Monday, December 22, 2008

Naked Booty!

At home all day with a baby I usually end up making up songs for activities that do not already have songs to go with them. For instance, you know the oldie but goody "this is the way we wash our face" well I have added to that, the Dirty Diaper song (to the tune of the Indiana Jones theme) and Naked Booty (to the tune of Are You Sleeping). For whatever reason the Naked Booty song has taken off with Babes. At any given time she can launch into a rendition of "Naked Booty Naked Booty Naked BUTT! Naked BUTT!" I personally think that she is adorable singing it especially because she emphasizes the "BUTT!" And naked comes out like Nakey. But my mom is horrified. She thinks that Zora will be kicked out of preschool (even though she is not yet two and there is still a whole year before she will get to school, which in my opinion is plenty of time to forget an undesirable song) or that we will be in church and she will start singing that. Which still won't embarrass me because we sing the song at bath time to get out of all the clothes so there is nothing wrong with it.
Although yesterday in the car she just started shrieking NAKED BUTT! for no reason at all. I might be a little embarrassed by that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My brother is deploying (*AGAIN!*) to Iraq sometime late November, maybe early December so he is once again going to miss the holidays. So this past weekend my family rolled Thanksgiving and Christmas into one big holiday called Thanxmas. We borrowed an artificial tree decorated the inside of the house, and bought some inexpensive gifts for everyone, except my brother and his wife who received real holiday presents. I bought all the old holiday movies, Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving and Christmas, Rudolph, Frosty, etc. Add to that some holiday music and a Thanksgiving feast and you really do feel like you've just celebrated Christmas. I went to the store and thought to myself "why is this store open on.... oh wait, it is not Thanksgiving or Christmas!"
All in all it was a fun time. Babes really enjoyed the opening of presents and I think my brother and sister had a good time too. It wasn't until I was leaving that I realized that this would probably be the last time that I would see my brother before he deployed. Which was probably good because then I would have been sad. Luckily I was able to forget about it until it was too late to ruin everything.
Happy Thanxmas Everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Catching up!

So I've been through my first adult Halloween. I have to say it was very weird handing out candy to all the little ones. The first couple of "customers" were wee little ones who weren't entirely sure what to make of the whole thing. Their parents shoved them up to the door then told to say "trick or treat" which sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't, and then I gave out some candy and posed while pictures were taken then there was a kind of awkward moment while we tried to figure out what to do. I was waiting for them to leave so I could close the door, I don't know what they were waiting for, probably for me to make some sort of "oh how cute" comment (it wasn't until the third or fourth child that I realized I should make some sort of banter) or maybe they weren't sure what to do themselves. With the older kids it wasn't a problem, they were basically trying to hit as many houses as they could before it was too late so they grabbed candy and ran. All in all it's very interesting being on the other side of the door.
Also, we've elected our first black president! Can you believe it?!?!?! I seriously did not think people would be able to vote for a black man, but apparently messing with your money pisses people off to the point where they don't care about skin color. I am very proud of my country.
I just got back from Columbus visiting my grandparents with my mom. My grandfather seems to be holding his own against Alzheimer's although I can tell that he is slowly losing the fight. It's a horrible way to go, although I suppose he's not in pain (although maybe he is but can't tell us) so I guess it's not horrible. I often wonder about what goes on inside of someone who has Alzheimer's. Is he trapped behind a wall but is still seeing and hearing like in the old days, but can't make us understand. Or is it truly like what we see and the brain goes away piece by piece. Is this a case where quantity is better than quality or should we think about quality instead of quantity.
Anyway, we are off this weekend to celebrate Thanksmas for my brother who is deploying soon. Since we are not sure if he will be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas we are combining them into one big holiday this weekend. I bought the Christmas specials and we've got decorations up, there are presents, and feasts planned. I hope to take tons of pictures and hope this will be the best Thanksmas EVER!

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Own Name

So I was perusing the internet the other day and I came across a post on Her Bad Mother where she is stopped at the border because she and her child do not share the same last name. And she started to wonder if she should change her last name. It made me start to think about my decision not to change my last name. When we got married I always assumed that I would be a career woman. Keeping my last name, the name that all my degrees were in, keeping my own separate professional identity was very important to me. I also am very proud of my last name, it is the name of my father, his father, and his father before that. My dad once told me, and it is the same thing that his dad told him, that the only thing he had to give was his name, it came to him unblemished, and he is giving it to me unblemished and that's the way I should keep it.
I have had many identity issues in my life. I wanted to be blond. I wanted a different first name. I may have even wanted to be a boy (you know the running, jumping, not having to wear skirts!). But I have always been attached to my last name. My last name has always been an essential part of who I am.
Now that I am actually an adult and living my life... and I am not the professional woman that I wanted to be, I am actually clinging harder to my last name. As a spouse in the foreign service I do not have my own identity. I am " 's wife" Whenever I go anywhere or need anything done I don't use my name or status it is all under his information. Maybe it's silly, but keeping my last name reminds me, if no one else, that I am my own person. I have my own talents. I am separate from my husband, intelligent, and accomplished. Perhaps someday soon I will find a way to remind everyone else too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not in Season

As the weather gets colder and we move further into fall I have definitely decided that I am not a seasonal person. I am perfectly happy with an endless summer, or maybe even a summer with a brief rainy period in between. I am always mad when the irrefutable proof of summer's end approaches. In the last few weeks I have been cursing at the leaves as they change colors. Don't get me wrong, I think the changing leaves are pretty, but the accompanying cold weather is no good.
It is times like this that I REALLY miss California and wonder why it was that I left. Yes, I know, I am having lots of fun adventures that I could NEVER have in CA but as winter approaches I will wonder more and more if it is actually worth it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Old Friends

So we went this weekend to see an old college friend of mine. It's been some time since I've seen him, and I definitely have not seen him since he married. The difference in him is remarkable and I could kill the girlfriend that he had in high school/college. The boy I knew did not smile as often as the married man, was not as comfortable in his own skin. I remember how much I worked to draw him out of his shell so that he felt comfortable enough to be a little silly, and now he is silly with his baby, easy with his smiles, and a lot more confident. It's amazing what a difference the right person can make. I figured this out for myself, and it seems as if he figured this out too, but I wish I could share this with others. Love should not make you miserable, or keep you locked in your room, or even make you mean and witchy. Love should make you happier (most of the time, sometimes it will frustrate you and make you angry, but that's normal you are after all dealing with people) more confident, and possibly even nicer.
Mary Rose, wherever you are, I do not wish you well!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


So I've been all natural and free, hairwise, for about the two months. Not by choice. I've been trying to do something different with my hair. I don't want to put in a relaxer, dreadlocks, or braids, but then that leaves me fairly limited on what I can do. Cutting out those options and you eliminate most black salons. So I was going to try out this salon that my aunt recommended so I was willing to wait. BUT the first time I showed up they did not have my rescheduled appointment, this time I wisely called before I left and they didn't have the products for my hair AND they seemed surprised when I didn't want to come in, what pay $100 for something I didn't want? I thought it was a professional shop. I am SO glad they did not take my credit card because if they charged me today for canceling my appointment on short notice because they didn't have the products for my hair, I would be HIGHLY TICKED OFF! As it is I'm annoyed. What kind of place is this that regularly runs out of the products that they are selling?
Why can't I find a decent hair shop? You know I'm a middle class black woman, I don't live in the hood, why should I have to go there to get my hair done? Why do I have to suffer through missed appointments, or wait for three hours even when I have an appointment, we're not talking about doctors here, we're talking about hair stylists, and most of them are of just average quality. Why do we, middle class black women, put up with this? We have jobs, our time is valuable, where is the shop that caters to us?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indoor fun

With the weather being all crap and I, myself, being sick. Babes and I have been forced to come up with some indoor fun (contrast this to Baku when we NEVER left the house). I discovered one of those spikey rubber balls at Target for a dollar! I have managed to wear out my child with minimal effort on my part. First of all, she can't throw forward so 4 times out of 5 she has to run after the ball herself because she has thrown it behind her (she learned the same lesson Honey did: Momma doesn't chase balls!). Then if I throw the ball to her she can't really catch so she is still sort of chasing. It's great!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not the suburbs.... NOOOooooooooo

So we are living WAY out in the Virginia suburbs and we are thinking about buying a house/townhouse out here. Being a recent convert to city living I have been dragging my feet. After all, when you live in the city you can *gasp* walk to the store, or catch a ride on the bus or subway to where you want to go. In the suburbs you mostly have to drive. Which is fine, but with gas prices going crazy limiting yourself to one car makes more and more sense. Plus most of the livable areas in DC or Arlington seem just perfect for the way that I would want my life to be.
So imagine my surprise today when I was out walking the dog and Babes when I actually started to like the neighborhoods that I've been walking around in. It seems that years of growing up in the suburbs can take over just like that *SNAP!* once you have a baby. But I guess, the neighborhoods WAY out here are more like the idea that I had when I was a kid about what I would have when I grew up. *SIGH* I just don't like it. I don't want to be so far away from everything that I don't know what is going on in my own city. I don't want to drive through the neighborhood so fast everyday that I have no idea who my neighbors are. .... but the houses are so nice, they have yards, and fences, and *GASP* trees!
What is a city convert to do?

Friday, September 19, 2008

a moment of quiet

Ah blessed naptime! I think we have started the terrible two's. I don't know why people call them that when they start WAY before your child even turns two. Although I have to say that a lot of what I learned when training Honey applies to dealing with Babes. 1. Burn off the energy. 2. Make sure she gets lots of sleep. and 3. Patience!
I didn't actually think Babes would need another nap today, but she has been fighting me every step of the way since she woke up from her nap. Finally I just couldn't take it anymore and I put her to bed. Hopefully she will wake up her normal cheerful more obedient self.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Long time no....

So we are finally settled into our apartment in the DC area and we are back to living semi-normal lives again. We even bought our first new car! It's exciting and not exciting all at the same time. It's exciting because it's a new car! WOOOOOO!!!!! But it's a sensible mom-mobile. We just bought a Toyota RAV-4 which is cute, sensible has lots of room, and easy to drive. BUT! In the car I TOTALLY feel like a mom. Sometimes I can pretend that I'm still young and carefree but driving a RAV-4 nope I'm a mommy. There's just so much space back there, and add to it the cheerios in my pocket and the kid songs on the radio and there's no denying it. *SIGH*
On the other hand, we are in DC and it is SO Much easier to get out of the house. There are places to go where we don't have to spend money... Like parks, the zoo, museums, or even the mall or a mall. Babes and I have just spent the last three days riding around in the metro which is LOADS of fun! She gets so excited when the trains come and riding the escalator! Lots of "oOH!s" and "aAH!s" and that 1 1/2 year old exclamation that I couldn't write out if I tried. Starting next week we are going to try to go somewhere new every week until we leave. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Made it out!

*Deep breath!* AH! It is good to be back in the good old US of A! There is no traffic rumbling outside my window, I can hear the television without having it turned up to ungodly levels and I can walk outside without fear of being run down on the side walk (I can even walk in the street in my parent's neighborhood without fear of being run down! What bliss!). If I want to go somewhere to get out of the house, there are places to go because there are stores big enough that if I just want to go and look around I can. BUT if I don't want to go to a store there are museums, parks, and community centers (not that I have EVER been to a community center but I am told they are there). OR I could go to a LIBRARY *GASP*! Although you really can't go to a library with a 16month old who loves books and loves nothing better than to pull them all off the shelf so she can look at them in one giant pile on the floor that she's sitting on top of an screaming at the top of her lungs at all the words. (Yes I know that was one really long sentence!)
Ah it's good to be back!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Only in Azerbaijan

So we were pretty sure that Honeydog had a UTI a few weeks ago, so we called up the local ex-pat animal shelter and asked for a vet. It turns out that they had opened a brand new clinic for dogs and cats very close to us. AND office visits were only 10 manat! So we packed up the circus (babes, me, V, and Honeydog) and went to see this vet.
The vet's office was in the basement of a house in a part of town under serious construction (We had to drive through a construction site to get there) but was fairly nice. The house itself must be huge because the basement had three rooms and a pool. It was fairly clean, and only smelled mildly of animal. The staff was fairly nice, but the vet and the veterinary nurse did not immediately inspire confidence in us. First of all, we arrived, the doctor came out and what impressed me most of all was his stench (yes, I know you can shower ever day but if you don't use deodorant you still smell, but WHOA!), but whatever, this is common overseas, Americans are overly fussy about smells. But then, Honeydog moves to greet the vet and he does one of those little Azeri moves where he tenses up and holds his hands out in front of himself. Now while I can't say for sure that he was afraid of dogs, I can say that he did not look comfortable handling a dog. And his nurse, well she wouldn't come anywhere near Honeydog's head. They conducted their business, although a little stiffly because it's hard to conduct a physical exam of an animal that you are not comfortable touching and gave us prescriptions and I think everything's ok, but I've got to say. Why be a vet if you are afraid of dogs?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The End is Near!

