Category Archives: L I F E

thoughts, random snaps

Reading in 2016

Wow wow wow. In 2016, I managed to do even less reading than the previous one! 17 books read out of 35. I mean, come on, didn’t even get close to reading HALF of my reading goal. That is depressing. Many books left unfinished, completion due in date unknown. But here is the list!

When God Laughs and other stories Jack London The Woman Who Rode Away and other stories D.H. Lawrence The Prophet Kahlil Gibran Japanese Fairytales Yei Theodora Ozaki O Anticristo Friedrich Nietzsche The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert O Coração Disparado Adélia Prado Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops Jen Campbell More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops Jen Campbell Reflexões Franz Kafka Perto do Coração Selvagem Clarice Lispector The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert The Jewel of Seven Stars Bram Stoker Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Lighthouse PD James

There was a time when reading below my yearly goals felt ‘shameful’. I write that in quotes because I understand how ridiculous it can be to categorise an activity such as reading, something you are doing for sheer pleasure and nothing else, as a shame. But that’s how it felt back then. Now, I’m taking it more as any journey one has. It is not a competition. Nobody is going to hand out medals or awards for reading more or reading certain books or literary genres. Nobody really CARES. It is not important. It is simply – f u n . And as long as it makes me want to read more – whether I end up doing so or not -, discover authors, embrace different genres, expand knowledge, then it’s already a win.

Now seriously, 2017 – up your game, okay?

side note :: on with the show

If this space didn’t have some archive of entries past, I couldn’t pinpoint the last time it was updated.
It’s been a long, long while.

And I miss it.
I miss a varied number of things, mostly to let go of this breathing underwater feeling.
The portrait challenge had a good run but I’ve skipped over so many weeks, it seems pointless to go on just to say I got to the end without really fully completing it. Maybe this speaks to the perfectionist streak in me but I can never do things half-heartedly and that is probably why so many projects are left open-ended, in progress.

It’s been crazy at times around here, others busily stagnant, with a routine that doesn’t add much and yet keeps your hands so full. I feel overflowing without being able to reach and hold the cup steady. Always a wave away from having said cup runneth over.

We have moved house, again. It was a sudden, heart-breaking, numb process but we came through and are slowly getting back on our feet – with our rules, our own set of expectations and aspirations.

Alice has stopped using her pacifier, changed from crib to a toddler bed (by her own accord) and is about to start – daycare! After over a year and a half, it is enough. Not only for my sanity but also – and mostly – hers. All kids should experience diverse interactions but this kid really needs them. She blossoms in social situations, loves meeting other kids, and at an age where development is galloping, it would be foolish and selfish to keep her to myself when it’s no longer serving a greater purpose, meaning neither of us is taking all the best that we can and deserve to get. That is why I am also eager for this change because it means free time to refocus on the goals and other changes this mom needs for both herself and this family.

I miss photographing.
I miss writing.
I miss dancing.
I miss creating.
I miss being more
instead of just
this.

Welcome back to a restart.

what i’ve been reading*

Yes, good question.

What have you been reading lately,
you may ask.

And the answer to that is

nothing.

Not one single page,
digital or paper
- barely a word.

Either I fall asleep or
I can’t sleep and get sucked into the crazy
of the Internet sometimes
or
I think to myself
how I should be reading
but am looking at the ceiling instead
knitting up worries
sparking fears
clouding my head.

What have you been avoiding,
you finally ask.

Oh, everything, my dears.
Absolutely
every thing.

*yup, fooled you.

