Monday, July 29, 2013

Anything You Can Do...

San Geraldo doesn't like to lose. I refuse to play Monopoly with him. He's too cut-throat. (Well, I refuse to play Monopoly with anyone. I can't stand the game.) When we play cards, he often gloats when he's winning and pouts when he's losing. He used to beg me to play Scrabble with him. I love(d) Scrabble. We would play. If he was losing, he'd tell me he was tired and he didn't want to play anymore. Brat. Like I said, he doesn't like to lose.

DINNER.

So, it's no surprise that San Geraldo — although admittedly an excellent chef — couldn't let me have some glory in the kitchen. I cooked a snack yesterday to overwhelming response. I actually left them begging for more. San Geraldo couldn't tolerate that and decided to one-up me (can you TEN-up someone?) by cooking a dinner of couscous (with mint, chives, and raisins); peas and onions (he actually chopped up a fresh onion... can you imagine?); and pork fillets smothered in apples and raisins.

DESSERT.

As if that weren't enough, San Geraldo baked (to perfection) a plum tart [Correction: It was a cobbler, not a tart.] Now I'm not really complaining since I was on the receiving end, but still, you'd think he could have let me have my day in the sun.

What Did I Cook?
As you know, Dudo and Moose are receiving treats daily now. Saturday, I opened a can of "wet food." It was too much for a one-serving snack per cat, so I split it in half, gave them each half of that, and put the remainder in the fridge. Sunday, I thought they might like it warmed up a little, so I microwaved the leftovers for about 20 seconds. Yes, I cooked. The cats were ecstatic. At least they (especially Dudo) appreciate my efforts. Now, every time I walk into the kitchen, they come running... and begging. As if I'd have no other reason to be in the kitchen! I do wash dishes, you know!

I TOLD YOU I LEFT THEM BEGGING FOR MORE.

Anyway, this morning I got the last laugh. For breakfast, I topped my slab of plum tart [cobbler] with Greek yogurt. Who's the gourmet now?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meet the Fretters

You might remember Doug and Wendy Whiner from the TV show, Saturday Night Live. If you don't, I've included a video at the end of this post. (Watch at your own risk. They make me want to pull out all my hair. Well... the hair I used to have.)

I THINK PERHAPS THE SUN MIGHT BE TOO BRIGHT.

The Whiner's English relatives sat near me on the beach today. Rupert and Emma Fretter and their two sons, Alfie and Oliver. At least those are the names I gave them. They're much more posh than the Whiners and their voices are actually very pleasant — as long as you don't listen to what they have to say. They could also be related to Debbie Downer. Below is their conversation. Truly.

First, Mr. Fretter and Son #1 (around 17) arrive.

Son 1: There's a better spot.
Rupert: Well, I don't know why it matters. Someone will just sit near us eventually.
Son 1: Well, that's not the point is it.

They settle themselves down.

Rupert: It's quite hot. Perhaps not a good day to be by the sea. I think perhaps the sun might be too bright.
Son 1: Couldn't we cool in the water? If we wear our caps and sunglasses?
Rupert: Well, yes. I suppose there is that. But the water felt chilly.


WELL, YES. I SUPPOSE THERE IS THAT.

At first, I was annoyed. There was quite a lot of negative energy floating in my direction. Then Mrs. Fretter and Son #2 (around 15) arrived and it became entertaining.

Emma: Is it not too hot?
Rupert: We've discussed that and think it might do.
Emma: Well, alright then.

Emma (to both sons): Make sure to use plenty of cream. 
Son 2: But I'd like some color.
Emma: Well, if you burn, it makes your skin fall off. And then you've lost it.

I think she meant you've lost the color if your skin falls off (i.e., peels). But perhaps she was simply confirming that if your skin falls off then you've lost your skin. I didn't give it more thought because a vendor came by peddling drinks and ice cream. And, of course, Mr. Fretter had something to say about that.

Rupert: There he goes. He loses his soul and continues to go on doing as he does.
Son 1: Why does he lose his soul?
Rupert: Well, just look at him. Selling things no one wants. How could he not?

IF YOU GET WET, THE SAND WILL STICK TO YOU.

A very mild and pleasant breeze arrives. Others nearby sigh with delight.

