31 October 2007

gone purple

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As challenged by Elle, we've gone purple (because she likes purple) to commemorate National Adoption Awareness Month. (Well, it's a start...maybe we'll get purpler as the month progresses. I really need to learn more about html code and techy-bloggy thingies...)

29 October 2007


DaisypathAnniversary Years Ticker

So what do we think about tickers? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Should I keep it or not?

28 October 2007


That title reminds me of a sketch from The Shakespeare Revue. It made me giggle.

This is a quickie to say that our clocks have already changed here in Russia. Just thought you should know.

27 October 2007


SW2.5 is coming on 9 November for my homevisit! I *just* found out minutes ago, but feel like the latest preparations I made both last week and earlier today came at the perfect time.

I'm all about being ready. How long ago did I show you pictures of bedding and clothing, toothbrushes and medicines? How long ago did I tell you about all the multi-sized tights and socks, underwear and camisoles that are ready and waiting? Ages ago. So long ago you probably forgot. (I forgive you.) And, the preparations have continued. I've spent the last 20 months adding bits to my home and getting everything ready for d2b.

Last week I bought a bookshelf (IKEA. Ick.) for d2b and filled it with her books, train, crayons, coloring books, etc. I need to get her some blocks. And, I need two more green and pink sliding bins. I'm taking my Russian teacher shopping on Wednesday, so I'll pick them up then.

This morning, before I'd heard anything, I re-arranged all d2b's dresses (sizes 70-120...'cause who knows?) so they're hanging by length instead of by size. I can't think of anything else to do... Seriously, if you told me d2b was coming home tomorrow, I'd be ready. I just need some shoes (stocking up on multi-sized shoes seems silly), her baby doll (which I won't order until I know d2b's hair and eye color so that they match), and some more pajamas (they don't wear them in the children's home, so buying lots of expensive pajamas--'cause you know I'm a natural-fibers-no-characters-only sort--that I cannot donate if they're too small seems impractical). I could do all that in a day.

(Yes, those are bitty baby clothes next to the hats. And, yes, d2b has plenty of leggings, jeans, t-shirts & clothes other than dresses.)

Hooray for progress!! I think we're all ready for this visit. Thanks for waiting with me.

how tired are you?

Okay, so we've been teaching non-stop since mid-August with NO breaks--no three day weekends, no holidays, nothing. Do you want to know how tired that makes a teacher? Last week we had a lice scare at school. A nurse from Euromed came to check everyone's head. I admitted to a teacher friend that I was hoping I had lice just so I could be sent home. She said she was hoping the same thing!

Hoping one has LICE to be sent home to start vacation a day early...that's how tired teachers are who have taught for 45 days with no break. (That does not include professional development days and pre-school in-service...)

26 October 2007

losing battles

Insomnia. I battle if often. Yuck. But, it's vacation! That means I have a week to sort out my sleep (I like to sleep 2 am-10 am which was perfect when I was acting but not-so-perfect when I'm teaching) and get myself back to myself.

I'm flattered by how quickly some of you read my ramblings. Some of you read that I had an e-mail from sw2. I was pretty taken aback by some of her wording. And, while I wanted to leap in and defend myself, I didn't. I decided that a gloating sw was a better visitor than an angry one and that I'd have to lose this battle. I sought some wise council and the counselor concurred. So, I said nothing about my priorities (which were called into question) or my uncertainties about sw2.5. I did not vindicate myself or insist that I get my way.

SW2 offered a compromise and I leapt to accept. Too much public disclosure is not a good thing, but, suffice it to say that 2.5 will be coming to visit.

I felt like I'd lost. I hadn't gotten exactly what I wanted out of this. I didn't get to say what I wanted to say. I didn't have the sw I wanted coming. But. But, when I thought about d2b it became no contest. Of course I'd rather "lose" the battle of the homevisit and win the war of bringing her home. How could I ever explain to her that I didn't bring her home because I was too prideful and too stubborn? I couldn't. I won't. I will smile and chat and be nice. I will catch my flies with honey. I may even bake muffins.

So, 2.5 is coming...as soon as I can get a response to an e-mail. My hs will be finished, I will get my I-171H renewed (at no cost, thank you very much), and d2b will come home. I just keep praying it's soon.

22 October 2007

i really like...

...the sound of appliances. Isn't it FAB to hear the sound of something else doing the work you'd be doing otherwise? And, isn't it nice when people call and ask what you're doing and you can honestly say, "Doing laundry." instead of "Sitting in my pajamas watching Top Gear simply becasue it's on and reading blogs."? All that's peachy...and the white-noise is so soothing in and of itself.

...ground turkey breast. I just ground up some and am making spaghetti and saving some for future inspiration. Yum!!

...clean sheets. (winking at sybille) I've got some gorgeous, high thread count, Egyptian cotton, silver-grey ones on my bed today. They just came out of the laundry (see above) and smell like lavender and chamomile.

...reading in bed or in the bath (bubbles are obligatory to hide the off-color water).

...my LUSH products--angels on bare skin, imperialis, marilyn, various bubble bars...

...napping in d2b's room.

