Life in pix

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My Life in Pictures and Anecdotes

Apologies to the reader: 1.) My humor, as you’ll see, is not always digestible; – so I am told. 2.) I have a Hungarian style run on sentence habit that is not a good mix with the English language. 3.) I go off on side-stories, so keep things straight in your head. “You” reader Warnings given, buckle up, and here we go!

ANNA

First words ever spoken: “szép baba” [meaning: beautiful doll/baby] – I was standing in front of a mirror.

Nurse (to my mother in hospital when my mother bent down to untie her boots):
What are you here for?
Mother: To give birth.
Nurse: Why? Are you pregnant?
Sums up my size from the start.

@2 Anna: Mother, how do we have days and nights?

Mother (thinking it would be a tall order to explain that concept just yet): I don’t know.

Anna: You are pretty dumb!

Mother: Ok, if you are so smart why don’t you tell me.

Anna: At night the stars are up on the sky, during the day they come down and make light here for us.

@3 Sitting on the train, a lady asked me: “Which lady is your mom?” (there were several people in our compartment cart). I replied: “The prettier one.”

@3 I broke a glass accidentally and started to cry. My mother told me: “You are such a little donkey, you don’t need to cry about that.” As the tears were still rolling down my cheek, I coldheartedly replied: “The little donkey’s mother is an ass.”

@4 Mother: What are you going to be when you grow up?
Anna: I’ll be a famous dancer in Paris.
Mother: Why in Paris?
Anna: Because that’s the only place where the true stars are.
Mother was always shocked I knew about Paris at such an early age (and of course the “attitude”, is unmistakably me.)

See (BOYS: Pityuka)

@3: Daycare Teacher: Anna, bring me my purse. (It was an honor to be trusted with such a task.)
Anna: I am not your personal slave.

@2: Mother bought me a huge doll for X-mas. I pulled the doll out from the package, tossed the doll behind me and jumped on the box for 3 days straight, till it completely fell apart. (And never played with the doll. -To my mom’s horror, who always wanted a big doll when she was a child.)

@3 We were waiting for the bus and an old man was sitting at the bus port with his hat (facing up) in his hands. I ran over to him, dumped the coins from my wallet into his hat and ran back to my mom. He desperately tried to give the money back to me, but I vehemently refused. (I’ve mistaken him for a beggar).

My mother had to go to the capital to buy me clothes as I was unwilling to wear anything that other kids had in the daycare. She bought a sewing machine and started making my clothes. As an irony, I chose a school to attend that required a uniform. (The only school in town that did!)

Children’s Day at my mom’s office (fountain had turtles and an island in the middle for the turtles.)

I was about 4 years old and was visiting my mother’s office. I was bored and started to sharpen all the pencils I found at people’s desks, then placed the pencils back to their right owner. My mother’s boss, appreciating the effort, gave me some coins and said, “here, for your hard work”. I gave the coins back to him and said: “I can only be paid with paper money, not some change”. They all burst out laughing.

(See BOYS Andris)
Dancing at my mom’s work celebratory banquette

I was held back for a year from going to school due to my size, but when the time came, I applied for the music elementary school that had a 6-fold overflow of applicants.

I passed all their tests, and got accepted. We were assigned a new home (with indoor plumbing!!) in a better part of town, closer to my new school.

Cutting my birthday cake
(You cannot see the big knife, due to the angle I hold it.)
Roofline of my elementary school
(Music class: First grade. Picture from national weekly magazine.)
Where I grew up. (Top floor, to build those glut muscles. -no elevator.)
With my little brother
(See BOYS: Sandri) Chopped off hair: Second grade.

Not only I got into the nicest school in the region (Age 6-15), I was assigned to the class that was a UNESCO program recipient. My education and cultural horizon expansion could not have been richer in a Swiss private school or if I were a royal. Above picture we are practicing an old folk game that was taught to us by a native Moldovan folklore researcher. (Due to Trianon peace treaty, Moldova has a sizable Hungarian population.) In background you can see a 3-story high organ in the Main Music Chamber of my school.  [Diszterem] (Entire school was like a carved marble castle with breathtaking ironwork throughout and stained glass. School was just transferred to this no expense spared renovated historic building when I entered first grade.)

