Sunday, September 29, 2013

Interesting sign

For my birthday yesterday, a group of friends joined my husband and I to celebrate.
The first restaurant was undergoing construction, the second restaurant had a private, corporate party, the third restaurant was completely dark, so we figured it must be closed.....
And the fourth restaurant was a go...

That is of course if you pass the test:

Yes, that is a sign outside of the restaurant for when it turns into a nightclub/bar. I guess they have very specific requirements for what one looks like and dresses like, before you can enter.

We all were allowed in....but it was before the bouncers were at their post :)
Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Easy spring rolls

We are trying to enjoy the beautiful, last days of warm sun around our camp.  Soon us old timers know that the crisp air, which is a delight, will turn icy cold and we will all be semi hibernating!

So a friend and I had a get together by the pool, where we enjoyed each other's company, met many of the new faces we see around camp and caught up with familiar ones as well.

I made some really yummy and easy to make spring rolls.
They were simple enough, yet it does take a little bit of time to prepare the ingredients and put them individually together.  Well worth the time!

Simply, quickly boil the vermillion rice noodles and rinse with cold water.
Chop your favorite ingredients...mine were filled with shrimp, carrots, cilantro, mint and basil.
Other options are cucumber, avocado, chicken, red pepper....

Fill a large enough shallow bowl (I used a pie dish) to soak the rice paper for about 3-5 seconds.  They still feel a little stiff when you take them out, but they continue to soften as you fill them.
Lay the ingredients across in a line, fold the sides in and then roll.

Voila, yummy spring rolls for a refreshing and light treat!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

What beautiful weather we are having right now.  The air is crisp, the sun warm and just the slightest of breezes passing by.
I went on a long walk today with a friend.  We call it our bridge to bridge walk.
It is around 5 miles long and we walk from our homes around the Ural River.  We cross over two bridges.  They were recently painted for the President's visit to Atyrau.
They tend to spruce the city up by fixing sidewalks and painting buildings and bridges for his visits.
Here is the pedestrian bridge, newly painted in the traditional "Kazakh blue"!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Corner view~ for lunch

Corner view is a weekly appointment created by Jane of Spain Daily and hosted by 

This Wednesday I was invited with three women to a lunch at a favorite coffee/tea spot called Booblik, here in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.
Yes, go ahead and giggle at the name...we all do when we first hear it....and still three years later, I giggle!  Sometimes we all get lost in translation, but it is a lovely, upbeat little restaurant with yummy food and warming teas and coffees.

Here, I remembered my corner view theme of lunch a little late!  So here are the remnants of my delicious chicken and veggie quiche

ginger tea
and dessert...which I remembered to take the photo of before I ate it!  These are a type of Florentine cookies, I believe.  
Again, translations are sometimes lost here in Atyrau, but the lunch was just as yummy, no matter what we call it!
Surrounded by good friends and great food, it was a great midweek treat!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The gift of


Growing up, I always counted on my Mother and Father.  They were there for me at any time of the day or matter how big or small my needs were.  
As a younger person you tend to take that for granted a little.  
Of course your Mom is going to make you pancakes...
of course my Dad will drive me to the ballet class...the picnic...the party...

What I have found as I grow older, as I have become a Mother myself, is that it really never goes away, and now I understand my parents even more than I thought I had.
Motherhood has been such a blessing in so many ways.

My days have been filled with lovely memories of babies in my arms and having the privilege of watching them as they grow older.  
The beautiful first steps and first words...
The amazement when sentences start forming...
Interesting questions...
Intelligent answers...
Challenging questions...
and even the occasional "disagreement".
All of this while trying to be the best parent I can be, 
with patience (yes my kids may giggle at this word being associated with Mom), kindness, understanding, some tough love thrown in there... in the sense of making them responsible, caring, understanding and compassionate.

It is all a process that sometimes feels like it takes forever to happen, and as I grow older, seems to be like it just happened yesterday.  
I cherish all the different phases of my children.  

I adored the cuddly babies in my arms, the deep connection one feels as you whisper into their ears, though their understanding is only of their Mother's calming voice.

Now, as I have one away, and one still with me, I feel like I only want to hold on a little longer.  
I miss my son, though he seems happy and strong.  We did husband and I. 
Our daughter that is still with us...I want to give her my all, but on some days I feel distracted.

No one is perfect, that is what we have always told them.

I want to cherish my Motherhood and I know they are a precious gift given to us...and though they go on into the world, I love knowing that I will always be their Mother.  They can always count on me to make them pancakes when they need them, drive them somewhere...even if I am not next door, I am with them in their hearts.
I am so proud of our children.  
I am blessed to be a parent.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Corner View~ away

Each Wednesday, Francesca from Fuoriborgo
hosts Corner View.
This weeks theme is away

Our son, as many who read my blog know, is away at his boarding school....

It is beautiful there....but so very far

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mixing it all

Today, the first of September, I start my journey back to my husband and daughter.
Yesterday, I settled our son into his boarding school.

