Saturday, February 28, 2009

ummmmmmm

Reading instead of blogging....not a bad thing, but it keeps me up late.

Chuck is pooped. Four and a half hours of walks in the mountains and lots of eager pine cone throwers.

It is magical sitting in the hills in the grass with a bunch of kids, listening to the birds and telling jokes.

And listening to the dog pant, which was loudest of all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning langauges

One of these days every last one of you is going to get tired of hearing about learning Catalan.

Honestly.

The problem is that it absorbs my life, so it appears here too.

I had a Catalan class today, it is quite a different one as it is aimed at helping people who have problems with writing Catalan correctly though they are Catalan speakers. Catalan is not very clear cut.

What was interesting was that I didn't make any more mistakes than the other students. Granted, they are there because they need to be and are having trouble with the language, still they are in their final years of high school, and are native speakers...and I have been at it for two years. (Yeah for me!)

We make totally different mistakes though. Which is interesting. Some things that are obvious and easy for me are very hard for them, I have no problems with confusion with Spanish, as some words are similar. I also have no problem with pronunciation produced confusion, because I pronounce everything wrong.

However, I cannot use pronunciation to assist me with the accents, as it does enormously, instead I get to use the accents to assist me with pronunciation....not really their purpose, but it can be done to some extent.

It is fascination to see what errors we make, and why.....

I do find it endlessly interesting how the insides of people's heads work, how we acquire information.

My nephews are here, and they are bilingual....English and Polish, though their Polish is better. The younger one makes mistakes with word order, normally when he elects for Polish syntax, and he makes classical errors like, 'I blewed the candles out' as he doesn't know the irregular form, he simply follows the grammatical rules. A normal process that all kids do, just it normally happens when they are a litte younger as they have more exposure.

At one point in the class the teacher was doing a dictation (goodness how they love these) , and she said two words that I thought were part of a list. After a bit I realised that she meant one of these three period marks that indicate a pause........ like that one just back there; except I had written it out like a word in the grocery list.... we need some OJ, TP, PB, mustard and uestion marks. We got a good laugh from that one.

Hard work though too. For all of us.

Having TONS of fun with my sister and her kids, and eating WAY too much food, and playing altogether too much. (is that possible?)

Hope you have a great weekend.

Cheers,

O

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lemon Mousse...a la Catalana

We did a lot today.

Played in the park, I worked, ate lunch out, swam in a pool, watched/had a basketball practice...generally had a very nice time....

At lunch today, we had a fabulous meal...and the desert was SUBLIME!

And the very nice lady who owns the restaurant gave me the recipe! Can you imagine?

HOWEVER,

It was one of those brilliant-cook recipes that doesn't give a whole lot of detail because it assumes you know what the heck you are doing, plus it assumes local can sizes and such; so for instance I need four of the single serving yogurts they sell locally, but just how much yogurt is that???

I will try it out and let you know, cause it was wicked and it will be easy, once I figure it out a bit....and it should be tasty practicing with it too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weirdness

On the not weird front, my sister is here with her kids, and I am seriously excited. SERIOUSLY!!!

On the weird front, I got a note from a fellow blogger, that my URL was taking her over to an ...ummmm.... right wing religious (Christian) site.

Ummm,

OK,

I did a little research, and it seems that when I typed in my URL to her wordpress site to make a comment, I made a little mistake. You see I typed the orenetaaground part right, but inverted two letters in the blogspot part and woah Nelly, look where you wind up.

Seems this organisation is taking out URL addresses, that closely resemble sites and altering them slightly to get accidental hits.

Strangely the stats show no unusual searches or hits...

Hmmmm.....

Why would that be?????

Was it something I said or is this just a bit of random weirdness?

What do you think?

Later

After going through a random collection of blogger blogs, it seems to not have been anything I said, as most if not all of you may well have the same problem. Invert the s and p in blogspot when you type in your site URL and look to see what comes up. The inactivity on the keywords made me suspicious that it was a more universal issue....

BLOGGER...are you listening????? You may want to do something about this.....

Sleezy.

