Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moving from grumpy to ranting.

I prefer to spend my time with folks that are basically happy.

That are fairly content in their lives.

Why am I finding this harder to acheive?

Is this age? Stage?

Glad I've got a great husbandm, some kids and a dog.

Can I just say that I am sick unto death of all the praise being lobbed around about Michael Jackson. I never liked his music, he was a pedophile, and a nut bar who held his baby out an apartment window. Few others would have gotten away with it, and I am sad he did.

Can everyone please just stop.

While I am asking for the impossible, could it please stop raining? I am such a baby about this, but I am so very tired of wet feet....

And could we turn the d*mn a/c down at work...it is freaking 10 degrees out and raining, and the a/c is roaring away.

I am sorry, I know the skinny folks feel the cold more, but does that mean we have to freeze to death YEAR ROUND in this country? I could do with a little of that Spanish sunshine right about now. Another good reason to reduce childhood obesity...and I thought we were trying to be environmentally aware....not.

Sounds like I need to go to bed.

These 5:30 am wake-up times are a little brutal.

Sounding a little cranky.

I should try and sound more positive. Here goes,

Walking the dog this morning, got soaked, but as a reward I saw a heron, some ducks and their ducklings, as well as a turtle.

The percentage of happy people at my work is improving.

Just killed a mosquito before it bit me, and the kids are both pretty happy right about now. Well, one is asleep, but generally speaking, they are fairly content at this point.

Work is going well in and of itself too, which is also very good.


If you also prefer to spend your time with basically happy people, I am sorry for this post, more in not-quite-rant mode, no?

This garbage strike? Starting to tick me right off. Just thought I'd say so. Stupid.

The idea of storing garbage in the public parks? What, do you all just hate kids? No pools, no camps, no day care and now no parks too? ANYONE THINKING IN CITY HALL?



I thought not.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Making lunch..

How many of you out there just LOVE putting lunch boxes together in the mornings.


Yeah, I thought so.

SO hating that.

I have a plan though, one meal for each day of the week, and some permanent things...


Yogurt, ichiban noodles -dry and raw, fruit, raw veg, pickles.

Varied items:

Pierogues with sour cream, bagels and cream cheese, roasted potatoes with stuff in them, refried bean rollups, then I am stuck...random left-overs.

Water to drink.

So..help me out here folks, what's good in a lunch? Honestly..I need your suggestions here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poster girl

That's it.

It's official.

I am now THE poster girl for the coffee mug safety association.

I just need to start the association up.

After five stitches in my thumb a few years ago from washing a mug....and slashing my hand on the broken handle...FYI: the glaze? It's glass. It cuts like glass too.

Well this weekend, while washing literally a wheelbarrow full of dishes, I managed to slash the webbing between my baby finger and the ring finger next to it. The cut is maybe an inch long running palm to the back of my hand. No pumpers though, so I didn't go off to the hospital this time, I duct taped my fingers together and got on with the job. I may tape them together again tomorrow, as it is getting sore with all this air and dryness.


The boat?

That SO ruled.

Like we'd never left. The kids kept saying she seemed smaller. Well, they've grown a little in the last three years.

She was some filthy....All I did was clean and clean and clean and clean....

Gosh my bed is comfy on that boat.


Very, very little breakage from the trip up, one mug and a bottle of vinegar is all we've found so far. More from time, sun and moisture. New curtains, awnings, paint, one bit of upholsterey is badly mildewed...

Whatever, almost nothing.

So incredibly sweet to see her again, even if there was a TON of work to do and there is still a ton more. If I can just get the systems operational...we've got beds and space, gotta get the galley into shape now.....and the head.

Looking into composting toilets....

Homework time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

First impressions

What seems strange:

The fact that it seems strange is strange

The traffic and d-i-s-t-a-n-c-e. Everything is so very far apart.

The dogs are so friendly. Chuck is having a BLAST in that way, though he cannot really get off lead the same way.

Not speaking, nor thinking in Catalan.


Stress and tension.

The expectation that we stay in and work through lunch.

The expectation that we put in 11 hour days.

Handling so many people's emotions.


It is so green.

People understand English.

The grass is soft.

