Asylum-seekers and racial tensions in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods

Over the past few months, Chicago has been dealing with waves of migrants from Central and South American countries, many of them bused in by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The African-American backlash to the  proposal to set up shelters in majority-Black Woodlawn and, more recently, majority-Black South Shore has been covered extensively on the news, but the migrants have been arriving in the Austin  community area as well.

Continue reading “Asylum-seekers and racial tensions in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods”

Warm Weather Is Back, And Lots Of Work

I found one more biking opportunity – after the evening rush hour. Now, and for the next two months, there will be enough daylight to bike after 6 PM. Yesterday, I left the house at 6-15, and the traffic was much better than it is between 4 and 6, and probably even better than during lunchtime.

And today in the morning – the sunrise from the same place 🙂

I am almost sad that I have breakfast and lunch at work and do not have an opportunity to eat breakfast outside. The closest I can get to it – sit by the window at the cafeteria:

The weather is amazing, and the whole city seems to be outside. I took a stroll after lunch, and everywhere on the Riverwalk, there is people ]sitting, eating their lunches, and enjoying the weather.

And there are so many things I need and what to do that they hopelessly do not fit anywhere, and I do not even have time to write down my to-do lists :). So instead of blogging about what I didn’t do or do not have time to do, I should better tell what I’ve actually done!

And it was this beautiful morning bike ride, and an exceptionally productive day at work, and a walk along the river, and dinner at the ODS (only a partial success since most residents were somewhere outside :)).


It happens every year, and every year, it comes as a surprise: winter turns into summer, skipping spring entirely. I know that these balming 70s are not here to stay, and by Sunday, the temperatures will return to normal April mid-50s. But how amazing it feels now! Just getting outside and taking this warmth in!

First time in a long while, I went to the CSO concert alone. I like going to concerts by myself, but recently, it was always either with mom, and then I had to deal with all the unpredictable things she would be upset about or felt compelled to critique. Or with my neighbor, who is lovely, but I realized that sometimes, I need to have quiet time. Just music and me.

It feels differently, and it turned out, I almost forgot the feeling. The music was cripst and fresh, and it was covering me from the outside, and filling inside, to the point when I felt there there is not enough room for music inside me!

The orchestra played four pieces: Liszt Mephisto Waltz (amazing!), Thomas Ades Piano Choncerto (new piece, composed just five years ago, soloist Kirill Gerstein – amazing!); a part from Sibelius’ The Tempest (awsome, but less exciting as the first two pieces) and finally, Janacek’s Taras Bulba, of which I expected a lot, but it ended up being the least interesting piece out of four. When it finished, I was left with the question: is this all? We didn’t even start yet, the topic is not developed! What do you mean, “we are done”?

Still, it was the best I felt after a concert for a long time. And then – out into the warmth of the night under the city lights, and I didn’t even notice when I arrived to my station.

When I got home, I walked into my bedroom, opened the window and let the night in 🙂

I Will Never Ever…

I went to pick up mom’s glasses in the middle of the day – an excuse to be outside when the weather was so amazingly springy. Waiting for a bus, hopping on, hopping off, walking and squinting on the bright sun,,, navigating the crowd, passing people… and remembering March 2020…

I will never ever take it for granted – the ability to walk on the streets, hoping on a bus, being with others… Never ever…

Spring cleaning in Millennium Park

All About Yesterday

There were a lot of different events happening in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, marking a year of the Russian war against Ukraine. I have an acute feeling that I haven’t done enough, haven’t said enough, and that people, in general, are more indifferent than they should be.

Still, I want to report some positive news.

The Ukrainian rally on Friday was massive, with lots of city and county officials in attendance. I was hoping to be there at least for a part of it, but I had an unreconcilable conflict with the girls arriving at the same time. Igor was there and took a lot of pictures.

Continue reading “All About Yesterday”

Les Miserables

This is the best musical I ever saw in my life. Seriously. I tried to find some recordings on the web, and only found this one, and it conveys very little of how marvelous this performance is! Everything: the voices, the acting, the costumes, the set – everyting was superb. 

The performance was very long – more than three hours, but I didn’t feel tired a bit. My neighbor and I both sat with our eyes wide opened throught the whole show, trying to catch each smallest detail. 

I don’t know what else to say except of that I want to see it again (and I have no time for that :))

Only In Chicago!

It is in the mid-40s and sunny. And almost no wind. Amazing weather for the past couple of days.

On Tuesday, I was in the office and went skating during the lunch break. Today,

I had unplanned work from home and went biking during the lunch break.

How is it possible that the weather is perfect for both?!

‘Only in Chicago! (c)

New Year

Like last year (and actually a year before and a year before that), Igor and mom came to my place to celebrate the New Year “at Saint Petersburg time. All the previous years it was not a big deal, and actually, this year it was not a big deal either, but having the situation at the front, I could not make myself display any cheer.

Mom got upset (although she didn’t complain), but everything was civil. I made dinner – nothing fancy, but things both mom and Igor like – borsch, meatloaf, roasted and mashed potatoes. I also baked pumpkin muffins and made tiramisu.

Mom kept saying she always had to celebrate the “Russian” new year alone, which is not true. Last year, we had to get together a little later because I was working, but that was an exception, and we still got together. We watched “The mask ball night;” this time, mom could hear everything, and hopefully, she will remember that we watched it. Then Igor took her home and later came back so that we could go see the New Year fireworks.

There were no Grant Park fireworks this year, so we went to Oak Street beach to watch the Navy Pier fireworks. The weather was perfect, and forecasted rain never materialized, and the air was clear.

The fireworks themselves were much more fun than last year, so I guess the only thing I want now is to have the same quality public fireworks :).

Another good thing was that the train back came right away, so it was nothing like last year, although the number of smokers in the cars was above average. And another interesting thing is that there were a lot of people at each stop, exiting and entering the train, and I kept wondering where they were going 🙂

Our Magical City

When I see Chicago decorated with holiday lights, the only thing I can say is, “What a beautiful city we live in!”

Several years ago, at one of the Caroling at the Clod Gate concerts, I heard somebody near me say this. And I remember I felt I could relate: you come to Millennium Park, look around, and see this beauty as if for the first time. And you are breathless!

Each time I come to the Chicago Architectural Center, I fee the same way! I want to repeat it over and over: what

Continue reading “Our Magical City”