My Blog List

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm not here anymore!!!!!

So, sorry, I had not actually meant to be hiding. I could not get my old posts onto this blog site, so I had to make another. Here is the new address and little preview of the posts:

Getting our furniture:

Street Art:

A trip to Barcelona:

And to Southern France:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Graffiti Lover's Corner, I

Graffiti Lover's Corner

Madrid turns out to be a hot spot for graffiti artists. My plan is to post some images of their work each week.

Here we have a series of security doors. The Spaniards are big on fences, gates and such things, and the security doors offer many canvases to the graffiti artists. My apologies to anyone who really knows how to read Spanish. I don't know if there are obscenities on this or not.

The one above I am reasonably sure was not an authorized piece. But what about this one. It is not always easy to tell:

The one below, I am pretty sure was commissioned for a night club.

And this one is definately a bit of advertising:

That is all for now. Hasta Luego!

Hello, Again, Madrid

Well, it all started Saturday morning at 11:00 in the Avis parking lot where we took our 4 cartloads of suitcases. While we were loading the car a couple of men walked by and gave us a yell, telling us to be more careful as our doors were scraping the car next to us. What they should have yelled was '"Hey, be more carful, cuz we are stealing the lady's handbag!" But I guess that would not have worked so well in their favor.

We did not notice the loss till we were almost ready to go. Too late to do more than file a police report. The police that I have seen here seem surprisingly informal and sociable. Like a friendly group of high school kids  monitoring the playground. I rather enjoy them, but Adele, who is more safety conscious than me, does not find them reassuring. Matt points out, in their defense, that over here the police are not in such danger of being shot at as they are in the States, so, perhaps they can afford to be relaxed. Here is my rendition, as fish, of the three we dealt with at the airport. Those are tooth picks in their mouths. I guess they were feeling the effects of Spain's new antismoking laws.

If you are surprised to see me rendering them as fish (hmmm... kinda hard to tell in this drawing that they are fish and not just green people without noses or necks) you might want to take a look at my last post - Margot B. Fish's autobiography.

After filling out a police report for the lost passports (three in my bag), and putting freezes on our bank accounts, we packed up the car. With all the bags there was barely room for both girls, and having lost my purse with its contents of books and art supplies, I was feeling a little poorer and opted to go home by the metro rather than a cab. Actually, I was very happy to get back to the Madrid metro.

Spring comes very early in Spain. When we left in November it was much colder. People were not even passing the time at the tables outside of cafes - a rare state of affairs here. But here was the scene outside our apartment when I arrived:

I really had been enjoying that New England winter with tons of snow and the beautiful icicles.  

The house we rented in Concord

But, I cannot lie. This is nice. Here is my alter ego, Margot B. Fish, admiring the view from our apartment:

However, my object is not to evoke envy in my family and friends left in the cold. So, lest you cast the evil eye on me, consider that I am still unpacking. Now for the 6th time since August.

This drawing is from my "Life Drawings" collection (see last post) and was for our packing of our house in August, but it works just as well for the other many packs and unpacks.

Comments? Questions? Elaborations? Write to me at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

See you later, Concord!

Finally! Last Friday we had all our documents assembled and took them to the Spanish Consulate. Yesterday they called to say that they have approved our work and residency permits. We have booked a flight back to Madrid for Friday. The amount of red tape and the number of hoops to be jumped through has been incredible. Matched only, I am told, by the bureaucratic nightmare that those trying to move to the States must go through.

I did not think to take a photo of all the documents that we (Matt really) had to procure and submit, but here is a rendering of the four folders with contents of one:

Each of the four folders (one for each member of the family going to Spain) contained the following:

FBI clearances
Marriage Certificate
Application forms, double sided
Supplementary application forms
Medical Certificates
All of the above had to be officially translated and apostilled  by at approved notary public

A money order
extra passport photos
Aproval of work and residency permits
 Printouts of the email confirming the appointment at the Consulate
Photocopies of Drivers' liscense, if applicable

Each one of these documents in each file had to have a photocopy accompanying it.

SO, how do I FEEL about this next move?

Excited to be returning to Spain. To the apartment with the wonderful view, to exploring the still new city, to my new friends, to learning a new language.

Sad, to be leaving family and old friends, and a house that has become quite comfortable and a country where I speak and comprehend just fine.

The above two states superimposed look like this. Hmmm. Don't really know what I feel. Do I feel anything?

However, my feelings about needing to PACK and get out of this house by Friday afternoon are completely unequivocal.

                                                                       I am terrified.

But is does not seem right to leave without posting just one blog on what a delightful snowy New England winter this has been. As bothersome as all the moves are, I am very glad to have been able to be here.

We were not so sure about this house when we first got here. But we have become quite comfortable and have especially enjoyed the fireplace and the wood stove.

Here is Iris, helping to get firewood in.

We managed to visit my brother and family in Vermont over the holidays. They are staying in an apartment in this big old barn.

Here we all are inside:
It was too small for us all to sleep there, so we also stayed in the barn of this old farm house in the nearby town of Chelsea:
The apartment had a wonderful collection of old books and lovely, soft light in the morning. Here Iris is still sleeping:

I can't possibly include or acknowledge all the wonderful friends and family who have made our stay back here so delightful. My nieces Franny and Caroline here with Iris and Adele with gingerbread houses must represent them all.

But with 24 hours to go, I have got to stop procrastinating by working on this blog!

Back to the ever lurking army of roller bags:

Good by, Concord! Hola, Madrid!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Open House

Purpose of: To bid us Bon Voyage (Again!)
 and to make an appearance in “Margot’s Memory of 50” video. 

and to see my collection of 50 images of "My life as a Fish". Here is a preview:

If you have not received an invitation:
If you are following this blog and you are a friend of ours, or a friend of a friend, or you could be a friend and you are not a creepy stalker, AND you would like to come – send me an email: ,and I will send you the time and place.
What is this “Margot’s Memory” video?
I have a terrible memory, which is probably why I feel compelled to document the events of my life. Please be prepared to appear in front of the camera to at least say who you are. You can also take a couple of minutes to tell a story, make a statement, demonstrate a skill, whatever. If you would like a topic, suggestions are:
How I know Margot
Something Margot may have forgotten (maybe wanted to forget)
Advice for turning 50– best given by someone over 50.

Are kids invited?
Yes. But if possible, please come towards 1:00 rather than the end. We will be able to absorb more energy then. I would love have kids on the video.

What should I bring?
No need to bring anything, except maybe what you plan to do in front of the camera . There will be food.

Are you really going back to Spain?
Our return to Concord MAY be fast drawing to a close. IF the paperwork is all accepted by the Spanish Consulate, AND they grant us an audience with alacrity, we will return to Madrid by the 7th of February. It could all take a few weeks longer than that.

Send me an email:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays, from Somewhere Above the Atlantic Ocean

* If you have not been following our story for the last 4 months and are wondering how we came to be suspended over the Atlantic Ocean, please look at the first post: Off to Spain, especially the Prologue, and two November posts: Visa Fiasco and Visa Debacle Update. 

The details both gory and glorious:  

A year ago we were as rooted as any family with three girls, three cats, two cars, a house and a yard. Here is the Christmas card that I designed but did not end up using last year:

Happy Holidays, 2009

Shortly after Christmas we decided to shake things up a bit by enrolling Claire in AFS, a student exchange program, to live abroad the following school year. It was nearly summer when a full scale eruption took place in the form of Matt’s company transferring him to Europe for 2 years.

BTY, those are roller bags following us to Europe.

When the dust settled the house was up for rent; our cars were sold; the cats were in new homes; most of our possessions were in storage; Claire was in Italy, and the rest of us were in an apartment in Madrid.

Claire and friends from AFS

Claire in Italy with other exchange students

We had gone with 3 month tourist visas and found that procuring residency permits in Spain is actually quite difficult. When the tourist visas expired, Matt, Adele, Iris and I had to return to Concord. Do you know Ludwig Bemelman’s Spanish Ambassador from Madaline and the Bad Hat and Madaline in London?

 I imagine it was him who sent us back to the States. Here are the Spanish Ambassador and his wife waving good bye to us with the roller bags that have followed us throughout our saga:

From Madeline in London, with some alteration
We will return to Madrid when we get our residency permits, probably in mid February.

Personal Updates

Claire is living with a very nice Italian family just outside of Rome and is doing her 10th grade year at an Italian high school.

Claire with her Italian sister, Susanna, and friends

 Thanks to Skype, she joins us every week or so in virtual form.
Skyping with Claire at my mother's birthday party

Our virtual daughter.
Adele and Iris 

Iris and Adele have enjoyed their new friends in Spain (my apologies to their friends; I must take more photos when we return)
And exploring Spain:

On the northern coast, by the Bay of Biscay

 But they have also been surprised to find how rooted they are in Concord and the United States.
Back in Concord with cousins, Emma and Maie
They have acquired  a profound appreciation of many things they might otherwise be taking for granted around this time of their lives: old friends and family, the New England landscape, our old house and its many familiar objects, an excess of dampness, a plethora of American style pizza, and the freedom to dress in sloppy clothes, just to name a random few items.

Matt’s new position that took our family to Spain has him traveling to many places in Europe as well as South Africa, Russia, the Mid East and California. His laptop is set to European time, his watch is on East Coast time, but with many other time zones involved (some of his co-workers are in India and Singapore) he has to think carefully before making a conference call.. Matt estimates that he has done 43,150 miles in the past 2 months, which works out to 720 miles a day, or keeping a continuous speed of 30 miles an hour.    

Margot: Moving to Spain has been a big mix of exciting, stressful, wonderful, fascinating, and difficult.
The best of it has been experiencing new places and making new friends who are from all over the world.

 These are some of the wonderful women I have met through a cooking class. Ana Laura, from Mexico, on the far left is our teacher. Thank you, Sandra for the picture, wish you were in it!

Unexpectedly, our European saga has entailed a great deal of moving, and just the process of packing and relocating has dominated the experience.

In my more despondent moments I feel very like Moomin Mama in one of my all time favorite cartoon strips "Moomin", by the Norwegian novelist Tove Jansson in the 1950's. In this one Moomin Papa has decided to become a lighthouse keeper:

But actually, though I did miss friends and family from home, I was very much enjoying living in Madrid, and now long for my modest studio with the fabulous view.

  As always, I welcome comments and responses. Leave a comment here, or send me an email.  Let me know if you would like our temporary Concord address and phone number, and or address and number in Madrid.

And Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!