Saturday, February 28, 2015

wistfulness

I just finished reading my way through an entire series of books.

You know when you find a new author and you LOVE the books?  And there's a whole series with many of the same characters......and you read them all. 

All of them, one after the other.

And then you get to the end. 

*sigh*

sort of like a friend is leaving and isn't coming back.
  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Work at the University

This has been weird and slightly disorienting, and not clear enough by half.

I got hired by the Universitat Obert de Catalunya to teach an English course with them.  Great!  I was very happy.

They had told me there was only one position, but that even those who were good, but didn't get the position would have the opportunity to take their online course in how to teach English online.  That seemed a win to me.

I got enrolled in the course.  Great!

And, I received an email telling me that I was actually going to get a class, but they didn't know how many students I would have.  Great!

They put me in another course for people who would be teaching online courses with them for the first time, Great!

I went to a meeting, face to face, having taken time off work for this, and strangely there were 6 other English teachers there.  Hmmmmm.

One of them I knew and she said that she couldn't teach as she had to have surgery.  OK Fine, whatever.

I get into the course for first time 'consultors' as we are called, and low and behold, there are 10 English teachers in there, for what is reputedly 1 position!  But I had gotten an email telling me I would have a group.  OK, Fine.

Semester starts on the 25th.  At the face to face meeting they said we would see on our page in UOC when we got our group.  Nothing.  before the weekend, NADA
The 25th is a Wednesday.  Tuesday night, still a big fat blank.

No messages, nothing.

Morning of the 25th rolls around, my two new Master's classes come up, (great) but no class.

Not so great.

No note, no nothing.

So I go investigating.  Not one of the people in the 'How to teach English' class, nor any of the English teachers in the 'Consultors' class have been given a class.

No one.

(This makes me feel slightly better, as it is a question of numbers of students)

But I have to say, that I find the system pretty terrible, and there has been a really shortage of information.  As in, freaking nothing. 

And we all have to be polite if we want a chance of getting a class later, but honestly, it's been pretty shabby.

And the worst of it is?  It has kind of (temporarily) robbed me of my excitement about the Masters.  And I am still wasting time (I know I'm not, but the motivation isn't the same, let me tell you baby) doing these other two courses, still another month to go with them, no credit, no certificate, but work. 

Shabby.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An unusual thing happened today

I went walking with the dog in the mountains, which given my schedule almost does count as an unusual thing, certainly not as usual as I would prefer, but it is not what I am aiming to discuss in this post.

What was unusual was that Chuck ran away from me!  He looked quite guilty while doing it.  There is a place where we normally stop for me to put on his leash, and he came almost up to it, but just out of reach, and when I called him to come over he gave me a guilty look out of the corner of his eye and ran around me and off down the road.

I decided to stay where I was and wait for him to come back to me.

I waited and waited.

Eventually another man and dog came up the road and I asked if he had seen Chuck, which he had, but quite a long way down the hill, so I went on following him.  Got around the corner to meet a bigger street to see a flash of his tail as he went down a narrow overgrown little walkway.

It was at that moment that I remembered that his girlfriend is in heat right now.

Ah ha.

I had no trouble locating him busy and happy!

The resident (male) German Shepherd didn't seem overly fussed about Chuck, ah, intruding on his territory, but wasn't too happy to see me.  I had little choice but to go into their yard though and get Chuck, and the Shephard sounded like there as a lot more bark than bite.  I have also gotten quite used to large angry sounding dogs and have at this point a pretty effective tone of voice for deterring them.

Chuck fortunately was busy enough in his work (cough cough) that he was not hard to catch!

I was worried that she'd come all the way home with us though.  Fortunately one of the owners then appeared and shooed her away as I left.

When I got home, Chuck sang a wooing song for some time afterwards while I laughed at him.

Here it is:

video

Monday, February 16, 2015

A very good day indeed

Though I took simply terrible photos.  I need to pay a little more attention to that, holy jeez.

