I got a new hair cut on Friday. I like it, Youngest went with me and was begging me to get it shorter, so the hairdresser asked her how short, she said and he cut. Here I am. It feels looser and swingier, if that were a word.
The technician for the caldera, which provides heat and hot water, and the plumber showed up today, and did nothing. Cause the gas company was supposed to install a meter, and they didn't. The paperwork just hit someone's desk, and they should be around, at some point. Shall we talk about the fact that the concrete they laid down outside the house is still wet, and crumbly 5 days later?
So....still chilly here. Though frankly it is getting so much warmer that, as predicted, by the time the gas arrives, we won't need it. Getting kinda irrelevant.
At least the planter out front seems to be working. Did I talk about that? Hmmmmm. That's another post.
I finished El Meu Amor, Sputnick by Murakami last week, in Catalan. It was, as always, brilliant and quiet and alone. I preferred Kafka a la Platja...it floated between it's multiple worlds better and was leavened with more humour- Johnnie Walker anyone, or the Colonel? I only committed to one Murakami this year and I think I will blow that out of the water, especially now that his new 1000 page book has come out! So, that part of the Murakami challenge is officially complete, and now I will go for more....
Also, I just finished Oliver Twist...do I need to say who by? Hope not. This also fit into part of the Victorian Reading Challenge which I found through Trish and which I think JG is taking part in too, though what reading challenge she isn't a part of I am not sure....
I hadn't read it before and am somewhat embarrassed to reveal that I had not completed any Dickens at all. I downloaded a copy of Bleak House to my iPod, where it still languishes, about one quarter finished. The problem with listening to something so complex is that when one is distracted by something in a book, you simply reread the paragraph, in an audiobook, one doesn't. Cumulatively with Dickens that doesn't work, so I bailed. But the characters? They stuck with me. I would find myself thinking of them at odd moments, or relating people or events to the book, especially as we continue to battle our way through Spanish bureaucracy. That sold me and I read Twist, which I was delighted to discover is quite the page turner in spots, though others, not so much.
More Dickens to come too. Glad so many people were right and what a mass of writing I have ahead of me to enjoy! Murakamis I haven't read, Dickens I haven't read and tons or Pratchetts I haven't read!
Now we have to get the technician for the caldera - hot water and heat system- the technician for the stove and the contractor to all come as closely as possible on the same day. You see, the internal system is currently butane, and they have to change a valve or something internally to the machines for them to burn gas, then the contractor has to make the final connection to the gas mains on the street.
So. I figure we have to get the caldera guy and the contractor here on, as near as possible, the same day so we have hot water and, and, and, and h-e-a-t! The stove can pipe directly off a tank in the kitchen if need be while we wait for that technician and then we only have to co-ordinate two trades, rather than three....
How many of us do it. I know it is important to auto-edit ourselves, I mean, good lord, imagine what the world would be like if we didn't. Some folks seem to auto-edit themselves to a standstill though. Especially when pursuing creative activities.
I know one woman here, a fluent and educated speaker, who when she writes, in whatever language....and she has three that she's fluent in, she seizes up and what comes out is stilted and awkward.
I am working with her on getting over this..she is also a student of mine....and it is an interesting challenge. I auto-edit on this site, partially because I am a wee bit coy about our identities - and I'm very good with that - so some editing happens there. Some also happens as I don't want to write about just anything at all. There is also a certain amount of tailoring to the medium, and in the past an occasional urge to write the kids of posts that garner the most comments...if I were to pursue that it would be all Chuck all the time I might add....not quite true, only nearly.
But some people auto-edit, or self-judge themselves so much that what emerges is stifled, stilted and awkward.
How to get around it? To switch off that voice in the head telling stopping you before you even get the pen down, or brush wet.
For me, what we are trying now is unjudged volume. Simply trying to flood the editor with sheer mass or words till he wearies of the task. Get things flowing so to speak....
I have a cold. Not a noteworthy cold in any way...well except the first day when my left sinus felt extremely strongly as if a small insect had crawled up there and was gnawing its way through my head. Never quite felt anything like that before.
