Monday, May 31, 2010

Girls' Day Out--in the Forest

Dave and Kent went to Kyiv to attend the funeral of Ramon's sister. Lena and I did some school, some housework and then decided to have some mother/daughter time. We walked around a mile to get there, watching a school girl leave us in dust, as speed counts.
The forest here is normally planted, hence the straight rows and aisle-effect.

When we got there, we started a fire and had a very traditional Ukrainian picnic: Cucumbers, baked potatoes in the fire and shishkabobs.

A House Full

After service, we let the youth spread out and enjoy activities with others. Sunday night we had a house full. Outside was a crew playing volleyball. A friend passing by on the street heard the sound and came in to join us.
In another room two little girls played with dolls. Yes, there were two; one's gone for the minute.
In another place several were playing wii.

And in the room where we hold services several played on the piano. Although we have one young man learning the songs by ear, this girl was just enjoying making noise and posing.

Altogether, it was a pretty active bunch for awhile. Dave took the older people on home.

Kindergarten Graduation

Our little neighbor girl graduated from kindergarten this year. The day began when someone knocked at our gate and asked Allona to braid her hair in a crisscross fashion across the back of her head. It's nothing like an American kindergarten graduation as you can see. Here's our neighbor in the dress specially rented for the occasion.

The ceremony consisted of quite a few poems including one where three children told who they were going to be when they grew up. One was going to be a politician with political clout like there is in Washington, DC. There were many dances, a few songs and one game.
Here is the graduating class.

Step by Step

They're not really big items but they make a big difference in how easy everyday life is. I'm so grateful to God and to my family for helping make these changes.

Out goes the air mattress that we slept on in Ukraine for the last several months. Now our bed is fixed up again. The water mattress had sprung a leak a few months before we went to the US, the last term.
Up goes the clothesline. The old one was fastened on one end to a dead tree. The tree finally fell down, again not too long before we left last time. Clotheslines hold more and the clothes dry a lot more quickly than inside drying racks. I'm so glad they're up.

Our living room furniture was moved from a spacious room to a cosy one.

The air hockey table and wii were put in the old spacious one. But the walls had nothing left after I took breakable stuff down. So Dave helped me make some new decorations. These round oriental-looking fans.

And this modern art, not totally my taste but I think it fits the room's purpose.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bunch of Pictures

A couple of days after Dave returned we went adventuring down Ukrainian roads to find the place where youth camp was held last year while we were gone. We wound around awhile so it took time to get there but we enjoyed the place when we arrived. Here are some pics taken at that spot.

I don't normally take black and white but these trees seemed ideal for it, so.

Here is Vova's new pup.

Allona did this and took a picture. It goes well with the next one.

Dave is squinting into the sun.

Some of the flowers remind me of the story of Heidi. Literally masses of wild field flowers in about foot high grass.


When the welders replaced and fixed old pipes, they knocked holes into our walls about anywhere the pipe went through. This was the biggest one. A whole brick plus some stones fit into it. Since I was impatient to have my house looking like a place to live again, I asked them how to mix cement and went to it. I should have started in less visible places and proceeded to more visible because by the time I finished I almost had the knack of how to patch the walls!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tea, Anyone

I wanted to invite an acquaintance for tea in an effort to form a friendship. The lady operates in social/political realm with which I'm totally unfamiliar. But she had offered friendship earlier and I wanted to pursue the offer.

With the house all torn up with the stone falling out of the walls and dust from metal pipes being cut and more piles of clutter and dirt being made faster than I could clean it up, I hesitated to ask. But figured if I didn't invite right away, I'd put it off forever.

So after the welders left, we scurried to bring the kitchen to a semblance of order so that we could offer this "tea." I made cake and cookies, added some fruit to go along with them. Our guest brought more cookies and some sodas. This is what our table looked like after our guest and her granddaughter left.

Po-o-or Morris

Morris is Katrina's dog who has to be shut up when visitors are around. He gnawed his way through the garage door.

Signs of Spring

I stuck these pretty flowers that grow in marshy places in the logs of the homemade pier, while I watched Vova fish.

This young man is my favorite fisherman nowadays.
Our onion sets, just before planting
The fruit trees bloom one after another. I love their beauty and the sound of the bees making a constant hum above the blossoms.


Yes, I was expecting it--the news that my mother-in-law had passed away. But the day I received the news it was as if someone had knocked me down, knowing that the woman who had raised my husband to be the man that he is, was gone.
Mom had a way of looking at the best in almost any situation and of finding a way to get things done. I love the story Dave tells of him and his mom demolishing a wall, leaving only the electrical wires to meet his dad when his dad got home from work.
Mom had a way of smiling her way through happy and tough situations.
Mom was behind her children all the way. I'll miss her so very much. As she would say, "I have good memories."
And though we'd like to have been able to keep her selfishly near a bit longer, we recognize that there's a time to let go. So as Bethany put it so aptly in her tribute, we'll just keep her in our hearts forever.

Heat, Coming Right UP

Last Tuesday or so, we contacted some welders just around the corner, to see if they could come put our pipes in order and connect our new radiators to them so that we would have a heating system again. Sergai, Vova and Kolya came to help us out. On Friday they measured out what was needed.
Monday began the serious work of cutting out bad pipe and piecing the good that was left with new. . . with one major interruption, the man of the house who knows something about these things had to leave.
But the welders went to work with a will, anyway and moved quickly from morning to evening. A week later, Monday evening, the system was filled with water and checked. The fellows walked past every weld and every radiator looking for leaks. In two places radiator sections had to be tightened closer together.
Notice the hairy stuff? It's part of any plumbing over here. This is horse hair that's wound around the threads of each fitting. In the past, plumbers used paint on top of this hair. Nowadays the fellows use teflon tape on top of the hair to make sure that each fitting has a good seal.
And although it is now in the 60's inside (without heating) and out, we're very glad to have a heating system working again.