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I had a very busy last few weeks with grading Paper 2, Midterm and doing Folder Review. I finally had some free nights this week from Monday to Wednesday, which I spent catching up on some TV (and doing just a little bit of work in answering student email and preparing Warning rosters). It was very nice to have that bit of a break. I get a new batch of papers in an hour and I will get to spend my Spring Break grading, so I made sure to relax a little.

The weather has been very warm and spring like in the last few days as well, so Tanya and I have been spending more time than usual at the playground. The playground is suddenly overflowing with kids too, which is nicer for me since I can chat with other parents/babysitters. Tanya loves to observes other kids but she is a little weary when one comes too close to her and tries to touch her jacket or hat. She would look at me and make the funniest, bewildered expression and try to take little steps back.

She's been coughing occasionally for the last week. Not a lot and there is no fever. Her voice gets a bit hoarse sometimes but it doesn't last. It doesn't seem to bother her at all. But it's her first real cough so it makes me a little nervous. I've been giving her some warm tea. Something is sitting in the back of my throat to, but not either getting worse or better. It's just there. It's a little strange.

On Monday night, on my first real night off in two weeks, I just sat on the couch and watched the finale of Downton Abbey. I read the spoilers so I knew what would happen, but watching it made me emotional anyway. It was just lovely and I will miss this show. I'm glad everyone got a happy ending, more or less.

Another show I really enjoyed in the last few weeks was Fuller House. I think critics missed the mark on why so many people actually liked it. I absolutely loved it. Yes, it's nostalgic and part of childhood, which is appealing, but the show is good and funny on its own merits. Show don't need to be edgy. When I first came to America and my English wasn't the best yet, one of the first shows we watched on our new TV was "Full House". It was DJ's prom episode. The only thing we could understand was "I love you". But my mom and grandmother and I all liked watching it. I saw most of the show when I was 13 and 14 in reruns and real time, and I learned English with it. I liked the kids and characters, and Stephanie was around my age.

It's a little strange to be the same age as the girls now and be a mother too and watch this new generation show. Now I find the baby cute. But I also really like the adults these girls turned out to be. Kimmy is hilarious. I didn't really get her as a kid but she's one of my favorites. And most of all I'm enjoying all the female friendships and relationships and the atmosphere of support. It's just nice to have a show that's nice. And it is pretty funny, despite the laugh track. SPOILERS I'm really happy that the two guys DJ's story focused on were both good guys. And I would be happy with either of them. Both are decent, just different. I'm also glad Stephanie made that speech that it doesn't ultimately matter and that DJ just admitted she wasn't ready and it was fine. I like that the guys became friends as well. It was just such a mature way to handle this type of storyline.

Speaking of TV, the last two episodes of Grimm were on fire. SPOILERS. I'm glad the story picked up the keys again and it feels like they will wrap up that dangling thread. But most of all, my heart just adored the dinner party at the loft with all of them hanging out and all the Monroe and Nick friendship conversations both on the rooftop and in the car in Germany. Nick actually confides in Monroe and they are best friends and I want to hug them both. Their friendship is what got me to stick around after the pilot and I just love it.

Surprisingly, I find that I don't mind Nick and Adeline development. Before the season started when I heard the rumors, I was firmly against it. But the writers won me over but the development of the last ten episodes and by clearly showing that first, both characters are different, have changed, and these are unusual circumstances for both so there is comfort level in that, and second, the show and characters themselves are acknowledging their tumultuous past through flashbacks and conversations. Nick himself doesn't know what to make of it but they do have a kid together and that makes a difference for him. So I'm not opposed to this. I don't really care that much. For some reason, I'm not much of a shipper for this show, other than Monroe and Rosalee, whom I adore. The mayor plot is still weird, but hopefully it will tie into the storyline soon.
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Mad Max: Fury Road )

TV: Downton Abbey and Sherlock )

I spend most of last week at my parents with Tanya since I had work orientation for two days. We only got home on Saturday morning. The week itself was pretty nice and orientation ended up being very helpful, despite being over two long days. I'm just going to do a short recap of the week. I should really just post more often.

