Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

 

_MG_5287-001

 

 

If you’d like to see Svetlana’s Writing Blog, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Book cover smallDear Friends, 

My dream of publishing my first book – my memoir — is about to come true!  I spent five years writing it, and I spent another year suffering through twenty or so rejections (and even more instances of dead silence) from literary agents and publishing houses.  Finally, after many emotional ups and downs, I decided to publish my book on my own (not a quick and easy project either :-)).  So, in a matter of weeks, The Education of a Traitor will be available from Amazon—first in a Kindle edition and later in print.  How do I feel about this?  I’m scared and excited. After all, it’s my baby that I’m releasing into the world! I hope it will find readers.

P.S. If you’d like to be notified when my book is released, you may click here.

 

And now, Dreamy:

2855 hs

_MG_4988

 

IMG_8765

 

IMG_1515-002

 

IMG_7283-003

 

 

IMG_7350

©Svetlana Grobman

If you’d like to see Svetlana’s Writing Blog, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

2879 emb

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

©Svetlana Grobman

If you’d like to see Svetlana’s Writing Blog, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

For the last three days, our town hosted a Roots and Blues music festival. We went on Saturday. The concert started at sunset and continued well into the night. Taking pictures with long lenses was prohibited, so I had to use my 50mm prime lens. Also, I couldn’t get very close. Oh, well :(

4770 h

 

 

Rosanne Cash:

John Prine:

IMG_4175-001

So, here it is — my nighttime photo report :)

©Svetlana Grobman

If you’d like to learn more about Svetlana, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

A Qualifying race for 2015 IRONMAN World Championship (Budapest, 2014)

©Svetlana Grobman

If you’d like to learn more about Svetlana, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Shoes on the Danube River

_MG_3780

As tourists take a leisurely stroll along the Danube River in Budapest, they come upon sixty pairs of bronze shoes set into the concrete embankment at the edge of the water.  This is a memorial to the Hungarian Jews who were shot there in the winter of 1944-1945 by members of the Hungarian Fascist Arrow Cross Party.

Before they were murdered, the Jews — men, women, and children — were ordered to take off their shoes, which could be used or sold on the black market. Then the victims were shot, and their bodies were dumped into the Danube.

Sometimes the militiamen tied several Jews together, then shot one of them so that the dead body would pull the living adults and children into the river.  If any of them survived the fall, the militiamen used them for target practice.  This didn’t happen often, though.   Most of the Jews – especially the children — died quickly in the freezing water.  Oh, humanity …

Untitled-001

  ©Svetlana Grobman. All Rights Reserved

If you’d like to learn more about Svetlana, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here

Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure!

What can be more adventurous than venturing into the world of magic?

Street magicians, Prague, 2014

Street magicians, Prague, 2014

My first introduction to this world took place when my parents gave me a book “Starik Khottabych” (Old Man Khottabych). This book (also made into a movie) featured a twelve-year old Soviet Pioneer Volka who accidentally found an ancient bottle at the bottom of a river. Being an energetic and curious boy, Volka opened the bottle, and a genie named Hassan Abdul-rahman ibn Khattab emerged, loudly proclaiming that he was ready to fulfill Volka’s every wish. It was a great and funny story, since the Young Pioneer, who suddenly found himself empowered by the old genie, kept getting into all kinds of trouble — mostly because of differences between the life style and the morals of the ancient world and those of Soviet Russia. It was also a variation on the tale of Aladdin and his magical lamp (a fact I discovered much later, when I got my hands on a copy of The Arabian Nights). Not only did the story entertain me, but it also motivated me to learn how to swim — for I, too, wanted to find an ancient vessel on the bottom of a river.  (Regrettably, that never happened, although not for lack of trying:).)

1-3189 h

My second introduction to magic took place at the Moscow State Circus. The trip to get there lasted for 1.5 hours – thirty minutes on a streetcar, fifty minutes in the metro (with two transfers) and a ten-minute walk to the huge, tent-like building of the Circus. There my mom and I watched impossibly slim acrobats in sparkling tights glide above our heads at the top of the circus dome, two white-faced clowns in clumsy shoes cause the audience to die laughing with their jokes and tricks, and a magician in a black cloak pull doves and rabbits out of his top hat. The latter especially struck me so strongly that, for a while, I considered becoming a magician myself, although that desire was soon dampened by the fact that I was allergic to rabbits.

 4419 hs

My latest adventure into the world of sorcery is my longest one by far. My husband and I had to travel to London to experience it.  I’m not saying that London is a supernatural place where magicians with doves and rabbits pop up at every corner.  Yet it is a place where wizardry is put on permanent display for everybody to see.  I’m talking about Warner Bros. theme park “The Making of Harry Potter.”  Not being a Harry Potter fan myself, I would never have thought of touring this park (nor do I at the age of 62 still believe in magic:().  Yet my nine-year old grandson, Alex, who lives in London with my daughter (his mother), my son-in-law (his father), and his younger sister Amelia, were eager to go there.  (Amelia always wants to do whatever her older brother does:).).  So, if I wanted to witness my grandchildren’s initiation into magic, I had to fly to England.

 

As a librarian, I, of course, knew about the popularity of J.K. Rowling’s books and the movies that are based on them. But I had never read the books nor seen the movies, so I did not expect much from the theme park. Well, I must admit, I was wrong. Everything there was impressive and imaginative: the original sets for the rooms and offices, the Burrow, the Hogwarts Bridge, the Knight Bus, the Potions Classroom, the wigs, the costumes, and numerous other props. To my surprise, I liked everything there. I enjoyed the energy of the crowd, and I especially enjoyed watching my grandchildren’s excitement as they walked through this fantastic world, learning how to fly a broomstick or cast spells with a magic wand.

 

“Well done!” I thought to myself through the whole experience – until we found ourselves in the inevitable gift shop. (Benjamin Franklin should have added “gift shops” to his list when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes.”)  Predictably, both of my grandchildren wanted to buy magic wands. At first, they approached their mother, who quickly directed them my way: “Go ask your grandma.” They appeared in front of me with two ordinary looking plastic sticks in their hands — at a price of twenty-five pounds each! A calculator in my head began clicking: two plane tickets to London, six tickets to Warner Bros. Studio, meals and presents, and now these absolutely useless toys, which, at the rate of one British pound to $1.68, would cost me about $80!

“No,” I wanted to say.  “We don’t have to buy them here.  We’ll buy them for you at a regular store where they’re less expensive.” But I looked at Alex and saw tears welling up in his eyes.  Whether or not these wands were useless — for him, at this moment, they were magical, and I could not deny this magic to him.

“O.K.” I said to my grandchildren, while avoiding looking at my husband. “Make sure that these wands are good ones.”

The kids expressions immediately brightened, and a wide smile graced my grandson’s face.

“This is one of the best days of my life!” He said, his eyes sparkling from recent tears.

I put my hands on his head, stroked his unruly hair, and a sense of pure pleasure suddenly filled my heart.  My grandchildren were right.  After all, toys that could give all of us so much happiness must be magical.  And because of that, they were priceless, too.

1-4336 hs

  ©Svetlana Grobman. All Rights Reserved

If you’d like to read more of my essays, click here

To see other interpretations of this theme, click here