Anya’s Musings

March 6, 2018

Deep thoughts or aftermath of IMF

Musical Bridges’ 5th International Music Festival was truly an international endeavor! Guest artists from 28 countries participated in one-of-a-kind programs including six gold medalists of the former San Antonio International Piano Competition playing together - 60 golden fingers at the same time. The Russian dancing ensemble from New York, Barynya, crowned the excitement at the Grand Finale! We were honored with the presence of the Mayor Nirenberg, Tim Quigley of Sister Cities International from Washington DC, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Carlos Contreras, President for the Tricentennial Committee and many other dignitaries during the festival. After all of the concerts...
February 12, 2018

Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!

My husband Robert is obsessed with the Milky Way! He took pictures of it from different parts of the equator but like a lonely wolf is drawn to the moon. Rob is drawn to a Milky Way on every dark night. His pure love of nature significantly opened my mind to a world I would not be exposed to otherwise. Together we have visited many National Parks in the US and abroad. Our outdoorsy friends have been raving about Big Bend National Park in West Texas as the last frontier for the perfect dark sky. I thought this would make […]
December 10, 2017

Minimalism in the middle of nowhere or cultural shock of Marfa!

Please, those of you art critics, do me a favor and duck-tape your mouth for a minute to give me a chance to express Minimalism as I see it. Ready? Total silence is deafening! When there is no sound but just the beauty of earthy tones meeting the blues of a sky in a still line of the horizon; when a passing car many miles away is a sound sensation; when you cannot hear anything but your thoughts and occasional insect running it’s errands. In the middle of this soundless beauty, literally in the middle of nowhere, you find the […]
January 18, 2016

Birds of a Feather

Every January I attend the Chamber Music America Conference in New York. This year the conference was scheduled on the same weekend as Rob’s birthday. I did not feel like leaving Rob all alone and lonely on his special day and invited him to join me in New York. Rob did not feel like going to New York in January and respectfully declined my kind invitation. Being the exemplary wife I am…I offered to go anywhere his heart desired for his birthday. After going back and forth between Las Vegas, Bonaire, Cozumel and other places he decided that he would […]
December 26, 2015

Changing the World Through Generosity

December is a special time of the year when generosity blooms to its fullest. What makes us so special? Why do we give? Do we give because we care so much about others, or does it just feel good to give? I believe it is a mixture of both. Studies show that giving to others achieves a sense of self-determination and, ultimately, greater happiness. Read Full Story
November 22, 2015

Immigrants contribute to U.S. — and San Antonio

I have been reading lately about the expected 10,000 Syrian refugees, whom President Barack Obama has agreed to resettle in the United States as millions of Syrian women, children and men have fled their war-torn country ever since the uprising began against President Bashar Assad’s government. I am also aware of stories in the media about presidential candidates and governors who aren’t exactly, shall we say, immigrant-friendly. In any case, it’s possible that many Syrians, who have had to uproot their lives in search of safety and asylum, could eventually settle in San Antonio or other Texas cities. As a […]
August 21, 2014

What’s wrong with you!

Vienna! There is so much to see! I decided to visit the Leopold Museum in my remaining time before our ship’s departure. The ticket’s roster listed all the usual categories, adult, senior, student and in addition to it one I had never seen before- unemployed! Funny! In US I believe the thing is, if you do not have a job-go get it! I came to the counter and announced that I am employed and need one ticket please. The guy at the ticket counter smiled recognizing that I must be American “ Yes, we are a socialistic country and this […]
August 12, 2014


My first Viking European river cruise itinerary this summer included among other spectacular destinations a one-day stop in Vienna. I was salivating over the many cultural opportunities there and planned my activities long in advance. The day before the Vienna stop our handsome Norwegian program director apologetically announced that one of the locks on the Danube was broken and our ship could not get to Vienna. We would have to disembark on the border between Austria and Slovakia and take a two-hour bus ride to the city center. Later, we would embark on another Viking ship that would wait for […]
July 28, 2014

A Double-Bill

The Santa Fe Opera holds a soft spots in our hearts and is the main reason for our annual travels to the Land of Enchantment, along with 58-degree nights, which doesn’t hurt. These two reasons combined to create a perfect experience under the stars with the horizon going as far as the eye can see. The Santa Fe Opera is an open-air amphitheater located a bit north of the city on a high view point and is surrounded by the rolling hills of New Mexico’s minimalists landscape, masterfully painted by the descending sun. People get there early and indulge in […]
June 6, 2014

