How Was My Birthday

It was great, even though you might think it is impossible in the time of pandemic with everybody being remote.

It started with this picture I received from Boris at 4-35 in the morning (that’s when I wake up, and he knows :)). And since he is not sentimental at all, I liked it even more 🙂

Today was my office day. I didn’t have breakfast at home (I only took a small container of fresh-cut fruit with me) because I had a Starbuck birthday reward, which I planned to use. Unfortunately, the Starbucks at the Palatine Train Station closed for good (which breaks my heart!). But with the new train schedule, I take an early express, so I ate my breakfast at the city’s train station.

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Last Sunday

On Sunday, it was my mom’s birthday. Last year she turned eighty-five, and we had a big surprise party for her. This time, it was just me and her, although all her grandchildren sent her messages, and she received lots of birthday wishes from her friends and former colleagues.

I still tried to make it festive. As mom likes, I made tiny sandwiches, and we drank Vlad’s liquor and had coffee with tiny cheesecakes and other pastries. And I took the time to listen to her and let her talk. I gave her Kindle Paperwhite, and taught her how to operate it, and uploaded a dozen of her favorite books and some others that she might like. I also ordered a photo calendar for her.

I didn’t feel like I made too much of an effort, but when I dropped her off at her place and returned home, I felt exhausted to the degree I wanted to cry. I am not even sure why. She is not hostile anymore, and even when she is upset, she is not making scenes, which should be a relief. It is sad to see how her personality is changing. She is becoming more like a child in many aspects, and she is becoming dependent on me emotionally in an almost unhealthy way.

The same as when I was a child, and even a teen, developed this unhealthy psychological dependency, that I could feel good only when she was around, she is now developing towards me. I think she does not have any other models of relationships. Like a small child, she feels it when I am upset, so I need to watch my behavior when I am upset with something. Like when my water heater broke, and when she thought that Anna and her family left, while in reality, we had this COVID situation here.

There was one thing that surprised me, though. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, my friend, whom mom also knows well, told my mom and me separately that her son had COVID and that he didn’t tell her until it was all over and he was tested negative.

I knew the story from my friend, and when I came to visit mom, she told me the same story. After she shared it with me, to my surprise, she said: good boy! I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t. She repeated: he did it right! I was planning to tell her about Vlad’s infection, but when I heard that, I said to myself: great, thank you for letting me know!

I got mad at Igor when I learned that he told my mom about his positive test on her birthday. I expected a major crisis. But she was surprisingly OK with everything. Even before that, I saw that she was not even half upset with the news of John’s infection as of Nadia’s. I think she still does not realize that this virus is way more dangerous for adults than for kids. But it felt like she does not want to let additional worries into her head. And I am going to leave it as is for now.

Summer 1964, part 2

More pictures from the same summer. I poster the picture below in the previous post.

The building behind us is this three-story building where Baba Ania and Deda Fedia lived. Their studio apartment was on the third floor, one window was facing his scene, and the balcony and the kitchen window faced right (where the wooden huts are). If you look at the ground under the balcony (on the right of this picture), you will see some sand. You can’t tell that this is sand, but if I tell you that it is there, you can figure out where exactly it is.

Now, look at the next picture.

We are playing in this dirty grey sand and trying to build something:). And on the next picture, I turn my head up and yell towards the balcony for Baba Ania to drop my little shovel to me.

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About a Major Crisis

Today, on January 11, we finally have every chapter of our book submitted. Out of the total of eighteen chapters, including the introduction and conclusion, four are still being reviewed, but they are really small ones. Even if our technical reviewer would suggest some changes, there won’t be massive rewriting. I am doing a final walk-through with all examples, ensuring everything works as expected, and creating the source code files in the process.

I feel very good about this accomplishment, and if there weren’t a major crisis, everything would be in place a week ago. I know that I kept my friends uninformed, so here are some details about my family’s happened in the past two weeks.

For three weeks, we were going back and forth about Christmas and what is safe. Finally, we decided on a hybrid solution. 

