And One More Thing

One more thing I like about my new home is the view from my bedroom windows and from the sunroom. All these windows face the same street, and I can’t even explain what is so special about this view. But each time I look out of the window, I feel as if I am in a hotel in the city center of some European city:)

There are lots of noises in the late evening, but they never bother me. I am falling asleep hearing the sounds of the city night life ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicago Reopening

Chicago reopening is happening in a non-obvious way. Most of the museums and attractions are moving slowly, and often, there is no way to find out except for some random announcements.

Just five minutes ago, I found out that the Bean and the Buckingham fountain are open! And I can’t find any information about the Crown fountain. I would love to know because my granddaughters are coming on Thursday, and I was so hoping that they will be able to splash in the Crown fountain.

Most of the Museums lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people, but we might keep our masks on when going to the Aquarium because the children are not vaccinated. Honestly, I would prefer that they keep the mask requirements but open the children’s centers and cafes.

When I walk the street of the city, which I love so much, I see many places that are closed forever. I recall how in spring 2020, I wrote a post about the “wounded city.” And now I walk the streets and still see these wounds. Some of them still didn’t heal; others did, but the scars remainโ€ฆ God only knows how long it will take, but it could be worseโ€ฆ

That’s my city!
Restaurants running out of capacity

My Balcony Garden

My amazing neighbors, who helped me to plan my balcony garden, took me to the WIndy City Nursery for flower shopping. I told them that they have to stop me because I am used to a bigger patch, but they laughed and said that this is therapeutic.

This whole project lasted for two weeks. I could not start with the garden when I moved because I was busy fixing the essentials, and then it was already “late in the season.” When I tried to buy the flower baskets, it turned out that most places were sold out. I finally purchased some on Amazon for a way higher price, and then it turned out that the “adjustable” brackets were not adjustable enough to fit my railing!
I tried to shop for different brackets, and then my neighbor who helped me with the bike told me that he could give me a saw to try to cut these brackets.

I spent a half-hour cutting one, and the baskets would still be wobbly. Then he told me that I could use zip tights to secure the baskets. It turned out they work perfectly! I should not have spent time on anything else!

The flower shopping was fantastic! The Windy City is a small family-owned place, but the variety of plants is truly amazing. I could not stop ๐Ÿ™‚

Continue reading “My Balcony Garden”

A Hectic Weekend

I am very unhappy about this weekend because I feel like I accomplished nothing (in contrast to the previous weekend). Yes, I had a lot to do, and I forgot how long the planting takes, but still – I needed to do all the things I didn’t do :).

I had several things to complete for both my current work and for my side job, and I completed less than a half for each of them. So now I have this feeling of “there are not enough hours in the week,” and it does not help.

Yesterday, I spent over an hour figuring out why my function did not work and finally went to bed without any solution. Before going to bed, I emailed Boris that things don’t work, and I panic. He replied that I should get out of panic because panic is not the right place for problem-solving. 

He was right, of course, and when I woke up, I figured out the stupid mistake I made the day before. I do not know how IT people who are married to non-IT people can survive!

Saturday was Boris’s birthday. Last year we still could not travel at that time, and I baked a rhubarb tart, and he bought a rhubarb tart, and we ate them on facetime ๐Ÿ™‚

This year, Boris said he does not have time to buy a rhubarb tart and that my apple cake is better anyway. So, yes, I baked the Georgis Apple cake yesterday. I told Boris that I would not tell anybody that it was with him in mind, and it was cool with him.

I brought the Apple cake down to the courtyard and messaged all the neighbors. Not everybody was there, of course, but those who were there loved it! Some people were still thanking me today ๐Ÿ™‚

I was really happy that I had a way to say Thank you to my amazing neighbors! And I will definitely bake it again ๐Ÿ™‚

I Am Definitely In a Bubble

Last Wednesday, there was another birthday party in the courtyard – one of the girls in our building turned five, and everybody came down to celebrate. Again, there were cupcakes, and kids running around, and games, and conversations. I talked to the neighbors, telling them again how lucky I feel moving to such a welcoming community. They enthusiastically agreed, and one lady said that she feels like she lives in a bubble. I told her that that’s the word I used to describe my current situation to my friends: it feels not real, and I live in a bubble.

We laughed about it, but it’s true! I can’t say enough how grateful I am for all the neighbor’s help, pieces of advice, and for making me feel at home.

The same neighbor who called it a bubble said: you had to travel all the countries and places to find your home finally!

Half-pandemic May

Today, Chicago and the state of Illinois lifted most remaining COVID-19 mitigation-related masking and social distancing requirements and capacity limits. It isnโ€™t quite the end of an era, but it is a step forward.

But when I wrote a decent chunk of this post (on June 7), many of those limits were still in place, and Chicagoland region was caught in an interesting half-way state that had as much to do with peopleโ€™s attitudes as anything that was formally required.

Iโ€™ve been Chicagoland specifically because the United States, for better or for worse, continues to be a patchwork of restrictions, regulations and approaches. For the past 12 months, Iโ€™ve been able to sit down in coffee shops in Kenosha (Wisconsin) and Michigan City (Indiana), but not in Chicago and most suburbs. Masking has also varied โ€“ as I mentioned before, Kenoshans really didnโ€™t mask much until the fall 2020 surge in cases.

In the past two months, we saw two major developments.

In late April, CDC issued a recommendation stating that people donโ€™t have to wear masks outdoors โ€“ though it still recommended that unvaccinated people wear masks in crowded outdoor settings. Then, on May 13, it recommended allowing vaccinated people to go maskless indoors, except in public transit, government buildings, hospitals and some other congregate settings. Illinois and Chicago specifically adjusted their respective regulations accordingly โ€“ which meant, in practice, that businesses and public institutions such as libraries could continue requiring everybody to wear masks, if they so chose.

Continue reading “Half-pandemic May”

Back To ODS

On Tuesday, I was finally back to the Open Door Shelter – the first time since October. I could come in May, but we could not find the time between myself and their volunteer coordinator. We’ve rescheduled a couple of times, and finally, it happened!

I can’t even describe my feelings! It was not just “good,” it was perfect! We clicked with the residents right away, and they were not shy talking to me.

We made “Mom’s soup,” and almost magically, all things were in their right places, all the ingredients were purchased, and even the lid from the big pot was not missing! And we talked and talked, and made plans on what we will cook next time, and when we can go to the Art Institute togetherโ€ฆ I am starting to feel like a whole person ๐Ÿ™‚