Maybe, It Does Not Sound Funny, But It Was Funny!

You know, how one thing leads to another… after I picked up an additional external monitor from the office so that I could have two external monitors to work from home, I realized that my first monitor is not of great quality. And when you mostly work from home, it matters.

I discussed it with Boris, and we agreed that I would purchase the same model as I have upstairs for online classes. The only thing that scared me a little bit was the fact that this monitor was sitting not on the stand but the adjustable desk mount. I asked Boris whether he is sure I can affix it myself. He said: definitely, it’s just four screws, and that’s it. And I believed him!

That was another project for the holiday weekend. The monitor was delivered, and I told Boris that he would need to guide me through the process using Facetime.

Now, it’s not that much space on my desk. This desk used to be spacious fifteen years ago or so, but since then, the standards have changed. And the monitor sizes, as well.

I was able to unscrew the old monitor from the mount. But after that, the mount, free of the monitor weight, went up, and would not come down. And I had to hold it to screw on the new monitor without being able to see what I am doing.

That was a challenge! First, I didn’t realize that the new monitor has it’s own four screws in and wondered why I couldn’t find the holes! Then, it was almost impossible to keep the whole construction down. Boris kept telling me that I should turn the mount ninety degrees so that it would be easier to attach a new device, but again, without the weight, the mount won’t cooperate. At some point, it jumped up and hurt my upper lip and the bottom of the nouse. I screamed; that’s how bad it was!

Boris suggested finding a box that will support the monitor on the height of the mount’s natural position, which I did, and then I was able to screw it in, and everything was great. But looking back at that situation, even though my nouse still hurts, I can’t keep from laughing! Who else would complete such a project remotely?!

I can’t believe it’s still Friday!

‘I can’t believe it’s still Friday!” – that’s what I said to myself about an hour ago. A Friday of Independence Day weekend, which would be perfect, if happened in the time of peace.
Even though there are none of the usual Independence Day activities, I still planned a lot. This week, I finally felt that I am very close to a usual self, active, getting things done, making plans, and completing the projects.

We had a shortened workday yesterday, and I was able to complete some of my shopping and other errands. I stopped myself from trying to do even more, knowing that I would be entirely exhausted by the end of the day if I tried. After all, I am not thirty-five anymore. That was a wise decision – I had enough energy today not only to finish shopping but also to finalize my order for the new stairs in the Home Depot. It might sound not like a big deal, but that’s what I had to do:

1) to come there without the laminate samples I took home several weeks ago to choose the best match
2) run back home with another, more promising sample to check 3) stop at ALDI on the way home, because it was indeed on the way.
4) pay with my Home Depot credit card.
5) lose my card somewhere in the store
6) rush home, call the credit card to report a loss.
7) at some point to receive a text message from my neighbor, that she needs some help with her computer
8) come to her house and fix the problem (which fortunately ended up having nothing to do with a computer)
I also did a lot of cooking and baking, and fixing some floral arrangements on the deck, which were damaged during recent storms, and installed a new printer at mom’s house.
Today, this bubble in my eye is finally gone, and I started to wear contacts again. That also helps me to feel more like a human 🙂

While discussing with Boris this whole situation of masks and not masks, we were trying to figure out why it all worked in Finland, although the face-covering was never mandatory there. Boris said that he thinks it’s mostly because of air conditioning. In Finland, most private houses do not have it and all office workers are still working from home and are supposed to continue in the same manner until September.

The airconditioning idea looks very logical. It would explain the Southern states’ spikes. It’s not really the fact that they were opening too rapidly, but rather “how many people trickled into the newly opened bars with airconditioning.”
I guess I will wear a mask in the office, even if I will be the only one who will return back 🙂

Today’s Breakfast

My favorite local grocery sells a variety of Italian biscuits, and some have breakfast suggestions on the packaging.