Kind of like those foul hairy stinking unwashed *men* that work on construction sites who shout disgusting things at you as you walk past....those men, and these sites, think they actually might be enticing!?!?!?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A little tour around BCN

We went into BCN for part of the weekend, and it was a beautiful day. BCN continues to come up with surprises...it is a wonder I don't hurt something I spend so much time gawking up at the buildings....

This is the moto I would like to have if I ever have to get one. I think I could do without the tape on the seat though....


You know how this was done? Bricks, ingenuity and care, and it is beautiful.


This is the Pedrera...or Casa Mila, this is a seperate section where they have free art exhibits...though you can see it as you exit the building if you don't go through the gift shop....

Detail of Gaudi's work....


And check out the bar! It is actually British-ish.. and I think has absolutely nothing to do with Barack...


*whew* this note to self to bring the camera with me is turning this into a photoblog...I may have to work on balance here at some point.

BCN is a lovely city.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Got that video up....

video

That was easier when I tried it in the middle of the day rather than late at night.

This dog has NO dignity.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Carnival

This weekend is Carnival, the world over I assume...and in our little neck of the woods too. There is a contest to see who has the best costumes and groups come together from everywhere....

One neighbourhood put together an ostrich theme...



Complete with stunned baby ostriches...

Another float....

Mozart and a buddy flew by on the way to somewhere...


Even the schools got in on the act, youngest's school theme was the sky....each class picks an aspect of it, and the costumes get made...we seem to have the solar system here...


Good fun, and lots of candy and confetti....we went into BCN today and it was a MESS after last nights festivities there. Not quite so bad here....

So which one do you think should win?

Basketball

Youngest won again, played really well against a good team, got a HUGE three pointer without a flinch....and had a blast.

I have just signed her up for three different basketball camps this summer...some of them look pretty intense. Let's hope she has fun. There's going to be lots of BOYS! Eeeekkkkkk.

Should make her stronger anyway.

Basketball seems to be taking over our life a bit.

Goodness.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Learning to share.

We've been doing some doggie sitting lately, and Chuck's favourite buddy is over at our house. Like all guests, she gets to do some things that are special, like sit on the couch, which Chuck isn't allowed to do, and Chuck is pretty cool with that, but he had a little more trouble here:


Could you come here for a minute, please?


Look, look what she has.....


That's my favourite bone, the one I've been saving.....



and she won't give it back.




Could you do something about this please, other than take silly photos while she eats it all up. Please.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembered the camera, and I went for a walk!

So I thought I'd share.....








and guess what! I got a LETTER today in the mail!! With stamps and everything! I even bought envelopes, which is a baby step further....now...to write something

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

meeeeeehhhhhhhhh!



I will grant this is not a great photo....but considering that they were a good 2 km away, and I was at the full telescopic of my 12X optical zoom and the sun was setting, not too bad.

I so wanted to get a photo for you all, because we have goats that live in the hills near us, complete with a goat herder and goat dogs....I guess that is what they would be called, rather than sheep dogs.

I have never seen them in the hills until a day or two ago, when I forgot the camera, and I got a chance to walk right past them. They're really cute and really curious and not stinky at all, which kind of surprised me. I figured goats smell rather like goats...but these are all girl goats, and we all know that girls smell better than boys do, no?

Ho hum.

Their dogs are a scrubby looking mixed-bag of lovely smart mutts.

Today I could hear them on the opposite side of the valley, their bells sounds strangely like the ringing of halyards on masts in a windy day....and I caught a glimpse of them, and a photo.....

I find it amazing that I can have goat herds in the backyard, and the man can go into BCN for a lecture at the Picasso museum in the evening. What a fabulous place to live.

For just a little more perspective, if found this while trawling the net

Annual income information:
World: 7,880
High Income: 28,480
Middle Income: 5,800
Low Income: 2,110

from this site.

Sometimes the kids have asked if we are rich or if we are poor when we travel around, and see folks with so much more, and folks with so much less; and when some of their friends have so much more; so very very much more.

Yes girls. We are stinking rich. Positively rolling in the stuff.


Life is very good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Letters and nagmail

Letters.

Who doesn't love getting them; the envelope, admiring the stamp, the crisp paper, the mystery about what they contain. The knowledge that someone actually handled this paper and sent it to you in person.

Who writes them these days?

C'mon how many have you written in the last year.

