Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dream When You Are Tired

When you are tired, try to get some sleep that will not only help you to rest your body and unwind your worries but also enable you perhaps to catch a dream and have a vacation from reality?   Here is a song from Adele - tired.  Hope you like it as  much as I do.

For Beatriz I have added the  video from Raphael Saadiq - Be here... Modern classic, this is good music, thanks for letting me know since I have never heard of him before.

Likewise added is the Piano Song by Eliza Doolittle.  Such a sweet voice, stylish dresses and I love the small piano, which I have never seen before. Thanks Beatriz for sharing with the family  your type of music and keeping me abreast with the likes of the younger generation which in this case is not so different from mine.

Independence Day In Madrid

Last Sunday, Filipinos in Madrid gathered together for a holiday celebration, with the theme "Kalayaan, paninindigan ng bayan" (The People will stand up for their freedom). As in previous years, there were a lot of stands filled with different kinds of typical Filipino food.

In Madrid, contrary to the States,  this is the only occasion of the year when we have a choice among  varieties of our food displayed and available for purchase which you either eat there on set tables  or to take away.  Ron and me chose to do both.  Actually, we only have one decent Filipino Restaurant in Madrid, which is "Sulu Restaurant" where Nick started to work when he first arrived in Madrid.

This year, I took only one picture of the event (Ron added some more),  but I had some pictures from last year with similar display of food items.   Watch the food slide show  although sad to say,  most of the food were prepared for take away and are not visible inside the plastic packaging and the huge covered containers although for sanitary reasons, better.   Note that there were free tapas and we were lucky we were invited to have as much as we wanted.  Take note also of the moderate prices. Lucky because we were among the first to eat and enjoy the food although we missed the program of activities because it was too hot  so we decided to leave quickly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Don't Quit

When you think you have done your best,  yet you are not obtaining the results that you have predicted,  do not be discouraged.  Pray,  because God can transform any situation and hope,  because knowledge is knowing that in the worst of times we can triumph over hardships and sorrows.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boogie Colors Terrace

Monday, June 27, 2011

Groucho Marx - Quote Sent By Nel

"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."  - Groucho Marx 

Cinding added a related video on "Live like you were dying" by Tim McGraw which song became popular with his duet with Scotty Mcreary  from last season's American Idol.

Link to this page:  Groucho Marx Quotes:

Happy The Man

Happy The Man by John Dryden 

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed in spite of fate are mine
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Live well our  yesterday  so we can be proud of our tomorrow.

Link to this post: Poem Hunter
Image taken from:  Part and Parcel of Life Blog

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Beauty of Lotus - Charles C. Curran (1861-1942)

Lotus Lilies Charles Courtney Curran 1888

Artists should endeavor to express their ideas in terms easily understandable to others. The Old Masters built up a tradition that there is first of all such a thing as good composition; that good drawing is not necessarily slavish and stupid imitation of nature; that color and tone while being in general founded on the character of nature can be treated in a wide variety of manners; that a full understanding of the qualities and possibilities of the many mediums at the disposal of the artist is of utmost importance; that technical skill must be at the command of the artist and that an understanding of and sympathy with humanity must be his guide as to what beauty is.¹

~ from a letter by Curran to a "Mr. Frager," dated August 18, 1939.

I simply love this painting.  I saw it in Madrid with Ron and Beatriz and I was completely enchanted  as I observed  this particular painting, that rather than being an oil canvas art seemed  almost like a photograph.  Curran's portraying beauty through his sympathy with humanity is really inspiring.

¹James Lancel McElhinney, "Charles Courtney Curran", in American Arts Quarterly, Vol. 28, Number 1 (Winter 2011), Newington-Cropsey Cultur

Saturday, June 25, 2011


In the present times, with lots of turmoil everywhere, I think it is  necessary to find out how we can contribute to spread if not maintain peace around us, starting with our own self.   Because one who is at peace with himself can never be an instigator of any unpleasant event.  And even if we  may be only  one,  we can still make a difference and why wait for tomorrow if we can  do something today.  Here is for a better world of peace and harmony.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Advanced Happy Birthday Tet

Birthdays remind us to  give thanks for the blessings that have come our way.  And today, I give thanks because Tet chose to be part of our family.

