Saturday, January 31, 2015

Long long long day.

Wow, one of those that seems to be three or four shoe-horned into one.

Got up and taught this morning (fortunately I'd gotten about 12 hours in bed last night which started to make up for last week.

My cold seems to not be blossoming into the pneumonia that it is turning into in those around me...YEAH sleep!

Then the man and I got on our bikes and rode off to a calçotada at my boss' house, which was fine, but know what?  I am all socialized out.  I spend a. lot. of. time. talking to people in my job.  A lot.  and the last three weeks with the caving course?  A lot of the weekend making small talk. 

By the time we got to this festa, I was pretty much talked out.


Back on the bikes, and home (up hill and down and up and down!!!!) 

Then into BCN to do a little very necessary shopping.......and now youngest is having a wee party downstairs. 

I for one am going to make myself a little night time cold medicine, so I sleeeeeeeppppppp - though somehow it still isn't as refreshing as a real night's sleep...maybe it disturbs the sleep rhythms or something.

then bed with a book.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Curiouser and curiouser

Here's the thing, and it's a little thing and an odd thing that I have noticed over the last few years.

Catalans have the worst time noticing italic writing.  It seems to look just like other writing to them.  They can only barely pick it out of a text and some have a great deal of difficulty doing so.

My thinking is this.  When I was a child, the text books used italics to emphasise bits of text they wanted us to notice or remember, or it was used for the titles of books or magazines, etc.

Here, the text books use bold.  They use it a LOT, no, a lot.  Drives me bonkers, I have to confess, because I tend to end up reading the bold and not reading anything else.  As do the students cause those are the bits that are on the test.

Seems they are inadvertently teaching the kids to scan...but scan possibly tooooo much.  So much that they have a really rough time picking out italics.

Now I know though and I underline it in the text when I show it, and for those in real difficulty, I underline it throughout the exercise.

Weird, no?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Masters so far

Two courses in,

Two 9s

Life is good.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Funerals (again)

One of the tricky things about living in another country is getting hold of the traditions and doing it correctly.  With things like weddings, this is not such a big deal, but with a funeral?  Whole different kettle of fish.

You see, if people are happy, like at a wedding, and you get the protocol a little wrong, they are generally forgiving.  If they are already distressed, like with a funeral, not so good.  Generally viewed as insulting.

So, when we were faced with another funeral here - one of the things about living in a small town?  I go to WAY more funerals than I ever would in Canada.  WAY!!!!

First big difference.  You can wear most anything you want to a funeral.  LOTS of people show up in jeans.  The man and I are almost always by far the most formally dressed, and people comment on it.
Also, for a society that recognizes the difficulty of losing a family member, even one that in Canada would be relatively distant, they are in other ways surprisingly relaxes about who goes to the funeral. My boss' father died, and I've worked there for going on 9 years now, but the funeral was at a time that was nearly impossible.

No worries, The Man could go as the representative of the family.  What a great idea!!!!

As long as SOMEONE shows up, all good.

That was the big take-away this time.  It is OK if you cannot go, they recognize that it is sometimes really hard to get off work (not so much in Canada if it is someone close) but that you can send any warm body as a representative.

Pretty clever.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Then we went caving again

On Sunday....

we saw a bat, a salamander and a lot of very big healthy spiders!!!!

No pictures of my own as they've informed me that caves are death to cameras, too much dust. 

Fortunately other folks with snappy phones are willing to share, so here's a couple!

I may have to work out how to take photos in another way...cause it is frustrating taking none, the places are really cool.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Palau de la Música!

Then that night, we went to a concert at the Palau de la Música!!!!

Spectacular, the building was amazing, they played Mahler's 5th, which was wonderful. 

It was the Simòn Bolivar Orchestra with Gustavo Dudamel.  Fabulous,

Some photos.

First the Cathedral that we walked past on the way there!  BTW, never ever ever, go into BCN on a Saturday night during the month of sales. OMG the people!!!!!

Though the concert was sooooo worth it!

The view from our seats, the building is amazing, and the photo makes them look MUCH more distant that they were.  Weird.

Details of the building.

Huge thanks to our wonderful friends for the tickets!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Today is Sant Antoni

The patron saint of animals, so look who we had going around and around the town!

Lots and lots of horses!

and dogs, and rabbits and cats and and and, the day of the blessing of the animals!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life grabbed me and shook me up

So I didn't get the next post up!

On Sunday Youngest and I went off climbing up and down ropes in preparation for doing some vertical caves!


 We went up and
 down and
and down

it was serious fun

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Missed writing yesterday, went caving today

The day just got toooooo hectic, including a haircut late at night, then dinner with a friend, then prepping Saturday's class with the man at 10:30 pm!!!!

Still had to pack for caving after that...

TOO busy, but all's some photos!

The cave actually goes on quite a long way from here, but you need scuba tanks, and the folks who do cave diving tend to have, ahhhh, short life spans.  Cost/benefit ration just doesn't work out in my mind.

A lot of this cave was very low, some of it very very low.  Not my favourite part of caving...but it was still a very good day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hey Baby

That's what someone called out to me when I was on my bike today.

Hey Baby!

Younger guy, lets say mid 20s, big smile, big open arms. 

I ignored him completely, feeling pissed inside. 

He switched to Spanish and said (in translation) 'pardon me, could I ask you a question' a much different message, but he already had my back WAY up.

Angrily and in English, I told him I wasn't his baby, and kept on going - barely biting back the urge to tell him to f*** off.....he asked if he could ask me a question, this time in English. 


and I was gone.

It left me thinking though.  The difference in tone between the Spanish question and the English one were very different.  In English, at best it sounded like a sleezy pickup line in a bar, at worst, how you'd talk to a hooker. 

