Thursday, September 30, 2010

Progress on a space for a little painting?

Rails are in, death by falling has stepped back a few feet.

Below, the beginnings of a nook where I could work!

Easel still to be built.

Looks oddly like a crib in this photo.....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010



OK, we've moved....mostly.

Internet and phone are on.  I'm good to go with that.

The oven/range/stove is ON!

I am so very good to go with that!

The construction guys are going to put the railings into the tiny little space I plan to call my own to paint/ruminate/think/draw/escape in are supposed to go in tomorrow, so I am much less likely to fall.

I'll show you why!

Nope, I won't cause blogger isn't letting me and I don't want to waste time finding out why, cause it's already tomorrow.

Odd things you discover in another land.

Toasters, who'da thunk there could be national variation.  Granted, a lot of Canadian toasters have gotten fatter to let us toast bagels at home, and I think that is an excellent thing, but when I went toaster hunting, cause the man really really wanted one, low and behold, the toasters look really really different:

WAIT!  There's the crazy steep railless stairs!  See!

Now, here's the toaster.  Aside from looking like a short wave radio your Dad had when you were a kid, and my husband has now, you may have noticed that there is only one slot for bread and it is very very long.

You see, many people here buy their sliced bread in an actual bakery and if you get a big loaf, known as a kilo, it is round.  Now if you have a round loaf of bread that weighs a kilo, you are going to have some very big slices.

Something about this makes me happy.  Toasters customised for different diets and countries.  Conform?  No.

Chuck has also been very happy, the new house comes with a cave, apparently meant just for him.

He isn't sure he wants his picture taken in the cave though.

We have INTERNET at the new house

Blogging to follow soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

eight tenths done

nine tenths exhausted.

...and where is my (insert noun here).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two thirds moved

Three quarters exhausted.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poor Chuck

The man and I took off running today, he very generously stays behind me and doesn't ever comment about the pace, or lack thereof.  We had Chuck the dog with us, as usual.  The man leaves me part way through and goes off and runs for about another, oh, hour and a half...whatever.

Chuckster himeslf loves little in life more than chasing pinecones if we toss them for him, so as I am running along if I happen to see one, I'll lob it off for him.

Now, there is also an old guy with a gigantic male boxer who Chuck is frankly frightened of.  They see each other fairly often and Chuck is normally pretty good at avoiding him. The boxer seems to work on a purely visual system.  Maybe those squashed noses and huffing breath also impact on their sniffers.  Anyway, Chuck is normally well aware of him and takes off into the distance long before we come across them.

The system isn't working as well now we're going faster.  We keep coming across them in the woods rather suddenly.  It is tricky too as the man does not keep a completely regular schedule so I'm finding it tricky to avoid him.  Both dogs are off leash in the hills, I should add.

Chuck normally walks slowly away and the dog normally leaves him be.

Today however, poor Chuck, I found a pine cone, picked it up and heaved it downhill as we peeled around a corner.  Right at the boxer.


The man and I kept running, knowing that was the best option for Chuck, he ran after us and the boxer after him.

I caught up with them when there were both standing stiffly in the path.  They were at least still parallel rather than T junctioned, a much closer to a fight posture.

The boxer's owner carries a stick with him, so I picked up a stick myself and walked past the pair of them.  Chuck started to move with me and so did the boxer, somewhat more slowly.  I turned, brandished the stick in his face and told him, in Catalan, to get lost.

Thankfully he did.

He is reasonably well trained, as in he mostly listens.

The three of us headed off for a loop in the hills, at the end of which the man left us and Chuck and I headed back, the man advising that I do another loop so I don't catch up to them.  Wasn't sure I wanted to so we went back slowly, still ran into them, with an about face and rapid retreat.  I also felt odd stopping so long mid-run.  Made me feel weird.

Should listen to the man more often.

Moving day tomorrow and Sunday.

Wish us luck, hope the power's on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


To anyone reading this on a feed reader, sorry about hitting the button yesterday and publishing, unintentional, so here it is again, with some dessert at the end.

Few things I've seen that struck me.

Here is a link to a webcam recording the Aurora Borealis every night over Canada.  It is called AuroraMAX and will stream live images till May 2012.

I think that's just wonderful.

When I was learning to be a coach many many years ago I was taught a technique called the sh*t sandwich  in which you give positive feedback, then the sh*t feedback, then something positive again.  It stuck with me as a technique.  People seem to hear it better, especially if the 'bread' or positive feedback is as meaningfully felt and explained as the sh*t.

Here it comes folks, brown and runny.  The Pope, you may have heard was in the UK recently.  Spouting intolerance.  Here is a great post on the topic.  I have to put a disclaimer in and state that I have not, myself, gone to primary sources and read the speech myself.  Don't have the internal strength right now.  It does make me wonder, in a shrinking fearful corner of my eye kind of way what the heck it is that is going on that is breeding so much extremism in this world right now.

OK, bread again so I can sleep tonight.  I know I have gone on and on about this podcast before, but if you haven't gone over and had a listen to Radiolab from NPR in NYC you truly are missing out.  They are really very good.  They ask the big, apparently stupid but in fact utterly fascinating questions and get some answers, or at least some intelligent food for thought.  As an added bonus one of the producers/presenters is a sound artist so the audio (is it music? sound art? audio sculpture?) is amazing as well.  Give it a shot.

Here's some dessert, plant-based dessert.  Who'da thunk.  Clinton's a vegan!

Hope you have fun!


Some days

Some days, nothing will help but warm cocoa.


Note to self:  find a source for almond extract.

Therein lies a story.

Years and years and years ago, before the man was officially the man, and was still simply the man, we found ourselves doing a road trip in Colorado and corners of Utah.  One evening we found ourselves in south-central colorado somewhere, in a tiny little hotel in a tiny little town.

The hotel was, however, exceptional.  Beautiful, small and had - get this - feather mattresses.  The one and only time I have ever slept on a feather mattress and it was bliss.  Nothing short of it.

After our nap, simply cause we had the bed and had to spend some time in it.....doesn't happen often that opportunity, and before going to bed for the evening, we needed some food.  The hotel didn't do food, or we had a craving or I know not what.  Either way we ended up in a fantastic little Mexican place for dinner a good half hour or more down the road.  This was rural country, we were driving on some very dark roads.  The food was very very good, but the hot chocolate I had at the end of the meal was truly exceptional.  So astonishing I had to ask about it.

Now, it was more in the spirit of Spanish hot chocolate, or at least Catalan, but I am assuming all of Spain here, which is thick.  Not quite pudding thick, but we're working up to it.  Not bitter, but very very chocolate-y (the gross stuff has corn starch in it, the good stuff, lots of melted chocolate)  this also had a divine aroma and subtle difference in taste.  We went round and round it but my sense of smell is somehow not hooked up with the langauge centers in my brain.  I smell something, it arouses powerful memories and associations, primarily emotional, but also more concrete sometimes, but the name of the scent.  No HOPE!

So we asked.

Almond extract. OMG good.

Now I strongly suspect, given both the flavour and where we were eating, that they didn't just open up a bottle from the supermarket, but instead had some longstanding Mexican traditional manner of extracting beautiful complex almond flavour and imparting it where they wished.

Still, supermarket almond extract is pretty amazing too.

I do know a woman here who is a pastisier - a gourmet cake maker.  She may know where I can score some of the good stuff.

Now, back to my cocoa.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We have

Windows!  All but one half of one of them (?????)

We have HUGE box loads of Ikea furniture to assemble (OMG)

We have a self-created move in date.  This weekend.  Wish us luck!

We have finished tiles on the floor and the backsplash behind the stove.

We don't have a front door that we can close with anything other than a chain and padlock, but what the heck.

I'll go in and take some photos tomorrow, it was too late today and too dark.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ummmm, shouldn't someone think about this?

OK, they have THREE, count 'em THREE sets of chromosomes, and they are all female and also sterile.

Apparently they taste fine though.

Seem odd to you?  Does to me.

Not sure I'd be eating those if I could help it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bad news, and good.

The Ikea bookcases will not fit down the stairs in the apt assembled.  D*mn!  Have to disassemble them and then reassemble them in the new house.


Throwing out lots of stuff, and that is definitely a very good thing!

Taking them apart, a bit of a drag till the man appeared and remembered how the system worked.  So glad to have him around!

All in all, a productive day, but man, I am tired and we barely scratched the surface, how intimidating!

Illiteracy would be lighter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Furniture thoughts

I keep rumbling away in my head about furniture, what we have to do still....what we will need.

Deliberately we designed the house with little storages space.  We, everyone, has too much stuff.  If it cannot fit, we shouldn't have it.  A certain amount is useful, suitcases, sleeping bags, blankets in summer, they need a place, but there is a limit.

We've made it, but we do need SOME storage space, more book cases for instance, and we also need tables.  Think I am going to be getting four!  Seems a lot.  And chairs.

The range came in, we'll get it delivered on Monday and maybe, just maybe, we'll move some stuff down tomorrow!

Friday, September 17, 2010


After choosing about seven thousand different tiles, we ended up with these to fill in the gap where the drains had to go:

Above, you can see that they are only half finished putting them in place,

Below it is harder to tell.

Whaddya think?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

I wish I could be funny about this, I really do.

I don't think I can though.

