Monday, May 30, 2011

Flamenco Mass...Misa Rociera

There is a Spanish Catholic church in our neighborhood. Another American family we know here attends and last year they asked us and some other catholic families to come to a Misa Rociera (Flamenco Mass) at their church. It was amazing. In fact, I was moved to tears by their singing. They have the special mass on the last Sunday of each month, except for July and August, and I have attended about six times now. The church and priests are wonderful and since it is so close by, we are planning on attending Spanish mass regularly for the rest of our time here. Our friends told us that the parish was very enthusastic when they joined and gave them mass books so they could learn all the part of the mass in Spanish. It is also fun to try and translate the readings and talk about it after mass. Above is one of my favorite ladies from the mass, she always looks so beautiful, has gorgeous dresses, and plays the castanets. Here is a video from the service...


The group consists of approximately 10 ladies, 10 men, and 2 guitarists. The singers also play percussion instruments, like the tambourins, castanets, the drum, and windchimes. I love to watch the ladies pass around a fan or two as well to keep cool. I'm sure it is warm in those dresses with all that fabric...
I love to see how each lady personalizes their outfit...how they wear their flowers and scarves, and earrings...
Here's another video from the service...


Love the earrings...
The group will also play one last song for the parishoners after the service. Everyone gather around the group and many of the Spaniards like to clap along with the famous "flamenco" clap that they all seem to instinctively know how to do...I was looking on the web and saw that a church in San Antonio periodlically holds a Misa Rociera. If you ever get the chance to experience one, I highly recommend it...Hasta luego...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When The Coach Is A Real Pro!


Soccer season is almost over for the kids...In fact, all the games have been done for a while, but the last practice is this Friday. My youngest's coach is Hugo "Hugol" Sanchez, arguably, the greatest Mexican soccer player of all time, known for his bicycle kicks and celebratory front flips. Before moving to Spain, the boys played some soccer, but we didn't watch any games and other than Pele, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, we wouldn't have known a pro if we saw one. Then we moved to Spain...and the world of soccer was opened to us...pro soccer players kids go to our kids' school, so does the son of Real Madrid's coach...Iker Casillas (Real Madrid goalie and Spanish National Team Captain) lives down the street...Diego Forlan (player for Atletico de Madrid and the Uruguayan National Team) eats lunch regularly at a restaurant in our little town outside of Madrid, Cristiano Renaldo and Fernando Torres live over by where our Doc sends us for phsyical therapy. It seems so crazy to us! With Spain winning the World Cup this past summer we really caught Soccer Fever! The kids signed up to play soccer this year and our oldest's coach used to play for Real Madrid's youth team and our youngest has been coached by the legendary Hugo Sanchez. His twin daughters are in the same grade as my son and they play on the team too. Obviously, this is the reason for the coaching connection! But seriously, how generous of Hugo to give his time to all our little rugrats!

In a previous post from the fall, I wrote about how we found out that Hugo wasn't just another Dad volunteering his time to the kids...he was on the front page of the soccer newspaper, Marca, as the winner of the Golden Foot Award. It was so funny because the kids on his team didn't believe the rumors that Hugo was a pro...they thought he was too old...of course, they didn't know he was retired. Our son brought the paper into school and showed his friends and Hugo signed it at practice. He has always been so gracious with all the other parents and kids who want a picture or an autograph. One of my friends here is Mexican, and she couldn't believe it when she saw Hugo at the school's fall concert.


Last night was the spring concert, and I had my camera, of course. I hadn't wanted to bother Hugo during the season. I figured there would be time, later in the season, to get a picture with him. Well, before we knew it, games were over and our kids take the bus home from practice, so when we saw Hugo at the concert last night, I realized this might be my last shot. He's been doing so much commentating of the Spanish soccer games on TV this year, who knows if he'll even have the time to coach next year. So as he was going down to get his girls, I asked if we could get a picture of him with our little soccer player! Of course! He made sure we stayed together as we made our way out of the auditorium. He wanted to take it out by the soccer field on the playground. He told "Nine" to keep playing and working on his game this summer and how much he had improved throughout the year. We thanked him for giving his time to the kids all season long and he said he hoped that he had taught them something to help them improve their game and understand strategy better. Que bueno! Muchas gracias, Hugo...y hasta luego...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stopping to Smell the Roses...


I love this time of year, not for the pollen, but for the roses! I am so lucky to have about 50 rose bushes in my yard. Half of them form a sort of hedge of pink, each stem having about nine roses on it. They aren't suitable for vases, but they are pretty. The other half of the rosebushes have blooms that look like they are on steroids! They are absolutely gorgeous and wonderfully suited for vases...
It's a good thing that I'm not responsible for them, or they probably all be dead. We have a gardener, thank goodness. It is sort of a necessary expense here, as the landlord can charge you the replacement value of trees and bushes that die. With my black thumb that could come out to a lot of euros...
What is is about fresh flowers??? They just make everything look a bit more beautiful...I especially love my roses because they are free...hahaha...Just threw this bunch in the trash...I'll have to go out today and trim some more...They also smell amazing...decoration and air freshener all rolled into one...It is such a pleasure to stop and smell these roses...Hasta luego...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ready...Set...Fiesta!!!

Sorry I haven't been posting as much as usual lately. Tiff and I have been swamped...in a good way...with pre-orders for our cookbook! We are up to 173 as of this afternoon! So exciting and heart-warming. It was truly a labor of love and we have enjoyed every minute of writing this cookbook. Our Tasting & Pre-Order Party is on Monday and we are gearing up for that. We did two marathon Carrefour sessions, yesterday and today. Friday was the booze run...everyone will receive our Strawberry Blush cocktail upon entering...then they'll be treated to selections from the cookbook..."Hammered" Olives, Spanish Tortilla, Gazpacho A-Go-Go, Velvety Cream of Mushroom Soup, Arroz con Leche, Spiked Sponge cake with Sweet Sherry, plus Make Your Own Cocktail Time-Valencian Sunrise and a Fried Manchego Demonstration. Everyone will leave with a little something for their Spanish Pantry and there will be raffles prizes too...Spanish pottery, wine, cava, olive oil and more...After the order goes to the printer on Tuesday, it's back to the blogosphere...Hasta luego...

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