Archive for category Arizona

First days of Tucson

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Our first weeks in Tucson seemed like never-ending shopping trips. We were trying to furnish our house and we quickly signed ourselves up for some DIY projects like building a bed and shortening the legs of our counter-height table, which meant we were buying power tools in addition to furniture, dishes, groceries, and other miscellany.

It was hot. Like unbelievably hot. I walked out of my sister’s house in Mesa one day when it was 117 degrees and I felt like I had just opened the oven door. A hot wind in my face. It was so nice to have a place to stay when we got here though. A sister with a guest room and a swimming pool was just the best thing we could have asked for. But we had also booked our townhouse just a week or two before we arrived. That was a little terrifying since I had never seen the place before, but the whole move became easier because we had an address: getting drivers licenses, car insurance, voter registration; changing our address with all the various organizations that need to know where we are.  Everything turned out to be a breeze.

Furnishing the house was a little harder than we expected, though. This was the third (or fourth?) time we’ve moved to a new place without any furniture and we’re usually pretty good at snagging things for free or cheap. In the past, we’ve been able to find things that look pretty nice, but not so nice that we’ll miss them when we leave them behind (ok not entirely true. I truly loved a lot of the furnishings we left in Boston).  But even in the birthplace of Freecycle, the free market is pretty sparse here. And if you want used stuff for sale–even lousy looking used stuff–its selling for much more than I’m used to paying.

One of the first things we bought was a piano. The unfortunate seller said he would deliver it himself for an extra $35 dollars. I thought he was crazy, and I think he did regret it afterward, but a deal is a deal! The funniest part was when he finally got it in the door and realized he forgot the bench. Oy.

But all this running around and shopping in the city called for a few excursions. I’m not sure where this hike was, exactly, but a couple of the pictures are from the parking lot at Sabino Canyon.

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Happy Halloween


Milkman, milkmaid, cow


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Adelia’s Blessing and an Update


After a long summer’s rest from the blog, I think I’m finally ready to start at it again. We’re pretty settled in our Tucson house–just a few remaining things to do here before we can truly be unpacked. There’s still one box left, full of pictures to put on our walls. Our couch needs two new cushions, but I’ve already bought foam, so that should be done soon enough. We’re getting into the swing of things, although I think M can tolerate this climate better than I can. We’ve already been up Mount Lemmon three times to escape the summer heat. He’s biking to school every day and enjoying the UofA outdoor swimming pool.

Anyway, there’s more of all of that to come! We should be back to our regularly scheduled blog posts shortly, including more never-before-seen pictures from our trip to England. So far we’ve only shared the ones from M’s phone.  But before I get carried away with all that, I just wanted to share these pictures from my niece’s blessing last week so the family can see them.

One more thing. We’re thinking it’s about time to start a new blog with a new name because this one is a reference to our living in Boston which ended two years ago. It also contains a grammatical error, not that you know, because it’s in Russian and it’s a joke that doesn’t even make sense. But the thing is, it’s actually been really hard for us to come up with a name. I know it would be easy to just use our first names, because that’s what everyone else does, but I’ve just had some unsavory experiences in the past with my name out in the open on the internet. Which is why we use initials here instead of our names.  It also seems pointless to use something based on our geographic location because we’re not very good at being permanent anywhere. And everything else we’ve come up with either sounds hokey, or it sounds like we’re trying too hard. Who am I kidding? We are trying too hard.

In short, if you have any good suggestions, let us know!

Ok here are the pictures. Happy birthday, Adelia!

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Things have been pretty quiet on the blog, so I guess it’s time for a little life update. Here are the top 10 things keeping us busy lately.

1. House hunting

We’ve flip-flopped a couple times on whether to buy or rent when we move to Tucson this August. Currently the consensus is to rent, at least for now. We have way too many other decisions to make and major purchases going on in the next 2 months. Mortgage shopping was stressing us out. We’re also back-and-forth on the idea of booking something sight-unseen or getting a vacation rental for the first little while. Always scouring the housing market though.

2. Painting

We have a friend who owns a painting business. He hired M on for the summer to earn some extra cash and get his mind off the books for a few weeks. So far, it’s been perfect summer job.

