Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Rock

New York from the top.The past weekend was the last one for Alёna’s mom’s current stay with us. Because of the bad weather we didn’t really get out much this time around, so we decided to do something interesting for her on this last weekend. My mom agreed to take the kids for the day so we had it easy.

Alёna with her mom.We picked the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center as our destination. Alёna’s mom haven’t been to the top of any skyscrapers, so we figured this should be memorable. Rockefeller Center observation deck is my favorite location in the city as you can see a lot of famous landmarks around — Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, World Trade Center, Central Park and numerous bridges.

Central Park. Fisheye.We spent a while looking for parking, but there was no line to the top. As far as I can tell Alёna’s mom loved it. We couldn’t actually get her to leave for some time. She would go from side to side, trying to take in the views. I think it was a success. Once we got down we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral that was right across the street.

Alёna and Daniel.After that we took her to our favorite Brazilian Steakhouse — Churrascaria Plataforma. Even though she is not a huge meat fan I thought she would like the experience. Open salad bar and then an endless stream of different varieties of beef, lamb, pork and chicken that waiters keep bringing to your table until you turn the green button given to you to red. Alёna and her mom didn’t eat quite as much as I did, but mom definitely liked it.

Self again.And that was a full day. I got some decent pictures, she got good memories. It’s really sad that she’s leaving tomorrow already.

New York through fisheye.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Caumsett State Park

Caumsett State Park on Long Island Sound.Yesterday was a first truly springtime weekend day this year. The day was so nice and warm that it was the first time we could be outside in a park without our jackets. We decided to visit a state park located on the north shore of Long Island that was recommended to my mom by a coworker — Caumsett State Historic Park.

Stables.All of us went, so we had to take two cars. Even though it’s only 48 miles away it took us a bit on the long side to get there — all the traffics and such. Arosha was as always a good traveler, and Anyuta did pretty well also, although she did “complain” from time to time.

Arosha and Daniel in front of main estate house.The park was created on the lands acquired by state from an estate of Marshall Field III that he in turn put together in 1921. The park is pretty sizable as far as estates go.

Kids in daffodils.The road to the park was quite picturesque as well. I really long for a 70-200mm lens lately, no pun intended. Throughout the day we saw 3 large eagle nests with a pair of eagles in each and a large white heron.

And grandpa too.The signs of spring were all around. A lot of trees are budding, Magnolia trees are covered by fresh flowers, but out biggest discovery the the day was a large number of fields covered in blooming daffodils.

Arosha.Arosha was running in front of us all and when we happened upon the first of these fields could not stop asking if we were happy that he led us to such a beautiful place.

Picnic towards the end. All the food is already gone.Our hike culminated in a nice family picnic on the blankets in the middle of a large field not far from the main estate house. That event totally put Arosha’s excitement level over and top and off the scale — he kept pointing out numerous aspects of how picnicking was great, amazing and awesome.

Flowers.The total length of our round-trip hike ended up being around three and a half miles. However while we might’ve walked that much Arosha did twice of that since he was running non-stop back and forth and to the sides and all around. He picked up numerous sticks of varying sizes, jumped into ditches, climbed onto large stumps and so on.

Arosha and woodpecker.At one point he found a stick with a sharp short branch at the top coming out of it. He proclaimed that it was a woodpecker and we had to wait for “them” while they go and find some food in nearby trees. He proceed to go from tree to tree pecking at them and pretending to look quite surprised by the fact that they were unable to get anything out of a tree trunks.

Anyuta riding around.Anyuta slept some, but mostly she was exploring the park while sitting in Alёna’s arms and looking around. She enjoyed touching flowers and grass with her hands — I remember Arosha was a lot more cautious of the grass in his first encounter and wasn’t quite sure of what to make of it. Anyuta seemed to like the sensation of touching it.

Lunch break.We spent five hours in the park. We left home at 11:30am and came back at 7:30pm. On the way back Arosha went into “recharging” mode for a change, and Anyuta actually stayed awake looking and playing with her toys. It ended up being a great spring day.

Blooming daffodils.
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cheesequake and Jamaica Bay

Along the trail at Cheesequake State Park.Even though days are still quite cold the snow is gone. We have started our weekend outings again. This weekend was eventful. On Saturday we drove down to Cheesequake State Park in nearby New Jersey1.

Throwing cones into the water.The day was very warm and we had a nice walk. Arosha, as before, was throwing stuff into the river from a wooden bridge that runs across. Then we had a nice walk on a trail and Arosha played on a playground.

Flying out of the slide.While we go to Cheesequake pretty often we decided to do something new today. At first our plan was to take a walk along the Rockaway’s boardwalk. However it appears that the boardwalk is no more. I assume Sandy is to thank for that. Not knowing what to do we were driving back and drove by one of National Park areas that we have nearby.

