Health Benefits Of The Move

I hopped on the Red Line train to go to my new house and just remembered one more thing that I noticed last week. When I first started to go to Rogers Park, I was pretty upset to find out that my motion sickness returned. I’ve experienced motion sickness to some degree through most of my life. As a child, I hated taking a bus because it would make me sick, and I absolutely could not stand a taxi. So my mom had to rely on trams when we had to go somewhere. It was better or worse in subsequent years, but recently (that is before the pandemic), it was more or less fine.

The most important thing for me is to do work while on public transport, and I could do it perfectly fine on Metra and during the past several years on the CTA, too. However, my new work commute will be about 35 min, and I was hoping to work on CTA. When I found I can’t, it was bad news.

And then, all of a sudden, about two weeks ago, I noticed that I could ride CTA and work, and nothing is bothering me. So I hope that this will last, especially considering that the train cars are not full these days, and I sit comfortably and work.

Some other great health-related news is that walling does not bother me at all these days, so I hope that my lifestyle change will benefit me in this aspect as well. And finally, completely unexpected, on the second or third week of packing, it stopped affecting my back. Either I got myself trained enough, or I got into the habit of always lifting stuff the right way. Or a combination of both:)

New Home

I closed on my new home today, and it was very uneventful, not at all like my first closing :). I had a final walk-through in the morning with the seller’s agent, measured all the windows again, and tried to figure out how many light bulbs I need to bring on Friday. The ceiling it pretty high in this new place, and I do not think I will be able to change any light bulb without climbing the ladder.

I will start to make this place habitable on Friday 🙂


Yesterday, the CDC lifted the mask mandate outdoors. I think it is more psychological than anything else because most people were already using their common sense to judge when they should or should not wear masks. I guess the difference is that now you can go for a walk with a friend without a mask:).

Anyway, it feels good.

Unrelated: Metra UPNW is slowly bringing conductors back on the trains. I started to see conductors walking the trains a couple of weeks ago, and today, I heard for the first time a conductor reprimanding a passenger for not wearing a mask. Starting from June, the conductors will be back in all capacities, checking the passengers’ tickets on the trains.
However, I won’t be commuting by then.

Things Are Crazy

I’ve been doing a lot, but I do not feel that anything worth describing. It’s just unbelievable how much time all these routine things take.

I was supposed to do most of the packing over the weekend, but I barely did any.

I messaged back and forth with appliance servicing companies, with painters and handymen. I purchased a washing/drying unit and a new microwave. The most difficult was to purchase all the furniture I wanted from IKEA. Nothing was available when Vlad and I tried to do it for the first time. By Sunday, quite desperate, I called their customer service and asked what I am doing wrong. It turned out that a single sofa of a model which I wanted was available in the IKEA closest to me, but since it was just one, the website won’t allow me to purchase it online:). I ended up driving to IKEA with the SKU printed and ordering it for delivery.

Unfortunately, while I was trying to resolve this sofa dilemma, other items went out of stock…
Another saga is switching the utilities. I need to do it for both my mom and myself, and even just for myself, it takes twenty minutes both to start and to stop. With mom, we are still in process. I will tell you about it later :).

I packed donation boxes for the third time; this time, there were nine boxes. Igor and Vlad both came to my place three times to sort their things and help me remove the trash.

I am closing tomorrow, and then for a week, I will need both to finish packing and make the new place in order.

Deer Grove – For The Last Time

I still hope to make one last work day with Friends of Deer Grove, but one thing for sure – today was the last time I scouted my spring area as a Weed Scout.

I took mom with me, so that she could also see the part of the forest preserve she usually does not see. I l spotted beautiful spring flowers.

And I performed my last act of service to the Forest Preseervee – pulled out a dozen of garlic mustard plants!

Also, I educated several passerbys about invasives and why we are fighting Garlic mustard, which I guess was also an act of service.

I will miss Deer Drove, and all the people with whom I volunteered there for seven years…

Our Book Is Finally A Real Thing!

The World of Data

Almost a year-long journey is over – our book is a real thing now!

I do not know what else to say, except for thanking wholeheartedly everybody who helped to make it happen. My very special thanks go to Anna who single-handedly did a proof-reading of the final version of the book.

This post won’t be shared on LinkedIn, because I already posted the book updated on Friday. I and want to write a separate thank-you post. But I also wanted to have it here, on WP.

We did it. It’s done. The book is off for it’s own journey now, and I hope that it will be eventful 🙂

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This Made My Day

I had an email exchange with the folks from my new condominium. A board member asked me whether I have children and/or pets. I replied explaining my situation, and told her that everybody will be helping me to move in. Then, she said in a supsequent email to the group: Hettie has no tiny childrem bu she has adult kids, grandkids and grand-dog.

All my today worries disappeared!

Is It Really Too Extreme?

Some time ago, a friend of mine emailed me one story about one prominent journalist being fired from the job he holds for many years based on the accusations of insensitive conversations and offensive remarks. My friend asked me whether I feel that “cancel culture” goes overboard. I told her that I would read this story more closely and tell her my opinion. 

This conversation happened a while ago, and first, I wanted to go over the details of the story she sent to me. But then I thought that the problem I want to address is not in the specific story of a specific person but rather this whole attitude of “well, I can agree with some of that, but that is way too overboard!”

Years ago, I thought the same. I thought it is OK that I have to be twice brighter as any man applying for the same job because I have to balance out the fact that I might have to take time off for a sick child. Years ago, I felt OK when men would hold the door for me or take heavy bags from me because they can carry them:). I even liked the hand-kissing thing.  

Years ago, I didn’t see anything wrong in presenting the Africans in the children’s books virtually naked and carrying spears.

The awakening moment for me was realizing that I belong to one of the “stereotyped” groups of people in the US. I know that some people are OK with that, but I never was. At my first job, when I didn’t have a car yet and could not drive, people were taking turns to drive me to work and helping me to pick up Vlad and Anna from the daycare. I realized that I hate the question, “who is picking up Russian kids today?” Why it’s important that they are Russian? Why are they not just Hettie’s kids? I hated the joke “Russians are coming!” when Yuri and I would enter the office. You might say that I was over-sensitive. Probably, but it was very difficult not to be annoyed with the “Anastasia” cartoon and to know that people indeed believe that’s who you are. 

There are tons of good books about racial and gender discrimination. Many people said it way better than I can. Still, I know that my friends want to know my very personal opinion: it’s all fine, Hettie, but what do you think?

First, I think that whatever “general population” considers “overboard, too much, too extreme” is just right. For many years, it never occurred to me to imagine how people on the receiving end feel. I never thought about whether “little black people” would like their images in my children’s books. The thought never crossed my mind. I was guilty across the board of stereotyping people by national origin, race, and gender. I think that people feel “too much” just because this way of thinking breaks their default patterns. “it’s not a big deal,” because it’s not a big deal for them.

And second, I think that people have a right to be “too sensitive.” because it is not “too sensitive,” it’s defending their dignity. I remember my Jewish friends in the Soviet Union reacting with pain on any display of antisemitism. Some people could also say: what’s a big deal? Nobody means anything bad, really! That’s just a joke! Back then, I would say the same thing: they had a right to be over-sensitive. Jews in the Soviet Union were indeed discriminated against, and their reaction at each and single case was justified. 

It is wrong to mock “too much of political correctness..” SImply wrong. Try to imagine yourself on the other side of the equation. 


When I was done with packing and donating the books, thought that the worst part of packing is over. How wrong I was!

Today, Vlad and Dylon came and took down everything from the attic! This feels like bringing down another house! I can’t imagine how ai will be able to sort it all! And when I will be able to pack the rest of the stuff… I just have no idea!

My City

The city is alive. Not exactly as pre-pandemic, but so much more than a year ago! My city is alive, and it will live, and it will rebound because this city is meant to live. 

Two pieces of news today almost made me cry. The first one was the Navy Pier reopening with the fireworks each Saturday till Memorial Day – and now I will be able to see them! The first firework will happen on May 1, and it will be dedicated to the health care workers. 

The second one is about the Arts 77 grant – $60 mln to support the local artists. That is unprecedented, and it is such a right thing to do and at the right time.

And one more thing. Do you know what I hate? I hate when people who do not live in the city, do not go to the city, and do not know what’s going on there are trying to give me pieces of advice. Out of the blue, when I mentioned that I am going to meet somebody in the city before heading home, a very well-intended co-worker said: you’d better hurry up and leave the city before it starts. I was: what starts? They are going to announce a verdict for Derek Chauvin, and if he will not be convicted… I was like: firstly, he will be most likely convicted. Second, it’s not like “something” will happen instantaneously. And this “something” is not necessarily going to be violent. 

There was a helicopter in the sky when I was walking towards the train station, that’s true. But boy, I can’t even describe how I feel about people who are still entering the city as if it is a war zone …