Friday, June 30, 2006

St. Mary of the Angels


I found a photo online of the church that I visited first! Hopefully, when Erin gets here I can put my own pictures on the photo blog.

I have been checking in at internet cafes to get email and see how the guys are doing. You can only put so much info into a text message! So email is still the most effective way to find out what is going on at home.

Tom said they watched a couple of Nathan's zombie movies yesterday. I am glad that I missed out on that.

If I were in Krasnodar I would escape the heat by staying in our airconditioned apartment. If I were in California I would go to the mall. Here in Assisi the only place to beat the heat is in a church! I spent most of yesterday in two different churches. I went back to St. Mary's and I went up the hill to St. Francis' church.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

St Peter and Paul Day

Today is a holiday. I thought Russia had a lot of holidays but Italy has some interesting ones too. A lot of markets and stores are shut down for the day but most of the bars are still open!

It is very tranquil here. Not at all like Rome. Franciscan monks stroll around barefoot singing. Groups of monks meet for discussion and prayer on the church steps. Doves walk around in church like they own the place. This is a very spirit-filled city. There are not many tourists to be seen. Most people seem to be pilgrims here... perhaps to experience what St. Francis did while he was here. Cameras are rarely seen and photos are not allowed in the churches.

Yesterday I was at Basilica Santa Maria Degli Angeli. Today my plan is to go to the Basilica dedicated to St. Francis. It was built after his death. The church he actually attended was Santa Maria Degli Angeli.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Assisi

Assisi is beautiful and hot! I got to Rome and found the train station right away this time. I rode into the Termini Station and was able to enjoy lunch at McDonald's. I have an Italian cell phone number so I am able to talk with the guys back home. And with Erin in the states. The chip for my phone was only 20 euros... not a bad deal.

I left Termini and travelled to Assisi. It was a two hour train ride. The train was nice. My hotel is lovely. I wish I could post a photo. I have already visited the church where St Francis first heard from God.

I had dinner at a little cafe and then I had to go in search of the internet! I will be here in Assisi until the second of July. Maybe by then I will stop speaking Russian and actually get out a few words or phrases in Italian!

Tom and Vasa got up early and took me to the airport. I hope they were both able to get some rest today. We left our place at three am. Tom said that they had car trouble on the way home. But, they did make it back safely. Spencer was hanging out over at Andrew's. His family is back from Helsinki and then will leave tomorrow for Moscow. Spencer just has to get his fix of being with his other family!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where am I going?

I am headed to Assisi, Italy. http://www.umbriabest.com/cities/assisi/index.htm I will be ther from the 28th until the 2nd. I am hoping to meet some WorldVenture people while I am there. then I head to Rome to meet up with Erin and James.

Either Tom or I will keep the blog updated. He will have tales to tell of his travels once he reaches America in late July.

The guys are staying home.... they keep joking about having a party.

I just can't imagine Nathan's youth group and Spencer's friends (Tobias &Andrew) causing to much trouble.

Hopefully, they won't try to prove me wrong!

leaving on a jet plane!

Tom and Vasa will be taking me to the airport at 3 am. My flight leaves at 5am. We had a lot to do today getting me ready to go. The most important errand was our HIV testing.

Yep, it is that time of year again. Each year as part of the visa renewal fun we have to be re-tested. We had the tests done around 9:30 and the results were ready by noon.

Our family watched "V for Vendetta" for this evenings entertainment. Right now Alonna, Vasa and Tom are watching "Pink Panther".

Lena and Dima stopped by to pick up a CD of their wedding pictures. They are living with Dima's parents right now until the repair work on their new apartment is finished.

Lena Parhomenka told me not to forget Russian while I am gone. I am to listen to, read and speak Russian whenever I get a chance. Actually there should be some Russian tours at some of the sites. Lena wants me to take one every week!

Tom says he has found a new language helper. She is 2 1/2. She speaks slowly and repeats everything she says and everything everyone around her says so she is easy to learn from! One of the many benefits for taking in a Russian family. We are getting lots of practice in.

