Thursday, September 29, 2005

My grandfather

Died today. I can't say it was a surprise, because he spent the last two years in hospitals. There have been many times when we were prepared for the worst, but he always recovered. He died in the hospital, suposedly because of sepsis. Last week he almost got a permission to go home, but then his fever worsened and he was kept there.

Even though we were never very close, even though he was seriously ill and death is a part of illness, I feel empty. I never really considered he could die now. Now, when we thought that the worst is over. I feel empty and sad and I never thought I would.

Anyway, I have a list of errands to do. The heart will adjust to this loss. It always does in the end.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:03 | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My mother's uncle..

...who lives abroad (in the West, where the streets are paved with gold) recently phoned her (as he does a few times every year). He let her know that (after his divorce from his Slovenian wife last year) there was a new woman in his life. My mother's uncle at 65 years of age has a much younger woman in his life. The age gap between them is so expansive she might even be called his mistress.

He called to ask my mother (and that was basically everything he wanted to know) whether she thought any the less of him now. Mother said she was in no position to judge, she was no superior authority on these matters; who is she to judge about it- to say without fault whether his behaviour and showing off with this new woman is right or wrong. She said it with an air of finality and decisiveness that left no one in doubt as to what exactly she thought about it. And though it was clear what she thought about this new acquisition of her uncle's, she didn't want to say it. She still refuses.

Reason or emotion?

posted by Nadezhda | 13:43 | 0 comments

Sunday, September 25, 2005

An exhibition of one's personality

It has been mentioned many times that writing a blog is a mark of an exhibitionist personality. However, I am not sure I'm one of them (even though I just might be in denial). I think that the reason I still keep this up (though I've thought about quitting it, because it does take up much time) is best summarized by a quote from a "fellow" blogger, Petite Anglaise.

"As for why [...]. I’m not sure I know myself. To commit certain things to memory. To flex my teeny weeny writing muscles. To romanticise my banal little life. Sometimes as a letter to a person in particular. As therapy. To exorcise guilt. I’m not sure it matters why, as long as no damage is done. "

But if it makes anyone happier - then of course you can still tell me with defiance in your voice that I am as much an exhibitionist as one can be.

posted by Nadezhda | 11:52 | 0 comments

Saturday, September 24, 2005

After the storm

I can proudly say that yesterday evening went much better than I originally thought it would. They did talk about computers (I guess it's a natural tendency for a person with such a job), but they restricted this sort of talk to minimum and I did my best to stop them before they could start a fully fledged discussion.

I talked to some of my boyfriend's work colleagues and they seemed fine, amiable, really relaxed, joking all the time, but that might be contributed (in part) to the vast amounts of tequilla being consumed. Overall, it was a pleasant evening, a much better experience than the previous one. What's interesting is that I talked more to his (male) colleagues than their girlfriends. But I've always went along better with men than women, so it wasn't a real surprise.

I'm quite happy with my new haircut. In essentials it's rather similar to what I'd had before, but it makes a more youthful impression. Straight lines do not really suit my face. Of course now I wear a ponytail, as I always do at home, regardless of the fancy new haircut I have.

I'm really looking forward to the sunny day and might do a bit of jogging later today.

posted by Nadezhda | 14:45 | 0 comments

Friday, September 23, 2005

A cocktail party

I've been invited to a sort of a party. Tomorrow I'm going to spend the evening with my boyfriend and his colleagues from work (and their girlfriends). The way they entitled this event (a cocktail party) gives me a vague idea of how it might look like. They're going to order a round of cocktails (and - I imagine - won't just stop there) and try to get as drunk as they dare to in the presence of their girlfriends. My own boyfriend has declared he isn't going to drink much, if he's going to drink anything at all. I'm unsure whether he's doing this only out of loyalty to me, the non-drinker, non-smoker. And would he behave differently were I not present?

The evening will include plenty of opportunities to fill me in on the latest technological advances in computer science. All the new gadgets, new technologies and approaches to work. All the problems they've had trying to compile (the code??) recently, all (or at least too many for me to keep count) the bugs they've managed to fix and as many possible strategies as they can think of to solve the new problem they've just noticed. Seems a busy evening. An eventful one. Loads of interesting things to discuss.

