January 11 2004

Katherine is back in diapers. I threw all her panties in the garbage so as not to be tempted to try again until after we are home.  This is the last I will say on this subject.

Sasha was picking us up at 9am for a trip to the mountains, so we had an early start.  Only Anthony and I got up with the alarm clock.  I wanted to shower right away so that my hair would dry before it was time to leave (My hair dryer was on it's last legs, so I threw it out when we packed in Karaganda).  Couldn't get the hot water to come on. I tried letting it run for a while to see if it would come up.  No dice.  No shower for me or Bill this morning. I hear that bathing in a cold shower is very Zen like.  Good for the spirit.  At the moment, I'm not getting the connection.

Katherine is apparently tired of oatmeal.  She was happy to eat an apple for breakfast and a few bites of bread.  She did have a big dinner last night.  I'm tired of oatmeal too. I did go to the market today and picked up some cheerios, however, I don't think our milk is any good because the refrigerator is not cold enough.  It's been raining most of the afternoon and I forgot to get new milk while at the market today. I will go out in the morning. We will all feast on cheerios.

The radiator in our bedroom is leaking little drips. I had put a blanket in front of the radiator last night as it was close to Katherine's mattress.  I did not want her inadvertently rolling into it. It was a little chilly last night so I tried pulling the blanket over top of her.  It was wet. This morning I noticed the drip and put a dish underneath it.  Sasha said the repair men are messy and they'd fix it after we leave since we'll be gone in a few days.

We rode to the mountain, which is a National Park. There is a huge outdoor ice skating rink there. There are pictures of that tonight. The Ferets were meeting us there and we arrived first. We walked up the hill so we could see the ice rink.  It was pretty neat. Sasha explained there was a dam above the rink and 800 steps leading to the top of the dam. Suzanne, Jim, Sarah and the other Sasha arrived. They joined us for our view of the ice rink.  Normally visitors like us would walk all the way up the hill and through some trails to a restaurant.  It was a bit chilly. We have to carry Anthony and Sarah (and probably Katherine for some of the way) and both our men are under the weather. We ditched the walk and headed to a restaurant called the American Bar & Grill.  Good Call!  This restaurant has Mad Murphy's beat by a mile.  It was a little after 10am, so we had breakfast.  I had pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.  I also had two cups of coffee. ALL of it was delicious. I shared with Katherine and she agrees with my rating of 4 star pancakes! My poor husband ordered an omelet with ham. Both Jim and I tasted it and it was pretty yucky. I think the ham was a little weird.  Katherine liked it.  She liked the pancakes with maple syrup better, but who wouldn't?

To go to the restroom at the American Grill you have to go outside the restaurant and down two flights of stairs if you're a boy.  Three flights of stairs if you're a girl. Katherine and I took a walk while we were waiting for the food to come. After two flights of stairs you find yourself in a movie theater lobby. It was So Weird.  They had video games just like we would at home, just on a smaller scale. They also had a Baskin Robins ice cream stand.  You could tell it was Baskin Robins because of the colors and the number 31.  Everything else was in Russian.  It was pretty cool.  The bathrooms were normal.  Very refreshing.

Anthony fell asleep at the restaurant and so we brought Bill and the kids back to the apartment and Sasha took me to the Tsum to look at Dream Quilts. So, first, I found out that Dream Quilts are not their real name. I don't know what their real name is.  They are not really quilts at all.  They are wall hangings. None of these are new. There was one that I looked at today that was dated 1967. Very few are in decent shape. The name Dream Quilt came when an American woman asked Sasha if that is what they were called and he said 'Why Not?'  The name stuck. Anyway, going to look at these with Sasha was very helpful.  He has seen so many and knows some things to look for.  The quality of the embroidery, the fabric and stitching in the border, the designs are symmetrical, the border and fabric are straight/squared. We looked at very many. The woman was very patient. We narrowed the selection down to four. I picked two. There was one that Sasha really encouraged me to buy because the embroidery was so beautiful, but the border was burnt orange.  Very 1970's shag carpet color.  I would never hang it.  They embroidery in the center was quite beautiful.  Sasha took me to the dry cleaners to have the Dream Quilts cleaned before we went home. I am anxious to see them cleaned up.  At the Tsum, he also took me to his shop, the Silk Roads. There were some truly beautiful paintings on silk canvas.  I purchased two small Kazak paintings for the children's room. The border on the paintings matches the wall color in their room, and is a lovely heirloom for them.

