Thursday, 25 October 2012

En garde!

When a man tells you he (being a man) is just as bad at cooking as you (being a woman) probably are at maths you don't know whether to be offended, to take it as compliment or to empathise. Caught me unprepared and left me confused for hours!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Got your back covered

Only a man can offend you and then get offended by you being offended by what he just did. My husband has polished this art to perfection...
Kids asked him to put forward the recorded film so they wouldn't have to watch commercials. The remote control was on the table right in front of him. His reaction? Repeated yells about them needing to learn patience and waiting till he finishes to type in his game chat... How ridiculous is that? At that moment I happened to be passing by and put the film forward, saying there is no need to wait till after the commercials only to put the film forward when it doesn't need forwarding any longer. Another "rational" reaction from the other adult of our family? Rage and fury about me not covering his back. Really??? Do we live in the same reality and participate in the same events? More than that, he said that from now on he will not cover my back either. Ha!
Other pearls from life and works of my significant other? Once he grabbed a dirty spoon from the sink and ate something with it tasting the food along with the soap in which spoon was soaking. FYI, utensil drawer is right next to the sink. Let's see if you can guess whose fault it was? Nope, not his. As if it's normal to keep clean and ready for use spoons in sink among dirty dishes.
Another time he made me lose my sleep after he stormed into bedroom and accused me of being careless and not charging the battery of electric toothbrush (which was still charged and worked just fine when I brushed my teeth an hour prior to that). These are just some of his latest outbursts.
Why is he still with me if I'm pissing him off so easily sometimes? Because a man needs someone at hand who could be blamed for the vast range of small misfortunes that fall upon him.
Why am I still here beside him, you might ask? Because often I feel like I've won him in lottery, and you do not just throw away your winnings, even if it's just a green sponge in shape of an elephant!!!

Monday, 8 October 2012


Smell of freshly laundered bed linen. Warm feet. Warm knees, surprisingly. Earl Grey tea with a spoon or even two of sugar. Warm palm of hand pressed softly to forehead. A pillow, a teddy bear, anything soft and warm pressed against the chest near the heart. Deliberate absence of thought. That's my personal prescription for those moments when the bottomless hole opens in my heart and I can't see further than the black nonexistent wall right in front of me. We all have these moments. It's so human. What is the meaning of life, Universe, everything? It's forty-two, Douglas Adams would have said.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The secret of emotionally engaging writing

"People have come up with all sorts of explanations for Harry Potter's popularity with grown-up readers, from the obvious – the escapist attractions of the minutely invented fantasy world – to the grandiose: western adults are stuck in an eternal adolescence. But one of them, I suspect, is that people still enjoy reading about good people, and seeing them rewarded – something that more respectable novels seldom offer these days." Theo Tait, The Guardian

Thursday, 27 September 2012


And here I am again, taking full swing into sentimentalism and emotional crisis. On the visible level there is no reason for it. If you scratch under the surface there are plenty of small reasons to be uncomfortable in my skin. One by one these reasons may seem insignificant, just like each puzzle piece alone doesn't show you the whole picture. I've realised, the longer I live the sorer my soul becomes. People closest to me say I'm an idealist, too honest for the ways of this world. Couldn't agree more. The truth is I am not adapted for life on this planet. I'm a lousy liar, too compassionate, too empathetic. Worse than that, I don't know how to become tougher and insensitive. I am a misplaced object that doesn't know where it really belongs.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The blind spot

I am fascinated by mind, human mind in particular. It is the most powerful tool we possess. It can work either as a poison or an antidote, and only mind itself can decide which one it will be. No one can oppress or uplift a mind if the mind itself doesn't allow the corresponding information to be processed into thoughts. And what a subtle self-preservation mechanism it is gifted with!
What is all this poetic rant about? Nothing special, just a trick my own mind played on me. I went into a room to take my headphones, instead after a blind spot lasting 5 seconds I found myself standing with a white bra in my hands. Had to return to that room to deposit the bra and pick up the headphones I needed in the first place. Very funny, mind, very funny...

Monday, 3 September 2012

I remember where I was when...

I remember where I was when my mom called dad and me to tell us that my grandmom had died of cancer after having spent the last half a year of her rather short life in upright position to prevent liquid gathering in her lungs and literally drowning her.
I remember where I was when my first boyfriend called me and said that at his sweet eighteen years of age he was too young for a commitment and the world crumbled under my feet.
I remember where I was when my mom and dad told me that they had euthanized our ill dog whom I had had for as long as I could remember myself.
I remember where I was at the moment when reports from the Twin Towers on 9/11 started flooding TV screens and our minds never to be deleted again.
I remember where I was when the pregnancy test confirmed that I would be a mom for the first time in my life.
I remember where I was when the very first scene of the book I'm working on kicked into my mind.
I remember where I was when a friend showed and explained to me how emails work and blew my mind.
I remember where I was when my younger child, racing with his sister, stumbled and fell slashing his forehead open to be mended again with five stitched in hospital.
I remember where I was when saw my child laugh in his sleep this morning.
I remember...

Saturday, 1 September 2012


Who needs a thermometer when one has twenty cats at hand? Today is roll-into-a-ball-and-snuggle-to-another-cat-for-warmth-day, which translates into human language as approximately 20 degrees Celsius. There.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Live and learn

Just when I thought I had seen about everything there is to see in a cat's life, having had at least fifty (and I'm not exaggerating) cats under our care during past ten years, life granted me another surprise.
We have several adult female cats living in our garden. Two of them, both Siamese pure-breeds, who happen to be a mother and a daughter, had kittens almost at the same time. The older one had five pure Siamese kittens, while the younger one had four black kittens by unknown father as none of our male cats is black. Up to now the older female has been a perfect mother, she even talked to her kittens and watched them very carefully at all times, whereas the younger one was an eternal awkward teenager, staying far from her litter and returning mostly to feed them. All was clear and settled until at one point the roles inverted and amplified! The older one not only became grumpy and careless of her own children, she started to keep them harshly at distance in spite of visibly accumulated milk in her breasts. And then the younger cat-mother not only kindly accepted the abandoned kittens out of her own free will (as you probably know, you can't force anything upon cats, they just don't give a damn), but allowed the adopted children to take her breast-milk along with her own kittens. I am utterly amazed by this change. Nature has peculiar twists and turns sometimes.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A gift that keeps on giving

