Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Move Forward with Gusto

Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.
Ava Duvernay

These are days of particular challenge. Quotes by other brave and strong souls keep the goal within sight.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

El Trasgu de Foncebadon

Un Trasgu es un gnomo travieso de la mitología tradicional leonesa que le gusta hacer bromas, esconder cosas y asustar a la gente. Sin embargo, El Trasgu de Foncebadón ofrece un ambiente de buen humor, no asusta, sino hechiza a todos con su restaurante y su pensión. 

El Trasgu comes from the leonés (from the Province of León) word for gnome or leprechaun. A Trasgu, true to his name, likes to play tricks, hide things and frighten people.  El Trasgu of Foncebadón never frightens anyone, but rather is a pension and restaurant which enchants everyone with its ambiance of good humour and cheer.

Su restaurante mantiene el mismo nombre y dispone de un menú placentero con deliciosos platos para todos los gustos en un ambiente muy hospitalario y cálido. Hay un lounge, un side-bar y es un sitio perfecto especialmente para alguien que quiere disfrutar de su tiempo a solas o en compañía. 

The restaurant, with the same name as the pension, has a pleasing menu with delicious dishes for every taste in a welcoming and warm environment. There's a lounge and a side-bar, and it's the perfect get away spot, either to spend time alone or with company.

Sombra is a big fan.

Aquí puedes ver en las fotos algunas de sus posibilidades de alojamiento.  
Below you can see the possible overnight accommodations.

Está situado en el pueblo de Foncebadón, a 21 km de Ponferrada y 25 km de Astorga. 

In terms of location, Villafranca del Bierzo is 40 km from El Trasgu de Foncebadón, while La Bañeza is 42 km away.

Además, Foncebadón ofrece la posibilidad de realizar diferentes actividades en la naturaleza como el ciclismo y senderismo. Aunque todavía no las hemos probado, tenemos muchas ganas de hacerlas. 

A range of activities are available in the area, such as cycling and hiking when you visit or stay at El Trasgu.

Tiene una alta recomendación en Trip Advisor y en
Dos entrevistas con los dueños, Miguel Ángel y José Luis que también hablan inglés.

Highly recommended in Trip Advisor and (see the links above). Both owners/hosts also speak English.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


This cobalt glass juicer had only seen oranges and lemons until a couple of days ago when the heat drove me to a creative first. I joined said juicer with fresh picked limes, mint from the balcony, Canary Island rum, a touch of brown sugar and ice, and crushed them all together, adding tonic to make mojito deliciousness. Come on over, we'll make you one. You pick the stirrer.
#mojito #cobalto #ron #summersoltice #cobalt #mint #swizzlesticks

Friday, June 23, 2017


The name of the spider is Maman, born during a rich vibrant avant-garde 20th century movement that explored Surrealism, Abstract, Expressionism and Post-Minimalism.  Maman fascinates. She towers over, is impossible to ignore or avoid, frightens the casual observer, and yet, upon closer inspection, is almost endearing. I noticed how she holds her sac of eggs next to her body ready to die herself before harm comes to them, but she'd be so easily crushed by anyone larger than herself.

"Almost 9 meters tall, Maman is one of the most ambitious of a series of sculptures by Bourgeois that take as their subject the spider, a motif that first appeared in several of the artist's drawings in the 1940s and came to assume a central place in her work during the 1990s. 

Intended as a tribute to her mother, who was a weaver:
“The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” —Louise Bourgeois

"Bourgeois's spiders are highly contradictory as emblems of maternity: they suggest both protector and predator—the silk of a spider is used both to construct cocoons and to bind prey—and embody both strength and fragility. Such ambiguities are powerfully figured in the mammoth Maman, which hovers ominously on legs like Gothic arches that act at once as a cage and as a protective lair to a sac full of eggs perilously attached to her undercarriage. The spider provokes awe and fear, yet her massive height, improbably balanced on slender legs, conveys an almost poignant vulnerability."

Maman by Louise Bourgeois
Bronze, marble, and stainless steel
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Patatas Machacadas al Ajo

Today was a work day. Nothing spectacularly new or interesting, but one of the joys of working from home is the ability to try a new recipe for lunch, the big Spanish midday meal. We didn't have any beautiful baby potatoes, like the recipe called for. On the contrary, ours were small, not uniform and cute. In fact, they'd been sitting under the kitchen cupboard counter for a little too long and had gotten a bit wrinkled and a little old. Still, all washed up clean and boiled with a little salt they followed along as in the video. My variation was to to chop a quarter yellow onion into the butter and add a few more Italian spices, such as rosemary and oregano. This is a great new way to make your own vegetarian or even better, vegan, potatoes.

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

The result was delicious. A definite "do again".

And, of course, a little salad to go with. One of our favourite toppings is dried onions. We can get them by the bagful at IKEA, when we go to Oviedo, a couple of hours away.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.

-William Cowper; inverse stanza, on another stormy northern Spanish night.
#santander #tormenta #elsardinero #relampago #rayos #lightning #summerstorms #cowper #god

Friday, June 2, 2017

Paris Climate Accord


I spent hours last night and this morning sifting through news sources to try to understand our president's decision.

