Happy Birthday!

Today I am 82.

I am grateful to God for my life (with many ups and downs), my dear wife (my love and best friend for 56 years), our children and grandchildren, our friends!

I enjoy beauty of nature, meeting people, reading, watching movies, playing chess, walking, taking pictures and many other things.

I am happy!

Life is wonderful!

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“Ariel” by Fia Essen

In my post “ULTIMATE THING” I told you about Fia Essen’s book “Changing Pace” and mentioned that her new book “Ariel” was already on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Fia-Essen-ebook/dp/B00VGVZGCO).

Then I read “Ariel” and enjoyed again Fia’s style of writing and what the book was about.

Ariel is 34 years old and after many years of happiness she believes that she is at the bottom of her life and that there is no way she can be happy again.

Suddenly she contacted by the mysterious Muse Agency and drastic changes come to her life.

What is perception? What is reality? What does Ariel thought and think now about herself and her family, people she knows? Is Ariel happy again? Is her happiness comes due to the efforts of the Muse Agency or from within?

I recommend to read “Ariel”. I hope you’ll enjoy the book and that you’ll see what simple things each of us must do to be happier and to make happier people around us.

6mart

 

Life, love, friendship.

Dear friends, I am 81 today!

I had hard time lately (pneumonia +).

Thank God, I am alive and recovering!

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.

Hans Christian Andersen

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

Dalai Lama

I thank everybody for love and friendship!

I thank wonderful people of medical profession!

I still need their help and your prayers!

Best to all of you!

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“If in doubt, don’t go out”

I love instructions and regulations!

Some of them are short and bold, others teach you how to live (or to die) right.

Their styles are different. Some of them use art  to touch your heart and to stimulate your thinking, your feelings of right and wrong, your kindness, choice of your paths in life.

For example, fishes love this one. I wonder who wrote it and who paid for it.

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It’s Anton Chekhov’s style!

Only three words! They express so much!

They are about life and death, about meaning of life.

For some people they are about adventures and actions.

We are all different!

Some of us are for unlimited freedom. Often they don’t even know that freedom is always limited.

Others are for enjoyment and pleasure. They’ll kill for pleasure of fish cleaning!

I am a simple man. I am for enjoyment and pleasure too but I find it in watching beautiful fishes and in eating well prepared fish dishes.

And here is completely different style.

IMG_1655 (480x640)I hope that you fully appreciate the difference.

Surely, you noticed the wonderful combination of colors and science.

This picture is full of love to people. It gives all available information how to “Break the Grip of the Rip!”

It’s a six words poetical story!

Everything is precise, easy to do. I especially like “wave for assistance”.

However, my wife told me that the most important instructions are:

“Know how to swim” and “If in doubt, don’t go out”.

She added: “The last one is universal! It is applicable not only to rip currents. It is for all women and men who think of going to blind dates!”

“IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT”. 

 

Are you ready for divorce?

There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t.

Josh Billings

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Wait! Wait!

Don’t tell me that you are not married!

Don’t tell me that you love your spouse so much that you’ll never divorce her or him!

I am not talking about dissolving marriage.

I am talking about your readiness to listen, to think, be flexible, to part with your opinions if it makes sense.

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Several weeks ago a couple of friends visited us in Pocono Manor. We had a very nice time together and we discussed different topics. They mentioned that their grandson (who is a college graduate) had opinions about everything and became angry and rude if somebody had expressed a different opinion.

It did not surprise us. We hear very often that students and professors are against discussions in universities, that they simply vote against allowing people with different opinions to speak on campuses.

I remember with great love wonderful teachers who gave us…

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Miracle!

It happened in July of 1956.

After graduation from the Moscow Textile Institute my best friend Yuri and I bought a very cheap two weeks tour from TEBERDA to SUKHUMI.

When we arrived in Teberda we understood why the tour was so cheap. It was arranged by a students sport society for brave people who wanted to get really hard experience of hiking in the mountains.

It was our first time in the Caucasus Mountains. When all members of the group arrived we were told that each of us would have 40 kg in a backpack.

“I wonder if we die the very first day”, said Yuri.

“You are an optimist! I wonder who will eat our first lunches”.

Three days passed and miraculously we were alive and had ravenous appetites.

On the fourth day our group stopped earlier than usually at a wonderful spot that had a crystal clear spring. We put up our tents, placed our heavy backpacks in them, gathered wood for fire and helped people responsible for cooking that day to start preparing dinner.

