Warning: ini_get_all() has been disabled for security reasons in /smarthosting/content/d/dodsonbeau/.website15332/wp-includes/load.php on line 1020

Warning: ini_get_all() has been disabled for security reasons in /smarthosting/content/d/dodsonbeau/.website15332/wp-includes/load.php on line 1020
Beau's Journey » 2008 » February

Archive: February, 2008

February 29, 2008: Made it home!

  Tired – worn out – sick!  Caught a cold in Russia and it has progressed to a fun cough and head cold.  Perhaps it was that Pigeon that I ate for dinner?  🙂  Glad to be home.  Mid-terms this weekend.  THEN UNPACKING!  Watching a BIG storm for the Sunday through Tuesday time frame.  Could there be some snow in the air?  Will have to keep an eye on it.



February 26, 2008: The challenge of inspiration…

  I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday.  In the middle of that conversation it  struck me that what is truly important in life is that we not only find our passion but that we must also find our inspiration.  Perhaps they go hand in hand.  Perhaps you can never be inspired if you don’t have a passion.  Perhaps yout can’t find passion if you are not inspired.  No matter which comes first they are both important.  They both play a role in our daily lives.

  I have watched my friend Sue henry take up photography over the past year.  At first, I thought she was simply interested in the hobby itself, but soon I found that she was inspiring me with her creative works.  She was serious about learning how to take photographs.  Her photographs told a story.  Her photographs showed me what inspires her.  Each one was carefully picked by her – she took the time to snap a shot of ice dripping from a tree.  She took the time to photograph the fall leaves that had gently landed on the rocks near a spring.  She stood outside in the cold and photographed the eclipse of the moon.  One of her more striking photographs was one of her grandson – sitting by a windowsill, at Fort Massac State Park, daydreaming, no doubt about cowboys and Indians. 

  Inspiration is a funny thing.  That which inspires one person may not inspire another.  That which speaks to my heart is unique.  That which speaks to Sue’s heart is unique to her.  But in sharing our inspiration we inspire others in ways we may never know.  Those sparks of inspiration may influence many others, some whom we may never meet.  Perhaps a reminder of the little miracles that surround each one of us.  The beauty of a winter mornings icicle, the color of the fall leaves, the eclipse of the moon.  The eyes of a child gazing out a window. 

Share that which inspires you.  Inspiration was never meant to be kept a secret or hidden from the world.  Art was meant to be shared.  Imagine the world with no paintings.  No songs.  No story tellers.  No photographs.  No musicians.

  Earlier this year, I said that my motto for 2008 was "Inspire to be Inspired".  In order to inspire others WE must first be inspired.  In order to be inspired we must first share that which inspires us.  Inspiration comes from sharing.  If Sue never shared her photographs then I would never have felt those sparks of inspiration that could only come from her.  If a great speech writer had never shared his written words then perhaps we would have never been inspired by the person who delivered those words.  If a singer we love, had never shared their voice with the world, then think of all the people that would have never been touched by their music.  Their voice.  Share your inspirations with others so that they may be inspired




February 26, 2008: Back in Canada!

  YAY – we have made it back to Canada.  It is always nice to return to the Americas.  It was a nice trip overseas and I am always sad to leave.  I guess we will be heading by to the United States on Wednesday/Thursday.  Should be home on Friday.  I have two stops along the way.


Gail Stubblefield sent me this photograph – she lives near the Massac County/Pulaski
County line (Illinois).  GREAT photograph and beautiful snow!  (Sunday photo)

  It is snowing here in Waterloo.  Light snow started falling at 7:30 a.m.  It looks like we might pick up a few inches.  Nothing major though!

  Some amazing news out of North Korea.  The New York Philharmonic has performed in North Korea.  They gave a historic performance to a crowd of thousands.  State run television also showed it to everyone else within the country.  I believe that this is a great moment in the history of their country.  It is the cultural exchanges, such as this,  that will bring about cracks in this communist nations walls.  Bravo for all involved!

