Monday, September 30, 2013

So, Sue Me

Remember when I told you Thursday that I was not going to whine anymore about the way I was feeling? Well, I did tell you that (click for a reminder). And, well... I lied. The glands in my neck are still swollen. It hurts when I yawn. It hurts when I chew. It hurts when I swallow — even water. It hurts, a lot, when I cough or blow my nose — even gently. Being the drug lightweight I am (and probably because I've got some sort of bug taking it out of me), I'm fairly knocked out much of the day.


I have an appointment Thursday with my own doctor (Internal Medicine as opposed to General Practitioner). I'm hoping to be able to hold out until then. It's certainly not an emergency and I don't know what more help I'll get at "Urgencias" than I got last week. The swelling goes up and down. It was awful first thing this morning and, within an hour, it was greatly reduced.


I was out on the terrace for a few minutes yesterday afternoon. The sun felt great. The wind hurt. When I came back in, I sat down in the living room and saw my reflection in a mirror on the opposite wall. I thought it would make a good picture. It did. But I didn't realize the lump in my neck would be obvious. Also, I probably should have first straightened the mirror.

(I learned if you make all the pictures and mirrors on the walls crooked, people will think you dusted. Well, that's not true: I used to accuse My Mother The Dowager Duchess of doing that because there was always something askew on her walls. I'm too obsessive-compulsive to leave anything crooked.)



So, I'll straighten the mirror and will try again when I'm back to my usual photogenic perfection. (And now I'm hallucinating.)


Alright, so, I complained. Again. So, sue me. (But, oddly, I'm feeling quite a bit better right now. Maybe whining is a good thing.) Now I think I'll go try to chew and swallow something.


Friday, September 27, 2013

That Cat Is High

Dudo and Moose are now in the habit of having (i.e., demanding) a cat treat every day. Canned tuna in oil? Not a chance. Packed in spring water? No, thanks. Official cat treats only. Dudo loves any cat treat he's offered. Moose was only initially interested in the canned food. Now, he likes it all. Dudo (the slender) continues to eat more of the treats (and more quickly) than Moose (the stocky).

IS IT TIME???

They both knew that the only time I entered the kitchen was to clean. Now I also go into the kitchen for their treats. So, if we haven't just finished a meal and I go anywhere near the kitchen, both cats come running. When I call them for treats, they go nuts. Dudo stands on his hind legs. They both "talk" to me non-stop until I place the plates on the floor.

DUDO (BOTTOM) STARTS WITH THREE TIMES AS MUCH. HE FINISHES FIRST.
THEN HE HELPS MOOSE.

While I was at the hospital the other evening, San Geraldo gave them their treats. When he invited them into the kitchen, they looked at him like he was crazy. He asked them if they wanted treats and they both just tilted their heads at him. He took a can from the shelf and they still didn't have a clue. They didn't pay much attention until the can was opened. When I got home, they tried to convince me they hadn't yet had any.

video
DUDO AFTER TREAT.


After treats, they're both over the moon. They run circles around the house. Chasing each other or themselves... or their imaginary friends. They fly out the door to the terrace, return seconds later through a window, only to fly out still another window. They tease each other. They pounce. They wrestle. And then they sleep. They love my cooking.

ONE SLIGHTLY STONED DUDO.
ONE TOTALLY PARTIED-OUT MOOSE.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Watching Little Things Grow

I spent 4-1/2 hours Monday at Urgent Care at the hospital in Benalmádena. Nothing more serious than an overactive imagination. The little glands in my neck had swollen to an impressive size. Probably the result of a cold or something like it. So, I'll be taking Ibuprofen powder every 8 hours for another four days.

WAITING, BLOOD, MORE WAITING, ULTRASOUND. (MORE WAITING. NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.)

I think I've told you before: I'm a lightweight when it comes to medication. One dose of Ibuprofen knocks me for a loop. So, I do a bit here and there and then I lounge. Until today, I've been kind of whiney. But, I've decided I've had enough of that. Poor San Geraldo probably had enough of it Sunday.

TUESDAY.

Tuesday morning, I took a close-up of the bloom on one of our indoor plants (moved with us from Sevilla). I took another close-up today. Like my glands, it grew quickly and dramatically. Unlike my glands, it's beautiful and painless.

THURSDAY. (CLICK TO REALLY SEE IT.)

San Geraldo stuck the remains of a mango in water last week. Today, he looked up how to propagate a mango seed. It turns out he didn't do things per the instructions but the seed sprouted. So, he planted it. If he didn't get it right, he'll try again. This is so much fun, we may end up with a fruit orchard on the terrace.

MANGO. NOT PER INSTRUCTIONS, BUT IT LOOKS PROMISING.

And still on the subject of watching little things grow: Birgitte, one of "the kids" pictured in the Norwegian Family photo from Wednesday's blog post (click here) commented that I could have at least posted a current photo to show she wasn't quite so dorky anymore (my words, not hers — she just didn't find it very flattering). She was 13 at the time. She's now 28. I thought she was adorable then. Now, I think she's a goddess.

