Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Praise You in This Storm

This is a song that really speaks to the heart. Here dedicated to all my people back home, especially those who are on the east coast dealing with Hurricane Sandy and related storms.

Esta es una canción que me toca el corazón. Aquí se la dedico a mi gente en mi país, especialmente a los de la costa este luchando con el Huracán Sandy y todas las tormentas asociadas.

I was sure by now 
God You would have reached down 
And wiped our tears away 
Stepped in and saved the day 
But once again, I say "Amen", 
and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls 

I barely hear Your whisper through the rain 
"I'm with you" 
And as Your mercy falls 
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives 
And takes away 

And I'll praise You in this storm 
And I will lift my hands 
For You are who You are 
No matter where I am 
And every tear I've cried 
You hold in Your hand 
You never left my side 
And though my heart is torn 
I will praise You in this storm 

I remember when 
I stumbled in the wind 
You heard my crying 
And you raised me up again 
My strength is almost gone 
How can I carry on 
If I can't find You 

But as the thunder rolls 
I barely hear You whisper through the rain 
"I'm with you" 
And as Your mercy falls 
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives 
And takes away 

I lift my eyes unto the hills 
Where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord 
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
-Casting Crowns, Praise You in This Storm-

Friday, October 26, 2012


Old blue ink bottles, pen and pencil stuck to a piece of tubing to make it last longer,  thriftiness we don't see today, all added to cobalt glass collection

Botes de tinta azul, pluma y lápiz con un trozo de tubo de plástico,
un modo de aprovechamiento que no vemos hoy en día,
añadidos a la colección de cristalería cobalto.
I was recently asked by a treasured high school friend, who is an Episcopalian priest, to answer this prompt:
Post your creations from the week... either in words, pics, or a blog link to show how you co-created with God this week.
Hace poco me pidió una apreciada amiga del instituto, la cual es sacerdote episcopaliana, que respondiera a esta cuestión: 
Cuáles son tus creaciones de la semana, ya sean palabras, imágenes o un enlace a tu blog, que muestran cómo co-creaste con Dios esta semana.
Measuring tape left by the Germans who were here during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.
Cinta métrica dejado por los alemanes que estuvieron aquí durante la Guerra Cicil Española, 1936-1939
What an interesting idea to think of our handiwork or things we are make as co-creations with God.
¡Qué idea más interesante pensar que nuestras obras o cosas que hacemos pudieran ser realmente co-creaciones con Dios.

I tried to think of what I'd made this week and I first thought of my Spanish lentil soup. But, then I realized that a much better example would be the things we have rescued from the old village house in Trobajo de Cerecedo where Enrique and his sister and brother grew up. It now needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt. Anything that isn't salvaged will be thrown away.
Intenté pensar en lo que había hecho esta semana y primero pensé en mi sopa de lentejas española. Pero, me di cuenta que en nuestro caso, el mejor ejemplo de esas cosas tendrían que ser las que hemos rescatado de la casa donde Enrique y sus hermanos crecieron en Trobajo del Cerecedo.  La casa necesita una reforma muy profunda y lo que no se salve se perderá.
Looking down at the courtyard from the second floor- the shed, stable and coverings, now all in ruins 
Mirando desde la primera planta de la casa al corral y cobertizos, ahora todo en ruinas. 
Where to begin?
¿Por dónde empezar?
By giving them a new life in our home we feel we're paying a certain homage to the love that was so replete there in their young years.
 El darles una nueva vida en nuestro hogar nos ha hecho sentir que estamos dando un homenaje al amor que recibieron en esos años de infancia.

Do you see the old trunk on the right hand side? Now, it lives at the top of our second stairwell.
¿Ves el viejo baúl a la derecha? Ahora vive en lo alto del segundo tramo de la escalera de nuestra casa.
Enrique relates a tender memory of one of those saved objects, his breakfast cup.
Everything was abandoned - we've dusted cobwebs off, scrubbed cleaned, repaired and painted.
Besides the enamelware, the old cutting blocks are a treasure , even if I'm the only one who thinks so.
Además de la porcelana metálica, las tablas de cortar son un tesoro aunque sea yo la única que lo crea.
Enrique relata un tierno recuerdo de uno de esos objetos, su tazón de desayuno, uno de las cosas que hemos salvado.  Todo fue abandonado-  las hemos desempolvado y liberado de telarañas, limpiado, reparado o pintado. 
See the little hutch in the corner - that's the "Before."
¿Ves la mesita en la esquina? - así era "Antes."

