Friday, May 27, 2016

My Music ABC: D

Time for the next part of my Music Alphabet in which I tell you about bands - and musicians which I have been found of most of my life (in different degree though). I listen to some of them less often these days, but the sentiment and memories connected with their music still remain rather vivid.

Deep Purple

They were one of my first and biggest music affection and I still like the music by Deep Purple today. Some time ago, I listened to one of their albums again. Despite all the years which had passed, their songs stay so fresh, alive and vivacious. When I listened to "Highway Star", "Space Truckin'"  and other tacks, somehow I felt like coming home. Frankly speaking, it was quite a strange but nice feeling at the same time. Whatever it was - response of my European soul, reuniting with the European culture, or my teenage years maybe.

Anyway, I have already mentioned in my previous posts that in the 70s, music and record stores in Poland were much different to the ones in west European countries. Of course, they had many records on offer, but not the ones I would have wanted to get. Although, current non Polish rock (and other 'modern' genres) music was available to listen to on the radio, it was hardly ever possible to find it in a record store. You could only buy an LP from someone who had brought it to Poland from abroad. Luckily, there were such people who were able to travel outside of the country because of different reasons.

I first saw the album 'Deep Purple in Rock' at my high school pal's cousin's. Since I loved the songs (especially 'Child in Time') and the owner of the record was not very keen on it, I though to myself: 'I am going to buy it'. Well, I had the plan but no money. It took me some time to save enough cash, but finally, my dream came true and I got the album. It looked like brand new. Both the cover and the vinyl were in a very good shape as the boy did not listen to Deep Purple at all. Needless to say, I was extremely happy with the purchase! These days, when you can get/order anything and everything online or in stores, it is hard to explain what that buy meant to me.
All in all, I got another record by Deep Purple (with some of their greatest hits) much later, when I was in holiday in Bulgaria. However, that LP was not so much valued by myself as 'In Rock'.

The Doors

I have always cared more about music than the musician's lifestyles, visage or image in general. Partly because that kind of news were scarcely available where I was growing up, partly because I have never been much interested in celebrities/their lives. Well, quite ironically, in some cases more information could have possibly ended my music interests.

Last year, I watched a movie based on the biography of Jim Morrison. If the facts/ his personality shown in the film were true - rather tragic life he had. But maybe that was what made him create all the great songs.
Anyway, listening to music tracks we usually do not think of what was/is behind the music, unless we can see part of a live concert as in the movie about John Morrison or eg. a different one, by somebody else, called 'The Song Remains the Same'.

There were more rock and pop Ds which I sometimes listened to. Nevertheless, since they have never been my favorites, I am not going to mention them here. On the other hand, I am planning to include Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in my 'O' post.

Classical D


I like the atmosphere of his music - with no special favorite pieces. Well, maybe besides 'Slavonic Dances'.

More entries on My Music Alphabet here.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our Texas Scottish Festival 2016

The 30th edition of the Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games took part last weekend. I am very happy we were able to attend it - we love live music and cultural events. Besides, last year, the rainy weather stopped us from going to Arlington and spoilt the Festival as well.

It all started in 1986  - the first Scottish Festival took place at Maverick Stadium. Since then, annually during one spring weekend, people gather to celebrate the Scottish culture and have fun.

Although 'music tents' were our main interest, we also visited other stadium areas as there is always plenty to see during the festival weekend.
  • For Highland Games fans - there were sports competitions

  • Clan tents - where you could find out more about a Scottish surname. We were glad to meet Clan Mackintosh representative and see the Mackintosh tent among other 'names'
  • Food, clothes and arts stalls.

We spent most of the time at music stages - that was why, we did not manage to see:

  • Scottish dance competition;
  • Fiddle workshop;
  • Shortbread contest;
  • Scottish needle-craft history presentation
  • Whiskey Tasting and Beer Contest - well, we skipped the two simply because we were not interested in liquor things.

All in all, many attractions and not enough time/ not possible to attend everything during one day.

Our Festival favorites were:

Murder the Stout - Mr Hugh Morrison lead vocals and squeezebox

The band plays Celtic rock - some songs very much remind me shanties, which I used to often hear when I lived in 'my' region of Poland.



Cleghorn are a Celtic rock band. We enjoy listening to their music but it would be nice if they presented some new songs also, not only the same stuff again. Really enjoyable anyway.

