Spanish Ham Mites: Entomology and Jamón Ibérico

December 05, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Scary, Science, Spain 178 views

Yesterday, with the entire family – the children were forbidden for solstice myth reasons – digging around in our storage room to find the missing Christmas tree legs, we ended up finding another leg that we’d bought this past summer, a leg of Iberian Ham, or jamón ibérico. We sliced off a few slices for dinner last night.

This morning, I glanced at the ham and noticed some little white dots on the open meat. Upon closer inspection, I realized that they were moving. Ugh.
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Merry Kitschmas!

December 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain 87 views

Cindy Lou WhoLast January, when we were packing up our plastic Christmas tree, something went wrong. I vaguely recall that all three feet of the tree didn’t get stored with the rest of the tree. Ever since, at least one of the feet has been bouncing around our house, getting played with by a child and found by an adult. So when I went to get the Christmas tree and set it up for Xmas 2014, I discovered that none of the feet were in the box. We only have the one that has been in the living room all year long. Little Cindy Lou Hoo is not amused. After an extensive, but ultimately unfruitful search, today I went out to scout possible replacement trees; this one has lasted us almost a decade.
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Donkey Sunday

December 03, 2014 By: erik Category: Parenting, Photos, Spain, Travel 67 views

Cantabrian CowOne Sunday in early November, at around 2am (so colloquially still “Saturday night”), I mentioned, over the loud thump-thump of the salsa music, to our friend Agustín that my family and I would like to come up to his mountain garden with him some time to see his newborn donkey…perhaps tomorrow? He gave me the reasonable response of, “Dude, you’ve gotta give me more notice,” which I accepted humbly. But then, the following morning, I get a text message from him saying that he is up on the mountain and if we’d like to head out there, we’re welcome. It takes us just shy of an hour (possibly a record!) to muster the troops, and soon we’re in the car.
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Trust and Passwords on the Social Web

December 02, 2014 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Scary 63 views

Trust FallAs part of a sermon about being vulnerable, one of my Facebook friends, who is a religious leader of some capacity, has decided to give out his Facebook password… live on the radio. Of course this is strictly prohibited by Facebook’s Terms of Service, which states:

4.8) You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.

Clearly this is intended as a hip new version of that old team-building exercise of letting yourself fall backwards and be caught by a group of your peers. It’s also an expression of trust of the community and of Humanity in general, like leaving your house unlocked.
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State of the Offspring Address – November 2014

November 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 79 views

Cute BoyThis month the children have made huge strides towards being mature children rather than babies. Nora has always been very sensitive about sleeping alone. She likes to have someone in the room with her both when she goes to sleep, but also if she wakes up during the night. While Marga was pregnant with Ian, I spent most nights in Nora’s room, so if/when Nora woke up during the night, the pregnant lady was not disturbed. After Ian was born, we switched, and I was with the needier newborn. Ian has been doing a lot better about sleeping through the entire night without needing a bottle, and Nora has been getting braver and better, in general, about sleeping. So early this month, Nora requested that she and Ian sleep alone together in the same room. I was skeptical that such a plan would work, but it did!! [launch the streamers and balloons and confetti] It’s SO much nicer to be a hallway away from a sleeping toddler than in the same room, because he’s got to really want something to wake you up, rather than just his 5 second “Where’s my pacifier? Oh, there attached to my chest!” crises. It’s working out splendidly.
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Reflections on a November Stroll

November 14, 2014 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos 110 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 116 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 78 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 78 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 120 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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