Why not shabby chic?
¿Y por qué no shabby chic?
So healthy and apropos just before All Saints Day, a time to remember Mamá and our loved ones who have passed on.  A time to heal.
Tan saludable y apropiado antes del día de Todos los Santos, un tiempo para recordar a Mamá y a nuestros seres queridos que han fallecido. Un tiempo para sanar.
An little old window makes a good frame for a vintage elementary school encyclopedia.
Una vieja y pequeña ventana hace un buen marco para una enciclopedia de la escuela primaria de entonces.
A old rusted beveled mirror is perfect for the office/guest room.
Un viejo y herrumbroso  espejo biselado es perfecto para nuestra oficina.
A broken basket from so much use, deserves a rest in a place of honor like this one.
Un cesto roto de tanto trabajar se merece el descanso en un sitio de honor como éste.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shabby Chic-ing

Convincing a man that what was destined for the garbage heap should get cleaned, sanded and painted is a stretch, but Enrique took the project on and did a wonderful job with this little table that's now in our kitchen. 

Convencer a un hombre que lo que estaba destinado para el montón de basura debe de limpiar, lijar y pintar es un pasarse un poco, pero Enrique tomó el proyecto con entusiasmo e hizo un trabajo maravilloso con esta mesita que está ahora en nuestra cocina.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

UCSD Photo of the Week

¡Esta pareja me encanta!
¡Viva Risa y Joe!!! Sois la leche!

I love this couple!
Go Risa & Joe! You rock!

Congratulations! ¡Felicidades!
On being chosen the first two photos of the week in Prospect, Journal of International Affairs at UCSD
Por haber resultado elegidas vuestras fotos como las primeras de la semana en Prospect, Diario de Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad de California, San Diego.
Petra, Jordan. Even in the blistering mid-day heat, Petra towered over the hundreds of tourists in cool magnificence. Photo by UCSD student Risa Farrell.
An unnamed lake in the Highlands of Peru. Photo by UCSD student Joseph Armenta.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Your Heart Walks Outside Your Body

During our vacation, a month long visit to California from Spain, one of our sons (17) was assualted. He was fortunate to have only a fractured cheek bone, loose teeth and a serious concussion. He could have died from the blows to the head and resulting concussion. Both his injury, and the way it was handled (not taken to the doctor nor police report filed,) has caused me great pain.  Enrique and I took him to the doctor a couple of days later when we realized what had happened. We think about our distance apart from our California kids. I don't know if anything would improve by being closer, however, but the feeling of helplessness that comes from not being able to better protect one's children, even whey they and another parent make choices that are out of one's control, is overwhelming.

Elizabeth Stone wrote, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

That's it. Multiplied by four. Four, far, far away. I'm a living breathing ghost, a Llorona, who cries through the streets for her children. Empty nesting came too early. Ours were children who were unable to choose their family's dynamics, but able to choose paths of freedom too easily. And they are doing so. I am a mother and woman who wanted and still wants to shape and mold their future. Central in homeschooling 14 years and family life was that we have real relationship with God and with each other. That we love always.
I really wrestle with God, that this was a good goal, and yet it and I failed miserably.

That mission, my family, has been my life. I find I'm still, nowin a new and wonderful marriage and life, incredulous at the outcome, given that my understanding of God and His word was, and is, the unity of family. My inability to love a spouse away from violence, to create lasting traditions and haven for our offspring, and to overcome the odds with a victory that would be God's alone, has left me so wounded that I sometimes stop breathing. I'm a mother nursing her infant who is suddenly torn away from her breast. I once saw a video of a cow whose calf had been immediately taken after birth, a common stockyard practice. She cried and bellowed for her baby for hours and hours, days, until she was weak and ill.

Now, one might say, and I'm aware that God loves me and knows the solutions; that He can and is in the business of making our paths straight, but my question is, will He? Will He intervene? Will He still make new what is so broken? Will He continue a good work? Did he, after over twenty years of prayer? Why did I believe for so long that He would knit the right materials into the fabric of my family's life? Is it possible that my short-sightedness isn't allowing me to see His sovereign hand now?

And, of course, who am I to question God? What is really important in the end when one has lost so much? What can be done for one who has lost her hope, and with it her joy?

