As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rumour has it...

As we get ready to leave for Canada on Friday we have found out that rumours are flying on both sides of the Atlantic. Every year we return home for Christmas and to renew our visas for Ukraine, which needs to be done every year, and you have to leave the country to do it. Maxim says he has heard two different rumours in the village- one that we are going home to Canada to stay, and the other that when we go another Canadian will come to take our place. Our son Josh told me a couple weeks ago that he heard that there was a rumour going around Manitoba that we are coming back home to run the farm there because the boys are in trouble (farming apparently). As far as I know this is not true, as much as I would like to be home with my family for longer than a month.

Garry has been busy finishing up things to get ready to run easily while we are gone. Maxim will run things with Victor's help, and Yana and or her parents will milk the cows and feed the dogs and cats outside. Max will have to deal with the two cats indoors, and Box appears to be going to have kittens while we are gone. I told them not to let her outside.

There are calves to be born in December, Ossa (pictured) and another cow are getting really close to calving now. Garry has no worries after Max delivered that big backwards bull calf alive while we were in Donestk - the little red heifer that had it is doing better now, the first couple days she gave only enough milk to feed the calf.

The barn is much warmer after the straw wall and plastic went up on the cow side as seen the photos, just like last year. It has been warmer the last few days outside anyway, highs just above freezing, lows of -6 C, although the wind was blowing last night, Garry said the top of the brewers grain pit was black this morning, instead of frozen on top like last week, today it was covered in dirt that had blown off the village gardens.

Friday we had another cow abort her calf, I believe she was about two months from her calving date, which sometimes means a live preemie, but it was dead. That makes four, and Garry has become concerned that we may have a disease causing the problem. In Canada (and the US)we would vaccinate the cows yearly for a number of dieases that can cause abortions. The trouble is we don't know which are a problem here in Ukraine, although we'd put money on it over the possible causes Garry heard here on Friday. So far, the causes of abortion include: eating too much brewers grain, eating frozen brewers grain, and the barn being too cold. The last one would cause real problems for Canadian cows who live outside in the winter, I'd think.

Since the village herd quit going out to the fields, our heifers that went out everyday have been going outside in the barnyard during the day. It saves on straw and they get out of their pen and run around and nibble on the spoiled silage the guys dump over the fence for them. They get their real food inside, since they come in every night.

On Saturday morning Maxim made a sign with the hours we will be selling brewers grain and corn silage on the weekends, since it is dark shortly after Andrei starts selling on the normal hours. People had started showing up at all hours again, Max says this way Garry can tell them that we are not selling now, it is written on the sign.

Today the new windows Max ordered for his house were installed, he has ired some guys to work on the inside this winter, so it will be ready for his wedding next year.

Yesterday Garry saw Needles the cat (he is inside only when he wants to nap) catching a mouse outside. Max says that today Mint the dog had a mouse, playing with it forever, digging it up when it escaped underground, chasing it around the precept (wagon) tires for half an hour. If Mint would only learn to stop chasing the babushka's chickens.....

Monday, November 28, 2011


Sunday morning there was a dusting of snow on the ground as we left for Dnepro, with the Lada loaded with three 50-60 liter jugs, one smaller jug, and 19 liters of smetana (sourcream) in glass jars and kilos of cottage cheese in plastic bags, filling three boxes sitting across the back seat. Victor sells these after his church, a lady across the street processes the cream and cheese for him, from our milk. She gets the milk warm right after milking in the morning a day or two before Victor needs them, and separates the milk, makes the products- the cheese is made with the skimmed milk, and the leftover whey is fed to their pigs.

Garry got pulled over by the police at the highway checkpoint on the way to church. The policeman said he was speeding, but Garry said he was goinfg the posted speed. He told us that the snow had made driving dangerous, and there were two cars off the highway ahead. he raod was wet, but there must have been some black ice earlier, because we saw first one banged up car with four guys standing next to it on a straightaway, and a second really banged up one loaded on a towtruck just past a curve.

We dropped off the milk, cream, and cheese at Victor's church except for one 60 liter jug we carried into the building where Morningstar meets and set it down in the hall.
We had a surprise when we walked into the room where church is held- it was warm- almost hot. Normally everyone is wearing both sweaters and coats for the service, since the building is as cold in the winter as it is hot in the summer. They had gotten a huge electric heater to use for the services this winter.

Since it was the first Sunday in Advent the first candle was lit during the first hour - the praise and worship time. We will miss singing in Russian next week when we are home in Canada. It got so hot in the room that they turned the heater off at the front of the room at the beginning of the sermon, but it cooled off enough that it was turned back on before it was over. Misha showed slides of his trip to Israel after the sermon. I was really wishing I had not worn my wool sweater, it was so warm. I guess there will be less sweaters at church this winter, although it felt really cold when you stepped into the hall. We said goodbye to many of our friends, since we will be gone until January.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ballet and bridges

Here are some pictures from the ballet- Don Quihote started at seven pm but had two intermissions, it was a good thing we bought a program for 4 grivna (50 cents) we even figured it out in Russian when the curtain went down for the second time without any curtain calls. It was 10:30 by the time we got back to the village.

Garry's favorite part was the dream just before the second intermission because he likes the traditional ballerina outfits.

The lead dancers were really good, and it was a well-done show. We bought four tickets for The Night Before Christmas on Wednesday evening before we go to Kiev, we are bringing Maxim and his girlfriend Yulia to the ballet.

I had forgotten to use the bathroom before leaving home- it's the first rule of going somewhere in Ukraine, because you never know what kind of toilet you will find, even when you are paying to use them. The ballet did not charge extra for the facilities, but the toilets did not have toilet seats (just don't quite sit down) Garry said the mens room was full of (cigarette) smoke when he went in, the ladies room just had lots of hair fixing going on before the show.

It was better than the Meteor on Wednesday, since we had been in the city all day we hunted up the bathrooms on the lower floor and they were "squatties" the old Soviet norm- they flush but you crouch or squat over the porcelain hole - they are raised with places to put your feet - I can never decide if you are supposed to face the door or the handle on the wall.

When we toured Odessa I paid to use a squattie, which just seems wrong. McDonalds are one of the best places to use the bathroom for free, some of the malls have really shiny North American style ones (with toilet paper in the stalls) that you pay a grivna or two to use- one has a turnstyle- you buy a ticket from an automatic machine you put in to go in, most pay toilets have an attendant- they give you some toilet papers squares to use. You should always carry some tissues with you, because some places don't have any!

There were no frozen water bowls this morning, a combination of warmer weather (-5 but windy so it felt colder) and the straw wall being finished in the barn. They have a little more to do before we leave next week.

We went to Dnepro and visited two English classes, we talked about Thanksgiving (in honor of the American holiday) in the first class- here they are putting words in alphabetical order.

Then we got a little lost finding the second class, we had been there once about year and a half ago, but finally got there about a half hour late with a little help by phone to get Garry to where he knew how to find it. The roads can be really tricky because so many sections of the city are blocked by huge factories, it can be hard to get where you are going. The second class was all planned for us we had a great time with the students, playing games and eating cake.

Then we headed for the village and had a real surprise- we had driven around the bypass on the highway for the last time this morning,( see photo) because they were sending the traffic on those single lanes over the one finished overpass bridge! We got home at 6 pm and I made pizza for dinner, and we watched more of season three -Lois and Clark (it's not quite the same without the boys.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Driving to Dnepro and its cold outside!

Wednesday evening we went to Dnepro in the evening to watch Zaporosia's Ferro pro basketball team play against the the Dnepr team. Interesting that we first drove to Zaporosia; not because we didn't know where the game was, but to take Yana to the bus station to get a ride, her mother apparently passed us on the road, when we got there, she was almost back to the village on a marshuhka. Garry thought we were picking her up and dropping her off in the village on the way back toward Dnepropetroesk.

The game was played at the Meteor arena, there is way more seating for fans than in Zaporosia, as you can see in the picture; however I couldn't see the names on the back of the players. We know most of the Ferro players after watching three games in Zap, but I like to try sounding out the American players' names on the back of the jerseys, since they are written in Russian. The cheerleaders here had less outfit changes, but they had pompoms at the beginning of the game, and real cheerleader outfits. Too bad we weren't cheering for the home team, Ferro got down by 16 points, almost caught up in the second half but ended up losing by ten, I think. Garry says 20- maybe it was 15...

The Dnepro cheering fanatics were interesting, it was like we were at a Futball (soccer) match with the chanting, flag waving, drum beating, sirens, horns (the last two mostly when Ferro had the ball) and sparklers and flares they lit up at one point of the first half- one was thrown out onto the cement behind the playing floor. When Ferro was introduced before tip-off rolls of toilet paper flew out of the Dnepr fanatic section of the stands, landing on the court, so that game was delayed a few moments for clean-up.

When we drove home we were surprised to see a new flashing light up arrow at the constuction diversion on the highway. They are working on the new bridge even in the dark now, putting down pavement, so we were wondering if they had another accident at the site. We saw a truck that had overturned its second trailer going around one of the turns of the bypass, but we think that there have been worse accidents where cars missed the turn and went straight in the dark into the construction. Garry is thinking they are going to have one side operating soon, so traffic will go into one lane (hopefully) over the new overpass but continue straight on the highway.

Thursday morning the thermometer outside read -14, and there were a few frozen waterbowls in the barn, but nothing major was froze. Maxim did some more winterizing of the barn, welding new hinges for the haymow doors so they could be shut for the winter, and starting to build the straw bale wall on the cow side of the barn. Garry built more wooden pieces this fall to close off air flow into the heifer side of the barn- you can't build a bale wall on the inside of the barn there- the heifers would eat it. Last winter there was hay piled at one end, so there were bales on part of that wall. Friday morning the temperature was only -12 but more waterbowls froze up! Today they plan to finish the wall and put up film used silage plastic to seal it off. It worked well last winter.

Garry and I went to Dnepro late Thursday morning to do some shopping to prepare for our trip home - we fly out of Kiev next week Friday!!! first stopping to get some paint since Garry wants to finish painting his entryway (he doesn't believe it could be too cold) some stuff at Metro- we are stocking up on dog and cat food and kitty litter for when we are gone. Then Garry stopped by the dairy commission office to find out about soil testing, before we went bowling and walked through some of the markets to do some Christmas shopping, and bought sharma for lunch at a stand near the art market.

We walked through the new mall downtown, it opened about 6 weeks ago PASSAGE (pronounced pa-sa-oge) It's right across the square from Mc Donalds- in the summer they put up a two-level carousel between them. We rode the escalators up and down and
window shopped at the GAP and some other imported stores- there is Lacoste, Marks and Spencer even Claires and a Hello Kitty store. -

We had a snack in a cafe downstairs- Garry had coffee, but I had to try the DR Pepper, which I had never seen here before. It had a sticker with Russian on, so I think it may be a small shipment. Of course it was served with a straw and a lovely Coke glass, but was a little fizzy since it was warm and had no ice. Not unusual, since cold drinks are considered a source of sore throats here.

We needed to be at Tanya's class for 4:30, our last stop was the Central market, where we bought a couple Christmas presents before turning the heat up in the car for the drive over there to warm up - it was warmer than the morning, but around freezing, and we were walking around outside... we had a traffic backup at one corner- the road was a little icy there from a nearby watermain break and look wht happened..

Our last stop was at a school on the other side of the river where Garry played basketball for a short time, because he has a problem in his knee, and seems like something loose in there now causing a problem- not the knee that had ACL surgery- the other one. So he limped down the stairs, and we drove through Mc Donalds for cheeseburgers on the way back to the village. Strangely, the flashing light arrow had mowed to the other side of the construction zone, I guess that decided it was the more dangerous side, and they didn't get two!

Garry is walking with his leg straight most of the time now so it doesn't hurt, he doesn't like walking on stairs. We were back to Dnepro again Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, I'll share some pictures later; but when we drove back to the village there was a working flashing light at both ends of the construction zone- maybe they should have got those in April when they started!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

outside our door ...and happy birthday Jonah

Yesterday Garry and Max went over to the village mill, and took a few photos. Most of the activity this time of year is crushing sunflower seed for oil. Here is the flour mill (some of Garry's photos were too dark) He says most of the people were bringing in bags of sunflower seed to be crushed or picking up their sunflower oil. I think the mill gets a percentage of the oil for crushing. Most of the oil is put in 5 or 6 liter empty plastic water jugs and taken home for use in the village kitchens.

Here is the seed going through a second crushing machine, the one in this photo. The stuff falling out the bottom is called mukaka and is used as cattle feed, as a top dressing. Garry says that they get 40% oil from the first crushing and 5% when they crush the seeds again.

If you keep a close look out the window or look out the door of Garry's new entryway, you'll see all kinds of things coming in the driveway to the barn.

