I had a good, but very busy day (for me, that is). It started off with a bit of yoga! I’ve had a yoga video for quite a while…and since my muscles have been extra sore lately I figured it was about time I broke out my sticky mat and got down to business. I’d really like to be near a YMCA or something one day where classes are held…think I’d be more inclined to be regular with it if I had other people to do it with, you know?

Spanish practice was good, but Teresa really cracks me up sometimes. Fran called her while I was there; after the call she came back to the table and said that TJ had news for me, but that she wouldn’t tell me…I should wait till he got home! She kept teasing me about it every once in a while, too. She’s so funny.

After that I went to Mercadona for some groceries, and on the way saw a typical example of Spanish driving: a moto was stopped for the red light in the right lane…a car came up behind the moto, passed it on the left, and turned right…all through the red light! Typical.

Got the groceries, filled up the car with gas, and then went to Champion to see if they had any steaks for TJ. He’s been looking for ‘buey’ (ox meat) from Ireland…that’s something funny about living here in Spain…the beef tastes different. I can’t explain it, but every time we’ve bought steaks they’ve had an odd taste. We’ve had steaks in restaurants here that taste wonderful, but we can’t find any in any store here that doesn’t have that ‘off’ taste. When I was in Louisiana last November TJ picked up these buey steaks, though, and swears by them. Anyway…at Champion I found the cutest little French Onion soup bowls…they look like miniature soup tureens…how fun! :-) I bought two, and am thinking of going back for a few more. :-)

Went home again and fixed a quick lunch for TJ. He got home about 10 minutes before we usually left, changed, and we were off. On the way TJ told me the news Teresa didn’t want to share: TJ’s student bombed his solo flight. Apparently he landed the plane pulling 5 G’s…in other words he landed very hard. Not good. The really bad thing, though, is that somehow word got out that he had a camera on board. Now, it’s well known that everyone brings a camera on their solo flight…the problem is that he got caught. Go figure. He’s gonna have some kind of detention (can’t leave the dorm on weekends for the next 4 weeks), and that will be that.

The riding lesson went well. We rode out, and this time Cindy walked behind us. TJ was a little annoyed last time because although Cindy said to pretend that she wasn’t there she walked in front of us setting the pace, and (even though she wasn’t trying to) leading the horses. With her behind us this time we were really in control of where they went and how fast they got there. I’m trying not to be too cocky, but Bonny really walked well this time. Cindy carried the crop in case I needed it, but I never had to do more than give Bonny a little heel and tell her sternly to walk on. I really enjoyed the ride. This was the first time we were passed by a car, and the horses behaved beautifully. I don’t think it’ll be too long before Cindy lets us take them off on our own, yea! At the beginning of these lessons I wasn’t that excited about going out there; I was really doing this for TJ. But I’ve come to enjoy the time…I think it’s mainly because I see how much more I know now than just a month ago (and also because I haven’t had to work Bonny so hard these last two times….let’s hope it continues!).

So that’s it for today…have a few things from yesterday. I made a wonderful quiche from the recipe Al (sister #4) gave me from Candy. She gave it to me ages ago (about 10 years, I’d guess), and this was the first time I made it. I called her to thank her, but since her phone was busy I called Kel (sister #2) first. She got married!!! And she’s pregnant!!! What a surprise! To her as well! She’d been planning on getting married for a while (she told Jo, sister #1, but had never told me!), but obviously sped things up.

That’s the good news…the bad news is that my Aunt’s baby is not likely to be born alive. She’s 7 months along, but the baby has severe problems. The doctor thinks that if the baby is born it’s not likely to live beyond a month. What sad news…how heartbreaking. Also, a woman in my church is in the hospital for a tubal pregnancy. I think the woman will be alright, but how hard to have to deal with that.

Here’s that quiche recipe:

Candy’s Quiche

3 eggs
1 block cream cheese; or less
1/3 cup half and half; or pet milk
broccoli, fresh (1 head) or frozen; cooked
cheese; pepper jack is best
1 9-inch pie crust

Cook and drain broccoli well.

Blend first three ingredients.

Layer broccoli in bottom of pie crust, then ham, then cheese.

Pour egg mixture over all.

Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, until firm.

