Sunday, August 10, 2014

the R & R that wasn't...

It will not go down in the books as all that restful or relaxing.  But it is drawing to a close.  About a day and a half to run around finishing up everything…including a late night visit to Lense Crafters for me - not good planning that one!

The oldest is all settled in his fabulous new school.  Hurray!  The General that runs the place used to work with our kind of people and even in our current post so has taken a special interest in the oldest - hope it is a good interest and not an 'I am watching you!' interest.  And had a golden retriever in his office, so that is a win in my book.

Life back at home is gearing up to be busy busy - the middle one is going to have a happy year, I can tell already, the youngest is hoping to talk every single Girl Scout into a trip to Switzerland and my music career, for which I make not a dime, is chugging along.  I got this cryptic email just this morning "Can Mozart Sunday?  Easy." Um, yes?  I think?  Also this gem from my piano teacher 'please buy and bring back this that and the other' (this, that and the other, all being really really hard piano pieces) so I write back, 'Um, do I need to buy and bring back anything for my lessons?' thinking she was using me as her sheet music mule…her response?  "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA those are for you" Super?  I think?

I am worried about how different life is going to feel without a few of my best pals.  Three ladies all up and left me.  As my husband pointed out, I might be too busy to sit around weeping….there is talk of more work on a book!  A Montessori book - which is totally, absolutely, my thing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

more fun please!



Looking back through all our pictures, we used to have a lot more fun overseas.  Where we are now is hard.  Hard to live on a compound.  Hard to go out over the half the year because it is freezing.  Hard to deal with the metro.  Lots of hard people.  Just hard.

So for bidding this time around - after the whole 'is the school any good?' and 'will they eat our dog and how long is the quarantine?' We are looking for places with a higher fun factor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

there is something in the water here

Everyone on my compound is pregnant or has a small baby.  Except, thankfully, me!  It is crazy.  Even a new arrival yesterday was heavily pregnant.  Like she is probably already on the way back to the airport for her pregnancy medivac.  or soon, anyway.

The drama of student apartment hunting from afar seems to be coming to a close nicely.  Hurrah!  Girl Scouts is growing like crazy.  My first year as head honcho we had less than 30 girls total, this summer, we already have that many signed up early bird for next year.  Go me!  It will be even better this year as we have lost a few leaders….who have given me a run for my money.  Or made me cry, whichever.  And I have a fire cracker of a woman to help me run the show next year.  A former lawyer who has been known to curse and feels fine telling difficult adult women to get a grip.  I love her!  And bidding is finally starting to go well.  Or pre-bidding.

What else?  Oh the feeling in the neighborhood has recently improved.  Morale is up.  Even my 9 year old mentioned it the other day, 'I am so glad the two bully girls moved away!  Is that wrong to be happy about?'  No sweets - I feel the very same way!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

wanted - 4 or 2 bedroom apartment - nice not moldy..

So this will all be amusing one day but that day is not today.  The oldest kid is finally moving out - Happy Happy Joy Joy - and going off to a school of higher learning.  BUT, of course there is a BUT, it has no dorms.  And they don't really help you find a place to live…but they did hook me up with 2 other mothers and one kid.

The kid wanted to just get an RV and park it.  Thankfully my kid decided that was a stupid idea and wasn't interested.  Then another kid has to pay his own rent but has a car, so he is living on one of the outer islands.  Or so he wants to, I didn't have the heart to tell his mother most of that island is trailers. Like trailer park trailers.  But whatever.  Good luck to them.

The last mother/kid combo seems promising.  The mom used to work at FSI and knows our kind of crazy.  Fingers crossed they are a go and we magically find a 2 bedroom something or other than is not in the high tide/flood plain nor full of 100 year old mold in some gorgeous houses basement.

Let this drama please play out quickly and painlessly!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You have a kind heart


My girl, rocking her Disco Day sequined skirt and loving on Lary, the guide dog puppy in training, like no other girl could.  She, one of her brothers and I all have one big thing in common - we all are saddled with kind hearts and sensitive natures or we cry easily...

The three of us have had a rough year at times.  Bullies, people who are just generally unkind and some that are just over bearing or really really off in one way or another.  Loving on this puppy was an excellent balm to the end of school year goings on.

