я верю - все еще впереди!
меня много великого ждет!
трахнуть принцессу! мир спасти!
(можно - наоборот).
- александр демин

Dear readers,

It is weird to discover a diary in English on a Russian site. However having no time to write personal messages to every friend in his or her language, I would like to have a place to store my photos and post updates :) on the Steel City and much more. ;) So, enjoy!


everything you wanted to know about the Steel City...

Well, before the Steel City there was Kiev. We went back to Kiev in August last year. We had left Klavka for a week with her grand-parents and went to Budva, Crna Gora (Montenegro) to bathe in Adriatic Sea, go sightseeing to Kotor, Skrpjel Island and Svety Stefan, light candles for Klavka's health at the the mountain monastery before the relics of St. Vasily the Great.
Deing back to Kiev, Baobeir was taken back to his Institute, worked with students and post-graduates - taking into consideration his salary, that was a charity or volunteer work.
Claudiuccia was sent to a kindergarten, where she learned lots of Ukrainian and Russian words, including a few Russian words starting with "P".
I had found a good interpreting job at a high tech company and was satisfied with the tasks and with my own performance, though I have started working for them feverish, suffering from Herpes zoster.
I have also attended some real-life meetings with the people I had met on ProZ and other forums and a wedding of Baobeir's friend - I have to show you a photo taken there, but later: I have to cut it with Photoshop.
Then Baobeir and me were invited to a funeral of Alla Platonovna Bazhan, a sister of a famous Ukrainian poet Mykola Bazhan. Alla Platonovna was opened to people all 93 years of her life, making new friends even in her eighties and keeping the old friends, that even her funeral made people to create new contacts: one of her former students (A.P. was teaching resistance of materials and other courses of this kind), now a big boss in on of the construction and architecture institutes in Kiev, invited me to translate a campus layout for a competition to get a tender in the North-East of China.
So I've dived into more high-tech and new for me sewage system and construction terms for another couple of weeks. The Chinese partners of the high-tech company were scared by the "Orange revolution" and didn't come to Kiev in December, as it was agreed before, but there were no restrictions for Ukrainians to go to China with that campus project, and finally it won the tender (I have learnt about that already being here, in the Steel City).
Then came the time for me to decide if I go with Baobeir to Canada or stay in Kiev, where I had been working successfully. Luckily we both got the working visas, so I have chosen to go with Baobeir.
And after a 10 hour flight with Claudiuccia shouting "YUSH-CHEN-KO!" (to show us how annoyed she was) we stepped onto the Canadian ground.
And here is the Steel City with the University on the West end, separated from the whole city with a high-way brigde, huge steel plants on the lake shore and a scabby downtown. Benvenuti!



Baobeir thought I had to light one for myself too. :)


Budva, Castle



the color of our future

I still wonder why didn't I follow the advise to serve coffee at Tim Hortons. "They hire people constantly," - I was told. If I didn't get that advise from a wife of a Baobeir's colleague - he plans to get a permanent position of a real prof somewhere here, and she calculates her income when she's back to work and plans to invite a live-in caregiver from her home country - I would not mention that advise here.

You may see, finally my investment in an I-bring-Klavka-to-her-home caregiver resulted in a contract with The Agency. I am a self-employed subcontractor of The Agency. Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business, Solutions for Canadians / Frances McGuckin. Yes, I did borrowed this book. I've been roaming the library picking every book attracted my attention, CD as well. I have to know more about the culture of my collegues. I have to be prepared for some new kinds of assignments. I have to learn some slogans: The Agency got recognition plates from a sity major for its imput into anti-racist movement.
I bring them home: a handbook on forensic science... Powerpoint for dummies... Fiesta Filipina CD...
That's amazing, but when the slogans are not recited by Boris Paramonov from Radio Liberty, the things turn to have a human face: The Color of Our Future by Farai Chideya. Somebody had the same "complicated childhood and toys made of concrete" just like me. The differences between us are minor: the gender of a single parent and my knowledge of... the rap music. And the skin colors. I like the books (and people) tuned on a positive wave.

