Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of the year, 2014


Can't believe that happened, and my poor neglected blog!  Going to have to find more time (make more time) for writing here.

OK, today?  They day ended up rather Chuck focused.  It was supposed to be focused on getting the house listed for renting it out this summer, but the dog had to go to the vet this morning.

Day before yesterday the man and I took him on a 15K walk, which was lovely.Chuck however managed to run off a cliff about 15 feet high!  fortunately there was something of a sandy slope at the bottom so he leapt off, then started to roll down the sand, think he did three full rotations before getting up, shaking and coming over to check in on me! 

We kept walking, he seemed fine.

The next day the girls took him for a long walk in the mountains, when they take him for a long walk, it is long in time more than distance as they like to sit and hang out for long periods of time.

He came back and his eye looked puffy. 

Looked puffier over the evening and he started closing it. 

Then he started looking at us through mostly one eye.

I had a look and couldn't see anything, so figured he'd scratched it, and it would be better in the morning.

Not so much.

Off to the vet at 10am as she opened.  He has indeed scratched it, she put in anaesthetic drop, and gave him an shot of anti-inflamatories...he seemed better after that. 

Now he has anti-inflammatory and analgesic drops, which seems to make him feel much better.

Took him for a long walk, and he decided to eat poo. 

Ho hum

Dog day!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Managed to go walking one day!

And it was marvelous...took Chuck and went with some friends.  We were supposed to have gone for a long weekend, but that didn't work out, I had too much homework, which they gave us at the last minute.  Poop.

Anyway, we had a lovely day.


Dog had a wonderful time.....

The views were marvelous, and so was the company

It got narrow in spots....


Chuck got on leash for those bits....

Not down the stairs though, he was cool here.


Montserrat in the distance

With the different trees it looks like a quilt.

Sun went down before we finished.  Short short days.

So little time!

I know I am way to busy when I finally get into my photos and realise how gigantic the backlog is!

So, with no further ado,

I start to open that up and show some of what I have been up to, a series of posts.

Way back on November 2nd, or something like that, Youngest and I went into BCN with a friend to get a tour of the Ajuntament (town hall) there, which you can only visit on specific days, and with a guide.  I have to say that overall, the tour was kind of disappointing, with the exception of one room, though in fact we didn't need a guide to see it if we had just gone up on our own.  Here's some pics:

Youngest and I got into BCN kind of early, so we took some photos, I had always meant to take photos of these manhole covers, and finally did.  Pretty amazing, no?

Some random graffiti:


6 days, 12 hours, 43 minutes and 15 seconds to the vote!!!!

This room was amazing, the Consell de Cent I think it was called.  Amazing.

A painting, it was OK.

Then as the tour was short, we went on to see other stuff.....

For example here we are in the center of a building where three of the columns from the original Roman temple stand...and where they stood originally!  Cool.

This is a photo of a drain.  It has a stone cover and if you look closely, about 2 stories down, you can see a little river running.

Maybe it's easier don't want to drop your keys or your phone down there.

We went on to the Museu de la Ciutat, which are roman ruins again:

You can see they built it up from whatever other bits and pieces came to hand.

And atop it, this amazing room.

Back November 2nd or something.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I went walking with youngest at night a year or so ago and she loved it, but we didn't do it again. 

Then last week, when she was upset a bit about - I don't remember what - and we couldn't agree on something to watch on the computer, I suggested going for another walk in the mountains in the dark. 

She accepted with alacrity. 

Then she wanted to go last night....and we went....and I was very tired before, but very happy afterwards. 

And she wants to go tonight. 

We talk a lot, well, she talks a lot more than I do, but that is good too.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Incidental learning

I'm doing a Master's online, and it is really interesting and really good and I am learning a ton. A ton.

But there is also incidental learning that is going on.  Part of what my incidental learning involves is working in teams, and also working with groups online, both synchronoulys and asynchronously.

I am primarily a classroom teacher, which means that I work alone almost all the time.  I sometimes have a group of fellow teachers and we may confer on things, but I really never ever work in a team.

So that is interesting.  (in both the good and bad sense)

Add to this the online component, and it being in Catalan and you get a little more deeply into this.  When working entirely online there is no facial expressions, it is much more complicated to develop a sense of the other person, partially cause it is easier to cover up your feelings, and also cause it is easy to misinterpret or be misinterpreted as there is no tone of voice.

