Saturday, November 19, 2011

November

Goings on:
I got a pretty bad chemical burn from my friend's hot tub. It hurt the first day, and has been rashy, swollen, itchy and red since then. It's uncomfortable.

It's been snowy up here in The Burg! We had a winter storm warning, which disappointed. Instead of waking up to seven inches I woke up to it being sunny and clear. However, it's continued snowing three nights in a row, and has been very beautiful! I love the snow, it makes this dark world of ours so much brighter!

I made a new friend, but he's arrogant and really just wants to get in my pants. I'm having none of it. I know how to keep young ones in line.

I made another new friend. He's young, ambitious, intelligent, funny, and very cute. Unfortunately, every time I get into a guy I find some raging flaw (or several) and just can't bring myself to really be into him. I blame Aaron. (For those of you who don't know who Aaron is...good for you!).

School and work have settled down a bit, though two weeks ago I had to deliver my first lecture. It was a disaster. It was the worst day of college. My lecture was very good. But it was very short - only half an hour. I'd been prepping for days, but since I'm currently enrolled in Imperial Russian History, I don't know how I was expected to lecture on imperial Russian history for my survey course. Fifteen minutes in I started to panic, because I was already onto my second page of notes. Twenty five minutes in I'd reached the end of my notes and began to lecture on Siberia and the Far East, which took up approximately six minutes. And then I was done. My prof took over without saying anything, and at the end of the class asked me to meet with him. I spent the next two hours sick to my stomach and fighting back tears. I'd messed up so bad. None of the other TA's experienced any problems, and had lectured multiple times. I met with my prof after Russian and was shaking, sweating, and trying not to cry. He was completely supportive, told me I'd done an excellent job, and told me that the only problem was its length. But, since he knew I hadn't yet learned Russian history, it was no big deal at all. In any case, I went back to my office and sobbed for a few minutes before moving on with my day. School and work have been considerably easier since then, but I am pretty confident at this point that I do NOT want to teach, whether I'm prepared or not.

My masters is going well, though as I've already said, this quarter has been very difficult. From here on out it should go better, I won't be taking as many classes, and I know what's expected of me so I can be more prepared. Plus, I feel like this quarter I'm actually LEARNING something. For the last year or two of school I've pretty much just focused on how to get by without doing much work. It's surprisingly easy to do, but that's not the kind of person I am, and it's left me woefully unprepared. Just because I'm good at analysis and CAN get A's without learning anything doesn't mean I should. I'm in school because I like to learn, but for the last few quarters I've just been taking advantage of a crack in the system. If I'm gonna stay in school I'm gonna learn all I can and try to make the most of it.

I'll graduate a year from now, which will cause me some problems. I had intended to start law school in the Fall, but now I'll be forced to wait. That's not a bad thing, of course, except for the part where I'll spend nine months out of school and, in this economy, probably unemployed. However, it'll give me time to relax, maybe go visit some friends and family, and distance myself from school for a little while. I'm not sure if I"ll do a dual Ph.D./J.D. or if I'll do one and then the other. But hopefully some day I'll be finished and can really start a career for myself. Or maybe I'll just get married and have babies. I'll be happy either way.

I had planned to stay in Ellensburg for Thanksgiving, but my family is insisting I come home. Since I haven't been home since April, and I've been missing the kids so much I've been randomly bursting into tears during the day, I caved and said I would allow someone to come and get me. Is'll have to bring Michael with me (no way in hell I'm leaving one of my best friends in Ellensburg BY HIMSELF DURING THE HOLIDAYS!), which means my family will have to behave and keep the drama down, but encouraging good family relations is never a bad thing! I can't wait to see Max and Alora, and to hang out with My Danny! I'm also excited that I won't have to do all the cooking by myself, will be able to get a few clothing-type items hemmed/mended/taken in, will be able to stock up on home made preserves (I've been out of jam for months now, how do I survive?!), etc.

Just a few more weeks before the quarter ends. I'm not sure what the next year will hold. Hopefully some foreign travels, the completion of my degree, and possibly some new affection, but we'll see. For now I'm gonna enjoy the snow and get excited about going home to see my peeps!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rocktober!

The quarter so far has been dreadful. Not only was I ill for an entire week, I'm taking 20 credits and working. To let you know how busy that is, I'll just say that full time for grad students is 10, so I'm taking double what I should be. When I first began college I felt like I had unlimited potential. My grades were stellar, and balancing my course load and my private life were fantastic exercises in time management. I was disciplined, diligent, and dedicated. I felt brilliant and excited about life. I made coals, I plotted a course, and I reached them. Now, however, I feel the complete opposite. It doesn't seem to matter how much time or effort I put into a task, I seem to be left confused, feeling stupid and incompetent, and hating school, work, and myself.

