Posted tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

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.

Buttons of Love

February 13, 2013

Ppiles of colorful buttons among them in the shape of heart

Find your button of Love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Please read my previous post about LOVE

(if you have not read it already)



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Text and photo copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Affectionate Pink

February 2, 2012

February is already here and, as always, tinted with a strong touch of red and pink dictated by Valentine’s Day.

I consider pink as the “gray” of red and white because of its gradations from pale to hot pink. Pink is not diluted red, but the transition from pink to red. Consequently, it does not symbolize for me a diluted love, but rather the possibility of growing into love. It has a strong association with the affectionate feelings of mine: for places, for persons, or for groups of people. Considering that Valentine’s Day is coming soon, this post is about my feelings colored in pink.

The first stream of my warm pink goes to Bohemia, a colorful shop which was always filled to the brim with art and crafts created by local artists of Tucson. I was proud being one of them. Tana Kelch led this small enterprise with great gusto for an entire nine years. First in the Lost Barrio and most recently on Broadway Boulevard near Country Club.

Sign and parking lot in front of Bohemia, Tucson, Arizona

Outside Bohemia

Inside the former Bohemia, Tucson, AZ

Inside Bohemia - from their website

I had always strong affection for Bohemia because of its spirit, philosophy and hospitality. I was happy to see its large logo visible from a distance while driving on Broadway towards downtown or back from it. I was happy with its success and I thought that Bohemia would be there forever. When I shopped there for last Christmas, I did not realize that it would be my last shopping there, but it was!

On January 19th Tana announced in her newsletter the closing of Bohemia:

“There are so many emotions as Bohemia was more than just a business to me and, I hope, to you. Alas, it was a business and the end is an unfortunate sign of the times. These years have been an incredible journey and I thank you for the lessons and successes and experiences that were part of the Bohemia world.”

I was shocked and terribly sad. How could this be? It was hard for me to imagine this spot on Broadway without Bohemia…so I went there and took some photos.

Bohemia entrance door and closer view of stickers on it

Bohemia's front entrance and closer view of spirited stickers

I will miss dropping by to pick up Zócalo and Tucson Weekly and to browse for a while among the amazing and amusing objects that people can create. I will miss buying them for a variety of occasions, excited that my friends will enjoy receiving original gifts created by local artists. I will miss the parties there with music and wine, its eclectic crowd, and true bohemian atmosphere.

Farewell Bohemia, thank you Tana! The memory of Bohemia lives in several charming objects in our house — like a colorful bench, some small ceramics and my funky bracelets. They are more valuable for me today than I ever anticipated.

Alicja Mann's image twice in shop windows of Bohemia, Tucson, Arizona

My double image and double sorrow

Bohemia’s closing made me sensitive to the possibilities of losing other things I love. My thoughts flew immediately to the KUAT-FM Classical radio station. Ever since I moved to Tucson, 11 years ago, I have listened to their music every morning. I was “conditioned” for this by Morning Pro Musica of WGBH while living on Cape Cod. Robert J. Lurtsema and his signature openings with chirping birds did bring a smile every morning. So discovering KUAT in Tucson was a happy event for me. Although I am a jazz fan and like all kinds of music, my mornings, while still in bed, have to start with the smell and warmth of a cup of coffee and sounds of classical music announced by James Reel or another pleasant voice of this station. And KUAT sure does have a great “collection” of terrific radio voices! I have never met any of the announcers, but their voices have become part of my life.

10 classical CD covers

Some of my CDs

I know how easy it is to take for granted the reliable, stable elements of life. I was reminded of it most recently when I did not hear James Reel for several mornings and I started to worry, “What has happened? Is he on vacation? Maybe he had to travel somewhere? Maybe somebody in his family is sick? Perhaps he is ‘under the weather’ as I was a couple of weeks ago?” Then a series of “what ifs” entered my mind. “What if this program would disappear? What if the station does not have enough money? What if…?”

David had a little laugh about all my worries, but for me imagining that this program might not be available was a truly scary thing — I saw it as a huge black hole, a dark void in my life.

I deal with small voids like that every time I travel, especially because hotels provide only lousy clock radios, totally useless for listening to good music. Of course, one can carry one’s own collection of music downloaded onto a computer or an iPod, but it is not the same. Not at all!

The element of surprise is missing. The element of discovery of some unfamiliar composer or new piece of music is missing. The entire concept of adventure with music is missing and, of course, the comforting presence of the announcer’s voice is missing! So when I hear “Good morning this is 90.5 classical, I am James Reel,” I feel secure, calm, and very much at home.

For the coming Valentine’s Day my affectionate pink goes to all at KUAT-FM with many thanks of being there — every day.

Have a warm pink day on February 14th — Alicja

Chair, table, gauzy curtains, pink flowers

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Text and photos (except of Bohemia interior) copyright © 2012 by Alicja Mann.

Tomatoes for Your Valentine

February 9, 2011

Valentine’s Day is again upon us — another year has passed! Time to run to the store and buy some flowers and chocolates for your Valentine. But why not tomatoes?


That’s right, tomatoes. They have the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, and surely they have the perfect name for it. In many languages the tomato is as referred as love apple: jablko milosci in Polish, Liebesapfel in German, and pomme d’amour in French.

Naturally, the love apple has not escaped being thought of as an aphrodisiac — how perfect for Valentine’s Day! There was a time when the belief in the power of the tomato made many young women afraid to eat them.

The tomato was introduced to the United States in the 19th century, but for a long time was thought to be poisonous. It took a while for the tomato to be accepted as an eatable vegetable, although botanically it is a fruit.

So for Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it be nice to offer your Valentine a love apple instead of chocolates? It would be a healthier gift, no doubt, as tomatoes are well known for their nutritional value.

When I say tomatoes, I think about tomatoes grown in the garden and vine-ripened. I think about summer, and the texture and smell of the soil.

Small tomatoes on the vine Large tomatoes on the vine

Ever since childhood tomatoes have been very special to me. Perhaps I have some gene of an Italian? Italians developed a whole folklore around tomatoes and many ways of preparing them. I am especially thankful for the invention of delicious Italian spaghetti sauce.

Oh well, I simply love tomatoes! I love to eat them, I love to cook them, and I love to photograph them (I used to grow them too — back east, in Massachusetts). One might say that I glorify tomatoes. Here are two of my photographs in that category — glorified tomatoes — for your Valentine’s Day.

Tomato on a pedestal
On the Pedestal The Onset Review
cover, summer 1990

I took this photo some time ago while visiting Poland and later used it on the cover of the literary magazine which I published for a short time on the Cape

"Just 4 You" by Alicja Mann

This photo was taken last summer in Massachusetts. I harvested the little tomatoes from my son’s garden, photographed them and I titled the picture Just 4 You. Last fall it was included in a collective exhibit of Tucson’s artists.

"Just 4 You" - tomatoes at an exhibition
Tomatoes. The accumulation of sun and warmth under their tender skin is so unmistakably delicious. They bring memories of picnics, swimming, green grass, and roses. They could bring memories of Valentine’s Day as well.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What I wrote today is a short variation of an essay Valentine Tomatoes in my book Looking at the World Twice.

In the spirit of Valentine giving I have an offer for you. If you subscribe to my blog between now and 15th of March, I will send you a gift (shipping costs included).
Please choose one of the following:
1. Photo print of Just 4 You size 10×10
2. Photo print of On the Pedestal size 8×10
3. My book (winner of several awards) Looking at the World Twice
E-mail your choice and mailing information to or call me at 520-344-7440.

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Copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

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