• reading in 2015 •

reading2015_collageA House of Pomegranates, Oscar WildeThe Strange Library, Haruki MurakamiTales of Space and Time, H.G. WellsFlower Fables, Louisa May AlcottThe Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman The Infinities, John BanvilleA Cidade e as Serras, Eça de QueirósO Banquete, Patrícia PortelaThe Apothecary’s House, Adrian MathewsHúmus, Raúl BrandãoMemoirs of a Geisha, Artur GoldenBetween the Acts, Virginia WoolfDream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for beginners, Sigmund FreudA Room of One’s Own, Virginia WoolfThe Sense of an Ending, Julian BarnesThe Voyage Out, Virginia WoolfThe Complete Uncollected Stories, J.D. SalingerThe Big Leap, Gay HendricksHow a Child Thinks: a Piaget Primer, Dorothy G. SingerO Mar, A Mãe, Marie DarrieussecqThe Moonstone, Wilkie CollinsDubliners, James JoyceThe Art of Asking, Amanda PalmerUnder the Sunset, Bram StokerThe Invisible Giant, Bram StokerNobody’s Story, Bram StokerA Dream of Red Hands, Bram StokerThe Dualitists, Bram StokerMoon-Face and Other Stories, Jack London

29 books out of a goal of 35. Not too bad, although I have to admit the Bram Stoker entries at the end of the year were one short story each, found and read in a shameful desperation to reach my goal. Despite these efforts, I came to December very behind but hopefully I can make up for it this year, as I set the bar at the 35-book mark. Again. Thumbs up for resilience! Or stubbornness. Or… both?

Some of the books read before mommahood seem to have been read a lifetime ago and, in a way, it probably is true. While looking at the titles lined up in this yearly round-up, the ones that stand out as favourites are Patrícia Portela’s O Banquete, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins was probably the longest book in terms of page count of the bunch but it read like a breeze, I couldn’t put it down, and Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking – it was a true eye-opener and gave so many lessons into trust and humility and passion, very important backbones to an artist and, quite frankly, to any human being.

Most of them have also been read in the ebook format which would come as a surprise for the reading-me of a few years ago. I don’t actually prefer it to the feel of holding a book in my hands but it came quite handy during nighttime feeds and insomnias when turning on the light wasn’t a possibility. So, yeah, that was a plus. But this year I’d like to read a few more books in the conventional format rather than a digital one.

Besides the ongoing reads that crossed over to the new year path, I have decided to begin 2016 with a collection of poems and other work by W.B. Yeats. This book was given by my sister on my 30th birthday last year – and yes, the joke in the title did not go by unnoticed – and it’s part of the Penguin’s Drop Caps series where each letter is assigned to a classic literary work. What tends to happen every time I pick it up is that I get mesmerised by its beautiful vintage cover design and don’t go beyond that.

I mean, just look. at. it.
Gorgeous!

So, in 2016, I am hoping to read this too from first to last page, at least one poem or short essay or story a day. It just seems a nice way to read something daily, whenever I can’t find the time to pursue any of my other current readings. And let’s hope this year I don’t get myself back into shamefully stacking ridiculous single short stories to reach a goal. It’s a good aim and the rest is all part of the attempt.

time for a ‘new year, old me’ post

flowers-jan2016

It seems I’ve been in a rather introspective/saturnine mood ever since the clocks struck midnight and the champagne flowed from bottle to glasses. Don’t get me wrong – deeply excited about the coming year and what may bring but also aware of the many challenges to tackle. I didn’t come up with many resolutions in the beginning of last year and don’t intend on making them again. It feels disappointing to look back and realise you didn’t cross off much of those so-called resolutions and flunked back into the same old patterns. However, I do have a wish/intention for this year: to grow so that I can do. To blossom so that I can be all that I know I can be. To rise up to the occasion.

This turn of the year marks yet another move. By the end of January we expect to have moved out from our current place and into a new one, although it’s an oldie. A return to the roots, if you’d like to call it that, as we are headed to my grandparents’ place which has been vacant after my grandfather’s passing on the last leg of 2015. This makes the whole growing-doing-rising more important than ever: it is an incredible blessing, an unimaginable gift that is being given to us but which comes with its own set of sacrifices from my family’s end and it is imperative that I start making up for all their help and support these past couple of years.