Monday In the morning, Tanya and I went to Tanya's doctor for her last vaccines for a while. The visit actually went very well, no drama. Hopefully, no more visits, fingers crossed, until August. My Mom came over early to cook some soup and pack and as we neared our place, we saw that she was already outside, ready to go. We did have to come back as my Mom forgot her purse but still came to my parents's house pretty quickly.

Tuesday - Tanya started using declensions in Russian! She said, 'idyem babe' 'let's go to grandma' and not just nominitive 'baba' or 'grandma'. She said 'k mame' (to mama) too. I'm continuing to be amazed by how she is learning the language. She repeats after us a lot, and uses both English and Russian. It's really fascinating.

Wednesday - Day 1 of orientation. My Dad drove me in early. I was in the building by 7am (orientation was at 10). So I found an empty classroom, turned on my computer, ate my breakfast while finishing watching the Sherlock special. Then I worked on my syllabi and the online site. The orientation itself was more useful than I thought it would be. It was a recap of pedagogy of the course but the refresher was nice. I got some nice new idea for discussion day and for peer review day. I wanted to shake up my discussion class this semester; last year I felt I was talking too much and needed to get the students to participate more.

Thursday - on Thursday morning, I turned on my phone to watch the Oscar nomination, and as I was setting that up I saw the news bulletin that Alan Rickman died. My first reaction was refusal to believe it, hoping I misread or that it was a prank. I didn't have an emotional connection with David Bowie - I didn't grow up with his music or the movie - so Monday's news wasn't personal, but Alan Rickman was one of my favorite actors. I own Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest, Dogma and Love Actually DVDs and Bear had all Harry Potters. My Dad has Die Hard. Alan Rickman was just such a presence. I kerp getting sad every time I catch my Snape mug with his image on my bookshelf.

On Thursday I also got myself some new slippers on sale, more food for Tanya at baby R US and some more milk for her.

Friday - Day 2 of orientation. I had to work on Assignment questions in the morning and also turned on my contract. We also worked on the grading criteria and later practice graded some papers to make sure everyone was grading on the same rubric. The best part of orientation was seeing some of my work friends, like Rosemary, and meeting new teachers too. There was lovely conversation at lunch about both work stuff and just regular TV, books, politics, life stuff. I'm also turning into one of those parents apparently who offers advice to expectant parents. I should stop that.

Saturday - back home, mostly a quiet day. I did take a walk to the library in the afternoon, for the first time in years (I've mostly been using their ebook feature and borrowing books for my Kindle) so I could renew my library card. And as soon as I stepped outside once I renewed the card, I took out my phone and put the 3rd Robert Galbraith book on hold. Technology is awesome. I then walked quite a way to the playground to join Bear and Tanya. So I ended up getting some walking exercise too.

In the evening, Bear and I started watching "Mad Max". I'm savoring this sudden ability in the last month to have free time in the evening and watching movies or reading. Tanya is finally staying asleep, most of the time after she falls asleep. Now that the semester is starting that time will be spent grading but still, time I will have. Yay. Why is my body and brain telling me to have another baby again and have erratic sleep again? (We are still thinking about having another but I'm starting to get a bit of baby fever -which I did not have when we were planning Tanya, but appently I do now. Still, brain, think of sleeping).

Sunday - I made pea soup in the morning and then walked to the local kosher butcher store to get some hot dogs and buns (I made them for dinner). I also went to a bunch of little stores including a Chinese bakery and a regular bakery. We got the first real snow of the winter in the afternoon. So quiet day. We finished the movie in the evening.

We are visiting Bear's parents today since it's a work holiday. Tanya is napping and I can finally catch up on the blog. I'm also reading three books now (Bechdel, 9th Tomek book and Purgatory), so I will probably read one of those now. It's really cold outside, 25F or -4 C, and it snowed a little this morning. There is finally winter. Some tea and a book sound just about right.
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A pretty ordinary day. A very cold one. Not just low temperature but big wind too so we couldn't really go to the playground in the morning. But for being stuck at home all day, it wasn't that bad. And we did take a small walk outside for about fifteen minutes around 4pm. But cold.

I watched the first episodes of the last season of "Downton Abbey" today. I read all the recaps when these episodes came out in the UK so I have the general plot lines but reading and watching actual episodes is really not the same.

Downton Abbey S6E1 (US version) )

I finished my cross stitch tonight. Just the personal details are left but the baby needs to be born in about two months first. I will need to find the frame.

I've been trying to embed an image using both DW's image upload and my old HTML method of doing it but it doesn't seem to work. Let me try a link. I will figure it out another day. I downloaded the pics to Google pics. There must be another way. No, I just tried a link. The link worked but Google shows my whole real name. Argh.

Edit: Ok, I posted the pic on LJ. Here is a link: Train record pic

I guess I need a different place to download my pics too before I can upload it to DW or something.
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Happy International Women's Day! When I was a child it was a big holiday and I even got presents. Now it's just a day but I still like the sentiment behind it.

Today is also Daylight Savings Time. I'm not a big fan of it. I don't like adjusting to it and I prefer light in the early morning. This year I was just concerned about getting Tanya adjusted to her schedule. Her schedule is my sanity. Turns out, not a problem. My brilliant child woke up at 6:30 this morning by herself like a regular day, even if it was an hour early for her. So she went to bed at 7:30pm as usual despite it being a whole hour earlier in reality. I hope this sticks. Still, yay.

Today was a very nice day despite having to grade for most of it. Bear came over for the day and we went for a long walk for Tanya's nap. The weather is finally above freezing and will be much warmer all week and it was nice and sunny. It was nice to be outside and just spend time together. We chat on Hangouts all the time and talk on the phone and Skype, but it is much better to see my husband in person after 5 days.

Now recap of TV. No updates on books or music since I've been grading a lot, which takes a lot of time.

Downton Abbey I watched the last episode of Season 5 on Monday - The Christmas special. It was fantastic. My absolute favorite part was Mr. Carson's proposal. I was squeeing pretty hard and was just super excited. The actors were so superb in all the little gestures. It was just the best. There wasn't even a kiss and it was just so romantic and wonderful and a great pay off in storytelling. Other things happened too lime Thomas' schemed and new love prospects for the sisters but that one scene is all I want to rewatch.

Glee S6E10 I was able to watch it but I found this episode mostly boring. There was just too much Sue and lots of pacing problems. I didn't hate it, I just wished for a more balanced storylines. There still fun things about the episode like the Final Countdown sequence but overall, I was tuned out for the whole middle section. Here's hoping the next episode is better.

Spartacus I finished Season 1 Episode 12 yesterday with just 1 episode to go for the season and it is torture to wait until tomorrow. I just have too much work to do, so I can't watch it until my Folder Review is over. The set up is great. I enjoyed all secrets coming to light in episode 12, every plot of the season coming together. It is well written. And this is also why I prefer watching whole finished seasons of the show instead of weekly episodes, especially better plotted cable series. I can't wait to see Batiatus get his deserved reward.
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Recap of my books/movies/music and cooking for the week:


I'm still on Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd , maybe 40% in. I don't have much time to read and while I do like the book, it's not the kind I want to devour.It is interesting that when I tried reading the book several years ago I didn't like Bathsheba too much but I find her much more interesting now. I do have to reread some sentences due to Hardy's prose. I am determined to finish the book this time and I'm holding the next two books up as motivation.

I bought Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning and Sharon Kay Penman's The King's Ransom just a few weeks ago. I buy all Penman's books in paperback since that is how I bought the first few ones and I want my selves to match. And both Gaiman and Penman paperback just came out. I want to read both so much, so they are my incentive to finish Hardy. I generally love Gaiman's short stories. I picked Fragile Things when I attended his talk at the New Yorker festival a few years ago so he could sign it. Can't wait.


To get free Amazon shipping for my books I also got Carole King's Tapestry CD. As usual when I get new music I listen to it on a loop. It really is a fantastic album.


Not a too much regular TV this week as both Supernatural and Grimm are on hiatus.

Downton Abbey. I'm really enjoying the season. Just one episode left. I really like the Dowager and Isabel friendship and that Edith finally got just a bit of happiness. Rose also grew on me this season. Don't care about the Bates plot. Anna deserve some happiness too at some point.

