MisAdventures of a Princess in Moscow #54

According to Yandex  Maps Tram No. 16 goes directly from the stop nearest my flat to the flat where the Church of Christ in Moscow meets on Sunday mornings. At least that is what Yandex Maps told me as I was looking for a more direct route with less walking so that it will be easier to take my parents while they are visiting next weekend.


Moscow Tram

Upon discovering this route I wondered why I had not seen this option previously. Maybe because it’s not really a route~at least not on Sunday~or not on this Sunday anyway.

Today is a overcast, cold, drizzly fall day. I left my flat a few minutes later than I wanted, but was grateful that the first tram was Tram No. 16. I climbed aboard with my ТРОЙКА card in hand and found a nice heated seat about half way back. I took out my local Samsung, as opposed to my US iPhone, and pulled up the Yandex Map app. I was not about to try to keep track of the 22 stops before mine. I used the app to help me NOT miss my stop. Next I pulled out my iPad and opened the Kindle Reading app so I could read on this 29 minute journey; occasionally checking the map app to track our progress.

At one point I found that I was the only passenger on Tram No. 16. A few minutes later two young boys (9 or 10 years old) got on and two stops later they got off. Soon after I was joined by an elderly gentleman. It is just the two of us on the tram when a few stops later the driver opens the door separating him from the remainder of the tram and spoke. I got the impression that he was telling us to get off the tram. So, I made my way off Tram No. 16 and wondered what I was supposed to do now. Thankfully he kicked us off at a covered tram stop.

As I exited Tram No. 16 I pulled out my phone with the trusty Yandex Map App. From this point Yandex said I could take Tram No. 16 or No. 47 to my destination. Obviously Tram No. 16 was not going to get me there. Although the electronic board only listed Trams No. 3 and No. 35 were picking up from this point I chose to wait a few minutes to see if Tram No. 47 would miraculously appear. As my hope waned and my trust in Yandex disappeared I pulled the Samsung out again and launched the Google Maps App.

Church was to begin in 10 and the only option offered by Google was a one hour and one minute walk. I contemplated that alternative for exactly two and half seconds before crossing the tracks to catch the No. 3 tram and headed back home.

There are three trams that service the tram station which is located approximately one quarter mile from my flat; Trams No. 16, No. 3, and No. 1.

While I was deeply disappointed that a) I would not make it to church this morning and b) there is apparently not a direct route from my home to church, I am thankful that at this point in my journey I could simply hop on Tram No. 3 and find myself back home in 45 minutes (yes, it was only supposed to take 29 minutes to get to my original destination . . . ).

If only life in Moscow were so simple.

I began writing this narrative on my ride home. I had just gotten to the point in the story where the driver of Tram No. 16 asked me to remove myself from his tram when Tram No. 3 took an unexpected turn into the tram yard.

Yet again I was forced to depart a tram before reaching my destination. I extracted myself and my belongings from Tram No. 3 wondering what the next step in this adventure would be. I joined the other passengers from Tram No. 3 walking toward the main road where Tram No. 1 was loading passengers. I jogged up to the tram and climbed aboard. As I began to look around I realized I was only three stops from home sweet home.

The tragedy of this story is compounded by the events of yesterday’s misadventure of trying to navigate my way via Metro and bus to IKEA. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.


Word of the Year

There appears to be a trend for people to choose a word of the year. A personal word that has meaning for themselves. This idea intrigued me.

As I mentioned in my disappearing post [another story for another day] I am anticipating a great adventure in the near future. Whether that comes to pass or not I am in the mood to reduce. With that on my brain, I thought maybe my word of the year could be “reduce”. In talking about this with my very smart sister (well, one of them), she suggested another word; a word that has more than one meaning. My intention to reduce (clutter, weight, stress, etc.) is definitely a positive thing, however the word itself carries a negative connotation~especially in our consumer driven, materialistic world.

I want to carry into this year a word that will not be burdensome, but that will give inspiration; not just to me, but to those around me.

photo credit Zhenya S

photo credit Zhenya S

What is that word?


A few of the definitions of lighten are:

to relieve of a burden in whole or in part  
to reduce in weight or quantity  
to make less wearisome
to become less burdensome
to become more cheerful
to shine brightly
These are the characteristics I wish to portray in 2014

My New Year’s Intention . . . One of them, anyway

It has been a while since I’ve written anything. And while January 1st is the day that many people commit to new habits that are generally short lived; and while I typically choose not to start things on January 1st here we are.

What makes this different? We will have to wait and see. I am anticipating a major adventure in my life this year, one that if it happens, I would like to record.

So we’ll consider this practice.

This is not a commitment to be perfect . . . I’ve already failed that. This is a decision to be more intentional.

Now I Remember

My five-year-old niece, Aloysius, was sharing a story with me this evening that involved Mrs. Callaghan. Not being familiar with Mrs. Callaghan I asked who she is. She is Aloysius’s adoptive grandmother from church. Or as Aloysius says, “I’m her back up grandchild, she ran out of grandchildren so now she has me.” Aloysius continued to explain that Mrs. Callaghan’s grandchildren have grown up and “gotten old”.
So, I asked what Mrs. Callaghan would do when Aloysius got old. Aloysius answered that when she grows up she’ll get married and have children so Mrs. Callaghan will always have grandchildren. I thought that was a very noble idea.
However, since I have never married I had some questions.
“What if you never get married?”
“But I’m going to get married when I grow up.”
“But what IF you don’t get married?”

“Well then, I’m going to remember that I forgot to get married and I’ll get married.”

Who knew it was so easy. I looked at my 14-year-old niece, Zeke, and said, “I just remembered that I never got married, I think I’ll go do that now.”

And somehow the remainder of my questions seemed moot.

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Adventures with Loida

As I sit here at Play watching Harrison enjoy the pit of foam blocks, the trampoline, and the other children I wonder what I can write about that won’t cause my eyes to leak. I’m tired of my eyes leaking, but I need to write . . . something.

I could write about my adventure with Loida Friday evening. You see last week Loida and I decided to take a walk. Walking with Loida can be a somewhat dangerous activity I’ve learned.

At the start of our first walk Loida asked about Heather’s future home. Heather has put in an offer to purchase a condo in Stonepark–the same complex, actually across the parking lot, as Brado Longo and his brother Thing One. Loida knew it was nearby and asked about it. It was not my intention to show her where Stonepark is located, but as we continued walking it became obvious that I would need to find some type of end point, some reason to stop and turn around. So we walked, and I don’t mean strolled, we walked–quickly. The distance from my door to Brado Longo’s door is approximately 3.5 miles. Since we cannot get through the gate at Stonepark without assistance from Brado or Thing One we only walked to the gate ~ approximately 3.35 miles. Even for me, who has not exercised regularly of late, that was not a too terribly far distance. However, that was only the halfway point. We still had to get home.

We had probably walked another 3/10 of a mile before my ankle began to bother me. I mentioned this to Loida and we eased up the pace~slightly.

I don’t think I actually re-injured my ankle, I think I overdid it for the first time walking a in a while. And we still had three miles to go.

As we continued walking I noticed my right hip and knee were also sending small signals of distress. I’m sure I had changed my stride to compensate for the sore ankle.

After two hours and five minutes we arrived back at my place. Not too shabby for the first time in too long. But I paid the price on Saturday. I couldn’t bend my ankle.

By Wednesday I was walking fine, but had apparently contracted a case of amnesia. As small group came to a close I asked Loida if she wanted to go for a walk Friday evening. She said, “Yes.”

Friday evening as we started our second walk I had the end point in mind. I knew we weren’t going to go a shorter distance so we would walk the same route. I could at least attempt to keep Loida from walking farther. I made it further on this walk before the pain started nagging my ankle. And I tried not to overcompensate which would only lead to pain in my hip and knee again.

Everything was going relatively well. We had just under a mile to go before we would be home. We were walking on the sidewalk along Spalding Drive. This is a quiet residential section of Sandy Springs. It is an older section of town. Most of the homes were built in the early Sixties. Any trees cut down to build had long since grown back. Most of that section of our walk is shaded by old, tall trees.

Nothing could have prepared us for what happened next.

We heard rustling in the trees about five yards ahead of us and directly above the sidewalk. We slowed our pace to see what the ruckus was all about.

Suddenly a large bird emerged, flying out of the tree and over the street then he circled back to perch on a branch in a tree just a few feet farther ahead of us.


and then . . .


The grotesque remains of his just finished squirrel dinner landed at our feet.

If my ankle still ached I wasn’t aware of it. I do remember the mad dash into the street and looking back at that very satisfied bird of prey~whose expression clearly said,

“What did I do?”

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Abba

for making me your daughter,

A Princess.

Thank you for making me in your image,

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If you were a part of my life last winter, and paying any attention at all, you will recall that I was not very happy with the squirrels in my neighborhood.  Instead of watching them run, and jump, and climb I was listening to them scratch on the other side of my ceiling.

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