Díszterem (My Elementary School’s Main Music Hall Windows- twenty some foot ceilings)

In addition to Hungarian folk music, which was a core requirement for all students at the school, we were taught folk dance, attended school concerts throughout the year (both choir and instrumental), analyzing and discussing art, implementing new concepts through various mediums and the list goes on and on. We discussed modern art like Mondrian and Vasarely, and classics and romantics like Munkacsy; class-performances; and of course, music, non-stop. Analyzing the movements, the feelings, how you’d translate it into visual art; singing in Hary Janos opera in the town’s main theatre running for a full year (National TV also recorded/televised one performance in full length); making presentations to visiting dignitaries and pedagogues from around the globe, TV & radio interviews, and even a movie commercial for the library; – all thanks to this school. I am beyond blessed with how much I was exposed to as a child.

One of those thought-provoking discussions about art (our artwork on display in background).

End of schoolyear award ceremony and report card distribution (mother sitting [top right corner] with my brother on her lap.) The two other kids with red neck ties I still keep in touch with. One became a professional musician, the other is a successful businesswoman – who also married against her parents’ will and did very well! My school taught us well: Keep your mind and heart open and just go for it…and let there be music along the way!)

In third grade I started a “revolution” due to inequality issues (-and I was in its privileged class). School director was sent in to resolve the situation. As a result, the teacher in question promised to retire once she finished our year. I still remained in her good favors. Respect / Justice must prevail!

Holding my brother’s hand who is 5.5 years younger than me.

Yes, he was Mr. Tough from the second he was born. His nickname as a toddler was the Iron Kneader [Vasgyuro].

My father used to tell me: “You’ll understand it when you grow up”.  I could have screamed how mad that used to make me. I understood it plenty at the time (my IQ I was born with, not something I developed over time. My logic was always spot on, and assessment of situations and people.) …worry none, I set him straight after my aunt’s wedding; -in an EPIC way! (I was 12 at the time) He never had the inclination to talk to me again. No, I have no “daddy issues”. My dad has “Anna issues”. It’s fixed, but proper. 😊  I had things to pay back for.  

From first grade on, I was the only female member of the boy’s “Örs” (Hungarian Communist era class teams to build competition and comradery). I loved playing soccer and “Star Wars”, and they needed a princess Leia anyway. Boys had way cooler games and were not whiny.)

7th grade in the courtyard of my school with my classmates.
In my mother’s room.
My National ID picture. @14

Mom’s graduation gift (elementary school) for me was a trip to Vienna, Austria. I used my graduation money and with mom’s help I bought a race bike there that was MY size (which I saw in a German catalog before and was on a mission to get it). People used to stop me on the street to ask where I got that bike from! No such thing was available in my country, even though the borders have been opened up already (fall of communism- 1989). Mom sacrificed a lot for this trip to get my bike, so I needed to pay her kindness back. That summer, (@15) I got a summer job at the local factory. I lasted longer than all other kids who started with me, and also the only one who worked beyond the regular hours. I was not paid overtime as it was not permitted for students to work more than 8 hours, however I was paid extra for my production increase. At the end of my summer job, I took my pay and went to the town central bank to get it converted to a few stacks of 50 Forint bills. Rode my bike out to mom’s office and dumped the now sizable bag of money on her desk and said, this was the last time I worked in this country. (I kept my promise.)

High school, See BOYS: Krisztian / Joe

@19
HS Graduation Picture

Maybe I am utopistic and naïve, but great things start with a dream, and I do dare to dream big and do everything I can to turn that dream into reality. (Even if flat dropped on my face, I will eventually get up and aim even higher.)

Lesson 1 in life: Dare to defy the odds! Don’t let others limit you!

