Why I will vote this time? Because regardless the fact that for years now I have the feeling of disappointment and not belonging to my country. I still say “my country”. That means that I care. That I would like to see Latvia – independent, democratic, prosperous, a country that cares for its people and where there is a true rule of law and justice.

No, I have no hopes that this parliament (Saeima) and the new government will succeed or will be better than previous 11 ones since our independence in 1991, but I feel that this time more than before my vote will count because of geopolitical situation and possible threats to our independence. I still hope that my vote will provide opportunity for someone to decide, to take responsibility, to adopt policies that will change what is wrong and put in place laws that protect people. [Or not.]

But not going is not an option this time.

seeing red
seeing red

Happy Easter

My Grandfather is my biggest hero. He is WWII veteran and the most optimistic person I know – always a “joke or two in his pocket”. When I was a child he used to make me little drawings and most of the time it was a funny head of a pig (smiling). Up to this day I don’t know – why it was a pig? Not a cat, a dog or a bird, but I guess that was his way of making even little things funny.

Now – many years later my Grandpa has started drawing again and he enjoys it very much judging by the numbers of already finished drawings. He has never attended any art’s classes, but to me his little drawings are the most precious things and I enjoy spending time with him and checking out his latest creations every time I visit.

Let me share with you one of his Easter drawings and wish you all – Happy Easter!

Easter rabbit drawing
Easter rabbits and drawing by V.Z.

Easter card – my Grandfather’s creation – and two white rabbits that year after year show up in hour home to bring Easter eggs colored according to Latvian tradition by boiling them in water with onion skins (as seen in this photo below – this year our home rabbits where lazy so I am borrowing some of my best friend’s creations to illustrate how artistic and amazing non-artificial Easter egg coloring can be).

Easter eggs, onion skin colors
Easter eggs colored with onion skins


Sunny greetings from Limburg,


things to learn from CATS (part II)

My cats surprise me every day and here is the list of things that I suggest you learn from them (with a bit of smile):

1. Sleep deep.

2. Make every step in a new territory carefully.

3. Eyes wide open to learn new things.

4. Don’t get extremely wet if it rains or somebody turns on shower without you noticing.

5. Make them (humans) earn your trust and respect.

6. Drink milk (with moderation).

7. Go hunting with passion and excitement.

8. Play wholeheartedly and have fun for real.

9. Keep yourself clean at all times.

10. Don’t watch too much TV.

11. Get as much caressing and love as you need.

12. Play with your tail – don’t take yourself too seriously.

13. Talk only when you have something to say.

14. Move like a tiger.

And here they are inspiration to this list:



Tunisia – our home (part I)

It has been six months since we moved to live in Tunisia. And the time has been so busy and full of events, that only now I have some time to start a series of posts with my observations and impressions about our new home: Tunisia.

We arrived here shortly after “jasmin revolution” and had an excellent chance to witness all the good times and not so good ones that Tunisia and Tunisians had to go through to arrive to this week.

In just three days people will go to elect their representatives for “la Constituante” – democratic political institution (similar to parliament) that will be responsible for drafting and adoption of the new constitution. It is a very important task for those who will be trusted by their poeple. And all I can wish  to them and to the voters – make your decisions based on true analysis and with responsability, serve your country proudly!

This will be a very important Sunday and most likely the one that you will tell your children and grandchildren about. Comming from a “post revolution” (Latvia gained independence in 1991) myself I can observe many similarities with what Tunisia is facing this year, but one thing I can tell for sure – those who will go to vote on 23 of October will be making history and historical decision for themselves, their families and loved ones and for Tunisia.

Best of luck!


solution is needed asap

We, all of us we need a solution asap to avoid what just happened in Norway, so that it never ever repeats!

We are the world, and we should join our hands and hearts and minds and find out how to protect ourselves and our children, how to eliminate all the possibilities for someone to commit such a terror again. The anger and sadness and feeling helpless to know that this could take place now in modern times, in democratic world were freedom and human rights is what we stand for.

Nothing and nobody must stop us to find the way out of this and create a society where safety and freedom go hand in hand and where everybody’s life is the most valuable thing. To get rid of guns and explosives would be the first solution, that if we are realistic of course would never take place. Unfortunately.