Can sub for broccoli: fresh tomato and basil; spinach and artichoke; bacon, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms; smoked ham and cheese; etc. I haven’t tried these yet but Al loves the tomato and basil one. The best thing about quiche is that it’s like fast food for those of us out of reach of actual fast food. It’s good hot or cold or at room temperature. You can freeze it, too. You can’t beat that, now can you?

The drive to our riding lesson is always nice. Although it’s an hour out there and another back it’s filled with such interesting sights. Almond orchards…the trees covered with pink and white blossoms; they almost look like cherry blossoms. Olive trees…their skinny leaves with almost silvery undersides that you can see when the breeze blows, as it’s always doing out here. The fields of artichokes, broccoli, etc….it’s always interesting to see the harvesters toss their produce over their shoulders into the huge baskets they wear on their backs. The mountains and hills in the background, all in varying shades of purple…sometimes with a little snow on top. Mmmm…I like this drive.

The riding part went well. TJ had Lulu again and I was on Bonny. Cindy said she’d walk in front while we rode (her horse, Sorpresa, has a tender hoof and she’s waiting on the vet). After spending the previous lesson on Lulu I’ve realized some of the mistakes I’ve been making on Bonny…I need to be firmer with her generally. Cindy gave me the riding crop for the first time; I never had to use it! Just seeing it out of the corner of her eye was enough, I think; Bonny walked quickly the entire time! In spite of feeling more confident throughout the whole ride, and less like I was having to work every second to keep Bonny’s pace up I came home with some sore muscles…guess I’m gettin’ old! Say it isn’t so! We also cleaned our horses’ hooves for the first time. It was pretty interesting…I picked up Bonny’s leg and it was funny having to support its entire weight. I expected her to hold it up for me, I guess. Obviously we were a little nervous about scraping too hard; it was strange to watch Cindy just hacking away at this part of a living animal, but Bonny never flinched. When it was my turn Cindy had to leave for a minute so I was on my own. I started out standing too close, and when I picked up Bonny’s leg I whacked my knee with hers. Live and learn. TJ did a great job on both the front and back legs…he’s getting to be quite the cowboy!

Fran and Teresa came over tonight for dinner…a Spanish cena. We had various meats, cheeses, and olives. Teresa made a mousse and I made cheesecake for supper. It all turned out pretty good…we had a good time. They brought their girls over and they were well behaved. Teresa didn’t want to bring them the last time they came over…I think she’s worried because we don’t have kids of our own and may not understand all they entail. We put ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Toy Story 2’ on for them and hardly heard a peep!

I’ve been enjoying our time each week horseback riding, but today’s lesson was a dream! Cindy switched us up…I was on Lulu, and TJ was on Bonny, and we were in the school together for the first time. Lulu obeys like nobody’s business; I could hear poor ole TJ in the background over and over “Walk on Bonny” “Get up there Bonny” etc. etc. etc. Poor kid. Although I’ve felt like I’ve learned something new with each lesson, it is mighty frustrating to continually tell Bonny to walk on and have her make no discernible response. Bonny needs a firm hand and a stern voice, at least until she believes you’re the boss. I’ve seen Cindy ride her and never lay a rein on her, and Bonny behaves so well. But she knows that I’m a beginner…a prime example of her sluggishness: You’re gonna say I’m making this up, but honestly…the very first time we rode out Cindy was walking, TJ was on Lulu to Cindy’s right, and I was on Bonny behind both of them. All of a sudden Bonny went down!!! She went to her “knees” and immediately regained her footing. I didn’t know what was happening. I don’t think Cindy even skipped a beat…I guess my yelp wasn’t as loud as I thought. When I finally had Cindy’s attention she said that Bonny must have fallen asleep!!! I was on the horse and it fell asleep! What kind of crazy talk is that? She hasn’t done it since, but that could be because I’m continually talking to her to try to keep her awake.

After spending so many hours yesterday changing my blog’s layout I dreamed about cleaning up the code all night! No rest for the wicked (or is that weary?).

It’s always funny to me when I meet a new elderly Spanish lady…I met Teresa’s mom this morning and the first words out of her mouth were “Que guapa!!” (“How beautiful!”). Now I am by no means beautiful…I’m average looking, hopefully not downright ugly…I think it’s just a thing with that generation. Fran’s mom said the same thing. What am I supposed to say then? It seems so awkward to just say thank you, but if I tell her she’s beautiful she’ll know it’s just because she said it first to me…funny.

