And One More Accident

Just to complete the list of this week’s horror stories. On Saturday morning, I went on a relatively long bike ride. I had a long to-do list, and my cleaning person was going to come at 8 AM, and another contractor was going to show up at 8-30. I was determined to take advantage of an early sunrise and make it to the Mill and back within an hour or an hour and ten minutes.

Everything was perfect, including the weather. I was on my older bike and was moving very fast (I still need to figure out why the new bike is slower). I made it even a little bit past the Mill and was returning, and almost at the end of the Lakefront Trail, there was a lady suddenly walking with her bike between her legs, bypassing a heap of sand.

Since I had already passed this sand on the way forward, I knew it was fine to bike over it, and I decided to pass this lady on the left (and on the sand), which… didn’t end up well.

I didn’t ever realize at first that I had an injury: I didn’t hit my head at all, and the bike was fine, and then she started to yell at me that I shouldn’t have tried to pass her, and thee was a reason why she was walking and that I need to go to the emergency because I am bleeding.

I thought that it was just a scratch on my knee and waved her off. Only when I mounted on my bike again, I realized that the nail of my left thumb is barely hanging on a thin strip of skin and was bleeding. I tore it off completely (what else could I do?), took a tissue out of my pocket and wrapped it around my thumb, and then continued my ride home.

I didn’t even feel much pain. I came home, parked my bike, went upstairs and watered the flowers on the balcony, and set down to type a short email to Boris. Then suddenly, I felt that I had trouble breathing, and I started sweating, and everything around me went dark. I tried to stand up, and then I realized I needed to lie down on the floor because otherwise, I would fall down. Perhaps, I did fall down anyway because my watch asked me whether I had fallen!

Long story short: it is not fun, but 1) good thing it happened this weekend, not the previous one! 2) Good thing it does not prevent me from typing! 3) it will take a very long to heal, and the surface will continue to be very sensitive for a while 4) but it will grow back eventually!


For the past three or four months, I have been making an effort to sleep more. I had a feeling that recently, my five-and-half hours were not enough anymore, and for the longest time, I had a battle with myself to get six hours of sleep every night. I rarely succeeded (except for when in Finland), but I kept trying. I thought I managed to do it rarely often and was surprised to see that my Apple watch rarely tells me that I met my sleep goal.

A couple of days ago I finally decided to look at the stats in the Health app, and I found out that the length of my sleep didn’t change for the past two years! When I was trying to sleep more, I ended up having more time “in bed”, but exactly the same sleep time, which is something like 5 hours and 15 or 20 minutes.

Now I am going to stop trying because lying in bed and not doing anything is a complete waste of time! (Sleep is a waist of time in general, but even my body needs some :))


As if I didn’t have enough to deal with, I started to experience pain in my right eye. That happened Sunday night, pretty much out of nowhere. I thought it would get back to normal soon, but it was not getting better, so on Tuesday, I when to the doctor (“any doctor available”). They told me a lot of horror stories about my eye and how it’s an emergency situation and wrote a prescription for two kinds of drops.

I am not going to comment on all these horrors because 1) I didn’t listen well since I was shocked 2) I am going to see the same doctor on Friday, and we’ll see. Now (Wednesday evening) it feels better than yesterday (finally), so I hope it will be even better by Friday.

Two things bother me in the current situation. First, my eye hurt so much in the past two days that I had trouble working on my computer so I fell behind again after I almost caught up on Sunday. Second, I have to wear glasses (God knows for how long), and I can’t see right, and my head hurts all the time. I thought that my prescription was not updated, but it turned out I updated the glasses last summer. It’s just that I am not used to glasses.

I know that is minor in comparison with serious problems other people have, and things are not bad in general, and I know that no timing is right for health issues. Still, I keep lamenting about what an inconvenient time that it all happened!

iPhone Upgrade

I was planning to upgrade to iPhone 14 when I discovered Sprint quietly terminated the FlexLease program. I spent some time “yelling” via chat at their sales rep (her explanations were pathetic) and then paused to see my options. It turned out that Apple itself now runs a similar program without any attachment to a specific carrier. The only unplanned expense was paying back the remaining cost of my iPhone 13. That also had a certain advantage because now I owned it, and I passed it to Boris.

I was cautious about when to make a switch because previously, I had all sorts of complications and had to visit a store or chat with a rep.

This time, it was the most smooth transition I have ever had! Zero interruption in receiving calls, and all the apps migrated without problems. The only thing I had to set up anew was a FaceID (and the new one is better and n=better recognized). Also, I had to confirm adding credit cards to Apple Pay on that phone, and that was it.

