Detskiy Sad At The Dacha Part 2.

It has been two months since I posted my last historical blog. These blogs require more time and thoughts, and my life in November and December didn’t exactly have any room for extra thoughts. 

Following my New Year resolution, I will continue from where I left. My last post was about summer 1968 when I stayed at the dacha with the other kids from my detskiy sad. Although it was summer, fresh fruits were perennial “deficit.” Parents took turns to buy cherries or strawberries at the farmer’s markets and deliver them to the dacha. I asked mom recently, but she does not remember any details. It was definitely not every day, and the fruits would arrive after a nap. I remember slaying in bed and seeing somebody’s mom serving strawberries in the saucers. 

I am trying to recall how often we had “parent’s days.” Later, when I was at pioneer camps, we had parent’s days only once per three-week session. But I do not remember how it was with detskiy sad. I think mom was coming once a week. Sometimes, my father would come, too, and we would go for a walk in the woods. They always brought me some fruits and other treats. Once, my father brought me mango – they were non-existent, mango juice would come along sometimes as a rare treat. 

However, I do not remember missing my mom that much.

Sometimes, the teachers were cruel and punished us for no good reason. Sometimes, the night shift counselor would wake us up to pee into the bucket and not wet the beds (even though almost nobody did). But is was never like, “I want to go home!”

I do not think I had any unhealthy separation issues when I was a young child. As I mentioned, I had no problem adjusting to detskiy sad from the beginning. My completely unhealthy attachment to mom developed later, under her direct influence. 

I am not sure why she wanted me to be so dependent and miss her so much. Perhaps, she needed it for her self-esteem – to know that she is “in demand.” Perhaps, she does not know that there could be other relationships. Now, I feel sad when I observe that she developed the same emotional dependency on me. I try very hard not to abuse it. To my New Year resolution – I should be more emotionally invested when I interact with her. Simply to give her more. 

New Year Celebration

For some reason, my company has January 3 off for January 1, not December 31, as in most companies. On the one hand, I am grateful I have one more day off tomorrow. On the other hand, it was challenging to get everything ready for a New Year celebration when you work on this day and are still new at the job, so things take time. 

I decided that I made enough salads in Milwaukee, and since only three of us are celebrating, I just made a nice three-course dinner. I had a lot of farmer’s vegetables, so I made borshch entirely from this fresh organic produce. I also had a chicken from my other CSA, and I roasted it (frantically searching on the web and combining three different recipes in one :)).

Borshch looks so festive in these plates, I should use them more often!

And I made an apple tart and a pumpkin pie as I had wanted for a long time. (For the record, the purpose of this post is to showcase these two pies :))

Cookies from friends from all over the world!

Usually, I am neutral about the New Year, but it was good that we celebrated (Igor and I went to the fireworks right after). 2021 was a very eventful year, more than I wanted, so it was a good idea to mark its ending with something a little bit more special than I usually do. 

My New Home Office

The first thing (literally) they told me before I even signed the offer letter was about the home office setup allowance. I could (and should have) spent $500 on the office furniture, and that’s not counting external monitors, cables, etc.

Boris told me I should get an adjustable desk. I told him (one more time) that I do not like working standing, but he said that the adjustable desk would be good for me. I asked Anna what she would get for the home office, and she was: Mom, get a standing desk! – Are you guys related or what?!

Then, there was a long story of choosing all of the components, and then they started to arrive separately! I was hoping that all the parts would arrive while Boris was still here, but this didn’t happen. The tabletop arrived after he left, and FedEx just dumped it on the grass by the front door. Thankfully, Anna and her family came a day later, and they carried the door to my apartment, but they had no time to assemble it. 

When Vlad visited unexpectedly, I was more than happy to see him, but my next thought was: oh, he is here for just a short while, he won’t be able to assemble a desk for me. And you know what? He and Dylon found the time to assemble the desk, install the monitor arm, disassemble the old desk, bring it (and all the packaging of the new desk) down, and put the old desk on Craig’s list! That was a real gift! Almost better than Nancy Pelosi candle 🙂

Lots Of Presents

What else about Christmas? There was a lot of cooking and a lot of washing dishes, as I already mentioned. And there were presents. 

Nadia spent a lot of time coloring the wooden ornaments, and then she packed them for different people. It was great to see that she already understands the joy of giving.


I was very happy with the presents I picked for my granddaughters. I got insider information from Anna that Nadia thinks that Baba will give her ice skates for Christmas. I was happy to follow up :).

Continue reading “Lots Of Presents”

Christmas In Milwaukee

“On Christmas Eve in the morning” I tried to get out of the house quickly and prepared the breakfast tray the night before. And guess what – the sideboard broke, and my breakfast ended up on the floor, the fruits, and milk,,and everything mixed!
Boarding the Hiawatha Train
It was not on purpose!
Kitchen assignment: all Russian traditional salads
I love this picture, but the background situation was a non-working dishwasher, which created extra work with eleven people in the house to be very problematic, even with the single-use plates!
Continue reading “Christmas In Milwaukee”

Last Days Before Christmas

On Wednesday, I took a half-day off, having plans to do my haircut in Palatine, visit my former neighbor, and meet with my other Palatine friend with whom we did the forest preserve volunteering.

