Friday, September 30, 2011

Eggs, Disciples, Months & Jurors

And September Radar Love blog posts!

All things that come in a dozen.

I did it! I can type any old crap and in this post and meet my goal.

But I think I promised more goods on the Basque family... and so you shall have it.

My mom recently talked about the difference between 'family tree' and 'family'. The former has to do with the genes that tie us together from one generation to the next... genes that keep getting watered down over time, but that link us none the less. You'll hear a story in the news every now and then about the exhumation of someone long dead whose dna is matched (or excluded) with that of someone thought to be a descendent. My family tree includes Spanish Kings and Mayflower Settlers (and even George Bush!).

But they aren't family. Family is deeper and richer than family tree alone. Hannah is my family, even though she's not biologically related to me. Radar's godmother Gail is my family and my own godparents, Ricardo & Casilda, and all their kids are my family. And of course my immediate biological family tree is also my family.

In the Basque region of northern Spain, I found a perfect merger of the two. These people don't really look very much like me and although I've heard some sparse stories, I had never met them and knew very little about them as individual people. They were definitely a part of my family tree because my paternal grandmother's maternal grandfather was also Maria Belen's maternal grandfather's paternal grandfather.

Confused? Me too. Family trees can get confusing awfully quickly. But the point is that we're related... by the time you get down to Radar and Leide (pictured two posts ago), you're down to a fraction of a percentage that they share as biological family.

We spent two short days with our family tree in Jugo and they quickly blossomed into our family! They were so welcoming and just as interested in our lives as we were in theirs. We looked through old pictures and shared stories of the people we both know and knew in common, and of their families. I took notes and scribbled down all the strange Basque names that eventually led back to our common ancestor. We ate... we drank... and we visited the church up on the Jugo mountain (a road that starts right behind the farm house and steeply winds up until it reaches this gorgeous clearing at its peak)...

Photobucket

...we rang the church bells...

Photobucket

... we stood in front of the sign that says a bunch of things in Basque... anyone care to venture a guess????

Photobucket

...and we even played a seemingly impossible game of 'bowling' (or juego de bolo alaves) where you have to roll a 5 lb wooden ball (no finger holes) down a 7 inch narrow, 65 foot long wooden plank (the loma) to knock down four wooden pins that are impossibly placed (except for the head pin (called the canton) that is set right where the plank ends, so if you manage to keep the ball on the plank, that pin pretty much goes down!)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Hmmm.... why do you suppose I took such a wild tangent off of family and into some traditional, yet impossible game that Basques have played for centuries?

Photobucket

Well... quite obviously because other than Jose Maria (on his 5th or 6th try), I was the ONLY other person that kept that damn ball on the plank and scored a point - and I did it on only my second try!!!!!

Anyway - it was really wonderful and I can't wait to go back!

And that, my friends, family and other readers, wraps up September in a neat little bow. Tomorrow starts October which consists of another visit to see Hannah & more importantly (sorry Hannah), of Halloween!!! I have already been brainstorming on costumes and projects for our mini-haunted house. Unfortunately, Skeletor (seen here) was put up in the attic and was the victim of a visiting rat... I guess there's a downside to using all-purpose flour when making papier mache projects... it tastes like cake to some!

In short... I hope to keep up a reasonable pace in October, but I won't stick to a fixed number of posts as a goal (mostly because I quickly went over to random.org and the random # it gave me between 1 and 31 was 28... errr... I don't think so!)
Lots of love,
Titi and Radar

PS - Ok, so Radar did actually score a point in bolos...

Photobucket
Photobucket

...but that was on account of him being a big, fat cheater and throwing the ball from just a few feet away from the pin!

PSS - Just because it's cute... here's Radar doing one of his many favorite things to do... taking pictures... and every time he lifts the camera to shoot, he says...

"Say Cheeeeee"
Photobucket

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The best I can do for now...

Yesterday was a really long day.


But Radar was SUCH a trooper! When we landed in Miami after a 9 hour flight, everyone, and I mean everyone, in the seats surrounding us complimented him on his stupendous behavior. He only slept for an hour of the flight, so he had 8 hours of spectacular behavior. Then we had a 3 hour layover in Miami and he conked out on the flight back to Nassau. It was a long, long day, but apparently not quite long enough to knock him off of Spanish time because he was up and smiling in my face at 3:30 this morning. I was amused.

