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breaking news…

although about what, I’m not sure. I was off to run some errands and get a mani (very important Saturday bizness) and as I got up toward the corner where I was going to turn, I see a bunch of people milling about and as I get closer I also see a bunch of cops. Not the normal friendly looking goofy hat wearing po-po, but a whole lot of black helmets and bullet proof vests hanging outside of Mr. Snack, blocking my view to…well, whatever was going on.


The flags I can see on the other side of the policemen don’t look familiar to me other then the Ukrainian symbol that I see around a lot, but I have no idea what the other flags are about. No big, I’m used to protests, even though they don’t usually come with riot police, but it’s cool, right? Wrong.


Suddenly I start to hear a sound that I remember from protests in Chicago, but never here. The sound of batons striking - well, it sounds like they were hitting wood, but people start screaming and running and a whole bunch of “kids” in their teens are running past me wearing scarves over their faces and some people are grabbing each other and starting to get the hell out of there and of course the crowd that’s grown to watch this all starts getting agitated and some are pointing and talking to each other and others are still taking photos, but the mood has absolutely changed. I’m thinking maybe I should get the heck out of there as well when the police and whoever they were holding back start breaking into the street and over toward me and that maybe turns into a hells yeah, and I turn and go back toward home.

As I get closer to my house, I decide that I’m not quite as freaked out anymore, and much braver now that I’m on the phone with a friend of mine explaining everything, and decide to go back, but this time from the other end. I notice that the intersection leading up to it from the other direction has now been blocked off to cars, but there is still foot traffic heading that way, so I figure why not and head back in.


As I’m walking up there, I am passed by several police trucks - like actual small trucks, and as I get closer I see the  intersection that I was at before is now completely taken over by the cops and the protesters. Closer to where I am there is a group of police, or military or whoever, closed around something. I can’t help but get closer, as I see there are a bunch of rubberneckers hanging out right next to them.


They’re closed around a group of guys on the ground, some wearing scarves over their faces, mostly dressed in camo. Yeah. To this stupid American, that looks a little sketchy, and I immediately certainly over react and start thinking explosives, and decide that in the off chance that I’m right, it’s probably better to skip that mani for now and just go home.

I’m sure I’ll head back out in a few, and will find the streets empty, as if nothing had ever happened.

outside of kiev

The weather has been fantastic here the past few days, and a friend of mine has been telling me that she’s going to take me outside the city so I can see some of Ukraine, and not just Kiev. Well, today it finally happened. But it was cool, because we had a map.


And it was pretty…


Ponies! There were horses walking down the streets…


And cows….totally cute country awesomeness. After a while, nature was calling and I started to ask my friend about finding a toilet somewhere. Just then we entered a village called “Pee”. No joke. Here’s the sign.


But alas, not a city full of facilities. So when she was like “what, I hope you don’t mean you need a “real” toilet” I was just…what? And we pulled over and I peed by the side of the road. Always a lady.

We carried on, and soon came to the city we were looking for - Kaniv


Where we climbed a million stairs, had a very nice view and I laid some flowers at the statue of Shevchenko


And then we took off back to Kiev. On the way we stopped and bought all sorts of goodness. Like honey…


And veggies from one of a bunch of sweet babuchkas we’d passed.


The first time we passed a group of them, my friend was like “oh no, MAFIA!” and I was all…what? Where? Expecting a bunch of black cars with blacker windows and guys with shades and bad suits. Instead, I saw something like this…


Scary! All in all a great day, and the countryside in Ukraine is very nice.  We made it pretty far, too. Here’s the final map (this is not the actual route - I don’t think - could be)


I have a feeling it’s about to get all flaggie up in here….

Honestly. This is the second time this has happened since I’ve been here. I think he’s just jealous of her awesome hair.


…I came into work the other day and this little guy was sitting on my desk - this guy that I work with had made him for me.


My cute little mini next president.

update: make your own!


