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, April 30, 2014

Which One ?

Buenos Aires , the City, is broken up into many neighborhoods and each has its own character.
When we arrived for our visit, we stayed    in Recoleta.
It had been recommended by several people , the apart- hotel that we decided on was located there and it seemed to have quite a lot of its own attractions ... museums, parks etc.

It was an excellent choice.
Every day we had our little breakfast brought up to our room .. not that we were being spoiled, that is the way they do it .. and then we were out the door and off on our days adventure.
And every day that we were there, we were more charmed by the people and the place .
It is a very easy city to fall in love with.

It was very European, but not.
It was very charming,   beautiful, ugly, interesting.
It was noisy, dirty in places, and full of beauty, charm and lovely people.

Nothing dull about it, there was something happening somewhere, all over the city, every day and every night.
It was not quiet, although that adjustment was easy to make.
It was a fabulous mix of city buildings and streets and traffic and people hurrying here and there.
There were  huge parks, small hidden parks, quiet mews where each house was  a different color , cobblestone streets and beautiful street lamps and high walls with gardens behind them.

Birds everywhere, tiny tiny birds, pigeons everywhere, large, small , noisy, busy city birds.

It seemed that everyone had a dog. Or two.
Regardless of the size of the apartment or  the size of the dog.
If you had a job and could not be home to walk your dog, then the dog-walkers  ( paseadores de perros )  would do it.

They would fill the sidewalk , walking to the park with anywhere from 3 to a dozen dogs and seldom were those dogs little "city" dogs.
Sometimes, although rarely, they would pick up after the dogs when they did their business.
This is an area that they need to work on.. Pick up after your dog !

Our daily routine was quickly set ... wonderful strong Brazilian coffee in the morning followed by a walk to the park, 2 blocks away.
Passing the buildings, the door men grew to know us, recognize us and they would say hello, tip a hat, smile and pet the dog.

We rented an apartment upon arrival in Buenos Aires, figuring it would take at least a month or two of daily searching to find an apartment to buy.
We were worried that we would not find anything that we loved, that we could afford, we had certain ideas about our new home  that we really wanted to have ..
I had daydreams of certain styles of apartments, it was all waiting for us .. where/ which one  would be the place we would call Home ?

There were super modern high rise buildings. There were 18th - 19th century homes that had been converted into apartment buildings, there were actual houses and there were ordinary, older Argentina apartment buildings.

We looked at them all.
We could not find one that appealed to us in any way.

We were getting worried, what if we had to settle for something we didn't really want ?
Would we still be happy there ?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Buenos Aires ... How It All Came About

We had moved from the New York area to Florida
 After a year   in Florida, we visited Portland , Oregon and decided we would enjoy living there.
My husband had retired and we sold our house and we felt quite footloose and fancy free.

So in August of that year, we drove from Florida to Oregon .. with Tate/Pup in the back seat.
We spent each night of the long drive, in a La Quinta Hotel.
They all accept dogs in their hotels, they are mostly decent/clean hotels and we were happy with where we stayed.
Especially the hotel where they gave us a suite on a high floor ( I think we were the only people staying in the hotel ) ... I think it was Kansas .. flat as far as you could see,  with What To Do In Case of Tornado cards in each room.

We all enjoyed that hotel and the old fashioned Railroad Car Diner nearby.

We found a fabulous apartment in Portland and settled right in , happy with the city, the apartment and the people we met.
Pup was thrilled with Portland.
Dogs were allowed in many stores and he had his own parks that he preferred.
Cafes welcomed dogs.
Nordstroms was especially welcoming to my Pup.
Needless to say, it was nice to know that if we were walking with the dog and in the neighborhood, we could still visit Nordstroms.

After a year and a half of Portland weather, my husband began to get restless.
He never did love rain that much.
I was happy it wasn't snowing but he started talking about Other Places.
Then one day, after a bit of stealth investigating that I knew nothing about , he asked me if I would like to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a couple of weeks.
Well, who am I to turn down a trip like that ?!
Especially when our neighbor had 2 sweet old labradors who loved Pup and he offered to pup sit.

When we were in Paris, we left Pup with our daughter and after that, we figured if we couldn't take him with us, we wouldn't go ... anywhere.
So we arranged for Pup to spend some time with his friend and his dogs.
It was all as if it were meant to be.