It looks funny (or I’d rather say – unusual) for somebody used to American or Scandinavian breakfasts, and who often invest more time in breakfast preparation than in cooking dinner. However, possibly because I first saw these biscuits in the wake of lockdown (I believe it was a part of my previously mentioned “hoarding specialty food” spree) all of a sudden, I wanted to make myself a breakfast like this.

Since even Italian references can’t bring me to the point of consuming whole milk sweetened latte, I ended up modifying it a little bit, so that I get a similar amount of protein and sweetness from the different sources :).

Fat-free raspberry skyr with raspberries on top

And here is how it looks on my deck:

Analyzing Quarantine Shopping

I threw away a couple of items from my fridge, which I bought in mid-March, just before the lockdown. I was trying very hard not to get into apocalyptic shopping, considering I’ve been through the winter of 91-92. 

I was not afraid that there would be nothing to eat. However, I was a little bit afraid that some specialty stuff might disappear from the shelves because the stores will be trying to satisfy a demand for basic products, which for several days looked like it is going to happen. 

Undoubltfully I bought something extra during that time. Most of the products were consumed in the course of the next two-three months. Some non-perishable is still sitting in my pantry and will be eventually consumed. Some are the items I occasionally buy, for “just in case” situations, like canned chicken soup to be there on a day when I would get sick. By the way, did anybody notice that when we are in isolation, we are not getting sick whatsoever, even with a common cold?! I think it proves that when we are getting sick in the time of normality, it’s not because somebody was dressed not according to the weather, but because somebody got a virus. 

Back to the aftermath of the pre-lockdown shopping. Another category of that extra stuff was due to brand substitution. I get most of my household supplies from Amazon Subscribe and Save. And in late March, lots of these items were back-ordered. Although I could easily wait for a couple of weeks, I had that thought of “oh, and if they will never restock?!” I ended up purchasing brands that I didn’t really like, but they were available, and then my regular brands would reappear and would be delivered. I am just finished with the dishwasher pods of the wrong brand, and it’s the end of June! And I am still not through with the wrong-brand napkins! 

And I didn’t escape a curse of buying extra hand soap! I do not use much of regularly, and most often, purchase perfumed ones from Yves Rocher. But when everybody is buying … Guilty of one refill jar and a pack of four regular-size/regular-flavor. And I hope that that’s it, and my shopping will remain normal 🙂

Everything Is Falling Apart!

Last Saturday, I walked into my kitchen and noticed that something was on the stovetop, which looked like splashes. I proceeded with wiping them off, but I quickly realized that they were not splashes – they were cracks. My glass stovetop had two massive cracks, and I had no idea when and why they appeared! I didn’t drop anything on the stovetop, that’s for sure, and I didn’t hear anything falling. In any case, there was a double-crack and some dents along with it.

I googled the situation, and Grandfather Google told me that I couldn’t use the stove like this, and I need either to replace the glass or the whole stove.

Figuring that the glass top would cost at least $200 plus labor, plus I need to find a technician to do this job, plus the wait time, I decided that the best bet would be to buy a new one. I went to the Home Depot website, being slightly upset that I do not have time to do a throughout research. But I quickly realized that most of the models were not available until mid-July or even August, and there were just a few which could be delivered within a week. I chose one of those, and then I thought that since I am buying a stove, I can also buy a new over-the-stove microwave. I planned to replace it in February, but then life happened. Once again, looking mostly at the earliest delivery time, I chose one and proceeded to the checkout. The website was hinting that I can apply for a Home Depot credit card, and have zero-percent financing for a year. I had this card a while ago but stopped it when I stopped making major purchases at Home Depot. Having too many credit cards is not good for your credit history, and I terminated it. This time I said to myself: I do not need this card, and I do not need zero percent financing; I can pay right away, but the next page said: you will receiver $50 off each appliance if you apply, and I gave in :).

Continue reading “Everything Is Falling Apart!”


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!

Continue reading “Gardening”

“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!

Continue reading ““I Can Do It!””

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!

Continue reading “House Decorated for Easter”

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.