Do you give yourself little gifts for birthdays? Or little treats for special occasions? Obviously my body was along the same lines and for my 35 birthday decided to give me a gift, something I've never had before. Before you get too excited, I must warn you that the body has a peculiar sense of humour, as it seems. It gave me a cyst. Not just any kind, but a vaginal cyst where episiotomy scar after the two childbirths was. The double scar has miraculously disappeared giving place to this formation that potentially could be even cancerogenous. Wow, my dear body, you shouldn't have! I would have gladly accepted any smaller gift, fewer wrinkles and better skin, maybe? Oh well, maybe next year then...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Compulsive desire to impress

I've heard once that the person who tries to impress you is most probably already quite impressed by you, and this idea stuck with me. Now and then I catch myself thinking how to impress or at least not to leave a bad impression upon some particular person. And by that I can measure my personal standards. In retrospect I'm rather satisfied with my standards (i.e. people I'm trying to impress). Who are you trying to leave a good impression upon?

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Annoyed beyond measure

Isn't it annoying when you finally find time and perfect circumstances, calm and quiet all around, for what you have been planning to do on the computer for ages and then that particular computer program jams so badly it has to be reinstalled? I am losing time, patience, perfect "weather" and inspiration! Argh...

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The eternal shining of a spotless mind

Yesterday I watched a 4 year old episode of Graham Norton's show (I love his show) with Jessica Biel and Mickey Rourke. I wish I could unsee it... Yuck and eww don't cover the feeling of muck Rourke's presence on that show left in my mind. He was drunk, not just slightly tipsy, but so drunk one could hardly follow the thread of his stumbling thoughts. Worse than that he was hitting on Biel so badly it was clear he was unaware that he's drunk, on TV, she's engaged and he's far from hotpants he used to be more than 20 years ago. I felt to sorry for Jessica who had to tolerate it and for Graham who had to save the situation all the time. I'm traumatized!

Monday, 23 July 2012


Out of the blue I remembered a person I hadn't seen for nearly twenty years. I remembered him on such a deep level and so vividly as if we'd met just yesterday. The crude truth is this person is no longer alive. We hadn't kept in touch for the past two decades. Not by choice, mind you, or maybe it was by choice, who can tell two decades later? And yet I suddenly experienced this wave of memories. Not memories of events, but rather of feelings, emotions, attitudes. Memories of meaning of this person. It's hard to forget someone who meant the world to you when you were little. Such feelings come from a realm where time is powerless.
For as long as I live I will carry his memory carved deep in me, whether I want it or not.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

All you need is love pa-pa-ra-pa-pam

If you have love, you don't need to have anything else.
If you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you do have.
James M. Barrie

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A surprising remedy

I accidentally discovered that moistening mosquito stung parts of skin with salted water relieves the intolerable itching. After having my legs nearly perforated by mosquitoes in the garden I felt an almost immediate soothing after taking a bath with aromatic salts. Another time I tried simple kitchen salt with water and it worked just as well. I have no idea what chemical reaction goes on in the process, but as long as it works it's fine by me. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Life is chaotic, unpredictable, frustrating, scary, fascinating, miraculous, sweet, bitter, immense, short, the strongest instinct you have and the last thing you give up. There is nothing besides life in this reality. But there is so much more beyond it.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Husband and wife is like hand and eye.
If the hand gets hurt, the eye cries. 
If the eye cries, the hand wipes its tears. 
- A Japanese saying 


On the road, everyone who drives slower than us is an idiot and everyone who drives faster than us is a maniac.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Thanks to those who hated me,
you made me a stronger person.
Thanks to those who loved me,
you made my heart grow fonder.
Thanks to those who envied me,
you made my self-esteem grow stronger.
Thanks to those who cared,
you made me feel important.
Thanks to those who entered my life,
you made me who I am today.
Thanks to those who left,
you showed me that nothing lasts forever.
Thanks to those who stayed,
you showed me the true meaning of friendship.


You're never too old to learn something stupid.

What I've Learned During 35 Travels Around Sun #24

There are only three seasons in a year - when people complain about cold, when people complain about heat and when people don't complain about weather, which is the shortest season of them all.


Green tea is the best relief for headache caused by pressure or heat. Love it!

Monday, 9 July 2012


Miserable people make other people miserable! I just heard it from Joyce Meyer and boy does it resonate with my reflections!
Do you sometimes feel like you've eaten food beyond expiry date after spending time with certain people? That's what I'm talking about. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. If they make you miserable and don't accept changes or help you offer, the only sane thing to do is to keep away from them. Life is too short to spend it with people who bring you down.


They made a public pole about the most annoying sounds in the world and the runaway winner was...whining. Yes, even before loud neighbours 3 o'clock in the morning and noise of chalk screeching on a blackboard. And all parents in favour say 'yay'.


Constructive criticism builds. If it doesn't build you and doesn't make you believe you can and want to improve, it's anything but constructive criticism. It's out of balance and damaging.


I don't understand some people's necessity to be intentionally mean. I do understand the reason behind it, which is mostly grounded in their insecurities, the good old "stepping on others' heads to get higher". But it still catches me by surprise every time I am subjected to such treatment. I guess I have higher expectations of humans. Idealist, as a friend of mine loves to call me.

WILD35TAS aka What I've Learned During 35 Travels Around Sun #18

Probably deep down I've always been this way and I vaguely remember having had such reaction on certain behaviour of people in past, but recently I've acknowledged this side of my nature - I am impervious to attempts to modify me into someone else's image and liking. It has caused me quite a few struggles in past, but today I finally recognise it as my strength. Sometimes I might not yet know who I am, but I always feel what I am not and won't be.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Friday, 6 July 2012


You know you need to take memory vitamins regularly if every time you see the box of the vitamins a doubt sneaks into your mind, 'have I taken them today?'