...getting enough sleep. I slept 13 hours on Friday night and could've slept more. Beazy woke me at 10 am needing to be fed. Yes, I was in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9:00 that night. See, all of you who tell me to enjoy it while I can--I am.

...lots of things! I'll tell you more later. For now I'm going to eat some spaghetti, take a LUSHous bath and then curl up in my clean sheets with a book. I can't promise it will be a good book, but it will be a new one. ;>

Hope you do something you like today, too!

ETA: My break doesn't start until NEXT week. I just whiled away the evening with simple pleasures. And, even better--the book was good! I ought to add a few "likes" I thought of last night.

...when my cat curls up in the small of my back or the crook or my knees and purrs

...sleeping with the window open, especially when the nights are cool and the courtyard is quiet

...the fact that it's finally cool enough when sleeping with the window open to have an extra blanket on the bed (but it never gets cold enough for a down duvet here...)

21 October 2007

you're not missing anything

Hello, my lovelies.

Just a quick pop-in to let you know that while I still have limited internet time, you're not missing anything. I've yet to hear from either social worker...or to have real news from my agency.

We've got a week left until Fall Break. I'm so tired that I was shaking last week. Seriously. We've been teaching since mid-August without a break. I know your non-teacher hearts are just breaking...but we really do NEED a break. I'm so glad we've got one coming.

Someone from school is on the case about new internet, so hope to have it soon. However, my definition of "soon" has radically altered since moving to Russia.

Thanks for all your lovely wishes of support and for all your prayers on my behalf. I miss bloggerland and will be happy to be back asap!


13 October 2007

for the adoption junkies...

Couldn't leave you hanging indefinitely without some sort of update...

I decided that I'd prefer my SW2 (J) to do my homevisit. Some of this was just an unsettled feeling about SW2.5 (N) and some was because I was wary of having three social workers on my very fat, very atypical homestudy. I sent this e-mail to both of them last Tuesday:

Dear N and J,

First, let me apologize. I am sorry that I did not think through things faster. This is very unlike me. However, I'm sure you can appreciate the attrition that occurs in Russian adoption. You've done more Russian adoptions than I have! So, when the opportunity to have a month shaved
off my time in-process, I leapt.

Perhaps N's delay was really a good thing. It caused me to consider the impact of having three social workers involved in my homestudies. I trust you both when you say that CIS wouldn't take issue. And, it's likely that Russia wouldn't either. But, there is the possibility that they would.I am my agency's first ex-pat adoption. And, as far as we've been able to gather, I'm the first ex-pat adoption by a resident of St. Petersburg from St. Petersburg. This has made my agency very cautious. They've had me appear before the committee of the ministry of education twice
already--and my papers, as you know, are still not filed. This has given me both the advantage and the disadvantage of being known by the committee. As I'm sure you'll appreciate, being atypical in Russia is not usually a good thing. And, my case is far from "normal" in the eyes of the committee.

All this to say, I think it would be best to wait for J to do my homevisit. I've spoken with my
agency and they concur. I am sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. I appreciate the time and energy N contributed. J, after you've recovered from your holiday, I look forward to seeing you as soon as your schedule permits.

Many thanks to you both,


I thought this was a kind, respectful e-mail. I've not had a reply. I also e-mailed SW2 (J) about getting her visa--I'm thinking a year visa may be better since we'll hopefully have some ppr's to do in the next year as well as this homevisit. She is still on holiday. N says that they talk on the phone, so I'd think that this change in plans has been discussed between them. I've also gathered that they're very close friends. I am hoping that this doesn't impact my homestudy. J seems too sensible to let that happen, but...

I'm hoping to hear something when she returns from holiday at the end of the month. I've decided not to e-mail either of them again until then. (Unless they e-mail me, nach. I just won't instigate further contact.)

Comments? BTDT? Do you think I'm handling this correctly or should I send an e-mail to make sure they received that one? (Yahoo says it's been sent...) Was the letter too harsh? Really, I still think N is disappointed to be losing a paid trip to St. P and a paying gig. I just don't want that disappointment to come back and bite me...anywhere.

blog interrupted

Well, my lovelies, (that's how I address this year's class so far...especially when they're being either VERY lovely or very UN-lovely.) I have sad news. No, it's not THAT sad. It's only sad...not devastating. Let's keep things in perspective.

I have no internet access at home AGAIN.

Apparently, this is because I've been watching GH on my slingbox. I've asked the other IT person at school (and not the one who said he'd take care of it last month...) if he'll look into why my unlimited internet access is now limited.

Until it's back, I'm only internet-ing at school--and then only after a day of teaching, dance/drama classes and Russian lessons. Somehow I just can't manage to get online after all that unless I'm in my pajamas. I guess I could bring my pajamas to school...

10 October 2007

force of consumerism

Who knew?

Since I've been away from the US they've stopped making my foundation, mascara, eyebrow gel, lipstick color, saline solution, bras, underwear, stockings and loads of other things I'm forgetting right now. My apologies to all of you who are suffering lack of supply because I wasn't there to do my part as a demading consumer.

At least creamy Jiff is still available. Thanks for picking up the slack. ;>

07 October 2007

you can uncross

SW couldn't make arrangement to come in October (I said it would take a month...). She can come in November. Since SW2 was also available in November, I'm asking that she do the homevisit instead of SW2.5. I just think having three different sw names on my hs is not going to make the MOE very happy...

And, btw, has anyone looked at my timeline lately and realized we've been updating this hs since the beginning of JUNE?

Edited to add: SW 2.5 is really, really cross with me. I hate it when people are cross with me. I, rather cynically, suspect it is because she is a. losing out on a fee and b. not getting the paid trip to St. Petersburg. (Told you it was cynical...but I know she was planning to stay an extra day to sightsee, go to museums, etc.)

SW2 won't be back from holiday until the end of the month. SW2.5 is threatening says that it's likely SW2's schedule has filled up and she won't be able to come until December. The way things are going, I'm tempted to wait for SW2. WAIT?!?? Willingly? Am I crazy??

At least the I-171H now has a free update--and free fingerprinting. I'll be getting my money's worth out of that visa!

Agency agrees that fewer SW names is better.

pickles and prejudices

note: This is just a report of some of my Russian friends' take on food and culture. I thought you might like an uncensored show of current attitudes here. Don't flame the reporter, please.

Friday was a professional development day at school. The biggest perk--we get an actual lunch break...and are allowed out of the school to eat! This, for a teacher, is a rare treat. We have no cafeteria at our school, so usually I wolf down my lunch standing up (no room in my classroom for a desk for me...) after I've microwaved everyone's lunch, opened stubborn juice containers and had some second grade chat. Believe me, lunch out on a schoolday is a treat!

Since we had 45 minutes instead of our usual 30, some friends and I decided to go to a nearby chain that serves baked potatoes (jacket potatoes to my UK friends) with a choice of toppings. We were walking and realized it was noon. Then, my friend P commented, "Oh, no. It's Friday."

That's not the usual preface to a comment about Friday. However, we were headed straight past the mosque. This is a place to AVOID on Fridays. On Fridays it's filled with gypsies begging--rather aggressively. P explained that Islamic law says that one must give something to all beggars. (See disclaimer above.)

We were quickly marked and chased down. One little girl, probably about nine years old, tried to grab the Coke right out of my hand. (Professional development gave me a headache. It was medicinal.) I admit, it was a little scary. Even thought she was only nine, she was really aggressive. And, we were surrounded. I was glad to have my big, strong friends in attendance.

Then, I was treated to a debate between my Russian friends about whether or not these were actual gypsies. P says emphatically yes. N says no. P says at least these are Tajik gypsies who only steal and not Moldovan gypsies who are violent. He said they were easily distinguished by their clothes. (I could have my Tajik and Moldovan characteristics mixed up, but I think that's what he said.) Even so, we walked back by a different route.

Over lunch, I was regaled with matter-of-fact stories from P and N of how gypsies refused all schooling and opportunities for a better life, preferring, instead, to live on the streets and pick pockets. I was also told a rather scary tale about another encounter P had some years back. He warned some Americans that they were being followed by gypsies and to watch their wallets. The band of pickpockets quit following the Americans and targeted P and his friend in retaliation. P and friend had to hide in a shop! He said they could see the pickpockets lying in wait--plying their "trade"--outside the shop window. This was at a time when it was not easy to exchange money and he had a substantial sum on him--the grant funding for a project. Eventually, they called a cab and had it park RIGHT in front of the shop. They dashed to the cab and got away with the grant money safely in P's pocket.

There is a strong prejudice against gypsies here. And, I have seen many pickpockets/thieves/beggars to support this. Do I think this is a broad generalization? Probably. But, as I disclaimed, this post is just to let you know how people here feel.

On a lighter note--I was holding the table while my friends got food. I asked for chicken on my potato. (I *love* bbq chicken on a baked potato, but knew that was not going to happen. I was thinking just grilled chicken...) P arrived at the table with my potato--covered in cheese with an ice cream scoop of chicken salad on top--chicken salad with lots of pickles. My thoughtful friend chose the salad with pickles especially for me because the plain one would be "too bland". I smiled and ate most of it. And, I regretted it later! My American stomach isn't keen on the hot potato-pickle combination. I tried to just think of it as potato salad...but...no.

Next time, I'll get the grilled chicken sandwich--hold the pickles.

04 October 2007

fingers crossed...

SW 2.5 thinks she can be here 20 October for my homevisit. No visa yet (and she thinks she can do that faster and cheaper than the consulate so I'm graciously letting her...) but I'm hoping it all works out!

01 October 2007

paige's names

Here's a bit of silly fun courtesey of Paige:

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Betsey Blazer

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),
Peppermint Gingersnap

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Grey Lion

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Periwinkle Snapple

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Noel Frank

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),
Allure Lemondrop

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Riley-Stewart Reykjavik

12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Hydrangea

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Berry Peejaysie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Toasty Christmas

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Theatrics-Equestrian Thunderstorm Tour

Come on, do it. You know you want to….

(Seriously,though, this would be a minefield of information for those who are identity thieves...having had a friend fall victim, I've left out and changed a few answers! The questions are fun, though, so I've left them up. Discuss amongst yourselves.)