Now at 2pm, I feel far less amused.

So there's just no way for my low capacity brain to blog a proper blog. But I wanted to at least leave you with a couple of pictures and to answer Marco's question about the chicken baby. Yes - the little girl in the picture with Radar from the last post is indeed the daughter of the chicken baby.

In short... Tia Sara sent me a few pictures to take with me. Everyone LOVED the pictures (I printed out copies), especially Pilar (who also cried when she saw the close up of her sister Maribi).

From this picture (from 1969, when Tia Sara was pregnant with Carlo)...

Photobucket
are pictured from left to right; Tia Sara, Nemecia (Antonio's wife) holding Belen (aka Chicken baby), Maria de Carmen (Pilar's youngest sister), Antonio (passed away just a couple of years ago at 88), Jose Luis (Maribi's husband), Maribi, Valentin (Pilar's brother), Pilar and Andy... I forgot to ask who the dog was & of course, you all see the Escudo (shield) up on the wall.

Well, of these folks (and objects), I met the Escudo...
Photobucket

and Nemecia (a lovelier lady would be hard to come by) & of course Pilar (standing to her left is her husband, Jose Maria)...
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Valentin (sitting beside his neice, Pilar's lovely daughter Edurne)...
Photobucket

and finally, the chicken baby herself... Maria Belen, who goes by Belen (standing beside Angela)...
Photobucket

So that's about what I can manage today for my report on Jugo...
Photobucket

More to come...

Lots of love,
Titi and Radar

PS - Just of kicks, here's a quick shot of Radar at the end of our tour of the Protos winery!!!!
Photobucket





Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lots to share, but...

...it's 4am and I need to try to get another few hours of sleep...


Tomorrow... strike that... later this morning we start making our way back to Madrid for our final night before our very long day tomorrow. To say that the last couple of days have been full don't do the last couple of days justice. They deserve a giant blog post, but that one, with all the pictures & explanations of how we are connected to this family here in Jugo, Spain, will have to wait a bit.

For right now - since I am up and since I'm not having much success in falling back to sleep at this very moment - I'll share a quick funny and a quick cute.

The quick funny.

As we drove through Spain, heading north from Madrid, we saw sites like this more often than I can count...
Photobucket

So as we were nearing Burgos, it was no surprise to see yet another bull on the hillside.

Only as we starting getting closer, we could see that this bull had something written on it... some graffiti scribble...

And then we got close enough to read it...

Photobucket
(translates to: "Silvia, I'm sorry. I love you.")

This poor schmuck must have really messed up! I wonder if Silvia forgave him?

And now for the cute...

This is Radar & Leide (not sure about the spelling)...

Photobucket

...they are cousins... both are 6th generation descendents of our common ancestor, Lucas Vea. Pretty neat, eh! (Tia - this is the daughter of the baby girl from the pictures you sent us... that'll all be part of a later post though!)

Ok, back to sleep for me... more to come!

Lots of love,
Titi & Radar

Thursday, September 22, 2011

London makes the best buses

Radar continues to tackle Spain in full overdrive which leads to full collapse every night. Sometimes the collapse comes in the form of conking out in my arms at an outdoor cafe after actually trying Sardines for dinner!


Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Sometimes it comes in the form of an evening meltdown that abruptly ends with him being asleep. But what's not up for debate is whether Radar is fully enjoying his trip. He absolutely is... and he's particularly enjoying sharing it with me. As we spent Monday and Tuesday walking all over Madrid, his favorite line was "Nene cansada. Mama lleva." (Radar's tired. Mama carries.) (Oh, Radar is pretty progressive on the whole Spanish gender conjugation thing... it's always 'Nene cansada' and 'Mama cansado').

Photobucket
(just like me... I live in the Bahamas, but get sun burned in Madrid!)

Anyway - this was, of course, a total lie. He wasn't tired because the moment we'd find a new park or attraction, he'd wiggle out of my arms and attack it with full force. When I would drag him away, all of a sudden the fatigue would hit him again and I'd have to carry him!

So I was a little concerned how he would take my quick leave of absence on Wednesday. I had to fly over to London for the day for some business meetings and then I returned yesterday. He's old enough now that I can explain some things to him. So I told him that Mama was going to Londres and that he would be going to see Jorge's cousins at the zoo with Nana and Avo.

