In Milwaukee

This weekend was a birthday weekend for my granddaughters. Since I had Friday off, I thought that I would go there for a long weekend, possibly leaving on Thursday evening. It was only later that I realized that that was the same weekend I had to leave for Europe (and early enough to work on Monday). Fortunately, due to the very convenient scheduling of the direct flight, I could still accommodate the whole project; I just had to leave Milwaukee on Saturday night instead of Sunday.

On Friday, I took the first Metra train from Rogers Park (at 5 AM) to take the first train to Milwaukee at 6 AM. It felt insane to get up that early, but it was the best decision – I had the whole Friday!

First Metra Train of the day


So Kira is now two, and Nadia is five, and I do not even know which of this more unbelievable! Or maybe it’s the fact that Anna is a mother of two:). Nadia and Kira are such different personalities, and both are just absolutely amazing. It feels wonderful to see them growing and their stories unfolding. Looking forward to many many years of this journey!

Some weekend pictures:

Breakfast with Anna upon arrival
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Walking along the river
Getting ready to the party

Hanami

There was one more thing which Anna and I did on Saturday. Vlad made a reservation for us for a Hanami experience in his bar. I had no idea what it was, so I came completely mentally unprepared. Since the whole idea was to come to DC for the cherry blossom season, Vlad wanted us to have a complete experience. As you can see from the pictures, the bar was decorated to look like a cherry orchard.

We were presented with picnic baskets with traditional Japanese treats.

We were also offered several other drinks and later an ice cream and some oyster-like jelly sweets.

Later, Vlad explained to us that the music was purposefully set loud enough so that people could not talk to each other and would immerse themselves in the experience. 

https://youtube.com/shorts/V9tzWe30VRk?feature=share

And here is an article which describes the whole experience in detail.

A Weekend With My Girls

On Saturday, we had another Chicago Adventures day. Anna, Nadia, and Kira came to Chicago for a day. I bought two tickets for “Peter and the Wolf” in CSO, and this time, I went with Nadia, and Anna and Kira explored the Art Institute while waiting for us.

The day started a little bit catastrophic. The CSO requires all unvaccinated patrons to show a recent COVID test. For PCR, it can be a day old, and for antigen, it has to be three hours before the show. Anna took Nadia for the test the day before, but the results were not ready by the evening (and neither did they come Saturday morning). Anna called the CSO guest service, and they assured her that there are several pharmacies very close to CSO, where they could get a COVID test right before the show. I was a bit skeptical, knowing that many places in the Loop are closed during the weekend, but there was not that much choice.

The train arrived on time, so we had an hour and a half before the show, and we started walking in the direction of the CSO. We didn’t see any opened pharmacies on the way, so we headed to the Walgreens closest to CSO. It was open, but we saw that the pharmacy itself was closed for the weekend when we came inside. That was concerning, but we still had both time and hope. I asked an associate where the closest Walgreens is to get a COVID test, and he said: two blocks North. It was in the opposite direction to the CSO, but at least we thought we would get it done. Nadia was doing great walking with almost no complaints.

When we reached this other Walgreens, it turned out that… yes, their pharmacy window was closed, too! We had no time to go anywhere else, so Anna bought an at-home test from Abbot’s Lab, installed the app on her phone, and we opened it right there on the pharmacy floor :). Anna swabbed Nadia’s nose and started the test. We didn’t have time to wait for the required fifteen minutes, so we started walking towards the CSO, and I was trying to hold the test horizontally :).
The test was ready just when we reached the CSO. It was not so easy to show the test results on the phone while the phone had to stay with Anna :), but we managed.

There was one very tall person in front of us, and we was leaning left to his three children – all the time!
Continue reading “A Weekend With My Girls”

In Milwaukee With Anna & Family

I spent most of the last weekend with Anna & family in Milwaukee. There was no special occasion, not big plans – we just wanted to get together. 

Also, after a long wait and anticipation, I was finally able to take Amtrak to Milwaukee. It’s tons better than it used to be taking the Van Galder bus to Madison! The ride is about 1.5 hours and very comfortable, with WiFi and electric plugs by every seat 🙂

The thing I enjoyed most was the water quality monitoring. Anna is involved with the Milwaukee Riverkeeper project, and she asked me whether I would like to go with her and Nadia to do the measurements. 

It was so interesting! She has a whole case of scientific instruments and chemical reagents and the instruction book from the program. The monitoring includes measuring the water temperature, transparency, oxygen level, and more. 

I enjoyed this experience on many levels: 1) it is super cool that volunteers can participate in a real scientific project, 2) it is so important for the environment 3) I enjoyed doing something important together with Anna and Nadia 4) I was in a forest preserve, which I really miss!

I need to figure out how to get out to nature even when I am in the city!

August 29, 2021

Everybody asks me about details of Vlad’s engagement, but I do not know what else I can say except for the pictures. Vlad told us a while ago that he will come back to Chicago at the end of August to celebrate his and Anna’s 30th birthday. The date for the party was set in July, and when I told Boris, he said that he would try to come to be here for that milestone birthday. Between the European conferences he had to attend and his dental work, he ended up having only three days. First, I told him it is not worth coming, especially because the girls will be here all the time. He said something to the effect: it’s important for the kids, and I thought: who am I to forbid him from attending his children’s birthday?!


So he flew in Friday evening, just a couple of hours before the girls arrived, and yes, it was a little bit chaotic but very happy. Vlad and Dylon stayed with their friends in Oak Park, so it was quite a journey to attend the party!


Now, about the engagement. Several days before the party, Vlad called me: Mom, I wanted to let you know that I am going to propose to Dylon before the party. And also, his family will be there, so you will get to meet everybody.


To say I was happy would be not enough. I was over the moon. And how awesome it was that Boris was going to be there! Their friends’ house is gorgeous, and they could not find a better place for both the party and the proposal:)

Biking With My Girls

Anna brought her cargo bike with her (she ended up driving a truck because of that), and although driving a truck in the city is not the most enjoyable activity, the presence of a cargo bike made a huge difference! We could go anywhere on bikes! Both Sunday and Monday mornings, we would head to the Lake Front Trail to explore the playgrounds – thank you, Chicago Park District!

We biked to the Edgewater Art Fair on Sunday evening (because Nadia really wanted to listen to some concert), and we biked to Andersonville on Monday to have lunch with Vlad and Dylon.

At the Edgewater Art Fair, Nadia danced for forty minutes straight while the band was playing, and Kira followed as much as she could:). Neither me nor Anna could expect it!

Only later we thought that we could plan more outings with the cargo bike, including going to the Lincoln Park Zoo and to Navy Pier – both are relatively close to where I live, but unfortunately do not have convenient public transportation. We will plan better next time!

My Twins Are 30!

Can you imagine how I feel about this???

They will be all in town on Sunday, and that’s when we will celebrate their Big Birthday. I will hold off with the lengthy post till then – I want to add the most recent pictures. However, I posted about their birthday on the Instagram, because I wanted to mark the actual day, and here is a copy of that post:

There are nine pictures to scroll 🙂

I Just Had The First Party!

This morning, Vlad and Dylon left for DC. Originally, it was for Dylon’s job, which he starts in September. So originally, we thought that they would be around for most of the summer. That’s where the plans for my move mid-summer were coming from. But then Vlad started to look for a job too, and now they are moving earlier because of him :). Vlad can’t be without a job for long, and now he will be a Beverage Manager for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC.

Anna and the girls came to visit me on Friday night, and we and an almost impromptu party at my new place.I also texted my neighbors from the next building I met a couple of days before to come over and meet my family. It was so good! Good having most of the family together, good being around the like-minded people, good to meet new folks like in “before” times:). Vlad ordered a takeout which tasted great, and we finally opened my “Technologist of the Year” champaign and a couple of other bottles I had for years!

When I was packing, I found several boxes of glasses which I didn’t know about!

Oh, and Vlad got all “A” for his classes, so now he finally got his diploma in Classics!

Anna Is My Hero!

The past two days were extremely eventful. On Sunday, when Vlad came to clean up the garage, I realized how busy he was with school work and that I shouldn’t have asked him to come, although I had to ask him. I was thinking about asking Anna whether she could come but then decided that she had way too many things on her plate to ask her to do more. But Anna was a hero and figured out our situation, and without me asking her, she announced that she is coming. She also forbade Vlad to do anything for my move until he is done with his school assignment, and she made arrangements with Igor to cover the days when the painters will be in. 

Then she came and cooked lunch to last for three days and took care of dozens of things on my list. 

I can’t even describe what a relief it was. That was the first time in weeks when I could focus on work during the work hours. I was able to complete a week worth of tickets in one day 🙂

Another thing I didn’t do with Vlad was one more IKEA trip – at least I needed binds for the new house. So I asked Anna to go, and a small miracle happened. I already gave up on a smaller sleeping unit, but we chatted with Anna about it, and since I could not find the right one to show her, she suggested we ask the store associate.

This unit was unavailable for weeks and not on display, and when we first asked, the associate told us it was discontinued. But then she clicked and clicked and said that they have one, and what is color covering we want? 

We ordered the color I wanted from the very beginning, and it will be delivered on May 19! I still can’t believe we did it!

We picked several other items which I needed for the new house, including some blinds to try (we were still not sure about the sizes, they are a little bit tricky.

And then we had dinner at IKEA – that was the first time since the beginning of the pandemic!