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Preview: Retirement merry go round

Retirement merry go round

Updated: 2015-09-16T14:20:15.299-04:00


Oh, well


... so I have spent almost half a year  roaming through Sweden, Poland and Spain - in person and virtually... only to do about face some two weeks ago, deciding to move to Central America for a while, workin part time ... in Belize again and then living for a while in Playa del Carmen, near Cancun in Mexico.

So some new adventures on the new continent await... while Europe needs to wait for me a little bit longer, again.

The Path to Prosperity?


I moved to the USA first time about 30 years ago. During this time frame USA gradually ceased being a prosperous developed country and  became a third world country that it now is.  How sad!
Enormous wealth and income disparity, enormous differences in rights - and possibilities - of the privileged rich and the rapidly growing percent of the population that is poor and becoming even poorer.

Sweden might look cold and  in April - and weatherwise it is - but politically, socially, it is a much "warmer"  place for its citizens and residents than USA ever was.

The audacity of a Republican/Tea Party  budget that calls itself  " a path to prosperity" while shamelessly dismantling the crumbling remains of a social  system in the USA in the name of  "deficit reduction" while showering lower taxes on the rich - both individual and corporations.  Whew!  I am glad I made the decision to leave this country permanently and executed it swiftly: I now live in Europe, again.

I no longer need to personally worry about what is happening with Medicare: I won't be using it.
My only worry is the sinking dollar, as a part of my income is in this currency. And as dollar sinks further and further against the euro ( you have now to dish out almost $ 1.5 for one euro, while ten yers ago dollar was stronger than euro, and even 6 years ago an Economist prediction that a dollar would fall to 1.40 to an euro was greeted with utmost dibelief - that's how low Amarica fell!) the percentage of my total income in dollars shrinks, too.  Thanks heavens for strong Swedish crown ... though it does me no good in Sweden. :-(((
But at least its practically free health care makes me smile, as it saves me a bundle of dollars I do not have to spend on health care in America.

Cats now and then


(image) My friend, Anna, an avid photographer and animal lover came for a visit and took this photo of Missy.

(image) Then she let the cats out on the  balcony to "help me" with spring planting. That's how they are helping! By an unruly committee meeting! Missy and Tuno want chives to be planted everywhere. And all chives for them, none for me! Sweetie prefers catnip and cat grass, but is willing to share. Rascal is satisfied with my asiatic lilies, which came up in abundabce this year - he loves to chew on their leaves.
(image) At least Sweetie took pity on my needs and  is pointing out that mint needs replanting and the hanging basket is waiting for fresh spring flowers. I agree with that! :-)

(image) And that's how all four of them looked two years ago, in March of 2009, before leaving Puerto Rico. Time flies and cats become older.

Going back to Europe?


A typical street in a medieval city of Ystad in southernmost Sweden (photo by Magnus)I think this might be the year to go back home, to Europe - for good.To Sweden, Poland and Spain.Why? One of the reasons would be nostalgia: I am a citizen of Sweden, I was born and raised in Poland. So if I have - again - taken a residence in the southernmost province of Sweden, Scania (Skane), I could enjoy it's picturesque charms,its well preserved medieval towns, like Ystad or Simrishamn (photo above)cheerfully coexisting with avant garde modern architecture, like this "Turning Torso" building in Malmo,its quaint villages and bucolic landscapes,its soft, sandy beaches with colorful beach huts, its proximity to "wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen"Oresund bridge connecting Sweden with Denmark(about one hour by car or train) , while being only 7 hours away (by ferry) from my first home country - Poland.Old town square in my hometown of Poznan, Poland. This picture could have been taken from the windows of my old office in the research institute, Institute of Western Affairs, where I once worked.And why Spain? Well, both Sweden and Poland are in the northern part of Europe and "suffer" long, cold winters, so in winter, i would do, what many retired Scandinavians do: move to southern Spain for a few months.No, not to Costa del Sol, which is now overrun with - mostly - Brits, but to a more than 2000 years old pueblo blanco (white village) on the Granada's coast: Almunecar, or to neighboring Nerja or Salobrena. A view of AlmunecarThose Spanish small towns and villages are winter havens for northern Europeans, who already constitute about 25% of their permanent population, while many more northern Europeans spend winters there renting flats or townhouses overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.Another reason, this one negative, is that I have grown disenchanted with America, which - especially tea party and republican America - seems to be now going full throttle into a wrong direction: toward more inequality, more uncaring about its citizens, who are allowed to be pawns of greedy insurance companies, "big pharma" etc. etc.Tea partiers and republicans seam so eager to dismantle even the very, very modest (in comparison to Europe) social safety networks... that it makes me want to puke - and not stay in this country any longer.Yes, I shall miss certain comforts of America, and - most of all - I shall miss a proximity to my daughter, who lives and works here. It won't be easy for me with advancing age to board a plane to USA to visit her, and it won't be easy for her to have to board a plane to visit me, as vacations in America are also far shorter than they are in Europe, but I hope that, perhaps, we could meet during her business trips to Europe, or... she, too, shall grow disenchanted with America and decide to go home to Europe.[...]

