Thursday, November 29, 2012


Dear readers and friends,

Today we lost our dog. After a short, but painful decline we had to part with him.  We could not, with responsibility and love, see him suffer from what we now know was cancer of the bone. We are dreadfully sorry to have lost him and our grief is beyond measure. This dog has accompanied us since we moved here, was around for much of the life of our two youngest children and we have a hard time thinking of the days stretching ahead without him. 
He will be remembered by all, who loved his gentle soul and wonderful, happy nature.
We love you.

Oscar,  December 2000 - November 2012


Image by V.Zlotkowski

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The future

We have been living in our house for a dozen years now and we have changed little in the grand scheme of things. Our house is colorful, spontaneously adapting to continuously arising problems, typical of old, but not so charming homes. 
This house is filled with many makeshift fixes, waiting for the break through renovations, which might never happen. My desire to change clashes often hard with the necessities at hand and the limits in our budget. Which cannot be helped.  The hoped for changes at home reflect my personal, I have departed quite far from who I used to be, even four, five years ago. 

Departed from once so harmonious ideas of how to live in this space. Less is now more appealing. Different rooms and different colors, different pieces would reflect so much better my different needs and who I am today.... They should be the fitting background to my stage in life, on which I perform daily.

I do not want to change everything. But some essential things. I admit, much more essential to me.
I do not always see eye to eye with my husband. He is in no hurry, least need for any change. He is happy with most around him and tells me to get occupied with other things, so I will stop nagging. His preferences lay elsewhere to begin with. He does not see peeling wallpapers or mildew in the bathrooms, he is seemingly oblivious to many things in need of improvement. Oh, my happy man!

Repairs we have to defer to later, due to other pressing issues and needs. And my reading of design blogs does not help at all. On the contrary. Regularly I read about massive improvements. No blogs are written about the lack of it.  Oftentimes it leaves me drained lately. I have to remind myself that these renovating mavens are a minority among the many folks, just living their common lives...making ends meet.

The irony of being so interested in design, but being incapable of acting on it sooner then later, is not lost on me. I am a dreamer, but this often comes close to self inflicted torture. I am certainly in no need for extra motivation.
There are endless scenarios which play out in my head, from better bathrooms to a modern kitchen, finished guest quarters in the basement, which has been a stepchild to us, playing evil mental games of let's pretend. I am so tired of it. 

Shall I surrender to the facts of life and remain silent from now on? I have to pinch myself to stay focused on the things at hand... To take every day and make the best out of it....
Are these the rantings of a suburban housewife with no other problems? I can assure you, it is not. I am busy with many things, some even involve making money. 
Am I sure I am the same person talking of Thanksgiving only a few days ago? These reminders are not forgotten, but there is this, the darker side, something else which needs to be voiced as well. 

Clouds over the Green House

There is a new roof coming after all. Soon. And I try to make the best of it, hoping to sneak in some changes, hoping it will pass muster. And the budget, of course. Why does everything have to be so expensive? I am not talking about the fancy stuff anymore. Contractors take much more then I do per hour. There would be no chance for me at all, if I would insist on these charges.

At Perch, New Orleans

I have been thinking hard about all that, feeling partly guilty of being so difficult and partly virtuous about me and my, hopefully, more self-controlled complaining, bitchy self.   
Now I have concluded I should try a different route. I'll will begin with myself. Begin to change on my end, free of cost and with a little more hope of success. Not the bathrooms, for I am not capable of such handiwork, but with the closets, the clutter. The stuff. 

The endless magazines, which have held my dreams and for that reason I could never part with them. As if I would loose the actual things, I so desire, by parting with these pages. The hoarded bits and pieces, which will never make it into once dreamed up projects. Unfinished THINGS, resisting for years and years under the bed and in dark corners of the basement, waiting to be discovered. All which have filled me with restless desire and pain. Constant, highly unpleasant reminders of unfinished business. They have become memories of past yearnings, ideas, with which I should have parted long ago. They have become millstones, which drag me under water. I realize that so many THINGS are connected to our 'selves', our being us, which led me to believe they are me. I am thinking about these, who loose everything through terrible events, or the cards of life, dealt to them. These unfortunate ones, might they actually gain eventually some wisdom, which is still avoiding me? Or are they simply endlessly suffering and missing things? 
Perhaps I'll learn finally to look inside myself for those THINGS, I desire on the outside?
I have read many books, stories of mindfulness and the practical help books, the un-clutter your space books and the ones pertaining to the 'un-clutter your mind'.
Where is that knowledge in my head? It takes more then reading, experiencing it on my own has always been the best way for me. Unfortunately I seem not capable of changing by theories and thinking about it alone. Learning for me is by doing. I do not want to loose the peace in my four walls, and the fine balance with my husband, who lives rather happily in the house, which is our home. 

That sunny window

This will surely be a departure not free of pain and some doubts, perhaps some regrets of leaving something behind, which I might miss later? I am a little scared of the implied consequences. But there is no change without loss along the way. What I hope to find is better balance of wants and needs in the long run. And a more clutter free existence. I feel, I can do that, but I still need to convince myself of my capability to pull through. To come out the other end with a different feeling and state of mind.
I am sure, I am not the only one suffering from imbalanced and painful hopes and desires, from dreams, we should wake up from not depressed but actually strengthened.
And to be at peace. This is my desire now. And in the future.

Our trees in spring


Images byV. Zlotkowski

Friday, November 23, 2012

Late late late autumn


As much as everywhere the next holidays are pushed, I am not quite ready for this... Traditional we are decking the halls not before the first Advent Sunday, which gives me still about 8 days without preparing for Christmas. 
I want to stretch these days, hold on to the late, late, late autumn days. 

Still making the few in between days after Thanksgiving count. I do love the early Christmas time, but also waiting until up to the moment. 

It seems allover to arrive a little earlier each year. Often I joke why not to keep the stuff up around all year, why bother? A little earlier to  shop a little longer, so I guess. It annoys me to see, how commercial reasons push us in the fast lanes. I refuse as usual and manage to overlook the early Christmas craze.

Of course I am thinking of the holidays long before these days, sometimes in summer and make my lists for the children, or my husband and friends....
But deep inside and at home I wait, wait for the first truly icy days, when I see the frozen garden holding still in the blue light of a late afternoon in early December, when chickadees and bluebirds begin to show up in my backyard for the morsels I lay out for them on the deck.

When on mornings around four the fox slowly makes his way through our garden and neighbor's cats look unsuccessful for chipmunks, now safely buried deep in their small cozy dens.

Then I feel the moment is right to pick evergreens to fill buckets and wreaths to hang on the doors and windows, to find the smoking man and stockings, more candles then at other times and to listen to Bach's cantatas or oratorios. 
Then the time is right for me to get ready for the next holidays...
Maybe it's because I am getting older that I want the time less and less to fly....

Until then I work, clean, order, catch up, finish with things I feel I need to complete this year, which passes, faster and faster.
Slow down, I think.
Do you feel like me?

Images as indicated and by V.Zlotkowski

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

These days

These coming days weeks are the most important of our annual rites, filled with good will, cheers, sharing friendships and wonderful foods. There will be gifts given and received, wishes granted, hearts opened a little wider. 

I wish for all of us that the spirit of this wonderful time might be carried further, longer, into the next months, during darker, colder days, when some, we often overlook, might need our help most. Once the bells of the Salvation Army have stopped ringing... And the glitter of the holidays will be packed away.

My daughter has begun to help at a soup kitchen, set up in a nearby town, she is struck by the poverty and sadness she sees so close, regardless of the wealth around us. Homeless families, with little comfort during the holidays. Lonely elderly folks, without families at all. I am proud of her, for she is doing it without rewards other then the fulfillment in her heart.

When I list the things I am so grateful for again this year, a warm cozy home, foods, I want and can afford, my family safe, these are the things I see there missing first. 
And in times, when our family too has to be economic and careful with spending, we want to share some of our resources and time, for sharing them is a wonderful way to help. I feel better about that than anonymous giving, sending money to accounts, where the money might never reach the intended. 
May we never have to experience these hardships, but may we always live in the spirit of sharing and helping.


