Saturday, December 27, 2008
Despite his modest list, Carter was lavished with other gifts. One of our favorites was a kid's digital camera. He has taken to recording the world from his perspective; all of the following shots are Carter's with no parental editing.
Grandpa and Nana Bistak
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
By Herron family tradition, Erik reads a presidential proclamation in lieu of grace prior to dinner; this year's proclamation was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1933 Thanksgiving greeting to the American people. We dined on standard and non-standard holiday cuisine: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, squash, broccoli, daikon salad, and kim chi, followed by apple and pumpkin pies.
Carter was a helpful sous chef and enthusiastic consumer of turkey. In addition to the standard meal, he had second, third, and fourth helpings of turkey after dessert. He also entertained all of the guests with his special version of hide-and-seek.
As Erik's father, Thomas, reminds us: "we have a lot to be thankful for." Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Of course, when Erik and Lea encounter art museums, the tune of the Detroit Institute of Arts' 1970s commercial runs a constant loop through their heads. Fortunately, we found a website featuring videos of classic Detroit ads for Faygo, Highland Appliance, and the DIA's "We've Got Art" advertising campaign. We highly recommend it as a great nostalgia trip for all Michiganders of a particular age.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Fall arrived quickly in Lawrence. Seemingly overnight, the temperatures turned chilly, leaves changed colors, and early last week the leaves dropped from the trees. Carter and Lea have been raking and collecting leaves for compost. But, the two of them paused for a little bit of fun, as Lea captured in these photos. Carter loves to jump in the leaves.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Halloween started early in Lawrence, with special events at Prairie Park and the residence halls on the Sunday prior to the holiday. Carter and Erik wandered through the nature center trails, encountering characters from fairy tales distributing candy. Carter met mermaids, trolls, nymphs, witches, and Robin Hood (who went out of character to express his fondness for Pac-Man). Unfortunately, Sunday was cold and extremely windy. Poor Carter was chilled to the bone after the park, and was unsure of trick-or-treating at the residence halls. Erik convinced him to give it a try, and he was rewarded amply for this choice. Erik and Lea agree that he was rewarded too amply.
The young women of Corbin and GSP halls were charmed by Carter, lavishing praise on his outfit (it is definitely 80s-retro cool), snapping his photo, and giving him candy... lots of candy. Carter was thrilled by the attention, and became an expert at knocking on the door, saying "trick or treat," and holding out his plastic jack-o-lantern for prizes. By the end of the evening, Erik carried the pumpkin bucket because it was too heavy - laden with 80 pieces of candy. We know that there were 80 because upon his arrival home, Carter held a census. While we hoped to give some of it away on Halloween day, Carter knows every piece that he received and has set up a plan for when he will eat each piece.
Halloween day trick-or-treating venues were at school and in the neighborhood. Carter's pre-school invited all of the kids to come in costume and march in a parade. Carter's friends dressed as a robot, turtle, witch, spider, and other creatures. In the evening, Lea and Carter took advantage of the gorgeous weather to stroll from house to house, politely requesting candy. Erik stayed home to pass out treats. After an hour or so, Lea and Carter returned to conduct a final candy tally. The total? 110 pieces!
Monday, October 20, 2008
We will continue to harass him for being old, although Carter is unconvinced that daddy had a birthday since he does not look any taller!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
He also talked with some street food purveyors. Azeri cuisine seems to be a true fusion food, combining elements of Turkish, Georgian, Persian, and other traditions. For example, Erik has tasted a delicate yogurt soup, as well as the heavy flavors of lamb organ meat (kidneys, liver, etc.) wrapped in intestinal lining and grilled. After thanking many of the people who helped him on this trip, Erik had a nice dinner with Elchin (eggplant salad and an Azeri soup with dumplings).
Erik learned alot on his trip, and owes his successes to his many friends in Baku. He hopes to return to Baku once again in the future (Inshallah)!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
As the polls opened, the first voters filed through. Although a young, uniformed man was the first person to cast a ballot, the "prize" for the first voter went to an elderly woman. During the Soviet period, and in some post-Soviet elections that Erik has witnessed, the first voter received a present and the applause of all present. Today's election was no different. The polling station director had a gift not only for the first voter, but for all voters casting their first ballot ever.
The occasion was festive, with polling stations blaring popular Azeri music (see the video above). At the polling station for a fine arts university, students played folk music and dressed in traditional costumes (see the photo at the top).
The Central Electoral Commission has announced a big win for Ilham Aliyev. Preliminary results indicate that turnout was 75.64%, and the president received 89.04% of the vote. Turnout varied across the country; the districts where Arzu and Erik observed had relatively low reported turnout (falling to 107th, 120th, and 122nd place out of 125 districts).