The air-conditioning is WAY too cold. Oh for a little warmth. I leave the windows closed in my car after it has been sitting in the sun for at least half of my very long drive. Trying to get some warmth back into my bones.

Food is freaking expensive.

Sleep is in short supply.

Oh, and I am off for the weekend to see the boat....back later. WOOT!!!!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You know you're too tired when....

This is so sad.

I brought a computer with me from Spain because last summer was so frustrating without one, but this sucker is SLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

But since I so have no time at all, I decided to defrag the thing last night.

I mean night.

I took the d*mn portable to bed with me.

It is THAT slow.

First I set it up to delete temporary files, fell asleep, woke later, and then confirmed it was done, set it up to defrag, fell asleep again, and when I woke up in the morning it was done.

I really don't thrash in my sleep. Really don't.

I have heard of teens sleeping with their mobiles in bed with them, but Mom's crashing with the laptops?

And it's not even a Mac.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

coming up for air

workworkwork work work work

drive drive drive


chores chores chores


Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

air travel is weird.

We're here in TO now, jetlag can be a drag. Therein lies the beginning of a poem. Not one written by someone as tired as I am now though.

Got here fine, good flight (yeah)

I started work...it's going quite well. (double yeah)

Chuck has jetlag too, he was up on the bed walking around on me last night, which he is NOT allowed to do, but he was quite certain it must be time to get up by then......

More later, I'll read some blogs in a bit, right now it is a constant battle between exhaustion and the formidable to-do list....

Hope you're all doing well.



Saturday, June 20, 2009

One thing I regret.....

Years and years ago, in a used car lot in Denver Colorado I nearly bought a 1950 Ford pick-up. I would have had to drive it back myself through the fields of Kansas and on through the mid-west...

How I wish I had bought that truck.

The stories I would have to tell, and what a truck.

Ah well.

Some girls want a porshe, but you'd win my heart with one of these....

The house.....

Put in a low-ball bid.

Now we have to wait.

and pack....


another festa tonight. Youngest's end our school festival...with dinner!!!!


Cross your fingers for us, m'kay?

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a lovely way to end a week

I am not going to go into it all, but it has been JUST a little busy, what with finishing up work (done), packing to go to Canada for three months with two kids and a dog (not even begun bar the list), selling a house in Canada, and gathering info to buy one here, not to mention the decision making process, maybe more about that later, and two kids finishing school....


When youngest's basketball team suggested a trip to the beach this evening, I said a big fat YES!

We got there, we settled the bags, I changed and SPRINTED into the water.

It has been hot here, trouble sleeping at night hot....the sun hurts when it hits you hot.

That felt really, really good.

The only alarming part was when 14 primary school kids all started swimming out to me, and all of them asking if I could touch the bottom (I couldn't).

I had visions of all of us drowning.

Fortunately, none of us did.

Now I have to go shower off the salt.

Lying floating on my back staring up at the sky in the Med.

Pretty perfect end to a week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Catalan work-out


nothing like entering a whole new world of vocabulary! Goodness, but this is quite a handful...house and structural stuff is a new area for learning. My head! I didn't know the word for drains before nor for hydraulic mortar.

Here's a photo of the inside of one of the front doors.

I had a long talk with the agents who represent our landlords, and I know quite a bit more about the entire process....

OK, moving away from the current obsession,

Eldest and I are still working out the ground rules. She had to go over to another kid's house to work on a project this aft. OK. It's in the next town, hmmm, a long hot walk and then she will be picked up at a gas station. Less enthusiastic hmmmming. She doesn't have a phone number nor contact information for the family, not even their last names, neither of the two names.

*Inhale in, yadda yadda yadda*

No plan for getting home. We have no car.

Sit down my darling, we need to have a little conversation................

We got it worked out, and I think she knows that she has to get this info before she can go out.

She's home and fine btw.

Lessons gradually being learned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The house we are thinking about...

Visited the house this morning with the llampista who can do electrics, plumbing and gas. There is no gas, no hot water and the electrics are minsy....

Visited with the architect who is the in-situ building inspector...lots of info....

Here are some photos. They do NOT do it justice.