I can't believe that I have *probably* less than four weeks left here. I am always so anxious to be gone, but then when it gets right down to it, I don't actually believe I'm going until I'm already somewhere else. I guess this is the problem with ex-pat life always coming and going. But, I have so many reason to be glad that we're going. For instance, tonight, I went out for dinner with a group of mums (that's British for moms) and I spent a little more than $50, and there was only two bottles of wine! Before we would have a drunken debauchery (for an American, at least, apparently for the Brits it's only dinner) and it would have run me maybe $40. Prices are steadily going up. I know it's the same in the US, but my mind is already set for the belt tightening. And if necessary I can get cheap Chinese food or Pizza.
One thing I am going to miss though, is that everyone here loves children. I know I've written about it before, but I just can't get used to the fact that guys, boys, teens, young adults, love babies too. When I'm walking around with Zora teenage boys come up and look at her and play with her, it's just too weird. In the U.S. We would be in the group completely ignored by that age group. What have we done wrong in the US where we no longer adore children? When did it become a bad thing to breed? Why are we ok with that?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Counting down

So instead of napping, I am thinking of ways to waste time (because I've got soo much extra time) in the final few weeks we are here. I think I would like to take the camera out and snap some shots of things around Baku that we do all the time. We were supposed to do it in china, but never got around to it, and now I'm sad that we didn't... although not really. I also need to find a place to print off photos so that I can finish Zora's scrap book and put pictures from Africa in an album. I should also do Kiev and Odessa, but I know that I won't get to that before we go. But that can wait since I don't have an album for those pics anyway.
I am also trying to finish crocheting a present for a friend who is going to have a baby. This will be the first thing that I have ever made for a non-family member and I'm a little nervous. I'm also mad that I chickened out of the orange. The brown I have is so boring and not cool. Maybe I'll finish this, in enough time to make another one in the proper orange color and I'll give this one to someone else. I know three babies due in Nov/Dec so I'm sure I can find someone to give it to.
I really should go take a nap.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Naps and poo

I'm trying to figure out what the link is between naptime and poo time. For some reason lately whenever I put Babes down for a nap when she wakes up she has left me a present in her diaper. Which is not a problem except that she likes to cuddle for a little while after she wakes up so I have to sit with her all cuddled up smelling like serious stinky poo. Is it that she's all relaxed and it is therefore easier for her to get business done, or should I be waiting for her to make her presents before she goes down for a nap (except that I never know which nap is the surprise nap). Case in point, she has just woken up, is sitting on my lap very stinky, yet all cuddled up while I write this. I think she might be ready to get a new diaper. P!U!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Date night!

So Saturday night we left Babes with a baby sitter and headed out for a night on the town. (Although when I say "night" I mean evening or maybe mere three hours) And since we are leaving Azerbaijan soon (Wooo HOOO!) we decided to forgo the normal, well I guess this could be Italian food if you squint with one eye and hop on one foot cuisine and headed out to a place that served Azeri food. One of the better places to go in Baku is the Beh Beh club (I wonder what that means). We hit the one just out of town that kind of looks like a traditional house and has live performers. The building itself was very neat, I guess a traditional house looks a little like a ski lodge with a garden, all wooden and sloping roofs. Inside it was modestly decorated with candles and various kinds of Azeri copperware, dolls in native dress, and candles.
The musicians weren't bad even though they played elevator jazz (although I have to admit, that I do like elevator jazz). However, the belly dancer was... well, here's the thing. I think, I have never seen it live, that belly dancing can be sensuous and a very unique art. HOWEVER, most places when they boast having a belly dancer usually mean a stripper who is not taking off her clothes, but wearing a belly dancing costume. I keep going because I keep hoping to see tastefully done belly dancing.... but no. If I was going to have a belly dancer in a restaurant I would find someone who could dance, then have her only accompanied by a drum, a wind instrument of some kind, and maybe a tambourine. But I guess that's harder to find, it is easier to find a young woman, put her in a costume and tell her to shake her stuff to Russia's Madonna equivalent. But that's neither here nor there.
The other interesting thing was that we were there at the same time as a birthday party. There was the general feasting, and then as the night progressed some dancing. I've only seen it once before, but this is the first place I've been that has it's own unique form of dancing. Most clubs that I've been to all over the world have about the same booty shaking dances that the US has. But here the women give their wrists and hands a little flick as they stick out alternating feet with a little hop. There's almost no booty shaking going on at all. The men do something similar, except that their hands do not flick and they usually tap their foot against another male partner's foot. I wish I was better at describing or I could think of what it reminds me of. It's very interesting and looks pretty cool, and is one of the truly unique things that they have going on for them here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No more help

So I've been back for a full week plus now and completely without help. And I have to say, I should have fired the maid sooner and hired someone else. It just goes to show you how much she irritated me that I would rather mop my own floors than have her around. Which really, if the goal of having domestic help is to make your life smoother and less hectic, do you really want someone around who is just going to make you angry when they leave?
On a different note, Huzby is out being consul. I was out at a going away party and I got called home so that he could take care of a citizen in need. I felt very wife-of-a-super-hero-ish. I was at dinner and I was totally like "I have to go! There's an American Citizen in trouble and they need.... (insert heroish music) the US CONSUL!"

Monday, June 02, 2008


I'm so bored with my own blog. I think it's mainly because I've turned into a mini-hermit here in Baku. I can't figure out why. But I can never think of anywhere to go, or work up the desire to actually go anywhere. The mere thought of leaving the house is enough to wear me out for the entire day. I know I'm supposed to take Babes out to help her explore the world, but there is really nothing here within walking distance to go to, and what there is you have to cross several streets of death to get there. So we are in the house. But I have vowed to do things differently in DC. For one I have decided NOT to put her in daycare while my husband studies Chinese. So either we get opposing Chinese class schedules or I am going to be a SAHM in the US, which I think will be infinitely harder on my ego because in the US I actually could be working at a successful career, unlike here where I'd probably be answering phones for people who wouldn't understand why I'm not thrilled to be answering their stupid phones, or why I haven't taken the Foreign Service Exam. But! Since DC is supposedly where we could end up spending a significant portion of our lives Babes and I are going to fully explore it and discover all there is to know about DC with a Toddler.... at least until it gets cold.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in Baku Again

So my promise to blog more while on vacation did not pan out. But I'm back in Baku and this time it's to the finish. When I leave again, I think it will be for good (unless by some small miracle we get to go to Tbilisi). I don't think I'm ready to be back though. I had planned to go to baby group this morning but when it came right down to it, I just couldn't face the idea of getting in the car and fighting my way through traffic to baby group. I haven't even been outside in the two days that I've been back. I should go out today. It's a pretty enough day that I should make the effort to get out, maybe I'll even take the dog.

