30 June 2007

mock not, lest ye need toothpaste

ask ann marie for details. ;>

Edited to provide details as ann marie *might* be thinking of things other than toothpaste:

Yesterday I got up at early and drove ('nuff said?) all over the city in search of an affordable umbrella stroller. I'd seen one on the day I'd visited my agency (the short story two posts below). Their offices are in a mall (big shop, many shops). So, I popped in. They did have umbrella strollers, but I thought they were a little pricey. It was a big-name store (Children's World) so I thought I could find one cheaper elsewhere. Nope. None cheaper, none at all! I tried Ramstore, Okey, Children's Paradise, Carousel and The Children's Store. I decided to go back to the mall near Avtova. (Yeah, those who know me irl are laughing. Let's just say that on a recent multiple intelligences test I scored perfectly (not a difficult test) in all areas *except* spatial abilities. There I got an 85%. Definitely not my strong suit...)I found it (wow) bought the stroller and got the the airport--early!

While I was having my adventure, Ann Marie and Zach were dealing with an overseas flight and one of my two *least* favorite airports in the WORLD (Charles de Gualle in Paris--the other I abhor is DFW). Their flight was late. It was hot. The ice cream I brought them melted. Not a fun day for boisterous couple from the 'burbs.

So, they were jetlagged and I was carlagged. I left them at their hotel to settle in (those rebels have to be watched more carefully than they were when they stayed with me) I got a call from AM who 'fessed up. She'd forgotten toothpaste. We both burst out laughing. I told her I didn't think I had any.

29 June 2007

i don't buy it

I know this is old news for you guys, but I had to articulate this madness. I'm watching Alias, season four right now. (I think it was best before they destroyed SD6. And yet, I continue to watch...) The thing that drives me crazy is the whole multi-national Derevko women.

How, in one family, can we have one Russian sister (I'll give them Irina, since they cast her first...though she doesn't sound Russian), one Italian sister (there is no way Isabella Rossellini is Russian) and one sister from Brazil (apply previous parenthetical remark to Sonia Braga)? What gives? This is a blatant case of casting names and playing to desired demographics while completely ignoring the story. And, while we're on the subject, how does living in Argentina make Sydney's half-sister actually Argentinian? Okay, so it accounts for the accent, but how about for her ethnicity? Poof? Magic? Amazing assimilation? Something in the water?

Nope. I just don't believe it. An audience member is asked to suspend disbelief for the duration of a play, or, in this case, a television show. This is asking me to suspend too much.

28 June 2007

Рассказ (a short story)

Oh, the roads I've walked (literally) to bring those d2b home! Today I had to take a copy of my lease to the local reps office. When I got there, there were no English-speakers at work today. This is the story I told them of my trip. To disabuse you of the notion that I *speak* Russian, I'll give you a literal transcript:

Hello. My name is Kate Christian. I have home book...home papers.


Yes, I have documents.

They talk about how Viktor told them I would come with documents and offer me tea or coffee. I decline. It is obvious that I've had trouble finding them because a security guard had to help me find the office, so I offer this story:

Today, very difficult. At metro AvTOva-

AVtova (she corrects)

-AVtova, thank you. I don't know where. I ask a girl, "Where is 9 9 (couldn't at that moment remember 99) Street Stachek (That's right in Russian). It's a big shop. The girl says, "Not far. To the left." I walk left. I think, "I don't know..." I ask an old lady, "Where is 9 9 Street Stachek?" Old lady says, "VERY far!" I ask, "Very far? It is a big shop, many shops." Old lady, "Yes, big shop, very far, to the right." "Over bridge?" I ask (miming with my fingers) Old lady--yes. Girl--no. So, I don't know. I to the right. I walk and walk. Bridge (miming again). Here! I need lift, office. Now, it is good. Everything is good. Today, I walk and metro. I don't know the word... (needed to say "next" or even "another") After time, I car.

We laugh. I say goodbye and leave.

I will say that my pronunciation, according to everyone Russian, is very good. I'm proud of that. [Although, several times I've been asked if I'm from Finland. I guess that's closer to Russia-and Russian-than the US and English...and my Russian teacher is Estonian (the language is similar to Finnish).] My grammar is passable, but I tend to speak primarily in the present tense. My inflection and story-telling abilities are excellent! ;> But, my limited vocabulary is frustrating. I just want to speak! I'm getting better...I think it's time for more flashcards.

