Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Touring Andalusia

After a couple of days acclimating to the Euro time zone it's been a bit of a whirlwind tour of Andalusia, and it's amazing to me how much I don't recognize from our previous trip. Then again, it's been over 15 years, pre-parenthood mind you. We left Madrid and headed to Seville, which I personally think is a great city. I don't know why but somehow that town just has a cool vibe. I felt it the last time we came and I felt it this time. Two days in Seville and then off to Arcos de la Frontera, which is a beautiful and stunning Moorish-influenced town on a massive hillside. From there we headed to Ronda which was hectic and crowded, more so than I recall. A little nutty, but the gorge (pictured here-a Roman bridge) was spectacular. We spent the night there and headed off to a tiny village near Villanueva de Tapia to spend the night at a little B&B and have our birthday dinner. The place was beautiful but extremely secluded and quiet. Perfect for boring adults like us but a little harder for kids, though there was a pool, which is always nice. It was nice and our birthday dinner was nice, though we were looking forward to a super-quiet night of sleep and were awoken by dogs and chickens. We then hit the road for Granada and from here we will begin the journey back to Madrid.

The weather has been beautiful though a big hot. It is so much Californian, hot and dry, though it cools off nicely at night. The food and people have been wonderful, and the history of these small towns simply amazing. Will probably check back in in Madrid, or maybe when we get back home.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Touring Andalusia

We've spent the past two days in Seville and it's been a lot of fun, it's such a cool city. Mom and I had been here 16 years ago (can you believe that?) before the kids were born and I remember really like it then, and it still has a magical quality for me. I can't quite put my finger on it but more than Madrid or Rome it strikes a cord for me. I really enjoy it, and believe me, it's filled with young, fun, hip and beautiful people. From here we're going to tour Andalusia and with stops in Granada and Toledo, I think. We'll see.

Have to keep things brief because there's little time to stop and blog. Hope everyone is well and thanks for reading, and thanks to Steve Major for the pic.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Buenos Dias

So we arrived in Madrid safely though it was a brutal day of traveling, with the long car ride, then the bus ride, then the overnight flight to London then Madrid. We flew on British Airways which was sort of novel and sort of cool, it was so civilized. They even fed us, which en par for the course with international flights, though I'm so used to domestic flights that it came as a surprise. We were jet-lagged to no end and sleeping has been a bit of a challenge, but we are getting by. We spent two days in Madrid and had a lot of fun, I enjoyed it more than I had in the past, and now we are in Seville for a couple of days. It's a really cool city, again cooler than I remembered, but it's been 15 years. Wow, is that crazy, or what?

It's hard to do blog entries so I'll be off and on intermittently for the next two weeks. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to KSBD Photo for the pic.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We're Off

We are on the cusp of our big adventure and it's a bit of an unusual path this time. Normally we are scrambling until the last minute trying to tie up loose ends and getting our stuff together, but somehow this time seems a bit more relaxed. This is not always a good thing because a misplaced sense of confidence can often lead to complacency, which can in turn lead to screwing things up, big time. I'm not saying I like to stress and rush at the last minute, but I also don't want to think things will magically take care of themselves. Then again, when does that ever happen?

It doesn't help that I had to work late last night, and got home around midnight. The weather was crazy, we got slammed by a big storm that dumped tons of rain and knocked out the power. Fortunately it only lasted a few hours and by the time I got home it was back on. It was still a late night and I couldn't fall asleep right away, then I woke up early and now I'm beat. Maybe this will help me sleep later tonight. We'll see.

In the meantime, I think I'll just keep my feet moving. Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to My Little Corner for the pic.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Where's the Beef

We are trying to eat less meat and while I can appreciate the health benefits of such an endeavor, it ain't always easy when you not only enjoy eating meat, but you have growing kids who might benefit from it. Even still, we don't eat a lot of red meat. We never eat steak, even though I love it, and rarely eat burgers, though N and I will get them when it's just the two of us on the go. Five Guys beckons us. We tend more toward chicken and have been eating more fish than I ever had in my life.

Now we're learning that beef might not be so bad as long as it's grass fed, which is great because when you live in New England, local grass fed beef is the way to go. In fact, we have a friend who specializes in grass fed beef and they operate on a pretty big scale so they are reliable and reasonably priced. It's a bit more expensive than discount ground beef, no doubt, but you can't beat the quality and taste. We used to buy from them when we did dumplings at the market, and I feel better giving it to my family. Sometimes when you buy really cheap industrial meat that you get from the store, you just don't know where it's been.

The only issue is that I have to make the trek over to their house and get the beef, which I buy in 10 lb. increments. It's a big slab of meat, but it sure goes a long way in this household.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to bour3 for the pic.

Weed Whacking Fun

Along the lines of the kids helping out, N has stepped up and taken over weed-whacking duties, and he says he enjoys it. A win-win situation if there ever was one. I think he likes anything to do with machines, especially ones that destroy things in their paths. The weed-whacker does a great job of obliterating plants, and even I have to admit that it's both satisfying and fun. Like everything, however, it's just one more thing to deal with and when you have a long list of jobs to do, even fun ones can become a burden. I'm glad he likes it, and now our yard is being attended to.

It also feeds into his engineer itch because he's interested in not only how it works, but how to maintain it. He actually did the hard part of re-loading the twine, which I find to be a chore. And he did it with minimal intervention on my part, which is too cool for words. He's pretty much self-sufficient in terms of using the machine, leaving me more time to sit on the couch and take naps... not.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to K. Carter for the pic.

Racquet and Club In Hand

N and I have become quite the country club regulars, taking full advantage of my access to both golf and tennis, on the indoor court, no less. There's racquetball, as well. The Inn has an 18 hole golf course that is pretty nice and we get to use it because of my job. It's a pretty serious course so we have to abide by the rules and decorum, which includes shirts with collars. I wasn't even sure if I owned a shirt with a collar. We try to go when it's least crowded because we don't want to play with a crowd around us, either in front or behind us. In front because I can't vouch for the control my shots, and behind because we're a little on the slow side and don't want to hold people up. Since you have to make a reservation they're good about scheduling people with enough of a time cushion so that you're not all on top of each other. They know the drill.

The other day we made a reservation but we got rained out. Luckily we also had our racquets with us so we just headed over to the fitness center and played tennis on the indoor courts. They were being used so we just played racquetball until they were done, though the transition from racquetball to tennis is an odd one and takes some adjustment. The two sports require a completely different arm motion and you have to transition between the two.

It was a fun day and I have to say that it's been nice playing tennis and golf this summer. N is becoming quite adept at both sports, and it's nice for him to develop interests other than hockey. As much as I love the sport there is a level of fanaticism that I am not completely on board with even though I succumb to it when it's around. It's good to have some healthy balance in life, don't you think?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to NAU Rec Center for the pic.