I am enormously grateful for what this year has brought us, me. More friendships, more love, more creativity and health, more awareness and a little more wisdom for the things I really need and the things I am happy to have and to count as luxuries. For it is important to notice them to be grateful. I am not a minimalist and I love indulging, but I also feel the need to hold on and look. Less and less I need to consume things I already have, and more and more I need things, which cannot be bought in stores. Love, companionship, my girlfriends, my children, time, health and optimism. I can add to this list and I want to share it too.

Happy Thanksgiving, a happy holiday season to you all, may the lights shine bright and the feelings of these days may be carried on in our hearts and minds through the year ahead!
May you love and be loved!


All images by V.Zlotkowski

Friday, November 16, 2012

Today I love

This beautiful, clean styled room.
It lets me think of the coast, water, a stormy day, clear visions, a winter day, marshmallows by the fire, a book, a board game, conversations, a weekend away....


Happy Friday!


Image via Ashley

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cheerful dispositions

Bright colors, cheerful dispositions.... This seems to be a trend I cannot overlook. In fashion as in design, bright blues, greens and yellows, paired with white, are sparkling.


I like them also as accents.


It adds warmth and freshness at the same time.

And I certainly adore this one....


And when you want to wear it....


There are almost no limits...


There are fun patterns too...


And don't forget to stay warm....

via Etsy

So cheer on and stay bright, the season calls for it!

For extra turkey green go here


All images as indicated!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Petite art on Sunday

One of her fruit paintings, sold.

For a long time I have admired Caroline Elizabeth's lovely oil paintings. There is something about miniature art works, which fascinates me. Finally I was able to win a bid for this lovely still life.

Still life with cloisonne cup, now my own...

And I have a feeling I might want to try again.
Her small, perfectly painted fruits, glasses and tiny objects are all wonderful pieces of art and delight me.

These should make lovely holiday gifts as well.

Pumpkin, sold.


Image via Caroline Elizabeth blog. Thank you!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday post

Winter's night from our front door

I haven't done a casual Friday post in a while and today I feel like sharing a few pics of the week...

Through one of our bay windows...

It has been a little crazy around here, still recovering from Sandy and welcoming the first snow (storm) to our shores...Which has left by now, almost as fast as it came!

Lovely white blanket of snow!

Such times always provoke in me domesticity and the need for cooking, stocking up on pantry items and nesting.

Slow cooked baked beans, recipe here

Baked acorn squash too...

Reading by the fire and looking for good movies to watch.

Oscar hates having his picture taken, so I sneaked one in with my iPhone, he hasn't figured that out yet...

I am a wildly eclectic reader, I love some entertaining reading, something that makes me laugh out loud, or when I feel on top of my game, a challenge to my thinking, a nudge into the right direction to motivate my creativity... there are so many fantastic books and I am not going to be stuck in one direction or other. I sample freely, always...

I found this yesterday and one of the first sentences in one of her essays, I happen to open up in the bookstore, begun so promising, I could not leave it behind...

Wonderful to motivate the dormant artist within...

Incredible fun....

And more added fun! ....
Something different altogether, but more then captivating, I loved the 'Glass Castle' as well.

What's in the movies, I contemplate to see?

A must!
Equally enticing.

I read the book, so ...YES!

Another one I have read.... maybe!
Family fun....

Love many of the actors, so yes?

By now I've heard and seen so much of it, I feel like skipping it, if it wouldn't be for  Helen Hunt....

Sounds like I wouldn't mind either...
Perhaps a little melancholic, but I am interested.

What do you think? Is going to the movies in your near future?

Alright, this has been a mixed bag, but sometimes this is all what I can come up with...hope there is something for everyone, dear readers!

Last night view back over our yard towards the Hudson valley

Happy weekend and be good, where ever you are!


Images: Landscapes,still life and food by V. Zlotkowski, books via B&N, movie posters via (Sorry for the bad quality)
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