27 June 2007


No, it's not Russian. It's just got the emphasis on the wrong syllable (as the sooo old joke goes...).

I just spent about $12 on two handfuls of asparagus. This is the time of year that I crave asparagus and strawberries. The asparagus has been steamed and is marinating in a sauce so indulgent that it makes this a dessert instead of a vegetable (1c soy sauce, 3/4 c evoo, 1/3 c sugar--adjust to taste). Tomorrow I'll eat it cold! And, I'll try to make it last for a couple of days. No promises, though. I think dessert will be... strawberries!

Does the fact that this news about asparagus meritted a post of it's own tell you what a big deal it is? It's a big deal. Big.

Edited to add: evoo is extra virgin olive oil...though the recipe originally called for sesame oil. ::Suz::, it's really good and really easy.

26 June 2007

Scarlet Sails (long)

Last Saturday, 23 June, was The Day of Scarlet Sails. It was the day that the graduates from the high schools, universities and military academies celebrate. This celebration, from what I've been able to find out, stopped in 1969. Then, three years ago, in 2004, it was re-instated. Last year we were warned to stay home, and we did. This year, though similarly cautioned, I ventured out. The city had done its best to try to avoid the mass of broken glass that followed last year's celebration by not allowing glass bottles to be sold anywhere in the city center. And, yes, I did have to move my car. This time, amazingly, there was a note on my windshield! I could read FORBIDDEN and the dates, so I thought I knew what it meant. Sure enough, a little time with my dictionary confirmed that I (respected driver) was not to park in the center.

Here they are setting things up in Palace Square. The sign reads, "Russia--Land of Opportunity". The chairs would be offered to gold medalist scholars--similar to our honor roll. These students had all 5's (A's). Silver medalists have no more than two 4's...I think. (I'll ask to get this clarified.) My friend A was a silver-medalist when he graduated. He said he felt like a show horse being awarded a prize.

This is the star attraction--THE ship with scarlet sails. It's waiting here, flags furled, in front of the Summer Garden. Later, as the culmination of the evening, it will sail down the Neva. Troitsky Most will open early to let it sail through. (Have I posted pictures of the bridges open? If not, I'll do that soon. It's really a beautiful sight.)

Pictured above is Troitsky Most, my most favorite bridge, with flags flying. (And, below, the street just before the bridge.) Who's been reading this blog long enough to remember who designed this bridge? Big points to the winner...

That night there was a concert in Palace Square. A brass military band played first. It was great! It wasn't crowded and we sat on the cobblestones and listened. It felt a little like Symphony in the Park on 4th of July back in Colorado Springs.

I thought these flag holders would be performing later. Turns out, they were just waiting to be planted in the crowd.

At 11:00 (Did you see the sign said 23 June at 23:00 at the top?) the festivities began in earnest. They were televised live for the first time. It was a spectacle! After some speeches, sails were raised around the angel and balloons were released.

After that, two Eurovision winners (I think...maybe just contestants...) sang. They were entertaining and not too ROCK-y.

The Hermitage clock to show you that it's midnight.

There were some strange entertainments. These are girls on some sort of automated track. They looked like birthday cakes you bake in a bowl and stick a Barbie in. They glided on stage and did some synchronized arm movements. At other times, girls were suspended in the air (HIGH in the air) and spun around and were superimposed over an ocean scene. And, there was a girl in a giant ball that was rolled onto the crowd. The crowd passed that ball (rave-like) around the square. Pix didn't capture that.

By this time, the square was full and the mood (not to mention the blood alcohol level) of the crowd was changing. We took our cue from a nearby celebrant who vomited all over the cobble stones and left. We walked down to the Neva to see the next part of the festivities. The problem was, people had been gathering there for hours. We were packed in and could see nothing.

Neither could the people in this photo. They scaled the scaffolding on this building. Then, they tore off the protective covering (see the top levels that are still intact?) so they could see better. They were well-chuffed (very pleased with themselves) until a woman came marching up the street. She really tore into them! I don't know who she was, but shortly after her tirade, the militsia arrived followed by the riot police. People scrambled off the scaffolding. Soon, others took their place. The scene played out repeatedly.

