Sticky Post

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 11:00 pm
bearshorty: (Beauty 2)
I need to keep all my fanfiction in one place especially since I want to write more of it. So here it is.

Harry Potter )

Highlander )

Torchwood )

Other )
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So catching up on last week: July 31 to Aug 6.

Tanya and I have had nice time at the playground a few times. She is fun to be around when she's playing and not just not listening. Sometimes I would stay with Olivia in our courtyard, then come home, feed her and change her diaper, and we would head out again, this time to the big playground where my Mom and Tanya usually go. Then my Mom can sit with Olivia's stroller while I can play with Tanya. Other times we all head to the school playground where there is a nice shade around the stadium. I always let Tanya direct our play although I do try to make suggestions.

Last week, she went up to the fence and started to pretend it was a cage where Baba Yaga put us and then we were running around, hiding from Baba Yaga on the little jumping bridge and on the slide, etc, until finally we went home to hide there (which was great since it is always hard to get Tanya to leave the playground). This play was inspired by the story in the 5-minute Fairy Tale Disney collection my Dad got her for her birthday. It is basically classic stories retold with Disney characters in a very Disney way. It's pretty hilarious. I love the one with Little Red Riding Minnie, where Big Bad Pete wants her chocolate chip cookies that she is carrying to her sick grandmother, and puts on grandmother's clothing outside grandma's house to trick Minnie. He ends up grabbing the wrong tin and eat menthols and gets all red, which teaches him a lesson.

The one Tanya was inspired by was the take on Hansel and Gretel, called "Minnie and Mickey and the Gingerbread House." The witch puts Mickey in a cage and Minnie pushes the witch into an oven. A cold oven, since it is a Disney story, although she then barricades the oven and leaves so one can possibly ponder that witch dying from thirst or even suffocating there. So a witch from the story became Baba Yaga.

Olivia is sitting by herself longer. Smiles a lot. It took about two months last time too, but I'm finally into the rhythm of taking care of the baby and I'm able to enjoy having a baby more. It is not my favorite stage but it does have its moments. One thing Olivia does that Tanya never did is vocalize this early with cooing and saying a-ga. It's very cute.

Last week was not that eventful. On Monday, I wasn't feeling well in the afternoon - waking up all the time at night catching up with me a bit. I was able to grab a nap, but naps actually make me feel more groggy, so I'm resisting them. And then on Saturday, but really yesterday Tanya got sick. She doesn't have a temperature today but still doesn't want to eat much at all. She barely ate yesterday. My Mom came over today and made her chicken soup but she still didn't want to eat a lot of it. At least she is drinking her milk.

We did put on "Frozen" movie for her on the big TV yesterday to cheer her up. Bear got it for her for her birthday. She watched "Secret Life of Pets" a few times before but in installments on a tablet (Netflix has it). This was the first time we let her watch a whole movie on TV. She didn't finish all of it (I did, after she was done!), but she did like it. And when Elsa started singing "Let it Go", a song Tanya knows well from YouTube, she got off the couch and was dancing to it, with all the hand movements Elsa was doing. And told me to dance too with Olivia.

Another random thing last week - on Tuesday I learned the Russian word for celery.
сельдерей (sel'derey). I'm fluent in Russian but I left Belarus when I was 12, almost 13, so there is some vocabulary (like anything higher education) that I don't always have. My Mom, who left at 36, also didn't know how to say celery in Russian. We are on Skype with my Aunt and my Mom was trying to tell her a recipe for something. And neither of us knew how to say celery in Russian. I looked it up on my phone.

Geek Feminist Revolution )

Killjoys Season 1 )

Doctor Who )
bearshorty: (Default)
My parents took Tanya for the weekend again. My Mom is actually bringing her back tomorrow and only because Mom has a doctor's appointment. So Bear and I had a nice, more relaxing weekend again. Or at least when we didn't stress over Olivia's rash.

On Saturday morning we took a nice long walk. We wanted to check out our local library branch and go to a few stores. Bear needed to reactivate his card and I wanted to see if they had some movies. And they did - I got Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Moonlight. Very exciting! We watched Arrival over the weekend, and Bear copied the others to watch later, at some point.

As I was checking out different genres and shelves, I heard someone calling my name. It was Marianna's Dad, Martin. He was on his computer at one of the tables. It turns out that Marianna's Mom works at this branch and her Dad dropped her off and was hanging out. It was nice to see him - I know Marianna's family for almost 23 years now. Bear was waiting outside with the stroller, as we took turns going into the library since I don't want to take the baby inside a public place, so Martin went to meet the baby, while I watched his computer. Now, Bear did met him before a few times, mostly at Tanya and Ida's joint birthday parties and other occasions. But it has been a while and Bear didn't really remember him. So he sees this guy coming toward him with his arms out, and he thinks 'what did I do now'. And Martin doesn't tell him right away who he is but does this in a round about way, as is his humor. Pretty amusing.

