Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simple Wishes for Russian Orphans

Rachael is having a special giveaway at her etsy site, Simple Wishes, on September 1st. Check it out and register to win great prizes!

In addition to being a doctor and mom to four, she has taken up sewing and ceramics in her efforts to raise money for holiday presents for the children left behind at her daughter's orphanage and elsewhere in the St.Petersburg region...

 Visit her shop and check it out! Comment on her "special giveaway" post and you could win one of these awesome prizes. 

P.S. Check out her sister Natalie's shop, too... Talk about talented...

Prize #1: Adorable Matrioshka Apron & "Guess How Much I Love You" in Russian (but not the adorable eight-year-old)


Prize Number Two: A Pair of Mugs like These Stamped with "Soup" in Russian




Good Luck Chasing that Perp...



This police officer walked by me last week. 

(See! I have found my new small camera to be handy... And I would NOT have captured this picture otherwise... The irony, however, of my posting about my new camera and all the new blogging it would bring--only to be followed by weeks of silence--does not escape me...)


Note the MINI skirt and heels (trust me, they're spiked). Oh--and the gun on her hip (underneath her purses in a holster).

I sure feel safe!

Grammar in the Park


Everyone seems to be gearing up for September 1st, the official first day of school. Even the grandmothers in the park have an agenda as they let the little kids play with chalk...


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Here... Sort Of...

Thanks so much for your concern, guys... It really means a lot.

Yeah, I have been having a pretty rough time for a variety of reasons, none which I can really blog about. I know we talk sometimes about "keeping it real," but when your blog is on the public domain that's just not possible sometimes...

I just haven't had it in me to put on a chipper "blogger" face, writing about things that right now really don't mean all that much to me. 

In some ways I've also been a possessed mama, the way you get in your ninth month of pregnancy. When you have to get every little thing done, because you know that as soon as the baby comes, you can kiss those "To Do" lists good bye. 

Going back to work full-time is a HUGE change for me, one that will be very hard on my family at this precise time, but I can't exactly postpone the first day of school... Come to think of it, I'll make the transition smooth for my family--but I'm very worried about the toll it will have on ME. For example, it's 11:20 p.m. and I just made pasta so I have something to pack for lunch for the kids tomorrow. No chance to go grocery shopping today, so pickings were pretty s-l-i-m around here... As soon as I finish writing, I'm going to SLEEP.

(I know so many of you work full-time, too... The context of doing so here, though, is rather different... Life is just harder here, it takes so much longer to get things done, and there's soooooo much more stress in order to accomplish what seems simple in the USA... There also aren't affordable, healthy take out or yummy frozen entrees. And I'm doing this kind of as a single mom, since Chris's job is such that I can never count on him for any familial help). 

I knew that we'd have meetings at school some time this week, certain that I'd be busy at least all day Thursday and Friday--but I wasn't expecting an urgent phone call today about "Where Was I???" I'm realizing that organization in Russian schools is going to be different... I won't always know in advance, or have a calendar of set times, etc... 

My heart has been beating a mile a minute since scrambling to get there as fast as I could, while in the meantime finishing up the important meeting I was having about Katya's recently diagnosed Oppositional Defiant Disorder. 

(Sigh... Yes, it's really hard around here... Especially when the younger sibling mirrors all of the older sibling's behaviors, even if she doesn't have the diagnosis herself... For her, it's learned behavior that has to be undone with therapy none the less... Therapy our health insurance company will no longer cover--just learned that lovely news--- unless I do some SERIOUS navigating around loopholes in order to get SOME of  the $572 cost per week paid for...) 

All things considered, however, it was nice to go to work this afternoon and I really, truly like my colleagues and I think I'm going to be very happy working there. 

Oh... you know how I just wrote that my heart was beating a mile a minute? Well, if only my running were that fast...

I saw the orthopedic surgeon last week because of knee pain and he doesn't want me to continue with the Chicago Half Marathon if the pain continues in any way. If it does, I likely need orthoscopic surgery (done by laser, minimally invasive, 80% success rate, fast recovery). I've only been able to do 5K runs for the past two weeks, hardly the 21K of a Half Marathon... I wish I could have started physical therapy, but the foreign clinics are booked for the next month and I haven't gotten any help getting a Russian referral yet. Also, WHEN oh WHEN would I even fit in the appointments?

I'd like to still go to Chicago, though, even if I walk a lot of the race... I *NEED* to get away on my own for a few days. I'll see how the school director reacts tomorrow when I ask about taking the three days off from school... 

I hope life will get little easier next week when the new housekeeper/nanny will start. I'll write more about that later; it's actually quite a story...

Wish me some restorative zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's....

Friday, August 1, 2008

No More Missed Blogging Fodder...

Behold! As in, look what I'm holding... In my little hand...


No more lugging around my wonderful, but huge, Nikon SLR camera... Afraid of damaging it by carrying it everywhere... And yet, not carrying it enough--there always seemed to be something I wished I could take a picture of, but no camera...!

This week I wish I could have taken pictures of: the girls getting ice cream from the ice cream truck (they'd never seen one before!); the Colorado sky in brilliant colors; a road sign reminding all drivers that in case of an accident, it's the law to move the vehicles to the side of the road (the opposite is true--and maddeningly dangerous--in Russia); the town pool/water park complex designed to look like an old gold mine...

The men at the professional camera shop recommended biting the bullet and getting a good, small point-and-shoot; it would cost much, much more to repair my Nikon once it would eventually be damaged by being moved around so much.


I plan to keep this little Canon PowerShot SD1100IS in a small, hard case inside my purse... Always ready for that special moment! So far, I'm quite impressed by this miniature camera... It takes 8 megapixel pictures and has a 3x optical image-stabilized zoom. It's very fast, too. It only weighs 4.5 ounces!

This is the first picture I've taken with the camera. Here's Beatrice!