29 April 2009

wheels, wheels, wheels

Nathan is obsessed with wheels!

He points them out wherever he sees them, which is everywhere: cars, trucks, airplanes, the subway, buses, shopping carts, his stroller, his toys, the sliding shower doors in our bathroom, kitchen and desk drawers, the track of our vertical window blinds, even the scotch tape dispenser. And if some other object moves or has moving parts, but he can't see any wheels, he predicts that it might have wheels anyway, like the elevator in our building, the washing machine, some construction cranes we can see from our balcony, the toilet, cabinets, gates, and so on. In fact, throughout the course of a typical day, Nathan probably says "WHEE-TEE!" more than any other word.

When I came home from work this afternoon, Nathan was still taking his nap. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, I heard him talking in his room, so I went to check on him. I slowly opened the door and peeked in. He was wide awake, lying in his stroller (where he usually naps), pretending to drive -- doing the hand motions of turning a steering wheel -- and repeating softly to himself, "Wheetee, wheetee, cah (car) wheetee, tucka (truck) wheetee, toh (stroller) wheetee, tee whee (steering wheel)..."

25 April 2009

Observing Genocide Memorial Day

From The Stone Garden Guide to Armenia and Karabagh:

Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, April 24
This is the most somber of national holidays. Tens of thousands make pilgrimages to the Genocide memorial, Tsitsernakaberd (Fortress of the Swallows), where they lay flowers at the eternal flame. Armenians here and around the world mourn the 1915-1923 slaughter of 1.5 million of their countrymen, and the destruction of their 3,000 year-old homeland. Shops and offices are closed, and many Armenians attend solemn church services.

Jarred and I had the day off work on Friday in observance of Genocide Memorial Day. We originally wanted to take the day to visit a museum, but since museums were closed, we decided to go to Tsitsernakaberd along with everyone else to witness this important cultural event and pay our respects to the memories of the genocide victims. Marina (being Georgian, not Armenian) didn't mind working a half day so we wouldn't have to drag Nathan along with us.

At the bottom of the hill leading up to the memorial, people were gathering and starting to ascend, all carrying fresh flowers they had purchased beforehand. These men bear huge, elaborate flower wreaths (called tsagh-kep-sak), which are commonly displayed in honor of the deceased.

We begin the long march...

Finally, we reached the top of the hill. (The picture is slanted because I had to hold the camera high above my head to get the shot.)

Within the "fortress," where thousands had already placed their flowers around the eternal flame.

A pair of doves watches over the crowd.

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07 April 2009

shopping/new videos

A couple weekends ago, we went to Next to buy Nathan some new clothes and shoes, and Jarred bought a couple shirts for himself, as well. Nathan spent a few minutes coloring at the little table in the kids' department, then he made friends with all the mannequins.

We also stopped into Mothercare to pick up some more baby-proofing supplies. Let me tell you, installing 12 sets of drawer & cabinet locks is no picnic...nor is listening to Nathan's screams of frustration when he wakes up from his nap one day to the awful realization that he no longer has the power to get into the light bulbs-tools-and-batteries drawer, toss all the food storage containers neatly stacked in the cupboard onto the floor, or unroll the entire roll of garbage bags in the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

I've put up several new videos on Our Life in Motion. Most are of Nathan and were taken in March-April, but here's one that Jarred took last week that captures the beautiful, haunting melodies of the Armenian duduk -- an ancient, oboe-like instrument made from the wood of an apricot tree. This performer plays at Garni Temple to take advantage of the acoustics within the temple and, of course, the ambience that one can only experience in such a historic setting.