Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life Genius

I always thought at the end of the day that this would be my epitaph:
                                 I put only my art into my work and my genius into my life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Minzio the Strong & Julie the Old

Mom is in town and we have taken up our 'kafa pauza' rituals again. I so miss making up stories and am determined to not let the opportunities slip from me in the new year.

Minzio & Julie
Here are her two ancient cats, the male with only one tooth proud and big as a tiger. He is protecting his own mom, the oldest, skinniest ass Siamese girl cat in the world. She waits for her padrona to come back from Denver and dreams big heart warm dreams all day long while lying on the rabbit shaped pupazzo on the bed. There is sadness and joy in seeing these things.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Every mother I imagine sits one day at the kitchen table looking through old photographs and new and wonders how Time went by so fast. Lost in thought and emotion.

My wonderful sprite, lovely angel face, innocent young man that came shining and pretty from my womb became, in seemingly no time at all

the master of his own universe, the leader of his pack, the boss of himself.

Angels all around him whether he knows or not. I see it when others look at him.

*Feeling blessed to be on this gorgeous planet, in this skin, gifted exactly this path. With gratitude, pure and simple.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Here is the most wonderful post about St. Nikolaus!  More information than I ever have seen, amusing and fascinating. He is the Patron Saint not only of Children but also of Girls Who Hope to Marry, Bakers, Vat Makers, Bankers and Thieves... but mostly Sailors!

The website of Waverly Fitzgerald is a treasure trove of arcane information about calendars,  Beltane and mythology lots of it taken from her collaboration with Helen Farias before she passed on.

3 Pieces

The Mirror


Wild Horses

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

at the Gov's

Who can resist fancy kitties, ceramic gift boxes, silly Santa's and eclectic  illuminations?

  Sharing some pictures taken while I attended this morning's meet the press at the Governor's Mansion where every year fantastic Holiday decorations are put up and historic tours of the residence are scheduled for the public.

Karen's kitties...

Karen Bozik

Phil's Santa's

Phil Bender
Marie's gifts...

EVB Studio 

fabulous crystals and fairy tales from Tracy Barnes

Tracy Barnes

and yours truly with visual storytelling of food and culture from the Balkans

I had a lively exchange with Dr. Claudette Sweet of Denver's Kwanzaa Committee and found we had a lot of interests in common that relate back to community and exploring history as a means of learning about the world. I was enchanted by her. 

Bathing Beauties

Another link to my multicultural heritage that I am intermittently fascinated with...It seems to appear out of nowhere. The adoration of a Russian Mother icon or a sudden lust for royal Russian drama stories from the past. Endless days of looking through Culinaria Russia. And then I am entranced, looking for the thread that connects me.

I named it 'the blood calling' when I was sixteen and looking for my birth father.

The illustration I found on the Pinterest page of Andrea Ferrante   "In Slavonic neo-paganism, KupaƂa is the goddess of herbs, sorcery, sex, and midsummer. She is also the Water Mother, associated with trees, herbs, and flowers"  

More about this particular myth/story from Gods & Godesses and here a bit about how they celebrate in the Ukraine.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dreaming, after all is a form of planning

My quote of the day comes from Gloria Steinem

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


More treasure in pictures. It's interesting to see the very composed pictures

of the 1960's and early 70's in Germany and then Thailand and Usa

 as compared to later in the decade when we moved to Italy

when people like Versace, Bowie and Sarah Moon were influencing fashion in Europe and well, everywhere.  Fashion, especially with the advent of 'off the rack' and pret a porter suddenly made it easier to have well made clothing and simultaneously be more glamorous. I think it added to women expressing themselves through their bodies in a more free manner.  Instead of emulating the 'perfectness' of  how they 'should' be this new fashion allowed them to be less constricted. Especially hair and makeup and of course clothes the pictures show women were more playful in mixing and overlapping styles.

I remember my mother wearing Greta Garbo wide pants and 40's inspired triangle tops with 70's glam platforms.

Her hair was shorter and lighter and her makeup more natural.

I mean really, she always looked like a movie star and still does. The pictures from a box that I discovered made me realize that for women like my mother, the seventies must have been a really liberating time.
The idea that as a woman you could have more control over your own lifestyle was new. That you could  make your own choices without necessarily asking your father, brother or husband first -  that possibility was just opening up for women at that time.

 It's easy for me to see all this in the reflection of her changing style and fashion. The arch of the eyebrow remains but the movement of the hair, the unconstrained clothing challenge the past.  I guess I never saw what was obvious all along. We have always been lovers of style and fashion. Culturally, it really goes so much deeper than just buying a 'new look'. At the time of these pictures she was working with a well known Tuscan consortium to bring Italian fashion to the rest of Europe and specifically America. She spoke 5 languages and traveled to Africa, the Eastern Bloc countries and America. The 'liberated' woman with flair.

