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Monday, May 16, 2016

So apparently I'm reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell now. It was a little unplanned. I finished Sacks and was going to start Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children . But that book was in hard copy and on Friday morning Tanya woke me up early by moving around but then she went back to sleep for another hour. Since I couldn't sleep and only had my Kindle with a flashlight nearby, I figured I would read something. Jonathan Strange is on my "to read" list this year but at 900 something pages it is a little intimidating. Just the time commitment; it's going to take me a while, especially with no commute to read on. But I started it. I had absolutely no idea what this book was about - I vaguely knew it was set in the 19th century. And for some reason my brain associates the title with "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide." I never even read the cover page for the book description. I know there was a TV miniseries, which I want to eventually see. I avoided pretty much all spoilers. I also know many people really love this book.

I'm on Chapter 5 right now. I like the writing style and the story so far but it is still a little early to get a handle on the characters or the plot. My favorite part so far was the description of what a society party was like - hot and super crowded and superficial in a lot of ways. And Mr. Norell just wants to read his book in the corner. I can relate to that. The book is certainly amusing me right now. I guess this would be my world for at least a month. Maybe longer.

I'm also finally watching Season 9 of "Doctor Who." I saw the first episode the week it aired (and rewatched it today) but wasn't able to see the rest. My Dad just got it for me this week from this Russian website and I can switch the language back into English. So I'm looking forward to that. Maybe to the Christmas Special since I love River.

Yesterday, we all went to visit my grandparents and while we were there my uncle (my Dad's younger brother) came over as well with my aunt and cousin Anna. I saw my uncle and Anna maybe a little over a year ago but my aunt never met Tanya. (They live in New Jersey, more than an hour away and we are not super close). So it was fun to hang out, once Tanya got over the shyness of meeting so many new people all at once.

Today I actually picked up my phone and called people to ask for things. It's not always easy for me to do that. But I really had to call the apartment management person. They sent our our lease renewal last week and effectively raised our rent 5.4%. New York City actually passed a rent freeze - 0% this year but there is a loophole that if the tenant was paying a "preferred rent" and not "legal rent," the landlord could raise it to "legal rent". So it's legal but such a dick move. $80 more a month is not a small sum. And we've been in this place since 2012, paid our rent on time, etc. So I called today to see if there was anything they could do. The manager was actually pretty nice and easy about it. Said she would talk to the owner and call me back in the afternoon. And she did. Our rent would now only go up $30. Still annoying of them to get around the intent of the law but better than before. So yay. And I made sure to reinforce in my mind that it is good to call and ask for things (when I went to therapy one summer when I started to develop travel anxiety, one of the things that stuck with me is the need to reinforce the positives and not just focus on the negatives). I also called a different real estate guy that one of the Moms at the playground recommended, now that we want to start searching for an apartment to buy again.

And tomorrow, Tanya and I are heading with Bear to his parents's house for the week. Bear will be working, fairly late at night too, but at least we would see him in the morning. And Tanya and I will get to hang out with his parents and Tanya will get a chance to practice English more. She speaks more in Russian since she's around me all the time, but when Bear is home she is picking up more English phrases for sure. She was eating something, either strawberry or banana and she told me in Russian "Tanya kushaet bananu" then turned right to Bear and said "Tanya eats banana", translating for him (although he can understand basic Russian and she knows it). She also loves to comment on what she is doing. As she was drinking milk, she said "Tanya pyet moloko" or "Tanya is drinking milk", then when she was done, she said "Tanya popila moloko" or "Tanya drank/finished drinking milk." She also mastered her shape sorter a week ago, a new skill we will show off to grandparents.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2016 04:20 am (UTC)
And Mr. Norell just wants to read his book in the corner.

I did not expect to like Mr Norrell as much as I enjoyed liking him after that scene, but grumpy!introvert!Norrell is strangely adorable.

It took me two attempts, years apart, to get through this book, because OMG long. But ultimately I really liked it, and was impressed by it.

And the miniseries is pretty good, although I started out really loving it as an adaptation and ended up kind of side-eyeing it for some choices it made. But overall I'm glad I watched it, too, and I watched all 8 hours of it in a weekend or something, so I was definitely enjoying it.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on both (eventually :)

Also, I'm deeply unsurprised that you have a cousin Anna. :)

And also also, I'm rather amused that Tanya knows not to decline "moloko" but is understandably confused by the gender of "banana" between Russian and English :)
May. 20th, 2016 03:00 pm (UTC)

I put Jonathan Strange on my list this year partly because of the miniseries and all chatter about it last year. I generally like reading the book first. The book is interesting so far, just long!

Tanya's Americanized declention of ' banana' is my fault. I don't correct her on it and I fall into the trap sometimes too. It doesn't help that we read this piggy and elephant book (it's in English but I tend to mostly read it to her in Russian) where we need to read and say 'banana' very loudly.

May. 20th, 2016 05:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I went back to it last year after having put it aside for like ten years because of the miniseries and the fandom perking up around it. I did feel like I stopped noticing the length once I got to a certain point -- maybe a third into the book? Anyway, I hope you continue to enjoy it!

it's in English but I tend to mostly read it to her in Russian

*nods* I did that with all the picture books for the rodents, too. (Which is why they got very little Dr Seuss until they started reading on their own -- even though I like his books, there's no way to do them justice with a podstrochnik :P)

The "banana" declension trap would be very easy to fall into! And I suppose it's no less legitimate than the regional feminine "pomidora", really :)

May. 20th, 2016 05:44 pm (UTC)

Tanya has her Papa for Dr Seuss books. She likes the ABC book and Cat in the Hat. Sometimes when Bear isn't home, she still wants me to read them so those I do in English for her, since it's all about the rhyme. But mostly I stick to reading in Russian to her. A lot of Chukovskiy. She loves Moidodyr and Aibolit and Chudo-derevo.

It's funny, but Tanya has this favorite book of stories called 'Stories for 2 year olds' in English which are mostly pictures. I read them in Russian to her. One evening Bear read one of the stories to her in English and I realized for the first time that the story had rhyme. It was a poem. I always just translated line by line without absorbing English structure.

May. 20th, 2016 07:02 pm (UTC)
Heh, I've had that experience with picture books with rhyme, too. Because the rhymes are separated by a couple of pages, it's really hard to notice if you're doing translation!

We did a lot of Chukovsky, too (and Barto, and especially Marshak, who is my own childhood favorite). but Moydodyr is great, and Aibolit, and I also like Fedorino Gore, but reading Tarakanische and Muha-Tsokotuha made me realize just how dark those ones are XD
May. 17th, 2016 08:26 am (UTC)
I love that book! It took me a little while to get into it, but when I found my stride I found it a surprsiingly Quick read, give the size of the book. :)
May. 20th, 2016 03:08 pm (UTC)

I hope it would be the case. I'm liking it so far.

May. 17th, 2016 11:23 am (UTC)
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is probably my favourite book in all the world, I just adore it. I've read it four or five times now, and every time I just get sucked into the world and have to look up and take a break and remind myself every so often that magic isn't real. And when I've finished reading it, I tend to carry the book around with me for a little while because I'm just not ready to let go...

It seems like it's the kind of book that people either love or just can't get into it - I hope you love it!

Edited at 2016-05-17 11:24 am (UTC)
May. 20th, 2016 03:10 pm (UTC)

That's actually very encouraging. I've read really long books before but usually I hope to love them to make the time investment worth it. The book is definitely interesting so far. I'm reading it on my Kindle.

May. 17th, 2016 08:09 pm (UTC)
I hope you like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell! I really love that book. I've found it to be a strangely quick read for such a long book--I get really involved in its world and can't stop reading it.

I hope you like season 9 of Doctor Who too! It has some great episodes, and the Christmas special is a lot of fun.

I feel you on the phone thing, I hate calling to ask for things too. I'm glad it worked out!

Tanya translating for her dad is adorable. :)
May. 20th, 2016 03:14 pm (UTC)

I hope that would the case that I would be so involved in the book that the length won't matter! I like it so far.

I'm half way done with Season 9 now. Definitely good season so far. I like 12 in general, much more than 11 for whom I didn't care much. And I hope Missy sticks around for a while, I love her. Looking forward to River in the Christmas special.

May. 18th, 2016 12:13 am (UTC)
Ah, I could so see my own thought pattern there in not wanting to commit to books too long. Especially when it's an author I do not know yet.

I also don't like calling people and will much more prefer to write. Although part of it is language for me (no matter which of my three, I always have an accent in them *sighs*), on top of just being an introvert who prefers not to deal with individual people.
May. 20th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re books, I know! I feel that if the book is too long, it better be good or I will miss out on other books! I do like this book so far.

For me not wanting to call is more about asking people something. I don't like emailing to ask either, although that is a little easier. I had to email to ask my colleagues for letters of recommendations and it just makes me nervous. But asking paid off in this case so I know I have it and make myself do it. I used to have anxiety stopping by office hours when I was the student. Now that I'm a teacher I see how ridiculous that was.

May. 18th, 2016 07:15 pm (UTC)
I will have to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell before I watch the show. This book is so long, it's very intimidating.

I can't wait to read your thoughts about it :)
May. 20th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC)

Part of why I wanted to read the book is because I want to watch the show. I really like reading the book first. The book is good so far.

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )



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