Summer Vacation

I am having the hardest time getting back to posting. I can find anything else to do but sit down and compose. Ack! I am trying to improve…

For our vacation this year, we all agreed on a family one. It’s been a few years since all of our schedules have meshed. With four adult children it takes a bit of planning! But we did it and decided on Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary). All three destinations were close enough that we didn’t have to traipse through airports, which is a big plus given security measures in effect globally. And since all three countries are member of the EU, it makes country hopping that much easier!

Our first stop with our two youngest,  was an overnighter in Bratislava. We arrived in the afternoon so had a chance to explore around the hotel. The next morning we hired a car for the hour drive to Vienna, where our two oldest children would meet us.

I loved discovering all the wondrous architecture…

I took many other pictures, but these are the most stunning, especially with that gorgeous blue sky as a backdrop!

We found the famous open air  Nacht Market and had schnitzel and other local food for lunch.


Fell in love with this sign outside a cafe:


Just a few pictures to share today. More soon…


Michael Jackson Is Immortal

…by Cirque du Soleil. Great and relatively comfortable seats,  great music, fantastic dancers. Good time was had by all. A couple photos taken before and after the performance.  We respected the request of no photography regardless of flash and,  surprisingly so did many others.



Tribute to 3 Sisters

Both of my Aunties passed away last August. The news caught me by surprise. I knew they were both in their eighties but I always expected them to be around. Always. As I looked through a CD that was lovingly prepared by my cousins, I found this wonderful photo of both of them and my mom. The CD contained many, many photos of their mom’s (center) and our aunt’s (right) lives. Since the three of them were close, my mom was also in much of the pictures up until 1975 when she passed away. Once I saw this, I knew it was the perfect choice to use for another Life Book 2013 class for A Tribute to Loss.

I was 4 when this particular one was taken. I remember that day, too. We were doing a “the-gang’s-all-here” photo session at our annual 4th-of-July get together. The hundreds of cousins (it sure seemed like that to a 4-year old even though there were roughly 20-25 of us kids) and all the aunts and uncles that went with the kids. It was a time of joy, fellowship and thanksgiving. I remember helping shuck the thousands of ears of corn, buttering each ear and wrapping them individually in foil to be bbq-ed in the early evening. Another aunt’s famous terriyaki chicken would be available in massive amounts along with Japanese salads, appetizers and desserts. Each a family tradition in their own right.

I’m filled with nostalgia and a longing to put my arms around my Mommie one more time. Memories. How sweet they are…


*To create this page, I first made a mixed media background starting with covering the complete page with Payne’s Grey acrylic paint. The next layers were colors that called to me – yellows and olive greens. I used two copies of the same photo, one color and one black-and-white. I did an acrylic transfer for the black-and-white using gel medium making sure that the photo was upside down. I adhered the color one matching the legs. The border was drawn with the end of the tube from a spray bottle – Adirondack Color Wash in Meadow. For the finish, I added some handwritten text around the frame. I just love how it turned out!

New Year’s Tradition

Sushi on New Year’s Day was always a tradition I looked forward to every year in my childhood. Several of my cousins and I have a theory that these are poor man’s sushi as we have yet to find them in a sushi bar! Imagine my surprise on discovering the “football” sushi pockets a year, maybe two after I moved to Dubai way back in 1988.

I happily re-created my childhood tradition for my own kids who now look forward to this seasonal food as eagerly as I do. I love that they have at least one Japanese tradition! I even made oshenko sushi which is made up of colored pickled tskimono (daikon radish) rolled up in rice and a nori (seaweed) wrap. As a young mom eager to create lasting traditions, my addition to our New Year’s Day fare is a cheeseball served with a variety of crackers and cheesecake. Easy dishes that make the transition into a new year relaxing after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

The Graduate

After a long year of having nearly every weekend filled with day-long classes, it’s finally over. It’s official…

Afra’s got her Master’s!!!!

We were so impressed that the actual ceremony only lasted an hour. And that is saying A LOT. There were about 200+ students graduating Bachelor’s and Master’s. And there were indoor and outdoor fireworks!! I say… only in Dubai. Now we know where the huge graduation fees went to. The only long and drawn-out part of the evening? Getting out of the dirt parking lot!! But overall, a good night. We’re so proud!


I got some wonderful photos of the fireworks. They were ignited just behind the building but it was like they were coming off the roof! I love the how they really look like hundreds of stars. Amazing!! image


Sh, Don’t Tell Dad!

I was able to spend a couple days with my parents in their small but oh-so-cute trailer out in the California desert.  Had a very relaxing enjoyable time.  One morning I wad up early and armed with my phone and borrowed ipad went to sit on the porch to await the upcoming sunrise.  Imagine my delight when this little guy stopped by for an early morning nibble…


City girl that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my morning wit another of God’s cute, furry creatures. I expressed my joy to Mom who immediately exclaimed, “well, don’t tell Dad!!” I asked, “why, will he go get his bb gun?” The look on her face was all I needed.  She then regaled me with all the reasons why rabbits are pests.  I started to agree with her but I still didn’t tell Dad!

(He does know now.  He follows my blog! Sorry, Dad).

Jam and Pickles

I have taken an unintentional hiatus. Life has taken over which has left little time for posting among other things. I am trying to keep up with my daily art and being semi-successful. Somewhat. Things should be returning to some form of normalcy soon.

In the meantime, let me share what my friend did this past weekend. I’m so impressed with my kitchen-domestic goddess friend. Aren’tthe fruits of her labors amazing?