Stuffed Bell Peppers

A great alternative to the stuffed peppers I’ve been making all my life!

Healthy Cooking - Hettie's Way

When I saw this recipe, I immediately remembered how many years ago I used to make stuffed peppers. We stuffed them with the mix of rice and ground beef, and I stopped making them because I stopped liking the rice.

But when I saw this recipe with quinoa, I immediately thought that I could substitute rice with buckwheat, which I am already doing in many recipes.

I made three smaller peppers with buckwheat, ground chicken and onions, and two larger green peppers with mushrooms and finely sliced bell peppers of different colors.

And I steamed them for about 30 min. And they turned to bee soooo yummy!

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Galernaya 57: My Childhood House

I do not have any pictures of the apartment I lived in for the first twenty-one years of my life. But about ten years ago, my old friend, who still lives in Saint Petersburg, went there and took several pictures outside my former house. If I wrote the family history properly from the very beginning, I would tell about this building in its portion related to the 1920s. That’s when my family first moved in there. But since I am writing in random order, this post is here:)

We lived in one of the oldest city districts. As it was very frequent in Saint-Petersburg, the house had a rectangular shape with a courtyard inside. One of the facades faced one street, and the opposite facade faced the parallel street. The other two sides were inseparably close to the houses on the right and the left.

The house we lived in was built at the beginning of the 19th century by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarengi for the Anglican mission. The Chuch wing was facing the English Embankment, and the opposite wing was facing Galernaya street. The street was named this way because of the Galley Shipyard located at its west end. The shipyard was there since the city was founded. It is still there even now, although the ships which are built there are not galleys anymore. The word galera means galley in Russian.

Here is the street view. The first one is in the direction of the shipyard, and the second – in the direction of the Alexander’s Garden:

Continue reading “Galernaya 57: My Childhood House”

Multiple Reasons To Be Upset

Over the past seven months, I was praising Metra commuters for wearing masks and keeping the distance. 

However, tonight, on my ride back home, two middle-aged guys in the car were sitting in front of each other with no masks talking and drinking beer. I didn’t realize they were mask-less until I got up to exit. When I saw it, I told them: guys, you should wear masks on the train! It’s a requirement! They ignored, and the next passenger leaving the car said something about assholes, referring to them. Again, they didn’t care, and it was really upsetting. 

Yesterday, when I talked to Mom, I found out that she forgot that I gave her Kindle for her birthday, and she even forgot what the Kindle is. Fortunately, she found it, and I took it home to copy a book she wanted to read. After work, I stopped by her place to return her Kindle and make sure she knows how to use it. We practiced several times, and she just emailed me, “thank you for your gift.” I am very tired and upset each time I talk to her, and I do not understand why. It does not take a lot to listen to her for half an hour, and I do not understand why it.

Also, it’s a lot of work at work! And I mean just urgent work, which needs to be done, I am very sorry that people need to wait for days for me to do small things, but I can’t squizz more in my days than I do now.

And a vaccine. The disorganization is above and beyond anything I saw before. With Mom being eligible, I still can’t sign her up. I know that I need to start taking her to places because otherwise, her brain will die. But now, that vaccine is so close; you do not want to expose her till she is vaccinated… 

Also, one of the very important Postgres people emailed me about our “not enough” licenses on our data sources in the postgres_air database, and I spent the rest of the evening (after mom) putting these licenses together. 

Why is it that objectively, I am on the peak of everything, but subjectively I feel really exhausted? 

Sledding

I love it:). Love sledding, always loved it. And there is a big sledding hill right by my house, We used to go there with the kids, even when me kids were young adults :). But for some reason, I can’t make myself going sledding when I am by myself, and there are parents with kids on the hill. I feel embarrassed, and I do not know why.

I was anticipating today’s snow. Since going to the office is optional, I planned ahead to work from home. And early in the morning, at 7-45, to be exact, I took my sleds from the basement, put my snow pants on and left the house form the back door:). It’s the shortest way to the sledding hill, not like I didn’t want my neighbors to see me:).

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Are They Really Afraid Of Black People?

Last week, during my zoom birthday lunch, I mentioned that there are way too many coyotes wandering around Palatine these days, and how I saw a full-grown coyote on the bike path, and he was not afraid of people. I mentioned that people are concerned that coyotes attack dogs and that I agree there are too many of them around.

Vlad suddenly said very sharply: good! If people are afraid of coyotes, they might decide that coyotes are more dangerous than black people and decide to move to the city.

