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Friday, November 9, 2018

Wood Burning Fireplace

Our first use of our wood burning fireplace.Our house came with a nice wood burning fireplace located in our family room. We never had one anywhere, nor had any experience with one, so weren’t really sure how to use it properly.

Family room fireplace and look into our dining room.However, yesterday, we finally had our chimney cleaned and inspected by a local company and Alena — while I was at work — had asked them a number of questions on how to properly and safely use it.

Warmth in November.We decided not to wait long and took the chance to light a fire today and are enjoying its warmth on this cool November night.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Porch and Patio

Covered porch and patio.Now that the summer season is over I wanted to post a couple of pictures and write a couple of words about our outdoor areas.

When we were looking for a house we came upon some really nice porches — a raised veranda with an exit from one of the top floors leading to a nice outdoor space. These came in different varieties, but the one type that we liked the most was that with a roof and a set of screened windows.

Porch set. Table and 8 chairs.Other houses came with nice patios where you could put some furniture down and a firepit in the middle for some of the cooler nights. The first house that we tried to buy and didn’t succeed — luckily — came with a smallish patio. I was really sad that we wouldn’t have a nice porch.

Porch. Another angle.But fate had it so that the house we actually bought had both. A nice big patio and a really nice big porch with an uncovered area to put the grill at in addition to everything.

This indeed ended up being a nice perfect setup as our first summer shows. We’ve spent hours open hours in both of these areas and ate most of our family dinners on our porch.

Around the fire.Throughout most of the summer we had multiple guests visit us for a day or two — my parents with my sister, Ignat, Vika and their daughter Alisa, Ilya and Ulyana with their kids, Zhanna and Marat with their kids, Arosha’s Brooklyn friend Mehdi with his grandparents, Arosha’s other friend Alex with his family, Geoff, Sarah and their daughter Io and some other people. Not to mention my 38th birthday bash.

Patio set.It was great. As far as furniture goes we got everything from local Patio.com retail location. We weren’t sure whether we should go with wood or aluminum patio furniture, but in the end we went with a very nice, albeit expensive, aluminum set. In retrospect it was a good decision as it will age a lot better.

Patio. Around the firepit.For the patio furniture it was Arosha who set us on a path that we went down with. When we were picking up our porch set he saw a whicker chair with ottoman and a coffee table that was on sale for $200 since it was a floor sample. He liked it so much that he talked us into letting him buy it with his own money.

Grill on the porch.And then we got the rest of the pieces from the same set or similar sets. And then we bought a nice, deep firepit to top it all off. We got the last piece — loveseat — delivered on the day when we had a lot of people over for the birthday.

By now it has gotten too cold to spend this much time outside so we moved most of the patio furniture into our living room for the winter, which actually seems to work really well in its new location.
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Home Office 2.0

Repainted office with Hue strip accent light.It’s only been 3 weeks or so since I published a post about my office and I already have a big update. When we purchased the house we felt that one of the two garages was too small to fit a car comfortably, so we were planning to move a wall by two feet to expand garage at the expense of office space in preparation for Ridgefield winters.

Hue lights in red.Last week we have actually completed this project and we took this chance as an opportunity to repaint the whole room in colors that I wanted to do it in for a while — orange-teal. Three walls went orange and one accent wall is teal.

National Park posters on orange wall.I also took this opportunity to fix the cabling mess behind the desk — I’ve attached 12 port power strip made by Standing Desk behind the desk which made for a pretty good arrangement of wiring. And I also have finally installed Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Light Strip that I have had since Amazon’s Prime Day.

Hue light strip in green.The hardest part was putting all the posters back up, since all the markings and nails that we put in for the first time were gone. But in the end I think the office came out very well. Extremely comfortable and cozy place to work from. I’m very happy with the final result.

Different angle view.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

О Новом Доме

Last days of summer. On our porch.Для нас этот год неожиданно оказался годом больших перемен. Смена места жительства, пусть и не в таком глобальном масштабе, как иммиграция, дело непростое.

Фантазировали и мечтали о своём доме мы давно, но было страшно и в плане финансов, и в плане адаптации к несколько иному образу жизни, и, конечно, в плане отрыва от семьи и друзей.

Early fall.Когда прошлым летом мы ездили смотреть дома в Нью-Йорке и Нью-Джерси, у меня не было чувства, что я готова решиться на переезд. Каждый раз после поездки на осмотр продающихся домов, почему-то начиналась мигрень. Да и школы, которые были основным из движущих нас факторов, хоть и выигрывали в сравнении с Нью-Йоркскими, все же не были так хороши, как хотелось.

Ещё я думала, что у меня в Бруклине есть хорошая подруга, найти замену которой мне представлялось почти невозможным. По правде говоря, мои дружеские чувства к ней делали мысль о переезде менее привлекательной. Однако, в конце прошлого года я сильно в ней разочаровалась, и хотя процесс осознания односторонности дружбы был неприятен, он убрал ещё одно препятствие для переезда. Теперь отрываться тяжело было только от родителей, но они очень поддерживали нас в решении улучшить уровень жизни для нас и детей, хотя им, конечно, очень бы хотелось, чтобы мы жили с ними поблизости.

Colorful backyard.Когда в конце февраля Даня предложил съездить и посмотреть дома в Коннектикуте, я не была уверена насколько серьёзно мы относились к этому процессу, но желание вырваться из ставшей тесной квартиры и избежать стресса поступления в среднюю школу возрастало экспоненциально.

К своему удивлению, я поняла, что готова переехать в один из увиденных нами домов. Местность вокруг показалась мне умиротворенной, дом светлым, и вообще возникло чувство, что это оно — то самое, что мы искали и где нам будет хорошо!

Colorful fall in Ridgefield.Как уже писал Даня, на следующей же неделе мы связались с агентом по продаже и поставили нашу квартиру на рынок. Продалась она очень быстро и за хорошую цену. Конечно, нам очень хотелось купить дом таким образом, чтобы и за две ипотеки не платить если дом купить слишком заранее, и не переезжать на съемную квартиру в противоположном варианте. Все вышло так, как мы хотели, хотя нервов этот процесс стоил немало. Даня уже писал об этом, повторять все подробности не буду.

Мы живем в доме уже 3 месяца. Мне очень нравится! Конечно, есть вещи, которые были удобнее, когда проживаешь в маленькой квартире в большом городе, но всё же плюсы пока сильно перевешивают минусы.

Из того, что мне нравится: Continue Reading
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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Apple Picking 2018

Big pumpkins.This year we went apple picking to Blue Jay farms, located a bit less than 9 miles from our new house. Twice!!

Papa, mama and Lina.The first time was on September 16th. The whole family, including Danya’s parents and his sister went. I think it was actually the first time for Lina to go apple picking and she said that it was more fun than anticipated.

Main pickers.September 16 was hot and humid, so we only stayed in the orchard for about an hour. There were 4 varieties of apples available for picking, but we only got to two of them, because the other two were at the other end of this huge orchard and as I mentioned we were exhausted from the heat. The varieties that we picked were McIntosh and Cortland. To me they taste very similar, but I think that we mostly picked Cortlands.

Us.To get to the Cortland patch, we got a ride on one of the farm’s little motocars, which were shuttling people around. The driver told us that there are 8 thousand trees in the orchard, some of them 30+ years old.

Getting apples.We also visited a pumpkin patch and the children picked out two pumpkins. They were pretty huge and expensive (I can get the same sized pumpkin in Aldi for about 1/9 of the price). When we got home we put them on both sides of the front entrance of the house.

Arosha unit.We also visited the farm’s store and bought local honey, apple cider, apple cider donuts and some beef jerky. Everything was really delicious.

Pumpkins.By this past Sunday, October 8th, the tasty apples that we picked were almost gone. I won’t claim that I’m the only one who eats them, but I probably eat about 80% of apples in this household. Plus, a few of the people I know were going apple picking this particular weekend, so I figured that we might as well go again.

Us.This time it was just the four of us. The day was hot and humid again, but this being October, it was good 10 degrees colder. There were more varieties of apples available, but my favorite this time was Mutsu apple, which I bought multiple times in Russian grocery stores in the past under its other name Crispin apple. We picked some other apples too, but I’m not sure what they were.

Aroshka.To tell the truth, I can’t find an apple which I don’t like when picked directly from the tree. Some could be a bit too sweet, but even they are simply irresistible. If I had to name my favorite fruit, it will be apple. I perceive it as a bread of the fruit world. It’s common, not exotic, but I can eat it every single day and not get tired of it. And as with bread, there are a bunch of varieties, with Granny Smith being the rye bread and Golden Delicious the challah.

Anna and a huge apple.This time around Danya has decided to get bigger bags for apple picking. I’m all up for more apples, but next time we probably should stick to the medium sized ones. The big ones were insanely heavy to carry around the huge orchard, plus handles on both of them broke.

Kids.We skipped the pumpkins the second time around, but dutifully got beef jerky, cider and donuts. It was a fun experience, and our fridge is full of wonderful, delicious, fresh apples!

Us.
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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Birthday Gathering

Everyone around the fire.A little over a month ago I’ve had yet another birthday. But what made this year different was a fact that I could actually invite all my friends to our house for a little celebration.

Tables on the porch.And not only could we invite all my friends, but we could also cook for everyone on our grill instead of ordering something. That is exactly what we did. We invited everyone to Ridgefield on the very next Saturday after my birthday.

Conversations around the table.All in all we had 19 people that we had enough place to sit on our porch. The only people who weren’t there were Ignat, Vika and Alisa — but they visited us a week before, and Lenchik.

Kids marshmallowing.One of very pleasant surprises was that even Eldar made it. He actually managed to skip our whole previous apartment altogether. We were really glad to see him. Too bad that he didn’t have much time in New York. Hopefully we will see him sooner next time.

Kids on trampoline.Overall I had all my best friends and their families over — Misha, Natasha and their son David, Ilya, Ulyana and their sons Matvey and Misha, Sasha, Maruk, Alina and their daughter Emma, Eldar and all my family — papa, mama and Lina.

Ilya summoning the fire.Also a day before we had a final piece of our patio furniture delivered, so we could set it all up around a fire-pit on the patio. We also took out our cooler that we bought right after we got our house and filled it up with ice and beer.

Vast collection of wheat bears.Ilya helped with grilling the vegetables, then we grilled a lot of salmon. After lunch-dinner we sat around the fire-pit where kids fried some marshmallows.

Ilya claims fires requires summoning to burn. Arosha claims that it's complete nonsense.It was a really pleasant gathering. I hope everyone enjoyed it, because I certainly did.

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