When the woman actually raising the puppy dropped her off, she cried.  When I gave her back, I didn't but then I almost did, when her young daughter translated, 'My mother said she can tell you have a kind heart'  Russian guide dog people, are the best people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

more with the grocery stores


Here we have the meat and bread department in Billa.  Billa is close and a lot of people walk there.  I do sometimes too but…they seem to have an AC problem and it reminds me of Jenny Lou's - in Beijing - on a hot summer day.  That might not be the best thing.  For me.  Lots of people mostly go to Billa.  I am not one of them.


And here is one of my favorite stores if I am looking for something unusual or imported.  Azbukha Vkusa.  It is nice.  Notice that shiny floor?


They even have Bar-b-que sauce and real American mustard.  Nice!


And their produce.  No kale.....even here.  So get over the kale already.

So that sums up my grocery shopping experience in Moscow.  It is not hard though you might have to go a few places to find unusual things.  There are also farmer's market type set ups but my Russian is so poor I tend to not go…

Sunday, May 25, 2014

cause I love this kind of thing..or grocery shopping in Moscow

I recently stumbled upon the blog MamaCongo and love it.  Expats are always a good source on how things are in a country.  These women recently did a grocery store round up of stores in Kinshasa.  So I decided to somewhat follow suit about Moscow.

What can you buy in Moscow at the grocery store? Almost everything you need.  For reals.

First up, Green CrossRoads or Perekrestok Zelyoni.  It has the green railroad track looking logo.  It is very different than it's sister store, Perekrestok, which has the blue railroad tracks….trust me.  Different.


Lovely produce.  This is sort of a 3rd of the section.  They sometimes have basil.  They do not have kale.  No one in Russian sells kale.  Stop whining about how you love kale and get over it already.  It smells a little liked pickled things, as they have a pickle bar in the middle of the produce section.  Excellent stuff.


Variety of flours, baking supplies, even vanilla.  Easy peasy.


Pasta - done!  Olive oil in lots of crazy flavors - done!  Sauce is with condiments in another part of the store…


Juice - lots and lots of juice.  Fresh OJ not so much ever, but anything else and your good.


Laundry detergent - all sorts.  This place has Eco versions.  And those German stain catcher sheets.  All of this is also available at Metro in giant bags.  Cleaning supplies too - easy here.


Russian toilet paper.  If you think you cannot use it, you are wrong.  Wrong!  People will shake their heads and feel sorry for you when they see you hauling your giant boxes from the mailroom.  Don't do it!  Kleenex is Kleenex the world over.  Yellow labradors on the front make it perfect and soft.  Zewa is fine and European I think? Lambi too.  They do like scented TP, so be careful your choice doesn't have peaches or strawberries, unless that is your thing, and then, well, your all set?  Metro also sells giant bundles of this stuff, think almost like Costco.

Next Blue Crossroads, the less sister to Green Crossroads.  Their produce is not so beautiful but they have other stuff…I don't normally shop here as it is not on a route I walk a lot.  But there is still stuff to be had!


Plenty of European cookies.  Cookies are easy here though they don't sell Oreos.  Not sure what is up with that, even the Chinese have Oreos.


Lots of cheap salt and sugar.  Blue topped salt bottle is about $1 and the Natural Sea Salt big box is about $3.  Bring on the sodium?!


At the check out - so your kids can still whine, even in Russia.  Reese's peanut butter cups are sort of a new thing.  Also Kinder eggs are a big deal here.  Kit Kats, Mars bars, Snickers, and gummy bears.  Candy - pretty easy.


A not so hot picture of Metro.  Lots of countries have Metro.  Not giant containers of much, but rather lots os small or normal sized things taped together.  They have Asian stuff, Hershey syrup, Nutella and I bought an awesome shashlik grill last week.  And I spotted apple cider vinegar there this week.  So there you go.  You will need a shopping card.  An Embassy can provide you with a letter, otherwise I am not sure how and who qualifies to shop there.  Almonds are $15 a medium sized bag but I love them.


And this random photo?  Contact lens vending machine.  No prescription needed.  The husband has bought saline out of one of these babies and so far he reports it seems like normal saline solution.