Sunday, 29 December 2013

Strong, brave puppy recovering after a pitbull attack: Luke aka Po the Panda Dragon Warrior

Since I can remember, Pitbulls and other so called 'fighting breeds' such as Rottweilers always had a really bad reputation. But I would always mention to haters that it is not the dogs that are to blame. So the dogs should go into rehab instead of the owners (who instead then should get put down to - er sleep or well, not that drastic, but they should get a thorough value schooling and should not be allowed to have another dog.

When I watched Cesar's show (the dog whisperer), I would always admire Daddy, Cesar's pitbull and his patience and kindness as well as endurance in any possible case Cesar would encounter during dog rehab.

I was not lucky yet to meet a pitbull like that and unfortunately, Luke had a really horrible encounter a few days ago... (We believe it is a pitbull mix as the face is very much pitbull, but the size is just so enourmous and almost hip-high (for small women like me), that s why we believe he is mixed with labrador or another huge breed). The (himself also bully-like) owner actually lives in our (one-way) street with his own family and often keeps his huge, black pitbull running around without supervision, without leash and collar, a hip-high dark-nacked mountain of muscles and teeth lying heavily and imperious in the middle of the street.

We were coming back from a walk and the sun had already set - it was getting dark but was still really hot outside, a normal summer's evening so a lot of neighbours and their friends or relatives were talking in front of their houses in little groups.

His left paw on the upper side, third day after
visiting the vet
We walked into our street - as usual I had Luke on the leash - the prince of sun was carrying a few heavy bags. It all happened really fast. Out of nowhere appeared the black thunder and next thing I knew, he was all over Luke. I tried to lift him up, but was not fast enough and the huge, heavy pitbull was almost covering him already, heavily bumping his heavy body against my legs and hips and his nails rushing over my legs, but I did not feel anything at the moment it happened.

His owner called him over and over again (no reaction at all from the pitbull) and came over with a thing that looked like the stick of a broom. It probably was only seconds, but it felt like hours. While Luke was screaming in desperation, the prince of sun (seeing that the owner was only making his dog more furious while hitting him with the broom while ripping Luke's leash out of my hands), jumped into the scene, forced the pitbulls mouth open and pushed the dog a few meters away. He tried to lift Luke but BOOM, the pitbull had already come back and was again all over Luke.

His fixed right leg-axle (I will spare
you the other bite wounds)
A second time (the owner was still hitting with his broom causing mad fury in the pitbull), the prince of sun forced the pitbull`s mouth open and away from the screaming Luke, grabbing his legs and this time, while turning around to throw the pitbull further away found himself next to a wall crushing against it with his complete right side and face and the pitbull in his hands (with all people around us only standing right behing and next to him, being in the way and staring stupidly at him), threw the huge 50kg-heavy pitbull over their heads further away while the crowd run to the sides. (It was other people telling me everything afterwards as I only remember everything like a dense fog and did not see anything but Luke and the prince of sun, the pitbull and his owner, all bundled up in one horrible chaos.

Then I saw my very own superhero Clark Kent aka prince of sun in his blue shirt and red trousers-shorts coming close and felt enormous relief while he picked up bitterly crying Luke. And we went home, I even forgot the heavy bags that the prince of sun had thrown on the floor when the attack happened and only remembered them (they had our keys and wallet and other precious things), when the prince of sun asked me to pick them up. Then we entered our home, shaken, with no look back. The pitbull and owner and other neighbours, I have no idea what happened to them next. But the whole street was in complete silence (and that`s something I almost never saw in our lively street). The only thing I remember was that we arrived in our own house and HOME.

I have never thanked god more than the second, that we realized while examining Luke's horrible bite wounds, that somehow:

Friday, 27 December 2013

When your alarm clock does not wake you up anymore... although it had done it for about almost 27 years

I could never believe it when people told me that they just didn't hear their alarm clock. I thought they did hear it and would just ignore it until it finally stopped.

I was one of those people who would stand on their feet (on their bed) with eyes wide awake trying to silence the alarm clock at the 2nd or 3rd ring at the latest. I almost never arrived late in school due to missing my alarm (rather due to confusing days a few rare times). It also never happened at my work places and this did not change at all, even when I started working from home at often rather confusing and changing hours, often also night shifts, I could always pretty much rely on my ability to immediately wake up to the first few alarm rings.

Until now.

It is just after Christmas. My neighbours decided that they would have a three day party from 24th to 26th of December. 24h. Night and day. Without stopping. Not a single hour. I am not kidding.

But unfortunately, they only seemed to have two CDs to back their (rather poor-taste-like, primitive-level) music selection up. Which I now still have unvoluntarily playing up and down in my own head. (It`s nasty lyrics. Really nasty ones.) And this is pretty persistent. o_O So yes, I was working during the Christmas time, rather crazy hours sometimes more than 10h, to make this worse and I did not really get much more than 2h sleep per day as my whole house rather seemed like the next best club: the walls would often vibrate slightly with the bass sounds and rhytms. On the third day, I was pretty much exhausted and slept through various unsuccessful phone calls by friends and family, worried people coming until my house trying to call me from the street in front of my house and not getting through to me as I was obviously slipped away into near-coma-state sleep phases even with the whole crazy sound phrame around me (my dog was in the same state funny enough, poor thing with red eyes and sometimes desperately barking at the noise with no effect of course, just as the neighbours dogs did who had to live through this three-day party right at the heart of the chaos) and therefore did not wake me up either, he was sleeping on the floor next to my bed....). I finally managed to sleep in the afternoon and only woke up, when the prince of sun walked in totally worried as I did not react to his phone calls.

