Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hair

A picture paints a thousand words. (Too bad it doesn't paint a thousand hairs.)

1954
1955
1956
1958
1962
1971
1973
1974 (WITH MY BEAUTIFUL NIECE).
2009
2013. MONDAY, LOOKING FROM THE TERRACE TO THE DINING ROOM.
THE REFLECTION OF THE SEA AND SUN OFF MY HEAD IN THE MIRROR.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paradise Lost and Found

With no good reason, I've been having emotionally challenging days. (Again.) No sympathy needed. No sympathy deserved. No boring details either. My moods are as changeable as today's skies over Fuengirola. We didn't have snow and cold, but we had a little of most other things today — sun, clouds, wind, rain, sun, wind, clouds, mist... Did I mention wind? They're called breezes here. San Geraldo is trying to understand the difference between "breezes" and "wind." I tell him it's all in your attitude.

I caught the changing look of Fuengirola as the day progressed. From top to bottom, the photos were taken from around 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. The colors throughout the day and evening were magical. The breezes, not so much.




















Friday, April 26, 2013

The Duchess and Son Get Their Fix

Some final memories of our visit to New York. Good deli food and Dr. Brown's cream soda (twice in one week) topped my list. If you haven't had cream soda, you don't know what you're missing. (Although, some people taste it and wish they didn't know what they were missing.) A colleague once introduced me to a great imitation. Simply mix vanilla vodka with ginger ale. If you have more than two of the vodka versions, the tastes are identical. If you don't like "original" cream soda, you might like the adult version.

DR. BROWN'S ORIGINAL CREAM SODA.
BLISS.

My Fix
Cream soda (without vodka) requires some good New York deli to bring out the flavor. We were lucky enough to have lunch twice at a place called The Stage Deli. The original Stage Deli, on 7th Avenue, closed last year; I have no idea what connection this little place has, but it was good. The sandwiches (in traditional delis, there's enough meat for four sandwiches) are usually too much for the Dowager Duchess to consume in one (or even two) sittings. So, she and I shared a sandwich, which meant that I got to supplement my meal with a really good potato knish.

CORNED BEEF, POTATO KNISH, AND A KOSHER DILL.
I'M OK FOR ANOTHER YEAR.

The Duchess's Fix
What visit with The Dowager Duchess would be complete without a visit to at least one garden center? We drove to the nearby Home Depot (our version here in Fuengirola is a store called Akí) and The Duchess swooned over the flora. There was nothing to "weed," but back in her apartment I did find a photo of the Duchess "weeding the garden" in Germany more than 30 years ago (click here to see that story).

A VERY UNFLATTERING PHOTO OF THE DOWAGER DUCHESS ...
AS SHE TRIES TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY CAN FIT ON HER BALCONY.

THE DOWAGER DUCHESS — PULLING WEEDS IN THE BACKYARD.
 AUGUSTBURG PALACE, BRÜHL, GERMANY, 1974.
MY FATHER, THE ROYAL CONSORT — ON HIS PEDESTAL.
 AUGUSTBURG PALACE, BRÜHL, GERMANY, 1974.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Moonstruck

The many phases of the moon in Fuengirola. This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law Linda and all other astronomy buffs(Click any image to see a fuller moon.)

RISING OVER PLAZA SAN RAFAEL EARLY SUNDAY NIGHT.

PEAKING OUT EARLY AFTERNOON IN PLAZA DE ESPAÑA.
SETTING... OR RISING... ON NEARBY CALLE POETA SALVADOR ROEDA
(A SMALL STREET WITH A LARGE NAME — AND MOON).
FROM OUR TERRACE.
SLIPPING BELOW THE HORIZON ON THE PASEO.
IN ALL ITS BRONZED GLORY ON THE PASEO.
ONE OF MANY LOCAL SCULPTURES BY GOMEZ DE GUERRERO (BUT, HIS ONLY MOON) .
ANOTHER VIEW FROM OUR TERRACE.
SATURDAY, JUST AFTER IT SET ... ER... SAT.



DESPITE THE OPENING LYRICS ("...WHEN BOY MEETS GIRL..."),
DON'T FORGET THE GAY TARANTELLA!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Smoke Alarm

While San Geraldo and I were making our travel plans, one of my cousins happened to phone my mother to tell her she was having a small party for her husband's 80th birthday. My cousin is much, much, much younger than her husband. (She didn't tell me to say that.) This is the second marriage for both, but they've been together a very long time.

IT'S AMAZING HOW MUCH HEAT (AND SMOKE) 81 CANDLES EMIT.

Years ago, when her husband's son gave them their first grandchild, my cousin teasingly asked, "So, old man, how does it feel to be a grandfather?" His tart response: "I've got a better question. How does it feel to be sleeping with one?"

THE BIRTHDAY BOY IS A RETIRED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR. HOT AIR TO SPARE?
HE'S FLANKED BY MY COUSIN, ONE OF HER AMAZING GRANDDAUGHTERS, AND HER SON-IN-LAW.

