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I think I jinxed myself yesterday morning by thinking that taking care of a baby was much less stressful than I remembered and that the biggest issue was Tanya acting out more. Tanya is almost three and I'm sure she's also jealous of the time I spend on the baby, so she's having more tantrums and more not listening, and being generally stubborn. You tell her not to do something, she's does it deliberately and on purpose. Yesterday morning she was driving both me and my Mom nuts. Olivia, on the other hand, has been sleeping a lot and been generally a good baby. I do have to wake up three times a night to feed her, but she eats quickly and that's pretty normal baby stuff. (And I was terrified being alone with Tanya even when she was like a month, and I'm fine being with a tiny baby now, because I do know what to expect).

But I jinxed it because yesterday, Olivia got gas pains a lot, was crying much more and generally just wanted to be held and to nap on me and not in the crib or the little co-sleeper I use for the first month. So I was basically holding her all day and was trying to soothe her in the evening while she looked like she was in pain, which made me want to cry too. She cried for maybe 5 minutes straight, but that was long enough for me to be upset about it. She did sleep ok at night, in her co-sleeper, and I was rubbing her tummy more, and this morning, after I changed her diaper and fed her, she even sat quietly in her baby chair in the kitchen for ten minutes while I ate breakfast, but boy, I can't wait for this stage to pass and for her tummy to settle down. She's over 9 pounds already, so hopefully it will be just a few months.

Bear went back to work this past week and my Mom has been coming over every day. Usually I would take Olivia outside to nap in the stroller in the courtyard at least once a day, sometimes twice. I would read my book or chat with neighbors. If my Mom and Tanya stopped by on the way to or from the big playground, Tanya would want to sit on me and play with me more than usual - she is definitely reacting to my focus on the baby. Before she would just tell me to go away more. I do try to play with her when I can. I know it is a big change for her.

Bear's birthday was on Thursday. It was very low key this year. Tanya and I drew him a card and I gave him his presents on Thursday morning. I got him another little drone, a book on Black Holes and DVD of Logan. He saw it in the movie theater but he wanted to own it and I wanted to watch it, so win-win. Tomorrow, Bear is taking Tanya to Long Island for the day to celebrate Father's Day and his birthday (he was born on Father's Day so his family always combined the celebrations) and he will get a proper cake. I will just be home with Olivia all day, since she's too young to travel anywhere and I just want to be home anyway.

I've been watching "Orange is the New Black" Season 5 - an episode a day, pretty much. And Great British Baking Show this morning on PBS app. I'm still reading LeGuin book - I'm up to book reviews section. Mostly I'm just sleepy.

I'm 37. I'm not old.

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 01:03 pm
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This has probably been the weirdest birthday I've ever had. Mostly because I'm just waiting for my contractions to start and I'm on edge a little bit about it. And I'm not very comfortable sleeping or lying down or anything. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said that I'm basically 3-4cm dilated already so as soon as contractions hit I need to not wait and just get to the hospital immediately and that it can happen at any point now, probably soon. Now, with Tanya I was 2cm dilated for almost a week before I went into labor and he was also saying it could happen at any moment. So it's not unfamiliar situation. But I'm still over analyzing every bodily feeling. Especially as with second kids birth is usually faster and there is a drive to the hospital.

So I'm basically home, on my bed, lounging. My parents are here - my Dad is working from my place, and Tanya is home, of course, while Bear is at work today. He left me presents, which I opened this morning. I couldn't sleep very well, I maybe got 3-4 hours total, waking up often enough, so I was awake since 4:45. Around 6 I decided I could open presents. Bear got me socks with Solar system on them (when Tanya saw them, she insisted she put them on me right away :) ), the Essential Nina Simone CD, a cross stitch kit with a bit polar bear and two cubs, and an Unofficial Harry Potter cookbook (which is basically cookbook of British dishes for American audience, and looks fun).

I got a Kindle book gifts - Bear's parents got me Words Are My Matter by Ursula Le Guin, her non-fiction collection, and Marianna got me My Own Words the autobiography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both of which where on my wish list.

And my parents got me a new handbag for work, Calvin Klein, beige, very pretty; Lindt dark chocolate bar with sea salt and The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

So lots of new books for me to read. And my parents got a little cake for lunch. I also got some cash from grandparents and Janna. Very quiet, informal birthday, which is a good thing right now. So now I wait.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 01:03 pm
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It's my grandfather's 90th birthday today, which is really cool. He is still in the rehab facility but he might actually get to go home this Saturday after 5 months of hospitals/rehab, so that would probably be the best birthday present for him. Fingers crossed. I can't go see him, unfortunately, but I will keep trying to call. Tanya and I recorded a little video singing Happy Birthday to him, but my Dad will only be able to go tomorrow to show it to him.

