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Kostia’s grandma died yesterday. She’d been bedridden the last couple of months and when Kostia saw her a few weeks ago she was barely conscious and probably didn’t recognize him. Here‘s what Kostia wrote about her on his LiveJournal:

Babushka Valya died yesterday. Valentina Fyodorovna Baranskaya.

She was born in 1922 in the village of Krapivno, in what is currently the Gdov district [in the Pskov region in northwest Russia].

The Polish surname is from her grandfather. He moved to the village in the beginning of the century, apparently. Made the bricks for the local church. Babushka was so proud of her grandpa and her surname that she didn’t take her husband’s name. For this her husband, that is, my grandpa, to the end of his days called her that: Baranskaya.

To my shame, I only once managed to record her reminiscences. Here and here [in Russian, obviously] she talks about her brother, the war, her husband, the kolkhoz, and Stalin.

One of the last photos, taken just before she became bedridden:

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Kostia and I have been talking about getting a cat for awhile, but we may never have got around to it if there hadn’t been a cat rescue guy in front of the supermarket yesterday with a sweet little cat who needed a home. He delivered her about an hour ago and after walking around the house and sniffing everything she is making herself at home.

Already discovered plants for nibbling on

Eyeing Kostia

Already getting fur all over the tablecloth

I’ve often lived in households with cats, but for the first time I feel like a real cat owner.

Kostia is a bit more ambivalent about cat ownership than I am, so I let him have the bigger say in what we’re naming her. And her name is… MonaSahlin. After the Social Democrats’ party leader. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be an honor or not, but the name suits the cat, I think.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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