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The ring saga continues and I’m extremely frustrated and I just want to throw something – I’m ready to snap at stuff or I want to hit something – mostly because I need to grade and I have to spend more than an hour dealing with this shit. I was not really pleasant to be around tonight.

So last night, after almost two weeks with no return label from Macys, I filled out the internet Contact Us form, hoping for a better reply. The label would still take 7-10 days to be sent to my email (which is really ridiculous, it is just a label) but they did ship the replacement ring. Except…when the new ring arrived today – it was the same wrong one. Apparently, two different order numbers are registered to one ring! So I spent some time writing complaint emails. I’m just going to return all of it (if they ever mail me the label) and I will go shopping for the ring in a different place. Argh.
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So this morning, at breakfast, Bear and I had that conversation with his mother we were not really looking forward to and just as we thought she would prefer a rabbi not cantor although what she really wants is a priest. She also was giving up all kinds of bizarre reasons about living in the city and if we thought about communing. She really doesn’t want him to leave home, I think. Seriously, coming up with some story of a big guy who was beat up in Brooklyn on the way to see his girlfriend and then when I, puzzled at her point, mentioned that I lived in the city for a long time and felt pretty save, she points out that it would be safer for me as a girl? Both Bear and I were very confused by that and then later laughed about it a lot because that was just such a ridiculous thing to say.

After late breakfast, Bear drove me home. There was a brush fire close enough for us to smell it near our house and we could see it pretty far away. Thankfully, it wasn’t anywhere near my house but just led to traffic.

I made hot dogs and plaintains for lunch that Marianna gave me on Saturday. It was my first time making plantains and I did burn them a little – but they were still very edible.

I finally got my new laptop that worked today and then I spent about 5 hours to setting it up, transferring all programs and documents, downloading all programs. At least all bookmarks for Firefox transferred. Transferring iTunes library was probably most frustrating. Here is hoping that Tosh works well this time. I’m getting very cynical about computers. New settings – purple color for the Windows and new background – Hogwarts from Orlando instead of botanic garden. I should make a folder of pictures I can rotate as a background. I’m crossing my fingers that this laptop lasts longer than my last one.
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Not having a reliable laptop at home is affecting school too since I couldn’t really work on my lecture at home. I did manage to log on my Sony only to save some Renaissance notes last night. Or at least I thought I did. When I got my office this morning to put my lecture and small Powerpoint together, I discovered that I didn’t really save in on the flash drive. Which led to scrambling to get a textbook and decide what I was going to do in class. With talking about bibliography and printing out a guide for them and with the discussion of the chapter we read at home and with some primary source reading in class, I did manage to put together a three hour class on a very short notice. But it worked well, I thought.

I also put together the Joan of Arc readings for two weeks from today (I love that Local College has an Easter Monday off – I get a long weekend and no giant Monday class).

In the global class, we had a discussion on Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.” It went really well. The students were very engaged in it. Definitely a good book to teach.

And now with ongoing wedding saga – So last week, I went to Macy’s to order a wedding ring for Bear, which he picked earlier. Today the ring arrived and it was the wrong one! The salesperson held the ring in her hand when she checked the number of it with me (I wrote it carefully in my notes) and she had it in her hand when she typed it up and she still messed up the last two numbers. Yes, the ring is custom made so technically I can’t do return but that was not my fault at all. So I called Macy’s and they are supposed to send me a return label in 2-3 business days over email. Why would it take that long? We’ll see.

On a brighter note, “Hound of Baskerville” book is a lot of fun. I barely remember the plot so a lot of it feels brand new.
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I had to put together the Colonialism Powerpoint in school because my laptop doesn’t want to work for longer than one hour before flickering. The LCD screen is really going. My Dad will ask around how much repair shops would charge but I think I will be buying a new laptop this weekend to my chargin. Sony definitely will not fix it for less than $500. I will not buy a Sony laptop again, that’s for sure, because three years is not long enough for this breakdown.

In much more fun news, well for me, today at Black Circle DJ Fest, my Harry Potter fic went up. It is my first story from Sirius’ perspective.

After school, we also drove to the mall so I could order Bear’s ring. There was a sale at Macy’s today that the salesperson told up last weekend about. So that is done.
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I finished grading my Global midterms in the morning and the Kid came over wanting to hang out. Now that it is warm outside, she’s coming around again. So I enlisting her help, gave her a calculator and had her calculate the grades (averaging three essay scores) for my midterms. She really liked that and she was practicing math and percentages too. Win-win for both of us.

