It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I have had enough of Summer

It is time for Autumn now. 
Summer began right away this year, there was no easing into it  and it just got hotter and hotter. I am still having enough trouble with the months.. summer starts in November/December ! I am too old for new tricks, November is when leaves fall, fireplaces get used and sweaters come out of storage. 

But nooo, here,  November is beautiful and warm and then the heat starts and December and Summertime is upon us and I see no real Christmas trees and wreaths and who wants to see them anyway ? not in the middle of summer ! 
One of the things I always wondered about when I thought of people living in Miami, Florida, was what about Christmas ? it should be cold. That is just the way things should be ... according to me.

Spring is very pleasant here , if summer were like Spring, I might like the idea that it seems to go on forever. But this summer was hot. And it is still hot. And no one wants to hear me whine about it anymore. grumbling and muttering ....

But back to Fall ... the trees still lose their leaves and some turn pretty colors.
Nothing like the Northeastern autumns when we would go to Upstate New York and pick apples and spend a weekend walking through woods full of falling leaves, going to farmers markets and bringing home way more pumpkins and apples than a small family could ever eat.
Remember   Van Morrison ? Moondance ? That song was popular when I arrived in New York, about 100 years ago. 
And right after arriving in NYC, in the fall, I went on a weekend trip to upstate New York, where the apples grow and you can walk on the grounds of homes that were built by people with names like Vanderbilt and Roosevelt , with unlimited views of the beautiful Hudson River. 
That was it for me, I was in love , with New York and the Hudson Valley.  
And then I met my husband. So for me, Autumn is when things cool down and love warms up and you can go apple picking, walk through leaves and sit by a fire at night and listen to Moondance if you want.

But I am in Argentina now and it is April  and fall is just beginning, my friends back home are talking about their summer plans and I am looking ahead to getting my winter clothes out and shopping for a new coat. 

Fall looks like Fall here. 
And it often smells like fall, during the day, that leafy , damp earthy smell, at night the scent of wood smoke from fire places and from the parrillas where steaks are cooking on open fires. 
Then we wrap a scarf around our necks and grab Pup and go for an evening walk, enjoying the coolness, walking a little closer to each other, Pup is a little friskier with the chill in the air .. running on ahead, sniffing, always sniffing.

I look at fashion magazines from the US and Europe and see the summer styles, recipes for salads and fruit desserts. 
I walk past shops and see boots and warm coats. No wonder I am confused all the time.
I understand more and more Spanish but now I also understand that May means get out the winter clothes.

I must admit, I love the winters  here .. the skies are this amazing blue. 
The sun shines brightly every day in often cloudless skies. 
We walk all the time, everywhere and come home with pink noses from the sun and big appetites from all the exercise.
It is not the sort of winter where one wants to hibernate until the sun comes out and it is warm again. You just wear a warmer scarf and a coat and go on about your life, which is quite pleasant considering some places where it rains every day... regardless of the season and you think that if you go out in it one more time, you will find mold growing... on your body.

Pup enjoys winter, he could care less about temperatures and rain   but since we enjoy being out more, he ends up getting more walks , he has decided that it was not a bad idea, moving here.

Our first months here were so full of exploring and getting settled and getting lost and apartment shopping, that we paid little attention to the weather changes, one day it was just cold. 
Then it was July. That was confusing enough, cold-July, but then one day it snowed.
For a couple of New Yorkers, who had lived through a few big snowstorms and even a blizzard or two, the gentle short snowfall in Buenos Aires was charming and "not really snow"... but it was so much fun watching all the people react to the First Snowfall in 90 years !!
Children were trying to catch a flake on their tongue, adults were just walking, looking up and grinning.. it was a holiday so everyone was out in the parks and in the streets, enjoying the rare sight of snow in Buenos Aires.
We especially liked that it did not accumulate and that we did not have to drive in it and no one slipped on the front steps.
Winter is not bad here, Fall is wonderful, I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life is just a Walk in the Park .. or something

I promised myself to remember to bring the camera on our next walk with Pup to the park. So here I have all the photos I could take on our walk through 3 of the parks where we like to wander, amble, gaze , relax and sniff... well , one of us sniffs, the other two not so much.

This is where I go to fill that need for green spaces,  for  the sights and sounds  of all sorts of birds and to relax and breath in the (surprisingly ) fresh air. 
Just within these three parks there are many things for people to do, a Museum of Fine Art, with a nice cafe, a reservoir for boat races on Sundays, areas for Sunday soccer (futbol) games and picnics and sunbathing. ... if it is not freezing cold winter, there will be someone lying on a blanket, sunbathing.. really. I have leather bags that are not as tanned.

The statues never fail to interest me, they are so big , who are these people that they rated such a large statue and why do the Graffiti pinheads have to spray these statues??

The statue of the man with one hand missing is in the middle park and that behind him is the fenced in gardens to the Embassy of Great Britain. That statue is the one with the little army of leaf cutter ants who march on their little highways worn bare in the grass, to go under/inside the base of the statue. I cannot ( don't really want to) imagine what it looks like inside there.