Birdhouse at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge2 is a nice nature sanctuary in the middle of a megalopolis. The nature itself though is still pretty much asleep. I might as well have been shooting with black and white film.

On a trail at Jamaica Bay.We took a nice walk along the trail which at one point used to be a loop, but it no longer is because of the very same Hurricane Sandy — one of the bridges was washed away.

Trail and sleeping nature.We ran into a huge flock of snow geese who apparently migrate down to this area all the way from the arctic for the winter. If good telephoto lenses wouldn’t be as expensive as they are I would definitely invest into one — at least I really had a strong urge to do it. Yesterday in Cheesequake and today it was only reaffirmed.

Arosha with "a stick that helps him run faster."Arosha as always found something to do — today he found some large hole in the ground, took his favorite shovel and proceeded to offload as much sand into the said hole in order to fill it up. Since the hole was about 5 times the size of Arosha he didn’t get very far.

Anna and grandma.Anna refuses to sleep. She mostly sat in her stroller looking around or screamed in protest when we tried to put her down. She also refuses to eat outside. While the boob was Arosha’s favorite thing in the world at this age Anna will have none of it unless she is really hungry. Really really hungry.

Sleeping nature.Back to nature — at both places we saw large nests of ospreys. They are eagle-like birds of pray. We saw them flying high overhead, but couldn’t really see them well. We should borrow my dad’s binoculars one day. All in all a nice weekend. Can’t wait for the warmer days.

On a trail.

  1. Diesel is 50¢ per gallon cheaper in New Jersey than in New York or Connecticut. []
  2. There is an official National Park stamp available at this location. []

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fire Island Outing

Lighthouse against some funky clouds.Last weekend was quite active for us. Besides going to Bayswater Point State Park we decided to take full advantage of warmer days and on Sunday went to Fire Island National Seashore again.

Beautiful Fire Island Lighthouse.We even managed to talk my mom into going with us — to our surprise it was her first time there. Only took her 19 or so years. So there was a total of seven of us there and two cars.

Grandmas. Grandpa and Arosha on the left.Even though the day was warmer relative to other days it still was a cold February day. Especially when you’re walking along an open shore of Atlantic Ocean. The sky was very blue and thus uplifting, but the wind was cold.

More of the family.I had to borrow the hood from Alёna’s jacket because I as always misjudged the weather. As did my dad. That seems to be the trait of our male side of the family. Since Arosha doesn’t make these decisions for himself yet he was well dressed.

Shore of open Atlantic Ocean.Fire Island National Seashore is probably one of the nicest “nature” locations that is within an easy reach from us. If traffic conditions cooperate it takes us under an hour to get there.

Wooden trail at Fire Island National Seashore.After having a nice jog we finished off the evening with a family dinner at some random Outback Steakhouse that we found on our way home.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weekend in Poconos

Echo Valley Cottages. Our cottage.It’s been a month, but I only got a chance to write about our little Pocono trip now.

Morning grilling. Burgers.I have to say, I love my husband! One of the great things about him is that he loves traveling, so in the beginning of November he had an urge to go someplace. He checked a number of cabins, but they were either too expensive or out of vacancies. He did find a good deal for my birthday weekend though, so we booked a cabin in Echo Valley Cottages. We invited Daniel’s parents to come with us, and they happily agreed.

Stream near the cottage.We left Friday evening after Danya’s mom came home from work. The ride was only about 100 miles, but it took us 4 hours to get there — first we got stuck in traffic getting out of Brooklyn, and then we spent almost an hour doing food shopping at Wegmans in NJ. I have to say that Danya wanted to specifically go to this store, since Wegmans that we visited by Arsen’s house was really great, but we were disappointed. They did not have organic grass fed beef or burger shop; it was still big, so we spent a lot of time trying to find items that we needed, while in a smaller store it would have been quicker. But whatever.

Bushkill Falls. Trail start.We got to the cottages at around 11pm. The owner came by and gave us the key. Arosha was pretty excited about the trip and he did not even fall asleep in the car. The cottage was pretty big — bigger than I expected — and although it was not as fancy as the other Pocono cottages we’ve been to in the past, I still liked it.

The falls themselves.We traveled on two cars this time around — with two car seats we can’t fit 4 adults into the car anymore.

Wooden paths.The next morning I was woken up by Arosha, who was so excited that he got up after about 7 hours of sleep and said that he wants to grill. Our three men went to the store to get well burning coal and lighting fluid after unsuccessfully trying to start a fire with regular coals. Danya’s mom, Annushka and I prepared meat and vegetables for burgers.

