16 años

Tracy, Carlos y nuestro hijo mayor - 1999, La Playa Libertad, El Salvador

Tracy, Carlos y nuestro hijo mayor – 1999, La Playa Libertad, El Salvador

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation in italics!

Este fin de semana, Carlos y yo celebramos nuestro decimosexto aniversario. A veces no sé como hemos llegado a este punto juntos con todas las complicaciones de nuestro matrimonio, pero estoy super agradecida.

This weekend, Carlos and I celebrate our sixteenth anniversary. Sometimes I don’t know how we’ve reached this point together with all the complications of our marriage, but I’m super grateful.

Carlos y Tracy - San Salvador, El Salvador 2011

Carlos y Tracy – 2011, San Salvador, El Salvador

10 Vídeos Favoritos – Diciembre 2013

10vids

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation in italics!

Estos son mis vídeos favoritos en español en este momento. La mayoría son “Vines” y por eso son bien cortitos. Chécalos! // Here are my favorite videos in Spanish at the moment. Most of the videos are “Vines” – that’s why they’re so short. Check them out!

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Giving Tuesday & Visiting Perritos

chico_givingtuesday1

Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday, (celebrated December 3rd this year) is a national day of giving, a movement that was created last year to encourage people to take part in charitable activities and to support non-profits. I wanted to do my part to spread the word and hopefully inspire others by sharing my family’s Giving Tuesday story.

You see that cute pup who looks ready to tackle the Christmas tree in the photo above? For those who don’t know, that’s Chico. We adopted Chico from our local Humane Society last year. For Giving Tuesday, we decided we wanted to donate supplies to them so they can continue to do what they do – find homes for deserving cats and dogs.

supplies_givingtuesday2

Since I’m a Lowe’s blog ambassador and receive gift cards to complete my monthly projects, I decided to make use of one of the gift cards that had leftover money on it by buying most of the supplies at Lowe’s. If you want to donate to your local Humane Society, call or visit their website to find out what they need and accept. Our Humane Society listed specific cleaning and pet supplies. Besides these items from Lowe’s, (plus some cute Christmas stockings I couldn’t resist) we bought a couple bags of kitty litter and cat food, too.

boysbox_givingtues

My boys carried the supplies to the car and we went as a family to the Humane Society to drop them off, (well, drop them off and visit the animals for a little while.)

cutedog_givingtuesday

There were over a dozen dogs awaiting homes and it was hard to walk away from them. We stayed and talked to each one for a couple minutes. I don’t know if they understood me, but I told each one they would be adopted soon and to hang in there. I got a little choked up doing this. Also, you’re not supposed to stick your fingers through the bars, but after letting each dog sniff my closed fist and reading its body language, I did pet most of them. Some of them were so hungry for love that they’d lean against the bars trying to get closer to me.

After visiting with the dogs, we visited with the cats. Our Humane Society allows some of the cats free roam of a closed room full of toys and everything they could possibly need. Carlos kept complaining that he didn’t want to go to the cat room because he doesn’t like cats but after a few minutes, I caught him like this.

carlos_cat_givingtues

Hmmm, does that look like someone who doesn’t like cats to you?

Leaving was bittersweet but it was literally closing time and we had to go. I think we all felt happy that we were able to give a little something but sad that we weren’t able to do more, so this is my attempt at doing more by spreading the word.

If you didn’t know about Giving Tuesday, or hadn’t planned to participate, I hope you’ll consider it. You can support any organization or cause you feel passionate about, but if you’re an animal lover and have room in your home, I hope you’ll consider adoption. There are plenty of sweet dogs and cats waiting for you to make them part of your family.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. This post was in no way encouraged by The Humane Society, Lowe’s, or any of the product brands shown.

Feliz Thanksgiving!

teagradezco

Hola! I’m sure all of you will soon be busy cooking, eating, and spending time with your familia if you aren’t already, but I wanted to give you these printables I made to keep the niños busy while the chumpe (pavo!) is in the oven.

Have the kids fill out these little notes of thankfulness to practice their Spanish and express their gratitude for loved ones, then cut them out and give them to family!

Instructions:

1. Choose the thankful notes you would like to use – (Either “te agradezco” or “le agradezco” depending on the intended recipient.)

