Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The party, part 1

Well, it's over; and if I do say so myself it was a ROARING success. (thank god)

My Catalan held up, a couple of Mom's pitched in and helped, which was fantastic of them....the kids all had a blast. The only tears were when it was time to go.

The house is cleaner than it was this morning, and almost back to normal.

Now I must go to bed. More tomorrow, and maybe even some photos.

*phew*

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ho hum, another boring day in Spain....

To do today:

Wake up,
walk the dog,
feed the children,
feed the dog,
medicate the dog,
make lunch for youngest's field trip
make snack for both children,
medicate eldest for the stomach ache,
soothe youngest because her ankle hurts
have a breakdown on the couch
get up because I don't have time for that shit
take youngest to school early so I can go to the bank,
tell the school eldest won't be there, she has a stomach ache (again)
in Catalan
Wave youngest off on the bus (maybe)
RUN to work
Teach
teach
teach
run to the candy store before they close at 1pm.
Internally curse the Spanish working hours
Pick up youngest at school (late)
Internally curse the husband for his temerity in getting sick right now
Go to the municipal building to cancel the painting classes before they bill me for November
Go home,
dump the candy
take eldest to the medical center for another futile round with the doctors who have no idea WTF is going on
Internally curse the medical system for their ignorance and incompetence
return home.
Eat
hopefully sleep for an hour
walk the dog
leave a note for husband about what to ask the vet tonight
pick up kids from school
drop them at home
put on a costume for work, not yet created
work
work
return home
eat
read to the children
spray paint rubber gloves with glow in the dark paint
sew onto the witch outside
make a broom out of the olive branches I gathered for the witch(these last two are rather optional)
study Catalan with a neighbour
walk the dog (we are now approaching midnight)
Blog (you may not hear from me)
crash hard.

God almighty, what a day, and very little of it I can discard. I may bail on the neighbour, but if I start that, my Catalan will peter out, I have to cling HARD to it.

See ya, I am reminding myself that we are all having fun here. No?

Yeah, we are, except eldest with her stomach ache...and the man who is sick.
I can get sick on Wednesday night at 9:05.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween, part I don't know, about seven thousand.

More Halloween prep today, this was fun though...I also took the mutt for a walk, and finally got a picture of this door knocker that I adore....



The mushrooms are out all over, though I can only reliably recognize one kind....can you spot the mushroom? I didn't pick these, I am pretty sure that you cannot eat these....though I found two yesterday that we could and did and they were excellent. I got it confirmed by three seperate people before we tried it.



The day was mostly spent making tombstones...surprisingly laborious, cut out the cardboard, shape it, trim it, then the good part, painting it and speckling it. I am suddenly and profoundly converted to acrylics, man those are FUN...they dry fast, mix big and bright and bold, thin beautifully and have excellent, albeit extremely opaque coverage.





I have also been downloading Bach's Toccada and Fugh in D minor, the classic Halloween music, and my God Mother is going to love this, the version I downloaded was recorded live on Riga's famous Cathedral organ!

We have now achieved all the things that we HAVE to do, other than the pizza, though the time change added one more item to my to-do list...more light on the terrace, also they are going to freeze their butts off up there, OH NO! We may end up with all forty of them down in the apartment.....my chest is tightening with tension at the thought. The noise. OMG.

Only three hours...

It's only three hours....

Ah, what the heck, it'll be a lot of fun.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Canadian content

We spent the day prepping for the party. First the girls and I made copious lists of what we needed from the various stores then headed out. We came back with a mere nine giant jugs of pop. As we climbed the mule track they call a road near our house we realised, by our rough calculations, that since I was by this time carrying all the pop, I was in fact carrying more than the weight of youngest up the hill.

Groan.

We then went back again for real groceries.

Groan.

The man is still kind of ill, but the girls and I got quite a bit done...here's some pictures, we did more, but this was the start, and a pretty good start I think.




The door to a different world.



She's lovely isn't she?



He likes her so much he can't control those independent eyeballs...



I have to get one of these for my living room.

Then again, I have one.

Don't you think Martha Stewart will have this in next fall's line up?

For anyone concerned for the mental well being of our visitors, this is a seperate room, and entirely voluntary....other bits look much simpler, though we haven't finished yet.....BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!


