Sunday, April 30, 2006

One year!

We have been here one full year now. And next week we will have our first guest from the states.

Since we got here:
*our Russian studies began
*we have moved three times
*we had to spend a month in Ukraine waiting on visa renewal
*Tom had surgery on his foot
*Nathan turned 18
*we have all been doing social work here in the city
*we have developed relationships with people in and outside of church
*Tom has relationships with people in the business communtiy through his bead work
*we have focused on deepening relationships with Russian friends
*we no longer use an interpretor at church
*we have learned how to use public transportation to get all over the city
*we have strengthed our relationships with each other in the family

And so much more... each day is an adventure in cultural awareness. We are grateful for everyone who has supported us in prayer, with care packages, and financially. Without everyone partnering with us we could not do what we are doing!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

finals days with Michelle

Michelle had not been to City Center the whole time she has been here. She has been busy teaching English classes at two different locations. She was doing her practicum for her college in Canada. These past few weeks have been a time of finally doing some of the touristy stuff that there is to do here.

We had originally planned to take her out to the nice Italian place before she left. However, I found out yesterday that she had never been to the mall. So of course she HAD to go. I mean this is a real shooping center with a food court and everything! We ate Italian in the food court and then strolled the mall. It was fun.

On Monday we will see her for the final time on the field trip to the cemetary... what a way to say "goodbye"!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Eating Sushi!

I ate my first California roll here in Russia.

I went out to lunch with Joyce H. today. She was born and raised in Japan. She was the perfect person to eat sushi with for the first time. She had me try eel which is her favorite. And I think I like it better than salmon! I tried seaweed and I had Miso soup. It was a great meal. I think I had 2 different kinds of rolls and 2 different kinds of sushi and then the soup.

Joyce taught me how to use chopsticks and I actually ate the whole meal them. Even the soup. she said it is traditional to pick out the veggies from the soup with the chopsticks and drink the liquid.

The tea cups don't have handles so she should me the proper way to drink from the cup. It was such a rich cultural experience!

Tom and Spencer helped out at the school today. The school moved into an office building from the house where it was located. It helps for the school to be in an official location. Because of the new laws surrounding private schools here in Russia it will be easier for the school to pass inspections and stay certified.

Tom came home very tired. He hung all the white boards and helped with moving the items. Some things are being stored at the Jim & Joyce's home. They have an extra building on their property. So they have plenty of storage room.

Spencer and Nathan are both going to meetings at church tonight. Nathan is going to our church and Spencer is going to Kovchek the baptist church. He is going over with Andrew for the first time.

I spoke with Melanie today and we finalized the plans for Spencer to visit them. He was going to visit them in Siberia but instead he will meet them in Moscow! Their former nanny is also going so neither Spencer nor Leeza has to fly alone. Spencer will be able to show Leeza what needs to be done and Leeza will understand all the language that Spencer doesn't know yet. Leeza is in her early 20's so they should make a good pair and help each other a great deal. This will be Leeza's first airplane flight and Spencer is a pro having flown for the first time when he was only 7 months old. He knows the whole routine. We talked it through the other day and he had it all thought out!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Five Day Weekend!

We are very excited to have five days off. We do have to go to a cemetary on Monday but that is not like going to school. Although going to school some days could put one in a cemetary.

Today was a very silly day in class. There were lots of jokes... some of them about dead bodies since Nathan wanted to know if when a person dies are they still referred to as animate or inanimate? He asks interesting cultural questions. The teachers seem to enjoy his questions! Joyce B. came in at one point to show off her clothes to the women. So we even had a mini fashion show.

On Wednesday we will start having classes in our new location. I think I wrote about this months ago. We change teachers monthly and that helps us to not be bored. We change classrooms. And now we are changing buildings. Maybe earlier in life this would have bothered me. I think after forty most people have learned to take things in stride.

That would certainly explain the growing number of people who change careers in midlife and decide to move to another country. God reveals a new direction and so you go with it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cemetary Day

Lena has told us that we HAVE to go with her to the cemetary. It is MANDATORY that we observe what Russians do there. So we will be going on a field trip with Lena to see people drinking alcohol and having picnics at the cemetary as they remember their ancestors on Monday.

I mentioned this today to one of the teachers at school and she said that this was one of our school assigments and "YES, IT IS MANDATORY!"