Thanksgiving and my apartment... before I mess it up again.


Our Thanksgiving turkey - filled with herbs from my balcony: rosemary, thyme and oregano under skin and in neck cavity, salvia and rosemary, quartered lemons and onions in the body cavity, roasted on a bed of vegetables: onions, carrots, leeks and selery and basted with drippings and good Spanish sherry. Yumm.(Since this post is dedicated to my Polish friends who asked about American Thanksgiving and typical American apartments, it will be mostly in Polish.)Swieto Dziekczynienia w tym roku nie zaczelo sie najlepiej: Dosia przyjechala bardzo przeziebiona i odradzila mi wydanie $79 na turducken, czyli indyka nadziewanego kaczka, nadziewana kurczakiem, skoro bylysmy tylko my dwie. Wiec kupilam stosunkowo malego jak na Ameryke, bo zaledwie 10 funtowego indyka, nadziewajac go - zgodnie z tradycja - ziolami (szalwia, rozmarynem, tymiankiem i oregano, tudziez cwiartkami cytryny i cebuli, a pod skore piersi - lekko poluzniona - wkladajac tez ziola z dodatkiem masla - dla dodania dodatkowego smaku i soczystosci miesu indyka. Indyka ulozylam w brytfance wylozonej mieszanka warzyw: marchewka, pory, seler (zielony) i cebula. W ten sposob soki z indyka, a takze mieszanka oliwy i sherry, jaka jest w trakcie pieczenia polewany, dodaje tym jarzynom swoistego smaku. Pieklam go jakies 3 godziny. Our "typical, but healthy" Thanksgiving side dishes: mashed yams, green beans almondine, cranberry sauce and - a Polish element - cucumber sallad with dill and sour cream. I made gravy, too, a fabulous one, from scratch with sherry and turkey drippings... but forgot to serve it!W Ameryce istnieje kilka, a moze nawet kilkanascie - w zaleznosci od regionu - tradycyjnych dodatkow do indyka, takie jak tzw. slodkie ziemniaki (yams), zielona fasolka, sos z tutejszego odpowiednika borowek... Z reguly sa one jednak makabrycznie "wzbogacone" = szalenie wysokokaloryczne, wiec ja swoje "odchudzilam".Zamiast zapiekanki z zielonej fasolki ze skondensowana zupa pieczarkowa, maslem i usmazona cebula - czyli dania, w ktorej ta nieszczesna zielona fasolka zostaje calkowicie odwitaminizowana, ja swoja fasolke zrobilam po francusku: krociutko obgotowana na parze posypujac przed podaniem podsmazonymi w odrobinie masla migdalami.Uproscilam tez slodkie ziemniaki, po prostu gotujac je i miazdzac z dodatkiem odrobiny masla i smietanki, podajac z pietruszka, podczas gdy typowe amerykanskie swiateczne slodkie ziemniaki sa makabrycznie dosladzane syropem klonowym i dekorowane tzw. marshmallows, ktorych to polskiego odpowiednika nie znam.Konfiture z tutejszych "borowek" i pomarancz z dodatkiem cukru, cynamonu, imbiru i gozdzikow usmazylam w tzw. "crock-pot" - trwa to wprawdzie az szesc godzin ale sie nie przypala i wypelnia mieszkanie swiatecznym zapachem.I dodalam polski element: klasyczna mizerie ze smietana i duza iloscia koperku, ktory rosnie jak wsciekly na moim balkonie teraz, gdy sie nieco ochlodzilo. (Bo latem, gdy bylo goraco, nie chcial rosnac prawie wcale).Acha: upichcilam tez - ambitnie! - typowy amerykanski sos do indyka: na wywarze z indyczej szyjki i podrobow, z dodatkiem sokow z pieczonego indyka, wzbogaconego dodatkowo sherry i smietana... ale, niestety, zapomnialam go podac ... a indyk byl tak soczysty, ze zadnej z nas sie nie przypomnialo. Nie ma straty: choc polowe resztek indyka udalo mi sie wcisnac Dosi przy jej dzisiejszym wyjezdzie, to i tak zostalo mi tych resztek sporo, wiec i sos sie do nich przyda.Dosia, z okazji Swieta Dziekczynienia zafundowala mi staly abonament na comiesieczne "doglebne" sprzatanie mieszkania, wiec korzystajac z okazji, ze jest jeszcze wzglednie czysto, zamieszczam kilka zdjec mego amerykanskiego mieszkania, typowego pod wzgledem rozkladu oraz wyposazenia kuchni i lazienek, ale nietypowego odnosnie umeblowania, bo Amerykanie sa konserwatywni odnosnie wystroju wnetrz, a moje jest wspolczesne, IKEA-owskie, w dodatku niewykonczone, jako ze ja jestem tak "zagorzala" dekoratorka wnetrz, ze przez ponad rok nie moge sie zdycy[...]

October morning on my balcony


When I opened my eyes this morning, all I could see was a pretty dense fog over the lake. But when the sun came up, the fog started dissipating rapidly. I could see wild geese, making a stop on our lake on their way south When they walk on the grassy shore beneath my balcony Sweetie gets crazy, wanting to jump down and chase them Fortuno does not care - he is too busy chasing something else. A small lizard, perhaps? or this green bug next to hibiscus' flower? (Now, what's the English name of this magnificent bug?) Misssy and Rascal don't care either. Rascal, apparently angry that his breakfast is being delayed by this morning gathering on the balcony, went under the balcony bed, so I can't see him... and neither can you... ... while Misia jumped on the table... to consume garlic chives, undisturbed by either me or Tuno - the other chives' lovers.Fall is a good plant season here in the south - they thrive in the cooler weather Within half an hour... there is no more fog just flowers in the autumn sun blue salvia Siam tulips Mandevilla... The wild geese flew away for the day. There will be another flock coming in the evening, but now the lake is clear. [...]

In Maya country



I have been in Maya country for almost a month now, but sadly, had absolotely no opportunity to blog, which is a shame since life here is colorful.

I'll have to do most of the blogging after return to the USA, I am afraid, but let me here introduce some of my new Maya friends.

Bureaucratic delays :-(((


My passport expires on the last day of May 2010, that is a few weeks after my planned return from Belize. Which means that my passport would be valid during my entire stay there and a bit longer.
Yet, the government of Belize decided that any foreigner wanting to visit their very beautiful - and very sparsely populated - country needs to have a passport valid for 6 month after the date of their ... no, not arrival, but departure.
Oh, big brother, spare me!
Add to it that - due to international terrorism activities and ridiculously sharpened - in the wrong way - security measures - it is no longer possible to renew Swedish passports at honorary Swedish consulates - which there are plenty of, in every corner of the world.
No, nowadays you have to go to the Swedish embassy - in the USA a long plane trip from most of the country - be photographed and fingerprinted there... and then wait for the new passport to be manufactured.... in Sweden, sent back to the embassy and by the embassy to the nearest consulate... thus sparing you - generously - a second - expensive - trip to Washington. DC.
Oh, Big Brother.. too many Big Brothers.... utterly silly Big Brothers!
Since I was thinking of going to Sweden before my old passport expired anyway, a very nice employee of the Swedish embassy suggested a temporary passport now, which I could get in Atlanta right away. Alas, Swedish temporary passports are valid only for 7 months - fine if I were going on a short trips of a few weeks duration, but not on a prolonged one.
So on Wednesday I am off to DC, whether I feel like it or not...and no, I do not feel like going to DC in January!
It will be a long day: leave home at 5 am to drive to Jacksonville airport, fly to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Baltimore, take a subway ? bus to downtown Washington, get the passport formalities done... and then back to Baltimore, to Atlanta, to Jacksonville and home, where i should arrive shortly after midnight!
I may not be too old, yet, to survive the rain forest... but the bureaucratic amok of government bureaucrats pretending that they are "protecting their citizens" from either terrorists (USA, leaning heavily on the others) or illegal immigrants ? ... might very well kill me!
Watch out, Belize, for an invasion of European Union members, whose passports expire in less than 6 month after their planned departure!

