Friday, August 31, 2007

day three!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Today was day three of no hot water... I used my electric tea pot to heat some water so I could wash the dishes. It took three pots of water to fill the sink!

When Aloana was speaking the other night about what life is like in Dagastan for them she mentioned not having any hot water at all. They have lived there for 3 years and have not had hot water... I won't complain about my three days!

Spencer is babysitting tonight. He is getting closer and closer to being able to buy a slick new cellphone. He already has one picked out. He has been good about calling the new students that are here with kids to see if he can work. He probably doesn't realize how beneficial skills like that will be later on in life. It is not easy to pick up the phone and drum up work for yourself. Since school started he has worked each weekend!

Tom has his bags packed and is ready to go! He is flying from Albuquerque to Washington D.C. and then D.C. to Vienna. In Vienna he has a 14 hour layover. Tom is very resourceful when it comes to down time. I have no doubt that he will find a place to stretch out and rest! His last leg of flying will bring him directly here to Krasnodar! He will get here on Monday the 3rd.

I went to a prayer meeting this morning for the East-West women who are here in the city. We are going to meet twice a month so that we can support and encourage one another. I have to admit it feels like a such a treat to get together with women who speak English!

Please keep our friend Ann in your prayers. I received an email from her husband, she needs to return to America for medical treatment. Ann and Robert were students at our language school, they are also with East-West. Ann was very supportive of me when I reached out to her regarding Nathan leaving home... she is such a sweetheart and a good friend!

Nathan is now driving solo! He got his licence and is now able to drive himself to and from work!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

our day...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Today was day number two with no hot water. There is work going on near our building and the hot water has been off since they began working.

We completed our first week of going to school in the afternoon. It is hard to get used to this new schedule. We come home very tired and very hungry. A few afternoons I remembered to put dinner in the crock pot before I left for school so we were able to eat as soon as we got home. There were a few days that I cooked the night before and just warmed it up when I got home. Today, I just made sandwiches and that was good enough!

Today was Oksana's birthday and it was also Yanna's birthday. We were able to see both of them today. Yanna, being one year old, didn't really know that it was her birthday. Olya will do one party for both girls next week on Eera's birthday. That will be fun because Tom will be home by then... and Eera loves "dya-dya Tom" (uncle Tom)

Spencer had a really bad headache today and didn't go to school. He had the whole afternoon to himself. I think he really enjoyed his time alone.

Tom saw the doctor yesterday and called last night to tell me that the doctor said for him to avoid heavy lifting for the next 4 weeks so his "guts don't fall out". He has been very wise about the weight of his suitcases and has been mailing things home... like his 15 pound anvil. It got here yesterday, I cannot wait to see what else he mails home!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

in one ear...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spencer did a load of laundry this morning. He took the towels out of the washing machine and headed to the drying rack in the living room. As he passed me he commented on how cold the clothes were. He said very clearly "the hot water must not be working". I heard him, but, I didn't hear him... you know what I mean?

I decided to jump in the shower real quick and start getting ready for school. Imagine my surprise when I turned on the water and hopped in, NO HOT WATER!

I told Spencer that I just didn't process the information properly... but, I guarantee you I will next time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slavik was able to come over today to look at the part that was broken on our toilet. While Lena and I were in the living room on the phone trying to find a store that sold the part we needed, Slavik and Spencer were in the bathroom attempting to repair that piece and the toilet.

Slavik is so good at fixing things... he is one of those people that can easily take something apart and then put it back together. Now, the toilet flushes but it still runs for a long time after flushing.

I could make a joke about what a "relief" it was to be able to flush the toilet... but, you most likely would see that as lame!

Monday, August 27, 2007

friends indeed!

Monday, August 27, 2007

This morning Spencer called Slavik to see if he could come over and fix the washing machine. He was not able to come over because he was out of the city. This evening I called Lena Rajobova and asked her if she knew anyone who could help us with our washing machine. Five minutes later her husband, Pastor Valodia was here with Vasa, a visiting pastor who serves as a missionary in Dagestan, they worked on the washing machine and tried to also work on the toilet but it needs a few new parts. I was overwhelmed to the point of tears to have these men in my home working in my bathroom!

