By Miki de Goodaboom
As I said in my last post, I have decided to reconnect with Cafe Crem, our wonderful Cyber Cafe for artists, musicians, photographers and writers. I hope I won’t be the only one here, although I know, as a very wise friend of mine said:
“Don’t expect too much from people!”
Anyway I just checked and saw that the last mug painting I published was my “Mobile Mug” on the … 12th of September 2010! My God, I can’t believe it is more than 3 years ago! Shame on me! But at least I was not inactive in that time, and my love of mugs is still alive: I have painted some new mugs from our fantastic and always growing mugs collection. Also, during a quite recent painting trip to Cyprus, I started a series of sketches showing the coffee mugs we get when we have a coffee break while we are travelling around.
So, speaking of love, there is nothing more natural than starting with my “Love Mugs”, a gift from Kevin to me for Valentines 2012.
I really adored them, they are just like Kevin and me: happy, funny, intertwined and…
hearts all over and around us!
By Miki de Goodaboom
Is anybody out there?
here is Miki… not sure if anybody is still around in our lovely Cyber Cafe “Cafe Crem”… probably not… except of course Kevin, who apparently comes here from time to time and tells the world about his music and the music he loves!
Well, I personally haven’t come for ages… there is nothing more depressing than an empty Café, and I had no idea how to try to bring it to life again. At the occasion, apart from Kevin, I would like to thank Shelley with all my heart, who has been so faithful and active all the time, from the very beginning…
Shelley… are YOU there?
I have a very special reason to come back today, but I hope I will come more often again. Since my last post, I have painted many new mugs, and I will gradually publish them here, together with their little story. But for now I want to present you the “Irina Bloom” Mug.
Irina Bloom is the heroine of the new book with the same name of Brazilian author Tamara Ramos. And is as well a painting by me. If you want to know how my girl landed on the cover of Tamara’s book, please go and read the story in my main blog. You can also read l’histoire d’Irina Bloom en français if you don’t understand English or find French language sexier! 🙂
Here is my original painting
As usual: mugs are a wonderful personalised gift, and Christmas is coming… does it ring a bell? So, if you want to purchase an Irina Bloom mug, please go to
So, this is it for today. Kevin and I would love to hear again from any of our Cafe Creamers if you are around. And if you have a new mug, with an interesting mug story, or anything else interesting in your life, just come to Cafe Crem and let us know!
SEE YOU SOON I HOPE!
I found this on my internet wanderings yesterday. basically , it’s where we live (5 minutes away anyway) so I thought I’d share it with you all. I especially like the Spanish bloke doing the commentary – Miki says his voice typifies the Spain she remembers, which is fast disappearing. Enjoy!
No apologies for a football topic. Deal with it, people.
I am angry. I am angry because the game I loved has now descended so far into farce that it no longer knows its arse from its elbow. Angry because incompetent Uruguayan officials don’t understand that when a ball crosses the goal line by a metre, it should in fact, be given as a goal. Angry because when an attacker passes a ball and his colleague is by the goal line with not only the opposing defenders but also the goalkeeper behind him, it is offside. Angry because the governing body FIFA ineptly lurching from one crisis to another led by the obseqious and obese Sepp Blatter, refuses to use modern technology to rule in such incidents, when a simple glance up to the giant screen would in fact suffice. Angry because so-called professional players collapse like a house of cards clutching their faces in agony when they receive the slightest brush with the opposition. Angry because adulterers like John Terry are awarded with the privilege of playing for their country, which they do dismally, after cuckolding one of his team mates, causing the wronged man to forego his dream of playing at perhaps a once in a lifetime tournament.
But last night was the last straw. Uruguay (hey, what a surprise) and in particular the grinning, cheating fool Suarez, dragged the game to a point so low, we might as well sprinkle the holy water and say the last rites now. It was a slap in the face for the game, and a kick in the crotch for Africa, who, despite the sorry spectacle that has been served up there in terms of football, have triumphantly hosted this competition.
Suarez. I really need to convey the depths of my disgust for this man. Single-handedly,(literally) maliciously and selfishly, he wiped out not just Ghana’s dream, but that of the entire African continent with an act of cheating so despicable, I will forever look upon Uruguay, and more importantly, the unrecognizable farce that the game has become as soiled beyond redemption. I simply do not recognize that team as victors. They disgust me. The moral victors here are the Africans. They have my respect. That is one thing cheating cannot buy you. Suarez, your grinning, self congratulatory misguided sense of your own importance and self-righteousness sickens me to the core,hang your head in shame. I hope you are given a football lesson by the Dutch and dispatched back from whence you came.
Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager famously said “football isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that…” Well, no longer Bill, no longer. The game you once knew lies broken and filthy in the dirt, and needs putting out of its misery, and all the ‘fair play’ badges on all the shirts in the world won’t help. A cheat is a cheat. Perhaps FIFA should make a nice badge for Suarez with CHEAT embroidered on it. At least the game could then claim to have a stake, however miniscule, in the truth.
Reading Kevin’s new post about cultural distinctions, I was suddenly reminded of some photos I took earlier this year. I was sitting at my computer, working, and regularly glancing through the window in front of me… I love to work and simultaneously keep an eye on what is going on in the world around me… but NO , I am not one of these women who are spying their neighbours from behind the curtains… no curtains anyway, the view is too beautiful!
That day I couldn’t believe what I saw. Judge for yourself
In the background of the picture you can see our lovely toy car by the way, the one which was mishandled by the other Spanish child this morning…
As you can see on the following photo, the Dad is not bothered at all!
I watched the scene for a little while, thinking that the Dad eventually would get the child down from the car, but no… then I went back to my work, but 10 minutes later I looked up again and this is what I then saw
In fact the little boy had been joined up there by an older girl! Unfortunately I was too slow, and only made a photo as she was about to leave the top of the car. But I swear to you that she was standing up there with the boy some seconds before!
And when you look at this last photo you really think that the whole company would probably end up on the top of the car and have a picnic up there!
All this (and many more things I have observed here in Spain in these last 53 years) leads me to think that Spanish people don’t care at all for property, neither others or their own. Meaning that the cultural difference is perhaps much deeper than Kevin thinks….
I have been known to moan occasionally, as I’m sure Miki will testify. If pushed, she would even go so far as to say that it is catching, and that she herself has inadvertently slipped into moaning mode once or twice since we met. We both make herculean efforts to rein in this unfortunate behaviour, with varying degrees of success.
I try not to moan too much about the Spanish. After all, we are guests in their country. I fail miserably, and quite often, it must be said. I know it’s payback for the way the tourist hordes treated them over the last forty years, and I know we have cultural differences. But I believe that there should be a basic kindness at the core of human nature that transcends culture, Spitting Image’s parody “I’ve never met a nice South African” notwithstanding.
Many years ago, when holidaying here in Mojacar on a regular basis, I would often observe Spanish children blatantly stealing my kids toys from around the swimming pool and brazenly playing with them. Not a word from the parents. Totally not bothered, their little Franco’s were free to requisition whatever was at hand to fulfil their hearts desire, at no risk of reprimand from their doting parents.
Needless to say, yours truly would demonstrably stride over to the little gits, rip it out of their hands , accompanied by an Anglo-Saxon word or two, loud enough to try and drum into their paremts thick heads that they were doing their children no favours at all. But am I wrong? Were they simply teaching the little Francos to be top dog in the me, me, me society of the 21st.century? Without a doubt, I see examples of those children become adult fulfilling those criteria today.
