Thursday, March 31, 2011

Link-y link time

OK, I love TED talks...

and I love Ken Robinson....and his second talk......there is also a lovely video they've made about behind TED, the making of some talks...which I loved too...

Then there is ViHart, who has another video up with some lovely pointed comments about copyright.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has a video archive....

A video about a troll house falling to ruins, voluntarily in Athens (weird, but fascinating)

The Smithsonian has live cams in some of the baby animal cages...

TV?  What's that?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Power Point = Death

or, Why I hate power point.

Went to a presentation today, on a topic I find deeply interesting, and I was bored...senseless.  Literally doodling in the FRONT row bored.

The presenters had emailed every participant a copy of the 60+ text-dense slides in their presentation in both Word and PP format.

We got there, they started nearly an hour late for no particular reason and then proceeded to read from the f***ing slides for FOUR HOURS!

We left early.

I now present you with Oreneta's rules for PP.

1. Don't use powerpoint.  It is an instrument of the devil.

2.  See 1.

3.  If you must use it because your boss has taken your children hostage, then:

NO more than THREE (3) words per slide

- 3 -

They are illustrations of what you are saying

The only permissible exception to the three word rule is for COMPLEX mathematical formulas or for financial graphs, and no more than 3 of those per presentation.

I summarise.  

Rule of three.

Rule one:  Use ANY other medium for your presentation
Rule two: no more than three words per slide, so you don't read the f***er
Rule three: no more than three graphs or formulas per presentation.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love Catalonia

Know why I love Catalonia?  Mother Theresa, in case you didn't know, lives in Pamplona and visited BCN last week.  One of here comments was that for Catalans food is like a religion.  I disagree slightly as I  would say that good food ranks considerably higher than religion here, and I have a case in point with this.

Today at lunch I went over to my corner store where I picked up a couple of steaks for the man and I (vegetarian kids, not cruel parents).  I bought some last week too, as decent steak is REALLY hard to find here.

Not only did he ask me if the steak last week was good, which many food loving foodsellers might do, but he then informed me that the meat came from Girona.

How many people do you know who could tell you where the cow grew up.

LOVE their food.  Works for me too.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have to admit, I am utterly stumped.

Utterly.  Cannot come up with a thing to say.  SUPER boring of me today.

Having logged about 4 hours of Catalan study today....well, I guess that leaves a girl with little to say.

Then again I wonder if the creativity is outleting in other places, in painting, at work where I am waist deep in curricular creation in an online setting.  Is there a limit to creativity?  Why should there be?

Is there a limit to loving?  Loving your kids is different than loving your folks, or your spouse or your work, no?  Wouldn't those different forms of creativity look different too? But is there a limit to how much creativity you can put out there?

Creative things I am doing now:

  • parenting
  • learning (self-creation and yes it COUNTS!)
  • creating online courses - architecture and content
  • blog writing (though a wee bit uninspired today)
  • cooking (though not to much lately as the man has taken over a lot of those duties lately)
  • Drawing
  • then there was the whole creative process that went into the house.
Is it not so much a question of limits to creativity as attention to mediums?



Here it is, what are you creating?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Finished this a while ago, but I had to put it away to see what more it needed.

Then I pulled it out, and I do think it's done.  A delightful surprise when that happens.

Acrylic and paint marker on paper.  56 x 77 cm.  Immigration series.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some moments as a parent are wonderful

I am upstairs in my painting zone, and youngest shouts up asking if she can have a bath...that girl LOVES a bath.

I give that a go, and she starts filling the tub.

Over the sound of the water and her sloshing around in it, the house is resonating with her song...the Ode to Joy.

Those tickets were worth the price.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A short note.....

My folks are in town.

It is Friday

It is all very very good.

I am up super late....ohhh, my.

Have a good one!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Latest work

Immigration series.

Acrylic, marker, paint marker and pen on paper.  95 x 77 cm

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



Something anyone with a teen around can get.

Jonah Lehrer has a fabulous piece up about moods, and how we sometimes nurture a bad mood, sort of get into it and feed the beast.

Sometimes though, I think a little more Spock in the day wouldn't be an all bad thing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Make like a cat

The dog and I have discovered a new place to hang out in the house.

You see, now we have heat, and we even turn it on from time to time.  In the living room there is a large section of new pretty tiles, under them, we discovered are some rather (distressingly) poorly insulated hot water pipes for the heating system.  I am comforting myself with the thought that maybe they are insulated on the bottom, but they've done this on purpose to make us happy.


We have a strip of radiant heated floor in the house and it is LOVELY to sit on.  Though the dog prefers to sleep there.


Monday, March 21, 2011


I got an *****A***** on my first assignment for my Catalan class!!!!!

First passing mark EVAHHHHH......

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Perigrean moon

If I've got my terminology right, is bigger, and the moon is bigger now than it has been for 18 years, and than it will be for the next 18.  The moon's orbit is eliptical, and so sometimes it's closer than others.  Now it's close.  Here's a far more coherent explanation, should you want it.

Yesterday, I am told, was the best day to view it, and by happy circumstance I got the chance to, and today as well, from home with a camera!  SOoooooo

Happy moon viewing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Hmm, wonder what sort of voice the blog would have if I posted in the mornings rather than at night.  Currently Eldest is at someone elses house after a sleepover and youngest is sitting in the sun on the terrace reading as her hair dries.  Just cut it.

We've been for a walk in the mountains again, picked asparagus again...mmmmmm.

Plan for the day?   Hoping for a nap.  Chuck's already ticking that one off his list.

Oh, and I've got a good cup of tea beside me.  This is a good start to a weekend, no?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Head bobs

A sure sign the candle is meeting in the middle and starting to gutter.

Sorry folks,

but that's all

Hope you have a great Friday!

See ya tomorrow.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whew, today would be a good day for an easy gift post

Know why?  It is WAY too late and I am still up and running around.  Only 1:20 and I still have one more thing to do.....AUGH!!!!

Stream of consciousness for today.  Got woken up early by the girls squabbling, not the best start to a day, but it meant I made it out to walk the dog with the man in the mountains, which was a very good thing indeed.  I am so much happier an individual if I get some mountain time, and time with the man and exercise, so much the better if it all happens at once.  I have to add that there is nothing quite like the utter joy of a dog to smack a big fat smile on your face.

work work work, but it was one of those super productive days, and that's a very good thing indeed.

If one must be in there, better to get a lot of stuff done, no?

Spanish class.  Goodness the man and I are different. He has a relatively high level and can whip out all manner of complex grammar at the drop of a hat, but ask him to do something simple with a grammatical name and he's scuppered.  SCUPPERED.  I on the other hand can barely string a sentence together but hand me some odd grammatical bit of wizardry, and I am home FREE!

Useless from a social perspective, but a whiz at the books.

Youngest is begging me for a less demanding English course for next year, I am thinking that that would be a very good idea, she's got a biggish year next year and this is a seriously demanding course.  She is doing a LOT of writing, which is great, but still.......

What else, the only downer these days with the catch up on the chores and keeping my head above water is that my reading time is dropping.  Not too happy about that, but I guess an hour and a half of Catalan homework a day, plus a MASS of marking to do at work is taking a toll.

OK.  I could dribble onwards for far too long, off to paint.  Fortunately it is not a challenging section or I'd have to bail.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wow, and wow or rather, DUH

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has one of the blogs I subscribe to.  There are occasional gems, but today's?  Honestly, it made me say a big fat WOW!  This is so very very cool.

The Met has developed a whole series of programs for people with dementia and their caregivers called Meet Me, their website is here, bringing them to art and art to their world.  Isn't that a truly wonderful thing?  Someone somewhere was really thinking in a deeply empathetic way, and then got off their duff and did something really beautiful about it. Kudos.  On every level.  So very very impressive. Not only that, but much of the material is also presented in Spanish.  How wonderful does it get.  Let's all hope they don't lose their funding, indeed anyone out there who could write to their congressman.....I don't have one.

There's also StoryCorps, 30,000 stories told by average people about their own lives, all recorded.  You can listen on blogs, downloads, live and podcasts.

Goodness, but there are some wonderful resources on the internet.

On the other hand, I have to say, that I did something that I have been needing for a while.  Moby Dick has a great, predicatably long description, of how I was getting to be feeling.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.

Well, that works for me too, getting to sea as soon as I can, but it isn't always possible. I finally got back to something I haven't been doing enough of for a while and took a LOOOONG walk in the mountains with the dogs.

Ohhh, what a difference.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Social Networking, gone NUTS

I have:

6 email addresses.
A twitter account.
A Flickr account.
2 blogs (one's a back-up)
3 google docs accounts (only one is active)
An account on a writing site
3 Picasa accounts
and now
2 facebook accounts.  One personal and one for work.
Then there are bank accounts, cell phone accounts, blah blah blah.....don't want to count those.
1 (thank goodness) feed reader account
There must be more, I just can't think of it.

Does this not seem stupid?

6 email addresses?  WHO NEEDS THAT??!?!?!

They breed like plastic cards used to. To get a flickr account, you need to get an account with Yahoo, there's an email address, then there are work email, old email adressess and a blog email address- I think I could delete that old one.  One from the school I am attending I need another email address, unsolicited.

Honest to goodness.

Wait though, I can't be the only one, count 'em up folks and let me know, m'kay?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Well that was a Monday-ish kind of Monday

I was reading through some blogs today and somewhere or other I heard about a Harvard Ted Talk titled, "It's the end of the world and we know it, I feel fine"  after the song, one assumes.

The Harvard type was seriously wondering why it is that we are facing, well, basically, total ecological meltdown and we are all tripping around pollyanna-like feeling 'happy'.   Future genearations may wonder the same damn thing, if they get the chance to be there.

Though I believe he was also wondering why it is we cannot really believe that this is a problem we have to respond to, beyond recycling our cans.

A good point.

I get what he's saying but I do, to some extent, wonder if he has really thought this over?  The other option seems to be sticking your head in the oven.  No?  I mean really.  If you look the evidence in the eye it is more than a wee bit depressing.

I mean, look at the blog here....yesterday, amidst now multiple explosions in NUCLEAR plants, I write a post about going for a walk in the sunshine.

Honestly, in some ways, what the heck was I thinking.  But by the same token, one must get up in the morning, no?

We are hypocritical.  Someone on the walk was overheard complaining about the ugly cell phone towers sited in this natural park.  Yet, how many folks would be willing to down their cell phones now and forever so as to save energy, resources, contamination and ugliness in natural parks.  I have to admit, I would be fairly willing to, for many reasons, yet I have a TON of handsets.  I believe between Canada and here, including the kid's phones we have, for four people, 8 hand sets, one went through the wash and is dead.  Indeed, I am now considering it rather more strongly at the moment.  Another man commented on the disasterous garbage dump in the park, now covered, but which is an entire large valley filled with BCN's garbage.  But how many of us had plastic bags with us?

Money where our mouths are, no? I didn't question how many people had SUVs, mutiple cars, etc etc etc.  Though my virtue was thin on this too, while we don't own a car and hope to never again own one, primarily for ecological reasons, but also financial ones, I got a lift in one of their big fat cars.


Don't know what to think.  Except maybe I need more sleep and I'd feel a little more Pollyanna-ish and a little less like I was channeling Eeyore.

Then there is the whole, 'nuclear energy is better than fossil fuels' and vice versa debate kicking up a notch in the US.  Like, what the heck happened to investing in alternative energy BOYS!?!?!?!?!?  I learned as a kid that when offered one of two items it was REALLY time to stop and figure out what the other choices are, there usually is another.  And it is one that both parties are usually hoping you won't notice through the barage of their sound and fury.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Went walking today...

Went off to the Massif de la Garraf.  We had a super lovely day.  Sunshine, not too hot, not too cold.  I was walking most of the day in a tank top, though most folks had more on. Showing my Canadian roots.  

We started here, at a hermitage near the town of Gavà.  

We walked up hill from there, and saw this arch.  
Water erosion,  powerful stuff.

This is the site of the original hermitage, a shepherd found a madonna in that cave, brought it down to the town and found that all he had left was a hand when he got there.  He went back up looking for her, and found her back in the cave, missing a hand.  SO they decide she wanted to stay and made it official-ish.  Later she decided she was willing to move down to the hermitage first shown, when they had more money to build it for her.  