Thursday, 5 July 2012


Writing is like swinging on a rocking horse. You move back and forth, back and forth. Write and read, write and correct, write and get sick of it all, write and feel like a genius, write and... If you swing hard enough you'll notice that your rocking horse is actually moving forwards, making one tiny sliding movement at every swing. That's how writers win their battles with themselves, on their rocking horses.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


'So age excludes the possibility of happiness?' 'No, happiness excludes age.'  Conversations with Kafka
You are just as young or as old as you set your mind to be. Being happy helps. This kind of happiness doesn't mean endless party mood, it means accepting yourself and being satisfied with who you are.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Sometimes the only way of getting rid of obsessive ideas is to start implementing them in life. For example, I have this book idea. I have had it for a couple of years already, and the world of that book has become so real in my mind, that unless I start putting bits and pieces of it down on virtual paper aka Word file it pushes against my skull, wanting to break out! Sometimes it can cause me actual headaches. If you have an idea inside of you, for the sake of your own head, let it out and start sharing it with someone.

Saturday, 30 June 2012


An early bird catches the worm, but sweet dreams are immediate and taste better than worms. Need a different motivation.

Friday, 29 June 2012


There is nothing stronger than human willpower. And sometimes nothing weaker.

Monday, 25 June 2012


If you don't see your own magnificence, you won't be able to accept praise for your hard work, you will never feel good enough. Love thy neighbour like YOU LOVE YOURSELF.

Friday, 22 June 2012


I've seen my share of different churches, denominations, religions, beliefs, and very recently I've crystallised a thought that I'd rather be considered Christ-like than a Christian, thank you very much.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


There are people who seem to be continuously angry and looking for a conflict. Walk away. Their battle is not with you, but with themselves.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


People can be irritating, dumb, lazy, egoistic, mean and anything in between. Try to love them anyway, because the only other option is hate and hate hurts mostly the one who carries it in the heart. Not worth it.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


It's ok to feel afraid, lost, tired, helpless like a child sometimes. That's when we are truly us, no masks, no roles. Our capacities are limited, and only when we admit it and give up the struggle to move everything in our life with our own muscle the supernatural help can finally arrive. And boy what a relief that help is! I've experienced it and nothing will shake my belief in angels all around us.


People who put effort into impressing you are usually already impressed by you. And that's a soothing thought.


Everyone wants to be accepted and appreciated for what they are; we can no more change our personality than a river can change into a tree. Duh? And yet we often forget that...


It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation, as Roberto Benigni once said. I couldn't agree more. By being grateful you can't lose anything, you can only gain: love of other people, good mood, peace of mind. I feel like having a debt with a person whom I didn't thank enough.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


If you're nice to people most of the time they'll be nice to you. As adults we still mimic eachother like young children, but often forget about that.

Introducing WILD35TAS

I'll be 35 in August. In ancient times it was age of grannies already. In modern times it's often age of not-married-yet and childless-yet. Well, not me, I have the full set: a husband, a daughter and a son. But hey, I'm 15 years younger than Demi Moore and you just take a look at that woman - does she have an age at all? So, I'm fine, thank you very much for asking. No age related panic (yet).
I thought 35 is a nice moment to start gathering the wisdom that I've collected during my 35 travels around the sun on this weird planet called Earth. Thus, if you be so kind and bear with me, I'll start something called "What I've learned during 35 travels around the Sun" or WILD35TAS if you prefer - string of short blogs containing short little grains of  daily wisdom I feel I've gained through the years. Are you with me?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Insecurities, insecurities, insecurities

It dawned on me that I am insecure. It was a big surprise, because I've always thought of myself as sturdy, eloquent, amusing, full of energy and ideas. That is until I started noticing the break-downs in this system. Now I'm not sure what I am anymore. I'm going through a second adolescence. What I'm hoping for is that just as after the first, physical, adolescence I will come out stronger, more balanced, with clearer views on what I really am and can.
I believe that success in any field of life is mostly determined by fighting your own insecurities. I know endless examples of remarkable people, full of brilliant ideas, who just don't believe in themselves. They sit around and do nothing with their inner treasures. They don't believe anyone wants to see what they have to give, convinced that nobody really cares if they do something with it or not. If they dare to show their works to public, oftentimes the reaction is not inspiring to continue sharing the ideas. Mostly it's apathy, now and again it's something worse. Partially it's the fault of the modern competitive society that often ridicules any signs of talent out of their own (alas!) insecurities.
Recently I found out a shocking fact - about 80% of all people say their secret ambition is to be a writer, just like me. Per se it's not shocking, writing is one of the most accessible and entertaining forms of self expression. But if you just think how few of these people pursue their goal and how very few of those who do pursue their dream actually succeed at it... Yeah, that's shocking alright. And it gives me another ground for insecurity. Am I any different from all aspiring writers who never actually published any of their works? Do I have that mysterious ingredient in me, that will help me break through where others have stopped dead? What does it take to push aside insecurities and succeed? A close friend of mine suggested making a list of my strengths. So maybe I'll do that. How do you fight your insecurities?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The continuation of 5 word adventure of Robert and Reginald Archibald

Robert awoke with a startle when his alarm clock buzzed, but the hand searching for snooze button instead touched a sheet of printer paper. Who could have thought that a misplaced piece of plain paper could be a source of such discomfort. He picked it up, thrust his large glasses upon his nose and read the contents of the email that Reginald Archibald had lovingly printed and brought for him earlier that morning.
'I don't remember receiving this...or printing it...or taking it to bedroom,' murmured Robert. He scratched the back of his head, messing up the hair that had been flattened by the pillow. 'Either I am lunatic and don't remember walking in my sleep...or the guys at the materialisation department of our lab have succeeded finally...' Robert was very sceptical about the work of that particular department of their research centre. In his opinion, their work resembled more a game of baccarat than serious research, no material proof of results ever being produced. To be completely honest, even though Robert was quite staid, he could not deny experiencing a certain amount of schadenfreude about the neighbouring department's lack of results, for in the light of their misfortune the achievements of his own lab department looked much more prominent. Everything is relative, whether you want it or not.
In the kitchen Robert put the kettle on fire and prepared a mug and two Earl Grey teabags. Despite the widely accepted Briticism of drinking tea with milk he shuddered at the thought of spoiling the taste of the drink with a dairy product and preferred his tea plain, no milk, no sugar, and very strong. On the other hand, Robert was very picky about the brands of tea, to the point of having formed a sort of "His Majesty's Reserve" of a few very carefully chosen tea leave types over the past few years. When the tea was ready, he took his cup and the printed sheet of paper to the kitchen table and immersed himself in both.

