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Blog for Feb 24 – Mar 2

We’ve moved! I don't have the Internet until Thursday, March 2nd, so I'm just going to type and update in a Word document, and then post when it is finally installed. I do have some 4G data, so I'm not completely cut off and can read blogs and news, but I am trying to be a little conservative with it.

Friday, Feb 24 )

Weekend )

Monday and bureaucracy )

Tuesday, Feb 28 was a low key day. I did finish "A Wrinkle in Time" which I didn't really like. I don’t know why – I think the plot was a little silly/weird and some religious undertones made me uncomfortable. Maybe I would have liked it as a child.

Wed, March 1st – Tanya slept through the night without bugging anyone – yay. I graded midterms in the morning and then went outside with her for a bit. Got potato filled samsa for work today from local supermarket – yummy. Kitchen guy finally showed up to finish the kitchen today, so when I got home from work, my Mom already organized the kitchen well.

Bear sold my Buffy Season 8 comic books on EBay! He's on the selling streak this week as our little Panda washer from the old apartment sold too, and he shipped it already.

And now we got internet installed and I need to grade because I have a big work deadline on Monday. Good to be able to just go online. And I just downloaded "The Goblin Emperor" from the library so there is distraction too.
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This weekend was a little weird, in a good way. I had no grading to do, which is nice for a semester weekend (I'm getting lots of papers tomorrow, so I really should enjoy this break before the craziness of next week). But I was a little at a loss on how to spend my day. Good problem to have! I did embrace the laziness and watched some TV (I'm loving "Victoria" - sexy in a lot of ways and just gets to me) and read some books and cleaned the bathroom and cooked and spent some time with Bear and Tanya.

I finally finished reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. I started it a few weeks ago but I just didn't care enough for it to read more than a chapter at a time, sometimes less. I just read more at the end, just to finally finish it. It is so very 80s, which was a little fun, and I read it and followed the plot perfectly fine but I just found myself indifferent. It was fine and I can understand why it was an influential book but my mind was pretty detached reading it. I didn't care for any of the characters. For some reason, I find lately that a lot of classic sci-fi is underwhelming me. I didn't hate it, I just didn't care. This year has been a little weird in books so far. I hope it picks up.

The King's Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman, on the other hand, is definitely sustaining my interest. I have a paperback copy, because I have copies of all her books, so I am limited on when I can read it. It's not easy to lug it with me on commute as it is almost 700 small print pages and a bit hefty, and I can't read it in the evening, in the dark, but I've been snatching lots of time this weekend. It was fun to follow Richard the Lionheart's adventures trying to sneak through Italy and Austria. I'm only on p.150 so far - still a lot of the book to go. This book will take me awhile too but at least I'm excited to read it. I do love her writing, even with "smile not reaching the eyes" appearing 10 times in 10 pages, and I adore historical accuracy. Richard is not my favorite king, but she is doing a good job making me understand him.

In the afternoon, all of us went to the playground together, which is a rare occasion. Tanya tried to protest - she just wanted to go with Papa and kept yelling at me to stay home or stay, but she calmed down after I talked to her that Mama wanted to breathe some air too and I won't get in a way of fun with Papa. (She likes to play with us one at a time, most of the time). I did leave them behind for a bit to go to Dunken Donuts to get a Boston Creme Donut for myself and a blueberry muffin for Bear (and Tanya too to share), and then we just hung out. It was cold but not overly so and it was nice just to be. I headed back around 5 to go cook dinner and by then Tanya didn't want me to go. :)

I went home to make a cottage pie, which for me usually means layer of ground turkey with onion and oregano, then layer of peas and corn and then layer of mashed potatoes, all baked in the oven. Nice and delicious, and good for two days, since we just eat it very fast.

I was feeling good all day, but as I got up at 6:45pm to go warm up dinner for Tanya and for us to eat, I started feeling very weak. I could barely stand and felt like I could just collapse. I wasn't dizzy, just weak. It was probably low blood pressure, it's already been low 100/60 every time I go for a check up. So I warmed up Tanya's food, had Bear feed her this time, ate my dinner quickly and went to lie down. I did get up to make myself Earl Gray tea to get a little caffeine in, drank more water, and had a little caviar that my Dad got for me (I don't generally eat it a lot, but it is good for the baby). I stayed in bed once I got Tanya to bed and I felt better today, on Sunday. It's not the first time I got weak, but it's never fun. At least this was the weekend and I didn't have to worry about work. I really need to drink more water during the day. And today I ordered some beef kebab at the Nargis restaurant (it's Uzbek/Russian place) and Bear went to pick it up on his way after grocery shopping. I probably need more iron but this baby is not a big fan of beef. But the kebab was so so tasty. Very soft.