More falls.Soon enough the burgers were ready. Danya did an amazing job — he doesn’t cook at home, but grill is his domain. They were really good. I have to say that Arosha really likes grilled meat. He ate as much as adults!

Different part of the falls.After that we went to see Bushkill falls. They were a short ride away from the cottages. There was an entry fee — $12.50 per person. Not exactly cheap, but I guess they need that money to maintain an impressive infrastructure of wooden paths, steps, bridges and other structures around the falls. The paths were not stroller accessible, so I was mostly carrying Anechka in my arms. We spent around two hours walking around and enjoying the views.

Grandparents.After that we went home and Danya got to grilling the dinner. It gets dark early, so we wanted to at least start the process before the sun was down. The meat (skirt steaks) and vegetables (peppers, zucchini, corn) came out delicious. I was again amazed at how much food Arosha ate.

Wooden stairs on the trail.After dinner we drank tea with my birthday cake. Arosha helped to put candles in, and he also helped to blow them.

Dad on one of wooden bridges.I went to feed Annushka and tried to put her to sleep for the night. She was not cooperating, and threw a long screaming fit. I think she was crying for over 30 minutes overall, which does not happen often.

Lunch on the trail.Danya, his dad and Arosha made fire outside. Arosha really enjoyed it. He wanted to add firewood himself and as often as possible, but I don’t think that he was allowed. What he was allowed thought is light up sticks and wave them around. He did not want to go back inside.

Climbing.The next morning we grilled some more burgers and left. Arosha asked me in the morning if its possible for us to stay until the evening and was a little bit sad that we had to leave before noon.

Jumping.Another thing that Arosha liked is just to play outside. There was a small creek nearby and he pretended that he was a fisherman (one of his favorite games) and that long sticks were his fishing rods. He also liked playing with all kinds of things he could find — stones, leaves, mushrooms, you name it.

Grilling.On our way home we stopped at local outlets and got two pairs of Levi jeans and a few flannel shirts for Danya since the winter is coming. We also stopped to eat at Olive Garden, but the food was so so.

Dinner. Skirt steak and grilled vegetables.We got home at around 7 — exhausted, but satisfied with how our weekend went.

Alena's birthday cake.Arosha keeps saying that he wants to go to the cottages again. I think he definitely took after his daddy!

Campfire.
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

C-Class in Manhattan

C-Class loaner.This is really two stories in one, yet both are about this weekend. First one starts with me not being able to make my music sound as it should on a high end Harman Kardon sound system in our new M-Class. Closer inspection revealed that the subwoofer in the rear of the car instead of playing low sounds makes everything around it vibrate. The outside fender of the car actually vibrates the most and creates the most noise.

I took the car to the dealer on Wednesday morning and after a service manager and a technician looked at it and admitted that that’s not even close to normal we went and tried the same MP3 file in another similarly configured M-Class. Sound was clean and crisp at much higher volumes too.

WTC 1.Long story short — they had no loaner car available on Wednesday, but they promised to come by my house, bring a loaner car and pick ours up at 10am on Friday. That’s exactly what they did. Of course for me there is a hassle of taking out kid car seats and moving them into another car, but as far as service goes at this point — nothing like Chrysler was — one of my main reasons of leaving American cars behind.

On Monday I’m going to find out what exactly the issue is and how long it will take them to fix it. Hopefully they’ll either install the speaker properly or replace it with a new one if the current one is blown. For the time being I’m stuck with a loaner C-Class. At first I didn’t really care, but it is anything but a family car. Tiny!

One of many sets of statues.Basically in order to get a Anechka’s rear-facing seat installed and to get it to fit we had to move the forward sit so close to the dashboard that Alena could not get in. After moving some things around and adjusting the seat we barely fit her into the car in rather an uncomfortable pose. Because of that on our way through Manhattan to a park on Palisades Parkway we decided to instead try to explore downtown Manhattan.

We got really luck and found a spot (with no meter even) within 2 blocks. Arosha has never walked around that part of Manhattan, but he always talks about the “highest skyscraper” around. So we took a good look at WTC 1 and walked through a nearby church and walked around a park by city-hall filled with all kinds of statues and had a nice lunch and a middle-eastern place — a good walk close to home essentially.

Enjoying art is his own way.So that was our Saturday. Hopefully our car gets fixed and we won’t have to use MB service anytime soon again. If we do, I’ll ask for something bigger than C-Class for a loaner. Otherwise it’s a pretty decent car with enough oomph in its engine. But it still did make me appreciate our choice even more — it’s noticeably more refined and definitely more roomy.
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekend

Throgs Neck Bridge.We’re trying to use our last pre-baby weekends to their full potential. Yesterday Alena and I spent our full day alone without Aroshka. Aroshka was with his grandparents while we did our now weekly OBGYN visit, did some errands that we won’t be able to do when the baby comes and finished the day off with a nice dinner at our favorite Thai place in Park Slope.

