Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In Which I Am Amazed at How Relieved I Am

More and more I find I am a stranger in my own country.


I don't know things. I don't know how things work.

Because I look like everyone else and I sound like everyone else, I tend to get a lot of quizzical looks back when I get stumped by something ordinary.

The pharmacist tonight was a case in point. Every question she asked seemed to get a weird response from me (or so I thought it seemed to her). I dunno. It was just so clear that I was not a typical client.

I say all of this as a preface to describing my experience with the neurologist today.

Skittles has migraines, you see (so does The Spouse and so do I). My regular course of treatment (over-the-counter ibuprofen-type products) has resulted in ulcers and general stomach issues for her.

Which is bad, because the Kid Advil/Motrin/Panadol/Whatever seems to work for her.

The best medicine I've come across for her was a liquid product I used to buy in Spain. It cost about $3 for a big bottle, which lasted forever, and she seemed to get relief from it.

But it upset her stomach.

And I haven't been to Spain recently.

I talked to the Family Practitioner at our French Medical "Centre" across the street from our apartment in Moscow, and all she could really tell me was to get another MRI-type scan done ("Just in case") and to look for a neurologist.

So, of course, I put the whole thing off until it was time to come to the US, thinking I'd just pop in to see a specialist here.

Long story short, of course this is not how things work here. But I had forgotten.

I needed a referral. But I don't have a primary care physician here. I could find one (or maybe ask the French doctor in Moscow to deal with it for me), but that just made my head swim.

So I asked my sister-in-law.

She's a dentist.

She was happy to deal with the on-line form for me.

So we did this.

And then I got a call from the hospital.

Telling me that the first available appointment was not until October.

But my good karma paid off. I asked if there was a waiting list for cancellations and the nice woman on the phone said no, but, coincidentally, she had just received notice of a cancellation.

Which resulted in an appointment for today.

Between that call and today, I received one mailing, one phone call from a real person, and at least two automated calls from the hospital. Some of this involved getting background health and insurance information from me. But the message I came away with was IF YOU ARE LATE, WE MAY HAVE TO RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!

They really drove this point home.

So much so, that I slept badly last night, woke early, and arrived at the office 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled appointment.

I was worried that there would be additional testing that I would be unable to schedule before we return to Moscow at the end of August.

I was worried that the doctor would not grasp my situation and be weird about the fact I was showing up without a proper referral or medical records or a US-based primary care provider.

I was worried that whatever he suggested would not be feasible in Moscow.

It turned out that all of this was unnecessary. It was the consultation of my dreams. But I didn't know it would work out that way.

We did have to wait for the doctor (beyond our scheduled appointment time), but once he was in the room with us, he was in no hurry. He spent a long time examining Skittles and then talking to me.

He had a great manner with kids and a reassuring manner with Nervous-Nelly mothers.

He suffers from migraines himself, so he understands.

He said everything I wanted to hear ("Here are some tactics for dealing with/identifying triggers, here is an Rx, and she does not need any additional testing. if this drug does not work for her, and it might not, call or email and I'll write you another Rx."). He must have talked to us for over an hour.

I did not realize the level of stress I had been carrying all day until the appointment was over and it suddenly lifted.

My effusiveness was probably a little over-the-top.

But I was so relieved.

Unfortunately, Skittles had a headache tonight before I had the chance to fill the Rx. I ended up taking it to a drug store, but I can't collect it before 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. She is sleeping peacefully now, so no real harm done.

But I was sorry we did not have a chance to try the new medicine. I am very eager to see if it helps her.

After all, that is the whole point.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I TOLD You All My Best Material Comes from Him

I got the following email from The Spouse this morning:

Last night I dreamt I was going to star in a new hit action TV show called "Forensic Accountant," and it would involve watching a person go through papers and make sure all the bookkeeping is proper and trying to find mistakes in accounting and financial reporting. The hero's signature line was "Something just doesn't add up here." The production costs were low as it all takes place in the guy's office and there is almost no dialog.

