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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

It doesn't feel much like a Christmas when it is 24th of December, -2C/35F outside of the window, welcoming sun and no snow... Does it?

So we are trying to take it easy these holidays: no big parties, not much alcohol, and hopefully not much food... But we will see how it goes.

In plans for today is to cook Ukrainian traditional Christmas Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

Ukrainian Christmas Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

Let's see who gets lucky pepper dumpling this year :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jawbone UP: First Impressions

After 2 weeks of using Jawbone UP this is my attempt to put first impressions about it together: generally it is interesting gadget however it seems still have a long way to go to be worth the price they sell it for.


There are some inconveniences in operating it using just one button, two feedback icons and two colors. Figuring out when it is fully charged was a bit of challenge for me as well, but I must say it did hold for almost 10 days (as specification promised) before I needed to charge it up.

I should have done a better job when decided on the size, even thou after measurements it looked like "medium" now I see that "large" would be much better fit: sometimes I feel like I need to move it up the hand because it doesn't feel comfortable on the wrist (especially when I work on my laptop).

Another inconvenience I've noticed is related to working out when my arms are stationary: walking on treadmill with hands on rails, working out abs, etc. If hand with Jawbone UP doesn't move - it will not track a step. And there is no way add such workout to the stats. At the moment I just put UP on my ankle (remember - medium?) while walking/running on treadmill, however this seems more like a hack than a proper solution.

At the moment Iphone app seems like is very limited version, it doesn't let me do much, but if they work on it some more it can be very useful. Amount of stats is very limited and doesn't allow any kind of customization; tracking of eating exists more for me to remember what I ate and when, I wasn't able to figure out any other use of it.


It does track main activities, even thou amount of steps it track for me per day seems a bit too high than I would expect; but I don't have any other numbers to compare it to.

Finding good challenge from the list of available Jawbone UP Challenges seems keep me motivated (at least for now); the key here is to find suitable challenge (or create it yourself).

Tracking of my sleep behavior is entertaining activity by itself, I am still playing with it; on a side note: I wasn't able to enjoy the wake up call feature, I seems always wake up by myself before it fires.


I will continue using Jawbone UP for now (at least until I am not borred by it just yet); after all it helps me to track some things I do during my day and may help me to stay motivated and be more active.

And I really hope that Jawbone UP team will do some magic soon to make the UP app more functional or come up with a way to synchronize my data to more user-oriented website interface, which isn't possible at the moment.

UPDATE: amazingly my UP started malfunction right after I answered Jawbone survey about it; happily for me they announced refund possibility, will see how it works.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tracking Activity: Jawbone Up

Winter is approaching, and with it a need to wear warm cloth from last year. Yep, lots of it doesn't fit any more :(

Since I gave up EA Active 2 after endless efforts of replacing malfunctioning monitors I didn't do much of sport.

While I am still thinking on how to jump on getting more fit, I decided it may be interesting to monitor my daily activity.

That is when I saw some info about Jawbone Up and thought it might be interesting to get one a try.

It suppose to track daily activity, workouts, sleeping, and has an iPhone app to record and visualize all of that; additionally it will warn about long time with no activity and has a feature to wake up naturally.

So, I got it yesterday (if fact I wore it during last night sleep already, so have a interesting graph of it :)) ) and will see how active it thinks I am.

Maybe it will get me more motivated to look for better replacements for EA Active 2.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vegas Vacation: Couple of Photos

Since I still don't have any photos from NC vacation to share, I thought I at least share some from a trip to Vegas a month ago.

We managed to see Vegas, see Cirque du Soleil's Mystere, visit Secret Garden at the Mirage and Shark Reef at Mandalay, spend a day at Grand Canyon, play on slots and don't lose any money! All in 5 days including flying.

Here is a pic of Crand Canyon I liked the most, click it to see a bit more on Yuriy's site:
Grand Canyon: First Impressions

And I though some squirrels deserve an extra spot light (click the pic to see more of these):

Grand Canyon: Animals

I do have access to pics from Grand Canyon only for now, however I am told there are much more. Will I see them or not - that is a separate question. Stay tunned.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New California Wildlife: Birds

So, while there is a slight delay with pics (and stories) from recent vacation, I thought I can entertain you with few words about New California's wild birds we were able to lure to our back yard with fancy looking looking bird feeder and not less fancy bird food from Wild Birds Unlimited (I think this store won't be able to get rid off me as a customer for life).

