Flowers with History on Mother’s Day

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Today is Mother’s Day in the States. They celebrate it here like we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.  The only difference is that 8 of March is a day off, but Mother’s day is always on the second Sunday in May. However, we are always happy to celebrate Mother’s day again. And again. After all, however many times we celebrate this day is never going to be enough, since our mothers are our everything (and even more) and we can only hope that our children will be able to say something like that about us.  Now for a little story, very suitable for this nice day. In the photo I post peonies.  However, these are not simple peonies, but flowers with a history. They grow under the windows of my neighbor and friend, Ansley. Several years ago Ansley bought a house in my neighborhood. At Christmas, she received a postcard from former owners of the house, where they asked her not to dig up the land near the garage windows. The postcard came very timely, as the husband of Ansley, a great lover of beautiful landscape designing, had already set his sights on this part of the yard and decided what to plant there. From the letter of former owners, it turned out that when the former landlady gave birth to her daughter and came from the hospital to this house, her mother presented peony bulbs, and they planted them in the sunniest place under the windows…. Since that time every year on this place bushes grow and they bloom on Mother’s Day. Ansley, of course, waited for the spring and it happened: beautiful bushes grew up and blossomed with pale pink buds on Mother’s Day.  Ansley has two wonderful children: a boy and a girl.  Now every year Ansley along with the children carry flowers to the neighbors and congratulate everyone: the flowers are so heavy that the bushes are leaning towards the ground under the weight of the flowers, and she cuts them in dozens every day. I can’t describe how much these flowers inspire me:  I photograph flowers, I put them in different vases, I am about to eat them, – how much I enjoy it.  And here I give them to you virtually! Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

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10 Tips to Travel Azores

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  1. Azores is the new must-have on your dream vacation list. It’s a nirvana for nature lovers, but don’t underestimate the cultural life which is blooming there.  For example, on Terceira Island there is a wonderful history museum you can easily spend a half day in and great musical events (ask me details if interested).
  2. Don’t try to speak Spanish in Portugal. None. Nada. If you know some Spanish words and assume that the Portuguese will understand you – forget it. They probably will understand you, but it won’t do you any good. They don’t like to speak Spanish and don’t appreciate others confusing them with Spaniards.  You’d be better off by gesticulating with your hands and smiling.
  3. When travelling Portugal, stay in a Pousada at least once. A Pousada is a hotel located inside of a real medieval castle of …
  4. Try seafood anywhere you go. It’s all as fresh as it can be. If the waiter tells you about the catch of the day, trust them/ It will be the best catch you can have
  5. You don’t need to run far to catch an amazing sunset. There are tons of places (Miraduro in Portuguese) specifically created to enjoy the view
  6. Everyone who goes there starts by checking out the volcanos: there are different types of volcanos -horizontal, vertical, old or acting. See them all
  7. A local travel group created a lot of hiking trails of varying difficulty. Ask about maps in tourist offices or your hotel.
  8. There are no wild animals you to avoid, only domestic bulls. Locals say that be careful especially of those who are alone. Run fast or climb a tree.
  9. Pineapples are grown in the Azores natives. There are a lot of local cheeses and other dairy products. As well as wine. Don’t leave the islands without trying them
  10. The Portuguese have a sweet tooth. There are signature desserts you have to try such as donna Amelia cake and the famous Pastel de Nata. Don’t forget to order coffee Galao (espresso and steamed milk).  It is served in a tall glass

The final advice is: Don’t waste your time, don’t google it! Just go there!

The Azores: 50 Shades of Green Islands

IMG_20180106_170022_216When I first heard about the Azores, I didn’t know where it was. As a person who travels extensively, I felt ashamed. I had to google it. When I saw the pictures, I was mesmerized in front of the computer, such lush greens and deep blues. When we hear the word island, we subconsciously think-beach vacation and scenery, maybe a sunset over the water.  Some beach scenery Continue reading “The Azores: 50 Shades of Green Islands”

Happy New Year: a Year of Dog

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Dear all, Happy New Year!  We had such a huge New Year party in Russian way, that it took me some time to recover. According to Chinese Horoscopes, this 2018 is the Year of the Dog. All my family are Big Dog Lovers. I grew up with dogs and I love to have them around. I sincerely think that dogs combined in them all the best humans qualities. For several years we babysit different dogs (I have several posts about it) , but  we didn’t had our own.  My son begged for that, but with our intensive travel schedule, I was hesitating to have a dog.  However, we always keep saying to him “later, one day, we’ll see”. So, after all trials with different kind of friends’ dogs, we finally decided to take our own.  We simply ran out of excuses for our son.  We came to Atlanta Humane society to find a dog for us. My son saw one, dragged us towards his cage, and we all fell in love with him at first site. Despite the fact he was only 7 months old, he already had a history.  He was found as a baby and adopted by someone, when he was 2 month old.  However, his “family” returned him when he was 7 months old. The same day we met him. He looked very sad and scared of everything. I had a lot of concerns why his family returned him. Maybe he was not house trained? Maybe aggressive?  We didn’t know.  I knew it was risky to take him right away, since you can’t return dog again – it would be really cruel. But we followed our instinct and took him with us.  We changed his name (it was probably fifth time because we didn’t know his previous name, only Humane society one), bought him toys and bed and took him home…

… It happened 3 years ago. Now, our dog is a spoiled baby. We love him and he is a part of the pack. He knows it. He still have a separation issue, and cry when we leave him even for a ten minutes, but we are working on that.  He is our little philosopher, looking at life with his deep dog’s look.

This year is a Year of Dog. I wish you all to be surrounded by people with the best dogs’ qualities: faithfulness, dedication and kindness, by people who love you without any reason, no matter how do you look, and always ready to forgive you. Happy New Year!

Labor Day is over

Labor Day weekend is over. First time I didn’t go anywhere. Before, we always tried to go somewhere far to catch the last summer fun. (For example, last year we flew to Budapest, Hungary-we bought tickets at 10 AM for 5PM flight the same day). Well, this year Continue reading “Labor Day is over”

What Russians do this week?

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My dear readers, I did not abandon my blog. We were traveling to Jamaica (the report is coming) plus we have an exchange girl from Russia living with us now. Plus it is cold in Atlanta and schools are closed which means my time is not mine anymore, but kids’. However, this week is special and I couldn’t miss it. Some have Mardi Gras, some celebrate Chinese New Year, but Slavics have Maslenitsa! Maslenitsa is Continue reading “What Russians do this week?”

Holiday Anti-Stress Release

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Since late October, there have been plenty of articles on internet and newspapers under the major themes of Christmas and New Year: How to avoid stress during holiday season, Tips to handle holidays, Best Christmas gifts for her/him/kids, Tips to help to keep your budget under control, Easy holiday dishes, etc… I was quite irritated with that.  I felt that stressful situation was heavily exaggerated.  Really-it’s a nice holiday, plus it’s  family time.  Why shall it be stressful and all printing magazines prepare us for that?!!  Just relax and enjoy.

Well, I ignored all these messages and I didn’t educate myself with all those helpful anti-stress tips.  During one of those weekends we (my husband, son and me) decided to go and buy a Christmas tree.  It was supposed to be as simple as can be. We went to Continue reading “Holiday Anti-Stress Release”