Monday, March 31, 2008


O.K. getting in touch can be very hard to do sometimes...

It is beautiful out today, I left early as a friend who lives in the Yakima Gulag wanted to chat online, and that means going to an internet club. I didn't feel wonderful last night.
There is a new store on one of the streets leading up the hill. I took a different bus than usual, and a man who was seriously drunk got on. He had the 1000 yard stare, so I knew he had had a worse than usual time in the war, he was young and thin, and blotchy and dressed in clothes appropriate to manual labor. In a drunken voice he loudly proclaimed that this morning he had been in Mostar, and there had lost his job, at least that was what I gathered from his slurred speech. An older man who must have been an acquaintance came on. 'Hello neighbor!' he said to the older man.
'I fought on Igman and look what happened to me! I lost my job! I am going to starve!'
A smell of bad rakija went across the width of the bus. The bus got to accross from the first entrances of the hospital area, and that isn't so far a walk for me, it was nice out, and while I felt sorry for the guy's trouble, I could sense that his trouble was fast becoming everyone else's trouble and it would be bright to leave.
So I bailed and walked up. The old Mercur isn't there anymore, a DP went in, so I decided to check it out and see what they had in there. Well it looks decently stocked, I checked the frozen foods and found frozen SALMON, at 4KM it was about what I would h ave paid in the Gulag, and from a good company, Ledo, so I grabbed it. Made salmon for dinner and felt very good. This morning that was not the case. I think I ate too much of it.
I will eat less next time.
It is a glorious day out, I got some writing done, have a couple errends and I am going to see my friends at the dress shop.
No news as to how the S.O. is right now. I am assuming that he is at his sisters. If so they have their hands full and I don't want to bug them.
People are starting to like Obama here. Hillary made a key strategic error with Bosnians by overplaying the dangers of going to Tuzla with Chelsea. It was safer to go there than a few other places in the region. While people here ARE grateful for the help of the United States of America and generally like Americans, exaggeration isn't forgiven lightly by people who really DID go through some Hell.
The quality of a campaign can be very telling as to what sort of administration you will get. Hillary is making mistakes she ought not to be making.
Obama deserves a chance, and I think he will do a good job. I have reached out to the campaign and hope to hear back if there are some Obama supporters in my near vicinity.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Sunny again!

The sun is out, the informal gathering of citizens were out collecting petitions today, but it wasn't a mass demonstration like most Saturdays, today being Sunday and for the Katedrale, a 'working day' I was relieved to see that it was no more than a lit table would have been back in Berkley.

I have not heard from the S.O.s relatives as to how he is. The last I heard he was recovering well. I don't want to be a pest, so I am waiting to contact them until Monday. He is probably at his sisters if he isn't in the hospital. Knowing him, he is being a pill! I have looked after him when he was sick before, and I don't envy them!

Getting my classes started has involved ads in two of the most read local papers and a short ad is going in 'Oglasnik' the advertising paper. I should hear from people starting next week. Two people probably will join my classes right away! D. and B. because running a shop in Baščaršija they could use a few handy phrases in English! Anyway now to sit back and wait for calls! That should happen over the next week with any luck. There are others doing the same thing, but usually people like if they can stay in the neighborhood, and I am where there are a lot of college students who could use help. So something ought to happen.
Three different times I have been there and done some informal interpreting. It is good practice for me, and helpful to them, it sort of pays them back for all the times they have given me coffee!
The classes will just be in my living room, there is enough room to make it work!
Work on the other novel is slow but steady. I probably will have to break off for editing on the other sometime soon with any luck.
Another hightlight of the week was I found a place with a few books in English. While I read Bosnian fine, in fact am almost done with Balkan Bluz and have started a book by Alexander Hemon, about his time in Chicago, I need some other readage!
Magazines in English can be fantastically expensive here! So can newspapers! Books actually are good value for money and still have a little resale value. I got a purple vest with pockets too. It exactly matches my purple skirt. I paid 5KM for it.
Then came down here, hung with my friends a bit. I will go home soon though, because I have a little house work to do. The thought of going for some guacamole is tempting right now. I haven't done that in ages! The sidewalk near Hacienda looks better at this point too.
It really is nice out today, so I am glad I did not need to wear my heavy sweater or boots. I was getting tired of slogging along in the boots, even though they are really nice when there is snow and ice out. Thank God there isn't snow and ice right now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Crop Circle Found Near Mostar: Art Bell? George Noory? Where ARE you ?

Odd things in the local news, 1. A crop circle was found in a meadow near the village of Svinjarina which is near to Mostar. The man who found it is a 59 year old pensioner named Ramo Baškailo. This was on page 7 of yesterday's Dnevni Avaz. (28/March/2008)
He brought all his friends to see the crop circle in the grass. He is afraid his fellow villagers will think he went nuts or something, there was a picture of him standing in the field with the crop circle, which was drier grass in the middle of fresh new spring growth.

Other interesting news, here in Sarajevo, a wealthy Serbian business tycoon has bought the Holiday Inn. Today they are having a wine and pr
ščut festival. I wish I was there because of course I love both wine and prščut! But I am staying in the neighborhood.