We just had a lesson a few weeks ago about how according to Russian culture a friend will never turn you away when you need them. It was amazing to see that in action once again.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Potato Festival

Sunday, August 26,2007

Fest celebrates Russians' potato passion By MANSUR MIROVALEV, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 24, 2:57 PM ET

It was a Spud-nik celebration.

Thousands of scientists, business executives and gastronomes from around the world converged on Moscow this week to lavish praise on a Russian icon: the common potato.

The occasion was Moscow Potato 2007, a chance for leading potato-heads to debate the subtleties of planting, exchange cooking tips and strategize on ways to promote the potato around the world.

Moscow was a fitting venue: While New York is known as the Big Apple, the Russian capital is called the Big Potato. And rightfully so — for the lumpy tuber holds a privileged place in Russian history and hearts.

Among Czar Peter the Great's many reforms was introducing potatoes to Russia 300 years ago. They were initially rejected by the peasantry as "Devil's Apples," but potatoes quickly caught on and eventually came to rival cabbages and beets as staples of the Russian diet.

During the worst famines of the Soviet era the potato saved millions of lives.

Organizers staged the three-day spud fest at the sprawling All-Russian Exhibition Center in northern Moscow — still decorated with Soviet statues of robust maidens bearing sheaves of grain — and at the All-Russian Research Institute for Potato Growing southeast of Moscow.

Boris Vershinin, who spent four decades breeding varieties that could thrive in Russia's harsh climes, admonishes anybody who dares disparage the potato by using the diminutive Russian term "kartoshka" for the vegetable.

"It's 'His Highness Potato,'" said the biologist from the southern city of Kislovodsk. "It's Russia's second bread."

Vershinin gave a tour of the institute's potato plots to international colleagues Thursday, squeezing intriguing specimens as he lectured on the varieties he cultivated over the years.

All the while, he expounded on the potato's legacy in Russia.

After initially overcoming their suspicions, he explained, Russian peasants learned to plant the hardy crop in fields where agriculture is risky because of unpredictable weather, high humidity and early winters.

The potato became a key ingredient in everything from borscht to vodka.

During the early 1920s, as Russian agriculture collapsed, Bolshevik commissars raided villages to confiscate grain and redistribute it. All that some peasants were left with were potatoes, but it was enough to keep many alive.

Potatoes helped ease food shortages during World War II, when there was again widespread hunger. The Soviet Union's 1947 famine could have been much more devastating without spuds, Vershinin said.

For most of the 20th century, Russia produced more potatoes than anywhere else in the world — until the Chinese took the lead in the late 1990s.

Although the Russian diet has drastically improved in the 16 years since the Soviet collapse, the potato still rules many fields here. The Ministry of Agriculture says about 7 million acres of Russian farmland are dedicated to growing potatoes.

Meanwhile, Russians have been learning to eat potatoes in new ways.

During the communist era, Russians knew such things as potato chips existed, but only because they saw them in the movies. Last year, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, Russians bought almost 130,000 tons of potato chips.

After McDonald's and other fast food giants invaded post-communist Russia, peddling french fries to the potato-loving masses, local producers responded with chains grounded in national cuisine.

Kroshka-Kartoshka, or "Baby Potato," founded by two Muscovites in 1998, hawks potatoes out of brightly colored kiosks scattered throughout Moscow and other Russian cities. Their product is served whole, baked and hot — lathered with cheese and butter and stuffed with delicacies such as marinated mushrooms, salmon or fried eggplant.

"The customers vote for us with their rubles," said marketing director Mikhail Kudryavtsev.

Strolling on Krasnaya

Saturday, 25, 2007

Strolling on Krasnaya is a weekend pastime here in Krasnodar. The street is closed off to vehicles. Teens in groups, couples hand in hand, families with children in strollers, grandparents with their grandchildren, women out with friends, are free to wander from one end of Krasnaya to the other.