After the Tsum and the Dry Cleaner, we went to the market. I scored for my husband big time.  I found Food Town pasta sauce.  Premium Marinara sauce to be exact. I had my choice between Foodtown and ShopRite.  The Foodtown was the premium one, so that's what I picked. I got a package of spaghetti and we had ourselves a happy little Italian dinner.  Tasting that pasta was like tasting home. What we wouldn't have given for a little grated parmesan cheese and a slice of Texas Toast. The taste of that food made me almost cry. Everyone one liked it. I shared some of mine with Anthony and he gobbled it up (no surprise there though - kid eats everything).  Katherine had THREE helpings!!! Our little Italian-Kazak princess!  She had red sauce smeared all over her face. Makes a Mama proud.  And Bill Yum Yummed over his bowl of spaghetti, stomach cramps and all.

I also got me a 500ml container of vanilla ice cream with mini M&M's.  I have been eating it as I sit here typing and the container is almost gone.  I must say, I have had an Excellent food day.

After dinner we were hanging out playing with the Katherine and Anthony.  There's a little shape sorter and Bill and Katherine sat and used it to learn colors. Now Katherine knows the names of the colors, but she hasn't put them to the correct color just yet. She also knows the number 2.  She is two years old and so Bill taught her '2'.  She can hold up two fingers and say two. She can pick up two toys or two spoons and say two.  She cannot, however, say one or three or four.  We went straight to 2.  We'll work on this.

I have to say both Katherine and Anthony are my shadow.  If I leave the room, they follow. If I come back into the room, here they come.  If I go to the bathroom, I'm closing the door in their face. I have written about Katherine's jealousy of Anthony, but Bill pointed out just yesterday that Anthony gets to crying if I'm paying too much attention to Katherine. Because he is the baby, if he cries, I usually stop what I'm doing and 'fix' him. But, since Bill mentioned Anthony's envy, I watched for it. Sure enough, if he sees me with her too long, he comes and fusses. He was extra tired today because the only nap he took was in my arms at the restaurant (there I go making excuses for the baby already). So, I was sitting in the computer chair in the living room and Katherine was sitting in my lap.  I don't remember what we were doing, but here comes Anthony. He grabbed her foot and then he started banging his head against my foot. I mean he head butted my foot.  Boom, Boom, Boom!  I just told him No.  That was it. No big trouble, just No. That boy had a real live, full fledged temper tantrum.  He threw himself face down on the floor and screamed and cried.  A real hissy fit if I've ever seen one. How's that for a spoiled child?

That skin rash on my arm has pretty much cleared up. It had started to show up on the other arm too, but that side went away almost as soon as we got to Almaty.  I am feeling much better and hopefully a good nights sleep will set me completely straight.  The Ferets gave Bill some 'medicine' to help get things moving for him.  It was a concentrated prune square.  Kind of like the calcium chews that women take, only this is prunes. Concentrated prunes.  They also gave him some Metamucil Fruit bars. My husband may have a very active night ahead of him. Cross your legs and hope for the best.

Tomorrow we go to the doctor so he can tell us our children are very healthy. They need medical clearance to be allowed into the U.S. We go there in the morning, 11am. 

In the event of no hot water tomorrow morning, we were proactive and showered this afternoon while there was hot water.  Not like we were doing anything else smack dab in the middle of the day. Might as well break it up with a Hot shower.

I also broke the shower head during Anthony's bath. Quality is not job number one here. The shower head is detached so you can lift it off the mount and squirt yourself wherever you want. Well, first of all, I like my shower head above my head and pointed generally toward the middle of the tub.  The shower head here swivels so that the shower head points almost straight down. You wind up squirting the wall which then leaks out of the tub onto the floor. So you have to hold the shower head in your hand.  Then, it's one of those heads that you can turn to get a different stream of water, only it really doesn't give you a different stream of water.  If you turn it, the water shoots out the sides of the shower head.  Looks pretty.  Like a flower. Very ineffective for washing.  So, don't turn the shower head, right?  Well I don't but the water pressure must turn the thing on it's own.  I was giving Anthony a bath, using the shower head to rinse him and I got the water flower. I tried tightening the shower head and it came completely off. Even our Kazak Paradise (because this apartment is still the tops) has its weird  little quirks. My master fixer husband cleaned up my mess.  What would I do without him?

OK - Enough for tonight.

Miss everyone. Will see you soon. 

© Bill Delmedico 2013