Then there was e-mail, that was supposed to take up where snail mail left off (what's wrong with snails anyway?) and liked it for a while, but now it has become nag-mail. Am I the only one that feels this way? Yeah, of course I get some notes from friends, but mostly e-mail adds to the to-do list, it doesn't in any way create the same feeling. I do NOT look forward to opening my e-mail.

Then there are social networks. Can I make a confession here? I find facebook boring. If it weren't for some friends that only communicate that way it would be SO GONE!

Then there is the blog. I love the blog * no guff* (800+ posts later) I can reflect on the day, write a little, contact people, and no one feels any obligation to read it. Most of my friends don't, which I still find weird (and secretly, which hurts a tiny little bit way down deep inside). ANY of my friends who posted I would read. Always.

Whatever.

My blog functions as something of a letter, to myself, to whomever reads it...but it is also shaped by the obviously public nature of the medium, and I will confess, also by the norms of blog writing and the desire to have at least a couple of people read this thing...one does want to entertain at some level. I also find I write about different things than I would in a letter.

There is, simply, nothing to replace the letter, that personal newsy letter.

Nothing.

I miss it.

I am guilty of virtually never writing them either.

I should get me some really nice writing paper and get a move on.

As well as book clubs, we should have letter clubs. Include little samples of art, drawings, sketches, flowers, photos....whatever...make sure we use real stamps not those print outs they have now.

hmmm. There's a thought!

So...do you write letters? Is it nag-mail? Do social networks bore you?

Any snail mail lovers out there?

obsession!

OK, I will grant that the blog reading audience is not exactly a statistically robust group for this, nor a demographically even group what with all of us already being most likely rather heavy tech users, but, what is it with the obsession with technology?

WHY is it so attractive?

We've got video games
internet
crackberries
iphones
cell phones
anything on a computer
etc etc etc etc

and many of us can't leave them alone. In the comments on the last post you used the words addiction and eating my life, to which I can completely relate.

Then there is the personalisation of our cell phones, downloading ring tones and themes and and and

what is that?

Kids and teens are more universally obsessed than adults, but a fair number of adults are pretty obsessed too.

What does it tap into that we find it so very compelling?

It is not something we evolved towards, and it did not exist when we were kids, failing pacman, so why is it so interesting?

Some of it is the movement on the screen that catches and seizes our attention, there are short straight-forward clearly defined tasks....after that I start to run out of steam.

I am not a fan of TV, after hanging out to often with friends who morphed into zombies when the screen came on....

I am not personally interested in video games and honestly don't listen to music much, but writing, reading and connecting to people I find compelling. Though I have to admit, that e-mail is starting to feel more like a to-do list and less like a form of communication which I find fascinating, if a bit of a pain.

(here in lies a post)

I don't know what it is in our makeup that finds all of this so deeply fulfilling. I really don't.

What do you think, what do you do with technology, and why do you think it is so deeply attractive to kids and teens.

Why can't we leave that little screen alone?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Teens and phones.

I think I have two posts here, so I may divide it up.

I've been watching the kids with the phones today, and me as well, and it has been interesting.

First of all, while both of them are incredibly rapid at picking up the techniques for navigating around inside the machines, youngest is in no way handicapped by her youth....maybe it is like languages and you pick them up easily when you're young.

We got the phones, as I mentioned, with great reluctance, but the reality of teenage life today, at least here, is that it has fundamentally altered the way the kids interact. Just as any technology does of course. Messenger means that they want to chat all the time, but the cell phones have altered things from when I was running around with my friends.

You see, at that time, no one had cell phones (my kids groan at that, what a dinosaur) and so we needed to plan in advance. Easy peasy, and our parents would ask where we were going, and that is what we would be doing. We would know in advance, and if we changed plans we would phone for permission/to check in.

From observing my own teen, and talking to the kids I teach, - who I regularly pump for info - teens now normally have no idea what they are going to be doing. They are on messenger, decide they want to get together, and chose a place to meet. Maybe, or they go out the door and then text each other to see where they are.

The kids then head off to one place, another friend texts to say that something is going on, and off they go in a third direction.

As a parent who grew up in an unconnected era, the child can easily get into trouble with you because you discover they have gone to ________ place and didn't tell you.

