Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Show of Hands Please

Who has flown Ryanair and would happily do it again?

Who has flown Ryanair and would gladly pay double to avoid ever using this discount carrier ever again, Amen?

Who likes a little peanut butter on their Toblerone? Careful... trick question.

Easter Brunch

After our morning at home, we went to Tutu's house.

A big blue sky, like a hint of summer.
Cousins and uncles and aunts and mommies and daddies and a Tutu,
and a big green lawn to roll around on.
Birds. Chocolates. Flowers. Stories. Bees. Dirt.

Ruth, aka Tutu, served us a Sunday brunch in her pretty home. Izzy and Maria were in their
new dresses, and sometimes donning Easter bonnets... Minnie Pearl style.

Uncle Paul was in town. He came all the way from Wisconsin. He made a wish list for his stay and I think everything came together... brewery tours, beer tasting, a machaca burrito, classic So Cal weather, and hopefully an In-N-Out burger on the way to the airport.

For me his visit was especially nice, because there was finally someone to share Barcelona pictures with... someone who has been there and loves it and could appreciate my obsessive photographic collection of roof lines and Gothic doors. He had photographs to share too, and lots of good suggestions for sights, stays, wines and good eats.

Paul brought Spanish wine and a generous supply of Wisconsin brats, including venison brats from his own larder.

We spent most of the day together, enjoying the good weather, the delicious things to eat and each others company.



Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No Two Are Alike

When we dye eggs any number of tools, appliances and media come to the dining table...

Geoff enjoys his three year tradition of fixing an egg to his drill.

Alex relies on pencils and markers...

He gets an Iron tough egg.

It took a few tries before Geoff remembered that his successful method involved hot glue... just like our gingerbread houses!

William patiently added a fractal pattern to his egg.

Max, a focused artist, began with concentric squares on the top of the egg, that morphed into concentric circles on the other end. Time to re-introduce him to Escher.

This year I made fabric eggs.

And for breakfast we had hencakes.

Then finally I got around to painting an egg. Gee. What inspired me?

Once Geoff attaches the egg, he lets the drill spin and brings out his Sharpie collection...

In motion, the second black stripe.

Three stripes and your out!
Just kidding.
I'm so punny.
Not to be confused with puny.
I am not puny.

Here is Alex's striped egg.

We colored 27 eggs this year. It's the first time I bought eggs in a long time.
Our backyard eggs come pre-dyed.

Maria could not wait to find what the Easter Bunny left, and just outside the front door were four baskets with our family Spring traditions... new underwear, a chocolate bunny, and both Trader Joe's Fruit Leathers and their dye-free lollipops! (God bless them) After making certain that Maria's fingers were not broken when they were smashed in the closet door, we gathered all goodies, children, roasted potatoes and an ice pack and headed for Tutu's house!

Monday, April 13, 2009

In-N-Out Europe Style

So, we have our flight in and we have our flight out, but everything in between is making us loopy. Maybe, as I was explaining to Dallas, it's because we are trying to see all of Europe in 3 weeks and for 50% off. It's all too much. Our hair is falling out. Our eyes are strained. Our brains are flipping and flopping. It's all too much. I cannot even say what the plan is at this point, because Geoff may call and say "Let's go with plan B, and scratch the second part of our original plan B, but add a second helping of that other thing we were talking about, but we'll take the bus instead of the train, after we return the rental car at the airport in the town before the big city. K?" Then I will scream or cry or laugh or something, and then say "K."

Delia in Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Confused? Me too. To make a short story long it all goes back to the Summer of 1982, when Geoff and I met and talked and talked and talked and decided that someday we would go to Europe. We postponed our trip a bit, but this is it. This is the Summer we go to Europe, and because it is 27 years later, our plans have changed... there are 4 children to bring and inflation to consider. Geoff wisely insisted on sending an advance team to figure out the Ins and Outs of traveling abroad. Mom and I went to Barcelona, Spain and Avignon, France. We got lost and we got chocolate. We walked 42 miles a day and learned to punctuate our sentences with "Vale." We took lots and lots of pictures, and agreed we need to learn more about our cameras. We figured everything out and came home resourceful, informed brilliant beacons of travel wisdom.


Now Geoff and I are trying to apply our dreams, my wisdom, his visions, the children's needs, our savings account and all of the allure of rivers, villages, castles, museums, trains, and Europe in to one seamless adventure, that I call Chickens Abroad.

Here I am, being savvy, at McDonalds', across the street the Sagrada Familia. Lesson learned: Expect the unexpected. My initial posts from Barcelona were long and distressed... I had not expected jet lag to be so real and I was really sad to be out of touch with my husband and children. Bloggers and friends saved the day with all of their encouraging and helpful comments, and once Mom and I got our bearings we figured a lot out. It was in these comments that we learned about the free wifi at McD's, and I have "Lusks' Journal" to thank for telling me about this. I am not opposed to burger joints, but I am an In-N-Out girl and there was no way I was going all the way to Europe just to sit in MickyD's, but now I know a soda, clean bathrooms, and a smoke-free place to sit make it a worthwhile stop. Expect the unexpected.

One thing Geoff and I expected was that we would all go to Barcelona together. Hmmm. Maybe we are meant to go back another time. Nothing is decided, but I think we are trying to see too much, go to too many places. I really want to return to Spain, but now that Geoff has me infected with travel fever, I know we can make it to España next time, and this time can be about places within easier reach of London, like France, Belgium and Netherlands. Or maybe...

Santa Maria Del Mar

There is so much to figure out. And our 1985 copy of Europe on $20 a Day is no help at all. LOL.

I did not expect to like Picasso's work as much as I did. I had never seen his paintings and sketches, the art he did as a child, from before Cubism and I really like those very much... enough to help me appreciate later works.

Next up... we need to decide where to stay and how to get there. And then when we get there we can discover all of the unexpected parts, the parts that work and the parts that do not. Good ideas and helpful suggestions are coming and in and I appreciate every one of them.

Our first day in Europe the Metro was a daunting labyrinth and I might have flown straight home if I thought it were feasible, but fortunately curiosity and hotel reservations kept us moving forward... thank God. So I have to remind myself that all of this is probably as simple as the Metro, and we will soon see that the loopyness, the flipping and flopping will all be worthwhile in the end.