Rupert: Well, it's only warm air, isn't it.
Son 2: How can I sit when the towel continually folds over in the wind?
Rupert: Perhaps you could place your chair on one end.
Son 1: Yes. I saw someone else do that when we arrived. It appeared to work.
Son 2: There's sand on my towel. Every time I place it down, sand gets on it.
Rupert: It's quite unpleasant.
Son 1: Will the umbrellas be alright in the wind?
Rupert: We'll have to monitor them closely.

I have by this time turned onto my stomach, so I can surreptitiously watch the family. I've taken out my mobile and am keying in the conversation as it occurs. Mr. Fretter lies down on his own towel momentarily. He sits up and inspects his chest.

Rupert: Oh, this is uncomfortable. I don't like wearing undigested cream.

He stands and fussily rubs at the cream.

Son 1: Shall we go in the water? 
Emma: Do you think it's nice?
Rupert: I did try my feet when we arrived. If you get wet, the sand sticks to you.
Emma: Well, that doesn't sound pleasant.
Rupert: Perhaps just our feet then.
Emma: Or a walk instead? I'll not go, but you two might.
Son 1: If I leave my chair it might blow about.
Son 2: Fold it.
Son 1: Fold it?
Son 2: Flatten it.
Son 1: Oh, I see. Like we did to carry it here. Brilliant.

The chair folded, Mr. Fretter and Son #1 head off, but not without leaving one final instruction.

Rupert: Be sure to don't let sand get in the bag while we're gone. I don't know what we might do if we should find it in our rooms.
Emma: Oh, of course. And do please be careful. There appear to be shells and stones at the water.
Son 1: It's alright. We're wearing our flip flops.
Emma: Still.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Hard-Knock Life

THE TOP OF THE
CHRYSLER BUILDING.
What a day I had today! It started with breakfast and an online crossword puzzle. Then out for coffee with San Geraldo. I tried "cooking" recently at Café Manila. When Tere was here, she and I went for coffee before San Geraldo was ready. He met us there. While we waited, I actually poured my hot coffee into the ice-filled glass all by myself. Without spilling a drop. Yes. I cooked. Tere said I looked panic-stricken as I did it. And then I thought, "Oh, crap. Now he's going to expect me to do this every day." The next day, I spilled the coffee on myself and the table. San Geraldo is back to pouring.

After my relaxing breakfast and coffee today, the "hard-knock life" began. We stopped at the market for more fruit (and free slices of watermelon for our walk home).

We got home and I folded yesterday's laundry. I washed another load of laundry. I played with the cats. I cleaned bathrooms. I cleaned mirrors and picture frames. I played with the cats some more. I dusted furniture. And we're not even expecting anyone.

I DID IT MYSELF!
I DID THIS MYSELF, TOO.  NO SENSE CRYING OVER SPILLED COFFEE?
(SOMEONE MIGHT THINK I PLANNED IT.)

I gave Dudo some of the new treats San Geraldo picked up. He's very slender. Moose is kind of husky. I was concerned about how we were going to add some girth to Dudo while not adding more to Moose. It turns out, Dudo loves treats. Moose does not. So, that's going much better than I expected.

DUDO, THE LONG DRINK OF WATER.
(AS THEY SAY IN PARTS OF THE USA I'M NOT FROM. OFTEN PRECEDED BY A "HOO WEE!")
WHAT A DAY HE HAD TODAY! AS SEEN THROUGH THE DEN WINDOW.

I washed breakfast dishes. I hung today's laundry to dry. I trimmed and staked the bougainvillea. San Geraldo trimmed and washed plants, and did a whole bunch of work outside. Then he made a delicious salad for lunch. Lettuce, chicken, tomato, avocado, papaya, almonds. It could have fed eight. There's none left.

THIS IS WHAT SAN GERALDO CALLS A LUNCH SALAD. (HE HAD ONE JUST LIKE IT.)

I washed lunch dishes. I then polished the terrace railings. I finished with a half-hour of Spanish study.

THE RAILINGS NOW SHINE LIKE THE TOP OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING.

