7 December 2019

Of rats and men

Rats can learn how to drive rat-mobiles. Did you know that?

Rat-mobiles are the poor sister of bat-mobiles. A clear plastic food container makes the miniature car completed with wheels, an aluminum floor and three copper bars the rats use as a steering wheel.

Several rats were trained within a so-called enriched environment, with access to toys, tiny ladders and pine cones. Several others received their training within a traditional enclosure. The rats in the enriched environment proved better at driving, while the rats in the traditional enclosure “barely made any progress”.

What kind of rat am I?

Most days I live in a self made cage: the appartment, the office and the route between them. But the cage can change and my life can be enriched.
The last weekend of the Banksy unauthorized exhibit in Bucharest, I realized I've been postponing this for months. Almost to the point when I could have easily missed it. I bought a ticket with the intent of going there, by myself, Friday night, right after work.

Did I feel like doing this when I finished my work week? Did I consider going straight home, even with the prepaid ticket in hand? You bet I did.

Why does joy feel like such an effort?

The road less travelled is not the dafault in real-life. I take the metro to my home every night, so it is easier for me to stop at Aparatorii Patriei, like I always do, instead of Aviatorilor.
Familiarity was tempting me to go home and watch the Voice of Romania on a Friday night. The new stop was better though. I took a nice walk from the metro to Arcul de Triumf, breathing in the warm autumn wind, passing by exquisite residencies and wandering how it would feel like to live there.

The road to enriched environment is not straightforward

My first Banksy exhibit was at Moco in Amsterdam. I am programmed to visit museums when I travel, not so much in my home city. It took an American colleague to visit the show in Bucharest to remind me I wanted to do that as well. It was also my first time up in Arcul de Triumf, even though I have been living in Bucharest for the past 20 years. The Arc is a symbol of Bucharest and it was now adorned with Banksy's modern art: reflections on consumerism, violence, mankind in general.

The visit felt abundantly recharging and I got home by 8.30. My little escapade gave me the time alone I desperately need. It also helped me navigate the weekend more peacefully as opposed to the anxiety of getting many things done in a time that should be used for rest and reset.

In retrospect this wasn't that hard, after all. Since then I gave myself a massage, a facial, a visit to a bookstore or simply a 15 minute window shopping session. Mostly, on Friday nights. Kindness is one of my core values but it never occurred to me I should extend the same kindness to myself . Can you believe that?

Have you been kind to yourself lately? In what ways?

29 November 2019

The power of music: 7 reasons why kids should sing in a choir

Do you sing? I do especially in the car when the radio surprises me with an oldie but goldie. It seems  I still remember a lot of the lyrics I learnt more than 20 years ago:

This world has lost its glory let's start a brand new story now my love
Right now there'll be no other time and I can show you all my love
Talk an everlasting words and dedicate them all to me

6 January 2019

My 3 Words for 2019

In an effort to switch from frustrating new year resolutions to new year guiding "lights", this is my seventh "3 words" exercise. It starts with a dreamy Hermes print and goes inward. A journey to the centre of me. A conversation about what I need to be centred. And here is what myself and I agree on for the brand new 2019.

24 July 2018

My sweetlicious ghost

Some things I stubbornly want to never forget. Like a kiss, a funny remark, even a frown filled with contempt. I was taking off my socks one day with Tudor by my side when he kissed my feet. Just like that. I smiled with surprise and joy. Tudor was waiting for more, looking at me all along. He finally asked for a confirmation:
"Was it sweetlicious(ro: A fost dulcios?)
Oh, my love, it surely was."

16 July 2018

Mini Parkour at Berca Mud Vulcanoes

Grown ups have places to see. Children have experiences to enjoy. This may well be the conclusion of our visit to the Mud Vulcones. But let me tell you how it started.

14 April 2018

Cleanin' out my bags closet

Zara bag that I customised with pins, adjusted the strap and covered it with colourful fabric, 130 ron

This is not about Eminem, but did you know that he has a new album out, "Revival"?

4 April 2018

Blue is the colour, perspective is the game

Jardin Majorelle is located on the new side of Marrakech. It is one of the most visited sites in Morocco. In the midst of the town's craziness and colour overload, a special shade of blue brings peace and energy at the same time. It's called Majorelle blue just as  Romania's special is called Voronet blue.

31 March 2018

What I've been reading 2017-2018

It was in my early twenties when I set a goal of reading at least 1 book per month. A very low bar, but even so, couldn't keep up once I became a working mom. Not a mom, because when I was breastfeeding Cristian, was reading a lot while he was attached to me.

24 March 2018

Nailed it: Anti-Bleak

The weather is bleak right now and it was the same few weeks ago when we went looking for the sun in Morocco. Every good trip starts with a good manicure cause nice nails travel better. And sometimes the colour has just the right name: Anti-Bleak from OPI.

18 March 2018

My secret wish

Today is not my birthday. I don't have any candles to blow. I do have wishes. And who needs birthdays to make a wish?!

I remember one vacation at the seaside. We were at a kids party when the most interesting thing happened. The kids in the audience were taught how to make a wish. Unfortunately I can't remember the whole deal but it was such a nice ritual . One thing I do remember is they were told to close their eyes at some point.

2 January 2018

My 3 words for 2018

In an effort to switch from frustrating new year resolutions to new year guiding "lights", this is my sixth "3 words" exercise. I almost forgot about it and my first thought was : "Not this year!". But I soon realized all my yearly 3 words served me well. It only took 3 minutes to decide, as if they were waiting to see the light, be my torch in 2018:

25 December 2017

C from Christmas card, comfort and cooking

Winter break or no break, winter is the best season to spend some time by the fire. As much as I love a good fireplace, I was referring to the time spent in front of the stove. Which I really like especially if it's followed by heartfelt, mouth-watering compliments from the 3 men in the house. Hubby said the duck with cabbage was probably the best thing he ate in his entire life.Thumbs up for such a flattering remark.

11 October 2017

My Black Sea: Sun Up, Worries Down

My summer was not lazy nor crazy. I missed the craziness of a last minute ride to the sea followed by a lazy day on the beach. I longed for long dates with my couch watching Netflix late at night. Instead I was busy with unplanned house renovation due to minor water damage. As if this wasn't enough, September was knocking at the door , bringing Tudor's first day in school. This meant some new routines I needed to prepare and organize for. I felt overwhelmed with worries. There was just one thing that could put a stop to my irritating thoughts.

9 September 2017

The catcher in the hills

"...I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day."

18 August 2017

The unknown story of a red chair

One red chair made me stop and stare when I was hiking back from The Royal Sheepfold Glade (Stana Regala). It looked like Marina Abramovic set there during one of her performances. Just days before, I watched InnSaei on Netflix and it may be where this weird feeling was coming from. Abramovic, too.

11 August 2017

Storytelling matters: my afternoon with Debbie Millman

Who is Debbie Millman?

Debbie is a writer, educator, artist, brand consultant and host of the radio show Design matters.
Tim Ferris introduced me to Debbie Millman. Through a podcast, obviously, not in person. However I did get the chance to see Debbie in person. She talked about "How to design your creative life".

27 July 2017

The Botanical Garden of Cluj-Napoca

The Botanical Garden of  Cluj-Napoca was opened for the public 92 years ago, in 1925. It was established by Alexandru Borza who was a priest but also the founder of geobotany in Romania. It is big, 14 hectares big. It even has a sector destined for persons with sight deficiencies, created recently in order to meet the community needs.

25 July 2017

7 ingredient recipe for a perfect weekend

Have you asked yourself lately : "How do I like to be loved?" A question like this doesn't deserve a straightforward answer. Love is never that simple. A question like this asks for poetry, specifics and music. Speaking of music, there are few things in life that make me as happy as a Depeche Mode concert. Because they were in my room growing up and they shaped the way I love. After their 14th album was released in March, I was standing by for the tour announcement. Luckily, Romania was on the list. So I knew months in advance where I will be and what I'll do on July 23, 2017. Now I also know what makes a great weekend, in Cluj. Here are the ingredients, if you’d like:

1 July 2017

Pleasanton pamper

I am eating a big Toblerone triangle. Because I can and because I shouldn't. I will try not to feel guilty about it this time. "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get" comes to mind. I don't think so.

20 June 2017

She who rises early gets the crown

Remember this ?! 2 mildly tanned boys saying "Welcome back" to school and kindergarten? 9 months fast forward school year is over. When I say fast, I mean really fast. So fast I could barely hear my thoughts most days. I have selective hearing when it comes to my thoughts. On school nights I can only hear about what the boys schedule looks like, what will they eat/ wear/ prepare for the next day. Any other thoughts are left behind, at the back of my head. Where I can find them on vacation. Thoughts are waiting patiently, time doesn't.