Today Was a Good Day :)

There are two possible reasons why I am not blogging on any given day. One – I am upset/depressed/sick/unhappy. Another – I am very busy. 

Yesterday and today – it’s the second one. I am mad at some people (and at some circumstances), and I am all fired up to fix the problems other people created. 

Last week, after the surgery, I could barely see the screen, and did very little, both for my work and for our book. And today, since my gas bubble diminished significantly, I feel that my mind is sharp again. It’s funny because my visual impairment should not affect my thinking abilities, but that’s how I feel. 

I just finished a three-days worth chunk of work in three hours. I wanted to do this work at the time when nobody would interrupt me. And now I feel great and not tired a bit. 

I am mad at the people whose irresponsible behavior led to such a drastic increase in the number of cases in the country. I am less upset than I thought I would be, even though the EU banned US travelers precisely because of them. Yesterday, I felt helpless, and I thought that everything in the world is against me. I do not feel like this anymore ๐Ÿ™‚

Adding Some Missing Pictures

I was going to write a blog post about our travel to Poland in 1995, but when I started to look for the photos, I found two more, which I forgot to scan. One is from Vlad’s and Anna’s daycare from 1993 (it was taken at the same time as this picture). I hope everybody can recognize Anna and Vlad in the first row. A boy sitting between them, Dima Golyak, was from a “socially unstable family,” and I remember the teachers were constantly worrying about him. If I remember correctly, both teachers were Tanias. They were great with kids, kind, caring, and usually added a lot of common sense to rediculous rules. A girl in the red dress in the first row is a daughter of Tania, which is on the right ๐Ÿ™‚

Another one is Igor’s school picture of most likely 1994. Because of what I’ve explained about the schools for special needs kids, the classroom size was small. Most likely, two boys wear the same kind of vest because it was a part of a set of clothes given to the boarders as a state provision.

It’s so weird to see that the kids are not smiling on these pictures, but that was a norm at that time.

The last picture I missed is another Vlad’s and Anna’s daycare picture from fall 1994:

I like it a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

Analyzing Quarantine Shopping

I threw away a couple of items from my fridge, which I bought in mid-March, just before the lockdown. I was trying very hard not to get into apocalyptic shopping, considering I’ve been through the winter of 91-92. 

I was not afraid that there would be nothing to eat. However, I was a little bit afraid that some specialty stuff might disappear from the shelves because the stores will be trying to satisfy a demand for basic products, which for several days looked like it is going to happen. 

Undoubltfully I bought something extra during that time. Most of the products were consumed in the course of the next two-three months. Some non-perishable is still sitting in my pantry and will be eventually consumed. Some are the items I occasionally buy, for “just in case” situations, like canned chicken soup to be there on a day when I would get sick. By the way, did anybody notice that when we are in isolation, we are not getting sick whatsoever, even with a common cold?! I think it proves that when we are getting sick in the time of normality, it’s not because somebody was dressed not according to the weather, but because somebody got a virus. 

Back to the aftermath of the pre-lockdown shopping. Another category of that extra stuff was due to brand substitution. I get most of my household supplies from Amazon Subscribe and Save. And in late March, lots of these items were back-ordered. Although I could easily wait for a couple of weeks, I had that thought of “oh, and if they will never restock?!” I ended up purchasing brands that I didn’t really like, but they were available, and then my regular brands would reappear and would be delivered. I am just finished with the dishwasher pods of the wrong brand, and it’s the end of June! And I am still not through with the wrong-brand napkins! 

And I didn’t escape a curse of buying extra hand soap! I do not use much of regularly, and most often, purchase perfumed ones from Yves Rocher. But when everybody is buying … Guilty of one refill jar and a pack of four regular-size/regular-flavor. And I hope that that’s it, and my shopping will remain normal ๐Ÿ™‚

Escorting During Pandemic

Today, I went to the clinic escort for the second time after our activities were resumed.

Look at our cool new masks!

Now, we do not throw our vests back to the common pile; we take our vests home and bring them back for the next shift. I like it, because now I always have my XS size, and do not need to search for it in the bag! We can’t share food anymore, and we can’t take food from our supporters, but that’s OK.

Since we are in the Pride Week (although events are canceled), there were people in the Pride gear biking on the streets, and they were cheering us. Also, there was one funny episode. A couple passed by, looking attentively at us, antis, the doors of the clinic, and the folding sign, which is explaining the bubble zone. And then the man said: I get it now!ย Youย are the good guys! We cheered: you got it right!ย 

Most of the antis do not wear masks. Our shift leader asked the lady in the middle: I heard you said that your mother has cancer, and you are visiting her. Yet, you do not wear a mask… For which she replied: Oh, she does not wear a mask either! 

What can I say?!

Any Time Fitness reopening

A part of Phase 4 in Illinois is the reopening of indoor gyms. There are some restrictions, of course, and even more so in the city. So I was wondering how ATF will reopen. Turned out, they – just reopened. And I am not sure what to make out of it. No extra flyers or anything. There was almost nobody there; I saw just two people working out. And it’s not like the time was wrong, especially since everybody is working from home.


