Only In Chicago!

It is in the mid-40s and sunny. And almost no wind. Amazing weather for the past couple of days.

On Tuesday, I was in the office and went skating during the lunch break. Today,

I had unplanned work from home and went biking during the lunch break.

How is it possible that the weather is perfect for both?!

‘Only in Chicago! (c)

The Start Of The Christmas Season

On Saturday and Sunday, Boris and I removed all the fall decorations and took all my Christmas accessories out of storage. And since they were already out, I could not wait to start decorating :).
As usual, I found that some lights that worked perfectly fine last year stopped working, and I had to replace them. Fortunately, since it is the very beginning of the holiday season, it was easy to order everything I needed and get the same-day shipping

Our house is all illuminated

On Tuesday, I wnt skating for the first time this season. I think that most people didn’t quite figure out that it’s a Cristmas season already, and there were not that many people skating. And it was perfect!

Continue reading “The Start Of The Christmas Season”

Sunday Skating

Can you think of any better February Sunday morning than ice skating?! I left the house at 8-30 and was ready to step on the ice right after resurfacing. The best skating is at the end of the season when there is enough sun, and you can take your jacket off. And the morning ice is as smooth as glass, and you can dance on it.

Now that my left leg and hip do not hurt anymore no matter how long I skate, I have to force myself off the ice. I could skate until the next resurfacing, but I had lots of things waiting to be done, so I stopped after fifty minutes:)

Skating Lesson!

I just had the first skating lesson after 50 years! Can you believe it?! 

That’s how it happened. In Millennium Park, they have free skating lessons every Saturday morning. They start at 8 AM, and I just could not make it to the city that early on Saturday all the previous years. Also, originally they only had “learn to skate” lessons. Now, they also have the “intermediate,” which I needed. However, they are sold out quickly (free, but you need to sign up). I finally managed to catch the session for today. Then I learned that Boris was coming, and I told him I would skip and try to sign for another day. He said I should go, especially because he has a meeting with his students in the morning. 

I knew that with the trains running on an unpredictable schedule these days, especially on the weekends, I should leave an hour before the lesson started. I tried, but I also tried to have a nice Saturday breakfast with quiche, and I ended up leaving at 7:05 AM. That was enough to see the train departing, and then I had to wait for almost 20 minutes for the next train. 

I was late, and I almost wanted to turn around and go back home, but I didn’t. When I finally got on the ice, the instructor approached me and said that it was fine and please join the class. I realized that one skill I lost entirely was moving backward, and she even worked with me a little bit on that individually. I could practice all other movements, and I think I am getting a hold of moving backward. 

It was cold and sunny, and it wasΒ so much fun! Unfortunately, all the other slots until the rest of the season are filled (I think they released them all at once), but I will try to practice what I relearned and do more lessons next year.Β 

Skating And The City Lights

Yesterday, I finally did what I wanted to do for a very long time: I went skating after work, for the last timeslot. Each time I tried before, it was always something that would stop me :). And maybe, I just didn’t want to get out of the house in the dark of the night.

I am so glad I did it yesterday; I had a lot of work that had fallen on me by the very end of the workday, and I made an effort to step out (full disclosure- I took my laptop with me :))

I know it’s a cliche, but the city lights are magical, and skating under the city lights instantaneously filled me with joy! I planned to skate for just half an hour but ended up skating until they called the patrons off the ice πŸ™‚

January 3

At first, I was unhappy that my company gave the US employees day off for January 1 on January 3, not December 31. Most of the US companies did the opposite. Since it was an entire workday on a client assignment, I had very little time to make a holiday dinner and all other preparations for the celebration. But boy, how happy I was on January 3!

I had an actual day off, not cooking or cleaning, but a day off just for myself! It felt incredibly good!

I went skating to Millennium Park, and despite the cold weather, I skated for almost an hour. It was sunny; very few people were on the skating rink at 9-30 AM on a workday; it was perfect!
Then I walked to the Art Institute, still before the general public, on my Member hours. I stopped at the front desk, where they finally fixed my app (I could not make it right after my recent membership upgrade plus address change). And then, I went to see a new photography exhibit and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the Modern Wing with almost nobody around.

And then I still had time at home to talk to Boris, make quiche, and assemble a standing mirror delivered from IKEA.

And I sat by my Christmas tree: it is still perfect, but I will put it down this weekend. The holidays are over.

Skating in Helsinki

The weather in Helsinki is extremely mild this winter, and there was barely any snow. Because of that, Boris was still biking almost every day. Before our departure to Cyprus, he asked me how I feel about biking. First, I liked this idea, because it sounded surreal to bike in Helsinki when I was not biking in Palatine for a while. However, although I had proper shoes with me, I lacked other winter-biking equipment, specifically pants, and gloves. My hands are getting frozen even when the temperature is in the 40s, yet along 30s, especially when biking. On Saturday, after we came back, it was sunny and still no snow, but there was a substantial wind.Β 

I thought that I would be better off going skating in the city center, so when Boris went biking, I got on the train, and in ten minutes, I was by the skating rink. It was minutes past ten, the rink had just opened, and hurray – there was no like! I paid for the skates and skating and hurried up the ice.

It was wonderful! The rink s huge, and ice was perfect; there were very few people, and although I originally planned to skate for just half-an-hour, I ended up skating for the whole hour and could skate more, if I didn’t have to meet Boris for lunch. 

Continue reading “Skating in Helsinki”