one hundred years of history

the week is passing me by and ive hardly stopped to notice. sorry sorry.
speeding from home to work to home to meditation to home to cook to sleep to wake.

im delighted its friday but i have this lingering guilt at the same time, ive been waiting for friday since i woke up on monday. and although ive enjoyed the moments during the week i find myself increasingly just 'pushing through' until the weekend when i can bask in sunny weather, wake up late, indulge in pancakes for breakfast and read as much as i like. is it wrong to do? i mean maybe i should give mondays, tuesdays and wednesdays a chance? i like thursdays because it is my day of accomplishment, that the week is almost over and i can breathe a little bit.

maybe i just need to challenge myself to be just as happy for monday mornings as i am for friday afternoons. any suggestions?

another news: i am pages away from finishing "in europe" by geert mak. a professor recommended it to me before i moved away and its taken me 6 months of metro and train rides to finish it. if i am glad to end my european history lesson with this book it is only for the reason that it is extremely large and heavy and my shoulder is tired from lugging it here and lugging it there. time to rest it on the bookshelf now, in 15 pages at least. its perfect if you fell asleep frequently in history class and managed to turn 23 without being able to tell you when the world wars took place (as i hide in embarrassment). it covers 100 years of european history without even being boring! imagine that. a true investment.

book review here


details from the weekend.

i think im more than just a little bit behind here. its already tuesday and ive just uploaded my photographs from the weekend. oh dear oh dear. i had a nice weekend, the weather has been delightfully gorgeous so we headed to margaret island on sunday afternoon for a few hours in the sun, laying on a soft blanket and enjoying our lunch outdoors. strong pinks and bright greens, i love the colours of spring.

leaving the island we met a charming travelling couple from cape town, older in years but sailing along the danube as if they would be my age. trekking and enjoying life, so fresh and so nice. we walked along the river bank together to prolong our conversation. stopping at the collection of bronze cast shoes that mark the place where countless jews were drowned fifty years ago. eery and beautiful, i have a pair just like these ones at home.

sometimes it is surreal to live so close to places where terrible and incredible things happened. bullet holes still mark some buildings from the 1956 revolt in the eighth district. makes my ontario hometown so tame when i think about it.

"lovely budapest, isn't it?"


friday night studying.

what can i say, i love the library?
happy weekend!


berlin in five photographs.

at work ive been writing a lot about berlin lately, or at least it seems. and i was tempted to look back at some of the photographs i took there a few summers ago. i was addicted at once to this capital with a history i couldnt really grasp at the time but its one of those places you'd just like to go back to. again and again. i used to take a lot of travel photographs and i dont really go back and look at them too often. but today is an exception. so where it my ado to berlin.

i thought there were more interesting things to take photographs of than checkpoint charlie which was just down the street from this photo-mural.

not something i can really describe. its a holocaust museum and is absolutely terrifying. if you're claustrophobic, i dont recommend walking between the blocks of cement.

ill photograph any orwell reference that i see. it just so happened that some pretty bikes were conveniently in the frame.

looking back, i should be ashamed i was drinking czech beer in germany. tisk tisk. i know better now. but given the choice, id probably still go for the bottle of staropramen.

i wish we had these beach chairs in canada, how cool would it make our beaches? protection from the sun and the wind, sand blowing in your face and most of all, you can store your personals in the wooden drawers below. you rent them by the day but id rent one for the entire month if i could.


bonjour printemps.

isn't spring lovely? budding branches and clean sidewalks. spring cleaning is taking place all over this city, including our flat. finally its dusted and it feels okay to invite friends over again. i can never get enough of the greek influence on some of the buildings here, the national museum for instance. every time i walk by the angles and lines impress me. im counting down the days until i can hang out at the acropolis in august. dreams of greece are a little less far fetched these days now that our "travel jar" isn't empty anymore.

summer time savings. i love vacations, its a pity its still so far away. id like to take one now.

until then though, im happily satisfied with sunny days and twenty degree afternoons. late day coffee breaks and extended beer dates. i think it might be season enough to picnic this weekend. i hear city park  has beautiful gardens, its probably due we visit there. now to track down a picnic basket and an old table cloth, because theres no picnic without a basket and a blanket to sit on, everyone knows that.


tibetan class.

on saturday morning i started taking tibetan classes at the local buddhist centre here in budapest. its so cool, we managed only to go through the alphabet, learning how to draw the letters and how to make their sounds. i know, i living in hungary, i should be taking hungarian lessons right? hm, i guess i got a little distracted. i think most of all it is so nice to do something with david, to learn something with him. we went to a cafe on sunday afternoon to drink a latte and do our homework together. i couldnt think of a better way to spend a few hours than with a nice up of coffee and doing our tibetan homework together outdoors. it was such a beautiful day, i hope it become a routine.