After some reflection, I realized, quite shamefully, that I will not be applying to PhD programs for next fall, and have instead turned my attention to law. I don't know if I will be able to do well enough on the LSAT to make up for my deplorable GPA (though I have legitimate personal reasons for my grades dropping off during the last year of my bachelor's), and I know that I will meet a LOT of resistance from my professors who want me desperately to continue along the path I'm currently on. However, since I first considered applying to law school I've felt liberated and have been too excited to sleep. I feel the way I felt when I first started school: Like I'm in my element.

This is not to say that my current program has been a waste of time, or that I regret it. I don't at all. This program has given me work experience and, more importantly, has allowed me to get my anxiety under control. Two years ago one of my professors suggested I finish my bachelor's and go directly into law school. At the time I couldn't consider it. I'd registered for the LSATs months before meeting with him, but had been forced by circumstances and social anxiety to cancel. How could I possibly have considered going to law school if I wasn't even capable of taking the entrance exam? Now I am changed. I still suffer from anxiety, but it is not severe, and I am able to master it. I know that the more I push myself, the easier it will be.

Thinking about how much anxiety and fear has dictated my life leaves me feeling very sad. But thinking about how much I've changed, and how much I'm capable of, and of what life has to offer me, I feel so excited, so happy, and so hopeful.

Once I get a few administrative tasks taken care of, I will update with details on schools I'm looking at, programs that interest me, and goals I've started setting for myself. Hopefully I will be able to turn the rest of the year into a good experience, using my current program as a launch pad for my future academic career, instead of wasting away in misery and discontent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NEWS! Seriously!

Wow, the last few weeks have been utterly bizarre.

Worst moment of the (length of time since I last blogged):
I basically got evicted from my last apartment. Long story short, despite the pre-agreed arrangement with the management, when I went in to sign my new lease ("any day before the first of September"") on the 29th, I was informed that my unit had been leased to another couple. There was a massive stack of paperwork (my file) on top of which was the email I sent over a month ago explicitly detailing the nature of the situation, asking where the confusion had come in, requesting clarification and emphasizing my desire to renew my lease -as we had already agreed. The property manager there is a complete asshole, and all four of the properties are run by one person: the management assistant, who, for all her sweetness, is the dumbest person I have ever met. Trying NOT to panic or scream at anyone, I immediately marched over to Michael's apartments and inquired about available units. Two days later, six people and all of their belonging had been moved out of Walnut Meadows apartment 5E and into University Place apartments. I now live within 35 seconds of Sean, Michael, Lindsey, and Jeremy (to my right, looking out my front door) and Gabi and Justin (to my left). The management here is superb, and I love the new units. They are smaller by many square feet, but their layout and storage is so much more efficient, so I actually have more room. The counters in the kitchen are lower, so I don't have to stand on my tip toes when I'm cooking (or wear heals). I have a view again, and I LOVE living on the second floor. It's much cooler and quieter. I don't have any pictures right now, though there are a few on my Facebook. I will post some eventually (probably once I have internet in my apartment).

Best moment of the (length of time since I last blogged):
I've started hanging out with this guy named Tyler. He is the ex-roommate of one of my friends. I've known him for years, but have only ever spoken to him at parties (not the best way to get to know someone). He's come over almost every day for the last week or so to watch Game of Thrones and other things, and he's a lot of fun. I love all of my friends, regardless of their age, but it IS nice to spend time with someone who is my own age. He's polite and confident and describes me as "adorable" and "accomplished," which I very much appreciate. It's great to have new friends! Especially tall, handsome, buff friends. Mmmmmm.

Funniest moment of the (length of time since I last blogged):
I introduced my friends to Wizard People, Dear Reader. If you are not yet familiar, I encourage you to google it.

What have I been eating lately?
Bell pepper, scalloped potatoes, and chocolate cake. I've lost weight. :)

Whose style am I crushing on?
....my own? I'm still living out of dresses, so I guess I'm crushing on the style of anyone who lives out of dresses.

Classes and work start next week. There's a get-together on Tuesday, I'll get to meet and greet, etc. I mostly just want someone to explain what the hell I'm supposed to do for my job.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Other Side

So I finished last Thursday. Here's a quick run-down of everything that happened.


Thursday, August 17: Performed oral quizzes.

Бэки (Becky), the vain and selfish boss.