38 weeks and 2 days.Today I had an urge to explore a new place — the park under and around Throgs Neck Bridge. I drive by this place every day when I go to work and somehow never stopped there before. So we got into our car and drove there along with my dad. I spent some time taking long exposure shots, while Arosha spent all this time throwing stones into the water.

Throgs Neck.We also installed a new infant car seat base into our car and a car seat that we use for travel into my dad’s car. He’s going to be taking Aroshka to gymnastics every Tuesday now — first class is in two days. Meanwhile Alena is into her 39th week which means that we can have a new arrival any day now.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Weekend

Brooklyn Heights.We had such a wonderful weekend. The weather is getting better — it gets to high 60s during the day — so it’s a pleasure to be outside.

We spent almost four hours on a playground by our building on Friday morning. Aroshka played with his bff Evelina, and he was just so happy, so joyful, that it melted my heart. Evelina was acting strangely around him in the last few weeks — did not want to play with him and was saying that she was scared of him. I don’t know what was the cause of it, but when she changed her mind, he could not be more excited to be around her.

Testing out a bicycle.And in the evening, Aroshka, us and Alex went to Brooklyn Heights. Danya wanted to take a few pictures of the Freedom Tower, which is near its completion, before its ready. He and Alex went on the promenade, and Aroshka and I went to a small, but very cozy playground.

Manhattan skyline.Danya’s pictures did not come out well because of the haze and not ideal lighting conditions, but Aroshka had a lot of fun. There were a lot of toys, a big sandbox, a bicycle, and other new and exciting things. There were two benches colored like taxis, so he made up a whole story about us driving to the airport, flying to Dominican Republic, and then staying there in the hotel (the metal patch on the ground was our airplane, and the area adjacent to the slides was our hotel room).

Afterwards we ate at some diner, and went home.

In front of a brownstone.On Saturday Aroshka spent most of the day with his grandparents, while Danya and I took care of some chores and then had a dinner at Al Di La. We have not been to that restaurant in almost three years — there are always lines, and up until yesterday we did not want to waste time waiting. The food was nice (I ordered risotto as always), but it was quite noisy inside. We came back home just in time to put Aroshka to sleep. Even though he had a wonderful day with Danya’s parents, he still was just so happy to see us. You should have seen that big smile, and the way he ran to hug us. He told us that he missed us very much and that he loves us very much. He is just so sweet, and I just hope that he will always have such a pure heart.

Storming the fence.And today we went to another playground in the morning, and he played with his other friend Danielka for over an hour, and then Danya picked us and his dad up and we went to Bay Ridge (after washing our car — we wanted to show Aroshka machines that wash cars).

Smelling the flowers.First, we walked down the pier, where Danya took a few pictures of the Freedom Tower again (but it was super-hazy again). And then we went for a walk to a Narrows Botanical Garden which was just a few blocks away. There were a lot of blooming flowers, mostly tulips, in the garden, and Aroshka wanted to smell them all. He was like a little bee, sticking his nose in one flower after another. His face was covered in pollen afterwards. He also enjoyed just running around in the grass, especially up and down a little hill. We spent total of 4 hours outside today, and he got so tired by the time we got home, that he even refused to have lunch and went straight to bed.

Manhattan in haze.So this was our weekend. We are going to Linka’s Birthday party later today (after Arosha’s nap). I hope it’ll be fun too!
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Car Trouble and Visiting Tanya

Arosha and Antosha. Arosha is 3 months older, but is taller than all kids of his age.A small update on recent events of our life — two pretty much separate stories. First one is the fact that Tanya — Alena’s friend from university days in Minsk — is in United States again. While the first time she was here for a tourist visit with us, this time she is here for work. We kept planning to visit her for several weeks now, but stuff kept getting in the way. This time around it was our car.

On Monday morning I got into our car to go to work. The car didn’t start from the first try, but did after a second try. When I got to work it did the same thing at a gas station near my office. In the evening I decided to leave earlier, in case it doesn’t start and it had no trouble at all. On Tuesday morning all was good as well. So thinking that it was some one time fluke I stayed late at work on that day and to my dismay the car would not start no matter what I tried at the end of the day.

Usually the most typical problem is a dead battery. But all the electronics seemed to work just fine. Lights were on, sound system played music well, but the engine would not even try to turn over. My dad had to come out and get me. We got home close to midnight. I spoke with Geoff and he very kindly suggested that I should leave my keys on his desk and he’ll try to sort things out in the morning, so I wouldn’t have to come out and not be able to get back again — I couldn’t ask my dad to make so many 140 miles long trips.