Sunny Saturday in Sarajevo.

I haven't heard any news from or about the S.O. He should get out of the hospital, today or perhaps tomorrow. I did S.M.S. one of his relatives yesterday but never did hear back. I am fairly sure he received the message, but he may have been busy at the time it was sent and then just forgotten to reply. He has a fairly responsible and busy sort of job.
The Lost Things Fairy left my letters on the phone table for me. I am glad I did not for example lose them on the bus!
I have been losing weight pretty steadily and without feeling awful. Most previous attempts to lose weight on my part have failed due to my very healthy appetite. I love food, and it is hard to resist nice things to eat if you also feel hungry in the first place and if eating less than you are used to could set off a migraine. Ever since I added suho meso to my diet, I have felt better, less tendency to eat stuff that is not healthy, and I don't get the stupid migraines as often. I can eat a few slices, fat and all and I am not hungry again for hours. My meat intake has actually gone down and since I am eating less junk food, I am probably taking in less hidden fat and sugar.
Losing that weight however means I needed to get a corset. I asked one of my friends which was the best place to find one, that turned out to be Lisica. They have lots, but i like them to open in front. I found one that opens and closes in back but also laces in front.
The trick is that you wear a corset 2 days on, one day off and you have some help not loosing the water front property. This one is light weight, but holds things in place well. It will be comfortable even in Summer.
This morning since the regular demonstration in front of the Katedrale is taking place, I did not want to go into town. I mailed my letter to my friend who is in Basic Training and I sent in small 10 word ads for my English classes.
10 words isn't a lot, I asked potential students to S.M.S. me, and what I hope to do is get a few students in my living room, and over coffee and cookies help them with their English, whether it is homework, accent correction or whatever.
I hope that will help some. You can see why I was annoyed with the Lost Things Fairy though, I wanted that in the paper before! Well I am not even sure how long those little ads run for, so I may need to do it again. I also will get the word out here at BIT.
Yesterday while I was out, I also got another small piece of suho meso, and I found a place that had some second hand vests a little smaller than the first one. I needed them for the pockets. Once spring comes I won,t be wearing a huge overcoat that has big pockets obviously, so I was delighted to find one that has a total of four, it's some dark denim like cloth but not denim. If I don't alter it in any way it looks business like enough to wear to an interview should any such thing happen. I can put my mobile phone, my little coin purse, my pill box, a pen or two and my house-keys in those pockets. It makes a huge difference NOT having to carry a purse. I only ever carry any sort of bag if I am going to shop for anything heavy or if I am carrying my camera. I do not always take my camera with me places.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Big demonstrations in Banja Luka.

Well now that the snow is gone, the demonstrators are back out in Banja Luka, they want to secede from BiH. Well they did get their own little area of BiH. So far these demonstrations appear from what I have seen on the news, to have been peaceful.
Succession was ruled out by the Dayton Accord. The Dayton Accord partitioned BiH. I really dislike partition as a solution to these sorts of problems.
For BiH it never made any sense. It always was ONE country to start with. Succession could start the next war. The level of partition there is already is bad enough for the country. It was the price of peace and it causes divisions.
As well that Serbs got their piece of the pie while Croats didn't causes other resentments. The partition hinders the safe return of people to their original areas of the country, vastly complicates law enforcement and makes it easy for war crimes suspects to not be arrested.
Yesterday morning at 5 am or so local time, the Karadžić place in Pale was seriously searched. Of course no Karadžić but maybe evidence was found as to his movements. Basically, he can move about freely in Republika Srpska. If Republika Srpska had never existed, I believe he would now be in the Hague, where he belongs.
Partition was very bad for India, it was very bad for Cyprus, very bad for Ireland and for that matter England, it was very bad for BiH.
Today it is beautiful out. I decided since I have heard nothing I best get out and enjoy the warm weather, and I had some shopping to do anyway.
The Lost Things Fairy made off with a letter to a friend and a couple filled out ad coupons for my English classes. grrrrr When I see her, she is getting a beating!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Snow falling at night

Snow falling at night
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I love photographing snowfall at night, the glitzy effect on the small screen of my camera is cool, the flash hitting the snow is cool, and sometimes wakes up birds, sorry birds. This snow was fairly heavy. You can get an idea of how fast snow is falling at night this way.


Snow falling at night

Snow falling at night
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Snow which fell in the night on Easter.


Random notes: Department of Loose Ends

The Mothers of Srebenica, have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I am late putting something about this in, just remembered I should really.


Emir and Frozen Camels

You people need to see this because I love this band and so does the S.O. They really deserve a wider audience!



