Jordans in Siberia (and Michigan)

Keeping up with daily life of the Jordans


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Extremes

While preparing a session for English conversation and culture club at a local university, I learned about an extreme sport known as “extreme ironing.” To become an athlete (?) of this sport you simply take your iron and ironing board and go somewhere unusual and iron. I even found a video of someone ironing underwater. (Does that count as ironing?)

Eric liked the idea of trying extreme ironing. Last week we had some extreme cold. It was -42 degrees Celsius. I’m not sure about what that is in Fahrenheit, but at -40 both scales are the same. When it is that cold, everyone coughs on their first breath of air after they walk outside. Your nose runs, but you can’t feel it. When you sniffle, everything freezes. The fur on your hood gets frosted from your breath, but your eyelashes probably won’t freeze shut unless you stand still and exhale with your eyes closed.

Just after sunrise–about 9:30–Eric stepped out on to our balcony. He wore a T-shirt, pants and rubber sandals on bare feet. While Darin filmed, Eric became the first extreme ironer to brave -40 degrees. Here is the result:

(OOPS–not possible to insert video without technical help which is currently unavailable.  Please check back b/c the video will be posted as soon as….well, hopefully by the beginning of next week!)

 

Ryan found his own way to stay cozy on a cold day.  This is their toy storage unit.

Ryan found his own way to stay cozy on a cold day. This is their toy storage unit.

 

Ryan? Are you in there?

Ryan? Are you in there?

 

"Hey, Mommy, let me go back in.  I have a flashlight and it is fun."

“Hey, Mommy, let me go back in. I have a flashlight and it is fun.”

 

Our van is not extremely fond of the extreme cold.  Here Alan is going to go start the van at -40.  He has the battery in his hand--a great way to be sure he won't need a jump.

Our van is not extremely fond of the extreme cold. Here Alan is going to go start the van at -40. He has the battery in his hand–he brought it inside overnight to keep it warm.

 

 

 

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Family Moments

This afternoon (January 15) I wrote these paragraphs for “another glimpse”.  But then it seemed too personal for a glimpse, so I decided to put it here.

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I have always loved sledding.  As a child, it was often a family activity.  The most unusual rides were always mine.  Whether sliding down a snowfield in the Rockies or joining a sledding party at the old gravel pit, I was the one who ended up zipping down the slope backwards, shrieking at the top of my lungs, while my family stood watching, knowing I was perfectly safe and laughing till they had to sit down.

This last Sunday afternoon I had a new sledding experience.  Knowing that the boys needed to use energy, I told them we were going for a family walk.  At 4pm we set out.  The sun was already dipping toward the horizon but the sky was blue and the temperature had risen to -25 C (-13 F).

We had to place our feet carefully to avoid slipping on the well-trodden snow outside.  Every step crunched or squeaked underfoot.  Eager to return home to a promised family movie evening, the boys had decided not even to bring sleds.  We walked about 10 or 15 minutes to some sand hills on the edge of Ulan-Ude.  Instantly, Ryan forgot about going back home in the joy of propelling himself off the hillside and falling down into the snow and sand.  Alan had pulled a runner sled along and he began enjoying the well packed car trail.  While Eric played with Ryan, I followed Darin up to the highest hill.  Then with a skip in his step, Darin led the way down the snowy slope, kicking up sand as he slid along.

I didn’t want to go tumbling down the hillside behind Darin, so I sat down and began to scootch along.  The sliding wasn’t too bad, but my knee-length down coat was not very slippery.  I let the coat bunch up and tried moving along on the seat of my wind proof pants.  That was much faster.  Very much faster.  Somewhere toward the bottom of the hill, I felt something very hard in the middle of my trail.  Getting to my feet and looking back, I saw pieces of broken beer bottle that I had uncovered.  Reaching under my coat to brush off any extra snow, I discovered that I had shredded the seat of my pants….and my sweat pants under them…and my long underwear…

We headed home.  A small breeze stung our faces as we walked and I felt the bite in the updraft under my coat as well.  Thus the family tradition of my laughable sledding experiences is now shared not only by my parents and sisters, but Alan and our boys as well.

That evening I mended the rents in my several layers of clothing.  The wind proof pants are neatly folded and waiting for me to go visit my friend who is a professional seamstress.  I want that mending job to look good–or maybe even invisible.  I am glad to go spend some time with my friend and encourage her, too.  Maybe I can even share some laughter with her when she asks how I managed to tear my pants like that.
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This T-shirt was given to Eric for his thirteenth birthday last fall.  His best Russian friend wrote this poem for him.

This T-shirt was given to Eric for his thirteenth birthday last fall. His best Russian friend wrote this poem for him.

Here’s a closer look at the poem if you want to try to read it!

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