Thursday, May 31, 2012

I want to blog...


I have so many things I want to blog about... I have written at least a dozen posts in my head in the past few weeks! I have had no time to stop and put them down here. Even with this post I don't have the time I want, just wanted to let you all know that I will be posting and catching up as soon as I am able to. Keeping my fingers crossed that will be soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Thought - Birthday...


Birthdays are always a good time to reflect on the year that is ending and to look forward to the year ahead. Taking the time to stop and put everything in perspective helps to clear the mind of the daily jumble of things that tend to crowd out the bigger picture. Taking pause and considering all that is... helps.

As I stand at the threshold of this new year and consider where I am, I realize that I am beginning this new year with a challenge. Which is pretty normal. Ha! As I stand here and take account I realize I am starting this year with less the $5.00 in the bank, a month behind in bills and with utility disconnect notices. This is enough to get anyone down. But, I can't be down and out.

As I look forward I see a picture and a life where I am together with my family... all of us!! That gives me hope and the courage to forge ahead knowing that as a team we will make it no matter what life throws at me.

I am looking forward... with hope, excitement, maybe even a little apprehension at knowing this year is the year I am poised to conquer.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Supermoon...


A few hours ago saw the rise of this years "supermoon" or perigee moon. I am sure each of you saw it or read about it and I am posting about it just to remember it here on my blog.


The Moon's distance varies each month between approximately 357,000 kilometers (222,000 mi) and 406,000 km (252,000 mi) due to its elliptical orbit around the Earth (distances given are center-to-center). The size and brightness of an object follows an inverse-square law, which means that a full moon at perigee is 12% larger and 30% brighter than an average full moon. However, because the offset of the moon's orbit versus its phases is only two days, this change in appearance is gradual from month to month and therefore is not usually noticeable to a casual observer.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Cinco de Mayo


Cinco de Mayo from Wikipedia.

Click the link above to read the full article but to sum it up in my words:

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the battle of Puebla that was fought by the Mexicans against the French in Puebla Mexico on May 5th, 1862. Seems like Napoleon wanted to use Mexico as a base to help the Confederates fighting against the North in the Civil War. Well, that didn't happen.

Ironically most of Mexico doesn't even observe it as a big holiday. It has been celebrated in the US longer then in Mexico and has been popularized due to the rise of the "Chicano" heritage. With the onset of major endorsements and push of Mexican products, it has become one more reason to party and push beer and tequila drinking.

If you live in the US you know what Cinco de Mayo is, if you live in Mexico you might just hear how your neighbors to the North are partying for you.

Either way, have fun and don't drink and drive.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cleaning...


Since arriving home four days ago we have had little time for anything other than cleaning, unpacking and rearranging. Although I have been living in this same house for nearly a year it was in dire need of a woman's touch. We are slowly getting everything re-set up and put away. Soon we will be able to relax. It will be nice.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Texas by Train...

I love to travel and seeing the land is always special for me, traveling with the family is even better. I have cris-crossed the States many times on buses, driving and flying. Each method has it's advantages and/or disadvantages. Some need the time savings that flying provides so they pay higher travel costs and endure all kinds of luggage and security restrictions. Some prefer the more scenic route with being able to travel on your own time so they drive. Some don't like to drive so they take the bus for the economy and regular schedules. Other's discover the train...


With visa's validated and all of us on the US side of the border we headed home via Amtrak... the US's passenger train line. While I have traveled via train many times before in multitudes of countries this was my first US train experience. I wasn't sure what to expect.

Tickets in hand and luggage checked... All Aboard!!!

We chose this method based on one decision alone... Luggage!!! When moving with your family and little kids you always have lots of stuff, and with 3 checked bags and 2 carry on permitted with each ticket, making this move was a no brainier. Then we discovered that for the trip across Texas we were making the train was cheaper than the bus. And the benefits just kept on going...

Alex and Julian comfy in their seats.

I was amazed at how big the seats were, the comfort was unparalleled. Being able to get up, walk through the cars, enjoy the dining car, the lounge car which had a snack bar and tons of activities to help pass the time really made the 12 hour trip very pleasant and enjoyable. I didn't feel like I was making a trip that I needed to... it felt like I was on vacation.

With power outlets at each seat gaming and video viewing was made easy.

If I have a choice in the future to a destination the train goes to, I will choose the train every time. The whole experience was great and the Amtrak personnel were kind and courteous. Five Star!!!!!  Enjoy the photos.

The Lounge Car was great for checking out the views and just hanging out when tired of your seats.


Us in the Dining Car for lunch... The boys had pizza and we had chicken soup with tortilla strips along with a nice garden salad.

 This railway bridge going over the Pecos river is one of the highest rail bridge in the US, with 322 feet of clearance from water level.


Desert Mountains.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Packing Day...


Sometimes I feel like we have been packing for nearly two years. We started this visa process in Aug. 2010 and I took our first load of storage to Texas from central Mexico at that time. We have made 5 other trips with our stuff over the past 20 months and have moved houses on 4 occasions, with Olya and the kids even having a 3 months visit in Russia during this time.

So with the suitcases, what we have been living out of for the past 3 months here in Juarez coming out of the closet, clothes coming off hangers, bedding gathered from the beds we are doing lots of washing today and packing everything up.

In a few hours we will be heading across the border to begin our trip home. Though it has taken many prayers, lots of funds and amazing support from family and friends throughout the process we are still in a state of shock that we are finally going. When you fight for something so long and hard and face continual setbacks it takes a little while for it to sink in that we finally accomplished it. But oh, how much sweeter it is.

