Reflections on a November Stroll

November 14, 2014 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos 79 views

Morning Walk ReflectionsAs I do most mornings, weather permitting, I took my son for a 2-3 km walk around the port and tidal bay of the little fishing village we call home. Today the tide was high, and the water was particularly calm, which made the walk extremely photogenic. I really wished that I had my proper DSLR camera with me, but I thought I’d give the iPhone 6 camera a chance to shine. It definitely held its own. Most of these were full scenes that I wished I could zoom and frame, that I have just cropped afterwards. Even so, the picture quality is impressive. Come take my morning walk with me.
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La Sagrada Família – Barcelona’s Iconic Basilica

November 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 57 views

After seeing an impressive 3D animation recently, which I will include below, I found myself reading, with interest, the Wikipedia page about this interminable building in Barcelona. Ever since reading The Pillars of the Earth and Sarum, I’ve been fascinated by cathedral building and the knowledge that most cathedrals in Europe were built, not just over many years, but over generations, always adds to my appreciation of them as human accomplishments. There are, however, very few modern projects that fit this traditional mold. The Sagrada Família is one.
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Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, USA, Videos 70 views

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2014This year the pumpkins we got for carving at home were the smallest they’ve ever been since I began this tradition six years ago. However, on the plus side, the walls of the pumpkin were very thin and easy to carve. It was a bit like playing an electric guitar for the first time after learning on an acoustic.

Like last year, we invited Nora’s friends, Carmen and Claudia. Last year, Nora’s and Claudia’s siblings, Ian and Mara, had to take a break during the party to breastfeed. This year, they were racing around like the little toddlers they are. They know each other from daycare. It was fun to see Ian interacting with a kid his own age. Although Marga is a month or two younger, she’s got several kilos and centimeters on him.
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Halloween School Pumpkin Carving 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Spain, USA 67 views

Pumpkin 2014Having done it for the previous two years, 2012 and 2013, it was assumed that I would be carving a pumpkin at my daughter’s school again this year. Now veterans at this, my daughter’s teacher and I decided it would be much better to do the “performance” in the cafeteria/auditorium, because in past years it’s been tough squeezing all the kids in. My daughter’s 5-year-old “kindergarten” class stayed for the entire process, but during the cleaning and later the lit presentation, the 3-year-old and 4-year-old classes came in to participate.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2014

October 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 100 views

'Twas a foggy Saturday morning at the Munich AirportWe spent the first two weeks of October in the US visiting with my family. Several uncles and aunts and cousins, that I only see every five years or so, were also there to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the kids spent nearly the entire summer in southern Spain with their grandparents, I was beginning to worry about how little English was spoken. Pretty much all of Ian’s words were in Spanish, and Nora had to be reminded at the dinner table to speak English. Like most of my parental worries, this one was also unfounded. After an American fortnight, Nora is now principally playing with Ian in English, and Ian knows several English words, like “cookie” and “down”, and follows English instructions where before he only followed Spanish ones. He just turned 18-months old.
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Cueva del Valle – Rasines, Cantabria

October 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 89 views

Dad! Can I keep it?After an exhausting Saturday caring for the kids and doing housework, we decided we really needed to get out of the house on the unusually warm, sunny late October Sunday. Searching through some Cantabrian tourism websites, my wife found Cueva del Valle, in nearby Rasines (which I’ve decided to pronounce “raisins” because it’s funny). The place is called a Paleolithic Park, because evidence of human cave occupants has been dated to over 9,000 years ago. To help you grok that number, that’s temporally as far away from Ancient Egypt as Ancient Egypt is from us. Grok, incidentally, was one of the cave’s more notorious occupants back then.
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My Rite to Bear Arms in America

October 22, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Politics, USA, Videos 151 views

Marga - Colt .22 HuntsmanDespite growing up in the American South, I’ve never liked guns. Loud noises annoy me, I grew up in a Liberal household where guns were shunned, though rarely spoken about, and, as an intellectual matter, they – pistols, at least – are clearly designed to kill humans, which is something I feel pretty strongly against. Add to that the fact that America has a “gun problem”, where every day of the year you can read about people killing each other, often by accident, with unattended guns. Plus, I’ve generally been averse to hobbies, like scuba diving, skydiving, motorcycling, bungie jumping, etc., where the first objective of the activity is “try not to die”. Firearms have just never had any appeal to me.
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Catawba Meadows – The Beanstalk Journey

October 21, 2014 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 81 views

Catawba Meadows - The Beanstalk Journey - Crazy GoProThere are many moments during the week I spent camping with Outward Bound in November of 1992, when I was 14, that I will never forget but one of them is surely the swing to get down from the ropes course. I don’t remember much about the ropes course specifically, but the ten feet of free fall from a platform sixty feet in the air before the rope pulled me into a pendulum arc, the nervousness that preceded it, and the rush of adrenaline that followed shortly after will never be forgotten. It was a defining moment for me, in that it defined me as a person who understands why people seek those thrills, but who prefers to minimize even simulated near death experiences. I never again wore a harness attached to a carabiner.

Until my 36th birthday.
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Birthday Brunch at King Street Café

October 20, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Travel, USA 98 views

King Street CaféOn my 36th birthday, I had my first brunch. Brunch, you see, is a logical impossibility in Spain, due to the extreme sacred importance of the “midday” (2pm – 3pm) meal. Combining it with another meal has never once occurred to a Spaniard. While Spaniards do have a meal similar to a brunch, called almuerzo, lunch is still eaten afterwards.

I’ve heard talk of this restaurant in my hometown, called the King Street Café, and I was delighted to hear that my parents had scheduled it into our visit with my cousins and grandmother.
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Toledo at Night

October 07, 2014 By: erik Category: Photography, Photos, Spain, Travel 112 views

Toledo At NightThere is something really romantically charming, especially for Americans, about ancient medieval (or older) cobblestone streets in European city centers. The American cultural psyche is nurtured from childhood with tales loosely based on European history. After living in Europe for over a decade now, I’ve built up a tolerance to cobblestones and cathedrals, but every now and then a place is so thick with history that I can lose myself in it. Toledo was one of those places, with an endless labyrinth of stone passageways inside the city walls. The streets of Toledo were extremely photogenic during the daytime, but at night, the way the lights and shadows played off the stones was just spectacular. With a proper tripod and free time, I could fill a thousand blog posts with images, but I’m afraid I was only able to capture these somewhat blurry images. You’ll have to focus them with your imagination.
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