Something really strange happened this morning with Amazon. I woke up to the message thanking me for my Kindle order of "Handmaid's Tale", which was paid with my gift card credit from Amazon. Now, I didn't order this. (I read the book twice and Bear has a copy on his shelf). So I contacted Amazon by chat to straighten it out. They cancelled the order, refunded the money - all good. Then they told me the order came from my grandfather's Kindle, which is connected to my account. I thought it was weird, since I thought my Dad disabled the internet on my grandfather's Kindle and he is in rehab place with no internet, but I thought maybe it was a wrong button. But five minutes after I get the Cancelled order email, I get another email thanking me for the purchase of this book, this time with today's date. This is 6am, so my grandfather was probably sleeping. I contact Amazon again, cancel the order, refund my gift card. They recommend I deregister my grandfather's Kindle for now, which I do. And I changed my account password for good measure. I did ask Amazon to investigate this glitch just because it's really weird.

Bear was home this morning until 11am, and then he left for his last work meeting session for the season. He should be back Sunday, unless the baby decides it is time to be born. So he played with Tanya all morning. I'm just taking it easy. Then my Mom came around 12 - she is going to stay with me while Bear is away, with a car ready, again, if the baby decides it's time. The due date is June 10 but Tanya was born a week earlier than her due date so we don't want to take chances - it is about an hour to the hospital from here. Plus, my Mom figures she can help me with Tanya and with cooking, which I do appreciate.

Yesterday, I watched "Doctor Strange" movie on Netflix. I loved it. I thought the pacing was terrific and the story and the effects were fun and the movie was just fun as well. Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the role. He was pretty much House but slightly more sympathetic. And as usual with Marvel the humor worked well. The only thing that bothered me is lack of women interacting, which is a general Hollywood thing, but at least the women characters had their own purpose and worked and didn't put up with any of main character's shit, so there wasn't a typical romance story. It is definitely high up for me for the Marvel universe movies.

On Monday, I was home alone all day and I was trying to figure out what to watch. I tired Amy Schumer's comedy special on Netflix and turned it off after 5 minutes, because I'm not a big fan of that kind of raunchy humor. It's not interesting to me. Few comedians can pull it off well. So I watched "Hasan Minhaj's Homecoming King" comedy special on Netflix instead and I loved that one. It was about immigration and racism and parents and growing up and it was well performed - I like comedy based around a story and a comedy that means something. It was really well done.
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Holiday Card post is here

Ask Me Anything Meme is here . Lots more spaces left.

My story for RS Games 2016 is here .

Yesterday was my Dad's 60th birthday. I made a banana cake with cream cheese frosting on Tuesday for it, and earlier sent him a package with two books from Amazon to open on his birthday morning. My parents came over last night since they were staying overnight to make it easier for my Mom to watch Tanya today. We had a little celebration with a beets and herring dish and different cakes. And Tanya sang him a birthday song. It was low key and exactly what my Dad wanted. My Mom is turning 60 later this month, and usually they do like to do a trip for their big birthdays. But this year they are helping us with renovations so they are just staying put.

Last week, we spent Thursday to Sunday in Long Island with Bear's parents and sister. Thursday was Thanksgiving and his Mom made the turkey and the meal. I brought over my cranberry orange muffin bread. I love Thanksgiving food, such comfort food. I love green bean casserole and stuffing and mashed potatoes and turkey. It was all delicious. And the pumpkin pie was really tasty. My favorite moment was when Tanya was napping and I was resting with her and the cooking turkey smell was just permeating the room. So good. It just smells like holiday.

I had lots of work and grading to do but I still managed to watch the new Gilmore Girls and to have a date with Bear. For our anniversary a few months ago, his parents got us tickets to the local theater to see "Mary Poppins" musical. It is a very good theater we've been to a few times before. The seats were great, row G, so we could see the stage very well (when we go to Broadway we always end up sitting on the very top because of prices, so it was fun to sit closer). And the musical itself was a lot of fun. We got hot chocolates and I snuck in some M&Ms candy. After the show, which was from 3pm to 6pm, we called home to make sure everything was good and Tanya didn't wear out her grandparents and then we went out to dinner. We finally got to have Indian food. It was a little too spicy but still very good and we had leftovers for two lunches, so yay. I got lamb bryani this time.

On Saturday evening we went over Bear's brother's house for dinner with Bear's parents. They keep chickens in the backyard and at one point they brought in a hen and a rooster into the house so Tanya could look at them and pet them. She did pet them and declared them very soft, but mostly she just wanted to watch them. They were black chickens, very pretty.

I got a brand new Kindle Paperwhite. Tanya broke my Kindle cover this year and my 5 year old Kindle was slowly going. So I knew that I should get a new one with this Thanksgiving sale. I got it as soon as it went on sale and with various gift cards it ended up only $32 plus a cover (I got a Flinti map cover). And not a moment too soon. My old Kindle finally completely broke on Sunday. So I was very happy when my Dad brought me the new one yesterday (I ship to his work). I'm still getting used to it. I don't like it telling me how many minutes is left on the chapter, it feels like a timer, so I need to change that. And it seems so bright. But I can read my books again, so yay.
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It was Tanya's 2nd birthday today! She woke up at 6:20am and didn't even linger in bed. She knew there would be special stuff. Bear and I decorated the living room yesterday with a birthday banner and lots and lots of balloons. And I put her presents in a giant birthday bag in the middle of the play floor. Of course, being 2, she completely ignored the presents and just wanted to play with the balloons for over half an hour, before I coaxed her into opening her presents.