Tonight we kind of tried to go to correllengua, which is 'run your tongue' in translation, or run your language. I think run your tongue is more fun. It was a bit of a washout. There were the diablos and a couple of the giant puppets, they shot off some of the correfoc fireworks, but not very much, and that was about all. I thought there would be some butiffara and mungetes with pa amb tomaquet, but they were still loading wood on the fire at that point. We went home feeling sniffy and put out to a lunch type dinner of bread, cheese and fruit. There was one guy quaffing back mouthfuls of kerosene and then breathing fire...he was impressive, but it actually made me gag to watch him drinking out of that giant container of kerosene.

*shudder*

This is an uber nationalistic event all about the maintenance and preservation of the Catalan cultural and linguistic heritage. It is a bit like moving to a hard-core separatist town in Quebec, near Lac Sant Jean maybe, and seeing the local celebrations and strong strong feelings about their nationhood....

While I am writing Canadian references here, I picked up a copy of the Morningside Papers, book five. Now if you don't know what Morningside was, or who the inimitable Peter Gzowsky was, you have truly missed out on something. The man was simply brilliant. This was a three hour radio show every weekday that ran for 12 years, and Gzowsky probably the best interviewer I have ever heard anywhere. The book is a collection of letters that were sent into the show by Canadians from all over, as well as notes penned by Gzowsky himself.

Here are some funny bits I enjoyed out of the book....

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

A fish.


And another little story I liked a lot, this is part of what Gzowsky did so well, he could tell a simple story, in a manner that completely brought to life the feelings of what was going on....he also managed to stay this side of sentimentality almost all the time, though I will admit he occasionally danced rather close to the line.

He had lead in pieces every morning....here's one:

October 31, 1991

Good morning...I'm Peter Gzowsky and this is Morningside....

Heard a nice little story the other day and, although it is apropos pf nothing on Morningside today, I thought I might pass it along. It took place about ten days ago, when Wayne Gretzky's father, Walter - a really nice guy, by the way - was fighting back from the brain aneurysm that's laid him low, and Wayne was away from hockey and at his bedside. Wayne, in fact, was alone with his ad saying, it's me, Wayne, if you recognize me, squeeze my hand. Suddenly, there was a response, and Wayne knew that his father would pull through. "He knew me, he knew me," he said as he left the room. "Gee, Wayne," said someone outside, "I don't want to let you down....but everybody knows Wayne Gretzky."

A totally typical Gzowsky story.

As an interesting aside, you should try to type ''Gzowsky'', unless you are a pro, it is quite the interesting little exercise.

After the kids were put to bed I went down to the tongue running Correllengua in search of wood fire cooked butifarra (sausage) and mungetes (beans), plus pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato). They were up and running now, so this is what I got. I took it home, which explains the silver cutlery. It doesn't really go with the plastic plate, but what the heck. It sure is nice to eat off.

The band has just started up, and they are appalling. I like most kinds of music, don't get me wrong (Well. Not Rod Stewart), but I think someone ran over the lead singer's tongue....it is AWFUL. Simply AWFUL. I may go out on the porch and see if I can post some of the music...



I also just did the spell check, I misspelled the amb in pa amb tomaquet, the google spell check highlighted it, the list came up, and there was the correct spelling, amb. Then further down, it had the correct spelling highlighted as a mistake. Thoughts about right hands and left hands not knowing what the **ck is going on, eh?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spookkkyyyyy

Some good friends in Toronto have sent us some Halloween goodies to help out with the party....here's what we got......



Those are some nasty pimples he's got going on.....


Looks like his tooth hurts pretty badly, no?



How I look in the morning before I've had a cup of tea. Pity my children.



I took Chuck to the vet again today to check his progress, the poor guy did his best imitation of a carpet on the way in, fortunately the floor is very slippery so I was able to just slide him on in, then he trembled the entire time.

That said, his lungs sound clear, and we can take him for slightly longer walks, although he is still contagious for for another week I am told.

Unfortunately the man has gone to bed and is not going back to work this afternoon, he's feeling that miserable undefinable sense of impending doom. Let's hope we don't get sick before the party.

Oh, and the obnoxious lady at the Catalan class? Several of us were commenting on our dread of her joining us, which of course we did, but I hushed her rudely several times. Make that many times, and things improved, somewhat. Still she is a resounding pain.