Upon our arrival in Buenos Aires, I was mostly dazed ... not sleeping well on the overnight flight.
Happily my husband arranged ahead of time for the car to meet us and take us to the hotel.
The hotel was perfect.
An All Suites Hotel. We had the top floor ...  quiet, views and being a suite, with a little kitchen, we could pretend we lived there.
One rainy night we ordered pizza to be delivered and we stayed in and felt what it might be like if this were Home.

Wherever we traveled, we always tried to rent apartments or hotel suites so we could Be there more than feel like we were just passing through.
As luck would have it, we made friends with the owner.. more about that later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Minette and I

Minette and I are going to take a short break from blogging.
There really is nothing much to talk about at this time anyway, we need to get out in the fresh air and work in the garden ( I work, she watches) and take some time to think about What Next.
There are decisions to be made, ideas to ponder, advice to be taken or at least listened to.

So I will be back , with hopefully some good stories to tell and maybe even a new adventure to be started.

Chau for now ~

Monday, April 21, 2014

One of those days

I got my wake up call a bit early today.
But that was alright, the sun is shining brightly and it is not very cold out. I was actually able to go out and only wear a sweater.

My little wake up caller was a tiny bit insane this morning and had to have a quick breakfast and back to her bedroom/ the crate  , for a little quiet time.
Quiet time for me.
It is too difficult for me to wake up before 7 am and have to immediately start chasing an insane kitten bent on clearing every surface of whatever is on it ...
I am finding things missing, I have to make extra sure the keys etc are not left out wherever she can get to ... she can be dangerous I think.

It is one of those days.
Blue blue skies. Great huge puffy clouds. Birds singing everywhere ... sounds like there must be auditions for best Bird Song out there somewhere.
Wasps are flying around my windows ... this does not make me happy.
Miss Minette has been napping while I was out getting hopelessly lost , finally coming home because I can only drive around alone in the countryside admiring cows and horses and reeeally old houses, alone .. for so long.

I am home.
I did not find the place I was looking for.
I did not buy what I was going to buy.

I did see a very beautiful area.
I did feel sad that someone was not in the car with me ( he was better at directions sometimes) and he was interested in the same things ... we would both be oooohing and aaaahing over the houses and the fields of black and white cattle and the horse farms.

So I came home.
No new cat food for you Minette !

I will go tomorrow. Back to the old place... not as pretty a  ride but at least I know where it is.

Minette ... when she gets crazy I put her in her crate. She immediately settles down and takes a nap.
When I let her out later, she climbs all over me , washing me ... did I get that dirty while she slept ?
I am squeaky clean according to kitten standards.. really.

She is walking through the house calling. Guess I had better answer her.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sheep, Wolves, Flowers .. another day out in the country

Today I went to Old Chatham to the Market.

It was not so much to buy anything but to take that drive.
It was  Over the River and Through The Woods...Past the many Sheep farms and  all of the homes are historic homes, with barns and meadows and trees and flowers... there is the river and there are brooks and lakes and ponds too. And always, great beautiful trees and far away views and green everywhere.

The Chatham Sheepherding Company is there .. with hills of green grass, dotted with all the white sheep, waiting to have baby lambs or to be sheared. There are some nice soft fuzzy slippers or jackets waiting to be made. For next winters cold feet  and bodies.
Today though, it is sunny and not too cold. 
After I left the Country Store, I drove to a local farm where I bought veggies fresh from their fields ... all Organic.
Then I couldn't resist, I bought a pink hyacinth plant. The scent, oh my ...

While buying the flowers , I was told about the size of the coyotes around here this year. 
That the deer are hungry and the wolves and coyotes are too.
Oh my ..

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Year Ago

Last March, we arrived back in the United States.
A few days after arriving, we celebrated my birthday with our son and his wife, a first in a long time.
In those couple of weeks, staying in a hotel, eating out and enjoying all of that good American food again, diners, Italian restaurants, lunch places, soup, pizza, Chinese food, Thai food, sweets !
Then the shopping ! Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, boutiques, cars !

Then we were on the road , heading North and once again, seeing the beautiful parkways of New York State, the trees were bare, the countryside was so very beautiful.
We arrived in Great Barrington , Massachusetts, and stayed in a cute little hotel for a couple of weeks.

We found a fabulous house that was for rent, it is about 200 years old.
The owners quickly became friends, along with their sweet chocolate brown Labradors, Dreyfus and Brady.
It was so nice staying there, I was almost in no hurry to leave.

We looked and we looked for a house that would be our new dream house.
I wanted character, upstairs, downstairs, gardens or at least enough land that no one was too close.
I had enough of city noise, neighbors parties on weekends and what is the point in living out in the country if you are going to hear the neighbors ?

