Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Future, and winning (at Scattergories.)

Sunday board games at Manuela again, and I won! I do love Scattergories, especially when you get a nice abstract one, or a double.

Things that grow= greed. Things that smell bad= train toilets.

I also like that so many people clearly love playing board games in an old style cafe on a Sunday afternoon with milkshakes and coffees, so much so that tables are reserved and there was a queue to sit down when we left.

I've been thinking about, or more accurately not thinking about, The Future. I haven't got a Plan. That hasn't really ever been a problem for me, and it still isn't, except that I have many ideas of things I'd like to do and I realised that I'll need to work out when, how and in which order I'm going to do them.
It doesn't really help that as soon as someone else says they're going to do something that sounds exciting or exotic, I want to add that to my list too.

The list goes something like this:

learn Spanish
study painting (masters) and fashion (degree)
go to South America and travel around
work a ski season and snowboard loads
get a studio space and paint
join or start an artists' commune
do really useful volunteer work
get outdoorsy qualifications
climb mountains
go on an arctic adventure/expedition
road trip around the UK
do a big USA trip
make my childrens' books

...not in any particular order.

I will continue to investigate these various ideas and await your enlightening and ingenious ideas of how to combine them in cheap and wonderfully easy ways.


p.s. the photos at the end of the last post were from Valle de los Caidos, a very interesting and impressive place, definitely worth a visit. Maybe not on a religious holiday though, we made that mistake! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dulce de leche, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I absolutely love dulce de leche and all its various forms. Right now, I'm enjoying my local cheapy supermarket's own brand dulce de leche ice cream, which is unbelievably good.

Thursday nights seem to be my new catch up with myself and write a blog day. Monday morning through Thursday night passes me by in a busy fast routine-y blur, and every single Monday I think 'why didn't I spend the weekend planning lessons and doing my to do list?' and every evening I think 'why did I spend 3 hours watching glee/gossip girl/an idiot abroad/ Gavin and Stacey instead of going to bed or planning lessons?' and I bumble through various classes thinking 'there must be a better way of doing this...'

And then it gets to Thursday night, and with the prospect of a whole entire free day off with no work tomorrow, I perk up around now, 10:30pm. I'll probably proceed to spend tomorrow having a great time, then realise at about 11pm that I am not remotely prepared for my art classes and end up making examples of art projects through the night. I tell my boss I make them look a bit crap on purpose, so it's more achievable and less intimidating for the kids... and then it's the weekend and I stop caring and have fun.

As I predicted, last weekend was great. Though saying that I'm going to have to properly think to remember it.

Oh yeah, me and Fiona went to Ya'sta for the 50s night, and it was pretty empty but so much fun, I recommend that everyone goes! There is a huge dance floor and we filled it with our foolish dancing, the two of us and our odd friends that we picked up during the night (one of whom did some things in the toilets and she had not the slightest bit of shame about it afterwards.) Another had a sailor's hat on, and another serenaded me in his top hat with Muse on his guitar on the pavement.

The next day felt very summery and bohemian, as I made crepes then drew Fiona while she half-slept (Beware: fall asleep and I will draw you. Creepy, maybe, but you've been warned) but then she woke up and read aloud, while I painted, from Love in the Time of Cholera. (Feeling like I live in a book again, and I love it. It wasn't even planned!)

Later I went to see The Artist and it was brilliant. Feels like it was made for me, and it totally justifies my love and huge enthusiasm for Fred Astaire, tap dancing, tappy music, romance and Jean Dujardin. (OSS 117) To everyone I've enticed, persuaded or just downright forced to watch one of my black and white tap musical collection, I do not apologise and hope you now realise how cool and ahead of the game I actually am.

I meant to go to the Prado on Saturday, to get my culture shot for the week and remind myself how to paint, but ended up drinking tiny cups of wine in Lavapies, in a beach bar with actual sand instead of a floor, and browsing flats on the internet. Yes, I have decided to move flats! So I'll keep you updated on that...

where was I? this is a bit of an epic post, but I guess if you got bored you've gone already, this is for me and my failing memory, not 'you', anyway.

Then I went out with the Spanish gang for Martin's birthday, and it was a fairly quiet, fun night, until people started to act inappropriately in a chilled out bar called Areia, that I've mentioned before. It has cushions and a bed-like bit, which is up on a platform next to the dj, that a fakey blonde Spanish 'older' lady and a young French man got a bit comfy in. After realising that they didn't mind one bit, everyone in the bar started to openly stare and laugh, and heckle them. They provided a fair bit of entertainment anyway.

The next day I started my new project of drawing what's in or lying in heaps around my wardrobe (which I will post photos of as soon as I get a camera that works) then popped in on a friend and went and played Scattergories in Cafe Manuela, in MalasaƱa, with an After Eight milkshake. I was feeling a bit down and it cheered me up no end. Board Game Cafe Sundays are going to become part of my weekly routine and I am well excited about it. Time for everyone to learn about my secret vicious competitive streak!

Actually, I've been busy, no wonder I'm knackered today. Tuesday night was meant to be a few drinks with friends and their friends, and ended up being quite a late night, and considering I'd been up for work at 6:45am, I'd say I did fairly well! And THEN last night; a Feast.

