Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OMG the hours here in Spain

Finished work at 10, then out to dinner with a group of students who just finished a course.  Home at 1am.

Can I mention that it's Tuesday!


No art today.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Need we say more?


Barca - Madrid, 5 − 0,  Good day tomorrow too, everyone will be happy.

Did anything else happen today?  Hard to say.  I am sidelined from running for a bit cause of a wee bit of pain, google medicine and I think it may be a hamstring origin issue.  Drs to be consulted.  Frustration to say the least.  I was starting to think about a 5k.  Ho hum.

Lots of other little things, but that'll do.


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Went off today to see this exhibition at the CCCB which was EXceptional.  I now have labyrinths on the brain... and ideas for how to make them, and make them work for us.  Hmmmmmmm.

There was a book all about fonts that set me off all over again on working with letters as forms themselves. On top of that I coughed up for a book about making books.  Not writing them, literally making them.  This is going to make the canvas a day project a little trickier to document.  Each little tiny book has a bunch of pages.  Hmmmm.

I think for Xmas I am going to ask for paper.  Lots and lots of different kinds of paper.

These three ideas, letters, labyrinths and books are cooking around and around in my head....

Two covers here, but the bulk of the mini-books will be off to the right there.

The cover of book #1

and # 2.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It is official

Chuckmeister is officially a spoilt pup.


We got him this:

We got him his very own plush, sofa style doggie bed.


I do have to say that he loves it, which is a good thing.

The reason?  It's freaking freezing here.  Honestly, there is no heat in the house and it is C.O.L.D.

Not Little House on the Prairies cold or anything, but pretty darned chilly for most of the day.  Chuckbackka was wandering around with chilly ears and cold paws and getting up on the furniture when we were here.  Now, we have an unspoken agreement with him (what other kind can you have with a dog anyway)  that he doesn't get on the furniture when we are awake/at home, and we pretend to not know that he does it when we are asleep/away.

His poochiness was cold enough to start eating away at that agreement.

We had mercy and got him a cozy bed of his own so he can be a little warmer, and we fixed up the beds he has as well so they stay a little warmer too.

Chuck seems happier and his ears warmer too.  Still a spoiled mutt though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Good news

Not sure if I posted this, but Youngest's process through some of the bureaucracy here got waylaid about a month and a half ago by an...idiot in a position of power.  Maybe that's a good way to put it.

Thanks to our delightful lawyer, we have moved onto the next of many many steps, but that, at least, is progress, and progress is good.

Plus the locksmith came and put a honking great lock onto the big door out front, so we can now lock the house when we're out!  YEAH!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why is it that

Why is it that the books we don't like so much take so much longer to read?

I mean I know why, they just don't call out to me, so I find I do something else rather than read them.  They aren't quite bad enough to quit, but.... well, I find I do other things.

A shame that way isn't it, and the great ones?  Done in a couple of hours.  The kids are hungry and whining and the dog's got his legs crossed at the end of it, but what the heck, it's a great book, why not!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The kitchen and clothes.

Ooooh, the kitchen is almost where I could consider putting some photos up.  We're cleaning up the tiles and all the counters and shelves are in, we are missing some hooks and we have to get a couple more lights up, then PHOTOS!

The man and I have been working busily (I have to say that the man more than I) at getting lights and curtains up in Youngest's room.  Nothing like visitors for motivation.  She now has a full complement of lights and as of this evening, curtains.  She no longer has to crouch on the floor to change.  A relief I am sure.  The fact that the curtains don't match is neither here nor there.  You see, we brought a lot of our old curtains from Canada with us to Spain, on the premis that we like them a lot and we might as well reuse them.  The only problem is that Youngest's room is the only one that needs curtains, so now we have something of a surplus.

She got the pick of the crop and chose the ones that hung in her room when she was tiny in Toronto!  However,  her old room has only one window and this has two.  Solution?  I went into BCN and got some fabric that matches the basic colour of the curtains.  We're going to cut each curtain in half, giving us four rather than two, and then we are going to sew a stripe of the new solid colour on the outside of each panel.  (I use we most broadly, a friend of mine here who is a seamstress is going to sew them)   Hope they look nice.  I think they will anyway.

On another note, the girls and I went into BCN on Sat to visit the Picasso Museum.  On the way back, I bought a little bit of something for myself!  Look!

Got this skirt at my favourite used clothing place...the colours look all weird, I took the photo at night and it is strange looking here.  I adore it though.  Eldest has the matching jacket, and covets this, though she would never wear it and it's MINE.