Onwards, that is not the point of today's story.
I have a cold.
An unremarkable cold. I was sitting by the fire this evening, with Eldest, when I sniffed. A perfectly small, normal, honest little sniff. Somewhere within the depths of my sinuses, just for a moment, something (possibly that insect) was chanelling someone a WHOLE lot older, smellier and male...you know, one of those old men on the subways that make the most astonishing and DISGUSTING noises when they siff.
That was a bit of a stunner.....and I started to giggle a little. Eldest (at 15) was of course utterly horrified by my profound uncouthness and muttered imprecations none too quietly into her non-existant beard. So I decided to blow my nose. As I opened my mouth to inhale enough to blow...no nasal inhalations going on around here these days. That insect? He came with corks it would seem.
ANYWAY, as I was inhaling preparatory to blowing I burped. Not a small lady-like burp...this time someone or other in my aesophagus was chanelling a Frat House beer drinker. That was a B.U.R.P. this left me giggling all the harder, and trying to blow my nose at the same time. Toot..tooot....toooooot....gigglegiggle giggle.
Eldest was SOOOO unimpressed, but even she had to laugh, it was just so very very astonishing!
Then I just had to fart to round it off, just for her.
Not only provide seats, but provide seating that looks at something to fill the mind with wonder.
Honestly. Not every single person who comes through your galleries is hale, youthful and hearty. Some are older, some are unwell, some have small children, and some simply want to sit and contemplate the wonders of the works before them. Some even want to sketch!
If you only provide seating that looks at the bathrooms, long hallways, walls, empty stairwells, cases filled with very small items all arranged flat on the bottom of the case or seats that are faced by images and texts that are too small to see or read without standing up and walking over your patrons leave unhappy.
If, however, you provide them places to refresh their aching backs, suffering from 'museum pace' or arthritic hips, or weary children that simultaneously fill their minds with wonder, they will return over and over.
It's like those d*mned architects that hate people, like the buildings should exist in perfection ignoring the realities of the people who use them.
All went well, as you might have imagined it would.
Most people came, no one stayed for the entire thing, thank goodness, and all went well. I wildly over-catered, which means that we are eating very heartily today, and they liked some of the food so much that I am now giving out recipes left, right and center.
It ended more or less on time, and I have gotten to meet some people I otherwise wouldn't have, which is good too. You know, spouses of and all that.
Had a four hour nap today, which was an utter delight and let me catch up on my sleep. Also, and this is the biggest advantage of it all, we cleared a whole lot of little things off the to-do list. Painted Youngest's room, though the architect, who came too, was concerned about the humidity and we will probably have further meetings on the matter, we got a lot of lights up, curtains on doors that needed them...that sounds odd, but we have a door in the very back that leads into a storage area which is almost disasterously damp, so we took the glass out of the door, which effectively dealt with the damp, but was a might unsightly in the dining room as it is a storage space; hence the curtain.
We also got stickes off things we haven't bothered taking them off of before, I know, lazy lazy lazy, but there it is.
Youngest's room has been smelling funky and mildewy for a while, and we have been airing out her matresses a great deal, but the smell has persisted. The room is very very damp and we are not really sure why ONLY that room is damp, but boy o boy it is a humid place.
Thankfully -overall - I decided that I would paint her room today, I know, I'm nuts, but I am glad I did it because when we started moving her furniture we discovered an absolute horror show. She decided that for her room she would have some 'expedite' shelves from Ikea and put bins in them for her stuff. Great. Has worked like a dream as far as storing and sorting. She wanted to have the blue plastic bins to store her stuff, but we were only able to get two. In the end we went for some baskets that look kind of like grass string, woven, like the seat of cane chairs kind of.
I can only recommend these to you if you live in Arizona.
They were vile honestly. Vile.
Some had orange stuff growing on them, some grey, some black mildew and some fuzzy stuff like on a really old carrot.
We are washing every single stitch of youngest's clothes and the man made a most unwilling, but ultimately successful trip to Ikea on the metro (read 2+ hours each way) to get more bins...in BLUE!
