Sunday, 26 May 2013

Nail Varnish Remover and Locksmiths

This week hasn't been a good week for me. I always try to be upbeat and not complain too much in my posts, but this is one time I'm going to have to break that rule. I'll try not to bore you with too many details. At least I'll try my best.

The saying goes that bad luck comes in 3's right? This being 'true', I hope I've had my share for a while. It started probably on Tuesday when we had a meeting with the person who is to be the new administrator of our building, though I'm going to say it started for me on Wednesday. I woke up with a painful lip - a horrible cold sore that took me by surprise. As do most people, I get them whenever my defences are low or am under stress, both of which are true in my case. Usually putting Carmex on the sore soothes it quite a bit. However, this particular time I didn't feel that it was doing enough, so I decided to look for some home remedies on the internet. One such remedy was to apply nail varnish remover to your cold sore for a few seconds. A few seconds is about all anyone can stand because the nail varnish remover burns like the devil! Incredible as it sounds, it did numb my lip and I felt fine the rest of the evening - this was Thursday. Since then I've applied more varnish remover, and my cold sore is almost gone. By the way, nail varnish remover is also called nail polish remover. I'm accustomed to using British vocabulary and spelling.

Now in my building there are always problems, especially when it comes to points of view. I'm really fed up with the role that I'm asked to take on just because I'm computer literate, not that I'm the only one who can use a computer or has one, but because this party doesn't get on with that party etc. I get stuck in the middle. I think such behaviour is quite normal in blocks of flats and unfortunately there can be worse behaviour and much worse problems. The president of the building told me yesterday that I was inventing things and sending documents without her knowledge, so I walked out on her, came downstairs, printed off an e-mail with a copy of a contract she'd asked me to send to the lawyers in which I'd written I was sending the contract at her request, handed it to her and left. I returned to my flat only to find I couldn't open the door with my key.

This is bad luck number 3. I had to go back upstairs and ask to use her phone to call a locksmith. She suggested we call someone who used to live here and who might be able to open the door. This person said he lived very far and suggested I call my insurance company. I'm not sure that this is covered in my policy. Anyway, I didn't have my policy number or phone number. To make a long story short, I was finally able to contact an emergency locksmith and was only out of my flat a couple of hours and out of 300 euros for the emergency visit, them opening the door and a new lock put on. One of the neighbours wanted me to break a window on the street side to get in. Then I would have had to pay double!

Anyway, I've learned some valuable lessons here, one of them is to take my phone with me everywhere I go even if it's just to take out the rubbish. I also know anyone reading this will tell me not to let this person upset me. I was upset yesterday. Today I know I've tried to be  helpful and useful, and I know I'm a good honest person who doesn't have to invent stories when the mistakes and shortcomings aren't even mine. If this person can't except that, I won't let this person lower my self-esteem. If this person also apologizes, and it would be a first, I'll except it. Either way, I'll continue my path in life and follow it the best I can.

Thanks for listening and hope everyone has a good week. Somebody on facebook posted Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds' (don't worry about a thing) and made me feel better just listening to the song. May you rest in peace, Bob Marley.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Squatters Villa No More

 I've mentioned before that around the corner from where I live there's a little house that has been occupied by squatters for quite some time. Well, finally they've gone. I don't know when or how they were able to get them out. I certainly didn't hear any kind of scandal. As a matter of fact, I only realized they were gone when that metal building with the air conditioner, the blue metal portable toilet and the barriers appeared one day.

I decided to go out early this morning and take a photo, so that you can see how rundown this once lovely little villa was. You can see where a fire started a year or so ago on the second floor, not that that kept the squatters out for any longer than it took the firemen to put out the fire and the police to leave. It only meant they couldn't use that floor until things dried out. I hadn't noticed before that they'd changed the name from Villa Sara. Why must they scroll graffiti everywhere? I usually just walk past without looking. Anyway, I hope this construction company restores Villa Sara to some of its former glory. Believe me, the wreck you see isn't how this house used to look. There was a verandah on the second floor. It was a pretty little house. My neighbourhood is the only part of Madrid where you can find these little row houses from the 19th C.

