Привет, Katya’s Back

Привет, sup homeys, salut les potes – it’s me, Katya, comin’ atcha live from Moscow, the bizarre, magical world that I’ve been lucky enough to call my home for the past three months.  Now, I realize that I have severely, sickeningly neglected this blog to the point that, when I attempted to log on to my WordPress account, I was hurled obscenities and threatened with various forms of retribution, including banishment to Azkaban, public ridicule in the pillory, no ice cream for a decade, etc etc – BUT I must point out that I haven’t written not because I’ve had nothing to say, but, quite the contrary, because I’ve had too much to say; I’ve been completely, entirely distracted by the strange, glorious adventures and odd, hilarious experiences of everyday life here, and haven’t gotten a chance to catch mah golly forsaken breath to write it all down.  For that, I am deeply sorry. So here is a redemption post, which documents this past weekend spent in Saint Petersburg, and maybe now all will be forgiven and I can keep eating ice cream far from the chilly presence of pesky dementors and the stockade?? Я остаюсь с надеждой.


I should start off by explaining that, despite a maddening knee injury and an upset, wrathful IT Band, my track team and best Russian homey Masha and I decided to hit up Petersburg last weekend with the goal of running a half marathon.  Upon mentioning our plan offhandedly to my track coaches a few days before taking off, they were neither amused nor in favor of this tomfoolery (can’t imagine why) and forbid me from running (again, cannot imagine why), so I planned to simply walk/limp it, Crippled Katya style.

Anywhooo Masha and my weekend started off rather unconventionally – that’s to say, with a mildly panicked, slightly clandestine 2:09 am train ride up north to St Pete’s.  The “mild panic” was the result of the train officials almost refusing to allow me onto the train, some hullaballoo about my passport identification not being legitimate…


I simply cannot comprehend how they could deem this crumpled ghost face as an unacceptable form of i.d. Mind blowing.

So, after explaining that the international registration office has kidnapped and been holding my passport hostage for the past six weeks, and that I’m just a poor, knee-gimped gal trying to defy all odds and run a half marathon and, above all else, with the help of Masha and her boyfriend (at one desperate point, all of us, including the tiny train attendant lady sprinted as best we could with our bags and my busted knee the entire length of the train, which was unfortunately around 20007 kilometers long, to consult with the Bossman “Начальник” of the train, as the sweet little attendant shrieked all the way, “БЫСТРЕЕ БЫСТРЕЕ!!!! [faster faster!!]” at us), we ultimately persuaded the train staff and captain (I don’t think this is what you call a train’s leader??), himself, to let me on board, but only as a despicable illicit clandestine – they literally swore Masha and me to secrecy, never to tell a soul of these merciful acts.  They also warned me that I would probably never be allowed to return to Moscow with my wrinkled, phantom passport copy.  So, it was an all in all promising start.

At least things started looking up when we arrived to Saint P-burg, and it immediately started snowing on our sleepy faces, and my shoulders broke in half as I carried my duffel bag, realizing that 275 pounds of clothing is perhaps unnecessary for a weekend trip, and Masha discovered that she’d left her official race documentation in Moscow.  Oh wait…………….. But it’s cool, y’all, because anything and everything is possible in Russia, and all of our problems were soon resolved: after that silly joke with the snow, the sun popped out for the rest of the weekend, I simply grew new shoulders, and we found a copy center willing to print Masha a photoshopped race “справка” document (after we were rejected at the first couple of nerdy, “play by the rules” centers).  So, after averting a few casual catastrophes, we spent the rest of the day feasting and walking hundreds of kilometers around the beautiful city that is Santo Pedrosburg.  Of our discoveries, my personal fave is the Petersburg “Chocolate Museum,” which took us decades to locate, probably because it was literally a single tiny stand manned by one employee, offering a small array of truffles and some strange large chocolate squirrels and motorcycles…I’m not sure…I don’t….there are no words…… Sadly, I failed to take a photo of this jaw-dropping display.


