Blogging = creativity + sharing = joy

Below are one of my favorite quotes and a photo I was lucky to shoot in Hollywood (Florida). I hope that you’ll like them.

What sweetness is left in life, if you take away friendship? Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun. A true friend is more to be esteemed than kinsfolk.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

SUNRISE

SUNRISE

I would appreciate very much if in comments to this post you shared whatever you like or proud of (giving links to your blogs).

Thank you.

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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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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

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.

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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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5 photos for 5 challenges

TABLE, CHAIRS, SEATING OF ANY KIND

BENCHES

TEXTURES

DEPTH

SERENITY

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This post was initially inspired by Cee’s black and white challenge “Table, Chairs, Seating of Any Kind”.

Then I noticed that there is a photo challenge “Benches” and in February photos of benches also must be in B & W.

I already took part before in the challenges “Textures”, “Depth” and “Serenity” but this time I decided to combine everything together.

A huge cake on the table shows depth of a daughter’s love to her mother.

You see tables, chairs, sofas and swing. They are from wood, iron, plastic, leather.

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There is a depth of space behind benches of the third photo.

I also find serenity in this photo. The park is empty and beautiful in the early morning.

The fouth photo shows my college friend Ruben on the iron swing in Pocono Manor.

We are friends for 63 years. I am sure there is depth in our friendship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, in my first and only play Ruben is one of major characters. To read the play click on its title “LOVE AND MOSCOW DERBY”.

I have no idea what Ruben was thinking about when I shot this photo.

It is possible that he was remembering with gratitude the day when he was politely asked to marry his wife. They are together for many years and have four great-grandchildren.

It’s possible that he was simply enjoying gorgeous summer day and serenity of the place.

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I published many posts about our life in Pocono Manor. The picture below shot in the historic Pocono Manor Inn. Chairs there covered by fabrics.

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Depth (quotes and photos)

DEPTH

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.

Richard Bach

It is not length of life, but depth of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.

Rabindranath Tagore

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

George Orwell

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Love, friendship and appreciation of beauty are always in the depth of my soul. They make me happy.

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MORNING ON THE MEADOW LAKE by JF

MORNING ON THE MEADOW LAKE

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Love and friendship keep us young

DEPTH

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Photo by Korinna B.

Photo by Korinna B.

Millie and “Pit of Vipers”

Below is Millie. Several moments of her life she was slightly busy (student, teacher, wife, mother of six kids, teacher again). If you want to know more just click HERE.

MILLIE THOM

MILLIE THOM

After retirement Millie started to write a trilogy of historical novels “Sons of Kings”.

Two books of the trilogy “Shadow of the Raven” and “Pit of Vipers” are already published.

In November of 2014 I read  “Shadow of the Raven” and wrote about the book HERE.

Two weeks ago I started to read  “Pit of Vipers”.

However, I had a feeling that I read a book with this title long time ago.

Then I remembered that during my early years in the USA I worked as an accountant for the publishing house Grosset and Dunlap. One of its very popular product lines was Nancy Drew Girl Detective Series. “Pit of Vipers” was #18 of Nancy Drew books. It was a case about stealing a snake at the River Heights Zoo.

cover“Pit of Vipers” by Millie Thom is for people of all ages. It is a historical novel about invasion Danes in England and wars between Danes and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during life of the Wessex king Alfred.

After reading the first book of the trilogy I was ready for Danes’ raids and battles. I was looking forward for new adventures of Eadwulf, the son of king of Mercia.

Very often I am able to tell what will happen in the middle and the end of a book after I read only several pages of it.

However, in “Pit of Vipers” Millie surprised me many times. Yes, there are raids and battles, there are shields’ walls. However, there are also love and friendship, many unpredictable turns and twists. There are wonderful characters of women and men.

My hobby is learning history of civilizations. I found in the book new interesting information (Danes in the Middle Sea, sea battles with Moors).

The book written very well. It’s a pleasure to read it anywhere in any weather.

Don’t miss your chance!

Here I am

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Hi, friends.

Let me introduce myself.

Here is how I look in the mirror.

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Express yourself?! (Part 1)

TODAY IT IS EASY!

Today is a special day!

Today is our friend’s birthday!

As usually, we’ll go to a Japanese restaurant and express ourselves in many wonderful artistic ways.

There will be speeches, poems, songs and beautiful combinations of everything the restaurant has to offer.