One of the weird things about studying the language is that I have days/hours/moments when I think I may actually manage this some days, and others when I am certain that I am NEVER going to manage this, let alone the second language I need to tackle very very soon. Not quite like mood swings, more like confidence swings, fortunately I am old enough to recognise them for what they are, and just ride it out...though I enjoy the moments of confidences as the unvarnished truth anyway....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking care of himself...

The man got up this morning and saw the dog sleeping in 'his' chair where he is NOT supposed to be.

You can just hear the dog thinking, "Yeah yeah yeah, you got the woman and the duvet, all I've got is a stinking case of bronchitis and it's COLD out there. PPTTTthhhhhhhhhhhh"

Strangely enough, the man didn't even kick him out!

OSL

Theresa over on her site has a good rant up on her latest post, that fits my mood today.

We had a new driver on the bus into BCN today, and honest to god, the radio station he had on was absolutely freaking unbearable....they had a huge number of nasal and appalling singers doing covers of Rod Stewart. Now I am sorry, but Rod Stewart is about enough to make me start pulling out my own fingernails, but rendered in atonal nasal screaming!!!!!!! I am left speechless with horror. The radio station then decided to hold some kind of contest wherein women phoned in and faked orgasms live. I am not sure which was worse, but you know what? It was altogether too much before 9am.

The Catalan class is also creeping up my bad side. Not the class itself, but there is one woman there who talks ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME. I kid you not. Continuously. Every little tiny meaningless thought that flashes across her achingly empty brain pan is shared with every single one of us. If we finish out the course and I haven't slapped her upside the head it will be a God given miracle. Madre Mio. I have taken to sitting in the farthest possible seat from her, and she still comes all the way over and joins into my group for the oral work. AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

How can anyone be so incredibly thick! There is this giant empty space around her in the chairs because no one wants to be near her. I actually shushed her, you know that librarian shush, several times today, and I was not the only one.

Now unfortunately she has been joined by a compatriot Old Spanish Lady. Some of these OSL's are deeply and profoundly obnoxious - who brought them up? - and this is one. She feels completely free, like the first, to give her opinion on absolutely every mother loving thing. Loudly. Drowning out the teacher.

You know what? I am not hauling my struggling ass into BCN at that time of day for the honour of hearing these OSLs sound off endlessly. Really I am not.

Then one of the young guys got off on the idea of discussing the relative value and merits of Catalan, French and Spanish swear words. After being pointedly ignored by everyone, he even said that we must all find the topic fascinating.

The teacher, thank goodness, moved us on rapidly.

That said - Pollyanna rising up here - there are also a couple of people that are just plain funny, one American guy and I were having a good laugh about the various English phrases that matched the Catalan expressions.

Nonetheless, I wonder what the sentence for boxing the ears of OSLs is.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween preparation begins in earnest...

I went off to Ikea (pronounced Ee-kay-ah hereabouts) today in search of tea candles for these pumpkins for the Halloween festivities we are counting down to -lord help me....



Tomorrow we start work on the tombstones....yup, we'll be burying 39 children I think....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Medicine



One of the things I find confusing about living in different parts of the world is that what is considered accepted wisdom in one place, is completely the opposite somewhere else.

Two cases in point. Eldest today had an appointment with an optometrist....there is some confusion over some of this because of the language barrier, but she has been told that she can have contacts, but must where either the contacts or glasses all the time or her eye sight will be worse in the end. The optometrist in Canada, however, felt that she should NOT wear them all the time because it will make her eyes worse in the end. What's a girl to do.

Second case. Chuck is worse. He is wheezier, though he doesn't have a fever at the moment, he has started on antibiotics. Thank goodness they are almost free here. The doctor however advised us to give him warm milk with honey as it is a decongestant. Exactly the opposite from the common wisdom in Canada....you go OFF dairy when your congested there.

I'm not even going to go into the differences for what to eat or not eat if you are pregnant/nursing. On that note, Kate mentioned that too many wild mushrooms can damage your liver. Now this is a health hazard I have never heard of before. Then again I have never had a chance to eat enough wild mushrooms to cause damage to any of my internal organs....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Photo day at the fair....

Folks, this is quite the photo post, but it has also been quite a couple of days.