Further up the hill, indeed nearly as high as you can get is a castle.  Dates from the 900s some time, and there are Iberic ruins in the area that predate the romans.  They lived in the hills, the plains were unhealthy, mostly from waterborne disease and malaria, they think.

The castle was cool, this is the church that was up there.  

If you look at the picture above, we walked basically all the way right then up over top of the white spiky bits of mountains above the church, then over to the peak on the left and then down out of the picture further left.  Lovely day.
A medieval tomb.  They were skinny and short.

View from the top of the second peak.

Hope you had a good one.

I even scored a nap lying in the grass in the sunshine after lunch!

Then when I got home, we went into the mountains again with the dog.  Rain again tomorrow, but we have HEAT!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Yup, the good folks at the National Ocean and something else Agency came up with this video of the tsunami travelling through the Pacific.

It is an entrancing view, and scary as well.

What is there to say.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finished on the 7th

56 x 77, Immigration series.  Acrylic and paint marker on paper.  7.3.11

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holy Hot Water Batman!

Yes indeedy.

Gas?  Check.

Hot water?  Check.

Stove?  Check.

......Heat?????  Check!!!!!

Very quietly lest I jinx myself....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The gas, the next installment.

OK.  The man had to go out this morning, so I had to stay and wait for the guys.

No problem, I can work from home for a bit of the time, I didn't have classes.

The inspector came and whistled his way through the house.  We PASSED!!!!! Yippee Kay YEAH!!!!!

Then he started to put the meter in, and had to test the lines once it was connected.  There's a leak in the installation.

Called the llampista.  He's on his way.


While Carlos the llampista is coming the inspector continues to run tests to find the problem.  Back and forth to his meter in the front hall and the valves in the kitchen.  Back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth.....the leak is in the brand new stove.

Ho hum.


Now we have gas, the caldera - as in heat and hot water - are not connected, so no heat or hot water.  That technician is supposed to show up tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  The stove has gas, but the inspector locked it off cause it was leaking (and has been for months), so we cannot cook.  Another all oven dinner tonight, roasted squash, potatoes and parsnips seasoned with a home made allioli of roasted garlic, salt and olive oil.  And a salad.

The stove technician phoned at 8pm to say he should be here tomorrow between 11 and 1.

Cross your fingers for me, this may just be the last two steps.

Though I am not counting on it.

That would be ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Oh my goodness gracious me.

Way back in September we bought some tickets to go to hear a concert.  Last month, I wondered when it would be.  The man was pretty sure I said April, and he has an excellent memory, so I let it go.  Last night I got home, something niggling at the back of my head.  Turns out? Concert was tonight.


We went to see Beetoven's 9th, performed by the Orquestra de Cadaqués and the Orfeó Català in the Palau de Música Catalana conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.


Simply amazing.  I am not knowledgeable enough to come up with a deep analysis, but I'll say I got goosebumps and Youngest wanted to cry.  There were two people we could see who were reading the score and taking notes, the piccolo player played his heart out when he got the chance, the tenor was having a BLAST, members of the orchestra were smiling as they played, and there was a baby, about 11 months, who slept through most of the symphony till the fourth movement, then sat, staring, wide-eyed, as you might imagine.




Monday, March 7, 2011

Well, that was entirely depressing

First day of the online Catalan class, I am the only non-native speaking Catalan in the class, that actually isn't true, there is one woman from Madrid, she speaks Spanish.

There is soooooo much material, there is a software program we have to download that I cannot use on my mac.  I sent a message over that one.


I know why I did this to myself, but honestly, what was I thinking.


Yeah, right.

Spanish test tomorrow too...must go and study more for that.  Catalan will simply have to wait for a bit.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

I thought this was very warm and that was very cool

BEACH DAY!!!!!  Youngest and I went, life is wonderful.  It was too cold to swim though.

The man went sailing too, lucky thing, but the beach is very very very good too.

Oh, and you might just like this.  One option, and a fascinating one, for things to do on a cold Norweigan night.

I found another version, so try again!

