Saturday, November 22

Just when I was beginning to have faith...

Remember how last year my group of Higher Level students stole tests from my room, made copies and distributed them, causing me to have to do a TON more work??? Well, this year, our relationship was evolving. I had regained trust in them and was enjoying them.

Then, I get very sick. I stay home, trusting that they'll take their test with the sub. Then I get this email from my department head:

I understood from your substitute that a group of students, seeing that you are not there, just left the room. This is the reason you will find less tests to mark.

I have just 4 out of 10 to mark. FOUR! Of those missing 6, only 2 have gotten in touch with me. One told me she skipped the morning knowing she wasn't prepared. Another was "stuck in traffic because his car still doesn't have the snow tires on it."

Oh, so angry. Apparently they've all already been rounded up and put on Saturday school. Then they'll be coming in to see me after school to take the test. Now the question is, and I think it must be, that they get a different version, which I must write. Two versions never end up being equal in difficulty, want to guess which version will end up harder...

Mean, a bit, but have I mentioned I'm angry.

Left Overs

I love left overs... for about one day. But this morning, my throat has only a twinge of pain left in it and I surveyed my refrigerator. I made some congee, inspired by Kayaksoup from when she was home sick. Mine was good, but needed more salt. That's not what I wanted for breakfast, albeit, it is a traditional breakfast food. No, instead I spied the left over spaghetti from two nights ago that Za German made.

I have a microwave. I use it fairly frequently to heat left overs, one dish clean up after dinner and all. But in my opinion, the only way to heat left over spaghetti, is on the stove top. I love how it dries the sauce out just a bit, but the noodles are still tender.

Eating spaghetti for breakfast, yet another thing I love about living along...

Friday, November 21

Fresh Air

No, I'm not going to write about Terry Gross today, though I did use to love hearing her voice over my radio. Instead, Za German (thanks Amanda) said, "Now don't worry, when you open the door what you'll experience is fresh air. Don't be scared." I think he was probably more ready for the fresh air than me. He arrived yesterday with instant chicken noodle (alphabet!) soup - exactly what I'd been craving. He made it while I laid on the couch. Then we watch Lord of War in English with German subtitles - those crazy Germans seem to capitalize every 3rd word! Took a 2 hour nap before he made me spaghetti - still soft, but with a bit more substance. We watched another film - Zoolander, always funny, but I think Za German missed my favorite joke about the eulogy - and ten hours of sleep. By this morning, he suggested we get out.

So, yes, I ventured out of the apartment today. I had hoped to make it to business lunch at Goodman's steak house for a kick-ass burger, but my energy and appetite weren't up to it yet. Instead, we walked to the grocery store. But I did get hungry along the way so we stopped off for sandwiches. It was $12 worth of deliciousness. I could only eat half though. Za German was kind enough to finish it off for me. I hope it doesn't make him sick.

But I have been on antibiotics a full 2.5 days now, along with anti-inflammatories (last morning for those things) as well as pain medicine. It seems to have killed everything in my body, along with all the friendly bacteria I should have. Which leads me to have at least one more conversation topic with the doctor tomorrow at my follow-up appointment (do they have 1 day yeast infection treatments here in Moscow, they must right??? perhaps TMI, but it seems the more personal I get the more readership I have...)

I was supposed to go to some Scottish party tomorrow night at the US Embassy Dacha which is to include poetry readings, dancing and singing. I don't know that I'll make it. Tonight there's a chili cook-off at the Canadian embassy that I'm missing as well. Stupid tonisilitis.

Thursday, November 20

Hurts so Bad

No, don't get worried, the Hunky German and I are doing fine. Several of you have asked for details, but I'm not one to kiss, or do hours of kissing, and tell. But I will tell you we met at the Oktoberfest Party at the German Embassy, where he works, on Saturday, September 27th. Here we are dancing the night we met:

We had our first "date" the following Tuesday after my sister left and then Sha arrived. We talked on the phone a bit, Sha got to meet him a few times. We trounced him at Noochi (high speed group solitaire) and he handled it quite well. We see each other a few times a week. Unfortunately he leaves Moscow at the end of February :( Who knows what will happen then...

