Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yesterday morning we came upon a class of children and their teacher performing the hokey pokey.

We ate dinner at a restaurant called "El Rey de Gambas", the king of shrimp.

The meal of the day was a choice of two plates each plus beverage and dessert for 11 Euros.

So our first plate was salad with toast and tomato. Salads in Spain are unique in that the ingredients are so fresh, as though there is a garden in the back where someone is picking it just before preparation. Olives in Spain are so delicious and memorable.

Our second plate was paella, which Tony especially loves. This restaurant faces the sea which accounts for the freshness of the seafood.

Today (Saturday) we are moving forward to the next part of our trip. We've had a couple days in Barcelona to explore, walk miles, and adjust to the six hour time difference. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 24, 2009

We happened on a peaceful and enthusiastic demonstration. Tony said it was for Basque separatists who would like to separate from the rest of Spain. They appeared to be, for the most part, very young people.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dinner in a Small Pub

Spinach with almonds and tomato with parmesan sauce

Fried breaded pork with seasoned rice and fried potatoes

Spanish restaurants have excellent food; the ingredients are very fresh and the preparation skilled. We were hungry last night, having traveled far and eating economy class airplane food, so we walked until we happened on a small pub for dinner. For 9 Euros each we had two plates plus dessert. The first plate was the above spinach dish. So excellent! (Marta, do you know how to cook this? If so, please teach me!) My second plate was the above pork dish. For his second plate Tony chose fried beef steak with egg and fried potatoes. Dessert included was melon. A great dinner.

La Boqueria
The Boqueria is a market place within walking distance of our hotel. All varieties of fruits, vegetables, meats, and desserts are displayed so beautifully. We enjoyed fresh fruit smoothies, mine strawberry banana and Tony's papaya. So many people were there that it was challenging walking through the crowds.
The view from our taxi.

The view from our hotel window.
We are in the city where Tony's grandmother lived when she was a young girl, before she married his grandfather and moved to the Philippines. Also it is the country of our beautiful Marta.
A little more of the family history here: Tony's grandfather came from a family of landowners in the Philippines. Certain Spanish families had been granted large farms in that country, moving there, farming the land, and developing it. When Tony's grandfather was a young man just after the turn of the century (in the 1900's), he decided he wanted a Spanish wife. Tony's grandmother was from a military family so somehow she agreed to marry this young man from the faraway tropical country. They married and had two small children before setting out to return to the Philippines in 1907. In fact, she was pregnant with Tony's mother for that journey. I met her on my first visit to that country in 1965 and I remember a very small lively lady who conversed in Spanish in a very animated way. I talked to her with Tony's translation help.
We just arrived after traveling all night, changing planes in Amsterdam, by taxi to our hotel.
It is a sort of holiday here; I don't understand completely but something about honoring the patron saint of the city by giving a rose to someone you care about. I saw some beautiful young ladies carrying roses.
We'll rest a little while, then explore.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I love to go walking. Usually I walk for 45 minutes to an hour at a brisk pace. One favorite walking place is the perimeter of a golf course near my house where I sometimes walk in the early morning, especially when golfers are absent. This morning was rainy so nobody was playing golf.
Spring golfers are out of practice. The course has been closed all winter so lots of balls are lost. In the bushes, next to the course, sometimes right out in the open are lots of golf balls, 21 in total this morning!
If you play in the golf course near my house and have lost balls, please get in touch because I'd like to return these balls to their rightful owners. I'm not a golfer, unfortunately, and have no use for them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today we're heading home on a 12:45 flight after more than 2 busy weeks at Tom and Kelly's house. Kelly is now recovered from giving birth to Tyler, stronger and ready to carry on her regular life. Tyler is just over one month old now and there have been big changes in him during these two weeks; he has become more alert, actively watching everything that's going on, plus he has become round and chubby, so cute. Matthew at almost 2 has grown to trust me, comfortable that I will take care of him and help him. Sometimes he takes me by the hand and pulls me over to a favorite toy to play. Tom catches the 6 AM train to the city, working hard at his job, arriving home at maybe 7 PM and then catching up with his family and home.

At this moment Tony and I are in a traveling mode. We're returning home for just a few days, then setting out on another journey. Stay tuned to see where we'll be next!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Matt enjoyed hunting for Easter eggs in the back yard.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Here are some pictures of Easter Day at Tom and Kelly's house. In the morning we went to a lovely church service. Following the service, Tony and I decided to walk back to the house because it was a sunny though cool and windy day. Kelly prepared a delicious ham dinner with everyone helping. Later in the afternoon Matt hunted for Easter eggs in the back yard.

Friday, April 10, 2009

This afternoon Matt colored Easter eggs with his parents. He loved seeing the eggs change colors and checking that the colors were just right. Sometimes he put his hands in the dye instead of using the egg holding tool, and a couple of times he considered tasting the dye (his mom stopped him before he drank it!)
Matt at School

Matt goes to "school" two mornings a week. I was surprised how happy he is to go and how much he enjoys it. You can see him in a red shirt in the middle of the pictures as he joins circle time at the start of his school morning. When he arrives at school, he walks over to circle time without hesitation and joins the group. The video shows the teacher as she interacts with the children at the beginning of circle time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Matt attends a music class for toddlers where the students sing, dance, and play instruments. He loves it. When the class was finished, he gave his teacher a big hug. I feel so lucky that I was able to watch the class along with Kelly and Tyler.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sometimes little boys need to dig and get dirty. Yesterday was warm (much warmer than Michigan where it's still snowing) so Tom and I prepared their small garden spot in the back yard where they'll plant a few veggies when the season is dependable. Later after his nap, Matt came outside and I was showing him how to dig for earthworms and how they wiggle in the dirt. There are lots of earthworms in the garden plot making for a rich and naturally cultivated garden. Matt got his bucket and decided to practice digging. This is an old neighborhood so possibly he could be digging up some relics of previous generations who had lived in the house. Of course Matt got pretty dirty but before too long we went inside and he had a bath. Little boys need to dig!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

We ate Japanese food so Matt had a lesson with chopsticks. He enjoys using them like drum sticks.
Matt is very sweet with his baby brother.

Here's a little boy taking a break from play:

Friday, April 03, 2009

I'm having busy and fun days at Tom and Kelly's house. Matthew is a very active little boy who will celebrate his second birthday in May. Here he is at his playhouse in the backyard. It is challenging to take a good picture of him because he moves quickly!

The weather has been pretty nice here, a little warmer than Michigan. Daffodils and forsythia are blooming, so it's maybe a couple weeks ahead in the spring season. Tuesday Tom came home early from the office so he, Matt, and I went to the park where all the children were playing.

Matt loves his mommy and daddy so much. He's really happy when daddy comes home from work. We had a great time at the park.

Kelly is recovering from her delivery of Tyler three weeks ago so I'm trying to help her as much as possible. There's a lot to do with two baby boys in the house. Usually someone needs attention all the time. In this picture Tyler is in the sling in front of Kelly. Tyler went right to sleep as soon as he was in the sling, feeling warm and comfortable there next to his mom.

So much to do and so much to learn! What an exciting life ahead for the two little boys in this household.