I took these photos back in June in our garden. The apricots weren’t yet ripe but almost all of the flowers were in bloom. Ligia and I took daily walks in the garden, which is something we still love to do. The raspberries were ripe and I ate a handful every morning while they were in season. Enjoy the photos!
Back in August, I took several panoramas during a trip from Sighisoara to Fagaras where we decided to take the winding country roads, which meant also meant driving on dirt roads for quite some time during that trip. The views were worth it. Here are a few of them. Go ahead, click through to see them at full size, the details are worth it.
I want to share something with you, something wonderful that happened last night. Read on, it’s worth it.
Around 4 pm, the water company turned off the water for the entire city due to emergency repairs. Late at night, they turned it back on but it was full of silt and mud, so we let the faucets run to clear the pipes. I went back to my work and Ligia took Sophie to bed.
About an hour later, I got up from my desk and went to see if the water was clear enough to take a shower. To my surprise, the entire kitchen was flooded with about 1-2 cm of water. The kitchen sink had run over. There I was at 11:15 at night, faced with having to mop up all that water when all I wanted to do was to take a shower and hit the sack.
I got the mop and the bucket and got to work, grumbling to myself about the water company and the sink and the pipes and the dirty water and my luck.
A few minutes later, Sasha (one of our cats) came into the kitchen, stepped right onto the wet floor (you know cats, they avoid water) and started looking at me. She even drank some of it.
As I looked at her, I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite cartoons featuring Tom and Jerry, entitled “Mice Follies”, released in 1954. In it, Jerry and Nibbles (his nephew) flooded the kitchen and froze it with the aid of the refrigerator in order to create a skating rink. Tom naturally pursued them, leading to lots of pratfalls, pranks and laughter.
That wonderful memory of a wonderful cartoon was enough to wipe the slate clean for me. All of a sudden, a late-night disaster was an opportunity to enjoy the moment. My attitude toward it changed completely and I began to enjoy mopping up all that water. I half expected Jerry and Nibbles to tiptoe into the kitchen holding a couple of refrigerator wires in hand, ready to freeze it.
It took about 45 minutes to get all the water mopped up. All of the cats joined me by the end, entranced by the circular movements of the mop through the water. I even started a roaring fire in the kitchen stove to keep me company. I had a blast and went to bed with a smile on my face.
Isn’t it amazing how differently we can perceive the same event if our attitude toward it changes? We can complain and grumble or we can smile and enjoy ourselves thoroughly doing the very same thing. And of course it helps if we also love Tom and Jerry cartoons!
I got asked this question recently and answered it with a video. Here it is:
There are two main things you can do:
- Eat like a horse
- Work out like a horse
There are more things involved, such as getting enough sleep and focusing on big, whole body exercises such as the deadlift, the squat, the clean and press and other similar exercises, but those two things, if put in practice with determination and with the clear goal in mind of getting huge, will take you from a skinny ectomorph of 135 lbs. to a muscular, strong 195 lbs. See the diptych below. On the left is what I looked like when I started college, and on the right is what I looked like when I graduated.
A few weekends ago, we took an afternoon drive through the Southern part of Mures County (in Romania). We wanted to drive on side roads and get a better sense of the countryside. We mapped out the itinerary ahead of time. Here it is:
- Sângeorgiu de Padure (Castle Rhédey)
- Lacul Bezid
Road quality is an issue of concern in Romania. A lot of them need repair, a lot are under construction and a few are in pretty good shape. The state of a road doesn’t always correspond to its importance — in other words, an important road isn’t always in good shape, though it should be. We were surprised to find that a country road in the middle of nowhere was in really good shape while one of the main county roads was in bad shape; more on that later.
One of the places we wanted to visit was Castle Rhédey in Sângeorgiu de Padure. When we got there, it was closed due to renovations, so we drove on.
The next place we wanted to see was Lake Bezid. It’s a man-made lake, created by flooding an entire valley and a village in order to have a large water source for the surrounding region.
There were day campers on the shore of the lake and lots of people were enjoying the nice weather. We stopped a couple of times and walked around. Sophie was curious as always.
The ruins of some of the buildings from the old village of Bezid, now buried under the lake, can still be seen.
We drove around the lake, hoping to find a side road back to the main road, but there wasn’t one, so we had to turn back; keep that in mind if you visit it.
The map shows a country road that links Fantanele to Sighisoara. It goes through the village of Vetca, going through Jacodu, Soard, Vanatori and Albesti. If you should decide to take that same road, know you’ll get to a point (past Soard) where only the most able offroad vehicle will be able to continue, so plan on turning back and using the main road from Balauseri to get to Sighisoara.
We didn’t regret trying that side route at all though. The village of Vetca is made up of three smaller villages (Salasuri, Jacodu and Vetca) and it’s such a beautiful place that it’s worth visiting even though it’s out of the way.
As soon as you enter the lands that belong to the village, you’ll notice the difference. Most notable is the quality of the road, which is in fantastic condition compared to other country roads we’ve driven on. Then you also notice there’s no garbage on the side of the road, that the fields are tended to nicely and most importantly, that the villages themselves are clean, well landscaped and the houses are well maintained. Some of the houses are downright picturesque, right out of a story book. See the photos below.
As we drove through and marveled at what we saw, we met someone by the side of the road, cutting the grass. We stopped to ask him what he knew about the beautiful houses. It turned out to be the mayor of the village of Vetca, Mr. Fekete Pál. We got to talking and found out he’s the man responsible for the quality of the road, the cleanliness in the village, and the little storybook houses you see in the photos enclosed here.
There are a total of 800 families in the three villages under his leadership, and they’re in the middle of nowhere, not in a major city. The revenues are what they are. Yet here is a man that managed to get a decent road built through his villages, to encourage the people to keep their houses and streets clean and also to renovate all of the beautiful houses I’ve shown here. So when I hear some mayor in a town or larger city complain about not having the funds needed to do his or her job, I’ll think of Mr. Fekete from now on. If he could do it, then it can be done. What these other mayors are lacking is the willpower and the inclination, not the funds or the help.
Mr. Fekete is clearly a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty doing the actual work. Not only is he a builder, he’s also a sculptor in wood. The sculptures you see in front of the houses, the gates (including the big wooden gate at the entrance into the village) and all of the other woodwork was done by him.
When I left, I told him he’s achieved amazing things and he should be proud of them. I was glad to shake his hand and wish him the best.
If that country road had continued on from Soard to Vanatori, Albesti and through to Sighisoara, we wouldn’t have turned back, I wouldn’t have taken these photos and we wouldn’t have met Mr. Pál. Isn’t it interesting how things work themselves out? What you initially think is a setback turns out to be an interesting adventure!
Hope you enjoyed the photos!
This is the second year our apricot tree has given us fruits. Last year it tested the waters with 3-4 fruits but this year it has given us lots of delicious, juicy apricots. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted better apricots: lots of aroma, soft, juicy and beautiful. We use no pesticides or fertilizers in our garden; nothing, not even manure. But what we do is that we let fallen leaves and vegetables sit on the ground over the winter and by spring, they’ve almost all dissolved into it, enriching it naturally. We have few pests and as you can see from the photos, our apricots were not spoiled by them. I think I tossed at most 5-6 fruits (out of over 100) due to critters. Enjoy the photos!