One of the annoying things my grandmother used to do when I was a child was tidy up my desk. It was a mess, she would say, and few people who know me would now believe that… because I am a bit of a neat freak. In fact, it wasn’t as messy as she made it sound, it simply wasn’t her kind of order. I knew where everything was and I had a system. She had a system too, everything had to be put away. I completely agree with that now… as long as you have a place to store everything. But pilling everything in a heap behind the desk just so it could be out of sight didn’t help me much. Continue reading “Strange Order in Chaos”
I would like to preface this by reminding everybody that I am not a doctor or in any way part of the medical system. So this is purely an opinion piece from one EU citizen living in a country starting to be affected by this virus, with close relatives in other countries where the situation is worse.
I wouldn’t write about this, I initially told myself; I would follow my “no politics, no religion etc.” rule, as I always intended my blog to be a feel-good place, an escape. Even when I do broach more controversial topics, I try to do it delicately, which doesn’t come easily, because I am an opinionated person. But since this is an unusual situation, I’m suspending that rule. Continue reading “That Mandatory Coronavirus Post – My Two Cents and the Ugliness in Us”
I’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting… but snow – fluffy, thick, magical snow – refused to make an appearance this winter. I was hoping I could get some of those winter wonderland shots and create a seasonal series, but Mother Nature is throwing tantrums left and right… not that we can blame her, considering our behaviour. It did snow once in my neck of the woods, last week, and my hope was revived for a minute or two, but let’s just say that the white dreamy scenery was not in the cards. Continue reading “Birds #1”
“I myself can affirm, both from bachelor and wedlock experience, that Love is the Alpha and the Omega of human enjoyment. All the pleasures, all the happiness of my humble Compeers, flow immediately from this delicious source. It is the spark of celestial fire which lights up the wintry hut of Poverty, and makes the chearless mansion, warm, comfortable and gay.”
I come from a line of women with strong feelings about red… for or against it. By comparison, I’m quite moderate. While I do love a splash of red here and there, I would certainly not paint a bedroom wall this colour, the way my mother did, nor would I wear red from head to toe. Continue reading “Seeing Red”
This particular January turned out to supply a few more “roadblocks” than expected – literally and metaphorically. From what I’ve seen and heard, I’m certainly not the only one in this situation. No one enjoys being stuck, so we keep looking for detours and escapeways. Whether these paths turn out to be scenic routes or accidents waiting to happen is merely a matter of luck and perspective. Continue reading “Roadblocks and Leading Lines”
I stopped the car by the lake and braved the cold wind in order to take a few more shots of the setting sun. We all have these places we frequent, special spots where the view, the context or the history speak louder to us than in many other similar corners. We unconsciously find our way there when we need them, perhaps we get out of our cars and take a few more shots, very similar to the selection those particular places have already offered us on so many other occasions. Continue reading “One of Those Places”
A blogging anniversary notification from WP, that’s yet another sign that Christmas and the end of the year are near. It’s been six years, apparently… six years which passed too fast. But thank you for sharing this time with me, for letting me be a part of your lives and for teaching me so much about appreciation and kindness simply by opening up and telling your stories.
My small thank-you gift to you is the same as every year since I started this blogging journey – electronic stocking stuffers, my ebooks. If you enjoyed the Albatross fragments I’ve shared with you, then you should take advantage of the Amazon giveaway and download it / offer it for free starting today, until December 23rd.
If you’d rather have a copy of Parallel Lives or Glass Slippers and Stilettos or perhaps you would like to offer them to someone who might enjoy them, use any of the following links:
After all those hectic holidays, you have no idea how much I appreciate a fairly predictable December, ruled by my own festive routine. I used to believe that routine would be the death of my spirit. Now I welcome predictability as the unexpected antidote to maddening, unexpected December drama. If routine means boredom, but it also means no hysteria, emotional blackmail, manipulation or drama of any kind, then by all means, I’m good with being blissfully bored. Continue reading “My December Survival Kit – Part 2”
A particular scene from Ally Mcbeal keeps popping into my mind these days – must be the season… For those of you who don’t remember/know, Ally Mcbeal was a somewhat atypical lawyer show in the late ‘90s. I remember liking it back then just about as much as I liked SATC, although they were very different (some magazine articles insisted on the fact that a girl had to choose between the two shows, but I just didn’t see it that way). Continue reading “My December Survival Kit”
Now I have my own ornaments and stories to go with them. I somehow managed to hold on to a box of four glass baubles I got at some point in middle school, while shopping for Christmas presents with my best friend at the time. I can just see the store and how we went in looking for something entirely different. I spent a hefty part of my savings on these ornaments and a similar set that I offered my grandmother that Christmas (one of the very few presents she actually liked). They’ve miraculously survived the years and journeys and they went on every tree I’ve had ever since, even when they didn’t match the general colour scheme. Continue reading “No Trendy Christmas Tree For Me, Santa (Part 2)”
Note – I wrote this piece a year ago, so that is why some of you might get a slight déjà vu feeling. But I want to share it again; I usually get somewhat nostalgic in December, and this is a small part of my personal story and the way I perceive the holiday season and it’s trappings.