And being a lover of all things green and leafy, I always wonder what sort of trees and bushes these are and I know I must find a book that will tell me. So I don't have to refer to them as the Umbrella Trees or the Trees that Rain on you every year ( I think those are the jacarandas, they have water in their leaves and if the slightest wind blows, they sprinkle water on you ... our first year here, we went crazy trying to figure out where the rain was coming from ... The Tree you idiot !! )

So .. enjoy the photos and our parks..    

The Museum of Fine Arts

The statue of the guy with one hand and a lot of ants in his pants.

Pup in the Park

One of the many flowering trees in the park

                                                                                               The flowers on that tree

General Mitres statue
and below, a close up 

Boat Reservoir 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Garden Thoughts ~

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

I grew up in the   Southern U.S.  and there were gardens there that one had to ride a tractor to  plant things or pick them   .
But   when it was picking the tomatoes or beans or berries time, my cousin and I would be the ones to be called to duty.
I hated it. 
Bugs bothered me, it was hot, I wanted to go swimming, whine whine and I didn't even like beans  !

My grandmother was one of those old fashioned Southern women who could cook anything  from "scratch" .. she would call  my cousin and I to her house and we were given buckets and sent out to pick blackberries. With the bribe, if we pick them, she would bake a blackberry cobbler for us , so off we went  to the blackberry thicket where we picked one, ate two, got purple stains on our hands, our mouths, probably our teeth and came back with buckets full of fat, warm from the sun, blackberries and a few  chigger bites too. 

( Chiggers... these tiny bugs that burrow under your skin and make you itch like crazy until your mom puts some odd home remedy on them, that smells awful and they quit itching)

My cousins and  I  would play outside in Grandma's yard until she called us in to have bowls of warm cobbler.
Even if I made it myself, today, it would never taste as good as it did then.

My mom had her own version of gardens. She had roses growing in front of the house, climbing all the way to the roof. She had giant Iris growing around the bird bath , great dark purple things that I always love whenever I see them, they transport me back to my Southern wild child days when we could stay outside and play until dark, then we were all expected to be home . 

My other grandmother lived in this little cottage sort of house and every window was full of violets and she and my grandfather were good at getting anything to grow and grow large. He planted Dahlias  that were as big as sunflowers. The side of their house had fragrant vines of flowers covering it .. hummingbirds would dart in and out. The lived in San Diego and I still have vivid memories of the house and gardens.

I have tried over the years to have a garden. We did have tomatoes that grew well, I had herb gardens that were successful. 
But then we moved into an apartment in Oregon where I could only grow things in pots on the terrace.
So I consoled myself by going to the Japanese Gardens in Portland.
This was for me, the garden lover, the same thing as going to another planet. 
The Garden Planet.  
As far as the eye could see, varieties of amazing trees and reeds, and flowers and ground covers and vines and you name it, it grew there and it was very green.

Now we live in Buenos Aires. 
A huge city, full of buildings, cobblestone and paved streets, as far as the eye can see, buildings and streets.
There is a Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires. A gift from Japan. A gift that I and my family enjoy often.

Here and there in the neighborhoods are green parts. In my opinion, not nearly enough but at least there are some green spots.

In Palermo, the Plane trees ( just like those in Paris) on each side of the street, meet over the street, creating these tunnels of green shade.

In our neighborhood there are the Parks. 
They start at Plaza Francia, by the Recoleta Cemetery and continue on down the big Avenue Libertador as a series of parks, one is the Museum Park, one is the Park with the Flora Generica and on down to where there are some large Embassies.

I call them Our Parks.
We start out at Plaza Francia and across to the Museum of Fine Arts and their park and continue along.
 And here I get my " Garden Fix" .. there are the trees. I still don't know the names of them all and they continue to amaze and amuse me with
their odd little characteristics. The fat bulbous bottom with thorns sticking out , but with feathery leaves and flowers that draw hummingbirds.
The Jacarandas that flower with the tiny purple flowers that soon lie on the ground like a purple carpet,    filling the air with their  scent when they are in full bloom, the best perfume, I wish I had a bottle of it.

Then on down to the last park where the rubber trees are still standing, at least 100 years old, as big as apartment buildings, a single branch as  large as the trunk on most trees. I have these flashes of what it would be like to be a small child who likes to climb trees, these are made for such a thing.

So this is where I go now when I need a garden, when I need Green or Flowers or butterflies and the sound of birds. 

On my balconies, I have flowers and plants growing, those are my tiny gardens. But someday, I am going to have a larger one. 
Not one that will require the tractor, but at least one big enough to maybe have some tomatoes and a berry bush.
Who knows, there might even be little children around that I 
will hand buckets to and send them out to collect something for 
me to put in a cake.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday in the Park

I absolutely love Sundays here!
And a Sunday when the weather is just about as perfect as it can get, is just icing on the cake.
The sky is very blue, there are clouds flitting by, a soft breeze and no mosquitoes.. it can't get better than this.
Oh ... yes , it can ... there were a few bands in the parks today.
One is a Jazz band and I have to tell you, I am not a big fan of Jazz but these guys made me like Jazz today.
We were just going to give the Pup a walk, wander around "our" parks and then come back , leave him and go to the market for something for dinner because we feel like staying in tonight  and eating , drinking and reading and maybe seeing a movie on the telly.
Yes, it is true, we are old Fogies.

