“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
The past four years have been so full and so exciting , so sometimes scary and often very funny and very touching and also very sad.
We were from NY, we had moved away and were living in Portland, Oregon.
A very nice place to live.
Pup loved it, we were looking for a home, he was allowed everywhere, he learned which cafes and restaurants gave him the best treats.
I was trying to decide between loft apartment near a park or a house.
Then we came to Buenos Aires for our anniversary. We have done that before, often.
Las Vegas, London, Paris .. it is an exciting , wonderful way to celebrate anything, a marriage that has been exciting and wonderful deserved a good celebration. We stayed for two weeks.
From the moment at the airport in Texas, where we met a fellow passenger who was on the way to BA to visit her family , to the people who owned the boutique hotel we stayed in, to the people we met on the streets and the city itself, everything was slightly magical.
Buenos Aires has a faded sort of beaten up beauty about it. I was put off at first, the buildings were so dirty, ( my husband reminisced about the buildings in Paris when he went there the first time .. dirty, still beautiful) and the traffic and noise were more than I expected, but the sweetness of the people we met, the kindness of the citizens, the magic of the place was definitely more than I expected.
We had a wonderful, magical anniversary.
We came home, so happy to see Pup , who had wondered if we were really ever coming back .. who would follow us closely to be sure we didn't try That again !
Who wondered why we kept talking about Buenos Aires, apartments, furniture and why did Mom get that worried look sometimes .
In April, we all climbed on the airplane for the long flights to Buenos Aires.
We have had very few regrets. We have had very many joyous moments. We have had many laughs, many magical times and have only good stories to tell about the People here.
The saddest thing that happened was that Pup died in August. The pleasure I find here is a little dimmed .. but it is a good place to be ..
The people are still as warm and kind as ever, ready for a good laugh. We speak the worst possible Spanish and get such a kick out of managing to understand something..
I imagine this might be sort of the way a baby feels when it takes that first step without help .. I speak to someone and they understand and I stand there with this huge grin, idiotic .. they must think me the happiest simpleminded person.
So 2012 is coming this weekend. There will be Fireworks.. no doubt about that. There will be laughter and tears and hugs and kisses . Plans will be made .. We will remember those who are not with us any longer .. We will remember that Life Goes On ..
Wishing you all the Best Possible Happy New Year ...
Pup's park was empty, they have taken the benches away and there is now nowhere to sit and listen to the birds and admire the Ombu trees.
Of course, there is also no Pup wandering around, sniffing, admiring the big purple flowers and keeping one eye on us all the while.
So we did not linger , but walked on. The sausage vendor at the Recoleta Cultural Center, where in my opinion, you risk becoming one of the inhabitants of the nearby Recoleta Cemetery if you eat from here.
I thought I saw a pigeon pop an Alka Seltzer when we walked by .. You see Palm trees .. I see Parrot condos ..
These trees grow in the courtyard of the Recoleta Cultural Center, part convent , part museum, part ancient old church.
The parrots are very happy, they make a bit of noise but it seems to be fairly happy noise.
I will take the parrot noise over the traffic sounds any day.
But I am not taking myself off to the convent, so it is traffic noise for me.
Yes, this is the week between Christmas and New Years.. warm, sunny, bright.
The rooms are full of .. no, not Christmas greenery, no wreath, no tree ..
The window boxes on the balconies are bursting with new blooms and sweetly, one of the plants is sheltering a doves nest.
Two little eggs, one little mama bird sitting there all day and all night.
She was in the sun all day, but I moved a plant and made it shady for her.. I know, I have to move the "furniture" around for the birds too ~
She has finally stopped flying away when I open the door .. she waits, I go away, she relaxes. We decided to go out to the Racetrack today, just for the fun of it. . being outdoors, seeing the horses..
Not thinking that they were perhaps not racing here in town but out at the beaches.
I guess even race horses like going to the beach in summer ..
It was still beautiful to be there.. horse free but beautiful. We have been blessed with pretty much perfect weather so far.
The nights are still cooling down, the days are bright and not too humid and being outdoors is preferred to just about anything.
