Saturday, 30 May 2009

Days of Kiev

First of all – the photo of Andrej with his VAZ 2101:
Days of Kiev are the two days (Saturday and Sunday) of the last weekend of May. We have chosen these days to celebrate our city's birthday. Kiev is about 1500 years old, it's difficult to pinpoint one day. We didn't use Julian calendar back then anyway. ;) It used to be a huge happening with numerous festivities all over the city. This year it seems to be limited to the traditional artists' market on Andreevskij spusk in the old part of the city and Kreschatik (the central street of Kiev) in the centre. I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary anywhere else. Crisis?

The artists' market is getting worse every year. There are too few original things, too much humdrum. I was determined to buy all jewellery I liked (if I could afford it). I bought one pendant, one necklace and a ring. That's it! There where only two or three things I liked but couldn't afford. For the rest – there was a lot of jewellery, but hardly any original pieces. That's sad… I used to buy seven to ten items and be upset because I couldn't afford more.

Trivia: I am usually prepared to spend about 200 euro for jewellery on the artists' market in Kiev.

Stille Nacht and the core of our crisis

Today we saw two theatre plays (they come as a package) by Vakhtangov Theatre: one based on the "Le Ultime Lune" by Furio Bordon and the other one based on Harald Müller's "Stille Nacht". Both plays were fantastic, but I liked the first one more. Both stories deal with issues of getting old and being lonely because the society (and family in particular) tries to get rid of the elderly. I've got enough food for thought.

After the theatre I went for a quick sushi with a friend of mine. We went to school together and it's amazing how we are able to skip the years in-between and just sit there and talk as if we never had a break of twenty years! We confessed to each other that we are in the middle of a crisis now. It's not just me because my relationship fell apart and I have to rearrange my life all of a sudden. It's not just him because he'd started a new business again. It seems the whole "Made in 1974" has a crisis now. What is it about? Why is it happening? I suggested that the core of this crisis is that we don't know what we want. He agreed, but he probably needs to think it over still. And we certainly need another meeting before I leave – too many things to discuss. The twenty-year long break…

Trivia: I finished school in 1991.

Friday, 29 May 2009


This year's classmates meeting was different. Last year I was home by midnight, because everybody went home early. We are not 15 anymore, people have partners and kids. But yesterday several people have somehow managed to disregard their family duties and I was home by 2:30 too drunk and tired to write. Now i am loaded with positive energy, I was really happy to see them all! :)

I had a lift from Andrej in his orange VAZ 2101 from 1980! You don't see many of those cars on the streets anymore and riding in it is a pure exotic adventure. ;) I've made a picture of it with Jan's camera. I'll post it as soon as I retrieve the pictures from Jan (hopefully today).

I noticed that almost all of my classmate girls were wearing a golden chain with a relatively massive golden cross on their neck. Seeing al those crosses is weird given the fact that we all had the same anti-religious education. Also the fact that a woman would want to wear the same golden chain with the same golden pendant every day is rather strange to me. I like to choose my jewellery according to my outfit every day.

My new shoes from Moscow.

Trivia: I left the School #41 in 1989.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Day 4 – No more books!

We have bought about 25kg of books in the past two days and decided we've had enough. No book shopping today, just regular shopping ;). I have a pair of shoes with a highly irregular design. Maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow.

At the airport, after registering, passing through customs and passport control, a man greeted us, put a stamp on our boarding passes and asked us to take off our belts, shoes, bags… I said we can take off everything. "Don't" – he replied. We have received blue plastic "shoes" and I was allowed to take them with me. :)

I will go to bed now and unpack all the books and my new clothes tomorrow.

Trivia: I love flying, but hate the taking off and landing.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Day 3 – Headache

Museums, pelmeni, book shop, quick shopping, very nice and very-very funny theatre play and a terrible headache. The headache is the reason I did not write anything yesterday. It means I didn't have such a headache for 65 days – not bad at all!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Day 2 - He, she and Jenny

We've only managed to visit one big and one small book shop today (and have a little suitcase full of books). To compensate for that we did some clothes shopping for me. ;) The theatre play (He, she and Jenny) was a total fiasco. We left after 40 minutes! (Our reservations have expired – long story – so we had to go for an alternative.)