We had another appointment with the powers-that-be about the nationality papers for the kids, youngest specifically.
Shall we just say that the man behind the desk, one of those small stupid people in positions of power refused to move the papers forward, and has in fact created, all by his little old self, another level of bureaucratic hoops we have to jump through.

Essentially he is quibbling with the fact that the man's name on his Spanish documents and the name on my daughter's birth certificate are not identical.  Sounds almost legit until you put it in place, all the papers have already been approved by many many layers of gov't.  In this nation, under Franco, many many Catalans were forced to baptise their children with the Spanish rather than the Catalan spellings of their names, so there are many people who have some discrepancies, and EVERYONE knows why.

Consider also that he had several pieces of gov't issued documents, like, oh, passports, all bearing photos of the man, with both names on them.

Consider the fact that he was enjoying the situation.

I am not overly happy with Spain, this man, and bureaucrats in general today.

Not at all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Books books books books books

ain't nothing better than a really good book, no?

Best book you read recently?

My favourite recent read was The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson

C'mon, best book you've read recently....or ever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

post #2

Just wrote a post about feeling kinda flat and under-enthused, mostly about work.

It was a whiney kinda thing, and I think I will leave it where it was and blame the blahs on a steady diet of enthusiasm sapping anti-histamines.

That's the idea I think.

Remember that book "Eat, Pray, Love"?  I read it a year or so ago, and it was OK.  I listened to the writer on TED, she was quite, you know, lacking in eloquence for much of the time, and then had flashes of brilliance.

She did have an interesting concept though, talking about the creative inspiration as something outside of a person, something that visits, polishes up the work. That the creative person's job, so to speak, is to show up and polish the craft so that the inspiration, or genius, or muse can arrive and have something to work with.  It was an interesting proposal, supported by descriptions by other artist, and their ways of describing how creativity hits them, passes through them, whispers at their windows.

I applied to a University for a Master's program.  Most of my documentation has not arrived in time for the deadline cut off.  Slightly dismal.  Universities do not seem to send their documents out all that fast.


Back to the proverbial canvas, indeed, maybe, back to the actual canvas in fact.

Monday, September 13, 2010

one of the deeper circles of h*ll

The man and I were off today, all day, at a very famous home furnishing store that starts with an I and kas a k kin kit.

It was not a weekend, and thanks be to all that is merciful for That little gift.  My massive allergic reaction that I have been suffering for a week and a half now, and which was almost gone decided to kick in again this morning, so I was stoned silly on anti-histamines.  Nothing like visiting that place with a brain full of dryer lint and what feels like 12 hrs of jet lag.

Despite all that we got a bit done.

No oven/burner range thingy though and the light fixtures were a washout.

Then, when we got home, we went and hung out at the house, I have to say, I am getting to be buddies with the job foreman, wonder if I could keep him around, fixes things well, and he's pretty cheery.

I have to chose though, I guess I'll keep the man.  I speak more languages in common with him.  Ya know what I mean?

Then we had a stroke of genius and we went to the houseware store about a 3 min walk from the house. Can I mention it took us, like, OMG, 2 hours to get to Ikea, and longer to get home.

We got the stove there, plus an electric kettle I want for the third floor and a light fixture for the kid's bathroom.  How sweet is THAT!

Gonna have to stick closer to home it seems, no?

Hope you're all having a good Monday, and not an itchy dopey one.



Sunday, September 12, 2010

This running thing

Hmm, it's been, what a month now?  Maybe?

'N it's going OK, in fact I love running in the mountains.  The hills are so steep going up them you don't feel dumb at all when you stop and walk, and going down you feel like you actually maybe kinda know what you're doing.  In fact, I feel...wait for!

How weird is that?

Going up though?  The other day I was running, and the man, who has run since forever, had said to me that the key to running uphill was to go slow.  Really slow.

I was going slow.
I was also dying out there.  OMG.

Chuck is so sweet at times like these.  He either tries to jump up on me in enthusiasm, or goes too slowly in front of me, or gets bored and s.p.r.i.n.t.s uphill, leaving nothing but little dust puffs where his paws hit the ground.


Anyway, I was plodding up hill, dying slowly, when I discovered JUST how slowly that was.

You see, I decided that I simply had to walk for a bit till everything felt better, so I dropped to a walk.  Except that I think I sped up at that point.

Srsly, I was covering ground faster walking.

Sad, but true.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The great fireplace debate.

At first, we had this: (I'll give you a bit of info, the wall above the fire is curved, but you can't tell in the photo)

But it didn't work properly, so we experimented like this:

Then they built this.

Then this happened.

Now we have this:

I like it much better.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

A definition of creativity

Making something from nothing.