Baccarat, schadenfreude, staid, "His Majesty's Reserve", Briticism.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The next 5 word adventure of Reginald Archibald

The next morning after the mysterious pill eating incident and the uncanine behaviour that followed, the Labrador Retriever Reginald Archibald woke up at the break of the dawn while his owner Robert was still making windowpanes tremble by his snoring, spread across the bed like a sea star washed out unto the shore. Reginald Archibald was bored. No one to play with. Well, normally he would chew Robert's shoe laces for fun, but after yesterday's exciting experience of  cooking a meal for himself, Reginald Archibald just couldn't go back to the old lifestyle. He sniffed around a bit and sure enough found the same fruity smell in another of Robert's pockets. 'Let's see what we can do today,' he thought picking up the pill with his tongue. A minute later he was at Robert's desk, browsing the net, checking the inbox, watching funny cats on youtube. He heard a sound of an incoming email. 'Now what?' thought Reginald Archibald and opened the email that was marked as high priority. "Hereby we inform you that after tackling some problems we mentioned in previous emails, we have managed to enter your name on the shortlist for the Transnistrian congress of this year. We have high hopes for the implication of your results in the frame of our work. Even though benchmarking process is not over yet, we are rather optimistic of the outcome. Please, respond ASAP.  Best regards, ...'
'I better print that for Robert,' thought Reginald Archibald and put some paper into the printer's paper tray. Then he took the printed email to Robert's bedroom and placed it on his bedside table right on top of the alarm clock to make sure it's the first thing his owner finds.
'Acting like a human is taking a toll on me...I better go take a nap.' Reginald Archibald yawned, climbed onto the living room sofa and fell asleep at once.

shortlist, benchmark, tackle, implications, Transnistria

Tread lightly

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Monday, 28 May 2012

A 5 word adventure of Reginald Archibald

While Robert, a secret government lab scientist on vacation, was watching Richard III play on TV ("Half a kingdom for a horse!"), the wi-fi headphones on max volume, his Labrador Retriever Reginald Archibald (oh those pure breeds with their posh names and all!) came over to the comfy chair and poked the owner's hand a few times with the cold wet nose. 'Food, man, foooood!' Reginald Archibald was trying to send brainwaves to the man's mind, but Robert was absolutely absorbed by on-screen drama and didn't pay any attention. After a couple of minutes the dog gave up on the man, but not on the quest. Sniffing here and there like a hound, which was his life's secret ambition, after a few minutes he came across a new smell - something fruity and delicious, coming from the pocket of his owner's lab coat that was hanging on the back of a chair. 'Better than nothing,' thought Reginald Archibald and stuck his long tongue into the pocket thus picking up that tiny sweet smelling thing. Before the dog could make a surprised Scooby-doo sound he felt something strange happening in his body. 'I think I'll be sick...I better go find a nice place on a carpet...quick,' he thought. Instead of vomiting on the carpet though Reginald Archibald did something that no respectful hound would ever do (and trust me he was very ashamed of such non-canine behaviour at the beginning!). He got up on his back paws, walked into the kitchen, turned on some samba music on the radio for the right mood, picked up a knife from the counter and chopped up some meat and vegetables for a soup... Before the effect of the mysterious pill wore off Reginald Archibald had made a delicious soup, eaten two dishes of it and even washed his dish and spoon afterwards. Then as suddenly as it had begun everything went back to normal. The dog went back on all fours and plumped himself down on the kitchen floor. Tired, but pleased with himself he thought 'Life is like a pill from a pocket, you never know what you gonna get.'

 soup dog knife pill music

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A 5 word adventure of endgame

All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. Who can argue with an inference of that sort? As long as your life projects pan out alright and your endgame is suave, mortality doesn't seem such a bad idea. And if you throw on top my cameo appearance through my works that the next generations would benefit from, I'll sign up for it at once. What do you mean,  I already signed at the moment of birth? I don't remember anything, I was too young!
inference, endgame, suave, pan out, cameo appearance

A 5 word adventure of an unflinching man

An unflinching man in a dark pinstripe suit and a wide brim hat walked into "Cash and Carry". He marched straight to the counter, a large paper bag in his hands. 'One banger and a dollop of that,' said the man and pointed at a shelf behind the shop assistant's back. 'Wha..what?' uttered the shocked salesman and turned around to see what the man in the pinstripe suit was indicating. When he turned back to face the mysterious customer he saw that the stranger had thrown the heavy paper bag on the counter. 'So?' asked the man and put one hand inside the paper bag. The shop assistant squeezed his eyes shut and tried to retreat, but was stopped by the shelves. Nothing happened. He took a deeper breath and opened one eye just enough to see what was going on. His jaw dropped open. The man in the pinstripe suit was holding a stack of banknotes in his slightly lifted hand and wearing a confused expression on his face. 'It said "cash and carry" on the sign outside, so I brought cash to pay for my stuff,' he muttered surprised by the effect it had had on the shop assistant who was now sliding down along the shelves onto the worn out linoleum floor.

unflinching, banger, dollop, pinstripe, "Cash and Carry"

A 5 words adventure of a Tiffany lamp

If there was anything Kitty Kelley hated more than not finding any dirt to write about, it was the Tiffany lamp  on her desk. She couldn't help but shudder thinking what it reminded her of.  This lamp was given to her by her first long term boyfriend, George, an incurable gambling addict, especially keen on horse race betting. George had bought this lamp as a surprise for Kitty using money from one of his few trifecta winnings. He was on his way home from the shop, the lamp tucked under his arm, still unwrapped and its wire dangling loose, for he didn't want to waste 'no time wrapping the damn thing', when the worst happened. George was entering the lift in his building when the loose wire got hooked on Mrs. Chesterton's trolley on her way out of that very same lift. The rest happened in a blink of an eye. Mrs. Chesterton was walking away, the lift door closing, and George clinging to his lamp got pulled backwards onto the floor, his neck right on the level of the shutting door. Maybe in a universe where justice existed it would have ended differently, but there he was - lying on the cold floor, his jugular vein blocked by the tightly shut elevator doors. As if it wasn't enough, the automatic doors jammed and they had to call for ERT to get him out of there. After all these years Kitty still hated that lamp, but didn't have courage to get rid of an object that had almost cost more than just money. Well, that and the fact she found out later - it had once belonged to duchess of Bedford and cost a fortune now.