Monday, June 26, 2006

from 2 to 7!

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week there were two quiet adults in this apartment.

On Thursday we added three more adults and a preschooler.

On Saturday a teenager came into the mix.

This morning Tom and I were discussing how clean the apartment is. We have 5 adults, 1 teenager and 1 preschooler in the house right now. The kitchen and bathroom are clean.

Why is it hard to keep those rooms clean when it is just three adults and a teenager?

Maybe the two adult guests that are here are the reason it is so clean!!

*** Special thanks to Becky in North Carolina... we went through the twinkies in the blink of an eye!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tortured Child Will Stay in US

Adopted Russian Child Tortured by Foster Mother to Remain in U.S.

MosNews


The adopted 4-year-old Russian child who was beaten by a U.S. woman will stay in the area and be adopted by a new family.The child, whose name and picture is being withheld by the newspaper, is a United States resident and will not return to Russia, The Evening Tribune reports.“I saw him about three weeks ago, and I have had contact with the foster parents and others who have contact with him, and he is doing very well,” said the child’s legal counsel, Thomas Fuoco of Angelica. “Yes, he will still be around here. I don’t foresee any difficulties in this family adopting him, and the three of them make a wonderful family.”

On Tuesday, Allegany County Court Judge Thomas Brown sentenced Jane Cochran, 44 to 120 days in jail, 90 days on electronic home monitoring, five years of probation and to serve 100 hours of community service. Her husband, Timothy Cochran, 49, will spend 60 days in jail and will be on probation for three years.The Cochrans went jointly to Russia to adopt the child and as a result, he will remain here.“He is a U.S. citizen. If both parents go to the foreign country and adopt the child, upon return to the United States he becomes a U.S. citizen,” Fuoco said. “The problem is, when one parents goes, the other has to file papers. But when both go, it’s automatically done.”On Jan. 31, Alfred Police charged Jane Cochran with second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child and charged Timothy Cochran with endangering the welfare of a child.

Police said Jane Cochran allegedly beat their adopted 4-year-old child from Russia because he did not read his prayers in English well and allegedly cut the child’s ear with scissors while making other threats.Jane Cochran was asked by her attorney, Nick Jonas, if she used a wooden spoon, a belt and other implements to beat the 4-year-old and she said “yes.”

Spencer is home!



Yesterday Spencer came back from Moscow. He left home on Tuesday and was there until Satuday. He was with our friends Jody and Melanie http://www.ratsnrussia.blogspot.com/

Melanie and Jody were students at the language school. Melanie was the one who took me to Vishevoy Reenock and exposed me to aisles and aisles of clothes! They have three children.

Spencer was orginally going to go to Khabarisk to visit them. But the other person he was scheduled to fly with was afraid to fly that far away for her first airplane trip. Then we found out that their family was going to be in Moscow for several days. And Leeza (the kids former nanny) agreed to go on that trip. Moscow is only two hours away by plane but Khabarisk is 9 hours away.

Spencer said that Leeza was so nervous that she grabbed his hand at take off and didn't let it go until they landed. She is 23. They arrived at Melanie and Jody's apartment by metro! (subway) We gave Spencer taxi money but they decided to use public transport instead.

Spencer was not blown away with Moscow. There are beautiful things to see there but it is loud, busy and full of rude people. Like... New York! He said people didn't apologize for bumping you like they do here. And many things they wanted to buy were expensive. That is everything except for telephones. He used the birthday money from us and his grandparents to buy a new camera phone.

He went to Red Square once and to McDonalds three times. Teenagers have priorities! Melanie and Jody left very early Thursday morning for a trip to Poland. Fortunately for Spencer and Leeza she has family that live in Moscow. So they were able to spend Thursday and Friday night with Leeza's Aunt and Uncle.

Spencer was completely immersed in Russian while he was gone. He enjoyed being with Aidan, Leia and Makayla. He didn't enjoy the "white nights". He said the sun went down at midnight and came back up around four a.m. It was hard for the little ones to go to sleep. He said McDonald's tasted like "normal" and Red Square was "cool". He seemed most excited about the new cell phone!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Food choices

Yesterday for dinner I made a spaghetti and meatballs. I chose to go over to City Center and get the ground beef. They have the best ground beef in the supermarket there.

