women's driving rights and privileges :)

From a talk with S. She states that she didn't have any driving licence back in Pakistan, but often used M's and her brother's cars to ran an errand. She had never been cought. Cought she would pay a fine, that's it. "Everybody does so."



Provalone. Seen at the farmers market today: a price tag on a piece of cheese. I thought this must be provolone.

@музыка: Nick Cave, Little Empty Boat


If you want to sleep badly,

read Children at War by P. W. Singer. I grabbed that book in a hope to collect some material for my father's novel (16th century, a cossak adopts a pre-teen boy who has survived the massacre by Tatars, and then together they chase after the treasures stolen not by the Southern invaders, but by the locals supporting the Polish rulers) and for my own work too - I often work with refugees. Even seeing the photo on a cover, I still thought the photo was used to attract attention, and the book would be mostly about the post-traumatic syndrome in those children who witnessed the violence and about "the sons of the regiment" - the orphans adopted by the groups of adult soldiers. The book turned out to be about the real children-soldiers, the whole squads of minors under 17 and the peacekeepers facing children as enemies. However, I decided to finish the book, I've found lots of facts, both historical and contemporary, for my father, and I think now I know more on what's going on in the regions where "my" refugees come from.


celebrations and attitudes

Aque's "Butterfly-Balerina" was the only hand-made costume for the whole school (about 200 kids), although I also used the ready-made blank white wings from a dollar store for the base to decorate, the others didn't make even such a simple effort to add some "personal touch" to the carnivale. So I've taken some photos of the school parade, but there was not anything special there. I didn't have time for making something for myself.
The old ladies at Le Coin de la Famille confessed that they never had such a celebration in their childhood. (And some of them haven't ever tried fennel as herbal vegetable and not a tea - what a poor culture! :hah: ;) )
Some of my Chinese friends first were not excited about skulls and ghosts, mentioned Qingming in which small children don't participate, but then went "yao tang" ("asking for candy") and were prowd of the tons of sugar and artificical colors collected. :)
At St. Vladimir we didn't have any party since all the the money and efforts were spent for the cross on the centrall dome. My students started asking me about the party, so the dialogue naturally went to the imaginary and real horrors, I gave them the hand-out with poems by Fedorak and late Stus, told them about Stus, how cautious and even tame (!) this person was :heart: , that he never fought against anything, never participated in political activities and was interested in cultural issues only. (My father was not his "best friend", but knew him personally.) One of my students was the most excited about the idea of smuggling the texts from and into the prison. (I assume the mentioned poem was written in the prison.) The "romanticism" is natural for his age (12). Let it be. He is on a more or less calm continent...
to be continued





Klavka in Sept.

Dress-up and "baby bananas"


Bianfu! Wanted!

Dear all, could you suggest me a page where the traditional bianfu design is shown quite clear and big? The positive meaning of bats in the Chinese culture is mentioned everywhere, but I want to show Klavka those bright and fancy symbols.


My students

My third-generation immigrants are smart kids: they don't open their algebra during my class any more. They know that I'll ask them what is the Ukrainian for the things they study now. However they were interested to talk about their hobbies and learn the specific vocabulary in Ukrainian.
Ni xiaojie has quit me, now she goes only to the Chinese school that don't make sure that the parents know about their children's home work. In her case, the vocabulary on balley and her hobbies just scared her. :) Though she has nothing against me personally, on the last lesson we talked friendly. :)


The Party cadre was right!

That reminds me of an old Soviet joke about a guy who was lucky enough to go for a trip abroad, but could not watch a strip show. Back home he asked his wife to take off her clothes and walk here and there. And he made a conclusion, that the Party cadre, who warned him against watching striptease, was right: that's an ugly show! Now I can add, that hip-hop is and ugly show too. "Sexy 101" - that's the exact name of the new training at the gym - was about very modern dances that consisted of the ass-shaking, jumps and elements of the old Soviet "proizvodstvennaya gimnastika" ("exercises for your industrial workplace" or something like that - if you've seen the Chinese stamps from 70ies with the exercises, you have an idea about it). Perhaps I'm getting older, so that's why I'm so sceptical about it, but I think that the new generations will find these "groove it, move it" as much ridiculous as I find them now.

Klavka was to the pumpkin farm with her school. I warned her that I would not be there pointing fingers at every goat or pumpkin, so she should pay attention to everything, memorize everything, and I will ask her about what she sees on the farm. She could tell me about the trip quite clear, moreover, she had nobody to prompt her the right Russian words for what she had seen, so I was glad to hear about "the toy witches - tall and short - in a dark house (e.g. haunted barn)" and "the sheeps whose defecations have the shape of eggs". :eyebrow:


...душа правдивая: як не п'є, то воші б'є, а все не гуляє...

It looks like they gonna f* my brain with this "celebration" every day now - and I'll do the same to you, my dear readers. :) Yesterday Klavka brought home a big sheet of black construction paper with white silhouettes on it. For the dummies-parents these spermatosoids were labeled as ghosts. The other paper was not related to the event - that was an information on head lice. The school are looking for volunteers to hunt the beasts in the class. No experince needed, training is provided. Reading about quite an exotic way to remove the nits manually I almost threw up, so I decided to contribute to the school life in some other way and later. School also need volunteers to help in classes, everyone with the police check :ment: is welcomed. "According to my understanding" :gigi: , the police check is not necessary for the lice hunting.

