Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tighten the saddle....let's ride!!

Welcome back to the land of Borscht!  I fell off the blogging saddle.  It’s a bit like taking a day off from the gym  ....  then 2 days  .... then 2 months  ....  and you know the rest of that story.  A tremendous thank you to all my loyal blog followers - family and friends - who have encouraged me to hoist myself back up in the saddle.  I have remounted the tall steed...ya horsey!!
The blogging hiatus started with a trip back to the states for 3 weeks at the end of August. So here’s a mini recap of what the heck’s been going on since the "icy water" post:
  • Contrary to popular belief, it does get down right warm in Moscow in the summer.  The high this past July was around 93 degrees F.  
    It appears this thermometer needs a cleanin!   (This is in celsius.)
    • Moscow underwent a sidewalk makeover over the summer.  Every inch of sidewalk was torn up and reset in brick pavers.  Sounds great.  Er, not so much.  When the sidewalks were torn up - there was no “plan B” for pedestrians - everyone was forced to walk smack dab in the superhighways they call city street traffic here.  Also no forewarning of exposed manhole covers, etc.  I can only imagine the tally of broken bones, sprained ankles and, well, deaths due to the upheaval.  The Jimmy Choos and roller skaters had to be extra diligent. Perhaps most interesting, the brick company that “won” (using the term loosely) the work to repave the entire city is owned by the wife of the former Kremlin chief of staff.  Spousal cronyism?  Naaah.  By the way, the wife is Russia’s only female billionaire...
    Notice no warning tape saying "don't walk here"... P.S. go ahead and risk your life walking into on-coming traffic...
    • Found those fond of XC skiing staying in fine shape with these summer time contraptions:
    • Of course Russia is in the midsts of one of the most interesting political periods in its history. More in a future blog on the of which took place right next to our apartment.  We couldn’t help but casually stroll over and check it out first hand, (we were safe Mom, promise!).  
    • We also took in the Bolshoi Theater and had many incredible trips to European locales as we are enjoying taking advantage of all the great travel at our fingertips.

    You may remember how I prided myself in not making one banana peel (major wipe out) on the labyrinth of undulating ice and snow that engulfs Moscow every winter.  Well...paybacks.  Day one on the stuff this year - heels up to the sky...a direct hit to my knee and perhaps most horrifying - the designer purse settled in a huge, deep puddle of ice, mud and soot.  To make matters worse, I was holding on to Steve’s arm...which I proceeded to pull out of its socket.  That was one heck of a welcome back to shock us into reality.  Welcome to winter, now go mend the hole in your pants and strap a sling to your husband’s shoulder...

    We officially live in the land of the dark.  We now have one less hour of daylight in winter.  This started when the rest of the world switched to daylight savings time last fall.  President Medvedev officially cancelled daylight savings time in Russia due to the stress of having to change all the clocks back (true story).  The sun currently rises at around 10 a.m., sets at 6 p.m.  All good...if you’re a vampire.  Hello vitamin D.
    This is what it currently looks like outside at 9:45 a.m.:

    As comedian Ron White would said, today started with “no temperature”.  It was 0 degrees F.  Getting down to -9 tonight.  Fun times right there.  I was at an American Women's Organization meeting recently and in the middle of it, a woman started clapping.  We all looked over and she was clapping...for the sun....because it came out for .08 seconds before it retreated back to its normal comfy spot behind thick grey clouds.  It’s the little things that  make us happy here.

    So here we are at the grocery store’ll remember me talking about the exorbitant food prices.  

    A quick run down of what you're looking at...  Blueberries on the left for 390 Rubles (that’s approx. $10)....yes, expensive for a small container of blueberries.  To the right you see regular red bing cherries under the yellow Rainier cherries, (these cherries just happen to be my fave).  Now for those doing the math at home, to convert to dollars, you basically divide Rubles by 30.  You will see this small pint of bing cherries is 2,250 RUB or $75 and the Rainier cherries are a mere 2,800 RUB, or $93.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to.  I slowly backed away from the cherry section....but did buy the $10 blueberries as a nice consolation prize...