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…
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!) [ETA: Yes, I know PR is an American territory, but he didn’t grow up on the continent / in one of the 50 states, so using his logic, I don’t think he should be considered an American. But what do I know? I’m just pissy because he refused to acknowledge something that I’ve been working so hard to embrace.]
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.
Living on unemployment for a year has definitely taught us how to be more aware of every dollar we spend.
Working closer to home, not having to pay MA income tax on my salary, and getting a small ‘bonus’ for not needing health insurance from my employer has resulted in my finally getting to live the life I really want to live. (It doesn’t hurt that I turn 41 next month and I can’t get rid of the little voice in my head that keeps telling me that I’m getting closer to the age my mother was when she died…)
We’re taking two major vacations practically back-to-back and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to take FOREVER for them to get here.
First, we’re going to Ukraine. I found my grandparents’ villages and will be going to check them out, plus spending some time in the absolutely GORGEOUS city of Lviv.
I’m going to focus on getting my grandmother’s birth certificate in the coming weeks - I have a photo of it (from the researcher I hired), but I want the real thing. After I manage to get my grubby little paws on that, I’m going to apply for Ukrainian citizenship. What’s the worst they can say, no? If they say yes - and depending on the outcome of our election - I may not come home.
Then… we’re going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
It also marks our long-awaited return to London!!!!! We were supposed to go in 2013 for a wedding and then I got laid off. Since then, we’ve put off the trip to stay closer to home and rebuild our savings. The exchange rate right now is still ridiculously prohibitive (1 GBP is almost 1.50 USD—contrast that to Ukraine: 1 UAH is .04 USD), so it’s been easier to justify putting the trip off.
In other news—
Work is getting better. Slowly. I’m being forced to spend a week in Phoenix with our Assistant Controller at some Timberline National Users Conference. We were supposed to drive together to the airport and then we were supposed to share a hotel room. We haven’t even registered for the conference yet, and she’s already driven me to the point of wanting to murder her. I got out of sharing a ride (we live in opposite directions) and sharing a room (5 AM Ukrainian lessons 5 days a week), but I’m still not overly happy that I have to go with her. To be honest, I’m still a little butthurt that she was hired and that I wasn’t promoted. It’s the third time I’ve been passed over for a promotion because I’m too good at my current position… although part of the reason they’re sending me is so that I can learn more about the software and using it for construction as opposed to HVAC service. Who knows what that means for my future with the company… I can only hope that she burns out quickly and I can jump into her job. I’m not so sure I want to work under her.
I’ve started working out again, too. Back to the gym two days a week. The end goal is to attempt a GORUCK Challenge again. The short-term goal is to lose some weight and fit back into my fencing gear. Yeah. I’m going to start fencing again. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed it.
The Ukrainian lessons are going well - I’ve decided to work with two tutors. I’m still using my italki tutor and I’m using one from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. They’re about $15 USD/hr. and doing 3 days with Svetlana and 2 days with Oksana has been better than I thought it would be. I’m being forced to do more active learning (homework) and they’re actually complimenting each other. It’s insane how the class content seems to have aligned itself without any input from me. Plus, I’m supplementing those with independent work from a textbook I found on Amazon and a grammar reference book. I WILL BE FLUENT-ISH BY OUR TRIP! It feels good to say that. Really good.
Ahhhh… it feels good to be blogging again. But that also reminds me, I never wrote my New Year / Three Words post.
Obviously, UKRAINIAN is the first one. This encompasses cooking, reading about the culture, our trip, and my continued efforts in learning the language.
The second is HEALTH. That includes doing the Zombie 5K app (with the end goal to actually run a 5K), meeting with my personal trainer, and fencing. I should also add that I’m meeting with a nutritionist soon. I have the eating habits of a 5 year old… if that. The GORUCK Challenge won’t be until 2017, but I definitely need a year of intense work to be ready for it.
The third, I’ve been waffling on because I don’t want to reuse the same word over and over, but I really do want to keep focussing on my WRITING. Here, there, and everywhere!
hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home
Over Labor Day weekend, I dragged the hubby to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at Universal Orlando.
It was, without a doubt, once of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. Butterbeer! Hogwarts! The Hogwarts Express!
I felt just like the little 12 year old fangirl I really am. (Of course, all my good Harry Potter shirts are Doctor Who crossovers… and holy fuck! There were probably as many Whovians as there were Potterheads walking around.)
Harry Potter was my introduction to the world of fandom, but I wasn’t ready for it back then. Once I was ready, I’ve embraced it with open arms. The fan fic alone is nothing short of incredible. I’ve published two - one was way more popular than the other. And I have to agree with the citizens of AO3… the first one is the better one.
I even began knitting a Quidditch sweater. Of course, Pottermore sorted me into Ravenclaw… which - if you’re a book nerd like me - is absolutely shitty. All the fucking merch is based on the movies. Ravenclaw’s house colours are blue and bronze. NOT blue and silver. Our crest features an eagle. NOT a raven. So yeah, long rant short: I’m making my own Ravenclaw things.
I’ve been quiet because 1) knitting that fucking Quidditch sweater has been taking all of my free time and 2) I’m being bullied at work.
Yeah. I’m 40 fucking years old and I’m being bullied.
I can’t defend myself the way I want to (adulting is hard), but I am defending myself. In my review today, the only bit I scored poorly on was “plays well with others” because of this person. In my defence, my boss only circled the lower score because he was being honest, but we all know why I don’t play well with others. It’s a long story and there’s a lot I can’t say so…
There you go.
Knitting. Harry Potter. Fan fiction. Working.
I’ve taken a break from actively studying Ukrainian for the summer (see: Quidditch sweater), but I’ve been listening to a lot more pop music. I’m catching more words which is amusing because I still have the vocabulary of a newborn. I also managed to fight through three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Ukrainian during the flights to and from Florida. I missed probably 90% of the words, but I recognised enough words to make myself feel good and follow the story.
I’ll start again in October. I just needed a break - I feel like all I’m doing is studying, but I’m not making any progress.
I also received the Hunger Games trilogy (finally!) from a Ukrainian bookseller and I’ve gotten through the first chapter of The Hunger Games with relatively little trouble, amazingly enough. Even without the vocab.
I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll be translating my good Harry Potter fan fic to Ukrainian. I want to do it for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because I want some practice in writing. Writing will also drive the vocab home and will probably force me to contact someone I don’t know to help with the slang.
I guess we’ll have to see. Life isn’t going anywhere near the direction it needs to be going in… but I’ll survive this. I always find a way.