May ’24

The month started with a weekend all-in in the south of the island. It was mothers-day so we booked a nice hotel with a couple of friends. Ana got a really nice tide clock and a couple of smaller heartfelt gifts. We only spend one night but it was a very enjoyable stay.

As easy as it gets… Well, I do think there are a few aspects that can and should be made even easier. My passport will stop being valid in a couple of months, so I needed to get a new version. For this I needed to travel to Madrid, and make an appointment with the Dutch embassy. After creating a new account on their website I could print a form, which I needed together with a couple certificates and some photos. With all the paperwork I can travel to Madrid, and ask it they can send the passport to my home. That will save me from taking another day off and buying another ticket to Madrid. Then after going home I will need to send in my old passport and then wait nearly two months for my new document to arrive.

Combining tedious/mandatory tasks with a bit of fun is one of the enjoyable things in life. Simply ‘making the best of any situation’ is a very important ability. Once mastered it allows you to greatly enhance the feeling of happiness in your live. This trip is a perfect example. Instead of thinking about wasted holidays, wasted money for tickets, and wasted time I will spend the weekend with Miguel, my kids godfather, pan-godfather and a very good friend. This is bound to be a happy weekend.

It was probably not the smartest impulse I have ever had, but I did it anyway and signed myself up for the Bestial Race. I am going to try and finish the ‘6KM – Hell’ category. I am grateful that I have until December to prepare myself.

April ’24

Business Run 2024!In April I had to flame. At a business run I ran 10K with some colleagues through Las Palmas. I had been training for the last couple of months, so the actual running went very well. I was aiming at finishing in less than an hour, hopefully close to the 50 minutes mark, but that depended a bit on the traffic at the start of the race. Sometimes it takes a while for the masses to disperse, which makes it hard to run the first few kilometers. In the end I was very happy with my time. I finished in 45:39 (in part because the distance was a bit less than the advertised 10K, according to my own measurements the track was almost half a kilometer to short) :D.

Our friend Begonia and her partner were visiting Gran Canaria with their boat. They were docked in the harbor, so we had a perfect reason to visit. The kids loved the ship and all the stories of adventure. Later at home we watched the documentary that was made about their previous ship, the ‘Gandul’, and the adventure that lead to it sinking in the middle of the ocean.

March ’24

Grandma Nel is visiting us for nearly two weeks. We played a few colonist games. Ate delicious paling, and lots of different Dutch treats. We visited the cave of Guayadeque. Observed Alan’s football match, observed Alex’ tennis training. We had fun with a balloon. We relaxed and enjoyed the Doramas park. A couple of days we had drinks at the windy park (parque del viento), we visited la Laja beach, sadly suffering a bit of damage, but even considering the damage we had a good time.

In Spain we celebrate fathers day the 19th of March. Sadly, it was not a good day for me. I did not get an ashtray, nor a macaroni necklace… nothing. I got nothing and that hurt. They used to make something at school, but this was stopped because some kids have two mothers, or only one parent, and to avoid confusion I got nothing on my day. Luckily I still had some beer bonbons from Grandma Nel to make me feel better.

The Orville!This month we finished our first series of the year. Since January we have been watching all the Orville‘s. We had some great times relaxing on the couch with some popcorn, watching all the adventures. There was only one episode that was maybe a bit to scary for the kids, the rest was great. In our home we now frequently hear phrases like “Can you open that jar of pickels” and “You! Be silent!”.

After grandma’s visit we had another visitor. The kids godfather and pan-godfather, Miguel. With Miguel we visited the Aldea, the ‘barranco de las Vacas’, the dunes in the south, the natural reserve Azuaje, and we had a fantastic experience at a teppan-jaki restaurant. We also watched all the Kung Fu panda movies, because the forth movie was just release and we went to watch it in the theater.

February ’24

No snow?!This month we are going skiing. For me it has been about 15 years since I last went on a ski trip. I’m not sure I remember, but I am sure hopeful I will pick up the pace quickly. Alex has had some indoor practice, and for Alan it will be an all new experience. Ana is like me. She is experienced, but her last trip was also years ago. There was some uncertainty about the availability of snow on the piste. At my work it lead to a couple of laughs and even involved some AI. A couple of days before leaving some snow started to fall, but it was not enough to have white snowy pistes. In the end only some pistes with artificial snow could be used.

