Taking Time off Work to do Work

Boris and I are trying to do several research projects together, and doing this is the best thing to preserve our togetherness when we are physically apart for an extended time. As much as I wanted to do all these things (one was his idea, and two others are mine), I was finding it challenging to squizz this extra work in. I do not know who is bored during quarantine, or who does not know what to do with their time, but it’s not me :). Each weekend I was thinking – I need an extra day! And then I thought – but I have some! Indeed, I checked my PTO balance and found that I have more than five weeks off this year. Yes, I hope to be able to use them to help Anna later in the year, but for the time being, traveling is not an option anyway.

I took Friday off to do some of that work. Granted, there was also some “waste of time” built-in, but I also did substantial writing, and we spent about two hours discussing one of these projects on FaceTime.

I do not know why I didn’t think about taking time off before, but I am glad I did :). Most likely, I will do it again in a week, I feel like it’s a great way to stay sane. Or, and I did turn my slack and work email off for that day!

My Daughter Got a New Job

Two months ago, it would sound differently! It would still be happy news to share, but nowadays it’s more than happy news.

She started to look for new opportunities during “the normal times,” and I was encouraging her to move forward – she was with the same company since she graduated from college. But at the time, when people are laid off en mass, especially the most recent hires, at the time when a new baby is coming in two months, and when they are about to move to another town – even my adventurism won’t play.

To say that I am immensely proud of her won’t be enough. Under all of the circumstances mentioned above, she got a new job; she negotiated her salary and stock options, she negotiated a higher title, and on top of all of that, she will get sixteen weeks of fully paid maternity leave.

The next two months are going to be very exciting, and the complete uncertainty about everything adds to that excitement (Not like the months after will be less exciting!)

I do not have much to add; I wish her good luck in everything she has to accomplish in the upcoming months and years:)

Other Things, Big and Small Happening Now

Let’s start with the big things. Our company had to cut business significantly. It’s all due to the nature of our business. It is quite understandable that none of our predictive models can work in the current economic situation, and we can’t operate. A significant percentage of our employees are sent home for two months. The rest got the pay cuts, with our CEO taking the biggest one. I understand all of these; those were survival measures. If they weren’t taken, we would lose our business entirely. That way, we should be able to survive. 

At the same time, all of us have to do more work because we need to rebuild our whole system, and this had to be done very fast. I work almost as I worked four years ago (and for almost the same pay :)), and this will last for a while. 

Another piece of news is that my eye doctor had to close her office. She arranged so that I could be seen for my last post-surgical appointment by my surgeon, but they do not do glasses or contacts. It is going to be interesting; I already called the Lenzcrafters, and they said they might be able to cut new lenses for me without me – if this doctor will fax them the new prescription. Hopefully, if not immediately, but within a week or two, this will be resolved. I am not sure when I will be able to get the contacts, because all the eye doctors strongly advise against wearing contacts during the pandemic. I know that that particular doctor was against me wearing contacts anyway, but if not, I will have to wear two pairs of glasses when I drive, and I do not like this idea. We will see on Tuesday. 

Continue reading “Other Things, Big and Small Happening Now”

A Thanksgiving Eve

Here is what I have on the eve of Thanksgiving. The training is completed in terms of it is written, but I still have several examples to rework because they bear too much of the company specifics. Also, it needs more proofreading, formatting, etc. And one rehearsing together :). Also, I still have to prepare my big talk on the second day of the conference, And also, there are several important tasks to complete at work, and if they aren’t done today, they will spill into the long weekend.

Other than that 🙂 … Both fridges are full and barely closing:). I took the turkey out of the freezer to defrost on the lower shelf of the fridge, but as of last night, it was still stone-frozen. Moreover, since two boxes of mixed greens were placed close to it, they were utterly ruined by being frozen!

It’s our family tradition, that no matter how hard we try, we need to run to the store at least twice on Thanksgiving morning because something got forgotten. This time, it started even before Thanksgiving: I already made two “forgotten stuff” trips to the Eurofresh store. We’ll see whether there will be more:)

I’ve ordered outrageously expensive but also outrageously good pies from Vanilla Chicago, and they are already in my fridge (yes, apparently, my fridge is elastic :)). We had a Thanksgiving lunch at work yesterday, Anna and her family, and Boris are coming tonight, so it’s all good except for (or because of:)) life is so busy.

Four Vanilla Chicago Pies in my trunk
I have an elastic fridge:)

Life is Still Crazy

This week was even worse than previous. Although I work through most of the weekend, I didn’t have enough time to prepare for all of the training I wanted to run this week in the office. Thereby I constrained myself to not doing anything, except necessities, and spend each and a single minute I had “extra” on the training development. 

I didn’t help much (maybe partially because, in reality, I was doing something extra, like going to the performance of Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra on Tuesday). So now, at 11:15 PM, I have a little bit more than half of tomorrow’s training ready. I’ve already booked 2.5 hours tomorrow morning to complete it, but I am ashamed of myself. 

Still, today after work as was at the Open Door Shelter. Last week, a group of youth from the Open Door Shelter had a field trip to the Christkindle Market, and I asked to message me when they will be close – my work is just a block away. We had a really great time at the market. One of the girls mentioned how much she loves German potato pancakes, and I told her we can make them next time. 

