Monday, May 31, 2010

brain dead.

I taught, face to face, in a classroom for a paltry nine hours today.


I also had three one hour meetings in Catalan.


I had ten minutes for lunch.


The good part?  One of the meetings with the architect, builder and went REALLY smoothly.  No one yelled.  No. One.  

Even when they realised that they would have to reposition one of the beams.

That they'd already put in place.

Thanks guys, you can come again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Woof woof

Went into BCN today to have a look at an exhibit at the Fundació Miró.  For the third time in not too long we're making it in on the last few days of a show, at least we made it.

This exhibit was about Murals, Youngest had gone with school and said it was really very cool, and ya know what?  It was.

I loved the coopérative féminine de Djajibiné Gandega "Djida's" work from Mauritania, and Sakarin Krue-on from Thailand as well as Brian Rea from the US

Now I'm jonesing to go down to the house and do some funky painting on the walls and on the cardboard they finally put down on the stairs.

I figure this is a combination of desire to paint and a dog-like desire to piss on a tree to mark his turf.

*woof woof*

Should I?  Hmmm.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I may be the only loser without a TV, but

You have got to see this if you haven't by AKON!:

Then there is this, by the unbelievable K'naan:

World Cup anthem.

Love how they are embracing the up and coming (already up and on the top) international hip hop stars, playing music that sings to realities other than making bucks in the music industry.

How can Saturdays go by so fast?  Then again, it seems like it's been a long long day. Maybe cause I woke up at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Youngest's work.

After showing some of Eldest's work, Youngest wanted a piece she's pretty pleased with up too.

I didn't see why not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


This pot?

Hand made and old. Not Roman or anything.

Someone chucked it out! Can you imagine?


Then there are the 100+ (?) year old tiles I had set aside that the builders tossed.  I was not in a very good mood this morning.  

We are also having something of a wrangle over the shape of some windows for the house.  Remember this window?  See how it's set back, and there is a pretty arch over the top?  The other windows that will go in the same room will be rectangular holes with windows in.  Can you say ugly?  In the front there is nothing we can do about it because of the giant rocks and mud which makes up that wall.  The back however is another question.  The architect thinks we should stick with the plain rectangular hole along side the much more attractive older window.  We have conceeded, on structural grounds that the set back will not go down to the ground, nor will it slope out at the sides, but that arch over the window?  It's here to stay.  Sorry boys.  After I got off the phone with the architect the man looked over at me.  "Listen," he said, "you can hear him grinding his teeth from here!"

He was probably right too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pretty pretty pretty

"She's very pretty in a tall blond Nordic way."

A line from a book, stated by a male character who loves women, many many women. (More than 200/day?)

What I find fascinating about it is the implications of the multiplicity of ways to be pretty.  I don't think women recognise or internalise this.  I believe that women have a single very narrow view of what pretty means, what men find pretty, and what they themselves aspire to.  Tall, I think generally; blond, not necessarily, but given the number of blond dye jobs in this town of brunettes, I would say generally as well.  Nordic?  Not so sure, but if we're going to rephrase that as slim/thin and long-limbed, I would say that that is generally accepted as pretty.

An Uma Thurman kind of thing, though hasn't she always kind of reminded you of a praying mantis?  She has for me.  A lot of the most famous 'pretty women have that look, no? Thin chin, skinny neck, big big eyes, the head wider at the top.

Getting back to my topic, I think that men in general, as well as individual men have a much wider range of what they view as pretty or beautiful than women do.  Some guys, like some women do have a type they prefer, but I think, somehow, women need to lighten up.

Pretty isn't just one look.  Not for the guys, and nor should it be for us.

It's only the marketers that are so narrow in their views.

Really, only them.

*Lalalalalalala I'm not listening*

But is my daughter?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Men and women

I've been thinking on this one for a while and it emerged out of a couple of conversations.

It all started with some of the teenage boys I teach.  Funny stuff happens when you work with teens.  They are quite cool in fact.  One of the boys asked me what the English word is for a boy that cannot stop thinking about sex.

I said a teenager.