What I really admire in these people is the amount of time they can spend talking about computers, gadgets, writing the code and their jobs. Basically the things they've already discussed at job. One can never go amiss if one tries talking to them about their job - and most likely the (true) geeks (or whatever other name flatters them) are even going to feel it was a rewarding conversation. But I'm not going to give them that satisfaction. I'm not going to let them know I've sunk to that level. I have other things (I would much rather talk about) on my mind.

...which perhaps gives you the idea that my hopes of joining in on the discussion are as low as one can set them. They're pointing to the "mute at all times" area. I think I'll actually be rather flattered if anyone apart from my boyfriend notices me.

I have an appointment at the hairdresser's tomorrow (I could say it is an unlucky coincidence were it not meticulously planned) and have already decided on wearing full make up and a rather flattering (at least the most flattering there can be considering the owner's widths, shapes and sizes) pair of trousers and a lovely (in my opinion - which can be relied on only at the best of times) pullover. But I seriously doubt these steps (taken as a part of careful planning of the event) will earn me much attention or at least get me noticed. It is a truth universally acknowledged that those who seek attention (or are begging for it as I rather think will be my case) are rarely given any and are usually dismissed as show-offs. And nobody ever talks to show-offs, myself included.

I've actually seriously considered taking a book with me and hoping (as no one will pay any attention) nobody will mind my reading it. But I suppose even if I took a book with me I'd never have the guts to actually read it. I might as well try to listen to a favourite podcast of mine, Mugglecast, which might be easier to bring about unnoticed, but it would be difficult to suppress the giggles.

My best bet is to stoically bear tomorrow evening in hopes of a better future. And keep reminding myself I was the one who actually agreed to go to the party in the first place. And I should never again make the same mistake.

But - considering the fact that me and his work colleagues have about zero things in common and that I'm all too well aware of it and still going to the party - that says something. At least even if the evening is a total failure and an utterly boring event I can always say with the most erect posture I am capable of and the most self-assured voice: it was a brave attempt. And - that I did my best.

posted by Nadezhda | 01:20 | 0 comments

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Shop 'till you drop?

It's no secret that a lot of women find shopping enjoyable. Many even claim it's their most effective anti-stress programme. They go shopping for clothes, make-up or fashion accessories. While I won't deny I like shopping, it's important to note that I most enjoy shopping for stationery products. I am picky about the erasers I use and pencils. I like fountain pens and just fawn bookmarks. I was drawn to write this blog entry because of a blog I recently discovered: . I like this blog and can perhaps relate. I will only buy certain stationery products again if I liked them the first time. And it hardly needs mentioning that I like pens. I sometimes write stories and though it might seem oldfashioned I do it in pen. I would only use computer to write the final version of the story. Now - if I were on unlimited budget I think it is very likely I would buy half of Levenger. I like their bookmarks (my favourites being Book Bungees and Page Points) and I could definitely do with a slanted writing/reading surface. I find their Laplanders a wonderful invention, which I would use to work in bed. But as already mentioned I am on a limited budget and they are rather expensive.

I like Faber Castell's three-sided pencils and have only recently discovered Maped's Dust Free Eraser, which I find superior to any eraser I have used to date.

With pens my taste varies - at times I might prefer pens with a bigger diameter, then switch to the ones with a very small diameter. And finally just buy a whole stock of three-sided pens. I generally favour liquid ink roller pens except with Stabilo's fineliners which come in a variety of colours, last a long time and are rather cheap. Plus, they produce a fine (0,4 mm thick) line and dry quickly. (Really suitable for writing comments in book margins.) Which is exactly what I'd like to see in a text marker. My dream is to have a text marker which dries instantly and still produces vivid colours that don't fade away.

I've been using Parker fountain pens for quite a time now (I'm on my third one) and have recently bought a Pilot Vortex fountain pen, which has a finer tip. That's why the latter is better adjusted to drawing mind maps and the former to writing plain text.

(Just for the record - I could go on about my preferences.)

If I don't finish med school I might as well start selling stationery products. Because - just trust me - I know much more about this than the ladies behind the counter.

posted by Nadezhda | 22:33 | 0 comments

Saturday, September 17, 2005

How to be a mother if you don't have your arms?

