Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: Family Fun (page 1 of 9)

Fiestas Patrias

[Rosebud & Sudoku] Chile's independence day was Monday, September 18, and Sunday (September 17), was national Cueca day, Chile's national dance. Each year there are traditional foods and activities at our local parks. In past years, there has been a huge celebration at our closest park, lasting several days with lots of people and LOUD music into the night.

This year, our local event was more quiet and less crowded, which was very nice.

We've always enjoyed watching the Cueca, but we hadn't learned how to do it before this year. Dad helped us get started learning (while teaching himself!) The timing is the trickiest part, but we slowly got the hang of it. Once we had practiced at home, we headed over to the park.

This is a picture , which was posted on Twitter by the Providencia mayor, Evelyn Matthei, of the Cueca area. We think this is her mother dancing the cueca like a pro. Evelyn was the runner-up in the 2014 presidential election here in Chile. If you look closely, Carman and I are in the background. (I'm in red jeans, and Carman is wearing a plaid shirt and a hat.)

 

The Cueca class we did was very helpful. The teacher started everyone out in a large circle and walked us through the steps. Then we all did the steps in the circle by ourselves (instead of with a dance partner). The teacher counted out the steps and told us when to switch. Here are the steps and count that goes with them:

Saludo (Greeting) - 4
Vuelta inicial (First turn) - 12
Contra circlo (Turn in place) - 8
Media luna (Half circle) - 24
Primera vuelta (Switch places & end with a turn) - 8
Escobillado (Brush ground with feet) - 16
Segunda vuelta (Switch places & end with a turn) - 8
Zapateo (Stamp with heel) - 8
Remate final (Switch places, turn and come together) - 8

 

After going through the steps a few times in the circle, the teacher told us to split into pairs. I (Sudoku) got to dance with a guy all dressed up in the typical Cueca attire (He saw that I was REALLY inexperienced, and helped me out).

[By Doodle] There were many traditional dieciochera games.

There's that one where you smash a lever with a big hammer and it throws up a little bobbin that zooms upward on a cable and you try to get it to touch the bell at the top. Dad pointed out that it's mostly luck. It's mostly about how much wobble is put on the cable. The less wobble, the more freely the bobbin can zoom up.

We watched some big, buff dudes do it for a little bit, but none of them could get it past 4 and a half. (The bobbin starts at zero, and the bell is at five.)

Then, there's a game where some glass bottles are put in some holes and you have to throw some wooden rings around the tops of the bottles that are sicking out through the holes.

There's a smash the kittens game. Three years ago, they had a reward. There are five stuffed kitties and four balls. If you smashed four of the kitties off the shelves with your four balls, you got a sandwich with a piece of laminated cheese, a piece of meat (the really thin kind), and two pieces of "rock bread" as we call it to hold the cheese and the meat together.
I actually won that prize!

The kitties are pretty big and light, but the game is pretty hard, because the balls are so light and you have to throw the balls from pretty far away. I got a kitty with my first and second shot, missed with my third shot, and got two at once on my fourth shot.

Yeah. I'm sure it was complete luck.

Normally they have tug of war and a game of unwinding ropes, but they didn't have that this year, either.

Both this year and the last year, Sudoku and I went to go do the bowling game. Normally there are park employees there to set up the pins for people, but there wasn't anybody there at the time. The two people who were supposed to be doing the pin-setting-up were lounging a few yards off to the side and had their faces buried in their phones.

We went up and set up the pins. Before we could bowl any, some people came over, also wanting to bowl.
They were first in line, so we let them go first.

But, before the people were done bowling, and before SudokuĀ  and I were done setting up the pins for them, even more people got in line.

After a while, we were the ones managing the bowling place. And, for some STRANGE reason, *cough, cough* the bowling place suddenly got a whole lot more popular.

Music Makers

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.

DSC00395

 

 

 

Moody Noriega

I have a little ball that I've named Moody Noriega.  Let me tell you how it got it's name.

But first, do you know what a palindrome is? It is a word or a sentence or a paragraph or any type of text that is read the same both backward and forward when not including any punctuation or capitals or spaces, for example, "race-car" or "Stanley Yelnats" or "Aha!".

I created a program on Khan Academy which challenged the user to think of a palindrome longer than mine, that I had come up with myself: "No stop! A pot's on!"

One of the users put down in the comments a palindrome longer than mine: "'Are we not pure?' 'No sir!' Panama's moody Noriega brags, 'It is garbage! Irony dooms a man, a prisoner up to new era.'"

Then Carman and I came up with a game. We collect the left-over pipes from our stretch wrap and aluminum foil, and we set them up on their ends, and we take turns throwing at them, and whoever had knocked the most pipes over wins that round.

But we normally set at least two pipes on top of the "Panama Jack" box, that we ended up calling the "Panama Noriega" box.

And we ended up calling both the game and the ball that we throw to knock down the pipes, "Moody Noriega".

Moody Noriega

Trip to the zoo

This was the third attempt to go to the zoo. It all started at Rosebud's birthday, back in April. We planned on going, but that morning several people were feeling bad, so we just stayed home. Three months later, on my birthday, we tried going again. When we  got there, we found out that it is closed on Mondays! So, we ended up hiking around on Cerro San Cristobal and it was a lot of fun.

Finally, on Milkmaid's birthday, we went. (Milkmaid is photoshopped in)

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The first animal we saw was a rock. Or at least, it was, until it turned into a hippo.

