Friday, March 18, 2016


A few days ago, we were able to go into Madrid and see the Cleopatra exhibit! Although I was unable to take any pictures (forbidden!), I can assure you that it was impressive. The exhibit itself was very large, with so many interesting artifacts and information, that it took us a couple of hours to see it all. That is quite a bit of time when there are 3 active and anxious kids who zipped through it in half that time. :-) However, being the amazing kids that they are, they patiently waited with their dad in the ubiquitous gift shop which was at the exit from the building. It was quite a surprise to see the extraordinary ability of artists from thousands of years ago - their skills were stunning, as were their pieces - from jewelry, pottery, dishes, statues to carvings and paintings on various surfaces such as sand and marble. In addition to the actual artifacts, there was a whole section on various women in modern history who have played the part of Cleopatra in movies from Hollywood. The clothing they wore, the gigantic sphinx used in one movie, wooden chariots and so on, were all on display. So interesting!  It was wonderful to be able to experience this exhibit while in Spain.

Another afternoon, we went for a hike in a National Park. It is a very large reserve which is used by many mountain bikers, as it has great hills and valleys, and lots of heart-stopping jumps as well. As we were walking, my husband observed that this is the kind of wood which Sir Lancelot would have chased Guinevere through...I didn't really understand what he meant until he explained:  In the places we have lived in Canada, or visited in the USA, the woods have so much undergrowth, that it would be difficult for horses to navigate, let alone reach a gallop. But this wood has only grass as its undergrowth, so it is wide open, and a person riding on a horse could gallop through the trees quite nicely. This is the kind of woods that I imagined in the Narnia series of books, and that Syd felt would have been perfect in the times of the Knights of the Round Table.

You might be wondering where the "spiders" in my title comes into the picture in our time in Spain. Well, actually, it came into play before we left Canada. About a week before our flight here, I got a small bite of some sort on my right arm, just above the inside of my wrist. Although I tried treating it with several different things, the size of the bite continued to grow in size and in itchiness, and would NOT heal -  until it became a concern.  As well, one of the children's colds turned into sinusitis, and needed medical attention. So, off to the doctor we went, with Kim to translate. My bite is a spider bite which had festered, and needed a special cream to heal. And Isaiah's cold had indeed deteriorated to the point of needing antibiotics. So we are both on the mend. Syd, however, has succumbed to the cold virus, and is now slowly recovering. The others are almost completely cold-free. Kim and I are doing everything we can to keep from getting sick!  

One of the goals I had for this trip was to sketch as much as possible. I bought a lovely sketch book, which I am using most every day. I did a photo shoot last year with my neighbour's girl, and I plan to do her portrait when I get home, trying some new ideas in the piece. So, I am sketching her picture to work out details. As well, there is the cat, the dog, the kids, and things around me - anything to work on my drawing skills and improve my confidence and ability. Practice, practice and more practice. :-)

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