Friday, September 30, 2011


Suddenly it looks like I'm going to be trying to do it all.

I think that is probably a bad idea.  Hmmmmmmm.

Why is it....well, I actually do understand the mechanics of it, but it still bites.....why is it that books you aren't liking so much take SO long to read, while those you love are gone with a sip and a blink.

Why is it that your favourite clothes wear out so fast and those ones you don't like so much hang around and around and around.

I do get it, but I don't get it too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I am trying to figure out what the focus should be for this year.

try to get Nivell B de Català?

Improve my Spanish?


University? (nah)



Right now I am leaning towards paint, with some language tossed in, but we'll have to see about that.  I am going to be working a lot more this year, sadly mostly in the evenings and even some on the weekends.....kinda sucks, but what can you do.  The mornings should book up somewhat more anyway.

I think I don't want to push it too hard this year, I pushed pretty hard at some points last year, and it got a wee bit toooooo busy, started to not seem so much like fun.  Part of what I love about our lives here is the balance we have, time together, work, relaxation, is all good, I shouldn't mess it up.

So, still pondering.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We're starting to settle in again

Yup, starting to develop something of a routine here, which is good.  My schedule keeps changing, which is fine with me,  I am getting more work, which is good, though I will miss some of the more relaxing mornings I have at the moment.

We are also into the rhythm of eating like Catalans, and it is working REALLY well.  We eat together most every lunch and dinner, and it is really really really wonderful.  On top of that, since I finish work by 1 at the latest and the girls don't get here till 2, I can cook.  Not only can I cook, I can cook at a relaxed pace when I am not tired.

Know what I remembered today?

I like cooking if I have the time and mental space to be a bit creative, to make something a little different and a little special.  It's been a very long time since I felt that way.

So very glad we were forced into this system.

Suits me JUST fine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two more fish!!!

yup, Ziggy has company now, there are three fish at this point, I still have to take photos.....tomorrow.  Plus they have some plants and it is all looking rather cosier!

Photos to come.

The plumber came, claimed that it couldn't have been them that put it in so badly.  I am skeptical.  Whatever.

We are drying out, some things faster than others, specifically the walls and floor rather slower, but it is fortunately still warm enough that we can have all the windows open for things to dry.  YEAH!!!

Only problem I have, too hot up here to paint in the mornings, and too tired at night.  Gonna have to soldier on anyway, I worked at night for the last few years, I can pull it off still....sigh.  Hello exhaustion.  On that note, I have GOT to get running again, plus I have to go and book another driving test (AUGH!!!) and study for it obviously.

Yadda yadda

Sometimes it's good to ignore it, but sometimes you have to cowboy up and get on with the job, no?

Fish photos tomorrow!

Hope you're having a good one.


Monday, September 26, 2011


Well, I'm about done with today.

First thing in the morning we had the city inspector come to view the renovations, with the architect along. That fortunately it all went well, no problems, though I was a wee bit anxious about it as you never can tell what bureaucratic nightmare can be tossed at you for no reason at all.

All was good though and the Man, the Architect and I had a lovely cup of tea/coffee together which was nice.  If anyone needs a great architect in the Barcelona region, I know your man.  You may want a different plumber though, see below.

Went off to work, yadda yadda, yadda, normal day.

When I got out of work this evening though, both the plumber and the contractor had been calling me.  Weird. We need them to sort out some kind of paper work, but 8pm seemed a little above and beyond.

Then the Man called me, he had to get ahold of the plumber, need the number.  OK.....went to meet him and gave him my phone to make the call, his was out of money.  After the call he explained to me what was going on.  Seems that the llampistet, I don't know if you remember him, the plumber's assistant who I loathed and who was totally useless?  Seems he's struck again.