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Continue reading

Doodle turns 10

Ten years ago on Sunday, I was kicked out of my spot as the baby of the family by this cute little guy šŸ˜€

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On Saturday we celebrated with Doodle's 3 special friends here in Santiago; Batman (9), Alex (13) and Max (12) [not their real names].

Groupresized

The boys played Sprouts and Spot it (two of Doodle's favorite games). We also played the "Family game".  (We'll explain in a later post).

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Spotit

Next Carman showed the boys how to make a few of his favorite paper airplanes, and then they had a competition to see whose could fly furthest. Continue reading

Races at the National Stadium

A couple of months ago, after watching the Santiago Marathon and trying too late to enter a 5k that started a block from our apartment, we started looking for a shortish race that all of us could enter.

We found a race in the National Stadium in ƑuƱoa that we could all run in. Rosebud, Doodle and I each did 1k. Carman and Marathon did a mile (1.690k). Milkmaid said she would pass and just cheer from the stands.

The stadium is primarily used for major soccer games and concerts. However there is a  track around the soccer field in the middle which is where the race took place.  Stuck into the grass on the edge of the field were signs that said "Don't step on the grass!". 

Lots of people came up wanting to meet us, and asking us how to say various word in English. At least 3 girls asked me if I would be their friend šŸ™‚ One of the adults that came to talk to us was Carlos, a "Monitor Deportivo" (Sports monitor) at Parque O' Higgins.  His job is to teach kids proper running form, breathing and all that important stuff.  Carman and Marathon had their picture taken with him.

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This is Rosebud on the last lap of her race (two and a half laps!).  Rosebud is the one in the middle with the pink shirt. She and the little girl behind her stayed together for the whole race.

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Carman didn't start out really fast like some of the other boys, and passed many of them toward the end! (Green shirt.)

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Home stretch!

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Marathon did well in his race also, finishing in about 13th.

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I don't have any pictures of myself running, and I don't even know what place I ended up taking.  But most importantly, I didn't lose. šŸ˜€

Later that evening Carman said, "If I could warp time, I could have been standing in the exact same place as Messi!"

Carman Benchmarks, Old and New

Carman (16 now) is not much of a runner.  He much prefers cycling and he, like me, has a body much more appropriate for pushing pedals.

But after several failed attempts, it appears that we have finally succeeded in getting into one of the free footraces around town and the older kids have been noticeably motivated to run lately.  This particular race will be a road mile, with separate heats for each age group.

So today, as the time approached for our every-other-day 4-5 mile run, Carman announced to me that he had found a good mile course in our neighborhood.  Later I realized that he intended to run it hard, with the caveat that we would be toe-striking and nose-breathing.  I thought he had a shot at beating me because he had seemed pretty strong lately over middle distances when we would get frisky during our otherwise relaxed runs.

It was just in the last year that he officially out-sprinted me for the first time.  Starting about five years ago, he would challenge me to a sprint every so often and always manage to come up short.  We raced on the beach at Valpo about 15 months ago and I won "on a technicality".  (He misunderstood where the finish line was -- gotta love that šŸ™‚ )  Finally, he beat me outright in a local park about six month ago and it was official.

Beating me in running was a long time coming for him compared to cycling, in which he blew me away on a time trial in September of 2012.  I know it was fair because we rode the same bike.  (No, not at the same time, silly.)

Similar story with armwrestling, with the baton passing to him (for left and right arms) about a month ago.  We haven't been swimming at all lately, but I already know that I'd be lucky to be keeping up by drafting off of either Carman or Sudoku at this point.  Carman could certainly out-do me in push-ups and pull-ups by the time he was 12.

But in running, no.  Certainly not distance running. After all, I spent huge chunks of my life doing this!  Surely I'm not going to be struggling to keep up in this, too?

We started our mile time trial and, within 100 yards, I knew that I couldn't hang with him. He pulled away. I thought maybe he was going out too fast and would come back to me. He kept pulling away ...  very evenly like he was an old pro at this.

He finished in 5:40 and I in 6 flat.

Looking at the bright side, now I have a real training partner!

 

Puerto Varas Trip – the Bus Ride

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

Family pics from Thanksgiving

This year we went to the Santiago Community Church for Thanksgiving, like we did last year. Before we left we got some family pictures out on our balcony. This is our "normal picture".

While I was getting the camera set up, I asked Doodle and Rosebud to come out to and pose for the camera.

"Can we go yet?"

The answer was no, and now they're grumpy

Rosebud is mad and Doodle is bored.

They're both getting pretty pepped up now...

Rosebud is FUMED!

I think "Rosebud is bored" pretty much sums this one up

Rock onnnnn

Let's stop there before someone gets hurt šŸ™‚

Guess Who? (City)

Doodle and I have created a new game that's very educational for both of us.

With labels turned off in Google Maps, I look away while he zooms in on a random city somewhere in the world. Then I look at the city and tell him what continent it's on. Sometimes I can tell him what country it's in, and once I was able to tell him what city it was (St. Louis).

Here are some of my techniques.

This city has some reddish roofs, a developed road system (hence the traffic circles) and the center of the city is very tight, signifying pedestrian based zones. To the west, you see the face of first-world subdivisions.

What do these point to? Europe. Probably central-northern, judging by the shade of the green spaces.

Prague, Czech Republic

Considering the photo below: the only thing keeping me from guessing Africa is the hard-to-see road layout, which points to a developed country. The roads wouldn't look like that if Continue reading

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