Ruby’s Anniversary

Now before even thinking about getting a dog I was severely depressed. I would go in my room and just sit there in my own head and just cry. It was my friend Jo who said that getting a dog might help me with depression. The only obstacle is to convince my parents to get a dog in the first place, they never wanted a dog but I finally talked to my mom and she said I could go to a shelter to just look around at some of the dogs.

August 18th, 2016

I went to a shelter called Orphans of the Storm, to keep it short I will just say Orphans. They are a no kill shelter and they have dogs and cats. I am allergic to cats, so getting a cat was an option for me. I was looking at some of the dogs, they were all barking with excitement by seeing me. In an isolated cage there was a red dog with white paws and a white tipped tail who just looked so sad. I fell in love with her, even though she didn’t seem to excited to see me. I saw the sadness in her eyes, and I looked at her name and her name was Ruby. I thought to myself ‘well she is a red dog, so Ruby would fit her nicely.’

“That is a beautiful dog.” an employee said to me as I was getting to know her.

“How long has she been here?” I asked him.

“She has been at Orphans for about a month.” He said. “We got her from a shelter from Tennessee that almost put her down because no one that wanted to adopt her.” I remember thinking to myself ‘a month? No one would rescue this poor dog who has the sadness in her eyes?’. I said goodbye to her, and I left the shelter.

I went home and told my parents about Ruby and how I felt this connection to this dog. My mom is not a big fan of large dogs, but my mom did agree to see Ruby the next day.

August 19th, 2016

I arrived at the shelter before my mom did. I went right to Ruby’s cage and she was excited, barking at the other dogs. I asked if I could take her out on a walk and as the man was getting the leash on her my mom arrived.

“She’s big.” She said. When I held the leash in my hand she went kinda crazy, and outside she was so happy she was looking at everything and me. I petted her and that touch told me that she was the right dog for me. I was in love with her.

When it was time to sign the papers I had to urge my mom to say yes. I was begging her because I didn’t want Ruby to be left at the shelter when she has the chance to get a good home. Then, she relented and we signed the papers. Today she tells me that ‘I had to be drunk to say yes’. I signed the papers in my name, paid $90 and she was mine but I would have to wait for one more day. Orphans take the dogs that are going to be adopted to the vet to get a rabies shot and get spayed or neutered (Ruby already had this).

“Now go pick a leash and collar for her.” The man said. He was getting us a crate while I was looking at the colors on the wall. I am personally not a fan of pink, so I was reaching for a blue one.

“No get the pink one.” My mom said. It was a hot pink one. “Because it’s a girl.” After a discussion I relented. They took the collar that will be with her at the vet and I will have the leash when I pick her up at the vet the next day.

August 20th, 2016

They told me that around eleven am I would be ready to pick Ruby up at the vet. I had the crate in the back of my car with blankets and a toy to keep her occupied. My mom an dad were out leaving me home alone with the new addition, but my mom said to keep her in the kitchen or basement. So I used the kitchen chars to block the exits out of the kitchen and used tape to prevent her to slipping under the chairs and escaping.

When it was time to pick her up at the vet I waited with the leash in my hand as I waited to see my dog. They warned me to avoid the neck area, she gets nervous when people touch that area. When Ruby walked out I stood up and said to myself ‘That is my dog’. I finally after 21 years of begging my parents got a dog. When we were in the car she was whining, I kept telling her that we were almost home.

When we got home she ran into the house and went through the chairs and went right to the living room, a room where my mom said she is not allowed to go. I took her in the basement and she was nervous, really nervous and I gave her treats and petted her as we watched CNN.

When my parents came home she was barking at my dad loudly, my mother not so much. But when either of them tried to pet her she would rush away from them. She was scared of soda cans when they were in the package and when they fell she got very scared.

Today

Now Ruby’s personality is showing. She is not nervous anymore, she is sweet, protective, caring and most of all silly. She barks at her own reflection, and she would lay on her back wanting a belly rub. She knows when I am upset, and she would kiss me over and over again.

My thoughts on North Korea

I have expressed my thoughts on North Korea before on this blog, but with recent events with in the last few days my thoughts have changed a little. As you all know by now that tensions between North Korea and the United States are at a fever pitch. This whole started with a war of words between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. Now North Korea are saying that they will fire four missiles just off the coast of Guam, which is a territory of the United States located in the south Pacific ocean.

Kim’s main goal is to make sure he stays in power, and he thinks that building up his nuclear stockpile will make his position secure because no nation wants to get into a nuclear war. Kim wants to show his people and the world that he has a great military. I also think he baiting Trump with the threats by saying he is going to attack Guam and said in a statement that Trump is full of nonsense. Kim wants war, and is using the words in the statements to agitate Trump. If he does shoot the missiles just off the coast of Guam the United States will act against North Korea.