Yesterday I've bought a pack (56 grams, cool! :) ) of shelled hemp seeds. They taste like walnuts, but they are even more oily. I used them as a dressing for potatoe vareniks smeared with a tiny piece of butter. And I've given vareniks to Klavka as a snack to her local school. Nobody laughted. So it was with four vegetarian sushi in a plastic box. :shuffle: Kangyi Maidanglao! Kangyi Meiguo pizza-bing! :protest: :) The only thing I've sacrificed for school were the hemp seeds, because the teachers could take them for grind nuts, and the nuts are prohibited there (too many children suffer from nut allergies). BTW, from a flyer provided at school I learnt out about such a perversity as mandelona nuts. No, no, guys, there is nothing related to the other school activities mentioned above. :) Mandelona nuts are peanuts which have been de-coloured and de-flavoured, then artificially flavoured with a nut flavouring such as almond, pecan or walnut and modeled to resemble that nut. :str:


Local Eros (Eros?) vs. "Their" Tanatos :(

Yesterday I've been to the gym for the first time after a month pause. I spent there only half an hour and arranged a training session with Erin next week. On my own, I went back to the previous set of exercises (to get more lean tissue) and tried one from the new set (for power). It looks like I'm not fit for the new set of exercises, but haven't lose my shape I worked on since June.
In the gym I've also noticed an ad of the next training called smth like "Moving sexy". Tomorrow, 1:10-1:50. "Learn how to shake it, groove it..." If I have time, I'll surely attend! It would be a sin: not to attend such a show! :gigi: :glam: My only concern is my own grin. :)
So I've arranged Klavka to go S on that time. And I asked S about her family back in Pakistan. They all are safe. But among the M's relatives there are deceased and badly wounded... I don't really know how to speak to M if I see him. :( What phrases, all that etiquette... I'm always uncomfortable with that, no matter in what language...


Witty Russian coinages

Got this link from Umeko, giggled a lot. Some of the entries describe me too. :)


ferrets, costumes, cereals...

Borrowed something about ferrets by Richard Bach. Returned it in a day. Still puzzled: who are the supposed readers of this bullshit?
Making a costume for Klavka's school carnivale. Aque wants to be a butterfly-balerina. Baobeir's daxue department also encourages its stuff to dress-up and trick&treat. I suggest Baobeir to be Saddam on that party.
Refused to pay 18 bucks for pizzas for her school pizza days, explaining that we don't eat fast-food. At the Montessory school they also had pizza - it smelt and looked like (or even worse than) a "belyash" sold somewhere near a sub station in Kiev. Eating these pizzas is as healthy as drinking vodka "for somebody's health". BTW, the organic food store in our West village sells mostly cereals and oils. :( But there is still one kind of goat milk yogurt, and I buy fine chocolates at Walker's - I'd better spend those 18 bucks in these stores.



Let's call her Anna. She is from Kiev too. This lady from the block of flats next to us feels very uncomfortable caring for her toddler grand-daughter. Anna is still quite strong physically, but she has to come to the Steel City from the neighbouring town every day, and, moreover, she thinks it is time for her to kick back, so she gets no joy from conversations with the girl. However her daughter has no choice, but to rely on Anna as a caregiver. Perhaps she thought I was Jewish, Anna once asked me:
- Do you send Klava to the synagogue kindergarten?
- N-no. She's in a home daycare.
To make the life easier for her mother, Anna's daughter sent the girl to the synagogue kindergarten, but only in the mornings, because that cost a lot.
Yesterday I occasionaly met Anna and proposed her to send her grand-daughter to the childcare at St. Vladimir. That would be much cheaper.
- No, they teach children religion, I don't want that. Now she is at the synagogue, but I don't want her to stay there for too long, because they start teaching children religion, they'll start learning Hebrew at the grade 1. No, I don't want that.
- I mean, there, at the Ukrainian school, they charge parents almost nothing, and if you tell them about your family problems, they'll accept your girl for free.
- But they teach them religion.
- I work there too, we don't teach them religion. And what religion could one teach to 3 and 6 year-olds?!
- Yes, but they'll teach them later. Here, at the synagogue, I spoke to them, now we pay only 50 bucks a month. But they teach them religion and I don't want...
* * *
However, the number of students in St. Vladimir's school grows. Today one of the teachers told us about one new girl who brought a box of vareniks (pierogi, a.k.a. dumplings, like jiaozi, but the stuffing could be made of wild cherries, or cottage cheese, or potatoes and onion, or liver).
- Imagine, vareniks dressed with sour cream!
- So what? I was going to give Klavka some vareniks once.
- Well, in that group they are too little to laugh. But the older children are not used to that and may laugh!

Yopernyj babaj! What shame is in Hebrew or vareniks?! Why do people are so ashamed of themselves?! Of the things that make their identities, the unique cuisine, sсriрt, clothes and so on?! Well, give it up. Give it up for Tim Hortons?!