As we approached the park, you could hear the rock band playing. There was a small group of girls , every one of them staring intently at the young men playing in the band.
It was cute.
The music was ... so so .

As we walked around the monument.. there were 4 young guys sitting in the shade.. I noticed them mostly, because they were all wearing dresses.
Not fancy dresses, but your grandma's ( or maybe your) cotton house dress that she wore to do the ironing or just for lolling around the house in.
So here we have 4 young guys, 2 with dreadlocks and a couple with funny hats and they are just hanging out in their dresses in the shade.
Pup went to for a closer inspection, but changed his mind. We wandered a bit farther.

The Big Open Bus came and unloaded its cargo of Sightseers , loaded down with cameras, maps and backpacks.
I always want to tell them that it is a huge city, there is water and food and whatever you need, you do not have to carry it all with you ... but I just smile and wander away.
Often, in this park, we are asked to take a photo of a couple of tourists. I love doing this.
What is really fun is when they ask us in Spanish. And I answer in English.
I like the looks of surprise or relief when that happens.
I know, it doesn't take too much to entertain me.
My husband is the photographer so often since I am wearing sunglasses and am probably certifiably blind ... I tell him, Here, you take it.
There is always great happy smiling and thanking as they leave, after first doing what he tells them to do .. look and see if it is good, if not, I will take another one.
He is just so cool  ..

So we wander and talk , mostly about what we want for dinner and what do we need to buy.. you know, really important issues.
And I always keep an eye on Pup who actually, always keeps an eye on us.
If I walk too far away, he comes galloping over to us.. he wouldn't let us get too far away.
He is accosted by a few male dogs who want to assure themselves that he is a boy dog and that no, they really cannot do anything riské ... Pup will growl.. so there is this dog dance that they do- circling, sniffing, then Pup grows bored and runs along.. the other dog watches him go, sort of disappointed and  sad looking.

So we are aware of the music as we walk and when we do the full circle and end up back where we began, there is the band.. wait a minute ! are those ? yes ! they are !!
The band is wearing dresses, not any dress but grandma's house dress. I am suddenly more willing to listen to Jazz, there is a small gathering of people listening, a few people like us, stand and listen.. even Pup listened... well, while he sniffed around.

The totally insane inebriated man from around the neighborhood, danced to the music.
The drummer was outstanding! I don't blame the man for dancing, I considered it for a minute.. well, maybe 3 seconds. Maybe I need to get totally drunk to dance in the park too.

I am sure this just shows that I am too uptight and straight-laced and a fuddy duddy and need to loosen up, chill out and have some fun.
I did walk with a slight bounce to my step, does that count?

As we left the park, there were many people arriving.
I was glad, those boys in the house dresses were really good and deserved a good audience..

So we made our way home, stopping at our produce market where we bought the most perfect cherry tomatoes and now we will relax and spend the rest of the day, doing what we do best on Sundays, nothing much at all.. slowly ..

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What in the world were we thinking ?

There are days that I wonder what in the world were we thinking ?
We went from a brand new, modern, loft- style apartment, in the middle of a very nice city in the United States, to this 100 year old apartment, in the middle of this very nice city in Argentina.
We like the look of the city, the weather is pretty good and the people are just great !
They are really what makes Buenos Aires such a wonderful place to visit or to live in.

We were so lucky to find an apartment in a building like this, not the architecture so much, although it is exactly what I wanted.
An old French style building with wrought iron balconies and hardwood floors and high , high  ceilings and molding, miles of molding . 

A cage-style elevator, wrought iron and mahogany with antique mirror panels, and marble floors. 

There is a total of 10 apartments in the building , 2 to a floor.
This was a private home at one time, the daughter and son of the man who built it, still live here. This just adds to the feeling we often have of not just living in an apartment in a building, but being a part of a family here. 
From the first day we moved in, they were welcoming and kind. Pedro, the Porter, took care of us right away, with much miming and pointing when he went to the hardware store to stop the leaking faucet that would turn out to be the first of many "water issues" we have had here.

They kiss us hello, they kiss us goodbye, they keep us up on what is going on in the building and a few of the neighbors speak English so they are always making sure we actually do understand what is going on.
I sometimes daydream about  living in another area, in another apartment, but it would mean leaving the neighbors, can I do that ? 

We have had water leaks from the upstairs apartment almost since we moved in. Actually, since the kitchen cabinets were installed... like.. the next day. 
We walked into the apartment and there was a waterfall where my pretty newly painted wall was located, in front of the newly installed wood cabinets .. I scrambled up the ladder with garbage bags and covered everything until someone could fix that pipe  upstairs. 
The plumber came , the pipes were fixed.