When I asked the woman at the counter for a kilogram (2.2lbs) of ground beef she looked at me and then told me she had a question. She wanted to know why so many foreigners like the plain ground beef. I told here that many Americans like to eat hamburgers. She asked if we had good tasting beef in America.

Here in Russia it is common for the ground beef to be mixed with pork. The pork makes the beef taste better.

our house guests



Our guests have a two and a half year old daughter. Her name is Dionna.
(dee-ohn-nah)
She is such a joy. Last night she sang for us for about a half hour. She sings about whatever is around her. She will sing about chairs, dishes, towels... basically whatever is in the room she is in.


Last night she picked up one of my crochet hooks and used it as a microphone. And she can switch from Russian to English without any trouble!

Her parents have planted a church in Derbent, Dahgestan. They are Russian nationals who graduated from the BLTC two years ago. We were blessed to have been here on our scouting trip when they graduated. We attended the graduation, Tom also taught some of the final sessions, and he remembers most of the men who were his students. (Lena and Alexei were also in that graduating class). And now it is an honor to have them staying with us.

The church is in a Muslim area and right now they have about 40 people. Their names are Alonna (ah-loan-nah) and Vasa. Vasa told us last night at dinner that they have seven different people groups attending the church. He said that each week they allow a different people group to do the worship. They are enjoying songs from each of the nationalities represented.

Vasa also told us about a time when he went to go have some copies of songs transferred from a floppy to a disk. The clerk asked him what was on the floppy. When he heard that it contained Christian music, the clerk threw the floppy back at him and refused to do the work.

I asked him if living there was dangerous. He said “yes, but there is danger all over the world.” They are very committed to the area even though he knows he could be killed or harmed.
Please pray for the church in Derbent and for those who are willing to work in that area.
Please pray for a safe birth of their second child. Alonna will be here in Krasnodar until the baby is born.

new look...

my new hairdo for the summer! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The woman who did my hair told me that her mother is African and her father is French.  That means I had a FRENCH woman doing my FRENCH braids! 

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Women from Cameroon doing hair on a Russian beach!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
 cotton candy... just like they used to do at the State Fair!


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



Anapa sunset

Anapa BLTC Women's Retreat 2006

We enjoyed having makeovers, the beach and great teaching by Diane and Linda. Each woman has a new hairstyle... cut and/or color according to what she wanted.

We had women from Uzbekastan, Dahgestan, Russia and America.

The hairstylist, Janath, is from Houston, Texas and has 27 years experience. She teaches in a college and owns her own salon. On the bus coming home a woman from Uzbekestan asked me to tell Janath that her name in the Uzbekastani language means Paradise. And that is Paradise as in the words of Jesus saying "today you will be with me in Paradise".

I left home worried about my ability to speak Russian. I came home with a refreshed spirit and having been told that "it is obvious" by the way I speak that I "have spent a lot of time with Russians"!

I need to go and get our home ready for some guests that are coming this evening. We have a missionary couple who work in Dahgestan coming to stay with us for awhile. They are Russian nationals and they work under difficult living conditions there.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yesterday was 'Travel Day'!


Congrats to 3 former LA Lakers (Coach Riley, Shaq & GP) for their recent NBA Championship title! I’ve only read about the NBA playoffs on the internet, as sports here have a bad case of World Cup fever, & nothing else.

Alida left for a women’s leadership retreat in the beautiful resort city of Anapa on the Black Sea…one of the benefits of living so close to the water. I took Spencer to the airport for his flight to Moscow. He & friend Leeza will be visiting some former language school students who moved away. Leeza had never flown before, so she relied on the experience of Spencer to guide them thru the airport protocol. Meanwhile, Nathan & I are enjoying incredible silence!!! I’m not saying that Alida & Spencer are loud & noisy…but having too less people around certainly changes things…especially when they are two loud & noisy people! (The opinions of this blog post do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the owner of this blog, & may be representative only of the guest commentator).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Making friends in Russia

Making friends takes time here. First you are an aquaintance. Then you become a friend... if you are fortunate you may graduate to close friend.