Then I suggested Yuri to go up the mountain and to enjoy sights from the top but he was more interested in staying near a girl who was busy cooking.

I went up alone.

It was a gorgeous summer day. The air was fresh and sweet. Trees, bushes and grass were in their best green dresses. As I went higher and higher I saw some flowers.

Gradually ascent became more difficult and instead of walking I had to crawl.

It became clear that the top of the mountain was still far away. So I decided to move to my right to see our camp below. There were trees and bushes on my right and I used them as my support to move closer to the side of the mountain.

Finally I reached a point with a perfect view. It was terrific!

I saw a circle of our five white tents in the rays of the Sun and the spring near it. The dinner was ready and the fire was dying. Everybody was preparing for dinner. I saw Yuri sitting with the girl on the blanket near our tent.

“Yuri, look up!”, shouted I. “Can you see me?”

Nobody moved. Apparently, nobody heard me. It was time to go back and to have dinner.

All of a sudden I realized that I was in a very difficult position. I was clinging to the steep slope. Two small bushes on my left were gone. There was nothing I could use as support to move in any direction.

Fear paralyzed me! I did not know what to do. It seemed to me that any my movement will bring a fall and fast death.

On the other hand, i could not stay long in this place. What for? Nobody was coming to help me anyway. I needed to act fast! There was no time for fear!

I looked around very, very carefully.

There was something that looked as a flat outcrop on the level of my boots to my right. There was also a tree on the ground above it.

“Can I move my feet to that outcrop? Will it support me? Will I then be able to catch the tree with my hands? Will it support me? Is there a chance then to move to a flat place or not so steep slope of the mountain?”

It took a second or less for all these questions to run in my mind but no answers came.

I was not ready or willing to die but I had no choice. I had to take a risk!

I gathered everything I had and moved to the outcrop. Unfortunately, it was farther away than I thought. I could not reach it. It was my last step!

All of a sudden a strong gust of wind appeared from nowhere! It picked me up and brought on the outcrop. I caught the tree and the next moment another gust of wind brought me to the flat ground.

I dropped there. I was sweating and at the same time I felt very, very cold.

Some time passed. I started slowly and very carefully my descent to the camp.

In about an hour I heard voices. Somebody was calling my name.

I responded and in several minutes Yuri and nine other members of the group gathered around me.

“Do you want a drink?”, asked Yuri. Sure, I wanted it.

“Do you want hot soup?”, asked one girl. “I brought it and here are a cup and a spoon”.

Oh, how I wanted the soup! I wolfed it down.

“We were very worried!”, said Yuri. “What happened?”

“Miracle!”

PAINTING by JF

PAINTING by JF

Waves were kissing…

Yesterday night I was walking barefooted along the shore and warm gentle waves were kissing whatever they were able to reach.

After it I could not stop trying to express something that I felt. Results are below.

Do you like them? If yes what is your favorite?

What do you feel?

Is there anything you want to tell me?

Please let me know.

Thank you!

#1

#1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2

#2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3

#3

*

 

 

Istanbul (not Constantinople)

More than 50 years ago “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” was the very popular song in the Soviet Union. At that time only élite at the top could get permission to travel and to see Turkey or any other country.

After we became Americans we visited more than 50 countries including Turkey.

Istanbul is a wonderful city! It has so much to offer that you need to stay there long time just to get a proper feeling of it. Unfortunately, we had only one week for travel in the country.

However, it is impossible to forget the word Istanbul in America. You can see It all over the country.

ISTANBUL ON HOLLYWOOD BROADWALK

ON HOLLYWOOD BROADWALK

 

 

Pocono Manor and my photos

In 1977 my wife and I visited Pocono Manor first time. We liked it so much that then we stayed there (in the Carriage House) when we could.
After my retirement we went there every summer and enjoyed peace and beauty of this small town.
In the old post below I gave you information about past and future of Pocono Manor.

As far as I know Kalahari Resorts already bought the historic Inn at Pocono Manor and will finish soon construction of the largest in the world indoor water park and other facilities.
Will the place be better or worse?
We’ll know the answer this summer.

In the meantime I want to show you my photos taken last summer.
I placed them in a page “POCONO MANOR GALLERY”. Please click on the first photo and you’ll be able to see all pictures in proper sizes and colors.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

What is Pocono Manor?

Wikipedia says: “Pocono Manor is an unincorporated community in Monroe CountyPennsylvaniaUnited States, located at approximately latitude 41.1 and longitude -75.359, at an elevation of 1,706 feet, on Pennsylvania State Highway 314 east of Pocono Summit and west of Swiftwater.[1] It is the location of a resort and golf course called The Inn at Pocono Manor, with a Donald Ross-designed golf course,[2] site of the Pocono Northeast Classic; and of the Pocono Manor Historic District.”

We are now in Pocono Manor and it is clear that the definition above is not very good.

First of all, there is the Carriage House in Pocono Manor. It is an independent time-sharing property.

Secondly, there are many private houses (the Cottage Colony).

Thirdly, until last year there were two 18-holes golf courses. Currently one course is intact…

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Queens gallery

Every photo you take communicates something about a moment in time – a brief slice of time of where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing.

Kevin Systrom

I would add to the quote above: “…what you thought and/or felt at that moment”.

Today I added the page “Queens gallery”. You can see it HERE. Click on the first photo and you’ll see all of them in proper sizes and colors.

I mentioned several times in my posts that we can find beauty everywhere. It is inside us and outside. There are wonderful sunrises and sunsets everywhere. There are beautiful plants, flowers, animals, birds, parks, wonderful buildings in every big city or a small town.

Beautiful nature and beautiful people are everywhere!

I hope that you’ll like something in my photos shot in Queens.

Please take a look and let me know what you liked.

Thank you!

PAINTING by JF

PAINTING by JF

Ultimate thing

I know that books seem like the ultimate thing that’s made by one person, but that’s not true. Every reading of a book is a collaboration between the reader and the writer who are making the story up together.

John Green

Not long ago I read a book “Change of Pace” written by Fia Essen. I follow her blog (https://essenfia.wordpress.com/) from moment of its discovery by me and I enjoy her style of writing.

The book led me from New York where I live last 40 years to an island that I’ve never visited. It showed me people of several generations with all their ups and downs, with tremendous capacity for love and friendship.

These people were real for me. They learned how to overcome all difficulties, how to build their happiness.

I am a speed reader from childhood but I often read books slowly to enjoy them fully. I read the book and lived with people in it.

Surely, I recommend you to read “Change of Pace”.

Today Fia notified me that her new book “Ariel” is already on Amazon.

Here are links to it:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Fia-Essen-ebook/dp/B00VGVZGCO

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25264738-ariel

I will start reading “Ariel” tonight. Hope you’ll read both books too.

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 WRITERS ARE BUILDERS OF HAPPINESS

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Connection after death (Wassily Kandinsky – David Paladin).

I decided to reblog this old post to introduce this extraordinary true story to new followers and guests.
I would be very happy if anyone suggested explanation of all events.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Yesterday I published a post about life and quotes of Wassily Kandinsky.
If you missed it please read it now HERE.
Then read an incredible but true story below.
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Wassily Kandinsky, the great Russian painter, died on December 13, 1944 in Neuilly sur-Seine. At the same time in a German concentration camp of hunger and torture was dying American soldier David Paladin, white-skinned son of a missionary and Navajo Indian …
David Paladin was born in 1926. He spent his early years on the Navajo reservation near Chinle, Arizona. From an early childhood the boy showed violent temper. He kept running away from his family and soon found himself in a penal colony in Oklahoma.
With great difficulty he learned cartography. In this specialty he was drafted into the army. In Europe he was wounded and ended up in a German concentration camp, where experienced all the horrors of imprisonment.

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From summer to spring.

Soon my wife and I again will move from summer to spring. We are looking forward to it. Why? Please read the old post below and you will understand. Please click on “original” to see photos.

Best to you!

Enjoy life!

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Not too long ago I published the post FROM WINTER TO SUMMER.

Several months passed. We had wonderful time in Hollywood, Florida.

Now is time to move from summer to spring, from 84 degrees in Hollywood to 65 degrees in Queens, from palms to blooming magnolias, from our friends here to our family and friends in New York and New Jersey.

It takes only three hours to come from summer to spring and to enjoy wonders of New York City. In a week we can walk in the Central Park, we can go to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

*

Life is wonderful! You don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy it! Just walk and look around you, smell flowers, soak wonderful views, greet people with smiles, listen to laughter of children, to music in churches, in some buildings on the 5th…

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Love + horses

In June of 2014 I published my first and only play “Love and Moscow Derby”.

I hoped that many thousands from all countries will read and enjoy it.

Surely, everyone thinks about love, many people love horses and everybody is a gambler.

