Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For Heidi

Today I was driving home and I had to stop for this big fella. When going by this farm, I usually have to stop for the geese to cross. (They go from the yard on the left to a pond on the left.) This is the first time I've seen of of these Scottish Highlanders wondering in the road.

He looked at me for a while (as I was taking his picture with my phone) and then decided to head up the driveway on the left side.

Gotta love the country!

p.s. Sorry about that creepy dude being at the top of my blog for so long!

Monday, November 06, 2006

What's WITH This Guy?

What would make this guy set wildfires? Is he mentally ill?! I just don't get it.
And why isn't he wearing a shirt in this photo? It seems very odd.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Getting Ready for Winter

I'm back home after a long stint of flying (10 out of 11 days, the day off being Halloween). While I was on my last trip, it snowed here. Cranky says it was about 3 inches but didn't last long. The kids and our guest dog, Toby, were very excited. Last night as I drove home from Boston, it was flurrying in the last 2 miles to our house. Yippee! It looks like winter is really coming so it was time to get ready.

To augment our heating oil this year, we put in a wood stove. It was installed a couple of weeks ago and Cranky has been busy procuring wood. Here's some of it:

Here's the new stove. It really heats the bedrooms upstairs so we have to keep the doors closed much of the time.

Here's Toby relaxing by the stove with Raymond. Toby will be staying here until sometime in January. So far he seems to like the cold weather.

A little while ago, Cranky took the boys to a snowmobile show and let Raymond sit on a "youth" snowmobile. It is the newer version of the small snowmobile he rode the last 2 years. Cranky thought Raymond would be too big for his old snowmobile (the Kitty Cat) so I got to thinking...

Okay, I started looking for a used 120 cc snowmobile. This morning Cranky showed me an ad for a 2000 Arctic Cat Z120. To make a long story short, here is the new toy in the garage:

This sled is in awesome condition. It has been barely used and meticulously maintained. This will be going nonstop in our yard when we get snow.

Bob is not big enough to drive it this year. He will probably be learning on the smaller one. (50 cc)

This is a very cool snowmobile. I would've KILLED for something like this when I was a kid. It is a 4-stroke, so it's relatively quiet and no mixing oil in the gas! Yeah! Raymond also likes that the headlight is working. (I couldn't find a new bulb for his other snowmobile and he couldn't ride very long after the sun went down.) He won't be able to take this on the snowmobile trails with us, but I told him I would take him to the pond down the road or maybe even out on the lake. We'll see.

Now, bring on the snow!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kyiv, the City Formerly Known as Kiev

I'm in Kyiv, Ukraine on a 2-day layover. Kyiv was known as Kiev until 1991, when the Ukraine became an independant nation. Kiev was a Russian name and now brings back unpleasant memories for the people here. (Less than a month ago, the U.S. finally changed the spelling formally.)

Kyiv is not far from Chernobyl, but luckily it is on the upwind side. It is however, just down the Dnieper River from there. The city is very beautiful and even has a European flare. The people smile and seem much more relaxed than the people I see in Moscow. I was touring the city with 4 flight attendants from my crew, and none of us had ever been here. It was quite an adventure. The Ukrainians were very helpful whenever we asked for directions.

Last night we went to Independance Square. The statue is of a Woman, the symbol of the protector of Ukraine (Bereginya). It was unveiled in 2001. Here is a picture:

And here is another picture I took today:

We went by the Golden Gate, which was one of 3 gates built in the 11th century. It was partially destroyed in 1240. Only a 10 meter by 10 meter section of this is from the original gate.

Here is another side of it with a statue of Yarislav the Wise, the great Prince from 1019-1054. He was credited with defeating the Pecheneg's horde, ending a 120 yr. war.

As I was looking at this statue, I noticed some upside down beer bottles high up on the gate. Here is a close-up. I'm not sure how they got up there, but I bet drinking was involved! At night, there are many people standing out on the streets drinking large bottles of beer.

This is the Bell Tower of St. Sophia Cathedral. From 1699 to 1706, this tower had only 3 stories. In 1851, the fourth tier was built with a the dome, which is gilded with pure gold.

Outside the Cathedral, this man was playing and singing. It was quite lovely.

These are a couple of pictures I took inside the cathedral. It was built in the 11th century and largely destroyed in 1240 by Baty-khan. In the beginning of the 18th century it was rebuilt. There is however, 300 square meters of the original church and approximately 3000 square meters of the original frescoes.

We went up in the Bell Tower and this was the view looking toward St. Michael's Monastery.

Once back down in the square below, we saw a bride and groom having their picture taken. We saw several wedding parties today -- I guess because we were touring some famous and beautiful churches.

This is St. Michael's Monastery. It was originally built in 1108, but was blown up in 1935. The monastery was rebuilt from 1997-2000, to look as it did in the 18th century.

Here is St. Andrews Church, built in 1749.

This is inside St. Andrews. It is a rather small, but very ornate church, which is now a museum.

At the end of the day, we took the subway to the Lavra Monastery. We went down an incredibly long escalator, which reminded me of the subway in Moscow.

This is the Pecherska Lavra monastery. It was founded in 1051 by 2 monks as an underground cave monastery. Construction of the stone buildings began in the late 11th century. This is a one of the most sacred places of pilgrimmage for the orthodox believers.

From the walls of the monastery grounds, I had a great view of the statue of the Motherland, a Soviet memorial of the Great Patriotic War (World War II). It's huge!

Kyiv is a beautiful (but cold!) city to see.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Another Successful Halloween

Yesterday, Bob and I went to Raymond's first grade Halloween party. Bob didn't want to leave when it was over.

After dinner, Mary did Raymond's makeup.

This was Bob's first year trick-or-treating. He was the cutest dog in town!

Mary stayed home and gave candy to the 3 groups that came by. She didn't go out last night, but today is "Crazy Day" at school and this is what she wore to school:

Hope you all had a nice Halloween!