December 14, 2006

My Year of 12 of 12

Today we have a compilation of this year's 12 of 12 posts. Had I participated all year, I would have one picture from each month. Unfortunately I only made four 12 of 12 posts. I chose three pictures from each of the four months and posted them with their original descriptions. I arranged them in order according to time of day and notated the month as well. Thanks, Chad. Enjoy, everyone!

8:23; September 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

I watch this every morning on my terrace.

8:37; December 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

When I return from taking Señor CC to work, Chompy-lones is taking a brief morning nap. Here he is sporting his new VT football jersey - he so tough.

8:57; December 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

Some of my favorite things this time of year are the wonderful smells associated with the holidays. Although I do not have a live tree, they do smell great. I also enjoy the smell of the baked goods and of course the Christmas dinner. Here is my sleigh of smell-goods that I leave out for the season. They smell a lot like the "Cranberry Chutney" Yankee Candle - my favorite.

10:09; October 12, 2006

Málaga, Spain

Here is the front of Terminal Two. This terminal handles all check-ins and 90% of the arrivals. This is just about the only view where you cannot see all of the construction going on to enlarge the facilities.

10:17; August 12, 2006

Pub; London

We took a short walk through St. James's Park and then went over to Buckingham Palace to collect our entry tickets for that afternoon. We passed this pub on our way to the tube at Victoria Station.

10:39; August 12, 2006

Westminster Abbey; London

Westminster Abbey is indescribable. There are crypts on display and grave markers underfoot. One can follow the progression of artwork through the centuries by simply walking from room to room. No pictures are allowed inside, but the exterior of the building hints to its greatness. Two hours of awe later, we happened upon this garden at the Abbey. The fountain and foliage make for a peaceful place. The ironwork in and around the building is amazing.

11:51; October 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

I don't really know yet what, if anything, goes on over here for Halloween. I am suspecting that many tricks are carried out by the local bird community. I do know that there is SOMETHING in our chimney and that it is tormenting our doggy-chomp to pieces. A ghost? A zombie? An over-sized spider? Or...oh, my...another stinking BIRD?!?!?!?

11:55; December 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

This hand-made/painted ornament is what Señor CC chose as our reminder of Salzburg. We have pictures (of course) and some other things, but we both enjoy purchasing ornaments. When we decorate the tree each year it is so fun to remember where we've been.

13:01; October 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

Soon chompy-lones realizes that I am not "working" and asks me to play. With this...his so-called "bestest of the bestest fantabulous toys in the whole ginormous universe"...he IS just a doggy. And it still squuueeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkksssss. So...yay.

17:56; August 12, 2006

Wellington Arch; London

This arch, planned by King George IV, was once a gateway into the city from the west. It was moved in 1882-3 because the road needed to be widened. It served as a police station (the second smallest) at one time, but is now a museum.

20:05; September 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain bean and chicken burritos.

21:23; September 12, 2006

Sotogrande, Spain

The only golf I play.

December 13, 2006

December 12 of 12

Goodness! I've been missing; I know. There was some frantic present-making after my last post which was followed by a long trip home (woot!). That trans-Atlantic trip demanded a week of recovery and then Señor CC and I were off on yet another trip (ack) to the city of Salzburg (more on that later) for Christmas.

Aside from causing me to use an abundance of parenthetical asides (apparently) in my writing, my trips were fabulous.

Now that I am home, unpacked, and done with the piles upon piles of laundry (mostly) I can finally get around to updating for the audience (that means you, BU! (as well as Booty and Amber)).

Here is my 12 of 12 for December, as requested by Chad. By the way, he has added an extra post this month which should be loads of fun for all. If only I had started doing this in January! Oh well - there is always next year.

7:39; Sotogrande, Spain

Why yes, it is the 12th of December already. I have been so busy lately that the time has flown. Señor CC and I go home, together this time, in less than two weeks. We lurv flying, especially over the Atlantic Ocean.

7:41; Sotogrande, Spain

This amazing fish is Cooper's new favorite toy. Well, mostly. Truthfully the shoe still holds the key to his happiness, but in times of necessity, the fish will do. I brought home no less than five squeaky toys my last trip; this was the absolute winner, paws down. In fact, he could smell them in my luggage, took to rooting about for them, and wouldn't stop until I placed them all on the floor in a pile for inspection. The fish, the only one from a pet store, was the "best" smelling...I wonder why?

8:37; Sotogrande, Spain

When I return from taking Señor CC to work, Chompy-lones is taking a brief morning nap. Here he is sporting his new VT football jersey - he so tough.

8:56; Sotogrande, Spain

One interesting thing about living in Spain is the absolute seasonal availability of most products. Only at Christmas time can you purchase a wide variety of dried fruits and nuts, any dried red fruits (strawberries and cherries...and no, they don't have dried cranberries), chocolates, and the very popular jamon iberico. One item I especially enjoy is the clementines...mmm.

8:57; Sotogrande, Spain

Some of my favorite things this time of year are the wonderful smells associated with the holidays. Although I do not have a live tree, they do smell great. I also enjoy the smell of the baked goods and of course the Christmas dinner. Here is my sleigh of smell-goods that I leave out for the season. They smell a lot like the "Cranberry Chutney" Yankee Candle - my favorite.

8:59; Sotogrande, Spain

Back in July I told my Mom that I would like to have a turquoise coloured purse. She, being organized and 'with-it' on the Christmas present front, promptly wrote that item down on her list and commenced searching. Apparently she searched and searched...much like the little bird in Are You My Mother? except with a little less mother and a little more "Does this purse come in turquoise?"...and also unlike the book - she searched to no avail. The only turquoise purse she was able to locate was the one you see above. It easily fits into the palm of my hand, and shall therefore be used not only as the key chain it was intended to be, but also to hold my one euro coins for the shopping cart at the grocery store. Yes, in Spain you get your cart with a euro...and then - imagine this, everyone - you (and get your coin back as well). Brilliant - no shopping cart dodging in the parking lots!

9:40; Sotogrande, Spain


You take your peanut butter and you spread it, you spread it, you spread it, spread it, spread it...then you eat it, you...

Also starring: honey, clementines, and coffee.

10:30; Sotogrande, Spain

Ah, one of my favorite ornaments. A gift from Ray of walking-on-her-hands fame. She is coming to visit next April, and it shall be so much fun! I imagine that she will not be walking on her hands in Spain...but I suppose you just never know.

11:26; Sotogrande, Spain

Those piles upon piles of laundry I spoke of? Well, three loads were washed on Sunday when we returned from Austria, and four more were done today. Yes - we had a lot of dirty clothes. Eww. I took some time today to move my summer clothing into drawers and my winter clothing to the shelves and hangars you see here. I haven't had to do a clothing switch like that for over three years now. Yay for colder weather - how I've missed thee.

11:55; Sotogrande, Spain

This hand-made/painted ornament is what Señor CC chose as our reminder of Salzburg. We have pictures (of course) and some other things, but we both enjoy purchasing ornaments. When we decorate the tree each year it is so fun to remember where we've been.

12:29; Sotogrande, Spain


Not a culinary masterpiece, but yummy still the same. Whatever is in that pot? Why, water and seasoning at the moment. It soon became my first attempt at instant mashed potatoes...and they weren't half bad! I seem to want something warm for each meal these days. It is quite chilly in my brick, cement and marble (no insulation) apartment. Cooper agrees, hence the VT jersey.

14:00; Sotogrande, Spain

I spent some time after lunch wrapping the few presents we have for our 'Spanish' expat. family. Some of them included treats and squeaky toys for the dog. Yes, all of those other toys he deemed unworthy of his attention at first sniff are now wrapped up for Christmas fun. Unfortunately he could smell the rubber again and almost began unwrapping them a few days early! They are now hidden in a closet where wii doggies(that was for you, Brian!), no matter how tough, can go. The treats? Why, they are still under the tree; he could care less about those. A food-driven doggy I do not have...attention is all the rage!

Yes, I leave you at 2:00 pm this December 12th. The remainder of my day was a visit from KS including showing of Salzburg trinkets and pictures as well as the finishing of that laundry - woo hoo! Obviously I have spent some time doing this, and as I am not exactly technologically wizard-like, it takes me longer than most. There was a little doggy feeding and walking and soon there will be a dinner to serve. That is all for now; tomorrow there will be more, so check back in!

October 20, 2006

How to Make it Rain in Spain

an instruction manual in one part.

Go running.

