Rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat...

>> Thursday, 29 January 2015

Things I never imagined I would say as regularly as I do (but which I suspect other mothers of boys might find somewhat familiar):

  • Why - exactly - do you need to be naked to listen to Debussy's 'Clair de Lune' / Uptown Funk / The Black-Eyed Peas?
  • Because I don't really want you to sit on the sofa cushions with your bare bottom
  • Well, would YOU like to sit somewhere that someone else's bare bottom had been?
  • It's state of cleanliness is not the point.  Well, OK, it is.  But you still have to put your clothes back on.
  • Hurry up and put your taekwondo kit on, and leave your pants ON this time, please..
  • I know papa does it - but that doesn't mean you have to.
  • I know it's -10deg C outside, but can someone open the window please?
  • Who-ever is responsible for what's on the loo seat, can they clean it up NOW, please?
  • The idea of a family signature dance is lovely, darling.  But we're not doing that one.
  • Well yes, I did hear Grandad tell that joke.  But it's still not appropriate for school.

And of course, that all time classic:

  • No-one needs to see that first thing in the morning.


'Trees'; Week 214 of The Gallery

>> Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I've not done this for a while - pure laziness, probably - but this week I'm submitting a photo for Week 214 of Tara's Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.

Well; how could I not?  This week's theme is 'Trees', and if there's one thing Russia has in abundance, it's trees.  Honestly, I was spoiled for choice when it came to selecting a photo.  There was only ever going to be one winner for me though; this shot, taken a couple of years back when I visited Izmailovsky Park on one of Phoebe's Walks (long-term Moscow expats will know what that means) and turned a corner to be confronted with this Lothlorien-like grove of silver birches.

Even to look at it briefly calms my soul.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery


Because we all need to shake it off sometimes...

>> Monday, 19 January 2015

Got the Monday blues?

You won't have after watching this.



Not dead...

>> Wednesday, 14 January 2015

... and not even in Moscow (although we will be again, soon).  No, just trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.

And that, for the moment, is all.


All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...

>> Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Well.  Not really.  Although Santa-Baby, whilst we're on the subject, an American smile might be nice...

Christmas is coming, dahlinks, and the goose is getting fat.  (As are the rest of us on all this festive fare and drink.  Not that I care right now, having taken an oath recently to cut out dieting because of the appalling mood it puts me in and the bad example it sets my sons.  Plus, you know, the chocolate.)

Anyway, the end of term is fast approaching, and the seasonal tension is rising.  'Are you Ready?'  That's the question that I seem to hear here there and everywhere when I visit the school to collect the boys at the end of the day.  I smile in a relaxed style and say 'Oh yes.  Just a few presents left to buy.' I'm surprised that my tongue hasn't turned black and fallen out of my head given the amount of times I've trotted out that lie.

Ready?  Am I READY?

Um - no.  Yes, the tree is up, and family and grandparents have been informed of present ideas for the little cherubs.  And Husband and I have had vague conversations about what each of us might like from the other.  But *whispers* really - that's about it.  I would love to say this lack of readiness is a temporary aberration but I cannot tell a(nother) lie - I have previous form in this area.  Pre-kids I actually prided myself on doing all my gift buying on Christmas Eve.  Oh, sweet innocence of youth!  Obviously, now that I have children of my own, that devil-may-care attitude is a distant memory, but I'm not above leaving it until - oh, about now, really - and spending a happy evening going through the internet clicking on whatever is still available in the bargain basement section of the John Lewis 'click & collect' service, particularly when I'm buying stuff to put on the end of the bed on behalf of the big man in red.

Speaking of whom, there's another lie, m'lud.  Boy #1 is 11 and - ostensibly - still believes in Father Christmas.  And Sinterklaas.  And the Tooth Fairy.  And - probably - the Easter Bunny, although we don't need to deal with that issue until April, thank heavens.  Now, I'm not completely naive.  I think we all know that he doesn't REALLY believe in any of them, but is just playing along for the sake of his younger brother and in case admitting any doubt on this matter affects the number of presents he is given.  So he is careful to keep his mouth shut as Boy #2 asks difficult questions (at 8, he's surrounded by friends who are also questioning/unconvinced by the Santa Myth), and when I make my unconvincing replies which normally run along the lines of  'Well, if Santa doesn't put the presents there, who does?'  Boy #1 keeps schtum.