I have much better news to report today on the S.O. While he scared all of us that love him damn near to death, his problem was actually a lot less awful than it looked. The doctors at the hospital here have been able to stabilize him, and he should be able to be home in a couple days, at most three more days. Odds are he will feel better than before.
In some ways positive things came my way. I knew I was in the kind of mood where I can go from thinking realistically and realizing a situation is serious over to the negative thinking area. Staying home when I am like that is NEVER good for me, so I went out and visited my Baščaršija friends, B, and D, and the landlord's brother was there too. All of them are very nice people and we have become quite good friends in my time here. The landlord's brother, S. gave me some good practical advice on getting some sort of tutoring jobs here, the original one I hoped for might not pan out. Anyway, it will be fine, God willing, and in fact I may end up being able to be here longer as a result and be doing something useful. Not that wandering around looking at stuff isn't fun, not that writing isn't fun, I am at work on another short book, and in fact worked on it yesterday. A big dream of mine may come to realization, and that is that S. liked what he saw of my NaNo, and is reading it seriously, I printed it out for him, I told him it probably stilll needs editing, that some research questions I had could not be answered so I had to change stuff all over the place in that book, but I am very flexible on editorial questions for that reason. I am not dead set on how it is now.
The other one I am working on, I will compromise less on, but it is a different kind of story.
He said, 'Your English is better than average for an American!' He learned his English from English people, he loves the English. He said, ćYou probably could teach, or lecture about America and seriously a lot of Americans I know have problems with their English' I explained that both my parents were pretty well educated, and both wrote at different times in their lives, and even my grandfather, before becoming a bootlegger was a journalist. He praised what he h as seen of my manuscript and I sort of blurted out, 'You think that was good? Now my mother there was a WRITER!' He asked me 'Was she published?' and I explained what happens if a writer in the States hasn't got an agent and dies, which is that getting that kind of manuscript into print in the U.S. is EXTREMELY rare and very difficult. He wants to see some of her work, so now I have to research having a couple manuscripts sent so he can have a look.
I have never regretted coming here, and I am begining to see, sometimes a change of location is a change in luck.
But to end all this I want to thank all the people who read this and either prayed for my S.O. or sent him good vibes, because he probably needed them, and it helped!
The people I know here have been really super to me.
Like I said earlier, just being here instead of half a world away helped me bear up in a better way. I mean even if God forbid this had been worse, I think being here being where I can know what is going on sooner makes a difference. I still may not always be able to do anything, but somehow I feel less helpless!
Tody there was a little tiny bit of rain, but the sun has come out. The magpies came and tapped at the window, they wanted rinds from some slanina I got myself as an Easter treat. They were all over the place. Then they left and the pigeon came back. It is funny how one bird will look different from another and you know it is the same bird. Don't worry I am not going to go all Tesla on you folks, the birds are only welcome on the window sill, they will not repeat not be invited in for tea and cakes!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


What's Inside?

What's Inside?
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This is a typical egg box, I brought something a little different home in this box!


Easter Eggs!

Easter Eggs!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I have to tell you these eggs would have been quite illegal in the States! The dyes have to be fairly strong as most available eggs here are brown. Some people do natural dyes at home. I am no slouch at decorating eggs, but my experience is with WHITE not brown eggs. So I saw these and bought them. I got them home and on sniffing them realized that NAIL POLIISH formed part of the decor! Amazingly they did not make me ill!


Sad news

The S.O. is alive but not well. He is in the hospital. He fell ill on Easter or Easter Monday and was taken to the hospital. I do not know how he is right now. Yesterday I S.M.S.ed a relative, who did not have my number. I am glad the S.O. gave that number to me. Otherwise I still would not know what was up. I feel really bad about this all around.
I have to sy though, if I were in the Yakima Gulag right now, no one would be able to stand my company just now. Being near helps.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008



Richardson has endorsed Obama. So I guess now I am on board. Richardson will be key to the sucess of whoever makes it. It is still close but I am increasingly impressed by Obama.
Ask anyone who knows me, I am not easy to impress or drag on board.
His speech on race was shown locally in bits and translated. He’s getting a local fan base..
There was an interview with Larry Pressler, other party I know, but he was a strong early supporter of Bosnia-Hercegovina which means he can’t possibly be all bad. He basically thinks Obama is going to be the next president and even said that Obama would be a far superior president to McCain.
Obama can get cross party votes too and that is key to a victory in November.
I still respect Hillary Clinton for coming here when it was not at all a safe trip. No one can take that away from her, but Obama's policy for the region is at least acceptable and having Richardson on board is a very helpful developement.

So I guess I have switched horses.


Belated Happy Easter!

Well my Easter basically wasn't awful, but Easter Monday majorly sucked. The S.O. was supposed to go to a medical appointment, and then he thought he'd come see me. So I did not call him in the morning at the usual time assuming he'd be going through the wait at the Dom Zdravalje and not be reachable anyway. Usually he calls right before he sets off for my place so I was waiting nicely. I stayed in the whole day and waited. Around 3:30 I got majorly anxious and began to call like every half hour. I had fallen asleep for like 20 minutes but I would have heard the doorbell. It was not a long hard sleep.
Anyway, I am between anger and anxiety, and I am going to call someone in his family if I don't hear from him by the end of the day. Probably he just came home, and turned the phone off so he could rest. The main thing is he won't learn to leave his mobile phone on. HTEronet has a wonderful feature, incoming calls are FREE! GRATIS! BEZPLATNO! SAOR! even if you have no remaining credit. So how many times have I told him this? LOTS of times!
Do I get listened to? NO!
Anyway, I decided for the sake of my sanity it was vital to get out of t he house, despite hard pellets of snow that are falling today.
We did not get a White Easter, but we had snow the two days before Easter. I actually considered going to the Katedrale, and decided against because I don't want to catch another flu or cold. I watched it on T.V. and watched other nice Easter shows.
I will have pictures up next time I am in here. My NaNo is in the pipeline.
My two Bascarsija friends wished me Happy Easter by SMS. Very sweet, they are Muslim folks.
But that is how it is here with people who are not doing politics and nationality like it was some kind of drug, the regular people here are very nice, and congradulate one another's holidays.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Certain People