Seamus Stout

Unfortunately, we missed most of the performance by Seamus Stout. It was a pity as their version of traditional Celtic songs is really great.

Who else we saw/listened to:


Tullamore - traditional music

Scottish Thunder

Scottish Thunder seem to be quite an interesting band. Actually, we saw part of their performance by accident, waiting for another group. Wish we had seen more of their show.

To sum up, it was a very pleasant day. The weather was cooperative - in the morning it was rather cool, but later the temperatures were really nice regarding the Texas spring.
We had a great time at the Festival.

To find out more about the Texas Scottish Festival and the musicians visit their websites:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My New, Hand Painted T-Shirt

I love painting T-shirts. I find it not only relaxing, but also entertaining. Besides, I enjoy creating things and wearing pieces of clothing which are quite unique. Obviously, nothing is original about a plain, regular t-shirt. Thanks to the design I paint on the fabric, it becomes something different - something that nobody else has. And I like it!

The angel is part of the series of  little creatures I designed a long time ago, when I was around 16. Since then, the little 'girl' and notebooks. In a way, the drawings are part of me. Inspired by my husband, I thought it is time to show them/myself to the world.
The flowery motif, with a thistle in the center, is another folk pattern of Kashubia ( region of Poland).

More examples of my hand painted stuff HERE.

World & Stamps - Twins Drawer Collection: Spain & Football

World & Stamps - Twins Drawer Collection: Spain & Football: Theme: Country/Spain Year: 2015 This stamp reminds me of EURO 2012 (European Football) Championships. Poland and Ukraine were co-hosts...

Click on the link to read the post :-)

In The Kitchen With Tobo: Wednesday Peach Cobbler

In The Kitchen With Tobo: Wednesday Peach Cobbler: Yesterday we (very much) enjoyed our home made peach cobbler. It was so good, I would have eaten more than two servings, but I was simply no...
Click on the link above to read the post :-)

In The Kitchen With Tobo: Soups on Our Menu: Onion Soup

In The Kitchen With Tobo: Soups on Our Menu: Onion Soup: A few years ago, I was served onion soup in a restaurant. The soup was awful and I did not eat it. Since that was the only time when I ha...

Click on the link above to read the post :-)

Holy Pictures: Our Lady of Gietrzwald

Holy Pictures: Our Lady of Gietrzwald: Gietrzwałd is a village (founded in 1352) in northeastern Poland, which is known for its Marian Sanctuary and the miraculous Painting of ...

Click on the link to read the post :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Cosmetic Side: Creams

One of my cousins has always used one cream only, to treat her entire face. Well, most of my life it has not worked for me. Whenever I used a face cream in the under eye area, my eyes were bugging me terribly. Besides, make up does not look too good when you apply some rich stuff near the eyelids. That is why this part of my face, the thinner and more delicate skin, requires special care, meaning eye cream.

Moisturizing, besides cleaning and toning,  is a vital part of my everyday face care routine. I still remember my very first face product, which I started using when I was about sixteen. The cream name was Juvilla. It was very light, had a pleasant, delicate and quite distinguish smell. I loved it. I can also recall, it was packed in a bluish tube with a white cap.
Later, in my early twenties, the time came when I first bought an eye cream. And has been using under eye care products since then.
Thorough all those years, I have tried many creams/brands. One of the best was an evening primrose facial cream. I had it a long time ago, so I do not know what or who the manufacturer was.But I do remember the elegant and rather heavy, glass jar with a cork top.

Nowadays, due to a damaged facial nerve, buying face care product is a kind of roulette to me. The point is: what half of my face likes, the other one most often hates. The nerve, which has been fixed, is very picky and does not tolerate most face creams. How do I know that? It simply announces the dislike with a terrible pain. The level of such pain is not funny at all, I can assure you. That is why the buying part is so difficult. I very often end up with a care item/moisturizer which I can use on one side of my face only, since the other side says painful 'no' to it. This makes the cream/lotion  application a bit complicated.

All in all, I have had some facial and eye cream which were gentle enough to be used on my entire face / under both eyes. It makes me happy when I come across such an item and can take care of the skin on my face with no pain effects.

What has worked best for me so far (meaning all my face needs)?

