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Tanya and I have been staying at my parents' since last Wednesday, April 13th, because of Bear's work schedule. He only had half a Saturday and Sunday off last week, so it made more sense for him to just come visit it us here on those days. But in return he has a three day weekend this coming weekend so we can do our yearly Seder at Marianna's on Saturday, which I planned already and almost finished shopping for. My parents will drive us back on Saturday morning.

I had a lot of grading until this Monday, but I wasn't willing to give up the warm summery weather this weekend. So I ended up grading at the playground a lot. I got to sit in the sun, play a bit, and got a lot done. Now I'm enjoying my week of no grading until next Monday when I get the last batch of papers. The end of the semester is in sight.

On Tuesday, I went to my hairdresser for color, highlights and cut, so my hair is a bit shorter now, shoulder length, and much neater. I also went to vote. New York had its primary yesterday and since I'm a registered Democrat since forever, I could go participate. I've trying to avoid all the election coverage as much as I can, since it all just depresses me and annoys me. But obviously voting is something I wasn't going to miss. Go Hillary!

Meanwhile, since the weather has finally became warm and lovely with blue skies and t-shirts, we spent last Wednesday afternoon and today's afternoon at our local zoo. Staten Island Zoo is very small but cute and it's free on Wednesday from 2 to 5, which makes it a perfect outing. We went twice last year, but Tanya is older now and talking, so it was different.

She is still not into all the animals; monkeys and leopard bore her, apparently. But donkeys and geese and swans and ducks are her favorite. When we ask her what she'd seen in the zoo, first thing she says is "eeah" which her word for donkey, based on Russian name for Eeyore (she loves Russian Winnie the Pooh cartoons). And she loves starring at the water. Meanwhile I was enjoying the kangaroos. Last week they were mostly napping, but today they were skipping around. The Emus are pretty fun too.

The rabbit and pig where mostly napping, but the woodchuck Chuck came out today and we took a look at him a bit. Between last week and this week, alpacas and sheep were shorn, so that was a funny contrast. Today, the otter and the Arctic Fox where also out more, enjoying the sun and grooming themselves. It was warmer today so they were probably just enjoying the sun. Eagle, on the other hand, was hiding today, while last week he posed for my camera and spread his wings.

Today I brought my actual camera, not just my phone, to take some photos and in paying attention to the ducks, I think I found my favorite. It's called a smew (real name), and it is white with black stripes. When it's swimming it looks like a superhero duck with a black mask on. It was pretty cute.

Tanya also liked the reptile section, but not for the snakes themselves, more for water in the crocodile tank and the scary snake noise that starts playing if you step on a certain square. I think she would like horror movies when she grows up because she would go up to it, hear a noise, run to hide by my legs, and then would go "again!"

She is talking so much more. Distinct sentences, constant repetition and answering questions. This morning, when I got to the garage to go outside and she was there already playing with her green toy shovel, she saw me, showed me the shovel and said in Russian, "Mama, Tanya is playing with shovel. Green." She is talking more in Russian now, although she does say English sentences occasionally.

I need to make a separate TV post on Grimm, Supergirl and Flash.
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The rest of my week was so much better than Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were quite ordinary, which was nice. Not that the days were perfect - Tanya is a toddler whose new favorite word is "no" and who really wants to steal my phone to see pictures and to watch Elmo all the time that she possibly can (although she is only allowed 5 minutes of video of Elmo a day right now and 5 minutes of "Masha and the Bear" cartoon), and she doesn't want to eat her soup unless papa distracts her with a puppet show - but those are perfectly normal things that don't really make me upset or sad or anything. On the contrary, we had quite normal happy days.

On Thursday morning, my Mom picked Tanya and I up since I wanted to go to my hairdresser's on Friday for a haircut and coloring and highlights. Which is what I did. It took all morning, and the day was quite gloomy and cold, but it was nice to just to walk and enjoy the crispiness and to listen to music. My Dad got the new Adele album for my Mom and me, so I've been playing that - I really like it. My favorite song is "Million Years Ago". Bear can't stand to listen to it as he feels it's pretty depressive, but I like it.

On Friday afternoon, I also went to do some Christmas shopping for Bear's family. My family doesn't celebrate Christmas. We celebrate New Years and Tanya will get presents from me and my parents on New Year's morning. But only kids get presents then, so I don't have to get anything for my parents. Bear's family, on the other hand, is big on both Christmas and presents for everybody. Not big expensive, all out presents, just small presents, but there are a bunch of people. I got presents for Bear already and some small gifts for others but I needed more. So while Mama and Tanya went to the playground, I went to Home Goods where I found small varied things like coffee and lotions and kitchen jars with chickens on them that added up to about $60. I think I'm done and I'm quite happy with what I got for people.