As Spencer and I went walking down on Krasnaya today, we found 3 Russian-English New Testaments at the Christian bookstore, Harmony. I am looking forward to using mine in church and to begin using it in my personal devotions.

Spencer found a small porcelain collector’s plate of Krasnodar, and I was able to shop at one of my favorite stores, L’Occitane!

When we lived in Southern California I discovered L’Occitane while working at bank near Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Turns out that strolling Krasnaya is great for pampering ourselves... body and soul!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday's news!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Spencer and I started our day by running errands. We were able to successfully make our internet payment! Now, if I were able to everything in English I would have no fears or concerns... however when trying to do something like that in Russian, I get nervous that I won't say something right.

I was able to correctly ask if I could pay my bill at the UTK center in our region. The woman who helped us had to ask the other person if we could or not! I gave her our account number and she found us in the computer. Then she asked me how much I wanted to pay. It was a smooth and easy transaction.

After paying the bill, going to the post office to pick up a few packages, we headed over to Park Europe. It has an arcade that takes up most of the first floor where you can play a variety of games. The second floor has the movie theatre and the third floor has a restaurant and billiard room. There is a fourth floor, but, it is not open yet. There was also a bowling alley on what would be considered the basement level. Park Europe is located an easy walk from our building!

The movie theatre is currently showing The Simpson's and The Bourne Ultimatum. Spencer is planning to go to the movies after church on Sunday with Tobias.

A spa is also planned for Park Europe which will be a nice treat for the ladies in the area when it opens!

The decor inside is like old world Europe. The walls look like old homes and the entire center has a wonderful feel to it. Next time we go over there I will take my camera and try to get some shots that show off the beauty of the interior.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spencer picked up our new schedule at school today. Our class has been moved to the afternoon. For us to change to afternoons means that our friend Lena can no longer work for us...she has other families that she works for in the mornings. I called the school to see if there was another family that she could work for. Hopefully, she will pick up something. They just purchased an apartment and it will need a lot of work to make it livable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Highspeed internet!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We know that highspeed internet is not a new invention. But, since it is new to us here in Krasnodar we are excited. Now that there is more than one company and choice of plans it is cheaper than it used to be. We did not need a separate phone installed, like they told us two years ago, we have a cute little modem that is sitting on our computer desk!

So now we can surf the internet faster, watch videos online and all that jazz!

Today Spencer met with his new language helper, Vlad. Vlad is 15 and speaks a little bit of English. His Russian grammer is very good and he speaks very clearly and is easy to understand. He and Spencer will meet once a week to go over culture questions and any other questions Spencer has from the lesson. This whole time Spencer has worked with an adult language helper and has not had the opputunity to hear things about Russia from the perspective of a teenager!

Tom called late last night and we got to talk for about an hour. It was wonderful to be on the phone with him. It was hard for me when he was in the hospital to not know exactly what was happening from his perspective. I appreciated hearing from friends and family, I completely value that help, but, there is nothing like direct communication!

Thanks so much for all who have been praying for Tom and checking in here. I can tell from the Statcounter that hundreds of you have checked in over the past week from all over the United States and we are very grateful for the prayers and support!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Spencer is so happy he is dancing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lena told Spencer and I about two new furniture stores near her.

So we all went together to go and find Spencer a dresser... we found this!

We were able to ride home with the delivery men and show them our apartment. We had to pay extra for the delivery... they charged for each floor they had to climb up since we don't have an elevator! Thank Goodness we are only on the 4th floor!

Spencer had told Lena earlier today that he felt like he was still traveling since he didn't have a dresser. After they delivered it, he dusted it, put his clothes inside, and placed his old suitcase near the door to take out to the dumpster in the morning. I have not seen him this happy in a long time. He finally can relax and feel like he is at home! Thanks so much to Linda and Ed in California for making this possible!