GOODNESS it has Vaulted ceilings on the ground floor. These are Catalan vaults and are spectacular....let's just say that the ceilings are all vaulted in a very very traditional way with brick...under the plaster that we would remove.

This is the view from the front door....that first wall would go.

One of the upstairs bedrooms, looking back through the hallway to one of the last bedrooms,

A view of the roof and the front window,

The loft in the middle bedroom, it is L shaped and needs banisters.

and stairs.

This is a view of the garden, we would remove those two rooms on the right, one of which is the only bathroom, but leave the vaulted ceiling you can just make out.

Lovely tilework on the stairs.

The view out the back door into the garden.

A very traditional kitchen sink. This would stay.

The rubber gloves could go though.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where are we, toto? Sorry, Chuck.

I am (finally) starting to get my head around the idea that we are going very shortly...aside from the fact that I am looking into buying a house at the same time.

Went to the bank (twice), the real estate agent's, and talked to the electician/plumber/gas installer who is also a student of mine. We are meeting at the house tomorrow at 11am....I was supposed to go into BCN, but that will be put off until Thursday.

And I started the list of what I have to bring to Canada...hopefully not too late.

There has been a fundamental change at some level though, I am now bringing stuff from here to Canada, such as medicine for the kids, and the only thing I have on my list to bring back is Old Bay and English language books.....I have gone clothes shopping here as I now know better where to get what I need. Though I will be buying undies and bras there. The Love of Underwires, Thongs and the nearly Universal Absense of Cotton leave me waiting for TO on that topic.

Tide seems to be changing.

Feels a little weird.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We are officially certifiable.

We are seriously considering buying a house here.....

goodness me.

It is (could be) lovely.......

it is cheap and it is on our street....

all things I love.....

more info needs to be gathered....

So glad I leave in a week....


nb...the man found a rowing team! WOOOT

I found a basketball team for next year! WOOOOOOTTTTT!!!!!

Goodness, my life is never dull.

Like it that way too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Basketball, or basquet if you are Catalan..

We had a bit of a basketball festival here today. Youngest played and won by 70 points! A meager 77 - 7. Not too shabby...

a big fat lunch was had by all,

then the Moms played...(we tied)

goodness, I have never played basketball in my entire life....

Youngest said, and I quote, "You weren't too bad for a complete beginner."

Have I ever mentioned that my kids are good at backhanded compliments?

I may see if they have an old-bag house league I could play in next year, that was fun and some decent exercise too....as long as I only have to play with other old bags, and only for fun.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The park on the weekend.

Last weekend we went off to a new park in BCN...one we hadn't been to before....

the Parc del Laberint d’Horta a Barcelona.

There were turtles,

The labyrinth...who doesn't love a maze?

The house that was originally on site was amazing....built in all manner of styles, sort of moorish....with what we think is an original much older tower at the center....

It is however rather run down....this window is broken as you can see, what I found fascinating was that there was another stained glass window stacked behind it!

The front door.....

A really cute little kitty cat......

A rather surrealistic touch of the American South West...or that's how it looked to me.....though I guess cows die in other places too....

There were goldfish in ponds all over the place......

Toss in some Gothic windows with the Moorish designs.....

And what I love most about Spain????? You go to a park with the kids, and there is really good good food...better still....

Excellent coffee....

How great is that?

I so love it that there is good coffee.....mmmmmmm

Friday, June 12, 2009

Went Shoppin'

I don't know if it was Nomad's bad influence - gotta love a bad influence from time to time -


if I really did need new clothes for work (I did) (really)

but I went shoppin' today, and it was fun.

Went in with a friend,

Went to my favourite used clothing store, got 5 skirts and a tank top, plus a super cool jean jacket, that is definitely Nomad's influence, I had been missing mine, buried in the basement and all. Got a jean jacket for youngest too.....(reused)

Went to Desigual , which I love and usually jerk back in horror from the prices, but sucked it up and bought a skirt...resisted buying a dress and a shirt as well, so that isn't toooooo bad....(handmade)

and got a super cool bag....from Vaho Trashion which uses the banner ads from all over the city to make super amazing bags...waterproof and you just wipe them down. I am super happy as women's skirts don't have pockets, which makes me super unhappy....so I needed a bag, one I like, and now I have one. (Recycled)


Happy day.