I’ve been working on my site all day! Up until this blog I’ve managed to get by with knowing next to nothing about html; no longer. I guess it’s time I move into the 21st century. Over the weekend and through today I’ve spent every available moment looking up html code, and moving from there to applying it to my css. I really like the new layout…it looks much more professional. There are still bugs to work out, but I guess nothing on the internet ever stands still until it dies. Anyway, I’ve moved from changing just my test page to actually changing my blog…what a nice feeling. :-) And now for a big Thank You to TJ, without whom these single entry cells would not be possible!

In other news: at Monday’s riding session I successfully trotted with no reins and no stirrups! It was much easier than I expected; I didn’t feel out of control like I thought I might. The sad thing is that I actually got so frustrated at the (stupid) horse that I almost cried! Background: we started riding January 10th, and have been going 3 times a week usually…I’ve had 12 lessons so far and TJ’s had 13. Since this is a long term plan lessons are 15 euros/person/hour…not a bad deal, I think. She only has 1 American saddle, and since these lessons are more important to TJ than to me he gets it. I tried out the Spanish saddle the first full lesson; it was the cadillac of saddles as far as the rider was concerned…the underside was padded with what looked like lambs wool. What made me uncomfortable was the fact that the stirrups were like metal boxes…just like you see in the movies! I felt so bad for Bonny, I could feel those stirrups hitting her every once in a while. (Monday, though, I was wishing I had them!) So, since then I’ve been riding with an English saddle. Apparently the difference between the Eng/Am saddles is that you’re closer to the animal with the English one. You can feel the horse, and vice versa, letting the horse know your mind more easily. We usually each get an hour’s lesson in the school about 2 days each week, and the third day we ride out. I’d almost always prefer the lesson; I feel like I learn more there, and the area around Fuente Alamo is so rocky, I’m always worried about Bonny stumbling.

Anyway, back to Monday…so far we’ve not done anything harder than a figure-8 in the school. Monday Cindy set the cones in a line down the middle of the school and had me ride smaller circles back and forth between them. Surprisingly Bonny was pretty easy to guide (she has a mind of her own sometimes about where she goes); I think Bonny’s problem that day was that she had dyslexia…she kept mixing up ‘trot’, ‘walk’ and ‘halt’. I always have trouble getting her to walk with any speed at all, but she was doing pretty good that day. I walked her around the course perfectly the first time; but when I told her to trot the course she would randomly trot/amble/walk/trot as she felt like it. I could hear my voice getting higher and higher, but nothing was working. Cindy was laughing in the background, and I was laughing at first…but then I’d had it. Oh well, I’ll get the hang of it one day.

Teresa had her grammar/phonetics/composition exam last Friday, and her oral exam today. She called a little bit ago to say her teacher congratulated her on her oral exam! We’ve been strictly speaking English for the last two weeks; Teresa says tomorrow is going to be all in Spanish…guess I should be studying now, ha!

TJ and I started our diet today…I’m hoping to lose a little weight this month, but soon we’ll start ttc, and I’m not sure I think it’s a good idea to really diet then. I’ll either stop the diet when we’re ttc or when I actually get pregnant. I can’t believe we’re going to (hopefully) have a baby! I feel so young, and too irresponsible to be somebody’s mother, I guess. Although TJ says I’ve got the bossing thing down pretty good, and what more is there to motherhood than that?

Some of my very old girlfriends, Jen and Jan, sent T and me some Valentines Day surprises this week! Isn’t it always so much fun to go get the mail, not expecting anything exciting, and see a box with your name on it? Candies, a friendship necklace, a picture book, a quote a day calendar, some pictures of them and their kids and a little note. Friends are so much fun!

Some surprises which aren’t fun are the (sometimes odd) things Amazon.com won’t ship to us: gum, panini grills, walkie talkies, computer keyboards, etc. I mean, what is the common denominator in all of these things? Honestly, would it be so bad if some of our gum fell into Spanish hands? And a keyboard…why, I ask you? *sigh* If I can just hold out for a little while longer…

I’ve been meaning to put up a pic or two from our horse riding adventures…I must need to live in a wide open place with mountains in the distance…I love the scenery on the way out to the horse farm. It’s so beautiful sometimes. And it’s funny what a difference seeing the same thing in 2-D is…I take the picture focusing on the mountains, and when I see the results the clouds are really what catch my eye.