A few twists and turns…

I sure did try to post yesterday, but for some reason (please don’t guess) I couldn’t get onto my blog.  Not through the mirrors and tunnels way, not through the front or back door, no way no how…  It’s a creepy feeling that I do not like.

So yesterday’s post was going to be about VEGETABLES!  Yes!  Let’s go to a light and easy topic instead of the creepy feeling of not being able to log on to websites that you could, easily, as recently as two days ago.  Let’s talk about healthy food and happy feelings!

When John and I first got here, whenever that was– four years ago?  We were warned against fresh vegetables that we didn’t peel or cook.  So we only got salad when we went out to a vegetarian restaurant.  And we only ate our cabbage stir-fried.  At some point, we got over that, and now we soak (in water, for dirt, not in iodine for parasites) and eat TONS of raw veggies.  It makes us happy and keeps us light.  We do try to get organic veggies when possible, but we always harbor the suspicion that the only thing “organic” about the veggies we buy is the word on the sticker.  But there is a difference in price, and we at least can imagine that a more expensive vegetable is a somehow more carefully handled vegetable.

There’s also a fancy “foreign” grocery store– it’s a Japanese chain, but has a lot of western food too, that has “organic” produce (and, on rare occasions, “organic” fruit) and so we try to go to this store whenever possible…

It’s nice.  Vegetables are wrapped and weighed so we don’t have to wait on the pushy pushy “line” for the weigher-person… and there are sometimes western treats that we like, and the aisles are wider than in the Chinese stores, and there are more cashiers, just, in general, a more pleasant shopping experience.


Sometimes, they go Too Far.

(okay, I got on here but I can’t add a picture.)  I took a picture of five of those skinny “Japanese” eggplants (there are NO “American” eggplants here– you can get super skinny Japanese ones, or mostly skinny Chinese ones.  The biggest ones are the size of a cucumber) ~ and each eggplant is individually wrapped in plastic.  Each one.  Wrapped up with a little green label around the middle. Do you know how stupid I feel unwrapping an individual eggplant?  Then washing it.   (but oh boy do I feel happy when I eat it!)

Okay… I’ll try to post the picture tomorrow. I don’t want to push my luck.

Moving Again

I’ve had friends who bought houses, after renting for so so long, and they always say:

I’m never moving again.

Well: I have a new house.

Please go visit my fabulous new blog designed by the outstanding Lucie.  Enjoy its colors, its pictures, its absolute outstanding original delightfulness.

You don’t even need to bring me a plant as a housewarming gift!

Signs of Spring

Well, spring has come to Barnaul– one day we went down to the river and saw icebergs piled up all along the banks, and only a little water flowing on one side. The next day, the river was flowing and the bergs (now tinier) were being carried towards the Arctic (I don’t know why it’s disconcerting to me that the Ob River flows north).

I bought flip-flops, I leave my hat and home, and the other day I only wore a t-shirt, with no long t-shirt overtop. I’ve seen green bits of grass, and even some shoots of some sort of flowering thing. It’s grand.

However. Have you heard of the steppe? Wikipedia will tell you facts, but here’s the skinny: the wind blows here, and it blows from Mongolia to Ukraine. And there’s a lot of dust between Mongolia and Ukraine, and it all gets picked up by the wind. And then it blows into our windows. Today it rained a little, and this is what the raindrops did to the dust on our windowsill.

And lest you think I have somehow been transformed into a filthy dirty person, I cleaned this windowsill YESTERDAY with hot water and a clean rag. So this was about 30 hours of dust. The good news is that maybe this rain tamped down some of the dust, and also encouraged some of those super exciting green things to get a little bigger!


When I was little, I had a small cabinet in my room next to the heater and under the window.  I called it “my refrigerator”.  It was always a little colder than the rest of the room, and especially in winter when it was cold outside.

Little did I know that my childhood fantasy would some day become a reality.

This is our “refrigerator” in our Barnaul apartment.

It’s just a cabinet.  Under the window.  Next to the heater.  And it was fine when it was -5 C outside.  It was even fine at 0.  It didn’t keep things frozen, but it kept juice and stuff cold enough.  But now…

Well, Siberian extremism is showing another side.  We’ve gone from averages of 0 C to suddenly +20 C (today we saw a thermometer that was +23) (that’s 74 F) which is nice in its way, but our juice is now tepid.


We got a really sweet email from one of the students here, but she only speaks Russian.

Благодарю! .Для меня йога началась с семинара 2009 года Джона и Стефани.Обучаться у таких профессионалов большое счастье.Чувство ответственности и такта , профессионализма учителей выше всяких похвал.Еще раз примите мою благодарность.С любовью и почитанием
В Благословенном потоке

We only speak English, but our translator has been working all weekend, so we decided to use an online translator to see what the message said.  This is what we got.

Thank you! . For me, yoga began with a seminar in 2009, John and Stefani.Obuchatsya from professionals such great schaste.Chuvstvo responsibility and sensitivity, teacher professionalism is beyond pohval.Esche again, please accept my love and reverence blagodarnost.S In blessings flow, Elena.

Our favorite part is the blagodarnost.

In case you were wondering

We can see a statue of Lenin from our bedroom.

I get the news I need from the weather report.

I gather all the news I need from the weather report

Today we went for our walk and I had only ONE pair of pants on, my jacket off, my hat never came out of my bag, and I felt that my socks were TOO HOT for this day.

A few more days of this, and we might actually see something green.  Ah, how my heart sings to dream of seeing something green!