Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flowers in January

I'm Canadian, and seeing flowers in January continues to amaze me.  You see it's hot here compared to Canada, but it's not THAT hot, it's not tropical.  If you go somewhere tropical, you aren't surprised by flowers in January, but here, it is chilly...our high today was about 14º and the low about 5º.  OK, but Canada standards, that's pretty darned nice, and it is pretty darned nice, but not something that shrieks out FLOWERS!!!!

So I am utterly delighted when they show up....

There's only one of these irises, and I think they may be my favourite flowers.....

This bush is madly pumping out the roses, we have them in all stages, and they smell wonderful.

The lemon tree has more lemons than sense, which I suppose is to be expected, but really, it grows so many lemons that it gets literally doubled over from the weight of them.

Jasmine, we have lots of this too......

Another rose, these don't smell as strongly, but are lovely, we've got one bloom and some buds.

Such a treat.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


These holidays are maybe a little boring, and maybe it would have been great to go and do something, like tour Italy, but that was not in the cards financially this year, and you know what? 

It has been (and continues to be) least for me!  The Man and I have seen almost all of the exhibitions that are on in BCN (including a surprisingly crappy one yesterday), and I have read a book almost every day after the Christmas excitement ended.  Not doing much of anything, walking the dog, reading and doing the necessary chores.

It has been great.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Yesterday was marvelous

Really!  I had the most amazing start to the year!  Went for a walk in the hills with the dog and the man, went to friends and had a marvelous New Year's day lunch, read a fantastic book (The Martian), had a nap and went to a stunning concert here in the village.  The musicians were having fun, at the end they had santa hats on, or police hats (?) or barratines, they played a weird instrument they'd made out of bottles filled to different depths and lit and suspended.  It was fun, it was great music beautifully played, but the highlight was the tenor....OMG

It isn't a big theater and it was like a private performance.  Josep Fadó  I mean, good lord.  We even got to sing Silent Night, which was cool, I love that carol....but everyone was singing different words than me (in Catalan) big deal.....he sang this piece among others.  It was amazing, make your hair stand up on end.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Amazing candy

There is this really cool candy place in BCN that hand makes the most amazing candy....


I've got my finger in one photo to give perspective. Astonishing, no?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Not in Kansas anymore Toto

I was coming up the street from the market with the man today, and a guy hopped onto his tri-bike, with aerobars...they look like this:

He was coming out of a bakery and had two baguettes with him,  seems they ride quite perfectly in the cool is that!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


I went into teaching partially cause I had loved and valued so many of my teachers as a child, partially because the vacations are great, partially cause I loved it and partially because I knew I would never get rich teaching, but I would always have a job.

I am still teaching, and I still value many of the teachers I know and work with, I am still not rich but I do still have a job.  I have managed to sort out my life so I almost never have proper holidays, which does seem stupid, but it is worth it.

There are times though when I am just tired of teaching.  It is mostly before I start a class, but you know what is still really lovely about the job after all these years?  This sounds like such a cliche, but I really like the students, very nearly all of them.  Spending time with them and working with them, and showing them how to go about teaching themselves something is still really cool.

I guess I am lucky that way.  I still groan about going off to work, and there are many things around work that are as annoying as hell, as they are for everyone; but once I am in the class with the students? It's normally really great. 


Sunday, December 18, 2016

100 climbs to nowhere

Hello Fattyfans!  and everyone else.

Fat cyclist every year holds the 100MoN fundraiser for Camp Kelsem, a camp for kids whose families are directly affected by cancer.  The idea is to do 100 miles in the smallest possible circle on a bike.  But Fatty's a good guy and he lets us do this in our way and in our own time, which is fabulous.  One year I walked it with Chuck, this year, climbs.  We're supposed to do it in November, so I'm a little late, but what the heck.

This is my rather late version of 100MoN, in a category I am sure to win.  Middle-aged woman in Catalunya climbing alone in a gym!  Weee!!!!

Chuck the dog, who accompanied me on my only other 100MoN, back in 2012, did not join me on this trip.  He hates the gym, it's unheated, so pretty damned chilly in Dec, and technically he's not allowed in.