This last month has been crazy. Work has been insane, my mom came to visit and then since she can’t fly direct from Kiev to Chicago, we decided to go somewhere fun for a couple of days on her way back home. We were going to go to Istanbul, but for some reason flights were like, over 600 bucks each, which is crazy even though I’m now used to tickets to just about anywhere from here being around 500 bones, but 600? Each? So I decided to cash in some miles and change the plan. Still somewhere new to her, and somewhere I seem to be going all the time now….


Yea! Paris! I’m getting pretty good about getting around the city now, too. This morning I took the metro from the area we were staying in to the area I was staying in two weeks ago to get to the market I found last weekend. It was awesome. I came back with bread, and this amazing sea salt and other spices mix that I’ve become addicted to. I also took my mom on a walking tour that took us to a bunch of the major attractions and didn’t get lost at all. Woot. I really am loving Paris and can’t wait to go back again, although I’m also looking forward to spending some time at home too - I feel like I haven’t been home in forever.


And it was great having mom here - and she was great at finding things to do while I had to work way too much while she was here. I think the people at the opera will be wondering where she is this week. And she gave me an excuse to finally go into the Golden Gate. I always wondered if you can see into my place from there. The answer is no. Mom loved it, and likes Kiev. She’s sad that this was most likely the last time she’s going to be here, but she has a million photos to remember it by.


so in the past month…

Hi again! No, I haven’t forgotten all about this blog…truth is that I haven’t been much of a chick in Kiev lately. I’ve been all over the place. I was in Chicago, then Vegas, then Chicago late August till September, then I came back here, got swallowed up by work and next thing you know I was on a business trip for a week in Switzerland. Too bad it’s so ugly there…


So then after having to deal with that all week, I took a train through the French countryside,


to Paris. Where I went back to the place where I’d broken my arm. To avenge myself, or prove that I could stay upright or something. In my mind,  this step that I tripped down was…well, first of all, was TWO steps, and very high dangerous. The reality, however,


not as big. Small, in fact. Well then, the bar that I smashed into must have been made of titanium, right?


No. Unless they replaced the old bar with this one because it was so hard and unsafe and people kept slamming into it and breaking bones? Probably not. So having gone and faced my fears, I spent the rest of the weekend drinking red wine


eating snails


and getting a tattoo that I’d designed in Kiev just before leaving for my trip. I wanted something to mark my time here, and I’d been asking people for pretty Ukrainian words, sayings, etc - but nothing seemed right. Then I was talking to my friend about it, and this other guy came along and for some reason she started telling him this story about one night how she and I were sitting on my balcony having a drink and I asked “what time is it?” and she said “who cares, it isn’t going to get any darker” and just then all the lights at the golden gate park across the street went out, leaving us in almost total darkness. We just looked at each other for a second, then burst out laughing. This, suddeny, seemed like the perfect thing to get tattooed - so I had her write it out for me in Ukrainian and I put a bird on it (of course) and some circles and voila!


My brand spanking new tattoo.

Oh, I also bought my dog a coat in Paris. I never thought I’d be one of those people that dresses up a dog, but the day I was leaving for my trip, I was taking him around running a few last minute errands, and I came out of one place and he was sitting there, shaking a looking pathetic. So, jacket it is…


And then my mom came for a visit a few days ago, and I’d ordered a sweater and a jacket to her house online. I am such a nerd.


and this one is for you, Marco.


What every dog in Kiev needs to get through the winter.

back in the good ol’…..

I’ve been MIA from this site lately, but I have a goodish excuse. I’ve been back in Chicago, then in Vegas for a wedding (I think that part is sort of hazy) and now I’m spending a few more days before heading back to Kiev on Sunday.

I’m spending a much needed night in tonight, trying to design a poster for a fund raiser that’s tomorrow night (yikes) and watching the DNC, and getting all hopped up on hope. I’m keeping my fingers crossed this man is the next president:


I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the next three months. Click on the above sketch to learn more about our next president. I just realized, I should be making Obama flags and passing them out. Has living in Kiev taught me nothing?

hot hot hot hot hot

So it’s been crazy warm here, which I will now use as an excuse for why I haven’t been updating. Not just hot, but also crazy humid. Like living in soup. It’s finally cooled down a bit, just in time for me to flee for the relative coolness of Chicago, and the way hotter of Las Vegas. But before I embark on that trip, a quick ramble about my weekend.