Moscow is the capital of a very big country. It's a big city. Everything in Moscow is big: big streets, big buildings, big billboards:
The fastest way to move around in this very big city is to take the metro. If you want to move around a lot, you will spend quite some time underground. Luckily the metro stations are nicely decorated so you can have some sightseeing underground too:

We did our compulsory tour of the Red Square and surroundings and had fun making pictures: Trivia: this was the second time I have left a play before it was finished.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Day 1 - My heart

We left home at 6:15 to catch our 8:20 flight. It's been a long time since I used a Russian airplane for the last time. We had a Tu-154 M*. The flight wasn't very crowded, the service was fine and they certainly do know how to land. Compliments for Aeroflot, I didn't have such high expectations. We did not head for the city today. We were tired, it was raining and we wanted to spend some time with our family. We went to see a “historical ball” at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War on the Poklonnaya hill. It was a ball where they danced all kinds of ball dances from nineteenth century. Some people were dressed accordingly, so it was fun to watch. I love to dance and it was nice to see all the dances I don't know.
When we walked back Masha has announced that she needed my help to make two presentations for school. She needs to submit them tomorrow and there is no Power Point on their computer. Good luck with that! After dinner I have installed OpenOffice and compiled two presentations for her. I was ready by midnight and Masha was long in bed by then. :) Now when everyone is off to their beds (there are two more guests staying), I can sort out the pictures and write this post.

It's a strange feeling: I was tired and it was cold and rainy, but I still felt calm and happy as soon as I stepped out of the airport. It's a kind of quiet and peaceful happiness I always feel when I come here. I pretend to be jealous because it's such a good weather in the Netherlands, but in fact I couldn't care less. I am in Moscow! Moscow is the centre of my world. It has always been. And actually it's more. Moscow is my heart. That's why it feels so good to be here. I live my life separated from my heart. In the past twelve years the distance has been too long. That's why these years have been so difficult and so extremely painful in the beginning. I was trying to explain this to Remie just an hour ago and he said I was being melancholic. Maybe. I am going to get some sleep.

Trivia: when I'm in Moscow I don't like to use any other transportation other then the metro.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Going once, going twice, last chance… going three times – sold!

Paintings, lists of guests, live classical music, beautifully dressed people, expensive perfumes, paddles and auction catalogues. People come to buy, to watch or to show off. Old businessmen, young businessmen, families, wives and lovers.

It's their tenth art auction and they have everything taken care of. Just a couple of hours before the auction no one from organisation is in stress and when the guests start pouring in, everyone gets some attention and a proper seat.

And then the show begins! I personally think it's worth taking a couple of days off and spend a couple of hundreds Euros for a plane ticket to see The Star of Viktor Ivanovich in action. He is dressed top style, looks gorgeous, talks like art is his lover (which is to some extent true), makes intelligent and funny remarks and gives ten thousand dollar smiles to the audience every once in a while (not too often). I suspect several women were bidding just to get his attention! Your heart beats faster when you listen to him naming the prices and mastering his hammer. It doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman – he will blind you and heat you up disregarding your gender or age for he is The Star or even The Sun - bright and warm. I will seriously consider going to Kiev in September for the next auction! :)

Except for the three hours of "Sunshine" during the auction it was rather chilly (18 degrees) and rainy in Kiev. We have to leave the house at 6:00 tomorrow to be in time for registration and boarding. We will land one time zone further and 6 degrees colder in Moscow. This is where it gets tricky: I am not sure I will be able to blog every day in Moscow. So there might be a break of a couple of days.

Trivia: I prefer warm weather.

Slow start

I didn't have many plans for today so that I could get used to being here. I usually get overloaded with impressions every time I come to Kiev, so I need to take it slow. I ran an errand for my mother and then went to her work to see the pre-auction exhibition and meet the owners of the place whom I know for a long time already. I had to spend about half an hour in the metro, so I took the UK issue of Cosmopolitan (which I bought at the airport yesterday) with me. I was reading it when I noticed that a young man standing in front of me and another one sitting beside me were looking at me with an above average interest. That's when I realised I was reading an article about sex-talk! Apparently young men in Kiev do master English, at least at a certain level. ;)

At the gallery I was overwhelmed with the luxury of high quality art and the air of high quality life. Meeting the guys is always such a pleasure, and I always get such a warm welcome! All three of them were there. Olia always makes time for me (even if it's just one day before the auction!). Dima was there! I haven't seen him in years. And just when I was about to leave, Vitia walked in. He looks like he just stepped out of the cover of a very trendy magazine! Tomorrow I am going to the auction to see people with money buy art. As a general rule in Kiev you can see people who have money by the way they are dressed. They have their own weird sense of fashion though.

Kiev is a very beautiful city. At least it used to be before they started putting ugly high buildings everywhere. Like on this picture. I find this repulsive. Or is it just me?Trivia: tomorrow will be my second art auction.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

So far so good

First of all: my sincere apologies to Jaap whom I woke up at 6:00 today because I needed a taxi but didn't have the number. That's because I checked the tram schedule the day before and found out at the tram stop that HTM has given me wrong information! Jaap, I owe you!