OK, the above-described work didn't begin until after noon. It was all done (including the one-hour lunch break and playing with the cats) by 4:30. Maybe I should review the meaning of "hard knocks." (My father always told me that was the school he went to.)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tutti Frutti

We've got a small public market in our neighborhood, just a few minutes from our door. It occupies the ground floor of a contemporary building that you wouldn't give a second look. However, once San Geraldo did (give it a second look), he added it to his regular grocery routine. Once again, some of the most delicious fruit and vegetables we have ever tasted. Of course, there are butchers, fish sellers, and cheese and flower shops. But, today, it's all about the fruit.

ANA CRESPILLO FRUIT SELLERS. SO MUCH FRIENDLIER THAN A CHAIN STORE.

There's a large public market in the center of Fuengirola. But that's about a 20- to 25-minute walk. Every Tuesday, there's a huge public market at the Fair Grounds, but that's about a 15-minute walk, and certainly not as neighborly. San Geraldo asked me to come along with him this morning so that I could take home what he bought before he headed directly to the supermarket. It worked out so well that it will be our new routine. For me, it was almost like cooking (except for the unpleasant parts).

INSIDE OUR MARKET, A MOSAIC OF FUENGIROLA.
FAR LEFT: THE ROMAN RUINS THAT CAN BE SEEN FROM OUR TERRACE.
FAR RIGHT: SOHAIL CASTLE AT THE OTHER END OF TOWN.
NUESTRA SEÑORA VIRGEN DEL CARMEN (REMEMBER HER?) ANCHORS THE MOSAIC.
SAN GERALDO IS IN THE DISTANCE ON THE LEFT, STILL CHECKING OUT THE FRUIT.
SAN GERALDO LOADING A BAG WITH CHERRIES.
"SMELL THEM," SHE SAID, AS SAN GERALDO EYED THE MANGOS.
AND, OF COURSE, ONE MANGO CAME HOME WITH US.
LUNCHTIME DESSERT: WHAT SAN GERALDO DID WITH THAT MANGO
AND A PIEL DE SAPO (TOAD'S SKIN) MELON.
I NEVER WAS A BIG FAN OF CHERRIES. THAT CHANGED WHEN WE MOVED TO SPAIN.
TODAY'S EVENING SNACK WITH MEDJOOL DATES.


Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom!


Monday, July 22, 2013

The Drunks of the Monastery

San Geraldo didn't sleep well last night. So, at noon, he went back to bed. I had planned to work out after we had our morning coffee (breakfast was hours before), but my game was a bit off. So, I decided to delay my workout to this afternoon. Moose was elated when San Geraldo went back to bed. He happily snoozed alongside and wasn't pleased when San Geraldo took only a half-hour nap. He just finally convinced Dudo to join him.

NOT A BAD IDEA (EXCEPT FOR THE HANGOVER).

Sand Bar (my name for it; click here for my first viewing), which had become Taberna de Piratas (Pirate Tavern), has been re-imagined and rechristened as Los Barrachos del Monasterio (The Drunks of the Monastery). One "monk" looks especially comfortable.

"THE DRUNKS OF THE MONASTERY."
ARTIST PAUL BLANE AT LEFT, TAKING A BREAK WHILE AN ASSISTANT WORKS.

The constantly evolving "Drunks of the Monastery" and several other brilliant works along the beach are the designs and masterworks of artist Paul Blane. He is apparently one of the world's top sand sculptors. Although it's obvious form his work, I didn't know until today that it's an official designation. He's been written up in international newspapers and travels the world for competitions. He included his website on the "monastery" sign. Check him out at http://thesand.wix.com/sand.


The weather is still glorious, but temps are climbing a bit. And although it's not really hot, it feels hotter. Real temp today is 29C/84F, but feels like 33C/92F. From our experience, nothing to complain about, but it may be what has slowed us down. San Geraldo is too lazy to prepare a lunch (and I'm too lazy to clean up afterwards), so we'll go out for some tapas or pizza today. After that, maybe I'll see how the monks are doing.

DUDO AND MOOSE HAVE THE RIGHT IDEA.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Nice Dash of Paprika

In recent days, I saw the two below fashionistas walking along the Paseo in front of Cafeteria Manila while San Geraldo and I sat trying to enjoy our coffee. I'm glad my breakfast had already settled. I'm also glad they liked their outfits. (I assume they liked their outfits.) To be fair, I thought I'd share some of our own early ensembles. San Geraldo and I — along with our sisters — defined the style of our generation. (When clicked, the photos make an even grander fashion statement.)



"A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika."
— Dorothy Parker


1962:  BLACK HIGH-TOP KEDS SNEAKERS! AND, GIVEN THE NAUTICAL LOOK,
THOSE HAD TO BE CLAM-DIGGERS AS OPPOSED TO PEDAL-PUSHERS.
(ANY SIGNIFICANCE TO THE LENGTH AND DANGLE OF THE ROPE? I WON'T TELL.)

1966:  SHORELINE TROLLEY MUSEUM, NEW MILFORD, CONNECTICUT.
(AT 12 AND 14, MY SISTER DALE AND I BEFORE WE WERE COOL.)
I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO MISS OUT ON THE PURSE.
(HERS; MINE IS A CAMERA... I SWEAR).

1973:  SAN GERALDO AND SISTERS, SOUTH DAKOTA.

1966:  AND WHO CAN FORGET THIS TRES CHIC TRIO?
(CLICK HERE IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THEM BEFORE.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Unicorns and Fire-Breathing Dragons

I read last week that Fuengirola issued new licenses to 15 street performers. The following day, a fire-juggling two-some appeared on the Paseo. They must be licensed because they're allowed to perform throughout the evening inches away from all the restaurants; amid the trees, awnings, and pedestrians. I took some photos during our last two visits to Sandpiper Restaurant. One guy is the juggler/acrobat and the other is clearly there to ensure safety — he's also the muscle for one segment, as you'll see in the second photo.




The Unicorn
I think I'm starting to forget my English, which is tragic since my Spanish doesn't fill the gap. When the juggler pulled out this one-wheeled thingamabob, I told San Geraldo, "Look, he's got a unicorn... Wait... That's not right. Unicycle." At least I can still tell when it's not right.

PLAYING WITH FIRE... ON A UNICORN, THURSDAY NIGHT.
FRIDAY NIGHT. THE UNICORN (I THINK IT'S THE SAME ONE) AS SEEN FROM OUR TERRACE.

The Dragons
Speaking of fire (and extinct creatures), some of the sand sculptors along the beach have been having a good time creating dragons. A number actually breathe fire. Others don't need to.

FIRE-BREATHING DRAGON.
NO FIRE, BUT I WOULDN'T MESS WITH HIM.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Cactus Flowers and a Succulent Succulent

We were so worried about the cats and the cacti. We hoped they wouldn't hurt themselves on the spines before they learned to avoid them. Dudo sniffed a bit, but now seems indifferent. Moose, on the other hand, gets up close and personal. But he's never been poked. What we hadn't thought about was the one succulent we purchased. Moose finds it irresistible. He doesn't eat it. Just pulls the new growth off the ends and drops them on the table. He now understands he's not supposed to do that. So, he behaves... when I'm looking. As soon as I turn my back, he's right back in. The succulent will be moved to outside the front door. No cats allowed. I wanted to take some photos of the blooms on one cactus. After sending Moose back inside, I closed the windows and the door. Dudo couldn't believe I was doing "something" without him.


MOOSE'S SUCCULENT SUCCULENT AT LEFT.
YOU CAN SEE THE TOPS MOOSE HAS NIPPED OFF.
MOOSE THE LURKER.
(CLICK ON ANY OF THE CATS TO MAGNIFY THE FRUSTRATION.)
DUDO: "WHATEVER YOU'RE DOING, I CAN HELP."
"OPEN THE DAMNED WINDOW!"
"I KNOW THAT'S THE LOCK. NOW IF I ONLY HAD FINGERS."
"I'M SERIOUS.  OPEN THE F@$#@%G WINDOW!"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And Now For The Fireworks

The festivities surrounding Nuestra Señora la Virgen del Carmen (Virgin of Mt. Carmel), the patron saint of mariners — and therefore of our neighborhood, Los Boliches — ended with a bang Tuesday night. Standing on our terrace, I took 103 photos of the fireworks. I easily whittled that number down to 94. I then continued to whittle until I decided on the 20 you see here. And, although 20 may be a bit much, at least it's not 103. Click on the smallest of the images (of which there are 6) and they'll become truly explosive.










PORTUGUESE MAN OF WAR (JELLY FISH). BETTER IN THE SKY THAN IN THE WATER.




A BIT OMINOUS.