Friday, January 29, 2010


the russians consider it bad luck
to gift knives.
the way to get around the luck fairies?
request a kopeck
from the person you are gifting to.
that way, it's as if
they were "buying" the knives--
at least the fairies
are tricked.

i can remember buying
one knife in my entire life.
the rest were gifted to me
(i mean, "i bought")
from my mother-in-law.
but of all the different knives
she has given me,
i keep going back to the same ones:
some simple steak knives
from switzerland.
i use them for absolutely everything.
bread, vegetables, cheese, fruit. . .
anything that lands
on my cutting board.
i love them.
and they only cost me
a kopeck.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


it's 2.84 degrees out there.
87% humidity.
it bites.
i'm not ashamed to say
that i took the clan out
for the first time this week just tonight.
who wants to be out in that stuff?
i don't think it's been
more than a few degrees warmer
since we got here.
the pediatrician
has us droppering the baby vitamins,
to ensure he gets enough vitamin d.
we are sunshine-starved.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


now let me tell you
about the paradox
that lives in this apartment.
i feel it necessary
to do the laundry almost every day.
because my laundry basket is full.
now i know my laundry basket
is really quite small.
and it is shared by 5 people.
and since one load of laundry
takes half a day to do,
i figure i should try to keep on top of it.
besides, if the basket is full,
where are we going to start
putting dirty laundry?

but then,
every time i put clean clothing away,
i think:
why do i do laundry so often?
there is nowhere to put this stuff,
as i go shoving things
into overstuffed drawers.
i really should do laundry less often,
then these drawers
wouldn't be so full all the time.

do you see my paradox?
it's a no-win.

my closet?
i have one.

just one.
it serves as a pantry,
a utility closet,
a filing cabinet,
a food storage,
a craft supply corner,
and a garage
all in one.
and i'll tell you what:
i've officially quit trying.
no more organization,
no more rhyme or reason,
i am just stuffing things
wherever i see a spare square inch.

the good news?
alex was handed
a set of shiny new keys yesterday,
money was exchanged
(alright, in one direction),
and signatures were signed.

i'm so excited,
sleep eludes me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

spinach-quinoa salad

it's been awhile
since i told you what we are having
for dinner, has it not?

vegetarian times'

and oh-so-healthy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

bags, bags, bags

i was kinda proud of myself, to be honest.
not that the project itself
(travel laundry bags)
was brilliant or difficult,
but for the fact that i dreamt up
something handmade
i could gift my husband for christmas.
something i haven't been able to do
since our first year of marriage.

and now my thoughts are moving on
to more little bags of this type
for other purposes.
namely, random toy collections.
i remember my mother
stitching together similar bags
and labeling them
tinker toys
barbie clothing.
and as i tend to be box obsessed,
this is the perfect solution
for a few less plastic boxes around,
and roping together
some of those little toys
that just don't want
to stay together.

Friday, January 22, 2010

note to self

before leaving moscow
for the holidays,
she thought to prepare me a few meals
which were lovingly placed
in my freezer
to await my arrival--
and in the midst of jet lag,
chaos, empty refrigerator,
and temperatures outside below zero,
we could still enjoy
a delectable home-cooked meal.

note to self:
try to be as cool as my friends.
at least try.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

old pillow

and i keep wondering
when that colossal mountain of clothing
is going to put itself away. . .

what is it like
to come home
after a virtually 6-month absence?
i forgot where i keep my cheese grater.
i can't stand my old favorite pillow.
it took me a minute to find
the highly-used recirc button in my car.
i wondered why our bottled water
that we also run through a brita filter
still was tasting terrible--
to later discover that the inside of the pitcher
was lined with mold.
i glanced down at the speedometer in my car
out of habit,
with the realization that i don't think
i've ever looked at it before.
i'm sharpening back up
my aggressive driving skills
and hauling those 10 bags in the door,
alex declared that unpacking
used to be a sort of fun game,
but the joke isn't funny anymore.
we are bursting at the seams
in our 550 square feet.
and alas,
our time has come
to search for a new abode.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

no joke

and after the 5th or 6th attempt
at waking her from the dead,
dancing with her around the room,
bouncing her on my lap,
tickling her,
and generally torturing her,
i am about to give up.
it is 7:30 pm--
time for naps to be over!
and then who do you think
will be partying, come 5:30 am?
of course we've come a long way--
that first night
we were up for the day by 11 pm.
yes, up for the day.
and last night i couldn't get to sleep
until 8 am.
jet lag is no joke, folks.
if you could only hear avi
whining and crying right now,
as she is finally starting to stir:
"mama, i want to have a nap!"
"avi, we need to be awake in the day time"
and as she looks at the pitch black
out the window,
"look how night it is!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

fine. just fine.