Eye cream

All About Eyes by Clinique
Renergie Eye by Lancome

Both products improve the condition of the delicate skin around/under eyes, in different ways though. The first one is good for puffiness and dark circles, the second one works more on the anti-wrinkle side.

I also quite liked the eye contour gel by Clarins. However, I used it as a moisturizing support only. The gel formula was good to be applied on make up as well. It was not rich enough to be used on its own.
Anyway, a kind of disadvantage of the above products is that they are rather pricey.

A cheaper option was something by Yves Rocher. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued.

Recently, I have 'discovered' Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream. Although it is too light for my face, it is a perfect under-eye cream considering my facial nerve requirements - does not sting my eyes either.
Another item on my list was ender-eye cream Alterra for mature skin - great moisturizer for dry and sensitive skin. I used to buy it when in Europe - it is available in Rossmann stores only.

Face cream/care

  • I still use the Velvety Facial Moisturizer by Yves Rocher. It is one of my most favorite products which contains natural ingredients mainly - I wrote more bout it here.
  •  If you have Rossmann stores where you live (Europe), I recommend Alterra Orchid face cream for mature skin. It has its morning and evening version and it contains coenzym Q + vitamin E (among others), moisturizes well and smells nice. Another plus is that it does not cost much.
  • Right now, I am testing Equate face cream for dry skin. It seems to be something I have been looking for - replenishes my skin, makes it looks smother and, what is most important - it works well on my entire face, including the under-eye area. I bought it as I was tired with all the more expensive facial products which disappointed me considering my face special needs. I thought to myself then: 'if I buy this inexpensive cream and it does not work for me, at least I do not waste much money again'. Happy to say, it does work and my face likes it a lot! Besides, it is a type of day and night care thing in one. Well, I know that day and night creams are not the same, as they support the skin in different ways. Having had all the problems with the creams, I come to the point, I would want to use one only (like my cousin) and call it good. Anyway, next time, I will try the original formula of the face cream which is made by Ponds.
Not only the products which we use to treat our face matter, it is also important how we apply them. I usually spread a cream on my fingertips and tap it gently on my skin, including the eye area. To relax the muscles between the eyes, where two vertical lines often appear, I put the cream on my forehead and massage it at the same time (moving eg. two middle fingers - both hands - simultaneously/ see the picture below).

And what is your favorite face care product?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Movies Monthly: April

In April, we continued watching Vikings. Luckily, the last episodes of the mid-season were more Viking like, less about things we did not fancy at all (which I mentioned here).
A very different series to Vikings is Whitechapel - quite intriguing and edited in a way which builds up suspense. On the other hand, it presents rather dark stories too.
This month, a new documentary started on TV: The History of God with Morgan Freeman - different points of view on various religious and philosophical matters - so far quite interesting and educative.
Farscape - on May 1, we watched the first two episodes by accident (we had never heard about the series before). They appeared to be entertaining enough to watch some more Farscape in May.

The movies which we found most interesting/best:

  • The Shootist - directed by John Siegel - John Wayne in a story showing the dusk of the cowboy times.
  • Gone To Texas - directed by Peter Levin - simply a good history movie.
  • Soul Survivors - directed by Stephen Carpenter - nothing in this film is as it seems to be.
  • Jimmy's Hall - directed by Ken Loach - it was interesting (and a bit surprising as well) to learn how strong the catholic church influence/power in Ireland had been.
  • Fiddler on the Roof - directed by Norman Jewison - great music/songs and dances + acting. In our opinion, it is the best movie version of the musical.
  • The River - directed by Mark Rydell - at first we thought it would be a kind of survival movie. It was much better than that. 
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin - directed by John Madden - not too many movies show WWII times in Greece.

Colors (related to movie genres) which I use in my diary notes:

Detective/Crime Story
Fantasy, SF

Some of the films are marked with asterisks (if we really like them/do not care for them much). Most of the titles on the list are not marked at all - we simply generally enjoy watching them because of different reasons.

