Interviewing Ian – Bilingual One Year Old

March 05, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 207 views

Last night, as often seems to happen, Ian decided that no, actually, he wasn’t sleepy at bedtime. So I had to bring him downstairs. He managed to veg out with the television for a bit while I finished my workday, and then we played for a bit. At one point he came into my office and wanted to sit on my lap, and he was doing adorable things, so I got out my phone and interviewed him. He does pretty well at identifying parts of his body in both languages. This really surprised me the first time I tested him, months ago, in English, because his Spanish grandparents had been teaching him the parts in Spanish. I had never explicitly told him what the word “mouth” or “ear” means, but he knew.
Read the rest of this entry →

State of the Offspring Address – February 2015

February 27, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 107 views

Ian BarflyThe shortest month of the year has come to a close. I spent the first dozen days of it the the States playing golf, and then we had the biggest event in February for the kids, Carnaval. The weather has been particularly terrible this month, so we’ve done almost no outdoor activities. The other day I noticed it was starting to rain, and pointed this out to Nora, and she said, “Ugh! It’s ALWAYS raining!” That’s how we all feel.
Read the rest of this entry →

Carnaval 2015 – Pirates and Parrots and Mice

February 13, 2015 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain 184 views

Carnaval 2015 - Colindres - 202Every year my children’s daycare surprises me with a clever costume duo for the grown-ups and the children, e.g. Angels and Demons, Cops and Robbers, Snow White and Dwarves. This year, it was pirates for the grown-ups, and parrots for the children. Not the cleverest they’ve done, but not bad, and way cleverer than the other schools in town, some of whom were Ninja Turtles, [Despicable Me] Minions, dinosaurs, or Smurfs (Smurves?), with the parents and children dressing up as the same thing…yawn! As usual, I was designated the official daycare photographer, although this year I was not given a special costume as I have been in the past as Prince Charming or the Police Commissioner.
Read the rest of this entry →

Pinehurst No. 2

February 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Golf, Travel, USA 81 views

Pinehurst Resort - Payne Stewart StatueIf you ask any avid golfer to name the three most famous courses in the United States, chances are very good that they will name Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and Pinehurst No. 2. The second course at Pinehurst was designed by famed golf course designer, Donald Ross, who studied under The Father of Golf himself, Old Tom Morris, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The course has risen in prominence over the past two decades as the host of the U.S. Open in 1999, 2005 and 2014. My friends and I, who have done golf trips roughly every five years to places such as St. Andrews, Scotland and County Kerry, Ireland, planned to revisit St. Andrews in 2015, but a combination of losing the lottery to get a tee time on The Old Course and the birth of twins to one of the participants delayed that trip, so we elected the easiest trip to an important golf location, one only three hours drive from where I grew up and one hour away from where I went to school, in the Sandhills of North Carolina.
Read the rest of this entry →

State of the Offspring Address – January 2015

January 30, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 105 views

Kitty NoraEarly January saw the passing of “Second Christmas”, Kings Day, in which Nora wrote a letter to the three wisemen welcoming them into our home and offering some snacks that were laid out for them. Nora got a toy microphone, some clothes, some other toys, and several pairs of earmuffs, which no one wears (and therefore are nearly impossible to buy), but apparently they were talking about them in school. Ian got the big present: a pedal-less bicycle. Unfortunately he’s not quite big enough to use it even at the lowest setting, and Nora is just too big to use it at the highest setting (more on that below). Nora got up first, of course, and then she got so frustrated that she couldn’t “help” Ian open his presents that she actually started crying at the injustice of it all. When we got Ian up, he really didn’t seem to have any understanding of what was going on, barely paying attention to Nora ripping open his presents.
Read the rest of this entry →

The Turbo Roundabout – Just What Spain Needs

January 21, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Photos, Spain 181 views

Turbo RoundaboutToday I saw this article in the local newspaper, which informed me of this Dutch invention of what is called the “turbo roundabout”. This is followup post from my previous rant about how Spaniards Don’t Understand Roundabouts. The turbo roundabout is pure genius, as it eliminates most of the problems that Spaniards have in roundabout situations, forcing the correct behavior. The way the turbo roundabout works is how I think all roundabouts should be used (see previous rant for details on my views).
Read the rest of this entry →

The Rasmussen Harmonica Trio

January 16, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Music, Offspring, Videos 112 views

Rasmussen Harmonica TrioDuring our visit to the States in October 2014, Nora and Ian had a lot of fun playing the harmonica with their Grandpa Paul. Nora is about as good as I am, just blowing and sucking, but little 17-month-old Ian was even better, bending notes and moving the harmonica around to change notes. Their performance was quite impressive, although they need a smidge more practice before they sign a record deal. Still, it was exciting to see them before they become famous.
Read the rest of this entry →

Sam the Westie

January 06, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos 131 views

Sam Face 1My parents’ west highland terrier, Sam, passed away this morning in his sleep at the vet’s office. He’s been blind and deaf for a couple years now. But he was very loved for fifteen long years.

I pulled Nora into my office today, which is more or less the equivalent of Christmas Day here in Spain, and told her that I had some sad news. When I told her that Sam had died, she understood immediately, and the corners of her mouth fell like stones, nearly breaking my heart. Before she could think about it more, I hugged her and sent her back to watch cartoons.
Read the rest of this entry →

Tags: , , , ,

State of the Offspring Address – December 2014

December 29, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 121 views

Santa NoraYet another calendar year is coming to a close. The offspring are doing well. They have been at their grandparents’ house for the past week, enjoying the Christmas festivities. Nora has totally bought into the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus and the Magi Kings. It sounds like they talk about that a lot at school. She has not even a sliver of doubt that the myths might not be 100% true. Occasionally she will ask how Santa Claus can do X or Y, but we feign ignorance or defer to “magic”, and that is more than enough explanation.
Read the rest of this entry →

Drone Terrorism: Coming to Skies Near You!

December 23, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Scary, USA 45 views

QuadcopterUnmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is advancing incredibly rapidly. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of the Team BlackSheep YouTube channel, which regularly displays seriously impressive videos from the point of view of their drones, zooming around places that no manned aircraft could do. It’s about as close to a first person perspective from Peter Pan or Superman that we all imagine as you can find on the internet.
Read the rest of this entry →