Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our little coquette

It's come to our attention that our little Brodie is without a doubt either boy crazy or impatient with girls. She used to mention some girls as friends, but now she says that the girls are mean and she only likes the boys. I'm pretty sure not all the girls can be mean, but it does make me worry. Isn't it way too early to be dealing with this? I thought I had at least until adolescence to learn how to offer the best advice and support - she's not even FOUR yet. Anyway, I've mentioned the threesome of Tirso, Jaime and Jorge "Pepinosa", but we've confirmed that Jorge is definitely not a crush and is someone who just annoys her and that Jaime is definitely her first crush. We arrived from Sevilla on Sunday and not long after Brodie wanted to cut Jaime's picture out of the school magazine, paste it along with hers onto a piece of paper and give it to him at school. She art directed and I did some of the work. We pasted each photo on a green piece of paper, wrote each name under the photo and wrote "Amigos" at the top. At first I thought this was a charming gesture, but it soon dawned on me that Jaime may only be the OBJECT of her affection and that he may not actually share her clear adoration. I immediately envisioned him laughing at her, crumpling it up and throwing it at her feet as he laughed villainously. I went through a couple of scenarios preparing her for other reactions from Jaime mainly emphasizing that he may not understand her or her intentions and I was sure he would never hurt her feelings on purpose. I stayed up Sunday night worrying about this and discussed my fear of her heart breaking with Kyle. The next morning we headed out with the card in her pocket and Kyle asked me to call him to tell him how it went - he was worried too! Sadly, it rained so she wasn't able to see Jaime because he's in another class and they only see each other at play time. The next day, Tuesday, just as we arrived at school, Brodie shouted, "There's my friend, Jaime!" Perfect, I thought, I'll lay the groundwork for the card exchange. I introduced myself to him and told him that Brodie had something for him. He said that he knew because his teacher had already told him. (Brodie had given it to her teacher for safekeeping and she must have then told Jaime's teacher - what a stir we were causing!) I asked him if he knew what it was. "Yes, a photo." "Do you want it?" He smiled, "Yes!" Ahhhhhh! I could quit worrying about my baby's heart! Then right out of a cheesy Hallmark movie, they walked off into the schoolyard and after a few seconds grabbed hands. Seriously, I can't believe I allowed myself to get all worked about this. But still, I know that from here on out kids only get older and meaner. I know I'm projecting my own fears and experiences (in 6th grade I begged my mother to let me switch schools because some mean 8th grade girls made fun of the way I dragged my feet. They'd say "scuffle, scuffle, scuffle. I had NO idea how easy I had it!) onto Brodie, but I want to protect her from all things mean! I think all signs point to me having wayyyyyyyyy to much time on my hands. Something tells me if I had a work deadline looming I'd be less neurotic. And that brings me to child #2. What is it with babies crying? Have you ever noticed that? Honestly mine doesn't cry all that much, but I've decided I'm just a nervous type of person and don't handle crying all that well. If it were 1952, I feel certain that I'd be described as afflicted with a "bad case of nerves" and I'm pretty sure other members of my family would agree. Fine then, please ship me off to the country to sit in therapeutic waters and sip hard liquor. Dare to dream.

Monday, February 22, 2010


This past weekend we made the trip to Sevilla. I must congratulate the Spanish for the creation of their triumphant AVE high-speed train system. What would have been an approximately 6 hour car ride was only a 2 hour and 20 minute almost luxury train ride. It's very clean, they show a movie, there's plenty of leg room, you have an assigned seat (no Southwest Airlines cattle calls here) have a bar/car and you can escape into the luggage car with your screaming baby so as not to annoy others. But the best thing? You can show up MINUTES before your train leaves and you'll be just fine. Really, you couldn't ask for a more comfortable way to travel. Our hotel was lovely and right across from the Cathedral and right in the thick of the "old town". Sevilla is the third largest city in Spain, but we stuck to the very center. Yes, it's a little touristy but that's because it's where most of the places of historic and architectural interest are located. With only 2.5 days to see the city, staying central was the key to an easy trip. The sights in a nutshell: the cathedral (largest gothic in the world, 3rd largest overall in Europe), the Alcazar (royal palace built with strong Moorish architectural influence and still used by the Royal Family), former royal gardens, a horse and carriage tour, the Musuem of Flamenco, two amazing Flamenco shows and dining al fresco whenever possible. Our last meal was at an Italian restaurant that I had read about and was not far from the hotel. It was described as "inexpensive and popular" so I was kind of expecting the Home Slice of Sevilla. When we walked in we were surprised to find it was in a very, very old subterranean building that was beautifully decorated. The food was amazing and the service as friendly as it gets. I highly recommend San Marco for any future travels to Sevilla! All in all a very nice trip free of illness, accidents and disaster. My next post will be about how my almost 4-year old is driving me crazy with her boy-crazy love shenanigans!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hot Model/Actor Alert!