@музыка: Live, Birds of Pray, Like I Do


foot-bending technique

Her Pakistani caregiver could not teach her that - she just wraps her head in a long and wide piece of cloth, Aque has learnt that fast.
Umeko? ;)


good intentions

The reason I've become so talkative? Klavka is sick. Yesterday at the library she was not the only one to spread her snots around her: 5 years old Misha, her former classmate from C.M. Montessori school came there with a sick ear. The weather is too bad to play outside. I chatter with the boy's mother. She also has a teenage daughter, and I ask the mother about the hobbies of her daughter, her school etc. - high school was a hard period for me, I've grew out of the school too fast, so I am glad to hear that somebody enjoys being a high school student. Misha's mother asks me if I make friends with any Russian-speaking people here. I deny automatically: I don't make friends with people just because they speak any particular language or we are supposed to have the same background - my background seems to be closer to that of Fafai Chideya. :) But I already have good acquaintances here and I'm glad to meet Misha's mother. Then she tells me about a disco party organized by one Russian lady: Misha's parents had enjoyed it, but had gone home early enough and did not see that the party ended with a fight, police intervention etc., etc.. "Perhaps some people were going back to cars to drink and then went back to the party." Yeah, the language betrays. :D As well as the good intentions do. Luckily, there are enough of those languages (all six to help cure hemorrhoidis whenever the hemorrhoidis needed to be treated) for me, and Baobeir has sociophobias - we are not attracted by any language itself.
The only place related to my origin I dare to go here (and contribute in their "activities" some way) is the Ukrainian Orthodox church without a cross on a central dome - it is sealed with the "silver" adhessive tape. I expected it to be repaired by Easter... They have a school and preschool there, I wanted Aque to start on last Saturday, but she had been already coughing a bit.
Misha's mother complains about the air polution - a week ago the plant's exhaust reached our egg-headed daffodil-jonquil covered trimmed neighbourhood, if I we had gas masks, I won't be shy to put them on. Anyway, "the Steel City is a friendly place, with a big Russian-speaking community".


without judgement and advocacy

Oh mothers, teach your children
always, always act professionally! Like I do even with my daughter. F., our pharmacist, suggests Klavka to choose a flavour of her kid's tylenol: bubble gum, grape, cherry. She stands miserable, indifferent, breathing with her mouth. I could choose for her. However I interpret. Hearing "bubble gum" in Russian she returns to this world. Aque neglects all other unnecessary details and thinks she will be given a real bubble gum right now. Claudiuccia's new caregiver once bought a bubble gum for her, because her girls often ask for treats. (S., from Pakistan, is expecting her second baby these days, if haven't already gave birth to him, so we've switched to another caregiver.)
I can pass for a very permissive mother or an integrate personality always stuck to the principles of my profession. However I do so just because I know for sure that their grape or cherry are as "natural" as a bubble gum.



So many "natural" things, in huge quantities! To pile them all on an enormous jeep! Stuck them in the pockets of your sweatpants! The color of the candies... Evgenija Ginzburg in her memoirs about GULAG mentioned women in prison exchanging their bras for pink lolly-pops, then smuggling them to a prison orphanage for their kids. Now everybody here has an access to this luxury - the color stays intact.
I still have no sweatpants. What a shame!
Don't forget thyne sweatpants and the nail art too: draw a landscape on your little finger nail - everybody is supposed to look carefully at your nails. There is no much room for moderate style, it finds refuge in the Mid-Eastern garments and suits of MaiDa* professors. "All girls are dressed so fancy, and only you are like an old peasant," said Pan, when I came to Jifu Daxue in my Sun Zhongshan-Sidalin-Mao-style jacket. Now I don't mind to repeat that trick again, but the kids have grown up and discover that the real urban gear costs almost as much as my plain feminine closes. Wearing them I pass for mild-religious :) Jewish women. Quite mature women, I would say. The youngest, although already having at least two kids, are successful in combining the styles, sweeping the floor with denim skirts, covering their elbows with thin sleeves of sport jackets and hiding their hair under "weather-beaten" baseball caps.
There are a lot of wealthy Jews here on West end, you know. As bears roam the streets in Moscow, and nationalists loudly chew pig lard in the Western and Central regions of Ukraine, preparing to beat Jews (and cyclists). And for somebody this is a truth and this person wonders only about cyclists.
Every day I write e-mails to my parents-in-law. About a month ago I had composed a long message about Klavka's development. Not a word of usual sentimentality in their reply, just an information that "people in uniforms" (what kind of uniforms?!) have removed a monument of a great Jewish writer Sholom-Aleikhem "said the evening news". As it appeared later, the monument had been taken away for some renovations. It has been placed back a week ago or so. My parents-in-law tell us about that. And I feel release and less regret for not being in Kiev as long as the janitors are "people in uniforms" for the evening news and my parents-in-law over there.
* "Mac" University :)

