Friday, July 31, 2009


it did sort of startle me
to have somebody knocking on my door
just three days after we arrived.
the landlord was long gone,
and surely it wasn't a neighbor
welcoming me
with a pitcher of lemonade
and freshly baked bread.
it wasn't the best of timing,
and when i finally got downstairs
to stick my head out the door
with a towel on my head,
i just barely caught them
pulling away in their car.

but somebody so anxious
for some fresh meat
wasn't about to stay away long.
within the hour
there was another ring at the door.
and there to welcome me
to the neighborhood
with some important reading material
was my local jehovah's witnesses.
not wasting any time.
tracking me down
even in the middle of nowhere.

and while i politely thanked them
for their visit
and declined setting up another,
a pang of sympathy struck through me.
for these sincere souls
working hard to share the good news.
shoes that i've been in before,
in one form or another. . .
and shoes not easy to fill.

best of luck to them,
and props on such
impeccable efficiency.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

sketch du jour

the cottage
from the garden.
watercolor and ink

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


it did take two failed attempts,
with baskets in hand
and shoes donned
when we scurried out into the yard
to catch that moment
in between intermittent rainfall.
but our third time was a charm
and we gathered only those
that were long
sad and lonely,
fallen and anxiously awaiting
eager little hands
to scoop them up,
wash them well,
cut out a worm hole or two,
a bake them in a sharlotka.

the further fate
of more of them delicious rounds:
it's not the garden-o-plenty
i long dream of,
but sweet harvest

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


it was just before midnight
that i was beginning to turn in--
one of those nights
it was just the three of us.

the rain was just starting
to get serious;
turning to thunder,
lighting up the whole
of our night's sky.
the cracking and rumbling
then woke a sleeping baby
who came wandering to my room
without saying a word,
just pointing to my bed.
i read her little mind.
swooped her up,
cradled her in my arms
took her back to her room
where the commotion
was in full force just outside
her window.
i took advantage of this time
she is no longer crib-bound
but in a full-size bed
when i can snuggle in next to her.
i held her tight
as she kept her little hands
over her ears
to keep out the thunder,
but could still feel me
singing to her song after song
until the fright
was drowned out
and the comfort lulled her
back to sleep.
by then
it was all i could do
to leave her there,
peacefully sleeping
with hands over ears,
to return to my own bed.

thank you, thunderstorm.
it was one i won't forget.

Monday, July 27, 2009


where a quick
20 minute drive
will get us:

and that, my friends,
is just another town
in this part of the world.

like i said,
every last drop. . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

sketch du jour

from the living room.
nap time.
colored pencil.
my, it feels good
to dust off those sketchbooks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

every last drop

and now you must know
how russians view
the country home.
you have one,
and you go there
every chance you get.
it's your escape on the weekends,
and if you have children,
you live there all summer long.
i hear them.
city life is taxing,
on mind, soul, and health.
but when it came down
to logistics,
i just couldn't make the jump--
having two homes to keep up,
going back and forth,
giving alex a huge commute. . .

i heard it from everyone.
the in-laws, that is.
every reason
why staying in the city in summer
is criminal.

well, this year,
i appease everyone.
we've moved to the country.
and our mind, soul, and health
are soaking in
every last drop of it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

well welcomed

and as we were driving in
to our town
for the first time
we were beginning to realize
it was a mistake
not to get dinner earlier--
as at 9pm on a sunday evening
there wasn't a prayer
of anything being open.
not a restaurant, not a store.
and we only had an empty house
to come home to.

but as we crossed the bridges
to our new place,
we began to notice quite
a lot of people
for such a small town.
and all headed the same direction.
soon the music could be heard--
a live band--
and then we saw the welcoming committee.
the whole surrounding community
had gathered for a festival.
we quickly dropped our things
at home, threw on some sweaters,
and headed back out to the crowds,
the food, the music
and the festivities.
with baguette sandwiches, fries & crepes
to remedy the empty stomach,
we played a game or two,
danced a tune or two (led by avi),
and settled in to watch
the fireworks that were
to finish off the evening
when it grew dark.
and if you know anything
about the french,
you know
they take their fireworks seriously.
we were thoroughly entertained
for a full 20 minutes
before the grande finale.

and with that,
we returned to our new home
and considered ourselves
well welcomed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

eiffel tower stop

the flight over
which had an overnight layover
provided ample time
for young minds
to be tortured by
and adult minds to be tired
by the phrase,
"what time we going to the
eiffel tower?"
even as we were parking
a block away.
the few hours we spent
in that romantic city
between airport and heading south
were spent in the 7th--
where we have so many memories,
that we just keep adding to.

Friday, July 17, 2009

in this spot

it was here in this spot.
here at this time
that it was born.

that cottage in france last summer.
all had cleared out--
husband to paris for the day,
and friends to the market.
at first disappointment
at being left behind
quickly turned into bliss.
me and my girls.
a cottage and a yard to ourselves.
breakfast to enjoy
with the doors wide open.
laundry to hang
on the veranda.
flowers to pick,
insects to observe,
grass to romp in
under the shade of the century-old trees.
to a city-dweller
who is a birkenstock-wearer,
tree-hugger and hippie at heart,
it was more than a dream.
and i decided then
that it would happen again.
and not just for a morning.

tomorrow we embark.
5 weeks of cottage in france.
me and my girls,
the husband as much as possible,
a veranda,
a big lawn, weeping willows,
and a little river
with a bridge that leads
to the village.
bare feet
my watercolors
a stack of books
my camera and my journal.

but don't worry,
i'll be in touch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the cruise, part III

next stop:
santorini, greece
no place like it.

and lastly,
corfu, greece.

and with the orange moon
we bid farewell to the adriatic.
but surely not forever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the cruise, part II

first stop:
dubrovnik, croatia

next on to:
kusadasi, turkey
and the ancient city
of ephesus