Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moments in Spain: Now THIS Is Seafood!

One thing I love about travel in general and the Basque region in particular is the absolutely spectacular food. During our short stay in San Sebastian, Erich and I walked the streets in search of dinner for at least an hour, trying to find just the right place: full enough of people to be good, but empty enough not to be too intimidating. (Remember, few people speak English in Spain!) With one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per square mile in the world, we were sure to find something.

Food is a ritual in Spain. No one even considers going out to eat before about 8pm, and even then, it's only for drinks and pinxos (tapas in other regions), eaten standing up while socializing. Many people just make a meal of traveling around to different bars for a very small drink and a pinxo or two in each place until they've eaten enough, then the crowds migrate to bars set up for drinks only. But this particular night we were in search of a restaurant with a reasonable menu of the day, and we eventually decided on one that had a seafood special.

We did not save any money; in fact, we had to call this our 6-month anniversary dinner to justify paying an arm and a leg for dinner (with the very bad exchange rate mostly to blame). But, let me tell you: these Basques know their seafood. It was amazing, incredible, and similar such adjectives. They brought out plate after plate of recently moving, excellently prepared shellfish. I learned how to eat it: just pull it apart and find meat. And I learned that sometimes it's okay if your food is looking back at you, because those shrimps and prawns were dang good.

And for after dinner:

Mmmmm, German beer in Spain.....


Erich and I have the very great honor of being godparents to our new niece, Emily Juliet. I got to hold her at her spiritual rebirth through the waters of baptism on July 27, 2008.

Here are Erich and I at the church. Emily is wearing a raw silk gown handmade by Erich's great-great-grandmother for his great-grandmother while they were missionaries in India.

I think you'll agree the baby thing is a good look for us.

"Hi, I'm Emily! I'm happiest when being beaten on the back. Uncle Erich couldn't believe I could stand being hit this hard, but look how much I'm not crying!"

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm a recording artist!

Erich and I were in Michigan last week, and we decided to take a day trip to Greenfield Village on Tuesday. What a cool place! Even though I've been to the Detroit area many, many times in my life, I had never been there. Now I'm sure we will have to go back since we didn't even see everything at Greenfield Village, not to mention the fact that we didn't go to the Henry Ford museum.

There were lots of cool things to see at Greenfield Village--more than I can enumerate. My favorite picture was this one I got of a monarch butterfly:

One of the best places we saved for the end of the day: Edison's workshop. This is far and away Erich's favorite, and I enjoyed it as well. I mean, just look: there's a pipe organ in his workshop!

And then the very, very coolest thing I got to do was record on an original Edison phonograph! I had to literally yell at the top of my lungs into the cone, which, in a process Erich could more accurately describe, transfered the sound to a sheet of tin foil. Here's the video: (Remember, I sound weird because I'm SCREAMING into the device.)

"This is the greatest invention ever!"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Silly Husband

This afternoon, while we sat together on our La-Z-Boy watching "thelympics," Erich enjoyed an extremely huge jawbreaker he had gotten in Frankenmuth, MI. I looked over at him, and about died laughing when I saw this:

Easily concealed when necessary...

Back to business.

A Good Saturday

Hello, Internets! I'm back again. Erich and I have been very busy lately. Two weekends ago we spent two days in Michigan for my family reunion on my dad's side (and we went to the beach on Sunday! Oh, how glorious!), the following weekend we went to Evansville for our niece's baptism (forthcoming post on that, I promise), and in between, we did some house sitting for our friends in a neighboring town. THEN, this past Sunday, we were off to Michigan again to spend time with Erich's grandparents and Evansville immediate family members. Out of the 19 nights between July 19 and August 7, we only slept four of those at home. That was pushing it for this homebody. While I enjoyed all the time we spent away, it is REALLY good to be home.

Anyway, today was the first time in a while where Erich and I could have a normal summer Saturday, and I think we spent it quite well.

First, we got up around 8:30. That's just perfect because we got to sleep in a little, but not so much that we wasted half the morning. I came downstairs to Erich cooking an inventive concoction involving eggs, potatoes, and cheese. It was delicious! Good job, Erich.

Soon after breakfast we serviced our bicycles a bit then rode downtown to the library. I had a notion in my head to try to watch as many Batman movies as we can for fun, since we enjoyed The Dark Knight so much, but alas, the library was completely out of all Batman movies. Apparently I wasn't the only one with that idea. But, I did pick up the much-heralded Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration, Raising Sand, and have listened to it a bit. Not bad!

From the library we biked to the farmer's market and got some fresh fixin's for this week's meals. There's something so fresh and quaint and wonderful about purchasing fresh veggies straight from the farmers. And did I mention delicious? I love summer.

Then we went home to bum around the house a bit. Erich turned on the Olympics and they were showing women's beach volleyball. Let me tell you, though I enjoy watching the sport and I highly admire the skill displayed by the athletes, I found myself asking why women's beach volleyball was being featured in the middle of the day on a Saturday. I'm pretty sure this is why:

Every straight man's dream, right? In other news, maybe I should take up full-time beach volleyball. That would fulfill two highly desirable things for me: spending time on the beach and having a perfect body. I suppose I'd have to do a lot of work, though, wouldn't I?

The rest of the day was even less eventful, except for when I went to church to sing the Psalm at the evening service. Erich and I cooked a tasty dinner of grilled chicken, green beans and glazed carrots. Still, I feel like this day had everything: good food, bike-riding, shopping, and PLENTY of time to just veg. I am really, really going to miss summer.