Happy Defender of the Motherland Day

Where have I been? Working hard, long hours. There has been time for little else, though the Ukrainian and I did have a lot of fun the weekend of Valentine’s Day/President’s Day. It was the weekend of the one year anniverary of our engagement. So fun was mandatory. The best therapy. Maybe, one day, I will post pics.

Where has the Ukrainian been? Also working hard, long hours. We are both tired. Not too grumpy as we have re-discovered our love in this non-fun time when everyone is fearful of losing his/her job. But tired nevertheless.

The Ukrainian’s mother back in Zaporicchia (sp?) keeps asking us “Where is the baby? Where is the baby?” What can we say? We are so tired, so stressed about our jobs. So happy that we have our jobs. We want to keep them. We daydream of having a baby. We even have arguments about what we would call it if ever one was conceived. But, deep down, our superstitious selves know that we have a very smart baby up in the sky of dreams who knows that now, right now, is not really a good time as it seems we can barely take care of ourselves and the dogs. Adding a little one to the mix might make all the stress too much to bear.

But yes, today was Defender of the Motherland Day. Don’t think I didn’t know this. I have a friend in Moscow who’s Facebook status updates keeps me well-informed of the going-ons in the Ukrainian’s Motherland-Region. While the Ukrainian was hoping to get a day full of his every fantasy, I got him the only things a loving, very tired wife could get her most beloved man: a cake.

This cake was not just any cake, but a very special magic cake. See, the Ukrainian and I had shared a very special Princess Cake on Valentine’s Day from the Noe Valley Bakery. Despite the Princess’s cake girly-sounding name, it was quite indeed fit for a grown-up Malchuk (aka man) as the cake itself was soaked in Triple Sec liqueur and each layer was line with Raspberry jam and cream. The Ukrainian loved this cake and wanted nothing more in the world (besides every man’s fantasies of his wife) than another cake just like the Princess cake. But the Noe Valley Bakery insisted that suck a cake could only be made on Valentine’s Day — NOT on Defender of the Motherland Day.

I was disappointed. The Ukrainian is so good at getting me special cakes on all the holidays that are important to me. I wanted to do the same for him. I thought of a 2nd-best cake. A cake of hazelnut, strawberries, and cream. It would have to be special-ordered. The Noe Valley Bakery doesn’t normally carry such cakes on a day-to-day basis. But my lazy, overly busy self didn’t call and order the cake.

*Sigh. I wanted to put a Loser “L” on my forehead for such oversight. But instead, I went over this afternoon to the Noe Valley Bakery to see if perhaps they’d have any fruit tarts left. But they didn’t. The glass counter was all but empty except for…are you ready?….yes!…the Noe Valley Bakery glass counter had only 2 cakes left. And yes, both of them were hazelnut cake with Strawberries and cream. Just as I had imagined! It was like I imagined the cake into existence.

The Ukrainian was quite happy to eat his Defender’s Day cake when he got home. He said it reminded him of the cakes he used to eat back in Ukraine. Could you get any more appropriate cake than that for the Defender of the Motherland Day? There is no way he could’ve eaten a heart-shaped princess cake on Defender of the Motherland Day back in Ukraine.

I really am a good wife.

Even if I haven’t delivered a baby to my mother-in-law.

We are busy working, dreaming of babies, and dreaming cakes into existence.

Maybe, one day, we will dream a baby into existence. But not now.


Happy Old New Year: Update

We just realized that the Old New Year (Orthodox) isn’t until the 13th:  tuesday. It’s only the 11th. Our only redemption on this error is that it’s already the 12th in Ukraine, so we are off by only 1 day. But still…we really must chalk this entire holiday season up to being the one we got entirely wrong. Some holidays we all but missed altogether, others we tried but failed, and some we didn’t want to celebrate, but went out into the world anyway with a smile on our face. And this one, we celebrated too early and too little.

We tried for the cake. We went to the Noe Valley Bakery where we get almost all our cake. But since we had not specially ordered one, we had to get a pre-made one off the shelf. Unfortunately, when we brought it home and sliced it, it had the distictive texture of a cake that had been sitting out on the shelf a day too long. It’s edible, but not tasty and moist. It’s a bit dry. I think I’ll be consuming more of the buttercream frosting than the cake itself.

We also tried to rent Irony of Fate (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) at Lost Weekend Video on Valencia St. But sadness again. The video store does not carry the movie. We considered watching Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Москва слезам не верит) again, but opted not to. We chose to return home and procrastinate do our respective work and chores.

Once the 13th comes and goes, I think we can officially count the 2008-2009 holiday season as over. It will haven been our first holiday season together as a married couple. Short of somebody dying (though everybody does die eventually) or the economy faltering so much we find ourselves standing in a soup line for our holiday meals, we can only improve in our celebrations and establishing our own traditions. Next year, I think my inner control freak should be sufficiently rested to get out a calendar and make a battle plan to tackle all the days that fall between Thanksgiving and the Old New Year.


I wish I could capture the day that was San Francisco today. It was so beautiful. So warm. The way the light bounced of the pastel-wooden walls of the houses. The very softness of the air. The pinks and oranges overlaying the blues at sunset. A hot pink jetstream cutting across though very pinks and oranges. The hippies sitting outside their houses on the stoop watching the sky change its colors. The single star glistening surrounded by sea blue sky. The mission hipsters riding their bikes acoss and down Valence. The Cubans outside Radio Habana with the salsa playing. The Ukrainian and I kissing each other at each crosswalk, so rich the air was with love and romance. The sadness I felt, thinking that I must be on holiday and tonight is the end of it all. The world is so beautiful. I keep thinking I will wake up and be surrounded by cold and barrenness and a pale gray sky that gives life to nothing. But tomorrow’s forecast only call for more beauty. 

I once fell in love with a Bulgarian. He introduced me to San Francisco and all the beauty and misery it has to offer. I thought that it was him that had opened my heart after it had been so hardened by New York. But then I went away. I moved to Northern Europe where there was only rain. So little light. (But the grass was greener than any I’d ever seen.) When I returned to San Francisco, I had a moment when I was riding on the back of a motorcycle, returning from a date in Half Moon Bay with an Irishman. We flew over the hills of Dolores St. We were coming back at sunset, heading north, the palm trees dividing the the street in front of us and the city below. It was then that I realized that maybe I did not love the Bulgarian as much as I had thought. But I loved the city. San Francisco. So beautiful that you can not help but love everything contained within her limits.

San Francisco, your beauty hurts me sometimes. You are so beautiful you hurt the eyes in front of my heart. Only such beauty could bring me back for more.

Happy Orthodox (Old) New Year!!!

Happy Old New Year! We are off to get cake. And try to get ahold of the movie “The Irony of Fate”. No presents though. But we have spent the afternoon lounging in the sun and trying to narrow down all our fabulous wedding photos into 100 favorites for an album. It’s 70 degrees (F) and sunny here in San Francisco. We are happy.