Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the truth about birthdays

I hate my birthday. I honestly do. It's the most depressing day of the year. I'm old and wise enough by now not to expect anything special to happen, and I know ahead that nothing special would take place, but there's still that tiny grain of hope that ruins at all.
I just want to wake up one morning, on my birthday, and hear "Happy Birthday, babe" from my husband, before I hear anything else. I want to get cards (not even gifts, just cards!!) from more than 2 people. I want friends to come over. I want a party. I don't want to have to bake my own cake. Again. I'm not even bothering with it this year. I'd love for a friend I haven't seen in awhile to finally reply to my emails - or give me a call. I'm not asking for anything big, not really.All I want is for this day to be just a little bit better than the other days of the year.

Argh! I don't even remember the last time I had a birthday party. Since I can't have a birthday party, I think I'll have a pity one.

Monday, April 26, 2010


As of 10am (GMT +3) on Friday, April 23, I am an aunt!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Sunshine is not exactly bright

That's what we have to think when we leave her hitched outside for several hours and come home to see this:

This, in case you can't tell, is Sunshine's bowl. When I left the house in the morning, I filled it with water. By the time I came back, she filled it with dirt. Judging by the fact that most of dirt was wet, there was still water in the bowl when she started digging. The same happened to her food bowl once or twice before.
She started doing it about a month ago, and we have no clue why.
And here is Sunshine herself:

Monday, April 19, 2010

new booties

As much as I dislike making things where I have to sew parts together after I've crocheted them, these booties were fun to make!

 I sure hope I will have a baby girl one day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Salmon with Marmalade-Balsamic Sauce

  • 1 1/4 lb salmon fillet
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced or diced

Rinse salmon, pat dry, and rub the pepper into it. Place skin down in a lightly oiled casserole dish. Bake at 400 F for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Boil, stirring constantly, until reduced to about 1/2 cup. 
Serve the sauce over the salmon. That's it!

Delicious, nutritious, and EASY!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption. Book Review

I have just finished reading 

a book about adoption that a friend of mine let me borrow. I feel very strongly about adoption. I've been wanting to adopt at some point in my life ever since I first entered a so-called "house of infants" (an orphanage for children of 3 or 4 years old and younger) as a teenager. I looked into those cute little faces that would stare back at me so intently and was shocked by their inability to smile. I was equally shocked later, when I learned that after "graduating" from an orphanage at 18, a huge percentage of the kids end up on the streets, doing drugs, drinking, etc.. A friend of mine, who's been working with orphans for some time now, once said that thanks to various sponsors, several of the good students at the orphanage she was connected with had several digital cameras each. They did not, however, have any clue about spending or saving money, cooking, cleaning, writing resumes and dressing for job interviews. All this to say - I do care about orphans, my heart aches for them; I do want to adopt one day. This is why I started reading the book.
Boy, was I in for some disappointment!
It was interesting and easy to read, I will give it that. I also have respect for this couple simply because they did choose to adopt. But I also feel like wringing their necks, choking them to near death, or, at least, telling them to mind their manners. As my darling hubby said, "Well, at least it's getting a response from you!"
It sure was getting a response - I was seething with rage as I was reading! Here are some issues I had with this book:

1.I knew before I started reading that adoption was a long, difficult, expensive process. I appreciate the author being honest about the kinds of obstacles they had to deal with. I do not, however, appreciate the whole "we have sacrificed so much to get this second child of ours! We are martyrs!" attitude.

2. The way Mrs. Reid talks about Russia, Ukraine, and the people there just tears my heart to pieces. I am a Russian citizen with Ukrainian heritage. I have not been to Russia - I lived there for 24 years. It is a very difficult country - corrupted, mismanaged, bundled up with red tape. But it is also hospitable, generous, beautiful. The same goes for Ukraine. The Reids didn't seem to notice anything good while they were there. They call it Trashcanistan. The author is aghast when their cheerful interpreter asks how they are liking her hometown.  "Your town is a pit!" she's thinking, but not saying.
They come in, seeming to know nothing about the local culture. They are disgusted with the apartment they will get to stay in, even though it's perfectly clean. They don't seem to grasp the idea that a family that normally lives there moved out (probably to stay with some friends or family members in a tiny crammed condo) so that they could stay there for a week. Yes, of course, they will be paid for it. But how many times have the Reids been willing to move out of their 3-story home in Chicago so that another family could stay there for $50 a day?
They seem to be constantly angry at the people who are trying to help them out. They refuse to feed the child the food that had been cooked especially for her. "OMG, she is going to feed her gruel!" (most probably, referring to something like wheat cream - the food all Soviet children were successfully raised on). Another sign of complete lack of cultural knowledge in the beginning of the book is not crucial, and it makes me laugh more than cringe. She writes, "Shriveled old women - called "babushkas" for their head scarves." Hello! Babushka is a Russian word for grandmother. All old ladies are referred to as babushkas. Yes, many of them do wear the head scarves, but it's the scarves that are named after the ladies (and only in English, btw) and not the other way around!
Mrs. Reid writes about women in Russia and Ukraine with something close to contempt. Yes, their manner of dressing is unusual for most foreigners, especially as well-off and polished as the author herself, but, once again, a little bit of cultural digging would have explained that phenomenon to her.
Basically, the Reids present the very image of Americans Eastern European people have (I wonder why!) - rich, spoiled, snobbish, self-centered, unaware. The only thing that doesn't match the stereotype is the weight.  The generous gifts of peanut butter and handwash add to the idea.

3. Some things about the child-parent relationship seemed disturbing to me, but I really shouldn't comment on them, because, being childless, I don't have experience in raising children.

If you would like to read about the horrors of adoption and international traveling - this is a perfect book for you.
If you are somewhat culturally sensitive, poor, or religious - you may not care so much for it.

P.S. I sincerely hope the Russians and Ukrainians mentioned in this book will never get to read it. If I were them, I'd be outraged, hurt, and embarrassed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Seat

Shon put the new (more comfortable seat) on the bike yesterday. Boy, can I feel the difference!! His old one, which he traded for this new, softer one, felt like a wooden board. I still don't know how I will feel after 8 hours on this thing, but even after a roughly 40-minute ride I can tell that my rear end likes this seat much much more!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Alive!!

Christ's not dead, no, He is alive!
Happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekend in Bowman

We are spending most of the weekends in Bowman this month. It can be both good and not so good :)
Today is somewhat busy - I already performed CPR on all of the house plants and replanted some of them. Once it gets a tad warmer outside, I will plant carrots, radishes and baby spinach in the backyard. Then there will be a trip to buy groceries, cooking of the dinner, and baking of the Kulich - traditional Russian Easter bread. 
Oh, the life of a woman!