Antosha. He was much more willing to pose for me than Arosha was. I was unable to talk Arosha in standing still for 3 seconds.I was dreading having to deal with getting the car towed. But I guess luckily for me the car started in the morning when Geoff tried it, so he dropped it off at a local Chrysler dealership and it started having starting problems there, so at least they could start on troubleshooting the issue. Now here are two things — the car has 83,000 miles on the odometer. This was the very first time that it gave me any kind of trouble at all. When we bought the car we bought an extended warranty that runs out at 85,000 miles. I thought this extra warranty purchase was completely useless and kept thinking that warranty covering something was really a myth. I was glad to have been proven wrong.

So the dealer called me and told me it was a starter and the car would be ready on Thursday morning. My dad drove me to work again and when we got to the dealership we saw a bunch of mechanics hovering over my car with manuals — never a good sign. They replaced the starter, the car didn’t start. The suggested they get me a rental car (also covered by warranty) which I had not choice, but to agree too. It’s never cool to give up your car for a car that’s worth less than half of yours — bare-bone Jeep Compas. You just get too used to little niceties. Anyhow, since I’m not in Norwalk until Monday they agreed to let me keep the car until then.

Long story short, they ended up replacing the starter, the fuse box and some transmission sensors which finally fixed the problem. All that got resolved only at the end of Monday, which caused me a lot of stress. But all in all, I did have a temporary car, the warranty covered it all and I have my car back in a working order. Hopefully it will stay this way.

This way the only way to photograph Arosha -- but capturing him. This didn't last long either.Back to Tanya now. This time we decided not to let this car issue stop us from visiting her. We installed our “Costa-Rica” child seat into our Jeep and using Google Maps on iPhone as navigation successfully arrived to the hotel where Tanya was staying with her mom and her 2 and a half (approximately) year old son.

It was a nice visit. We talked a lot about different topics — work, travel, kids, kids, kids. We went out to a local Outback restaurant for lunch, helped with some grocery shopping — Tanya doesn’t have a driver’s license which makes things very hard for them there, even though the company that hired her would cover a rental.

Aroshka played a lot with Antoshka. With went for a nice walk around a lake and they would run around and picked up all kinds of sticks, cones and other stuff. Arosha kept pulling Antosha by his hand in all different directions and Antosha on one hand wanted to play with Arosha, but on the other hand seemed to be kind of afraid of him. So when Arosha would run away on his own Antosha would say — let’s play together. When Arosha would come back Antosha would run back towards his mom and stick with her. All in all I think they had a good time as did we. We will definitely do this more. Tanya is in US until the end of the year I believe.

This would be me.We are planning to invite Tanya for a weekend to stay with us as they are very much bored in New Jersey with no car. While big cities have robust public transportation systems for the most part, in rural America you can not do anything without a car. So there you go. This concludes my update for the past week.

P.S. Sadly I somehow managed not to take a single sharp picture of Tanya. I was running around with my manual lens and I think I lost some fast focusing skill since I haven’t used it in a couple of months.
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend

Staten Island Zoo. Some crazy bird is hollering in the background.This summer we keep spending our weekends very actively. Since Saturday and Sunday are really the only days we can go somewhere we try not to sit at home.

Yesterday we just got into a car and decided to go to New Jersey. We figured we’ll stop in the first state or county park we see on our way when there.

Arosha near Alena's delicious skirt.We ended up getting sidetracked and took an exit off the highway towards Staten Island Zoo. We’ve never been there, but figured it should be fun for Arosha.

It actually turned out to be the kind of zoo that you would only visit with kids too. They had goats, cows, pigs, donkeys and so on. The kind of animals that somehow were usual to us when we were growing up, but here kids only can see them at a zoo.

Doe. Sorry about the ass of an ass.Arosha kept going “Uuuuuu!” in certain cases, but he still is too little even for this. Alena however panicked a bit inside the goat section when 3 goats decided that her skirt should be pretty delicious. It was pretty funny. For me. Alena — not so much.

Alisa, Arosha and Vika at the local park.And today we decided that we haven’t seen Ignat’s family for a long time and we should meet up and hang out. We basically invited ourselves over and they were generous good hosts. At first we went to a local park, but Arosha was being very fussy, so we proceeded to move over to their apartment.

Alisa seemed to be quite excited with Arosha and Arosha likes company and new people. Alisa was very generous and decided to part with a couple of her toys — a cow and a piggy — and gave them to Arosha. Alisa and Arosha will probably be friends when Arosha grows up a little.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Weekends

AlenaThe truth is, I really like pictures that Danya is taking while we’re out, so I’ve decided to write a few words about our weekend just so I can post them. )

The summer is here. Some days are horribly hot an humid, but some, like today, are really nice — the temperature is in San-Fransisco-like 70s, the fresh breeze makes you realize how young you are, and NY lets you appreciate its beauty without thoughts of being caged in concrete nightmare.

