Monday, February 10, 2014

посвящения, учить, академия, и Карма

So once again it has been more than a month since I made a post. I apologize.

The weekend after I last wrote (January 11th) I went to the ordination of two friends who became priests. It was wonderful to see my friends (both of whom I know from grad school) and to celebrate such a joyous and momentous occasion.

The biggest change in my life is that I finally started my teaching job on Tuesday, January 14th. I am teaching middle school speech and debate twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2.30-4pm. We spent the first two weeks learning a lot of the basic techniques of public speaking like projecting your voice, using hand/body gestures, pausing for emphasis, etc. We also watched video clips of good speeches like those of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and bad speech clips of George W. Bush, and we have ended every lesson by watching 5 minutes of comedy from the group Monty Python (great classic British comedy troop from 1969 - 1983). All my students gave great speeches during our 5th and 6th classes on topics from Organics vs. GMOs, The Plastic Continent in the Pacific Ocean, Needing a Family and National Budget, Water Quality and Quality of Life in India, Issues of Japanese Fishing and Sharkfin Soup, and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. I was greatly impressed considering they are 11-14 year olds. We have now moved into making their first debate on the Organic vs. GMO issue and I'm looking forward to what they can do. The class will only last until the first week of April though so I need to find another part-time job to start in April.

As I mentioned in the last post, Daria and I may return, but we still are unsure. I have contacted Language Link about teaching there again, but Daria is still figuring out her job stuff so we still do not know whether or not we will return to SPB.

The other big change that has happened for me is that I have started to do more academic research. Since I work Sunday-Thursday, my Fridays have been free and I started going to one of the local university's library. I am reading new material and I am looking at re-writing some of my old gradschool essays. I want to try and publish them in some academic journals and I have two main articles I am hoping to publish. So far it has been great to be back at the library and studying and doing academic work. It is something I have most certainly missed.

Our dog Karma got injured before Christmas by scratching her cornea (on her eye). The veterinarian told us that it normally takes 3-5 days for an ulcer on the cornea to heal. However, Karma, the special dog that she is, apparently did not heal immediately and we have spent many weeks and many visits to the vet to help her heal. Finally, they sent us to an animal eye specialist and they did a special procedure (not exactly surgery) and when we did the re-check on Friday they told us it had finally healed. Yay :) I should add that our cat Ella also has eye issues (glaucoma), but she is getting old and it is part of her aging so her issues are not worth going to the vet, but it is still sad to see her eye issues. :/

Well I think that is about all for the last month so I hope you now enjoy the pictures.

So this picture is of Lake Tahoe at a place called Zepher Cove (Cove is like a bay/gulf - как залив но очень малинки). Behind Daria is the MS Dixie, one of two boats with paddle wheels - the type Mark Twain rode on the Mississippi River (the other is the Tahoe Queen) that travel around Lake Tahoe. The MS Dixie docks (verb - место которое корабль встретит с портом) in Zepher Cove and the Tahoe Queen docks near Heavenly, the famous ski resort.

I wanted to show you a picture along Highway 88, in the mountains about 1.5 hours from my home. I love this part of the road through the mountains. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of what I wanted because we did not stop the car, but took the picture while driving. The view I really wanted is about 1/2 km behind us.

So we have a family of raccoons that sometimes visit us and I wanted to show you. The tree is about 2 meters from our door. There is a mother (right) and two kids (middle and left). I named them Macrina (mother) and Basil and Gregory (kids). A few times I have been about 0.5 meters from one of them. They're really cute, but the mother does not like me getting near the kids.

Here is Basil up front and Gregory in the back.

Another picture of Basil.

On the day that my friends were ordained to be priests I was able to get some good pictures of downtown (central) LA during the day. Here is the first picture from inside the car (yes, I was a bad driver taking pictures while I was driving - sometimes I have Daria take pictures while I drive, sometimes I take pictures while Daria or my parents drove, and sometimes I'm alone and therefore I take pictures while driving).

Another picture of downtown and our huge freeway/highway system.

And another picture. Oh, the massive buildings. Some of those are 50+ stories tall.

Ok, although this is the ordination, I am showing you pictures not so you see the ceremony but so that you can see inside the Cathedral (собор) here in Los Angeles; well the Episcopal Cathedral. There is a Roman Catholic one and one or two Orthodox ones (yes here we use "one" or "ones" to mean an object, not the number). The arches, windows and columns. Personally, I do not like many cathedrals on the west coast of the USA because they're made with concrete and not stone, even if they're beautiful. That is my opinion.

Inside the Cathedral you can see the organ pipes (upper middle), the choir balcony (although the choir is not there for this ceremony), and the flag of one of the churches during the procession. For me this was a strange ceremony because deacons (склизки или дьякони) are in groups in a cathedral and priests (священники) are individual in a church (церковь). But this ceremony there were 12 people getting ordained to priests and therefore all their churches were there.

I wanted to show you this picture because there is a large mosaic of Jesus in the side chapel.

This picture I think shows you a lot of the decoration of this cathedral. The mosaics on the side of the altar and the icon of Jesus behind the altar.

A little farther out and you can see the "sky and sun" above the altar.

And a better picture of the icon of Jesus behind the altar.

A picture after all the priests were ordained.

What the Cathedral looks like from the outside.

And where you can see the name, St. John's Cathedral.

A photo with me and one of my friends. This friend is a scholar and is studying for his Ph.D. He will be a priest, but probably in a seminary (семинар). Therefore not many people were here to visit him. My other friend had about 150-200 visitors from his church and so I was able to talk with him, but not get a picture with him.

After the ceremony, another picture of downtown LA; a different part than above. The friend above and I and about 10 other people (including his mom and dad) had lunch. This picture is when I was driving from the cathedral to the bar for lunch.

Another picture.

I was sitting on the deck (the wood part of this picture) and Karma was sleeping right here. She was very cute and I decided to take a picture.

Karma woke up while I was taking pictures (and you can see me). This is some of our yard. The deck is now the wood on the left.

Another picture of Karma and the yard. The metal structure is a swing set.

Another time on the deck and Karma was sleeping on the deck with me. The white is part of my chair.

Just a view of the yard.

Another view of the yard and part of the house.

And actually, still the yard. I am standing in the same place as above, but turned around. This cactus is about 5 meters from the swing set.

Still standing in the same place. The cactus is on the left and the sun is setting behind the mountain.

The sun has set behind the mountain. I moved about 3 meters. The lake (Malibou Lake) is below).

I mentioned I was studying in the library to try and publish articles in academic journals. This is my view from the library. I think it is about 0.5 km to the Pacific Ocean from the library. Breathtaking view (remember your Intermediate lesson).

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