Today was the next time:), and we peeled and grated 10 lb of potatoes, and made beautiful potato pancakes. And I had truly amazing conversations with some of the youth. And when I was walking out of the shelter, thinking about these conversations and smiling, I felt that this is something I can never let to disappear from my life… 

Working Remotely in 1993

Summer was approaching, and it was time again to apply for summer sessions at the University boarding house, but this time around I had my part-time job at Urbansoft. John was still OK with me working remotely, but I didn’t have a modem in a boarding house, in fact, there was no landline.

That’s how it worked. I would write my code without the option of debugging at the University, using our department computer and copy my work to a diskette. G. would come and pick up a diskette and copy my files to his computer. Then he would try to integrate his work with mine. At the designated time, I would call his house phone from the payphone in the lobby. He would read for me the errors he was getting, and I would tell him how to change my code, and then we would continue this remote debugging until done. It sounds impossible, but it worked!

On the topic of the time management, 7-30PM was the bed time for the kids, and then my workday would start. Till whatever I could last with 6-30 AM wake up time:)

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

How I Reorganized My Life

It has been a week since I’ve returned from my trip to Helsinki, and I made some positive improvements in my life this week. I can’t tell for sure why these changes would be connected to my trip to Helsinki, but I think they are. Most likely, the reason is that as it usually happens, such trips allow me to look at my life from a distance, to judge better, what’s a real source of stress, and how I can deal with it.

One positive change I made was getting back to my 5 – 5.5 hours of sleep per night. That had been my norm for many years, and I know that even half and how less affects my productivity. However, for about three weeks before ai left for my trip, I would sleep only four hours or less a night, including the weekends. I was telling myself that I do not have an option since I have so much work every day. But the reality was that I could not be productive. So for the whole this week, I’ve followed a simple rule: when my “time to go to bed” rings, I would stop whatever I am doing (maybe finish a sentence or a paragraph first) and proceed with all my before bed to-do list. That helped a big deal because I would wake up at my normal 4-30, not tired, and was way more productive during the day.

The second thing might be questionable for many people but works perfectly for me. I m always saying that my work-life balance is such that my work is my life :). However, for several weeks before my trip, I felt like I can’t do anything besides work if there is still some work to do, and this would last forever. I didn’t like it because it would take away other vital parts of my life, but I didn’t know how to break the cycle.
So what I finally decided was that I switched to one “master” to-do list. I think I am enough big girl to judge how important are different things in my life relative to each other, and I know how to prioritize. And if I feel OK doing some work stuff at 10 PM, because it is important, I should also feel OK to do some non-work stuff at 1 PM, if this is the right time, and the task is high enough in my priority list.

That was a life-changing decision. This week felt like no other. As I like to say, nobody gives me more than 24 hours a day, but I felt like I’ve accomplished a lot this week, and didn’t leave any essential tasks behind.

This Week Started Crazy and Ended the Same Way

It was an incredibly intense week. Each day at work was packed with meetings from 9 to 5, some days covering the lunchtime as well. The two days which I worked from home were even more intense, with my and Mom’s doctors’ appointments and the same amount of work which had to be done.


All my time was work because when you have meetings all day long, you need some time to do the actual work. Oh, and on the top of it I was dealing with the consequences of the loss of my Jumpcloud password, and subsequent reset of my Apple ID, all passwords on the computer, and finally – a disappearance of “My Documents”…

Continue reading “This Week Started Crazy and Ended the Same Way”

Time Management and What’s Not

Recently I’ve been telling everybody that I am busier than ever. And everybody is asking, why, and what I am doing, and why I can’t delegate stuff to other people.

My friends who followed my previous blog are used to my “timing” posts with a detailed description of my day. It’s time to look at what has changed for the past several months.

Yesterday was a very typical day of mine as they recently are. Got up at my usual 4-45 and went to a gym for a relatively quick (45 min) workout.

Audiobook during a 5 minutes walk to the gym, emails, Instagram and Chicago Tribune on iPad while on elliptical, audiobook on the way back.  

WBEZ morning news on the iPhone while in the shower and putting the makeup on. 

Continue reading “Time Management and What’s Not”

Not My Usual Day, Not My Usual Mood

I am mad about yesterday, and this week in general so here is an unlikely rant of mine. This week Vlad is in Finland, ridiculously precisely at the time when Boris is not. Vlad is flooding his Instagram with the videos of Finnish forests, mushrooms, rowanberries, moonshine, and salmon smoked on the plank.

At the same time, Boris is in Croatia, participating in a workshop which I believe just being an excuse for spending time on the beach :). He is sending me panoramic views of the harbor, the Medieval town and the mountains.

And I did not manage to go to any of four conferences I could go to in late August – September; work is being crazy, and Mom has been difficult. And yesterday I’ve canceled my after-work activity to make sure I am done with one extremely important thing at work and managed to mess up and spent all this time fixing without advancing any further. And on to of that my trainer canceled today’s morning session. 

That’s the day you need to work hard on staying positive and not to yell at people 🙂