I am not sure how I feel about not wearing a mask indoor, even when there is nobody around.
Tomorrow, I will see how things are in the city!

Eyes Progress

I should have said, “one eye progress.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, now I can see that the level od the fluid is going down. Last night, I re-read all the information about that surgery, which I read before, and I realized that I saw it all, I just didn’t understand what they meant. They talked a lot about “a gas bubble, ” but I didn’t understand what it means. I could not imagine that it was like having this ish tank in your eye :). And I imagined a very different picture when they would say, “your vision will be blurry at first, but it will go away in several days.”

Now I understand that I won’t be able to drive or bike until this bubble would go away entirely because while even a part of it is there, I still have blind spots. 

It’s hard to say, with what speed it will progress, but I hope it will be gone within a week. 

As for the travel ban, the only thing we can do is wait and see. Boris still does not believe me about “next year,” he still thinks that the ban is political and that something will happen by August. As of today, there are only these many hours-long connections in London, which I do not want him to experience. Especially when Finland is effectively virus-free. So no changes in the observable future. 

Illinois Entering Phase 4

Tomorrow, Illinois is entering Phase 4 of its recovery plan. I am not sure whether the video I am posting here, will stay long enough, but I am going to give it a try.

Here

It’s a long video, but I wanted to post the whole thing because there are lots of important things in it. The most important message is very simple: although we’ve made lots of progress, the virus is still there, and there is still no vaccine. I really hope that people will behave responsibly.

Public health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike had strong words for people who refuse to wear a face covering in public. She said it is “a game of Russian roulette.” She even pronounced Russkaya ruletks in Russian!

I am hopeful. I am glad the State of Illinois has such good leadership. I hope that people will behave responsibly. This morning on WBEZ, I heard a discussion about students returning to colleges in the fall. Hopes are that there will be positive peer pressure because you can’t really police students on campus. And that’s my hope as well. During the current health crisis, the younger generation appeared to be more responsible than the older one, on average, of course. We shall see. I will be posting about our reopening, and about the health situation in the state.

The Story Of My Ph.D.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t go to the postgraduate school for my Ph.D. First, I could not afford to go for several years on the postgrad stipend instead of salary, and second, it wasn’t easy to get in. I do not even remember whether it was Boris or I who first came up with the idea that I should go for a Ph.D., in some sense, both wanted it to happen.  

I registered with the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics and became “an aspirant.” For the benefit of the Russian-speakers, the Russian word aspirant means “a postgraduate student,” and a Russian word “soiskatel” means “an aspirant.” Super-confusing, I know ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I became an aspirant, and then my timeline was entirely up to me. I didn’t have to attend any classes, except for if I felt I need it to pass the qualification exams. I had to pass four of them: English, Philosophy, Speciality One (which was Computer Science for me), and Speciality Two (which was Data Management).

I registered in 1989, and the only exam I passed before Vlad and Anna were born was English. For our English exam, we had to “submit thousands.” If you do not know what it is about, you will never guess. We had to take any book, or books, or journal articles related to our specialty, computer science, in my case. There was an official estimate of how many characters are there on each page, and we had to be ready with something like fifty pages. The examiner could open the book on any page and ask us to read a paragraph and to translate it. Also, we had to prepare several newspaper pages, and they had to be actual US or British newspapers, not Moscow News. Only the Communist Party newspapers were available, so in my case, usually, it would be “The Morning Star.”

Continue reading “The Story Of My Ph.D.”

All of Today’s Negativities

First, about my eye surgery. The vision in the operated eye is non-existent; it’s as if I have an aquarium inside. I know that that’s exactly what I have in my eye :), but it looks like everybody expected it to be better. Plus, I am seriously upset with this surgeon and the whole office and the whole organization. Vlad, who took me to the post-surgical today, is equally upset. We waited for him for the whole hour, and he didn’t even say that he is sorry for being late, and he barely talked to us. I am also upset that although I’ve explained to him how important it is for me to know what to expect after the surgery precisely, he didn’t give me the correct information like he said I would be able to drive right away. Now I do not trust anything of what he said, including whether I indeed needed this surgery.

I need to come for a checkup in two weeks, and then in another two weeks to see the first surgeon. I hope that my regular eye doctor will finally start coming to the office because I need to consult with her about the situation.

And on top of it – the EU is banning all the travel from the US. Now, once again, same as in March, although Boris theoretically can come, It won’t help if the planes won’t fly. And I still can’t go there because of the current restrictions.

I’ve almost talked myself into some calmness because there is nothing I can do, and because Penelope waited longer and didn’t have Facetime :).

Today’s Eyes Update

I am back home from the surgery; they said it went well, but I can’t tell until later, because I have a patch on the operated eye and will be blurry for a while in any case. Although it was local anesthesia with sedation, it feels more serious than with the cataract surgery, I am still dizzy, and I still feel like half of my head is numb. So most likely, that’s all for today, and I will post an update tomorrow after my post-surgical.