Regarding the photo challenges, the first edition of #the52project will continue until Alice’s first birthday but meanwhile I have started the second edition for 2016 already, which will span the entire year properly. I will try to space out these postings but if it becomes too confusing, I will simply publish the challenge related to the ongoing year weekly and leave the remaining portraits for some other time, probably once it is finished. We’ll see.

Oh beginnings – which are really continuations- you inspire and overwhelm me so.

Life has slowly been finding its way back into daily routines after joining motherhood. It’s been a nearly 3 months since we welcomed dearest Alice into our lives and there have been a bundle of challenges and great moments, as expected. Since that day, all pictures taken have been mostly with the smartphone, because it seems holding a baby and a camera is a trick not yet perfected by many. But I’ve been missing the big camera, the soft sharpness and being able to properly edit any captures on the computer.

With this want-need in mind, I have decided to enter the #52weeksproject, created by the lovely jodi, and which focuses on selecting one portrait of your child a week, every week, for a year. Since this is Alice’s FIRST YEAR, it is the ideal time to go for it and then look back at all the moments (and changes!). And then who knows, we might keep on going :) Eleven weeks to catch up on, but bear with me, we will get there.

alice 39 weeksAlice, 39 weeks

• pregnancy woes + wows •

34weeks-bw

This will be a post different from the usual.
(whatever that means)

As I approach the tail end of this pregnancy,
there have been a few recurring thoughts coming up about the whole experience.
And for memory’s sake, I better point them down.

~ ~ ~

➼ 37 weeks today and I have to say the past weeks have been the toughest yet. From birthing anxieties to body movement restrictions and discomforts, the feeling is bittersweet because I’m well aware of having had a very issues-free experience when it comes to my own health and the baby’s development.

➼ Feeling her movements and wiggles will probably be what I will miss the most; it’s a strange but comforting sensation having a tiny human stretching and kicking inside you, the ultimate proof a life growing in there.

➼ From time to time, the fear of not being a good enough parent nearly paralyses me. There are many areas in my life where failing happens and although I get ashamed of it, after a certain point it doesn’t make me lose much sleep. But this, this does. The failure at parenting is very likely the kind of accomplishment/ambition I dread the most.

➼ You never realise how much effort you actually employ at seemingly simple tasks as rolling in bed or just getting up before being pregnant. It’s pretty obvious now the amount of muscles and strength your body dispenses in these and other daily movements.

➼ I’m a heavy sleeper and it used to be quite rare to have a bad night of interrupted sleep (which would usually be triggered by stress and anxiety)… but not anymore. The need to change sides then and again has single-handedly overturned that situation. Probably my body’s way of preparing me for those sleepless nursing nights.

➼ Really curious about meeting our girl and getting to know her newborn features. Afraid of the rush of love we might succumb to or, in a way scarier scenario, feeling not loved up enough after the baby arrives.

Guessing these and many other fears or complaints are more than common so I’m simply focusing on what’s ahead and getting a positive spin into everything. In two weeks or less (2!), she will finally be here with Us. A few good changes have been happening lately and I just want to think they are a sign of better times to come, baby girl included.

37weeks-bw

january reads • 2015

janreads-1

1. Oscar Wilde, A House of Pomegranates [ebook]
2. Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library
3. H.G. Wells, Tales of Space and Time [ebook]
4. Louisa May Alcott, Flower Fables [ebook]
5. Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at The End of The Lane
6. John Banville, The Infinities
7. Eça de Queirós, A Cidade e As Serras [PT / ebook]
8. Patricia Portela, O Banquete [PT]

- – -

January has started out very well, reading-wise. I can’t tell when was the last time I had read this much in such a short period of time. These past couple of years, reading has been sparse compared to the glorious college days and I’ve been slowly struggling my way back to that. Partly because of pride, partly because it genuinely makes me feel good when I look back and find such a page-filled year behind me.

After getting a tablet, a purchase I was frowning much upon, my reading habits took a turn for the better, albeit still quite scattered. But it helped me to keep reading while travelling, without having to carry a suitcase of books along – that has turned out to be the biggest plus. Also have been tackling many classics, found in public-domain digital libraries and a few Portuguese works, as well.

