Friday, September 30, 2005

Back to Madrid...

Our program has ended and we are all going back today. I have had a fantastic time. Parties every night, good food, lots of fun and I have friends all over Spain, Ireland and the U.S. now. This has been an incredible expeience here and I have definitely learned more about the people and the country than if I was just a normal tourist here.

I learned how to dance Sevillanas, the proper way to cuss, how to hold and use a fan, what some Spanish men REALLY think about women, the wonders of a medieval town and all sorts of other crazy Spanish things. I´m really sad to be going. I have a lot of new friends that I´m really going to miss.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Into Town and Back Again

The quemada was pretty cool. It´s a ritual from Galicia in the North. It involves heating an alcoholic drink called agua ardiente and lighting it afire. It was pretty cool and we partied afterwards. Then, we partied again the next day too. Yesterday we were all pretty low energy, but today, everybody´s back to normal.

Went into the town of La Alberca yesterday. We´re talking medieval village here. Narrow streets, winding roads, flowers everywhere. Beautiful. We sat in the main plaza and toured the town. Very nice. We had jamon iberico--made from pigs only from this region that eat only acorns. They have a stand--every house has one--where the whole leg hoof and all is propped up and carved with a thin knife. It´s considered the best ham in the world and I had all I could eat. Today I went again--twice--and had a great time speaking Spanish with the shopkeepers. I´m having an incredible time and really learning about the country and its people because we have so many chances to sit and talk with the Spaniards.

This is a wonderful program...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Up in the Mountains in La Alberca

Right now we are chilling in the mountains of La Alberca, Spain, doing the Vaughan Village English language program. The Spaniards are all very nice, although nervous about having to speak English all day like this. I guess I would be too. The hotel we´re staying at is a collection of chalets up in the mountains in a small village an hour from Salamanca. Very nice.

Essentially, you have one-on-one conversations and group conversations with them. There are also English, Canadian and Irish-accented speakers here as well. We´ve all been doing a lot of joking and trashtalking and having fun with one another. I´m having a great time, but the Spaniards are describing it as "torture", lol.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

When In Madrid...

Madrid is too much fun. The people are laid back, the weather´s beautiful and we are having a good time. We are staying in Old Madrid, right at the center of everything. You can walk to most places and we have been exploring all of these shop and restaurant-filled streets, eating tapas and enjoying ourselves. The architecture here is beautiful, with its iron balconies and grillwork. Our hostal, Hostal Adriano, is very cute and chic. Everyone´s been pretty friendly and helpful so far and we´ve been using what little Spanish we know.

We´re leaving for the language program tomorrow and have a tapas get-together tonight. I´ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Winifred's Fabulous Quilts

At our guild, one of our members--Winifred Wallace--gave a lecture on machine embellishment and her work is phenomenal! She really should enter more shows or something! Her pieces are always beautifully done and her techniques are on point. Sometimes you can't tell her embellishments from the original pattern of the fabric and one fabric she used so well, I expected it to be crinkly with wrinkles, but when I touched it, it wasn't. Fabulous work...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Maryland Renaissance Festival

I was supposed to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival today (smoked turkey legs are the best!), but since we are going away I had to do other stuff today. We'll go when we come back and I'll be there with my flower and ribbon crown on.

Enjoy the pics from last year's...

Inspirations for the Week

  1. The way shadows and light fall on the mountains and landscape out West
  2. The water contrasting with the barrenness of the desert around Lake Mead
  3. The circle, square and pie chart patterns of the cropfields below from the plane
  4. The polished beauty of the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park in Chicago

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'M IN! (aka "Me & My Big Mouth...")

Well, the fabulous Sonji gave me a little deserved swift kick to the A recently by nicely laying me out about not listening to others and following up myself, LOL. This spurred me to drop a very polite email to Dr. Mazloomi, who promptly emailed me back.

Oh crap y'all, I'm IN.

