Monday, February 23, 2009

You still there?

I am not the blogger I once was.

What is it?

The SEEDY VIRUS that has taken over my modem and boots me off after 1minute?

or is it . . .


Whatever it is things are a little too silent over here in my corner. I need to thaw out these fingers.


I suppose it is well to say that we are drifting along – nothing exciting. We hardly step out of doors. It’s so cold.

I mean it is
Our nostrils freeze within seconds of stepping outdoors. Have you ever had that happen? Nose hairs stiffen? It’s uncomfortable.

Des refuses to go out in weather like this. He’s been keeping busy with his scissors. He has a lot of spiderman comic books and he loves cutting them up. Sometimes he’ll cut off heads and switch them with other guys – also hair, hands, legs, accessories. He goes through a lot of glue. We are constantly picking up little bits of paper. He loves it and I keep quiet until clean-up time. He also still loves to dress up and jump around like a crazy man. I wish i could post his recent costume' (wretched virus!) which included blue tights, a red cape and a plastic sack between the legs. He looked awesome.

Zoe does a lot of quietly looking at books and playing with her ‘princesses’ and horses. She also puts on her dress-up clothes and asks me to put on music and dance with her. I do almost anything she asks me to do – she’s bewitching.

Nathan is scheming for our future. Applying all over the globe. I dream of working at Columbia University in NYC and visiting with family&friends when we get back.

The countdown is . . .

3 months!!

Thanks for all your LOVE and see you over on Facebook – er, I mean, later right here on my blog.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The moment has passed . . .

I’m learning something about myself – if I don’t write things down, I forget them. Grocery lists and to-do lists aside (of which I am an avid keeper), it’s the things my children say, the learning moments and even the hard things, the ones that nearly break me. . .

Just a few days ago I was really struggling with all this housing arrangement business but the emotional heaviness of the moment is starting to dim. I’m forgetting.

Only because I’m happy, quite happy with the mid-week reversal.

So there we were at Valya’s – all tense, all silent (except for my high-spirited children)and it was suffocating. I didn’t know where we would live and from what I’d seen (one house) I was ready to go home to mymother. This was the first time I’d felt this way. I told Nathan how I felt and he was crushed but I felt better after saying it (sorry honey!) This was on Wednesday and later that afternoon we left thebabes with Sveta (Valya’s wife) while we went to the house to pack our things up. After an hour, Valya joined us with his son Pavel (who incidentally is a suspect in the break in) and his fiancĂ©e Galina. They began rolling up carpets and removing them from the walls.

When the carpet from the wall dividing our room from thebabes room was removed, Pavel noted the auxiliary stove – the first woodburning stove in the dom before the one in the kitchen was built – it probably hadn’t been used in 30years. But he asked the question, one neither Nathan nor I nor Valya thought to ask, what about this stove? Why couldn’t it heat the house sufficiently? Valya gave him the go ahead to try it out and we all stopped packing. The rest of the day was spent monitoring the stove and adding fuel every few hours or so.

It was working.

The next morning Nathan and I happily departed for the dom. It was decided among all of us that this would work. IT WOULD WORK!!! So we left thebabes again with Sveta and we spent the entire day cleaning the dom, unpacking and getting ready for normalcy again. Oh!! The excitement!! Around 7pm it was blissfully warm inside (while a blizzard was raging outside), relatively clean, and quite cozy. We picked up ourbabes and the rest of our stuff and


How grateful I am that we have been able to stay in this house – after seeing the alternative – it is the best for us.

Oh, and it’s warmer.

The stove, remember, is in the wall between our room and thebabes. Before we were the furthest room from the stove in the kitchen and the water pipes didn’t get as hot as everywhere else.

We are SO TOASTY!!!

There will be a lot more work to do. For one thing Nathan is now cleaning TWO stoves as well as fueling them TWICE a day. And the coal dust will now be t h i c k EVERYWHERE.


But I’m energized and it was actually helpful to spend a little time with Sveta in her dom. She was quite fastidious in her domestic duties and I’ve been newly inspired. We don’t have much, it’s true, but I appreciated an opportunity to see how she used her resources and I feel I can apply her approach.

As an aside, Oleg Petrovich, the cat that came with the house, is now back to looking like his Russified namesake, Oliver Twist. He’s quite scrawny again and gets a little too overexcited whenever we approach his food bowl. Des has begun to confidently take him by the scruff of the neck and oust him when I’ve had enough of him under-my-feet. I HATE stepping on cats.

Oh, and really the cherry-on-top of this nightmare reversal is receiving the package mymom sent stuffed with videos. Since returning to our dom, when thebabes have gone to bed, Nathan and I cuddle up in our warm bedroom and watch “Pride and Prejudice.”

It’s quite perfect.


Friday, February 06, 2009

So one day I thought . . . why not?

The Apron Stage

So I’ve put myself out there . . . as in I’ve taken a little skip-hop over to another blog – one filled with literary folks opining about life in writerly fashion – and I made a contribution.

They say they’re still in ‘beta’, I say the same about myself.

Just for fun.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A little bitter with the sweet

We were away from our little village for over three weeks. THREE WEEKS of daily hot showers, laundry machines, electric insta-heat, food varieties, English speaking friends, a branch to attend church, high speed internet, museums and restaurants . . .


We were on a mission to get new Kazakh visas – our local immigration folks had a problem with us living in the village. So our Fulbright contact at the U.S. Embassy decided to sponsor us with a diplomatic note, which they say will put us above the whimsy of the law.

We hope so.
(diplomatic note!)

We had to leave the country to get new KZ visas. We went to KYRGYZSTAN!!! It surprised me, it pleased me – in a word, I liked it there. We met together on Sunday for church with a young couple from BYU, the Barnes, who are here on an internship for three months (AWESOME PEOPLE!) and Jildez and her daughter. Jildez shared her testimony, we all did, and it was POWERFUL!! The Barnes came over the following night for family home evening – they introduced the game charades to thebabes. (Watch out family, they love it!!)

We are now back in our village but are currently without a home. Our dom was broken into a week ago and they didn’t bother to shut the doors on their way out. All the pipes froze. All the radiators cracked. The heating system is ruined. So far the only thing we’ve determined the thieves took were Valya’s satellite player/receiver and our collection of Russian pirated videos. They messed things up but there was no money to find. All this is going to cost Valya hundreds of dollars (thousands of tenge) to repair.

We are staying at his house but will soon be on our way out. We are looking at new homes to rent – the top of the list is a small dom: 4 rooms total, sparsely furnished, outhouse facilities only and a water pump down the street. I’ve been crying for mymother for two days.

BUT . . .

(some advice from my supporters -- thanks!)

We are playing a lot of card games (thanks mom) as we wait and try to be quiet here in this house. Nathan will soon earn his badge for the Master of Consecutive Problem Solving.

That Ph.D. might mean something too in the future.