So amid the dust, the mismatched socks, the diminishing piles of laundry and the growing stack of our suitcases... spirits are high.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Miracle...


The Consulate updates their website with each weeks cases on Tuesday. Last week Olya and I had decided that if there was no update on her case this week, I would take the Thursday train home alone to San Antonio and her and the kids would follow once the visa did come through. Even with having friends and family all over the world praying for us and for the visa approval we were very discouraged on Tuesday when there was no update.

After some tears and general disappointment we decided to take action. Deciding our plan of attack we would each play a role, I wrote the attorneys back home asking if there was anything else we could do at this time to help speed the process up. I also wrote our Congressman who represents the district we live at back home. I am fortunate to have a representative that sits on the Committee for the Dept. of Homeland Security, if anyone could help get the ball rolling faster I figured it would be him. (As of this writing I have not heard back from either of them Ha!)

Olya was then going to go to the Consulate one last time on Wednesday just for a final check before I left Thursday. We really had no hope that they would have updated since the one on Tuesday the day before, she arrived home though with the good news that they had just approved her visa that morning and would be issuing the visa that day. And if all goes well we should have it sent DHL by Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. We were elated... the wait is coming to an end.

So I decided to stay and since the train from El Paso to San Antonio only goes three days a week (Mon. Thurs. and Sat.) we started praying that the visa would be there by Friday to catch the Sat train. Thursday morning we were shocked when checking the website to see that her DHL package had already been delivered to the local office for her to go pick up. Raymond offered to come drive her to get the package and take it to the border to validate it. They left at 2:30 pm and arrived home at about 11:00 pm after spending seven hours at the border. She had her visa validated and all ready to go, she actually did cross and then they came right back... Ha! (I think she is going to miss Mexico)

So tonight we are happy and tomorrow we pack and move across to the US side and begin another chapter of our lives. 

Guy's Rulez for Girl'z


(Borrowed from Miguel Dieter, as borrowed from "a Guy")

The Guys' Rules

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down. Finally, the guys' side of the story. We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really.
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round is a shape. Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping. Pass this to as many men as you can - to give them a laugh. Pass this to as many women as you can - to give them a bigger laugh!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hump Day...


...is defined in the Urban Dictionary as:

Hump Day -
Wednesday, or the hump of the week The absolute BEST day of the week, the day of maximum hope that maybe, you might make it out of this week alive. A particularly good hump day can last you the rest of the week, and by Doomday morning (Monday) you survive by anticipating hump day. Nothing goes wrong on hump day.

Most other days can be defined by hump day. Tuesday is the day before hump day. Thursday is one day after hump day. Except Friday is WOOOH!!! FREEDOM!!! Day, Saturday is Mostly Hungover day, and Sunday is PreDoom day.

Hump day has nothing to do with sex. Unless one wants it to. I like to declare the existence of hump day just to see people's faces. Usually being conservative and all "Do you know what the best thing about Tuesdays are? Its the day before Hump Day!" "What's hump day?" "It's the hump of the week!!" (they all shake their heads in pity.)

Mining the Asteroids...

This is something I would love to do!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bible Code


So one more Tuesday has come and gone with no update on Olya's visa approval. BUMMER!!!

On another note I was watching a documentary on the Bible Code phenomena and so started doing some research online and ran across a site where you can conduct your own searches. Check it out by clicking here. 

As a joke I ran started running names, and when Olya's first and last name came up in the same grid I decided to see how far it would go. I then added the word "Russia" since that's where she is from, and found it also. I then added Alex and sure enough he was there, Julian wasn't found in that text but his nick name was, Juju. Besides if you ask him what his name is he will argue till he is blue in the face until you call him Juju so I guess it counts. 

So I have all three of my Russian family members in the same text. Cool! I decided to throw in the word Texas, you know just to confirm that they would all be living there with me... and was I surprised when I found it.  

My name Gabriel was not found in that text with them but Gabe was... So I am convinced my family will soon be home altogether in Texas. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In honor of my Aussie Friends...

I found this on one of my friends Facebook pages and wanted to share it here in honor of all my Aussie friends. Some of the better friends I have are from the land "down under" and among their many traits good humor always was high on the list. So to all my Aussie friends, cheers Mate...



These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials ... lol

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A:Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay ? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? (USA)
A: A-Fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not ... Oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q:Which direction is North in Australia ? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? (UK)
A:Why? Just use your fingers like we do...

Q:Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is Oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia ? (UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q:Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q:Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q:I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q:I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q:Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (US )
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.




uh-oh...


"Oh no... Dad is watching soap-operas in Spanish!!!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I am Xenophilic...


I know, I know I am idiosyncratic in my search for unusual words. It all started when I was about 9 and my dad taught me how to use a dictionary. I found atypical words fascinating even though there was not always a chance in everyday usage for the words that peaked my interest. I still look up definitions and here is a list of some of the words I have come across in the past week.

xenophilia
n. an attraction to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs.
xenophobia 
n. an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
poppysmic 
n. refers to the noise produced by smacking the lips together.
sesquipedalian  
n. A person who uses long words.
n. A long word.
adj. long; polysyllabic.
adj. Pertaining to or given to the use of overly long words.
quidnunc
n. One who is curious to know everything that passes, and is continually asking “What now?” or “What news?” hence, one who knows or pretends to know all that is going on in politics, society, etc.; a newsmonger.
zedonk 
n. The hybrid offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey.