Nora Is Three!

March 26, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Spain 322 views

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 Kittyâ„¢ 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 204 views

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 364 views

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 206 views

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 204 views

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 917 views

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 164 views

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 160 views

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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Homemade Chinese Food

March 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Recipes, Spain 548 views

Chinese Almond Chicken Vegetables on RiceRecently my wife has discovered a blog by a Spanish housewife called Cocinando Entre Olivos (Cooking Among Olive Trees). I must say that I am extremely impressed with the quality of her posts, particularly the step-by-step photographs; you almost don’t need to be able to read the text. There really is a photo at every single step, often actually showing the addition of each ingredient. After several years of not adding any new recipes to our cooking repertoires, it’s quite refreshing to have some new things to cook. Recently my wife made some homemade chinese food, which consisted of cooking three recipes simultaneously (the recipes are in Spanish): Chinese Chicken with Almonds, Chinese Rice With Three Delights and Spring Rolls With Sweet-and-Sour Sauce.
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State of the Offspring Address – February 2012

February 28, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting 174 views

Cute PoseThis month has been marked most prominently by Carnival, in which Nora dressed up at daycare as a dwarf (a la Snow White), and then later as an Andalusian lass. Overall she’s been much more of a pleasure to be around, listening to reason and telling interesting accounts of events.

Under my care, she has had a total of zero bladder or bowel control issues. I haven’t had to change a single wet pair of panties this month, with the solitary exception of the night when I forgot to put her nocturnal diapers on, and we had a little 4:00 AM wetness to deal with. I’d hate to jinx it, but if feels like we’ve crossed a milestone.
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