Archive for August, 2010

Batalla de Flores 2010

August 30, 2010 By: erik Category: Art, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Batalla de Flores 2010Parking in nearby beach tourist town, Laredo, is really a nightmare in July and August, especially for those of us that go there year round. But never is the parking problem worse than on the last Friday of August, when Laredo hosts their famous Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle), a parade of floats with 100% real flowers. So this year we came up with a parking strategy.

I’ve been walking a lot lately, so we decided that I would drive the car to Laredo in the morning, park it as close to the downtown parade site as possible, and then walk back home. I took Nora with me since she isn’t any extra work on walks (when bribed with cookies), but she is a handful to care for around the house. Then, at 17:00, we set out walking to Laredo. Immediately the sky began to look ominous, and about halfway there, it began to rain. We managed to find a little shelter and soon the rain slowed and then stopped. We got there late for the initial lap (for the judges to see the floats), but we caught the entire second lap (for the awards to be given) and a little of the third lap (for the awards to be paraded, literally, around the town).
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Sugar High

August 29, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Sugar High (freeze frame)Ever since migrating back north after her three week hiatus in southern Spain, there has been something very peculiar about Nora, besides being able to walk: it has been an absolute pleasure putting her to bed at night. Only the very tip top of her consciousness protests the day’s end. She cries when we shut the door and turn out the light, but only as long as the air in her lungs from the previous breath lasts. She totally understands what being put in the crib means. Tonight I forgot to take off her shoes before putting her in the crib, and she was already lying down with her head on the pillow by the time I bent down to take them off her. It’s really super-eerie for her parents, who remember her lasting up to and past the ninety minute mark of bedtime wailing. I suspect the phrase, “She never ceases to surprise me,” will only become more and more true in the coming years.
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Watching Eva

August 27, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Watching EvaToday, my internet friend, Andrea, posted a video of her daughter, Eva, who is three months older than Nora, exhibiting one of the most annoying toddler behaviors: dropping whatever cute thing she is doing and coming to examine the video camera her parent has clutched so importantly. It’s a very reasonable thing to do, but awfully frustrating for the documentarian. While I was playing the video, Nora heard Eva talking and entered my office. So I propped her up on my desk and showed her the video. The resulting video (captured with my new HD-recording iPhone 4) reminds me a little of the green screen game they play on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where one improv “contestant” is placed in front of a green screen and has to guess, from the commentary of the other contestants what is going on behind him.
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Buying an iPhone 4 in Spain

August 27, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Spain

iPhone 4 32GBI was one of the first owners of an iPhone in Spain, buying my iPhone 3G on July 14, 2008. Just a couple weeks ago, almost two months after the launch in the United States, the iPhone 4 began to be announced in the local mobile shops. In 2008, I paid 359€ for my phone, a decision I do not at all regret. So I was pretty much prepared for a similar amount of cash to be exchanged for my upgrade two years later. Here’s what happened when I bought my iPhone 4 yesterday:
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Clean Bill of Health

August 24, 2010 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos

Proper ladies wear hatsAs I mentioned a month ago, there was some very mild concern about Nora’s slow development in both speaking and walking, and an appointment was made to see a specialist. Well, we just got back from the specialist today, on her seventeen-month birthday. We were initially surprised that our appointment was in the Rehabilitation Department of the Valdecilla hospital in Santander. “We don’t need rehabilitation; we need habilitation“, I quipped. After some reflection, however, it makes sense that experts in the task of learning to walk and speak would probably best serve the people in a center for injured adults that need to relearn those skills.
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Spanish Goose Barnacle Recipe

August 23, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Recipes, Spain

Goose BarnaclesOn Saturday morning, my wife got a call from her boss, who had just sold his motorcycle, and, as part of the sale, had acquired way more barnacles than he could consume, so he offered us some. Barnacles are a special delicacy in Spain, particularly in northern Spain and Galicia. At Christmas time, barnacle prices can reach 99 €/kg ($65/lb)! The best, most expensive ones come from the Cantabrian sea on the northern coast of Spain. On Saturday we were given 1.5 kilograms of the good, expensive barnacles, so on Sunday we had a feast.

I had never eaten or cooked barnacles, so everything was new and fascinating to me. Here’s what I learned…
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Laredo Webcam Timelapse

August 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Beach, Timelapse, Videos

Laredo Webcam (crop)This week, without a daughter to care for, my mornings have been free. I’ve been taking advantage of the good weather to get some exercise, walking up to 16 km (10 miles) around the neighboring towns. The first few days, I just walked to the beach at Laredo and walked up and down the maritime walkway several times. It occurred to me yesterday that I might have been caught on the yacht club’s webcam, but alas I was not there on the hour or 15, 30, or 45 minutes past the hour on any day. The archived panoramas I was looking through for Monday, August 18, were so pretty that I decided to make a timelapse video out of them.
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Kisses from Carla

August 18, 2010 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Offspring, Videos

Kisses from Carla (vidcap)It’s been over a week since I’ve seen my daughter, and I miss her a lot. Her grandparents will be bringing her back on Sunday. If words from the front line are to be beleived, Nora is being extremely well behaved, is being polite to strangers, and even offering up her cheek to be kissed by total strangers (giving kisses is reserved for loved ones). Perhaps this kiss reception was learned with her “friend” Carla.

Carla is the daughter of one of Marga’s best friends from Extremadura. Nora and Carla first “met” last June in Madrid. Even though Carla was born 25 days after Nora, she is waaaay more advanced than Nora by just about every available metric. She walks freely, speaks several words, follows instructions, and gives people kisses…man, does she give some kisses! Carla’s parents suggest that it might be from spending 7 hours in daycare every day (Nora spends 3) with older kids that challenges her to excel. Nora won’t be where Carla is now for another four months.
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Grapes of Wrath

August 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Offspring, Videos

Grapes of Wrath (crop)I am unable to watch this video without laughing. It’s my favorite video I recorded last weekend. It demonstrates both how Nora does a good job of commanding her mother to do her bidding and just now irritated she gets when her great-grandfather does or says anything. I declined to subtitle it because the conversation is so mundane. At one point, she does call him something that sounded to all the Spanish ears like “malo” (bad).
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Bucket Girl

August 12, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Videos

Bucket Girl (crop)While she’s down in Extremadura, Nora is spending a lot of time playing the pool or simply with water in buckets. It’s pretty cute how she flexes her knees enough to get just a little bit more of herself wet, and then repeats that motion, going a little lower each time until she’s sitting down. She did the same in the larger wading pool.
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