2. Click on the image below to be taken to the download page.

3. Download by clicking “Download” on the top right hand side where you see the blue arrow. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader then click “print.”

Have fun and Feliz Thanksgiving!

Click here to go download!

Click here to go download!

Click here to go download!

Click here to go download!

Regalitos de Bolivia

boliviagifts1

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Una amiga mia, (Susan de Medina Adventures) me dijo que quería mandarme regalitos de Bolivia – el país de su esposo. Con alegría acepté su amable oferta y esperé pacientemente los regalitos en el correo. Bueno, llegó el paquete y cuando lo abrí, no podía creerlo. Esas cosas no eran “regalitos” – eran regalotes! Me encanta tanto cada cosa que ella y su esposo me mandaron. ¡Vean por ustedes mismos la maravilla de los recuerdos bolivianos!

boliviagifts2

boliviagifts3

boliviagifts4

boliviagifts5

boliviagifts6

boliviagifts7

boliviagifts8

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

A friend of mine, (Susan of Medina Adventures) told me she wanted to send me some little gifts from Bolivia – her husband’s country. Happily I accepted her kind offer and waited patiently for the little gifts in the mail. Well, the package arrived and when I opened it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. These were not “little gifts” – they were big gifts! I love each thing she and her husband sent so much. See for yourselves the awesomeness of the Bolivian souvenirs!

Ofrendas and Changing Beliefs

ofrenda2013

Today has been a busy day since Día de los Muertos is also my youngest son’s birthday. We’ve been celebrating with him and preparing to celebrate again with family tomorrow, but I also took time to set up our ofrenda over the past couple days.

This year marks a turning point for me culturally because I included many of my own loved ones on our ofrenda. Last year I actually added my paternal grandfather, but I did so hesitantly.

I say “hesitantly” because as much as I admire the holiday and feel it’s a good way to remember Carlos’s loved ones, I hadn’t felt comfortable remembering my own loved ones. Originally I thought, well, this is a Catholic holiday and being that my father’s side of the family is Jewish and my mother’s side of the family is Protestant, it just doesn’t make sense to include my family. However, with each passing year I realized that my hesitance was not truly about the mixing of religions – my hesitance was actually an Anglo-American belief so deeply ingrained that it was difficult for me to recognize – and that belief is that remembering loved ones is something painful, sad, fearful and unpleasant.

When I added my paternal grandfather to the ofrenda last year, it wasn’t an easy thing. I chose my favorite photo of him, one I took myself when I was probably no older than eight. I still remember the moment I took it. He gave me the camera, a Kodak Instamatic, I think it was. He showed me how to load the film, snap a photo, and he set me free. I ran around my grandparents’ house in New York photographing everything. At one point I followed my grandpa out to the driveway. He was wearing one of his signature newsboy caps. “Hey Grandpa,” I said, “Let me take your picture.” He smiled down at me – that is the photo I put on the altar. I added Corn Flakes, the cereal he used to eat every morning, a little trumpet to represent his love of big band music, and a dreidel because he was Jewish.

While I experienced sadness at first, that sadness lifted and I began to experience the holiday as it’s meant to be celebrated. My boys asked me questions about the altar, and I had the opportunity to share stories with them about my grandfather which felt really good.

This year as I set up the altar, I realized that my attitude toward remembering loved ones had changed and I now felt comfortable including my great-grandmothers. As they did last year, the boys asked questions about photos and items on the altar. I was more than happy to tell them stories, the good memories of so many people I was blessed to have known.

ofrenda2013b

Related Links:

Altar 2010
Altar 2011
Altar 2012

No Tengo Gato

chicomesa2

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Muchos escritores tienen un gato querido para hacerles compañía, pero yo no tengo gato – Yo tengo a Chico, un perro que piensa que es gato. Últimamente cuando estoy escribiendo, se sube en el banquillo y se sienta a mi lado. Él ocupa mucho espacio y a veces no es muy cómodo, pero aún así no lo cambiaría por un compañero de trabajo humano. No habla demasiado. Eso es lo que me gusta de él.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Many writers have a beloved cat to keep them company, but I don’t have a cat – I have Chico, a dog who thinks he’s a cat. Lately when I’m writing, he climbs onto the bench and sits right by my side. He takes up a lot of space and sometimes it’s not very comfortable, but I still wouldn’t trade him for a human co-worker. He doesn’t talk too much. That’s what I like about him.

