Friday, 30 November 2007

Gifts for guys

My son B doesn't like toys. He's a bit special. *lol* He's 10 years old and would rather get things like a telescope, sunglasses, a flashlights or a microscope. I guess he's a "pre-teen" already because his hormones are beginning to show. At the same time he's very childish so I hope he won't be a full time teen for another year or two.

I think a microscope would be a great gift for my son. Actually, he has one already but it's for kids and doesn't work. It's for playing and not for studying things so he used it a few times and then stopped. I don't blame him, because you can hardly see anything because it's all blurry and tiny. Next time I get him something like that I'll get him a real microscope. It's more expensive but at least he can use it to study things and that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

A telescope would also be a great gift for a kid his age. My son loves to read and discover things so with a telescope he could study the stars from the rooftop. Yes, I think that would be the perfect gift for my son. I'll have a chat with Santa and then we'll see. *lol*

Narrow streets


This is the most narrow street in the "medina", the old town in Tetuán.


Love is in the air

Several of my friends are divorced. They met husband number 1 when they were young, got married, had kids, bought a house, a car, went on vacations... And then one day they realized that the person they were married to no longer was the same, just like they are not the same anymore. People change over the years, as you live new experiences, meet new people, see new places...

Getting over a break up can be very hard sometimes. It's a process that can take months or years to accomplish. Having friends and family who support you and stand by your side is very helpful. As a friend you don't have to do anything really, just being there and taking the time to listen and lending a shoulder a cry on is enough in most cases.

Some of my friends have found a new love, some are still looking. It's nice to see my friends so happy and crazy in love. They really deserve to be happy. Some of them have gone through a lot to get where they are now (abusive husbands, domestic violence, etc) and finding that special person has made up for all the bad things they have experienced. We all need a bit of romance in our lives! Even when you're happily married and have no plans whatsoever to get a divorce.

It's Friday!

Thank God it's Friday! Or maybe not... I have 2 exams I have to finish before Sunday and I'm only halfway through so in a way I don't like it being Friday today.

I feel a little bit of stress. Especially since my youngest DS is home from school today. He has a bit of fever and tummy ache, so I decided he'd stay at home. People here usually send their kids to school, even when they are sick. They just give them medicine and off to school! I couldn't do that... I don't know, I think that's wrong. A sick child should be at home in bed with his/her mommy or somebody else who can take care of him/her. That's my opinion. What's yours? When do you send your kids to school/kindergarden? Is a little bit of temperature enough to let them stay at home? Red eyes, throwing up, tummy ache, pain in an ear...? Is it okey to give the kids medicine so they can go to school? G sleeps on the couch right now, he really must be sick! *lol* Usually he's up and about even when he has a very high temperature. I'm glad he's at home so I can keep an eye on him.

I work today. With a new group. It's the last group I can take this year, because I need to have some time for me and my studies as well as with my kids. I really love my job, teaching is so much fun! But they pay me very little, so I'm definitely not going to be rich. I don't care much about money but of course it would be nice to earn enough to be able to do something fun with the kids. Oh well, that's the downside of being a volunteer teacher. So far I haven't finished preparing the class so I'll have to do that in a little while.

I'll try to finish the living room today, for the challenge. I'm not sure I'm going to make it, because with G sick at home I don't think there will be such a lot of time to clean. :-( Anyway, I'll post the pictures in a few hours.

I still haven thought about what we're having for dinner. :-( I think we'll have mashed potatoes and sausages for lunch. What are you having for dinner tonight?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

What a chair

There was a time when I had a great way of pampering myself. I went to a beauty salon one a month to get a massage. It did wonders on my sore body and made me sleep like a baby for a week after each session. I wish I could afford doing that again because a good massage is, next to yoga, the best way to get rid of stress and tension.

Look what I found: the Human Touch HT 7450 Zero Gravity Massage Chair. I can hardly believe it's true, that a chair can do all of that. But yes, it is true. The Zero Gravity Massage Chair is the intelligent massage chair that adjusts itself to your body. It helps relieve the negative effects of gravity. It includes four techniques: Percussion, Rolling, Compression, and Kneading. The speed, intensity, location, and technique can be adjusted according to an individual’s preferences, or specialized Accupoint programs can be used for particular types of relief or relaxation. I just wish I had a chair with all that!

It's COLD!

Yep, winter is here. No doubt about that. It's freezing cold at night and the temperature drops below 10 degrees C. Since we live in the most humid area in Morocco the humidity makes it seem so much colder. I hate winter!

This is what I like:

Save money on insurances

One of the most boring expenses must be the insurances. At least when you don't need them. I know a lot of people think they aren't necessary because you pay a lot of money and you might never need that insurance, so in a way it's a waste of money. Right? Nooo, that's wrong!

Spending money on Insurance Quoting Services is actually money well spent. You never know when you might need help so it's better to pay for it little by little than all at once. Check out the Insurance Plans Pros and Cons and get informed about the different types of insurances you can get. A Family Insurance sounds like a good idea to me, but since every person has his/her own needs and circumstances the best thing is to talk to a professional about what insurances might be the best for you and your family. Remember, better safe than sorry!

Exams

I'm really, really busy right now. First of all, I have two exams (Latin and Phonetics) to do at home and send to the teachers before Sunday evening. I haven't even started yet.... And then there's a third exam I have to send to the teacher before December 15th. That one is really, really HUGE!

And then there's the Organization Challenge. I actually thought I would have finished the living room by now, but no... It's still a mess! In a few hours I'll post some photos so you can see for yourself. It is getting better, because I try to declutter a little every day, but the progress is so slow! I need to spend a little more time in there today, because it would be nice to end the month having a living room again.

I've finally found the winter clothes (everything got mixed up and kind of lost during the first weeks of the makeover and I had to throw everything into boxes and plastic bags and get it out of the way.) As soon as the sun gets a bit higher today I'll take part of it upstairs to the roof so it can get a bit of sun and lose that smell of having spent too much time inside a plastic bag. I hate that smell! But I cant't really wash it all over again so I hope a few hours outdoors will do the trick.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Christmas baskets online

I like buying my gifts online. It saves me a lot of time and I don't have to stand in line for hours. I also like browsing the net in search for that perfect gift. One thing I like giving (and receiving) are Gift Baskets.

The best thing about them is that you can make them as expensive as you like, to suit your economy. There's no limit to what you can do with a gift basket. Here's some information about DelightfulDeliveries.com, a company that works with gift baskets:

DelightfulDeliveries.com Recognized as Hot 100 Retail Website

Internet Retailer Ranks Website Among Best in Nation for 2008

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DelightfulDeliveries.com, the premiere Internet Gift Retailer and America’s #1 Gift Basket Website, today announced it has been named one of The Hot 100 Retail Websites for 2008 by leading industry magazine, Internet Retailer. The Hot 100 list represents the best of what retailers are doing online, highlighting innovation and setting the standards in online for what the rest of the industry should be doing.

DelightfulDeliveries.com, a privately-held company, with one of the largest and most unique selections of gourmet gifts, ranked alongside larger sites such as Dell, Nike and Amazon.com, by building its award-winning site on selection, functionality, speed and the complete customer experience. A recent re-design has improved the customer’s shopping experience to make holiday gift-giving easy and enjoyable, including rating and reviews, behavioral recommendations and free shipping offers.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized as a pacesetter in online retailing,” said Eric Lituchy, Founder and CEO of DelightfulDeliveries.com. “We pride ourselves on using the latest technology to make gift-giving fun and easy. Being named among the best in the nation validates we are succeeding in our efforts to deliver the best possible customer experience.”

In addition to making Internet Retailer’s The Hot 100 list for 2008, DelightfulDeliveries.com was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as part of its Inc. 5000, which highlights the fastest growing private companies.

DelightfulDeliveries.com offers over 2000 unique and delicious gifts from America’s best brands to the finest boutique shops. Consumers can easily shop the site by gift or food category, occasion, type and best-seller. Corporate gift-givers can choose from hundreds of customized gourmet treats.

