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On this livejournal blog I crosspost from Dreamwidth. 

A Masterlist of all my fanfiction is here. There is Harry Potter, Highlander, Torchwood and a Bible story.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This weekend was a little weird, in a good way. I had no grading to do, which is nice for a semester weekend (I'm getting lots of papers tomorrow, so I really should enjoy this break before the craziness of next week). But I was a little at a loss on how to spend my day. Good problem to have! I did embrace the laziness and watched some TV (I'm loving "Victoria" - sexy in a lot of ways and just gets to me) and read some books and cleaned the bathroom and cooked and spent some time with Bear and Tanya.

I finally finished reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. I started it a few weeks ago but I just didn't care enough for it to read more than a chapter at a time, sometimes less. I just read more at the end, just to finally finish it. It is so very 80s, which was a little fun, and I read it and followed the plot perfectly fine but I just found myself indifferent. It was fine and I can understand why it was an influential book but my mind was pretty detached reading it. I didn't care for any of the characters. For some reason, I find lately that a lot of classic sci-fi is underwhelming me. I didn't hate it, I just didn't care. This year has been a little weird in books so far. I hope it picks up.

The King's Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman, on the other hand, is definitely sustaining my interest. I have a paperback copy, because I have copies of all her books, so I am limited on when I can read it. It's not easy to lug it with me on commute as it is almost 700 small print pages and a bit hefty, and I can't read it in the evening, in the dark, but I've been snatching lots of time this weekend. It was fun to follow Richard the Lionheart's adventures trying to sneak through Italy and Austria. I'm only on p.150 so far - still a lot of the book to go. This book will take me awhile too but at least I'm excited to read it. I do love her writing, even with "smile not reaching the eyes" appearing 10 times in 10 pages, and I adore historical accuracy. Richard is not my favorite king, but she is doing a good job making me understand him.

In the afternoon, all of us went to the playground together, which is a rare occasion. Tanya tried to protest - she just wanted to go with Papa and kept yelling at me to stay home or stay, but she calmed down after I talked to her that Mama wanted to breathe some air too and I won't get in a way of fun with Papa. (She likes to play with us one at a time, most of the time). I did leave them behind for a bit to go to Dunken Donuts to get a Boston Creme Donut for myself and a blueberry muffin for Bear (and Tanya too to share), and then we just hung out. It was cold but not overly so and it was nice just to be. I headed back around 5 to go cook dinner and by then Tanya didn't want me to go. :)

I went home to make a cottage pie, which for me usually means layer of ground turkey with onion and oregano, then layer of peas and corn and then layer of mashed potatoes, all baked in the oven. Nice and delicious, and good for two days, since we just eat it very fast.

I was feeling good all day, but as I got up at 6:45pm to go warm up dinner for Tanya and for us to eat, I started feeling very weak. I could barely stand and felt like I could just collapse. I wasn't dizzy, just weak. It was probably low blood pressure, it's already been low 100/60 every time I go for a check up. So I warmed up Tanya's food, had Bear feed her this time, ate my dinner quickly and went to lie down. I did get up to make myself Earl Gray tea to get a little caffeine in, drank more water, and had a little caviar that my Dad got for me (I don't generally eat it a lot, but it is good for the baby). I stayed in bed once I got Tanya to bed and I felt better today, on Sunday. It's not the first time I got weak, but it's never fun. At least this was the weekend and I didn't have to worry about work. I really need to drink more water during the day. And today I ordered some beef kebab at the Nargis restaurant (it's Uzbek/Russian place) and Bear went to pick it up on his way after grocery shopping. I probably need more iron but this baby is not a big fan of beef. But the kebab was so so tasty. Very soft.

Today was nice and relaxing too - I went for a walk this morning to get milk and to the Chinese bakery. And I just wanted to get some energy. Watched "Grimm" (loved the victim saving herself). Read a lot. Did some cross stitch. I even made the flyer to sell the two bar stools with backs that we won't need anymore after we move. I really do need to appreciate the quiet weekends.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

First a meme taken from pretty much everyone:

2016 MemeCollapse )

Today is the first day of the new semester for me, so I'm at work. My Dad dropped off my Mom very early (6:20am) and drove me to work. He will pick me up at 5 today. I already printed everything I needed to print from Syllabi to first day Writing Samples to my rosters, so now I just have time to kill. My classes are from 1:40 to 4:40 this semester (an hour 20 minutes for each class) and I technically have office hours from 12:30 to 1:30. So I'm now I'm just catching up on books and emails and blogs and commenting.