Ma sa sa' la ch'ool = Is there happiness in your heart?


(image) in Q'eqchi' (also known as kekchi and previously ketchi) there is no "good morning" or "good day" or "good evening."

But there is this lovely standard greeting: Ma sa sa' la ch'ool = Is there happiness in your heart?

To which you are supposed to answer (with a smile on your face, no matter what your real emotional status at the moment?) : Sa in ch'ool = Yes, my heart is happy!

As you see I just started learning some basic phrases and words in Q'eqchi'.

Let's try breakfast ingredients: wa (tortilla), molb' (eggs), kenq (beans) , chin (orange), cape (coffee).

And now, that we have eaten, it is time for a swim.

But first let's try to get a piece of vital information: Ma wan li ahin sa li nima? = Are there crocodiles in the river?


Going to Maya country!


This year started with unseasonably cold temperatures even in coastal Georgia, and, after freezing for a few days, I had enough of both the cold and - to be honest - of too much leisure, as I have only worked very little during the last six months and started having vivid dreams in which my brain talked to me complaining: "Please don't put me on a permanent retirement, if you want me to continue to work for you. I need more intellectual stimulation, I need more challenge. Let's have another adventure, shall we!"
So I gave in... after founding a very exciting opportunity: a ground breaking model of nature conservation by indigenous people - in this case: Q'eqchi' Maya in southern Belize.
In a few weeks I'll be there... supporting this model, helping to make it sustainable, so it could attract replication elsewhere.
My leisure retirement in Georgia will have to wait... again.
And I do hope my body would do its best to keep up with my brain's demands.
Belize is far too interesting a destination to just work there. :-)
Such a fabulous snorkeling: Sapodilla Cayes, here I come!

Golden years on the Golden Isles of Georgia


(image) My retirement merry-go-round, i.e. "living the world" retirement type ended - I resolved - two weeks ago, when I moved to the Golden Isles of Georgia, to live my golden years in a more stationary fashion, thus the retirement-merry-go-round blog comes now to an end.

June and July were filled with travelling all around the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, (I promise to record those travels in this blog soon, under appropriate dates) before I settled on the Golden Isles, with their sandy beaches, fantastic nature preserves and the famous marshes of Glynn.

I shall continue my encore (= retirement, part time ) career of non-profit consulting offering hands on organizational and fund development to non-profits both locally and - for short term assignments - internationally, to aid them during the recession, and after it - especially rural and remotely located organizations, since these usually receive far fewer grants than other nonprofits, often due to lack of professional resources and far fewer public support due to their remoteness.

As for the rest, I plan to enjoy the beaches, forests and marshes, and the neighboring historical city of Savannah and the nearest large city of Jacksonville, Florida - both at a distance of 70 miles. I plan to visit my daughter in Atlanta often, visiting friends there and taking it the cultural offerings I so enjoyed there: opera, ballet, theaters, museums, my book clubs... enjoy what's left of my life!

I have enjoyed this blogging adventure for the last two years and all virtual - and personal - friendships I developed through it.

Till we meet again! :-)

Callaway Gardens mini vacations


At the end of May Disa received a stimulus package from Callaway Gardens, a huge English-type garden (2500 acres!), resort (2700 acres) and forest (8,500 acres) near Pine Mountain in central Georgia. The stimulus package offered discounts at any lodging belonging to Callaway Garden resort, free entry to the gardens and all Callaway Gardens attractions plus free golf tee time, free tennis, free boat and bicycle rentals.Since we both love Callaway Gardens, we decided to use this offer and went there last week for a three day, two night mini vacation.Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal, because we had only one whole day without rain, Wednesday. It rained on Tuesday afternoon, allowing us to enjoy wet and foggy vistas of the lakes (there are 13 lakes in the gardens, the biggest one with a large sandy beach) and the gardens during an early evening ride/walk through the property: We enjoyed these aquarelle-like vistas, rain-drooping southern magnolias and the flowering bushes and the mosses, who seemed to thrive after the be continued [...]

Belt tightening?