What about the people of North Korea? I discussed my thoughts on two theories about how I think the North Korean people think about their leader, but now I am leaning towards that they are scared that if they don’t support their leader they will be killed. The country has food shortages, sometimes the power goes out. The reason for this is because all of the money is going to the weapons program, which Kim is obsessed about. This is leaving the North Korean people hungry and scared. In public they say they support their leader and they will starve to death for their leader but really, they want food and to be safe from their ‘supreme leader’.

Fort Sheridan

When I first came to America my parents bought a house. This house is very special to me and we still own it and I love to visit there. There are three bedrooms not including the master bedroom, a living room, dining room, a den, and three bathrooms, one on the first floor and two on the second floor. The importance of this house is because it is a safe place for me. When we first moved there, at six am every morning there would be trumpets just outside my window. This house is very close to the original entrance of Fort Sheridan, an army bace that is with walking distance.

 

There are two parts of the fort, one that has been closed, the northern part, and the active part, the southern part. Today I live in the fort, in the northern part. In this part of the fort civilians that have nothing to do with the army live here, like my family. The army wanted to make parts of the old fort into a historical site and a forest preserve. Today you can see the huge homes of the generals and commanders. If you walk around long enough you will find posters that tell the history of the fort. The forest preserve has a lot of free space, tall grass, plants, trees and even access to the shoreline. This place is peaceful to me, where I can unwind and take Ruby out when she is a good girl. Sometimes I go sea glass hunting, it’s one of the things that I love to do because sea glass comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.

The southern end of the fort is still very active. There are active service members that we bump into when we are just walking around our neighborhood. The southern part is for training, some times we can hear gunfire from some of the guns they use. (They always gave us a heads up before this happens). If you go to the visitor’s center you can look at the history of the fort, and my nephew Nickolay loves the tanks and the other vehicles that you can touch.

I grew up with this fort, even when I was living just outside the fort this fort is apart of my life. Today I see service men and women at the gas station just outside the entrance of the fort or the walgreens in downtown Highwood. Each time I see one of them I always thank them for their service for this country. One day I had to stop at walgreens with the twins in tow, I saw an active service member I said thank you for his service. The twins were excited to see him, and he even engaged them trying to teach him how to salute. Xander got it right while Xenia almost got it.

The only annoying thing about the fort is that it is spread across three cities, Highland Park, Highwood and Lake Forest. If there is an emergency and fire trucks have to respond all three cities would send fire trucks and it gets really confusing and crowded. Now the fort is going to make a plan with the cities to determine who would respond incase of an emergency.

I survived the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami

It was spring break for me and my mothers brother Greg invited me to Japan. He was married to a Japanese woman who lived in Fukushima all of her life. When I arrived in Japan I had a lot of fun, the culture was strange but interesting to me, I couldn’t eat the sushi because of my allergy to any type of seafood. During the day Greg and his wife went to work and at night they would take me out to get a taste of Japanese culture which I fell in love with. One thing about Japan that I didn’t like was the earthquake and the tsunami.

Greg and his wife, Akanarua, were at work on the day of the earthquake. I was reading meteorological textbooks on the living room table. All of the sudden I heard creaking in the walls, then everything started to shake. I knew what it was, an earthquake and I got under the table as the worst of the quake hit. Glass fell off the shelves and wood started to fall on top of the table. The shaking was so strong that my body swayed with the earth as those six minutes. During that time as everything started to fall I prayed to God that I would be ok. I cried I was so scared. Then as fast as it came, it was gone.

The silence after the earthquake made me feel like the whole world has ended. It was just silence. Greg told me if there was an earthquake when he wasn’t home is to try to get out of the house incase of aftershocks. I started to crawl through the rubble, I got cut on sharp objects as I made it out of the house. I just looked at the rubble, in a state of shock as the whole house was just rubble.

Then the sirens started to start to sound, again speaking in Japanese and I had no idea what it was saying. I started to panic as people started to scream at me in Japanese as they were heading to the hill. Then a police man came to me, and I told him in three different languages, English, Russian and French that I don’t understand Japanese. Then a woman in her twenties stopped her car and approached us. The officer moved his hands like to tell her to get out of here. They started talking in Japanese and then she took my hand and spoke to me.

“We need to get out of here.” She said to me in perfect English. “There is a tsunami coming, I will take you to higher ground.” She told the officer that she will look after me as I got in her car and she took us to a building that was high up and on higher ground.

“My name is Nomi.” She said to me as she kneeled down and looked at me in the eye. “Now where are you from?”

“I was born in Russia but I live in the United States.” I said to her.

“Ok who are you staying with?” She asked. I explained to her that I was staying with my uncle and that my parents were in the United States. The fact that I didn’t have American citizenship yet I was considered a Russian citizen in the disaster. So that means that I have to get to a Russian consulate or embassy to get back home. Then people in the building started screaming and I ran to the banister and I saw the water destroy the town. It was like the worst thing I have ever seen, cars being swept away and pieces of houses. Nomi kept me close to her through out the disaster and I stayed with her until I got the news that my uncle and aunt didn’t make it. Nomi told the police that I needed to get out as soon as possible and get to the embassy. This was when there was a helicopter landed for the very injured that is when I got in.

“Stay safe Nomi.” I said to her as the blades started to start up.

“We will be in touch.” She said.

We arrived outside the evacuation zone and that is when an employee of a Russian consulate greeted me and took me to the consulate where I was safe. Phones didn’t work but since the radiation from the plant started to come out they had to evacuate the consulate. They scrambled a plane to take us to Vladivostok, by this time it has been four days where I haven’t talked to my parents. The second we landed in Russia the first phone call out from anybody was my call to my family. They were relieved that I was alright and safe in Russia, but the loss of Greg took a toll on my mother.

I got home a week after the phone call, I took a flight from Vladivostok, Russia to Hawaii, then Hawaii to LA and then LA to Chicago. I was exhausted, I didn’t have anything that I brought with me to Japan. When I arrived in Chicago I was looking for my parents, then I heard my mother screaming my name. We ran to each other crying with joy and hugged so tightly that it hurt me but it didn’t matter I finally saw my mother.

A few weeks later my mother gave me a letter from Japan. It was from Nomi, asking if I was ok. To this day, we write letters to each other. When I think of earthquakes I think of the one that I went through, so that is where my phobia of earthquakes come from.

 

Stressed and Depressed

I am taking off from work until the twins are one month old so they can go to daycare. Today I had to go to the office because of a threat of severe weather and I had to take them with me. But most days I stay home, watch CNN and take care of the twins and wait for Zeko to come home. It can get lonely, I am a person that needs something to do, something action oriented. I love my children, so much but I am realizing that I need something else to do because I am getting depressed because most of the time I am stuck at the house.

We had money issues where we spent every last dollar in the bank account on diapers and two different formulas, because Xander is colicy. We still don’t have strollers or a travel bag for their formula or diapers. I was going to ask my mother for help but my brother Boris and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world named Victoria and I didn’t want to disturb my mother at this time. I found myself crying not sure if we could provide for them. I did tell my mother and she was a bit angry with me because I didn’t tell her. So my mom is going to help us out until we can support ourselves and the twins.

During the day when everyone is gone I find myself doing nothing except taking care of the twins. I tried doing artwork and reading but I suffer from insomnia and sometimes I go to bed at three in the morning and wake up at eight when Zeko wakes me telling me he is going to work. I do take a medication for Attention Deficit Disorder that is a stimulant and if I wake up late I have to cut back on the medication and I find myself unable to do art or read since my focus is off. I am trying to get my medications under control, but I think the combination of lack of sleep, cutting the amount of the stimulant, and just being alone is making me really depressed.

Had to take the twins to the office today

Since there is a good chance that severe weather is going to hit my area today I needed to do some work. Before my coworkers arrived I arrived, with my twins in tow because there was no one to look after them. I put them in my office where both were asleep and I let them sleep as I went to work.

In downtown Chicago there is an outdoor concert called Lollapalooza, and with the risk of severe weather me and my coworkers were looking at the latest models to see what the risks are and what the concert goers face as far as a severe weather threat. There were a round of storms earlier in the day where most of the storm reports were lighting and hail. That looks like the same will happen tonight, but with the round of storms that happened this morning it will give the storms coming tonight a higher chance to produce severe weather.

As we were discussing the threats for tonight a storm was happening outside. We were aware of it but the first lightning bolt and thunder were close to the office. A big flash and then thunder, the thunder was so loud you can feel the walls shake. Xander started to cry loudly.

“You brought them with you?” David asked as I went into my office. “You didn’t tell us that.” I picked up Xander to comfort him, Xenia was kicking in her car seat and just wanted to play. Soon, my coworkers were under their spell. They wanted to say hi to them, hold them and play with them. Through out the day they tolerated me getting their bottles ready and diaper changes.