223.  Midsomer Murders: Orchis Fatalis, part 1 - 2005 (detective story)
224.  Midsomer Murders: Orchis Fatalis, part 2 - 2005 (detective story)
225. The Shootist - 1976 (western)
226. Killer Elite - 2011 (action)
227. Texas Country Reporter (documentary)
228. Texas Country Reporter (documentary)
229. Texas Country Reporter (documentary)
230. The Gunfighter - 1950 (western) - with Gregory Peck
231. The Salvation - 2014 (western)
232. Grantchester 2.2 - 2016 (detective story, drama)
233. The Murdoch Mysteries: Murdoch in Wonderland - 2011 (detective story)
234. The Murdoch Mysteries: The Great Wall - 2010 (detective story)
235. Whitechapel 3.4 - 2012 (detective story)
236. Vikings: The Profit and the Loss - 2016 (drama)
237. Are You Being Served: Forward Mr. Grainger - 1976 (comedy)
238. Killing Jesus - 2015 (biography, drama)
239. MacGyver: The Outsiders - 1988 (action/adventure)
240. Nova: Vikings Unearthed - 2016 (documentary)

241. Columbo: Ransom for a Dead Man - 1971 (detective story)
242. Vikings: Portage - 2016 (drama)
243. Trainwreck - 2015 (comedy) - we thought it would be a movie about trains. Well, it was not.
244. The Kissing Bandit - 1948 (comedy, musical)
245. Texas Country Reporter (documentary)
246. The Long Riders - 1980 (western)
247. Grantchester 2.3 - 2016 (detective story, drama)
248. Arabian Nights - 1999 (fantasy)
249. Are You Being Served: Fire Practice - 1976 (comedy)
250. MacGyver: The Thief of Budapest - 1985 (action/adventure)

251. Highlander - 1986 (fantasy)
252. Deep Impact - 1998 (SF)
253. Gone to Texas - 1986 (history)****
254. MacGyver: Pilot - 1985 (action/adventure)
255. Blade - 1998 (action/ horror)
256. Midsomer Murders: Bantling Boy, part 1 - 2005 (detective story)
257. Midsomer Murders: Bantling Boy, part 2 - 2005 (detective story)
258. Pixels - 2015 (SF, animation, comedy)
259. Starship Troopers - 1997 (SF)
260. Whitechapel 3.5 - 2012 (detective story)

261. What on Earth? Finding Vietnam's Lost POWs - 2016 (documentary)
262. Smokey and the Bandit - 1977 (comedy, action)
263. Grantchester 2.4 - 2016 (detective story, drama)
264. Soul Survivors - 2001 (mystery, drama)
265. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - 1991 (comedy)
266. Indian Uprising - 1952 (western)
267. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - 1991 (adventure)
268. Are You Being Served: Fifty Years On - 1976 (comedy)
269. What on Earth? Hidden Tomb of Genghis Khan - 2016 (documentary)
270. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - 2001 (war, drama)

271. Vikings: Death All Round - 2016 (drama)
272. Vikings: The Last Ship - 2016 (drama)
273. Outland - 1981 (SF) - one of my favorite SF movies
274. Jurassic World - 2015 (SF)
275. Whitechapel 3.6 - 2012 (detective story)
276. The Bone Collector - 1999 (crime story)
277. Grantchester 2.5 - 2016 (detective story, drama)
278. The Story of God With Morgan Freeman, part 2 - 2016 (documentary)
279. First Blood - 1982 (action)
280. Rambo: First Blood Part II - 1985 (action)

281. Rambo III - 1988 (action)
282. Are You Being Served: Oh What a Tangled Web - 1976 (comedy)
283. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo - 1999 (comedy)
284. Duck Soup: 1933 (comedy, musical)
285. The Outrage - 1964 (western)
286. The Twilight Zone: The Incredible World of Horace Ford - 1963 (SF)
287. The Twilight Zone: The Bard - 1963 (SF) 
288. Smokey and Bandit II - 1982 (comedy, action)
289. The Falcon Strikes Back - 1943 (detective story)
290. Jimmy's Hall - 2014 (drama)

291. Fiddler on The Roof - 1971 (musical)****
292. She - 1965 (SF)
293. MacGyver: Blow Out - 1987 (action/adventure)
294. Texas - 1941 (western)
295. I Confess - 1953 (crime story, drama)
296. Globe Trekker: Road Trip: Andes - 2016 (documentary)
297. Globe Trekker Extra: Puerto Rican Markets (documentary)
298. The River - 1984 (drama)
299. Death Hunt - 1981 (action)
300. F/X - 1986 (action)

Other Movies Monthly Entries: