Wednesday, June 30, 2010

zara home

the first time i found a
was in dubai.
it was love at first sight.
i long admired their site
for its inspiration,
though i was far from a store
and even when they started
selling on their website,
they don't ship to russia
(nobody ships to russia!)

and so it was a beautiful day
when they finally came to moscow.

and when my nightgown
got its fourth tear
and i started to realize
it was beyond repair,
zara home
just happened to have
a lovely replacement.

"just happened to have"
really implies a miracle of miracles,
for anyone that has shopped
for nightgowns before knows,
that finding anything but
granny style or donald duck on the front
is one in a million.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


that vintage locket
has long begged for photos inside.
but it was probably the girls
whose begging
finally got doing so
onto today's to do list.

and the photos that ended up in it
may not be recent
(thank you, kai!)
but they were just as cute
two years ago, right?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

asparagus & potato tart

and so, where again
has puff pastry been all my life?
i'm not sure why
it's not in my weekly repertoire
in one form or another.
so easy.
so versatile.
and so delish.

jamie oliver's
reminded me of that!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


i understand
that having the music playing
may not fall under the rules
of that "quiet time,"
but when she gets her "dancing clothes" on,
sets up her dolls for an audience
and then dances like it's going out of style,
i hardly have the heart to stop her.

it reminds me of my childhood ambitions
to be a famous gymnast.
of course inspired by my favorite movie
i would get my own "gymnast clothes" on,
and spend some serious time
training in my bedroom,
doing the same exercises nadia did
(at least on the movie).

surely imagination
is so much more important
than quiet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


i really wish i could get
one of those kids' science books,
that has descriptions of all the things
i don't understand myself
with accompanying experiments
and diagrams and all that.
but in its absence, i'm left on my own,
sifting back through my memory
to the things we did in elementary school
about 30 times,
like this volcano.
it was a big hit.
we made the volcano out of modeling clay
and added a little "special water"
and "special flour"
and the excitement on the floor
just boiled over.

Monday, June 21, 2010


oh, and i know
that the father of our little family
deserved far more
than what we had to give,
but i do think he was pleased
with the big breakfast
with all his favorites:
fried potatoes, eggs, hot muffins and fresh berries;
a book from all of us
telling him all the reasons
he's the apple of our eye,
and an impromptu picnic in the forest.

and then of course there are
the fathers that raised us,
who had to settle for electronic cards
but deserve instead
volumes of a similar such book.
and then the grandfathers!

oh, how we love you!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

zoo outing

i can't say there have been many days
this june
suitable for such an outing.
with rain just about every day
we are lucky to get to the park and back
without a drop or downpour.
but today looked promising--
and we took our chances.
invited our favorite friend olya,
and made our annual trip to the zoo.
we went in
with a few things to check off the list:
seeing the owl and the zebra
(avi's favorites)
and milla's bobcat
(i have no idea how that became her favorite,
i was just glad we finally found one
just as we were about to give up);
riding the choo-choo train,
and avoiding two things:
-being accosted by the stuffed shrek
or alvin the chipmunk
and forced to take a photo with them
(avi was all willing)
-any tantrums over my unwillingness
to buy popcorn or cotton candy.
though kind-hearted olya
was happy to oblige with the blow-up toys.
those lucky girls!

and aside from being dreadfully sorry
for all the animals,
our mission was successful in all respects.
and not a drop of rain!

to the weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

two lessons

it was a friday
in the loire valley.
and i had one task.
pack up the kids
and drive 40 minutes
to the train station to meet alex.
i left at exactly the right time
(i'm good at that).
i'd been there before,
at least once or twice--
plus, there's plenty of signs
for the train station, right?
cause there was only one issue:
alex had the tomtom.
that trusty tomtom had become our best friend,
we never left home without it.
and his guiding
"in 10 metres, turn left"
in that english accent
was that kind, reassuring sign
that we were going to get wherever
we wanted to go.
but this time, i was on my own.

well, i don't have to tell you
what happened next.
inevitably, i was worthless without tomtom.
i found myself lost and lonely,
when that highway suddenly ended
and left me to take the last exit
nowhere near where i should have been.
as i reached the stoplight
and the light turned green,
i didn't just hesitate, i didn't move.
the motorcycle behind me wasn't patient,
he honked and i was forced to turn.
as he turned behind me
i still felt his pressure
and decided to pull over
and figure out what to do next.
and as i did, he pulled up behind me.
as i prepared for my first incident
of french road rage,
he climbed off his bike
and walked towards my car.
i rolled down the window,
and what ensued was the kindest conversation
between a friendly french monsieur
and a desperately lost foreigner.
i did my very best to understand him,
but let's just say,
his hand motions helped a lot.

off we went,
in the direction he pointed,
trying to do what we were told.
and it wasn't long
before we sat at another stoplight,
wondering which way to go.
this time i rolled down my window
and asked the car next to me,
and again, his hand motions
were almost as good as tomtom.

