Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Primavera parte dos

Happy leap year!

I have been meaning to get pictures of this "plaza" for quite some time.

 It is a simple little plaza in a roundabout.

With bushes trees and rock surrond this rather intriguing statue of two grasping hands with flames coming out of the bottom. Apparently it was a gift from El Salvador to Spain. I like it a lot.

I have more spring flowers, look some lavender is already in bloom and feeding the bees!

This group of plantings is so typical here: Lavender, rosemary and palm.

We saw this margarita just before we went to drink Margaritas, and that cracks me up.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Golden sweater

Remember the yarn from this post?

I made it into a sweater of awesomeness.

The yarn is super wash and it "grew" a bit so the sleeves are longer then I would have liked, but this yarn is better knitted up as Dk weight.

I need to find someway to make the button band not as "gappy", maybe some gross-grain ribbon?

Maybe also some gross-grain ribbon along the back neck?

But overall I am very happy with the way that this has turned out.

Pattern notes:

The short rows at the collar are a bit tricky and you have to really pay attention at first.

Mods: I made this more A-line, and if I did it again I probably would not. Also I knit this sweater in the round and steeked it. I added waist shaping (I really did not read the pattern except for the yoke and the sleeves). I added an applied I-cord up the front and made I-cord loop for the "buttonholes".

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Even though this winter has been very mild (so everyone here says), I am very happy that spring is here.

I though that maybe spring was here, and then today left no doubt in our minds as we walked across the park to go have lunch at a Mexican restaurant. There were flowers everywhere!

The sun was shinning, people were in the park in just their t-shirts, and that "spring feeling" was in the air. You know the one, the one you cannot describe, but you recognize every year that when you feel it.

That quality in the air that makes you think of new beginnings,and the possibility of a summer spent longing in the sun.

You pass fellow pedestrians with smiles on their faces, and dodge the running kids at play.

The sky has a special "glow" to it, somehow spring blue is deeper then winter blue.

You can sense that the trees are gathering up their energy to sprout leaves and flowers.

The city's fountains have been cleaned in preparation for the long season ahead and are merrily splashing.

The parks are full to bursting as everyone is out to welcome the spring with grins and musical laughter.

The roses have already started putting forth their buds.

Happy spring everyone!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Walk to Knitting group

When I do get a chance to go to knitting group, I take this route.

I go by the Bernabéu, where Real Madrid plays.

I love the light in this next picture.

I cross one of the bissest streets in Madrid, the Paseo de Castellana, a 6 lane super road that used to take me more then one signal to cross it before I developed my "city walking pace".

I also pass palm trees, which tickle me every single time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Four towers

A week ago I had to go up to this area. I will be going again this morning.
This is one of the four towers, it is my favorite, because with it's handle it looks as though you can just pick it up and carry it away. 

Just look at how that early morning sun is hitting it.

I love Spanish style buildings in this color, what can I say?

Coming back to this area was very interesting. This area was were we stayed our first week in Madrid. Both of us traveling bak this way has brought back the feelings of insecurity and adventure that we had that first week. It was a period of adventure, but also fear for both of us. We had no idea wether we would even be living here for any length of time, and in a very real way we gave up almost everything to be here.

Here was our first park in Madrid.

Here are the four towers "Los Cuatro Torres" The tallest buildings in Spain. There are very handy landmarks, in more ways then one. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A little bit of art to carry around

I took my Sunday morning and started and finished a lit piece of bright cheerfulness to carry around with me. I will fill it with tools of my trade: pens, pencils, post-its etc. Maybe during a hard class I can find an excuse to pull it out to have a corner of brightness in the room.

I bought this little 100% wool felt pouch at Corte Ingles a while back, and I finally put needle to wool.

I save all of my wool. Every bit on this bag is from recent spinning projects. Those little bits that are felted or get tangled, are all saved up and used.

I think maybe because of the bright orange color of the bag I wanted to to do a sunset scene. Luckily all of my recent wool scraps were very sunset-y.