Today's weather forecast for Kiev on the internet gave us a laugh this morning- it said 0 C and smoke! I think that would work most days and most places in Ukraine- the last two days in the village I have had smoke creeping inside the house from burning leaves.

This morning Maxim took Yana, the young milker lady to the hospital to get checked out, she has an infection on her face. Her father has been here helping milk, while her mother has been at their home, so now Yana will go there, and her mother will come back to milk. They have been rotating so one is there to take care of their animals she bought, and two are here to milk the cows, since Luba left.

When Maxim got back, he just had time for a cup of coffee when he went outside to help Oxana's guys load up milk in the yellow van. Garry tells me that they have some pictures inside the van of our barn, the milk tank, and the cows in the stalls to show the customers where the milk comes from, to prove it is high quality. Maxim says every one knows that milk bought from babushkas (grandmas) a few liters here and few liters there is not so good, and now they have proof of their better milk.

After Max left, Garry walked down the street to bring home a heifer he bought while I made brown sugar biscuits for breakfast. It took him a little longer than he thought but the biscuits were still warm when he got into the house. He tells me that he is trying to buy heifers ready to breed.

If you are wondering about the chubby little heifer heading into the barn- like if she's old enough to get pregnant- she's 18 months old (most cows calve for the first time at 2 years and it takes nine months for a calf)- he says this black heifer is a Belarussian cow and is almost as big as her mother. Garry says we have two other ones in the barn already. Most of our cows are small compared to the ones at home in Canada, but these are even smaller.

Here are the two remaining baby ducks that were born this fall. Remember how they kept escaping and then went to live inside the summer kitchen with Yana? They are now in the barn. Yana shut the remaining big ones in the chicken coop. I think they might be happier (and warmer) all together.

While I was waiting for dinner to get done- it took longer to heat up frozen squash parmasan than I thought- Garry and Maxim played mini-table tennis on the coffee table- a horse and wagon came in the lane, followed by a second wagon pulled by two horses, a dappled gray and a white, they were here to by corn silage I think. Max says that the farmer has six horses and does all his work with them.

A few weeks ago I talked here about how Garry bought some old bricks from the neighbor who has been remodeling his house (for our entryway). Misha took down the walls facing us this spring, and they were rebuilt with thick light weight cinder block size brick that is supposed to be good insulation, and then covered that with new bricks. Here is the before and after- (I was looking through some photos from March and found one of their place- I think I was getting one of the tulips in front of our house)I bet Jonah and Seth wouldn't even guess its the same house, and they looked out the bedroom window (on the other side of our house) at it everyday for two years!

It's November 23rd, and Jonah was born on a Thursday afternoon sixteen years ago. I know he enjoying all his science classes back in Manitoba but I am really looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the family in one week plus one day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Circus and other fun

Sunday morning and Maxim was back just in time for us to go to church. He had his older brother and girlfriend here for the day, he dropped them off at the train station in Zaporosia before he went to church Sunday evening. Apparently the long-haired yellow kitten they found in Nikopol (there is a large city with almost the same name as our village) while getting the car fixed Friday morning also made it onto the train to Kiev. The motor mount broke while Max was driving home with his girlfriend and his brother Ruslan and his girlfriend (she`s in the photo by the calf hutches holding her new kitten) so they had to have repairs made- I heard something about hitting a big hole in the road. Maxim says now the whole car is like new.

We went to the early show of the circus- so we could take some photos and video for Seth and Jonah- when we go home on December 2nd we can show it to them- almost like they were here for their birthdays (not really, but I am pretending) Jonah will be sixteen on Wednesday, and I really miss him and Seth, I am really excited about flying home to see all the kids and our granddaughters, too.

This month`s circus featured one act we`d seen before, but a few new things- and elephant act and a real flying trapeze act (not the one in the photo- this is the opening circ`d soliel-like one) The circus had pretty full audience too. Garry walked around during intermission while they put up the net for the trapeze act, while I watched the seven or eight year old boy sitting at the end of the row eat his cotton candy by burrowing his face in it. I was almost laughing. Before the circus started kids were getting their picture taken on top of the elephant, or buying balloons or toys that light up in the dark, then the band played and the lights flashed around and the show began...

....first the flying act, and then the elephant made it`s first appearance - as a barber giving a shave to this guy- in this photo he`s getting a rinse to finish (he was chosen from the audience, but looked a lot like the guy putting the kids on top of the elephant for the photos.)

Monday we had the Kiroy Rog orphanage team in for soup for lunch, cake, and tea and they even got to check out the barn. The girls thought it smelled, Garry said (that was when he come in from feeding the cows this afternoon and I told him he smelled like cows- which is not a bad thing because I like the way cows smell!) They had visiting Canadians who are heading back home after a two week visit here I think. They are planning to come back on a part or full-time basis to work with the ministry there. Sorry- I forgot to take photos today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alone now....well, almost

Thursday night we drove past the circus and crossed the bridge over to the Left bank of Dnepropetroesk in the dark (again- we'd gone the same way coming home 24 hours before!) to visit Marina's discussion club, it's a follow-up to the Summer English Institute I taught at in the summer. Garry said afterwards how much he enjoyed talking in English with people for a change. We stopped by Victor's to pick up the empty milk jugs. Maxim had brought Victor's Thursday milk in earlier in the day.

Maxim got back at 5 pm, about the time we needed to take off for Marina and Jenya's apartment. He had gotten several things fixed on the car, two new tire rims, and the blower for the heat; on the way to Kramatorsk we'd have to crack the windows to defrost the windshield. It has been like that all summer, I think, but it is getting a little cold to have the windows open.

Maxim left at 6 am Friday morning with the car, he is taking his girlfriend Yulia to meet his family this weekend. He is supposed to be back Sunday morning so we can go to church. While we were gone this week, the red heifer finally calved, Maxim delivered a large, backwards bull calf alive. He's keeping this one, as he has decided he will need three for the big wedding dinner next September.

Max told Garry a story yesterday- a family in the village had a fire in their attic on Wednesday. Apparently they had hung clothes in the attic and they were too close to the electric wire that brings power into the house, and the clothing caught on fire. They carried buckets of water upstairs to throw on the fire, and everytime they threw one on the flames, they recieved a shock! Luckily they got the fire out, just have a blackened roof. I am sure it is an asbestos sheet roof, since most of the roofs in the village are made of this material.

So Garry is doing all the chores until Max gets back. This morning a man came to the door, and Garry thought he wanted his cow bred, but he didn't need the straw of semen he took, because it turned out he wanted Garry to preg check his cow that Garry had bred in July. The cow was pregnant, and Garry says the man has remaodeled his little barn, he is expanding from milking one cow to three now. He is one of the people buying corn silage from us.

Last week when we were shopping, I bought the wrong box of tissues, I should have spent the extra grivna for Kleenex brand, it turns out the lemons on the box means that they smell like lemon furniture polish. It is so strong that I have to remember not to inhale when blowing my nose, and there are 150 in the box.

Garry told the guy who banged on the locked door several (like seven) times at noon today that he couldn't buy brewers grain until 2 or 3 o'clock. It seems like the Monday- Wednesday- Friday afternoon sales have become whenever people show up lately, like in the spring. Can't get a nap!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Donestk- stadium tour

We had breakfast at the hotel Wednesday morning (good but not as wonderful as dinner the night before- they had an English menu at the restaurant at the Central Hotel- looks like this hotel, like most hotels downtown, are working on additional rooms for Euro 2012. There are big highrises going up behind several hotels, I hope they get them done by next May!) Then we took the car and drove around the city a bit, and found the stadium where five games will be played for Euro2012.

Anyway we drove into the parking lot and checked out the Donetsk Shakhtar Museum and signed up for a stadium tour at noon. There is beautifully maintained parkland with ducks in the water, and bushes and trees around the stadium, even in the winter!

The photo is of the CCCP cup, the team won three times starting in 1961. The Eurocoupe that they won more recently was also on display.

The tour was a great deal as there was just the two of us and the guide did it in English for us. The team has been around for 75 years, and won that first cup 50 years ago, and the name is a word for miners- originally the team was named after a famous miner in the region. The team used to play with a pile of tailings behind the pitch, and in the Soviet era the players were on the mine payroll.

Anyway, we got to sit at the interview desk that is used for the media times and also sit in the locker room for photos, we even got to go out the player tunnel onto the side of the field (can't step on the grass) with canned crowd noise, quite the tour. We even learned all about caring for the natural grass pitch- the things on the grass are lights to keep it growing well, and they have heat pipes like the shop at home in Canada.

