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”!


weeknotes, 1/24

first weeknotes of the year!

– it was a busy week, so my brain couldn’t focus much on reading proper serious stuff… but i made my way through a couple more of ozeman novels, which felt light, teenagey and contemporary.

– the kid tried out the sweater i knit for her and it fit! 😍

– went to the yearly dentist checkup and he found no cavities in my teeth. hurray!

– driving back home was the highlight of the week. the feeling of opening the doors and being home after some weeks away… there’s nothing quite like it.

– in the three weeks we were away, the broccolis have exploded! 😱 i don’t know what magic is this, but i have 2 monster broccoli. we’ve eaten one of them already, and transformed some of the leaves into even more caldo verde. it really feels like a miracle, especially for such a newbie like me.

– we got the composter! it’s a huge, dalek-shaped contraption that feels a little flimsy. i think it’s going to take ages for us to fill it up, but the neighbors have already offered to give us their grass clippings, which should help. that said, we’re supposed to be aiming for a ratio of 50% greens (eg, veggie scraps) and 50% browns (dried leaves, paper) and we definitely have more of the first than the second. i might have to raid the neighborhood’s recycling bins for some paper we can shred…

– at least one chiffchaff but possibly 2! are wintering in our garden, eating bugs off the raised bed and living their best lives. they are so tiny and precious, and i’m honored they’ve chosen us as their southern holiday vacation home.