Here I Am In My Childhood Apartment in 1965

My greataunt used to say that we had four different heating systems in that apartment. The only one who was working at the time of my childhood was the central radiator heating, where warm water from various industrial cooling systems was recycled for heating purposes. We didn’t control when the heating is turned on or off and what was the desired temperature.

The non-functioning heating systems were two masonry heaters; one of them looked almost exactly like the one on the picture, and another one rectangular-shaped and covered with tiles.

There was a huge fireplace in the largest room, and sometimes, when my cousin had a gathering with his friends, they would start the fire in the fireplace, and everything worked as expected:). Lastly, some heating system inside the walls was using hot water running through and heating the spaces. My greataunt called it the Amos heating, but I can’t find any references for this name anywhere.

We had only cold running water. In the bathroom, we used a small gas water heater. Each time you needed warm water, you had to lift the level, start the pilot with the match. Then, you would turn the water on, and this would turn on the heating.

There was another, even smaller gas water heater in the kitchen, but it was seldom used for some reason.
Bit overall, the kitchen was a fascinating place, with many objects to explore. I remember an iron nade of cast iron and brass mortar and pestle and a non-electrical coffee percolator.

And I remember the morning sun in the kitchen window and a thin water jet running from the small brass kitchen faucet, and me standing on the large rectangular wooden stool by the kitchen sink washing my hands in the morning.

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.

Family Time

My daughter and my granddaughters are my guests for the past three days, and today my son-in-law joined them.

it’s a very busy time, with lot’s of cooking and cleaning, and it’s the most wonderful time spending time together, talking, reading books and drawing pictures, sledding and having fun the snow. these day, I do ot have to do sledding in the wee hours of the morning, when nobody can see me. I am a grandma with my granddaughter, and we can go sledding as all other people with children.

People are making sledding trains out of multiple sleds, and most of the time theey would turn upside down, but everybody would have fun anyway 🙂

Today, Anna made scones for breakfast, as she always does. This time it was a new recipe, and it was super-delicious. Also, she made them with dry lingonberries, which I brought from Finland, and that made them even better 🙂

Matter Does Not Disappear

It’s just that sometimes ot takes forever!

This Christmas season, I complained about the postal services a lot! However, mostly it was about the postcards, all my parcels had arrived surprisingly on time. But there were two parcels which I knew were shipped on time, and which didn’t arrive. 

One was my traditional Dim Reschikov calendar, which was shipped from Moscow on November 19 by International Express. Another one was a box of Christmas cookies from my friend in Germany. For both of these parcels, it took three months to arrive! 

I mean, I am delighted to receive them finally, but what was going on for three months?!

Yet Another Article

Yet another article about the post-pandemic “return to normal.” I disagree with almost everything in this article except for one statement: we should not return “back to normal” in the sense that its” normal to come to work sick and not to wear the mask, either for the reason that you do not have enough sick days, or you need money, or that it’s a way to demonstrate your loyalty to the company.

About School Closures and Openings

Last week, Anna sent me a link to one article in the Y TImes, which talked about the schools in Rhode Island: the only Democratic state where schools stayed in-person thought the whole time of the pandemic. 

I wanted to write in-depth about this article, but it is massive, and I feel that I will never have time to write about it in detail. 

I still feel that I should say something about it, especially in connection with the Chicago Public Schools situation, which just got resolved (at least we hope so!) after many weeks of the standoff. 

Here is the link to the article. It re-iterates that every day the child is not in school does some damage and that all efforts should be made to keep the schools open. On the other hand, it does not mean that kids in schools do not pose any risk, and most of the article is dedicated to how the damage can be mitigated. No sugarcoating, very balanced, and very thoughtful analysis. And a must-read for those who what to understand the situation with in-person learning

Chicago Under The Weather :)

Seriously, why it is that with the same or less snow and with the same or less cold, the resulting conditions in Chicago are so much different from Helsinki? Why nobody declares the state of emergency in Finland, as our governor just declared in Illinois?

I had to come to the city today, because I could not do it on any other day of this week…

Continue reading “Chicago Under The Weather :)”

Work- Life Balance, And What’s Not

Last week, our CTO asked the tech leadership team to estimate the percentage of all work time we spend on the following categories: the actual management, routine work and processes, and project work. 

I was in Helsinki at that moment, and since I had some extra time< and Boris was there, I decided to approach this task creatively. 

We had different views on what should be considered the project work and whatnot, but in the end, I decided to count as project work only the code writing and coming up with ideas on how to do certain things. I classified all the project planning, discussions with businesses, etc. as management. 

To calculate the percentage of each activity, I needed to calculate the number of hours I spent on each of them. Since I had time, I didn’t just estimate, but I looked at the three previous weeks and calculated the average numbers. 

It turned out that I work 55 hours a week, and I could not believe that number when I saw it. I always thought that if I worked during the after-hours, that’s because I spent some time during the workday for some non-work things. No wonder I felt so tired in the past weeks, and no wonder I felt that I need some vacation, And no wonder I did pretty much nothing in Helsinki. 

All of the above might explain my reaction to the “Laziness Does Not Exist” book. These past three weeks were the weeks when we finished working on the book, and immediately all the extra time I had was taken by work, and that was not right. A side note: when I calculated the total number of hours I work, I included the “natural time waste,” which totals to about an hour a day: sort intervals between meeting, coffee, and bathroom breaks, stretches, and other small distractions. They are essential for your normal functioning, and thereby should not be subtracted from the work time. 

It’s not that I never knew all that. I knew, and I was encouraging other people to not overwork. But for some reason, I always thought that “this does not apply to me.” Because I am passionate about my work, because this is not hard for me, because I am a superhuman, and for whatever other reasons. 

I am trying to change it now, and I realized that I need to advocate for myself the same way I advocate for others.