These gold little dudes and their female versions (who look less gold, but are still quite cute) found our bird feeder first. Funny enough they use not only finch feeder (with special food for finches), but also feeder for bigger birds.

An absolute record for this finch feeder is 8 goldfinches at once so far, which is quite amazing since these little birdies don't like to share their food and our finch feeder is quite small. I guess finch food tastes too good to pay any attention to these facts :)

We also got a couple of north american cardinals, or may be two, I saw 2 females at feeder once, but that can be also a grown up nestling of the couple.

This is she, being proud and chilling out on the feeder branch. And at the picture bellow you can see the cardinal male, trying to get some food from angry paws of goldfinch to feed his lady :)

They really do that feeding sometimes, looks quite cute, but it is very hard to get on camera :(

White breasted nuthatches are very-very amusing birds. We saw them in our back yard even before we got bird feeder up.

Once in the morning I noticed something flying down a tree root and then running up the tree by spiral fetching out something from the tree trunk of its way. That looked so fun, that I spend some time after that trying to locate more of these birds and watching them doing it again and again.

Well, they like food from feeder as well:

I must say we have a couple more birds coming to the feeders, however they didn't learn yet how to not get scared by weird ppl, who are trying to make pictures of them, and are flying away as soon as Yuriy gets camera to his hands. But we are working on it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I have to apologize for 2 weeks of silence, but I do have a good excuse for it: most of the time we were out of town, in a place not that much spoiled by internet or even cellphone connection (I mean AT&T here) - Pawleys Island of South Carolina:

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Not having internet/phone connection made our vacation even more appreciated: instead of checking mail, website stats, news, facebook, google plus, twitter, etc. we were "forced" to spend time enjoying fresh air and kind sun of ocean beach, warm water, healthy seafood diet and nice company.

So now you know, why it was almost not possible to post anything during the vacation.

However today, at last free day before beginning of first working week, I will make a promise to share some interesting pictures and stories from our time off soon.

I just need to finish up with that peach madness first :) 6 last peaches to go!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New California Wildlife: Mushrooms

This is that you get if you don't do your backyard lawn during hot and humid weather for a couple of weeks. Especially if your back yard is a half-forest.

These looked to me totally like brown cap boletus. I swear I was ready to pick all 10 of them and fry with some potatoes, but Yuriy told me out of it, since we don't know mushroom kinds in this part of the globe, it is probably very easy to get wrong ones. But nothing could keep us from making couple of nice photos.

But boletuses were not the only mushrooms I found in the backyard today morning, apparently we also have something very much resembling chanterelles, they were growing aside from the boletuses, almost in the circle. Even though I can't say I am sure about eating these (still not sure if they are chanterelles), this one still looks pretty:

So, maybe I should give up my dreams about hamster farm as a backup plan and start thinking about growing eatable mushrooms... Ninja squirrels might be happy :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wrath of the Nature

Last monday was a busy day as any monday at the beginning of the week before vacation would be. No wonder that I didn't pay much of the attention to the weather outside: there was absolutely no time to look through windows.

It was a bit more dark outside than a day before when we left from work, but I again didn't pay much of attention to it.

It started looking suspicious when our car turned from Route 42 to New California Woods: every yard, driveway, road on the way were strewed with leaves and branches; and pavements were steaming.

We decided that some kind of heavy rain came by and we were just lucky to miss it. And only when we entered the house, we found this surprise on out top patio:

I guess, after all we got lucky.

With all these trees we have around it could have ended much worse.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Present from Previous Owners

We didn't plant much after moving in, we decided to wait and see what was already planted and where.

There were some spike-like leaves came out, and early in summer they appeared to be gorgeous purple wild irises. So I was pretty sure that all these clusters of spike-like leaves are belong to these irises, and I was very sad when they faded soon.

