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July 2008

everything is new


lucia's doing well.  i on the other hand have been busy with learning how to house train her, puppy proof my house and teach her how to climb the four flights of stairs on her own.  we made a few break throughs already.  she can navigate the stairs but still has trouble understanding what direction i'm going in.  i go up, she heads down, all the while staring at me.  yesterday she broke new ground with understanding how to tell me she wants to go outside.  she sat down, looked out the door window and then cast a side long glance at me. all those trips outside are starting to pay off.

the townhouse cats are another problem.  i have to keep lucia away from them for now.  she doesn't have her shots yet and a minor scratch from a cat can be enough to take out a young puppy.  i have a vet lined up to see her as soon as I make sure she worm free.  her case of worms seems to have disappearred after giving her a dose of medicine.  it's day 11 and no sign of them.

i'm looking forward to the day I'll be able to take her out for longer walks.  i plan on getting her use to my car so eventually we can go for a ride.


 lucia - one month old

i've been wanting to get a dog since last year but put it off knowing i was coming to russia.  i didn't want the dog to have to endure the trama of going through quarentine and the like.  but now that i'm settled in vlad, the time was right.  a friend at work put me in touch with someone that had discovered a new litter of puppies.  i say discovered, because the mom was a stray and the puppies were now at the mercy of living on the streets.  knowing i could give one a home, i immediately said yes.  no sooner than i agreed were the wheels put in motion.  within a couple days i left with my friend to meet the puppies caretaker.  there were only 3 puppies left and i thought i was going to pick one of them up.  but it turned out she picked me out instead.  when i got in my friends car, she immediately informed me that to save time we were going to meet her friend at a bus stop.  her friend had picked out the one she thought was the most "communicative".  i knew this wasn't the ideal way to bring a new dog into a home, but i decided to let fate take control and go along with it.  i had committed to taking one in and i wasn't going to go back on my word.  we met the girl at the bus stop who had my new puppy.  it was wrapped in a blanket and covered up.  i finally got a peek at her as i was standing there next to the car.  she was a scared little pup. i remember that the most.  the girl handed her over to me and thanked us. she asked what i was going to call her. and i said i hadn't decided yet. they had been calling her lucia, which after a couple days i finally decided it sounds fitting. 

after the first night of bringing lucia home, it started raining.  it didn't stop for 2 days.  this has made house breaking her a little difficult.  but otherwise she has been very happy and content to explore my house and sleep when the mood strikes her.  but picking up a stray also brings with it problems, namely parasites.  i wasn't fully prepared for both the internal and external critters she brought with her.  so now i'm on the fast track to getting her to a vet.  the number one problem right now is worms.  i discovered them today and it isn't pretty as you can imagine.  the first thing i noticed was her lack of diet after the first day of eating all her puppy food.  so tomorrow i'm going to try and get her to a vet for an entire workup.  fleas and lice are also being dealt with with several baths, but i'm going to need some stronger remedies from the vet to make sure i kill them off right.

hopefully, i can catch all this in time.  with all the strays i see running around here, it's frustating to think what they must be carrying and transferring to each other.  wish me luck.

show me your nuts?


i discovered my scoota lost a couple screws recently.  my theory - last week I rode it down a bumpy trail to a beach.  either that or a sunday morning trip i took to the vlad motor inn to grab breakfast.  end result, the scoot is permanently parked until i get some replacements.  i'm terrible when it comes to shopping for parts through local vendors.  and since the screws are off an italian scooter, i suspect it's not going to be easy to find a match here in vladivostok.  so instead, i looked online and found  i ended up buying the bolts i needed plus a few storage trays to organize the growing collection of jars, bags and boxes of parts i've accumulated over that last few years.  you'd think i'd be travel light but it's easier to carry your own little line of hardware store parts, than to track down a u.s. steel grade 9/16 hex bolt. i remember waiting 3 days just to find a couple U bolts in sudan.

my russian classes have been picking lately.  i've been learning more about locations and directions. the part i enjoy is learning how to say "where" than anything else. 

  • где      - "где магазин?"        "where is the store?" (prepositional)
  • куда    - "куда вы идёте?"     "where are you going?" (accusative)
  • откуда - "откуда вы едете?"  "where are you coming from (genitive)

you'll notice in the last two examples, идёте and едете are different words meaning "to go".  the significance is, if someone is traveling by foot идёте is used. if they are traveling by some mode of transportation, едете is used.

if i'm talking about myself and where i am going now, i would say "я иду на почта" (i am going to the post office). it's very important to understand how to conjugate the verb so the listener understand who is doing what.  i've been wrapping my brain around what changes if i say "I, you, he, she, we, they, etc".  it's actually a cool way to express what's happening. every verb turns into a new sounding word. here's an example of the verb говорить -  "to speak" (imperfective aspect - present tense)

  • я (I)                         говорю
  • ты (you-informal)      говоришь
  • он/она (he/she)        говорит  
  • мы (we)                   говорим
  • вы (you-formal)        говорите
  • они (they)                говорят

i wish i had the advantage of taking classes everyday, because work tends to disrupt my rhythm by my second class for the week.  i know i'd excelerate my learning curve if i could spend more time with the language.  but i do get every opportunity to practice throughout the week with everyone from coworkers to total strangers.  one thing i've noticed is i'm not shy about blurting out the wrong words.  someone corrects me and i'm the better for it.  i remember it better that way compared to trying to look it up myself.

current favorite word - "устали" (we/you/they are tired). but that's past tense and a post for another time.

brats, burgers and the boss


the small group of american foreign service officers and families in vladivostok, celebrated the fourth of july yesterday in true fashion.  although no one had any fireworks, i noticed later on that evening, some one in our neighborhood fired off several displays of pyrotechnics.  as it usually happens one of our staff decided to host the party and put the call out for everyone to bring some pot luck to the little gathering.  we held it on a large patio next to the townhouses, which worked out well,  since the weather was taking a break from its typical rainy day forecast.  bruce springsteen was slipped into a boombox and patio furniture was consolidated while the cooks started up the grills.  i brought out some coronas, tostitos and salsa, i know its not typical american holiday cuisine but no one seemed to mind.  by the time everyone arrived, the brats, hamburgers, and chicken were ready to take off the grill.  potato salad even made an appearance, which fit in nicely to the theme. i almost forgot to bring out a couple batches of homemade ice cream after lunch.  the oatmeal raisin cookies k brought went nicely with it. as the afternoon slipped by, the last residents of the townhomes decided to finish the night up with some poker.  i held off on going bust and even made a semi-valiant comeback into the plus.  by the time we split up for the night it was already saturday morning.   

water blues


fourth of july nears.  last year i got to see the aircraft carrier, uss kitty hawk in sydney.  sadly, no ship will be visiting vladivostok this year.  the weather's been overcast most of the week, but i'm hoping it clears up for the weekend.  a trip is in the works to head south and i hope to make this time.  i'll post more if it materializes.

i ran into a problem with my desktop last month and spent most of the time rebuilding it, hence the lack of posts.  i did have my laptop which always turns out to be a livesaver.  but due to the limited download size i can do in a month, i wasn't able to complete my rebuild until last weekend.  it's good to be back on my main computer again and i should be 100% in another week.  on the plus side, i finally got around to updating some applications that i really needed.  

i got some new toys in the mail this week, thanks to my buying spree last month.  

  • cleaning supplies for my canon d30
  • extra driving lights for my fj cruiser
  • and some dvds

wish i had more free time to organize some trips, but i have to make sure others get some leave time in before i take any more off.  a chance to go river rafting came up but i don't forsee getting a week off in july to join in.  bummer..