I called Tom today at the hospital. He was still in the emergency room after all these days there in the hospital. He had some special testing done and they will get the results on Friday. They are trying to figure out the cause of the red blood cells that are showing up in his urine. At this point we don't know for sure if he actually had kidney stones that were trying to pass or not... the pain and difficulty he was experiencing could have been a side effect of the pain medication that he was given after the surgery. His stomach has some bruises on it from the infection in his incision site. He said that the spot where the infection is had swollen to the size of a fist. He is still being treated with antibiotics for the infection.

As I was speaking to him he was informed that he was being released and by now he should be resting comfortably at his parents home. He sounded very tired on the phone, we were both grateful to hear each other's voices, we had not spoken since he went into the hospital. I asked him if I should go back to New Mexico to help take care of him and he believed that this would all be over soon. His Dad took care of the paperwork to get reimbursed on the airline ticket Tom had already purchased and there will have plenty of time to reschedule another flight.

Spencer, myself, our church family, our ministry team mates, the teacher's at the language school and all of Tom's Russian friends are very eager to see him again!

edited to add:
this is from an email that I received from my friend Cathy, a nurse in Kansas. She spoke with Tom shortly after he arrived back at his parents house.

He said they had diagnosed him with an abdominal wall hematoma. He asked what that was, and I explained it is basically an area of bleeding that forms a pocket, and could occur any place there is trauma, so it is not totally unexpected after surgery. I'm guessing that was a big part of the swelling he has on his abdomen.

Thanks so much Cathy, for that explanation of the abdominal problem!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday, Monday

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spencer loves to get up and get out of the house and off to school before the rest of us. He has been doing that since we started language school. This morning he was at the bus stop for about 20 minutes before I got down there. Our classmate Sonja and I arrived around the same time. Spencer said that no buses had come during the time he waited.

We decided to go across the street and catch a taxi or a marshutka. The marshutkas were so packed that there was no hope of getting on one. On the other side of the street we met up with Joseph the fourth of the four classmates. A few minutes later we were joined by Jason and Joanna.

I spoke with a cab driver and he wanted to charge 3 times the normal rate for the distance we needed to travel. For some reason traffic was stalled and it seemed as if everyone in our region everyone was desperate to get to work or school at the same time.

Our group walked to the next bus stop up to see if it was less congested up there. We saw three buses coming as we walked and knew that it would take awhile for them make the turn around and reach us. We ended up catching that third bus. It was less crowded and Joanna who is pregnant was able to get a seat right away. Someone kindly got up for her!

Spencer called the school to let them know that our entire class plus Jason and Joanna would be late for school. We arrived 15 minutes late.

Spencer and I both had a hard time concentrating in class today... the blessing of having an understanding teacher is that she went easy on us! We always start class with prayer and we prayed for Tom today. Tom is still in the hospital... if the infection clears up he may go home tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments, emails and prayers we truly appreciate the support!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tom health status

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tom was taken to the emergency room last night. As of right now he is still in the hospital.

He is trying to pass a kidney stone, there is an infection in one of the incision sites, and he was dehydrated.

Please continue to pray for him. I don't yet know how long he will be in the hospital, when or if they are going to try and blast the stones to make them easier to pass. As soon as I hear anything I will pass on that info!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

update on Tom

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It seems as if we all misjudged the source of Tom's pain. Not only was he recovering from surgery but he was passing a kidney stone at the same time!

The doctor reevaluated his pain meds and Tom seems to be doing much better now.

Please continue to pray for him!

Friday, August 17, 2007

hurray for the weekend!

Friday, August 17, 2007

what a day!

I got a phone call from Tom last night. He is doing ok. He is getting up to walk, still taking pain medication when needed and getting rest. We were able to talk last night for quite a while... which is a wonderful thing! Until I woke up this morning and I felt the aches and pain of not getting enough sleep.

I contemplated not going in to school this morning. After all it wasn't required. But, I knew that Arina had prepared lessons for me and I didn't want to just blow her off. So I got up, dressed and headed out the door for school. Arina has a personality like Nathan. She does everything in two speeds fast and faster!

We covered three lessons in two hours! She would say "do you understand?, great, moving on!"

