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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

We Lived At The Bottom Of The World ~

The Guest Bedroom

The view from the Guest Bedroom

Our Park .. at the end of our street, 2 blocks away.. 
The Sky over Buenos Aires
The skies constantly changed, sunsets were ridiculously beautiful all the time, the air is so clear, the blue was very blue, the clouds were huge and seemed so close .. Even when a storm was coming, the clouds and sky color would make you stop and stare .. marveling at how intense and close they look.
My husband would always smile and say, Well, we live at the bottom of the world ~

Could be fattening

It is cold and grey and gloomy out.
The kitten took a  look around, muttered something under her breath  and went back to bed.
Mind you, this is after she woke me at 6 am .. she takes naps... I don't.
Pretty soon I will be going to bed at 8 pm .. or I will curl up in the crate and she can just run amok, I think I don't care anymore.

During the winter, the town salted the roads .. if you will recall, it started snowing sometime in November, I think it was and it just stopped a month or so ago. Not non-stop but just when it was all gone, a fresh new layer appeared the next morning.

And you know what ? I didn't care.

I had nowhere to go and no one to see.
Nothing I had to do.
And if I forgot something, I can do it tomorrow.

The snow is gone, the neighbor is having work done on her property where it meets the road, where all those chemicals ate up her grass and she has this rich green yard and a brown stripe at the road.
So do I .
Same grass, same snow, same chemicals.
But I don't know anybody who works for the town and fixes things for free. bummer.

So the realtor put a sign out and cars go by, veerrry sloowly .. I hope they aren't just slow drivers.
Let's hope this makes things happen very fast !
I want to get going ..
I was thinking this morning  of all the things that have to be done when a person moves, especially when it is out of State.
Not quite as complicated as out of the country but this is the first time I will be doing it all by myself.
My husband loved planning these things, he did it so well, I sat back and enjoyed it .. times changed.
I want those old times back !!

I figured I will get estimates from three big moving companies.
Allied Van Lines
If they can take the car, that would be so great, I could fly down with the kitten and wait ..
As it is now, I am driving down with the kitten and my daughter who is flying up here in order to drive back down .... she absolutely won the Best Daughter Award for this one.

I am boggled by the logistics of everything so I kind of blank out and go eat a cookie when I start getting too anxious. This might be a fattening move.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Good Years

I am hard put to decide which view I prefer ... the one I have now, trees in a line along a country road, trees all around the property with fields behind and beyond that, forests.
One house in sight.

I prefer the view above.
There is life there .. beauty and music and movement and laughter .

I was never bored in Buenos Aires .. there was always something happening.
I felt safe, I loved my neighbors and they took such sweet care of us .. being sure we knew what was going on with our building and neighborhood goings on.

Our neighbors on the street all insisted on coming out and petting Pup whenever they saw us walking with him.

He just loved everything, he was so happy there .. so was my husband ... so was I.

They were Very Good Years, the time we spent in Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm Lost and Weird

I wish I could send that message to my husband.
He would know what I mean .. he would know the only Fixing it, would be to come home and take me out to dinner .

It has rained all day. Getting colder as the day went by.
God and I made a deal, no more whining and no more snow.
I am keeping my part of the bargain.. although I did blame Minette for the muttering this morning, about going out in the rain  .

So thanks to the rain ..
I chipped stupid children's fish decals made of clay , off the second bathroom shower tiles.
More work is needed ..
I might go buy something nice and put it over it  ( aka ..the   "sweeping it under the rug" option).

It has a lot of good things about it, that bath .. huge spa tub, deco wall tiles that are  turquoise blue with black trim, white walls , pedestal sink .. huge wall cabinet with mirrors and a nice window looking out on the fern garden.

No one is buying my house.
No one is looking.
The realtor says it is not just me.
Is she saying that to keep me from throwing myself into the spa tub ?
I could stay there and just shrivel up ..
Whilst enjoying the sight of the ferns .

Minette got bored today too.
So what do you do when you are a bored kitten ?
Walk up mama ... nuzzle and be sweet ... when her defenses are down, bite her on the nose.

Sorry, that reminds me, gotta go change my nose bandaid.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Memories in Photos

Imagine, we walked out the door of our home and this was outside.
These sights, these homes, these trees and parks and monuments.
Shopping in a shop that you walk down an alley , past potted trees and  a glass greenhouse that also sold teas from all over the world.
Just walking to the market, passing stores that had wonderful music playing, people in line for the bus, buying Lottery tickets and chatting with the shopkeepers .. my husband said one of the reasons I liked it so much was that everyone was chatty. I talked to them, they talked to me, someone else would come over and join in .. Always with smiles and kisses.
I miss those kisses.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Life ...

