April Rioja Trip – Day 2 of 2

April 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel, Wine 319 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.
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April Rioja Trip – Day 1 of 2

April 19, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 451 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.]
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Correos Still Life

April 16, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photography, Photos, Photoshop, Spain 350 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.
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A Good Deed

April 15, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Spain, Weird 121 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.
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Dancing Baby

April 15, 2010 By: erik Category: Dancing, Offspring, Videos 202 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.
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Aft Thrusters. Engage!

April 14, 2010 By: erik Category: House, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 189 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.
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Strawberry Face

April 13, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Photos 378 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.
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Difficult Sunday

April 11, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Offspring, Parenting 153 views

Chorizo, Morcilla, Potatoes, and Fried EggsNora, the weekend that is now ending was our first one back in Spain after recovering from jet lag. We had no company (your aunt visited Thursday and Friday), and we were looking forward to a nice rest. On Saturday we went to the closest mall, in Santander, to pick up a few items and research car seats for you. We learned that you still need to gain a few kilos before we can face you forward in the car, no matter how cramped you are facing backwards. I’m not sure if it was the experience of seeing so many people around you in the food court, but you didn’t want any of your vegetable puree for lunch or the yogurt either. You were only hungry when Mommy and Daddy were eating bread. And your cookies. During our trip to the States, you trained us to give you cookies pretty much non-stop when you’re in your now-crumb-covered stroller. When you finish one, you spin around, reach out your hand and screech. It was cute the first dozen times.
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Bean Pole

April 08, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Offspring, Photoshop 171 views

Curiouser and curiouserI took Nora to the doctor today to get weighed and measured. In her first six months she more than doubled in weight, ending up and around 7.4 kg. In her second six months she hasn’t gained any weight at all, remaining consistently around 7.5 kg when we weigh her at bath time (before her dinner). Today, after eating 260 mL of breakfast milk and cereal (which is more dense than water, so that’s more than 0.26 kg right there), she weighed 7.85 kg and measured 75 cm, a full three quarters of a meter. This gives her a body mass index of 14.0, which is literally off the chart. The doctor say she’s just fine, which we knew already. Tall and skinny, but fine.

In the same spirit as last year’s ridiculous linear comparison of food consumption rate, I’ve decided to see what I would be like if my height and weight were at the same ratio as Nora’s (104 g/cm).
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A Damp Spring Walk

April 07, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos 217 views

Eighteen PetalsAs a result of working six time zones away from where I live, I have the mornings off to spend with my daughter, but it also means that I have pretty late nights. It’s not uncommon for me to go to bed after midnight. The problem with going to bed after midnight is that you have to be very careful about using the concepts “today” and “tomorrow”, especially when looking at the date on your computer. Last night, before going to bed, I remembered to look in Nora’s doctor appointment book because I knew that she had a regular checkup this week but could not recall the date. It said “April 8, 10:00”. I looked at the date on my computer and it said “April 7”, so my sleepy brain said, “Oh no! That’s tomorrow!”, and I preceded to set my alarm clock with plenty of time to get Nora up and dressed and to the doctor. And so it played out… We got up, got dressed, and headed to the doctor’s office. When we got there, there were three confused pensioners pulling and pushing on the locked doors. Finally a sickly teenager came by and rang the doorbell, and the emergency doctor came to open the door. She explained that the health center was closed except for emergencies. “Excuse me,” I interjected indignantly, “but I have an appointment. See?” Her face and mouth communicated how unlikely my claim seemed to her as I showed her the appointment book. “Today is April 7th,” she said, “That appointment is for tomorrow.” I apologized and slunk off, secretly pleased that my daughter didn’t yet have the cognitive awareness of the situation to laugh at her father. There will be plenty of time for that later.
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