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This week was the last week of the semester so it was a bit hectic. I needed to finish grading all papers and final exams by Friday afternoon. The students finished their final exam on Thursday afternoon. Since I was staying at my parents since Wednesday though, my Dad drove me to work and I had all Thursday to do a lot. My brain stopped working after grading 10 papers (it takes about 30 minutes per paper with all the comments) but luckily the finals didn't require brains. They are Pass/Fail with no comments needed. By the end of the day Thursday, I only had three papers left and of my smart A students, so I knocked them off by Friday morning and still had time to go to the playground with Tanya.

And the final handover of grades went well. I successfully argued with my director for higher grades for two of my students and everyone passed. And the students were mostly happy when they came to pick up their folders with their final grade on Friday afternoon. I do love seeing them improve over the course of the semester and they end up realizing how much they did need the class - it is a required class for them, so many resist.

On top of all the grading, Bear and I took Tanya to her pediatrician on Wednesday for one more vaccine shot. Now she just needs a booster flu shot in a months and a Hepatitis A shot at some point next year. And that's it for a while. Yay. We brought some toys with us and a book and she did pretty well. She still hates being weighted and measured and shots, of course, but there was less fuss than last time.

She is such a girl. Her new favorite game is to go to the closet where all my necklaces are hanging on the jewelry organizer. She wants to be lifted up so she could reach them and then I point to various ones and she says either "no" or "da" (yes in Russian). She tries some on or wants me to try them and this can go on for a while. Occasionally she goes in my closet where her fancy birthday dress is and wants to wear that for a bit. And she loves scarves and hats.

In less than pleasant news, in this hectic work week where I did not need more stress, we had to pull out of the apartment contract. Our realtor called on Tuesday afternoon, wanting us to switch mortgage brokers. Then not even two hours later he called again to say that he spoke to the president of the board and that the board doesn't want to let my Dad and I be co-owners since it would go against their occupancy rules (even though my parents have a house and have no intention in leaving it).

When we first came to see the place, he reassured us that our situation would not be a problem, that the board makes exceptions all the time, that the president is his friend and all. My parents were giving us half the downpayment so we wanted to co-own. My Dad also has a high income. The board wouldn't let just Bear and I get it because our income is not high enough for them - I work part-time since it makes the most financial sense right now with a baby and I don't have to pay for childcare this way, and how can I give definitive proof that I will have a full time job soon? No one can guarantee their job. Anyway, that judgment on us based solely on income pissed me off more than anything. The bank had no issue giving us a mortgage with our current combined salary, I have a very high credit score, we have a lot of savings, no debt, we rarely eat out, we don't buy alcohol, we don't qualify for any assistance programs, we can do more on our salary than people who make twice as much - but that really doesn't count here. I wrote the realtor a lengthy email on Friday because he should have checked with the board before we signed the contract and wasted these three weeks in putting together all the documents. Argh. He did write back to apologize but it did cause us a lot of stress. We got our deposit back (I checked with the lawyer and even put a stop on the check, just in case) and the lawyer reimbursed half of his fee so I at least didn't lose any money.

It was nice to have a weekend with no grading looming over it. On Saturday I cleaned the bathroom, finally ordered photos for my photo album and went to the dentist to finish with the crown. I order photos once a year - I like having a physical album and I get to look through all the pictures and pick the best ones that represent the year. Then I order it in December because of all the holiday discounts.

And this morning I went to the Chinese supermarket to get Jasmine rice and Udon noodles and a did a couple of more chores. Then I came home and made spinach pie.

I had a box of spinach in my freezer for a while and I was determined to used it and not to waste it. I looked up a bunch of recipes online and picked this recipe . I bought the puff pastry dough yesterday on the walk back from the dentist. I added mushrooms to the onion saute and didn't use garlic. My Parmesan cheese was a bit old so I used some smoked cheese. It came out well - Bear already ate like half of it - but next time I will use less salt and I will roll the pastry more to really cover the middle of the top more tightly.

And in the evening we drove to Brighton Beach so I could go get Tanya some Russian books for New Year presents and also some puzzle blocks. I got a book of fables and a learning book for learning concepts like "up/down" "left/right" etc. Bear already taught her "on/off" when turning the lights on or off. In the car today, she saw me in glasses (I don't always wear them when I'm not at work or not watching TV or computer) and said "ochki off" (glasses off). So she's getting it! It was nice to get out and go somewhere all together.

TV for the week )
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Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

We lit the electric candles today (didn't want to risk actual fire around a toddler), listened to Hanukkah songs on the radio party the classical station had, and I made potato pancakes or draniki (it's a Belorussian word for potato pancakes or latkes, one of the few Belorussian words I still use). They were pretty delicious. Draniki with sour cream is one of my favorite foods. I don't make them a lot - grating is annoying - but I sure love to eat them. Tanya had one today too, although she mostly wanted to lick the sour cream off.

I finish my semester on Friday, so this week will be pretty busy as I need to finish all the grading. My students are writing a two day final exam and I already put together the question, so I will just have to sit there and grade. I should have graded more this weekend - I only managed a few papers - but my mind was just not cooperating. I'm hoping to have about 5 or 6 done tomorrow. Maybe even up to 8.

Last week went by pretty fast. We put together the mortgage application on Thursday - I spent all Thursday morning photocopying. So many documents. The Board Application next month will be even more paperwork. On Saturday, my parents, Tanya and I went to visit the apartment we are buying again to take some measurements for the possible renovations. There are just so many hoops to jump that I'm not getting excited or planning until we get approved by the board but my parents want to pick a lot of stuff now like possible appliances and tile. The board might decide we don't make enough or something and turn us down, although we have no problem paying our rent now, and the new amount will be pretty much the same. Because our Realtor lives in the building and know the president of the board, it will probably be fine, but still I don't want to overthink it. I was very good about contacting people for references as soon as I printed the board requirements - I usually get anxiety when I have to ask and put it off, but not this time. Yay.

I wrote my fanfic story for RS Small Gifts - right on time for my extension, so I do feel I had a productive week overall.

I did get to watch a bit of TV last week. I watched first three episodes of Jessica Jones, and episodes of Supergirl , Supernatural and Grimm .


Jessica Jones S1E1-3 )

Supergirl S1E5-6 )

Supernatural S11E8 )

Grimm S1E5 )

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My Mom wanted to watch the equestrian jumps this morning so I set it up on her computer. I only caught a few jumping turns and the medal ceremony – I love ribbons on horses.

I also watched the swimming racing live – that was really awesome -such a close finish in the butterfly and a great relay. And in the evening I watched the diving and the gymnastics – I knew that US would win but seeing the looks of the faces of those girls that just makes you emotional. They were so happy. Well, not the Russian girls and I feel for them, but US team did earn it. That last vault was amazing in the first rotation.

We have guests tonight – my Mom’s friend Galya and her daughter Olya. So after dinner we all went to the beach where I could rollerblade. I cleaned the bathroom too since they will be using mine, which I normally don’t like. And for the first time in a very long time I will have to share a bathroom once I move in with Bear at the end of the month. But he is not a stranger, so that should be alright. I’ll adjust at least.

We are getting the keys to our apartment tomorrow. We then will have a month to set it up before we move at the end of August. Tomorrow we will also go buy all the furniture. (I sold all my furniture five years ago when I moved to my parents’ house).

We are also going to get the marriage license tomorrow and I have to decide if I’m going to change my last name. I don’t think I will. I’m 32. It’s my name. And it is a hassle to change all the documents. But there has to be some consideration because Bear’s last name is easier – what I mean is my name is very Russian and many Americans can’t just pronounce the name how it sounds and there are many syllables. Bear’s last name is a much easier name to pronounce – it is a name of English origin. So it would be easier to have his name. But a bigger part of me wants to keep my last name. It is a name my maternal grandfather made up when he got new paperwork after escaping the ghetto after WWII. He wanted to sound Russian, not Jewish. When my mother married my father, with his very Jewish (and easy for America) last name, she kept her last name because of Anti-Semitism and when I was born, my parents gave me my mother’s last name. (Which is unusual in the Western world and some people look very puzzled when they find out that my father and I have a different last names. It is seriously hard for some people to get – I had to deal with that at times). So my name, no matter how hard to pronounce here, has a history too.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday, May 27th, 2012 11:00 pm
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Today Bear and I spent the afternoon riding around Brooklyn in his car looking at neighborhoods for our apartment hunting. We are thinking of getting something for August, so it is still a little early but we wanted to get a general picture. It is a little overwhelming but exciting too. But, yes, we won’t have much money left over after all the rent and food.

We also printed out the contract for the priest and wrote that deposit check.

On the way back home, we stopped by my grandparents where I got a nice birthday check. So now I can order my Ketubah and put the rest toward the rabbi payment. It was nice to visit them; I couldn’t make it yesterday when my uncle from Chicago was visiting (my Dad’s cousin) but at least I made it today.

And in the evening we had time to go rollerblading too. Yay. After dinner, I finally got Bear to go on Pottermore so he could be sorted. He was never sure what house he would be on – he kept thinking Hufflepuff because loyalty is important to him but he wanted Gryffindor too. And to my delight and his surprise he was sorted into Ravenclaw – like me. He does like books too but I think it was his artistic sense and value for individual quirkiness. It was interesting to see that many of his sorting questions were different from mine.


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