About Mom

Now that several things related to mom are finally resolved, I can talk about what happened last week. I already mentioned several times that last Friday was a disaster and several things that didn’t go right. But there were more.

Mom had a passport appointment at the Russian consulate in NYC, and even before I knew that I would be starting a new job, I knew I could not go with her because it was just a couple of days before my conferences would start.

From the very beginning, we planned on Igor coming with her, although she complained quite a bit that it was not me who would accompany her.

We submitted all the paperwork in advance, and I told mom I would double-check that nothing had changed two weeks before the appointment.

So I did, and we put all her paperwork together. The appointment was on Wednesday, and Igor and mom were going to NYC on Tuesday. On Friday afternoon, mom received an e-mail from the Russian consulate saying that they are no longer accepting applications for biometric passports, so everybody who has appointments scheduled should apply for a 5-year passport.
Everything about the non-biometric passport is different, including that you have to bring the photos with you and you need a return envelope. I had not extra time at all, so I called Igor and asked him whether he could take mom to the passport pictures and whether he could buy an envelope. These items were critical given the upcoming Labor Day and the Post Office closing. (And right after that, I had to ask him to wait for the exterminator in my apartment!)

Since I would be in Milwaukee on Saturday, I told mom that I would come on Sunday to redo the paperwork. As it turned out, her knee started to hurt really badly on Thursday (and she didn’t tell me anything). Then on Friday, she leaned on her right wrist when she was standing up, and after that, she was unable to do anything with her right hand. So when I came on Sunday, I observed the situation and said that we were going to the emergency room.
Four hours later, we were back at her place, her right arm immobilized, and we had to do a follow-up visit. And she had to go to New York.

That was not the best couple of days for me, but everything got resolved. Mom’s new passport application was accepted, Igor survived traveling with her, I could find an appointment for her, and the doctor reassured us that nothing was broken and she didn’t need to wear a splinter anymore.

All I can say is it could be worse, especially given my upcoming travels! I hope that the crisis is averted for some time!

In Milwaukee

I didn’t miss the train and spent a day with my girls in Milwaukee. We went to the forest where Nadia had her Forest Camp and spent more than two hours walking around while Nadia showed us all the places where they’ve been. I was very happy to be in the forest – I do not have anything like this close to me anymore, and also it was a joy to listen to Nadia talking about her summer experience and to observe how she interacts with Kira.

Continue reading “In Milwaukee”

My Girls In Chicago

On Sunday, we had a short visit with our girls. Boris didn’t see them last time he was in Chicago, and before that, it was a very short visit, so I think he didn’t see them since December. It was good that they could make it.

I suggested that they go to the Crown Fountain first – It would be the first time for Kira, and Nadia didn’t go there since she was one year old. The girls loved it so much that if Anna would let them, they would splash there for the whole five hours they had :).

As I mentioned before, it was challenging to navigate the Loop on Sunday because it was the last day of Lollapolooza, but after a couple of unsuccessful trials, we found a place to have lunch with no line hanging outside the doors.

After lunch, we went to the Art Institute, and we even visited the Sezanne exhibit (although very briefly). I know Nadia would spend way more time there, but she won’t stay without Kira, and Kira has a way shorter attention span :). The rest of the time was spent in the Ryan Educational Center. This time, they offered several weaving projects, and Nadia stayed focused for the entire time and finished her piece.

A staff member helps to finish the weaving project

In Milwaukee

This weekend was a birthday weekend for my granddaughters. Since I had Friday off, I thought that I would go there for a long weekend, possibly leaving on Thursday evening. It was only later that I realized that that was the same weekend I had to leave for Europe (and early enough to work on Monday). Fortunately, due to the very convenient scheduling of the direct flight, I could still accommodate the whole project; I just had to leave Milwaukee on Saturday night instead of Sunday.

On Friday, I took the first Metra train from Rogers Park (at 5 AM) to take the first train to Milwaukee at 6 AM. It felt insane to get up that early, but it was the best decision – I had the whole Friday!

First Metra Train of the day


So Kira is now two, and Nadia is five, and I do not even know which of this more unbelievable! Or maybe it’s the fact that Anna is a mother of two:). Nadia and Kira are such different personalities, and both are just absolutely amazing. It feels wonderful to see them growing and their stories unfolding. Looking forward to many many years of this journey!

