A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)

When I was planning my long weekend, I planned for a long bike ride on Monday morning. Then, the forecast showed rain at 6 AM. I thought I will wait, but then I thought – what if it won’t rain at six, and instead will rain at eight? What a fool I would be then! I left at 5-40, and yes, the rain started at 6-05 :), so I had to come back. But after breakfast, it was beautiful outside, and I went for the longest bike ride of this season. Actually, I do not think I ever took such a long ride all by myself. I was not even sure how the paths are going where I was planning to go :). And I had a great time!

Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (III)”

A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)

I love summer in Illinois. I am not talking about just summer in Chicago, filled with all these amazing events and activities: music festivals, parades, markets, Crown Fountain, icecream at the River Walk, and the fireworks on the Navy Pier. Chicago summer is fantastic, but I also love Illinois summer away from the city. 

I love that it is hot. Yes, I know that many people hate the Midwest summer for being hot and humid. But I love it. Maybe, that’s because, since my early childhood, hot weather was a luxury. Something we didn’t get at home. You had to travel to The South. The South was almost as appealing as “zagranitza” (see related post). 

In any case, I love it when the outside temperature is in the lower 80’s. My picture of the perfect summer is the following. It’s warm enough that I can wear shorts and a sleeveless top. I am on my deck, or rather on the wooden steps of my deck, I am barefoot, and my soles feel the warmth of the wood. The mourning doves are mourning; I hear their uuu! uuu! The sun is not setting down yet, but it starts to go down, My back is feeling the door of my kitchen. It’s never extremely hot on my deck because the sun never touches it directly. And it’s that moment when I sit there and do nothing. No audiobook in my ears. No looking at my phone. Nothing, but the sun which starts to descent, and the mourning of the doves … 

Every year, the first day I can sit like this marks the arrival of summer. This year, it was so cold for so long that I could not even believe that this day will come, even a week ago. 

And now, for the fourth day in a row, we have a perfect summer. Each day of the long weekend was a gift! 

Here are some pictures of want I was doing on Sunday.

Very foggy morning, meeting a number of deers
Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)”

A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (I)

Every year we hope that the weather will be nice on Memorial Day weekend and that what is considered the official start of summer will bring the summer weather.

Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not the case. Either it is raining, or it is below 70 F or both, but most often, the weather is not good for swimming on the day when pools are official open.
This time, it was the opposite. The pools are not open, but the weather exceeds expectations! I decided to take upon the advice of the health authorities and spend most of this weekend outdoors. And also, doing some good things for myself.

Biked to the Farmers Market: they asked me to leave my bike at the entrance and kept an eye on it.
Greens, bread and chocolate – all you need! (plus coffee!)
Continue reading “A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (I)”

How Old I Am :)

I wrote that post almost a month ago and didn’t publish. Today, there was another reason to question my age, and since I do not want to write about it, not yet, I decided to publish that post instead:)

I had a funny conversation with Boris the other day. He asked me whether I remember N. I said – no, I do not think I knew him. But he was with the Department of Informatics forever! – Well, there was no Department of Informatics at my time! – Whatever it was called then… – It was called a Department of Software Engineering, and I remember V, I remember S, and I remember K, but I do not remember N. – Nevermind, I just learned that he passed away. He had a heart attack. And he was only fifty-three…

And here, despite the tragic turn of the conversation, I started to laugh: fifty-three?! But I am fifty-seven! – Do you mean that he was not a faculty member when you were a student? – Precisely! And after I graduated, I had no interest in this department. Do you think I am forever twenty-five years old? It was a good laugh, despite the tragic topic.

Boris tells me about my “white lady” – a bike which we bought together last year. Back then, he was telling me that it did not have any economic justification, and I was saying that I want to have my own bike in Helsinki. So now, this white bike sits in his building bike storage right by his bike, and we both hope we will have a ride together someday. One of the things to look forward …

Mr. Jones: the Movie

On Friday, we had a movie night again, this time I invited my very good friend who loves movies, to join Igor and I. And she, in turn, invited her other friend, who is also a passionate movie lover. Our group of four watched Mr. Jones movie.

The movie seemed very interesting from the synopsis, and when I saw it coming in the Film Center from your Sofa series, I decided right away that that’s what we are watching next time. But I have to admit, I didn’t do any reading ahead.

Because of that, in the beginning, it seemed very confusing. The synopsis was saying “right before the WWII,” so I was thinking about 1937-39, but actually, the events in the movie took place in 1932-33. Initially, some small historical inaccuracies were distracting, but later I was really taken by the film. The cinematography is brilliant, and the story is captivating.

While we were watching, Igor googled the film’s origin, and we were surprised to learn that the film is based on real events.

Today, I continued googling and found a website dedicated to Gareth Jones. The site has references to most of his publications, and after I found it, I could not stop reading. Is it unbelievable, how much he was able to witness! I also found that the book of his Soviet dairies is available at the Chicago Public Library. Hopefully when the library will resume operation, Igor will be able to check it out.

It is so unfortunate, that Gareth Jons was not really heard, or rather not listened to!

Illinois is Moving to Phase 3

The other day, on one of the NPR programs, they were explaining how the authorities decide on the order of the places being reopened. We often wonder how that order is determined, why WAL- Mart is open while a hair salon is not. They said that there is a way of calculating the impact of opening places, which takes into account several factors. They include the need (to which extent the services are essential), the possibility of infection spread, and the desire of people to have these services. Believe it or not, the big box stores stay the highest on that list, and gyms, liquor, and tobacco stores stay at the bottom! Go figure:)

As our governor said, if nothing drastically bad would happen during the next six days, we are entering stage three. The city will lag behind, possibly two-three weeks behind. And it will be still masks/gloves/distancing.

I hope we won’t need to go back!

The first thing my mom asked when I told her about that was when she can see her grandchildren. I have to say that she was very patient about that, and didn’t complain. We discussed it and decided to plan some outdoor meetings in the beginning of June.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century Moview

I do not remember how that movie ended up in my watch list. After I started to watch Siskel From Your Sofa movies, all the third parties started to send me their newsletters, so it should have come from one of those. I was intrigued by it’s description and was looking forward to watching it.

Maybe, I had too high expectations, but the movies left me with a question: so what? Everybody should pay taxes? Richer people should pay higher taxes? Yes, I know, I agree, so what now?

Not like I didn’t like the movie, I liked it, but still…

If anybody is interested in watching, here is a list of current and future virtual screenings: Capital Movie

Busy. Tired. Tired. Hopeful

I would think that if I have so much work, I won’t be upset about anything else. But somehow it adds up: my ginormous workload, the overall worrisome situation in Illinois with a still-growing number of cases, being apart from the rest of the family, mom going crazy because of isolation.
I am trying to imagine how restless other people are becoming when even I, with all my understanding of the necessity of quarantine, have a difficult time continuing that way.

Last week, I started to bike early in the morning regularly. I loved these very early bike rides for a long time, but now it’s even better because usually there is nobody on the bike paths before 6 AM. However, today, I met several large groups of people walking in the forest preserve. That explained why there were no deers today :). One group consisted of at least ten adults with no masks on. And it was 5-40 AM.

One of the things which makes me feel tired is the fact that I constantly hear comments, both from “left” and “right,” about my behavior. It looks like in the eyes of half of the world, I am not doing enough and endangering myself and everybody around me. And for another half of the world, I am a panicer subdued to the propaganda.

My honest feelings are that none of us have enough information to evaluate the risks completely adequately. And every day, more information becomes available. I do not know about others, but my opinion on what’s the right behavior changes often. I am trying very hard not to criticize anybody’s behavior because I am not sure whether the ways I am handling the situation are better. I am trying very hard not to be angry with people. Success varies :).

Continue reading “Busy. Tired. Tired. Hopeful”

In Chicago For the First Time in Two Months

Since we are likely to continue working from home for another two months or so, we are getting additional monitors for working from home. First, I thought I do not need a second monitor, and I am not going to ask for one. I thought there is not enough room on my desk. But Boris suggested to bring my “fitness monitor” downstairs and check how it will fit.

I brought it down, plugged it in, and realized that I completely forgot how nice is it to have a second monitor. I didn’t want to unplug it!

So I signed up. I could choose either office pickup or home delivery. First, I wanted to go to the office for pickup. Then I thought that I won’t be able to carry a monitor in my hands, and signed up for home delivery. And then I realized that I could take my luggage and put the monitor in it. And I changed my preference again:)

Today was the day. I took a 10-25 train to the city, walked around a little bit, and got to the office at 11-45, as I signed up. The building is opened, and there are the same people at the reception, only wearing masks. I got up to the 8th floor to our office. I do not know what I was imagining, but the fact that the elevators were working, and there was electricity in the office, and that I saw my boss, all felt very reassuring.

And overall, the city gave me this feeling that it is staying strong and making it through – not like when I was there in mid-March. Back then, I had a feeling that very soon it will be the scene from the “Divergent” movie.

On the train. There were just two people in my car, but I saw several people with bikes when I was boarding, and the car next to mine had a dozen of passengers. Nobody checks the tickets.

Continue reading “In Chicago For the First Time in Two Months”

I Have to Share That:)

Somebody on our local nextdoor.com forum wanted to have some fun, I guess, or just test the neighborhood, and posted a survey: Should schools in America teach Arabic numerals as part of the curriculum? answers: Yes! No! No opinion.

I know it is hard to believe (especially since our school district, both Elementary and HS, are known for providing excellent education), but … at the time I checked, about 20% responded “No!” some with the comments “we are in America”, and 9% had “no opinion”.

And they were not joking!!!(It was clear from the subsequent comments). The post is already removed, so I do not know the final count 🙂