Back at age 5, they told my mom that I shouldn’t apply to the music school since not even so-and-so was accepted (who was ‘Miss Popular’ of our area.) In 8th grade, my classmates yelled at me when they found out that I only applied to one high school (which is not true, as I also applied to art school, but due to extreme competition it isn’t considered to take a spot on the application file.) Thankfully, that very day I got the result that I was accepted to the science “gimnázium” just based on my GPA. In high school, my class master screamed at me in front of the whole class when he learned that I applied for the engineers’ math Matura exam, proclaiming I would fail, as I was incompetent and did not appreciate the difficulty of the exam. I appreciated it just fine. I just wanted to avoid

having him grade my national exam, due to his attitude toward women he displayed in the years that I have witnessed. I can only imagine what scene he made in the teacher’s lounge because when the results came back, the director of the school personally came up to the class to congratulate me on earning grade 5 (highest grade possible) also in front of my class. Director’s wife was my math teacher in elementary school. I would not let them down! (-or let a chauvinist moron underestimate me.) Same class master also took a jab at me saying he’d love to meet a man who’d marry me. Wrong question! What kind of man am I willing to marry! Certainly not his kind. But more about that in the “BoYs” section.

USA/ Colleges/ School/ etc.
@ 20
@ 21
@ 21
Taking Mom to Boston’s Quincy Market
@21 – College ID (Boston- Sophomore year) See Boys: Darling
@22  See Boys Darling / Andrew
@22 “When in Rome…”
@ 23-25 (See Boys: David/ Chris)

Based on looks? Land Rover! Based on how it drives? Hands down Jeep!

@25-27

December 2001

I got inpatient with the speed of my educational progress (I lost credits due to the transfer).  My solution: I signed up for 18 credits.  I had to get an academic advisor’s approval to do so. They were afraid overloading me may affect my GPA. I assured them I will be fine.

I didn’t pick too difficult of classes. One of my classes was chemistry. I have a laboratorial chemistry certificate that I earned during high school, taking 8-9 chemistry classes each week for 2 years and took a special exam at graduation. The certificate was not accepted here in the USA, but I knew I could still maneuver a US college chemistry class on autopilot. The problem was that I didn’t like one of my chemistry teachers and did not want a negative experience to ruin my love for the subject. To solve my conundrum, I signed up for CLEP test, thus I could earn the credits that I needed in order to graduate and not be subjected to that chemistry teacher. With my CLEP test ( which I passed on first try), I ended up completing 22 credits and still maintained my GPA. (as I was tested on a full year’s worth of materials not just a semester; therefore, I got 8 credits of chemistry, not just 4 for the semester.) I graduated with Magna Cum Laude (associate degree), and also earned the state’s Academic Achievement Award (given out by the Governor of the state). I kept the award certificate and gave mom the gold medal to hang next to their medals at home. My brother got one for wrestling, and mom got one for ping pong. I also signed up for a real estate class. I chose the toughest teacher, who they said was a guarantee to make you pass the state exam. They were correct. I passed my exam on the first try.

Taking trips with my “little” brother @ Key West
Incognito- (with my dress on my head)
We’re already here, might as well try something new.
@ Painted Ladies ( San Francisco)
Botanical Garden – SF
Upstate NY- another speed machine- FUN!!  
Me+Boston= visiting Darling
Boston- Mid twenties
Boston (late-twenties)
DC (late twenties)

I was a passenger in a bad car accident when I was 14. Our car, Trabant (=communist ‘masterpiece’ made out of pressed cardboard with a vapor barrier coating), was T-boned at full speed, at the side I was sitting. Back then, there were no seatbelts on backseats, at least not on communist-bloc cars. Our car flipped over a few times, finally to be stopped by a boulder. Car ended up on its side, me being toward the ground, still holding my little brother “down” as much as I could. People who saw the car (what was left of it) said nobody made it out alive, but we all did. I ended up with some stitches on my face, due to glass cuts. Even after that incident I had no issues getting back in a car. I just prefer me driving, not someone else. (Not due to safety concerns, but due to “fun factor”.)