I had only 3,5 hours of sleep last night, but didn't dare to sleep on the train, because missing Köln was not an option. I entertained myself by looking and listening to people around me. Beside me a ten-year-old boy travelling with his father:
Father: Mia? I don't know Mia, do I?
Son: Yes, you do. You know Mia.
Father: Oooh, yes, Mia is your big love, isn't she?
Son: Yes.
Father: I thought her name was Chica.
Son: No, Chica is Nina's dog!
Father: Ow.

At the airport I bought an issue of Vogue Hommes International. I don't think it's meant for men because it's all about men with loads of very nice pictures. It has Keanu Reeves on the cover, I couldn't resist!

One disadvantage of cheap airlines is that people who take them don't have much money. And people flying cheap to Kiev are more like normal people. They don't buy the whole duty free and don't wear high heels. But in Kiev I've had my fun while waiting in line for passport control. Why on Earth would you want to travel on 10cm high heels? The passport control officials in Kiev were wearing masks! Which meant they had to repeat every question twice. ;)

We were stuck in traffic jams twice, so by the time we got home it was already half past five local time. I did not go out anymore. I just had some food, took a nap, had some more food and now I am going to bed again. My busy programme is starting from tomorrow, so I need a really good rest.

Trivia: I cannot fly without travel pills.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Lingerie sets

Yeah, they look nice. But what’s the point? If the bra from a set fits well it does not at all guarantee that pants will be comfortable and the other way around. And what am I supposed to do with such an enormous amount of bras (or such a small amount of pants)? And what to do if I am wearing white pants and a pink top? They don’t sell sets like that. Some bras are not even sold with matching pants! I really don’t get it. Could someone please explain the phenomenon of lingerie sets to me?

I am getting ready for Kiev where at this time of the year you can see underwear of many ladies on the street because they do their best to show it off. The bra colour usually matches the colour of the shoes, the bag and the nails. Watching women in Kiev is fun!

My bags are packed. I am ready. It’s 21:13 and I am ready. Tomorrow morning I will have to get up at 5:00 take a tram, a train, another train, one more train and run VERY fast to catch the plain. Wish me luck!

Trivia: I have no single lingerie set.


I will go to Kiev on Thursday early morning and in front of me I have a list with things I have to do, things I have to buy and things I have to pack. I desperately need sleep and I have a sneaking suspicion there will be not much sleep for me tomorrow.

I’ve had a little confusing, but good day today. I was quite productive at work even though I was very distracted. I had a salsa lesson where I wasn’t lucky on partners (Remie refused to go, can you believe that?!), but I managed to learn the Spanish walk. We got it completely wrong last Friday, but now I know how to do it. I had some nice conversations tonight and things start to fall in their place. That’s nice. But the day was quite uneventful and I am so tired and distracted that I can’t think of anything nice, funny or interesting to write about.

I am off to bed!

Fergy - Clumsy

Trivia: when I was a kid I spent two years taking folk dance classes, but I never really liked it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Cool Cat

I spent half a day feeling guilty for spending Sunday evening relaxing instead of doing all the stuff I have to do before going to Kiev. I had a fabulous evening, no doubt about that!!! But somehow I felt like I didn’t deserve it. And now I am sitting here and cannot really find many urgent things to do. All the stuff that can wait, or doesn’t really have to be done at all. I guess I need to make a list to see what has to be done, so I don’t have to stress about it all day long.

I was shopping at Cool Cat today (their super sale). I have a pair of jeans, two belts, a singlet, a shirt and a very-very daring black top. I was looking for something I would be able to wear to one of those salsa evenings I go to. Usually I feel way too conservative when I come there. I needed something that screams for attention. Well, I sure found it! Now I just have to wait for some good warm weather, because the top is definitely not made to keep you warm in the winter. You know what I mean. ;)

I keep on thinking about ways of expressing yourself. I have some ideas. I just need to take time to work them out. Oh yeah, time! Where do I get that?! I know it will be easier if I start. I will try to write on the plane to Kiev and see where it brings me.

Trivia: I got this from Aad today :D
Shall I abandon this trivia thing altogether?

Still in Love with a Fairytale

He is ultimately cute!

The party lasted till the morning – the last guest left my house at 5:30! We rock! The rest of the day was very slow. I woke up at 9:00 and cleaned the floors soaked in vodka, wine and bier. Then I made pancakes for the four of us. After brunch the Brussels gang left and I took a two-hour bath, a one-hour nap and spent the evening watching Forrest Gump and admiring the view on The Hague through the glass wall on the 23rd floor of a new fancy apartment building. Next time I will take my camera with me and feed you some photos afterwards. The view is breathtaking, you can even see the sea from there! And it gets even more spectacular when it’s dark outside and the lights go on all over the city.

And here’s a suggestion on how to spend an evening if you don’t have a breathtaking view from your window:

Touch&Go - Straight To Number One

Trivia: I have acrophobia which started to manifest itself when was 26.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

I’m in love with a fairytale!