They were angels, Xander just got scared because of the thunder. They didn’t cry that much while I was at work, only when they needed a diaper change that was it. I know David very well, he used to work for SWIFT and we are close friends and he is gay around thirty years old. He was holding Xander during the storm and played with Xenia. As I was packing up to head for home David helped me getting the twins in the car.

“You know I need to sniff out your husband.” He said to me.

“He’s taken.” I said to him. He bursted into laughter and so did I.

Home Invasion

Last night my family became victims of a home invasion. But what the invaders didn’t know is that I have years of training for these types of situation. I am going to explain why I did what I did incase if you become a victim.

My husband, my niece Anya, my twins and I were in our apartment that is located in my parents house. When we heard the loud crash downstairs we thought it could be Ruby knocking something over but she was right with us. When we realized that the phone lines were cut and cell phones were jammed my immediate instinct is to remain calm and I went into the little office and I looked at the internal security cameras. When I saw three men heavily armed inside the house my training kicked in. My first thought was a possible escape to the garage and go down the stairs, I told Zeko to stay with the kids while I looked. Now I do have a FOID card and I legally purchased a hand gun for my own protection. The reason I got that was because I was in an abusive relationship and I was scared for my life. And due to that I also took classes for self defense, that also included training with weapons. I saw that escape route was cut off, and I told Zeko the following.

“You need to barricade this door and that door.” I started to say as I got my utility belt. “Go into the laundry room and barricade that door as well, have your back against the wall right next to you so you are out of the line of fire.” And in a hushed voice I also said. “Take this, if anyone comes in you shoot them.” I started to head to the door that leads to the entry into my parents house when Zeko stopped me.

“What the hell are you doing?” He asked me.

“I am going to protect my family.” I said to him. “I need you to trust me.” He gave me a kiss and then the door closed behind me. (I didn’t know that Ruby was outside the door in an extra room, but she will play an important part later)

I already had a plan. My family owns a lot of guns and there is a gun in my parents bedroom downstairs and on the other side of the house. Since there was no phone connection at all I assumed I am on my own. There was two parts of the plan, the stealth phase  and the action phase. The stealth phase involves me to get to my father’s rifle with out making any noise so it is not to draw attention to me. The action phase is after I get the rifle and contact the police and if I have to use deadly force I will.

I had three armed men in my house and I am only armed with a knife and my whit and training. To even the battlefield I cut the power to the house, I know this house better than they do and under darkness it would be easier for me to sneak to the rifle. However what I learned in the classes you don’t want to wear white, even in darkness white will be easily seen. I was wearing a white shirt while I was sneaking around, but I knew that there was no time to change my shirt.

As I made it to the stair case I felt something hard hit my head and face. When I looked up I saw a man holding a gun to me. This is where my self defense training came in, if you are in this position and you want to be quiet use your legs to either get him in the knee or the groin, and do it as hard as possible. Once he drops the weapon that is when you make your move, use anything as a weapon. Glass bottles, poles, anything heavy, but I used a piece of wood to smack him in the head. I did this until he stopped moving and I took the bullets and ammo out of his gun so he can not use it.

When I made it downstairs the two men were in the downstairs living room looking through the nice china in the cabinet. I have to get across them to get to my father’s room. So to distract them I pushed the panic button on my car keys. Both men rushed outside to try to silence the car and that is when I dashed to my parents room and got the gun. I was able to contact my friend Ken online who texted my friend Jo about the situation. Now when the police are coming and you are holding a gun they will think you are the bad guy. The best thing to do is to communicate what you are wearing and who you are and where you are in the house. This information is key for the police so they know that you are not the bad guy. I told Ken what I was wearing and where I was in the house. Then someone shot at me and I took cover behind a counter, and I returned fire. The man who was shooting at me disappeared as I made my way to the door which leads to the porch. That is when I saw heavily armed officers outside the door. Slowly I opened the door and stepped aside so they could come inside as an officer took me outside.

In the aftermath I am still scared. My wounds which are minor didn’t start hurting until I knew that Zeko, Anya and my children were safe. Then while I was getting cleaned up in the ambulance I saw the guy that attacked me upstairs get loaded into a cop car with a wound on his leg. Remember Ruby in that extra room? When the guy got too close to to the door where the children were she started growling at him and showing her teeth. When the guy tried to kick the door in Ruby bit him in the leg. She is very protective of kids, and probably saved their lives. The officer told me that the second Ruby saw him she let go of the man and backed off. She only started barking when the officer took Xenia.

Like I said I am still scared, and I needed to take medication to help me sleep that night. I think the reason what I did was that mother instinct, that my babies were in the house and I wanted to protect them. DO NOT TRY THIS. I had training and I had the right to protect my family. I got minor injuries, cuts bruises and the pistol whip on my head and face.