Sunday, 27 January 2013

My Bath Salts Aren't The Drug-Type

This summer when I was visiting my family in Ohio, my sister bought a big container of epsom salt at the Dollar Store, probably for just a couple of bucks. I was telling her how much I'd paid some months before. I've just checked the exchange rate and in dollars mine cost me almost $18. Why such a huge difference in price I can't say, and the salts aren't imported which would possibly make them more expensive, nor are they the kind that young people like. The Kroger brand I found in a parcel my sister sent a few weeks after Christnas. There were a couple of boxes of cornbread mix too that I'll probably re-gift because they contain sugar and I dislike sweet cornbread. Nobody ever put sugar in the cornbread when I was growing up. My grandma always made sauerkraut and she never put sugar in it. I don't know any Germans who do either, but one of my former sisters-in-law did. I know she wasn't happy with me not eating her sweetened sauerkraut. I try not to be a picky eater, unless it's something that I'm allergic to like most seafood. Nevertheless, there are some things that shock and disgust my taste buds.

Yesterday I was good and got all of the big cleanng chores done before I went out to buy milk and a few things. I was surprised at how mild it was when I finally got out to the street wearing far too much clothing, of course. I came home, put away the things I'd bought and got a load ready for the washer. I then decided to take the paper I'd collected over the week to the paper bank only to be knocked about from a cold wind this time out. One of my friends from facebook posted a cartoon depicting the weather in different parts of the States and then the weather in Kentucky - 4 seasons in a day. We had at least two yesterday in Madrid. Today we've got a cold drizzle. I'm glad to be inside warm and with the place clean. I doubt this will make Monday any more bearable though. I'll let you know.

One of my friends has complained that even though classes didn't start until 8th January, January has been a long month with 4 weeks to work. I suppose this is true, but for me February has always been the long month. In February it seems a long time since we were on holiday, and, of course, there are no official holidays. There is going to be a third General Strike since September on 23rd, which is a Saturday. I don't know why the trade unions have decided to strike on a Saturday. 23-F is a well-known date in Spanish history.

I hope Terri is feeling better today though I fear she isn't as I haven't seen her on facebook, and she hasn't posted anything on blogger yet. I pray that she's soon better and that everyone has a good week.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

10 Memories From Childhood

There are so many great things about the technological era we are living in, and one of them is the photos we take and share. Our youngsters will be able to look back at themselves when they were growing up and, hopefully, have some good memories. When Terri mentioned having read and enjoyed the memories posted by one of her contacts, I thought that sounded like a good enough blog to share with everyone. The problem in my case is at this moment I don't know where I've put my old photos or the CD that they're on. I used to do this with my bank books until I decided if I couldn't find them, probably someone with bad intentions couldn't either. I'm always insisting that I put things in the same place too, so now I can't even claim this! Anyway, I've decided to post my childhood memories with this one photo that one of my cousins posted on facebook. This is my mom with me and Aunt Sally and cousin Billy.

  1. One of my earliest memories I have is when I was about two. I'm standing in the garden crying because my grandma has left. My mother used to have to distract me so my grandma could leave.
  2.  For a time my paternal grandfather lived with us. I'm sorry to say he never cared for us and the feeling was mutual. One evening my mother asked him to look after me while she did some chores outside. Of course, he was probably listening to the radio, because we didn't get a TV until I was about 5 and not paying attention to what I was doing. I was having a grand time throwing the baby chicks that were in a box on the porch outside and the dog was catching and eating them. I don't know how many baby chicks were eaten by the time my mom returned. I don't think she ever left me with him again. Poor baby chicks!
  3. I remember this house in the photo of me as a baby. One day my two cousins, brother and I were outside playing when a dog that obviously had rabies came along. Luckily my aunt or somebody got us inside quickly. After that every strange dog, even puppies, were rabid to me 
  4. I come from a large family. My younger brothers and sisters are lucky that they didn't have to change schools as often as my brother Roger and I. My first year at school that I began with my cousin Billy found me changing school in the middle of the year.We kept moving my first five years of schooling.
  5. As much as I loved learning (I started reading my first day of school and haven't stopped), it was tiring going to school every day. Once my brother and I decided if we 'lost' our lunch money, we'd have a week off school as lunches were paid weekly. We hid the money under some leaves where we thought later to 'find' it and buy lots of hot balls with it. Wouldn't you know we had to go to school anyway and a cousin found the money!
  6. It seems to me, kids nowadays just don't have the imagination that we had. One winter when we were staying with my grandmother, we flew home after school instead of playing in the snow as we usually did. We'd seen big barefoot tracks and were convinced they were from a Yeti or at least a big bear. It turns out they were from one of my mom's cousins who was a bit touched in the head (I don't think people smoked dope in those days).
  7. I may not like the fashion worn by young people today, but I recognize that they're following fashion and wearing what other young people are wearing. I wore mini skirts in the winter at university even though it was freezing outside and platform shoes until I fell off them three times and a girdle even though I didn't need one in high school, because these things were what my friends wore. In high school, of course, we had a dress code and some boys got sent to the principal's office to have the length of their hair measured or the girls their skirts. Even though most schools still have some rules about what students can't wear, at least girls can wear trousers and jeans. We couldn't, which was one of the perks of university.
  8. In high school I got into the Upward Bound program, and that and the fact that I won a full scholarship helped me get into university. There was an article written about the program in the Reader's Digest and I was interviewed for it.
  9. I was at university during the Vietnam War. There were many demonstrations during those years and a vast majority of them turned violent since there's almost always a violent faction that goes to demontrations with violence in mind. I remember cowering in my dorm room during those demonstrations. However, throughout all of my years at university (where I stayed on to do a Master's) and my schools before that, I had never been frightened of being shot down in a classroom or a mall. Who can say this today?
  10. If anyone has read my introduction on multiply, which is still there, you'll remember it's my university Spanish professor's fault that I live in Spain. She said people from Kentucky never wanted to leave Kentucky. So here you have me!   