On Thursday, my Remus/Sirius Small Gifts story was posted. It's called How to Find a Bloke at Holiday Parties . This is the summary: "Sirius really should have gotten Remus’ last name during Lily’s holiday party or some way to contact him. They were just too busy making out to get to all the important details. But Sirius is not one to give up. He will find the mysterious gorgeous stranger, maybe in time for another party. AU where Remus never went to Hogwarts." I incorporated a little bit of the Russian New Year traditions into the story because the wild card asked for unusual holiday traditions.

I did a little dance of joy on Friday morning because I saw that it got recced as an Editor's Choice on the Daily Snitch, which is a first for me!

I also finished watching Jessica Jones .
Jessica Jones )

Supergirl S1E8 )

Of course, the best part of this week was that yesterday, Bear and I had an actual date. We went to a few weddings together in the past year and a half but I never left Tanya overnight before. For a while this year, we were considering going to Montauk for about four days on a little vacation, just the two of us. But Tanya has been very clingy lately and I really didn't think that I could do it. So we decided to do a trial night away. My parents happily took care of Tanya this whole weekend. Bear came on Saturday morning around 10am to pick me up and we were baby free for about 29 hours. I had a great time but I did get nervous in the evening about her and bedtime, and by Sunday morning I was mostly missing her and was worried about how she was, although I knew that she was perfectly fine. It was just the longest I spend away from her in almost 17 months. I don't think I expected to miss her this absurdly much - although this weekend away was definitely needed and very welcome.

And we did have a great hike, Indian food, Star Wars )

Today, Sunday, was pretty nice too. I spent the morning wrapping all the presents as Bear was working out on his exercise bike, and then cross stitching. Then we went grocery shopping together - we haven't done that in a while - lately, I just make a list and Bear goes to the grocery story by himself. Then after coming home and eating lunch we went to get Tanya. We did try to stop by Best Buy so Bear could get a DVD for his Dad, but that ended up useless - that store was short of most things and too crowded. And in the evening, I made yaki udon since I picked up some udon noodles at the Asian supermarket a week or so ago. Tanya even had some udon noodles for dinner too, along with her veal meatball.
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Last week passed pretty quickly. On Wednesday, it was really hot but we went to the beach and it was just wonderful. The wind kept it cool and the water was actually warm enough that even I went swimming a few times. It just pure joy to be frolicking in the water and jumping with the waves (I don't actually swim that much in the ocean. Mostly I like jumping in the waves). I felt really happy and was enjoying the moment.

On Friday, I got a haircut with color and highlights. My hair can get very big and puffy sometimes and I don't have the patience to style it or make it that smooth, so it's nice when it's all styled after a hairdressers. I usually keep my hair up in a ponytail or a bun but my daughter lately pulls any scrunchy out of my hair since she likes it loose (easier to grab on to to soothe herself), so it's also pleasant to have it look nice when it's down. It's shoulder length now; I just took a few inches off.

Saturday, was the second opinion dentist visit. I really like this Russian female dentist. She explained everything well, showing me the x-ray and talking to me like a normal reasonable intelligent person. I definitely need to redo the crown, but since my root canal hasn't bothered me for 12 years and the root is too deep to be much affected by a redo, it is probably not worth it to spend so much money on. One day it will fail and will have to be pulled anyway. Whether I have to do a redo or just a crown will depend on the insurance company a bit (they might not let me just to do the crown but the dentist will write to them). I definitely feel more comfortable with this dentist. It also helps that her office has a very handsome male dental technician. Nice eye candy.

And I had a very nice weekend - Sunday, Monday - with Bear. I got some time to myself, I cooked and cleaned, I finished one book and watched a movie and did some playground family time. And I wrote a drabble , a little conversation between Luna and Professor McGonagall. It was for RS Games inter team activity and my prompt was seagull.

One more week at home (except work orientation on Thursday), and then back to work. I am looking forward to it.

Movie: Into the Woods )

Book: The Romanov Sisters: the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rapapport )

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 09:55 pm
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The weather is too cold again - I just want it to be a little more summery.

I went to Staten Island today, for a hair appointment. Today I got hair color and highlights. My hairdresser works in her home - they converted a garage into a little studio. That means it is much cheaper than in the salon. I like how my hair ended up and it is always good styles and not big like a lion mane, which is what usually happens. For $60 it is so worth it.

It did take over two hours and then I took the bus to my parent's house, since I figure I could stop by for a little bit. Mama and I put an add on Craigslist for my wedding dress - I cropped some pictures for that. I also read my book for a while when she was supervising renovation. And when Papa came home from work, he walked with me to the bus stop. It was nice to see them for a little bit.

I've been cross-stitching in the evening much more regularly. The bibs are coming along. I do like listening to music or putting on an old show that I don't have to look at much to follow. It is so nice to get back into it - I'm remembering how relaxing it is.

