Archive | July 2011

Henna

With all the different subjects out there that I could muse about, in the end I decided to continue on a bit more with the theme of natural health-natural cosmetics-natural beauty. So today let’s talk about hair!

I’d always wished I’d been blessed with gorgeous, shiny locks of brilliant spun gold, not only is golden hair beautiful, it also rejuvenates and endows the features with light, youth and grace. But I wasn’t so lucky, in fact Mother Nature decided that not only would I not enjoy a crowning glory of royal gold waves, she actually went ahead and weighed me down underneath sheets of heavy black.

Well you could go on and praise the magnificence of raven black locks. It was the colour that Anne of Green Gables daydreamed of so insistently that she actually went out and dyed her own carrot-red waves, against her strict adoptive mother’s will, with the unreliable concoctions that existed 100 years ago, when the story was written. With the unfortunate result that her hair turned a glorious dishwater, slimy green.

I’ve got the opposite problem of Anne, however, but unlike her I am able to fulfil my dreams of flaunting a head full of fiery red. Well maybe not that fiery, but in my books it’s certainly an improvement over jet.

Last post I recounted my secret for beautiful skin. Now I’m going to talk about my tips for lovely hair. Well, for lovely black, brown or brunette hair at least. In a future post (if I ever get around to it) I will, nonetheless, hopefully, explain how you can enhance your drop-dead to-die-for golden locks without laying your hands on a single chemical, as I did for my baby:

But today black or dark hair is the order of the day. So let’s go, talking about henna!

Henna is a plant, a small tree, whose unassuming leaves produce a belligerent red dye when crushed and mixed with liquid, preferably a slightly acidic one. I suppose everyone has heard about body art and temporary tattoos made with henna. However today’s post only deals with henna for hair.

Henna has traditionally been used for millennia to enhance women’s hair in lands where the plant grows and where, coincidentally, women also generally sport black or dark hair naturally.

I imagine that all this theory, however, probably doesn’t contribute tremendously to what women (and maybe the occasional man too!) really want to know, and that is, how do we use henna?

Well the internet is chock full of websites about henna and how you can prepare it. I’ll just explain what I personally do. It’s easy and quite effective, for me at least.

About a day before I want to put henna into my hair I prepare a henna concoction. I use 300 g. of henna and I have long hair. If you have shoulder-length hair I would recommend about 100 g. and 200 if you have mid-length (a bit below the shoulders) hair.

I mix the powdered henna (I just buy it from a local natural food shop, very lucky to have found it heehee!) with a large mug of lemon juice. Okay I’m lazy I buy lemon juice in a bottle from the store and it works just great. But of course real natural freshly-squeezed lemons is better!

After that I cook up a strong infusion of chamomile, chamomile seems to lighten black hair slightly and make the henna show up more, in addition to bestowing a splendid glow and shine to hair. Once the infusion is cooled (don’t put boiling infusion into the henna because it will cook the plant and cooked leaves won’t yield any dye) I mix as much liquid into the henna concoction as needed to form a thick paste, with the consistency of very thick yogurt.

Imagine that you will be putting this onto your head, so you don’t want something that drips. But if it is too solid it won’t spread well. Finding the perfect balance is simply a matter of practice. Since you get the best results if you apply henna once every month, you can acquire plenty of practice!

Once your concoction is all mixed up, let it sit for about 12 hours in a warm place. This stimulates the henna leaves to release their dye, dye which will later go onto your head and into your hair.

And now, when you’re all ready, let’s get into the shower. Keep in mind that you should set aside about 4-6 hours of uninterrupted time for this process, so a good moment to do it is when you don’t have to go to work. If you’re so lucky as to have light coloured hair, like mousey brown or blonde, you can take less time. If, however, like me, you have the deepest most impenetrable locks, then you must think that it will take a long time for that coveted auburn stain to take hold.

