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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Look At This Blog

The Swenglish Home

I just discovered this blog, through Zsa Zsa Bellagio's blog.
Now no one is ever getting me away from the computer !
Go take a look, enjoy, The Swenglish Home .. I love that title.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Missing Me

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. 
Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.
Azar Nafisi

Friday, May 25, 2012


Someone said to me that they aspired to be called an "Ex-pat" some day.
I thought about it later and realised that while I have known Ex-pats, thought about what it would be like to be one ... I used to dream of living in England or Paris ..
I never actually gave a lot of thought to what it actually means.
It never really seemed more than a passing thought, nothing I would ever actually deal with.

And so , here we are , two Ex-pats living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
We speak English .
We speak Castellano and the level we speak is somewhere around maybe a toddler learning to say something other than Mama.
I take that back, I speak menu and shopping pretty damn good.
My husband speaks a lot better than I .. he has a memory. I misplaced mine.
He remembers words for me, sometimes, through some sort of hiccup in time and space, I remember a word for us.

So here we are , we live in a building with only Argentines.
Our neighbourhood is that of the British Embassy but I never speak to any British people around here.
We shop and eat and cafe hop with the locals .. we are Ex-pats but don't behave like proper Ex-pats.

We have never eaten or had  drink at a restaurant called Kansas.
We have never stepped foot in the Hard Rock Cafe and we never go to Starbucks.

None of this is especially considered at the time, we just never went to eateries of that sort and we like the coffee here much more than the Starbucks we remember from back in the US.
I shop in the malls and buy everything here that I need.

When the visitors come, they bring "Care Packages" .. these usually have things that do not exist here and  are special treats.
Fabric softener sheets. ( I know, I know )
Lubriderm lotion. I am allergic to some things and this is not one of them and I need it bad.
And Roses Lip Balm. Haven't tried it ? Why ever not ?? Go buy some, it is cheap .. cheeep.
Your lips will kiss you, they will be so happy.

So now I consider the idea of leaving Buenos Aires and living in the United States again.
Will I go through a reverse homesickness ?
Will I miss being an Ex-pat ? Will we be ex-Ex-pats ?
Will we speak the language ?

A lot to consider.
Friday, perhaps we will just sit in a darkened theatre and enjoy listening to Maggie Smith and Michael Caine and polish up on our English .

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friday Photo !

The Promise of Something Special

Another gloomy day ...  raw and damp   and not tempting us to come out and  play.
But we both grow  weary of watching movies on television, reading and playing on the computer, while we wait for a realtor to call.
What is the best thing to do on a day like today ?
Go to a Bakery.

After our trip to the Bakery, or even on the way, we can stop at the Museum, the Palais de Glace and see  the new exhibitions .
Even when the art is not that inspiring, the building that houses it is breathtaking, so it is usually just a win/win situation here.
As gloomy as the days have been lately, the flowers of Autumn are still blooming , a bright spot of color where you least expect it.
On days like this, with no set agenda in mind, no promise of something in particular, there is always the possibility of something lovely that can happy or that we can see ..
It is the Promise of Something Special that makes a person willing to leave the nice warm cozy spot they find themselves in , to venture out and see what is waiting for them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Winter is Creeping In

The quilt is no longer enough to keep us warm at night, the down comforter has been added.
The party people in the building behind us, are not outside on the balcony so much at night anymore ( thank you God) ..and I can walk for miles and not get all cranky and overly warm.
Everyone must be thanking God for that one ! Or at least one person I know... who never shows any sign of impatience or irritation when I have my regular meltdowns with temperatures out of my control.
He is a good man.
No, he is a saint.

We had a big violent thunderstorm complete with flooded gutters, a bit of hail and downpours that drenched any poor soul out there .
I was happy to watch from up here .. the people trying to jump the raging little rivers that are gutters most of the time.
The umbrella  crashing into an oncoming umbrella .. the people scurrying along with little dogs , trying to get home before the worst of it hits.
I remember those days !
Trying to dry a large dog with hair, not fur, hair that held the water throughout the drying attempts, water that was quickly gotten rid of , in the kitchen, by one good shake of a dog.
The walls then needed drying along with the floors.
While I was on the floor with the towels, he stood there and grinned at me, he had such a great sense of humor !