I don't know that this field trip will be fun, but, it certainly will be interesting!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More New Holidays

Today the director of the school made an announcement about school for next two weeks. We have two holidays coming up in May that we are taking off of school for because the country will basically shut down.

May 1st: is now known as Spring and Labor Day. It used to be called International Workers' Solidarity Day.

May 9th: is Victory Day. It commemorates the millions fallen in WW II.

So, for the next two weeks we don't have school on Monday and Tuesday. But we will have school on Friday instead.

This morning Kathy mentioned having Spring Fever. I think these long weekends will help out a great deal!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just the girls + Nathan

Class was very relaxed today. It was just Iris, Judi, myself and Nathan. The class time went by very quickly and I actually had fun.

I just looked at JB's blog. His hobby is photography and he shared his address with Spencer today. go to: www.1eyeshut.blogspot.com My favorite photo is called giant!

We were asked today about how Easter was and if we heard any new words at the services we all attended. We all had heard about the same words. Like death, resurrection, blood, forgiveness... Judi B. went to the Orthodox church for the midnight service. Iris's church had their service at 4 pm on Sunday. Our church met at the regular time of 10 am so we had several guests from Iris's church (who must have wanted an earlier service!)

Time to rest and then study again. We have a dialog to memorize and verbs to conjugate!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Talitha knows how to curl her tongue and she is only two! She is such a pretty little angel and it was great to see her and her parents at church today.

As we sat through the service I was reminiscing about last year's Easter Service. We had a translator and then she also came over to Tim and Joy's and translated for us there too. this year we were able to sit through the service and understand a great deal of what was being said.

We have had Valodya as our pastor for a year. His voice is clear and he articulates well. I am amazed at how much we have learned from him and seen him grow. He is now learning English and he truly understands those of us who are trying to learn a second language later in life!

This is how we greet each other:
Иисус воскрес! Christ has risen
во истину воскрес! In Truth He is Risen

Last year we could not say this phrase at all nor remember it. This year I was able to ask Valentin in Russian how to respond. He got excited and said it slowly. Then I repeated it and we greeted each other properly! It was fun to see the faces of our church family when we were able to return the greeting. We truly feel at home here. And are grateful for where God has placed us! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Orthodox Service at Midnight

A group of people were talking about going over to the Orthodox Church to night for the service. At first we thought it would be fun to go and see them parade the cross around the building to different stations. Then after thinking about it we have to get up and attend service at our own church tomorrow. So being out all night does not go well with our plans! I am sure we will catch it on the news.


Nathan has a friend who is getting married in two weeks. They don't have much money. So she asked me to take the pictures at her wedding. I had told myself that I was not going to do another wedding because it is hard work and I don't think I am that good. But, when she asked me I just felt it was important to do my best for them.


This wedding is the same weekend as John P's visit from Andover. Tom and John will be at Axtepka all day. So the boys and I will be the ones going to the wedding. We will also help the couple out with decorating the church the day before. If John and Tom get back in time perhaps they can be part of the reception. It will most likely go on until 9 or 10 that night.

It is not very popular to get married in May here. There is a superstition about the month. The root of the word May in Russian is the same root of the word for misery. So the belief is that if you get married in May it will lead to misery. Some believers adhere to this superstition out of respect to their families, while others get married during the month just to prove the superstition wrong. This young couple has chosen to defy the superstition and get married on May 6th!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good Friday


Today is Good Friday. I sent Nathan out to buy some traditional bread for us to try. I have included the recipe. It tastes very "yeasty" and is semi-sweet. There are very few raisins. The top is a thin layer of white frosting with sprinkels very liberally applied.


RUSSIAN KULICH - EASTER BREAD
Printed from COOKS.COM


8 c. sifted flour

2 1/2 c. warm milk

1 yeast cake

3 egg yolks beaten

2 whole eggs, beaten

1/3 lb. butter

1 c. sugar

1/3 tsp. salt

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. chopped almonds

1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract or 3 drops oil of roses


Soften yeast in 1/3 cup of the milk. Scald the rest of the milk and add the butter, salt and sugar. Cool until tepid. Add yeast and stir in slowly 4 cups of the flour. Put in warm place to raise for 2 hours. Then add the beaten eggs and the preferred flavoring. Lastly add the raisins and almonds mixed with the remaining flour. Knead thoroughly and raise to double bulk. When raised, shape to fit large well greased baking powder or similar tins from which the rims have been cut to allow loaves to be removed easily. Bake in a moderate oven like bread. When baked decorate with icing and small colored candies.
This is eaten after the Easter midnight service and during the three days of open house after Easter there is always a decorated kulich on the dining table.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Missing Lena!

