Friday, October 31, 2008

Strolling Krasnaya

Tom and I were down on the main street last Sunday and we were able to see the changing of the guards!!  The men are dressed as traditional Cossacks.  Click here to read more about Cossacks.  We have never seen this before and from the reaction of the crowd standing around to watch and take pictures it was new for a lot of people! 

Walking on Krasnaya Street (which means red street) is definitely a cultural experience.  The street is closed to car traffic Friday through Sunday.  It is fun to see families out walking together, hear all the street bands along the way and check out the sights and sounds of our city.  You can also collect flyers from all the businesses who send people out to walk the street to advertise for them. 

I think Tom is planning to do a pastel of these photos... when he finishes I will post the results!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Iris tagged Sarah and Sarah tagged me so I will try to answer these questions with one word answers and then tag 7 other bloggers. I'll see if I can do it but the one word part is HARD!!

1. Where is your cell phone? pocket
2. Where is your significant other? artroom
3. Your hair color? Salt and Pepper (I say it like it’s one word!)
4. Your mother? Kathryn
5. Your father? John
6. Your favorite thing? Worship
7. Your dream last night? fogotten
8. Your dream/goal? Russian fluency
9. The room you’re in? hallway
10. Your hobby? crocheting
11. Your fear? Kids getting injured
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here.
13. Where were you last night? Home.
14. What you’re not? young
15. One of your wish list items? Monk on DVD
16. Where you grew up? America
17. The last thing you did? Facebooked!
18. What are you wearing? jammies
19. Your tv? Necessary
20. Your pet? none
21. Your computer? Dell
22. Your mood? Peaceful
23. Missing someone? Nathan and Spencer
24. Your car? none
25. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
26. Favorite store? Barnes and Noble
27. Your summer? Awesome
28. Love someone? Yup, for almost 30 years!
29. Your favorite color? Lime green
30. When was the last time you laughed? A few minutes ago
31. Last time you cried? A few days ago

These are the lucky people that I am tagging!  Have fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

thought for today

The art of avoiding extremes is an art that is drawn on the canvas of maturity and painted with the abstract strokes of many experiences.

T.D. Jakes, from his book The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord

I love T.D. Jakes' words pictures... he always gets his point across in a very vivid way for me!  The context of the quote is about learning the balance between selfishness and self denial.  Each day we are faced with choices.  T.D. 's words remind me that learning to set healthy boundaries and avoiding extremes is part of maturing as a woman and as a human being. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

finally back up and running!

Just after I checked email and posted to the blog last week our computer crashed...We have just had one adventure after another here lately!  

The plumbing is finally fixed.  
The wall paper just needs to be reglued down.
Tom fixed the lights on the balcony.
The computer crashed the same day.

Our friend Lena B. told me that her husband Valera could fix anything that could possibly go wrong with a computer... and we are so grateful to him for saving us from having to purchase a new hard drive! He even installed some programs that we didn't have before.  He said it took longer for him because he installed everything for us in English! 

I will be able to write more later when I can think clearly.  It is after one am... Valera just left.  And I have 136 emails to answer!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thought for Today

“Today, let’s educate ourselves. Let’s take a class. Let’s read newspapers, books, magazines. Let’s ask questions and get involved with issues. Let’s learn about the environment, politics, sociology, philosophy, psychology or any other discipline that interests us. An education opens the door to a world of opportunity. All we have to do is turn the key.”
Carleen Brice, author of Walk Tall, Affirmations for People of Color

This affirmation for today reminded me about a friend who has started taking German lessons again. She is 50. I pray that I will always be open to learning new things!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

windows into Krasnodar

Posted by Picasa

Tom has been working on a series of pastels that give a small glimpse of the culture here through his eyes. This little lady is known affectionately as "The cat Babushka".

She sits out on the stoop and feeds all the neighborhood cats!

Monday, October 20, 2008

getting ready for winter!

Posted by Picasa

Tom and I decided this year to go shopping early for our winter boots. We found his at a place called the Shoe Factory and mine at Clark's. Mine are last years model but were on sale for 50% off. My feet won't care that they are sporting last year's boots... they will be glad for the nice warm lining inside when it is -30 or more!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Repairs are almost complete!

Posted by Picasa

The wallpaper was carefully pulled back and taped down to keep it out of the way. The old pipes were cut out and replaced with new. There are other repairs going on in our building so all of the water is shut down for the radiator system. When everyone is ready the water will be turned on so the repairs can be verified as successful. If so, the guys will come back and fill the wall back in and reglue the wallpaper. If not they will fix whatever needs to be adjusted and then close the wall.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel and this time I don't think that it is an oncoming train!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

update on the leak

earlier this week this was the scene in the kitchen...

you can see a line on the wall showing where the wallpaper was affected by the constant dripping.

a day later it looked like this...

The source of the leak is dscovered and the problem diagnosed!

now it looks like this!

The wall had to be opened up to gain access to the leak. The red wire is leading the drips directly into a bucket on the floor.

Hopefully, by Saturday all the repairs will be complete. This event has really taxed my Russian vocabulary. I should have paid more attention during those lessons about repair and tool names. But I honestly never expected to say the words spackle or chisel in a conversation!

Please pray that all goes smoothly from here on out!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thought for Today

We are a family of readers... Earlier this week I was reading a book of lists called Lists to Live By and came across this list that truly spoke to my heart!

