Gardening

Another weekend activity was planting my flower garden. For the past four years, each spring, something would happen which would prevent me from doing it the way I like.

In 2016, I just started my new job; I was traveling to Texas each week, and I do not even remember how that summer looked like. I remember that I only put some flowers in the planters on the deck. In 2017, the weather was really bad, and half of what I planted died. In 2018, I had my back surgery. And in 2019 I could not start panting until June, because it was so cold! Each spring, I was saying to myself that next year it will be better. And here comes 2020!

I knew that after this weekend, the weather wouldn’t be great for a while, so Sunday morning, I headed to the Home Depot. It was not “first thing in the morning,” I was up for almost five hours by that time, but 10 AM is still considered morning 🙂

At Home Depot, it was pretty well organized, they had a separate entrance and exit, and they only allowed a limited number of people into the store simultaneously. I have to say, that selection was not that great; I know pretty well what I need to get to have all of my flowerbeds and planters the way I want. This time, many items which I used to buy every year where not there. If it were business as usual, I would come back one more time and one more time and would visit other stores, but that time around, I decided that I will go with what they have. So unless I will run into them in Jewel-Osco, I won’t have any ivy, coleuses, or decorative sweet potato vines. But hey – I got a full trunk!

I started planting in the afternoon but managed to finish everything in one day.The weather was beautiful, I was outside in a t-short and capris, and I really like how it all turned out!

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“I Can Do It!”

I am always taking pride in “I can do it” kind of things. However, I vividly remember what happened when Anna and Vlad went away to college. And when I realized that when I see some unknown bug in the house, I can’t scream: Vlaaad!!! Get this thing out of here! And I can’t ask anybody to get into the attic to take the stuff out. That year, I had to learn to do lots of things by myself for the first time!
When Vlad came home for Thanksgiving that first year in college, he told me: Mom, I am so happy that there are still things you can’t do yourself! And I get it :). With both Boris and Vlad, there are things that I would always delegate to them.

So what happens when due to the quarantine, your family is in five different places? You have to learn to do even more things by yourself :).

Last weekend, I had two activities of that kind. First, I needed to install a handlebar extension on my blue bike. Last year, I bought this bike “just for fun” because it was blue, and I didn’t plan to equip it fully with all the necessary details. But since my white and green bike will stay inside until the end of quarantine, the blue bike became my primary means of transportation. Usually, Boris installs all the new gadgets on my bike, or I would ask Anna or Vlad. But since none of them were available, I had to manage. Boris explained to me everything I needed to do over Facetime, and I marched to the garage well-equipped. Things didn’t go quite smoothly, but I did it!

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House Decorated for Easter

On Saturday, I stopped at our local Jewel-Osco for a sole reason of buying flowers. I felt almost ashamed that I am in a drugstore for flowers, wondering whether this is a non-essential need. But one of the shoppers exclaimed: It’s so nice you are buying flowers! I smiled and thought to myself: well, nobody canceled Easter and the Palm Sunday! And by the Palm Sunday my house is supposed to be decorated, even it it’s just me solo. So – here we are!

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Just a Moment of Life

Today, I finally cut my Christmas tree into pieces, which I can now use as firewood. It took me only fifteen minutes, including cutting branches with needles and packing them into a separate paper bag.

I know how funny it sounds, but I am genuinely proud of that fact. Just a couple of years ago, I could not use a saw. They taught me how to use it at Deer Grove Forest preserve; I did not want to be among the group of volunteers who could not use a saw. I tried several times, but at some point, it would stick in the wood. Then finally, Mark showed me a magic trick, and since then, I am capable :). But fifteen minuted is an accomplishment!

I took a tree down four weeks ago, but I didn’t have time to cut it the same weekend (or I thought so). Then it was raining, then it was cold, then snowing, and then I left and was away for two weekends in a row. Today I was running around all morning and all afternoon and got to this tree business only at twenty to five. And I managed to finish before the sunset :).
I took all the wood inside so that it could become dry. And then I started the fire with the last year leftovers, and I also threw a couple of fir tree branches into the fireplace. They make such a loud crackling sound, and they smell good!


One more skill which I recently learned – I learned to start and keep the fire with the natural wood (not the long-running “logs”) so that the fire does not stop before all the wood is burned entirely. And I do not have to watch the fire all the time. I like the real wood better, and also – it does not take four hours.

A fireplace with live flames, a glass of wine, and a piece of cheese make a moment of tranquility. And now back to work:)

Before I Get Back to Work and Life…

I’ve already posted this video on Instagram, but Instagram saves only the first minute. Here is the full version – all three minutes :). There are lots of things I am going to write about in the next several days, which will be relatively relaxing (but only relatively:)). Still, before all these things, I just wanted to say how much I love my house at Christmas and how happy I am to be able to spend this after-Christmas time here by myself.

I spent the last couple of hours sitting by the fireplace, catching up with my friends’ updates, and drinking hot black tea with Finnish blueberry liquor. And having some parmesan cheese with the most fantastic fig jam with ginger and cardamon, a Christmas gift from my friend.

Breakfasts Outside are Almost Over!

There are multiple signs that fall is nearing. One of them are these colored leaves:

More obvious is the fact I’ve complained about a while ago – the days a getting shorter, and my summer activities are going away one after another. Soon my breakfasts outside will be over, at least the weekday breakfasts – I am out of the house shortly after 7 AM. And since Boris does not like eating outside, I’ve lost one week ahead of schedule :).

Now I am going to celebrate my love for breakfasts outside, and showing some recent buys which make my morning experiences even better.


I had this wooden tray for a while, and I would always put a pretty Scandinavian design paper napkin on it. However, since for the last two times in IKEA, I was unable to find the ones I like, I ended up remembering that I have a lot of cloth napkins I do not use!

I also got two more trays, in case I will have some house guests who like eating outside 🙂 I ended up liking this one even better than the one I had before!

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