29 November 2007

mmmm. pie.

Come on--we haven't had a quiz in ages! And, yes, this should have been a pre-Thanksgiving quiz...but chou2 didn't find it in time for me to steal it before Thanksgiving. ;>

Besides, I think we really should be eating *more* pie. Pie is an endangered dessert. And if we don't eat more pie, phrases such as easy as pie and that's a piecrust promise may disappear from the English language. Do you really want to be responsible for the degradation of the English language? Surely not. So eat more pie. (And take the quiz.)

You are Pumpkin Pie

You're the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality.
You're able to relate to many types of people with many different tastes.
But you're by no means generic or ordinary.
In fact, you're one of the most original people around.

Those who like you are looking for something (someone!) special.
You tend confuse people when they first meet you. You're not as complicated as you seem.
Even though you have a lot of spice and flavor to you, you're never overpowering.
You are a calm and comforting force in people's lives.

28 November 2007


No news from SW.

No news about accreditation.

Agency isn't on the current re-accred list floating around FRUA.

So...at least my hs wasn't finished way before accreditation. Or vice-versa. Right? It should all time out nicely.

27 November 2007

talking politics-edited

Above are the first set of political signs: "Putin's Plan is the Victory of Russia" . A teacher at school joked that they'd just taken all of Stalin's signs and changed the name. The vertical pix are about the plan. The one with writing says I-You-We. (There were more but I don't want to bore you.)

And, these are the new signs. It says: Putin's Russia, United and Independent. The vertical picture is of the footballer I mentioned before. I'm still working on identifying the others in the first photo. They're all featured on individual posters around town so they must be recognizable. The footballer's slogan says (I think) St. Petersburg chooses Putin. Петербург has been graffiti-ed out on other signs I've seen. Apparently, not all of St. P chooses Putin.

Click here for an article worth checking out in today's St. Petersburg Times about last weekend's protests. Interesting, eh?

Another teacher told me there is a big sign near her house that makes her feel like she's in the novel 1984. It says, "Putin is watching you." I asked her to take a picture of it for us!

I've been told that Putin values his reputation as a man of honor too much to manipulate things so that he can stay in office. His wife, however, is rumored to be a possibility. Sheesh. As if I didn't have enough of those husband-wife politicians! (You guessed it--not a fan of the Clint*ns.)Didn't Argentina just elect the president's wife, too?

26 November 2007

bah humbug

I was on Amazon the other day with a list of recommended books to buy. Most were adoption books, full of interesting attachment tools and blah, blah, BLAH!

I do NOT want to read another adoption book! I've read good books and stupid books. I've read forums and blogs and online classes. I've read about attachment, trauma, PAD, out of sync children, memoirs, and bitter rantings. I've read about adopting toddlers and "older" children. I've read about medical issues. I've read about children adopted from Russia and China, the US, the UK and Ireland. I've read TONS and think I'm just about the most well-read ap out here. No, I'm not blowing my own horn. I've just had a long time to read! And right now, I just don't want to read about it any more.

Do you know what I need? A new Bridget Jones book. Anybody friends with Helen Fielding?

SW2 is due back from nursing her ailing mother (I am a BAD person who inside my head keeps saying something to the effect of Doesn't your sick mother need her rest? Can't you hit print on my hs while she's napping and then just pop to the post office while you're still in the US? I know. I said I was rotten. I am. And selfish.) on Wednesday. Agency continues to expect accreditation "any day".

25 November 2007

in protest

This morning I woke up and saw about 12 militsia outside my living room window. When the tow trucks starting making the trip up and down the street, I decided to move my car. While outside I counted about 30 militsia. And, another militsia car, lights flashing, led a convoy of snowplows, street washing trucks and big salt trucks towards Palace Square.

There's going to be a protest in St. Petersburg today. SPS, The Union of Right Forces, is having a rally against Putin's United Russia party. With elections coming up next weekend, we've seen the city covered in banners and signs declaring "Putin's Plan is the victory of Russia". The signs have just changed to include a photo of a top footballer endorsing United Russia.

