Sunday, March 1, 2015

03/01/15 Warmer but Colder, Tree, Another Taxi and Lots & Lots of Ice

     The weather is now up and down through the twenties and even sometimes in the low thirties - but it actually seems to be colder when we are outside, quite a nip to the air; and no matter what direction we are walking, the breeze is always in our face.  We haven't found the scientific back-up, but maybe it will fall into a similar category as that of my theory that water here isn't as wet as water at home, evidenced among other things by how fast the clothes dry on our drying racks and how quickly you can dry off when you get out of the shower.  It even takes less time to dry my hair.
    We see a lot of people walking with their dogs in a variety of outfits - this is one of the less elaborate ones but since they were walking away, we could get a picture.  Some of the dogs, and they do have nice dogs (that I don't get close to anymore) will have on a complete outfit even with booties or foot/paw coverings of some kind.
     We've been taking our pictures to develop out to the only place we had been able to find - 20 minutes on the bus and a short walk, the same to pick them up.  But without any notice, the whole store closed about a month ago.   Then we learned that one of the missionaries knew of another small photo place that is only about a 5 minute walk.  Plus there is this great crooked tree we get to walk under.  The pictures are two rubles more, but they develop them while we are there so in fifteen minutes we're on our way.  The first time we went in, we were looking around trying to figure out what to do, and a tall man about our age turned and said slowly, enunciating every word, in accented, but very clear English .."Perhaps I could help you..."  and he did so the people there knew what we needed - he seemed to be a long time customer.  He didn't know a lot of English but enough to get us started so we can go back the next time and know what we are doing.  Mike showed him a brochure on the church, but he said politely he wasn't interested,  he was satisfied with the Orthodox church he was attending.  Still he gave us his phone number and name in case we need help again sometime.
      This week's taxi ride .. we were gone from our apartment about 15 minutes and were stopped at a light when another taxi driver rolled down his window and kept pointing at the front passenger door where Mike was sitting - friendly, not shaking a fist or anything.  So when he could, our driver pulled up on to an empty snow covered sidewalk, got out and walked around.  Mike was also getting out to look - the driver smiled and kind of shook his finger at Mike, who apparently hadn't fastened the belt on his coat so it didn't make it all the way into the car and was hanging out the door and dragging along the slushy, muddy road. (as a side note, the snow no longer looks a root beer float color - it is dark brown/black and dirty.)  Mike was going to take the belt out of the loop so it wouldn't make anything else muddy, but our driver put on his glove, took the belt and slid it between his fingers hard a couple of times so it slushed the mud and ice off into the snow, then he took time, using his glove and some clean snow, to clean it up more and wipe off Mike's coat.  Then he smiled - kind of waggled his finger at Mike again (he's maybe late  20's) - got back in the taxi and off we went.  How nice is that.  We were trying to envision that on a busy American street.  Over here they don't take tips, but Mike put extra in and just handed him the money folded up when we  got out.
     This is a picture of trees along the way - they aren't covered with snow or ice, just are a wispy white - really beautiful.

  We found a dry cleaner - a member of our branch works there.  Interesting trip to get there - about a 20 minute walk each way, more if it is icy.  The first time we tried the door at the address that should have opened off the sidewalk,  it was locked.  Then we found out you have to go past it, and down through an arch and then through the door in the wall on the right of the picture.   Those are apartments you can see at the back.  It is a good cleaners and between us and the missionaries, we are already earning discounts.  However, at first glance you might feel you're headed into an illegal card game [maybe with the Woods girls - feel free to ask them the story behind that :)].
As the  snow and ice melts and refreezes, little at a time they are starting to chip it off, not little chips, big and huge chunks.  This is to the right of the driveway as you come out of our building - we couldn't quite get the depth to show on the second picture, but it is 10-12 inches thick, you can see the colors of the different layers.  The circle in the middle looks like water, but it is all ice.
Below, between the car that is parked and the car driving away, there is a small pile of chunks of ice that have been cleared to the side.  We tried to get a picture of one of the larger piles which can be about 3-4 feet high and a lot wider where they stack the ice after they break it up off the sidewalks and in between the parked cars.  There is one fenced area to the side of the road on our way to church that has huge piles of snow and now ice chunks.  We're quite impressed with some of the city services.  There are a few cars, by the way, that have been in the same place since all the snow and ice came.  The owners must reclaim them when everything melts, certainly nobody could steal them. 
 This is where the cars park at our church building, you can see the ice ledge there.  And you can see how dirty the ice is getting.  Guess March is still supposed to feel pretty cold, even if the temperatures are better.
 We serve soup or pancakes or something every Wednesday night before Institute because many of those that attend come directly from home or work and don't have time to go home and we don't want them to go home and not come back.  Serving Taco Soup here, with chips, cheese and sour cream - one of their favorites. They are appreciative each week, no matter what we serve.  Or they are complaining with a smile and we just don't understand the words.  We do enjoy them.  A couple of weeks ago when we came, the building wasn't open yet - it always has been before, so there were five or six outside waiting.  When they saw us coming across the street, they grabbed notebooks and papers, held them up like picket signs and started chanting (and laughing) ''Mormons go home...Mormons go home".  In light of the recent picketings and problems it was pretty funny.
We had the CES Fireside with Brother Ridd tonight - they sent us a link to download the translation, so we took the laptop over and got it to work - today's miracle, or at least one of them.  There weren't a lot there, maybe 11-12, and they laugh and chat and catch up on everything before it starts.  But once the program starts, it is quiet and they are listening.  They are very reverent and attentive during those meetings that are spiritual (same when they take the sacrament).. and they are a lot of fun at parties that are supposed to be fun.  These pictures before it started are pretty tender, such a small group, yet fiercely loyal to the church.  (They like to sing and grabbed hymn books as soon as the first song started in the fireside.)   

It was our oldest granddaughter's (Aaron's Allison) 18th birthday on the 27th, here with Michael (brother), Riley and Taylor (Stephens) - she is on the right -  Each day from my reading, I pick a scripture and write it in my notebook for that day.  I didn't notice until the next day, but the scripture on her 18th was two more 18's -  3 Nephi 18:18, a good scripture for her as she heads off to school and good for all of us:  "Verily, verily I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.  Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;"  
And the last thought for this week - The people here have a great saying for everything. Here is one we heard this week:  The less you know, the better you sleep.  

1 comment:

  1. I hope you took your card know, just in case you did come upon a card game :).