Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday, July 31st

Saturday we were finally able to go to a museum! It was my turn and I chose the Museum of Russian Impressionism.  I was surprised by the building and would have expected it to house the Museum of Modern Art. 

Instead, this is what the Museum of Modern Art looks like:

Walking into the MRI was wonderful and the first thing that is seen is a multimedia screen in which each panel changes its scene every few seconds.  Lots of different colors and feelings that are evoked. Here's just one of them: 

The rest of the paintings were so wonderful I HAD to buy the catalog! I have been going to Park City to see the Russian Impressionism in the art galleries there and to the Springville Art Museum Russian collection for years, taking friends and family and whoever would indulge my interest.  So it is wonderful to be here and to see it at the source.  Here are some of the paintings in the MRI:

And my two favorites, surprisingly by two different artists:

Lilacs in bloom are sold by the Metro by old woman all summer here.  They are grown around many apartment complexes and in the woods.  They are definitely the flower of Russia, at least as far as we can tell.  In our old house in the cul-de-sac, we had about 100 feet of lilacs in the backyard.  Every spring when they bloomed it was like a perfume festival! We have missed them ever since we moved to 495.  We will have to plant some when we get home!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24th

 Russ' submission to our monthly ward newsletter at home:

"What happens in Mental Health in the Europe East Area?" sounded like a good question and something I had no idea how to answer six months ago. Here is a short summary of highlights:

1. The volunteers who serve here are a wonderful and dedicated young people. They work hard and care deeply about the people here. Some leaders say the “best of the best” young people are assigned to labor here. This Area is classified as a hardship assignment so in general, only the most capable and high achieving youth are sent here.

2. In this difficult environment, some suffer emotional problems and others have a combination of intertwined emotional and physical concerns. However, by comparison, they are substantially more emotionally healthy than the average young person in the same age group in the US. In fact, they are even better off than the most directly comparable groups found in the US: the five military services academies.

3. Unlike some areas of the Church, we are blessed with two Area Medical Advisors (AMA). These medical doctors and their companions do not practice medicine themselves, but provide advice to all the volunteers and couples on what to do for minor concerns. They are also tasked with identifying and working with local medical provides that can handle any major issues health issues. 

In my role as Area Mental Health Advisor (AMHA), the three of us work closely together when physical and mental problems are intertwined. They also advise me on matters that will require psychotropic medication for the best results. (We decided to call ourselves the A Team 😊).

4. All of us have specialist consultants available 24/7 to assist in complex situations if required. Of course, these consultants are also available to any mission President, Mission President Wife, AMHA or AMA throughout the world.

Your loved ones have the support of many of the best professional people I know about and we do everything (while sparing no expense) to make sure they are safe and well looked-after.

Monday, July 24th Happy Pioneer Day!

In Utah today they are celebrating the entrance of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley.  A parade, fireworks, countless BBQ's, and many family reunions will be held around the state.  The holiday will evoke stories of wagon trains and campfires and frozen rivers and death and sickness on the plains and in the Rocky Mountains.

But my heritage looks more like this:

 And this: 

My father and his two brothers came with my Grandma Doyle to America in January, 1927, when he was only 4 1/2 months old.  My grandfather had come earlier to prepare for their move.  They lived in the Corona section of Queens, where it was so cold they about died.  They had traveled by steerage class.  In 1935 they once again boarded a ship, again in steerage, and sailed down the East Coast of America, through the Gulf of Mexico to the Panama Canal, and up the West Coast of Mexico and the US to San Francisco because my Aunt Catherine paid for them to come to California, a much better climate than NYC.  

My mother's family came from Ireland as well, only earlier, but lived in NYC in the boroughs as well, and struggled to get by. My Grandma Baker quit school in the third grade because her father had died and she was needed to work.  She carried laundry up and down tenement houses to make money. She moved to California in 1912 and our family has been there ever since.  Her mother followed later and they lived in Alameda on Sherman Street for many years in a home that looked something like this:

Here in Russia I am working today on Pioneer Day.  But it's a different kind of Pioneer Day here because we are living with pioneers here.  In the church, this is like 1856 in America. The church in the US was organized in 1830, and 26 years later, 1856, the pioneers had already arrived in Utah and Brigham Young had sent settlers all over the western US and Canada and Mexico to settle in small towns that have since become major cities.  The church arrived in Russia in 1991 and now 26 years later almost everyone here is a convert still, just like me, and are trying to build up something here that will last and bring happiness to people all over the Europe East Area.

In the 1850s in Ireland they were recovering from the famine which started in 1845 and lasted till 1852 and had world-changing impacts, where it is estimated that 250K people left Ireland a year to find another place to survive and thrive.  The Irish were not particularly welcome in America with NINA--No Irish Need Apply--signs in store windows advertising the prejudice that new groups often face when they move to new places in large groups. 

It is a privilege to be and to know pioneers.  No matter when they live, no matter where.  It takes courage and tenacity and faith to move forward into a world unknown.  I am grateful to my grandparents, on both sides of my family, for theirs.  As much as I love Ireland, I hope to honor their memory by living a life worthy of the blessings that came from coming to America. To have lived on another frontier, Russia, is icing on the cake!