The area around the Picasso Museum is very very pricey, so when I saw this is a store window I thought there was no hope.  Hundreds of Euros...but no!  Very affordable and I adore it.  It is a felted wool or wool-like material, and is toasty warm, except that it lacks sleeves!

Happy girl.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Look what the man made for lunch the other day!


the man made lunch and I am so happy.

Also super crazy busy for the next few days......auuuuugh!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Whew. No, ugh.

Sudden overwhelming exhaustion, I'll keep it short.

Here's what I want to know.  WHY can't they make tights that don't sag in the middle.  I mean, honestly.  It is not exactly as if a woman's shape is some weird mystery.

The pair I wore today were saggy in the middle and too big in the feet.  What sort of duck-legged woman would wear these?  I'll grant my legs are on the longish end of the spectrum so maybe getting enough length is an issue, but my feet ain't petite, and these suckers were waaaaay big.

I'll bet whoever these were designed for doesn't sway much when the wind blows.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Youngest and I went off today with a big group from the village, it was spectacular, and really quite cold.

It was really very cold and windy at the top, but still better than this.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BCN at night

Went into BCN with the girls this afternoon to the Picasso Museum for this exhibit on Picasso following Degas.  It was excellent.  Short but very well curated.  Just amazes me every time that I can simply go and see this kind of art whenever I want.  Helps that annual membership at the Picasso is only 10 Euros and kids are free till their 16!


I also got some cool clothes, pictures tomorrow, maybe.

Also grabbed some quick snaps of BCN at night:

Tomorrow, I'm off to the other wonderful end of living here and will be hiking in the mountains!

Life is good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have to say something (duh, I would think that, no? I have a blog)

My name is Oreneta and I am a lurker.


So glad that's out there now.  There are probably more than a few of us out there in fact.

What I find particularly curious about this, in myself anyway, is that I have several layers of lurker-hood.

There are the commercial lurks, which really don't count, cause honestly...who comments on a magazine's blog.

There are the plain all-out lurks, on private blogs - as in ones not run by magazines or whatever - on which I only ever read, never comment and am perfectly happy.

Then there are the mega-blogs.  What defines mega?... whatever,  but if I am scrolling down through more than 25 − 30 comments, I am going to figure I won't be commenting.  I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on the tipping point for the average commenter.  How many comments seem sufficient.  Feels faintly like dolling out Halloween candy.  Sorry kid, you've gotten too big, no more comments for you!  I don't read too many of these, but I those I do, I mostly lurk.

Then there is that fuzzy land which many of us are in, where we happily read away, probably most every post and only comment when especially moved to.  Sort of lurking???

Then there are the blogs that I comment on most every time I read, cause I just like'm so darned much, for whatever reason.  That would be my virtuous non-lurking side, no?

What I find weirdest is that when I am tired, or hurried, I lurk more, in that I read the blogs I lurk on first before the ones where I may want to comment, despite the fact that I would prefer to read those.  I think it has to do with the blogreader.  Back when bloglines was still alive I could mark a blog and come back to it.  Greader doesn't seem to be able to do this, so I have to commit to reading and commenting, or wait till I have more time.

Not so sure I like the system, but it's where I'm at.

In what percentage of blogs that you read do you full on lurk? On how many are you a partial lurker and on how many do you rarely lurk at all?

Just wondering.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today I:

taught for 5 hours straight
came home
dealt with kid issues
did 45 min of Spanish homework
ate lunch and walked the dog (that was about 20 min)
an hour and a half of Spanish class
taught for another 5 hours
came home and hung with the man for a delightful hour
did a translation
worked some stuff out for my work in Canada
did one painting

and there ain't nothing left in me but this list.

hope you had a good one, 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The living room.

The living room.  It is getting to where it is worth a picture.  Almost looks like someone lives here!


The shot above is actually in the kitchen.  The inaugural fire in the fireplace!  Started small, but was delightful!

View from back to front.  The doors at the end are brand new.  The shelving on the right serves to hide the million and one electrical panels that are all in one wall.  Pretty!

Living room from the base of the stairs, you can see the old door through the new.  You can just glimpse a big barrel-shaped bin behind the red chair.  I bought it JUST for the kids to dump their knapsacks in so I don't have to look at them, and they can find them.  Know what?  It works a CHARM.

Chuck approves of the new carpet.  We have some extra chairs, so they are tucked in the space under the stairs for now.  See what happens next.

Multiple hidden electrical panels, new lights, the thermostat thoughtfully placed in a central position cause we all want to look at that in the living room.  Can you tell I don't love the electrician?