The St. Petersburg times recently had an article saying that people weren't impressed with this campaign. It was repeatedly mentioned that no one know what Putin's plan actually was. And, in an interview with Fox news, one market seller remarked, "We've talked to friends, neighbors, family, even customers," said Ivanova, 43. "They don't vote for United Russia, but United Russia somehow wins."

My camera is at school! I'm tempted to go out and see what's going on in Palace Square. But, reports from yesterday's protest in Moscow and the urging of friends here has convinced me to stay inside. This bit of an article from the Chicago Tribune made me think that me and my little blue passport should stay inside:

Despite the opposition's weakened stature, the Kremlin has behaved as if its detractors pose a legitimate threat. At a United Russia-organized rally in Moscow earlier this week, Putin warned that his political opponents have been turning to Western governments for financial help to foment an uprising not unlike the revolutions that brought pro-West leaders in Ukraine and Georgia into power.

"Now they're going to take to the streets," Putin said. "They have learned from Western experts and have received training in neighboring countries. And now they're going to stage provocations here."

If I see anything from my window I'll let you know. For now it's quiet.

ETA: My street stayed pretty quiet and I stayed inside. ;>

23 November 2007

are there turkeys in russia?

Lauren called me and asked for this post. I am always happy to oblige a request for a post.

Readers who remember last year's Thanksgiving adventure can answer this question. Yes, there are turkeys available to buy...but they're expensive, scarce and not native. (A visiting Russian friend and I were telling another friend that animals in Russia make different sounds. Roosters say koo-koo-ree-koo and dogs say koff-koff. She asked what turkeys say. Deadpanned, the Russian friend answered. "Nothing. Turkeys are not popular in Russia.")

This year, I didn't order a turkey. While I was shopping at Okey, I went to the deli and located fresh turkey breast. I asked if they had any whole turkeys (I know the word this year), whole birds. They replied that they did but they were very big. I asked how big. They said very big. I asked to see one. They brought out a turkey. I said I'd take it. Surprised, the butcher went back to wrap it up.

While we were waiting, the deli workers asked why I wanted turkey. I said (in English) "Thanksgiving?" hoping they'd have heard of it. They hadn't. I said (in Russian) On Thursday is American Day for thank God and turkey. (Hey--I was impressed with that explanation. My Russian is obviously improved from this time last year, but I have no idea what the word for Pilgrim is in Russian...)

My wrapped turkey was HUGE. The worker wanted to come to the cashier to ring it up, but I told him I had shopping to do. (Aside: a friend tried to tell another worker the same thing in English and failed miserably when she picked up turkeys. She had to go and check out immediately. I, however, was allowed to shop on. Score!)

My 14.8kg (32lbs!) turkey barely fit in my 'fridge. But, I managed. All was well until Wednesday night. I arrived home ready to cook my turkey in preparation for the next night's festivities. I needed to cook either it or the pies in order to be ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner after school. Surprise! No electricity. I rummaged around for some candles and eventually cut off half of the turkey (so it would fit in the oven) and prepared it for roasting. I thought I might put it in early the next morning.

Early the next morning I decided that was a ridiculous plan. Instead, I'd wait until I got home. Surely there would be time to cook half a turkey. Admittedly, it was a very large turkey. But, eating fashionably late is fashionable. The turkey could wait until after school. And the pies...well, they didn't really need to cool.

After school I took the turkey out to roast it. I gave it a sniff...and discovered it was rancid. I had to throw out all that turkey. Fortunately, I had a frozen turkey breast in the freezer. I took it out, defrosted it, and roasted it. My guests (S, her dad, her translator and my friend N who used to teach here and now teaches in India) were infinitely patient.

At last the turkey was finished! The potatoes, carrots, green beans and the not-cran-but-close-berries were all waiting. I took the turkey out...and dropped it on the floor! I was mortified. I'm really tired (report cards, remember?) and my co-ordination is a little compromised. I could see it happening and thought, "That's going to fall out." as I watched it fall in slow motion. Not good. Really, so not good. My guests in the living room pretended not to notice as the juices splashed 15 feet across the room and into the hall. My friend N hissed, "Just rinse it off!" as she grabbed a towel and started mopping up. I picked it up, dusted it off, fervently hoped the cleaner had been thorough with the floors that day, and plopped it on a plate.