No, seriously. All I have to do is go for a run. Oh, sure - I can wait all morning for the dark cloud-o'-doom to pass overhead; I can watch amazed as it appears to laugh in the face of winds so strong they resemble those used by Va. Tech aerospace engineers during their experiments in the wind tunnel on campus. I can make the decision that it must be holding off until the evening and head out.

I ran about half a kilometer and then *splat*.

Oh, the joys of running outdoors.

I have recently re-discovered my love of running. I knew that I love it, of course, but I hadn't participated in running for, well, years. I'd also like to admit that the only kind of running that I truly enjoy is running which occurs outdoors in the cold, wind, heat, sun, rain, etc. Granted, I go to extremes to avoid the heat and sun, and I'm not overly fond of the cold and wind, but I love to run. More importantly, I love to run in the rain.

There are many reasons for my love of running. I know that my body enjoys it. My heart-rate increases and my muscles ache afterwards. The farther I run, the more I relax. My body falls into a rhythm with my steps and my breathing. I can think more clearly, and I remember.

That's right, I can think more clearly and I remember.

There are physical benefits to running and there are mental/emotional ones as well. I know that the physical benefits are specific to the sport; I am not saying that one cannot reap similar ones from other sports, only that running facilitates them in its own specific way. The mental/emotional ones are, I believe, gained by individuals in different ways. There are a multitude of ways to gain clearer thinking, and each person chooses and utilizes his or her own favorite method.

I know, I know, why this topic? Why do I think the audience wants to know about my love of running? Actually, I don't. I write this for me and not you. I still think you're wonderful, no doubt. My reason for this topic: the idea for this post came to me while running in the rain. It did not just poof into my head, but rather came to me in a very round-about way that all began with my remembering things from my past. This is really why I love running. I never use any headphones while I run. This is partly for safety; I'd like to hear the cars and mopeds; it is also because without them, I think. My body relaxes, and my mind can wander. I think about things that I subconsciously don't allow myself to think about otherwise.

Back to the *splat*.

My first thought was something like Dude! I can't believe this! The dude-usage is a new habit I am trying to break. My Dude!-use began as I started the game Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy for the second time over at SlyK's apartment while our families were out o' town. Since then, Dude! has been a word.of.choice around here. Even the dog is tired of it. Incidentally, lurkers are the bad guys in the game, which I have played and beaten. It is easy-peasy, this official status determined by the fact that I beat it, and also - lots of fun.

The bad, bad (but not so smart) lurkers in the game set me to thinking (yes, I am southern) about the status I employ on pretty much every site I read. The connection? Why, audience, you know that one already: a lurker reads but never comments!

One of my favorite writers is dooce. About a year ago, BU! introduced me to her site. Like a good little lurker, I have read all of the archives and continue to read each post-of-goodness as it arrives on the site. I have never commented there; I should, because it provides me with such entertainment and she deserves to know that she has yet one more fan, but thus far I am a lowly lurker-in-hiding. This brought me full-squiggly-curly-q back to the dude phenomenon. You see, the name, dooce, is a direct result of the author's dude-speak. See there? There are others, much more famous than I, who have and do experience the art of speaking dude. If you want to know how Dude and Dooce are related, then go on over there and lurk-ify yourselves. Dooce is one all of the audience should know - so get to reading!

All of my wandering thoughts about Dooce and Dude!-speak brought me back to the lurking because ultimately I was more focused on when my very own dude-use began how to rid myself of it. Yes, I know: I have already explained that.

Yet another wonderful thing about running: my wandering mind occasionally fully explores certain topics. This translates to my re-visiting them and therefore you get to do so as well. Whoop!

I have now followed that half-circle (we really didn't go a full one, don't you agree?) back to the lurking. As stated, I lurk on the websites I read every day. I do not comment. I am fairly certain this is directly related to the fact that I am an introvert. [I know, why have a blog if you are an introvert?!?] If I were more out-going, I would comment everywhere, and btw - I'd get more people reading my blog that way as well. Maybe that is another reason I don't comment. I don't really think I'm ready to publicize the fact that I write about my life online. In fact, I have only directly told a handful of people. And by handful, I really mean five or less.

