November 29, 2007


I've been sick all week and working from home. Poor Melba. She gets so concerned. Whenever I'm sick she is always close at hand. I think she's feeling nostalgic for my maternity leave, when I was home all day. Except this is better, because there's no pesky baby to share my affections with.

November 26, 2007

just because

I know this picture is already on baby in a carseat but I had to post it again. How beautiful is that little girl!? I mean really!

garage art

Dima is hard at work mudding the drywall in the garage. I don't know if it's the long hours or the fumes but something enduced an inspired state during the process and he started seeing figures in the small spackle patches over the screws. (I guess not unlike Joni Mitchell's "Clouds.") He started sketching and these odd little characters were the result.

November 24, 2007

How It All Ends...

or, Applying Risk Management Theory to Global Climate Change.

You may have been forwarded one of this guy's (wonderingmind42) videos already. According to his profile on he's a high school science teacher. If you have not seen the video above you should watch it now.

Essentially, he's applied risk management theory to the global climate change debate. In this video he details a way to look at the issue that doesn't require you to choose a side (who's right or wrong, does it exist or doesn't it, etc.) but still makes it possible to decide with confidence what should be done about it. His arguments are undeniable.

If one video isn't enough for you he's got an entire “Expansion Pack” of videos supporting the original video, “How It All Ends.” For your convenience I've created an easy link list to the index of all his videos. Take some time and watch them (I'm still getting through all of them myself.). At the very least watch the "How It All Ends" video above, then pass it on.

The “How It All Ends” Expansion Pack



Nature of Science:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Risk Management:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:

Why There Is Still Debate:
Part 1:
Part 2:

The Manpollo Project:
Part 1:
Part 2:

Mechanics of GCC:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Scare Tactics:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:

The Solution:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

God’s Will:

Get What You Want:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

I Hope I’m Wrong:
Part 1:
Part 2:

No Holds Barred:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:

Your Mission:
Part 1:
Part 2:

November 23, 2007

Act your age, not your shoe size.

cash advance

Well, this is embarrassing.

Is this a comment on my vocabulary or my sense of humor? I have to wonder what's bringing my score down. For the record, I actually have a masters degree. And I can usually be counted on to use commas correctly. Though I don't guarantee 100 percent accuracy. That's what I rely on Write. Baker. Music Maker. for. Hmph. Maybe I should start using more of those vocab words that I got right on the Web site in my posts... Am I sounding defensive?

Whatever! I'm going to embrace this. With my rating and those of my blogging friends, we're showing a nice cross section. They shouldn't mind me putting their reading levels out there for the world to see. After all, they're kicking my butt.
Finally, in order to thoroughly confuse you, I leave you with the reading level from baby in a carseat, which consists of nothing but photos of our beautiful daughter in, yes, her carseat: Genius. Well, no wonder.

November 22, 2007

Happy Pumpkin Ice Cream Day

Forget the turkey. (Well, I can't really say that this year because Dima's sister made a succulent brined bird for our Thanksgiving feast. Delish!) But in order to focus in on the point of this post I say, "Forget the turkey! Eat pumpkin ice cream instead."

Here's the recipe. It's yet another modification on the strawberry ice cream recipe that came with my ice cream maker. I have yet to actually make strawberry ice cream.

Makes about 1 quart

1 1/2 cups of pumpkin pie filling
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
a dash of salt

Throw everything in the blender and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to freeze. Blend a few more seconds before pouring into the ice cream maker just to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Follow your ice cream maker's instructions for freezing.
I did make this today but we didn't get to freeze it as I forgot to put the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer in time. Actually, I thought it was already in there and found out it wasn't too late.

Not to let it go to waste though we ate it as a sauce on Dima's homemade apple pie. Quite nice. I think I could have eaten it as a cold dessert soup. I can't wait to try it as an ice cream eventually. I think next time I'll make with real ginger in it.
(FYI, you can use fresh ginger in recipes that call for dried, but use about half the amount called for.)

November 16, 2007

I've got a load

This is sort of a metro.texture™, which would normally be an image over on my other blog by the same name, but this a story with no image so it can't, by definition, go there. Although it relates to this image that I took on the Metro this morning. (Sardines). Anyway, I digress...

While I was in the maternity time warp I somehow forgot all about my favorite Metro train operator. Well, I had the pleasure of riding into work with her today. I have no idea what her name is but if you ride the Red Line, you know exactly who I'm talking about. If you board one of her trains in the morning you can look forward to a zany running commentary all the way into the city. You'll know you're on one of her trains when you hear a deep and soft female voice that sounds like it should be jockeying jazz on the radio say, "Please enter quickly and safely, quickly and safely, people."

Really what she's got is a special talent. A superpower if you will. With that voice and her strange storytelling ways, she can make the most hectic, crowded, backed-up of commutes (1) fly by, and (2) seem painless. On a chaotic commuting day, everyone within earshot will fall under her spell and forget how they normally conduct themselves on the Metro, which under stressful circumstances would be with hostility and attitude and might even involve pushing and shoving. Hypnotized by the lilt of this woman's voice people actually DO step away from Metro doors that are bursting at the seams when she asks them to. On any other train, with any other driver, you'd find those same people trying shove themselves into the smallest of remaining spaces. Spaces that are not meant to be occupied by human forms. At least not full-sized adult human forms. But when she asks, people listen. It's fascinating.

This morning the Red Line was especially backed up, slow and crowded. And instead of cross words and attitude the only utterances to be heard from this woman's passengers (and in some cases people on the platform AND on other trains) were giggles and chuckles at her peculiar chatter. The man sitting next to me had clearly never ridden with her, because he resisted cracking a smile until we were all the way to Metro Center. But even he could not withstand her powers. I finally saw him smile after I had laughed out loud for about the 10th time.

One quote from this morning as the full train was rolling into the already packed station: "Good morning, good morning, good morning. As you can see, I've got a load." She then proceeded to tell the people on the platform how to be courteous to the passengers that would exit and how they should "quickly and safely" enter the train. But best of all was "if you feel touching or wigglin' don't despair. We've got a load. It's tight in here." That, I think, may have been what finally broke my seatmate's composure.

I think I must tell her I missed her next time I ride with her. It's really a nice way to start your day. Laughing. It sets a standard for the rest of the day to come.

how many grains of rice in a cup?

[This post was followed up on with a correction. There are not 1,000 grains of rice in a cup, folks. The site I referred to below corrected itself and so did I. Check it out.]

Quick answer: approximately 1,000.

Why do I now know this, or want to know this?

I was turned on to a new site by a co-worker: Do you want to feed the hungry but you've only got a few free minutes? Or are you just bored? Well, here's a solution to both problems.

Essentially, is a way to feed hungry people in the guise of a nifty online vocabulary quiz. For every word you get (or guess) right, 10 grains of rice (paid for by advertisers on the site) are donated to the United Nations World Food Program. When I checked the totals today there had been 1,897,053,670 grains of rice donated. That's about 1,897,053 cups of rice. Not bad.

Check it out. You'll look up and wonder where the last 10 minutes have gone but in the meantime (depending on how good your vocabulary is) you've fed one person (or more) a meal of rice and maybe improved your vocabulary in the process.

November 15, 2007


It's really interfering with my bloggin'.

Well, work and all the house projects, and the fact that we were ALL sick earlier this week.

... really crampin' my bloggin' style.


November 12, 2007


I curse thee, parking lot shark.

For the amount of time it took you to wait for me to unlock my car, offload my purchases, return the shopping cart to the corral and then return to my car and pull out of the space, you could have found another spot AND walked into the store. But instead you waited for me to do all of this. In the meantime you got a little fatter and released unnecessary greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Park further away. Walk a little. It's good for you and the planet.

November 10, 2007

How to Green Your Baby

I've been trolling around They've got these great 10 quick tips on "How to Green..." your work, your wardrobe, your meals, etc. And I just found this one: How to Green Your Baby. Interesting.

I had a smug little moment when I saw that we've already made a commitment to some of them: gDiapers (Lydia Violet's butt is finally big enough), second-hand clothing (Just say yes to Value Village and the Unique Thrift Store. Thirty bucks outfitted Lydia Violet for the cooler weather.), wooden toys (You gotta love HABA toys.), second-hand furniture (We got a great crib and changing table thanks to Christina and Mike and Hilary and Nick.) and low-VOC paints.

But I was only slightly smug and it lasted about a millisecond because know there is so much more we could be doing. I guess it's really about knowing what your options are and making decisions that are right for your family AND the planet. I'm going to check out some of these other lists and see what they say. But in the meantime you can check out the "How to Green Your Baby" list at by clicking on "read more" below.

read more | digg story

home depot run

Don't ask me why Dima, who is a foot taller than me, insisted on riding in the back with the wood.

November 7, 2007

another wall goes up

One more to go. Adam the electrician comes tomorrow to pull three new circuits out to the garage. Two 120s and a 240 for my (eventual) glass kiln. Exciting!! Now I must retrieve the kid from Dima's parent's house.

November 6, 2007

Too Tired to Blob

I do mean to say "I'm too tired to blog" but I feel like a blob and it seemed appropriate. I'll get caught up here soon. In the meantime, I started posting to metro.texture again if you're interested. I got some cool shots on the Metro this morning with my new camera, I mean phone. It's a AT&T Tilt and SUPER cool. Can you say 3.0 megapixels? You can see a significant difference in the quality of photo. You can actually print the pictures I'm taking as 5x7s. Crazy!

Okay, so I guess I just technically blogged. But I was still tired while I did it. More later about the phone. More later in general.

Baby in a Carseat

I started a new blog. One year of Lydia Violet in her carseat in pictures. Check it out at

November 5, 2007

attic done and storin' stuff

Dima made major progress in the attic area tonight. He put down flooring and we were able to move some of the stuff back in from the backyard just as it was starting to rain. Whew! Nice job!

one wall of insullation done

Dima and Natalia show off our handiwork.

at it again

I just dropped Lydia off at Dima's parent's and we're going to try to make some more headway tonight. Natalia is on her way.

