Friday, 30 November 2012

November Recap

This was one crazy month! Too many things, both good and bad happened in the space of only 30 days - that is what I find to be incredible every time I witness how one's life gets profoundly changed in the span of a few hours/days.

Here goes:

We've put in a request for a bank loan in order to buy a bigger apartment for our little family. Given the amount of paperwork and nerves that has taken so far, without being over - it's a marathon, not a short sprint obviously, I hope we make it and get it done as I really do not want to do it another time . . . If it works, it will be great, we'll have a nice place close to where we live now meaning our daily rhythm will not suffer any significant changes. Fingers&toes people!

My close cousin got married after 12 years of a relationship that we weren't exactly sure will actually end in a marriage. But it did and both the bride and the groom were genuinely happy for the duration of the ceremony and the ensuing celebrations. They had a small civil ceremony and then it was off to the party for us the younger generations. It was one of the greatest parties I attended lately, with this great DJ playing the 80s and 90s music. Some time after midnight it was real wild party time so the girls took off the high heels and some serous jumping around occurred. Here's the visual of no shoes:

Poor cast offs, all alone ;-) The purple ones to the left are all mine!

We had a nice family lunch the next day in a cute restaurant near the Danube.

This month also saw me on the road quite a lot:

It was first the work-related trip to Kladovo, a town in Eastern Serbia, on the banks of the mighty Danube, then the visit to hubby's grandparents in Croatia and my first sight of a sleepy little near by town of Virovitica, off to Novi Sad for the wedding, and then again work-related jaunts to Pirot and Prokuplje (with a sleep over in Nis)  - another first time for me in these two Serbian towns. I was lucky that the weather was mild and enjoyable for all the trips. This moving about certainly contributed to the feeling of time fleeting by.

 Kladovo, and Romania across the river
Prokuplje - really beautiful surroundings, vineyards and orchards all around, lots of history, even a settlement from the neolithic period for which it was recently proven that it was the location of first metal working human activity, and not Africa as was believed previously. Unfortunately, for all the natural wealth (three spas also in the vicinity), it is a poor town nowadays.

Inevitable mention of the second anniversary of my father's death. More deaths for close friends and colleagues. News of a horrible illness for my friend's father as well. Overwhelming at times.

Took my husband to see 'Seven Days in Havana'. A great omnibus film, seven short stories on the life in this amazing city with even more amazing people. All the cliches are featured - Cuban people, beautiful and special, singing and dancing like there is no tomorrow despite everything, Castro with his never-ending speeches that form the background TV noise, poverty, desperation, white folks misconceptions and prejudice about the place, but also cults and superstition, sexuality, comic relief all around and love. It paints a picture of a truly amazing place on Earth with unique and resilient people that, similarly to Serbs, express their appreciation and care through food and music.

A memorable episode in the movie is marked by Emir Kusturica, our famous director, portraying him as an ordinary man having issues with his fame, alcohol and his wife

Last but not least, new booties. Behold their soft leather glory!

These are the things that marked this month for me. And tons more that do not fit into this blog post. E-mail exchanges with people on far away ends of this world whose absence is acutely felt, phone calls with friends and a conspicuous absence of time to spend with them in person, my daughters improving drawing skills, poem interpretation and singing (it's wondrous how much she's grown and matured in the past few months), endless talks with my mom, etc.

Bring it on December!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

I so want this one!

Trawling the internet in the past few days has yielded numerous 'ahh's and 'ohhh's and 'I want this!' urges, but what has caught my attention the most is this particular beauty:

This, peeps, is a part of the Sherlock Holmes Jewelry collection made by Jezebel Charms quite charmingly entitled 'Come Watson, The Game is Afoot'. I mean, how cool is that? For a closer look at all its charms see here.

All things Sherlock Holmes strike a particular cord with me. I'm a huge fan of all Arthur Conan Doyle's stories involving Holmes and the trusty sidekick Watson. I love reading them and I do it over and over again, but I also love the TV screen versions.

Jeremy Brett will always be THE Sherlock for me, but the recent portrayal of the famous detective by the young Benedict Cumberbatch is almost as equally impressive. At first I thought I'm not going to be such a huge fan of modern, cell phone texting Holmes, but the spirit of Holmes was well and truly preserved in all the mannerisms that Cumberbatch so meticulously presented. He's ingenious, he's quick-witted and whimsical, but we also see his more emotional and softer side.


Benedict Cumberbatch


Jeremy Brett

I also recently acquired great insight into Conan Doyle's life and his problematic relationship with the detective he created, as well as his own sleuth propensities in a book by Julian Barnes called 'Arthur and George'.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Whenever I wish I was someplace else, it is in Paris. I've been there twice after longing to visit the City of Light since I was a kid. When my uncle came back from his several weeks stay and brought back the maps and pictures of the beautiful city, I was enchanted and all I ever wanted was to go to Paris.

When I started work after University, my boss was this French guy whom I didn't like that much at the beginning. However, we became friends and he ended up doing one of the greatest things for me ever - inviting my husband and me for a week-long stay in his place in Paris as part of our honey moon.

It was the best thing ever! It was April, it was warm and sunny, and we had the free rein of our time and resources. We paved the cobbled streets for hours every day, just drinking it all in - the people, this sights, the smells, awed by the sheer size and lavishness of this grand city.

Nothing was lost on me - the poverty, the beggars, ethnic diversity, morning rush hour, rather pesky waiters when you address them in English God forbid, but also the richness of architecture, art, fashion, a visual feast of a very special kind.

And food. Fantastic food, even plain sandwiches were fantastic. But most amazing for me are the two famous patisseries, Ladure and Pierre Herme, and all kinds of sweet wonders that melted on my tongue.

Our great hosts took us on all sorts of little trips around the city and its vicinity, as well as to great restaurants, a bodega party and a smokey night club, but for me, the city and its never ending noise and rush, the streets, the churches that just jump out at you as you turn a corner, the trees and parks, these made the greatest impression.

We had another trip to France after this and spent a day in Paris before leaving for a lavish wedding ceremony for our hosts and further on, down the Loire valley ending up in Ile de Re in the Atlantic, but that was a whole different story. Amazing and beautiful, but not quite as fabulous as Paris.

It was a dream come true, it was the fulfillment of a childhood dream, it was a honey moon with the man I love, it was my first visit to a Western European city and it was a fairytale.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Two Years

It will be two years to the day tomorrow that my father died. He was 56. I remember everything about that day, minute by minute. I remember my grief, that of my mom and my brother, my husband, as well as the grief of so many people that came to our house to share the sadness of the loss.
For not only did I loose my father, my grandfather lost his son, my aunt lost her brother, my mom's numerous family lost one person that they all universally loved and liked a lot, and his friends and colleagues lost a loyal and good friend and co-worker.
And that was what has sort of taken me aback the most at the day of his funeral - how many people showed up to pay respects because my father was an important part of their lives as well. His friends from childhood, high school, university, his co-workers. I guess I knew he was a well liked guy, I just didn't realize how much so.
Loosing a parent is never easy, regardless of their age when they die. Loosing your spouse, however, is I think even harder and I can see that on my mom. She misses him the most.
Whenever I watch a basketball game or a tennis match, whenever I hear or read some poetry, whenever I hear talk of Russia, I think of my dad. I remember all the good times, I remember my childhood and I know he loved us both so much. I know he loved his granddaughters a lot as well and I'm sad for him and for them that he's not around to see them grow up.
But I also remember the bad stuff and all things he's done wrong which contributed to him leaving us that much sooner. I remember him telling me during his last days how much time he spent with unimportant people instead with us, me and my brother. He was genuinely sorry for that, I know. But I also know that I thought 'well, it's a little late for that now, isn't it?'.
I don't harbor grudges. Any that I had are long buried and forgotten. I have forgiven my dad for everything a long time ago, long before he died. I'm just sorry I didn't tell him that in so many words.
I said my good bye the night before he died but I didn't say it out loud for fear of stirring him from that semi-conscious state he was in. I wanted to say 'I love you dad', but I didn't, at least not out loud. And I regret that a lot.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Olive Oyl

My favorite scarf ever is graced by Olive Oyl, believe it or not.
Here's a visual:

And here's a song sang by Olive Oyl:

Olive used to be my hero as my childhood in the 80s was marked by Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons galore. Just see this quote:

Olive Oyl: [watching Brutus the strongman perform] Oh, Popeye, what a gorgeous hunk of man. What lovely muscles!
Popeye: Muskels schmuskels.

I always feel at least a tad better when I'm wearing this scarf and i see Olive on it!


I am a child of summer and I feel best during long, warm and sunny days, with light being the key factor in the equation. I thrive on sun and sun light. I get all depressed, listless and energy-deficient during winter and I just want to curl up and snooze until spring.
That said, I LOVE autumn. I love the colors, the smells and sheer abundance of seasonal fruit combined with hints of imminent decay announcing the cruel winter.
The pictures below illustrate my point exactly. These were taken during the weekend getaway with my family.

 'Tis the pumpkin season after all!

 Wall nut leaves have this amazing tobacc-y brown color that I like so much.
 This shrub got all confused poor thing and blossomed in November ;-)
 Last of the roses before spring.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Rest & Relaxation

This is where I'll be spending the next few days (pictures taken in the summer, but still, illustrative enough). It's my husband's grandparents' place, in a small village with mainly old people where little happens, little is of urgent importance, little stirs the spirit so that one should feel burdened or stressed. It's just quiet, slow living and being, in that place, at that time, without any particular aim or purpose.

There will be pork roast, there will be home made cakes, and my four-year old daughter spending quality time with her great grandparents while they are still around (both are pushing 90, kudos to them). The best thing for me is waking up in the morning and smelling the frosty November chill and fresh air.

It's a place with a soul, a rich family history which my child is a part of and at one point in time she will be 'the heiress' of the whole thing in a position to decide its destiny so I want her to grow up knowing all about it and appreciating it fully.

I'm bringing a book (Paul Auster's 'Timbuktu', had it for a while but never got around to reading it) with me but I can't promise I won't stop by for a few gossip rags to let my brain chew on meaningless stuff with a cup of coffee.
Have a nice weekend!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

Life's too busy and complicated at this moment for me able to think straight let alone write.Or rather, I have to think straight a lot. Work's busy, home's busy, important events occurring every weekend with more looming ahead - a cousin's wedding, visit to my husband's grandparents and most importantly and sadly the second anniversary of my father's death. October was hectic, November even more so and then comes the New Year and the new cycle of this race called life.

My stress coping mechanisms go on and off from day to day, I feel as if I am about to have a complete melt down more than once every day but somehow I keep it together. Trying to enjoy life in the process seems more of a chore than the way it should be because at times I am also overburdened with this never ending quest for happiness and the 'you have to be happy' imperative that we seem to impose on ourselves. It's ok not to be happy all the time, methinks. That takes so much energy and effort.

What I long for the most is the balance. The balance in thoughts, feelings, actions. That is the state I'm after and for the life of me I cannot vouch that it will be attainable ever in my case. But I'm working on it.

For all those who enjoy heightened emotions and drama in life, love and espionage, have a go at 'Moskva kva-kva' ('Moscow ow ow', as translated in English) by Vasily Aksyonov. A somewhat ridiculous spy thriller describing how Tito and Stalin plotted against each other back in the 50s is sprinkled with a proper amount of romance and makes for a good weekend read.

I leave you with a few images of Belgrade in autumn that I love and that make me feel like I'm in Paris . . . Minus the flashy, improperly parked cars, that just scream 'Belgrade baby' ;-)



p.s. edited to add:

 I want the cute rain boots ;-)