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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Saturday HouseHunters

We are awaiting the realtor with her clients.
The apartment sparkles, waiting with bated breath to see if these are The Ones.
We are torn most days ... we love it here. We love the people. We love our home.
But then, we miss family.
We miss the people.
We miss our home.

Some things I have noted since being On the Market.

Your house is never so clean. You know people will be looking into all nooks and crannies.
Everything sparkles.

You never knew you could be such a tyrant about dust, don't move that vase, keep those books lined up in order.. perfectly .. thank you veddy much.

Everything we do , everywhere we go, has a bitter-sweetness to it.
We are looking at everything, as if for the Last time.

Which helps me deal with small irritations also ... "it won't be for much longer".

I also go into a panic faster and easier if something looks like it is cracking, falling apart, showing wear and tear.
This is something that happens daily, the building is 100 years old.

The Upside to being For Sale:  No cooking.  ( might make a mess, might smell up the apt ).

I have been shopping.. it is Spring. Warmer ( some days) and sunny (some days) and I know one day it will just be hot and sunny and Summer will be here.
So I have new shoes and new jeans and some hippie looking summer tops and I am on the look-out for yet another handbag.
No, dear, there is No Such Thing as Too Many Handbags.

While all the daily things happen, life goes on but I am busy packing in my mind.
In the Summer here, figuring out which Winter clothes to pack, which bag will do.. and suddenly in the middle of it all, I get really excited and think ... whatever I forgot, I can buy it when I get "home".

The "lookers" came on time today, spent a nice amount of time here and asked questions that one would ask if one were actually , seriously, considering buying.
As always , they are very respectful, polite and when leaving, they tell us how beautiful our home is.

So as all who have bought or sold a home know, we will now wait some more.
For answers, responses, more lookers.
And while we wait, we will continue to enjoy this wonderful place, this wonderful Buenos Aires.

Friday Photo

                                             Spring has sprung in Buenos Aires

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Winters End

It has been cold here in Buenos Aires.

The kind of cold that seeps through your bones and makes you do anything to keep from going out .

Even the sunny days , they look so warm, all that bright sun, but it is a Trick ! you walk out the door and an icy wind hits you in the face, you can only stand walking if you are on the sunny side of the street and your outings become related only to food.

When the cupboard is truly bare and you cannot bear the thought of pizza or more pasta, you put on all your layers of sweaters, socks, boots and scarves and scurry to the closest market, then home again.

When Cabin Fever got to be too much, we took a taxi to the mall.
That was satisfying ... for a short time.

Look out the window, the sun is bright, the sky is that wonderful Argentine blue and the trees new impossibly green leaves are unfurling.

The parrots are busy, Mama Dove is on someone else's window ledge with her new nest of babies and the days are getting longer.
Some trees are blooming amazing flowers, some just stand there and look tall.
It must be Spring.
But why is it so cold ??

One day, Summer will be here.
From one day to the next, the air conditioner will be turned on.
So I will control my whining ( well, as much as possible) and enjoy whatever weather comes our way, as long as it is not raining.
Then all bets are off.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, Look At This Blog

Happy Homemaker UK

I am surrounded by people from the UK, live near the British Embassy and I can actually understand what the British people say ! This might not be a big deal to some, but living in a country where the language is still difficult to understand or speak ( I am too old for this) .. I appreciate, as always, the British. I am an Anglophile from Way Back !
So imagine my delight when I can read this blog and not only enjoy what she has to say but the photos too.
And now I will plan to have a home in a woodsy locale where I can have my own "stumpery".
I must have a stumpery. Really.

Go look at the Happy Homemaker and enjoy, tell her I said Hello ~

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Be Kind

The world has a serious shortage of both logic and kindness.
—Haruki Murakami, 

I believe this is sadly terribly true.
Today I am going out for the day , I won't forget to be kind, to everyone.
It really isn't hard to do.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Photo

                   How can I not love it here with buildings like this everywhere ?
                   And the lamps ! What Century is this ?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Old Pleasures will be New

Old pleasures :
Going to the Ballet at Lincoln Center.
Going to the Metropolitan Opera house to listen to amazing music.
Spending as much time as I wish in a real book store, with books in English.
I love my Kindle, but there is never anything as satisfying as holding a real book in your hands and reading the print on paper.
Add to this pleasure, magazines.
I will sit and read magazines .
Listening to the radio in English.
Watching television in English.