On Sunday, we were mostly home. Olivia's rash was getting better all week, it was almost gone by Friday. But it was starting to get worse on Saturday. It might have been a different diaper we were using. So I started to stress about it. This morning, Bear went to work and I decided to take her to the doctor.

It was just me with no car but Google told me it would be a 33 minute walk. So I called, made an appointment and I took Olivia in her stroller. It was really hot to walk but this was necessary. And Google didn't lie. It took 34 minutes. The doctor ordered more creams for us and checked Olivia out and made me feel better. And I was also glad to have her weighed and measured. She gained about pound and a half in one month and grew an inch taller, with her head 2cm bigger. So that's good. I always worry if she's eating enough and it is nice to know that she is. We'll keep fighting this rash.

We got home after 1pm and she had a long nap in the afternoon, so the day went much quicker than usual.
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1) Do you want to get married?
"Did you want to get married?"


When I was growing up, marriage was a natural assumption. In former Soviet Union people married young (My parents married at just under 22), and if a woman was unmarried by 25, she was thought of as old maid. So I just assumed marriage was the path. I never thought about weddings though. They were nice but nowhere a 'perfect day'.

My cousin Katya, who is 8.5 years older than me was an unusual case that did showed an alternative. After she broke up with her boyfriend in medical school, she pretty much declared her intention not to get married. She had her son by herself at 29 and never married. But despite that example, I still assumed I would marry.

I met Bear in college when we were 18 (we met the second day and we're dating pretty much a week later). When we met I didn't think of marriage, of course. But we just kept dating and proved very compatible. Three years later, when I was 21 and just graduated college, I was visiting Belarus, and there I really thought for the first time and long term and marriage. And then I decided that, yes, I do see my future with Bear. It would be another year before my friend 's Mom prompted a conversation between us and Bear and I agreed we were on the marriage path. But it would be ten more years before we would actually marry.

I went to grad school, we were busy and Bear was nervous about actual marriage part. He was committed to me but he was afraid marriage would change things or me and he didn't feel he was financially ready either. And I didn't just want to get married for the sake of it, I wanted to marry Bear. So I waited for him to get ready. I myself wasn't ready until I was 25 or so.

Finally, when we were 31, close to New Year, Bear knew that if he didn't propose, I would be finally done waiting. I didn't say it, or give him an ultimatum but he could sense it, so when we were on vacation in Montauk he proposed. We got married eight months later in August 2012.

2) Where would you like to get married?
"Where did you get married?"


We got married at a Russian restaurant Tatiana on Brighton Beach. We both wanted a small wedding, 40 guests max, and the restaurant had a beautiful private room, all fancy. Bear was sold on the idea of russiab restaurant years back whrn we went to a friend's wedding in one. Thete is just so much food! We had a rabbi and a priest do a ceremony at the restaurant.

Here's my blog recap of the wedding:
Wedding post with some pics


3) If you were getting married in a week, who would be in your wedding party?
"Who was in your wedding party?"


One thing I didn't care about is having a wedding party. We had a great wedding but there is so much I couldn't care less about. I didn't do a professional photographer because my Mom had an awesome camera, I did minimum of flowers since the room was already decorated. I didn't want a limo etc. And I didn't want my friends in matching dresses. They could wear whatever. Yeva was my maid of honor and Jeremy was Bear's best man. They signed the kettubah and were witnesses for the license. The rest of my friends could just come enjoy the party wearing whatever they wanted.

4) What would your wedding colours be?
What were your wedding colors?


I didn't care for that either. But when we ordered our cake, it was white and red, so I got a white and red bouquet and white and red flowers for main table. So I guess those were the colors.

5) Does marriage mean to you 'til death do us part?'

It does. Provided, of course, no one becomes abusive or becomes a drug addict or some other situation like that. I think both parties need to work to maintain a marriage and be respectful. But I do approach it as a lifetime commitment.

Meme

Friday, July 14th, 2017 07:26 pm
bearshorty: (Default)
1. Do you make your bed?

Not currently because I feed the baby sitting on it and she naps on me there during the day and it is just not practical right now. But usually I love making my bed in the morning and for it all to look neat. I could make my bed from end of February to early June and it was pretty great. Looking forward to that again.

2. The first car that was officially yours?
I never owned a car. I do have my license but I almost never drive. I don't like to.

3. Three grocery items you don't run out of?
Bread, milk, tea

4. When did you start doing your own laundry?
In college. My Mom is possessive of her machine and she'd rather do everything 'correctly' herself. So first time I did anything other than hand wash was in college.

5. If you could, would you go to High School again?
No. College, why not, but high school is too teenagery.

6. Can you parallel park in under three moves?
I think 4 moves. My driving instructor taught me a full proof method which served me well when I had to parallel park a giant van during my driving test. But, as I said above, I don't really actually drive so while I can still theoretically do it, I haven't done it for real in 16 years.

7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know you had?

I don't think I had any shocking job. I was a camp conselor at a sleepaway camp when I was 19 and day camp at 20 and 21. Since then I've taught history and writing in college and now I have an office job. Nothing really shocking at all.

