"To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth"
Thomas Wolfe

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A year

Quiet Time

Things are tough all over I suppose. 
There's been very little time to chronicle what went on this last half of 2012, but it was mostly good and that's not bad.

Janine and the boys headed out to La Paloma for a week while I tried to tackle some work that seemed too much for any weekend since Coffee Shop started.

The weather was perfect and the house and neighborhood was as quiet as a crypt. Me likey.

The Roof

This little project was begun the year before last and nearly did me in. Even with some weeks of help it was very slow going. 

I chipped, I scraped, I gathered up and disposed of the noxious foam scraps. I cried a little.

I pressed forward this year, determined to proceed to the next stage; sealing it, in order to stop and leaks and complete the house interior paint job. Yeah.

A little cleaning and it's done. Hey now! 

I'll add some cement up there at the front where I left the foam to make a gentle slope (hoping the water will see the logic of it all) and then... I'd like to add a waterproof membrane over parts and possibly paint or coat the whole thing. 

What year that will happen is anyone's guess.

The Beach

I went out to La Paloma for a day. It was really nice although you'd never know it from a picture of me. That's me happy. Imagine.

We shared the place with our friend Claudia and her son Nicolas. Oh and their dog Sam. Me and that dog got on great.


The boys are enjoying the summer as far as I can tell. Vincent will share a lot if you can find him. Luca is a bit hard to get anything concrete out of.
That week was a huge success. They played plenty of football (US) and futbol (soccer) so out-of-doors most of the time. 
There was a TV  but the report is that they mostly played cards and talked. Nice! A week without PS3 and F*book is a much needed break for all of us.

We had hopes of seeing the folks back in the states (thus explains these passport photos) and we were doing our best to prepare for that. 
My old man is having a little surgery (is it ever a little when you get cut into?), so we'll look to next year to do some face time. Wishing you a speedy recovery Dad, a big kiss to you and E from all of us.

Vamos Arriba

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This Life

Details abound

 Montevideo. June 2012

A lot has happened since my last post; Vincent turned 13 (or twenty depending on whom you ask), much growth at Coffee Shop and Winter has had time to take a firm icy grip on our private parts.
A sweet VW on a warm day.
I am slowly realizing that what I mistook for a lack of vibrancy here is simply 'the way' of here. It's mellow, slow even backwards and yet this pace, this agreement on what is normal is done by habit, by custom, yes by design.

Change too much or too fast and you'll end up with something quite different.

 Vincent turns 13

Smashing the birthday boy's face into the cake is routine. I can still remember being at parties where it isn't. I am a throwback to the old country to my kids. Imagine that.

It's still spontaneous enough that he never saw it coming. Looking at that group now, it seems obvious.
Holly's art and Hitchens


Untethered as I am, gifts from friends or family are worth their weight in gold. My closest friend Holly "Hollywood" J Moore took my ruining of Janine's prized zester as a call to action and promptly mailed one off.  Throwing in a part for my compressor and a book was, well, above and beyond. Thanks for all that missy.

We all do a great deal of walking in this town. The neighborhoods are full of surprises (architecture and ridiculous obstacles) and it's a way of life in this capital city that is just a small town.
a  classic

 This place with the cool mural is some kind of organic store. I haven't tried yet, passing by on a Sunday as I was. Why would a store be open on Sunday? Catching on yet?
That'a a beautiful VW bus or 'Kombi' I'd like to have one day and yes, that's my friend Mono holding a guitar he doesn't play.

What, you never walk around with a guitar? Try it some time.

I am always learning of a new place or beautiful detail just from hoofing it.

That's the news for now.

Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grouchy Gabe visits the ROU

 Janine and Cecilia's brother Gabriel was here for a visit at the end of February.  He spent an easy two weeks living among us with no set schedule.  It's a rare pleasure to have a visitor that's not rushed either by the pressures of getting in all the 'required' visits or their own hectic itinerary.

Grouchy who? It was a pleasure.

We had a chance, during Gabriel's visit to spend the weekend in Punta del Este and we jumped at it.

The stay was short, but the weather was great.

Gabriel, Janine & Cecilia

These are some siblings that had some catching up to do.
And boy did they.

After so much distance, it ended up easy breazy.
You never know.

One night we had to remind this long estranged 'Porteno/Yanqui' just how good our Chivitos are.

This night we had a nice table outside at Tinkal. It's right on the Rambla and the night-time ambiance was spectacular.

And the Chivitos? Fantastico, por supuesto.

We had some problems with the plan to upgrade from PS2 to PS3.

Rebecca had been so kind and dilligent to find the new equipment and games while Gabriel hauled it down here.

The kids are thrilled and are trying hard to sell the old system,  which languishes on a sort of 'ebay', Mercado Libre, waiting for a new home.

Mission Accomplished?

Monday, March 5, 2012

End of an Era


Lots of activity since the last post.

First off, it's the end of an era, as they say.

Janine's mother Maria Amalia Cipolina Borrazas passed away this January 27, just 6 days shy of her 90th birthday from complications due to an infection. I guess being nearly 90 caught up with her. We felt prepared for anything, but this ended up happening kind of fast. In many ways that's probably best.

Jani's older brother Gabriel had booked a visit to coincide with her 90th birthday. Alas, the universe just listens to our plans and laughs. That party didn't happen, but Gabriel's visit did in what turned out to be a great visit that I'll be sharing in the next post.

A surprise (extended) family visit to Coffee Shop recently. The children of Janine's Godfather (also Amalia's first cousin) Gejermo Riva-Zucchelli. Clockwise from front left; Fernando, Juan, Maria Isabel and Elena. Their dad was this amazing sculpter and had a swanky villa near Punta del Este. He threw Janine and I our wedding party and it was kind of outrageous.

Great that they are getting together. (Are other siblings doing this too?)  And so nice that they thought to drop by Coffee Shop.

This past week the prodigal son has finally returned.

Gabrielito's visit was as easy going as I've seen. He was in some new place and was only faintly bemused by his ex-country's idiosyncracies. The last guy who showed up with his mug couldn't handle milk in a bag. 180 degrees around and headed in a positve direction. Waddya know?

School has started for many kids and our guys head back on the 12th. Vincent will be getting up just after 6:00 am.
Vincent and Mauro. Morning guys?
I can hardly think of anything that sounds less natural.

Vamos Arriba.

Thanks for checking in.

Hypocondriac (not this last time though!), gadfly, complainer who could speak volumes on any subject without the inconvenience of  facts getting in the way, she was the life of any party for more years than any of us youngsters can remember. Intrepid and stoically pressing forward despite lesser fortunes these years, it seemed sometimes that she's be here forever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally, toes in the sand

We are having a weird summer. 


I suppose this (unidentified) woman might be having one as well.

Some plausible reasons for the weirdness:

  • There is this small issue of our newly started business. It must be nurtured; constant updating or refining and simply attended to almost every day. Ok, no problem.
  •  Next, factor in the particular beast that is summer in Montevideo.

Most people go somewhere for some amount of time between Christmas and the end of February.
So anyone's two weeks (most common amount of time) can fall anywhere therein, which leave those holding down the fort in Montevideo a little lonely.
So fate finds us in a very quiet city this summer.
I gotta say, it is serene. I would highly recommend any summer visit to include some languid days in the neighborhoods of Mvd. including Palermo, Parque Rodo, Pocitos or even Malvin or Carrasco.

 So many nice places here.  Cute townhouses from around 1900 (left).
 New Yorkers would call grand apartments in buildings like the one below "pre-war". I'm not sure anymore what wars anyone is talking about, but I bet these flats are gems.

I am always drawn to this geometrical block style and I see it all over. Long horizontal lines with the second story overhang. Me likey.
This facade is one of the most ornate I've seen, but not at all an uncommon sight here. The craftsmanship of old gets me every time.

Ah, toes in the sand.
So we made it to a friends' family home in Las Toscas. It's somewhere between Mvd. and the Atlantic coast official, but it's good enough. It's been hot and the water was great.
Agostin chats with Janine. Vincent with the ball, waits.

Mono, Valeria

This guy is Theo (say Tay-Oh). Disarmingly gentle, don't be surprised when you find yourself doing exactly what he's asked of you. Tust me, you'll do it.
Add your own caption to this one of Mono.
If talking were an olympic event, these two might have a chance on the Uruguayan Team. I can not understand it. Can't.
It was pretty nice laying around. Had a swim, all good.

 The kids had some sandboard action.
Notice the long shadows. The beach is good until at least 7. Freaky.

That's our visit to the beach. Okay.