Friday, May 29, 2009

last of the first

and we went in
bearing flowers
and we left bearing flowers.
today we cross
"first year of preschool"
off our list
of lifetime accomplishments.

and she was just beginning
to admit to me
that she liked it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

jumper cables

now once upon a time
i felt pretty handy
with my cars.
i checked my fluids regularly,
i got my filters changed on time,
i knew exactly how much
tire pressure was in each tire,
and i could jump start them
when necessary.
i remember once
on a long and lonely journey
from seattle to denver
my little vw golf broke down.
and with my own two greasy hands
i dug under the hood,
zip tied that gear shifter
back into place,
and headed back down the road.

and after all that,
i'm embarrassed to tell you
about what happened yesterday.

in the midst of a mad morning rush
to get out the door on time,
scrambling to get
two girls into their car seats,
buckled in,
and then sitting behind the wheel
to discover a dead battery,
i was stumped.
what do i do?
visions of tow trucks,
car repair shops,
new batteries
were all flashing through my head.
i raced upstairs to tell alex
who was just on the way out
and he calmly came down,
retrieved the jumper cables
from my trunk,
and proceeded to jump start my car,
and we went on our merry way.

of course i never admitted
that jumper cables
never entered my mind.
but of course, jumper cables!

have i lost my mind?
can i blame it on the morning rush?
on the fact that i have
a husband to worry about these things?
on the fact that
i don't have to drive cars
that routinely need work anymore?
on pregnancy?


Monday, May 25, 2009

spring dinner

hummus pita sandwich
spring dinner at it's best
(in case it's actually spring
where you are)

chop up:
 peeled cucumbers
black olives
artichoke hearts
deseeded tomatoes
green onions

and mix with hummus.
lovingly stuff
into pita halves.

Friday, May 22, 2009


and after
picking herself a handful
of dandelions
she explained to me
that they were to be
for her "getting married."
and to those she met today
she explained
what her humble bouquet was for,
and that she was going to marry
her papa.

upon returning to the car later
and finding her bouquet
wilted and sad,
her distraught voice
exclaimed that she
can never get married now.
of course we reassured her
that there are plenty more
dandelions out there
and plenty of time
to make wedding bouquets.

but deep down
i wanted the wilted dandelions
to mean
that she would
never get married
but would stay
my little 4-year-old
as long as time lasts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

when else?

ah, yes.
and when exactly
will my womb bear it's fruit,
you ask?

when else?
with one child's birthday
october 28
and the other's
november 7,
well, right in between them,
of course!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

only one

and really
i can say
i have seen a fair amount
of western russia.
quite a bit more
than a lot of russians,
why have the russians
not seen more
of their own country?
because by and large,
you've seen one city,
you've seen them all.

but there is one city
in this country
(and only one)
that rivals
some of the most beautiful
and charming and magical cities
that europe has to offer.

st. petersburg.

and lucky us,
not only do we get some of
our favorite friends
for the week,
we got to spend the weekend
with them
in this enchanting place.

Friday, May 15, 2009

red square

it was 1996
when i stepped onto
red square
for the first time.

it's kind of like
the grand canyon
or the eiffel tower
or the depths of manhattan
or big ben
and the impression it leaves
upon first sight.

but add to that
the annals of history,
of tumult,
of conflict,
of change,
of strife
and of victory. . .

and the place can no longer
be compared with any other.

and every time i come
i feel the same thing.

like those history books
are sands
slipping through my fingers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

sharm el sheikh

sharm el sheikh, egypt.
travel style: with kids.
not so much carefree,
not so much tireless.
and only a rest half the time,
if that.

but nevertheless. . .
a much-needed break from the city.

notice the foliage.
of egypt's flora is found
at their hotels.
they wouldn't even give us
a stopper for the tub,
because they said baths
take too much water.
so we sacrificed baths
for the gorgeous landscaping.

by now you're noticing
milla's new favorite pose:
the "hey! i'm so surprised!" pose
which unfortunately
makes me laugh so much
it only eggs her on.

and with fairly high winds
and strong currents
any snorkeling at the hotel
was forfeited
to the "with-kids-style-travel"
submarine boat
with the glass windows.

milla had to ask
if they were tv's or windows.

and if milla has her favorite pose,
so does avi:
the stone face.

of course this face
was a little more natural:
"oh-no-i'm-going-to-die" face.
after a few terror-stricken runs
though, she couldn't be pulled off
this slide.
even learned to close her mouth
upon splashing.
(we got egyptian worms anyway)

activity #2:
the dolphin show.
and my first ever, actually.
and quite impressive.

less time
was spent on this tranquil beach
than i would have hoped.
but the big sandbox
has a hard time competing
with fast slides,
i guess.

surprised again!

avi turned out to be
the die-hard big-slide goer.
"i want more!"
come wind, come clouds, come cold.
she wanted more.

more reasons
for the no-bath rule.

and in case you still believed
the red sea
is actually red:
this one is for you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

travel style

egypt hadn't seen me
in a long time.
she didn't even recognize me.

the me she once knew
was a young
freshly married
and tireless soul.

she saw me
on boat trips
snorkeling among her world class reefs
four-wheeling in her desert
climbing her mt. sinai
in time to watch the sunset
bartering with the locals
taking overnight cab rides to cairo
wandering the markets
climbing into her pyramids
riding camels at sunset
relaxing in her sidewalk cafes
and sunning on her beaches.

and since i last saw her,
i picked me up
a few of these:

and let's just say
she didn't recognize me
and my new travel style.

details still to come.

Monday, May 11, 2009


and after taking
one final deep whiff
of my swimsuit
and its nostalgic smell
of chlorine and sunblock,
i tossed it into the laundry.

and in a nutshell,
that about sums up my day.
tossing things into the laundry.
pulling other things out.
putting my house back together.
and no, it's not quite
back together yet.
thus there was no sifting
of photographs today.

but in other news:

spring sprung
in our absence.
the city is green.
the fountains are on.
the tulips are blooming.
and we are wearing shorts.

but more importantly,
milla's latest development:

 i wish you could see
the beaming proud look
on her face.
and on mine.
i wanted to kiss her silly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

thin & pale

and at least
nine out of ten
of our weekly visits to her
she tells me
i look thin and pale.
you know
russian grandmothers
are not the least bit shy
about telling you
what they think.
though of course she says it
with a sympathetic
and sincere smile.

well, baba lelya,
in an effort to appease you,
i will tell you
i am starting to gain
a few pounds.

and that pale part?
well, it's going to take
a trip to the red sea
to take care of that.
so i have pulled out
the new swimsuit,
the snorkels
and the beach towels
and will report back
on my progress in a week.