Add in the cultural element, Anglos are generally shorter and more direct in emails than Catalans or Spanish speakers, and you can have some misunderstandings develop.

It isn't directly what I signed up for, but it is in fact a valuable part of the learning process.  Things we need to learn.

Can't say it's always fun though.

I have to say that I have also had some pretty good laughs at times too.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Youngest on smells

Youngest today, though in fact not for the first time, mentioned how we really should be able to send smells over the internet...and it would be cool.

Then she commented that the reality is that the vast majority of the smells would be farts.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

how does this work?

Just got a linked in account, a couple of days ago, it's a course requirement, but it also seems like maybe it's time, or not.  It's interesting anyway, while simultaneously boring.

What confuses me is the fairly steady stream of people wanting to link up with me, how do they know I have an account?  When I set mine up I was asked to send link requests to any number of people (over 350!!!) - I sent out less than a seventh of that - but folks keep finding me!  And they are people I know.  Are they cruising their linked in account to go through their phone books?  Does Linked in send them a notification?  (this is my suspicion) 

It is faintly creepy, I mean, there is a lot of personal information about yourself up there, seems, well, unwise.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Web 2.0

or the great black hole that eats our time!
For the master's I have to develop an online ID, ok, fine, I get it, it is a course in online education, IT etc etc etc

but he want's us to going 3 different groups for managing content.  ANNOYING!  I already have a system, it's called google docs!

So much duplication and so little time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This and that

Note to self:  never use an activity based on seeing a crime and the police arriving with adults in some parts of Spain.  Works with teens, but when I (stupidly) did it with the adults, one of the members of the class was old enough to have been beaten frequently by Franco's cops when protesting in the 70s, and the other grew up in the Basque region in the late 70s and early 80s and remembers gathering rubber bullets as a game.  Neither of them have, ah, good associations with cops.

Note to self:  December is going to be a humdinger with the work for the master's, teaching many hours, report cards, marking for Toronto and prepping for xmas! 

Note to self:  on beautiful days, get away from the computer and go do something oustside!

Note to self: uncomfortable chairs are ultimately better to work in cause they make you keep shifting your weight around and getting up. Much better for the health.

Note to self:  Turn of the computer and go do something!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014



81% voted to leave Spain.


SO Catalan


There's all this build up, they wanted people there early in case something happened to prevent the polls from opening, or in  case some right wing nut jobs showed up.

Everyone stood around in the sunshine chatting about a whole lot of not very much.  There were a lot of people, the politicians came out, we saw lots of people driving up and down to get into the area to vote.  They opened the polls 10 minutes early (some folks had to go to work!)

I was the first foreigner to vote, which kinda freaked them out, but it was all good.


I have not voted in I don't know how long, I want to say a decade.  We tried in the Bahamas, I've tried here, never ever ever with success.

This time, yes.

And this is a pretty historic vote.

I haven't done the research on it, but it cannot have happened very often that the people of a country get out, organise a vote and go and vote.  No politicians or governments involved.

This has to be the purest form of democracy.  The people (literally) went out and voted.

They are counting it a victory simply that they got polls open.  The turn out looks like it's going to be HUGE; there are lines down the street to get in, and that in and of itself is a victory.

Lets see how this all shapes up.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween poops

Never thought it would be me, but last night, Halloween night, we had the shutters closed and doors locked.  We even had a blanket tacked over the crack in the front door (old doors = big crack) so we didn't have to sit in the dark.

NEVER thought I would be the one doing that.

Catalans have the 'Castanyada' on the 31st, it's a family sort of event that involves eating chestnuts.  I'm not sure it was all that big a deal till it started to get overshadowed by Halloween.   Normally we have a party for a couple of the kid's friends.  When they were smaller, it as for a LOT of the kid's friends and this year Youngest was talking about having one but as some of Youngest's friends are at that, "I don't like her....", "If she comes I won't!"  stage of going to a party Youngest decided not to have one.  Sad.

Every year there have been a few more kids running around in costumes, but the reality is that Halloween here is NOTHING like Halloween in Toronto, or anywhere in Canada and the US, or Parts of South and Central America where it is the Day of the Dead.  Here, it's pretty boring, they don't get the community aspect of it.  Just not part of the thing.

This year also, I have heard more protest against Halloween, more people refusing to say Happy Halloween and insteads saying Happy Castanyada.  Probably part of the rising independence movement.