She frowned and immediately dismissed the idea of a Christmas tree.
“I’ll get one when I can afford to decorate it properly,” she concluded, “not with all that cheap tacky stuff.”
There is no age limit when it comes to learning something new. In fact, it keeps the mind young and agile. Just like back in the day, the process implies mistakes; we stumble, we get frustrated, and eventually we experience that rush which comes with every sign of improvement. Hopefully we manage to persevere until those signs become obvious. Hopefully we don’t lose patience with ourselves. Hopefully we don’t let frustration, disappointment and criticism get the better of us. Hopefully… we have the time, strength and discipline to hope. Continue reading “Abstract (or) Failure”
Whether we like it or not, autumn is settling in. The beautiful changing colours are a treat to the eye, no one can deny it, but it’s a package deal – gloomy, cold, rainy days aren’t exactly the most pleasant autumnal feature. After a few years of warm to hot autumns, those typically rainy days came as a surprise, nobody was expecting them before November. Well, this year autumn is autumn…
I had this blogging project in mind, the Worn Out series. As it unfolded, I was happy to notice that many of you were enjoying it and I am very grateful for your support and encouraging comments. Now the time has come to take a break from this photo series, I don’t want to overdo it. However, I plan on adding to it whenever I find fitting images, old places that speak to me, the way the ones I’ve shown have. Continue reading ““Worn Out” Series”
You know how you don’t much care for a certain kind of food, and then you suddenly crave it? I went through that with bananas and melons. Now it’s happening again… only it’s not food, it’s countryside.
There are cat people, there are dog people… are there any hen people? If so, I am certainly one of them. I may not have any pets now, I may be a dog person at heart, but whenever I see these little creatures, I can’t help smiling. You see, I had a pet hen long before it became a fad. Continue reading “Life and Death of Pets”
Note: Not only did Ann-Christine’s topic for this week (Lens Artists Weekly Challenge – Angles) push me to write a new post, but it also reminded me of something I’ve posted a few years ago. Since it still resonates, I’ll share this once more. In case you’ve already read it, I apologize 🙂 .
A radical change in perspective is never easy. Altering that already instinctive angle – be it broad or narrow – from which we regard life is a challenge, to say the least. As a person with somewhat twisted values and ideas (in certain respects), yet who is so stubborn that she hardly ever changes her opinions, I am also aware of the ineffable necessity of never forgetting to keep an open mind, especially when having to reach various conclusions. That’s why I normally perceive the idea of changing my perspective as a positive endeavour.
I would have smiled at the sight of that coffee cup, had I not been so displeased to find myself there. I was invited to have a seat at the dining room table and I was flanked by the two of them, one on each side. My eyes wondered around the room I had known my entire life, a room which was unchanged, a room which didn’t feel familiar at all. I wasn’t saying anything. Neither was she, but I knew that look, that fidgety stance, when she just waited for a person’s first sentence in order to pounce on them with all sorts of accusations. Continue reading “Angles Of The China Pattern”
One of my travel goals for this year was to pay more attention to my surroundings on my way to somewhere else. I did have something specific in mind…
Old buildings and ruins have always made me pause and contemplate, but for a while now I’ve been drawn to old rural establishments and the way they’ve fallen into disrepair/disgrace. I used to pay little attention when driving through villages – they may not all be the same, but so many of them are very similar, especially if they’re in the same region.
If I were to choose a favourite month, June would probably be it. There is something about this month… Good things have happened to me in June, it often marked the beginning of beautiful stories, and it always filled me with energy and hope. It’s that time of year when everything feels possible.
I’m not sure what exactly in our conversation prompted her statement. I do remember we were both in primary school at the time, so she no longer lived in our building, even if she was visiting her grandmother a lot. I had a vague idea about the part of town where she and her parents lived – it was the kind of area you went through on your way to somewhere else. To me, she was the same girl I knew for as long as I could remember. We were the same age and as close as children who start developing memories and ideas while growing together can be, and that was the only reason why I was still allowed to play with her. Continue reading ““When We See A Tree, We Celebrate It!””