On your birthday tomorrow, Tet (I am sending today since tomorrow being a Saturday you will probably not see your post) what can I say that does not fall under a  cliché?  Year in year out, we give our greetings mainly for birthday celebrations and when another year comes, we start digging in our memory and the same words always come out.... Happy Birthday!.... may you have many more or may your wishes be granted on your special day, or  blessings be with you on your special day or something similar.

So what can I say this year that I have not said before? Let me see.....  hummm.... something funny perhaps but I am not a funny person, I am more of a serious person so I cannot betray my own self, therefore let me just say.....

Happy cake day to you and your loved ones!

An even if the saying goes that "you cannot have your cake and eat it too", for your birthday you may have the privilege both literally and maybe categorically to have both.  Sorry, there are no sufficient candles but blessings can multiply them to the number of your choice.

We love you Tet.  Enjoy your birthday today and God bless you as you start with a new year.

Source of image:  Birthday Cakes

My Grand Nephew

Carmelo Simon, and we call him Simon for short,  is my grand nephew of 7 months.  I can also call him my great nephew and not merely by lineage but also because I can picture him  to be a promising great nephew, literally speaking that is.  He is such an adorable and sweet boy with a captivating smile most of the time.   But now,  he has grown his first two  teeth and his Mom wants  to show this development to everyone so here we have him showing his first set of  teeth,  although I would dare to say that he is not too happy about it.

Simon is such a happy and bright baby boy so huggable and kissable it is a pity  that he is so many miles away,  although the fact is, his Dad and Mom are constantly updating the family with his pictures, which  never seem enough.

As he grows into different stages, I hope that we can follow his footsteps with the same thrill as when we saw him the first time, after he was born.  Pictures, pictures, pictures, that is all we can have for now until the day when we can get together to embrace and kiss him.  Keep on growing Simon until you turn into a prince that will charm a lot of maidens someday.

Hats down to the loving parents that conceived such a handsome boy that will carry the Caparros name to another generation.  And for you Simon, I dedicate this post  to read someday when you  get big enough to do so.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why July This Year Is Special

July this year is unique.

It has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.  This happens only every 823 years and not just  that.

This year we will have unusual dates.

1/1/111/11/1111/1/1111/11/1  and that is not all....

Take the last two digits of the year when you were born - add the age that you have this year and the result will be 111 for everyone worldwide.

For those who believe in Feng Shui, this is a lucky year.  Make your wishes, you will never know what fortune can bring.  And it may not have to deal mainly with money although most of the time we associate good fortune with money.  For me,  having love and good health are fortune tops but having all three is the greatest pleasure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Honor of Daddy

Father’s Day in Spain is celebrated on March 19th but both in USA and the Philippines, this year it was celebrated on June 19.

It seems that we start agreeing with our father and giving him credit (and actually paying attention to his long sermons) after we get older ourselves and start living what he lived before. There’s a reason for the saying “voice of experience”.  Fathers actively participate and are highly involved in our lives. They protect, support and love us all the way! 

Nowadays symbolically, we  show our gratitude and what he means to us with a gift once a year to remember our Dad on Father’s Day .  As for me, with my  Dad, all that remain are my fond memories of him.  Gone as he may be his quotes  remain  in my mind and my favorite is:

"Learn to live the ways of a poor man, because you do not need practice to live  a rich man's life".  Thoughts and memories, even when we are gone they remain as a legacy.

The following are gathered family's fond memories of our Dad.

He  loved order but according to his ways to make it easy for him to find things, and not for us to merely get things out of the way.

He was a continuous support and an inspiration to lead us to obtain our dreams.  And I never heard harsh words from him, whatever he had to say, he said it in a way that did not hurt but served to encourage.

He was really a 'voice of experience' and perhaps during our younger times, we didn't believe him sometimes but now we realize that there was  wisdom in what he was telling us!!!

He used to play the violin to calm down Mommy when she was angry or to put me to sleep when I could not sleep.

He delighted himself watching my brother  play tennis  but when he was told that it made my brother  nervous he would tell him he won't see him play but he would watch him from afar!

When he punished us for bad deeds he would hit himself with his belt and when it hurt him he would not proceed.

He started from the low ranks until he became an Accounting Manager in a multinational sugar producing company in the Visayan region of Negros Occidental.

After he retired he read the bible everyday.

From Arnel:
I agree with Ivy and Kuya Kit.  Integrity is one of Daddy's  values that is why when he was given  one sack of rice while in term of office in Central, he had it returned.

Daddy was so excited to watch me play tennis during tournaments hoping for me to win but I always lost at that time.  I did not have the maturity yet to conquer my nervousness during the tournaments and I ended up playing lousy most of the times. I am sure he is proud now to watch his son on the sidelines kick all the opponents' asses. "yes, yan ang sina sabi ko".  All my trophies won are for you Daddy.

I also did not remember getting any "belt" spanking from him.  He loved to play with his violin "La Cumparsita" and Blue Daneuve.
When I asked him money to buy things, he would give me a hard time but at the end he would also hand it over.

After retirement, he had to work part time in some accounting firms but we always asked him to resign because it was too much pressure on him.  Daddy was always a "straight guy"  and he always wanted to make the accounts tally down to the last cent.

Thank you Daddy for all the good things that you have imparted on me and to your children.
I love u Daddy.  I am sure you are in eternal peace right now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Medieval Fair

It is time again for the Medieval Fair with more than a hundred of stands hosted by men and women attired with  costumes evoking  the Middle ages with beaming lights and colours to capture the attention of both young and old. The weather was so inviting to go outside and be with the crowd of enthusiastic people all eager to walk around to watch and taste some exotic food and drink and buy a selection of handcrafted products as well. Here are some pictures that I would like to share with all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nudemen Clock - Francis Lam

Here’s a clock with a difference.  

This amazing and cute clock  was  done for  iphone in 2004 by  Chinese Francis Lam.  It is really clever as it gives you the correct time in digital and analog formats.

Just click on it, wait until you see the time, then click again.  You could go clicking back and forth, you'll see...  :)  The link is as follows.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mel's New Catch

Here's my new catch! 1 Sea trout and 2 mackerels as shown in the picture. All are filleted and boned. I caught 9 mackerels and 1 Sea trout in total. I am a super fisherwoman now! What will be next? sharks? Ha, ha,ha.

How to Grow African Violets

A well grown African violet is a treat for the eyes.   This is a miniature variety.

To grow this plant, cut the large outer leaves at the base at an angle.

Note that even a damage leaf  will do.

Stick the leaves in a small jar with just enough water to cover the end of the stem. Make sure that only the stem is touching the water -- African violets do not like to keep water on their leaves.

Wait until the roots are strong enough before planting them in soil.  Sometimes leaves sprout near the roots.

With tender loving care and good soil, you will be delighted to see the   above result.  Have fun.

Source:  Let's Make Something by the airport blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Environmental Art

Thorns, camellias, lilacs, yucca leaves and laurel make up the
"Camellia Countessa." (Photo courtesy of Nicole Dextras)

Yucca leaves, flowers and thorns make up this party dress. 
(Photo courtesy of Nicole Dextras)

Laurel leaves, rosehips and assorted leaves and thorns
make for a jaunty waistcoat. 
(Photo courtesy of Nicole Dextras)

Environmental art created by Vancouver-based artist, Nicole Dextras surprises  with the use of natural leaves and flowers.  Who  would want floral prints when we could have them made up with newly blooms.  For the non-material girls, the above will  probably cause furor but  meat lovers will certainly go for the  design of Lady Gaga's outfit. To each his own.  Everyone  has the right to to make his own choice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Taste of Mediterranean Menu

This dish  may look quite simple but it can turn  to an exquisite dish if we use eggs of farm grown hens, a decent ham,  Spanish asparagus and extra virgin olive oil.

We can  grill, sauté or steam the asparagus and  fry or poach the eggs but make sure that the asparagus is  cooked al dente.  