But they didn't know that was where they were going till a moment before they went.

Hence the phones. Now the reality is that the phoneless are literally out of the loop and cannot locate their friends or get in on the activities because no one knows where or when they will be happening. Also their parents have no way of knowing where their kids are, nor can they give permission/advice without a phone as well.

It is fascinating how much more spontaneous their interactions have become compared to how I was a teen.

Here's a question, in TO I still largely function on the old system, despite the fact that I am hooked to a mobile 24/7. I plan in advance and then do what I plan. How hooked up are you? How has it affected how you interact with your friends. Do you see similar changes in your teens behaviours?

Do you?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ring ring

Mobiles/Cell phones.

Went and got Spanish ones today. You know how much fun all those plans and things are, try it in another language, fun wow!

Considering that I am a person that almost never carries one, and really kind of hates a cell phones, can I just say that I now have, four count them four numbers.

That's right.

Two in Canada, one that is me, and one that is sometimes eldest, sometimes the man depending on who will need it while we are there; and now another pair: one that is mostly me, and sometimes the man and one for eldest. These are, however, all in my name.

Silly isn't it.

And, no. I won't give anyone the number. I don't want to be called. This is a virtual umbilicus...a cordless cord so to speak.

That's it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Please don't divorce my friends.


From Jason's blog:

If you haven't already, please do just one little thing to help give our family and 18,000+ other California families the chance for equality. This comes from the Courage Campaign website. There is a bittersweet little video there for you to watch if you haven't seen it already. Then...all you need to do is sign the petition. Please.


You don't have to be American to sign.

"We, the undersigned, share President Barack Obama's view that "for too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It's time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect."

Yet, on December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5, with a decision expected within 90 days. We, the undersigned, ask that the Court enforce the equality promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate Prop 8. So doing will protect all loving, committed couples in California -– including the 18,000 who said "I do" last year –- and prevent the initiative process from being a tool for stripping vulnerable minorities of precious constitutional rights.

As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund's shameful attempt to nullify equal protection and all these bonded unions will be condemned in the eyes of history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter how hard they try to fight it."

You don't have to be American to sign

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The end of a saga

FINALLY my tooth is completely fixed and I can eat popcorn again.

I really really like my dentist, first of all, she is a small girl (can't be more than 26) so I feel confident I could take her if I really wanted to leave....

Second, she is really nice and doesn't make me feel bad or guilty or incompetent.

Third, she is the only other person I know of who has read Haruki Murakami in Catalan. She liked it too.

Finally, she seems to be doing a good job. It is one of the things about a dentist that is tough, you can't really tell how good they are till a few years down the road. Let's hope for the best.

but boy oh boy. I DO not like going to the dentist.

I do like the popcorn I finally got to eat though. mmmmmmmmm

While I am tempted to ask about dental stories, I don't think I can handle them right now. A little space and time before we do that maybe. m'kay?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ummmm, what did you say?

Mostly reading two books these days, and they are kind of messing with my head...I am reading another book by Haruki Murakami, in Catalan. The English title is "South of the Border, West of the Sun". I am simultaneously reading "The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Díaz which occurs primarily in Spanish, in that the main characters are from the Dominican Republic, and would be speaking Spanish, but it is written in English, but he leaves a whole lot of Spanish slang and jargon in - can I just say that Murakami's site is playing the coolest music right now? I LOVE this music....wonder where I could get me some.

Do you understand a word I am saying?

I think that is my problem, I have Japanese characters speaking Catalan and Dominican characters in English and a glossing of Spanish...getting foggy in here now ladies and gentlemen.

Did I ever mention the time I found myself, a Canadian, listening to a German playing Scotish bagpipes in a kilt on the end of a pier in a small town in Greece? It was a strange moment.

Then there are the times at work where we have weird three way conversations. I can manage in English and Catalan, another woman in Spanish and English and several women in Catalan or Spanish. Whatever language we work in, someone doesn't really understand what is going on.

*whoa Nelly*

Tower of Babel here or what?

Oh my aching mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cold or warm, all relative.