Friday, May 09, 2008

on the home front

We are at my parent's house, settled in for the long haul. Well, it's not actually that long. We have less than a month left, probably closer to two weeks now. But it's been good. Babes is enjoying spending time with her Big Mama and Popop. She has really taken to my mom. Sometimes it seems like she leaps out of my arms to get to her. Strangely enough, I don't feel jealous. I used to get a twisted sort of satisfaction when Babes wouldn't go to anybody but me, but now I'm actually glad that she will go to other people. It is still twistedly satisfying when she leaves everyone else to come back to me, but I think I'm growing! I definitely don't want to be one of those mothers that smothers her child. Or won't let them do anything that they didn't pick for them.
But it is different being at home with a baby. First of all, I am not staying up late. As I was telling my parents my alarm clock doesn't have a snooze button. So any time I stay up late I suffer the next morning. Sad to say, but I'm in bed by ten or eleven every night. That means, however, that I am up the next morning before eight. I remember the days when I was home before and I would want to get up to watch Charmed, but would almost never make it up before E.R. came on at 10. Not anymore! I am often up and have had breakfast before Charmed comes on at 8. Not that I watch it, because it's hard to watch TV and keep an eye on a little one who has learned to climb stairs.
My parents are also doing a very good job of staying out of it. They let me do what I feel is necessary for Babes, and don't try to give me a lot of extra advice. I really appreciate it because I know it's hard. But their restraint makes my coming home much easier. If they were constantly telling me this or that I don't know if I'd want to come home as often as I do.
I love my family.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Behind Enemy Lines

So this weekend I am visiting my in-laws... by myself. I volunteered to do this because my mother used to do it with us, so I figured that I could do it too. (Truth be told I didn't think my husband would take me up on it, but once it was out there it was too late to take back) I have been worrying over this for months. Ever since I agreed/volunteered to do it I have been fretting and grumping. When it finally came down to it, only sheer stubborness got me in the car and going. I remember too well the months of visiting that we did where I was little better than a houseplant or a chair for all people noticed me. In the past I was never spoken directly to and most conversations took place in Russian, even when I was sitting at the dinner table. I endured.
I am here now, and I have been pleasantly surprised the whole trip. His parents have been friendly I have had whole conversations with them - in English! I think it has actually gone better this time than it usually goes with him here. Usually I let him talk and I try to stay out of the way so that he can bond, but without him here, there is no one to do the talking for the family except for me. So I have been forced to talk and to share.
I didn't expect it to be this way, but I wouldn't mind coming back again by myself, and possibly even staying longer. I took a leap of faith when I came here and was richly rewarded. God is good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008



Last night as we were getting ready for bed we heard a loud "DONG!" and I said "that is the sound of some fool running into the pipe across the road!" We ran to the window and sure enough, there was a Niva smack dab in the middle of the pipe.
But wait, I have gotten ahead of myself. Yesterday morning I got up and looked out onto what could be called "confusion circle" and noticed that they had place a huge steel pipe across the road where the truck used to be. It looked pretty solid, and people did not seem to be trying to drive around it like the truck so I didn't think anything of it. Until last night. After the first dong we snuggled back down to bed, and then a few minutes later there was another even louder "DONG!" this time I didn't even get up. But it turns out that some poor fool in a Lada had hit the pipe and he was not as lucky as to be able to drive away. An ambulance was called, the police came, a crowd formed (all this is after midnight) and the poor driver was taken away. Now you might think, why did these poor souls run into the pipe. Well, here's the thing. The pipe is a dark copper color during the day, and at night is only a slightly darker black than the surrounding night. It is strung across an unlighted stretch of road. The pipe is layin in the road just after a curve in the road, so if you are speeding, the pipe is only visable for a few seconds before impact (to make matters worse, most people do speed up as they come around the curve since it is going uphill, and they want to keep their momentum). There is also no warning that there is a pipe ahead, no construction signs, no police cars, nothing. Even last night after two cars hit the pipe, and the police came to write a report, they still did not post a sign, or a car or anything. I did hear them yelling for a good ten minutes last night, and I asked about it this morning, but they were only trying to get people to move so the ambulance could get through. They didn't stay to warn other cars or perhaps set out some cones, nope, they just went home. *sigh* I need a life, I am finding this way too entertaining.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

trapped in the past

I know I've written a post on this before, but I still think it's fascinating how our image of ourselves as adults is often limited by how others saw us in childhood. I've been watching a little reality television (a show here or there while I wait for Zora to wake up from a longer than normal nap) and I'm always struck by the self image problems that people have that have nothing to do with how they are now. For instance, the fat kid who grew up to be an attractive adult woman still carries around that fat kid persona, she hunches in on herself, won't wear certain clothes because they make her look bigger, etc. Or kids who, for whatever reason, felt like they weren't getting enough attention, as adults they jump all over people to make sure they get heard.
I have it too. I once had a party where only one person showed up (and it really wasn't because people didn't like me, I just waited too long to plan) so I am forever afraid when I invite people over that they won't come, even though that party was almost twenty years ago now. If people are just a little late I start to worry, and make deals with myself. "if one person comes it won't be so bad" or "well if they call it's fine" and I've never had this problem again, people always come, it's just the only black kid in school who can't escape the fact that she is different that I can't grow out of.
Which makes me wonder what it's going to be like for Babes. I would want to protect her from this, but protect her from what? No matter what I do there will be something that doesn't go her way. And she should learn to deal with it. If I smoothed the way for her all the time, when would she learn to handle disappointment, teasing, or unpopularity. It would be nice if I could have grown up popular, beautiful, wonderful, but then I would be a different person. The troubles that I experienced and overcame as a child helped me to be who I am. Even if I am still freaked out by children playing ball because of my ball magnet head.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gotta love it

Babes and I went out for an impromptu lunch downtown at Cafe Caramel. It was great Babes and I shared lunch since I didn't bring food for her (you know impromptu) and she was actually very good throughout the whole lunch. The other ladies were very impressed with her careful eating skills, and I have to admit Babes put on her best "I'm the cutest" act so, of course, everyone was charmed. On our way out to catch a cab, I got lost (as I always do downtown) while I looked for the perfect place to catch a cab. I usually try to get a cab going in the right direction so I don't have to sit through any death defying car maneuvers but I always get turned around downtown and end up wandering around far longer than necessary. While we were wandering we passed the Aladdin toy store which I always drive by, but parking is a nightmare so I never stop in. It always looks so happy with the bikes and stuffed animals in the window. Well I walked in today and yes the toys are nice (same stuff they have at other toy stores here) but the sales people were watching something questionable on TV. Granted the store was empty, and it was the middle of the day during the week. But I was there and in the three minutes I was in the store I saw a naked woman murdered. Now I understand that working in a store is boring and watching TV helps to pass the time, but naked woman murders? To make matters worse neither person even bothered to look up to find out if I needed anything. It makes me miss the US.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FUBAR revisited

