27 May 2007

happy birthday, st. p

This weekend the city is celebrating its birthday. There have been parades, fireworks, and a big street party--Russian style--on Nevsky Prospekt. It's been turned into a pedestrian zone for the weekend. Accoridng to In Your Pocket, this year, for the first time, they've introduced an element to the celebration called

the Bride and Groom Festival. Celebrating the family in Russian life, it is dedicated to promoting happy family values. It also features a kind of informal dating agency where unmarried hopefuls can meet their soulmate. The grand finale will be the arrival of a launch laden with beautiful girls in wedding gowns. So to all singles (and looking) of St. Petersburg, get thee to the Peter and Paul Fortress.

Intriguing as that may be, I have decided not to be out and about today. ;>

I've never really like watching parades. Being in them is fun, but standing and watching--not so much. I remember thinking last year that next year (which would be this year) I'd go. I'd take d2b to see the parade and the festivities, as long as it looked like something we could handle.

But, this year, I'm not going either. It's just not the sort of thing I feel like exploring on my own. I'm so not a party girl. Perhaps next year I'll go. I'll take d2b to see the parade and the festivities, as long as it looks like something we can handle.

25 May 2007

good news!

Wow. That was the best meeting I've had in Russia. It lasted a total of ten minutes with an extremely friendly and helpful consulate staff member who told me that, after reviewing my lease, she didn't see why I couldn't have a copy of my new lease. It will be signed next week and I should have it Tuesday or Wednesday!

Thanks again for your kind, good wishes and your prayerful support.


24 May 2007

super quick

Yes, my mouse is still broken. And for those of you who immediately thought
a. return it
b. exchange it
c. just go out and get another
d. what's the big deal?
I can tell, without even looking at the visitor map, that you're not in Russia. ;>

This is nonsense.

The point of this post (written on borrowed time due to aforementioned mouse crisis) is that I have an important meeting at the consulate tomorrow that could make or break things. If you're prayerfully inclined, please say one on my behalf. I need a copy of my lease and finally have found the person who can authorize this. My meeting is at 4:00 p.m. here which is 8 a.m. EDT.

22 May 2007

things are looking up...

(That's a Gershwin song.)

First, thanks for understanding my frustration. My agency actually wrote and said they didn't understand why I was upset about this. Yeah.

Second, my paperwork has actually been found. It's in the office here...but isn't translated. They seem to think since we're not accredited, it doesn't matter. Um...how about doing a little work ahead of time?

Third, the person who would accept my documents in Leningrad Oblast is away on vacation until July. (Must be nice, eh?) SO, I actually cannot register there as an independent.

And (here's the part the other waiting pap's will like to hear...) since they think we will have our re-accred before then, I am just going to wait and file in St. P (more children on the database and more connections and more understanding of how things work, judge's preferences, etc.) when it happens. If July rolls around and we're still not accredited, then I'll file independently. (This rec is from V. whose opinion I trust.)

Lastly, my mouse isn't working. This means I cannot do anything online. I hope to have a new mouse soon. So, if you're not hearing back from me when you've e-mailed, now you know why. (This post was composed at school.)

Thank you again for all your co-miserations! I can't wait until we have co-celebrations!

19 May 2007

not my kind of excitement

I thought I was going to have such an exciting post for you today.

I've been asking and asking my agency if I could be registered as an independent. They kept saying no. Finally, I told them that I knew a family who was about to be registered as independents (well, the "family" was actually me...another agency was willing to do this) in Leningrad Oblast (the area surrounding St. P, but not St. Petersburg itself). I asked again if they could help me with this. They said they'd check.

Three weeks later, and after a few prompts from me, I heard that yes, it did seem possible. Wow! Exciting post in the making! I was to speak to my facilitators here today to get the details. This all sounded great. The agency said it would be "no problem" for me to come back under their wing, so to speak, once accreditation was granted. Until then, it couldn't hurt for me to be independent.

This morning I called the number they gave me for N. It was actually G., who speaks no English. I told her who I was and she gave me N's number. I called N. at 11:30 a.m. and woke her. Oops. Russian time--I miscalculated. She told me to call V.

I called V. who repeated the same information I'd been e-mailed. And then said that

they still did not have my dossier in the office.

I was gobsmacked, flabbergasted, amazed, bemused, incredulous and just plain unbelieving.

Didn't I just say that I should verify earlier reports that my documents were where they should be? I thought there was a slight possibility that they weren't translated, but never thought they hadn't arrived. I thought with all this time that my agency has now that they're unaccredited, that they'd be extra-on-top of all this paperwork. And that recent plea they made to get all dossiers in so that they could be translated and waiting seemed to me to indicate they had time on their hands.

This is not the sort of excitement I had in mind for this post.

On Monday, the office here will call me and tell me what they have and what they are lacking. I've sent e-mails to the US facilitators and the agency itself (who do nothing, but I still thought they should know) asking if they have confirmation that my documents arrived in Russia. Wouldn't you think that would be part of their job? Making sure paperwork arrived? It's not like they gave me a tracking number so that I could see where things were.

I guess this qualifies as exciting...in an agitating sort of way... Sheesh.

18 May 2007

quick quote

"WHAT?!! They killed all the tsars and then they didn't even want any churches? What's the matter with them?"

one of my second graders today at Church on Spilled Blood after he found out that the communists used that amazing church to store vegetables and theatre sets

15 May 2007

word nerd

I know that there have been a lot of hopes hung on the word "imminent" in the recent statement issued about accreditation. (see post below)

I thought a little word research was in order. I looked up imminent in a couple of dictionaries, and found the word немиуемыи (which is fun to say--nyemeeOOyemee).

My friend Nadya says this word actually means something you must get around, a crisis you must face.

An online translation from English to Russian gave me неизбежный. But, that translates as "inevitable" in my dictionaries and on the online site.

Interesting, eh? So while we're thinking that accreditation is going to happen very soon, it may actually be a crisis that is inevitable that we face.

14 May 2007

not really an update

Rumors are flying once again. Apparently, four agencies have had their final paperwork sumbitted to all the Ministries that need to approve it. (No mention has been made of who those four agencies are, though.) The adoption world seems sure that re-accreditation is "imminent". (Actually, that was a quote from Alina Levitskaya, Director of the Department of Youth Policy, Upbringing, and Social Protection of Children of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. Ms. Levitskaya was in Washington, DC to meet with senior staff within the U.S. Department of State to discuss the status of Russian intercountry adoption and the accreditation of U.S. agencies.) I remain skeptical.

This is not my typical frame of reference. My friend Kristen once said, "Do you ever get the feeling that Kate was raised on a steady diet of Hayley Mills films?" This comment gets a chuckle from those who know me in real life. I do tend to be a bit of a Pollyanna.

But for now, no glad game. These are strictly the facts: No one has accreditation. No one knows when accreditation will be granted.

My agency (notice this is neither in the facts nor the fantasy paragraphs...because I don't know where it belongs) says that accreditation is coming soon. They are encouraging all families whose paperwork is not complete to complete it so that it can be sent to Russia for translation. They feel that accreditation will be granted first to those agencies who have the most parents ready to go.

That's all I *know* for right now. My papers are in and translated (well, actually, that's an assumption I should verify). I would think I was top of the stack. And, with the age range I'm requesting, I would think that my wait would be short...one accreditation is granted.

Well, I told you it wasn't really an update.

(p.s. for Sybille: I'm on week two of my cold. It's wandered from my sinuses to my throat. My doctor in the US would say that colds last two weeks if you see a doctor and fourteen days if you don't. Knowing what I do about healthcare in Russia, I choose the don't option. I should be in good shape next week.)

12 May 2007

toothpaste revisited

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath ever since this post forthe results. Today is the day! Today, the experimental toothpaste tube was finished.

This means that one tube of toothpaste used by a single person who brushes her teeth 2-3 times a day will last approximately 12 weeks. I would've thought it was more like a month. So, my hypothesis was incorrect and I learned something.

This means, and I know you'll all be relieved, that I do have enough toothpaste to last until I anticipate leaving Russia. There were no openings at the school I want to return to in the US so I signed on for another year here. But, as you can see in the original toothpaste post, I have more than enough toothpaste stashed away to ensure clean teeth for more than a year.

11 May 2007

five words...fourth word...four syllables...

You will *not* believe what show just came on BBC Prime instead of As Time Goes By. I don't. Even in a heated round of charades, I would never have guessed this title in a million years. I would've thought it was a SNL skit or something. If I'd gotten this one to act out, I would surely have protested and demanded proof of its validity. But, it's real. So, store this one away for your next charades game and you're sure to score a point:

The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses

I kid you not.

Edited to add: I tuned back in thinking the ten o'clock offer might be good. It's usually mystery/drama sort of show. Spa was still on!! It's an hour long. An hour of embarrassing illnesses. And, they weren't even in a spa. It was a guy in a car at a drive through or something holding a Tigger stuffed animal and crying into it (them?), "Who's Daddy's boys, then? Who's Daddy's boys?" Yikes.

10 May 2007

a better mousetrap

Just learned that the Hermitage keeps cats on the premises (the video footage showed at least 20) to keep down the mouse population. Hermitage workers donate money to pay for veterinary care and food. Apparently, they do such a good job that there aren't enough mice to keep them all fed!

Just thought that was an interesting little tidbit. I've seen the same cat outside the Russian Museum the whole time I've been here. It's white with a gray spot on top of its head. Now, it's been joined by a kitten there that looks just like it and another kitten as well. They all look well-fed and at least one has a collar. I wonder if the same policy prevails there.

08 May 2007


Don't you hate having a cold? There is something about being oxygen deprived (cause you know the O2 isn't getting through all that gunk) and sleep deprived (because every time you moved the slightest bit you had to wait for your sinuses to equalize so that you could breathe in little, shallow breaths. Sleeping sitting up helps you breathe but doesn't help you SLEEP. And, all the tension about not getting any sleep just makes it worse.) and a little queasy from all the drainage (ew. nasty.) but still being expected to function--including not only teaching (which is actually the easy part) but also having scheduled and unscheduled parental conferences AND a formal evaluation from your brand-spanking-new principal)--that makes me feel rotten.

And it makes me miss all sorts of homely things. I miss...

General Hospital. Really, truly I do. I admit freely that I watch--and have since I had chicken pox in fifth grade. Aside from the time when Holly Scorpio left the show and I switched to Days, this is the longest I've been away from Port Charles. I like the escape and the connection to my friends-who-shall-remain-nameless who also watch. I just found out Nik and Emily got back together. Sigh. I was hoping for that, and yet...I with they'd waited until I was home.

TV in general. I've been watching a taped tv show and the commercials are all about shows I've never heard of--except CSI.

TJ Maxx. I love that store. I need some shoes and bits and bobs but I won't buy them here. They're too expensive and cheaply made.

Chili's and Mexican food and that good Chinese restaurant we'd drive 45 minutes to get to after we'd run our errands on Saturday. Panera and Chipotle and all the little shops that cluster around a mall.

pop culture! I'm in a time warp. I haven't had any new movies, books or music. I don't know what the catch-phrases are or what the latest jokes are about. (Feel free to burn me a copy of your favorite cd and send it. I'll listen to it!)

libraries and bookstores where you can browse. I admit to judging books by their covers. (Wow, lots of admissions today. Defenses must be lowered by rotten cold.) I like to pick a book up, flip through it, read the back and the jacket. I don't really like hardbacks--too hard to read in the tub--but all the books I'm waiting for will take another year before they're in paperback.

parks you can eat in and walk on the grass.

clean air and things to do outside.

living without having to read the culture all the time. Even when I see things I've observed before I'm busy filing it away as proof of a correct assumption. This isn't conscious. It's like when I go to a play and I spend the whole time re-saying the lines in my head to correct inflection or timing. I don't MEAN to. It just happens. (Thank you, Judi Dench, for being brilliant in Hay Fever last summer so I could just watch the play.)

a drug store that sells cold-eaze so I could nip this in the bud, stop whinging and feel better.

On the plus side, it's Victory Day tomorrow so we don't have school. Hooray! Pajama Day!

(I'm also thankful for the cold medicines Ann Marie brought me and the chicken boullion Rachael brought me. All are being put to good use tonight! ;> Cheers, you two.)

06 May 2007

still no news

It's that time of year. All schoolteachers know it. We're approaching the home stretch, but aren't in it yet. I still have SIX weeks of school left. Six. That seems ludicrous. Aren't we all supposed to get out on 1 June? Well, if the Russian government and I had our way, we would. Unfortunately, we don't get our way. We have six more weeks of school.

So, we plug on. We take lots of field trips. We struggle to master multiplication (just 0,1, 2, 5 and 10) and quotation marks. We write poems and graph the temperature. And all the time we're longing for summer.

Anyone out there have exciting summer plans? I know what I'm hoping for, but not what will actually happen...Still exploring independent options, but have no definite news there.

(Yeah, uh, really I just posted this so that you'd stick around. I really don't have anything to say. But, I will someday and didn't want to lose my audience...Thanks for humoring me.)

02 May 2007


Lauri very kindly named my blog as a thinking blogger blog. Ironically, it came just when I was considering how dull and dreary my posts have become. All I seem to do is whine and whinge.

If you look back at my blog prior to March 2006, I think the posts are much more interesting. They were about life in Russia...and I seem to have had more life then. Granted, there have been good posts along the way. It's just recently that I seem to be stuck.

This isn't just in the blogger-world. I'm feeling a little stuck in real-life, too. I feel caught in the life I'm living now. Waiting for the late bus that is my elephantine adoption (okay, that was a nice reference to past posts) has me standing still. I don't feel as if I have permission to do anything else until this is finished.

I've been in Russia for two years. I've had a whole year of "Oh, wow!" and another year of "Yep. Next is..." as I've gone through the seasons and celebrations. I have ceased to be enthralled by the wonder of a new culture and am beginning to be impatient with it. I've visited all the historical sites at least once. Because of my cat and financial considerations (um, adoption is expensive), I really cannot travel. I've read all my books, watched all my movies and listened to all my cd's many times. BBC Prime shows the same shows over and over and over (Have you heard Ann Marie longing for it after she saw what it actually had to offer? No.) and they're shows I saw when I was living in the UK! It just seems as if everything is repetitive. And, I'm afraid my writing is reflecting that.

Friends who have had multiple pregnancies bandy about the statistic that each pregnancy causes you to lose ten IQ points. I'm wondering if the same it true for "paper pregnancies". If so, does one lose the IQ points per adoption wait or in nine month intervals (ten points every nine months) or do you simply lose one IQ point every month?

Very scary thought. Thank you, Lauri, for awarding this before it's too late! I'll try to get back to thoughtful posts...

01 May 2007

april 30

Here's how we said good-bye to April. This is the Field of Mars (note to s: It's where the Tsars used to review their troops and is now a large park.) yesterday on my way to school. That's the Summer Garden in the background. They just took the boxes off the statues last week.

After seeing all the garden photos lately, I thought you'd like to see the tulips I pass each day.