halfway around the world, that's all.
but home.

on that road trip my girls kept asking
when we were going to get
to the airport.
and on thursday, they finally did.

the trip was relatively incident-less.
my anxiety about the baggage peaked
that final day,
as i had laid out the rest
of what needed to be packed on the bed,
and it became clear
we were going to have to purchase
that 8th bag.
and they were still going to be
(remember the good old days
with 70 lb limits?
and we just barely made the cutoff
for free second bags per person)
so that last night we went out and bought
our 8th bag.
when we came home and started filling it,
and throwing them on the bathroom scale,
there were lots of 55's going around.
then the Lord saw fit
to send us one of those tender mercies. . .
and alex pulled a suitcase from the pile
that felt unusually light.
alas, it had gotten skipped
in the packing progress.
all my fears melted away
in an instant, and 5 pounds
from every suitcase was thrown in
we even got avi's new passport
picked up
at 7:30 am from a closed fedex sorting facility
(these sorts of miracles
are alex's specialty).

but really, my kids
are all now at a fairly easy travel age.
if you don't mind
a pair of wet pants,
too many movies,
some mild breakdowns,
an eighth trip to the bathroom,
and force feeding them
what you're having a hard time
choking down yourself. . .
it's not so bad.
the baby was his typical angel self,
and the girls
didn't even force me
to pull all my tricks out of my pockets.

and they love those
airplane emergency instruction cards.
"mom, what's that for?"
"why is she putting that on her face?"
and i've got to sit and explain everything,
walking on eggshells
so as not to scare anyone
(including myself)
about an airplane crash.
"and that's in case the airplane
lands in the water,
it helps you swim."
"mom, i want the airplane to crash."
"why, avi?"
"so we can go on the slide. . ."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

450 lbs

4 months,
5 people,
3 birthdays (1 birth!)
1 halloween,
1 christmas,
1 new years,
214 gifts,
632 shopping trips=
6 straight days
of cleaning, organizing and packing,
and about as much anxiety
as my bags are weighing
(and i know they're overweight)

wish me luck!
tomorrow's the day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


now i know
that there are oh-so-many things
to love about colorado
(as my mother so kindly
and so often reminds me),
but i'm pretty sure
that those sittin'-on-the-porch-without-coats days
in the middle of january
top the list.
especially knowing what awaits us
in just a few short days. . .

Monday, January 11, 2010


you know,
i don't know if you're like me,
but my respect and appreciation
for my parents
grows exponentially
with each passing day.
and it's unfortunate,
though i think inevitable,
that we can't even begin to grasp
what parents do and give
to their children
in birthing and rearing them,
until we are actually in their shoes.

i knew my parents were wonderful
all along.
but what i didn't realize then
is how exceptional they had to be
to do all they did for us.
for all six of us kids.
the trips they took us on.
the easter dresses and halloween costumes,
the extra job he took when necessary.
the sack lunches
and square meals she put together
every day.
the job charts and allowance,
the family home evenings,
the date nights with them,
the summer home schooling,
the family journals,
the birthday parties,
the handmade dolls,
the piano lessons,
the backyard garden. . .
i could go on and on. . .

how did they do it all???
where did they get
their superhuman powers?

and i am now left
with the photographs and the memories
reminding me
of the path they laid out for me,
the path of the superhero--
the challenge to give all to mine
that they gave to me.
to endlessly strive
to live up to the expectations
i have for myself
because of who they were and are.

Friday, January 8, 2010


want to know what i'm doing
this fine friday night?
i'm sipping a frothy root beer.
because i still can.
and what did i do this afternoon?
i went to target. again.
because i still can.
i am making the very most
of these final days in this land-o-plenty.
less than a week!
and it's back across that expansive ocean.

how was the trip?
except that i didn't see very many
of those i would have loved to.
but there's always
next time. . .

Monday, January 4, 2010


if you haven't noticed,
i'm road trippin'.
see you friday!