Today dawned grey and chilly but I see the sun working on showing itself.
This might mean a walk .. a walk through the Cultural Center, down to the bakery for more scones, pick up something to drink with dinner and then an afternoon movie.

I am hoping that someone looks at the apartment soon and says, Yes ! Yes ! Yes ! and we can call the movers in to pack.
I have a feeling I am going to be here for the winter though .. which means if we sell in the winter here, I will return to the US and go through another winter there . Two winters ... a year of winter.
Not what I had in mind.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Look At This Blog

Have you heard of  Catherine Gratwicke  ?

I have been enjoying this website so much, go look and enjoy too.
Oh the inspiration ! I am in heaven ~

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Sunday Walk

Most Sundays are very lazy days for us. 
Well, one of us , the other is industrious, full of energy and ambition and gets Things done. 
The other one of us, watches , admires and appreciates.
We make a good couple.
So in the afternoon, we figured we would go out and at least take a walk, get some fresh air, see what is going on around the neighbourhood.
I asked this little fellow but he wasn't saying.

As you can see, Autumn is definitely in the air... and the trees. 
I love it!
I also love the fact that there are two blooming seasons here. 
Spring and Fall.
So we have trees that have lost their leaves already but they are blooming flowers.
I'm telling you ... this place is Magical.
I take a lot of photos of buildings. 
I never realised I loved architecture so much until we came here.
Imagine how I would be if we lived in Paris.
Or London or Italy or ... well, you get my drift.
Sunday night   dinner - Take-out.
That is the law. 
Well, not really The law ... but I made it a house rule.
One of my favourite rules, now that I think about it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Life Isn't All Glamor and Tango

Life isn't all Glamor and Tango when you live in Buenos Aires.

I know, it seems like it when you read about it but there is the other side of life here.

When you get up in the morning and have 10 or so cups of delicious coffee, that we buy and have ground for us at the Coffee store .
When we can walk across the street to the little bakery/cafe where the ladies will serve us medialunas ( croissants, dripping with honey) or scones, dry and sort of sweet and perfect with coffee or tea.
Where we can bring home empanadas or tartas .
They were the ones who fed us in those early days of sitting here in one room that had no workmen in it, where I huddled, sick with a cold, with Pup and my husband, while painters and plumbers worked .

I remember those days fondly now, even though they were dreary, wet and cold, I was sick and there was no "home" ..
The living room was a mass of boxes full of our belongings, the refrigerator was in the dining room and the rest of the house was a mess.
The bedroom was okay, the furniture was there but there was no clothing unpacked..

Pup and my husband and I sat in here, connected to family and the world through his laptop.
The desk was a box full of our things.
When I felt good, we walked to the Chinese restaurant and picked up dinner or  went for pizza.
We were not adept at ordering anything by phone, our Spanish was mostly related to construction and decor at that time.
I knew all the right words for paint colors and for walls, floors, counters ..
The Spanish we spoke was directly related to the Important things going on at the time.

And during this time , we were visiting Immigrations , where we stumbled  along, using sign language and thank God, the good humor of most of the people here kept us from not just giving up and going back home.

Now  ... Pup is gone.
There is this huge hole in my heart and a sad space in our lives.

We speak better Spanish, we understand it much more and we still laugh and love the people here.. completely.
Even the jerks.

We can order food on the phone, the waiters understand us in the restaurants and I no longer order one thing and get something completely different.
The Ice Cream shop across the street moved out and a little shop went in.
We now have to walk a few more blocks if we want ice cream.
Those early days of my husband dashing across the street in the evening to pick up dessert are good memories.

Our walks to the parks several times a day with Pup are great memories.
Our becoming "locals" and having the doormen say hello each time we passed, the shopkeepers recognising us, these are the memories of early days and these memories will last forever.

Now we are just biding our time, waiting for the Right Person to come along and fall in love with our apartment, then we will be off on our New Adventure.
But until then, it might not be all glamor and tango here but it is pretty pretty nice ,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Photo !

The French in Buenos Aires

The French Embassy, Recoleta, Buenos Aires

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Days Like This

I never want to leave here.
The sun is shining brightly.
There is a chill wind blowing to keep you cool.
The sky is that amazing Argentine blue.
The trees are changing colours, leaves are drying up and falling, it looks and feels like Autumn.
My favourite time of year, anywhere.

I have more energy now that it is cooler, we walk much farther on our daily strolls, from one barrio to the next.
Shopping, window shopping, bakery stops, browsing books stores, wine shops and looking at the shoes in the windows of favourite stores.
Admiring and buying some fresh produce from the markets, avocado and tomato sandwiches are popular at our house these days.
Visiting our favourite bakery for scones and  another for french bread and possibly something sweet.
Oh alright, usually something sweet !

The parks are busy, mamas and babies, elderly couples sitting on benches, people watching is at its finest from a bench in the park.

We see people from our building or someone we know from the neighbourhood and we get waves and hellos and kisses ... we belong here in our own way.
Pup belonged here right from the start.
He was our Goodwill Ambassador.
There is no one here that did not love him and people still ask about him or just talk about how he walked down the street, all jaunty and like a person.
My heart still aches over that loss but I   remember with them, how he could make anyone smile.
It is time to go but right now, I hate to leave.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tea with Evita

Today was one of those cold crisp sunny days that begged for a long walk with perhaps a stop at a nice cafe ..
We left our apartment , walked through miles of parks and along the wonderful huge Avenida Libertador from Recoleta to Palermo Botanico.
Once in Palermo, we moseyed on over to the Evita Museum, where we could have a cup of tea or something stronger and just enjoy the day and the surroundings.

I had Sidre .. sparkling, cold and refreshing and not so strong it would  make me curl up next to a plant for a nap.
My husband had a Malbec that he really liked and we shared a sandwich.
We sat for a  long time, people watching, listening to the conversations around us , not that we could understand anything .. and enjoyed the fresh air.

I took countless photos on the way there and back, those are on the Tumblr blog.
The architecture in Palermo is wonderful.
In my neighbourhood ( Recoleta) there are many grand French inspired buildings , graceful and what remind  me of Paris every day.

In Palermo, you will find quite a few modern buildings, tall glass apartment blocks and to my delight, many low Spanish style buildings.
Complete with the small balconies and elaborate carved doors and decorative iron work.
Some have courtyards that you can glimpse and some hide everything behind walls or huge doors.
I always want to ring a bell and ask if I can come in and just take a look ..
That won't happen so I take as many photos as possible and let my imagination run wild.

Long walks and fresh cold air, add up to pizza delivery for dinner and if not a movie, then a good book .. read in bed.
Autumn is here, I am beginning to hibernate.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Look At This Blog

 For The Love of a House

This blog is my inspiration almost every day, especially now that we are planning a move back to New York and a house in the country.
Even if I were not planning such a move, her photos are wonderful, her stories are charming and interesting and she is brilliant when it comes to renovations ( something I have an affinity for ).. so go look, say hello to Joan and tell her I said hello.. and give a pat to sweet Ella.
And pick up some great ideas on what to do with your house !

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Things I Will Miss When We Leave Buenos Aires

The People, always the people.

The Dog Walkers ... they are sooo annoying but where else do you see a guy with dreadlocks walking down the street with 15 large dogs and they all march along with him like a drill team ?
The Ladies ... from little girls to elderly ladies, the females here are feminine and pretty and make me smile every day.
I love seeing the really old women with their maid, who is often kind of old herself... walking through the grocery stores, talking , picking up this and that, after all those years together, they are not just the lady and her maid any more ..
The really old women sitting in a restaurant with friends, equally really old, laughing and chattering, girlfriends, however old they are.
The women here are respected by men, they have an elegance that is hard to define and they are very fashionable ! I have to work to keep up with them !