So, this year, nothing.  No decorations, no candy handed out, no party.


Well, that's not strictly true, today (Saturday) we're planning on carving a pumpkin, eating a bit of candy, a lot of chips and some pop while watching Dr Who - if we're lucky, the Man will make a pumpkin pie.  So...all is not lost!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I should have gotten some photos, but I was busy working in the garden.

We have a little garden in front of the house, it is a lovely little garden and it was growing like a jungle...which I let it do over the summer, helps to keep the soil moist and shaded so that everything survives.

But today it had to come out.

The cats LOVE the jungle, they LOVE IT!!!

I was worried when I was working away clearing out the overbrush (Is that a word?  It is now) that I would scare off the cats, but no.  One of them anyway was quite content to lie quietly in the middle of everything and watch me working away.  I'm walking right past here with gigantic armloads of plants to throw out, and she just calmly watches me go by.

Later she found a spot under a bush.

Later still, we saw her asleep like she was dead in the long grass.  I didn't trim the grass so some of it is VERY long indeed....though I trampled it down a bunch.

Glad to know the cats will keep coming back. 

Part of the place they are.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seems a bad sign

It seems a bad sign when the place you're living in is being studied in school - world issues. 

Yes, one of my daughter's friends is studying what is going on here.

Really Madrid?  Is this how you want the world to look at Spain?

That'll be good for business.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chuck in the pati

Now, why would I be taking a photo rather than letting him in?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Went to Plaça Catalunya

Many many people didn't go, which I kind of don't understand.  But many many people did too.

The ANC (Associació Nacional de Catalunya) and Omnium - a huge cultural group - called the meeting today.

I was a wee little bit worried about it, cause I sense a pretty high level of frustration in the Catalans I know, but they are also very sensible people.

We went, the man and I, with a friend and a friend of his.

Interesting to say the least.  Both organizations are headed by women (another reason to love this country) and Carme Forcadell, the head of ANC, is an amazing speaker.

My friend said to me to listen to her.  She doesn't waste a word. Everything she says is worth listening to and moves things forward.

He was absolutely right.

I listened to her live, and then listened to her twice more on Vilaweb.  It is in Catalan, so it is unlikely that many of you will understand what she is saying.  She is amazing. She scolded the politicians like they were children.  Told them to get back to the table and shoulder their responsibilities and demanded elections within the next three months.

We'll see what happens, but she has drawn the new route forward and laid down a route for everyone.

A most amazing day.

Oh, and I've got to get the man to handle all photographs in the future. Really.  Why is he a writer?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The news as of 15.10.14 at 10pm

As far as what's going on here.  I don't know where to start and whatever I write is going to be old news in an hour.

But, at the moment, Artur Mas, the president of Catalunya, cancelled the referendum scheduled for Nov 9th to huge disappointment, and a very strange level of quiet.  I find myself much more vocally radical than the people around me.  It is strange.  I have always admired the Catalans for their tolerance and forbearance, but I am confused by the complete and absolute absence of a reaction, they are not even talking about it much amongst themselves.  It is very strange.

Sort of like steam building in a pressure cooker.

There is, at the moment, a large demonstration planned for Sunday, though that has not been universally announced, so who knows if it that will happen, or if the entire political scene will alter again radically between now and then.

In some ways calling off the vote was wise, the Spanish have been massing National Police throughout Catalunya, on standby, not quite sending in the military, but not far off, and any civil servant who volunteered to help with the vote was being threatened with prosecution, and many were volunteering; but at some point Catalunya is going to have to stand up to Spain and not simply sit around waiting for Europe to say something.

It is very odd from a Canadian perspective, the Spanish response has been very 18th century.  No dialogue, no discussion.  No democracy.

They argue that the Constitution cannot be changed, but we both know that constitutions are, and are meant to be, fluid documents that reflect the reality of the country at that time.  It is also very hypocritical as they had to alter the Constitution this spring as there was no mechanism for the King to abdicate, which he did, and they are going to have to alter it again to allow for female succession as the current King, whatever his name is, only has daughters and the next in line is an extremely distant half nephew or something of the sort.

Really, the issue with Catalunya could be so easily solved.  Get their hands off the language and education, which are supposed to be organized provincially, but which they radically altered (undermined) unilaterally last year, vastly weakening the education system here and greatly reducing the amount of Catalan that can be spoken in the schools.  It is quite shocking what they did.  Echos of Franco.