So no, that's not why I hurt. I am home sooooo sick. I was crying at the doctors office yesterday because it hurt just to say my name when I first got there and no one understood me and finally a nurse said "Oh, Emily S..." and I nodded yes and pointed. They said sit down. My appointment time came and went and all these other people went by. Finally I went back to the desk and pointed to my watch. They asked my name, this time I just wrote it down. And they said "Did you tell us you were here?!" And then rushed me back to see a very nice French doctor. Who took one look at my incredibly swollen tonsils and said "oh, I bet that hurts a lot." But it's not strep. "That's a good thing, step is very bad bacteria," he said. "But yours is also really bad." And they don't know what it is. So he gave me an anti-inflammatory shot in my butt and then a prescription with 5 different things on it! Everything having to be swallowed of course. By last night I could finally eat a bowl of soup. I was lucky that all the medicine on an empty stomach didn't make me nauseous!

So later today, the German is coming to take care of me. I've already taken off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. Maybe I'll actually be able to enjoy a bit of tomorrow. But at this point, Thursday morning, it still hurts to swallow.

Tuesday, November 11

It's fun, right?

I've started a knitting group here. My idea was to have a Stitch 'N' B!tch type club where I could sit around knitting and being social. Thus far only 2 people have been coming regularly and mostly they come for advice on how to knit. This is fine, I'm happy to help, but last night over the 2 hours, I didn't get to knit a single stitch. Argh. I'll never get holiday gifts done at this rate!


And now a funny story that some of you may enjoy about my recent trip home. After missing the flight the first day, I got on the second day, in business class. Like a flying fancy restaurant, they come for your order. Menu options were filet mignon, seared cod, stuffed chicken breast or pasta with mushrooms and arugula.

"And what would you like ma'am?"

"Filet, please."

"Oooh, we're pretty full tonight and since you're the lowest priority of business class (my ticket was only $400), I don't think I can accommodate you. What's your second choice?"

"The fish."

Winces. "I don't think I have enough of that either... But the pasta looks really good tonight..."

Sigh. "Ok, that's fine."

We take off. I get to talking with my neighbor. A blond, big breasted Russian woman in her late 40s or so. She's telling me about how she's on her 4th husband, this one a rich (we're talking, he lost 20 million in his last divorce, rich) American guy who lives in Florida while she's still in Moscow. Our meals arrive. I've got an oily pasta, she gets the filet. Of course.

She proceeds to use her fork to brush off all the sauce. Then she cuts off a piece and rolls it around in her napkin (at least she used the paper one from under her drink rather than the cloth one) to further remove all the sauce. Then she proceeds to shred it. Yes, by now I'm also thinking she's crazy. Then she grabs the shreds and ...


feeds them to the cat at her feet. Thankfully I'd had enough wine to find this incredibly amusing rather than shouting "Dammit Fluffy, that's my steak you're eating."

Sunday, November 9

Not even a week

Yep, I didn't even make it a week. I just can't be bothered to blog everyday. My life isn't that exciting. And sure I have all these thoughts running around in my head, things I would like to provide my own editorial on, but when I get home I don't want to head to my computer. Regardless, I'm no longer committing myself to NaBloPoMo

Or yesterday, which was a rather perfect day of sleeping in, snuggled in warm arms in a cold room, heading off to the Gorbushka market for a very Russian morning, coming home to watch a terrible movie (Deception, oh, Hugh Jackman, how could you??), supervising the making of some delicious dark chocolate, white chocolate, pecan, pinenut cookies (what a role reversal, I washed, he cooked - it's so much easier to cook with two!), knitting a bit and then heading to a wine and cheese party. Why would I want to interrupt any of that by sitting alone at my computer??

However, I will try to post more often this month. Which compared to October will be a snap ;) Oh look I've already more than doubled October's posts!