 I decided to go for the stained glass look again. I feel as though it is easier for me to be free form, more free with my artistic expression in this medium. I am very happy with the results. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Madrid is my home now

These pictures are from last weekend, but the days have been flying by here, and there has been no time to post. 

(Photos in the post are from my travels today, and really have nothing to do with the text of my post, other then to serves as visual intrest).

Last Saturday I had lunch with the DH and on the walk to his work I stopped in at the Taste of America store to uy my Jiffy peanut butter.

This very nice walk takes you buy the Plaza de Republic de Argentina where there is a very nice fountains with jumping Dolphins. As I was walking I finally felt it..."I am finally comfortable here, this is my home now". 

The first two months I thought that living in Madrid was a grand adventure. 

Then something happened, I do not know what, but Sapin suddenly became a place I was very scared of. I do not know why I admitting this on a public forum, but I would find reasons not to go out of the house. Going to the grocery store was one of the most intimidating things that I have ever done. I have no idea what happened, but I was suddenly scared, shy and miserable.

Fast forward to November when I got my residency and my job. Suddenly I was forced to interact with people. I was forced to meet new people and navigate by myself around the city. My job is very hard, and I am still not sure that it is a good fit, but I will always be a little grateful that it  has helped break me out of my rut.

Part of why I am more comfortable is of course that I feel like I have a good enough grasp on the language now that I feel confident that I will understand most situations/conversations. Not knowing the language is very debilitating, even in this day and age of information. I have no idea how my immigrant ancestors coped with it all back in the day.

Another part of of the reason that Madrid feels like home  now is the amount of people that I know. I do not mean just friends, but acquaintances. I have noticed that It always takes at least 3-6 months to feel at home in a brand new city (in the US) and that has a lot to do with finding a sense of community, putting faces and personalities with to the great unknown masses.

It has taken longer here to feel that sense of belonging. I was beginning to think that I never would belong, and that being scared was going to be a lifestyle for me.

Luckily now I am fairly sure that the reason that it took so long to "fit in" was the fact that so many things are different. I am still getting used to living here, and it will probably take me years to truly "fit in" (if ever). For example, my mind still shies away from thinking that I have to learn all new laws, in Spanish. Shudder. 

I can find my way around the city fairly easily, and if I get lost, I can ask for directions.

Sometimes (not often)  when I am speaking in Spanish I can even forget that I am speaking in a foreign language.

Life is not ideal. I am overworked, underpaid, and most often stressed out. However, this has to do mostly with a job  that I will either get better at or leave for another. The underlying feeling of belonging is there.

The foundation of my new life has been laid, and I am beginning to see my future, and it's potential before me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday adventures

Random Saturday adventures!
We had to do a lot of shopping and really crisscrossed the town.

Here is a European robin, there are the size of a Finch!

Here is a rug made out of leather scraps, I can not picture anyone wanting one of these, but it is interesting.

I am going to start taking more pictures of interesting buildings in Madrid. There are a lot of modern buildings that are fascinating. I past this one at least four times a week.

And here is the one across the street:

This building is gorgeous, but I think abandoned. Maybe they are just re-doing it, but a lot of the windows were bricked up.

We had lunch at a very cute bar, that had good food, good prices, good beer, and good presentation.
Side note: I find Tempura a lot here, even though we do not eat out much. It's odd given the lack of foreign food here in Spain.

We also had to go to Las Rozas, where in a huge mall the state of the economy was really brought home to us. A lot of the shops were closed, or empty. There was nice plantings inside though.

And I found Chocolate sheep!

We didn't have time to explore the town, but we past the church in the setting sun. There was a wedding going on and the bells were ringing, it was breath taking.

Back in Madrid, I realized where we were solely do to a yarn store. El Punto was just around the corner, but unfortunately closed. But I was able to remember a bus that would take us all the way home (no transfers) and I was pretty proud that I knew that because of my yarn obsession.

I did take some quick (and a little blurry do to lack of light) pictures of the area for my dear blog readers.