Arosha & AlenaWe try to spend our weekends as a family — together, and preferably doing something fun. Today we went for a hike on Williamsburg Bridge (neither Daniel, nor I have done it before). I enjoyed it. We actually were supposed to go to Arsen’s house to celebrate aunt Lilya’s birthday, but he had some health issues, so they had to cancel. I was looking forward to seeing them, but hopefully there will be another chance this summer.

Arosha & AlenaAnd yesterday we went for a hike in Marine Park. The large portion of the main trail is closed, but we managed to still find a nice one and enjoyed that I-can’t-believe-we’re-in-Brooklyn feeling of being close to nature. Before going there we send a parcel to my sister — she is expecting a baby boy in mid-July (YAY!), and we send her some of the clothes that Aroshka has outgrown along with some new stuff that Danya’s mom bought for the upcoming arrival. I am very happy and excited for my sister and her husband (I know that he REALLY wanted a son). Fingers crossed for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby!

Arosha climbing over Alena.Last weekend was also full of fun activities. On Saturday Alex invited us to his home in Jersey City for a barbeque. We didn’t get very lucky with the weather — it was hot — but I still glad that we made the trip. Alex was more comfortable in the kitchen that I’ve even seen him before — he made a tomatos and cucumbers salad, then he grilled asparagus, zucchini and peppers along with burgers and beef steaks. No help from any of us. To my excuse, I had my hands full with Arosha — there was pretty much no shade in Alex’s backyard, and he did not have AC installed in his apartment yet. So dealing with hot and sweaty baby took a lot of energy!

Arosha eating.And on Sunday we went to a small park in Staten Island. Daniel’s dad suggested that we can stop there — he knows SI pretty well since he used to work there — and I am glad that we did. The park was small, but very cozy and not too crowded. I put an enormous amount of sunblock on Aroshka (probably overdid it) not excluding his big blond head, and he looked pretty funny because of it.

Hiking over Williamsburg Bridge.I also wanted to say that I am very grateful for all the help that Daniel’s mom provides us with. Unless they have some arrangements (like going to a birthday party or to the theater), she stays home with Aroshka on Saturday night, so Danya and I can go out and have either a romantic dinner by ourselves or spend some good time with our friends. It’s just for a few hours (Aroshka goes to sleep at 8, and we try to be home no later than 11), but this really means a lot for my sanity.

Queens. Flushing Meadows Park.She also tries to cook a family dinner every Sunday — she is a great cook, and it’s always delicious. I don’t know how she does it — working full time, helping me every night to entertain and bathe Aroshka after she is done working, cooking family dinners… I am very lucky to have such a wonderful mother-in-law! I wish I was able to call her mom — it’s hard for me to say it for some reason, although in my mind I have no issues doing it.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lazy Memorial Day Weekend

AlenaThis year we spent Memorial Day weekend at home. This goes against our recently established tradition of driving someplace reachable by car on long weekends, but these past 6 months have been a little bit out of the ordinary for us, so we are allowed to do as we please. )

We actually considered going to Cape Cod, but the truth is that I just wanted to relax and get a couple of days of nice sleep (and the fact that we came back from our road trip just a few weeks ago also contributed to a desire to be passive). Plus Cape Cod is kind of pricey, especially on holidays, and we’re trying to save a bit in preparation of more frugal times.

Three days flew by. On Saturday we went out to dinner to Al Di La (I think I had satisfied my black ink risotto craving for a long Twenty nine weeks.while now), and on Sunday — to Danya’s parents (his dad cooked a delicious cream of broccoli soup, and his mom treated us with a new dish made with pork, tomatillos, potatoes and other vegetables).

After Sunday night dinner we watched a whole bunch of the Russian game “What? Where? When?” which Danya’s parents recorded from Russian TV for us. I’ve noticed that when at the end of the game the best player is asked to choose the most interesting question, he/she invariably picks the one he answered himself. Isn’t if funny how the human brain work? By the way, I guessed one question — and you know what, this was the most interesting one! ) If you’re curious, that question sounded something like this: “Traveling through Britain, Guy de Maupassant often saw the following picture: 3-4 cows and one sheep grazing together. What was the purpose of this?”

We also went to IKEA and got some shelves and door handles for the new wardrobes. I was wearing my nice pregnancy dress and Park Slop. A place across from Al Di La.felt like a “hot mama” for a change. ) I mean, when I am with Danya I always feel pretty, but when I am on my own (especially at work), I just feel fat rather than pregnant (maybe the fact that I mostly wear pants to work contributes to this). I also miss being a blond, but this is such a small sacrifice for the sake of the little one, that I should not even mention it. )

We started watching “Babylon 5″ again after running out of shows to watch. It’s not bad, but we still remember too many details. I can’t wait for the season 6 of “Entourage” to come out on DVD — Ari Gold, where art thou?

