weeknotes 3/22

week 3, rinse and repeat, with a few good things.

– cooked a fantastic corn pancake (玉米烙) that was a huge throwback to our time in china. there was a restaurant in our street that served these with sprinkles and we were practically addicted to them.

– we watched wadjda, and it was a bit of a punch in the gut. saudi arabia sometimes feels as alien as north korea.

– birdhouse #2 has been deployed! we checked the first one, but couldn’t see any birds coming and going. looking forward to the new tenants.

– we voted today in advance of next week’s elections, just to get it done.


white wagtail

now that i have digital a camera with a decent zoom, i’d thought i’d publish some bird photos now and then. :) this is a white wagtail (motacilla alba), and you can find them everywhere in portugal — and indeed, all over europe and asia, though they look slightly different in different regions.

it’s such a common and elegant bird, walking around “wagging” its tail! they’re not too fussy about where they live and are just as common in city streets as they are in the countryside. this youngling was perched on a vine in the fields near olhão, just looking pretty for the photo.


weeknotes 2/22

– though we’re still playing catch up with work, things have settled down a bit more this week and i’ve finally had time to sit down and make a plan for the next hsk exam. i’m not sure it’s a feasible plan, but i’ll give it a go. at a rate of 10 new characters per day, i should be ready around… june-ish? we’ll see!

– this week, the boy went up a carob tree and hung the first of the 2 birdhouses my brother made for us some time ago. finally! can’t wait to see which birds will take up residence in birdhouse #1!

– we watched don’t look up, and it was hilarious and sobering. hard not to make parallels with the spectacular job we’re doing to curb climate change, the impending disaster of our time.

– birdwatching was “great” this week though, and spotted 2 new species that both had “great” on their name: one great egret and a few great crested gebre in the sapal of castro marim, which was a really nice place to walk.

– the almond trees are doing their thing!

just life

2021 books

looking at my goodreads, these were the 14 books i made my way through last year:

some themes definitely pop out — there’s a bit of china stuff, some productivity or time-management, the green brothers new books… and some trashy stuff too that i made my way through as well, in a time when i was just craving distraction. not featured are the many, many fanfics i read in the wee hours of the morning, when i couldn’t sleep.

my trusty old kindle still does the job, and most of these were read on it. a couple were audiobooks, and the get together book was a hardcover freebie from stripe. i’ve just finished the first book of 2022 (meet me at the museum), and i hope this “new year reading energy” lasts for a bit!


weeknotes 1/22

– the first week of a fresh new year! a quiet week, with lots of planning and also lots of catching up for work. there’s always so much to do, and too few hands to do it… so one of the mottos for the year is to try to get better at delegating.

– doing wordle in bed with the boy in the morning. :)

– back to doing exercise… mostly in the form of riding my bike to the salt ponds and shooting some photos of birds. still counts, i think!

– taking notes on this unexpectedly nice list of 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying.

– i received a really nice and unexpected gift from a postcrosser, a set of cyanotype kits to make prints. i’ve been meaning to try these for years, but never got around to it. on the parcel, the person included a quote by writer iris murdoch: “one of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats”. sounds like a brilliant idea, and i plan to make an effort to dispense more small treats throughout the year.

– last summer, i collected seeds from carob trees that had fallen by the sides of the road. i soaked and put these on a tray before going north, and they are now sprouting. the guerrilla reforestation project is on! 💪

– i’m reconsidering my participation on the volunteering group, after some haughty interactions this week. what do you do, when faced with attitudes that you cannot stand for? do you leave, or do you stick around and try to improve the group? on one hand, i think life is too short to put up with this and i should just quit… but on the other, how are things going to improve if everyone leaves? so in the end i stayed and spoke my mind, but the whole thing left an unsavoury taste, and cast a shadow on the experience. :( i’m not sure where to go from here.