Went off with two great walking buddies.  We are super comfortable with each other, walk at basically the same rate and like the same types of walks.  They are just great.  Honestly. 
I have missed walking with them.

So, we went off to climb Matagalls, one of the peaks of Montseny.  But, we were all a little tired didn't make the earliest start one one of my buds has a wonky knee at the moment, sooooo, we didn't make it to the top, but, really?  Whatever.  We had a LOVELY day.

So did Chuck, he came too.  (well aside from Chucking in the car on the way there, he had a marvelous day!

Here are a few photos:

We were headed back behind the furthest peak you can see.


Still can't quite see the peak, but we walked along the top of all that.


There is an amazing little hermitage up there as well, it is on the littlest piece of rock!


This is where we stopped, Matagalls, the official peak, is the highest distant peak, but as you can see, it was starting to cloud over and it seemed prudent to turn around, for knees and weather.


Montserrat in the distance!


The hermitage again, we went in this time and it sadly needs work, hope someone will do that.


A river and an amazing beech tree!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Went of snowshoeing today!



Somewhat astonishingly for the Catalans, the Canadians in the group had NEVER gone snowshoeing before!  NEWBIES!

It was great fun.  Youngest and I ended up abandoning the group as there was no snow on much of the route they wanted to take and we were in borrowed boots which, in all honesty, hurt like the dickens, so we went our own way, rapidly getting off the groomed trails, which were groomed so firmly that we didn't need snowshoes at all, and it was wonderful and magical and marvelous.

Youngest doesn't have a lot of strong memories of snow as we left TO when she was just 4, so she was right into it and wonderfully amazed.

It even snowed for us, big fat flakes drifting down to rest on our hair and eyelashes from the sky.

I know most of you are sick unto death of the cold and the snow, but it was still really magical.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More work, definitely a good thing.

Got another job!!!

Now I'm also teaching at a 100% online University!  Universitat Obert de Catalunya!!!!

YIPEE!!!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Slackline



New toy!!!!!

Youngest is much better than me...too bad there's no where to hang it up nearby, but it is pretty lovely in the mountains.  Only problem is the dog gets bored.....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Long long long day.

Wow, one of those that seems to be three or four shoe-horned into one.

Got up and taught this morning (fortunately I'd gotten about 12 hours in bed last night which started to make up for last week.

My cold seems to not be blossoming into the pneumonia that it is turning into in those around me...YEAH sleep!

Then the man and I got on our bikes and rode off to a calçotada at my boss' house, which was fine, but know what?  I am all socialized out.  I spend a. lot. of. time. talking to people in my job.  A lot.  and the last three weeks with the caving course?  A lot of the weekend making small talk. 

By the time we got to this festa, I was pretty much talked out.

Sigh.

Back on the bikes, and home (up hill and down and up and down!!!!) 

Then into BCN to do a little very necessary shopping.......and now youngest is having a wee party downstairs. 

I for one am going to make myself a little night time cold medicine, so I sleeeeeeeppppppp - though somehow it still isn't as refreshing as a real night's sleep...maybe it disturbs the sleep rhythms or something.

then bed with a book.

Ahhhhhh.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Curiouser and curiouser

Here's the thing, and it's a little thing and an odd thing that I have noticed over the last few years.

Catalans have the worst time noticing italic writing.  It seems to look just like other writing to them.  They can only barely pick it out of a text and some have a great deal of difficulty doing so.

My thinking is this.  When I was a child, the text books used italics to emphasise bits of text they wanted us to notice or remember, or it was used for the titles of books or magazines, etc.

Here, the text books use bold.  They use it a LOT, no, a lot.  Drives me bonkers, I have to confess, because I tend to end up reading the bold and not reading anything else.  As do the students cause those are the bits that are on the test.

Seems they are inadvertently teaching the kids to scan...but scan possibly tooooo much.  So much that they have a really rough time picking out italics.

Now I know though and I underline it in the text when I show it, and for those in real difficulty, I underline it throughout the exercise.

Weird, no?