i knew we were getting close
once i started seeing the signs for the station.
but the station is in a neighborhood
of winding streets and lots of one-ways.
again, i stopped some passersby
to ask if i was on the right track.
and as those two girls did their best
to describe to me the way to go,
they finally gave up
on the language barrier
and offered to ride there with me.
and so one hopped in my front seat,
the other squoze between the two car seats
in the back, and we were off
down those windy roads.
within minutes we had arrived
(and i heard tomtom in my head
"you have reached your destination.")
with profuse "merci beaucoup"s,
those girls took back off on foot,
and i finally found alex--
of course much tardier than he would have hoped.
but surely my excuse was good.

there are two lessons here.
one for me, one for you.
for you:
don't you ever go believing that myth
that the french are unfriendly and rude.
this only holds true
for the waiter at the touristy restaurant
across from grand opera in paris.

and for me:

my work has begun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

cruel, harsh world

i give up.
i do.
you'd think i would have learned
the first time around.
but the hands of time
just can not be stopped.

maybe i had an excuse,
way back then,
when i was a naive young mother
with a freshly hatched newborn.
first thing i did
was keep her in her newborn diapers
until they more resembled bikini bottoms
than briefs.
i also kept her in the moses basket
by my side,
until she was 9 months old.
but there is a big difference
in going from that tiny one-bedroom apartment
to what we've got now.
now my baby has got his own bedroom,
larger than the one
we all three shared back then.

so why has he stayed in his moses basket
right by my side every single night,
until his legs are cramped up?
am i the only one still swaddling
a seven-and-a-half-month old?
i'm just a mother
that doesn't want to admit the truth.
you know what truth that is.

but i'm really trying.
he spent his last full night
by my side last friday.
that lonely basket is still next to me,
yanking on my heart strings
with every glance.
while my tiny little baby
sleeps soundly
a mile away from me
across the hall
in that bed that would fit 10 of him,
with its hard wooden rails to roll into,
and that furniture
towering all around him
in a big dark room
all by his lonesome. . .

we still meet once or twice a night
when the sun wakes him at 4:30 am
and i've got to dance with him
for an hour or two
(anything but feed him)
until he's lulled back to sleep,
and we separate again--
he to his cage,
and i to my bed by the lonely basket.

it's a cruel, harsh world,
i tell you.
cruel and harsh.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

craft du jour

today it was
mermaid chains.

i call a craft
a worthy project
when their part
takes at least as long as mine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

le pain

i realize it was a bold move--
my taking all three little ones
out to eat all by myself.
but needing bread at home,
i knew le pain quotidien was right there
and it happened to be lunch time. . .

i couldn't help myself.

the first time milla went to le pain
was in her infancy--
back on the upper east side of manhattan.
she was at that perfect age
when she could just sit happily
and shake some keys around
or suck on my phone
(which eventually met its death that way)
for a wonderfully long time.
i sat her down next to my plate
on that big long wooden communal table,
while every single passerby
stopped to comment and admire her.

since those old new york days
le pain has always been
like a coming home for me.
i know it's a chain
and i know you can find it all over the world.
but every time i do
i'm delighted.
and when they finally came to moscow,
despite there being an exquisite restaurant
on every corner around here,
it made me so happy
to have this little, simple pleasure
feel-good comfort food cafe
to fall back on from time to time.
not to mention the daily bread.

to say nothing about today's risk,
and making it out of there
without a spill or a scream,
or any unwanted attention.
(only the casual passerby
stopping to admire the babe who,
this time,
wasn't sitting on the table)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

recipes du jour

and today
because i'm feeling generous
i share with you
two recipes from the week.

in answer to which milla
during the meal told me she had a surprise
when she was done eating.
that surprise turned out to be
a whispering in the ear:
"thanks, it was so yummy!"

and for dessert,
that i've long wanted to try myself,
that put to good use
that matzo sitting in the cupboard.

i mean,
my matzo balls were good and all,
but. . . these. . .

Monday, June 7, 2010


i realize
it is just an inevitable consequence.
a natural evolution
when a people is yanked from its history
of a virtually classless system
and thrust into a new market economy.
it's the human way, i suppose.
to clamber and struggle to get on top.
to get ahead.
to have more.
to be someone better.
and in this instance,
better means more money.
nowhere is such clambering so starkly evident
as in moscow.
where such struggling has resulted
in such a self-proclaimed elitist class,
defined by riches.
and this phenomenon has been met
with a handful of buzz-words
that have seen
increasing popularity over the last few years.
words that seek out
those money-spenders (not a few),
that appeal to that
self-proclaimed class, better than the rest.
the words:
elite, vip, luxury,
exclusive, deluxe. . .
have found their way onto everything.

this "luxury milk"
for example.

you know
i've gotten used to it
and usually just laugh it off
or roll my eyes,
aside from joking about it
("что, разве не знают что мы виповские?")
but i will tell you
i have to draw the ridiculous line
at these VIP trash bags. . .

since when did
garbage bags begin defining a class?