Showing posts from April, 2019

Exercise Democracy or Lose It

Tomorrow is the general election in Spain. It was brought about two years early because the Socialist government tried various times to get a budget agreed upon but failed. Ever since it took over after the no-confidence vote last summer against Mariano Rajoy's conservative Partido Popular government, it hasn't shown itself strong enough to enact legislation and govern. Every time they tweaked the budget, one of its partners would veto it, along with the opposition. Most of the laws passed these months were passed by royal decree, including raising the minimum wage to €900 a month, and extending paternal leave. So, general elections were called. This time around, beside the two major parties, the Socialists and the Populares, there are leftist Podemos and rightist Cuidadanos, which already showed up in the previous elections, and Vox, a newcomer.  Vox has shown up like a white headed pimple on a face already scarred from past pimples. Franco would have been proud of its lea

Discovering Coimbra

Another Holy Week, another day off on my own. This time, I decided to strike further afield, and drove down to Coimbra, in Portugal. It's not a drive to be made lightly. Porto is just over two hours away, and Coimbra is a little over an hour away from Porto. So, a drive of three and a half hours, at least. By the time I saw the signs pointing to the exit for Coimbra, I was sick of the highway.  When I drove off the highway, I shut up the navigator, and decided to follow the signs that pointed drivers to the university, in hopes of finding a parking garage. I found one that serviced the market building and finally turned off the engine. Then, I started climbing.  Light in the Natural History Museum Driving down, most of the countryside to the south of Porto is not as hilly as further north. Still, it seems that the steepest hills are the ones where the ancients decided to place the towns. Coimbra, like Porto, is not to be lightly traipsed if you're out of shape. As usu

A Declaration

So, last month I turned fifty, and this month I did something that had been hovering in my head for the last year. My daughter gave me the money for it as a birthday present, and this week I decided to go ahead and do it. I got a tattoo. To some, it may not seem a big deal, but to me it is. It's a marking on my body that will last the rest of my life. That requires it to be something of great importance to me that will not change as I change. Something that is a part of my belief system that will remain constant throughout the rest of my life. At this point, I won't change in the basics from now until thirty or forty years from now. I will not begin to venerate a swastika in ten years, nor will I change as much as a young person changes at the beginning of their life, when they are yet finding their way and themselves.  I tattooed the outline of a bird on my wrist. To me it symbolizes freedom. Freedom has always been important to me, and it becomes more important every year

On Turning a Milestone

I've reached a milestone - I'm an old woman. That was my viewpoint when I was a child of when I would turn fifty. By then I would wear skirts and "old lady" clothes, like my mother. I would buy polyester blouses in large sizes, and wear sensible shoes, not sneakers. I would wear my hair short, and wouldn't have to keep my long hair out of my face in pigtails. I would have a practical outlook on life, and eschew playing. I would still laugh, but I would also reminisce about my childhood and youth, wishing I were still back in those years. Am I old? That depends on the viewpoint one holds. I'm old in that I have probably lived more than half my life. A half century is still a half century. I'm old in that my body tells me I'm not about to learn to do cartwheels now, or have smooth baby skin like a twenty year old. But that's about it.  Old is a state of mind. And it's not my state at the moment. I feel more liberated now than when I was young