I don't go shopping all that often, and when I do I like to have a plan...

had a plan, worked the plan, now it's done.....


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

15 books

JG recently posted about 15 books that will always stick with you. JG calls herself a literary snob in that post and here I will admit (??) that I am not. I have indeed come rather late to the literary scene and somewhat reluctantly. I am a passionate and voracious reader, but by preference would read non-fiction. I like learning, So shoot me.

That said, once we moved onto the boat and then to Spain I have had to read pretty much whatever I could find, and the majority of that has been fiction, and a fair amount of that litrature.

Fortunately this meme wants 15 books that will always stick with us...and we have to think of them off the top of our head, so here we go:

Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels. This book is simply stunning, it is so filled with depth of meaning I find myself reading and re-reading and re-reading it. The only book I have ever read, then flipped it over and started again.

All in the Same Boat, Fiona McCall and Paul Howard. I read this when I was younger and it is a large part of what lit the flame of my desire to go off cruising with my kids when/if I had some. They are from Toronto and set off around the world with two kids, when I was about that age too. Definitely had an impact. Fairly well written too.

In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin You will gradually gather that I love travel writing. Go figure. What isn't know about Chatwin is how fantastic some of his photography is, we have that book of his too, like everything else, it is in the basement in TO. He can WRITE.

Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana. This one is again about sailing, and the old-timers going around the Horn, from this one I went on to read a whole lot of history and geography from that time. Great book.

The Last Grain Race, Eric Newby. Goodness I love Newby's writing, and his wife Wanda's commentary even more. This was the first of his book I read and far from that last. He can make the grinding horror of some aspects of travel seem hilarious. Particularly useful when traveling yourself.

Dragon Song, Anne McCaffery. Read it as a young teen, adored it, re-read it about a thousand times, it is the classic story of a young girl finder out who she is and her place in the world. Read every single other book she has written too.

Brother Cadfael series, Ellis Peters - actually Edith Parageter. Again, read it as a young teen, read them all, every book she wrote in the end. Sparked a fascination in history, particularly medieval history (though I still find that word brutal to spell) Even studied some history at University....started here.

Now We Were Six and When We Were Very Young .... A. A. Milne. I think those are the books, the two books of poetry. They were sent to Eldest by my Aunt in the UK, and she ADORED them. I have memorised great swaths of both of them from reading them sooooo very often:

James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Duprey
Took great care of his mother, though he was only three....

I will be able to quote this on my deathbed and I'll be glad of it too.

Seductions of Rice, Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid. I was just figuring out cooking, and we couldn't afford to eat out at all the different restaurants from all over the world, this was the first of their cookbooks that I found, and it was like traveling in my own kitchen. Great food, great cultural background, great photos and super super clear recipes that always worked.

Swallows and Amazons series, Arthur Ransome Read them to my kids, adore them, recommend them to everyone and anyone. Looking forward to seeing our copies again this summer, they are - inevitably- on the boat. Wildly under-supervised kids camping and sailing all over the Lake Districts in the UK....great fun. Ignore the rather, um, Victorian attitudes in places, and explain them to your kids.

My Family and other Animals, Gerald Durrell. Picked it up in China. Loved the story, loved the travel aspect, funny, well written, again, inspiration for travel with kids and fed into the green person I am now.

The Outermost House, Henry Beston Loved this book, loved the sense of place and silence and immersion into an environment. I could see doing this with the man once the kids are grown. We got a glimpse in the Bahamas when we got to be quite(ish) and still in a place.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson I don't even know where to start with this. An environmental clarion call that has not left me, on any level.

El Noi dels Pijamas de Ratlles, John Boyne. First entire book I read in Catalan. Considerable sense of accomplishment there.

A Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson. She writes about children's sense of wonder and how important it is to nurture this and to maintain it in our lives. Influenced me as a teacher and a Mom.

Gorillas in the Mist by Diane Fossey...again, a seminal moment in my life...strong independent women, the environment, travel....had it all. Sourced a whole lot of study into Anthropology and the history of humanity.

