Sunday, July 31, 2005

Here we go!

Nathan is wiped out. He is still asleep and it is almost noon. He has gotten up every morning this week at 5 am and been out the door for early meetings before camp and then worked all day coming home near ten each night!

Tom and Spencer went to church and I am working on the kitchen...

There is a crew of friends coming over at two to help us move. We have to live out of suitcases again until the apartment is ready. What will life in the dorms be like? We are about to find out whether we want to or not! This is reminding me of when my parents moved our family sooner than originally planned & our housing on the AirForce base was not ready. We had to move into temporary housing. My brothers were 5 and 6 years older than me and did not want to share a room with a dumb girl... We were crammed into a very small apartment until our house was ready.

Well my family of four is getting one room; two sets of bunkbeds!

If one of us does not make it out alive I will not release details about the body... it may not be pretty!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Moving day!

No, we are not moving today!

Tomorrow... but Tom is packing up the computer so I have to talk about it quickly! Hopefully, we will have computer access at the BLTC. There are no Internet cafes in our neighborhood!

Nathan... took photos at Kids Camp perched on top of a jungle gym. He stayed clear of a water fight that way. Not to worry... Heather made sure he got wet afterwards! She is his designated big sister. I gave her full permission to harass him!

Tom is on his way to deliver Big Books at a meeting tonight. We are grateful to The Bridge at Capo Beach Calvary for the donations that came in to cover the cost of these much needed books.

It is vital for people to have resources in their own language. These books were hand delivered from Moscow earlier this week.

Slava Bogu! Glory to God!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Final lesson at Gagarina!

Spencer and I had our final lesson in this apartment. On Monday we will meet with Lena at the BLTC. She knows right where it is. She graduated from there! We will be staying in the dorms. Hopefully, we will have computer access... otherwise Nathan and I will go into withdrawal! And it won't be a pretty sight.

Tom has recieved a lot of emails in response to the recent newsletter. It is good to hear from so many people. And to get updates on what is going on in your lives! Please pray for one of our prayer supporters. Del had a stroke yesterday. He is in the hospital but out of ER with limited abilities. His family would appreciate your prayers.

Nathan is finishing up with Kid's Camp at church. The other day the police showed up "looking" for homeless children. The kids were being fed everyday so the police were watching to see who showed up for food.

Next week on Thursday we go deeper in language instruction when school starts. Lena will still come to help us out. We will have cultural exercises to complete that I am sure to write about!

Thursday, July 28, 2005


We had to purchase the tile today for the apartment. The area in the kitchen that Americans call a 'backsplash' is called a 'workspace'. I chose the tiles I wanted for that and could have gotten ones that had paintings on them. I was asked if I wanted "bez carteeni, tolka zeloni?" only green without the paintings? Yes, only green without the paintings! Then I was informed that there was not enough tile for the entire apartment to be done in one color. I had to choose another color. They tried to sell me granite. I asked how much it was... I know numbers very well now thanks to Lena's drilling! 520 rubles per meter was 200 rubles more than the other. No thanks. I will just take the same tile I wanted originally in a different color! Ervand and I finished up; leaving a deposit and then went off to find Alexei and Tom. They were looking at tile for the mosaic Tom has planned for the church. Tom found some great colors and is pleased. We are moving out of here on Sunday and into the BLTC. Our flat is not yet ready but things are progressing.

Our entry way is full of boxes and packages from the States! There is a small pathway... Just before you get to the chairs is the bathroom. We will be so glad to move!

Mom sent a cookbook that came in the mail today. It was a gift for Ella. Alexei took it home with him. He is certain she will be very happy. Yes, Lena has an Alexei and so does Ella!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Brown Sugar is “koosny”. Delicious.

Tom was packing up some of our brown sugar today to give away to our landlord and to our pastor’s family. I walked in while he was doing it and asked what he was was up to. After he told me I said “you can’t do that without giving them something to use it for!”

I went to the computer to print out copies of Mom’s recipe for Blonde Brownies. Lena and I finally finished the Russian translation. I worked on it and then Lena made corrections. We had to actually measure things using Russian utensils to make the changes. After Tom packed up one container he took it over to our landlord’s mother & she was thrilled! She recognized the paper as a recipe right away and asked if the container had the brown sugar in it! They don’t have brown sugar here so it will be a treat when she bakes the brownies.