All my love and thoughts and prayers for those we lost and their loved ones, families and friends,we are all Norvegians. Let’s be strong for the sake of those who lost their lifes…

Signe Martišūne

help each other to be strong
help each other to be strong

wordpress replaces e-mail

Couple of days ago I was asked to send someone special a handwritten note. Well, there is a longer story behind it but that is not so important right now.

The problem is that we don’t live in the same continent, so mail would take far to long and I decided to go with the e-mail option. First, we checked that our e-mail accounts “like each other” and it all went fine. But right now I was sending my handwritten notes as attached photo files (not extremely big ones) and to my big surprise “non-delivery” report without any explanation (on the other side it is a Latvian e-mail service provider) came back to my hotmail.

So, I decided that I will use WordPress and my blog and will just include those two handwritten notes here as photos!

Here you go, my dear Kni, I hope I get at least some prize for innovative way to send you handwritten notes! and yes, I do like tea (the best would be 7 agrumes)

with greetings from Tunis, smsb

Will go to see Kni for a tea :)
Will go to see Kni for a tea


after I relax - "will go to see..."

on discussion culture in a post-soviet country

Dear readers,

Just wanted to shortly share with you my experiences on discussion culture in a post soviet country. Country I am talking about is my country of origin and the name is not so important right now.

The most important thing is to know – that discussion as such has never been a part of the soviet regime ideology or politics – so also was never part of the education system. Therefore even 20 years after independence you will always find people that have NO culture or understanding what a really democratic and free discussion is about.

The most pessimistic situation is once it comes to the social media and blogging and comments. Majority of people would leave anonimous comments and by using this “childish” shield then attack directly the person instead of discussing the problem.

Once faced with argumented and logical response that also shows how incorrect it is to attack the person instead of making comments about the topic they either don’t respond or get even angrier with fiew examples who actually start thinking and may be change (although I don’t really believe in this one).

I hope this might be useful for those of you who have to be faced with similar cases.

On my solutions how to overcome this issue – next time.

Greetings from Tunis,

excellent point of view
excellent point of view - kram tunisia by smsb


simple rule

This is a very easy and simple rule: when you have to do something that you don’t want (like) just do the first little step!

I am a freelance translator among other things. And sometimes I get to translate documents that I really don’t feel like translating. Nevertheless the deadline is agreed and the clock starts ticking (sometimes real fast).

I am working from home office now that is at the same time our kitchen, dining and living space. And we recently adopted two adorable cats. And I live in a very beautiful and touristic and welcoming town where sun always shines. So, you can only imagine how difficult it is to put my head on translations.

Today was one of those days. Really, really hard to get started and stuff continued to come up – travel to organize, calls to make, e-mails to answer, comments to make, news to watch, papers to read, coffee to make, cats to educate…non-stop distractions..

So what I did – I just did the first little step – which was to open that one file and the word. And it already felt better! Even if I did not too much. Somehow the fact that job is started makes the engine work I guess. 

And here I am – 2:26am (my computer is still on Riga time) and I am doing what needs to be done!

good night and good morning to you all, smbs


things to learn from CATS

We could learn things from cats:

Stretching after just waking up (and from time to time during the day)

Having a structured day plan – eat, drink milk, play, sleep a good three hours per day, eat again, drink water and play

Be curious about things around us – they can sit and admire just a shadow of a tree or flower or fix on a flying mosquito for un bon moment

Keep ourselves clean at all times

three cats I love stretching
three cats, I love, stretching

Sharpen our nails every day (well, maybe not every day but often enough to be ready to use them if need be)

Be friendly and nice to each other (at least my little ones – brother and sister are very kind to each other except of course the play time when teeth and nails are used quite a bit)

Stay calm just to relax without sleeping – stretched on the floor when it is really hot or sitting in a comfortable position 

Avoid trouble – mine are trained and know that the Trouble is on the table (where all our documents and electronics are) as well as n our bedroom (where they are not allowed)

To curl up and sleep (or just relax eyes half-open)

And last but not least – keep things simple!

paris – good to be back

visited Paris for 5 days and it was amazing, amazing to be back and feel like home again! things have changed over last 10 years of course – but all in all – Paris is my hometown and I hope to be back soon.

more observations and photos about Paris 2000 and Paris 2011 soon here but for the time being just a nice hotel suggestion for you: http://www.hotel-ce.com/ in 17ieme – very close to Arc the Triomphe.

lots of good wishes to all your projects (and let it be not too hot – not as hot as in Riga – over last weeks over +30 C)