A February snowfall

It’s been snowing today. I woke up to little snowflakes dancing in a light wind in our courtyard. It’s been like that all day. Every time I looked out the window, it put a smile on my face.

There’s something so beautiful about a February snowfall. It’s one of winter’s last few efforts before it gives way to spring. This sort of snow doesn’t ice up the roads. The weather isn’t so cold that it’s unbearable. It’s not like the frosts of early January that put icicles in your marrow should you stay outside too long. This is soft, warm snow that blankets the gardens and the patches of grass, sits every so gingerly on the branches of the trees and nestles inbetween the needles of the evergreens.

It’s like winter’s saying, “It’s been fun this season, I really enjoyed your company. Here’s a parting gift to remember me during the warm seasons.” I love this sort of snow. I love winter. I love a crackling fire in the fireplace, a warm cup of coffee or tea in my hand and the dance of snowflakes outside my window. These sorts of experiences are the high points in our busy lives, and we should enjoy them more.

Well, a blond little girl named Sophie is tugging at my sleeve, I guess it’s time to go.

Body image, public perception and the media

Just wanted to publish here a post I wrote on Facebook this morning about body image and the recent controversy surrounding its representation in the media:

Something I don’t get: people are making such a big deal in recent times about being thin and how the fashion magazines are promoting it. They’re making it into a huge issue, as if the plump girls are being persecuted and they’re putting it as if this has been going on forever.

Truth is, this is only a recent thing. Until the 60s, it was a plump girl’s world. Yes, all the way from antiquity to the 1960s or so, people liked bigger women. The thin ones were the outcasts. Nobody wanted them because they were too skinny. They were told to put on weight. There were ads in magazines everywhere for fattening creams and lotions and vitamins and lard and all kinds of stuff to help girls put on weight fast and become “attractive”.

So here’s what I think: all this bulls**t be damned, if you want to be plump, be plump, if you want to be thin, be thin, but do yourself a favor and stop blaming others for your body type. If you’re plump and you’d rather be thin, stop complaining about fashion magazines and learn to love yourself. If you’re thin and would rather be fat, well then, you’re in luck because there are a ton of processed foods out there to help you achieve your goal.

And if you like yourself just the way you are, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky few who get what it’s like to enjoy life. Go on enjoying it, we typically only get 70-80 years of it and we shouldn’t waste it complaining! :-)

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Something wonderful happened last night

I want to share something with you, something wonderful that happened last night. Read on, it’s worth it.

Around 4 pm, the water company turned off the water for the entire city due to emergency repairs. Late at night, they turned it back on but it was full of silt and mud, so we let the faucets run to clear the pipes. I went back to my work and Ligia took Sophie to bed.

About an hour later, I got up from my desk and went to see if the water was clear enough to take a shower. To my surprise, the entire kitchen was flooded with about 1-2 cm of water. The kitchen sink had run over. There I was at 11:15 at night, faced with having to mop up all that water when all I wanted to do was to take a shower and hit the sack.

I got the mop and the bucket and got to work, grumbling to myself about the water company and the sink and the pipes and the dirty water and my luck.

A few minutes later, Sasha (one of our cats) came into the kitchen, stepped right onto the wet floor (you know cats, they avoid water) and started looking at me. She even drank some of it.

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As I looked at her, I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite cartoons featuring Tom and Jerry, entitled “Mice Follies”, released in 1954. In it, Jerry and Nibbles (his nephew) flooded the kitchen and froze it with the aid of the refrigerator in order to create a skating rink. Tom naturally pursued them, leading to lots of pratfalls, pranks and laughter.

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That wonderful memory of a wonderful cartoon was enough to wipe the slate clean for me. All of a sudden, a late-night disaster was an opportunity to enjoy the moment. My attitude toward it changed completely and I began to enjoy mopping up all that water. I half expected Jerry and Nibbles to tiptoe into the kitchen holding a couple of refrigerator wires in hand, ready to freeze it.

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It took about 45 minutes to get all the water mopped up. All of the cats joined me by the end, entranced by the circular movements of the mop through the water. I even started a roaring fire in the kitchen stove to keep me company. I had a blast and went to bed with a smile on my face.

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Isn’t it amazing how differently we can perceive the same event if our attitude toward it changes? We can complain and grumble or we can smile and enjoy ourselves thoroughly doing the very same thing. And of course it helps if we also love Tom and Jerry cartoons!

Apricots

Apricots from our garden

This is the second year our apricot tree has given us fruits. Last year it tested the waters with 3-4 fruits but this year it has given us lots of delicious, juicy apricots. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted better apricots: lots of aroma, soft, juicy and beautiful. We use no pesticides or fertilizers in our garden; nothing, not even manure. But what we do is that we let fallen leaves and vegetables sit on the ground over the winter and by spring, they’ve almost all dissolved into it, enriching it naturally. We have few pests and as you can see from the photos, our apricots were not spoiled by them. I think I tossed at most 5-6 fruits (out of over 100) due to critters. Enjoy the photos!