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.
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I had a quite nice weekend. Yesterday, on Saturday, we were just home. The weather is wintry now but not too cold, just crispy pleasant. Bear, Tanya and I all went to the playground in the morning, which was fun. She was kicking the ball around, which is new. I did accidentally hit my nose on her swing at some point when I was throwing a ball at her. I have a bruise now but hopefully nothing is broken. I don't think it is. Other than that, we mostly enjoyed the winter a bit.

In the afternoon, we were just cleaning, which our apartment did need. When I was cleaning the bathroom, Tanya came over to see what I was doing and wanted to do what I was doing. She took the toilet brush from my hand and was swirling it around in the water, since that looked fun. It took some distraction to get her to let go, so I could finish. And then we were cleaning the playmats in the living room; she needed to participate too. I brought a bucket of water into the living room and Tanya needed her own paper towel that she was dipping in the bucket. She pretty much kept her hand inside the bucket the whole time and was sitting there while we were washing each tile in turn. After, of course, I had to change all her wet clothes.

Today, we had a get-together in the afternoon at Yeva's. In the morning I made Tanya's soup and also spinach pie to take with me to the get-together. That took all morning. Meanwhile Bear played with Tanya and took her out too for a while. At one point in the early morning, they were sitting on the bed, reading a book and playing with some stuffed animals. I came over during a break in the cooking to join in a bit. But Tanya just tried pushing me off the bed and said "up," then "go away" and then repeated "away" (in English). I see how it is. When she needs something, it's "mama" "mama," but for playtime papa is good. I'm just happy with her language skills. Today she was eating a banana and told Bear "papa banana Nanya [her pronunciation of Tanya] nyam-nyam" That's the longest construction yet.

After a nap, for her and for me, we drove 15 minutes to Yeva's. In addition to Marianna and her family, Yeva invited her friend Dasha and her daughter. I met her a few times before and we always hang out like old friends. It's rare to just get to that level of comfort with people. Yeva's Mom and brother were also there. We spent over four hours there and it was lots of fun. We all had my spinach pie for an appetizer (and it was a hit, yay. Although Bear prefers the last more saltier version. I like it with less salt. Maybe I will substitute a different cheese for a bit more flavor). And we ordered Uzbekistan food from Nargis restaurant. It was so delicious. I have plov (rice and lamb) and a chicken kebob. Tanya actually ate both the spinach pie and plov. And a melon. And there was lots of desert.

Most importantly it was just nice to hang out and to see my girls and little Galya and Ida.

We got home by 8pm, and got Tanya in bed by 8:30, but it took almost an hour for her to settle down, with all the over stimulation. Then I went to the living room and I was just cross stitching. I finished the back stitch, so only french knots are left. I need to take it to my parents' house to look at my previous pieces to see how I did my signature - it's been awhile and I don't remember the exact stitches.
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I got an email from the library this morning to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers was available for me to borrow on my Kindle. So I did and I'm about 60% through it already. He is very easy to read (It's a reason why his articles are popular in the writing classes I teach). I knew the basic premise and ideas of this book from newspaper articles when the book came out, but it is interesting to read the whole book to get details.

Although it was a rainy day, today was great because Bear and I ventured to Manhattan to meet up with everyone. Only Adama couldn't come. Marianna was there with Galya, who at 2 and half was talking a lot and is much more interactive child. Janna and Bert came with their baby Jo (3 month old) and Yeva brought her new boyfriend Jonathan to meet us. We went to an Italian restaurant in midtown. It was a bit expensive but very good and the waiters were super attentive. They came up with a great appetizer for us - salad with tomato, basil and mozzarella. I had gnocchi and Bear had veal. All delicious. It was great to spend a few hours together. We try to manage it once a month but with the holidays its been too months since we were all together. So good day overall.
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I finally left the house today to go be social with my friends. It was pretty cold out so I bundled up and Papa gave me a ride to the train station.

We met up at an Indian place that we went to in October. We were supposed to meet at 1pm and I got there at 1:20 (It took me two hours to get there by public transport) but, of course, everyone else showed up at 2pm. I do hate that sometimes: I always show up early or on time and when I’m running late, like today, I get stressed about it even knowing that I will be earlier than others. By 2, I was starting to get a little upset too, but then everyone showed up all at once and I could calm down. I forgive my friends too easily. (At least Bear was legitimately late because he was being super helpful and he volunteered to pick up Marianna and her family in his car since it was so cold for a baby to stroll anywhere). At least I could wait inside the restaurant and read there a bit before just getting food. The food was delicious. It was a buffet and after eating a nice big place I couldn’t even bring myself to get anything more – I was pretty stuffed. I didn’t even have dinner after – just some ice-cream and tea in the evening.

