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Well, today totally qualifies as the strangest first day of class I've had. New York is covered in many many inches of snow right now and it is affecting everything. It was already snowing at 8am when I met up with Rosemary for our commute to University for the orientation for the Writing Program we as teachers needed to go to. The drive there was pretty good, despite a bit of snow. But it was clear as early as 10am that the snow would only get worse.

I did manage to get copying done and talk to administrators I had to talk to and after the orientation I took a campus bus to the new campus I'm teaching on. I've never really been to that part of University, so I stopped by the Student Center to explore my food options (very nice ones with pizza and Chinese and burgers and nice cafe) where I had pizza and then took the bus a few more stops to my building.

I had maybe an hour and a half before class and I spent most of it chatting with another teacher, also waiting for her class as we were figuring out the classrooms and the buildings neither of us been in before. It was there that we found out that the University cancelled classes after 3pm. One of my classes ends at 3pm and another starts at 3:20. So I send a homework mass email to my second cancelled class and actually got to teach the first. They were mostly writing a Writing Sample, so first day is pretty easy.

Once I found out that I will be done at 3, I called my Dad who works maybe an hour away. He wanted to pick me us since he was leaving work early and then I could stay at my parents' house. The problem was that he came across two accidents and massive snow and it took him 4 hours to get to me, finally picking me up at 5pm. I had my Kindle with me, at least, which I read while I waited. (I got Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling out of the online library yesterday). It took us a bit to get to his house too. But finally, after much careful driving, we made it safely.

Tomorrow will be super cold with lots of snow on the ground. Local College cancelled morning classes until 11. So one of my history classes is cancelled tomorrow while I have to go in at 1pm. My Dad is working from his house tomorrow, so he can drive me. My problem is that most of my notes for the intro class are at my place, so I will just have to wing it tomorrow unless Local College would cancel afternoon classes too. We'll see.

At least in the evening I was able to catch up to "Teen Wolf" on my parents' computer and watch a new episode of "Supernatural" on their very large TV.
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The highlight of my day was a nap. It was pretty rainy but that really means I'm ready to go back to work. I know it will get stressful but at least my brain would be working more.

I did catch up on "Teen Wolf" - and I'm liking the new season. And I'm watching Season 3 of "Supernatural" - so far I feel Season 2 was a bit stronger. And I read my textbook a bit. Still I'm ready for a new semester.
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Today is a really cold day all across the US but at least in New York it wasn't as bad as many other places. We had 7F (-14C) in the morning and maybe 15F (-9C) in the afternoon. Not that I had to go outside but we did get ice on the windows inside the bedroom. And Bear had to go to work and I was trying to get him to dress warmer - but he didn't want to sweat in the car.

I still have my two weeks before the semester starts on January 21 so I get to be home. I did work a lot on my syllabi today, mostly figuring out the reading breakdowns and types of lectures for history classes. I'm teaching 4 classes next semester:

a. Two writing classes (Expository Writing) at University where out of 44 students I will have, 17 were my Basic Comp students from last semester (which is a great number to carry over. All students at this Uni have to pass Expos and Basic Comp is for those who need extra prep to get to Expos, based on text scores.) I don't know which six articles I'd be assigning yet - I need to see if there will be a new edition of the textbook which has new essays. But I know I'm going to start with Beth Loffreda's "Selections from Losing Matthew Shepherd: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder." My students were mostly born in 1995, so most of them don't know it. I think they should.

b. Two history classes at Local College: "Global History: 1500-present" and "Sex, Power and Identity in Europe before 1800". I've taught both before two years ago, so I have most prep done, but at least this time I can do the gender class properly - two times a week, not a three hour seminar. Today I worked on syllabi for the gender class mostly (I'm adding a new book and changing it up a little), but I also worked a bit on the readings for Global. Another professor who is teaching a section of his course likes a textbook focused on colonialism and imperialism so I'm going to use that too. I needed to figure out what chapters from it I would assign.

On a non-working time today, I spent time after breakfast watching a new episode of "Teen Wolf." That show is such a silly crack. And nice views of shirtless boys. I did like the dreams and creepiness of the episode. Also I've been reading my mystery book more. It is coming along nicely. And January 11th for get together is back on, since Yeva changed her mind and can make it. So Friday and Saturday I will actually be social.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday, July 7th, 2013 10:05 pm
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New York is in the middle of a heat wave which does not make for very comfortable outside activities. It is over 90F in the last few day. And yesterday I had to be outside from 11 to 6, canvasing. It was not too far from my house but there was a lot of walking and it was very, very hot. Two bottles of water were not enough. It was nice to be mostly outside today - we only went out for groceries and to dinner with a few of Bear's relatives.

I finished "The Iron King," the historical fiction about Philip IV today. Definitely enjoyed it a lot and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series - there are seven overall. But only the second book is coming out in English this November (it is originally French) - the rest are not as available. Since I don't want to read them all at once, it will actually be nice to just read them slowly, over time.

I started the autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt today. I just wanted a biography and something non-fiction and I really like biographies of women. Some of my favorites were biographies of Simone de Beauvoir and Golda Meir. So I'm giving it a go. I read the first chapter so far. Her writing style is a little weird so I'm not sure if I will like it but I'm curious so far and I want to learn more about American politics, so this could be a fun way.

My week has been pretty good. On Monday, I took a severely needed day off just to recharge my batteries. I basically just caught up on this season of "True Blood." I'm really liking it. "True Blood" is always such a fun summer crack to me. It is telling that the only two shows I'm watching this summer are "Teen Wolf" and "True Blood." Both are such silly, delicious crack. I can't watch my dance show, since Fox is blocking it for like a month unless you have cable.

Tuesday and Wednesday were my last petitioning days. No more signature collecting. I did get to spend my time mostly in Manhattan parks so that was sort of fun (tiring, but fun). Now it will be all canvasing and phonebanking.

Then came two days of Fourth of July holiday. First my parents came over to our apartment for half the day - my Mom wanted to finally frame our ketubah (marriage contract) - and I fed them drumsticks and oven roasted potatoes I made. Then, in the afternoon, we drove out to Long Island to Bear's family where we stayed overnight. That evening, on July 4th, we drove to a Main Street in his little town, and watched distant fireworks near the dock. It was very much a holiday.

So my week was pretty good overall. The only problem I had to deal with was today when one of my credit cards got declined at the store and I realized once I got home that I never got last month's bill and it just slipped my mind and it got overdue. I've been paying credit card bills for over 14 years, always in full and that never happened. I called to pay it right away and set up an online account too but I will still have to charge bare minimum on this card for the next two month, so I don't pay too much interest. Seriously, I forget one time and they just pounce with the charges.
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Over the last three weeks I haven’t been blogging. Mostly it was moving and setting up new internet and run down to the wedding, the wedding itself, first week of classes at Local College and figuring out transportation and the mini-honeymoon Bear and I spent in New Hope, PA for the last two days. So it has been a pretty busy three weeks. But now we’re home in our apartment and I will blog much more regularly as I settle into the new routine.

The wedding last Sunday went well – all according to plan, which was nice. I love my dress – it was so lovely and Bear looked very handsome in his suit. In the morning, Mama and I went to Brooklyn to the hair dresser and then the make-up girl came to my house. Bear and Jeremy, his best men, came around 1:30, had lunch, changed and then we all went to Fort Wadsworth, right by Verrazano Bridge to take pictures of fabulous views. (By Russian tradition, the groom needs to go to bride’s house to pick her up). Yeva met us there since as usual she was running late.

After all the pictures we drove to the restaurant. All the guests came on time and we had our ceremony at 6:30 with a priest and a rabbi. Everyone seemed to have a good time. There was a lot of alcohol and Bear’s friends were really into Belarussian champagne (we also gave alcohol as parting gifts). There was a show in the restaurant and dancing too. Bear and I danced in the private room before we did the main restaurant floor to cheesy music and green fog – it was such a fun cheesy moment. And we had our cake with wedding bears on top. We actually took the bottom half home – the chocolate layer (the top layer was walnut) – and Bear took most of it into work and we’ve been eating the rest all week. So much delicious cake. And after the restaurant, Bear and I drove a short way to our new apartment.

wedding pictures )

After fourteen years together, getting married doesn’t actually feel all the different. It is a little weird to call him my husband but other than that even living together doesn’t feel that new, although it sort of is. Mostly, I’m just happy we could spend more time together but so far, it is not that different.

For our mini-moon, we went to New Hope for a few days (we want to go to Grand Canyon in January for the actual honeymoon). I needed to go into work on Thursday for my Writing Program orientation but that was on the way to the vacation. We stayed in a very nice B&B and we actually got a lot done in two and a half days. We walked around the town and shopped a bit (I love a magnet that says “A monkey can do my job but he would demand better pay”), went canoeing, had a giant milkshake, watched fireworks, went on a 1920s style train ride and went to all three Washington Crossing National Park sights. And had nice food too.

We almost done setting up the apartment – we still need a couch and different bar stools but it is coming together. Bear bought an exercise bike – so now I have no excuse but to work out at home. I will try to get into a more productive routine now that I have to set a new routine. And teaching has started and I will need to figure out a new commute too. But it is good – I do like the change.

I haven’t been reading that much actual books this summer but I did finish “Infidel” by Aayan Hirsi Ali – which I liked but found a bit problematic at times since I do believe in multiculturalism more than the author does. Now I’m reading “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy” by John le Carre (I want to see the movie and I know practically nothing about it.

As for TV, I’m loving the second season of “Grimm” and I watched Season 1 of “Teen Wolf” on Netflix, which I enjoyed. I will catch up with second season online too. I can’t watch SYTYCD here since I don’t have cable, just the internet but I do catch up on dances the next day, so there is that. This Fall TV Season I have the least number of TV shows to watch in the longest time and I’m really OK with that.

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