We haven't had a language helper all week. Lena went to Moscow to help out her family and then she will go to Maicop with Alexei for his brother's wedding and Easter.

We miss talking with her most of all. Olya has only come over once this week so outside of school we have only been able to speak Russian at the market or at church. I can study but nothing compares with live language. It helps to study and listen to tapes... but the only way to learn how to have a conversation in Russian is to actually start having conversations in Russian.

Most of our friends are patient and help us to say whatever it is we are trying to say with correct grammar.

Tomorrow is Good Friday here so we will have a service at church. And then another one on Sunday. Last year we spent Easter with the Watsons. This year we don't have any plans... maybe we will go to the movies!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

comfy and cosy!

Last night Ira and Olya were here. Olya came by to help Tom with his lessons. Lena was concerned about us not having a language helper while she is out of town so Olya filled in for her.

Ira loves to be in the closet or out of it looking at "La La" that is baby talk for picture!

Photo by Sharpkid aka Spencer

Well today the phone rang at 11am and it was Spencer wanting to tell us that school had started! Evidently if you sleep in a real bed you will get better sleep and it could cause you to miss school. We have not slept in our own bed since we left the states last April. We have either slept on borrowed beds, couches or chairs that turn into beds and in a few homes on a mattress on the floor. We have not complained because it was not a big deal. So all that to say this was the first real goodnight's sleep we have had in a looooooong time! Tom fell asleep while I was doing my homework. It felt weird at first not being in the livingroom. But, as evidenced by our oversleeping we both got used to the new bed pretty fast!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New bedroom furniture


Our new bed! We don't have to sleep on the couch anymore. And now there is a bed for guests whenever you come to visit!















This is our new shkaff. It is basically a closet. It is traditional not have a built in closet. Tom has chosen the corner section for his clothes. And I have the larger side. I wonder if I will have enough room??? The bag is not hanging on the closet... it is hanging off of the bedroom door and is reflected in the mirror!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Old & Drooly

Today as we walked home from the diagnostic center Tom told me he didn't want to get old and drooly on me too soon. Then he starts laughing and tells me that this should be today's blog post title. Maybe I will get old when he is drooly or vice versa!

We saw the neurologist and then the urologist. Tom's blood pressure has come down and the neurologist was pleased. Since it came down she felt comfortable prescribing physical therapy and massage. He will start tomorrow after school.

We made it through today without an translator. I just asked questions until I understood what I was being told. I made sure to clarify room numbers after our first "tour of the hospital" looking for room 160 when we were supposed to have gone back to room 116!

We went back to the registration office (room 116) and I told her that I was supposed to find Svetlana but I didn't know who Svetlana was.... she said "I am Svetlana!" she escorted us to the next office and stayed with us until one set of paperwork was complete then she showed me where the next room was while Tom waited for the papers to be filled out for the physical therapist. We could have seen the massage therapist today but he was not going to be back in his office for another hour so Tom will start tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Today is Easter in America. For us here in Russia, Easter is next Sunday. I hope that everyone has a blessed holiday and try not to over eat all those chocolate bunnies!

Tom, Olya and I went shopping today. We have a bedroom set being delivered on Tuesday. And today we came home with a table for the kitchen and one for the living room. Now we can actually sit down and have a meal together.

Donna and Rob came to visit our church today. Joyce H. translated for them. I asked her afterwards if she remembered back when she couldn't do that!!

I wrote down several words in my notebook to look up later, but from what I got from today's sermon I think it was a good one.

Tom and I met with Valodya after church to go over the schedule for when John P. gets here. We will have dinner with the Parhomenka's on Saturday and lunch with Rajabov's on Sunday. That way John will get two Russian meals! Lena P. says they will probably make some Ukrainian dish (she is from Ukraine) and I am sure Lena R. will make a traditional Russian dish.