These thoughts logically pushed me into thinking about who I have told about my blog. Well, there is Mr. Magic Fingers himself (not those kind of magic-fingers, people), who can WOW me at every turn with his magic-ness. I met him in college, and every time we get to visit with one another, we end up talking about real things full of meaning. Then there is K-O, who could walk on her hands all the way around the elevators in our dorm when I first met her(!). While running, I remembered that I called her Ray back in college. We won't go into why, exactly, but there was a very good reason. The other person I told is BU!, who has his own very *key* site...and yes, I pretty much lurk there as well.

All three of these fantabulous people are people to whom I could tell anything. We are not related; we do not live anywhere near each other (especially now that I am in Spain); I haven't seen two of them in three years; however, I know that I could tell them anything and it would be safe, accepted, and attempts would be made to understand me. Additionally, if I were to ever ask for help, they would give it. I cannot explain it; I just know they would do these things. We have had arguments; we have had a falling-out; we have lost touch and regained it, and at this point in our lives, we still (at least occasionally) communicate. I think of each of them every day, although I don't believe they know that, and I value them. These three are the definition of the word friend.

My thoughts about these three people (I cannot tell you how excited I was to remember the Ray part, because seriously, I had completely forgotten about it) got me to thinking (more proof: me - southern) about the fact that my relationship with them is mostly online. Yes, indeedy, I lurvs me the Internet. I have spoken to Ray on the phone once here recently (yay for late-night practices), but aside from that, I communicate with them via email, IM or blogs. Granted, one of the reasons I communicate online is that I am now 6+ hours ahead of everyone I know. When I take the time to think about these things, though - you know, when I am running - it is obvious that many of my relationships are of the online variety. In fact, I distinctly remember late-night ICQ conversations with Ray through the wall that separated our dorm rooms. Yes, she was RIGHT.NEXT.DOOR. but we talked on the computer. I also remember talking with BU! online for hours. We were living in completely different parts of town, so that one makes a little more sense, but as he will tell you - he prefers IM or email to phone conversations (and maybe even the in-person kind) any day. Mr. Magic Fingers absolutely prefers the in-person variety of conversation and interaction, but is adept (what with the magic fingers and all) at the online type as well. I have had many a conversation with him that way indeed.

I heart online friendships. They are just as meaningful, and occasionally more revealing and honest than ones that are only in-person. Perhaps that is only true for those of us who are introverts, and I realize that the opposite can be true as well, but for me and in my experience, they are (Dude!) wonderful.

Having thought about all of these the rain (*splat!*), I realized once again how much I love running. Not for the physical benefits, but for what it provides for me mentally. I get to remember. Had I not been running, I would not have remembered Ray, ICQ, Magic Fingers and WOW, and a variety of other things. This caused me to think about how I began running, and more importantly, who influenced me to the point of loving to run. That one was easy. Mr. Myers is the person who showed me how great running could be...although the intervals were killers and the 10-mile runs were not much better. He taught me how to begin to run, how to increase the distance, how to really push yourself physically to get better at what you are doing, and most importantly, he made it fun. That is hard to do.

He made such a lasting impression that here I am, ten years later, still running. In fact, Señor CC and I have recently begun running together. When we first met, he told me that 'Riss' of M&M fame had asked him once what he looked for in a girl. He responded that he wanted someone who would run with him. More specifically, he wanted someone who would run with him in the rain. As silly as that may sound, I do believe that the fact that I did run with him when we met was just another thing on his list of Why She's The One. You know, if he had one of those lists. I am so glad that I love to run. It allowed me to remember this misplaced information as well. It makes me smile because I know that at least to a certain degree, he got exactly what he wanted. As long as I can, I will always run with him.

I think it might rain today...

Such A Boy!

In honor of Cooper's third cumpleaños, I present to the audience the following: proof that he is, in fact, ALL BOY.

Yes, dear audience, that yellow contraption you see off in the distance is a tractor. In true boy-form my doggy was awed, amazed, and fully captivated.

October 13, 2006

October 12 of 12

Ahhhh - another month has passed and it is time once again for 12 of 12. This lovely post idea comes from the mind of Chad Darnell. Señor CC and I had family visiting us in Spain this week, and today was their day to fly home. I know, I know! You, like me, are so very excited at the possibility of visiting the airport. Doesn't everyone love that place?

M&M arrived Saturday evening, and Travel Drama was in its element. Apparently, it enjoys following M&M around on their many adventures. We told Travel Drama that if it could fit into our tiny european car with all of us and the luggage, then it may indeed come along.

Yes, we did.

Yes, it did.

This is a story for another day. For now, I shall leave you with today's 12 of 12:

6:29; Sotogrande, Spain

Here it is. The bag that met all of the requirements. Goes over my shoulder and across my body? Check. Main large compartment zips shut? Check. Will hold mighty camera and purse-like objects without looking like it holds mighty camera and purse-like objects? Check. Colors, etc. that I can live with and that won't get all dirty? Check.

6:35; Sotogrande, Spain

Tuesday we traveled to Seville, the land of flamenco and feria. These beauties were on sale all over the place. What are they? Why, they look like little flamenco dresses for wee-ones. Almost. They are for wee-ones; however, they are not full dresses, but aprons. What fun! So many uses. Can learn to cook in fun fluffy dress, or can play dress-up with your colourful dotted costume. We shall see if the wee-ones themselves see it this way.

7:13; Sotogrande, Spain

My doggy appears to have a problem. Yes, we are getting him help. There has been an intervention. My doggy sniffs bugs.

7:28; Sotogrande, Spain

I know what you are doing. I see that their bags are packed; they're ready to go. No I WILL NOT sing. I will not look at you either. I will ignore you and hope that I get to come along or that you all stay. Stay. HEY, STAY HERE!!!

7:33; Sotogrande, Spain

Hooray for the Nissan Note! All of the luggage fits, a little snugly, in the back end of the car! Woo Hoo for tiny european trunks. Gotta love the orange...goes well with all of that maroon I wear...

7:55; La Línea, Spain

We all say goodbye to Señor CC when we drop him off at work. This street sweeper was sitting there waiting for its daily poke through the town. The streets in Spain are the cleanest I have seen anywhere.

10:08; Málaga, Spain

After dealing with that Travel Drama, M&M are checked in and on their way. This is what the Málaga airport looks like at 10 on a Thursday morning. It is a very busy airport most of the time.

10:09; Málaga, Spain

Here is the front of Terminal Two. This terminal handles all check-ins and 90% of the arrivals. This is just about the only view where you cannot see all of the construction going on to enlarge the facilities.

11:51; Sotogrande, Spain

I don't really know yet what, if anything, goes on over here for Halloween. I am suspecting that many tricks are carried out by the local bird community. I do know that there is SOMETHING in our chimney and that it is tormenting our doggy-chomp to pieces. A ghost? A zombie? An over-sized spider? Or...oh, my...another stinking BIRD?!?!?!?

13:00; Sotogrande, Spain

I take a break on this clear day (you could see Gibraltar and Africa from Marbella - quite a long ways) and enjoy the river view from the terrace.

13:01; Sotogrande, Spain

Soon chompy-lones realizes that I am not "working" and asks me to play. With this...his so-called "bestest of the bestest fantabulous toys in the whole ginormous universe"...he IS just a doggy. And it still squuueeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkksssss. So...yay.

14:07; Sotogrande, Spain

Last one: working on the pictures for this version of 12 of 12. Maybe I'll actually submit it before the day is done. We'll see if blogger cooperates or not!

Over the last few days we all travelled to Ronda, Seville, Tarifa, Gibraltar, and of course did some interesting things in-between. I am sure that I will write about it all soon. For now, I have more laundry and then a possible nap to take care of. Yes, me tired. Enjoy your 12th, and check out all of the others over at Chad's. Hasta luego.

September 30, 2006

And here he is...El Pájaro:

The cause of all the drama. Just picture that head sticking through the itty-bitty opening we provided.

We are lucky enough to have had yet another visitor in our kitchen. El Portero will be happy to know that this time we did not need his help. Again with the sound effects and the falling-to-doom, etc.

We've got to get some sort of blockade going on the opening!!!

El Pájaro En Mi Cocina (Part III)

In order to be caught up on the drama in the kitchen, you should read part I and part II!

To recap: I have been asked twice (TWICE!) to put my precious hand (ha!) into the fan to grab (!) the bird and pull him out to release him.

All I thought was: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luckily for me, el pájaro is muy inteligente (as far as birds go), and he had 'escaped to the ceiling' both times.

On with the story:

I suggest to el Portero that we angle the duct work so that the bird can see the light from our completely open window so that he will come out of the hole in the ductwork instead of going all the way down into the fan. He bends and crumples and am quite certain that the 'duct' will never be the same, but he manages to bend it so that the bird pretty much has to land near the opening into the kitchen.

So we wait.

And of course we hear this:



*cht cht cht*


*cht cht cht cht cht*


Followed immediately by:

*cht   cht   cht   cht   cht*

Oh yes, by this point in time, el pájaro has been warned by his fellow FC comrades that Operation Free Bird was taking place. He would listen for us and when he believed we were gone, he would walk to the edge of the vertical duct where he would stop for about two seconds before running back to his hide-out to await further instructions.

After scouting the situation about three times only to find and hear nothing from us, he was apparently given the go-ahead from the F-I-C (fowls-in-charge) to attempt his escape.

This time we hear:



*cht cht cht*


*cht cht cht cht cht*



I slowly peer around the side of the hood to see a eye...a head...a body...THE WHOLE BIRD!!!!!

In a flash of grey, that bird flew in a wide arc through my kitchen and out the kitchen window. El Portero immediately shut the window, and we celebrated. Okay, so the celebration was many "muchas gracias" outwardly with big smiles, but on the inside I was totally doing a happy-dance. I didn't want to scare the man into never helping me again.

Finally the bird is free and I thank el Portero like a broken record until he leaves to go back to the gate. I go in to tell Señor CC that all is well and the bird is gone. He is slightly oblivious to the whole ordeal because, as mentioned, he is working. He is happy that the bird is gone, if for no other reason than the fact that we can now allow the dog to go in there again with the guarantee that we will not be subjected to adamant '' barking.

ChewyChomp, on the other hand, has been anxiously awaiting my return from the kitchen-of-doom and immediately rushes in there to stare and shake in excitement at the hood to the stove. I told him the bird was gone, but he

In fact, the first thing he did for the next week and a half was to go in the kitchen and stare down the stove in this 'I dare you' kind of get him, Cooper, get that bird.

And now? NOW? No more birds making any sounds in the duct-work in, around, or near the kitchen. Occasionally we hear them from the fireplace, but that is directly open to the air above, so no problems there.


Yes, there IS one of those.

Do you recall how I ended the first part of my story? If not, go read the ending; I'll wait.

I failed to tell you, in the first part, about how after I took the six (SIX!) screws out of that tiny piece of plastic so that the poor bird could poke his big old head through (so that consequently I COULD SEE IT! and Señor CC Could Not See It! so he scared the hoo-haa out of el pájaro by tapping on the plastic, which caused great amounts of flapping-and-climbing-like-life-is-about-to-end noises from the bird) I also took about 6 screws out of the cylindrical casement around the fan. The round part was split right down the middle, and I was hoping that if I took the screws out, then one of us could pull the pieces apart far enough that the bird would either push through or fall through and therefore escape (yes, I now realize this was silly because as long as we were there, that bird was NOT coming near us, but I was in-the-moment, people!).

Regardless, I took them out and could only open it a tiny bit, me with the wimpy arms and all. I enlisted the help of Señor CC and his arms-so-strong to pull the thing apart, and well...he did...but...

I have never seen anyone jump across a room that far, that fast IN!MY!LIFE!

You see, as he opened it up, he exclaimed that "HE IS RIGHT THERE!" and at the same time jumped back(read: flew across the room in a blur). I would have too, because at the time we had heard the bird go UP, UP, UP into the ceiling! A surprise, indeed.

We convinced ourselves that it couldn't be OUR bird, and Señor CC began prying it apart that I could see...and oh, yes, there was (still is) something there...

and oh, yes, it has (had?) feathers...

and OH! YES!! IT IS A DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! BIRD!!!!!!!!!!!


It is SO dead, that it does not smell at all. In fact, we are now quite certain that some other bird experienced what our bird went through, except without the people there to open the escape hatch. So, EW!

Now we get to deal with that one. Mmm, Mmm.

It makes me wonder...what was our bird thinking? Every time he fell down in there, he most likely stepped on his dead relative. Talk about freaky! Our kitchen must have seemed like some sort of end-of-the-bird-world realm where bad birds are subjected to psychological fowl-fare. After hearing his story I bet the F-I-C's gave him some sort of heroic POW award for his ordeal.

I can only hope that they aren't planning a rescue mission; they will be sorely disappointed.

September 29, 2006

El Pájaro En Mi Cocina (Part II)

Just in case you haven't read it yet, you can find part one here.

Where was I?

Oh, yes: Operation Involve The Portero (poor guy)

Prior to walking out to the gate and conveying my message to the portero - A.K.A The.Only.Man.Who.Can.Help.Us.I.Really.Hope.He.Can - I took some time to make a list of Spanish words I might possibly need, and in the process I happened to look up a few words in my Spanish dictionary that I did not know. Oh boy, do I KNOW THEM NOW. If nothing else, I can mark this one as an Educational Experience, yes indeed! For fun, or not, depending on your interest or lack thereof, here is that list as found this morning in my trusty handy-dandy notebook of all things Spanish/in Spain*.

  • bird (small) - el pájaro

  • stove - la cocina

  • fan - el ventilador

  • duct - el conducto

  • piece - la pieza

  • plastic - el plástico

  • opening - la abertura

As you can easily see, I am not all that sophisticated with the conversing in español. It was an emergency, people! I figured I could rely on my mad skills in charades!

*I have no idea why it could possibly be called 'trusty' as I am the one who writes in it and just in case we all forgot or something, I am not in any way Spanish. Not.One.Bit. I just live here, people; that's my claim to fame.

Off to el Portero's building(A.K.A. The Office of TOMWCHUIRHHC) I go, trusty handy-dandy notebook of all things Spanish/in Spain in hand. I arrive, and score-one-for-the-home-team; he is there! I mention el pájaro and mi cocina and he is totally understanding already (YAY!) and locks up his office to head to my place.

He then tells me that he had the same situation in another apartment just yesterday.


Oh, yes - it is a conspiracy of a very fowl nature. Apparently they are infesting the kitchens of our urbanización in an attempt to reclaim their migratory lands for their long trek made twice a year. We have so much to look forward to; I shall wait in anticipation of my next visitor. No stress here, no INDEED.

On our way to my apartment, which is about a five minute walk from the front gate, I feel the need to tell the man all about my situation. Yes I do (I did mention that I was a little lacking in the genius area, people! Keep UP!), even though he has already shown that he fully comprehends the nature of my problem. I describe it in full detail. When I say 'describe' and 'full detail' I of course mean that I use a combination of crazy-lady hand signals and sound-effects with the occasional Spanish word thrown in (whoop for the Spanish word!) to, you know, describe what he already knows.

Another facet of the Fowl Conspiracy (FC): to cause unsuspecting humans to act like blathering idiots in times of (supposed) dire need.

Just in case you are wondering, here is a list of some of the things that I "spoke" (and I use that term in its loosest definition) to el Portero:

  • cht......cht..cht.....cht.cht.cht.cht...

  • [hand signals for walking and falling and]

  • boom!

Oh, to be able to read the mind of el Portero. Or, better yet, to be able to hear and comprehend his words when he relays this mighty-fine story to the other porteros - what a LAUGH we could all have!!

We arrive at my apartment, thank goodness! I can stop acting like a loony bird - el Portero meets the chompy-chomp 'I'm Gonna Get that Bird' Cooperchew, and we shut everyone out of the kitchen but ourselves.

He is acting very confident and is telling me that this will be no problem, so I am feeling pretty relieved. Once again with the collective "HA!", as we all know how these kinds of stories go. It really IS just like the movies. If you start to feel safe and relieved and so on, then SOMETHING bad is bound to happen, and SOON!

El Portero takes a small plastic piece off of the vertical surround to the ductwork leading from the fan to the ceiling. He then slowly pushes up the so-called ductwork, which is very crinkly and sharp looking, and then he attempts to stick his hand down through the duct into the fan...

Where he immediately realizes that his hand/wrist/arm is way too big to do such a thing.

What to do? What to do?

Oh, I'll tell you what to do! He informs me that I should stick my hand/wrist/arm down in there because mine is much smaller than his!

Of course!!!

I commence FREAKING OUT in my head while attempting to give an outward appearance of 'I agree, that totally makes sense, let's get on that!'




I get up on the countertop, put my hand very close to the opening, and just in case I misunderstood (ha!) I ask the man (who I am now not believing is much more sane than I): "Que me quiere hacer?", which should mean "What do you want me to do?"

Now he gets a turn with the charades, and yes, dear readers, he most certainly does want me to stick my hand IN THE FAN and attempt to GRAB THE BIRD AND PULL IT OUT!

Just in case you are wondering, here is what my mind was doing:





I ssssssslllllloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwllllllyyyyyyyyy put my hand down into the fan (all balled up in a tight little fist so that I CANNOT touch the bird) and get no I open up my fingers and wiggle them a bit and touch....


That smart bird had long ago done his flapping-and-climbing-like-life-is-about-to-end noises into the ceiling, and el Portero and I had simply not heard it!

I love this bird!

We decide to wait for the bird to make his way, cautiously, I might add, back down into the fan. He does, after about 10 minutes of el Portero and I staring at nothing in particular, but certainly not.each.other, and again, the man wants me to stick my hand in there! IN. THERE. to TOUCH. THE. WILD. BIRD.

Once again, with the freaking out of my mind (see above), I climb up there and begin to ssssssslllllloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwllllllyyyyyyyyy put my hand down into the fan (in the same manner as before), and lo-and-behold, that bird has escaped again!

I need a t-shirt that says I ♥ bird.

So now the questions are:

  • Do I stick my hand in there once again only to be mangled for all time?

  • Do I finally grab that bird and throw him out the window?

  • Is there a bird still in our oven...withering away...smelly...ew?

I can think of more questions, but those will have to do for now!

Part III is coming, dear readers...just you wait!

September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, BU!

If you did not get here via Brian, please go check out his zone.

I suggest reading the 222 things about him (if you have the time) as he is an interesting fellow. I realize that many of us are busy folk with jobs and other activities, so I took the time to compile a very concise 2-part list (can it even be a list if it only has two entries?) that pretty much sums up his excellence:

  • He is yellow.

  • He appears to be mostly is Korean.

There you have it, people.

One more thing that makes him great:

Wee one BU!

Need I say more?

Today is his birthday, so wish him well.

Today is one of those days...

...when I can't believe I live here.

It began early this morning. I walked The Extra 17 Pounds (dog) at 6:30. It was brisk out, but refreshing. The sky was completely dark and clear. I could see every star in the sky.

I love living where street lamps are just that and not the huge overly brilliant lights frequently used to provide a beacon so scintillant that people from miles away can point and say "See that yellow glow? That's insert name of town/city/university here."

Now, at 11:06, the clear skies continue. I can still see the svelte moon up high in the sky. The detail on the surrounding mountains is outstanding. If I went up in the hills a bit, I would be able to see Africa across the sea. It is rare to have a day so completely sans clouds or haze; I wish I could better describe the beauty.

I live beside a river. Today the sunlight shines off of the waves; it appears as if it is made of jewels. The wind coaxes the tiny crests along enhancing the continuous parade of lucid liquid configurations. To say it is mesmerizing is an understatement; I could watch it all day.

Today is one of those days when I wish that I could capture it to remember always. It is so amazingly beautiful. I refrain from pictures because a picture (or a thousand) can't quite do nature justice. My words fall short as well. I can only rely on my memory.

I won't live here forever; I have a very limited amount of time to appreciate and experience this place. I want to be like a sponge and soak it all up; I don't ever want to get full and have to release anything. Yet, there is no way for me to experience it all; having that goal will only lead to my disappointment. Instead I have to take things as they come and hold on to what I can.

Today I will watch the show nature provides. I will sit on my terrace and be relaxed by my river view. I will take breaks to look and listen and I will allow it all to make an imprint in my mind, my memories.

Here I am, holding on.

September 13, 2006

12 of 12 September

It is that time again. For those of you who do not know the drill, check out the rules right here. Thanks Chad; what a great idea!

7:01 - I usually start the day reading online.

7:01 - Chompy keeps an eye on me until his breakfast is served.

7:03 - Coffee in my Texas mug.

8:26 - I watch this every morning on my terrace.

10:07 - Time for some blogging.

11:07 - Laundry begins.

13:26 - Lunch.

15:35 - I've been working on this since lunch.

15:37 - Finally, the wash cycle is complete.

15:37 - Bonus Picture: Taking a break.

19:46 - The beginnings of a good meal.

20:05 - bean and chicken burritos.

21:23 - The only golf I play.