As the days then weeks went by, we were not finding anything close to what we dreamt of .
We started looking farther North .. a longer trip away from NYC.

One day, almost by chance, we were with the realtor when she had to come to this house to check on something for the owner, who lived elsewhere.
We wandered in too ... the house was nothing like what I was dreaming of .. but the gardens were heavenly.
Then my husband asked what the realtor would suggest the selling price be ?
When she told him, I saw his eyes light up, I saw the Writing on the Wall... this was my soon to be new home.
Nothing charming, nothing old and stately, not even a fireplace.
But he loved it.
What could I say ?

Now he is gone.
Now here I am.
It is time to find a new home and for this to be a home to some nice couple, maybe with a child or two.

Hopefully with a love of gardens ... and birds ... and deer .

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Today ..

Today I stayed in and kept Minette company while waiting for the delivery man.
I cleaned house too.
I was rewarded with my delivery in the late afternoon and Minette and I enjoyed lolling in the sun coming in the front window with  some good Tango music.

Today I am going through a spell of  homesickness  for Buenos Aires  .
I am really wishing I were there . Minette can come too.

I got my delivery of beauty products that I was going to order from   Nordstroms ..

So   I got   a bit of this and a bit of that but the one thing that was a first and I was not sure about,  but for the price I felt it had better be good ..
Dior nail polish.. clear .. but with a pinkishness to it. Dior Nail Glow Enhancer . .
 I couldn't wait, tonight I polished my nails and it is amazing.

The thing is .. it is not polish that covers your nails with solid color ..
It is sheer/but pink.
So it looks like you just have really healthy pink nails with a shine to them.
But here's the kicker ... the tips of your nails, will look whiter .. so it is a sort of natural French manicure.

So that is how my nails look tonight. Pink, shiny, expensive manicure done at home ..

The the kitten needed some quality time with mama.
She was frisky and silly and very lovable.
I would throw her toy for her and when she would catch it, she would bring it back to me, climb in my lap and just sort of drape herself across my leg with the toy .. she gets sweeter   by the minute.

Tomorrow she goes to the doctor .. yes ... again.

Then I will do a little shopping, a little driving  and prepare for the weekend .. company's coming !

So I will wish you a Good Weekend now ..

                                   The snow is gone... things are green and normal again ... 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Is Where I Live

There are houses nearby , across the street and on either side of me.
But the properties are acres so we are not within yelling distance .. which is lovely, after living in a crowded very noisy city, this is what people get all sentimental over ... the peace and quiet of living in the country.

This is my neighbor, where the Highland Cattle live, with the sheep who have little babies now, and goats who have little babies now and the one lonely horse who always looks a bit disgruntled.
With the weather improving and no more ice and snow on the roads, I am once again, enjoying driving a car ! and zooming over hills and dales, over the river and through the woods ... ok .. I will stop.
But it is great to drive here , traffic is when there is another car on the road , up ahead ...
No such thing as gridlock .. if you hear a fire siren, you stop and listen for a minute ! In Buenos Aires, you heard sirens all the time, I quit hearing them, they were just so much noise after a while.
Here, you stop and listen.
And here are the sheep
Ever hear of the Chatham Sheepherding Company ?
There they are .. the sheep anyway. Everywhere you look, rolling hills and sheep. And now, at this time of year, little lambs.  Eating ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too. (get it ? write me and tell me if you did )

You can go here and buy things .. I have not been but I have heard about the fine quality wool things they have . I drive by there sometimes and what a sight ! sheep and more sheep !

And then you can stop after all that sheep viewing and have coffee and some amazing baked goods at the Old Chatham Country Store and Cafe.
I LOVE the cafe .. in winter, the wood burning stove in the middle of the room is hot and the room is warm and toasty and there is local art and photography on all the walls and everyone acts like they know everyone so it is cozy and nice ..
If you are ever in New York State near Old Chatham, go there .. really, you will love it too.

Friday Minette goes to the doctor. Her health is still not perfect and I want this tiny little girl to be well and to live a very long time. So off to the doctor we go ...

So that's it from here, where I live.
Hope you liked it .

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go ..

This ... a great quote:

Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
― Michael Palin

It is Tuesday and the sun is shining and it is not snowing or raining and it is actually in the zone of comfortable temperatures !
Will wonders never cease ? 
And I have nowhere to travel to ... the bug bit a long time ago and I still want to travel but ...

