Filbert began the journey to Ulan Ude and Moscow with me as the packing process started almost a month ago. He likes making lists almost as much as I do. I think, though, that much of his motivation in helping make my travel/packing lists is to be sure that his name is on that list. You may be aware that I’ve forgotten him on a trip or two this past year. Trust me, I’ve not yet heard the end of that.
I was especially glad to have Filbert with me during the hours of travel uncertainty when flights were delayed, missed, rescheduled, delayed, missed, rescheduled, etc. He helped reduce my stress by being so enthusiastic about the afternoon we spend in the Delta Club room watching World Cup and Wimbledon and eating yummy snacks. He thought it was a great addition to the travel itinerary.
When we arrived in Ulan Ude, Filbert was happy to be united with Spa Lady Duck (Vanessa’s travel companion). The two of them spent some time together.
They also divided gnoming responsibilities to some degree so as to not wear themselves out. They are rather silly and fun friends, I must admit.
Our trip out to Lake Baikal gave me a chance to collect rocks, as I’m so happy to do. Filbert helped me decide which ones to bring home from the far-too-many I carried back to our room. He voted, for instance, to toss all the white ones back into the lake because they didn’t contrast well with his fur.
He especially liked the ones that sparkled and urged me to go out and find more of those. I did my best to exhibit self-control and only brought in a few more.
As you might guess, Spa Lady Duck joined us lakeside for a bit of a swim. There was a cove of sort that had been built with large stones around a shallow area where people could swim. The water was a bit warmer there because it was shallow and somewhat protected. This is where Spa Lady Duck put her webbed feet (which she would have) into the water and enjoyed the beauty of the lake.
Problem was, Filbert really wanted to go for a swim, too. But he’s not so well suited for water activities. He convinced me to put him into a gallon zip lock bag, blown up so it has enough air in it for a short voyage. I launched him into the same shallow area where his Spa Lady friend was soaking up sun. While Filbert was focused on looking out through the bottom of what he called his glass bottomed boat (he watched Doris Day movies on weekends), he failed to navigate well. The wind got ahold of him and crashed him into Spa Lady Duck who is seen here in the nearly down-side-up position. Fortunately, Vanessa and I were close at hand to provide rescue and recovery assistance. Filbert only had one voyage in the bag.
When we went to a coffee shop place with great IKEA decor called Silk Road, Filbert decided it was a fine place for a photo shoot. He wanted to remember this place.
He especially liked the place mat/table runners with the cool font pattern on them. I think he liked them both because he shares my love of fonts and because the colors looked good with his fur. I suppose we are all prone to that kind of thinking when photos are being taken of us to be posted on the internet.
Both Filbert and Spa Lady Duck made their appearance at the July 4th Picnic. Filbert was planning on wearing the much-to-big-for-his-head hat with sequence that we’d taken until he found this lovely blue pitcher in the Wicker’s kitchen where Mark and Charlene are living right now. It was a perfect fit. Doesn’t he long grand with the fresh flowers and flags?!
On the day we went to the Mongolian restaurant for lunch, Filbert stayed home and Spa Lady Duck was the center of photo attention. She loved when we took the salt, pepper and tooth pick holders out of this perfectly sized ox cart so she could imagine being a part of a great caravan along the silk road. She often imagines herself in queenly positions like that, as you might imagine yourself.
And finally, on the day I decided I needed to at least try black caviar (the really cheap variety and not the “most expensive kind in the world” variety), FIlbert was nowhere to be found. He says that he does not prefer raw fish eggs. Spa Lady Duck was more than happy to join us in the venture which was interesting. The taste was unremarkable. The texture was…memorable.
FIlbert is now home trying to adjust back to this timezone. His lack of discipline is making that more of a challenge than it is for me — not so much because I have tons of discipline but because I am expected to be places at certain times and he is free to nap and eat whenever he wants to do so. I’m not sure that mice really live in a timezone, actually.