Waking in the morning to the sort of sounds you hear when you are not in a huge city.
Wind in trees.
Crickets and cicadas on summer nights.

Looking out windows and only seeing sky or green or hills or gardens.
Seeing the stars in the sky at night.

Not hearing car horns.
Not listening to sirens.

Having a little cat again.
A little cat that will keep a new pup company.
Sitting on a porch.
Having a garden.

Having company stay over for weekends.
Going antiquing.
Going to outdoor concerts.
Going to flea markets .

Just getting in the car and taking off, exploring our new world.

The Winters first snow.
The Springs  first flowers.
The Summers first fireflies.
The Autumns first color .

Christmas with family altogether.
A fireplace , a wreath , a tree.

Apple picking.
Flower picking.

Every day there will be something that I will miss from our years here in Buenos Aires.
Every day we will discover all the things we have missed in our years away from home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We have "gale force wind" warnings for Buenos Aires.
I checked to be sure the plants on the balcony and kitchen window box are heavy enough and secure. All we need is for a flower pot to land on someone !
I guess it is a Lucky thing the old tree is not in the back any longer.
It would definitely have had a hard time in a big wind storm.
I am hoping the building doesn't have a hard time !
After all, after the first 100 years, you figure it will either manage anything that comes its way or it is just waiting for a big wind to knock it down.
My shutters will remain closed, I will probably not go far.

The one thing you can count on here , is someone will not take the same care and things will be flying around.
Small example... since we moved here, we ( among most others) have been annoyed by the dripping of unknown liquids off of balconies onto unsuspecting heads walking below.

At first, someone said to me, how do I know it is not someones dog on their terrace ?
Now, after living here a while, we know that people water their plants, water spills over and drips off the balcony.
Maids mindlessly sweep things off terraces while working, onto the sidewalks (heads) below.
Mop water is most likely another one of those liquids falling from above.
You can count yourself Lucky to arrive at your destination , dry , on some days.

Yesterday we went to the mall where I was Lucky.
Some days, you just don't find one single thing you want.
Some days, you go out with no intention of shopping and find things everywhere you go.
Yesterday I went to the mall on the hunt for particular things and while I did not find many , I did find a couple.
This is now my version of Lucky in shopping.

I have quit thinking about whatever  I  buy here, will look good in NY.
Thanks to the completely insane machinations of the government here and the overlord who thinks herself omnipotent .. finding someone to buy our home is difficult.
All we can say about that is ... It is a good thing we love it here, we are Lucky that way.

Summer is on its way, maybe someone will come visit when winter "up there" starts to wear thin and a bit of warm sun and a glass of Malbec is tempting.

I have a friend in North Carolina who rescues dogs and finds them homes.
This week she saved a pup as he was being led down the hall to the gas chamber.
If his name isn't Lucky, it should be.
He looks like a dog that would be called Lucky.
Happy Go Lucky.
My friend has earned her wings so many times, she should be able to fly now !
This is the Lucky boy ..
 Now to go prepare for the day and see what Luck brings our way.
Wishing you a Lucky day too .. and remember, sometimes Luck just pops up and you don't recognise it as that at the beginning, then one day you think back on it and realise how Lucky you are !

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Look At This Blog

 The Lost Art of Being Nice

Read this. Share it. Remember it .
Have a good Monday !

                                   orchids growing along a driveway in my neighborhood 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Good Deed


You know the saying, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished ?
Today we stopped at the bank to use the ATM machine.
We had been walking around the neighbourhood for hours.
I had worked my fingers to the bone, trying on clothes at a mall, trying to decide which handbag I want next and critiquing all my fellow shoppers.
( I am very good at that, luckily only the husband gets to hear me ).

We wandered past the Feria where the sidewalks are full of tables set up with all sorts of Hippy jewellery and leather goods and Argentine knives with bone handles and silver this and that.
There were quite a few people and more on the way.
The weather today is perfect, in the low 70s and sun and clouds so it never got too warm to shop.
( is there really such a thing??)
Recoleta Feria
We strolled past the Museum (Palais de Glace) and noticed that the same exhibits are there that we saw a few weeks ago so we kept going.
I took photos of my favourite buildings, doors, parks and streets as we moseyed along.

We ended up at Patio Bullrich, a fine department store.
Full of fine shops.
Fine goods and very high prices.
Things are no longer the bargain they used to be here in Buenos Aires.
But it is still fun to look and I still manage to find something, so all is not lost.

On the walk back, we stopped at the bank.
We had to wait, as there were 2 people inside on the ATM machines.
A young man bounced out, ran across the street and we went in .. when my husband went to put his card in the machine, the card belonging to the young man came out.
Oh dear, what to do ?
I ran to the door, went out and looked and there he was, already up the block .
I waved and waved.
( Polite people walked past as if I were not waving but they didn't quite look me in the eye either)
So I started to trot up the sidewalk, thinking I would get within yelling distance, then a car pulled up and he hopped in.
But I was halfway there !
So I ran across the street, they were at the light!
I got to the car , panting .. panting .. they both looked at me and smiled.
( Have I mentioned how polite some people are here ?)
And I said ... in my finest Castellano ... Your bank card ... in the machine ... Pointing at the bank ..
And he got it !
Many thanks later, they drove around the block and he came and got his card.
We felt very good about that .. as we walked home we imagined how it would feel to go back and the card is gone, imagined if we had not been able to find him, how we would have dealt with the card.
Give it to the bank, cut it up, leave it ?
Now we are home, tea time, resting , my feet are still not speaking to me.
Next ?  perhaps we will go farther for our shopping .. who knows what adventure awaits us ?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Friend Gail

This is my friend Gail. 

I have known her since 1972.
She was , from the first day I met her, warm, loving and giving.
She is also an amazing water color artist.

She gives lessons in Maine where she lives.
When we are back in the US, she can expect visitors.
Did I mention she is also an amazing cook ? Well, she can expect company for dinner too.

If you are ever in Maine, go see her work, take a class, tell her I send my love.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Walking, Dancing, Marching, Honking & Banging on Pots

Today was one of those days.
In the winter when it gets grey and cold and damp, you forget just how amazing the skies are here, when the sun shines and the clouds are gone.
The skies were that blue again, that amazing blue that I will always think is only here, never this blue anywhere else.
There were a few clouds, white , fat , puffy things that came and went .. serving their purpose as a little contrast for the blue.
No wonder the Argentine flag is Blue and White.
We decided to get out and walk like we do when the weather is agreeable.
And walk we did. Miles.
My feet are no longer speaking to me and my back is considering going on strike.

We walked from our neighbourhood, down a quiet side street to another neighbourhood, called Palermo.
Palermo Botanico to be exact.
Once in Palermo , we wandered through the little streets, crammed with shops, and cafes and book stores and beauty parlors and pet shops and more cafes and   boutiques.
We walked down the little street that is divided by a small park with giant palm trees , where people can relax on benches and children can play in a tiny playground .. on an "island" between streets.

We went to the Evita Peron Museum.
Not to the Museum itself but the Cafe.
You can have just drinks, just dessert or a salad or a big meal, served by the nicest staff.
And all the while, listening to great music.
That is one thing we noticed as soon as we arrived here, the music they play in stores and restaurants and cafes. It is always good.
I like shopping at our Chinese market for the music too.
Mostly American songs from the 60's and 70's.
Yeah, that was me, on the pasta aisle, dancing .

We walked home along Libertador, the huge great avenue that leads to our house.
We had good appetites at dinner time, needless to say.
Then we got to enjoy the Protest.

Not to get into all the political this and that and whatevers, but everyone is unhappy with the Presidenta and they made it known tonight.
Starting at 8:00 pm, everyone who wanted to ( which means everyone ) took a pot or kettle or something similar and went outside and banged on it.
Taxis going down the streets, honked their horns ..
So you sort of have this cacophony of pots clang , clang, clanging while  horns toot, toot, tooting and then you have a few buses and trucks who let loose on air horns.
At first it is funny, then it is really ( at least for me) very touching. These people have been through so much, through the years, with their governments and people in charge and horrible things have happened and they are still cheerful, smiling, kind and ready to laugh and just want a President and government that will work for them. And when things don't work, they make themselves heard.
God Bless the People of Argentina, I love them all and I hope they don't need to bang anymore pots after this.

                                Another reason why it is easy to love Argentina .... the music.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Fought the Mosquito and I Won !

As you might remember, Buenos Aires is  at the Bottom of the World ! and the seasons are the Opposite of the seasons back up there in North America where we come from.
Way up there , hours and hours by air, probably a few hours by rocket, weeks by ship and actually, now that I think about it, a World away.
But enough about that, the point is, it is Spring. Or trying to be.
Spring brings rain.
Rain and warmer weather.
Wet Warm Spring = Mosquitoes.