And then Bear came over and we went suit shopping in the mall. For me the mall is the soul sucking place of hell. I really don’t like clothes shopping or shoe shopping. It is a little better when I’m shopping for something specific so I know I can get in and out but I’m not a fan of browsing. And the lost time. We got there at 1:40 and after we were done with the suit, and looking at shoes and getting a tie and figuring out the rings, I asked Bear for time and was shocked to know it was three hours later. Soul and time sucking place.

But we did manage to be productive. We decided that Bear would buy a suit for the wedding instead of renting a tux since then we gets to keep the suit and it be useful. And Bear got a dark grey suit and a nice grey stripy tie. We also picked his ring which I will have to go back and order in about 10 days – he needs size 13 so we need to order. He looks very nice in it. Now he just needs shoes. I’m just glad to be done with clothes shopping.

We also decided that we need a non-wedding related date. So for our next date we’ll get Indian lunch and go see “Hunger Games.”

We did go to Toys R Us after the mall for Galya’s early birthday present since I might not have time in the next few months – I’m taking care of this very early. I’m getting her blocks and I also got a ball. I hate gender divisions in the toy store, they come up more and more – “girl” blocks in stupid pastel colors were three dollars more. This is for the same toy! And the primary color with the “boy” picture are much better for babies anyway!

I got some Japanese for dinner while Bear got Chinese take-out. I haven’t had Japanese in a while and it was very delicious.
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What the Hell? I’m sitting here crying over everything wedding related again. And I’m mad at myself for getting upset. I think I figured it out – this is a cultural difference in how we see a wedding. Laurie, Bear’s brother’s girlfriend emailed me about how much a ceremony is important and a city hall ceremony just won’t do. She wanted to contribute $300 for us to have a ceremony since it is the main “Event” and the restaurant is just an afterthought apparently. Not in a Russian wedding – the whole day matters including the restaurant. Why do people want to put their five cents in?

And also Bear’s mother wanted us to change the date from a Sunday to perhaps a Friday, since Bear’s godmother has to drive back early that day for her children’s first day of school. No! Since when do we have to poll every guest to make sure they are comfortable with the date. We already have the invitations and I don’t even care if she offered to compensate us. If she wants a religious ceremony, it has to be a Sunday, since you can’t have a Jewish one on Friday or Saturday. And Sunday less people actually need to take a day off than Friday. Argh. We’ll made sure his godmother is part of the day – he has to pick me up at 1 or so – it will not just be about the restaurant in the evening.

Around the middle of the day, I stopped being upset and crying over all this stress and just got mad. I am compromising a reasonable amount but some things I will not do.

Other than that fun time, I actually had a pretty good day. I read National Geographic and other readings and I took a one hour walk because it was so warm and lovely outside.
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We went to Brooklyn this morning to see some basic flower quotes on Brighton. It was so cold this morning – after the last few days it went back to winter. We also visited my grandparents. On the way back, my parents dropped me off at the post office where I got nice stamps with roses on them for the invitations and I double checked that they weighed properly.

When I was leaving the post office, I realized that I didn’t have my phone on me. I double checked the post office and the route I took to get there but I couldn’t find it. I didn’t really panic since I figured it probably fell out of my coat into the car. (And it did. I found it when I got home). But for those 15-20 minutes when I walked home and stopped by the back, it was really weird to walk around with no phone on me. It was like a limb was missing. I know I didn’t have a cell phone for a long time and now I can’t even imagine it. And I don’t even have a smartphone. I have a regular phone with a sliding keyboard. I want to shake my head at myself.

I addressed all the invitations. The heart stickers I got in Michael’s worked really well. I liked how everything worked out with that. Now I will drop them off at post office next week and move on to the next thing – Bear’s suit and outfit.

Mama’s friend Galina and her daughter Olya came to visit again tonight. They are staying over. The good part about it was I gained an ally to talk to Papa about the contraception debate and other political issues. Galina always backs me up and the political debate becomes less frustrating.
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Folder review was today – My director actually complimented to me several times that I was doing a great job (and she heard before that I was good) - which is always great to hear. I didn’t actually finish grading all of the papers, so I’m not always that great – I just presented those I had concern about. I did finish all the midterms for Writing class last night and I did get up at 6 to grade papers. But I will need to grade more over Spring Break together with history midterms for two classes and one response paper. Grading doesn’t end. On better news: Spring Break – no teaching next week. Yay. And I’m happy Folder Review is done. Those matter in future hiring decisions.