I could say I was in the park looking for some beautiful flowers to photograph. After all, I do believe there is something very special about their delicate appearance, making them a good choice for Ann-Christine’s challenge. In spite of looking so delicate, flowers are often surprisingly resilient. No, I wasn’t going to overthink this. Continue reading “Delicate”
Find beauty within you and allow others to see it. Discover your worth, always treasure and respect yourselves. Love who you are, but never give up on self-improvement. Learn to accept and offer love and support, to others and to yourselves. Follow your dreams, but don’t dismiss reality. Live a life that is sincere celebration of your being and of those who improve your existence. Learn from your mistakes and treasure those lessons as painful, yet valuable steps towards a better place. Be glorious, be generous, be strong! Last, but not least, don’t forget to appreciate those wonderful men who enrich our lives!
Happy Women’s Day, ladies! Celebrate yourselves and let yourselves be celebrated!
I didn’t know I knew nature. I was just a child and I had this distorted idea that nature was supposed to be something so extraordinary, that mere mortals had no access to it. Well… I did get the “extraordinary” part right, as it turns out; but I had yet to learn about understated beauty and about patiently waiting to reveal itself. Nature’s beauty can often be striking, but that’s not the rule…
I was about to look for one of my favourite rose photos, as I do for every Valentine’s Day post. Then I remembered this display I saw last year on a street in Germany…
It was impossible to walk by and not notice it, it was just so…. so… too much. I wanted to laugh and whisper something snarky in my friend’s ear. Instead I mustered a serious look, as a pair of eyes was sizing me up, trying to determine whether I was a potential customer or not. Continue reading “Valentine’s Day, Again…”
It was some of the conversations we had that made it seem like a good idea. Seeing me absorbed by the new toy, pleased and grinning from ear to ear, Santa noted that apparently “it pays to listen”. Continue reading “The Surprise Present”
Madrid is on my mind this week… I have my reasons. For about a year, I went back and forth almost monthly, and I was spending at least 10 days there each time. I was sceptical at first. Sure, I liked it, I had been there once before, but I just couldn’t see myself spending that much time in Madrid. I would have preferred Barcelona… I would have preferred several other places. I would have preferred not to be that far away. Continue reading “That City…”
Some people are only meant to fill a void in someone’s existence; and that someone tends to generally be considered cold-hearted, selfish and abusive, when in fact most of us display the same type of behaviour, but more or less cleverly disguised under various pretexts and transparent, yet acceptable sentiments. As far as those people are concerned, they are mainly interchangeable. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 79”
There are no warning signs in life. Nothing cautions you about those bends in the road ahead or about what they may hide. There is nothing telling you it might be wise to adjust your speed, break or change gears. Those curves simply happen and there’s no telling how challenging they can be, not until they’re already behind. Continue reading “Curves”
She stands still, looking around, never moving, never changing. People leave. People change. New people always arrive, so they would take their turn leaving sooner or later. And they live and die, they experience a constant transformation. Yet she transcends stages of life without moving, because she cannot undertake the usual, normal human evolutionary path and follow it through the same ditches of failure and disappointment. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 78”
Travel as much as you can, it’ll leave you with something nobody can take away from you, my mother told me a long time ago. I made a habit of ignoring her advice most of the times, but she was right about this one.
For as long as I can remember, even as a child, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and go on a trip. Also, for a very long time, I believed the greatest traveling adventure would be the next one. Like it or not, you learn that’s not always the case, just as that’s not necessarily a healthy way to perceive experiences, no matter what kind they are. As the years passed, I learnt something else about myself and travelling – not all travel opportunities should be taken, one shouldn’t embark on absolutely all journeys, just because they’re within reach. Continue reading “A Time To Travel And A Time To Stay Home”
I have mixed feelings about 2018… and overthinking various moments and decisions of the year which recently came to its end won’t help, that much I know. I also know I’m not the only one in this situation; like many others, I’m trying to focus on accomplishments, positive outcomes and lessons learnt from those less than pleasant moments. In spite of everything else, I still manage to hold on to that feeling of contentment I was mentioning in December.
Paul avoided looking her in the eyes, just staring at the rug in the middle of the room. All he could see of her were the bare feet, the bright red nail polish on her toe nails contrasting with her skin, making him completely unable to focus on anything else. Those bare feet made it all so private, so intimate, he had intruded upon a part of her life that he had no idea about; and all he wanted was to see more of it, to intrude even more, to see her running around her apartment in her bare feet and her freshly washed hair dripping on her shoulders, not the way he normally saw her, on her high heels, with a proper hairdo. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 77”
Winter holidays are probably that time of year when ghosts of our past are most likely to come out and dig their dirty fingernails into wounds closed long ago, hoping to pry them open and make them bleed once more. And if there’s ever a chance for them to succeed…
Well, at least that’s what this time of year is like for me. So here I am, lights twinkling in the tree, Christmas songs playing… and I’m angry dancing in my fuzzy bathrobe and equally fuzzy slippers while brushing my teeth, late at night. Before you say it, no, I can’t blame this on too much mulled wine; that’s simply who I am. Continue reading “Christmas Ghosts”
Someone was telling me the other day that she wasn’t happy because she couldn’t find at least half an hour each day to reflect on the possibility of being happy – certain people in particular and the world in general were plotting to make her miserable, while she had nothing to do with it. I will refrain from any comment on this person’s choices and lifestyle (sometimes I’m actually able to choose my battles), but I will say this much, it made me think of my own issues with happiness. Continue reading “How Not To Be Happy”
I shouldn’t play favourites, I know, but out of nature’s elements, water is the one I prefer. I may have already mentioned it once or twice. So when Patti from Lens-Artists suggested “Splash” for this week’s challenge, countless stories flooded my mind. I have to agree with her when she says, “water is magical. Its beauty, power and persistence are unsurpassed.” So is its ability to surprise and amaze, I was reminded today, as I was struggling with my feelings towards the first snow of this early winter. Continue reading “A Splash Of Snow By The Sea”
Be open to new experiences… be open to trying new things and meeting new people… open all the doors you find in your way and something good will always come of it… and if you cannot open the doors yourself, do everything in your power to find some way or someone who can do it for you… have your doors, much like your arms, open to everybody, nothing bad can come of it… How about knowing when to close those metaphorical doors Continue reading “Those Doors…”
We rushed into the restaurant just as a cold November drizzle started to dampen the cobblestone. It was warm and inviting, a waiter smiled at us and the plates he was carrying looked promising. I chose a table by the window. I wanted to see the square outside. I also wanted a drink, I thought to myself, taking in the place, as I was warming up, sitting comfortably with a menu in front of me. Not too bad, even if touristy. But how else would it be? After all, it was Montmartre… I just hope the food is good.Continue reading “November Night, Artistic Light”
“I’m so sorry… I know how important she was to you.”
The words and their emptiness reverberated against the white walls. White noise… That’s the best I can do. Because I can’t understand, I can’t feel anything like that. She finally tried to look him in the eyes. My words are false, I know that, but I can at least have enough respect for him and look at him while regurgitating empty words. He hadn’t moved, he was still staring at the written pages. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 71”
None of the other children are going, so you’re not going either. If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you join them? Why can’t you be more like everybody else? You need to be better than everyone else. Look at them, they’re not causing any trouble, so why do you have to go about attracting attention? You need to stand up for yourself. You have to let go. You need to get involved. Why do you have to care so much? You have to study and be the best at what you do, that’s the only way you’ll make something of yourself and become an independent woman. Continue reading “Blend In And Stand Out”
Other people’s emotions are often a burden, so one tends to avoid them as much as possible, one chooses to look the other way and to invoke various reasons that might account for an obvious change in their behaviour, since anything is better than acknowledging such situations, assimilating them and forcing oneself to live through such experiences together with another individual. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 70”
From dancing on tables to reading a good book, from walking aimlessly on a sunny day to carefully planned journeys, from teaching a child how to write to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune or even causing it, from being high on life to getting high to bear life, there certainly is fun to be had out there. Now, now… let’s not be too judgemental. After all, much like sorrow, “fun” is a terribly subjective concept. What hurts me, might not touch you – but that won’t diminish my pain. What you find extremely entertaining might not appeal to me, or might even be beyond my power of comprehension, yet it doesn’t mean you’re not having fun.
Promises are made to be broken, they say. Well, this one certainly was. There I was, standing in front of my bookcase once more, trying to make room for my latest purchases.
Sigh… I promised myself not to do this anymore. Living in a small flat, being a person who hates clutter, I am painfully aware that if my shoes don’t kick me out to get more space for themselves, then my books just might. And I hate throwing away books… or shoes…
New sensations become obsolete, jaded experiences with a phenomenal speed when the people involved are endowed with intelligence, culture and freedom, and are deprived of most judgemental features inflicted by narrow-mindedness. Flames and thrills need to be constantly maintained and fed. But nature does provide the possibility of balance, Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 67”