8. First TV?
My parents came to visit me after a first month in college. I made sure we went to the mall so I could get a very small TV for $100, which at the time was really, really tiny. But it was good enough to watch network shows. I really didn't like being without TV then.

9. Can you drive a stick shift?
No.

10. Favorite TV show?
I don't have just one favorite and there are too many. Star Trek:TNG, Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy, Doctor Who, Farscape, Rome, Community, Friends and there are many many more. I can't pick.

11. Would you rather be too hot or cold?
Too hot. I've been too cold (in Grand Canyon, it was super freezing when we went),really didn't like being that cold.

12. If the world ends do you want to be one of the survivors?
Probably not.

13. Sweet or Salty?
Sweet.

14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice bath?
Once in a while. Mostly I prefer a nice hot shower.

15. Do you consider yourself strong?
Not particularly.

16. Something people do, physically, that drives you crazy?
Clip their nails.

17. Something you do, physically, that you are sure drives other people crazy?
Don't know. I'm sure there's something.

18. Do you have any birthmarks?
No.

19. Favorite card game?
Durak or fool, a Russian card game. Also Uno.

20. Do you talk to yourself?
Yes. All the time. Most of the time I come up with a story and talk it out to myself as different characters.

21. Do you like doing jig-saw puzzles?
Sometimes. I got this world map one for my birthday once, that one was fun to do.

22. Would you go on a reality show?
Most likely not unless it was one of the nice ones like the Baking Show or something. Or travel show. But probably not.

23. Tea or coffee?
Tea.

24. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
A teacher. I always wanted to be a teacher. I don't think I wanted to be anything else. As I grew up, level of teaching went up to, from kid's teacher to college professor. And I got to do it for some years too. Big part of me is sad to let that go.

25. No matter how much money you have or don't have, what are you an absolute snob about?
Tea. I want nice tea from Teavana.
bearshorty: (Default)
Ursula Le Guin non-fiction book )

Logan )

My Mom took Tanya for the weekend - they left on Friday early morning and will be back tomorrow (Monday) around noon - so Bear and I had a weekend to ourselves (and the baby), which felt very luxurious. Bear took Tanya to his parents last Sunday but this time both of us were home and could actually spend time together.

It's funny, when we just had Tanya, it was just us and the baby but it felt like a lot. Now, with just Olivia but no almost 3 year old around, it feels like freedom. Olivia is a demanding baby right now, she wants to be held all the time (gas and reflux, poor baby) and she cries a lot ( more like screams) but it still feel easier with just one kid around. Bear and I went for a walk, taking Olivia in her stroller. We stopped by a bakery to get some treats too, sat in the courtyard. Had lunch and dinner together. Watched a movie while Olivia napped on me. And that was just Saturday. So very nice weekend for us. When Tanya is home, she usually wants to play with Bear and we don't have lots of time to meaningfully interact. So nice break. I do miss her though, even her demanding energy.
bearshorty: (Default)
I think I jinxed myself yesterday morning by thinking that taking care of a baby was much less stressful than I remembered and that the biggest issue was Tanya acting out more. Tanya is almost three and I'm sure she's also jealous of the time I spend on the baby, so she's having more tantrums and more not listening, and being generally stubborn. You tell her not to do something, she's does it deliberately and on purpose. Yesterday morning she was driving both me and my Mom nuts. Olivia, on the other hand, has been sleeping a lot and been generally a good baby. I do have to wake up three times a night to feed her, but she eats quickly and that's pretty normal baby stuff. (And I was terrified being alone with Tanya even when she was like a month, and I'm fine being with a tiny baby now, because I do know what to expect).

But I jinxed it because yesterday, Olivia got gas pains a lot, was crying much more and generally just wanted to be held and to nap on me and not in the crib or the little co-sleeper I use for the first month. So I was basically holding her all day and was trying to soothe her in the evening while she looked like she was in pain, which made me want to cry too. She cried for maybe 5 minutes straight, but that was long enough for me to be upset about it. She did sleep ok at night, in her co-sleeper, and I was rubbing her tummy more, and this morning, after I changed her diaper and fed her, she even sat quietly in her baby chair in the kitchen for ten minutes while I ate breakfast, but boy, I can't wait for this stage to pass and for her tummy to settle down. She's over 9 pounds already, so hopefully it will be just a few months.

Bear went back to work this past week and my Mom has been coming over every day. Usually I would take Olivia outside to nap in the stroller in the courtyard at least once a day, sometimes twice. I would read my book or chat with neighbors. If my Mom and Tanya stopped by on the way to or from the big playground, Tanya would want to sit on me and play with me more than usual - she is definitely reacting to my focus on the baby. Before she would just tell me to go away more. I do try to play with her when I can. I know it is a big change for her.

Bear's birthday was on Thursday. It was very low key this year. Tanya and I drew him a card and I gave him his presents on Thursday morning. I got him another little drone, a book on Black Holes and DVD of Logan. He saw it in the movie theater but he wanted to own it and I wanted to watch it, so win-win. Tomorrow, Bear is taking Tanya to Long Island for the day to celebrate Father's Day and his birthday (he was born on Father's Day so his family always combined the celebrations) and he will get a proper cake. I will just be home with Olivia all day, since she's too young to travel anywhere and I just want to be home anyway.

I've been watching "Orange is the New Black" Season 5 - an episode a day, pretty much. And Great British Baking Show this morning on PBS app. I'm still reading LeGuin book - I'm up to book reviews section. Mostly I'm just sleepy.

High School Meme

Monday, June 12th, 2017 01:43 pm
bearshorty: (Default)
High School Meme - from a lot of people on the flist

Class of: 1998

Class size: Maybe 350? Maybe more, It was a really big school. A New York City public school.

Did you know your spouse? No

Did you car pool? No. I had a discount Metrocard and I took the city bus to school. I moved to Staten Island (another borough of New York City) in January of my senior year - so I took two buses with free Metrocard by then. (I didn't want to change schools in my last half a year, nor did I need to).

What kind of car did you have? I didn't have a car.

It's FRIDAY night where are you going? Just home. I never stayed out late and mostly just went home after school. When I had to stay late in school for Mock Trial Club, I would hang at my friend Marianna's apartment until my Dad picked me up, but otherwise I just went straight home. I was very boring. Still am. Not a party person.

What kind of job did you have? I didn't have a job in high school.

Were you a party animal? Not even a little bit.

Were you considered a jock? No. But funnily, our high school didn't have sports - it was experimental school focused mostly on academics. So there were no jocks or sport teams. But there were gym leaders - basically TAs to gym teachers. I got into that program since it was a guaranteed equivalent to an A and I didn't want to lower my GPA with a gym class. So I was part of a sport group.

Were you in choir/band? No

Were you a nerd? Yes. I was in the honors classes and AP classes and all that.

Did you get suspended? No.

Can you sing the fight/school song? We didn't have one, I don't think

Where did you eat? In the cafeteria for both breakfast and lunch. I would get school breakfast - I liked coming earlier. And just eat school lunch mostly - there was always someone from my classes to eat with. I'm not picky about food at all, so school lunch food tasted fine to me.

Where was high school? Brooklyn, New York

What was your school mascot? We didn't have any.

If you could go back and do it over? No. I wouldn't want to be a teenager again.

Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with? I didn't go to prom. I used that money and my parents and I went to see my first Broadway show (Les Miserables)

Are you planning on going to the next reunion? Not really.

Are you still in contact with people from high school? Yes. I'm still best friends with Marianna and Yeva.

Did you skip school? No. Never. I liked school.

Do you know where your high school crush is? Not really.

What was your favourite subject? History

Do you still have your High School ring? No. I never bought one. Didn't see the point.

Do you still have your year-books? We just had one yearbook of the senior year and, yes, I still have it at my parents' house. I have my junior high year book too from 8th grade.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday, June 9th, 2017 04:58 pm
bearshorty: (Default)
I keep reminding myself that I need to be patient with myself. That postpartum recovery will happen with time and it's only been a week. But I just want to get over this phase of stitches and lochia and engorgement. It was my least favorite part last time and I can't wait to get to normal again. But again, it is easier this time - I can walk normally, unlike last time, and I'm not as stressed about baby care. I can change diapers and she's eating and doing normal baby things. I even sleep a tiny bit more than I did with Tanya. First week with Tanya I could barely sleep. I still get frustrated and feel totally useless when I can't get the baby to sleep easily, but Olivia actually sleeps a lot, much more than Tanya did. And she is eating well. I, thankfully, have enough milk - too much even. (She eats differently than Tanya did. Tanya would eat efficiently in one feeding and not ask for more until a few hours later. Olivia eats in 2-3 stages. She eats, gets tired, burps and asks for seconds. I wonder if this will be reflected in how they eat.) So I need to remind myself to be patient and be in the moment.

What complicated this week is that Tanya got a cold, which became apparent on Wednesday morning. It's tapering off, so hopefully we can get to relatively normal tomorrow. But she is not allowed in my room where the baby is or where she can snuggle with me like she likes in the mornings. Which is very frustrating and upsetting for everyone because Tanya just wants to see the baby and pet the baby and hug my hair. And I want to encourage her bonding with her sister. The good thing is Bear is home this week, so at least she gets a lot of Papa attention and it is less miserable that it could be for her. And I was frustrated a bit because I can't exactly comfort her or snuggle with her because I had to be careful not to catch it since I need to care for the baby. At least I actually gave her breakfast and lunch today. Hopefully, snuggles tomorrow.

On Wednesday, Bear and I also took Olivia to the pediatrician for the first visit - and first vaccine. There is still a little jaundice that we have to watch out for but she's eating and peeing well, so it should clear by next week. The three of us also managed a nice time outside in the courtyard, taking Olivia out for a nap in the stroller so she could get some sun on her face. That was very nice.

And this morning, while Olivia napped on me, I watched the first episode of the new season of Orange is the New Black. It was ok - I liked it enough, especially conversation between Judy and Sosa, but it's not grabbing me yet. Too much going on. I wonder if the whole season will be just about the riot. We'll see. I'll keep watching when I have a chance. Mainly I just try to nap.

Olivia is here!

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 04:29 am
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Olivia Elizabeth was born at 1:33am on June 3rd, wanting her own birthday. She is 8 pounds and 15.4 ounces.

I'm 37. I'm not old.

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 01:03 pm
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This has probably been the weirdest birthday I've ever had. Mostly because I'm just waiting for my contractions to start and I'm on edge a little bit about it. And I'm not very comfortable sleeping or lying down or anything. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that I'm basically 3-4cm dilated already so as soon as contractions hit I need to not wait and just get to the hospital immediately and that it can happen at any point now, probably soon. Now, with Tanya I was 2cm dilated for almost a week before I went into labor and he was also saying it could happen at any moment. So it's not unfamiliar situation. But I'm still over analyzing every bodily feeling. Especially as with second kids birth is usually faster and there is a drive to the hospital.

So I'm basically home, on my bed, lounging. My parents are here - my Dad is working from my place, and Tanya is home, of course, while Bear is at work today. He left me presents, which I opened this morning. I couldn't sleep very well, I maybe got 3-4 hours total, waking up often enough, so I was awake since 4:45. Around 6 I decided I could open presents. Bear got me socks with Solar system on them (when Tanya saw them, she insisted she put them on me right away :) ), the Essential Nina Simone CD, a cross stitch kit with a bit polar bear and two cubs, and an Unofficial Harry Potter cookbook (which is basically cookbook of British dishes for American audience, and looks fun).

I got a Kindle book gifts - Bear's parents got me Words Are My Matter by Ursula Le Guin, her non-fiction collection, and Marianna got me My Own Words the autobiography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both of which where on my wish list.

And my parents got me a new handbag for work, Calvin Klein, beige, very pretty; Lindt dark chocolate bar with sea salt and The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

So lots of new books for me to read. And my parents got a little cake for lunch. I also got some cash from grandparents and Janna. Very quiet, informal birthday, which is a good thing right now. So now I wait.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 01:03 pm
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It's my grandfather's 90th birthday today, which is really cool. He is still in the rehab facility but he might actually get to go home this Saturday after 5 months of hospitals/rehab, so that would probably be the best birthday present for him. Fingers crossed. I can't go see him, unfortunately, but I will keep trying to call. Tanya and I recorded a little video singing Happy Birthday to him, but my Dad will only be able to go tomorrow to show it to him.

Something really strange happened this morning with Amazon. I woke up to the message thanking me for my Kindle order of "Handmaid's Tale", which was paid with my gift card credit from Amazon. Now, I didn't order this. (I read the book twice and Bear has a copy on his shelf). So I contacted Amazon by chat to straighten it out. They cancelled the order, refunded the money - all good. Then they told me the order came from my grandfather's Kindle, which is connected to my account. I thought it was weird, since I thought my Dad disabled the internet on my grandfather's Kindle and he is in rehab place with no internet, but I thought maybe it was a wrong button. But five minutes after I get the Cancelled order email, I get another email thanking me for the purchase of this book, this time with today's date. This is 6am, so my grandfather was probably sleeping. I contact Amazon again, cancel the order, refund my gift card. They recommend I deregister my grandfather's Kindle for now, which I do. And I changed my account password for good measure. I did ask Amazon to investigate this glitch just because it's really weird.

Bear was home this morning until 11am, and then he left for his last work meeting session for the season. He should be back Sunday, unless the baby decides it is time to be born. So he played with Tanya all morning. I'm just taking it easy. Then my Mom came around 12 - she is going to stay with me while Bear is away, with a car ready, again, if the baby decides it's time. The due date is June 10 but Tanya was born a week earlier than her due date so we don't want to take chances - it is about an hour to the hospital from here. Plus, my Mom figures she can help me with Tanya and with cooking, which I do appreciate.

Yesterday, I watched "Doctor Strange" movie on Netflix. I loved it. I thought the pacing was terrific and the story and the effects were fun and the movie was just fun as well. Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the role. He was pretty much House but slightly more sympathetic. And as usual with Marvel the humor worked well. The only thing that bothered me is lack of women interacting, which is a general Hollywood thing, but at least the women characters had their own purpose and worked and didn't put up with any of main character's shit, so there wasn't a typical romance story. It is definitely high up for me for the Marvel universe movies.

On Monday, I was home alone all day and I was trying to figure out what to watch. I tired Amy Schumer's comedy special on Netflix and turned it off after 5 minutes, because I'm not a big fan of that kind of raunchy humor. It's not interesting to me. Few comedians can pull it off well. So I watched "Hasan Minhaj's Homecoming King" comedy special on Netflix instead and I loved that one. It was about immigration and racism and parents and growing up and it was well performed - I like comedy based around a story and a comedy that means something. It was really well done.
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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Every year I try to read one Thomas Hardy book. I feel like I missed reading his classic books at school and after watching Mayor of Casterbridge mini-series a few years ago, and then reading the book, I thought I should read more of him. I can get most of the books for free on my Kindle too. (I also share a birthday with Hardy, which always amuses me). I am usually surprised by his characters and his points of view and there is enjoyment in his plots, even if there is a lot of coincidence at times.

Jude the Obscure is the fourth book of his I read (after Mayor of Casterbridge, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Tess of the d'Umbervilles) and it might be my least favorite, mostly because more characters were somewhat annoying. Especially Sue- she was just terribly annoying -why are two characters so in love with her. Incidentally, this book is the only Hardy book my Dad read when he was in school in Soviet Union. And I can see why - and why this book was so controversial for its time, with its ideas of institution of marriage. A lot of problems like social consequences of divorce would not be big problems today. But a lot of problems would also not happen if the characters themselves were not so silly at times. Sue was also probably asexual and would have been a lot happier if she was born in modern times. This book also had a fairly dramatic turning point, not often found in books with the dead kids, which was pretty dreadful to read, especially as you sort of suspect it is coming. (being pregnant when reading that section was not helpful). So, I can see why this book is a classic but it was not my favorite of Hardy's.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

After I read Gaiman's American Gods in 2010 I really wanted to read up on Norse Mythology. I knew some of the gods but I wasn't as familiar with that mythology unlike the Greco-Roman one. So a couple of months later in 2010 I borrowed The North Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland from the library and read that. I enjoyed the book - the language was more formal there but I felt I learned a lot.

Neil Gaiman's book is in more popular language, and I think it will be fantastic for Tanya and baby sister when they get older. I did enjoy it, despite being familiar with the stories, it was a nice refresher. And I found the writing very funny, especially anything related to Thor and his dialogue. Gaiman is also fond of Loki - so Loki comes out as an interesting character. There wasn't a lot of Odin in this one. Definitely an amusing book. But for some reason it took me a while to read it - I enjoyed it when I was reading it but didn't feel as compelled to keep reading.

Among Others by Jo Walton

I read this book pretty fast - love the ability to read on my commute. I do have a goal of reading more Hugo winning books (and more female sci-fi/fantasy authors) so this was certainly one book I heard good things about and wanted to check out. And I did like the book but it did not feel like a fantasy book at all. Among Others )

Overall, good book that I'm glad I read but I'm not sure if it will be a favorite or how much more of Jo Walton I want to read.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

I was going to do a book post on Tuesday once I finished Walton, but I kept putting it off. So by the time I got to writing up the post, I finished another book - go commute and some free time yesterday. I gave this book to my Dad for his birthday with an intent to read it myself, so I ended up reading an actual physical book.

The Man in the High Castle )

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday, May 21st, 2017 10:02 pm
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We had guests today - a sort of housewarming. Janna and her 3.5 year old daughter Jo came, and Yeva, and Marianna, Adama and their 3 kids (Galya - almost 6, Ida - same age as Tanya at 2 years and almost 10 months, and Mozen - 7 months). So we had a full house.

In the morning, I made soup and cutlets for Tanya and then attempted a Swiss Roll, while Bear and Tanya were at the playground. I really should keep off my feet, this week with the hot weather my ankles got really swollen, but I really wanted to try baking it. The cream cheese frosting was delicious but the first sponge didn't quite work because the recipe really called for a bigger pan and it wasn't as thin as it should have been, so it needed longer oven time and got a bit ruined (It does taste good but I really couldn't salvage it for guests, we will eat it ourselves). I made a simpler one and it wasn't bad - Marianna really liked it, but really not my best. I will need to try again later. We did have a watermelon for desert too, which was a hit, and grape tomatoes and cheese and crackers for appetizers. And we ordered Uzbek food again, which was super tasty. So lack of proper desert wasn't terrible and everyone had a great time.

Tanya resisted her nap today and only napped for an hour - she was pretty cranky when I woke her up but she really needed to have her snack before the guests started showing up after 4pm. The kids had a blast playing with each other and all the toys. And it was great to catch up with everyone, although hosting and some kid supervising meant a little less time with my friends than I liked.

We also had the unpleasantness with our downstairs neighbor. They complained about Tanya running around twice before - which is ridiculous. We do have carpets but in this building the sound travels. We have elephants above who play flute music late at night sometimes - we don't complain. A two year old is going to run around and play and be loud. They got spoiled with an old lady living above them for years. And their downstairs neighbors complain about them too, when my Mom asked the babysitter who works there. But I just knew today would be trouble with 4 little girls running around and playing. But they are kids and they should be able to play for 4 hours from 4pm to 8pm on a Sunday - not that late. So one of the neighbors from downstairs came to complain around 5:30 maybe. Then around dinner time they were banging on their ceiling in the kitchen too to express their displeasure. Then she came again to our door around 8pm, basically saying we should have some respect and that I did tell her the guests would be leaving around 7 etc. Excuse me, she would tell me when I should have company. We never have anyone over! This time it was Bear and Adama who got into it with her. Adama did get a little heated with her on our behalf (he felt bad about it later, but he was upset at how unreasonable this is and he knows we are not particularly confrontational people and are too polite.) Bear is just afraid that the neighbor might complain that she was threatened by a big black man who got in her face. Adama didn't touch her in any way but they were standing close to each other and it got a little heated. I had to pull him away there a bit, mostly because I don't like confrontation. So that marred the party a bit but it was still great to see everyone and I was glad to see all the girls interact. Tanya really needs more playdates; she doesn't get to play like that much, as she is mostly around adults, and I think it was great for her.