Also, the watermelon season has officially started. I can’t get enough of them and keep bothering Danya to go and get yet another one. He jokes that I already got a pretty big watermelon with me at all times — why do I need an extra one? )

Another good thing I’ve done on the weekend is talking to my family in Minsk. I don’t do it often enough, and a couple of hours spent chatting with my sister and mom were very satisfying (I also talked to Tanya through Skype — didn’t hear her in ages, so it also was a pleasant experience).

And now we’re back at work. I wish we could just stay home together and do nothing for a couple of weeks (and don’t be stressed out about money at the same time) — this would be so awesome! ) Need to buy some lottery tickets. )
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Monday, May 4, 2009

Выходные

Sleepy Shublya greets us every time we get home.Выходные у нас прошло очень хорошо, по-семейному. В субботу Данины родители пригласили в гости знакомых (две пары), с которыми когда-то познакомились во время тура по Латинской Америке, а в воскресенье в гости приходил Арсен с подругой, мамой и сыном. Посидели хорошо и в субботу, и в воскресенье.

Знакомые Даниных родителей оказались очень приятными людьми со здоровым чувством юмора — мне было интерсно в их компании. Арсена я видела уже не первый раз, и пообщаться было тоже интерестно. Мы взяли с собой в гости Шублика — жалко было оставлять малявку одну дома — и, к нашему удивлению, мы увидели как наш кот шипит. Сначала он с интересом зашёл в квартиру и начал всё обнюхивать. Потом, когда он увидел Рысю, ситуация резко изменилась — шерсть на Шублике встала дыбом, он изогнулся, наклонился к полу под странным углом, и начал шипеть и рычать. Рыся тоже на него зашипела. Вобщем, Рысю он пока боиться, и старается держаться от неё подальше. В субботу он побыл в гостях всего час.

В воскресенье он побыл в гостях часов 6, и за это время успел нашипеть на всех гостей и членов семьи (за исключением нас, конечно). Думаю, стресс и страх послужили причиной такому поведению. Большую часть трапезы Шублик пролежал в столе; часть времени он провёл у меня на коленях. Мы угостили Шублика тушёным мясом, которое он заглотил с завидной скоростью (так же в ход пошла картошка).

Вообще мне всегда очень нравится общаться с Даниными родителями. Семья — это семья! Эх, жалко что Люда и мама так далеко…
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

О Выходных

Testing my big zoom lens near the Sheepshead Bay canal. Looks like Alex's head froze off. Photo taken by Daniil of fotoTalk.com.Эти выходные прошли довольно-таки спокойно. В суббoту я наконец-то отправила посылки моим домашним, Тане и Кузе (провела незабываемые 1.5 часа на почте), мы стирали (6 машинок загрузили!), отвезли гору вещей в химчистку (Дане придётся в среду их оттуда забирать), Данька постригся и обрил бороду.

Happy hubby and wifey. Brooklyn Heights. Photo taken by Daniil of fotoTalk.com.Во второй половине дня мы встретились с Даниным университетским знакомым — Даниилом, который любезно предоставил нам свою камеру для тестирования нашей вспышки (мы пытались понять, глючит наша камера или наша вспышка, но так до конца и не поняли). Вечером мы с Даниилом и Сашей прокатились в Brooklyn Heights, где немного пофотографировались и поели в каком-то итальянском местечке (еда мне не очень понравилась если честно). Вобщем, день прошёл не зря! )

I'm warming my nose on Danya's cheek. Photo taken by Daniil of fotoTalk.com.А сегодня вообще был суперленивый день. Мы очень долго дрыхли, смотрели телек, потом я болтала с Гурей, у которой, кстати, уже просто огромный пузик! Еще мы сьезили в Best Buy и купили два фильма — American History X и The Dark Night. Оба фильма мы смотрели, и оба сочли достойными покупки. )

Alena and Daniel. Photo taken by Daniil of fotoTalk.com.Завтра буду интервьюировать одного кандидата на место Эрики, которую уволили 2 недели назад за плохую работу. Первый раз в жизни я окажусь в этой роли. ) Думаю, будет интересный опыт. Галя хочет нанять определённого человека (парня, который уже работал в компании, но уволился чтобы учиться на Masters), так что не знаю понравится ли ей кто либо из тех, кого отобрали для интервью.