  I have finally finished my "day to day" list links on the web page.  You can view them here (I sort of got behind).


Kristy sent me this photograph of Lucy!  She is looking gooooood! 




Farruh Nizomov is 23 years old. He runs a small shop where he produces small carts, which are used by his customers to transport food and other goods they purchase at the market to their homes. In general, the families in Tajikistan are large and, in preparation for family celebrations, individual family members purchase all of the necessary goods at the market for such celebrations. Thus, Farruh produces small hand carts and leases them to customers so they can transport their purchased goods to their vehicles or to the public transportation stops. Farruh is seeking a loan of $600 to purchase additional raw materials (e.g., wheels) required to make the carts. This would be Farruh’s first loan and he is confident that he can repay it on time.

Name: Farruh Nizomov
Business Name: Services – Services

Khujand, Tajikistan


February 25, 2008: Bringing Moscow To Life…

  Here are some photographs I took while in Moscow!  I always enjoy bringing a statue to life.  Enjoy!







































































February 25, 2008: Moscow in Black and White

  Here are some black and white photographs that I took while in Moscow.  Enjoy!
















































February 24, 2008: What I learned in Russia


The hardship of freedom


  What I once thought I knew…I know no more. What I once believed was real is now but a daydream.   Perception is torn into reality. 

  As a child I was taught that the Soviet Union was the enemy. That these people would one day bring us great harm. That missiles might rain down on our cities – destroying our families. There was a fear of the Soviet people, these strangers. Everything I knew about them came from my history books. The teachings from those who taught me, from our politicians, from our media. There was no internet. There was no MySpace or Yahoo. I knew that that they were the bad guys and we were the good guys. They were the communists and we were the Americans. They were wrong and we were right. 

  What I once thought I knew…I know no more. What I once believed was real is now but a daydream. Perception is torn into reality.

  My beliefs as an American, have been shaped by the policies of my government. By the news media. By my fantasies. Always thinking that freedom was not a privilege but a right.  Believing that if we could just force freedom upon people then we, as Americans, would be doing the world a favor. We would be giving them something that they needed – our gift would make them a better people. Never realizing the true price of freedom. And that the price of freedom comes not only to the people of today, who it was given to, or who obtained it, but also to their children and their children’s children. 

  When the Soviet Union fell apart I only saw flashes of what was really going on inside each country that declared their independence. When the news video stopped and the cameras shutters stopped clicking  – when the headlines no longer filled our minds with victory – the people of the Soviet Empire were left with a struggle that continues today.  A struggle that will continue tomorrow. A struggle that will continue next year and the year after that. 

  Although it may be true that freedom is what every man, woman and child wants, we should never think that it can be delivered overnight. We should never think that true independence and freedom can happen in a year…a decade…or even a generation. It is a process. An evolution of ideas. That which took America two centuries to accept and embrace is no different here in Russia. They are but an infant – just learning to walk. Still unsure as to where tomorrow might take them. Still haunted by their own past – the demons of communism.  Not quite sure who to trust. Not quite sure if their freedom is real or permanent. 

  The more I travel the more I realize that freedom cannot be forced upon people. It must be something that they desire. That they bring about themselves. The Soviet Union did not fall because of America. The Soviet Union fell because their people wanted their independence. Their people wanted to be free. They desired something that nobody could give them. It was always inside of them. It was always within their reach. They only needed to release their hopes…their dreams.  To stand up against those who  oppressed them. They only needed to believe in themselves as a people. 

  I have seen much while in Russia. I have seen very little while in Russia. A snapshot in time. A frame of a movie that has yet to finish. Although we may be worlds apart from this country we are and always have been neighbors. Our houses join together on this spinning globe. Russia could learn a lot from America – America could learn a lot from Russia. 


