Monday, November 30, 2009

Flying To Freedom

This morning I woke up with a positive outlook to life. Reading The Price of Happiness by Nando inspires anyone to rethink their personal situation. I personally liked this line from his blog,"let your heart dictate your choices for a while."

I decided that today I am listening to my heart and I saw Happiness when I saw these birds flying across the sea.

It was very windy and I couldn't tell if they were struggling to fly against the current of the wind or if they were just gliding. Either way I saw beauty in that.

Enjoy these pictures I took of my daughter this morning and you might like to listen to John Denver. It is a beautiful song!

The sun is hiding behind the clouds.

Looking up at the birds.

"Mama, please take the picture now..I can't sit on this bench much longer!"

Powerful waves.

She is posing for the picture! I said, "Beli, Mama is going to take a picture" and she froze and smiled at me.............

"La vida solo una vez se vive-You live life only once."

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Celebrating Hubby's birthday in Bribir with his parents and grandparents.

Isabela is too busy tasting the birthday cake!

Cuddling with Grandpa

After a delicious lunch of Bakalar (cod) and chocolate cake we took a stroll up the hill to Bribir Glavica archeological site in hopes of finding Roman coins and learn a bit of history.

Sarcophagi from 4th century

Francisan Monastery and St. Mary Church from 13th century.

Oh and these are the turkeys that we pardoned for Thanksgiving. They now reside in Grandma's front yard! Isabela had a fun time gobbling with the "tuka", turkeys.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Tuesday we received a call from our friends asking us if we were interested in getting together for Thanksgiving. I couldn't be more thrilled! We made arrangements and Saturday would be the day. I was so excited to be hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner!

On the Menu: With every one's help!

Thanks to hubby we all had a juicy and tender turkey
Garlic Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Green bean casserole, Stuffing and Cranberry Jam
Dessert was an assortment of delicious pastries

We had a wonderful evening and endless conversation along with Champagne and White wine.

Our Bela also celebrated Thanksgiving Day by jumping on the couch and introducing "medo" to everyone!

Doing the honors and carving the turkey.

Thankful for Family, Friends & Health!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fighting The Winter Blues

Simple things I am doing to avoid falling victim to the winter blues (SAD) .....or you can call them my New Year's Resolution... it is never too early to start right?

Eat less bread
Take this morning for example, my husband brought doughnuts to have with our coffee but I refused (yeah not so easy to say no) but later that morning I wanted an egg sandwich and since corn tortillas are non-existent and flour tortillas cost an arm and a leg, I had to use bread. Here is the trick, I only used half of it.

Walk around the house, walk up the stairs, walk outside ...even if it is 10 -15 minutes, idea is to keep moving.

Read a favorite book, but stay away from the fashion magazines..they will only make you feel self-conscious.

Use your creativity, write a poem, cook up a favorite recipe ( I have a new recipe to share with you but I need to go and purchase the ingredients).

Make a call
Call a friend and go out for a cup of coffee, or tea. Socializing is very important.

Laughter is contagious so grab a favorite comedy or laugh away with this quote I found:

“Women have a passion for mathematics. They divide their age in half, double the price of their clothes, and always add at least five years to the age of their best friend.” — Marcel Achard

Notice I don't mention the words (diet or lose weight)....there is no point my brain would only sabotage any improvement I might already have if I even remotely come close to saying, "I am on a diet."

So how do YOU keep the winter blues away??? Please feel free to add to the list.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window.......... Is cloudy and I see two fishermen on their small boat out in the sea.

I am thinking........................... What to prepare for lunch.

I am thankful for.....................Being healthy.

I am wearing............................Pink shorts, white t-shirt with Topo Gigio and my husband's slippers.

I am remembering.................That a year ago we were traveling to Iowa for Thanksgiving and Isabela was not talking nor walking yet.

I am going...............................To start my Croatian homework after I finish this post.

I am reading..........................French Grafitti, La Cucina Italiana, The Angel's Game and my Croatian book ( Yes, I somehow manage to remember what page I am on in each book.)

I am hoping...........................For sunshine and warm weather to continue through month of December.

On my mind............................My friend's situation with her husband.

From the learning rooms.............Books and many toys.

Noticing that................Lately I have been quite detached from the web? ( But I am working on improving this so I can keep you updated)

Pondering these words............ "When will I be 100% content."

From the kitchen................... I see drawers open as Isabela is playing and taking plastic containers out of her assigned "special drawer."

Around the house............... Toys scattered everywhere, coffee mugs, folded clothes that need to be put away.

One of my favorite things........... To see the Adriatic sea from our balcony.

From my picture journal................. Picture of Isabela from one year ago!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Zadar, Croatia

The weather was fairly warm yet windy to take Isabela along. We decided to leave her with grandma and my hubby and I went go on a day trip to Zadar , about an hour and a half drive North of Split. When we arrived my husband was quite impressed with the city of 100,000 inhabitants. He remembered it as a city greatly affected during the Yugoslav War. For me it was the first time to visit and in my opinion,the expansion is evident with construction sites all around you. There seems to be no stopping Zadar with numerous projects which include: a four star Hotel Bastion, (the Arsenal), an arts centre like no other in Croatia, the Punta Skala Resort complex and I can go on and on. You get the idea.