Everyone was very, very gracious. As my friend Lara says about my simple food, "Kate, it's the only common thing about you but you really do have a peasant's palate." I take no offense! I really do like simple, hearty food best. And, that's what we had. Fortunately, everyone seemed happy to just spend the evening together. I was disappointed not to have pie for everyone, but there just wasn't time or room in the oven. We'll have pie at the school friend's celebration tomorrow. (One is just finishing as I type. My flat smells yummy! Forget putting bread in the over when you're selling your house. Put in a pie--or even just a pie crust.)

During the evening we heard from B that her court was l-o-n-g but ultimately successful! She'll be back in two weeks, since her ten days weren't waived, to bring her children home.

So, Lauren--yes. There are turkeys in Russia. But getting them on the table is more involved than one might think!

20 November 2007

court today...

We have a mom! And we will have another...

S had a successful, 45 minute court session and had her ten days waived.

B had her passport either stolen or lost. Without it they wouldn't hold her court hearing. She is getting an emergency passport and will have court on Thursday. We're hoping that this doesn't pose a bigger problem...Apparently, there could be a problem getting her children home when she has an emergency passport. She's had SUCH a tough journey.

19 November 2007


Tomorrow--two different judges will be hearing two different cases (one for a two-year-old girl and one for a brother and sister ages eight and three) of two different single moms who are here to adopt--both at 11:00 a.m.! I'm looking forward to hearing good news from S & B about their new families tomorrow evening.

Do you know the Sesame Street song about the little girls playing with their dollhouse and the kittens who knock things over? Was going to allude to that, and write this whole post to fit that song, but thought the reference might be too obscure. The song starts, One. Two. Two little girls. and later on goes Two little girls fed two dolls tea, feeling grown up as can be. and still later What's that soft pitter pat? One. Two. Two kitty cats! Ring any bells? I'll save Everybody Sleeps for another post.

** Note: B says she's seen lots of children in the children's homes (her children are in different homes). Her three-year-old's home has increased from about 80 children a few weeks ago to over 100 now.

Also, you'll have to wait for those snow pix until tomorrow because I left my camera at school. Sorry to be such a tease.

you can go but be back soon

(name the musical)

It's report card week! That means I do nothing but report cards. Fun, huh?

To tide you over, I will put up pix of my class last Friday. It snowed big, fluffy flakes the whole time they were at p.e. It tapered off, the sun came out, and it was pleasantly warm (around 0C) by the time they got back. They were so late getting back from the gym (it's a short bus ride) that we only had 10 minutes before lunch. So, we went to take a picture. We played for a bit, relishing the chance to get play in all the new, unmarked snow all by ourselves.

After ten minutes we took a quick vote and decided to play first and then have lunch after. That meant that only second grade was out of the playground for about 45 minutes. There were no big kids to boss us around and take the "good snow" and no littler kids to get in our way. It was great! They made HUGE snowballs and we even managed to stack two of them. It was a fun way to celebrate our first REAL snow! This recess was proclaimed by one of my students, with all the joy and hyberbole of a seven-year-old, the best recess of my whole life!

15 November 2007

china ap needs support

One of my yahoo groups had this horrible, tragic story posted. I can't imagine how this new mother must feel:

A family is in China now and evidently the father fell into a diabetic coma yesterday and died. The most recent I have heard is since the China portion of the paperwork has been completed there is no problem with the mother bringing the child home.

Prayers have been requested for the family. What I know is that her nameis Sandy, the child's name is Hannah, and her husband's name was Dennis and their agency is Bethany. They are in Guangzhou now.


(This is a travelmate's blog.)

13 November 2007


My sw is in the US until 28 November taking care of her mother. Wondering if she'll be finishing my hs while she's there...

My internet access is so slow at present (and in the recent past) that I cannot bear to sit here and wait for pages to open. Hence, no answered e-mails; no read blogs.

I was talent-spotted! The other day when walking home I was asked to be in a movie. My part? I threw a piece of paper into a trash can. I think they just liked my striped gloves...Still, better give my agent the heads up.