This afternoon I take Skittles to the neurologist to try to get some strategy in place regarding her migraines and the fact her regular headache medicine (OTC kid Advil-type stuff) gives her ulcers.

The Ohio State Fair opens Wednesday, and that is actually the only day I can take the girls as we go to Athens Thursday-Friday, the garage sale is this weekend, next week is the girls' "Days of Creation" art class all week, and then The Spouse arrives August 7, and we are off on a whirl-wind tour of scenic NW Ohio.

It's not even 9:00 a.m., and I think I need a nap.

No Comment

It is called a PlasmaCar.

And, no, I was not OMVI/DUI.

I had not yet combed my hair. But all I had drunk was coffee when this picture was taken.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz . . . I Wonder What She Does

Woke up fine yesterday, but then something happened to my back while I was watching the Tour de France time trials and PRESTO CHANGO! I was a real nasty bear with some sort of muscular spasm event happening right over my left kidney for the rest of the day.

Probably all the bad karma I accumulated by making orphan jokes.

(Guess I probably shouldn't implicate my mother by ratting her out for threatening my brother with the gypsies when he misbehaved as a child.)

But I digress.

I tried lying on the floor with my knees bent and a Stephanie Plum novel to distract me. But that didn't help.

I applied gin, orally. No better.

Finally, my sister-in-law stopped by after work and brought me a patch with something in it that I applied to the bad spot.

That worked.

Today I feel as thought I have been punched there. That is, a bit tender. But the knot/spasm is gone. I even went to Pilates.

What remains is a weird buzz. I'm loopy, but at the same time I feel as though I've consumed an entire colada of Cuban coffee by myself.

I was motivated enough to prune part of the hedge that always smacks me in the face when I try to walk into the back yard through the gate. And I pulled lots and lots of weeds.

Before losing total interest.

I'll offer the children some money in exchange for picking up my mess and putting it in a trash can.

Now I really need a shower, but the Very Hot Roof Repair Guy is here, and I don't want to be a cliche. Or a scene out of a very bad adult movie. He's only putting up a bit more of the scaffolding and then I think he'll be gone and it will be safe to take a shower without risk of having to answer the door while wrapped in a towel.

It's bad enough the neighborhood has no doubt labelled me as "That lush who is always walking around with a drink in her hand!"

"In her pajamas."

Okay, VHRG just drove off. The coast is clear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Which I Abuse My Children

Blame the moon.

It's freaking DAY 18! DAY 18, people. WTF?! Isn't this phenomenon supposed to be happening less frequently? Did my uterus miss that memo?

It certainly explains why on Sunday the nice sales lady at Nordstom insisted that, at least at that particular moment, my new bra size included the letter D. She and I both shook our heads at that and declared me a Boob Anomaly. You know, one of those people who measures herself the way the good people at Victoria's Secret say to, and in spite of the fact that I have obvious breasts, sometimes I wind up measuring a negative cup size. Like if there could really ever be a -AA.

So I happily took my new (half-price) D bras home. Happy because, at least right now I have only two breasts, instead of the four I sometimes sport because I am apparently wearing ill-fitting foundation garments.

Or the phases of the moon have made things, well, changeable.

So to summarize, while we were at Easton Town Center, I got two bras, and the girls each got a new long-sleeved t-shirt. Yes, the Anniversary Sale is happening at Nordstrom, but in this Current Economic Climate, it seems imprudent to be my normal Nordstrom Free Wheelin' Self.

I didn't even buy anything in the cosmetics department.

The cosmetics department!

My "Home Planet," according to The Spouse.