We have someone that we know whom we consider a close family friend but this person doesn't think they know us that well yet. It stings a little bit. But, we understand it. It is a cultural difference.

Maybe, we Americans call someone "friend" too soon. Maybe, Russians don't do it soon enough. We will continue to love this person no matter what. It is worth it!


And thank you to the close friend who told me my old blog color was about to make her sick... she is a true friend!

you have the right blog!




Tom asked Lena to take a new photo of us... here is one of the poses you can see two others on the photo blog.

www.sharpmomphotos.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 18, 2006

another Russian holiday!

We watched a great movie tonight with Alexei, Lena and her brother Slavic. They came by to tell us about how church was today. We were being lazy "heathens" (as one of my Aunts would say) and didn't go. Everybody needs a day off now and then!

Spencer baked a cake for his Father's Day gift to Tom. All I had to do was make the frosting! I never made frosting until moving here. But, when you cannot go to the market and just buy a jar you 'do what yah gotta do!'

Nathan made lunch and took a special trip out of the house to purchase a card for his dad. Only somehow between home and the store he got it in his head that today was Tom's birthday and not Father's Day. He came home with a very funny birthday card for his Dad.

Remember where we live? This is Russia and Father's Day is not celebrated here. When Alexei came over he told us that today is a holiday... Day of Medicine. Seriously, there is a Day of Knowledge and Day for Teachers and so on. Today is Medicine Day.

Happy Day of Medicine!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday in Krasnodar

Spencer went to hang out in our old neighborhood. He stopped by to say hello to Iris and JB. I think a few of you have actually spoken with JB. He gave you our phone number!

Tom went to his AA meeting and got some photos taken. I think he may add them to his powerpoint presentation for America. It was great that all the attendees were open to having their photo taken.

Nathan and I went shopping over at City Center. I wanted to purchase some frozen food for the guys while I am gone next week. I leave for Anapa on the Black Sea on Tuesday and we will be back Thursday afternoon. The women of the BLTC are going there for our retreat. It will be my first experience at a Woman's Retreat in Russian. I will most likely stick close to Lena. She is good at explaining things using words I already know! We have women coming from Uzbekastan, Dagestan and Nalchick. I think there will only be about 6 of us who are native English speakers.

the joy of cigarettes

Yesterday, Spencer and I went out to do some shopping. We left early in the morning and the first thing we saw at the bus stop was:

three guys smoking cigarettes and sharing a beer for breakfast!

yes, three men one bottle.


Then around noon we saw:

a woman enjoying a milkshake and a cigarette for lunch.

I cannot imagine what that shake tasted like!


As we were headed to the tram stop we saw Spencer's favorite:

a man riding a bicycle and smoking a cigarette.

Spencer's comment was "now, that's multi-tasking!"


Coming from California the sight of someone smoking just strikes us as odd. After all, in California, there are places where you cannot even smoke outdoors (like the beach) and in your own home (like some condos).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Fever!

Tom has been tuning in as well! Sports are easy to understand in any language!

Russian Soccer Fans Will Play Truant to Watch World Cup Matches
MosNews


25 percent of Russian soccer fans admitted to pollsters in the run-up to the World Cup that they were set to leave their work desks earlier than usual so as not to be late for television broadcasts from Germany. 4 percent said they would call in sick and remain at home, while another 5 percent said they would take days off, a survey held by a human resources web portal EuropeTalent.com has revealed. If Russia had qualified for the finals, the Vedomosti daily newspaper suggested, the situation would have been different. “You have to respect the wishes of your employees if you want them to stay loyal to you,” notes Ruslan Nikiforov, partner at AMT Consulting Group. Nikiforov says he has allowed his subordinates to watch TV, listen to radio reports from German football arenas and check related news reports on the web. To prevent their staff from skipping work, many companies, including Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, had television screens installed on the premises. InFocus installed large monitors in halls and elevators. Executives hope that broadcasts will not reflect on their subordinates’ performance.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why do Americans eat so much corn?