Second, they need to even up the financial imbalance within Spain so that, yes the rich provinces give more than they get, but not as unevenly as it is now and thirdly and finally, transparency in government.  There is no way anyone can know where and to whom the Spanish government sends the money they receive other than by inference, and they are the only ones who can levy taxes; the provinces and municipalities are entirely dependent on Madrid for dispersal of funds.  Transparency isn't going to happen anytime soon though as they all have their fingers in the pie, and it is the same here in Catalunya, quite shocking coming from Canada, but, as an example, I cannot find out anything about the budget in my village even, not even what the local councilors make, and no one can.  Completely opaque.

Anyway, I could keep rambling is a mess, but a fast changing and interesting one.  Also leaving me baffled, frustrated, and angry in pretty much even parts.

Anyway, one insider's news.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


to develop.

A pretty normal word in English.

A would just like to lodge a small complaint.  I really really strongly dislike the word for develop in Catalan.

I am sorry.

But it is true.


There it is.


Too long, too hard to say, too hard to spell.


Development?  Desenvolupament.

A b*tch to spell.

Sorry to all of you Catalans, it is a lovely language.  That word though?  Blech.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Aigua de Farigola

Thyme water

I have been a wee bit under the weather.  Some digestive complaints shall we say.

A friend - a very very Catalan friend - called up to see if I wanted to go walking.  I said no, as you might imagine, as I needed to be in closer proximity to a loo and hadn't eaten a lot.....he said I needed aigua de farigola - which I had read about!

Though I had heard of it as a soup.  And in fact other Catalans had mentioned it to me too.  It has to be about the simplest thing in the world to make, take some thyme (farigola) - dried - that ideally has been picked in the mountains, and put it in water to boil. Like making tea.

If you are making soup from this, traditionally you would put a piece of bread in the bottom of the bowl, with a lot of olive oil on it and maybe a raw egg broken over it, then pour on the boiling hot steeped thyme water.

Supposed to be good for a hangover too.

I just used the water and thyme.  It turned out to be a super Catalan event, cause my friend from the phone didn't have dried thyme, only fresh, so he called another friend to come by and drop it off.

Such is the power of aigua de fariola.

Interestingly, after I'd made it, the man stopped and paused.  He figures his mom used to make it as it was stirring memories deep in his mind and smelled familiar.

She was a good Catalan too.

No, it's BILLION

I wrote million in the last post.  Million, cause giving a company 1.5 BILLION Euros defied imagination.


1.4 Billion Euros it is

1.4 Billion,


Now I want to go and hurt somebody.


It is so time to leave Spain.  C'mon Mas.  Let's get this done.  We've had 24% cut  in the education budget.  24%.


24% cut to education, but you can give 1.5 billion to your buddy (the one who owns Real Madrid) cause his business venture didn't work out, you know, he was causing freaking EARTHQUAKES????

Fuck off.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Trying not to lose faith.

Yah know?

I try not to post too much here that is negative, but jeez, starting to feel like I'd have to be the biggest sort of ostrich.

Climate change is upon us.  Well done us.

Middle east, where does one start?

Spain?  sigh.  I think I know too much.  Canaries wanted to have a referendum about fracking.  Seems they're not allowed.  Valencia, they were fracking there too, got it stopped, but the Spanish gov't has decided to give the company 1.5 million (or is that billions, see below) Euros cause they had to stop.  The health center in town has shut down all but normal working hours and the school has no optionals, but we can spare 1.5 million.  Oh, and know who owns the company?  The same guy who owns Real Madrid.  That football team.

Oh and also, the utter unimaginable stupidity of differences in the meaning of a billion between the US and the UK.  I mean honestly.  S.T.U.P.I.D.

And the BBC, as a final comment in a minor article mentioned Spains deepening financial crisis.  I thought things were actually starting to improve.  They seem to be in day to day ways around us.  Maybe trusting what I see is better than trusting what a journalist in London says, no?

On another note, the Catalans just voted in what is probably the most advanced LGBTQ legislation in the world, and funcionaris (FUNCIONARIS!)  are signing up to work voluntarily to help the vote go through in November. These are civil servants who are famed for being horrible paper pushers in a badly bloated system whose main purpose is to make life more difficult.

Girding up the optimism again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet the creature

What I always called meet the teacher.