It took longer to drive home than we expected, sadly the road to Donestk is not ready for Euro 2012 yet- they are working on making it four lanes, not sure if they will get it done for May either. You get to see lots of piles of tailings from coal mines, I think Garry counted 17 just about where I took this photo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where the GPS took us

We had a few problems using the GPS when we drove to Kramatorsk to visit Stacy. You remember Stacy, if you read the blog regularly; she stayed with us back in June for a few weeks. She returned to Ukraine a few weeks ago to teach English for the year in the city of Kramatorsk. We were here almost exactly a year ago, visiting Doreen, who was doing the same thing. Since we had driven here before you’d think it was easy, but we leave the bigger road after awhile and head through the countryside to get to the city, and sometimes it is hard to tell which way the main road is going driving through villages, when the power cord kept losing the connection and the GPS would try (or succeed in shutting down.) I really think the battery in the thing just can’t hold a charge.

We didn’t turn it on until we were through Dnepropetroesk- we went under the fancy sign entering the city at 7:07 am and drove out of Dnepro on the left bank of the river onto the highway an hour later. Garry had got Maxim to change the GPS back to English before we left – it was set for Russian. We have trouble getting the names in sometimes in Russian, since road signs are in Ukrainian, and they can be quite different. We have the same problem with the map book in the car. When we left the village Garry commented on the fact that it looked like a fine day for driving, however I wasn’t so sure when we got on the far side of Dnepro, and there was some snow on the ground.

Anyway, we decided that we could just follow the road and had turned it off (well Garry had tossed it in the back seat) when we followed what seemed like the main street in this town and ended up at a dead end. So I held the GPS, trying to get a good connection so it would have power, and Garry tried to follow the directions, for some reason I can’t explain he has it set to talk as a rather stern-voiced British lady. First she tried to send us over a closed railroad crossing, then she wanted us to turn and drive trough what appeared to be a field with a path cutting through it, two tire tracks to follow. Garry said he would have ignored her, but two cars turned in just ahead of us.

We wandered through a few twists and turns and came up to the railroad tracks again. There was a way under; as you can see in the photo we took. Yes, we did go through the tunnel, or drainage ditch, it’s a good thing we drive a Lada, because an SUV would have never fit, even the Lada seemed tight, but we had seen a classic Lada disappear through as we approached (Garry started in, and then backed out to take the picture!) Any way, we followed the tracks out to a large road – the town seemed bigger on the other side of the tracks and then we were back on the road to Kramatorsk.

Kramatorsk is in the hilly mining district of Ukraine, I got a nice picture of a mountain of tailings as we drove through a village, with a little snow on top.

We got to the city just before noon, and Garry once again proved he can find places we’ve been before, first finding the church and then the apartment (it’s the same one we stayed in with Doreen.) We brought Stacy some frozen veggies from our garden, and a dead duck (it could be the same cute duckling she was holding back in mid-June) since it was decided that we aren’t keeping all the ducks this winter, the ladies have been turning them into dinners (don’t worry, three different colored mamas will be laying eggs next spring if all goes as planned.) Stacy had lunch ready for us, and we hung out talking for a while before going on a walk to see some of the sights she has found so far while exploring the city, the WWII memorial, which has an eternal flame, the Lenin statue (he’s holding his hat in this one) and over to the park with a lovely Orthodox church, before heading back, with slightly cold cheeks. It was just above freezing, but there was a scattering of snow on the ground in some spots, Stacy said the ground was white when she woke up a few days ago.

Stacy had invited Pastor Yura and family for dinner, but he came alone, they had their first baby just six weeks ago. We had a good time, Stacy made a lovely meal, and the discussion was good too. Garry drove him back to his home, and afterwards we played Scrabble (I won for a change) I checked the email before bed, and discovered a little job in the messages, so I took care of that on Stacy’s computer, while she and Garry discussed politics (Garry had been reading a book she had on Boris Yeltsin.)

We had a nice breakfast with Stacy- delish lemon poppy seed cake- and then headed out to Donetsk, which is nearby. Not as nearby as the first try woth the GPS as sometimes typing names is English gets you to the wrong place too! Seems we chose Doneskey and headed in the wrong direction out of Kramatorsk- when we retraced our steps there were many signs going out the other direction for the city we wanted. It is one of the cities where the Euro 2012 soccer matches will be played.

We found a nice new mall after getting into the city, and went bowling and shopping before finding the Lenin - he's got his hat on here- and a hotel. The hotel's elevator only goes to the 7th floor and we are on 8 but otherwise its a great Ukrainian hotel!