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Through the looking glass


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I’m having a hard time believing I’m not on a holiday or business trip. I guess living in the hotel room like temporary housing is part of it. I’m really looking forward to finding a place to live - and hopefully this week. A good friend of mine from the states is taking the opportunity to come out to visit, throwing the “hey, I speak German, I sell houses, let’s do this thing” excuse. I can’t wait to see her. Oh, and it just happens to be Karnival.

Pretty thing from the Zeil yesterday - this building has been being built, and then covered up - for as long as I’ve been coming to Frankfurt. Yesterday, they had it open and it looks like it’s going to be pretty cool.

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woosh!


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So that’s been two years then. Wow, that really went by quickly. The past few days were a blur of saying goodbye to a lot of really amazing people who I look forward to seeing again soon, and packing everything up. Right before I left Kiev, we got one more snow - a really thick and pretty coating.

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Which was nice -especially since I didn’t have to go anywhere except across the street for my going away party. Which was so awesome. I was completely overcome by how many people showed up, by how wonderful and kind everyone was, and and by the great gifts people brought. I wish I could have taken all of them with me - guys, if you’re reading this - I didn’t take the vodka - I left it with Tamara and hopefully you can all enjoy it one night and send me the photos. Kiev has taught me so many things and one of the most important things is NO MORE VODKA. But the thought was sweet.

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Another good going away gift - I finally got a photo of the police Lada that I’ve been wanting to photograph forever.

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This may not be the most clear post I’ve ever made - I woke up this morning at 2:00 AM, the driver showed up at 2:30 and we were at the airport around 3:15. Strangely, the guy who is taking over for me at work is a) taking my flat, so he spent the night there last night and b) is from Frankfurt and was going back here on the same flight as me. Luckily, because it turned out I really needed some help with Chauncey and all the stuff I was taking with me.

Speaking of Chauncey, for those interested in taking dogs out of Kiev - it was really easy getting him out of the country. The moving company had brought a cage over a few days ago, so I took his bed cushion in it and he got used to it pretty quickly and even went and slept in it a few times. At the airport, the only thing anyone asked me to do was pay his overage charge. I was expecting to have to go see a vet there, like everything I’ve read has said, or to have to bribe somene, like my moving company told me I’d have to do, so when the people at the Kiev airport brought me into a back room to x-ray the cage (which totally didn’t fit in the machine, so some guy sort of half assed poked around in there instead) I smiled and laughed with them, then put C in the cage and closed it up. I left a sweater on him because I’m a nerd and have a sweater for my dog and also becuase I figured it may be a little cold in there. As I was leaving, I smiled again at all the people in the room, said spacibo and that was that. When I got on the plane, I asked the flight crew guy if my dog had gotten on the plane, to which he looked confused, looked a a sheet of paper and said no. Seeing my face drop, he went and asked the pilot who said yep, so I went and tried to fall asleep, which of course I couldn’t. Flight took off right on time at 5:30, and by 7:00 German time we’d touched down.

Getting him in the country was really easy as well. First off, I went and grabbed him from the oversized luggage, and he was totally calm. The guy told me to go through the red channel on my way out, but only after I asked if I should do so. When I got to the exit, there was a sign that said “red chanel closed, use the phone to call somene if you have something to declare.” I stood there for a minute thinking “hmmm…I could just walk out…” but I didn’t, and when I picked up the phone, I was directed to another exit near by. The three people working there were so nice, and played with Chauncey until the vet showed up - one guy even went and got him some water. The vet looked at his papers and then came over to me and whispered that I was missing one paper, but it was just a different form of something I already had, so I should just go. Everyone was really great.

Anyway, blah blah blah. Time for me to go to bed. I renewd the domain name on this site because i didn’t want it to become some mail order bride site, so chickinkiev will continue on for a while in some form or another…I’ll figure something out. But one thing is for sure….my time being the chick in Kiev is over, and a new chapter is beginning. Stay tuned…

four more days


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Wow. I can’t believe that I’m moving in four days. It’s really been a great, and totally crazy at times, experience living over here. I’ve made some life long friends, have grown up a little, and learned a lot about how different the world is. I really feel lucky to have had this experience, and I’m really excited about the next one. Germany, especially Frankfurt where I’ll be, is a lot more like what I’m used to in Chicago, which makes me realize some things that I won’t be seeing anymore:

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Julia’s hair. I love this woman. I know next to nothing about her politics, but you have to admire anyone who can make intentionally make themselves so iconic - there was a time when I thought my agecny was going to work on her presidential election campaign and I was PSYCHED. I had a million ideas for…well, Julia…call me when you are going to run (if you’re not already, honestly, I can’t keep up with the politics in this country). I especially love this “we’ve got the whole gas in our hands” shot. Lovely.

