19 March 2006

Slutskaya's okay

(**Note: The lack of details in the story at the beginning of this blog should only strengthen the fact that this intuitive reaction to an actor is an everyday occurrence and not, therefore, worthy of note. It should in no way reflect poorly on the blogger's writing ability.)

One time, my friend Lara and I were watching something with Maura Tierney in it. (It was before she was on ER so maybe it was News Radio). I must've said something about how she and I would be good friends because a few weeks later, Lara came and told me that she'd seen an interview with Maura, and we had very similar tastes and hobbies--right down to a love of riding the NY subway! She asked how I knew that, and I told her I just did. It's easy for me to watch an actor and know if we're sympatico. Sandra Bullock--good friend. Julia Roberts--no way. David Duchovny--friend. Bonnie Hunt--good friend and mentor. Lane Davies and Nancy Lee Grahn--very good friends. Courtney Cox--not my friend, but no animosity. Paul Reiser--good friend. Tom Hanks--great friend. And so it goes.

I'm not as good with athletes. Maybe it's because an actor shows a bit of himself or herself every time he tackles a new role. An athlete doesn't get that opportunity. But one athlete I am friends with is Irina Slutskaya. She's someone I'd like to go out and have a cup of coffee (only in the generic sense--I still don't drink coffee) with. So, I was incredibly disappointed with her bronze medal in this Olympics. She's worked so hard for so long! (And, I didn't like the Japanese skater at all--too mechanical, no passion) While it was great for the US to win the last two golds, they were won by "temporary" skaters. Have you seen Tara or Sarah since? But, Irina, like Michelle Kwan, is a SKATER. And, I admit, the stories about how the former-soviet athletes are treated when they don't win had me worried. I thought she might be really depressed after the bronze.

Just in case you were worried, too, I wanted to let you know that Ira's fine. I saw her and many other Olympic skaters at an exhibition a little while ago. She was warmly greeted by the crowd. She skated well and had a big grin on her face the whole time. She giggled and talked during the curtain call. She looked happy.

I hope you're feeling as happy the next time your expected gold turns to bronze!

08 March 2006

Women's Day, 2006

I tend to go through life looking for connections. And, I find them...everywhere! (I can hear my close friends groaning and laughing as I type...) These might be construed as signs. I think they're gentle reminders that God is in charge of EVERYTHING and that he has a sense of humour.

Today being Women's Day (a lovely holiday that has filled my arms with gifts, roses & chocolates and my ears with wishes of "continued beauty" "a long life filled with happiness and flowers blooming" and similar loveliness) seems the right time to make a momentous announcement.

I am getting ready to adopt.

I have prayed about this and thought about this and worked toward this for years. I am debt-free. My list of selfish things I wanted to do before I had a family is basically exhausted. And, I'm 36, for goodness sake!

So many things are buzzing around in my head and my heart! But, right now I need to get focused and get busy. Living in St. Petersburg makes adopting from Russia very tricky. The number of ex-pat adoptions worldwide is relatively low. I'm busy looking for a reputable agency who can best serve me. And, I need to find ways of paying for this adoption...But I thought it was time to let everyone know what it is I'm working and praying towards.

It may be that this in not the path God has set out for me. I believe it is. However, if we've learned ANYthing from the life of Kate thus far (and I've really tried to learn from my life thus far...), it is that our plans are not always God's plans. That doesn't stop me from planning and hoping and working. It just reminds me that what I think the end result will be is not always what the end result IS.

For now, I'm trusting in the promise Jesus made to us--and I'm making it myself:
"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." John 14:18

Happy Women's Day.

01 March 2006

Shitsleeva Maslenitsa!

We had a BALL at the Russian village today! Our entire school went to celebrate Maslenitsa. The village is a living history museum (basically). We participated in folk songs and dances, painted whistles and played traditional games. Then we had a lovely meal together--topped off with blinis!

Here is what the guide told us about the holiday:

This is a week-long celebration to welcome spring that has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

On Monday: Make two small dolls for your home. One, made of straw and dressed in old, ugly clothes symbolizes winter. The other, of cloth or wood and dressed in fresh, new clothes symbolizes spring. Put these dolls in the window to let friends and neighbors know they are welcome to come in.

A large straw doll was made for the entire village as well.

On Tuesday: Whistles are given! Boys get horse whistles (strength) and girls get bird whistles (beauty, ability to rise above and fly). Cat whistles are the sign of a warm and loving family/home and can be given to either sex. The whistles are blown to call the birds back and to cast out sickness.

Wednesday is pancake day! Pancakes are warm and round and yellow like the sun.

On Thursday there is dancing and singing. (We sang songs about how people walked--ladies, grandmas, soldiers...)

Then, on Sunday the straw maslenistas are burned. This is also the day of atonement. You must ask forgiveness for anyone you've hurt or wronged in the last year and make ammends.

On this day, people who like winter sing sad songs.

Like most holidays in Russia, there is a mix of pagan, Christian, and Jewish elements. It's easy to see the overlap in these traditions--Lent, Yom Kippur...I think it's perfectly fine to celebrate the fact that God has granted us another spring!