Naples @30 (age! Not miles per hour! – Yes, nail color matched the car’s exterior.)

“I LOVE to drive” is an understatement. Give me music and a road-hugging car and I’ll be set. (Now, add a destination where someone I love is waiting for me and that’s pure paradise. ← Which is why I could make long distance relationships work. I have to drive? Fine by me. It’s a bit of a distance? OK, wait up for me!) Police weren’t particularly fond of me; -had a few encounters. (No, I didn’t slap them like ZsaZsa did.) I keep my cool and not give reason to escalate. Tell them if they were wrong and why, or counter them in court.

I am partial to German cars. Predicament: German cars need a German style highway. US imports the car but not the “accessory”. (And if you have the goods, learn how to use it properly!) USA has no Strada-s, so I had to improvise (highway only! In residential areas I am a little angel.)

One time I was driving with hubby next to me. Eins-Zwei pulled me over, stating “you do not like to follow the rules” and recited a long list what I did wrong if we play by the book. (First off, I always had to explain my license plate as they read the letter O as a number 0 and ran the wrong plate, -without exception, always-, so that was given as an intro each time.) Then officer asked me where my accent was from. I replied I was Hungarian. He had an accent too.: German. (Fun pun as I often refer to police as above nomenclature, thus it was double befitting here.)  He thanked me what Hungary did for his country and bid me goodbye, without a single ticket. Hubby said: “One day you’ll have to explain this to me what just went down”. (HISTORY! Hungarians willingness to break rules, what caused his country (East Germany) to reunite with the rest of the country (West Germany), despite Hungarians could have easily ended up as compost, yet again, under Soviet (satellite) tanks (like in 1956!!), but we take chances like no one else dares! Welcome to Hungary!)

I have a few more police stories, but won’t share all. Here are two, which are connected.:

One afternoon my brother’s friend dropped my bro off at my house. Police decided to try to pull them over once they turned onto my driveway and were parked. I was not happy having police on my property, so I lectured police to take his pulling over activities onto the roads not my private property. Apparently, I asked him very firmly to leave and he forgot all about his initial victims. He asked for back-up and after I set them straight too (reprimanding their actions and demanded to speak to their superiors), they left. Yes, I was as curt as imaginable, without crossing proper etiquette boundaries. (Once I get riled up, good luck;- it’s checkmate!)

Here comes the twist:

Several summers later, My Mr. and I were hanging out in the backyard (same house). We heard some serious base for a while and My Mr.  said: “There is some party that I think we should crash!”  You don’t have to tell me twice. “I never crashed a party before. Let’s do it! So, we started to walk toward the music. Across the road, across the church/ school property, across some development, then more backroads, and another development, then finally a field turned into a parking lot. (Must be a big party, right!?) We arrived behind a big stage. (We walked for at least 20 some minutes at this point.) We went to the front to find: a Southern Baptist Church congregation with ladies sitting in big hats and in their Sunday best. (Good thing we didn’t bring a 6-pack.) OK, now how do we get home? We just got to the very end of the event, and it was getting dark. All the cars were leaving, and the police were directing traffic. We asked an officer how to get to this and that part of town. “Take this jug-handle” -Hmm. “Sir, we are on foot”.  “Oh, then go this way….” By the way, I know you” (← police telling me). “-Really? From where?”  “You yelled at me a few years ago when I pulled your friends over.” Hubby knew that story from my bro’s friends. Apparently, I became an urban legend for them. I also must have made an impression on the police, for the officer to remember me for that long.

I don’t get it. I have no weapons, I am 5 foot “tall”, weigh a hundred pounds, probably wearing a cute summer dress and heels, hugging a textbook, standing pretty stationary and keeping my composure, granted I do run my mouth and can sound eloquent and authoritative at times. (← But not a thug to attack you!) Big guys with guns on their belt and a license to kill, afraid of me??  I must be scary! Funny, but a perception that I hear often. (Oh, yeah! I also know how to ‘shoot arrows’ with my eyes.)  Be scared, if you did something wrong. If not, there is no reason. I am as rational as it comes. (hubby agrees on this, and he can lay it on me thick, if needed. He can be harsh, but fair. ← My kind.) 

@30 in my living room

Around the time I met My Mr. I went back to college to get my bachelor’s degree. (I was in the process to move back to EU/ UK and UK does not recognize US associate degrees as a college degree, so I needed a bachelor’s degree before any move). Graduated with a 4.0. GPA. (-took me just 1 year, as they allowed almost all my credits to transfer in.) Along the way, incidentally, I also became a school ambassador; -that started out with me breaking some rules.: I painted my dorm room without permission (and with some simple tricks made a cinderblock “cell” look inviting and relaxing. I got into a ton of trouble first, but also earned my new campus nickname “Little Ms. Martha Stewart”. My dorm room eventually became a “stop spot”, including for visiting prospective students on our campus tours and I got recruited to become a student ambassador. By this time, My Mr. and I were clearly something worth sticking around for. So, I changed plans in “mid-air”, and I set my eyes on a new challenge to see how far I can push myself. (Not too far off from my baseline, as even with Andrew, we discussed it as possible career path for me.)

Work hard, get a reward, recharge and find a new challenge! Both hard work and fun must be part of life to keep a healthy balance! (Not just ‘work hard and party harder’. Sleep/ relax TOO! I do not burn the candle on both ends, that’s not healthy either.) One time I told My Mr. about how I love to drive into the City and go clubbing. So, he said: ok, let’s do it. I told him we have to go to bed early, like 8pm, set the alarm for midnight, then, the party begins. He thought I was joking…me joking??? Yeah, right! I know, it’s a weird “clubbing ritual”, but it makes perfect sense; -figuring the hours of operation into the equation.)

Clubbing outfit.  (The top I made to match the pants. Let’s use those fashion degrees!)

Before I met My Mr., one of those nights clubbing: One of greatest compliments I got: “Whatever you’re on, I want some of that!” (from some random girl on the dance floor.) I was just in my music induced trance (probably with an ear-to-ear smile on my face). As always, I operate on a drug- and alcohol-free system; -but, truth be told, music sets me free!! FEEL the BEAT vibrating in your lungs…your heartbeat will catch up, just go with it!  My routine used to be: As soon as I arrived, I drank 2 Red Bulls. I made sure the can was sealed. If ever opened, EVEN if person opened it in front of me, I was not willing to take it. I did say it upfront: Do not open it!  I only had to drop this line once, when they didn’t comply with my instructions: ”Send your manager if you want to discuss it further”. Wiped the can, and never put my drink down, I chugged it in one sip. Better be safe than sorry. Give nobody a chance to be stupid. Paranoid? Maybe, but we live in a world with “ugly” lurking, and must be careful. I jumped all night dancing. Full of energy and dancing out how the music made me feel. I danced with anyone who wanted to, but no funny business! They came closer than a foot I put my arms up to signal to “back off” / “give me space”. If they didn’t take the hint, I drew the line fast and furious.

The Light Master used to pamper me with his attention in form of a light show on me (my free spirit didn’t go unnoticed) and after a while he assigned security personnel next to me. Guard reported back to him that no need, I am “no joke”, as I push them away if they get “too close”. I did not make them fall/ get hurt, merely put on the breaks. We dance; that’s all. If that was enough, they were welcome to stay. (Never had issues beyond “first notice”.) On my way home I got a huge glass of milk to assure the caffeine wouldn’t ‘eat my stomach away’, then back into the car and enjoyed the drive home. The brain is the greatest drug manufacturer. Trigger your senses right and you’ll be rewarded with true happiness without damage. Happy life= Find what makes you happy and keep doing it.

We were invited to a garden party in Paris at the Japanese Embassy. This time I had my arsenal at my disposal.

I find “unconventional” comforting. It means it is custom fit to my exact needs. My philosophy: if you must do it, do it in style.

@ Milo Z gig  
@28
@35 “LA’s lesson”  (See BoYs: Joe) on display

When it comes to opportunities in life, Fortuna plays a huge role, but not all cards are in her hand, so make the best of it. Find your synergies. Must adapt to (or catapult if needed!)  whatever situation you’re thrown into, yet stay true to whom you are. Don’t ever give up without a proper fight! Make the world a better place (starting with yourself) and if they don’t let you, go elsewhere. Do not be a martyr, be a hero. Heroes come home alive! NO SELF-SACRIFICE! Life is precious. We only have one.

@31   I met My Mr. for the first time on Mother’s Day; this picture was taken in June that year.

One morning I woke up super early, and got a big tray filled with “dinner-food” in bed: Chicken, side dishes, the works. My Mr. looked at me and asked ‘the hell are you doing? I smiled and said, I got hungry. Two minutes later he was doing the same thing with a huge smile on his face.

-Yes, I have cake for breakfast too, if I feel like it. Why not?? That is also how I start a restaurant order. Can I see the dessert menu?” (-so, I can plan my meal accordingly.) My in-laws always get a kick out of this.  If I feel like it, and it hurts nobody, why not?? Be spontaneous and have fun!

@31 (Meeting My Mr.’s father and sister for the first time.)
Let the cat take center stage.

My Mr. moved his cat into my house before he moved in with me. (Which was me breaking a rule of mine: Do not live with a man unless married to him.) Anyhow, cat used to tear his place up, like a bomb went off. My place? Cat didn’t disturb a thing. Was uber respectful, walking across the chessboard without touching a single piece. I had crystals all over; -never a problem. At My Mr.’s place, cat found a way to get on top of kitchen cabinets to knock down all liquor bottles, napkins, whatever he could find, only to knock over the trashcan to make coffee grind etc. get all over. As you see behind my head, I have my decanter display much lower. Cat approved, and never touched a thing.  I am not a cat person, but this is a special cat. Even mother agrees with me on this one!

Engagement ring- EU/Hungarian style (no diamonds, all sapphires! – Hubby understands me, respects and embraces my differences. As I found out afterwards, this ring was custom-made. He searched for a long time in several states to find a sapphire ring without a single diamond in it. (I refuse to wear diamonds. -political /protest)

My Mr. totally tricked me when proposing. It was not expected at all. I thought we went out to celebrate his new job. He got me! (-Yes, all three meanings.)

@32    

I designed and made my wedding gown.  – Beach wedding. (ordered lace from England) Dress folds up to size of a medium weight sweater- for easy travel, and needs no ironing if folded correctly.

(@32)

Beaded for the whole summer. (Maison Lesage- a la Anna!) -and made our wedding cake too. (top  tier: tiramitsu, bottom tier: Chocolate/ raspberry- used here as face cream.)

Honeymoon
Honeymoon
Road-trip: Hubby showing me the home he grew up in.  @33
Hungary  @ 33

The “stupid” smile I display when happiest.  My Grandmother (paternal) on the left (in sleeveless dress) “Keke” her sister on the right (in long sleeve shirt). Visiting them during my childhood, I spent lots of my time with them in this kitchen …which changed so little over the decades… Sweet memories. Keke was an amazing baker and tailor, which I try to mimic but could not possibly replicate. I keep trying though. My Grandma gave birth to 14 kids (after first, she was told it’s not advisable to have any more.- We listen well when others try to dictate our lives’ path. NOT!)