The shower in our bathroom had developed a leak....possibly like the other shower fitting which the llampistet had put together wrong.  So anyway, the man was working away at fixing that.  He turned the water off in the bathroom, did his thing, and then, because Dork-head McDuffus hadn't put the pieces of the valve in properly, when he went to turn it on again, the water FIREHOSED out into the bathroom from the shut off valve which he could neither close nor open it up.  BUCKETS or water were firing into the bathroom and our room while the man charged upstairs and down trying to get it turned off.  The water main shut off is in the street (?????) and there is a key to the door, which of course, we don't have.  So down he went to try and shut it off, couldn't get it open, up again to try to shut it off up here again, down again for a big hammer and a chisel to break the door open and then it was off.  He and Eldest then spent quite some time tidying up.  Eldest had been a trooper in fact and had hauled all manner of stuff out of the room to save it from damage.

The water has seeped down into the wall and ceiling in the kitchen there was so much.  The llampista/plumber may not know this yet, but he is going to be opening every single valve, panel and gate in this place and catching all he can of the problems.  I just dread to think what there is sealed in behind the walls.

Below, various shots of our wet floor hours AFTER the mopping up is complete:

The problem.  See how it isn't straight?  He either bent it or didn't thread it together correctly.
Lazy little bugger, either way he went ahead and installed it.

The center piece there?  That's the valve.  It is straight.  It should be right in the center of that chamber so it can shut off the water, but the chamber is (see photo above) bent.

Water came out, very fast and quite a lot of it.

Below, you can see the water appearing in the kitchen ceiling.

Ho hum.

I wonder if plaster works the same way as sheet rock.

All I can say is that if you think a construction guy is a dork and incompetent, banish him NOW, don't wait.  Do it NOW.  I only wished I had banished the dufous earlier.  Even if they did think I was a witch and a horrible crazed wife/woman for doing it.

We currently have no water at all, not to flush, brush, wash or cook with, nor, obviously, to drink.  Fun wow.

Oh, and then to top it off, after the girls are in bed and we are starting to settle down, a large and fairly violent domestic starts up somewhere on the street.  And it goes on and on and on as the man and I try to figure out where it is coming from and how to go about calling the cops.  Fortunately, just as the man is going out the door to take Chuck for a walk, and see if he can locate what is going on,  the sirens start up.  Thank goodness.  Help is at hand for that anyway.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sumi-e play

So, after a LOT of pages with gouache that left me, meh.....the sumi ink stone arrived in the mail and I've been playing.  It is SO much more fun.  So much more varied and variable, it plays with the paper and changes tones as you work.  It is lovely to grind it too.....very sensual as it all changes texture in the process.

So, here's a couple of bits that I played with.  This stuff rings out.  Ideas are shaping which is a lot of fun.

Just play, but this stuff is FUN

Look who's living in the safareig!

We've got a new creature in the house:

He/she has been named Ziggy.  I was planing on a few goldfish, but the store still only had one, so we got this fish.....he/she Ziggy has eaten well and is hanging out.  Aside from a brief and apparently alarming session of lying on the bottom all seems to be well.  We're still working on plants, and more water in the safareig and a few more fish, but the first one is in.  All very exciting!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I learned today, how to cook the perfect butifarra.

Hey, learning is good, no?

I bought some butifarra at the corner store, and the lovely lady there, who cooks like a DREAM told me how to cook it, and now I am going to tell you, cause then, should you ever get some true Catalan butifarra, you'll know what to do.

First get a frying pan and put a little water in the bottom, let's say, a quarter of an inch.  Put in your butifarra and, on low heat, let it cook until the water has all boiled away.  I turned the sausages once during this process.

Now, you have to be watching closely, cause as soon as the water all boils away, you have to drizzle in a stream of olive oil, and then fry the sausages until you get a beautiful colour, you must turn them constantly, and hold down some of the edges so that they get a lovely brown all over.

And that my friends, is how to cook a butifarra.

I also learned how to grind sumi-e ink in the sumi-e ink stone that arrived today!  The wonders of You-tube, that's fun and the smell of the paint is fascinating.  Much more fun to work with than gouche....we'll have to keep playing.

Learning is good, no?



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jeez Louise, I was frustrated last night

An irritated sort of low grade frustration.  Decided not to post, better in the morning usually.

True too.

Work related, which is a drag, but what can you do, actually, I have figured out what I want to do about it at some level, which is a good thing, and I am done with being cryptic and it's time to move on.

