Glendalough National Park

On Saturday, my friends took me to two places outside Dublin. The first place we visited was Glendalough National Park. First of all, it’s an exceptionally beautiful park, the nature is amazing, there are hills, lakes, waterfalls, and old trees. Most important, however, is that it is the oldest monastic site, founded in the 6th century!

The trees covered with moss
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Flood Damage

The next day after I left for Europe, Chicago was hit by a heavy storm, and four inches of water dropped over the Northern part of the city, including Rogers Park. Both garden units in our building, the storage rooms and the gym, were flooded.
Somehow, I was not included in the original email chain and learned it all postfactum.
The damage is massive, and I have no idea when everything will be repaired:

In Milwaukee

I didn’t miss the train and spent a day with my girls in Milwaukee. We went to the forest where Nadia had her Forest Camp and spent more than two hours walking around while Nadia showed us all the places where they’ve been. I was very happy to be in the forest – I do not have anything like this close to me anymore, and also it was a joy to listen to Nadia talking about her summer experience and to observe how she interacts with Kira.

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Deer Grove!

I took a day off today to do several things in Palatine. The only thing I was not able to schedule was a meeting with my old neighbor – out schedules didn’t match. All the rest went great. As previously, I took UP-N Metra to Clyborn, and switched to NP-NW to go to Palatine. One of my Palatine friends picked me up, and we went for a walk at Deer Grove. Everything looks like the-end-of-summer, but I was really happy to walk the same path I used to walk and to see the prairie. Then we sat and chatted in her house, and she took me to my last implant check (finally done with that!). From there, I walked to my hair stylist appointment, and from there, my other friend picked me up and we had a long late lunch and talked about a million things.

It was so good to be together with the people I love and miss, and it was great to reunite with the prairie, if even for a short time!

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Friday Off

I had to work for the past two “Wellness Fridays” for half-day, and today, I took a Friday off to compensate for these two halves. It was the only day off I took during Boris’ visit, and we had plans.

The first and the most important thing we did – we went kayaking! There are many kayaking opportunities in Chicago, and I knew that Boris wanted to try it. However, I was more than scared to try, and the reason I finally gave in was the offer from the Shedd Aquarium: they run “Kayaking for conservation” tours, where they show the conservation and restoration efforts on the Chicago RIver. I chose a tour “for people with no experience” and signed us up.

Boris really enjoyed it. As for me, I am happy that I overcame my fears, although it was not easy. Perhaps if I would practice more, I would start to enjoy it. Today it was mostly “I made it!”

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Chicago Adventures With Lena

Yesterday, my friend Lena from Ann Arbor came to visit me for the weekend, and today was a blast! Not even mentioning how much I enjoy Lena’s company, what a fun person she is, but we did tons of cool things together.

We started the day with the Millennium Art Fair on Michigan Avenue, where I bought two rings with flowers inside, and Lena bought a pair of earrings with butterfly wings (they explained to us that they collect the wings from dead butterflies).

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Smells Can’t Be Captured

Since early May, I meant to blog about the smells which follow me on my bike rides in Chicago, how the lilacs were heavenly, and how now they are gone and everything smells with linden. In Helsinki, lilacs were still in bloom when I arrived, but in the past two days they were almost gone and the strong smell of jasmine started to dominate. It’s one of my childhood smells, strongly associated with July. That’s how the second session of the pioneer camp smelled :).

California In Bloom

The Computer History Museum took a good part of our second day. In the afternoon, we went for a tour of Lady Winchester Mansion. I saw it previously, and I wanted Boris to see it. I think the tour last time was better, more detailed, more history.

This time, they had smaller groups of visitors (still COVID restrictions) but they were letting the groups in every five minutes, and the tour guides were a little bit in a rush 🙂

I didn’t take any pictures this time, because I photographed almost everything in this house on the previous tour.

I still had some time before dinner and departure, and I decided to take a quick walk around the neighborhood. As quick as it was, I really enjoyed the beautiful nature and all its “unlikeness” to what I can in Illinois.

Overall, I think I feel California better now than after my previous multiple trips, so I guess it’s good to visit while you are not attending a conference 🙂


While I have some breathing room, here are more California pictures. When we finally arrived in Monterey, it was an afternoon already, and not even an early afternoon :). Did I say it already, how I completely forgot about traveling by car and traffic jams? Saying it again!

We had a late lunch/early dinner, and then we took a long walk along the ocean coast. The ocean is beautiful! So beautiful, it does not seem real! Not like I would trade living by lake Michigan for living by the Pacific :).

Can you see the seals?
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