Eventually the painter arrived and started the paint job and his young helper was in the dressing room, working on the water stains  .. the ceilings all were spotty and ugly.
The painter is good, he was able to mix the paint to match whatever the original paint color was, things were looking up, we might see the end of this soon ! 
Then that sound! what was that ? the dressing room ceiling fell on the helpers head.
A part of the ceiling that had shown no signs of bother, now lying in little pieces on the floor. The beautiful polished 100 year old wood floor. 
And they just kept working, the poor kid was singing while he worked. I let him only because he got hit on the head.
By the end of the day, the work was pretty much finished, the helper showed no signs of concussion, a good day all in all.

Next was the laundry room... with the added excitement of seeing how 2 grown men would fit into a space that a small woman can barely squeeze in to, while they plaster, paint and hang a new light.
If they manage and do not ruin my washer and dryer, I am sending them off to the Circus, they are being wasted here.

So the painter will return .. if only things stay dry ... what were we thinking ? 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Slow Love ... House and Garden and Writing and fan mail

A long time ago, I used to live in a very old house, on a wooded lot, with a winding road going past and down the hill  and there were gardens.
I read magazines on gardening and house decorating like some people eat M&M's .. well, at least the way I eat M&M's..

One of my favorites , that I saved  every issue of,  was House & Garden Magazine.
When the magazine  came in the mail, I would make sure nothing was waiting to be done, no one would disturb my hour of reading the magazine from front to back.
Lingering over photos of rooms that I would try to duplicate, gardens that I wanted and ideas I would try to use in my own garden on a much tinier scale.

And I would start with Welcome, where Dominique Browning, Editor of House & Garden, would talk about some aspect of living , homes, gardens, children, food .
One day she wrote about her child growing up and it inspired me to dash off a note to her, telling her my similar story.

Imagine my surprise, delight and excitement when I got a letter from House & Garden asking me if they could publish my Letter to the Editor.
I still have that magazine.
I had to throw away, give away, sell almost all of my books and magazines when we moved out of that little house and started our wanderings, ending up here in Buenos Aires.
But one of those magazines has traveled along with me.
November 1999, House & Garden. With my first published Letter to the Editor.

She would never know  what an impact that made on my life, how I was inspired to think that maybe there was something that I had to say that someone else might be interested in , that maybe there was something I had to say that would make a difference to someone else, the way what she had to say, made a difference to me.

This morning I was reading the New York Times ( online.. Thank you God for the internet, again)
and there was a name that was familiar, it took a moment to realize who it was , being out of context in my mind.
Dominique Browning. former Editor of the now gone House & Garden magazine.
She is writing , she has a blog and now , I can go back to reading one of my favorite writers of all things Home, Family, Food , Garden and Life related.

If you have never been one for that sort of reading, this might make no sense to you, but here I am, far away from "home", in a house that we have made a home,  in a country where we still have trouble figuring out What the heck they are talking about ! and trying to find something as simple as a paint roller..
So for me, this is a wonderful surprise and comforting to know that no matter where I go .. some things are still there for me.
In English .

So I recommend that you go grab a cup of tea, sit down with your computer and read
Slow Love by Dominique Browning.

Thank you to and HighValleybooks .com and for the use of their vintage images of House & Garden magazine.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Off to Palermo

My friend Sandra , has this amazing blog/website. 
We (actually my husband) discovered her when we were planning our trip here, then planning the move, then planning what to do when we are bored or wondering what is going on in Buenos Aires this week.

So thanks to her brilliant knowledge of what is going on in town, we are going to Palermo today. ** 
Saturday not today , thank you Sandra... now my husband can buy paint for the painter when he comes ... someday .. **
Palermo is a huge barrio that is broken into Palermo Viejo , Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood. 
I think the largest and original ( not sure of my facts at all) is Palermo Botanico. 
This is where the Botanical Gardens are  and the Zoo and the huge Parque Las Heras.   
The race track (Hippodrome ) and polo fields are there too ..  

If you want to see cobblestone streets with old interesting buildings from the past,or
trees reaching towards each other over the streets, Palermo is a good spot to visit.

If you have any interest in shopping and eating, Palermo is the place to go..
There is "design tour" going on .. I think it sounds very interesting and who knows, with all those shops and all those cafes, there are all sorts of probabilities of more birthday celebrating to do ( yes, I use the birthday as an excuse for as long as possible) ..  

So today , this is where we will be on Saturday ..."Por la calle" Textile design tour - Palermo

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Day After

Today is the day after my Birthday.

This calls for contemplation on Birthdays in the past, what I should have done yesterday ( shopped more) and what I should expect from future Birthdays.

Birthdays are more than milestones .. age markers.
At least they are for me.
In the past years, my Birthdays have been marked by Where I was, What we were planning, or better yet, Where we were planning to be.
In the past, when we lived in a house and had no immediate plans for a big move, like to another hemisphere, we would go to Paris or London on my birthday... sometimes we went to Las Vegas ... talk about laughing your way into that another  year older business.

One year my husband and I went to London for 2 weeks. On the weekend, we took the Channel Train to Paris for two nights, then back to London.
So many things stand out about that trip, the apartment we rented.
South Kensington, cul de sac, beautiful apartment, I would have lived there but the timing wasn't right.

Paris, my first time there.
I got a migraine as we arrived and it went away sometime in the night, leaving the next day a fog of pain killers and slight nausea.
But I still fell in love with Paris and 8 months later we went back .. which became our annual anniversary treat, 10 days in Paris.
No wonder we have been married 100 years !

Now we are living in Argentina.
Everything is still new in a lot of ways, there are so many places we have not been  yet.
But there are places that we know, we like and enjoy.
So yesterday was spent being silly at an over the top, beautiful hotel restaurant, sitting in the corner on a sofa and people watching, while having lunch and Bloody Marys.. shopping along the wide Avenues, that could remind a person of Paris if they reeeally squinted their eyes.

And dinner out in a beautiful restaurant where the waiter knows us, kisses us hello ( yes, us) and makes sure we are as happy as possible.

A walk home on a soft night with stars so close we could touch then and a half moon that was peeking between the buildings, lighting the way home.

Now I am beginning a new year.. this is Day 2 of my new year.
What am I going to do with it ?
How will I make it count?
What will there be  to show for it next March?

It is a good thing Birthdays only come once a year, all this Thinking can make a girl tired.
I will now go snuggle with the man and the dog and plan what to do on this beautiful day in Buenos Aires where  everyone else is on a holiday and the sun is shining.

I am sure a park and a cafe will be included in the activities.. and maybe the beginning of some plans for trips in the future..

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

About that Profile Photo ... and various other mental wanderings

That is Pup.
My previous photo  was the cat from the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens.
While a beautiful cat, it really was not "connected" to me in any way and I felt that Pup would be a much better choice for Cover "Boy" ..

The location of the photo is the park next to the Belle Artes Museum on Libertador.

This is one of our favorite parks, not only because it is close to our home but it is huge, there are these fantastic oddly shaped trees with huge thorns that grow out of the bark ( obviously cats nor children climb these trees) and amazing flowers grow in them, delighting me with the sight of hummingbirds darting here and there and feeding all the time.
There is a little fenced in children's playground, wide grassy areas where boys ( of all ages) can play futbol (soccer) .. it is most enjoyable to watch a young father teaching his young son to play soccer. The yelling, the running, the cheering, really much more fun that going to one of the games, really.

There is a reservoir where mostly men and some children, sail beautiful little boats and have races on Sundays.  It has   a very "Sunday in the Park ", by Seurat, feeling to it. .

These parks are huge , each section covering more than one city block, and each one has something about it that makes it special or a bit different from the other. Ours has some trees, it is considered to be the Museum Park, there are sculptures scattered all around.

The next park has a huge statue in the middle and concrete and marble areas where skate boarders skate and fall down.
Then there are vast grassy areas where more boys play soccer and moms sit on blankets with babies and if the sun is shining and it is over 60º F, they will be sunning themselves. And Pups will be sniffing around ...

And then there is the park with the trees. My favorite for many reasons. This park is at the end of the series, the Embassy for Chile is located here, there is a long allee of trees that are at least 100 years old, huge , massive branches and soft feathery looking leaves, shading large areas of the walk, which is delightful in the summer heat .. there are benches scattered here and there for you to sit and enjoy the shade and watch the traffic on Libertador , where now and then there is a parade or car rally.. and the way people drive here, it sometimes resembles a large car race where everyone is headed towards the Finish line.

This park has a few wonderful statues, generally huge, marble and bronze and featuring a man on a horse. I love them all. This park also has a row of apartment houses whose back apartments look out over the park and this is my goal, to live in one of those apartments.
I want to wake up to the sight of all that green, and it might be fun to have a grand statue of a man on a horse outside the window too.

So this is why Pup is now on my profile photo ..

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

Good day Sunshine!

Nothing like waking up to birds singing, doves cooing and bright blue skies.  There are a few tiny white puffy clouds waaay up there but it is a bright sunny day again, in Buenos Aires.
  I will do some things that are needed to be done around the house, since yesterday was an exercise in Laziness and tomorrow will be spent celebrating the fact that I am indeed, an old bag.
Yep, the birthday is tomorrow.
My husband will shop today.  We / I still cannot decide on where to eat and what to do. I think it has something to do with life in the Southern Hemisphere, everything is slower and there seems to be time to make decisions later .. tomorrow..not now.
This is my kinda place in that sense, believe you me !

Pup has gone from his bed in the bedroom, to the sofa  next to my  husband, to the rug in here by me.
Obviously, he has been overwhelmed with the ennui that envelopes me ... this is good, there would be conflict if I were having to cope with a high energy live-wire dog ... Pup echoes me ... he is quiet and relaxed when I am , he is up and ready to go when I am ... yep, he is the Perfect Pup.

Now if only he could help me decide on where to go for the Birthday dinner... 
But that is where the Perfect Husband comes in .. he will either help me think of somewhere, or he will surprise me, the man is till chock full of surprises !

Amici Miei
Where to go , there are so many choices...  I have to go take a walk with the Pup and the husband and figure this out.
Tigre is a good idea if there were not clouds of mosquitoes there right now ... 
     Our first trip here, we celebrated an anniversary. We went to a beautiful restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel.
While finishing our meal, we heard Tango music, live .. my husband asked the hostess about it and she said there was a small show in the lounge. Next thing we knew, they had a table ( on the edge of the dance floor) and our after dinner drinks and coffee were served there, while we watched  2 men and a woman dance.. Tango ... lovely ... that is what I need. Something unexpected ... it will happen, it always does ~

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away .........

I am generally fine with a bit of rain now and then.
We haven't had too much lately, which has been a Good Thing in my mind, for the obvious reasons, walking a dog  in rain = not much fun, mosquitoes that come out after the rain = no fun at all, walking a dog in the park after rain with all the mosquitoes = my version of Hell.

Today is a perfect day for rain, Sunday.
Loll around after a late night visiting cousins and eating all that grilled food.. looking at family photos, sleeping late, reading magazines that my thoughtful daughter mailed to me from the US...  I can see what the rest of the world is wearing And be able to read it in English.

But then , there is a certain Pup, who cannot go out alone, cannot manage the buttons on the elevator even if he could go out alone and I am not sure if he could figure out the key thing in all the doors.... so this leaves The Saint, aka   my husband ...  who says, you stay here, I will walk him.

God bless that man.

So while we hope that the dogs bladder is bigger and stronger than , say , mine ... I spend a lot of time on a rainy day,
1- Thinking of good games for a Pup to play ( keeps his mind off the bladder).

2- Cooking enough food for a family of 6, when there is still only 2 of us eating.

3-Reading Vogue... it is in English, what more can I ask for? ( besides some of the shoes I am seeing)

4- Drying a Standard Poodle after he has been walking in heavy rain ... this takes an average of 45 minutes, not counting the hour it takes to play Towel Tug of War and Give Me Your Foot. ( and yes, he is ticklish)..

It is only 5:45 .. I have been tasting the soup so much I am full.
I have a Strata in the oven as an experiment ( never made one before ...) and thank God for Pizza delivery, if it doesn't work out.

Rain or shine, Sunday or any other day of the week, the Pizza place 2 blocks from our home is open and delivering.
They deliver on roller skates.
The pizza is always hot. Personally, I cannot figure out how they roller skate in the rain carrying a pizza but then, I can't skate.
I am still adjusting to the pizza here.. we like it pretty much... thin crust ( very good) lots of cheese ( ok) no sauce really, just a schmear and then on top of it all, slices of fresh tomatoes and green olives ( usually with pits) ... so aside from the danger of breaking a tooth on the olive , the pizza here is pretty good.

And even better when it is raining and you don't want to go out ... until Pup says you have to.


I miss my Car

Every now and then, a slightly bitter, more jaded  perhaps,  person will make a comment like "you are still in the first throes of love", when it comes to my affection for Buenos Aires.
This is OK... I get that I am prone to gushing and going on about how much I enjoy certain aspects of living here.
There are no hurricanes, the people are a delight and it is muy affordable for us.
But yeah, there are things that I don't exactly love about living here.

I miss my car. I loved that car and so did Pup. I know he misses riding around town, head out the window, ears flapping in the wind... Go Faster, Mama, Go Faster !

I miss just walking out the door, getting into the car and running my errands , then having lunch with girlfriends. Giggling and time flying while gossiping with your friends is , in my opinion, a God-given right and I am missing out on that these days.

I do have friends here, we have friends. And friends visit from other countries which is always a treat.... but there are certain things that are just different and while I relish the difference most of the time, some days a person just longs for the Same Old People and the Same Old Things..

We used to toss our things in an overnight bag and we would all take a long weekend in the mountains or out to the beaches.
Now - here , it would require dog sitters ( I have yet to find one) and a car ( we can rent, I suppose) and the knowledge of the area ( lacking) and the knowledge of the roads and drivers ( vague idea and not impressed)  not to mention, it takes FOREVER to get there.
This place is huge.

From my home in the US  to the mountains, was anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. Here, it is measured more in days... and then there are the usual anxieties that I have ... What about reading the signs, in Spanish ?? What about the speeding buses and trucks, how fast do we have to go ?? What if we get lost?? and have to find someone to ask directions... in Spanish?

Then there is always the Pup issue... in the States, there were hotels, some very nice, that welcomed Pup and even gave him his own little Hotel Welcome package, a dish, some treats etc.
Here, they just don't want to know about a Dog in a Hotel. For some reason, there are people who think that only people should be in hotels. This is obviously a sign of a person who grew up deprived.
If not deprived then they are first cousins to a man named Scrooge or Grinch.

Well, OK , my husband had no pets growing up and our first ( his first ever) dog was a Russian Wolfhound, we  named her Maya.
She was the most beautiful dog I have ever had. She had these great brown eyes that would melt your heart, she was extremely feminine and could run like the wind.

Then I had our baby boy and who had time to walk a small pony err, dog and take care of a newborn and the insane wild child that was my 4 year old daughter?
So Maya went to live with a farmer in New Jersey. I refuse to consider any other idea than that Maya ran and played and was loved all the days of her life.
Just not by us.

Now I have traveled and I have been in fine hotels in other countries and I appreciate people not wanting dogs barking or making a mess or worse, bringing their fleas with them.
But Pup is not one of those dogs.
He is part Person. People should recognise this and welcome him .... or so I rant to my husband when we cannot find a pet friendly hotel in Argentina.

So here we are ... lucky that we live in a beautiful apartment in a nice neighborhood in a huge city full of lovely people who like dogs.

I just wish that I could hop in a car and take a little run around town without flagging down the car .

Friday, March 19, 2010

Three Years !

The third anniversary of our arrival in Buenos Aires is getting close. April 20th, we stepped off of that plane and into our new lives.

Every year for three years, we have to renew our Visa and this year, the Third year, is the last renewal. Then we will be Permanent Residents and will not have to endure the stress of going to Immigraciones and sit and wait and stand in lines and wait and sit and be told that they need another paper, that this needs to be an original, that they need a Second copy of our marriage certificate, or how will they know that we are not really brother and sister.

Yes, that is what she said. And yes, for one of the few times in my life, I was speechless... I sputtered a bit and my sweet husband made calm soothing noises and my head did not blow up.

So this year we are getting ready early.
We went to Immigraciones and got the list of what they need.
The marriage certificate is not on the list .. phew!
Everything else we can get.. we went right away to the police who did a background check on us and were able to confirm that no, we have not committed any crimes this past year and we are not on any Wanted posters in Argentina .

Next we get to go see our friends at the United States Embassy, where they will write letters for us and send us on our way, armed with official looking letters with stamps on them. The people at Immigraciones love stamps and stamping things. Almost as much as making you sit on uncomfortable chairs and waiting for them to finish their coffee and their kissing every single co-worker who comes in the door and then stamping some more papers.

I think we might plan a party. Even if it is only for the 3 of us ( although Pup doesn't get an Argentine residents paper, he will still enjoy the celebration, he is such a party animal)..

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another Busy Day in Buenos Aires

It is a quiet,   gloomy sort of day. The sort that a person is very lucky if they can just be lazy and the biggest chore of the day is walking a certain Pup and maybe picking up something at the fruit market.
But of course, no walk with Pup would be complete if there weren't a small side trip to wander up and down a couple of favorite streets.

Made favorites by the buildings on them, the small semi-hidden park or the view.

Even Pup didn't seem that ambitious today.
We  are supposed to get rain, I guess we are all feeling it in our bones.

So we slowly wandered from our park where the statue looks out towards the Belle Artes Museum,

to the Big Park where the Big Statue overlooks the entire park and way beyond,  past the British Embassy and down the little cobblestone streets .

There are these trees with flowers in them... they look like giant lilies.. hot pink with yellow centers.. hummingbirds are darting in and out , filling up. There are great bunches of small to large yellow "berries" or nuts at the tops of the Palm Trees, the birds , especially the parrots are having a good old time with those. You have to be careful when walking under one, someone will spit out something and it will hit you on  the head.

Crossing over to the little park that is between the big parks, we watch an army of leaf cutter ants, marching along paths that are worn in the grass, to the big statue where they disappear inside the base of the statue.
My husband wonders aloud, what would happen if that were opened, I shudder.
But they do look funny, what seems like a long line of little pieces of leaves, flowers etc, walking along a path in the grass, worn bare by all those marching ant feet.

I don't know if they eat the leaves or use them to build homes but they are definitely stocking up on little bits of greenery. Will it keep them warm through the winter?

There is a fashion shoot at the foot of the steps to the huge statue of the man on the horse overlooking the park.

I was not paying attention, Pup wandered over to the model .. the photographer muttered something, the model laughed and petted Pup, I finally noticed and called him back, apologising , the photographer smiled , all was forgiven .
Now I wonder if Pup will appear on a magazine cover somewhere .. kissing up to some pretty girl.. shameless beggar for attention.

I see buildings I would like to live in, buildings that make me wonder who lives in them and streets that are just so quiet and peaceful, I need to live there !

Then we stop at the bakery and pick up some scones for tea and meander home.

Another busy day in Buenos Aires ~

Monday, March 15, 2010


It is all about the Light .. or the lighting .
When we saw this apartment for the first time, there was nothing on any of the windows, light poured into the rooms, the ceilings are so high, it seemed so vast and open.
I immediately fell in love with the place.

Those light-filled  rooms with high ceilings held very old pipes and wires and a decrepit bathroom and a crumbling do-it-yourself kitchen on top of an ancient kitchen .. but the charm was there, the light was there.

We had seen a few apartments and many had low ceilings and regular sized windows and no open views and I had to stop myself from clutching my husband , gasping "Let's get out of here, quick !!" .  I do admit that one warren of small, dark rooms had me walking out and waiting in the hall. Who knew I was so neurotic??

Then we walked in the door of this apartment. Love at first sight for me..

So we bought it .. another adventure, another story,  another time.

The fun part about buying a new home, is furnishing and decorating it.
At least that is the fun part for me, there may be a difference of opinion from my husband.

So the search began , we went looking for Lights.
The style of the apartment being French, I was determined to fill the rooms with chandeliers and replicate those wonderful apartments I have seen in Paris. ( they do call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America )...

Our days were full of wandering Antique shops in San Telmo. Returning home dazed and confused and starting to see one chandelier pretty much looked like all the others.
Then we went to antique shops in the more expensive parts of town where the Wonderful Things are sold .. of course, right away, we found just what we loved.
Then we asked the price.
I got a photo of it instead, and we continued our search.

We found a light that we really liked, but we needed two. The store owner made some calls, sent us an email and told us she had two and it would be too many pesos.
We continued the search ..

We went to the Flea Market.. now that is fun.
One day, we found a light, but we needed two. The man referred us to another shop, they did not have it. So we wandered aimlessly, when there in the gloom and dust of another shop, was what looked like the twin of the light we wanted.
The price was right, we grabbed it.
We got the other one and the living room was taken care of ... now only 6 more lights to find ..

We did it, we found them all, at various antique shops and the flea market and if we ever move from here, I am taking most of them with me.
Yep, I am in love with my lights.
I lie in bed and admire the chandelier, although the drawback is that one must climb a very high ladder to clean all those little pieces of glass, I do it and I love my chandelier.
I would take the light that comes into the rooms with me too, if I could.

But in the meantime, it is time to grab the Pup and go out into the light and soak a little warmth from the sun that is getting a little less strong, a little cooler breeze is blowing, there is a hint of fall in the air.

Soon we will be cozy inside , with the  winter sunshine lighting the rooms, until the early evening comes and the lights go on.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The People Here

I know I sound like someone who just arrived and I am eternally gushing about how much I love this and how great that is, but the one thing that really stands out in this place is the People.

All of them... even when it is not all about me, how nice they are to me, how they smile at me, how helpful they are with my stumbling Spanish... I watch the way they are with each other and they always touch my heart with their ready laughter, the passion with which they speak and deal with things and the way they are with children.

When we first arrived, I noticed right away how people seemed to have Manners.. remember manners? when men let women go through the door first and people looked out for each other, someone would pick up something you dropped and give it back to you with a smile.

Even the young'uns, the young teens who generally are still wild animals waiting to be domesticated, will be respectful of adults and especially of the elderly.
I saw a kid, shirt tail hanging out of his school uniform, friends all standing around laughing and talking, stop ... walk over to an elderly lady, take her arm and walk across a busy street ..  She kissed his cheek, he smiled at her then ran back to being a rowdy teen with his pals. It was all I could do not to grab him and hug him and tell him to tell his mama how proud she must  be !

Some visitors comment on how people stare .. I noticed it when I arrived but it did not bother me, I have been stared at before .. my husband used to tell me, they are just looking at you because you are so beautiful. ( and anyone wonders how we have remained married so long?) and here, you know that the ladies will be checking out your shoes and just seeing how you are dressed, what women are wearing in other towns, in other countries.. comparing and just being feminine.

Now the men, well, they are like the men all over the world, they look , they admire but they are gentlemen about it. They might catch your eye, they might look away, they most likely will smile and just keep on walking.

I lived in New York City. I all too clearly remember walking past a construction project and dealing with the sounds coming from those men .. I was known to take the long way around to avoid walking past that sort of gauntlet of rudeness.
Here, they might stare, they might admire, they might have lustful thoughts, but you don't hear about them.

Because we walk our dog each day on the same streets and walk the same blocks, most people know us. We are just part of the place for them.
Now when the garbage men come along to pick up the garbage, they might wave when they catch my eye, but no yelling, no remarks, just a person acknowledging another person.

I could sit and People watch here all day long.
I get all warm and fuzzy over the young women with the babies.
I think that in a few years, if I age as gracefully and as well as some of the matrons in this town, I will be lucky.
I love watching elderly women with their friends.
They might look old to us but these women are really a bunch of 18 year old girls in old woman costumes, laughing, gossiping , trading stories and probably checking out the old guys walking by.

At the Milongas where they go each night or each weekend, you will see elderly people sitting around tables, laughing, talking and dancing Tango until the sun comes up. I would be asleep under the table, they are ready to go have breakfast somewhere with their friends!

I think we moved to the right place if I want to be somewhere that old people are still valued and who can still have interesting lives.

Because, you know, I have a feeling that sooner or later, I am going to be an Old Person.

Blog Archive


And Don't Forget To Visit Me Here Too !

See more photos here

sunset in Buenos Aires