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3. Sleep training

Blame it on our studio apartment, if you want. Blame it on the floor-to-ceiling windows and 16 hours of daylight that Calgary gets in May. Blame it on the difficult breastfeeding journey that we started out with. Blame it on inconsistently co-sleeping. Blame it on faulty parenting if you want to, but the fact is, this baby is a bad sleeper. I know lots of people will tell you it’s perfectly normal for a baby to continue waking at night up to a year or even 1.5 years old. But how many times? Waking once at night I can see as normal. Even twice isn’t bad. But this baby is still waking 5+ times every night. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’m perpetually exhausted. So we’re working with a sleep consultant who offered her services for free for the sake of research, which is nice, but 2 months in, and E has gone from 90 minute spans at night, to now, taking at least one 3-4 hour stretch. It’s not much, but technically, yes, that’s an improvement.

4. Test Driving

Yet another plan that keeps shifting is the car we’re going to buy in our near future. We’re pretty well set on the Honda Fit, but we keep teetering on whether to buy it in Canada and import it, or just buy it when we get to AZ. Right now we’re planning on importing. We’re just waiting for a good deal on one in Calgary.


5. Packing

I’ve already sent two loads of boxes to the US with relatives passing through. My mom is visiting this week, so she’ll take another load. I’m always looking around to see what else I can live without for the rest of the summer.

6. Shopping

My feet are causing me so much grief lately. I finally went to a podiatrist and actually asked about surgery. The visit was mostly useless, but she did recommend a few steps to try before surgery. That’s good news. But I spent the afternoon at specialty shoe stores and even they were hard pressed to find something for my difficult feet. I’ve decided to give up on cheap shoes for good though.  I’m actually thinking about ordering some custom-made shoes. If anyone out there has experience with this, do tell!

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7. Making

Little baby shoes with vinyl scraps leftover from my bookbinding days.

Easter eggs with natural dyes: turmeric, onion, hibiscus, beet + crayon and sharpie + lovely house guests.

Final changes and proofreading M’s thesis. The defense is set for June 16.

8. Running

M almost convinced me to run another half marathon in June, but I think I’m settling for the 10K. He’s still planning on doing the half. If M pushes the stroller, we can usually go almost the same pace on our long runs. He’s still faster than me. It seems to be working out pretty well though.

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9. Learning

Little E has been cruising almost as soon as she was crawling at 9 months. But recently she has added to her bag of tricks. Now she can gracefully get down from standing up with support, she can bend down and pick up a toy while holding a support, and she loves to clap her hands and point her fingers.

10. Planning

We’re spending 12 days in England this summer! We’ve been reading up on the UK and getting some new passports for the Canadians in the family. We have 7 days in London, where M will be presenting his research and 5 in some location, yet to be determined. We’ve narrowed it down to a few options, but if you have a recommendation, lmk.









We have mixed feelings about moving to Arizona, you know. On one hand we’re excited to be close to some family and friends there. We’re excited about pleasant weather for so much of the year.  We’re excited to escape head wounds from slipping on the ice. We’re excited to escape days like we’ve had the past 2 weeks, where it’s so cold you don’t go outside with a baby for fear of frostbite.

But on the other hand, there are days in Tucson where it’s so hot you don’t go outside for fear of heatstroke.

You win some, you lose some.

But at least we’re not moving to Edmonton!

M has been doing some research with a professor at the University of Alberta, and he had to drive up to visit for the beginning of an experiment. We decided to make a family trip out of the occasion. It was very cold. To be fair, it was really about the same temperature as Calgary that day, but Edmonton certainly wasn’t trying hard to win me over.

E and I spent the majority of the day at the West Edmonton Mall while M was at the University (the other UofA). I’m not really into mall-walking (although I have learned it is a favorite pass-time of Canadian mums in the winter time) but I couldn’t just live this close to the largest mall in North America without paying a visit. We mostly looked at the attractions and bought some chips and salsa at the Asian grocery store inside. Yes, really. E liked the roller coasters best, though the skating rink was a big hit as well.

We stayed with some dear friends of ours–another Canadian-American couple that used to live in Calgary.   It was lovely to see them and E made a new friend who is 1 pound heavier than her, but only half her age! They call him “Big Ben.”

And seriously, we’ll probably be pining for those occasional -40 (-40F) day when it’s +40 (104F) in Tucson.