It hasn’t stopped either. This morning, I was lying in bed and heard Miki calling out from the balcony in Spanish to a guy. I got up to see what was going on. Unsupervised, his son (around 5 years old) had gone across the road and began pulling at the door handles of our Roadster. He couldn’t open them , so tried to pry open the fuel cap. It was only Miki’s intervention that caused the ‘parent’ -I use the word loosely- to even acknowledge the action. His answer was simply, “Oh we saw the Smart, it’s beautiful”. Listen Jose, or whatever your name is, you’re MISSING THE POINT! Teach your child to RESPECT.OTHER.PEOPLE’S PROPERTY. They just don’t get it. the more PC-Wooly-thinking amongst you may hide behind the facade of cultural differences. But I for one, am not taken in by ‘the Emperor’s new clothes”. It is a lack of respect, a lack of manners, pure and simple.
It is the reason why, when we were involved in a dispute at our local Vodaphone shop, having to queue for hours because of the sweeping restrictions on our civil liberties, we were treated with utter cvontempt and disdain. You see, when a culture like this prevails, it is the ones who stand up and say ‘Enough’ that are branded the wrongdoers.
When exactly was it that I turned around and missed the world going ass-backwards?
I’m not really a Political animal, but I felt I had to briefly comment on the farcical goings-on in my old home country. Oh, how we laughed at the U.S.A. when they brought Dubya to power when he hadn’t even won, but now it seems that the Mother of Democracy has sank to equal, if not greater depths. It looks like the Conservatives are heading for 36% of the vote, and around 307 seats, around 47 seats more than their nearest rivals Labour – but our quaint system means that, although they have more seats than any other party, if they don’t reach the magic 326 overall majority, the present incumbent, the dour and singularly unappealing Scot, Gordon Brown, can claim squatters rights and try and enter into a coalition with the 3rd placed Liberal Democrats. Yep. that’s right. The two LOSERS are able to try and form a Government the people don’t want. It puts Nick Clegg, leader of the third most successful party on the night, in the role of Kingmaker. This in itself, is bad enough, but the real horror of the night was the truly stupefying scene at major cities (Leeds, Sheffield, and others) where hundreds of voters were queueing around the block, unable to vote, and eventually were turned away when the Polling stations were shut at 10 pm.
Oh yes, the good ol’ U.K., once a bastion of fair play and democratic thought, with their soldiers dying in Afghanistan, in order to give Afghans the vote, has disenfranchised its own citizens.
This to me, is yet another nail in the coffin of my country. I’ve long thought the country I grew up in had ceased to exist, but never did I think to see the day when it descended into third-world politics.
It is a day of shame. Will the last person on the boat to Calais please turn out the lights.
We don’t have egg-coloring kitswhere I live, and all the eggs here have brown shells, meaning a dye wouldn’t work on them. Our solution is to hand paint eggs every year. I got this handmade basket five years ago in an artisanal cooperative shop while on a vacation. The small chocolate eggs in colored foil were purchased at a chocolate shop.
Here are some close-ups of our hand-painted eggs.
I painted them in stages, using poster paints.
As I wrote in my last post, “A suitcase full of mugs”, we have brought 15 new mugs from the USA, and I have the intention to show them all here in Cafe Crem… a kind of belated travel diary in mugs!
After some painful hours spent in JFK New York, our first real stay in the USA was in Nashville, where we stayed from the 9th until the 16th of January 2010. I will be honest with you: before we planned the trip some months ago, I had no idea where Nashville was, neither had I heard about it! And I guess I am not the only one in Europe. As we first went to a Spanish travel agency to book the flights, the woman, who had been recommended to us as a specialist in organising trips to the USA and from city to city there, had never heard of Nashville either. And in Madrid, at the airport, by the passport control, the guy asked me which was our destination, and when I said “Nashville”, he looked at me very suspiciously. He asked again, and his eyes turned black. Then he asked to see my boarding pass, saw “New York”, and said to me:
“You mean New York?”
with an ironic smile, meaning: you are not even able to say New York well! Not wanting to create more problems then we already had, I said yes, of course, New York… I also think then, within my generally well- and world-educated family nobody knew what or where Nashville was, but well, it is well known that French are bad in geography, supposedly believing that they are La Grande Nation in the centre of the Universe and there is nothing else for miles around…
Except the fact that the word Nashville was the first time I heard it, Nashville itself was for me a first time for many things. It was my first town in the USA (New York does not count, we were just in the airport). It was also the first time that I saw some skyscrapers which I really found beautiful. Until that moment, skyscrapers were for me awful boring cold buildings lacking any aesthetics. But the AT&T building in the painting was a real beauty to my eyes.
