Friday, March 28, 2008

you know you're reading war and peace when..

you have been reading a book for almost 4 months and aren't done yet

you recently read a page with a palindromic number .. that had four numbers (1001)

you are more than two thirds finished, and what's left is still longer than your typical entire book

you read a name like "bezukhov" and you have a mental picture in your head, and know how he grew up and how he came into money, and who he's married to, and what sorts of questions he regularly asks of life

you know more about the russian wars in the early 1800s (and Napolean and Russian life) than you ever learned in high school history class

you are enjoying the book, and recently thought .. oh no! there are only 400 pages left (in that you aren't sure if you want the story to end or not)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

yesterday was a good day

things i enjoyed yesterday:

waking up before my alarm went off

drinking good coffee while still in my comfy pajamas

getting a surprise call from a friend in the States

a brisk walk to and from the grocery store

finding zucchini at the grocery store

reading a good chunk of a book

making a new dish, and it actually turning out alright

having the team over for dinner together

eating something both healthy and tasty

sharing fresh cookies with the team

praying together .. listening to God together

warm tea on a chilly night

a surprise call from my family

wearing a bright green new-ish shirt

Thursday, March 13, 2008

scenes from thursday

-- on the tram --
this particular morning on the tram there aren't too many people - some grandmothers and grandfathers who were just at the market getting fresh produce, some high school kids going to school, some professionals who start their day a bit later. people are still wearing coats because it's march and that's the way it's supposed to be - but they are thinner than a month ago. everyone is staring out the window or carefully past one another, not making eye contact unless absolutely necessary. at the next stop, a couple climb the steps and walk down the aisle. they are from the country, with hands and bodies that have clearly known hard work. the man has lines on his weathered face that emanate sadness. they sit down in the middle of the tram and begin to talk. this man has a voice like no other. it's a deep bass, and a bit nasal. at first it's hard to tell if he is talking or simply mumbling to himself in sounds that don't make coherent sense. but the woman answers back, and as time goes on those on the tram begin to understand his speech. somehow it has changed the atmosphere of the tram. this voice that seems to come from his bowels and rattles the chests of those around him has had its effect.

-- teasing children --
four elementary school boys walk down the street. they've clearly just gotten out of school, and with the warm weather, their coats hang at odd angles from their backpacks. they were all walking forward down the sidewalk, but turned backward and making some kind of noise. as they get closer, it becomes apparent they are making kissing noises. as the corner comes into view, there is a boy talking to a girl. in third or fourth grade, this is still an awkward behavior and his friends are making sure he knows it. the faces of the two are bright red, but have big smiles on them. ah .. boys of any age ..

-- getting older --
a woman, in her mid-20s walks into her apartment building and pulls out her keys to check her mailbox in the entryway. she pulls out her mail and closes the box, and a man enters behind her. he says "mrs." and hands her a bill for the electricity, and then proceeds to put them in other boxes. she holds her mail in one hand and opens her door with the other, reflecting to herself that she has never been called 'mrs.' before.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

me? running?!

about a month ago i started working out with one of my teammates. and it had been a while. but i've wanted to work on my running, because really -- it's generally more like huffing and puffing for a minute or two and then walking and trying to catch my breath. at this gym there are treadmills. the first time, i actually was able to run (jog is probably a much better word) for 12 minutes. granted, one is only supposed to be on the treadmill for 15 minutes at this particular gym (and many in this country. strange!), but i ran as much as i could and then walked the rest. it's been encouraging. every day when i go, i run for 15 minutes (or walk/run) and then do abs, lift some weights, use some machines. and i've been going twice a week for 4 weeks now.

yesterday, when i went, i ran for 20 minutes. (i know, it's only supposed to be 15, but everybody else was using some other machine and i figured.. i could do an extra five.) i'm pretty sure that never in my life have i run for that long. and i was doing 7 miles an hour speed, which means that i ran a bit more than 2 miles. wow!! (okay, now i'm having doubts. it might be in kilometers .. which would mean i did much much less, but i'm hoping that it's in mph?) anyway, i ran for 20 minutes without stopping. which is quite exciting. hopefully as i keep going in the morning (when there are fewer people at the gym) i can run a bit longer and a bit faster and we'll see what happens!

makes me feel healthy - this working out. and running. and actually doing some ab-work. not that it means i'll necessarily lose weight, but hopefully i will become healthier as well as more in-shape and able to do daily activities without working at it. that's the plan, anyway!