Since I don’t have a pic of chocolate squirrelies n motorbikes, here is an equally spectacular photo of one of the sites seen in this snazzy city (reminds me of Notre Dame’s dome)

Race day = an early morning and a delicious breakfast of home-brewed Kasha à la Masha aka MMMMMMM.  After our power feast, we headed off to the race, which I planned to walk like a hobbling, gloopy slug and Masha planned to dash like redbull-infused lightning.  We both fulfilled these goals.  Although, my performance ended a tad prematurely, and somewhat shamefully, as, after around six or seven kilometers, what I presumed to be a stalker bike man began to tail me closely and eventually explained to me that I was in last place and that it might be a good idea to vacate the premises immediately since apparently slow pedestrian injured gals are not welcome at such events ;(  I protested at first, but then it just got too embarrassing, and I quickly shuffled away into the shadowy horizon, never to be seen or heard from again.  Imagine a single tear… rolling down down down my cheek….hehehe but NAH mane, it was no big dealio.  I don’t know the meaning of shame, so I just hung ten for awhile, found some free redbull, did some dignity-rebuilding lunges and waited for Masha to finish (which she did in approximately 2.75 seconds :D).  The one good thing about being forcibly escorted off of the race track was that everyone seeing me walk around with my race number thought that I’d finished the race SUUUUUUPER quickly, and they were all like, “AAAAHHH WOW молодец, well done, number one female runner!!!!!!!!”  My 15 minutes of fake fame.  Glorious.


Post-race galzz (МОЛОДЕЦ ЕЩЕ РАЗ, МАША))))) )

The rest of the dizzay was spent exploring the city and walking 2073 more kilometers around town, sipping hot wine like fancy ladies, exploring secret art parks, crossing sunset-lit bridges of magic and gold, and, of course, hitting up a (literally) hAwT bar where they, for some reason, enjoyed setting the bar on fire every hour or so.  I never figured out the logistical mechanics of this stunt, but I think we can rule out gasoline-dousing as a technique due to the lack of fumes.  Some mysteries go forever unsolved.  Что делать.

It goes without saying that we spent the entire night out painting the town, spending the first few drinks and delectable dessert-feasting with Pasha, our track team homey, and his wife, and then cabbing over to that pyromania bar I’ve already mentioned for some fiery festivities (heh).  Because we are insomniac warriors who require no sleep, we decided it would be a good idea to buy 5:30 am train tickets home to Москва, so we proceeded directly and seamlessly from party mode to coffee/morning/train mode.  Below is proof of our graceful, seamless transition:



And now, I must bid you all “до свидания!” as I hear some angry babushkas rapidly approaching (I think I’m sitting at an off limits table – THERE WILL BE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES IF I DON’T FLEE).  Don’t be alarmed.  But fo real, I’ve got to run, so until next time, which I very much hope will be in the near future.  Пока пока))


Identity Crisis: Wizard Born into a Muggle’s Body

Philbert McFlorence, a citizen of Oniontown, Pennsylvania, claims to have been born into the wrong body—that’s to say, that he has been born into the body of an ordinary man rather than that of a wizard, which is, tragically, the identity to which he has related since he was a young muggle boy. Immensely uncomfortable with his non-magical existence (“I’M NOT EVEN A DAMN SQUIB!”  shrieked Mr. McFlorence at a pitch that certainly defied the limits of the average muggle’s vocal range), Philbert contends that he is a “prisoner in a butterball body that betrays [him] with each impotent ‘Avada Kedavra,’ with every failed Fidelius charm.” When we asked Mr. P McFlorence why he was pointing a tiny twig at us with a trembling hand, he bellowed, “CRUCIO I’M SUCH A FAILURE CRUCIO MUDBLUD SCUM CRUCIO DON’T MOCK ME” and proceeded to aggressively poke a swirly smudge of what might have been black eyeliner on the underside of his left forearm. Whether he was itching a cancerous black mole, trying to wipe a bit of dirt off of his arm, or attempting to summon a dark wizard lord to violently murder us is, at this time, unclear, but we wish Mr. Philbert McFlo-Rida all the best and sincerely hope that his legally dubious, witch doctor muggle-to-sorcerer surgical procedure (scheduled to take place next week in Parangaricutirimicuaro, Mexico) goes “brilliantly,” as the British wizarding youth say these days.

Casey Normando


Mr. Philbert wouldn’t allow us to take a photo, so we had no choice but to paint a haunting portrait of his tormented gaze instead. Notice the vague resemblance to Mad Eye Moody


Lord Voldemort’s First Job Interview

Hi, Mr. Voldemort–great to meet you.  Now, I’ve reviewed your resume and, to be quite frank, I find you to be a highly motivated, ambitious and sociopathically charming individual.  However, I’d like to ask you a few questions before making any final decisions…


First off, what was the biggest accomplishment or failure in your past work history?

Greatest accomplishment: Splitting my soul into seven parts, thereby rendering myself an invincible and all powerful lord of the magical realm.  Greatest failure: Accidentally lodging a piece of my soul into a small, bespectacled infant and inadvertently murdering myself by trying for the 43rd time to kill that little piece of shit.

What is your greatest strength?

My immense intellect and mastery of the dark arts, my wand and my fair complexion.

And what would you say is your greatest weakness?

The fact that I existed as a face tucked underneath a stuttering man’s sweaty turban for a year.  Also, I have a high-pitched voice and sometimes when I speak, people think that I’m doing a falsetto.

Brave of you to say.  Moving on…how do you handle stress and pressure?

 Generally through torture, submitting mudbloods to my will, and mass murder.  I also enjoy the occasional dark mark prank call during which I summon the death eaters to me and make them apparate into awkward places like Toys R’ Us, aquatic exercise courses for senior citizens, and the stage during live performances of The Lion King.  It’s the simple pleasures that truly make all the difference for a troubled man’s composure.

Unique.  Describe a difficult situation and how you overcame it.

 Once, as a young orphan lad, I was rather upset with my father for having abandoned me and for being a non-magical fellow.  So I tracked him down and brutally killed him along with the rest of my remaining family.  Felt a bit cheerier and moved forward with my dark quest for power and annihilation of the world as we know it.

*Scribbling down* Takes initiative…

Wow, alright Mr. Voldemort, could you please describe to me your perfect work environment?

 A hellhole ensconced in darkness, shrouded in the most shadowy, depraved murk of my coworkers’ innermost corrupted souls, and haunted by demons of unspeakable fear and eternal madness.

What stunning thought and creativity.  Could you now describe to me your ideal boss?


Loving the bold honesty.  Welcome to Burger King, you’re hired. 

 Great, it’s been a pleasure.  AVADA KEDAVRA.

…..Lord Voldemort is no more.  King Voldemort has risen. Have it your way, Harry Potter. Have it your way.


Don’t be alarmed

Don't be alarmed

This is me with my roommate Michael (who has already made an appearance on the “About” page). Most all of our pictures are like this because New York City makes even the best of us slightly pSyChO bOyS aNd gIrLs at times. But in fact, I think me being awake at this hour after having consumed at least 47 cups of caffeine could very well be what has left me in this disturbing state where I’m posting bizarrities that should never be seen like this (sodamnsorry).

But in all seriousness, I posted this so that you could see how physically identical Michael and I are–almost twinlike in stature and physique, as blind and insane people commonly inform us.

Having noted that, I wanted to explain how, today, a magical Chinese laundry woman who works next door to our apartment “accidentally” placed a pair of quite-obviously-female blue jeans into Michael’s laundry basket. Jester that he is, Michael decided to slip those size 4 lassie-slacks on just for the heck of it. And guess what. Those female pantaloons somehow fit his manly, track-star fashionista curves like not even gullible Goyle (of the Crabbe and Goyle variety) would BELIEVE. Oh, and they fit me too. As easy a fit as a nudist’s birthday suit.

So Michael and I have embarked on our traveling sisterhood. We share a pair of pants now. What’s next…? I can only shimmy to imagine… (I’m liking the idea of shimmying in dread more than the classic shudder).