I was just asked to fill out a questionnaire for an organization called InterNations.

All about my Life in Buenos Aires... as an Expat  and all that.

I don't love to fill out questionnaires but this turned out to be quite pleasant.
The questions prompted memories and I ended up sitting here going over days in the past that were so special and so full .. full of sights and sounds and warmth and all sorts of feelings.

I never thought of us as ExPats.
We just lived there. We didn't hang out with other Americans or go to meetings or go to the places where They All liked to go.

We lived in a building of all Argentine people.
We shopped and ate and played with the locals   ..
We schlepped our bags of groceries home, we walked our dog, we took Taxis and sang along with the radio and taxi driver ( well I did .. my husband just liked to listen ---ok he was more dignified than I )
But the taxi drivers loved it !

We started the process to become permanent residents as soon as we arrived, it was everything you can imagine ... not speaking the language, going to huge ancient buildings downtown , full of immigrants from all over the world , all waiting to get those little pieces of paper that meant you could stay there... I think we were the only two people who did the entire thing, which the process took over a year , almost 2 .. without a translator.

When I look back on the things we accomplished, only because my husband was with me and brilliant.
We got our papers and became permanent residents.
We were fingerprinted so many times by so many people from so many bureaus and offices.
I have never been kissed by so many strangers.
Those that stand out in memory are the very tall and very handsome btw ... police who fingerprinted us .. asked us about living in New York then kissed us * yes, my husband got it too* and said Goodbye.

When we first came back to the US .. it seemed strange to me, no one is kissing us hello or goodbye.
Wait a minute ! Where is my kiss ???

I demand my Kiss !!

To tell the whole truth, some of those policemen were very fine looking. It was not painful to have to let one of them kiss my cheek. twice. yes, only twice.

And  now , I am sitting here waiting for the rain to stop, for people to look at my house, buy my house ! let me get on with My Life !

I will go to Florida to live.
I will visit our friends from BA in Miami when they come up.
I will hopefully visit my friends from BA ... in BA .. when I can fly down.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Year Later - A New Chapter

Over a year later ..
I am not terrified to be alone in the house.
I am not quite as afraid of the dark.
I am still terrified of the basement and I think everyone else is too.

I figured out how to pay bills, keep up with things and buy enough groceries to be snowed in without worrying about joining the Donner party.

I have to give a lot of credit / most of the credit, to Minette.
I have to get up in the morning. She won't have it any other way.
If I am sad, I can pick her up and tell her about it.. weep all over her and probably get a bit of a snuggle before she bites my nose.
If there is a big noise, she will run straight for me.
I snuggle her and we are a comfort to each other.
I don't bite her nose.

I managed well this winter. I am sure all insane people think they are managing well but I haven't gotten any funny looks so I think I got through some of the worst days of my life .. without completely crumbling into a little pile of sad dust.

Minette keeps things sane for me .. or insane but functioning.

The house is For Sale.
I love my realtor, she came to my house every day after my husband died and brought me food and sat and let me weep and talk and weep.
She is so much more than just "my realtor.
Aside from my little family here, I will miss her so much.

But I will go to my other little family.
Who are both much taller than I ... good thing Minette doesn't have a tall people complex.

I am looking at homes online again.
I am falling in love with hidden patios, tiled roofs and arched doorways .. modern appliances and sunshine .. most of the year .
My skin doctor will be happy to see me. every month.

Minette will be amazed, she will Ride in the Car.
Pup loved Riding in the Car.
Minette, I have a feeling , is going to hate it.
Locked in her crate all day , no view, forced to listen to whatever music we have on the radio.
I will have to find some good CDs for Kittens.
Maybe I will let her sleep with me .. make it up to her somehow .. unless she decides to sleep on my head and chew my hair ... why does she do that ? why ??

So the house is being shown to HouseHunters.
Time for a New Chapter to begin.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

This is Fudge

This is Fudge.
He was rescued in Long Island, NY.
He was used as a "bait" dog for dog fighting. He is covered in wounds and infections and in constant pain but when someone touches him gently and speaks to him, with love, he relaxed and fell asleep... Maybe for the first time in his life, not afraid of being treated unkindly.

The muzzle is because he has bite wounds that are infected ... on his face.

He will be in a foster home then adopted by an angel somewhere, when his wounds have healed.

Even now, in pain and having been close to death, he is gentle and sweet .. all he wants is to be loved.   Human Angels , if you ask me.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Visit

The Starlings came to visit today. This is the second time.
I heard them first ... that sound of maybe, oh, a million black birds all gathered in one spot and yelling at each other .
They came in one big huge black cloud of birds.
Then they landed in all the trees , especially the tall pines that line my property ..
From the fields behind , where nothing is growing yet, where seeds might still be left from last year , small kernels of dried corn perhaps.

The first time I saw them, I wept.
It was overwhelming to be standing in the back garden and hearing them then seeing them .. the sky black with birds and they were all landing in my trees !!

When they fly, it is a cloud of birds, a dark shape,  that  morphs into other shapes, swooping and dipping and then dispersing into many tree tops . And the sound ! loud.

Minette ran from window to window .. when I picked her up and stood in the garden room where we both got the full panoramic view with sound ... she fell silent .. her tail never stopped twitching .. her tiny little kitten mind is trying to process this .. she might need therapy.

For me, this is therapy. Nature comes along and drops a present in your lap.
Sure it looks like a dreary grey rainy day.
But then ... the starlings come for a visit.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Where I am and Where I Want To Be

I live in "Upstate"  New York.
A little over 2 hours north of New York City aka  Manhattan..
Mecca for all who want to be cool, rich, famous and or just live somewhere Fabulous .. or as someone I love  says.. Frabulous.

My husband was born there , went to school there, worked there and best of all, met me there.

I think it was the second week that I was living there when we met.
Things happened quickly back then ..

Arrive in NYC .. check

Get Haircut ... check

Meet Husband to be ... check

Go Home to Visit Mother ..check

Tell her I met the man I want to marry. . check

Go back to NYC .. Marry that man... check

Live Happily Ever After ... check !

We used to come up here every Fall .. apple picking with the children, Autumn weekends for a romantic getaway, staying in an old Inn, ( The Beekman Arms, oldest Inn in North America) eating in a fabulous small French restaurant that rivaled some of those posh overpriced places in the City.

The Beekman Arms

Taking the children to the Aerodrome where we watched them fly antique airplanes and do stunts ..
picking apples and choosing pumpkins for Halloween. 

Going to Olana, the home of the artist Frederick Church.
I am going there this week .. I need to take those short walks in the past and I will see some beautiful paintings in the setting of the artists home.
Maybe the gardens will be waking up too .. although more snow is forecast .. good god when will it end ...
Olana ..

When I lost my husband, I wanted to leave here .. It was too painful to be here without him, I was afraid of everything and I was so alone.

I am still alone although I sort of know more people but I am more comfortable and confident again.
And I am thinking , if I can sell this house and move into something smaller, warmer and cozy, why not stay here ?
All the reasons we moved here, are still here ... my husband is gone but the place remains.
So maybe, I will too.

Or I will give in to the call to Go South ..

Tara ... is that you ?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bees and I

So, Bees and I , we don't get along.
I see a Bee, my heart rate increases, they know it, they come after me, they sting me, I swell up, stop breathing and die.

So we avoid each other as much as possible.

I shop all the time at an organic farm market. They have greenhouses and gardens outside and amazing fresh baked goods ( today was scones with cranberries and chocolate chips... yes, they were so good someone had to go back and buy another one, you know  .. just in case)
They are about the size of a large saucer .. fat ... not too dry .. very crumbling when eating one with one hand while driving.
I have to go vacuum the car.

I walked to the back of the market where the greenhouses are,  to see if they had any fresh flowers for the house .. cheer it up a bit.
I walked in and there were two  people working, putting out pots of beautiful blue Hydrangeas.
Not good for my house - poisonous - kittens, bad combo.

The girl that worked there talked to me for a minute and we sort of chatted about kittens and plants when I realized that I was standing right in the middle of a very busy mass of Honey Bees.
And here is the magical part to me ... I didn't get scared.
My heart rate did not increase.
They buzzed around so busy and so happy and I just chatted with the store girl and discussed kittens and poisonous flowers/plants and then I noted that for the first time since I was a small child, I was standing in a room full of Bees and not only was I not afraid, it was almost soothing.

There was a calm to the atmosphere, the busy Bees, the humming/buzzing busy-ness of them .. the warmth of the sun coming in through all those panes of glass .. I kind of didn't want to leave.

When I did, I still felt calm and comforted ... I will still probably freak out if I see a Bee in the yard and I know to avoid  Wasps at any cost but the Honey Bee has ceased to be my enemy ..
I won't say we are friends but I will say that I had a moment of complete calm peacefulness standing in that room, full of sunshine and flowers and Bees ..

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sunset in Buenos Aires