"Mama no va Londres! Mama queda!" (Mama doesn't go to London. Mama stays.)

So I tried to say that I had to work.

"Mama no trabaja! Mama queda!" (Mama doesn't work. Mama stays.)

And then I tried a slightly different approach. I explained that London had the very best buses in all the world and that I was going on a special mission to get him the best bus in the world.

The kid seemed to actually understand and buy my explanation! Which, of course, meant that I better damn well get him a bus while in London.

And sure enough, I did. When I arrived back into Madrid yesterday, I met my dad and Angela and Radar at the airport where we rented a car to start heading north to Basque country (but not before making a night's pit stop in Ribera del Duero wine country). Well - on our hour and a half ride, Radar refused to let go of his bus (being that his Mama took the trouble of going all the way to London to get it for him)!
Photobucket

So - onward to Jugo tomorrow... don't know if we'll be connected, but I'll definitely take pictures and post whenever I can.

Lots of love,
Titi and Radar

PS - Don't know how many of you had the chance to see the picture that Radar was tagged in on facebook from the birthday party he went to earlier this month... In it, he very obviously scowls at the idea of having to pose with Mickey Mouse.
Photobucket
(Skylar's party earlier this month)

I thought it was just because he wanted to be doing something else... but after our visit the other afternoon to Plaza Mayor, I'm thinking that maybe it's got something to do with the mouse!
Photobucket

PSS - Some other shots of Radar enjoying Spain so far.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
at some of the zillions of kids' parks strewn throughout the city

Photobucket
in Plaza Mayor

Photobucket
in Campo Retiro

Photobucket
Photobucket
at the zoo

Photobucket
Photobucket

Monday, September 19, 2011

Google maps rocks!

Less than 24 hours in Spain & Rockin' his 'best little traveller' status! Unlike Radar's Mom, he slept for about 7 hours on the flight over (I slept 1). When we were waiting for our luggage and there was almost an additional 30 minute delay for no good reason (ie, broken conveyor belt - we could see the piece through those stupid rubber curtain things), I was impatient and he took it all in stride. In fact, on the airport train heading toward baggage claim, an American couple asked his age and it turns out they have a grandson just days younger than Radar. They noted that their grandson wasn't nearly as well behaved (HA!) And we're doing this trip sans stroller!


So anyway... Madrid so far. We finally got checked in to our apartment at 2pm after killing an hour at a little restaurant just down the street. At one point a band of African musicians came singing, dancing and banging on various instruments down the street. Radar was up and dancing with them
Photobucket
(until one guy approached him for some change...)
Photobucket

But let me get onto explaining the post title. When I found this Madrid apartment on homeaway.com (I use it as often as possible when traveling now... so much nicer than a hotel!), I wanted to see what was nearby. So I located it on google maps and there, on the very same block, not a minute's walk away, was something called "La Escalera de Jacob" indicated with a little martini glass. So I thought, that must be a bar... moving my mouse over the icon brought up a 4-star rating with a review saying something about a fantastic show... so I followed the link and it took me to this little community theater (yes, with a bar) that has all sorts of live productions including some for small kids. I looked at their schedule for the Sunday that we were getting in (knowing that we'd have to do something to keep ourselves awake until a reasonable bedtime hour - first rule of tackling jetlag)... And VOILA!

Last night at 5pm, Radar had his first live theater experience and it was a HUGE success! We had front row seats in a tiny theater to "El Oso Ritmoso."
Photobucket

Where the bears and circus directress and police officer and crazy scientist all engaged the kids in the audience and Radar was clapping and singing and screaming and laughing!
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

It was AWESOME! At the end, as we walked out, all the characters were there to greet and Radar opened his arms to give the bear a hug (and the bear, in fine bear fashion, complied with a good bear hug). Then he opened his arms for the circus directress and she planted a big old kiss right on his cheek.
Photobucket

We ended the night at another street cafe (Radar went in full Halloween Pajama attire)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

and then, after some yummy chocolate ice cream, we hit the sack at 9pm (it is now 9amish and he keeps sleeping - SUCK IT Jetlag!)
Photobucket

Anyway - so far, so very, very good!!!!

Besos y abrazos,
Titi and Radar

PS - Yes, Jorge the monkey joined us for this trip... Radar insisted!