This morning my hubby says "hey there's a huge pileup of cars waiting to drive on the sidewalk out here!" So I had to go check it out, and then I was stuck at the window for the next hour watching the clusterf*&k unravel. I know I get way too much pleasure out of this, but I couldn't help myself this morning. I just had to stand at the window with my camera and take some pictures. It was great! Ok, so you know how they are fixing the pipe up the road and the north bound lanes of our street are blocked off by a giant flatbed. Well I guess this morning they forgot to post a sign or block off the entrance to the north bound lanes from the gas station so the drivers, in their infinite wisdom, seeing the traffic in the south bound lanes (which both north and south bound traffic are sharing) thought to themselves, well I'll just go over here on this street which is all empty and has to be loads faster! Then they get to the truck. Well most people just hopped the curb, and drove through the narrow gap to get to where they could drive again. This worked pretty well, except that only one car can get through at a time so by the time 9:15 rolled about there were cars piled up four across ten deep down the street, each vying for their shot at the one car passageway over the sidewalk. Then, some guy going to the military complex across the street from us parks his car on the sidewalk in front of the one car passageway (I didn't see how this happened, and how he didn't notice the steady flow of cars trying to get through, but whatever) and a minibus gets stuck, can't go forward because of the parked car, can't go back because of the traffic jam of cars four across ten deep, and now everyone is stuck. Some guys in the middle of the line kept trying to get people to back up, but Azeris have an awesome sense of entitlement "why should I move for you, I've got every right to be here." Plus, cars kept piling up in the back.
Finally, someone gets the bright idea to move the truck. So about 15-20 Azeri guys get out of their cars, suits, pointed shoes and all, break into the truck, and start to push it out the way. Well they don't get to far, so they come back with boards and sticks to shove under the wheels and this time they finally get it moved about a foot so the minibus can make its way through and traffic can flow again. By the way, during all this I saw at least five or six cops standing around watching the mess, not getting involved because it's not their jurisdiction, I've also got a picture of a police mobile going through the one car passageway over the sidewalk. HA! Anyway, I took a bunch of photos, and I have to say that these are definitely worth more than my descriptions by far.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Ok, so it's not a real FUBAR situation (if you don't know what FUBAR is ask around), but it is totally hilarious! Most of the time I hate living on one of the main streets of Baku. The honking horns and revving engines all times of the night is enough to drive anyone bonkers. BUT when it snows, or on days like today when they do something odd to the traffic patterns, the window onto the street is like a microcosm of the society as a whole.
Let me explain. I guess there is some pipe somewhere further up the road that is not doing so well, so they have ripped up the road to repair it. In order to do this they had to shut down one whole side of the street. Earlier today they came with a flatbed truck and placed it across the affected lanes and had some police guys blocking the way. Now in case you haven't lived in the developing world just because there's an obstacle and people are telling you you can't go this way doesn't mean that it necessarily applies to you. In fact, despite the HUGE truck blocking the way, and the sign and the rest of the traffic going the other way, about one car in ten tries to come down the street anyway. They drive up, drive past the sign, get to the huge truck and then have to turn around. The other drivers are either not paying attention or don't really care because there are often two or three cars trying to turn around at the same time.
Since this street is a major artery, they can't just close it off completely, so they have both directions of traffic going on the same side of the street. Which means on a four lane road you have three lanes going north and three lanes going south. (I'll wait while you think about that) Add to that one lane blocked off both ways for stopping mini-buses and parked cars and you have a street that is FUBAR.

Monday, April 14, 2008

All About Poo

You know, I never realized just how much of your time can be dedicated to poo. No not Winnie the Pooh (that would be cute), but actual poo (the biological kind). Before I owned a dog, I never put much thought into it. I mean for the most part, I would take care of my business and not worry about it. After I got married I only thought about my husband's habits to the point that it interfered with my own plans. When we got the dog though, poo became a fifteen minute conversation. Did she poo, how much did she poo, was it right away, hard, soft, etc. I thought that was gross, but with Babes, large chunks of my day are consumed thinking about poo. Has she pooed, when was the last time, how often, etc. I think what's even more disgusting is that I am also worried about what it looks like. Color, texture, consistency, you name it. And I have to say that it is still gross. But necessary. Poo is such a smelly way of determining whether or not things are working as they should. Poo too hard? Not enough water. Too soft? Maybe some GI issues. She can't talk, so I have to read her poo to determine if there's anything I need to worry about. Instead of tea leaves I look for sins in poo. Ahh mysticism at its dirtiest.

Friday, April 11, 2008


*SIGH* we are trying to buy a carpet. I hate when we are trying to make a major purchase because we can never seem to agree on anything. And if we do agree we can never make the jump into a purchase.... Mainly because of me. I am so fickle that I really want to LOVE something before I buy it. I don't generally like carpets, so I'm terrified that we are going to buy something, take it home, and I'm going to hate it after two days. But I know we need to buckle down because we're running out of time, and if we don't buy a carpet we won't have anything to remind us of Azerbaijan.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's all over now!

Ah, Babes has finally taken her first steps! I thought they would have come sooner so I was all psyched up for the ride, only to wait for WEEKS past the time when I thought they would come. Only now that they are here, I'M SCARED! I can already see that walking is going to be MUCH faster than crawling, even though the little crawler was FAST! Which means there's that much more destruction to get into. *SIGH* now that she's taken those steps maybe I should just start carrying her around from now on.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Road Rules

So after living overseas in two different countries I have noticed some things that Americans might not know.
For instance:
1. The proper way to run across the street through traffic is to: lean forward slightly so that your head is in front. Then hold your arms stiffly to your sides but angled out slightly behind you so they look a little like wings. Finally, don't take wide steps, but shuffle quickly.
2. In your car, instead of signaling a lane change, drift slowly into the lane beside you until the car in that lane is either a) forced off the road or b) forced to slam on brakes
3. Signs, general road rules, traffic lights, those are for the other guy, not you.
4. Lanes painted on roads are purely decorative.
5. Do not spend more than 2 seconds parking your car. If it doesn't quite fit on the first try, leave it.
6. It is unnecessary to pull over to stop and let people out of your car or talk to your neighbors.
7. Major traffic maneuvers should be made while talking on the phone.
8. As soon as the light changes you should blow your horn so that the person in front of you knows that it's time to go.
9. As a pedestrian you should wear the darkest colors you own while crossing the street at night.
10. Your horn is a very important piece of car equipment, it should be as loud and obnoxious as possible.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Lost in Translation... again

On Wednesday I was taking a cab to dinner when the cab driver started talking to me. It actually makes me a little proud that I was able to follow this conversation at all. In the past I would have just looked at him blankly...
Anyway, I'm going to try my hand at a dialog so here it goes:
"where are you from... cuba?"
"no, I'm from America"
"oh...something something Americ(some kind of ending) beautiful" Here I thought he was hitting on me so I made some non-committal noise.
"what America is not a beautiful country."
"OH!" I thought to myself!
"Yes" I answered. "America is very beautiful."
"Baku too?"
"yes, Baku is also very beautiful." Like I'm going to say No Baku is ugly.
"Ah this is very good!"
Silence for awhile, we drive through some traffic, and a few idiots do stupid things.
"I once had a friend who was Cuban."
"Yes, very pretty. She was also Black." The word for black in Russian sounds very similar to the N word in English, I almost said "What did you say about my Mama? But then I remembered a conversation I had with my language teacher about what to call black people, so I relaxed. He continued....
"Her name was (I immediately forgot the name."
"oh that is a pretty name." meanwhile I'm thinking to myself why are you telling me this.
"She loved me."
"She returned home to Cuba, and I couldn't go because something something Mama."
"Oh." What should I say to that, especially since i didn't understand all of it. I then asked to get out early and gave him an extra dollar because of the story. BUT, I then told this story to my language teacher, who got very excited about Cubans (she claims he was complimenting me by asking if I was from Cuba since all Cubans are beautiful).
She said that while she was a student, they had tons of Cubans in Baku studying. Apparently at the college she went to, the first two floors of the building were classrooms and the upper floors were dorms. So every day at the beginning of class the professors would send a student upstairs knocking on the dorm doors to tell people to come to class. One day my teacher was selected for the door knocking duty and she was knocking on doors, then she came to the door of one of the Cubans and she knocked. Suddenly the door was open and standing there in the doorway was a naked Cuban boy... one hand on the door the other covering his privates. She said she was speechless. Then from behind him in the room up popped two women (I cannot say whether or not they were also Cuban, once again my language skills have failed me) also naked. And they said "HI, X, come join us!" She was astounded (and I think she is still astounded to this day!) and she fled. She got back to class, and the teacher asked her if she had woken everyone up, and she said yes they would be down shortly. Before too long had passed, he came into class as if nothing was amiss.
I really do think she was slightly enamored of this Cuban. Even after all this time she still has that look when she describes him. She said he was tall, slim, with a good male figure. Long straight legs, and a cute little butt! (all this was in Russian, can you believe it!)
This is why learning languages can be so much fun!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I've been reading "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman for my book club and I'm so depressed. I reached a point today where I just couldn't read any more. I hate it when authors of fiction or non fiction put horrific things in their book just to get a reaction. This book has some prime examples of gratuitous heart string pulling. The book is about a Hmong (small ethnic group that lived in Laos) refugee family in California that have an epileptic daughter and the gap in the culture between the family and the doctors. The author alternates between the medical story of the child and the larger backdrop of the conflict in Laos/Vietnam that ultimately led to the family claiming asylum in the US.
War is horrible. I understand that. I also understand that people do horrible things to each other during wars. And yes, personal accounts always make things more real, so I understand that a few stories are necessary. So I was fine during accounts of kids getting sick and not having medicine. Of having to leave sick and elderly parents along the road while you try to flee, or eating clothes when there is no other food. I was even ok with the story of the mom whose child starved to death in her arms because she didn't have any milk for him. But she went one further, and I'm not even going to type it because then I'd just be putting that horrible image in other people's minds, if you want to know what it was read the book.
Anyway, the whole chapter just reminded me what I sometimes forget every now and then. Kids don't really need all the extra crap that we get for them. Really they just need 1. food 2. shelter (and clothing) 3. love. All the rest is just bonus. I generally try to be reasonable, and I'm not trying to make Babes' childhood the best ever, I just want her to be well loved, healthy and reasonably stimulated. When she gets older I want her to be able to provide for herself, be well loved, and enjoy what she does. But I occasionally do freak out that she is eating from cups that have some random possibly bad for you ingredient in the plastic, or ponder for hours whether or not she should start drinking cows milk because of the hormones.... And then I read something that really makes me thankful that I even have these choices. I am so thankful that I have always been able to give Babes enough milk or food or whatever, and that I have not had to make a choice between her or me. I do not have to try to hide her, or worry about bad people finding her. I can spend all of my energy just giving her love. How wonderful is that?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jim Henson

I've been thinking a lot about Jim Henson lately. Babes and I have recently started watching The Muppet Show on a semi regular basis and I can't help but think back to my own child hood days watching Kermit, Ms. Piggy, and Fozzie. The magic surrounding these characters is so strong that even though I know that they are muppets, when I'm watching I think of them as real. While watching with my daughter I often try to imagine the muppeteers behind the scenes, and figure out what they must be doing, but I can't. I have occasionally watched the behind the scenes footage of the muppet movies, or the muppet show, and it seems somehow incongruous to me that these characters are not animate.
I have picked up and watched several of Jim Henson's movies since I graduated college, and most of them are even more interesting to me now as an adult than they were when I was a child. The sheer magic of his worlds and the size of the worlds is amazing. How much imagination did this man have? Even just watching The Muppet Show you have to admit the man had some imagination. How did he think of all of those muppets? I would never have thought to put some eyes in the middle of a slinky and dance it around to music on television. But it works, and it holds the attention of my dog and one year old daughter. On top of that it can be pretty funny.
I can't help but wonder where his imagination would have led him if he had lived. What new worlds lay untapped in the depths of his mind that will never be discovered. People always say that they remember exactly where they were when they heard the news that John Lenin was dead. I was thinking about it today and I realized that I can remember exactly what I was doing when someone told me that Jim Henson died. I think I can even tell you who told me. Funny how someone that you never knew can make such a big impression on your life. But to be honest, before I fell in love with Harrison Ford, or Christopher Reeve, I loved Kermit the Frog.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Music soothes the savage beast... or baby

Today Babes has had such an issue falling asleep and staying asleep. All day today (and yesterday too) she has been going down for her naps like usual, and then five minutes later up and screaming. If she sleeps at all it's for maybe 20 minutes and then up and screaming. I've been resisting her desire to go back to the quickie naps... I just can't go back. Having tasted the delicious freedom of the 2 hour nap I refuse to be relegated back to the days where I have time to run to the bathroom, eat, or check my email, but not more than one of those. The two hour nap was so peaceful. I could make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, AND watch a minute or two of television before Babes would wake up. Oh blessed peace! Why have you forsaken me!
Tonight she tried the I'm waking up after five minutes, and then wouldn't lay back down in her crib. So I brought out the big guns. First I tried the glo-worm but she was sitting back up every 30 seconds or so to make it play more music. Then I brought out our Creative Zen! I popped some batteries in it, put on some instrumental music, and there she is, out like a light. I only hope this continues once the batteries die....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Getting tired

You know I think I hit a point, maybe two weeks ago, where I no longer want to be overseas. Yesterday, was just another fine example of why it's sometimes irritating to be overseas... I was walking Brick (the dog we are dog sitting) and it seemed like every idiot in a car had to drive by, honk, and say something. Of course, most people were speaking Azeri (which I don't speak at all), some people were speaking Russian (which I sometimes understand) but no one was speaking English (which is understandable why would they). At first, I was amused, ha ha blow your horn at the pedestrian. Then after like the third or fourth car I got worried. What if they were trying to tell me something. I checked Brick, who seemed fine, then I looked at Babes (who was on my back in her Ergo carrier) in several car windows, and she seemed fine, and I checked out myself and the surroundings, and I didn't see any obvious dangers, what was it, I wondered. Then two cars in a row passed by honking their horns and barking, and I realized it was just what happens when there are too many guys running around without women to make them grow up. These weren't teenagers passing me, they were grown men. I mean seriously guys. You're supposed to outgrow this by the time you are 25 or so.
Yes, in the US you still have these things, but at least there, I will usually understand what they are saying, and if I feel like it, I can shout a few choice phrases back. I really wish that I had succeeded in teaching Honey to bark on command because I would love to send her amongst a group of boys, who are barking at her, barking wildly and running at full speed. It's hilarious to watch the then macho acting boys run for their mommies. *SIGH* Oh well, perhaps it's for the best.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost in Translation

You know I completely forgot about this experience until today while I was looking on the Bark! the dog photographer's website... While I was in Moscow I happened to look over and saw two women walking towards the red square beside us. One of the women was some sort of (amateur?) photographer and the other was clearly some sort of model wannabe (you know, stick thin, not enough clothes for the weather). I didn't notice all this at first, in fact, the only reason I looked up because the woman with the camera gestured to me and asked (in Russian) Can I? or maybe Can You? I thought she wanted me to take a picture of her and the other woman, but then she put the camera to her eye, so then I thought she wanted to take a picture of Babes. Which I have no problem with, I'm not sure if I should or not, but lots of people like taking pictures of Babes, I mean after all she is the cutest baby in the whole wide world. And I always prefer when people ask me as opposed to sneaking pictures in with their phones (YES I SEE YOU!). BUT NO. This woman wanted me to keep walking and pushing Babes up the hill. I am super curious what kind of pictures she took, and for what reason. I am sure I was looking mean, after all it was cold, the child was crying or complaining, and I probably also looked suspicious. I wonder if she published them somewhere or if they are just on a blog or in a photo album as strange things I saw in Moscow. Unfortunately I'll never know.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


It's naptime and the apartment is as quiet as it ever gets. Babes is down, sleeping peacefully with only a brief cry in the beginning as protest, Honey is in her cage contemplating the wonders of dogdom and even Brick our four legged house guest is dozing peacefully in his cage.
As I sit here in the office enjoying this unusual moment of calm, I take a moment to breathe in, relax my back, and my voice and enjoy a brief moment of Zen. It's weird how becoming a mother adds significance to seemingly minute things. I'd heard it before, all the moms talk about it, but I really do like having both hands to do something with, or the ability to drink a cup of juice without sitting it down and forgetting about it, or better yet, the brief times during the day when I can go to the bathroom by myself.
On the flip side, I have gotten used to the constant companionship. When Babes is down sleeping I often cast about for things to do, or rather I can't focus on which of the million of things that I want to do should I do first, and in this manner squander her nap. Sometimes I'm just paralyzed by indecision, loneliness, or something so that I want to go wake her up even as I sit enjoying the peace.
She's gotten so big too. I looked at her the other day and caught a glimpse of the child she will soon be. It seemed like her first six months went by so slowly, and then as her growing slowed, time sped up. It does seem like just yesterday that she turned six months and now she is only a month away from her year. (of course, the time thing could be caused by the extraordinary amount of traveling we've been doing in the last 5 months: Ukraine, Vegas, Philly, NY, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Richmond, Capetown, Moscow...)
Ah well, I'd better go enjoy my solitude while it lasts... I've got less than half an hour left!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Elephants on Parade!

We took six days and traveled up to Addo from Cape Town. It was actually a really nice mini-trip. We took the Garden Route inland to Addo passing through a lot of the South African Peninsula on the way. The closest way that I can think of describing the drive is that its like driving through middle America. There were vast stretches of road where for miles there was no sign of human occupation, except for fences. We didn't even run into other cars. But the scenery was beautiful. The two lane road wound through mountainous farm/grazing land. So the landscape was almost untouched, except for the fences. In this day in age, and in all the places where I've lived, you almost never see scenery untouched by houses, stores, or some sign of humans. It was almost creepy in its emptiness.
We stayed the first night in a place that's pronounced like Oatshorn I forget how it's spelled. It was a cute little town, it would have been nice to have been able to spend more time there, there were supposed to be some very interesting things to see, but the only thing we had time for was the Safari Ostrich Ranch. The ranch is actually pretty interesting we almost had our own private tour. We saw baby ostriches and full grown ostriches and ostrich eggs (I even stood on one!) and even an ostrich race! For dinner that night I had Ostrich steak which is delicious! When I first heard about Ostrich farming in the US I thought it was another one of those "yeah, it tastes like beef" kinda like how snake is supposed to taste like chicken. Well, I've had both, and yes, Ostrich tastes like beef, but no snake does not taste like chicken.
After the Ostrich farm we headed on out to Addo which is on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. I have to say that the township in Port Elizabeth is no joke. It's better than the one in Cape Town, at least all the PE township "houses" seemed to have roofs, but it was still huge and decrepit. It's simply awful. (maybe I will have time to write a post on the lack of black people in Africa)
In the Elephant park we stayed in these cute cabins right in the park, not next to the wild animals, but very close. In the morning we got up and drove into the preserve. It is actually pretty interesting to see all the animals wandering about doing whatever it is that animals do all day. I thought it would be interesting to describe all the animals, but this is one instance in which our pictures make a much better statement. In a couple of days go to and look for the album Africa.

To the ends of the earth and beyond!!!!!!

*SIGH* I had every intention of blogging every night while we were in South Africa. But then we were sitting around trying to figure out what to do with our time here, and we decided to go on a last minute trip to the Addo National Elephant Park. This took us away from Cape Town and my internet access for SIX DAYS! So here's what you missed!
On the day we decided to go to the Elephant Park we journeyed to the Cape of Good Hope which is the most Southern point on the continent of Africa. There are two points on the continent where you can stand and look out over the water, and there's nothing but water as far as the eye can see. In theory, if you had a strong enough telescope and a completely flat earth you'd be able to see all the way to Antartica! The cape itself is incredibly windy and the waves are atrocious! It was crazy to stand at the look out points and imagine that you were a sailor years and years ago coming upon the point. I imagine the cape was pretty ferocious even back then. It was a clear day inland, and yet at the cape the wind was whipping around the island like a madman. It also seemed like the waters just off the coast were lousy with hidden rocks and reefs. But despite all of this it was stunning! The jagged cliffs over looking the rocky wave pounded beach, the mountains in the distance.... All just beautiful!
That evening, like I said, we came home and decided to drive up the penisula to the Elephant Park... but I will tell more about that tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


When we first decided to come to South Africa one of the ways that my hubby sold me on the trip was talk about swimming with the Penguins. In Cape Town there is a pretty extensive penguin preserve where you can get pretty close to the nesting grounds of the local penguins. I went thinking that you might see a penguin or two here and there, but no, it is in all actuality, a penguin nesting ground. There were penguins everywhere! Then we went down onto the beach where the penguins also swim around and you could walk around with the Penguins. The kids we were with were playing around in the water and a penguin swam right by them. Then, as I was sitting on the beach a penguin popped right by us so to get to his nest.
It is actually kinda cool to be able to commune with local wildlife like that. I always thought penguins were kinda mean, but no, they kept to themselves, and didn't really bother any of the people.

Friday, January 18, 2008

South Africa!

So we have now been in South Africa for an entire day! Unfortunately, I have been knocked out for most of it. For the first time Babes was not a good traveler, and she woke up whining every thirty-fourty minutes during the plane ride. Which I guess I can understand, those plane seats are not in the least bit comfortable. Now she has her very first cold too, and she's so pitifully cute. She wants to be cheerful, but she's just so tired...
ANYWAY, South Africa is like a super beautiful southern California. The weather feels about the same, and the sky has that same light blue look. Our friends' house is not too big, or too small, but when you walk out into their back yard it is absolutely amazing! First of all the yard is a huge expanse of lawn, with a medium sized pool tucked away into one corner. Their covered porch has big stuffed comfy chairs that are in the perfect position to see the mountain in the distance. Yesterday, I sat with Babes on the chair watching the sun set over the mountain. Absolutely stunning! I've decided I don't even care to see the rest of Cape Town I'm just going to sit on their back porch for two weeks!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More favorite things

I realized last night why the list seemed so lame to me. I left out all the really good parts of stay at home momminess because I didn't want to be THAT woman... well I am slowly starting to realize that I AM that woman, and there's nothing wrong with it... I suppose, as my hubs says we should just buy a Volvo and get it over with (I'm not ready for that yet. We'll just start with adding to the list)

More Favorite Things:
13. Little baby hands patting my face
14. Little baby feet taking little baby steps
15. Loud baby voices saying "UP!"
16. Weird baby crawl
17. Cute baby laughs
18. Big baby smiles
19. Nursing (although it's loosing it's charm as she gets older)
20. Watching dog put up with getting beat on the head
21. Sneaky baby smiles
22. Big baby yawns
23. Sloppy baby kisses
24. Baby hugs

...hmmm I'm sure I'll think of more but I feel better about the list now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Post holiday I am finding it hard to find my inner domestic goddess. I am grumpy and out of sorts, and in general just a little blah. But whenever I try to complain, or want to complain it always ends up sounding so lame because deep down I really do love being a stay at home mom in a foreign service family. I mean lets face it, I could be working 70 hrs a week, in a little office with a tiny window (if I'm lucky) staring at a computer screen all day, come home, make some dinner then kiss babes on the head as she is sleeping, OR I can travel the world, stay at home and teach my daughter where her nose is, have a maid, and go on vacations from my vacation like life. So I'm going to make a list of things that I like about being a stay at home mom to see if I can't coax my goddess out of hiding.
My favorite things (in no particular order)
1. Really cute daughter
2. No office
3. No annoying co-workers
4. Never having to receive or write a memo
5. Lunchtime is whenever we feel like it
6. Daily meetings last less than 20 minutes before broken up to bang on something
7. I have been at home for less than two weeks and I'm already going on vacation again.
8. Dress is casual or pajamas, whichever I prefer
9. Every day is different, you never know what is going to happen.
10. Digital cameras are awesome!
11. I have a maid
12. I learn something new every day

hmmm.... I have run out of steam. I guess this list will just have to do for now.

The Big Mac Museum

One of the highlights of my trip back to the US was going to visit my friends in PA. It was a different trip going with babes. Normally I just hang out with them and their three kids. Which is not as bad as it might sound, their kids are AWESOME! so polite and well behaved almost all of the time. Even when i didn't have kids I liked to go hang out with them. Now with babes my kid plays (sort of) with their kids, their kids weren't as bored with me.... All around fun! However it's usually not much to blog about, after all I'm hanging out with college friends and their kids. The stuff that I find fun about those kinds of weekends would not interest the world (it barely interests my husband, and/or parents).
But, about three or four months ago I received an article about the Big Mac Museum which is not far from their house in PA. So, of course, I had to go! Yes, it's just a big McDonald's, BUT it has a GIANORMOUS big mac statue and lots of random big mac information. As well as every commercial ever made about the big mac. So while stuffing myself on some good old fried foods I read up on the big mac and took some pictures.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I am Wuss

I am Wuss! No, not Will Smith, or even his character in the movie, but me. For some reason (and hopefully it's temporary) ever since Zora was born my overactive imagination has gone back to the days where it won't let me sleep if I watch a scary movie. Case in point. I am Legend. Not that scary, but I stayed up the ENTIRE night after I watched it. I think it's mostly my own fault. I gave my brain time to process the movie before going to bed, so that once I got to bed all those gaps left in the narration were filled in by my imagination. What happens in between the time that New York is quarantined and the movie begins, well I can tell you, and it's not pretty. Before this didn't bother me so much. I figured I could kick butt with the best of them, and if not I'd die and go to Heaven, but now.... NOW I have a daughter so my remaining night time thoughts dwelt upon would I rather have her infected and watch her die, or have myself get infected, die, then leave her all alone, or have both of us un-infected but then have to fight like mad to protect us both, or maybe both of us die in a fiery crash.
But really, ever since I read the Stand (you gotta love Stephen King) I have worried about a global-civilization-ending pandemic. Would you want to be on the surviving side? I mean yes, to die is a horrible thing. To die young is even worse, but it's got to be difficult being a survivor. Every time I think about it I end up thinking about the scene from The Stand where the main character is trying to get out of Manhattan and has to take the tunnel, in the dark, with cars full of bodies.... How creepy is that? What would it be like to live in a world made up of mostly ghosts? Where everyone you know has died... where you might have even watched everyone you know die? How do you keep going?
I pray that I never have to find out.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


It snowed in Baku today! Just like last year, there are cars sliding all over the road, and big huge drifts of snow everywhere. We have taken turns standing by the window watching the Ladas and Nivos slide down the hill. I should have taken pictures again, but I was busy chasing the little crawler around the apartment.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


It's really lame when you have a travel blog that you don't update when you are traveling (but yes, I am lame like that).
Babes and I just got back from a whirlwind tour of the US. Yes we were there for 2 months, but during that time, Babes and I went to Philly, Vegas, New York, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Richmond, and DC. We saw a lot of good friends and family, we visited the Met and the Big Mac Museum, and we celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
Now it's 2008 and we are back in Baku, but only for a brief respite, in two weeks we are going to pack our bags and head out again. This time to South Africa!