Today was nice and relaxing too - I went for a walk this morning to get milk and to the Chinese bakery. And I just wanted to get some energy. Watched "Grimm" (loved the victim saving herself). Read a lot. Did some cross stitch. I even made the flyer to sell the two bar stools with backs that we won't need anymore after we move. I really do need to appreciate the quiet weekends.
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First a meme taken from pretty much everyone:

2016 Meme )

Today is the first day of the new semester for me, so I'm at work. My Dad dropped off my Mom very early (6:20am) and drove me to work. He will pick me up at 5 today. I already printed everything I needed to print from Syllabi to first day Writing Samples to my rosters, so now I just have time to kill. My classes are from 1:40 to 4:40 this semester (an hour 20 minutes for each class) and I technically have office hours from 12:30 to 1:30. So I'm now I'm just catching up on books and emails and blogs and commenting.

Before the offices opened and I could print and use a computer, I was looking forward to sitting on the new comfy couches close to the offices. But they replaced them with these modern looking armchairs, which are not nearly as comfortable! Sometimes, new things are not better.

I also wrote an official "intent to move" letter to our apartment's management company. They have no problem in our breaking our lease, as long as they get 30 days notice. They won't have any issues renting the place and for a higher rent pretty quickly. So we will officially move on February 28. Renovations are going well so far, and they should be done by mid February hopefully. As long as they are done enough for us to move our furniture, that should be fine. I definitely don't want to be paying double rent after February.

I watched the first episode of "Victoria" on Monday, which I really enjoyed. This is not a surpise as I generally like historical dramas and English TV series. And while I was neurtal on Jenna Colman on Doctor Who, I do like her in this role. And yesterday, I brought myself to watch the final episode of "Sherlock" for Season 4. I was a bit bored with it and a lot of the plot didn't make sense. I wish they just had a normal mystery and not a convoluted conspiracy/family soap opera drama. I did like where it all ended and I'm happy if it is the end of the show. If it's not, I hope they get back to fun mysteries again.

Something I want to write down so I don't forget later: this last week, Tanya started playing by pretending to be a character and assigning us roles. She is Cookie Monster, Bear is Elmo (somethimes its vice versa) and I'm the Cat in the Hat. It's pretty cute and an interesting stage in her play development.
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Last two days were rainy so we were pretty much stuck indoors. I only left for about 10 minutes today to go to the post office to drop off some letters (rent and next semester's contract). Good thing was that Bear had these two days off - yesterday was a holiday and he took today off because the floors were getting delivered to the new apartment and he was needed to carry them inside - he even got a hand cart at work. He, with some help from my Dad, ended up carrying most of the boxes anyway. Bear loves it - it was like a workout for him. Nice thing for me was that he was home in the early morning and in late afternoon. Tanya tends to play with him more when he is home, so I get free time to cook and just be a little. And it was just so nice being home all together, very low key.

Bear put away the tree and holiday lights yesterday and packed a whole box full of our games. I packed a box of books today. We are not moving until the end of February but we are starting to pack because there is just so much. I'm going to have many many boxes just of books. And once my semester starts in two weeks I will not have much time. We just need to get more boxes.

I did a lot of cooking even with the leftover holiday food. Yesterday, I made kotlety (fried meatball type) from beef and baked yams yesterday. And today I'm making baked ziti and split pea soup with beef. The apartment smells wonderful right now.

Over the last two days I also backed up 2016 blog to a Word document (I crosspost to Dreamwidth and LJ, but I want a copy that is not on the internet). And I watched 2 TV shows and read a book. So fairly good two days.

For a long time I wanted to read Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man . I loved the movie, although the movie mislead me a little bit on the intent of the main character, which colored this read a bit. And I had the book on Amazon Wish List for a while. Finally, I actually ordered it. But for a year Amazon couldn't find a copy for me. I cancelled that order. Last year I discovered that the Brooklyn Public Library now had it as a ebook. I put it on my library wish list. And last week I put the book on hold, thinking it might take a while. But on January 1st I got a notice that I can now borrow it. I did and read it in less than 48 hours. It was not a long book but it was also compelling. I didn't want to put it down. I forgot how beautifully Isherwood writes. His prose is just delicious. And, of course, since I teach in a college, I found the whole section of George teaching his English class just perfection. Isherwood really captures perfectly the class dynamics and student mentality. That section was sublime - really funny and just right. I really want to have a copy of this book because, while I rarely reread, I already want to reread this one. I loved this book so much.

I also watched two TV shows: Sherlock S4E1 and the latest Doctor Who Christmas special, which my Dad got for me.

Sherlock S4E1: The Six Thatchers )

Doctor Who 2016 Christmas Special )
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What I like about January 1 is that is tends to be a nice and quiet day, usually quite relaxing, like a breath you take before a new year starts.

We drove over to my parents' yesterday in the morning for the New Year celebrations. We always celebrate at home as it is a family holiday for us. We Skyped with relatives in Minsk and in California to wish them Happy New Year and just to chat and chilled a bit. Around 5:30 we all dressed up, mostly in red and pink colors, for the upcoming Rooster year, (except Bear who was a black rooster), and took lots of annual photos around the New Year fir tree. Then we had our holiday dinner. So much yummy food! My Mom made the usual olivier salad and pod-shuba (beets with herring), crab salad, fish liver salad and beets/plums/nuts salad. She also made regular veggie salad and cabbage/egg pie. And for main course there was meat french style (meat covered with potatoes and dried apricots). And there were open faced sandwiches with salmon and also with caviar. And bread, of course. So much food! (and lots of leftovers for today). In the past, I wasn't always a big fan for beets and herring classic, but I'm really into it lately.

After this giant meal, we did bedtime for Tanya and I put her to bed. I was pretty much falling asleep with her but my Dad made sure to get me up by 10:30pm to sneak out of the bedroom so I could come downstairs and have some desert - they got fruit tart cake, and there was zefir (marshmallows in chocolate), and dried fruit, with tea, of course.

Then we mostly watched TV and hung out until midnight and watched the ball drop while drinking some sparkling juice. Then I just went to bed, I was very tired. But, of course, I couldn't easily fall asleep once I was in bed and the night was a bit restless. Still, it was a good calm new years, full of deliciousness and family time, just the way I like it.

In the morning, Tanya slept in until 7:30am, but then we all got up, got dressed and went downstairs to the New Year tree to open presents that Ded Moroz (Russian Santa) left for Tanya (and a couple for Bear and I) under the tree. Tanya got 4 books (2 from me - Crocodile Gena in Russian and one of the Elephant and Piggie books in English, and 2 from my parents - both in English - 5 minute Princess Stories and When the Tiger Came to Tea). And she got a little magnet fishing game, which is also a puzzle, and a nice tea set with toy dishes, cups, tea pot, forks and spoons. She is playing with all her new toys. I got Bear a Deadpool graphic novel he wanted (we split our presents to each other in two - some for Christmas and some for New Year) and my parents got him an Amazon gift certificate. I got "Star Trek Beyond" from Bear and the last Leonard Cohen CD and a book by Stefan Zweig from my parents. I was very happy with my presents. I'm listening to Leonard Cohen right now - which is a little bittersweet.

Around 9:30am, Bear, Tanya and I went to the playground. The weather was beautiful today, not too cold, and sunny. Tanya went on her little tricycle, which she actually pedaled by herself a little bit today. It felt like the whole world was still asleep. There was no one about and very little cars on the road. We had the playground to ourselves. Well, and the three squirrels who kept chasing each other. I had fun watching them. There was also a field full of geese right outside the playground - we watched them walk around a bit in the little puddle. They had black necks and white faces with black beaks and white bellies. Tanya really liked watched them. It was just very relaxing to spend time together, chase Tanya a little around and go down a few slides. It was only when we were about to leave after 11 when someone else came. New Year is definitely a nice quite day.

I even got a little nap in when Tanya went for a nap and read my book too. I'm reading "It's hard to Be a God" now and the main character's attitude to the culture he's studying is driving me a little crazy. I go from liking the book to slowing down in wanting to read it because of the whole "civilized" attitude of the protagonist. Reading Strugaski brothers is always strange though.