The kitten is running amok and there was a moment when I considered my options, drop her on someones doorstep or lie down on the floor and let her rip ...
So she stopped what she was doing and wondered what in the world is Mama doing lying on the floor ??
She came over and sniffed and walked over my face and body and then curled up on my chest and stared at me, purring, until she started to fall asleep.

How can anyone be mad at a little creature like that ? not for long !

My heart is still aching non-stop and it gets so dreadfully lonely up here and there are such limits on where I can go and what I can do ... if it means not cleaning house, doing yard work or milking a cow.

So I am all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Perhaps a long drive through the pretty countryside to a supermarket will suffice.

Did I mention the cute little Chanel jacket with jeans and work boots ? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Place is for the Birds !

Since I am living out in the countryside , I realized that there are some things to do that I missed while living in huge cities full of skyscrapers .. 
I have gotten to enjoy Bird Watching . 

Not  bird watching like people who    go hiking with binoculars and birding books in groups  .. just the sort where you look out your window and there is some amazing bird sitting in your garden .. eating bird seed out of one of the feeders .. in this case, often while little bitty birds wait in line for their turn.

Can you picture them ? like the women outside the Ladies Room at Intermission. 

I was given a little gift recently. 
One that I would never have thought to buy for myself .. one that is already coming in handy. A book on Birds in this area ..
Now I can Name that Bird !!

So this is what we have so far ... 

Of course there are Crows and  Sparrows and Doves , I live in the country ! but how about ...

Red tailed hawks
a Horned owl
Woodpeckers .. you can hear them more than you can see them.
Turkey buzzards
Blue jays, again, they can be heard as well as seen.(known as big mouths in the bird world )
Ravens and Red Wing Blackbirds

Amazing . .. and those are just the ones that I have seen often enough to be able to figure them out with the book. 
Not to mention, the bird feeders are just feet from my windows where I can see them all the time.

If one day, you are up here in this part of New York State, keep an eye out for some wild eyed woman with binoculars and a Birds of New York book clutched in her hands.
It might be me.




And even though I did not see them from where I am sitting, a flock of Snow Geese went over, on their way home . Honking honking ...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Busy Day at Minettes

It is cold but sunny.
It is quiet but pleasant.
I am lonesome but I have Minette.

Minette has stomach issues but the vet is on top of it.
I took a drive, visiting vets and animal shops and getting advice .

I took a drive and wept on the way home because I miss my husband.
We used to take those drives all the time.

Minette was waiting for me .
Minette was glad to see me.
I showed her the room with all the windows where she can keep an eye on the birds and chipmunks and still be indoors and safe from predators.
Predators ?
Over the house today ... Hawks. Big ones. Husband and Wife team.
Minette would be their appetizer.

I am thinking of putting on my Worker clothes and going out into the garden, gathering wood that has fallen from trees and make things look more neat and tidy.
For a garden full of ivy, shrubs, plants, bushes and huge trees, neat and tidy is a euphemism for not such a mess .

Oh ... I got the car washed.

Did I mention the games we played this am, Minette and I ?
Hide the kitty.
Find the kitty.
Stop the kitty from sharpening her claws on the rugs.
Stop the kitty from sharpening her claws on mamas leg.
Make the kitty stay out of the shower.
Convince the kitty that the sunroom is safer than the great outdoors.

A busy day at Minettes house.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Photo

Every day that we lived in Buenos Aires, we would walk out our door, turn right, go down the block and walk down this street to the parks. This was Pups favorite walk, the doormen knew him, there were  Hola's and Buenos Dias and Pats on the head .. for Pup .. my husband and I generally got kisses instead of pats on the head.
There were miles of green parks with fabulous trees and other dogs and many people and fountains and gardens and generally, it was just the most beautiful place to be.
And every single time I passed this building, I wanted to live in it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Things To Do

There is one tiny little pile of snow in the yard , struggling to remain .. after all these months of being buried in snow and ice and cold, it is finally all gone ..
Birds are everywhere, flower buds and leaves are popping up and did I mention Birds ? Everywhere !
There are great hawks floating over the fields, hunting mice and other small creatures.
There are deer every night in my yard, footprints and other things are left behind .
The days seem to be longer now or is it just because the snow is gone that I imagine it is nearing the end of this longest winter of my life ?

I have lists that I make for Things To Do.
Some I get done - clean house, buy Minette a new toy etc.
But there are  some  that are difficult to get started on, like
Find a New Home
Get the Car Serviced
Get my Hair Cut.