April 30th will be our one year anniversary of arriving here. Spencer wants to have a party... we'll see if Tom and I have the energy to pull it off!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

off to clean the church!

Tom and Spencer headed over to the church to help out with the all church cleaning day! Spencer and Nathan went over last week since it was our family's turn to do it. Today the church will get looked over on the outside and the inside since there are so many hand to make the work easier. This is one of the positive outcomes leftover from communsim. People will still work together to make the load easier.

Tom donated a new cross to the church. It is made of copper and has heart shaped beads all over it. I will try to post a picture soon.

We have a birthday party to attend later on today. Donna had a birthday on the 11th but she is giving her party today. She is doing the Russian tradition of giving your own party. It should be fun!

Friday, April 14, 2006

easter eggs

Today we are going to the orphanage to paint Easter Eggs. It is not easy to find white eggs here. Most of them are brown. Spencer found some at the rhinok near our home. Eggs are sold here in tens. He brought them home in a small plastic bag not in a carton.

It will be interesting to see what type of designs the children come up with. Some eggs here are done with elaborate designs:
http://www.alvr.com/eggs/easter1.html

I have to be sure to take my camera so you can see the work created by the children!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I don't know what to call today!

We had to go to the Diagnostic Center again today. Tom had an MRI. While he lay quietly in the machine I had a long talk with the Radiologist. He wanted to know what we were doing here. First he asked what Tom did for a living. I told him we are students. Then he asked for the name of our school. He asked if Tom was going back to America to teach Russian. I told him that Tom was a pyschologist and that he was going to teach here after he learned Russian. Then we talked about Bill Gates and Arnold Scwhartzenegger.

He was telling me that during Commuinst times they used to see programs about culture. And now most programs are political. Almost every channel here has a news program. We see Putin in the news everyday. He asked if they show a lot of political news in America too. It was interesting to talk with him. He has two friends who are also doctors; one who lives in Vienna and one in London. He was grateful for the internet so that he could email his friends.

It is interesting how kind the doctors and medical personnel here. They were very helpful yesterday and today when we showed up without Natasha to translate for us. People were good at speaking slow and giving us a chance to think about what was said and how to answer correctly.

If you get the chance to watch on video or attend a seminar on Cat and Dog Theology you have to go! We started watching the DVD last night that we recieved from Cathy in Andover. It is fabulous!http://unveilinglory.gospelcom.net/AdultSeminar.html here is a link to their website and you can learn whether you are a CAT or a DOG! Cats think that God exist for them... and Dogs think that they exist to serve God (their Master). It is funny and thought provoking!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Cosmonaut Day!


We celebrated this holiday by picking up packages at the post office. You can read more about this holiday by clicking on the link below.

When we first moved here to Krasnodar the first street we lived on was Cosmonaut Gagarina. Every taxi driver knew exactly where it was!

http://context.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2004/04/09/105.html

We have Cathy from Andover, Ks. , Joanie from Anaheim, California, and Ann from Dana Pt., California and Marti from Sweet Home, Oregon to thank for being able to munch on Oreo's, PopTarts, make peanut butter sanwiches, write on lined notebook paper and donate 5 lbs of pipe cleaners to a local orphanage for crafts! We also have nice warm socks for the all the guys. And syrup for our pancakes again. We felt like it was Christmas when we opened all the packages and layed everything out.

We even received several small bottles of perfume which I promptly shared with a few Russian friends who cannot afford such luxuries. It was fun coming home in the taxi with 4 boxes from various parts of America and wondering what was inside!

Thanks to everyone who remembers us in prayer and with various gifts. We try to be the best stewards we can of everything we are sent... and we try not to kill each other over the Oreo's and PopTarts. We are learning how to share with each other as well as with our neighbors!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

oversleeping


I suppose that all the running around to different doctors got us all tuckered out. Tom and I both overslept this morning.

I stayed up late to finish the load of laundry that Olya started for us. But, generally I am able to get the next morning. Oh well.

It was good for us both to get some rest. We have been out everyday since Tom got sick on Thursday.

Our new machine is finally here. Olya had to help us read the instruction book. Everything is written in Russian on the machine and in the booklet. She explained it all to me in Russian, but, she used simpler words.

