Friday, December 29, 2006

Inocente, inocente

No, that's not a spelling mistake, it's Spanish. December 28th is Holy Innocents' Day, when the Catholic church remembers the babies slaughtered by King Herod. There's a long tradition of pulling people's legs, much like April Fool's Day in England.

I forgot all about it, until my friend's kid mentioned it in the evening. So when I went home, I decided to tease my husband, Carlos.

He's 51, but looks much, much younger because he looks after himself. He doesn't smoke, eats plenty of vegetables, and he runs for an hour almost every morning before breakfast. He's tall and slim to start off with, and the sight of those long legs in short shorts cheers me up in the mornings. Several female acquaintances have mentioned that they see him on his morning run, and judging by the little smile as they say it, he cheers them up too.

Back to Holy Innocents' Day. When I got home that evening, I told my husband that the Local Police had been around earlier. Apparently they'd had complaints about somebody jogging "practically naked" in the mornings and they'd heard it might be Carlos. I'd told them that my husband did go jogging, but certainly not naked. "You do keep your shorts on, don't you? Tell me you keep your shorts on!" Anyway, they wanted to talk to Carlos themselves, so they'd be coming back on Friday at about 7pm, and plase would he make sure he'd be at home. The whole thing had been rather embarassing, and I'd like to get it over with.

I listened to myself with growing amazement, firstly that I was spinning this pile of tripe with so little effort or guilt, and secondly that Carlos was swallowing it whole. I suppose the first thing had a lot to do with the second. That and the fact that Carlos a) had completely forgotten the date, b) was tirede and had a heavy cold and c) knows that I don't do this sort of thing because I can't. Honestly I can't. I can write write it, but not speak it, because it takes several drafts. And there I was spewing it out, curious to find out what I was going to come out with next. It was the weirdest sensation.

Thinking it over, I suspect it worked precisely because I was so relaxed. I had nothing to loose, so I just let my creative subconcious get on with it.

Eventually I got the giggles, followed a second later by Julio. Julio had listened to the whole thing, wide eyed. Then, of course, Carlos realised I was having him on.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

King Kong

This is my son, Julio, with two of his Christmas presents, karate clothes (he's been doing karate for three months) and enormous King Kong gloves.

In Spain the big party is Christmas Eve, and we went next-door-but-one to my brother-in-law and family. We had a nice meal and chatted until midnight when we found that Father Christmas had left presents under the tree for us. Julio got a microscope, my husband got a miniature set of drums to play with his fingers, and I got a book called "What Howls at the Moon in Frilly Knickers?" We came home at about 1:30, and it was a good thing noobody had to drive.

So I wasn't going to get up at the crack of dawn to put a whole turkey in the oven just for the three of us. We had turkey roll and half the trimmings for dinner. Of course that was after the rest of the presents. But he best bit was actually spending the day together without rushing around.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


This is my id card on the left, and this is a recent photo of me on the right. Quite a difference wouldn't you say?

The dreadful photo on the left is the one on my id card. It was taken three years ago, when I finally managed to get out of the house after having a broken shoulder and broken ankle at the same time. I couldn't use crutches because of the shoulder, so I'd been stuck indoors for months, and I certainly hadn't been to the hairdresser.

The photo on the right was taken a week ago, when I was all glammed up for a Christmas dinner. I'd made a mess of blow drying my hair, but I like the cut and colour. Well, these days I have a friend who's a hairdresser, lucky me. But I've looked more or less like this since a week after the id photo was taken.

Here's the fun part. Every time I use a credit card, they ask to see my id card too So I hand over an id card and they check the names match.

I've had this card three years. It looks nothing like me at first glance. And yesterday was the first time in three years that a shop assistant did a double take. I wonder what would happen if I covered up the photo on my ID card with a picture of Mickt Mouse. Do you think anyone would notice?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

We Wish You a Messy Christmas

A friend just emailed photos of the decorations in her house. My goodness, her living room is tidy! Mine always looks like a tornado just passed through.

Several years ago, one of my friend's got burgled and of course the police came round. One officer said sympathetically, "My goodness, they made a mess, didn't they?"

She had to admit that she hadn't even noticed anything odd until she tried to put a tape in the video machine, and realised the machine wasn't there any more. The mess was perfectly normal.

My house is like that. It's not dirty, you understand, just chaotic. I think my mission in life is to make house proud friends feel smug at the comparison. I'm not showing you photos! You'll just have to use your imagination.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The singing cereal box

It's been a busy weekend. I put the Christmas tree up in the living room, and the little Nativity scene in the hall. Julio had a ton of homework that had to be supervised.

On Saturday afternoon Julio went to the observatory kids' Christmas party and had a great time. We got home at 8:15 and I went straight back out again to meet my friend Norma in town. Then it was my turn to have a great time. We had one of those marvelous rambling conversations about ex-boyfriends and music and how to give kids confidence and childbirth, until I came home decidedly merry at 1 a.m.

A couple of months ago, Norma bought a very old car from me, and she mentioned that it was struggling up the hills. So I invited her round to Sunday lunch so that my husband could take a look at it. I squeezed in a bit of housework this morning, then we all had lunch. Somehow or other, we wound up converting an empty cereal box and two potatoes into a singing puppet. I videoed it, and afterwards Norma signed up for You Tube and we put it up.

While Carlos was sorting out the car (fixable, thank goodness), I added audio clips to Norma's site at She's a singer-songwriter, and a good one too. The clips are on the "Records" page. It's the first time I've done audio clips, and I'm pleased with the result.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Making some Noise

Last night I went to the inaugaral party for the island's new cultural magazine, Ruido. My husband had hoped to go, but we couldn't get a babysitter so he stayed home.

I had a good time. There was the inevitable speech to begin with, about the magazine, its aims and the contents of the first issue. I wasn't mentioned, so I assumed I'd been bumped into issue two. Fair enough - they probably have enough egos to deal with. Then someone read some of the contents, and to my surprise, this included my micro fiction, "Dream On" (Sigue SoƱando), so I'm in after all. I don't get paid, but I got paid when the English version was published in Chat. It'll be the first time I've been published in Spanish, and it's the first time I've done my own translation. Best of all, people laughed aloud at the end, which felt GREAT!

Then we had music from a funk group. At the interval there was free beer (Thank you Dorada) and exhibitions to look at. I briefly helped out at the desk collecting signatures on a petition for a concert hall. There isn't a single one on an island of 80,000 inhabitants. Can you believe it?

After the interval, we were supposed to see a documentary about local groups, but that was cancelled due to a technical hitch. On the other hand, the best jazz group on the island played for longer than planned to compensate, so we were all happy.

I'm also pleased to say that the concert raised enough money to pay for printing Issue 1. It's early days, but I think this baby is going to survive. And like any baby, who knows what the future holds?

Saturday, December 02, 2006


My goodness, December already. As my brother put it in an email, Christmas is "rushing up like the ground at the end of a parachute jump!" except that in my case I forgot to pull the ripcord.

I lost most of the last week to flu, and the rest of it to helping a friend with a particularly traumatic house move (which still isn't over.) But the overseas cards and parcels should really be in the post already - and in my case, that's an awful lot of cards and quite a few parcels. I think I feel a major internet shopping spree coming on. I usually write the same letter to go in most of the cards, and haven't even started it. And just to make things really fun, my son, who is bright but rarely works at school, has to hand in all his coursework on Monday. He has a ton of work to do this weekend, and won't do any of it unless I'm there with him. It feels like pushing an elephant up the stairs.

Oh well, I'll do what I can and leave the rest. But I won't get much done on the novel for a week or so.