Yesterday my mother and I were walking around the neighborhood when we saw what I can unequivocally say was the HOTTEST Spanish man I've seen in person. So hot, in fact, that we gawked and kept turning back around to look without even a thought of what he might think. Usually I try to play it cool but there was no playing it cool, all dignity went out my eyeballs that were boring a hole into that poor man's face. (Kyle can't get mad because I know he felt the same way when he saw Brooklyn Decker at Whole Foods.) So this morning we're having coffee and I happened to look at a newspaper on the counter and there he was front and center. Turns out the hot Madrileno is named Jon Kortajarena and is actually from Bilbao. He's ranked the 8th most successful fashion model in the world and is in Tom Ford's "A Single Man." How do I know all this? Because I had to race home and Google my star sighting! Alas, my excitement was killed when I read that his interests are "watching independent films, reading books by Paulo Coelho, sunbathing, going to the mountains with friends, and music." SUNBATHING???? I guess he doesn't have a publicist yet.


Today Colegio Sagrada Corazon de Jesus celebrates Carnival by allowing the 3-year olds to attend school in full costume. Even though Brodie already has a pretty spectacular princess costume, my mother saw this as an opportunity to fulfill Brodie's every fairy dream. I give you Brodie Rodemacher: Spanish Snow Queen. What you can't see are the gold leather heels (flamenco shoes) underneath. My mom keeps saying,"Just like Suri Cruise!" and this really creeps me out. Did anyone else see those startling photos? Maybe it's a Scientologist thing. Anyway, Brodie continues to be less than dazzled by school and continues to plead to stay home with "[her] family" but I'm hoping today's Carnival celebration and tomorrow's trip to a farm will convince her that school isn't so bad. One thing we've figured out over the last few weeks is that either Brodie is a guy's girl or just plain boy crazy. She only ever talks about boys in her class, namely "Tiso", Jorge "Pepinosa" (should be pronouced "Espinosa") and Jaime. I can't tell you how much this reminds me of myself. From kindergarten to 5th grade of my four best friends only one of them was a girl. Tiso appears to be her best friend, Jaime seems to be the crush and Jorge Pepinosa is her frienemy. She likes him some days and others not at all, but all signs point to a crush on both their parts. She's very conscious of her upcoming birthday, but we're not going to throw a big party. We don't know any of the parents and without a yard, it just seems like a bad idea. Instead we'll take a cake to school, party hats and goodie bags for the kids. Last night when I suggested this to Brodie, her only complaint was that Jaime wouldn't be able to participate because he's in the other class. Definitely a crush. I'll leave you with the three things this week I love about Madrid: 1) On the weekends when you purchase your movie tickets in advance, you get to select your seat. Anyone who has arrived at the Alamo Drafthouse an hour in advance just to ensure a good seat will appreciate this. 2) ANOTHER cervezeria opened two doors down from our building and they have an excellent beer selection. Its first two nights of business, the beer was free. FREE! 3) We can buy Cuban coffee!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kyle's Mother-in-law visit: Day 3 of 35

And now for the exciting conclusion of "Is Ana in the house?" Oh is she ever. After all of our fears that Kyle would be unable to find her in the airport, it ended up being moot. At around 10:00 a.m., I received a call from Kyle saying that her plane had arrived early, but that he still hadn't seen her so we both assumed she was just held up in customs. Well as it turns out, he didn't find her because after 30 minutes of waiting (says she) she hopped in a cab and headed over to our place. You can imagine my surprise when less than 10 minutes after hanging up with Kyle I hear my mom's voice (she was one floor below us and and our door was closed, by the way) asking for the Americans. Poor Kyle! He has the patience of a saint, I must say. If he was irritated he didn't show it and came straight home to say hello. Also, it's hard to be mad at someone who has packed pancake mix, Easy Mac and your Christmas Kindle in their luggage for you. We've taken the first few days slowly so that she can acclimate to the time change and have mainly just strolled and shopped a bit. After taking Brodie to school the three of us, including Sabine, went to Cafe Comercial for a coffee and pan con tomate. Right as my coffee arrived, Sabine woke up and I realized that to maximize the day we were going to have to ditch the baby. Luckily our friend Touria who babysits on demand also provides pick up service. I know I've gone on and on about our amazing nanny, but every time she sits for us I still can't believe our luck. We need a babysitter at odd hours and sometimes only just for an hour and as a college student she needs to earn money. Because she lives directly beneath us and has a very light schedule we have a babysitter virtually whenever we need it! I can't imagine Madrid without this kind of flexibility - I think I'd feel horribly deprived. Anyway, she met us at the Cafe and then we were on our way. Today we went to Mercado San Miguel where we drank cava, ate various types of foods and watched the fur coat parade. Madrilenos are not afraid to break out the fur, that's for sure. On the way back we discovered an amazing litte shop called El Ganso, which I will force all of our guests to visit. This is my new favorite shop and all the clothes are made right here in Madrid. Tonight dinner and a movie!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ana's in the House, maybe.

