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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Rainy Day, This & That, Musically Speaking

I love Gotan Project and this is really different 
A Rainy Day in Buenos Aires
The World Tango Championships/from La Nacion
The Bandoneon Leopold Frederico
Ruben Blades

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pup ... A Study in Black & White

Monday - Look At This Blog !


I admit it .. I am a greige junkie. I go there every morning, I know I can count on looking at something beautiful.
I have days when I walk around the house, trying to figure out how I can duplicate a room I have seen on greige.. I know my husband will ask one day, why is it that you like grey all of a sudden ?  Not to mention velvet and tufted anythings !
So the Blog of the Day is greige.. go look and tell me you are not immediately hooked !
(just click on the name)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Walk

                                 Sunday  taking a walk ... the Museum  park
Look at the strange fruit .. Looks like an avocado , full of what looks like cotton.
Another strange tree
Past the Embassy to Chile, through the passage to the next Park
Past the very nice apartment buildings and the wonderful trees
Down the path through the trees
Crossing to the Museum
Where we see the monuments to the sailors and soldiers and pilots
The Embassies and homes
So quiet and peaceful, just the sound of birds singing.
The pilot, eyes closed, face turned towards the sun
The Italian Embassy cat
The Pup who loves cats
And back home

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quiet ..

We are exhausted and not from having fun.. rather from listening to others... having fun .... all . night .  long.
At 5 am this morning, I fell into a short sleep full of odd dreams that I do not remember but most likely involved me having Super Powers and being able to evaporate anyone who gets drunk/high and yells at the top of his lungs and sings ..  all. night . long.
And those women who cheered him on? They are gone in the blink of an eye.. to that waiting room where people go, to wait for brains that got left out the first time around.

So we took Pup and moved slowly and quietly through the day ... and the parks . Here came an old sweet gentle dog that looked happy to see another dog but he moved so slowly, we were gone before he caught up with us. I think he moved slower than we did today !
Another interesting, very old dog came along .. we made sure to keep a bit of distance, not sure of his mood, wearing a muzzle and all. Although, he might have just been kept up all night by inconsiderate loud people too!
We witnessed more signs of tree slaughter and wreckage..
When will it end !??
And admired this quartet of beauties, untouched so far
.. ending at the cafe where the birds came to visit .. they are quiet, bless their tiny little hearts...
 and then slowly home.. to watch the news, make a salad for dinner, lie on a bed and chew a bone.

We are all exactly where we would rather be.. and it is quiet ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, at last ...

To escape the sounds of plumbers finally repairing the problems above, we went to the cinema.  We saw Salt.
I now want to be a Secret Agent.
When we got home, Nely was still here, our very own mini-tornado, who is best left alone to do her magic. So we grabbed the poor Pup ,who was hiding from all the machines that make sucking noises and went for a walk , stopping for a late lunch in our cafe and giving Pup some quiet time in the parks along the way.
Along the way we passed this .. Not sure who he is, have to look him up but he was obviously well thought of.
Passing the park in front of the Biblioteca Nacional, we saw five mounted police horses and one policeman on his cell phone ... We went to our little cafe and had a cafe con leche with a Tostado and enjoyed the sunshine, cool breezes and relative peace and quiet.  And the sights.. such as this .. it was a bonanza day for horse sighting for the Pup who loves horses.... too bad this photo doesn't come with sound effects..
We chatted awhile and I fed the little cafe  birds ..
Then we walked back home through the park where I love to sit and be quiet .. the Biblioteca looked like it was about to take off or land, not sure which .
Walking back to the apartment, we passed the British Embassy and the Cat in Residence
He is so beautiful... Pup whimpered a few times, he is always happy to see a pussy cat but the cat just sat there, then when I told him how beautiful he was, he did acknowledge me
So I winked back at him and we went home. 
Home to tea and a sparkling clean apartment and best of all... no sounds from above.
Wishing you a very good weekend..

Friday ..

The plumber is upstairs.
Nely is coming soon.
We are escaping to Alto Palermo .. more to come.
image via fotolog

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mom's in a Bad Mood

Mom said she can't blog because she is in a bad mood and has nothing nice to say about anything or anybody. I am not sure what that means, she just told me she loves me and I am a Good Boy. That is nice, isn't it ?

