Saturday, December 3, 2022

All Will Be Well



 I woke up in the morning with the words "Time for a prayer" softly chanting in my head.

And I did.

And I asked for a "All will be well " sign at the end. 


Two herons showed themselves to me in different spots

In the waters of Alzette

During my morning walk.

And I took it as a sign that 

All will be well

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Excercise in Translations (Favolosi Intrecci di Seta)

 I just love this book "Favolosi Intrecci di Seta" and cannot help playing with translations.


Il vecchio, il sogno e la farfalla. 

Tanto tempo fa, un vecchio uomo si addormentò sotto una quercia e cominciò a sognare. Sognò di essere diventato una farfalla, libera e leggera, che volava e andava a posarsi su un fiore.Li, tra i petali, la farfalla si addormentava e cominciava a sognare.La farfalla sognava di essere diventata un vecchio uomo che dormiva sotto una quercia.

Fu cosi che, quando if vecchio uomo riaprì gli occhi, non sapeva piì se era un uomo che aveva sognato di essere una farfalla, oppure una farfalla che stava sognando di essere un uomo.

An old man, a dream and a butterfly.

Once upon a time a weary traveler stopped to rest under an oak tree and fell asleep. He dreamt that he turned into a butterfly. Light and free the butterfly floated through the air until it settled on a flower to rest. There between the petals it fell asleep. The butterfly dreamt that it became an old man sleeping under an oak tree.

When the old man opened his eyes he didn't know anymore if he was a man dreaming of being a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming of being a man.

Сон, старик и бабочка.

Однажды усталый странник заснул под тенистым дубом. Емн приснилось, что он превратился в бабочку. Легкая и беззаботная она порхала в воздухе и устав, присела на цветок. Там, среди лепестков, она заснула и ей приснилось, что она усталый странник, спящий под тенистым дубом.

Вот так и получилось, что когда наш путник открыл глаза, он больше не знал, был ли он человек, которому приснилось, что он бабочка, или же бабочка, которой снилось, что она человек.

Source: "Favolosi Intrecci di Seta, Fiabe dall'Estremo Oriente" by Luigi Dal Cin

Illustrations: Piet Grobler

Sunday, October 9, 2022

On Smoking - Cultural Differences.

 Here is something that puzzles me. Why there are so many smokers in Luxembourg?

 It is one of the richest countries in the world, which one would think is associated with better education, medical system, overall sense of well-being,  heightened sense of  civility and mutual respect. As a result it should lead to a better understanding of what smoking does to the body and how it affects others, no?

On the contrary, Luxembourg turns out to be the first place in more then a decade of our travels  where I feel bothered by the second-hand smoke. (And, I did smoke in my twenties; my mother used to smoke; my sister still smokes.)  Here people smoke while walking, while talking, while waiting for a bus, while sitting at the outside tables of restaurants and cafes, and while standing on their balconies. At times a person enters a bus or passes you on the street, and it is impossible not to smell embedded smoke on his/her clothes.

Were there fewer smokers in Italy? I don't think so. Why then did smoking become so much more obvious for me here?  Musing on that, I realized that there seems to be a cultural difference in place. In Italy smoking was mostly done as finishing touch after of a cup of coffee or a meal, often accompanied by social interactions. It was a ritual of sort, an active act of pleasure.

 Here it seems to be more of a habitual and/or anti-stress activity.  Which brings back a question: why is it happening in one of the richest countries?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Magic In the Air...

There are some days, often in the early autumn or spring, that contain magic within. The days when the beauty of the surroundings take the breath away: the light creates a glow in the faces of passerby, in the crowns of the trees, in the water of Alzette. A walk slows down to a stroll, the breath elongates, and the joy enters the heart. Divinity of the world shows itself and the only appropriate response is a complete surrender.

                                      A companion piece to "Listening to the News..."


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Friday, September 23, 2022

Mermaid here, mermaid there, mermaid, mermaid everywhere...