Greatest creative acts of my life:

My family
My travels
My communities of friends
My future

My blog
My paintings

Love (oh, does that ever sound schmarmy, but it does fit the def'n, no?)  Though do you make it?  or do you do it.  Therein lies a conundrum.

A new one?  I think so, something less cliched and trite.


There it is....

*My homes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Did I sound like I had a plan?

That was foolish of me.

Youngest got sick.  Mostly cause she had white bread with jam for lunch and a coke and potato chips for dinner yesterday.  Go figure.  There is a longish back story for that involving architects, contractors, sunsets and children who chose badly at parties.

Whatever.  Let's hope a lesson is learned.

Sooooo, no new lights.  Tomorrow we'll try that trick again.

We've got two out of three toilets in place, and covers on most of the outlets.  I would like to report that there is ALMOST no sound at all of flushing upstairs when one is in the living room from that drain pipe they put in.  Sing a hallelujah chorus right there, thankyouverymuch.  Vast praise to be tossed around for that one.

More lovely white paint being spread around, and we informed the property managers we'd be out of the apartment by the end of the month, here's hoping.

Wish me luck with tomorrow, maybe a plan or two will fall into place.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Now things have started moving.

Move in day set for end of Sept!!!!!!!!!

All agreed.

Ugly fireplace - SO gone.  Nicer one, hopefully coming.  Fingers crossed.

Walls getting painted, the man and I off tomorrow to pick light fixtures, front doors chosen, windows should go in next Mon or Tue and the plumber is doing toilets and gas tomorrow.


I won the big fat battle about window seats for youngest, assisted by youngest herself.  You see, the contractor has two daughters, both young.   The architect has no kids.  Youngest came in, when bidden, to talk about window seats.  The architect looked like thunder, HEFTY disapproval.  Eventually the contractor asked Youngest why she wants window seats, she simply told him, 'cause they're cool.'  He got it, and was totally onside from there.  Architect never got it.  No kids.


We are going to need 35 light fixtures!  Can you believe that?  Is that not crazy????  35.

Man, I wanna move.

Then we went up to a friend's finca, bit of land, sort of like a cottage, but no lake.  To watch the sunset.  Was that ever perfect.  My o my.  Beautiful weather, a lovely group of people, snacks for dinner.  Gotta love it when dinner is chips, some olives, a little chorixo and cheese, topped off with champagne or lemonade.  

Oh, and fresh air, stars and sunsets.  

photo by Nuri

Good dessert, that.

Now, where is that Ikea catalogue?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Too tired last night to write, just went and crashed.  Slept all night too, nine whole lovely hours.  What a wonder.

Now I'm waiting waiting waiting for my tea.

We may be able to move into the house in a couple of weeks.  They guys won't be completely done, but we could MOVE!!!!!

Can you say excited!?!?!?

I am finding it hard to take photos cause there isn't a whole lot of photograph.  The whole place is white inside with lines and angles and the really cool floors.

Now I am eyeing everything we have and debating whether it stays, or goes.  A lot goes.

Ikea here we come!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just sayin'

Jet lag topped off with double doses of anti-histamine make for a very doppy gal.

The house looks great, and there are a million decisions to make, yesterday.

Chuck survived the trip, but has been panting heavily all day, what's with that?

SHOPPED.  Nothing like NO food in the house for man nor beast to get you going.

School starts tomorrow here, so we had to shop for that too, in a big fat way.

Still haven't had a good local coffee...tomorrow may be the moment I think, it just may have to be.

Hope I sleep better tonight.

Lovely, tiring, hot, exciting, fun day.

Hope yours was a good one too.



Saturday, September 4, 2010

The house

Photos from the architect:

There's not a TON of changes cause it's Aug and everyone's on holidays.  They've painted a whole bunch, and they've got the floor in for Eldest's loft:

It has made the hallway darker, this is the usual view down towards Youngest's window....door closed.

More later.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sailing 2010

Our extraordinary and diligent navigator!  See, we made it to land, just like I said we would.

Water snake, we saw several of these....he just wanted some sunshine.

Canadian shield.

Turkey vultures.

Proof positive that Chuck has overcome his terror of water and will swim voluntarily, to shore, or for thrown sticks/pine cones.

Post swim

Eldest picked up a leach...nothing a little salt couldn't cope with.

Fun in the sun!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We're back

Photos coming when I get a chance....the architect sent photos of the house too.....

We didn't sail very far but we had a wonderful time.  The girls must have swum 6 or 7 times a day and me 3 or 4.  Chuck discovered the joys of swimming, sort of....and it was all lovely.

I have a massive allergic reaction on my face to a sunscreen I used.  Nasty looking and it feels worse.

Life is good.  Busy, but good.

Lots of blogs to read, and naps to take.  Back at it soon.

More later!