vendredi soir // konyvtar

szabo ervin konyvtar.

this is the library i like to go to on friday nights and as many other weeknights as i can, to browse their shelves of english books, look at atlases, trying to pronounce the names of hungarian towns and sit and read to the light of old fashioned, green glass lamps at heavy wooden desks. winding marble staircases, a spiral of floors filled with books, reading chairs, desks and old old volumes of "our times."  this library has been open for 106 years and its absolutely beautiful inside. it is a short walk from my house and makes for a nice evening walk, especially now that the sun stays out later than 5 and its sweater weather.

my latest find is oryx and crake by margaret atwood. fancy finding some of her novels in a small hungarian library. i was pleasantly surprised and brought it home with me without hesitation. i joined up with the slow readers book club, but im afraid i cant track down the book they are currently reading and unless i somehow find someone to ship me a copy from america, im going to have to sit this round out and hope that ill be able to find the next one at a second hand book shop or at the library here. "please pick a classic, please."

how does this photograph not seriously compliment the last? marble and wrought iron, inside and outside. i love the circular grates in the streets here, the ones around tree trunks. they are beautiful pieces of grill work, my foot just happened to step into the shot by accident. thats what happens when  i take photographs while im walking..

the nice weather proved to make a weekend of some pretty exciting events, so ill save my other news for another post. for now, its all about books and librarys. ive started working on my summer reading list, heres what ive got so far:

in europe - geert mak (i am almost done this, hunk of a book ive been working on for almost half a year)
oryx and crake - margaret atwood
islands in the stream - heminway
the water method mad - john irving
any book of poems by john keats

any recommendations? whats on your nightstand right now? i dont think ill ever get tired of reading.


writing postcards and letters..

its time again to be the good correspondent that i am. actually im terrible at keeping in touch, even more so when it comes to hand-written letters or postcards. i think its totally necessary though, its good habit i think it pick up a pen and paper, pull out the address book and write a note to a friend who lives far away, pretty much all of my friends at this point. its been too long so im putting myself to it again. ten letters by this weekend. left hand get ready to write!

so here come some letters friends, im on a writing streak.

(one of my older drawings of jade plants, a set of these postcards are available in my etsy shop )

listening: devendra banhart
eating: cornmeal muffins
thinking: it better be sunny on saturday. there is nothing nicer than writing in the sunshine.

**one more little note, if you like polaroid photography as much as i do, then you better hurry up on over to rachel b.'s lovely blog and leave a comment to enter her giveaway: a camera AND an original photograph from taken by the talented lady herself! the deadline is april 21st**


little moments that make me smile.

that summer i lived in this polka dot dress while travelling through germany, airy and always wrinkled from being stuffed into the bottom of my pack. nothing replaces that favourite dress.

sitting at susi's desk in east germany sewing and collaging while she was at school. her studio room was full of little treasures like this brooch. how nice it is to have space and time to work..

i could never get anywhere in life without my moleskin diary. it should be permanently attached to my right hand and my pen to my left. it comes with me everywhere.

is there anything better than a cup of tea with good company in a cup with a handle just like this? porcelain tea cups will never go out of fashion. they shouldnt. neither should saucers.


frog pond farm and a hungarian vizsla.

two of my favourite things in this photograph:

widu: the hungarian vizsla at frog pond farm. he is one of the funniest animals i know and i miss running through the vineyards with him after the shop closed at the winery, throwing his ball into the pond on purpose and letting him crawl up onto my lap even though he's too big.

riesling: dry and white. i think riesling has a bad name maybe because of all of the off-dry and semi sweet ones that are imported from germany. this one is different, its a zero and the best vintages ive tasted from frog pond were 2002, 2004 and 2007, all a little different but all totally delicious. red in winter and white in summer. its almost time to make the switch, as soon as the sun comes out.

if you're going wine tasting in niagara this summer, stop by this little organic farm and say hello to them for me!


sunday the eleventh

the forecast said rain, rain and more rain. for the entire week actually but somehow the sun, much stronger than the clouds, has peeked its face out for the time being. so im thinking about what id like to do today. i like to make lists, especially of things id like to do, not chores or groceries. today is sunday, so lets do things we like.

im going to make a big salad with raisins, arugula, radish and apple, sunflower seeds and fried kidney beans and  poppy seed dressing, just because its spring and ive been craving fresh greens all winter. finally they've made their way to the market.

