Sunday, 27 December 2015

Green Christmas

This is what I look like I think. Yes, I had to get sick for Christmas. I'm forcing myself to eat and at least that is staying down - something that wasn't happening before. I also slept fairly well last night, but am still moving slowly. Needless to say, I missed Christmas dinner at my friends'. I missed the turkey and my friend's delicious mashed potatoes. I have to say she makes the most delicious mashed potatoes.

Other than being ill, I had a quiet Christmas. So far, I've received two lovely gifts - a necklace and some more artwork from my artist friend. This time it was a sun angel. Do you know about sun angels? I'd never heard of them. He says not to expose the picture to direct sunlight, because it will disappear. Today he sent me an e-mail saying that the technique he uses to make such pictures uses solar energy and only he knows how to use it; it's a secret he says. Now he's going to make me more pictures. I think my house is going to turn into an art gallery.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and hope I have better news next week. Enjoy your new week.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Family Rules

Today my post is going to be extra short. I'm still making Christmas goodies, so have to get back to them. These family rules are what my sister-in-law posted on facebook, and I think they're perfect for our Christmas get togethers and every day. Hope you all enjoy your time time with family and friends this Christmas. Stay safe if you're travelling.

Sunday, 13 December 2015


In my last post I said that in the end I'd have to go to the centre and face the crowds. I also mentioned that our favourite Mexican restaurant's closure was the reason. Well, surprise, surprise! We didn't run into any big crowds as we took the nearest underground station on our line to the restaurant. We were even able to get a seat there and back. The only disappointing thing was the food was a bit cold and the arroz con pollo wasn't up to standard.

I, being the social secretary that I am, made the reservations and sent a whatsapp message on our group page and called the one friend who refuses to be on whatsapp. I saw that everybody answered except Chris. On Tuesday morning I saw that she still hadn't answered. When it got to be what I considered to be late, I started calling her mobile only to get the message that it was turned off or had no service. Then I left a message on her home phone. In the end I left to join Cathy in the underground all the time worried that something had happened to Chris or someone in the family. When we were near the restaurant, I made one last attempt at getting in contact with her. This time she picked up saying she'd had her phone charging and was running late. I know Chris by now to know that she's always late, but she could have phoned or left a message. Pretty inconsiderate of her, especially since I was worried. 

On to a sweeter subject. This is what I've spent considerable time doing at the weekend.
I've been making buckeyes since my sister Diana introduced us to them years ago. Today I will have made and packaged 5 batches or 14 buckeyes per package. I've already made and gifted some Mexican wedding cookies - another treat I make at Christmas.

Yesterday one of my ex-neighbours in Kentucky posted on facebook that they were mowing the grass on 12 December, and today one of my cousins posted some photos of their family Christmas get together of them outside jumping rope. It's not quite as warm here. As a matter of fact, I laugh when I see it's warmer in Paris or London or sometimes in Helsinki than in Madrid. So far we've got almost no snow in the mountains, and we sure could use some rain. It's supposed to rain a bit tomorrow. Let's hope it does.

Since I've been busy today, and I have more things that need doing I'll leave you with a have a good week. 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

When a Bridge Isn't Just a Bridge

Language has always fascinated me ever since I started speaking at the age of one.  Probably my favourite way of expressing language is through Spanglish. Some ideas are just easier and quicker in Spanglish. For example, which is easier to say 'cinnamon' or 'canela'? They both have the same number of syllables, but I prefer canela. The same goes for a long weekend. In Spanish, a long weekend is a 'puente' or 'bridge' in English. Today is the official day of the Constitution and Tuesday is the holiday of the Immaculate Conception giving some lucky people a long weekend or puente.
Years ago before this physical bridge was built if we wanted to get to either side of this road on foot, we had to go through some winding dark and not very safe tunnels under the road. I always opted for public transport even if it was for one stop, or took a long way round. I have no idea when this photo was taken since it's almost impossible to see this important and busy road so empty. At least now when I want to cross to the other side, I don't have to go out of my way to get to where I'm going, and the bridge has a roof over it for protection against the weather.

In a previous post, I stated that I didn't want to go to the centre for Christmas lunch. Now it looks like I'll have to give in and go. Hopefully where I'm going there won't be too many people. Our favourite Mexican restaurant, and one that I've gone to since living in Spain, is closing. Chris has sent a message on whatsapp for our group to go before the restaurant is permanently closed. So far, no one has answered, and I, the social secretary, need to know for the reservation. I'm thinking most must be out of Madrid.

December this year will have an extra attraction: general elections on the 20th. The official start of the campaigns was the other day. I'll try to avoid as much information about the elections as possible.

There are some things I need to get done, so I'm going to say have a good week to everyone. Before I do, I see at least one post I can read and enjoy. 


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Liar, Liar

Forget everything that I said about Black Friday last week. Spain, at least Madrid, has embraced Black Friday, which is called Black Friday and not Viernes Negro, as their own for pre-Christmas sales. I was in a commercial area not far from where I live yesterday, and everywhere I looked I saw crowds of people and signs for Black Friday. Yes, I know yesterday was Saturday. Black Friday here is celebrated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then turns into Cyber Monday.

