Carnival 2012 – Santoña

February 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Partying, Spain, Travel 483 views

Sunset DockWe’ve heard from past years that the nearby town of Santoña puts on a good Carnival festival. We were a little disappointed, however, to see that the parade starts at dusk rather than during the day when it’s warmer and easier to see costumes. But we decided to give it a chance anyway, so we left at around lunchtime to go have some tapas and spend a lazy afternoon in Santoña awaiting the parade. Nora, of course, was delighted to get a chance to get more milage out of her Sevillana dress.
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Carnival 2012 in Colindres: Snow White

February 17, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Spain 621 views

Carnaval 2012 - La Cucaña - Colindres - 124Today was the big Carnival parade, sort of a “Halloween meets Mardi Gras” thing that is very typical for children in Spanish culture. Apparently I did such a fine job last year that my presence was simply assumed as The Official Daycare Photographer. Perhaps in honor of that job, I was also given a leading role in this year’s costume theme. About a month ago, I was told by Adela, the daycare owner, that this year for Carnival the kids would be dressed up as dwarves, the daycare employees would all be dressed as Snow White, Adela herself would be the Evil Stepmother, and I, the only parent with a themed costume, would be dressed as none other than Prince Charming.
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A Guide To Spanish Meal Names

February 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Spain, Spanish, Travel 13,026 views

Beans and Wild BoarLearning the words for the meals of the day is difficult any time you change cultures, whether you change languages or not. In different parts of the US, for instance, the word “dinner” can either refer to the meal at midday or in the evening. It took me years of living the UK to realize that “having tea” doesn’t only refer to imbibing an infusion, but can often refer to the evening meal. In Spain, most people eat three main meals each day, but there are words for five meals. Confused? Let’s have a look…
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Mitten Puppets

February 03, 2012 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Photos 320 views

Nora with Mitten PuppetsMy grandmother, Joyce, knitted some mitten puppets for her great-granddaughter, Nora, for Christmas 2011. As often happens with presents not made in Chinese plastic molds, they got a little passed over on Christmas morning, but we’ve found them and the weather has finally gotten cold enough to necessitate insulating hand gear, so we put them on her yesterday. It turns out to be extremely difficult to actually get her thumb and pinky into their requisite holes, but she does enjoy the faces on them.
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Talking on the phone with Abuela

February 03, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Spanish, Videos 228 views

Talking with abuela (thumbnail)I’ve been focusing lately on Nora’s English, as my readers are more likely to understand her, but I thought I’d post some videos showcasing her Spanish development. One of Nora’s favorite pastimes is talking on the phone with her abuela (Spanish grandmother). There are times when Nora is entertained with some other task and won’t even take the phone, but there are other times where they have spoken for more than an hour, once to the point where Nora got a little hoarse. It’s very much a stream of consciousness sort of conversation, with Nora at the helm, and her abuela interjecting comments here or there to keep up the flow, sticking around long after I would’ve bored of the conversation.
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What’s in a name?

January 31, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spain, Videos 330 views

What's your name (thumbnail)In preparation for her entrance into the school system in September, we recently began teaching Nora that her name is longer than just “Nora”. A lot longer, in fact. I would be very, very surprised if there existed another person on the planet with Nora’s two surnames. In Spain, you see, people have two last names, the first from the father, and the second from the mother. Her first is Rasmussen, which is both difficult to spell and pronounce. Her second last name is Matamoros – a fairly rare surname in Spain – that probably originated from a myth about Saint James slaying moors.
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Friday Rainbow

January 27, 2012 By: erik Category: Photos 142 views

Friday RainbowMy regular readers will be aware of my fascination of atmospheric effects, particularly as the sun disappears over the western horizon, but this afternoon, we were treated to some excitement on the eastern horizon, in the form of a double rainbow. I figure it’s Nature’s way of giving us something to smile about before dumping a dark, cold, rainy weekend upon us. Enjoy!
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Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney Face Swap

January 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Photoshop, Politics, USA, Weird 488 views

Gingrich Romney Face SwapThe more I watch the media coverage of the GOP presidential primaries, the more I’m struck by just how different Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are, physically. Newt’s got a pretty spherical noggin, and Romney’s is more oblong. My photoshop nerves are itching again, so I thought I’d try a face swap, like I did with Prince William and his bride. I searched around the internet for two high resolution photographs in which they are looking more or less in the same direction and are lit from similarly positioned light sources. Ideally for this, you’d have them both in the same photograph, but they don’t pose together that much. The result of my half hour of work is pretty mediocre, but I figure I’ll share it anyway.
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Union Rep

January 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 189 views

Union Rep (thumbnail)Nora was being particularly cute recently during her nightly routine of barging into my office to interrupt my work and inform me of the state of dinner as it is progressing in the kitchen. So I grabbed the video camera and shot her. The result is pretty representative of her English abilities. The phrasing is a little off, e.g. “You no can work” instead of “You cannot work”, but she has the general structure down. Sometimes it takes her a moment to figure out where her sentence is going. In general, I’d say her English skill is about 80% that of her Spanish.
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Why does do church bells chime every fifteen minutes?

January 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Musings, Religion, Spain 4,083 views

Bell TowerWhere I grew up, there weren’t any church bells that I could hear from my house, but there was one in the center of town near the municipal recreation center, where I spent many hours of my youth. As a kid, I became quite fond of that Big Ben tune that preceded the hourly chimes.
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