Poems that Come to Mind Walking around Moscow

We couldn't figure out why people are always looking down when they walk here when we first got here; it made us wonder about their friendliness.  Then we started walking 2-3 miles a day, in the snow and on the ice, as we arrived in January.  THEN we realized that it had nothing to do with social interaction--there's not a level walking space almost anywhere!  We have slipped, and slid, and been jolted by bumpy, irregular, patchy, spotty, lopsided sidewalks and stairs!  We don't dare to walk without looking down! All of which has brought to mind my favorite poems in the "World of Christopher Robin."

Lines and Squares

by A. A. Milne

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line."
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so 'portant how you walk.
And it's ever so jolly to call out, "Bears,

Just watch me walking in all the squares!"

Teddy Bear

By A. A. Milne

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought: "If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?"
He thought: "It really isn't fair
To grudge me exercise and air."

For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
"Is quite" (he said) "as fat as me!"
Then with a still more moving sigh,
"I mean" (he said) "as fat as I!"

Now Teddy, as was only right,
Slept in the ottoman at night,
And with him crowded in as well
More animals than I can tell;
Not only these, but books and things,
Such as a kind relation brings -
Old tales of "Once upon a time",
And history retold in rhyme.

One night it happened that he took 
A peep at an old picture-book,
Wherein he came across by chance
The picture of a King of France
(A stoutish man) and, down below,
These words: "King Louis So and So,
Nicknamed 'The Handsome!' " There he sat,
And (think of it) the man was fat!

Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed the "Handsome." Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub)
Might yet be named "The Handsome Cub!"

"Might yet be named." Or did he mean
That years ago he "might have been"?
For now he felt a slight misgiving:
"Is Louis So and So still living?
Fashions in beauty have a way
Of altering from day to day.
Is 'Handsome Louis' with us yet?
Unfortunately I forget."

Next morning (nose to window-pane)
The doubt occurred to him again.
One question hammered in his head:
"Is he alive or is he dead?"
Thus, nose to pane, he pondered; but
The lattice window, loosely shut,
Swung open. With one startled "Oh!"
Our Teddy disappeared below.

There happened to be passing by
A plump man with a twinkling eye,
Who, seeing Teddy in the street,
Raised him politely on his feet,
And murmured kindly in his ear
Soft words of comfort and of cheer:
"Well, well!" "Allow me!" "Not at all."
"Tut-tut!" A very nasty fall."

Our Teddy answered not a word;
It's doubtful if he even heard.
Our bear could only look and look:
The stout man in the picture-book!
That "handsome" King - could this be he,
This man of adiposity?
"Impossible," he thought. "But still,
No harm in asking. Yes, I will!"

"Are you," he said, "by any chance
His Majesty the King of France?"
The other answered, "I am that,"
Bowed stiffly, and removed his hat;
Then said, "Excuse me," with an air
"But is it Mr. Edward Bear?"
And Teddy, bending very low,
Replied politely, "Even so!"

They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that ...
Then said His Majesty, "Well, well,
I must get on," and rang the bell.
"Your bear, I think," he smiled. "Good-day!"
And turned, and went upon his way.

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about -
He's proud of being short and stout.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

St. Petersburg

Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad 
Victory Square
World War II

This museum was built at one of the last places where the Germans advanced

Moving Sculpture Depicting the Suffering of the Russians during the War

Sculptures Depicting the Russian People 

Displays of Items Collected after the War

Street in St. Petersburg Built to Perspective

Mikhail Glinka, Russian Composer,  Fountainhead of Russian Classical Music

Mikhailovsky Palace

Where Dostoevsky wrote "Crime and Punishment" which is set in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg on the River Neva

The buildings along the river are all lit up at night which makes them look spectacular!

White Nights of St. Petersburg--this was taken at 2:30 AM!

We saw so many beautiful places in St. Petersburg. This is just the beginning of the pictures we took.  It is an amazing city and these pictures do not do it justice. Just the first ones ready to post.  More to come......

The Crane's in America 
the 4th of July!

Cora and Kylie in Wichita for the 4th of July!

Waiting for the trucks and cars and floats and walkers to come

Provo Freedom Festival Fun Run!!

Rachael and Lauren and Alex--Olympic Runners!


Dad thought he would join in the fun!

Power Rangers on the 4th!

Fireworks round out the Fun!

All Around Our Neighborhood

Our home: Yartsevskaya ulitsa 27, k. 9, d. 31,+27%D0%BA9,+Moskva,+121552/@55.743919,37.4113262,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x46b54ed8b6233c37:0x5c7d03f4f0a7bd88!8m2!3d55.743919!4d37.4135149

A typical apartment building, 20+ stories.  Two more buildings being built in our neighborhood.  Moscow has 8,537 people per square kilometer.  Although it is not even on the top ten list of population density in the world, it feels like everyone in the world is going to the same place!

That's a mall at the end of the street.  We grocery shop and eat out down there.

Power Station that heats all the water for the neighborhood.  The heat turns off for two weeks a year to clean out the pipes. 

Bus parking lot on the way to the Metro

On the way to the Metro

The Metro is the gray, short building on the other side of the buses

A little park between the tall apartment buildings

Pigeons congregate near the Metro.  People do not believe in wasting bread and if they cannot use it, they bring it to the birds. The birds fly all around and then settle down again to the feast of bread people dump here.