November 4, 2007

callin' it quits for the night

We've studded one full wall and started insulating. It's been a long day! There's a lot more to go but we feel good about what we've done. A big shout out to the Krug, especially Robin. We couldn't have done it without you!

the walls go up

Robin is back and helping us. We've nearly studded one entire wall. It would be going faster if I could measure my cuts right. *Sigh* Dima's dad, Vladimir, is making a Home Depot run.

November 3, 2007

The Wrap Up

First, I apologize for the quality of this post as I'm am exhausted and not really firing on all cylinders. Here's how the first Krug Molotok project day ended up:

Overall, it really looks excellent and both of us are excited about getting the space done and ready to use. It was a huge step today and we can't thank the Krug enough for all their help. The ceiling is up and the can lights are installed. And when our new energy efficient light bulbs are on and warmed up Dima says it looks like a baseball stadium in there. Plenty of light to paint by, even at night.

Work was started on the walls but we ran into some technical difficulties. (And I say we because I was providing support in the pits—in the form of Duncan Donuts, Home Depot and Quizno's runs—to the Krug, not because I actually ran into the difficulties myself.) For some reason the concrete anchors did not work with the block walls in the garage and they didn't hold the firring strips steady. I'm not exactly sure why they didn't work and frankly I'm not sure that the guys know why either. They just didn't. So on one of my Home Depot runs the guys sent me in search of some plastic anchor sleeves. The result... an excellent story about why I hate Home Depot. Here's what happened:

I go the hardware aisle. First there's no one there to help. Shock. And when I finally find someone I seem to know more about what I'm looking for than he does. Let's be clear. I am no hardware expert. Then when we find what seems like a solution—plastic alligator anchors—he inspects the box briefly and declares the solution found. I ask him to confirm that they will in fact work with the size screw that we are using and he again assures me they will. Then he just walks off. When I actually read the box I find that, no, these anchors will not work because they are for the wrong size screw, which is clearly stated on the box. Then the icing on the cake... they do not sell the size screw that these plastic anchors are made for. Of course they don't! So even if I wanted to I can not use them. Useless Home Depot! (What's even more irritating is, just by mentioning them here on the blog, they'll probably get an ad in the Google ads to the right. Argh!)

So, the Krug has reassessed the situation and they have a new plan for the walls. I'm not really sure what it is yet. Robin will return tomorrow to help Dima.

Now... must sleep.

Krug Conference

Ceiling is done. Now the crew is making final decisions before starting the walls.

more ceiling

under construction

The ceiling goes up.

the Krug arrives

Robin, Serge, Dima & Andrew. (Not pictured, John.)

November 2, 2007

There Really Could Be T-shirts

Of course there could. Because in true Dima fashion... he's created a logo.

The Studio and the Krug, a Tale of Devotion

This year Dima turned 37 (on October 29th)! And in the five years that I've known him he hasn't had a decent space to practice his passion—painting.

When we bought our house three years ago, one of the reasons we chose it was the potential that the garage held for being a spectacular studio for Dima. (It certainly wasn't for the ceiling height in the basement.) Well, three years later and that is all that space still is... a lot of potential.

Last year (2006) when a group of us traveled to New Jersey for Memorial Day we started talking about an article that I had read in Real Simple Magazine about some friends that organized a group to help one another complete home improvement projects. They called their group "the Tong" after the Chinese word for gang. (They were not Chinese.) Being a group of Russians and spouses of Russians, we decided to call our own group, Krug Molotok (the Circle of the Hammer).

What I'm getting down to is that I finally activated the Krug in honor of Dima's 37th birthday. I'd really like for him to have the space to paint and thus far we've been unable to get around to taking on this project for ourselves. Our other house projects have always taken precedent and I decided to put a stop to that. (Granted, we are at this same moment remodeling our upstairs bathroom. You can't blame us for trying...)

So tomorrow is the official, inaugural Krug Molotok project, though in name only. We've all gotten together multiple times before to help out with this sort of thing. (All we need now are t-shirts.)

I'll keep you updated during the day on their progress. It should be fun and at the end we get a studio, finally!

the junk

This picture doesn't do the pile justice.

the studio cometh, and right quick

This week has been a week of big days and tomorrow is no exception. Tomorrow we finally take the first major step towards turning the garage into an art studio. The Krug Molotok (the Circle of the Hammer) arrives at 9 a.m. Tonight we're getting the last bit of junk out and every reasonable bit of dust.

Stay turned...

Shock to the System

First day back at work today. Oyahyoy.

I guess it went better than might have been expected. There were no tears. And most everyone seemed happy to have me back. Now all I need is to get used to being back (It's a real mind shift after almost four months "off.") and to adjust to not having as much time with Lydia everyday.

As for you, you should get used to there being far less up-to-the-minute cameraphone photos of our girl on the blog and I guess, in general, far fewer posts from me.

Besides that I'm exhausted. It's hard getting up with a baby at 2 a.m. and 4:40 a.m. and then getting up to go to work 2 hours after that. Especially if you're me... someone who has a really hard time falling asleep as it is. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be this morning but I'm paying for it now. (She says, as she's blogging at 12:06 a.m. I'm nothing if not dedicated to my craft.)

That said, I'm off to bed. More later...