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Big Poofy Wedding dresses. I was about to take this into the direction of  the power dynamics of the Ukranian woman, but you know what? Not going to go there…Big Freaking Poofy Barbie Dream House Wedding Dresses. Your constant presence on weekends in my neighborhood will be missed.

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What do you mean the Christmas tree needs to come down? Put some hearts around it - Valentine’s Day Tree!  Problem solved. I know Marco is reaching for his Christmas Bat right now to take this thing down.

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Plastic flowers by random wall sculpture. ‘Nuff said.

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The stupid exchange rate. Honestly. It’s horrible seeing how the Hvrna has tanked in the last few months. People’s salaries have effectively been cut in half. Things are not so good. Here’s hoping that it comes back down, and it would be even nicer if they didn’t have a currency that was linked to other country’s currency.  The worst part is that some things (like rent, or credit card bills) are paid in USD, other things in Euro and then other things in Hvrna. Stupid.

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800 kinds of cigs in every kiosk you pass. It’s crazy. And smokes here are cheap, the most expensive pack will run you about a buck and a half, with most brands going for around 60 cents.

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Pac Man Ghost Graffiti Guy!!! Oh Smiley, I’ll miss you.

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Cyrillic. Although I can read Cyrillic now, I just don’t know what the word I can read means 99% of the time. But I do love sounding out a word and realizing it’s an English word.  I feel brilliant when that happens. True story. Also true - I’m a dork.

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I am seriously going to miss seeing the Golden Gate every morning. And I loved in the summer how I’d leave my balcony door open during the day on a Saturday and fall asleep for a mid day nap to the sounds of people hanging out in the park, and this guy playing the pan flute or something like that. Good times.

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And, of course…wild puppies. So far, I’ve never been even menaced by one - oh wait, there was one time I was locked outside my flat and I had just been grocery shopping and there was something wrong with the door - the police were there to fix it - i guess? Anyway, while I was waiting, this dog came over, very interested in the bag of food that I had set down. But before I could react (likely by giving the dog a piece of something and never getting rid of him) one of the cops scared him off.  Special shout out to my favorite wild dog - Scar:

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Ok, that’s it for now - I’ll try to do another post before I leave on Saturday at 5 in the morning. No, my flight leaves around 5, I’ll have to leave my house around 2ish. Grr. Argh.

a jones for change…


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An old colleague of mine,  Millenium Jones can’t resist change. He especially likes showing me how to “fix” my designs. Thus, he’s remixed my Obama wallpaper, and I really like the result, so I’m going to offer this one up to you as well. Enjoy!

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wild dogs!!!


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I finally bought a new camera - and you know what that means - I found my old one. Sigh. Anyway, my new one is pink so…yeah. PINK. Take that old camera!

Anyway - new camera means PUPPIES. Here are a couple of wild dogs from this week:

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You’ll notice that there is one on either side of the street. Casually pretending that neither one of them wants the other to come to the other side, yet looking longingly at each other…

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Or trying to figure out which human to follow and look super cute and hungy,  but worry them about the fact that they may snap at any second and give them rabies, like at the second the human was to break down and give them food. Maybe they just do that to me. Like this guy:

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Who followed a friend and I down the street for a bit when my friend stupidly made kissey noises toward him. He’s new in town, he’ll learn.

Oh, and if you’re around tonight and want to see some hot photoshop action - Layer tennis is doing an around the world exhibition, and I’m representing Kiev. Represent, yo!!! Or something .It’s 11:45 Kiev time.  Then tomorrow - must start packing! I’m moving to Germany in two weeks. Also, need to think of new blog names! Suggestions welcome, so far I can only think of “FrankenFrau” which is, admittably pretty lame.