For additional information, and to see a complete selection of gifts available, visit www.DelightfulDeliveries.com.

About Delightful Deliveries

DelightfulDeliveries.com is an award-winning website that began in 1998 and quickly established itself as one of the premier Internet gift retailers. Its mission is to bring great products to gift-givers, while providing world-class service. The company selects its offerings from a broad variety of fine food gift products for consumers and for corporate gifts, and gathers them in one place to make the selection process quick and simple.

A helping hand

Through another blog I found FreeRice. It's a great site! You play a word game and every time you get the right answer they donate 20 grains of rice. So far I've managed to donate 1500 grains of rice in a few minutes. And English is not even my first or second language. *proud* I will go back tomorrow to play some more because I really like games like that.

This is an example:
habitual
means:

  • customary
  • imperfect
  • foolhardy
  • sorrowful
And the right answer is: customary

Please pass on the link to other people if you like the game. I think it's a great way to help ending the world starvation. And if you want to do more than that, please consider giving a little something to some organization. Even a few dollars can make a difference in a child's life.

Christmas gifts

I think it's about time to start buying those Christmas gifts. So far I haven't bought a single gift. :-( I just haven't had time - or money - to buy the gifts I want to. I will get going next week and try to buy as much as possible then. But first of all I need to make the list so I know what to look for.

One thing I like to do is to look around on the internet to see what I can find. I'm tired of buying tiny toys for my kids because they leave them all over the place and then I have to pick them up. This year I'm going to get them only a few things but more expensive things. I don't know what yet, that's the problem. What can you get to a 8 year old and a 10 year old that won't end up all over the floor? I've been thinking about a MP3 player for my oldest DS. I don't know what they cost these days because the one I have is a few years old and was expensive at the time. I guess the prices have dropped since, like with most electronic devices. I'll have to compare prices before I make up my mind. I guess my youngest DS would prefer a game instead or an Action Man... I'm fed up with his Action Men! They are all over the place.... But at least I know he knows how to play with normal toys as well, not just with electronic devices. My husband probably wants some electronic device that I can't even figure out what it is. *lol*

WW - Bow your head

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Stressed out?

Is your head spinning and your heart beating too fast? Maybe you need a break. Christmas is around the corner and things start to get really stressful. It's time for a break!

At HotelReservations.com you can make Hotel Reservations online. It's really quick and easy. Just write the dates you want to be away and the name of the city and in no time you get a list of the available hotels in the area. The prices are really good too.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Praying the rosary

I have to admit that I'm not very good at praying. I was raised in a not so Catholic friendly environment, to say the least. Actually I'd say in an environment where Christians, no matter what church you belonged to, were considered brainwashed and strange. So I guess it's only natural that I have a hard time to make prayers a daily routine, but that's something I really want to change.

I've just downloaded a program I really like - The Virtual Rosary. I have used it before but lost it when my computer crashed, so I know it works. It's a tiny little program that reminds you to pray the rosary and shows you all the prayers and all. You don't even need the rosary beads. You can get it in other languages and with music and images. I did of course download the Spanish version. *lol*

More updates

Today I went back to Kitea to buy the desks for the boys. They will be delivered on Friday. The kids are really thrilled because having a desk instead of a tiny table is something "big kids" have. So all of a sudden they feel "big". *lol*

B is so happy with his new closet. Today I finished putting his clothes in there so at least his room is almost fixed. The desk on Friday and that's it. *phew* One room done.

I've made some progress in the bedroom too. Or maybe not. I've brought all the boxes with photos from G:s room, but they are standing all over the floor right now. I need shelves! Most of my clothes are back in my closet. It still looks very empty, probably because I've found better places for a lot of stuff that used to be in there.

It did not rain today but it's been really cold. I hope the sun will shine tomorrow and dry things a bit. The outer walls are really damp and unless they dry soon we're going to get humidity spots on the walls. I hate that! But what can you do? That's the way the houses are built here. :-( All I can do is to use the electric heaters every evening and leave the windows open as soon as the sun comes out. Hopefully I'll buy a gas heater next week and that will keep the house warm and dry.

Tomorrow I'm going to take out the curtains. I will have to ask my neighbor to give me my iron back, so I can iron them before I put them back. I really didn't need it so I thought she could keep it while we were occupied with the makeover. I hate ironing! Probably because I don't know how to do it and try to avoid it as much as I can. But I need to get the curtains back in place because they help a lot to keep the house warm.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Beautiful windows

The next step on my To Do list for the makeover is to find inspiration for curtains and blinds that go with my new furniture. I've had a look at Terry’s Fabric Warehouse, a UK based company that sells curtains, tiebacks, tassels, hooks, holdbacks, tapes, haberdashery, blinds, cushions, throws, bedding, rugs and lighting. They sell online and deliver to the UK and the Republic of Ireland. There is so much to look at their website.

I happen to be very fond of blinds. I think they are a smart solution to dress a window. At Terry's there's a wide selection of different blinds, like roller blinds, roman blinds, venetian blinds, vertical blinds and wooden blinds.

In Sweden venetian blinds is a must in most windows. They are very functional - they work as a sun screen and protect your intimacy. So far I have not seen a single house with venetian blinds here yet. I wish I could find venetian blinds for my laundry room windows, I think they would give us enough shade in summer. Besides, I'm not sure on how much the neighbors actually see. I would feel a lot safer if I knew they couldn't look straight into my home. The ultimate solution would be the brown chocolate leather venetian blinds I found at Terry's. The slats of this blind are constructed from a faux leather material. Wooden venetian blinds would also be okey, but I love the leather look of these blinds. That rich chocolate color would combine perfectly with the tiles.

Me - a hoarder?

I found this test on hoarding through A Cluttered Life and I thought it could be interesting. And well, I'm not that surprised by the results.

Hoarding Severity Scale Results:

  • Clutter score: 12
  • Difficulty Discarding score: 11
  • Acquiring score: 9


8–12: Moderate
In all likelihood, you have a significant hoarding-related problem. People who score in this range typically find their lives to be impacted by clutter, difficulty discarding or acquiring. You might benefit from working on the problem on your own with a manual such as Buried in Treasures. However, you could also consider working with a mental health professional who knows about the treatment of hoarding.

I definitely need to work more on getting rid of the clutter. But clutter itself really isn't my problem. I think my problem is that I don't get organized and I don't get a good organization system to put things away. I need boxes, containers and shelves to put the things in/on because just throwing it all into one of the closets won't solve the problem. I do have great closets (now I do), but I need to get myself to put things in there too. In an organized way.

Today I've been putting things in my fixed closet, so G:s room is almost okey. Just a few things left that I need to take to the living room and he has a room once again. I hope they will bring the desks next Friday, so he can get rid of his tiny table. I'll put the tables in the room upstairs.

Before I'm done today I'll need to take everything away from B:s bed as well. I had to use it as my closet since my closet fell apart, and now it's about time that he gets it back.*lol* That's what I'll do today. Baby steps...

The upstairs room

We've got our room back! My BIL came yesterday to take their stuff away so now the room is finally ours, ours, ours! It's been ours ever since we bought the apartment 7 years ago but somehow my BIL and his family moved in at the same time and have been here ever since. But not anymore. By next summer we're going to have a great summer room up there, a place where our guests can stay for as long as they want to (as long as it's not 7 years *lol*), so we can use the roof as a living space instead of a place to put things we no longer need.

This is a picture of the room in September, while we had to live up there as our apartment was covered in concrete dust:



A glimpse of the view from the room. You can see the beach and the Mediterranean Sea!



This is a picture of part of the roof, where we will be having our evening snacks from now on, watching the stars at night. It really is quite big, but since my BIL used it as their living room we never really had a chance to use it ourselves.



I will use the room to put away all the extra stuff that have been hanging around the stairs and the apartment ever since the makeover began. There's no use to fix the room now, since the windows are not real windows, just pieces of wood to give shade in summer. I will seal them so the rain can't get in. And then as soon as the rain stops I will start the makeover: new windows, new furniture, new decoration. It's going to be great!