Really, he says that. I had a make over once in 1998 and had just bought a new camera and the nice woman who applied my paint took a picture of me and I gave it to The Spouse because it really is a good picture of me. (I used to go get makeovers before I got my driver's license renewed too, because, after all, the photo is for what? Four years or something?) For a time it sat on his desk at work, and one day a colleague, clearly a single man, asked him, "Where is your wife in this photo?" and he said, "Her home planet. Otherwise known as the cosmetics department of any major department store."

I looked, Loyal Beatnik. But I did not see anything that moved me to open my purse.

It was in this frame of mind that I dragged the girls and my mother over to Roll: to look at bikes for Baboo. I had promised her a bike for her birthday. In fact, I had promised her this bike.

However, since making that original promise, belts have tightened Chez Beet. I was feeling guilty about spending that much money on a bike the child would only ride until the end of August and then certainly outgrow if not this year, then certainly next year. (If you must know, I ended up buying her this bike the next day. Which she preferred because it came in pink. And I preferred because it was a much better price.)

Meanwhile, Skittles, who was already feeling slighted because we had not lunched at The Cheesecake Factory, was jonesing for a stop at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Let me preface this by saying two things:

1. Recently, Skittles had a nightmare that she lived in an orphanage. In her dream, I worked in the orphanage. And although I was still her mother, in the dream, I refused to take her home with me. Oh, and I seemed to be somehow responsible for the untimely passing of The Spouse in this dream as well. Having sent him out to drive somewhere in bad weather.

2. I have taken them both to Build-A-Bear Workshop. In Moscow. And bought them each a bear. Or cat. Or something. Whatever it was they wanted. IN MOSCOW, PEOPLE!

So we pass a mother and child. The boy is carrying his Patented Build-A-Bear box. The cardboard bear house that tells all other children, "Look! My parents love me! They dropped unreasonable amounts of money on a freakin' stuffed animal. Because they looooove me! Your parents do not love you."

Oh, and the icing on the cake: his mom was carrying a bag of leftovers from The Cheesecake Factory.

Where we did not eat lunch.

Because we ate lunch at Nordstrom.

Which is a pretty fine place to have lunch, people.

I saw Skittles sizing up the Lucky Kid Who Had a New Build-A-Bear and a Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake Sugar Buzz.

I did. I could see it.

And I decided to mess with her.

I said, "You see that boy with the Build-A-Bear box and the leftovers from The Cheesecake Factory?"

She pretended she hadn't noticed.

"He's an orphan," I said. "And that lady he's with works at the orphanage and brought him to the mall today on an outing. He got a Build-A-Bear and lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, but now he has to go back to the orphanage!"

She was unconvinced.

We passed two other kids, siblings, holding their Build-A-Bear boxes while they waited in line at Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels.

I'm not making that up. That really is the name of the pretzel pusher.

From Garlic to Glazin Raisin and plump twists to stix, nobody does piping hot soft pretzels like Auntie Anne’s!

That's a quote from their website.

I point out the siblings, and I say, "See? They're from the orphanage, too! It's Orphanage Outing Day!"

She remained skeptical.

In fact, she probably went right home and put pins in that little voodoo doll of me she keeps under her bed.

Because I got my period on Day 18.

That's what I got for telling her that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pussy Galore (with Apologies to Ian Fleming)

One does not laugh at another's tribulations.

Cat pee, outside the confines of the cat box, is never funny. Within the confines of the litter box it isn't what I would call a laugh riot either.

So there is nothing funny about The Spouse discovering that the reason the cat box was so manageable, nay, so pristine, lo these past few weeks, is because Cat-O, still suffering from a Feline UTI, has been using the girls' room as his Executive Restroom.

I take responsibility for the fact that I misunderstood the vet's instructions regarding his drug dosage. She did not write anything down, but told me, my hand to God, to give him one pill, every 12 hours for five days. I did think it was odd she gave me twice the pills necessary.

I just thought she was assuming if he has trouble now, he's likely to have it again, and having a spare Rx in the house would save me having to make a phone call.

The Spouse came home late one evening this week to find the apartment smelled like the Paris Metro.

Unable to locate the exact source, but certain it came from the girls' bedroom, he attempted to prevent cats from re-entering until he could, well-rested and in the light of day, properly evaluate and deal with the situation.

This is difficult in a house with no door knob hardware. Trust me. You cannot latch any doors. So he tied this door closed.

He was awakened in the middle of the night by a regular THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

It was Cat-O, shoulder slamming the girls' bedroom door, COPS-style.

Bad boys, bad boys . . . what cha gonna do?

In desperation, The Spouse moved a large box of Christmas ornaments in front of the door in an attempt to block the space required to get a running start on a shoulder slam. Only to find Cat-O, an hour later, on top of the box, trying to undo the string that tied the door shut.


Okay, if you know The Spouse, the image might be a little funny.

But I would not wish the experience on my worst enemy, let alone My Beloved Spouse.

He's Good People.

My dad on hearing the story said, "That is not a cat. That is THE DEVIL."

The vet came back today, realized the Rx misunderstanding, and administered two injections and a bag of Very Special Cat Fud. STAT!

He is to eat only this, and only at prescribed times.

The cat, that is. Not The Spouse.

"I've seen worse," the vet told The Spouse. She is a pro at counseling Expat Spouses Who Languish in Moscow with the Family Pets While Their Families Frolic in Their Ancestral Villages.

The Spouse, having spent his weekend scrubbing up dried cat poos and endeavoring to be The First Man in History to Successfully Eradicate the Smell of Cat Pee, probably retired to the bottom of a vodka bottle.

I owe him big.

(Note to self: remember to initiate sex when he gets to Ancestral Village; he deserves it.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are You Ready, Kids?

Yesterday it was smells.

Today, I wax lyric about sounds.

My brother and I were discussing how, even here in idyllic Ancestral Village, one can hear, ever so slightly, in the distance, the whooshing of I-70. But it is so subtle and far away, that it's a very soothing sound.

Unlike Moscow's Garden Ring which is only a tinch quieter than the runway at O'Hare. I try to tell myself it sounds like the ocean, but I'm lying and I know it.

Here at the Summer Dacha we continue to be entertained by the Hawk Family. Last night there was a great commotion on the front lawn. We all ran to the door to see if Young Hawk had got himself a squirrel, but it seemed it was just Young Hawk strolling around on the grass. Still. It was pretty cool. L-Ro says they are "sharp-shinned hawks."

Less pleasant is the sparrows who sit outside my open bedroom window at the ass-crack of dawn going chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip until I want to put a gun in my mouth. This is not the charming chip-chip of the State Bird.

And the neighbor. This is the Odd Guy who lives just south of the dacha, not Troy-the-Neighbor (who, in a heart-breaking act of neighbor-ly betrayal, has purchased a house . . . wait for it . . . a few streets north). Yes, today is a workday, but who in their right mind fires up their lawn mower at 7:23 in the morning? Given that it is 21C, it's not like he's trying to avoid the heat of the day. It has been suggested that I invest in a super-soaker.

Final thoughts on lovely summer sounds: the roar of the crowd. America's Pastime. I had a Teachable Moment last night trying to explain baseball to my kids. Have you ever tried explaining baseball to, say, a foreigner who has never watched or played the game? Not so easy. I especially like trying to explain a "no hitter" or the idea that when baseball is being played at an exceptionally high level, it is really exciting when it appears absolutely nothing is happening.

Not sound-related, but worth noting: the New-2-U shop at Main and Montrose has just put up a sign announcing the Summer Clearance Sale. I think the proper name for the place is Judy's. It is all very upscale and fun stuff, and even when she's not having a sale, prices are extremely reasonable. Last summer I scored a nice Michael Kors blouse for something like $6. Last week I bought a Kate Spade purse for $10. Maybe it's a fake Kate Spade, but $10 is what purses should cost. If you're in the area, go check it out. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

In closing, as the theme song for SpongeBob wafts through the dacha, I solicit your opinions. Is it wrong to use my Ped Egg as a zester?

"Aye, aye, Captain!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beeting Around the Bush

What's new in the Ancestral Village, you ask?

Baboo started her week-long fencing workshop yesterday. The bad news: it's her and three twerpy little boys (honestly, they are all 7 years old). The good news: the instructor is one Anatolii Verulskii, former National Coach of Kyrgizstan. When I realized he is Russian and that his English is about as good as my Russian, I said to him in Russian, "I speak Russian, only a little bit."

Well. That just opened the floodgates, and he chattered at me and Baboo in non-stop, rapid-fire Russian until I made my escape. Of course, he thinks she's the Cat's Meow.

The class is every day this week from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. Someone was quite tuckered out after and morphed into Crank Monster last night. In fact, she was so unpleasant, she was banished to the bathroom for Hydrotherapy, but instead of embracing the soothing quality of the bath, she sat there and looked out the window, sulking until I pushed her to "TAKE A SHOWER, PLEASE." Then she slammed the bathroom door. Thrice.

Skittles and Cousin were advised to give her a wide berth. We'll see how she fares today.

I got up bright and early today and scampered over to my Pilates class. I sat there for a few minutes watching the two fellows in the class before mine until I realized there is no 8:00 a.m. Pilates on Tuesdays.


It is nice walking so early. It's cool and crisp and everyone is out walking nice dogs.

I made up for my mistake by going for a mid-day bike ride (just got back, in fact).

I was expecting no wildlife since it's, well, MID DAY. But I saw a lovely doe eating tender leaves and grass RIGHT on the path. And a little farther along I met Mama Doe and Spotted Fawn. Not like yesterday's Big Boys with Antler Racks. But still.

Oh, and while I am on the subject, I cannot get over how lovely Ohio smells. Not just along the bike path--although that is really good with the hot, dry meadow grass smells and the wet, leafy woodsy smells--but my own front yard smells great. It's quintessential Summer in Ohio smells.

In other news, if last summer was The Summer of the Ped Egg (a truly wonderful thing), this summer my SIL turned me on to this fabulous gadget. I do not own stock in either products, and no one has paid me to mention them. I'm just sharin'. Because here at The Beet, we're




Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Case You Are Interested

This link will take you to my bike route. 

I hop on the red path just south of Livingston Avenue and go until the purple Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail ends right before it crosses Route 33.

Then I turn around and go back.

It's 22 miles, and today it took me just under 2 hours.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Win! I Win!

[Puffing out chest]

Take a look over here. Scroll down until you find "WINNING STORY."

Their excellent taste in writing not withstanding, it's a useful website for expat women. They's good people.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


First, three cheers for the miracle of Facebook. 

I was playing around on it last night, just stalking people and minding my own business, when I got a message from a voice from my past. 

Lovely Ivan from Puerto Rico was a student in my English class when I was a grad student at Ohio University. He was funny and talented and beautiful then, and he still is now. Just 20 years older.

But I am not.

We had a great time catching up.

Since I am in the throes of Middle Age Crazy, I not only set my alarm for 6:30 this morning, but I GOT UP so I could get my bike ride in before L-Ro (my father) goes for his morning fitness walk.

I love, love, love the bike path here. Round trip the whole path runs about 20 miles. But since I have not had my butt on a bike since last August, and I am now in the Coughing-Up-Lung phase of a cold, I did the short loop. Which is about 12 miles. And I did not try to break any land speed records today.

The route goes through all that is best about My Part of Ohio. 

There are creeks, complete with blue herons. I saw the heron today. He sends his regards.

There are woodsy areas that smell damp and lush. I always think, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep . . ." when I ride through there. Lots of bird song. Little creatures crashing through the underbrush. Cotton tail bunnies that just sit and look at you as you go by.