Treasure Hunting

A Third World country somewhere far away, tropics, hot and humid, beat-up old roads, intoxicating unfamiliar aroma of street food on every corner, a lot of weird people, dirty streets, everything screams DANGER! Yes, I am describing a very popular Discovery Channel TV show about hunting gemstones.  A couple of brave guys go, let’s say to Burma among other places, with the mission to find precious gems and sell them in the west for a hefty profit. I am in a similar business, but I hunt talent, not for profit but for pure love of world class art and this […]
February 13, 2014


Every time I go to a very familiar tragic opera, I still hope the ending will somehow miraculously change and everyone will live happily ever. Unfortunately, despite my prayers, Tosca every time jumps from the bridge, Cavaradossi gets shot, Gilda and Carmen stabbed, and Aida and Radames buried alive. Welcome to the fun world of the opera! Knowing that I am doing everything possible to shield myself from negative emotions, Rob proclaimed after looking at the HGO upcoming performances: “Anya, you do not want to see this opera for sure”. He was talking about “Passenger” by Weinberg, premiered at the […]
January 24, 2014

New York! New York!

As soon as we arrived to New York we got screwed. A great looking and know-it-all guy offered his limousine so elegantly and quickly that I did not get a chance to think. During the short and pleasant drive filled with conversation about his family in Egypt my feeling of being screwed grew by the minute. He dropped us off at the back door of our hotel, knocking down all signs warning against it on the way, then told me “$85 dollars, how much do you want back? “Living in Texas and dealing with nice people for the last 24 […]
December 24, 2013

“Tis the season to be jolly!”

Traffic! Lots of people everywhere! Crying children! No, this is not a war I am describing, this is Christmas shopping! Yesterday I spent 45 min in the car between IH10 and the La Canterra shopping mall on a trip that normally takes me 5 min. I’m wondering how can it be? Why? What comes over Christians and non-Christians that inspires us for heroic acts during this hectic time and even makes us enjoy it? I saw a Muslim woman praying at 4 pm in the middle of the mall parking lot on a small rug that her granddaughter placed before […]
December 16, 2013

Bon Appetit!

My new kitchen took the best of me. During the renovation process I started 10 new blogs but my heart and creativity went into the kitchen sink-16GA, 10 inches deep. The decision making process was painful and invigorating at the same time. Deep in my heart I always dreamed of becoming an interior designer and this was my ultimate test. It all started with our 50-year-old kitchen sink threatening to fall on the floor and take a wall along with it. “ Let’s buy a new sink” sad Robert innocently believing that this will be it… “Hmm, If we are […]
June 30, 2012

The Art of Passion

This summer I visited Spain with my dear friend and Musical Bridges Board President Dr. Awilda Ramos and her family. I was the fifth in our group – I was the Daughter of the Regiment.  Half way through our trip Awilda’s family went on tour to Morocco. Awilda and I chickened out and went to Barcelona instead. Awilda and I have similar interests when it comes to historic sites and together we saw Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Granada. But when it came to other things, we had to come to an agreement. We both love art museums, but I love […]
June 24, 2012


I had not seen Europe for five years, and I did miss it. I have a world map on my wall with colorful pins designating all of the places I visited over the years, and the only place in Europe without any pins was Spain. This summer, I was determined to fix this, so I joined a group of my friends on a Spanish journey. We arrived in Madrid and immediately jumped on a train to Málaga. After two and a half hours of a very comfortable, scenic ride, we were on the Spanish Riviera. Lush, hilly landscapes, white houses […]
May 27, 2012

Mi Amor!

Salsa! The Grand Finale of Musical Bridges’ 14th Season was a fascinating weekend with Gibaro de Puerto Rico. Beside many beautiful performances they introduced me to the way they relate to the world. Puerto Ricans are very warm people. If they know you for a few hours and they like you, you instantly become Mi Amor! They love you, they hug you, they laugh all the time, whether they have a reason to or not. Their sunny culture is infectious and all-inclusive. Their music to a great extent represents their live-loving sunny island personalities. My husband Robert is of Norwegian […]
May 7, 2012


I like to grow a garden, both figuratively and literally speaking. My earliest childhood memories are those of the light in the garden lying under the apple tree on a sunny day, light winks at me through tender spring leaves taking on a life of it’s own. My grandmother had a green thumb; her spectacular tulips growing on both sides of a narrow walkway to our small summer cottage, an hour away from Moscow, were envy of our neighbors. It was my chore to help collect black currant so my mother and grandmother used whatever did not make it to […]