Tuesday, March 31, 2009

signs of spring


let's just say
signs of spring
differ from place to place.
while you're enjoying
your buds
and blossoms
and jackets flapping open,
think of me
and my signs of spring:



this
and the temperature got
above freezing this week
for the first time
in honestly
i can't remember.

Monday, March 30, 2009

help


help!
i can't stop eating:


toasted volkonsky bakery bread
slathered with
cream cheese
and raspberry jam.
how did i even come up
with this???

Thursday, March 26, 2009

flea market


now i admit
i had high hopes
for the denver flea market.
i'm not real sure
what they were founded on,
but it had probably been
20 years
since i'd been.
and not that i didn't
end up enjoying
a day spent with my parents
on that summer day,
but let's just say
there was not much there
of interest
aside from a couple
of fresh fruit stands.

now
to what moscow calls
a flea market.
i went in
without high hopes.
and was pleasantly surprised
by rows of antique vendors,
vintage clothing,
antique toys


trinkets,
talented artisans,
and costume jewelry.


it's a good thing
it only comes around
once or twice a year
and that it's size is manageable.

and also a good thing
my alarm
to go pick up milla
went off
just when i found
a little nook of old tin boxes.
another admission:
i have a box fetish.


i gently fondled
each one
with admiration
and was glad to hear
they cost more than i was
willing to spend.
i mean,
i did just come back from
london's portobello road
with 3 or 4. . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a bad one


now i will tell you
that i am just loving
my new theatre friend.
i do admit
i sometimes forget
that she is such.
as last week i wracked my brain
for awhile
trying to think of whom
i could get
to use that extra ticket i had.
why yes!!
milla is always an eager
and willing candidate. . .
except she's been to one or two
that were a little scary,
so now she always asks
if this will be a
"good one"
or a "bad one"?

well, of course
i never know.
and tonight?
well, tonight
was a bad one.
some modern dance
that had scary music
and i couldn't understand
a thing, try as i did.
while milla was next to me,
"mom, what are they doing?"
"dancing, mims."
"mom, why is the boy laying there?"
"he's tired, mim."
"mom, now what is she doing?"
"i don't know, babe."
of course she watched intently,
but not without
some very large sighs,
and then some head shaking.
at that point,
i knew
this was a bad one.
and honestly,
i was glad when she finally
started crying
and we had a dang good excuse
to walk right out
after 15 minutes
of the show.
and that was that.

we made our way
through the garden,
over to the cafe in the basement
that has live piano music
and shows charlie chaplain.
we enjoyed dinner
by candlelight
and i learned
that milla got that one gene
from her dad--
that one that programs her
to watch anything
flashing on a tv
with jaw-dropping interest,
fully unaware
of the world around.
though there is one difference,
if i feed her,
she can actually 
chew and watch
at the same time
(which of course
was the only way to eat
that dinner)
(and alex,
i'm sure you could do this
if you really tried. . .)


Monday, March 23, 2009

haircuts




one great thing
about girls.
milla is 4
and just having
her 3rd haircut ever.
avi will probably be 4
by the time she gets her first.

our skilled stylist
says she has to cut
her 2-year-old boy's hair
every two months.
talk about maintenance.

of course the
daily maintenance
is a whole separate story. . .


Thursday, March 19, 2009

dinner du jour


and for a 15-minute dinner
that even my picky eaters
will eat. . .


olive, ricotta
and fresh parmesan pizza

mix 1 cup ricotta
with 1/4 cup pesto sauce.
spread over pre-made pizza crust.
top with sliced
green and black olives.
spread tomato pizza sauce
over the top.
sprinkle with lots
of shredded fresh parmesan.
bake until warm & crusty
and cheese is melted.

(p.s. ricotta is loaded with protein!)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

позор



now i'll be the first to say
there is a whole
long and extensive list
of things
i will never understand
about this country.

but one of them
that tops this list
is the way 
they carve their trees.
and when i say carve,
i mean make them such
that a tree lover like myself
would rather see them
hacked down
than left looking
as ridiculous as they do
when they get done.

see that one going
right up the middle?
it doesn't have a branch left on it.

позор.

Monday, March 16, 2009

craft du jour


watercolor
paper dolls


Friday, March 13, 2009

purim


and today,
we celebrate
purim.


we celebrate 
the deliverance of the jewish people
during the ancient persian empire
from haman's plot
to have them annihilated;
and esther's heroic role
in their extrication.

we dress in costumes,
sing merry songs,
dance festive dances,
watch comical skits,
and then
eat traditional pastries,
oznei haman
(haman's ears)

shalom!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

apples & trees




and as she was quietly
working on her art project,
she suddenly turned to me.
"mom.
'go to bed right there!
go to bed right there!
go to bed right there!'"
and she sternly shook her finger
with every repeat,
then said,
"i just want to go
to like our home!"

("like our home"
is what we fondly call
any sort of a trip
or overnight stay)

"we're going to our bed
for a long time,"
she says with a pouty look
smeared over her face.
"1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10"

yes, mims.
we certainly have gone
to our own beds
for 10 nights in a row,
and probably more.
it's been two months
since we crossed the ocean,
and it's about time
for a little change of scenery,
isn't it?

what can i say?
i guess the apple
really doesn't fall
far from the tree.




Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the подъезд


i had forgotten
to warn them.
and when jeremy came home
from that first day out
with the real estate broker
saying,
"we saw one apartment that was okay,
but the lobby was heinous,"
i was on the floor rolling.

i should have warned them
that 95% of the apartments here
have "heinous lobbies."
and first of all,
you can't even call it a lobby.
it's a подъезд.
and it's dark,
dank,
old,
dirty,
narrow,
and as all of you
who know the подъезд
can relate
(and smell it now)
it smells.
oh, how it smells.
but that's the way it is here.

buildings were (and are)
state-owned.
people take good care
of their apartments.
but the community entrance/
stairwell?
well, it's lucky to see
a fresh coat of paint
every few years,
and the splish-splash 
of a dirty mop
every few weeks.
you just learn to live with it.

now our apartment
on the other hand,
has a "luxury" подъезд.
what makes it luxury?
it's not dark.
it's a big, wide staircase
leading up to the elevator,
with little metal clips
that used to hold a rug in place.
the tile is the original tile
from 1895.


okay, so it still
is dirty.
there are still 30 coats
of paint on the walls.
there are still wires and pipes
strung from heck to breakfast.
and heaven knows,
it still smells
like a подъезд.
but that tile!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

snow monday


and it seems like
it wasn't even until
this time last year
that we bought the sled.

this year it was march
when we finally dug the old thing out.
with a fresh layer of snow
on the ground,
it was the best we could do
after realizing
the library is closed today.


and when that got old,
we still had the snowman.

now the last snowman
i tried to make
was over two years ago
when we got that blizzard
in colorado
with the drifts up to the roof.
i dragged 2-year-old milla out
with high romantic hopes
of building a snowman together.
she was ready to go in
after about 5 minutes.

so today was attempt #2
with kids and snowman.
and as you can see,
it was much more successful.


but now
don't go assuming
that they had much more to do
with getting this guy built
than saying,
"mom, it's taking a long time,"
(the snow was perfect,
i rolled those big balls around
like it was my day job!)
or doing a little carving
in his side
with some sticks,
or playing on the carousel
while i was huffing and puffing
around the playground.
but they were pleased
with the result.
and ours was 3 times as big
as the other two snowmen
who were built
on the same playground
at the same time.

we were proud.
and before we said goodbye
we sang a beautiful rendition
of frosty the snowman,
just for the romance.