I have one more week of work before my leave, which can't come soon enough. It is not that easy to commute at 36-37 weeks. There still isn't much to do at work, but this week should be a little busier since one of the directors, Gail, needs to finish off all the contracts this week and she will give me some work to do, she promised. She's been taking me to meetings too - which is good to observe to get a hang of things. And one of the best parts of going to work is all the food around there. I got Thai food for lunch on Tuesday - rice and massaman chicken curry and eggplant veggie thing - and there was so much delicious food that I didn't even eat dinner later.

This last week was also unusual in that I had some time to myself. On Monday, Bear took Tanya to Long Island to visit his parents for a day and they only came home around 10pm (way past her bedtime, she was staggering a bit there). She was so excited to go that morning that as I was leaving for work I saw her standing in the hallway by the door with just her panties and her undershirt, holding two of her toys, wearing her sneakers, which she just put on, since she was all ready to go to see Baba Regina and pet the cats. It was very funny. And then on Tuesday morning, Bear drove her to my parents' house where she stayed until Thursday. On Wednesday, my Mom took her to the zoo. And I got almost three days entirely to myself, which hasn't happened since Tanya was born really. I mostly just lay in bed and watched TV - I caught up on Season 2 of "Sense8" which I enjoyed. And I read too - book post coming next week with 3 books. It was definitely great.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8th, 2017 09:20 pm
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Today was my first day at the new job. It was mostly boring because I don't really have anything to do yet. I left the house a bit early at 7:20 so I could recharge the Metrocard and give myself extra time to walk to the subway. The commute is an hour or so with the walking (subway is about 12 minutes away from my place and about 5-10 minutes from the Manhattan station), so I had plenty of time before I had to be in HR at 9am to enjoy the views of the river. Before I left, I had time to eat breakfast and make Tanya her breakfast and feed her, so it felt rather nice not having to rush out of the door at 6:20.

From 9am to about 11am there was orientation at Human Resources department. They gave us a give blue giant folder with all the booklets and policies and forms to fill out like Pension fund and direct deposit and health insurance info - the works. A few people came to talk to us about the forms and how payroll would work. We got our IDs too. And then around 11 I got to go to my new department. I got my own desk and an IT guy came to reset my password. It is a pretty big desk in an open cubicle area. I met a bunch of people I will be working with. I remember maybe half the names but I will figure that out as I go along. I also go a bunch of office supplies, which felt like first day of school a bit.

Mostly I just sat there. The boss D had a lot of meetings today - he stopped by to welcome me but didn't have time for much more. Hopefully tomorrow. Another person who is sort of in charge too, gave me a couple of manuals so I could at least take a look at how procurement works and some of their reports. She was basically not sure if they should train me to do reports now, since I'm going on leave in the few weeks. I have no idea how much work I will have in the next months - but I do hope I will get something to do. I went out to enjoy the view and nice weather for lunch and I did get a building pass. I need to relax and bit and take it easy, and stop being so eager to prove myself. It will come.

The commute back was pretty easy and not too crowded. I got back at 6pm, and ran into Bear and Tanya on the way to the playground. So I came home and made some pasta and a turkey burger for dinner. Then fed them when they got back home at 7. I'm exhausted. Not from mental work, obviously, but it is very hard physically with with commute and sitting in the office and being 8 months pregnant. But it is something I will just have to do. I just paid some bills on the computer and will probably with read a little or watch Sense8 and just go to bed.

Yesterday, I actually managed to watch a whole movie in one sitting while Tanya napped. I saw "Bad Moms" which is silly and ridiculous in a lot of ways with a lot of jokes that are not my sense of humor but it still managed to make me tear up - I blame hormones. And I liked that the villain in the end wasn't just one note character. Of course, I loved the interviews with the actresses and their moms at the end and in special feature the most, of all things.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday, May 6th, 2017 12:38 pm
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On Thursday and Friday it was just Tanya and me. Thursday was much warmer so we went to the bigger playground in the morning and to the school one in the afternoon. She actually liked sitting there a bit and watching kids play basketball. It wasn't too bad as long days with a toddler can go - at least she actually listened to me when it was time to leave the playground and I didn't have to drag her off, as often happens. Yesterday (Friday) it was raining all day so we were just home. I cooked her soup and cutlets, but mostly we were playing. And in the evening we Skype Bear at his work. She had nice long 2.5 hour naps too, so I could watching a bit of TV as my books are not inspiring me to read too much.

