Category Archives: Holidays

Belated Snowfall

A late January snowfall in Moscow

There’s a chance that Moscow people will enjoy some proper winter weather soon. The first sign is the snow which is well overdue but is nonetheless welcome. I may try to be funny and say that Britain with the Brexit has waved goodbye to Europe and various European organisations, like PAEC, by sending a heatwave that saw the warmest December and January in all Russian history. But no, things are getting back to normal here, while we’re yet to see what lies ahead for Great Britain.

Five Habits I Wish I Had Not Lost

green-red-blue-patent-leather-high-heeled-shoes
One of my favourite pairs of shoes

Over the years I’ve waved goodbye to a few habits that I now wish I hadn’t lost. I cannot say the loss causes too much pain; however, it’d be better if I could regain the skills and renew the routines. So, as I’m sharing my trouble with you, will you please also let me know if you ever had a similar problem and what you did.

1.Wearing high-heels

I became very wary about heels after I’d hurt my ankle in 2008. Then in 2010 I worked in direct sales, we had to walk fast, so high-heels were not fit for purpose. I resumed wearing heels between late 2010 and 2013, but then I changed jobs. I started teaching, and in all four years of my working for a local community centre I had to walk and run once again, and flat footwear was best. I do love high-heels, and I’d love to get back into habit of wearing them regularly, but I’ve also got used to moving fast or philandering lazily, and 8cm heels are just no good for that.

2.Keeping abreast of all things social

Can you believe I used to be an SMM manager for nearly 4 years? Or that I used to run a very socmed friendly blog and, generally, was very active on many social channels? Some of them, like Klout, have since stopped existing; I still have accounts with others, but I’m not quite active there at all. I’m getting reaccustomed to the pleasure of sharing things on Reddit, Pinterest and Facebook, as much as reading up on SocMed trends. However, as my interests have firmly shifted to my own literary endeavours and teaching, every bit of new industry info feels like a huge overload.

3.Travelling far and wide

Whatever happened to those itchy feet? Admittedly, I needed some rest from my peregrinations. On the other hand, it now feels like an act of heroism to get myself out of the house and out and about. The main reason for my being sort of tied down is time: I can only go on day trips, and Russia is not England. There you can travel from Manchester to Edinburgh in 3 hours, and Scotland is almost like a different country (or so it may become after Brexit). Here in Russia you can only travel to smaller cities and towns, like Kaluga, Yaroslavl, Podolsk, Ivanovo and Tver, and, regardless of certain differences, it’s the same Central Russia as most people know it. It will take you 5 hours to get to St. Petersburg by train, and if you wish to travel to Kazan, Novgorod, Arkhangelsk, Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok, it’ll take you even more. I read and view travelogs, but it’s not the same as going somewhere.

4.Cooking at home

This is a difficult one. Living in Russia was not good for my kitchen abilities because my granny and especially my mother both used to be great cooks. A small kitchen space didn’t help, either. I started cooking in England where I could have the whole kitchen to myself. Back in Moscow, I only cook now and again, and I do wish I could do it more often. Each time I gaze at the mouth-watering food photos on Pinterest I wish I could bake, fry and grill every single dish. Sadly, when we were redoing the kitchen following a terrible flood, we chose not to have an oven. But perhaps I can do something about it.

5.Spending time online

I agree with those who say we need a break from the Internet. There are paper books to read, and someone like me is much better at writing on paper than using a typewriter or computer. Still, we need to be online, as life is happening there, too. There are things to which I don’t want to react, but there are others that certainly require my attention.

So, here are my 5 habits that I want to regain. What about you? Have you lost any good or useful habits? Have you regained them or decided to part with them for good? Share your story in comments!

Happy New Year 2020

Contrary to the tradition of previous years, I’ve decided to wish you a happy new year 2020 on January 1st. In the early years of my blogging I used to write longreads with resolutions on December 31st (see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), but the pace of life often stopped me from making half of them happen. So even though I continued making plans, I stopped sharing them on the blog.

Instead I’m happy to tell you about what happened in 2019. I published 3 books, 2 electronic where I’m the author, and 1 illustrated paperback where I’m the translator and literary editor. I travelled to a few interesting places and took lots of photos. I had a nomination for a literary award. My photo was published in a local newspaper. Between 2013 and 2017 I won several awards as a translator, a poet and a singer, so I have something to build upon. Altogether, these events have provided me with some ideas that I’m going to explore in 2020.

At the moment, at least 3 books have already been scheduled for 2020, so I may eventually outdo my own publishing plan. Most importantly, I’m thinking about the concept for LCJ. Since it started, it has been growing far and wide because its author is a very expansive Sagittarian. It’s become such a beautiful tree that it’d hurt me to cut off any of the branches, especially because they all serve their own purpose. So, I guess I’ve almost found the way to mould all them into a nice composition around the LCJ stem.

Last but not least, while we’re on this topic, I’m going to ask you to spread the word about this blog. It’s been going non-stop from 2006 till 2014, earned a Google Blog of Note nod, but then from 2015 till 2017 it was put in hybernating mode. I need your help in getting it up and running again. I’ve got some ideas, but the word-of-mouth still does its magick. Also, if there are topics you’d like me to write about, drop me a comment.

To get back to the date, on the first day of New Year I wish us all happiness, health, love, wellbeing and peace. The year of the Mouse always initiates a new Chinese calendar cycle, so it is a good omen for all our great beginnings.

Source: Pinterest

To the wonderful, successful, loving 2020! Cheers!

Happy Easter!

Last year I was very lucky to attend an organ recital at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It also happened to be the Orthodox Easter, and later that evening I found myself at a Presbyterian Sunday sermon. I recorded a couple of pieces, one of which you may now hear.

Magi in Arts – 1

My December has started in a very busy atmosphere of visiting Manchester. I didn’t make it to any of Christmas markets but I once again tested my ability to organise travel. I believe I am very good at it, although in future I would greatly prefer for it to be organised for me. I was lucky, nonetheless, to have come back on December 1, as very soon the storm Xavier came down on Europe, and many flights had been cancelled, trains delayed, and roofs torn off in Manchester. I didn’t experience any of it, so I have been quite fortunate.

I shall hope to make up for my absence (cats being ill, me teaching-editing-translating almost at the same time) with a regular Christmas time feature, this year focusing on the visitation from the Magi to bring the newly born Jesus the gifts. There were some posts from previous years dedicated to the same subject:

James Tissot and T.S.Eliot

Diego Velazquez

The Magi of the Vatican

Edward Burne-Jones

And this year’s first painting is The Wise Men Enter Jerusalem by William Hole.  Like many Europeans and particularly Englishmen of his time (e.g. William Holman Hunt), William Hole visited Palestine (around 1900) to study the background for a cycle of his religious paintings illustrating the life of Christ. He subsequently also painted several works on the subjects from the Old Testament.

In this painting we see the wise men enter Jerusalem on camels – a nod to a tradition, earlier depicted by James Tissot.

The picture was found here.

 

Poetry Reading: Alexander Pushkin, Confession; W. H. Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening

(Image: http://good-wallpapers.com/)

By way of celebrating the International Women’s Day, here are recordings I made in English of Alexander Pushkin’s poem, Confession, and of Wystan Hugh Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening. Confession appeared earlier in Russian, recited by Innokenty Smoktunovsky; and for meanings and themes of Auden’s poem, check out these pages: Lavanet.no, Will Green’s blog, and English Department of Southeast University (this one analyses the poem by stanzas).

Happy New Year!

By way of tradition, I’m about to wish all of us a very happy new year ahead. It’s got to be good now that we survived the End of the World frenzy, don’t you think?

My 2012 has been rich in many an experience, so in no particular order here’s what I did and learnt in the passing year:

– went on a press-tour to Ivanovo Region;
– visited Kaluga region several times;
– did a 4-month practical course in Film Making;
– did a 2-month practical course in Literary Translation (prose) with two of the best working Russian translators;
– visited Pskov Region;
– a book I translated in 2011 has been released in August 2012;
– was published, nominated, and been asked for a permission for publication as a translator;
– many photos were published in a Russian Metro newspaper;
– attended many events;
– as a journalist, helped the Artist charitable fund, founded by the Russian actors Evgeny Mironov and Maria Mironova (not related) to help elderly actors. A branch headed by Natalia Shaginyan-Needham looks after children with moving disabilities.

I cannot mention all the acquaintances I made, and I’m exceptionally grateful for having some great friends with me, including Nadya, two Svetlanas, Elena, Alexandra, Anastasia, Galina, and a few others. And my biggest gratitude goes to my parents.

Last but not least, 2012 has brought a realization that I’m a typical Mad Catter, to paraphrase Carroll. I used to have pets since I was 12, but never did I think I’d end up having 5 cats. Actually, as of October 2012 I’ve got 6 cats, the latest being just 3 months old and sleeping next to me as I’m writing the post. Cats aren’t related, they were all foundlings, and I’m glad we’ve helped them to find a home. Needless to say, this is written by a Russian Bardot in the making, as far as pets are concerned.

As to my plans for 2013, they are rather obvious: building on what I’ve done in the past two years (or even 6 years). I’ll try to keep you updated 😉

Happy New Year! С Новым Годом! (S novym godom!)

Your Julia

PS – you might know that a 20th c. Russian tradition has been to have tangerines for New Year. Hence the picture with mandarins says: “Ready for the New Year”.