Togo Salmon without any roe

Mai Da has its own art museum. It was founded by Dr. E. Togo Salmon and now there is a handful of ancient coins and Dutch oysters (the later is on a canvas), one van Gogh - A ginger jar and onions created a bit earlier than Potatoe eaters - and lots of drawings, lythography and oil paintings one forgets as soon as leaves, among which there is an enormous 19 century canvas with a scene from ancient history. I'd also forget it, but Klavka was really impressed (I think, she was impressed by the size of this painting and the cheap drama in movements), so she almost pierced it with her finger: "Mom, who's that?"
The best place to go after this "wo bu guan-bowuguan" is East meet West bistro to eat shrimp and chicken with vegetables on rice with tequilla and coconut sous. I haven't feel any tequilla in that souce, but perhaps it's good. :)

@музыка: What can you machet in Amerika?У Амэрыке нет больше ни-че-во!


contemporary Ukr. poetry

I don't quit the idea of reciting some poetry to my math geniuses. Something contemporary. Or even make them recite that on St. Mykolai (Claus) feast the shcool prepares for December. I'm a sadist...

Назар Федорак

Трав земляних оксамитні мечі
Осінь вартують удень і вночі,
Зима ж напинає вітри, як вітрила,
Зима в білі сурми довкіл засурмила,
І нас присипляє поволі зима,
І ми засинаєм, як осінь і трави,
Нам сняться коралі, цілунки і страви,
І білі вітри, і мечі, і сурма.


This Brave New World Math

On a recess between my classes one of my students opens a handbook on algebra. He tries to do the calculations he didn't finish (or even didn't start) in class. 1/2 + 1/3. After a minute of whispering and fidgeting on a chair the boy opens an envelope with paper stripes divided into the equal sections (a stripe with 3 sections, a stripe with 5 sections) and puts them one over the other to get the answer in such an exotic way.


Huizu doll

Yesterday we were to Toronto. The cats hid from us, but the poisonous fishes came to the aquarium wall to greet us. :) We were late to the Textile Museum, but ate a nice set of sushi, drunk sake, bought a doll from a series of nationalities of China - in a costume of Hui nationality, as Klavka chose it looking at the dresses and not at the characters :) , visited lots of thrift shops, Baobeir and I visited Condom Shack taking turns.


"The nuns were quiet. I'd rather be bored
and hang out their laundry in sight of the Lord,
than wrestle with dragons to get to my sink
while the cats chase the cucumbers, slickity-slink"

"They go slippity-slosh,"
said Hieronymus Bosch
(from the book I mentioned before; I wonder what message do the kids get from these words? :gigi: )

It looks like I often spell the words as I hear them... :( Luckily, it looks like :) some adrenaline released during my assignments doesn't slow down my brain but accelerates its work.
The real question about my work is that on lots of assignments I risk more than I earn. That's even not the money-and-risk "ratio", but the amount of work compared to the "risks per minute". I can't judge what is easier (and I think none is easier) psychologically: being exposed to the risks every two or three days, or being in stressful situations once a month. That's not about psychology. I get valuable experience, but I get it slower than the people I work for. Then, policemen, doctors, social workers are full- or part-time employed, they have more social guarantees either written on paper or existing in the people's minds. The society (at least the local) reserves some privacy to them.
However, I like interpreting more than translation. (According to the text, the housekeeper finally goes back to Bosch. :) ) I can afford myself doing that.
She: Do you remember what you said in the spring?
I: And what I said in the spring? I just said that I could not judge. That time I could not predict my income. I was happy I got a job. I still like interpreting, but having only this job I would not be able to support my family without my husband's salary.
She: But if you were alone, what would you do?

What would I do? I think, I'd buy a dildo. Bu da, ye bu xiao. A medium one and not too fancy, I think.
I: I'd go back to Kiev. Even the same income as here will let me survive on my own, or perhaps I can get more work, and I'll be with my father - it is easier when you are with your family.
I think, I'd buy a dildo here (the local shops propose more models) and then go to Kiev. However I prefer to solve the problems only when they really emerge and I don't ask others witty questions like "if you got crabs/developed a tumor, what would you do?" I didn't want to come here, but I don't regret my decision to go with Baobeir. Just look, guys, at the flyer of trainings on efficient management Baobeir got here once:
Participants willy apply the skills learned throughout the workshop, climaxing with a problem-solving team situation which will assess the synergy of team work. Would you let your partners com climax with a problem-solving team situation?!


magnificent children's books

For those of you who have kids: these are two books I've found at the library, I'd like to buy them later.

Museum 123 / by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
ISBN 0-316-16044-X
The quantities and numerals are taught by showing the fragments of van Gogh's paintings, Medieval manusсriрts and Coptic textiles with "one unicorn", "two onions", "four fishes". Exciting!

Pish, Posh, said Hieronimus Bosch by Nancy Willard
ISBN 0-15-262210-1
About a housekeeper who used to comb, feed and walk all the weird creatures Hieronimus Bosch painted (sure, they all lived in his household).
Sometimes I feel like I was that lady... :)

Franz Kafka Multicultural Tzirkus Ltd.