 Kitty Kelley, trifecta, Tiffany lamp, ERT, jugular

A 5 words adventure of digression

A constant gibe from other NBA players made Spud Webb want to cry. It wasn't his fault his parents gave him such a ridiculous name. At any rate it was a much more dignified  name than Garlic, on which his raunchy grandparents were insisting when Spud was born.  Gramps said it was an old family tradition to name every third child Garlic as a good luck sign and protection against the evil eye. It's a pity they never specified which family's tradition it was or where the person with the evil eye had lost the other eye. As Spud's parents didn't follow the family naming tradition gramps always considered poor Spud a shameful digresion from the family line and treated him as such.

Spud Webb, raunchy, gibe, digression, garlic

A 5 words adventure of Haumea

The visitors of the art gallery were both amazed and appalled. The op artist had the effrontery to express his misogynistic views as openly as romcom expresses the female views on 'true love'. Some shook their heads, others turned away in disgust. But there were a few people who stood there stock-still, unable to comprehend how the painter could put so much unmistakable meaning into an image of Haumea. 

Op (noun), Haumea (noun), misogynistic (adj), romcom (noun, abbr'ed), effrontery (noun).

A 5 words adventure of foreboding

There was a strong feeling of foreboding in the news that morning, Robin Gibbs had died the night before. It felt like a reminder to the human kind that this world was full of pariah, decrepit buildings, entropy law on every step of the way. Dangerous. Uncomfortable. And now also tiny bit less melodic. 

Robin Gibb, foreboding, entropy, pariah, decrepit

A 5 words adventure of carnie folk

Carnie folk were not in the least offended by the general stereotype of scary circus folk with small hands and lingering cabbage smell attributed to them. They proudly called themselves "The Rat Pack", were known for their sagacity and delivery of expendable monocycles in three large counties. On Mondays, the circus day off, they would get tipsy, take their accordions  and sing "mano-a-mano" which they believed to be Rino Gaetano's once famous song with long since forgotten lyrics.

Carnie folk, mano-a-mano, sagacity, expendable, "The Rat Pack"

A 5 word adventure of a flak inventor

A gleeful flak inventor was rubbing his hands. He had just finished a year long work on the best flak model known to militants. After the last modifications he had added a florid ornament with pervasive scent of echinoderms that, as he was hoping, would keep the machine operating soldiers alert, yet calm. 

Flak, gleeful, florid, pervasive, echinoderms. 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A 5 words adventure of Pippin the Hunchback

Pippin the Hunchback, the son of Charlemagne, the grandson of Pippin the Short (but not too short to be a king, and it is good to be a king even when you're so short) was about to splice two covens of ancient sorcerer families, when a crooked elder stood up and leaning with his full body weight unto his staff croaked, 'You shall not cast aspersions on my family!'

Splice (verb), aspersions (noun), deception (noun), "Pippin" (noun), coven (noun).

A 5 word adventure of a gauche boy

A precocious, but rather gauche boy's eyes were glued to the screen. In memory of his late grandfather, who had been a metalworker all his life, the boy was working on a technical drawing of a lathe on his computer.  His mother was annoyed and confused by his conduct. 'It's like talking to a stonewall,' she mumbled and shut the door of  the boy's room behind her.
(Screen, to stonewall, precocious, lathe, gauche)

An adventure of 5 words

I want to play a game with you. Give me any 5 words in English and I'll write a sketch, a (very) short story, maybe a poem (who knows) in just a few sentences using all 5 of them. It will help me to stretch my writing muscle and, hopefully, will be fun reading. Are you with me? Please, leave me your 5 words in comments, and thank you very much in advance!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Things that turn me on Vs. things that turn me off

  • Colour green.  I can just sit and stare at the right shade of green, not too light, not too dark and get the relaxing effect of a half an hour nap. (Vs. colour brown that "gets in your face", massive and obstructive.)
  • Intelligent people. Not just people who have BA, MA, PhD and God knows what other academic degree and can repeat unrepeatable phrases from the science magazines. Wise, deep people. People whose wisdom is rooted under their skin, in their life experience and observations. The sexiest part of man’s body is his brain. (Vs. superficial people, which tend to care only about themselves in a rather ugly way.)
  • Tea. The kind, brand, sweetness and additional slice of lemon is decided upon while making it. I choose my tea like some people choose their wine. (Vs. coffee which I take as a shot of medicine)
  • Curious, flexible mind. No, not nosey and sneaky. Just curious for the sake of discovering something new every day. (Vs. nosiness combined with lack of interest in anything not related to gossip beyond the reach of the hand)
  • Picking fruit from a tree in your own garden and eating it on the spot. (Vs. eating food that has travelled across the world and tastes like paper by the time it reaches your table)
  • Unstoppable laughter of children for no obvious reason. (Vs. whining and tantrums of the same children. I believe God gave such a long term of pregnancy and a painful labor in order to elaborate in the mother just enough patience to endure anything from the child whose life cost her so much effort. What comes easy, goes easy, you know)
  • British comedy shows. The insane Monty Python. The resourceful QI and some other funny yet informative comic panel shows. (Vs. horror films that scare me out of my pants already during trailer)
  • Cuteness and silliness of kittens. (Vs. crudeness of some serious people)
  • Faithfulness and optimism of dogs. (Vs. unreliability and tendency to pessimism of humans)
  • Mother's heart. As they say, becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children; from now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. It gives me faith in human race, in which I'm otherwise rather disappointed. (Vs. "children must be seen, but no heard")
  • The arts. Any visual arts from sculpture to cake decoration. (Vs. criticism on artistic expressions. Visual art doesn't have to be beautiful. "Beautiful art" is like a "normal human" - a mysterious creature no one has ever seen and therefore everyone imagines it differently. Art has to carry meaning and be interesting, expressive)
  • The books that are so well built they become doors to a different world, so fine that you have no doubt in its existence somewhere in a parallel universe. (Vs. many people's fear of free imagination)
  • Empathy. I'm affected by empathytis and, as it seems, it's not curable. It makes me physically sick when people seek conflict without a valid reason, "just because", just because they don't always get what they want. Empathy is one of the most beautiful sides of human nature. (Vs. stiff mind of bigots that know everything best and consider others unworthy of consideration).
I realised that my list is endless. It goes as far as a thought can wander. To be continued (in my mind). 

Monday, 21 May 2012

My mind's citizenship

Do you have a favourite book? Recently I was asked a similar question by one of my closest friends, with whom I share passion for language and literature. Some girl-friends sip coffee and share a cake, we sip languages and share books, screenplays and ideas. 
My first reaction on her question was - I don't have one favourite book. If I feel like reading a book after the first page, it makes it special by definition, and if I find it 'unputdownable', as some literary critics love to say lately, it automatically promotes it to the status of favourite. That was my first thought, but then I started to scratch under the surface of my mind, into my soul. 
I asked myself, which is the only book so important to me from the beginning of my literary adventure that it defined something fundamental in me? Which one was the first true adventure via written text? And it came to me. 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll. It was one of my first books that weren't part of school book list thus I was free to choose to read it or not. Freedom of choice usually notably adds to the pleasure of reading. During my childhood in a totalitarian communist country with stiff censorship a book like that was almost a miracle. Now that I've come to think of it, I can't stop wondering how on earth did they approve of it, allowed it to be translated and published. Maybe they were hoping it would show the "true, ugly face of the rotting capitalism", as they loved to say back then. To me it was the door to the limitless fantasy world which has never closed since. As time goes by, I start to see more and more sense in seemingly absurd and purely entertaining parts of the story. Sometimes I can't help feeling like Alice who has to quench her thirst with a dry biscuit or run as fast as she can just to stay put. Not to mention that "the jam is always tomorrow" and never today. I'm in love with the Wonderland, I am a citizen of that mad, surprising, amazing world where you can think of six impossible things before breakfast and no one will roll their eyes on you, as a matter of fact, they will expect you to. Which book do you belong to?

Friday, 18 May 2012

La vita è bella

As some of you know, I live in the sunny lemonland of Italy - Sicily. The place of "dolce far niente". The "EAT" part of "Eat.Pray.Love". What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Italy? Unless I'm very much mistaken, it's the exquisite food. I'd like to add to the thought by specifying that it's not so much about food as such, for people feed themselves everywhere in the world in order to survive. It's more about taste. Italians may be less pedantic at work than, say, Germans, less dutiful than, for instance, Japanese, but if there is one thing that describes them best, it's taste. It's in their DNA, la dolce vita, the mastered sweetness of life passed from father to son in every aspect of life. The beauty and enjoyment of every bit of life. It's hard to find an Italian who, regardless age and gender, can't describe spectacularly the mouthwatering dishes consumed in the latest family lunch. Food here is not only means to fill the tummy and get it over with. It's a tradition, means to get together, to unite, to celebrate life. Every single day. No particular reason needed. Holidays are celebrated at huge family tables, food coming in many courses and impossible to refute even when you feel on edge of bursting open after a long meal.
When I first got here, one of the observations that struck me was empty city streets and closed shops during lunch hours. Where do people go every day from one to four? A meal surely can't take this long. Only when you are embraced by an Italian family you will truly understand it. Again and again it's about all about taste and joy of being. In my opinion it's one of the smartest traditions Southerners have created. Not only because in summer it's too hot to spend noon and following couple of hours outside, but because it helps to keep people healthy physically, as well as mentally. Humans are social animals, as we know. Now imagine a period of the day when you get it all - delicious food (usually a variation of pasta dish, followed by fresh fruit), a bit of rest from work and company of your beloved (when you have possibility to have lunch at home). If there is anything  strict about Italians, and it is so hard to find anything strict in people whom their former and despised leader Mussolini described as "impossible to govern", it is meal times. It's a given. Breakfast with espresso or cappuccino and a cornetto. Lunch with appetising pasta. Dinner with all the meat or fish and lots of different veggies to make your doc happy. Add to that all the positive interaction with your dear ones during meals. That is the essence of Mediterraenean lifestyle - happy mind in a happy body. That's what foreigners seek for and try to imitate all around the world. The recipe for taste of life.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Recipe for perfect parenting

All (sane) parents wish the best for their children, so here is a fool-proof recipe for perfect parenting, based on years of experience. I hope you will find it useful.
Take as many parenting tips as your brain can hold. Take some more, don't underestimate your capacities. Start early, from first weeks of pregnancy. Read weekly updates on how your baby is developing in the womb. So far so good, you can't intentionally go wrong on this stage.
Now baby is born. Make sure you read even more parenting advices on every occurring tiny and big problem like diaper rash, correct burping, bonding, teething, bathing, communicating. For more effect google your question and get the shock of discovering that it could go even worse, that there are moms out there in cyberspace who have it much much worse. Linger on this soothing idea, but not too long. Duty calls, back to work. Take notes of advices you find on anything you can grasp with one hand, while safely holding baby with the other. You got the idea. Now add some more information on top, from your mom, aunt, pediatrician. Don't be shy, a bit more. That will do. Your barrel of knowledge must be full by now, maybe overflowing. Don't worry, you're not alone.
And now we've come to the most important phase. Take all those notes you've collected for months and even years...and let your family pet chew on them. When that's done and over, take the remaining shreds and put into a blender, add some PVC glue and mix well. Pour the result into the mould that your child was made in and keep your fingers crossed for the rest of your life hoping that it will suffice.
The truth is that nothing you can read, watch and hear will help you when stuff actually happens. And stuff  does happen when you have a child! Forget all of the above and just follow your instinct. No mom blogger, pediatrician, aunt or anyone on this planet knows your child the way you do. Follow your guts, they don't lie. There are no perfect parents, but each and every (sane) parent is the best parent for their own child. You are the best. Now relax for 3.32 minutes and listen to some magnificent Bach.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


