The skies were cloudy in Santiago this morning, but in the south of Chile, a rare sight occurred in the sky: a "ring of fire" solar eclipse. We watched it online. đź™‚ And even on our computer monitors it was breathtaking.
Here it is, seconds before the "ring of fire" eclipse was complete...
And here it is complete...
Here are those images again, lightened so it's easier to see the red.
Part of Doodle's daily school routine is to write a short piece of music for Rosebud to learn and later perform for us on the recorder. Doodle's compositions kill two birds with one stone: they press him forward with music theory, and they provide Rosebud something new to play now that she's worked through our recorder book.
Doodle picks out a tune using a keyboard app on a smartphone. He'll sometimes have a question for me ("I forgot how to make an eighth-rest," or "How can I show that she should repeat this section?") Then he neatly writes his song and passes the composition book (a spiral bound notebook) to Rosebud.
He's come up with some clever tunes. And though Rosebud sometimes complains ("This one is too hard," or "Doesn't this measure have too many beats?") the overall verdict is that she enjoys it. How do I know? It's Sunday afternoon. She has no music obligations, and she's in her room playing through some of Doodle's tunes...for fun!
Most of Doodle's tunes are original; sometimes they are inspired by a piece of music he knows or has heard (I'm talking to you, VogelJoy); sometimes he'll write a round or duet; and sometimes Doodle will write a descant for a song we already know. So sometimes the family can sing along while Rosebud toots out the harmonizing descant. Fun stuff.
Here's a sample of his work.
The Santiago Marathon was a couple of weeks ago, and a leg of the course for both the marathon and half-marathon was a block away.
Sudoku, Doodle, Rosebud and I walked around the block just in time to see the tail end of the lead runners skirting by. We stood on a street corner at about the 13km mark of the 42km race with a few other spectators to cheer on runners as they passed by.
I'm always struck by the diversity of people who attempt this 26 mile run: young, middle-aged, over-the-hill -- they are all present. Rail thin, overweight, long and short-legged...it's a mixed, motley crew. They all are suffering together. I prefer to just admire them from the sidelines. đź™‚
Doodle jumped in and ran a short piece while things were still thinned out.
This is an original. And they're good! Good enough to serve to gluten eaters.
Here in Chile, while shopping at La Vega, I managed to happen upon a tiny health-foody booth. They didn't have a big selection at all, but they had some puffed quinoa I had never seen before. It is quinoa "inflatada infusada con miel". That is, puffed quinoa infused with honey. It tastes as sweet and crunchy as bad-for-you boxed cereal. I decided to get a small amount, not sure how I would use it.
Months later (I'm slow) I had the idea of trying a granola bar. After finding several different recipes, I came up with my own concoction, and have made it twice now. Just thinking about them, I'm ready for more, but alas! my bananas are too green!
If you don't have access to honey infused quinoa, just use regular puffed quinoa, or any other puffed grain (millet, rice, etc.) You might want to increase the honey just a tad, but really these are quite sweet. I plan to cut back a bit on the amount of honey the next time I make them. Hope you like them as much as we do.
4-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3 cups puffed quinoa (infused with honey or not), rice, or millet
1-1/2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
1-1/2 cups raisins
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
3 mashed bananas
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cups melted butter
1 cup honey
Grease a 9x13" pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Press into pan. Bake for ~20 minutes. (I'm really not sure about the temperature of my oven, so you'll want to watch it closely the first time. They may need to cook longer.)
Inspired by Kimberly of vogelJoy, the kids and I tried her pancake recipe. Only a fellow busy mom would think to bake her pancakes in a baking dish. Really, now...why hadn't I thought of that before? So practical and yummy to boot! You can find the recipe in the first episode of the vogleJoy show.
The next time I made them, I went messing around with the recipe and came up with a runny concoction that was so thin it would take forever to bake in the oven. I sighed since I'd ruined everything, and proceeded to cook the pancakes one at a time in the skillet - old style. And you know what? They were super yummy! As in, I made them again on purpose. Even though I had to stand there and flip.every.one. (I think you'll like these, Mom.)
