Still, Cards And Cookies

My tree will come down on the upcoming weekend but I still receive Christmas mail! Looks like the flight cancellations and the rest of the mess right before Christmas also affected mail delivery, and my parcel from Germany sat in ORD for at least a week!

I finally received it yesterday!

There is such a variety of cookies, and the ones I tasted are awesome, and out of twenty, only one broke!

Here is a Christmas card from Japan, which also made it this week:

Also, a card from one of my few still-sane Russian friends made it to that side of the pond! It looked like it crossed the Atlantic swimming on its own, so the card itself was almost destroyed, but the ornament inside survived, and I hung it on my Christmas tree:

I am going to take the last picture of my cards display on Saturday, before removing them and storing them.

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Doing Christmas Things With Mom

For the first three weeks of December, my life was so full of different activities that I rarely came home before nine. I told mom that I would take her out to do Christmas things during Christmas week.

Since she no longer takes public transit alone, I could only take her out when I work from home and can pick her up.
It all worked great on Wednesday, and I took her to the Chrstkindle Market and the Chicago Christmas tree. The weather was ideal – it was around 30F, and no wind or snow, and we spent more than two hours outside. I was really glad that mom didn’t complain about “how everything is so expensive” and seemed to accept that the holidays allow spending more on fun things. She liked the food and enjoyed looking at the Christmas ornament without looking at the price. She thanked me for the good time and told me that she felt the Christmas spirit and the holiday atmosphere. Which is more than I could expect, so I am marking it as a success.

(I was hoping for fewer crowds, but by that time, everybody knew that the snowstorm is coming and that Wednesday would be effectively the last day of the market)

Continue reading “Doing Christmas Things With Mom”

Weekend Highlights

It’s already Wednesday evening, and I still didn’t blog about our weekend with Anna’s family. We all had a great time, but somehow I find it difficult to put it in words – what exactly was so good? I had many worries that somebody might get sick, including me, or something else won’t work, but everything worked perfectly. 

Maybe not “perfectly,” because the weather was not cooperating, and Kira didn’t get enough sleep the first night, but still, it’s amazing how many boxes we checked!

Still, the best part was having all these tiny precious moments. Kira said: Baba’s house is so beautiful! – when she saw all the Christmas lights I left on. Nadia loved the kitty purse I bought for her in Helsinki. Both girls marched to the kitchen after they woke up and hung out with me, letting the parents have some sleep. Nadia said to me while we were in Ryan Educational Center at the Art Institute: Baba, please don’t help me; I want to be challenged. 

Here is a list of all the Christmas activities from the past weekend:

  • Merry Merry Chicago concert on Friday night
  • Having people over on Saturday mornings
  • Going to the Steadfast Tint Soldier at the Lookingglass theatre (a beautiful show, but for a little bit older children or adults)
  • Β Having late lunch/early dinner with Vlad
Continue reading “Weekend Highlights”