Before the offices opened and I could print and use a computer, I was looking forward to sitting on the new comfy couches close to the offices. But they replaced them with these modern looking armchairs, which are not nearly as comfortable! Sometimes, new things are not better.

I also wrote an official "intent to move" letter to our apartment's management company. They have no problem in our breaking our lease, as long as they get 30 days notice. They won't have any issues renting the place and for a higher rent pretty quickly. So we will officially move on February 28. Renovations are going well so far, and they should be done by mid February hopefully. As long as they are done enough for us to move our furniture, that should be fine. I definitely don't want to be paying double rent after February.

I watched the first episode of "Victoria" on Monday, which I really enjoyed. This is not a surpise as I generally like historical dramas and English TV series. And while I was neurtal on Jenna Colman on Doctor Who, I do like her in this role. And yesterday, I brought myself to watch the final episode of "Sherlock" for Season 4. I was a bit bored with it and a lot of the plot didn't make sense. I wish they just had a normal mystery and not a convoluted conspiracy/family soap opera drama. I did like where it all ended and I'm happy if it is the end of the show. If it's not, I hope they get back to fun mysteries again.

Something I want to write down so I don't forget later: this last week, Tanya started playing by pretending to be a character and assigning us roles. She is Cookie Monster, Bear is Elmo (somethimes its vice versa) and I'm the Cat in the Hat. It's pretty cute and an interesting stage in her play development.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Last two days were rainy so we were pretty much stuck indoors. I only left for about 10 minutes today to go to the post office to drop off some letters (rent and next semester's contract). Good thing was that Bear had these two days off - yesterday was a holiday and he took today off because the floors were getting delivered to the new apartment and he was needed to carry them inside - he even got a hand cart at work. He, with some help from my Dad, ended up carrying most of the boxes anyway. Bear loves it - it was like a workout for him. Nice thing for me was that he was home in the early morning and in late afternoon. Tanya tends to play with him more when he is home, so I get free time to cook and just be a little. And it was just so nice being home all together, very low key.

Bear put away the tree and holiday lights yesterday and packed a whole box full of our games. I packed a box of books today. We are not moving until the end of February but we are starting to pack because there is just so much. I'm going to have many many boxes just of books. And once my semester starts in two weeks I will not have much time. We just need to get more boxes.

I did a lot of cooking even with the leftover holiday food. Yesterday, I made kotlety (fried meatball type) from beef and baked yams yesterday. And today I'm making baked ziti and split pea soup with beef. The apartment smells wonderful right now.

Over the last two days I also backed up 2016 blog to a Word document (I crosspost to Dreamwidth and LJ, but I want a copy that is not on the internet). And I watched 2 TV shows and read a book. So fairly good two days.

For a long time I wanted to read Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man . I loved the movie, although the movie mislead me a little bit on the intent of the main character, which colored this read a bit. And I had the book on Amazon Wish List for a while. Finally, I actually ordered it. But for a year Amazon couldn't find a copy for me. I cancelled that order. Last year I discovered that the Brooklyn Public Library now had it as a ebook. I put it on my library wish list. And last week I put the book on hold, thinking it might take a while. But on January 1st I got a notice that I can now borrow it. I did and read it in less than 48 hours. It was not a long book but it was also compelling. I didn't want to put it down. I forgot how beautifully Isherwood writes. His prose is just delicious. And, of course, since I teach in a college, I found the whole section of George teaching his English class just perfection. Isherwood really captures perfectly the class dynamics and student mentality. That section was sublime - really funny and just right. I really want to have a copy of this book because, while I rarely reread, I already want to reread this one. I loved this book so much.

I also watched two TV shows: Sherlock S4E1 and the latest Doctor Who Christmas special, which my Dad got for me.

Sherlock S4E1: The Six ThatchersCollapse )

Doctor Who 2016 Christmas SpecialCollapse )

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What I like about January 1 is that is tends to be a nice and quiet day, usually quite relaxing, like a breath you take before a new year starts.

We drove over to my parents' yesterday in the morning for the New Year celebrations. We always celebrate at home as it is a family holiday for us. We Skyped with relatives in Minsk and in California to wish them Happy New Year and just to chat and chilled a bit. Around 5:30 we all dressed up, mostly in red and pink colors, for the upcoming Rooster year, (except Bear who was a black rooster), and took lots of annual photos around the New Year fir tree. Then we had our holiday dinner. So much yummy food! My Mom made the usual olivier salad and pod-shuba (beets with herring), crab salad, fish liver salad and beets/plums/nuts salad. She also made regular veggie salad and cabbage/egg pie. And for main course there was meat french style (meat covered with potatoes and dried apricots). And there were open faced sandwiches with salmon and also with caviar. And bread, of course. So much food! (and lots of leftovers for today). In the past, I wasn't always a big fan for beets and herring classic, but I'm really into it lately.

