presents of butt kissing, living you hardly confused of his opinion. He’s a sensitive soul and the loss of Fanu (Alin and Fanu had a special connection the rest of us knew about), his heart fractured quite deeply. One day all will be healed.

Alin, makes me laugh in a way no other human being on this entire planet can do and I know Meleah has a special compartment in her heart reserved for uncle Alin. It is a common feeling many share about him.

His love of travel is well know as he often takes advantage of a nice vacation to go visit a new place on this beautiful planet.

Alin and I spent a summer in the hills of Moldova, at our great grandma, where out of boredom we got often in trouble. Come to think of it, it was my sense of adventure that got us in trouble often followed by his threats. One day, we forgot to close the gate and all great grandma’s chickens ran into the corn field. Panicked,  we recruited the help of her neighbor and the town’s well known drunk, but we couldn’t afford to be picky. The poor man, did a fantastic job mumbling instructions to us and after a highly stressful hour or so, we managed to bring back all the chickens. After words, as great grandma came back from the forest carrying a bundle of wood sticks for the evening dinner along side an apron full of freshly picked mushrooms (not my favorite) we acted as everything was well with the world. I’m not sure if the neighbor ever ratted us out, but I’ve never heard a reprimand from my grandma.

Yes, we were quite the pair and Sergiu joined our gang soon after.

Back home I was the cook and Alin was the baker. Boy was he a great baker. He could whip a chec (like a sweet loaf of bread) in no time, but “ciocolata de casa” (homemade chocolate), was and still is his favorite desert. He also loved a piece of bread with tons of butter, and when I say tons I mean tons, and honey. He pretty much lived on that.

I miss Alin every day, but I’m really glad he’s doing so well and one day I’ll get to see him again:)

P.S Alin speaks Romanian, English and German, he also speaks Alin language:)

Next is Sergiu:)

Happy 24th Anniversary:)

IMG_4638IMG_4635It takes my mother-in-law, once again, to remind me of my “Coming to America” anniversary on October 15th (yesterday). It’s been 24 years already? Actually, right now I should ask: “I’ve lived in Romania?” It sure feels like a distant dream, the land of my birth, a dream mixed with happiness and sadness:)

To pretend that my new culture (America) doesn’t have its shortcomings would be infantile. However, I remember my very first experience in America, fresh off the airplane, which was a breathtaking experience in itself.

I had to use the restroom quite urgently, since I’ve held it in for a good fifteen hours now. I knew sooner or later I would have to learn the new and improved American system and due to its urgency on the matter, that time seemed to have arrived.

We took a boat to our new place on an island and through gestures – Chet and I could hardly speaking to each other, he barely knew Romanian and I was sure I didn’t know any English- I asked him where was the restroom. With his gentlemanly manners Chet showed me the door where a funny looking woman painting with very sharp edges about her announced my gender. I walked in absolutely flabbergasted by the clean surroundings, the bright lights- no one seemed to steal the public light bulbs in this country- and looked for either a hole in the ground with its own fly occupants or a toilet. I saw a row of sinks on one side and boxes on the other. With hesitation I walked toward the boxes, opened one and to my relief saw a toilet. I rushed in closed it and did my business. Once done I reached up to pull the string -the only system of toilet flushing I’ve known my entire life- shocked to find there was no string.

“Maybe its broken.” I looked up. No hole in the ceiling. “Great, now what?” I looked around for buttons or handles, anything, and became quite panicked. There were none that I could see. I dressed, and was about to make a run for it, when I heard the toilet behind me flush, by itself! “What?” Relieved, even if quite confused, I was ready to wash my hands, but there too I sat in a tremendous dilemma. No matter what I did no water came out. Again no buttons or sink handle were visible. Ladies came in and out, washing their hands just fine except for me. “Maybe my sink is broken.” I snuck to the sinks others just used but as soon as I got there the water flow stopped leaving me in utter confusion. I pulled and pushed on different spots of the sink. Nothing. Eventually, one simply began working and I ran to it washing quickly, glad the whole thing was over. Turning around ready to wipe my hands I got struck by another dilemma. “Shucks! No towels!” Nothing! Just some shiny things- later I found out they were automatic heat blowers- but no towels. I wiped on my clothes and found my way out of there eager to put the whole thing behind me and into a deeply worried new husband. How can I explain to him that American toilets were moody and sinks were playing tricks on me when one could not speak a word of English?  I’ve since learned of the automatic toilet flushing system along with the automatic faucets of the public restrooms, but it took a few more trials and a whole lot of confusion to get the whole new system of things down:)


