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.

 


I don’t ever wish for any time alone

May 21, 2016 :: 2:29 PM

BULLSHIT

I just came back from a week in Phoenix and I AM DYING.

I went on this business trip with an extroverted co-worker and even though we had separate hotel rooms and were in separate classes, she was like this huge energy vampire whenever we were in each other’s company.

I got home well after midnight last night and was just so emotionally drained that there was no chance I would be functional today.

I’m pissed and disappointed, but judging by the amount of energy I’ve had today, I definitely wouldn’t have survived. I lost $75 if they won’t let me reschedule. I don’t mind losing it; it was for the best.

I also cancelled my trip to the Putnam Den to see Black Mountain Symphony.

*sigh*

In happier news - here’s a kick ass cover of Okean Elzy’s “In Heaven / In the Sky” (depending on the translator, I guess)


Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.

March 19, 2016 :: 9:41 PM

yep.

Life is weird.

A lot is going on at work… I’ll be there a year in April, and it’s been a rough year in about a thousand different ways. I’ve been re-evaluating my position there regarding where I want to be, where I am, where I’ve been. It hasn’t been looking good for them, and I’ve seriously been thinking about updating my resume and putting it out there. Just in case.

So. Of course, the controller has to take a new interest in me.

We’ve actually talked. Had real discussions about the service department’s accounting practices and procedures. Things that make me think I want to stay… for at least another six months.

—————

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’m not planning on doing much in Camp, but I do want to try translating my best Drarry fanfic. Even if it’s something as simple as finding and replacing every instance of Harry and Draco’s names with the Ukrainian equivalent. I’m also thinking that I’ll dump in whatever words I know and worry about verb tenses and cases later.  It’s a start. There’re a few authors who have done Ukrainian fanfic for Potter, Teen Wolf, and Supernatural. Worst case scenario, I’ll leave a comment on a recent story and ask them to beta read.

—————

I turn 41 tomorrow and Mom’s 24th (!!!!) anniversary was yesterday. It was rough this year. The uptick in Ukrainian lessons and finalising the trip to Lviv have been kicking my ass - emotionally as much as mentally.  It’s been a strange few months.

—————-

I’ve been working out and running from Zombies. Doing things I never thought I’d do, like eating fucking yogurt and ENJOYING it. I’ve even been cutting back on the Coke. Me. I used to have a three can a day habit. Now I’m maybe having one a day.

I even managed to break the treadmill so we replaced it with a Bowflex Max. I didn’t buy into the hype - but it’s a stair stepper / elliptical thing that doesn’t take up a whole lot of room and it was the same price as a nice treadmill. That thing is a bitch. I can’t even do the “MAX” interval training thing: 14 minutes 3 times a week and you’ll lose a billion pounds in a month! I’m basically walking on it for a half hour at a whack. It’s much harder than a treadmill, that’s for sure.

I even decided to sign up for GORUCK University. It’s a bunch of classes on how to create a rucking environment and then there’s a GORUCK Light Challenge and a 5K Ruck. 7 hours of Good Livin’ in MAY. MAY 2016. LIKE TWO MONTHS FROM NOW.

I am so fucked.

But, I’m doing something right: I’m down almost 10 pounds in like two weeks and I don’t feel like it’s been a huge change to get there.

So there’s that.

Whee!

 

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