Кэрол (Carol), the hard-working secretary who sends Бэки to Brazil.
Виллиам/Владимир (William), Джессика (Jessica), Наташа (Natasha)
Джессика and Наташа played teenage girls who lie to their grandmother about being ill so that they can spend their day off having fun. 
Виллиам plays the grandmother, who hires several agents (also played by Виллиам) to follow the girls throughout their day and ensure they pay for their lie. 

 
Валерия (Valry), Джоси (Josie),  Кирстен (Kiersten), Катя (Cassie)
For our skit, we did a public access dating show. 
I was Борис (Boris), the cocky Russki looking for love. Or money.
Джоси  was  Анастасиа, a beautiful secretary with big dreams.
Кирстен played Товарищ Старуха (Literally "Comrade Old Woman"), an ancient, senile old woman who stumbled onto the show by mistake. She was born in 1840 and only eats soup.  
Катя was the game show host, a witty older gentleman with a dark sense of humor. 

In the end, Борис chooses Товарищ Старуха, because she owns the biggest corporation in Russia. Despite being put out, Анастасиа runs off with the host.

Oh, and Валерия  passed the class, with a B-.

We all received awards for bravery for completing our class (well-deserved!), and then I trotted home (wearing a beautiful floaty dress......and my drawn-on facial hair), and got ready to go. Things worked out perfectly. Andy showed up to get the key, and within three minutes Sean arrived to pick us up. While I talked to Andy, Sean and Michael vacuumed and packed. The drive went smoothly, and as soon as I stepped out of the car, a stiff breeze blew my dress up to my face (fortunately I was wearing bloomers, for precisely that reason). I took that as a "Welcome Home" from Ellensburg.

Friday, August 18: I continued completing my work for my independent study. It was hard, boring work.
I got an A- in the class.

Saturday, August 19: FINALLY floated the Yakima River!
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, but it was a blast. I perched on the front of the raft, Jeremy lounging behind me, and Sean and Lindsey in the rear. Michael was on two dollar-store inflatable pool mattresses, which barely held him above water (he weighs less than I do now, more on that later), and Jared (6'1", nearly 300 pounds) was left to fend for himself (through rapids and worse) with an inflatable pillow. Eventually things got switched around and he grabbed the air mattresses. It looked like he was coursing through the river on the back of a Pikachu. 

Sunday, August 21: Headed back to the West Side
Our friend Ryan turned 21 on Saturday, so we went up to help him celebrate, with paintball. Sunday evening we left Ellensburg, and after almost 4 hours in traffic (it is usually an hour and a half drive from Ellensburg to Seattle), we finally picked up Lindsey and headed to Sean's mom's house. I had the best night's sleep ever on her Murphy bed. 

Monday, August 22: Marysville
We drove up to Ryan's house (a very large rural estate in the woods, beautiful home, lots of chickens, cows, and other pets). After a dangerously large bonfire in the wind (which was eventually called off due to a downpour), we headed to bed. We got to sleep in their massive camper, which was awesome, because then all of us could lay there joking about what a terrible actor Keanu Reeves is, and what an awesome actor Sean Connery is. My favorite was Keanu Reeves as Harry Potter:
"Expeliarmus." You know the voice....

Tuesday, August 23: Paintball

 Here's the worst of the damage, about 4 days on. It keeps getting bigger and darker. At first it was obvious that I'd been hit with a paintball (a perfectly round, blue bruise), but now it looks like I'm being abused. I also have a big one on my thigh, two on my rib cage under each breast, and a big lump on my head. 
Conclusion: Paintball kind of sucks.

Wednesday, August 24: Rafting, part two.
This time, we thought things would be easier because there were only four of us and Lindsey had borrowed inner tubes from her mom. Things would have been well if Michael and I hadn't been paired up, and if the raft had been properly inflated. And if we would have had oars. 
Turns out, due to Michael's inability to use reason or listen to suggestions, we spent most of the float trying (and failing) not to crash into the banks of the river, which are extremely rocky and full of low-lying, pointy trees. Because the raft was mostly deflated, we managed to avoid puncturing the raft and sinking to the bottom. Unfortunately, in his generous attempt to steer us to safety, Sean got caught between the raft and our cooler (inflatable, tied to the front) and taken out completely. Not only was he clotheslined (extraordinarily dangerous, considering the speed of the current and the proximity to debris), he ended up losing his inner tube. Fortunately he's a strong swimmer, and I managed to rope him in. 

Thursday, August 25: Minnesota
Thursday morning, Michael packed up and we headed down to campus to the shuttle stop. Lindsey dropped us off on her way to work, and Sean and I saw Michael off before heading home. Sean hurt his foot pretty badly the day before, so as soon as we got home we headed to the hospital for him to get Xrayed. Fortunately he had no broken bones, but he had to ice his foot for the rest of the day.

We smoked out of the hookah again (it's not opium, just mild, flavored straight tobacco, which basically does nothing) and then I met up with a friend from class. We walked to 7/11 and back, and then discovered that he lives in the apartment complex next to me. I'm no more than 20 yards away from his front door!

Friday, August 26: Anthony, dresses, and Clayton
I gained about 10 pounds over the summer, and not in a good way. I have never really enjoyed wearing shorts, because I am uncomfortable about my thighs. But now I actually have a reason to be uncomfortable, because they are hideous. I'm not exaggerating. I have the thighs of a 60 year old woman. 
HOWEVER, because none of my jeans or shorts fit, I am forced to wear dresses - which now fit me remarkably well. Usually even my best fitting sun dresses are a bit on the baggy side, but that is no longer true. I submit as evidence, EXHIBIT A:

Dressed like this, I welcomed Anthony over and gave him his first Russian lesson. It went very well, despite my bumbling and his confusion. I hope he continues to study the language, though I'm not sure his ADD will allow it!

Sean and Lindsey headed back to the West Side again last night, leaving me to fend for myself, alone for the first time in months. I spent it cleaning, eating, and then doing a dirty job: breaking things off with Michael. I bawled my way through the entire thing, it was horrible. It all comes down to being completely incompatible for one another. I'm glad we can still be friends, though I know it will be hard for both of us at first.

To console myself, I later went for a walk with Clayton, and then coerced him into coming over and watching the first episode of Game of Thrones with me. I felt bad, because he had been up since 7 and has to work again this morning, but I fed him well (chicken pesto pasta, fresh crab dip and hummus), and Game of Thrones definitely didn't disappoint him. It was great to have some company, cos as much as I enjoy being alone, I do actually get lonely

So that is me in a nutshell lately. Katherine's coming to get me on the third, and I'll spend some time in Walla Walla. Then I might go camping with Clay and his friends once I'm home. And as far as I know, Sean, Lindsey and Michael are still planning to go to Mt. Angel for Halloween. Classes start September 23rd, and work will start the same day. I'm really excited about the upcoming school year. I'm planning to focus my research on Cold War espionage. How cool will that be?

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's the Final Countdown!

Photo dump/spoilers:

I present:
Russian 250

Back Row (from left to right): Josie, Katya, Natasha, Josie, Alsu (prof), Jessica
Front Row: Becky, Carol, me, William






SEATTLE!













One more week here in Seattle. I am so looking forward to getting back to Ellensburg, back to my other clothes, my other shoes, my other jewelry, my comfortable couch, my clean bathroom, my delicious summer weather. Oh, I simply cannot wait.

Worst moment of the week:
My test on Monday was, shall we say, appalling. It was vocab intensive, and I am deficient enough as it is. I skipped an entire page (of a 4-page test) and only wrote HALF of what I usually write on the final section, and then had to turn the thing in.

 I was missing words in every single sentence of translation, and I had no idea what the first ten questions were asking. I am expecting the lowest grade of the quarter.

Best moment of the week:
Yesterday, near the end of the class, Alsu told us that Friday's class was canceled! Almost immediately thereafter, my cousins Danny and Angela texted me to let me know they were here in Seattle, and ready to meet up with me. Within minutes we were wandering around campus. I showed them the BEAUTIFUL library, the gardens, the fountain, and we even got cookies when we accidentally wandered into some sort of function at the law building. This held us over until we got to Terrible Beauty Irish Pub (forty minutes later), the restaurant at which my cousin, Todd, is a cook.
A Terrible Beauty Irish Pub West Seattle
The food was tasty (even though a slight mix up meant we had to wait about twenty minutes to finally order) and we got to chat a bit with Todd before heading back out. We drove around Seattle, looking at THE BIGGEST HOUSES I HAVE EVER SEEN (I thought one of them was an apartment complex....), before heading back here so that we could walk around a bit more. Danny and Angela were both impressed with how much there is to do within walking distance of campus (i.e. EVERYTHING). We went to the book store for some souvenirs, then I FINALLY got to stop in at Haagen Dazs for an ice cream cone. 

Funniest moment of the week:
While at the UDUB (there SHOULD be a hyphen there, otherwise it's not "yoo-dub" but "uh-dub") bookstore, Danny asked if I was going to get anything to take back with me as a reminder of my time here, and I said "Yeah, a disease."

What have I been eating lately?
Blueberry muffins, apples, peanut butter on crackers, fish and chips and Haagen-Dazs ice cream!

What have you eaten lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?

Katie Holmes. I'm not a "fan" of her acting skills, but I think she's very elegant and glamorous. The last few years her fashion sense has been suspect, but lately she has looked beautiful and put-together every single time she's caught on camera. Her style is very similar to Kate Middleton's, it's so feminine and conservative, but never boring. LOVE!

Friday, August 5, 2011

That's right. Vodka.

Worst moment of the week:
I fell asleep Monday night at 10:30. I woke up Tuesday morning at 12:15 a.m. to my housemates blasting music. At approximately 2:45 a.m., Bryan The One Decent Housemate went downstairs and turned the music off. That's right, just turned it off. Because no one else was down there.

That's right.

The assholes turned the music on at full volume and then LEFT the house.


I didn't fall asleep again, so needless to say, I didn't go to class on Tuesday. This turned out to be a gift in disguise.

Best moment of the week:
Finding my motivation. 
I have been adamant about not missing any classes this quarter (more so than usual) because the content is so condensed that missing one day of class is the equivalent of missing several weeks of class during a normal school year. Nevertheless, without any sleep, I wasn't functional enough to even THINK about getting up, let alone surviving a day in class. So I stayed home. And was miserable. I was thinking about how horrible I have been doing in school since I began again in January, and how I had no idea why I would even consider getting a Ph.D.
While trying NOT to think about all of that, I began to think about other things. The main thing was my body. I have gotten so weak and out of shape that I am out of breath any time I walk up a flight of stairs and can't lift even relatively lightweight objects over my head. I decided that I wanted to go to the gym every other day to work on cardio, and then do yoga, pilates, or strength training on off days. I have set size goals for myself (not "weight" or "size" as in dress size, but as in, I'm going to take measurements of various parts of my body, and then I'm going to make them smaller/bigger, as needs be), and will obviously be including it in my regular updates in the future.


As I began to think about how great it would be to work out - not only to have stamina, but to have, for the first time ever, thighs that I wasn't embarrassed by - I suddenly found it. What I've been looking for for years! Even though my life this year has been infinitely better than it almost ever has, I have been struggling to find motivation. For the most part I have just been doing the best I can in order to survive, but with no excitement or hope for the future, and no direction. When I first began college in earnest back in the spring of 2007, I was the most motivated, driven, organized, and ferociously hardworking person I've ever met. I had goals and dreams and I was going to achieve them no matter what. I lost that all back in 2009, for personal reasons some of you might remember. 
Now, though, I am suddenly thinking about exercising daily, about studying hard, about having a planner (yes, the prospect of having a small organizational object is exciting!), about decorating my NEW office, about starting my new job as a TA, etc, etc,  and I see it again. My future. I see goals and hopes and ambitions and I am going to get them, no matter what. When I'm writing the concluding entries in this years' journal, I will include this moment in the "best of" category.

Funniest moment of the week:
Michael: Do you know how much less fun the game would be if it was called "Hungry Hungry Hippopotamuses?"
(Five minutes of laughter and aborted phrases later)
Valry: Not less fun than if it was called "This Game Sucks."


(Du Hast comes blasting from downstairs)
Valry: "YES!" (finally, something good!)
Michael: "I don't think this song CAN be played any quieter than this."


And, of course, there is this.

What have I been eating lately?
Tuna, pickles, Brownie Crunch cereal ("introductory price" is half of a box Cocoa Puffs)
What have you been eating lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?


Jessica, over at Tart (photo credit to her). This girl lives in Hawaii with her husband, and the two stylish musician-parents are raising an adorable girl in style. Not only does coordinate amazing outfits for herself (and her wee one), but she and her husband do all sorts of incredible DIY projects that will inspire even the most reluctant of homeowners (or renters). I haunt her blog daily!


p.s. The title of today's blog post is the answer to, "How many Russians does it take to load a car carrier."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Plus One

Worst moment of the week:
It's no secret that Michael and I are unhappy here. Our classes are extraordinarily difficult, our living situation is hazardous to our health, and we are both in need of a solid vacation. We have been counting down our time left since we arrived here. This week I only managed to make it through because, after this week, I only had two weeks left! Wrong. Last night Michael and I reminded ourselves why we are history majors when we realized that the difference between the 19th of August and the 28th of July is not fourteen days, it is not two weeks. It's three. 


Best moment of the week: *SPOILERS*
I watched the final Harry Potter film and IT DIDN'T DISAPPOINT! I think that it is the best film since the first. The directors adhered very closely to the book, the special effects were very well done indeed, and the acting was the best of all the movies by far. Maggie Smith didn't fail to deliver (ha) what I think was one of the two best lines in the film when she admits to Julie Walters with a girlish giggle, "I've always wanted to use that spell!" The other was, to my surprise, from Emma Watson. When Harry, realizing that he must die in order to defeat Voldemort, is leaving for the forbidden forest, Hermione sobs "I'll go with you!" I've always considered Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to be the weakest links in the acting chain. Although Emma has always seemed eager to provide a believable performance, it always felt forced, it was always apparent that she was trying to act. But in this movie, and most especially this line, I believed her. And I lost it. 

Funniest moment of the week:
In Russian this week we learned about cars: verbs of driving, steering, stopping, yielding; and nouns: hood, door, battery, engine, wheel. Each section of vocabulary is followed by discussion questions which helps us to learn to use these words in their necessary conjugated/declined forms. The first question asked "What do you put in the trunk?" Nearly the entire class (including our instructor) said "corpse." 

What have I been eating lately?
Various Safeway deli salads, Peanut M&Ms, and Yakisoba "ramen."
What have you been eating lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?
Alsu! I don't have any pictures, unfortunately, so I will have to use my words. Alsu is easily 5'8" without heals, a size 0, with flawless, creamy skin, bright blue eyes, and abundant black curls. She wears the same jewelry daily - a silver ring with a red stone and a beautiful butterfly necklace (I hate butterflies, but this is a stunning pendant). She almost always wears jeans, but sometimes she wears slacks. All are low-rise boot cut. Her tops are all fitted and flattering. Today she wore dark wash denim with whiskering on the front and a beautifully screened white shirt (the lettering was red and gold, very thin and cursive). She is undeniably hip, and with her figure, she always looks good. That is not to say that tall, slender people are the most beautiful, most especially because many of the tall, slender people we see in the media are not naturally so, and thus look unhealthy. But she is naturally dainty (albeit tall), and I have a soft spot for all things elegant. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Worst moment(s) of the week:
- The tub got completely clogged. As in, someone took a shower and the water remained in the tub for two days before Michael and I bailed it out. As in, if you turned on the water in the sink, it backed up directly into the tub. As in, Michael and I spent two hours plunging, bailing, plunging, bailing, and plunging, and all that resulted was removing all manner of filth and nastiness from the pipes and spattering it all over our persons.
- I really wanted spaghetti this week, but with our living situation as it is, I'll have to wait until I get home to Ellensburg to make some.
- I took my oral exam (first of two) yesterday. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my entire life. Every single thing I said was terrible. I was so embarrassed and depressed last night/this morning. I feel like all I've done since I started grad school was disappoint and mess up. 


Best moment(s) of the week:
- Our one decent roommate, Brian, called campus maintenance, who arrived and promptly snaked the entire line. The tub now drains properly.
- I PASSED MY TEST!


It's only one of four tests so far, but it means that I'm making progress and learning. Or rather, learning how to study. The latter is, in my opinion, more important, but that's neither here nor there.
- I PASSED MY ORAL EXAM! 
Yes, despite feeling like it was the worst thing I've ever done (I stand by that), I managed to get 86% on it. It's only worth 10% of my total grade, but still - that's DAMN GOOD! That's the best score I've gotten on any sort of "test" so far. 

-- MY DANNY CALLED!
My cousin Danny studied abroad this summer. It's the first time he's ever traveled abroad (except for when hew as a child and his family lived in Holland), and his experience was life-changing. He called me today while I was waiting for Michael and we had a fantastic conversation about the different places he went, what he and his friends did, and how he felt about it. In short, he wants us to go together some time, and he's planning to possibly go again next summer. I'd like to do it for sure, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it happen. But what the hell, it's something to think about, right?

Funniest moment of the week:
- Whilst watching World's Dumbest Criminals, I learned that a man once stole a check from his girlfriend's mother, forged it, and then tried to cash it. For $360,000,000,000.00. Count the zeds. 
- After describing the entertainment options on modern day cruise liners, Alsu's eyes nearly exploded out of her head as she exclaimed "Oh my GOD! It's like a tiny floating universe!"

What have I been eating lately?
Spicy asian chicken, paprika garlic bread, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.
What have you been eating lately?

Fact:
The Russian word for blue, "голубой," is also slang for "homosexual." I don't know how offensive it is, though I suppose, as with "fag" in English, it depends on who is hearing it. My guess is that it's less offensive than fag or poof, less specific than "flaming" and is probably more akin to calling a gay man a "queen." Also, as with most words, it's not necessarily the word itself that offends, but the manner in which it is said. Regardless of your stance on political correctness, it's probably a good idea to play it safe and only use голубой when you are, in fact, describing an item that is голубой in color.

Whose style am I crushing on?
Why, it's retired Finnish race driver Mika Häkkinen!

This photo is a bit cheesy, reminds me of Kraftwerk, but I assure you, this fella's style is no joke. He always looks like a hot professor. With a sexy accent. Who can drive cars really fast around rally tracks and not crash. Mmmmmmmm.

Friday, July 15, 2011

четверть

Worst moment of the week:
I received my third consecutive F, on my third test. I won't be able to pass this class, unfortunately. But that means that next year when I retake it I should be able to get A's, which will anchor my overall GPA, and I'll be reunited with most of the students who were in first year with me. That makes me feel better about it!

Best moment of the week:
I got back in touch with my friend Kyle today. 


He left after winter quarter to move back here, so I am hoping that he will be able to meet up with Dinara, Super and I for lunch before I go back to Central. He's a great guy, and I felt cheated that I didn't have enough time to get to know him. I think everyone in class felt that way!

Strangest moment of the week:
Victoria Beckham named her daughter Harper Seven. I think this is pretty strange, because that's been one of my top names for years. Both names are reasonably popular (Harper in the main stream, and Seven in the offbeat community) but the combination is unique. So weird that she "stole" it!

Funniest moment of week:
During an exercise in Russian class, we were required to make up funny hypothetical excuses for missing class. One of my classmates didn't have much of an imagination, and the best she could do was "I missed class because I was sick." Alsu requested from us some "exotic" diseases with which this student could have been ill. I offered several, ("The Plague," "Rickets," "Consumption") and after each Alsu laughed harder than the last. Of course, no one laughed harder than I did myself. 

What have I been eating lately?
Rotisserie chicken and Oreos!


Whose style am I crushing on?
Reese Witherspoon. 

Reese Witherspoon Pregnant Baby Bump

She knows how to hide a pregnancy. OH SNAP!


I have a test on Monday and an oral exam on Wednesday. I am probably not going to pass either of them, but I am going to keep studying hard. I love the class, and I'm going to make the most of it, even if I fail. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Third

We are 1/3 of the way done with our classes here, and I am very excited about that. Yes, I still have about two months left, but that is okay, because I've completed three whole weeks. Russian is going much better, I am confident that I will actually pass the next test, so that's something to look forward to! 

Worst moment of the week:
Wednesday morning while I was in class I received news that the son of a family friend had died of an accidental overdose. This is the second person I've known who has died, and the second to have OD'd. I was not close to this person, but I've known him my whole life and we played together often as children. He was my first friend. It deeply saddens me that his family is living with so much grief. 



Best moment of the week:
It's ANOTHER tie!!
First: Discovering a Safeway on this end of town. Now, instead of walking two miles down a steep-ass hill and back up again we now have to walk only one mile to and from a Safeway that is NOT up nor down a steep-ass hill. This means we can carry more and go more often, and thus won't have to go hungry as often.
Second: My cousin Danny is traveling abroad at present, and was able to chat with me yesterday about how much fun he is having in the various countries he has been visiting with his peers. I love My Danny more than pretty much everyone in my life, so it makes me so happy that he still thinks of me even when he's having the most fun in his life.

Strangest moment of the week:
Whilst waiting for Michael on Wednesday, some missionaries from The World Mission Society Church of God decided I was a good candidate for their message. I spoke with them for about half an hour about gospel and religion, and repeated regularly that I was an atheist. I think the idea that someone could not care about a meaning of life or fear death was too foreign a concept to wrap their minds around, but fortunately Michael rescued me before I had to tell them to read a history book and study science. Also, I didn't want to point out that the newspaper article they were referencing as evidence that scientists believed that the end was nigh was itself referencing the bible when it mentioned the drying-up of the Euphrates river. English was not their native language, so it's no surprise that the sarcasm was lost in translation.



Funniest moment of the week:
Michael-the-fat-bigot compared fat people to pizzas, and described them as being "round-shaped." First of all, round is not a shape. Second of all, can you imagine if people WERE shaped like pizzas and just rolled around everywhere? I laughed for ten minutes.

