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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.

Meme

Have you given up on anyone recently?
I can't think of anyone. And I'm an optimist by nature.

When is the next time you're going on holiday, and where?
I just came from a holiday to Virginia so I'm not sure when my next holiday will be. Probably next summer, somewhere with a beach. I will go with the girls, Bear and my parents this time as Olivia will be old enough to go on vacation.

What color is your mobile phone?
It's white (Galaxy 5) with a black cover with London motif on the back.

What do you love to eat for breakfast?
On regular days I eat oatmeal with some bread and cheese and some tea. On Saturday I like eggs. On Sunday something else. But I generally love all kinds of breakfast food from eggs to French toast to waffles and home fries and toast. I loved hotel breakfasts last week - so many choices.

What was the last destination you searched for in your GPS, or on MapQuest?
I went on Google Maps to see how far this farm was from us. 11 minutes. We had plans to go there yesterday as they have some Halloween stuff, but one hour after my Google maps search my Mom called that Tanya had a fever. It was a 24 things though, so we might go today, even though I have a cold and Olivia's nose is starting to drip.

What's the last video you watched on YouTube?
Either a trailer for "Good Omens" or the trailer for "Star Trek Discovery Season 2".

What is something you need to go shopping for?
Not me personally but I just made a grocery list for Bear.

How is work going?
It's going well. About to get very busy in November.

What are you asking for as a gift for the holidays?
I'm not. I don't really need anything. I think I have a few books on my Amazon wishlist and some movies I would like for the girls. We'll see closer to the holidays.

What is the last significant tech purchase you've made?
Kindle Paperwhite almost two years ago.

Is there a tissue box in your sight right now?
Yes. We always have one in the living room. And I have a cold so I need one.

How long has it been since you last ate a chocolate bar?
Wednesday or Thursday, my coworker Cardan left one on my desk. He was buying them for charity.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
New Year because is was the biggest holiday of my childhood and there were presents on New Year's Day. I do like Halloween a lot now.

How many pets do you have?
None, I'm not a pet person. I don't like touching animals. They are cute to look at.

Ice cream cake or just ice cream?
Ice cream, preferable on a cone.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
I like where I am. But if I had to pick I would say London because I loved living there.

What was the last magazine called you had read?
National Geographic. It's the only one I read and even then I don't have too much time for it.

Are you busy tomorrow?
No. It's Columbus Day so we are off from work. We were going to take the girls to the doctor for their flu shots but we would have to reschedule that with their illnesses this weekend.

What game consoles do you have?
I don't personally have any but Bear has a PS something and Sega. We do have an old Wii but it's not hooked up.

Do you have a life plan in mind?
Not really. Watching the kids grow up well?

What is your favourite kind of seafood?
Fish - smoked salmon

Don't you just wish Fashion would go back to the 1980's?
No

What is the oddest part of your cleaning ritual/beauty routine?
I don't have one. I don't put anything on my face other than soap. And make-up takes 2 minutes.

Is there an umbrella within 5 feet of you?
It's in the closet not too far.

Do you have any cool names in your family tree?
All our names are pretty ordinary and common names. My grandfather did change his name from Aaron to Leonid during World War II. My grandmother always called him Alik. My cousin was named Alexander after him. My other cousin's son was named Leonid after him. So both names got used.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes, past or present?
Stetchers sneakers in the past and in the present.

Do you prefer socked feet over bare feet?
I like bare feet, especially in the summer.

Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
No.

Would you shave your head to save your siblings life?
I don't have a sibling but of course.

If you were given $5000 in cash, what would you do with it?
Put it into the girls' savings account.

What brand of hair spray do you use?
None. I don't like hair spays.

What one thing would you change in your life if you had the power to?
Not to worry about health issues for my family.

What is one piece of furniture you need?
I don't think we need any furniture right now. Bunk bed at some point in the next two years.

What's your favorite cereal?
Crispix

Tags:

Last week's Friday Five

I'm almost a week later but why not:

1. Have you ever experienced a hurricane firsthand?
Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 - although technically Sandy was a tropical storm but arriving with the tides caused more damage.

In 2011 I was living with my parents and they live in Zone 1 for hurricane. There was a mandatory evacuation call, so we evacuated to Brooklyn to Zone 2. My friend Yeva volunteered her apartment since she was staying elsewhere and we spent a few days there. There wasn't too much damage from it - just a lot of rain and wind.

Sandy in 2012 was a different story. I was living in Brooklyn with Bear at the time, in Zone 2. All we got on the day are high winds and rain but we never lost power. My parents had the evacuation order again but they decided to stay put because of Irene and how not that bad that was. My Dad did move the books from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor. They got very lucky because the water came to 2 inches to their house. Good thing their development was elevated during construction. A lot of houses in their neighborhood were not so lucky and to this day many were closed and bought out by government to be demolished. There was even a death on a street very close to them. My Dad's cousin's basement flooded and they lost all photographs. My parents did lose power for two weeks, and spend the 2nd week with us in Brooklyn because it got very cold that week. There were a lot of fallen trees everywhere. Bear's car got its side mirror kicked off. On the second day we drove to Coney Island to see how my grandparents were since phones were not working and we knew there was no power there. There was sand so far in and it did look like a zombie apocalypse close to their house. It was hard to drive there. We climbed the eight floors with a flashlight. Luckily they were ok because they had food and water and their home attendant actually came and brought them stuff. The city was shut down for a week with no subway. For weeks afterward many people needed help.

2. Have you ever experienced outside heat over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celcius)?

Yes, of course. New York occasionally gets that hot in the summer, although thankfully not this summer. it's basically air conditioner time.

3. When and where was the coldest temperature you have ever experienced?

When Bear and I went to Grand Canyon in Arizona in January of 2013. That was so super cold. 20F I think. I felt colder. (even in Phoenix it was 32C) I'm sure there were also really cold winters in Belarus when I was a kid but I was all bundled up and running around.

4. Is your household prepared for a possible power outage of two to seven days?

We have enough food and bottled water, I believe. And lots of flashlights. We would probably go to either my parents or Bear's parents though.

5. Do you have a go bag?
Not as such. Bear does have an emergency apocalypse suitcase with all kinds of goodies like a wind-up radio, tablet to put in water to purify it, special water straws - all kinds of stuff like that. He went though a period of disaster preparedness. I do have a lose plan to pack documents but I should probably think about it more. It is just rare to have a disaster.

Tags:

Autumn Meme

Tags:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

So I guess I'm completely weaning. We are at my parents' house this week (we came on Tuesday evening and are staying until Saturday. I'm taking an Express Bus to work from here. My parents took the girls to the zoo yesterday). I was going to cut off the night feeding on Friday night since three years ago with Tanya she cried for one night, but then was fine, and I didn't want to do that on a work night. But last night my Mom told Olivia that I don't have any more milk. I couldn't contradict her after that since kids need consistency so I guess that was it. No more nursing for Olivia. And my Mom has a point that it will take a few nights so we might as well.

I was able to rock her to sleep by 9pm, and put her in the crib on the 3rd try (she was falling asleep on me but as soon as I put her in the crib, she would start crying). She slept until 10:44pm and then woke up. Basically she and I ended up sleeping on the couch together from 12:30am to 6:20am. She had some water. Refused the crib or someone else to hold her. We have to work on settling by herself in the crib. First she has to accept that there is more milk to sooth herself. And now that we did one night, I know I won't back down. My boobs are going to be super uncomfortable for the next two weeks but then I will get my body to myself again. Poor baby though. But I know she will adjust by next week. We'll see how tonight goes. And it will be better for her in the long run and finally, hopefully, sleeping overnight.

Tags:

Books, Movie and TV

Books

Books: Jim Butcher and Tina FeyCollapse )

Movie

Movie:Black PantherCollapse )

TV

TV: Agents of SHIELDCollapse )

Currently watching: The Great British Baking Show on PBS (one more episode to go) and I just started Season 6 of Orange is the New Black.

Currently reading: I'm going back and forth between 3 books: "Waiting for the Barbarians" by J. M. Coetzee, the short stories about Kosmoolukhi by Gromyko (this is the year of short stories for me apparently), and the non-fiction collection "Rocket Fuel" from Tor.com of the best 10 years of their articles (it is free on Amazon)
Books

Pillars of the EarthCollapse )

Blood of TyrantsCollapse )

Reading now: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher - I'm really having fun with it and the short stories just remind me how much I missed these series and how I hope for the next book.

TV

Star Trek Discovery: Season 1
This series is a little slow in the beginning and loses some speed in the end. There are a lot of inconsistencies. They had such a great reveal at the end of Episode 12, but it was resolved and poorly at the end of the following episode and the series moved on. But the middle section was wonderful, especially Episode 7, which I just happened to watch on my birthday. And the characters really grew on me. I hope the show will find its voice and sticks with it in Season 2. I hope more characters will get explored - I don't remember the names of most people on the bridge. Michael is great though. I'm glad the War with Klingons story seems to be done - I'm tired of war stories. I was exploration stories from my Trek, not war stories. So overall I ended up enjoying this show enough even with all frustration. It was a very uneven season but it was also Season 1. TNG didn't hit it's strike until Season 3. I look forward to more.

Now watching Agents of Shield Season 5.

Five questions about food

1. Do you mostly prepare your meals at home or do you eat out more?

I almost always eat home food. Eating out is a rare treat. Lately, on Fridays I would buy lunch and that would be one time I would eat out. Other days I bring my lunch with me. We do dinner take out usually only when we are out with friends, but because of small kids that doesn't happen a lot lately.

2. Is there a time of day when you are more likely to buy food already prepared?

Lunch on Fridays. I'm lucky to work in an area with a lot of restaurants and variety of foods. There is Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Argentinian empanadas, Subway, an American diner, Irish pubs, a cookie store etc just steps from my work. So each Friday I get to pick something else.

3. What is your average weekly grocery bill (for how many people)? What is your total restaurant/fast food bill for an average week?

For two adults and two little kids and my Mom who watches the girls (but Bear is also away for half a week, eating either at free work buffets or at his parents): so we spend $50-60 on essentials, my parents bring over maybe $50 of Trader Joe organic vegetables and fruit and meat for the girls, and once a month or two we spend some money in Costco on meat.

For restaurant /fast food, I spend about $10 a week for my Friday lunch. Ocassuonally I will buy a snack of candy or something.

4. What is your favorite meal to prepare at home?

Too many to name. Meatloaf is always good. Ethiopian cabbage dish. Mostly though we stick to basics with pasta or rice or potatoes or buckwheat with lots veggies and some chicken or meat.

5. What is your favorite meal to order in a restaurant?

Can't pick one. I like to vary restaurants and dishes. I do like Thai, Indian and Chinese the most. And Japanese too. Basicall something I can't make at home. U don't like Mexican.

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Books: Leckie and Wells

Ann Leckie "Ancillary Mercy". (3rd book in the trilogy).

When I read the first book in the trilogy I was impressed with it. It took some time to figure out the worldbuilding but I thought it was incredibly clever. I thought the Hugo was well deserved. When I read the second book, I found it easier to read since I knew the world already. And the plot was simpler in some ways. I really liked that a planet wasn't homogenous. But I also wondered why this second book took place in seemingly small part of the Empire and the plot seemed like a detour.

About a third to 40% reading this third book, all the pieces started to really come together to my delight and I realized that it wasn't really 3 books but one very long one, and seeing it this way, the whole middle section fit and everything made sense. The third book is a direct continuation of the second one. And this was the point that I fell in love with these books. I wasn't just intellectually appreciating these stories but I was emotionally invested in this world and characters and was happy to spend time in this universe. And I didn't want it to end. So I'm really glad I decided to read the whole thing, all three books. I was heartily recommending it to several coworkers, I was so thrilled with it. Really seeing the whole picture made me really impressed with the author's grasp on the story and the complexity of all the threads. Everything just came together so well.

Martha Wells "All Systems Red." (Murderbot novella)

Right after finishing a trilogy about AI as the main character that really examined AI rights and personhood, with the news full of Google AI that can mimic human conversation and the creepiness of it, I read another book with AI as a main character who wanted to be its own person. Sometimes these things happen!

This novella was delightful. What's not to like about an AI who initially doesn't really care, barely does its job, is super shy around humans and just wants to watch TV all day. There were a lot of fun jokes and I like the realism and practicality of many characters. They felt like actual people. I'm very glad Tor had it as a free download.

And now after all the AI and sci-fi, I'm going to finally tackle a 1,200 page historical fiction book. I'm finally going to read Ken Follet 's "Pillars of the Earth ". The prologue was very promising, the first chapter and a half not as much, but I will give it 100 pages at least. It's starts in 12th century England, and since it's a time period I know incredibly well, having studied English Middle Ages in grad school, I tend to be picky with some details. But this book certainly has a reputation and it's time to read it. We'll see. It will certainly take some time to read, although I might break it up with other books.

Books: Druon and Le Guin

Over the last few weeks I read Maurice Druon's "The King Without a Kingdom", Book 7 (of 7) in his Accursed Kings series and Ursula Le Guin's "The Wizard of Earthsea". Both were underwhelming.

Druon: This was my least favorite of the seven books, perhaps because it feels like an afterthought and it is stylistically different. He had 6 books with one main character who died at the end of Book 6, and this book is set many years later. It feels like the series was really 6 books. The style didn't help.

This book was written in first person from the perspective of a Cardinal traveling to a meeting in the midst of 100 year war, right after Poitiers, and recounting the story of the last few years to his nephew and a few other people along the way. So basically just one big monologue with occasional sprinkling of other people's speech. This really didn't work.

There was one section about the ambush at a banquet and subsequent execution that read more like classic Druon and was very engaging but the style of the book was just irritating. I still liked the subject matter but other books were just so much better.

And I think I just realized that language and style also what was the issue with Le Guin for me.

"The Wizard of Earthsea" is the third fiction of Le Guin that I read. I first read "Left Hand of Darkness" many years ago, and then "Lavinia". I read her non-fiction last year. I appreciated her fiction books but she was never my favorite writer and with this book I figured out why. When she writes fiction, her language and style leaves me outside. It never draws me in. It is just not natural to me. When I read Novik or Bujold, just the words put me in the story. When I finished "The Wizard of Earthsea " and read her afterword, all of a sudden I was right there with her and I became much more engaged with her words. I do enjoy her non-fiction. She had such a fabulous essay about her writers retreat in her book of essays.

In the afterword, Le Guin acknowledged that in many ways her fantasy was traditional, like in limited roles for girls. That actually bugged me through the story. When that woman in the castle told Ged she knew him and he didn't know her, I knew who she was just because there weren't that many women in the book and they are very cliche when they are. I get that her fantasy was groundbreaking at the time, but it doesn't read like it now. I still want to read her "Dispossessed " but that will probably be it for me.

On to Leckie's "Ancillary Mercy". Time to finish the trilogy. So far, after one chapter, it reads well.

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