Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Theme Song Thursday: oh, you...

Oh, you beautiful dolls,
You tiny beautiful dolls,
Let me bring you home from Russia,
I could never live withoutsha...

Oh, you beautiful dolls,
You tiny beautiful dolls,
I want to hug you but I fear you'd break,
If I did that how my heart would ache.
Oh, no, oh, no,
Oh, you beautiful dolls.

Featuring the matryoshka dolls Dick bought for me at the gift shop onboard the MV Viking Surkov during our two-week cruise from St. Petersburg through the Russian waterways to Moscow with Viking River Cruises.

And while we're on the subject of dolls Dick bought in Russia, he also bought for himself, from a street vendor, this set representing Team Canada, the gold medal winners of the 2010 Olympic Men's Hockey series in Vancouver. (Since there are five of them, and the little one is the goalie, I guess someone must be in the penalty box.)

© Photos by Kay Davies, at home, August 2011
Posted for Hootin' Anni's musical meme
Thursday Theme Song
To listen to what other musical bloggers have liked this week,
please click HERE!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watery Wednesday: St. Petersburg, Russia

Above and below, from the aft deck.

Above and below, through the open window of our cabin.
© Photos by Kay Davies

Taken from the Viking Surkov, docked on the River Neva,
 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, August, 2011

Posted for Watery Wednesday, the meme
where we are invited to get our eyes wet.

To see what sights wetted the eyes of other bloggers, please click

G is for Gold, especially Golden Domes


© Photos by Kay Davies and Richard Schear    


Posted for ABC Wednesday, Mrs. Nesbitt's
alphabetical meme, with help from her talented team.

To see how the letter G inspired other bloggers, please click

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mellow yellow dugouts, log buildings

A Scandinavian influence (right) can readily be seen in these boats I visited in Russia, near Kuzino, where the Viking Surkov docked so my husband and other passengers could tour the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery nearby.
Below, bottom right corner of first large photo, the world's oldest boat type, a Finno-Ugric one-tree log boat, known as a dugout canoe in English, a dolbljonka in Russian and haabjas in Estonian.

Boat-oriented hunter-fisher-gatherers traveled Europe's water regions as long ago as 10,000 BC.

While the largest logs were used for dugout canoes, Finno-Ugric houses and fortifications (see above) were made of logs, a technology Europeans took with them to North America after the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
The exact origin of log homes and their construction is unknown. They may have first been built more than 5,000 years ago during the Bronze Age in northern Europe.

Here, the Viking Surkov is seen next to the display of plain dugout canoes and decorated outrigger canoes (wheels were added in modern times to aid in moving the display).

and the first week of the new meme
Our World Tuesday
hosted by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy
in memory of Klaus, the originator of My World Tuesday.
Posted after our two-week holiday in Russia with Viking River Cruises.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Magpie Tales: red umbrella

Prompt photo provided by Magpie Tales
Barbershop, 1958

The barbershop quartet had just finished the evening’s practice with their signature song, “Singing in the Rain,” and Ernie was heading home, carrying his lunchbox and holding his umbrella, when he heard the song again.
The song was the same, the timing and phrasing were the same, but the voices weren’t those of his quartet, which had been together for years, and had been singing this song ever since he and his wife had seen the movie with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.
Ernie looked around, stopped, removed the umbrella from over his head, and listened carefully. The sound seemed to be coming from the nearby lane.
As he approached it, he noticed five bicycles lined up along the street, as if their owners had all arrived together.
He looked down the lane and there, to his surprise, he saw five young men he had always considered layabouts and good-for-nothings — not ruffians, not criminals, but just the kind of youth he wouldn’t particularly want his daughter to bring home, if he had a daughter.
Four of them were were standing up straight, arms at their sides, one foot slightly in front of the other, shoulders back, while the fifth young man seemed to be directing them, suddenly saying, “No, no, no, stop. Now try it again. Griff, you try to remember how Mr. Ernie does it, you have to get it right.”
Ernie smiled, stepped back into the shadows so they wouldn’t see him, and listened. He heard them sing the song three more times before he realized he’d better get home. His wife would be worried, and she’d be alone, now that their twin sons had left for university.
As he turned, he heard the voice he assumed was Griff.
“Anybody would think we’re trying out for the stage, not entertaining at the youth center’s Christmas party, the way you push us, Max.”
“I have to push you,” he heard the young conductor reply. “One of these days, I want Mr. Ernie to listen to us and I want him to like what he hears.”

Posted for Magpie Tales
hosted each week by Willow, who provided the photo to get us to start writing. Thanks, I really enjoy this meme but I've been away. It's good to be back.

To see how the photo inspired other writer-bloggers, please click HERE!

Succinctly yours: sagacious

Photo prompt, Grandma's Goulash
Posted for
hosted by
Grandma's Goulash

Each week, Grandma herself posts a photo and asks us to use it to inspire a short piece of writing of 140 words, or a very, very short piece of writing of 140 characters including spaces and punctuation.
She also includes the word of the week, chosen by someone who hasn't seen the photo, thus making it very, very interesting! This week's word is "sagacious".

Madge finally took her doctor's sagacious advice, and led Mom off to a care facility across the bay. Mom thought they were going on holiday.

