Tuesday, December 29, 2009

junk and stuff

did a run to croatia today.

got vaccinations for typhoid, etc. at a tropical medicine clinic in zagreb.  (thank you couchsurfer katarina from zagreb who answered my post and let me know about the clinic!)

you see, you can't get travel vaccinations in banja luka since not enough people here actually get to travel to warrant keeping vaccines here, so you either have to go to sarajevo, zagreb or belgrade.

also got z a tourist visa for thailand. there's no embassy in bosnia and, unlike american citizens who can just get a visa issued on arrival, citizens of bosnia have to get theirs issued in advance.

details, details....

anyway, there's nothing like a couple o' karlovacko (unless it's a nektar, but hey we're in croatia, not bosnia) to take way the sting of a few travel vaccinations and a long day of running around.  (those orange things are our international certificate of vaccination booklets.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the best christmas cookies in the world ever

every year for at least 47 years, my mom has made the best christmas cookies in the world (or at least my world) ever. this year, i attempted to make them for the first time.

although it was my first time attempting to make the cookies, and although i am a notorious non-cook, and although i had to convert cups to grams, and although i only had a giant poorly labeled container showing grams in increments of 100, and although they didn't have sugar sprinkles and i had to substitute the sprinkles for "jimmies", the cookies still managed to come out perfect! ha!!!!

q: how many of them do you think i can eat?

a: every single stinkin' last one of them!

Friday, December 25, 2009

all i want for christmas is my two front teeth, my two front... well actually, make that a full set of uppers.

z got his new teeth for christmas today. ok, so it's not actually christmas in the serbian orthodox tradition (january 7th is), but still...

sigh... i'm sure i'll get used to it, but right now, i really miss that most beautiful smile in the whole world ever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a dork all aglow

i am such a dork!

i'm so so so so excited!

you'd think i'd be used to couchsurfing by now.

i have an early morning flight from zagreb next month and decided i didn't want to trouble a couchsurfing host for one night just to take off super early the next morning, so i posted a question on the zagreb couchsurfing forum asking if anyone knew of a reasonably priced place to stay near the airport there.

within hours, i received an invitation to couchsurf at the home of someone who lives just 15 minutes away - by foot - from the airport. i checked out her profile and we also just happen to have some interesting things in common.

and now i'm all aglow and thrilled and giggly because i love couchsurfing and couchsurfers and the fact that there are so many really cool people out there in the world.

i am such a dork!

Monday, December 21, 2009

saying goodbye to the most beautiful smile in the whole world ever

in the last month, z has had 4 teeth pulled and 1 root canal. today he is having his 8 remaining top teeth prepped to get a permanent bridge that will replace the missing teeth.

i know that teeth are a good thing in general, but to me, this is the most beautiful smile in the whole world ever and i'm really sad to see it go.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the nuances of drying laundry

icicles are not conducive to drying

heat is often a better choice

Saturday, December 19, 2009

screna (happy/lucky)
slava (celebration/feast)
sveti nikola (saint nicholas)!

got that?

today is st. nicholas day in the serbian orthodox tradition. we celebrated semi-traditionally.  pretty much everything but the priest.

tea teodora and vuki arriving

z's mom and brother

our teeny little dinner table

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the season of endings

november 28th 2009
john and susan maloney, in their 40's, and their two children aiden, 8, and grace, 5 were killed instantly in a violent auto accident.  i knew them many years ago. i was at their wedding, their new year's eve parties. the last time i saw them was brief, when susan was pregnant with aiden.  they were genuine people.

december 9th 2009
a friend's elderly mother-in-law that she had cared for over many years as alzheimers slowly advanced peacefully passed away in her sleep.

today december 15th
i watched the body of a neighbor, whose life i really knew nothing about, being wheeled away in an anonymous black bag.

each of these endings, each so different, brought up different things for me. different bits of my past, distant and recent, some things long-forgotten and some just tucked away in the recesses and ignored; brought up things i once did, who i once was, and bits of who i am now that i hadn't given much conscious thought to.

each of these endings gave me the gift of the opportunity to initiate my own gentler endings; to say hello to and then let go of old images, ideas and emotions that no longer reflect who i am today, but that are hiding back there in the nooks and crannies of my mind, heart and soul quietly influencing me and taking up space that i could fill with the me i've grown into; gave me the opportunity to keep the smiles, let go of the rest, and fill the newly open spaces with lightness.

i have reams of things to say about all of these endings, but nowhere to begin.

Train Drops of Jupiter

Caedmon's Call Ten Thousand Angels

Monday, December 14, 2009

did i mention it was 5 degrees here?

that's 5 degrees fahrenheit ( or -15 celsius, which is the unit of measurement here). during the day. when it's warm.

my yard

outside my window

my neighbor's house. hope they have a better woodstove than me!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

i'm the firestarter, twisted firestarter

ok, maybe not exactly the firestarter, but definitely the firekeeper. definitely the firekeeper.

i've mastered the art of keeping this old, incredibly inefficient top-loading woodstove going all day with - and here's the important part - a minimum of smoke release into the room. that's not to say that i don't have black lung, but i have less black lung that i might were i not the firestarter!

The Prodigy Firestarter

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

we're drinking, my friend, to the end of a brief episode *

today, the final installment of the money that was stolen from me - well at least the last bit of the less than ½ of it that i was able to collect based on california contract law - arrived in my bank account.

it’s over and the fact it’s over is simultaneously a relief and is meaningless.

the relief is that the chapter of my life wherein i learned up-close and personal about the really shitty things people are capable of doing to others is closed.

the meaninglessness is that in many ways, that chapter was closed long ago and it’s been a lifetime – a good lifetime - since then and the last bit of cash arriving in my bank account is more symbolic than anything else, devoid of much emotional impact.

and yeah, bits of anger and sadness still come up, suddenly stimulated by a song, something on tv, the balance in my bank account…. but they do so far less frequently now.

the anger is mostly at myself. looking back (of course, it’s always upon looking back..) there were many times that i could have made a decision that would have kept every penny of my life savings out of the hands that it fell into. but i chose to trust instead.

and the sadness, well, it’s different now than it was then. it comes now when i find myself feeling distrustful of people who i’ve no reason to distrust. and how sad that is. that little bit of hardness in my heart that i keep bumping into.

so i guess it’s not really over yet. but i’m working on it.

Eddie Vedder Rise

such is the way of the world, you can never know
just where to put all your faith and how will it grow

gonna rise up, burning black holes in dark memories
gonna rise up, turning mistakes into gold

such is the passage of time, too fast to fold
suddenly swallowed by signs, low and behold

gonna rise up, find my direction magnetically
gonna rise up, throw down my ace in the hole

- eddie vedder

* post heading quote from johnny mercer