Lena and Alexei came over for dinner tonight. Alexei made me realize that I still cook like an American. Tom prepared the chicken breasts while I did a potato & cheese dish. To go along with that I made corn and green beans. Each of the vegetable dishes were separate. I guess they have had dinner with other Americans who also separate the veggies! Lena said that most Russians would mix the veggies into some type of salad. Corn is usually served in a crab salad that is quite popular.

After everyone was served and we started to eat Alexei asked "why do Americans eat so much corn?" Tom asked him "why do Russians eat so much cabbage?" the answer to both questions is simple. Because it is available! We talked about how many different states in America that corn is grown in. And we talked about cabbages being plentiful here.

After dinner we watched a bit of the World Cup soccer game. Spain was playing Ukraine. Ukraine lost but Lena was ok with that!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Unexpected Visitors

I never thought about how the people who drop by unexpectedly might feel... until yesterday.

Yesterday, as I was on my home from the restaurant with Joyce, I had to make an unexpected pit stop at Charles and Betty's. I know I should have gone at the restaurant but I thought I could make it home. It was pretty embarrassing for a woman my age to knock on someone's door and ask to use to the restroom! It's not like I had a small child to cover for me!

Anyway, Charles and Betty have a lovely home. And the next time we have an unexpected visitor I am sure I will be much more understanding!

If you order it will it come?

I got up early yesterday and ordered the water... but, yesterday was a holiday. We are still waiting! When I called to ask her what happened she said that they worked a short day due to the holiday. Yesterday was Russian Independence Day. The school was closed and transportation was slow throughout the city.

I went out to lunch with Joyce B. we ate at Al-Hatib. It is a nice little cafe. It was fun spending time with Joyce. For those of you in/or from California Joyce is from Beaumont. Soon Joyce will be on her way to London. Possibly to work there. We hope it all falls into place for her!

Our friends Bill and Judi were able to get their visas renewed with no problems. Now they are having a two week vacation with the kids in Helsinki, Finland. It was an answer to prayer that everything worked out for them. Our family remembers all too well being stuck in Odessa, Ukraine for a month. Bill and Judi didn't want to do that with four kids!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ordering water

We only drink filtered water here. It is really not a big deal. We did it in California too. I don't think we have had water from a tap since leaving Kansas. I remember the water in Kansas being fresh and sweet... and then in California it had a color!

We found a service that we can call and they deliver to our apartment. It seems so much easier to let someone else climb the four flights of stairs. Right now we are going through two 19 liter bottles a week. We use it for cooking and for drinking.

In talking to Lena's brother Slavic he says that the water here in Krasnodar is not good because it comes from the Kuban River. And the pipes that it travels through are not very good. Many Russians only drink it after it has been boiled or filtered. We have heard of people who have developed kidney stones from the chemicals in the water here.

Carbonated drinks like Pepsi or Fanta are called "sweet water". You can order water "with" or "without" gas.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

toe up crocheted socks & a movie!

Joyce B. came over today and we watched her DVD of The Best of Will Farrell. I guess you have to be an SNL fan to appreciate the humor. But, no matter what we watch with Joyce it's a hoot!

She was amazed that as I was watching I made a sock. I found this very simple pattern http://www.graftonfibers.com/socks.htm on the internet and thought I would give it a try.

I finished the mate while watching Harry Potter. Just another lazy Saturday afternoon.

Tom went off to his AA meeting. Spencer was spending the day with Andrew. His family leaves tomorrow. Nathan was reading a Stephen King book.

Spencer and Tom got home around the same time this evening. The buses were not running very smoothly. Spencer and Andrew rode two different buses that didn't finish the route. Tom waited longer than usual and actually walked part of the way to find a better bus stop. Both he and Spencer have reports of seeing many drunk people out tonight. Tom said the conductor on the bus was totally wasted... the conductor is not the driver. The conductor just sells the tickets to the passengers when they get on. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 09, 2006

Arboose


Ar-boose is Russian for watermelon. We found a great one today. Or I should say Tom did. There is a vendor down at our market that he likes a lot. It was a good size and very sweet. Lena says the best watermelons will come a little later when they are bigger. The one we had today was just a little guy!

