Posted tagged ‘celebrations’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

February 13, 2014

I love selfies – especially with others! Here is my most recent one. I took it yesterday with my two favorite Valentines.

 Selfie hoto of three persons - author and two men. Photo altered to be very colorful for Valentine'sDay. h

Happy Trio

Have yourself a very colorful Valentine’s Day tomorrow

and the entire weekend as well!

From Tucson with Love – Alicja

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Text and photo copyright © 2014 by Alicja Mann.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy and … Happy New Year!

January 3, 2014

This past year I started with “dancing my troubles away.” I also danced for rain in Tucson while on Solana Beach last June. In both cases the dancing was not very effective – my troubles did not go away, and we did not get as much rain as we needed.

Every New Year is supposed to be joyful, and of course often it’s not. When you live long enough, you lower your expectations. To my surprise, this New Year’s Eve was more joyful than I anticipated. For that I am very grateful to Tucson’s Laffs Comedy Caffe! That is where I met the New Year of 2014 (http://www.Laffstucson.com).

Comedy Club at New Year's Eve

Alicja laughing

Every one of us defines joy differently. However, we can all agree that a smile is a good indicator of joy … I mean a genuine smile!

Rodney's Smile

It is hard not to feel the power of Rodney’s smile, which is totally disarming. He owns a one-man-operation restaurant on the main street of Wilcox, AZ. If you are ever in Wilcox, I am sure you will try his cooking as I did in November.

Rodney Menu posted on the window

There is another type of smile full of joy that is not interactive, but self contained. This flower girl in a wedding ceremony on a Cape Cod beach just couldn’t resist the joy of touching and sifting the soft, warm sand.

Flower Girl smiling while playing with the sand

I experience a similar feeling of joy while looking at luminaries – the characteristic holiday lights that are common in this part of the country – their soft glow evokes a soft smile.

Luminaries in Tucson

Happy New Year 2014! 

Let it glow with JOY for each of us!

Alicja at New Year's Celebration

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

November 26, 2013

I am running out of time this week for my blog writing, but not for writing a thankful note to my readers. Readers that I know and readers that I do not know, and for the very faithful ones who make comments regularly.

I am truly grateful for your presence in my life.

Thanksgiving flowers in a vase

THANK YOU, GRACIAS, MERCI, DANKE, ARIGATO and, in my native tongue, DZIEKUJE!

This year Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Jewish Hanukkah. Supposedly such convergence will not happen again for about 80,000 years. How this was calculated beats me, but one thing is sure – I will not be around for the next time! So we will celebrate this year the combination of both important holidays -THANKSGIVUKKAH! Somebody came up with this tongue twisting new word – cute enough to name some babies born at this time of this year, I suspect.

Something unexpected and amusing happened this morning. A daily blog written by my artist friend (painter) GC Myers (gcmyers.com/)  arrived as usual in my mailbox – thank you GC! It included Thanksgivukkah Anthem, a humorous musical creation by the Jewish singing a capella group Six13, that I am delighted to share with you.

Photo of a computer screen with the image of Six13 singing group

Please, please, click on this link and have a lot of ha ha’s with your family and friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yaFUcQZSvoE

Have a very joyful Thanksgivukkah Day!

From Tucson with Love – Alicja

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

January 24, 2013

It was a day full of symbolic images tied to the history of this country—cherished with pride and joy by many.

Imafeof the Inaguration 2013

Beyond Images (c) 2013 by Alicja Mann

BEYOND those images are the dreams, hopes, and great expectations of many Americans. Beyond those images also are disappointments, criticisms, and political conflicts that were left behind for that celebratory historic moment.

The day of the second Inauguration of President Obama was like an elegant portrait of this country, carefully staged and shared proudly with the world. And as such portraits tend to be, it captured the best images of us. We should be aware of that, but enjoy it without any guilt feelings because such is the purpose of most celebrations.

The determination of Latinos, women, gay people, and African Americans secured a second term in the White House for our first black president. Our diversity and prosperity were very visible in that celebratory portrait of this country. As The New York Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg stated, “…the faces of 2013 Inauguration Day were the faces of those left behind by the political process in decades and centuries past.”

And that is something truly to be proud of.

P.S:

I took this photo watching the second Inauguration of President Obama on television in the comfort of my home.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

After the Non-Apocalypse

January 8, 2013

No other year sapped my energy as did the year 2012. It started with a big shadow of personal sorrow that dimmed my spirit for most of the year. It ended with a deep darkness, in my heart and many other hearts, cast by the tragic happenings in this country and around the world that made impossible to not question the direction we are going as a society and as humanity. The fact that those tragedies were man-made added extra tint to that darkness: the unforgettable tragedy of the Newtown Elementary School, the unimaginable drama of the sexually assaulted woman in India, the unbearably long and harsh struggle of the Syrian people against their government, and the unfriendly and divisive politicking in this country, could only make one sick. Dealing with so many uns, it was hard, or rather impossible, for me to write those cheerful “Happy Holidays Greetings” and I sentenced them to sit in their box till next winter.

