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.


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?”

Life, Death, and Beauty

Earlier today I was planning to write about beauty.

I found a video clip that explains why stress affects our skin and I had some thoughts about that and how the products of Sarah-Noelle could help both with stress and skin care.

Part of Sarah-Noelle’s mission statement is, “While perfect skin and physical beauty are not ultimate goals, there is a sense of contentment in knowing you look your best—especially when you understand that your external appearance is merely a prelude to the authentic, spiritual artistry that is within you.”

The news I received this afternoon about a friend (and former roommate) taking her own life on Thursday has changed my frame of mind today.

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Cary Band Day

It was always the same, yet somehow each year was different. One thing that was always the same was the cold. I don’t know how they always knew which Saturday in November would be the coldest, but they did.

The parade seemed to start at the crack of dawn. Although I know it couldn’t be that early. By that time of year the days were shorter, and we had to park what seemed like miles away from our spot along the route. So getting up early was always a part of Cary Band Day.

Although one year I didn’t see the parade from the sidelines, I saw it from the top of a float. I don’t remember the theme of the float, much less the sponsor. But, I do remember the huge “Nellie Olsen” bow in my in my hair and the gigantic lollipop–you know the ones, they’re multi-colored and swirled. That was a great parade . . . okay, so mostly it was great to eat the lollipop!

One year I didn’t see the parade at all. I was too busy trying to remember all the right notes, keep rhythm and stay in step all at the same time. As an eighth grader I wasn’t too good at that. That was my last year in band, but certainly not my last experience with Cary Band Day.

In fact, a couple years ago I happened to be visiting my parents one weekend in November. As we sat out on the deck you could still clearly hear the bands as they competed for the “Best of Show” and other awards.

It was a very sweet sound.

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A while ago I purchased a book titled, “Writing your Life: Putting Your Past On Paper” by Lou Willett Stanek, Ph.d. I purposely put the book away after purchasing it.

I was out at Borders and saw this book on an end cap. While I want to do some writing, I knew that I was not ready to commit to this book at that time. Recently some things have changed in my life and I now feel ready to do more writing. Also, I received a new journal from a friend. The title on the journal is “Don’t you remember?” What a perfect journal to record my ‘memoirs’.

Each chapter talks about some aspect of writing down your memories and follows it with some suggested topics to start you thinking.

Some of those memories will be posted here, some may just remain in the journal. But, I’m excited to be writing again.

So keep watching . . . ‘Memories’ to come

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