No matter how it looks at the moment, life is getting better. Not easier, better. I feel stronger and wiser than I was 10 and definitely than I was 20 years ago. Noone promised life will be fair or easy. But that's the sour-sweet beauty of it. Have you ever heard the story of butterfly being born? If you in your compassionate desire to ease its struggle against the enclosing walls of the cocoon break it open and release the newborn butterfly, it will never be able to fly properly. The effort of pushing against cocoon walls pumps liquids into its magnificent wings and gives it strength to fly. We, humans, are very much like butterflies.  Gentle souls that have to struggle against the rough, sometimes crude life to become stronger, deeper, wiser and more humane. Have a great day, make another step uphill!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Wrestler mom's diary

Dear diary, today I had to wrestle my hysterical son to cut his hair. Even the cat-mom got scared of his tantrums and started to evacuate kittens from the nearby basket where they were sleeping. Since my son was born I've discovered some new muscles in my body I never knew existed...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The right age

Just before drifting off to sleep my children were discussing such an important existential question as - how old is Michel Telò who sings Ai se eu te pego. A very important question indeed :) In the end they settled with the answer that he's more than twelve (because it's the age of boys, not men, according to my daughter), but definitely less than a hundred years old, because you can't be both - a hundred and still alive and singing!


Today I had to hand in some documents in local municipality, or Municipio as Italians say. My son was strangely excited all the way there, but I suspected nothing till I told him we're done there and can go home. "It wasn't fun!!!", he protested. "Why did you think it would to be fun?", I asked him. "Because monocycle is something clowns use and it's always fun!", he still sounded very disappointed. "Yes, usually it is, but this is not a monocycle, it's a municipio and there's a big difference between the two." I'm still grinning.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Love a child

People who don't love children are very much like atheists. You can't really, deeply love someone whose goodness, awesomeness, uniqueness you haven't experienced. Just a wish or decision won't do the trick. You can't decide to love. This feeling is as instinctive and untamed as a wild deer. Those, who haven't held their newborn baby in their arms observing the slightest details of the tiny hands or counted their breaths while they sleep as deeply and sweetly as only babies can, will never understand it to that depth. People generally love children because they are funny, just like kittens and puppies, silly, amusing. But only when you are a parent your first and strongest instinct, fed on burning love, is to protect your children, to give them all the best of this world.
Today I took my  three year old son out of a private kindergarten where, regardless two teachers per a dozen children, his face has been deeply scratched from eye to chin twice in last three weeks. To say that I felt my trust betrayed or that I was angry is to say nothing. Something broke in me. I was so furious I could barely keep my eyes dry. What was even more painful was the fact that teacher tried to blame it on my son, one of those electric kids who never seem to gain peace of mind except in their deep sleep. He had already been hurt twice in that place and yet it's somehow his fault. Not the two teachers' fault who should be "older and wiser" than the three-to-five-year-olds whom they're teaching, the teachers who should prevent fights, not the boys who did the actual damage on my child's face. No no, it's him, because he can be provocative when he's bored and snappy if he's pushed around by others. Yet again today I faced the fact that private school is not necessarily a synonym of higher quality or security. Ironically, in our case it was obviously quite the opposite. A teacher who doesn't recognise the first signs of a brewing quarrel and just lets those kids explode into each others faces is no better than any stranger taken from the street. A person who doesn't recognise the signs of wildfire shouldn't be firefighter, should he? Then why take school system down to the level where they don't bother to give teachers basic pedopsychology course before employing them? Moreover they employ young teachers who are not parents themselves and have no personal experience or parental instincts. I felt crushed today. I hate to discover that people can't take good care of my child even if I pay them good money.

Friday, 3 February 2012

How to google a postman

Yesterday I went to the local post office to send a few letters. Yes, I belong to that archaic group of people who still sends enveloped letters by post. To be completely honest, mostly for work or as holiday greetings, but nevertheless. Waiting in queue can be both boring and interesting. Staying in a crowded room full of strangers is tiresome, but it pays. Where else do you get to see so many different individuals together, their nerves strained against time? For instance, there is an old woman who regularly comes to this post office to pay some bills (I wonder where she gets so many bills), and her hobby is queue jumping. I'm sure she thinks she has mastered the art to perfection and that's why nobody objects anymore to her irrational behaviour: taking several queue tickets, then not using any of them and squeezing close to someone at the reception window and sliding her bill and banknotes with explanatory murmurs  to the person who's about to pay his own bills. Of course people don't usually deny her help, but it has nothing to do with her sneaking talent.
So yesterday morning I was in that queue again, observing people inconspicuously, when I saw two teenagers at the reception window. What they were trying to do made me grin so wide I couldn't stop myself. From what I understood they had written a letter to the headmaster of their school and gathered signatures under it, so now the letter had to be sent in official mode with a return receipt in order to get proof that the letter has reached him. So far so good, democracy at its highest. There was only one problem. The students didn't have the envelope to put the letter in, didn't know the exact address of the school, nor did they know the postal code of that street. And when the postal worker drew their attention to these facts they were flabbergasted! "Why, that is the job of post office to provide us with such information!", the girl exclaimed. The postal worker, a very kind middle aged man, did his best to help the ignorant, but still couldn't help shaking his head. Ah, the delightful google-generation!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The scary times

