And Let This Stay Here As Well

Also, I wanted to embed Putin’s address to the Russian people just so that it would sit here and be a reminder, but I didn’t come right away with any video with English subtitles, so I am leaving this link here.

One more thing I want next year to happen: I want this one to be the last Putin New Year address!!!

…and also, I want to be able to have the tag “ukraine” without the tag “war”.

Just A Day Left…

One day left of 2022… I had an extremely productive day today. Realized that I have almost nothing to do at work (sure, the work is never done, but there was nothing that had to be completed in 2022), and at the same time, a lot of community work and my personal stuff actually had to be completed in 2022, I took a half day off and focused on my todo list. I am pretty proud of the progress I made; at least, I do not feel horribly behind. I published a blog for community discussion which I promised back in October, submitted two talk proposals for spring conferences (need to sum=bmit two more), and replied to several emails.

Also, reviewed my finances, closed the month and the year, and drafted the next year’s budget – hopefully closer to reality than my last year’s was. At least, I budgeted for war-related expenses, although I hold my hope that I won’t need it for the whole of 2023.

My todo list for this long weekend is bigger than ever, and mostly it is not about the New Year celebration, but about analyzing and planning of everything: work, finances, volunteering, health, and people’s connections. I am going to look back at my last year’s plans and see whether there is anything that went as expected:)

“No plans can survive the collision with reality.” (c)

In The Shadow Of The War

I know that it’s wrong to have your phone on your nightstand and check what has happened while you are asleep the moment you wake up. It might be wrong, but that’s what I do. Before February 22, I first checked whether there was an email from Boris, and starting from February 22, it was the BBC notifications… Last morning, I almost cried when I saw the notification about yet another missile strike. And I said it out loud, although nobody could hear me: they will pay for it. We will make them pay.

As much as I liked the December 26 Time magazine issue, all the articles, and all the photos, and as much as Ukraine is in the news every day, it can’t change the fact that the situation at the front is horrific. Every morning, I wake up hoping for a miracle. And every morning, it’s another missile strike. A miracle can’t help, and I know it. And I know that anti-missile weapons won’t appear miraculously, and I know that the troops need to be trained. Still, every morning…

A Second Christmas

As we had December 26 as the “Christmas day observance,” I declare it to be two Christmas Days this year:). And on December 26, I went o Milwaukee to spend a day with Anna’s family. I brought all my presents, the presents from Igor, the bracelets my mom gave to the girls, and two giant chocolate Santas from Boris. And also, I had my skates with me, because we planned to skate together, so although it was a day trip, I took a bigger suitcase than I usually take to Helsinki.

The girls decorated this snowflake for me
And Anna supplied me with enough flavored coffee to last until the next season.

And we went skating together, although it took four attempts to find the right size for Kira, and she refused to skate at the end 🙂

And today was the final day of my Christmas marathon: I had mom and Igor over for tea, and we exchanged presents.

Two of my cookie parcels are “almost” delivered, but at least in the destination country, and the Ukrainian parcels are still god-knows-where, but all of the remaining parcels are delivered. Unfortunately, there are three unclaimed boxes that were intended for local people who ended up not coming to pick them up. I know that some people didn’t come due to the weather, but you know what -we will eat them for a change 🙂

Also, I received a parcel from Ireland today, and more postcards, and I hope that some might come before the end of the year!

Cards And Cookies Are Coming My Way

I waited until 9 PM, but nothing came with today’s mail. Most likely, our house was skipped again, and all the mail I’ve seen for the past three days in the “Informed Delivery” will arrive on Tuesday. I know that at least three more Christmas cards are there. But many arrived in time, and my fireplace looks very festive –

And I received a parcel form New Zealand, with cookies, and the best woolen socks ever, and a summery Santa!

The Joffrey’s Nutcracker

I made an almost last-minute decision to go see the Nutcracker at Joffrey Ballet this morning (and to take mom with me). That’s because it was still so cold that you could barely walk outside, and I knew mom would have to be Ubered whenever we decided to go.

Most museums closed on Thursday afternoon and didn’t reopen yet, but Joffrey ballet sent an email saying that they keep all performances and that the 25% discount still works. Also, I found incredibly cheap seat very close to the stage, and that was perfect for mom (she can’t hear the orchestra from the balcony). So I purchased tickets for the 11 AM (!!!) performance and pre-ordered Uber both ways.

It was so good, I can’t even describe it! I love this Chicago version much more than the classical version – it is better in al possible ways. Each time I see it, I love it more, and it was something special in today’s performance. I overheard somebody saying that she had tears in her eye throughout the whole first act, and I felt the same. I hope Joffrey will never return to the classical version 🙂

Since if was so cold outside, I expected it to be chilly at the Opera house and was surprised to find it warm enough to check in the coats. A lady at the coat check told me that they started heating at 3 AM to make it comfortable!

The Weather Change

The change was dramatic and sudden. My plans A, B, and C for Thursday afternoon dissolved on the spot. I think that most places closed preemptively, just in case, because, in the end, the snow on Thursday was not terrible. The windchill, though, was probably the worst I had ever experienced during my life in Chicago.

I got on the train earlier than planned. and then I didn’t leave the house for a day and a half, except to take the garbage out and boxes to the storage. On Friday, I thought that everybody’s plans were canceled, and since I know some neighbors very well, they might be up to the impromptu party – and we had it, and we had fun!

It turned out that adults like the idea of chocolate ornaments not less than children, and after I explained how to look for the chocolate ornaments, they asked how many they could take 🙂