17 Ways to Encourage Reading
1. visit the library
2. watch movies of classics
3. create a reading nook
4. listen to books on tape
5. act out stories together
6. be a reading role model
7. get your child a journal to record his/ her
thoughts and read them again later
8. read classic books aloud
9. subscribe to children's magazines
10. help your child write and illustrate his own book
11. tolerate comic books
12. keep reading time quiet
13. pursue special interests through books
14. attend a book signing
15. break long books into manageable chunks
16. visit bookstores
17. introduce series books

Some of my favorite memories as a family come from pursuing our common interest in books... you can ask Spencer about getting lost in Beverly Hills looking for the LA Book Festival. Or ask Nathan about being in line at midnight to get the latest Harry Potter book! We love books, yes we do!

PS. the leak in the kitchen: two plumbers came out yesterday and after looking at the leak left to go get their boss... we have not seen them since. We have a call in to find out if they are coming back today. The saga continues!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

water leakage again!

Each year that we have lived here there has been a leak in a pipe somewhere in our apartment... this year is no exception.

Tom just turned off the water to all the pipes and we are waiting for a plumber to get here. Oh, the joys of being the owners and not renting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spinach Pasta

Posted by Picasa

I shop at Tabris for most of our groceries... it is a European style market and carries items from various countries around the world. I like shopping there because I get a discount on everything that I purchase.

With Spencer and Nathan both gone Tom and I are trying new things that we know that guys would not like but think we might enjoy. So with that in mind I purchased the spinach pasta.

All of the instructions were written in German...I did figure out that it needed to cook for only 4-6 minutes though.

And as for taste... it was great!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I did it!!!

Finally!!! It has taken me a year and 10 months to reach my goal weight... what a long road this has been. Now the hard part begins...maintaining!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

This week in pictures...

Tom bought these Italian Roses for me!

He moved one of the chairs out of the living room into our bedroom to create a new napping spot!

Views from our bedroom window...

Posted by Picasa

There is construction going on outside of our living room window... at night the crane is lit up!!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thought for Today

I have a book called Women of Prayer. It is an anthology of everyday prayers from women around the world. It was complied by Dorothy Stewart. As I was reading this week I came across one that I wanted to share with you all today:

Loving like a mother, trusting like a child

Mother me, my Father
That I may step unbowed
From safe with your haven
To face a hostile crowd.

Mother me, my Father,
And help ease the pain
Of taunts and tears and teasing
And make me love again.

Mother me, my Father,
With hands so deeply scarred,
That I may touch some other
Whose suffering is hard.

Mother me, my Father,
That all my life be styled
On loving like a mother
And trusting like a child.

Helena McKinnon

Each day as I seek to deepen relationships with the young women around me I find myself between these two positions: I want to love them as a mother loves her children constantly seeking God to meet their needs in a healthy way and I have to trust in the strength of God as a nursing child trusts in their mother to provide the nourishment I need for my daily tasks and my own spiritual growth!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Major quake in Kyrgyzstan claims 72

Late last night we heard news of this tragedy:
"At least 72 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a devastating earthquake in Kyrgyzstan, which also destroyed 120 houses. Emergency services are now working at the site. Seismologists say there could still be aftershocks or even another quake."

You can go here for the rest of the story

This country is part of the former Soviet Union and is south of Russia between Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. This news caught our attention because one of Spencer's roommates in Ukraine is from there. We have not yet heard if anyone in his family was affected by the quake.

Please keep this in your prayers!

Monday, October 06, 2008

what's new at the market!

Finding this pablano pepper at the supermarket was a rare treat!! I roasted it and then added it to the beef flautas I made for our weekly Mexican food night!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

weighing in!

No change for me this week... I feel frustrated and relieved about that. Relieved that I didn't gain but frustrated to be so close to my goal and unable to get there!!

Hot for the Holidays

We were able to speak with Spencer last night!! He does not have internet access. He is rooming with 6 other young men. Three are from Ukraine, one from Russia, one from Turjikistan and the other from Kurgistan. They all speak Russian so that is the language Spencer is having to communicate in with all of his roommates... lucky for him he speaks very well!

He says that there are 20 students all together, and including him there are only 4 Americans! He is going to school from 9am-4 or 5 pm daily and says that he is learning a lot!!!

They put him and his roommates to work right away there... they were told they would get a discount on the rent if they wallpapered the rooms themselves, so the guys worked together and got it done!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

running errands...

Tom and I spent this afternoon getting his passport translated into Russian. This was a requirement to opening a bank account here in Krasnodar. The translation took about 40 minutes...however that combined with the translation office closing for their daily break meant that we had two hours to kill before his passport would be available.

We walked over to Krasnaya, the main street here that everyone likes to stroll down. And on the way there we found this cute little café. I had a Russian pancake filled with feta cheese and tomatoes and Tom had spaghetti with bacon.

We discovered that Teacher's Day was being celebrated at the Concert Hall. It was fun to see the teachers lined up to have their photos taken!

It is traditional here to leave flowers on monuments...

There was a wonderful exhibit of artwork by students from various schools!

This piece was done by a 12 year old!

Posted by Picasa

After picking up Tom's documents we went to have them notarized and then off to the bank to open the account. It was definitely a full day!