On Friday I was reminded of the Betty Boop cartoon in which she goes to the country to get away from all the noise of the city, only to return to the noise of the city, since, for her, it's more bearable than the noise and bugs from the country. About 1 p.m., the time I'm having lunch, workmen started digging up the street with a jackhammer right outside my windows. So I had the noise from the construction of the supermarket across the street, the house around the corner and vibrating floors and noise from the jackhammer. I suppose they've finished with their digging, but the metal boards that were put down so the cars could go over the big ditch they left rattle every time a car goes by, which is every few seconds. People will be out in the street until late at night again as the bullfights continue. Noise! Noise!

Our lovely spring weather is hiding again. I even put on a hat when I went out earlier, and I'll be putting on the heating before I take a shower. Wednesday it rained really hard in Madrid and has rained every day since. So much rain in May is quite atypical as is the snow in the mountains. No worries. I know it'll soon be too hot for comfort.

That's about it for me. Hope everyone has a good week.      

Sunday, 12 May 2013

My Air Fresheners

Last week I mentioned homemade air fresheners, so here's the recipe I use to make them. First a few words of advice:

  • If you're prone to headaches, essential oils can make them worse, so maybe you'll want to use the minimum amount of  oil drops the recipe calls for.
  • Use small containers, like baby food jars, because larger ones may promote mould (mold) even with the salt. Some people use a dash of vodka instead of the salt.
  • Don't pour any of the gelatin down the sink as it will cause a blockage.

4 packages of unflavoured gelatin
2 cups water
food colouring
essential oils
1 tablespoon salt
wooden/plastic sticks (like for ice-cream, for stirring)

First put one or two drops of food colouring in each container. The size jar I used made 4 air fresheners, but yours may only make 3, so prepare 3 jars. Then add between 10-20 drops of essential oil in each container. 

Next place 1 cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil; add gelatin and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water and pour into your prepared jars and stir to mix.

Your air fresheners will soon gel. These are especially good for small spaces like bathrooms. 
My favourite oils are lemongrass and citronella, both of which are anti-mosquito, but you can use whatever oils you prefer. 

Hope everyone where today is Mother's Day is enjoying your day. For those of you who believe in prayer, I ask that you remember my friend Judy and family. Judy lost her brother-in-law to cancer this past Thursday. She was going to the States this month for her great-niece's graduation, but, unfortunately, had to go sooner. 

Here's hoping for a good week for everyone. Wednesday is a holiday in Madrid though I'll have to work some. It's a day when most usually we get a bit of rain thanks to St. Isidro, whose holiday it is, and also marks the beginning of the bullfighting season and crowds of people and the noise they make in my area. ¡OlĂ©!        

Sunday, 5 May 2013

All Good Things

Call me lazy, but I've enjoyed my unexpected 5 days off immensely. Tuesday was a holiday in many countries of Europe (the day we celebrate Labour Day or May Day  ) and then Wednesday was the holiday that Madrid celebrates every year to commemorate the uprising of the people of Madrid in 1808 against the occupation of French troops. That leaves Friday as a working day in theory. One of my classes was going to the village and the other to Prague, so an extra day for me to do what I wanted.

Last week I posted a photo of a table runner that I found on Pinterest and liked, especially for the summer when I hate the idea of having to iron tablecloths. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and think it looks nicer than it does in the photo. I had a few of the doilies and the rest I finally found in a Chinese shop, which are our Dollar Stores. There's a new one in my street and they  actually sell crochet table runners, or dresser scarves as we used to call them. I finally found the rounded ones in what some call the 'Friendly Chinese' shop. I suppose it's a culture thing for them to be gruff and unsmiling. The lady in this shop is helpful and friendly. Anyway, I also went and bought a couple of the long table runners thinking that I'd add some of the round doilies I have left over and make a different kind. When I do, I'll add the photo. I know some of you have already seen this photo on facebook. By the way, a friend of mine did make the couple at the top which are supposed to be snowflakes, but I neither knit nor crochet. She was here just a few minutes ago to pick up the keys that I have to her flat. Her key to the front door had broken off. Lucky for her I was at home, as I assume her husband is working today since it's Mother's Day in Spain.

Speaking of Mother's Day, Kathy, who has a page on blogger, and a friend are giving away a nice basket of homemade products for Mother's Day. Tuesday is the last day to enter. She'll be drawing the name of the  lucky winner on Tuesday evening, so why not yours? Here's the link: 

That's all from me for this beautiful Sunday. Hope everyone has a great week.