I am sure I blogged about it a couple of times, but one more time… 

Why the second question to me should be, “where are you from?” It does not define me! It’s not the first, second, or third thing that defines me! Sometimes I am inclined to play a game that my friend Lena often plays when asked the same question. She moved around quite a bit, so she would say: I am local. And then people ask her: but where did you live previously? she would say: in Chicago. And before that? – In London. And before that? – in Albany… you got it. 

Often, I do not have time for this game, and instead, I ask: you mean where my accent is from? 

I understand a general curiosity, but really – you are in a professional environment, or you are volunteering together for a common cause, and the second question is, “what’s your ethnical background?!”

Trust me; there are more fun facts about me! 

A Hectic Weekend

I am very unhappy about this weekend because I feel like I accomplished nothing (in contrast to the previous weekend). Yes, I had a lot to do, and I forgot how long the planting takes, but still – I needed to do all the things I didn’t do :).

I had several things to complete for both my current work and for my side job, and I completed less than a half for each of them. So now I have this feeling of “there are not enough hours in the week,” and it does not help.

Yesterday, I spent over an hour figuring out why my function did not work and finally went to bed without any solution. Before going to bed, I emailed Boris that things don’t work, and I panic. He replied that I should get out of panic because panic is not the right place for problem-solving. 

He was right, of course, and when I woke up, I figured out the stupid mistake I made the day before. I do not know how IT people who are married to non-IT people can survive!

Saturday was Boris’s birthday. Last year we still could not travel at that time, and I baked a rhubarb tart, and he bought a rhubarb tart, and we ate them on facetime 🙂

This year, Boris said he does not have time to buy a rhubarb tart and that my apple cake is better anyway. So, yes, I baked the Georgis Apple cake yesterday. I told Boris that I would not tell anybody that it was with him in mind, and it was cool with him.

I brought the Apple cake down to the courtyard and messaged all the neighbors. Not everybody was there, of course, but those who were there loved it! Some people were still thanking me today 🙂

I was really happy that I had a way to say Thank you to my amazing neighbors! And I will definitely bake it again 🙂

Last Sunday

On Sunday, it was my mom’s birthday. Last year she turned eighty-five, and we had a big surprise party for her. This time, it was just me and her, although all her grandchildren sent her messages, and she received lots of birthday wishes from her friends and former colleagues.

I still tried to make it festive. As mom likes, I made tiny sandwiches, and we drank Vlad’s liquor and had coffee with tiny cheesecakes and other pastries. And I took the time to listen to her and let her talk. I gave her Kindle Paperwhite, and taught her how to operate it, and uploaded a dozen of her favorite books and some others that she might like. I also ordered a photo calendar for her.

I didn’t feel like I made too much of an effort, but when I dropped her off at her place and returned home, I felt exhausted to the degree I wanted to cry. I am not even sure why. She is not hostile anymore, and even when she is upset, she is not making scenes, which should be a relief. It is sad to see how her personality is changing. She is becoming more like a child in many aspects, and she is becoming dependent on me emotionally in an almost unhealthy way.

The same as when I was a child, and even a teen, developed this unhealthy psychological dependency, that I could feel good only when she was around, she is now developing towards me. I think she does not have any other models of relationships. Like a small child, she feels it when I am upset, so I need to watch my behavior when I am upset with something. Like when my water heater broke, and when she thought that Anna and her family left, while in reality, we had this COVID situation here.

There was one thing that surprised me, though. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, my friend, whom mom also knows well, told my mom and me separately that her son had COVID and that he didn’t tell her until it was all over and he was tested negative.

I knew the story from my friend, and when I came to visit mom, she told me the same story. After she shared it with me, to my surprise, she said: good boy! I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t. She repeated: he did it right! I was planning to tell her about Vlad’s infection, but when I heard that, I said to myself: great, thank you for letting me know!

I got mad at Igor when I learned that he told my mom about his positive test on her birthday. I expected a major crisis. But she was surprisingly OK with everything. Even before that, I saw that she was not even half upset with the news of John’s infection as of Nadia’s. I think she still does not realize that this virus is way more dangerous for adults than for kids. But it felt like she does not want to let additional worries into her head. And I am going to leave it as is for now.