There was another book I was thinking about while typing, but it is gone now....hmmmmm

Don't know if that was 15 or not, it'll do.

So, what 15 books have never left you?

Warning, slightly gorey post....feel free to skip it.

Here, for your edification, I provide you with a really gross photo of the cut that is healing on the bottom of my toe.

I did it on the escalator of a large store, and bled quite a bit. Pooling in the shoe and all that.

Now I am not telling you all this grossness just to make your morning a little uneasy, I am telling you this because it was one of those "we're not in Kansas anymore" moments.

You see I had just been talking to one of the helpful sales ladies who was doing her best impression of a Walmart greeter...we had a little conversation, and then I hopped onto the elevator, slicing my toe open. She was still standing right there, watching me.

I stumbled on the step, swore, said ow, slipped off the shoe, looked at the not unimpressive blood I was producing, rolled the skin back into place (sorry about that) and stumbled off the elevator walking across their plush long furred carpets for sale for countless Euros while blood pooled in my sandal.

Ok, I am sorry, I know that was gross, but what I found amazing was that NO ONE, not a soul said anything to me, not one of the staff said a thing, no one offered a band aid, asked if I was OK, nothing at all. Didn't even ask me to get off the carpets lest I bleed on them...not worried about law suits here, let me tell you. Buyer beware at an all new level.

Go ahead, bleed all over the store, we don't mind.


With the all new heightened awareness of lawsuits and the concept of customer service, I think that SOMEONE would have come over and spoken to me if this had happened in Canada. I would certainly have been offered a band aid if nothing else.

The farmàcia I managed to find was very helpful, sold me what I needed to get the situation under control, let me clean up and bandage up the gore right there in the middle of their store and even, unsolicited mind you, brought me some gauze to help organise the operation. Still not up to our local farmàcia where the ladies applied the bandages themselves, but still.....

Not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have gotten a couple of gifts lately, which is always A Good Thing, as Senyor Winnea Ther Pooh might say. Two of them were very kind, but slightly backhanded...

One of the mothers where I teach teach gave the admin staff and her daughters' teachers (including me) anti-wrinkle face cream. A nice idea, but, but, but, are you trying to tell me something? Are you trying to apologise for your child's behaviour? (not the one I teach anyway).....hemmm......Do I look like I need it?

I gave her a little gift (????) back by mentioning the spelling error on the package stating that it contained antiwrinckle cream.

Today I went into the pharmacy to buy dog meds and some other junk, and the lovely lady behind the counter, who I really do like, gave me this little French spray-on face freshener and revitaliser. This was very very nice of her and.... I know I needed a nap desperately, but did I look that bad???? "Gee, she looks like she hasn't slept in a month, and her skin??? I have just the thing for the pobrecita"

Sort of like my ID card, which is a TRUELY dreadful picture of me. I look like trailer-park trash at the dragging end of a week long binge and a solid beating. Everyone looks at the picture, look at me and nods. I can see them thinking, "YEAH! That does look like you, a remarkable likeness."

Could one of them, one time, maybe, say, "Gee, that is a terrible photo of you, you look much better than that." Remind me to do that if I am ever checking ID, m'kay?

Amidst all this though, I got a delightful little mystery!

An Amazon box came today- you just have to love that! In it was a cookbook! Mangoes and Curry Leaves by my absolutely favourite cookbook authors in the whole wide fat world....and I didn't order it! Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid write amazing cookbooks and are kind and generous people too. I wrote them in desperation for a recipe that was stranded on my boat in a cow field in central Florida, they sent it to me and a few more too, how sweet is that?

Almost as sweet as someone sending me one of their books!!!!!

I think someone lovely out there ordered it for me, but there was nothing in it to say...

Nomad? It seems like you, no?


Maybe the world is just happy with me right now.

I love the book whatever way.

guests and pillows.

Seems we have all the wrong kind of friends and family.

When Nomad came I had to go and buy a new pillow.

We used to have nine pillows and nine pillow cases.

Then there were eight. I discovered this some time last fall. I was a little puzzled, but thought the kids might have used one for some game and they would turn up somewhere or other, I mean really! A big fat pillow for a bed and it's case, they just don't get lost that easily.

As I made up beds for Nomad and family, I discovered there were only seven.

Seven pillows and seven pillow cases.

I bought a new pillow for the living room. Things in my life must do double duty, or be used full time. I didn't get another pillow case. For what it is worth, a t-shirt slips over quite neatly and works darned well.

If you discover you have got one of our pillows... I offer no amnesty, instead view it as a gift and treat it well. Hope it likes it's new home. I will be counting the pillows when guests leave in future though.... ;-)))

The silver still seems to be here anyway.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fun mind games to play with your dog

He doesn't really like this game, but instead of teaching him some useful behaviour, I want to teach him to flip the cookie up and catch it in there air.

He is kind of getting the idea too.

He is probably also getting crossed eyes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Books for a sec...

Just finished reading "Hunting and Gathering" by Anna Gavalda, translated from French...WONDERFUL. Loved it.

Also just finished Pride and Prejudice....that was actually pretty good too...sounds snotty of me, but towards the end I found it quite hard to put down. Eldest is giving it a go now, we'll see how far she gets.

What have you been reading?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Truita de patates

I am craving a coffee so terribly badly right now I may have to run across the street and get one, and that sweet little fact, well, facts makes me already miss living here. We're heading back to TO for a whole lot of weeks, as in for the summer and the coffee there? Meh. The coffee here is so outrageously good......and so terribly handy......gonna have to go and have one very very soon.

Before the coffee though, I am going to try and tell you how to make a truite de patates. This is one of the things I really wanted to learn how to make well, and now I can usually pull it off. It is so very very good. Next I want to learn how to sharpen a knife to a blade that will cut a hair with a touch.

For the truite you will need four regular sized potatoes, not huge, not tiny, regular. And they should be those new looking thin skinned boilers.

Cut them up along with half a green pepper and half an onion, and cut them pretty thinly...you can see below, you also need to add a couple of teaspoons of salt, and fry them in a fairly large pan....so they have lots of room to bathe in the boiling oil:

You may notice that there is a LOT of oil in there. I have too little. You cannot make good truite de patates and fear oil. Or salt, because there is a WHOLE lot of salt in there too.....like two teaspoons, maybe more. Cook it over a medium low heat, slowly, stirring from time to time and maybe adding some more oil. They should be mostly covered in the oil. Don't let it for browned crusts though.....

Meanwhile you break 5 eggs into a bowl.....

Look at those eggs, I used to think an egg was an egg was an egg....but not anymore. See that wider flatter yellower one at the front? In any normal situation that would be a gourmet egg, sold from a small local egg producer, but not from a farm or anything, this is a commercial egg operation. Those almost orange-y ones? That if you look closely you can see are totally holding their round shape? My local egg lady. Can I just tell you that eggs are different, and some are indeed much much better than others.

All that said, whip them up. I have to say my lady's egg yolks resist breaking up admirably....if you look below now, you will see, in my sadly blurry photo, that the potatoes are ready, they are transparent through and they are starting to break up...nice and soft.

Put them, piping hot, directly into the egg mixture. This is very important. Drain a little of the oil off the taters as you take them from the pan, but stir them right into the eggs, you can actually see that some of the egg is starting to cook. This is a Very Good Thing. It means that it will all stick together properly.

Now, pour out the oil into a glass or something and save it, because you HAVE to use good olive oil for this (or not) but it is far too much to waste.....and then I was instructed to taste the raw egg mixture to see if it needs more salt. If find this kind of disgusting and not a totally safe idea, so what I am going to tell you to do is to eat those delicious greasy crispy scrapings from the potato frying pan. They should be really salty. Remember, there has to be enough salt for both the taters and the eggs....add more if it isn't really salty. You should think there is to much......

Now you need to put a smaller pan on to heat...please ignore my dirty stove top, m'kay? The pan needs to be thoroughly heated on a med/med low heat....and then add in a couple of tablespoons of the oil....when the oil is sizzling hot, pour in the egg...don't be fearful, really pour it in.
You see how it is bubbling up the sides there? That is also a Really Good Thing. It means that the eggs are setting up and making the skin you are going to need. Don't leave it here a long long time, when you can slide a knife down the sides and they come loose, but the center and top still seem impossibly liquidy, it is time to flip it.