But one of these hot mornings when it was already about 90F at 9am and the air outside felt like freshly warmed up sauna, before getting to the car I walked to our front flowerbed to check how bad weeds are and make sure I really need to weed (still didn't do it, it is a way too hot to work outside) and found these:

Apparently we also got gladioluses among these wild irises, and not just any - gorgeous scarlet gladioluses - a nice present from previous home owners!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Plain City Steam Threshers Show 2011

It looks like the only usual thing about Ohio weather is that is it always unusual. Since more than 2 weeks now it is unusually hot: wet, nothing-to-breathe, ever-sweating hot. And you can consider yourself lucky if your working day, full of running from 100F sauna outside to 75F AC-indulged fridge and back, ends up with no headache.

So after reading that you can probably imagine how very much motivated I was to go outside and watch a parade of Plain City Steam Threshers Show 2011 which took place at North Chillicothe St thru West Main St to Pastime Park, at friday around 6pm.

But since that kind of events are happening only once per year, and we are so new to whole Plain City life, we decided to jump on it and even heat couldn't prevent us from having fun.

The parade was the main event of the Friday, there were many tractors, tracks, cars, renovated and modern, and of course a lot of kids hunting for candies. Yuriy took a lot of pictures.

Second day was more about tractor pull, that was something I never seen before. I think some people lost their tracks there trying to pull that heavy sledge. But it was for sure fun to watch.

Yuriy actually manager to get second and third places on video, the first place in progress is on the picture above.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Lazy Saturday Morning

Nothing can be more rewarding after a working week than one lazy saturday morning (at 2 pm :) ) with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and a slice of homemade ukrainian cheese cake:

...and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" on TV.

Today lies ahead with plans to enjoy Plain City Steam Show: Day 2 and maybe some other things. I am sure pics will follow...

Hope for one nice and relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

91F and No AC Running: Day 2

After a heavy thunder storm on monday we came home from work to find out furnace (read: "heating and air conditioning") shut off.

And if heating is something we totally can live without at these 91F, the air conditioning is quite the contrary.

So here we are trying to survive the heat while waiting for the technician to come and check what is wrong tomorrow morning.

Good thing: we have a home warranty which our realtors from Chip and Sue Parrish Team insisted having as one of the conditions for the house buying contract. Bad thing is it takes ABC Warranty contractor 2 days to come out to check things out, I hope it will take not much longer to fix it up :)

Well, for now are are rolling with wide opened windows at night and a lot of fresh air after 12am; and Georgie is having bikini parties at the daytime in her tank.

Georgie, The Wireless Mouse

Meet Georgie,
The Hamster ->

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New California Wildlife: Ninja Squirrels

When I said that New California has a wild life, I didn't lie!

Yesterday morning, when I did a zombie walk to the kitchen trying to open my eyes and get ready to leave for work after long 4th of July weekend, I noticed that there is a big bird sitting on the bird feeder plate.

After several attempts to focus I actually noticed that the "bird" has a fluffy tail, and is indeed a squirrel.

While I was screaming around to get Yuriy to look at it, it was long gone. Huh...

However today appeared to be even more interesting: couple of ninja squirrels raided the bird feeder again, and this time Yuriy got a couple of funny pics.

They probably do this kind of staff every day during the day when we are gone... Wouldn't it be a nice reason to quit working?..

New California, Plain City

I will start my posts on this blog from the picture of our newly purchase house, located in the heart of New California Woods, Plain City.

Wild nature (and you will see it is very wild :) ) was one of the main reasons we bough this house and we don't regret: lots of fresh air and green leaves, birds tweeting instead of police sirens, and a lot of space.

With all furniture from our town home apartment we were able to barely fill 2.5 rooms, the rest are waiting for the inspiration and probably several IKEA trips... :)

We still have some boxes unpacked, and considering house have big basement, it will probably stay so unless somebody gets brave enough to finish them up.

Did I forget to mention the house has 2 wooden decks from the back side? :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello World!

So, here we are, starting our plain life in plain city :)

It is my first shot at blogger, so I will spend some time figuring out how things look work, will be back with something more useful hopefully soon.