Thursday, August 26, 2010

too many things

So yes, it's been a long while. Not that anybody seems to have noticed! Though I do owe many e-mails so maybe people are ticked off...

If I had spare energy, I could have been posting daily about silly little things that flit through my mind as I'm exploring my new hood -- like these crazy cool humming bird-like moths that I see flitting around some flowering bushes at a nearby small park, or how i'm eating gazpacho every chance i get (absolutely LUV the stuff) but prefer Alain's to any restaurant so far, though he hasn't made any since we were in San Juan because our homelife routine is still  too out of whack to actually do stuff like that since we've had visitors non-stop of late, plus we received our shipment just over a week ago and have our heads in boxes at every opportunity.

But sorry, I lay off the long stream-of-overloaded-consciousness sentences... The other thing I could talk about is G's separation anxiety (after getting locked in that back bedroom and damaging the door, she had another episode where she damaged the also-antique front door) was just starting to get better last weekend to the point where I was able to go out without her on both Saturday & Sunday to no material detriment. But then... dunh-dunh-dunh, renovations began next door and the hammering & knocking sounds to her like it's coming from our living room so she's spent the last few mornings wandering about anxiously, howling and barking at nothing. While meanwhile, I'm trying to work (work is very busy too, e-commuting or not)!

Oh and I really wanted to write about the other night's first Real Madrid (soccer for the clueless) game and how our neighbourhood was somewhat of a zoo from 5 p.m. until midnight or so, because... get this folks: the stadium is half a block from our house!

Or, I could talk about our continuing quests: for good organic vegetables (we're having second thoughts about the farmer we got baskets from the past two weeks and SO miss our Konohana Family Farm), good bread (I failed at my recent first attempt to make my own), and good parks for the G.

When it cools off a bit , or one morning (it's nice & cool before noon but then heats up and stays hot through into the night) this weekend maybe, I'd like to check the one pictured here on the map. It's a bit far (probably take us around 1/2 an hour each way) but looks bigger and better than anything else we've found so far.

And while it has been really nice seeing A's family (his brother & nieces and then cousin & second cousin), it will be good to have a quiet weekend and finally finish unpacking! Oh and catch up on my e-mail too...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

vamos al parque

Sometimes it's difficult for me to gauge just exactly how doomed the world is. Having been worried and working toward preserving it for the past 20 years, I figure that everyone must be concerned to some degree. Mustn’t they?

Here in Spain I have so far had cause to wonder. It seems to me that Madrileños pasan olímpicamente (could give a damn) about not just the health of the planet but, going by the contents of most restaurant menus, their own as well! (Vegetables are a rarity and, when they are present, they tend to be either overcooked or from a jar.)

So on goes our search for food we want to eat and for products we feel good about buying… The frustration this search is evoking in us is probably exacerbated by our extra-fond memories of Konohana Family Farm, the mind-blowingly awesome organic cooperative farm that sent us the most divine vegetables and other awesome products weekly back in Tokyo (in fact there will be an Our World 2.0 story and videobrief on it soon).

Nonetheless, we soldier on in our research. This morning we did find something we can try, when it reopens from summer vacation in September (yes, many stores close down for the whole month of August). We took our first family walk to the biggest nearby park (Parque de Berlin) and as we ate breakfast at a sidewalk table near the park afterwards, a sign caught my eye: El Super They deliver and their website is quite extensive but I’d prefer to check it out in person before doing any ordering since the organic shop we have right across the street has a website too and baby, reality looks a little different in person (many of the veggies completely shrivelled, the breads of an undetermined age)!

Anyway, the G-dog sure was in a good mood today, what with the first morning family walk since we arrived here 10 days ago. She had gotten used to them in San Juan, and obviously misses them like she does the padres, and Alain when he’s at work. But Little Miz will have more attention tomorrow afternoon when A’s brother and two teenage nieces arrive. They’re leaving the next day for a few days visit in San Juan and then they’ll be back to spend next weekend with us. That should liven up our quiet lives a bit!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

two pages of vocabulary

Oh the 'To do' list grows and grows! I have yet to locate a place but I'm planning on joining a conversation group or whatnot to practice my verbal Spanish skills. My spoken fluidity lags quite noticeably behind my comprehension.

While my oral comprehension doesn't require much work, I'm nonetheless anxious for our shipment to arrive and bring me my dictionaries, for this morning over breakfast I read a 5-page short story in El País Semanal (the weekend supplement magazine of the newspaper A favours) that yielded 2 notebook pages of vocabulary and expressions I need to look up.

Nothing much else to tell at the moment, since we have not explored much of the city yet, what with getting settled in, banking, shopping, and the fear of leaving doggy-pants alone again just yet. Yesterday we walked to a nearby market (indoor, not a farmer's) and I went in to buy veggies as G & A waited at a nearby bar (what café/bistros are called here, as I've mentioned). I bought a big load of veg, a couple of peaches, a couple of pears and two apricots, some ginger and a huge bag of bay leaves, and it only cost 18 euros — a big difference from Japan! I must start researching organic produce though, hopefully find a farm that delivers/drops nearby or a farmer's market at least.

Oh and we met the very nice and chatty landlord of our apartment who came by last night with her son and husband to have a look at our airconditioning system. By that time however, we had already determined that it was a short circuit that was flipping the breaker when certain rooms were put on at the same time. Thankfully we can now use it, closing doors and cooling only a room or two at a time, which for green-ness sake we would be doing most of the time anyway (when it's just the 3 of us)!