The Men ...   ahhhh, the men.
Young ones, old ones, in between ones and little baby ones, they are all lovely.
Their mama's teach them manners and how to be polite.
They hold doors for you, they admire you but they don't embarrass you, they are as good with children as the women are and they look kinda nice too.

The Dogs ... Every memory I have of living in Buenos Aires, has a certain Pup in it.
How he was treated like a special being that everyone wanted to touch, to kiss, to love.
How he enjoyed the parks , the other pups and the lifestyle.
He became a Cafe Pup.
He was good at it too!
He walked in "his " parks each day, he learned to go without his leash ( like the other dogs) and he was patience itself when someone brought their tiny baby over to touch the perro .. he would stand as still as a statue so the little baby could touch him .. grab a handful of hair and be pried off .. he never moved, he took great care with Little ones.
The park at the end of the street is now known as Pup's Park .. ask the Mounted Policemen's horses, they loved him too.
The Museums ... from my house, I can walk, a short distance to 6 Museums. Yes, six.
The Parks ... there are miles and miles of  parks 2 blocks from my home.
Cafes ... they are across the street, around the corner, on every block, in every neighbourhood of the city.

The Coffee ... just when I got used to this coffee, I will have to re-adjust to coffee somewhere else.
I wonder if I can ship some  back to the US ? .. hmmm..
Note to self .. Pack Coffee.

The skies.. I know , the sky is beautiful everywhere .. but it is more beautiful here most of the time.
I feel like the stars are closer, the sun is definitely closer .. my 20 millionth freckle will tell you that .. and the clouds are amazing and there is no color like Argentine sky blue.
But most of all, I will miss the people.
All of them.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Autumn is here.
It will not be above 60F today .. the sun is shining but it is windy and chilly.
The leaves are turning yellow and gold and falling fast.
At night there is the scent of woodsmoke in the air.
Time to get out the winter blankets and woolies !

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Thoughts ....

Sitting here listening to Vivaldi .. thinking ... nothing special .. just Random thoughts ..

Will I remember how to drive a car again, after 5 years of not even being in the front seat of a car ?

Will all the food in the US make me sick .. will I have to carry Immodium with me when I go back home ?

Am I the only person on the planet that does not think Kate Moss is pretty ?

Is wearing a pretty dress   going to make me stand out when I am working in the garden ?
Why can't I plant Chocolate?

I can't remember what a Hot Fudge Sundae tastes like.

Will I love  Central Heating as much as I think I will ?

Will I be accepted if I don't like Country music ?
Can I really grow Sunflowers ?
Will there be anything to Blog about ?

Friday Photo !

Pup's Park

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Like Living In A Good Foreign Movie

Today was one of those days where I love everything about this city.
Even the gritty noisy parts.

Sitting in a cafe with my husband , people watching is one of my favourite activities here. 
You see everything ..

I love the way the very old ladies walk together down the street, beautifully dressed, tiny, slow and chatting away, hands waving, animated, alive and being "girlfriends" ..

The ladies and the young guys who have interesting hair styles, clothing choices a bit far from the conservative majority.
The  beautiful children, dapper older men , stylish men and women and children... it is like living in a good foreign movie, everyone looks pretty good, even the bad guys .
( of course, in this movie, there are no bad guys but they would be well dressed if they were ..)

We had our coffee and a sweet at the Gout Cafe, situated on a corner, in a neighbourhood of apartment buildings, schools and small businesses , a perfect place to sit by the window and watch everything and everyone that goes by.

I am still charmed every day by  the way people talk to each other, the courtesy shown, the good manners and good humour.
I love seeing the small children walking home from school, holding hands.
The young mothers with a baby in a stroller, a small child with book bags and the family dog, all walking towards home, little one chatting away to mama about the day, the baby just wide eyed and soaking up every sight and sound.

The heat has given way to a blustery fall day, golden leaves  blow off of the trees, it is getting dark earlier, I could walk all day.
Tomorrow promises to be colder, we will have to be up and out early and walk all day.
Maybe say Hello to the Botanical Gardens before they take their winter nap.
Maybe have a walk and a bite in San Telmo, check out the antiques shops.
Or perhaps, just go down to the end of the street and visit the Museum.
Whatever we do, wherever we go, I have no doubt it will be just like a good foreign movie.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday .. wherein she tries to avoid decision making ..

All I have to say about Tuesday is that the plumber is here, we like him a lot, we might have to call  our painter, we like him also, to repair some leftover damage from water leaks.

Thanks to the antiquated machinery still working, breaking down and leaking in the apartment upstairs.

We are thrilled with the ladies who manage the building.
They know what they are doing and they do it well.
Overall, the women in the city , probably this country, are formidable.
They are confident, smart and most of them are beautiful.
They can make decisions without risking meltdowns.

Sometimes I wish I had been born here, I would have that self assurance and know my way around, metaphorically speaking, plus I would know my way around !

I would also speak perfect Castellano.
But for someone who was not born here and speaks really lousy Castellano, I (we ) could not be luckier than to have moved here, lived in this building and known these people.

While all this pipes, plumbing , holes in the wall drama is played out , right outside my door , I sit here and try to figure out what to do first when someone buys our apartment.
These things can move really quickly once they have the agreement.
All real estate deals are done in cash here so there is no banking involved, mortgages etc.
There are not even inspectors and unnecessary expenditures that are somehow pushed on us in the US ..

I have been feverishly going through online Real Estate websites, every night.
I find grand Center Hall Colonials, Mid-century Moderns and Charming Cottages, all waiting for me to walk through them and declare them Home Sweet Home  ! or What a Dump !
(does anyone know the movies where those phrases were spoken? or just the actor will do)
The decisions involved are endless... boggling.

Thanks to an online discussion about making Chicken Soup, I was able to decide on making soup, my apartment smells very homey.
There is a chance that we might just eat out tonight and forget about the soup, apartment and moving and packing and the gazillion things that float around my/our heads each day.
I would like my biggest decision today to be ... Salad or Soup. Fish or Chicken. Dessert ?

to be continued ...........

Monday, May 7, 2012

This was my Monday~

"someone put me back in the womb this isn't working out"

This is a wonderful quote for me at the moment. Perfecto. 
You can use it too if you feel the  need.

A little about our Monday.
We had a busy day doing nothing.
We left the house late, because one of us didn't fall asleep until around 3 am and then found it impossible to wake up, then found it impossible to move, except to sit at the computer drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Finally dressed and fortified, we went in search of Baked Goods, Soap and maybe a Flower or two.

We got to L'Occitane 2 minutes before they closed for their "siesta" ... 
Now tell me, it is a soap store, why do they have to close for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
A store that sells Soap that costs hundreds of pesos surely cannot afford to close in the middle of the day so someone can take a nap !!
We got Lavender soap and I made a mistake and thought I got these little delicious smelling hand soaps that are cinnamon and ginger or something .. fabulous scent. 
When we got home I found that they were bath balls.
We will not discuss bath balls.  

We settled down to watch some bloody television thing that is on the internet and I walked into the kitchen for some reason and out of habit, thanks to the earlier years of leaks sprouting in my kitchen ceiling, I looked up.
And saw a new leak. 
The last one was a couple of weeks ago in the laundry room.
Oh sure, the people upstairs fix it, they have to, the building sends a plumber but no one chips in and pays for our continually having to hire painters, do they ?
And then there is the small issue of my Peace of Mind. 
What little there is left. 
I walk into rooms now and look up. 
Soon I will be twitching. 
It is bound to happen.