All of my smacktalk and I'm in the exhibit! Ohmigod. YAY! I mean, YAAAAAAAAAAY!!

Oops of the Day: Be patient, grasshopper.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Back to My Senses

Now that I'm fully awake, lol, and have come to my senses I sent off an email to follow-up about it. I'm done venting. Man, these things make me twitchy!

I'm going to concentrate on going to Europe instead.

Mmm...paella. Ooo...Eiffel Tower. Somebody say "Piccadilly"? Piccadilly. What a fun word.

For your viewing pleasure, I found this old photo of me w/my brother (and cousin in the back) riding a coaster at Paramount's King's Dominion. That was a fun, fun day.

A Realization

Some of the ladies from my guild held an Art Sew-ciety art quilt group meeting about 2 weeks ago or so. Only 7 of us. We want to regularly get together and discuss art quilting techniques and critique each other's work. They'd seen the Jazz Quilt in person and that led to a discussion of the Mazloomi exhibit.

The biggest realization I had after talking to them about it is that they were right: the info I got was forwarded like a regular call for entries, but it may not have been. They told me that it could've been invite-only. As in, if she doesn't invite you in, then you're not in and if you sent her something, it might be disregarded. I get it. Like unsolicited manuscripts. It's over a month and a half later and I haven't received any acknowledgment of any kind--written or spoken. I'm inclined to agree with the ladies and I feel silly and stupid now for having even entered if it was closed to submissions even though the Jazz Quilt is so pretty and would've been perfect. If so...

I want my frickin' slides back then! What a waste of them!

Of Best Friends and Goddaughters

Well, I still don't have my Chicago pics yet, but I do have two for you. One of me with my best friend Kay. It was so good to see her again. It had been 1 1/2 years! Way too long. Her husband (who is my husband's best friend) went to GW w/me and is now a professor of African studies at Northwestern U. We always have such a good time together that it sucks that we don't live closer to one another. We are also both writers. We have been thinking about starting a small press together to publish some non-fiction and fiction work. We talked about it some and it really seems do-able. We're talented and smart. We can do this!

The other picture is of me with her daughter Rudi--my goddaughter. Her little sister Judi (also my goddaughter), who is almost 2, was a furious ball of energy running around on her tiptoes and making astute observations. She's hilarious and has a middle name that's a combo of mine and my husband's. I'll have pics of her and the city soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rat Pack

Until I get my Chicago photos developed (left my digcam at home darn it!) here's a pic of us with Rat Pack impersonators in Vegas!!! My husband and I are the two not in black...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Poker Run Scavenger Hunt

One of the activities that my group did was the Poker Run Scavenger Hunt. Arranged by the hotel, you're split into teams of 4 (or 3 in my case), given a packet w/a Polaroid, maps, entry fee money, and other things. You hop into a car and follow clues all over the Lake Mead/Hoover Dam/Boulder City, NV area and take pics or bring back clues from there. It was a lot of fun and we really got to see the countryside and sights in a way that we probably wouldn't normally!

Did I mention that we crossed over the Hoover Dam? COOL!!!

Livin' It Up in Sin City Baby, Yeah!

Out here in the Las Vegas area at the lovely Ritz Carlton Lake Las Vegas resort working an annual meeting for my 9 to 5. It's pretty weird in a way that this gorgeous "Italianate" resort is along a lake in the middle of the desert. It's pretty scorching out here to me (of the oppressive D.C.-style heat). Took some pics for you of the resort and the pretty yummy goodies I had at the member spouse tea today. Um-um-good.

There's also a shot of...the Grand Canyon!! Our pilot took a route overhead. That sight alone made my trip. It's so huge! Absolutely awesome to see like that! I love the desert and its forms and shapes. I got inspired by farmlands along the edge with their circles and bars in all shades of greens and tans and browns and grays and drew a sketch that I'll post when I get the chance. All I could think was "Oooo...that'll make a great quilt!"