Tomato update

My tomatoes had a rough week without my undivided attention (and watering) but Jeff kept them alive!

With the immediate risk of frost over, we repotted the tomato plants outside on the deck last evening, along with the corpses of the herbs that didn’t have such a great week with me in Spain.

 

We’ve already harvested half a dozen tiny tim tomatoes already. Home grown tomatoes are delicious! I consider the experiment a success: I grew tomatoes inside! They were planted from seeds in January and the first tomatoes were ready in May. Next year I’d like to try cherry tomatoes inside.

Spring is quickly changing to summer here. The forecasted high today is 29! The blackflies are finally out this week (and are hungry), the leaves are flushing, and Jeff has cut the lawn once already.

 

IMG_4756

Barcelona, Spain meetup

I just returned from a week long meetup in Barcelona, Spain with my team from work. We all work remotely, so we get together once in awhile to spend time together to work on projects, talk about our work, and take full advantage of being in the same place at one time.

Here are some of the highlights:

Food

The food in Spain is incredible! It really made me wonder why North Americans eat such garbage food. The ingredients weren’t even rare or expensive, just common, fresh, delicious ingredients, like fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, spinach, fish, beef, ham, eggs, potatoes, eggplant, asparagus, and peppers.

Waiting for tacos.

Waiting for tacos.

The meal times in Barcelona are much later than at home. Suppers were at 10:00pm or later, and most meals seemed like a social event. Most (all?) places had a tapas menu, which are like hors d’oeuvres or starters that you can share with your entire table. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like.. Well maybe the eggs, anything with eggs I skipped 😉

IMG_4637

Tapas

Dessert should really never be skipped in Barcelona. This was a cake plate that we shared. Everything was so delicious.

Dessert should really never be skipped in Barcelona. This was a cake plate that we shared. Everything was so delicious.

IMG_4734

IMG_4702

IMG_4730Most of the restaurants were just little, intimate places, so we used apps like Yelp to find nearby restaurants that were likely to accommodate  9 of us.IMG_4724

IMG_4721

IMG_4687

IMG_4700

We visited the biggest market in Barcelona. It was so amazing. I think I could live inside of it. So much fresh produce, meat, fruit juices, baked goods, more types of fish than I’ve ever seen, and chocolates and candy galore!

IMG_4797

IMG_4774

IMG_4788

IMG_4790

IMG_4793

IMG_4794We also tried the infamous Panther Milk drink, a drink made of condensed milk, gin, rum, Cointreau, peppermint and cinnamon. Bottoms up!

IMG_4736

Panther milk.

IMG_4741

IMG_4740

The Abesta. A small cozy bar that serves panther milk and absinthe, and has tables lower than your knees.

Accommodations

The 9 of us stayed in an 8 bedroom, 5 bathroom apartment found on AirBnB – https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/2377178?locale=en

It was located on a main avenue, Passeig de Gràcia, which is a real ritzy area, with expensive brand store fronts. The street was lined with beautiful trees and benches, and had a gorgeous sidewalk with an imprinted pattern.

IMG_4630

Passeig de Gràcia, a view from outside our apartment.

IMG_4631

Our apartment was up in this building on the third floor.

Gaudi

Many of the tourist spots we visited had the common theme of being designed by Antoni Gaudí. He was an architect, but also an incredible artist. His designs are curvy and beautiful, with many tile mosaics, but also incredibly full featured for air flow, and light.

Just a couple blocks from our apartment was the Casa Batlló building that he designed. Here are some photos:

IMG_4645

IMG_4646

DSCN0245

DSCN0243

DSCN0242

Wood stove

DSCN0251

Chimney on roof

Gaudi also played a role in the design of the Sagrada Família church. It is a massive Catholic church that was started in 1882 and still isn’t done. They are currently aiming for a 2026 finish.

DSCN0255

 

DSCN0265

Mosaic style stained glass.

We paid the entry fee to see the inside of the church. I was surprised at just how much of a negative feeling I had about it all, and the overwhelming desire to get out of it. It is a beautiful building, but after being raised Catholic, and now being the furthest thing away from a Catholic, just the sites, scenes, symbols, and sounds were too much for me. I couldn’t help but thing it was all an insane, overpowering, colossal waste of money for the purpose of worshipping a god.

DSCN0260

Ceiling

DSCN0261

DSCN0262

DSCN0263

DSCN0259

DSCN0256

Gaudi also designed Park Güell that sits on the highest point over looking town. Here are some pictures:

DSCN0266

DSCN0268

DSCN0270

DSCN0274

DSCN0277

IMG_4746

IMG_4756

IMG_4760

Thoughts of Barcelona

This trip to Barcelona was my first visit to Europe. The city was beautiful, clean, and really easy to walk with lovely wide sidewalks, benches, and cross walks.

All the building fronts were about five or six stories tall, with balconies, beautiful windows, and wooden shutters for the sun.

