Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

A View from my lens

Listen – are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

-Mary Oliver

Yes, I’m still alive. I had a magical Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was with my two closest friends on the planet. It was pure mind blowing happiness making food, laughing, and being in each other’s presence. L.O.V.E.

In the meantime, I love this quote from Mary Oliver and I love peonies. Oliver reminds me to find the beauty in a single peony.  There are multiple versions as to the meaning of the peony flower. One legend is that the peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), who was the physician to the gods, and was given the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. Paeon was a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.  Another legend is that same doctor was saved from dying by being turned into the peony because Asclepius became jealous of his pupil. What’s with jealousy? I mean,  Othello strangled Desdemona because of that scarf that Iago planted, right?

Personally I love peonies because they are constantly changing, just like we are. Really they are never the same twice. They are closed and tight when you first get them, then they open and you get red flowers. They close up at night and then you have pink or white and it’s the flower that keeps giving. Peonies last over a week, sometimes ten days. They are so special they are only in season a short time. Symbolizing a happy life, happy marriage, good health and prosperity, my most favorite part of peonies is they symbolize compassion. I give them to people I love.

Dead Poets Society


El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires & Isabelle Allende’s new novel – El Cuaderno de Maya

If you love bookstores and you happen to be in Buenos Aires, run, don’t walk like I did to El Ateneo. It’s a stunning bookstore about 20 blocks of walking distance from my little Recoleta apartment. A former theatre where Carlos Garden once performed and a historical, beautiful building.  Even though it’s a book store, it feels more like you are in a theatre. You can relax in quiet booths with good lighting. I was given a bonus surprise as I slowly made my way through the aisles.

Isabelle Allende has a new novel just published!! It’s called El Cuaderno de Maya inspired by her grand daughters and Allende’s own life. I started to read the inside of the book. It’s the story of a girl named Maya. The story begins with: “I am Maya Vidal, 19 years old, feminine, single, no lover, born in Berkeley, California, American passport, temporarily a refugee on an island in the south of the world.”  El Ateneo only has the Spanish version now. When’s the English version coming to America, friends?

Cover – El Cuaderno De Maya – Isabelle Allende’s new book

Allende is one of my favorite writers in the world. She is from Chile but moved to California as a Chilean journalist exiled in Venezuela after the military coup in Chile of 1973. I love Allende’s voice as her stories take me away on her journeys where she weaves in and out of her life and the vivid, magical stories she creates. Allende is afraid of nothing and no one. I admire her so much.

In Chile, when she had a job translating romance novels from English to Spanish,she would make unauthorized changes to the dialogue so the women would be more intelligent and the Cinderella endings would instead become independent women who spread good in the world. She was fired from the job.

Allende says her most important issue in her life is freedom, which she created for herself.  She said “It’s about the struggle to be assertive, to be independent, to have economic independence, to get myself an education, which I was not given because I was a woman and it was not important to educate women at that time. I was supposed to be somebody’s very good wife. I was supposed to be a lady. I was supposed to be a very good mother, but I was not supposed to be creative.”

Allende describes her writing as passionate, compulsive and emotional. She laughs and cries as she writes and even gets angry at her own characters when they do things she doesn’t want them to do. She doesn’t run or hide from her losses or struggles; she writes about them. I love this broad.

Allende has included one of my favorite Mary Oliver quotes translated into Spanish in the forward of her book. Gracias, Isabelle.

Mary Oliver quote

El Ateneo Bookstore – Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Ateneo Bookstore

El Ateneo Bookstore

Olivia got hungry so we stopped for spinach, pomodoro & basil ravioli lunch at a goikey, favorite place of mine: Pertutti Restaurant. Per Tutti: For Everything!

Ravioli espinaca al pomodoro y basilico – Pertutti Restaurant

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