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.
back to basics: kids’ books (and some ridiculously cheesy vampire disaster)
I love that the hubby tolerates my complete obsession with male/male fan fiction. Although there are moments when I’m not sure if he’s trying to change the topic, be funny or is actually deaf… We were watching a commercial that said something about self-publishing books and I said out loud, I wonder if they’d publish male/male fiction. He said, “Mailman fan fiction?”
I think I love him more every day.
Which is either pretty awesome or pretty gross.
I’m having a good (too good?) time on Facebook playing with my friend’s husband. We’re both huge Potterheads, horror fans and like ghosts and other scary things, so we’ve been bonding. She’s not into any of the paranormal / horror stuff and has a great sense of humour regarding our shared obsessions.
It’s nice to have friends that understand that not everything is flirting, or sexual in nature… even if it includes writing mailman fan fiction.
I have to go to Pittsburgh for work next week and I’ve been slacking on the Ukrainian learning for a while. We have a new employee who has made my life a complete and utter shitshow. I’ve fallen so far behind at work that I’ve been working late and going in early. All because of one person. It’s insane.
It doesn’t help that one of my coworkers - one I thought I was friendly terms with - became an uber bitch because I moved downstairs to work with my department. She’s keeping important accounting data from me and thinks she’s my boss. Riiiiiiiiight. There’s been some arguing as to who can lay claim to me: service or accounting. I have pushed hard for service, since I have very little to do with my fellow accountants. It shouldn’t be like this. The worst thing is everyone hates that coworker. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Dude, if I’m ever her boss, I won’t be. Firing her will be my first official act as controller.
So… as always, I push the Ukrainian aside because it’s not a priority. It’s a want, not a need. It’s hard to balance what I should be doing with what I want to do. And what I want to do is write more Drarry fic and knit my Quidditch sweater. Not study. Especially not after a shit day at work.
Anywhoooo. I bought those books in the picture for the flight to Pittsburgh. I figure they’re small, they’ll travel well, and they’re right at my vocab level, give or take.
Now, I just need to decide if I can live with just my iPad or need to drag along my laptop. I have a feeling I’m leaving both behind and surviving with just my phone. It’s four days and I have a lot of Ukrainian to try to catch up on. Same with the knitting. It’s just that it’s HARD to write pr0n on the iPhone and it’s even harder to publish. (10 kudos so far on the new one! WOO!)
snape does a shot… love it!
I think this is the best thing I’ve ever read:
I really loved the way in which Harry & Draco got together at first, not really talking just being there for each other.
Then being arrested and losing hope.
And then Harry’s testimony! That part totally had me crying for Harry & Draco.
I normally don’t like Fics where they fall for each other so quickly, but the way you wrote them, it felt right, and believable in the “fic” world.
So thank you very much for a different outlook on the immediate aftermath of Draco & Harry post war!
Many kudos and I look forward to reading more of your work.
Working on a 12 hour italki language challenge and a 90 day language challenge… That’s a LOT of Ukrainian filling my week, but at $97 to enroll in the 90 day and over a hundred bucks in italki tutoring, I’m finally seeing some results. I’ve got two different tutors right now: One I’m very comfortable speaking with and one that I’m sure will be good to go over grammar drills with, judging by the amount of written homework she keeps assigning. The 90 day challenge cumulates in a 15 minute video conversation so speaking has to be a major priority, but that tutor’s only available at 5 AM. The Grammar tutor is available in the afternoons. I really wish they were switched, but…
My major driver right now, is that there’s airline tickets on the line. I could fly to Ukraine for free if I “win” the challenge. I’m assuming the major thing is to completely rock the challenge and be as fluent as possible, so I’m going to kill myself learning the language if that’s what it takes.
Using the feedback from that comment above has lead me to tear apart the second Drarry fic I was almost ready to publish. I definitely have trouble with the two of them suddenly forgiving each other and falling into bed within hours of reconnecting when I read it in other fics. It’s a huge issue in any fandom when you’re writing about characters with a lot of history. They already know each other so all the verbal/emotional foreplay has been had. In my first Drarry fic, I had to put a bit of a fast-forward on the enemies to lovers thing because of the timing of the post-War events. I can’t imagine the Wizarding World would have waited to capture and put the Malfoy men on trial, but it was important that Draco and Harry had a solid relationship BEFORE Draco’s arrest. In this second one, I have more time to play with, so I’m going to drag it out until the last chapter.
I spent the eight hours in the car, driving back and forth from Woodstock, thinking about how to make it real between them at a ridiculous snail’s pace. I think I nailed it, but I can’t wait to tear into the draft and fix it.
Speaking of Drarry, I’m going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a long weekend! I’ve been sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore (and several other website quizzes), so I decided to knit myself a Quidditch sweater! I’m so excited to knit such a big project for myself and one with such a tight deadline. This will be so much fun! I suppose I could buy one, but the movie colours are not the same as the book colours and I’m doing this by the book, as the saying goes. (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA)
On that note - maybe I should go read some Harry Potter (Ukrainian version, of course) and work on some vocab…
The fun never ends.