We went to Costco afterward and I got bottles of wine for Passover – that is coming up in a month already. How are we a third way into March already?

I found the best way to sit and fold and stuff all the invitations. I put episodes of “Angel” and “Buffy” to watch on the laptop and then just folded. We actually have three extra invites, which was unexpected. Oh, the “Angel” episode was the one about the stalker guy whose eye and hands could separate from his body and it is one of the creepiest. It is even creepier the second time.

Grimm S1E14 )

Monday, March 8, 2012

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 11:00 pm
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Bear’s Mother and religion and her views on the wedding made me so upset. She is very, very super Catholic, and she does not believe that a wedding is real unless God is present there and there is some sort of religious ceremony. She did express that opinion before (and we told her that we will try to contact a priest, who is a friend of the family, to do a blessing or something), and she was talking to me about it on Saturday, trying to convince us to have any religious ceremony, even Jewish one.

Bear and I wanted to keep our wedding as simple as possible, both in cost and in hassle and we were just going to go to city hall. But Bear overheard her last night, talking to someone on the phone, and she was just so dismissive of our whole wedding because there will be no religion in it. She was saying that when I was showing her the pictures of invitations and dress and generally talking about it, she just wanted to throw up since it was just all fake wedding stuff. Basically, being polite to my face while seething about it inside. It is that dismissal of our plans and complete disrespect for any other idea of what a wedding should be that made me upset the most. And the fact that she was basically making me stressed and nervous and taking all my excitement at my own wedding away from me.

I was crying before I went to sleep and crying some more this morning when I was writing an email to Marianna asking for a name of the guy who married her. She married a Muslim and the cantor who did a Jewish ceremony for her, does specialize in interfaith marriages. I don’t know any religious officials since I go to synagogue once a year and religion to me is a social thing and not so much about God. Plus, now I have to contact people and sort this out and I get anxiety calling strangers on the phone. (Like I seriously usually make others order take-out). Bear and I, at least, both agreed that we are not paying for this – this could be several hundred dollars and his mother can cover it since she is so keen. She did offer briefly on Saturday so she should shell out. Bear will also contact the priest so we’ll see what happened. I hate the hustle but I recognize the need for compromise.

I rarely get really upset, because usually it sits in my chest the whole day and that is was happened. I did less grading because of it. I couldn’t concentrate as well. So at lunch, instead of grading some more – I have folder review tomorrow – I caught up on “House” on Hulu.

Such a nice warm day today, I wish I had time to enjoy it.

On a brighter note, Happy International Women's Day! When I was little and I lived in the country where this was a national holiday, we had a day off school and I got presents. So I'm still fond of it.
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My screen keeps being jumpy and I’m really worried for my laptop right now. I did all the virus scans and it is all clean. It might be the laptop monitor or a loose connection or something. It is not jumpy all the time but it is not the Internet itself since the whole thing is jumpy. I did back up of everything to external hard drive today, just in case. My lovely laptop is only four years old, it really should not fall apart yet.

Invitations we ordered came today. That was actually exciting. The paper is a little thinner than I expected and I will have to fold them all in four. But the gold lettering in the front is very nice.
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Bear and I ordered our Invitations today. He found the design online and we both really liked it since it was in-between formal and casual and the theme of friendship plays a big part. Both of us consider the friendship to be essential value and it fits us. And there is a cute picture too. It is called “Playful Love.” So that is one more thing to cross off the list. I do love our not stressful planning.

We also went to Michaels since I wanted to see what they had and we got thank you cards, heart stickers for invitation envelope and a garter. And we looked at wedding bands to check out prices. The whole day passed too quickly and before we knew it, it was dinner time. We wanted to go for a hike too but we ran out of time and it was too windy. We got Chinese/Thai food instead.
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Last week has been a little crazy with the grading and now I need to catch up on my blog. So some entries for the week, mostly for really boring and uneventful days, will be just on my blog and not on reading pages to spare the inundation. I’m just happy to get through this week.

I have a wedding dress! I really can’t believe that I will wear something so very expensive even thought it will be a gift from my parents. (We are paying for everything ourselves so they wanted to at least get something). Even thinking about the price makes me cringe a bit and shake my head. But the dress is beautiful and I’m just going to appreciate my parents for it.