I think she is tired. The plumber came here early. I think she is tired of the plumber too.

We went for a walk when the plumber left. She let me run around without the leash and I was good and did not go in the street and I stopped sniffing that man when she told me to. That is why I am a Good Boy.

She said she had to buy Dirt. I don't understand what that means. She complains if I have dirt on my feet. She is always fussing about dirt on the floor. Why does she want to buy dirt ?
She has flowers. We sat on the floor together and Mom put the dirt in a pot and stuck the flowers in it and she told me she loved the flowers. I don't like that but she left the flowers outside and I get to be here inside so I guess it is OK if Mom loves the flowers.

Tomorrow Nely comes. She will kiss me and say things to me that I cannot understand but I let her because she kisses me. She kisses Mom and Dad too. I guess Nely loves us.
Mom and Dad will go somewhere and leave me alone with Nely. I can't sleep when Nely is here. She uses that machine that I hate and I have to leave the room. Then she drags it around the house and I have to keep moving. I am always tired when Nely comes to our house, maybe Mom will take me with her. Do they allow dogs in a Museum? I hope so.
Maybe I will go put on Dad's tee shirt, she always laughs when she puts his clothes on me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pups Blankets and Power tools

Today we went to buy a drill so we can make holes in the walls, at least those walls that have no water pouring out of them.
And I will finally get to hang my   posters, paintings, prints and a mirror or two. Making this place that much more Home to me.
I sent a note to "those in charge" asking about the lack of noise coming from upstairs where plumbers should be fixing leaking pipes. This note produced a flurry of responses and hopefully, after talking to the plumber and being told he will be here tomorrow at 10 am .. there will be , finally, some work done and an end to our saga with the water issues that all stem from my neighbor upstairs.
If not, we will all sit down together and browse the real estate ads because the husband and I have finally hit the end of our patience in regards to this issue.
And I know you are all sick of hearing about it.
So let's hope tomorrow is the Beginning of the End of the Water Problems.

Now .. about Pup.
He is 11 years old. He hops around and jumps and plays and is all silly like a puppy but he is 11 years old.
Which makes him about 77 .. even older than me !
So I am trying to make things more comfortable for him. Soft beds wherever he goes.. warm blankets to sleep on or with or to chew when the urge hits him. This dog has a blanket that he has had for years. I really should rename him Linus, the way he loves his blanket.
When we moved from Florida to Oregon, we bought a nice soft blanket for Pup for the car and for the hotels. His bed went with the movers, so he had his own blanket to curl up with, a few toys, and he was happy... why not, he had the whole back seat to himself !
He was happy looking out the windows, sometimes he would see cattle or antelope and would call out to them .. well , not so much call out as yodel. I haven't told you Pup yodels? Yes, quite well too .. and loudly.
A hotel is never so strange and foreign if you have your blanket with you.
And once we were in Oregon and nothing smelled familiar, while waiting for everything  to arrive, a blanket was good for wrapping up and being cozy
And living in Oregon meant there were a few rainy days when a Nap with the blanket  was Mandatory
And how could you think to live in a strange land where nothing smells familiar, without your blanket?
I am considering getting him another huge pillow or soft dog bed so he can be cozy on the floor instead of a bed. But then, an afternoon nap on the bed isn't going to hurt anything now, is it ?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Beautiful Day for a ....

                              It was a beautiful day for an afternoon walk in the park..
Admiring doors and ironwork on old buildings..
And stopping by the market to pick up the ingredients for tonight's Ratatouille on a bed of Polenta with a salad.

Creamy Polenta

From The Gourmet Cookbook

3 cups water
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup polenta (not quick-cooking) or yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground).  I used Bob's Red Mill
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Salt the water in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the polenta in as thin a stream as possible, whisking all the time.  Cook over medium heat, still whisking, for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer.  Whisk again for 1 minute every 2 minutes until done.  For some brands this might take 45 minutes, for Bob's Red Mill it took about 30 minutes.

Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from the Easy French Food  Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions chopped
1-2 bell peppers chopped
2 eggplants cubed
2 zucchini cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs tomatoes
basil salt pepper

Heat olive oil in soup pot on medium heat 
Add onions
While onions cook, chop peppers and add to pot.
Chop eggplants, add to the pot, stir often to avoid burning.
When softened, add zucchini
Add garlic
Add tomatoes
Add seasoning and basil 
Lower heat, cover pot, cook 30-40 minutes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking Back - 3 1/2 years ago

While in the United States, during the months of going through the packing and process of moving from one country , make that Continent , to another, we also had to plan on the moving of a Pup and where to stay upon arrival. 
Hotels were out of the question...  none were dog friendly ( not big dog anyway) and  the cost might have been too much. 
So renting a temporary apartment was the way to go. 
Thank goodness for online websites dedicated to renting you an apartment . 
Websites that , sadly we learned, were also dedicated to conning people, showing the smallest photo of a room that looked charming and was sadly also dirty and in bad condition. 
Or next to a disco or a bus depot, you just never knew until becoming a Sherlock Holmes of the Online Rental world. 

Eventually we found what seemed like exactly what we needed... a man living in California, with a partner here, who was a real estate agent and they had an apartment that was dog friendly.
The price was a lot more than all the others, but we were at the point  where we had to take what we could get and hope we could shop around when we were in Buenos Aires. 
Upon arrival, we were picked up by the agents partner and escorted to the apartment, where the manager met us and gave us all the papers to sign and we handed over quite a bit of cash , thank you very much.

Finally they left, we were able to take a deep breath and look around ...w e are not thrilled with the apartment was hard to tell what it really looked like from the online photos ..we wanted this neighborhood and we were bringing a large dog... not too many choices.

The street was great ... the Portera - the lady that keeps watch over the door,  was sweet and kept the place shiny clean. The apartment itself was large , bare and not very comfortable.
We did our best  to make it cozy enough..choosing to spend time with the dog ,the tv and the laptop,  in the bedroom with an amazing view of the sky and rooftops  with a nice big radiator that warmed us up quite nicely. 
We came in from a frosty evening walk and rushed to the bedroom radiator , holding our hands over it, as if it were a little fireplace on the bedroom wall. 
It might have  been the beginning of May, but  in Buenos Aires , it was  the beginning of Fall and the nights were  chilly..
The bathroom was huge... the tub was huge, I had visions of long soaks at night  but there was no plug. There  was a window at the top that never closed...this worried the person in the house with the Spider phobia.  

The kitchen was large and modern but there were no pots and pans..which is probably for the best . 
It was hard enough  for me to order food in a restaurant.. shopping for groceries to cook would have   sent me into some sort of meltdown. 
I saw , as the days went by.. that possibility popped  up   often.
So we learned the right words for getting our meals delivered, take - out and  slowly we figured out the grocery shopping world. My husband is much more brave and adventurous, he threw himself right into it, I  was the timid one behind him, squeaking at times that " you can't do that! " but he did and it was alright. I tried cooking in that horrid kitchen but the ancient toaster died, the coffee maker made the coffee taste like hot plastic and the dishes and pots were so cracked and dirty no matter what, that we gave up.
I was never so happy to cook again as when we finally moved into this apartment and had a kitchen of my own again. Who knew ?!

We bought  flowers at the flower stands on the Avenues and filled each room with jars and vases of flowers. At least that cheered things up  a bit, the warm bedroom and view of the sky and skyline was sufficient to make it homey for us and  Pup was  content as long as we were there and we let him get up on the bed to watch as we played our nightly winner take all.. card games. 
But all was not fun and games. We had to go to   Immigraciones and  obtain  our  DNI .    ... National I.D. 
In order to get the DNI, we had be able to say it in Spanish.   D - day, N- ena , I - eee.
Who knew that such a simple thing would be so complicated?
I thought I knew enough Spanish to get us through the early days until we started taking lessons. We spoke Menu pretty well, we were learning Real Estate fast and we got along great with the many friendly and helpful Taxi drivers who were happy to be tutors for a short ride.
But Immigration Spanish ?  I had to go to bed and rest after this, I saw the future and it was speechless.

After two weeks of   trips between the police station for papers...the Immigracions office for papers... Translators for papers to be translated  ..and  finally... for  all the papers to be stamped and made official.. we found that we had to return in 6 months... our papers are not ready to be stamped yet. 

 We had no ID ( we also had no ideas but that is another story)...

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sunset in Buenos Aires