weeknotes, 7/23

– went to alentejo for a couple of days, to get out of home a little bit and explore different places. we stayed at a cheap-ish farmhouse with a super nice caretaker, got pampered by her breakfasts, got lost in the unpaved paths of the montes there, ate our weight in pork and migas, spotted some flocks of wintering golden plovers, and even took a selfie with the great bustard! well, not the real thing… sadly, the big bird continues to elude us, but we’re not discouraged and shall come back. 

– we watched the queen’s gambit, which made me realize chess seems to be much more of a game in which you study and memorize, than one where you just… play. it’s a little disappointing, but also intriguing. i still want to learn it.

– we ordered the little stones for the garden, so now all that is left to do is to put them there… all 7 tons of them. :| kind of eager to see the end result!

– we watched a tom scott video about chatGPT that was a kind of a fascinating wake-up call. i’ve tried the engine a few times and i’m still in awe of it — but like tom, it’s the kind of awe that makes me reel with the possibilities, that brings about the feeling of being on the edge of something big. being the kind of person who mostly writes (emails, posts) for a living, it’s dizzying to see a machine grasp the context of a query and draft a perfectly toned response to it. the implications of it are huge, and we’re only getting started.

– we went up to the hills here in tavira to have d. fernanda’s açorda de galinha, a soupy dish that mixes chicken, bread, chickpeas and mint. we hadn’t had it a long time, and it was really lovely to taste it again. it made me think that there are nice things to taste and explore at every corner, even in the corners we already know by heart… something we sometimes forget in the sameness of our days at home.

– i finished the third book of the neapolitan novels, half of it by reading the book itself, half on audiobook while i took care of the garden. some things in lina and lenu’s lives feel more settled, now that they’re adults with children, yet it all feels fragile and off at the same time… now only the final book is missing, and i’m ready for the conclusion. 

physicsgirl, one of the youtubers we subscribe to and enjoy, caught covid last year, then had long covid symptoms that morphed into me/cfs… which, to me, is one of the scariest diseases out there. :( it’s been on my radar for some time, as i interviewed someone with it some years ago, and ever since then, the random cruelty of it often comes to mind. out of nowhere, a virus attacks your body and leaves you debilitated and drained of energy to the point where you cannot walk, eat or even talk. it’s a disease that is relatively unknown and understudied, and for which there is no cure. it’s just heartbreaking.


european stonechat

i like stonechats (aka, cartaxo comum). they prefer to perch on top of things, making them super easy to spot and photograph. plus, their colors are quite striking (at least the males), so they easily stand out from other birds. they’re so common here.

the females are a little bit less showy, more muted in their colors, but still easy enough to spot, high on a fence or stick.

we rarely noticed them before we started birdwatching, but once you start looking (really looking), they’re everywhere!

pretty things

…you know what i’m saying?

“When I am feeling dreary, annoyed and generally unimpressed by life, I imagine what it would be like to come back to this world for just a day after having been dead. I imagine how sentimental I would feel about the very things I once found stupid, hateful or mundane. Oh, there’s a light switch! I haven’t seen a light switch in so long! I didn’t realize how much I missed light switches! Oh! Oh! And look – the stairs up to our front porch are still completely cracked! Hello cracks! Let me get a good look at you. And there’s my neitghbor, standing there, fantastically alive, just the same, still punctuating her sentences with you know what I’m saying? Why did that bother me? It’s so… endearing.”

― Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

stumbled on this quote the other day, and found the thought really moving. another book to add to the book pile!


weeknotes, 6/23

– phase 1 of the garden transformation is afoot: the garden has been sprayed with weed killers to rid it of the stubborn clover and grass. i’m not too keen on herbicide… but after 7 years of trying to unsuccessfully tame the weeds, i give up. it is what it is. next week we should order the little stones and the anti-grass cloth that goes underneath them. i’ve started planting the succulent patch on a reserved corner of the garden, but my dodgy back makes it slow going.

– the air fryer is still going strong! this week, besides roasting veggies for side dishes, we also did some zaatar chicken wings and also some creamy garlic chicken which were quite nice. i’m enjoying exploring it!

– started to knit a sweater for my future baby nephew! maybe knitting sweaters for small creatures will be more successful than knitting sweaters for grown-ups, which so far has proved beyond my patience and ability. i’m using these instructions, which seem simple enough.

– we started the process of hiring someone to help me with support at postcrossing. it’ll take time to interview, choose and onboard the new person, but at last i’ll get some help and (hopefully) stop being so overwhelmed by work all the time. it’s a start!

– i finished book #2 of the neapolitan novels, which invited a trip to the library to get some new books! i got book #3 of the series, then browsed the shelves for a long time and stumbled on a couple of books by portuguese authors (who, coincidentally, were themselves a couple). i love the library!

– we played the game with friends, and it was surprisingly challenging, despite the relatively simple mechanics.

one second everyday

january 2023 — one second everyday

january saw a lot of potatoes, a lot of cozying up at home, the lunar new year, and air fryer’s debut!