There was a huge face at the window, a big chow looking in at us, and emitting a very low, very menacing "woof" over and over again, as he saw very tall Dan standing there.
I had to laugh because all I could see was Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion.
It had actually been a shock to look over my shoulder and see Beau (I think it was Beau--I'm sure someone will correct me if it's not) when the last time I looked over my shoulder, I saw a smaller dog.
We had come to the home of Ned's in-laws (without Ned and Marta) for dinner with Ned's sister-in-law's in-laws, Lynn and Dan, with whom we had lunch in Russia. If you recall, they were on our sister ship and their schedule put them one day ahead of us, but we did manage to run into each other at the Catherine Palace and had lunch together after our palace tour.
We never saw them again in Russia, but Marta's stepmother wanted to get us all together for a BBQ and to hear about our trip.
My job was to bring dessert, so I picked up a bunch of blackberries at Costco a couple of days ago and made two pies this morning. Very frustrating because I am the queen of pies and especially the queen of pie crust, but something has happened in the last few years--I can't roll out a pie crust to save my soul. It's the same recipe, the same equipment, the same technique, but the result is different almost every time. I end up having to patch it at the end...
(But that doesn't affect the taste...they are still delicious. I'm just no longer the queen of the NEAT pie crust!)
The time for dinner had been set for 3 p.m., and we arrived at about 3:04 to discover that everybody was two drinks ahead of us. They had been to a dog show earlier in the day (Ned's mother-in-law raises Chows), which had ended earlier than expected. Everybody was all full of tales of the dog show, since 9 year old Isabella had shown one of the Chows, who had taken best in breed, so there was lots of excitement about that and talk of Chows dominated the conversation.
But I had printed off some of my photos and shared them with Lynn and eventually with the others. Lynn had put her photos on CD and we never did get to those, which I felt bad about. But we compared notes and I guess we were very lucky on our trip. Right now Moscow is having a record breaking heat wave and fires in the country sending smoke so thick you can hardly see the city. We escaped that. Lynn also said that the day they were at Kizhi (my favorite place) it poured rain. We were there the next day and it was beautiful and clear. The woman who bought my necklace there said that there were four (or more?) ships there and that the island was mobbed. We were the only ship there the day we toured and pretty much had the place to ourselves. I guess we really were blessed with how beautiful the conditions were almost throughout our trip.
In preparation for re-living our trip today, I finally got the last of my photos uploaded to Flickr. The cossack show and our vodka tasting, should you not yet be totally sick of hearing about our trip! I still have one more video to put together (of our vodka tasting), but haven't gotten around to it yet.