We arrived here , 5 years ago, in April.
We were sitting in a cafe the afternoon of our arrival, chatting with our friend  and the fact that it was mosquito season was noticeable ..
1- the sight of them sitting on his head..
2- me swatting my legs every 5 seconds ...
3- the incessant whine in your ears.
To top it off, they were seen, catching a ride on poor Pups back.
He ignored them, there were too many good smells to sniff out .

So Off became a friend of mine. I might be brain-damaged by the haze of Off mosquito repellent that I breathed in that first  year.

Then we had a drought.
Who knew that a drought could be enjoyable.
No rain, no puddles, no mosquitoes.
Then at the end of the drought, the ranchers were burning off some fields and the dry fields and fire got carried away and there were huge fires out in the countryside.
Which resulted in days of thick heavy smoke in the city.
It looked like a London fog .. You could not see the buildings across the Avenue.
You could not see the sky.
Of course, we had to be at the Embassy.. the taxi driver got us there, the Embassy was having to run the a/c to try to keep everyone inside from choking, then everyones eyes were burning and we were freezing in the air conditioning.
Those were the interesting times, our first days in a new country.

The year after that, I was hopeful that the mosquitoes had not been able to breed and we would be safe in the park.
I walked one morning , watching Pup, enjoying the flowers and the parrots.
I looked down at my leg, it was covered with mosquitoes.
Like I was fly paper and they were all trapped on my leg.
I started slapping my legs, hopping around, making those little noises a person will make when horrified, itching and irritated .. ( to put it mildly).
One of the men who parks cars for people in the street came over and said ... Mo kee toes.
I was hopping around, slapping myself, I didn't catch that , what ? Mo Kee Toes !
Ah yes, mokeetoes are eating me alive.
So he reached over as if to slap my legs too.
I thanked him , called Pup and got out of there.

I have , thanks to my sweet family who bring care packages on visits, a lifetime supply of Off Towelettes and spray and lotion.

Tonight I was roasting a bit of salmon.
Salmon, lemons, chives and sesame oil.
Well scented kitchen.
Warm kitchen.
I opened the windows.
As my husband and I finished dinner, sitting and chatting about the world and how it is going to Hell in a Hand Basket .. I saw something on the wall.
A Mokeeto.

Dinner ended with the two of us trying to catch/kill the wily thing, he disappeared finally and I cleaned up the kitchen.
We searched, there was no sign of him, I figured he was in our bedroom, waiting until we were asleep to drink us dry.

As I tossed a paper into the trash bin, there was the mosquito, hopping up the wall.
I slammed my hand on him.
I think I dented the wall.
I think I broke my hand.
I know I killed the mosquito.

We will have a moment of silence for the Mosquito. He tried his best.

But I got him !

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Look At This Blog

The Sartorialist 

There are blogs that I go to almost every day, for ideas, to cheer me up, remind me of Other places and then there are the blogs that I go to for What To Wear.
With the seasons backwards for me, I enjoy more than ever, looking at Fashions around the world.
And the Sartorialist has that and more.
Go look at his Videos with all those great looking men having lunch .
Yeah, just guys having lunch, go look, it's fun.
Photo by  Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wild , Crazy, I need a Nap.

A long walk cures what ails you.
Or in our/my case, it gives you a new ailment to get your mind off the old one.
I woke up with little to no energy.
But the sun is shining, it is sparkly beautiful out and we really needed the fresh air and sunshine.
So with no set destination, we figured we would do what we did when Pup was with us, we would wander. Go wherever we felt like and stop at a cafe, relax in the warm sun and appreciate the fresh air.
Who knew the entire city of Buenos Aires would have the same idea ??

The skateboarders were flying down the hill in the park.

The old folks were sitting on the benches by the monument in the park.
The babies were toddling around in the grass, dogs chasing each other, people exercising, it was great.

We walked about a hundred miles , okay, a hundred blocks ? and realised that on a Saturday, everyone is busy, the cafes were crowded, we only wanted to sit outdoors in the sun, the shade was too cold.
There were no seats !

I was  irritated by a woman on a bicycle who took umbrage at our being on the sidewalk when she was riding her bike ..  which irritated me .
So home to a big cup of tea and scones and plans for a lazy night with dinner being whatever was easy.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of   the wild and crazy weekend of an Ex-pat .

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lost in Argentina

I was writing to a friend and the thought came that at this point in time, I know my way around pretty well.
I know people in the neighbourhood, we walk everywhere, so I know some little quiet streets and hidden corners that are not so noisy, busy or crowded.
And yet, I still feel like a visitor and know that  it is  time to go Home.