There is a big mushroom festival on, and there's lots to do. Youngest and I went and found these mushrooms, one was edible according to the mycologist in charge....




Then both girls and I found these. One of the amazing things about all this is the passion that all the local people feel about it, they saw us wandering out of the hills with our mushrooms and would hurry over to see what we had found....all giving us advice usually contradictory, about which we could eat, and which not....



Having cute kids is an advantage, when we brought the second batch in to get checked the guy in charge offered the girls a trade, our whole basket for one we could eat. The girls said yes, and while we stood around admiring things, more and more mushrooms kept appearing in our basket. Mmmmmmm......



The gathered mushrooms were made into this display, some of the mushrooms that we found were featured, which was pretty cool in fact....



And then there was a mushroom tasting. This is what we had and it was GOOD.



We still had the mass of the mushrooms at home, so a couple of friends came back to our place, we made fried mushrooms, mushroom risotto, curried squash soup and chocolate cookies. We stayed up very late and ate very well....
The next day the fair opened even better goodies awaited us, like this stand of mushrooms,

This wheel of cheese was positively enormous...and I am sure delicious.


An olive stand.....


Bread was everywhere....


This makes me so hungry...


Another cheese stand....


More mushrooms, have I mentioned that these people LOVE food?


The basket weavers were out in strength....you can ONLY collect mushrooms in a basket I am told.


One of the local masias was open, these are old fortified farm houses...only the cellars were open but it was still fascinating....they made wine up until the civil war when we don't know which side came in, removed all the bungs and let the wine run out into the streets. They haven't made it since. I love this giant barrel with the wooden staves...


This fellow is the spout to the fountain in the cellar.....drinking demon piss....


Did you notice his equipment? Hard to miss....this fellow was down there as well....


I took a massive number of photos, but I think that this will do for now.....It's been fun bringing you with me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Chuck

I don't know what to do with blogger, I have finally uploaded this video...I can see it in the preview and in the compose mode, but not when I view the blog. If you can see it, well that's good...if not, let me know.....

Back to the regularly scheduled program....

I was up in the woods the other day, and it was so beautiful and peaceful. The birds were singing back and forth to each other. I thought I'd share it with you for a second or too. There isn't much sound, but you may want to put the speakers on.

video


Chuck does seem a little confused about his place in the food chain don't you think?

Herbivore?

Carnivore?

Herbivore?

Carnivore?


This stuff is difficult to eat, but it sure is easy to catch, oi?

Chuck actually had a rough night last night, up several times retching and coughing....restless too. We took him to the vets this morning....bronchitis. Poor guy. He isn't himself today.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oatmeal

Thought I'd try out the new blogger poll add on, and I found a topic of pressing importance....tell me what you think....please.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nagging and ESL

If you read those comments, it seems that my computer literate munchkins think I have been nagging to much of late. Grumbled clichés along the lines of...it takes two to tango, nagging is a two way street...and then the old parental tried and true...if you'd listen, I wouldn't have to nag....then the various threats that supposedly get us out of nagging, but that we have to subsequently nag to enforce...fun wow....

Classes went well today, I played some new games with the little ones, some worked well...I wrote the names of some of the objects in the room on the board along with some action verbs, sit down, stand up, lie down...then I pointed and said it and they had to race to do it....the number counting game didn't work, sit in a circle and try to count up...I'll add an object to pass.

The older kids, 17, 18, 19, 20....they talk in Catalan all the time....ALL. THE. TIME. Urgh...Simple solution....they have a bank account with me, every time they speak in Catalan, 50 cents....we'll buy a pizza when we have enough...then one student said that she didn't have enough money, she has two jobs already...evil teacher thoughts crossed my mind, such as...well, talk only in English and you won't have to cough up....but we altered it instead and they when they get to a certain level, they have to bring in food for the whole class...It worked a charm today anyway.

For the rowdy 13 and 14 year olds I have evolved a game/joke/punishment...every time they speak in Catalan, they get a mark off, then once they have three, they have to pull a card out of a box and do what it says, such as....name 10 foods in English, I have several cards with tongue twisters, lists of improbable words they have to make a sentence out of....

You may or may not notice (probably not) that I have included some ESL sites on the blog...this is part of my own internal on-line filing system, if I put it there, I can find the site when I am at work and don't have my bookmarked list at hand...

There's the latest from my corner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hmmmm, blogger trouble...

I'm trying to upload a video for all of you, blogger says it should take about 5 minutes, two hours later I went to bed and found a blogger error message.

Try again.

On another note,

My latest marketing scheme to the kids for breakfast food - they are difficult at breakfast - is chocolate peanut butter oat meal.


Make oatmeal with a spoon full of cocoa in it, not that quick crap....good cocoa so it is a rich dark brown. Make it a little runny. Then in the bowls place a spoonful, a good big one, of peanut butter, pour in the oatmeal, mix and add sugar and milk. It is the same amount of sugar, the peanut butter boosts the proteins, and they are thrilled because they think you are letting them eat junk food.

heheheheheheheh

Monday, October 15, 2007

Someone MUST have known.....




Given the first comment....magic mushrooms are a nickname for LSD....it makes you see sounds and colours, along with other freaky Daliesque things....Maybe he got a MOLTO (very) Magic Mushroom as a child too.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Unity

I just finished Stephen Pinker's "The Language Instinct" which was brilliant on several levels. I am fascinated by the early section discussing the nature of grammar within languages and his assertion that this relates to our inherent ability to formulate grammar and to understand it....his thoughts and arguments are broad-ranging and strongly presented, and his writing is pithy and accessible. That said, I felt too much that he was trying to persuade me, rather than thathe was presenting facts for me to examine, which I found somewhat distasteful...he does go against the gigantic Chomsky in places, so maybe he felt compelled to present his arguments strongly...still it is a brilliant book that I will be rereading...this time in sections as well as all the way through.

I will offer you a quote that he has on the final page though.

It is longish, and as a blogger who tends to skim over the quotes in posts, please give this a shot.

Among lay people, race is lamentably salient, but for biologists it is virtually invisible. Eighty-five percent of human genetic variation consists of the differences between one person and another within the same ethnic group, tribe or nation. Another eight percent is between ethnic groups, and a mere seven percent is between "race"s." In other words, the genetic difference between, say, two randomly picked Swedes is about twelve times as large as the genetic difference between the average of Swedes and the average of Apache or Warlpiris. Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza (Human geneticists who noted this fact) suggests that the illusion is the result of an unfortunate coincidence. many of the systemic differences among races are adaptations to climate: melanin protects skin against the tropical sun, eyelid folds insulate eyes from dry cold and snow. But the skin, the part of the body seen by the weather, is also the part of the body seen by others people. Race is, quite literally, skin deep, but to the extent that perceive rs generalize from external to internal differences, nature has duped them into thinking that race is important. The X-Ray vision of the molecular geneticist reveals the unity of our species."

Thank you Misters Pinker, Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza.

Accents and technological victory

I have had a minor victory here...I have managed to install accents on my keyboard. OK, that is kind of sad, but it was getting embarrassing sending e-mails without the accents. Now I can type....

Què passa?

and

d'áquí cap a les dues.

and

començara

and

t'amoïnis.

I can also bore you senseless with my rules for accents in Catalan....

Feel free to skip this part...I'll run a row of asterisks (how do you pluralise aster ix?) when I am done.

In Catalan, the accent for the letter a can only go this way à. It is called an open accent.

I and U can only be closed, like this: í, ú

while E and O can go either way: è, é, ò, ó. The bi letters of the Catalan world.

The letter C can have a trencada, which is like a slash for a capital Q but slicing the other way, and of course on the lower part of the letter C. Unfortunately, no keyboards can do this punctuation mark properly so we are left with the Spanish ç. Catalan nationalists must think that Bill Gates is in cahoots with the fascist left-overs trying to suppress the Catalan language, culture and way of life through this omission.

Accents are used to change the sound of the vowel, to tell you where the emphasis of the word should be..the tonic vowel, and to tell two similar words apart. For instance mes which is month, and més which is more, or si which is if, and sí which is yes. The last two reasons, discerning the tonic vowel and differentiating synonyms, seem specious to me as an English speaker, we get along just fine without them thankyouverymuch. The first rule, which signals the change in the sound of a vowel maybe would be handy, for instance read and read, for example: I like to read. I read a book yesterday. Say them aloud. The sound changes yet the spelling is the same.

