Friday, October 17, 2014

how to become an even more obnoxious dinner guest

I love school.  I love learning new things.  Being an EFM at the posts we have been at, has not always made this easy.  True, I did really enjoy Chinese lessons for 2 1/2 years.  I super enjoyed puppy school with our labrador while we were in Ottawa.  But Moscow is hard.  I am pretty sure if I asked permission to anything, and I do mean anything, I know what the answer would be.

So I have gone back to my roots.  The musical ones.  Right now I am taking a MOOC (Massive Open Online Class) through  This particular course is run by two professors at the Curtiss Institute, where I almost went to college, I didn't because there may have been something with a high school musician boyfriend…I am hazy on the details.  Anyway, you don't have to have a degree in conducting from a major American conservatory to take a MOOC.  They have Chinese for Beginners, The Bilingual Brain, Unlocking the manuscripts of Medieval Spain, The American South.  All of these sound so interesting!  I wish there was more time in a day!

Now if you want to know anything about Beethoven piano sonatas, the un-normalized elementary child, Ukrainian mail order brides or the basics of Waldorf doll making, invite me to dinner! I am an expert on all of them - I could write for a magazine….or bore the pants off you!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

some things that make FS life better

These - Velcro command strips.  They sell them in Moscow, but I brought over a ton.  I have very few things actually huge with nails.  Best thing almost ever.

The dining room chairs are almost always covered in something that attracts food stains from small children.  Bring a heavy duty stapler, lots of staples and some oilcloth to post to cover those bad boys.

When we arrived at post, I was depressed a bit by our kitchen.  The backsplash matched the cheapy countertops, which blended with the beige walls, light pine cabinets and beige tile floor.  All in great shape and fine, but drab.  D-R-A-B.  So I ordered up some of this fun stuff.  If you a little bit crafty you can install it - think big sheets of contact paper, that you have to match up on several sides.

So your new post is, say, Paris, bring a guide book, a street map and I am a huge fan of the Culture Shock series.  They may play into some stereotypes, but there is useful stuff to be had in this series.  Seriously, these things should be in your suitcases.  Also with some kind of phrase book if you don't speak the language, along with a downloaded translation app for your phone.  And a metro app!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

welcome to the FS - spouse view

My real life friend, Kelly, just wrote this awesomeness about the FS and spouses.  I was brought up in the FS, watching my mother entertain, and resign constantly when there were no tandem assignments to be had.  When I complain, she can take me down more than a few notches with 'When you were a little girl in Ibadan…." life now is easy peasy in comparison to how she had it.  On my Dad's EER even though they were technically a tandem, the whole works.

There seem to be two camps of wives, those who easily get clearances and skip off to their new jobs at the Embassy, leaving children at home to be raised by nannies of varying descriptions.  I have strong thoughts on that, but will keep them to myself.  But I do wonder if I should tell the mother of two very tiny people here that her dream nanny actually appears to be addicted to Candy Crush and leaves her baby wailing in the stroller pretty often?  Well, so often that I have walked by the scene quite a few times and I don't get out all that much during playground hours...
And then there are those that stay home and complain bitterly about work and/or life options.  I wish they should shut up.  I feel like asking if the realized what the FS even was before their other half signed up?  Some cannot get clearances in a timely manner.  I know one wife here who applied for jobs the minute she stepped off the plane and ended up leaving after two years without ever getting her clearance done.  I don't know the details, but I do know she and her husband were bitter.  Very Bitter.

My advice to the latter camp is 1. stop complaining! and 2. get a hobby.  For real.  I feel extremely sad I cannot work in either of the fields I was trained for, but I feel extremely happy I can delve into my many many hobbies.  Before you leave for that first tour, download a mass of books you have been meaning to read on your iPad.  That way you have something to fill the hours while you are home alone and don't know anyone.  If you get invited to any event, go.  Even if it's not your thing.  There is a wife here now who is bitterly sad and lonely.  I have reached out and invited her to all sorts of things - she has so far not accepted my offers.  I might bend my three strikes rule for her…

Book, go to stuff and realize your life is going to be different.  You may not, probably will not, be able to live life exactly as you did before you went overseas.  Embrace it.  Or try really really hard to.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things I like right now

A lot of bloggers do this lists of things they like…so here is my list.  Very random.

This video - a fellow FS wife sent it to me after being turned off by the gym bunnies at her new post.

This woman makes me want a do-over of my children's small childhoods.  Every picture she takes is dreamy.

We will printing up one of these any day now.  I may try my hand at a Red Square one some day soon.

I need some more high quality felt to make this sweet matroyshka.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I love the Swedish

I was all set to start a baby quilt a couple of weeks ago but the gremlins who live in my electrical sockets decided it was not to be - and my $$$ Singer sewing machine blew up.  Some tears were shed but then my best teacher friend at the school here told me about sewing delivery.  I had been to one of their really nice stores before, nicer than any American quilt shop I have ever been in.  But apparently they deliver.  So instead of going, I got a nice Russian man, who took his job of phoning them VERY seriously, to order one for me.  The delivered SAME day, for FREE!  Added bonus, one of our cashiers happened to be waiting out front when the delivery man came and she gave the typical Russian  lady clucking approval noises the whole while the delivery man took the machine out of the box and told me of all it's features.

Needless to say, I am in love with my new simple Swedish machine!  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I know a woman here who is an excellent hostess.  Whenever I go to her house I feel so welcome.  She is an expert.  I am stealing her cute spoon idea just in time for my first tea party of the school year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

lots of crafty

I heard a rumor my new heavy super duty transformer arrived in the mail today - so…

….a small new baby sized quilt.  Which needs to be made in a hurry before the baby and mama come back through Moscow on their way to post.