- See more at: http://www.leighkramer.com/blog/what-im-into/#sthash.zuDdxSMW.dpuf
Listening to: a super-playlist of 2013 Grammy Winners and 2014 nominees to pump me up for last week’s awards. Glad to see Michael Buble take a win for best traditional album (go Canada!), and SO happy to see Royals by Lorde take the win for best song. Yay too for Macklemore - I can “do” Thrift Shop – why do the catchiest songs have the least appropriate lyrics?
I’m surprisingly into a song by James Blundt at the mo. In general, I’m just not that into him (probably because of American Idol), but I love Bonfire Heart. What’s with the video though? It really doesn’t look like he is singing – the way his mouth opens and closes reminds me of a muppet. Sorry, James. I do love the song though – great guitar and vocals, and really, really lovely lyrics.
Right now Avicci’s Hey Brother is just blaring away. The neighbours probably know all the lyrics by now as well... Yes, the instrumental breaks in all Avicci songs sound the same, but since I like the sound, I don’t mind!
Doing: A lot of crashing on the couch after work. I seem to have lost my exercise groove – it’s dark, damp, and chilly, and the couch is just so inviting! While I enjoy yoga on my own, I’m a gym person at heart. The limited hours means that’s out for the mo (they think a 7am opening time is early – wake up, people. Literally!), and running alone in a giant, unpopulated park is as unappealing as it is stupid, so that leaves... classes. At home. Via the internet. Woohoo! My own timetable, no time wasted "getting there", and I can mix it up.
Soap-making. The other day I helped my mother-in-law whip up a batch of lovely olive-oil rosemary scented hand soaps. Now that I’ve seen the caustic soda live in action, I’m confident more soaps will be born soon. I’m thinking lavender or rose hearts for Valentine’s Day would be cute. I’ve also got a giant crate of plain, serviceable soap she made for washing clothes and other household chores. It smells so clean! Used olive oil went into that batch – you filter it, and the caustic soda takes out any leftovers. A Spanish tradition (anyone use castile soap?) that involves reusing something – I love it! You can also use lard, but I think I’ll stick to the olive oil...
Picture-organizing. I got started on scrapbooking over the summer, and went on a wee supply-buying craze whilst home over Christmas. I’m working on the “sequel” to our wedding – the honeymoon. Lots of great pictures, but definitely lots of repeats (894 pictures of temple ruins in Cambodia. Really.), so I’m hoping a scrapbook will help preserve our memories in a meaningful way. Plus, it’s a craft I’m really getting into. I love how I can work on it for five minutes or five hours – defo works with my schedule.
Buying clothes online. I’ve decided that when I need something “tall”, I’m just going to get it online and save myself the frustration and wasted time looking around Madrid. A skirt, dress, top, and fascinator, all in the sales, are on their way to me now! And Long Tall Sally now ships from its European website, which means prices (and shipping and returns) in euro. Easy-peasy.
Studying for a language test. My Spanish is
Thinking about: Career vs Job. I have a job. Can I turn it into a career? Do I want to? Is there something else I’d like to pursue instead? Many people in Spain are happy with career-jobs (jobs with little or no progression ever), and value instead the stability and schedule. Is there are kind of career-job out there for me? Can hobbies fill the place of professional development? What kind of job or career suits my personal values and professional goals? Will I be happy teaching in 5 years? 10? My mind is loaded – maybe I should think of retirement at 30?!
Laughing at: Hilarious New Year's resolutions from kids at school:
This cat picture, which brings back memories of George the witch-cat. I want this cat!
|I want this cat!|
I started the year off with Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda. A thrilling read – historical fiction alert! – of encounters between a Jesuit priest, an Iroquois captive and a Huron chief. FAB. U. LOUS. Boyden’s language is so rich and yet so perfectly portrays the starkness of the landscape in winter, and the three completely different mindsets and cultures of the protagonists. Warning, there are some gruesome torture passages – we’re talking the removal of fingernails as a start – but it’s a beautiful read. Check out Sailor Girl’s review of it here!
I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Margaret Craven. A re-read, and a good followup from The Orenda. An Anglican vicar spends his dying days in a remote Native village on the BC coast, this book was first read to me when I was in grade 5 or 6. It was moving then, and to reread the words now with a deeper understanding of death and history was a pleasure.
Blood and Beauty. Sarah Dunant does it again, this time researching the infamous Borgias in 15th century Italy, who I hadn’t connected to Spain until now. Rodrigo Borgia, a semi-evil political genius, becomes Pope, children are married and unmarried for alliances, foreign dignitaries are courted and manipulated, Valencia is visited, and there are Renaissance artists and art everywhere. Yes, please!
Currently reading A Draught for a Deadman, a mystery by Caroline Roe, who I’ve raved about over here.
Watching: Person of Interest. Yes, it’s the same thing over and over. No, I don’t care! This is our “dinner” watching this month. It’s fast! It’s tense! You know it will end well for the good guys! AND... it looks super-cool on our new giant TV (It was on sale, and it was tax free, so according to Tall Guy, it was a must-buy. And, he says, it’s not “that” big. I don’t quite get it – pretty sure he would classify a TV the size of the entire living room wall as “not that big”. Must be a man-thing).
We saw Lone Survivor earlier this month. Wow. We were both stunned – what a tale of courage and survival, and also of compassion! Tall Guy hadn’t realized such young people could enlist in the American military: “22? That can’t be right!” But it is. And it’s fine with me if you don’t support war – for me it should be a last resort - but please don’t say you don’t support the military. Those people work hard for you.
Tasting: Problem – I love toast, but I avoid wheat, and even if I didn’t, toast is just not filling unless there’s a nice poached egg on top, and there’s not always time for that! Enter gluten-free English muffins. Well, that’s what I’m calling them. I changed up this wheat belly bread recipe a bit – less baking soda, only three eggs, and more liquid – and cooked it in my English muffin rings. A toasty breakfast that packs in a lot of protein. Even more when I slap on a pile of peanut butter or homemade Nutella...
BEEF! I’d had a rough week, and Tall Guy came home with something to cheer me up every evening – chocolate, a rose, isn't he great? – but the best was last Friday’s steak. It’s from a company called La Finca, and bills itself as “The Meat of Happiness”. I don’t know about the cows, but I sure was happy eating them! I’m also happy to see more Spanish companies getting interested in farming alternatives –“happy” animals have been hard to find.