Got. my. bakc. right. up.

In Spanish very correct and very polite.

It made me wonder if he'd heard it on TV or the movies and thought it was OK, which almost made me want to talk to him and tell him the impression he was making (once a teacher, always a teacher I guess)  but another part of me.....omg

I am finally old enough I mostly don't have to deal with this shit on the streets anymore. Middle aged women are basically invisible, and it is nice.

F*** OFF!!!!  guys.  Just F. OFF.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

walking again

Nothing huge, but went with a friend for about 4 hours, and with youngest too, we wandered around really, nothing too profound, but it was lovely. 

We found this 'mina'  these are springs in the hill that are developed to either produce water on sight, or like this one was, to send it down to the town below...this one was pretty developed and so we stuck our noses in.

Cool, no?

There was also this big rock, if you look carefully it looks like a gigantic dinosaur egg.....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tea, for me, is a very private thing

I think that tea should be a social thing, a lot of the time and the few times I am with my British family, I do adore it how someone always goes and puts the kettle on for everyone. 

My parents do too, but they drink their tea very differently than I do, (green and very weak) so we don't tend to share it out.

No one in my immediate family likes tea, and sometimes, out of a sense that tea should be sociable at least some of the time, I offer my kids some.  NEVER any takers, they just don't like it.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love my cups of tea, but sometimes, it is just better when you're sharing it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

the Master's!!!

One course complete

The other course......just handed in the big fat project!!!!


Still some details,
  • make sure a different section is published for the class  DONE!
  • comment on the other teams' work  DONE!  (8.1.15)
  • fill out and send in two evaluation forms, one an auto-evaluation and one for the course, strangely to be filled in before we get our marks. DONE! (23.1.15)
  • stop updating social media accounts we had to create associated with the project DONE! (9.1.15)
  • delete all the social media accounts
However, the DONE!!!!!

(I will miss working with two of the guys, but not so much the third!)

Wow.  Relief.

(Later:  got a 9 in the course!!!!!, well, in both of them!!!!!!)



You would think that we would all have a certain amount of similarity about this, but no.

I remember taking a train through China back in 1989-90, and it was a long distance train.  All the Chinese, as soon as they got on the train, changed into their jammies and stayed in them till they got off.  (While smoking heavily)

The Catalans?  As soon as they are home for the day, they get in their jammies.  Aparently everyone does it.  If they're at home, they're in jammies.  This may explain the strangely high prices for jammies here too.

I don't know many folks in Canada who do this.  Teenagers, maybe yes, not when they get home, but not wanting to get out of them in the morning.

Do many of you change into jammies when you get home from work?  I mean, I am told, that they are cooking and eating dinner in their jammies.......

Not exactly a big deal, but odd differences.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Went into BCN yesterday to the Ai Weiwei exhibit.

I've seen quite a few of them (Ai Weiwei exhibits that is), and there is always a certain repetition, but it is also always interesting, he is so prolific (he has lots of people who help him produce too, in the spirit of most of the old Masters as well)

Anyway, here's a couple of shots:

He does a lot of plays on words, which needs some explanation as they are plays on Chinese words.  This is basically how to say F*** You and his country in marble over and over and over again.

Graphic design made into wallpaper commenting on his, and china as a whole's, state of surveillance.

This was very cool.....not because it was art, cause it wasn't really, but because it's his actual table and chairs from his studio and you can sit in it and put your feet up on the table!  Well, he is all about irreverence and sharing, so really, no one could complain.  We did wipe it off afterwards too.

Very cool chairs, Quin dynasty, or in the style of.

From a video of the destruction of his studio in China.  The authorities decided to destroy it 20 days after it was finished.

Ai Weiwei filming the destruction.

The giant pneumatic drills looked like birds, or enormous dinosaurs.

Speaking of dinos, didn't even know this existed, must go there.

Wandering back, we went by this cool building

and looking up

and this one too!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The other day we went to the new Design Hub

In Barcelona, they built the design hub a couple of years ago, and it looked really cool...until the put the finish on it, and the finish is terrible 

Really horrid.  See here

However, we went for a visit, it was free that day....

There were three exhibits, a really boring one about design, a really interesting one about fashion and a great one about household objects.

Took a couple of pictures.

This was kinda cool......

This is like 5000 years old, which is simply amazing!

and this looks like Picasso copied it!!!!!

 he was a big copy cat.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 1 of 2015

First day of the year, pretty quiet, like New Year's last night.

We didn't want to get grapes, Youngest particularly as they kind of make her feel ill, so we cut up mandarin slices and ate those. Good, and much less of a choking hazard.

What else?

We only have one puzzle, and as my family has a tradition of doing a jigsaw puzzle at Xmas, we've done it several times. In some ways that makes it easier, in others, not so much.  You see, we can visualize which pieces go where quite easily, but as it has been done fairly often, the little nubs are getting rounded and it is much harder to tell if a piece goes in a particular spot.

Also, everyone else seems to have lost interest, so really, it's just me doing it.

Makes it harder too.

This last week has been most productive

Finished one course in the Masters completely!

Got Eldest organized with a resume finished and some job applications in for the summer

Got youngest organized around a t-shirt company she wants to start (more work needed there)

Getting spring organized with timing of events coming up - and some look REALLY cool!!!!

Getting everything in line for one of my jobs, which feels great

Still to be done

  • list house to rent it for the summer
  • find place to live for the summer in TO
  • get funding question answered by the UOC (Masters)
  • get British Consulate and Eldest organized re right of abode for her
  • finish the other Masters course (this is trickier as it is a group project, and I cannot just finish it cause I want to)
sure there's more but the list is reassuringly short!!!