You will need to put a plate on top of it, move it to a surface where you can put hot things down and with hot mitts on each hand you quickly flip it over so that it falls out onto the plate.

Now, I don't want to scare anyone, but we are actually talking boiling oil, so...please don't try this in a bikini, and you must rotate the plate/pan combo so that the plate rotates towards you, so....the plate is on top, you have a hand on either side, and you have to rotate it so that the pan rotates away, and as it turns you see the plate passing you and the pan emerging from the top. You have to do it quickly too. Oil will fall out from the FAR side, which is why you must rotate it AWAY from you. You may practice with an empty pan and a bit of water before you try it....don't want anyone getting hurt.

Now look at the pan, if anything is stuck to it, scrape it off, give the pan a quick scrub, put it back on the heat and re-oil it with a couple of teaspoons of oil at least. Hear me now, don't fear the fat.

If great wacks of the truite stuck, no worries, m'kay? Put it on the plate with the rest of it for now.

Slide the biggest bit back into the now hot and oily pan and fit in anything that didn't quite work, the egg will harden and stick it together.

When you can pass a knife down an edge and slide the whole thing around, after a couple of minutes, flip it again, and again, AWAY from you onto a clean non-raw-egg-y plate...salmonella is G.R.O.S.S.

Slide it back on, you probably don't have to regrease from here on, but if anything is sticking to the pan, take it off as it will burn and taste horrible.

After this second flip, let it sit for a few minutes, over med-low heat, you don't want to burn the outsides, just cook the insides....

After a while, or when the bottom seems pretty brown, flip it again, and return it to the pan again. The first two flips make the skin and the shape, the second two cook it without burning it.

Again leave it for a few minutes to cook through, five should do, if not be too much, slide it onto a clean plate, and

It should look a bit like that, please not how much smaller this pan is, you want it thick.

It is always delicious, but if you have some crusty french baguette, smear the bread with the juicy innards of a sliced tomato, drizzle on some really good olive oil (don't fear the oil) and place a slice of the truite aboard (don't fear the carbs either)

OMG a little slice of BCN.

Oh, and be nice to yourself when you have problems, I have so far made a perfect one, made one where I forgot the salt, made one where it broke, and one that wasn't cooked through when I went to eat it and had to go back in the pan for a while....

We haven't watched our grannies cook it since we were knee high, it takes some doing.

Hope you like it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New shoes and random photos

I got asked a couple of posts ago about the Spanish hours. Not only did I consider letting youngest, who is in grade school, go out to a party tonight that would get her home around 2am, but I let her go! Now I am waiting up for her....the horror. I will grant that this is not normal but I am also not really all that surprised either. I would never have even considered the idea before we came here.

Now onto other random things.....

See these?

These are new shoes I bought today. They are so very achingly typically Catalan. I view them as camoflauge...makes me look more like I am part of the crowd.....

Also, you see, Nomad is a Very Bad Influence. With her I bought a bunch of clothes and have ignited a desire to wear skirts and dresses. I even bought a dress that I TOTALLY love. Nothing girly about it at all. LOVE IT. The black birkenstocks however, were not working with it at all. Not at all. New shoes in order. I used to have tons and tons of shoes...then I had to babies and my feet grew. Then I went barefoot for three years in the Bahamas, and now I am getting some footwear back. jejejejejejejeje

So, what else have we here....yes. I think the neighbours are going to need to mow the house, no?

Another question, why do the glass collection guys have to come at 8am?

This is another one of those doors in the hill. They usually hold tools and such....

I don't know how you would get your tools back from here:

I presume it used to be a water source, a spring in fact. There may even be water down there still. I would so love to go down that some day and see what is at the bottom. Wonder how I could do that.


This was seriously seriously cool.

Youngest school has been studying Astronomy this year in all sorts of different ways. Can I just say that I am currently totally in love with her school and all the teachers there. They do their jobs!!!!! and more.


The school organised an excursion for the kids and their families.

There is a man in the village who has some seriously wicked telescopes.....like this and this but they seemed bigger.

We walked up on foot (the only people to do so) and got there a little early so we would still have some light, and then we saw those telescopes, MAN those suckers are HUGE!!!!

He also had this really cool computer keyboard thing, though it looked more like a calculator that he could put waypoints into and the telescope would turn itself to find the object.

We saw the moon and it looked amazing, you could make it out in 3D...like this though we could only see a fraction of it at a time, and we saw Saturn too, I made out the rings and all, it was honestly amazing. Sort of like this, though more black and white and quite a bit smaller.

Fortunately we got a lift down (from a bunch of the teachers) as we didn't leave till about 11:15 pm. You have got to love grade school excursions that go on until nearly midnight.

I love this school. Can I just mention that I wanted to keep Youngest home for the afternoon, but she didn't want to, they had - and I quote - a fun afternoon. She wants to go to school.

I am so in love.

Well that was fun

I just got off the phone with the math teacher after the latest little fiasco. I am so very very tired of dealing with this issue.

I used to feel a little bad for her; you know, first year teacher, big bad classroom.

Not so much now.

Two words come to mind to describer her:


and worse still,


'nuff said.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Sometimes living in Spain is like living in a dryer.

Hot blazing sun, the Catalans say "el sol pica" the sun stings. The same verb 'pica' is used for wasps, as a matter of reference.

Couple that with a howling wind and you can pretty much feel the moisture being sucked from your body. My laundry dries in no time.

And I lived in the Bahamas for the better part of three years.....

Nomad brought me down some amazing cream....

I wonder if they make an olive oil bed, you know, forget the water bed, olive oil.....put my hair up in something impermeable and just roll me around in that olive oil like a pig in mud, leave me there for about 8 - 12 hours and I should make it through the next few hours.

Eldest and I are both craving chocolate....


Time to go mining in those couch cushions and see if we can find some change.....more likely the problem will be that nothing is open.

We're going to be marching around the hills tonight in the middle of the night and staring through telescopes.....more later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Old pics

Hi there, Nomad left and took two of my god kids with her, the boys downstairs moved out and I am hoping that the next set will be as good, it is not quite close enough to the end of the year to get excited, Eldest is sick, Youngest may be headed that way and I am, once again, up too late; soooooooo I thought that the best thing to do would be to look for inspiration in some old posts that never got published. Bless the things, it's like mining amongst the lint in the couch cushions when you really really need some chocolate, but haven't got any cash.


So what have we found here

*blowing off the lint, crumbs and dust-bunnies*

The Chuckmiester!

He had a very tough weekend, but when we talked to the vet, it could have been much worse....you don't want to go there, especially the guys in the crowd.

Chuckbacca again, these photos are from 2007, but he looks like this still....

Where is that toy? Didn't they put one in this bag?

Youngest lost a molar this weekend amidst all the drama and goings on....these are older though, 2007 or so as well. We didn't think of snapping a photo this time.

Woops! There he is again the big fuzz-bucket! He and I did go into the hills today, and I got a photo of a well/pit someone built up there, but we'll save that for another day.

When I have slept more.

See that couch down there? We don't have that couch anymore; there was a considerable drop in elevation between the back and the front of the seat. Coupled with the entirely unmoored cushions, it could lure you into the idea that you were comfortable, but then creeping up on you would be the realisation that indeed, it was a couch from h*ll. Actually I have mislead you, because while the realisation of your discomfort was creeping up on you, you were creeping down to the ground while your pants were mysteriously creeping upwards giving you an automatic/anonymous wedgie. It was indeed the couch from h*ll.

The dog however? He creeps up on you too, then he licks your cuts/toes/eyes/hands and makes you realise how sweet he is. The man though is convinced that he is the Woody Allen of the dog world.

He is something of a Momma's boy.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Nomad has been here this weekend, with her kids and husband and it has been so utterly delicious.

I have so loved having her, her keen open eyes, and her enthusiasm and her delight, also the brilliant interesting conversation and the time to hang with a friend I really love.


She has, single handedly, re-opened my eyes to the sheer beauty around me, and how much I love where I live. I got that, but goodness, we are so very very lucky.

It is 12:50 am, and that is all I can write.

Hope you all have had a lovely time,