A sample of vegetarian Americo-Romanian dinner:) Zacusca (red pepper and eggplant dip) and salata de vinete (an eggplant and mayo dip) meets potatoes in the oven with steamed broccoli (never saw that vegetable in Romania) and snow peas (another vegetable I never saw in Romania) and backed squash:)

Mercury free. How does it feel?

I had my final two pieces of mercury pulled out of my mouth and- emotionally at least- it feels fantastic:)

How about physically? You may ask.

Well, I’m so glad you asked:) It feels like I got dental work done:) One side of my mouth I have a new, mercury free, filling where the old mercury resided these past twenty years. On the other side, I have a small hole in my gum. The process was a bit different. In order to remove the piece of mercury (amalgam filling) lodged directly in my gums these  past twenty years, a laser was used to cut the tissue around and away from the mercury piece. It made it easier for the extraction. Now I have a hole in my gum, but do not worry, it will heal and fill in, in due time. For now, I sit here in my bed hurting and writing to you, unable to eat on either side of my mouth and with medicine on the damaged tissue- a swab of HyperOxy Ozonated Olive Oil- to speed up the recovery time. The numbing medicine is wearing off and I have a huge headache as my gum cries out.

To celebrate a mercury free mouth I stopped and got a hair cut- that I hate. So now, I’m sitting in bed with a headache, a bleeding gum and a bad hair cut;) Who said life was not full of surprises? Truth be tolled, I didn’t much care for my hair style before the cut, so the loss is minimal.

UPDATE: I had to take a 30 minute break from writing this journey entry. The medicine (numbing) wore off very fast leaving behind a woman in so much pain she became delirious at one point and yes, cried like a baby while shakingly opening a bottle of Tylenol, medicine that seemed to take forever kicking in, but at long last, it did.

“Meleah, I’m trying to be a tough cookie here and not cry, but this pain is beyond unbearable and your mother will start crying, like a baby I may add, so don’t panic.” I spoke quickly between breaths of pain and then let it all out. So Alexa played Andrea Bocelli’s mournful songs while I cried my heart out and Meleah kept talking about odd subjects in an effort to keep me distracted. It was both a hilarious and sad sight and we both laughed and I cried, realizing just what a great memory this is going to make one day:) Now both Alex and Meleah are cooking dinner-spaghetti night- while I write this blog.

I’ll let you know how things progress, but I predict all will be well:)

Mercury free!!! Worth all the pain I endured:) No regrets here:)

God bless:)

New Apartment

Yes, we’re in contract process to purchase an apartment ten minutes away. I dread the moving process- as most people do- but I look forward to a place of our own and a smaller monthly payment than our current rent.

This move brought back some nice memories:)

In 2016, before putting our house in Auburn on the market, we had to make some improvements. One of those improvements was painting this very long fence along our driveway, an eye sore to any potential buyer. So our friends and their boys came ready for battle. It took about 6 or 7, one gallon paint cans to get the job done -this includes the thinning we had to do to make it go a long way. And after hours of hard work- we were trying to stay ahead of the predicted rain- it began sprinkling.

“Turbo style, everyone!” Angel shouted and you should’ve seen us go:)

“Re-paint and thin no more.” Was another funny remark -in the sea of funny remarks- and we stopped thinning the pain so the rain would not wash away our hard work.

In the end it turned out great and I will forever be great full for such a fantastic helping hand. They were there too when we moved, stacking our stuff in the U-HAUL truck,

while cracking jokes.

They’ve been good friends, bringing soups when I wasn’t able to cook and helping out anyway they could:) Great memories:)

God Bless:)