My daughter complains about being bored at school, that she could finish what they want to do and be out the door in about a third the time they use.

I agreed, but...but..OMG

Yesterday there was a meeting with parents for the kids in her grade high school.


There are no signs at all telling us where to go and most of the staff don't know either so everyone is w.a.n.d.e.r.i.n.g around the school up and down floors.

We get there.  The chairs are all up on the table, like she can't be bothered to make us welcome.  We get in, she doesn't start on time, doesn't introduce herself, passes a list around for email addresses, no concerns about privacy of information.  Her power point slide has multiple errors and the hand out is printed so small it is illegible, and the light isn't on.

Then she f*cking waffles along about freaking NOTHING.

I had to leave after half an hour, HALF AN HOUR, and I had learned 1 thing that I needed to know.  1 thing.

My poor husband had to stay for another ENTIRE HOUR!

Who in their right freaking mind holds a parent meeting that lasts an HOUR AND A HALF!

I asked my husband what else they talked about.


That's what he said.  Nothing.

And he missed a translating job while he was farting around in there.

God almighty, the teens have the patience of angels.  I'd freak right out.

I'd also fail my students if they gave a presentation like that, indeed I'd walk out before they finished.  LONG before they finished.

Unbelievably disrespectful.

Monday, September 29, 2014


How I love this city.

Saturday, September 27, 2014



I have to do a video for a class I am taking, and I thought I'd get all fAnCy!!!


not such a great idea. 

BTW, Prezi?  the free trial?  sucks. 

Back to basics.  Slides prepared in Google drive (free and easy)

The MAC lets me record the screen and audio with Quicktime, high quality and free with the Mac and DEAD easy.

I was considering using a tool to do some writing on the program like Khan academy does (they are brilliant), but...



back to work.

Friday, September 26, 2014


What is it exactly in your butt that has to toughen up when you ride a bike?  This I want to know.

Went for a short ride yesterday to my Catalan class.  Great, no problem.

Got on this morning to go to work, and hmmmmmmm

Got on this afternoon to come back? OUCH

How does that toughen up?  Do the nerves just stop complaining or what?

I can just be glad it does.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bikes and flats

Had to dust off the bikes after the summer away, dust off is literal, but we also left my bike behind with known flats, so when it came time to get it out, we knew there would be some work to do. 

Not quite as much as we thought though.

Thought the back wheel and the spare had a flat. The front had been sporting a slow leak for some time.  You know, the pump it up once a week kind.


The man, bless him, patched at least 3 on the front, one on the back and one in the spare.  The front he had to take off and on over and over and over again.

I pulled thorns out of both tires


Then I went to the bike shop to get a new patch kit, and talk to the guys about self-healing inner tubes.  I am now the proud owner (but not yet user) of two self-healing inner tubes.  Apparently there's a liquid inside and as long as it is a minor puncture it just cures itself.  You have to go in from time to time and remove the pokey bits, but it's pretty good they say.

Next time I get a flat, I'll put in the new one!  Repair the old spare one and use it as a spare. 

Fingers crossed,

Oh, and the muscles and tush?  Not so in shape as they were last June.  Gonna ache a bit for the next week or two!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saw a fox the other day

While I was walking on Saturday.  Did I mention that?  I think not.

He was lovely, just like Chuck, only smaller and much more afraid of me.

What is interesting to me is that so many animals have different connotations.  For instance for me in English, a fox is cunning, an owl is wise, a snake is untrustworthy, a mule is stubborn, dogs are loyal etc etc etc.

Weirdly, or really I guess not that weirdly, but it still seems odd to me, but in Catalan these animal have different traits. 

Who'd have thought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Half speed and already having to think about breathing

Oh my goodness,

I am only up to half speed as it is, as in only half my classes have started yet, and I am already having to work hard at keeping it all in order and in line.

Definitely a time for girding of loins etc.  I know that the beginning of the year is always chaotic, timetables change, students change groups, online material is just coming together, my language skills are rusty....and I swear last year I spent at least half of my brain power keeping track of where I had to be and when.  I've not got all the gears fully engaged yet.


It's gonna be a fun ride.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Days when stuff works

Gotta love them

The days when things just work out sometimes against the odds, but they just do.

Today, for example.

On Saturday Youngest and I went to buy her a smart phone.  Through clever manipulation of maternal goals (something she's good at) namely playing the 'need to keep in touch with my sister' card, she convinced me that a smart phone was necessary.

OK fine, we went to get one.

Now for those of you out there who didn't know this, there are two sizes of SIM card. Neither Youngest nor I knew this, so when we arrived home with her freshly minted new phone, the card from the old one didn't fit. 

Great wailing and gnashing of teeth, though when I pointed out that she could still get FB, that diminished.

End result?  I went back into BCN today to get the SIM card...btw, you can keep your phone number when you do this!  HALLELUJAH!

Easy peasy!


Then.....I am enrolling in a Masters for my sins, and the enrollment process is somewhat arduous, though not too bad.  I had to get photocopies of some documents and they had to be 'acarades' which I think is something like notarized.  I asked around.  One said I had to go to a notary public - CRAZY expensive here.  Another thought the town hall could.  Went down, no, they cannot, but the neighbouring town could, for a fee.

Lethargy hit, and I decided to take all the originals in with me, (EEK) and throw myself at the feet of bureaucracy. 


The lovely lady at the desk acaraded them herself, no charge, and everything was accepted.

Now to do the course work!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Went walking

Have to say that 10 hours and 33K (which is startlingly slow for us) was probably a little further than I should have gone on the first excursion since mid-June, but heck it was awesome.

We even swam, feet off the ground swam - and was that water ever cold!  And bathed in shallows near the end.

Here's some photos. 

Beyond that edge of dropped straight down.  Wow.

That darker green patch, that's where we could swim. Bigger than it looks.

This waterfall was like a shower!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

two of me

After so many years now of living here and going back to TO in the summers, it's almost like there are two of me.  I have two lives almost.

Two sets of friends
Two different jobs, and they are very unrelated, although I teach in both.  Unrelated in content, in responsibility, in duration, in schedule.
Two different languages
Two different houses, ways of living
Two different ways of eating, we eat quite differently here than there
Two different hobbies.  There, all about sailing, here, all about walking and bicycling and mountains

And it feels like the people in the different places don't know the other me.  I am chattier in Toronto.  I talk of different things.

Same husband (thank all that is good)
Same kids (ditto)

Friday, September 19, 2014


Walking the dog today the man and I came across this snake!

Though he wasn't so active.  About the same size though.

I have been seeing a lot of snakes this month, when we were on the boat I saw 5 or 6 as well, a Garter Snake, a Rattler or two and a Hog Nose Snake and a Northern Water Snake!

Good think I like snakes!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back in Catalunya

Well that took a while.

The joy and peace of being on the boat, (interrupted by far too many bus trips into Toronto), then the chaos of packing and leaving and arriving and getting organized

Good to be home.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Have a good one everyone!

Gone sailing! 

Let the vacations begin!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm very very tired

Eldest got her wisdom teeth out today, and is holding up, but it is time for a blast from the past, cause wisdom teeth being removed is horrid, and watching someone else going through it isn't that great, and remembering it isn't so marvelous either, except remembering that blended up roast beef actually tasted amazing, despite how it looked....and tomorrow I have to go and find a baby food grinder.  I got rid of mine 13 odd years ago...had I known!

So...from the past, what have we got...though I pretty much have kinda a sad post there, and maybe I'll just leave it at that.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Did I mention I got a little bruised sailing?

Wanna see?

I do not bruise easily, indeed, despite all the activities I do I rarely have a bruise, so I must have bashed myself GOOD!

Pretty good, no?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Went out sailing again!

Life is so sweet.

Out sailing again last night, this time in a super fast little dingy, with one too many in the boat.  Lots of wind....dumped and turtled and dumped and LAUGHED, and it was amazing.

Cold, wet and battered by the end and I'd do it again in a heart beat!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just a note from a teacher.

Do yourselves a favour.

When you're in class, or in an exam, especially if you're in an exam, just answer the question.

Nothing fancy, nothing high-highfaluting,





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not a flash from the past, this is just an amazing ray of hope

They have found a toxic bacteria that devours tumors and leaves healthy tissue alone!

It has even got to human trials.  This strikes me as one of those utterly amazing truly hope building bits of news.

Just wow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Gosh but I love to go sailing.

Went out today with a friend on his achingly beautiful boat.  What an absolute treat.


Not sure what it is about it, but I love every part of it.  (except folding racing mains).