It was also the first time that I went to a Hard Rock Cafe. Kevin has at home a proud collection of Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia, especially T’Shirts, and he always told me about them. He also spoke passionately about the food there, and he could not wait to go there. The first day in Nashville, an awfully cold day, so cold that the water pipes had fractured downtown, we accidently stood in front of the Rock Cafe, and we were both very excited. No doubt that we had to enter it at once. Well… I was quite disappointed, I must say. It was a very modern design, and I was expecting a place with a lot of atmosphere. Then, the coffee we ordered was cold, and we had to get it replaced. Kevin got some cookie if I remember well, it was nice he said, but all together I found it very expensive for what it was and not really exciting. Honestly, it was not at all what I was expecting… so much so that it would be much later on the trip that I was ready to again enter a Hard Rock Cafe!
Nashville was also the first time that I heard Country Music live, and although I generally don’t like country music, I must say that it is quite a difference to hear it live. I simply enjoyed it
Nashville was the first town I saw with so many churches… amazing! They are everywhere, and have such incredible names!
I guess there were many other ‘firsts’ in Nashville -certainly some of the fast food chains Kevin was dreaming about when we were in Spain… Ihop, for example… Taco Bell…
And more important than anything, Nashville was the first time I met American people. And I can say only one thing: you guys are great, so naturally welcoming… I loved that!
And concerning Starbucks Nashville: we just entered one of the places to buy the mug, we didn’t have any coffee there, and today I can say that I am glad about it. Starbucks coffee is not made for my tummy, as the following weeks will gradually show! But at least I love their mugs.
Hi.. it’s me, Miki… you remember? 🙂
Well,” mieux vaut tard que jamais”, we say in my country, better late than never! I haven’t been around here in Cafe Crem for ages (there were many reasons for that), but I am today very thankful to all the people who, despite of the low activity, have kept the site alive: Kevin, of course, who never stopped to share with you the great moments of our life, Shelley & “Jr”, Michael, Sitting Pugs… to be honest I have no idea who else is really still around, so, whoever you are, thanks for still getting your cup of coffee from us..
I haven’t read them all, but I know that Kevin has regularly written posts about our stay in the USA. For my part, I haven’t written anything, neither here nor anywhere else, my whole writing activity in these 2 last months having been reduced to 4 postcards I sent to my parents, with more or less the words : “Tout va tres bien. Bises. Miki&Kevin”. and to a few obligatory mails… never have I been so far from getting the Nobel Price for Literature, I guess…
Anyway, I am back now, although I can’t say for how long. But my intention is to exhibit in Cafe Crem the 15 mugs we brought from the States. Yes, 15 mugs, from many of the places we have been! We even had to buy a new suitcase to bring them back.
As Kevin told in his first post, our flight to Nashville turned into a nightmare, and instead of flying via Dallas, we flew via New York. In spite of the long queues there and the endless security checks, we had some time left to look around and search for some comfort (we were exhausted!). Kevin found at once a Starbucks Cafe, and the first thing I saw there was a beautiful mug featuring New York. What a great memory of this forced stay in JFK, we thought, and without a second of hesitation we bought it! This was the beginning of our USA collection… at that point we wondered if other big towns we would visit would have their own Starbucks mug, and one of our first tasks each time we arrived in a city, was to look for them. You’ll see if we found some.. at least if the blues does not catch me and I give up my project to show you the whole USA collection!
Anyway, here it is. As always with my mugs, it looks a little bit wild and untamed… and the colours are different… I really could not use my usual warm colours for this painting as it was awfully cold as we landed in New York, it did not feel right!