All Posts Tagged ‘Home

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The (im)perfect living room

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We had a nice living room with a wooden floor in a very bad condition. the contrast between the floor and the furniture was too obvious so we recently decided to varnish the floor.

I remember those days with horror. We had to clear the room of furniture: take out the heavy couch that didn’t fit thru the narrow door and what can I say about the piano! The tables were easier, but the furniture of the library were a nightmare. We finished exhausted knowing that two or three days after we would have to do the job again to put the furniture in their place.

Finally the varnishing team came and did their job but they left lots of dust behind them. Fortunately, we had protected very well the piano against the dust. We began to clean the rest of the house and the room and replace the furniture.

Suddenly, our nice couch and our lovely shelving furniture looked rather old and worn against the sparkling new floor. Oh boy! There is no way to find the harmony. Speaking about harmony, our piano leveled somehow the look of the room because when we were transporting it we made an ugly mark on the just varnished floor so it’s not already so perfect

Varnish

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A rescue team

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We’ve all been asked what five objects we’d take with us to a desert island. Now it’s your best friend’s (or close relative’s) turn to be stranded: what five objects would you send him/her off with?

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Today Is a miserable day. It’s raining non stop. There is a storm. Its cold. Imagine a day like this in a deserted island, with no roof to take cover, with no place to get warm and keep dry. I don’t wish it to my worst enemy.

First, I would never send my best friend to a desert island. Why would I? I don’t want to lose her friendship.

– OK, my friend: Leave everything immediately, because I’m going to ship you to a deserted island and leave you stranded there with only five items I’ll choose for you. What a lousy deal! Is she drunk?, my friend will suspect. But then she will remember that I can’t drink booze because of my medication, so she will think that I’ve gone nuts.

Second, if I’d have news that my best friend has stayed stranded in a deserted island, I’d send her a rescue team. If that’s not possible, I’d send:

– A boat equipped with GPS and radio
– Enough fuel to reach civilization
– Enough fresh drinking water
– Enough food
– A phone, to talk with whoever she wants

All she needs to come back home where she is happy.

 

Someone Else’s Island.

 

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Who am I?

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You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?

– Please, make yourself at home.

– Nothing easiest. Everything is so familiar… You even have a cat, like my little Gomiguan.

– What a coincidence!, his name is also Gomiguan. How did you choose such a name?

– Is a long story. What about you?

– It was the name of the imaginary friend of my baby sister long time ago.

– That’s impossible. It was the name of the imaginary friend of MY baby sister. No way we both have the same weird story. And why are you wearing the same clothes I’m wearing today?

– I was going to ask you the same question.

– I’m not feeling well. Can I go to the restroom?

– I’ll show you the way

– No thank you. I know my way.

Once in the restroom, I open the cabinet and I find a toothpaste and a toothbrush exactly as I left them at home minutes ago. Even my facial cream is there with the same stain in the jar that mine has.

I’m scared. Where am I? Who is this woman who opened her door so kindly to me? Why she has everything I have?

In my way back from the restroom I see the library’s door open. I enter. All is exactly like at home. When I enter a library I usually look first at the books. But this time my eyes get immediately fixed in a framed picture on the desk. It’s my father’s photo! That’s not a mere coincidence. Here there is something more going on.

– So you discovered everything!, she says laughing and staring at me coldly from the door.

I turn scared with the photo in my hands. I look at her face. She has transformed.  Now she looks exactly like me!

I run to the restroom. I look at the mirror. I see my reflection. I don’t recognise myself. I’m now blonde and fat. Just like her when I arrived. I’m crying. Who am I?

I wake up. What a nightmare!

Doppelgänger Alert.

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The way home

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Do you remember a recent dream you had? Or an older one that stayed vivid in your mind? Today, you’re your own Freud: Tell us the dream, then interpret it for us! Feel free to be as serious or humorous as you see fit, or to invent a dream if you can’t remember a real one.

It’s a wonderful day. The sun shines. I’m doing errands for my mom. I’m walking happily when I arrive to a familiar square close to my home with a round garden and a big fountain in the middle. Suddenly, I fall. I get dizzy. When I get up all the buildings around the square have changed places. I try to find the way home but it’s impossible. The familiar streets are not there any more. When I try one, I end in a dead end. I’m completely lost.
This was a recurrent dream long time ago.
I’m not good interpreting dreams but I think this one is easy. It has to do with my stunning ability to stumble and fall and my absolute lack of sense of direction.

Freudian Flips.

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Inside

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Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

I’m afraid of the elevator. It’s an old dark wooden machine inserted in a cage-like structure that quiver while it lifts up to the sixth and top floor where I live.

But the shaking is not what worries me. I hate the elevator because once a man cornered me inside it with the intention to kidnap me. He even grabbed my hand. I screamed and a neighbour heard me and saved me. The man escaped. Since then I can’t take the elevator without shivering. I still have nightmares.

Once in my floor I ring the bell. Mom opens the door. She greets me in Croatian with her sweet voice and I feel like I just have left the hostile world in which I live and to enter not only my home but my homeland. I finally feel sure. Inside dwells my family. I understand the sense of humor. I can hear my motherly language.

The flat has a long and narrow corridor with rooms at both sides and the kitchen at the end. We have the apartment rented. The kitchen is very old. It works with charcoal. My mom has to work hard to maintain all clean. She is an intelectual but when she arrived to Spain they didn’t recognised her titles so she is not working outside home.

My dad is professor at the University writer and journalist. He teaches Literature. He has a big library and a desk where he writes his books and articles for the newspaper typing in an old Olivetti. Every night he is in a rush writing his column about foreign politics for the local newspaper. At eight a messenger comes to pick up the original. We all know what a deadline is.

What I love of my father’s work is when he begins to write poetry. He uses to read his poems to mom, some of them dedicated to her. She smiles when he reads. They love each other so much!

What I don’t like so much is his work at the University. He spends too much time there and organises meetings with his students at home also. Once a year he invites all his students. That day is crazy. We don’t have enough chairs for all. Dad helps mom in the kitchen to prepare dinner, buffet style, because many of the students are standing or sitting on the floor. They enjoy it, because they stay till late in the evening chatting and laughing.

It’s the same living room in which we spend so many afternoons singing and laughing and playing all together.

Everything inside is nice and homy to everyone. But I don’t think it is because of how the flat is decorated. I think it is because of how mom and dad are. They are the soul of the home.

 

Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters.

 

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A Home for Mom

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You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

I’ll pay my debts and I’ll buy an apartment or a house without architectural barriers To take care better of my mother who is paralytic. We have a small apartment with small rooms and a narrow corridor. The building has small elevators and life is difficult for a person in a wheelchair.

The new home will have wide rooms with enough space to move around with the wheelchair without having to make complicated manoeuvres. It will have a special bathroom built for handicapped persons with all my mother needs. It will be a home with a lot of light, because she loves light. And definitely it will have a balcony, a porch or a small garden so she’ll be able to go out easily when the weather is good to enjoy the fresh air.

In this world of ours I’m a privileged one. I can eat every day, I have a home, I can live in peace. There are a lot of people who don’t have enough to survive. I’ll use the money to help those in dire need. The question is how? I’ll probably give the money to a charity of my trust after investigating how they work and making sure that their projects are worth it and the help they provide really reach the needy

At the end like the song of High Society says Who wants to be a millionaire? I only want what I need to live honestly. Too much money, too much problems

 

Gone with the Windfall.

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Not alone

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Unexpectedly, you lose your job. (Or a loved one. Or something or someone important to you.) What do you do next?

Keep living. There is nothing else you can do. Try to survive. Struggle to get up again. Life is plenty of unexpected events. I lost family members and very close friends unexpectedly. The pain is too deep. It takes a lot of time to recover. But with time you learn to live with that pain, and treasure the good memories those lives left. I unexpectedly lost my health. I tried to adjust my life to that situation. It was hard. But I had the help of my family and my best friend. Years after that I lost the job I loved due to my lack of health. Another blow. Again I had my family and my friends with me. Months after that my mom had an ictus and got paralysed. Now I have the free time I wouldn’t have in other circumstances to take care of her. I don’t know what I’d do if I lose my whole family and my friends and I would be compelled to face life completely alone. But even in that situation I know I’ll have the best support. I have faith in God. I try to pray every day. I know He won’t leave me alone. He never did.

Daily Prompt: Unexpected.
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The bike

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Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.

A bike. I wanted desperately a bicycle. All my friends had one. And they had a great time in the park riding. I wanted to play with them and ride with them, even race with them at full speed. But we didn’t have the money for such an expensive gift. Nevertheless I had my secret hope. Every year a charity organises in my city a sweepstakes in summer to raise money for the poor with donations. Those years the big prize was a bike donated by a shop owner. I always went with my savings to buy a ticket dreaming I was going to return home riding my new bike despite I didn’t know how to do it. I thought it was something easy and natural like walking. The ticket was my only chance. But I never had the good luck. Once I won a soup can. No fun. Other than that, nothing. All the rest where tickets without prize. At least my little savings went to the poor, I thought.

We always trimmed the Christmas tree and set a Bethlehem grotto’s scene with little clay statuettes for Christmas eve. When all was ready, my dad always had a secret meeting with an angel in that room to receive and set the Christmas gifts. When he had finished, he called us, who were waiting outside eager to see what had happened. All was dark except for the lights and candles in the grotto and the tree. Magic. My dad read the Gospel. We prayed, sang carols and then we turned on the lights and opened our gifts.

Once my dad had the meeting, we prayed, sang, the light turned on and we saw nothing. Before we get disappointed my dad told us to look carefully. My brother spotted a piece of paper beautifully crafted. It was a message in it: Our gift was in the balcony. The five of us run as fast as we could. And there it was. The bike. Green. Shiny. Waiting for all of us.

Daily Prompt: Out of Your Reach.
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Bring me home

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A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

A classic answer I guess:

  • A  boat with GPS, radio
  • Fuel
  • Fresh drinking water
  • Food
  • Sun screen

I obviously chose these items because I’ll try to get out of the deserted island as soon as possible and start the trip to go home. I can’t imagine myself playing Robinson Crusoe. I’ll be dead in no notice. With my set of items at least I can try to escape. I enjoy being alone for a while and I hate being in places packed with people, but I would never get lost in a deserted island no matter what wonderful items can have with me. I need my family. My ordinary life. So I definitely would choose anything that would bring me back home.

Daily Prompt: Five Items.
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Afraid of death

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People are afraid of all kinds of things: spiders, the dark, or being enclosed in small spaces. Tell us about your greatest fear — rational or irrational.

When my dad was terminally ill in a hospital, one night he had a crisis. I was with him. I call the doctors and nurses and asked him if he wanted me to help him pray. He told me yes, please. I was praying while the doctors and nurses where all over him. They succeeded and my dad survived. Next morning he asked me

– Were you scared?

– And you?

– Don’t be scared because I’m not afraid of death.

He was ready, at peace with God, loving Him, in fact longing to rest in Him and see His face, and at peace with his conscience. He had a great faith and he was a very good and honest man who had to endure a very hard life.

When my mom arrived after the doctors explained what happened he said:

– I made a full rehearsal of death.  It wasn’t so bad.

When the last moment arrived he died so peacefully I only can remember it as a very sad but sweet experience. And I’m crying now.

Why Am I remembering all this today? Because the daily prompt asked for our greatest fear, and my greatest fear is death. I’m not like my father. I don’t feel ready to meet my Maker. I’m afraid of death. I shouldn’t because I know God is merciful and I try to live as my dad taught me. I believe in His infinite mercy with all my faith. But still I’m afraid. I have to improve a lot of things in my life. I need time. I pray for that.

I’m sorry if this post is too transcendental. I could write about my claustrophobia or about why I’m afraid of elevators, but I have a tendency to take things too seriously. And the prompt asked.

Daily Prompt: Fear Factor.
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Day by day

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An impending new year gives rise to reflection and goal setting. What will your goals for 2014 be? It’s never to early to start thinking about self improvement!

