Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ciao For Now..

There are a few reasons for my recent absence in the blogosphere. Not that anyone noticed. But for the few of you that like to read my occasional ramblings, I feel obliged to explain that:

1) My laptop (or school's laptop) has crashed with all of my school work which I did not save. Very stupid of me I know.

2) Because of 1)I now lack the convenience of blogging from my deck or the living room or the kitchen or the playroom or the front yard.

3) Also because of 1) I need to make up the hours of work I lost. The more I think about it the more I put it off and want to blog instead.

4) I am behind in my current school work as well and must put all of the little time I get to myself into catching up with it or fail the class and loose about $1K or so. Thinking about this potential loss makes me want to kick my self in the bottom and get to work now.

But I'll be baaaaaaack to amuse you, my few faithfuls with my very impressive writing. In the mean time, please wish that my youngest child falls in love with sleep because I am very ready for him to!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Times Have Changed

My husband and I can't help but notice the repetitive content of dinner conversations we've been having when we have our friends over. To put hours of conversations in few words they basically go like that:

-Economy bad. Very bad.

-Work little. Very little.

-Money little. Very little.

-Been stupid. Very stupid.

-My house=bank's house

-Smart now. Very smart.

This topic is truly unique to our circles. During years prior to this crises, financials were never discussed. How much people made was never discussed. What was often discussed were shallow subjects such as places we traveled too, things we bought, houses we built and sold. Nobody we are good friends with is truly wealthy. Most of our friends work in industries that are not doing well right now. We were all fools and thought we had money and stable incomes. It turned out what we had was lots of credit and jobs that once flourished but were diminished when the market got saturated with the service and product we provided.

Our family is doing OK thanks to God's loving mercy and Peter's diversification of skills in his industry. But barely. We never know what future months will bring, but have faith in the Lord that he will provide. We have learned our lesson and are now smarter, wiser because of it. We have changed our priorities and now place little value on material things. We are learning to use what we have and have learned to despise debt.

I heard on the radio today that in the near future, about 12% of American homeowners will loose their homes. Their American dream. This statistic though sad, hints that our little circle of friends and many of our acquaintances were not the only ones who have made bad choices or were victimized by the invisible hand of bad economy.

One thing is clear. Times have definitely changed. Not only for worse and for the better as well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wrong Timing

So I have joined all others who appear to have no life and enrolled my self in a summer class. The difference between them and I is that I actually do have a life and they must not. Most of the people in my class are either single or have kids who have grown up.
Good timing.

I am yet to meet a mom of three small children in a graduate level summer course.
Wrong timing.

I imagine them laying on the couch or sitting on their porch on a cool summer morning peacefully reading the assigned readings and in the evening, without interruption (besides occasional snack and a lemonade sip) writing their essays. I KNOW they did not attempt to read:

1) in a hospital waiting area before an appointment
2) in a park while children played, tattletaled, asked for snacks and water, sat on my lap
3) while babysitting a niece in addition to having own three kids at home
4) At a lake
5) in the car wash

I am pretty sure the instructor have thought about the wonderful season of summer and how everyone (in education world, that is) just hangs out, sleeps til noon and has little plans besides relaxing and recharging for the next school year. That is why she made sure the next four weeks will not be a waste of life, but a productive time filled with reading and writing about very exciting subjects of... testing and assessing.

Having had two classes already, I can already tell that the class and my performance in it is going to rock. This is evident by my very thorough studies (see bulleted list) and by the content of the class. Best of all, it is going to take up a whole month out of the two months I have off. More so, the class has began at the time when my husbands projects are winding down and he is ready to save the summer for the family and take us camping.
Wrong timing.

Arguing with him that studying flaws and benefits of standardized testing takes precedent over sleeping in a tent, waking up to birds chirp, swimming in the lake and staring at the fire late at night is as productive as watching fingernails grow.

So, I am being forced to be a bad student and skip a class and join my family for a camping trip.
Because nobody else but me cares about the whole bad timing thing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some Info About Born In The USSR 21 Up

As of lately, I have noticed record number of hits on this site. This is because a link to my site was posted in a forum on a certain website where people were searching for this film. There were a lot of questions asked on that forum. I think I know answers to some of them. I know them because of what I heard from the director himself when I went to see the premiere or from the Lewis and Clark Instructor who is probably the biggest fan of this film and who haunted down Sergei Miroshnichenko in Saint Petersburg to give him the invite to come over and show the film in Portland.

1) Miroshnichenko mentioned that there is no hidden agenda in this film. It is only about the lives of the people. You can find more info about the film here. You can watch the short version (about 1.5 hours) here.
2) Someone asked about Asya, the girl who wanted to leave Russia in 7UP version and whose reasoning seemed a bit too mature for a 7 year old. I thought she was brilliant. He said she refused to be filmed in the 21 UP version because she found out that the shorter, English version will not include all the kids. She of coarse, was chosen for it, but thought it was unfair that others didn't get in. So on that basis she refused to be filmed. I really hope they get in touch with her for the 28UP version.
3) The instructor at Lewis and Clark who taught Russian classes no longer teaches there. I saw her at a Russian event a few months ago. She has a 7UP and 14UP she rents out to people. She also has the full version of 21UP. If interested, send me a note and I'll see if I can find her info.
4) The reason it took a few years for the film to reach the public in DVD form has to do with licensing agreement they had with the British company who sponsors or is in charge of this film, I believe.

I know that you can now buy the Russian version, but don't have any experience buying from the sites that sell them so I cannot recommend them. Some sites allow you to download the full version of the film for free. Piracy, anyone?

That's all, folks!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


When I pulled onto the Portland Children Museum's parking lot today, I couldn't help but notice that one of my three children was shoeless. My middle child has developed a habit of walking out of the house shoeless and today, I forgot to take his shoes for him. After making a thirty five minute drive to the place, I was not going to turn around back home. So I placed him in his brother's $4 umbrella stroller (garage sale prices rock, y'all) and off we went in. I guess I was hoping that the museum has previously welcomed parents like myself and perhaps either sold or offered to borrow at least the socks. The lady at the counter probably had manners because she did not laugh or sound surprised at my request, she told me that though they did not have any feet coverings to offer me, they did sell t-shirts! No, thank you. T-shirts we have not left home without. Yet.

As my child was roaming the place barefoot, I couldn't help but think of all the germs the floors at public places such as these have. Where did the people who just walked by come from? A farm, a doggy park, a bathroom? I cringed at these thoughts. So, I approached another employee and begged her to dig around to see if they perhaps do have a spare pair of shoes somewhere.

She came back a few minutes later with a lime green pair of Crocs. My excitement diminished quickly as I saw that they were women's size 8.

"I found these at our dress up place. It is all I have, take it or leave it", she said. "They are allowed to be here without socks, but if you insist they have shoes on, these are your best bet."

Thankfully, my sweet niece who is spending this week with us offered to give up her shoes in exchange for those and gave hers to my daughter who gave her pink and white polka dot flip flops to my son.

As I was watching them play, giggle and run from one exhibit to another with their shoes catching up to them, I knew that the inconvenience was all mine. Children don't spend their time speculating "What will people say" question. They just do whatever is comfortable, engaging, curious. They take risks, learn, and grow. I wish adults had the same mindset. How many times do we choose not to do something only because we worry about our image or reputation or consequences. Though it is wise to discriminate and filter our urges, doing things just to please other people is a frivolous act. People will always find reasons to talk, judge and put down even if you left the house looking and feeling like a superstar.

I think that over the years, I have become better at worrying less about people's opinions and focusing more on what God thinks of me. I am ashamed to admit of the things I used to say and do just to prevent bad opinions or gossips. What a waste of time. But that's another topic for another day.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Men Have It Harder

As I am sitting in an air-conditioned house watching full bellied children play, I came to a conclusion that is far overdue.

Men have it harder.

This contradicts the feminist world view which coronates all women as queens and princesses who must demand and facilitate equality in the home. At the moment, I am thinking of my husband who is working under the glaring sun in the 94 degree weather building a deck for a customer while all of his buddies are either camping or picnicking. But really, unless your husband is a total jerk, no matter what he does for a living or whether or not you work as well, he has it harder than you. In most families a husband is the one who:

1) ultimately carries the financial burden of the family
2) is responsible for servicing or fixing cars
3) gets to come home to do yard work (though more often in the summers than winters)
4) if something goes wrong at his work or if he fails at something, rarely shows emotion in the form of tears
5 is working while hugs, kisses, hilarious conversations, and teachable moments take place
6) is the spiritual leader in Christian homes
7) carries the burden of having the final word in difficult decisions
8) comes home from work to overstimulated and tired kids who cling to his legs between screaming marathons
9) gets to listen to his wife whine, complain, and nag about how hard her life is

Its really easy to forget these things after you have spent entire day cleaning, cooking, feeding, doing laundry, playing, breaking up fights and calming tantrums. Granted, moms get their share of work, but God created us with abilities to multitask, nurture, cry and make our houses into the oasis husbands need to want to come to.

Its time we stop b******g about equality and be grateful for and productive with our talents.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Well Said

I've been following her blog for a few months now. I was hooked from the very first visit. She is an incredible photographer, very crafty and a mother of....SEVEN little blessings. I don't know if I have ever seen a more beautiful family of many. When you look at the pictures she posts, her kids look picture perfect and she looks like she just came out from a spa retreat. When you read her posts, you find out differently. She writes about daily struggles and blessings. Her most recent post is my favorite yet. My favorite part is toward the end of the post. Here is a quote from it:

"This is just a season - this time when they are young. This season in motherhood. It's okay to lay things aside. It's okay that hobbies are having to go on the back burner. It's okay that I don't get a shower everyday and can't always look like I'd like. It's okay that my washer has nails stuck in it. Or that the floor under the dining room table can't be kept clean more than an hour."

Here is the link to whole thing. Enjoy.