So my original plan was maybe look around and rent something. Or buy something online or at a cheaper type store. Mama and I decided to look around some shops today – we went to a Bridal Store that was everything but the dress. And I asked about prices for invitations there – way too much - and definitely getting something online. Bear is in charge of those anyway.

Anyway, we then drove to a Wedding Salon. When we came in, the salespeople were upstairs and we were just looking around, being a little overwhelmed. Mama, in her typical fashion, hated everything on sight and didn’t even want to stay. She just wanted to pick something online and nothing hanging on the mannequins appealed to her. But I did want to try some stuff on so I insisted we stay. I wanted to see different fabrics. Finally, the salesperson, Aurora, came down. I’m sure Mama’s demeanor did not fill her with confidence. I filled out a card and tried to find words to describe what I wanted. Mostly, non-puffy, non-princessy, more simple and elegant straight down dress. I really don’t like showy. Out of my very vague description, she pulled out about five dresses and I started to try them on.

The first one I tried was actually the one I ended up ordering. I tried on maybe five dresses and the choice came down between two. The satin ones were too heavy and this fabric was much lighter and seemed more appropriate for summer. I tried those two dresses a few times for comparison.

As I was trying out and modeling the dresses, Mama got really into it. She was even smiling and being all friendly by the end, which is pretty unusual. She is not an easy person to please. And in the middle of trying out the dresses she decided to just order it these, especially since all alterations were included. Unexpectedly and luckily, Mama and I, through this whole process of looking at style of dresses, actually liked very similar styles so we both liked the dress. And while I didn’t really want a veil, she picked one that looks pretty simple and got that too. And a hair piece.

The only thing we wanted extra on the dress was the straps since I’m not really a fan of completely sleeveless ones.

As I’m writing this, I’m just sitting here shaking my head again since I still can’t believe how much that cost. I keep telling myself to breathe.

So here is a link to the dress. It looks even better in person. Just picture the straps with it.
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Long day, as usual. I was going to grade in the evening, but after so much teaching and prepping to teach, and office hours, and reading some rough drafts and basically working from 7am to 6pm, I just have no energy. So I caught up to blogging instead and I’m going to read a little more.

I gave a lecture on Mughal Empire in my Global History class. The Department Chair emailed me last week asking if she could come observe me teach, which was not really a question. This is the first time I was observed teaching in years and years, and certainly the first time since I started teaching at Local College a year ago. I also knew very little about Mughal Empire until last week, when I started working on the lecture. But I think the lecture went very well. I did background for India, Babur and Akbar. There was Powerpoint, a video clip for students to watch and the discussion of two primary sources. So good variety. It is not like I was teaching differently or anything – I’m pretty set in my methods. And I don’t really get nervous teaching but I was a little more hyperaware because the Chair was sitting there. And this is my favorite class this semester, which I really did not expect.

So I did order that summer type white dress from that Chinese website. We’ll see what happens. I have no expectations whatsoever.

I didn’t want to watch “House” today. Too tired. So I didn’t. I’ll just catch up to it in a few weeks. I used to look forward to it so much but not lately. And there is only half a season left. I also don’t want to watch “HIMYM” anymore. I think “Glee”, “Grimm,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Modern Family” are the only full season shows I’m interested in anymore. The rest are seasonal.
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Mama was looking at wedding dresses online for the last week. I think she got obsessed with it a little bit. She was looking at this online Chinese website that I’m a bit weary off. Lots of people did not have good experiences there although some were fine. Since I actually need two dresses, one, more formal, for the reception and one, more summery, for the city clerk’s office, and since Mama is so stuck on it, I might end up ordering the summery, cheaper one online to try the website out. And if the dress is messed up or it doesn’t work well, it is not a lot of money. So I’m thinking of this compromise to indulge her bit.

Everyone just wants to put their two cents in into this wedding; Bear and I constantly need to emphasize what we want and fight against other people’s opinions. We are paying for this wedding and it is our wedding! Mama even suggested a song for us, after I let her listen to the song Bear and I agreed on like 9 years ago, which she didn’t care for. (“Stand By Me” by the Pretenders). Seriously.