However, so far the play did not go viral.

Today I reread the first act of it (only love, no horses) and liked it very much.

What’s going on?

Please read the first act (only 234 words) of my play “Love and Moscow Derby” HERE.

If you like it please don’t hesitate to reblog, retweet or share it in any other way with your followers.

Go for it!

Yes, we can! 

1horseslast

 

 

Who am I tonight?

Who am I tonight?

Definitely a man of 80+ years old. Retired long time ago.

I know that I love people, animals, birds, fishes (especially well prepared).

I love nature, food, exercising, doing a lot and doing nothing.

I love to think and to meditate.

Reading is huge part of my life.

In this blog I write, show you my photos and paintings, share quotes I like.

Who am I tonight?

Please read or reread my post A MIRACLE?!

Can it be that I am a writer?

I hope that all of you are very kind.

Best to you!

f14dogscat

 

 

Abram Petrovich Gannibal

In 1704 a black slave (born in present-day Cameroon) was bought by a Russian in Constantinople and presented to Peter the Great. The Emperor liked 8 years old boy Abram and immediately adopted him.

In 1705 the boy was baptized with Peter as his godfather and he became Abram Petrovich.

The boy became Peter’s valet on various military campaigns and journeys.

In 1716 Peter the Great visited France. He then left his godson there to study engineering and mathematics at a military school. Two years later, Abram Petrovich joined the French army and fought in the war against Spain. During his time in France Abram Petrovich adopted surname Gannibal in honor of the Carthaginian general Hannibal.

In 1723 Gannibal returned to Russia. Soon Peter the Great died and Prince Menshikov, who disliked Gannibal, assigned him to Siberia.

Abram Petrovich Gannibal

Abram Petrovich Gannibal

Gannibal’s fortunes changed in 1741, when Empress Elisabeth (daughter of Peter the Great) took the throne.

Elizabeth made him the military commander of city of Reval ((now Tallinn, Estonia). He served in this place between 1743 and 1751.

Then Gannibal oversaw expansions of the Ladoga Canal and Russian fortresses throughout the empire. By 1760 Abram Petrovich had been promoted to the rank of a full general.

In 1762 Gannibal retired to the Mikhailovskoye estate in Pskov. The estate with hundreds of serfs was given to him in 1742 by Elizabeth. He died there in 1781.

His great-grandson was Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, the famous Russian poet and writer. 

Who created symmetry (2)?

SYMMETRY

Not long ago I published the post WHO CREATED SYMMETRY?

I expressed there several original thoughts about symmetry.

One of them: “As a rule beauty is not symmetrical.”

Another: “… symmetry … shows limits of human imagination.”

Please read more in this old post and then take a look at the picture below.

What’s your opinion?

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Anna and Nikolay

In 1903 fourteen years old Anna met seventeen years old Nikolay. She wrote poetry since she was 11 and he published in 1902 his first book of poetry.

In 1905 Nikolay first time asked Anna to marry him. However, they married 5 years later, in April of 1910. Before marriage Anna wrote to her friend: “…I believe that it is my fate to be his wife. Whether or not I love him, I do not know, but it seems to me that I do.”

The couple honeymooned in Paris. In September of 1912 their son Lev was born.

Anna Akhmatova, Nikolay Gumilyov and Lev Gumilyov

Anna Akhmatova, Nikolay Gumilyov and Lev Gumilyov

Before marriage Nikolay extensively traveled in Europe and Africa. From Wikipedia: “Gumilyov was fascinated with Africa and travelled there almost each year. He explored, helping development of Ethiopia, … and brought to the Saint Petersburg museum of anthropology and ethnography a large collection of African artifacts.”

At that time Nikolay published two more books of poetry. While in Paris he published a literary journal and there one Anna’s poem was published.

Soon after marriage Nikolay started to rebel against its restrictions. At the end of 1910 he left Anna for a six-month trip to Africa. Anna wrote to a friend that Nikolay “lost his passion” for her.

During Nikolay’s absence Anna became one of founders of the Guild of Poets. Her magnetism and allure attracted many great men. It is known that Anna had affairs with some of them.

Nikolay also was a founder of the Guild of Poets. To illustrate their ideals, he published two collections of poems,The Pearls in 1910 and the Alien Sky in 1912.

In 1912, the Guild of Poets published Anna’s book Evening..

Anna was recognized as “a new and striking young writer”.

