One Of My Not-Exactly-New-Year Resolutions

A friend told me about a new fitness facility that she went to check out last week. There were a hefty annual membership fee and a lot of amenities available for that price, and she was trying to figure out whether the benefits are worth the money.

I asked her: do you want me to tell you my opinion? I am asking you because some time ago, I resolved not to give unsolicited bits of advice and to avoid advising in general. She said – yes, and we had a productive conversation. This exchange reminded me that I wanted to write a blog post about this big change.

Previously, I complained that when I blog about something that happened to me, people start to dispense their pieces of advice and suggestions. However, if I blog about something, it does not necessarily mean that I want any pieces of advice from the audience. And then I thought that I am often guilty of the same behavior. When I read something I disagree with, I used to be fast expressing my opinion about how people should think, feel, and act.

There are still plenty of issues I am not going to be silent about. I will never let go of any expressions of discrimination, racial, gender-based, or anything. I will continue to express and defend my political views, the ideas of social justice and equality. But I am not going to tell people who they should behave, what personal choices they should make and such. I will continue to write about my life, what I am doing, what I am thinking about, and why I make these choices.
My writing may be an inspiration for some people, and that would be great. Those of my friends who look up at me, who see my life as an inspiration, do not need preaching :).

That’s one of my pandemic thinking outcomes: let people do things they want to do the way they like it to be done. “My way” is not the only way, and even not the only right way. Yea, it should not have taken so long 🙂

Spring Mood

A week ago, I could not imagine seeing the snow disappearing in earlier than three weeks. But the amazing warmth and sun did their job. Soon, I will stop being jealous of my friends posting the first spring blooms 🙂
The only thing I can post at the moment is the melting ice, but still…

I am in such a spring mood now! There were several big decisions I had to make, and although none of them materialized in actions yet, I know what I want, and I know which way to go. And I can tell that that’s really what I want to do because I smile when I think about it and because I am calm and content. I even attended a yoga class online yesterday, something I didn’t do for months :). 

The Book Is About to Go Into Print

Yesterday, I approved a cover proof of our book:). Our editor told us that it will go in production on March 8 and will be available on May 7, which is very exciting.

Also, our technical reviewer published a blog post about the NORM methodology, and it raises a lot of interest (as I can tell by the number of people hitting my GItHub repo. I know that my friends in tech follow me on LInkedIn, but still I will post the link here as well:

The Art Institute Is Open Again!

The Art Institute reopened two weeks ago, but it was only today that i got a chance to visit it.

I can’t even describe how happy I was to stroll through my most favorite rooms!

Also, I knew that there was one more new exhibit open, and I wanted to check it out.

It was a Bisa Butler exhibit. I never heard about her, and I was stunned when i entered the exhibit. The Art Institute website says:

Although Butler’s finished works are exclusively fabric, her methods remain interdisciplinary: photographs inform her compositions and figural choices, she layers fabrics as a painter might layer glazes, and she uses thread to draw, adding detail and texture.

Continue reading “The Art Institute Is Open Again!”

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake

I made this breakfast bake when Anna and her family visited last week. I rarely try something new when I have guests, but I had fate in this recipe. And I didn’t regret – everybody loved it!

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

This one our most flavorful breakfast casseroles. The mixture of apples and breakfast sausage, teamed up with a light batter and homemade maple syrup make this a winner in our household.

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake

1 or 2 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
1-1/3 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9” baking pan; set aside. In a large skillet, cook and crumble breakfast sausage until no longer pink; drain. In a medium mixing bowl, combine biscuit mix, milk, extracts, eggs and oil until blended; stir in cooked sausage. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Transfer biscuit mixture to a greased 13×9” baking dish. Evenly top with apples; sprinkle with…

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Masks During Workouts

This morning, I went to the gym for the first time in a while. I stopped going due to a number of reasons: first, the cases were up, then I was traveling, then there was too cold and/or too much snow. Then Anna and her family were visiting.   

There were quite a bit of people even at 5-30 AM, and once again, there were people without masks (masks in the gyms are mandated only in the city). Previously, I would leave the gym in such a situation, but today, since there were more masked people than unmasked, I thought that rather than they make me uncomfortable, I would make them uncomfortable 🙂 And I succeeded, at least partially. 

I saw on their Instagram that they are planning a Member’s Appreciation Day on Saturday. I do not get how in the world they came up with this idea! Prizes! Free food! Free haircuts! Free workouts from 9 AM to 3 PM!

I will stop now and will paste here the text from today’s Tribune – see below (I know that sometimes Tribune does not show the content to non-subscribers).

From Chicago Tribune:

Continue reading “Masks During Workouts”

House Repairs

It was supposed to be very cold in Palatine the week I was away (and it was!) So, I left all faucets dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing. Two weeks before that, I examined all the sinks in the house, and I thought that I fixed everything leaking.

That is, until Wednesday morning when my cleaning lady came and texted me: Hettie, you have water on the floor! Both upstairs sins are leaking. It was not the end of the world but still, very unpleasant news.

When I returned, I realized that not two, but all three of the sinks, had water under them. I shrugged and decided that I am not trying to fix things by myself anymore :).

It was Friday, and I didn’t start searching for plumbers till Monday morning. When I went to the NextDoor, I found that the plumbers I used a long time ago are still in business and have good reviews. Very soon, however, I remembered why I stopped using them. Even though they did good work, they often didn’t respond to the calls and didn’t call back. After they didn’t show up at the scheduled time, didn’t call, and didn’t respond to calls and voicemails for three hours, I decided to go with another contractor I found on the NextDoor, who responded right away.

They suggested replacing pretty much everything, and I didn’t argue because I didn’t replace pipes and faucets since I moved in (except for a couple of small repairs). It was a pricy job, but everything is finally in place now. Since there are high chances I will be moving later this year, I asked them to pick the simplest faucets, just to have them there. And I decided not to fix the cabinets.

Because I wasted time waiting for the first contractors, the new one didn’t come till late on Wednesday, and then, I had to postpone everything till the girls leave. That was the right decision because they had to turn the water off for 1.5 hours, and the total time the contractor spent in my house was about six hours. When he was finished, I asked him which was the most difficult, and he said – the one on the first floor, because everything is too close to the wall, and the place is small. Now I feel much better because if a professional had trouble with this one, no wonder it was difficult for me as well!

Lots Of Happy News

I just learned that the staff and clients of the Night Ministry are vaccinated as a part of phase 1B, and many of them have received their first dose already. The volunteer coordinator emailed us that we should expect the update soon. I hope that this means that we won’t have to wait till the end of March to resume in-person volunteering. I can’t wait to make “Mama’s soup” in the ODS:).

For the past week, I was jealously looking at my Europen friends’ Instagram posts with the first early spring flowers emerging, with the first patches of green grass and lots of sunshine.

It looks like finally, we see the end of winter here, in Illinois. It was 46F today and lots of sunshine.
On top of this happy news, the Lakefront space will be open soon, almost a year after it was closed. The playgrounds and indoor swimming are also starting to reopen.

Next week, I am planning to go to the rt Institute first time after the last closure in the fall, and also, I am going to do escorting for the first time in a while. That’s mostly because I do not tolerate the cold weather well enough to escort during the freezing temperature, not because of any restrictions.

Overall, it really feels like a new beginning:)