We came home after all the naps, I unpacked (including all the holiday food my Mom passed along, yum), paid the January bills (at least for this apartment, still have to do the new one), and just catching up online a bit. Overall, a nice day.

I don't do New Year resolutions but I guess I want to try to be more present and not waste too much time online. And read and write, of course.

I'm not very concerned about LJ issues, I don't write anything that should matter to any government, and I have been cross posting from Dreamwidth for years - in fact it remains my face. But if anyone wants to add me on DW for back-up, I have the same username .

My Remus/Sirius Small Gifts story was posted a week or so go. It's called Christmas in July. If you are curious you can read it here.

And finally my Book List 2017 is here with books I would like to read this year.
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31 best moment of the month ([personal profile] zhelana)

Not being too nauseous anymore tops the list! As is the ability to often stay up past 9!

But in seriousness, the holiday season for sure - with potato pancakes for the whole family on Hanukkah and celebrating Christmas and today really looking forward to New Year tonight with photos and big holiday meal and new year.

Also end of the semester was very nice and welcome. So was an unexpected job interview in mid-December and a letter that my job appeal for a city job (the appeal which I sent in in June) was finally granted and I will be placed on the list.

And I had a dinner with Yeva in a Turkish place, and a visit to Marianna to meet her baby son Mozen and eat Himalayan food - both very nice times.

And so is Tanya singing "V Lesy Rodilas Yelochka" (In the forest there was born a fir tree) - a traditional New Year Russian song, at the top of her lungs everytime we pass the Christmas tree in the lobby of our building.
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30.favorite books read this year (and why) ([identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com)

I read 35 books this year, which is a very good book count for me. This included a very long Jonathan Strange so I'm very happy with reading this year. Next year I expect to read much less, especially after June with the new baby, so I'm savoring it now.

Here is My Book List for 2016 .

I liked all the books on my list - mostly because I don't read books that I don't like. But I do like them in different ways. I read really good quality sci-fi this year with Ancillary Justice and The Fifth Season and I hope to continue to read more female authors, especially sci-fi female authors next year. I'm going to make my new book list tomorrow for books I hope to read in 2017. But those books, while really good in quality are not necessarily my favorite. Favorite books tend to hit emotional buttons a little more.

My favorite book this year is probably His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik - it felt like a cross between Horatio Hornblower and dragons and it perfectly suited me. I liked the two sequels I read so far too, but the first book takes precedence since it was the book where I went "ooh, I want to read this series. This is written for me"

Another fun book on the favorite list was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I read it really fast and I just really enjoyed it. And it felt like a depiction of the world I knew, although I didn't get into fanfic until my mid-20s and didn't start writing until I was 30. But I can relate to coming of age stuff too.

All the Light We Cannot See was really wonderful. Really evocative and well written - a new way to see WWII, which is unusual.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a lot of fun too. Mostly I just enjoyed being back in Harry Potter world, despite recognizing the drawbacks of the play and why many might not like it.

I loved Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks but my favorite non-fiction goes to Hamilton: The Revolution - the libretto of the musical. It was really interesting to read how the musical came together and about members of the cast and crew.

Movies 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016 07:44 pm
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I kept a list this year to keep track of the movies I watched. I didn't watch too many - mostly for lack of time and partly because there weren't too many I wanted to watch. Here is my list and then I will do some comments on the movies, especially on latest ones.

1. Inside Out (Dec 31-Jan 1)
2. Avengers: The Age of Ultron (Jan 6)
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (Jan 16-17)
4. The Martian (Feb 6-Feb 7)
5. Kingsman (Feb 19-20)
6. Furious 7 (Apr 1)
7. X-Men: Apocalypse (June 12) – movie theater
8. Deadpool (June 25-26)
9. Spotlight (July 6)
10. Ant-man (July 9-10)
11. The Big Short (July 18-19)
12. Minions (July 31, Aug 2, Aug 4)
13. Theory of Everything (Aug 22-23)
14. Zootopia (Nov 20)
15. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Dec 22—23)
16. Captain America: Civil War (Dec 16)

thoughts on some movies )
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Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who celebrate! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

25.What is your most favourite and least Christmas traditions? ([identity profile] zoefruitcake.livejournal.com)

I didn't grow up with Christmas. In fact, I didn't even know about it as a kid. Our main winter holiday was New Year. Kids got to dress up in costumes and have a party in school where we would get candy from Ded Moroz (Russian Santa). On New Year's Eve, my whole family would go to my Aunt's to celebrate at a big holiday table with lots of food. There would be holiday TV on with lots of songs. I would stay over there overnight, and in the morning, my cousin and I would wake up for presents from Ded Moroz under a New Year tree and have leftover holiday food gor breakfast.

