Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all the ghosts, ghouls, princesses, pirates, pumpkins and witches out there!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The French Do It Again

It's big news that the French President Sarkozy and his wife, Cecilia, have divorced. No, not in, in the U.S. that is. Allow me to get on my political soap box if you will. I'm fed up with just about everything in American politics these days (wanton spending, lifeless platforms and soundbites and the seemingly never ending political cycle), but have becoming particularly bothered by the scrutiny of our candidates and their personal lives. No, I don't want an embarrassment as a First Lady. But I believe that she also shouldn't have to give up her career, her opinions and her independence because her partner is running for office. (Maybe I really should move to Paris after all??)

The former Mrs. Sarkozy was quoted as saying, "“We tried everything, I tried everything. But it just wasn’t possible anymore...Public life doesn’t suit me.” She went on, “I am someone who likes to be in the shadows, who likes serenity, tranquility." So, she left and now the French have moved on. Opinion polls show that they could care less.

And we should, too....and instead focus on the real issues in the campaign and how the candidates are truly going to address them. Anne Applebaum's "Free the Running Mates" column in today's Washington Post is worth a read:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Just Say No -- to an All-Inclusive

Sunday's travel pages in the Washington Post and New York Times were a disappointment...not that I don't want to go to the Caribbean in March. But the last thing I can imagine is an all-inclusive resort surrounded by American tourists whose idea of adventure is Cancun ("can we drink the water?" types). Last year, this was my idea of heaven.....I could just picture myself lounging near that pool. I fell in love with the website and photos and credit card in hand, called to book us for our March trip. Ah, the disappointment. It goes beyond that...words can't describe how my heart fell to my feet when the friendly person on the other end of the line in Mexico told me that they don't take children there. So, now I must live vicariously through these photos. - photos courtesy of website.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dubrovnik Dreamin'

My husband is in Dubrovnik -- not that I'm bitter or anything. Just because he had a great lunch, walked the old city walls, had a coffee people watching on the Stradun and is heading to Troubador for jazz in the city tonight. Just because I woke to a flooded basement -- no, I'm not bitter. I'm thinking back on warm breezy night spent in Dubrovnik with the old international gang, that wonderful treasure hunt that Jo planned through the old city streets and our dinner at Nautica, Sharon and Al's wedding at St. Blausius and the reception at the old fort overlooking the Adriatic and champagne toasts as we sailed in the harbor on that wonderful, traditional boat....I've gotta stop.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sweet Sarajevo

I guess you could say my husband, Brad, is happy to be in Bosnia. He's been there for over a week now assessing the legal system and traveling around the country, in and out of smoky restaurants and meetings with weathered judges and their few assistants. I think he's had enough of the strong coffee and heavy food -- and I'm certainly ready for him to come home.

The last time I was in Sarajevo was a long time ago -- I just remember the heavy fog that met me at the airport, the severely damaged and bullet marked and mangled buildings and the sense that "how in the world could anyone have survived here during the war?"

Today, it's a city that has come back but it will never be the Sarajevo it once was.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And Another Wedding

And then there was the wedding in are the Stojanovic's!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weddings, Weddings Here There and Everywhere

So sorry I've been remiss in writing for a few days....or more. It seems like there have been weddings, visits and travels galore the last few weeks. I just got these great photos from my friends' wedding in Croatia a few weeks back. Isn't this lovely! Congrats again to Jonathon and Maja....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Surprising St. Louis

Just back from a weekend in St. Louis -- a surprising mix of old and new, pre-turn of the century and cutting-edge modern. The grandiose houses which line gated boulevards are intriguing....not so much for their size, but for the wonderful architectural thinking that went into building something so large with character. Ah, if only the outside-of-the-beltway builders constructing today's McMansions could have learned but one lesson from these gents.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Plus Ce Change....

You know the old saying (which sounds much more intelligent in French) that the more things change, the more they stay....yes, the same. I couldn't help but think of that truism (and the Thai phrase I used to love, "same, same but different.") That's how I was thinking about Belgrade during this last visit.

On the surface, yes, a great deal has changed. For God sake, there is a Zara and a Mango on main street...can't even imagine that back in 1997 when I was changing money with dodgy looking currency "traders" (quite a generous term) in back rooms and shady kiosks and trying to make sure to budget correctly before I could get to the U.S. Embassy to write a check. No money machines. No European banks. Not a tourist in sight for kilometers. Certainly nowhere to shop.

But somehow I still feel that this country is being pulled back from the European community thanks to politicians who remain focused on the political cause du jour -- in this case, Kosovo. President Kostunica and his DSS party -- not to mention Milosevic's Socialist remants are making threats about pulling back from the EU and NATO over the independence tug of war. Having lived there during part of that isolationist era, I hope that does not occur.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Belgrade...More Crap for the Masses

Just back from Belgrade, Serbia...and will post more later this week as my head is swimming with observations and mental images. However, for now you'll have to be content with these photos which sum up some of the funkiness of this eclectic, still-recovering, conflicted city.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well, folks, I'm off to Belgrade....leaving Wednesday night for a wedding for my old assistant and dear friend, Olja. I haven't been there since 2002 and know that a great deal has changed. I was trying to Google Serbia today and a gay website came up - openly promoting clubs, etc. This was unheard of and dangerous when I lived there in 1997 and 1998. I'll be seeing lots of old friends and it's going to be a fun Balkan wedding with Olja and her family. Just seeing these pictures brings back so many memories of my days there during the Milosevic regime and the protests that toppled his pathetic, corrupt regime.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sun Sets on Fire Island

We closed up the Fire Island beach house over the weekend. So sad. This photo was taken as we left on the last ferry Sunday night....and it perfectly captured the beauty of that fall weekend and was a perfect ending to a wonderful summer.