Local Peas

April 26, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Food 102 views

PeasDuring the recent flying ban in Europe because of the volcano in Iceland, some of the grocery stores in the UK started to run out of fresh fruit. This reminded me of a few years back when the Spanish truckers union was on strike for a few days and the grocery shelves became empty surprisingly fast. These little reminders about how quickly our global food supply chain can collapse with just the slightest hiccup are a little sobering. When we hit Peak Oil any day now, “eating locally” might not be for the rich suburban housewives anymore.

Last week at the grocery store, I noticed a sign saying “Peas from Colindres” in the vegetable section, so I asked how they should be prepared and bought a kilo. I was told to boil them for a little bit first, and then place them in a frying pan with some small diced bits of jamón, Spanish cured ham. The result was very, very nice.
Read the rest of this entry →

Sitting Up and Unboxing

April 23, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 90 views

thumbNora, today you had a big milestone that made me really proud of you. You actually managed to go from a “lying down” position to a “sitting up” position! You did so by slowly walking your hands close and closer to you until you could push your center of gravity over your butt. This is a big step for you ever since you realized that you could reach objects further away by lying down to get them, and then wailing until one of your parents sat you back up. Of course other children your age are learning to sprint, but we take our small victories where we can. Congratulations.
Read the rest of this entry →

Wah Wah Wah

April 21, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Offspring, Videos 81 views

Wah WahNora’s vocalizations have become much more complex recently. She’s been playing a lot lately with the O and A vowel sounds, and getting a lot of positive reinforcement for those sounds because most of her vocalizations sound somewhere between “hola” and “oh yeah!” Just the other day she said “hola” with perfect pronunciation and inflection. Unfortunately she was alone in the room at the time. And yesterday she said her name. After bath time, she was standing, with my help, naked on the changing table looking at herself in the mirror, pounding on her chest like a proud gorilla, and suddenly she shouted, “I’m Nora!” I’m reasonably positive that she doesn’t yet understand the meaning to that sonic utterance, but both her mother’s and my brains recognized the pattern of sound as being English words. Soon after that, when her mother was trying to cut her toe nails, I said, “Who’s the bravest monkey?”, to which she shouted, “Nora!”
Read the rest of this entry →

April Rioja Trip – Day 2 of 2

April 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel, Wine 197 views

Wine from 1970Previously, in Rioja…

On Sunday we woke up at 11:00 to the peaceful sound of no baby crying. After a quick breakfast at the pub neighboring the hotel, we checked out and the group of eleven of us took our three vehicles and headed towards Haro. I have wanted to visit Haro for some time, ever since learning about the Batalla de Vino they host every year, which I detailed in the 17th post on this blog back in June 2006. At some point on the way to Haro, the Tom Tom GPS unit in the leading car, decided that it wanted to visit the town of Cenicero. I have noticed Cenicero on the map a few times and chuckled at its horrible name, which is Spanish for “ashtray”. Wielding my trusty GPS-enabled iPhone, I volunteered to lead us to Haro, and in twenty minutes we were there.
Read the rest of this entry →

April Rioja Trip – Day 1 of 2

April 19, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 313 views

Bodega PimientoThe group of friends that Marga and I dance salsa with a couple times a month organized a trip down to the Rioja region this past weekend. On Friday evening we drove to my in-laws in Mondragon to drop off Nora. Because of my work and errands Marga had to do, we left home at 22:00, a full hour and a half after Nora had gone to bed. While docile all the way from crib to car seat, she ended up crying the whole ninety minute trip. I dislike driving late at night, and it was nice to have someone in the car to keep me awake. On Saturday morning we got up fairly leisurely and left around 11:00 to head south to the Rioja region of Spain. We had a hotel booked in Logroño, but, after getting in touch with our friends who were driving down from Cantabria, we went first to a tiny, tiny town named Tirgo to have lunch in a restaurant that one of our friends knew about. There was no menu, they just had what they had that day. Luckily it turned out to be fried peppers, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), salad, and lamb chops. [I started salivating again just typing that sentence.]
Read the rest of this entry →