Spencer came home all worn out. He didn't even make it over to Andrew's for his regular Friday visit. I got a text message from Judi saying she missed him. He is one of her extra kids! Spencer said the family he worked for had a big patio area that he swept completely clean in front and in back of the house. He was happy to have made some money. Knowing Spencer he is saving it for his time in Moscow.

We got a package of books today. It was great to read a new book. I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I enjoyed it a great deal. It was a fast read. I finished it while Tom and Nathan were watching Blade Runner.

Nathan went over to the post office with Olya's passport. At first they told him "no!". But, Olya called over there and straightened them out! Don't mess up the plans of a pregnant woman... she was not going over there no matter what they said. They finally conceded and gave the package to Nathan. I doubt Olya will go to the post office anytime soon. Hopefully, the gals over there will get used to seeing one of our guys picking up packages!

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is not just an American show. We stumbled across it a few weeks ago. And now it is a Sunday evening highlight. Because the questions & answers are printed on the screen we can play along. In Russian the title is кто хочет стать миллионаром?
Which would be pronounced Ktoh khochet stat millionarom. The highest prize is 3 million rubles...according to today's rate that is $111,104.83.

One of the teachers at school Madina, also watches the show. She enjoys playing along as well. At the end of the show they ask a question for the audience. If you are the first to phone in with the right answer you will win a prize. If we win we'll let you know! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Raining night and day!

It rained fairly hard last night and just stopped raining about a half hour ago. Lena is here cleaning ( she took over to give Olya a break in the final months of her pregnancy).

Nathan seems to have slept in as he is still in his room... When Lena peeked in there to see if she could clean his room she found Brownie asleep near Nathan's feet. Tom went in to look and wanted a photo. By the time I took a look it woke Brownie up. Photo op was lost! I led Brownie back to her kennel. And will tell Nathan when he wakes up about his visitor.

Spencer went off to school. He is so faithful to get up and make himself breakfast and a lunch and ride across town on his own. In California he never rode on public transportation alone. Here, even the smallest of children can be seen riding the bus to school on their own. They are shown the route once. After that they are expected to do it themselves. It is not that hard. Usually the conductor knows where the child needs to get off and makes sure it happens. Spencer said he doesn't get asked to show his bus pass most days. The conductor knows that he has one so why bother walking all the way over there to see it!

Tom told me that he and Tim had lunch at the American Diner yesterday. Tom was happy that he got a cheeseburger. They guys have all been there and speak highly of it. Maybe we will head there for Father's Day. It is not a holiday here so it shouldn't be overwhelmed with people.


We do have another Russian holiday coming up on Monday. It is like their independence day. That means we will not have school on Monday. Long weekends are always nice.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday Blahs

Today was my last class with Judi H. Her family is leaving for Helsinki a week earlier than they had planned. We pray that their visa renewal goes smoothly and that everything gets done in time for Bill to make it to Moscow on the date he is scheduled to be there.

Kathy and Mike have left and will soon be living in Kazakstan.

Yesterday, Andrew arrived and saved the day! He brought over two kilos of strawberries. Tom, Spencer and Andrew made an assembly line and got the berries cleaned and ready. We have 12 jars of jam put away. They are wrapped in my winter coat and are still cooling down under the kitchen table. Lena says it is best if they are allowed to cool down over a three day period. I touched one of the jars this morning and it was still warm!

Today we enjoyed bacon courtesy of Tim of Joy. Tom and Tim had lunch together today and Tim brought the bacon over as a gift! Nathan sent Tim home with a gift for TJ. He has been enjoying playing gameboy games and Nathan had the game Nintendogs that he was no longer playing and thought it would be perfect for TJ.