Another way of poaching eggs is to cover a cup or a small bowl with transparent plastic  in a way that it overlaps the edges.  Add a little oil where it covers the cup and crack the egg on top.  Close the edges as if it were a candy inside.  Put this wrap in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  The egg  should be half done in case you want to place it over  the asparagus cooked in an oven.

Enjoy your Mediterranean dish.

Another Feria de Tapas In Madrid

The VII series of the Feria de Tapas in Madrid has just ended this week-end.  It was  great but as usual it was crammed with people.  There were 39 participating restaurants, and Ron, Beatriz and myself were there and luckily sampled two of the winning tapas. (2nd and 3rd).  Since I came early for the queue to a free entrance for a tapa that cost 1,20 Euros and a similar cost for the regular beer, I was able to take pictures without the crowd.

Here are some pictures to whet your appetite.

1st Prize
2nd Prize
3rd Prize

Monday, June 13, 2011

Southern Lights Festival

The Southern Lights Festival is a family friendly Circus and Street Arts Festival set in the heart of Dorset's Jurassic coast surrounded by beautiful sea views.  There you will see  circus performers and instructors from all over the country coming together for a fantastic weekend of learning and fun.  Last weekend, Mel enjoyed  being there with Andy and his mother, Wendy as guests of Andy's brother Duncan, who was a performer. 

It certainly is a different way of spending a fun weekend.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Visit

From the blog of La Caja de Pandora, Pandorha wrote the following story which I have translated:

In the beginning of the 1st century of our era, there were two  schools headed by two prestigious wise men, Hilel and Shamal. Each school was devoted to the study of Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the students were of promising talent. However, there was a problem of rivalry among the two groups of students and they took every opportunity to discredit one another.

One day, the students of Shamal thought that the best way to discredit the students of the other school, was to humilliate  the wise man Hilel and so they made up a strategy.

They thought of catching a butterfly and carrying it alive in the hand of one of them to the house where Hilel lived and upon arrival they would ask him:

Professor Hilel, this butterfly that I have in my hand is it dead or is it alive? If Hilel  should reply that it is alive, then the one carrying it will close his fist and demonstrate that it is dead.  But on the contrary,  the butterfly will be set free upon opening his hand,  and prove that the butterfly is alive.

The idea was infallible and they did as planned. They caught a butterfly and one of the students of Shamal took it in his hand. They went to the house of Hilel and knocked on his door. The wise man asked them:

-What made you come?
 The students replied:
-We want to find out how intelligent you are.
 Hilel then asked.
-And how do you intend to do that?
 We will ask you a question.
-Go ahead.
-This butterfly inside my hand, is it dead or is it alive?
 Hilel looked at them slowly and replied:
-The decision lies in your hands.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Unlike Them

Workers sleep along the highway under mosquito nets in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Muhammed Muheisen/ AP

While  a fisherman takes his nap as he dries and salts fish in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Irwin Fedriansyah/ AP

Unlike them, we sleep on  comfortable beds and  yet sometimes we complain that  we cannot sleep.  Instead of counting sheep, let us think of the less fortunate ones who sleep placidly along highways and salted fishes.  

El Mundo, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Different Breakfast

Instead of having  breakfast in bed, why not go out and have it outdoors ?  This apple pie is  simply delicious and here is a simple and easy recipe.

Apple Pastry

- Pastry dough
- 3 medium sized apples or 2 big ones
- 1/2 cup  brown sugar
- 1 tbs.  cinnamon
- 1 tbs.  butter

Preheat the oven at 250ºC.  Peel and cut the apples in cubes  then place them in a recipient adding in  sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Mix.  Extend the dough and cut it in rectangles of 1/2 cm thick.  In one of the rectangles, place the apple in the center leaving space in the sides and cover with the other part.  Seal the borders with the help of a fork and make three cuts in the center to avoid inflating.  Place the pastries in a greased oven dish and bake until golden brown for about 15 mins.  Serve either hot or cold.

Have a wonderful breakfast!

Yo Dona
Patricia de los Ángeles
June 4, 2011

Mel's Catch

Here is my very first catch of mackerels. I caught them from the kayak of Bournemouth beach.  I caught 7 in total but only kept four because the others weren't big enough.