We got her "Stories for 3 year olds" book (she has "stories for 2 years olds" book, which is her favorite, it's falling apart from so much reading. So she immediately opened the new book and leafed through it) and a collection of Beatrix Potter stories (the author was also born on July 28). We also got her another coloring book, and two plushes: Minnie Mouse and Spider Man (she loves Spider Man even since she saw me watching "Captain America Civil War" trailer and found Spider Man cameo hilarious. I then showed her the Spider Man song, which she now tries to sing along to).

All our cartoons today were birthday themed: from Masha and the Bear birthday episode to Elmo's World Birthday and Russian Winnie the Pooh episode with Eeyore's birthday.

My parents came around 8:30, as I was finishing cleaning the bathroom (we had guests today), and brought over five helium balloons to Tanya's immense joy. We kind of had to convince her to leave them behind so Bear and I could take her to the playground. Bear took a day off work today, since his parents were coming in the afternoon for her bday party. At the playground, she ran around the sprinkler, did the swings and played with a few girls. We brought balloons with us to inflate for her playground friends. Since her Papa was home, she didn't want Mama around too much, so when I came to chat with Bear near the sprinkler, she ran up, pushed me back a bit, pointed at the bench and said "idi tuda" ("go there"). She does that when Bear is home and she just wants to play with Papa. When we were watching "Masha and the Bear" this morning, Bear was in the kitchen, assembling his cereal. As soon as he appeared in the living room, she said to me "Mama, vstan'. Papa syadet tut." ("Mama, get up. Papa will sit here). She just tells me to go to the kitchen. At least, at nap time, it's all Mama and snuggles and grabbing Mama's hair for comfort.

One of the babysitters at the playground actually took a trip to a dollar store nearby with another grandma and got Tanya a balloon and a dolphin bubble gun toy. Tanya loved the balloon but unfortunately let it go accidentally. It got stuck in a tree, so now we will probably see it for a while. At least she really loved the toy too, and kept blowing bubbles with it and wasn't too upset. We gave her a regular balloon right away.

After lunch and nap, we were ready for the party. My Mom was going to have guests but they had to reschedule, so she had all this food from golubtsy (stuffed cabbage), to venegret (veggie beet salad), to cabbage and egg pie. And some smoked salmon cold cut slices. So we had lots and lots of food. After her snack, we put Tanya's nice fancy dress on and waited for her other grandparents to come. It was a small party but fun. Tanya got gazillion more presents. My parents gave her a big art set, a book of Pushkin fairy tales, a hat, sneakers and a set of 8 Elmo books that some with a "Smart Pad" where you push buttons and they make noise to accompany the books. Bear's parents got her a scooter and helmet, the cutest raincoat and rain boots, slippers and a set of Little People Princess figurines. She is such a girl, she loved trying on the raincoat and rain boots. (She also wanted to wear her necklace to the playground because she saw me wearing one). Too many presents for one little girl but she is the only grandchild on both sides. There is not reigning it in.

We had lots of food and tea and cake. I made cheesecake yesterday and my Mom decorated it with zefir (marshmallowy desert), raspberries and blueberries. Tanya was looking forward to blowing out that candle for a week. We gave her a slice of cake and she ate half of it at least. It was a big chunk. So that was her dinner, in addition to some watermelon and milk.

Then all the grandparents went home, and we did a bath and bedtime and it was time to sleep (8:30pm) after an exciting day. The balloons are here to stay for a while, so that should be fun for her. And on Saturday we are having a little get together to celebrate Tanya's and Ida's birthdays together and eat Thai food.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 09:18 pm
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I had a very low key birthday today. I'm 36 now, the same age as my parents were when they came to US. Tanya and I came to my parents' house from 1st to the 5th, since Bear is working on the last meeting of the season this week. So it was just the four of us having a pretty regular day.

In the morning, my Mom pulled my ears and my parents gave me presents. I got the CD of the classic Broadway cast of "The Fiddler on the Roof" and a book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Marina . My Mom already gave me a very beautiful white with red poppies summer dress a few months ago, since I had to try it on for size. And Bear sneaked in a cute card too (he's taking me to Broadway in a few weeks as a present). Marianna ordered me a few books (the new Gaiman one and the last Accursed Kings book) but she shipped it to my apartment without realizing I won't be there. I asked the neighbor to look out for the package, so hopefully, I will get it on Sunday. Fingers crossed. And Yeva gave me some make-up on Monday, which is perfect, since I never know what to shop for as I don't use too much make-up and she has a much better idea. And my grandparents gave me a nice chunk of money when we went to visit them on Sunday.

My Mom, Tanya and I spent the morning on the playground. It was cool today, but very pleasant. Had lunch, put Tanya to nap and read meanwhile. Then when my Dad came home from work, we had a small birthday meal of fresh salad, shrimps and stuffed cabbage. And then we had tea and cheesecake that Mama and I made yesterday and she decorated today with raspberries (she wrote out '36' with them) and zefir and blueberries for the border. Very tasty. And soon it will be Tanya's bedtime and I will read some more. A nice quiet day.
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Yesterday was Tanya's and Ida's joint 1st birthday party at a Japanese restaurant. Marianna wanted all-you-can-eat sushi and I just wanted sushi (and Bear loves all-you-can-eat too) so we planned for our usual place in Brooklyn where that option exists for those who want it.

Marianna and I were covering the bill and initially we invited my parents, her parents, Yeva and her Mom and brother and Marianna's sister and family. My parents don't go to restaurants much, they both prefer home cooking, but they also like Japanese so they were good with it. Plus Marianna, Yeva and I were friends for almost 21 years and our families know each other. So everyone was comfortable.

But then one of my Mom's classmates, who lives in Israel now and who is visiting her daughter in Massachusetts, was coming to New York this past weekend and staying at my parents for the night. So my Mom invited her and her daughter to come too, so that way they could still spend time together. Then another classmate and husband who live in Brooklyn joined. And then a third one, Galya, was going to be in New York from Miami wanted to come too. I'm friends with her daughter Olya so that I was happy about. Galya and Olya also stayed at my parents's overnight (which my Mom only found out about on Friday after I chatted with Olya and she mentioned it to me. I ended up telling my Mom not realizing that she didn't know yet) . My parents are introverts so that was a lot but my Mom always welcomes those who need room in New York even for just a night.

So the party was also a mini class reunion and I had 6 extra guests. My Mom did give me some money to cover them and Marianna didn't mind, so it all worked out. More people to coo over babies and keep them entertained.

Our reservation was for 4pm, but Tanya had a late morning nap, which resulted in late afternoon nap and not being on schedule. I was making soup for her and pea soup for us in the morning and Bear took her to the playground. He was supposed to walk her in the stroller for the first nap at a specifiC time, which he's done before on weekends. She is usually pretty scheduled and doesn't resist it. But not this time. By the time Bear brought her back and I settled her in the bed half an hour passed. So schedule was off. And she was resisting 2nd nap. She ended up with short second nap, and didn't want to eat much afterward before we did potty and getting dressed in her fancy party dress. Luckily she was cheerier once we got under way.

We got there at 4:30, still before Marianna and Yeva. Parents were there. And it's normal to be late with a baby. But I get anxious and very cranky if I'm late. As Tanya was napping and I was next to her in the afternoon I was trying to meditate and was repeating Serenity prayer, which was helpful, so I could relax about being late. Logically, I knew it was fine but I hate being late. I like being punctual. Bear is the opposite (which doesn't actually annoy me since I think of him as existing on Bear time, slower than human time)

At least I had a really good time at the restaurant. I had lots of sushi, got to hang out with my best friends who I don't see enough of, fed Tanya lots of avocado, which she loved. She did really well at the crowded restaurant. We basically took over one side of the restaurant so we didn't bother others with babies moving around, so good overall choice. She only got cranky at the end when it was a little past her bedtime. Definitely a good 1st restaurant experience and a good party.

I was going to talk about TV a bit, as I started watching Sense8, but I'll leave it for another post.
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Today my daughter turned one year old!

I can't believe it's been a year already since she was born. On one hand, it seems like I just went into labor and, on the other hand, this year was pretty slow with all the changes. It is certainly an adventure.

Last night, Bear decorated the living room with a few banners and some ballons and I made blueberry cheesecake for today since I figured she can easily actually eat it.

When Tanya woke up this morning, Bear brought over a yellow baloon which she loved and then after her milk breakfast she went into the living room and saw all the decorations and was looking around in amazement. We gave her our present of Mega Blocks to open. She was actually really playing with them, putting them together and apart.

Bear then had to go to work but my parents came over pretty soon after. My Dad took a day off. I was eating my breakfast and giving her cheese and blueberries (she likes to have something from my plate when I'm eating, so I prepare extra for her) when they came with 5 fancy balloons and two big bags of presents.

She loved it all. They got her two books, big spinning top (yula), a music box, a xylophone and a doll stroller. My friend Janna got her a wooden box with different blocks where you have to match a shape, and Bear's godmother sent along a baby toothbrush, baby toothpaste and DVDs (which we won't show her for a while since we have no TV for baby policy). Bear's Mom sent a baby purse by mail which arrived this afternoon with more presents to come when we go there in couple of weeks. Big bounty for a little baby.

My parents took her outside to play and nap before the heatwave arrived -it will be really really hot all week. Meanwhile I had time to cook. I made kotlety (cutlets) and a veggie stir fry with eggplant and zucchini.

Later my Dad went to a Japanese restaurant they wanted to try and brought back lots of sushi rolls, mostly tuna, salmon and eel. I haven't had sushi in so long! It was super delicious. And after 3pm we had the blueberry cheesecake, which turned out well if just a little rich. Tanya had a few spoons of it too and seemed to really like it. We had a candle to blow out and everything. A very proper birthday.

When I was younger, I never thought of myself as a person who would make a homemade cake for my kid's birthday. I guess I'm following in the tradition of women in my family after all.

We gave Tanya cow milk to try today. She didn't like it much, which is normal. We will keep trying. I'll try mixing with my milk tomorrow. I want to wean her by September.

My parents left after 4:30 and we went outside just a bit despite the heat but didn't stay out long. Bear was home by 5:20 today and he Skyped with his parents so they could wish Tanya a happy birthday too.

And right before bed we tried our new toothbrush for the first time. Her top two teeth are finally coming out. It was a big day. She went to sleep pretty quickly after storytime.

I think her birthday was more fun for me than my own. I was reading a few entries in my journal today from when she was born -that was a bit amusing. I'm glad I'm writing things down.
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Last week went pretty quickly and I wanted to do a recap of it.

Monday, June 15th was Bear's birthday. It was a pretty quiet day since it was rainy. Bear took a day off from work so we just hung out. I gave him my presents in the morning which ended up being pretty much books - 2 superman graphic novels he wanted, a Shel Silverstein book he was nostalgic about and had on his wishlist, Ethan Watters' "Crazy like Us" (which is about exportation of American cultural concepts of psychological disease to the rest of the world and problems with that - I've taught a chapter about Japan last semester and thought Bear would like it), and Reza Aslan' "Zealot: Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." We had Malaysian food as take out - I had ginger duck soup, indian pancake and noodles dish. Nice quiet bday.

On Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment (just a yearly check-up), so my Mom came over for that hour. My doctor's office is now all electronic, which happened in Tanya's pediatrician office this year too. My doctor helped me set up an app on my phone as part of the visit. It is pretty cool - by Saturday I could just access my lab work myself on my phone. (Still anemic - my Mom brought me more meat to eat.) It's neat but the potential for hacks is worrisome. Best part - since it was preventive visit, no copay.

On Wednesday, I made turkey meatloaf, eggplant and pasta as part of Bear's birthday week dinner. I wasn't a big fan of meatloaf in the past. I didn't grow up with it. I made it once before and it wasn't that great. But this time it turned out fantastic. I looked at a few recipes online and combined them, kept it in the oven a bit longer and Bear just loved it. I put green pepper in it and fried the onion beforehand. I will definitely make it again. I wrote out the recipe I used in my recipe book.

Thursday and Friday were pretty quiet.

This weekend was really really good.

On Saturday Bear and I had a date - first in like 6 months. My parents came over early and took over Tanya duty and we had a chance to get ready for the day. We left at noon and got back at 7 30. First, we had 'Hedwig' musical on Broadway. We took a subway and ate our sandwiches on the way. Bear almost lost his Grand Canyon hat in the Times Square station but crisis was averted. He paid an extra fare to go back and luckily spotted it. After the musical we wondered around and went to a bookstore. There was a Barnes and Noble nearby. I haven't been to a bookstore in so long, maybe a year and it just wonderful to browse. I even got a new blank notebook on sale.

Then we hit a bit of a snag with the food. I found this Indian place online and the prices looked reasonable on online menu. When we got there the prices on outside menu were only a dollar more so we went in. And it looked nice. But prices on actual menu were $5 higher. So we left. Argh. I hate that move by restaurant. It took us a while to find something else and by then we were short on time. We ended up at a pizza place and I had eggplant parmigian hot sandwich. Not the best option but good enough. We got back to a sleepy baby and it was really nice just to have time out.

On Sunday, Father's Day, we traveled to Long Island for the day to visit Bear's parents. Father's Day is big in his family. Bear himself was born on Father's Day so his family always combines Father's Day with a birthday party. And it was Bear's 1st Father's Day as a Dad. I gave him a card - that is the extent I'm willing to indulge a fake holiday. There was no traffic and we made good time. After Tanya ate, Bear's parents were heading to church. They are very Catholic. And Bear indulges his Mom and goes to church when he visits.(he doesn't mention to her that he doesn't really go anymore). I didn't want to be home alone with Tanya for an hour -I get enough of that during the week - and I figured she likes seeing new places and people - so I decided we would go too. I think it made his mother's day. Tanya did like seeing all the stain glass windows and did pretty well. For me going to church is a social observation thing, although congregation chanting creed is creepy. And I don't mind Tanya being exposed to. She should learn about all religions. We decided long ago that Tanya can pick her own religion if any when she grows up. I'm Jewish and atheist, Bear grew up Catholic and is now agnostic.

Bear's brother and his girlfriend came over in the afternoon. They have chickens and bees so we got eggs and tasty, tasty fresh honey. Yay. There was a nice dinner with steaks. Tanya had some hummus for a snack. There were presents and ice cream cake. We didn't get home until 9 30, and Tanya didn't want to fall asleep in the car until 9, but it was a very nice day overall. Great weekend.

So that was last week. Tomorrow I will do a book post, including Dante chapters from last week.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday, June 8th, 2015 08:52 pm
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June is usually a busy time for me, where nearly every weekend is scheduled. There are at least four birthdays, a Broadway show, and Father's Day which is big in Bear's family (he was born on Father's Day). I'm also the kind of person who likes set plans and I get uneasy with last minute changes. I also really dislike being late and can get cranky to make sure we all leave on time.

