Saturday, July 9, 2011

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Moscow in the summer is suffocating. No wonder the Russian leave the city in flocks to go to the dachas. It's not so much the heat, as it is the smog and the humidity. Following a marathon training schedule in that conditions represents additional challenge, which apparently, I am willing to take. This week I will probably run around 60 km.  I can't believe few months ago, 6 km at one go was too much. Life can be good, when you can still surprise yourself.
Side effects of running include leaner and fitter me and pretty nice suntan, though of the 'wife-beater' type.
On the negative side, it's hard to keep a pedicure, fact I am stubbornly trying to defy. I still haven't decided which marathon should I run. As Berlin's registration was over, now I am debating between Amsterdam (easy from support and logistics POV, but a bit boring, as we are always there), or The marathon in Athens (steep uphill for more than half of the run). I need to make up my mind soon before I miss another registration, which would be pretty demotivating. Right now, I don't even know what keeps me going. I think it's the fact that life in Moscow is not all that great and you need to have something to keep you sane. Lately, when I land at the airport I get this heavy feeling... It's not too overwhelming and goes away pretty fast, but it's always there, annoying like a cold sore on a date night. But I really believe that happiness it's within you, so it travels with you, even to Moscow.
On the positive side, there is a lot to look forward. In July and August the agenda is pretty full. Berlin-Varna-Moscow-France-Amsterdam-Denmark-Stocholm-Oslo-Moscow with friends from NL-Varna. September Chicago and Istanbul, October maybe Amsterdam marathon or otherwise Athens in November. November 4, wedding in Amsterdam. End November maybe Florida sailing, maybe Portland too, December Christmas in Amsterdam. The girls with stay with my mom in Bulgaria for 3,5 weeks in July and August, which I guess can be called our "dacha". I am looking forward to spend some time with them on the beach. It's funny that their first beach experience will be where mine was, at the Black sea coast.
One good thing about being in Moscow is the fact that the choice of English channels include only CNN, BBC, Russia Today - the local propaganda channel, which spends 50% of the air time to bitch against the USA, and MTV. So I watch very little TV, almost not at all. I like to catch up on the news every now and again, dance with the girls on the latest hits and that's about it. When in the USA, I remember spending hours watching "Law and Order" and "CSI" marathons. Besides there was always at least one good movie a day on the Sundance channel, not to mention HGTV Real Estate shows. TV was a blessing in the last months of pregnancy, but otherwise brain-cells destroyer. Now my mind is pretty unpolluted. It's a blessing to be able to select what goes into it.