ill sit with fig out in the backyard, admiring the blooming trees and counting the golden fish in the pond before we're ready to go. she never seems to have a worry or a fret, this dog. as long as her belly is rubbed.

then im going to take the train back to budapest and read along the way, maybe even finish the 800 page book ive been slaving over for almost a half year. i always love the satisfaction after reading a long book with thin pages. the professor at home who recommended it will be happy t hear its been finished i think.

in the afternoon stitch n bitch is happening in budapest so i hope to finally finish an unfinished scarf thats taken me months to do. chat with some ladies who like to knit and gossip about budapest over tea and cookies.

when its time to sleep ill dream happily about winding rivers and how much id love to canoe this summer. if only once, down a calm river, eating trail mix every step of the way and counting how many beavers i spot. its one of the best things about being from ontario, endless summers of canoe trips and camping. im not sure its so popular in hungary though. at least i can be guaranteed a hitchhike trip or two with david. there is never any lack of adventure.

(all images have been found on we <3 it)


is it time for a spring clean already?

daisies from ffffound

i've added and changed this and that on the blog today, hopefully making it a little nicer on the eyes, a little more simple. slowly im learning some html and blog tweaking tricks at work that i can use here.

check out the about section and if you can always follow me too if you're on twitter. im a little slow with somethings but im trying to keep up with this.

simple simple.

i am inspired by the great and custom layouts some of you are using, or at least you've mastered the art of tweaking the blogger templates. so ive taking ideas from everywhere. let me know what you think! i also think it's about time i get a flickr account, i have so many photographs that im hoarding just for myself.

one of the other things i hope to get busy on again this summer is my etsy shop. it's so easy to fall behind, stop updating and forget about projects that i started months ago. making time for creating and sewing is so important, my fingers and mind have just gotten lazy. so now i am on the search for a sewing machine in budapest that needs some extra love. there is a stich n bitch get together on sunday so ill see what those girls and guys are up to.

it's exactly what i need / we <3 it

my non-web spring clean will have to wait until next week since david and i are off this weekend to visit his parents and start working in the vineyard. the new canes are growing already so its time to get the vines ready for this year's season. i love wine and gardening. especially when its sunny and warm.


cinnamon buns, a little taste of north america

one little reminder of cinnabun from gabi was enough to make me run home, check my cupboard for ingredients, hit up epicurious.com for a recipe and start to bake a batch of chewy, gooey, sweet and delicious cinnamon buns.

david's first.

here's the recipe and how they turned out:

3 tbsp granulated sugar (of course organic)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup non bleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1 egg from a happy chicken
1/4 cow's milk (but probably soy or almond would work as well)
3 1/2 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp water

preheat your oven to 375 (or 190 C for those of us who only have oven's with temperatures in celcius). in a small bowl stir together 2 tbsp of the granulated sugar and the cinnamon. In a larger bowl combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture. use your fingertips (i know!) to mush it all together until it resembles bread crumbs.

in another small bowl whist together egg and 3 tbsp of the milk. add the flour mixture, stir it until it is well combined. on a lightly floured counter, knead the dough a few times. use your hands or a rolling pin to roll dough out into a 10x6 inch rectangle (roughly of course) or until it is 1 inch thick. brush dough with milk and prinkel evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. beginning with the short side roll it up. use a knife to slice it into 3 even pieces crosswise.

arrange the pieces on a baking sheet with the cut sides up and throw them into that oven for around 15 minutes or until the tops are golden. while you're waiting close to the oven, mix together either 1 tsp or milk or water with icing sugar in a small bowl. once the buns are done drizzle, eat and repeat.


spring cleaning for my mind // easter easter

only because i loved this film when i was small
a little princess / we <3 it

after sleeping deeply for more than 12 hours last night, i think i have fully recovered from a weekend of meditation at the buddhist retreat centre in becske.

i knew but i quickly forgot how exhausting it is to work with your mind. what an effort!

you quickly get used to the peacefulness of the countryside at a place like this. little birds whistling outside the open windows, the buzz and humm of meditators beside you and the silent sound of the flowers growing. i spotted a few little yellow buds trying desperately to push themselves from below the earth.

i think i even discovered a little bit of mind these past few days.

the peacefulness of my weekend officially ended when i went down the escalator towards the metro. oh yea, i thought. time for the city, time for traffic and honking cars, time for the congested metro, time for life. my little bubble was burst just about then.

i didn't colour any eggs. i didnt eat a single chocolate rabbit. i didn't even search for them. i didn't wish anyone a happy easter or eat hot cross buns. what a refreshingly un-conventional easter! at least now i can cash-in on the discounted chocolate treats i know ill find at tesco tonight.