I was slowly working my way through my pile of unread e-mail a few minutes ago and a friend sent me a short video in the e-mail attachment. The video was about a young couple that fell in love and later got married and had a child together. The normal path, right? It is, but for a one, minor detail. The mother doesn't have arms. She is without her both arms from her shoulders down. But she goes shopping, changes diapers and takes care of her son, runs a small internet based business and goes to gym. In fact it looked like she did everything by herself - everything a normal mother would do. And whether the video was a fake or not isn't really important. What's important is that if you set your heart on fire, if you really decide then almost anything can be achieved.

Many people say this is only a saying that bears no resemblance to everyday life. And in a way they're right. Because many people today are incapable of devoting themselves to one thing, to one goal so fully and absolutely. Many people today act like even the normal daily events are too much for them to handle - what with trying to achieve another goal. At least that's my view of things.

I will never be able to understand why people smoke. Why they continue to do so when they know the risks, when they know it's the kind of thing people die from. I cannot (even if I tried) understand how one can have such a reckless attitude towards one's own life. As if you're talking about a person (you don't really care about) doing something harmful to them. Whenever I mention the possibility that smoking kills to a smoker they say something that vaguely resembles: "Not me, though..." or "I don't really smoke all that much..." or "I can quit whenever I want to - it's not addiction."

But they don't quit. They continue puffing away even if only a couple cigarettes a day. And over years a couple cigarettes become many thousand cigarettes and they still don't care. They're smoking their life away. And don't care. How can someone be so reckless? What sort of a person wants to die a slow, painful and premature death? If one likes dying so much, they have all the means to end their lives early. But no - they take the stylish and longer route - they smoke it away.

Then comes - "My grandpa smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and died at 90 years of age. See - smoking doesn't really kill." No, it doesn't. Smoking doesn't always kill. But it leads to frequent pulmonary infections, emphysema, heart disease and even blindness. That's right. You can become blind from smoking. But keep on going - because none of these ( can affect you. Not you, because you're a smoker. Everything just bounces off you - you're not going to die because of smoking. At least you're not going to allow yourself to think you're dying because of smoking.

The thing is - many people say I've just got this thing about smokers and that they're my pet peeve and that's the reason I like to lash out at them. And it's not true. I, personally, don't even have a thing against smokers as people - as unique personalities and charming fellows. What really gets to me is their attitude that smoking doesn't kill. A friend's mother is dying from lung cancer as we speak - she's in the last stages and doesn't have more than a few days left. Her son stopped smoking immediately. But he never stopped before. He knew - everybody knows smoking kills - but he didn't do anything about it. Acting in this passive, reckless, almost cynical way, acting as though things don't really concern you, acting as though this talk about smoking related diseases is only the buzzing of an annoying fly to you - now THIS REALLY GETS TO ME.

How can one not care for his own well being? One eats when he's hungry, one drinks when she's thirsty, one has sex, lives in a house to keep warm, breathes, talks to other people to satisfy their social needs. One does all this to keep healthy and yet one smokes.

I suppose the reason smokers don't quit is that they can go on long enough (for years, even decades) without problems and when the health problems become a reality they've been smoking for so long it's difficult to quit. Almost impossible. But it's almost impossible to be a mother to a child if you don't have arms. And yet, some people manage it. The other problem - as I see it - is that people don't collapse everytime they light a cigarette, so before the problems arise, the habit of smoking has well sunk in. And to ditch a habit is very difficult indeed, but not impossible. If one likes life, if they like people around them, then surely they will want to continue their life and live to ripe old age. Or at least attempt to do so.

Stop smoking. Do it now. Do it for yourself. Read Ash (, read all of them and then consciously and responsibly say you can continue smoking without feeling you're harming yourself. Read on how smoking leads to blindness and say you don't mind becoming blind if you can still smoke your cigarettes. If you continue smoking and do so completely aware of the facts and can continue to do so without a reckless outlook at life, then you're a lost case and I give up.

