Friday, January 29, 2016

mandala obligada

Hooray! My parcel of yarn finally arrived on Monday! I had brought some with me for a blanket, but then realized I had left half of the colors I needed at home in Illinois. frown emoticonI ordered from my favorite place in England, but it took longer to get here than to the U.S., so funny!



I've been itching to try a mandala wheel so I proceeded to make one a day this week.  I don't love the one that is larger, but I'm not sure if it's the pattern or the colors and it's just kind of wiggly wobbly.  I really like the look and heft of the other three -- the pattern for them is from Attic 24.



 My fingers are happy to be working on something again!  Now I'm going to start some granny squares or something...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

tiny poem tuesday

Mandala

truth vibrates in all
philosophies (harmony)
echoing in every
curve (compassion)
a tremor nudging
continents (honesty)
sending ripples across
the seas (balance)

we are all
pilgrims,
making labyrinthine
circuits,
searching
in dizzying
circles,
but, from the
grand sphere that
houses us
to the humble coil
housed within us
there is only one --
there is only
wholeness.

Monday, January 25, 2016

El Castell de Guadalest

We went on the most grand adventure on Saturday!  To a place that I had never read about in a guide book or on the internet, and a place that our GPS refused to acknowledge even existed.  Last week while we were romping on the beach a nice couple from Yorkshire stopped to chat for a bit.  They started showing us pictures from some of their little excursions, but the only name we could remember by the time we got home and could look things up was this one.  They mentioned some others, but we'll never know how awesome they were!  It took about two hours to get there -- through the desert, over some rivers, along the coast, and up some very windy roads into the mountains.  We had a wonderful time exploring a little village, a grand house, and the ruins of a castle that was first built in the 1100s!  I love to think about how much time has passed, how many feet have walked along the paths, how many loves and losses, the stories embedded in the walls.  I took so many pictures -- I haven't mentioned how I bought a new camera last summer especially for this trip, packed it very carefully in a padded bag, and somehow it was broken on the journey to Spain, so I just have my phone which kept telling me was too full so I was having to edit every time I wanted to take a picture and then somehow I ended up losing over half of the pictures that I took!  I didn't realize until a day later so they're completely irretrievable and I spent quite a bit of time ranting and pouting about it.  We might have to go back.  Oh well, here are some, actually more than plenty, to give you an idea of the amazing-ness.

































I had taken some great pictures of the little boys playing on a playground with the castle jutting up behind them in the distance, and some fun photos of the boys running down the middle of the street in the village, and us eating some tapas in a cute little restaurant... you'll just have to use your imagination for those I suppose.  The weather was gorgeous and can you believe the cherry blossoms???  It's January for Pete's sake!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Speculation

Sitting in a church meeting and not understanding anything can be quite painful.  The time passes so so slowly and the kids (and I) get very antsy.  This past week I decided to start reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish because I thought it might help me learn some church-y words and aid in my "learning the language endeavors."  So far, it has done neither of those things since I can't seem to retain new words, but it has helped me read the familiar stories with new eyes.  Every year I try to come up with a word to focus on -- and usually it is a word that finds me!  Last year, it was Love.  Everywhere I turned, there it was, in books, movies, articles, people... Usually, the words I've chosen tag along into the next year so I have quite a collection at this point.  This year, the idea of non-attachment, or detachment, is my focus -- perhaps there is a better single word, but I haven't found it yet.  Already, I've had different aspects of the idea screaming at me from all directions and it was no different as I was reading in Nefi this past week.  Lehi and his family leaving absolutely everything behind really struck me -- their house, their land, their gold and precious things -- everything except for their family and provisions.  It could be more potent because, in a way, that is what we've done for a bit.  We're here with just a few things and we're really fine!  Hopefully when we go home I can take a better look at the things around me and let go of some non-essentials.  Or else I'll be so happy to see my things that I'll become extra attached!  It could go either way, haha!  Another aspect of the idea of non-attachment is to not be too dependent on the outcome of any situation -- I'm terrible about this!  So I'm trying to concentrate on simply being in the moment and observing what is happening around me.  This activity has helped immensely at church!  Once I let go of what I wanted to happen, it was much more enjoyable and we've really met the nicest people!  I've been going with Archie, so that is definitely the fun way to go.


The girl holding his hand kept yelling over and over, "Estoy loca!"  and she was completely crazy!  She kept hurling herself on the floor and the kids kept laughing and laughing.  The poor 22 year old teacher had no control whatsoever, but the sun was shining and the kids were happy.  We all let go of our expectations, let some nice love marinate around the room, and it was great.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

tiny poem tuesday

It doesn't matter...
if you're sitting directly
in the sun's light
or running hard
along a gravel path.


It makes no difference
whether you drink
cup after cup of hot tea
or smother yourself
in the arms of loved ones.


Sometimes,
the bitter cold has seeped
into your bones, your bowels,
your deepest recesses;


Sometimes,
the blighting chill has burrowed itself
into your core, your essence,
the intangible gist of you;


And leaves you shaking.

Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK day

January 18 -- a Monday.  23 years ago, January 18th was also a Monday and it was the day that I lost my first baby.  We had discovered that there was no heartbeat the week before, but my body wasn't doing anything about it so we waited.  And waited.  Finally on Monday we went in and I had a D&C.  It was horrible.  And I think about it every year. And I was a senior in college and went to class the next day! Couldn't risk my straight A's for anything -- I was crazy. 

But it all turned out okay in the end, right?  Want to know something really freaky?  I had a dream a few nights ago that I had another baby... and Ella had one the same night!  And another dream the next night!  We are not having another baby, okay?  (Shaking my fists at the gods)

So it is Martin Luther King day.  The kids wanted to not do school, but I thought they should since we had such a tumultuous time the week we arrived.  I have a special spot in my heart for Dr. King.  When I was eight years old my father was in the Utah state legislature and we went to Atlanta for a convention.  One of the events included meeting Coretta Scott King!  And already being a complete nerd and history buff I was suitably awed by the encounter.  A couple of years ago we went to Washington D.C. for spring break and were able to see the new MLK monument -- if you haven't seen it, you should try to go.  It is really lovely and has a wonderful spirit about it.  I loved that you had to walk through a wall of rock to enter.  It is a great representation of the struggles that minorities still have in our country -- something that just blows my mind!  We're all God's children!  We're all brothers and sisters!  One of my goals is to be a better ally and raise my children to be more aware.  This evening we're going to have a family home evening lesson about racism and then watch Selma after the littles go to bed.

He said so many wonderful things, but here a few of my favorite quotes:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

thaturday is a thpethial day

I'm trying to wrap my head around the theta -- here in Spain they pronounce the C and the Z as a th- sound.  So everyone at church calls Lucinda, Lutheenda, which is really cute actually, but I naturally have a lisp so I just get confused and either don't do it or start saying everything with the theta including words like siesta and Saturday, for example.  I've spent most of my life trying not to have a lisp and am usually aware at some level where my tongue is hitting my teeth!  I keep trying to tell myself to just pretend that those words are spelled with a -th (and by the way I have no idea to represent the TH being a sound in this situation, just so you know), but I've already learned some Spanish so I'm having to relearn how to say those words.  Today at church the lesson was about how God wants us to be happy -- felith, felith, felith!!!  And all around us there are housing developments called "urbanizaciones" -- try saying that with a lisp!  I do, every time we pass the signs.

Church was very nice -- everyone was so welcoming and it seems like we have already made some friends.  Archie started asking me to stay with him well before sacrament meeting ended, he knows the drill, so I was able to go to Primary.  I think that is more my level of language understanding -- and perhaps my spiritual level as well.  I always like being with the kids.  Before we went to Primary they had a ten minute snack break which is seriously a great idea!  I hadn't brought anything, of course, but I will for sure next week. 

::snack time -- people shared, yay!  The Spanish like their sweets!

::in class

Yesterday we cleaned the house and then ran some errands.  I wanted to go to a bigger grocery store in a larger pueblo so that I could hopefully find some harder to find ingredients and things for the house.  The store was huge!  My expectations were high!  Let's find some sesame oil for our favorite Korean dishes, here's the oil aisle... 


That is ALL olive oil!  They like what they like.  There is also a tomato sauce aisle, a yogurt aisle, a chocolate aisle, bread aisle, of course... They like a cookie called "Maria" so a whole aisle of that!  But no oatmeal, no coconut oil, no flavorings besides vanilla  (I like almond and orange for things), no tea kettles (!), and lots of other things I have now put out of my mind because I was too frustrated.  I've ordered a few supplies online and I will just live without the rest.  Isn't that big of me? 

After the store we walked along our little section of coastline and caught another gorgeous sunset -- they make them pretty here!




 I obviously couldn't get enough.  I loved the gradation of colors



Here is one from another evening in the other direction.  Gah!  So amazing!


We're settling in and enjoying our time here so far.  Charles pointed out that we only have 11 Saturdays left so we need to use them wisely (mostly he thinks we shouldn't hang out in large grocery stores all afternoon).  Our main complaint is that we're cold!  I know that sounds like we're whiny babies because it was in the 70's our first week and then 50's the second week, but our house does not have central heating!  We're cold to the very bones.  You're all warmer than we are (in your houses), if that makes you feel less jealous. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

la gran gira

So here is the post you've all been waiting for!  Well, maybe it was only Bonnie that has been waiting... nevertheless, here are the pictures of our house! 

::This is the "quiet room"  There are five bedrooms, but this one was commandeered by Matthew to use as his studio and others are welcome to work in here insofar as they make no noise whatsoever.  So basically, the boys and I have never spent any time in here, haha!  I lament that fact a little because I'm pretty sure this room has the nicest slant of light throughout the day, but c'est la vie!  Or however you say that en espanol.


 
::This is Charles' room a.k.a. the guest bedroom -- he will be removed to the "quiet room" when we have guests.  He clearly has the most square footage of bed per capita.
 
 
::Next we have the girls' dormitory.  One of these beds was poached from the "quiet room" which worked out nicely.  They have been fairly well behaved as far as the giggling at night goes.
 
 
::The little boys' room -- I guess I managed to get only one bed into the picture, but rest assured, there is an identical bed on the other side of the nightstand
 
 
::The master bedroom -- there is a lovely armoire and bookshelf as well.  It's not very large, but it is nice.  The bed is a full size which is fine for us, except that Archie still thinks he needs to climb in every night and there is definitely not room for that business.  I had to sleep in his bed the other night.
 

::There are two bathrooms -- I love the tile in the blue one!  One has a bathtub (with no stopper so there has been no bathing as of yet), the other has a shower, and they both have bidets!  One of my #spaingoals is to learn the proper use of that particular fixture.


 
::There are two intersecting halls -- I don't know why, but I really like hallways.  I think that stems from living in a studio apartment as newlyweds and daydreaming about having one (or even two) someday...
 

 
::There is a nice living/dining space.  This is where we lounge, school, eat, and have devotionals.  Keeping those covers on the sofas is a major pain!  I detest them.
 
 
 ::And finally there is the kitchen.  It is very nice -- probably nicer than our kitchen at home and about five trillion times better than our kitchen in France.  However, the stove has to be lit manually with a match so that freaks me out every time and it is sadly lacking in some basic tools.  We went to Ikea last Saturday to try to remedy that, but weren't able to find everything.  All of the knives are quite dull and I cut my thumb rather badly while trying to saw through something, but then when I used a new sharp one, I cut my middle finger pretty deeply... can't win, but I did bring band-aids!  I've been flying through them this past week and can't really remember the last time I ever needed one.  Also, just finding food and cooking it seems difficult.  I'm fairly certain that we've been to the grocery store at least ten times in the past week, and I still feel uneasy about the amount of food there is in the house.  The kids!  They're like locusts.  And I'm not sticking to my diet.  At all.  It is simply too difficult to find the right ingredients and the easiest foods to obtain are bread, pasta, and sweets, but I'll try harder.  Next week.

 
::Outside of the kitchen door there is a little courtyard.  The wall connects to the neighbor's house so we can all hear each other swimmingly!
 
 
 ::There is a place for hanging clothes outside of the boys' bedroom window

 
::And then up the stairs on the terrace there is more space -- yay!  The washing machine, unfortunately, doesn't accommodate the kinds of loads that we require and each cycle takes hours and hours, but I'm trying to keep on top of things since we don't have a dryer.
 

 

 
::These guys don't like getting their picture taken at all.
 




::The front hall -- perfect for ninja-ing, obviously

 
 ::Outside of the front door is a fenced in garden and patio.  Most of the day it is sunny and lovely out there.  Lucy has been doing seminary outdoors via Skype with her cold cold friends in Illinois.








 
 ::So there you have it!  The grand tour!  Maybe next time I'll take you on a tour of our little town.

 
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