September Beach

September 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Offspring, Photos, Spanish, Videos 104 views

At the beach in SeptemberToday the weather was better than it’s been pretty much all year long. The key was the noticeable lack of wind, which normally makes our beach a little chillier than one would like. That the weather is so out of season made it all the more special, since we know there won’t be days like this until 2012. We decided to go to Laredo to walk around, but Nora caught wind that we’d be near the beach and insisted on taking her backpack full of buckets and shovels and things. We ended up sitting on the beach for about two hours playing in the sand, with Marga and myself in street clothes, not beach clothes. We had a grand old time.
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2½ Years Old

September 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 134 views

2.5 Years Old Video (thumbnail)Two and a half years ago, just after the 2009 vernal equinox, my daughter, Nora, was born. It was quite exciting. She’s come quite a ways since then. Just last week, I heard her mother ask her how old she was in Spanish, and Nora responded “dos años y medio”. So immediately I set upon teaching her to say “two and a half” in English. It wasn’t easy, as she simply refused to even attempt the phrase for several days. But eventually I prevailed, just in time for her half-birthday. Marga had to work today (Nora also learned to say, “Today is Saturday!” today), so we didn’t have our traditional birthday hamburger feast.
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Miniature Books

September 20, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Media, Reviews 57 views

Yesterday I bought, downloaded, and read Sam Harris’ new e-book, Lying. (No, really, I did!) It was a quick read. Amazon lists its “print length” at 26 pages. While not as thought-provoking or groundbreaking as Harris’ full length books, it did make me consider how honesty and dishonesty affect my life. It was definitely worth my two dollars.

That’s right; it only costs $1.99, and it’s only available in e-book format.
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Summer’s Gone

September 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos, Photoshop 91 views

Lazy BenchA notable change in the weather has taken place this past week. The days of sleeping with the windows open and wearing sandals about town is coming to a close. It’s time to break out the sweaters and long trousers. There’s something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to go outside and throw an American football around. It surprises me every year, since it’s not one of my top five favorite sports, I’ve never worn a football helmet, and I don’t have a favorite team, but there’s some deep bit of Americanism in me that I can neither control nor explain. Curious, that.
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No Me Duermo – I’m Not Falling Asleep

September 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Religion, Spain, Spanish, Videos 257 views

No me duermo (thumbnail)Today is a local holiday honoring the Virgin of the Good Apparition, a bit of pareidolia that occurred back in 1605 where some light reflecting off a nearby hermitage window reminded someone of the Virgin Mary. Three hundred years later, this particular virgin became the patron saint of the Santander Diocese, and it became a regional holiday. Quite a few people walk the 13 kilometers, mostly uphill, from Colindres to the Bien Aparecida church in Ampuero, and then there are picnics and music and a general festive atmosphere up there…or so I’m told. We’ll have to do the walk one year.
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Roomba Eye View

September 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, House, Reviews, Videos, Weird 113 views


Just over a year ago, in May of 2010, we bought Roomba. We had two recommendations from friends, so we splurged the 300€ and bought a robot to vacuum our floors. Initially it seemed pricy, but it’s some of the best 300€ we’ve ever spent. As my wife said to me soon after we bought it…

I think I like the Roomba. It doesn’t clean as well as I do, but it cleans about as well as you do.

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Ampuero Bullrun

September 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Bulls, Food, Offspring, Partying, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 424 views

Ampuero PartiersLast weekend we went to the annual festival in Ampuero, a neighboring town of 4,000 residents. Every year, they hold a miniature version of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, complete with all night partying in white clothes and red scarfs, a running of the bulls, and bullfighting. Of the six years we’ve lived here, we’ve gone several times. We knew from past experience that it’s nearly impossible to park in a small town that’s hosting three times its inhabitants in a festival, so we parked on the outskirts of town to save the time and stress of finding a closer spot.
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A Messy Joke

September 10, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Soccer, Spanish, Weird 343 views

Lionel MessiLike most of my best wordplay, it had escaped my mouth before I realized the cleverness of it. I was talking with my daughter this morning, and I said, “You’re so messy! You’re like [Argentine soccer player, Barcelona phenom, and possibly the best living soccer player] Leo Messi!” I stopped for a minute, realized the significance of what I’d said, and went into the next room with a “Look how clever I am!” look on my face to tell my wife, but she stopped me and said that she’d heard what I’d said and already – probably before I did – noticed the humor/coincidence of it. Did any of my bilingual readers pick up on it?
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Vuelta a España 2011 – Stage 19 – Colindres

September 09, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, News, Photography, Photos, Spain, Videos 362 views

Vuelta a España in ColindresThis morning when I was walking Nora back from the town’s Friday market, a man was wandering around asking people if they knew when the race was coming through. What race? The human race? As I went about my daily errands, I gradually learned, through eavesdropping on people, that the Vuelta a España would be passing through town. This is huge!! It’s one of the biggest international cycling races, sort of Spain’s version of the Tour de France (vuelta = tour or lap). Then I remembered that I had heard that they were finishing one stage in the nearby town of Noja. Apparently the parties thrown at the end of each stage are absolutely amazing, and worth going to even if you don’t care about the sport at all, so if you’re a heavy partier looking for cheap holidays abroad… I learned that they were leaving Noja at 1:45 PM and that they were expected to go through Laredo at 2:10 PM, which would put them smack in Colindres at around 2:05 PM.
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I want to stay at home!

September 08, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 166 views

I want to stay at home! (thumbnail)Before her three week vacation of non-stop 24-hour grandparent attention, Nora was pretty good about going to daycare. After her lunch, she’d say, “And now we have to go to daycare!” and hop in her stroller for me to take her. After vacation, it’s been more of a struggle. The first two days, she cried for 90 minutes straight until her favorite daycare provider, Nela, arrived for her afternoon shift. The daycare boss, Adela, wisely commented that, “Well sure, it’s a struggle for all of us to go back to daily routines after a vacation, and the longer the vacation, the harder it is.” It was one thing back before she could talk, when she would cry when I dropped her off at daycare, but now that she can say, “Daddy, are you going to leave? Why are you leaving? Stay here with Nora! Take me with you!”, it’s somewhat more heartbreaking. Read the rest of this entry →