Thursday, December 29, 2011

yeah, i'm around

just not feeling particularly talkative at the moment.

Monday, November 28, 2011

givin' it away now

i don't have much left in a material way, but i'm giving it away.

it's the second phase of the "great divesting" of 2007.

while it was incredibly freeing to get rid of nearly all of my possessions, i've noticed lately that i've become more and more attached than i'd like to be to the few remaining things i've got left - like, oh i don't know - say my computer and my cash.

ok, i'm not giving the computer away quite yet, but the cash - it's time to start letting go. all my fear in the world has become concentrated there. so it's time to cross that last hurdle if i want to be fear-free.

it's strange. it's been a habit for most of my life to worry about not having enough. and although my habit is doing its best to worry, I am not. i'm just giving it away.

ok. not all at once. baby steps. but still...

Red Hot Chili Peppers  Give It Away Now

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1 degree weather:
the good, bad and the, uh, good and bad

the good: i get to wear my favorite amazing bosnia second-hand shop furry winter coat
note how the "fur" and my hair are pretty much the exact same
color and texture

the bad-ish: i get to wear a kleenex wrapped around and shoved up my nose alot. 
a lot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

boy was that offal stew fabulous!

sure, it was offal but man, was it was good.

slow cooked in a big pot suspended over a fire all day while everyone stood around in the freezing cold drinking domaće vino and rakija.

i could not get enough.

apparently my slow transition to in-your-face carnivore is complete.

offal stew. from freshly slaughtered pig.

but first, we had other bits of pig (i mean, really, if you're going to kill a living being, at least have the decency to make use of it all) served up in other interesting ways. there was, of course, prosciutto, then sausage, and then chunks of fat fried up with some spices.

but lordy lordy was that offal stew tasty. smelled like thanksgiving. mmmm, mmmm, especially whatever in the world it was in there that looked like chunks of muscle meat (except for the big empty veins visible on every side) but were all soft and spongy when you bit in.

mmmm, mmmm, good!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

just another family night in bosnia

if you don't speak serbian
z's bro

you don't have to listen...

dude, am i shrinking? am i really that small?

z's mom, me and z's aunt, who i am supposed to refer to as my aunt since i've been
around - albeit on and off - enough to officially be considered family.
so i've got that going for me... which is nice...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

the "luna park"

don't know why they call it that, but that's what they call it.

i call it a little traveling carnival.

whatever the name, there's been one set up a block from my place for the last week.

z took his daughter and a gang o' 12 year old girls there last night while i enjoyed a little peace and quiet alone. ah the luxury of a hot bath...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

well, that's something i thought i'd never see

z's mom stripping down to her undies, getting on the floor and doing (well, at least trying trying to do) yoga with me.

and yet i did see it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

i remember the good ole' days...

... not so long ago i was in a different place every few weeks or days.

it's weird to be in one place for so long. weirder still when the one place i've been for so long happens to be the same city in which z's family lives.

got a phone call this morning. it was z's mom. "either you come here for lunch or i'm coming there and making lunch for you." (though that was all said in serbian)

four hours later...

pršut, bacon, salami, sir, paprika, chilis, bread and ljuti ajvar


kolač (cake)

and a house full of people
(z's brother, mom, and daughter)

Friday, October 21, 2011


it's cold and grey and wintery (ok, technically autumn-y) and slow.

i did some stuff. slowly.

first some yoga.

then i hand-washed the 2 pair of "new very good" (that's what it said on the label) wool socks that z's mom gave us and put them on the radiator to dry.

then i washed my hair. this is how much came out. it's pretty much how much comes out every time i wash my hair and yet i continue to have gobs of hair on my head.

then z made a little lunch for me and i sat on the sofa and listened to sada sat kaur's "mantra masala" cd while i looked out the window.

i took a photo of z painting in the other room.

and now it's 4:30 and it's already getting dark.

just like that, the day is over.

just like that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

i woke up to autumn this morning

i woke up this morning and autumn had arrived.

the air was different.  crisp.

and when i looked out my window, everything was brown and orange.

how does that happen overnight?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

back in pakoštane croatia
this time with a monkey on my back

we're back in pakoštane croatia, this time with a kid in tow. željko's kid, tea teodora.

it's her first time in the ocean.

i was so busy encouraging her to trust that she could float in the salt water that i neglected to mention that it burns if you happen to inhale some and makes you nauseous if you happen to swallow some whilst floundering around because you haven't yet learned how to swim.

oh well, we learn by doing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

so this cat hitchhikes to my place...

i mean this cat. this one, right here in this picture.

not kidding. she hitchhiked about 1,000 miles (seriously, about one thousand miles) to our place and she, along with her traveling companion, couchsurfed with us for a few days.

that was back in july when, shortly after arriving back in banja luka, z and i kicked off a little couchsurfing hosting extravaganza that nearly rivaled our great couchsurfing hosting fest of 2009 in budva montenegro. ok, not quite, but still...

anyway, we hosted travelers from france (hmmm, quite a few from france, come to think of it), turkey, ireland, poland, slovakia, australia, the usa, and the netherlands. most were hitchhiking, though two bussed it here and two late-night-trained it here. one lost a wallet, two were just passing through overnight, and more than a few stayed longer than they thought they would. one, who speaks considerably more english since i first met him - and last saw him - when i was couchsurfing in france back in 2008), stayed here while z and i took off to sarajevo for a couple of days. and of course, there was hitching cat and her companion, the furthest and longest-term travelers of the lot. fabulous.

yep.  non-stop couchsurfing hosting all the way through late august. non-stop. zero on the stoppage factor.

august is almost over now and cat and her companion have long since gone, as have the scratches on my lower extremities left by the festival of foot and ankle biting attacks (by cat, not cat's companion). the apartment is quiet - and feels strangely large without all the bodies and backpacks in here - and z and i feel lucky (albeit more than a tad tired...) to have been able to provide a temporary home to so many people wandering around and through this part of the world.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

july in a nutshell

we went from here

to here

but life is change.  and change is good.  right?   helps keep us awake.

speaking of being kept awake, i am; however, having a bit of challenge with the nightly loud drunken moron fest that assembles on the benches outside my bedroom window around 9pm and goes on until, oh... say 3am.  but, on the brighter side, it certainly has helped me appreciate silence a bit more.  not that i didn't have a pretty healthy appreciation for it already, though...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

late afternoons in pakoštane croatia

they usually follow the same-ish flow.

after a quiet day of floating around in the adriatic and gazing into the distance at our most recent favorite cove, we take one last swim and then begin the walk home.

the remains of the day: early evening on the adriatic

about halfway there, we stop at the home of a local family that produces domestic fruit, vegetables, cheese, prosciutto, vino and olive oil.  we talk to the bubba (grandma) who is always there either working in the garden or resting on the porch.  "you're still here!" she says, always smiling. while she and z speak to each other in croatian, i can't help but look at her wrists, her hands. every time.  i can't stop looking. her skin is incredibly weathered, she is small and hunched over, but her wrists and hands are huge.  huge and strong from years of working the farm, canning, curing, and a lifetime of laundering by hand.

eventually other family members appear. sometimes offering us freshly harvested cherries.  sometimes cured olives.  sometimes fresh lavender stems.  and most times, we leave with a liter or so of their homemade wine.

home.  home and maybe a little shower, but often not.  i love the feel of the salt on my skin and in my hair.

sometimes, though, it's hours before we actually make it into our home. instead, before we can climb the stairs, we are intercepted by biba and šime (she-meh), the owners of the apartment we call home and the cafe that it is perched atop.  and then we spend the next couple of hours on the cafe patio sipping a little vino, feasting on whatever fresh fish that šime happened to catch and grill up that day, and watching the sun go down over the teeny little church on the teeny little island that is right off the beautiful shore that i call home in this moment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

and when i'm not gazing into the distance from my balcony

i'm doing it from my one of my newer almost-private beach coves

but when my almost-private cove gets a little too not almost-private

then we head for the naked beach

Sunday, June 12, 2011

equal opportunity distance gazing

above the adriatic and the islands, there's this.
oh the hours that can be spent...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the lost art of gazing into the distance


rediscovered and faithfully practiced for hours on end, day after day, by me.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

the view from my balcony in pakoštane croatia this morning

my teeny camera does not do the spectacular colors justice.

at all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

who's the luckiest girl in the world?

just as i was considering lamenting the fact that we had run out of prosciutto for our nightly sit-and-gaze-at-the-sea-and-marvel-at-our-good-fortune ritual, our landlord shouted up the stairs that there were some fresh mussels on the way up.  a couple of minutes later, delivered to our door, delivered to our door, no less!, was a liter of homemade wine, a platter of homemade prosciutto and cheese, and a steaming bowl of fresh mussels in garlic infused olive oil. 

so who's the luckiest girl in the world?   that would be me, i think.

domaći vino, prsut and sir, and dagnje od mora / homemade wine, prosciutto and cheese, and mussels from the sea
on my balcony at dusk overlooking the adriatic sea in pakostane crotia

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

when my serotonin let's me...

i have the best life in the world.

the sea, the view, the dusk, the domaće vino and pršut, bread, olive oil, balsamic, pecorino, z, and the music... 

no words.  just happy.