So, I am glad those things are out of her room, and maybe it will start to smell better. Would have been nice to have heat, might have helped with the humidity a bit. However.
Began painting, and I can now personally attest to the fact that the walls are wet. The paint was, in places, peeling right off the wall onto the roller like when you're rolling out sticky pie crust and it sticks to the pin.
Hand painted those sections. Looks a little spackle-y, but it is an old house. I only painted two walls, of a possible three we were considering, the colour she chose is darker than I had anticipated and I don't want the room to get too dark...plus, I want to go to bed.
Hope she likes it in the morning, it has been somewhat trying, but ultimately worth it, so that is good.
The sheer number of things a person has to do/ can do in a day, and do well...
Taught a variety of English verbs, the passive voice (again) and suffixes in English.
I prepped the menu, schedule and shopping list for all the food (question to follow) for the party.
Was an (unwilling) witch disciplinarian with one daughter, but barely saw the other
Studied a ton of Spanish
Taught adverb formation in English to 8 year old
Overheard one of my co-teachers commenting that I am molt dura (very hard/tough) with my kid. *sigh* Not sure which one said it, but I would bet they don't have/haven't had teenage kids.
Taught reported speech in English
Taught how to write at a high level in English, and indeed, how to write at all in any language. (Don't repeat yourself, organise your thoughts, use connectors (however, in as much but, though) vary your sentence length, match tone and register to content id. don't p*ss off your reader...blah blah blah...though it is a very receptive group....keen infact.
Then I came home.
Mended fences with Eldest (much needed after our day) God that kid has a sense of humour.
Now to catch up on email, analyse a potential curricular change (sent to a site that I have to read in SPANISH!) review a major change at work I am responsible for, though it is not my final decision...
Plus breathe. Remember this song? I always liked it a lot. Bodhi made me think of it.
It is closing in on 2am, I am still awake, but no one is calling me. Thank goodness. Only noise is my computer and Chuck snoring gently in the middle of the little bit of space I have....
Amazing what we can do, no? Now, to get my hands dirty!
Oh yeah, that question. The man hates eating with his hands so doesn't like this idea, and the kids think that all Catalans/Spanish are profoundly unadventurous eaters (with some basis) (my I am feeling paranthetical, no?) (is parenthetical a word?)
Anwyay....I am thinking of having a sort of build-your-own section to the food for the party. There will be all manner of dips and crap like that, plus some sweet stuff too...but also I am thinking of having a build your own (fishless) sushi - I would put out sushi rice, sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, slivers of tofu, maybe marinated, seasonings, and they roll their own, so to speak. Plus a Vietnamese leaf roll up jobby, so there are bibb lettuce leaves, plus a filler of spicy yummy stuff and a sauce. The spoon some of the filler on the lettuce, drizzle on some sauce and fold it up. The kids would be willing to give demonstrations and I love the idea, but I think I class as a more adventurous eater and I LOVE eating with my fingers. Tastes better, no?
We're getting a whole lot of stuff done around the house to prep for it, ie. a few more lights up, carpets down, paintings up, dirt removed....rooms cleaned
Should be very interesting anthropologically, seems that here it is rude to show up even a few minutes late for a party, so they may be hammering on the door aat 6:30! AUGH! The architect even said he was hoping to come a few minutes early to take some pictures when it is all cleaned up. He is more optimistic than I am and may get here before me!
Also it is rude to leave part way through a party and they tend to all leave at once. Good lord.
Down side: Getting all the stuff done for the party, like putting up lights and paintings also evicting dustbunnies. The schedule of the whole thing.
Deciding who not to invite. We can't ask them all, we haven't got the coin for that sadly.
Bit of good and bit of bad. The menu: fun; the shopping: not. Scheduling: fun; cooking: depends on a number of factors, ie not burning things, and people helping + success with the original scheduling!
Turns out we have exactly 50 liquid holders, as in mugs, glasses, wine glasses and champagne glasses, plus some mini-mugs and two japanese handless tea cups. As we look to have about 50 guests, that seems like it will do, only a little dish washing mid-party!