Smart boy.

As for me and my inveterate fibbing about the Potski state of readiness for Christmas (C minus 9 days and counting...  Christ, now I've typed that in black and white I am starting to panic, just a bit), luckily the school corridors are thinning out at pick-up time as the early-leavers sneak out of the country before the final bell rings.  (Just between us, I prefer to think of them as Rats Deserting A Sinking Ship as they leave the rest of us deal with the joy that is the Elementary School end of term party on the last afternoon).  And there are only 2 days of term left, so I don't have to keep the lies up for much longer.  Which is a good thing, really - as I don't want to end up on Santa's naughty list.

Just in case he IS real.  (Because, you know, the chocolate...)


Christmas Shenanigans from Footballer's Knees.

I am blatantly stealing cred from my insanely talented sis, Footballer's Knees, again.  A quick recap; she lives in the UK with her husband Big A, and son J.

Here for your delectation is one of her latest fb missives...

Big A and I are playing the traditional game,'What's behind the Advent calendar door?' As usual, we are days behind, so have a week's worth to open.

'Number 5 - what's it going to be?' I ask, expectantly. 

Big A draws in a breath and sucks his teeth, in the manner of a brown coated hardware shopkeeper, thinking about whether he has 3 mil washers in stock. He's an aficionado of this game and takes it seriously. 'Well, it's early days, so we shouldn't be expecting angels or stars. I'm thinking camel, the ship of the desert...'

'....it's a star.'

Big A shakes his head. What is the world coming to, when a star makes such an early appearance in the game? 'OK then, if that's the way it's going to be, the next one will be an angel.'

Pause. 'It's two kittens, playing with a ball of wool.'

He shakes his head again. Time to play tough. 'In that case, it's definitely an angel next...'

'...it's a woman collecting water from a well.'

Big A stands and shouts. 'What the f@ck? What sort of sh*t is that?'

I cover my ears. 'Ssshh, don't swear in front of the Advent calendar. If you can't play nicely, we won't play at all.'

I hang up the calendar and exit the room, leaving him to untangle the Christmas tree lights alone.


Wins and Losses to-date this festive season

>> Monday, 8 December 2014

Win:  Finding you can still fit into not one but two (count 'em, TWO) of your long slinky dresses so you have a choice for an up-coming festive black tie event.

Loss:  spotting slightly more lumps and bumps marring the slinkiness than you are happy with.

Win:  locating suitable  'streamlining' underwear at the back of your knicker drawer to smooth out the lumps and bumps.

Loss:  deciding to celebrate new svelte appearance with a square or two of chocolate.

Win:  It's dark chocolate, mind.  So, essentially, good for you.

Loss:  In fact, since I'm being so good to myself, why not celebrate with half a pound of cheese as well?  And whilst I'm at it, how about a piece of that banana bread I made for the boys yesterday?  The one with the chocolate chips in?  Well, they probably won't eat it - it's far too healthy - and it would be a shame to waste it...


Win:  Heading off to a friends' house and finding the perfect box of Ferrero Rocher to give them, as a joke.  Your plan is to hand it over to said friend - who just happens to be an Ambassador - and say with a knowing smile 'Monsieur.  With these Ferrero Rocher we are really spoiling you.'  As plans go, it's foolproof.  It's brilliant, with a capital B.

Loss:  It turns out that no-one other than the Brits ever saw that advert.  This person is not a Brit, so you have to explain what on earth you talking about and end up feeling like a complete Brit, with a capital T,

Win: It does, however, give you the opportunity to put the original ad onto your blog so that should a similar situation ever happen in the future (not that you ever expect to be invited back to an Ambassador's residence again, after that performance) you can find it much more easily than you were able to this time around...

(Always the silver lining, me.  Always the silver lining).


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