The Start Of The Christmas Season

On Saturday and Sunday, Boris and I removed all the fall decorations and took all my Christmas accessories out of storage. And since they were already out, I could not wait to start decorating :).
As usual, I found that some lights that worked perfectly fine last year stopped working, and I had to replace them. Fortunately, since it is the very beginning of the holiday season, it was easy to order everything I needed and get the same-day shipping

Our house is all illuminated

On Tuesday, I wnt skating for the first time this season. I think that most people didn’t quite figure out that it’s a Cristmas season already, and there were not that many people skating. And it was perfect!

Continue reading “The Start Of The Christmas Season”

No Work-Life Balance

I worked from home today because I needed to take mom to the doctor, and this time, it was a very inconvenient time, so it took almost three hours from the middle of my workday. And then, I could not switch to my non-work activities later in the evening because I wanted to finish the things I didn’t finish for work.

Especially because I took an extra day off while Boris was here, I felt like I almost forgot what I was doing before that, and I desperately wanted to catch up.

That’s the common theme for everything I am doing at work these days – I do not have enough time to do everything I want! And when I work from home, it’s an extra challenge because I can’t put a hard stop to work…

Love Where I Live!

Several things about Rogers Park which I wanted to mention.

  1. Alderwoman Maria Hadden at the Touhy homeless encampment (rapid rehousing event)

2. The Wild Onion Market co-op, where I am one of the owners, was featured on WBEZ

3. The support campaign for local businesses started yesterday; I went to the kick-off event (and took my mom there). She definitely won’t be able to accomplish the quest of collecting $150 worth of local receipts (having that only $30 of that could be spent on groceries). They gave us reusable shopping bags with a huge pile of advertising materials from the Rogers Park businesses. 


There was music, and free coffee and hot chocolate, and crepes with blueberries and chocolate.

4. And we biked both Friday and Saturday! Each time I think it will be the last biking of this season, but each time we get another gift of unseasonable warm weather. Yes, that’s not about Rogers Park, it’s about the lake 🙂

All the boats are gone until late spring

Don Carlos

For some reason, I thought we’d been to the Lyric Opera with Boris. He says it was his first time, but I still think it’s not true. Maybe I will recall it later :).

Anyway – I asked whether he would like to go to the Opera on Friday or Saturday, and he said he wanted to go to Don Carlos. Since we won’t see each other for Christmas, I decided to make a big night out of it, and it went perfectly!

I got seats in the front section of the main floor – I had never been so close to the stage at Lyric. I ordered pre-concert dinner at Florian and dessert during the intermission. The opera is almost four hours long, so I scheduled an Uber ride. But then I realized that it would be faster to take Metra and canceled it.

Everything went perfectly. The singers were extraordinary. I can’t recall any other show at Lyric when I won’t be comparing singers and deciding on “the best one.” Everybody was “the best” in that show.

And the food and the desserts – just what you need to keep yourself awake for four hours 🙂

At The Start Of The Season

We are officially in the holiday season. I am trying to book/purchase/reserve as much as possible in advance and see as many people as possible, especially those I haven’t seen for a long time.

In addition, somehow, several doctor’s appointments, both mine and mom’s, ended up in December, so I need to schedule this as well, and pretty much each and every single day in late November – December is already planned. I do not have Christmas presents for anybody, but I hope to work something out!

So far, here is what we have. Boris flew in on Sunday, and surprisingly, the same BA flight, which was so late for me, landed on time, and Boris even managed to get a cab, which is always a struggle for him:). (I didn’t want to go to the airport because the arrival was late, and I didn’t want to sit in the airport for potentially three hours).

Anna and her family are coming tomorrow. I ordered a turkey from the CSA, and this bird is nothing like anything I had before. I have lots of vegetables from both of my CSAs, and I ordered pies from Vanille. And we have plans with Boris for all the rest of the days until he leaves Sunday night.

After November 27, I have something going on every day. The highlights are my cookie-baking days, which will be December 3,4, 10, and 11. On the 10th, we have a corporate party, so it will be only a half-day cookies. I ordered a Christmas tree with delivery and installation from Gethsemani for December 9th. First time in my life, I ordered both delivery and installation, but if I want a tree as big as I had last year (and I want it!) I’d better not try bringing it up myself.

And now I am taking a deep breath and getting ready for the cooking marathon!

Here is my super-muscled turkey!

The Shostakovich’s Fifth

Yesterday, I took mom to the CSO – one of my subscription series was Sunday matinee so that I could take her. And after last week’s success with taking the L to the Atr Institute, she was excited to return to resume more cultural activities.

But that’s not about mom; it’s about the program. It was an all-Russian program, and I believe the hit of it was intended to be the “Dairy of a Madman” by Lera Auerbach. I liked the piece; however, the Shostakovich Fith Symphony was the one that impressed me the most.

Interestingly, I vividly remember when I hear it for the first time. It was in Leningrad State Philarmonic. I was fourteen or fifteen, and I even remember where approximately mom and I sat. I also remember that it was performed after the intermission and that I understood nothing about it! I remember thinking – what all these random parts could mean together?! 

After that first time, I listened to this symphony at different concerts at least three times, but it was yesterday that I felt I heard it for the first time. At first sounds, I thought: is it really the same piece?! I can’t remember it sounding like that! 

And then I listened as if for the first time, and I could not believe what I was hearing. On my way back, I even looked it up to check what critics were saying and how this symphony is usually interpreted. Because the question I had was – how it was ever allowed to be performed in the Soviet Union?! 

Yes, Shostakovich is a hooligan in most of his works (and that’s what I love about his music). But how could anybody ever believe that this piece was “glorifying the Soviet achievements?! This bitter irony, these twists of the “heroic” themes, such a distinct picture of violence which follows “the hero” – how could it be possible that nobody noticed it?! Or is it that those who noticed were silent? When I asked Boris just this: how this piece was allowed to be performed in the Soviet Union, Boris told me that once he was present at the musical lecture at the Composers’ association, and the lecturer told them that “there is a lot of mystery in this piece.” Well… 🙂