But it doesn't mean I won't regularly and repeatedly tell you you're harming yourself. Honestly - would you jump in front of a speeding car, completely aware of the fact you might as well die? If yes, continue smoking. Please do. Or just walk on the highway. A car might hit you in no time.

posted by Nadezhda | 11:43 | 8 comments

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pair ups and uninventive writers

The human mind has a natural tendency to group things. By grouping several items the mind creates the group and its items are thus more easily remembered and recalled. I suppose this is linked with the rather common human tendency to create pairs. A man and a woman seen together will be instantly declared a couple. Especially if they're young, successful and friends. And beautiful. (People who aren't considered beautiful are rarely thought to have relationships. It's a downright stupid conclusion, but there you have it.)

One cannot be blamed if his mind jumps to such conclusions. Because we are - from the moment we enter the world of books and films - constantly fed the same formula: we get to know the hero and heroine early on and from the moment they meet we know they're going to end up having an affair; possibly even marrying and having children. And live happily ever after. We are constantly forced to make and accept such endings even though they make us puke. As romance nowadays seems to be a necessary part of almost every movie.

Take Matrix, parts 2 and 3 for example. I liked the first movie, but thought the sequels were a bit over the top. Why on Earth should Neo have a romance with Trinity? Does it make him more apt at saving the world? Is it a necessary feature for the One? Or is it just so you could take your girlfriend to watch the movie, too? For whoever's sake - he's trying to save the world and yet he cannot help himself - he shags Trinity whenever he gets the chance. Is it with the knowledge that the world he knows is coming to an end? Is his seeking love a testament of his inner extentialist fights? Does the knowledge of being the One make him very lonely and isolated and he tries to connect himself to the world through Trinity? Whatever it is - it was not explained in the film and it certainly should be, because it took up a hell lot of time, when the Wachowski brothers could be explaining some more about this strange underground world. But I must end here if I don't want to be flamed in the commentary section.

Next example is the book I'm currently reading: The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans. He has successfully reproduced almost the whole "romance" storyline in his first novel, The Horse Whisperer and has gone on to do it again in The Smoke Jumper. I'm almost halfway through the book now and Evans' fascination with the great outdoors, the mountain scenery and extensive woods is nothing short of obvious. And it's also obvious that he thinks the cowboy, the introvert and the one secretly in love should get the girl.

What's also interesting to note is that the woman in the novel, Julia, is always described as beautiful. Surely, just to be honest and realistic the writer does sometimes refer to her as being funny, witty and smart. But most of the time what really matters (the reason men notice her) is her beauty. She meets and later marries Ed, but falls in love with Ed's friend Connor even before she gets married. Now despite Julia being such a wonder woman she never musters the strength to leave Ed and be honest to himself or herself, for that matter. She just accepts Ed's marriage proposal saying that she had no idea Connor was already in love with her. (Funny, how the ones secretly in love never see these things when everybody around them, including the reader do.)

Many years later Connor has become a photographer and travels around the globe so as to avoid the painful sight of Julia and Ed's felicity in marriage. But the Fate has a most unexpected turn of tide in up her sleeve. Ed dies from a heart attack and the path to Julia's and Connor's happiness is finally in sight. Many pages are devoted to Connor's travels to the most dangerous parts of the planet to photograph world's wars and natural disasters. Of course, Connor is "reckless of a life he no longer wants and dares death to take him over and over again" (or so the author says) but really he is just competing with Ed on a more metaphorical level - he goes around the world, climbing the highest mountains, swimming the longest rivers to prove Julia what he's ready to do to get her.

And of course when they finally get together Julia instantly gets pregnant and they live happily ever after. That Julia will have (another) Connor's child is obvious from the moment the she and Ed ask Connor to be surrogate father to their child because Ed is sterile.

The plot is entirely predictable and full of emotions that are inadequately described and therefore appear faked and surreal. The characters don't really live and seem incapable of any other action than taking the obvious route their lives should take. I just wonder how this book could be a New York Times bestseller. Don't get me wrong - it's well written and sometimes funny and manages a wonderful epic view of the burning mountain forests. But otherwise and for the above stated reasons it's not worth your time.

I'll finish the book, but won't reread it. Too bad that the bestselling authors have to reproduce the same formula (in the plot) for the book to sell well.

posted by Nadezhda | 00:31 | 0 comments

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A writer's craft

I know it's terribly unsophisticated to begin an article with "I", but I find it most useful as it diminishes the need for big words and omnious tone which are instantly created were I to start this post with "It is universally acknowledged...".

So - I've always liked reading. And words. When I was little I'd force my parents to reread my favourite books many million times. And this hasn't changed. Only that nowadays I seem to do more reading than both my parents put together. I like rereading books. I don't have a personal record for "most reread book", because I simply don't keep a reading log, but I suppose if I did, Dostoevsky would come out on top with Crime and Punishment, which I've read about six times. I've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix three times, but I'm afraid this number will go up a bit as I absolutely enjoyed the book. And mind you, while the latter isn't the longest book of them all, it does amount to it's 766 pages in tiny, minuscule print. The paperback edition (bigger font) has close to 1000 pages. So having done three rereads of the aforementioned books in a little more than a year is an achievement.

Anyway - rereading. The first time I read a book I usually just pour over it. I mean - I do read, but am mainly interested in the plot. If I enjoyed the book, I usually want to reread it. And when I am most busy is naturally the best time to reread a voluminous book. Sometimes I am so inspired by a book that I keep it beside my bed and reread paragraphs of this favourite book before I go to sleep. This is perhaps the reason I know half of Pride and Prejudice by heart; and I used to know a lot of The English Patient, too. For some time now, this book has been avoiding reread and I suppose it's high time I did justice to it.

So my plan for the next few months includes: finish reading The Smoke Jumper (by Nicholas Evans) and possibly reread it. Read White Teeth by Zadie Smith (this one has been on my to-do list for ages!), reread The English Patient (by Michael Ondaatje and is perhaps my all time favourite book) and reread The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I suppose I could read Farewell to Arms, too; but then again I do need to sleep and eat as well.

P.S. I also loved The English Patient on the silver screen and I am convinced Anthony Minghella did this wonderful book justice. And if I didn't already have a boyfriend, I think Ralph Fiennes should be in some danger.

posted by Nadezhda | 13:21 | 3 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

To party or not to party?

I've never been much of a party animal. Correction: I'm an animal all right; I just don't go to parties.

I've never been able to discern what the point of going to parties is. All right - I know why people go there - to have fun, to relax. There might be several types of parties, but the two I've managed to attend in my lifetime comprised of binge drinking and wild dancing and I happen to be fond of neither.

It's true that I've taken dance classes for the most part of my life (I still do) and that dancing and articulating myself by those means isn't foreign to me. But I don't like to dance in public. I guess the reason for that is I've danced ballet for the longest time and you can easily comprehend how ill adapted ballet is - how little of that particular dancing knowledge can be used to your advantage at a party.

And secondly, I'm not a consumer of alcoholic beverages. I don't like the taste of ethanol and therefore hardly any of the "party drinks" appeal to me. I've continually been persuaded that I should try that or the other drink which doesn't taste at all of ethanol. I don't know about you, but to me very much everything tasted the same. And I have since given up drinking completely (not that I was a proud drinker anyway). Besides I really wouldn't want to wake up with a terrible hangover and be incapacitated for the whole of next day.

Then, there are further problems. Since I don't get drunk at a party and don't dance (I'd do as little as possible) I'm left with talking to people. Which proves difficult because of the fact that they're either drunk and don't make much sense or can hardly keep up with the conversation. Or the people would be dancing and wouldn't even be near me.

So I'm left with talking to myself about the wonderful time I'm having enjoying the party.

P.S. If anybody has a suggestion (on how I could spend the party without feeling it is an utter waste of time hanging there by myself) to make, please do. :)


posted by Nadezhda | 10:59 | 2 comments

Monday, September 05, 2005

To comment a comment

It's happened at last and it's worse than I thought. Michael was the first one to post a comment.

Writing a blog gives you a false sense of security. Until somebody posts a comment. Before that, however, you can write at your own leisure, about anything, even the most embarrassing moments without having a feeling you're really exposing yourself. But you are. The words are there for anybody to read.

Still, if nobody comments, you have a sense of privacy. If you don't have a counter, you're not even aware if anybody actually visits your blog, let alone reads it. I had a fantasy (sort of) that I'd be typing away, writing endlessly and nobody would read it. At least I would have a feeling nobody reads it.