My passion for literature, and reading in general, has a newfound enthusiasm; I’m not too sure whether this will last throughout the rest of the year, with the impending mommahood and all, so I guess these last few months are the perfect time to get ahead on my reading goals for 2015.

murakami-library

Some thoughts on this month’s books:

➼ As already mentioned on my 2014 reading review, H.G. Wells was a surprising delight; didn’t expect to enjoy it so much since science-fiction isn’t one of my preferred literary genres. Although not all stories were to my taste, this particular collection of tales made for a truly interesting read.

➼ Perhaps I have read too many Murakami books already but The Strange Library didn’t get my attention as I was hoping. Luckily it is a really fast read and the illustrations make up for the frail story being told.

➼ First time reading something by Neil Gaiman, apart from random quotes here and there. It got me curious to read more from the author, even though the whimsical scenarios sometimes tended to try and bring my imagination overboard. Still, couldn’t seem to put it down and his writing is really easy to follow and enjoy.

➼ John Banville’s Infinities did seem to take forever to finish. This book was stuck in my currently reading shelf since last year and only this January did I muster the will to go through til the end. Some parts were okay but most of the story felt constricted, with a lack of flow and consistency.

And that is all for January!

Any good reads in this first month? Would love to hear some interesting recommendations!


➼ inspiration monday #1

- – - every monday, I will share what has been inspiring me lately.
it can be about photography, food and healthy eating, a movie, or simply a quote.
whatever stirs, inspires.
and I hope it does the same for you
- – -


TODAY’S INSPIRATION IS

While browsing on Tumblr a few months back, I came upon this space. The images portrayed were like nothing I had ever seen before, so much beauty captured in such a minimalistic way; pictures mostly about still life but there’s nothing static or depth-lacking about them, at least not to me. In them I find a voice that pulls me in, while mesmerising the senses, bringing subtle emotions to the surface.


Blanka Mateno’s approach to her own work is intuitive, and maybe that is exactly what surfaces in each of her photographs: a calling to what’s most instinctive in those who view her art. Because it is art, what she does, what she captures. Even if they don’t speak the same to you as they do to me, you can’t deny they do carry and bring forth some kind of reaction, of feeling. I could spend hours admiring every single one of them.


Without noticing it, perhaps, a dialogue has been happening within myself, reaching to the subjects, the stories I find most valuable to portray. The fascination for still life, nature has always been in me – those are always the images I am most proud, if one can use this word properly here, of showing. And yet, the little voice of insecurity couldn’t help but make me feel as if those images, those stories were less relevant, less beautiful than a person’s portrait, for example, less sublime than an overly touched-up picture, screaming colour through every pixel.

Blanka Mateno has awakened a response to that mischievous little voice, reminding me to capture with my heart, letting the other senses direct the flow of my sight. And so many other personal views resonated with her replies in an interview given to LUXLIT site when she was selected as one of their featured artists.

to see more of Blanka’s work: blankamateno.tumblr.com
to read the interview: www.luxlit.net/post/67277941985/luxlit-weekly

{ © Image rights reserved to Blanka Mateno }



• on timing •

I’ve always been the worst at timing. And when it comes to sharing artwork, that trait is really apparent. Somehow, I never seem to find the right time to share photos, news, updates. It rarely feels like the right moment to do so – and I wait. For tomorrow, for sometime later in the day, for another week.

But the problem is the moments pass, and sharing them becomes obsolete, irrelevant. So I don’t, and end up with (mostly) pictures I would have loved to share sooner but whose timing starts getting off as days – sometimes even months – go by.

Trying to organize my mindset better, in a way that lets me share, whatever the moment may be. Nevermind time, it rarely is on our good side. Because the best of times is always this: right N O W.


❨ And that is why a lot of images from last year are only now being brought to light.
Dream. Create. Share.
Let yourself be known. ❩