weeknotes, 35-36/23

– the weather changed on the first of september like clockwork — suddenly it’s much fresher, and it even rained a tiny little bit. the moon was biiiig for a couple of days, and the high tides turned the town into little venice, like they always do.

– we had friends over for dinner one day and were enchanted by their chatty 2 year old. and then other friends arrived and stayed with us for a week. i’m happy that people come to us, that our doors and arms are open and welcoming, that we have long walks and boardgames and shared meals and conversations to look forward to.

– the town announced the launch of the food gardens, an initiative i’ve been helping out with for some time now. we want to turn the lost spaces here and there (the odd and forgotten bits of land) into open spaces where volunteers can produce food for the community. the legal framework for these has been a long time in the making, but it’s finally seeing the light of day. i’m excited for what is coming!

– also, the mediterranean diet fair took place, the largest event in our quiet town. it’s the end of the summer season and it goes out with a bang: workshops, food demos, seminars, guided tours, concerts, food… it feels like the whole town comes together in nights filled with energy. we saw miguel araújo’s concert — he was great!


weeknotes, 34/23

– after a few extremely hot weeks, the heatwave seems to have eased up in the past couple of days. a breeze is blowing and it’s making it all a little more bearable. it feels good to be able to sleep and not wake up in a puddle of sweat.

– last sunday (after i wrote the last weeknotes), we went to a peaceful protest in cabanas. the local people want a bridge to be built into the nearby islands, so that everyone can go there without having to deal with the local boat mafia. i’m not very hopeful that someone higher up will listen… but if we don’t try, we won’t get anywhere either, right?

– i finished “typhoid mary“, a book about a lady in the early 1900s who was a silent carrier for typhoid in new york, and all the people she infected as a cook. i picked the book because it was written by anthony bourdain, and it did not disappoint. he has a very humane perspective on what the was the difficult life of a difficult woman.

– and with this, goodreads tells me i’ve magically read 52 books this year so far… what?! i thought 52 books would already be a crazy amount to fit in a year — to have this finished in the middle of the year feels insane. most of these were read in hours of insomnia, or while waiting for things to happen… i guess there has been a lot of that this year.

– i’m hopping between a few different books at the moment, and the one that sticks out is “liftoff: couch to barbell“, by casey johnston. it’s about strength training for beginners, and i’m planning on giving it a go. a few things stuck with me from outlive — and one of them is the importance of muscles and how we lose them as we get old. so i think it’s time to get some, before it’s too late. the plan from the book starts off really easy, which feels right for a newbie like me. also, the swimming pool reopens next week, fiiiiiiiiinally!


weeknotes, 33/23

a very quiet week, good for recharging.

– the local festivities for the “holy lady of fishermen” are taking place in the village… which means concerts, little pop up stalls, and farturas, my summer favorite! <3

– the boy continues his saga to find the cause of his never-ending cough, this time with expensive allergy tests. fingers crossed!

– we spent some time with friends this week, having dinner, being introduced to guardians of the galaxy and also playing board games! it’s the time of the year in which everyone visits the algarve, which is brilliant to catch up.

– we launched the replacement for the world postcard day postcard, and things went better than the first time around. the other card had more votes, but this second place one was secretly my favorite, so it pleases me to see it being printed.

– i’m working on a youtube playlist of our 10 years (!!) of one second everyday videos. it’s a monumental task to find all the videos and consolidate them in just one platform, and most of them are not even in what we would call a decent quality these days… so many things have changed in 10 years, including the app. but it’ll be nice to see the videos all together, in order!

– i finished listening to a book about cod, a fish deeply rooted in our portuguese dna. the book was enlightening (though a bit boring towards the end) and i learnt about the cod wars, how cod has practically no fat (and is thus a good fish for drying), how salted used to be soaked in toilet tanks (what a genius idea!), and also about the collapse of the atlantic cod stocks after decades of overfishing. i have too many ongoing books on my pile right now, to fit the different moods. 😅

– our friend gui has been really into making macro videos featuring insects, and i love his latest production, the disco bee!


weeknotes, 31/23

– our niece is here! 3kgs of tiny baby LJ, already a champion of the eating-sleeping-pooping triathlon. :) we’ve barely seen her awake, but she seems perfect: healthy, pink and squirmy. looking forward to many cuddles and future adventures with her!

– the pope is also here for a week to celebrate world youth day, and the country seems to be under some collective spell. we’re still up north at the parents, which means TVs stay on at mealtimes… the coverage is constant, overwhelming and a little hallucinatory. going by the street interviews, every passerby seems to have their life changed by the mere sight of the man (it reminds me of this). i start to sound like a grumpy old atheist lady, so i’ll spare you further whininess.

– did you know that the largest trilobites in the world were found in portugal? usually these fossils are just a few centimeters long, but in a shale quarry in arouca, specimens have been found with 70cms! we’re staying nearby at the boy’s parents, so we had a little road trip to see them and to try arouquesa meat (and top up the iron reserves). both recommended!

– the bad news is that the boy is still coughing his lungs out, and his doctor suggested we investigate other causes of the problem, so we’re making time here while we wait for blood test results. it seems farfetched… but if at least we had a clue as to what is causing this prolonged cough, we could at least try to address the root of the issue.


weeknotes, 29-30/23

– we came north to celebrate the boy dad’s birthday, and got invited to the birthday picnic of an 8 year old cousin. summer birthdays seem to be the perfect excuse for family to get together, and i’m here for it. plus, we’re all on baby watch, waiting for my little niece to be born any time now!

– because of the 8 year old’s birthday (and because we were in the center of porto), i went to a big bookshop and got a bunch of children’s books, including a couple of translated janosch books! <3

– i’ve been reading outlive, a massive book about the science of longevity, and it’s been a big eye-opener. i knew, in theory, that exercise was important… but i guess it didn’t quite register for me just how important it was. i took a lot of notes, and will probably re-read some chapters again soon.

– it feels so much fresher here in the north! it’s amazing the difference that 500kms can make.

– it’s summer and both parents’ farms are brimming with produce. pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, blackberries, plums, peaches… there’s a bounty out there, made of love and perseverance.