Youngest complained the other day that she was tired of wearing long pants and wants to get back into shorts again. I told her the Canadian Embassy would come and take her passport away. It is February for crying out loud and she can wear shorts at least once or twice a week. What is she complaining about. In TO we would have been out of shorts by the end of September and not back into them until at least the end of May, here there are about 6 weeks where she will only wear them about once every two weeks, maybe less...the rest of the time, I am thinking of sandals. I suppose it is all a matter of what you are used to. Then again, we viewed shorts as unnecessarily sweaty in the Bahamas....

Now I don't want to seem to be rubbing it in, cause this post is more about gratitude then showing off, or at least that is my intention, I took some photos of flowers that are growing around here to show all of you who are still snowed under. When I was in TO I would have appreciated the opportunity to recognise that the darned things still exist...and that some day.....

Back up at the top, that is some kind of sweet little flower tucked in with the long-grass. Undoubtedly a weed of some sort, but lovely.

Below is a succulent, I think, and I can tell you no more in any language.


An almond tree in blossom. How I love them.


I even saw ants today!!!! LOTS of them!!!! WOW!

And no, I haven't approached the wifi again since the last post, no emotional stamina.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Whoever writes this sh*t will spend a long long time in h*ll


Can you read that? You don't want to. It is the user's manual for an end-user, like me. Aside from the poor grammar and missing verbs, this is a piece of sh*t. Click on that to read a little of the full glory of this bit of crap.

It even tells me to plug my pen drive into the wireless router that this is the manual for. The wireless router doesn't have a port for a pen drive. Nice shooting Tex.

I'll RTFM when you write one worth reading you dick heads.

This manual brought to you by Edimax.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

SITGES!!!


ROAD TRIP!!!!

Except we went by bus and train....

We went to Sitges....a major party town near BCN.....However it was Sunday morning, so fairly quiet. Used to be a fishing village, now, not so much shall we say.


There is however still sailing, these are called patins, which are mighty cool little boats, they are catamarans, which means they have two hulls side by side, and no rudder or tiller, which means there is no official system for steering, you do it by moving your weight back and forth and by adjusting the sails.

WAY cool, I haven't been out in one. Yet.


Sitges LOVES a deep deep brilliant blue...it was trim in the streets, on the windows, in the walls and archways, and I loved this one with the leaf prints.

Sitges was also home to a Catalan painter Santiago Rusinyol who built a house there, imported some El Grecos, was buddies with Picasso when he was still young, and there are several of his paintings there, as well as Ramon Casas, another brilliant Catalan painter.... we went to the museum, which was amazing, quite small, and didn't allow photos. *sulk*


The streets had lovely tile work,


Some more modern. The old part of town was all whitewashed, and narrow and it reminded us all of Seville quite a bit....


Well, except for the sea, and the Catalan...whatever.


I love doors, you can see more of the blue trim here as well.

These guys looked like something is going on. What do you think it night be?

The little fellow on the right looks like he is having a hard time.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Go girl!

First things first, Youngest had a game today and they played AMAZINGLY well. We all thought it was going to be a massacre when the other team had scored 24 points to our 2 in the first 6 minutes. This doesn't seem like something you are going to climb out of.

BUT THEY DID!!!!

They all played really really really well, every last one of them,

and they WON!!!


Youngest didn't get any points, but they would not have won if every single person wasn't playing their very best, and they were great.

Kudos.

The other thing I want to talk about, is once again....Chuck, and maybe poo and pee.

You see, every now and then Chuck really really wants to roll in the grass or moss, or dirt or on a rock. I don't know why. Sometimes we can tell, cause he is rolling in horse poo or something (eew I know, but it is a dog). Sometimes I have no idea at all why he's rolling in a certain spot.

I have a confession to make. The other day, there was a rock he was frantically trying to roll himself all over, ALL OVER....and falling down and sliding off. There was NOTHING on that rock. Nothing. So I went over and sniffed it.

Ladies and gentlemen there was nothing there I could smell. Looked completely normal to me.

Weird.

Then again, they are supposed to have much better sniffers that we do, and that does seem to be true.

I took a video of the mutt in the hills today rolling gleefully in something I could not sense in any way...let's see if I can load it up....

No. Seems I can't. Now. Why would Picasa 3, a google product, not have a capability to convert video to a format readable by Blogger, a google product. Hello? Anyone listening out there?