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My Best Girls Ever

I had the best time ever with all three girls:). Kira is a miracle child: she is so happy all the time and so calm! Not like she does not have bad days and bad nights, but in comparison, not only with Nadia but with any child, I know close enough. Also, she is very advanced both physically and emotionally for her four and a half months. She tries to stand up all the time you hold her. she tries to crawl and sit, and I think she will be mobile in some way by the time she will be six months old. Just you wait:).
She also has an unbelievable emotional response to others, which is also way too early. She meets people’s gaze; she is upset when either Nadia or Anna is upset, and she ever reacts emotionally at the conversations which are not directed to her. And if you talk to her directly, she would always respond with the broadest smile.

Nadia speaks more and more complex sentences. She loves telling stories, and she likes it when Anna tells stories, imaginable, or real. She is very thoughtful and very compassionate, polite, and considerable of other people’s needs.

And all this is most definitely because of her parents. I do not think I ever had such a level of patience, as Anna demonstrates. And I can tell that her patience with Nadia fosters all these positive traits. Many everyday tasks take longer than they could because she lets Nadia do things by herself, to decide for herself, to do them her way. She always accepts Nadia’s help even when it makes things going three times slower :). And I am sure that John does the same; I just saw less of him this time :).

I am so looking forward to seeing these girls growing and doing great things!

Visiting With My Girls

As Anna put it, we had three visits in one. Anna and the girls came Friday evening. The girls went more or less straight to bed, and Anna and I talked till midnight (which was probably not the best idea, but we didn’t have one on one conversations for a really long time).

It was then a long morning at my house, and then we went to the market and picked pre-ordered bread, croissants and vegetables. Afterward, we visited my mom, and she was very happy to hold Kira and chat with all of us. Then we traveled to John and Anna’s house in Milwaukee, and I stayed there till midday Tuesday. Unfortunately, my situation at work is such that I could not take any additional time off, but we were still happy to stay under one roof for a couple of days.

The weather was not cooperating. It became sharply colder on Saturday, and I was completely unprepared. I was glad that I took a warmer coat, but frankly, I could take even a warmer one. We still went for several walks, but it would be better if the weather would be different.
I already posted some pictures from the Havenwoods State Park, and here are some pictures from the neighborhood – the Halloween decorations there are very elaborate 🙂

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Havenwoods State Park

This park is very close to Anna’s house, and on Sunday all five of us went there for a nature walk. I thought that Sunday was cold, but turned out it was way warmer than Monday :).

I am so glad we went there! It is beautiful, and it is so different from Deer Grove, although it also has some prairie, wetland and woodland. Lots of pictures 🙂

Community garden
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Quick Status Update

For the past two days, I stay with Anna and her family in the Milwaukee home. Since Wisconsin has a very high infection rate these days, Anna decided to drive me both ways. On Friday night, she drove to Palatine with the girls, and they spent a night at my house. In the morning, we headed to Milwaukee.

Here, I am trying to do it all: to have family time, work as actual work, and work on our book. It barely fits in, but I do not feel like I can take any days off these days.
Hence this short note here: I am alive and well, but I have no time for anything. More than even.

Life In Chicago

Today, I asked Vlad to meet me for lunch because I needed to discuss several things with him. We didn’t plan very well, and I had a work emergency, so first, I ended up being late, and then he was late, although he texted me that he is already parking.

When he finally came in, he told me that he had trouble finding a parking spot and that he had to park at a very expensive place. But then he said that he feels good about it because it means that the city is getting back to normal.

I can second these feelings because yesterday, I felt similarly annoyed when I could not turn left from my subdivision to the main road. Annoyed, but also glad :).
Among the things I wanted to talk about was the future of the restaurant business. In Chicago, with our notoriously brutal winters, everybody is talking about this! Vlad thinks that people will still be heading for indoor seating when the weather will become colder regardless of the higher risk. I am not sure how he thinks our legislators will do, but even in Finland, they had to back up under the business demands. We shall see. I also hope that rapid testing will be more available. Last week, Vlad was hosting a private even with Abbott Labs, and since they developed this rapid test, they tested each and single participant and each and single server at this event. It would be cool if we could have this rapid testing everywhere!

Oh, and funny story. Today was the first time since early March that I was not alone in the elevator going down in our office building:)