What were corn fields last year are soy bean fields this year. 

The best part about the bike is how quiet it is. So you can sneak up on deer without startling them off.

I saw a mama and two teenage fawns. Then a big fat doe. Then two young deer with antlers. 


Sorry, but that is my visceral, hill-billy ancestry response to fat, young deer. Thems good eatin'. 

Fish gotta swim . . . bird gotta fly . . . Expatresse gotta eat meat . . .

Let's all join hands and sing a chorus of The Circle of Life, shall we?

Seriously, however, I saw Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom on the corner at the house where the Russians live (yeah . . . there are real Russians in my neighborhood). Their yard has a chain-link fence. Outside the chain-link fence, on the side of the house, sat Mr. Rabbit. He was a big rabbit. Maybe even hare material. Is there a Peterson's Guide to Wildlife

Anyhow, I stop my bike in the middle of Charles Street to observe Mr. B. Rabbit blithely nibbling away at the tender grasses that are damp with the dew and last night's gentle rain.

And sitting there on the fence, not three feet above Mr. B. Rabbit . . . is Hawk Dude. La-la-la-la-la.

I coughed. 

Hawk Dude rolled his eyes, gave me the finger, and flew up on some nearby telephone wires.

"Um, you might want to move it along," I said to Mr. B. Rabbit. 

Out loud. 


I did.

He ambled, lippity-lippity, under the hedge. Oblivious to the fact he just missed out on being someone's Breakfast Buffet.

I'll be he makes it onto the lunch menu.


Ahhh! Summer in Ohio.

Skittles, recovering from the shock of learning what puberty really entails, is outside playing with some new-found friends. Nothing like the joyful noises of kids on a grassy lawn in the summer at dusk. At least until someone looses an eye.

There are cardinals chip-chip-ing in the backyard. And the sound of the dryer. I washed some towels this afternoon, and forgetting that a load does not take eight hours, left them to sit. Ooops. They passed the sniff test when I finally put them into the dryer, so hopefully crisis averted.

I took the girls to Rubino's, a local pizza place that has been an institution in the neighborhood since 1954. Baboo was underwhelmed since they do not offer ham as a topping.

"What kind of pizza place doesn't have ham?" she asked.

"But they have this incredible thin crust," I countered. "It's unusual . . . like matzo!"

"I like thick crust," she said.

Then, the non-carbonated beverage options were limited to Hawaiian Punch. She had never tasted Hawaiian Punch.

"It tastes weird," she told us.

Skittles and I both tasted it. It tasted like Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch to me. 

"It's okay," Skittles said.

Baboo continued to be cranky and pubescent. 

Fine. I spent many happy hours being cranky and pubescent in Rubino's in the mid-1970s. Next time she can just stay home.

"I'll go next door to Pizza Plus," she offered. 


So when we got home, I put some air in my bike tires and went for a little ride. Only five miles since it was, once again, dusk. And I'm getting over a cold.

But it felt so goooooood. 

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to try my regular 20 mile route. 

Even if it kills me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just Wait Until I Explain Cramps and Mood Swings

Well, first, something good.

Determined NOT to be the children's maid this summer, I instituted CHORES. 

This house has one full bathroom upstairs and a half bath (toilet and sink) downstairs. They have to each clean a bathroom before they can play on the Internet, watch teevee, or go outside. We will rotate the responsibilities after Skittles works off her debt from the Great Chocolate Caper. Until then, Skittles has the upstairs bathroom.

They are doing it right now. 

Now, something bad.

Continuing in the Let's Buy You a Bra theme, I decided it was time to make sure Skittles had all her Facts of Life in order. 

"Do you understand this whole menstruation thing?" I asked her yesterday morning when we found ourselves alone.

Turns out, she did not. Horrors. I am remiss.

So I found one of my many million Birthin' Babies Books and showed her some of those cutaway pictures of female anatomy. 