 Beau Dodson Photography


Some of the things I have learned since I arrived here

The older generation still does not trust their government. Their freedom is measured in something that exists today with no promise of tomorrow. 

Many of the subway tunnels were dug by hand. Dug by men, women, and children who “volunteered” their time to better their country. Dug by shovels and not machines.  Dirt carried out by wheelbarrows.

When you ride the subway you see the faces of the people of Russia. You see the old with hand written books – reading from the worn pages, as they pass through the underground tunnels. You see the young with their cell phones reading a book that they downloaded from an on-line  store – texting their friends – reading their emails. You see the old with the heads bowed and their eyes closed – listening to the clickity clack of the rail line. Perhaps dreaming of being home in their beds. You see the young with their IPods listening to the songs of today and the hopes of tomorrow. 

I have learned that you can see hardship on a face. True hardship. Not just wrinkles but stories. You can see the past by looking into the eyes of another person. When you watch those around you, here in Russia, you can see just a glimpse of what they have been through. It is different than anything I have ever seen before. I have met many older people, in many countries, but none like those of Russia. There is something different about these faces. There are lines that are deeper. There are eyes that express something that I cannot understand – I cannot relate to. These people have seen much. These people have been through much. They have stories that need to be told. So that we will not forget.  So that we will not allow history to repeat itself.

I have learned to respect history. To learn from history and to be a part of history.

I have learned that fear in itself is nothing more than a fantasy of thoughts joined together to keep people apart.

I have learned that giving someone freedom does not end when the gift has been unwrapped. That freedom must evolve and sometimes it must evolve slowly. Americans are drive by givers. We believe, that once the gift has been forced on someone, that they will somehow by able to magically turn themselves into what took us 200 years to become. 

I have learned that it is hard to find Maple Syrup and Peanut Butter in Russia.

I have learned that they take snow removal VERY seriously in the City of Moscow. That day and night they shovel the snow into piles to be hauled away by dirty old trucks. 

I have learned that communism in itself is not necessarily bad but rather it is the power that corrupts people within the communist party – socialist party – democracies.   

I have learned that the people of Russia do not hate Americans. They believe we live in a fairy tale world and many would give up everything to land on our shores. 

That many people, in Russia, would like to see their country rejoin some of the ex-soviet countries. Once again forming a larger nation. A more powerful nation. 

I have learned that Red Square is smaller than I envisioned and that St Basil’s is not as big as it looks in photographs!

I have learned that there are many great artists in Russia. 

I have learned that the subway system is one large art museum. That each stop is a creation in and of itself. That one must take the time to see back in time – to imagine a former day – another era to truly appreciate these works.

I have learned that there are many churches in Russia. Many of them are dramatic works of madness – some rebuilt to show that the depth of a stolen spirituality.   

I have been reminded that if you believe in hope that one day hope will arrive. That one day the white horse known only in fairy tales will deliver a sword of peace and prosperity. 

I have been reminded that most people simply want peace for their children.  They don’t hate anyone.  They don’t want war with anyone.

I have been reminded that those who have freedom have a great responsibility to not take it for granted. To share it with other people. To never force it on anyone. To be patient with those whom we do not understand. That freedom will come – in time – to everyone who desires it.

I have been reminded that peace and prosperity comes at a great price. A price that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. I price that cannot be written in words. A price that can be expressed in art – in photographs – in talking with those who were there.

I have been reminded that we are a blessed people.

I have been reminded that a good photograph is part art – part skill – part chance – and part opportunity. 

What I once thought I knew…I know no more. What I once believed was real is now but a daydream.   Perception is torn into reality. 



Beau Dodson Photography



February 23, 2008: Mikhail’s Lunch Today :)

  So if you didn’t like the pigeon 🙂 perhaps you will like the fish???



Mikhail our guide in Russia – eating his fish.  I will give this a YUCK factor of 10!


February 23, 2008: Rainy day in Moscow

February 23, 2008: Cheetah at the Kremlin

February 23, 2008: Pigeon Anyone?