Thursday, November 6

Back in the Saddle

When I got back, I made a comment that I didn't want to go back to work. But arriving yesterday, seeing my students, feeling like I was going 50 mph all day, who am I kidding? I love it. Besides, I would get so bored staying home.

I got my form to notify the school if I'm "Definitely Staying" or "Definitely Leaving" Those are our only two options. We have until Nov. 28th. Even though at this point, I feel as though I'm definitely staying, I'm going to hold on to the form a bit longer. We all know how I tend to change my mind... Although I can't imagine leaving my Grade 11s. I really want to stay with them and watch them graduate.

Wednesday, November 5

Dude, I suck

Man, it's only the 5th day and already I've blown it. Oh wait, back in the states it's still the 5th...

Tuesday, November 4

Last Minute

I'm not so good at this posting everyday thing. I didn't even want to turn on the computer. But I'm back. It was a lovely return home - business class flight, German boy waiting to spend the afternoon with me. Yes, I'm glad to be back.

Monday, November 3

Off again

With one extra suitcase, I return to Moscow today. Hopefully business class again, but as long as I make it there I don't care.

Sunday, November 2


I had lunch and dinner with people I've known for well over 10 years, one I've known for over 20. It's amazing to have friendships that seem to be timeless.

Saturday, November 1

Anything you can do, I can do better

Ok, that's not really what I was thinking when I signed up for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month, or something of the sort. But The Prettiest Denny's Waitress somehow manages to do it. So I thought I'd give it a whirl. I mean hell, it's Nov. 1st and I've already posted 3 messages. I'll just add it to my picture-a-day mentality.

Reading his post yesterday about Halloween and how he was going to start again, inspired me. That and I wanted to talk more about Halloween costumes.

Last night, I sat on the front porch of my grandmother's house - a house I love, over 100 years old, big, but not too big; just this past year she had a shower installed in the upstairs bathroom - before the only shower had been in the unfinished basement; and she raised her 10 children here. My job was to give 1 piece of candy to every trick-or-treater. The town had agreed that 6-7:30 would be the time. So I sat, on a relatively warm night, reading and handing out candy to a small yoda, a dalmation, a few princesses, etc. And you know what, only a handful, small handful, of costumes were homemade! Almost everyone was store bought.

I remember being a ballerina, a hobo, a witch all from items we had around the house. One year I made myself a pumpkin wearing an orange sweatshirt and green tights. But somehow all these adults have bought into the idea that the costume must be purchased. If your kid is under 4, they don't care. Besides, they shouldn't have an opinion.

I was talking with my great-aunt yesterday about how it seems like American's are forgetting how to survive within their own means. I grew up with my mom cooking, but we were not necessarily frugal. It was only when I moved out that I taught myself to can food, to knit. And I'm not going to pretend like I do those things because I have to (hell, look at my last post to know that I am certainly still with the rest of America at Tar-geh), I choose to. I don't wish that I was born in the late 1800s, but I do want to live a simple life. And I want people, especially in small town Ohio or even more so in American suburbia, to remember it can still be done.

Consumerism gone mad

I'm not a shopper. I still have clothes from college and I graduated 7.5 years ago. However, this trip, I have gone crazy. I've bought 5 pairs of shoes, 2 jeans and countless tops. Oh and don't forget the 2 ball gowns. Yesterday at the Bullseye I couldn't restrain myself from buying DVDs. Yes, I'd intended to get Arrested Development, but then I also saw Burn Notice and Bring It On and I don't even remember whatelse. I'm going to have to buy another suitcase. It's sick, really. And worse yet, I haven't even purchased the items on my list of things to buy - cornstarch, baking powder and Worschteshire (or however it's spelled). At least those things are small. Someone help me.

November 1

Ohio is beautiful this time of year. All the trees are covered with gold and red, but the best part is that the lawns are equally split with Obama and McCain posters. My grandparents/family live in a small town that normally is very conservative. But it seems things are swinging the other way here.

Praise Jebus.