If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


I figured I'd keep up with my own life by writing monthly reports of sorts, instead of describing trips. Although, of course, the excitement of my life is exactly that - trips. And no January would be correct without starting on my home visit - Moscow, Mother-Land, Russia. Even if I flew there just before the turn of the year and landed on December 30th...

With each visit, I have to say, probably due to combination of getting somewhat "older" (and wiser), and because I took Larry there now some 7 years ago and saw my city with his eyes (it was one of the top bucket lists for me, go figure, before I even married "a foreigner"), I really, really love and enjoy my short yet so profound trips. Between being more tolerant, some kind of renewed relationship with what's left of our Tchernov clan, and absolutely amazing wanderings about the old city's streets, plus a mandatory "culture breath" of a museum (and oftentimes a theater, and/or a symphony) - the 5 days I do spend there go in a fury and full of emotions. God, if only we had all that brain when we are 20!!

Time flew by full of helping mom and sister (Tanya always uses me to move furniture in two of her apartments because it's "her thing" and heavy lifting is "my thing", and mom allows only me to clean her apartment, yep, that happens only every 6-8 months since my dad died), visiting now two cemeteries, and yes, those "random excursions". I adore Moscow. Never thought I'd say that, and having always proudly remarked I am technically not a Moscovite but an unwilling transplant at the age of 12, after reading a couple of huge history books on Russia (written by American authors, mind you!) and exploring the streets full of that very history had made me a hard core Russian, much more than I ever was before (which was mostly Soviet anyway, and yes, there is a difference). And I ALWAYS was a Russian at heart! What a great time to visit - New Year's eve! We surely know how to celebrate it - no surprise Moscow was named this year in top-5 cities for New year. Decorations, people, closed streets with performances, lights, "Christmas" trees, and yes, great weather to help. I loved it! As my friend Ronda pointed out - with age we truly feel our roots better. We want it more, too. It grounds us. Grounding is a good thing. Solid.
Full Album
My sister's apartment, and our regular food.
One of the streets turned into "walking only" in Moscow center
No, we don't have Santa's, we have Ded Moroz! (Grandpa Frosty)
View on Red Square on December 30th.
Walking another (widest, oldest) Moscow street on December 31st, with dozens of live shows and thousands of people.
On January 2nd there was over 200 people at the Pushkin Museum of Impressionists in line for the tickets! Russians, no matter how bad times are, never stop loving culture.

Walking towards Kremlin from the "other" end.
Wandering on some of the Old Moscow streets, no direction or agenda.
Moving some pieces of furniture for my sister from one of her places to another - by human power, on public transportation, commuting for an hour and half. Yep, that's what we do.
The return back was twisted with a winter storm in NE of US; and I was to make a connection in JFK. We got turned around at the last hour and landed in Chicago (JFK shut down for basically 2 days). Because Finnair doesn't have a hub there, and because a lot of airtraffic was redirected, we stood on the runway for 3 hrs, then dispatched through custom in another hour. At 10 pm, time I emerged at the airport proper - all the counters closed till 3 am. Ouch! Lost people with their luggage everywhere...thankfully, I travel with a schoolbag. I didn't care how, but I was NOT going back to NYC (which our flight was to do next day at 4 pm - and then it took folks another 2 days to get out of there!). I was willing to pay any money, but Larry worked his magic over the phone, and was able to exchange my fair from JFK to AUS into O'Hare to Austin - free of charge! So, only a small detail - to spend 4 hrs on a metal chair at the airport (after 2 nights of no sleep), and catch 5 am flight home. Shower, grab food (starving!) - and off to work, massages for 6 hrs. Yep, I had full schedule I couldn't cancel. I was hallucinating and holding on to my clients!
My crabby night. To think I was so close to one of my best friends living in the area, and yet so tied up with the flights!
One night of sleep home did the trick on the tired body - but that body managed to catch something. Luckily for me, it wasn't a flu. Next week I had a 48 hr cold. Gotta be grateful both the complications of my return flights and the illness were so minor. I am.

With that (recovering from 60 hrs sleep deprivation and air-living and that cold) my normal routine got pushed by a good 10 days. It was cold here too - which I didn't mind. I bundled up every morning and went on my regular shuffling/walks/whatever, just to get back on the schedule, sick and all!
This is past the coldest days, and worst health conditions. We did have 16F for a few mornings!
Finally, by 15th, life settled in. Grocery shopping, food chopping, massage clients, dates with Larry, running (at good paces lately, too!), even some purchases of late gifts for ourselves and a coffee with a girlfriend. All's back to normal.
A "date lunch" at Whole Foods - whole paycheck, anyone?
On the good side, despite the trip itself, and hectic life for a bit after, I stayed on track filling up my calorie diary - and not only didn't sabotage my weight loss, but lost a couple more pounds. Ah, the satisfaction of seeing results!

One of the "gifts" was a purchase of a new backpack, slightly bigger (by 5 L) than one I took in my last hiking adventures, as this summer's backpacking craze is going to be longer, colder, and more arduous. Yay for challenges! I am planning to take it for a walk outside tomorrow! Another - a new yoga mat I wanted really badly, but didn't feel the old deserved replacement. Thanks to Mama Belinda, I got both items to spoil myself! And yoga classes continue on weekly.
We are also signing back up for the gym, because I need some serious squatting, more than home dumbbells can provide, to build those butt-muscles for high mountains. I do not regret taking 6 months off after my 3.5 year Pure membership expired - I needed a break, and as awesome as the gym is/was, I needed a change. Home workouts were ok, but only as maintenance. Time to kick ass.
What else is new? There was this...who knows, knows. My once a month appearance on FB - and I got attention of my older son, who had his once-a-month appearance, as well. Best gift, ever.
I am knitting, of course, and it's not new, ha!! In the past month I had produced 3 pairs of wool socks for my friends' birthday gifts, 8 hats as part of the 30-hat project to help Liza and donate to veterans in her running camp, and a couple things for my own pleasure.
3rd version of this pile-up alpaca cardigan.
Down of a baby-goat yarn from Russia.
Worked on it last year some, but finished recently, finally.
Technically, I completed it 4 hrs before the year's turn, but I love this - which was 5 different versions of cardigan before and never satisfied me. Now, though, oh, so wonderful...well worth the works.
So, all in all, the month is being a successful one! We continue dreaming of our move to Colorado Springs and learn its history and everything around (16 months left!), keep our friendships alive, relationship - fresh, feed our bodies healthy with good food, minds - sharp with new books (two down, more to go!), and hands - never idle.


Ronda said...


Kirstin C said...

Always love catching up with your life!

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