Now that the Christmas shopping chores are over, we can relax and enjoy the warm sunny days.
We lived in North Carolina, my dad would take off into the woods with his brother in law and later that day, we would have a Christmas tree !
Then I grew up and lived in various places and eventually landed one day in New York City where I promptly met and married my husband .. my sweet husband for all these years ... all these amazing adventures ... all these Christmases.
So here we are ... in South America .. Argentina .. Buenos Aires.
Where it is Summer.
Where there are no real (live) Christmas trees.
Where the music is usually in another language but I know the tune !
Where all night on Christmas Eve, families gather and laugh and drink and eat .. eat a lot... for hours !
And in the parks they shoot off fireworks .. all night ... a lot of fireworks.
And where my husband and I reminisce about Christmas here and there and who was there and who is now gone and my heart hurts a little from missing Tate.
And where we will begin our New Year in our New Home and miss our family and friends and wonder if it might be time for a New Adventure or perhaps, try a Different Adventure here.
That is what makes New Years so cool ... they are New.
So many New things to consider, plan and enjoy.
Sending much love and happy New Year wishes to you all.
From us ... way down here at the bottom of the World ~
We will be out celebrating most of the day and into the night.
The kitchen will not be seeing much use today
There are fun places to go , lists of restaurants to choose from, sunshine and warm fresh air to be enjoyed. I wish I could have gotten him something he really wants.. But who knows what the day will bring ..
There might not be the traditional Christmas tree around here, but there are some very beautiful floral tributes to the season .. Nature does it better than anyone ! Our own little decorations, brought from the United States, from one state to the next , over the years, ending up in Argentina ! What a well- traveled little Star.
No Poinsettias but the house is full of bright colorful flowers this holiday season.
Luckily, the stores are well stocked in Sidre for popping those corks on Christmas morning ! or Christmas Eve .. or the Sunday before Christmas ...
Wherever you live, wherever you wander, at this time of year, it is good to stop and think about what really matters, who really matters and celebrate those things too.
One of our houses had a pantry and 2 shelves, from wall to wall, were Cookbooks.
I was rich in Cookbooks.
And then we decided to move to South America.
Someone had it in his head that we should not take every single thing we owned with us.
When it came to the Cookbooks, I had to put my foot down.
It was so very hard to choose.
They were more than just Cookbooks .. They had been with me for years !
There was my First Cookbook, then the one that I bought for a gift and liked so much I kept it.
There were the gifts, the books bought on trips and the Cookbook by a man that loved Paris as much as we do .. he died young and I am so glad I kept that Cookbook.
But then there are the magazines with recipes in them.
In English, don't forget.
The familiar recipes with ingredients that I can no longer find here.
Recipes that cannot be followed, recipes that are bound for the trash bin.
Today, a rainy day, I sat on the floor by my little pantry and went through my one shelf of Cookbooks, saying Hello, reminiscing with them about the time I spent so many hours trying to get a dessert just right then finding out that I left out the sugar.
Remembering when I bought that book , Rao's .. New York City Italian food Cookbook.
Personally, at this point in my life, I would rather go to Rao's than bother trying to cook one of his recipes.
And so it goes.
I am cooking for two people now.
I am lazier than ever.
I don't have the same cooking fever I used to have and I never bake anymore.
So today meant Goodbye to some recipes.
I kept the books.. but there were folders full of recipes, lovingly cut out from the New York Times .. gone now.
I feel lighter.
I have the books that mean something but the other stuff is just that ... stuff.
There will be more, I cannot help it, I am a collector.
But for now, it is mostly just the Cookbooks.
I think we will have sandwiches for dinner tonight, it is too warm to cook .
Our first Christmas in Buenos Aires was also our first Christmas in our new home, in BA.
We had finished renovations and moved in, gotten the furniture and settled in at the beginning of Spring .. to parts of the world, that was in October/November.
By Christmas, Argentine Summer was in full swing and we had discovered a few holiday facts .. there are No Christmas Trees.
Oh, there are the tinsel, plastic, cheap , ugly fakes.
There are the large frames covered in lights that are set up in a park here and there .. and some stores have caught on to the idea of over-decorating to draw the tourists in.
