Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Baba batrina, cu dintzii de lina…

In English this will translate something like The old woman has her teeth like wool… Of course, in Romanian, there are some sign over some letter, like de nju in spanish…

… and here is a portrait of an very old (100 +) Ortodox nun, Maica Michaela…

maica Michaela

(Babã bãtrânã cu dintii de lânã = original romanian writing)

Copyright image Dan Iordache, 2008



February 2, 2008 - Posted by | Art, Cafe L'Arte, CCCCompetition, culture, Danu's Paintings, drawing, family, health, humor, life, painting, Parents and Children, Proverbs and Sayings, religion, women | , , ,


  1. God, what a great portrait Danu! So touching! This painting really seems to tell the life story of Maica Michaela. What more can one expect from a portarit, really! I am very impressed.
    Is she one one of your nuns? Is she still alive? You make me so curious with her!
    And what a saying! What does it mean exactly? I can’t see Michaela’s teeth, so I don’t know …
    I associated wool with warmth, of course… do old women’s teeth warm them?
    Strange, without having any clue what the expression means, i have the feeling that the picture illustrates it perfectly… I guess, because of all the small white lines on the cloak, they look like teeth, somehow..
    But seriously, I am not kidding here, I really want to know!
    Anyway: GREAT!

    Comment by Miki | February 2, 2008

  2. I wonder if the equivalent of that expression, in German, is:

    “Zahnweh entsteht in der Kirche und vergeht meist auf dem Scheißhaus.”

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

    I won’t take the responsibility to translate into English, but feel free of course… you or Bonny…

    Comment by Miki | February 2, 2008

  3. I think it would be helpful for everyone if, when posting a saying, the idea behind it is explained. I understand the English words here, but the meaning of the saying totally escapes me. I would like to know. Could you explain, Danu?

    Madame Monet

    Comment by wpm1955 | February 2, 2008

  4. I am curious too Danu, What means this saying? Does it mean that grandmother can do or say only sweet things? Like Miki, I associate wool with warmth.

    Comment by contessine | February 2, 2008

  5. Well normally, at least in the past when this expression appeared, there were not dentists, so old women had no teeth at all, had they? Does it mean that they had no wool either?

    Comment by Miki | February 2, 2008

  6. Or that they eat only warm soap?

    Comment by contessine | February 2, 2008

  7. Sorry to be so late in explaining… for a change, I did some work these days (it’s been a long time since I didn’t paint every day and with some results…)

    So: “Old Mother” (=maica) Michaela is a over 100 years old nun from a Ortodox Church in… Australia and I have to make the shameful confession I found her photo and story in a National Geographic… Well, we find our inspirations whereever we can…

    The saying is more of a lament, associating old age (and since, statistical, women are living more, it’s a woman…) and “woolen” teeth, teeth that are soft, moving and ready to fall off… No big deal, as you can see… I had other sayings, much more poignant but no illustration to them…

    Comment by iondanu | February 2, 2008

  8. Thanks for the explanation, Danu, we were all waiting with much curiosity for it!
    Don’t feel ashamed for the painting from photo , the painting is fantastic and this is the only important thing!
    I still find the expression quite poignant… Please let us know the other ones, more poignant. illustrations are not necessary at all! Who else could tell us sayings from Romanian? It is for me, and I believe for everybody here, very interesting. The illustrations are really secondary.

    Comment by Miki | February 3, 2008

  9. A great expression Danu, and Im beginning to think, a useful one. We have recently played a few shows where a lot of old people attended, who were moaning about how loud we were. Now, if they all have woollen teeth, perhaps I can knit them together, and I’ll never have to listen to them again!

    Comment by kevmoore | February 4, 2008

  10. Kew, you can pull their woollen teeth and stuck them in their ears… Old people are very stubborn and sometimes stupid (I just spoke with my dad… I love him but, man, can he be irritating!)

    Comment by iondanu | February 4, 2008

  11. Haha! you could be talking about MY Dad Danu, I know exactly what you mean!

    Comment by kevmoore | February 4, 2008

  12. Ot MY Dad!

    Comment by Miki | February 4, 2008

  13. Oh, don’t get me started about old women and their teeth. We’ve been trying to figure out how to help my mother in law with her teeth, but she has so few left, there’s hardly anything to attach a denture onto!

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | February 5, 2008

  14. I think when mine have all fallen out, I might employ a poor homeless child to chew my food for me.

    Comment by kevmoore | February 5, 2008

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