Last night as I was getting into bed I saw a praying mantis on the wall, those are some very cool looking bugs.  I haven't seen too many in my life and this was a pretty little specimen, but he went outside anyway.  A better place for him overall.

Whew, blogger's being squirrely this morning.  I'm on firefox, anyone else find it acts weird here?  There, switched over to Safari and now it's working better.  Weird, isn't that.  The site I use for work only works well on explorer or firefox, but badly on safari, blogger on safari and not firefox...etc.....

Yadda yadda yadda.....

It's Friday and that's a good thing, I've got a light schedule still and that's a lovely thing, Life's ticking along nicely.....time for tea and a go at it all.

Have a good one,


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The garden out front?

I had a go at the garden out front today.  It needed it.  I had a big whack at it just as we got back, and it was still a disaster, my how things GROW while you're away.

A friend lent me a hoe to do the dirty deed, and it was amazingly efficient, though I do have to say that at the moment the poor thing looks like a convention of moles went on some kind of vodka fed orgy and they left nothing but the tattered remains behind.  Good grief, but there is more to do.

No photos yet, but next on my agenda is some mulch, I can watch the poor thing drying up.  First I want to level it out though, now that it is all nicely stirred, it has all sorts of weird hillocks and divots.

No photos yet, though I do have a before, I was too tired for the after.  Hoe's were designed to do as much damage to the human anatomy as possible.  Any tool that requires you to work standing with your torso parallel with the ground for hours at a time was designed by someone evil.

There has to be a better way.

I do have to say that it worked like a charm though, and having never really used one before I am fairly certain that my technique left a little to be desired.

I did keep having images in my mind of early settlers heading out to the fields with a hoe on their shoulders and wild grass as far as the eye could see....and slaves in cotton fields.....and I was very glad that my garden is small, my ambitions smaller and I can quit whenever I want.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We fixed up the pati!

Photo time:

Here's before....

Kinda mucky and messy and concrete grey:

This is the top of the back wall....

And the bit over the dining room:

Here it is again, but after...

You can't see it, but we also managed to paint the two story back of the house.....some fun, but I think it turned out pretty well, all told.  The blank greyish unpainted square is where we're going to hang a tiled picture and I am going to buy a couple more plants for around the bottom of the safareig at the market.  A weekend well spent, I think.  We had lunch out here today, and it felt like those movies......

Monday, September 19, 2011

Despite what this sounds like

Despite how this sounds, it was a good day.

Finished off painting the pati and the man and I then cleaned, moved in the new furniture, moved back the plants, bought a couple more (I know, I know, but there is a tiny little patch of garden and it is WAY past time it got planted) and the pati looks, if I do say so myself, spectacular.

A little more to do.  Tomorrow I am going to clean out the safareig and fill it in preparation for the fish that will arrive, we need to locate a couple of aquatic plants, but that is coming, and the man has to hang up a tile image I found and bought at the market in BCN...looking good.  We had lunch out there, and youngest and her buddy did homework out there too.

Chuck got bitten by a big German Shephard today, I looked at his back/butt when he came in and there was about an inch long superficial scrape/cut/slice and a bald spot that was about and inch and a half circumference.  Well.  No need to visit the vet.

When I came home from a meeting at work, instead of throwing himself to the floor to have his belly scratched, he eased himself down.  Uh oh.  Looked at his back and found another cut, this one with a fairly significant puncture to it.  To the vet, ASAP.  Stupid me.  Dogs bit with both uppers and lowers, if there is one bit mark, there's going to be another.

He had a shot of painkiller/anti-inflamatory and he's on anti-biotics and we have to flush out the wound twice a day so that it doesn't heal from the outside in and fester.

Pup had a bad day.

My eyes are, I swear, burning through my head.  One of the things that I love about cruising is that I am normally not even a little bit tired and I love that feeling.  LOVE it.

No photos yet, I am working on it, but I have to get through a backlog from the summer first and I am getting there, slowly.

Oh, and the hot water, in the BRAND NEW hot water heater?  Gone again and the girls shower/tub?  Not draining.  I hate the plumber we had.  Hate him.

I won't post photos of the wounds, they're kinda gross, and the puncture is right over his spine.  I wasn't walking the dog, but should I seem them, I will mention the cost and hassle we've incured cause they didn't have their dog on-leash when he is clearly aggressive.

Ho hum.

Honestly?  Life is easier when everyone gets their dogs fixed.  Wonder when this will catch on in Spain. Never know, you already can't smoke in a bar and that defied imagination a short while ago.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Painted walls all day

Tooooo tired, and kinda speckly.

More tomorrow.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

A wee bit more shopping

I truly believed that I had finished shopping today.  I hoped and prayed that I had finished shopping today. I am so utterly bone weary of shopping it is hard to express.

I have no idea how many kilometers the girls and I covered in BCN today, but it was WAY too many...

Then I discovered that Amazon has opened Amazon es!  As in Amazon Spain!!!! opened on Wed!  With "over 1 million English titles"!  I may not have to lug so many books back with us now when we go to Canada!!!!! YEAH indeed.

Better still, they have an extensive Catalan selection too!!!! Life is SUPER sweet.  Any Catalan readers out  there who are living outside of Catalunya?  Just got a WHOLE lot easier to get books.

Youngest scored an invite to the Barça game tonight again, let's all hope the good guys win.  I imagine they will.  The man and I have GOT to go to at least one game this year.  We have to.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Look at that

Fell in a heap last night in the end.  Thought I was going strong, but as I headed upstairs to the computer and the painting, I never made it past the bedroom.

Odd how you just get seized by exhaustion sometimes, no?

We're still sorting ourselves out at work, this is a bit ongoing as new students are integrated and schedules are ironed out....ahhhhh

Girls got their hair cut yesterday, so they are all fresh and neat and ready for the fall.....though it feels like summer here.  They say that on Sunday the weather is going to break, I may be the only one who is sad about that, but I am, I loooooove the heat, especially after the killer AC at work all summer.

Man, am I ever yattering on.

Youngest's basketball is going very well, thank all that is good, she was debating bailing, but she is having a blast and says she is learning a TON and comes back from every practice SOAKED in sweat from working so hard, and that, my friends, is a very. good. thing.  With here energy levels?  We need that.

I seem to be yattering on forever, so I'm off.  Woke up disgustingly early then the dog was grooming himself (licklicklicklick....) beside the bed, and the man was snoring on the other side of me.

Time to get up!!!!

Have a good one,


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hmm, that's weird

I was sure I posted and then it didn't come up.

Shopping, I was talking about shopping, seems to be just about everything I do these days...

Supermarket, the weekly market, the local store, bread, shoes shoes and more shoes...the Man's runners, Youngest's new basketball shoes and shoes for eldest too as the new gym teacher is 'psychotic' as in, they have to run, move or stand the entire class, and then must shower afterwards.  Cheap, but real runners are required if they are going to be doing THAT much moving.  goodness gracious!

The oil and wine guys came,

The man and I went to BCN this morning for tea, soap, art supplies, and the asian market as well.

Having lots of fun with the new supplies, but boy o boy am I ever rusty.  Too much time spent shopping, no?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today I'm scraping around

Not feeling like I've got much to say.  Weird.  Got a hair cut, there is probably a great story in there somewhere if I told it right.

What I think I need to talk about is some of the weirdness of coming back.  People are different, and are behaving differently.  It always happens, but it seems weirder this year.  I can't quite put a finger on it.  Not all of it is bad weird.  Some is delightful!  Recovered health, renewed energy, though most folks seem more worn, not less, clingier, more troubled.

I also have one super challenging class.

I try very hard not to talk about work, cause I don't want to here, and I don't think it's a good idea.  Let's rest with, I am teaching a bunch more this year, which is taking some getting used to, and one class....of small people....I am dreading.  Can I just say that I like teaching small people.  Just not several of these small people so much.

'Nuff said.

As a result of my revised work schedule, and youngest's later basketball schedule, and the man's rowing schedule, we have finally signed on as fully-fledged Catalans.  We are now dinar-ing in the fullest sense of the word.  That's right, we have our large, cooked, sit-down-together dinner at 2pm ie. lunchtime ie. when the girls get home from school for lunch, sorry, dinar.  Then at supper, around 9pm, we are having a light lunch-type meal, as in left-overs, sandwiches, salad kinda stuff.