Skiing was fun! We started out in ‘La Molina‘, and visited ‘Marsella’, and ‘Les Angles’ in France. Skiing was like swimming. Almost right away I remembered how to do it. I was afraid I had forgotten, but the memory was still there. The kids also learned a lot! Alex can now safely go down a red piste, and is starting to ski in paralel. Alan can now easily go down green and blue pistes.

Hobby

I am a big fan of the game where you need to push big piles of coins from a plateau. A so-called ‘Pusher’. I have thought about buying a game a couple of times, but I always resisted. A pusher game is expensive, and it take a lot of space. I thought of a new approach. I bought the plans for the machine, and ordered the pieces to be laser cut. When they arrive I will only have to put the pieces together, and then I can do all the hardware myself. A small computer that drives a small motor and some lights, and manages some bells and whistles. If it works out I hope to improve the plans, and maybe make a transparent pusher.

Tamagotchi

Alan used to have a little crab as a pet. He kept it in his room in a nice crab environment with crab toys, water, plants, and some dirt so she could dig a nice hole. Sadly she kept getting older and older, and when we returned from our last trip she had passed away. To bad. Alan was in favor of getting a new pet, en we started to investigate. A walking stick seemed like a good idea, or maybe a new crab. Maybe even a hamster. The crab was nice but it spend most of its life inside its little hole in the ground. Only to come out to quickly get some food. The care for the little animal was also quickly allocated with Alan’s dad. That needed to change.

Searching for a new animal I also passed for a toy store. I hoped to find maybe a robotic fish, or something similar. Then I noticed the tamagotchi eggs. Maybe this could be interesting. The technology is from the last century, but if it’s fun, it’s fun. For Alan is was the perfect gift. He was so happy. His thoughts of any live animal disappeared immediately, as he started feeding and training the little digital animal. The animal also had a small game, and could be disciplined. The best part was that Alan could take it wherever he went. A great gift for sure.

Disneyland Paris

DIsney 2023!After three days spend in the artificial happiness I must conclude we really did have a great time. There were lots of things in Disney that were not very nice, but these are common to all theme parks. Waiting times, broken attractions, commerce overload, masses of people everywhere, conflicts and discussions between parents and kids. Disney is a great park to enjoy and experience, but I was personally very happy to leave the park after three day.

For the kids it was a non-stop fun experience. They were running from one adrenaline shot to the next. Three days was perfect to see both parks, do all the rides, and the third day we spend repeating the favorites.

Lego timelapse 31103

Alex likes working with his tablet to make things. It gets even more attractive when various pieces of equipment are involved. This time he has produced a timelapse. A small Lego car (his brothers) was disassembled and rebuild, but now while making a picture every couple of seconds. This way the construction goes really fast. Alex did the building and the post production editing on his tablet. Add the intro, add a couple of images, fix the sound, and some music, Alex knows what to do and how to do it really well. This is the result.

Tanju

Tanju!When the covid pandemic started we searched long and hard for things to do at home. In the end we did a lot of different things and one of these was exercise in the living room with youtube. We had various exercise programs which we tried out, and it was all good fun. Now, with covid still around, but with less restrictions we dont exercise at home anymore. We simply go to the park, or go out to visit the maintain, or the beach, or whatever park we feel like visiting.

We don’t exercise at home anymore with one exception. Tanju! Tanju is a trainer that has somehow captured our attention. He was one of our favorite trainers during the lockdown, and even now we still follow his programs. His first video we came across by coincidence on the first day it was posted on his channel. After a few days it was gone, and we were all very sad. Then later we found he has moved to another channel and we could enjoy his workouts again.

The Tanju workouts are a mix between workout and dance and although Tanju does not talk much he radiates an incredible amount of energy and happyness. He is one of the few persons who made a youtube video and achieved adding value to the world. The workout itself is quite easy to follow but every now and then Tanju picks up the pace and ‘goes wild’. These are moment of pure joy as we try and keep up.

Monarch butterfly!

It took quite a bit of preparation and quite a bit of time, but we did it! We ‘hatched’ a couple of Monarch butterflies at home! Months ago we started by getting seeds for the correct plant that is used by the butterflies. It is the only plant they will lay their eggs on and the only plant the catterpillers will eat. Slowly the plants grew and they even got some flowers. Then suddenly we hit the jackpot. 5 little catterpillers were walking around the leafs. After a couple of days only two remained, but these were growing fast. In about a week the catterpillers were very fat and started to create their cocoon.