It started off exciting and filled with so much anticipation.  We had many items to check off the list they give you upon arrival.  We settled bags and items into his dorm....actually, first we had to find  his dorm, then we settled in.
Then off to put those checks next to the list....the health services, the business office, picture ID, receive books and find his mail box.  Back to the room to unpack, unload, change the furniture around, to lunch, back to the room to finish up, a little shopping at the bookstore, then a speech by the head of school.

And then it happened.  After running around most of the day, we had to say farewell.  I have never experienced anything more heartbreaking.  It was so hard to have my son hug me goodbye, with heavy hearts and tears in both of our eyes.  It makes me question the decisions we made, it makes me worry that he is only doing this just to please us, yet, I found his strength. 
He knew he couldn't take being with me any longer, so he asked me to leave a little earlier than necessary.  He knew what he needed to do, in order to pull himself together to go to his next stop...meeting with all the new students.
He apologized (unnecessarily) later in a text, for leaving a little early, but he couldn't take being any more sad.
It made me proud and a little smile came across my sad face, knowing that he knows himself.  He knows what he needs to do in order to compose himself and get himself ready for the next step.

I'm sure there will highs and lows, and good days and not so good days.  I think he will learn so much about himself, others and the community that surrounds him.

Yet, I drove away today, in fog and rain....

I took pictures of the beautiful pond on the way that I commented to him that ...
"I should stop and take a picture of this beautiful pond" and never did...
Well, I took these pictures and sent them to him.

I know he is staying busy, he was doing better last night, and our lives, though forever changed, will only bring us closer together and cherish our moments together.  
I am so happy to be going back to see my husband and our precious daughter, even though all of our hearts our heavy without our son.
It will be five weeks until we all travel to visit for a Parents Weekend. 
And I am counting every hour that passes, hoping those five weeks pass by quickly.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I think rainbows are beautiful.
I have the chance to see them often here, as there are many quick showers with the sun just on the other side.  The thunder and lightening rolls in...

And then if  we are lucky, we find that rainbow from the sun shining on the other side.

It lifts me up and makes me smile at Mother Nature's beauty.  I always feel like I am being smiled upon and given a glimpse into a magical world of colors.

A few more days and off we will go to mountains and colder weather for our son's new school!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I am a morning person...though I enjoy my evenings as well.  Yet in the morning, I feel so refreshed and ready to go.  I like to start the day by sitting in my favorite chair, with a warm cup of coffee, watching the ever changing sky. 
There are beautiful pastel colors one morning, and vibrant hues another.  
Here are a few of my favorites to start you Saturday.  
Enjoy this beautiful, gifted day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Coming back to an old friend

Just coming back to an old friend that never was quite lost, just a little neglected.  I left because I was worn down by the feel that I needed to come up with something creative....something to entertain...
When really, all I need to do is write down a few thoughts.  Share my memories being made.

Summer days are winding down to an end.

Summer has been glorious. Diving, dolphins, sharks, octopus, visitors, special moments to is everything our summers bring in our special house.  We have new steps into our waters...

Just waiting for us to dive into the salty water.  It is our refuge, our home.

But alas, it is coming to an end...these sultry summer days.  Our lives are taking a different path this that is exciting and excruciating all at the same time.  Our family will live apart while our son attends boarding school in the US. It will be a change that will be hard to deal with, yet, giving him an incredible opportunity. Lets take this path and see where it leads us.....but for now, lets just enjoy the sun setting and the last days of summer!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


One of my favorite days to take pictures, during winter here in Atyrau, is when the wet fog has come in overnight, and left us with these beautiful icicles hanging off of the trees, branches and leaves.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Corner View~ Morning, Noon and Night

Corner View
Hosted by Francesca 
Be sure to visit her and all the corners of the world that link to her blog!

This week's theme is:
Morning, Noon and Night

Here is the same view, at the different hours of today, out of our bedroom window.
This is the Ural River, frozen over and covered by snow.




Happy Viewing!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Having fun

One of the positives of having a home in Key West is the funkiness of the quirky, little town.
This past trip we went to the famous Duval Street to watch The Annual Key West Daschund Walk. Little dogs and their owners paraded down the street. Some were dressed in funny little costumes. Some weren't even Daschunds, or some were Daschund mixes...but it was something fun and silly to do. Our daughter adores dogs and she was snapping pictures of every little one she could find that would pose for her! This one is my favorite.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Corner View- Look, but don't touch

Welcome to the first of 2013's
Corner View
Hosted by Francesca 
Be sure to visit her and all the corners of the world that link to her blog!

This week's theme is 
Look, don't touch

These views are from our home in the US.
The sky, clouds, sunrise and sunset always fascinate me and inspire me to take endless photos of the ever changing colors, cloud shapes, patterns...
Enjoy this piece of paradise and remember,
Look, don't touch!

Welcome to the first of 2013's
Corner View
Hosted by Francesca 
Be sure to visit her and all the corners of the world that link to her blog!

This week's theme is 
Look, don't touch

These views are from our home in the US.
The sky, clouds, sunrise and sunset always fascinate me and inspire me to take endless photos of the ever changing colors, cloud shapes, patterns...
Enjoy this piece of paradise and remember,
Look, don't touch!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

May the magic of the season bring happiness, health, and much love into your world. May we pass it on to others and enjoy the wealth that surrounds us in our homes and with our families.

Happy New Year!