Friday, October 29, 2010

Its that time of the year...

Fall is by far my favorite season of the year.  I especially like early Fall here in Oregon when leaves are turning colors and the weather is warm but crisp and one craves taking extended walks followed by slow sips of good coffee. Sometimes we get lucky and have many days like this.   The day we took these pictures was a nice break from the pouring rain that we had for a few days straight earlier in the week. 

I was so glad we were able to fit in this photo session with my wonderful sister, between dental appointments and parent-teacher conferences even if the place turned out to be not very exotic: local park we go to often!  But these pictures turned out to be great.  Thank you, Julie!  

I love the colors in both of these pictures...  
 My little boy making sure my sister did not leave her camera case behind. 

Too bad my husband was working that evening... His absence is especially evident in this picture where an empty seat prevents it from being a perfect family photo.  Maybe we can Photoshop him in?  What do ya think, Julie?  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Everything

Maybe its the way he holds the guitar strings, or maybe its the position of his little foot or the expression on his face that shows his love for the guitars.  Or maybe its him wearing his underwear exposing his little toddler legs or the fact that no one posed him for this picture.  Or maybe its everything about this picture that I love.

Note to self: Must. Frame.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When I am Not Very Crazy About Russian

Before I write this post, I want to set the record straight:  I love being and speaking Russian, am proud to have been born in Russia and love many things that have their roots in Russia.  My blog title even embeds the word Russian. OK.   But lately, I found myself being irritated more than once when I am put in Russian-speaking category by various public organizations.  Since my daughter started school, school correspondence has been coming in Russian.  I don't even understand half of those words.  Especially those terms that have been "Russianized" as they do not exist in the Russian language.  The school's automatic phone calls about certain events that go on in the district also come in Russian.  This would have not been so bad if I didn't use to work with the lady who is making these phone calls and of whom I am not very fond of.   But that's more personal.  And most recent thing is me being matched up with a Russian speaking case worker who is currently working on my kids' insurance and who acts like the she herself is financing it.    I am sure there are about 10 thousand people who could utilize her bilingualism, I am not one of them.  I don't want to come on as proud, but hear me out state workers:  I get the law that says information you send out has to be accessible to its readers, but please don't try so hard.  Just because my name is very Russian and my first language is Russian does not mean that I need your help understanding material that is written at 5th grade level! 

The truth is, I have a complicated relationship with the Russian language.  My fluency of it measures that of a 6th grader.  I love using it and strongly believe in bringing up my children bilingual.  Hearing someone educated manipulate Russian language is like music to my ears.  However, I can not hold sophisticated conversations nor articulate my point during argumentative discussions in Russian.  Thus, if I cannot use English with that person to make my point; I struggle to be convincing. 

Anyhow, I might just be a snob or I don't know.  My few faithful readers, what do you think? 
P.S. Anonymous, I welcome your honest replies :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One of Our Favorite

A similar sign as one above greeted us once again last weekend.  I don't think I have ever blogged about this place even though every single outing here could have been written about.  This trip of ours was the best out of the many we took here.  Here is a short story of this little place and how we spent our time there.

Around Government Camp there are of acres and acres of wilderness.  One of the Fed projects to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression was to build a beautiful lodge, called the Timberline Lodge.  Here is how it looks in the winter:

Well,  this is not exactly the lodge we stay in, but we visit it often during winter month to sip their house $5 (gulp) cocoa here:

Our place is a little cabin built for the workers (and maybe by the workers them selves) who worked on the beautiful lodge above.  The owners of that cabin are one of my husband's good clients who trust him to keep the keys from this lodge.  These people are beyond nice.  Once in a while they email us and ask us if we are thinking of heading up there anytime soon.   Its a cute little place with a kitchen, dining area, cozy living room, two bedrooms and a loft.

photo taken by one of my kids :)

 Besides having everything one would ever need for their stay in this lodge, it is also located right on the river.  

My favorite part is that there is no reception there.  So Internet and cell phone use is off limit.  There is no cable of coarse either though a collection of good movies exist.

It feels different and very good not to be plugged in.  Though our family has long ago turned off the TV, my husbands cell phone rings all the time and I am often found by the computer.  The days without all of that seemed long, but enriched with lots of conversation (my sister and her husband joined us for our stay and my parents came for a few hours), game playing, mushroom picking, wood chopping, going on walks, magazine reading, drawing pictures of things we see there, delicious, homemade goodies eating and plain old chillin'!

Every time we come out here, I cannot believe that we get to enjoy this without paying a dime.  Well, almost.  My husband is the handyman for this place.  If something needs done, he does it.  It is great for us because this work does not take a long time and its great for them not to have anyone come out this far to fix little things.  This has worked well for us.   I look forward to coming here again sometime in the future.  In the winter, we like to go sledding with the kids and come back to the lodge to warm up by the fire . In the summer time, we sit by the river a lot and have gone on hikes near by.  Autumn, I think it my most favorite because of how beautiful it is there with the leaves changing colors and mushroom picking and eating! Look at the size of the thing! 

Here is another one of its kind we found on the side of the road. 

This seems to be a kind of borlet mushroom, but I wasn't sure enough to try to eat it!
Speaking of eating, my baby girl learned how to make scrambled eggs.  I found her feeding the family in the morning as I was dragging my sleepy self from the bed. 

All in all, we feel truly blessed to be able to enjoy this place, it is one of our favorite places to be.   I think about this every time I get out from our stuffy, city filled air car and breath in the fresh air that is there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Needs to Happen

As of lately, I find myself daydreaming about what life will be like when I am all done with school.  I first entered college in 1999 when I graduated high school.  I began wanting to become an accountant.  I loved math and thought a job in a cubicle where I would hump over a pile of paperwork doing computations of sort will suit me just fine.  After taking a few business and accounting classes I realized that this job is so not for me.   For the first time in a long time I felt stupid!  Though I passed the classes with good grades,  the elderly accounting tutor became my best friend for those six months.  I found the tasks of accountant incredibly tedious with no room for error.  Being an second language learner  I was not used to the idea of "no errors allowed". 

As I was taking those classes, I was also working at the high school I graduated from.  I was tutoring ESL students and found that I loved helping them and seeing how they learned from me.   As I kid, I always wanted to be a teacher.  But the prospects of going to school for YEARS only to become jobless did not appeal to me.  People, just in case you don't know this: getting a teaching job is quite difficult especially these days when districts are cutting teaching jobs everywhere.  As a student teacher in our district expressed last year finding a teaching job is like winning the lottery these days.

Anyway, because I was starting to hate accounting and love teaching, I decided to give it a shot. 
Fast forward to almost the end of 2010, I still love teaching. But,  I have been in school for 8 years (part time) not counting the 3 year break I took after I got my bachelors and a teaching degree!  I almost forgot what life was like when I was not in school.  Now that I have one more term left after I complete this one, it is time to start imagining the completion of this big task of mine.

What needs to happen when I am done is this: me paying more attention to the people I care about.  This means my husband, my kids, my husband's and my immediate and extended families.  This means reconnecting with my friends and remembering birthdays and cards (Vera, you're my inspiration for this one!).  This means paying more attention to the families in church who are in need.  I want to be there for my nieces' sport activities and remember to call and send gift packages to my family in Russia.  I want to host more dinner parties and be available to attend others'. 

All of these things I want to be able to do, God willing beginning next summer.  Too much time has been spent on bettering MYself and taking care of my needs.  It seems selfish.  A former student of mine once asked me whether I want to be remembered for my accomplishments or my character.  I answered, "My character" even though I was currently very busy working on my accomplishments.

What needs to happen is me living up to the answer I gave her and the silent promise I gave to myself.