"Silence is not nothingness"–it’s a place where taboos temporarily dwell

a stack of my novels, "Breaking the silence: A story in paintings"

Silence is not nothingness. Silence is the safe haven where feelings and ideas that cannot be spoken are sheltered. Unspoken, they are expressed in paintings, in gestures, in facial expressions.

This is the quote from Breaking the Silence: A Story in Paintings, my novel about gay relationships and art censorship in the post war, communist Poland. I felt the quote was necessary in the preface to acknowledge the centuries-old process of hiding and unearthing taboos, and of the omnipresence of taboos even in the depth of silence. Continue reading »

The food-prints of my predecessors

I am not the first one to follow the dance of culture and food. Rather, I am following the footsteps of others, mainly food and cultural anthropologists. In their ethnographic account of the contemporary Russia, entitled “Food and everyday life in the postsocialist world,” Melissa L. Caldwell, Elizabeth C. Dunn and Marion Nestle (2009) highlight the symbolism of food and how it related to the succssses and failures of the communist political system.  Continue reading »

The unbreakable partnership: A dance of food & culture

colorful plant based meal
Food and culture are entwined and forever inseparable. They inspire and influence one another in an intricate dance of traditions, policies, folk wisdom, and of course, the dancers, the consumers of culture and food. The dance is incessant and consists of steps: one step forward by the folk wisdom followed by a flip by the government policies, followed by the nod toward traditions. Continue reading »

Basil Walnut Pesto Leaves

Basil Walnut Pesto Leaves

“Ugh!” You might exclaim. “Should I mix walnuts and basil and garlic? I’m used to mixing walnuts and honey or fruits, yeah, that sounds fine, but savory walnuts? Yikes!” These were my very own precious thoughts before I stumbled upon one of my “guru’s” recipes, Kimberly Snyder‘s tacos. And even then I was skeptical until I came across Liana Werner-Gray”s recipe for walnut “meat balls.” I was intrigued. Finally, having fried my brain and running out of ideas for easy meals, I gave up and made the basil walnut mixture that I stuffed into romaine hearts and topped, like my guru, Kim, with salsa. I also added a fresh cucumber, for otherwise it would have rotten right before my eyes. 🙂  Continue reading »

JoyCast 2: Meet Nancy & Pete Torpey

When you look at their photo, you can tell that Nancy and Pete are a happy couple. What you would not be able to guess when contemplating the picture is that they’re retired physicists. We can imagine that they smile because they love each other’s company, because they loved their careers, or because they became physicists despite social pressures and obstacles. You can subscribe to the podcast they’re co-presenting at www.eyesonsuccess.net. Or you can find out their story if you listen to the JoyCast. Enjoy!


Fermenting veggies to welcome the New Year

fermented cabbage

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary. With dinner, we had sauerkraut, the fermented cabbage I made for the first time. I mixed the red and green cabbage and that’s how the rich fuchsia color emerged. I suppose I don’t have to tell you the amazing health benefits of fermented veggies–they contain lots of minerals and healthy bacteria that help restore/maintain the flora of your gut. The healthier your gut the stronger your immune system. Sauerkraut also aids digestion. Continue reading »

Interviewed by WomenNow.tv

Karo & Victor

My husband, Victor Tsaran, and I have just been featured at WomenNow.tv.
From Youtube: “What an inspiring couple! These are two people from whom we can learn what COLORS of life is all about. They are visually impaired but that does not deter them from being what they wanted to be! Victor Tsaran is a Sr. Accessibility Program Manager at Yahoo!, singer, writer and a Guitar whiz. and Karo is a holistic life coach, writer and researcher at LifeinJoy.”
Watch us at YouTube

Before the Storm: A Translation


I’ve been translating Michel Houellebecq’s poetry and just thought to share one of his poems that I found the most exquisite. It is as short as the moment he captures, the time just before the storm. Enjoy!

The fine and delicate texture of clouds
Has dissolved behind the trees;
The blur that precedes the storm breaks out–
Beautiful is the sky,  marled like a marble piece.