When an invitation for celebrating New Year’s Eve among friends came along, I was very grateful since I hardly could wait for 2012 to end. I put my dancing shoes on, and decided to dance all my troubles away that night – into a better, happier 2013.

Alicja dancing troubles away

I already like this year. It ends with number 13, which I consider my favorite number. After all, I was born on the 13th and according to some predictions 2013 is supposed to be a very good year for those born on the 13th of any month. Don’t ask me, please, where I got this idea. Perhaps I dreamed or invented it, but I like it!  The next year ending with my lucky number will not arrive for another 100 years….so I need to adopt a “this year or never” attitude without any delay.

I wish you, who read this, to have a Happy and Lucky New Year – regardless what your birth date is! Have great energy and some fun in 2013.

Lucky 2013

One really good thing that did happen in 2012, or rather that did not happen, was that the world did not end on December 21st as some believed it would. I was not really fearful of that ending, but “just in case” I wanted to have a picture in front of my studio (aka Word Studio) with The Writer magazine in my hands. Now it will serve as a reminder of that day and my recommitment to my writing, photography and publishing.

Alicja in front of her studio with the Writer mag

So it did not happen! Besides that, according to some theories we are entering the Age of Aquarius – an age of love, light, and humanity! Let it happen, or rather let us make it happen. First of all, let’s celebrate!

An art exhibition celebrating the world not ending is taking place at Raices Teller 222 Art Gallery in Tucson with the opening reception on Saturday, January 12 from 6 to 9 PM. I am part of that celebration and would love to see you there. Please feel invited!

Here is the detailed information:

Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery & Workshop

218 E. 6th Street

(1/2 block east of 6th St. & 6th Ave.)

Tucson, AZ 85705

(520) 881-5335

Exhibition Dates – Jan 12 through Feb 23, 2013

Opening Reception

Saturday January 12, 2013

6:00 – 9:00 PM

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Text and photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Happy Name Day!

June 21, 2012

It is very seldom that something nice comes “out of the blue” for me, but this time it did happen! And the timing could not have been more perfect. I was not in the greatest of moods. It was very hot in Tucson, and my name day (which is the day this post is being published) did not look very promising. If you wonder what a name day is, please see an explanation at the bottom of this post*.

My name day was coming within hours when I got a terrific e-mail from my friend Connie, who got it from someone else. She forwarded to me a collection of music to share. It made my day! I shortened the list to focus on well known musicians and music groups.

For me it was a gift of music instead of flowers for my day. I want to share this gift with you.

pink oleander flowers

Click on an artist or group name, enjoy the music, and .

1) Elvis Presley 2) Roy Orbison 3) Beatles 4) Abba 5) Bee Gees 6) Michael Jackson 7) John Lennon 8) Celine Dion 9) Frank Sinatra 10) Creedence Clearwater Revival 11) Julio Iglesias 12) Queen 13) Neil Diamond 14) Paul Mccartney 15) Rolling Stones 16) Pink Floyd 17) Bruce Springsteen 18) Elton John 19) U2 20) George Harrison 21) Cliff Richard 22) Tina Turner 23) Bob Marley 24) Andrea Bocelli 25) Dire Straits 26) Barbra Streisand 27) Eagles 28) Madonna 29) Simon & Garfunkel 30) AC/DC 31) Bob Dylan 32) Dean Martin 33) André Hazes 34) Tom Jones 35) Eric Clapton 36) John Denver 37) Eros Ramazzotti 38) Deep Purple 39) Led Zeppelin 40) Rod Stewart 41) Status Quo 42) Louis Armstrong 43) Fleetwood Mac 44) Bryan Adams 45) Jimi Hendrix 46) Barry White 47) Nat King Cole 48) Santana 49) Michael Buble 50) Gipsy Kings 51) David Bowie 52) Adriano Celentano 53) Robbie Williams 54) Charles Aznavour 55) Metallica 56) Doors 57) Shakira 58) Beach Boys 59) Cat Stevens 60) Bon Jovi 61) UB40 62) Joe Cocker 63) Whitney Houston 64) Phil Collins 65) Enrique Iglesias 66) Ricky Martin 67) Ray Charles 68) K3 69) ZZ Top 70) Van Morrison 71) Ringo Starr 72) Stevie Wonder 73) Gloria Estefan 74) Supertramp 75) Jethro Tull 76) Black Sabbath 77) Marco Borsato 78) Guns N’ Roses 79) Neil Young 80) Chuck Berry 81) Billy Joel 82) Sting 83) Kinks 84) R.E.M. 85) Laura Pausini 86) Genesis 87) Who 88) Monkees 89) Animals 90) Simple Minds 91) Prince 92) Aretha Franklin 93) B.B. King 94) Iron Maiden 95) Pearl Jam 96) Christina Aguilera 97) Alice Cooper 98) Depeche Mode 99) Nirvana

*What is a name day?