wish to build a large cross on a hill overlooking Sarajevo, I mean a HUGE HERKING BIG one, and their excuse is that there is a similar cross over Mostar. I think that kind of memorial has more in common territorial pissing or flipping the bird than it does with anything to do with religion.
Serbian people indeed died in Sarajevo during the war, and there are still missing from that side.
Here is how I think the money should be spent instead of building the cross, why don't these people help Serbian war survivors? Why don't they help the injured people from their side?
Most Muslim memorials to the war are of very modest dimensions, and even most Croat memorials are smaller. I find crosses of this type VERY un-Christian frankly.



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
The cross walk to get to Markale, or at least one of them, and I LOVE looking in the windows at this shop. They have the most amazing old small appliances in bits and pieces in the windows.



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
this is where to go shopping for fresh veggies in Sarajevo. As well there is an indoor portion where you can get non-food items like plumbing supplies, dishes, nail-polish, thread, whatever. Just ask, they will either say 'neznam' or tell you who has what.


Spring Snow

On the 18th, when I left here it was SNOWING! I hadn't worn boots, I wore my very cute, tiny purple flats. and this meant I needed to take a taxi home, there was no way I was going to get very far in them. Fortunately there is a taxi stand not far from this internet cafe, and I was able to get home quickly and safely. It had been nice when I left, mildly rainy. My ankle didn't hurt so the snow came as a big surprise.
Anyway I am fine, but I stayed home the next day. I promised a picture of the Markale as it appears today. So that will be in. Had to put it on Flikr first.
I am a lot better. My friend that is in Basic is doing VERY well. She is doing better than some men ten years younger. I think that is great!
The way I see it, is the army isn't about who is president now, who will be president tomorrow, or even the war. The army is about all Americans. Anyway I have been writing to her regularly. I also put in another e-mail to Democrats Abroad for BiH. No reply yet. I wish they would reply. I am willing to accomadate meetings in my very nice living room and parking isn't that awful up my way, and I am close to a well serviced taxi stand as well as near the bus stop.
They really don't know what they are missing by not getting in touch!
So it is the first day of spring, they said we could even get a little snow tonight. So unlike last time I actually wore my boots. I also went shopping for a smaller lighter vest with pockets. Soon it won't be cold enough to wear my big over coat, and I will miss the big pockts on it. It will also soon be too warm for the nice fleece sweater my sister gave me, and it also has pockets. I am obsessive about pocets, I have to have a minimum of four decent sized ones in order to maintain my hands-free approach to life. This one is brown, it only has two but they are big and they close and it would look o.k. with anything. It is fake crushed silk. It is the kind of brown you can wear with lots of other colors.
Today I wasn't planning to go to that particular second hand shop, but traffic was atrocious riding the bus down. So bit by bit people got off, as the bus got stuck in a traffic jam composed mostly of BUSES! I am like 'Wait a minute, I haven't been in this type of traffic jam since I left Dublin!'. I was among the last bunch to bail, and where I bailed was conveniently near a spice shop I have not been able to find again, they had fresh ginger and corriander there, so I got a little, and I got the vest at SECOND HAND. I was pleased because also they have dill leaves in the spice shop. So it was not a bad thing, all this was done for under 6KM. Then I walked to Baščaršija. I need to work on my next book. The whole Open Office v.s. Windows thing gave me fits with the last book so unless it's NaNo I am NOT putting myself through that again. I left the manuscript with people who will give it to my landlord's brother, so it is in the pipeline so to speak. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Two for joy...

Two for joy...
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I meant to add a picture of the magpies, I really like seeing them. They defy my efforts to get a closer picture of them so far, and my efforts have included substantial 'modeling fees'.


Always look on the bright side of life...

Well the stock market situation means that the Democrats could run Shrek and his donkey side kick and win, that would be a good thing! Why is it the market gets all wacko when there is a Republican in the White House?

It is rainy, I haven't been out in days. For some reason the internet club in the neighborhood was closed Saturday and the admittedly short walk was too much for me that day, and as well the usual weekly demonstration about the juvenile delinquency problem is Saturday, so the S.O. could not have come to see me that day, even if he had felt well enough to do it and I could not go into town either.
He came to see me yesterday and I made sure he ate some healthy and tasty things. He has had no appetite, and has to be coaxed to eat. I made just a few pancakes, and I made cream of mushroom soup for him, because the doctors said 'more dairy products and fish' and I sent him home with a tin of sardines my alleged can opener could not open. The can didn't have a pull tab, and if I had known that, I would not have bought that brand! I had fits opening the last batch of those sardines I bought. He has a good can opener at home. So I just put them in his pocket for him. He used to eat so much that it was scary!
He seemed in good spirits and we had a nice visit with one another. He has lost a lot of weight, which isn't a bad thing, but he hasn't been eating enough of the right foods either. So when he visits I make sure to make nice and healthy things for him.

Because next week is going to be Easter, I don't know how much I will be online in the next couple of weeks. Holidays tend to mess up my routine. I am really looking forward to Easter!

Easter here is very nice. I especially like the beautiful decorated eggs. I plan making some myself if I can find a few eggs that are white.
Most eggs in the stores here are brown for some reason.

Ambassador English was on T.V. last night. Unfortunately for me the translation was not only simultaneous, it was rapid! He wore a nice green neck tie in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I got to explain about St. Patrick's Day to the S.O. and we each had a nice small glass of Irish Mist. I kept things kind of quiet otherwise.

I really like Ambassador English. I think he does a good job of representing the U.S. The S.O. liked seeing him too.

Friday, March 14, 2008


To all my friends with 'Word Verification':

I can't always comment when there is 'Word Verification'! The software needed to even display Word Verification isn't in use in a lot of internet clubs here. So if you have not seen my comments, it isn't because I haven't wanted to comment, it isn't because I quit reading your blogs, it is because I simply can't comment. It is why I just do administrator approval. I can weed out the spam personally and real flamebait actually doesn't get through all that often. I only put the best written flames.
Anyway, I miss being able to comment, and I wish there were an easy way for a blogger to screen out spam, and bad stuff, without having to install Word Verification or to do it the hard way, something like a 'Trusted Commentator' deal, where regular reader-bloggers could automatically bypass Word Verification. I know it doesn't exist but some bright young thing should really invent it. :).


For the record, these are THE BEST group of 'Out of Context Quotes' EVER!

'Once you start conjugating nouns, you're lost.'

'Ask me about my earwax!'

'When a man's face falls off it's time to reassess the situation.'

'By the way, I'm glad we don't chase our own breakfasts around the house.'

'In the future, chihuahuas will be made from recycled tortilla chips.'

Yes, you ARE lost once you start conjugating verbs! It is totally true!

Number 2 is totally true!

I too am glad not to have to chase my breakfast around the house! It is bad enough I have to turn on the stove sometimes.

Speaking of stoves. I found out that Sugho meso will grow an interesting white substance on it, I tried frying it, just to be on the safe side. If that hadn't worked it was going to be a big party for the magpies, or maybe the jackdaws. I have been sick enough that I didn't dare eat meat. Anyway, frying it worked, so I fried it up some more and added potatoes. Anyway, it was delicious fried with potatoes. The latest potatoes from the maloprodovnica have fried nicer than average anyway. I was too sick for potatoes for many days as well. It is nice being this much thinner though. I am trying to not eat too much now.

The S.O. hopes he can make it up the hill by Sunday. That would be nice. Saturday is out, he has stuff to do then, and I have stuff to do anyway too.

Newswise, there hasn't been big stuff here. War crimes trials have made big news. By the way the tribunal is a regular T.V. feature locally. I watch it pretty regularly. Sometimes it makes me want to rend shred tear and mutilate. I try not to watch it if I am already in a slightly bad mood.

I heard this morning about the poor arch bishop in Iraq. I really feel some disgust that no one realizes that the Christians in Iraq are in such a precarious position. They are like hostages in their own country. There have been Christians in Iraq since very early in the history of the Christian religion and they were not particularly oppressed before. Their position wasn't wonderful but it wasn't Hellish like now.

The State of New Mexico, where I lived a long time was one of the major places that Chaldean and Maronite Christians found themselves in America. So I knew a few along the way, and they were not that rare in San Francisco. The first Arabs I personally met were Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem, and I used to shop at a fruit stand owned by Iraqi Catholics. They always gave my kids a small treat, because my kids knew how to act nice in a store. I used to get my eggs there too, because the eggs were fresh and organic from real free-range chickens.

So hearing of his death distressed me a great deal. He was kidnapped and he was killed by extremists.

Then too space has been in the news here. The guys had a space-walk, that is always cool to see on the news.

It is really nice out today.

Incidentally people here are really interested in how our elections turn out. The business with Ferraro upset people here too. Obama is increasingly well regarded here, and part of it is how he handled the whole incident. I sat with the two ladies I know in Bascarsija and they asked me all kinds of questions about the primary system, and elections in the U.S. and how it really works. I am just glad I have the vocabulary now to even discuss it. I couldn't have even a couple months ago.

Which brings me to another matter. Democrats Abroad here in Sarajevo needs to please pull their socks up very much. On arrival I attempted to join their Yahoo group, and never recieved a reply, which resulted after 2 weeks in my being rejected from membership. That is not at all cool with me, I KNOW there have to be Democrats here in Sarajevo! I will try again, but I hope they do reply this time.

I even offered my living room as a possible meeting place. It is big and I can make any sort of coffee or have juices and refreshments. O.K. parking is a little bad in my part of town, but there are worse areas for that, and there is a taxi stand a couple blocks from my place. They really should have gotten in touch. My other flat would have been a good meeting place too! Perhaps it even would have been better.

