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Preview: A Spoonful of Russian

A Spoonful of Russian - Learn Russian Online from Russian Tutor

Learn Russian language from a Russian online tutor at your own pace. Natalia teaches via Skype and other video chat services. Russian lessons are tailor-made for all students. Experience authentic Russian pronunciation, see Russian alphabet written in cur

Last Build Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 04:30:57 PST

Copyright: Natalia Worthington (c)2005-2014

No more updates, but the site will still exist

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:55:53 PST

This blog has been in a vegetative state hooked up to life support for a looooooong time. I do not have time to upkeep it, but at the same time I am not going to pull the plug and delete it. The site provides a lot of helpful info and has a right to exist. Browse away....(image)

My YouTube Channel Has Been Re-Enabled!

Thu, 07 Apr 2016 08:57:43 PDT

Finally! Thanks to the Big G tech support we were able to sort out the problem. Now I will be able to upload my videos to The Spoonful Of Russian channel again. So relieved.

It's been sooooo long. I feel like I am a bit rusty. My last vid was uploaded 1 year ago. I am going to ask you, guys, for your suggestions as far as my next video. Go!(image)

Unable to log in to my YouTube to upload or approve comments

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:52:14 PST

Not sure what happened exactly, but I am unable to log in to my own YouTube account in order to upload new videos or manage my subscribers' comments. At the same time there is no problem logging in to Google, GooglePlus or Blogger. Hmmmmm. Thank you for being patient as I am looking into solutions.(image)

a Spoonful of Russian 032

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 08:04:20 PST

Today I fill a request of one of my Podcast listeners/ YouTube subscribers by reciting a short poem written by one of Russia's greatest talents - Anna Akhmatova. Лотова Жена - Анна Ахматова (Lot's Wife - Anna Akhmatova). To view the text:

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Enjoy your Spoonfuls?

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:41:08 PDT

Enjoying the podcast? Got a minute? Please, add your iTunes review for my podcast.

It is currently buried underneath 40 or so other foreign language podcasts. Let's put it on the front page! More votes, more exposure, more content. Thank you in advance.

Click to add your vote/review


a Spoonful of Russian 031

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:40:17 PDT

The video that goes with this episode can be found on my YouTube channel: Episode 031

Toasting is a huge thing in Russia. Has been for ages. A full glass must be drunk to the bottom after every toast, because “a toast without wine is like a wedding without a bride!” A traditional Russian drinking party usually includes a sequence of several standard toasts.

You can refresh them by watching my Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts/Phrases video.

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The most common first toast is...

To our meeting!
За встречу!
[za FSTRYE-tchoo] … sort of an ice-breaker toast:)

Another good opener toast is…

To our health!
Будем здоровы!
[BOO-dem zda-RO-vy]

The toasts that follow largely depend on the occasion that brought the people together. At a birthday party, the first toast (with wishes of health, success and a long life) is usually to the birthday guy or lady. The second toast is to their parents as a sign of honor.

At a wedding, the first toast is “To the health of the newlyweds.” After that, the guests shout "Горько!"(Gorko!) often and loudly, all through the banquet. “Gorko” literally means "bitter” in Russian, implying the bitterness the wine being drunk. By yelling that the wine is bitter, the guests are inviting the newlyweds to make it sweeter by giving each other a sweet long kiss. As the bride and groom kiss, the guests count the seconds: “Один! Два! Три! Четыре! Пять! ... One, two, three, four, five..." until the kiss is over, whereupon they raise their glasses in a toast.

At a funeral banquet, the first part of the toast is usually an uplifting or touching story about the dearly departed; it is concluded with the words Пусть земля ему/ей будет пухом! Вечная память! (Let the ground in which he/she rests be like goose down. Eternal memory to (him/her). When people in Russia drink to the dead it is customary not to clink glasses.

Without a doubt towards the middle of the party someone usually proposes a toast “За женщин”! “To beautiful ladies!” or “To the ladies present here!" At this point someone else usually says that real men stand up when they drink a toast to beautiful ladies, and they drink to the bottom. All the gentlemen present promptly comply.

The last toast, “На посошок!” / “Na pososhok", is usually pronounced when the guests are about to leave. In olden days, travelers used a walking stick, called posokh or, diminutively, pososhok in Russian, during long journeys. A toast to the walking stick, therefore, is meant to make sure that the return journey is safe.

Learn some Russian today!(image)

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a Spoonful of Russian 030

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:19:23 PDT

The video that goes with this episode can be found on my YouTube channel: Episode 030

Asking questions in Russian can be quite a daunting and intimidating task, especially if you try to follow the proper grammar rules of declention, gender agrement, etc. What if you are a beginner? Should you not even try? Of course not.

By knowing basic Russian interrogatives, you'll be able to express your questions, even without an extensive vocabulary or grammar knowledge. Lots of times you don’t even need to form a complete sentence to ask a question. All you need is to know the ‘question word’ and your pointer finger:)

Learn some Russian today!

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a Spoonful of Russian 029

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:22:03 PDT

Ever wanted to pronounce the days of the week in Russian like a native? Piece of cake!

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a Spoonful of Russian 028

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:02:46 PDT

Today’s spoonful is going to consist of a useful Russian phrase and a poem in Russian. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the poem. The reason for reading out loud is so that you can get more familiar with the Russian sounds. As you’ve probably noticed I started this podcast with the expression Добрый день translated as ‘Good afternoon’. There is also Доброе утро (‘Good morning’) and Добрый вечер (‘Good evening’). So when is the appropriate time of the day to use these expressions? Most Russians use the following time frames for them. For example, use Доброе утро from 6am till noon. Use Добрый день from noon till 6pm...and Добрый вечер is used anytime past 6pm and before bedtime. Now here’s your chance to practice saying Доброе утро, Добрый день, and Добрый вечер in Russian. First I say the phrase, then you’ll hear a sound - that will be your prompt to repeat the phrase after me. Then I repeat the phrase one last time, so you can check your pronunciation. Давайте начнем. Let’s begin.Доброе утро Добрый день Добрый вечер Замечательно! Wonderful! And now for the poem. I will be reading one of the most popular poems written by Sergei Esenin in 1913. It’s called БЕРЕЗА (The Birch-Tree). It was part of my middle school program, and I can still recite it by memory. The Birch-TreeJust below my windowStands a birch-tree white,Under snow in winterGleaming silver bright.On the fluffy branchesSparkling in a rowDangle pretty tasselsOf the purest snowThere the birch in silenceSlumbers all day longAnd the snow gleams brightlyIn the golden sun.And the dawn demurelyGoing on its roundsWith a silver mantleDecks again the boughs(translation by Peter Tempest)This is your spoonful of Russian for today. I encourage you, my Listener, to leave me a voicemail. It can be a question, a comment, a suggestion. Your feedback and ratings on iTunes means a lot to me. I read every single comment. It just makes my day. До свидания and stay hungry for the next Spoonful of Russian!- Leave a quick voicemail calling: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)- For longer question email: twitter: @russianspoonful (with hashtag #askNataliaW )- YouTube:[...]

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Russian Vocabulary: Family (Семья)

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:30:00 PDT

Ever wanted to know how to call your family members in Russian? I don't mean nicknames:) I mean official titles.

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What's On My Mind (О Чём Думает Моя Голова) reading out loud

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:31:52 PDT

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Almost everybody has a book that they read and re-read in their childhood. When we read it again as adults it takes us back into the wonderful world of childhood fantasies and dreams.

I have a book like that too. In Russian it was called "О чём думает моя голова". Translated into English "What's on My Mind". It's a collection of short stories about 2 elementary school girls, the best of friends. About their everyday adventures, how they made friends, how they took revenge on enemies, tried to avoid problems at school, how they pleaded with their parents to adopt a puppy, and more. Basically, I saw myself in one of those girls. The best part is that the narrator  is one of the girls, and you can really hear a 3rd-grader talking. Kids come alive in the pages of the book.

I am lucky enough to have the very same copy of my favorite book with me. Today I wanted to share the first chapter with you. If you are a beginner and cannot follow, don't despair. Simply hearing the Russian speech will aid you in your studies. I am reading at a normal speed.

О Чём Думает Моя Голова - читаем вслух(image)

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Not Gone. Just Getting Ready for my Oldest Child's Wedding.

Fri, 02 May 2014 05:04:52 PDT

Thank you all who enjoys the content I produce and who is patiently waiting for updates. This Sunday (in 3 days!) my oldest daughter is getting married. As you can imagine things are pretty hectic now. But even at this time I'm getting fresh ideas for my next YouTube video / iTunes podcast.

As always, I'm open to suggestions.

Again, спасибо. And... до скорой встречи!


Russian Christmas (Рождество)

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:33:19 PDT

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Many of you probably know that Russians have always been big on celebrating the New Year rather than Christmas.

After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. It wasn't until 75 years later, in 1992, that the holiday was openly observed.

Today, it's once again celebrated in grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in incense-filled Cathedrals amidst the company of fellow believers and the painted icons of the Saints of old.

The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar; therefore, its Christmas celebration falls on January 7th. It's a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration. Before this date, Orthodox Russians fast for 40 days. The Lent period ends with the first star in the night sky on January 6 -- a symbol of Jesus Christ's birth. Many Orthodox Christians go to the church to attend a Christmas liturgy that evening.

So today It would be more than appropriate to teach you how to say Merry Christmas in Russian.

'Merry Christmas' will be 'С Рождеством Христовым' 

(S Rozh-deh-stvom Khris-to-vym)(image)

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Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:34:20 PDT

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Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts. There are more, but these will get you started:)(image)

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Little Fir Tree (В Лесу Родилась Ёлочка) Happy New 2014!

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:35:05 PDT

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Little Fir Tree (В Лесу Родилась Ёлочка).  

This is the most popular Russian New Year's song. Every Russian knows it. It's something that no winter holiday can do without. The song was born in 1903 and since then it brings joy and excitement to Russian kids just like that little fir tree from the song.

Автор текста (слов): Кудашева Раиса Адамовна
Композитор (музыка): Бекман Леонид Карлович

"В лесу родилась елочка"

В лесу родилась елочка,
В лесу она росла,
Зимой и летом стройная,
Зеленая была.
Зимой и летом стройная,
Зеленая была.

Метель ей пела песенку:
"Спи, елочка, бай-бай!"
Мороз снежком укутывал:
"Смотри, не замерзай!"
Мороз снежком укутывал:
"Смотри, не замерзай!"

Трусишка - зайка серенький
Под елочкой скакал.
Порою волк, сердитый волк,
Рысцою пробегал.
Порою волк, сердитый волк,
Рысцою пробегал.

Чу! Снег по лесу частому
Под полозом скрипит;
Лошадка мохноногая
Торопится, бежит.
Лошадка мохноногая
Торопится, бежит.

Везет лошадка дровеньки,
А в дровнях старичок,
Срубил он нашу елочку
Под самый корешок.
Срубил он нашу елочку
Под самый корешок.

Теперь ты здесь нарядная,
На праздник к нам пришла,
И много, много радости
Детишкам принесла.
И много, много радости
Детишкам принесла

(the English Translation)

In the woods a spruce was born,
It was growing in the wood
In summer and winter
it was straight and green.

The blizzard sang it a lullaby:
Sleep dear spruce, sleep tight!
The frost put snow around it saying:
Don't freeze!

The timid grey rabbit
hopped under the tree,
From time to time
The angry wolf just trotted by.

Hush, listen! Deep in the woods
Snow scratches under a sleigh.
A heavy horse
Runs smoothly.

The sleigh carries firewood,
and in it was an old man
He chopped it down
at the very roots.

And here it is,
all dressed up,
it's come to us for the holiday
And lots and lots of happiness
it brought to the children.


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Russian Vocabulary - Borrowed Words in Modern Russian

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:35:26 PDT

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The best way to think about the borrowed words in Russian is from a historical perspective. The influx of foreign words came in waves depending on what country or culture had influence in Russia:

• Byzantine influence and conversion to Christianity: influx of Greek words

• The reign of Peter the Great: influx of German and Dutch words (e.g. шлагбаум,  гастарбайтер, бутерброд and so on)

• End of 20th century, perestroyka (перестройка) and post-soviet Russia, globalization: influx of English words

• There are many words of French origin (because Russians have been fascinated with French culture, especially in 18-19 centuries), for example шансон, авангард and many others

• There are a few of Japanese words in Russian, such as самурай, банзай, хокку, каратэ, цунами, etc.

• Some Chinese words - женьшень, тайфун, чай, шарпей, фэншуй etc

• Some Turkic words - башка, сундук, казна, утюг, чугун, шашлык, алыча, амбар, сарай, халат etc.

In this video I mention just a few borrowed words. Knowing them will give you confidence to go on learning.(image)

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Песенка Крокодила Гены. Урок и Караоке (Gena Birthday Song. Tutorial and...

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:38:46 PDT

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Russian Vocabulary - Antonyms (Антонимы)

Sat, 17 Aug 2013 15:31:14 PDT

A fun way to learn Russian is by learning the words with opposite meanings. Here are some antonyms for you.

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Stay in touch:

- site:
- voicemail: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)
- email:
- twitter: @russianspoonful(image)

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UPDATE: "Houston, we have a problem!" Moving feeds in Feedburner.

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:40:41 PDT

UPDATE: to cut the long story short iTunes /Mac app support basically told me I was 'out of luck'. I did a bit more thinking. My head must have been exceptionally clear today, because I came up with a solution! Now all 'A Spoonful of Russian' media should show up in your podcatcher app. Now I got my podcast tied to the right gmail address, all the dear old subscribers are kept, and iTunes Store reviews/ratings are intact. That reminds me - I can always use a review or two;)

"Houston, we have a problem!" A couple of days ago I tied the podcast's feed to a different feed burner account, a dedicated gmail email for my podcast. Because I have changed the feed URL without taking steps to redirect the iTunes  Store it's no longer possible to subscribe to the feed in iTunes, and the Store page is stuck with a cached copy of the last time it could read the old feed. found out about the procedure involving adding a special tag to the old feed a little too late….

I really do not want to lose my dear old subscribers nor the iTunes Store reviews. I hope and pray the Apple iTunes support team could help me out and swap the feed URLs for me. 

I found out the podcatchers like Downcast (#Downcastapp) are able to get all of my media with no problem. Get the iPhone app  or the iPad app and watch the tutorial I just made:

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Q and A Session #1

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 11:29:11 PDT

Здравствуйте и добро пожаловать … Hello and welcome to the very first 'Questions and Answers' edition of A Spoonful of Russian Podcast. Coming to you from a small home studio in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina.Instead of trying to find time to get back to each and everyone of you individually through email, I decided to start accumulating the questions and answering them in a podcast. I am thinking of getting one out once a month maybe. I am getting questions sporadically. Sometimes several a day, sometimes nothing for days in a row. My hope is to have a large pool of questions to pull from. That way you can count on regular Q&A sessions.Ways to get your questions over to me:- contact form on my site: Leave a quick voicemail calling: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)- email: twitter: @russianspoonful (with hashtag #askNataliaW )- YouTube: am aware that many of you prefer to listen to podcasts rather than go to my YouTube channel and view content there. I myself am an avid listener of a handful of podcasts. When I am cooking in my kitchen or lifting weights in my garage I do not really want to look at a video. Truth is we all consume media in different ways depending on our activities. So, hopefully you, guys, will find this format useful and enjoyable.This would typically be a time in a podcast where I'd share with you a quick word from my sponsors, but I don't have any sponsors! I've been podcasting since 2005 when the whole podcast phenomena was rolled out by Steve Jobs. Since then several companies approached me, but none of them seemed like a good match for the content of this podcast. So, I'm still waiting for my advertising 'prince' … for the business marriage made in Heaven. Make me an offer I can't refuse, and you will not be 'sleeping with the fishes'. So if you are a huge corporation with lots of spare change in your pockets listening to me now, reach out by emailing me: What do you think about the Hollywood actors' Russian accent?MOSFILM (Мосфильм) has been the largest and oldest film studio in Russia. It was founded in 1920 and its output includes most of the widely-acclaimed Soviet-era films. of my favorites:-  1968 War and Peace (Война и Мир)-  1968 The Diamond Arm (Бриллиантовая Рука)-  1973  Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (Иван Васильевич меняет профессию)-  1975 The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Banya! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!)-  1977 Office Romance (Служебный Романс)-  1979 Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears (Москва Слезам не Верит)-  1985 Love and Doves (Любовь и Голуби)Here's the interview with Andrei Tarkovsky, a critically acclaimed Soviet film director: In the age of instant information exchange and assimilation of cultures do Russian emigrants still hold on to some "Russian-only" traditions and ways?That is a great question. Very well-constructed I might add:) I agree that today cultural borders are getting less and less defined. Internet, I think, is mainly to thank for that. I remember times when the only way I could get info about foreign countries was through the hand-written letters of my pen pals. Back in the 1980s our TV had only 2 channels and both[...]

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Крокодил - Корней Чуковский - Часть 3 / "The Crocodile" by Korney Chukovsky - part 3

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:42:04 PDT

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Final Part 3 of Крокодил (The Crocodile) by Korney Chukovsky.(image)

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Крокодил - Корней Чуковский - Часть 2 / "The Crocodile" by Korney Chukovsky - part 2

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:42:25 PDT

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Part 2 of Крокодил (The Crocodile) by Korney Chukovsky. Крокодил (часть 2) Корнея Чуковского. (image)

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Add your iTunes review for this podcast, please.

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 10:52:12 PDT

Enjoying the podcast? Got a minute? Plz, add your iTunes review for my podcast. Let's put it on the front page! More votes, more exposure, more content. Thank you in advance.

Click to add your vote/review


Звёзды - Сергей Есенин (Stars - Sergei Esenin)

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:43:33 PDT

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Russian Poems series. "Stars" by Sergei Esenin.(image)

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Russian Vocabulary - Weather, Seasons, Pets

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:44:00 PDT

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Learn some Russian words related to weather, seasons, and pets.

Twitter @russianspoonful


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Lesson 27 - Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:44:22 PDT

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Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

1. Greeting by a subscriber (Thank you, Emily) - Спасибо!

2. BIG thanks to all who show their support by:

- purchasing authentic Russian food at also via a banner

3. Lesson - Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

4. Contact

Twitter @russianspoonful

You can also leave a voicemail by dialing 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877) and I will play your recording on the air and will try my best to answer.

p.s. I also appreciate your rating of the podcast in iTunes:)


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Спорт - Sports (Russian Vocabulary)

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:44:48 PDT

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Learn some sport-related vocabulary words in Russian.(image)

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A Spring Storm (Весенняя Гроза) - Ф.И. Тютчев

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:46:43 PDT

Inspired by last night's thunderstorm, our next poem is by Ф.И. Тютчев "Весенняя Гроза".

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English translation by Dmitri Obolensky


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Гой Ты, Русь - Сергей Есенин / Hey there, Russia

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:49:26 PDT

Subscribers spoke. Some of you mentioned you would enjoy listening to Russian spoken without thinking of grammar. I've been thinking of doing it for a while now. Auditory training is an integral part of any foreign language learning.

Thus, I created a dedicated playlist within my YouTube channel. I hope to fill it with masterful creations of Russian poets. 

Question: would any of the parents of young kids out there be interested in Russian fairy tale/poetry/short stories recorded by 'yours truly'? 

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Finally, I am not ashamed of the audio quality. Just received my RODE Podcaster mic back from repair!


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Mother-Daughter Duet (Опять Метель)

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 10:08:40 PST

Just to change the pace a little, my daughter Emily and I are trying our hand at covering one of the most popular contemporary Russian songs originally performed by Alla Pugacheva and her daughter Kristina. Those two don't need introduction.

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Lesson 26 - Consonants [p][b] and [n][t][d]

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:52:47 PDT

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Lesson on bilabial stop consonants [p] [b] and dental consonants [n] [t] [d]

1. Greeting by a subscriber (Thank you, Jeanette, and Happy Birthday!) - Спасибо! С днём рождения!

2. Recommendation of recording apps

- Voice Record Pro (for iOS)
- Hi-Q mp3 Voice Recorder (for Android)

Another way - Google voice 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877)

BIG thanks to all who show their support by:

- purchasing authentic Russian food at also via a banner

3. Lesson - bilabial stop consonants [p] [b] and dental consonants [n] [t] [d]

Twitter @russianspoonful

You can also leave a voicemail by dialing 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877) and I will play your recording on the air and will try my best to answer

p.s. my apologies again for the sub-par sound. IPad's mic produces uneven sound even with a slight deviation from it. Can't wait till I get a Mac!

p.p.s. I also appreciate your rating of the podcast in iTunes:)

To all my Russian friends: "С Днём Победы!"



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Lesson 25 - Russian Accented Vowels

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:57:20 PDT

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Russian accented vowels sound much richer and fuller than their English equivalents. That is because Russian is spoken much more vigorously than is English - there is greater muscular tension throughout the organs used in speech production.


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Lesson 24 - Russian Sound System. Introduction

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 05:43:02 PDT

Ученье свет, а неученье тьма(Knowledge is light, ignorance is darkness)Век живи - век учись(Live and learn)And the last one is quoted around our house quite often:)Повторенье - мать ученья(Repetition is the Mother of learning)I thought I would start talking about the Russian sound system. Since I want to be true to the podcast's format and keep it short'n'sweet and to the point ... It will take us several lessons. Some of the items used for pronunciation practice will be isolated syllables or words whose meaning is of no immediate relevance, while others will be complete sentences that you will be able to add to your Russian phrase book and practice it as often as you'd like. You should not concern yourself with the grammatical forms of the sentences used at this point. You should simply learn them in the form given to you, striving to imitate your teacher as closely as possible. You must always keep in mind the importance of the spoken models presented.  While descriptions, transcriptions, and diagrams maybe of some help, you should rely mainly on the spoken model in your attempts to approximate the sound patterns in Russian. Remember always that at the early stage of instruction it is the sounds of the language that are our primary concern, not the written forms, which are a secondary and imperfect system of representing speech. While Russian spelling is more regular than that of English, there are places where it does not represent the sound system accurately. Strive always for good pronunciation, and don't let the written forms mislead you!Next time we are going to talk about the Russian Accented Vowels, but for now I will leave you with a few phrases you should just listen to without trying to repeat. Listen to them as many times as you'd  like to. (YouTube link to this list)Это дом. Это он. Он там. Это мама. Это она. Это папа. Это он. Это Анна. Она тут. Это Антон. Он там. Мама дома. Она дома. А папа там. Анна тут. А Антон там. Song in Russian - (Дорогой Длинною, performed by Nani Bregvadze).Ехали на тройке с бубенцами, А вдали мелькали огоньки... Эх, когда бы мне теперь за вами, Душу бы развеять от тоски! Дорогой длинною, погодой лунною, Да с песней той, что в даль летит звеня, Да со старинною, да с семиструнною, Что по ночам так мучила меня. Да, выходит, пели мы задаром, Понапрасну ночь за ночью жгли. если мы покончили со старым, Так и ночи эти отошли! В даль родную новыми путями Нам отныне ехать суждено! ...ехали на тройке с бубенцами, Д[...]

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Spoonful of Russian is now LIVE on Twitter and YouTube!

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 06:30:30 PDT

Follow me on Twitter @russianspoonful now and get your Russian language related questions answered. Ever wonder how to pronounce words in Russian? Just ask me and I'll upload an audio file just for you.

I wondered how to satisfy people's inquiries and fit it into my schedule. Looks like Twitter is the perfect medium for that. So, go head and click  @russianspoonful

(image) I just created my YouTube channel, but I have many ideas how to make it awesome!


The Russian Cursive files are now compatible with iPhone!

Mon, 03 Jan 2011 08:30:21 PST


Refresh your browsers

also, you may need to 'unsubscribe' and 're-subscribe' to the podcast for the changes to take effect. Feedburner might need a few hours to refresh their data as well.....(image)

Announcement: by popular demand

Fri, 05 Nov 2010 03:59:15 PDT popular demand of many of the subscribers I am now offering one-on-one video/audio chat for the purpose of going in depth of my podcast's lessons.

This would be a perfect way to solidify all you've learned, practice your pronunciation, and ask questions.

All you need is a computer, broadband internet connection, and an iChat, AIM, or Skype screen name. Google video chat is also an option.

Along with this I am still offering translation services (letters, docs, etc).

Please, email me for more info.(image)

Lesson 23 - Nouns and Gender

Sat, 13 Apr 2013 13:06:35 PDT

Today we'll talk about nouns and genders. Keep in mind that we are going to look only at singular nouns in nominative case (more on the 6 noun cases later).As you know, a noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, event or idea. All Russian nouns are divided into 3 genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. It's important to know the gender of a noun, since it needs to agree with other parts of speech. Let me give you an example: красивая девушка (a pretty girl) is correct, while красивый девушка is not. Ending -ый of the adjective красивый denotes masculine gender.Learning gender rules is not an easy process. Many times you will be able to determine the gender of a noun simply by using your biology knowledge. Ex.: мальчик (masculine), девочка (feminine), etc. But most of the time noun gender is random and unchangeable. Gender rules MUST be memorized. However, the secret is simple: the ending of a noun determines its gender. After learning a few rules you'll be able to instantly recognize whether nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter.Here's a Russian Noun Genders table for your convenience.(Click the table for an enlarged view)Highlights:*Every Russian noun has a gender (masculine, feminine or neuter)*Every adjective or verb must agree with the gender of a Russian noun (and pronoun)*Most masculine nouns end in a consonant, as well as -ь or -й*Feminine nouns usually end in -а, as well as -я, -ия, and -ь*Most neuter nouns end in -о or -е, but can also take endings like -ие, and -[м]я*A handful of Russian nouns appear to be feminine by their endings, are in fact masculine. Commit them to memory!-------------------------------------------It's been a while since I added a Russian song to my podcast. So many of you requested this feature back! I promise to add one when I get a chance to obtain license-free Russian music. May 9th is the Victory Day in Russia. (День Победы). To mark this day I am including a well-known song from the Soviet era called «В землянке» - "In the Dugout" performed by Михаил Гулько.Here are the lyrics of the song and its translation.В землянкеМузыка: К.Листов Слова: А.СурковБьется в тесной печурке огонь, На поленьях смола, как слеза. И поет мне в землянке гармонь Про улыбку твою и глаза. Про тебя мне шептали кусты В белоснежных полях под Москвой. Я хочу, чтобы слышала ты, Как тоскует мой голос живой. Ты сейчас далеко, далеко, Между нами снега и снега. До тебя мне дойти не легко, А до смерти - четыр[...]

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Lesson 22 - Russian Cursive (Letters "Ш,Щ,ь,ъ,Ы,Э,Ю,Я")

Wed, 01 May 2013 21:22:45 PDT


'Привет', my old friends, and 'Здравствуйте', my new listeners! Welcome to Lesson 22 of 'A Spoonful of Russian with Natalia'. I am Natalia, your host and instructor. And today we are going to finish the Russian Cursive Letters series.

But before we start, I want to thank again all those of you who support this podcast by first of all, keeping subscribed, also by purchasing Rosetta Stone's software through the link on my site (that really helps), and via PayPal donations. There's another and rather fun way of supporting the show - by getting a little souvenir from my Cafepress. com store. Did you know that they have "A Spoonful of Russian" stamp now? And "A Spoonful of Russian" license plate? Since I enjoy cooking, my favorite is the apron. And what pet can live without "A Spoonful of Russian" T-shirt? The store's ID is speakrussian.

Oh, and a special THANK YOU goes to Norman, who surprised me with a new RODE PodCaster microphone. The sound quality has gone up since I started using it. Thanks, Norman, if you are listening:)

Now , for the lesson! Давайте начнём!

(image) (image)

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Thu, 13 Nov 2008 13:06:11 PST


Today we are off to Louisiana. The next spoonful will come out soon after we return. Всего хорошего!


(added later: Don't want to keep you in the dark. We are back in NC. Stay tuned!)(image)

Lesson 21 - Russian Cursive (Letters "У,Ф,Х,Ц,Ч")

Wed, 01 May 2013 20:47:19 PDT


Today you will learn how to write Russian Cursive letters "У,Ф,Х,Ц,Ч" .

(updated on November 25, 2009)

To answer Chris' question about forming a cursive 'ф' in the middle of a word I made a little demonstration vid.

allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />(image)

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Lesson 20 - Russian Cursive (Letters "О,П,Р,С,Т")

Wed, 01 May 2013 20:35:14 PDT


8th of March - Women's Day .

It's Women's Day in Russia today, a holiday of spring and attention to women. It's one of most important holidays in Russia. The celebration is similar to a combination of Valentine's Day and Mother's Day in the West, but better. This is a national holiday and a day off. Several nations celebrate this, but only a few acknowledge it as an official, non-working holiday .

If you forgot to send a rose on Valentine's Day, it's only half the trouble. But if you forgot to send flowers to the special women in your life you are in a really big trouble!

On this day Russian men congratulate all women in their lives (mothers, wives, daughters, grandmothers, girl-friends, teachers) by presenting them with first spring flowers, candy and cards, and self-made short poems. My Dad always presented my Mom with red carnations early in the morning, while reading a poem specially-written for this occasion.

Every woman of any age is honoured on this day. Russian women are surrounded with flowers, poems, love and care. They are not allowed to do any work in house that day: men do all cooking, cleaning and take care of the children. The Women Day - 8th of March is the best holiday for Russian women of any age.

In other countries where the 8th of March is celebrated, it's usually a celebration of feminist and women's rights groups. But in Russia, where the life is different in many ways, the 8th of March is one of most favorite holidays for all Russian women, along with New Year and Christmas. For Russian Women the 8th of March "Women day" is a holiday of Love and Spring. One of my most favourable memories are of this Day:)


Letter 'О' is represented by word 'очки' (glasses)
Letter 'П' is represented by word 'паровоз' (steam engine)
Letter 'Р' is represented by word 'рыба' (fish)
Letter 'С' is represented by word 'сыр' (cheese)
Letter 'Т' is represented by word 'телефон' (telephone)(image)

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Bad Cold Took me Down (Я простудилась).

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 13:06:13 PST

Yes, I know, this bunny looks like he broke his leg, and the photo is not related to common cold. But he looks so cute:) Просто милашка!

Thank so much for checking up on me and asking for more 'spoonfuls' of Russian:) I got so many e-mails I decided to post on my blog. Next episode is coming out very soon, so stay tuned.....

I want to share a cold remedy that was sent to me by one of my listeners, Michelle.

"For that nasty cold:

Take "Emergen-C" vitamin C fizzy drink daily. I would also recommend making a morning smoothie with 30 grams of whey protein (I like the "biochem" brand) 1 packet of Emergen-C and a piece of fruit (I use a banana). You can add Echinacea or any other little tincture you like to the smoothie. (I make mine with a Gatorade base, for the electrolytes.)"

Спасибо, Michelle, and спасибо to all who wished me 'Выздоравливай'!(image)

Lesson 19 - Russian Cursive (Letters "Й,К,Л,М,Н")

Wed, 01 May 2013 15:36:55 PDT


Russian Cursive (Letters "Й,К,Л,М,Н")

Letter 'Й' is represented by word 'Йогурт' (Yogurt)
Letter 'К' is represented by word 'Кошка' (Cat)
Letter 'Л' is represented by word 'Лодка' (Boat)
Letter 'М' is represented by word 'Машина' (Car)
Letter 'Н' is represented by word 'Носки' (Socks)(image)

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Video Vocabulary #01

Sat, 13 Apr 2013 09:02:55 PDT


Video Vocabulary #1 - Common Greetings and Phrases. You can find a PDF file of the vocabulary in the DOWNLOADS section of the site.

p.s. Isn't the sound of that BALALAIKA great in the video?(image)

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Lesson 18 - Russian Cursive (Letters "З,И")

Wed, 01 May 2013 15:26:44 PDT


Добрый день, мои дорогие слушатели ( Hello, my dear listeners)! Welcome to 'A Spoonful of Russian' , where we learn Russian one bite at a time. Добро пожаловать ( Welcome)!

(Samir's audio message)

I thank all the listeners who stuck with the show since the beginning and welcome the newcomers. I appreciate all the mail that you send my way. Questions, comments, suggestion and even criticism....I read them all and try to reply as time allows. We've covered a lot of ground already, and there's more to come!

And now, for the lesson.

(Please follow the video for this lesson. Just click on the title of the blog entry.)

Letter 'З' is represented by word 'Зонтик' (Umbrella)
Letter 'И' is represented by word 'Иголки' (Pins)
Letter 'Й' is represented by word 'Йод' (Iodine)(image)

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Help with iTunes for our Windows users?

Tue, 13 Feb 2007 05:02:37 PST


So, from what I gather, since "A Spoonful of Russian" is classified as an audio podcast, the latest .mov files will show up as part of this podcast in iTunes, but not on your iPod. They will be synced with your iPod under 'VIDEOS -->MOVIES'.


Got an e-mail from one of the listeners needing help in transferring my .mov files to his iPod.

Quote: "Natalia: I’m sorry about being so much trouble; but am having a problem with the cursive lessons. I can’t get them to load to my iPod. I am hoping one of your other listeners will be able to assist me. Suggestions?


Dan's running Windows XP and has iTunes. If anyone could help, post a comment to this blog entry!(image)

Lesson 17 - Russian Cursive (Letters "Д,Е,Ё,Ж")

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:35:53 PDT


(Please follow the video for this lesson. Just click on the title of the blog entry.)

Добрый день, дорогие друзья! You are listening to and viewing 'A Spoonful of Russian' podcast, where we learn Russian 'one bite at a time'! I am your host, Natalia. Давайте начнём (Let us begin)!

First, I want to take just a few seconds to thank all those who contributed to this show either by donating through PayPal, purchasing products with 'Spoonful of Russian' logo at my store of going to online grocery store via the link on the right. Thanks to you I was able to purchase Snapz Pro X software that enabled me to record visual lessons for you, just like this one.

And now for our next Russian letters in cursive......


I'd like to ask my listeners to e-mail me short accounts of the reasons behind your interest in Russian language and culture. You can either shoot me an e-mail telling me why you love Russian or send me a short audio. If you want me to play it on the show, let me know.

Всего хорошего и до скорой встречи (All the best, and see you soon) !

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Lesson 16 - Russian Cursive (Letters "Б,В,Г")

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:13:58 PDT


Today I'll show you how to write Б,В,Г in cursive.

(Please follow the video for this lesson. Just click on the title of the blog entry.)(image)

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Lesson 15 - Russian Cursive (Letter "А")

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:11:27 PDT


Today you will learn to write Russian cursive "А". I will include more than one letter in my future lessons.
Thanks to one of my listeners I was able to upload a "Russian Cursive Workbook" in the DOWNLOADS section on the right.

The Cyrillic alphabet was adopted by the Slavs in about the 9th century. Although it is named after St. Cyril (Constantine), it was not invented by St. Cyril. It is based on the system of Greek capital letters. If you know the Greek alphabet, many of the letters will be familiar to you.
The Cyrillic alphabet, with some modifications, is used by many nations in Europe and Asia, including Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Mongolia, to name only a few.

Few Americans write in cursive script anymore. All Russians write in cursive. You won't need to learn cursive to "get by" such as reading street signs or newspapers, and Russians will be able to read your notes if you print your letters. But you'll need to learn cursive to read Russians' handwriting. If you want to learn "good Russian" then learn to write in cursive. If you just want to "get by" on vacation you can skip this.

Russian cursive letters looks quite different from Russian printed letters. Some letters look like English cursive letters, but represent different letters. The bane of Russian cursive is the letters м т л и ш щ ц, which look almost identical.

Upper- and lower-case cursive letters look quite different. Thus Russians use three distinct alphabets: printed, upper-case cursive, and lower-case cursive.

In this example, each letter--upper and lower case--is followed by the same letter in Russian cursive. You will notice that in the block style, the only difference between the upper and lower case letters is the size. In the cursive style, certain letters distinguish between upper and lower case.

(Please follow the video for this lesson. Just click on the title of the blog entry.)

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Little survey (Небольшой Опрос)

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 09:04:59 PST

How many of you, my dear listeners, would be interested in learning how to write in Russian cursive? Please, e-mail me.

Update: survey is closed(image)

С Новым Годом, Друзья! (Happy New Year, Friends!)

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 19:40:02 PST

Emily made a little сюрприз for you:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560">(image)

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Lesson 14 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 19:39:28 PST

• ❑ Opening WordНу, здравствуйте, мои дорогие слушатели = Well, hello, my dear listeners! Как вы поживаете? = 'How are you?''Как вы поживаете' is basically the same as 'Как дела'. The difference is in the use. I'd never say 'Как дела' to a person I just met, or to someone who's a lot older than I am. 'Как дела' is reserved for close friends, family and children. The use of 'Как поживаете' in turn is more appropriate when addressing people much older than you, groups of people, someone you don't know very well, or simply to show respect. So, как вы поживаете? У меня всё хорошо. (I am doing fine). Are you ready for another spoonful of Russian today?• ❑ Lesson#14 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!It would be more than appropriate to teach you a few Christmas and New Year-related phrases. Many of you probably know that Russians have always been big on celebrating the New Year's rather than Christmas. After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. In 1992 the Christmas celebration was revived and announced to be an official state holiday. Note that the Orthodox Christmas falls after the Western Christmas on the 7th of January! Together with the Russians the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated by Romanians and Serbs, while the Greeks adopted the Western Christmas.Did you know that the New Year holiday has been celebrated in Russia for more than 300 years? It's Peter the Great who established the New Year celebration on the 1st of January. In his documents the evergreen trees were considered the main decoration for the holiday. That will explain my choice for today's song later. But let us turn to Russian Christmas and New Year vocabulary. Now, during the time right before the New Year holiday people say 'С Наступающим Новым Годом' literally 'With forthcoming New Year'. But I'd translate is as 'Happy Holidays'!Natalia: Джулия, с Наступающим Новым Годом! (S Nas-too-pah-you-schim Novym Godum)Julia: И тебя тоже, мам.(Ee te-byah toh-zhah, mum) = ('You, too, Mom.')When the clock strikes 12 on January 1st, it's safe to yell out: 'С Новым Годом!' You can hear people saying 'С Новым Годом' well into February. Especially to the ones they haven't seen since the previous year:)'Merry Christmas' will be 'С Рождеством Христовым' (S Rozh-deh-stvom Khris-to-vym). I do not remember the particulars of the Russian Christmas celebration, since [...]

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Help - Which Mic to Get?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 18:30:35 PST

I wrote a special Christmas edition of "A Spoonful of Russian" and trying to record it now. My current mic (Samson C01U) is acting up and giving me the same problems as last time. (Remember the poor sound quality?)

I decided to go out and get a new mic. Any suggestion as to which USB mic to get would be much appreciated!(image)

Lesson 13 - Family Matters

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 09:01:14 PST

Добрый день, друзья! Как дела? Хорошо? Отлично. (Hello, friends! How are you? Doing well? Great!)It's December now, and I am a bit late with my coming back to the 'Spoonful of Russian'. I was hoping to get it started again in November, they say in Russia: "Люди предполагают, а Бог располагает!" Which literally means "People make plans, but everything is in God's hands'. To quickly bring you up to date we are in our new house in Charlotte, NC and lovin' it! Still lots of things to do around the house to make our home --> thus lack of time for making podcasts:( For all the listeners who were asking about our trip to my hometown in Russia - the trip did not materialize for a couple of reasons. The Russian embassy told me I had some problems with my Russian passport at the last minute when I had the tickets in my hands! Then the airline company refused to refund us after we told them we were not going to Russia. But enough of that. Let's get to our lesson.-------А теперь давайте окунемся в сегодняшний урок = Let us dive into today's lesson. We are in the middle of great family holidays now. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (День Благодарения) and now you are looking forward to Christmas (Рождество)! One thing these 2 holidays have in common is family gatherings. Dads, Moms, Grandmas, Grandpas, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, daughter, sons, grandchildren....get together for a very special time. Would you know how to label a specific branch of your Family tree in Russian? To help you out I made a chart of the family members and relations. All family members have gender-specific names. Please, listen carefully as I pronounce the words. You are welcome to pause this podcast recording, rewind and repeat.(click on the chart for a larger view) ...-----For the musical part of the podcast I chose a timeless song performed by a singer from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia - Nani Bregvadze. The song is called "Снегопад" or "The Snowfall" where the snowfall stands for the end of one's youth. The singer is pleading with the Snowfall to wait and not to knock on her door. She still has love and tenderness to give, and hopes to share. The text is full of beautiful metaphors and similies. Almost 40 years have passed since Nani sang the song for the first time, but it still resonates in people's hearts, because the theme is eternal. "СНЕГОПАД"Я еще не успела испить свою осеньА у[...]

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Just a little bit longer....

Fri, 17 Nov 2006 03:40:00 PST

Summer break is over, and the wonderful Autumn days are here. We are loving it here in Charlotte. The colors of the leaves are breathtaking! But I am still unable to set up my recording studio like I'd like to. It looks like I'll be able to do so in the next 2 weeks though. So, stay tuned!

Many thanks to all those who send me e-mails, 'bugging' me about coming back.(image)

Summer Break

Sun, 26 Nov 2006 13:22:16 PST

Привет всем! Looks like it's going to be a long summer break for you and a busy summer for me:) From now till the new academic year my family will be going back and forth to Charlotte, NC to settle things concerning our new residence, my husband's new job and our kids' new schools. In addition to that we are still working on getting visas for our trip to Russia in August. (What a lengthy process!)...

I haven't seen my family and friends in Russia in 7 years, and it's quite a job to find presents for all of them now. Which size clothes to bring? :)))))) Maybe I should go with 'one-size-fits-all' baseball caps?

Please, don't despair and look forward to more Russian lessons from me after this summer is over. I can't wait to start producing again!

С любовью,

Lesson 12 - Happy Birthday!

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 05:49:14 PST

Topic - Birthday Greetings• ❑1 introДобрый день, друзья! (Hello, friends!)Как дела? (How are you?)Надеюсь, что у вас все хорошо. (Hope you are doing well.)Thank you for keeping up with this podcast even though I do not produce them as often as I'd like to. I am excited to get e-mails and comments on the site. Your enthusiasm is contageous! For those who asked about the condition of our house, we just sold our restored home and are planning on moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, right after our trip to Russia in August. I can hardly wait!• ❑2 Happy Birthday!It's lesson 12 (двенадцатый урок). Tomorrow we'll be celebrating my youngest daughter's 6th birthday. I taught my daughters to say a few birthday greetings in Russian. Let me share them with you.So, How do you say 'Happy Birthday' in Russian? Эмили: "I know." It's "С Днем Рождения".That's right, Emily. "С Днем Рождения" means 'Happy Birthday' . So, what are you going to say to your sister tomorrow?Эмили: 'С Днем Рождения, Джулия". To which Julia will probably reply "Спасибо, Емили".Then Russians usually wish health, happiness and longevity to the birthday person among other things. The phraze 'I wish you' will be 'Я желаю тебе...' (informal, to be used addressing friends, family, children) or ' Я желаю Вам'... (formal, to be used addressing older people, people you are not very close to, or just to show respect). Can you say 'Я желаю тебе...' 'Я желаю Вам...'?Good. Let us wish Julia health. 'Я желаю тебе здоровья'. Emily: 'Я желаю тебе здоровья'.Now, let's wish her happiness. 'Я желаю тебе счастья'. Emily: 'Я желаю тебе счастья'.Let's also wish her long life - долгих лет жизни. 'Я желаю тебе долгих лет жизни.' Emily: 'Я желаю тебе долгих лет жизни.'Молодец, Эми. What would I do without you? ('Что бы я без тебя делала?')Emily: 'Пожалуйста, мама.'Alright! Now you know what to say next time you are invited to a Russian birthday party. And if any of my listeners happen to celebrate their birthday today, we are saying 'С Днем Рождения' to you! Here are the phrases again:• ❑3 songFor the musical part of today's podcast I chose a song from a Russi[...]

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Lesson 11 - Love is in the Air

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 08:56:31 PST

(Due to lack of interest in the enhanced version of the podcast I am going to stick with the audio only version. Below is the Valentine's Day enhanced show converted into .mp3 file)Привет! Hey there, all you Russian language addicts and all those who have just subscribed. Welcome! (Добро пожаловать!)It’s Lesson#11 - Love is in the Air. It's been a while since I cranked up my Microphone and my Mac to produce a podcast. My house renovations are still going on, and we are still living with my in-laws. Even though my current environment is not ideal for writing and producing podcasts, I felt that I needed to get back out there for several reasons. I'm still getting lots of e-mails on a daily basis from listeners who express their desire for more of 'A Spoonful of Russian'. Another reason is we are working on getting things ready for our trip to my hometown in Russia this summer, and my daughters are in serious need of freshenning up their Russian:) There are other reasons as well. But personally, I just miss it myself. I miss plotting the idea of the lesson, typing it on my PowerBook (while listening to some nice classical music. Russian, of course), recording it, choosing different audio transitions, piecing it all together in GarageBand, uploading it, and getting your responses later.As much as I'd like to produce lengthy and in-depth lessons on a weekly basis, that would not be possible for the time being. The next few lessons will probably be shorter and carry less info. Hey, it's 'A Spoonful of Russian' after-all:)LESSON - "Love is in the Air"You all know that Valentine's Day ( 'День Святого Валентина' in Russian) is just around the corner. I am not going to go into the history of the holiday. You can do a little research on the subject at if you want. But wouldn't it be cool to send your sweetheart a valentine written in Russian? I'm gonna show you how to do it. Here are some simple phrases you can use:- "I love You" , of course. "Я Тебя Люблю." For your convenience I created some flash-cards to go with the lesson. - Another phrase you can put down in your valentine is: "Be Mine". And depending on the gender the Russian translation is either "Будь Моим" or "Будь Моей".- "We're Made for each Other" - "Мы Созданы Друг для Друга".- If you are an older couple I have a perfect card for you on Apple site. It's one of the iCards Apple offers. It uses one of my pho[...]

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'A Spoonful of Russian' is back!

Tue, 10 Nov 2009 04:08:45 PST

This is just a short note to those of my listeners, who read my blog, informing them of my come back. Please, fire up your iTunes or any other RSS aggregator of your choice this weekend to get your next 'Spoonful of Russian!' During this transition period I'll be storing my files on my dot mac space.

You can subscribe to it by visiting


BBC interviews Natalia

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 07:22:33 PST

Hi, everyone. Добрый день. This is just a short note to let you know I haven't forgotten about my listeners and "A Spoonful of Russian' podcast will be coming back! I also wanted to share with you an interview I recently gave to a BBC reporter and producer April Peavey. It aired today, January 4th, 2006. It was a pleasure and honor to work with April.

The interview is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.(image)

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Lesson 10 - No Lesson, but rather 'Bye for Now'...

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 08:30:51 PST


Bought a new mic, new headphones, iMac G5 - all set up to produce 'killer shows', yet this show will be the last one before I can get settled in our house.

This is show#10 and the last one as far as my introductory lessons go. After almost 7,000 visitors to my site and close to 3,000 subscribers (at one point) I decided to take a sabbatical to re-evaluate the show and make some changes. Renovating of the house damaged by hurricane Katrina is another reason for the break.

I would like to thank all my loyal long-time listeners as well as new ones for downloading the show. I really enjoyed getting the lessons ready as well as doing the production itself. I wouldn't be able to do it without you inspiring me.

There will be no lesson today. If you sent me a comment or a question - don't worry. I will be answering all the questions via e-mail personally in the days to come. Stay subscribed to 'A Spoonful of Russian' - that way you'll be informed of all the changes.

I did include a song in this last show.

"Сердце" ('Heart')
also known as "Как много девушек хороших" ('There are so many nice girls")

Как много девушек хороших,
Как много ласковых имен,
Но лишь одно из них тревожит,
Унося покой и сон, когда влюблен.

Любовь нечаянно нагрянет,
Когда ее совсем не ждешь,
И каждый вечер сразу станет
Удивительно хорош, и ты поешь:

Сердце, тебе не хочется покоя.
Сердце, как хорошо на свете жить!
Сердце, как хорошо, что ты такое,
Спасибо, сердце, что ты умеешь так любить!(image)

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Microphone trouble:(

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 08:44:50 PST

The mic I am used to is a 'gonner'. Found out today as I was getting ready to record the audio. Not only that. I also managed to sit on my Sony headphones I use for podcast production. That's quite embarassing, although the room was totally dark and the headphones were right on the chair. Anyway, Lesson#10 is pushed to the next Saturday. Hopefully, I'll be able to aquire new mic and earphones by then.....Stay tuned.
(image) (image)

Lesson 9 - Food

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 15:45:25 PDT

How do you feel about food? Я люблю поесть! (I love to eat!) most people will say. Whether you love it or hate it, we deal with food and talk about food every single day. That reminds me, I have to throw together PLOV (rice-based national dish of Uzbekistan) for tonight ( right back.(Natalia making noise in her kitchen)First, let me give you a list of some popular food items in Russian:Хлеб - breadСоль - saltСахар - sugarЯйца - eggsИкра - caviarМасло - butterМолоко - milkКефир - kefir (a sour-tasting drink made from cow's milk fermented with certain bacteria.)Сок - juiceОвощи - vegetablesФрукты - fruitСыр - cheeseМясо - meatРыба - fishКолбаса - sausageШоколад - chocolateТорт - cakeВода - waterПиво - beerШампанское - champaignВодка - vodkaЧай - teaКофе - coffeeJust to name a few. Now, some dishes in Russian:Салат - saladПлов - plov (Uzbek-style Rice Pilaf)Суп - soupГорячее - main courseБеф-строганов - Beef StroganoffСолянка - Russian Spicy Meat SoupБорщ - Ukranian Beet SoupВинегрет - Russian “Pink” Salad VinaigretteПельмени - Beef dumplingsГрибы Фаршированные - Stuffed MushroomsБаклажанная икра - Chopped eggplant simmered with tomatoes, carrots, pepper and onion.Селедка под шубой - Chilled slices of vinegar-marinated herring, served with sliced onions, turnip salad, boiled potatoes with a touch of butter and fresh dill.Блины - CrepesШашлык - KebabГолубцы - Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat+rice mixtureФаршированный Перец - Stuffed Greeen Peppers--------------------------------------------------------------------Below is the dialog from today's lesson. Let's try to make an order at one of the Russian restaurants. It's lunch time and you are a client, клиент (speaking in masculine gender in this dialog) at one of the nicer Russian resaturants.By now I am sure you will be able to greet your server (официант) properly in Russian. You would say 'Добрый день', 'Здравствуйте', but never 'Привет' or 'Здорово'....Leave the latter for your friends and family.Your [...]

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Rapid growth of the Podcast

Sun, 19 Feb 2006 16:05:43 PST

Can you see that little red icon that looks like a bowl full of red caviar with the spoon sticking out? That's our podcast. We made it to the front page of iTunes podcast directory. On the top '100' list we are #40 or so....The number of listeners of this show more than doubled. Last week we had 600+ subscribers, now there are over 1200!

Gotta get back to putting the finishing touches on my next Lesson#9. Stay tuned.....(image)

Unforeseen Events

Thu, 05 Jan 2006 15:06:10 PST

My dear listeners, due to some unforeseen events there will be no class this week. No class = no homework, so don't go wild! 'See ya' next week:) Пока!(image)

Lesson 8 - Speaking on the Phone

Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:57:26 PST

Привет, дорогие слушатели. (Hi, dear listeners). Сегодня суббота, 22 октября. (Today's Saturday, Oct. 22nd.)Let's check your homework from the previous lesson#7:Exercise 7.11. Туристы летают в Мексико-Сити из Нью-Йорка ___на самолете___ .Tourists travel from New York to Mexico City (by plane).2. Люди ездят на работу ___на автобусе___ в Атланте.People go to work in Atlanta (by bus).3. Поездка в Европу ___на теплоходе___ 3 месяца.The journey to Europe (by boat) is 3 months long.4. Мы ходим ___пешком___ к бабушке.We walk (by foot) to Grandma's house.5. Я поеду к врачу ___на машине___ завтра.I will drive (by car) to the doctor's office tomorrow.6. Они катались со спуска горы ___на лыжах___ .They went down the side of the mountain by (on skis).Exercise 7.21. Дорога идет ___вдоль___ берега.The road goes (alongside) the shoreline.2. Где находится магазин? Он ___за углом___ .Where is the store located? It's (around the corner).3. Кафе ___рядом___ с метро.The cafe is (next to) the subway.4. Я вас видел вчера. ___Куда___ вы шли?I saw you yesterday. (Where) were you going?5. Никак не мог найти мою ручку. ___Где___ она?I can't find my pen. (Where) is it?Exercise 7.3 (fill in the blanks by translating the words in brackets)1. Your roommate leaves for a weekend retreat in the mountains, and you say (see you soon):___Увидимся!___2. After you have dropped your kids off at the grandparents' house, you tell them (see you later):___Пока!___3. Your late afternoon meeting began at 3:30, but you arrive (late) at 3:45: ___поздно___4. You hope that you find those keys (soon): ___скоро___5. The concert started at 8 p.m. and you arrived exactly at 8 p.m. You were (on time): ___вовремя___6. You check your e-mail (every day):___каждый день___------------Phone Conversations------------ (the audio files of the conversations are on the 'Downloads' page)Two friends(ring)-Алло?(Hello?)-[...]

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Lesson 7 - Getting Around

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 08:52:01 PST

Let's say you want to fly out of JFK to Scheremetyevo airport in Moscow, then take the train to Vladivostok, stopping to drive through the countryside both by car and by horseback. Or maybe you enjoy boat cruises and would love to go down the Volga river! In trying to put all of this into words, you realize that you need to use some new expressions. Here are some examples:Exercise 7.11. Туристы летают в Мексико-Сити из Нью-Йорка _________________________ .Tourists travel from New York to Mexico City (by plane).2. Люди ездят на работу _______________________ в Атланте.People go to work in Atlanta (by bus).3. Поездка в Европу _____________________ 3 месяца.The journey to Europe (by boat) is 3 months long.4. Мы ходим _____________________ к бабушке.We walk (by foot) to Grandma's house.5. Я поеду к врачу ____________________ завтра.I will drive (by car) to the doctor's office tomorrow.6. Они катались со спуска горы ____________________ .They went down the side of the mountain by (on skis).Exercise 7.21. Дорога идет ________________ берега.The road goes (alongside) the shoreline.2. Где находится магазин? Он ___________________ .Where is the store located? It's (around the corner).3. Кафе _______________ с метро.The cafe is (next to) the subway.4. Я вас видел вчера. ______________ вы шли?I saw you yesterday. (Where) were you going?5. Никак не мог найти мою ручку. ________ она?I can't find my pen. (Where) is it?Exercise 7.3 (fill in the blanks by translating the words in brackets)1. Your roommate leaves for a weekend retreat in the mountains, and you say (see you soon):___________________________2. After you have dropped your kids off at the grandparents' house, you tell them (see you later):___________________________________3. Your late afternoon meeting began at 3:30, but you arrive (late) at 3:45: ______________4. You hope that you find those keys (soon): _____________________5. The concert started at 8 p.m. and you arrived exactly at 8 p.m. You were (on time): ____________________6. You check your e-[...]

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Lesson 6 - Don't Get Stressed About Stress and other advice....

Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:56:32 PST

Добрый день, дорогие друзья! (Hello, dear friends).Сегодня суббота, 8-ое октября. The show is still recorded at my temp 'studio' away from my home in New Orleans.In this podcast you will learn how to say the days of the week in Russian, as well as count from 1-10. You will also find out why you shouldn't get stressed over stress in Russian words. We will take a look at some simple sentence structures and word order within sentences as well....This might be the largest 'Spoonful of Russian' ever, but it's all good!Correction: In the beginning of the podcast I got the date wrong. The show was being recorded on Friday, Oct, 7th. You will hear me say: "Today is Saturday, 7th of October." Oops!Just to add to our past lesson - there are noun, adjective and verb cognates in Russian, and they can help you speak smoothly and easily, making you sound very natural. But don't let false cognates trick you into saying something you don't intend!I'd like to answer a question of one of my listeners. He was asking about the role of the 'hard sign' and the 'soft sign' in the Russian alphabet. The soft sign 'мягкий знак' has no sound of its own. Rather it tells you that the consonant before it is soft. (учитель).....The hard sign 'твердый знак' has no sound of its own as well. It indicates that the preceeding consonant is hard. You make a slight break in the word, immediately after the consonant it follows. (объем - volume - объем).-------------------------------------------------------- Что это? Это кофе?- Нет, это не кофе. Это чай.- What is this? Is this coffee?- No, it's not coffee. It's tea.and now a slightly different dialogue:- Кто это? Это учитель?- Нет, это не учитель. Это студент.- Who is this? Is this a teacher?- No, It is not a teacher. It is a student.--------------------------------------------Forming a negative sentence:Это хорошо (It is good)Это не хорошо (It's not good)---------------------------------------------If you don't know how to count from 1 to 10 in Russian, today's the day! Most of these numbers have a soft sign at the[...]