There are also rules that are positively baroque in their complexity...

In four syllable words, the vowel in the second syllable always takes an accent....if it is an e or an o, non-native speakers have to guess which accent to use. I would advise flipping a coin.

In three syllable words, the middle vowel doesn't take an accent if the word ends in a, e, i, o, u or as, es, is, os, us, en or in. Simple, no? Again if that middle vowel is an o or an e, your guess is as good as mine.

In two syllable words, unlike in three syllable words, the final vowel takes an accent WHEN the word ends in: a, e, i, o, u, as, es, is, os, u, en or in.

Same thing applies to those pesky o and e's.

Following me here?

Single syllable words apparently are the anarchists of this whole system, which are reminiscent of the Russian genealogy tables in their convolutions, and do whatever the heck they please.

By the same token, I am not sure that I am correct on any of this, but it is what I have been told so far.

*****************************************************************************

OK grammar chickens, that's over...and all the wit and humour I injected into that minor dissertation have passed you by.

Youngest came in this morning while I was still half awake and started my day this way, "You know what Mom? Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) has too many summers."

Time to go walk the dog. I may add a photo if something strikes me. Or I may not.

I am just glad to have scored a victory over technology by adding those accents....

Hope your weekend is going well.

OK...here are some pics...there are wild boar in the hills around here, and this is the evidence...Chuck found it, nothing like some good boar poop to roll in....
Here's a trotter print. There was some angst around this because the boar can actually be quite dangerous, Asterix and Obelix aside....



This is a large set of rocks we walked up to....there have been many neolithic finds around this site, and finds from later periods too...there was a fire pit under it when we got there and fresh ashes...seems folks haven't really changed all that much...though I think the beer cans are an innovation. And the shell casings.



We still like a good view too. Though maybe they liked the defensive position it supplied. I just like to gaze at the sea.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dali day...



We went off to the Dali museum in BCN today, I have to confess I am not exactly a big Dali fan at the best of times. He was a self-aggrandizing fascist freak...at best. Now I have to admit that he was an immensely talented self-aggrandizing fascist freak. I am not sure about the imagination, there may have been some pharmaceutical assistance there, though he certainly had original ideas for work with mediums....

The museum...meh....it's a private museum, expensive and unfortunately poorly maintained, several of the works are visibly molding and nothing is being done, there are drawings and photos that have slipped in the frames and not being fixed, and in an effort to save money on rent, they have mashed far far too many pieces into every room. It is literally wall to wall, floor to ceiling drawings. None of the really important stuff was here, and if that were not enough, they fleshed it out with photos...I wouldn't go back. If we have guests that are desperate to go, I have to confess, they can go on their own. I'll go get a coffee.

That said, he had some interesting watercolour work, which peaked my interest as I have been dabbling in that lately....took some photos which they also allow. Strange.

Barcelona itself however remained absolutely fascinating architecturally, everywhere you go, you have to keep your head up and your eyes open for the wonders that are everywhere. These are only two of the photos I took....

I love these balconies....



And check this out....it is a pillar support between two doorways...there were three of four more. What a beautiful idea.



Wish I lived in a building with a feature like that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beach Day again...


I wandered down to the beach with the dog again, got some good sea glass for my buddy....and I also posted a link to the jeweler who made the ring and necklace. She's young and likes to party and she doesn't have an official website....so it is essentially a myspace page...but there are photos of her stuff there....and she speaks English too.

The beach was pretty cool, though once again we got into a dog fight...some doofus down the beach felt he had to put his two dogs on leash when he was still more than a quarter of a mile away. I mean really if your dogs are that aggressive and uncontrollable, what the heck are you doing? Anyway, I put Chuck back on leash too just in case he wanted to go down and say hi...this was awkward though, as I was looking for sea glass, which means that you need to be below the high tide line...Chuck however is scared of the sea, something that bodes ill for a dog in a sailing family, and it is tough to look for sea glass while being relentlessly dragged away from the water. I decided to just wait with Chuck admiring the sea till loser with the dogs went by. Instead, when he got to a channel in the beach where run-off comes out from the town, he started waving madly at me.