It is too late to try and figure this out, I'll have to tackle it another time. Here's a couple of stills I took, he rolled for a LOng long long time.





I think it felt really good.

If anyone has any hints on uploading videos, I'd welcome them...

and one more thing, the Catalans are obsessive about washing their dogs. Most dogs go to the hairdresser every month. Not all, but many many many.

How often do you wash your dog and why?

Just cause it's time? Cause he stinks? Cause he'll get itchy?

Need to know here, so experienced dog owners out there...help please!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I am so pathetic

This is a sad sad thing.

Most people get excited about going out to a cinema, or going out for a fabulous meal (although the Man just informed me that he has read of a place in BCN that does great burgers...that would be cool).

Anyway

I am ALL excited about the Catalan class I just went to.

This was not one of the serious ones that actually aims toward some kind of certificate, it is offered here in town, and is mostly aimed at all the people who never learned to write Catalan at school.

There are many many of them. (That Franco thing).

Today we studied the apostrophe. I TOLD you I was pathetic. I was so excited.

Now the apostrophe, you would think would be a fairly straight forward little number. In English it is reasonably managable, barring some issues with the whole its/it's thing, and the whole Santa Claus' issue with possessives.

I am hear to assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that we English speakers have NO problems when it comes to apostrophes.

NONE.

You see, in Catalan, there is a system

First, you have to decide whether the word is eligible for an apostrophe, it must start with an a, e, i, o, u, or h...or an s if it is an imported word that hasn't been Catalanised and is pronounced like estop rather than stop.

IF it qualifies, you then need to decide if it is masculine or feminine. This is the single most difficult step for non-native speakers and is the place where I mess up HORRIBLY.

If it is masculine, things are simple...you apostrophise it. Period. That's it.

If it is feminine however, things get more complicated. A, e, and o can all be apostrophised, and h can as well, IF the following letter is an a,e or an o, and the h is silent. You see imported words like 'hippy' and 'hardware' are not Catalanised, and so are pronounced with the Spanish *slightly horking* h, and they cannot be apostrophised.

Still with me?

This leaves us with feminine nouns starting with i and u, plus a few stray h's. Now you have to decide if the stress of the word falls on that first vowel or anywhere else in the word. *slightly tricky for those of us with poor pronunciation.*

IF it falls on the that first opening vowel, then go ahead and use the apostrophe.

IF NOT, not. *famous Catalan oath*

Would you like to hear this (semi) famous Catalan oath? It is great, sort of a reward for wading through this grammar.

This was a medieval oath of fealty, you know, one of those feudal things...Henry the Eigth loved them.

"We, who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than us, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you observe all our liberties and laws - but if not, not."

I am not sure Henry "Divorced, beheaded, died" would have been fond of this oath.

They ended the lesson off by saying that apostrophes are easy and straight forward. I guess by that they meant there are some rules to the whole mess. There are also exceptions (of course) I won't get into them here, it might get disheartening.

Let me just finish by saying that it was GREAT.

I am so pathetic.



oh! and for the nosey parkers in the crowd, like me, there are two more bathroom drawers/cupboards to check out, BooksBeth, and Doug both have shots up! Brave and valiant souls. There are also links to all the photos so far.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Eldest home sick

Oh my goodness,

right on the heels of the overwhelmed post Eldest is home sick. Not so sick that it is serious, but enough that I have to hang out too. She slept all morning or watched movies...

I

......*inhale*

studiedCatalan-studiedSpanish-didYoga-read-didlaundry-cleanedouttwodrawersandacupboard-readblogs-reademail-nursedthesickchild-marked-examinedtheleakinyoungest'sroom-

......*gasp*

.......*inhale*

made a whole new calender and plan for this term, drawn out and colour coded. I like doing this by hand, and I would post a photo, but I'm bagged.

As the Catalan's would put it, "he aprofitat els meus temps"

I have profited my time.... (semi-literal translation)

I didn't:

get to the dentist appointment
teach two classes
walk the dog in the hills

and that's OK too.

let's see those medicine cabinet photos...c'mon, fess up, I am not the only one tempted to check out the bathroom doors and drawers at other people's houses...and this way it's legit...I've got links up to the two I know of, mine and Bhodi's....

feelin' nosey over here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lunch and, well, toilets still.

Isn't that a lovely combination? Lunch and toilets? Though I suppose they are related.

I had a totally delicious lunch and I just had to share, though it seems I was so excited by the food that my hands couldn't stop shaking, either that or I was so starving I was too weak to hold the camera....

That was little red potatoes, fresh from the earth, with utterly delectable fresh green beans, from the neighbouring village, boiled together with a little of the fat from the ham there, sliced it off the leg myself....and then topped with lots of salt and pepper, amazing local olive oil and more of the ham.

I was totally intimidated by that hoof-bearing hair-wearing leg of ham that we had last year, but this year, I am GOOD to go. I was just telling the man that we should get ourselves another one when this one runs out!



See this photo here? (of course you do, you're still with me here) See the movement? The action? That would be Chuck sniffing out the ham on my lunch. He thinks we should get another leg too....all for him.


And this photo? This photo is Chuck making absolutely certain that I am aware that he would like some of the ham. You see, he is staring fixedly at the plate on the table. No distracting him now.

Onto the toilets.

As you are no doubt aware, a bit of a poo/toilet theme has been slinking into the corners around here, and since BooksBeth has a very funny post up about her bathroom, I felt compelled to respond. You see, she was commenting on things she doesn't like about her bathroom, and one of them is the clutter. A sentiment I can wholeheartedly agree with. I am a great purger.

oops, not in the toilet way, more in the Goodwill donation way

moving right along,

A while ago, a lovely blogger named Lulu from Egypt,who sadly hasn't been posting lately after she accidentally deleted her entire blog, which would make me pretty darned despondent as well, I miss you Lulu...come on out and play.

On that note, everyone, please back up your blog....I have every post automatically sent to my e-mail address as well as slurping it to another off-air, on-line blog....

Hang on, I am digressing, in huge run-on sentences.

Lulu one time had an idea that everyone could post a picture of what they could see out their kitchen window, and it was a roaring success. It made me wonder, in a horribly nosey way, what is inside people's bathroom cupboards and drawers. Now you can't ask other folks to do what you wouldn't do yourselves, so here, unchanged from actual reality, is my bathroom cupboard and one of the drawers....






So what have we here: cold medicine, nail clippers, toothbrushes, lots of different types of sunscreen (at least four), face cream, gel for giving youngest a mohawk for school, FLOSS (hey, at least I've got some) and a whole lot of varied generic medicines all in Spanish, which I have to write on in marker so I don't give someone anti-biotics when they have a headache or something like that.


And in here...band aids, empty band aid wrappers, a supply of toothpaste, razors, unused FLOSSERS for the kids, medical tape, lip goo...I have no idea what is in that scary looking silver tube....

So, what's in your drawers...if you decide to post, let me know and I'll put up a link.

Come out and play, m'kay?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Overwhelmed

Do you ever feel like the to do list is bigger than you are?

OMG.

I mean, I sort of have two lists, the day to day list -which I can assure you is long enough at any given moment, and then there is the big picture to-do list: off the top of my head we have,

1. Become fluent in Catalan (or as near as I can manage)

2. Learn Spanish

3. Ensure the girls learn Spanish

4. Ensure the girls can write English excellently

5. Get my teeth all fixed up

6. Get a physical and all the other follow ups done

7. Get all the follow ups for the look under the hood done

8. Get the kids Spanish citizenship

9. Floss - it interests me that the dentist here doesn't try and fill us with guilt and self-loathing because we don't floss three times a day. Instead she praises our level of hygiene and gives us some hints about how to improve. I am actually doing better than I ever have. Canadian dentists, are you listening???

10. Read

11. Figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up.

12. All the stuff for my work in Canada

13. All the stuff for my work here.

14. Wife/mother stuff.

15. Practice basketball with youngest

16 Yoga (I did that at least once in September anyway)

17. Stay/get in shape

18. Paint

OMG.

No wonder I read blogs. Short, enjoyable and clearly finished when it is done.

Start.

Enjoy.

Finish.

I think I'll stop here too.

Am I the only one?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dog stuff

Meet Nona, a dear friend's dog, and Chuck's best bud. Please note that she is allowed on our couch, but Chuck isn't. She's also a girl dog, and Chuck, well, Chuck's not.

