No Matter What Will Happen, Do Not Give Up!

Today, I went to the clinic escort; for several weeks, the shifts were filling fast, and I didn’t even have a chance to sign up. And later, I was traveling. Having that I do not tolerate the cold well, that shift could be my last opportunity for the year.

The shift was quiet; there were just a couple of antis out, and we wrapped up by 11-30. Before we left, our team leader gathered us together in a circle and said: Please remember that whatever happens, it is not the end of the world. Do not get discouraged, no matter what the outcome will be. We will find a way to help people, underground or up in the sky; I do not know. But we will find a way to do the right thing.

I think it was so well said that I want to pass these words along: we hope for the best, but whatever will happen, don’t get discouraged.

It Happened! The Tree Is Removed!

Remember my tree story? The actual story had begun three or four years ago when I realized that this tree effectively blocks all the light for my lawn.  

Back then, our condominium association was only able to negotiate the removal of one brunch. It helped, and this summer, I didn’t have the grass crisis. And then, this story happened.   

I didn’t have to wait longer for further development: the removal started on Saturday morning. I looked out of my window and could not believe my eyes!

They worked for several hours, but now – voila!


I smuggled several dairy products and a box of lingonberries from Finland. The berries were only sold in large containers, so I could not finish all of the while I was in Helsinki. But then I remembered that when I was a young pioneer in the summer camp, we would pick lingonberries and store them in the jars or just cardboard boxes until our moms would come to visit. I remembered that nothing happened to them.

I decided to pack the rest of berries to take home, and it work perfectly fine, especially because I genuinely forgot I had them in my luggage and with all honesty told the custom control that I have no fruits or plants with me:)

Finished the box just yesterday – so good! Or, and by the way, out of all dairy which I smuggled I only ate one, the pear skyr. Anna and Nadia ate the rest :). I should smuggle more next time 🙂

My Best Girls Ever

I had the best time ever with all three girls:). Kira is a miracle child: she is so happy all the time and so calm! Not like she does not have bad days and bad nights, but in comparison, not only with Nadia but with any child, I know close enough. Also, she is very advanced both physically and emotionally for her four and a half months. She tries to stand up all the time you hold her. she tries to crawl and sit, and I think she will be mobile in some way by the time she will be six months old. Just you wait:).
She also has an unbelievable emotional response to others, which is also way too early. She meets people’s gaze; she is upset when either Nadia or Anna is upset, and she ever reacts emotionally at the conversations which are not directed to her. And if you talk to her directly, she would always respond with the broadest smile.

Nadia speaks more and more complex sentences. She loves telling stories, and she likes it when Anna tells stories, imaginable, or real. She is very thoughtful and very compassionate, polite, and considerable of other people’s needs.

And all this is most definitely because of her parents. I do not think I ever had such a level of patience, as Anna demonstrates. And I can tell that her patience with Nadia fosters all these positive traits. Many everyday tasks take longer than they could because she lets Nadia do things by herself, to decide for herself, to do them her way. She always accepts Nadia’s help even when it makes things going three times slower :). And I am sure that John does the same; I just saw less of him this time :).

I am so looking forward to seeing these girls growing and doing great things!

Visiting With My Girls

As Anna put it, we had three visits in one. Anna and the girls came Friday evening. The girls went more or less straight to bed, and Anna and I talked till midnight (which was probably not the best idea, but we didn’t have one on one conversations for a really long time).

It was then a long morning at my house, and then we went to the market and picked pre-ordered bread, croissants and vegetables. Afterward, we visited my mom, and she was very happy to hold Kira and chat with all of us. Then we traveled to John and Anna’s house in Milwaukee, and I stayed there till midday Tuesday. Unfortunately, my situation at work is such that I could not take any additional time off, but we were still happy to stay under one roof for a couple of days.

The weather was not cooperating. It became sharply colder on Saturday, and I was completely unprepared. I was glad that I took a warmer coat, but frankly, I could take even a warmer one. We still went for several walks, but it would be better if the weather would be different.
I already posted some pictures from the Havenwoods State Park, and here are some pictures from the neighborhood – the Halloween decorations there are very elaborate 🙂

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Rapid Test

Although the US government does not require to quarantine after coming back from Europe, so technically speaking, I didn’t need to get tested, I still wanted to get tested before seeing my girls. I spent some before departure researching the situation with rapid testing in Illinois. It turned out that I can’t get a rapid test “just because I need it for my personal reasons.” It was either 48 hours wait or a rapid test for a fee. Forty-eight hours didn’t work for me because the samples collected on Thursday were going to go to the lab only at the end of the day, and the result would be back by the EOD Saturday. I didn’t have symptoms, so I could not get a free rapid test, and the one-hundred dollars rapid test was the only option.

I found (or rather Vlad found) one provider in the city who is doing rapid tests on-demand and with whom I could book online. They have multiple locations, and it looked like both Chicago locations are doing rapid testing. I booked an appointment at the Streeterville location because it looked easier to reach. I could even walk there from the train station, although it was a long walk, and still have time to get to the office not to disrupt my first working day upon return.

And that’s what I did: took a very early train to the city, walked to the clinic, checked in… they took my sample and said: ok, that’s it. And I: ???? they – the results will be in two to three days… I: What about the rapid test?! They: we do not do rapid tests at this location; we do not have equipment yet. You need to go to the South Loop. I: Why did your web site allow me to register for a rapid test here?!
They said they would notify the other office, and I called Uber. The other office was on the opposite side of the city, and even though there is no real rush hour these days, eight AM is not the best travel time; Uber’s rates were doubled.

When I finally arrived at the South Loop office and check-in, they told me: our internet is down! Fortunately, after a while, they connected using somebody’s hotspot and processed my information and my payment. And they even allowed me to wait for the results, although at first, they said I couldn’t wait there. I had to take Uber to the office and was only a little bit late for my first morning meeting.

So it all ended up fine after all, but it was quite an expensive and stressful test.

Havenwoods State Park

This park is very close to Anna’s house, and on Sunday all five of us went there for a nature walk. I thought that Sunday was cold, but turned out it was way warmer than Monday :).

I am so glad we went there! It is beautiful, and it is so different from Deer Grove, although it also has some prairie, wetland and woodland. Lots of pictures 🙂

Community garden
Continue reading “Havenwoods State Park”

How To Build Local Communities

This is a professional talk, but not really technical – please attend virtually, if you are intereseted

The World of Data

That’s the name of the talk I will be giving on Wednesday. I was not sure to which extent I should advertise it – after all, it is not the technical talk. But looks like there is a lot of interest already, even without my advertising efforts. Here is a talk description:

Today, Chicago PUG is the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere, but it was not the case three years ago. It is easy to announce a new User Group, but how to keep it running and growing? Nobody expected new pandemic and the effect it will take on our lives. The Open Source communities, including Postgres community, which live and breath live discussions, were hit heavily. How did we manage? What’s next? Find out during this short presentation!

If you are interested, please register here!

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Quick Status Update

For the past two days, I stay with Anna and her family in the Milwaukee home. Since Wisconsin has a very high infection rate these days, Anna decided to drive me both ways. On Friday night, she drove to Palatine with the girls, and they spent a night at my house. In the morning, we headed to Milwaukee.

Here, I am trying to do it all: to have family time, work as actual work, and work on our book. It barely fits in, but I do not feel like I can take any days off these days.
Hence this short note here: I am alive and well, but I have no time for anything. More than even.

Early Voting Day

On October 12, my 77-old neighbor texted me: I didn’t see a ballot drop box where you said it should be. Is it inside? 

I talked to her a couple of days before that. She was hesitant to send her envelope by mail, and I told her there would be a dropoff box. My very moderate, if not conservative neighbor talked like I never head her before: I filled in the ballot. I told my husband: turn the TV off; I do not want to listen to him anymore. I tried to find some logical explanations, but enough is enough! Another neighbor chimed in: my mom said she wants to vote in person. She said we could take folding chairs and wait, no matter how many hours!

From what I was told, the first several days of early voting were indeed hours. I went to check on the situation of Friday, resolving that if the line is long, I will return home and fill in my absentee ballot. 


The line seemed OK. It took about fifteen minutes of waiting outside, and about ten minutes inside, and then voting itself. I surrender by absentee ballot to the election judge, cast my vote, and dropped the printed ballot into the box. This process with printing and then manually casting is still relatively new. 

As it often happens this year, there were no “I voted” stickers toward the end of the day, but that is fine. I am glad that so many people are voting early. 

We were writing the postcards to the Florida voters through September, and we were told not to mail them before October 21. I mailed mine immediately after I got back from Helsinki,’ but I think it was already too late :). Which honestly, I do not regret!