Tuesday, September 29, 2009


we were pulling out of the garage
all packed up and ret to go.
yes i was a biology major
and saw and studied plenty of this stuff.

but seeing such an extraordinary creation
definitely warranted
putting the car in park,
everyone unbuckling and climbing out,
 cars having to drive around us
as we all squatted down
and observed up close and personal
another wonder of nature.

Monday, September 28, 2009


it's true, my friends,
you can take the girl out of colorado,
but you can't take
colorado out of the girl.

these rocky mountains
were my playground
for so many years.
so many blessed years of 
hiking, camping, biking
rock climbing, picnicking, etc.
and this weekend,
i finally got to return to them.

with a little reunion
with auntie lindsay and uncle hank,
the lucky ones that get to live
so close to my mountains.

on a gorgeous indian summer weekend,
breathing the mountain air,
and picnicking next to the rushing river.

i just can't get back often enough.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

old friends

ah, yes
and speaking of making up for lost time,
let's just say
the craft stores around here
(and around there)
will soon know me by name.
there are a good many things
i can consider myself starved of in russia,
but hobby lobby, joann's, and michael's
are some of those good old friends
i am loving getting reacquainted with.

and now, my friends,
i'm back to work. . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


by far the biggest loss
of not returning to my home state
for 3 years
is the lost time spent with those
i am lucky enough to be able to claim as relatives.
chief among them
are my sweet grandparents.
i couldn't believe
it had really been 3 years since we'd seen them,
so familiar it was
stepping into their house,
feeling grandpa's strong hug
and hearing grandma's "hi darlin'!"

but after realizing how long it had been,
it dawned on me
that my girls hardly know them--
and that avi was only 2 months old
last time we were together.
the sacrifice we make by living abroad. . .

but after several hours in their cozy,
familiar home,
with grandma's home cooking,
creating in her craft room,
playing games together,
and swinging on the porch swing
while the rain came down
we left by giving anxious and generous hugs,
and i felt we'd almost made up
for lost time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

long days

and one may be inclined to ask,
how can you have a bad night
after bedtime stories with grandma?
lest we forget,
a ten-hour time difference
is not an overnight jet-lag transition.
after a 30-something-hour-day
you may think sheer exhaustion would grant you
a good, long night's sleep.
however, your body's time clock
has other plans.
and that involves waking up at 1 am.
and refusing to go back to sleep.
speaking of long days. . .

yes, each subsequent night
does get a little better, bit by bit,
hour by hour.
but how many times
in the last four days
has a poor four-year-old
come into my room at 3 am
tapping me with tears streaming down her face
to say:
mom, what time are we
going to be done sleeping?
i want to go back to moscow
cause it's daytime there. . .
i don't want to come here anymore
cause everyone sleeps for a long time.
and with a hug
a few strokes through the hair
and some reassurance that every day
will be a little better,
i show her the clock
and say,
when this says six-zero-zero
it will be daytime.
just try to sleep a little bit longer. . .

and as she heads back to bed
i flip on my light
and grab my book, because i know
fighting the body's clock
is futile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

the journey

i was like a boy scout.
so prepared was i.
that arsenal of entertainment
probably could have lasted for another 8 hours.
it made 11 hours seem like
a blink of the eye.
okay, quite a few blinks.
but (and this is the part where
i give credit where credit is due)
i will say that alex's
last minute decision to buy us
the extra leg room was sheer brilliance.
and so worth it.
not only did we have room to breathe,
we had spare seats over there,
and over there, and behind. . .
and we did just fine.

now changing planes in dulles
was not our favorite part of the journey.
talk about madhouse.
but my husband's other stroke of genius
was to order me a wheelchair.
yes, i laughed too.
but when i got off that plane
and ebony was there waiting for me
("mom, why is her face dirty?")
and we shoved our bags underneath
and then all three of us piled onto
that blessed wheelchair
and were wheeled to the front of each line,
i wasn't laughing anymore.
i was thanking my lucky stars
(for a brilliant husband).

and after she wheeled us through
passport control, customs, bag recheck
and all the way to the gate,
we had a few minutes to have a snack,
enjoy some comic relief
teaching my girls what a drinking fountain is
and how to drink from it,
and then to express my dissatisfaction
with the united gate assistant
when he told me there was no pre-boarding
for children--
no, not even if the mother is alone
and 8 months pregnant
and has been traveling for 15 hours already.
no, the airlines just don't
surprise me much anymore.

