Monday, March 22, 2010

U-2 Spy Plane Enjoying Revival

The U-2 spy plane figured prominently in information-gathering during the Cold War. You might remember the U-2 spy plane incident with Gary Powers' being shot down and captured live in 1960, much to the delight to Nikita Krushchev. But now, 50 years later, the U-2 isn't ready for mothballs quite yet. In today's New York Times, a fascinating slide show and story about how the U-2 continues to stand the test of time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Proud New Papas and Their Graffiti

In recent days, I stopped by a hospital in west Rostov and what reached out and grabbed me was the graffiti, the hospital graffiti, of all things. Care for a first-hand look? It might just grab you too.

Here we are at Maternity Hospital #20, at the entrance to the Department of Birth. (Click photos to enlarge.) Above the door a proud new daddy wrote, Sveta, thanks for the daughter, Sasha! 24 Aug 2006 (Maga). Another papa wrote left of the door, Tanya, thank you for Maks. P.S. Vova F. I love you!!! Hmmm. . . that one's extra interesting. For one thing, the "P.S." is written in English. And then one can only imagine the contribution beloved Vova F. might have made. . .

Oh, let's rewind a bit here. Earlier that afternoon, I caught a bus to west Rostov to visit sister Lyda and little Elizaveta. Later on, I mentioned wanting to get over to Maternity Home #20, because it's in the area. Lyda said, Oh, we're to be going right past it after bit when we run some errands. How about we all go together? And so we did. It was just a 15-minute walk and Liza got pulled along in the sled, as per the local custom.

The hospital complex is there on the left and the far building of red brick is Maternity Hospital #20. And that's building I was hoping to photograph.

Getting closer, there toward the left is the Department of Birth. What's special about this hospital is that a little boy was born there several years back and then adopted by a great family in the US of A. Some months ago, his mama Kimberly, wrote and asked if I could possibly find the hospital and get some photos of it. So there's the scoop.

Oh, here we are at the entrance and under the sign which says, literally, Birth House #20. Well, that pesky letter Д has fallen off the word дом, for house. But there's more fun graffiti above the door in red: Lena (is) Best, it says, a combination of Russian and English. Bet you knew that already. ;)

Now here's an especially fun note: Above the windows, in white is written, Valya, thank you for Vika (Sanya) 30 June, 2009. (Just for the record, Sanya would be the proud papa and Vika is short for Victoria. Valya, the mom's name is short for Valentina.) Oh, but the energetic daddy Sanya wasn't done yet. . .

Apparently he hopped up on the roof there and repeated his joyful announcement on the wall, left of the chimney.

Here's my favorite: To the right of the white heart is written, Julia, thank you for daughter Alina, (signed) Ruslan. He used diminutives forms for both daughter and Alina so they could be translated sweet daughter or dear Alina, for instance. But I had to smile because that's very close to Aileena (Айлина), the Russian version of my name.

Well, I had no idea that a visit to Maternity Hospital #20 would involve such amusement. Thanks to dear Kimberly for the opportunity to learn more about local birth announcements. And how about you, dear blog reader, how did you go about announcing the birth - or adoption - of your child? Did you consider painting your joy on the hospital?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Happy Women's Day!

Congratulations on *The 8th of March!* Today is international Women's Day, a major deal - now there's an understatement - here in Russia and across the former USSR. Here are quick links to related stories and pictures posted here in recent years.

Thought you might enjoy a quick visit to the florists' section of the nearby outdoor market. This was taken Friday the 5th, three days before the actual holiday! Happy holiday dear friends and sisters!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Remembering Mom on her Birthday

While it is still February~ at least in some time zones ~ I wanted to start this Happy Birthday post in honor of my mother.

Her birthday was February 16th and she would have been 80, if she were still on this earth. Here's a photo of the two of us in December 1990.