Now I have to explain, this is an area about 20 feet wide that runs perpendicular to the beach letting water drain out of the town....as we have had a lot of storms, there was a good 4 to 5 feet of water in it...the sea creates a dam at the water side.....so when bubba started waving, and then tore off his coat and boots to climb in...well, I kinda wondered what was up...but my problem here is that his dogs are now not tied to anything; those ones he felt he needed to put on leash a quarter mile back, the big shepherds..... but he is wading in...I'm wondering WHO is in the water, so tossing myself to the fates, Chuck and I ran over. By the time we got there, he had a dog that had been in the water in his arms. Seconds later his dogs arrived at us. Ho Hum.

His dogs weren't actually too bad, as in they stopped directly attacking Chuck when I yelled at them, while still growling and circling. The rescued dog however was another matter. After the fourth or fifth kick I landed squarely on him he decided to give us a little more room. Chuck is fine by the way...I asked doofus if it was his dog, but he didn't answer, he was busy screaming unprintable things at his dogs, which I now understand given my interaction with the local teenagers. They are allowing me a stunningly rich vocabulary of words I cannot use. I was surprised he was using those words in front of me. Anyway, the small aggressive dog ran off, Crap-head ran after it with his dogs.....smaller and smaller in the distance. Good. Chuck got off leash and I got back to the more peaceful process of looking for sea glass. Doofus did come back briefly...seems he'd run off without his shoes. Jerk.

We had a lovely walk anyway, and I am getting used to the dog fight thing now...geez.

I also noticed that I have had over 10,000 readers to this site now....a fairly humble site I acknowledge, but the number still amazes me. Thanks folks.

Oh, and the fish in that trap in the picture up there? I briefly debated taking it home, but decided against it when I pictured myself walking 4 kilometers uphill with a dead fish flapping against my leg, the cities population of stray cats at my heels, and Chuck alternating between drooling, begging and generally trying to steal the fish, and barking in a panic at all the cats.

I'd already had enough excitement this morning thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Homage to Jose....

Some of you may have noticed that my friend Jose comments from time to time, and some of you may have also noticed his comment in the post a couple of days ago about the not-so-good butifara Catalana...

Now Jose included a description of how he would eat a butifara.

In homage to Jose's spectacular sounding idea, we had a very very nice lunch.

I altered things slightly, 'cause I'm just like that.

First, I didn't use the boutiffara...I got good high quality frankfurters....there were no buns that I could find, so instead I used crusty white bread that I bought warm at the bakers a couple of hours ago. I used allioli instead of mayo...this is an absolutely delightful Catalan sauce, take garlic and olive oil and pound them together until you get a smooth garlicy sauce...like garlic butter but better and garlicier (if you will allow me that word) I kept the avocados, the diced tomatoes with olive oil and salt, and the hot sauce (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm) the girls and I though felt that putting either ketchup or mustard on this would have been a crime. The pickled cabbage? I am in the wrong country for that.

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, our lunch, Homage to Jose........



Boy was that ever delicious...the girls judged it the best lunch ever...I think I agree.

Now you may have noticed the fruit on the side...a persimmon I think it is called in English, the Catalan's call it Saint Peter's heart...though it may be St. Paul...either way they are sweet and luscious and smooth and silky....mmmmmm



So in thanks to Saint whomever, and even more so in thanks to Jose...we are full and happy and had the best lunch ever. Mmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Look at what came in the mail!!!



Look at that....Nomad sent it to me. Isn't she wonderful. Gosh I love her. Even when she doesn't send me beautiful, lavishly photographed drool inducing books....oh my. What fun I am going to have with this....I love these two writers/cooks/photographers/travelers/parents.....they do so much of what I love and they write about it so well, and the food is so delicious....they have a bunch of books.....

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

This is also a good anti-dote for what I have done. I have gone all N. American and over-scheduled myself and the kids. Damn it. I hate that. There are two real culprits....first is my crappy working schedule which has me working at least a part of every night....the other is the Catalan class which is eating my life. Eating it whole. Like a giant shark. I love it, and I am learning tons...but oh my goodness, does it ever slice whacking great chunks out of my day....

It is only till December.....then one of the other teachers has a baby and things are likely to get busier....

Of to go drool on my new book....and study Catalan.


Thanks Nomad, you're a dream.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rambling late at night

I tried botiffara Catalana....a very traditional kind of meat here, there must be fifteen different botifarras - which are one of a multitude of sausage varieties -this was....well.....yucky. Unless you really like ham. A lot.