Mom took every opportunity to further herself and was highly regarded as a business person and a woman of style. I will forever be grateful.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bears Bear Bearing

consumed with Bears today. must have dreamt something..
Sartola Ban, artist


all these pictures of real people with real bears make me cringe of course and am liebsten I would turn the tables on the situation. but it is what it is. for more depressing pics look up gypsies, russians, circus animals and so on in relationship to bears. people make a living. sometimes only on the backs of their bears. I get it but it makes me sad

and from the Germans

our Bulgarian friends
Blogger Dumneazu writing about the end of the Dancing Bear culture in Romania, Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans and wonders what happens to the families that rely on the money made from the spectacle. In another article the EU people rejoice over saving bears from a certainly horrible fate (graphic) and at the same time contribute to the homogenization of cultures. What is right and wrong? Hmmmm

Friday, November 23, 2012


Eve and the Snake
A beautiful foto of street art in Naples by Rebecca Price Butler on her Tumbler blog

Everyday Miracles

The first time I heard of the Sanctuary on Montenero  was from Signor Solari, my then piano teacher, who took mum and me on an afternoon trip there many years ago. He was so proud to show off his little secret, a small jewel overlooking the port of Livorno  that houses a literal treasure trove of documented 'Miracles' that people have received after praying to a Saint or Divinity in a time of need.

While we were in Tuscany this summer I revisited Livorno and my good friends Soraya and Alberto  took us to dinner at their special place in the minuscule village of Montenero. During dinner I remembered what an impression the Sanctuary a little further up the mountain made on me so many years before.

                            The Funiculare to the Sanctuary begins & ends.

The next day Ani and I went to the beach in Castiglioncello and on the way back to Soraya's city house we turned off the Aurelia and headed up towards Montenero so I could in my turn share this special and strange place with my daughter. It has remained of my favorite places dedicated to the Patron Saint of Tuscany the Divine Mary

Our drive up was not nearly as harrowing as when Solari was manning the curves at 60 mph  - smoking his Gauloise, gesticulating the way Italians do when they are reminiscing or talking about beautiful women (which often happens at the same time).  We stopped to take in the view of the bay

The View from Montenero
As noted in tour guides, Montenero was also a big holiday destination for artistic types like Byron and Shelley and even Longfellow in the 19th century and it is no surprise when you look out from the promenade to the bay what attracted them.

As we arrived in the main piazza at the top of the mountain we parked and then walked along the edge of the tidily decaying promenade to the Church. Ani was ogling the silly trinkets at the kiosks the euros burning in her pockets.

No, no, no I say I want to show you these amazing pictures on the walls. We treated ourselves to a bite to eat and a juice at one of the bar/restaurants in the grand piazza watched over by this unusual painting before we headed in.

 A Grazie Ricevuta or an ex-voto is a votive offering (a painting or a plaque) to a saint or a divine being as showing thanks for a prayer asking for an intervention or help in time of need. Many churches in Italy have special rooms where they are displayed on the wall like this...

This is one of the beautiful paintings of the Divine Mary.."The first chapel was built to commemorate a miraculous event that happened in 1345. A shepherd found an image of Our Lady at the foot of a hill. He had a vision in which he was told to carry the image on top of the hill. When he arrived to his destination, the man was cured of a grave infirmity".

One of the many scenes on the walls..

This collection is truly fascinating on so many levels! Historically, decoratively and culturally the thousands of items are interesting and charming and speak volumes. Sometimes they are intricate but often drawn in a naif style, the common man describing the miraculous.

Here are other paintings, drawings of daily life tragedies overcome - very touching to see...

Saved from disaster

Saved from Drowning

Runaway Horse accident

Praying to the Mother

Prayer for a sick daughter

The Grazie Ricevute with Names & Messages

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Horned Girl & Other Bedtime Stories

These pictures stir fleeting memories in various stages of my childhood - and  deeply, so that I am suddenly floating in someone's bed - maybe between Baka and Dedo, they are reading the Bible and I am looking at the pictures in my Grimm Fairy Tales book, snuggled or stuck in the middle of the warmth.  Baka is clucking, not so silently, one blue eye on the grimly lit strangely arousing illustrations while her finger follows the path of the psalms. I am five.

And, in love always with the maiden and the Bull Headed man..stories of the deep forest and the patiently waiting white horse....tricky territory in an adolescent girls mind. I am lounging in the small patch of grass by the pool, below the concrete balcony under the sleepy gaze of the maids' eyes. Maybe I'm eleven.

The horned girl reminds me of my Girl in the future. The Secret is so strong in them and they are mad for it and protect it at all costs. Beautiful. I maybe thirteen.

Back at four in Baka's kitchen. I'm pretty sure Bakica had a little picture like this taped on the inside of one of her cupboards. Lest she forget to clean, clean, clean...those stains of sin are hard to clean off, Boze sacuvaj, the sins of others against you even harder. "Scrub!" orders that Mean Father Sun.

As I grew up and returned to her kitchen with the ever patient and oppressive cross of Christ the Martyr in the corner I prayed to the moon in spite. Not the Son, not the Sun. That fat cat, always pushing his rays in your face and elsewhere, omnipotent Apollo, pushy motherfucker.

The Moon, instead, soft light & ghostly luminescence, white satin, teletransporter into magic, star studded liberty. Pliable. Willing to fly.

via @goldenagecb

Illustrations one, two and three are by Artus Scheiner and can be found on the Flicker stream of one Josef Skrhola