And it's working too, and it's really nice.  We are now actually all eating together two meals a day!  Though that will change a bit as my schedule alters.  Two nights a week that won't happen, the girls will (probably with some relief) get themselves supper and sort themselves out and the man and I will probably have supper around 10pm or later when we both get home....

There, I did have something to say after all, didn't I.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lee Ufan and Ikea

I believe that those two nouns in the title are more than a wee bit contradictory, but I just came across Lee Ufan (feel a bit like maybe I was living under a rock, but what the heck) and LOVE his stuff...mmmmmmm

“Before working, I calm my breathing, correct my posture, and hold my brush quietly. I put plenty of paint on the brush and paint spots on the canvas laid on the floor. I paint them one after the other, beginning at the upper left and proceeding to the right. The spots are dense at first but gradually become thinner. As I continue, they fade to nothing. Then I put more paint on the brush
and keep doing the same thing over and over.”

“If I load my brush with plenty of paint and use it to paint a line, the line starts out dark and thick but gradually fades out completely. When this happens I load the brush with paint and start over again.”

Stand Still a Moment

Agitated, busy people, stop and stand still for just a moment. Look at the blue sky. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. If you will just do this, you will change and the world will come to life.

—Lee Ufan

Oh, and the trip to Ikea?  Mostly successful.  Definitely didn't spend too much, bought only two things, but the furniture for the patí that I wanted was out, you see it is summer stock and that goes in July.  Someone should inform Sweden that this is Spain, and it was 30 degrees out and should be hotter next week.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

OH my goodness, it is good to be back painting again!!!

What is it about the right space that just makes it all sing!

It feels just so utterly wonderful to get a brush in my hand again and put marks on paper.

Sounds stupid, but there it is, wonderful.

The girls had a good first day at school. Both pretty content, Youngest not so nervous now and all seems to be going well for the time being.  Youngest also had her first basketball practice today, and seems to have had a good time with it, came back totally red in the face and wet with sweat...she should sleep well tonight!!!

I am going to have to get back into the running thing again.  I started work today, I have my provisional schedule and actually even taught a class.....which was kinda nice in fact.  I am currently getting up at 7am with the girls to help get them out the door in time, Eldest doesn't need it, but for the first little bit, or maybe all year (gulp) I'll do it with youngest.  Maybe I'll be painting more in the mornings than at night.  Going to have to look at developing a running schedule as well.....

Got through most of the pending paperwork, not all, but a lot has been knocked off, and we have food, a clean(er) house and what supplies we need, though I am eagerly awaiting market day and wine and olive oil day.

For my sins, I'm off to Ikea tomorrow, need another bookshelf and I want to get some furniture into the patí so that we actually use it...maybe paint some walls out there while I'm at it this weekend!

That's not a bad idea at all in fact, maybe Sat shall be painting day, but big old walls........on ladders.  I don't mind doing some house painting, all told.


Hope you had a great one,

Time for bed and a bit of reading.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Some photos from Georgian Bay

Chuck on the boat....

There was lots and lots of fungus activity....

Snake skeletons....

Snake skins...big ones....
The man saw a live rattler!  No photos though.

Lots of moss.  Chuck LUVS moss....all the better to roll in it......

Turkey vultures, lots and lots of turkey vultures.....

Oh, did I mention that Chuck likes moss?

Girls start school tomorrow!  Another year begins.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today in TO

Goodness gracious, what a lot of packing and cleaning the end of the summer is....we took a break though and went for lunch at our favourite pho place...mmmmmm

While driving up Spadina Eldest shouted out that a racoon was peeing on a car!  We were stuck in traffic so we all got a chance to crane our necks and see, there was a stream of, ah, liquid coming down onto a parked car and above it?

Raccy racoon lying belly down in the tree watching the spray vectors.

Never ever ever dull.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back in town....still in TO

Eldest bolted by a few minutes ago yelling for us not to flush the toilet.

Youngest asked her why???

Her glasses had fallen in.


Back to real life, no?

Fortunately no one has, ah, used the facility recently anyway.