Lollapalooza In The City

When Anna and the girls made plans to come to Chicago today, Anna nor I realized that it would be the last day of Lollapalooza!

We survived, though it was not easy; the most challenging moment for us was getting to the Art Institute because we had to navigate through the crowd with very different intentions 🙂

Jesus Christ Superstar

I could never imagine that any Broadway in Chicago show could be a disappointment, yet it happened! It seemed, however, that Boris and I were the only two people in the audience who were disappointed. I checked several reviews – all of them are very positive. Only two of them mentioned imperfect sound mix, which made it difficult to understand the lyrics. In fact, it was so bad, that if I won’t know most of the lyrics by heart, it would be impossible. I do not want to go into details of what was bad, but I think that pretty much everything didn’t sound it’s best. Maybe, it was just that performance, because I hate to be in a disappointed minority :).

Sunday Morning

Biking to the Windmill sculpture
So what was the reason we bought this tray?…
Flowers From the Farmer’s Market

Boris arrived on Friday, so there is a lot of life going on, and so far, we have done most of the things we planned to do in these first two days. And we have another week ahead of us!

MAC Hosting

As I mentioned earlier, recently, I was re-certified to be a host for MAC (Midwest Access Coalition) and started to host clients. Now, this activity is quickly starting to dominate in all my voluntieeering. I am shocked by how many people come from different states and the number of challenges they face.

Even when MAC helps with hosting, driving to and from, bus tickets, you name it; there are still mounting challenges! Some can’t find a daycare for a child. The bus is late, broken, or canceled. Some people are hosting non-stop, back-to-back. It’s insane. And that’s just the beginning!

For the past several days, I was saying to myself that it’s a new underground railroad, and today I saw that Mayor Lori said something similar: “I’m really thinking a lot about the fugitive slave laws that were passed earlier in our country’s history. We can’t go back to those times” 

Speaking about Mayor Lori, she signed an executive order protecting people coming out of state to have an abortion in Illinois and also protecting the abortion providers. Details are here

I hope that it will always remain the case in Illinois

Sanatorium, part 2

It has been several months since my last historical post. I published the last one on March 13, and it was in the making for a while. After that, the war took over, and somehow I could not return to the stories of my childhood, although I made several attempts during these months.
Here is another attempt.


I stayed in the sanatorium for at least two months, and I do not recall missing mom too much. Actually, I do not recall missing her when I was at dacha either. Later she told me how she was looking for excuses to visit me more often (the “parents’ days” were once a month). I think she subconsciously tried to develop in me an unhealthy attachment to her. When I was much older and stayed at the “pioneer camps,” I missed her and dreamed about the day the camp would be over.

However, in the summer of 1969, it was not the case yet. I was happy to see her when she visited, but I was not crying when she left.

On parents’ day, we had a concert for which we rehearsed for weeks.

I believe we danse and sang “Vo pole berioza stoyala…”. I am the one on the left.
Reciting a poem
Continue reading “Sanatorium, part 2”

Privileges And What Is Not

Thinking about myself in the times of the Soviet Union and how I felt in other “socialist republics,” and thinking about the cries of “discrimination against the Russian language,” whether it is in Ukraine, Estonia, or another independent country, I feel like what some people call “discrimination,” is, in fact, taking their previous privileges away. 

I think it is true in many different settings. 

In the same way, men often do not believe women are discriminated against because they consider their entitlement a norm. When their privileges are taken away, they consider it a deprivation of their rights. And in the same way, some white people believe they are placed in a disadvantaged position only because their white privileges are taken away.

I am shocked that so many people do not realize the level of police profiling and do not see any problem with it on the basis that “Black really commit more crimes!” From the moment when the Highland Shooting happened, I knew it would draw public attention primarily because both the suspect and the victims were white. After all, there were a couple of shootings on the South Side the same weekend, which went virtually unnoticed because “there are always shootings on the South Side.”  

I do not know what will it take to change that.

The World Is Going The Wrong Way

Yesterday, Boris and I talked about the current war situation. I am so desperate that everybody (meaning – all countries) says they are standing with Ukraine and for Ukraine, and at the same time, barely doing anything. All this is multiplied by the natural gas situation and calls for “peace first.” And I was so mad about these statements from Russian officials about the Odesa port: yes, that was us, and we are going to continue. And yes, we are committed to the grain agreements, but we will still shell the port and fire at the ships and the warehouses, and we do not care a bit about the UN Secretary and anybody else.

We talked about why it all happens and whether the gas dependency is the only reason. Boris said that yes, but also, there are other things which we do not see and the politicians can’t talk about, like there is a constant string pulling by the spies on both sides. He mentioned a couple of episodes from the Soviet Union times spy wars, which he knew from his father. The moral of these stories is that there are likely other reasons why the Western countries are not pushing hard enough.

And back to the gas supply. Just to think that Russia receives at least the same amount of money for gas from the Western countries as these countries use to support Ukraine… I can’t wrap my head around this, and when I think about it, I feel helpless and hopeless.
Every morning, I wake up with the hope that a miracle happened, and every day, I repeat the words of one of my Ukrainian friends: this day will come, just not as soon as both you and I would like it to come…

The Judgement at Nuremberg Movie

This summer, the Siskel Center is running the Judy Garland centennial retrospective, and this week, they ran The Judgement at Nuremberg. I know that “everybody saw it,” but it was not screened in the Soviet Union and somehow never ended up on my “must-see” list. I knew this movie existed, but the list of the movies I never saw is too long:).

So yesterday, I spent three hours in the middle of the warm and sunny July Saturday in the dark theater and was so impressed by the movie that it took me some time to start putting my impressions in words.

The movie appears to be highly timely these days, and the parallels with the Russian invasion of Ukraine are more than apparent.

Continue reading “The Judgement at Nuremberg Movie”

House Painting

I just finished the second round of painting in my house (well, not “I” , but the painters). I did not have the money or time to repaint the whole apartment when I was moving in; there were too many expenses. But I knew that eventually, I wanted all the avant-garde colors to be gone.

Now, I am one step closer to that goal: the only room not repainted yet is the kitchen, just because I didn’t quite figure out yet what color I wanted there. But the hallway and both bathrooms got a new look. I took the “before” pictures after everything was already removed from the walls and the painters marked the walls for repainting with white, so it’s not exactly “before”, but just to remind what the colors were.

Before – hallway
Before – small bathroom
Before – master bathroom
After – hallway
After – small bathroom
after – master bathroom

I love all the new colors, especially the small bathroom. Each time I walk in, I am amazed of how spacious it looks now!

On a sadder note: when mom came on Friday (my hairstylist came to do both of our hair), she said that she did not remember what were the colors of my walls before. I often do not remember the colors in my friends’ houses as well, but 1) she is in my house a least every other week, if not more often, and 2) the “before” colors were hard to ignore…

Thank You, Universe, For The Lake!

The days were hot, but I could not get any break from work neither Thursday, no Friday, and it was raining on Thursday evening. Usually, I do not go to the beach when it is getting dark, that’s Igor’s thing, but I didn’t get a chance yesterday until close to 8 PM. So I went when I could because I could not let one more summer day waisted, and there I was when the sun was almost set.

It could not be more perfect! The water was warm, the air was warm but not stuffy, and there were a lot of people on the beach. And the clouds were pink 🙂