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”

In DC

Our family trip to DC planned six months ago, goes on as a combination of unique experiences and major disasters. The first thing that went wrong was that Kira got sick just 36 hours before the trip, and so neither she nor John was able to come. The rest of us got to DC safely and checked in at Riggs hotel. This building used to be a bank (you can read about its history here), and Vlad is a beverage manager at the Silver Lyan bar in this hotel.

Some pictures from the hotel:

The rooms doors are made to look like volt doors
The old safe contains a mini-bar and an actual modern safe
The 24-hour gym
Hotel bikes

Mom

It has been very difficult to communicate with my mom recently. More than ever, she chooses to complain about everything. Her apartment didn’t get enough heat. I called the office; they told me they would install extra heaters, but then the parts won’t come on time (supply chain crisis), and there was almost a month wait.

So first, mom complained that everybody ignored her. Then she was happy for a couple of days, and now she is complaining that it’s too hot. She does not remember how she didn’t have any control over the temperature in her apartment in Saint-Petersburg. Now she is saying that she could always open a balcony door in Saint-Petersburg, and here she is afraid to open the window.

Then comes a usual chain of complaints like she could always look out of the window and see how people were dressed outside and figure out what’s the weather. Nothing new; it’s just that she repeats it more often, without anything positive in between.

Also, all the conversations related to the war are impossible. Last weekend, Igor brought some local Russian newspapers to her, which she could not ignore. She asks”not to talk to her” about the war, but this is becoming increasingly difficult. On top of it, she forgets more and more things and gets very defensive, if not aggressive, when I remind her. She’s saying that that’s me who forgets things and then “accuses” her. I think I need to message her doctor and ask what’s the right way to handle such situations.

Several other issues are very difficult to handle, but I will stop now so that I won’t do the same thing as she does 🙂