Sunday, 28 April 2013

Project Pinterest

Recently Kris posted some of her favourite pins from Pinterest for the week. This is one that I found via a friend and absolutely adore. I like it so much that I'm hoping to be able to make it. It's simply doilies sewn together. The only problem is I only have a few doilies, and, as I don't crochet, have to rely on finding them already made. I've checked in a couple of Chinese shops. Although the one in my street has them, they're not the round kind but the elongated ones. Since I have an extra day off this week, I hope to go looking for them in other shops, i.e. if I'm not too lazy or there's a big snow or something else which hinders my search.

I'm only halfway joking about the snow. I'm almost certain that there is snow in the mountains of Madrid, and I've put the heating on today. Usually the weather in Paris is worse than here, but I saw yesterday it was warmer there. I haven't looked today. I can't remember the year, but we had snow in Madrid at the beginning of June when I lived in the rented flat not far from where I now live.

Yesterday when I went out to do a bit of food shopping that I usually do on Saturday afternoon, the supermarket that I go to was jam packed. I have no idea why there were so many people there. It seemed that everyone was pulling around baskets full. I hope there's not supposed to be some kind of strike that would affect the food supply. The centre of town suffers enough from protests of some sort just about every week.

Hopefully this week I'll get round to making some bread. I am going to make a shepherd's pie for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow, so here's hoping everyone has a good week. Happy May Day!

P.S. Has everybody who has come from Multiply heard that it was closing permanently in May?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ups and Downs

If you remember, last weekend was our first weekend with fantastic weather - no rain, and I was happy because I could finally clean my filthy windows. By Tuesday we were up to 31º C (getting close to 90º F). On Thursday, my student Álvaro wanted to put on the air conditioning. I know I didn't convince him, but I told him he was exaggerated. He's one of those kids you'll see out without a coat in the cold of winter. His is also one of the houses that I go to that has the central heating on too high. The only advantage I can see to central heating for an entire block of flats is you can dry your clothes when it's raining. That's what I did when I lived in a rented flat with central heating, and I always had to leave a window or two open in winter. Today I'm sure some of the older people will be complaining they're cold in their houses if the heating has been turned off. It's about 16ºC (60º F) outside - a pleasant temperature.

On Friday I was having coffee after class with Cielo whose birthday it had been earlier on in the week. I'd made her some of my homemade vanilla extract, gave her a homemade brooch and a measuring cup. I told her that Álvaro had told me he was going to do a course in Ireland and his mother had just told him he would be going on 28 August. Cielo asked me how Maria, the mother, was. As there were so many family members in the flat, I said I hadn't talked to her. She's seldom there when I am anyway. That's when Cielo said, 'So you don't know that María's father died on Sunday night from carbon monoxide poisoning?' Her family had had the gas taken out about 10 years before because they feared something like this would happen. Apparently the gas seeped into their flat from another that must have had a leak. Fortunately María's mother was able to get help from the neighbours before she was overcome too. My photo shows the free newspaper I download during the week, but don't always read. However, I had read Monday's edition and the story was there though no names were mentioned. It only said that one of the neighbours had realized that something was wrong. Prayers are appreciated for this family. I really don't know what I'm going to say when I go tomorrow. I didn't find it strange that so many people were there as they often visit. I saw my horoscope this morning and it advised me to be grateful for the small things and the bigger ones would take care of themselves. Good advice. 

I'm grateful to those who read this and hope your week is a good one.  


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Escarches and Cowabunga

This past week I was doing oral practice of questions with the word favourite (British spelling, Blogger) in them with one of my little students. One of the questions was 'what's your favourite word?' The first thing that popped in my head was 'home'. Later on while on facebook, I came across this cartoon, and have now decided that cowabunga is my favourite. Cowabunga! Spring has arrived. Cowabunga! I'm happy that today is the second day I can say my windows are clean and I don't have to look out through all the spots to see. Cowabunga! I've just come in from a walk and am wet, but not from the rain. It's because I wore a long-sleeved jersey and a jacket in 24º C (about 75ºF) weather. I know I put on too many clothes, but I couldn't convince myself to take off my jacket and carry it.

The origin of the word cowabunga is really interesting. I hope some of you remember 'Howdy Doody' and his friends like Chief Thunderthud whose first word was always 'cowabunga' although it was spelled 'kowabonga'. I learned other interesting facts about one of my favourite childhood programmes, such as it being a pioneer for early colour TV, not that my younger brother, sister and I would have seen it in colour. We still had a black and white set when the Beatles first made their appearance on TV.  Howdy Doody fans who later became surfers took over the word cowabunga for themselves, and now the cartoon has aliens using it! Cowabunga!

As for the word 'escraches', I don't know if it is to be found in the Royal Academy of Spanish dictionary. Nevertheless, not a day goes by without hearing it or reading about it. It's a word that was first used in Argentina to refer to the people who went to a politician or dirty war criminal's workplace or home and began a protest, sometimes posting a description of this person's 'crimes' on the walls outside his home. Some of us remember all those people who 'disappeared' in Argentina during the dictatorship. In Spain the 'escraches' are members of an anti-foreclosure group and direct their protests against the ruling Popular Party. The other day the Vice President, who has a 17-month-old child, said she could understand them heckling her in her workplace, but not in her private life, and I agree 100%. Yesterday I saw a video of an 8-year old 'escracher' following a politician around in the Tennessee Capitol building. I felt bad for the little girl. She couldn't have understood what was going on. I know she was prompted to say what she did. Unfortunately, in the case of escraching here, I fear that one of these days a tragedy is going to happen at such a protest. 

Hope my fears don't pan out, but I do hope everyone has a cowabunga week.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Oil Pulling

I was going to do a post on computers, but I think I've found a much more exciting subject about something that I'm going to try.

As I've mentioned before, some of my old workmates and a new friend or two get together once a month to have lunch and a chat. Yesterday our friend Judy was talking about how she'd started doing oil pulling and the benefits she was feeling from it. Have you ever heard of oil pulling or oil swishing? I hadn't until I looked it up on the internet. According to one of the links I found and will include  here, it's 'a safe, cheap and gentle do it yourself home remedy that cures and prevents diseases and extends your healthy life' by ridding your body of toxins which have accumulated.

Here's what you do. In the morning before you have breakfast, take a tablespoon of either sunflower seed or sesame seed oil and swish it around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes - not the easiest thing to do, but I can do it. Then spit out the oil, rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth if you like. I'll wait and brush after I've eaten. Doing this every morning supposedly cures or helps a number of illnesses, not only mouth problems. One of my friends on FB has complained about the side effects of the medicine she has to take for asthma. Oil pulling has no side effects and if it helps! So here is one of the links I've found. See if oil pulling would be interesting for you.  

For once, I didn't really feel the hour that we lost last week. I tried to keep busy all day so as not to think about it. I made a big meatloaf (maybe with some horse meat?LOL) and took half of it round to my friends' when I went to check on their cat for the last time on Sunday. I've seen photos of people enjoying nice spring weather. Well, we haven't yet! I still have the heating on and have seen only clouds for this coming week. March was the rainiest March we've had since 1947, and, as predicted, allergies are soon going to get bad - a reason to try oil pulling. 

Hope you have some good weather and a good week ahead.