There were actually two birthdays being celebrated. My first cousin twice removed turned 13. I grew up with the birthday tradition that you always had one candle on the cake for every year of your age and then an additional one for good luck. I thought everyone had this tradition until I met San Geraldo. They didn't get any extras in the frugal Midwest. What's your tradition?

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL, MY COUSIN TWICE REMOVED. GRACIOUSLY AWAITING HER TURN.
13 CANDLES PLUS ONE FOR GOOD LUCK.

A VERY CONTENT DOWAGER DUCHESS.

My cousin wasn't making a big deal of the party, really, just her husband's family at first. But she then decided to include her daughter and family, and her sister (my cousin, obviously, too) and brother-in-law. She knew we were planning a visit and, if it coincided with the party, she said she would love if we could be there. So, we arranged to be in the States at the right time and we drove from Brooklyn to New Jersey on Saturday.

HEADING BACK FROM NEW JERSEY WITH SAN GERALDO BEHIND THE WHEEL.
NEW YORK'S (DOWNTOWN) SKYLINE IN BACKGROUND.

The party was an absolute pleasure. Both cakes were delicious. The kids were sweethearts. The Dowager Duchess was elated. And San Geraldo even had a half-hour siesta.

VERRAZANO-NARROWS BRIDGE, LOOKING BACK TO STATEN ISLAND.

As we crossed the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island on our return to Brooklyn, I thought back to when the bridge first opened in 1964. Before that, we could only get to Staten Island (one of the five boroughs of New York City) by ferry. The bridge goes over the "narrows" heading into New York Harbor, so it's officially the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It was the world's longest suspension bridge until 1981. I think it has since dropped to number  8. There are spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, but I couldn't get San Geraldo to pull over for pictures. (Something about it being against the law... or dangerous, I think. Party pooper.)

The bridge was named for Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano who is said to have "discovered" New York Harbor in 1524. (Four years later, he was eaten by cannibals on an island south of Jamaica.) My sister Dale initially thought the bridge was called the Verraznarrows Bridge. The name does flow off the tongue. Well, kind of.

YES, IT WOULD BE NICE IF THE ITEMS IN THE MIRROR WERE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Swimsuit Edition: Looks Aren't Everything

As usual, during my visit with the Dowager Duchess, I looked through some of her 30 or 40 photo albums. At this stage, just about everything has been scanned, but there are a few I haven't gotten to. My parents were a very good-looking couple — not that that should make a difference. But, I come from an extended family in which looks count for a lot. In one of the albums, I came across some early "glamour" shots of my parents. I supplemented, from the family slides I had already scanned, with early glamour shots of us kids.

CONEY ISLAND, BROOKLYN, 1948.
(UNBELIEVABLY, THE DOWAGER DUCHESS REFUSED TO POSE FOR A CURRENT PIN-UP SHOT!)

The Dowager Duchess is still beautiful, although she still doesn't think so. She looks back at old photos and comments, "Well, maybe I wasn't so bad." My father, fortunately, never seemed to be aware of his good looks. My friends all had crushes on him, as did most of the divorcées in our apartment building. But, my mother had no reason to worry. She once watched from a distance as he ordered a drink at a restaurant bar. A woman sitting at the bar crossed her legs seductively, batted her eyelashes, held a cigarette to her lips, and asked him for a light. He smiled, passed her the book of matches lying on the bar, picked up his drink, and returned to the table. I, at least, would have lit her cigarette.

OYSTER BAY, LONG ISLAND, 1960.
I CAN'T BELIEVE WE HAVEN'T HEARD FROM "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
(... AND WHAT IN HELL WAS I WEARING???)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Palm Trees Here and There

The weather wasn't great for our visit to New York. Raw, rainy, overcast, and windy. When it wasn't raw and rainy, it was still overcast and windy. The Dowager Duchess lives very near the ocean. The winds, like those here on the Mediterranean, can be overwhelming. One morning, San Geraldo and I were heading out for a stroll to Starbucks in Brighton Beach. It began to rain and the wind was blowing so hard that our umbrellas couldn't be opened. Fortunately, there's a Starbucks drive-thru about a mile away.

AT THE STARBUCKS DRIVE-THRU IN BROOKLYN.
THE KID BROTHER (AND OBSESSED NY YANKEES FAN?)
ANOTHER STARBUCKS DRIVE-THRU DAY — ON THE WAY TO THE CASINO..

Sunshine
The day we left New York, Wednesday, it was clear and sunny and in the mid 70s (24C). Apparently, Fuengirola had great weather while we were away. Since our return it's been warmer than New York but otherwise overcast and windy, with some scattered showers. I'm told New York has had nothing but sunshine. Ironic or just bad luck?

SPRINKLER PALM TREE, CONEY ISLAND, LAST WEEK.
CONEY ISLAND PIER CLOSED FOR REPAIRS SINCE HURRICANE SANDY.
GARDEN ALONG THE BOARDWALK, BRIGHTON BEACH.
THAT'S BEACH SAND WHERE THERE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE BEACH SAND.

SAILING LESSONS TODAY IN FUENGIROLA.
CLICK FOR A BETTER VIEW. TINY SAILBOATS CAME OUT FOR LESSONS LATER IN THE DAY.