When I came to US, I was amazed by all the holiday lights outside in December. But we still didn't celebrate Christmas ourselves. We did learn about Hanukkah and did candles and continued New Year traditions. Usually we would go to a movie on Christmas Day.

In college, I met Bear, whose family is Catholic. And after a few years I got invited to their family Christmas. And I have been going ever since. That's when I did get Christmas traditions on top of Hanukkah and New Year. And I do like celebrating everything.

My favorite things are helping Bear make Christmas breakfast for his family. He was making pancakes for everyone since he was a kid. I now make scrambled eggs and turkey sausages while he makes pancakes and bacon (I don't eat bacon). We did the breakfast this morning and it was great.

I also like leisurely opening of presents, usually in the afternoon. But with Tanya, we were opening presents in the morning, a little bit at a time. And this year I had a deal with Bear's sister and brother not to exchange gifts. I just got presents for Bear and he got presents for Tanya (along with lots of family giving Tanya presents. I get Tanya presents for New Year). Bear got me a Peer Gynt CD and Ravenclaw socks (again, since he forgot he got me a pair last year :) ).

My least favorite tradition was going to church with Bear's family. I don't mind it, but when everyone chants the creed, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I haven't gone in the last few years since Tanya needs to nap at the time they go. But I generally do enjoy the day and even some church songs as when I went.

Yesterday was the 1st night of Hanukkah too, so we lit the menorah and I made potato pancakes for everyone, with Bear's help (he grated potatoes and flipped them). I love potato pancakes.
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Today was very very cold, again. I had jury duty today, so I had to venture out in it. Bear left for work early and my Mom already came over by the time I got up at 6:45. I left at 7:30 to get to the courthouse by 8:30. It's a straight shot on a subway, so it wasn't terrible. But walking even 2 minutes from the subway to the courthouse was super freezing.

I had the shortest jury duty ever. I got to the courthouse, got in line to get in the building, waited about 10 minutes to go through the metal detector and then went downstairs to see if I could get dismissed as a caretaker since I'm home with Tanya most of the time. I brought her copy of the birth certificate and everything. And in about one minute they dismissed me for 2 years. So then I just left the building and went to take the train back home. I got home by 9:20am. Because of construction on the subway line, I did have get off a stop earlier and walk 10 minutes and that was super freezing. I had gloves on and my fingers still got frozen.

My Mom stayed until Tanya's naptime. She is much less than a pack rat than I am - I don't like to part with sentimental favorites like my old backpack. So I let her toss it - that really works for me, letting my Mom get rid of old clothes or things I know should go. So we sorted my make-up and cleaned out two old backpacks to throw out. I do have a brand new shiny purple one and I want to limit things for the move at the end of February. We also took some photographs and postcards from the bedroom wall.

For the last four days, Tanya actually wanted to nap in her own toddler bed, that is pushed next to my bed. She slept in the crib until she was about eight months old and then she totally refused to do so (my Mom was the first one to yield to her crying and pick her up and take her into her bed). So Tanya has been sleeping with me ever since - which really does work for us, since I could get sleep and not be a zombie at work, and Bear prefers to sleep in the living room so he can stay up later and not feel like he is disturbing anyone's sleep. We periodically did try to get her back into her own crib - we converted the crib into the toddler bed, but she really didn't want to. But this weekend I mentioned that the crib, where she basically keeps lots of her stuffed toys, will be baby's bed and we will get Tanya a whole new bed for her own room. She was like, "No, this is Tanya's bed." And she is staking the claim ever since. She still wants to sleep with me at night - she is comforted by my hair, but for naps she is all about her bed now.

