weeknotes, 6/24

a week spent with family up in the north. this time, i brought the swimming suit and tried to keep up with exercise and moving. i swam in my childhood pool where i first learnt to swim — it seems so much smaller now! also swam in oliveira de azeméis, on a municipal pool with excellent lockers and a weird arrangement: the bigger tank is 25m long on all lanes, except for 2 of them which extend to 50m… but only on wednesdays. 😅 the rest of the time the big lanes are broken in the middle with a gate of sorts. so strange!

it’s been a week of rain, the sun shining briefly between showers. i got soaked walking outside, and couldn’t remember the last time my legs and feet got this wet from the rain.

still making my way through country driving, but peppering it with other lighter reads. this week, the princess and the grilled cheese sandwich and the prince and the dressmaker. both cute graphic novels, involving gender topics and lots of dresses.

being in porto, we took the opportunity to visit a proper bookshop and get some books for the tiny niece, all recommended by friends with kids. my parents read all the books i purchased and decided their favourites were Michael Grejniec’s “A taste of the moon” and Luísa Ducla Soares “Os ovos misteriosos”. :) the kid seems to approve of it too!


weeknotes, 5/24

the week started with the kind of deep house cleaning that you only see when guests are coming: windows, balconies, cupboards… the works!

then we took a 7 hour train heading north, which was nice and i did lots of reading. this week, i started and finished “the fault in our stars” (which seems like everyone but me has read by now) and i also started and finished the second book of “the scum villain’s self-saving system“, a series that continues to be entertaining. at the same time, i’ve been making slow progress on “country driving”, a book about china. i find myself impatient with longer books, my brain looking everywhere for action and quick dopamine. but i try to persevere. the reward are passages like these, which delight my heart in their deja vu feeling:

“After fifteen miles we crested a hill and saw a line of hundreds of vehicles stretching all the way to the horizon — Jeeps, Jeetas, Santanas, Liberation trucks. Nobody was moving, and everybody was honking; an orchestra of horns blared into the wind. Never had I imagined that a traffic jam could occur in such a desolate place.

We parked the City Special and continuend on foot to the gridlock, where drivers explained what had happened. It all started with a few trucks whose fuel lines had frozen. The trucks stalled, and then other vehicles began to pass them on the two-lane road. While passing, they occasionally encountered an oncoming car whose driver didn’t want to budge. People faced off, honking angrily while more vehicles backed up; eventually it became impossible to move in either direction. Potential escape routes along the shoulder were quickly jammed by curb-sneaking drivers. A couple of motorists with Jeep Cherokees had taken advantage of their rear-wheel drive by embarking off-road; usually they made it about fifty yards before getting stuck. Men in loafers slipped in the snow, trying to dig out City Specials with their bare hands.”

time here in the north is mostly spent with family, in shared meals, doctor appointments, and construction visits. also, catching up with this cutie pie, who has just celebrated 6 months!

we also stayed with a few friends in marinha grande, because this weekend was the tree plantation event we always attend in the pinhal de leiria! a nice sunny day, filled with the hard work of getting trees in little holes on the ground. this year, over 3000 of them got planted, helped in part by 2 professional planters hired by quercus. they were so fast!

our arms and back hurt quite a bit from all that effort, so we took it easy afterwards, doing some sightseeing in leiria and learning the basics of chess, something we’d been meaning to do for ages. although we’re very much newbies, we didn’t lose the first game!

general weeknotes

weeknotes, 4/24

a mixed week, spent at home, working and getting things ready to return north. some highlights:

we watched beef, which is quite different and a bit more angry than our usual fare, but still entertaining.

the boy got a tentative diagnosis for his ailments. it’s not a happy, things-will-be-fine kind of thing… but perhaps it’ll be manageable nonetheless. still testing, waiting and hanging on to the oral corticosteroids to keep his overactive immune system in check.

a trip to ikea to stock on linen and some veggie meatballs. caldo verde with cabbage from the garden.

i made progress on different books, and finished solitaire. i decided to join a friend’s quest to read books in which the titles matched the alphabet — so far, i’ve knocked out G, H, I, N, O, P and S. not bad for january! maybe afterwards, i’ll do the same but with authors’ names.

speaking of books, i bought a few of oseman’s heartstoppers for the grown-up godchild, who hasn’t read the series yet. i hope she’ll like it! :)

and last but not least, a czech friend from my study room group came to visit, and we took a couple of days to show her around tavira.


weeknotes, 3/24

fully recovered from tonsillitis, the week was mostly about staying put and letting the antibiotics do their work.

we finished watching olive kitteridge, a mini-series based on the book by the same name. the story is slightly depressing perhaps, but a beautiful portrait of a grumpy life, as they often are. frances mcdormand was just perfect for the role.

also on the media diet, i read heartstopper #5 and finished listening to gift from the sea. i didn’t know anne morrow lindbergh (wife of aviation pionner charles lindbergh) was not only a writer but also an accomplished pilot! although the book is quite old now, her meditations on women’s lives touch on many things that have crossed my mind over the years, like the need for solitude and the shedding of stuff (physical and otherwise) that clutters our days.

i picked up the most perfect turnip from the backyard garden! ahah, i feel like these 2 sqm of land have given me more joy in the past year than a lot of other things.

and this song, on loop:


weeknotes, 2/24

the week was going well, and then i got sick. pain swallowing, highish fever… i hadn’t had a case of tonsillitis since i was a little kid, but boy does it suck. it threw me to the sofa for a few days, alternating between shivers and sweats. and then i got some antibiotics and things started looking up again. :) the magic of medicine!

amoxicillin is like a wave of nostalgia from childhood, and it amazingly still tastes the same as it did when i was a kid.

apart from that, earlier in the week we finished this succulent-themed lego set that our friends gave us for christmas:

lego has all sorts of fun stuff these days, and these were a really nice challenge. it seems like the theme of the week was “things we hadn’t done since childhood”!