12 November 2007

not much to report

I was greeted this morning with a cheerful, "So, Miss X, didja get your family?" and the day ended with "Katoosh, Katoosh, what did they say? When will you know about the girl?" It was a nice sandwich to the day. However, explaining the vagaries of timing in Russian adoption is beyond the comprehension of a second grader and beyond my abilities to explain in Russian. The best I could do was, "Maybe after new year's."

Sorry to leave everyone hanging. I'm afraid we'll all have to hang on a little bit longer. No eta for the hs as yet. I'll send a few friendly nudging e-mails this week.

Car was taken to visit the mechanic today. He thinks it's not driven enough.(Seems to be a common Russian diagnosis.) When I told him I drove it Friday and it didn't start Saturday it sort of shot down that theory. It's getting hooked up to a computer for diagnosis tonight. And, since my brother didn't make it out here in October, I'll spring for the $100 oil change. (Whodathunk?)

I was going to post a picture of a huge political ad for you today. I brought my camera to work. It was daylight after school. That threw me. I headed home in a daze, wondering at the light sky. And, yes, I forgot to take the picture. I've a teacher's meeting tomorrow (yuck) but will do my best.

09 November 2007

the visit

She didn't ask me anything.

She arrived without her cell phone (left it in the car) to find that her luggage had been lost (didn't make her connection). She couldn't find the driver who was there--and who waited for over an hour--so she took a cab. The walk from the hotel to my flat was really too long for her (I felt a little bad at making her walk) and all the buttons were falling off of her coat.

She came in, looked around the flat (was very impressed with everything), read me an e-mail my agency had sent me already about extra information, ate some soup and then left.

I did manage, on our long walk over here, to share anecdotes that gently illustrated my strong community of support both irl and in the bloggy world, my awareness of the current state of things in Russia, my desires for a school-aged child and other important bits.

During the tour of the flat, I showed her the dresses my friend Kat brought back from Brugge and that let me talk about how many people are excited about this adoption.

She saw the books my mom has sent. I talked about the photos of my niece and nephew, my friends' families (yep--those Christmas card photos are still up), and children I've babysat for as I showed her around the flat.

I talked about the fact that I get to teach children to speak English is one of my favorite parts of teaching here. I told her how I loved seeing that development in fast forward.

I spoke Russian when we stopped to buy toothpaste and when I called her a taxi for the journey back, so she knows I've got some basic skills.

I jokingly offered her a child's toothbrush to replace the one she was missing so she's knows I've got that. (I gave her a spare grown-up one instead.)

I even managed to turn an anecdote about my poor, sick cat (Beazy is gorgeous and always a conversation starter--and 2.5 has a cat) into the fact that my cupboard is stocked with children's tylenol and triaminic. That was nicely done if I do say so myself.

She ate my soup and I sent her home with an apple for tomorrow, a toothbrush for now, a needle and thread to mend her buttons and 50r for cab fare so she knows I'm prepared.

I didn't get to talk about all my research, my theories, my hopes and my endless plans. But, hopefully, I snuck in more information than she realizes. And, the soup was good, so... I'd count this as a success. It just seemed a bit of a joke. I guess, as far as jokes go, this was a good one.

08 November 2007

dress rehearsal

Days off from school are a mixed blessing. While it's great to have a day away, preparing for a sub is much more labor intensive than preparing myself for a day in the classroom. Everything has to be spelled out. You can't really introduce anything new. It's a struggle to find a balance of real work (as opposed to busy work) and sub-proof plans. I've been a sub. I was a highly -equested sub. I was a very good sub. But, here it's hard to find those kinds of subs.

I also have to prepare my kiddos. They're only seven. They worry tremendously if I'm not in plain sight as they walk up the stairs each day. If I've stepped into another classroom it's cause for alarm. So, not showing up all day with no prior warning would be very unsettling. (Besides, I have to give them that teacher-look and impress upon them that the rules of second grade are unchanged in my absence. They must still be kind and helfpul, respectful and responsible, building a good reputation for themselves, our class and our school. I don't care who is in front of the class, their behaviour must remain unchanged. I expect a good report on Monday.)

This afternoon I told my class that some of them knew and some of them didn't that I was in the middle of something very exciting. I was adopting a little girl from here in Russia who didn't have a family. I told them that tomorrow I would have to stay home so someone could see my flat and ask me some questions to see if I would be able to give a child a good home.

Suddenly the protests about my being gone and the claims that they wouldn't come either ceased. There was an uproar. (It was really snowing all day today, so we were close to the edge anyway. And one student had decided to be a mouse all day. This news just pushed us over the edge.) The classroom was buzzing. Most students were excited and all were curious. I got to practice answering questions that are likely to come up in tomorrow's visit from my own group of "international social workers" including:

  • Will she come to our school?
  • Why do you want to have a little girl?
  • Why don't you just get pregnant?
  • What will happen when you get married? Because, I mean, you will get married. And then you will have a baby. Or twins. Or triplets. And then you will have FOUR children!
  • When you have "your own" children, what will you do with the girl? (Think this questioner might be a future judge in Russian family court, perhaps?)
  • How old will she be?
  • Why didn't you want a baby?
  • Why a girl and not a boy?
  • She can't just stay home. What will she do when you are at school with us?
  • If she is not old enough for our school, where will she go?
  • What will you name her?
  • How will you teach her English?
  • How are your Russian lessons?
  • Will she sleep in your bedroom?
  • Do you have clothes for her?

And there were lots more... Some were concerned about why she didn't have a family. One child had very negative things to say about orphans and adoption. Most wanted to know about her--who she was, what she would look like, when they could meet her, if she could come to school the first day I had her, etc. Everyone was very excited to meet her. Meeee, too!

Big thanks to my second graders for the dress rehearsal today. ;>

06 November 2007


(Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with hat sizes.)

There is an additional good thing about my car being broken. My sw was expecting me to pick her up at the airport. While this would save me some money, I'm not sure that me driving like a maniac (read: like the rest of the drivers here...though I'm not on par with most of them) is really the best first impression. With traffic the way it is, that drive from the airport can take over an hour. It can be a tense drive, especially on a Friday, and one that is not conducive to small talk. While I do usually manage to curb my tongue, my mental language is always really bad during a trafficky drive. And, once we got here, I'd have to parallel park (and not on the sidewalk). Not the best way to start a homevisit with a new sw. I shudder to think.

Walking her from her hotel (from whence she's asked me to collect her--and there's nothing wrong with "whence"; it's preferable to ending with a preposition, imho) to my flat will create a much better first impression. I'm not a half-bad tour guide...though I'm not certified. (Just a little in joke for those who've been on a tour with a certified guide...)

So, maybe 3/4 full was too conservative an estimate. Maybe that glass is more like 11/16 full.

04 November 2007

easy as pie

**Disclaimer: I am not a great cook. I'm pretty indifferent about cooking...and eating, really. I do like to bake and make soups. And, I'm not bad at either of those.

Ann Marie (who's sampled both soups and baking, so she knows what she's getting into) asked, so here it is. How I make pumpkin pie, even in Russia:

This is an easy, always works, pie crust. I know it's counter-intuitive to those of us who think cold-cold-cold when making pie crust, but it really works.

Hot Water Pie Crusts (it makes two):

1 cup (225 g) -1T shortening (I use butter) 1/4 c hot water 1 T milk 2 1/4 c all purpose flour 1/2 t salt

Put shortening in a bowl. (I chop the butter into cubes that are about...1") Pour milk and hot water over it. With a fork, break up the shortening. Tilt blow and beat quickly (I've used both a fork and my Braun zhhh-zher thing) until the mixture looks like whipped cream. Add flour and salt and mix well (with a fork or your hands) forming a dough that cleans the bowl.

Divide in half and chill the dough for about 15-30 minutes. Then roll out. **This dough works best if you roll it out using waxed paper.** Don't roll it too thin.

The pumpkin filling (the way we made it on Thursday...though this is only one way):

Cut a gutted pumpkin in half. Put the halves, rounded, skin side up, in a casserole dish that has about a half inch of water in it. Bake until the pumpkin is cooked through.