Everything in this world is relative, I've no doubt you've realised it by now. What is considered rubbish by someone, is a great treasure for someone else. But there is one thing that unites all people of all walks of life. It's the feeling, in some cases overwhelming and panic inducing, that right now we live in the scariest times ever. The mass (manipulation) media will eagerly nod to it and create fabric for these fears in larger and larger portions. The fear is an excellent soil for vast range of scoops. And we all know that scoops get newspapers sold. What a strange twist of human mind. But if you ask readers who snatch those scoop containing magazines and then drop them like hot potatoes why they keep such a close look on current events through the media binoculars, most of them will say that, living in such scary times, it's important to be well informed. Are we living in the scariest times ever? I am not convinced at all. We certainly live in hard times, I don't know anyone who's not going through difficulties right now. On global level it's leavened because now it takes only seconds for news to travel across the world, but that doesn't increase the power of death, famine, losses, losses, losses. These tragic events have always been there. Death is part of life. Loss is part of life. Apart from the undeniable technological progress of the last couple of centuries, there is very little change in the world, it's just that we get to hear about it in a flash and in amplified amounts. Under the weight of so called news broadcasts many start to break down morally and forget altogether that we are not the first and, I dare say, nor the last people who have to go through grievances during their lifetime. I reckon it's time to find our feet again. You are what you eat? Then stop feeding on toxic media information, look around and make up your own mind.

Monday, 30 January 2012

To be or not to be (effortless), that is the question

What would you call a definite sign of professionalism and highly developed skills? The first thing I can think of is effortlessness. It all looks so easy and simple when professionals do their job. Which one of us hasn't watched a pirouetting ballerina or an Olympic gymnast and thought to himself or herself - that's a piece of cake, tomorrow I'll sign up for dance classes or gym and in no time I'll impress them all, you just wait and see. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. The easier it looks, the more work and effort people have put into it. Which pieces of music leave us breathless? Which books make us  burn with curiosity how it all concludes even though we wish we could stay in them forever? Which performances will not only attract the eye, but also the heart? The suffered ones. Those and only those where person has invested his or her time and efforts on building, growing.
Then again, all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes effortlessness is just that - effortlessness. When people choose wrong job out of desperation you get all those teachers who hate children, rude and tactless call centre employees, craftsmen with two left hands and dancers with two left feet. This is why the world is so out of balance, full of misplaced effortless people.
To be or to pretend to be effortless, that is the question.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Three mornings older

Last night I was woken up three times. The first time by a loud noise of incoming SMS on my husband's mobile phone. When asked why he doesn't switch it off for night, he answered: "You never know, when somebody might call for emergency". I start to suspect I'm married to a secret agent or superhero in disguise. The second time I was woken 6.30 AM by alarm clock of my husband (bless him) even though it's Sunday... And then just a quarter of hour later my son wet his pants and had to be changed. Of course there was no need for a fourth wake-up call, I couldn't go to sleep after that. Technically I've had three mornings in one and I must admit I do feel at least three days (more like three decades) older today, barely staying awake.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

My perpetuum mobile

Last night a sudden revelation struck me just when I was about to fall asleep. A strange moment for revelations, you might say, nevertheless it happened. I've been thinking a lot in past about what is that magic energy that makes people get up in the morning when they'd rather stay under warm covers, what makes us go to work, do homework, wash dishes, do utterly boring things, which we'd rather avoid. What really makes the world go round and makes us hope against hope, that in the end everything will turn out right? And yesterday it hit me. It's not money, as they sing in that famous song. It's not even love, though I believe love is the mightiest power that exists. And it's not hope, as most of us believe, for hope is more like a condition than energy. The thing that pushes us forward through day is...curiosity! Unless we are so depressed that nothing in this world can interest us enough to keep us up, and believe me, I know what I'm talking about, been there myself, we get up in the morning because somewhere under the layers of adult worries and duties there is that little child still excited about what the new day might bring. We secretly expect surprises, good surprises of course, even though we'll never admit it even to ourselves. Stay curious about what life might bring, expect good surprises, my friends! It's the only free medicine against routine and dullness!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

independence day of my three year old

Sometimes I wish children came with those anti-theft gadgets or microchips to be traced when they decide they're old enough to take a free stroll into the wild. Today my three year old son scared living daylight out of me by disappearing into the vast garden and kept quiet while I was searching for him and shouting myself hoarse. Then ten minutes later, hysteric and voiceless, I found him sitting on a wall in the far end of the garden, hidden by high plants in the vegetable patch, just waiting for me to come nearer, his arms neatly folded in his lap. I asked why on earth he didn't come when I called him, and he said he didn't want to. As simple as that.  

Ignorance is bliss!

Approximately two years ago I took a decision to ignore all TV news broadcasts and most newspaper articles (I've been guilty a couple of times of breaking the rule and paid a high price for that). I still catch the gist of it and I know along which lines the world runs, yet there is no more mass media manipulation, induced fear and paranoia in my life.  Based on my experience so far I can assure you that moderate, controlled ignorance is absolute bliss!

photographer's tough luck

Today I tried to take a snapshot of identical triplet boys on a street, but they were moving, almost swirling, so quickly that after several shots I noticed that one of them was always out of view, either behind a brother or a tree or the father. I gave up. No point photographing triplets that look like normal twins!

Friend or fiend?

A couple of days ago it dawned on me that I've lost a close friend. No, not in the irreversible sense of the word, she's still live and kicking, somewhere. I didn't see it coming. It hit me like a wet slap across the face.
The older you get the more that childish trust in people fades, it gets tougher to trust them, to let them too close. A defence mechanism. Yet my curiosity and interest overcame this mechanism, I had found a person who was as eager to have endless talks, sharing ideas and secrets again, like a child. Long story short, the scales fell off my eyes when I got to know that she's not too busy with her work, she's just too busy for me. It's like being in high school all over again - trusting a friend with a secret and then watching her turn her back on you and joining somebody else's gang. Nothing big has happened, no visible damage, and yet it's rather unnerving how easily relationships change. Ironically, I can vividly imagine what this friend's reaction would be if she recognised herself in this post. She probably knew it all along, no loss for her, she wasn't going as deep emotionally as I was. How do you grieve the loss of a friend when they're not lost? It's just so pathetic. It's easier to leave than to be left behind.