The France Show



I just found out about this and wanted to share. I really would love to go to the France Show but I'll be busy doing exams at that time so unfortunately I can't go. But if you're in London in January maybe you can go and then blog about it. *lol*

Jean-Christophe Novelli, Britain's favourite French Chef, will be one of the star attractions at The France Show 2008, which runs at London's Olympia from 18-20 January.

He will be conducting three live cookery demonstrations each day at the show with his "mobile" Novelli Academy Cookery School, revealing the secrets that have made him one of the most celebrated Chefs in Britain.

The Novelli master classes will be among the main highlights of an already mouth-watering line-up for the Olympia show, which is expected to attract 30,000 visitors. It is being organised by Archant Life, publisher of theUK's three leading French lifestyle magazines - France, Living France and French Property News.

Miller Hogg, Regional Managing Director of Archant Life France, said: "We have had a wonderful response to the France Show so far from the public and are extremely excited about working with one of the world's greatest Chefs. For anyone with a love of French food, watching Jean-Christophe Novelli in action is a must."

Jean-Christophe, who started work at the age of 14 as a baker in his hometown of Arras came to Britain in 1984. He is a Michelin and 5AA Rosette award winning Chef, whose attributes include AA Chef's Chef of the Year, European Chef of the Year finalist representing Great Britain and the prestigious Egon Ronay Desert of the Year. He won Restaurant of the Year on numerous occasions and many other awards for culinary excellence.

In 2005 Jean-Christophe established the Novelli Academy, which was voted among the 'Top 25 Cookery Schools in the World' within three months and offers a diverse range of courses to suit aspiring cooks of all levels. A year ago he branched out again to open his first gastro pub, 'A Touch ofNovelli' at The White Horse in Harpenden.

During 2007 Jean-Christophe launched Novelli Wines - "I have always been as passionate about wine as I am about food. As a chef, I know that if you serve the right wine with the right food you can turn a good meal into a truly great one. There is a wealth of small producers in France creating wonderful, and affordable, wines. The France Show is all about sharing and appreciating everything that France can offer."

Jean-Christophe's new recipe book "Everyday Novelli" will be available from 1 February 2008, from Headline Publishing, and advance copies can be ordered at the show.

The Novelli Food Theatre will be one of the main attractions at the France Show offering demonstrations of cookery to suit all palates. There will be six cookery demonstrations each day, three by Novelli, two by his protégé, Steven Kitchen and one by Franck Raymond, the head Chef of London's oldest French restaurant, Mon Plaisir.

Other highlights of the France Show 2008 include a huge property zone, London's largest French market and an extensive holiday travel fair, as well as insights into French culture, language and lifestyle.

Visitors who pre-register can obtain free tickets or else pay £8 at the door on the day. For your free tickets and further information about the FranceShow, visit the official website at France Show

Trapped at work

It's still raining... It has been raining for several days now. And the sky is grey and cloudy so I guess it won't stop raining today. So unfortunately, no church today. It's raining too hard, I've never seen rains anywhere like these here in Morocco.

Yesterday we went to my job to have lunch. Yes, we do that sometimes. Someone decides to make lunch for the rest of the bunch and everyone brings what he/she can (bread, fruit, Coke, juice, cookies, salad, whatever...). It's really nice. Not so much for the food as for the getting together with friends and have a good time. Yesterday one of the guys from Peru made paella. I LOVE paella!



Afterwards we just had to stay, because it was raining so hard that you just couldn't get out. We live just a few minutes from my job, I can actually see it from my house, but no way. We were "trapped". It was an odd feeling, but we had a great time. I did manage to study a little and help a friend of mine prepare for an exam, so I felt really good.

But today I have to finish a paper on Arcipreste de Hita, and it's taking me forever...

Too much noise

It's hard to study with the kids at home. Even when I go into another room I can still hear them and that makes it hard to concentrate on what I'm reading. My house is still suffering from the makeover so at the moment we only have one table where I can sit down and work, and that's the dining table, in the middle of the apartment. Surrounded by toys, TV and kids... I think I need ear plugs. There are actually ear plugs made especially for students!

Even when I study in the library at work I get distracted. There's so much noise everywhere. And I'm getting worn out by studying at night, because I don't get enough sleep. I really, really need to get back on track and learn how to study at home. I know what I need to do - get my home back in shape, buy the furniture we so badly need, get some ear plugs, a lamp for the living room and most important, get organized. I have my books all over the place, because I don't have a desk or drawer or even a shelf to put them on, so I leave them wherever I can. I might not pass all my exams in January, I accept that, because things have not been going my way lately, but I will do my best. Out of 5 classes I hope to pass at least 3 of them. Right now I feel like I won't pass a single one, I don't feel prepared at all, but I'll study like crazy all Christmas and we'll see what I can come up with. I'm still very much in the game.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Update - the Organization Challenge

Well, the month of November is almost over and what has happened in my home? Not much that can be seen at first glance. But things are changing, one babystep at a time.

Yesterday was a day with a lot of work. The carpenter finally showed up to fix the bedroom closet. Let me tell you this, it's not pretty but I think it will last for a few more years. At least I have a closet again, after several weeks with the clothes all over the apartment. I can't wait to get everything back in place! And this time I'm going to get it all organized from the start. So yes, I'm still in. My start has been really slow (I had to wait for the carpenter) but I'll try to get everything in place by tomorrow night.



The delivery guys from Kitea came yesterday morning with B:s closet so he finally has his own. That's great because his clothes have been all over the place too, so I think the clothes crisis is about to end. Woohooo! It's about time!


Yesterday morning I took all the furniture and extra stuff that have been in the stairs for ages (ever since the makeover begun) and put it in the rooftop room. It was really crammed by the time I was done.

My brother in law finally came this morning to get his stuff. That was also about time since I've been waiting for him to show up since mid September. Oh well, it's done now and he has taken his stuff away. All of it. I hope. I haven't checked yet. As soon as the weather gets better (May or June) I will get that room fixed so we can use it whenever we want to/need to. But that's another story. *lol*

Friday, 23 November 2007

Money for Christmas

This is the time of year when most people in the West spend too much money on gifts. A lot of them have not been able to save any extra cash so by now they are getting desperate. How do they make it through Christmas?

Getting a loan to be able to buy expensive Christmas presents seems to be one of the most common ways of getting some extra cash. I'm not all that keen on loans, especially for such things as Christmas gifts. But I just hope that people take a good look around before they sign any papers. My advice is to read the small print and think about how you're going to pay it back.

When you need to get a loan there's a kind of quick short term loans called payday loans, that come very handy. You apply for the loan, they approve you and before you know it the money is already in your bank account. And then you begin to pay it back. It's really quick and easy.

Leave the kids alone at home

I have a problem. Well, it's more like a moral dilemma. My kids want to be alone at home and not go with me when I work or have to run errands. So far I haven't left them alone at home for more than 5 or 10 minutes in a row because when my kids are involved I prefer to think "better safe than sorry".

But now I have serious doubts. My kids are 8 and 10 years old. When I was that age most of my friends went home from school alone and spent several hours alone until their parents got home from work. And they were perfectly fine. They even cooked their own meals.

On one hand I think my kids are too small to be alone. At the same time I know I have to start to let go. It's part of them growing up. I know. But it's so difficult to let go.

The other day I talked to a relative and she told me that she began to leave her daughter alone at home when she was 3 years old and now that she's 4 she sometimes leaves her alone for several hours. I don't know. I don't think I could do that. Could you?

I think I'll give it a try tomorrow morning. But only for an hour or so. And I'll be close by and I'll call them a couple of times. Yes, I think I could do that.

It would be interesting to know your opinion on this matter and your experiences. Leaving/not leaving the kids alone at home seems to be a cultural thing.

