One family's diary, journeys and thoughts

Monday, January 29, 2007

Snow Day!

Last night, it snowed again. I woke up this morning and looked out of the window and saw a lot of white. It wasn't until I went outside that I really noticed how deep the snow was. And did I mention that it was snowing like crazy? Our school starts at 8:45. My bus usually gets there first so I am the first one who arrives in my class. Sometimes I come even before my teacher.

During recess, everyone was playing in the snow, me included. It was so much fun. Some kids were actually rolling around in snow. It was all new and fluffy. I think about 6 inches fell. I love it, but I feel sorry for the cars and such. It's so hard to drive in deep snow. Anyway, at 10:45, they announced that we were to be sent home early because we had no running water, and partly because of the weather. They contacted all the parents, called the buses, etc. Everyone was happy that school was over, naturally. My first "snow day," or " there no water so they sent us home," day. Fun fun fun.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


I was looking through my picture archive last night and found some good pics, which, although old, are worth showing here. I must say we miss these people and places a lot!

So, here goes...

The junior band performing.

Donna playing guitar at church.

Rev. and Mrs. Flores. Most serious, as usual.

The Belmonte family at Pismo. The two older boys are missing in the picture, but the truck is there!

Jonathan and Ruth, just married... 20+ years ago.

Veronica enjoying chips at the Warner's.

Brian and the Summer Rules.

A ladies only tea party at Helen's.

And finally, Roxy having loads of fun at LA Zoo.

(She loves the zoo, so don't be fooled. I guess she was just having a moment there...)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Shout to the North and the South...

Listen, everyone! There are now audiofiles of Pastor Daniel's sermons available at http://verdugohillsbaptistchurch.squarespace.com. In my humble opinion, our pastor is a great speaker and a wonderful teacher, so log on, download and listen. You'll be blessed.

On kitties and such

That kitty (previous post) reeks of poop, because someone never cleans the litterbox. Which is the only reason I let her go fast. Otherwise she is quite cuddly, if somewhat bad-natured.

And why is it that the shoemaker is ever without shoes, and the photographer - without decent pics?

Some pics

A picture of mom pretending to love our kitty...

Here's the same picture without the photoshop. Which do you like better?

Awwwwwww (cough cough) ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Blog

I am now the member of another blog. Check it out. It's http://howtosayyes.blogspot.com. There is nothing on it yet, but there will be various essays soon. Including mine. (you might get a pleasant surprise when you see my first essay). Look at the profiles of my team members, but don't believe a word of it. Including mine. We didn't use our real names.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Warming up

It's warming up here. It hasn't snowed in over a week, and everything is melting. It's all wet and slushy. Personally, I hope it snows again soon. I like snow better than slush and ice. But don't tell Vicky I said that...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh, the New Year party!

Me and my sis... I mean, daughter. Behold - Roxy with straight hair!

My coworkers and me... the ones I share an office with. Cashier, Chief accountant, CFO and, of course, the Office manager - yours truly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Just mugshots...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

People of the Year

Did you know? I'm Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2006. Seriously. So is mom. So is Donna. So is Angela. Notice a pattern here? They're all bloggers! That's right. Blogger's were Time Magazine's Person(s) of the Year 2006. It makes me feel special.

Dial 911 for emergencies?

Actually, in Armenia there is not one, but 3 different emergency numbers: 01 for fire, 02 for police and 03 for ambulance. But even those... Well, I'd better start from the beginning.

My coworker arrived this morning very agitated yet tired-looking. She told us she was battling fire alongside other neighbors the good part of the night. Turns out, there was some alcoholic living upstairs, who, being drunk, fell asleep with the heater on and too close to his bed. The bed caught fire, then the rest of the furniture, and then the entire room. Fortunately, one of the neighbors smelled burning, woke up others and together several guys broke in just in time to save the drunkard from burning alive. The guy was dispatched to the hospital with severe burns, and the neighbors put out the fire by carefully pouring water or covering it with blankets. The interior of the apartment had burned out, along with the floor boards, and there were some smoldering fires underneath the floor, between his apartment and my coworker's (we are talking a 4-5 story stone building here, with wooden beams between the floors.) They had to remove the floorboards, make sure there were no fires burning under them, and then take turns keeping watch until it was obvious that the fire went completely out.

-So, did you call the firefighters? - Asked I.
-Nope, we didn't. They wouldn't be as careful as we were putting out that fire, and would have drenched not only his, but our apartment as well, and probably a few others, too. We couldn't possibly have that!

As I was saying, there are three emergency numbers in Armenia. My best guess would be that we just can't afford to send 2 or 3 emergency teams in response to every call yet. As you can see, sometimes even one team could be too much!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Feeling closer to the top

The airconditioning/heating units, which we have installed in the office, are guaranteed to perform under the temperatures as low as -5 °C. When it's -15 to -25°C, it becomes a little problematic to operate them. Huge chunks of ice clog the units, stop the fans and cause all kinds of malfunctions. What you have then is an office full of freezing people, each one of them having a personal vendetta against the office manager.
So, I called the air conditioning repair guy and asked him to come over. If he shook all the ice out of the units, they might start working again.
"Can't come right now, - said the repairman. - I am at the President's office, and he is having the same problem. Let me make sure the President of the country is no longer freezing, and I will come over and take care of you guys next."
Only in Armenia...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Some random thoughts

If any of you like good, clean, inspirational movies, watch Akeelah and the Bee. We discovered it some time ago and already watched it a few times. It's definitely on our favorite list now!

Speaking of which, I had to reformat my computer recently, and ever since it refuses to play bootleg DVDs. In fact, it wouldn't even open my photo CDs, which I quite legitimately burned at work a few years back. Hmpt!

Today is the official last day of festivities in Armenia. According to the old calendar, used in Armenia some 90 years ago, it's New Year's Day today, and even though all other dates have long been observed by the new reckoning, this one stayed. I guess people just don't want to let the holidays go.

And of course, it's snowing again!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What's new?

Roxy is back to school.
I am back to work.
And, it's snowing again.
That's all for now.

Monday, January 08, 2007

"Shiver" - a post without pics

Brr, It's cold in here. There must be some........snow! Ah, yes, the wonders of a very cold winter. Did I mention that two of our five rooms are closed for the winter and are terribly chilly? They are surrounded by four walls, and have a roof, and therefore, it is unacceptable that I can see my breath when I breathe there. Yes. I can see my breath in my own house. Rather sad, if you ask me. Mom uses one of those rooms as an extra fridge. And, when we go outside for a walk and come back in again, the bottoms of my pants are completely covered with snow, and they are frozen stiff. Still, I had fun throwing snowballs at my "uncles". By the way, 32 degrees F is freezing, and I think the coldest so far here has been like -2.2 Degrees F. So, you get the idea. It's cold.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Family matters

One of the best things about coming back to Armenia was rediscovering some of the relatives and old friends, people with whom we somehow failed to stay in touch. So, after losing each other for 9-10 years or more, we would meet again and discover new families formed, new kids born, some older people gone and yonger ones getting older... you know, the usual stuff. One of such pleasant rediscoveries was the family of my grandma's cousins (did I mention that Armenians, just like Greeks, often have a lot of cousins?) So, by Armenian reconing, their kids would be my uncles, and their grandkids - my cousins, right? (I think in the States they wisely call the whole lot "cousins" regardless of the generation, so if you get confused, call me - I'll explain to you again who is who.) .

The funniest part is, my uncles are only slightly older than I am, and their kids are much younger than me. Which is how Roxy and Vicky end up having 8- and 10-year old uncles.

Here I am with my uncles. Most serious lot, won't you agree?

Roxy playing snowballs with her uncles, with their parents looking on...