Should be fun! Three lights up today, one carpet down, one light purchased, vessels counted and a curtain chosen. Debating painting Youngest's room Wednesday night, but that might be nuts.
Both reasonably large in the 2' x 3' range. Too lazy to measure.
A bunch of others in progress.
Today was busy but good, all my kind of busy. Gardening, I have to show you some of these roots, though I think technically they are rhizomes. A kabillion pages of Spanish homework, more like 20, but still.
Life is good, but I am tired.
The party this Friday? A wee bit worried about preping for it. I work from about 7:30 through 2 and then 3:30 through 6:15 that day. Party starts at 6:30. Figure the house has to be clean for Wednesday. Anything that accumulates after that is just too d*mn bad.
Youngest, the lucky thing, went off to see Barça play tonight!
She has all the right kind of friends, doesn't she!
They won (of course). I love living in a place where I can say that, instead of the Leafs. Where there is massive excitement if they simply win, let alone of course...
Watched the game on the computer, but wanted to listen in English...led to a funny viewing experience. We were watching on a Madrid television station, but listening to the Barça radio English broadcast, which lags by about 15 seconds. The worst for me were the whistles. Very confusing.
Had a LOVELY long nap today, YEAH! I have to go down to work tomorrow to pick up my Spanish homework which I forgot to grab on Friday....
I am reading 5 books at a time, seven if I count the read alouds to the kids. In three languages. Know what? It's too many. I'm going to have to focus down on a couple and get them finished up, then pick up the others. Not so much fun for me with so many on the go.
I'm in the surf zone. Sort of mindlessly following links until I find myself watching youtube videos of Michael Jordon's 10 greatest baskets. Pretty amazing in fact, and almost makes me want to take up the game, but, really. WHAT am I doing?
Friday. Empty head zone it would seem.
Why aren't I reading a book or painting or studying or something?
Sad to have time to paint and no gumption. Then again, it is 1am.
You know those girls in grade school? The ones who went out of their way to create problems for everyone? The ones who said things that begin with, 'don't take offence, but...'. Know what? If you're going to start a sentence with that, shut the f*ck up, and don't say it. OK?
If you are going to start a sentence with, 'don't tell anyone, but...'. see above.
THEN they turn on each other, like wolves who have spotted a weakness in the pack. Do wolves actually do that?
I kinda do know the answer to why girls do this, and continue to do this into high school. Really, I do. I don't like it, but I kinda get it, honestly.
Nonetheless I sometimes truly wonder why it is that:
Girls are sometimes so darned nasty to each other.
Youngest is mid-blast amongst this kind of political maneuvering. She is even talking in her sleep these days. Poor thing.
Someone had one of the best walks of his life today.
Someone with four legs and a lot of fur.
Here's what happened.
I took his Chuckiness to the mountains today and quite early on in our route he threw up his head, ears alert sniffing the wind, then he was off. I though, rabbit.
I walked on, for probably another 10 minutes without sighting Chuck, and began to think that this was a little unusal as he normally sticks quite close to me. With the man, he does this more, but with me, not so much.
I walked on, about 5 minutes later there was an area in the track with some busy doggie footprints, and I thought maybe he was hiding from the big boxer. On I went. A little later I hear a man call out, asking if this is my dog.
There's the Chuck, humping this man's dog for all he's worth. Sadly he's humping her shoulder as the man is trying to prevent anything untoward happening, but Chuck had probably been humping his dog for a good 15 minutes or more. She was quite receptive, I might add, it being that part of her cycle, shall we say. The man was very good natured about it, thank goodness. Chuck was, ah, excited. He was pulling fairly hard when I put him on leash, knowing full well that he would chase them all the way home, humping her the entire way.
I sat down for a while to let them get ahead of us, Chuck lunging at the end of his leash like a hooked shark and howling from time to time.
He towed me down out of the mountains like a husky and didn't settle till we had gotten past her house.
Then we got home and Chuck got down to some serious howling. Luv howls.