Step into the shower or bathtub with your large pot of mud, which is what henna looks like. Now you can have the time of your life smearing muddy henna all over your head in any order. Or you can smear it on in an orderly fashion, one lock at a time starting with the crown and working your way down to the ends, like professional hairdressers do. Any way you do it, the end result is a mass of tangled mud, which you pile onto the top of your head. Wrap saran wrap around it and you’re ready to face your day!

For me facing the day usually means tiresome tasks like cooking and washing. Yep, when you have a family you don’t get breaks so you can relax with your henna. As you’re scrubbing the pots you can daydream about all those lovely Middle Eastern misses who could permit themselves the luxury of lounging indulgently in public hammam with their hair up in a hennaed bun while professional masseurs gave them the full spa treatment.

If you’re lucky, however, maybe you can get in a chapter of CSI or Castle during breaks from the kitchen.

I leave henna on for at least 4 hours, but if you’re one of those fortunate ladies with pale hair you can get away perfectly with maybe just 2. When you’ve left it on long enough, it’s time to wash it out.

Easier said than done. Henna leaves your hair like a bird’s nest. Like the nest of a bird that just had a knock-down-drag-out battle with an eagle.

I find that the easiest way to disentangle bird’s-nest recently hennaed hair is by slathering conditioner on generously. Don’t leave a strand uncovered with the conditioner. Once you’ve straightened your hair out a bit with this conditioner you can then shampoo and condition as usual.

Lastly, dry and style as always and enjoy your cascade of ravishing, flaming waves.

One last note for healthy hair naturally. I always like to give hair a deep oil treatment once a week. Just rub oil all over your hair from root to ends and leave it on for an hour or 2. You can put it up in braids or a bun if you prefer, so it won’t rub off on everything. I like coconut oil (as you can easily discover by reading on to the next post) or olive oil. After normal shampooing and conditioning, both will leave your hair strong, super soft and shiny, healthy and moisturized. Now you can throw all your expensive salon formulas out the window and never look back again.

Coconut oil

Most unprofessional photo if I do say so myself, but that's what my humble little jar of coconut oil looks like.

Okay so this isn't coconut oil it's coconut milk, but my coconut oil is in an unmarked jar, and this pic has a photo of a coconut which sure looks yummy!

All Natural Skincare

Well I’m thinking it’s about time I babbered on a bit about one of my favourite peeves: natural skincare and the people who don’t bother to take care of their skin.

I understand that there are lots and lots of reasons and excuses out there for people not to take care of their skin. The first one, one my sons always use: males don’t take care of their skin!

Well I’m not a male so I’ll pass on responding to that one. I can’t get into a man’s head (though maybe I can get into a little boy’s haha), so I really don’t know what a real-life man might have to say about that.

However for the other half of earth’s population, namely, women, well that’s another story. “I’m a man” is not a valid excuse for them to not take care of their skin.

One excuse I’ve heard is that vanity is a sin. Our lives shouldn’t revolve around our looks, people who judge us for our looks aren’t worth our bother anyways, they’re shallow and frivolous etc. etc.

Okay so maybe it’s a bit true, maybe we shouldn’t care that much about what other people think of us. I mean after all, you can take it from me who am pretty plain if I do say so myself. Aren’t the heroic princesses always flaunting their ravishing golden waves while the witch is burdened with heavy, raven black locks (just like black cats)? (That’s why I’ve always claimed I was a witch, but that’s for another post.) And I’ve got John Wayne’s strong, square jaw, which is okay if you’re John Wayne but……. I don’t think anyone has ever called me “John” yet.

But what about what we think about our own selves?

When you look in the mirror, wouldn’t you like to see something pleasant? Something that makes you feel good? Good looks aren’t just poreless skin, a salon hairdo and designer outfits. Good looks, more than anything else, reflect good health. And who doesn’t want to be (and feel and look) healthy? Even the plainest Jane can presume good health, and have it reflect on her face. You don’t need perfect bones to enjoy a radiant cutis. And you don’t have to have Cindy Crawford’s spectacular figure to impress people with the silkiness of your skin.

Which brings us (at last) to the subject of this post.

Many people say they don’t take care of their skin because creams are too expensive. Well, to them I can reply, I never buy expensive skincare creams myself. I never even buy cheap ones for that matter. I don’t buy creams at all.

All right I do make one exception. For daytime wear I do regularly use this brand called Olay that makes a very cheap little pink thing, it only costs me 6€ at my local drugstore and it lasts for many months. But that isn’t what this post is about.

What I felt like blogging about today is natural skincare. Skincare products and routines that don’t use any artificial chemicals, parabens, sodium laureth sulphate, formaldehyde (a common ingredient in many commercial products and also used for embalming, so if you’re putting that onto your skin then you’re literally embalming your skin too), alcohol, petroleum by-products or any other of these “nasties”.

Now, I personally do use makeup sometimes (yeah I know, so unnatural, the main reason I do so is precisely because I am vain and I don’t see myself as looking very nice au naturel, no skin problems but I’ve got the yuckiest bone structure you’ve ever seen…….). However, I don’t use chemicals to remove that very chemical and unnatural makeup afterwards.

I use oil.

And I recommend oil as a natural makeup remover to everyone.

The kind of oil, I’d say, is also fairly important. You don’t want to be smearing beef tallow or bacon fat all over your face, after all! I use natural plant oils, usually sweet almond oil or coconut oil, to remove makeup. It is so absolutely simple, effective and cheap. If you can’t come by these products which really don’t cost a lot you can always use the olive oil you cook with. I don’t use it even though I live in Spain so it’s everywhere, because it stings my eyes. However I know people that it doesn’t sting their eyes.

After that, I suppose you’ll be wanting to get all that grease off of your face, right? So you probably reach for that milky cleansing cream or that bi-phase gel.

Wait. Don’t do that.

There are more natural items out there that will clean your face just as fine as anything high-end and it will be much cheaper and much gentler and healthier on your skin. And unlike those chemicals it will actually be good for you and maybe in the process ward off some aging and maybe even prevent a bit of cancer.

I like to use all-natural, handmade soaps for cleaning. In the US it is so easy to find them. I’ve never tried any American-made natural soap but I’ve heard that Chagrin Valley makes a superb one. In fact they ship all around the world at very very reasonable prices, so one of my dreams, someday, when (as I wrote here in this post) I’m no longer living just hand to mouth, is to be able to order a bunch of soap from them.

If you don’t want to order soap online, however, or like me you can’t afford to, you can usually find some kind of natural soap in your local grocery store. I can find a few, and this is Spain that we’re talking about so it’s not like the stores are piled to the ceiling with 50 million national brands of anything. So if I can find them in my local supermarket here in Spain, you can find them too.

I have a few made of glycerine (and speaking of glycerine – oh were we speaking of glycerine? – well as I was saying, speaking of glycerine, a lot of glycerine soaps pretend to be all-natural just because they have glycerine in them well that is quite a silly idea, that would be like saying that plastic bottles are all-natural just because they have natural water inside them), some made of oatmeal and another one made of olive oil, all from my local supermarket. If you want to know if it’s true when they claim that their soap is “all-natural” you do have to read the ingredient list. All-natural soap shouldn’t have anything more than lye (sodium hydroxide), plant oils (usually coconut oil), water and maybe some essential oils. Artificial colorants are also okay for me in my book however. If they have things added to enhance them (like oatmeal, lemon peels, etc.), well obviously they should be things that are clearly natural, like oatmeal, lemon peels, etc.

Ayurveda recommends that you cleanse your skin with chickpea flour mixed with a little sweet almond oil, milk and turmeric. Rice meal is also fine. I used to do that but owing to the fact that here in Malaga they don’t sell chickpea flour, and also, why not admit it, to the bonanza that at the time I moved here there was this most awesome and heavenly store called “More Than Soap”, I gave up my chickpea flour and turned to a bevy of the most divine and exotic soaps from my favourite shop. Unfortunately they went out of business because, who can compete with dollar-store, chemical-laden, carcinogenic shower gels that only cost 60 cents (well 75 cents now, they upped the price of course)?

After you cleanse your skin, of course, it’s time to MOISTURIZE. That is so important. Cleaning your skin will undoubtedly keep it healthy, but if you want it to look good and defy the ravages of time, you must moisturize.

This is what happens if you don’t moisturize.

This is a person whom I know who proudly declares that she never moisturizes her skin. In that photo she’s younger than 40. (And to all the people who know me, please don’t ask me who this is, top secret! I will never reveal!)

Well I originally wrote a long spiel debunking the zillion excuses that she likes to resort to to explain why she prefers not to moisturize. But now I’ve changed my mind. I figure, it’s her skin, she can do what she wants with it. (As long as that doesn’t mean her complaining to me 5 years from now all perplexed as to where all those crows’ feet, sagging jowls and etched lines suddenly and mysteriously materialized from………)

Anyways, so I promised to tell you my secret to beautiful skin (or to beautiful, natural, healthy moisturizing at least), but I’ve already told it to you. It’s natural plant oils. Once again.

I alternate the oils I use every night, so I can receive their different benefits and also to prevent allergies (you can get allergies even to natural products). Here is a list of some of the oils that are out there, some of which I use (and some which I don’t because I don’t have that kind of skin):

  • sweet almond oil: good for all kinds of skin, a general, all-purpose moisturizing oil, I find it too heavy for the hot Mediterranean summers however (if you want to read just how hot we can get here you can do so at this post)
  • avocado oil: for drier skins, deeply nourishing, especially good because it purportedly encourages collagen production (don’t know if that’s true, I haven’t actually gone out and measured how much collagen I have), I like this oil very much and use it all year round, it gives very soft, beautiful, glowy skin
  • coconut oil: also another good, general, all-purpose oil, this is recommended for oily skins especially because it regulates oil production, if you have too much oil on your face coconut oil will actually dry it out a bit and keep the oil down, I like it for this reason in the summer as high temperatures make your skin go crazy pumping out oil day and night (skin probably thinks that you ought to be frying that egg on your face, and wants to make the task easier)
  • rosehip oil: excellent for mature skins, prevents wrinkles and deeply moisturizes and nourishes, also helps to attenuate light scars
  • vitamin E/wheat germ oil: another goody for mature or dry skins
  • extra virgin olive oil: a richer oil that nonetheless won’t make you oilier than usual, however because it is thick I’d recommend it only for night-time use, it makes all skins soft and supple and the vitamin E in it fights free radicals, which helps your skin stay youthful
  • hazelnut oil: an astringent oil, supposed to dry out oily skin big time but still leave you with a soft, smooth complexion, the only oil listed here which I’ve never tried

Well I’ve gotten tired of this topic so I suppose I will have to carry on another day. However all the oils that I personally use are on this list and they work stupendously for me.

This is all that I ever need for good, complete care of the complexion. Even sunscreen (as strongly recommended as it is and even more so here at these latitudes) is something I use sparingly. Some people allege that chemical sunscreens cause cancer. I won’t enter into that debate at this moment, but I do use sunscreen sparingly. I prefer to prevent sun damage the “natural” way: I stay out of the sun whenever my work permits it.

Business 101 by a Business Dummy Like Me

I’m not a business person. Not at all. Not in the least bit. I’ve always HATED business and anything business-related with a PASSION! At university when everyone else was ploughing off into BA’s and Commerce and the like I just drifted around and ogled at stars in the clear, cold, semi-Arctic night sky. So I never imagined that I could ever learn so much about the business world or managing my own business. Or want to learn it, for that matter.