So... the moral of this story:

Thursday, 12 December 2013

`Pimenta nos olhos dos outros é refresco`: Tissue Burns through Brazilian pimenta vegetables

Yesterday, my sweet sister in law gave me a whole basket full of fresh vegetables and fruits. Her husband had been at a friend's farm and came back with a car boot (trunk) full of fresh goodies.

Delicious smells of freshness, amongst others, we got heaps of sweet, mild bananas, passion fruits, green peppers, lettuce, sweet potatoes, mandiocs and other veggies, not to forget green and yellowish-orangy Brazilian pimenta vegetables, which are comparable with chili.

A Brazilian proverb says:
`Pimenta nos olhos dos outros é refresco'.

This proverb has a WHOLE NEW level of cultural understanding for me NOW! (But more to that one later).

So that's where the actual story begins... Today I decided to try cooking with pimenta - the prince of sun believes those pimentas are called pimenta de cheiro. (But he is not totally sure, it might be pimenta malaquita as well...). (*update a few days later on 15/12/2013: my sister in law told me that pimenta de cheiro is not hot and burning at all, it is more for your tastebuds and smells delicious (cheiro is the Portuguese word for smell) - she thinks that the one I prepared is another powerful vegetable-spice called: PIMENTA ARRIBA SAIA! update end)

I have already had many dishes that included pimenta, most people use a bit of it and put a pimenta-oil mix on the table for those who like it more spicy and hot. In general, a few tiny drops are wayyyy enough, I sometimes just sprinkle a little bit in one corner to check my current state of 'spicyness' (haha) and then mix it with the rest and add a few drops more in case I'd like some more. But most of the time, I don't actually mix any pimenta oil into my food.

So I was totally aware of the sheer fire of this vegetable. I handled it reaaally carefully and thought, alright, you'll just put in a few tiny bits and then go from there, tasting and checking along the cooking. I would just start with 1/3 piece of this innocent looking vegetable which actually turned out really nice (with a reaaally slight sensation of tinglyness burning in the food which turned very delicious and could even have had a bit more of the pimenta....

But I was totally unprepared for what was expecting me about 1h after using, washing, cleaning out and cutting ONE SINGLE pimenta vegetable....

Funny enough, I did not feel the slightest sensation when washing and cutting it at first. But about 1h later (I was in the middle of washing up), I felt a crazy sting-like sensation on ONE finger. I thought ---- oooookkkk, did I just miss a bee around here that decided to sting my finger. I carefully examined my finger (the one, that I had just used to tear out the tiny seeds inside the pimenta and then ALSO hold it to cut it), but besides feeling a sensation of total burning inside-out, I did not see a single change in my finger's state (it did get a bit pink later on, but that might be due to myself trying to find a remedy and working what-not into my hands :D).

That left me totally confused. I kind of remembered that I had used pimenta, so I thought, OK, that might be that one and decided to thoroughly wash my hands, then I put some Calendula essence and Arnica lotion (those usually save me from whatever inside-outside pain I am suffering from) onto it. I thought that simply washing the pimenta-rests off my finger would resolve the problem.


About 10 minutes later, my WHOLE LEFT HAND and parts of my right hand were ON FIRE. I kept on washing my hands with coconut soap then switching to putting my hands into the freezer and taking out most ice cubes that were available. They just melted in few seconds. I have really never seen or felt anything like this in my whole life, my hands seemed to be soaking in pure acid. I spent about 30 minutes between washing and freezing my hands, which left BOTH my hands burning like crazy. It always felt like when I was washing and cooling my hands, the sensation went away, but the second my hand dried, the burning went back WORSE! In my attempt of ridding myself of the pain, I had actually DISTRIBUTED THE burning THING!

I had only one option of salvation left:

Saturday, 7 December 2013

London's best kept budget-books secret: Southbank Centre book market

Southbank Centre book market under Waterloo Bridge
I have always been a book worm, starting from a tender age of four when I wasn t even able to really read - didn t matter, I would still take out my favourite books and pretty accurately tell each story word by word to my younger siblings - by heart.

This passion has not really changed, although nowadays I have less time than I wish for curling up with a thick novel....

One of my favourite London budget-books markets is under Waterloo Bridge, right in front of BFI Southbank: Southbank Centre book market.

Passing London Eye
on my way to the market
You can get almost all genres, novels, poetry, cooking, children's books - the list of 2nd hand and antique books is infinite. Prices vary, you can get smaller books for 1-3 pound, heavier or newer books and depending on the genre the price can be higher.

Beautiful view on London Eye
As far as I know, the market is the only outdoor second hand and antique book market in London.

Address and opening hours:

Sunday, 1 December 2013

First impressions of my new-ish Fenix e-piano

In September, I had finally decided that I wanted to start playing piano again (and more frequently than just now and then on our church piano). My birthday was close as well so I thought, 'ya gotta treat ya self from time to time!' - and took on the challenge to find a good e-piano here in Porto Seguro. (Which is a real challenge as people here prefer shorter keyboards and there are not many full-keyboard e-pianos available...)

I finally decided to get a Fenix and was positively surprised with the general quality such as sound, sensibility, touch (the only things that really matter for me, I am not too much a person that likes to change the sound effects, I am pretty much a classic player and would be totally happy with a good old one-sound-non-electric-piano, but that s kind of impossible here, and those that they offer are about the cost of a new car o_O so... 

I was still pretty happy about the performance - which I am until today concerning the piano, sound, sensibility, touch - just one point is pretty disappointing: