Monday, July 27, 2009

I can't wait to be out in the sun for a weekend!

I have just yesterday returned from a camping trip with my family and extended family, as I call our Russian friends here in America since we basically have become a huge family over the past 15 years or so. My dad picked me and another family friend up from sunny Ann Arbor and we headed to the north of Michigan to the AuSable river, only about a three hour drive.

It started raining halfway through our drive. Thankfully it had stopped when we got to our pick up location. Here are my dad's friends waiting for us.

The smoke you see rising on the next picture is from the cooking already going on at our campsite...mmmmmm ribs! My mom and my brothers and some others had already gotten there the day before and have been waiting for us.

I cannot remember which English author said this but it went something like "Only the English and the Russians can love nature not because (...insert reason...) but simply just." My dad was saying this just as I was taking this picture.

Here is a tour of the campsite:
The kitchen and dining room

My bedroom

And other bedrooms

The living room

The bathroom

Friday night it did not rain anymore but everything was wet and the sky overcast. That night with tea and whiskey and a guitar we sang old Russian songs around a blazing fire.
Despite rain at night and in the morning the sky did clear up in the afternoon of Saturday and gave us a few glorious hours of dryness and warmth. The kids even went for a swim. But that was about all we got as the heavy gray clouds rolled in again and the rain smashed down. The kids hid out in the tent with a deck of cards while the older people huddled under the tarp and ate Pringles and tea made on the tiny gas tank with the dog that had gotten sprayed by a skunk two days ago. Everyone became a meteorologist that weekend trying to figure out wish way the clods were moving an if that bright spot in the horizon would be coming over us or not. It never really seemed to. The sun, that tease, would peek through the clouds once in a while but once we stuck our noses out to see if it would stay the rain shooed us back inside. Half of the camp, the men, would go out fishing early in the morning, in the boat with ample supply of bait and beer and stay out until basically dinnertime. The rest of us entertained ourselves on the site. The highlight must have been after a certain very torrential downpour on Saturday afternoon, we needed to start the fire for dinner. The rain let up for a few hours with only occasional sprinkles and my mom dragged in some birch logs and as dry was not an option, we used sketch paper from the kids to start some birch bark to start some twigs to start some branches and so on. It took about an hour of fanning, lighting and relighting the carefully and strategically built pile to get the flame going. The whole process was quite comical/entertaining/energizing/heartwarming for everyone. But we did get the coals going. Then the men came back and poured some gasoline on it. We made dinner ate it as it started raining and the fire was in danger of dying again. Fashioned from a plastic table cloth and a few sticks we tried to protect the fire, at least the coals. After about half an hour of rain the fire was resurrected an the day was finished in some degree of warmth. The next day was our last. We left by about two in the afternoon as the sun smiled down on us from clear blue skies. I learned a new word that weekend "volgliy" or волглый, which means not wet or damp but not really dry either, which describes the state or basically everything that weekend. Two things would have made this weekend more perfect, either separately or in combination: the sun or someone to snuggle with. I still choose to remember the time with fondness because it was the respite and change of scenery I needed and the air was pure and the surroundings were glorious.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

new favorite song

One of my top favorite songs just added to the list - Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.
I liked the song before but for some reason and especially after watching "Immortal Beloved" I just listen to it over and over again and absolutely cannot get enough of it. so simple but so emotional; and it matches my feelings of late very well.

Lets take a few moments out our busy lives and have a nice listen even if you have heard it before. You wont regret it. Its very soothing, to say the least.

A love letter

Letter from St. Paul to the Corinthians

Some of you may have seen this quote before...
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately as well as spiritual discussions with my mother and this has got to be one of the best quotes ever. but just to read it is to see it superficially and say "ok, I get it" and then one forgets really. But to truly lie that way is what is important. When people say that love requires sacrifice what they often picture is an unbalanced system I feel. Sacrifice and love must be mutual for any relationship to work and Im not just talking about relationships between man and woman I am talking about friendships as well. Any person you feel is dear to you. I have also heard people say Love is overrated but then what do you live with? what are all your friends and family to you? Love is not a one dimensional aspect in life everyone hopes to attain its something that is always present whether one accepts it or not. It might take someone a while to really realize what it is, but if you were to truly be in a world with no love people would be a lot worse off that they are now. Anyway that about al I can write in the time I have, in terms of random thoughts

"If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Thursday, July 16, 2009


"Hope - is not a wish that sometime in the future things will get better... but seeing that within this day full of despair and suffering and sorrow, a light shines and love glistens; that the light in the darkness really glows and sparkles and the there is no way that dark can conquer it with any of its forces. Thanks to this hope we are filled with the assertion that in the end of ends light and good will prevail. This is our hope, and this is our faith, and this is where our love starts to grow." - Метрополит Антоний Сурожский

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Its been a while...

This past sunday I went to Balroom Dance club open dancing at the Michigan Union and even though it was in the small Pendleton room, I had a lot of fun dancing. The past few weeks I would come only for about an hour or less towards the end, if at all, and even though I always have fun dancing some times are better than others. I realized after almost 2 hours that I hadn't danced that much in a really long time. I had danced almost to every song that as played. My feet were screaming this. And my pedicured toes were very angry. An yet, a bunch of us went out salsa dancing at Cafe Habana afterwards. For another two hours. It was great! the room was not as crowded as it usually is on Thursdays and we were basically the only people dancing there. A lot of the team members that usually go to open dance were not there that day perhaps because of the IDB dance camp that weekend, or because it was a holiday weekend, or because of the room the dancing was in. But, those that came managed to meet and befriend new people as well as see some older acquaintances. It just turned out to be a very fun night, despite the fact I could hardly walk the next day. Its time to renew my friendship with my calluses, if I plan on dancing next semester. Step 1: studio time. Step 2: find a partner.

random thought of the day: I think this series of pictures is hilarious and awesome!