Archive for March, 2012

Easter 2002 in Cornwall, England

March 30, 2012 By: erik Category: England, Photos, Retro, Travel

Lands End CliffsIt’s not often that I think to myself, “I wonder what I was doing ten years ago?”, but when I saw on the news that the Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, commemorating being the queen for 60 years, my mind immediately flashed to where I was during her Golden Jubilee ten years earlier. I very vividly remember watching the Party at the Palace on a small television in a little cottage we were renting for a week in the Scottish Highlands. That was my first year living abroad indefinitely, and I did quite a bit of traveling around the UK with my Spanish señorita who I’d just moved in with having only spent a few months together with her. For Easter that year, exactly ten years ago today, we decided to take her company car and head down to the southwestern coast of England, to a region known as Cornwall.
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State of the Offspring Address – March 2012

March 28, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting

Birthday GirlIt looks like Nora might finally be distinguishing wavelengths of light with her visual cortex. Several times this month, she has proclaimed that “That [object over there] is pink!” and been correct about it. And she spends a lot of time pointing at things and asking “What color is this?”, but beyond pink she seems unable or unwilling to acknowledge that a green ball and a green shirt have anything in common. Oh well.
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Nora Is Three!

March 26, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Spain

Taking pictures with new digital cameraNora turned three years old this weekend. We drove to her Spanish grandparents’ house in Mondragón and had a party at their Centro Extremeño, a cultural center and social club for emigrants from the Extremadura province of southern Spain. Nora was quite wowed by all the presents and attention. She gets a lot of presents and attention throughout the year, but this was definitely a more special day. She got many dresses, and a doll, a wooden bowling set, and a Hello Kitty™ digital camera, which is iPhone-shaped, so she calls it her “mobile”. The digital camera was her favorite gift, which I’m proud to say came from her loving parents (it was marked down from 70€ to 20€!!), but her second favorite gift, the bowling kit, was more fun to play with in the wide open space of the cultural center.
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Singing in Basque

March 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Music, Offspring, Videos

Singing in Basque (thumbnail)Several weeks ago, when we were on our way to run some errands, Nora started singing something. It sounded like gibberish to me – and she does often sing and talk gibberish – but it was slightly more structured than her normal babble. Also, she repeated it verbatim a few times. I inquired as to what she was singing, and she told me that it was a song that her Tía Belén had taught her. At this point I realized it must be a song in Basque.
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Five Little Piggies and the Butcher

March 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Photos, Spain

PigletWhen I lived in the US, I remember meat being something I picked up from the refrigerators of the supermarket, shrink-wrapped between plastic and styrofoam. Then, I started dating and eventually married a slaughterhouse veterinarian, and hung out with a group of Spanish slaughterhouse vets, none of which had even remotely considered the possibility of abstaining from meat, a practice relatively common in my homeland. Every American can name at least one vegetarian friend, and probably a vegan, too. These are, of course, luxuries that our rich country can afford us.

Contrary to life in the US, life in Spain consists of personally knowing your own butcher (mine is my neighbor, Bruno), seeing – and often choosing – the cut of meat that is fed into the meat grinder to produce the exact quantity of ground meat that you desire, or asking your butcher to slice the chicken breast actually off the chicken and then into fillets for you.
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Sloppy Joes on San José

March 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Religion, Spain

Sloppy JoeI’ve invented a new American in Spain tradition! It’s a little similar to my Fourth of July Hamburgerfest. Today, you see, is San José, Saint Joseph’s Day. All the days have saints assigned to them here in Catholic Spain, and March 19 happens to be assigned to Saint Joseph, the poor old shepherd who, according to dogma, never got to have sex with his wife and still had to raise a son that was not his own. That’s rough.
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Meeting La Tortuga Viajera

March 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Internet, News, Photos, Spain

Erin, Nora and ErikOn Saturday I was contacted, via Twitter, by an American blogger I have been following for over a year now. Her name is Erin, and she lives in Madrid and regularly takes me on fantastic vicarious voyages around Spain and Europe with her blog, La Tortuga Viajera (The Traveling Turtle). Since discovering her blog, I have been impressed by its professional look, and I have copied several of its features onto my own blog. She mentioned, in her Spanglish tweet, that she was spending the weekend very close to where I live. So close, in fact, that not getting together for a chat was off the table. Her weekend was fully booked, but she and her husband found time to stop by my humble burg of Colindres for an iced coffee this morning.
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Visiting Cabárceno Zoo – Cantabria Tourism

March 11, 2012 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

ElephantsThis weekend we planned on visiting the local Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, a “nature park”, i.e. a zoo with wide enclosures where you have to get in your car and drive 300 meters from exhibit to exhibit. We were going to go on Sunday, but the weather was so great on Saturday morning that we decided to go on Saturday instead. It was closer than I thought it was, only a 40 minute drive from Colindres. It was not at all cheap, at 21€ for adults and 18€ for 6-12 year olds (free for two-year-old Nora), but we took a picnic lunch and spent a good five hours there. There is a 100€ year-long family pass that would be worth buying if we wanted to go more than twice a year. When we got back home, I discovered I had taken 393 photographs, which I trimmed down to a mere 217 photos worth uploading to the internet. I’ll try to keep the number in this post down in double digits.
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Diego Did It

March 08, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Diego Did It (thumbnail)As we quickly approach Nora’s third birthday later this month, her verbal skills continue to advance. She’s capable of recounting incidents from daycare, and often her stories check out, even if her telling of the story isn’t always coherent. The other day she insisted on telling me about how her jacket got wet. It seems that she was innocently (she’s such an angel!) drinking water from a cup, when a reckless lad by the name of Diego came careening into her causing her to spill her water. She was being rather cute about her explanation of what happened, so I decided to film her as if I were cross-examining a witness in the trial to determine Diego’s innocence or guilt.
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Mansion Gone

March 07, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos

Crumbling MansionOne of my favorite local dilapidated mansions has met the sharp blade of Progress this month. I’ve mentioned it before, highlighting both the flora and fauna around it. I have long been curious to try to enter and look around, but my better judgement, more for safety than legal reasons, always prevented me.
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