What have I been eating lately?
Spaghetti Factory (did not disappoint - it was as overpriced and unexciting as expected), Cafe on The Ave (did not disappoint - it was as delicious and friendly-staffed as expected), Triscuit Thin Crisps and tuna.
What have you eaten lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?
Jessie! Lately gal-pal Jessica has been experimenting with various updos, and doing a phenomenal job! I tried this particular style, and though I didn't get mine nearly as neat as she did, it still looked really cute, was super easy to do, and was much cooler and more comfortable than my usual messy bun. You can check out more of her awesome style (fashion and otherwise) at her blog! (Link on left) (Seriously, click, 'tis funny).

What's up next? Michael wants Chipotle for lunch, so we're about to head out. Afterword we will be swinging by Safeway to get some more food. It'll be a good weekend, full of studying and The Office watching. What are our plans?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lately

My second week of class was pretty rough, but it got better. Even though I desperately wanted to quit, I kept going and the result is that today went pretty well. I feel like I'm finally starting to catch up with the rest of the class. I was able to translate almost all of my homework Thursday night (the same assignment a week ago took me about 6 hours because I had to look up almost every word), and today in class I was able to actively participate in each task.

Worst moment of the week:
Yesterday I finally persuaded Michael to go downstairs by himself and switch loads of laundry. He's been pretty shy about leaving the room without me unless it's to go to the bathroom or leave the house. Unfortunately, he had a confrontation with a still-unidentified female. Apparently she thought that only I was living here, and snapped at him, telling him it wasn't allowed, etc. He's been depressed enough as it is, and that definitely didn't help. I think he's feeling a bit better today, but I'm still pissed at that girl (whoever the F*CK she was!) and I wish she'd show up again so that I could tell her where to go.

Best moment of the week:
It's a tie!
Yesterday in class Alsu made not one but TWO references to Harry Potter, the best of which was that she said that Putin looked like Dobby. Apparently the likeness became a legal issue a few years ago.
What do you think?

The second best moment was today in class, when I got to choose the name of my team during an in-class competition (which we won). The name? рейтузы - pantaloons.

Strangest moment of the week:
While waiting for Michael after class a young boy (about 13) approached me, followed by 6 - 7 more boys and an older woman with a camera. The young boy asked me if, for a photographic scavenger hunt, he and his team mates could serenade me. Naturally I agreed. The older woman recorded us while they sang Happy Birthday to me. Of course they forgot to ask for my name BEFORE the song, so there's a lengthy pause after "dear" as they looked awkwardly around at each other. Of course I loudly whispered my name to them under my breath. The best part: most of the boys didn't realize that the song was selected at random, and they wished me a happy birthday as they left. I wish I had access to the video!


Funniest moment of the week:
Me: (standing next to Michael) "You gonna play my butt like bongos?"
Michael: (lightly paddling my backside) "I don't know if I'm doing this right."
Me: "I wasn't expecting proper technique..."
Michael: "I didn't know if you wanted Tchaikovsky."
Me: "...Tchaikovsky didn't play bongos, dear."


What have I been eating lately?
Since I'm basically living in a dorm room, but without access to a meal plan, I've had to eat a lot of prepackaged foods and cold cuts. Most noteworthy are: PowerBar triple threat energy bars (SO GOOD!), Ruffles, fun-sized butter fingers, pickles, string cheese, and soft dinner rolls. Also: $5 footlongs from subway (Black Forest ham on white, with Pepper Jack cheese, all vegetables, and some mustard).

What have you eaten lately?

Fact of the day:
Infants can detect emotion in our voices when they are as young as three months old.

Whose style am I crushing on?
Kate Middleton's.
She's so beautiful, classy, and stylish! She has creamy fair skin, stunning bone structure, and I love her style. I feel like she conforms to the standard dress code for political dignitaries without looking like she's copying anyone. Michelle Obama, on the other hand - and please don't read this as "Michelle sucks!" cos I think she's a nice lady - just looks like her stylist wants her to be a black Jackie Kennedy. Hi, we can have MODERN fashion and still look modest and chic. I suppose in either case I'll have to give the credit to their respective stylists (though I read that Kate uses personal shoppers).

 Michael's!
He's really good at layering his clothes, and they always fit him well. This is an old photo, but you get the point. I wish I would have taken a pic of his outfit the other day, because he looked so hip!

Honorable Mention:

Jessica Alba.
I'm not a huge fan (not that I dislike her or anything), but how pretty does she look here? The dress is pretty enough on its own, but I think she makes it look even better.

The Fourth!
I have no plans for the holiday weekend. I need to study for a test on Tuesday, and get started on my field bibliography. Michael and I will be making at least one trip to Safeway, but I'm also hoping to stop in at the local IHOP for some funnel cakes!  What are your plans?