Yesterday I went to a Christmas fair hosted by the group I used to be a member of - the Madrid Handcrafters. I've decided this year that my little wooden Christmas tree is getting some white decorations, so I bought an angel for it. I also bought a few stocking stuffers and a beautiful silk scarf. Today I went to another fair in a private house round the corner and got some little Christmas decorations that look like snowflakes. I've just come back from there.

I haven't been to the centre to see the Christmas lights, but one of my friends went on Friday night with her family. She said there were police everywhere even policemen wearing ski masks. I wasn't planning on attending the Christmas lunch that has become a tradition anyway. There are just too many people in the centre making it impossible to enjoy the sights. Last Christmas my friend Chris and I ended up walking all the way home.

I'm going to finish with a couple of photos of some of the presents I got for my birthday. First my favourite chocolate in the whole world - Belgian chocolate and this box has some of the best I've tried.
I also got a little bag of chocolates that look exactly like olives - green and black ones. I posted a photo of some of them on facebook, and some people thought they were really olives. My other sweet treat was oatmeal and raisin cookies; other non-sweet treats were two scarves and two necklaces, so you see I had a good day and the moussaka was the best I'd had in a long time.

Here is another of my presents filled with small bottles of toiletries.
And here is the other side of the bag. I don't know which side I prefer. I just know I like the bag, because it's so different. Which side do you prefer?
I had a lot to do this morning and then was out this afternoon, and now I'm going to leave you with the hope that everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving enjoyed it and that we all have a good new week.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

No Thanksgiving Dinner Nor Black Friday

I was a bit confused earlier, because I got a birthday greeting from a longtime friend on facebook. Then I suppose another friend saw her greeting and wished me a wonderful day. I checked that I wasn't living the wrong day. Nope! My birthday is tomorrow, but I don't mind being wished a happy birthday on the wrong day just as long as I have the date straight.

In lieu of Thanksgiving, I'll be celebrating my birthday on that day with friends. Years ago we did, and I miss those days even if we celebrated on Saturdays. We continued celebrating them until we had a big argument about guests. In the beginning our Thanksgivings were a girls' only fiesta, but a couple of the girls wanted to invite their boyfriends. Those of us who made all the preparations (everything was from scratch) said no, because we had done all the work and it was for us to enjoy. The result was, as you can imagine, a drastic drop in the number attending. However, we made it and we ate it. I think this was probably the last Thanksgiving we celebrated like this, mainly because the one who organized everything went back to the US. Here's a photo of me during that era.
So no Thanksgiving dinner and no Black Friday although I think some of the shops are warming up to the idea. Our sales typically begin after the Christmas holidays, or 7th January. Speaking of Christmas, our holiday lights are supposed to be turned on at the end of this week. 

Yesterday when I went out, I didn't know it was as cold as it was, especially in the wind. It's time to get out my hats and gloves. What a change from the weather we've had up until now! Yes, it's definitely warm quilt weather at night.

This is my post for the week. Thanks for looking in. Wishing everyone who celebrates it a very Happy Thanksgiving. Have I mentioned that I love stuffing?

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Look and You Might See Gargoyles

I hope I'm not the only one who doesn't notice things like new shops and old things that have been around for a while. Here are some gargoyles that I stumbled upon on one of my strolls. Although we usually see the creatures on top of buildings (Madrid has its share of them), these two fellows were guarding the entrance to a private garage. As you can see they've been around for a while. I just haven't paid attention to them. Incidentally, did you know the purpose of gargoyles was to allow water to drip off buildings, thus protecting the stone from water damage? 

This is the one on the left of the garage.
And here's the one on the right side of the door. I'd imagine they've been placed here so the cars don't hit the side of the building, or just for decoration.
Here are a couple more photos I've taken recently. The first one is in the same street as the gargoyles, and I've been in this police station which is a municipal or city police station. I haven't been in the van though.
I've covered up the plate number in case showing it isn't permitted. I've done the same with this Diplomats Corps car parked outside my office windows.
I have no idea why it's parked here. I doubt very much that the diplomat that uses this car lives in my neck of the woods. I saw it when I looked out the window to see what the workmen from our building were doing. They were cutting tile or something, which I'm sure is not permitted to be done in the street. As a matter of fact, Friday (the day of the attacks on Paris) when I saw this car was one of the days where anyone who wasn't a resident of this area or any other area that has parking meters for non-residents weren't allowed to park due to the high level of pollution. Of course, this car has special privileges. 

This week we did go out to the Chinese, and then yesterday 3 of us went to the restaurant round the corner. The food is good though the menu is limited and, for me, doesn't offer enough veggies. I don't eat a lot of meat or fish for that matter. I met the owner of the bar recently and we were talking about the food. I miss their traditional Spanish dishes like peas and ham, breaded eggplant and zucchini. Hope I got those last two right, because for a minute I could only think of the British words for them.

Our weather is still mild except at night naturally, with no rain or wind to get rid of the big black cloud over Madrid. I wonder what measures the Town Council will take for tomorrow. Up until now, it's been complete chaos.

Hope everyone has a good safe week with no terrorist attacks anywhere in our world. My reasons for being one of the few on Facebook to not place the French flag over my photo are stated there. Peace and love for everyone.