My mind drifts often to Ecclesiastes. I first read it after my grandfather and then dear grandmother's death. No need to copy and paste those words of disillusionment. But, I really relate to Solomon, one who saw the futility in life and humanity.
He, the wisest man on earth, in his final words said,
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear (respect) God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Lord, please give me sleep.
Give me peace.
Hear my prayer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Birthday

I convalesced through last year's birthday, my first in Spain in bed. Enrique, being his dear self and such a Spanish guy, brought me flowers and a birthday letter to warm the soul. Still, flu to bring in one's 50s was less than desirable. Therefore, I'm bursting with gratitude this year that we are planning pumpkin spice waffles and freshly picked figs for a morning brunch. After Sleeping In. Can you see the grin?

El año pasado, durante mi primer cumpleaños en España, yo estaba convaleciente en cama. Enrique, siendo un chico español y tan cariñoso como es, me trajo flores y una carta de cumpleaños para calentar el alma. Sin embargo, recibir los cincuenta con gripe es lo menos deseable. Por tanto estoy llena de gratitud porque este año estamos planeando waffles (gofres) de calabaza e higos frescos para el brunch de mañana. Después de dormir la mañana. ¿Puedes ver mi sonrisa de oreja a oreja?

Heavy sigh. I wrote the former before the sleeping part had happened. So, as often happens in life, somethings are not quite as you imagined. The "not quite as imagined" was that Enrique's alarm went off twice, once at 7am and again an hour or so later. I'm a light sleeper. So that was that.

Suspiro profundo. Escribí lo anterior antes de que el sueño hubiera sucedido. Así que, como suele ocurrir en la vida, algunas cosas no son como te imaginas. Lo “no imaginado” fue que la alarma de Enrique se disparase dos veces, una a las 7 h. y de nuevo una hora más tarde. Yo soy de sueño ligero. Así que eso pasó.

The next, however, was a very happy start to a wonderful day. Let me explain. . .  we have just three US appliances that came with me to Spain, namely my beloved Vita-Mix, the Belgian Waffle iron and the Dyson (vacumn cleaner). We have not ever been able to use them because it was impossible to find an appropriate converter that would change the voltage from 220 to 110 for such appliances, the first and last having powerful motors. So, filling up most of one suitcase and almost weighing the limit, we ordered from Amazon and brought back from this September's trip to California a high-powered transformer that allowed us to use, today, all our things. Hence, the waffles!

Lo siguiente, sin embargo, fue un muy feliz comienzo de un día maravilloso. Me explico… Tenemos solo tres electrodomésticos estadounidenses que vinieron conmigo a España, es decir, mi querida Vita-Mix, la plancha belga de gofres y la aspiradora Dyson. No hemos sido capaces de usarlos porque fue imposible encontrar el convertidor apropiado que pudiera cambiar el voltaje de 220 a 110 para estos aparatos. El primero y el último tienen motores potentes. Así que llenando una maleta extra con el peso al límite, lo pedimos en Amazon y lo trajimos de California en el viaje de vuelta de septiembre, un transformador de alta potencia que nos permite utilizar hoy todas nuestras cosas. Por lo tanto, ¡Los gofres!

As I write the iron is heating up. Simply the residual waffle smell, developed after cooking on it over many years brings a smile to my face. Something new to share with Spanish husband and friends.

Mientras escribo, la plancha de hierro se está calentando. Simplemente el olor residual de gofres, consecuencia de haberlos cocinado en ella durante muchos años, trae una sonrisa a mi cara. Algo nuevo para compartir con mi esposo español y los amigos.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1-1/4 cups milk
• 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
• 4-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Top with:
¼ cup cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, softened
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk, pumpkin and butter; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Fold in walnuts.
Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the syrup, cranberries and heat until butter is melted.
Serve waffles with maple cranberry butter and syrup.
Refrigerate or freeze leftover butter.
Yield: 4 servings

• 1 taza de harina común
• 1 cucharada de azúcar morena
• 1 cucharadita de levadura/polvo de hornear
• 1/4 cucharadita de sal
  1 huevo, ligeramente batido
• 1-1/4 tazas de leche
• 2/3 taza conservada de calabaza
• 4-1/2 cucharaditas mantequilla, derretida
• 1/4 taza de nueces picadas
Superior con:
¼ de taza de arándanos secos
1/4 taza de jarabe de arce
1 taza de mantequilla, ablandada
En un tazón grande, combine la harina, azúcar, polvo de hornear y sal. Batir el huevo, la leche, la calabaza y la mantequilla; Revuelva con ingredientes secos hasta que quede mezclado. Doble nueces.
Hornear en una gofrera precalentada hasta que se doren.
Mientras tanto, en una cacerola pequeña o en el horno de microondas, combine el sirope, arándanos y calor hasta que se derrita la mantequilla.
Sirven gofres con sirope de arce y mantequilla con arándanos.
Refrigere o congele la mantequilla sobrante.
Rinde: 4 personas

The doorbell rings. The friendly face of a florist friend hands me this beautiful bouquet.
Next, a delicious looking pudding cake with chocolate and cream frosting appears on the table.
So, the day continues, with our first surprise guests dropping in with birthday wishes about noon and more appearing throughout the day until after 10pm. They came for tea, cake, to sit and talk; an unhurried visit by all and chance to celebrate and catch-up.
Such a lovely Spanish tradition, and a lovely day.