Here are  my mackerels cooked, how  delicious!  Two different recipes:  beer battered mackerel with salt, pepper and aniseed and another one grilled with bay leaf and garlic!   

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paella Contest

This year, our town hall sponsored a contest on the best paella. Since it was only a few meters away from where I live, after mass I went to the plaza to take a look. The curious thing? there were only male contestants.  But the truth is, there are not  many women cooks of reknown names compared with men, which is silly because it is mainly women who use the kitchen and not precisely to wash the dishes nor clean the same although oftentimes, they do these chores themselves too. I guess it  is merely due to the fact that most of the women do not cook as a profession but as an obligation, and are unduly recognized. 

Anyway, after the judges have made their selection as to the winners who were awarded with 50€, 75€ and 100€ respectively for the 3rd, 2nd and 1st prizes, the food was served only to members and family of the cooking team, but somehow, my neighbors and me managed to get a plate each. Take a look at some of the resulting paellas.  I did not manage to take pictures of all the 35 participants but it was fun, although what we had eaten was not one of the winners.

Playing for Change

I cannot sing nor dance, but I can appreciate good music and help to propagate it, which for me is good enough.  Last night, Ron and Beatriz gave me several CD albums, one of which is Playing for Change with songs and 150 musicians from 25 different countries and cultures uniting together for the common purpose of peace through music.   All the music was  recorded and filmed live outside from West African villages  to favelas in Brazil,  a very interesting musical journey.  It is a  great album just like the first one recorded in 2008.  Thanks to Ron and Beatriz, I am able to widen my cultural horizon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Update On Mel

Mel  had an interview yesterday with EF Language School  (a prestigious international language school)  and...she got the Job! Finally!!! She will start in 3 weeks and it will run for a couple of months through  summer.  Her job will be an Activity Leader, this means going out with the students and keeping them busy and safe. Mel  will be running different activities including: volleyball on the beach, day trips to London, Oxford, Cambridge and surroundings.. She will  have to learn different games and the EF dance at the EF disco...all good fun!!! It will give her  a lot of experience and confidence in dealing with youngsters.

In the meantime, she is helping  out as a volunteer in her favourite Nature Reserve called Brownsea island.   They have been  clearing Rhododendron, an invasive plant that kills all the other surrounding  plants on the ground.  It was a hard work but very rewarding, according to her.  She got up at 7h30am, cycled for 40 mins along the beach and then caught a little ferry to the island where she  met a few interesting people and also learnt a bit more about the way they manage and conserve this natural reserve. It was very instructive for her, she said.

On Sunday she will  also be  volunteering on another project, where again she has to get the bike and  catch a ferry, but this time it  will be in celebration of World Oceans Day. She will help out in different activities such as an underwater film show, egg hunting and many  more, all having  to do with marine conservation.

I am really happy for her because now she will be doing something she likes to do and not only to be working  for the money.  I remember when she was  a teen and she used to get  catalogues from EF Language School so she could study English abroad.  Now she will be working for them.  Good luck Mel! Hope this new job leads to another longer lasting career.

Everyday is a mission, each day a plan and sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

Source:  Mel's email  of June 3, 2011            

Friday, June 3, 2011

Typically Spanish

With the temperature on the rise, Spain in its bars and cafés has started  to serve tapas, which are small portions of food such as omelette, ham, cheese and olives  and drink. Several tapas oftentimes constitute a meal.

And the practice of going out for a drink, called tapeo is part of the Spanish social life.  It is common to have people eating in sidewalk cafés or in much  wider spaces outside.

Such a typical Spanish scene for the season!

Pictures published in:
El Mundo

June 2, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kayak Mel&Andy

Here's Andy with our double kayak.  He likes to use it for fishing while I like to paddle around the islands in Poole Harbour.  It's Good Fun!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Strange But Nice

Sometimes we are so immersed in our own obsessions and we forget that the rule does not  always apply.  Only when our minds are open to possibilities are we able to perceive amazing things that  happen around us.