I came home to Spencer who had done three loads of laundry! He said he wanted to see if the washing machine is working or not. It did fine for the first two loads and on the last one it started to leak. He tried calling Slavik and could not get a hold of him. So far the toilet still works.

Tomorrow we will go out and look for a dresser for Spencer. We were given a gift from friends who decided that it was time for Spencer to stop living out of his suitcase!

I am enjoying a quiet evening while Spencer is out at a birthday party. I feel very tired physically and didn't want to be a party pooper so I stayed home.

I had a language helper session this afternoon. We worked through the lessons that I had covered with Arina. Then we did the culture questions for the lesson on friendship.

From the perspective of my language helper Oksana, who is filling in for Sasha, she talked about the difference between an acquaintance, a friend, a good friend, and a close friend. She is only 24 and I am 44... she knows at age 24 what it took me until age 40 to learn!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tom and stuff....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I got this photo by email today... it is of Nathan and Tom on Nathan's birthday. Oh to be 20 again!

All I have heard about Tom so far is that he had a rough night. Please continue to keep him in your prayers!

Spencer worked on the toilet tonight... it had been running and would not stop for the past 5 hours. He got it stopped and we will call Slavik tomorrow to see if he can come by and take a look at it.

We received two packages from America today. One of them contained a book that I have been waiting for and the other was filled with TV shows and cd's sermons that were donated to us. We were so excited to go to the post office and see what surprises were there for us!

I have school tomorrow since I am still working to catch up on the lessons that I skipped to join in the class with Spencer. It seems as if our days have been really long since we got back here to Russia. Hopefully, on Saturday I can sleep in!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tom called this afternoon before he went into surgery... it was morning for him. I have not yet heard how the surgery went.

His friend Alexei called tonight from the AA meeting. I could hear all the people in the background calling out wishes to Tom. So Tom, if you read this before we talk, Dima, Valera, Tatiana and all the gang at the Open Door wish you well!

Edited to add: Tom is now resting at his parent's home after surgery. He will go back to be checked on by the doctor on Monday before he flies home on Tuesday. We are grateful for your prayers!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

20 years ago today...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I remember very clearly going into labour again! It was our 7th trip to the hospital. Although my due date was not until September 3rd, I was determined not to be sent home that night. When the resident came in to see me I told him very sternly "tell Dr. F that I am not leaving here without a baby!" When he came back in he had a smile on his face and said "Dr. F says that he will see you in the morning!"

I spent the night in labour, got up the next morning and my doctor came by to see me. After measuring me, and the baby, he determined there was no way for the baby to come out naturally so I was scheduled for surgery at 6:30 pm.

Before we were blessed with Nathan in 1987 we had two children that were stillborn. Perhaps knowing that will help you understand why we were eager to have Nathan born while we knew he was alive and healthy.

Two times I was visited by the hospital chaplain back in 1985. Both times it was the same woman. When she saw my name on the board slated for a c-section she stopped in to say how excited she was that we were finally going to have a live birth.

Nathan arrived via c-section and was greeted by name by everyone in the room! We knew he was a boy so everyone was calling him by name even before he was delivered. He was given a bath by Tom and then handed to me to hold.

It is not easy being 9000 miles away from him today. I did speak with him earlier this evening. Since we are 10 hours ahead we actually woke him up to say: "Happy Birthday Nathan!!!!"

Again, Happy birthday Nathan, we truly love you and are grateful that God gifted our lives with your presence!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Being Nice Does Matter

Monday August 13, 2007

Thank you so much Karolee for the award!! Karolee is a fellow knitter and is currently hosting the Proverbs Challenge.

This is the first award that I have gotten since I started blogging two years ago!

The award originated here: Bella-Enchanted

This award is given to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!

My 7 choices are:








Each of these ladies is a fellow Pastor's Wife, we have all shared challenges and encouragement with one another and I value their input in my life! I always look forward to reading their blogs, hearing what is going on in their lives and am often inspired by the life lessons they share.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

finally back on line!!!

Sunday August 12, 2007

Agromnaya spacibo ( enormous thanks) to Tom! I do appreciate you filling in for me honey!!