Some weekend pictures:

Breakfast with Anna upon arrival
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Visiting Mitchel Park Domes
Walking along the river
Getting ready to the party

A Weekend With My Girls

My girls visited over the weekend, and we had tons of plans. The plans got almost canceled because Nadia started to get sick on Thursday night, and both Anna and Nadia arrived partially sick. Then we didn’t go anywhere on Saturday because Nadia was getting sicker and sicker, and Anna was about to go home right away. 

We finally decided to wait till Sunday morning, and to my surprise, Nadia woke up mostly normal and ready for adventure.

We went to the Field Museum as we originally planned to do on Saturday. This weekend was marked by the opening of the new Native American Galleries. The whole exhibit space was completely re-imaged; both the content and the presentation became more meaningful. There were several activities related to the new exhibit. One was the native storytelling with Karen Ann Hoffman. All I can tell – she was amazing, and I am not going to try to retell the stories. We all sat on the floor and listened for half an hour.

Another great activity was basket weaving. We looked at the demonstration, and later, we could stop by, and get our share of materials and instructions. We came back for the next two strings, and then the last time to finish the project. All of us (except probably Kira) enjoyed this activity a lot – we worked together and ant the end, we had this cute basket!

Finishing touches to our family basket

Once again, we spent almost the whole day in the museum and came home with barely any time left to have leftovers dinner before the girls went home.

My Little Biker

I had my girls over for Easter Saturday. They took a train from Milwaukee on Friday evening, but not just that; they also brought Nadia’s bike with them and a bike seat for Kira. With all this equipment, walking from the Union Station to the CTA was a challenge. To minimize the walk, we decided to take the Brown line and then switch to the Red Line, and with all the waits, it took us 1 hour 40 minutes to reach my house(instead of one hour!). We made it and thus proved our dedication to reducing the carbon footprint, but it was a major project.

On Saturday, we could not figure out how to attach a bike seat to one of my bikes, and I thought that if all of this was for nothing, and we won’t be able to go on the bike ride, it would be a major disappointment. Fortunately, after multiple tries, Anna figured out how to attach the seat to another bike :), and we left – an hour later than planned.

Nadia was a champion – we biked all the way from my house to the start of the Lakefront Trail – it’s 2.7 miles one way! And it was pretty cold, especially closer to the lake. And Nadia fell off the bike several times, hurting different parts of her body, but afterward, she would get back on her bike and keep going. Amazing kid!

On the way back to the train station, Igor helped us to carry things, and it was tons easier! That way, we actually made it in one hour!

Monday And Tuesday In DC

I just realized that I didn’t post my National Gallery post when I wrote it, and that’s probably because I already started to get sick and didn’t pay much attention. I think it’s mostly because I hit the point of not being able to cope with multiple things happening in the world and the way they affect people close to me, also because I had several days in a row with very little sleep. I slept eight hours last night, but it is not enough to compensate. Unfortunately, I have a big project to complete over the weekend, and I have no idea how I will be able to accomplish this.

On a brighter note, a little bit about the past Monday and Tuesday.

These are the days that Vlad has off. He spends them catching up on sleep, but he is alive and awake in the evening, and we spent both evenings at Vlad’s and Dylon’s place. Vlad and Dylon taught us to play mahjong, and everybody, including Nadia, loved it.

Igor found a refuge in the local library
Vlad is showing to us his favorite tree

I also really liked their place; it’s different from what they had in Chicago, but nevertheless.

Continue reading “Monday And Tuesday In DC”

An Afternoon Tea At Mandarin Oriental

Vlad worked at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for the first three months in DC. During his tenure there, he designed the Sakura Pink Empress Afternoon Tea, also cherry-blossom-themed. He could secure only four tickets for Sunday, so he, Anna, Nadia, and I went.

I think that that’s one of the cases when “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” so I am going to show the tea menu (each of us selected their own tea, and Nadia got a kid version of the menu, and she also had a sparkling juice).

Continue reading “An Afternoon Tea At Mandarin Oriental”