ESC2009FWEP was a REAL success! I’ve been cooking and preparing the house for the party all day and was already pretty tired by the time the first guests arrived. But once the guests arrived I hardly had to do anything anymore. Special thanks to Jeroen, who took care of the BBQ and John who arranged snacks and drinks. So I was able to watch the contest with the rest of the guests.

The show was getting better with every new bottle of vodka. There were 15 people and everyone put in 1 euro and placed a bid. Here are the winners:
Lena, Niels and Sasja are In Love with a Fairytale and winning EUR10

Lijnie has won EUR 3 by bidding on Iceland (young girl in a blue dress)

Bas and Jeroen have shared EUR 2 by bidding on Turkey

I have received about 15 bottles of wine and flowers from Niels (Thanks! They are lovely!). Mateja brought a home baked apple pie (delicious!) and my house is a mess right now. :) We have managed to finish some 8 bottles of vodka (I didn’t count bier and wine). 7 of the 15 are still in my kitchen now chatting, eating ice-cream, finishing the last bottle of vodka and singing. I wonder what my neighbours think now as they obviously cannot sleep.

Trivia: this is the first blog post I write while being drunk (yeah, I did my vodka duty too!)

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Bitter: This has probably been on the news, but I missed it and found out only today: Wim Koole has passed away on 12 April. I have just heard about it today from a friend. I have met Wim only once at his place. I wanted to change my life completely and wanted to make and direct films. He has given me some advice and encouragement and we had some contact afterwards. He certainly was an extraordinary man. So warm and supportive with a truly loving heart. It’s a pity he’s gone now. We need more of people like him on this planet, not less…

Sweet: Vovka is getting married! Oh, I am so very-very happy for him! I am happy he has finally found the love of his life and happy she said ‘yes’. Oh, yes, I have forgotten to introduce him to you! Vovka is my little cousin. He will be writing for this blog every once in a while, but that’s a whole different story. I’ll introduce him properly very soon.

So this was my bitter-sweet day and I am looking forward to driving a BMW Z4!

Trivia: I had the pleasure to meet three generations of the Koole men.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Super bijoux sale and reliability of horoscopes

There is a big sale at Versteegh. Bijoux, bags, sunglasses, scarves and gloves are all 50% off their wholesale price. It starts on Monday, 18 May, 13:30 and ends on Friday, 22 May. You can come by if you are interested, the address is Bergveste 4, Houten. And just across the street Cool Cat is having their sale from 19 to 22 May. You won’t be coming for nothing.

The employees were allowed to start shopping today, so I went down to see whether I can find something. I went into the room and out again. I just couldn’t be in one room with SO MANY different jewellery pieces. It took me some time to concentrate. I have a bag (or two), several necklaces, fancy gloves for a friend and some other stuff. I don’t even remember what I have, I still have to pay for it, so it’s still in Houten. I am afraid I won’t be able to sleep tonight, because all these shiny and colourful things are still dancing in my head.

Usually I can recognise myself in a horoscope description for a Lion. I assume other people can recognise themselves in horoscope descriptions for their sign. Which means I can use horoscope to get an impression of somebody’s personality. Today, however, I talked to someone who did not recognise themselves in the description of their sign. Where does it leave me? I had to look a little more and found another description which fitted much better. I guess from now on I will have to put more effort in horoscopes research if I want to use them as a source of information.

I want this for my birthday -->
(Girlie Tee, size S, any colour)

Trivia: I am a Lion and a Tiger.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


I forgot to set my alarm clock and woke up at 10:15 which is way to late. This is not surprising as I stayed up till 3:00 in the morning because I was making a necklace for a challenge in a beading magazine. (Speaking of challenges, I would really appreciate if you could go here: and vote for nr.7, thanks!)

I have brought some beads to a customer of mine, bought an Ultimate Repairing Lifting Anti-Wrinkle Treatment for my mother and foundation for myself, picked up my clothes from the tailor, met a friend and we went back to my place to assemble the couch. He also helped fixing the lamp in the bathroom. After that I have finished the necklace, photographed it and made some adjustments to the photograph afterwards.

I did some work for Versteegh (just finished that up), cooked and ate dinner somewhere in-between work and had some chat conversations. I still have to process some of the things we discussed. I’m not entirely sure I wanted the conversation go the way it went. Anyway, that’s done now, I might as well use the information.

I am rather tired and a little stressed because I have to take care of too many things in a too short period of time. That’s why this post is so uninspiring, I am sorry.

Trivia: I manage to do more things when I’m under stress.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

What to read and how to treat a bleeding nose

This is one of those times I really NEED my mother. She has this miraculous ability to KNOW what you want to read at any given moment. When I was living with my parents I would ask her “What shall I read?” and she would give me a book that would perfectly suit my mood. She will give me some books when I’m in Kiev. But I’d like to read something now and there is nobody who can tell me which book I should take.

The summer has started. At least on my street. The kids were asking me the whole winter when we would start watering the plants again and I told them we would start in the summer. And today we had to do it because the ground was really dry and there was no way for me to escape. ;) The summer season is officially open now!

I was chatting to my danc.. oh hell, he’s called Remie, I am tired of describing him as my dancing partner all the time. Anyway, he’d had a bleeding nose while we were chatting and asked me how to stop that. I gave him some advice and luckily the bleeding stopped long before he had a chance to follow any of that! Because according to this video you are supposed to do almost exactly the opposite. I nearly killed him!

How to Treat a Bleeding Nose

Trivia: I lived with my parents until the age of 23, after that I moved to the Netherlands.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Ideal man 2

OK, I know what an ideal man is like. He is very-very nice, very-very funny, looks good, is always there to help, but is never obtrusive. He is smart and well educated, loves literature, music and many other things and is curious about everything new. He practices sports and has no overweight. He is open-minded and has a lot of respect for everyone. He makes loads of compliments and is supportive beyond my wildest dreams. He is ambitious, knows how to get what he wants and goes for it. And I know this man exists, because I personally know him! Please don’t ask me where the catch is, I won’t tell you!

I went to IKEA today to get a new hinge for my guest couch/sofa. I have used some of my girl power to take the couch apart and take the broken part out so I could replace it with a new one. When I unpacked the new hinge at home, I saw that they completely changed the mechanism. This means I have to replace both hinges! Luckily the hinges are sold as a set of two, so I don’t have to go to IKEA for the second one. But it seems my girl power has limits: I did not manage to remove the old one, so I will need to cry for help. This was so discouraging, that I did not even bother to try replacing the broken light bulb in the bathroom.

Trentemöller - Moan

Trivia: I enjoy assembling furniture.

Ideal man

I have a new haircut. Now my hair is even shorter than it was in February. Usually when I get a short haircut I immediately decide I want to have long hair. But now I wasn’t ready for long hair yet, so here’s the result:
The hair on the back of the head is very-very short. I keep on touching it because it gives this very soft sensation for both my head and my hand. :)

I went dancing tonight and my dance partner (yes, the partner) didn't notice my hair changed. A real man. A real man who can dance. And if there are real men who can dance, does it prove there is a chance ideal men exist? An ideal man should be able to dance (amongst many other things) AND notice a new hairdo, obviously.

Trivia: when I was a kid I always had very short hair.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Eurovision confusion

I tried to escape all the Eurovision previews so I would be able to watch the finals completely unprejudiced. And then someone has sent me a link to the Google Eurovision 2009 “predictor” gadget. So here I am: totally up to date!

It seems ‘confusion’ is the keyword this year. Hadise from Turkey is confused about her heartbeat, I hope she manages to survive the contest! Alexander Rybak is confused about his roots: Russian? Norwegian? Jewish? The boy is cute though. :) Sakis Rouvas (Greece) thinks he is Ricky Martin: looks like him, moves like him, sings like him, or at least he tries… What’s the matter with the Ukrainian entry Svetlana Loboda? Be My Valentine? Hello, it’s May, you’re three months too late! And: ‘anticrisis girl’? Politics are not allowed, so let’s do some economics? And why is there so much blood? Malena Ernman, the Swedish participant, cannot make up her mind: do I want to sing opera or pop? Hmmm, I can’t decide, let’s do both! Soraya is from Spain, but looks like she’s from Finland and her music sounds like she’s from Turkey. The German entry: Alex swings, Oskar sings... Oskar sings all right, but I haven’t seen Alex swing. Israel decided to confuse everyone: Noa and Mira Awad sing in Hebrew, but do have a refrain in English which really makes you wonder what the rest of the song is about. There must be another way, indeed! The Toppers from the Netherlands are heading for the bottom! But the most confused is Anastasia Prikhodko: am I Russian or Ukrainian? Maybe, if I sing in two languages, people can choose themselves? Or is she trying to compensate for the fact that Ukrainian entry is in English? 16th is going to be fun!

Trivia: I have watched Eurovision three or four times before.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Trying to be nice?

My eye has healed, YAY! No pain! This morning it looked red, the eyelids were swollen and I had some photophobia (sunglasses help) but now everything is back to normal.

Today a man from my salsa class approached me before the class and asked whether I would like to dance salsa on weekends. This does not sound strange, but I can tell you: the guy definitely has a lot of nerve! I was not really prepared for this. I said I like dancing on weekends and motioned in the direction of ‘my’ dance partner (who was helping with the beginners lesson before ours) saying I already do weekend dancing with him. Yes, I sort of have a 'permanent' salsa partner since a couple of weeks. Which is nice. Anyway, back to our sheep. I did not need to use an excuse of being ‘taken’, I could have just said “no, I am not interested”. Why didn’t I do that?

The last little jewel from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (I have finished reading it and will not give you anymore quotes, go read it yourself!): “You can see the most beautiful things from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I read somewhere that people are supposed to look like ants, but that’s not true. They look like little people.”

The daily gadget (just to make sure you understand how good Feist really is):

Trivia: I’ve never tried to count men I have turned down.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Corneal abrasion

This morning I accidentally scratched my left eye with pincers. Yes! Pain! I spent the rest of the day crying (because of the eye irritation and because I felt sorry for myself), sleeping (because at first I could not do anything else anyway) and fighting with XL EasyGantt (which is a whole different story). The latter did not bring me far, which means I will have to catch up on Saturday. The eye does not hurt when I stare out in front of myself, which makes it sort of suitable for computer work. Although I never thought that staring at your screen without blinking can be so tiring.

I did not go to the doctor because the eye looks normal (not damaged) and I can see well. It should be just a matter of time, but I think I will visit a doctor anyway if I wakeup with the same pain tomorrow. I really hope my eye recovers by tomorrow because I am very tired of the pain, have a lot of work to do and really want to be able to dance tomorrow night.

This is how my eyes look like now:

Trivia: I never needed glasses or contact lenses. Up until now anyway… Fingers crossed!

My birthday wish list

I was trying to put together a post for the Photobeads blog and it took me forever! Partly this is because WordPress can be such a pain in the ass. And partly my computer is to blame because it’s sooooo incredibly slow. I need a new computer. Oh no! I don’t want to think about it!

My birthday is nowhere near (August 6th), but I am too tired after the fight with WordPress, so I don’t feel like writing. I want this for my birthday:

(Have I mentioned that I like rings?)

Trivia: I love buying (or making) and giving presents.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Случай в такси

Дело было вечером, зимой. Календарной, поскольку в Израиле зима - это некая смесь сырости, осадков и ветра. Шел дождь. Я ехал в маршрутном такси из Акко в Хайфу. Кроме меня в машине ехало еще несколько человек. Водитель, судя по всему, был арабом. Собственно а кем ему еще быть, если, во-первых, он водитель такси, во-вторых, такси следовало из Акко, в-третьих, в машине тихо играла ритмичная арабская музыка, ну и, в-четвертых, его внешность это убедительно подтверждала.
На одной из автобусных остановок в машину подсел пассажир. Это событие моментально изменило атмосферу. В прямом смысле. Я бы даже сказал экологический баланс. Нюхательные рецепторы заработали с удвоенной силой, грозясь объявить забастовку, кровь через легкие начала обогащаться тяжелыми парами алкоголя и долгосрочного немытия. Одет человек был в старый, протертый и засаленный пиджак, насквозь мокрый от дождя и такого же вида брюки. На напоминавшей заброшенное птичье гнездо голове была водружена типично кавказская кепка. Лицо украшали неровные и лохматые усы и сложно-определить-сколько-дневная щетина. Плюхнувшись на сиденье, тяжело вздохнув и душевно крякнув, человек заговорил. Его молчаливым оппонентом был водитель. Беседа намеревалась быть диалогом, но ввиду языкового барьера и заметной неохоты общения со стороны водителя, диалог оказался монологом. Его речь подтвердила предположение о происхождении кепки. В письменном виде сложно передать диалект речи пассажира, поэтому буду придерживаться русского языка, предоставив право читателю включить воображение, представив оригинальный кавказский акцент, заменить все "о" на "а", "ы" на "и" (иногда наоборот) и местами ликвидировать мягкие знаки. Стилистическое путанье родов и падежей я тоже опущу.
-- Дождливая нынче погодка. Вах, как льет. Весь пиджак промок. Жена постирать его хотела, а зачем? Как бы он высох в такую погоду? Пришлось бы в мокром идти, а разве можно в мокром ходить..? Ох...
Неспящие пассажиры окинули взглядом человека, нарушившего молчание и заглушившего ненавязчивую арабскую музыку. Водитель, догадавшись с помощью зеркала заднего обзора, что речь обращена к нему, не разобрав ни слова, проигнорировал ее.
-- Кап-кап. Кап-кап. Вона как по стеклу стекает. Заодно и машину помоет, да, дорогой? -- человек засмеялся, закашлявшись.
Водитель покосился в зеркало и молчаливо продолжил заниматься своей работой. Пассажир приподнялся на сиденьи, достал из заднего кармана брюк помятую пачку сигарет и достал одну. Увидев это, водитель насторожился, готовясь вступить в бой за здоровье остальных пассажиров, но, задумчиво посмотрев в окно и покрутив сигарету в руках, незнакомец снова тяжело вздохнул и засунул сигарету в карман промокшего пиджака. Пачка вернулась обратно в брюки.
-- Ты любишь дождь, дорогой? -- настаивал пассажир.
Затянувшаяся пауза подтверждала решение водителя игнорировать обращение к нему, что, впрочем, совершенно не мешало незнакомцу. Он не желал замечать, что его речь, по сути, не обращена ни к кому. Непонимание водителя его нисколько не смущало, он как будто и не ожидал, что ему ответят.
-- Ай-Ай, не любишь дождь, -- догадался он -- а я вот люблю, очень люблю. Люди боятся дождя, прячутся, а мне нравится. Дождь - это свыше идет, а все, что свыше нужно принимать и любить. Это от бога. Ты в бога веришь?
На сей раз даже не дожидаясь ответа пассажир продолжил.
-- Не веришь, вижу, что не веришь...
Водитель, нахмурившись, слегка увеличил громкость музыки. Пассажир никак не прореагировал на этот поступок.
-- Что ты молчишь? Ты что, камень? Даже камни могут иногда говорить, -- опровергнул научную гипотезу пассажир, -- и не только говорить, они лечить могут.
Водитель начал раздражаться. Затылком понимая, что все вопросы обращены к нему и не понимая ни слова, он насупился.
Пассажир снова крякнул, неспеша полез в карман пиджака и достал завернутый в тряпочку предмет. После того, как тряпочка и оказавшийся под ней носовой платок были развернуты, на обозрение предстал камень. С виду он был похож на кусок необработанной металлической руды и никакого интереса не представлял. Такие камни валяются повсюду.
-- Это не просто камень, -- вкрадчиво заверил пассажир, -- он вообще не с Земли. Он из космоса. На Земле таких нет. Точно тебе говорю. Его ученые проверяли. Не могут понять из чего состоит. Мне деньги предлагали, чтобы я его оставил для исследований, я не согласился. А откуда я его взял? Мне его один человек подарил. Знаешь певец такой есть - Амирамов? У него еще песня есть - "Молодая", -- последнее слово незнакомец пропел, демонстрируя свои более чем посредственные певческие способности и явно раздражая водителя еще больше. -- Это его брата камень. Он мне его подарил. Хороший человек. Этот камень людей лечит. Болит что-то - приложи его. Боль сразу снимает. Я его под подушку кладу. Чтоб голова здоровее была.
Пассажир закашлялся. Слегка задумавшись и выдержав паузу, он продолжил.
-- Но он не всем помогает, этот камень. Он опасный. Некоторые, кто его брали в руки, тяжело болели. Даже умирали от него. Да. Я поэтому его и заворачиваю все время, чтоб его никто не трогал и не брал в руки. Хорошим людям он не вредит. Только плохим. И тем, кто не верит. Я бы дал тебе его посмотреть, но ты не веришь. Нельзя тебе его брать в руки.
Изложение мысли прервал другой пассажир, попросивший незнакомца передать деньги водителю. Незнакомец, снова крякнув, повернулся и взял деньги. Разложив их на одной ладони, другой рукой он начал перебирать монеты по одной и рассматривать их. Водитель, наблюдавший за процессом в зеркале, не выдержал и заговорил. Речь его была на иврите, с арабским акцентом.
-- Давай сюда, что ты там делаешь? -- нервно потребовал водитель.
-- Да так, дорогой, просто хотел посмотреть.
-- Не надо "посмотреть", -- раздался раздраженный полукрик. Последнее слово было проговорено на русском, передразнивая пассажира, после чего лицо водителя значительно омрачнело, а настроение еще больше испортилось.
-- Тут все правильно, родной, можешь не проверять.
Пассажир передал деньги водителю, недовольно щелкнув языком. Тот, включив над собой свет, начал пересчитывать деньги.
-- Ай-ай, не доверяешь мне, проверяешь. Нехорошо. Ты что? Мне все доверяют. Помню в Ереване всегда давал две копейки, их в темноте всегда за десять принимали. Все мне верили. Я сколько в школе учился - никогда за себя не платил. Все меня уважали, всегда за меня платили. Вах, Ереван, хороший город.
Пассажир снова тяжело вздохнул и, повернувшись к окну, начал задумчиво всматриваться в темноту. Пауза длилась несколько секунд. Внезапно пассажир повернулся к водителю.
-- Слушай, дорогой, а ты откуда из Еревана?
Вопрос пассажира и нелепость ситуации заставили меня улыбнуться. Ответ же водителя вверг меня в степень крайнего удивления.
-- Из центра, с улицы Туманяна, -- ответил водитель на русском языке с аналогичным пассажирскому кавказским акцентом и расплылся в широкой улыбке.

Владимир Шлевин

Monday, 4 May 2009

Join the Eurovision fun!