Today's sighting:
The big kids (teens) on the playground were playing soccer. The little kids were playing volleyball. The little ones could barely get the ball over the net. But, they seemed to be having fun trying!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

end of the strawberry line

We have been searching for strawberries today.

We looked all over in our region for strawberries and everyone was sold out! We kept being told maybe later this evening after more have been picked. Spencer's friend Andrew found some for us over in his area. So he will bring them over.

It is jam making time here. Lena was going to help us today with our first batch. I have 4 kilograms of sugar. I have the pectin. But no berries yet. We have been saving jars all year. So we are all set... just waiting for Andrew to arrive. He will be Mr. Hero when he gets here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

rug cleaning

The other day as I was looking out our kitchen window I got to see a man cleaning a rug. This is not an unusual occurence... this job is done by men or women. What made this so interesting is the strap he is using to beat the rug with. Most of the people we watch use a broom handle or some type of stick. This guy was "beating the tar" out of this rug. The rug stayed outside for a few days before he came back to get it. A few dogs enjoyed the shade it provided for their naps! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Russian Diplomat Killed, 4 Abducted in Iraq

Russian Diplomat Killed, 4 Abducted in Iraq
Created: 03.06.2006 16:53 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:53 MSK
document.write(get_ago(1149339217)); , 18 hours 14 minutes ago
MosNews


One Russian diplomat was killed and four diplomatic employees were abducted in the Iraqi capital on Saturday, the Associated Press reported quoting a Russian Embassy official in Baghdad.“Yes, I can confirm this. One diplomat killed, four employees kidnapped. That’s all I can say. No commentary,” the official, contacted by telephone from Moscow, told The Associated Press. He refused to give his name or provide any further details.Police in Baghdad said witnesses at the scene told them that gunmen opened fire on a car that belonged to the Russians in west Baghdad’s upscale Mansour district.Interior Ministry Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohamedawi said one person was killed in the incident.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

German food from Kansas

The other night when we had dinner with Joy she was talking about a time when she was in Marion, Kansas. Tim's family is from there and they were having a family reunion.

She remembered eating bierochs. It has been a long time since Tom and I had them! Tom was saying we don't need a recipe because we know exactly what is in them. Cabbage, cooked ground beef (onions, if you like) and they are wrapped in bread dough and baked. Simple!

I found a premade bread dough that is for crescent rolls and it worked great. Cut the dough into squares and fill with cabbage and meat mixture. Serve with sour cream.

We want the boys to get in touch with their Kansas roots. Remembering this recipe was a great step in that direction!

Friday, June 02, 2006

cocktails!

I am sure you are wondering why I am talking about cocktails....

In Russian the word means "shake" as in milkshake! We are enjoying having a blender and all the fresh fruit there is here to make a shake or a smoothie with. For those of you in California think: Jamba Juice! For those in the midwest think: Orange Julius!

YUM!

Tom made a strawberry smoothie for Lena yesterday. Fresh strawberries, vanilla ice cream and multi-fruit juice. She loved it. She was excited because she and Alexei just got a blender and she was not sure what to do with it! Now she knows exactly what she wants to do.

Strawberries have gotten very cheap now. So Lena and I are planning to make jam on Monday. We will also prepare some for freezing. Hopefully, I will be here for raspberry season too. I would love to get some raspberry jam made this year!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hannah and Nathan are twins!

We had dinner with Joy, TJ and Hannah. We hadn't spent time with them in over a year. TJ wanted to make sure that Nathan and Spencer REALLY lived here. So he asked his mom again just before we arrived at their home.

After dinner the four of them were running through the house playing with toy guns.

TJ is 7. Hannah is 5. Spencer is 16 and Nathan will be 19 in a few months.

At one point Joy noticed that TJ was wearing a Buzz LightYear arm band and she mentioned it to us. Tom noticed that Spencer had one on too. When the kids were questioned about it we found out that it signified Spencer and TJ being on the same team. Nathan said that he and Hannah were on the "not glasses" team. Hannah said very excitedly "Nathan and I are twins!". We also found out from Hannah that their team's secret hiding place was.... in the closet. Don't tell Spencer and TJ!