  OK, so occasionally in life you have to try something new!  SOOOOO how about Pigeon!  (sorry not the best picture…I was trying to sneak a photo).  It actually tasted pretty good! 



February 22, 2008: Moscow – rainy/snowy day

  Fun day here in Moscow.  It rained a bit this morning and then mixed with snow in the afternoon.  I must admit that I expected a much harsher weather pattern.  I guess we are lucky.  It has not been extremely cold and the weather has not been too bad (course that would have been fine with me).

  We walked around a lot today.  Went to a coin store and a street market.  Found a few Russian coins for my collection.  🙂  David has some work to do his afternoon so Joey and I went to eat with Michael.  He took us to a nice restaurant in the top of a building.  You could see one of Stalins buildings across from us (see background of photo). 

  We also visited an art museum.  They had some AMAZING statues outside.  Just amazing art!  Some of the best statues that I believe I have ever seen.  I will have to post the photos in the coming weeks. (see a couple of images below)







  OK, I rarely get tired or worn out BUT after being gone for two months I am finally worn out!  Having a blast here in Moscow.  SOOOO much to see and so little time to see everything.  I have a thousand photographs to go through!  I will be going through photographs for the next two months.  That will at least give me something to do once I return home.  That and school!

  More later…


February 21, 2008: Out and about…Gorky Park and other

  We spent a lot of time wondering around Moscow today.  Took a lot of photos – will take some time to go through them.  We attened the Russian Ballet this evening.  It was very nice.  The architecture of the building was just incredible.  Fun day!

Gorky Park – Moscow, Russia


Kristy will enjoy this photo


You never know who you will see in Moscow!!!








February 21, 2008: Castro


February 21, 2008: Daisy is a MOTHER!!!!

  OK – OK – don’t get excited.  Daisy did not have puppies.  BUT SHE DOES HAVE FIVE BABY GOATS!!!!!  That is right.  Joey’s father runs a farm with goats.  They have about 15+ new baby goats.  Two of the mothers have shunned their babies and that means that Joey’s mother has to take care of them.  They have brought the babies inside the house and are hand feeding (bottle) them.  Daisy, apparently, has decided that she is the mother.  When the goats start to cry Daisy runs in and checks on them.  She has been licking on them and after they bottle feed Daisy comes along and licks around their mouth. 

  So it seems that Daisy has taken to the babies!  I can only imagine!!!!  Now the question is – will Daisy want to come back home with us!!!


February 21, 2008: Russian Ballet Tonight…Ice Storm Back Home

  Two ice storms in a row?  Say it isn’t so.  It looks like another ice storm is heading for the Paducah/Metropolis Region.  Hard to believe!  I don’t recall having two such events back to back – not in recent memory at least.  I guess Sue will have to take photos for me again!  Hopefully the damage won’t be as severe this time around.

  Just waking up here in Moscow (everyone is just going to bed back home).  The temperature is a BALMY 9 degrees above zero.  OH YEAH.  I love it.  Not!  I like cold weather ONLY if it is snowing!  So not a fan of cold without snow.  Not seeing any snow out my window here – so this is a waste of cold air.

  We are going to the ballet tonight.  I think it will be interesting.  Russia is famous for its ballets.  So we shall see how it goes.  Not a HUGE fan of musicals – but this should be "different".

  Starting to get home sick.  OKAY – I said it!  I know some people knew that already.  It is going on two months since we first left.  Just now getting home sick though.  I guess that isn’t too bad.  Daisy missed me – I am sure of that!  Sue probably is ready for here weekly "dine out" at Rafferty’s.  I KNOW my mother misses me.  Then there is everyone else in the family!  Time to get home I guess.  Another week.  Then I am hope for SPRING severe weather season.

  More later…

February 20, 2008: Some more photos from today…

  I am being lazy today with the photos.  Took a bunch though!  I just need to go through them.  We spent most of the day inside the Kremlin.