So I was surprised to see a comment (so soon) and had to actually gasp for air (I was in shock) because it turned out to be a positive one. To be honest, I didn't expect comments also because I don't think one is left with much to comment. Except perhaps for "Yes, you're right" or "This blog doesn't have a point" or "You're so verbose that you leave me lost for words".

I do not think my English is better or even comparable to professional translators'. But that does not mean I didn't appreciate the praise. I hadn't blushed so much in years - that's why it was worse than I thought it'd be.


posted by Nadezhda | 13:57 | 1 comments

Sunday, September 04, 2005

On writing

I'll start with an explanation. To justify why I started writing this blog. I'm not doing this to offer any divine insight (into the inner workings of my mind) to the accidental reader. I'm doing it for myself.

I've been the one "who is too busy to do something" for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes I really was overworking myself and did not want to add to my workload. At other times being too busy was as good an excuse as any to avoid doing things I rather wouldn't. And it's been getting worse with time; especially after I started studying medicine.

I soon started to cut on sleep to have enough time to study (and I would frequently study late into the night). A few months ago, I decided it was time to stop doing things that really don't mean much to me. To stop doing them - and to use this time for studying, to use if for things that mattered. I stopped posting on various forums, I stopped reading them.

But it felt weird. It felt weird to spend only a few minutes a day on the computer, just enough to check e-mail. I'm ashamed to say it, but I felt I wanted to spend some more time online. After having read half of Wikipedia and the whole of Mugglenet, I thought I might just as well do something productive with the time I did spend online. And then it occurred to me a few days ago: a blog. I'll be a blogger once more. :)

And as always - I'm really busy at the moment (practically don't have a minute to spare) studying for two exams that I take in two weeks. If you're any little bit like me, then you never really tidy your room/flat until you have at least 5 more important things to be doing at the time. I can think of more than 5 more important things to be doing now, so the time to start a blog was perfect.

Dale Carnegie once said: "The most important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

I used to write a blog, except that "write" really isn't an appropriate word for it. I wrote about two posts, then disappointed that I wasn't quite the philosophical genius (who could debate about various existentialist questions with incomparable ease) I thought I was, I stopped. I still cannot really think about that time without suppressing a shudder. (OK, I'm exaggerating.) But the painful and obvious (to anyone who read those posts) truth is: that blog was a pile of rubbish. I tried to be sophisticated, to address life's biggest questions in a tantalizing and captivating manner without appearing snobbish. What I did manage to do was to be boring.

And as Carnegie said - I'm probably a hopeless case to be a blogger (but I can keep on trying!). I usually don't have enough time and nothing to write about. My life is not a fascinating combination of glamour, fame and wild parties. Rather it's: get up in the morning, get dressed, have breakfast and go to lectures. I come home in the afternoon and start studying. I go to sleep at midnight.

What I have learnt is, that I don't have to be (very) special to keep a blog. I can write about the way I brush teeth in the morning, it doesn't matter. I'm not doing it to be admired or talked about. I'm doing it for a boring reason: to practice my English.

English is my second language and I've been learning it since I was seven. In December 2004 I passed Cambridge Proficiency Exam in English with an A. (I'm a show off, I know!) But since then I've mainly practiced my reading skills (as all my course books are in English). I can hardly string two English words together when I'm speaking (of which this blog certainly is a living proof) and have forgotten how to spell the difficult words.

OK, really: I'm going to try and keep this blog going mainly to practice my writing skills. That's also the reason why I'm doing this in English rather than Slovenian. I'm going to (hopefully) write about things that happen to me, my University course (and exams :), books I've read, films I've seen and promise to include plenty of just random ramblings, which has also been the inspiration for the title. (I am aware of its originality, thankyouverymuch.)

That's all the justification I can do for taking up web space. It's a poor excuse and I'm exaggerating in about every second sentence, but that's the way it is. Yeah, boring... I know. :)


posted by Nadezhda | 10:29 | 1 comments

A new arrival

I'm happy to announce that Random ramblings was born today.
The baby weighs 60 kilos (is subject to change), is 167 cm high and has uncontrollable imagination, some of which she will share here - to immortalize herself and expose herself to censure of her readership.

I do not intend to make additions daily but rather when there is something (unimportant) to say.

That's all for now; more will be added in due course. :)


posted by Nadezhda | 05:20 | 4 comments