But generally, there are no wreaths on doors, there are no lights to be seen from the street and after all those years of being super-critical of those who over-decorated in the US ...
we went through Christmas Decoration Deprivation.
Each year, I take out the little box with the bags of my most treasured ornaments.
They are the ones that are not breakable .. the bulk of 30 something years of marriage and Christmas decorating, stayed behind for the kids to use.
So in my house you will find, a couple of eucalyptus wreaths, and a handful of stars and hearts that are gold and pearl studded , that hang from the knobs on the French Doors through the house and a little "gem" studded star that dangles from the Dining Room chandelier.
The tree is a small brass filigree tree that I bought years ago, to go on the Mantle.
It sits on an antique chest with candles and a small ceramic Santa Claus.
We used to go walking in the afternoon or evening on Fifth Avenue in NYC, at Christmas time.
Enjoying the window decorations, watching people skate at Rockefeller Center and driving around neighborhoods, looking at the homes, decorated to the hilt.
Times sure have changed.
Most days I forget that it is only (12) days until Christmas ..
I send cards via email because the first year here, I could not find one Christmas card.
Eventually, I have found cards, they are not common and are all in Spanish of course.
We won't discuss the mail that my son sent from here on his first visit, the one with the winning lottery tickets, that was lost forever in the world of the Argentine Postal Service.
So check your email ... perhaps my greetings will be there today.
Sent via the computer but with no less Warmest Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.
I still find myself expecting to see, out of the corner of my eye, a brown curly haired pup bounding up or down those stairs.
Waiting at the top for us slowpokes to catch up with him. It hurts but it is good that I remember him so clearly. He is not gone forever if he is not forgotten.
The parks are in full bloom now. It is early Summer now . There are squadrons of noisy parrots flying about .. settling in trees just outside the window.. you know, just in case we wanted to hear ourselves think. There are flowers of all colors and types, exotic ones and familiar ones, everywhere. And the trees, oh my .. the trees.
They have flowers, the bark is odd, the scent is wonderful, the birds love them and so do I.
Happily we live near miles of parks so we are able to get our dose of Green as many times a day as we wish. I am about to make a summer purchase. I want one ( well,2 really) of those little folding chairs.
I will sit on the chair in the shade, no tan for me .. and read. I might even go all out and bring a picnic or just a drink or two. Maybe some alfajores for those who find themselves in need of a snack. All that fresh air you know.
I am getting the urge to change my nest. Must be the Summer air and all those birds. I want rugs for this spot and pictures hung here and there and a curtain hung there. I contemplate having the painter come in then shudder at what it Really means. Things are fine as they are .. let's not mess with things .. (she says) ... He nods in agreement. Phew !
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” — Edgar Allan Poe
When I read this, this morning, I knew it was me. Yes, me . Right now I have had a blissfully long spell of being hopelessly insane and only rare moments of sanity which are so brief, they are not that horrible.
It all started when .... Wow ... I guess you could say It all started when I was a 19 year old arriving in New York City and met my soon to be husband. Sanity went right out the window and rarely made any appearances since.
Look at us !
Homes here and homes there, travels everywhere. Visits to far off places for celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries... all leading to deciding after one such trip ... to live in Argentina.
Now you tell me ... was that Insane ? So far, there has been nothing horrible about it. Pup loved it.
Pup helped me love it more. My husband loves everything about it from the beginning ..
I daydream of moving to Paris , I daydream of moving to NY and living in the woods with autumn leaves and apple picking and concerts outdoors on summer nights.
But then ... that might mean we would have to leave here ... would that be horrible ?
Monday 11/21 What to do , what to do... the weather was grey and cloudy and very humid. But a nice cool breeze was blowing.
No one wanted to go shopping or walking around much .
Mmmm... what about the horse races? We had a nice leisurely morning, then we all piled into a taxi and off we went to the Hippodromo ! A beautiful race track, privately owned, no drinking, no photos please !
We forgot one of the rules regarding where one can watch the races ...
Depending on how you dress.. right down to the No Sneakers rule.
So we ended up, not sitting up in the cushy seat glassed in boxes, but right down on the track, outside ..