Inside the walls of the Kremlin.  There are a lot of these churches.  The guide said not to call them


The Golden Domes – inside the Kremlin walls


February 20, 2008: A Fan – A Car – 100 Rubles and Hitchhiking in Moscow

  Soooooo some background for this story.  About six months ago (or a bit longer…can’t remember) I was in Switzerland.  I brought my little fan with me.  I can’t sleep without a fan.  I don’t know why this is.  I am just weird like that.  I found out a few years ago that my younger sister, Dione,  is the same way.  Go figure.  Anyway,  I HAVE to have a fan in order to sleep.  So when we arrived in Zurich I plugged my little fan into the outlet using the converter device that I had purchased in Waterloo, Ontario.  I put my head on the pillow and turned out the lights.  Comfortable…cool…air blowing across my face.  Perfect! 

  It wasn’t long until I started to smell something.  I opened one eye and looked around.  Sniffed a few more times.  It smelled like something was on fire.  So I turned the light on and noticed smoke rising from the fan.  I thought…well that can’t be good!  So immediately I feared that the fire alarms would go off – the hotel would have to be evacuated – and I would be blamed.  So I grabbed for the plug in and unplugged it.  I realized then that there is a difference between plugging a computer in to the European Outlets and plugging a fan into the wall.  A computer doesn’t have a MOTOR – a small fan has a MOTOR and will burn up.  Ok, these are things we learn in life.  No big deal.  The reason it burns up is because the outlets in Europe are pumping more energy than what we get in the U.S.A.  That is the easiest way to explain it.  So anyhoo…lesson learned.  Right?  Wrong!

  So fast forward to this trip – new fan – new converters.  Last night I pulled out my handy dandy fan – and plugged it into the wall.  Now since the last time I did this I have purchased a new converter.  THIS converter is for electric motors.  So my fan would work properly.  All good.  Right?  🙂  Well it would have been…if I had remembered to plug in the correct converter.  So anyway…I forgot.  About five minutes into my sleep I realized that there was a loud noise coming from the fan – it was whirling faster and faster.  Next thing I know POOF – the fan goes off.  I am laying there wondering if this is it.  Did I burn up another fan?  Yes…I did.  🙂  My new fan is dead.  I will never get to sleep! 

  I turned the light on and didn’t see any smoke.  It smelled hot though.  So I unplugged it.  It took me forever to fall asleep.  It was so quiet.  There was no air moving.  I thought a few times that I was starting to gasp for air (all in my mind but hey that is life without a fan).  I tossed and turned.  Once I did fall asleep I actually started dreaming about searching for a fan! 

  So today I figured I would go buy a fan.  How hard could it possibly be to find a small fan in Moscow, Russia.  My first indication that this might be a problem was when the guide (Michael – who has been awesome by the way) said "what is a fan."  I described it to him.  He knew what it was and what I meant.   He thought about it for awhile.  We decided we would revisit the issue later in the day.  First we were going to the Kremlin.

  Fast forward to late afternoon.  David had a meeting to go to.  Joey and I decided to go with Michael and find a fan.  He knew just the place.  It was across town.  So we headed for the subway.  Our first experience with the Moscow Subway.  It was busy.  Very busy.  We were packed into the subway cars as tight as we could possibly be.  People were pushing and shoving.  But we hung on.  Off we zipped…through one stop – two stops – and then three stops.  On the fourth stop we got off. 

  We headed up the stairs and out onto the street.  The brisk, cold, snow flurried air hit us like brick wall.  Brrr it was cold.  We bundled up and headed across the street.  An electronic store!  I noticed some of the advertisements on the wall.  Toshiba.  Looked familiar.  Surely we would find a fan here.  We entered the business and I smiled.  Lots of electronic equipment.  Our guide talked to the man at the desk – he went over to his computer and typed in a few words.  He scanned the screen up and down and then shook his head.  No fans.   He pointed in the air – motioned some directions.  He made some suggestions.

