What A Week!

As you’ve probably heard, we Americans had a presidential election almost two weeks ago. Between trying to stay away and see who won—I only made it to one in the morning or so, which was before they called the election—and reading the news more in the past ten days than I have in the prior year, well, readers, I was exhausted. Much too exhausted to blog, unfortunately. I actually deleted the Twitter app early last week so I could have some peace and quiet to do some reading.

Before I deleted the app, I did a mass unfollowing of people I followed on Twitter. In the aftermath of the election, a lot of people I thought were nice suddenly revealed themselves to be… not so nice. I didn’t unfollow them because of disagreements in our views. I just have no desire to unfollow people who enthusiastically post and retweet a photo endorsing a disgusting act of violence against the future First Lady. As a result, my Twitter feed suddenly has a whole lot more Russian in it. And more Russian is never a bad thing. 🙂

Anyway, I digress. Blogging should return to normal, pre-election levels shortly. I also hope to resume Wednesday Music—I’ve actually completely forgotten about it for the past weeks!

I’m Back!

Yes, I know, I had another semi-unplanned blogging absence. Two things happened: I got lost in some reading (what else is new?!) and my best friend came to visit last weekend. We had a lovely time together, though I wish she could have stayed longer. We ate out at some restaurants and then she spent the night at my place, which reminded me of the sleepovers we had when we were younger.

As for reading, I’ve been immersed in many, many books. It’s actually sort of ridiculous: I’ve read, according to Goodreads, over a hundred books this year. And while that is kind of awesome, it’s also putting a big damper on my writing. At this time last year, I had written many more words than I have this year. I’m going to try to slow down my reading in English, read more books in Russian, and spend some more time writing. I also have a certification exam to study for, so there’s that to deal with too…

Sometimes I wish I could take a month-long sabbatical from work so I could catch up on other aspects of my life. Like blog writing, writing, violin, and this certification exam that is hanging over my head. Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone at work would approve of my idea, so I’ll just have to keep trying to stuff everything in and hope that I manage.

There is one way to forcibly stuff writing in, now that I think about it: NaNoWriMo. Remember how I participated back in 2013? (When I was in grad school! I must have been crazy! A part of me still can’t believe I did that.) Well, my writing schedule has aligned (through luck, not through my own doing) so that in theory, I could do NaNo this year. Whether I want to put myself through the punishing schedule that NaNo entails, I am not sure… I will have to think about it further as I outline my next writing project.

Thank You!

I want to thank the person (people?) who shared my post about language learning that I wrote last week. From what I can tell, it’s been shared on Facebook (on Sunday, I think), which resulted in quite a few visits to said post and this blog in general. Seriously, I really appreciate it when my readers share things on this blog. Unfortunately, I can’t tell every single time someone shares something—it doesn’t usually produce the huge spike in traffic I recently had. But no matter how many (or how few) people visit the blog as a result of something shared on social media, I do appreciate it.

Thank you! / Спасибо! / Дякую! / Хвала! (I think that covers all the Slavic languages I’ve studied at some point in time!)


Украина // Україна // Ukraine
Украина // Україна // Ukraine

Today, while researching something (I can’t remember what I was looking up on my phone during the lunch break), I found reference to the fact that there’s an entirely new government in power in Ukraine. Apparently, President Poroshenko fired Arseniy Yatsyenyuk, the previous Prime Minister, and appointed someone else. Along with a new PM, there are other new ministers, too. Natalie Jaresko isn’t the finance minister anymore. (I don’t know much about her, but I’ve always been rather partial to her because of her name.) The most amazing thing about this is it happened back in April and I had no idea about it until today. Even more amazing, it doesn’t bother me that I had no idea.

Even a year ago, this whole idea would have been shocking to me, but I think I’ve finally come to terms with not being a Russia watcher anymore. Years ago, I never imagined I could be this content while not being a Russia watcher, but… I am. It’s surprising, but a good kind of surprising.

No Words

It’s the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and I’m not really sure what I can say anymore.


Towards the end of last year, I went to New York for the first time since the attacks took place. I stayed in a hotel near the site where the Twin Towers stood. The memorial there is very nice. So much time has passed that I feel like we’re a completely different country sometimes. There’s an entire group of people in school now—including my own cousin—who don’t remember the attacks at all and don’t fully grasp their significance. I can’t relate to that. I may not remember the Berlin Wall coming down or the Soviet Union collapsing, but at least I still recognize the significance of these events! It’s a bit demoralizing that some people don’t fully get what happened. Of course, this isn’t limited to young people. Some adults who remember the attacks still don’t get it, either. Will they ever get it? Time will tell, I suppose.

Вечная память.

A Music-Filled Labor Day

It’s Labor Day here in the US, so no work for me (and many other people) today! It was nice to have time to just lounge and relax and lie on the couch. It was also nice to have time to play violin. I haven’t been able to play nearly as much as I would like to since I started working. If violin was my only hobby, I could probably manage to play every day. But, as I’m sure you know, I have other hobbies/things that I do: knitting and crocheting, studying Russian, writing. Violin can be hard to squeeze in there.

Writing is my priority right now because I want to get some decent manuscripts written and edited so I can send some stuff out maybe someday appear in print. Still, it’s not really possible to write all the time. I’d get too burned out and probably need to take months off and then never get anything done. Hence, my other hobbies like doing crafts while watching Russian videos. (I made an entire afghan that way and it was awesome.)

When I played today, I worked on the Beethoven violin concerto. (I’ve embedded one of my favorite videos of it below.) That was after I worked on scales for a while, of course. Back when I was younger, I used to think once you reached a certain level, you just didn’t need to do scales anymore. That isn’t the case. It’s so not true. I’ve read blogs by professional musicians and yes, they still do scales. So, to any young musicians out there, you’d better learn to love (or at least tolerate!) your scales, because you’ll be doing them for a while.

It’s all okay, though, because eventually all that work comes together beautifully and you can play Beethoven. And Beethoven is awesome, end of story. 🙂

Party Time!

I went to a little party at a friend’s house today. She and I met in college and we’ve stayed in touch, sometimes sporadically, ever since. We both went to graduate school after finishing undergraduate, though in my case I started working and in her case, she isn’t working because she still hasn’t finished school. (She’s in a PhD program.)

Anyway, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon, not least because my friend and I are both Russian speakers. We met through Russian—I walked into Russian class on the first day of college and saw her already sitting there, so I said hi. The next day, I saw her eating breakfast by herself, so I ate with her, and we’ve been friends ever since. We speak in a weird mixture of English and Russian that no one else understands, unless they speak Russian, too. I think this might be called code-switching.

One thought I had today is how glad I am that I’m not in a PhD program. I was so dead set on doing a PhD at one point, but after hearing about it, I’m really and truly glad I didn’t go that route. My friend does like her program, so it’s not like she gave me an overly negative view of it. It’s just that school was a previous phase of my life and now that I’m a couple years out, I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad I went, too, but I’m also glad it’s over. I feel like this is the first time I’ve had such thoughts since graduating. It feels… liberating. And that, in and of itself, is also a reason to celebrate.