This June is already telling me to be more flexible and to relax a bit. We had to postpone the aquarium trip from last week to the 15th. Then, Bear actually looked at the Broadway tickets he bought and instead of the 13th, they are for the 20th matinee. I planned the week and the appointments and visiting my parents around the 13th, so they can babysit. Now I guess, we will stay an extra day in Staten Island and my Dad can take Tanya for the baby train ride he wanted to do. And we can go to the beach. And instead of going to Bear's parents for the whole of Father's Day weekend, we will just go on the 21st. At least this weekend we were able to do everything we planned.

On Saturday, Bear's Mom turned 72, so we drove to Long Island for the day. We stopped by a shopping plaza so Bear could go to Michaels to get a big set of colored pencils as a present - she got herself one of the new adult coloring books, and I went to a supermarket to get a bouquet of flowers. Tanya and I already bought a card. We had a nice low-key day there. Tanya played on grass for the first time. There was ice cream cake. I got presents too - a light summer shirt and pants, a biography of Romanov sisters that was on my wish list, and a coloring book too. And Bear went on a long walk with Tanya in the middle of the day and I sat luxuriously on the couch reading my new book. It was lovely.

On Sunday, it was time for my birthday gathering with my friends. I picked Brooklyn Bridge Park. That place is pretty new and very crowded but very pretty. It was Tanya's first subway ride - she liked it. We met up with my friend Janna and her baby Jo at the subway stop and walked to the park. It took a while for Yeva and Marianna with family to gather. Meanwhile I got some Indian pancakes at Smorgasburg. There were so many vendors; I wish I could try it all. We mostly hung out at the playground on Pier 5. My friend Olya came for a bit too; I haven't seen her in a while. I wanted to find some grass to sit on but with so many babies and feeding them, and naps etc, we kind of just stayed at the playground. Still, it was nice to see everyone. It's always cute when Ida and Tanya try to interact. Yeva got me an awesome bag with stacks of books on it and an umbrella with books, plus Ahava cream. Janna got me a gift card. Olya got me a chocolate bar which made me feel bad because I didn't have anything for her (we share a birthday, she is just three years younger).

So overall, a lovely weekend.

Prompts for RS Games went up on Friday. Usually I pick word prompt or at least song lyrics. I tend to be literal. By this time my top three choices out of five were audio/visual. I got my number one choice, and had a lot of fun coming up with a story. I really like my idea, I'm excited to start writing. (I shouldn't really elaborate since it is technically a competition and only my team is allowed to see my ideas so far).

I caught just the briefest glimpse of the Tonys yesterday, but that girl singing 'Ring of Keys' from 'Fun Home' was amazing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 09:27 pm
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Today was a pretty quiet birthday but a nice one anyway. I didn't really go outside since it was 55F and rainy all day, so not a typical summer birthday weather. And we didn't get to go to the aquarium, as was the original plan. But I got to spend the day with Bear and Tanya, and my parents came over in the afternoon, and there were two cakes. And there were presents. I'm also celebrating more on Sunday. Part of me wanted to do more today but I also want to appreciate all the good things I have. Like every time I look at Tanya's face and she is just so adorable and perfect. Better than any present.

We woke up as usual at 7 something and I opened presents first thing, as was always the custom in my family. Bear got me a card and new bright yellow ducky socks to replace the ones that are falling apart (I love silly socks). (He also got me Broadway tickets to see Hedwig next week, but he didn't print those, since I knew about them already). My Dad left his present in my dresser a few days ago for me to open today. He got me two books: Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant (historical fiction from an author whom I wanted to read for a long time, I adore movies based on his books) and Oliver Sacks' On the Move: A Life (the new autobiography that was on my wishlist). And I got a cute card from Bear's parents.

Then after we got Tanya up and dressed, Bear made me birthday pancakes for breakfast while I made scrambled eggs. I watched more "Spartacus" - I have about half an episode to go to finish the series.

My parents came over in the afternoon with a lot of desert. A lot. Zefir, chocolate candy and a Lemur cake from Kiev Bakery are the least of it. They knew I made cheesecake but decided to get a layered cake too. My Mom also brought fish and salad for us to eat. She also brought my presents, which I knew about already, since I had to try them on a few months earlier to see if they fit. She got me a peach knitted dress and two pairs of shoes to match it. I got to put it on and one pair of shoes and did my hair all nice, so that we could take pictures. I don't like dress or shoe shopping, so I really appreciate getting them as presents so I don't have to shop.

The cheesecake was a success. My Mom loved it and she is a harsh critic who will tell you if she doesn't like something. She doesn't care about preserving feelings. Praise from her is high indeed. And my Dad already said that he wants me to make one for his birthday in November - so success! I had a piece of cheesecake and a piece of cake my parents brought, (and fish and salad), so I didn't really eat dinner. That was a lot of sugar. But so tasty.

Tanya just had a big sleep meltdown. She went to sleep ok in her crib at 7 30 but woke up really crying around nine. It took a while to calm her down and now she's next to me, grasping my hair. I have to finish writing this blog entry on my phone now. Ah, well. One day she will sleep like a normal person, in her bed the whole night. That day is not today.

Dante Project
Inferno. Canto III.

Dante reads the inscription of gates of Hell and see the fate of cowardly, those who did nothing in their live, neither good nor bad. At the river Acheron, Charon ferries the souls across to Hell proper. Dante faints at the end after an earthquake.

That inscription is pretty famous. This translator has a different than usual translation, probably more accurate, but the classic "abandon all hope, all ye who enter here" reads and sounds better than "abandon every hope, who enter here." The punishment itself for those who did nothing in their lives - being stung by insects as they race behind a banner - is not as creepy as the concept of these people just being stuck, not belonging anywhere. They can't even enter hell, much less go to Purgatory or Paradise. They are not remembered on Earth, they can't enter the official afterlife. They lived as though they didn't live. Is it really better then to be a sinner than to be unremarkable? Their fate is pretty hellish (heh) and we didn't even enter the first circle yet. No wonder Dante hears their terrible laments and cries of woe when Virgil leads him, and then cries. That imagery of terrible laments is pretty intense.

I didn't remember the details of this chapter at all. It didn't stick with me when I was younger. It's creepier now. Also Virgil comforting Dante while walking through the place: "And when, with gladness in his face, he placed his hand upon my own, to comfort me, he drew me in among the hidden things" pinges my slashy fannish brain now where it didn't before. I mean they are holding hands here, walking through hell. But as Bear pointed out, if he had to walk through hell, he would hold someone's hand too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 10:14 pm
bearshorty: (Default)
It's my birthday today - I turned 34. And it was a nice day but it did feel more like a regular day than a special one - I think that just happens as we get older. But I did really have a very nice day.

I started the day in my parents' house where both of them pulled my ears 35 times (it is a Russian thing). I got a book from my Dad - an anthology of modern fairy tales by some pretty famous writers who are basically are writing fairy tale fanfic as they pick a fairy tale from all over the world and get inspired by it. The book is called "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He ate Me" edited by Kate Bernheimer. I'll probably start with Neil Gaiman story. My Mom got me a CD of "Tosca" and a pretty necklace. (Their main present is a small little washing machine for the baby's clothes - that is for both mine and Bear's birthday - he is turning 34 in two weeks).

My Dad was working from home today and during his lunch we drove to russian store to get cake and other sweets for the evening. Bear's parents decided to come to our Brooklyn apartment after all, so my Mom made some chicken and rice and eggplant to take with us and we needed desert. I mainly spent the afternoon finishing Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

I heard all kinds of comments on this book - many people claim it as their least favorite. It is the last one I had to read. I still like Persuasion the best followed by Pride and Prejudice but Mansfield Park wasn't bad. The ending was a bit abrupt - Fanny was so Edmund's second choice and it just felt weird. But I guess both of them deserve each other in their righteousness. Secondary characters were much more interesting - especially Mary Crawford who was all condemned for having opinions that weren't guided by a guy and being practical in some of her considerations. Still, I did like the book overall.

At 4pm, once my Dad got done with work, we packed two coolers of food and drove to my apartment. As we were parking, Bear's car was driving down the street, looking for parking too - as he just came from work, and then as we brought everything up, Bear's parents were here too.

My Mom warmed up all the food - and there was lots of it and we had a little party until 8 something. It was nice to have both sets of parents over. And cake was delicious. Bear's Mom got me two dresses, which I can wear now with my giant stomach since they are empire waist, and a CD of "I Puritani." She also got me a book of sci-fi stories, but it hasn't arrived yet. Bear has been learning piano lately, so he played a little - even being a little shy about it. (Oh, and he got me a rose with a Happy Birthday baloon and he is taking me to a Broadway show next week).

So a very nice day overall and sunny and warm too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 09:20 pm
bearshorty: (Bearshorty Purple with Heart)
Today is my birthday (I'm now 33) and while I can't spend it with Bear (he did leave me the best birthday card and has been texting me all day, though), I did have a very lovely day. I put on the nice new blue dress my Mom gave me and went to Manhattan today for brunch in the Upper East Side with my parents and my friends. I ran into my parents in the tea store right off the subway. My Mom pulled my ears in a Russian tradition - I'm sure people on the street thought we were nuts, although it is the city and we are trained not to pay attention to others.

Marianna and her family were a little late, so Yeva, Janna, I and my parents did have to wait outside for half an hour but then Yeva worked her magic and got us seated even though the restaurant doesn't usually sit unless the whole party is there. It was French place called Cafe d'Alcace that came highly recommended on Yelp and it definitely lived up to expectations. So delicious. From appetizer cheese platter to the entre to desert. They even lit a candle in the desert (I think Marianna got them to do that - I'm not even sure). It was very sweet. And I got many presents.

After brunch, the plan was to go to Central Park for a bit but the clouds were threatening so almost everyone headed home. Marianna, Adama, Galya and I decided to keep walking. We ended up walking from 88th to 57th, stopping at some children's stores to look a shoes and clothes for Galya. The walk was very nice and before we knew it two hours passed. It was certainly very nice despite the heat.

I got a bagel with cream cheese on the way back to serve as dinner, since I wasn't too hungry but I knew that if I didn't eat, I will be hungry at midnight. So overall, a lovely birthday.

I also signed up for RS Games, which felt like a present to myself.

Birthday Loot List )

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 10:00 pm
bearshorty: (Bearshorty Purple with Heart)
I’m 32 today. I’m not being melancholy about it or anything but it just feels like an ordinary day. I had a very good day – the weather was great. It didn’t rain, it wasn’t hot but still very warm and I got to spend the day in Manhattan with my friends. I guess I just used to be more excited about birthdays. It is probably just a sign of getting older.

Before my parents left on their vacation, they told me where they left their presents and I never peak beforehand because I really like waking up and opening presents.

Birthday loot:

National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States
“The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco
“Endless Nights” by Neil Gaiman (Sandman)
Official USA 2012 Olympic T-shirt (which I wore today)
Two Ralph Lauren shirts and a nightshirt from my Mom
$100 gift card from the girls to the hair studio where I’m doing my wedding hair

I left about 10 am and got to Manhattan pretty fast. We weren’t meeting until noon (which meant I was there at 11:50 and everyone else came in the next hour at some point. But before getting there I had time to walk around the street fair on 3rd Ave. I got a few cheap bracelets – one red one for myself, a blue one with eyes to be in case of anxiety management and because my old one broke long ago and a one with beads of different colors with eyes for Mama’s friend Galina as a good luck charm while she is going through medical stuff.

Sushi lunch was wonderful. We were 9 people (Yeva, Marianna, Adama, Janna, Abena and her husband Kerim and Olia with her friend from Miami) plus baby Galya and we spend three and a half hours at that restaurant. I has miso soup, three types of rolls, including eel and mai tai. This time I didn’t get drunk like last time I had a cocktail at this restaurant.

After the restaurant, we stopped by across the street at frozen yogurt place where Marianna got me a mango cone and then spent a little time in Central Park. A very nice outing.

My parents came back from Europe today too, just in time to pull my ears (a Russian birthday thing). They brought me from Czech Republic – coins, postcards, a necklace, a nail file with fancy decoration, magnets and most importantly, Cadbury Chocolate. A gigantic Cadbury Chocolate made in the UK like the proper one.
bearshorty: (Default)
Today is Mama’s birthday so I got up earlier to catch her before she left for work to pull on the ears (a Russian thing) and watch her open her presents. We had a nice birthday tea with a raspberry torte from Trader Joe’s. Well, Papa had a homemade fruit type cake made just with egg whites for his medical diet. There are too many chocolate candies in the house!

I watched “Love Actually” tonight because it is the season and it is one of my comfort movies. I do adore it even thought the timing of the scenes (when each scene takes place) always make my brain hurt since they don’t make sense – I always have to tell my brain to just suspend the disbelief. I do love the movie, though, and the actors.

I still need to pack since I’m leaving for a week. First to Bear’s house for Christmas festivities and then we leave for Montauk from Monday to next Friday. I’m very much looking forward to my Christmas break. And I decided to just stay off the internet for a week. I won’t even check my email. I’ll bring my laptop with me – to write a little and keep my journal but I won’t post anything until next weekend.

I wanted to wish everyone very happy holidays – whatever you celebrate. I hope this holiday season will bring lots of joy.
bearshorty: (Default)
I finally finished all my presents shopping. I needed a little more for Bear’s parents so Mama and I took a walk to Home Goods this morning. I think I’m done. I wrapped all the presents tonight. Not the best wrapping job I ever did, but it is all finally done. As usual, I split Bear’s presents in two – part for Christmas and part for New Year.

Tomorrow is Mama’s birthday and Papa smuggled flowers home his evening. Once Mama went to sleep I snuck them from downstairs and put them in a vase in the kitchen. I’m not a florist – I’m sure all those roses can look prettier. Ah, well. I did put all the presents under the tree for her for tomorrow. We are all set. I’m just glad that she specifically asked for the hand crème again. She is not easy to shop for. I did get the first Adele CD too, though, as a surprise. And Papa already got her a ring that she picked out but he is also surprising her with a CD and a ceramic frog. Hopefully, she’ll be happy.

My neighbor Laura needed me to proofread her final paper for her nursing Masters. It was a mock grant proposal and a revision of one too. So I went over her house for a while. After proofing, I ate way too much food there. (David made a lot of good food like rice and eggplant and it was a huge plate – and it is rude not to finish the plate. The food was really good, just too much of it.) Then I played dreidel with the kids for some candy.

Tomorrow is Mama’s birthday, then Christmas Eve where Bear and I are making seafood lasagna, then Christmas with its dinner – I really need to be careful not to each so much. It will probably be futile.
bearshorty: (Default)
Happy Birthday, Papa!

He worked from home today so I was able to pull his ears (a Russian thing) and hear how he liked his presents. I got him a non-fiction book he wanted, a radio with headphone and the first Discworld book (which I plan to steal...borrow…after Christmas).

I did my last lecture for Global class on European expansion and it was my last lecture of the semester. Yay. Now I just have to do gazillion paper grading.

Some kids can’t present their work at all. My history of law class today was a little weird. Some students did a great Powerpoint about their research and some just stood there and read and weren’t making it exciting.

After I got home, we had a birthday dinner for Papa, just the three of us. Mama made olivier salad – the tastiest thing ever and a regular salad too. And we had a poppy seed cake Papa bought in the Russian store – it was his favorite.


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