Craft gifts

Since I'm a crafter I'd love to get craft things under my Christmas tree. I've been looking around the net to see what I could write in my letter to Santa. Oh yes, grownups can make wish lists as well. That's not a privilege just for kids, is it? *lol*

I've found lots of great things at Mpire. They have a wide selection of retail and eBay auctions, so you can find the best prices for the things you're looking for. I found a Craft supply section with so many things I want that there had to be at least 10 Santas to bring me everything I want. Looking at those cute beads (I've recently got into making knotted necklaces, it's so much fun!), minibrads (oh, I'm drooling now), and paint to make window stickers. Oh, there are so many things! I can feel how I'm turning into Mrs. Shopaholic. Someone, please help me! I'm at lost here... Way too any things.... And the worst part is, they are all at affordable prices, so I couldn't even put the blame on not having money. Oh my, there's even a whole section with scrapbook supplies.... I'd better make a HUGE effort to get away from the computer for a while, until my head stops spinning or I'll reach for my credit card and go CRAAAAZY....

The perfect pet?

Both my boys and I would want to have a pet at home. B wants a dog or a hamster, G wants a dog or a rabbit. I would accept any of those, since I love animals, and I've had all three of them. But I don't think that's ever going to happen, because of several things.

First of all, a dog. It would be great to have a dog. I think my boys would benefit from having a furry best friend who could watch over them and listen to them whenever they need to. But having a dog in Morocco is not such a good idea. According to Islam, dogs are evil and vicious animals and they scare away the angels. So lots of Muslims won't enter a house where there's a dog. People are really afraid of dogs and throw stones at them. In a way I can understand that because most people only meet the stray dogs in the streets and they are often sick and wild. People here generally don't see dogs as pets, to them it's like meeting a bear in the street or something. Having a dog here means you need to find a good vet because the dogs in the street probably would transmit a lot of diseases. But things are changing here in Morocco. I see a growing number of pet dogs or guard dogs in the streets, with their owners, so in a few years time society will probably change. It's like when I had my dog in Spain 20 years ago. Back then people had dogs as guard dogs only or as shephards in the countryside and having a dog as a pet was not at all common. Nowadays there seem to be more dogs than people in Spain. *lol* I guess the same thing will happen here, at least to some extent.

A hamster would be nice and I guess I could find someone to take care of it while we go away on holiday to Sweden. But what if it escapes from it's cage? My parents once accepted to take care of a hamster while its' family was on holiday but I accidentally left the cage door open and the hamster escaped. My dad had to tear down the cupboards in the kitchen to get that little creature out. He said never again and never bought me a hamster or guinea pig (I wanted to have both). I did get a rabbit eventually but then we found out my brother was allergic so she had to live in a special cage on the balcony. She was cute but in the end I think she turned a bit crazy because all of a sudden she got really violent and scary. One day she "escaped", or that's what my parents told me when I got home from the beach. They had been cleaning the cage and she escaped.... I think they just let the cage door open so they would get rid of her. Poor creature...

I'm still not sure we could have any pets just yet, but at the same time I think the kids could benefit from that. Having a furry little friend is a good thing and it allows kids to learn about caring, giving and loving in a way a doll or a friend can't. But there must always be a parent there to look after the animal, because a 10 years old is still not capable of taking the whole responsibility of a living creature, and even less someone younger than that.

Maybe we'll get a hamster after Christmas. I at least would enjoy to have a little fur ball at home again.*lol*

A cozy feeling

Now that winter officially is here I would like to get more lamps. My house is really nice during summer, but when the winter comes it seems dark and dull. I would like new lighting because that would make my house look more like a HOME. You know that cozy feeling when you sit on the couch, all wrapped up in blankets, having a cup of tea, the lights are dim and you're reading a good book or watching a good show on TV. I want that too... And now that we're in the middle of a makeover it would be the perfect time. If I only could find what I'm looking for.

My living room really need new lamps. I only have a ceiling lamp and it isn't enough. I would like some forecast lighting because I think it's beautiful. I really like the wall fixed lamps, like the Java Collection. Or the Allure collection from Hinkley lighting. Unfortunately, they don't match my ceiling lamp. So I'm still looking for something that could go with our Moroccan lamps. And that seems to be a problem. Moroccans don't usually have wall fixed lamps so if I want that I think I'd have to start from scratch. No, not now... I think I'd better get my home back together first.

I guess I'll have to go for candles instead. I really love candles but with two boys in the house I seldom light candles, I'm too afraid something might happen. I wish I could find lights that look like candles, that would be the perfect solution. Especially if they use batteries, because every now and then there's a power cut and we have to take out the candles and the flashlights.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Secret Santa

Do you know that game? A bunch of people (friends, people at your work, internet friends, etc) agree to make a gift exchange. Then the participants all get the name of another participant and will make him/her a gift, without him/her knowing who the gift is from. It's a lot of fun and I've always had a great time whenever I've done it.

This year I'm in one group of Secret Santa. I can't give you any details here because my friend might be reading this and I don't want to spoil the surprise. *lol* I'd better get my thinking cap on because I'll have to send her her gift in a few days time.

Are you doing any Secret Santas this year? Please help me come up with ideas for gifts that I could send to my friend. It has to be small enough to get into a parcel, lightweight enough to be sent by snail mail and not too expensive.

Useful gifts for Christmas

When I turned 30 my parents bought me a vacuum cleaner as a birthday gift. It's a very useful thing but honestly, maybe not the most appreciated gift on such a special day. If you turn 29 or 31, then it's a great thing, but not when you go from one decade to another. At least that's my point of view. Do you agree?

Actually, giving a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas is not a bad idea. There are so many vacuum cleaners on the market, it's almost impossible to choose. I've had a peek at the upright cleaners from Dyson and they look great! I've never tried one of those but I remember the family I stayed with while studying English in the UK had one. I like the idea of getting to vacuum the walls and ceiling. There's no chance I could do that with the vacuum cleaner I have now. :-(

A hand held cleaner would also be a nice gift. I wouldn't mind getting one.*lol* And it's the perfect thing for families with babies, because they need to be in a really clean environment. And all of you who have watched a kid eat a cookie know that there are many crumbs to be made out of one single cookie and making crumbs is so much fun when you're 2 years old.... *lol*

The rain is pouring down

I'm glad my pantry is full of food, because it hasn't stopped raining for 2 days now. I went down to the local "hanut", shop, a little while ago and one neighbor told me he heard on the news that it will be raining until Sunday. Oh my, that's a long time.... The rainy season really made a boom this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of you in the U.S., and all Americans abroad - a very, very happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Bad credit

It's easy to get into economical hardships. You can get unemployed, get divorced, get sick, someone close to you pass away, you can get robbed... Getting into economical troubles is nothing to be ashamed of and it's better to accept the fact and try to do something about it than to go on like nothing ever happened. Thank God I've never been in that situation and I hope I never will, but I know a lot of people who've been there.

I've heard that the number of "bad credit" consumers in the U.S. is growing by the day. Well, not only in the U.S., it's a problem that affects people all over the globe. And there's much to be done to prevent more people getting trapped in the bad credit limbo.

But once you're trapped, then what? Does it have to be for life? No, of course not. If you're suffering from bad credit there's a lot to be done.

The best thing would be to stay away from more credits until you're back on track, but since life isn't always logical you might need to get a new credit to pay for another one. That's where BadCreditOffers.com - A New Consumer Resource can give you a helping hand. It's a "free consumer resource dedicated to helping those with a less-than-perfect credit rating." Their goal is "to provide consumers with the knowledge and resources necessary to help them find the best credit offer to fit their needs, regardless of a bad credit history."

First of all, you need to make a financial plan - see the amount of money that's getting into the household and the amount that's getting out of it. In the long run you need to get to a stage where more money is getting in than going out. That's the hard part. But you need to make a plan that will run over at least a year or longer, whatever it takes to cure your finances. Credit counseling is a great way to get started.

Then you need to make a commitment. Do you really want to get out of debt? By making payments on time, you can rebuild your credit. Even if you can only pay a little every month, you need to do that and pay before the due date. Once you get into the habit it will get easier. Baby steps, as FLY Lady would say. And hang in there! It will get better.

A new look

Since it's almost Christmas I decided I needed a new look for the blog so I'm working on it in my spare time. So please be patient with me, it might take a few days to get it the way I want.

Work, work, work....

Tomorrow I'll start up a new group at work. Level 3, the highest level we've had so far at my center. I'm a bit nervous because it's a higher level, with a book I've never used before and a lot more grammar to be explained. At the same time I'm really thrilled, because teaching is so much fun and I know that my students will work hard. They are really eager to learn, so they will push me to the limit. And that's okey, because after all, I'm their bridge to a better knowledge of Spanish.

From this week onwards I'll work 4 days a week. I have one class a day, so actually I'm at work for about 2 hours each time. I would have preferred to work only 3 days and have two classes one of them but my students couldn't come that day. Oh well, I'll have to organize myself better.... Now, how many times have I said that this year? *lol*

My life is really hectic these days and I LOVE IT! Yes, I do. For the most part. There are things I could be without, like the problems with the makeover. Yep, after 3 months we're still living in the middle of a construction site with things everywhere.:-( I wanted to participate in a "get fit" challenge but when and where am I going to work out in a living room crowded with boxes and other stuff that's not supposed to be in a living room!?... And the same goes for the Organization challenge. There's no way I'm going to get a nice living room with so much stuff that don't belong there and that's not clutter. I mean, the kitchen stuff is supposed to be in the kitchen, not in the living room. *grrrrr*

Anyway, that's the way things are and I try to make things work as smoothly as possible. Hopefully next week will be a bit better, IF the delivery guys bring me B:s closet I bought the other day and IF the carpenter does come back on Friday morning to finish my closet. IF they do, I will be able to get rid of a lot of stuff in the living room, B will get his room back, G will get his room back and I can start to put away the summer clothes and take out the winter clothes. It's getting really cold here when you only have summer clothes but there's no way I can get to the warmer clothes right now. :-( Please say a prayer that they won't let me down - again...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Buying a new house

My home is slowly coming back together. I'm far from finished but I'm working my way through the apartment, according to what's done and what's not. I really love my home, in spite of the mess it's in right now. I would not sell my home for anything in the world. *lol*

I think there are several things you need to think about before you go and buy yourself a new home. The first one is your overall impression. Do you really like the house/apartment? How do you feel when you think about it? Happy, stressful, sad, something in between? How do you feel about the neighborhood? I think you should buy a home not just with your head but also with your heart. After all, you're going to live there, hopefully for many, many happy years so you need to be satisfied with your new home.

We bought our apartment unseen and let me tell you, that is not a good way to buy real estate! We were lucky because we immediately fell in love with the place. But it could also have been the biggest disappointment in our lives. Please don't do what we did. Anyway, in the end everything turned out for the best and now I'm totally crazy about my home. *lol*

You too can be lucky and find the home of your dreams (unless you've found it already), maybe in Boulder Colorado. Who knows?

Spanish medieval literature

One of the books I have to read for my literature class is "Cantar de mio Cid", originally transmitted orally but written down in the 12th century. It is written in medieval Spanish, which is sometimes very difficult to understand, even for a Spanish native.

The Cantar de mio Cid is based on a true story. It tell the story of a Spanish hero called El Cid or El Campeador, during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors. He fell into the disfavor of the king and had to leave his home country, Castile. To regain his honor, he participated in the battles against the Moorish armies until the king forgave him and let him come back home. It really is an exciting story and a great way to learn about a period in history so different from ours.

Medieval literature is one of my favorite classes. It's fun and interesting but also one of the hardest this year, due to the amount of pages we need to read and memorize. It's okey, because I love Spanish literature and I've been looking forward to doing this class for several years. I'm so happy I decided to give it a try.

Skiing in the Alps

When I was a kid I used to ski a lot. Of course, since I was born in Sweden, the land the World's Largest Cross-Country Skirace, called "the Vasaloppet". When you're born in Sweden you have to know how to ski cross-country. It's an essential part of the culture and, at least when I was a kid, a way of life.

One of the most popular winter sports resorts in Europe is Chamonix in eastern France. It's situated at the foot of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe, situated on the border between France and Italy.

Chamonix is famous for its spectacular cable car. People from all over Europe go there to do advanced skiing and snowboarding. There are several ski area and some of them offer off pists. Chamonix also has a lot to offer in summer. It's a mecca for alpine mountaineers and hardcore mountain bikers.

FSI Property are specialists in ski chalets and apartments across the world. They offer a great deal for those interested in owning a Chamonix property. Like the traditional chalets of the Alps. They are so cute! If you've ever watched "Heidi" you know what I'm talking about. I would love to have one of those and be able to go to Chamonix whenever I felt like it.

Wordless Wednesday - Flowers

Termites and other bugs

I don't like bugs. Not any kind of bugs. Actually, I'm really scared of bugs. I think a cockroach is a lot scarier than a mouse. Not that I would want to find a mouse in my home but I definitely hate it when I find cockroaches. And sometimes I do, because the stupid things have wings and fly their way up to our apartment. Oh, how I hate those bugs!

I'm glad we "only" have problems with cockroaches and ants here where I live. It could be worse... Like termites. Oh, I would faint if I saw one of those.

If you live in an area where there is a chance of your home getting infested with termites, do a termite inspection around your house. Because you know, the sooner you find them the easier it will be to get rid of them.

It's raining!

Oh boy, the rains are here... It began to rain before 6 PM and it's still raining, 6 hours later. It is most likely going to rain all night, so tomorrow morning when I get up it will still be pouring down. And when I walk my kids to my friend's house so they can go to school. And when I go into town to pick them up from school... And.... and... and.... What's ahead of us are 5 months of "winter", heavy raining and cold nights. We are still going to have warm and sunny days, of course, but as soon as the sun goes down the temperatures will drop to around 10 degrees C. And at night it can drop as much as to 4 - 5 degrees. *brrrrr* That's really, really cold here.

Monday, 19 November 2007

The rains are coming

I've heard today that it's snowing heavily in the north of Spain and that it's raining in the east. That means that the rains will probably hit us tomorrow or on Wednesday. The rain season is about to begin!

You can easily tell that the rains are on their way because the temperatures have dropped. This morning I had to turn on the electric heater for the first time this season. The kids were not not happy to get up in a very cold house. I think we had like 17 degrees C when I got up. I really need to buy a gas heater! Electricity is so expensive so we hardly use it, and because of that the house gets cold and damp, and everything starts to smell. :-( With a heater we can actually afford I think things will change.

Today I'm attacking Mount Washmore because once it starts to rain it will probably rain for a week and then it will be sunny but cold for a day or two before it starts to rain again. And do on... Until May, when the rains stop and the dry season begins. I don't have a dryer so when it rains the laundry won't get dry for several days and you can imagine the smell... *yuck* I hate that smell! So I usually end up drying the laundry in the living room. :-(

Far behind on my reading list

Lately I've been too busy to read any blogs. Usually I visit my favorite blogs and those on my reading list at least once a week but since I went back to school I haven't read many blogs. There just isn't any time for reading until I finish my first exams.

When I finish my exams I hope to add more travel blogs to my reading list. I think that's the perfect combo - a blog about traveling. I love going places, not for the thrill of going far or getting a stamp in my passport, but to see new things. Actually, you don't have to travel at all to discover new places, just go for a walk in your neighborhood and look at everything with "new" eyes. I'm sure you'll discover lots of things you never thought about before.

One thing I like about travel blogs is that they usually have a wider approach to the place they visit and not just a travel agent's point of view. A travel blog can deal with just about any subject and then you can leave comments. I think that's part of the fun, to talk about your experiences while traveling.

Only 2 more weeks before my first 3 exams. When I'm done with those I think I'll take a whole day off and just relax. And do some serious blog reading. *lol*

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Planning my entrance

I still haven't done anything about my entrance. I wrote about it in a previous post where I asked for some advice, and since then I have been too busy to be able to do anything about it.

These past days I've been thinking a lot about the entrance. I really want to do something about it, because a nice looking entrance will make you smile when you get home, a mess will get you into a bad mood.

I've been thinking about this bench/shoe closet. I think it will look nice in the entrance and since it's a bench it will come in handy when the boys tie their shoe laces. I just wonder what that space on top is, a drawer maybe? I hope so, that would be a nice detail. We're going back to Kitea tomorrow to have a look at this.

I'm still thinking about making a back pack station in the entrance, so the boys backpacks would get out of the way. But maybe it would be better to make them their own in their rooms, because otherwise I would probably be lifting them up and down all evening from the hooks. I really would want to buy them the desks tomorrow but since my closet broke down and I'm still waiting for the %&)#¤ carpenter to show up and fix it, my clothes and other stuff are all over B:s room. I wouldn't want the delivery men to see that mess. :-( So I guess the desks will have to wait another week. But they are priority #3, after my closet and the entrance.

Be happy, don't worry

One of the bad things about being a student is that you don't make any money and if you do, you'll probably spend it on books anyway, so you're always poor. It's okey when you're young and live with your parents because they will probably help you out as much as they can and you could get a scholarship. You might even get by without taking a loan. But when you've already passed the college age, don't live with your parents anymore, have a family to take care of, then being a student is an even tougher situation. Not only do you have to worry about your studies and exams, you also worry sick about money. At least if you don't take a private student loan. And if you plan to work part time you have to know that the more you work, the less you can study. Ask me, I know.... :-(

After several years of studies my best tip to all future students is to take a close look into student loan consolidation because consolidating your student loans can help you reduce your student loan payments. The best thing is to think about how to pay for your studies even before you register at college. Once you're in college and you run out of money it can get really expensive to take a quick loan without thinking. You're going to be in college for quite some time so you have to think twice about your economy. With a good plan and student loan consolidation you can avoid worries and concentrate on your studies.

Good luck to you if you're in college and please wish me luck, because I have 3 exams in 2 weeks time and I really should spend more time studying. But you can't live on air alone, can you?

Study group

I'm glad I've found a group of girls to study with. We are 5 girls and we all live in different cities, so we study online. So far it works great!

There is so much to study so we have divided the work between us and then share our notes. We chat almost every day and also have fixed hours when we talk about different classes. Like today, it's Sunday and in less than an hour we'll talk about Spanish Medieval Literature. Thanks to the girls I'm slowly catching up on everything.

I spent 5 hours at the library on Friday and hopefully I'll be able to study at least 3 hours at the library tomorrow. I haven't been able to study much this weekend so I really need to work hard next week. And no scrapping. :-( I just hope the stupid carpenter will show up tomorrow and fix my bedroom closet because I'm sick and tired of not having a place to put my clothes.

Well, these are my plans for next week. What are yours? Are you doing anything fun?

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Spanish attractions

I wish I could invite you all to come and visit Spain. Spain really is a country well worth a visit. It might not be as exotic as Thailand or Kenya and not as cheap as Polonia but it has a lot to offer to all kinds of tourists. Nice beaches, historical places, a rich culture, great music, one of the best cuisines in the world, famous wine, bullfightning (which I DON'T like!), friendly people.... The lots, I would say. Have a look at hotels in Spain.

One of my favorite cities is Barcelona. It's one of the biggest cities in Spain and famous for La Sagrada Familia, the non finished work by Gaudí. They have worked on the church for over 100 years now and they are not even halfway through! It's really impressive and if you ever go to Barcelona, you have to go there! But make sure you go early in the morning because the line gets tremendously long in no time. Gaudí also did other works, like the Casa Batlló building in central Barcelona and one of my favourite places - Parque Güell, where I used to play when I was a kid. Shopping in Barcelona is awesome and if you're into football (soccer) you have to go to Camp Nou, F.C Barcelona's arena. Don't forget to visit the F.C. Barcelona museum. It's actually the most visited museum in Barcelona! Yes, we Europeans are crazy about football. *lol* A list of hotels in Barcelona.

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the Balear Islands. I haven't been there since I was a kid but my parents go there every now and then and they say it's beautiful. Palma City is just like any other big Spanish city - lots of shopping and a great night life. Probably not the best place to go to if you have kids or if you're too old to go clubbing. But there is so much more on the island. Like the Drach Caves and the largest underground lake. Mallorca is also famous for its' churches and the landscape, which is perfect for trekking. It's easy to get to Palma from the mainland, you just take the ferry from Barcelona. Hotels in Palma.

Málaga is the name of a city and also a province in the south of Spain. It's one of the 9 provinces in the region called Andalusia. I believe most people think about Andalusia when they think about Spain - beaches, cheap wine, flamenco.... But Andalusia (and the rest of Spain, of course!) is so much more. In the Málaga province you find the Picasso museum, the caves of Nerja, the jet set in Puerto Banús, the zoo in Fuengirola (look at my post about it), the bird park in Benalmádena Costa... I could go on forever. *lol*There are plenty of hotels in Malaga. And while you're in Andalusia you absolutely have to visit Granada, my Spanish "home town".

Poetry for kids

At my kids' school they invite writers and poets to come and have workshops with the kids at least once a year. Being a Spanish school in Morocco makes it a bit difficult to transmit Spanish culture to the kids so I'm glad at least they have the occasional workshops.

Two poets came this week and worked with the kids in grades 3 - 6. My kids said they had a great time and that poetry is so much fun. I wish I knew how to help them keep that new interest, because I consider poetry to be an important part of a person's education. That's something I think is typical for Spain. You can ask just about anyone on the street and they will know several poems by heart and know the names of several famous writers. I know this is not so in many countries in the world.

Next time I go to Ceuta I will look for books with poetry for kids. Many Spanish writers and poets have done books for kids, just because it's such an important part of our common culture.

Unfortunately I don't read much poetry. I don't have time to. But since my kids seem so interested these days I think I'll take the opportunity and make an effort and start reading some. There are so many Spanish poets I like, like Federico García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jimenez and Rafael Alberti.

Do you read poetry? Or do you write poetry? Do you read novels? Or any other kind of litterature? Do you know the name of any Spanish writers?

I don't like winter

It's getting cold here. It's almost winter and soon the rains will begin. I do not look forward to that, because I prefer summer and warm days. I wish I could spend the summers here and the winters somewhere else. Like Australia. *lol* A friend of mine lives there and she's getting ready for spring. Oh, I envy her. But then I wouldn't want to spend the winter there because they seem to have the same type of ugly weather that we have. A 50/50 sort of life would be perfect!

Going to Australia has been a dream of mine for years. But I wouldn't want to go just for a week or two. Australia is such a big country so I probably would need six months or more before I could say that "I've been to Australia". I would love to work my way through the country, going from place to place, staying for a month or so in each place. I wonder if that's possible these days. I know people who've done that, traveled as backpackers and worked their way around Australia and Asia. I could do that too. *lol*

In a way it seems to be easier to travel around these days, because you can plan a lot ahead so you know exactly where you're going to stay before going there. There are lots of websites where you can find lodging, jobs and friends. Like this one I found about Adelaide - Adelaide classifieds where you can find jobs in Adelaide and even dating in Adelaide, if you feel lonely. What more can you possibly need? *lol* So who knows, in 10 years or so I might go there and have a look around.

Sunday Scrapping

Sunday ScrappinAmy at Tiny Blessings has started a new meme called Sunday Scrapping. I really love to scrap, it makes me so relaxed and focused on the things I have to do afterwards, so I wish I could scrap regularly. It definitely would be great for my sanity. *lol*

I hope to participate in this meme from time to time. It's easy - just post your TO-DO's and TA-DA's for the week. And if you want to share, post some pictures of the things you have achieved. I need to get my Christmas cards done. So far I've done like 0 cards for myself.... And lately not many cards for sale either. Oh well, I can't do everything, can I? Right now my studies and work are my highest priorities, besides my kids of course.

I've got the flu

I woke up this morning with the flu. My throat is so sore, I cough all the time and my head is spinning... And honestly, I don't have time to be sick right now! There are so many things to do. I have to study A LOT. Only a few more weeks to go before the exams and I haven't gotten beyond the first chapter in most of my classes.

So I'm off to the pharmacy to buy everything they have to take the flu away. I guess I'll come home with a bag full of pills and cough medicine. *lol*

Friday, 16 November 2007

Fuengirola Zoological Park


During our stay in Fuengirola (Spain) we went to the local zoo one day. We had a lot of fun!
The zoo is very small but they have lots and lots of animals, like different sorts of crocodiles, tigers, monkeys I hadn't seen before, at least 50 different species of birds. The zoo is divided in two parts - Africa and Asia. There are lots of exotic animals I haven't seen in any zoo before.
Like these creatures. They are some sort of miniature deers or something and they never get any bigger than that. They are just about the size of a newborn baby. They live in Africa, under the trees in the woods.
I don't know what type of bird this is but I think it's beautiful.

We could only spend about 2½ hours at the zoo, because we had other plans, but actually I think we could have spent several hours there. My kids and I have decided that we'll go there next year as well.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Looking at Furniture from home

I don't really like Moroccan furniture because either it's "European style", and of very bad quality and in strange colors, or it's "Lebanese style" and then it's too decorated for my taste. I like simple things, like "country style" and furniture that is made to be used. My home is small, so I don't want pieces of furniture that would look their best in a palace. I just want plain and simple. Things for everyday use that will last for a long time. Things that look handmade even though they aren't. I'm not really that picky, I just want furniture that works in my home.

I'm looking for chairs for my kitchen. They have to have backs or my kids will fall off, and they need to be high. Bar stools is probably what I'm looking for, because they are high enough. And I've found some really nice ones too.

I enjoy going to big entertainment centers with furniture stores. Furniture From Home make furniture for families that won't go out of fashion in many years. I wish I had one of those stores close to where I live because then I would consider getting my furniture there. Browsing through the homepage I've found so many things I'd like to buy. Why can't I be rich? Then I would have it shipped here. *lol*

For my bedroom I would pick a storage bed, with lots of storage space under the bed. I like the idea of sleeping in a high place, I think it would make me feel like a queen in my very modest home. I've wanted a bed like this for years. It reminds me of the Quaker style, I think they used beds like this, didn't they?

Dining room furniture is the easiest to pick I think. I want a huge table so many people can sit down at the same time to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee.

Oh well, right now I'd be happy if I found desks for the kids and the chairs for the kitchen.

Daarija

Daarija is the name Moroccans use when they talk about the language they use every day. Actually it's a sort of Arabic, but mixed with lots of local words (Spanish, French, Berber, etc) so for people outside of Morocco it's hard to understand. There is no written Daarija yet, it is still not considered a language of its own, so people try to write it using the Arabic alphabet. But Daarija has lots of sounds which Arabic doesn't, like "p" and "g". Someone speaking Arabic from another part of the Arabic world would probably say "Bark your car" whereas a Moroccan would say "Park your car". That makes it difficult to write Daarija using the Arabic alphabet because they have to invent new letters.

I think it's very interesting to live in Morocco at a time like this, especially when you look at life here from a Linguistic point of view. we are actually living the same language evolution as with Latin, when Latin became Spanish, French, Catalán, Romanian, Portuguese, etc. I think it's really exciting and I wish my Daarija were better. I still speak it very, very badly and I need to practise a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to go to class next year,so I can learn the grammar. The problem is, that since the language is changing there are no fixed rules of grammar. It makes it very hard to learn to speak properly. I will have to spend more time with my mother in law, she's very patient with me and she enjoys helping me learn.

Ink or not ink...

I spent all morning today printing notes and summaries for my Literature class. This year I'm studying Medieval Literature which is one of my favorite subjects actually. But there is so much to read. First of all we need to read like almost 1000 pages in different text books and then we also need to read 7 works in Medieval Spanish. *phew* And that is just one of the classes I take this year.

I think every student these day needs a computer with a printer, because copying notes by hand takes such a long time. Having a printer really is a blessing, because you can copy whatever you need, print it out and take it with you, to be read wherever you go.

So far I´ve spent a lot of money on ink for the computer. I am very forgetful and never remember the name of the ink I need for my computer. This is the usual scenario for me: Getting to the shop and not remembering what cartridges I should buy... That is so very embarrassing. I go back home, jot the name on a piece of paper and go back to the store, just to discover that I've lost that piece of paper. Isn't that annoying?

Recently I found Cartridge Finder, which is a user friendly site where you can find the name of the devices so you buy the right kind of ink. They carry cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines. They also check PriceGrabber.com's merchant listings in order to give you the best price available. At least I know where to go next time I run out of ink. Which will be any time soon I'm afraid.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Looking for a desk

Both my boys have tiny tables in their rooms but they have outgrown them a long time ago. They can't do their homework there anymore because there isn't enough space for their books. So now I'm looking for desks. So far I've been to two stores and in both it's actually cheaper to get the whole lot - bed, nightstand, closet, chest of drawers,desk... Well, actually getting just the desk is cheaper but in a few years time we will have to buy them new beds anyway and then the new beds might not color coordinate with the desk so maybe I'll get them the lot, once and for all. *lol*

Furniture is very expensive here in Morocco. Either you get a carpenter to make you the furniture or you buy it in a store. There are three main stores here in Tetuán: Golden Kit, Kitea and Mobilia. The store bought furniture is usually of really low quality and very expensive. The hand made furniture can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on what kind of furniture you're making. The most negative point about hand made furniture is that it can take years before you get your furniture delivered...

B:s room is blue so when I saw this bedroom I fell in love with it. It would look so cute in his room. But I will probably have to look for something a bit less expensive or our economy will be crying for a long time head.

Ring, ring...

Oh boy, I just came across THE mobile phone. I think I'm in love...

The Samsung G600 is a slide phone, so it's really slim and easy to take with you. It's actually a 5 megapixel camera phone with a multi-imaging system. I could take lots of beautiful photos for Wordless Wednesday with one of these. *lol* It's also a music phone with built in radio. You can chose continuous music play, even when the phone is switched off, with the energy-saving Offline Mode. Isn't that a neat feature? And you can navigate on Internet with your cell phone, thanks to Bluetooth V2 and High Speed USB 2.0.

Let's see if Santa brings me a new cell phone this year. :-)

Fuengirola, Spain

It was great to be back in Spain, even though it was only for a few days. I feel like my batteries were totally recharged, and I feel full of energy. Going back home is great! After years and years of living abroad it's so relaxing just to know that you don't have to make an effort to communicate with people since you speak the same language as they do and they enjoy the same kind of jokes as you do and they grew up watching the same shows on TV... Little things one might not think about but that are very important for someone abroad.

We went to Fuengirola,which is a nice town in the Málaga province in southern Spain. Spain is divided into regions and the southern region is called Andalusia (Andalucía in Spanish). Andalucía is famous for its' coast, Costa del Sol, and the flamenco.


I like this square, this is Spain to me. Among other things.


A view from the hotel.


Picture taken from the hotel but in the opposite direction.

Tile floors

I'm a bit bored... I should be studying Latin but somehow I don't feel like studying tonight. I would rather be surfing the net or watching TV. One of my favorite shows on TV right now is called "Money Money" and if you're lucky you can win a lot of money. I wouldn't mind participating in a show like that, especially if I won some money. *lol*

If I won a lot of money I'd buy a spacious house with a huge garden, a big garage and a swimming pool. I've been looking at garage floors and there seem to be a lot to chose from. I would, of cause, have tile floors in my garage, because I like tiles. I think they are very classy and they can last for ages.

It¨s getting cold

When I got up this morning we had 17 degrees celcius in the entrance. That's cold. Last winter the temperatures dropped to 12 degrees indoors in the mornings. I tell, getting up when it's only 12 degrees is not nice. *brrr* These past mornings have been really chilly so I think I'd better start preparing the winter clothes soon.

We have two electric heaters which we use quite a lot during winter. But electricity in Morocco is very, very expensive, so a lot of people hardly use their heaters. Instead they wear their jackets indoors. The funny thing about the climate here is that the sun is really warm, even during winter, so most of the time it's warmer outdoors than indoors.