Visualising Wifi signals with light.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finished on Friday

Part of the Immigration series.  Acrylic, paint pen, marker and pen on paper.  3.2.11. 95 x 77cm

Have to say that I am really very happy with this one.  YEAH!  Nice when it works out like you had in mind.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cultural differences

New hair cut.

Everyone here just says that, "OH! You got your hair cut!!!"  and they leave it at that.

I, as a Canadian, assume that it is going to go further to - genuine or not - "It looks great!" or some equivelent.  I find it weird and am left waiting for the second sentence 'cause I know I got my hair cut, I was there and I paid for it.  Didn't happen in my sleep, no?  So...wadda ya think?

Finally I asked about it. Seems they wouldn't comment on the hair cut if they didn't like it, so there.

Odd the small differences, no?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

update on the gas AKA the story without end

Well, the guys came yesterday morning.  Two construction guys, the contractor, the plumber/electrician and for a short while, the architect.

They drilled a ruddy great hole throught the more than a meter thick wall in the back of the house to put in a vent.  They changed some parts on some of the gas tubing and they installed some kind of emergency pressure release to the system also they replaced a fitting on the back of the stove that wasn't correct. Whatever.

They did not do some of the things that the man is sure the inspector wanted done, cause he didn't write them on the sheet.  As in, what he told the man had to be done and what he wrote on the form don't match.

Fun WOW!

So, the call went into the inspector that the work has been done, the man has spent hours cleaning filth from every surface of the downstairs, and we are waiting for the inspector guy to show up.  The man and I have some considerable qualms that it is, once again, not going to pass inspection.....and the show will go on.

There is another saga that I haven't gone on about too much.  In our bathroom there is a shower, the shower is built up a couple of steps as it is over the stairwell and so needs some kind of a system to keep us from falling out of the shower.  The architect was more than firm that it had to be some kind of glass wall.  I was thinking a railing and curtain, but that got a big fat no.  OK, so a glass wall.  SEVERAL months later, it was installed, that would be about 3 weeks ago.  I was not, shall we say, happy with it.  For many reasons, aesthetic, construction and installation and strength.

I didn't go to the meeting yesterday, instead I went out to lunch with a friend whose birthday it was.  She had taken the morning off work to celebrate and so I wasn't going to bail.  The only problem is that after the meeting the response was basically, take what we've got, or just use a curtain, as in die some day when you fall out of the shower.  Nothing else is an option.  No other glass wall, no railing, nothing.

Um.  Not.

A slightly shirty email was sent to the construction guy by me last night.  It was considerably less cranky than I felt, and I got a rather cryptic, and I think rude, reply.  I will have to get someone to read it and tell me what they think.  I am not sure if I should be offended or not, but I think I am.  I have to check it and see.  Ho hum.

Someday, this all may end.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It is such a constant balancing act.  No?

Those pesky chores, getting enough sleep, eating.
Then work.
Then I want to draw every day
Blog every day
Paint every day
I am taking Catalan classes
Spanish classes
I should exercise more
Get back to running (around and around in circles on a blinking track in honour of my d*mn butt)
Be a spouse
Be a friend
Finish the house
Find that funky smell in my painting space...I suspect the washing machine
A kagillion little things
Grade (oh how I HATE grading)
Prep Summer 2011 in Toronto (OMG it has arrived again!  The hassle part, not the fun part)

Mostly though, read, blog, draw, paint, study and run.

The parent thing and the wife thing I don't have trouble finding time for.  The drawing falls by the wayside easily, the running I am going to have to commit to.  Have to.

Then there are these courses..

OMG, I am so utterly unreasonable about the time I have.  No wonder I've had back to back colds for three weeks and no voice for two.  My mother always used to say to me that my eye are bigger than my stomach.  I think they are bigger than my day now.

Honestly, when will I learn.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

July is looking optimistic.

Gas inspector came on Friday.

Can we say two steps back?  Yup.  The installation needs some adjustments made to it, shall we say, before it meets code and the meter can be installed.  Meeting with the construction guys and the architect tomorrow, though I can't be there.

Oh, and the concrete work that is dissolving outside?  Someone else's department.