Sunday, 24 November 2013

Another Year Younger

Although yesterday was officially my birthday, I celebrated it at the restaurant of my choice - a Greek - on Thursday evening. We enjoyed a lovely time together, and, after telling my friend Judy that I wasn't going to share the moussaka with her because they'd downsized it the last time we were there, I had to force myself to finish it since the portion was again bigger. I imagined that Judy would give me some cologne and a necklace, and I wasn't disappointed. I got 3 small bottles of Adidas for Women eau de toilette and a very unusual cotton necklace from her. I know some people don't like cloying perfumes and neither do I, which is why I always spray on just a small amount. My neighbour bathes in it I think. I  hate having to be near her whenever she's wearing whatever it is she wears. At least one of the gifts I was given, I'll have to re-gift. It's something that I won't use, and honestly I'm trying to get rid of things like that, things that are too big and that I don't find useful or it's not something I'll wear or use up quickly.

Despite enjoying a good meal and good friends who gave me some nice things, it was an accidental birthday. I've stated before that I'm the official, I suppose self-appointed, social secretary for my group of friends. I'm usually the one who books the restaurants. First of all, when I booked the table I forgot to include myself, so we were kind of squashed on one side. The restaurant offered us a bigger table, but I liked the table we were given. The next part is a bit of good luck. As I had quite a few bags, and none of them were plastic, I put the gift bottle of wine and its carrier into a bigger bag. Just as I got into my building, the bottom fell out of this bag and out tumbled everything. Luckily, the bottle of wine didn't break. Yesterday, my actual birthday, I woke up with a bad stomach. I started feeling not so great on Friday evening. Touch wood, today I seem to be okay.
And this was my birthday. In case you can't guess who's in the photo, it's me in the third grade. My sister posted this and a couple more on facebook. She's the social secretary for our family. I like this photo, because I was wearing one of my favourite dresses.

I know everyone who celebrates it is looking forward to Thanksgiving. We'll have one more long weekend in December and then Christmas. Like most, I'm looking forward to the holidays. Have a good week and a thankful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Rain, Rain and Nothing Much Else

Have you ever had one of those weeks in which nothing of importance or interest happens? I didn't arrive an hour early any place or cause a scene that I'm aware of. One of the neighbours, who I suppose isn't speaking to some of us or maybe just me, held the door for me yesterday because I had two bags of shopping and an umbrella. I thanked her (for not letting the door slam in my face). The joys of living in a block of flats! I suppose living in a house with other houses close by could also be problematic. I intend to continue greeting her whenever I see her just to bother her and demonstrate that my mother taught me manners. She's always been a bitter person, so her attitude doesn't surprise me.

While I was wondering what photo to post for my boring blog, I read a funny news item about the police being called to an apartment in Sweden late at night to check out a loud disturbance. They encountered an extremely angry couple, who were cursing loudly and throwing around bits of furniture, and their baby, who had been woken up by the noise and who was screaming. Yes, the frustrated pair were trying to put together a piece of furniture they'd bought in IKEA.

I just wonder how long they'd tried to put their piece of furniture together. Years ago I wanted something for all the videos I had and saw in a catalogue the answer. It was like an open bookcase that revolved so you could use both sides and still see all that the videos you had. I tried all afternoon one day to put it together, and, after it fell apart the 100th time, I decided to give up. I'm usually patient and don't give up easily, but this time I did. Finally a friend was able to, with much difficulty, get it put together. It came only with photos, which were obviously not in the correct order, and different types of 'screws' for the planks of wood - wooden ones and metal ones. I have this piece of furniture to this day. It's where I keep a lot of my course books and too many papers. It's covered up for this reason, and also for the gaps that there are in the sides due to different screw types and lengths. I know this is the example IKEA uses for their furniture! They should declare 'how not to assemble your furniture'.

We've had a rainy weekend, especially today when it hasn't stopped yet. Not only is it raining, but it's cold and I have some clothes drying over the radiator. It's funny that we're further south and it's warmer in Edinburgh and Helsinki today (and yesterday). I have no plans to go out today. I do have some paper and a box from Amazon I need to take to a paper bank. However, with the street cleaners' strike, the banks are overflowing. Thankfully in my area, things aren't as bad as some in which cars have been burnt along with the containers.

Here's hoping everyone has a good week. I don't know about you. I, for one, don't need for exciting things to happen as long as bad things don't. Happy new week!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Clouds and Embarrassments

I guess I'd have to say I'm still not used to the time change. It doesn't matter that we in Europe turned our clocks back the week before others. I confess my kitchen clock has yet to show the new time, but that's not its fault the same as it isn't its fault what happened to me on Wednesday evening. Wednesday is the day that I have 4 classes one after the other. Believe me, it helps that 3 of them are in the same house. What I wasn't expecting was for one of the kids to be ill, so after giving class to their mother, who has incorporated into my list of students, I went home.

Since one of our regulars hasn't been able to join us for our weekly dinners at the Chinese, Chris asked if we couldn't change it to Wednesday night instead. I don't finish until almost 9 pm, but she works in the centre and arrives at about 9.30 pm. I don't have a problem getting to the Chinese on time because it's near my house. I'm usually the first one to arrive anywhere anyway as I believe in being punctual. On Wednesday night I was so punctual that I arrived an hour early! When I went in I thought it was unusual that the family and the chef were still having dinner. I went in and sat down at our usual table. I looked at my phone to see if Chris had sent a WhatsApp (she usually does to say she's about to arrive). The penny dropped when I saw the time: 20.35 (8.35 pm). How lucky I am to live nearby so I didn't have to sit there or walk around for an hour!

Obviously I need to blame someone for this week's embarrassing events. One student I told I'd see her on Friday when I only have class with her on Tuesday. As a teacher, I'm always reminding students to read the instructions carefully. Reading the wrong questions for a text on my part didn't demonstrate I could follow instructions correctly. So I'm going to place the blame on whoever decided we have to change the time (it gets dark too early) and the weather. This weekend has been quite sunny, but this past week was mostly cloudy and foggy.

Madrid is at present suffering a street cleaners strike. I hope and pray that my area doesn't get as bad as some areas where pickets have burnt containers, even catching cars parked near the containers on fire, and scattered rubbish everywhere making walking difficult and doing little for the image it gives to tourists of Madrid. There are minimum services, and those working are protected by a police escort. I haven't seen anyone cleaning the streets like this in my area. However, in other areas sometimes the businesses and schools have taken care of cleaning the streets. Striking is everyone's right and those of us who aren't on strike are the ones who pay for this right.

Nothing much left to say except I'm glad my week is over, hope this new week brings better experiences and is a good one for everyone.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Someone on Facebook Said...

there were only 7 more shopping Saturdays until Christmas, and I also saw a post warning Santa off because its Thanksgiving month (and my birthday, may I add). My photo shows some of the things I bought last Christmas for decoration. Those lovely bags I got to hold the goodies I always make as gifts at Christmas. As a matter of fact, I've made a pact with an artist-writer friend to make him some teacakes in exchange for one of his pictures. 

Unfortunately I won't be able to go to the Christmas fair where I bought the items you see. The venue where it's always held, an Anglican church, is booked for all the Saturdays when the group could have the fair. Some of them also sell at the American Women's Club and at the British Ladies Christmas fair. I've been to the American one a couple of times and it's always crowded - the same with the British Ladies fair. I don't enjoy being in crowds any more, so I'll give these two a miss and hope to attend the one in the church next year. I used to do baked goods for this group, but it got too much for me.

My friend Chris's birthday falls on Halloween. The person whose birthday it is always chooses the restaurant. Chris always chooses Indian, just as I used to choose Mexican until our favourite Mexican restaurant started being rented out for Thanksgiving dinner. My choice has been changed to Greek. This was the first year we'd celebrated Chris's birthday so close to where I live (10 minutes walking). It seems I'm the social secretary for our get togethers because I book the tables and send out the e-mails and WhatApps or if necessary telephone. Anyway, the food was good, although one of our friends complained that it would have been less expensive had we shared dishes. We usually have leftovers which are always taken home. I know when we go to the Greek, I'm not sharing my moussaka, because they've made the portion smaller. One of the big problems is we start eating so late. The one who complained about the expense can't get there until 10 pm, which is a bit late for me, but don't think you're going to have dinner in Spain before 9 pm unless you go to McDonald's or one of the other fast food places.

I hope everyone enjoys their extra hour this weekend if you didn't get one last week. I sure have enjoyed my 3 days off. Have a good week everyone.