Well, on many European calendars, days are marked with names, showing that different days are identified with different names—for instance, a day for Thomas, David, Martha, or Ann. It all started in ancient times with the days named for saints. In contemporary Poland, however, that is no longer the case. There is no saint Alicja and yet I have my day on the calendar and share it with Alojzy (for saint Alojzy). So on the 21st of June all Alicjas are celebrating their day. It is the longest day of the year and usually is the first day of summer. I always loved that day — full of sunshine and flowers!

The nice thing about name days is that there is no problem to remember them, because the names are printed on all calendars and are announced on the radio and TV stations at the beginning of the day. For instance, if it is Joseph’s day and you have a friend by that name, you better run to a flower or liquor shop to purchase something that Joseph likes, and go to celebrate that day with him.

The best part for the celebrant is that he has a lot of attention and nobody talks about his age, as happens here on birthdays.

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Text (except music list) and photos copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Vive la (Petite?) Difference!

May 4, 2012

May is here already—a colorful and busy month—saturated with flowers, celebrations, sunshine, and hope. A month pregnant with many desires—for love, for freedom, for new adventure, new challenges, new dreams…. Cupids are flying among the birds and sharpening their arrows. So I decided to write something “sexy” this time.

In one of the latest THE WEEK magazines (April 27, 2012) I stumbled on the article: “Sweden: Purging gender from the language”

It just so happens that quite a few years ago (1986), as an op-ed columnist for Cape Cod Times, I wrote a piece titled “Our language reflects our values.” I questioned the use of the title “selectman” for that position in Falmouth given that for eight long years Falmouth had had a woman as a selectman. Here it is what I wrote:

“Let’s say the title of selectman were to change to selectwoman, as logic would call for in the Falmouth situation. What would happen? Would the male candidates have to run for selectwoman? Here is the core of the issue. I am sure that men would object. But why? If a woman runs for selectman, why can’t a man run for selectwoman?”

“All of it starts early in childhood. When a little girl becomes a tomboy, it is cute; it is all right. When a boy is sensitive, open, and expresses his feelings with tears, he is called ‘sissy’; he is being ‘a girl.’ We as a society have yet to value masculinity and femininity as equal.”

You can see why I got intrigued about the Swedish society purging gender from its language.

First of all — to purge gender from some languages is simply not possible. In my native Polish for instance, every noun has a gender – it is always she, he or it. The adjectives and verbs are modified according to the noun gender, so Polish and other Slavic languages are heavily gender coded. They would have to be reconstructed totally from scratch!

On top of everything else the likable Swedes went very far in their political correctness.

Quoting from THE WEEK: “State-run preschools have been instructed to avoid referring to children as girls or boys, and many of them have hired ‘gender pedagogues’ who ‘help staff identify language and behavior that risk reinforcing stereotypes.’”

To not be addressed by your gender at all? It is one thing to try to be fair and to give both sexes the same chance to be treated as equally as possible, but is it necessary to go to such an extreme? What do you think about it?

Small gender differences (except anatomical of course!) in the appearance of very young children are not that small in their behavior, moods, and interests according to the What to Expect on line journal from which I copied this photo.

Let’s face it, we are different from the very start – genetically. Denying gender differences seems to be absurd to me. I will repeat what I wrote years ago: Recognition of sex is not sexism: the putting down of one sex by another is. We do not have to be the same to be equal.

Vive la petite difference, and not so petite after all!

This familiar Yin Yang symbol represents Taoism’s way of understanding opposites like light and darkness, masculine and feminine. There is equality there and interpreted as two sides of the same coin where one could not exist without the other. They in fact complement each other. There is an idea of balance. Growing acceptance in our culture for a wider variety of sexual orientation caused by nature or due to personal choice is comforting. It does not upset (in my opinion) any balance of nature, just like dawn and dusk do not upset the balance between day and night.

Many of you may be familiar with this book by John Grey. I purchased this 1992 edition a couple of years later and still have a mixed feeling about it, but can’t deny that the author’s goal was to improve communication between men and women. Here is a quote from his introduction:

“[The book] reveals new strategies for reducing tension in relationship and creating love by first recognizing in great detail how men and women are different…. Relationships do not have to be such a struggle. Only when we do not understand one another is there tension, resentment, or conflict.”

So here we have it – women and men, or men and women, how really different are we? There have been a huge number of researches, opinions, laws, and actions addressing this question. Frankly, it can be overwhelming, so today I propose that we just laugh a bit about our petite difference.

Please click on the photo (or this YouTube link) for a few minutes of humor and laughter. Enjoy it!

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Text copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann. Photo of laughing people by Yuri Arcurs (purchased from BigStockPhoto.com). Yin Yang symbol by Petr Kratochvil (public domain).


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