Colindres in October

October 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Colindres, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel 253 views

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

Ian and GrandpaOctober is my favorite month for visiting my son and his family in northern Spain. The weather is always comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold. Daylight begins around 8:00 am, and lasts until almost 8:00 pm. It is a convenient time to be away from home.

And then there are the birthdays. My son’s birthday is on the 12th, and my wife’s birthday is on the 16th. In Spain it is customary to take your friends and extended family out to eat on your birthday, often at a restaurant a bit classier than the norm. Some of my most memorable restaurant meals have been in Spain. To make the week even more worthy of celebration, October 13th is Erik and Marga’s wedding anniversary, and not coincidentally the anniversary of the best party I ever attended. So we flew away from America on October 8th, and flew back on the 18th.
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Conversations with a bilingual preschooler: Overtranslation

October 08, 2013 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Parenting, Spain, Spanish 275 views

Bottle CapThe other day I was out walking with my bilingual four-year-old daughter, and we passed a pair of elderly women. One of them was carrying a plastic bag full of plastic bottle caps to recycle, probably for charity. Out of the blue, my daughter begins this conversation:

“Do you know what Grandpa likes to do?”

“No, what?”

“He likes to go to bars and get tops.”

“Tops?”

“Like bottle tops.”

[huge burst of laughter!]
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2013

September 30, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 157 views

Crown PrinceThis month saw Nora’s triumphant return to school as a preschool sophomore. While it’s true that she was the only kid in her class to begin crying three minutes before school started and begged me not to make her go to school, once her teacher promised that I could go in with her, she calmed down and fell right into the role of student, so much so that she didn’t notice that I didn’t go in with her. Last year she was a “turtle”, and this year, she’s a “bear”, as each of the three preschool grades have a nickname and mascot. The mascot last year was Tomasa, and this year it’s a panda called Chu-Lin, named after the panda that lived in the Madrid zoo while I went from kindergarten through high school.
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Spanish Lesson for New Parents

September 27, 2013 By: erik Category: Parenting, Spain, Spanish 298 views

Small CollarWhen you learn a second language, apart from the grammar rules, you obtain a very thinly spread vocabulary of a variety of subjects. But when you’re living in a country that speaks that foreign language, and you delve into a hobby, like camping or sailing or carpentry, you realize that there is a whole new fractal universe of domain-specific vocabulary, words for all the nouns and verbs associated with a specific activity. One such example of a new domain that they don’t teach very deeply in textbooks is all the vocabulary that goes with having and caring for a baby. I have two fellow Americans In Spain that are pregnant, so I thought I’d write a post outlining some vocabulary every parent in Spain needs.
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Rasmussen’s Law of Parenting

September 26, 2013 By: erik Category: Comic, Musings, Parenting 132 views

Rasmussen's Law of Parenting (square)Over my past few years of parenthood, as I have observed my emotions, I have noticed a strong correlation between where we currently are in the spectrum between “Idyllic Family Photo Album Moment” and “Screaming Frazzled Crazy Parent Birth Control Commercial”. It’s all a matter of how much of a hurry I’m in and what all else needs to get done, e.g. cooking, cleaning, errands. The idea coalesced into a single sentence a year or so ago, which I think I may have tweeted, and, as I go about my daily life of raising my kids, it comes to mind. Every. Single. Day.
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iTunes Radio is a Game Changer

September 19, 2013 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing, Media, Music 149 views

iTunes RadioBack when Spotify was only available in Europe, and I had that to tease my American friends about, I signed up for the free version, and saw the value of it. For someone that doesn’t already have a massive music collection, or for someone wanting constant background music, like in a bar or restaurant, services Spotify make a lot of sense. I’ve never used Pandora, because they’ve never made the effort to enter the European market. And long before them, I used Last.FM for a while. The ability to stream music you don’t own is excellent. There’s only one problem: it loses money.
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State of the Offspring Address – August 2013

August 31, 2013 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos 175 views

Silly Boy (crop)The offspring have spent nearly all of August away from home, on vacation in Extremadura, a region of southern Spain. It was Ian’s first time meeting all the people in Higuera de la Serena, the town that comes alive in August with all the old residents that left to find work. I was only able to go for two of the four weeks that they were down there. Since it’s her fifth year going, Nora knows all the customs and traditions of small town vacation life, where all the bars are, etc. She has always had a bit of an Extramaduran accent, but she really got it thick when she was there, much to the amusement of everyone but her parents who wish her to speak a little more correctly.
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Dusk Ducks

August 22, 2013 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Photography, Photos, Spain 93 views

Ducks at DusksI’ve just come back from summer vacation in Extremadura. Due to the sheer heat of the summer, much of our activity there is restricted to the evening and night time. Most days we would go for a walk to a local lagoon to have a drink at the bar there. A few times I took my camera, but there was one evening when the ducks were swimming back and forth and the water seemed to have such a beautiful texture, with complex ripple interactions. I took many photographs.
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State of the Offspring Address – July 2013

July 31, 2013 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos 184 views

Well hello, there!After six long months of cold and rain, the longest spell of bad weather anyone can remember, literally when we changed the calendar on July 1, the weather turned into the nicest summer weather we’ve had in the eight years I’ve been living here. With Nora out of school, we made a lot of effort to go to the beach, which is difficult since the beach is not really a good place for a two month old baby. Many times either my wife or I would go with Nora and the other parent would either stay home with Ian or walk along the sidewalk that lines the beach for the hour or two that Nora was enjoying the sand.
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Bar Culture in Spain

July 30, 2013 By: erik Category: Partying, Photos, Spain, Travel 657 views

Which way to the nearest bar?After living in Spain for so long, I have internalized so much of the culture, that I forget what is quirky about it and what seems weird to outsiders. One aspect of Spanish culture that visitors often misunderstand is just how central bars are to Spanish society. When you first visit Spain, you will notice that there are a lot of people in the bars every midday and evening (and even for breakfast), and you might think, “Wait, where’s the economic crisis?” There is one simple fact that you need to know to understand almost anything about Spanish social culture:
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