...and yes, my favorite - here I am playing table hockey wth my 10-year old cousin! Fun, fun, fun! I used to play with his dad way back when, and beat him, too!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Three generations

Vicky with her mom and Grandma (on dad's side)... and some more little Vickys in the background (in the form of pictures). Vicky's pictures of all ages are all around Grandma's house...

This is when we just dropped by Grandma's to say Happy New Year, and had to stay for a few hours, because she wouldn't let us go until we try all the delicacies she cooked. She even woke up Grandpa, who worked all through the previous night, and made him cut the deli meats for us...


...and me all bundled up on the occasion of first snow.

I think I finally exhausted all the pictures I took since it snowed, so from this point forward I might have some thoughtful texts, if I get a chance to post at all.

If anybody besides Mike is ever reading this, please drop me a line, I would be right glad to hear from ya'll.

Winter's artwork... for your enjoyment

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Contest announced

Here is a picture taken on New Year's night. We invite you to suggest a title for it. The winner will be featured on our blog (and what greater honor can there possibly be?)

Monday, January 01, 2007


Can you believe it's 2007? I can't - and yet they tell me it's here. I hope it turns out to be a better one for all of us - a healthier, less hectic, more successful year. A year when there will be less running around and more reflecting, more time to pray and talk to family, more time to spend with the kids and friends, less frustrations and misunderstandings, less problems and less grief, and more happy sunny days for all.


Here are some pretty flowers for you to enjoy - so what they are made of ice!



Why some people don't like winter

For some, wintertime can be really unpleasant. For example, if you have nowhere to hang your laundry but ouside, then instead of nice, dry and fluffy clothes you get stiff, cold, wet boards with icicles on them.

Or, if you like buying your meat from an open air market, you might have to defrost it first before cooking.

If you own no fur coat or nice fluffy jacket, you might end up putting on everything you have just to keep warm.

And, if you like to take pictures, like I do, don't go out when it's windy! You might end up with snow inside your camera, and that's not pretty!

Animals in the snow

Cats seem to be quite undisturbed by the snow - but in truth they are. They hate it, and you should see them shaking their paws every time they step into some wet sludge.

Dogs, on the other and, take it easy most of the time. As long as there is food and a warm spot somewhere.

Then there are horses... well this one, at any rate, looks magnificent covered by snow, doesn't it?


What do you do if you work on Christmas Day? Not much you can do, except exchange all the gifts on Christmas Eve and have your daughter cook the Christmas dinner instead of you. Which is exactly what we did. On Christmas Eve we went to church, then came home and opened the gifts. On Christmas Day, I came home to a stuffed chicken, courtesy of Roxy - hooray!

Here she is in her pajamas, setting the pretty Christmas dinner table.

The dinner was good! Too bad Vicky only made it home after midnight, because her work ends at 12 am...

Immediately after Christmas Day is started snowing...

...and snowed non-stop for 30+ hours. The next day or two were absolute mayhem, with some parts of the city completely cut off (transportation-wise) and people having to trudge several miles through the snow to get to work.

Good thing I live only 20 minutes of trudging away from my office!

If you get weary of these white pics - too bad, I have yet more to post! I am just enjoying the winter and snow too much!!!

Things you can buy on the streets of Yerevan

Keeping up with the image of an Eastern city, Yerevan in certain areas often resembles an open-air market. There are many things you can buy right on the street in Yerevan. Here are some, posted entirely for your enjoyment.

Fruit - at this time of the year mostly imported, sweets, preserves...

Toys and Christmas decorations... as well as seeds and nuts which this bundled-up grandma is selling...

Socks and underwear... a new pair of knee-highs or long jons, anyone?

Freshly baked bread...it does get cold fast in the winter, though, so you don't see this one often.

Clothing, also mostly imported by individuals from nearby Georgia and Turkey by car and train...

Combs, zippers, shoelaces, knick-knacks...

My personal favorite (and Roxy's, too) - pig heads and other body parts. Thus will your bitter end be if you are pigheaded, so beware!

No, we haven't bought one yet, and aren't planning to, either, thank you very much!