140 characters

To see how the photo inspired other writer-bloggers, with or without the word of the week, please click

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Writers' Retreat, my poem

I've never tried this meme before, but Grandma's Goulash and the
Weekend Writers' Retreat  seem to have been going for 34 weeks without me.
Surprise, surprise.
They will probably have to continue without me, too, because this is the only original poem I carry around in my head. I wrote it so long ago I don't remember when, and it has been submitted to more damn poetry contests than I ever knew existed until I sent in my poem.
It never won anything.
Still, I like it. Maybe someone out there in the blogosphere might like it, too, even just a little bit.

Resubmitted Sept. 7 to
"Imaginary Garden with Real Toads"
in answer to the question: Can a poem be like an Impressionist painting?

It is called  Rock Poem...

poets speak
of birds
and trees
and flowers
when Spring comes.
not I —
I love
a rock,

new warmed
by mountain sun,
that in
the night
becomes a
lonely, lost
and windswept cliff,
and then,
at dawn,
the place
where young
Tomorrow is born.
                      — Kay L. Davies © 2011

Pet Pride: Lindy with wildflowers

What do you think, Bozo? Do these flowers make my butt look fat?
© Photo by Richard Schear

Posted for Pet Pride hosted by
Lindy's friend Bozo and his family in Mumbai.

To see other pets as their owners pictured them, please click

Excuse me for not commenting

My husband and I are having trouble with our internet connections this week, and although I am reading your blogs and typing comments, the comments are not being sent to you. Sometimes I can't open your blogs. Sometimes I can't open my own.
However, I did receive a comment asking if I could show the ship on which we traveled in Russia. We have a few partial photos (see bottom one, here), and I went to the Viking River Cruises website to find more pictures.
Meanwhile, Dick tried to phone our internet provider. His phone records the number of minutes he's on it, so he put it on speaker, and at 180 minutes (yes, three hours) their tape must have finally run out because a phone-company recording came on saying, "The number you have called is not available."
So, if this post appears on my blog, but my comments don't appear on your blog, you will know I am trying, and our internet provider is very trying (old joke, couldn't resist).

Viking Surkov leaving Kizhi
(Photos from
Viking Surkov (Alexey Surkov) at night

Sky Lounge
Dining room. Viking River Cruises photos
above, left, and below.

A typical cabin (we enjoyed an opening window in ours).

Passengers' library

Kay Davies photo, August 16, 2011
Near Kuzino on the Volga-Baltic Waterway 

Shadows in a Russian museum

© Richard Schear photos

Seldom frequented by tour guides and their foreign hordes, the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow was chosen by my husband as one destination during his solo trip around the city via its most excellent Metro system. Knowing Dick's sense of direction to be fuzzy at best, I decided to stay behind on the Viking Surkov. Dick did find the places he was seeking, however, and was only lost for a total of two hours. After my day of rest and only a little bit of wifely worry, I was able to enjoy the photos he took. At home, with the photos on my computer, I searched them for shadows, finding several interesting and fun ones.

Posted for  Shadow Shot Sunday hosted weekly
by Tracy and her Hey Harriet! blog. Thanks, Tracy!

To see other shadows from around the world, please click HERE!

Camera Critters: Russian bee

Russian bees, like Russian people, are similar to their North American counterparts in most respects. This bee just wants to hang out on a flower and not be bothered, although some tourists do attempt a digital capture, as my husband did during our two-week tour with Viking River Cruises.

© Richard Schear photo
Posted for Camera Critters, hosted
every week by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

To see what other critters were captured by cameras around the world,
please click HERE!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Russian reflections

Boathouses, old and new, big and small.

From St. Petersburg, the Viking Surkov cruised along Russia’s intricate waterways. We sailed first on the Neva River, then across Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake. Then we cruised the Svir River to Mandrogy (left and below), a model Russian community built on the foundations of the original town, which was destroyed in World War II. After passengers visited Mandrogy, we continued along the Svir’s 139-mile “Blue Route” toward Lake Onega, Europe's second largest lake.

© Photos by Richard Schear and Kay Davies

Posted for Weekend Reflections, hosted by James.

To see other reflections caught by other cameras, please click

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Blurb Friday: The Dacha

(Lynn Obermoeller photo for Book Blurb Friday)

The family dacha suffered from neglect after the dissolution of the USSR. The transition to democracy hadn't meant a financial boon to Martina’s family.

Her father was old, his teacher’s pension reduced to a trifle but, eventually, he was offered a job as a guide working with a slowly-increasing number of foreign tourists visiting the new Russia.

Gradually, the numbers grew, until it became obvious the rest of the world considered Russia a tourist destination, starting with European visitors and expanding to include North Americans and even Australians.

Martina, when a teenager, found she could dream not only of university, but also of family vacations at the lakeside dacha again.

Little did Martina realize the dacha on Lake Ladoga would mean more to her future than would her teaching degree.

Author Belle Rutledge offers fascination, adventure, excitement, and the promise of love in her new novel, The Dacha.

150 words
Posted for Book Blurb Friday, hosted by
Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff.
I’ve been away from BBF for a while, vacationing in Russia, actually. It’s nice to be back, though. I’m here to look at this photo, let it help me imagine a book by a non-existent writer, and create a back-cover blurb for that book in 150 words or less: a blurb to make readers want to buy the book.
To see how the photo by Lynn Obermoeller inspired other writer-bloggers,
please click HERE!
Brightly-colored houses along Russian waterways.           Richard Schear photos.