Saturday, January 24, 2009

50's housewife, more fish and storm chasing

Some days Lily just wants to wear a dress. She'll come home from school, happen upon a dress in a laundry pile or in a cupboard and ask me to put it on her. Then it gets worn until bedtime, when we invariably pass through a tense, albeit brief, moment of strife when the dress must come off. On her last dress donning occasion, she also rediscovered the cooking gear she got for Christmas. The result was June Cleaver.

Having left arrangements to the last moment, Matt ended up kindly passing Mr Fish onto our friend Claire for safekeeping while we were away in the UK for the holidays. Upon our return to BCN, we took about a week and a half to finally go pick him up. Claire had offered to keep him if we didn't want a fish anymore, but in the end, we thought Lily would miss him. We then bought two more fish and a bigger aquarium. Lily cannot be happier. She hugs the tank and sighs, "I loooove my fish sooo much."

The lighter orange fish is the original Mr Fish, the new orange one has been named Kankro, and the black one is Emro. These last two are from a cache of weird names Lily uses lately.

We've been in the international news the last couple days. Or rather, the deadly hurricane-force winds ripping through southern France and northern Spain have been. Howling wind has sounded on and off for for days. It raged all night Friday and Saturday morning we awoke to a wounded city.

Before Oli and Lily arose, I went out to get pastries and fruit. Our courtyard was a sandstorm, I could just barely move forward into the wind, motos were strewn about and a massive quantity of garbage and recycling dumpsters was piled up at the end of the road. Elderly couples clutched one another and some turned back, abandoning their plans. On my way home, with the wind pushing at my back, I was actually blown past our gate and had to clutch onto the garden wall to drag myself back to the entrance.

Things calmed down later and we went for a walk to assess the damage.

Later Matt went with us to the center and we walked past Port Vell to see how downtown and the beach had fared.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It ain't right

On a weekday morning a few weeks ago I was waiting for my friend Carlos in the central plaza in Barcelona. Suddenly a loveably scruffy guy with a small notepad came up to me and told me he was with El Periódico de Catalunya, a major newspaper. What did I think of President Zapatero's announcement the day before that he would create a new Ministry of Sport?

I said that while I had heard the announcement, I really didn't have much of an opinion about it.

Yes, but what do you think?

I don't know. I guess because I have a child I think physical activity is important? But really, I repeat, I have no opinion about this.

*Furiously scribbling* So you think promoting physical activity among the public is positive?

I guess. I guess it's important that people stay active. But really, I haven't given this announcement much thought.

Ok, my photographer is just going to take a photo. *Other man rushes in from side. **Click** *

It comes out Sunday. *Runs away*


No joke, it really happened that fast.

I didn't remember to get El Periódico that Sunday, but Carlos remembered that I had told him about this encounter, and as his mother keeps all her copies of El Periódico for weeks, he rooted around and surprised me with this clipping this week.

My repeated "I have no opinion" comments were edited out, and my Spanish kindly made more eloquent. I am pretty pissed that I'm on the lame minority "pro" side. Jeez, if he was going to jump me like that because he needed to fill some page space, he could have at least made me look cool.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HmWha? A post about Lily? That's cwazy.

Lily and I went to see El Show de Barrio Sésamo at an old theatre downtown tonight.

She got a big kick out of the performance but for me, the highlight of the evening was Lil dressed in a lovely gown topped with a ruffled jacket, walking down a dimly lit red velvety passageway in the theatre, looking at me with a delicate smile and saying, "I'm farting right now, Mummy."

She giggles and tells me her fart status quite often these days.

She's begun a really great new stage which has seen her eating meals without any fuss (we give credit to us and a new approach we tried on the meal problem but it could be that she just got older), taking great interest in the physical workings of the world, being easygoing, and just generally being cool and adorable.

She had the first dance class yesterday at the civic center next door. Quickly obvious that we need to wait at least six months before she'll be ready to do it, but it was a positive experience for her over all. Also positive for me because the fee was refundable. In all seriousness I was very proud of Lil for how well she conducted herself during the class even though she was nervous. She never joined the group, nor did the other three-year-old who had turned up, but was really interested and talked a lot about what she watched. Humorously, a common question was, "Why are they doing that?" I guess it would be pretty hard to get how flexing and pointing your toes 50 times or pretending to be dogs on all fours is somehow related to the ballet she's seen in books and on TV. Anyway, Lily agreed that she didn't want to continue for now but wants to try again when she's bigger.

Has anyone else noticed all my recent posts are only about Lily? I need to diversify.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


The house has been needing some tackling: removal of junk we don't use and general washing of surfaces. Today I went at the family room and Lily's bedroom, hotbeds of straggling superfulous toys and craft materials. Surfaces were wiped, un- or mis-used things were recycled or binned. Furniture was rearranged. The end result was a much cooler room for Lil, I think.

Yesterday, before the cleaning began, Lily and I strung up some string and used mini wooden clips to hang some first-word flashcards all around her room. I stole this idea from Simon Hartrich's bedroom in the Kedzie apartment, where, if I remember correctly, the alphabet was strung around the room.

Anyway, it has taken away some of the bareness caused by the high ceiling in a room filled with small-person furniture.

Other new features include:

A revised kitchen area, that now has a baby's bed on the kitchen counter. Not sure about how that works, does. Note the string with clips for Lily to hang artwork. That moon is her symbol at nursery school.

Bedside trinkets - IKEA lamp, souvenirs Georgia and Mircea brought Lily back from China, a Mentink original stencil, and a plant recovering from our time away at the holidays.

A closeup of the Mentink.

Fun hangy things: A felt mobile from IKEA and a wooden spinner found in a shop in the old section of town. Two faithful friends, Elmer the Elephant and Bouncy Black Sheep top the bookshelf. They're waiting for the right tallish lamp to come along to sit behind them.

A cleaned up Marmite jar to hold the marbles and bouncy balls that populate the corners of our home.

I quite like the boudoir I've created. Oli found that little chest of drawers in the street on his way home one evening. The mirror was left by the girls who lived in our apartment over the summer, the musical jewellery box came from Santa, and the dreamcatcher was purchased for one euro today in Barcelona. All-in-all, a good space for a Lil to get herself in order.

My favorite part of the room: the bookshelf flanked by a reading chair and baskets of bags, baby clothes, aprons, ballet slippers and tutus. Ask yourself why you don't currently have these things in your bedroom. Consider the improvement they might make.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Looking ahead to February...

It's been so long since I've blogged that I wrote no pre- or during holiday posts. We're already planning Lily's 3rd birthday party, which will take place in the UK.

Oli's mum has hired the Masonic Hall in their hometown as the party location and rented Tumble Tots, a group that bring an indoor bouncy castle and other gym equipment for the kids to play on. Using this equipment, some packing bubbles, a giant parachute and blowing bubbles, we'll create an obstacle course on which the kids can recreate the events in the books We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Add in bear-themed party gifts and a quiz about Lily for the adults to compete in (bottle of wine for the winner), and I think we've got the makings of a pretty cool party.