Anastasia made me a necklace at kid’s camp today. She is one of the helper’s working with the kids. It is such a pretty necklace. Tom thinks she is very creative. The necklace is leather and has a shell on it and some yellow beads. She arranged everything so artistically. Tom would like to see her go to Art school but she is saving for Cosmetology school. Nathan didn’t make it to kid’s camp today. He has a cold. He has made a little friend who feels sorry for him that he does not speak much Russian. It is a little boy about half Nathan’s size who is going around naming things in Russian for Nathan. But, instead of just telling Nathan what something is he also tells Nathan a story about it. This is a ball... one time I had a ball..... You get the idea! Nathan says he is very cute!

Here is the recipe for the brownies again in case you missed it. This time I am including the Russian translation!

Blonde Brownies
Recipe from: Mama Tom

2/3 cup butter, melted 2 cups flour, sifted
2 cups brown sugar ½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, well beaten 1 teaspoon baking powder (not soda)
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips

Melt butter and add brown sugar; stir well.
Add eggs & vanilla; beating well. Add flour, salt & baking powder; stir until well mixed. Add chocolate chips; mixing well.

Bake in brownie sheet pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cut into bars to serve.

brownies блондинкы
Recipe от: Mama Tom

200 г. масло сливочное, растопить
2 стакана (200г.стакан) коричневого сахара
3 яйца, взбить
1 чайная ложка ванили
2 плитки шоколада или (200г.) (сделать кусочки)
2 стакана муки, просеяно
½ чайная ложка соли
1 чайна ложка разрыхлителя (не сода)

Растопите масло и добавьте коричневый сахар; тщательно размешать.
Добавьте яйца и ваниль; размешать. Добавьте муку, соль и разрыхлитель; Всё тщательно размешать. Добавьте кусочки шоколада; и всё размешать.
Используйте тонкий протвень, но не глубокий. И выпекать в духовке при температуре 350 градусах на 25 минут.
Готовый торт порежьте на квадраты. И подайте к столу.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Sharp Day

How do we entertain ourselves here?

Tom was checking over all the lights we purchased for the apartment remodel...

Nathan was watching Home Star Runner on the Computer...

Spencer spent time balancing pencils on his nose...

and I just sit back and record it all for posterity!

We just found out that language school starts for us on the 4th of August. Maybe we were looking at an old calendar but somehow we all had the impression that we still had until the end of the month to get ready for school. Now everyone is in hypergear to get all the fun in before school starts. You see how we spent the day? Whoopee!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Whiter than Snow

Whiter than Snow- Tom's title for this cross... it has all white beads and just a few red in strategic places.

Tom presented a cross he made in Amercia to Valodya. We were so happy when our boxes arrived from the States and we found the cross in perfect condition. Not one bead was missing or one piece of mirror broken. Heather was available to translate. Tom is planning to do some mosaic cement stepping stones. The church is very plain out front and Tom has an artisitic eye. He is able to "see" possibilities and share those ideas with others. Valodya is exicted about having an artist at the church!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Yah Toatyah

Yah Toatyah! I am an Aunt. This is not new news I have been one since I was 15. Tom is called Dahdyah; uncle. I was speaking with one of the young mothers today after church. Her baby is just starting to walk and talk. In Russia it is a sign of respect that Tom and I are not called by our first names by some of the younger children. This young mom was teaching her toddler to call me Toatyah. Ten years from now, depending on how grey I am, it will most likely change to babushka!

Nathan got invited out after church with a group of kids who were visiting from Moscow. He went over to City Center our new mall and they had lunch and hung out! Spencer, Tom and I went to check the progress on the new flat. We found the tile guy at work and it seemed as if there was some progress since I had been there on Tuesday. There are new walls. There are windows and radiators. It feels as if we are having a place built. I hope our neighbors don't hate us for all the noise by the time we actually get to move in. Tom thinks we should have a dinner and invite everyone in the building to come over. I think I will do that. It will be a good way to meet the neighbors and to apologize for the weeks of banging and cussing our construction guys have been doing!