Correos Still Life

April 16, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photography, Photos, Photoshop, Spain 227 views

CorreosOn a recent walk I snapped a photograph of the local postman’s scooter. The mail in Colindres is delivered mostly by foot, with mailmen and mail-women walking around town pulling a little pull-cart, like the ones housewives pull to and from the grocery store. There’s one mailman who zips around on a scooter, parking it in the middle of a neighborhood and delivering letters from it to the nearby houses. I really liked my photo of his scooter and decided to play with it in photoshop, adding a pseudo-tilt-shift focusing effect to the scooter, with some desaturation of the background. I liked it so much that when a mailbox caught my eye, sitting alone with a tree, the following day, I snapped a photograph. After some similar photoshopping, the mailbox and tree really look to be keeping each other company. With these two made, I decided to go, yesterday, and snap the other mailbox (there are only two in town that I know of). Lo and behold it, too, was accompanied by some inanimate friends. And thus, I present to you, Correos Still Life.
Read the rest of this entry →

A Good Deed

April 15, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Spain, Weird 93 views

Last Saturday, Marga and I decided to take Nora down to a local optometrist to see if there were some sunglasses that fit her. Her previous ones got lost. Nora was having absolutely nothing to do with trying on sunglasses, so we left to head back to the car to go to the mall. On the way back home, Marga noticed a coin purse on the ground near a fruit shop. I picked it up and discovered a DNI (a Spanish national identity card), a credit card, and at least 50€ in it. Whenever I find a wallet, I am overtaken by empathy for its owner and do my best to do the right thing. The owner was a 28-year-old from Laredo. The fruit shop owner recognized her as a customer, but didn’t really know her. So we went to the Colindres police station, only to find it abandoned. On our way to the mall, we stopped by the Laredo Guardia Civil station to drop it off. They asked for all my details, including my name, cell phone number, and DNI number.
Read the rest of this entry →

Dancing Baby

April 15, 2010 By: erik Category: Dancing, Offspring, Videos 170 views

Dancing NoraWithin the past week or so, we have noticed a new behavior in Nora. Whenever she hears music, from classical to bagpipes to hip-hop to rock, she raises her arms in the air and moves her body around. She’s dancing! At first I was skeptical, because A) no one taught her this, and B) she moves around weird like that sometimes when there’s no music. But after running a week of tests with various stimuli, I’m convinced that she really is responding to the rhythm of the music. It also helps that when she’s doing her best to remain standing up, because her balancing muscles are not yet up to the task, her hips and torso sway around like she’s a drunken Elvis. I know that dancing can be found in every human culture, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite this…innate.
Read the rest of this entry →

Aft Thrusters. Engage!

April 14, 2010 By: erik Category: House, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 162 views

Trouble On WheelsThe volume of space in our house defined by the phrase “out of reach of children” is shrinking quickly. While still a couple months from walking on her own, I believe, Nora has greatly improved her in-walker mobility. She can now move forward, backward, and turn with ease. The result is that she can get to just about anywhere where we don’t have a rug, and reach most things in the bottom ninety centimeters of the house. This includes many drawers and cabinets. Yesterday she was with me in the kitchen as I was doing the dishes. She watched intently as I opened a drawer to put a utensil in. Two seconds later she had her hand on the handle and was opening the drawer, pulling things out. We need to install some safety latches, stat! We bought drawer latches the other day, and the woman who sold them to us told us that it was absolutely paramount that the child never sees how to operate the latch, otherwise they’re useless.
Read the rest of this entry →

Strawberry Face

April 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Photos 197 views

StrawberriesLast week we decided to take advantage of the short strawberry season and I bought two kilos of strawberries. Marga had mentioned that we should buy some, and then Nora’s friend, Tona, who works the fruit section of the local grocery store gave her a strawberry when my back was turned, reminding me that we should get some. From what I could tell, Nora really liked the flavor of the strawberries, but she wasn’t very fond of having the meat of the berry in her mouth, spitting out whatever she bit off. Of course her nice white shirt was stained in no time at all. But I did get some adorable photographs.
Read the rest of this entry →