Suena el timbre de la puerta. La cara amable de una amiga florista me entrega este hermoso ramo.
Lo siguiente es que una deliciosa tarta de bizcocho con crema y chocolate aparece sobre la mesa.
Así, el día continúa, con nuestros visitantes sorpresa que van cayendo con deseos de feliz cumpleaños desde mediodía en adelante durante todo el día hasta después de las 10 de la noche. Llegan a tomar un té, un trozo de tarta, sentarse y hablar, una visita sin prisas para todos y una oportunidad de celebrar y ponerse al día.
Una deliciosa tradición española, y un día precioso.

La Cuelga y Más

La Cuelga
"La Cuelga" -Definición-: Collar de caramelos, rosquillas, dulces en general con que se obsequia a alguien la víspera de su cumpleaños. Es típica de León.

Consiste en una cinta o cordón llamativo en forma de collar, en la que se cuelgan todo tipo de chuches, golosinas, chocolates, caramelos, etc…y que en un momento de descuido, se cuelga por sorpresa del cuello de la persona homenajeada, deseándole muchas felicidades. Tradicionalmente la cuelga era una representación física del deseo de toda clase de venturas y bendiciones para aquél que lo recibía, así como de un dulce abrazo alrededor del cuello, siendo este su sentido más entrañable.

Y como el dulce abrazo se reparte, pues así lo mismo las golosinas de la cuelga, pues todos pueden participan en ella; para ello se coge la golosina, y de un fuerte tirón se separa de la cuelga.

Antiguamente, junto a las golosinas se introducían dos regalos de manera que no se vieran, uno bueno y otro malo; el bueno solía ser una moneda, y el malo un diente de ajo, y esto iba a cuenta de la madrina.

Y poco más que contar sobre esta antiquísima tradición; hoy en día ya las venden hechas, pero como pasa con el Ramo Leonés, lo bonito y divertido es hacerla en casa y al propio gusto, además así también en vez de tanto chuche se pueden poner pequeños regalos (cosa que también se hacía antes), bien envueltos y escondidos para que no se vean lo que es; y aunque lo más frecuente es que sea para los niños, también incluye a los adultos, corrientemente en el cumpleaños o santo, pero también puede ser cualquier otro motivo o celebración importante.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday's Walnuts

La Cosecha
Seis nogales con frutos ya maduros les invitaron a Enrique y su hermana, Olga a recoger una cantidad de nueces.
Six walnut trees with ripe nuts invited Enrique and his sister Olga to gather a number of nuts.
Esbilló o quitó la cáscara verde a las nueces y tiene las manos y dedos negros que muestran su labor.
He cut off the green husks and has blackened hands and fingers to prove it.
Antes y después
Before and after
Now they are left in the country house to dry.
Ahora se están secando en la casa del pueblo.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Astorga on the Map Again

Sunflowers in Astorga
Our California daughter put our small Spanish city on the map by winning a photography contest with one of her photos of Astorga. It was a contest in which photos are published by The San Diego Reader, a local publication in San Diego, the second largest city in California after Los Angeles.
Nuestra hija californiana ha puesto nuestra ciudad en el mapa ganando un premio de fotografía con una foto de Astorga. Es un concurso que organiza San Diego Reader, el periódico de San Diego, la segunda ciudad de California después de Los Ángeles.

In the photo you see Astorga behind a field of sunflowers.
En la foto se ve Astorga detrás de un campo de girasoles.

It's a surprising view of the city with a clear blue summer sky and countryside full of happy round and vibrant yellow sunflowers.
Es una sorprendente visión de la ciudad entre el limpio azul de un cielo despejado de verano y un campo pleno de girasoles con la alegría de sus formas redondas y colores amarillos vibrantes.