Change your wallpaper…


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Oh man. Puntastic. I almost went with “Wallpaper you can believe in” so…yeah.

I figured I’d make a quick wallpaper to celebrate my new President. It’s big (1600×1200) and I have a smaller ratio one (1280×1024) as a thumbnail below, so click on the one you want, let it load completly, then drag, drop and enjoy. (the photo is a remix from the Rolling Stone cover shot - as seen here.

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and the smaller size:  o_1280×1024.jpg

Ok, it’s been a while….


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…and my Aunt Jeanne keeps asking if I’m alive since it’s been so long since I posted anything. Truth is that I was in Chicago from December 22nd until Jan 7 which is not exactly chick in Kiev material. Then the night I got back - December 7th which is Christmas here in Kiev - I had a few friends over, we had a few drinks, and somehow my camera has been missing ever since. I figured that since this is mostly a photo diary that pictures were, you know, important. But I’ll try to get a post up sans photos just to see how it goes.

I’ve been mostly plotting my escape from this place. I’m moving towards the end of February and there are many little things that I’ve had to get taken care of. Like getting Chauncey all shot up and microchipped. There was a pretty funny day last week where a friend and I took him to some government vet where they took some blood, then made us walk to another building (in the cold - I had to clutch the syringe of blood in my fist to keep it from freezing on the walk over) then we had to give it to someone, and then we had to take a slip from there to a bank to pay for it, then back to the other place with the slip that now has STAMPS on it (because everything is better with stamps) to prove that we’d payed. Now I have to call them in two and a half weeks or something like that in order to make sure that he’s passed his exams. I think I’m just going to hire someone to bring him out of the country for me - it sounds like it will be a nightmere if I try it myself.

Tomorrow night (day in the states) is the big day for my country. I talked to the owner of the Golden Gate and asked him if he would turn on the inauguration, and I think I talked him into it, so that will be fun. So happy that it’s not happening in the middle of the night here, but right at happy hour. Good planning, America!

And in that spirit - one last so long to my buddy Bush. I can’t wait to have a well spoken, smart president. It’s going to be so weird! (and by weird I mean awesome)

mmm….dinner


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I was hanging out with a friend yesterday, and got this crazy idea to go to the market and buy a chicken for dinner tonight. Luckily, he likes to cook and even though it was my idea, he arrived with a concept and a list, which rocked.

I got a few things that weren’t on the list:

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No, not the whole head, but a piece of this guy (or one like him) for my little beast, who is currently giving the kitchen floor a good old meat swabbing with it and could not be more excited.

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And while we were there, we also got this awesome bag (I have a soft spot for poorly represented advertising icons…)

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So then we did the chicken dance a little bit…

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Then the neck was cut off (at my insistence) and into the oven that bad boy went. I’m thinking he’s going to be pretty f’ing delicious.

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snow, melt, freeze, fog, repeat


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I’ve been traveling a little bit (Dublin for tar te ta thanksgiving) and then I came back and the next weekend made a turkey here for some friends, and in 6 days (woot) I’ll be back in Chicago.

I was doing a little walking around with a friend, Christmas shopping and such and saw a few of my favorite things: Wild dogs (these fighting over raw meat in the middle of the street)

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And possibly crazy guys dresses as hippies starting fires.

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Then as it was getting colder and colder, I talked my friend into a little grocery shopping (where it’s warm) and then a trip back up in the funicular (also warm). When we got back up the giant hill from Podil, it was dark and it was about 5 degrees warmer then it was in Podil, which made for some nice fog, and dramatic lighting made ol’ Bogdan look like a rock star.

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Then it must have all frozen because this morning walking outside there was a bunch of frost all stuck to the trees on one side of the branches.

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It kind of looked like a white version of Wooly Willy, one of my favorite toys growing up.

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Anytime I was running around too much or being too loud, my Grandma would hand me one of these. How great would it be to have a  coffee table made out of a giant of one of these?

Brrrrr


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Yep, it’s that time of year again. Already. Seems like it just thawed, but here we go again with the white stuff.

Jaroslav and his plate of cookies are now frosted….