Dima came over today after church and got us back up and running. We have lost all of our files so I am sad about my photos. I was just starting to put them onto to disks before we went back to the states and sadly I didn't finish.

At least my blog photos are not lost!

We have Tom's favorite girls here right now... Yanna is trying to walk and Eera is going back and forth to and from the kitchen eating up all the bread!

We had a large American contingent at church this morning. Two of the new families from school were visiting. And all of the Americans who normally attend are back in town!

Let's see what else? Oh, the washing machine is still not working properly. We got one problem fixed and now there is a new one.

So the washing machine, computer and the toilet were all giving me fits this week! The toilet has to be flushed three times before it will quit running. Since that one is just a minor inconveince I will wait and let Tom fix that problem!

School is really keeping us busy. Homework and trying to get to know all of the new students kept us out late each night since Wedsnesday. Two nights we had people over and the other two night we were out past ten! Neither one of us had the energy to go to an internet cafe afterwards so we have been out of touch since we heard from Tom about his surgery date.

I guess that is enough rambling from me for now! I look forward to reading through all the blogs of my friends and getting back to the Pastor's Wives Forum to see what is going on over there!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Transitions & rites of passage...

Nathan drove on the freeway for the first time as he continued to practice driving & increase his experience. He was told that part of his driving test to get his license will include freeway driving. Nathan & his dad drove from Albuquerque to the next city - & he did good. His transition into adulthood signifies a shift for our family as well, because when Tom leaves for Russia, Nathan will remain in the States. It's funny how healthy & natural transitions bring a dichoomy of emotions with them!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Overwhelming needs in Russia...

Tom ran across this article in The Moscow Times newspaper.

It chronicles the desperate need for released convicts to have some sort of social rehabilitation program, which are not offered in Russia. With a 98% rate of Russian inmates being an addict & alcoholic, too much of the time when they are released from prison they simply slide back into old, destructive behaviors. Many inmates have their papers & passports lost while incarcerated, & are released with a slip of paper that says they have been released from prison. With this as their only kind of documentation, most cannot find jobs or get hired; so they return to a life of crime & addiction. The article tells of one released prisoner who returned to his former prison official asking to be incarcerated again as he was tired of being homeless & without a job. It's interesting reading & why your prayers & support are so important to the work we are doing.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A quick update....

Alida is having computer problems in Russia & is unable to this is Tom filling in. Also, yesterday the washing machine went down but Alida was able to get a 'master' (repairman) to the flat within an hour who replaced the pump.
Tom's doctor appointment went very well. He will be having surgery next Wednesday the 15th. It will be an outpatient procedure & he'll return home the same day. He then has a flight leaving America on Tuesday the 21st & will arrive home in Krasnodar on Thursday the 23rd!! Alida's very excited that Tom's surgery & return to Russia will be sooner than we had anticipated! Thanx for your prayers!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

still waiting...

Tuesday August 7, 2007

I woke up today knowing that Tom would have his appointment with the surgeon, that soon we would know when surgery is and when he will be coming home to Russia. It is almost 11pm and I need to go to bed. As soon as I hear any news I will pass it on.

Monday, August 06, 2007

back to school

Monday August 6, 2207

We have officially started back to school!

Spencer, myself, Sonya and Joseph came together to form a new class. I feel as if I am in overhead... hopefully this feeling won't last long. I still have a few more grammer lessons to catch up with the rest of them. I am the oldest one in the class and I feel it!

Sasha worked today and help us out a lot. Lena will help tomorrow. It looks like our schedule is coming together. And study time was easier to settle into than thought it would be.

Tomorrow is Tom's appointment with the surgeon... we are hoping for a surgery date that is very, very soon!! Pray for an open calendar! And a cheap return flight for him!!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Unique Race

Sunday August 5, 2007

Speed on heels: Russian women run in unique race
Associated Press
Sunday, July,29 2007 (Moscow):
Russian women proved on Saturday that they can do what no man in the world can: running a 100-metre race in 9 cm (3.5 inches) high heel shoes.