but after a little more comic relief
as the three of us tried to maneuver
a bathroom trip on the airplane
all together
(okay, i wasn't laughing, i'll be honest),
milla was out cold,
avi settled in behind annie
and those final three hours
were by far the longest.

but arriving in denver
after all those hours
and listening to the melody
of the train that took us to baggage claim
was music to my ears--
a sound i haven't heard in 3 years.
and the open arms
of my perfect parents
well that was just like,
you know. . .

coming home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

little americans

and as we dove into
our caprese salad and homemade pesto pasta,
i told milla
this is the real thing--
our friends from italy could quite possibly be
some of the best hosts i know,
and we are so lucky to enjoy dinner
prepared by them.
and as i reminded milla
that her little friend is from italy,
she made the statement
that both answered a nudging question i've had
as well as gave me a few drops of contentment:
-and we're from america.
-yes!  you're right, we are.

so she does think so.
i don't want to go thinking about
how american my girls are.
but i do just want them to feel
a large connection to the place.
and not just because i tell them
they are americans.

and tomorrow, my girls,
we're off to that place.
we're off to get a good four-month-dose
of strengthening that connection.
so look out, america,
we're coming back.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


it's honestly
like trying to find a needle in a haystack,
finding something not mass produced
in a sweat shop,
but actually purchased directly
from the artisan,
where clearly hours of painstaking work
was put in out of sheer pride
in the finished result.
of course they don't appreciate
the astounding amount of detail
and finishing touches put on them
as they act out the fairy tales
before bedtime,
but i admire each one
every time we pull them out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

craft du jour

avian mobile
nestled into the corner
of my kitchen

Friday, September 11, 2009


my very first pair of birkenstocks
were not really birkenstocks.
they went by the name of colorado,
and were bought for about $35 with my
hard-earned money at the muffin shop.
my 15-year-old self couldn't have been prouder
to wear those brown suede sandals.
especially with wool socks and shorts.
i wore them until the cork was cracked
and the rubber was worn off the soles.

my second pair was real.
i finally splurged and got a blue pair of milanos.
they went to college with me,
got scratched and blood-stained
in a rollover car accident with me,
got resoled, and served me well.

my third pair were birkenstock shoes.
they were the only thing i bought
during my few days in germany
and i think they were even a size too small--
but i wanted them so badly. . .

and after those college years
of birkenstock wearing
that phase of my life faded out.
each pair was handed on to someone else
with love and fond memories.
and my birkenstock days
were thought to be over.

until this summer.
with a callus on the ball of my foot
and added pregnancy weight
became so painful i was limping--
i quickly remembered the old days
of not even being aware
i had footwear on my feet.
alex's trip to london brought me
my fourth pair of birks
and it was a happy reunion.
moscow style may not appreciate them,
but oh, how my feet are loving me now. . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009


i'm building up my arsenal.
with tickets finally purchased
and one final week left in this place,
we are starting to look forward to what is ahead.
four months in the blessed u.s. of a.

with just one small thing
between where we are now and that:
an ocean.
an ocean that must be crossed.
carrying my big belly
and my load of suitcases
and my two small children across that ocean
on my own
will be no small feat.
thus, the arsenal of entertainment
for those 19 hours in a few square feet.
yes, i've crossed this ocean many a times,
but never quite like this.
tips, ideas, prayers are welcome.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the cap

 i realize that neither i 
nor neither of my girls swim, yet.
but who knows of a better incentive to learn
than wearing this modish cap?

i just had to have it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


being a parent is, before all,
a school of patience.
there are some facets of it, of course,
that require less of it than others.
teaching her to sew that parrot
one small stitch at a time
is not one of those things.

but then i have to stop and remind myself
of how long it still takes me
to learn one thing or another.
i still fall on my face plenty,
i still make the same mistakes over and over.

and so we carry on,
her taking 8 tries to get the right hole
on the parrot,
and me trying to learn something
by each fall.

Monday, September 7, 2009

bowling ball

and as we laid there in bed
and i, with great effort, turned onto my side
hefting that belly so that
it laid almost next to me
i told him that the parallel
i've always used to convey the way i feel
during these last few months
is no longer true.
it's not so much like having swallowed a basketball
as it is a bowling ball.

and after borrowing that measuring tape,
my suspicions were confirmed.
i'm already as big around now
as i was on my due date
during previous pregnancies.
so that tells me
either i made one too many trips
to the boulangerie,
or milla's 8 lb 13 oz
will sound like a piece of cake
when this little one
makes his entrance into the world.