The summer that ended was influenced by mermaids. They appeared in books, films, various artworks and my drawings. It was incredibly strange because starting from July we were nowhere close to the sea or ocean. We were in the US for our Homeleave after the departure from Rome that has been our home for the past three years preparing to move to Luxembourg, our next posting. It was a time of disquitening discontent. The light summer read tends to be a great remedey for this malaise, so the search for the books was on. My love of the sea brought me to the "One way ticket" by Tricia O'Malley. It was set on a small fictional island in the Caribbean, and since we spent some time in that part of the world - I can easily relate to her description of the island life. The writing was good, the characters - entertaining and I decided to investigate this author further. That is how the mermaids of the Siren Island were discovered. The Siren Island series are heart warming romances set near and in the water that introduce the magic (I simply can't can't can't use the "magik" spelling of the word - every time I encountered it in the text, I felt it was unnessary hiccup in the otherwise good prose) of nature,intuition, and of course magical creatures.. Considering that one of my all favourite fair tales is "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, and the fact that as a little girl I badly wanted to be a mermaid - the books were very appealing. A bit later going through the Netflix offerings I found H2O - an australian show about three young girls who turned into mermaids. (The first season was fun - I loved the underwater shots and a sunny feel, but later episodes lost their appeal very fast.) In August we arrived to Luxembourg - a landlocked country, not a sea in sight. Imagine my surprise to find out that the city of Luxembourg has a legend of a mermaid. According to it, the said mermaid, Melusina, was the wife of Seigfreed, the first count of Luxembourg. He met her on the bank of Alzette, was captivated by her beauty and asked for her hand in marriage. She accepted his proposal but put forth two conditions : she would never leave the rocks of Alzette, and every Saturday she would have alone time in her room. Seigfreed and Melusina lived happily ever after until...Until the friends started to urge the Count to see what was those Saturdays about. And so, one fateful Saturday the Count peeked into Melusina's room and discovered her secret. Melusina cried in shock and disppeared into the rocks never to be seen by her husband again. It is said though that her spirit reappears every seven years. Who knows perhaps I will be lucky enogh to see it...
The Statue of Melusina was put on the bank of Alzette, opposite the Abbey Neimenster, in 2015 in commemoration of the 1, 050 anniversary of the capital city. It was made my Serge Ecker.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Sir John Falstaff

What is Sir John Falstaff doing in the middle of the Tower Grove Park of Saint Louis? Commemorating Lemp Brewrly! It was the largest brewrly in Saint Louis before the Prohabition, and Flastaff beer was one of its many offerings.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Rainy Morning ...

 During this rainy morning "I spy with my little eye" far

  • A rabbit passing by

  •  A squirrel, curious about a car


  • A spiderweb, bejeweled by rain...
Here is to cultivating the skill of "noticing the small miracles"....

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Creative Solutions..

 Like many people I dislike when my photos are taken - as soon as a camera points at me, I tensed up and just want it to be over. Sometimes though at home I play around with self portraits, mainly when I want to see how certain item of clothing looks on me.

 During those moments - I tend to simply have fun. In some instances  happy accidents come into play and the results inspire me to play around with the photos. Laying on my yoga mat I tried to capture the reflections of the early morning sun above me. Without turning the camera around apparently! 

The result was an accidental but interesting self portrait. Below are the fruits of my early morning creativity.. Same photo, two frames -  different feel.

"If I were the Queen of Spades."

Early morning hours.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Il Solleone

 The weather forecast promises high + 31 C and even at nine in the morning the sun is blazingly hot. It is certainly better than last weekend when the temperature hovered between + 34 C and + 36 C. 

Italians say that it isn't normal for June, it is usually at the end of July when it is getting so hot. While listening to the complains about weather , "C'è troppo caldo/ Fa caldo, si soffoca" - "Too hot/So hot, it's hard to breath" - I discovered two wonderful expressions:

"C'è un caldo da morire" - Loosely, "I can die from such heat"

And, the most magnificent, "Il Solleone". 

The word describes the scorching sun of the hottest time of the year. "I giorni del Solleone sono arrivati presto quest'anno./The hottest (the days of the Lion Sun) days came early this summer." It is one of the portmanteau words which combine two or more roots together, in this case Sole + Leone = Solleone/ Sun + Lion = Lion Sun 

Behold...                                                        "Il Solleone