@33 – Budapest / Danube:  My Bro= Red t-shirt; blue T-shirt =hubby, me sandwiched between. (Both wrestled, my bro was EU champion.)   Do not practice on me… or I’ll tickle! 😊
Hiros Napok -Kecskemet (Summer Wine festival) @33
Downtown Kecskemet- Hungary
With my Chicago umbrella  @33   Kecskemet- Hungary
Katona Janos National Theatre, Kecskemet- Hungary @ 33
Performed here in 3rd grade- Hary Janos; and the last show that I saw, before my departure for the USA, was here (at age 19) – My Fair Lady.
Kecskemet- Hungary
Summer + Hungary= Ice cream (“Fagyi”) 
Hiros Napok [Famous Days], Kecskemet (and what matters! = Raspberry/ Lemon/ Chocolate) (Good ice cream is worth traveling for! I used to drive to the Village, just to eat from my favorite shop (Bruno’s). They had an amazing selection of EU style ice creams, more zing/ better texture, not just frozen sugary milk/ heavy cream. I want to taste summer! – with all the fruits and a contrast base.)

Frankfurt- Germany: utilizing our long layover @33

We were on our way back to USA. During our flight, above Ireland, my husband noticed the screen showing progress of plane is off-course, we are going toward Europe. (911 moment flash-backs!) Few seconds later (before I could come up with a clever plan how to neutralize the terrorists), captain gets on loudspeaker to announce, we are leaking hydraulic fluid and Ireland cannot accommodate emergency landing etc., so we are heading back to Germany. (As I understand, hydraulic fluid, among others, is needed for landing gear to operate properly…or you will take a belly dive without wheels….with Lufthansa landing style that would have been an interesting one, to say the least. LH has a very idiosyncratic way of landing, that is hard to miss, – based on my experience.  Feels more like a dip down, -analogous how a goose lands on water…which is why I think they chose their trademark the way they did! ← Anna humor!!- you have been warned about this.) -Yes, even in this situation I remained an atheist!

The firetrucks that raced on both sides of our airplane, as we were landing, ready to take action if needed.
Paris- France @35

Paris playground behind Sacre Coeur

Kids running back-and-forth between water fountain and sandbox waiting their turn to fill their buckets and bring it back to dump it on their creation as a teamwork. I thought it was way too cute.

A block away, the “big kids” were playing their games together too. Kind Parisians who invited me to join their picknick (with champagne! What else? It is Paris after all!! Must love them!!) and play petanque. (Public park with all sorts of parties going on, tucked between apartments.) Truth be told, Parians are pretty awesome. I do not understand why they have a bad reputation in USA. They were flat out fabulous wherever I/we went.

Parisian courtyard behind my apartment (took picture from our stairwell window) I lived in a home that was built in the 1500s! -in the oldest part of Paris. (Marais- the marsh lands) Want to learn how to live and strike a good balance between responsibilities and fun? Go to Paris and watch them, till you “get it”, and go join them, don’t just watch….

Can you picture sipping your morning coffee/tea here?

@35 

Result of an uneven step from an ice-cream shop. Major fall down; but, I never dropped the ice-cream!

Next to the scar, that I acquired at age 7 (glass cut).  (Remember this new mishap for a few more pages…)

An impromptu, unofficial Central Europeans Girls Convention: With my international classmates. (“Croatia” and “Slovakia” girls next to me, “Hungary”.) @35: Paris- France

Summer School- Paris  (Missing my husband like crazy!! Only a few more days to wait till his arrival.)
@ Rodin Museum (My favorite sculptor)
The Boss arrived!

Matching boo-boos on our right leg under the knee. Both acquired on same day (1007) while we were thousands of miles away from each other.  (We skyped the night we got hurt and were laughing at our stories who got hurt what way… comparing whose looks worse. UberMayers!)