Morning Teleportation Expanding Anyway

Big Star I'm in Love With a Girl

Joan Armatrading Down to Zero

Paolo Nutini Growing Up Beside You

Paolo Nutini cover of MGMT's Time to Pretend

US3 Cantaloop

Monday, May 23, 2011

bye shirley

you were my inspiration to get the hell outta dodge years before i ever had the balls to actually do it.  the original get-rid-of-everything-you-own-and-leave-the-country woman.  i'll miss you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

did i mention that i have a new favorite food in the world?

pršut. prosciutto. yummy yum yum yum.

for quite some time now, dinnertime (and i mean every dinnertime) at my place has consisted of pršut, istrian sheep milk cheese, domaće vino, bread, olives, and occasionally apples or dried figs, slowly savored over the course of an hour or three while sitting on my balcony overlooking the adriatic sea at dusk.

ok, yes, i know that dusk does not last an hour or three but i'm too lazy to restructure that sentence, so anyhoo...

i have yet to tire of it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

3 things i love here in pakoštane croatia

this building and this painted sign pointing to the konoba pakoštanac

stone walls, olive trees (except maybe a tiny bit less love for the allergy part of olive trees) and purple flowers, the name of which i do not know.

this view of the 20-shades-of-amazing-clear-blue adriatic sea and a smattering of its over 1,000 islands from my secret beach with just enough sand for 2 hidden along the rocky shoreline.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

sleep, obey, watch television, conform, reproduce, and ....

croatia's biggest supermarket makes no attempt to sugarcoat it.


check out john carpenter's "they live" sometime. yeah, you gotta overlook the cheese and fight the urge to turn it off after the first 10 minutes. but it's worth it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

it's not an "event", it's just life
a little slice of it at nono's konoba in pirovac, croatia

too busy enjoying the moment to capture video, but i did catch a photo and
a little bit of song and threw in a couple photos of pirovac and surrounds to boot
before we head back to pakoštane from our day trip to pirovac, we stop for a little pršut and vino at the nono konoba.

z is telling me about the chairs. simple unfinished handmade wooden chairs just like the ones from his youth when he used to visit the local konoba with his grandfather. konobas are - or were then - similar to wine cellars housed in the basements of stone buildings. legs of pršut (prosciutto, but in a distinctly dalmatian style) hung from the ceilings and the locals would sit around, drink domaće vino (homemade wine), have a little local sir (cheese, most often goat), and occasionally reach up to slice off another piece of pršut. and sing.

we order pršut and domaće vino. a couple of men are eating, drinking quietly at a table near us. another man sits nearby eating risotto, sipping vino and one by one, seven men arrive and sit together at the big wine barrel table we passed over because it was so big for just the two of us.

the pršut arrives and it is ever so thinly sliced, soft, salty and perfect. and the olives! they're from the owner's orchard and they are almost like candy, maybe a trace of carmel or malted milk. incredible.  a carafe of wine, a carafe of water and some bread.

the men at the wine barrel table are speaking, says z, of their day. "by 10 this morning, i finished cutting the hay and i harvested the olives from 3 or 4 trees." they speak of life over their pršut and vino, of mundane things. and then someone begins to hum a tune.  the conversation trails off and the most incredible harmony begins. they are singing (klapa), and their singing is like the olives.  like candy.  so sweet. the voices rise and i am lost.  how can these men, speaking of hay and harvests, sing like this?   z translates a line, "i can move the ocean but i cannot open the shutters of your heart."

a little more pršut. some kruh/hleb (bread). 

and another song. and another.

a glass of domaće vino cut, as is the custom, with a little bit of water.

      no! you didn't!

      yes!  yes i did! 

living now on the dalmatian coast, i get it.  i understand why it's done. tasting wine, drinking wine isn't an event (think california).  it's just life.  and dalmatian domaće wine is made for life.  a little pršut, some masline (olives) from the orchid out back. and song. it's all just life.  like z always says "just easy."  no need to manufacture events, to chase life. "just easy."  like the spontaneous klapa serenade that unfolded in front us, life happens all around you if you just make some space and let it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

a visit to vrgada island, croatia

today we took the ferry over to vrgada.

vrgada is a small island (an area of just over 2 miles) off the dalmation croatian coast. it's been inhabited for 5,000 years, and like the rest of the dalmation coast, it was once under the rule of the roman empire. at the moment, it's inhabited by about 250 people.

vrgada has a small semi-intact village center of stone buildings and narrow stone paved winding streets. too small for cars, there are none on vrgada, though you'll definately find mopeds.

like pakoštane, the stone buildings are crumbling and newer characterless buildings are popping up all over; however, many of the original buildings are still intact and some have been restored.

poor little stone guy forced to live in the shadow of the big pink monstrosity behind it!