In the meantime to keep my appetite on the high alert I decided to express myself in paintings below.

I hope very much that you’ll like them. If not please don’t tell it to me before we return from the restaurant.

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#1

 

#3

#2

I was about to publish this post when I remembered that “Express Yourself” is a photo challenge.

So what can I say?

I always was a working girl like the one below.

A WORKING GIRL

A WORKING GIRL

I like to explore new ways.

NEW WAY

NEW WAY

 

Two ways to Heathrow

Four couples with heavy suitcases left a hotel and saw an empty taxi.

Economist said: “We don’t need a taxi. We’ll go by subway”.

“No!”, firmly said my love. “My husband became sick when you led us here by subway from the airport. We take this taxi and we welcome two people to join us.”

Economist’s wife (EW) said: “Let’s Strongman and Poet join you with all suitcases. My man will lead three beauties to Heathrow by subway. I am sure that we’ll be there before you!”

I had my doubts about her last statement but even at that time I was allergic to arguing with confident strong-willed women. So everybody agreed with EW”s plan.

We settled in the taxi and the driver asked us where we were going. Then he told us that we looked like Americans but he could not understand what language we spoke.

Strongman explained that it was Russian.

I said the driver that I liked very much his diction and his way of speaking. He answered that he was not a professional taxi driver. He was a teacher and he loved theater very much. Then he added that he wrote several screenplays and in his free time he was an actor.

Poet was fascinated. He told the driver that he was an engineer but he worked for the New York City and wrote poetry during working hours. The driver asked him to read a poem but Poet explained that he wrote in Russian.

Then the driver said that an Australian company bought one of his screenplays and asked him to direct a movie there. He’ll leave London in a month.

Poet gave the driver his address and a business phone number and asked to keep in touch. The driver thanked him and then told us that we arrived.

We unloaded suitcases, paid for the ride adding good tips, thanked the driver and went in the terminal. We were told there that it was a wrong terminal and that we need to take a bus to a right one.

i will not tell you what we thought about the taxi driver at that time. I only can hint that we used some very popular Russian words.

Luckily, the bus arrived soon and we were in the proper terminal at the proper airline counter 20 minutes before the plane’s departure. The three beauties and Economist were not anywhere in sight.

My wife and I checked in our luggage and were ready to board the plane. Poet and Strongman wanted to check in their suitcases too but the airline’s employees gently asked them where were their wives.

There was only 10 minutes left before the plane’s departure. My love and I were ordered to board the plane and to take our seats. We had no choice as the next day we had to go to work.

However, our plane started to move only in 40 minutes.

My love was upset when she saw that our friends were sitting in the first class.

She said to me: “It’s not fair!”

I smiled. At that time I already knew that life is not always fair.

Okay, I've done that stupid trick of sticking my paw up in the air. Now where's that tasty treat you promised me?

To my friends!

Dear friends!

This blog started in October of 2013.

I never expected that blogging will bring so much joy to my life.

At 79-80 it’s not that easy to meet 3,000+ talented people of all ages from many countries and learn from them, enjoy their creativity, kindness and friendship.

I am glad to know you, to see your posts daily, to travel with you, to read your writings, to enjoy your photos, to suffer and to overcome with you.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

I am very grateful to everybody who created and maintains WordPress.

Happy New Year to you and your families! You are builders of happiness!

In 2014 I learned more about blogging. In January I started to paint using PC paint program. In June I got my first digital camera and after more than 20 years’ interval started shooting what I liked.

I learned a little about painting and photo processing programs.

With your help I overcame my fear to write in English.

i even wrote several book reviews. You can read one of them HERE.

I liked “Shadow of the Raven” by a fellow blogger Millie Thom very much.

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I hope that in 2015 I’ll be able to share with you new posts that you’ll like.

The very best to all my followers everywhere this year!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

New Year’s resolutions?

I have to confess that I have never made New Year’s resolutions.

For many years it was simply necessary to survive.

When problems or needs arose I tried to do my best to solve problems or satisfy needs. There was no time for procrastination, for doubting what was possible.

It’s impossible always to be a winner, but doing your best actually makes you a winner. And it is always possible to adjust needs and to see if your problems are real.

2015 is coming.

What am I going to do?

To enjoy life, love, friendship, creativity, beauty!

The Sun will be rising again tomorrow, the Earth will be beautiful, all oceans will be in their usual places.

We live in the wonderful world!