Glee. I managed to watch this week by staying with Tanya until almost 9 in the room and only then sneaking out. She's been having separation anxiety I think. Bedtime was a bit of struggle all week. Well, she is 7 months. It will pass one day. Anyway, I enjoyed watching the episode despite in being so newbie focused. It is not an episode I'd rewatch or care too much in the long run, but it was entertaining. Spencer's crush was cute. Alistair is 18 in real life, though? He looks much older. Songs were fun. I hope Klaine had an awesome honeymoon.

Spartacus I just finished Episode 9 in the first season. The show is rather graphic. Especially the violence in the last few episodes. But I'm enjoying it overall. And as is often the case, I don't care that much for the main character but others I find interesting. I love Lucy Lawless. Not a show I will rewatch or obsess about but I'm glad I gave it another chance.

I mainly made two more complex dishes this week. I cooked more, obviously, since takeout is a rare, rare thing. I also made fish, eggplant stir fry and potatoes but that's pretty easy. I did fry the left over boiled potatoes yesterday, a very tasty treat I haven't done in a while. I love potatoes in any form.

Today I made chicken tetrazzine (spaghetti, chicken, and mushrooms baked in creamy sauce). I used the Betty Crocker recipe but I used fresh mushrooms (which I fried), water instead of chicken broth and sherry and 2% organic milk instead of heavy cream. Good call on the milk since the sauce was heavy enough with the butter. It came out really well and my pasta loving husband was very happy. Definitely a keeper.

I also made Chickpeas Rice Soup with Cabbage on Friday. My mother-in-law found this recipe and made her version on Valentine's day when we visited and she printed the recipe for me. She found it online. I had actual chickpeas that had to be used, not a can, and I had some leftover cabbage so this was a perfect use. The soup was a bit too thick for me but definitely filling. I'm not a giant fan of cabbage soups but I would probably make it again.
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I need to exercise more. I have to go up a fairly steep hill when I go up Local College and various stairs and today it was much more difficult than usual. I barely been outside walking in January over my break and it shows. I really need to do master that hill again.

I taught a class on Martin Luther today and on gender in Ancient Greece. The day was nice overall but pretty tiring. It was nice to come home, eat some pain yogurt with honey and a banana and catch up on "Downtown Abbey". I also watched "Sherlock: The Sign of Three" after dinner (I made angel hair pasta with eggplant), which was the biggest fanfic put on the screen I've ever seen. Lots of squealing on my part. So much mushiness and just wonderful dialogue and situation. And cute moments all around. And I adore Mary very much. The writers really did a great job at that dynamic, since adding Mary just added awesomeness.

I finished The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling today. The hold came up in the library last week so I downloaded it to my Kindle. It was strange because most of the characters are not very likable and the man who died which kickstarts the book was a bit too saintly, but all the characters were also very three dimensional and I wanted to keep on reading. I was actually reading much faster as the book progressed and I wanted to know where the story was going. People were not pleasant but that was because they were just people, selfish and overly self-concerned regular people. I found it realistic in a lot of ways - people's petty concerns and lives. So in the end I think the book will stay with me and I think it was crafted very well.

I suppose I should go look at some more Writing Samples now before I go to sleep. I need to come up with the Assignment question for Paper 1 for tomorrow but my brain is fried, so I will most likely do that on the train tomorrow.
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Soup Project 2014: Soup 3 - Tomato-Basil Soup

I got this recipe from my Betty Crocker book. They are all available online so it makes it easy just to link to the Tomato-Basil Soup recipe

It came out well and was tasty, although I might add more hot water at the end next time to make it a little more watery and less like tomato sauce. (Bear used it as sauce for his dinner - he liked it a lot, just as sauce). I probably added a little more carrots and accidentally a little more salt but that didn't matter. I couldn't use regular sugar since little bugs decided to live in my sugar bag, and I just put in a little brown sugar instead. I had dried basil leaves, so I used those.

Since I used real tomatoes, I had to learn how to peel and seed them, since I never had to do that before. After searching on the trusty Internet, which knows all things, I discovered a great peeling methods in the comments of one section that described boiling and then using a bowl of ice. The comment mentioned that if I had an electric kettle, which I do, it is much easier to boil water in it and then pour over a bowl/pot of tomatoes and let them sit for one minute. Then rinse tomatoes under cold water. And it will be easy to peel. And it was great. I put the X cut on the bottom of the tomato and the skin was coming right off without too much hassle. So I learned a new skill today.

Otherwise it was a mellow day. Sunday is our grocery shopping/cleaning day. I clean the bathroom, while Bear sweeps and washes all the floors. I'm hoping to watch "Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock" on PBS today but I will probably watch them tomorrow morning online instead.
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I just watched the two hour US premiere of Season 4 of "Downton Abbey" on PBS. How I missed this show. Good start to the season.

I actually ventured outside today, into the ice roads, since Bear and I do our grocery shopping on Sundays. Usually, we drive about 8 minutes to a Russian supermarket (its cheaper and it has the best black bread) but with the snow storm and lack of parking spaces right now we just went to some local shops today. Got lots of veggies.

My parents were going to stop by but they just dropped off some meat for us from Costco and some juice and were on the way so I saw them just for a bit. Again, it was the lack of parking right now that was the issue so they just went to visit my grandparents sooner than they planned.

Other than that, it was a quiet day - just a bit of cleaning and shopping. Tomorrow I need to actually start prepping for the new semester. Just two more weeks of the break left.
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My new teaching semester starts tomorrow and I’m staying at my parents’ house tonight so Papa can drive me to work early. I need to do a lot of photocopying, so I really need to get there early. I just watched the latest “Downton Abbey” episode on my computer and I will need to adjust to getting up at 6 something again, so I will go to sleep earlier.

Today was a national holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – so almost everyone had a day off work. Bear wanted to go to Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, so we went on a fun date today.

It was Inauguration Day, which I sort of wanted to watch, and it is my friend Sveta’s birthday and I was hoping to try calling her on Skype. She is 7 hours ahead in Belarus, and I knew with our outing I would probably miss the window. I did write her a birthday email and, hopefully, I will get to talk to her on Thursday or Saturday. So, despite some reluctance at missing these things, I got into a museum mood and it was a really fun museum.

We watched “The Universe” movie in their planetarium type theater with expands from Earth to Solar System to Milky Way to galaxy cluster to a wider universe. I do love astronomy. And then the museum traced the history of flight until modern era, including a replica of the Lunar Module (they were build on Long Island, so it was an actual Lunar Module that was supposed to go up on Apollo 19, which never happened. The museum had a lot if interactive features, from cabins you can sit in and gadgets you could touch. And there was a Blue Angel flight simulator. Definitely a good time.

After we got home around 5pm, I packed my bag and Bear drove me to the bus so I could go to my parent’s house. It is a little weird being here now. I did show my parents pictures of our Arizona trip on their big screen TV. (While in Arizona, I kept an actual paper journal, and I will write up something on it with some pictures, but that might take some time.)

I started reading “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak. I promised Papa that I will read something in Russian this year, since I didn’t last year (I showed him my book list). So he emailed me “Doctor Zhivago” for my Kindle. I like it so far, and he is right – I need to keep my reading level up – I seemed fine reading “Stynx” in Russian a year ago, but for some reason, this seems harder. This book, on the other hand, is a classic and I barely remember the movie and it is one of those books that should be read anyway.

I’m also reading one chapter a day of unabridged “Les Miserables” this year. It has 365 chapters, so something like it, so I want to finally conquer it this year, after giving up twice in the past
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On Friday, I went to see “Les Miserables” with Yeva. I walked over to her place and we drove to get tickets and then we had about 30 minutes to get desert. That desert place is so delicious. Yeva’s new boyfriend Sergey joined us for the movie. He wasn’t really interested in the movie, he just came along to spend time with her (ah, new relationships!) and it was also the first time I got to meet him. They are getting a bit serious now - I’m just very glad to hear Yeva so happy again. Her break up seven month ago was really hard on her. But when she called me right after the New Year to recount their recent trip to Vegas, she sounded like herself again. Of course, I’m hoping for dinner soon so we could met Sergey properly, with conversation.

Thoughts on Les Miserables )

I also spent the first week of the new year, finishing the 14th book of the Dresden Files, “Cold Days” by Jim Butcher.

Spoilery thoughts on Cold Days )

Downton Abbey S3E1 US )

Tomorrow, Bear and I are going on our real delayed honeymoon. We just going on vacation really. We are going to Arizona to Grand Canyon. I’ve never been to a desert environment so I don’t really know what to expect. Pictures and TV and movies are not same and I’m looking forward to seeing it live. I did decide to have an internet break. I will put pictures up when I come back.

There is a new LJ community – RS Library –and it has compiled a list to all Remus/Sirius fests and their masterlists.
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This morning I came down for breakfast and as usual Mama had Russian tv in the background. And I ended up watching the Best Cartoon Ever - the fox in chasing the hare and then the hare strikes up a conversation while running figuring that they have been running for an hour and maybe introductions are appropriate. The fox reassures the hare that it is perfectly proper and they chat for bit while the hare is basically running for his life. At one point the fox mentions that she hasn’t eaten in a while and the hare tells her of importance of regular diet. Then, after a while when the fox gets too tired, she ends up having a bit of a mental breakdown about how she is not good enough and becomes very down on herself. The hare gives the fox a pep talk about believing in yourself (at which point I was like, hare, what are you doing, she will eat you – and this is not an American cartoon so that is a definite possibility), and the hare gets the fox to proclaim self-affirming statement after which she eats him. Only Russian cartoon! I wish I could find a copy of this!

Santorum has heard of separation of Church and State, right? It is right in the Constitution which should be the main body of ideas not the Bible. He makes me so angry. Argh.

Downton Abbey )
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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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I know that today is a Superbowl. One cannot avoid it. And technically a New York team is playing and I do want them to win. (And they did, yay). But since I have no interest in the sport, I pretty much ignore it. I do watch the ads on Hulu, though. Last year I could vote normally there if I liked the ad, but this year you need Facebook (which I don’t have and don’t want).

My impressions of Superbowl ads: )

I still have a cold, argh. And now as per schedule my nose is runny. I still can’t project my voice which should make lecturing interesting tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

I did leave the house thought, since I had to go do my taxes. I do like going to an accountant and just taking care of it. I have to pay a lot this year since I didn’t pay much of federal tax during the year. It’s annoying but what can you do. At least it’s done.

I wrote my Transatlantic Slave Trade lecture today with Powerpoint. I’m also focusing a bit more on Africa before Europeans came to give a sense of the variety of cultures in Africa and participation in global trade before the Portuguese.

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 know that once the semester starts I would look back and wish I had all this time – although I do have things to do. Still, today was pretty quiet.

I am starting to think about a new cross stitching project. I spent five month last year doing the blanket and then I did the bib and I think I burned out a bit on cross stitching. Today I do out a kit I bought last year – it is not a big one but I am thinking of starting it.

I finally got to a few more episodes of “Leverage” despite some reluctance as it has not been exciting for me lately. But I did watch “Girls’ Night Out” and “Boys Night Out” - and I found them really cute, especially the Girls episode. I especially loved one woman just beating the guy up with a pan. She rocked. The only thing that made me roll my eyes is the explanation for Boys’ plan since that was ridiculously obvious without a detailed explanation.

But what I was really looking forward to was the premiere of “Downton Abbey” here in the States. I watched Season One on Netflix this fall in couple of days and just fell in love with it like so many others. And today, we finally got two new episodes at once. This show is like a nice comfy blanket in all its britishness. I was happy to have two episodes. I still would rather just watch it all at once. My parents watched the first hour with me and taped the second one – I got them to watch Season One before too.

I went for a walk and decided to go to a store since I needed shampoo and toothpaste. When I got home after the shopping and a little walk I discovered a hole in my plastic bag. It seems one of my toothpastes decided to run away. So I had to backtrack my footsteps in the dark for a few block before I found it. It didn’t escape far! But on this walk I’ve seen the most beautiful full moon. It was low in the sky and quite big and bright.
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Happy New Year to everyone! I hope the New Year will bring only good things.

I’m back to posting and being back online consistently – it was nice to take a short break although I did still check email and watched videos online. I also just caught up to posting the last week on my journal. I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone’s reading pages so I posted them just on my journal, in case anyone wants to read it.

But here is a short summary of my Christmas/New Year/holiday week: I had a very nice Christmas with Bear’s family where I got four books among my presents (yay), including Stephen Fry’s latest autobiography, and a pocket watch so I could pretend to be in Doctor Who universe. Then Bear and I went to Montauk for a nice relaxing vacation with hiking every morning and even time at a spa! And in the middle of this vacation on a beautiful Waking Dunes hike, Bear proposed with a lovely ring, which I thought was just perfect for me. It has an art deco design on the sides. So I got to be a bit giddy and girly.

2011 A Year in Review in a list )

Today itself was a low key day. While Bear set up his laptop in my room and was doing some work I read Karen Armstrong’s article “Homo religiosus” which I will teach next semester. I do love her stuff but she is dense and complex. The students will certainly be challenged.

I did go outside to go to the bank with Bear but otherwise I stayed home and read.

Of course, in the evening I had to get ready for our holiday celebration. It was just my parents and Bear but since it is New Year, we all dressed up – with yellow and orange themes since next year is the year of the Dragon. So I’m wearing an orange shirt I got for my birthday, a black skirt and stockings with make-up and everything. I look more like a tiger. Mama made a delicious table of holiday food including a chicken and we took our annual holiday photos with the tree.

I hope 2012 will be a good year. That is the best part about the New Year celebration a hope of a new beginning.

Some pictures from the last week: )
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I commented on rough drafts all morning until I had to go teach. I did one class last night and one class this morning.

It was an oreo cookie class and I threw a lot of information at them about quotes. This year, this group seem to pay attention more and are doing the work very conscientiously so far. We’ll see how long that will last. But so far I like both classes.

I needed to work on the Roman Empire lecture in the evening but I distracted myself with ‘Downton’ for a bit and then the Kid came over and wanted me to come outside for a bit. I ended up working on most of my lecture until 12:40am or so but it was worth it. I played a few games of Jenga with the kids and walked outside with them a little. I mentioned that I have Monopoly and they wanted to borrow it. When I opened the box to make sure all the parts were still there before I gave it to them, I found a childhood game I made up. I forgot all about it! But it might be fun to play later.

I changed my Netflix subscription today to just one DVD and instant. I’m still mad at Netflix for raising the prices. But I don’t watch as many actual DVDs anymore; I mostly get shows for Papa anyway.

Downton Abbey )
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Lots of prep today. I think my Monday to Wednesday is my busiest days where I don’t much time to sit down, although I do try to watch something in my evening dead brain time. Thursday I spend breathing some air and Friday is on again. So I don’t have a chance to write out full blogs until Fridays, but I do keep notes.

Last night I made my big long list of stuff for teaching to do this week. It actually really helped to keep track of everything and feel in control of my week:

My list for this week )

Lectures went well today. The law class got into the groove. They did like Cicero death scene and the details of the Late Republic. And then I put them in small group to go over Cicero (and I made students who didn’t bring the reading to class to go print it). So it felt like they learned something.

Mama and I went to the beach. Papa was working from home and Mama didn’t want to wait and for the light to go. Which was a good thing since Papa was still working (and watching tennis) when we got back. But when we did leave, he stood at the window looking at us like a little sad puppy. Mama and I played badminton (which I haven’t done in a long time and my parents usually play it and it did turn out to be a bit of a workout) and then I went rollerblading. Since the hurricane, the beach road is still full of sand, so I have to stick to the parking lot. I did try a new way along the roads and parking lots of the park area but it is not the same. I guess no beach road until next season.

“Downton Abbey” I watched the first few episodes today. So good and so addictive. It so hits all my buttons. I don’t know why I find early 20th century British class system so interesting to watch. Maybe because I like order and precision. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is on Netflix instant play and it is so worth it.


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October 2017

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