Hubby always messing with me.  (“Dip?”)
I put our itinerary together so one day was high octane the next was low-key and relaxing, alternating each day. We had a blast.
Loire Valley Castle tour
Picnic at Parc Floral de Paris: chicken, baguette, cheese spreads, vine and fruits galore on a blanket set up. Fall asleep if you want (ßjetlag), I’ll guard your dreams.😊
Bruges- Belgium: Belgian beer (took a sip;- still not a beer girl), moules/frites and chocolate …need anything else?
Bruges- Belgium @35
Versailles  @35

Heading to a Halloween party,
 as Frances Stevens
(From Movie, To Catch a Thief)
@36 and Hubby as Kick Ass
(I made both costumes).
@36 – Back to super blond! Yes, I change my hair frequently. It’s an “accessory” to play with to fit my whim. I have a tendency to go back to my “signature looks”.
Budapest- Hungary (Gellert Hegy) (Years later we brought the kids too.)
Dunakanyar- Hungary @37
Balaton (Siofok)- Hungary
Balaton (Tihany)- Hungary
Age 38; 2 months before I got pregnant, prepping hubby’s game room for a complete makeover.  Room’s AC was horrid, plus it was on third floor, so it was hot up there, during a nice warm Indian summer. I opted for a bikini to do the work….(6 months later I was hanging wallpaper here with a sizable tummy.)
First month of pregnancy with first child.   A month away from 39)
6 months pregnant (yes, I got way bigger than this!!) I added 30-35 pounds during my pregnancies. Took a year to lose weight with each. @39

My babies are never small.
(With first child, they asked if I carry twins. Second child was even bigger! -Go big or go home?)

I am an atheist, but as you can tell, X-mas is huge for me.

Even in Boston, when I flew home to Hungary for X-mas, I still got a tree as big as the space could possibly accommodate to adorn my home. (I disassembled my dining room table so I could put in a “huge” tree). 90% of my initial Boston X-mas tree décor I still own and use to this day. X-mas (and birthdays) are a special celebration at our house. I know; -atheist wife, Jewish husband, yet BIG Christmas. But it works! (I have a special page dedicated in my photo album for each year’s X-mas tree. I started it in Boston in the mid-90s.) The first home we bought (seen here) had 12-foot ceilings. Tree always had to touch the ceiling. In our new house, ceiling is even higher.

Hang all the Szaloncukor-s on tree.  Then “steal out” chocolates, fold back wrapper like the candy is still in there. By end of X-mas season it is a hunt for the goodies. Delicious fun for kids and adults.)

@48

@48 (Easter) in my creations (Opera Coat and gown) @The Wanderer = USB hand-off/ “last act of kindness before pandora’s box is opened”.

This has a Homefront story, too: The show was during or just as we were coming out of Covid, thus safety restrictions were in effect. The performance was on Easter Sunday, thus the testing facilities were closed even if normal business hours would allow Sunday operations. I didn’t get vaccinated. So my solution was getting tested and show the results to be permitted to gain entry. The results would have expired for the cheap test within a short period, thus you’d need same day administration. However, as pointed out above, Easter Sunday the testing facilities would be closed. Solution, get the more expensive testing that holds its validity for a full day and align the timing when test is performed to allow enough of a timeframe to stay valid to attend the show. Needless to say, hubby got curious why on Earth is this show so important to attend to go through all the trouble. With the most concerned look on his face he announced: “We need to talk”. (That’s his way of communicating something is seriously bothering him.) I said: “OK, shoot.” He asked: “What’s going on here, is Joey getting a divorce or something?” (I think I burst out laughing, and realized I better clarify what is what and who is who.) So I told him that Darling is a bit more than just my friend, at least in the past he was, and I do not need to protect him anymore from reprimand. I am to hand over the poison pill for someone’s smirks to melt off.  You should have seen the facial expression change. Like the world has been lifted off from his chest. His reaction shocked me, what he said: “That is so you! It all makes perfect sense now.” (He said always wondered how come we kept in touch with the passage of so many years, and the tone of relaxed familiarity between Darling and me.)

August, 2022- Garden Party at our house

(bracelet Hubby got for me a few years ago, as a surprise “thank you”, after I took care of him when he came down with Covid (no vaccines back then), and I managed to keep everyone else Covid free in the family and babied him back to health- Short of a hazmat suit/negative chamber-pressure, I implemented all precautions.)

I love this piece (detail of original). So intimate, yet pure and innocent.
I find it breathtaking how well Klimt understood and captured the connection/”feeling”.