Scoop out pumpkin, trying not to collect the juice. (Some people suggest straining it through a paper towel or a coffee filter to dry it out. I don't do this.) Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher. (You could also rice it or zhhh it.) Place 1 cup in a bowl. (The rest can be frozen or used in other recipes. Try Elle's curry pumpkin soup!)

Add 2 cups milk or cream (I've made it with skimmed milk, 33% cream, and various combinations. You choose.), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg, 1/4 t salt and 1T molasses.

Mix well, pour into pie shell and bake for ages. It takes about 2 hours here. Bake at a higher temp initially to set the crust and then reduce the heat to let the filling set. (It is advised that the filling not boil as that will make it watery, but I let mine boil the last time or two and it was fine.) Ideally, you should bake it until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. But, I tend to just bake mine until the crust and the skin on top of the pie are nicely browned. Then, I take it out and let it cool.

**This pie will not set as firmly as the canned pumpkin + evaporated milk pies...but it's soooo good! I like it better. And, it is very suitable for breakfast. Pie for breakfast is recommended by a highly regarded nutritional expert (umm, me). It's great!

I think I need to go make another pumpkin pie...and maybe an apple one...

summary of findings

I just walked into school (I'd left my car there on...Friday and needed to go pick it up.) and found:

*****snow flurries!*****

And there's little bits of dry, grainy snow clustered around the trunks of trees and on patches of bare ground. We're supposed to have a cold, clear winter and I cannot wait!

I also found that my car won't start. Again. It's making machine gun noises. Again.

On the way back, I found that they've moved the big trash bins on my street. This usually means that all cars on the street will be towed for some event (rollerblade rally, marathon, parade, dignitary driving past, etc.).

So, my car won't start but at least I know where it is. And winter is coming! My glass is at least 3/4 full!

03 November 2007

fall break

How is it possible it's nearly over?!??!

Monday--I have no idea what I did. None.

Tuesday--Met up with a family from my agency who had just collected their daughter from the children's home. She did not like me speaking Russian to her. She froze--seriously, did.not.move--when I did. One time it sent her to the corner to hide. Very, very unsettling. So much for learning Russian to ease the transition. She was two in July and is SO cute! Once she settled in, we had a good time and I got lots of giggles and grins.

Wednesday (aka TRAFFIC DAY)--I left the house just after 9 a.m. to meet with the family mentioned above. They'd borrowed a pack 'n' play and a few toys for their stay. I didn't make it to their flat before they left at 9:30 a.m. It takes about 20 minutes to walk there, but took about 25 minutes to drive.

Then, I went to pick up my Russian teacher to take her shopping. I waited at the pre-arranged meeting place (and walked up and down in the mistiness) for half an hour. She didn't show. So, I drove home (another 20 minute walk--right by the Angleterre, Ann Marie--and a 30 minute drive) and called her. We arranged another meeting place and I headed back out.

By the time I picked her up we were low on gas. We went and got gas and then went back to pick up the baby gear (you don't even want to know how long that took...and I've blocked it out). THEN we went to Mega. We arrived there at 1:45 p.m. (trip to Mega takes 20 minutes with no traffic)

After shopping (I got the bins missing from the bookcase, a grey flokati, some vanilla candles for Friday's visit and some bits and bobs from the French grocery store, Ashan. Galina LOVED Ashan!! She kept comparing this trip to shopping during perestroika. While prices are HIGH on products at Mega, there are products to be bought.) we headed home. I got back after dropping Galina off and getting totally turned around (no surprise--but I did manage to have a happy, peaceful heart and was thankful for maps, that I could read, that I recognized a street, that my car still had gas...) I arrived home at about 9:45 p.m. Loooong day of driving.

Thursday--A school secretary came over to learn to make pumpkin pie. It was nice, but a little uncomfortable because of the glaring difference of my flat/lifestyle provided by the school and hers. I did my best to describe the darling little studio apartment I had in the US that I was so sad to leave (it was in a turn-of-the-20th-century school and I LOVED it) and to be very grateful for what I had now. Still...

