Friday, September 16, 2011


This weekend is special... And that means usually we are having guests! After 10 years my parents are visiting again from Europe, as well as my sister - for the very first time coming to America and my oldest son arrives with his girl from Berlin! It's going to be a wonderful reunion.
There has been lots of prepping and sorting, making space and fluffing up featherbeds....
The culminating expectations for the coming days could not get any higher.
It's not so much the actual plans, we try to keep this in motion and easy going, but to have them here at our place is just wonderful!
Of course you might ask what the occasion might be and here I will reveal that yours truly turns fifty in the coming week... this has been looming for a while ( duh) and although aging has never bothered me, I felt over the last months how this milestone has occupied my mind.
I have the strongest urge to reinvent myself. To turn over a new page in my life and fill it with all that, what I have been dreaming up lately. When I was younger to refer something to later times made often sense and meant only that priorities were such that my own plans had to wait a bit. Now I feel the time has come where I can't wait for more suitable times. The time is now!
There are so many things I have experienced in my life: Multiple immigrations, many moves, parting from people I love and people I do not, meeting the dearest friends in the most unlikely places and learning to make a home, when roots have been cut off.
I look back and count my blessings!

What's the essence of my life until now?
Firstly I am a mother! It has shaped everything within me! Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming love with which I would receive 4 children over quite a span of time. I never thought I might have four. I did not think about this for the longest time. What it would mean for my career, my personal growth, my own development.
I wanted children!
That they might have also been an alibi for my insecurities, well this occurred to me only later in life. But it changed the course of my life and now I am utmost content with motherhood. I grew up with all my children. They teach me so many valuable lessons. To love, to be patient (somewhat), to hold my horses, so give without expecting anything in return, to be rewarded by all sorts of small and large tokens of appreciation, to look at life with new eyes. To be more flexible.
They are young and modern and independent and above all they are wonderfully confident!
If anybody would have foretold the insecure, ugly little duckling I thought of myself as a twelve year old, that I would move to another continent, marry twice and have a large brood,  speak another language almost better then my original one, I would have laughed out loud. Impossible, I would have said.
But nothing is impossible. I learned that! And to have faith in one's abilities.

Being married to a man who loves me deeply, challenges me regularly and devotes all living hours to his family has been the most wonderful thing that could have ever happen to me. After a failed relationship in my youth I have now a mature, responsible and sheltering marriage. But perhaps this also was only possible after the lessons of the first one. I feel now that everything carries a lesson in life. Sometimes it just takes a long time to learn it! 

Marriage is movement: We change and to love the changes, the different people we become is not always easy. There are so many challenges, but one of my lessons has been: Live and let live! And to keep it special. With open arms...I love!
I try not to take anything for granted! Life can change in an instant and to cherish every day together has become so important to me. I remind myself often and I forget sometimes.

Deep inside me resides the artist, after many years of dormant life she has reappeared on my mental doorstep and I am ready for the new ideas, which do not let me sleep at night.
Or perhaps these are my tumultuous hormones, not knowing which direction to choose?

My thoughts are more and more turning towards writing, but the form still eludes me.
When I read I notice the shape and texture of a story, the way the language shapes feelings and mood. Years of reading have been my education, but it does not guaranty success in writing myself. I am probing and like a blind person, I feel my way in uncharted territory.

Life ahead is uncharted as well and I love the idea. To move along in it, still full of energy, with great expectations and many more years is what I hope for. I feel so young!

The path ahead is filled with wonder!

All pictures by V.Zlotkowski

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Autumn polish

Fall is for me like the beginning of a new year. Perhaps the onset of a new school year makes me feel that way. Spring moves seamless into summer, but it's different with autumn. It always fills me with the need for autumn clean up and I am off to a good start:

First the dining room: 
I sorted out, moved china on display in my china cabinet, left only things out for daily use:
Coffee maker, coffee, toaster, much loved salt and pepper pigs, a small silver lidded box holding stevia bags, my daily silverware in easy reach to set the table!

It looks so clean now. I moved things away from my window ledge and now the sun streams through glass candle holders and a small fern plant in my copper planter.

Old postcards from the mirror were removed and only the most important ones are left on the large world map!
I waxed the table with delicious table wax and the room is done for the next few weeks!


Then I moved to our family room to give it a thoroughly check up. There is a dresser, filled with games and a drawer with candles, but the top has become a catch all for spill over china....
So I sorted: The melamine plates down to the basement, glasses back into the cabinets,
vases restored to their original purpose: holding flowers...

Do I see still some lego under there??? The basket candle holders need to go back to the deck table....And the old torchiere has to go elsewhere!


What's left?
My desk, the sorting of magazines, cleaning out of the bookshelves.

The winter room needs a fixing as well: Fire place and chimney cleaning, piano tuning, and a new wall paper.
My husband declared it's good to have visitors coming on the weekend, the house looks spic and span... Well, it's sheer coincidence!!!
So much has been removed: I am clearly heading for my own yard sale...
But there is more: bedroom sorting, clothes sorting and give aways, looking through my winter wardrobe.
I am trying not to hold on to things I haven't used in a while, I am learning! It's hard though!

Still I hear the cicadas in the trees, but I am so looking forward to the long cozy hours at the fire place, the rustic meals, pumpkins and the harvest of apples.
Autumn, I am yours!

Pictures by V.Zlotkowski and as indicated.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We remember

Today I we remember the September morning 10 years ago,  filled with sunshine only to turn into terrible terror! I remember the many lives lost!
No words can describe how it moves me to see these pictures again!

I will never forget!

New York is my city as well and to see her rise from the sadness to new beginnings fills me with such hope and joy!


"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." 
--- Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Survival of the fittest

After some time I have fallen back into the old habits of gathering and collecting.
It's a mystery to me how it happens!
My house begins to look like a pawn shop, everything is everywhere, I am not a hoarder, or am I?
I love things and I love to surround myself but then there always comes the breaking point where I begin to feel overwhelmed. I need to clean out, reduce, separate the good from the not so good, things overdue to part with, the old, but not old enough to keep and the simply not needed objects. Oh, where to draw the line?
I have done it before. 
There are too many magazines around my house and collected mementos from travels around the world, shells and plant bits and pieces, books of course and dresses I do not wear anymore but I hang on for the memories I have in them.  There are movie and opera tickets, trolley stubs from cities I have toured, a fan from Venice and paper napkins from Paris. Old travel brochures and older travel guides, perfectly outdated.

Perfume samples and bottles without a scent left in them.
Paint from years back, artwork provided by my children, old suitcases filled with  toys and memories of childhoods past, books and more books. Birthday wishes and cards  from yesteryear.
A whole shelve filled with cook books I have hardly used! Anyone?
Piles of shoes and boots in all sizes.
Simply much what life has passed to me! I tend to keep it!
But it is cathartic to clean out, refreshing to start anew and it eases the load to maintain.

So I will start again tomorrow, sorting and giving away, selling and tossing, for a fresh autumn and a clean house!
Wish me luck!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Have you seen? Ladurée

Just when I needed a little lift......

There is this lovely brand new Ladurée shop in town. New York City that is and a few days ago I've been there and only the line-up out the door stopped me from trying out some of their delicacies...

The blog world is full of delicious stories of their macarons, I do not need to tell you what they are, right?
Good to know that we now can have the originals this side of the Atlantic!
I guess I need to stop by soon again.

Ladurée, 864 Madison Avenue (71st Street), (646) 558-3157, open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6. Macarons in 15 flavors are $2.70 each; chocolates, $10 and up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The parting

Another summer comes slowly to an end by way of sending our kids back to school, our older ones off to college and our selves back into the rhythm of the working routine.
Today I am sad; my second oldest boy had to fly back to Europe, back to his life and studies, so far away from us. We will miss him dearly. 
Every parting pulls on my heart and in these moments I reflect on distances and our wants and wishes. 
But it is as nature has intended it: The young ones need to go off without us, learn on their own terms and we need to let them go!
There is the driving and packing, hugging and kissing, tears and laughter, last minute advise and the hope for phone calls.
Although my older children have been away from me for long, it's the same every time never the less: 
My motherly instinct comes forward and for seconds I imagine them lost without me...
But no, they will do fine, they will call and they will go on without me!
I am happy to have such loving children, strong and independent, full of life!
I tell them often how much I love them! 
That is what they need to hear!

I feel a little lost too at these times, but I will go on as well, looking forward to reunions and the sweet moments of arrivals home!
The texts written and received and the hour long talks, walks around the block and the meals cooked together!
To listen to their adventures, the news, the heart breaks and the victories, the tough decisions and the battles lost!
They need us to be there, in the distance, but ready!

There is so much to look forward to!
Good speed, my boy and wonderful beginnings!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

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