Tuesday, April 8, 2014

natural disasters, pets, family, and nascent spring green

I want to make it clear that while the other posts are themed "scholastic adventures," "weekend excursions," and "church related," I am NOT saying there is a theme of disasters and family. Rather these are just a listing of "events." It was quite good to have my parents here.

February 28-Mar2 we had an intense storm that knocked out our electricity. We had very little rain all winter (so little they were declaring a drought emergency which continued after our storm because it was big, but not that big) and then we had a huge storm that brought 6 inches of rain (I don’t know how Russians measure rain, but I think it would be about 20 centiliters) in 20 hours. A tree near our house fell across the utility lines (electricity, cable, telephone) and it almost hit our neighbor’s house. About 50 homes in our area (and it is not dense so that counts as a lot) did not have electricity for 52 hours. We did not have internet at home for 6 days and telephone for 8 days. I used a BBQ (shashlik) to make food and boil water (we do not have a gas stove in the house) for tea. We also used cafes and I used the church office to power cell phones, use the internet, etc. The photo blog for this whole adventure is found here.

On Wednesday, March 12 we had to put our cat to sleep (a euphemism/nice way to say “euthanized” her; another way to say it is “put her down;” both “put to sleep” and “put down” are phrasal verbs that in this situation are usually split). It was a very sad time for us. Daria and I got Ella (also known as Ella B., Ella Bianca, Little, Littleface, Little Sister, and probably a few other names) 5.5 years ago and she was already a senior kitty from the shelter. When we adopted her we had two different birth years (1999 or 2000) so we do not know exactly how old she was. She brought a lot of joy into our lives and we enjoyed playing with her and a string, watching her run up and down the hall, having her sleep on our laps when we read books, having her sleep in our bed (we called her place near our heads “queen spot”), and many other things. But she has also been sick on and off throughout the years. She was small to begin with (6.4 pounds/2.9kg at her largest and 4.5/2.0kg when she was smaller) and she had a special diet for which we needed special meat and kibbles. Her last few days she stopped eating and drinking, stopped jumping on our bed. She had cancer and it was spreading fast. One day she even slept in the dog bed and we think it was her way of saying goodbye to Karma (our dog). She became extremely lethargic and so when we took her to the vet we found out she was 3.2 pounds (1.45kg). I poured buckets of tears (cried a lot) and I am even welling up/tearing up as I am writing this (welling/tearing up is a way to say tears are forming in the eyes, but I’m not fully crying), but I wanted to give you some vocab and context in how to say some things.

My parents came into town the night we put Ella to sleep so they were also able to say their goodbyes. My dad loved cat-sitting Ella (like babysitting but for cats) when we went places and couldn’t take her. The summer 2009 Daria and I went to England to visit her dad and then to Boston for a friend’s wedding, and then the rest of the summer with her mom in Ohio and so for almost 3 months my parents took care of Ella. They did the same for two weeks in 2010 when we went to Mexico. Anyway, so they came to visit and they spent a lot of time with my grandma, did a lot of yard work, my mom helped my grandma sort through things to figure out what to get rid of and what to keep. The 3 of them saw a few movies and went to a Chinese art experience (I don’t know what else to call it because it had Chinese dance but was not ballet, it had music, but was not the philharmonic, so it was multiple art experiences). And we played a lot of cards together which was really nice because I haven’t played much lately and I enjoy it. We played nearly every night, although not quite. And we enjoyed a lot of scotch in the process. My dad brought his whisky, I had some of mine, and then a friend gave me ¾ a bottle on Sunday night and between Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday my dad, Daria, and I finished the bottle.

On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, there was a fairly large earthquake at about 6 in the morning, but I did not realize what happened. Monday is the day that the garbage truck picks up our garbage and it usually wakes me up and makes noise and so I think my sleepy body woke up from the earthquake, assumed it was the garbage truck, and fell back asleep for another hour. Since that day we have probably had about 5 major earthquakes (major being over 3 on the Richter Scale). There was a 5.3 about a week ago (that one was quite serious; no one died, but actual physical damage was done to buildings and utilities), but that was about 25 km away. We were not effected, but we did feel it. Most of them we feel, but nothing happens. However, it could be building into something more.

I made the one blog with photos from the flood so I will not replicate them here. Here are other photos pertaining to this post.

After the storm things started to turn green. Really green. The pictures do not show enough of how beautiful it was. Normally everything is dry and yellow so I have been enjoying the nascent green nature (pronounced "nay-sent"- meaning "newly born"or in the sense of green spring "fresh").

A little bit from our yard.

More from our yard.

Here is our Ella Bianca a few days before we had to put her down. She was saying goodbye as she slept on our bed. If I remember she couldn't even jump onto the bed, we put her on the bed and then she found her space.

A beautiful sign of spring. A flower at our church.

More flowers at our church.

Brian, the associate dressed for St. Patrick's Day festivities with our senior group (пенсионири), the OWLs (Older, Wiser, Laity - People).

And our priest-in-charge's dog Crackers is also dressed up.

Flowers in bloom in the yard.

I drive this every day. About 300 meters from our house. I always love seeing this hillside and this tree.

Nearer to our house than that hill and tree. I also lit to sit in this parking lot and enjoy the moon sometimes at night.

From the same parking lot. Also the same road from where I wrote "nascent." However, this is about 2 weeks later, is a lot more green, and just beautiful.

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