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RSS feed problem solved!

Mon, 09 Nov 2009 09:02:56 PST

Many subscribers to my podcast reported errors while downloading different episodes of "A Spoonful of Russian" podcast. iTunes, iPodder (and other feed aggregators) either didn't show some files, or had one of the dialogs (or Russian songs) linked as my episode's link.

I am not sure whose problem it was: Blogger or Feedburner. Once I removed all the extra mp3 and zip files iTunes picked the right mp3 file to show as an episode!

Good, but I don't want to give up on the idea of providing you with extra material, like Russian songs, flash cards, etc. I am looking into an alternative at the moment.

Thank you for staying 'tuned'!(image)

Lesson 5 - Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 08:44:02 PDT

Sounds like cognates are the single greatest friend to folks learning Russian. However, as with most good things there are pitfalls. And these pitfalls are called 'false cognates'. A 'false cognate' is a word that shares a similar pronunciation between two languages, but means one thing in one language and something else in the other. You'd sound pretty silly if a Russian asked you what you were doing ('Что вы делаете?') and you'd answer 'Я читаю магазин' (which means 'I am reading a store')....

'False Cognates" examples.

The dialogue at the beginning of the show:

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Teacher got help!

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 10:36:48 PDT

Большое спасибо to Angela, who was kind enough to create a short tutorial for me to change the banner on this site. Kudos to my multi-talanted listener!(image)

Lesson 4 - Alphabet and Words you Already Know

Fri, 03 May 2013 08:47:31 PDT

You'll be surprised how many words you would be able to recognize without studying any Russian. The words I am talking about are cognates - words borrowed from a foreign language that share a common pronunciation and meaning.The Russian version of an English word may look intimidating to you at first, but as you become familiar with the Russian characters you'll learn to recognize a cognate when you see it.1. теннис2. доллар3. баскетбол4. доктор5. Нью-Йорк6. Калифорния7. бейсбол8. университет9. адрес10. офис11. футбол12. телефон13. бар14. ресторан15. такси16. мафия--------------------------------------------------------The song from the show is "Katyusha" recorded in 1938."Катюша"Расцветали яблони и грушиПоплыли туманы над рекойВыходила на берег КатюшаНа высокий берег на крутойВыходила песню заводилаПро степного сизого орлаПро того которого любилаПро того чьи письма береглаОй ты песня песенка девичьяТы лети за ясным солнцем вследИ бойцу на дальнем пограничьеОт Катюши передай приветПусть он вспомнит девушку простуюПусть услышит как она поетПусть он землю сбережет роднуюА любовьКатюша сбережетПусть он землю сбережет роднуюА любовьКатюша сбережетРасцветали яблони и грушиПоплыли туманы над рекойВыходила на берег КатюшаНа высокий берег на крутойВыходила на берег КатюшаНа высокий берег на крутойHere's the translation for "КАТЮША" song. To find out more about the story behind the song, see this Wikipedia article I found to be very helpful.This lesson is a[...]

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Vacation Note

Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:53:24 PST

Click on the title "Vacation Note" to hear my message. I have a few photos to go with my audio note. All of them were taken in Texas outside Tyler.I can't waith to get back to work on the next "A Spoonful of Russian" lesson![...]

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Lesson 3 - 'How are You?'

Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:28:33 PDT

If you ask a Russian 'How are you?' (КАК ДЕЛА) you might hear more that just a simple "OK". But for starters we'll learn some simple replies. Here are the transcripts of the dialogs from our lesson.#1(- Как дела, Эмили?- Хорошо, спасибо. )#2(- Как дела, Эмили?- Хорошо, спасибо. А у вас?)("I am fine as well" - "Тоже хорошо" )#3(- Как дела, мам?- Так себе...)#4(- Как дела, мам?- Ничего хорошего, Эмили...)Word/Expressions list:Provided below are the lyrics to the song you heard on the show (click for a bigger view) Email me with any questions or comments. And yes, the lessons WILL get more challenging.[...]

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OT: More Post-Hurricane Photos

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 20:15:06 PST

Driving down familiar streets, it seemed there were National Guards on every corner.....(Click for bigger version).Managed to get a shot of downtown New Orleans including shabby Superdome:[...]

Off Topic: Shots from the trip to New Orleans

Wed, 03 May 2006 15:35:32 PDT

Monday we got to go back to survey the damage hurricane Katrina brought with it. We left Houma (where we are staying now) at 4am.There was a lot of waiting in lines.....A trip that usually takes us 1 hour, lasted 4 hrs.After a long ride we started seeing the signs of Katrina's power....and that's what we saw when we got to our house:All I can say is there's gonna be a lot of work till we can move back into our home.[...]

Lesson 2 - Saying 'Goodbye'

Tue, 26 Mar 2013 16:39:45 PDT

How do you say 'Goodbye' in Russian? This show teaches you a couple of ways to do that. As you listen, the images below will help you visually.


- Пока, Эмили.
- Пока, мам.


- До свидания, Эмили.
- До свидания, папа.

Sorry for the quality of the show's audio. Was out of town, and recording was made on my notebook. I am hoping that I'll have all my usual gear unharmed (by hurricane Katrina) when I go back to New Orleans, La. on Monday.(image)

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Off Topic: Hurricane Kartina's Devastation

Tue, 26 Mar 2013 14:38:32 PDT

Just to keep all my listeners posted. I am using internet access through Houma Public Library at the moment. I was affraid I wouldn't be able to get the next show out to you this coming Saturday, but now I promise you it WILL happen.


This is the 1st opportunity I had to get online since last Saturday. My husband and I, and our two little girls left New Orleans at 7am on Saturday and went to Houma, Louisiana, where my husband's parents live. We grabbed bare minimum of clothes, food, etc. and left.

I am sooooo glad I took my PowerBook with me. Without it I'd have no way of making the show or communicating with anyone, especially my parents in Kostroma, Russia. I have no idea whether my house is still there or not. None of the residents of New Orleans area are allowed to go back to the city till Monday. I can't wait to see what happened to our home, but there are reports that it's very unsafe to return at this moment - too many criminals on the loose...armed. Now, about the folks you saw on TV that were taking food and drinks out of the stores. Reporters are calling them "looters", but all they are doing is trying to save their lives.

Anyway, I am extremely thankful that our lives were spared, that we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. I just pray for the ones that are struggling right now, as well as for the rescue teams. More about this and A Spoonfull of Russian later on Saturday!(image)

Lesson 1 - Greeting

Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:03:14 PDT

Friends and family members greet each other with a simple "Привет".


for those who want to 'Copy'+'Paste' :

- Привет, Эмили.
- Привет, мам.

Use "Здравствуйте" with people you barely know, with much older folks (unless they are your relatives) or with government officials.


- Здравствуйте, мисс Наталия.
- Здравствуй, Эмили.

Remember, "Practice makes perfect".

Your e-mails with questions and comments are welcome.

If you are brave enough, you can e-mail me an audio file with your greeting in Russian. I'll play it on the next show.(image)

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One Step Closer

Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:50:31 PDT

The musical intro and the artwork for my podcast are accomplished today - thanks to Apple's Garage Band and my family members for lending their voices:)

Ideas for the content keep coming. One thing I know the show is going to come out on a weekly basis for now. Short show notes and links will be here on

Things are looking better.....It'll be good!(image)

Getting Ready for Podcasting

Thu, 25 Jan 2007 13:43:19 PST


Today, while listening to one of the Russia-related podcasts, I started entertaining an idea of creating my own podcast. Seems like I got all the tools, the only ingredient needed is the content. That will be revealed in the Pilot Episode soon. Although you can probably guess judging by the BLOG title.

Now, for the podcast's artwork.....I thought it would be great to represent it with an image symbolic of Russia.

There are many symbols of Russia: Vodka, Ballet, and Matryoshkas (nestling dolls) just to name a few. Can you name more? I personally, enjoy caviar (every true Russian does:)

I didn't have to look for the artwork long. I happened to have one on my hard drive. I photographed it at my home studio about a year ago.(image)