Sunday, May 29, 2016

Corpus Christi in Astorga

The Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) is a rite in the Catholic church that yearly celebrates the belief that the body and blood of Christ's real presence is in the Eucharist, the communion bread offered during mass.

Flowers emphasizing the joy of the institution of the Eucharist. 

Today in Astorga we nearly missed any sign of it between sleeping late and the rain, but the flowers placed in front of the Town Hall and around the Main Square hinted to this morning's earlier celebration.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy Nineteenth!

Nineteen years of joy and wonder. I'm so delighted to be you mother, Mark.
I love you with all my heart.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Menopause came knocking again.
I told her I was busy.
She promised not to stay,
but she took a chair and plopped her plump rump right down.
So, I let her know. I couldn’t entertain her. I had no time today.
I cleared the table, swept the floor, even exercised, planking my plank.
She insisted, however, said she’d brought me something,
and she handed me stomach and headache as I showered and readied for the day.
In light-headed confusion, I walked and shopped with her. Had there been any choice?
We found groceries and teacher supplies, but pain now throbbed my temples, behind my eyes, flashed feverish heat through my body. On repeat, this gift from her, over and over again.
Finally, the rain subsided and in that drizzle I told her, “you stay here now, I know the way,"
Instead she followed me back home. Has she set up residence?
"Celebrate menopause," I've heard some say.
But, she’s an unwanted guest at my house these days.

What will surely happen one of these days to me if Menopause doesn't take a hike.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Hills of San Román de La Vega

The Cathedral on our left and precious baa baa black sheep on our right, a typical late afternoon crossing. Though the days have warmed, the ice warning next to the bridge is a reminder that these fields were covered with white not long ago.

A chestnut tree frames Astorga's Cathedral as I looked southwest from the hills of San Román de la Vega.

A white head shows us that this pair is incubating their eggs. Storks are very egalitarian. They share the task of keeping their eggs warm, the female in the morning and the male at night. They take turns bringing meals to one another. Storks mate for life. 

This giant chestnut tree captured my entire imagination, so perfectly and intricately shaped. Even Sombra had to stop and stare.

An old home about to be restored, beginning with its roof. Maybe the owners will decide to keep the original beams and rod iron for a rustic traditional look.

This newborn colt was so new to the world that he wobbled on his legs and almost fell over in his attempt to look at me taking his picture.

Returning to Astorga, to the work at our desks and other responsibilities. What a nice break to get away for a little bit of countryside photography.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Airport Impressions

If you're going to spend hours of layover time, you've got to check out the airport details and decore.

Here are my tips on what to see if you're in the Sacramento, LAX or the Madrid International Airports.

Couldn't resist getting my picture taken in front of this sign. Twenty-three or twenty-four hours of traveling will do strange things to you.

Sacramento Airport
While I drank my short latte (thanks Sara for the tip on how to get the closest thing to Spanish café con leche) I was so surprised to see airport police patrolling on bikes (sorry, no picture,) riding up and parking for a coffee and danish. That's a first!

One of my favourite decorative details at the Sacramento airport is the river-tiled flooring that weaves just like River City's Sacramento and American Rivers.

Sculptures abound in the wide open spaces of American airports.  "Leap" is a giant 56-foot-long, 15-foot diameter red rabbit made of steel and aluminum by Denver artist Lawrence Argent that hangs over the escalator leading to the baggage claim.

Samson, a two tower suitcase stack by artist Brian Goggin, in the old Terminal A waits below.

Next, flying south, Los Angeles.

For days of (sprawling) LA and city haze. Gonna hang here for a 6hr. layover
‪#‎smogalert‬ ‪#‎concretejungle‬ ‪#‎twelvelanefreeways‬ ‪#‎onebumpylanding‬
Crazy crazy life - San Diego 405 Freeway, Los Angeles On Any Afternoon

But, LAX's art and interior is amazing, beginning with the musical spindles that turn playing music from different corners of the world as they change designs to match the country.

LAX Bradley International Airport. Spent a six-hour layover alongside the Clock Tower, that was a clock only some alternating minutes of the day.

The other time it displayed other scenes, stacked suitcases (an original theme in Sacramento), Japanese village, Buzz Busby synchronised dancers on different cake layers, jelly-fish and mata rays, London's big Ben.

Finally, the best,  an underwater scene in which a young maiden clad in white linen victorian dress falls to the depths of the sea only to transform into a mermaid to whom an admirer atop a surfboard casts flowers tied to a conch shell.

Last and longest leg, LAX, Dallas, then Madrid. It was a great flight because I didn't have to think about my big suitcase at any point along the way. 

Finally home - Barajas, Madrid International 

I'm sure now that I've written this post I'll come across many more examples of Airport Art. Here's an amazing one called "Kinetic Rain" at the Singapore Airport I'll probably never see, but will live vicariously through this video.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Papaya & Galician Goat Cheese Salad

Vi en Instagram una ensalada de papaya del Restaurante Serrano que se me hacía la boca agua. Aquí ves el plato adaptado para también incluir pera, melon, pasas y nueces. Servido con un vino rosado y pan recién horneado. Madre mía, sentí como una reina.

I saw on Instagram a papaya salad at Restaurante Serrano that made my mouth water. Here you see the plate also including pear, melon, raisins and walnuts. Served with a fine rosé and fresh baked bread. Oh my, felt like a queen.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Astorga Tastes Like Chocolate

On February 14th, Valentine's Day, a year ago Astorga inaugurated it's new Chocolate Museo. The Museo del Chocolate celebrated this month with Weekends in February, in which every Saturday it's provided a different aspect of the Chocolate Tradition with Tours, Talks and Tasting.

1954 El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote De La Mancha, Colección de 80 cromos, de unas ilustraciones realizadas entre 1928-1934 por Albert José Segelles.

1954 Don Quixote of the Mancha, one of a collection of 80 collectable prints made between 1928-1934 by Albert José Segelles.

La imprenta astorgana, surgió en el siglo XVI fue revolucionaria para que se difundiera la imagen chocolate de Astorga al mundo. El resultado fue que una industria entera de dibujantes y litógrafos se desarrollara durante largo tiempo y con magníficos diseños. Figuran en la colección del Museo de Chocolate de Astorga impresiones de membretes, tarjetas de visita, cromos, carteles y envolturas para el chocolates.

The printing press that appeared in the XVI century in Astorga was revolutionary in that it spread the chocolate image of Astorga to the world.  The result was an entire industry of draftsmen/graphic designers and lithographers that developed magnificent designs over a long period of time. Letterheads, business cards, trading cards, posters and wrappers for chocolates are included in the Chocolate Museum of Astorga collection.

Piedras litográficas y planchas de cinc relacionadas exclusivamente con la elaboración del chocolate.

Paladares Expertos Eligen el Chocolate Santocildes Entre sus Favoritos

Historian Manuel Álvarez in the Program below talks about Astorga's chocolate. One of the most interesting points for me was to learn why Astorga and not some other place in Europe. He says that there were two main reasons. One, Astorga became the Diocese of the region in the 1800s, a center of religious and thus, social activity and secondly, the climate, being both dry and cold. perfect for the storage and preservation of this delicious product.
La Chocoleta de Magín, Programa nº4, entrevista a Mañuel Álvarez, historiador que nos cuenta sobre el chocolate de Astorga.