“The Rosary …appeared in March 1914 and firmly established her as one of the most popular and sought after poets of the day.” (from Wikipedia).

At that time she “became close friends with Boris Pasternak (who, though married, proposed to her many times).”

In July 1914, Akhmatova wrote “Frightening times are approaching. Soon fresh graves will cover the land”.

On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia.

Nikolay volunteered to serve in an élite cavalry unit. For his bravery during the war he was awarded two St. George crosses.

His book of war poems The Quiver was published in 1916.

In 1917, when Russian Revolution started, Nikolay was in the Russian Expedition Corps in Paris. He returned to Petrograd (Saint Petersburg). There he published several new books of poems.

In August of 1918 Anna and Nikolay divorced.

Soon after divorce Anna married prominent assyriologist and poet Vladimir Shilejko.

She later said “I felt so filthy. I thought it would be like a cleansing, like going to a convent, knowing you are going to lose your freedom.”

There was no cleansing. She began affairs with theatre director Mikhail Zimmerman and composer Arthur Lourie.

Nikolay In 1919 married Anna Nikolaevna Engelhardt, a daughter of a well-known historian.

Three years after Anna and Nikolay’ divorce Nikolay was shot with 61 others for conspiracy against the state.

Anna wrote:

“Terror fingers all things in the dark,
Leads moonlight to the axe.
There’s an ominous knock behind the
wall:
A ghost, a thief or a rat…

The case against Nikolay Gumilyov and all others was completely fabricated and all victims were rehabilitated by Russian authorities in 1992 (71 years after their deaths).

Painting by JF

Painting by JF

 

Anna Akhmatova (introduction)

I thought long and hard how to describe life of a famous woman on this blog so that you could understand this woman, her problems and her decisions, her achievements and her tragedies.

I also want to show how government of the country can take away your freedom, your loved ones and totally control your life if you allow it.

Finally, I want to show that outstanding women did not fight for equality with men. They worked hard and often achieved more than men.

There is no doubts in my mind that live of every person can be a basis for a historical novel with wide specter of events, emotions, problems, choices and their results. 

However, a blog should use short posts as many bloggers follow hundreds of posts daily.

I also believe that in a blog characters and events must be painted with few words.

Now I want to remind you that recently I published the post GET A FEELING OF ANNA AKHMATOVA’S POETRY. If you missed it or forgot it please click on the title of the post and read it.

I want to add here one detail..

Anna Akhmatova’s ancestor was Khan Akhmat. From Wikipedia: “He was killed one night in his tent by a Russian killer-for-hire. Karamzin (Russian historian – JF) tells us that this marked the end of the Mongol yoke on Russia. …It was well known that this Akhmat was a descendant of Genghiz Khan.”

This explains how Anna Gorenko became Anna Akhmatova.

Reading

Dear friends, I have a big problem!

Often I think that we are from different worlds.

It is not because I lived 40 years in the USSR or I am a bit older than many of you.

I know that all of you love reading. I am sure that you met at some time quotes below:

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Joseph Addison

The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.

Rene Descartes

He that loves reading has everything within his reach.

William Godwin

Who I am, what I am, is the culmination of a lifetime of reading, a lifetime of stories. And there are still so many more books to read. I’m a work in progress.

Sarah Addison Allen

So what is the problem?

I think it is in our ways of reading.

Let me explain.

When I was 8 years old I went in the library in Tashkent and a librarian told me: “I see that you love to read. Let’s do it in a right way! First read all books of fairy tales, then I’ll give you books about myths, then we’ll go through classics, then you can read books of philosophers, then some science fiction. After it you are on your own.”

This is exactly what we did. Nine years later I graduated from the high school and at that time I read many, many books written in Russian or translated from different languages into Russian. Since 1975 I also read thousands of books written in English or translated into English.

Today I don’t know how much you read or what you read. But it is very important to know!

Why? Because you can understand and accept my thoughts or posts only if you are ready for it.

Blogs are a new way of conversation. Writing and reading blogs is exercise of minds. And all of us are “work in progress”.

If we believe that we know everything, if our opinions are fixed and we are unable or not willing to follow and consider thoughts of others we stopped our growth. It means that we are mentally dying.

Several followers of this blog asked me who is my favorite author. I could not answer this question because I have favorite authors from many countries.

Today I want to mention one of them. He was born In Germany. His name is Erich Maria Remarque.

Please let me know if you read his books. If yes what his books you liked most.

Thank you!

Painting by JF

Painting by JF