OUR BEAUTIFUL WORLD!       by JF

OUR BEAUTIFUL WORLD!                                                                        by JF

 

 

 

Battle (using Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for writing fiction)!

We are already in Hollywood, Florida. Sun is shining , the Atlantic Ocean and the famous Hollywood’s boardwalk are in their usual places and we already enjoyed hours of walking along the ocean and meeting some of our old friends. There was not yet time for battles. Hopefully, they’ll start very soon. In the meantime you can read here what happened before.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Kurt Vonnegut

Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as…

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Quotes of Joseph Addison

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.

There is nothing that makes its way more directly into the soul than beauty.

Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed.

MORNING IN QUEENS by JF

MORNING  IN QUEENS                                                     by JF

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are alive!

We are together!

We can think, learn, work and pursue happiness!

We build families and experience love and friendship!

We are creative and we also can enjoy literature, paintings, photography, music and other kinds of art!

We can travel and meet people in new lands!

We enjoy delicious food!

We can smell flowers and fully appreciate beauty of nature!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey

Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.

Konrad von Gesner

Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more: Peace in the hearts of all men living, peace in the whole world…

Joseph Auslander

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FLOWERS by JF

FLOWERS                                                                                                 by JF

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Shadow of the Raven”

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 23 I finished reading a historical novel written by a fellow blogger Millie Thom. She has many great achievements in her life (read HERE) but I had no idea if her book was one of them.

MILLIE THOM

MILLIE THOM

However, I love historical novels for more than 70 years and not long ago published on this blog a post “BERNARD CORNWELL” about a former English teacher who due to stupid American immigration laws became a very well-known writer of historical novels.

I remember that I read with great pleasure his novels (The Saxon Stories) about the 9th century reign of Alfred the Great (king of Wessex), his opposition to Danes and his efforts to unite England..

When I read “About” on the Millie Thom’s blog I noticed that she was also an English teacher. After bringing up six children and retiring Millie started to write. She mentioned in “About” that protagonists of her first published book “Shadow of the Raven” were Alfred, son of king of Wessex and Eadwulf, son of king of Mercia.

It was very interesting. Two English teachers wrote books about the same era and the same people.

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I have to confess, that when I started to read “Shadow of the Raven” I did not expect much. I love Bernard Cornwell’s style and consider him a great modern writer of historical novels.

However, after I read several chapters of the book it became clear to me that the book is very well written and that Millie’s research of the era was very good.

What is this book about?

Here are two sentences from a synopsis that Millie sent to me:

“An adventure tale of Viking raids, ill-fated thralls, noble kings and their sons, and friendship and love . . .

But, above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge.”

Yes, this book is about all the above and it is very entertaining like many other historical novels.

I read “Shadow of the Raven” very fast with great interest.

It pictures many interesting people and their relationships. It describes battles and ordinary life in different countries (England, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway).

I also think that it allows to answer the following questions:

why do we have wars between countries and between ethnic and religious groups?

why for many years foreign policy of my country does not bring positive results?

at what conditions are possible equal rights for men and women?

how important are ties within families?

is it easy to make a person a murderer and a rapist?

what motivates people?

can friendship and love overcome all difficulties?

I highly recommend my followers and guests to read “Shadow of the Raven” (you can find it on Amazon).

 

He was two times her age or wonderful attraction.

When they met in the Carriage House first time he was two times her age.

They were attracted to each other from the first sight.

Each summer they meet in the Carriage House and spend all days (but not nights) together.

They eat together, they go everywhere together and they enjoy every moment together.

And recently they started horsing around together.

Photo by Korinna B.

Photo by Korinna B.

They are together during ten summers and there is no end to this wonderful attraction.

She is now 11 years old.

FAMILY AS A SYSTEM

I started this blog on 10/03/2013. At that time I had no idea where it will go. I only knew that I was close to 80 and so I chose the name of the blog “closetoeighty”.

In the beginning of November I published the post below, then I published many other posts about happiness and pursuit of happiness. I am going to combine them later on a separate page.

In the meantime I decided to reblog this post.

After I became 80 I decided to change the name of the blog to “PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS”. All people want to be happy. However, I am convinced that it is impossible to be happy without pursuing happiness.

Several quotes about fathers.

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.

Sigmund Freud

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

Theodore Hesburgh

My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’

Michael Jordan

Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.

Bill Cosby

The death of my father is probably the biggest thing that I ever faced. Daddy and I were best friends.

Joel Osteen