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Showing posts from May, 2014


So I used up my blogging time this evening trying to type out a complicated recipe for my food blog. I love collecting and reviewing recipes, but I'm not very good when it comes to exact measurements and things like that!

I've restored almost all the content to this blog from my old blog design. Hard to believe it's been less than 2 weeks as I'm already used to the new look!

However, I'm still getting used to having 2 panels instead of 3. I like having everything right there, and I hate deciding what should be at the top! I feel like I'm having separation anxiety with my blog lists way down there at the bottom. I looked at some other blogs and it seems like they're the same way, but it feels like it takes forever to scroll down to those links!

One thing I haven't restored is the touristy/bureaucratic links I used to have. I wonder if I need them? If people have questions they can always email me.

A new thing is that I added a "button" (image/…


At our small group these days we've been studying Psalms, and then Proverbs. The past two weeks have been all about Wisdom.

It was interesting how many references I picked up on in daily life during Week 1!

The first one was an episode of the Cosby Show, believe it or not. We found some episodes online and have found that it covers so many aspects of American life, particularly growing up with siblings! Oh, that Dr. Huxtable....he seems to have a sixth sense for what his children are up to. The episode that day featured one of the children scheming about something, and struggling through the decision-making process. I think it may have been Theo wanting to take flying lessons? And then figuring out what it would cost, etc.

Then we were watching..."Cars." Yes, that's right, the Pixar animation. In fact, it wasn't even the real version, it was either a YouTube clip or a Russian compilation. There was this song..."You didn't follow my advice, you wanted to…


Earlier this year I became persuaded to order one of those e-book "bundles." I don't know what came over me. Though there were certain factors that influenced me, it went against my initial instincts and general skeptic attitude toward such offers.
I'm not going to name the "bundle" because I don't want to defame anyone. Let's just say I've learned my lesson about falling for the advertising campaigns, which makes me sad, because...
...a lot of women in the Christian online community raved about this deal. About how it was the best thing ever and such a great value and too good to miss and full of tons of good reading and useful information. It's hard to explain why that bothers me, but I'll explore that more down below.
Then there are the "savings." The offers often promise "$100 worth of books for $30," for example. Let's say you pay 30 % or as little as 20 % of the list price. The problem is that it's like…


What does YOUR medicine chest look like?

So today while David was napping I reorganized the spice shelf and the medicine shelves. Mainly I just took everything out and then put it back in a more orderly fancy Pinterest crafts here. I did use some smaller boxes to create tiers so that you can see everything at once.

The throat (and cough) remedy category (along the back wall) wins for being the most populated! I wonder if that is indicative of the climate/environment here. Lots and lots of people with chronic throat ailments.

Anyway....for now the medicines occupy 1.5 shelves of the wardrobe in the front hallway. Since the shelves are deeper than your typical bathroom medicine cabinet, it's hard to make it so that everything is easy to find. The way we have it right now pretty much works, though it isn't very pretty. When David gets a little older I think I will want something more closed, not a shelf that is completely exposed when the doors slide away.

I can't figure out what the optimal variation w…


So I found out earlier in the year that I would have to send in my forms for yearly inspection via the post office. I was a bit skeptical because sometimes there are rumors of the post office performing certain functions, but then it turns out they never put the idea into practice or it was short-lived, etc. But even after showing up at the FMS with all my documents, they sent me to the post office so I could mail it in.
After that it took several months to get myself together and go to the post office...which is a 3-minute walk from our building. Go ahead, you can laugh!
Alas, nothing is that simple...

Part 1
I wish this wasn't a step in the process, but it was: determining the working hours of the post office (which we pass at least once a week on our way to the grocery store).
A lot of establishments in St. Petersburg take a lunch break in the afternoon. The trick is knowing when it will take place: from 1-2 pm OR from 2-3 pm (and there will always be a strange variation to th…

It's the little things

Notice anything?

It's okay if you didn't. :)

I've just taken the plunge and switched over to a current generation Blogger template. The design probably doesn't look very different yet as I'm focused on transferring all the content over.

Why did I do it? I was using an old, highly customized template. I liked my template. I'd gone in and tweaked the code before the template had all of those options in the menu. But the code was such a jumble that I couldn't mess with it anymore. And the latest Blogger functions wouldn't work, which was frustrating. I could no longer find workarounds, but I couldn't use the ready-made versions either.

The funny thing is that I had created a 3-column blog before that was an option in Blogger. Now that they do offer it, I've gone back to 2 columns. :)

How I made the switch: I set up a dummy blog so I could work on the design before losing the old one. I also started to recreate everything in the sidebars, but got impatient and just…

Bilingual tidbits and names for people

In an effort to become a part of the bigger bilingual world as a whole, I signed up to be on a mailing list for a blogging "carnival" where there is an assigned topic and everyone sends their submissions in to be on the master list.

Well, I sat down to tackle the May topic, only to find out that the deadline was May 18th. D'OH! Oh well, the topic was to do with technology, which is a little bit of a stretch for us at this point (aside from David screaming CARS at the top of his lungs daily until we put on an animated car video for him to watch).

Maybe next time the topic will be more relevant.

As I think I mentioned before, there are some links to bilingual blogs in my sidebar, and they in turn have links to more blogs. There is a lot of good content in there; book reviews, etc.

Here's one topic we've been discussing at home lately:

What do you teach your child to call strangers on the street? Walking by, in a store, or even casual acquaintances?

Whenever a Russ…

"Typical" Wednesday

I feel like it takes me all of Monday and Tuesday to make up for the craziness that is Sunday (going to church and coming home and feeling a zombie and getting totally behind on everything, while knowing it's worth it).

And then Wednesday comes along and is guaranteed to be a full evening because of hosting small group, but it gives me something to look forward to and a reason to get dressed/do some cleaning (not that I don't strive for the same result on other days, but with varying degrees of success).

However, no two Wednesdays are the same, and often something fun/interesting happens. Here's how today went:

Late morning: David falls asleep in my arms on the couch, 2-3 hours before naptime. Ummm...that wasn't on my schedule. I took him into the bedroom with me and got under the covers, because the rest of the apartment was freezing. Down in the 40s outside and it seems that our heat has been switched off for the "summer."

I probably got about an hour of sl…

Recycling failure

I don't know how I've lived here all these years without coming up with a solution, but for the past 2 years I've had a growing pile of items that need to be RECYCLED. Maybe a lot of it is baby-related...lots of glass packaging and some cardboard.

I just couldn't figure out how to dispose of it properly, and that made me want to HOARD it even more. If it pricks my conscience to put it all in a landfill-bound heap, then I can just find a way to REUSE it. My suitcase is a lot lighter now that I'm not bringing craft supplies from the U.S.! And we have Pinterest now! Look how many ideas there are!

But enough is enough, and in the hopes of certain home improvement and decluttering projects becoming possible, I decided to find a way to finally get rid of some of these piles. But it turned out to not be so simple. I kept catching hints of recycling programs, only to learn that they were a bust; a temporary grant that people hadn't responded to actively, and therefore…


So today is Victory Day, but it's actually more of a family holiday for us. I even found myself wondering what time Vladimir got off work, forgetting that he wouldn't be working at all today on account of the holiday. 
I wonder what it's like for Russians today, remembering the past while in the midst of a modern conflict. Not even sure if I can fit my mind around it right now.
American-style, David is 22 months today. But most Russians I know say "a year and 10 months." Is it sort of like the difference between army time and not-army time (whatever the term is)? Whenever I say how many months old he is, I can see people converting into years in their head. 
We are still seeing many changes each month. I really should be doing weekly journal entries or something, but I manage to record some of it via photos, emails, etc. 
The biggest development lately has been the start of "make-believe" play. It started with David constantly putting out two objects, …

Detective Work

Oh, the things I witness from my kitchen window! We have a pretty good view up here on the 7th floor.

First and foremost, the kitchen window is where we wave from whenever someone is coming or going. This is the tradition in Andrei's family, and it is strictly adhered to! A popular variation is to wave some sort of dishtowel, like a flag...even David has picked up on that one.

In winter, I sometimes look out and see people slipping and falling. On a few occasions, everyone is falling in the same spot. I wish I could shout a warning to them somehow!

Then there are more noteworthy occasions, like the time I looked out to see the former director of Nastia and Masha's orphanage. And you can review some other adventures under the "kitchen window" tag.

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen and heard an odd sort of THUD. I guess it sounded like a car door slamming, but something told me it was something a little different. Even weirder was that when I looked out the window, I sa…

Bye bye, blog posts

Sometimes I wish I typed on a typewriter, so I could pick up those failed compositions and physically tear them up before tossing into the trashcan recycle bin.

Writing is something I need to do to feel calm. But it takes time. I remember lots of all-nighters, beginning in high school. I would write and write and then edit until it was perfect. Soooo satisfying! And I love doing it on my blog, too. Even informal writing can be tweaked and tweaked until it's exactly what you were going for.

But it's midnight...sigh. I hate when I can't finish the posts. I do try to get all the main thoughts down as quickly as I can, so I can finish it later. But I can't help but feel that my heart is more likely to be engaged in that initial attempt. When I finish it later, it's already a different first thoughts are lost. And sometimes I feel a real sort of grief, because I've lost my first reactions to something I witnessed that day; a funny story; a memory; an epip…