@музыка: Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Tsirkus


"Still no murders, just thefts?"

I was asked that question. Perhaps I have been "networking" too loud, my fault, so now people think I have news as tremendous as my self-advertising was. And, what is crucial, I am going to reveal these tremendous news to them - a confidentiality agreement is invented only to help me look enigmatic. A Philistine interest in shocking accidents and a darker side of a human nature. Would they stand that shock being somehow involved in developments? Or at least routine ordeal with the scenes of pain, misery and sorrow? Or if they were my clients, would they like me to tell everybody about their hemorrhoids?

To "In My Secret Life", if you still look through my revelations: it is a common belief in Switzerland, that Arnica montana - either as a gel or in homeopatic globules - helps to cure bruises.


"Love" Shop in the Steel City, or KANGYI MAIDANGLAO!

The life of a working mother may look scrambled and lacking the satisfaction of her basic needs. However sometimes I finish my assignments about an hour before the time to take Aque back home.
I don't want to roam the city too far from the house of her caregiver: I can be late, and being 15 minutes late results in a charge of 2 hours fee.
However the downtown isn't lack of cultural monuments. I enter a sex shop. It also hosts a corner with the weed symbolic and paraphernalia (I am trying to evoke from my memory any other word for it, but my forensic science-inspired glossary remains silent) and borrows you des K7 vidйo pour les adultes.
Those days I had been planning a Birthday party for Klavka at the Aviary (a kind of zoo for exotic birds), and wanted to bake cookies in shapes of parrots etc., so I needed cookie wire cuts. I've already been to the Bulk Barn stores, tried to trace them anywhere I go.
My professional eye spies something flesh-colored. Yeah, exactly what you need: baking molds and wire cuts. Tits, private parts, a phallic-shape spatula. As Baobeir likes to say, "You'll get them as a present on your next Birthday!" After looking over some body-paint, miniature phallic erasers to put on a pencil and other elaborate fruits of a sophisticated mind, I turn to the high counter piled with condoms. Somehow it happened that I hadn't know about the existence of the Coke-scented condoms, what a discovery!
I meet face to face with the girl behind the counter I've noticed entering the shop. Now I can see her much better. What a friendly look, irradiating happiness! What a beautiful, "traditionally" beautiful face, clever eyes! It is not spoiled even with the "what a...!" cushions of fat under her chin and on her neck - not to mention the dimensions of her haunches. I could meet her 6 years ago pedalling her bike to Keji Daxue - she is going back there to learn and learn and learn both English and the achievements of the Soviet space industry. She understands my unasked question, "That's amazing to drop in here for a half an hour, but to come and sit here the whole days... Heku?!" She looks around the shop as a host, as a part of it, like it was the dream of all her childhood. I leave the shop still polishing in my mind the phrase like, "There is no evidence of improving you cholesterol level only by f*ing and not revising your diet."
Down with french fries!
:protest: :protest: :protest:

@музыка: Flying Bulgar, Tsirkus, Mazl Tov Variations


A sunny morning, the whole room is covered with glitters - Klavka makes crafts. I am doing my exercises. A freezing wind brings in the smell of sinter. I propose Aque to choose between the outside and indoor play. She is not bothered with the smells from outside, but she wants to go to the drop in group for parents and children. I decide to go, finally, to the centre for French-speaking families. Klavka agrees.
I hope I won't see any of my clients there. (The general proficiency of French here is such high that speaking with the French-speaking newcomers, locals need a help from somebody who studied French to speak with the doctors being in labor.) I already have the necessary phrases prepared and I'm not shy to recite them like a prayer, however I don't want clients to observe me in a relaxing environment, know anything about my private life. The hardest thing is to socialize your child and serve society being so often restricted in social contacts.

