I am tired.

Great success with the 90s outfit — apparently I have learned to sew, because the dress — a black short dress with flowers all over it — actually looks like something a person could just wear. Better than costume grade.

The red and gold outfit — that was today — was amazing. We found shiny red and gold material and M made a sort of halter top out of the gold and I sewed a skirt out of the red and together they were really something, especially with red sneakers, red legwarmers and red and gold shiny mardi gras beads. Blinding, almost.

But now I’m tired and I want to go to sleep . . .

In further news, and I feel sort of, mmmm, well, not admirable, even sharing it, but M took those horrible college tests a few weeks ago and got the amazing magical number on one of them. N got one answer away from the magical number on the math one and now M actually got the magical number on the reading portion. This was completely unexpected since she isn’t exactly a stellar test taker. What I immediately thought was that her college choices might change a bit. Or not, but it makes it all seem a bit easier. Then I thought, and here’s the part that’s really not admirable, “Aha! my kids must be pretty smart after all!” And I felt redeemed that poor timid dyslexic M actually got this magic number — which I never even got, and I’m actually a good test taker. But I also felt redeemed in that there are all these nutty people who are desperate to get their kids in here or there, desperately going so far as to start magazines for their children to insure that they will get into this special college blah blah blah that the parent wants, and not that I am not desperate myself in my own special way, but I really do think for me it’s been about what would be good for M, and where would she feel happiest, and look! She got the magic number! She must be smart after all.

See, not really admirable. (But she got the magic number!)

Important notes:

  • We had an old friend over for dinner last night. I admit to being somewhat crabby about this, as it’s kind of hard to have people over during the week, the house was kind of a mess, we’ve got Spirit Week and a billion other things going on, etc., but then it actually ended up being sort of fun. So. I retract my crabbiness. Also, the kitchen table is now cleaned off and available for use! No more cramped dining under the shadow of college catalogs and gardening tools mounded at the far end of the table! All chairs in the living room now operable and not covered with newspapers, sweaters, blankets and knitting! No more boxes to be recycled heaped in the dining room! It’s a little bit startling when you walk through quickly.
  • That may be the only note, as I can’t really remember what else I was going to say.
  • I’m going home early to sew the 90’s dress TM. Can you believe that the 90’s is considered an historical decade? It is so recent that I can’t really even remember it. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are items I still wear regularly that were purchased in the 90s. Maybe I should make M go to school wearing the striped turtlenecks and sweatpants she wore back in the 90s. With two long red braids. She was pretty cute, to tell the truth. She also had some pretty cute hanna anderson dresses and tights. That’s the 90s to me.
  • A friend of M’s is in the hospital with all kinds of complications from an infected tattoo. Can you believe it? Apparently his mother didn’t know about it when M, trying to visit him at the hospital, asked her if the mystery disease might have been caused by the tattoo. Tattoo? the mother asked. Very lucky that we were paying close attention during the episode of Grey’s Anatomy where just this thing happened, don’t you think? Sheesh. (Also, why on earth are teenagers so stupid — a topic for another time.)
  • Lunchtime.

Wild things

I believe I have beaten back several wild things, but the problem is I’m in the middle of the woods and just because they aren’t at this minute clawing at me does not mean that they aren’t lurking in the blackberry bramble waiting to leap out and bite me.

Huh. How poetic.

Here’s a good thing, though. I cleaned out my closet and it is now 60% easier to get dressed in the morning. I also discovered an old blue cotton sweater that seems to go with an old black skirt with blue flowers, a new and unopened package of black tights, and, up in the attic this weekend looking for backpacks to go with Spirit Week attire, a pair of black shoes I’d forgotten about since the move and which are surprisingly comfortable and not worn out.

So that’s good.

Once I get my dresser cleaned out, I anticipate an 80% rate of easier dressing decisions. To achieve anything higher I think I have to lose weight, and the difficulty of that may outweigh any gains on the easier dressing front.

I believe I have filled out the Russian visa, which meant figuring out when we’re leaving Russia, but that still leaves many difficult decisions about when we leave Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm, not to mention possibly Riga. I did get my picture taken, though, and although it took about 10 minutes, that is a huge accomplishment.

Everything’s like that — M has written about half of three essays. Lawn is ordered but not in.

I guess I should just learn to be okay with being in the middle of things. It’s the fact that these things have deadlines, though, which makes that difficult.

Anyway. Someday I will make it to the end of the woods. One way or another, anyway.

Big plans

Well, we’ve got big plans around here.

M and I are heading off again on a super secret college visiting trip — please cross your fingers. We’re going two weeks from today.

In the meantime, application essays have to be written, but even before that costumes have to be made and procured for spirit week. What a giant pain in the ass lot of fun!

Work is exploding with goodness, and the organization I volunteer for is exploding with important email conversations. I think there’s more going on, too, but I can’t even remember it.

Oh. Russia. and the lawn — we’ve got to get the lawn in.

I think if we can just get the damn lawn in I’ll feel a lot better. The lawn man is spraying some organic something or other on it today. At this point, I say just use roundup and be done with it.

I know, I shock myself.


I have to run, because I have two appointments this afternoon, which is ridiculous.

The work party, did I tell you about the work party? It actually went well and was fun. You never know how these things will go. I’m wondering if we can isolate the germ of success and then replicate it.

I’m thinking it’s that we ordered the food and did not cook ourselves. Which made it less stressful and thus, more fun.

Anyway. Got to go.



This is a small painting that M is selling to raise money for Amur leopard preservation. I like it.

But that’s not why I’m here.

I’ve got a stew in the oven and it’s not even dark outside.

Jim is sleeping on a chair next to me.

We’re having a silly party at work tomorrow and I think I’m going to buy a cake with a skull on it from the bakery. That will be fun.

But mostly I am just peeved at things. I guess:

  • It’s getting down to the wire for M, and she’s getting worried and I’m getting worried — mostly about her getting worried. I’m worried that she’s going to work herself into that state where you can’t do anything. That would be bad, so I’m hoping it’s not happening.
  • A group I volunteer for has gotten all difficult this year, so there are emails flying and I can’t help getting sucked in. Get sucked in or get left behind. Perhaps I should be choosing left behind . . .
  • Work. It’s just depressing. It really seems like our enterprise is being dismantled. I sort of feel like I work at GM, actually, and no one wants to buy our cars anymore. And then emails fly there, too. I think there is nothing worse than trying to compose the tactful email explaining something. You don’t think the recipient is an idiot, but you are worried that they will think that you think that, so you carefully try to work things in the least offensive way possible which I’m pretty sure sounds like an instruction manual for an idiot. Yuck.
  • And I really am worried about M.

I’m sure I will feel better in a season or two.

I had breakfast with a friend the other day and she is moving to Vermont for a year and I just can’t stand it. She was describing to me the beautiful public schools they have, and how nice it is in the fall when it gets crisp. She said, “This is hurting you, isn’t it?” It was, in fact.

Okay. That’s it.

A better path

Russia 1 345

I’m back to using N’s pictures, since they’re so much more interesting than mine are. (Isn’t that lovely?)

I just had lunch with a woman whose daughter is also at LUPS. We both complained bitterly and now it’s all out of my system so I don’t need to bore anyone else.

[But it really is amazing! After 6 years I am still astounded!]

N says her housemother goes out to her dacha every now and then and comes back with fruit which she makes into jam or apple pirogi. N can’t go with her, though, because it’s an hour or so away and she goes when N is at school.

I’m getting excited about seeing her.

Also, I made tremendous strides in my closet. Life is a lot better when you can actually open both closet doors and fit your winter clothes in your dresser.

Okay — got to go.

The economics of LUPS

Video call snapshot 3

It was sort of a nice weekend. I don’t remember what we did Saturday, but by Sunday it was cold. Nora called at about 7:30 am and I talked to her for a while. I think she might actually miss us. Then she went to a cafe nearby and skyped us. (The picture above is her, in a cafe in St Petersburg. Apparently when it gets dark outside they turn out the lights and light candles., which sounds kind of nice.) I haven’t seen her for two months, I realize.

There were a million things I was supposed to do, but all the interruption made it impossible. In then end, K and I went to see Capitalism, which like all Michael Moore’s movies is entertaining except you get the feeling he’s leaving something out. But it’s worth seeing —

The theme is somewhat looser than in his other movies — more about “things he doesn’t like.” I sort of get the feeling that his whole career stems from his feelings about the death of Flint, and stories his uncle may have told about the glorious union past of the thirties. It is sad, and the shots of boarded up houses are sad, and so is the scene where he takes his dad back to look at his dad’s old plant, which is now just a brownfield. To me that’s sad — what did the landscape look like before it was paved over to make a plant, and then paved over again to destroy the plant.

Then I came home to read M her econ textbook. (I’m reading it to her because she’s dyslexic, which makes her a very slow reader, and also because she has decided she hates Economics with a burning passion. Yet still, she has to pass the class.) I never took econ, and really haven’t the vaguest notion of how it all works so I’m actually happy to read her the textbook. Which has to be the strangest textbook ever written.

From the outset, it looks complicated, especially to a person like me who has never studied econ. So we approach with trepidation only to realize that the text spends quite a bit of time hammering the same topic (Y=S+C, for instance — don’t ask) into our heads. It takes us quite a while to figure out that it’s just saying the same thing over and over and over, and what it’s saying appears to be very simple. The complicated drawings are only complicated in that they illustrate such a very simple concept. “In this drawing the sun is up.” Okay, so we get that. We sort of think that the book is assuming that we’re idiots, and we’re not. It’s almost a little confusing that it seems to thing we’re so stupid — is there something we’re not getting? and then — zing — we turn the page and some other assumption is made in a single sentence. This assumption — something about aggregate expenditure equaling consumption plus planned investment. — is totally confusing, and yet no further explanation is offered. But wait! What about the trucks that don’t get sold, even though it was planned that they would? I guess we’re just dealing with some kind of ideal world here, but it is very confusing —

Anyway, that’s the textbook. But this morning I was reading an article in the paper about whether we should save or spend (both, I think, is the answer. Forget it — I’m not spending.) and I understood it! Because Y = S + C! I was quite proud of myself and read it out loud to M, who acted as if she was in great pain.

The whole thing saddens her, too, since N liked the class and now it’s seeming complicated and difficult to her, and she has the whole younger sibling complex, completely unsubstantiated, that N is much cleverer than she is. But she learned yesterday from N that while N’s teacher was great, M’s teacher is a known idiot. He taught the non-honors class when N was there, and was considered responsible for the fact that none of them learned anything. This made M feel better, and I’m quite sure N never read the book at all.

Anyway, it’s actually a positive thing. She’s not going to learn anything in class, so she can stop worrying about why and just deal with it out of class. Much like American history last year.

Any, I certainly did not mean to go down that path. It’s lovely and dark and raining outside. I’ve just made myself a pot of tea. I’m about to go up and tackle the mess in the bedroom. It’s going to be great.


I am bored, and want to go home and make these.


They aren’t even that tasty. That’s how bored I am.

I know what this is — it’s preChristmas crafting madness. It’s hit.

There is no help for this.

Maybe I’ll go write the annual letter. (Ha!)