There were no pick up trucks in sight, just small cars, and so many motorcycles. Not the road bikes we’re used to, but somewhere between a motorcycle and a moped. Nice, economical street bikes that parked on the sidewalks, all along the roads.

Motorbikes parked on sidewalks.

Motorbikes parked on sidewalks.

There were many areas with outdoor seating for restaurants.

IMG_4674

I just loved the sight of watching these two older men walk by.

IMG_4657

The people on the streets were beautiful and healthy looking. I didn’t see anyone carrying much extra weight. There were few tattoos visible. Many of the men carried shoulder or cross-body bags.

The restaurants were visited were very hospitable, with every one having at least one person on their staff that knew a bit of English, so we didn’t ever have much of a language barrier. If we did, our phones, Google Translate, or a bit of pointing got us through. Most restaurants even had an English version of their menu.

IMG_4707

IMG_4708

IMG_4717

IMG_4691

The meetup was excellent, and I took advantage of almost every hour, sleeping very little 😉 It is really great to work with people that you enjoy hanging out with. On the last day I mentioned it felt a bit like leaving summer camp, with all the hugs and goodbyes.

Love my eye doctor: What I learned today about blue light and working at a computer

I had my bi-annual check up today on my eyes.

I always learn so much during my appointment, my optometrist is a smart lady!

She said my eyes are doing great, but she could tell right away I look at a computer all day. She said my eyeballs were really dry. Drinking water all day is the best thing to do while working, but I already do that. She recommended Systane Ultra lubricant eye drops, one drop mid-morning and another mid-afternoon so I’m giving them a try. I didn’t realize my eyes were dry until she mentioned it. I’m fascinated that she can tell by looking in them. She said the texture of a dry eye is completely different.

I had to ask her about “burn in” while I was there. I hate looking at websites with black backgrounds and white fonts, and would rather click away than read one. As soon as I look away, the image has been burned into my eye and I can’t see things right for a bit. She said that is because I have light blue eyes. People who don’t mind dark websites tend to have dark eyes and don’t have the burn in factor. She said it can actually last 3-5 minutes!

We were talking about computers and glare and she brought me up to speed on blue light. It is natural, in the sunlight, but there is a type of blue light that can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, especially in light blue eyes like mine. She said the concern now is that compact fluorescent and LED lighting has a lot of blue light, and so do our devices, especially tablets. What they don’t yet know is if this indoor light will also cause macular degeneration or not. It is something they’ll be studying over the next few decades on all of us who have a lot of screen time. She recommended this new coating for eye glasses that blocks just this particular, possibly harmful, blue light, but while keeping the good blue light still coming into your eye. The cost wasn’t significant, so I ordered it on the new pair of glasses I picked out today.

Here is an interesting paper about blue light I just found online:

The Lowdown on Blue Light: Good vs. Bad, and Its Connection to AMD

My optometrist also told me about how people who spend more time outside have less chance of near-sightedness (myopia). The rates are growing so much it was thought it was caused by more reading or looking at devices, but studies have shown just being outside was key and the good effects on the eyes can even pass on to a baby through pregnancy. The sun is a wonderful thing! Here is one of the articles about the study:

The myopia boom: Short-sightedness is reaching epidemic proportions. Some scientists think they have found a reason why.

There is nothing sadder than a limping dog

IMG_4578Last night on our walk Monty flopped over on his back, as he often does, to roll around on the dirt and gravel. He got up and limped a couple steps. Jeff stopped him to check his paw, and a small rock fell out from between his toes, but he didn’t stop limping.

He didn’t lose any gusto, Monty LOVES his walks. You should have saw Jeff try to hold him back after a beaver smacked his tail at us just a few feet off shore!

But he won’t be taking that walk today. He’s still limping! His toes and foot look fine, but he seems to be sore on the back of his leg, just above his “ankle” (whatever you call that in a canine).

He isn’t whining or showing any signs of pain, other than not wanting to be touched there and his limp, so I guess we’ll wait for a day to see how he recoups or if he’ll need a vet trip.

Spring update

The ice went on the lake yesterday, just about 14 hours after the Yukon River went out in Dawson City, Yukon! 😂

Monday was so warm, I worked half the day on the deck and royally sunburned my arms, feet, legs, scalp, face. Worth it though, the sun felt fantastic!

The spring peepers are singing at night, and the loons started singing yesterday. We’ve seen two muskrats on our walks in the last week, a beaver last night, a loon, and several merganser ducks. And dozens of deer in the fields when we drive around.

The snow is almost all gone. There is still some in the shade and in places it was piled by the plow.

IMG_4518

Today the warm weather finally arrived!

It was finally warm and sunny here today. The snow is melting away really fast now, and the lake is starting to break up!

I took my indoor tomato plants outside for the afternoon for some real sunshine (instead of the grow lights that have got them this far). They came back inside this evening since it is going back to -2 tonight!IMG_4517

 

One of them is starting to ripen! It is a very faint reddish hue!IMG_4569

AND we have crocuses! (Croci ?) IMG_4518 IMG_4519 IMG_4520