The photo was published and highlighted in the San Diego Reader newspaper. 
La fotografía se publica en el periódico San Diego Reader y en la revista especializada.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Join? An online chat group for women over fifty, who love God and who hope to encourage and inspire one another with their conversations there. I've never done that before, but how could I resist?

¿Me apunto? Un grupo de chat de internet para mujeres mayores de cincuenta años, que aman a Dios y que esperan animarse e inspirarse unas a otras con sus conversaciones. Nunca he hecho esto antes, pero ¿cómo iba a resistirme?

Translation of chatting going on from these gals left to right:
1- Write!
2- Yes, but what do I write?
3- Hello. . .  I'm Ana.
4- and I'm 16 years old. . !!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Al entrar se nos hacía la boca agua con el olor de tortillas de maíz y harina recién hechas. Nos sentamos a la mesa vestida de fiesta con el aperitivo de chips que comimos con salsa de pico de gallo, salsa fresca, salsa verde y mole. A continuación nos saciamos con exquisitos platos de tamales, chiles rellenos, tacos de pescado, enchiladas, y otros platos típicos mexicanos, todos servidos con frijoles, arroz, ensaladas y guacamole.
He incluido más abajo algunas explicaciones de cómo se los describí a mi marido español, en castellano, por supuesto, que aún está descubriendo estas delicias mexicanas. La comida mexicana NO es parte de la cocina española. ¡Híjole, mexicano para decir Madre Mía! ¿Cómo es posible no haber probado tortillas, guacamole, tamales, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, tostados, y tantos otros platos típicos mexicanos?  En serio, aunque la cocina española es deliciosa, la mayoría de los españoles no conoce a ninguno de estos platos típicos de la dieta Californiana y del suroeste de los EE.UU. que hasta están incluidos en la lengua y el patrimonio californiano. ¡Brindis por descubrir la cocina del viejo y nuevo mundo juntos!

Restaurante Casa Guadalajara, Old Town, San Diego, California
September 22, 2012

As we entered our mouths began to water with the smell of fresh homemade corn and flour tortillas. We sat at the colorful table and began with chips that we ate with *pico de gallo/salsa fresca, salsa verde (green) and *mole. We continued with exquisite plates of tamales, chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers,) fish tacos, enchiladas, and other classic mexican plates, all served with beans, rice, salads and guacamole (avocado and spice spread.)
Below are definitions just as I explained them to Spanish husband, in Spanish, of course, who is still discovering how delightful Mexican cuisine is. Mexican food is NOT part of the Spanish diet. ¡Híjole, Mexican for Madre Mía! How is it possible to not have tasted tortillas, guacamole, tamales, enchiladas, tacos, tostados, burritos, and all the other classic dishes? While Spanish cuisine is delicious, most Spaniards don't know any of these foods that are so heavily a part of the California and southwestern diet in the US and part of a Californian's language and heritage.  Here's to tasting and discovering New World and Old World cooking together!
*Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typicallyjalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lime juice or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit such as mango.

*Mole - Spanish, from Nahuatl mōlli, "sauce") is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces. Outside of Mexico, it often refers to a specific sauce which is known in Spanish by the more specific name mole poblano. In contemporary Mexico, the term is used for a number of sauces, some quite dissimilar to one another, including black, red, yellow, colorado (another name for red), green, almendrado, and pipián. The sauce is most popular in the central and southern regions of the country with those from Puebla and Oaxaca the best known, but 60% of the mole eaten in the country comes from San Pedro Atocpan near Mexico City. The popularity of the sauce, especially at major celebrations, is such that 99% of all Mexicans have tried at least one version of it.
One Mexican Favorite:

Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup
Serves 8
• 1 large onion, diced
• 6 cloves of garlic, minced
• 3 stalks of celery, diced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 5 cups of vegetable broth (homemade or low sodium)
• 4 15 ounce cans of black beans, low sodium (or 7 cups cooked) undrained
• 1 15 ounce can of whole sweet corn, drained
• 1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced
• 4 teaspoons cumin
• 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
• Juice of 1 small lime
• Fresh ground pepper to taste
• 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped to garnish

In a large pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 1 cup of vegetable broth over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Add chipotle chili powder, roasted cumin, and black pepper and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the remaining vegetable broth, 4 cups (or 2.5 cans) of beans, and sweet corn. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil.

Add remaining 3 cups (or 1.5 cans) of beans and crushed tomatoes to a Vitamix or blender and process until smooth. Stir into soup when boiling, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes until beans and vegetables are done to your desired tenderness.

Taste test. Add Herbamare or salt to taste and lime juice.

Serve in bowls and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro