Friday, January 29, 2010

Chechen flatbread with an American Twist

I made the Chepalgish again the other day but was out of cottage cheese. So I chose to use some grated cheese instead. It rolled out nicely and fried up a beautiful golden brown. For the final step I chose to add lemon pepper and garlic salt to the melted butter to lightly drizzle on each layer... the guys said it was a hit!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 28, 2010

locks and keys

For several days our front door has been tricky to open. Tom tried to lubricate it to see if that would fix it. But, no such luck.

Spencer came home the other night and he could not get the door open. His key would not turn and he could not get it out of the door. Tom had to take off the back panel to reach the lock itself.

Without the panel on the door it is just a shell of metal.

Tom took the lock apart to open the door.

We had to use the slider to keep the door locked.
Posted by Picasa

We needed to find a repairman to come out and tell us where or not we needed a new door or if we could just put in a new lock. Anotoly, the repairman came and decided that a new lock could be put on the door. He went with Tom and Spencer over to a little hardware store in the market not far from our building to see if there were any locks available there.

They only lock they were able to find fits the bottom part of the door so the top lock still does not work. But, Tom has the door put back together and we are safe and secure once again!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

thought for today

“I will not take "but" for an answer”

Langston Hughes

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drinking Holy Water...

Last week I posted a news article about Russians jumping into the water for Epiphany.

Here is a follow up article:

117 Hospitalized After Drinking Holy Water

26 January 2010

More than 100 Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalized after drinking holy water during Epiphany celebrations in Irkutsk, an official said Monday.

A total of 117 people, including 48 children, were in the hospital complaining of acute intestinal pain after drinking water from wells in and around a local church last week, said Vladimir Salovarov, a spokesman for the Irkutsk branch of the Investigative Committee.

Salovarov said 204 people required some medical treatment after consuming the water, the source of which was a stagnant lake. He said, however, that it was too early to say what caused the illness.

Many Russians consider any water obtained on Epiphany — which they celebrate on Jan. 19 — to be holy.

The water is typically bottled for consumption later. Tap water in most of Russia is undrinkable.

While in western Christian traditions, Epiphany marks the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, in Eastern Orthodoxy the festival commemorates Christ's baptism.

Orthodox believers also plunge into icy rivers and lakes in their traditional Epiphany celebration. Typically a cross is carved out of the ice near the bathing spot, and a wooden dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit is thrown into the water.

Irkutsk is located in eastern Siberia near the border with China.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Marc Chagall Exhibit


"Ever since my earliest youth I have been fascinated by the Bible. I have always believed that it is the greatest source of poetry of all time...The Bible is an echo of nature, and this I have endeavoured to transmit.... In art everything is possible, so long as it is based on love

Marc Chagall

For Tom's birthday we went to the museum with our friends Brennen, Stephanie, Valera and his granddaughter Eva. We were surprised to discover that the exhibit was a collection of Chagall's lithographs with biblical themes.

My favorite was Naomi and her daughter in laws click here to see a copy. Each lithograph was displayed with a verse from the Bible that inspired the piece.

If this collection comes your way you will not regret going to see it... even if you are not a fan of surrealism this Russian artist will leave an impression on you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Slip sliding away...

The last few days we have had a layer of ice on the ground. The practice here is to cover the ice with sand. However, there always seem to be patches of ice that don't get covered with the sand and that makes walking at a normal pace hazardous.

Yesterday Tom had a fall and so did Spencer. Tom is a little sore from his fall but doing okay. I was concerned that if I fell it would be a disaster due to the pain I am already in from my fibromyalgia. So I decided to buy some salt and sprinkle it on the ground in front of me as I walked. I was nervous at first that if one of the babushkas saw me wasting salt that I would get yelled at. I am happy to report that I successfully protected my path with salt and made it home from my English class without incident!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Praying for Polly's second surgery

Today in Chicago, Polly is scheduled to have surgery again. You can read more about her by clicking here: Pocket Lint

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

thought for today

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Orthodox Christians brave the cold waters!

Russians plunge into icy water for Epiphany

MOSCOW (AFP) – Scantily clad Orthodox Christians braved freezing temperatures throughout Russia on Tuesday to immerse themselves in ice holes in rivers and lakes to celebrate the Epiphany religious holiday.

To Orthodox believers, water blessed by a priest on Epiphany has miraculous powers, a belief harking back to Christ's baptism in the River Jordan. Jumping into the water is optional, but is a popular ritual among the faithful.

Water blessed on Epiphany "never goes stale, sick people who touch it are healed, devils are driven out and people are given strength," Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said Monday during a trip to Kazakhstan.

Around 30,000 people immersed themselves in ice holes in Moscow overnight, the RIA-Novosti state news agency reported, citing city police.

The emergency situations ministry said it had posted over 200 lifeguards at lakes and rivers around the Russian capital to help prevent tragedies.

Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, worshippers gathered at a golf club outside Moscow, braving temperatures of minus 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) to leap into an ice hole, an AFP journalist witnessed.