Bear’s Mom is very Catholic and she is getting upset at our plans for City Hall wedding for the legal portion of it. The reason we decided on city hall in the first place is, first of all, it is the cheapest and easiest option, and, secondly, it will be as neutral on religion as possible. Neither of us feels like we need a religious sanction at all. Marriage is a social contract to me. But I would, for example, love a chuppa wedding and everything but that would cost money and I want to be sensitive to his religious family. But to her, I think, any religion would be better than no religion. And she is using some emotional blackmail in a very passive aggressive way by threatening not to come unless there is a religious blessing of some kind. She is not really going not to come but argh. They have a family friend who is a priest and I wouldn’t mind terribly if he just did the blessing but it all is driving me crazy.

Downton Abbey )
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Not much going on today. Went to see grandparents and started figuring out the guest list and who can actually make it. Papa called my uncle who then called my cousins who sent me emails. And Lenya, Papa’s cousin said he would come. Mostly I spent the day reading a bit and putting together “’Discovering’ the New World” lecture.

“Anything Goes” is stuck in my head. I wish I could see the Broadway version that is playing right now.

“Downton Abbey” had another good episode. Maggie Smith gets the best lines.
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I finally got to Staples to buy my Roster book. My old one finally run out after eight years. I haven’t been teaching all the semesters or at full load and some classes were not included. Still it feels weird to start a new one. I was pretty much working on my Luther lecture and Powerpoint today and doing some comments on the close reading assignment. My students all seem capable of understanding the main concept in the paragraph I gave them to read, but they can’t seem to understand the 15th century quote in its historical context – or show that the quote referred not to modern technology but to introduction of the printing press. I’m so going over that in the discussion on Tuesday.

I was looking at some wedding books again and they just irritate me for the most part. So I will just buy a $1 notebook and use that to plan everything and use internet for occasional guidance. First up, our parents are getting together this Saturday. Mama invited Bear’s parents over. Bear and I will have to serve as conversation starters/buffers. I’m thinking of various topics of conversation we could introduce. In our thirteen years of dating, our parents met once, very briefly in college, a month into it. And they talked on the phone once when Bear was visiting me in London during the 2005 terrorist bombings. And mostly they send each other food/treats for the holidays and fruit baskets during illness. But not really long sustained conversations. We’ll see.

I finished the Stephen Fry book. I enjoyed it a lot even when it got to be a little long at some points. But I do love the way he writes. And it was a good view into the world of British comedy in the 1980s. Now I can focus on reading the slave narrative "Interesting Narrative of Life of Olauda Equiano" that I assigned my class. I need to read all the books for class first before I pick up a fiction book for fun. I did put a Book List on my journal page to keep track of the reading and everything I want to read this year. I’m trying to be realistic about it (and fanfic does take away a lot of my already scarce reading time).

Season 2 of Downton Abbey continues to be lovely. It is a great cap to Sunday.
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I was going to see “Beauty and the Beast” today but it was 22F (-6C) during the day and too cold to walk to the movie theater. I might try tomorrow.

I’m starting to make some wedding plans, basic guest list and legal marriage requirements. And keeping the cost down. I don’t even want an official photographer. Mama and Bear’s Dad have good fancy cameras and someone can hold a camera. At least I’m determined to have it all be low-key. It is really not as stressful as everyone makes it out to be.

Golden Globes – I watched from 8 to 9 and from 10 to 11. Took a break for “Downton Abbey” Helen Mirren is awesome. Dresses are terrible. Some had feathers on the bottom or something equally horrible. I’ve just not seen the nominated movies this year, so I’m not that excited over it all.

Downton Abbey S2E3 )
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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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I’m such not a “girl” sometimes. I was looking at wedding planning books on Amazon since I do need to get one when we actually decide on the date and I love lists – and there are so many things in those books that I just don’t care about – like flowers or bridesmaid’s dresses or color schemes. It all seems so silly. We want a small wedding at a Russian restaurant and I don’t care if it is ‘perfect.’ It is just a party, really. I mean, I’m looking forward to it but there is no need for being elaborate or stress over tiny details. Or spend so much money. Plus a lot of stuff in those wedding planners are not for a Russian wedding since the catering and venue and music are all together in a Russian restaurant and there is no gift registrar. (In Russian weddings, there is just an envelope with money, as in many other cultures). Still, there are useful lists in those books that I might need or something at some point. It just seems so silly to spend a lot of time planning one evening.

Since the semester is not starting until the 17th, I’m pretty much a home, reading and writing a little. I did call the bookstore to update my textbook order. But not much is going on. I did watch some more “Buffy.”

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