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


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."