The Facts of Life

December 04, 2016 :: 11:45 AM

i do love me some dylan o’brien

Oh boy… where do I start?

Trump won the election and based on his picks for White House staff, we’re looking at four years of Hell on Earth. (And that’s my sugarcoated opinion.)

In happier news, Ukraine was a sort-of success.

I didn’t use as much Ukrainian as I wanted to because some of the waitstaff in the restaurants and coffeehouses made me feel foolish. Although I could order off the menus, I asked for English versions so that the Hubby could read them as well. That said, I did manage to understand a lot. Too much.

And the coffee… OH MY DOG. Lviv’s reputation as having the world’s best coffee is definitely well earned. I can’t believe how much coffee I drank.

I definitely want to go back. It’s a beautiful city. One I could probably happily move to. IF the Hubby could get over the culture-shock.

That aside, it was a life changing vacation.

Part of the trip was a visit to my grandparents’ village and once we got there, our interpreter/tour guide jumped out of the van and started asking people on the street if they knew any of the names on the list.

They knew Maria and Stefania Winarska. They still lived there… despite the War and everything. In fact, they escaped being captured by hiding in the woods. I was totally expecting a house or a gravestone. Instead, I found my grandmother’s cousins.

 

Yeah. Living, breathing, shared DNA.

I still can’t get my head around it.

As our luck would have it, though, the Lufthansa pilots went on strike just in time for our trip home. Loved Lviv, but we were so ready to go home by that point that we were not happy that we were essentially stranded. It cost us over $4K for a one way ticket home. With a 9 hour layover in Madrid. (That sucked in so many different ways, I can’t even describe it. Never, ever, ever flying through Madrid again.) The only silver lining is that I got trip insurance and that should reimburse us for all our extra expenses.

Work is continually weird and stressful. I can’t go into too many details, but let’s just say that I’ve been dragged into a power struggle. There are things that aren’t right and I’m confirming suspicions. However, that puts me squarely on The Other Side… the side that’s going to get someone fired, or cause them to quit. I’m not comfortable with where I wound up, but I know it’s necessary. It’s stupid things like taking over the bank reconciliations because they haven’t been done properly (I KNOW!) and I’m the only one without access to the bank account. Of course, the person that involved me in this mess may quit if they don’t get their way. If I get passed over for their job AGAIN, I’ll follow them out the door.

There’s absolutely no winning in this situation…

And finally, I decided that I wanted to focus on learning Polish. I need a break from Ukrainian and it’s a similar enough language that I should be OK. I was going to take December off from everything, but I am chomping at the bit to start. So… I signed up for PolishPod101 and will start doing the homework in earnest today. I also signed up for two other classes - one about motivation (because I’ll need it to jump back into the Ukrainian in January) and one on using social media. The three were so cheap due to Black Friday that I couldn’t help myself. I also bought a German course for J. I suppose I’ll end up learning German myself at some point, but for now, I’m going to focus on PP101 and going back to old Ukrainian textbooks and focusing on acquiring new vocabulary.

Oh. I lied… I gave up on the artsy-fartsy BuJo and moved into a little, itty, bitty Field Notes notebook. It works ridiculously well for work and my personal life isn’t that packed chock-full of to-do items to justify the time making pretty spreads. I may do an excel spreadsheet for work (I found a beautiful template) in order to track the skills I’m learning at work (as part of the power struggle). I deserve another raise and I’m going to prove it…

Also, the Field Notes subscription plan? TOTALLY WORTH IT. I have more notebooks than I know what to do with. I have $70 worth of notebooks and I’m only halfway through my $97 subscription. Amazing!


Overwhelmed

November 07, 2016 :: 9:34 PM

rest in peace, coach

It’s been a whole lot of death and gloom around me lately.

Death apparently no longer happens in threes. It’s expanded to five, but we’re all kind of waiting for number six to show up.

It started with a co-worker’s cousin dying in a fiery car wreck. The body was so damaged, they had to use dental records.

Then, Coach Marshall died.

I’m still having a hard time processing that. I went to the memorial, and I thought that would give me the closure I needed, but it didn’t. Coach was a good man. A bit troubled, but who amongst us isn’t? The UConn hockey program wouldn’t have been the same without him and his stubbornness, that laser focus on proving that anything less than Hockey East wasn’t acceptable, the drive and determination to get the ice rink enclosed. I was fortunate to be there for so much of the early (later) days. I was instrumental in doing much of the groundwork for the fundraising of the indoor rink, and he taught me so much about kissing ass without actually needing to pucker up. I wouldn’t be the person I am without his influence…

It’s hard to think about the fact that there’ll never be another note, another email, another set of tickets left at the door because “I know you don’t have anything better to do this weekend.”

Maybe once hockey season is over, the wound will heal. At the very least, time and distance will numb the pain. 

As if that hadn’t rocked my world enough, another coworker lost his son. Cancer. A bunch of us went to the memorial service, and it was suitably awkward. It’s well known that I don’t like to be touched by people, and I became the butt of a few jokes when Bob got in not one, but two, hugs. Fuck it. It made him laugh, and that’s what matters.

Found out today another co-worker lost his sister (sister-in-law?), and yet another service tech’s best friend’s sister killed herself.

Dear 2016, STOP FUCKING KILLING PEOPLE. You can make it to the end of the year, can’t you?

—————

We’re going to Lviv in a few days. My Ukrainian is shitty, but I should be functional. I’m still missing some key vocabulary, and I’m not happy about it, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m taking lessons five days a week and cramming in homework and translating my Harry Potter fanfic whenever possible. I’m also trying to read other Ukrainian fanfics. I read a Littlefinger / Sansa pairing that was… eh. Right now, I’m working on a Littlefinger / Caitlyn Stark fic. Also ‘eh’, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The only thing that’s keeping me from totally losing my shit is the fact that my tutor thinks I’m doing extremely well.

Related - this last weekend, I wandered down to the Armpit of the Eastern Seaboard (New Jersey) for a Ukrainian genealogical conference. In a room full of 80 Ukrainians, it felt like I was the only one that understood Ukrainian. It was weird… a few of the presenters were like “Oh, this site is only in Ukrainian. Just google translate it! It’ll be close enough.”

NO. NO. NO. NO.

I’m not sure if that was the worst or if the Cyrillic handwriting class was. This woman kept trying to transliterate the letters. That’s all fine and dandy, but in my experience, leaning on transliteration when you’re first learning is terrible. You’re never going to understand the language if you don’t dive in and start using the Cyrillic alphabet. Sorry. That’s the only way to do it, if you want to do it properly.

In preparation for our trip, I even gave in and ate the kapusta and kielbasa, a vareneky, and some borscht. Unfortunately, both the borscht and the kapusta were too acidic for me (woo! acid reflux!), but I ate the entire vareneky. If you know what a fussy eater I am, you know how huge that is for me.

—————

In other news, there’s drama at work (when is there not?). I’m not sure where I fit in, but I know what I want and I know how to get there. It’s just a matter of how many bodies will pile up as the drama continues… and I hope I’m not collateral damage. We’ll find out, won’t we?

Fuck. I just want a nice, normal, boring job.

—————

Election Day is tomorrow.

I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT FOR THIS SHIT SHOW TO BE OVER.

OMG. I can’t even.

It was like a bad joke yesterday: a (male) Brookah, a black man, and a woman were holding signs for Trump. How the fuck can a black man support a guy who is endorsed by the fucking KKK? And let’s not even get into the whole sexual harassment / assault shit going on with the women.

To prove that the universe is paying attention, though, we have a neighbor that has a big Trump sign in his yard. Came home the other night to find that his pickup (with a massive Trump sticker) had been set on fire and melted some of the siding on his house.

I get a little weepy when I think about voting for Hillary, but I don’t know if it’s because she could be the first female president or if it’s because I’m so disgusted that she’s the lesser of two evils.

I really wonder what we look like to the rest of the world…


я - українська

October 15, 2016 :: 5:35 PM

Святосла́в Вакарчу́к ::  Океан Ельзи

We leave for Ukraine in about a month, give or take, and I am FREAKING out. I’m still not where I want to be with the language, and I doubt that I’ll ever be there. I’m working with a tutor five days a week and thinking about kicking my social anxiety in the ass and reaching out to find some language partners for the weekends.

Today alone, I worked with some flashcards in Memrise, struggled to translate a few sentences in my Drarry fanfic and am currently putting off attempting to read Harry Potter.

I think it’s safe to say progress is fucking sloooooooooooooow. But at least there’s progress, and it’s measurable.

I got a little pissed off at fencing the other night. My coach / instructor is Puerto Rican and I happened to mention that I was Ukrainian. He told me that I wasn’t because I didn’t grow up speaking the language. Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realise that not growing up in a Ukrainian household changed the components of my DNA. (And let’s not discuss the fact that he isn’t American, but thinks he is… GRRRR!)

In other news:

Work is bothersome. The depression still hasn’t left. Fencing doesn’t make me feel better. I’ve changed my diet and I’m not losing weight.

And I’m beyond terrified of the current situation in the States. This whole Trump candidacy feels like one big nightmare we can’t wake up from… I can’t live in a world where he’s the better choice to run this country. I can’t do it. I don’t like Hillary, either, and I think the third party candidates are wasted votes… All I can do at this point is try to figure out how to leave the States and not come back. Hopefully, the husband comes with me, but it probably wouldn’t be a deal breaker if he didn’t.

Yeah. It’s that bad.

And on that cheerful note, it’s time to get back to Гаррі Поттер.

 


BuJo, HaPo, BuHo?

September 24, 2016 :: 7:08 PM

Whale watch with the little brother, 24th August

Life’s still fucked up.

I can’t shake this depression - everything seems to be a trigger lately: work, home, fucking breathing.

It’s hard to explain to someone what it’s like if they’ve never experienced it, and I don’t have anyone that I can talk to. Don’t have anyone I feel I can burden with this. Bipolar blows chunks on a good day. During a drawn-out depression cycle? There are no words to describe the level of suck. There is no ‘embracing the suck’ to be found here… Not anymore. I can’t.

Let’s just say I’ve been seriously pondering going on disability… It’s exhausting to try and keep my shit together at work. But I HATE the idea of giving in. To taking payments from the government just because I can’t adult at work. I don’t want to look for a new job because the pattern will start again. It always does.

Of course, speaking of the government, I can’t receive Social Security payments if I live in Ukraine. I pay into a system - against my will, I might add - and I can’t even reap the benefits if I decide that I don’t want to live here anymore. (Ukraine is one of a handful of countries the US won’t send payments to. I don’t understand why.)

So. Our trip to Ukraine is in 50+ days and I’m getting nervous that I won’t be able to speak well enough. I still have a terrible accent. I still struggle to memorise the vocabulary and grammar. I’m panicking. However, all that aside, if I like Lviv like I like London and Boston, I’m thinking that maybe we can move there. London will probably never happen. It’s hard enough to get a visa and now that I can’t hold a job? There’s no way that we can afford to move to a place where the exchange rate is $1.30 to £1. The current exchange rate for the hryvnia is $0.38 to 1 UAH.

Point, Ukraine.

I’m also thinking about taking an online course to teach English as a second language. I could do that online or I could do that in Ukraine. It’d be nice to have a job where I can set my own hours. Where I can work when my mood is OK and I don’t have to worry about losing my shit at the day job.

I don’t know…

I’m going to be starting a bullet journal tomorrow. I’m going to use it to track my moods and use it as a to-do list and all that good shit. I’ve wanted to start crafting again, so this is probably a good way to do it. There was a funny thread on one of the Facebook groups when someone said they shouldn’t have googled “Bullet Journal” using the abbreviation “BJ”... BuJo is the preferred version. I think BuJo sounds ridiculous, but I’m definitely not going to call it a BJ.

I’ve started to read Harry Potter in Ukrainian - and really focus on it. I’m writing down the words I don’t know in a special notebook, and there are a lot of them. I don’t care, though. Two paragraphs, or two pages, it’s the fact that I’m doing it that matters, not the quantity. I’m also working on translating “IBY”. It’s slow going, but it’s going. AND I’m still writing fan fic. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to be able to walk away from Harry Potter… I’m pretty sure there are worse things to be addicted to.

BU Hockey starts in a few weeks. I’m not that excited for this season. Every year I think it’s going to be our last as season ticket holders, and every year, I renew. Right now, I can’t look forward to squat. Hopefully, I can shake the depression before the season starts. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long few months.

Oh well… I’ve got nothing of value to say other than I’m here. I’m alive.

I’m just… struggling.


Just go fuck off. Please and thank you.

August 19, 2016 :: 4:23 PM

I know people mean well, but telling me I should learn Russian because it’s same as Ukrainian / Ukrainians don’t actually speak Ukrainian / Ukrainian is a made up language - a Slavic Esperanto (????) can truly go fuck themselves.

I am Ukrainian. I will learn Ukrainian.

And, I’m actually doing quite well. There’s been a huge time and financial commitment to it, but it’s starting to pay off in dividends. My memory sucks thanks to one of my bipolar meds. (I suppose that after being stable for so many years it’s about time for some side effects.) I’ve been working on different memory techniques and some of them seem to be working. I think the most major thing I’ve done is to focus solely on five days a week with the one tutor. She’s great to work with, never rushes anything, and doesn’t confuse me with random vocabulary and grammar rules.

If anything, I’m the one confusing her. Today’s un-translateable phrase: Ride it out. As in, I’m in a bitch of a depression and there’s nothing I can do except ride it out.

Oh yeah. Let’s chat about that, shall we?

I’m sick of finding jobs that are perfect on the surface and total shit once the honeymoon period wears off.

The woman that took the job I should have been promoted to has done nothing but spend money. Her boss constantly tells the rest of us that’s there’s no money left to spend in the budget, but she can bring on an extra body to do the stuff she can’t be bothered to do (STUFF SHE WAS HIRED TO DO), bring in a super expensive IT consultant who has done nothing but fuck up both individual computers and the company network infrastructure as a whole, AND now, she’s decided to wage a war on paper and bring in this super ridiculous paperless system thing. But, you know, there’s no money in the budget for things that are actually NECESSARY.

And let’s talk about that extra body, shall we? I. Am. Fucking. Bored. To. Tears. I don’t have enough work to keep me busy and despite asking / begging for more responsibilities, THEY HIRED SOMEONE TO DO THINGS I COULD, I WOULD, AND I SHOULD BE DOING.

I ended up taking today off because I crashed so fucking hard, I didn’t think I could handle going into work. Seriously. There was no way I could adult. I could barely get out of bed. I had my Ukrainian lesson and learned how to say fight through the depression and things like that, but after that? I was done. It’s been a long year and a half…

The paranoia that the extra person is in line to take what is rightfully mine has reached an all-time high. The anger that she’s there, doing things I could be doing / learning has also reached an all-time high. I want to punch her in the face every time I see her, every time I hear her voice. My heart has started acting up again. I’m back on my anti-anxiety meds. I’m completely miserable and I don’t know how to change things. I even sent an email flat out stating that I was taking over x, y, and z - but even those things can’t keep me that busy.

Me plus being bored is a recipe for disaster.

On the plus side, my Ukrainian translation of my Drarry fic is slow going, but at least there’s real measurable progress to be seen. Of course, I’ve been doing the bulk of that translation during working hours because I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO.

So. Yeah. At least there’s that.

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