avrelia: (Figment)
Yesterday was a special day. I haven't done so much running around since... a very long time. I had adventures enough for a movie – or a miniseries – only to make a power of attorney.
So, I needed a power of attorney that will be used in Russia. I had the following options:
1) Go to Russia and make it. Too impractical and expensive to seriously.
2) Go to the Russian Consulate in NYC
3) Go to the notary public in NJ, then get an apostille
4) Go to the notary public in NY, then get an apostille.

Going to the Consulate is probably the most straightforward option, but I wanted to avoid it for two reasons: first, it is too uncertain. No idea how much time will it take, whether I'll need to come twice and so on. Second, and very meaningful in winter – Russian Consulate in NYC is in a mansion on the Upper East side. Nice looking, but with no area to keep the visitors. So one has to wait for hours outside on the street. And while NYC winters are rather mild, standing for two hours outside is something I'd rather avoid if I can.

Going to the public notary anywhere means I have to find a public notary that speaks and reads Russian, as they are not allowed to notarize anything they couldn't read. Makes total sense, but makes my options even more limited – all Russian speaking notaries are somewhere far away.
Still, I would look for a notary in NJ, if I didn't need the document as fast as possible. For some reasons, adding an apostille to a document takes two weeks in NJ – or insane amount of money.
That's why I decided to go to NYC, and try to get everything done in one day. My friend offered help of the Russian notary who works with her in Brooklyn, and I agreed to come – having figured that I would have to go to Brooklyn anyway, as it has the biggest cluster of Russian services around here.
So I dropped my son at school, left my husband home to pick him from school, and boarded the train.
Eventually I got to Brooklyn, not quite Brighton Beach, but close enough. Met with the notary, signed my power of attorney, and off to see the county clerk in downtown Brooklyn according to my plan, as she says, “by the way, I am registered in Richmond county”. Which is Staten Island. See, in order to get an apostille, the notary seal must be authenticated by a county clerk where the notary is registered... So I am off to Staten Island. The subway station I get of course, doesn't have Manhatten-bound service, so my train goes to Cony Island instead, where I change lines and eventually find myself at the South Ferry. Ferry goes every 30 min, and I have 15 minutes till the next one. I grab some food, and desperately try to calculate time and distances.
Ferry, then ran to the county clerk's offices, then back to the ferry. Managed to get the 2-30 one. Now I need one last stop to make – the department of state that should add the apostille to my papers. The problem is, they only do it until 3-30. The ferry docks in 2-55, and I literally sprint up to the William street where the Department of State is. Arrive, panting and sweating there at 2-10. No lines. Five more minutes, and I am all done!
Slowly make my way to the nearest subway and go the Penn station...
avrelia: (Default)
We were in New York last Friday – and I remembered how much I love seeing people on the streets. I mean, I enjoy living in a house, the peace and quiet, and all the fun of having a yard – front and back ones. And I don't miss an expensive tiny apartment whatsoever, but the feel of walking in New York is a nice one – away from busy touristy places, just walking and watching the people. We walked from Penn Station to NY Public Library and saw the exhibition commemorating its 100 anniversary. I am sure there was some higher sense to it, but I just enjoyed gazing upon all the fantabulous exhibits – books and things, from clay tablets with cuneiform to 15 – century manuscript book, from Mary Shelly's hair to Virginia Woolf's walking stick, from Divine Comedy to Mayakovsky. There was a lot of awesomeness. No Kindle can give such thrill as Gutenberg's Bible and the scroll of The Tale of Genji. D behaved himself all the time, looked at books and pictures and talked very loudly.

Then in was a stroll in the Bryant park, starting with obligatory riding a frog. I don't why I attached myself to this particular New York place, but it is one of my favorite places there, The Carousel, the book, the chairs, the fountain and the music, the buildings around it, the people in it – everything makes me feel good.
avrelia: (Default)
We started watching Fringe after we moved to New Jersey, during our Internet-less week and after. We are pretty slow: we have just now watched The Ability (1 - 14).

The thing is, as we watched it, we realised that we saw the actor who played the book store guy there almost ever day while we lived on Manhattan. Yep, he was our neighbour, our doors a meter apart. Heh.

Could've asked for an autograph, or, you know, just gazed adoringly. ;)

Instead of saying hello at the elevator every other day.
avrelia: (Berty)
Real in the sense I actually recognized him when I saw him on the street. We were walking to the library with D, and I saw a paper stuck to the wall, that a 30 Rock episode is filming right over there right this moment so please don't park your cars. Naturally, we went there to pass through - it wasn't really out of the way, and saw Alec Baldwin on his lunch break. Such excitement! such a profound Manhattan experience! ;)

Funnily enough, I probably passed by many celebrities in my life before - in Moscow, Vancouver, Toronto, New York. I just rarely recognize anyone. I rarely recognize my own husband on the street when I don't expect to see him. I am more likely to pay attention to a piece of paper on the wall...

that reminds me. Once I was walking with D in the Central Park, and saw a man with a certain interesting flair about him. I stared, and he stared back with the expression of someone being used to being stared at, you know? maybe I should have recognized him as well? Who knows now?
avrelia: (Azure and Gold)
Real in the sense I actually recognized him when I saw him on the street. We were walking to the library with D, and I saw a paper stuck to the wall, that a 30 Rock episode is filming right over there right this moment so please don't park your cars. Naturally, we went there to pass through - it wasn't really out of the way, and saw Alec Baldwin on his lunch break. Such excitement! such a profound Manhattan experience! ;)

Funnily enough, I probably passed by many celebrities in my life before - in Moscow, Vancouver, Toronto, New York. I just rarely recognize anyone. I rarely recognize my own husband on the street when I don't expect to see him. I am more likely to pay attention to a piece of paper on the wall...

that reminds me. Once I was walking with D in the Central Park, and saw a man with a certain interesting flair about him. I stared, and he stared back with the expression of someone being used to being stared at, you know? maybe I should have recognized him as well? Who knows now?
avrelia: (short circuit)
We have a toy room in our building complex, there are obviously lots of toys for babies to preschoolers, and at almost any time one can find there kids with parents or nannies. We go there for socializing for D, quiet reading time for me and because it is impossible to get to the swimming pool without passing it and staying there for some time. Shiny toys! Funny babies! Kids to play with!
There are two memorable moments:
1) The Christmas story we came there soon after Christmas. In the toy room there were two sisters a bit older that D – 4 and 6 I think. There were some other kids too, but the sisters took D into their play. They played pretend Christmas. “I'll be Mary, and this will be baby Jesus,” said the Oldest Sister brandishing the corn popper. “And you,” she pointed to Danny, “Will be his daddy!”
“Eh?” I thought, knowing this story well enough to wonder.
“I know!” said D, who didn't understand anything but happy to play with big girls.
“I want to be baby Jesus!” the Youngest complained.
“No.” the Oldest was firm. “This is Baby Jesus, (corn popper in a fire truck), you will be the wise man, and he will be Joseph!”
“Eh!” I thought with relief.
“I know!” said D and continued with the monologue about triangles from “Dora the Explorer”
And they proceeded to play.
The sisters' parents didn't hear all this fun, they were playing with their presents at the sofa nearby.

2) The turtle story a couple of days ago. When we came there was no one in the toy room, and I took out a book, while D picked up a small plastic turtle and showed it to me. We both agreed that it was a very cute turtle; then D moved to something else.
Then adorable twin girls came by, about two and a half years old, with their mother. One of them picked up the turtle and showed it to the mother. Mother jumped and screamed “yucky, yucky, yucky!” and made the girl to throw a turtle away. I was slightly surprised – it was a small turtle, made of regular plastic, very not disgusting to touch and look at. But you know, people have very different reactions to different animals, so whatever.
Another girl with her mother came in, about the same age as the twins. She in time found the plastic turtle and showed it to her mom, and her mom jumped and screamed “yucky, yucky, yucky!” and took the turtle as if it was a poisonous frog and hid in the corner of the room. Then, I felt weird. Was something wrong with me? Was I insensitive? I also will scream and jump if someone gives me a dead rat. Were they both afraid of plastic turtles? Or just trying to teach their daughters that turtles are yucky? Why turtles are yucky?
avrelia: (Default)
That's what I saw walking through farmers' market at the Union Square the last week. There was "meats" written on the banner, of course, but that's not what first came to my mind. And what comes to yours?