While she was napping, I was reading my book - I finished Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" and Novik's 3rd Temeraire book lately - so I started non-fiction "The Last Days of the Romanovs" by Helen Rappaport. (In the evening, when it's dark I'm reading Strugatski brothers "It's Hard to Be a God" on my Kindle). Hoping to get these two more books in before the end of the year. And do some book review posts.

And after the nap, I left Tanya with her little video game, which she is allowed to play for 10 minutes a day, and called my OB's office for the results of the genetic blood test. Everything looks fine, which is great. I also found out we are having another girl! Now we just have to come up with a name. It was easy the first time, since we named Tanya after my grandmother and her middle name is from James' grandmother. With this one we are actually looking at name lists.
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18.What is the one place in the world that you'd most like to visit? ([identity profile] moongirl24.livejournal.com)

There are so many places that I want to go. From California to Australia to China. Too many. But one place was on my list for a very long time - and that is Prague. So many of my friends and relatives have been there and absolutely love it. I would definitely like to go someday. That would be a great vacation.

TV for 2016

Saturday, December 17th, 2016 04:34 pm
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I actually recorded all of the TV shows I watched this year in a Word document. So far, 222 hours of full hour shows, and 63 half-hour comedies. I don't think there is much TV left to watch in 2016; maybe one more episode of "Modern Family" and some Christmas specials. I also watched some award shows, usually some pieces of it as I was doing other things, and I caught Olympics when I could. And there were a few documentaries like "Hamilton's America" on PBS.

I am going to break down my TV shows. Out of those 222 full hour shows, I only watched 1 - the season finale of "Supernatural" - in real time. I watch everything later, usually the same week it airs on the computer or on the tablet. Or I just watch it on Netflix at my own pace. It was strange during the Olympics to actually turn the TV on and watch as something aired.

Looking at the show breakdown I think my favorite discovery and show I enjoyed most this year was "Flash."

Broadcast TV shows

1. Downton Abbey -Season 6
2. Sherlock Special (Abominable Bride)
3. Supergirl
4. Supernatural
5. Grimm
6. Modern Family

Netflix

1. Flash (Season 1:Apr 4-Apr 28; Season 2:Oct 5-29, first few episodes of Season 3:Oct 29-Nov 1, now Flash is a regular Broadcast show I can watch the week it airs )
2. Agents of Shield, Season 3 (June 16-July 7)
3. Orange is the New Black, Season 4 (June 17-June 29)
4. Stranger Things (Aug 17-Aug 30)
5. Luke Cage (Sept 30-Oct 19)
6. The Crown (Nov 13-24)
7. Fuller House - Season 1 (Feb 26-Mar 2) and Season 2 (Dec 9-Dec 16)
8. Grace and Frankie, Season 2 (May 6-13)
9. Gilmore Girls: A Year in a Life (Nov 25-26)

Other (shows my Dad downloaded for me through mysterious means)

Doctor Who - Season 9 (May 16-23)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (July 20-Aug 7)

Random episodes

Star Trek S2E5
Buffy Thanksgiving episode
Friends Season 5 Thanksgiving episode
1 episode of "Arrow" and 1 episode of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" to see all of "Invasion" crossover episodes
3 episodes of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - I tried but it was annoying me
1 episode of "The Real O'Neals" - didn't like it
1 episode of "The Good Place" - didn't like it
2 episodes of "This is Us" - it's a good show but didn't grab me
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My semester is finally over as of Thursday. Yay. So last week has been very busy with all the grading and finishing everything up. I barely had time for anything else. So I will now catch up to some Ask Me Anything questions, comments and just general posts I've been meaning to make.

11.What is your favorite thing about the place where you live? (user name=moongirl24.livejournal.com)

I live in Brooklyn, New York and I love being in the New York. I don't get to go to the city (Manhattan) that often (other than passing Macys in the work commute) but I love the ability to go there if I have time/inclination. I love having Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Met Opera, Broadway and other Manhattan things within reasonable distance. And even after living in New York for over twenty years, there are still so many little corners and museums and new things to discover. I love the variety of food and just the general diversity of it all. Just the other day Yeva and I got together and went to get Turkish food.

Also, thank you [identity profile] moongirl24.livejournal.com for the pretty holiday card - I loved it!

12.If you could magically give yourself a skill or talent that you don't have, what would it be and why? (user name=qwentoozla.livejournal.com)

To be less awkward and more street smart so I can charm myself into a better job and be much better at social situations that seem to help people network. I'm not that great at networking, although I'm not terrible at being social. But I tend to be shyer that I need to be to promote myself - I wish I had the skills to push, to make connections and to advance myself more.

And thank you very much [identity profile] qwentoozla.livejournal.com for your awesome holiday card - loved the llama - it made me laugh.
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10. biggest surprises of parenthood -- how has having a child compared to what you thought parenthood would be like? ([identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com)

I always thought that I would be a parent, mostly in an abstract way. When we were 19 and first talked about kids, Bear wasn't sure about kids at all but I knew I wanted them at some point. (As he got older he came around, obviously). I never really dealt with babies or toddlers at all, so that was all a big mystery to me. I barely held a baby until my friend Marianna had one and even then it was for like a minute. And I was just scared of that stage. I never even thought about what being pregnant would be like. I did always like kids and I worked in summer camps for all three summers of college when I was 19 to 21, first at sleepaway camp and then at day camp. There I dealt with girls aged 7 to 10, so I was always comfortable with that and could picture that age. But I never really deeply thought or fantasized about parenthood, other than abstract, yes I would like kids someday, to have a family. Once in a while I would have most idealic pictures of playing and talking and sharing my love of books. I didn't really have expectations other than what the hell do you do with a baby? Can't they just magically get to be 6?

So a year after we were married and I was 33, it was really time to get pregnant. And I did pretty quickly. My pregnancy gave me all the happy hormones until about month 6, I only started getting nervous then. But there are books, which helped and I had my Mom who came around a lot and helped tremendously. The most terrifying moment was when we came home from the hospital and my parents left in the evening. They were coming back the next morning, but Bear and I were left with this helpless 2 day old baby with no idea of what we were doing. I don't think i slept that night or for that first week.

The biggest surprise so far was just how much I love this little person. Like we made an actual person. Daily life with a baby or toddler can be boring, frustrating, annoying, tedious but then I look at her perfect face and her curiosity or she says something and it's just amazing. She wanted me to climb up the chain ladder at the playground today, and I said I can't and she just tells me "poprobuy" (try). She won't accept, "I can't". It's funny every time. She is just amazing. She didn't sleep through the night for like 13 months, but I was just willing to wake up at night and take care of her. Just that protective/nurturing instinct was surprising.

And I get so proud of all the little things she does. When she was 2 months old, she was lying on her stomach and I held up her toy giraffe and she raised her head super high for the first time. And I got so happy. How happy she makes me when I think of her is definitely was not something I was expecting very much - I was never a super emotional person.

My other surprise, I think, is how much easier it has gotten with every year. She's still very demanding obviously, but I preferred her being 1 to being a baby and I definitely prefer her being 2 to being 1 - I love her talking all the time and her ability to tell me what she wants. I thought terrible twos would be terrible but it hasn't been bad at all. She has occasional tantrum but I usually know the cause and don't overreact. But she's on the good schedule so she doesn't tantrum often. I think because I didn't know what I was doing and nursing for over a year, so having to pump when I was at work, and lack of sleep all that made the first year the hardest. I'm hoping the baby stage will be a little easier with the second one, although there will be two of them and that will take some new skills and I have no clue how to cope with that. But I will learn.

Speaking of the second one, if everything will go well, I will have one in June! I'm pregnant! Just officially entering my second trimester (there is a reason I put this question on this date). The last two months were pretty terrible - so much nauseousness. I basically coped by going to bed with Tanya at 8:30pm and sleeping early to avoid the worst of it. It's easing up during the mornings and days, but evenings are still hard. Hopefully, it should taper off now. I would really like my evenings back. I barely see Bear as it is. I really hope everything works out since I really don't want to be pregnant again. Fingers crossed.
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6. What's most likely to draw you to pick up a new book or movie or start a show? ([identity profile] qwentoozla.livejournal.com)


For a book, I usually pay attention to recs, whether in real life or on LJ/DW. Or if another author recommends something (I got a lot of recs from the non-fiction Neil Gaiman book). I also look at some awards like Hugo or Nebula awards. There are also classics I wanted to read for a while. I also would read a book if I get them as presents - I feel obligated at least to try. And sometimes I pick a new book because I saw a movie trailer and it looked interesting, but I usually want to read a book first.

For movies - I know the genres I like and I watch those like Marvel movies. I don't have a lot of time for movies, so I tend to be picky. I would watch movies nominated for an Oscar more as well. Some movies convince me from the trailer - I really want to watch "Bad Moms' because of the trailer.

For a TV show - reviews and a trial period of 2/3 episodes. I started watching The Flash because I liked the cross over in "Supergirl" and then Netflix had all episodes. Some shows I watched because Mark Watches website was covering it - that is how I watched all of West Wing, Avatar: The Last Airbender and finally tackled Supernatural. Once in a while I like the actor and go see some of his body of work. I liked Peter Wingfield in "Riverworld" miniseries, so I ended up watching and loving "Highlander: TV series". I also try all shows by Joss Wheadon for example. And sometimes friends recommend shows to me - Dexter and Leverage were on that list. My Dad got me to watch Burn Notice in exchange for him watching Buffy. If Netflix has all seasons, I would more likely to watch it - since I rarely watch shows in real time anymore.
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5. favorite games/toys/etc. from your childhood ([identity profile] hamsterwoman.livejournal.com)

There are a few that come to my mind

1. dish set - when I was around 6 I had a big toy dish set and I was very proud of it. I brought it out to play with other kids in your playground right outside our apartment.

2. I has lots of dolls and I loved playing school with them. If I had to memorize a poem for school, I would line them up and the dolls had to recite it. I also named my crayons and played school with them too. Clearly, I was meant to be a teacher from early childhood.

3. My parents had a record player and I had this record of children's songs from cartoons and such. I loved playing that record and dancing to it.

4. We also had a diofilm player (it's like a projector and you click to show the next slide, which is the next part of the story. Some stories came with a record for a record player too). My Dad would hang a white sheet in the living room and I loved watching those slides. My favorite was about a Bear who had to wash his paws.

5.When I was about 10, Monopoly exploded in the Soviet Union. So we played it a lot. One summer, my cousin Sasha and I played the game all summer until it was done. The Soviet Union version didn't have a mortgage feature (since most people didn't know what that was).

6. I had this favorite toy that did fashion drawing for paper dolls. You put plates into it and use a shade to make different designs, which you can then cut out. I loved paper dolls. I had a book with a paper doll family. When we were moving to America, I sold that toy outside the toy store - and bought lots of candy and gum with it.

7. When we came to America, two months later was my 13th birthday. I really wanted a Barbie since we really didn't have them in Belarus yet. My uncle took my Dad and I to a Toys R Us. I have never seen a toy store that big, a whole aisle of Barbies. My eyes were so wide. My Dad got me a Troll Barbie and my uncle got me a Ken doll. I was very happy.
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4.What makes you like a person and/or become friends with them? ([Bad username or unknown identity: pax_athena.livejournal.com])

With a lot of people I want to be friends with, it's not really explainable. There is a click, a knowledge that you want to know the person better. Something about them or the vibe. Often it's a similar level of personality. I don't know how to explain it. In high school, there were 8 Russian girls in our grade, including me, and we divided into two groups of four. The other four girls were friendly and nice and my group was friendly with them, but they were bolder, dated in high school, had sex, wore make-up, were confidence type girls. And our group was shyer.

In general similar interests definitely attract; having things to talk about. Someone who is nice and unpretentious. Who gets my snarky sense of humor. Someone with not a lot of drama - I can't stand useless drama. But sometimes friends surprise and ebb and flow and it's the right circumstances that draw two people to spend more time together and become friends. But some commonality must exist for certain.
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3.Who would you invite to a dinner party, living or dead? (No family, friends or people you actually know!) ([identity profile] denorios.livejournal.com)

I would want someone who is clever and can carry on a conversation, since I get awkward with people I don't really know. I can be social and snarky but only once I get to know people and can relax. So some writers from the present. And I would like to meet some people I studied from history too, just to see what they are like, assuming everyone would magically speak English and get along. And some famous historians whom I admire but haven't met (I met a lot of really cool women historians whom I admire like Judith Bennett and Ruth Mazo Karras, so I can't iclude them). So for my dinner party, I would invite Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, Sharon Kay Penman, Eileen Power, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hildergard of Bingen, Heloise (I do not want Abelard at this party - he would just take over) and Melisande of Jerusalem. I think Neil Gaiman can handle being the only guy at the party.

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