Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest

Another interesting event that happened last weekend was Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest. Since that’s my first year in Rogers Park, I was not aware of the scale of this event. Next year, I will be better prepared and will allocate more time to attend, including enough of night time! Granted, I had tons of things happening that weekend, but I still could plan it better! (FYI – I still ended up going twice!)

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Loyola Beach Wall Paintings

Last Friday, I was so busy going things with Anna’s family that I completely ignored the event that was happening very close to my home: the Wall painting at Loyola Beach! Fortunately, Igor documented it pretty well, so I am going to use his photos and comments from his Flickr album, so I am copying his description here:

Rogers Park’s Loyola Beach has this structure right where the park ends and the beach starts. I’ve always called this structure “the steps,” because it looks more like a step on a staircase than a wall, but it is officially a sea wall.

Since 1993. Rogers Park residents have been invited to paint that wall. Loyola Park Advisory Council started the whole thing because they didn’t like the graffiti (gang and otherwise) that used to cover it. While I’ve heard it described as sort of pure expression of creativity, but because one has to pay for the right to paint at one of the 160 slots, the whole thing is really more a fundraiser for Loyola PAC that happens to involve making the wall look pretty.

Normally, the wall would get repainted once a year, but the COVID-19 obviously kiboshed the 2020 session. I honestly kind of assumed that Loyola PAC would leave the 2019 murals up until 2022, so I was surprised when I stopped by the beach three weeks ago and saw the wall completely bleached. I checked the Loyola PAC’s website and discovered that, yep, they will be repainting. While normally, it would all be done in one day, it was split over three days, on June 18-20, to give artists room to socially distance.

This isn’t a perfect before-and-after set, because I lost my photos of 2019 murals to a corrupted SD card, I kind of rushed through the beach on Friday and I didn’t check the past photos on Saturday and Sunday. But, at the very least, this will give you a view of this year’s painted murals and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’ve been visiting Loyola Beach for the past 11 years or so, so I got to see many versions of the wall murals, but I never got to see it painted, so that was kind of neat.

As for me, my absolute favorite is that one:

And some other I liked:

But I will come back to see the rest!

On The Positive Side: The Birthday Party

Believe it or not, but the presents arrived at 5-30, Anna and & Family returned from the beach at the same time, and Igor and mom came shortly after. I locked myself in my bedroom to wrap the presents while my mom tried to get in and ask whether the presents arrived :).
I’ve got a dozen plastic cups filled with cherries and made two fruit bowls, and secured the candles “1” and “4” in the respective bowls.

The party turned out amazing. I was just thinking about the water balloons, but the neighbor kids were ahead of me and had a whole bucket of them ready:)

There was a balloon fight, and I told them it’s OK to throw balloons at me (I needed to cool down:)). Igor also offered himself as a target, and John smashed water balloons in his fist and threw them back. Also, one of the party items I bought out of desperation appeared to be the greatest hit: the tiny tubes of sparkling body gels! The girls covered themselves in sparkles, and I let them paint all parts of my body not covered with clothes 🙂

Then, a neighbor who is a mother of three girls observed the battleground covered with tiny colorful pieces of rubber and suggested the contest: who will pick up most of the pieces will get the prize! The girls rushed to all corners of the courtyard, and in a matter of minutes, the courtyard was clean. We decided that the race was tight, and everybody got an extra cupcake 🙂

I Am Definitely In a Bubble

Last Wednesday, there was another birthday party in the courtyard – one of the girls in our building turned five, and everybody came down to celebrate. Again, there were cupcakes, and kids running around, and games, and conversations. I talked to the neighbors, telling them again how lucky I feel moving to such a welcoming community. They enthusiastically agreed, and one lady said that she feels like she lives in a bubble. I told her that that’s the word I used to describe my current situation to my friends: it feels not real, and I live in a bubble.

We laughed about it, but it’s true! I can’t say enough how grateful I am for all the neighbor’s help, pieces of advice, and for making me feel at home.

The same neighbor who called it a bubble said: you had to travel all the countries and places to find your home finally!

A Fabulous Weekend

It was a wonderful weekend. I feel like I am getting more things done here, and I am not sure why.

No, I didn’t resolve all the issues in my apartment. I still need to fix my ceiling lights/fans, and I am still waiting for the rest of my furniture for the dining room. Also, I need to change my driver’s license and mom’s State ID for new addresses. And I didn’t go to the local library yet and didn’t find a new doctor for my mom or me. 

The list is endless, but still, I had a fabulous time this weekend. Of course, it helped that we now have summer Fridays, so the weekend started at 2 PM on Friday. Here is what I did this weekend (in addition to the regular errands list)

  • I biked to Northwestern twice. The first time, I messed up a couple of times, and the second time was a charm.
  • I went to do my nails. I didn’t like the place that much, so I will continue to explore what else is around, but at least I have my mani-pedi, which were overdue.
  • I went escorting for the first time since February
  • After escorting, I took my mom to the Art Institute to see the Monet exhibit and a couple of other exhibits which will close within the next week
  •  I biked to the Glenwood Sunday Market (and bought tons of awesome stuff). I was not sure from their website whether they allow bikes on the market, and put a new bike lock in my backpack. But fortunately, they allow the bikes in, which helped to plan my purchases realistically :). I liked his market so much better than the Evanston market! I think I will be going there most of Sundays.
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  • I made sorrel soup (perfect for the hot weather)
  • Also, I made a rhubarb tart
  • I had mom and one of my friends over for coffee
  • And I went to the beach and even dipped myself into the cold water of Lake Michigan (I will show the pictures in a separate post).

And with all that, I even caught up on some work, these boring parts with paperwork, which you tend to push away beyond all the deadlines.

It feels so much as the life I want to ive!

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! 

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 🙂

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 🙂