We left the apartment to get some lunch and purchase wall sconces for the korridor (hallway). And overhead lights for all the rooms. We went downtown on Krasnaya to eat and then caught a Marzhutka from there. I asked a taxi driver which Marzhutka went out to Krasnaya Ploshad and he showed me on my map which numbers. Then he fed me a line about the Marzhutkas not running on Sunday which was clearly a lie because we could see them passing by on the street! We thanked him and moved on. We caught the Marzhutka further up the street and were relieved to get out of the heat. Several young parents were on with their kids. One little boy was doing the bobble head sleepy time thing! He finally fell asleep on his mom and she gave her camera to her husband to take a picture. I asked her "skolka let" how old?. He was four. Then a young mom got on with a little toddler who was dressed up in her Sunday best... hat and everything. This child was tired and hot and let all of us know it. She started whaling at the top of her lungs. The babushka on board let the mom know of her disapproval. They are blunt here! I got Tom's notepad and started to fan the little girl and finally the babushka pulled a stack of cups out of one of her many bags and made another woman who was carrying a bottle of iced water give some up! The mom spurned the water and got off at the next stop. The cup of water was passed to Tom. He offered it to the ladies on board. Everyone giggled but no one accepted. He drank it up himself!

Our driver today was wild. He was skidding, braking hard and taking off before passengers could get the door shut. We got dropped off further away than normal but that's ok... we are alive to tell the tale!

Lights have been purchased, we are home now & we had a productive day. The toatyah and the dahdyah can rest!

Lastest fashions in Russia may or may not be something you feel comfortable in! Posted by Picasa

Another sign that Tom really feels at home in Krasnodar! Posted by Picasa

Tom brought up some water for the guys! Posted by Picasa

This was in the kitchen! Posted by Picasa

I found this in our bedroom.... is this the reason for the number of mini-spotlights I am going to have in there? Posted by Picasa

I think someone got carried away with the number of light recepticles for recessed the mini-spot lights! Posted by Picasa

My living room still needs some TLC! The electrician has done all the work by hand. He uses a hammer and chisel instead of an electric router to create a channel in the wall for the electrical lines! Posted by Picasa

My entry way! Posted by Picasa

They use a lot of glue and install them very carefully and slowly! Posted by Picasa

This is where the bubble glass blocks will go. We didn't get to see the tile guy work on this. Maybe it will be done when we visit tomorrow! Posted by Picasa

View from Tom and Alida's doorway, looking into the hallway so that you are looking at the kitchen doorway! Got it? Posted by Picasa

Installation of green glass tile blocks above Spencer's doorway. Posted by Picasa

Nathan's radiator. He still needs sheet rock on his walls to cover the pipes! Posted by Picasa

Nathan's window.  Posted by Picasa

View from new windows! Posted by Picasa

New radiator and sheet rock to cover pipes. The floor will be bought up to the same level as the living room. We will be able to utilize the space by putting our dining table partially out there! Posted by Picasa

Spencer and Nathan's rooms from outside. Spencer will get a small window unit in his room. The ledge is to hold air conditioner. Nathan's wall still needs to be finished now that the window is in!  Posted by Picasa

Kitchen window from outside. Ledge is for air conditioner. Posted by Picasa

View from outside! Balcony and Tom & Alida's room window. Posted by Picasa

Women's meeting! Shoes are taken off before entering a room. Posted by Picasa

You are special to God! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Krasnodar at Night

Last night we had dinner with Lena and Alexei P. It was fun spending time with them again. Alexei's daughter, Anastasia, is our new housekeeper. Ella was having problems with her health and had to leave us. It was sad. Anastasia is 15; she is a hard worker and is saving up for college with the money we are paying her. She gives her pay directly to Lena to hold for her. She does not want to be tempted to spend it! At about ten o'clock last night Spencer was eager to get home and walk his dog before going to bed. I had just finished my turn and it was now Tom who was playing a computer game of Anastasia's. We left him and Nathan there and took a bus home on our own. We decided to photograph our city at night. I let Spencer try out my camera for a few shots. We hope you enjoy the view of Krasnodar at night!

Krasnodar is a city of 1.2 million people. People always seem to be out and about! Spencer and I were at the bus stop and I got out my camera and just started snapping away! Posted by Picasa

Sport Pizza; open 24 hours a day! This is not far from the language school. I took this photo from the bus stop as we were leaving Lena and Alexei's house. Posted by Picasa