(image) 'What on earth ARE you wearing??? ' exclaimed my daughter last Friday when I went to fetch her from a car workshop, where she left her car for some routine maintenance.

I looked at her surprised. I had on a pair of jeans and a polo shirt - in my opinion quite ok an attire for an errand like that.

' Everything is hanging on you! You must have lost at least two sizes and can't were those "fat" clothes anymore' - she explained seeing my surprise... and instead of driving us home, she kidnapped me - in my own car - to a Talbots outlet store (this is recession, remember, thus the need to be frugal, while still polished, lol) - almost 15 miles away.

Everything there was between 40% and 75% off regural prices... and the selection was pretty good. So I got myself this funny pelican purse (no, I did not "outgrow" any of my purses, but I could not resist this one), especially that it was both stylish and a bargain!

(image) and a few other items: among them this new navy top (despite Disa-s complaints that too many of my clothes are navy - I simply had to remind her that they now are too big for me to wear) and patterned skirt... about half a size too small at the moment ! ;-)

Well, since I returned from Puerto Rico I have been eating a lot of healthier food: lots of veggies and lean protein, nothing fried, (be it a lechonera style pork or tostones =double fried plantains, a typical everyday food of Puerto Rico, served, to make things worse with mayo-ketchup!), quinoa, millet and amaranth instead of rice, fresh sallads, etc.

I have also rejoined a gym, enjoying water aerobics and other group excecise classes and using an elliptical trainer now and then... so no wonder I lost 12 pounds ( of fat, I hope) since I came back, and should soon be ready for those of my newly purchased clothes, which are now a bit tight fitting.

But tightening of real belts is not so good for tightening of financial belts... unless, of course you shop at outlet stores... and don't overdo it ;-)!

Cirque Imagination:Montage!


Disa and I went to a circus this afternoon. Cirque Imagination is a spin off of Cirque du Soleil. The Montage performance was great - there is not so much of a phantasy story within a carnival in here, but a carnival atmosphere nevertheless and the performers and their skill level are top class. We had a grand time.

(image) " It is a grand show of circus daring and skill, starring former members of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere, O, Saltimbanco, Alegria and Quidam. This production aims to defy the perception of what are impossible - fusing strength, flexibility and technical skill, fostering an appreciation for the beauty and capabilities of the human body" - says their promotional piece.


Spa day


(image) Today is a pampering day. Manicure, pedicure, body scrub, massage, facial, hair cutting and styling. I like a pampering day with my daughter - otherwise I consider it too boring... but it is a part of living in the big city routine, so it has to be endured more often here than on a tropical island.

Clematis on our balcony now in bloom


(image) Clematis in the sun

Clematis which i planted on Disa's balcony a month ago is now in fool bloom!

(image) Clematis in the rain

Too bad that the rose, which I planted it with, just finished blooming for a while. But better one plant in bloom than neither one.


Milledgeville - the First Lady of Georgia


Milledgeville was the second stop on my and Disa's Mother's Day trip on Georgia's antebellum trail. Milledgeville prides itself on its history, which began in 1803, when the state of Georgia searched for a site for its new capital. Because this area offered a central location and ample springs, it was deemed to be the perfect spot and for more than 60 years Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia. Many area homes and structures survived the periodic fires and willful destruction of the War Between the States, so it is an interesting stop on the antebellum trail, although, when you decide to go, do not make a mistake we did and do not go on a Sunday, when all historic buildings and other attractions are closed and can be seen only from outside :-(((.So we just walked the streets, looked at prominent buildings, like an old capitol building, now a military academy, A sculpture of a dog near the library on military academy's campusan old governor's mansion, etc., etc. and at the remnants of a street art festival, which took place a day earlier: colorful "murals" painted on the streets. [...]

Memorial weekend bargain hunting


At the beginning of the week I got an email from IKEA announcing a Memorial Day sale. This classic modern chair, designed by Noburu Nakamura some 20 years ago (?) was on sale today only, for a super bargain price of $39 each. I could not resist... for both practical and sentimental reasons.Practical: before I left for Puerto Rico I left my bedroom, guest room/study and dining room furniture in storage, but sold practically all my living room ones - and left furniture I had in Puerto Rico there, so, once I moved into my new place I would have nowhere to sit, unless I bought something new, so a couple of those chairs, especially at this unbeatable price seemed like a perfect solution. A street in Ystad, a well preserved medieval townSentimental: I owned a couple of those - with pale blue cushions - some 15 years ago, when I worked in Poland, but had a seaside apartment in Ystad, in southern Sweden. LodzPoland at that time was still in its early post communist period, and was certainly a fascinating place to work in, but utterly uncomfortable to live in, so every month I worked for about 24 days straight, workdays and weekends, just to be able to escape to my tranquil Swedish seaside paradise for one week, breathe some fresh air ( I worked in Lodz, at that time a heavily polluted industrial city of almost one million inhabitants squeezed like sardines in tiny - and mostly dilapidated - communist era apartments, or crumbling - and equally dilapidated - early industrial ones),walk on practically empty, miles long beaches, flanked by wild rose hedges, heather filled meadows and pine forests.... I loved it there... but work - and new adventures took me elsewhere... so now I had to have at least those armchairs again!On Thursday Disa and I went to IKEA for lunch ( Swedish meatballs with lingonberries!) to preview the various options before today's mad dash, and there, while testing the different types of cushions for style and comfort, I got engaged in an animated conversation with an interesting guy... and made a new friend :-)[...]

:-((( the pool at my gym is temporarily closed


(image) Yesterday, during my water aerobics class I found out that the sunny Olympic size swimming pool at my gym, the highlight of my near daily gym visits - is going to be closed for 11 days due to some reconstruction work. :-(((

One of the pleasures of my post-Puerto Rico life are daily (except weekends) visits to the gym.

I take hourly water aerobics classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I take weight lifting, stretching and toning classes designed for people my age and/or work on weight machines and elliptical trainers.

Try to find anything even remotely resembling it in Puerto Rico... I could not -and missed gym all the time I lived there!

But after each "dry" workout I enjoy relaxing in a hot tub and swimming in the pool. So, when the pool is closed, I won't go to the gym, even though all the "dry"classes and equipment are available. Without a pool as a reward it would not be even half that much fun. :-(((

So today, instead for going to the gym I went walking in Piedmont Park, while Disa was jogging there, and we ended our al fresco work out passes strolling among the flowers and the sculptures in Atlanta Botanical Garden (there is a Moore exhibition going on in there right now, but I'll blog about it later - today my camera had no working batteries).

Too bad that the water in the condo's outdoor swimming pool is still a tad too cold for a swim. :-((

Georgia Antebellum trail: first stop: Monticello


War monument at the square in Monticello. Behind it, on the right is the Greek revival courthouse building, made famous by the film "My cousin Vinnie".I was looking forward to a trip to Georgia's Golden Isles on Mother's Day, but the weather forecast, which suggested it would be unseasonably cold - and rainy - there this week, made us to postpone that trip and do a day trip length part of the Georgia antebellum trail that Sunday. Southern magnolias burst into bloom in Georgia right now! Their flowers are as big as sandwich plates and they bloom profusely all summer long. they are also a symbol of the south and a symbol of scenic drives in Georgia.The antebellum trail runs from Athens to Macon and showcases the best examples of remaining antebellum (here meaning pre 1860 war between the North and the South) architecture in central Georgia. Bank building in Monticello - another example of Greek revival architectureGeneral Sherman's scorched earth war strategy resulted in most of Georgia (including the city of Atlanta) being burnt to the ground during that war, but he spared Savannah and some towns in middle Georgia, which made the antebellum trail possible. The monument above is dedicated to the memory of soldiers fighting in the war.Since it was Mother's Day we decided to go to a traditional Mother's Day brunch after all, but to do it with a twist. We had no reservations, so we did not attempt to have brunch in Social Circle, but chose the next best thing: the Red Clay Cafe and Gallery in Georgia's Monticello: a quaint and very picturesque small town. We had brunch at Red Clay Galleria and Cafe on the square. The cafe and galleria are owned by Sandra (in the middle of the picture, above), who - like Monticello (My cousin Vinnie was filmed here), is also known from playing in several films: she played in Fried Green Tomatoes with Jessica Tandy and had a dancing role in Medea's Family Reunion.The patronage of the Red Clay Cafe is racially diverse, which adds to it ambiance.Just look at the goergeous smile of the lady in the center and the equally gorgeous red hat with pink and magenta flowers of the lady on the right... all of it against the background of a fabulous wall mural!I love to watch the contrast between the "Sunday casual" outfits of Americans of European extraction with the elaborate - and usually very stylish - "Sunday finery" of African-Americans. I also love - every now and then, since it is definitively not healthy, but good - traditional southern cooking: grits with red eye gravy, melt in your mouth biscuits, fried chicken, cured ham, okra with tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, fresh peach cobblers - to name just the most famous dishes.[...]

Mother's Day trip to the Golden Isles


(image) Yippi! Tomorrow morning - instead of going to a traditional Mother Day's brunch - we shall jump in a car (we haven't decided yet which car we shall take: Disa's car is more roomy, but burns more gas, while mine is easier to park) and drive south to the Georgia's Golden Isles for a few days!
So see ya when I get back!

Spring is in full bloom


(image) ...and I am taking a spring break from blogging. See ya!

Living al fresco


Disa's balcony is pretty small, and narrow, only about 4" x 15" (1,20 m x 4.5 m), yet she has managed to arrange it so, that it allows for different activities: there is place for plants, a round table and a couple of chairs, a chaiselounge and even an electric grill.The plants, filling all the left over space, are my doing.Last week I planted clematis with large, pale blue flowers, which I am awaiting eagerly (according to the nursery, the only large blooming clematis, that grows in the south) in the same pot as a lavender rose, which already has one flower. (all my pictures are clickable, so you can see the details).I was really thrilled to have found - in the same nursery - an Angel Earrings fuchsia from the Amazon jungle (to the right of the table) - the only fuchsia that can take heat and humidity of Atlanta in the summer, popularly known as Hotlanta for that very reason. We both love living al fresco, so this corner is when we have breakfast, lunch, sometimes dinner, read, write, talk.Disa is a sun worshipper, so she can enjoy an early afternoon there as well, while I - and my laptop - feel that we are getting too much sun then. What I enjoy most is the forest outside - or an illusion of a forest, since it is just a slope, covered with trees in the middle of a city with close to 4 millions of inhabitants. Behind the slope are townhouses. To increase the forest feel I planted a dwarf columbine (in a pot on the railing) and two different vines in baskets hanging on the wall: a blue ipomoea and dark red coral vine. Nearest the balconies grow some tulip poplars, spreading their branches like nature provided green umbrellas with yellow dots of flowers in the spring. They give such a peaceful ambiance, allowing the inhabitants of the building to relax on their balconies, feeling as if they were having a picnic in a forest.Oh, I do love my various places with views![...]

Uff, it's hot...


(image) I have been working on the balcony, replanting and now I am ready for a cool glass of lemonade. Would you care for a glass of lemonade, too?

I have plenty. I whole stand - yes, I have received a lemonade stand award from zooms For attitude. And I am passing it to the following bloggers with attitude.
First, Silka Besosa for her courage - and hard work - in starting and establishing the first CSA farm in Puerto Rico.

Next, two professors on sabbaticals in southern France:
Emile Donat and Mme Boisvert

The blogs above are in English, and thus accessible to all (well, almost all).

The blogs below are in Polish and thus accessible only to those, who read this pretty difficult language.
A few Polish expat women: Agnieszka Sadlakowska from Amsterdam, Patrycja Todo from Lyon, Bea from Sweden.
And a couple of Polish women living in Poland: Nicka from Poznan and Satine from Gdansk.
They all show great attitude and truly deserve a lemonade stand.

All of you, who received that award are asked to pass it on to other bloggers with great attitudes, by
  • posting a lemonade stand award logo on your blog
  • awarding 10 other bloggers
  • letting them know they got the award by commenting on their blogs.

It's a hard work, I know, but somebody's got to do it ;-) !

Purple beauties


The favorite purple beauties of my youth were lilacs.
I miss their fragrance, their promise of a spring romance... and of a summer to come...
In Poland they were blooming in May, in Sweden in July and I met them in the USA, too, but in upstate New York, around the Fingerlakes.
Unfortunately they do not grow in the warm climate, where I like to live. So my southern purple beauty of choice is wisteria.
(image) Wisteria grows all over Atlanta, covering plenty of trees with its showy purple flowers. A lot prettier - and more cheerful - than the kudzu vines.

If you like wisteria, you can find a lot more pictures of it here , on Ewas blog, as she assembled a gallery of wisteria pictures from all (?) the places, where they grow. Enjoy!