Kassandra, for reasons known to only herself and the turkey man, bought 2 kilos of turkey breast. That's a lot of turkey, but it was the best idea she ever had. I will get the recipe for what she did with them, because it was amazing. Rum, thyme, honey, chilli, yoghurt, coriander, lemon, roast potatoes with rosemary... I can't even remember what was going into it but it was the best thing I've eaten in a long time. Washed down with caramel rum and followed by Jungle Speed (new fav. board game), a game with a bitey dog, and Jenga.

I feel like I lead a bit of a charmed life right now, mainly from having friends who can cook, and enjoy tea and board games.

My goodness, if you're still with me, I don't know what to think. Full marks for perseverance? Get a life?!

Tomorrow I must be pro-active and do lots of photocopying and filling in forms, to prepare for my NIE appointment (to get my Spanish ID card) which I have been waiting 4 months for, and don't want to turn up without some obscure document I need. Because, when I finally get this elusive but all-important number, I will be able to purchase a contract phone, and join you all in this decade.

I will try and do less things in the next week so I have less to say, this has taken a long time. I finished my tea and ice cream ages ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Days!

I just bought a sketchbook, 8 boards to paint on, and a big tub of gesso! Shopping for art stuff beats clothes by far, and since my paints arrived this week I'm all excited about it again! Lovely red sketchbook, off-white pages, wee page mark, lush. AND- and this is a bit of a marker in my adjusting-and-learning-to-live-in-Spain progress- I bought it from one of the scary shops (Casa Ponte) where you have to ask the man behind the counter for anything you want! I was terrified of these less than a few months ago! And I'm picky about sketchbooks, but he was very nice and let me leaf through a few before settling on the first one, obviously.

So, yey for me. And seeing as I don't work on Fridays anymore, I'm going out tonight, and this weekend is looking very nice from here- cinema on Friday night to see The Artist which I love already after just seeing the trailer, and another night out on Saturday, with some Spaniards... a chance to see if I have really improved or just have gained some misplaced confidence...

I'm sure I'll be finding some time for sketching and painting, and as this year has been designated 'cultural-and-self-improvement-year', I think Friday calls for a gallery of some sort.

I think I'm also happy because in my sixth and last class of today, my two boys were so funny I was laughing with tears in my eyes- all they were doing was shouting the past simple irregular verbs, but for some reason it was hilarious... oh the life of an English teacher!

This has been a bit lacking in pictures recently, I promise I'll try and find some soon. Kettle's boiled (YES! I have a kettle! Another reason for JOY) so I'm off for some imported Twinings. Hasta luego.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Avoiding things again...

Forgive me for not writing anything for ages, and not writing anything interesting for.. well, a while. Busy busy! I'm only doing this now to put off even longer writing plans for my art classes on Saturday, that I have to email to my boss by the end of the day. (I take that to mean midnight, giving me another 36 minutes.) I just cannot concentrate before 11pm!

For my tea I just ate a pea sandwich and a carrot. It was delicious (if you haven't yet tried a pea sandwich, do it, the key is lots of butter or dairylea-type cheese to stick them onto the bread) but I must get back into the routine of actually cooking. I wish it was possible to get croissants and other baked goods sent from Paris every morning. I had intentions of eating patisserie for every meal over the weekend, but only managed one chocolatey, gooey thing from Paul in the end!
Yep, I was in Paris last weekend. Such a frequent Easyjet flier I should get discounts. It was AWESOME to see the Paris Crew (who have disbanded to all corners of Europe but reform for special occasions) and fun to see the family I worked for over there, even if I was more excited than the boys.

Oh damn, I'm not meant to be writing this, no I'm stopping, I'll come back to it. After Gossip Girl, and these blooming plans... oh god, I just don't want to do it! I'll write them now and they'll be so bad I'll end up changing them before Saturday anyway...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"She lives in Madrid"

Hello! Happy New Year everyone. Hope you're not struggling through today.
I had no hangover! Good start to the year, smug me.

I suppose compared to last Hogmanay- singing outside the Pantheon, looking down to the sparkly Eiffel Tower- Melrose is a bit tame, but they did have fireworks and the drinks at our wee pub are considerably cheaper than any Paris bar. And it means that I've started the year in a proactive manner, replying to an email I got in early October, printing 3 flight boarding passes, eating 2 pieces of fruit, making a birthday card, finishing reading my first short story in Spanish. This is boringly smug, sorry. Can't remember what I was going to write, but it was a bit more interesting and less self-congratulatory.

Anyways last night I met some friends of a friend, and was introduced with "she lives in Madrid", which makes your life sound really exciting and exotic! Until they ask if you're fluent in Spanish or have a Spanish boyfriend or if you have a job that doesn't include singing 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' with the actions over and over.

A great thing happened the other day. I was in Edinburgh, hanging about after I got my haircut before meeting a friend to go to the Portrait Gallery, and just right as I turned onto Princes Street very loud, cool music started blasting out. For a minute I thought I was in my own film, it was brilliant. They were testing the sound system for the Hogmanay street party, but I like to think it was just for me.

The Portrait Gallery has been done up and it has a wall of "Hot Scots", which is fun.
Something to aim for.