They are resting between wrestling matches.

Doesn't she look elegant?
She is too, and a princessa, and very independent.

Posting about pooches today.

Chuck and I went on a walk in the hills near us today and we had an interesting time.

We often meet a friend and Nona in a particular spot. Chuck luuuuuvvvvvsssss Nona; so once he realised where we were going, he knew that in all likelihood we would be meeting his BFF. He dragged me up the hill to our normal spot, a crossroad with four roads joining up at odd angles and a huge driveway. He carefully peered up each road, then turned around the way we came, which is where our buds normally come from too, sat down with ears perked and waited.
I was surprised and impressed.

Massive excitement when he caught sight of them.

Later, we were walking up in the hills which are lovely, but there is an area that is really gross. There is an old abandoned road that cuts through and all the young thugs go there to, well, to do stuff in their cars. Also to empty out their cars. There is garbage. The dogs love this. The dogs sometimes get diarrea after a walk there. (What a lot about poo lately). Sorry.

SO anyway, I had put his Chuck-y-ness on a leash to keep the garbage eating to a minimum, and the subsequent digestive chaos as well. We went on down the hill, and once we were, I thought, far enough away, I let him off the leash again.

The rotten dog positively TORE back up the hill, with me roaring at him as he went, so he cut off into the bushes beside the road. Suspiciously I assumed he was going to cut up the hill in the long grass so I wouldn't know what he is doing. Like my teenager, he is frequently convinced I am stupid.

I went on down the hill, cause Chuckbacca is nothing if not greedy, and I had a pocket full of cookies. As I was half-way down, Chuck flushed out a pheasant!!!! (sorry, scared out a pheasant...note to self, enough about toilets) The little stinker had scented a bird and was madly trying to find it. He did however seem quite unaware that it had flown away. Nona also seemed to have missed this fact.

Ah well.

Final surprising doggie moment today....Chuckster was lyin' around the house doing nothin' as dogs so often do, when he abruptly decided to get up, go into my bedroom, where the only phone is, sit down and stare at it fixedly. He loves the phone too. Gets him all excited. A moment later, the phone rang.

Freaky. Never seen him do it before.

The man asked if it was Nona calling.

Nooooo....her owner.

Weird.

Though it would have been weirder if the greyhound had managed to phone for herself. Next thing I know they'd be on messenger together and I would never get at the computer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shelf toilets

No photo for this one, you wouldn't want it.

I have to wonder though.

If you have traveled in Germany or Holland, and possibly elsewhere in Northern Europe, you may have noticed that some of the toilets are what are known as shelf toilets. These (gross) babies are designed so that your more, shall we say solid offerings rest above the waterline in clear sight with no obstructions, the liquids and the paper land elsewhere.

I assume the idea is so that you can inspect these stinky relics of past meals for, well, I cannot imagine why you would want to inspect them.

As far as I am concerned that would fall into the category of too much information. No?

I like my Spanish toilet here, it is a light grey-ish brown/dark beige colour with a narrow deep hole at the bottom. By the time you finish your business and drop the paper in, everything is decently covered and it is all dark enough to obscure any details. Flush and it all disappears without any alarmingly visible swirling and mixing, like you get in N.A. Swoosh and it's gone.

Just the way I like it.

One of the little asides of travel: the variety of toilets. Another day I may post about the truly disgusting French toilets. How do those restaurants stay open without passing cholera around I will never know. Public Spanish toilets are quite hit and miss, but NOTHING compared to the Parisian ones. The toilets on the trains in Russia in the winter with the giant sh*tsicles that had to be knocked off periodically. The loos in the trains in India where the men (bless their disgusting souls) mistakenly believe they can aim accurately through the narrow hole in the floor while standing in a swaying train; leaving a pond of *liquid* with two foot-sized islands bracketing the hole requiring you to leap onto them, spin around and squat over them all while holding your skirts up to keep them dry.

Ugh.

Too much information.

Sorry.

Shelf toilets are still weird.

I have to admit, I would love some toilet stories in the comments if you are up to it and are still reading and not retching over your own porcelain god after this gross-me-green post. C'mon, I know you have some.