As we drove around the city looking for a spot to park I noticed many advertisements for Maraska and I thought maybe we are not in Zadar? But then my husband explained that Maraska is a local producer of the the cherry liqueur Maraschino and citizens of Zadar are very proud of it. No, I didn't get a chance to try it. Maybe on the next visit?

To see more of the historic city we had to access the city walls by crossing the Bridge Gate on foot. The buildings have so much charm and I love to look at the balconies decorated with flowers!

Alfred Hitchcock on his visit to Zadar was very impressed by the sunset that he was quoted as saying, "This is the most beautiful sunset in the world!" Now that is quite a statement right?

Unfortunately the day was very cloudy and while the Sun did show its face we didn't stay around for sunset. Therefore, I cannot agree or disagree as to whether it is the most beautiful sunset, but one thing I will tell you, the sea, sun and sea organ are definitely a Beautiful combination to see and hear. A bit of info about this Sea Organ I just mentioned. It is an organ with 35 pipes and underwater whistles. Motion of the waves drives air and water through the whistles and produces endless string of sounds. One of a kind agreed!

Greeting of the Sun is a similar unworldly display designed by Nikola Basic. It is a multi-layered glass plate. After sunset it comes to life as it simulates the solar system click here and you can see various images I was not able to capture during the day.

Walking back to our car at the end of the afternoon, I was in awe with the view and the city. I must say that indeed Beautiful!!

I leave you with this image of the Adriatic Sea.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Picnic At The Beach

I can smell the salt of the Adriatic sea and the seaweed under the rocks. So peaceful and relaxing is the morning. Beautiful families engaging with their children. I think the pictures speak for themselves don't you agree?

Monday, November 16, 2009

School Report

It has been over a month since I began my Croatian lessons at the Prokurative and it's time for a progress report. A week ago I actually said these words "I don't want to go to school!" Monday was an intense lesson and I felt frustrated and defeated. It was after this lesson that I dreaded for Wednesday to arrive. The professor had us thinking on our feet literally. She had all twelve of us students standing in a circle and we were to go around and ask each other about our body parts.
Sto je to? (what is this?)
To je Glava. (this is the head) Ovo je celo, oko, nos, (this is forehead, eye,nose,etc..)

While I knew most of this from teaching Isabela the next exercise was the frustrating one. We had to introduce one classmate to the rest of the class, this meant conjugating verbs correctly and so on....I didn't do very well.........

"Why didn't I prepare or study more?" I asked myself. Well should I count the reasons? First, because I am lazy (yes, I am admittingly saying so) and second because I am dedicating most of my time to Isabela. If I am not constantly supervising her, I am worried she will fall and injure herself. We don't need another cut on her forehead.

So far this is what we have learned:
Zanimanju/profession (feminine and masculine form example: singer you say pjevac/pjevacica)
Nationality. "I am from Mexico, I am Mexican." translation "Ja sam iz Meksika. Ja sam Meksikanka." Sounds hilarious!!!!!! Try it, Mek-si-kanka.
Naming Colors, fruits and vegetables
Conjugating the verbs ending in -iti and -jeti. Examples include govoriti, (to speak) and voljeti (to like, to love). You drop the -iti and add -im so govoriti is govorim (ja govorim-I speak). For voljeti you drop the -jeti and add -im.
(Volim TE -I love you)

I did a bit of research about the best method for learning a new language. I needed a bit of motivation. I read an article which stressed the importance of speaking, even if you don't know the meaning of words, because this will give you the opportunity for a more comprehensive experience. So the culture, T.V, newspapers, talks on the street, everything takes a new meaning.

After reading this article I felt motivated to commit more time to learning the Croatian language.

Have you lived overseas and struggled in speaking the native language? What methods worked for you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunshine good for your health

Less than two minutes, that's how long it took to get ready and beautiful (ok maybe 5 minutes since Isabela was pounding on the door and calling for me, "MAMA!!" and I had to stop and talk to her). I applied a bit of my Olay total effect daily moisturizer then some mascara,brown eyeshadow,lip gloss and I was ready for my morning walk with my toddler. Oh wait! I almost forgot I need an accessory, alright my long silver earrings. Now I am ready!!
The sun was shining and I thought it would so nice to leave the house and get some fresh air. Apparently, I wasn't the only one with the same thought. The pedestrian only street along the beach was busy. I saw parents strolling with their children, some men jogging, a few girls rollerblading while others just opted for a drink at one of the many cafes along the way.

As I looked around me I couldn't help but smile. I felt happy and content. Maybe because I was finally able to go outside after days of being couped up inside(many days of rain). Could it be true what experts say, that sunlight has been used therapeutically for thousands of years? I would have to agree plus look at the scenery! Don't tell me you can't help but smile?

I took this picture on my way back home. I am always admiring these beautiful windows. You see the flower beds beneath the green shutters and the lamp post in the center? If I had enough talent to paint I would sketch this. Maybe I should ask my little artist (Isabela) to do it for me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My little Artist

Isabela is a little energy bunny since she got her appetite back after two weeks of flu-like symptoms. I couldn't be happier to see her eat a full bowl of soup!!! After seeing the weather forecast, which I might add is actually right 99.87% of the time:rain, rain, and more rain I had to come up with ideas to distract Isabela and myself. I cleaned the kitchen with her help, she took every single piece of silverware minus the sharp pieces of course, and licked each one saying "Ummm,PAPA." Who can resist saying no to this face right? Just so you know I did wash all the silverware afterwards, in case you were wondering.
Next activity coloring. At first she was very concentrated on her work.
Afterwards she got tired and found a new workplace to color

Then she started coloring items within her reach, I had to follow her around because she wanted to draw on the walls. Then I found this great idea on the web, designate a wall for your child to draw on by taping a poster board on the wall and let her know that one wall is permitted to write on. Hmmm..., might work for a while but she is so stubborn (yes takes after both her parents) that it could be difficult to explain to her that no other walls are permitted to be painted on. Maybe I should skip this idea?? What do you think??

Her Masterpiece. Yes I will be framing it and making photocopies and giving one to each of the grandmas. Who knows we might have a little artist on our hands!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dusting and Disinfecting

I introduce you to my new best friend yes I am serious, the vacuum cleaner. As difficult as it might sound in all these months I had not used a vacuum cleaner! So what did I use, you might ask?? Good old broom and mop! Having ceramic tile in the main living space I didn't think of using anything other than these two items. Well, all that changed today! We had to buy a rug for our living room because the weather is getting colder and in turn the floor is cold. So I was thinking "it would be so much easier to use a vacuum cleaner to clean this rug than the broom" My husband replied, "well I can get it from the storage unit." That is right! I had forgotten we had one.

I started vacuuming, and I can't deny it, I now enjoy cleaning NO, I love it! Our Zepter product has a container for you to add water and it's suppose to not only clean but also disinfect. I vacuumed not only the rug, but the sofas, the dining table, the bedrooms, I skipped the bathroom because I don't want to risk getting electrocuted! But I can just clean and disinfect all day long! Am I scaring you with my eagerness to clean? Alright, drinking 2 cups of coffee this morning may have something to do with it. That is it, after today I am only using the vacuum cleaner.Bye-bye broom and mop!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Anchovies and the President

While caring for Beli and worrying about her fever all week long, I had not updated you about our most recent trip to the fish processing company Ostrea and how we came to meet the President of Croatia.

If you ask anyone on the streets of Split how they feel about celebrities or important people, they usually shrug and act nonchalant. They don't make a big fuss and that is why when my brother-in-law mentioned that the President was going to be visiting his workplace he couldn't understand my excitement. Maybe the Pitt-Jolie family should consider moving here? No paparazzi to bother them.

A bit of history about where my brother-in-law works. He was recently hired as Sales Manager for the fish processing company Ostrea LTD. now located in the industrial zone of New Stankovci. They export anchovies mainly to Italy and Spain.

This year this industrial zone was the most successful entrepreneurial zone in Croatia, and responsible in attracting new investors. It was awarded the Agency for Export and Investment Promotion award. As recognition the President of Croatia was invited for a luncheon. Of course all this I learned from my brother-in-law that afternoon as we made the two hour trip.

For me, having the opportunity to meet the President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic was surreal. I worried what about what to wear and what would I say if I had the opportunity to speak with him. I heard he likes a good joke, except he speaks Russian and French in addition to Croatian. I am out of luck on this. I will probably just give him one of my trademark smiles!

As we waited for the arrival of the President, I noticed almost everyone was acting nonchalant about the visit. Except me, of course, I tried not to show it but then I pulled out my camera and everyone began questioning "who is she?" My hubby said "she is my wife." "Oh OK, we thought maybe she was a reporter!"
Ha, what an honor!

I can't tell you, I was speechless as the cars of the President and Secret Service made a loop in front of the parking lot (I felt I was watching a scene from a movie!) and then the President stepped out! It was so fun to watch!

I was mesmerized with the secret service so much that I managed to take a picture with one of them.

The owner and director of the company giving an interview.

My brother-in-law and the owner of the company

Presidentof Croatia Stjepan Mesic and my hubby.

Here we are touring the facility.

That afternoon, I learned all about anchovies, well almost everything. From how they are salted, preserved, and packaged and then exported to Italy and Spain.
Here is a little secret, if you like or love Italian food, most likely you are eating anchovies as they are the backbone to most recipes!Yes, I agree it is best not to know right??

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