The Preparation
I did start off the day with a solid breakfast, it was better than it looks in the photo,  oatmeal with an apple cooked in, milk, sugar, peanut butter and a good scoop of homemade marmalade!

The supplies for the attempt, till my kids arrived with further succor....climbing shoes, race number, water, a speaker for the phone so I can listen to podcasts while I grind through the climbs, and wait for the pump to subside, and fruitcake, cause it's Christmas and I love it and my eldest child brought it for me from the UK!!!

Climbing shoes need to be small for your feet.  These ones are actually remarkably comfy and quite spacious, by climbing shoe standards.  Amazingly climbing shoes are called 'peus de gats' in Catalan, cat's feet.  Love the name.

Couldn't pin the number on, so I pumped up my pipes to show the number for the post!

My wedding ring really doesn't come off, and as I didn't want to leave almost all of it behind on the holds, it had to be firmly tapped up.

The system
It seems that I cannot exert myself at all, and count.  Indeed this summer when I was doing swim training, the coach would ask me how many lengths I had done of a particular drill and I NEVER knew, I just stopped whenever everyone else did.  Too much else to think about.  He gave me a stack of flutter boards, and I had to move one over with every return to that end of the pool.  Wait, this is relevant.

With the climbing, I decided that I wasn't going to stick to the same route 100 times, I basically haven't climbed in a year, so doing the same route over and over and over again was sure to lead to injury unless I shook things up.  At first I was climbing relatively randomly but I realised, as I forgot how many I had done after the third route, that I needed a better system.  (see above!) So, I designated 5 different areas of the gym, well spaced out.  I would do a circuit, climbing each of the areas once, and at the end I would have 5 done!  Then immediately to the phone to note down the completed 5.  A quick break, and out again.  (sometimes a longer arms got pumped and my feet got really sore!!!)

Fruitcake breaks were key....this one even had TWO types of icing!  Normally I don't like icing on my fruitcake, but this was pretty delish.

After the kids came by we got a couple of action shots...

 To show you what it was like.....

and gradually it all got done.

My feet at the end?  Not so happy, indeed, they still kinda hurt now...

To end, the screenshot of my record keeping on the phone.

Good fun, though I am going to be some stiff tomorrow!!!!  Thanks again Fatty....great to get back at the climbing, and great to help out Camp Kesem.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Exhibit at Caixa Forum.

Went to Caixa Forum with the man, there is an amazing exhibit of paintings from the Thyssen museum in Madrid. Wow.

This work was outside the museum, to promote recycling.

I love Chagall, and you so rarely see his work.

This was a fascinating piece from 12?? a REALLY long time ago.  I am astonished by the simple flat planes and the meticulous perspective.  Almost Japanese looking isn't it.

Rembrandt.  Love it always and forever.  I felt like I was actually meeting the man. 

Paul Klee, who I normally love, and who it is also hard to see, but this piece?  Looks like a butcher's apron.

I don't remember this painter's name (shame!), but this was an amazing piece too.

Also saw the first ever actual Georgia O'Keefe.  (Though I didn't love it...sorry)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From the summer too

A friend's cat also had kittens. Little more needs to be said I think, except maybe awwwwwwwwwww......

Monday, November 28, 2016

More from Toronto in 2016 summer!...The ROM

Goodness, I used to know the ROM inside out and backwards....I could find my way to any exhibit anywhere.  Then they did a gigantic renovation and I am so lost.  It is sad, cause it's like coming back to your home and finding it all rearranged and you can't find anything, but also exciting cause I keep coming across old friends, and also new treasures. 

Here's some old friends and new treasures:

We spent a LOT of time with the dinosaurs......they are marvelous, this one was one of the absolute favourites. Parasaurolophus. 

New friend!  Dino poo!  Is that not cool!!! OMG!!!

Old this ceiling.

Pretty sure this is from Troy...feeling very ignorant. Mask of Agamemnon ....yes!  I was right...I imagine this is not the original as it was just hanging on the wall in the museum in TO....still very cool.  Old and new friend.

New friend, amazing....

We also saw an exhibit, glass work. So amazing to see it made, so mediocre once it's done.  I just cannot get into glass.  A shame.

It was very popular, but, meh.