I listened to his speech, his concern that the Paris Climate Accord would weaken/ handicap /undermine (yes, all those negative words) our sovereignty, economy, legal recourse, workers, and more. Only the US would be at a disadvantage and other countries would be laughing at us? Really? With just my limited knowledge that sounds extremely paranoid. Then, after some fact checking it just sounded purely ludicrous. What about the sovereignty, economy, legal recourse and workers of the now other 200 countries that are supporting the the agreement?

President Trump says that he's ready to if he holds all the cards in his hand ready to trump in the US's favour. While Macron very diplomatically assures the US of its respect and good will for future dealings, it's very clear that the other countries are agreed that there will be NO new deal. 

In addition, my great state, California, New York and Washington are seriously resisting the president's decision and have formed a "US Climate Alliance" committed to the Accord. More than 61 mayors have stated that President Trump is wrong on the facts and the science and pledged to back the Accord, promising to meet commitments agreed to under the international accord, namely cutting carbon emissions in an effort to ward off the worst effects of global climate change. "We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy," the group of mayors wrote.

“The world cannot wait — and neither will we."

Statements by President Trump with truthful counter: 
1. "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can't build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement."
False. Under the Paris agreement, each country publicly declares how much it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what it will do to get there. In fact, China has actually taken steps to stop building coal plants. China has cut its use of coal three years in a row.
2. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree -- think of that; this much -- Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount."
Misleading. Tackling climate problems depends on taking a series of incremental steps to reduce carbon emissions. Pulling out of the Paris agreement would require even bigger future reductions.
3. "At 1 percent growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand. But at 3 or 4 percent growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy, or our country will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts."
False. Economic growth stems from population growth and improvements in productivity. Neither of these factors will drive 3 percent or 4 percent growth in the U.S, regardless.
4. "India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We're supposed to get rid of ours."
Rubbish. The Paris accord doesn’t even mention the word coal, nor does it do anything to put a global moratorium on coal. Each signatory sets its own goals and has to report on its progress. India has committed to reduce emissions 33 to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.
We have a president who will say anything. Anything.
Know the facts. Spread the truth. I, for one, want to put more of the world's wealth toward clean, sustainable energy.

For the moment we are in "good company" with only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria. If you know anything about either you'll understand. But, the U.S.?
I read later this morning and am finally seeing something that makes sense to me... corporate interests.
We know who can make Trump rethink his disastrous decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement: The 17 CEOs on Trump’s business advisory council. From IBM to Walmart, the CEOs that are on the council represent some of the most powerful corporations in the world. 
Already, two CEOs -- Elon Musk of Tesla and Bob Iger of Disney -- have stepped down from the council in protest of Trump pulling the US from the climate agreement. 
Tesla’s Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger have already stepped down from the advisory council in protest of Trump's catastrophic move. Now that Trump has made his announcement to abandon the deal that nearly every country in the world has signed onto, it’s time the other CEOs from massive multinational corporations like Walmart, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase, GM, GE, and Boeing follow Iger and Musks's lead.
In defiance of Trump’s catastrophic decision, a group including 30 mayors, three governors, more than 100 businesses and more than 80 presidents of U.S. universities is planning to present a plan to the United Nations that would meet the greenhouse-gas emission targets under the Paris climate agreement.
Let’s call on the remaining 15 CEOs on the council to take a stand for the future of our planet. Now is the opportunity to show their commitment to a safe and sustainable future and abandon Trump if he doesn’t back down.
Sign here if interested.
From SumofUs: SumOfUs is a global advocacy organization and online community that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable on issues such as climate change, workers’ rights, discrimination, human rights, animal rights, corruption, and corporate power grab.
#climatechange #ParisAccord

Then again, to be fair, there are still those arguing that Trump was right, such as Shapiro:
5 Reasons Trump is Right to Pull out of the Paris Accord

And, a well-respected friend and nuclear physicist wrote me saying this:
Please check your statement that China has cut its coal usage. That doesn't square with any data I have. They have cut how fast they increase their coal usage but they are still using more coal every year than the previous year.
Second, our state California, under governor Brown's leadership we are heading to shutting down all existing nuclear. San Onofre and Diablo Canyon produced more CO2 free electricity than all the solar and wind built in California for the last twenty years.
The big impact on CO2 emissions is what the developing countries choose to generate their electricity - this is far more important than what the US uses. As things currently stand they will choose coal or gas. The thing the US could do that will have a big impact is to create a carbon free power source that can compete with coal and gas cost wise. If you don't have electricity coal generated electricity sounds pretty good. Developing countries will choose the cheapest electricity so the important thing is to invent a carbon free choice for them. That is what we are attempting to do.

Photos while at the Organic Faire in Santander, Cantabria, Spain.
#productosecologicos #vidasana #biocantabria #energiasrenovables #bioconstrucción #comerciojusto #consumoresponsable #alimentosecologicos