About 1:30 a.m. the fireworks started. (It wasn't really this dark...) It was so odd to watch fireworks as the sky got lighter...

After the fireworks, the crowd was very restless. We got tired of the broken bottles, the drinking and the unruliness and opted to go home.

Fortunately for me, I turned to see if friends were following just as the ship, flags unfurled, sailed down the river. It was beautiful! Unfortunately for you, I don't have a picture of it.

WHICH reminds me...Saturday morning I was looking at the smudge on my lcd screen on the camera and idly wondering what would happen if it was broken. That night, after a bag search in Palace Square, I pulled out my camera to find (yep) a broken lcd screen. This means I have no options anymore. I can only point and shoot. I think I may be looking for a new camera soon.

25 June 2007


Sorry to have been a negligent blogger. I've had guests here from Moscow and things have been a little...hectic. To attone I'll offer you pictures!

Before they came, I went over to spend the afternoon with a parent from last year's class. They adopted both their children and (Mom especially) are really excited and supportive. I came home laden with gifts! D2b now has...

a beautiful cradle from Africa.

Their daughter was adopted from Tanzania. They were the first international family to adopt there. (It is so nice to have wood in the flat! My desk and bed from the US are the only real items in the flat. Everything that came with the flat--floors included--is laminate. I'm not a fan of laminate.)

a high chair/booster seat from Indonesia.

Their son was adopted while they were there. The guardrail is removable and the seat is adjustable and will last us a long time. It will fit d2b no matter what her age. (Those who know me are certainly agog and aghast to see living plants in my flat. Me, too! The lavender I've grown from seed. Did you know that the leaves of the plant smell good? I didn't. I thought only the flowers were...scent-ful.The flower was a gift...and already looks a little worse for wear. But, maybe it will survive...)

a car seat from Germany.

Hooray! I feel much safer trusting the Germans than I do the Russians when it comes to car seat safety. (Yes, a five-point harness would be best. But, that's not even available here yet.)

More soon about our festivities last weekend--pictures included!

19 June 2007

hey, baby, what's your song?

So, if Why This Road is my current state-of-being song

(actually, I'm coming out of that already; sometimes all it takes is a song. Did you know that musical theatre is structured much like Shakespearean plays? Seriously. In Shakespeare's works, you will find characters speaking in prose until the emotion becomes so overwhelming that s/he has to express it differently, it cannot be contained in prose--so s/he speaks in verse. Look at Viola and Olivia's dialogue from Twelfth Night, Act I scene v. When Viola's passion for Orsino overtakes her, she begins to speak in verse. So, too in musicals. When a character has an emotion too big for words, s/he sings! Of course, this is only true of musicals post-Oklahoma!. But that's taking this digression a bit too far, isn't it? Indubitably. <-That was a Mary Poppins reference. It just happens.)

then what is yours? Everyone has a song. In drama school we had to write and sing our self-song. (Of course we did. It was drama school.) I still know mine--and it still fits. I've had lots of songs that sum me up at different times. Haven't we all? I say yes!

So, what's your song?

still looking for sw

The new sw was going to cost $1750 + travel expenses to do my new hs. That's more than my first hs! I'm looking further.

18 June 2007

this road

A dear friend sent me a cd she'd burned for me. (Thanks again, S!) This song, the last one, seemed espcially fitting (although I think "suffering" to too drastic and too dramatic to describe my situation properly). These lyrics, and this post, and this blogger are unashamedly Christian.

This song is by Ginny Owens.

A million miles away from anything familiar
A thousand places I would rather be
So I choke back the tears and try to find the bright side
Though I find it hard to see beyond my suffering

In my heart I know Your plan is so much bigger
And this small part is all that I can see
And I believe You haven't left me here to wander
Still I can't help but ponder where You're leading me

And I ask why this road? Why this way and this load?
Tell me how far must I go 'till I see, 'till I know, why this road?

A million miles away from anything familiar
What was it like to be so far from home?
And though You came in love, the world misunderstood You
There must've been some days when You felt so alone

But You endured because there was joy before You
Joy that came because You sacrificed
Since You gave Yourself just to spend forever with me
Surely I can trust You'll lead me through my darkest time

When I ask why this road? Why this way and this load?
Tell me how far must I go 'till I see, 'till I know, why this road?

From here I cannot see why you'd choose this path for me
But I don't have to understand to believe
That You know why

You know why this road, why this way and this load
You know how far I must go 'till I see, 'till I know, why this road

I love it and I sing it. It so nicely sums up both the struggles and the faith I have about bringing d2b home.

And, once photobucket un-bans me for for violating tos (ummm...yeah. not me.) I'll change my photo to a better representation of this road.

(BTW, I found a sw to re-do my hs. Hooray! Now let's see how much it will cost...)

17 June 2007

a little help

Thank you for your kind offers to help the children at Loozeena. I don't really know what we can do. That being said, the atmosphere there was not one of doom and gloom. It wasn't camp-like, but it was just...life for these kids. I wasn't there very long. I'm sure if I was, that I'd have more insights into what life was really like.

Some ideas...

Buckner obvioulsy works there. Supporting their outreach program would help these children and others like them. Becky? Want to chime in here?

I can find out more about the Lutheran organization (V. says it's not Bethany) that Valentina works for and see if we could make donations there. I think they sent a team to build showers at the last children's home I visited. Maybe they could help with paint or flooring...or maybe these are just cosmetic things that struck me. Maybe there are more pressing needs.

I am happy to recieve packages from the US or to take donations and go shopping for these children. I can ask Valentina for what they need (they just got a new blood pressure gague and wood-working tools) and what they want (dolls for all are still high on my list...) and fill up my BIG car.

These are all short-term. I think in the long term, all we can do is pray for these children and for this nation. There are so many people here in need of care. It's easy for us to focus on the orphan population. Those are faces we can readily see. The elderly population is struggling tremendously. The pensioners here have seen their state pensions dwindle away to nothing. My heart hurts for the millions of people here who are lonely and hopeless. I don't know how to help them. I'm open to suggetions!

16 June 2007

more good news (note the sarcasm)

My social worker just e-mailed me. She said she will not be able to do my homestudy because she has family issues that prevent her from being in Russia.

Have I mentioned how difficult it is to adopt while you're living in Russia?

visiting Lopukhinka

Yesterday I delivered clothes and toys that our school collected at the end of the school year (see political corruption). On the way Valentina, the co-ordinator who works with Bethany (I think) to supply needs to orphans in Leningrad Oblast, and I stopped for a blini and to buy some things for the children. (Note: they asked for a tea kettle for the infirmary, shampoo, sanitary pads, and candy. If you're thinking about a donation for older children, think hygiene.) It was a good thing we ate, because we didn't get home until well past seven last night.

This time we went to a different children's home near the village of L. (close to Peterhof). it was a very pretty drive with lots of birch trees and grazing animals. It's one of the prettiest parts of the country I've seen. There were even individual houses. I didn't realize how much I'd missed seeing those!

The children's home (they attend school in the nearby village, so it's not an internat) was by far the poorest I've seen. The paint was peeling from the walls. The floors were worn through. There was little furniture. But, the children seemed cared for, happy, and open. The caregivers were truly caring. They help to work on the farm and sold enough produce last year to send 30+ children to summer camp. They have woodworking classes. This is the only home I know of that has a significant amount of men on the caregiving/teaching staff. I think that is so important!

The children at Lophkhinka were aged 7-16. It was actually graduation day (from high school) for the older children. We ran into a group from Buckner (not my agency) who were there distributing "supplies" for the graduates. (They didn't know you, Becky. I asked.) I think the teenaged girls on their staff were responsible for all the French braids and beribboned pigtails on the little girls yesterday. I know there were responsible for some RED nail polish.

We delivered our toys and clothes. All the toys were greeted with enthusiasm. Little scrappy bits of plastic that I'd throw away as junk were treasured. The biggest hit was a doll bed that I had been tempted to keep for d2b. My car was packed solid and it was both cute and hard to fit in. I was so glad I hadn't given into that temptation! The little girls (maybe aged 10) were delighted with it. They were even happier when they found a doll (kookla) in the bag to put in the bed. I want to go buy lots of new dolls for this children's home! I'd love to make sure all of the girls in that groupa had their own doll.

One little girl, Veera, was new and a little lost. She was probably seven. She'd been brought to this home because her brothers had been here previously. There was an evident desire to keep siblings together here. It was easy to see family resemblances amongst the children. There were sisters who were tall with long, dark hair and a family of freckle-faced strawberry blondes. I admit to having my eyes open, searching for a lightening bolt, just a little bit. But, again, the fact that I was in a children's home that was older than my current age range made it a little easier for me to go. Not much though--it mostly made me want to increase my age range!

We talked to the assistant director. Valentina told her I was adopting and she asked me to come back there! I told her I would be happy to do that. Sadly, as in most of the children's homes, most of these children will never leave. V. estimated that 80 % of them were not available for adoption. Some occasionally see their mothers. Some occasionally leave for a visit. Most just stay there.

When we were leaving, V asked if it was okay if we gave the children a ride to the gate in my car. And, then, she added joking, we can just keep going. Little did she know how much Alias and 24 I've been watching! A daring escape was just up my alley. And, I was sure I could get some forged documents. Sydney always manages... So, Nastya, Katya, Veera and Dima all piled in the back seat. We drove them down the path. And, despite my recent CIA/SD6/CTU training, we stopped before the gate that led to the road out, dropped them off and waved goodbye. Won't it be a great day when the waving goodbye takes place from little hands inside my car as we drive through the gate together?

14 June 2007

the results are... (with addition)

As many of you know, I've been conducting an independent study on the effects of stress upon single, thirty-something women. To that end, I needed to induce a high-stress situation. I've chosen to delve into the world of Russian adoption. While I was told it would be "hard", I, like most pap's did not really believe it or fathom the how's and why's. I'm organized. I follow directions well. I a believer who knows that God's timing and plans for my life is better than, and often different from, the plans I make on my own. I didn't really think it would be THAT stressful. I thought I'd fill out my paperwork and then wait. Silly, Kate.

So, it seemed prudent, if my study was to succeed and yeild valid high-stress results, to up the stress level. I decided to live in Russia. Living outside your culture is stressful. Living in Russia provides it's own unique frustrations.

I increased the stress level further at work. My class this year included a child who is high-functioning autistic, another with undiagnosed but severe ADHD, three with learning disabilities, my esl contingent and a child with spina bifida who had a very difficult learning assistant. Really, she crossed the line from unpleasant and verged on crazy. I taught for a first-year principal whom I don't really...click with. She just let me know today that my classroom for next year will be subdivided (I knew that and was a bit sad, but understanding) AND that I would not get to choose my new room. (The other teacher is new and won't arrive until August. All the staff thought I'd get right of refusal since I'm actually here.) WRONG. That wouldn't be nearly stressful enough. So, now I'll be in the other, less desirable, darker, smaller classroom with fewer computers and more students. AND, I'll have an assistant next year whom I've only seen at the Christmas party. (She's been on maternity leave for the last two years. Russian leave beats US family leave, hands down.) I hope she was drunk then because otherwise we're in danger of exceeding the safety limits set at the beginning of the experiment.

And lastly, my sw (who is surely in on the experiment) hasn't answered e-mails or phone calls for the last two weeks about renewing/reprinting my homestudy.

So--the results?

This year I've gained weight despite a very healthy diet, giving up Coke, walking a minimum of two miles a day at least four times a week and teaching dance classes. It's really not fair. I'm at an all-time high weight-wise. Yeah. That makes me really want to take all those first-meeting photos. (See, it's a GOOD thing there will be a delay before I meet d2b. I've got time to fast.) Being this weight is stressful.

I'm losing hair. Really. Pregnant moms get thick, georgous hair. Adoptive moms lose theirs. No one tells you this, but it's true. Ask Lauren. I'm not balding, by any means, but there's a lot of hair in my brush.

Insomnia. (Sing along--Who needs sleep? Well, you're never gonna get it...) I often have bouts of insomnia, but this year has been really bad. My Russian teacher told me I must get rid of some of my stress. I told her school was almost over. ;>

How could I forget to mention the state of my neck and shoulders? You're right--they're just huge knots. I had a massage here once and was in so much pain that I haven't repeated the experience. I'm surviving on Flex-All. I'm investigating a day spa in Helsinki. How crazy is it to go to another country just to get a massage?

That's the case here. I'm wondering what stress-effects the rest of you are experiencing. I'll write us up and submit it to the AMA. Okay, I won't really. I'm totally making that up. But, don't let that stop you from sharing!

[p.s. No worries on my account. This summer I'm adding extra Ballet Boot Camp workouts, staying off Coke, conditioning my hair well and sleeping whenever I please. I'm also increasing my Russian lessons and planning some weekends away in an attempt to busy my mind.)

13 June 2007

some kind words

Today was the students' last day! Amidst the goodbyes (there are a lot of those in an international school) there were some very sweet moments. One of my cards today, my from newest English-speaker, told me:

you are the GREYTEST titshar in the wald!

;> Nice, huh?

Now I have to clean out my classroom (tomorrow), deliver some donations to a local children's home/s (soon--my car overfloweth) and get my sw to reply to my e-mails and phone message about that new homestudy (yesterday would be nice!). So, even though school's out, I've still got plenty to keep me busy.

10 June 2007

for the record

Lauri has documented many of her crystal ball predictions in the adoption world, so I thought I should provide evidence of one that's been given to me twice now.

My friend A. last year referred to d2b as "Anna" off-handedly. He was completely taken aback and a little freaked out--didn't know how the name had come to him.

Then, this week, most of my class found out about my adoption. It's not a secret, they just hadn't really asked. They were so excited and wanted to know all about her--age, hair color and, most importantly, her name. They wanted to know what I would name her. I said she might already have a Russian name. One of my students (another A) said, "I think shes name is Annastasia." So, that's two votes for my favourite grand duchess... We'll see...

almost there...

That is a quote from Star Wars.

I've got four more days of school and then my life is my own again! And then, dear bloggy friends, you'll be regaled once more with all the news from Russia, with love. Thanks for hanging in there. Last week was insanely busy--and this week is poised to rival it.

04 June 2007

field trip pix

Our students are very fortunate in their field trip ops! Here are the second graders (minus a few from each trip) out and about in St. P. In all, we have 15 students from the following countries: USA, UK, South Africa (those are my native English speakers) Sweden, South Korea, Japan, Russia/Ireland, Russia/Finland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Holland and Germany.

Here we are on top of St. Isaac's. This was the only thing in St. P that wasn't camouflaged during WWII. All the other building were covered or painted. The Russians reckoned that if this were the only building not covered, the Germans would need it to navigate by and wouldn't bomb it. They were right. Below is what we were looking at--one of St. Isaac's domes. You can see the top dome reflected in this one.
Here we are at Peterhoff. This is one of my favourite places to go in St. P. The fountains are amazing--and were much enjoyed by second grade.

And, this is one of my students drawing outside the Hermitage on Children's Day. Their drawings really turned out well. I'll photograph a few for you. I love the feet on this little artist.

03 June 2007

reia, last of the astani

*Update: What I've been told by the agency is that this has to be a new hs and not an update because the original hs was never filed. It is expiring because it was actually finished in early June last year. It was only because of the seven months it sat on my agency's desk that it's expiring early. I understand my sw sticking to the date it originally was finished, but would love it if it reflected the last changes asked for and made--which was in February. I'm hoping that this can be a sort of an update that just includes all pages being reprinted, a compromise of sorts. Otherwise, it's time to break out the checkbook. Either way, I don't see how I can be ready to be first in line if the re-accreds come this month as expected by my agency. My consolation is that not many people request children in my age range. Maybe that will be my saving grace? Aren't you just SO curious to know what d2b is up to that's keeping me waiting and waiting? I am. I can't wait to see what's been going in in her/their life/lives over the past year...

I am calling on my alter ego, Reia, last of the Astani, to help with the latest agency demands. 'Cause, guess what--

I need a new homestudy. That makes 4, by my reckoning. Did you know that the Brits use the word "reckon" all the time? They do. "Whadya reckon?" is a commonly used expression instead of "Whadya think?" I kid you not. I used it all the time when I came home from my first UK stay and people thought I was a total hick.

PC foods

(It's all in how you categorize...)

pasta, poultry, peaches, plums, pickles (bread and butter only, thanks), peanut butter, peas, pasturized milk (a bit of a cheat, but...)

cheese, crackers, chicken, condiments, Coke, chocolate

Hmmm...I know there's more, but I haven't eaten them is so long that I've forgotten! Help me out, here.

What I'd really miss if I went PC: berries, green beans, soups (I'd have to finagle a way around that...in Russian it's суп), lentils and rice, bread

Do you know what I'm longing for right now? Cold asparagus in soy sauce. I got hooked on this by a family a babysat for in Chattanooga. It's the perfect summer food. I just wish it started with a "p". I also wish they HAD asparagus in St. P...

on borrowed mice

Was that close enough to being "on borrowed time" that it made sense? I've borrowed a mouse from school and am good for now.

We're down to the nine days of school. That means we're BUSY! I've had loads of class trips during the end of this year. It's nice, but does wear us out. Add to that all the end-of-year paperwork and I have little free time. Here's what we've got going on in second grade:

Last week we went to practice the talent show on Monday morning, went to Peterhoff on Tuesday and had the talent show that night, Wednesday was a normal day, Thursday was a student's last day, so we had all sorts of goodbye activities, and Friday we were at the Hermitage.

Tomorrow is Sports Day, Tuesday we're going to have lunch in the Summer Gardens (Russian life insight: I asked our secretary Tatyana if we could eat there. Many, many Russian parks do not allow food. She said she was sure I would do it properly by sitting on benches and not letting the children on the grass, so it should be okay. Oh to be able to WALK ON GRASS again!), Wednesday we're staying put, Thursday we go to the Mariinsky and Friday will be a day of packing up.

Next Monday is International Day, Tuesday is Game Day, and Wednesday is the last day for students. Teachers have to be in on Thursday, but as of Friday I'm FREE for the summer!

If you're interested in tagging along on our excursions, just be sure to bring a permission slip and a packed lunch. The camera cord is at school. I'll give you a pic or two tomorrow.

02 June 2007

8 things

Suz tagged me of the 8 random things meme. The rules are as follows:
Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Mine won't be nearly as pretty as hers, but I'll give it a shot...

1. I am the voice of a video game character. I'm Reia, last of the Astani in the game Vexx. They'd already cast the role three times (in NY, London and LA) and been unhappy with all the actresses. I hadn't been back in the US very long, and my "trans-Atlantic" accent did the trick. Well, it was either that or the way I interviewed them prior to the audition. I wasn't sure I wanted to do a video game. But, this character was a strong woman and the game was very low-violence and high-fantasy. It didn't sell all that well because even if you get all the way to the end, you don't win. They thought this was clever and would make you buy the sequel. I thought it would make people mad. Looks like I won. Still, it was GREAT fun to do.

2. I've ridden in rodeos. Now, they weren't the big, professional ones. They were more like pick-up rodeos. But, I did it. I did some calf sorting, some team cow cutting, and rode barrels. That was great fun, too.

3. I have texture issues. I can't stand to eat foods like tomatoes (squishy and gooey) or shrimp (sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it) or peaches with skin (fuzzy). I don't like to even touch velvet. It gives me shivers thinking about touching it against the nap.

4. I learned to ski on Pikes Peak. You can't ski there anymore, but it does make for a great, random fact.

5. I'm allergic to faux.

6. If I were only going to eat food starting with one letter for the rest of my life, I'd choose the letter P. I realized this when I opened the 'fridge while living in England and saw that everything on my shelf (except the milk) started with P. I laughed out loud! If I got a second letter, I'd choose C.

7. I understand cold temperatures in Celsius and warm/hot temperatures in Farenheit. The changeover occurs at around 52F/10C. (My friend Dawn is the same way, so this isn't completely random.)

8. I am usually very much a rule-follower. I make up rules for myself to follow when rules seem to be lacking.

So, this is a random act of rebellion. I'm not following the meme rules of tagging eight. I'm going to leave this tag open for whomever is interested. I know I've been absent from blogland for a while, and am not sure who would still be interested. Link your blog in the comments so we can come read about your randomness. ;>