My mother arrives from McAllen today. We've been in a frenzy preparing the extra room for her and generally just anticipating the whirlwind of Central American loco that is Ana Bergh. I use loco affectionately, truly. It will be so nice to have her company and to do all the things I've been holding off on doing knowing that when she arrives I'd have to do them all over again. The first time I visited Madrid and all of its amazing art museums was more than 10 years ago with my mom and my sister and I'm looking forward to returning. All visiting friends don't have to worry because I'll gladly revisit them with all of you, too! Anyway, Kyle has just left to meet my mom at the airport. This is the exact flight information I received from Ana about a week ago: "I will arrive in Madrid at 9:45 A.M. on the second of February, I will have three suitcases, one of them huge, and a carryon, so I will need a full size cab. Bye now, Mom." Last night when Kyle starts pressing me for additional details, I realize how absurd this flight information is and even more absurd is that in my mind this was plenty of detail. Once my mom and I attended a wedding at the Pebble Beach Resort (where we were hosting a bridal brunch no less) and only when we were in the rental car almost there did we realize that neither of us had bothered to make room reservations thinking that the other had taken care of it. As charming a trait as this may sound, I sense that Kyle wonders how either of us functioned in this big world before his little detail-oriented self married into the family. To add insult to Kyle's injury, I griped that he was keeping me up with his online research of international flights arriving at 9:45 today. I'll end up paying for that somehow. Update on how the airport pick up goes to follow....

Monday, February 1, 2010

TV and Near-starvation

We gave in yesterday and bought a TV. We've lived without a television for three months, but when the opportunity to buy a great TV for cheap presented itself we took it. Even though we haven't had an actual TV in the house, we/I haven't lived entirely without television shows. I've still been able to keep up with a few of my favorite shows via and Brodie watches some videos on, but I definitely don't do the kind of mindless television (computer) watching that occupied WAY too much of my time prior to moving to Madrid. While cooking, folding laundry, washing dishes I'd turn on the TV just for noise to fill the quiet and make mundane chores bearable. I really don't want to go back to that kind of robotic TV watching - it crowds the brain. Our main hope is to watch Spanish TV to help reinforce our Spanish, improve our vocabulary and of course to watch DVDs that we aren't able to watch on our lemon of a MacBook Pro. Moving thing I still cannot get used to are the restaurant hours here. Restaurants open at 1:00 p.m. for lunch (at the earliest) and then close again at 4:00 p.m.; they re-open at 8:00 p.m. and then close again around 11 or midnight. This generally isn't a problem unless it's a Sunday when EVERYTHING but restaurants are closed and you want to eat between 4 and 8 p.m. Well, this is exactly what happened to us yesterday. Our schedule was off because I ate some bad mussels that woke me up at 6:00 a.m. After getting sick, Kyle had to get up with the girls while I tried to sleep. Anyway, we finally made it to coffee and breakfast at around 11:00 a.m. so we didn't even think about eating again until 4:30 when we realized that all the markets and restaurants were closed. For this family of hungry hippos few things are more terrifying than the thought of not being able to eat anything for an entire four-hour window and no clear options at the house. Seriously, we were in a full panic when Kyle pulled out the peanut butter at the back of the cupboard and we made do. I'll note that the reason the peanut butter was at the back of the cupboard is because this stuff is like gold for us Americans here in Madrid and I like to hog it all to myself. We have to buy it at a shop that specializes in American foods and it costs - are you ready? - NINE DOLLARS. Luckily Brodie isn't a fan! This week I plan to stock the pantry with enough food to feed a small family of hippos. The posted picture is how I found Sabine in her crib on Friday night. Too cute.