winter

Friday in the snow

It’s another Friday. Down to my last month at work. Snow on the ground. Cold and windy. 

Nothing earth shattering in the news. Death, hate, war, celebrities, rich people, poor people, homeless people, bad politics, lawsuits, repeat. My crisis of the week? Didn’t have one. Actually I haven’t been out of the house all week. I’m reading a book called Up Like Thunder by Colin T. Nelson. A VIP’s daughter goes missing in Burma (Myanmar) and this Private Investigator goes looking for her. It is kind of slow moving but interesting. Lots of color on Burma. I’m about half way through, will finish it this week. 

St Paul is full of skyways connecting the buildings downtown. I use them all the time to get around out of the cold. They are all on the second floor of the buildings. From my window I can see one lone skyway way above the street that connects two buildings. It is thought to be the world’s first modern skyway, built in 1931. Merchants Bank and First National Bank merged and the buildings were next to each other. The floor heights were different so the skyway connects one building’s 16th floor with the other building’s 17th floor. It is a private skyway so, unless you work at the bank, you won’t be able to use it. It is the tallest skyway in the Twin Cities. And it is green.

I leave you with Poem VIII from Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions:

What is it that upsets the volcanoes
that spit fire, cold and rage?

Why wasn’t Christopher Columbus
able to discover Spain?

How many questions does a cat have?

Do tears not yet spilled
wait in small lakes?

Or are they invisible rivers
that run toward sadness?

Ponder that…..

Fun Friday

Not really fun but possibly. Looking at the world through a screen door. That could be fun. Looking at the world full of snow through a screen door. Getting more fun. Funner. Wonderlandy. It is pretty driving around town seeing the trees covered with white.

A light snow fell for most of this week. Reminded me of Moscow where it snowed constantly all winter. A weird thing was that the snow in Moscow never seemed to accumulate. It took me the longest time to figure it out. Big trucks came out at night that looked like giant crabs. They had two arms in the front that scooped all the snow into a feeder and onto a conveyor belt that took it up and dumped it into another truck behind. These trucks took the snow outside the city and dumped it into the countryside so there was never snow on the streets or sidewalks. What you ended up with was mainly ice. Black ice. I fell down a lot. 

These are the trucks that push the snow into big piles so the ‘crab’ trucks can gobble it up.

So I signed up for Social Security. I guess I am ignorant but I discovered something. Once you hit your full retirement age, you can collect Social Security and work as much as you like. I always thought there was a limit to what you could earn until you were 70. But not the case. Not that I want to work but good to know. 

The orange one is back. At least the press isn’t falling all over him like they used to. I hope it stays that way. I was reading today that Biden has a whole team at the White House working on ‘managing’ all the attacks that are sure to come. Sad. 

Have a great weekend! Don’t think too much…

I’m being followed

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We decided to drive to Wisconsin this year because I wanted to bring “the chair” back with me. We had a lovely family gathering for Christmas as usual. On the way back we packed the car up the night before and started out at six a.m.  It was minus 12 F.

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As we entered Illinois the sun was rising.

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The cold  produced steam-filled air in Indiana.

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Ohio was uneventful but it started snowing in Pennsylvania.

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It started feeling like home when we hit the Maryland gateway.

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And then crossed the bridge into Virginia.

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Today we woke up to snow again.

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The weather is following me.

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Moscow Days

 

 

When I lived in Moscow in the 1990’s, I relied on the Metro and buses for transportation.  Everybody carried their own cloth bags for shopping and I always took my backpack when doing the grocery shopping.  One wet snowy day I slogged to the store with my backpack and cloth bags looking for some choice items to feed my dinner guests.

I went on the Metro and I found pretty much everything I was looking for and the store wasn’t too crowded so everything was looking pretty good.  I was thinking how great it was that so much stuff fit into the backpack and I only had to carry a couple of light things in my hands.  As I approached the entrance to the Metro, I felt the pack shifting as if something was not quite right.  I made it into the station, pushed my way through a huge crowd at the turnstiles and decided I should take the pack off and check it before getting onto the escalator.  As I was taking off the backpack, it opened up wide and everything fell out onto the muddy wet floor of the station.  Did I mention it was winter?  I dropped everything and chased a can as it rolled away from me.

I managed to gather everything into a pile and hurriedly crammed my sugar, flour, juice and tomato sauce back into the backpack.  The cheese and sour cream had been in a separate plastic bag so I just shoved that into my cloth bag and proceeded to the escalator.  Through all of this people were stepping over me and around me and somebody had actually stepped on my sour cream so it was all over the inside of the plastic bag.  Nobody had missed a step to even think about offering me any help.  All of my bags were filthy from lying in the muck on the floor and my hands were also filthy from gathering everything up off the floor.  I was cursing the Metro, the Russian people, the Russian Federation, my husband, and anybody else I could think of and I plotted all the way home that I would just pack my bags and get the next flight out of town.  Plus by this time I was sweating from having too many clothes on in the crowded Metro.

When I reached my apartment building and entered the elevator that rarely worked properly, a woman followed me in.  She had been out walking her dog.

Woman:  Which floor do you need?

Me:  14

Woman:  I am on the 8th floor.  The lift has been in such poor working order.

Me:  I couldn’t agree more.  I was stuck in it recently and waited over an hour to get out.

Woman:  It is not reliable.

Woman:  You should really wear a hat.  You might catch the flu in this cold weather.

Me:  It really isn’t that cold out.

Woman getting off the lift:  Good bye.  All the best!

Me:  Thank you. Good Bye

Continuing up the elevator all I could think of was what a country filled with contradictions it was!

I managed to salvage everything but the sour cream by transferring things into non-muddy containers.  I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom and washed all the floors and I felt much better when I was done.  By the time my guests arrived for dinner, I welcomed them with open arms without any thoughts of fleeing the country.

Life as an expat can be challenging anywhere but the people you meet along the way make it worth it.