View from the landing.  The black blob on the right is the bench where we can take off and put on our shoes, it also serves as dining room table seating, should we ever need it.  We also each have a black basket under the bench where we each store our shoes.  Handy and out of site.  The coats on the coat tree will go outside the inner door when the area is not full of butane tanks and we have gas + HEAT.  Chuck still likes the carpet.  

We hadn't quite planned on a red couch, but Ikea was out of navy blue and it was an indefinite wait.  I am not good at indefinite waits.  We got red.

So, that's the living room anyway.

More photos as rooms come together further.


I had promised myself I would paint every day and I dislike how we, or at least I, habitually put other people before myself.  Sometimes we have to make time for what we want to do.

I promised myself I would paint every single day.

Obviously sometimes that is impossible, which frustrates me, but isn't a disaster.

Yesterday as I sat wearily in front of the computer I had an inner debate about whether assembling Ikea furniture counts as creativity.

I didn't think so either.

So I painted, posted it and then my internet crapped out again, so I'm writing to you all today!

Hope you have a good one.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Can't say I'm not doing my bit.

If the Spanish economy suddenly starts to improve, you'll be the first to know why.

I am hoping I can stop shopping soon.  Really soon.

I hate shopping.

I went to IKEA today.  I am so over IKEA.


I got the man a mobile, cause he always has mine and it's bugging me.

Got Eldest a new handset cause hers was dying.  Touch no less. Can you say happy camper?

Went to the food for foreigners Chinese shop for vital supplies and went to a fabric store for material to complete Youngest's curtains.  Even got a friend lined up to make them as I haven't got a machine!

That said, I still have the BIG grocery shop to do, that happens about once a month.  I am putting it off as long as I can.  Save money that way, and it helps with rotating stock, as in we've eaten all the old stuff before we get any new.

Hate shopping.

Hate it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boat show

We went off to the Barcelona Boat show today, and it was a stunning display of the financial woes of Spain at the moment.

I last went two years ago, just as the whole crisis was emerging.  There were boats clear around the entire old harbour.  Kilometers of them.  There was even a boat doing ferry service from one end to the other to save you time and energy.  There were hundreds of people and many many exhibitors.

Not this time.  Two short sides of the harbour.  Almost no one there.  The only booths with a real crowd had large screen TVs showing the finals of the Formula 1 racing.

There were very very few people.

Sad, honestly.

That said, the man and I had a lovely time.  Warm sunny day, a nice walk through BCN, there was a whole lot of swell in the harbour and the docks had the most amazing wave action to them...something to make you want to study the physics of the whole thing.  Most of the boats we saw there are not ones I'd like to have, to be honest, but there were a couple that were more what I would like.

A lovely sunny Sunday day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

climactic zones

Today the man and I walked to the local garden center.  We bought a lemon tree and a jasmine vine...alongside a few other things.

For someone who learned to garden in a Canadian zone 4 or 5 the idea of planting these is very exciting.

Photos when they're delivered.

It is soooo time to get out in that garden and get it organised some more.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Sleep-over, Spanish and loading

Eldest is having a sleep-over this evening, there are four of them in there in total, and I have to say that if it goes like this every time, they can sleep-over every single week.  Truly a delightful group of kids, it is now 12:30 and I think I am the only one still awake in the house.


I take that back.  Two of them just reappeared and are trying to make off with my computer!  Nasty things.  I may just let them, but the canvas for today will have to be posted tomorrow.

Ah well.  They're still good kids.

I got a comment, be e-mail, that my blog is EXTREMELY slow to load.  How many of you out there are having problems with that?  Is it something I need to tackle?  It loads for me in, under a second, maybe a full second....but that may not be typical, if you could let me know if you're having problems, I'd appreciate it.

One last item.  The man and I are taking Spanish classes.  He is WAY better than me, so I had a chat with the teacher that we should do what he needs to learn and I will pick up what I can as we go along, he needs the Spanish to try and get work, I don't need it at all, I just find I am embarrassed that I cannot speak any better.  Sort of how I learned Catalan too, by hope and necessity.  Trying to get it to all come together.  What I need to do more than anything else, now,  is try and speak it.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Love it when you can do this

I read a story the other day about endangered toads being rescued in Nevada.  Then I lost the link.

This is what I googled:  endangered toad br*thel nevada

Not often you get to put those words together!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

this may just be stream of consciousness blogging.

Did you know that Fox news also owns the Wall Street Journal?  Am I the only one who finds that...alarming?

Another question, what is it with the huffington post?  I see it referenced often enough, and I have scrolled through a bit, but cannot quite get a feel of the thing.  I don't know how much more often they could put *gag* palin up, and it looks generally kinda trashy, but some pieces look better written, and certainly some of the writers are well enough known.