Our house feels more like a home since the smell of detergent is present again. And yes you can use the facilities and get your laundry done at the same time!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tom

Tom had a very thorough exam by the doctors. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So he is on a new diet that he is not thrilled about. No more smoked sausage and cheeses. He did great on his treadmill test. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his heart. We spent about 2000 rubles on his new medicines. Which is around 70 dollars. Not too bad for 5 medicines.

Thanks for all the prayer, calls and emails. And we are open to suggestions for naming the kidney stones. Boris and Natasha have been suggested along with Rocky and Pebbles!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

what a difference a year makes!

Church went great. Nathan didn't make it over there. Maybe he was too tired from cleaning the church yesterday!

Soon we will be have been here for a year. Last year we could barely understand anything that was going on. Today in church I realised that Spencer was writing down words he didn't know from songs. He was able to ask Valentin what the definitons were.

The Big news of the day was that Tom and I both prayed in Russian at church. Our church has the tradition of gathering in small groups to pray for the needs mentioned that morning. Tom, me, Spencer, Joyce H., Lena, Alexei, Natasha and Dima were all together... so it was a safe group and there was no need to feel embarrased about making a mistake.

After we finished praying everyone in the group was complimenting Tom. I think Alexei even teared up a bit. It means so much to our friends when we make an effort like that.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Shopping

We have our income tax refund so we are going shopping. A bed for Tom and I, a table to eat at (just in time for John P's visit!) and shelving for the boys rooms. This should be fun day!

Well, I don't know how much fun the kids will have... they are going over to clean the church. It is our turn again.

We had fun telling Lena about all the things that Natasha had to translate at the Diagnostic Center.... Like when she had to explain how to do the urine test. I understood what the nurse was asking but it was fun to see Natasha's face and to listen to her translate the instructions for collecting a sample! As you can tell we still have our sense of humor no matter what.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Diagnostic Center

Tom has KIDNEY STONES! One of them is 4mm and the other is 6mm. We are waiting for some test results to know specifically what chemicals his stones are comprised of so that the doctor will know what to prescribe to dissolve them. But, this too will pass!

He heart showed no sign of damage or disease. His blood pressure is up. He has an appointment on Monday with a neurologist to determine the cause of the numbness in his arm. We are just grateful that a heart problem has been ruled out.

Today Tom had an EKG, an ultrasound on his kidneys and then an ultrasound for his heart. He was seen by a urologist, a cardiologist, a radiologist and on Monday in the same building he will see a neurologist. In America there is no way we could have seen this many specialists in one day. The diagnostic center that he went to is about three years old. And it is the same place where he had his foot surgery. We are grateful to be so close to such excellent medical care! We are also grateful not to have any horror stories to report about the hospital or the services.

The x-ray machine was not working in the building where all his testing was done so he had to go to the Birthing House and be x-rayed over there with all the expectant mommies! He was carrying around an ultrasound photo of his kidneys and he had earlier been joking with the doctor about NOT being pregnant!

We had Natasha with us today to help interpret the medical terms. I was concerned about not knowing exactly what was being said. She is in the process of translating a book for publication but she took time out to come and help us today. Tom also booked her to translate for John P. from Andover, Kansas when he visits with our pastors in May.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Helping Neighbors

Today Tom called me while I was out with the ladies from school having lunch. He wasn't feeling well and wanted for one of the nurses to come over and check on him.

Kathy came over and checked his blood pressure and recommended that he see a doctor. So in the morning we have an appointment for him. Bill was at the school and he was able to pick up the letter needed for Tom to see the doctor. That helped us out a lot because the school closes the office at 5 and I would have had to rush over to pick up the letter before they closed. Spencer and I went over to pick it up and while we were chatting with Bill and Judi H.... I got a call from Judi B.!

Judi is having a tea party tomorrow and needed a table moved. So Spencer and Andrew left with me. I got off the bus at my stop and they went around the corner to the next stop to help out Judi.

Please pray for Tom tomorrow as he sees the doctor. We don't know for sure why his blood pressure is elevated right now but we are going to check it out.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

parties and stuff

Every now and then people at school show up with invitations to parties. Sometimes they are given to everyone and sometimes they are given to a select group of people. I personally think that when you know that you are not going to invite certain people then you don't do the invitations in front of them. Maybe I am old fashioned? Or just up on "Miss Manners"? I don't know. Just voicing a pet peeve.