This year I'm going to buy a gas heater on wheels, so I can take it from one room to another. I have always been really scared of gas heaters (what if it explodes?) but I've heard that as long as you take certain precautions they are just as safe as electic heaters. But they are really cheap to use (at least compared to electric heaters) and one gas heater could warm the whole flat, whereas you need at least an electric heater in each room to keep it warm and cozy.

The winters here are nothing compared to winter in Sweden. Actually, it doesn't get that cold in degrees but the hig levels of humidity (80 - 90 %) and the winds make you think it's a lot colder. So when it's 10 degrees here it's like 0 in Sweden. It doesn't snow here but it rains a lot in winter. Sometimes it rains for 5 days on end, day and night. That makes me envy the bears who spend the winters asleep, tucked up in a warm cave. I'm glad winter doesn't last that long, usually from december to april, and then the rest of the year it hardly rains at all.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Never too late

Lately I've thought a lot about my parents getting old. I still consider them very young, but they are actually over 60 both of them and both have health issues. That worries me, because I live so far away from them. When they get older and need more help I want to be there for them, but how am I going to do that living this far away? Hopefully I'll find a solution before we need to do something about it.

One option would be for me to move back to Sweden and another one would be to bring them here to live with us. And then there's the option of care homes. Me personally, I would prefer to have my parents with me and not in a home somewhere. But in case my parents got really ill or I couldn't take care of them properly I would prefer to have them in somebody else's care.

At Bettercaring you can have a look at the different options you have if you live in the UK and looking for the best solution for you and your family. You can also read daily news about care and health. And in case you need to vent or have questions about care, there is even a community.

At the webpage you can read about the Silver Hoodies, a band formed by seniors living in care homes. Their combined age is 420 years old, and the members' ages ranging from 63 to 72. Isn't that cool? They do covers of Snow Patrol, the Pussycat Dolls and McFly. I wish I could listen to them on the net and hear what they sound like.

A cutie - but don't stand too close

Sunday, 11 November 2007

No safety kits

Not a single blogger took my safety challenge. :-( Today is the last day and since I haven't seen much interest I've decided to skip all challenges for the time being. Instead I'll concentrate on the writing part and leave the contests to others.

My safety kit isn't finished, it still needs a few details. But I'm working on it. I'll show you my kit as soon as I finish.

Now I'm off to bed. Hopefully I'll get the bedroom closet fixed tomorrow, because it totally gave up the other day. The carpenter promised he'll come tomorrow morning so I've taken everything out and my home is an even bigger mess right now. But hopefully I'll be able to put things back tomorrow evening and this time I'll do it right. I'm participating in the 30 Day Organization Challenge with both my closet and my living room. Unfortunately I haven't done much about it so far but as soon as I get my closet back I definitely will.

This is the state of my living room on November 1st:


And this is the original post with a picture of my living room a few days before the challenge.

Short term loans

Things happen. When you least of all want/need something unexpected to happen, they do. I guess Murphy's Law is right after all, because things happen when you're not prepared. And since you're not prepared, money can be an issue.

This is where Payday Loans come in handy. I had heard about them before but didn't know what they were. Now I do. They are short term loans made especially to lend you a hand when you need money quickly. Getting a loan is very easy - you just fill in a form with your personal information and bank account information, wait until a lender contacts you and then work out the terms together. Normally you have to repay your loan within a month or less. Easy come, easy go kind of loan. That's why they're called "pay day loans" because you have to repay as soon as your next paycheck comes. There are several repayment options: Do nothing and your loan will auto-finance, pay off the loan in full, renew the loan and pay interest and fees only and finally, renew the loan and pay interest and part of the principal.

Studying....


This is how I spent part of our holiday: studying. My parents took care of the kids so I could study alone. That was really great and much needed. So far I've lost almost one month of studies so I'm very far behind, but I try not to let that get me down.

I feel proud of myself. Today I've read about 40 pages of Phonetics. It's not the easiest subject, so I think I did great. I hope I can finish the book tomorrow. Actually it's not the book I need to read for class. This one includes more or less the same things but it's shorter and the language is easier. I think it will be easier to read the other book once I've finished this one. I will try to catch up on Phonetics and Linguistics next week and then work really hard on Literature the following week. Actually I have 5 subjects this semester, but I've sort of given up on Literature Theory and so far I have only done 3 chapters of Latin. And time is flying... Guess what I'll do during Christmas break? *lol*

Contest for bloggers

I just came across Earthfrisk and their contest. It's a brand new company in the branch of Social Media and combines social bookmarking with social media and social networking. I think that's pretty cool, because it's kind of "all in one" really. You network and make friends, thus having a social life online and at the same time

There are some great prizes to win in different categories: Largest Network Of Friends/Members, Frisks/Submission King or Queen - Most Submissions, Comment Queen/King - The Most amount of comments placed in comments on boards and Best Original Homepage/Profile. The prizes are cash and Virtual Office Services.

If you don't know what Virtual Office Services are, you're not alone. *lol* I didn't know until a few minutes ago, I had to turn to Google to find out. It's basically a group of people who work for you and your company, answering your phone, taking messages, giving information to clients, receiving fax, a toll free phone number, etc. This is great for smaller companies (especially home based companies) because it makes your company seem bigger. That's good for getting more clients.

If you want to participate in the contest you'd better hurry up, because it ends next week.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

A day in the park

As I told you earlier, the boys and I spent a few days in Málaga, Spain. We went there on Friday morning and came home on Tuesday evening. We had a great time! I really miss living in Spain. Who knows, we might move back one day, because after all, Spain is my home.

A friend of mine, who lives in Málaga, came to the hotel to pick us up. She took us to a park in another town where my kids and her son could run around and play. Here are some pictures from the park:

Big ducks
Huge duck! They were really big, I've never seen anything like that.

ostrich
More BIG birds. This is some sort of African ostrich.

a cute rabbit
There are lots of rabbits in the park. They are used to the kids and some of them let the kids pat them and hug them. My son really fell for this one and wanted to take it home. I wish we could....

Friday, 2 November 2007

A mini holiday

The boys and I are going away on a mini holiday. My parents and other relatives are spending a few days in Málaga, Spain and they have invited us to join them for the weekend. We're leaving tomorrow morning, as early as possible, so we can spend some more time with them. It will take us all morning to get there: first we go by taxi to the border, cross the border on foot, take a taxi or bus to the ferry. Then we go by ferry to the mainland. From Algeciras we'll go by bus to the city where we are staying, called Fuengirola.

We're going to stay in a hotel and the kids are really excited about that. They have never stayed in a hotel before. At least not since they were babies so they don't remember anything from that experience. They have asked me lots of questions about the hotel and really look forward to the trip.

We'll be back on Monday so until then - have a great weekend and enjoy life as much as you can! I know I'll try to. :-) And I'll take lots of photos, so check back next week to get to know a little about the south of Spain.

BTW, don't forget to participate in the Safety Kit Challenge!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

My own money

After 3 years without my own income it's nice to be making my own money again. It's not much and we're not going to be rich because om my jobs, but that doesn't matter to me. I feel great just knowing that I am making something, even if it's just for coffee.

One way to make quick money is through poker. It's also a quick way to loose money. I have no personal experience with any casino of any kind (if you've read a few posts down you'd known that by now) but the more I read about it the more I think I'd better try it some day. Online gambling, when done in a secure place, seems to be the best idea so far. I couldn't go to a "normal" casino because the expressions on my face would let everyone know how I was doing. *lol* I do not have a poker face, on the contrary. By the way, what would be the opposite of a poker face? A mayogi face? ;-)

First things first... You need a good, reliable online casino review and a teacher. At least you do need a teacher if you're not familiar with the game. When you're about to start playing online it's good to have a reliable review to look at, because there are several thousands of online casinos and not all of them are safe. A good review should include game experience, trust score and bonuses offered by each casino. Then what? I guess you need a lot of guts and a will to win. I'm not sure I'm prepared for that yet, so for the time being I'll continue to just think about it. And have a look at reviews.