On another note, I found a place to play tetris on line for free.  I think that was not a good thing for me.

Can you say hypnotic?  Goodness.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Am I the only one?

I imagine not, but am I the only one that gets almost...fearful...when choosing the next book to read when in the middle of a run of really good books?

Just finished a great one.

You know the kind, you don't want to read another for a bit so you can let it settle.

Now, I am kind of worried about what to read next.  Standing in front of the bookshelf, not wanting to jinx this run of wonderful reads.

Isn't it a delightful kind of fear?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts on running

Not like I'm any kind of expert or anything, but it does interest me how a fair amount of it is a head game.

My head wasn't really in the game today.  I went the distance, in reasonable time, but I kept finding myself walking, even when I really wasn't out of breath.  Kinda like my heart wasn't quite into it.

I also kept wanting to check out the scenery, which is a good thing, but risky to do when running on trails. Then Chuck wanted me to throw pine cones....

then then then

I was walking again.


It wasn't in the legs or lungs. A whole lot of it is in the head.  Certainly the same can be said for racing sailboats, though in quite a different way.  And not, there is a certain element of single-minded focus that wasn't turning up today.

Try again later, no?

MUST get the wifi locked, and it is super complicated, and I need a repeater, I get a completely crappy signal up in the painting room and it makes it all super s-l-o-w.

To do list gets a little longer!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Terrace painted.

The blue, I adore.

The green is wAAAy more pistachio than I was thinking...I had considered something a wee bit more muted and rather sage-y...


it's cheerful and that's good.

The architect's gonna hate it.

Too. darned. bad.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Painting painting painting

Not what you were maybe thinking...I was painting the walls of the terrace!

One is mostly done, a lovely rich deep blue.  I do adore blue.  I didn't realise this quite so clearly till the kids pointed out that every time we're at museums or art galleries I consistently exclaim over paintings with a lot of strong blue in them.  What can I say.

There is also some green going up.  I was thinking a sage kind of green, but it is coming out of the can rather more pistachio.  Putting it on anyway, better than concrete grey and it is cheery.  At our house in TO we got one colour that was not quite what we had in mind and it turned out to be our favourite, so we'll have to wait and see.

You can just see a corner of the blue in this picture that youngest took today!

Gonna go check the forecast and see what my chances are.

Oh, and I rearranged my painting space again...the man built some shelving in our pantry - that sounds grander than it is - and so now I have more storage...and a space for tea.


Friday, November 5, 2010

It's odd isn't it

It strikes me as weird that things seem to run in batches.

I recently went through a run of so-so books.  They were fine, but my enthusiasm was...low.

Now I have had a lovely run or wonderful books.  Hope this keeps going.

It has just occurred to me that the end of my run of , meh, mediocre books coincides with the end of the massive battalion of anti-histamines, and more, that I have been taking.

Possibly the end of drug-induced comatosis (does that word exist? It should) is related to my newfound enthusiasm.

Did you also know that in Spanish a ? and a ! do not necessarily end a sentence?  You can get the most amazing masses of punctuation, for example, "¡Hola! ¿qué tal?, ¿bueno?"  See?  All that punctuation and there is only one official sentence there and only one capital!  The accent may be in the wrong place.  I can't remember and I am too lazy to go downstairs and check.  Ah well.

Hope you're reading a book you're loving.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Goals for education today

I found this somewhere floating through the internet.  Sadly I cannot remember where - which certainly means I am not a knower entirely.

“In times of change the learners will inherit the earth, while the knowers will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ” –Eric Hoffer

That said, I am not sure I entirely agree, there are things that we need to know.  Multiplication tables come to mind, languages follow closely.  Mathematics skills, reading and writing.  Poetry, geography and history. 

We need a certain world knowledge that we carry around in our heads.  We cannot forever google it to find out, there lies ignorance.

That said, knowers who cannot learn sit on a shelf like an outdated encyclopedia gathering dust and being ignored - one hopes.

As usual, something somewhere in the middle falls into what is most useful, no?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One thing I love about Spain

The window guys are here fitting the mosquito screens.  More construction guys in the house.  Different construction guys in the house.

One of them is cantant!

He's singing flamenco in my house.  How do I love that!

Honestly, I do adore going past construction sites where someone is singing, happens more often that you would think.  I think I am becoming a fan.  May have to find me some good flamenco music...mostly the men singing is what does it for me.


Back in Spain, the sun is shining and the days are warm/hot.

The butane has run out though, so the showers are cold and we can't cook.

Still have the oven though, so we'll just have to plan around that till the canisters get refilled.