Friday, July 31, 2009

naked july

so when i proclaimed this past month "naked july" i had no idea that it really was naked july... in chicago.

july started out hot and muggy and just kept getting hotter and muggier. you never really dried off after getting out of the shower, and a couple of quick showers a day was a necessity. so why bother getting dressed at all? thus begun naked july.

Monday, July 27, 2009

amaretto cookies and balsamic vinegar!

we bid a fond farewell to our couchsurfers davide, margherita and cristina from bergamo, italy today. and although we'll miss them, we have the amaretto cookies and balsamic vinegar to remember them by. yummmm!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

payette is a valley, city and county in idaho and a kayaking couchsurfer from petaluma

...which is only about 10 miles from where i stay when i'm in northern california.

and she came to visit us in budva.

and after leaving us she made her way to kolaĊĦin, montenegro where rumor has it she had quite the lovely time.... and then to my favorite place in bosnia where rumor has it (oh, i have my sources...) that she was a huge hit with the local guys.

that makes the 2nd 40-ish solo woman from my old neighborhood passing through here in less than a week! what's happening in california?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

like a raft, mf'r

i cling to you like a raft. 
you've seen so much damage yet you're still afloat.

like i've been foundering in an ocean for years,
i pull myself up onto you and sink in, finally able to breathe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

sveti stefan redux

blue water...

dribbly rock formations...

and a mythic tree root

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

and then there were 8

ok, let me start by saying that our flat is small and a big chunk of it is occupied by a little kitchen area, a double bed, and a corner converted into an art studio. having said that, z and i still managed to jam in 6 couchsurfers who synchronistically all converged on the place at the same time.

michal, kuba and bartek, 3 university students from poland, arrived first - one week earlier than originally planned. they had travelled to belgrade, serbia only to have their couchsurfing host cancel at the last minute. suddenly without accommodation, they spent the night in the train station and then headed towards montenegro sooner than expected. can we come early? no problem!

and then sami and mikko arrived just hours later. i'd been in touch with sami, a 30-something long time, long distance bicyclist from finland, since we met at zelenkovac in bosnia in july of 2008. (sami is in the last photo of this post from that time.) i knew that he and his friend mikko, one of his 2 usual travelling companions, would be cycling through our area in late july/early august. it turned out that today would be the day.

next came max. when you first log into couchsurfing, it displays a list of couchsurfers travelling in the area. a week or so earlier, i saw max's profile, and eager to meet another solo female traveller, particularly a 40 year old solo female traveller from san francisco, i emailed her an invitation to surf with us should she be passing through budva anytime. turns out she was. today... max is an artist, semi-reluctant performer, does set, mask and lighting design (and teaches lighting design too) and has travelled all over the world doing just that. so while the boys were checking out stari grad, its beaches and it's 12 foot tall skinny-as-a-rail women, max and i lost track of time talking - for 2 days straight.

despite the fact that i had managed to kill our refrigerator the night before everyone arrived, z managed to keep everyone fed - and watered, or i should say beered - and it turned out perfectly.

sami's posted a bit more of the story here on his blog - including giving a shoutout to the "springrolls" that tasted more like burritos than the burrito i got at a mexican food place in bosnia...

and then they were all gone and suddenly our flat seemed oddly large and empty.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

budva living: the washing

who needs the latest techonology in washers and dryers when you've got...

a bathtub

and a stairwell

Monday, July 13, 2009

budva living: the water

well, the drinking water in budva may look like this and taste kinda like, ummm, chalk, but when it's 90+ degrees fahrenheit all day every day for a couple of months, it'll do just fine.

oh, i forgot to mention that you can't actually always count on having water in the summer. sometimes you just don't.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the weight of your world

i'm falling in love with the weight of your world. all of it.

i'm making love to the world, the world inside you, the world you bring with you. the summers in your grandmother’s stone house, running away from the crowd that gathered after you were hit by a car, the music, the art, the fame, the failures, the innocence of that new year’s eve party and the shock of your world turning upside-down overnight, the war, the loss of your friends, home, your city, your country, the deadness in your soul forced by year after year of ugliness, the brokenness and the refusal to be broken, the anger and the acceptance, the forgetting and the remembering, the laughing, the dancing, the quiet strength, the waking up and the acceptance of it all.

you’ve been softened by acceptance and i can feel it in your body. your body is soft, yielding to the whole of life, yielding to me, letting me in, inviting me in to share all of it, all of you.

i’m making love to the whole of your world.

Dave Matthews Band Crash Into Me


Saturday, July 11, 2009


i feel like i could just stop. i breathe out and i feel no impulse to breath in again. nothing in my body, nothing in my mind, nothing that compels me to breathe in. i breathe out and when that breath is gone, it’s just all so calm, so quiet, so restful and i just stop. the constant in and out and in and out and in and out takes so much energy and seems so noisy, so busy. and stopping is just so still.

this morning i woke up and this is what i felt. so quiet. z was talking to me, smiling his beautiful “good morning” smile, and i had no words. i heard a faint answer in my head, but the act of moving those words outside of my body seemed so unnecessary, so busy, even violent. i wasn’t resisting speaking. i didn’t think “gee, i really just don’t feel like talking at the moment.” i was just so wonderfully still, nearly stopped.

Friday, July 10, 2009

not that i'm counting or anything, but it's been...