About Breaking Rules

I was in the process of explaining to mom that when I go to Finland, I will have to be on strict quarantine, and I can’t go to the store or take public transportation. And she said: but nobody can tell by looking at you where you came from! I told her that I would not break the rules and that Boris wouldn’t want me.

And then I started to think… With all my not talking about Russian politics, I can’t stop myself from expressing this puzzlement. At the peak of BLM, of looting and arsons, most of my Russian friends who wanted me to explain what’s going on would end up not taking my explanations. Their idea was that any revolt, any protest against any officials, and any authorities are something negative.
That’s one side of the deal. The other is that everybody is up for breaking rules “when nobody sees it.” Breaking regulations is commonplace, it happens often, and nobody cares. Like if there is no police officer with a gun watching each and a single person.

Mom is continually asking me about different things, whether they are allowed or not. And she finds it difficult to understand the concept of “use your own judgment.” But mom is eighty-five, and using your own judgment is not something she was taught at school. And when I see the same attitude from others, I can’t understand that

Today Was a Good Day :)

There are two possible reasons why I am not blogging on any given day. One – I am upset/depressed/sick/unhappy. Another – I am very busy. 

Yesterday and today – it’s the second one. I am mad at some people (and at some circumstances), and I am all fired up to fix the problems other people created. 

Last week, after the surgery, I could barely see the screen, and did very little, both for my work and for our book. And today, since my gas bubble diminished significantly, I feel that my mind is sharp again. It’s funny because my visual impairment should not affect my thinking abilities, but that’s how I feel. 

I just finished a three-days worth chunk of work in three hours. I wanted to do this work at the time when nobody would interrupt me. And now I feel great and not tired a bit. 

I am mad at the people whose irresponsible behavior led to such a drastic increase in the number of cases in the country. I am less upset than I thought I would be, even though the EU banned US travelers precisely because of them. Yesterday, I felt helpless, and I thought that everything in the world is against me. I do not feel like this anymore 🙂

Busy. Tired. Tired. Hopeful

I would think that if I have so much work, I won’t be upset about anything else. But somehow it adds up: my ginormous workload, the overall worrisome situation in Illinois with a still-growing number of cases, being apart from the rest of the family, mom going crazy because of isolation.
I am trying to imagine how restless other people are becoming when even I, with all my understanding of the necessity of quarantine, have a difficult time continuing that way.

Last week, I started to bike early in the morning regularly. I loved these very early bike rides for a long time, but now it’s even better because usually there is nobody on the bike paths before 6 AM. However, today, I met several large groups of people walking in the forest preserve. That explained why there were no deers today :). One group consisted of at least ten adults with no masks on. And it was 5-40 AM.

One of the things which makes me feel tired is the fact that I constantly hear comments, both from “left” and “right,” about my behavior. It looks like in the eyes of half of the world, I am not doing enough and endangering myself and everybody around me. And for another half of the world, I am a panicer subdued to the propaganda.

My honest feelings are that none of us have enough information to evaluate the risks completely adequately. And every day, more information becomes available. I do not know about others, but my opinion on what’s the right behavior changes often. I am trying very hard not to criticize anybody’s behavior because I am not sure whether the ways I am handling the situation are better. I am trying very hard not to be angry with people. Success varies :).

Continue reading “Busy. Tired. Tired. Hopeful”

CRESCENDO: A Movie by Dror Zahavi

I watched this movie, although I didn’t have time, and I had other things to do. I dropped everything and could not stop. And now I can’t do anything until I write about it.

As a Chicagoan, and as a music lover, I know about Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, how I could not know? He talks about this orchestra almost every time he talks about anything publicly. I also know that many people, both inside and outside Israel, do not like this project. Barenboim always says that that project won’t bring peace, won’t stop the war, but it helps to build understanding. Now I am wondering, to what extent this movie is “loosely based” on Barenboim’s story. Because it’s way worse. And hopeless.

Twenty years ago, I resolved that I will never speak or write publicly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is one of those conflicts, where everybody is right, and everybody is wrong, and there is no way to change anybody’s opinion. And sadly, this brilliant movie proves it.

I do not think that anybody who believes that there is a right side of that conflict, should watch this movie. There is a reason why on Vimeo, the comments for that movie are disabled. I wanted to cry through most of the movie. And I want to cry now.