Friday, February 27, 2009


dear milla,

you really killed me
a couple weeks ago
when you told me you wanted
to go see big ben.
at that point you were
fully unaware
that i would soon be leaving you
to go see it myself.
so i took this picture for you
and only you.
with the promise that
you will see it yourself someday.

they tell me you are doing
perfectly fine
without me there.
i say,
"what?  they don't miss us?"
but dasha says,
"you're crazy.  do you want them
to miss you?"
"um, ye-ah!"

but i will soon walk back
through our front door
ready for a big hug
bearing lots of gifts for you,
and anxious to tell you
all about big ben.
be a good girl
until then.

love, mama

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

recipe du jour

time for another
dinner idea,
isn't it?


and while you're busy doing that,
i'll be busy
enjoying london.

see you in a week!

Monday, February 23, 2009

gray days

in my ever gray world
(okay i know the end will come
i've come up with 3 positive things
about this lovely season:

1. coat pockets.
you never have to go fumbling 
for your car keys.
2. cold cars.
you can leave your groceries
in them all
3. leather driving gloves.
all those colds and flus
living on door handles?
not going to get
through these babies.

how bad can this season be?
is this a stretch?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

honey fair

they call it
the honey fair.
and it's serious business.

especially for those
thousands of senior citizens
donned in their
fur hats and fur coats
buzzing around those
hundreds of kiosks
like bees themselves,
wholly convinced of the
medicinal properties of honey.

i may not be convinced,
but i am a fan
of the honey fair.
every type of honey
you ever dreamed of,
from every last corner of russia.
you taste and try,
compare and try again,
until you feel like
you've swallowed a 5-pound bag
of sugar in one sitting,
and then you make your way out
of that bustling beehive
with your 5 pounds
of fresh honey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

hippie natasha

when we first walked in
to "auntie natasha's" group
i thought,
isn't it about time
for some new toys?

but upon closer observation
i realized
that natasha may 
more suitably be named
"hippie natasha."
she makes almost all the toys herself,
and you won't find anything
but 100% natural
in her room.

we play with crocheted cotton
and felted wool balls

handmade dolls 
and puppets

watch her fairy tale shows
that she masterfully performs

ride on her horsies
made of old woolen socks
while she plays the guitar and sings
(avi's favorite part)

and then play with warm wax
on a slice of tree

she's made me want
go home and toss out all our
cursed plastic toys.

but i think will
keep wearing my bra. . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2 concerts, 2 nights

i know it was
2 concerts in 2 nights.

but as we were leaving
james blunt
we saw that the legendary
vyacheslav butusov
was coming the following night.
what can you do?

and such a unique performer.
he positions himself
up high in the middle of the stage,
his guitarists
way off on the sides.
then he stands in the same pose
for the entire concert,
doesn't even turn his head.
too busy rockin
in his mellow aloof way.

and we hardly noticed
how tired we were
after two nights
of living like college kids.

Monday, February 16, 2009


a happy valentine's day
indeed it was
with a little breakfast
my mother's style,
a trip to the ballet with milla
(who eats up every minute
though claims
she does not want to learn
to dance like that)
the pleasant company of friends
at a very long dinner
at our once-favorite pushkin,
and then a big basket of goodies
at home from my
including that long-awaited
set of diptyque perfumes.

which actually marks
the very first time
i've ever asked for a perfume,
and the first time
he's ever bought me one.
i guess now we're typical, right.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


and after putting on
her very best dress
and her princess tiara,
she set about to work.
she brought all the food and dishes
in from the kitchen,
and then lovingly set the table
for lunch,
pulling up chairs and stools,
and a stroller.

i sat and watched
the entire process
from the nearby couch
with my chin in my hand
and an adoring smile on my face.

i sat and thought about
this young spirit
and her short four years;
the dreams, ambitions,
goals and heroes
that her developing mind
is beginning to conceive.
i thought about what is innate
and what is learned;
i thought about who she looks up to;
about where her budding ideas come from;
about her romanticizing
the mundane activities
i am so often swallowed up by.
i thought of her
subconscious notion
to first dress the part of princess
and then act the part
of homemaker.
i loved the peek
into her tiny mind,
into her blooming,
and fledgling self.
i thought of who i wanted to be
at her age;
of who i have tried to become.
i thought of our similarities.
i felt like a child again.
i saw myself.
and then i etched the image
and the memory
into my own little mind.

Monday, February 9, 2009

cat theatre

and of course
i don't know everything,
but i'm going to go ahead
and assume
that there are not too many
cat theatres
in the world.

we went to one.
(i.e. always wanted to go,
but spur-of-moment-decision),
lucked out with
the last two tickets,
good seats.

okay, i'll admit,
5 minutes into it
i asked alex
if he could sit through
an hour and a half of this. . .

but hey, why not?
i mean, cats can do a couple of things.
like walk up a ramp,
ride a bike (sort of),
jump a bit,
and sit in precarious places.
yes, the show was half clowns

but you had to keep it 
lively somehow.

cat theatre,

Friday, February 6, 2009


now i'm not sure
if it's those 
ballerina costumes or what,

but that whole
"striking an attitude"
seems to accurately depict
what's going on around here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


things get pretty treacherous
this time of year.
or should i say,
sometimes you take your
life into your hands
by walking out your front door.

you never know
when they're going to be out there
cleaning snow and ice out of the gutters
6 floors up.
in other words,
knocking off skull-size blocks of ice
which go hurtling downwards
picking up speed as they go
until they either thud
as they hit the sidewalk
or smash
into a hundred pieces.

they do try to warn you
as you come out that front door. 

but i very clearly remember
one time last year
when i opened the front door
to someone yelling to me,
"hurry hurry hurry!"
waving me into the street
with great alarm.
and as i bolted away from the sidewalk
a chunk of ice
the size of my head
landed right next to me.
if i believed in crossing myself,
i would have at that moment.

and that layer of ice
that covers the sidewalk
here and there and everywhere?

well that
just makes you 
thank your lucky stars
that it gets above freezing sometimes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


today's work
by the budding artists.

i wish i could be this
free and unrestrained
in my own work.
it's all i can do
to not pore over the smallest detail
until it looks absolutely perfect.
yet another thing
my children are teaching me. . .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


oh, and by the way,
if anyone ever needs
a driver's license,
medical records,
a work permit,
visa registration,
or a diploma,
i've got some great connections.

Monday, February 2, 2009

things to do

we aren't afraid
of a few cold days around here.
0 degrees?
and alex's dad
is calling up saying
"it's such great weather today,
why i don't i take the girls 
to the playground?"
and out the door they go.

0 degrees again today
and we had things to do.
of course it takes us
just as long to dress and undress
to go out
as it does to do our things. . .

but today's thing to do
involved going to a doll exhibit.
a family of artists
from the famous sergiev posad
put together
a collection of the work.
and i loved what i saw.

and when they invited me
to this evening's
"meet the artist"
i schemed to bundle up the kids again
drop them at great-grandma's house
and hit up the occasion,
surrounded by 60-something women
(with whom i would have 
liked to share my magic crystal),
anxious to scribble down
some notes about doll making.
and i left
with great intention
to dig out that bag of old fabric
that was recently found
at a country home
and offered to me.
now that i've got some ideas up my sleeve.