Then a while later I heard an interview with Russell Smith on CBC and he stated that he assesses/considers/ponders what it would be like to sleep with every single woman he sees.  All of them.  Seems to me this would take up a lot of your day, no?  He also seems to imply that this is pretty normal.  Not a comment I have had contradicted by many men.  One guy I know, not a teenager, said that he thinks about having sex over 200 times a day.  That'd fill up your day a bit too.

Which does leave me wondering why it is that they never notice when you've gotten your hair cut, or your wearing new clothes.

Eldest was pondering this conversation with some disbelief.  Then I mentioned that there are some boys who just loves girls, delight in their very existence.  They wakes up in the morning happy simply because girls exist.  They like their company and spends a ton of time with them.  They chat with the girls, tease them, crave their attention.  The girls often like these boys as well 'cause they're respectful and so obviously delighted to be in company with them.

These guys just like girls and have the skills to hang with them;  indeed they'd rather hang out with girls than watch football.

I suspect also that they would be well above the 200/day mark, too, eh?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who wants to be a star?

I got this comment left a few posts ago, I imagine you may not have seen it, but I just had to share:


I was doing some research online and came across your blog. I hope you don't mind me reaching out to you. I'm a casting assistant in New York for a popular show about people relocating outside North America. It's called House Hunters International and airs on the Home & Garden cable network (HGTV). We are casting people for this show right now and I was wondering if you or anyone you know would be interested in participating.

Our show tells the story of a family or couple who have purchased property outside of their native country . The purpose of the show is to demystify the process of moving and living abroad. You can learn more about our show and watch episodes here: or here:

Putting together an episode with you would be a real treat for our audience and it's a lot of fun for you too. Contributors to the show get a nice keepsake shot in HD video and also receive compensation for your time and efforts.

If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more, please contact me directly at Thank you in advance for your prompt feedback on this. Have a wonderful day!

Seriously, someone wants to make a show about our lives?  


and, um, 


More meeting weirdness

This will be my bedroom.  Someday.   Maybe.  Use your imagination, m'kay?

This is where we held that meeting the other day.  That one I found frustrating?  'Member?

At one point in the meeting I realised that my bedroom was filled with a pack of cranky sweaty men.  

And I was paying them.

I then wondered whether they could simply all leave now.  Please.

My bedroom. 


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saying everything 10 times or red.

This is a given in a parent's life, you assume that you are going to spend huge swaths of your waking hours repeating yourself over and over and over.

Brush your teeth.

Brush your teeth now

Eldest!  Brush your teeth

Are you listening?  Brush your teeth.

Don't wait till I yell at you to brush your teeth!

Too late.  Now brush your teeth.

Sound familiar?

We have a similar issue with the architect and builder.  For example, the contractor brought samples for the tiles for the terrace yesterday.  The man and I decided, pretty much instantly, which one we wanted.  The architect wanted the other one (of course), we went round it again, and we decided that we still wanted the red one.  We told them that.  They asked again and again and again, we kept saying 'the red one'.  Again and again and again.

The architect urged us to spend the weekend thinking about it.  I ask you, how long do you have to spend on this?  It is a tile choice, not an ethical debate.  We want the red!

Then the builder took me up to the terrace to look at them in place after the man and the architect had to leave.  I re-reiterated that we wanted the red.  Red red red red red I said.

(Do you like green eggs and ham?  This post makes me feel faintly Dr Suess-ish.)

He wants me to call him and let him know at the beginning of next week which one we want.

In a word,





They clearly have never been paint shopping with me.  I'm in and out of faster than you can survey the tuna fish aisle, and I always like the colours I choose too.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Well THAT was frustrating.

Holy Jeez.

Nothing like the contractor and the architect arguing away in tremendously technical Catalan and then the foreman chipping in in Spanish, so they all flip over to Spanish for a while then return to Catalan again.  This done with all of them talking simultaneously.  My understanding of the situation bottoms out badly.

Then they all turn to me and ask my opinion.


At one point the architect turned to the guys and fairly loudly stated that his concern was that the chimney works properly, because if not, The Senyora (that would be me) would get on the phone and sh*t all over everyone.  (A very common Catalan saying and not as rude as it sounds, though it sounds pretty rude.)

