Archive for October, 2010

Forked Tongues

October 08, 2010 By: erik Category: Spanish

Recently, I had the following exchange with my daughter. It seems, sometimes, like most of our conversations can be boiled down to “Nora, what you’re doing may kill you.”

Me: “Nora, don’t run with a fork in your hand!”

Nora: [picks up a second fork and continues running]

Me: “No, the problem wasn’t a lack of forks!” 1

This got me thinking overthinking…

Happy Birthday, Great-Grandma!

October 07, 2010 By: erik Category: Family, News, Photos

Happy Birthday, Great-Grandma!Nora’s only remaining great-grandmother (my paternal grandmother), Joyce, turns [REDACTED]-years-old today. It was very special for us that she travelled to visit us soon after Nora was born. And Nora returned the favor a year later and stayed a few days in her house last March, when we had a family reunion in which all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren showered her with love and affection. If we can raise Nora to be half as kind, classy, and caring as her great-grandmother, we’ll have made the world a better place.

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Basic Training

October 07, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Basic Training (freeze frame)She’s always been rather indifferent to the rope netting at the local playground, but yesterday she figured out a trick. She can travel through one of the holes in the ropes. I verified with her afternoon playground companion (Codename: Mommy), and she confirmed that yesterday was the first time Nora exhibited a strategy with regard to the ropes. She reminded me of a recruit going through a Basic Training obstacle course. You should see how well she cleans her rifle!

Spanish Childhood

October 05, 2010 By: erik Category: Bulls, Offspring, Spain, Videos

Bullfighting A ToddlerAs an American child, I learned everything I knew about bullfighting from Bugs Bunny. My daughter, on the other hand, is growing up in Spain. Even as a toddler, she is being toreada (bullfought?) by her grandparents. They even use one of her red cardigans to tempt her, just like Bugs Bunny might do.

Loving Tiko

October 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos

Loving TikoLast week, my sister-in-law, and my third grandfather came to visit for a few hours on their way back from Extremadura. They brought their dog, Tiko, with them. Tiko is seventeen years old and still going. That’s pretty incredible for a Canis lupus familiaris. The fact that he’s so blind, deaf, and weak, makes him a perfect dog for Nora. When she got back from daycare, I heard the door open, she called “Poppy!” to me, and came into my office with Tiko on leash. She was pretty cute with him, so I took some photographs.

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October 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos

Slide (freeze frame)Nora has, over time, come to enjoy the slide (called el tobogán in Spain) at the local playground. More than anything, she likes to sit atop it surveying the land, like an heir to the throne. Eventually, often after a “Three, two, one!” countdown, she will throw herself down the slide. What follows is a little video I made recently in the playground.

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The Hymn of Colindres

October 01, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Music, Spain, Spanish

Coat of armsToday I became aware that the little fishing village where I live has a town hymn, an anthem to celebrate what it means to be from Colindres. Both to ensure that I understand it fully, and to share it with my non-hispanophone audience, I have translated it into English. It really is quite beautiful. I hope to one day hear or see or record a performance of it, as it would be nice to hear the music and voices booming with pride.

No, let me pay!

October 01, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Musings, Spain

Fourteen Thousand EurosThere are many, many social customs that confuse the hell out of me, but one of the most strange is the insistence of adults to pay for each others’ meals. In the US, when I would go out to eat with my coworkers, we’d always split the bill among everyone. Each person would pull out their credit card, and the waiter or waitress would give us each individual bills. Simple and fair.

In Spain, however, there is a big “buying rounds” culture that was very foreign to me at first. While this somewhat extends to meals, in Spain the “no, let me pay!” issue comes up more often with buying rounds of drinks. Due to the geographical layout of towns and the prevalence of bars, there is a big bar-hopping culture. So it’s very common to visit several bars on a midday walk with your friends, and in each bar, only one person in the group pays for the drinks. It rotates at each bar, and if you go an outing or two without paying for any rounds, people notice. I’m fine with this. The drinks are so cheap and the company so good that I rather enjoy it. You pay for a round, and then it feels, emotionally, that you get a bunch of “free” drinks after that.

What I don’t get is when people get insistent, or even angry, about the right to pay. This is not unique to Spaniards. Americans do this too, but mostly over whole meals, which is even stupider.

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