Back in the Yakima Gulag, offering meeting space usually got people's attention enough that someone would have got in touch.

It is cold out today, but very sunny. Really a beautiful day. I have to check something out accross the street, it looks like Chinatown there's a Chinese shop with red lanterns and all that stuff. Who knows, they might even have a wok or two! When I do non-microwave popcorn, I like using a wok. It comes out like that kettle corn at the fair, only I don't put sugar.

Thursday, March 13, 2008



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This was from a documentary I watched on Bosnian Independence Day, the tatoos are worn by women from Rama, a small area, not far from Jablanica. The tecnique involves, black fireplace ashes, honey and a sewing needle. They showed archival footage of a girl getting this done. I am here to tell you their K.U.D. are not a bunch of 'farbies'! I do personally know someone who has similar tatoos.


Because Strangers Always Have the Best Candy

Because Strangers Always Have the Best Candy
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I have to get more of these gummy lemon drops, they were really excellent! Č)


Stuff in general...

Everyone knows that there will be new elections in Serbia, and to think declaring Kosovo independence was delayed some to try not to affect the last elections in Serbia. Not that I think new elections there is going to solve anything.

Geraldine Ferraro really showed why she isn't in the White House or at least didn't make it to the now traditional 'undisclosed secure location'. I admit to not having started off as a big Obama supporter, but what she said was not at all called for, and not at all helpful. She didn't just fire at will at the feet of the Clinton campaign, she dropped a fucking Claymore mine on the campaign! That makes me wonder who'se side some of those people are on anyway.

Clinton cannot afford to lose any Black votes. Obama is justifiably pissed off, and he is beautiful when he is angry, no really, brings out something really sexy in the guy. He handled it with a lot of class too. That is a point hugely in the guy's favor.

He probably will make it now thanks to all the stupid mistakes in the Clinton camp. I am starting to wonder if there are secret Republican agents running around or what? They think they can beat Obama, but not Clinton. The way the Stock Market is right now, they couldn't even beat ME, not even if they found me in bed with half the Politburo.

It is on the soggy side here, which beats having all that snow. I decided for my own good I needed to get out.

The S.O. has been run around by the medical system. The ultra-sound machine in his usual clinic broke when it was his turn, so he had to go all the way to Novo Sarajevo in the first of the massive snow, they do have the hottest new American ultra-sound there, it can do color and all sorts of neat tricks, but somehow his didn't come out right. So h e has to do it all over again, then he has to take the pictures to his primary care physician, and then those pictures need to be analyzed. Then he gets told what they think is wrong if they can figure out what is wrong. I am kind of annoyed, I mean dammit, the HOTTEST sexiest American ultra-sound equipment, and they can't track down what is making the man dizzy? First they thought his blood pressure was too low, then they thought it was too high, then they thought he needed to start drinking a cup of coffee a day and on and on. I just wish they would figure it out, and fix it, so the guy can walk without feeling like he might fall over. It has been about a month of this run-around.

I have been remiss in not blogging 'Emir and Frozen Camels' It has to be one of the greatest rock group names ever and they really are good too! The S.O. and I both like them, they do a lot of material in both Bosnian and Spanish. Their videos are full of tropical fun in the sun, and great rhythm and the songs are fun. One of their best though is 'Elena' it has a Spanish Civil War theme going, they use old newsreel film of it, and the song itself is good. The T.V. stations don't just fill intervals between programs with advertising, they also run music videos at such times, that is how I got to see 'Emir and Frozen Camels' the first time. They are really a great band, and more people need to know about them.

Speaking of camels, a minor obsession with me, a long time ago when the Turks ran things, camels regularly were used to transport goods, and military supplies. The Bactrian variety was most used. One of the places that had shops long ago, it is now under repairs used to be like the camel parking lot for Baščaršija! It is kind of interesting to think of camels getting this far north into Europe. Not to mention this far west. I saw this in a documentary program about the mid 18th century here, and it was illustrated with the most marvelous wood-cuts.

I am feeling better as far as the flu thing goes. I am not running a temp anymore. I stayed home yesterday, it was beautiful and sunny out too, not bleak like today, and washed my vilely dirty overcoat. I couldn't stand it anymore. Now it looks nice again.

I've lost some weight, between the suho meso diet, and having had the flu bad enough that I could only eat soup and pudding. yesterday I fired up the stove and made a couple burgers and fried ONE small potato to go with them, and I made a small tomato salad. It was very good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Uppity Food

While I have been sick, one of the things I have been doing to try and recover is drinking lots of kefir and lots of tećni jogurt, because right now meat seems too heavy, I have been living on soup, pudding from mixes and tećni jogurt and kefir.

Kefir can get it's own back though, it is a force of nature, a living thing!
I forgot I had some kefir in the fridge, there wasn't much left, maybe a couple tablespoons wort, anyway I opened the bottle and there was this whoose and loud popping sound, louder even than uncorking champagne! Scared the Hell out of me, I decided that this kefir was armed and dangerous and not to drink it. It smelled ok but it was past the pull date.

I love it when food is uppity, those little surprises can be pretty funny!