  So we went outside and decided that we were tired.  Worn out from all the days walking.  Michael suggested we try another store.  Joey looked at me and gave me the "I am tired look" and I felt the same.  I thought we might as well try ONE more store though.  We came this far!  So we made the decision to grab a "cab" and go to one more store.  The guide promised us a larger store.   i was optimistic.

  So we looked for a cab.  Now I am looking for a nice yellow car with a light on top.  I mean, that is what my idea of a cab is.  I noticed that Michael was standing near the street with his finger/hand out.  I figured that was the "Moscow" sign for "hey I need a cab".  So we waited a minute or two.  Joey then said – "I don’t see any cabs".  I looked around and shrugged.  Michael then said something to Joey.  I said "what did he say?"  Joey said "he said they don’t have state cabs here."  I thought….hmmmm.  So there are no "real" cabs here?  Michael said someone would pick us up and we would pay them to drive us somewhere.  Just anybody – someone who needed gas money perhaps. 

  After a few minutes…a car stopped.  Tinted windows – dark car.  Guy lowered his window a few inches and Michael said a few words.  Next thing I know we are getting into some strange car and were zipping down the road.  I was thinking all sorts of thoughts.  Smiling though and wondering where this sketch would lead (I was thinking back to Ramallah in Israel – another sketch).  We are in some strangers car – someone none of us know – driving us to some electronic store to find us a little fan so I can sleep tonight.  Yeah that all made sense.


  So the guy dropped us off at this large electronic store.  We paid him 100 rubbles.  He sped off.  Not bad. 

  We went into this store and repeated the same song and dance from the last store.  Michael talked to the clerks – they smiled then laughed a bit.  I heard them say something and look at me.  I smiled politely back at them.  Nodding my head.  Then they went to the computer screen and typed a few words in.  They looked up and down and said something.  They pointed to the screen and on the screen was a photograph of a fan.  It was 30cm wide.  I thought hmmm…is that big or small?  So I did the hand "this is how big the fish was" sign.  Nodded and shrugged.  I said "ummm sure – yeah that will work."  So he printed us out a slip of paper and handed it to us.  He went to the back of the store to find the fan.  It wasn’t on display.  It was in the back warehouse.  Apparently nobody in Moscow would want a fan in the winter – so they keep them in the back. 

  So 10 minutes pass…15 minutes pass…20 minutes pass.  We walk around – back and forth.  Waiting for the guy to come back.  We head for the front counter to see if the guy had brought the fan up front.  So as we were walking I noticed some heaters on the back wall.  I walked over to them, while Joey and Michael went to look for the guy.  I found some small heater fans.  One of them had a fan and heater fan.  It was about seven inches tall and five inches wide.  PERFECT size for me.  By this time the guy was back with a big box.  The fan he had found in the warehouse for me.  Meanwhile I am waving at Joey and Michael and signaling  to them that I had found the perfect fan.   They looked at each other and walked over to me.  Michael asked if this is what I wanted and I said – yes!  PERFECT!!!!


Inside our ummmm "CAB"


Our "cab" as it pulls away


In search of a fan!!!






February 20, 2008: Cheetah out and about

  A long day in Russia!  We spent about five hours at the Kremlin.  We were able to see a lot of the old churches and some museums.  I had a fun time talking to a coin dealer through our guide who translated.  Bought some really cool coins from the post Soviet era.  Lots of fun.

  Cheetah FINALLY made it out.  She has been staying in by the fire ever since we arrived in Canada over a month (or two) ago.  She did decide to come out today though.






February 20, 2008: Light snow falling this morning…chilly

  It is morning here in Russia!  Everyone is just going to bed back home.  Temperatures here are COLD!  19 degrees to be exact with a wind chill of 5 degrees.  That gets one big BRRRRRRRR from me.  Looks like light snow on and off for the coming days.

  The winter storm back home is on track.  Some questions remain as to just how much frozen precipitation falls.  I will have to look at the new computer models later this afternoon.  Looks like some sleet/snow/freezing rain and then perhaps a little rain on Friday.  The heaviest precipitation may go to the north of Paducah.  Will just have to keep an eye on it!

  OK, we are heading out to see the Kremlin!


February 20, 2008: Survey ordered on property in Illinois

  Welllllll – one step closer.  We are getting a survey on the land in Massac County.   We need some clear boundaries as to where the home lots end and where the "farmland" begins.  Should be completed in two weeks.

  We close on the new apartments on March 14th!  Now if we could just sell Ashcreek!!!


February 19, 2008: OUCH another ICE STORM?

  The NWS has issued winter storm watches for the entire region.  It looks like Metropolis and Paducah might be hit AGAIN by a snow and ice storm.  Let’s all hope that ice accumulations are not as high as the previous event.  Nobody wants that.


February 19, 2008: WE HAVE ARRIVED IN RED SQUARE! Moscow!

  We made it to Moscow!  The flight was about three hours long.  Not bad!  As we flew into Moscow you could see field after field of white.  Lot of snow on the ground.  Once we made it off the plane we went through customs.  I was thinking this would be some long process.  Lot of questions.  All sorts of thoughts went through my mind.  Remember I grew up under the Soviet Empire.  These people were supposed to be our enemy.  So in my mind I thought the worst.  Of course, once we got to the gate there was a nice lady who looked at my passport photo and looked at me – looked at my passport photo and looked at me.  She then looked over a few things and stamped my passport.  She took one last glance at my photo and then me!  That was it – I was on my way.

  Once we picked up our luggage, we met our driver.  A big guy.  Big muscles and sort of gruff looking.  He didn’t speak much English.  We put all of our bags into his van and away we sped.  And I do mean sped!  He must have been going way over the speed limit for most of the way into the downtown area.

  The traffic was horrendous.  It reminded me of New York City.  CARS EVERYHWHERE!  People cutting in and out of traffic – horns blowing (not as bad as China though).  It was a bit scary!  There was slush on the roads but I don’t think they were slick.

  It took about 15 minutes to go one block (once we were downtown).  There were soooooo many cars.  We passed the Kremlin and made our way to the hotel.  We are actually only a couple of blocks from Red Square. 

  It was dark when we got here so we decided to go grab a bite to eat but not before we walked through Red Square.  Now, keep in mind, all of the images of Red Square, that I have in my mind, are the images of when I was growing up with the big parades where they used to show off the nuclear missiles and their army.  I think most of you will remember those scenes on the nightly news (that was when we had the news three times a day instead of 24 hours a day – also before Britney and Paris Hilton).   So this was my mental image of Red Square.  What Red Square USED to be like and what it is today are two different things.  Now there is ice skating and people selling fur hats.  There is a big mall called Gum but spelled differently of course.  A VERY expensive mall for Russia.  I would think that most people could not afford the types of store in that mall.  I would imagine that I couldn’t afford much in that mall.  David confirmed that indeed this was a very expensive mall. 

  Anyway here are a few photos.  We found a nice restaurant after we visited Red Square.  I had Elk – which was good – a bit tough but something different!

  We didn’t bring the flash with us – will take more photos tomorrow.  We are going to the Kremlin and some other sites.  We are going to a Russian Ballet on Thursday Night.  Should be interesting.


I have no idea what this says or what this is!  I thought it was cute though.


As you enter Red Square this is what you see…walking up from
the north

The entrance to Red Square



Ice skating in Red Square (that is the mall behind there)


The Kremlin is behind this wall


This is where all the great Soviet leaders would stand and watch the military pass by.


Joey in front of St Basil’s Cathedral – Red Square – Moscow, Russia


That would be me in St Basil’s Cathedral – Red Square


St Basil’s Cathedral – Red Square


Joey trying to figure out what he should have to eat.  The menu was several pages long.





February 19, 2008: The Cuban Dictator Has Left The Building…

HAVANA (AFP) – Fidel Castro resigned Tuesday as president and commander in chief of Cuba in a message published in the online version of the official daily Granma.

"I neither will aspire to nor will I accept — I repeat — I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," wrote the Cuban leader, who had been in power for almost 50 years.


February 19, 2008: Heading for Moscow!

  We are heading out to Moscow this morning.  The plane will leave at 10 a.m.  It appears we will have a three hour plane ride.  Not bad.  The forecast in Moscow is for freezing rain on and off through the next five days – some snow over the weekend as well.  Sounds like my kind of weather!


February 18, 2008: Another ice storm/winter weather coming?

  There is the potential for more winter weather across the Tri-State Region later this week.  Although there will be some chance of frozen precip in the coming 48 hours, I am mainly concerned about Thursday into Friday.  Some computer models indicate some icing across Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.  WAY too early to make a call on this storm system.  Something to keep an eye on though.


February 18, 2008: Ashcreek Open House…Update

  Since someone asked 🙂

  Ashcreek had an open house on Sunday.  There were about 8 families that looked at the house.  Three were interested and one was especially interested.  Tony said that they wanted a bit more information.  We will provide that and see what happens.  SURE WOULD BE NICE TO SELL!!!!!


February 18, 2008: Lazy Day in Zurich…

  We spent most of this afternoon wondering around Zurich.  We did a bit of shopping…mainly looking for something to buy our sisters.  Other than that it was simply a BEAUTIFUL day here.  Temperatures are in the upper 40s and it feels like spring.  I honestly believe I am ready for warm weather!  I know people back home are still wanting snow (and there is some snow in the forecast) but SPRING is right around the corner.  MARCH will be here SOON!  I say BRING IT ON!!!!!  I am sure a lot of people will agree – especially after the nasty ice storm last week. 

  Speaking of sisters – Dione informed me that she didn’t even know I was in Zurich.  I guess she didn’t get the memo.  To be fair I didn’t know she was in Florida last week.  🙂

  It appears we had more damage at Ashcreek than previously thought.  A tree went through the pool cover.  That won’t be cheap to fix.  Waiting on estimates now.  i already have a good idea as to what it will cost.

  Here are some photos I took around the city today.



The crowd kept yelling "JUMP HEIDI JUMP" – maybe she knows that she is on the dinner menu???


If someone could just kindly explain this to me.  I
would be grateful. 


This needs to explaining.


Someone is having a quiet day in Zurich. 


  We heard horns throughout the evening, here in Zurich.  At first we thought it was a wedding celebration and then we realized it was something more!  We noticed red flags hanging out of car windows.  A lot of hooting and shouting.  We realized the flag was that of Kosovo.  The news headlines tell the story:

Kosovo declares independence!


February 19, 2008: New KIVA Partner

Mrs. Vorn Ruom, 27, is a married with one little kid and lives with her husband in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. She works raising pigs on her piece of land and usually makes about $2 each day in revenue. Her husband works as a fisherman, making three dollars each day in revenue. Mrs. Von Ruon would like to ask for this loan to expand her livestock by adding more pigs. This will increase her family’s income.

Name: Vorn Ruon
Location: Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Primary Activity:


To learn more about KIVA please visit their web-site – click here


February 19, 2008: New Apartments…8 units in Mayfield

  Well, as slow as the housing markets have been over the last few months I was beginning to wonder if we would find anything new to look at.  We have returned to some apartments that we turned down a year ago.  Went back with a different price and it appears we have a deal on the table.  Tony is having some inspectors look at them.  Otherwise, I think we have eight new units to add to our collection down in Mayfield.   Both sides of the deal have now signed the papers.  Looks good.