This was basically true, but it did kinda rub me the wrong way, like I was being entirely irrational in this and any man worth his salt wouldn't give a flying f...risbee that the house was rapidly filling with smoke and the lovely old fireplace was useless.



The man assures me that I ain't seen NOTHING as far as site meetings go, so not to worry.  Not quite like the teachers meetings I'm used to I must say.

In the end this is the deal.  That beam running over the chimney must stay, it holds the roof up and keeps the water out.  This is, I have been reliably informed, a Good Thing.  (DUH), the chimney will be a liner of some kind that will start down at the bottom by the fire and run straight up, well above head height, where it will emerge from the wall, at an angle anything between 30 and 45 degrees and move on upwards.  There was looooooong debate  about the angle (I think), and the contractor is going to talk to the chimney expert guys.  They will also light a fire before the entire thing is closed up an sealed to make sure the sucker draws.  They will also give us a bid for the price before starting work.  A bid probably isn't what I mean, but a price for it anyway.

The wobbly super thin wall will also be removed down for a good distance, like three meters, partially as they have to get the liner in, and partially cause it's so loose.  This is, I believe, also a Good Thing.

I have to say, there are many aspects of all this that I don't really enjoy at all.


I do fine meeting with one of them, or the other, but all together.  Terrible.  They ALL talk at once.  All of them.  Before the next massed meeting I will just mention how deeply frustrating I found the last meeting, and that they were free to all talk over each other, but if they wanted my imput I needed a quick summary that I understand.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Bloglines has been down here in Spain for a couple of weeks so my blog following has been somewhat cramped.  MUST update the list on the side of my blog!

We have the first major-ish glitch in the house, they've had to remove the chimney as it was doing its best imitation of the leaning tower of, and there was nothing supporting it!

If you look in the photo below, the black triangle is where the chimney used to go.  The front edge of it is what the roof beams were resting on.  Those tiles are indeed clay tiles.  They are approximately 2cm thick.  They were supporting the roof.  Um.

The beam above it was the foreman's solution, without consultation with the construction head nor the architect.  I think it will impede the flow of the smoke from the fireplace, no?

Here's another view.  They were thinking that maybe they would have to put some tubes with a bend in them.  Honestly, what I know about chimneys.....but it doesn't seem like the ideal solution, especially as the tile front to the chimney moves when you touch it.    (Mom, any imput on designing so the chimney'll draw?)

I don't fancy falling into my chimney one night when I stumble.  It is fully two feet wide.  Could be nasty, no?

We have another meeting with the builder, foreman and architect tomorrow.

Should be fun!

Good thing I like this architect anyway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A job I wouldn't want

Aksed of the gym teacher at Eldest's school, "What did you do today?"

"I spent the morning trying to catch sweaty unco-ordinated flying flailing teenagers attempting to vault."

What a job.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some things I love.

Some things I love.

Grape vines leafing out in the evening sunshine. Even better as this is part of the view from the new terrace. Good for me to post things like this because I am discovering that I really do. not. like. this process of builders and architects etc.  I do like the new view though a whole heck of a lot.

Something else I love, new books!  There is another new one since this photo was taken and the final one is due tomorrow.  I am currently reading Anne Michaels The Winter Vault.  As Fugitive Pieces is one of my very favourite books in the world I was eagerly anticipating this, and so far -about page 100 - I am still in love, and being brought to tears.

Something I love, a great book.

Something else I love, if you haven't figured it out yet with the canvas a day project, is modern/contemporary/non-realist art, specifically abstract art, and more specifically quite geometrical work.  Kinda like this photo below,

Finally a self-portrait of sorts, an autoretrat in Catalan.  Taken this morning in the early warm light before breakfast, and the arrival of the guys.

Hope you've got a good book going, 



Monday, May 17, 2010


The Fun Theory is a website with some very cool ideas about getting people to do the right thing by making it more fun.  It's pretty cool stuff!  I particularly like this one. Sorry, it doesn't want to embed.

On another note, we've been having fun with something else.