Here it comes!

Here it comes!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This is what the snow looked like coming down, thank God it is all melted now.


A rainy day in Sarajevo...

So I had to go pay a gas bill, and that is best done by going to the post office. I am still not up for the maze of crossings by my place, so it made sense to take a bus, and just go into town, besides I really am getting cabin fever from sitting home so much. It isn't what I came here to do, but so it goes! Now that my body is not acting like a badly managed robot, complete with echos and the brain slopping around like jello, it is better. I actually feel like a human being.

The flu tried to fight back. I slept a lot the last couple days, I missed 'Sleeper Cell' which is kind of an interesting show. It's about an extremist sleeper cell. Edo Maajke and at least one other Bosnian musician have contributed music to the show. I was simply too tired to stay up that late. It is pretty useful for subtitles. I really think the music is good. Even though they have a consultant, they do occasionally get little details wrong, but the effort was sincere, and the show does hold one's interest.

A show I really like for kids here is 'Priča Kulin bana' They don't run it often, it must be an old show, anyway they reran my favorite episode, the one which is about how Kulin Ban made laws protecting cats. There were kids dancing around dressed up as cats, and so on. Very cute.

A show that my kids would have liked if it were shown in the States is 'Gladiator Academy', I bet my grandchildren would like it. It is dubbed into Bosnian, so it is good for listening for key phrases. Gladiator Academy is a cartoon show about gladiators, and it is not at all bloody, there are fights of course, come on this is gladiators! Very cute, and then this morning I saw the Shuttle launch live on Euronews, good luck guys! I haven't watched a launch live in YEARS. I used to watch launches all the time, my sister and I did so together, it was an easy way to get to stay home! In those days you would look at the afterburners a long time before the launch, and the countdowns were like forever! We watched the educational channel for launches, all the comercial networks would still run the Lucy show until the actual countdown got to T-20 or T-15, I probably still could draw an accurate afterburner!

Gotovina starts trial today. They showed on Euronews the full length shot of his arrest. The short one most blogs have had doesn't make it plain that he tried to get the Hell out, and that patrons in the restaraunt where he was arrested were startled!

For the most part Croats accused of war crimes, especially the big fish have surrendered to the authorities, he was the exception, he went on the run, rather expesively so.


My best picture of a bird, EVER

My best picture of a bird, EVER
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
The bird has been back since, but has not cooperated in any further photo-shoots! She must be holding out for a higher fee!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


another one of the three stones holding up the whole deal

another one of the three stones holding up the whole deal
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Another one of the three stones holding up this amazing stack of stones...


one of 3 much smaller stones holding up the whole deal

one of 3 much smaller stones holding up the whole deal
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
One of the 3 much smaller stones, really amazing!


The Stecak I was talking about...

The Stecak I was talking about...
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
O.K. this is the stecak I was talking about, the archeologist is probably an average sized guy.


Breaking the Laws of Physics

I am still looking through pictures I took from T.V. for the completely awesome stecak that I saw on T.V. they re-ran one program and I took screen shots of this awesome stecak that is basically a huge square flat, I am not sure of it's weight but trust me it is massive, on top of it, is a large house shaped block, and the lot are sitting on three MUCH smaller stones, probably heavy, but I bet I could shift them if I really really really HAD to. The amazing thing is that the big flat square doesn't break under the weight of the big rectangular house shaped block. Stecci have always fascinated me. I saw my first pictures of one in an art book my late mother had. I always wanted to know more about them, and the program on them was very interesting. They are all over Bosnia Hercegovina, but the only ones I actually have seen were by the museum, moved there from other places. I will post the pictures of the one I am talking about just as soon as I find them.


what I woke up to....

what I woke up to....
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
So as you can see, I was going nigdje, it was very cold and wet snow. I also ended up catching the flu and could hardly walk in the house. The S.O. is kind of responsible, his sister had the flu, and he didn't get it really, but she was so sick that the doctor made a house call for her. She can barely walk and she lives in a big tower block someplace along Sniper Alley. Anyway, today was the first day that I have felt well enough to go more than a block. The snow is mostly melted now. Great piles of it fell from the roof, it was really ominous sounding.
I watched very little T.V. until yesterday, there wasn't much I wanted to see, and then when there was, I fell asleep, even when I was interested. Mostly I stayed in bed, I got up to make soup and hot tea, and pudding. Everything else bothered me. I drank jogurt too. That helped. I have definatelty lost some weight. I still have a cough, and I still feel a bit wobbly, but at least my brain doesn't feel like it is sloshing around in my head, with every step like yesterday.
I did however succumb to the cheesy fun of Eurovision BiH, that was NUTS! Laka has a good chance of winning, if children in BiH are any reliable barometer.
Imagine if a guy dressed like Minni Mouse practically, and another guy in a really ridiculous suit carrying a handsome and amazingly calm rooster come on stage, there are people dancing with scythes, and the local wooden pitchforks and rakes dressed in early 20th century striped men's swim suits, there is complete chaos, and the rooster is so calm, he doesn't even mess on the stage, he just wanders around wondering what all these crazy people are up to....
It was surreal.
Good luck Laka!
Oh and then there was the totally sweet little girl who came and brought the guys a rose and kissed the one who was more or lest dressed like a man...


