This Made My Day

I had an email exchange with the folks from my new condominium. A board member asked me whether I have children and/or pets. I replied explaining my situation, and told her that everybody will be helping me to move in. Then, she said in a supsequent email to the group: Hettie has no tiny childrem bu she has adult kids, grandkids and grand-dog.

All my today worries disappeared!

J&J!!!

On Monday, my vaccination group (1C) finally became eligible in Illinois, which meant that I could start to participate in these endless waiting rooms on the Cook County Health Care department. Starting from last Sunday, I already did three of them, and each time with no luck.  

I heard from other people how they would spend hours on the phone or online trying to find an appointment. And I started to think that having everything that’s going on in my life, I will have to wait until the vaccine becomes more available – I have no time for than hunt.

On Thursday, I received yet another text alert about the release of appointments and was ready to start trying again when I decided to check my personal email. I do not have much time for that during the workday, not like I am not allowed, but I do not have time. For some reason, I looked at it that very moment (and it was April Fool, mind you:)) and I saw a Palatine Township newsletter. There could be absolutely nothing urgent, but for some reason, I opened it. 

The first paragraph read:

April 3 Vaccination available for seniors (65+)

and their caregivers (55+)

While the first part was no news, the second part was, and I could not believe my eyes. There was a phone number to call, and I did. There was no wait, and there was a person, a human being, who answered. I sheepishly started to ask whether that’s true and whether the caregivers indeed are eligible. She asked for my date of birth and said – yes. She put down all my information and said that the vaccination center would call me and please pick up the calls and check my emails.

Twenty minutes later, my phone rang, and another human being was on the line to verify my information. 

I said that I do not want to cut the line, and I am not a full-time caregiver, but the lady said: yes, but you do take care of your mom! Of course, we want you to be vaccinated along with your mom! She told me where I need to go -a senior center on the North Shore, and she added that they do not know which vaccine it is going to be; it will be delivered that morning. But if I would need a second dose, she added, they would schedule it as well.

It all happened so fast! That was the end of my workday on Thursday, and when I came home, I found a consent form in my Inbox. And then it was Friday, and then – today. Everything was organized exceptionally well; there was no wait, the flow was smooth. However, the best part was that when I arrived, they told me that I would get Johnson & Johnson!!! I thought that it would be great, but not that many chances, and it happened! As my mom said, those who are above us realized how little spare time I have!Β 

Our athorities ask us not to post selfies with vaccination cards anymore amidst the fraud concerns, so here comes a picture of the goodie bag I got in the senior center πŸ™‚

One More Activity Is Back: Canvassing

Today, I went canvassing for the first time since sometime in 2019. Or even earlier. Most likely, since the 2018 campaign when I was canvassing for Maggy Trevor.

Last fall, there was no in-person canvassing, only phone banking. I never do phone banking because I am not good at it and because when people do not see me, they react negatively to my accent. But I truly love in-person canvassing. First, I know that it works, and second – when people see me, they do not care about the accent that much.

I was delighted when I read in the Palatine Democrats newsletter that they are doing in-person canvassing again. I waited for the warmer weather and then started to look for signup.

It turned out that these days, all things are done differently, and canvassing is not an exception. I had to submit a form on the website, and then a person in charge of canvassing emailed me, and then we talked. He told me I need to install a MiniVAN application – a special application for canvassing.

loved it. It is so much better than the canvassing I did for years – with a paper turf and a clipboard. You can switch from a map to a list of households and back; you can look up people and leave notes, and you are syncing, so you make sure you didn’t miss the house and didn’t visit a house twice.

The person in charge of canvassing is doing an outstanding organizing job. Everything is planned the night before, the turfs can be loaded into your app well in advance, and you are good to go.A funny thing happened. When I talked with this person on the phone, I told him that I was canvassing for years. Still, since he didn’t know me, he told me he wanted to start the turf with me to see how I am doing it, and then we can canvass separately. I understood that it was a responsible thing to do and didn’t object. He took the furthest turf in Rolling Meadows, and I asked him to drive me there because I could get lost with my geographical disability.

When I saw him in person in the Democratic office, I realized that he was very young. Since he mentioned earlier that he lived in Palatine, I had a suspicion that he might know Vlad and Anna. And as soon as we started walking to his car, he turned to me and asked: Do you know Novikov’s, Anna and Vlad? And I am: yes, I am their mother.

It turned out that not only he knows them well, but he also worked with Anna on Matt Flamm’s campaign when Anna was a campaign manager.

So, we had a lot to talk about on our way to the turf πŸ™‚

About People’s Interactions

I liked how my Wednesday’s meetup went. I only regret that I didn’t put enough time into advertising, and there were not many people attending. The talk was brilliant. It was new Bruce’s talk “Democratization of Databases,” where he talks about opensource products and how their development is different from commercial products. 

Our discussion ended up being rather political; that’s why I am not posting it on my professional blog.

But you know, I think it was very appropriate. There are times when you have to be political, times when you can’t enclose yourself in your professional world. And now is that kind of time. 

On another note, I started to assemble my team of volunteers. And now, when I started, I do not know how I lived without any help! I felt so good when people responded to my call. When they started to reach out telling me that they want to help, to give back. One of the people who reached out told me: I want to compensate for all these times when I would just come and sit in the corner, listen to the talks, eat pizza and go back home. 

I can see now how many things we didn’t do to give us more publicity. Interestingly, when I talk to other people about giving their enterprise more publicity, I name all these things I didn’t do myself :). I hope that by the time of the next meetup, things will start to look different.

This week was very intense. I had many things going on at work, and I also had to talk to many people for a very long time :). I can’t recall this level of interactions I was involved in since the pre-pandemic times. I am tired, but I also feel very good. I feel empowered by people’s responses. 

Acting Like A Leader

I am listening to “Atomic Habits,” a well-knowing book, mostly building on the “Power of Habit,” which I read a long time ago and really liked. 

As it often happens, you notice the closest ideas to what you are thinking about at the moment. This time, it was the well-known idea of “if you want to become something, act as if you already are.” To be precise, in the book, the author rephrases it like “do not say: I want to run a marathon, say: I want to become a runner.”

The reason I paid attention to this statement is the conversation I had on Friday. Among other things, I was asked about “things that work” with the Chicago PUG. While answering that question, I started to list all the things I usually mention when people ask me, “How did I build it.” I talked about having specific dates, announcing meetups early, starting on time, engaging the audience, coaching the first-time zoom speakers. And I ended my answer with one simple statement: I am a community leader, people are looking up at me, and I felt the responsibility to act.

And that is the most important reason that Chicago PUG is running regular meetups, one of the very few PostgreSQL meetups regularly running during the pandemic. 

I vividly remember how I felt a year ago. I had to make difficult choices, and at that time, I was very unsure of what is the right thing to do, and I was questioning myself and my actions, and the situation was changing not by days but by hours. 

First, I announced the change of speaker. Then, I announced the rescheduling. And two weeks later, I announced going virtual. I opted to be a first zoom speaker because I knew it could be a very miserable experience (and it was). But the important thing was that we were able to continue our activities and the PUG members responded with great attendance. 

I am very proud of all of us, and I hope that later this year, we will be able to switch to the hybrid meetups:)

Beautiful Moments – Saturday

It’s Sunday night, and a new work week ahead. I spent many hours of this weekend writing, and it seems like there was no weekend at all. But then I remember many happy moment of the past two days , and I thinking – it was a good weekend!

I biked to the Farmers’ Market Saturday morning
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Today’s Activities: Clinic Escort and More Local Protests

As I mentioned in that post, this week, we resumed the clinic escorting. We had to complete zoom training about our new procedures and sign the waiver regarding the new risks related to the pandemic. 

I was glad to be back; it is great to feel that you can do something useful and meaningful. 

It was relatively quiet; there were just a few antis, and they left about 11 AM. I was hoping to meet up with Igor, but since a new protest, the largest so far was unfolding, there were no CTA services to the Loop, and the bridges were up again. Everybody was upset about the bridges, and it didn’t look like it was really necessary, but whatever.

Metra looked much better than the other two times I took it to the city during the quarantine. There were more people on board, but unfortunately, not all of them were wearing masks. The conductors are still not around, so nobody is enforcing the face covering. 

As I realized that I am not going to meet with Igor, I took the 12-30 train and was able to attend a Palatine protest, organized by NWSOFA/Indivisible. It was very well organized, with lots of invited speakers and with all our elected and not elected official speaking. I decided to play safe and stood further away, which unfortunately meant that I could not hear everything. 

What was encouraging that through the whole course of the rally, the passing cars were honking non-stop (including the big trucks:))

I am walking towards the Volunteer Plaza

Distancing

Local Protests

Today, Palatine had its first Racial Justice rally, the second one is planned for Saturday. I learned about it a couple of hours before it was going to start, but I figured out I can do it.

Through the past week, I’ve said multiple times how important these days is not to be silent. Yes, we are a small village, just about 80,000 people. And yes, it may seem like it does not matter; we are away from the city and away from the real battle. But I find it essential that my neighbors of different languages and colors walked out together to say NO to racism.

We were standing at the corner of Palatine Road and Quentine, the Riemer Reservoir is a public property, that’s why we could be there without any permission. Police was notified and had it’s presence
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