First off, I don’t have photo evidence, but I have to give a huge shout out to Canada. The happy hour at your embassy is nothing if not a good time. True, I was expecting a hockey team, and subsequently disappointed by the lack thereof,  but that has everything to do with my own prejudice and nothing to do with what was promised. A good time was had, and an even better time, as usual, at the Golden Gate, or the “Rish Pub” as my friend Doug calls it, due to the lack of the “I”, which has since returned. Canada, I will be back.

So here is proof of the hot. Even Jaroslav the Wise had to cool down.


Then on Saturday, my lovely Georgian friend got a protest going against the lies that the Russian media is spreading about their involvement in Georgia. The march was called the “Army of Lies” and everyone wore a Pinochio nose, and chanted nonsense along the way. There was also a fantastic duo of stilt walker puppet master Putin and “baby Putin” (too lazy to look up his name - the new Russian prez)…





It seemed pretty well received, they even handed out a translation of “What the Russians say = What the Russians mean” to people as they walked down the street. They also picked up a group of Georgian supporters along the way.


A very cool idea, and so much better then sitting around just bitching about things, or writing semi sarcastic statements about how Russians suck on a blog.

Quit it.

This is Tblisi, Georgia.


It’s one of the most amazing places I’ve been, with the most wonderful people I’ve met. It, along with other cities in Georgia is being bombed by Russia right now.


kiev is old…

I just went and checked a fact (shocking, no?) before writing this. See, I’ve been seeing these ads all over town…


and I’d asked a friend who I’d thought said it was the 1020th anniversary of Kiev, and the patriarch of the church (old beardie on the left there) was coming to Kiev to celebrate.

1020 years old is pretty old. Especially from the eyes of someone who’s country just turned a whopping 232 this year. So I didn’t really think all that much about it, not only because my mind has been too busy having awesome fever dreams and hanging out with yet another lovely virus this week, but because math and I aren’t exactly the best of friends. Yet, something kind of made me go…wait…that seems wrong. And sure ’nuff…I found this article which says both that 1020 was the year that Christianity came to Kiev and that yesterday marked the 1020th anniversary of Christianity coming to Kiev. I’m glad I’m not the only one confused. (and yes, I did the math to make sure that it really wasn’t both. I think I even did it correctly).

Anyway, since I was lying in bed all day yesterday, I heard from friends that there was a huge gathering not too far from my house. I took the dog for a “walk” about 20 meters from my house and saw lots of busses parked on my street, and lots of policemen. Sadly, that’s all I saw.

But I did walk over there today, feeling a little better then yesterday. Unfortunately it was all over except for the dangerous labor of taking down all the adornment done by suprisingly good looking men:



and before I could explore any further, Chauncey started puking up some frothy orange stuff, so I decided it was time to split back to my sickbed.

Speaking of my pooch - I’d bought him this toy in Istanbul a while back, and he’d immediately ripped out the stuffing


and chewed on the “skin” for a while until a few weeks ago when he’d thrown it off the front balcony. I didn’t run after it because honestly, it had seen much better days, and it was really pretty gross when he’d chew on it, then come over to me and rub it on me to get me to play with him. Shudder. Good Riddance. Until today. We’re walking not too far from my place and suddenly he darts for something…..


it’s back. I look at it for a second. Undead. Disgusting. Who knows what “adventures” it’s had since C set it free. Then I look at Chauncey. Who is so stupid happy. This is why I can’t have kids.


Happiness is something gross to rub on someone who feeds you.

damn it!

So I was thinking the other day about how I started this blog about a year ago. I remembered it was sometime in July, but thought it was the 19th, 20-somethingth. And I was going to do a wow, I’ve been doing this for a whole year, happy birthday salute. Fireworks. A party with a band, you know, the whole thing.