It was fantastic !
Because of the weather, we were not burning up in the sun, the proximity to the track was fabulous. There is nothing like standing there and having 10 or 11 large, incredibly beautiful, solid muscle and speed, Argentine race horses fly past you at high speed ... clods of dirt flying.
You could hear them breathing .. the whips hitting the boots, it was ( especially to this horse lover) breathtaking.
And the part about me winning was kinda fun too.
We will be going back again, this time we will remember about the shoe rules and will see how we like sitting upstairs at tables.
I hope my luck is as good inside as it was today, outside.
Remember : 7 and 11 really are lucky numbers.
We went again and this time we were more scientific in our horse choosing .. although the race I won, was chosen according to how beautiful the horse was. We all won a little and lost a little and went home even. Can't complain about that.
When our son was a baby in a stroller, he was going to museums.
Our daughter and he would be introduced to the ancient Greeks , the Impressionists and Mama's favorites and Daddys favorites.
Picasso and Monet were not strange names to my children. When they grew older and visited other cities and countries, it was not a surprise to hear of their visits to museums .. it was not surprising when they brought home small treasures, bought from artists wherever they visited.
This past week we went to the Museum of Fine Arts ( Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes ) and enjoyed looking at the collections of families in Argentina that were donated and have their own rooms . Many people, both visitors and locals were enjoying the new rooms, the new acquisitions and the "old" stuff too.
What was surprising ( to me ) was that while work is going on elsewhere in the museum building, nothing was being done about the artwork that was in finished rooms, but being covered in dust ..
In the room with small precious netsukes and pill boxes and treasures in a glass case, dust lay so thick enough on the glass that someone had written in it. When I asked the guard about it, he pointed up at the location of the banging and noise of construction and shrugged his shoulders.
We visited more museums while they were here, Art and Treasures are things that are available to view here, easily and often for free. A perfect place for this little family .. who still have a taste for a good time spent in a Museum.
I do look forward to going back to the Belle Artes, after the work is finished and the cleaning people have come in .
Otherwise, I might have to bring my own dust rag with me ~
They are flying away, far away to where they live ...
When did it become alright for children to live so far from their parents ?
I moved from the East Coast USA to the West Coast, USA when I got out of school but that's different ... My children should have stayed closer !
When my husband and I moved here, my son was living on another continent, far far away.
Of course, we moved here and within the year, my son moved back to the USA.
So here we are ... so there they are.
My daughter too ... she moved to another state, at least she remained in the same Hemisphere !
My husband read one of those wonderful books about Benjamin Franklin and another about James Madison ... the travels they made to the New World from their Old World.
I console myself with the thought that we have iChat, email, phones, planes... those people left their families and homes and never saw them again, unless they took a very ... very long voyage that was not totally secure and safe ..
I wonder, if I lived back then, would I have ever left my village ?
Or would I have been right there with my husband ( he would have lived back then too ) , waiting in line to get on that boat for the New World.
Considering the children we have ... they might have been behind us in line too.
I am now an old woman ..
I need my children around me .. a dog , a cat, some grandchildren.. sounds nice.
They can stay and watch the house while my husband and I go to Paris.
Or visit friends here in Buenos Aires ... or come with us !
Our visitors think it is time to start getting the suitcase loaded up with much more than they came with.
Time to think about where to put it all.
Time for mom and dad to make themselves scarce lest the sad looks make the visitors feel worse than they already do .. they like it here, they have such fun here, they love the food, the accomodations are excellent and the company seems to agree with them.
They arrived a little tired, smiling but a bit worn.
They will be leaving with a tiny bit of color in their cheeks, perhaps a few ounces gained, some new clothes and presents helping fill the suitcase and an immeasureable amount of love packed in too.
There are lots of memories to carry along with them.
Laughing and yelling at the Racetrack.
Winning at the racetrack.
Talking late into the night.
Returning to old restaurants and favorite places.
Finding new restaurants and making new favorites.
Standing still while someone takes their photo.
Loving. Lots of loving. Lots of planning.
I would say that the Time was well spent, full of all the things that are important.