Here's my you-have-to-stand-at-the-stove-and-flip-every-one spin off recipe:
1 cup yogurt
1/4-1/3 cup butter
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 t soda
1 cup rice flour
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend well. Then cook in a buttered skillet.
Not having maple syrup, we topped ours with fresh raspberries & yogurt.
Until recently, to my knowledge, the only French-cut green beans I'd eaten were canned and from the store. Enter the Wonderful Man. As I'd mentioned in a previous post, he has a few family members who work with him. He's a quiet man who prefers that his younger helpers assist the customers, collect payment, and make deliveries, while he mostly stays back in a far corner of his produce stand, keeping the zapallo wedges cut and replenished.
He also slices (not snaps) green beans back in that corner. He slices them longwise, and they. are. so. good. I usually cook them the day I buy them, which is the day he cuts them, so they're super fresh. I prepare them the way I imagine my mom's mother would: boiled/steamed in a bit of salty water with a spoonful of meat drippings. Yum! Wish you could be here for dinner tonight!
Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? Wal-Mart's stores here are called Lider ("Leader"). What's funny is that old meets new on Pedro de Valdivia, the cobble-stoned avenue in front of the local Lider Express.
We know of only a few cobble-stoned streets here, and I'm happy to report that for now, the city is maintaining them. About a month ago, while out for a walk toward the center of town, a work crew was repairing a section of cobblestone. Stone makers had a pile of stones and were chiseling them as needed before laying them.
As I mentioned in my last post, there are little sidewalk businesses and gigs all over the place in Santiago, Chile. Most businesses here are small - even the ones not on the sidewalk. The mall across the street is full of tiny shops that are just packed full with merchandise. (If you don't see what you want/need, you should ask! There's simply no way to see all the things packed into these little shops, so just ask. You'll be surprised by how quickly the merchants can put their hands on what you're looking for.)
Well, among ourselves, we started calling the owners of all these small outdoor businesses "little men." "I'm going down to the little man to get some produce." And, "If you decide to buy some sunglasses, you should check out the little man at the corner of _______."
At some point, Sudoku said, "Why do you call him the 'little man'? He's not particularly 'little'..." Continue reading
Perhaps it's like this in any big city. I don't know. But when you're out and about here in Santiago, and you think of something you need, chances are decent that within 10 minutes you'll see someone selling that very thing. Someone may even approach you trying to sell just what you were needing. At La Vega, when the sun is out in full force, someone will be walking around selling hats. When it's raining (which is almost never) people are selling umbrellas on the sidewalk. When you're getting a blister from your new shoes, someone will walk by selling band-aids. When you're digging in your purse for a pen, a disabled man in a wheelchair rolls up with a fist full of Bics. (And yes, you can buy just one.) When, on a cold winter morning, you're standing outside in the 1/2 mile-long line, waiting for the extranjeria office to open, someone is right there selling hot coffee to folks standing in line. At a red light and realize your windshield is dirty? Here comes a youth with a bucket and a squidgy! Continue reading
It looks like I'm going to beat Carman and Sudoku with a post (finally!) about our trip to the south of Chile (relatively speaking). One could go MUCH farther south in this long, skinny land, and hopefully we will some day. While we can now technically say we've been to Patagonia, there is so much more to see and explore. More to explore in the north too. They say the night sky is just incredible there. One day. Maybe.
In December, just before the high summer season hit, we took an overnight bus to Puerto Varas. The bus trip could be a post in and of itself. [This post has turned into that!] We were impressed with the bus line (we used TurBus, I think) as well as the bus terminal. The terminal for the private bus lines is very big, relatively clean, orderly, and the buses were arriving and leaving on time. Our bus left around 9pm. Seems rather late, huh? But the bus terminal was totally bustling with people and buses. Continue reading