Snijeg pada

Snijeg pada
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
So dear readers, you have been wondering why you did not hear from me....this is why....


So now we get some sunshine...

Today the sun was shining and I decided I needed to get out for reasons of sanity, and to make sure no one back home was too worried about me. My one American friend here, has gone into Basic Training at the age of 35! She sent out a letter that got put onto e-mail by her sister, and I will be sending her a snail-mail. Speaking of snail mail, stuff still isn't coming to MY mailbox, it is ending up downstairs. I wish that could be sorted out. I have had the flu, the S.O. has had the flu, and it has been fairly unpleasant. I have not been able to eat more than soup or puddings, the sun brought out the magpies. I have been trying to get some decent close ups of them, t hey really are pretty. One came and sat on the window ledge spying on me, I felt watched and looked up, and it was a Damn Where's the Camera?! moment. I put out a too tough bit of suho meso on the ledge for him or her, can't tell the boys from the girls with those birds, and the bird came back, snatched up the little bit of meat, and flew gleefully off to the tree by the house with the sun-room accross the road. Then I noticed an ambulance there. I know t hat someone who lives there has been very sick, the ambulance has come there before, no siren, they just show up and do what they have to do and leave.
It h as turned into a beautiful day. Yesterday there was another demonstration about juvenile delinquency, much shorter because there still was a lot of snow on the ground. My favorite thing is that in the middle of the night, someone or other, came out and made a lot of snow men by the Katedrale, and put signs in their snowy little hands! That has to be the BEST protest I ever saw! Seriously !
Funniest thing I saw on the news was that some Russian guy got drunk and drove a tank into a house and a small shop. The funnyness factor was spoiled by the fact that the house was one of those very pretty Russian log cabins. I love those with logs and the gingerbread trim on them. He had an absolutely huge jar of vodka with him! They showed it on all news shows here.
The other cool t hing was someone in St. Louis really liked my pictures from the Science Center!

Monday, March 03, 2008


So what do Bosnians do for Independance Day?

In the Federation part of Bosnia, people observed Bosnian Independance Day by displaying the flag, wearing clothes that were blue and yellow, and Komšić and Silajdžić put flowers at the Eternal Flame and at a memorial in one of the local cemetaries that has a lot who died fighting for Bosnia. I personally stayed home. I have a mild cold, but it has come with very high temperatures. I had an earache, but I knocked that out with my home-made Drambuie. Both ears are fine now. If it were the flu this would not have worked. Everyone has colds it seems.

I stayed home and watched a lot of T.V. TVSA had a few really interesting documentaries, they had one about stecci, 'Stecci Poslijedna Bosanska Tajna' which was excellent. They showed the bones of the last king of Bosnia, and also they showed the bones of King Tvrtko II and his wife. So there I was face to face with what is left of three of my dead ancestors.

Stecci are to be found all over the region, they showed a good numbser of th em from all over Bosnia-Hercegovina. Fascinating and the film has good music.

There was a painter on who paints pictures with stecci or based on the motifs found on stecci and she looks a lot like my late mother looked as a younger woman.

They showed on FTV a documentary about the Tunnel, and this is an interesting sidelight. My first day back, I did cheesy tourist stuff. I went and bought like five of those pens made from shell caseings. It turns out the very man that made them was interviewed for the documentary, he helped dig the tunnel!

Talk about your weird synchronicities!

Another film shown both on the first and rerun yesterday was 'Remake' That film is AMAZING! If you haven't seen it rent it or something, it is worth seeing.

Speaking of films, the lady down by the Gradska Tržnista I used to buy papers from and th e occasional film isn't there anymore. The last few times into town I have not seen her. I feel sort of worried, because she is a very cheerful person. She even saved one film specially for me, because she thought I might like it! She also helped me find a taxi stand a day when I was new here and needed one. So if I am in town, I buy my papers from her.

There has been an effort to curb the casual trading on Ferhadia, and that is understandable on the part of the city, but the downside is that this was one way people could make a living that was sort of legit, and not begging. Anything that hurts that is a bad thing. There needs to be some sort of compromise on the issue.

Anyway I hope she is o.k. whereever she is.

The last demonstration on the juvenile delinquency issue took place on March 1st and came off peacefully. I was in town yesterday but the internet cafe was full. I did not feel like going elsewhere, so that was that, I went home.

Obama has finally made some sort of statement as to where he stands on Balkans matters. He has stated he will support the Dayton Accord!
So if it comes to him winning the other primaries and being my party's candidate, I can rest easy, he GETS it about this area of the world.

That has concerned me a good bit. I know where Hillary is at, her record on the region is good, and people here like her, and respect her for having come here when it wasn't safe.

Another campaign related remark, there was some sort of flap about the fact Obama visited Sudan or Somalia, I forget which, and he was helped into the local traditional attire, which happens to include a turban. Some people have been making a HUGE fat deal out of it.
1. Obama is not Muslim 2. He does not support terrorism. 3. those people can STFU right now. Those are not valid issues to knock him over.

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