Monthly Archives: December 2007


Sad Christmas

Natasha’s 17-year-old niece Katya, who has been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma for over half a year, has passed away last night in Rostov. We knew that she has not been doing well lately, and one of the main reasons for Natasha’s trip was that she knew she might not get another chance to see her, but

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Outdoor skating

Three straight days of going out with children culminated in another skating event. Only this time, the girls skated themselves. There are quite a few public skating rinks erected in various parts of London. They are always very popular and normally sold out ahead of time. Thanks to eBay, Natasha procured a couple of tickets

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Seeing Natasha off

Half past two can hardly be called morning, yet we got up at this ungodly hour today, so that I could drive Natasha to Heathrow for her journey to Russia. Driving in the middle of the night is far from being one of my favorite endeavors, but it turned out to be oddly satisfying: The

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Winter golf

Winter golf is actually not as bad as it sounds. If the skies are clear and there is no wind, then even freezing temperatures are tolerable. That is, if you wear layers… My management team at work organized an outing at a golf course in Surrey. About a dozen people signed up, and despite the

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Twelve months, one sentence at a time

A meme that I picked up via my favorite bloggers Brian Greenberg and Jason Bennion asks the author to re-post the first sentence of the first blog entry in each of the previous year’s 12 months. Similar to Brian’s and Jason’s compilations, mine ended up somewhere between esoteric and nonsensical. The fact that my blog

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Baltimore? No, really?

Looking for novel ways to waste my time online (it’s Sunday, it’s fairly cold outside, we are not going out, I’ve already watched two football games, everyone in the family is occupied with something…), I completed this internet test that matches your personality to one of the 24 major US cities. My result? Baltimore. With

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Winter Wonderland in London

It turns out that there are German Christmas Markets right under our noses in England. Only a week ago we were touring the real thing, and today we spent time at one in Hyde Park, smack in the center of London. Actually, as markets go, it was less than impressive, but the Winter Wonderland amusement

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Requiem to snail mail

The weather turned decisively cold – every morning now I have to scrape frost off the windshield. No expectations of snow, though. Duh!!! Over the last few days, I have been reminded how little a part snail mail plays in our lives these days. Not the official paperwork, or some useless spam, but good old

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Back from Köln

The road to Cologne was the longest – distance-wise – of any of our weekend trips so far, but even the driving rain that followed us for over 200 kilometers on the way back did little to dampen our enjoyment of this little adventure. The theme of the trip was Christmas Markets in Germany. We

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More than active

The period of heightened activity continued this week, further distancing us from the rash statement of generic boredom along the path blazed last week and weekend. Wednesday, specifically, turned out to be quite a busy day for Natasha. She first got kids out of school in the middle of the day to take them to

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Separated by common language

Differences in English language as spoken by the British and the Americans is a long overdue topic for an expatriate blog. Today, I am finally getting around for a primer. This isn’t about the obvious difference in pronunciation. True, understanding spoken English on British Isles takes considerable training and unwavering focus for someone whose ear

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Weekend visits

We continued to disprove my earlier statement regarding diminished activity by making visits to friends over the weekend. On Saturday, we drove to Reading area to spend the day with a family who hails from the same neck of the woods in Russia as we do. In fact, all four of us attended the same

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