Yesterday I went to Manhattan for an internship interview. I'm going to be working for mayoral campaign - or at least I'll see what it is like for a while. I just want to do something useful and productive for the summer. Obviously, I'm not allowed to talk in detail about it, so I'll only post vague details. We'll see. I'm keeping an open mind right now.
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Today was pretty much a hair styling day as I spent half the day at a hair dressers. My parents dropped me off at the apartment at about 1:30pm, on the way to Mama’s dental surgery and I brought up some things while waiting for Yeva to pick me up. James was there with his parents today. His Dad was helping him put together the dressers and his Mom was cleaning the windows (my Mom and I were planning on doing that on Saturday). His Mom also brought a shower caddy as a gift. I didn’t stay long as Yeva was actually early for once.

She took me to the guy she goes to for hair coloring. It is a little drive but she swears by him and he is not that expensive. We got there a little earlier and had time for Yeva to grab lunch and to do some shopping. Since Yeva wanted to go to Marshall’s for clothes shopping and I find that utterly boring, I went to Staples instead and licked up the little budget books I wanted and pens and glue too. I do love back to school sales – I loved school when I was a kid and going back to school was so much fun, especially in supply shopping.

Then at 3:30 I was really for my appointment with George. He is our age and he is just as great at what he does as Yeva said. For the first time in my life I colored my hair completely. (Last December I just got highlights). George did such a great job in matching the color to my natural color that I even have trouble seeing that it is not my actual hair color. He also did brownish-reddish highlights on top of it. Since Yeva was also getting her hair done, it took up a while. I loved how my hair turned out.

We stopped by in ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond’ store, and then drove back to Brooklyn where Yeva dropped me off at the bus stop. I grabbed a slice of pizza for a late dinner. (And, of course, forgot my checks that Bear just gave me in Yeva’s car. Well, I’ll see her on Sunday for the wedding shower).
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May 14: My semester is finally over so I can catch up here. I will try to keep most of it off the Reading page so not to spam anyone. It is really nice not to be grading anymore!

I signed up for R/S Firsts Fest, knowing that by end of the semester I won’t have time. But I could write a very very short story. So I did just in time for a deadline today. And I got Bear to beta it since it was such last notice. How much do I love my fiancée for his willingness to read my slash stories!

Mama and I went to Brooklyn to do my wedding hair trial. Yeva recommended the hairdresser so off we went. And I did like the style and her and the hair did hold all day. Lots and lots of pins in my hair. So although it would involve a lot of traveling on the day of, I will do my hair with her.

Grimm S1E19 )
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Mama and I went looking for a hairdresser for the wedding hair today and we tried someone close to home. It was a tactical mistake on my part of not bringing a book. So I pretty much sat there looking at magazines (and the wedding magazines are ridiculous – who actually spends 30 hours a week planning a weeding – there isn’t that much to plan). Feels like wasted hours too, since my Mom’s hair style didn’t really hold that long and she doesn’t like it – so we’ll keep shopping. I’ll call the hairdresser Yeva recommended and do a trial with her; she is supposed to be great at styling hair.

Grimm S1E18 )

I need to pick up cross stitch again – I haven’t done it in so long but I really want to get back into it.
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We finally have a new textbook for the Basic Comp class I’m teaching in the fall. About time too, I was getting sick of old essays. And a few essays I actually read before for fun, on my own time, like Gladwell’s piece from the New Yorker last October about Tweeter, revolution and social change. (I will need to have students research about Iran’s Green Revolution and a little on what happened in Egypt too). And the Intro from Kristof and WuDunn’s book “Half the Sky”(I love that book). I think, just looking at the table of context is that I want one sequence to focus on social change with technology angle. Maybe. I really need to skim all the articles first. But I will do these two definitely at least. Then there is medical technology articles I will use in the second half of the semester.

Belkin’s article on babies genetically engineered to help save their sick kids, which I taught before, would go great with a new article by Lauren Slater’s “Who Holds the Clicker.” It is about brain surgery for patients with psychiatric disorders and the ethics of helping people with the technology that might potentially control them. I like Slater’s articles because they always present many sides and the case study in this article was really helped to control his OCD. And I like her writing style too.

I got a haircut this morning – it is shoulder length now with layers, about 3-4 inches shorter than before. There was so drama with my Mom about the highlights. I never colored my hair or did anything to it but it is really time to start because of the grey hair (in my family we get grey hair pretty young). And today when the hairdresser suggested highlights I actually thought that it was time. But Mama, who was with me, didn’t want to wait the extra time and she is insistent that I don’t need them yet since I have nice dark thick hair that should not be spoiled by chemicals, as she put it. It is really useless to argue with my mother, she is a difficult person most of the time. But next time I go, I think, I will get the highlights.
Amusing story - When Papa came home, he said hello and I waited for him to mention the haircut – it is three or four inches shorter at least – but, of course, he is a guy, so he didn’t really notice even as he was looking directly at me. And then, hilariously, he asked when I will go to the hairdressers before school starts to coordinate some dates. I just told him to look at me again and then we laughed about it.