After the buffet, we all (Marianna, Adama, Yeva, Bear and I and little Galya) went back to Marianna’s where we pretty much hung out and played with Galya a lot. She is seven month now and she is a great baby. She is not fussy and she stares at everything very intently. She loved all the attention and didn’t mind being passed around at all. She is already sitting up by herself and she started to mumble. And she is trying to stand up a little bit. She is just very adorable. I still can’t imagine the energy Marianna and Adama spend in taking care of her but I’m very happy to come and play with her for seven hours.

On the way home, Bear and I talked some in the car about the wedding and we are thinking late August so that we would have to summer to plan. I need to make a list of things we need to do like guest list and restaurant choice.
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Internet knows all – I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of “Loan Ended” notice on Kindle, after you return the library book on Kindle, so I looked it up. (for future reference, self, go to the notice and press right or left arrow and then delete).

Today was the get together dinner with my friends so I took the train and ferry and subway to Queens. We tried a French place called “Café Henri” in Long Island City (which is in Queens right across from midtown Manhattan). The place was good – I got crepes with ratatouille. Bear got a lamb sandwich. Yeva even ordered escargot. So we had a good time. Galya will be six month old tomorrow and she continues to be adorable. We all played with her a little bit. She is really good at restaurants. She doesn’t fuss much for a baby and she likes looking around.

After the late lunch, we went for a walk to the waterfront and the view of Manhattan was gorgeous. It was almost sunset so we saw all the lights go on. It was pretty cold but we were all bundled up. Galya was wearing baby Uggs. Then Bear drove me home and we hung out at my house. Overall a good day.

Pictures of the city: )


Awesome poster of a fake Avengers comic book poster if men were posed like women are usually posed in comics.
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Today summer returned for a day, which meant I could wear my nice shirt for our get together. Finally, after month and month we all managed to figure out our schedules and the baby schedule for Marianna and have our gigantic birthday party.

Since we all last saw each other all together, seven out of eight of us, all but Janna, had birthdays. So our giant birthday celebration today meant that Marianna, Yeva and I, all got presents! In addition to the gift card that we all pooled money together to give to Marianna, we pooled together other presents for her – little owl necklace from Janna, baby outfit from Yeva and little owl cross stitch on a bib and cake from me. Marianna loved it all. I got Yeva her nursing book and Janna made her earrings And Yeva got me a summer dress with sparkling body spray and Janna, a book to store recipes in and other cooking type notepads. (Marianna sent me an Amazon package a few months ago). So we were all in the birthday mood.

So in the morning, I stopped by the Russian store to get cake and then went on the train and ferry. I thought I would have to wait 30 minutes for the train but it was late so I caught an earlier ferry too. The ferry terminal was ridiculously crowded. I never seen it this crowded and wasn’t sure we would all fit. We did. Most of the people were those who just finished running a half marathon so the ferry smelled a bit like a locker room. And the subway too. But I read my book and National Geographic and the long traveling time passed pretty quickly.

We met up at an Indian buffet, which was really good. Janna, Bert and I did have to wait for everyone else, who as usual got there late. (Well, Bear was on time but he stopped by Marianna’s and got drafted into driving them). The buffet was really delicious. I even tried goat curry for the first time, which was certainly interesting.

In the late afternoon, Janna and Bert left for Bert’s football game TV appointment and the rest of us headed to Marianna’s for cake and just to hang out. Then Bear drove me home and we hung out at my house after he got some Wendi’s chili and then we went for a walk.

So it was a great day. I loved seeing everyone. And little Galya is getting so big. She behaved really well at the restaurant – I think she liked the music and the attention and didn’t fuss much.

But just after Bear left, I had one of those blood pressure spikes and that was not fun. It always feels like I’m on a ship (not dizzy but unstable) and someone is squeezing my head really hard. And my head doesn’t let up for a while. I’m so glad I don’t have to work tomorrow because of Columbus Day, I suspect I will need a whole day to feel normal again.

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