I bought the juiciest carrots and black radish, and I saw actual golden turnips - first time in North America. D and I had some delicious oatmeal cookies with hot cider, I wasted a lot of money on silly gifts and a cute hat, and then he ran around a surprisingly awesome playground. I think I like Union Square a lot, but I like Bryant Part more - it's closer and has a carousel.

anyways, gourmet (...)ats. I saw one locally grown gourmet rat lying dead and cold on our playground today. I am not afraid of rats, but on the playground they freak me out 0 dead or alive. On the other hand, I think New-York kids get inoculated with rats, them being everywhere. But we moved away to Central park where there were only squirrels and sparrows.

Then we had a lunch at the Chinese restaurant, feeling that it is an appropriate way to celebrate Christmas in New York when we don't really celebrate it. :)
avrelia: (Cabaret)
I am perpetually amazed how the view on US politics is changing depending where are you looking from.

From Russia democrats and republicans looked pretty much indistinguishable. Their differences trifle and in international relations hardly noticeable.

In Canada we got used to Canadian politics, obviously. That most of the time looked safe and boring comparing to, say, Russia, but also we could see democracy working more or less for people and not against them. Occasionally there happened soap opera events, and we were excessively diverted. US politics became understandable and exciting. Democrats started to look normal, republicans started to look kind of strange.

Now, I was amazed, how much the whole Canadian political discourse is leftier than US one. Stephen Harper from here looks kind of more liberal than Barak Obama. I am also surprised how many our acquaintances here are republicans or drawn to republicanism - all well-educated middle class people. All emigrated from former USSR as Jewish refugees in 90s or later, as professionals.

and I feel very socialist and very Canadian.

I also feel Russian, but Russian politics depresses me to no end. I cannot use words acceptable in a polite society to talk about it.


Nov. 26th, 2010 06:14 pm
avrelia: (Ship of wonders)
We survived our first US Thanksgiving. To turkeys were harmed during the celebration. Of sorts. In our quest to use the year we live on Manhattan to the fullest, we decided to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Except not really waking up before 6 am, and hanging in the 3-million crowd in order to freeze for several hours. No, D and I went to see the giant balloons laying on the ground around the Natural history museum on Wednesday evening. And the next morning slept till 10.30 am, which made the day for me a resounding success from the very beginning. We watched some parade on TV, then we walked a bit on an empty playground, then it was evening already...
the highlight of the evening was our first ever watching of Miyazaki movie – Ponyo. D was very happy and understood all the important parts. He reached the age when magical transformations are totally normal – why, he turns into a moose every day now! Or in a fox! - so fish-turned girl- made a perfect sense to him.
And today we visited the real puppet theatre! Cuz huge crowds and crazy sales are not my kind of fun (not that I don't like discounts and low prices, but the frenzy scares me).

I haven't watched "Pangs", but I don't have to - it was on a constant rerun in my head lately ;)
avrelia: (Berty)
out of nowhere we hear the sound of fireworks. Looking out of the window confirms the majestic fireworks somewhere in the Central park. Raking my head for the possible reasons for the show the very first thing that comes to mind - of course, tomorrow is November 7, the October revolution anniversary... yeah...

then the brain turns on, and I remember (1) we are in New York, NY, USA; (2) even in Moscow they don't have the fireworks on this day; (3) it would have be tomorrow anyway.

it was, by the way a part of Marathon Eve Experience. D. was mightily impressed and called for more stars long after it was over.

random morning view from our window )
avrelia: (got it)
Praying mantis in the Central Park. It is really scary huge.



Oct. 9th, 2010 05:10 pm
avrelia: (3 orisku Squee)
The date looks the awesomest of the m all. I have many cool plans for tomorrow. Unfortunately, none of them include meeting with friends, as all my friends are too far to meet...

On Thursday I went all by myself and saw Neil Gaiman. He looked well and spoke even better. The topic itself wasn't very interesting, as he was talking about his work as an editor of The Best American Comics 2010, and I don't really care about them. But still, it was nice being in a bookstore all by myself at night, without being confined to the kids' section. The panel were talking about the collection of the comics, and the work that they done, and Gaiman lamented how hard it was to choose the best of the best of the best. And then he said, "fornication", and the audience laughed crazy. Either I missed the wittiest joke, or the audience was twelve. Or both.

Book-wise, I finally finished Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- took me more than a month to get through it, and through multiple real life interruptions. I started rather lukewarm, especially since it took me so long to get into it – I am not a huge fan of bleakness or zombies, and the story had more than a fair share of both. I finished, however, with the desire to move immediately to the next book. Cherie Priest has won me over. With Briar Wilkes. Because Briar Wilkes is awesome.
avrelia: (Default)

Last Saturday at the small Czech festival in NY. A puppeteer tells a folk tale about a mean woman and a devil.
avrelia: (wonder)
or I definitely want to be that much fun as she is.

I saw her on Monday, at 92Y, promoting paperback of The Year of the Flood.

She read, she sang, she told funny stories, she and Valerie Martin who introduced her were on fire, and the audience was in love. They chatted about eating maggots and ants and saving birds and speculative fiction and dystopias and books and bees, and we all laughed in delight.

Obviously, I could have also seen her in Toronto, but I didn't.

Six months

Sep. 19th, 2010 04:33 pm
avrelia: (bridge into autumn)
What was I planning to write about? Do you know? I don't.

It's been six months since we moved out of Canada and into New York, and only six months left to explore Manhattan, since we will be looking for a cheaper place that still makes Manhattan accessible. But I also know we won't be walking to the Metropolitan Museum that much.
Canada seems further and further away with every day. Even though it stays and we are not moving. I miss it, but I hardly ever make an effort to look up the Canadian news. There might be elections there, and I wouldn't know. Well, I checked just now, in case you are wondering.
Weirdly enough, I miss shopping there. I know, it's wrong: living on Manhattan and dreaming about Loblaws, when there are so many cool shiny things there, that are not available in Canada. But I miss things that are familiar and loved, you know? For D's birthday I ran around looking for a cake. One might think it shouldn't be a problem when there is a bakery on every second corner, right? Wrong. Most of the cakes are cupcakes, or covered in thick frosting (it is supposed to be tasty, I know, but it looks like sugar with chemicals – yack) or chocolate... I found more or less what I was looking for, but I knew that Loblaws has exactly the cakes we like. And then there is the Future Bakery...
and I miss Joe's Fresh Style for kids' clothes, La Vie en Rose as my underpants' source, Winners, Dollarama, BMV, HMV stores and others that I haven't yet figured out as Canadian. We are so used for the having mostly the same stuff across the border (shopping wise) that we are lost when bumped into the difference. There are a lot of Canadian-only stores and brands! And they are awesome!
Funnily, I can easily find Russian stores in New york, but the stores that sell all things Canadian? Hardly. Maybe I should look for them, of course. :)
I miss the healthcare, especially when I hear a horror story from USA or (different type of horror) from Russia. I mean, we all know it is not perfect, but it is safe. You won't be left without help, not after you lived in Canada for three months, anyway.
I miss small things. Things I was used to, or things I did there. These days I keep replaying in my head our walks in the park, and travels to the various D's activities. The travels very mostly bothersome (two buses and long walks), but now I remember the pretty autumn, the light, the air, the leaves, the fox crossing Dundas Street. I don't remember the boredom, but I remember picking up raspberries in the park five minutes from home, duck watching, our friends that we won't see much now. I don't know what I want. It was hard in Mississauga, socially, but over the time the connections started to grow. And now,anyway, I have to do all that work again, and it is just as hard in Manhattan as in Mississauga. Besides, knowing that we will move again soon isn't helping. Everything feels so transient...
Now, to the good things. Maybe I don't connect to people that much or that fast, and maybe it is all my own fault, but I am trying to get as much of Manhattan as I can. It doesn't necessarily involve visiting all the museums (though I should go more often, but I have to consider how D will behave there), but lots of walking in different parts and neighborhoods, lots of people watching, and general staring around.
One of the best experiences was to stand on our patio deck in the dark, after the gym, and watch the sky above New York (blurry, full of planes with hardly a dozen of starts visible) and the city beneath me (it's on the 33rd floor).
I traverse Central Park every week. I don't get lost in the subway anymore. I've been to many places. I now recognize places in the movies – though it doesn't add to a movie one way or another.
There are also too many places I haven't been to yet – and I have six months to see them all. Wish me luck. :)
avrelia: (horrible)
You know, I need to re-learn to talk to people. Or learn it finally for real. Because I suck at starting conversations with people I don't know. I always has been, and maybe it is as a good time to stop sucking.

Yesterday I went to a Sony Reader Meetup, co-hosted by Sarah Wendell, of the http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php. It was pretty awesome. I've got to see actual people, talk about books and finger shiny red Sony Readers. Now I kind of want one. But they don't support Russian, and cost money, and I don't really need one. Besides, I'd rather have blue one. Still, they are nifty.
D behaved himself, but was bored. I had to use non-pedagogical means of keeping him quiet, because I just that didn't want to leave.
After that I took him upstairs to see Sony Wonder Technology Lab. It is fantastic, but D is too small to get it all. He liked all the touch-screens, we played with robots and such, but most of all he enjoyed chasing the colourful circles on the floor.

And in a subway I saw a mutant rat. Nothing to write home about. Subway mutant rats in Moscow are RED! (not)

At home D invented a game of tennis that is played with a wooden spoon and a beach ball. Wooden spoons are his favourite toys these days. They go with everything.

Re: latest LJ kerfuffle. I think they are stupid, not evil, as usual, and didn't think what they were doing. It doesn't excuse them, of course, but I hope they will clean up the mess eventually. The possibility of joining of one's virtual life in different places isn't bad by itself, for those who want it, but those who want to keep their virtual lives virtual, and separate also shouldn't depend on good will of their reading list to do it.

I keep my LJ separate from anything else, even though I am happy to connect with the same people here and there. I obviously won't be having my comments on LJ showing up anywhere else, and trust you won't as well.

I don't see myself permanently migrating anywhere, though. The community here is too important to me, but I start to ponder cross-posting with Dreamwidth more. I know many of you love it there, but it feels still kind of alien to me. BTW, if someone needs DW codes, I have some.
avrelia: (Default)
D and I visited the Metropolitan Museum yesterday. D - for the first time. He behaved relatively well - for a toddler in an art museum. I, of course, had to run after him to prevent possible damages and couldn't linger as I love.

He was impressed by:
1) knights on horses
2) Greek vases - huge!

avrelia: (indeed)
Manhattan summer: we are sitting at home, working our a/c into the grind. And swimming in the indoor pool. And D has a fever, so no actual swimming.

One day at the beach: one week of burned skin (sunscreen notwithstanding)

One barbecue with people I haven't seen before or since

Two months looking for a perfect pair of sandals. Finding it in JCPenny = feet bliss.

One trip to Long Island to see great people we probably won't see again.

One vacation: postponed indefinitely.

One lovely skirt: $10 and worn everywhere, much to surprise of P and envy of D.

One drink: need now.

I find myself waiting for autumn so I could start waiting for summer again.


avrelia: (Default)

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