I explained how the uterus prepares every month for the egg, which travels down the Fallopian tubes. If the egg meets sperm, it becomes fertilized and plants itself in the uterus' prepared lining. If not, then the uterus sheds that lining. This is what we call a "menstrual period" I told her.

She burst into tears.

"For how long?" she sobbed.

Me: "Oh, maybe five to seven days each month."

Her: "EVERY month?"

Me: "Well, yeah. Until you get to be about my age. Then it stops."

Cue Lucille Ball-style wailing. 

A little while later she is talking on the phone with her father, who is calling from Moscow. I overhear her side of the conversation.

He must have asked "How are you?"

Her: "Mama told me something BAD . . ."

He must have asked her what that was.

Her, crying again: "The uterus sheds its prepared lining!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yeah, Yeah, It's All Been Great

You really don't want to hear all the boring details of my 4th of July weekend. I'll just give you the highlights:

Family (Minus Any Drama)
BBQ (Pork Shoulder and Hamburgers/Hotdogs)
Swimming Pool
Ginormous Neighborhood Party Complete with Sparklers and Adults Blowing Things Up in the Driveway
Ice Cream
Weather Not Hot Enough for AC
Lots and Lots of Alcohol
Mosquito Bites and Banged Up Knees

Now that I type the list, it sounds like I was hanging out at the Kennedy compound, doesn't it?

Actually, while the weekend was momentous in its sheer blissfulness, today was a Very Important Milestone. The girls and their cousins and I were in Target. We were buying kid underwear and socks (among other things). There is chaos all around. In the middle of the chaos, Skittles leans into me and says, discreetly, "Can I ask you something?"

She has to repeat this several times before I realize she's talking to me.

"Sure, sweetie. Ask away."

"Can I have something like a bra?"

BLESS HER HEART! She was so brave to pipe up. I actually was thinking of broaching the subject with her since her uni-boob comment. She's not even 9, but it was not an inappropriate request.

We found her some little half-camisole sort of items with silly monkeys. Just the right mix of First Intimate Apparel Purchase and Funky-Cool Kid Stuff. 

I think she's sleeping in it. I know she put it on as soon as we got home.

It is cliche, I know, but all I can think is, "My little girl . . ."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

So I'm doing one of my Gazillion runs between my house and my brother's house (across the street from mine and about five doors down). Troy-the-Neighbor spots me and hollers, 

"I feel just like Sarah Palin! I can see Russians from MY HOUSE!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Summer Dacha

The flight from Moscow was uneventful and as pleasant as a ten-hour trip in Cattle Class can be. The only fly in the ointment was a four-hour delay getting out of Dulles due to a combination of summer thunderstorms and a sick fellow traveller who had to be taken off the plane.

I don't know the details on the passenger, except to say

1. He looked pale and sweaty when he walked off the plane under his own steam, and
2. When Ground Crew Dude was talking to the Flight Attendant about whether the guy's oxygen mask needed to be replaced, GCD said, "Did he puke in it?" and FA replied, "No . . . just sweated a lot." 

But we made it. And so did our bags.

I left a certain amount of stuff for myself here, so it has been a pleasant surprise discovering various items of clothing I forgot I owned.

Today, I went to a Pilates class this morning with Cool SIL. I was a little disappointed at first when I saw it was only 30 minutes. But now I can tell you that 30 minutes was plenty, thank you very much. I'm going to try to do this three times a week.

Got home in time to meet the Roof Guy, who was here to explain to me all about what may be causing the leak in the ceiling of the Big Bedroom. Seems the short answer is "I need a cricket," which is a bit of construction to deflect rainwater from the side of the chimney. Unfortunately, Roof Dude doesn't do this sort of work, but he promised to try to find someone he could refer.

Oh, and according to him, the fireplace is in working order. "I would use it," he said.

That's very good news.

Now the Akron branch of the Tribe is due this afternoon. So I'm off to provision now. More later, I suppose.