Keep living. Seriously. Lately I’m setting goals day by day. It’s the only way succeed. What’s a new year but a sequence of new days? I’m too experienced in frustrations to set big goals for a year. I’m too used to unexpected failures or setbacks that make you change radically your plans.

One year ago I was sure my new year would be devoted to write a book but then my mom had an ictus and get paralysed and I get sick and was for a month in a hospital. Since my mom illness my life changed completely. She is priority now to me. My sister and I are taking care of her. She cannot be alone for a moment. It’s a blessing to have her. She’s 94 years old. Now we can give her back some of what she has given us during all her life. I don’t know for how long I would have her. I love her so much. I only want her as happy and comfortable as possible and ease her sufferings. She’s a person of faith and she feels peaceful in God’s hands.

So, back to the topic: I prefer to set little affordable goals for each day: Write an entry for my blog, read and organise documents and other material I have collected for my book if I can, take care of my mom… Life as usual, no big changes or new goals. Keep living.

Daily Prompt: To Boldly Go….
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Scared

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What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

I get scared easily. I hate rats and snakes. I flee from them and look for help. No way to  try something by myself.

I hate violence even discussions. I have been in some dangerous, violent situations because of my work as a journalist and my experience says that when you are in a danger somehow you find strength to stay calm and act wisely. When the danger is over you can’t even figure out how you did it. I do believe in guardian angels and I’m sure my angel was by my side in those situations keeping me calm and safe. You can read about why I believe in guardian angels here.

I’m scared of weapons. Luckily I’m living now in a safe and peaceful environment and I don’t have to worry about them.

I even get scared every day taking care of my paralysed mom because I’m afraid to hurt her when I’m helping her with my unprofessional hands. But I’m doing it out of love.

Daily Prompt: Fright Night.

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The old man and his orchard

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Interview someone — a friend, another blogger, your mother, the mailman — and write a post based on their responses.

I’m alone with mom today and she’s not feeling OK. One of this silent and busy days. Not a chance for an interview. I would like to, because I love interviews. I interviewed all kind of people during my life: Politicians, bishops, professionals, scientists, celebrities, ordinary people, even a king.

But today, I don’t know why I remember an interview I made long time ago with a man in his 100th birthday. He lived in a small village in Navarre, Spain and had a little orchard. He never had left his village and his orchard and continued working every day, taking care of his old trees and his vegetables with the help of his 80 years old son. The son told me he got tired following his father rhythm but there was no way to convince him to stay at home.

The old man told me that he had been perfectly happy spending his 100 years of life going from his home to his orchard and back. And he show me proudly how was capable to work, with difficulty, but working (to his son’s desperation).

His other five children had left the village, get married, some of them went to America and invited him to visit them, but he never left even for a day the village. He had his home and his orchard. What more would he ever need?. He told me he only missed his wife of 70 years. She died when she was 92 years old. “Too soon”, he said.

Daily Prompt: FAQ.
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Apple Strudel

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Tell us about your favourite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations?

Now in the cold days, Goulash with Gnocchi and Apple Strudel for dessert. Mom used to cook for my birthday these delicious recipes. I love them. I associate them to the best years of my childhood and to our wonderful family life.

Mom doing Apple Strudel was always a feast day. We kids around her watching and pretending to help around the big table covered with a white clothe with flour where she worked the dough tirelessly with the rolling-pin, folding and stretching, folding and stretching until the dough was almost transparent. And then with the apple mix on top of it, she always managed to do the magic trick with the clothe to roll up everything and make the perfect strudel. It was a show for us. We clapped in anticipation although we knew we had to help to clean up the mess around and set the table for dinner. Then we would feel the delicious smell coming from the oven in the kitchen. And finally the best part: everybody together to celebrate!

Daily Prompt: Food for the Soul (and the Stomach).

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Family life

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When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

I miss my family. I can’t live without them. I’m longing to see them to talk with them about what happen today, about what I did, what I learned, about what they did, how they feel. Sure we can talk through the phone or send each other e-mails or SMS but is not the same. I need their faces, their proximity, their company, their love. Family life. Home is where my family is. So if I’m at home and all of them are away I feel like a stranger in its own land and desolate. Maybe one day alone at home may be fine just for a change and to rest a little, but longer than that it’s a nightmare to me. Familiar things look different, empty, strange. Nothing makes sense. Only waiting for them to come back. I enjoy being busy preparing things for they arrival. I hope they feel the same way about me.

Daily Prompt: Home Sweet Home.

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Night

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file0001229516358You experience your own Freaky Friday, and switch bodies with someone you love/hate. Tell us what happens.

I’m laying in bed unable to move. I would like to because I can’t resist any more my back ache from being too much time in the same position. My limbs don’t obey my brain. They are like sand bags attached to my body. I need help. But I don’t want to wake up Mom or anybody in the house. I try to resist. I’m anxious. Why can’t I move? This is a nightmare. I can see everything around me. I can feel everything, but I can’t move an inch. And this pain is killing me. I get anxious. I’m sweating.

– Somebody, help me!. Help, please!

Nothing.

– I need help!, please, help!

I hear noises. somebody is approaching. I can’t see who is coming because I can’t turn myself to face the door. I hear steps entering the room. Somebody touches my arm gently.

– I’m here.

She walks around the bed and stays in front of me. She looks a lot like mom. She looks tired and sleepy. I feel sorry for her and guilty.

– I’m sorry, but…

– Don’t be. I’ll help you.

She seems to know what I need although I don’t understand. She pushes my upper body and pulls the sheets to make me turn to the other side. That hurts. Then she arranges my legs and finally covers me and kisses me. When she finishes I feel relieved.

– Thank you. what time is it?

– Three

– Oh my God! Go to bed. You have to rest.

– No. YOU have to rest. Call me if you need me.

I don’t understand. My head is working as fast as ever. I know what’s coming after this if I’m not in a nightmare.  I’ll have to wait for someone to come to me to wash me, to clean me. I’ll be so ashamed. I’ll need help to eat, to sit in the wheelchair, to go to bed, to read to…everything.

I’m now facing the door, and while I watch mom exiting the room, tears are filling my eyes. I cry silently. I don’t want her to know I’m crying. She is so brave in her situation. I need her courage, but I don’t have it. I’m alone again. Please, dear God help my mom, help me. I feel the pillow moist with my tears. I’m falling asleep. Please, dear God…

via Daily Prompt: Freaky Friday.

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Ink and oil

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imageInk and oil. From the printer machine. A smell that means Dad had taken me with him to check his last book’s printing or to the newsroom. I love being with Dad. I don’t understand what he’s doing but I now is something important by the way everybody is addressing to him.

I know about his books because he is writing at home. And I know he writes different books. Some of them to his students. Others, called novels, telling long stories. Others, with shorter writings called poems. I know some of his poems because he use to read them to Mom. Sometimes she doesn’t like to listen. She becomes shy and tries to escape. An it’s because they are about her. About how much Dad loves her. I don’t understand. I like that poems the most. I know some sentences by memory.

I like a lot watching my Dad at work. He looks so important, so respected. I’m proud of him. He is my hero and I like to walk by his side. I feel important too being with him in these places smelling ink and oil from the printer machine.
Daily Prompt: Smell You Later.

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So sad!

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English: Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine,...

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Not in a million years! I’m not good cooking and I hate a messy kitchen but I love having dinner with my family and enjoying the food and the conversation.

Among my best memories are those family dinners talking about what happened during the day, listening at my parents, my brothers and my sisters tell stories. The best were my father’s stories, always so positive and with a great sense of humor, telling us what happened at the University with his students. And when we finished, we all helped mom with the dishes and finally get together again to talk again, satisfied and a little tired.

Then mom used to tell us about the book she was reading, and she was quite a story-teller!

I would like that my folks will have the same good memories of family life around the dinner table. And this, with a pill is impossible. You take a pill in a few seconds. Not room for a conversation while enjoying the food, nothing familiar, only an individual act. So sad!

Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill.