Quotes Loved Lately ... and an early run at a birthday

Homelands don't exist.  It's an invention. 
What does exist is that place where you were happy.
Susana Fortes, from Waiting For Robert Capa.

A sign you are getting better is when you care less what others think of you.
Robert Moore.

Great artists don't have careers, they have lives.
Gregory O'Brien.

It showed her she had to live 'in the gap between what could be said and what really happened'.
Nelly, in The Invisible Woman

The writers I know, or whose lives I have read about, have one thing in common:  a stressed childhood.  I don't mean, necessarily, an unhappy one, but children who have been forced into self-awareness early, have had to learn how to watch the grown-ups, assess them, know what they really mean, as distinct from what they say, children who are continually observing everyone - they have the best apprenticeships.

Doris Lessing.

Today was mostly about a birthday, not mine but an early Miss-9-celebrating-10.  Her birthday falls in the school holidays and she has made some precious school friends here in the city.

It was all about water fights and laughter, a toast made with plastic goblets, and gifts that made her swoon.

It was a good day here in the flatlands of Belgium.

Oh, and about this Flemish side of Belgium, the place where I live ... VRT News channels made this.  It so captures the Flemish I know.  They have their serious face ... and then there is this crazy-beautiful side that I sometimes forget about.

On my facebook page I wrote, 'One of the biggest secrets about Belgium is how amusing and wicked the Flemish folk are. VRT-Nieuws is our news channel of choice and it was hilarious (and yet unsurprising) to see them ALL dancing to Happy here. They wear a serious face oftentimes but scratch the surface and ... well, you get a sense of them here. Loved this.'


Something else that makes me happy ...

Whenever I leave Genova, I go through a withdrawal as I leave the source of some truly superb coffee, found at Caffè degli Specchi.

I know there's a shift to make ... from the sublime back to the-best-I-can-find-here.

This was my answer to the spotty quality of coffee found outside of Genova.  A small machine, the most I could afford and yes, it makes me happy.

The small cup is just the perfect size.  An exquisite gift from the mother of my first husband, given to me when she came over and spent a couple of weeks with us last summer.  Thank you, Valda :-)

Happiness is ...

The other day my lovely friend, the talented soprano Kathleen Berger, had this idea over on facebook ... she was going to post a photograph of something that made her happy, every day.

I liked the idea.  There's been so much doom and gloom lately, so much chaos. 

I have spent this year following the poet, Amy Turn Sharp, as she creates a poem every day through 2012.  I love her poetry.  I love those daily poems.

To begin ... one of my favourite things is surely my deep red bookshelves, the ones that hang next to me, here at my desk.  They are loaded with my treasured books and dvds.  And there are little gifts too.

The painting from and by artist, Karla Verdugo, the red cardinal from the lovely Lisa Ferreira.  The beautiful tile with the perfect message, from Raquel