I was like: Vlad, what are you talking about?! People are not afraid of blacks! Vlad: they do! They just do not say it! Look, people are saying they are afraid to get on the CTA, and if you ask them why they would be: I am afraid of people on the CTA. And if you keep pressing, it would be – they are afraid of blacks. I tried to protest, but then all of them (my kids, I mean) told me that I am an exception, and all other people who live in the burbs think differently.

I told them that I do not think I am an exception and that more of my co-workers live in the city than in the burbs. But in the next several days following this conversation, I had several encounters that proved Vlad’s point.

One of my younger co-workers reacted at the Sanders on the CTA mem on Slack and said that “he has not been on CTA since March, and is not looking forward to it”. And I chose not to ask why. Which I probably should. Then, when I talked with my neighbor, she told me about her granddaughter who will teach in the city and is going to live in the city, and she (my neighbor) thinks it’s not safe. I shook my head, and she asked: you disagree? But it’s not safe! Give it some time for things to settle down.

And the next day, there was a conversation with my other younger co-worker about renting in Chicago, with the same question: is this neighborhood safe?

I tried to answer in detail, explaining that “safe” is a rather relative term, and you should know how to operate in each neighborhood, and giving lots of examples. And do not take me wrong, I agree that young people moving to the city should do their homework and research the neighborhoods’ specifics, safety, and everything. But … I do not even know how to describe it, but sometimes I can hear that these young people were instructed by adults who know nothing about the city except that it is “unsafe.” And I hate when people come to Chicago (not now but in normal times) “just for work,” and do not know anything except for the way to their office, and never try to explore anything else. Because everything outside the Loop is “unsafe.”

Not like I can do anything with this situation. But I feel very sad and annoyed with it…

Fall 1964, And Onward

I pause after the last post about my early childhood because starting from that time, I remember my life as a sequence of events. I know that this is pretty unusual; that’s why I wanted to say it explicitly.

I remember all the episodes from the photos starting from January 1964, mostly because my mom showed me these pictures shortly after they were taken, and at that time, I remembered the actual episodes well. Later, each time I looked at these pictures, I could still keep these memories alive. So when I say “I remember,” I actually remember the white platok on the little girl’s head and a grey platok on her grandmother. I remember the snow close to my face when I fall, and mom took a picture of me. I remember another episode from spring 1964, which is not on the photos, which I referred to as “how I learned to walk,” although I most definitely walked before. I remember getting out of the stroller (I had a stroller for a very short period of time). I remember the sun getting into the courtyard and the shiny particles in the asphalt, once again close to my face :).
I remember this walk with my mom from the summer pictures.

But after I returned from Sosnovaya Polyana back to our home in the fall of 1964, I remember how my life was going, not just separate episodes. I remember life as everyday life. I remember washing my hands in the morning. For some reason, I was doing it in the kitchen, not in the washroom. I remember that I would get on the large kitchen stool to reach the small and sleek brass faucet, turn it on, and remember how the water was shiny in the morning sun peering through the giant window. Walking with my nanny on the Neva River embankment every day. Hearing my parents fighting late at night when for some reason, they thought I was asleep.

Last week, I tried to picture our huge apartment in my mind, and I realized that although we lived there for so many years, nobody ever bothered to take any pictures of the apartment itself, except for the pieces that accidentally ended up being in the pictures.

Describing it while I still remember will be the topic for my next post :).

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.

How I Feel These Days

There are too many good things happening! Unfortunately, at the same time, I have another wave of stress because-everything-is-falling-apart at work, but still.

Objectively, there are too many things going great. First and foremost, the news and politics feel surreally normal. I do not know how else to describe them. Something we dreamed about for all these long four years, and now that it happened, it feels like you are dreaming 🙂

Then my birthday, when I felt so loved by everybody, with all the gifts being so thoughtful, with all the conversations I had these days.

And then the announcement of the book and the postgres_air database! My LinkedIn account exploded! I want to check whether there are more reactions than on my Technologist of the Year announcement, but I think that’s true :).

My Belated Birthday Cake

As it turned out, Vlad and Anna were planning to deliver a specially ordered cake for me on my actual birthday. When I told Anna that I will be in the city on that day, partially because I need to pick up my inauguration day order from Vanille Chicago, they had to change their plans. Anna canceled their order in an attempt to move it to Wednesday, but by that time, they were overbooked for the inauguration day :).

After all, it was not that bad because I (with mom’s help) was more than half done with the pie. 

On Friday, when I was sitting working, my door opened, and Vlad delivered a cake. And let me tell you – it was something! It was just great; I have nothing else to add! Yes, it was huge, and it might look completely unpractical, but that was just right! I was in such need of an unpractical, fabulously looking present, and the one I would never get for myself 🙂 

A six-inch cake!