Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not-a-fail day

Do you ever have days where you feel like you just failed at that day? Where, though nothing earth-shatteringly horrible happened, you feel like you completely wasted an opportunity to do good things, better yourself and enjoy life?

I have had a lot of days like that over the last month.  A lot.  Days where I am short with people, I gossip too much, my kids eat frozen meatballs and vareniki (vegetable dumplings) for dinner again, I lose my temper when the toddler squeezes her very expensive eczema lotion all over the floor, my baby wails in her crib for 30 minutes until we both cry uncle on nap time, we don't make it outside the compound walls because I'm feeling too lazy to take advantage of the fact that we live in a foreign country, we spend the entire afternoon watching television, and I haven't done a single thing to promote creativity or education or even nutrition all day, and really, why am I staying home when the nanny obviously does a much better job of raising my children than I do??

You know.  Days like that.

Yesterday, however, was a good day.

In the morning, I bought a week's worth of groceries (minus the local veggies I had picked up at the farmer's market on Friday) for a meticulously planned-out weekly meal plan AND spent less than usual.  Score one point for organization and nutrition.

When I got home from the grocery store, we piled into the truck and drove 40 minutes to Tsaritsyno, an old estate that is now a lovely park with a lake and cute little bridges and a lovely fountain. (On the way there, I started knitting a fall hat for the baby.  Score one for saving money and becoming
reacquainted with my knitting needles - it's been awhile).  Tsaritsyno is host to one of the honey festivals around Moscow this time of year.  We walked through, taste-tested honey until our heads ached from all the sugar, and bought a couple varieties.  One is supposed to be very good for respiratory infections.  The other tastes like brown sugar.  Score one for experiencing the local flavor - both literally and figuratively.

Then we walked around the estate for a bit.  The girls loved the fountain and we loved watching them enjoy it.  Score one for quality family time.

We managed to keep both kids from falling asleep on the drive home, so when we arrived, they went down for a nap and I started working on dinner: slow-roasted duck with buttered noodles, sauteed swiss chard (thank you, farmer's market, for still being open in September) and parsnips fried in duck fat.  Oh my goodness, it was tasty.  N helped me spin the chard dry and checked on the duck roasting in the oven.  Z ate some chard and N at some of the parsnips, though neither was particularly into the duck.  Score one for vegetables and vitamins.  And for a new jar of duck fat in my fridge.  And for bones in the freezer to be made into duck stock.  Oh my goodness.

Then Jeremy took the kids out to play while I cleaned up (our dishwasher has been broken for over a week now - I am hoping our replacement comes on Monday).  After they went to bed, we watched reruns of Bones, drank a pot of chai and I continued knitting the hat.  I hope to complete it the early part of next week.  Score one for productivity and a relaxing evening.

Here's to more good days. 


  1. Wow! Very impressive. I never, not once, in four+ years in Russia, cooked a gourmet meal like that for my family, so you score major points from me for that duck/chard feast!

    Re travel with kids in Russia, the only options that worked for us were 1) take the nanny along with you (we did that when we evacuated to siberia during smog last summer - my favorite city in russia by far!); 2) leave the kid(s) with the nanny for a long weekend (we did that twice and it was awesome to have some away time); or 3) pick a town within reasonable driving distance and make it a road-trip with the kids. yaroslavl and suzdal/vladimir were two of our favorites. I hear they've re-opened the monastery in suzdal for people to rent the wood cabins there - awesome! just don't go during the annual cucumber fest...

  2. Well, what do you know, I finally found your blog again after forgetting what it's name was.... anyway, looks like you make some rocking good food!


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