There is political unrest, the people are angry and feel cheated and times are very hard for a lot of  people.
We are lucky to live in a beautiful neighbourhood with lovely neighbours and the people look out for each other and have big hearts.
But we are and will always be the extranjeros .. the foreigners .
We shop and the salespeople assume we are tourists and after 5 years here, this is annoying.
Someone will speak to us and even though we understand them, they hear our answer and say never mind, thinking we are tourists.

We look at homes online in the US and find some that would be perfect for us.
We look at homes online in the US and think, that one is ours, we have to grab it before someone else does.

So here we sit, For Sale.
This can take a long time, I know this, I will fight depression and impatience and enjoy being here while we are here and enjoy the anticipation of the next Home and the next Adventure.

Summer is around the corner.
The tree outside the living room window is covered in little yellow-green balls that will unfurl and become big leaves. A Plane tree, so French. Home to flocks of green parrots stopping for a break and a chat, little tiny birds that chirp and fly away, and the doves, who coo and flutter and sometimes land on the balcony and check out my plants.
Which plant will make a good base for her nest this year..

It has been raining a lot.
It is easy to fall asleep at night, hearing the rain coming down.
The tree is gone from the garden and there is no longer that whooshing sound of the leaves and branches in the wind. The doves are not there anymore and the tiny birds who made their home in the branches.
So the back of the apartment is quiet now. I miss that noise .. little bird noise.

As much as we travel and move house and explore, I am a homebody.
I can make a home in a new place but that home has to be "homey" for me.
Making this place a home was easy and has been good  but change is good too.

It is time to go home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On a Cold Wet Day in Argentina

It is cold and damp today.
The sort of cold and damp that causes a continual chill and sweaters are piled on and fuzzy socks and big chenille sweaters that offer a bit of baby blanket comfort on a raw grey day.

We went to do some fact finding regarding selling our home.
None of the facts were to our liking and after coming home, we decided to stay put.
Books, online newspapers and tea and scones has been working well so far.

I look at houses for sale using a website called Trulia.
I have become quite adept at using the birds-eye view map, the zoom option, so I can  see if there is a truck stop next door  to the house that just seems too perfect.
Something has got to be wrong with it !

Now Trulia and I have become Best Friends Forever and I get emails from Trulia.
A House That I Might Like ... yep, they send me houses that they think I will like.
Often , they are right.
Sometimes they are right if I had a million dollars and sometimes the sad fact is that even if they gave me the million dollars, I would not live in that house.
So it can be fun, interesting, informative.
But most of all, it keeps me from getting crazy/anxious about selling our home and moving to a new place again.

I find rooms in magazines online, I spend too much time on blogs like The Paper Mulberry ,  Zsa Zsa Bellagio and for the love of a house and countless others who are all on my Favorites list and who aid and abet my online house decorating mania very nicely.

I thank them all and want them to know that one day, if they were to visit, they would see something familiar and realise that I got that idea from them !

This is my dream today, on a grey wet city day in South America.
I would like to open my door in my home in the US and look out and see this ..

Save the Elephants

Stop poaching, Save the Elephants

Can you imagine a world without Elephants ? How horrible would that be ? How sad.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


You know, when you don't work and you are pretty free to do whatever you want , whenever you want to .. when malls are open 7 days a week and you have no set schedule...the week isn't really tiring or difficult to get through .
But for some reason, Sundays are still the day we are the most lazy ( wellone of us is  ) and most relaxed.
We leave the house later , we wander around, no set plans, no dates made, just the two of us, wandering around. 
Now that the weather is getting better every day, we find ourselves stopping now and then, in a cafe or like today, sitting at the base of a huge monument in the park  and watching skateboarders fly down the hill.
Fearless, very good at what they are doing and fun to watch, they go down a hill where cars still drive up and down, they synchronise their boarding so they get to the bottom of the hill, and go up the one way avenue, the wrong way, and then turn off into another street, all flying at top speed on their skate boards.
I am always so impressed !

Our week might be full of new developments. 
We have to meet with people and talk to people and make more decisions.
I am not a big fan of having to make decisions, but these might be easy to make.
And the weather is better, I look forward to shopping sprees and lunch in outdoor cafes.
And yesterday I saw a house, with a driveway , lined with orchids growing.. along the driveway !

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sunset in Buenos Aires