20 months. 20 months. that's nearly 2 years. it’s been nearly 2 years since my former "life-partner" kicked me out of the house ever-so-conveniently-for-him just after i finished investing over 2 years of my heart, soul, time, and my entire life's savings - into designing and building it for us. kicked out and told that he would be retaining the house and that he would not "allow" me to buy him out of the house although i contributed the majority of the funding.

260 days since he informed me, via email, that he intended to breech our verbal agreement to return my money now that the time had come to actually honor that agreement. an agreement that had been in place for nearly 1 year. an agreement that i entered into with the intention of giving him ample time to repay me to make it easier on him since it was a large amount of money.

50 days since he breeched our subsequently painfully "negotiated" (read: nearly 7 months of stalling culminating in a "take this or nothing" jab), written, signed, notarized legally binding contract in which he is required to return but a painfully small fraction of my money which he has withheld from me since refusing to honor our previous verbal agreement.

20 months is a long time and it seems that a whole lifetime has passed. i’ve been lucky enough to find a new and better life since then and, most days, i’m happier than i’ve ever been before. but today just isn’t one of those days.

it annoys me that this date actually stuck out in my head today and i know that the date would be meaningless to me now if it weren’t still impacting me in a very, very real way because here it is 20 months later and he’s still withholding my money from me and i’m trying to come up with a “plan c” since dumpster diving isn’t working all that well in montenegro and i can’t get a job as a foreigner and now that i am no longer sleep-walking, i’d rather shoot myself in the head then go back to the slow suffocation that was my life before this. whew, take a breath.

so sue me, but when i’m scrounging for food, it’s hard not to think that “hey, had I not been stupid enough to be ripped off by this guy, i wouldn’t have to be scrounging for food right now.” yeah, i know that it is what it is, but every now and then i have just a little bit of difficulty coming to terms with it. but then tomorrow’s a new day.

:: disclaimer
blah blah blah. it’s all just my personal opinion. blah blah blah.

time to

Anna Nalick Breath (2am)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

plan b: dumpster diving in budva montenegro

my plan b needs some revisions.

dumpster diving for food. you help stop food from going to waste and you reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, all with the added benefit of being able to eat for free.

but there’s a little hiccup in my plan. montenegro is not the usa. and while you may be able to eat plentifully and healthily in the states by diving behind natural food stores, that's not quite the case in montenegro since:
  • the quality of fruits and veggies in the stores here is often equivalent to the quality of fruits and veggies found in the dumpsters of america,
  • expiration dates are meaningless here and foods well past their expiration dates remain on the shelves until sold instead of being tossed in the dumpster,
  • food rots incredibly quickly here given that it’s not kept refrigerated while in the markets, that most of it is organic, and that it’s freaking hot here,
  • any food leftover from outdoor markets that is still edible is taken home by the vendors themselves.
so by the time something ends up in the dumpster, it is well past the edible state. the exception; however, is bread. old, dry bread (keep in mind you'll only find baked baguettes with no preservatives here; no loaves of sliced preserved stuff) is often left in a plastic bag tied to the edge of the dumpster. if you can manage to get within 4 feet of the dumpster without puking from the stench of rot, then grab the bag and run, and if you can wrangle up some eggs, you can have a lovely meal of french toast.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

curiosity, kitten,
doesn't have to mean you're on your own

and i'm not.

i walk along these hillsides in the summer 'neath the sunshine.
i am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me.

- counting crows "a murder of one"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

a bit o' siberia in budva

zifa, an english teacher, and my new siberian penpal!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

mere gurudev

krishna das' "mere gurudev" is playing as i'm doing savasana after my yoga session. my eyes are closed and i see/feel myself spinning like a dervish, face up to the sky. everything is golden yellow orange and i am basking in the bliss of all creation.

i see the the people from my past. i see their faces as i let them go; they are dissolving as i spin. i thank them for their lessons and i let them go. i no longer need the lesson of love given and love withheld. i no longer need the lesson of abandonment. i'm free of it.

finally. finally, i can allow myself to have more in my life. more authentic love, more truth, more. finally i can say that i deserve happiness.

Krishna Das - Mere Gurudev

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

pried open

i wrote this back in april while i was in santa rosa.

i've learned some pretty harsh lessons over the last couple of years, the most recent – and the most cruel – having been learned over the last 6 months from some of those who claimed to love me the most.

these aren't things i'd hoped to have to learn in my life. these are things - embarrassing things, humiliating things - that gullible people in the newspapers and on oprah and dr. phil learned. not me.

but i know the fact is that these things exist, that there is incredible human cruelty. and i know that it's often that those you are closest to are the ones that willingly and ruthlessly choose to harm you the most.

this is just a truth in the totality of the human experience.

because i want to know the totality of the human experience, i have to embrace this lesson. and I have. this lesson has allowed me to embrace, rather than hide, the parts of me that feel duped and betrayed and abandoned and ...

this culture teaches us that it's "proper” to suppress emotion – to suppress our humanness - out of shame and out of fear of appearing weak, while some cultures celebrate human emotion out of the joy and appreciation of the full range and depth of the human soul.

after 47 years, i have finally begun to relinquish my shame over being a human with human emotions. i can laugh more authentically and cry more freely, all without apologies to those who are uncomfortable when faced with such openness.

pried open by the experience of such cruelty, i now have room in my life for more experiences of openness, of authenticity.

with that new room, there have already come new people, and they have brought much more sensitive lessons. lessons of love, truth and safety.

Alanis Morissette That I Would Be Good