I don't.

Not one of the great culinary gifts the Catalans have to offer.

I had a lot of mustard with it though.



The invitations for the Halloween party we are having are going out tomorrow,(count them...forty kids, Madre Mia!) so we have been in production....making cards - bats and ghosts - and writing the info on them, first we had to decide what to write, then I translated it. Next I got it copy edited, and now we are carefully writing it out. I also had to get some advice about when and where to do some of the events, we want this to be a North American style party, buuuuuuuut, we do want the local kids to come, so some concessions to local culture are necessary. Like when to have it, when to eat, and how to word the invitations about the costumes...let's hope no one brings presents.


One of the things I am finding hardest about learning Catalan, is not just the seventeen million irregular verbs, nor the, at the last count, 16 forms of 'it'....my biggest difficulty is getting the words in the correct order. It is not very very different like, say, German; but it is different enough that I can see people thinking and translating what I say before the light bulb goes on and they answer.

A struggle

Must sleep.

'night now.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Storm clouds and mysteries

Oh my goodness gracious, I have no idea what happened. I posted yesterday, undoubtedly my wittiest and most undeniably hilarious and entrancing post, and it is gone. I looked in today...nada, nothing, res....

Que passa?

Anywhooooo....

Today a front went through complete with rain, thunder lightning, spectacular dark clouds, and dropping temperatures, but as an added bonus we got a lovely rainbow, and the most extravagant display of clouds at sunset...here's a few pics.....


I swear on all that I hold dear or sacred, I have not photo shopped these or altered them in anyway...it really was the most over the top display.....

I love these fractal clouds.



The rainbow, one of my students told me that in a neighbouring town it was a double rainbow...



The angels are mooning us.



Was this painted on black velvet or did it really happen? It looks like the cover from one of those badly written sci-fi novels....but it really looked like this. the clouds were low too so it was quite in our faces.





I just thought I would throw him or her in, we saw him or her on our walk today, I've never seen a brown one, and I had to make up for the green one I didn't have the camera for before.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A beach day for Thanksgiving

Sorry about the lapse folks, I had half an hour free yesterday and as you can see, I chose to nap not blog. Ah well.

It was lovely.

The girls and I went to the beach today, a bit hot and sweaty, and youngest had a hilarious-in-retrospect encounter with a wave, which overcame her, engulfed her, rolled her over three or four times and deposited her sandy and wide-eyed on the beach. Boy was she sandy. Went through the spin cycle that girl did. She was fine, although she said it was kind of scary. I bet it was. All I could see was her face disappearing into the foam and then random bits of legs and arms emerging from the wave, and then her face. Her eyes were enormous. And, oh, the sand.

She's fine though and off at a birthday party.

The dog is exhausted. He went for a two hour walk in the mountains with the man this morning, then was out for about four hours with us.

I didn't get much sea glass, however what I did get was good. He is not a great sea-glass hunting dog, as he is scared of the sea. Every time there was a nice piece close to the water I had to negotiate with him. Eldest discovered just how scared when he slipped his collar in a paniced attempt to avoid a wave lapping at his toes.

Has issues, this dog does.

There were kite surfers at the beach:

The guys tried out the kites on the beach....I love the tracks they make in the sand as they are dragged along by the kites...



He's suited up now, with the board, and working the launched kite down to the water.....



And he's off....though in fact he wasn't very successfull and the kite dove into the drink shortly after that. I am also slightly mystified by the Bahamas blue of the sea in this shot....it was and is lovely, but not quite THIS blue.....



Eldest has decied that this is a sport she plans to take up.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jewelry

One of the women that I work with is a jeweler...she works mostly in silver...look what I got!!!! Plus some earrings for the girls...any women out there on my list, I now have plans for Christmas, so if you have any specifications....

The tone on these pictures came out strangely gold looking and it is too late in the day to take more, so imagine them silver...

I got me two rings....





And this necklace....



Love 'em...

I got earrings for the girls too, they are away in their rooms, so no photos.

I also saw a beautiful and spectacular praying mantis up in the hills today...did I bring the camera? *hitting myself over the head with the laptop* NO!

Note to self...

ALWAYS carry the camera....