Halloween 1998

carlos_n_1sthalloween

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Este tiempo del año los días son pesados con nostalgia, no sé por qué. Tal vez es el cambio obvio de las estaciones – noches calurosas de verano que han cambiado a ser frillitas, el verde claro de las cosas vivas se han convertido en tonos suaves de anaranjado, amarillo y marrón – que me recuerdan de los cambios en mi vida durante los años que han pasado.

La foto arriba es de Carlos sosteniendo nuestro hijo primero en su primer Día de Halloween. Lo vestí como un dragón o dinosaurio, no recuerdo bien. Carlos se ve tan lindo en esta foto. Él tenía sólo 20 años y nosotros habíamos estado casados ​​por menos de un año. A veces no puedo creer como pasa de rapido el tiempo.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

This time of year the days are heavy with nostalgia, I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s the obvious change of seasons, hot summer nights that have become chilly, the bright green of living things having turned mellow shades of orange, yellow and brown – which remind me of the changes in my life over the years.

That photo above is of Carlos holding our first born son on his first Halloween. I dressed him as a dragon or dinosaur, not sure exactly. Carlos looks so cute in this photo. He was only 20 years old and we’d been married less than a year at that point. Sometimes I can’t believe how quickly time passes.

Errores y Menús

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Tal vez es un pasatiempo raro, pero los otros escritores me van a entender – Cuando voy a un restaurante me gusta buscar errores en el menú mientras espero la comida. Cuando encuentro un error me siento a la vez alegre y ultrajada. Por lo general, en mi experiencia los restaurantes mexicanos en los Estados Unidos son los mayores infractores de errores de ortografía en el menú.

beff

¿Lo ves? “Beef” está mal escrito como “Beff.”

La semana pasada fuimos a un restaurante mexicano/salvadoreño y en el menú de postres me sorprendió al encontrar que sirven “peanut butter mouse” (ratón de crema de maní.)

peanutbuttermouse

Por supuesto la intención fue escribir “peanut butter mousse” (mousse de crema de maní.) ¡Qué diferencia puede hacer una letra!

(Mientras estamos en el tema, me gustaría mencionar a cualquier restaurante, si usted necesita un hablante nativo de inglés para comprobar el menú antes de imprimirlo, por favor póngase en contacto conmigo. No cobro mucho – podría trabajar por tortas y pupusas.)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Maybe it’s a strange hobby, but other writers will understand me – When I go to a restaurant I like to look for mistakes on the menu while waiting for my food. When I find a mistake I am simultaneously joyful and outraged. In my experience, Mexican restaurants in the United States are usually the worst offenders of spelling mistakes on menus.

Do you see it? “Beef” is misspelled as “Beff.”

Last week we went to a Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant and on the dessert menu I was surprised to find that they serve “peanut butter mouse.”

Of course they meant to write “peanut butter mousse.” What a difference one letter can make!

(While we’re on the topic, I’d like to mention to any restaurant out there, if you need a native English-speaker to check over your menu before you print it, please contact me. I don’t charge much – I’ll even work for tortas and pupusas.)

No moleste

Image source: Flickr user Justin Shearer

Image source: Flickr user Justin Shearer

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

¿Han oído hablar del comediante Tig Notaro? Un tiempo atrás escuché su historia conmovedora en NPR y me encantó tanto que me puse a buscar a los vídeos de su comedia. (Todavía quiero comprar y descargar “Live” – que sigo escuchando muy buenas críticas.)

Éste vídeo me hizo reir tanto, y porque incluye español, sabía que ustedes lo apreciaran también.

(A propósito, hay una camisa que dice “no moleste” en venta!)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Have you heard of the comedian Tig Notaro? I heard her really touching story on NPR awhile back and loved her so much that I started looking up videos of her comedy. (I still want to buy and download the “Live” set I keep hearing rave reviews about.)

This one had me laughing so hard, and because it includes Spanish I knew you guys would appreciate it too.

(By the way, there’s a “no moleste” shirt!)