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.
In either a fit of brilliance, or a stupid side-effect of the prolonged, tumultuous, bipolar cycle from hell, I gave my notice at work.
I didn’t have a great plan, or a safety net, when I made the decision. All I knew was that if we could survive a year on unemployment, we could survive the next dry spell. I was totally willing to go bag groceries at the local supermarket, or flip burgers. Whatever it was going to take.
The universe caught on to my desperation before I finalised my resignation letter, and I started to get job openings dropped into my lap.
Recruiters started emailing me and calling me completely out of the blue.
The universe has granted me with a ridiculous amount of job interviews.
It even graced me with a job offer that I still need to make a decision about.
I don’t know - yet - what’s going to happen, but I have complete faith in the universe.
It’s done right by me so far…
my childhood copy of winnie-the-pooh vs the ukrainian e-book version
This sounds REALLY weird, but I’ve enjoyed reading the Ukrainian version of Winnie-the-Pooh on my iPhone’s Kindle app. (Well, it’s not really reading. Yet.) I’ve been highlighting words I know and adding the definitions just in case I flake out. The more words that get highlighted, the better I feel. The better I feel, the more motivated I feel. Eventually, I’ll be able to string the words together and make sense of them.
The italki October challenge is going well, also. Amazingly enough, the combination of the italki lessons and Winnie-the-Pooh led me to have a great breakthrough this weekend: I’m learning garbage. Who needs to be able to count to twenty when you really need to know how to say basic verbs and nouns? I couldn’t write a sentence right now with what I (feel I) know. I can spell nineteen like a champ, though. (дев’ятнадцять) What the fuck do I need the word nineteen for? How many times do I use the word nineteen? (Three so far, but this is different. Well, four if you count the Ukrainian version.)
What I need to know are the verbs to know / to write / to speak / to work / to sleep.
What I need are adjectives like depressed / tired / happy / sad / cold.
What I need are nouns like dog / work / husband / music / friends
What I really need (REALLY) is the word fuck in all it’s wonderful and varied forms.
Those four lists are pretty much the basis of everything I write here, so those are the words I need to focus on.
And that’s what I’m going to do.
Fuck rote memorisation of words I don’t need right now like nineteen (five times).
This isn’t a new discovery. All the language bloggers who promise quick fluency in a language, they all tend to agree on one thing… Speak first, learn the details later.
It’s a weird idea and not nearly as easy as it sounds, but it forces you to learn the language. Yeah, you might sound like an idiot (tarzan-speak: I to read book vs I read a book, for example: Я читати книжка instead of the correct Я читав книгу.), but - theoretically - you’ll learn the grammar as you go along. Naturally. Without needing to memorise conjugation tables.
Well, I’m not keen on speaking (shy/introvert/social anxiety), but I am keen on writing. And so, I’m going to start trying to write. Even if it’s just two sentences about my day. It will force me to learn the proper noun cases and verb conjugations and it seems to be just as interactive as memrise. I’ve been learning the hard way that I just can’t do flashcards. They’re boring. I need to be involved. I need an external force to tell me if I’m right or wrong. Guessing an answer on a flashcard isn’t interactive enough…
So. Yeah. I will write more. I write a lot (Я пишу багато) any way - so why not try to do it in Ukrainian?
Speaking of feeling better: had a long talk with a few co-workers about the situation at work.
Needless to say, I felt MUCH better. I’m glad that people are noticing things and acting on them.
Because of this new intel, I talked at length with my Drug Dealer about the meds and the mix. It was decided that I would continue supplementing my current meds with the anti-anxiety meds. Well, I guess I really do just need to take the edge off. Temporarily. Once the situation settles down, I should be stable again.
At least, that’s the hope.
suzy-q, july 12, 2014
It’s amazing how good I feel since my discussion with BK on Friday. (Possibly related, I’ve had a BAD craving for Burger King’s onion rings since Friday. And their chicken fries which aren’t available here! And also missing from their website… Were they blink-and-you’ll-miss-them?)
Since hope has been restored, I actually started feeling motivated to pick up my Ukrainian books. The italki October challenge has helped, too, but it’s amazing what can happen when everything is good.
I have to see my drug dealer next weekend and I’m thinking about asking her to adjust my meds. My moods have been out of control recently due to the work stress and I don’t know how much longer I can keep them in check. Not that I’ve been doing a very good job as of right now any way.
I’m also wondering if my pattern of letting work get to me and triggering major depressions is a sign that I need to quit and go on disability. That scares me, though. I was just as bad when I was unemployed and didn’t have anything better to do than write fan fic and play on tumblr.
Maybe I’m just really broken. And unrepairable.
So… meds. Last resort, maybe, but who knows. I’ve been on the same cocktail for years now. My last cocktail failed miserably after a few years and I’ve been on this mix much longer.
I wrote a really long, really cathartic entry on my Ukrainian blog, to circle back to the having hope thing. I’ve got plans for that blog in terms of writing in English and Ukrainian and I’m pretty excited. I’m sticking with the old design for now while I figure out if I want to continue to invest the time in the new design. It feels like a stalling tactic. And it probably is.
Also, fucking auto correct keeps insisting that my grandparents’ village was in Turnip, not Ternopil. *sigh*
It’s time for my Speaking Bootcamp webinar. Today is about more tricks to retain vocabulary. WOOOOOOOOO!
No. Seriously. I am that excited about it. There just aren’t enough fun learning websites for Ukrainian. Maybe I should go back and do French. Or learn Russian. (HA! NEVER! I shouldn’t even joke about that.)
*sigh* all that work… headed to the frog pond
My first socks done toe-up and TAAT are headed to the frog pond. Somewhere, somehow, I screwed up pretty badly and there’s laddering up the borders of the pattern. It looks terrible on the needles and even worse on the foot. I’m not sure if it was because I did them two-at-a-tme, I counted completely wrong, or if I managed to drop a stitch on both socks in the exact same spot. All of which are, sadly, very likely to occur and may have even happened simultaneously. That’s how bad they are.
I don’t want to frog them, but as I looked at how fucked up they were, I realised that - more importantly - I hated knitting that fucking pattern. I mean, REALLY hated it.
I love the way Hermione’s Everyday Socks are knitting up, even though I’ve just started a pair in that pattern. (Socks for a friend, unfortunately.) I think it will look equally awesome in that red. And HES isn’t nearly as boring to work on.
It’s really weird how that happens - both are four row repeats, both are relatively simple combinations of knits and purls - but one is infinitely more fun to knit than the other.
I ended up buying a new Forester last Friday and broke it in by heading to Woodstock for Black Mountain Symphony’s record release party. 492 miles from the Subaru dealership, to Seabrook Town Hall, to my house, to Woodstock and back to my house - I’m already at 1,000 miles.
Have I mentioned I’ve only had the damn thing a week?
It was a hard decision and one I didn’t make lightly, despite how it may seem.
My dream car - my BMW - doesn’t come in a stick until you get to the 335, and I need an X-Drive (all wheel drive). When I found one, the sticker on it was $51K. FIFTY ONE THOUSAND. FOR A CAR. I still can’t get past the fact that my very first house was only $32K and I still can’t justify buying a car that costs more than a house. (Even though my current house has an insurance replacement value of $289K, I can’t use that for comparison. I just can’t.)
I know, I know… and I did know it was going to be ugly. I could go down to a 320 / 328, but I don’t want an automatic that thinks it’s a stick. I refuse to drive anything but a stick.
So… my car had had these ongoing issues with the fuel line. It kept throwing up “Check Engine” errors and the dealership was kind of playing hit or miss with the repairs. The first time, it was $500 for a new gas cap and some kind of fuel container thingy. This last time, it was $300 for a stupid gasket. (There were some tests, but seriously? $300 for what ended up being a $6 part.)
When I got it back, the car stunk like gas, but I was told that it was natural and the smell would go away. I didn’t have anything to worry about unless the check engine light came back on.
I don’t know about you, but worrying if my fuel line was going to go while I’m on the backwoods of MA / NY isn’t my idea of a good time. Worrying about whether or not the car would spontaneously combust wasn’t particularly enjoyable, either.
Maybe those are stupid concerns… but the car was paid off. If it hadn’t been, I’d probably still be scared shitless to drive it, but sucking it up until I could afford to pay it off.
I got a brand new 2015 Forester - approximately the same exact car (minus the horizontal roof rack thingies), with technology befitting a car seven model years newer - for the same exact payment as my old car.
I suppose I could have done a lot worse.
I have mixed feelings about it, which sounds completely weird, right? I love it - I really do - but it’s just that I didn’t want a damn car payment.
I have mixed feelings about Black Mountain Symphony’s new album. It sounds ‘flat’. I thought it was my speakers in the new car because I hadn’t tweaked them, but my iMac, iPhone, and Jamie’s car confirmed that it just sounds flat and shitty. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard the songs live a bazillion times and that energy didn’t carry over? I don’t know, but the first album sounded so crisp and clear that the mix on this album is really disappointing.
My other complaint with this album - and it’s definitely petty - is that I wasn’t listed on the liner notes, but someone’s dog was. We all joke that I’m the #1 fan, the miles I’ve put on my car, the amount of money I’ve put in tip jars, the fact that I’ve let them stay in my house (not once, but twice)... all of those are testaments to my dedication to them. I know they sincerely appreciate me. I’ve NEVER doubted that. Not for a second.
It would have been nice to get a public thank you… and there are quite a few others who are surprised that I was left off.
Especially in light of someone’s fucking DOG being thanked.
I’m not going to lie. It hurts.
I’ll get past it because it is so petty and minor in the grand scheme of things, but for now, I’m just going to let it bother me so I can get it out of my system.
I contacted another immigration law firm this morning. I laid out the reasons why I think I can claim citizenship and asked them simply if they thought I could and how much it would cost for that privilege.
I guess we’ll see…