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

Because I live in a big city and just have a few pitiful plants, all my food scraps get thrown away. Sometimes I feed them a bit of tea, but that's about all. I've mentioned in another post how other cities in Spain have bins where you can throw your organic stuff. Madrid has yet to provide any of those, so I was most happy the other day when I found a use for my citrus rinds. I don't really like using bleach. The fumes are overpowering and dangerous, and I know smokers don't like using bleach because it makes their cigarettes taste funny. Luckily, I'm not one of them. Instead of bleach, I use vinegar as much as I can. I found a recipe on pinterest that simply adds orange peels to the vinegar for a pleasant smell. It's the season for mandarin oranges and that's what I've used in mine. A simple recipe for a good cleaner. Still, I wish I didn't have to throw away my egg shells (crushed) as they are good to put around the plants that slugs like. When one of my friends used to keep a garden I always saved the shells for her.

The reason I chose 'waste not, want not' as the title is the mandarins I bought were on offer, and I could tell that some of them were a bit squashed. Checking the bag, I couldn't see any that looked bad and haven't found any. They're just not perfect. The other day there was a report about how much of our food ends up in the rubbish both because we buy more than we need and farmers destroy those products that have some defect. In other words, those whose aspect isn't perfect. When I was younger I lived on a farm. We never threw away an apple that had been bruised or that had a different shape or a spot. Some Spanish people, for whatever reason, refuse to ask for the food they've ordered in a restaurant but haven't eaten. Every week my friend Chris takes home the leftovers from the Chinese.

Last week I said I was going to ask a question about photography. I put the camera card from my old camera into the one I got at Christmas. I wasn't going to waste the rest of the space on the card. Well, every time I download photos to my computer, a sound file also downloads at the end. Once it contained the video - one that by accident I'd recorded using the old camera and had deleted over a year ago. Why does something which has been deleted and never appeared in the albums from the other camera, keep appearing using the new camera? The file isn't on the card when I review the photos I've taken. Yet, like I say, it appears in albums using the new camera. Anybody know?

Before I say I hope everybody has a good week, I'd like to put a link to one of my friends' blog and hope that some of you will add her too. I've been connected to Diana since the Y360 days. She does the 10 Thoughts Tuesdays, likes gardening and writing poetry. She's just starting out on blogger and has lots of doubts that hopefully some of you will be able to clear up. Please add her, and have a good week. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Kings' Cake

Since this is my first post of the new year, I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Today is the day when gifts brought by the Three Wise Men on their camels are traditionally exchanged in Spain. However, Santa is finding he has more work than usual as he's becoming more and more popular here. To celebrate Epiphany, at least traditionally anyway, we also eat 'roscón de Reyes' (and drink chocolate). People like their roscón different ways: some with whipped cream, trufa or, like me, plain. Inside each cake there are two items to be found. One is a faba bean, and the person getting the faba bean has to pay for the cake the following year. The other is a 'surprise', a small plastic figurine, and the person who gets it is the king or queen and wears the paper crown that comes with each cake.

Just before I sat down to write this, my phone rang. It was my mad artist-writer friend thanking me for the teacakes, which he loves, and other goodies I make and give out at Christmas. On Christmas Eve I got a voice mail from him saying someone had stolen the teacakes. He's so mad, but sadly he told me that his mother is now suffering from dementia senile, so he's eating lots of avocados. According to him, avocados are good to keep memory loss at bay. He said he'd made a concoction of avocado, nuts and honey for her. and was thinking of commercializing it as Dr. H. 

There are gremlins or something about today. I posted a comment on Kris's page while I was using the ipad this morning, but the comment disappeared. I'm going to re-post now. I got a new camera for Christmas, not a great one, but then I'm not a great photographer. Every time I download photos there's a strange occurence that I'll explain in my next post and see if anyone has an answer. 

Now I'm going to go finish putting the Christmas stuff away. It sure has been nice having holidays. Hope everyone has a good week.