But I missed it. Here, in case you’re interested is the first post, just over a year ago, where I set this blog up as somewhere I will post a photo every day about what my life over here is like. Cough.


chick in romania

I’ve been here a couple of times before, but haven’t really gotten to see much of the city. Yesterday, we went on a bit of a tour, and I have some observations to share…

First off, the hotel we’re staying at looks just like the shining. Compare. My hotel:


The Shining:


Ok, the carpet is different. But anyway. Creeee-py.

Other then that, Bucharest is pretty interesting. There are a lot of universities, and I learned what the students eat:


And how hot is that student? Big smile? Check. Collar popped? Check. Possible frosted tips? Check.


And there is advertising on every conceivable place. I was commenting on this to a woman taking us around, and said: “wow, there are a lot of empty buildings here” and she was all “huh?” and I replied, well, they have billboards all over and I can’t imagine anyone would want to live under that..”



Yeah, so I’m an idiot. They get paid to have no view, and I’m an idealistic dork.

But Romanians have a really well hung president, unlike us…


and a capital filled with both nuclear power (in the middle of the city)


Really interesting buildings….


good bands that roll through town…


And Piranah


and some giant building



Yesterday, I hopped to planes to go to Romania. The good news is that when we do this, I get my favorite boarding pass ever:


The bad news is that the flight between Kiev and Budapest was so crappy, since we had to fly through some pretty nasty storms, that I almost broke the hand of my friend sitting next to me. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I’d been on that flight alone other then cry. I’m a bit of a wuss flier, but it was “people were screaming” bad.

When we had to make the connection in Hungary, I ran to the airport bar and had a glass of wine. They sadly did not have Jamison. When we got on the next flight, you could see the storm we’d just flown through rolling in, and I kept hoping they were going to delay the flight, but no dice. The pilot of this second flight, however, was rockstar. He got up above the clouds in about 8 minutes…which was a tiny bit frightening because he was just gunning it and spiraling up and up…a different take off then I was used to, but effective.

They said that there would be thunderstorms in Romania when we landed, so I was bracing for more crazy bumpity bump, but it was a flawless flight. And we landed just behind the storm.


I now have two blissful days of not flying ahead of me. In lovely Romania. Woot.

another chick in kiev

A friend of mine came to visit yesterday (yea!) and is leaving tomorrow (boo!) but I’ve been having a blast showing her this wacky city. We walked around a bit yesterday and found ourselves having a beer in Maidon and watching - I shit you not - real live breakdancers….


and guys doing tricks on bikes:


and..AND…little punk kids!


So cute! I had no idea punk was alive here in Kiev. We even had a chat with a lovely young fellow named Konstentine who came over when he heard us speaking English and discussed music with us.

Then I had to show my guest some traditional Ukrainian things that I’ve come to love.


Vodka and red caviar. Yum. Then, of course, I had to show her Decadence House, one of my favorite places here - and no, there will be no photos from that part of the evening shared here…

Then today we had a bit of a spa morning, quick stop in to work and then the Andreskey tour down the hill into Podil so she could buy gifties for folks. I found more of the penis graffiti that I so enjoy…this one all dressed up….


…and we too Chauncey with us, and he got his first ride on the funicular.


Now it’s shower time then off for more exciting Kiev nightlife…

lazy some holiday, and an important lesson

So I honestly have no idea what we’re celebrating today, but I’m pretty much just celebrating that I’m off work. I have a mild hangover from going to watch Germany choke last night, so I’ve been mostly doing lazy Sunday type of things. I was suposed to go to physical therapy, but I walked into the hospital and it seemed pretty closed. It was kind of like the shining in there, so I took off, came home and because I went and bought 3 kilos of strawberries and cherries yesterday, I decided it was smoothie time.

Here’s where the lesson part comes in. So I’d cleaned the strawberries yesterday and put them in a big container, and tossed them into the freezer thinking that since I don’t have an ice cube tray, I could use them instead of ice cubes, plus - since I’m a genius - they’ll stay fresh longer. Well, here’s the important lesson I learned today: Frozen strawberries + a banana + some milk + hand mixer =


Ice Cream! Who knew? Well, probably a lot of people, but I’m pretty psyched. It was totally delicious, too.