Friday, September 30, 2011

Photo of the Week - Old Museum Auto

What can I say? I'm obsessed with cars - old, new, domestic, foreign - doesn't matter.

This little guy was at a museum in Brno, Czech Republic and I just had to snap the photo. My only regret is not noting what kind it is! Seems like something Jeremy, James, and Richard of Top Gear would love. ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finding the Czech Republic

These 'Finding' series of posts are dedicated to different parts of the world that sometimes get little mention here in the Western hemisphere. 

First up - Czech Republic. From 2006-2008, I lived in this lovely, quite picturesque country located in very heart of Europe. It is composed of 2 areas - Bohemia to the east, and Moravia to the west. I hung my hat in Brno, which is situated in Moravia close to the Austrian border.

Czech Republic is famous for it's beer or 'pivo' as they say, it's beautiful city, Prague, and a little known fact - the word 'robot' is of Czech origin. The country is also known for it's glass, crystal, and beads, as well as, it's medicinal hot springs. You may have heard of, perhaps the most famous, Karlovy Vary.

Whenever a person leaves their home country and goes to another, often times there are many things that you have to adjust to. It usually is the people that help make it easier to continue on in your home away from home. My years spent in Czech were no different. Befriending the people was what made my time there most enjoyable and, dare I say, all worth it. I learned so much from them.

Following are some photos I feel best capsulize the beauty of Czech Republic. I hope I can return someday.


Brno from Spalicek shopping center

Moravian Countryside

"my Brno" :-)


Translation - 'Best Beer in All Moravia' :-)

Prague - on Karlov Most or 'Charles' Bridge'

An adorable flat in the suburbs of Prague

A village in which I forget the name

Yours truly - in Prague


With one of my sweetest friends (on the planet!), Jana - Brno

I believe this is Petrov Castle

Beautiful Prague

The streets of Brno

Josefska Ulica - Joseph Street - Brno

And we can't forget ... 'the best beer in all Moravia'

Monday, September 26, 2011

'The Places In Between'

Today, I'm giving hats off to someone. I'm reading an incredible book by Rory Stewart and just can't help but to share his amazing story.

Mr. Stewart, a historian and Scotsman, in 2000 started an epic journey of walking, yes walking, through Pakistan, Iran, India, Nepal, and finally Afghanistan. This walk followed in the steps of Babur, the first Mughal emperor. The memoir of his incredible feat through Afghanistan is written in Stewart's book, 'The Places In Between'.

The author starts his journey in the western city of Herat, Afghanistan in late 2001. Whereupon he assigned by the Security Service 3 guardians (against his will) to walk with him. Depending on the hospitality of villagers, the men are fed and spend their nights in homes of strangers. Mr. Stewart sees firsthand what the war and hard times have done to the land and to the people.

Rory Stewart

One of my favorite excerpts thus far:

'The slender shadows of thorns fell like a jagged Kufic script over the new mud wall. Out of sight, beyond the wall, the desert into which we would walk stretched unbroken. We stood up and Abdul Haq picked a pink flower and put it in my cap. There was a large full moon to the east, the air had stilled enough for the snow to be visible on the upper slopes, and a low orange sun was descending dust-muffled to the west. I, with a tiny pink flower in my cap, strode with the three armed men down the avenue cypresses toward the sunset.'

The author with his good friend, Babur :-)

There is just something about going to lands so far away from the world you have known. This unknown world in time easily, other times not so easily, becomes your own; the people may, perhaps, become your friends, sometimes family. And though, I'm sure, Mr. Stewart did not befriend all he came in contact with, I am quite certain his life is forever changed - maybe for the better.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Photo of the Week: Barcelona Tapas

Ahhh, Barcelona - the city of sun, tapas, wine, and partying. We visited this city in 2008. Unfortunately, I was doing a super duper crazy cleanse. So NO FOOD! I did cheat and have some wine though. :-) 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Out and About in Brooklyn

My good friend, Jenny, and I met for a spur of the moment coffee this afternoon. She was in between jobs and me, well, being unemployed at the moment and not having been out of my apartment yet, was more than happy to oblige.

After downing our lattes and getting winks from the earthy, exotic barista bloke, we decided to head off to the local library in search of some English textbooks for her TESL class in the morning.

I just so happened to include the camera in my bag and was able to get a few nice shots. :-)

So many flowers

The lovely Miss Jennie

An old apartment building on Washington St.

A sunflower patch 'grows in Brooklyn'

Little 'Gordon King' - my neighbor's pup - soooo adorable!

My library finds :-)

Going Veggie - Warm, Fall Breakfast Cereal

Okay, okay I give. Fall is here - much to my chagrin. It's not that I dislike fall, it's just that I miss my sunshine, warm beach days, and sundresses. And once fall arrives, I now know that winter is just around the corner. I'm starting to feel like anything below 65 Fahrenheit, is just too chilly for me. Guessing it would be a good idea to relocate some place near the equator.

Anyway, complaining aside, fall does mean change - which is almost always a good thing. New wardrobe, big chunky sweaters, thick scarves, and cute hats! Food changes too.That's why I decided to make this warm, hearty cereal again. It's vegetarian and can be veganized if made with soy milk!

Consisting of:
  1. cooked bulgar wheat (can be purchased at large supermarkets and health food stores - I like Bob's Red Mill brand)
  2. dried fruit - such as currants or raisins
  3. ground flaxseed (more on flaxseed in this post)
  4. soy milk
  5. cinnamon and/or cloves (or a spice of your choice)
  6. and a healthy sweetener - such as, stevia or honey
On with the directions:
  • Cook bulgar according to directions on package. (I usually cook 1 cup and keep in the refrigerator for the week.)
  • About half-way through cooking, add raisins (or whatever you choose). This allows them to be infused with water, plump up, and become juicy!
  • For a single serving - once bulgar is cooked, add milk, flaxseed, dash of spice, and sweetener.
  • Enjoy!
Note: only add the milk, flaxseed, spices, and sweetener to the single serving if you are going to keep the rest in refrigerator. The bulgar will stay fresher on its own. (Adding flaxseed to wet things and allowing to sit causes it become thick and not very appetizing.)

Bulgar is high in fiber and protein - a single serving as 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein

Finished! Yum!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Appreciating the Gypsy Life

Walking home from a friend's house last night, I had a strangely surreal feeling as I strolled past some familiar surroundings. You see, I live in New York City - Brooklyn to be exact. It's a world of constant change and diversity; full of places, things, and people to feast your eyes on - sometimes pleasant, other times not so pleasant.

Pleasantries and non-pleasantries aside, one grows accustomed to their neighborhood and the constant, daily encounters. From the guy at the counter of the local bodega or the kind gentleman bagging groceries at your favorite grocery store - all of these people and places add to the experience of daily life.

Also to be mentioned are the friends made in the little spot of the earth that we call home. I look back on my life and all the different areas of the world that I've lived, and even though at times it may not have been all roses or peaches and cream, I'm so thankful for those times, for I never would have made such lovely, lifelong friends (you know who you are).
That being said, living a gypsy life - it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of constant change (just like the city) and the ongoing thought of where the next adventure will take place, not paying attention to small details or the things/people that really matter. Chances are they add in some great and small ways to our experience. How good it is also to savor the friendships we make and not take them for granted. And even though we may never be at this spot or point again in our lives, it sure is fun to try and enjoy the ride and scenery along the way. ;-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This photo totally took me by surprise as it came across my screen saver tonight. I not only was impressed, but also forgot taking it.

Come to find out, I snapped it while at home on my parents' farm in Pennsylvania back in mid-summer. One constant memory of my father will always be of him either out in the fields on his tractor in the heat of summer, or back at his shop tinkering away on a bit of machinery in need of repair.

And even though it seems I'm worlds away from those tractors and fields, there will always be some piece of nostalgia that takes me back.

I think it's that way for many of us.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Different Worlds

Recently I've made some friends in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn which is in the southern part of the borough and close to Coney Island. I was able to head down there this week. My friend Chardonnay and I also took an afternoon jaunt into Manhattan on Wednesday to visit the MoMa.

I couldn't help but notice the striking difference between the two areas. Bensonhurst resembles a small town while it seems most are blue-collar workers. People seem to be very family oriented, as well. Many of the homes actually have front gardens - something I haven't seen in a long time. Needless to say, I adore it. :-)

Manhattan, on the other hand, is concrete, fast-paced, with many white-collars. It's fun to spend a day there exploring, and many of my friends love it. I, however, would much rather come back to my Brooklyn.

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Chardonnay's apartment (on the left)

Yes, we met Dino - his personality matches his name ;-)

Miss Chardonnay

Bay Parkway train stop

30 Rockefeller Center

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"When Health is Absent"

"When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself; art cannot become manifest; strength cannot be exerted; wealth is useless, and reason is powerless."~ Ardmore Herophiles, M.D., 300 B.C., Father of Anatomy and physician to Alexander the Great

I first came across this quote back in 2008 while doing a cleanse/fast. It seems to pop into my head every now and then. There is so much sense and truth in such a small statement.

Good health whether physical or mental is priceless!

Photo of the Week: Czech Auto

Taken in about 2007 in the countryside of the Czech Republic These little cars were quite common, though this has one has seen better days. They were a favorite!
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