Но вообще, если честно, во мне просмотр резюме, которые пришли на обьявление о рабочем месте, вызвал тревожны чувства. Огромное количество людей ищет работу. Столько людей с опытом работы 5-10 лет откликнулись на обьявление, что стало как-то неуютно (этих людей мы стразу откинули как кандидатов со слишком хорошей квалификацией, но и без опыта работы мы на интервью никого не пригласили).

This is my opinion of this book.Еще я на прошлой неделе мучалaсь над книгой “Одиночество в сети” Вишневского. Ну что могу сказать — начал за здравие, а вот закочил так точно за упокой. Читать после страницы 100-й стало откровенно скучно, и мне до сих пор надо домучать эпилог. Не рекомендую тратить время и деньги на это “произведение”. )
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Our cabin. Living room and kitchen.Our trip to Pocono Mountains exceeded my expectation and was pretty much perfect, not considering the minor incident of our car losing its braking ability. It was probably one of the most relaxing vacations we had. In fact, it was so good that all the people who went with us who I talked to today were in a state of minor depression from the fact that everyone had to go back to work.

On Friday we all left a bit earlier from work than usual and were on the road by about 7pm. Maruk picked up Ignat and Misha and they left a bit earlier. Surprisingly enough we didn’t get stuck in traffic and our trip there took a bit more than 2 hours — which is unheard of around NYC especially on a long weekend.

Since the latest time to check in was 9pm and we got there a bit after that I asked Maruk to get our keys, which he did. We decided not to stop for dinner on our way there since Misha and Ignat were hungry as well. It was already dark when we arrived and it was a bit confusing inside the resort itself, but we were greeted by 3 flash lights shining in the darkness.

Our cabin. Surrounded by trees.We parked right in front of our door and I was totally impressed by the cabin itself. It was a house built out of cedar and the living room area had very high ceilings going all the way up to the roof. It had a full kitchen with everything you could wish for, including dishes, silverware, pots, kettles, and all kinds of other cooking tools. The living room had a nice fireplace built out of stone. And the house had 3 small, but very cozy separate bedrooms.

Fly agaric growing on the side of a nature trail.The cottage itself was located right in the middle of the woods. Even though we couldn’t see much around, the forest was singing with hundreds of voices of frogs and crickets. And the air was so fresh you knew you were far away from New York City. The setting was perfect for a perfect weekend.


First thing we did when we arrived was cooking a bunch of hot-dogs. Alena or mama made a light salad from fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. We all sat down around the large family table in the living room and had our little, but delicious dinner.

After a bit of talking and going over to Maruk’s house to say hello to his family everyone was ready to turn in for the day, since everyone was fresh off work and after a long drive.

Room that my parents stayed in.Each room had windows which you could open by spinning a handle. I opened ours so we could get in some fresh forest air. There was a conveniently placed dimmer right above the bed. We got under a warm blanket, turned off the light and fell asleep soon after, listening to the sound of rain and singing forest.


Next morning we woke rather early, by our standards at least. I got out of bed, put on my flip-flops and went outside. Turns out Misha, Ignat and papa woke up much earlier and went out for a walk. Mama said that they were on their way back already, but they got lost somewhere around the lake.

Our cabin was pretty far away from other cabins and was surrounded by oaks and maples. Also I was surprised to discover that the lake was clearly visible and was no more then 100 meters away. There was a decent grill nearby and there was another big table outside under the covered porch.

Boat on the Mountain Springs Lake.Later on Misha discovered that they had all kinds of sporting equipment available for the guest without any fees. There were different balls for volleyball and basketball, badminton rackets, there was a volleyball net and we even had a boat assigned to our cabin.

Everything was just great.


The weekend flew by very quickly. People played a lot of badminton, we grilled a lot of steaks, burgers and shish-kebabs, did a lot of hiking around the forest and around the lake, swam a bit, played cards and enjoyed the company of good friends and family.

During the evenings we did a lot of star gazing and sitting in the beach chairs right near the water.

We celebrated my birthday on the Saturday with a big dinner and I got a bunch of cool presents.

We also took a lot of pictures, which I hope to post soon.

Inside our cabin. Living room.That’s pretty much it. Everything was great, the place was great, the company was great. I had a lot of fun and I loved our weekend get-away. We will definitely visit this place again. Maybe during the winter when everything is going to be covered in snow. And we’ll be able to sit and talk inside our cabin around the warm fireplace.
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Weekend

The West Wing: Newest Addition to Our Movie CollectionWe’ve had an eventful or uneventful weekend. Nothing really happened, but it seems that we’ve managed to do a lot of stuff.

Yesterday started with Alena wanting to go to some hair salon on 86th Street to get something done to her hair and I didn’t want to drive back home, so I went to visit Ignat. We ended up watching some TV, talking about travel, technology and all other kind of stuff. Continue Reading
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