The club is small and overcrowded, but, though, neat and has big windows. A few Canadian mothers, an Arabian lady, one of the "teachers" is, I think, of the Caribbean origin. Somebody looks at me as if I had leprosy - this lady speaks German to her son and hardly understands French. I still can't make difference between Low and High German - the dialects of Low German differ too, and I have never been exposed to any of them for a long time to hear the difference.
Klavka rushes to the crafts table and starts her "work" there. Then switches to roleplays and dressing-ups. The club time finishes with the songs in a circle. The teachers invite me for a dinner in a big meeting room.
Lots of old ladies from some "l'вge d'or" club, speaking strange French I still can't get used to. Food! If those francophones could put their efforts to teach the others not their language, but their cuisine! I help serving salads, removing empty plates. The musaka (cheese, egg-plants, minced meat)is cooked by a lady with "a Mediterranean appearance". A warm, tasty, home-made plate. I regale on it. Je me rйgale sur зa.
The weekend starts earlier and will continue longer - God save the Queen, that's her Birthday on the 23th of May. And my only pray is for no broken skulls on holidays - Klavka's caregiver is dating now and fights for her
right to have free weekends. And Baobeir is going to be back from a conference only on Monday.
Bon weekend!


God father

Astonishing news: my father's neighbor, E., visits the family in Toronto that used to be our neighbors too. They all have come today at noon! E. writes prose both for adults and children, and her son, Y., (he's about 30) writes everything from the bank pamphlets to fantasy. :) Klavka receives a book of fairytales (from E.) and an encyclopedia for kids (from Y.). I get an envelope from my father "to me to use for Klavka" with... American bucks! Dear my, having the only steady income - his pension - of about 40 bucks a month, he still wants to offer something to his God-daughter.

@настроение: still shocked


More than 50 years ago

on a roof of St. Sophia Cathedral: my father (on the right) and his friend Zhenya. The photo was taken by my grandfather, who had been exploring the surface of the cathedral that time.



The glitters spread wider and wider. They've left our flat. A carpet from our doors to an elevator sparkles even in a dim light of the bluish corridor lamps. Before taking a shower in the morning I glance at a mirror - the glitters have stuck to my skin. I've felt nothing.
I predict Baobeir's reaction when he's back, "Is it safe? Isn't that too early to give her those glitters? If I find them among the keys of our notebook, I'll kill you both. :) And where are we going to find them tomorrow?!"
Well, where are we going to find them? In that "bakery" shop? Perhaps I haven't pay attention to all its treasures. I must ask for them. The kind of glitters not only safe for kids over 3, but edible, please. And, if there may be some misunderstanding, what's the Chinese for "glitters"? CIBA suggests only "to glitter"...


the source of constant mess

This is what she calls... a swiming pool.


more inventions



in C.M. school



All Fishes Day :)

at C.M. school. The teachers claimed those paintings on the kids' faces were "inspired" by the Maori tatoos. :)


Sa Kabukiran

- Awful!.. Awful!.. - Claudiuccia sounds so distressed! The intonations of my late grandmother reading an article about a teenage pregnancy in an evening newspaper.
- Awful what?
- Your music, mom.
I explain that I play kids books and music for her every day, and parents have the same right :) to listen to what they want. I've already reduced the time of playing "Nogu svelo" since I discovered that she understands some lines from their lyrics.
Aque even makes out the words of songs in... Filipino dialects. She has heard "sa kabukiran" - "a bird" - in a song combining both traditional melodies and opera-like vocal exercises. And now she sings that. That's amazing how she pays much more attention to words indicating the objects of her vivid fantasy than to everyday phrases that make others to meet her needs - splashing in water crying, "Waterfall!" is much easier for her than ask for a napkin at the table. A real daughter of a theoretician!

Franz Kafka Multicultural Tzirkus Ltd.