Friday--I dropped off the pie at school and then went to meet a friend at the consulate. (We saw some verrrrry interesting political signs that I want to take pictures of...but I've got to be careful.) We walked to her flat and then I spent the afternoon with her and her children (one of whom I taught last year) at her flat, in the car (welcome to life in st. p. apparently, the mayor made a speech ranting and raving about traffic problems. when i asked what she proposed to solve the problem, my question was met with great surprise. the mayor had no proposals. she was just complaining.) and at the Oceanarium. They're a really nice family with whom I always enjoy spending time.

etc (edited to clarify): I didn't ask the mayor what she proposed. I asked the person telling me the story what the mayor proposed.

Today--woke up with a cold and just lounged around. I took some airborne (twice) had tea and toast, read the latest Shopoholic book (can you believe i bought it in hardcover?!! this is why i miss libraries...), watched a Northern Exposure epi, did a some messing around online...

Now there's just tomorrow and Monday (National Day of Unity...whose name makes no sense since Russia and the former Soviet republics are LESS united than the Soviet Union was...) and then I'm back at school. Of course, it'll be a very short work week since I've got my home visit on FRIDAY! I haven't received permission to take that day off yet, but am hopeful...

It's all a blur. And not a very interesting one. I'm sorry for all our sakes!

02 November 2007

can't remember

How is cheese packaged in the US? Chicken?

Everything here is on styrofoam and then plastic wrapped. I really thought we'd done away with the styrofoam a while back in the US. Am I crazy?

Accreditation! (do-over)

Edited to subtract:

Hiya, folks. Sorry for the do-overs, but it was a case of tmi. (Sorry, too, if I messed up your bloglines playing with the template.)

My agency (well, the facilitators) has confirmed that the third batch of agencies, of which they are one, has received the needed signature from the Mininstry of the Interior. Their applications are now all signed and being sent to the Ministry of Education. Once it's confirmed the agencies are up-to-date with their post-placement reports (Have you done your ppr's?) then accreditation can be granted!

They anticipate this being accomplished in the next two weeks! Perfect timing with my hs visit coming up, eh?

It was especially nice that this news started leaking out right after FRUA's worldwide 24 hour prayer vigil.

Rejoice and be glad!

01 November 2007

just the doctor

Any Dr. Who fans out there? Having grown up as a Star Wars kid (the real Star Wars...when the movies had names and weren't just episodes...) I do have a soft spot for science fiction. Now, it's not all science fiction I like. I has to have a good story, be consistent and clever, and have a strong woman character. A trekkie I am decidely not.

I just finished season three of the new Dr. Who. When I was teaching in England my class loved Dr. Who. The whole school would be buzzing the Monday after each new episode. The creepiest one was The Lost Child. SCARY!

Here are a few of my thoughts on the first three seasons of the new Doctor:

I really like Christopher Eccleston and surprised my self by liking David Tennant as well. Loyalties and all...I'm still a Tom Baker fan! But, the brillance Dr. Who is the whole regeneration angle. We can like as many actors as they cast. Smart. Good plan. The loyalty becomes more to the character than to the actor. (Not great for the actor, but...)

I liked season three the best. Why? The absence of Billie Piper! There were some great stories in the first two seasons, but she drives me crazy! She's just dim and trashy. I was so sick of hearing about Rose. I don't think I'm the only one. I think the character of Martha Jones (so much more likable, imho, played by Freema Agyeman) reflected the sentiments of many viewers. She was sick of hearing about Rose. The best bit of Miss Piper's stint on the series was when Rose's body was taken over by another alien who exclaimed in disgust and dispair, "I'm a chav!" Yep. Complete chav.

If there's one thing I ask of the Dr. Who writers it's this: Leave Rose stranded in her alternate universe forever. Do not find a way to bring her back.

Unfortunately, that this new series reflects the, shall we just call it "liberal" agenda, of it's creative team fairly blatantly. Ick. There is a lot to look past. (Don't even try watching the spin-off series T*rchwood. I won't even write it's name here. ICK!) But, it's worth a look. (The other is not.) I don't think it's great for kiddos, although that's its target audience--and it airs at 7 p.m. in the UK, because of the scariness, the violence and the aforementioned thinly veiled agenda.

Okay...since I suspect this will not be the most universal of topics, I'll stop here. But, I'm happy to carry on if you comment. ;>