And there is a lot of TV to catch up on. I still need to watch "Supernatural" but mainly I just find watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix very relaxing as I don't need to think at all. (And I do get inspired from it - I made custard for the first time). Sense8 also started yesterday, so I will make my way through that - for now much slower than Season 1. Bear got me "Bad Moms" on DVD so at some point I need to actually watch it.

I did watch a movie a few weeks ago - over two days with Bear as a date we watched "Moana" which I loved very much. Medusa came to visit me from Massachusetts from April 17th to 20th. And it was so fabulous to see her. It's been three years and it was great to just pick up on our usual dynamic. (I just wish I could go in the city with her, but the playground is as far as I will walk lately) She got me hostess gifts, although that was totally unnecessary - but I got Moana as a DVD and as a CD, Neil Gaiman's "Norse Mythology" and "13 Clocks" book. So Bear and I finally watched "Moana" - I've seen select scenes and songs, courtesy of YouTube since Tanya watched it, but as a whole movie it worked very well.

Oh, and one thing I wanted to mention from the past months. A while ago I wrote to this researcher in England who studies aphantasia. He emailed a month or two ago that a writer and a filmmaker from New York were looking to interview some people with aphantasia and if I minded if he would pass my email on to them. I didn't mind. So last months they contacted me and we sat up a Skype interview last Saturday. It was quite fun to talk to them about it since I find different perceptions of the world pretty interesting. They are writing a character with aphantasia and wanted to understand the details a bit. One thing I found interesting was when I mentioned that I don't taste if I just think about food, I need to actually be eating something to taste. And they asked about how craving works with me. I do crave things but probably not to some intensity. I haven't had any pregnancy cravings, really - just anti-cravings (I don't like the idea of eating beef for some reason).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 09:05 pm
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The semester is officially over. I spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning grading 43 papers. Plus on Monday, in the last class, I gave the final exam and graded 43 of those. But today I had my Folder Review, turned my grades in, held final office hour where I returned the folders and grades to mostly happy students and then I was done with teaching.

I didn't sleep well last night - but then I never do lately, having to go pee a lot. Late pregnancy is not too fun. I got up close to 6am (and so did Tanya for some reason). My parents were staying over to make it easier for my Mom to watch Tanya and for my Dad to drive me to University for the last time. We left by 6:15, after I made my bagel with cream cheese, got dressed and packed my lunch. I was at school by 7am and my Dad helped me lug the suitcase and a big bag full of student folders to the nice couch by the offices. Offices weren't open yet but that couch is extra comfy. So I finished the last of the papers - I left 3 good ones to the end. Then once the offices opened, I got help carrying my folders downstairs to the writing centers, printed three final exams that I still had to grade and finished sorting everything, right in time for my folder review at 10. As usual it went pretty smoothly. I then only had to do my electronic grade book and hold that final office hour.

Larry, one of my colleagues stopped by, and kept me company a little. We chat about books and music so it was very nice just to hang as some of my students tickled through to pick up their folders. He also wanted a chance to say goodbye properly as did many others. I got lots of hugs today. I will miss people I worked with for sure. And the teaching. But it was time to move on - they could only offer a part-time gig, and while it was ok for a while, I really do need full time work and more money.

After the folder review I went and got myself a reward brownie, chatted to Emily, another co-worker, for a bit and then caught up on "Flash" on the office computer and just hung around until 4 when my Dad came to pick me up after his work.

Now I'm just very tired from a long day, even if half of it was mostly sitting around. Since my body is busy making a human, it is pretty tiring just to sit too. But now I have 4 days with no work at all before I start my new job on Monday. I do have full two days ahead alone with Tanya though, so that would be exhausting, I'm sure. But at least no more grading. I can read (Gaiman's Norse Mythology and Jude the Obscure), watch some TV (Baking Show, Supergirl and Supernatural and Sense8 is starting soon) and finally catch up on my blog a bit. I've been reading all the entries but barely had time to comment, much less post, so I will probably do more of that over the next few days.
bearshorty: (Default)
I don't read short stories that much or collections of short stories. I think it is because you need to reset your brain fairly often for another world building and I just prefer longer things. There are a couple of authors I love who excel at short stories - Isaac Asimov and Neil Gaiman come to mind. But otherwise I stick to novels. I did put Ted Chiang on hold in the library, however, because I wanted to read the short story the movie "Arrival" was based on. I haven't seen the movie yet but I plan to and I usually like to read the source material before watching a movie.

So I got the book on my Kindle from the library, read the story and figured I might as well read the whole book to add it to my book count. Plus a lot of his work is pretty renowned and I'm trying to read more sci-fi. (I put together an Excel file with all the books that won a Hugo, highlighted ones I've read and will use it to read more sci-fi books).

I'm mixed on this collection. There were stories I really enjoyed, a few I was "meh" on and a couple I just hated. But I'm glad I read it - some concepts were fairly good. I really liked his language on most of the stories - very easy to read and inviting (except in the stories I hated with tended to get pretentious to match the character but it didn't work for me). I'm going to break it down story by story for some brief notes.

stories and my reactions )

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