Today in class I was trying to say that "In Krasnodar many dogs are free".
I said it grammatically correct. But the meaning of "free" here can also be "not married". So when the teacher heard my sentence she cracked up laughing. Because to her I was saying "In Krasnodar many dogs are single!" If the dogs are strays you don't refer to them as "free" they are homeless! So "BezDome-nee" is the adjective you are supposed to use. Language learning is not just about being grammatically correct. It is also about understanding colliquial expressions.

Nathan, Tom and Spencer are fixing the light fixture in the living room. Brownie is laying near my feet while I work here at the computer.

Earlier, Spencer and I went down to get dollars to pay our school bill and we waited almost 45 minutes for a bus to come back home. The bus was so crowded we had to stand all the way! The weather is getting warmer and more people are out on the streets.

Tom was out looking for some school supplies and he needed an eraser. He forgot the word for it in Russian. So he asked the salesgirl how to say it in Russian. She told him and then she asked him how to say it in English! She also asked for help with her resume... someone had translated it into English for her and she didn't understand some of the words. So Tom helped her out.

It is great to be able to have conversations now and give assistance when we are asked. A year ago that was impossible.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hair!

I am wanting to do something with my hair. I feel frumpy right now. Yesterday, I finally called Olya to ask if she knew where I could by hair extensions to do braids. She knew of a hairdresser and she called for me today. It was pretty neat because I had my phone on silent for school so Olya called me on the school phone. I had to go to the office to answer it. I spoke on the phone in Russian with Olya not realizing that our school's director was listening. She was very complimentary when I got off the phone. Which made me feel better since in our class I felt like it was not a room for learning but a place to perform. You should already know all the answers and never make a mistake when you are called upon. So Tania's assessment of my live Russian skills were welcomed!

Anyhow, the girl Olya knew was going to be very expensive so I mentioned that to Tania. She recommended talking to Tonia who might know someone who could do it cheaper. Tonia and I talked and then she asked Inge. After school Inge told me about an old classmate from her university who does hair as a hobby! I am going to call and get together with her on Thursday and we will buy the materials and then do my hair on Friday. I think it is great that so many women were excited about me getting my hair done that they went out of their way to find someone for me!

Oh and if you talk to Tom's dad ask him about the annoying birthday song. His birthday was yesterday and we found an e-card that seemed to be just perfect for Papa Tom!

Monday, April 03, 2006

What to say?

How can I talk about today? It is hard to express what a school day is like sometimes. Some days are more stressful than others. And I expect that now until the end of school it will be stressful. I am sure there is a lesson to be learned in patience, tolerance of learning differences and personalities. Sandpaper.... I suppose I can look at this as sandpaper in my life. Each of us everyday is being refined by those around us. Someday we'll each be polished to perfection... not in this life, but in the next.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

young men

Nathan and Spencer both got up and got dressed and went off to church by themselves this morning. Tom was up late working on his lessons and I overslept.

Our young men are becoming more mature and it is fascinating to watch them grow up. Living here has helped both of them mature. Last night Spencer went to the supermarket and got everything we need for dinner. Nathan cleaned the kitchen while Spencer was gone.

I wonder what the future holds for both of them?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

april 1st

Today is the traditional day for practical jokes. So when Spencer came home and told us that he thought one of the neighbors was dead I didn't believe him. I am not sure that Tom or Nathan did either.

But, sadly, it is true. About a half hour after Spencer's announcement I went to our little post office to mail some letters. I had to pass by the door where a large Orthodox cross was standing and the top half of a casket. Four hours later... when we were coming home from a shopping trip we saw the funeral. She must have died three days ago. She would have been laid in her living room laid out for viewing. Then the burial is on the third day. I will have to check with the teachers to find out for sure.

I didn't make it back to the women's conference. I decided to sleep in. We have church tomorrow and then back to school on Monday. The last time I spoke with Joyce H. about school she was on lesson 129 of 130. We all start lesson 42 on Monday! Tom has spent this past week working on the 11 lessons that his class was behind. And he is ready to join Spencer on Monday.

I have had this blog for over a year now. Last year on April Fools I allowed Nathan to post for me. He wrote about me having a tragic accident with a knitting needle. I don't know if that was wishful thinking or just his imagination running wild!