After this giant meal, we did bedtime for Tanya and I put her to bed. I was pretty much falling asleep with her but my Dad made sure to get me up by 10:30pm to sneak out of the bedroom so I could come downstairs and have some desert - they got fruit tart cake, and there was zefir (marshmallows in chocolate), and dried fruit, with tea, of course.

Then we mostly watched TV and hung out until midnight and watched the ball drop while drinking some sparkling juice. Then I just went to bed, I was very tired. But, of course, I couldn't easily fall asleep once I was in bed and the night was a bit restless. Still, it was a good calm new years, full of deliciousness and family time, just the way I like it.

In the morning, Tanya slept in until 7:30am, but then we all got up, got dressed and went downstairs to the New Year tree to open presents that Ded Moroz (Russian Santa) left for Tanya (and a couple for Bear and I) under the tree. Tanya got 4 books (2 from me - Crocodile Gena in Russian and one of the Elephant and Piggie books in English, and 2 from my parents - both in English - 5 minute Princess Stories and When the Tiger Came to Tea). And she got a little magnet fishing game, which is also a puzzle, and a nice tea set with toy dishes, cups, tea pot, forks and spoons. She is playing with all her new toys. I got Bear a Deadpool graphic novel he wanted (we split our presents to each other in two - some for Christmas and some for New Year) and my parents got him an Amazon gift certificate. I got "Star Trek Beyond" from Bear and the last Leonard Cohen CD and a book by Stefan Zweig from my parents. I was very happy with my presents. I'm listening to Leonard Cohen right now - which is a little bittersweet.

Around 9:30am, Bear, Tanya and I went to the playground. The weather was beautiful today, not too cold, and sunny. Tanya went on her little tricycle, which she actually pedaled by herself a little bit today. It felt like the whole world was still asleep. There was no one about and very little cars on the road. We had the playground to ourselves. Well, and the three squirrels who kept chasing each other. I had fun watching them. There was also a field full of geese right outside the playground - we watched them walk around a bit in the little puddle. They had black necks and white faces with black beaks and white bellies. Tanya really liked watched them. It was just very relaxing to spend time together, chase Tanya a little around and go down a few slides. It was only when we were about to leave after 11 when someone else came. New Year is definitely a nice quite day.

I even got a little nap in when Tanya went for a nap and read my book too. I'm reading "It's hard to Be a God" now and the main character's attitude to the culture he's studying is driving me a little crazy. I go from liking the book to slowing down in wanting to read it because of the whole "civilized" attitude of the protagonist. Reading Strugaski brothers is always strange though.

We came home after all the naps, I unpacked (including all the holiday food my Mom passed along, yum), paid the January bills (at least for this apartment, still have to do the new one), and just catching up online a bit. Overall, a nice day.

I don't do New Year resolutions but I guess I want to try to be more present and not waste too much time online. And read and write, of course.

I'm not very concerned about LJ issues, I don't write anything that should matter to any government, and I have been cross posting from Dreamwidth for years - in fact it remains my face. But if anyone wants to add me on DW for back-up, I have the same username .

My Remus/Sirius Small Gifts story was posted a week or so go. It's called Christmas in July. If you are curious you can read it here.

And finally my Book List 2017 is here with books I would like to read this year.

Ask Me Anything Meme; Dec 31

31 best moment of the month ([personal profile] zhelana)

Not being too nauseous anymore tops the list! As is the ability to often stay up past 9!

But in seriousness, the holiday season for sure - with potato pancakes for the whole family on Hanukkah and celebrating Christmas and today really looking forward to New Year tonight with photos and big holiday meal and new year.

Also end of the semester was very nice and welcome. So was an unexpected job interview in mid-December and a letter that my job appeal for a city job (the appeal which I sent in in June) was finally granted and I will be placed on the list.

And I had a dinner with Yeva in a Turkish place, and a visit to Marianna to meet her baby son Mozen and eat Himalayan food - both very nice times.

And so is Tanya singing "V Lesy Rodilas Yelochka" (In the forest there was born a fir tree) - a traditional New Year Russian song, at the top of her lungs everytime we pass the Christmas tree in the lobby of our building.

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Ask Me Anything Meme; Dec 30 - Books 2016

30.favorite books read this year (and why) (hamsterwoman)

I read 35 books this year, which is a very good book count for me. This included a very long Jonathan Strange so I'm very happy with reading this year. Next year I expect to read much less, especially after June with the new baby, so I'm savoring it now.

Here is My Book List for 2016 .

I liked all the books on my list - mostly because I don't read books that I don't like. But I do like them in different ways. I read really good quality sci-fi this year with Ancillary Justice and The Fifth Season and I hope to continue to read more female authors, especially sci-fi female authors next year. I'm going to make my new book list tomorrow for books I hope to read in 2017. But those books, while really good in quality are not necessarily my favorite. Favorite books tend to hit emotional buttons a little more.

My favorite book this year is probably His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik - it felt like a cross between Horatio Hornblower and dragons and it perfectly suited me. I liked the two sequels I read so far too, but the first book takes precedence since it was the book where I went "ooh, I want to read this series. This is written for me"

Another fun book on the favorite list was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I read it really fast and I just really enjoyed it. And it felt like a depiction of the world I knew, although I didn't get into fanfic until my mid-20s and didn't start writing until I was 30. But I can relate to coming of age stuff too.

All the Light We Cannot See was really wonderful. Really evocative and well written - a new way to see WWII, which is unusual.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a lot of fun too. Mostly I just enjoyed being back in Harry Potter world, despite recognizing the drawbacks of the play and why many might not like it.

I loved Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks but my favorite non-fiction goes to Hamilton: The Revolution - the libretto of the musical. It was really interesting to read how the musical came together and about members of the cast and crew.

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Movies 2016

I kept a list this year to keep track of the movies I watched. I didn't watch too many - mostly for lack of time and partly because there weren't too many I wanted to watch. Here is my list and then I will do some comments on the movies, especially on latest ones.

1. Inside Out (Dec 31-Jan 1)
2. Avengers: The Age of Ultron (Jan 6)
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (Jan 16-17)
4. The Martian (Feb 6-Feb 7)
5. Kingsman (Feb 19-20)
6. Furious 7 (Apr 1)
7. X-Men: Apocalypse (June 12) – movie theater
8. Deadpool (June 25-26)
9. Spotlight (July 6)
10. Ant-man (July 9-10)
11. The Big Short (July 18-19)
12. Minions (July 31, Aug 2, Aug 4)
13. Theory of Everything (Aug 22-23)
14. Zootopia (Nov 20)
15. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Dec 22—23)
16. Captain America: Civil War (Dec 16)

thoughts on some moviesCollapse )

Ask Me Anything Meme; Dec 25

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who celebrate! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

25.What is your most favourite and least Christmas traditions? (zoefruitcake)

I didn't grow up with Christmas. In fact, I didn't even know about it as a kid. Our main winter holiday was New Year. Kids got to dress up in costumes and have a party in school where we would get candy from Ded Moroz (Russian Santa). On New Year's Eve, my whole family would go to my Aunt's to celebrate at a big holiday table with lots of food. There would be holiday TV on with lots of songs. I would stay over there overnight, and in the morning, my cousin and I would wake up for presents from Ded Moroz under a New Year tree and have leftover holiday food gor breakfast.

When I came to US, I was amazed by all the holiday lights outside in December. But we still didn't celebrate Christmas ourselves. We did learn about Hanukkah and did candles and continued New Year traditions. Usually we would go to a movie on Christmas Day.

In college, I met Bear, whose family is Catholic. And after a few years I got invited to their family Christmas. And I have been going ever since. That's when I did get Christmas traditions on top of Hanukkah and New Year. And I do like celebrating everything.

My favorite things are helping Bear make Christmas breakfast for his family. He was making pancakes for everyone since he was a kid. I now make scrambled eggs and turkey sausages while he makes pancakes and bacon (I don't eat bacon). We did the breakfast this morning and it was great.

I also like leisurely opening of presents, usually in the afternoon. But with Tanya, we were opening presents in the morning, a little bit at a time. And this year I had a deal with Bear's sister and brother not to exchange gifts. I just got presents for Bear and he got presents for Tanya (along with lots of family giving Tanya presents. I get Tanya presents for New Year). Bear got me a Peer Gynt CD and Ravenclaw socks (again, since he forgot he got me a pair last year :) ).

My least favorite tradition was going to church with Bear's family. I don't mind it, but when everyone chants the creed, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I haven't gone in the last few years since Tanya needs to nap at the time they go. But I generally do enjoy the day and even some church songs as when I went.

Yesterday was the 1st night of Hanukkah too, so we lit the menorah and I made potato pancakes for everyone, with Bear's help (he grated potatoes and flipped them). I love potato pancakes.

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