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Saturday, March 7, 2015

When friendships end

So I was washing dishes tonight after another zaiki-filled day, and, as I often do, I started to think back to my carefree student days. I had many friends. In fact, there was a huge group of us who went to college together, had fun together, fell in and out of love together. I thought that this bond of youth, happiness is time-proof. So when did it end? Was it abruptly or overtime? Did it happen consciously or without us even realizing it?  People change, ties become weak and they prioritize their time and emotional investment accordingly. As someone who studies psychology of interaction, these processes are fascinating!
I distinctly remember several instances from my own experience when I just knew that this tie can be safely cut or left superficially tangling on social media. One was back during my first visit to the Motherland, when I was completely taken advantage of and this memory still makes me feel uncomfortable as it changed my impression of certain people forever; another one was when a person was in NYC and never made an effort to see me, despite having my number and knowing how close I live. I pondered the reason and then realized that we had nothing to say to each other anyway- they live across the globe and I can't offer any glamour their NYC hosts could: my world revolves around zaiki and research. I guess friendships end when you no longer have the need for something the person has to offer. I always thought friendship is selfless and now I see that it is the opposite. Age gives you perspective and I wish I had it at 18 or 20, but I think I was meant to travel the road I did to get where I am: feeding dinner to happy kids who drive me nuts. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Strange Magic" review from a "Star Wars" fan

I really liked animated flick "Epic" that came out in 2013. The world of woodland fairyland appeals to me ever since I read "Thumberlina". "Epic" dealt with evil "rot" king, cute slugs and snails, unexpected love - zaiki and I watched it a number of times. So when I found out that George Lucas is releasing another fairy-themed animated adventure titled "Strange Magic", I was all about it. We made it a family affair and went to see it last night. Well...Let me just say that my time would have been better spent doing burpees, or cleaning the house, or chewing on broken glass, or shoving needles under my nails. The movie was awful. Not just cutesy-kid-movie-bad, but outright awful. It had no real plotline, instead revolving around pop and rock songs of the past few decades. Bad karaoke and bad animation. The combination raped my senses.

One of the reviews I read on it (after the fact, unfortunately) states that "the movie uses a mix of classic and contemporary pop and rock songs to further the plot". It is the worst animated movie I have seen in a while (and I LIVE in the world of cartoons at this point in my life). The only way to describe it is that George Lucas got too full of himself one night, sat down with a bunch of minions and ordered them to record his stream of consciousness while he listened to bad pop songs for two hours. I can picture him yelling "And there must be a possum-looking thing there!!! With no obvious ties to the plot! Just because I like it and I AM GEORGE LUCAS!!!!And mushrooms, lots of talking mushrooms!!"

The idea behind the feature was to empower the girls by having the girl-protagonist who kicks butt. It fell flat on its face with a thud. The main fairy was whiny and unconvincing as a warrior-princess. In the end, she picks an ugly bog king instead of pretty blond dude, and I guess that is supposed to be THE twist? Come on, Disney had done it in Beauty and the Beast many nano-years ago. Oh, and don't even get me started on the elves. 

Bottom line: Don't waste your time. Awful.

And, by the way, on the subject of George Lucas as a director: HAN SHOT FIRST.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Learning about grief

The end of 2014 has not been very kind to our little family. My grandmother, the unstoppable force she was, passed away December 8. Husband's uncle, his mom's baby brother, suddenly died from a heart attack December 9.
My babushka's heart just stopped. She died peacefully in her sleep at the ICU unit. She did not suffer, good merciful Lord took a pity on her. She had struggled with dementia and was not herself for the past seven years. Her passing was not a surprise, and she is finally at peace. And though I understand all that, I am grieving. It comes in waves and without notice. I am grieving the finality of death, its irreversible nature. I'm mourning that I am no longer the grandchild. I am mourning the loss of someone who was a force of nature and a formidable presence in my life. I was not able to go to her funeral and I can't be there to organize and sort her belongings. This feels final yet somehow incomplete. Being with the loved one is important for closure. My husband gets a chance to mourn his uncle with his family and I envy him. All I have at this point are the memories, and they are shitty company...

Friday, August 1, 2014

[Corporate] Culture Shock

There have been some changes in our little lives: I got a new job. This was a long time coming, but my natural cautiousness prevented me from taking a leap from hated, yet familiar surroundings of Dread Incorporated into the big unknown. I’ve gone on tons of interviews, some good, some bad, but nothing felt right. There were many factors to consider and no offer was worth it. It had gotten pretty bad at Dread Incorporated, though. Scheming, pantyhose-wearing, hair flipping, shrill-voiced management. Supervisors who smile in your face while collecting your mistakes to be used against you during your review a year later, but who don’t give an ass about anyone else’s work success but their own. No regular, flowing work – sporadic projects that ended up mostly in the garbage bin. Ugh.

So when I got a phone call with a job offer 20 min after I left the interview, it was a huge confidence
boost. I took the position and haven’t looked back. Adjusting to a functioning, normal work environment took some time: working with people mostly my age who are funny and interesting. Casual Fridays, relaxed yet productive work environment. Steady work flow that makes the days fly by. Ability to say “You know, I need to work from home tomorrow” and not get it tallied against you. Management that actually communicates with you regarding your performance on a regular basis. All these things have come as a huge culture shock. It’s been a steep learning curve.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the Bunnygate

Husband and I decided to take the zaiki to see the Easter Bunny this year. The one at the local mall did not look particularly mangy - so the date was set. Much talk happened on Maya's part regarding the bunny's superpowers: how can he bring gifts to all the kids at once? Dreamy-eyed, she pondered questions like where does he keep the eggs? Where does he leave the presents?

Then, in response to my question about what presents will they ask for, Sonya blurted out: "I don't want to go - what's the point? It's not real - it's just a guy in a suit". This was more than Maya could handle. Her face became all eyes, lips quivered in the unmistakable pre-sob sadness every parent of a little child knows oh so well:

We quickly changed the topic, but the innocence was gone. Bunnygate had happened. Life will never be the same again.

On the day of the photoshoot, dresses were ironed, braids were made, special "grown up" tights were worn. Sonya received a stern warning not to ruin her sister's fairytale. Here's the final product, one for the picture wall:

 Full disclosure - I pictured the Bunny plumper and less mangy...Bad hungry winter perhaps?

Turning off my brain

I am being a complete sloth tonight. I have huge amount of work to do, but I owe myself a little bit of rest. Just a night of watching bad TV, drinking tea and not thinking. The last part is particularly hard for me, and, partly due to my sad family history, I always think of a worst case scenario: Husband is doing our taxes - oh no, we will owe thousands of dollars! Or car windshield has a crack in it - it will probably shatter while I'm miles away from home in a downpour with a dead cellphone. That's how I roll.

But tonight, I refuse to think serious thoughts. I'll watch a Family Guy episode and go to bed. Tomorrow I've taken a day off from my day job - a glorious, infrequent luxury. I have taken time off this year, but all was either illness or snow day related. This is different, and I will enjoy it to the fullest. I'll go to Crossfit in the morning and will have a lazy breakfast. I will go shopping for myself, by myself. :) Then I'll get ready for Easter - make Easter Cheese and zucchini pancakes. I will not think how a very real health issue last month showed me what is and what is not important in my life, and that the change is really, really needed.

I still have a class to teach tomorrow night, but it does not feel like a chore. My chest does not tighten as I walk through the door, I don't doubt my abilities for a second while I'm up at the podium. I'm happy, engaged, respected and appreciated. I'm lucky I have this outlet.

But that'll be tomorrow. Tonight, it's the Griffins and I. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Girls rule!

Just one more reason why girls rule:
The zaiki are playing Husband's old matchbox cars. Rolling them back and forth, racing, etc. All of a sudden I hear:
- Are you the awesomenest car on the planet? Will you marry me?
- Sure, let's go park next to each other.
*Kissing noises*

They can play with anything and still turn it into a glamorous wedding fairytale. Love it!