San Juan – Beans in the Park

July 05, 2013 By: erik Category: Colindres, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Spain 110 views

Drinking Wine from a Spanish BotaLast Sunday was the annual Cocido Montañes in the Park day here in Colindres. Every year, around the summer solstice, the Peña San Juan (Saint John’s Club), named after the town’s patron saint, throws a huge cookout in the local park. They make a Cantabrian specialty, known as cocido montañes, which is a white bean and spinach soup with pieces of meat in it. Each serving contains a pork rib, a piece of chorizo, and a piece of morcilla (blood sausage). Over the eight years we have been attending the festival, it has been evolving and improving. When we first went, you waited in line and then asked for as many servings as you wanted and paid 1€ each. So some groups of four would order eight servings to have leftovers later that week. But it was hard to calculate just how much to make.
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Tourette’s Butcher

June 28, 2013 By: erik Category: Spain, Weird 181 views

Medium RareI’d never met anyone with Tourette’s syndrome before…until today. Rather than go to my local grocer for my daily shopping, I went for a bigger purchase to a larger supermarket chain. I needed to get some chicken thighs, so I went to the butcher section. As I arrived, someone was waiting for their lamb chops to be chopped, and another shopper came up to ask where a particular item was in the store. The butcher was very polite and told her it was “down that aisle and on the right”. As the woman was walking away, he mumbled, “¡hijo de puta!” under his breath. For those of you not versed in Spanish swearing, that’s “son of a bitch”. I was shocked, but the shopper either didn’t hear or didn’t respond.
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State of the Offspring Address – June 2013

June 28, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 146 views

Jamming with the Ras BoysJune saw many interesting events in our family. First of all, my parents came to meet their grandson for the first time, then we had a visit from Belgium, and Nora finished her first year of preschool. So far her summer vacation has been going smoothly because the local town government has been organizing some “workshops” all week, where kids can go and do crafts or practice juggling or learn about music, which has been keeping her busy.
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Ian is Two Months Old

June 25, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Partying, Photos 141 views

Ian is Two Months OldIan has turned two months old today. He’s quite a bit bigger, and seems slightly more aware of his surroundings. He’s quite a demanding lad, always preferring to be held, and not just “sitting on the sofa with a baby in your arms” held, either; his holder must be pacing around the room to satisfy him. He also enjoys being pushed in the pram, but no matter how peacefully he appears to be sleeping, if you stop for a moment, he’ll wake up and complain. When I’m out for a walk with him, I’m often reminded of that bus in Speed.
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Return to Restaurante Solana – Michelin Star Dining in Cantabria

June 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Photos, Spain, Wine 241 views

Coconut and pineapple ravioli with passionfruitWhen our friends Simon and Paola were visiting last week from Brussels, we wanted to show off our local cuisine. As you can see from Simon’s blog, they are fine dining hobbyists, taking advantage of their location in Brussels to try as many Michelin Star restaurants as they can. After I visited them and they took me out to one of Brussels’ finest establishments, the fine dining bug bit me as well. It really is a fun experience.

After I visited them in October, I took my wife out to our local Michelin Star establishment, Restaurante Solana, and we were wowed, especially my wife, who had been dubious about the whole thing. So naturally we wanted to take Simon and Paola to Restaurante Solana to show off what Cantabria has to offer.
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Nora’s English Report Card – Year 1

June 21, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos 331 views

English Report CardToday was Nora’s last day of school for the year; her first scholastic year is in the books. This school year has flown by. Nora has received three report cards (different columns in the same booklet) throughout the year, and it has been interesting to chart her progress. I’m convinced that the teachers intentionally give low marks early on so that they can show improvement throughout the year, but that’s understandable. In each “subject”, the children receive a grade of either one, two or three X’s, with XXX being the best grade. From the very first time we saw the report card, we were curious as to why she only received XX in English, since she’s very clearly bilingual.
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Simon and Paola Visit From Brussels

June 18, 2013 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 204 views

Four Climbers - CropLast weekend we received a visit from my internet friends, Simon and Paola, whom I visited in Brussels last October. They’ve been long time readers of this blog and I was excited to get to show them all that I love about my little corner of the world, from the sea to the wine, to the mountains, to the wine, to the food, to the wine. Oh and introduce my family to them. It wasn’t easy, but I took a day off work and showed them what we have to offer.
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Meeting Ian

June 17, 2013 By: erik Category: Family, Partying, Photos, Spain, Travel 198 views

The following is a document written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his trip to visit us in Spain in June 2013.

Grandpa and GrandsonWe left Morganton at 1:15pm on Sunday, and landed in Bilbao a little before noon on Monday. It had been just a little more than two months since our last visit, but during that span our second (and probably last) grandchild had entered the world, so we needed to go visit.

I can’t sleep when flying overseas, and I find the long flights much easier to tolerate since I stopped trying. The US Airways flight from Charlotte to Madrid did not provide us with seat-back screens, so the selection of movies was out of my control, which explains why I watched Jack the Giant Killer, Die Hard 12, and Parental Guidance. After a three hour layover in Madrid we took a one hour flight to Bilbao. Erik met us at the airport and drove us the rest of the way to Colindres, where we arrived just in time to pick Up Nora as she left school at 1:00pm. After a quick stop at Susinos to buy bread, we walked home and met Ian Rasmussen Matamoros.
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Ian’s Baptism

June 10, 2013 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Religion 246 views

Mother and ChildWe baptized Ian this past Sunday, June 9, 2013. Personally, I don’t believe that splashing some water on a baby means anything at all, but some people I care about do, so I was happy to participate, especially since it meant having a big party to celebrate the birth of my son, something I do feel very happy and celebratory about. It was the very first mass I’ve attended in the town church that has been ringing its bells next to my house for the past eight years.
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Fire on the Hill

June 05, 2013 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Timelapse, Videos 106 views

Fuego Colindres - Junio 2013For the first time all year, we’ve had sunny weather with blue sky. Except that we’ve had a big cloud of smoke over our town for those two days. There has been a controlled burning of a forest on a nearby hill. It’s a favorite forest of mine, because it’s where the sun and moon first appear on the horizon during the winter months. Luckily the smoke has stayed high above the town, but today I noticed that all the cars were covered in a light dusting of ash.
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