There are several new cool features on the iPhone 14, one being the “always on” option (it turned out it consumes a lot of battery, but it is nice to have it). The screen goes dark but not completely black, and important notifications remain. I also love the new and improved camera (what is the primary reason to switch to the next model anyway :)?).

There are also some new features in the apps. It is entirely possible that they were there before, and I just didn’t pay attention, but nevertheless:).

I looked at the Health app because I noticed that it reports the sleep time differently and wanted to see what else is new. It turned out that it now reports way more data on sleep, including the phases, but while I was there, I ran across something else.

I verified how my medical ID is set, and the app asked whether I wanted to connect my medical records. I replied – yes, and it started to sniff around and look at the medical institutions close to my house. Then it found the one where my family doctor is and asked whether I wanted to link my medical records. I said yes, entered my credentials, and my medical records were linked. I know that many people find such app behavior intrusive and dangerous, but it means that if I call for emergency medical assistance by pressing the button, the paramedics who arrive would have instant access to my medical records, my doctor’s contact information, etc. And I think it’s very important.

Physical Therapy

Another December achievement was that I finally found a physical therapist I like, and also very close to my house, just ten minutes walking distance. That was another item on my list that I could not complete for a while, and possibly if my back problems won’t exacerbate during the holiday, I might never start looking seriously and could keep living with multiple minor issues.

But now, finally and fortunately – I have a specialist whom I trust and who is easy to reach, and that’s one of these small pieces of my everyday life puzzle, which is finally in place :).

And yes, he did some magic with my back, and things became better instantaneously. Now I can’t believe that just three weeks ago, I worried that all my troubles had started over again.


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 🙂


I made some progress with Mom’s medical appointments in the past two months. First, we met with the social worker, who talked with her about the Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives. She sent us a copy of the document to review with mom and sign it.

Since the doctor suggested it, mom could not object to discussing this uncomfortable topic. Previously she was always like, “I do not want to talk about it; I didn’t give it a thought.” Now, she had no choice but review :). Then, we met with a geriatric specialist. I wanted to arrange that for a long time because I am never sure whether I am too alarmed when mom forgets things or the opposite – I do not notice when it’s time to be alarmed.

We talked for a very long time. On the one hand, there was some reassurance that things were not that bad. On the other hand, they do not have a baseline. For them, the fact that mom does not forget to turn the gas off, can cook, and shop for her groceries is enough to conclude that she is in decent shape. I know, however, that these are very basic skills for her that will be there the longest. We will see how things will progress.

Another progress was with her hearing aid – she was seen by a high-skilled professional, ee=vverything free, everything without long waits. Now we are waiting for t=her new hearing devices to be ready. The place where they are made is Russian-speaking, but she still has so much trouble understanding what she is asked that I had to call them back afterward to clarify several things. (I could not go with herl Igor did, and he was sure she understood the questions, which was a wrong assumption).

I do not want to take her for a vision test until she has her new hearing aid, which will most likely happen later in spring.


I know that I am at least two weeks late with this post, but it’s only in the past two days that I found some time to write it all, although it was in my head for quite a while. Here it goes.


As I’ve said multiple times, what a year!!! Although all changes were for good at the end of the year, and I am ending on the positive side of things, it was too much! Because of so many things happening, I inevitably “lost” some things; that is, I had no time to do everything I wanted. 

The most important thing in 2021 was my move. I could not imagine the extent to which it would change my life before it happened, neither could I foresee many of the individual changes. It’s too early to be sure – I have lived in Rogers Park for less than a year – but I think that the impact of this event on my life may be the closest to my move to the US; so many things have changed! 

Besides the move, it was:

  • our book was published
  • I sold my car, and after 24 years of driving, became a non-driver
  • I changed job
  • Sold my old house
  • Refinanced my new house, which dramatically improved my financial situation
  • changed job one more time, and became a part of the EDB family

Both job changes were accompanied by a lot of rethinking what I want from a job, what is important to me, what I think about myself, and my impact on the Universe. 

I want to be very clear – I do not regret making the first career move this year. I learned a lot during this shortest tenure I ever had, and I will never look the same way at many aspects of database development. I have a different level of expectations: for myself and the Postgres community. On the other hand, I’ve experienced the biggest personal and professional disappointment in my life. Chad was such an important figure for me for over twenty years that I still feel the void. The irony of the situation is that many years ago, his influence helped me to become this very person who can’t tolerate the behavior he demonstrated. He is definitely my “person of the year” – in the Times magazine meaning. 

As for my second career move, the impact was also unexpected. I didn’t expect it to be such a big deal as it turned to be. I didn’t know how different that consulting was going to be. And in any case, I am just starting!

And one more big change of the year. I think that has been going on for a couple of years now, but I heard it in these terms only this summer. My then-new coworker exclaimed during our group lunch: oh, you are famous! How does it feel to be famous? I replied that I felt it was an extra responsibility, it’s that I needed to think twice before saying or typing something. That I know what I say makes an impact. I know that people listen and judge. 

And here are my hopes and my resolutions for 2022.

Work-life integration

  • I want 2022 to be less eventful than 2021! It was too much!
  • I do not want to change jobs in 2022. I want to stay where I am now, at least for 1.5 years. 
  • I want to use my position as an EDB employee to make many things, and especially NORM, happen in Postgres.
  • I want to resume my activities on building and maintaining Chicago PUG. I didn’t do it well in the past 3 or 4 months, and I need to change it. 
  • I need to learn to work from home. I remember that there were times when I liked it. I do not like it anymore, and there are too many things which fit nicely in my life when I work in the office. I need to learn to organize my life working from home, not just a couple of times a week but all the time. 
  • On that subject, I need to re-evaluate what I spend time on. Now that I am more financially stable than ever, I should learn to spend money rather than time in many situations, from taking Uber more often to purchasing more food online. 
  • I want to finally get on a more normal sleep schedule and not try to sleep less than I need.


  • I want to continue saving more than I did in previous years to invest more in my retirement and rainy day fund.
  • I need to stick to the schedule I developed to pay off my mortgage ahead of time; by the time I retire.
  • I need to look at how much and which causes I donate and restructure my donations. Overall, to give more. 

People and relationships

  • I want to make more time to people in my life, both “live” and virtually, not to abandon relationships because of “lack of time.”
  • I need to learn to be more patient with mom because my time with her does not benefit me if I am impatient. If I want to do something good for her, I need to be patient and supportive.
  • Allocate time for social media, both Russian and English; different media for different reasons, but if I keep certain social media accounts, there is a reason for each of them.
  • And I need to use this time more productively.

I guess, to summarize, I need to rethink what I spend my time on.

I am not writing anything about my personal life here. Not because there are no goals, but because we have goals regardless of the beginning of the year, and I hope that we will continue to work on our relationships the same way as we did in the second half of 2021. 

That being said, hello 2022!


On Sunday, when mom and I were on the CTA on the way to the concert, a mentally unstable person walked into a car. He sat down and started to yell something ineligible. I was more concerned that he was not wearing a mask than anything else.

Mom didn’t say anything until later (on the way back, there were two young women with the music turned very loud, and we walked to another car). At that time, she asked why this man “was yelling so loudly.” I told her that he was mentally unstable, but as it often happens now, she didn’t listen and didn’t try to understand what I was saying. Instead, she continued: a white man would never do that! What are they trying to demonstrate? Are they trying to prove that they can do anything they want now, that they are not slaves anymore?

When I was walking home, I thought about how I could talk to her and explain how racist her conversation was, and I did some prep in my head. But the next time I was over at her place, she was in one of these moods when she started from one statement and literally did not hear when I tried to stop her and make a contra argument. And then it was one of these circles when she jumps from one repetitive passage to another, and I know all of them and all possible sequences, and I have no choice other than to sit and listen.

That racist stuff really bothers me, even as I understand, that she can’t make new mental constructions anymore. Even if I would try to reason with her to the effect of whether she thinks about herself as “white” as her most important characteristic, it does not feel like she can make new connections. Even if we talk about issues other than race, no matter how many times I explain to her that things she considers impolite are perfectly polite in the modern world, Russia and America alike. She just replies: but that’s how I feel! I have a right to feel a certain way, the way I was raised!

That was just to document the current state of things. I do not know how fast things will be developing from here. No conclusion.

Last Night

Yesterday was the last day Boris was here, and it was one of the most productive days of his stay. Even though he had to leave to the airport at 6 PM, and even though we slept a little bit (by my standards :)), we did a lot! It would be a great day, except it ended with my mom on her first trip to the emergency room.

Igor took her to Devon market for shopping, and somehow she tripped on something on the floor and fall just the moment Igor looked away in search of the shopping cart. She had serious bleeding on the left side of her face. Somebody got her a bandaid, and she even continued shopping; however, she felt lightheaded. When Igor called me, I told him we need to take her to the emergency room to check for a concussion. It ended up alright: the nearest 24-hour emergency was not far away, and we didn’t even have to wait long. She got a CT scan, and she had no concussion, and the doctor put pain-relieving patches on her back and chest where she said it hurt and a stitch on her face. But even with everybody being very efficient, we left the hospital at 11 PM and had to wait for Uber and then drop her off first, and then me.

I am glad we took her to emergency and that I do not have to worry for days whether it could be a concussion, so I won’t even say that I planned that evening differently 🙂