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And Chauncey just saw his first snow. I had dreams of him running around, chasing snowflakes, rolling in the snow. All happy and excited like, well, like a dog. But I forget, Chauncey is not a dog. Chauncey is, as my friend Marco put it, more like a boar/fish hybrid. And I think he’s personally offended by the snow.

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So good times will be had as I’m trying to drag his ass around the block if it’s snowing. Note, that he’s wearing his fey little jacket. Next dog is totally going to be a german shepherd or something more sturdy.

Sorry…


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I’ve been updateless for the past two weeks. It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but I think things are calming down now. Election giddiness has calmed down a bit, and I promise this will be my last election related image, the one thing that really sums it up best for me:

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Last American election coverage. But there are suposed to be elections here sometime. There was a fight - an actual fist fight - in the senate here yesterday. Expect more flags soon.

I went to something so cool today…


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But it’s going to take me forever to edit the almost 400 photos I took. Luckily, most of them are crap since my camera is dying, but here’s a taste until I’m done going through pictures….

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Ok, I’m lazy - so until I do this, which probably won’t be until the weekend with a bunch of work nuttyness and the election tomorrow - here’s a link to my flikr set where there are over a hundred boxing photos. It was totally insane.

kiss ‘em goodbye….


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Three more days. So long, suckers….time to ride off into the sunset.

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And can you take Joe the Plumber with you? The McCain campaign is sounding more and more to me like a bad movie starring Tim Allen or Adam Sandburg about the “little guy” who’s always been a screw up, but wanders into some sort of wacky circumstance where he ends up learning a valuable life lesson and makes a “big difference”. It’s so violently scripted and just makes me sad that any of the American public buys it as the feel good campaign of the year.  And I can’t even bring up That awful woman. She almost makes Bush looks smart, which is terrifying. The rampant anti-intellectualism movement is just terrifying.

Three more days.  I’m just crossing my fingers and assuming everything is going to be better soon.

(painting from Village Voice Summer 2006 by Alex Ross)

foggy morning…


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Happy November - three more days until I get a new president…I’ve been sick all week and have been doing little more then watching and listening to political podcasts, reading way too much about the election, and feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t dress up like something and go out last night.  But I’m on the mend, and two more days of antibiotics should make everything ok. And then I’ll be good and ready to stay up all night Tuedsday watching returns come in.

In the meantime - I woke up early this morning and saw that it was all pretty outside - it’s been pretty mild here and the fog was back again today, but even thicker. So I grabbed my camera and Chauncey and we went out to capture a little bit of Keiv London style. Unfortunaltey my camera started flashing low battery after the second shot I took - but here is a little bit of my pretty city all dressed up in gray, with the only light in frame being the color of the leaves. My favorite kind of fall day.

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autumnie goodness


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So it’s that most wonderful time of the year where the leaves are falling off the trees, the days are getting shorter and I finally get to drag out the boots and jackets and scarves I’ve been missing the past few months.

Squirrels are setting aside nuts for a long winter ahead:

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I’m digging the mix of fall colors, Kiev style:

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I also have been taking Chauncey on long leasurely weekend strolls and I’ve found a few more signs etc that I just love. The one I’ll share today - is it a bar or a doctor’s office or maybe a bar for pets? I’ll have the snaketini, prajalsta.

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There has also been a guy carving (what I’m guessing are) dead trees in my neighborhood. I like this one who looks like he’s trying to get a taxi and a bird landed on his hand.

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Or maybe his hand IS a bird. I won’t judge, he’s differently abled.

Chauncey, on the other hand, totally judges. He’s a total baby about the colder weather, but I’m holding off on putting jackets or sweaters on him when we go out because I feel like a bit of a jackass. I guess once it goes below 0, I’ll likely bundle my little fuzzball up.

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I’m home sick today with a bad sore throat and a cough and fever, which seems to be going around. I was in bed all day yesterday, too, watching movies and feeling sorry for myself. When I took C out for a walk this morning, I noticed how awesomely foggy it was - we rarely get fog here. So I took this out my window (because, again, sick, not heading back out there until I have to) and I know this is going to sound stupid, but I didn’t realize how much the leaves had already fallen from the trees until I saw this photo.

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It’s pretty much time for another winter in Kiev, I guess. Brrrrr.