Monday, August 11, 2014


These are really old idea!  Still digging through drafts!  These are, I think from 2008

The man leaves stuff on the bed overnight - he still does, if there's socks or sheets of paper on the bed when he gets in it, they just stay there.  Now I do the same thing!

Habits...dusting the feet off on each other before getting into bed.- Something from the boat, there was always you had to rub the soles of your feet together before getting into bed.  Very evocative for me

pumpkin chunkin - we know folks who do this!  Let me find a video. Sadly I've never seen it.

catch more flies with sugar...but a dead your looking good - overheard in central Florida.  Probably true, but not sure how the analogy would go

vanilla toilet paper and blowing your nose with it. ugh - does vanilla scented toilet paper not seem just wrong?  *weird*

mfk fisher - she's brilliant.  If you've heard of her, I'm so glad, if not, look her up

My escape from Poland into Russia - now there is a story of mine I have to blog!

catalan triathalon - oh, yeah, I saw this t-shirt...I think it involved, eating, drinking and ****ing

honesty in food - I think this one was also about having pigs heads in the stores, and pigs sawn in half on ads....if you're going to eat it, you should look at it!

Fear driven culture - I was thinking about the US and conclusions we came to after spending quite a bit of time there.

40 is the new 30, what is that? - I still agree with myself, what is that? Too weird.

spanish real estate prices - are not so completely unrealistic as they were, but still crazy high, and then flat at the top.  Odd.

alone -  this?  I have no idea what this was about.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

BCN bits and pieces.

I discovered/noticed that I have 92 draft posts that didn't get sent out there, so on the days when I am too tired to think, or what I am dwelling on isn't blog-able...I'll toss up a draft, here's one from BCN from I'm not sure when!

Saw a bit in BCN the other day that warranted getting the camera out:

Classic beauty:

Somewhat defaced street beauty:

Saturday, August 9, 2014


The man used to row very very competitively when he as younger, and still competed a bit when we met, but the vagaries of our life have not allowed him the training that he needs.

That actually isn't strictly true, as he is rowing in Catalunya, just it's fixed seat and in a much less sleek boat that he was used to.

So, we went out to Henly today to watch the boats go by.  I love doing this.  I wouldn't want to go out all week, but an afternoon hanging out with the man watching the boats race and it.

Some random shots:

Great day.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wet brushes

Went climbing today with Youngest, and a friend, well a few friends.  Indoors.....

still good.

I can consistently climb a 5.10-, now working 5.10+s.  We'll see.

That said, the stupendous part of the day, going through photos of some of my paintings. I've done a lot, and some are pretty good...nothing to be ashamed of anyway.

So this evening, finally, I got the brush on the paper again.  And about time.


Saturday, July 26, 2014


Went running the other day up by where I work.  I run in a ravine there, on a trail.

I never see anybody.

In the park leading in to the ravine, yeah, sometimes, and I've seen bunnies and deer and birds and lots and lots of snails that I stop and scoot (well, gently toss) off the path so they don't get stepped on, and folks.

However, once I hit the trail, no one.  Ever.

Until the other day when I went running there.  I was bounding (well, more like jogging, but allow me some delusions) along happily feeling great when I saw someone ahead of me on the trail. Walking.

Let me just say that it is 7am.

He's carrying a chain saw, at 7am on a deserted trail.

I will also say that he was wearing a hard hat, with ear protectors, and a reflective safety vest, but still, it's 7am, a little early for the Parks and Rec department, I would have thought.

He hadn't heard me so I slowed to his pace and had a little internal debate about what to do.

Normally in Spain when I run on the trails I have to dog, and he provides a measure of protection.  The reality is that I'm not sure his Chuckiness would actually do anything, but neither are they, so it works.  I did not have the dog with me this time.

Ho hum

People don't actually in real life get murdered by chainsaw wielding nutjobs in parks in the Greater Toronto Area, I mean, it's not impossible, but the stats on this have got to make it very unlikely.

I followed him along for a while and decided it was fine, accelerated and passed him.  Then I passed the other 6 guys who were ahead of him, all in hard hats with ear protectors and safety vests.

Guess the municipal workers in that area start pretty early.

Weirdly, I didn't see them on the way back through this narrow ravine out and back.  Like they'd disappeared.

Friday, July 18, 2014

goodness of humanity

As a small, indeed minor offset to today's dreadful news, I small and wonderful moment of lovely humans, let's remember that the lovely ones far outnumber the horrors.