I’ve promised John I would organise a party when I get my first salary, and I am keeping my promise.

What: Eurovision Song Contest 2009 Finals Watching Experience Party (ESC2009FWEP)!
When: Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Where: The Hague
Who: Everyone who doesn’t take the Eurovision Song Contest too seriously.

The party starts at 19:00 with BBQ and drinks. At 21:00 we will watch the contest on BBC with the commentary of Graham Norton. We will make fun of the participants, place small bids (just for fun really) and make our own alternative chart. After that we will improvise.

I will make an event on Facebook. Please subscribe there or just let me know by e-mail (mirskykh[at] Please indicate if you are a vegetarian, vegan, Muslim, Jewish or anything else with special food requirements. A large number of sleeping places in The Hague is available! (Do let me know if you want to stay over, so we can make arrangements). There is ususally enough parking space available in my street or around the corner, but you'll have to pay from 18:00 to 24:00. I can park one car for free and will use this for a car that came from far away. If you are a wine drinker, please bring wine with you. The rest will be taken care of.

This is the European Song Contest 2005 in Kiev.

Trivia: no matter where I live and how small my place is, I always have at least one sleeping place for guests.

Bachata and the best travel information service

So, about that party last night. It’s a Mexican restaurant in Scheveningen (yes, De Boulevard, of course) – Chicoleo. Every Saturday they have a party where you can dance salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia and more Latin dances I don’t even know. I am a big fan of their DJ now (what is his name?). He mixes music, sings, does a little percussion and dances! You should go there at least once just to watch him. We came there to dance and it was absolutely fantastic! We wanted to practice some salsa, but they played a lot of bachata so we danced that too. You probably know bachata from Aventura:

Side effects of such a party: tired legs (mine are still tired), sore muscles in legs and hips (none in my case!), your body is confused (mine is, I am not used to party till 3:00). I will certainly be happy to repeat this!

And today (or actually yesterday) I woke up, had my brunch, dressed up and went to Brussels for J’s birthday party. It was very nice to visit him at his place in Brussels (I know, it’s a shame I haven’t done it up until now) and meet some old friends and some very nice new people. If I met one good friend at each party I go to, I’d be rich beyond my dreams even though I don’t go to so many parties. Anyway, this party was certainly worth going to!

Two tips: if you are in Brussels and you feel like pizza - go to Mama Roma and when you are on the road and need some travel advise and information - call J (provided you have his number and are a close friend)!

Trivia: I started taking dancing classes around 2003.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Just back from the party! Man, that was cool!

No trivia, sorry.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The winner! and chicken tonight

An early post today. First of all – yay! We have a free lunch winner! It’s actually a whole family that is about to extend in a few weeks. :) I don’t think they’ll be able to make it to the Netherlands to collect their lunch any time soon. They have to stay in Slovenia and wait for their new baby to arrive. So I am preparing a ‘lunch bag’ to send them which is challenging because of the new baby. :)

I had my favourite chicken dish tonight and thought I’d share the recipe with you. The original recipe is here, but if your Russian is not that good, use my modified version. It takes about 30 minutes and in that time I normally manage to cook rice and make a salad as well. (And now I fully realise why food photography is considered a difficult profession.)

Ingredients for 2 persons:
2 chicken breast filets
1 table spoon flour
2 table spoons olive oil
1 orange
50ml white wine
2 table spoons cream
salt, pepper

1. Wash the orange and grate the outer (orange) layer of skin. Put the grated skin aside. Cut the orange in two halves. Squeeze the juice out of one half and put the juice aside. Cut off the skin from the other half and cut it in slices.
2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan. Cut the chicken filets in bite-size pieces and roll them in the flour mixed with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes, turn the pieces regularly.
3. Add the grated orange skin, orange juice and wine to the pan and bring to boil. Lower the heat and let it stew for 8-10 minutes.
4. Add the cream and the orange slices and heat up for a minute.
Voilà! Have a good meal!

I am off to Chicoleo in Scheveningen for a salsa party!

Trivia: I always have white wine for cooking in the fridge.

Friday, 1 May 2009

And the winner is…

Thank you all for supporting me and giving your arguments for my friend to get rid of his moustache. It worked!!!!! He is now good old smoothly shaved self! :)

I think it’s the combination of the arguments everyone’s submitted that made him change his mind about his moustache. But he has pointed out one winner. And the winner is… the anonymous user who commented on April 19: “Now he looks like Lech Wałęsa. Check it out: You will need to feed A+I+A+?”

And now will the owner of this comment please make him/herself known to me at mirskykh[at] so we can set up the time and the date for our lunch?

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? I repeat, will the real Slim Shady please stand up? We're gonna have a problem here..

Trivia: I still have no lights on my bike.

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