Around 200 people followed a priest in a candle-lit procession to a nearby river, their breath throwing up clouds of steam. They then stripped to swimming trunks or wore long white shirts to complete the ritual bathing.

The well-off worshippers had paid 3,500 rubles (119 dollars) for a holiday package that included felt boots and a shirt to wear during immersion, as well as a performance by a Cossack choir and a buffet afterwards.

Six percent of Russians were planning to jump into ice holes for Epiphany, according to a poll published Monday by the Levada Centre, the country's most respected polling firm.

A more cautious 48 percent planned to visit a church to collect water blessed by a priest, the poll said.

The holiday is a favourite with politicians, who reinforce their reputation as devout Russian Orthodox believers by jumping into the ice in previously announced photo opportunities.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dancing girls!

Angelina and Diana dancing before MOPS

One of my favorite things to watch is children playing. The joy on their faces is priceless!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cooking Chechnyan Style

This morning we had 6 moms at MOPS and Lena taught us how to make Chepalgish. It is a traditional dish in Chechnya and typically is eaten for breakfast or lunch.

The dough is made from equal parts of flour and buttermilk. Lena used 2 cups each and then added in 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Zhenya kneads the dough while Lena explains to us what consistency the dough needs to reach. After the dough is elastic (like for bread dough or pizza crust) let it rise for about 15-20 minutes.

Lena separated the dough into 7 sections and shaped them into circles. Using a large tablespoon she places a dollop of low fat cottage cheese on each circle. Then she carefully closed each one up like a dumpling.

After they are the in the dumpling shape take a rolling pin and flatten into the shape of a tortilla and place in dry skillet and cook on each side until golden brown. You can see Lena frying them in the background.

Each one was then dipped into a hot tub of water, laid onto a plate and drenched with butter!

They are stacked like pancakes, cut into wedges like a pie and then eaten by hand.

This was the first time that Lena herself had ever made them, normally her mother cooks this dish, and although she said they needed more cottage cheese, the rest of us thought they were great!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

thought for today

I keep trying to lose weight... but it keeps finding me!
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Russia's Anne Frank

I just started reading this diary of a teenage girl, Nina Lugovskaya, who grew up during the Stalin years. After her father's imprisonment the entire family comes under scrutiny. The house is ransacked and her diary is found. Because of the dangerous thoughts written in her diary, Nina, along with her mother and sisters are sentenced to 5 years hard labor in the Gulag followed by 7 years exile in Siberia.

Here is one example of her counter-revolutionary thoughts:

Maybe I should just poison myself? Sometimes I want to, you could say I dream about it, but I know for certain that I won't do it.

Her thoughts were those of a 13 year old girl who was frustrated with trying to figure out if a certain boy at school liked her or not. At this time in Russian history, however, just this mention of suicide was considered a sign of a degenerate thought crime against the state.

Monday, January 11, 2010

donation boxes around Krasnodar!

Posted by Picasa

For those of you in America, who are used to seeing the Salvation Army bell ringers or perhaps the canisters in convenience stores with the local photos of someone in need of help, these photos may not be a big deal. But, when you live outside of your home country there is a tendency to look for that which is familiar.

Not long ago I started noticing these donation boxes to benefit needy children showing up in various places. In the first photo which is hard to see there is one right next to the cashier at our favorite little cafe. In the second photo that box is at our local Tabris supermarket. It warms my heart to see them and to know that all over the world there are people helpers who care about the needs of others!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Bread & Salt

I just found a new culinary magazine in Russian. I love the way the magazine is laid out and the editor, Yulia Vysotskaya, is also one of my favorites. She has her own cooking show and a series of books called "We eat at home".

If you are studying Russian then watching her cook can be a lot of fun and great practice with listening skills... she talks really fast!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Merry Russian Christmas!!

The Russian Orthodox date for Christmas is January 7th and it is an official holiday... the banks and post office are closed, people are out in the malls, gathering as families and enjoying the holiday spirit.

Here are a few of my memories from today:

Five little angels reciting their Christmas poems!

Pastor Valodya presenting gifts to the guys from the rehab center... a meat grinder and some hymnals!

Christmas show at one of the local malls.
Posted by Picasa

Our church service was at noon and afterward Spencer and I went out to Krasnaya Ploshad to try and see a movie, but, the lines were so long that it was impossible. We settled for lunch and then hung out in the bookstore. Everywhere we went we were greeted with the official greeting for today's holiday which is "С Рождеством Христовым" (s rozhdyestvom hristovim) and literally translates to "with the birth of Christ"!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Thought for today

The tongue always returns to the sore tooth.

Russian Proverb

Monday, January 04, 2010

Yota WiFi in Krasnodar

Today is the first day of our Yota service actually working in our region. We have friends who started their service a while ago and are quite happy with it. We purchased the Yota egg (Thanks Mom and Dad for the Christmas gift) and then had to wait for the service.

Just a few minutes ago Tom broke through the quiet in our apartment to say "Alida, do you hear that?... That is the sound of the 3 of us on the internet at the same time!"

I love that sound!!