I’ve been running my own fairly successful free-lance business for a year now. I never meant to work free-lance, even though it was something I’d always hankered to do, because I detested having bosses over me or fixed hours (which generally got longer and longer instead of shorter and shorter, as bosses coerced me ever more often to put in increasing amounts of overtime – if I wanted to keep my job!). I wanted to be able to take off for a few moments to go and have a coffee with a friend if I felt like it. Or an hour to run off to a gym (everyone’s gotta stay fit ya know!). But low-level, menial office jobs somehow just don’t happen to include these kinds of privileges in their working conditions. Shucks!

Having children made it even harder to get in to work. I couldn’t just keep taking time off to care for my son, who was born with an illness that often kept him confined to the house. But I was a single mom and if I didn’t go to work, we wouldn’t have anything to live on. A real catch-22.

And then finally, the crisis crashed down like a pall over our little city which had never been exactly a model of prosperity to begin with, seeing as it’s located in Spain’s poorest region, the “deep south”, whooo. A city with virtually no industry to speak of, little commerce, one that depends almost entirely on tourism, mostly foreign tourism, to survive. And with the crisis people just weren’t going on holidays anymore. I mean, holidays are expendable, it’s more important to fill up the pantry first!

So unemployment shot way up to 36% (as opposed to the national average of only about 15%) and I couldn’t get a job. The only alternative I could find – other than adopting a rich granddad or seducing and then marrying a tycoon, that is – was to strike out on my own.

So I started out peddling everything I knew how to do. I pasted posters offering myself for everything from dog-walking and babysitting to Reiki massages (carried out in the comfort of the client’s own home, no less) and palm-readings, not neglecting, of course, every North American-in-Spain’s ace up the sleeve: teaching English.

Countless North American and English students taking a semester of Spanish classes in Spain, or doing their full degree here, have survived thanks to English classes. It’s practically a tradition here. So of course, I offered to do it too.

After about a month or so I already had several English students – and not a single dog to walk, baby to look after or backs to massage (even though Reiki massages more than just backs, but then again, that’s a different topic altogether…….). Since teaching English also happens to be more lucrative than walking dogs or watching over babies anyways, I ran out and pulled down all my ads except the English-related ones.

So I had already learned a basic, fundamental lesson about running a business, and this without ever having stepped into a Business 101 class. And that was, that advertising was super, super important.

After a few months teaching English, someone asked me if I also knew French, since I’m from Montreal. Their son was studying French at school in addition to English, and if I could teach him French too it would save them all the bother of searching for a good, qualified francophone tutor, and it would mean more income for me. I said yes and added French lessons to my repertoire.

As the next logical step I decided to add to my services, lessons in everything that I knew enough about to teach. And thus I also learned a new lesson, one which business gurus just can’t emphasize enough and charge people a fortune to teach it to them: diversify. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. If you offer more services, and different kinds of services, you are much better prepared for “lean cow years”. If demand for one of your offerings drops you aren’t left out in the cold.

And I guess I’ve got 2 more gems hidden away here and which I’m currently working on: always do the best, be the best you can. If people are happy with what you do they will refer you, and come back for more. I would say about half of my students today are from referrals.

And innovate, improve, find out what other people don’t offer and offer it. Develop something creative and original. Fill in the holes and gaps left out in the marketplace.

So now I bump into people out on the street all the time, acquaintances, strangers, beggars (you can read the story about my debate with one of these acquaintances in the very next post), and they all say the same thing to me, “It’s impossible to be doing well today in Malaga, there are no jobs, no one has money…….. You’re just LUCKY!!”

But I always want to tell them, nay yell it to them, shout it out so everyone can hear: “Luck has nothing to do with it!!”

I don’t believe that I’m doing well and have many clients because I’m just lucky. First of all, I worked hard for it. While some of my acquaintances were out drinking it up in a bar and the beggars were sitting around with a little dish in front of grocery stores, I was pasting posters to walls all over the city. I spent hours doing that. My acquaintances spent hours getting rid of their unemployment money or their welfare money or their parents’ money in pubs and taverns, the beggars spent their time begging, and I used those hours to do a lot of exercise running around the city (when you’re unemployed you don’t take the bus!) and gluing ads up on walls. So if the next morning I had a new client and my acquaintances and the beggars didn’t, that wasn’t an accident.

And then, I also set out to be a vibrational match for what I wanted. We probably all hear a lot about that lately in New Age/spiritual development circles. And it’s really hard to explain. It’s not something to sit around in an ashram and understand in theory, it’s something you DO. So for me, doing it meant, well, just “doing it”. (There must be some reason why Nike athletes are so successful after all, right? Haha.)

Just going out and doing things that could attract clients to me. Looking over the kinds of English lessons I could teach, so when people called me up and asked me what I did I wouldn’t just go, “Huh? Well I dunno……” I networked of course. I designed my own little business cards on the computer and made photocopies of them (when you’re broke you don’t go to a printer). Then I cut them up at home with scissors. And I also advertised on the internet. I’d say half of my clients today come from the internet, and the others from the original ads I had put up on walls and their referrals.

I never wanted to learn anything about business, I never meant to learn anything about business. And I didn’t start working free-lance because I wanted to know anything about business. I lugged up a free-lance career because I needed it to survive. But now after a year I can sure appreciate everything that that free-lance job has taught me.

So Maybe I Need a Shrink?

The other day I had a debate with an acquaintance. This young man is really into protest marches to try and get the current government to resign. He blames them for the crisis and the high unemployment, and he thinks the government ought to give jobs to people. I told him, it’s not the government’s responsibility to give you a job, it’s YOUR responsibility to prepare yourself for a job and then go out and look for one!

He went on and on: but that wouldn’t make any difference, there wasn’t any point in people preparing themselves for a job if the government didn’t make jobs for them, people would never find jobs as long as there was still a crisis and it was the government’s responsibility to get rid of the crisis and etc. etc. I told him I was doing well and earning money, even though I didn’t have a job in the sense of working for someone else. I said if I had waited for the government to do something for me I’d still be sitting around twiddling my thumbs. He said, meh but you’re just lucky.

But that did get me thinking. For a while now I’d been pondering about things like, how come in spite of all the obvious and humungous improvements that I had experienced in my life thanks to receiving a healing session in the Soul Realignment modality (and which I’ll definitely be blogging about at a future date, I mean, clearly, I wouldn’t have gone to all the time and expense of studying something and offering sessions in it if I wasn’t absolutely convinced of its awesome effects, and its undeniable ability to move complete mountains in a person’s life! But more on that subject in another post…… someday……), there were areas where I still remained obstinately, immovably STUCK!

My professional/financial situation was undoubtedly what I had in mind as I carried out these ponderings. I refer to, how come, even though I now made a good income and earned enough for me and my kids to live well, nonetheless we were still suffering from scarcity and a lack of abundance? I was bringing in income from many sources now, I’d gone from Welfare Single Mum to Working Single Mum, we weren’t deprived anymore of things that we really needed but, I also wasn’t able to save anything. We don’t have a spendy lifestyle, I hardly ever buy unnecessary items like clothes or shoes unless I really have to, because for example everything we have is all worn and full of holes already! I don’t go out a lot, do the nightlife thing (but then again, after all, how many single mums do you know out there who do do the nightlife thing very much anyways?) or even go to the movies. And even so I’m not attracting so much that I can actually save, every cent that I’m earning has to go to something, if not food for the kids then bills, or rent.

So then I got to thinking about the people around me. People around you and their attitudes towards you and towards life can tell you a lot about your own because, as they say in popular wisdom as well as in Law of Attraction, well, like attracts like.

So I got to thinking about that young man that I quoted at the beginning of this article. And I also thought about one of my ex’s, who is always criticizing me for having too much stuff, like books and CD’s and things. (I asked him, but what’s so bad about books and music? They enrich your life, you … … (unquotable name that one might occasionally use to refer to ex’s there)!) But he thinks that books occupy too much space and don’t have any use. What’s the point in enriching your mind and your spirit, he wonders. You can’t eat off of a rich mind or a prosperous spirit, you need a fat bank account for that! And books won’t bring you a fat bank account, quoth he.

I also remembered that sensation of sheer panic whenever I observed my bank account beginning to grow. It’s a strange sensation, as if on the one hand I just knew that any moment now SOMETHING would happen to make it all disappear, someone would show up and take it all away from me. And on the other hand, it was like, who am I to have so much when other people are starving??

Well, that sensation is also known as guilt! So I realized that guilt was keeping money out of my life.

When people, like the young acquaintance I was talking about earlier, tell me that I didn’t do anything to bring in more money, that I was just lucky, what they really mean is that I simply don’t DESERVE the money that I’m getting. That they think that maybe I’m still not working hard enough, or I’m not a good enough person. Maybe, in their opinion, they ought to be earning more than me, even though they’re just sitting around on a sofa twiddling their thumbs (or more like standing around in a picket line twiddling a poster), just because supposedly they’re worth more than me, they’re better people than me, they’re superior, therefore they ought to be earning more money than me even though they’re not doing anything.

It’s illogical, I mean, that young man spends all his time griping and complaining to people about his unhappy lot in life, then goes out every night and drinks it up with his friends. He doesn’t work, just hangs around parliament buildings (or more like the Moncloa, here in Spain, as we don’t actually have a parliament building here). I mean, of course I’m earning more money than he is! I go out to work every day. When my clientele slacks down I go out and advertise more. I don’t do it because I’m greedy, I do it because my kids need to eat, and if I don’t pay the rent we won’t have a place to live (even if it’s just a tiny, cramped little 1-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet in da inna small city). But I still feel bad about that. I still feel greedy.

Must be something to do with my upbringing. Or maybe I need a shrink. Sigh!

Hot hot hot!

Today was just one of those sizzling hot, you-can-fry-an-egg-on-the-pavement days. At midmorning the thermometers, here in southern Spain, were already registering a simmering 47º C., that’s a whopping 117º F. for those of you Statewise or up in Britain.

In spite of that I like summer, in fact I looove summer! This heat is why I moved to southern Spain. So I’m certainly not complaining.

We have this phenomenon here which is called “terrá”, with a big long emphasis on the final “a”! “Terral” (or terrá as people pronounce it here) is when searing winds blow out from somewhere (I don’t really know from where but they sure feel like they breeze straight out from the Sahara and sheer a nor’wester directly across the Strait of Gibraltar) and raze us all to the ground (coughing and spitting up sand particles haha! Well almost, actually the sand doesn’t quite reach us here. It does get into the Canary Islands though).

So what can we do to combat this barbecue? Well, unfortunately here in da inna big city (well okay, da inna small city, more like, in my case) we don’t have sprinklers, swimming pools (sure do envy all those smart people who moved out to the Costa del Sol, everyone’s got their own neat, cool blue pool over there!) or fresh, green gardens. So what’s up? Beeeaaach!

Yep, as you can see that’s an urban beach, the nearest one to my home, as can be deduced from all those cranes on the not so distant industrial loading dock. You won’t find a lot of tourists on this beach, it’s far from the posh, elegant areas in the eastern end of the city where local and foreign celebs like Penélope Cruz or Antonio Banderas are more wont to hang out.

Nope, this is just my lazy and humble neck of the woods. Families with little kids building sand castles, teenagers hanging out with a cold beer in their hands, the occasional loner reading a book whilst trying to coax on an even suntan (and they usually succeed, I mean people get really dark, coppertone baby dark, in the super powered sun around here!).

And the water’s just as cool and refreshing in these whereabouts as it could be in the trendier Malagueta or El Palo.