The new sports competition, "The High-Heel Race" was held this year in five Russian cities between July 16-28.

Last year, over 200 women took part in the first sprint race in Moscow, Petersburg, Yekaterinburg (the Urals) and Novosibirsk.

The race was such a success that the Russian edition of Glamour magazine decided to support it and turn it into an annual event.

"Generally our women are very fond of heels, make-up, hair-dos, minis and whatever in order to present themselves," said Anna Rykova, a fashion expert.

"On one hand it is not good because their attire is not an everyday one. On the other hand, (this style) attracts foreign men because our women are always looking good - from morning until night," she added.

Oksana, one of the high heel racers, said Russian girls were permanently competing. "Our girls are dressing better than girls abroad and they are paying more attention to what they wear.

Everyday for them is like a beauty contest.

"The winners of each race get cash certificates of 100,000 roubles ($4,000) to spend in the city's shopping malls.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I wish I could bottle his energy!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Spencer was up early this morning. He spent time on the internet, ate breakfast, showered and was out the door.

Most of his day was spent digging holes at the new school. He said that it was mostly him, Jim W. and Seth doing the work. Other kids were there to help but there were only three shovels.

He came home tired and smelly, he jumped in the shower, changed his clothes and was off to help out with the English Club that is meeting at the BLTC. He was grateful that he is almost the same shoe size as his dad. He got his tennis shoes really dirty today so he walked out the door with his dads shoes on.

I remember when his little feet would have never fit in his father's shoes... those days are long gone!

Friday, August 03, 2007

two long days in a row!

Friday, August 3, 2007
Spencer stayed home today and enjoyed the quiet!

He had one visitor. Jim W. came over to borrow some of Tom's tools to help build the playground for the new school. He needed saws and a level. Spencer was able to show him where everything was and last night Tom called so he is well aware that his tools have been loaned out for a good cause!

I spent much of the day at language school. I did a four hour session with Arina. We worked on four lessons and she spent one hour on each lesson with me. It was not hard work. Just a lot of information to take in. One of the things I was practicing was about musical instruments. I was trying to say "I play the violin" but what I said was "I play the paper clip".

By the end of the fourth hour I think my brain was fried.

Lena came over this evening with Ira. It was good to spend time talking with her. I was telling her about hiring another language helper. They recommend at school having two and we just had not pursued that. We were talking about the importance of listening to more than one voice... only I said "more than one person's hair!" Lena is still interested in helping out two days a week. And we will have Sasha to help two days a week. That way everyone of us will get time in with a tutor as we are all full time this year.

Ira didn't talk much until it was time to go. I offered to help her with putting on her shoes. She will be three in September. She said to me, in Russian of course, "Aunt Alida, I learned how to do it myself!" I think all over the world children know how to say "I can do it myself!"

Spencer and I ended the day with a movie and pizza. He went to bed early, he has offered to help dig the holes for the posts that will support the playground equipment and he has also offered to help with an English class. He started to carefully enunciate each word after that phone call!

I don't know if I will see him tomorrow... if he gets called in to do playground duty he may leave before I wake up!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

a very long day

Thursday August 2, 2007

I will have to write about it all tomorrow... our day began with school and ended with dinner at Brennan and Stephanie's. While there, Spencer got a chance to meet someone near his age who was helping his dad make a delivery. Spencer helped them unload the wood, cement and sand for the new playground equipment for the international school that is starting up next month.

Right now they have grades K4-10th. This will be a great blessing to many families here with children who wish to study in English.

Tom called tonight and that was exciting! We had not heard his voice in a week.

I have class for four hours tomorrow. I was put in a new class and will move ahead 7 lessons. Tomorrow Arina will work with me on the grammar for the lessons that I am skipping!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fast Food in Krasnodar

Wednesday August 1, 2007

So far, this is the only place that I have found here in Krasnodar, that sells Raspberry Tea.

I know that might not seem like big news... yet, there are so many things that we do without, that it is like an oasis in the desert when we find something that we are used to from home.

I don't have Raspberry tea very often but on occasion, like yesterday I allow myself a treat!