First, my hairstylist texted me that she tested positive for COVID. I know that it can happen with anybody, but I felt that this was unfair to her because she was vaccinated and boosters, and she was always so careful! She got it light, thanks to the vaccine, but obviously, we had to cancel my appointment.

I thought – OK, I will have more time with my friends, and we even made an ambitious plan to go to the forest preserve, but you won’t believe it! The car got stuck on the tracks just to stations from Palatine, and we spent almost an hour not moving!

We still had a good conversation, but it felt very unfair once again!

On the bright side – I texted my hairstylist that I would mail her the cookies I would have given her in person. I had no expectations regarding their arrival time, but miraculously, the priority mail was delivered the next day, as if it was not the Christmas season.

I finished packing, helped mom assemble goody bags for all adults with whom we would celebrate Christmas. I also gave my neighbors cookies, did a couple of other last-minute things, and ended up going to bed after midnight for several days straight again.

Then’ we had very busy but beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Anna’s family, and now I am back, and I’ve been smiling non-stop for the past two days!

my neighborhood just before Christmas


I had two more cultural events last week: I went to see the Christmas Carol at Goodman and then to the Music of the Baroque holiday concert at the Alice Milar Chapel in Evanston.
The Goodman play is a holiday classic, and the concert is the one I wanted to attend for many years, but it was difficult to get to the location while I lived in Palatine.
I took mom with me for both things, and both times it ended badly. Some things can hopefully be corrected for the future, but with some, I do not really know what to do. Unfortunately, these two performances didn’t result in any holiday cheer.

People’s Connections

The last several days were filled with visits and conversations, making me feel very good. Yesterday, Anna and her family visited me, and the highlight of the day was going skating at Millennium Park. I told Nadia a long time ago that I would teach her to skate, and we pretty much did it yesterday! She was able to glide for a bit, and she got the feeling of skating rather than walking on ice. I am sure that next time she is on the skating rink, she will skate on her own.
We also had a short visit to the Art Institue and saw the Neapolitan Creche, and then we came back to my house, and Anna made dinner for everybody. Initially, we didn’t plan to eat at home, but we ended up having lunch and dinner at my house. Lunch was a takeout, and then Anna made an awesome paste dinner. I rarely make pasta for myself because it is challenging to make pasta for one :). So it was all good.

I received two presents with my Saturday mail: one from my very dear friend in Chicago and one from my friends in Ireland.

We haven’t seen each other in person for a while now, and my friend made a collage of several photos of us together
One more ornament – love it!
Continue reading “People’s Connections”

Family Thanksgiving

I can’t finish this post for five days:), so it might give an impression that our Thanksgiving was canceled this year one more time. But we had a Thanksgiving after all, and it was a beautiful one! Until almost the very last moment, we were not sure whether we would get together because Kira didn’t feel well. Fortunately, she felt better Thursday morning, and the COVID test was negative so that the whole family could come.

Boris could not make it this year because several work things piled up, and Vlad almost never can make it. We ended up having a family zoom, but a big part of the family was at one place, unlike last year. It was also an opportunity to test the setup with my large movable screen – we moved it to the dining room for “giving thanks.”

Nadia had a great time playing with my friend’s 7-year-old daughter. They barricaded themselves in the sunroom and didn’t let adults in :). The adults enjoyed the conversation, and I was so glad that we had this gathering!

This giant Watermelon radish came in one of the CSA deliveries
And it is pink inside!
Continue reading “Family Thanksgiving”

Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting

I forgot to write about the actual start of the holiday season: the Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. For many years, I attended it regardless of the weather, first with the kids, then on my own. I stopped attending it after the tree was moved away from the Daley Plaza to Millennium Park. The first reason was that the tree should be close to the Christkindle Market; they belong together. Second, the new location is less convenient. You have to be in a specific place to see what’s going on by the tree, and the first year I observed that most people who gathered to see the tree were able to see nothing.

Then, it was the Laquan McDonald unrest. It was quite horrible when people were already marching towards the Loop, and Mayor Emmanuel was lighting the Christmas tree. It is no wonder that people started pulling the lights off the tree and doing other damage to it.

Because of all that, I stopped coming to the ceremony, but this year, everything was different!
After not having a ceremony last year, we had it live! Also, this time around, there was more space to watch, and also, several large screens were projecting what was going on on stage.
Igor took my mom to the event, and one of my friends joined us. As usual, mom was first complaining that it takes too long to get there, and she did not want to inconvenience anybody. Then, she complained that she could not see anything, and then she said that the show with Ded Morozes on the boats in Saint Petersburg was better. Nevertheless, she asked both Igor and me to send her the pictures, and she asked several times how the show was called and for how many years it was on, and then sent the pictures to all her friends.

Fireworks after the tree lighting