Funny, although I could barely speak the language in Buenos Aires, I seem to have gotten more things done. I think it is the difference in doing something with someone and doing it alone.
Or it might be just that I have lost my gumption.
I worry about the car breaking down on a highway.
I worry about getting lost on the highway .
I worry about being gone too long with Minette home alone.
I worry.

I have always worried but these days, with no one to share them with .. they seem to be building up.
But at least I don't have to worry about getting out of the driveway.
Slipping on the ice walking to the mailbox.
Being so alone in the house .
A tiny kitten can make a big difference in that !

So now it is the beginning of Spring and I will go out there and start fresh.
New beginnings.. or at least I will try.
That will be one of my Things To Do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

She has her own blog ! The Adventures of Minnette

The Adventures of Minnette

The world is changing fast ! Kittens blogging ... who would have ever dreamed of such a thing ??

Summer Thoughts in April

We have a swimming pool.
A swimming pool no one will use.
But .... the "pool house" where the motor and equipment are kept, looks like a tiny enchanted cottage. With little shutters on the little windows and Dutch doors .. a picket fence goes around the pool.
I plan to plant Hollyhocks and all sorts of English garden flowers in the window boxes and around the little house ...
It will be my own little tiny Enchanted Garden.

We have seen hummingbirds here already, this will cinch the deal, they will move in and stay.
I was happy to see as many butterflies as we had last year, this year they will have more flowers that are just for butterfly enjoyment.

Roses grow along the picket fence as well as vines that flower nicely .. it will be a small but very enjoyable job to keep that part of the garden pretty and just the way I like it.

If there is no other alternative, I will learn to ride that lawn mower ... never mind it fills me with dread, getting on that thing.
No, I know other people do it and love it but it just scares me.

But there will be plenty of work to do out there .. the sort I like to do .. window boxes, urns by doors overflowing with ivy and flowers, bird feeders , wind chimes...
I wonder how long it will be before the snow is gone ...
I hope it is in time for the 4th of July.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Adventures of Minette

I should just name the blog the Adventures of Minette.

Today Minette decided that I need washing ... often ... throughout the day.
Early today, it was while I was sitting here on the computer.
She hopped into my lap , onto the desk then proceeded to wash whatever part of me she could reach.
Tonight, I was stretched out on the sofa, watching television, she hopped up on the sofa, walked up me, curled up like a little sweetie on my chest and washed my chin.
Then my face ... when she started to bite my fingernails, I had to call an end to my bath.
She is now curled up into a little kitten ball on the sofa ... so very sweet.

Minette makes odd noises when she sees the birds at the bird feeders now.
Sort of strangled hysteria ... translated it might be something like omigodbirds !!!!
Then her tail whips around and she hunches down ( so they can't see her ) and her eyes follow them and she twitches and god forbid she ever actually got out of the house and met one face to face.
The bird would fall over laughing.

Then of course, tonight she had to wait until I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner ( this is not a big job these days, believe me) and she began her nightly Running Amok.
This involves knocking everything off the coffee table, jumping onto my bed, from there onto the night table, jumping up onto the window sill. Knocking things over along the way.
I run at her screaming, hoping it will be so frightening she will never do it again.
She waits until I am almost there to grab her and then she hops down and saunters into the den to climb onto the desk and throw the mouse under the sofa.

I swear I heard her laugh tonight, watching me trying to reach the mouse under the sofa.
That weighs 10,000 lbs .. without the pillows.

I drove to Great Barrington where I shopped for groceries at my favorite store, the Big Y.
Yes, I drive to another state to buy groceries ... I am funny that way.
They make good salads ( mozzarella and olives) and baked goods ( donuts, muffins, cookies) and most of all, I just like the drive from here to there and back.

If you had to name the drive .. it would be called Over the River and Through  the Woods.
There is wildlife involved, sometimes flying in squadrons, sometimes just one lone hawk floating up there, hunting field mice ... deer , and then there are the horse farms , Equine Advocates and cows and sheep and goats and more horses.

So wherever I drive around here, it is always pretty.

I did my shopping, visited my friends then flew home to see if Minette was alright.
I woke her from her nap.
She gave me a puzzled look and asked, what are you doing and when will dinner be ready?
I thought she might have slept all the time I was gone but then when I noticed the mouse was not on the desk, the hairbrush was on the bathroom floor and my kindle was ready to fall off the bedside table, I got the idea that more goes on at my house when I leave Minette alone ..
or is she alone when I leave the house ? Hmmmmmm ~

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sunset in Buenos Aires