Today with the dog I went over to the local school yard for the early morning walk, and low and behold, mowed into the grass is a lovely artistic swirling curving wave of a pattern, doubling back on itself and winding around the sides of the field.


I was marveling at it, thinking wonderful thoughts about humanity in general, and the fact that someone would go to the trouble, just because it was lovely, when up pulled the custodian of the school in his car.  In my excitement, I point it out to him and, in retrospect, rather unsurprisingly, turns out that he's the lovely mower! 


I express my delight at starting off my day seeing it and he replies, "The kids love it, and if the kids love it, I'm right there for it.  I see them walking the maze really often, even some of the teachers do."

Thanks Mr. Custodian, (name omitted for his privacy, but also cause I think he's got to be one of the coolest folks around).  Made my day, and seems you regularly make a whole lot of other people's days too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mental space

By no means am I going to claim that I have found the key to the universe, but for me, to get my butt out the door and running, the trick is to not think about it.  That sounds dumb, but I lay the clothes out the night before, everything in order, then when I get up, it's just part of the routine.  Simple as that, and, like brushing my teeth, it isn't something I enter into long debate with myself over....gee, don't feel like brushing my teeth, am I going to brush my teeth this morning, or shall I put it off to another day?
Just don't even consider it, part of the routine on automatic pilot.
works, for me
Still wish it was something I look forward too though, which normally it's not.

That said, I'm almost always glad I went while I'm running, and I am always glad I went afterwards., while running, I had warm sun on me, masses of wildflowers, red-winged blackbirds, a goldfinch, two rabbits, two deer and a quail!  Plus I ate rasberries and blueberries.

Lovely start to a day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

lazy days that get strangely busy

Second sorta kinda lazy day in a row, as in I didn't get up early and didn't rush.

Yesterday was supposed to be a nothing kinda day, and it kinda was, went to the library, got dog food, kids bought candy, make a pie for a birthday for a friend, then it sort of went sideways when youngest stood on a rusty nail and we tried to figure out when her last tetanus shot was.  A long time ago in fact.  We should probably all get it updated.  Maybe with the passports. Every time you renew your passport, get a tetanus shot.  Hmmm, that might work.

Took the Catalan girl to the airport to fly home, have a story and a half to tell from that.

Today, another go at a quiet kind of day.  Eldest was off at the crack of dawn, the Man is working on a pair of big translations, and youngest is sleeping.

Slept in, strange but strangely good breakfast, finished my work for the weekend, had a cup of tea, and set off to walk the dog.

Normally in the mornings we go to a nearby park and I throw buckets of pine cones and he chases them.  All good, I hadn't planned on that today as it is rather late, and he has a habit of chasing people on bikes and loud running kids.  Kinda dorky of him, but there it is.  Today though, there were a bunch of dogs running around off leash and not too many kids, so we ventured into the park.  Got a bunch of tosses in, then the heavens was raining good and hard on us! 

Back to the book, a little damper, the dog didn't know I had a long walk planned, so he's not disappointed or anything.

These kinds of weekends are pretty sweet too.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Running trail

Here in TO I finally have time to do some running again, and I really prefer running trail, indeed I totally SUCK at running on the road.

It is kind of sad that I want to run trail here, cause in comparison to what I have on offer in Catalunya, it's pretty sad pickings, but do what you can when you can.  Missing the bike strangely enough.

Though not flats.

Anyway,  as I was running along the other day I was trying to figure out why it was that I like trail so much more.  There is no doubt that part of it is that I am on trail, not on a road.  That is a big fat part of it. It is just so much nicer.

Then there is the reality that it engages my brain just that little bit more, I have to think about where I'm going to put my foot, and then again, or how to navigate an obstacle or whatever.

Also though, there is the reality that when you are running on trail, usually there are things like trees going by, and nearby, and it makes you feel f.a.s.t.! Look at all the stuff whipping past me!  I am a rock star!!!

When in reality you are just plodding along.....but having fun.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Went down to Rush Lane yesterday in Toronto, reputedly the place to go and do, and obviously see graffiti, it was cool, and there as a lot of pretty cool work there, but it didn't have much edge, to me.  I'm going to have to be doing some serious photo taking of the graffiti in this city, cause there's a lot and a lot of it is cool.  Although a lot of it walks the line between murals and graffiti, which I find interesting.