Although of course, there’s nothing to stop me from just hopping onto a bus and breezing it out to the El Palo or Malagueta neighbourhoods whenever I wanted to. Beaches are free for all!

                                                                                                                

So What The … is this Blog Supposed to be About Anyways?

Anyways, for anyone out there scratching their heads and wondering what in the world exactly is this blog all about?? Is it supposed to be for publishing photos of the not-too-well-known countryside in this little corner of the world? Or are we supposed to be talking about intuitive healing, psychic readings and other woo-woo stuff?

Or maybe it’s just a sounding board for complaining about cramped, tiny inner city apartments haha!

Well, actually, I don’t really want to give this blogspot a specific focus. I’d like it to present more of a sort of “soft-focus” image, where I can just rant on about whatever grabs my attention at the moment. So yes, sometimes I probably will indeed gab on a bit about psychic development and other woo-woo subjects. But I’m also planning on publishing recipes that I like, sharing my favourite music with you, recommending books that I’ve personally read and that have impressed me, even occasionally blabbing on a bit about other websites that I’ve found groovy.

And of course, if I ever do anything interesting (probably maybe once every 2 years), I’d also like to share it with you here through this website.

What I Do On Weekends

My weekends are very varied, we have no “standard” weekend. However I don’t usually spend my Saturdays cleaning the house or pass the vacuum cleaner on weekend mornings and wake up hung-over neighbours. This past weekend, for example, we decided to go for a walk in the country.

Most of the day was spent listening to my youngest son complaining: “Aaayyy! My foot hurts!” “Aaayyy! I got some dirt on my leg!” “Aaayyy! I got a scratch!” “I’m tired!” “I can’t go there, there’s a bug there!” HE really needs a cure in the countryside!

My oldest son, on the other hand, is a real sport. I used to drag him out on hiking expeditions with friends while my youngest son played videogames in my ex’s home, hence my oldest is quite a bit hardened and tough.

Yesterday was really, really, really strange. We had a foggy and muggy day, very surreal and unusual for summertime.

It looks cold but really, it wasn’t. We were at around 30º (about 86º F.).

Here in southern Spain, unlike in the north we have 2 seasons: dry and rainy. Summer is supposed to be the dry season, so to see fog at this time of the year is something for the record books!

Very appropriate weather for a walk out in the country, nevertheless, and a perfect break from the usual searing temps and relentless sunshine of this period. We got lucky and even enjoyed a few raindrops! (Now I can          imagine any British friends out there shuddering, raindrops, lucky?!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon the sun returned, however, and we ran desperately for cover.

More About Me

Well, we live in a cramped, crowded, tiny little (500 sq. ft.)(50 m.²) 2-bedroom in the city centre (although I think it’s more like a 1-bedroom with a walk-in closet hehe). It’s our dream to move out into the country one day (or my dream at least, I don’t think the kids could care less), but I don’t know where yet. But wherever it is, it’s gotta be HOT!

I first moved here with my ex (he wasn’t my ex then!) a few years back and it was quite nice at that time, perfect for a growing family with babies, close to the city centre and all the amenities. But since then life has changed, and I think we’ve outgrown this place.

I want my kids to run wild and barefoot out in the country (okay they don’t need to be barefoot they can wear flip-flops, but no dress shoes, sandals, etc.!), not to be afraid of eating food with their hands (well okay after washing them with soap of course) and have lots and lots of space to run and play in. I want them to not be afraid of bugs, maybe even have spiders for friends. All right for all of you shivering at this moment at what I just said, I’d like to add that I grew up in the country, I had a spider for a friend and I called him “Billy” (not that he ever cared!) and he was always hanging from the clothesline. I’m not scared of bugs or snakes but I do confess to a most horrible and insurmountable phobia to giant cockroaches. Which unfortunately we have a great deal of here in these warm climes. My dad’s always crowing about how up there in cold Canada they don’t have to worry about giant cockroaches!