I paid bills, changed appointments and did other administrative things today. While I was doing that I looked at my planner and realized that I start teaching on August 29. That is two and a half weeks. Where did the summer go? I need to work on my law class syllabus some more and first week of lectures. It is actually soon!

SYTYCD Season 8 Finale )
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The weather continues to be cold and miserable and spring is refusing to come.

I got a haircut today, for the first time since September. It was much cheaper than usual for some weird reason, but I’m not complaining.

For the second paper in my history class I think I’m going to ask students to examine material manifestations of power in Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. They both do go on about royal courts quite a bit and describes the wealth and riches. My secondary question will ask them to take the author’s context and background into consideration.
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First of September – throughout my life it was always a very significant day since it always marked the first day of school in my childhood. We put on the white apron with our uniform, not the black of regular day and we brought flowers for the teacher. Part of the reason I always wanted to be a teacher, I think, was because of that day full of flowers.

I got a haircut today. My hair is shorter now – shoulder length now with nice layers. Mama found this new hairdresser fairly close to us that she actually liked, which is hard to believe. Usually Mama hates her haircut after a day. So she made an appointment for me today and there was an opening. I like her and I really like the haircut, especially since she specifically made it so I won’t have to do much to style it or anything, since I don’t. I wash my hair and I brush it in the morning. I really don’t want to spend more time on it than that.

Buffy Comic S8 Issue 36 )

Highlander S5 E3,4 )

Bear is actually planning a trip to Montauk later in the year. That is unusual Bear behavior but I’m really glad he is finally planning something and we can get away, just the two of us.
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I was thinking about something I got a comment on a few weeks ago. I’ve never colored my hair. I love my hair, even though I went through a period when my hair got big and liony after a haircut when I was twenty and I wished it would go back to regular hair. But over the years, I’ve learned to love my hair as it is – big and bushy after a shower. But there is lots of it and I love it. And I like the color of it.

For the past few years some gray started to set in. This is genetic in my family; Mama started to go gray early and my cousin, who the same age is me, also has gray streaks. There is more gray hair every year, but my hair is still mostly dark brown. I never spent too much money on my hair. I wash it and I cut it once in a while and I only style it for big occasions, like weddings, once in a blue moon. I hate hair spray and how it makes my hair feel. I’m not big on lots of traditionally girly things and don’t care about style or make-up or things like that in general.

And I admit to myself that one day I will start coloring my hair – still, dark brown – eventually. The idea of chemicals in my hair does not appeal and neither is spending money on it. But I do know that I will eventually get to it. Well, a few weeks ago, one of my friends told me that I needed to start coloring my hair immediately, because, god forbid, there is some gray in it. And another friend, agreed. They been coloring their hair for a long time and it is a second nature to them. And I know they mean well.

But I sort of bristled at their suggestion mostly because I don’t like people telling me what to do in regards with aesthetics. I had the same reaction when the same friend tried to get me to pluck my eyebrows in college (I like them thick, thank you very much, and I refuse to conform to standards of beauty). The fact it, I’m not ready yet to start coloring my hair because it is well, my hair and I like my color, and I’m not ready for it to be another color or to feel too different.

But I get so many comment about how women need to embrace regular manicure/pedicure and facials and make-up and all that in general (I got many comments like that in Belarus under a category “Women should always take care of themselves”) that I just resist it. I do like color on my toes, but I’d rather do it myself, and I like my fingernails short. But can’t bring myself to care about other things like hair style or make-up or spending hours in the morning getting ready for the day. I put on lipstick if I have to go teach, I brush my hair, and that is the extent of it.

Which bring me back to coloring my hair. I always said that I will color it after 30, but now that I am 30, I don’t want to yet. And I can’t explain it adequately to my friends who are so into the culture’s idea of what a woman should do. I’m just trying to figure out why that comment bothered me.

“The Young Victoria” A nice movie. I do like historical movies but I can’t decide if this movie shouldn’t be called “Victoria and Albert” instead, because the story is pretty much all about them meeting and, despite the arrangement of it, falling in love. And this movie has a bit of pre-Albert stuff. But the movie ends with the show of the two of them, not Victoria by herself. She realizes that she can let him help without losing her strength, which is a nice idea but the implication that he would be a solution and fix lots of things is a little uncomfortable. At least, she has a fight with him in the movie about that. I do love the actors in this, and both actors who play Victoria and Albert do such a marvelous job. I love the scene where Victoria proposes to him.

After I watched the movie I was looking over the geneology of Hanovers and Windsors online and it was fun to discover that there are over 600 living descendants today of Victoria and Albert (pretty much all nobility in Europe). And there are about 5,000 descendants of George I.


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