Youngest got a game at Christmas, or her birthday, or kings, or, well, at some venue or another.  I really like it.  Fast, fun, feels good, strategic and simple:

Mancala.  Ever played?  I feel kind of silly with a specially made board when all you really need are some pebbles and few divets in the dirt, nonetheless, it is good fun.  Surprisingly strategic, and good good fun.

We could all use a little fun, no?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Wanted to update a bit.  This weekend has been a wee bit gruelling honestly.  Mountains of laundry, work in the garden, work in the house.

That photo I hung up a while ago?  Looking through to Youngest's room?  This is what it looks like now.  You can see that the new terrace is on, though not finished.  The stairwell up is the blueish square on the left.

The man and I have spent the last two weekends chipping plaster off the vaulted ceilings.  The man did the bulk of the work this weekend by FAR, and he's got the two main vaults finished!  Still more to do, but the big ones are looking good.

We also have a bit of a mystery.  Youngest planted a lettuce patch.  We have been robbed.  Really!  We put out ten plants a couple of weeks ago, and they were growing nicely.  Youngest was going down to water them every day and then the rain came back with a vengeance and we didn't go down and check on them for a few days.  When we did go yesterday there were only two left.  DISAPPEARED.  Then there was one yesterday evening and now?  Now there are none. 

Youngest says it doesn't bug her, but it's bugging me.  They are planted at the very back of the garden and not visible from the street.  Who's stealing my kid's lettuce?

Web cam recordings may be coming to a construction site near me!

On another note, Barça won the Spanish league tonight, and poor old Chuck is showing the impact of all those fireworks and horns.  Seems he is getting rather less enthusiastic about that as he gets older.

Poor puppy.   He'll be fine in TO, the Leafs never win.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life lessons

Eldest learned a valuable life lesson the other day at the beach:  when eating pastries on a windy day, best not to order one covered in icing sugar.

When sitting with your back to the wind, your hair sticks to your pastry.

When sitting facing the wind one is blinded, at every gust, by a cloud of icing sugar that adheres glutinously to your face.

Important life lesson.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Eldest has been doing a bunch of drawing lately...and I think she's doing a pretty neat job honestly.  The first one here she came up with out of her own imagination.  She looks kind of charming, no?  I like the earring myself.

This next one is a drawing of Sedna, and Inuit goddess.

Another creation from Eldest's imagination:

And another,  this was a (to my mind radical) alteration of a drawing from a book:

Not bad, huh?

Comment for Fed up with School Lunches and the rest of us too.

I've been reading this blog lately and today she asked for a link to the school lunch where our kids go to school.  As mine is in Catalan, I am putting it up here and translating it.  I also thought it's pretty interesting for all of us.  What's your kid's school lunch like?

The menu from my youngest daughter's school, for the month of May.  This is in Catalonia, Spain.  The ingredients are high quality and the food is made by hand.  There are three courses, two main plates and a dessert, at minimum one will be hot, often two.  The parents pay 6€ a day for lunch and snack which is served at 5pm when the kids head home.  The lunch is closely supervised and the kids are required to eat all of their food.  

My kids say that it is quite good, and is really food, like you would get in someone's house.  The local kids say it's not so good though and that what they get at home is better.

SETMANA del 3 al 7 de MAIG: the week of the 3rd to the 7th of May

DINAR:  Lunch

DILLUNS 03  Sopa d ́estrelles star soup, this will be a broth with veg and pasta in it.
Pernilets de pollastre al forn amb ceba, pastanaga i xampinyons TARONJA chicken with ham (think prosciutto) cooked in the oven with onions, carrots and mushrooms.  An orange for desert.
DIMARTS 04 Mongeta tendra amb patata green beans with potatoes
Panga arrebossada amb tomàquet i blat de moro POMA breaded something (I strongly suspect fish) with tomatoes and corn.  Apple.

DIMECRES 05 Arròs 3 delícies  rice with three treats (I don't know what, but I suspect veg and beans)
Hamburguesa de vedella planxa i amanida veal hamburger paties, grilled with salad
PERA a pear
DIJOUS 06 Cigrons amb salsa de tomàquet chickpeans with tomato sauce
Truita de carbassó i patata potato and zuccini truita (a very thick sturdy omlette from Spain)
PLÀTAN banana
DIVENDRES 07 Espirals carbonara spiral pasta in carbonara sauce
Calamars a la romana i amanida squid breaded and fried with salad
FLAM créme brulee

BERENAR Snack, offered at 5pm when they finish school
dilluns Iogurt amb galetes  yougurt and cookies (these would be similar to digestives)
Dimarts Entrepà de formatge cheese sandwich (very good cheese on a baguette)
dimecres Pa amb xocolata chocolate sandwaches (this is very good blocks of chocolate on fresh baked baguette)
dijous Entrepà de pernil dolç ham sandwich, again on fresh baguette
di vendres Pa amb formatgets cheese sandwich, still on fresh baguette with good cheese, probably goat.

SETMANA del 10 al 14 de MAIG
Crema de carbassó cream of zucchini soup
Panga arrebossada tomàquet i pastanaga breaded (I think fish) with tomatoes and carrots
PERA Pear.
DIMARTS 11 Amanida de pasta pasta salad
Fricandó amb xampinyons stew with mushrooms
POMA apple
DIMECRES 12 Llenties estofades amb arròs lentils roasted with rice
Bunyols de bacallà amb puré de patata i carbassó cod patties, fried, with a puré of potatoes and zucchini
IOGURT  yogurt
DIJOUS 13 Ensaladilla russa  russian salad (GROSS)
Pernilets de pollastre forn amb xampinyons chicken with pernil ham cooked in the oven with mushrooms
TARONJA an orange
DIVENDRES 14 Arròs a la cubana cuban rice (with black beans)
Salsitxes de porc planxa i amanida grilled pork sausages with salad.
PRÈSSEC AMB ALMIVAR peaches in syrup

BERENAR: snack at 5pm
dilluns Entrepà de nocilla nutella sandwich on baguette
dimarts Entrepà de pernil dolç ham sandwich on baguette
dimecres Entrepà de llonganissa sausage (very good) on baguette
dijous Pa amb formatgets cheese on baguette
divendres Pa amb xocolata chocolate sandwich

SETMANA del 17 al 21 de MAIG
Mongeta tendra i patata green beans with potatoes
Escalopa vedella arrebossada amb blat de moro i pastanaga breaded veal with corn and carrots
IOGURT yogurt
DIMARTS 18 Crema de verdures cream of vegetable soup
Botifarra de pollastre a la planxa amb mongetes seques chicken sausage (a local specialty type) grilled with beans
TARONJA an orange
DIMECRES 19 Amanida de cigrons (ou, tomàquet, ceba, pebrot, all i olives) chickpea salada with eggs, tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and olives
Sèpia amb patates i pèsols cuttlefish with potatoes and peas (they are in season now)
PLÀTAN a banana
DIJOUS 20 Paella mar i muntanya paella with seafood, shellfish and meat
Hamburguesa de vedella a la planxa amb pastanaga i blat de moro veal patties, grilled, with carrots and corn
POMA an apple
DIVENDRES 21 Macarrons ratinats macaroni with cheese (don't think Kraft, more like noodles in a meat sauce with grated cheese on tip)
Calamars a la romana i amanida breaded fried squid with salad
PERA a pear

dilluns Entrepà de pernil dolç ham sandwich
dimarts Pa amb xocolata chocolate sandwich
dimecres Entrepà de formatge cheese on baguette
dijous Entrepà de nocilla nutella on baguette
divendres Entrepà de llonganissa  sausage on baguette

SETMANA del 24 al 28 de MAIG
DILLUNS 24 PASQUA GRANADA Holiday, no school

DIMARTS 25 Arròs al curri curried rice (very very mild)
Estofat de vedella amb patates i pèsols veal stew with potatoes and peas
POMA an apple
DIMECRES 26 Canelons de pollastre chicken cannelloni (this will be made by hand)
Gall (peix) arrebossat amb tomàquet i blat de moro breaded fish with tomatoes and corn
PERA a pear
DIJOUS 27 Espaguetis napolitana amb formatge ratllat spagetti with napolitana sauce and grated cheese
Salsitxes de porc planxa i amanida grilled pork sausages with salad
TARONJA  an orange
DIVENDRES 28 Crema de pastanaga cream of carrot soup
Pizza de tonyina (ceba, tomàquet, blat de moro) pizza with tuna, onions, tomatoes and corn
NATILLES pudding

dimarts Entrepà de pernil dolç ham sandwich
dimecres Entrepà de nocilla nutella sandwich
dijous Entrepà de llonganissa sausage sandwich
divendres Pa amb xocolata chocolate sandwich

31 de MAIG
Espirals carbonara spiral pasta in carbonara sauce
Llibrets de porc i amanida pork fillets filled with cheese and prociutto with salad
MELÓ melon
Entrepà de pernil dolç ham sandwich

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catalan moments

A most delicious lunch, fresh bread, baked a block away and oh so tasty.  Beans stewed up in water with bay leaves from a tree less than a km from here and rosemary that Youngest picked in the hills followed up with swiss chard picked this morning in the village and beautiful, full of life and vibrant.  So lovely I didn't take a photo.  All topped with olive oil made by a friend's dad on his farm.

Oh goodness.

And you have to love a country where the weather forecast warns people to bring their laundry in.  Most people don't have dryers here, which occasionally is a problem, but generally works out fine.  The forecasters, knowing this, five warnings on the radio if we are going to have a mud rain.  When the weather comes up from Africa it literally rains mud, pure undiluted brown Sahara landing everywhere.  Another of these warnings arrived today, but this time the wind is from another direction and carrying black, black ash.

Gotta go haul in my laundry now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Did some book shopping the other day, it was lovely.  Spent about 45 min cruising around the big A's website finding what I wanted.  Almost as nice as visiting a bookstore, though not nearly as nice as visiting a great bookstore.

That said....I got me some (more) BOOKS!  I am so glad I finally decided that I was buying books this year, it has been so much more pleasant with good things to read.

Here's what I got, let me know what you think?

The Thing Around Your Neck.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere.  Anna Gavalda

Sula, Toni Morrison

Possession, A Romance, A.S. Byatt

Molly Fox's Birthday, Dierdre Madden

Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland - The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates.  Patrick Leigh Fermor

This Boy's Life, Tobias Wolff

Exit lines, Joan Barfoot

Sing them Home,  Stephanie Kallos

The Winter Vault, Anne Michaels.

Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain.  Michele Morano 

Half Broke Horses.  Jeannette Walls

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Neil Postman

Swamp Angel, George Bowering 

Now I've just got to wait for the post!  Though I do love those messages that tell you it has been shipped.

Noses and Moms

When I was a very little girl I woke up early from my nap, and in a fit of artistic endeavour drew all over the walls of my bedroom in blue crayon.

I am told that my mother was not best pleased.

While 'helping' her scrub the blue crayon off the wall for a while, I am told that I was spent my time ruminating on finding some way, any way, to get out of this irksome chore.

"Mommy, my nose is sore."

It worked too!

Mom, after working on the ceiling all weekend, I have to say, with the utmost honesty, that my nose is sore.

That respirator mask is some uncomfy.

There is justice in the end.

Monday, May 10, 2010

beaches and batiks

I mentioned in the last post that after chipping plaster yesterday we went off for a brief tour of a museum, on the final day of an exhibit we had wanted to go to since it's inception.  It is always the way, no?

They had a lovely exhibit on batiks and how they are made, sent from Indonesia.

We learned about the steps necessary to make traditional batik there:   first, block out - by hand - all the areas that you want to have end up white or brown.  On both sides.  Have a wee look at the detail there.  Holy crumbs, but that would take some work.  Then you dye it blue, this takes several cycles of immersion and drying.  With natural vegetable dyes, at least five.  With synthetic, only three or so.  Then you boil it to remove the wax.  Then you re-wax it, covering - on both sides - all the areas that you want to have stay white or blue. Dye it brown. Rinse and repeat the brown dye. The blue and brown mixed make a black.  Boil it again to remove the wax and Bob's your uncle!

No trouble, huh?

Sometimes they use one of these:

for more detailed patterns and to make it easier to do, but often it is simply drawn on by hand.

I am left in awe.

Then we went to the sea.  That was excellent too.  I took a photo.  It's on the header now.
Hope you had a lovely Sunday.

Just walked in the mountains with Chuck, and it is an absolutely stunning day.  Now, I feel like I live in Spain near the Med again.  *ahhhh*



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tips from a ladder

After an exciting morning spent pounding plaster while listening to fantastic podcast, we headed off to a museum for a quick visit.

Before we left, I did manage one astonishing neurological feat.  I was standing on the next to last step of a ladder with one headphone in, a respirating air mask (go for the big bucks on those, what a dream!) a baseball hat (well known safety wear) eye goggles and leather work gloves.  I had a hammer in one hand and a hmmmm, what are those called?  A metal spike with a flat wedge at one end, like a chisel but without the handle in the other.

Then my phone rang!

Got the glove off, got the phone out, got it open and answered it.  Still on the ladder.   Then I put it up to the ear with the headphone in.  Some Brit chatting about books layered over my kid chatting to me.  I managed to hold the conversation (shouting throught the darth vader mask) and DIDN'T fall off the ladder!!!!!

I would have thought the two conversations piped into one ear might have done it to me, but N0!

Nothing like playing with your brain on top of a ladder.

Another tip, invaluable I know.  When chipping plaster over your head, take your bra off before you start. Astonishing the geological specimens that accumulate, and how quickly!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Deconstruction fun.

Today I discovered something new that I love to do.


Woah Nellie THAT was fun.

You know like in the movies when they are driving in the railway spikes?  They heave it up behind them and then whang it down in front of them?  You know what I mean?

It's not nearly as hard as it seems like it would be, and WAY fun.

And yes, I did have that song running through my head all morning.  Remember this one?

Wanna see what I was doing?  I love destroying things.  What can I say, my kinda fun.


Part way through, I forgot to take an after, but believe me, there is little left.

Then the man and I chipped plaster off.  I have to say it was s.l.o.w. going, sadly, it is really firmly stuck on and we make progress in centimeters.

Sledgehammer!  (not on the ceiling).

Friday, May 7, 2010

The reasons we have to replace the beams.

Where it enters the wall....

Somewhere in the middle.....

This is the end of one of the cross beams sitting on one of the larger beams.

Looks like something from an archaeological dig, no?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What goes on when I'm not home

Hmmm, he never sends me a message......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Possible the best housewarming present ever.

I am delighted to be able to report that I officially can say that I have another good friend here.

That is a delightful thing to be able to say.

She and her partner gave us a house warming present this week, even though we are not yet in the house.....

it is, to my mind, possibly the best house warming present I have received.

Beautiful driftwood that they searched for and found for us, and then cleaned while they were on holiday this weekend.  They went to a town called Sau, which used to be a town, but now is a church steeple sticking out of a reservoir, when the water gets really low other bits of buildings start to emerge.  We haven't been yet, it must look pretty weird.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My kingdom for a bucket.

The guys came today to pour the concrete for the terrace.  Sing a hallelujah chorus.

There were, I believe 7 or 8 of them, nothing like big big machines for attracting a crowd of men (and boys).  They had a freaking ENORMOUS pumper crane (above and below)

as well as the concrete mixer truck.

They had wheelbarrows, boots gloves (no raincoats?!?!?) giant palette knives for flattening the surface, tarps and I don't know how many individual vehicles.

They were however missing 2 buckets.  There are a lot of buckets in the house.  What I need to explain is a Catalan (Spanish?) tradition.  The tradition is this.  Never ever bring a bucket.

When a plumber came here to fix the hot water heating system?  No bucket.

The painter?  No bucket.

Friends or ours were reduced to hiding all of their buckets when work was being done on the house, so they went into the kitchen a grabbed tupperware!  When banned from that, they found the daughter's little bitty plastic beach bucket and shovel and mixed concrete in that.

The boss of the construction company was wandering the village at 8:30 am looking for a store that would be open to get a bucket ?!??!?!