So I went outside in the hall and saw on the staircase, the beautiful marble staircase that winds up around the beautiful 100 year old elevator, that there was water running down the wall.
Why ? why ?????

So I then dashed downstairs to the lovely lady who "handles things" in English and right away  she did just that.
The plumber will be here tomorrow.
Then the realtor called and said he was bringing someone in the morning. 
9:00 AM ... Nine ... AM ... should I even bother going to sleep ? 
I will just shower and blow dry my hair and put on my make up and sit in the living room.
Maybe I can sleep sitting up. 
Who gets up that early ?? 
I know I know... I did it once upon a time, but this is what happens when you get to quit working and move to Argentina. 
You drink coffee all day long, you get to eat dinner after 9pm or you are a bumpkin and you sleep late.
Those are the rules.

So this was my Monday.
Top that.

Monday .. Look at This Blog !

From The Right Bank 

As you might know, I have a not so small interest in homes, design and furnishings, as well as moving around a bit.
So this blog just satisfies all my tastes, all the time.
Go look, say hello, tell me how much you love From The Right Bank ~

*  for some reason, this did not post automatically this morning  .. at least it is still Monday ! *

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good memories

It is a beautiful Sunday, sun and clouds, not too warm, not too cold.
Just right.

We both feel especially lazy today.
 I was happy to hear that my husband was feeling as low energy as I am, we were comfortable just wandering ... slowly ... wherever the mood took us.
We wandered towards the bakery, picking up a bag of scones for the week ahead.
Three of them have already gone, the week will be a short one if things keep going this way!

I had my trusty camera with me and just took photos of Everything.
Some things I hoped would come out as well in a photo as they were in person.
These will all have to last me for a long time, with my memories of this beautiful city.

We wandered over to the French Embassy and sat in the little park that faces the Embassy building.
This is a park where Pup liked to sniff around, rest before walking back home.
They even have this elaborate old fashioned water fountain with basins for thirsty dogs to drink from.
The trees are blooming with the pink flowers that are a part of Spring and Fall here.
The birds were everywhere, quite vocal too.
All that was missing was Pup.
Tourists are also everywhere, the parks, the feria and neighborhoods are full of people strolling, some with maps in hand, some with cameras.
I hope their memories are as good as mine.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just Us Chickens

We were going to go out and do Things today , be Busy, get Things Done.
We walked to two bakeries and one produce market.

I watered the plants on the balconies and kitchen window box and hoped that they would all be fine when we leave and they stay here.
I buy plants and have gardens wherever I live, the hard part is that when we leave, they can't come with us.

Here, my plants will have a long happy life downstairs in the building garden.
Where they will be tended by the lovely lady who lives on the garden .
Once a couple of years ago, my husband looked out the window and said, there is a chicken in the garden.

( It was early, he had nothing to eat or drink, it had to be too much sun)

I looked down and there they were, chickens walking around the garden.
Nice looking, interesting looking chickens.
Argentine chickens .
We spoke to her later and found that these chickens had come back with them from their campo and there were eggs ! quite a few eggs.
Then the weekend came and we were asked if we could go "turn the eggs" twice a day on the weekend, they were not going to be here.
Of course, we said, we will keep the eggs warm and safe .
And so we did.

When they returned, the eggs were named ..
I decided that since I babysat, that gave me first dibs on naming the chicks.
So we had Eggetha and Eggbert and Egguardo and .. well, you get it.
Then one day, they hatched and we were told that they all made it and they were all happy with the names I gave them.

I always thought about that afterwards, what if we lived in a house or a ground floor apartment on a garden, could I have had chickens ??
Warm eggs each morning , in our apartment, in Buenos Aires ?

Now we are planning to leave.
We will live in the United States and I hope we will be in a house in the countryside and just maybe, we will have a couple of chickens..
I might have to name one after our neighbour , I think she might like that ..

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sunset in Buenos Aires