WATCHING LITTLE THINGS GROW. 1998 TO 2013.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Klipphopparpingvin Descendants

A GIFT FROM THE NORWEGIANS.
Tynan, of Cafe Manila fame, told us a joke this morning. San Geraldo "got it" right away. Very unusual. First, there's the fact that Tynan grew up in the English Midlands and San Geraldo only understands about half of what he says (the other English staff at Cafe Manila, and I, understand the other half). Second, San Geraldo usually doesn't "get" any jokes without some explanation from me, which means that by the time he does "get it," the joke is no longer funny.

I will eventually get to the joke, but it was about a penguin and that made me think of San Geraldo's Norwegian ancestors.

Bergen, Norway
No one in San Geraldo's family had ever been back to Norway since his mother Alice's parents settled in the United States. Alice's father met her mother on the boat to New York in the 1920s. She was from Bergen. Before our trip to Norway with Alice in 1998, San Geraldo had done a lot of research and managed to find every address that his great-grandmother Ingeborg had ever had in the city. Alice had a cousin who still lived in Bergen. They had never met. We learned that the cousin had children (our generation) who also lived in Bergen. San Geraldo's second-cousin Inger and her husband Jan Olaf met us at our hotel our first day. It was love at first sight. San Geraldo had sent Inger all Ingeborg's addresses and Inger and Jan Olaf took us for a walk around Bergen to show us all the houses.

THE NORWEGIANS WITH ALICE AND SAN GERALDO, 1998.

When we arrived at the final address, we came to a tall fence at the edge of a large park. Inger turned around and very dramatically (it's genetic) said, "Jerry! I have terrible news! Ingeborg's last house is now the "pingvindam!"


INGEBORG'S HOUSE, TOP CENTER AT #2.

We learned that "pingvindam" means "penguin pond." In 1960, Ingeborg's house — and the entire neighborhood — had been razed to create the Bergen Aquarium.

On our last magical night in Bergen, we had dinner at home with Inger, Jan Olaf, and their three amazing kids. Inger gave us "lovely parting gifts" and cards. Ours was a postcard from Bergen Aquarium. On the front was a photo of a Rockhopper Penguin (in Norwegian, klipphopparpingvin). On the back was a heart-warming note from Inger that ended with "And Jerry: Don't forget where your ancients come from!"

 DISTANT COUSIN ANDERS KLIPPHOPPARPINGVIN.

Back to Tynan
"One morning, a penguin walks into a shop and asks, 'Do you have any prawns?' "
The shop owner says, "No."

"Next morning, the penguin returns to the shop and asks, 'Do you have any prawns?'"
The owner says, "No."

"Next morning, the penguin is again at the shop. He asks, 'Do you have any prawns?' "
The shop owner shouts, "No! And if you ask me that again, I'll nail your flippers to the floor!"

"The following morning, the penguin walks through the door. 'Do you have any nails?' "
"No."
"Do you have any prawns?"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pulling Something at Sunrise

"Are you pulling my elbow?"

CLICK ANY IMAGE TO INCREASE THE SUNSHINE.

"Are you pulling my elbow?" That was what San Geraldo asked me this morning at sunrise when I told him a story about someone we could see on the beach. I don't even remember what the story was. And it doesn't matter anyway. It wasn't actually true. I was simply having fun with the chronically gullible San Geraldo. He believes just about everything I tell him (except the truth — for a reminder of the lesson on cathouses, click here).


"No, I'm not pulling your elbow," I responded. "But I am pulling your leg."


"Oh," he said. "What does pulling your elbow mean?"


"I have no idea," was my response. "I've heard of twisting someone's arm, but that's something entirely different."


I added, "Although, pulling your own elbow would hurt."


"This is going to be a blog post, isn't it..." he muttered.


Oh, there's just no putting anything over on San Geraldo.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Must I Must I Must Increase My Bust

When I was in high school, I had a girlfriend who had a ditty she would use as she performed isometric exercises. I'm not naming any names (but she knows who she is).

"I must. I must. I must increase my bust," she would chant as she pressed her palms together in front of her chest — or as she performed push-ups in a standing position against her parents' living room wall.

In case you're wondering, the exercises didn't work.

WHAT I SAW TODAY JUST BEFORE I SAW SOME NEW BREASTS.

Today, I went for a walk to Benalmádena. Quick pace. Beautiful sunshine. Great exercise. On my way back, as I neared one of the workout stations along the beach, I noticed a mature blonde doing the same exercise I remembered my girlfriend doing in high school. However, unlike my former girlfriend, the blonde was topless and clearly had no need to increase anything. In fact, it was pretty clear her "bust" had been increased significantly by other means.

ONE OF SEVERAL EXERCISE STATIONS ALONG THE BEACH.

Unlike in Las Vegas and Southern California, I don't see a lot of cosmetic surgery around here. It's here, but it's not typical (or at least not so obvious). So it's unusual for me to see silicone breasts out and about. And these breasts were especially out and about. The exercise equipment is right along the paseo, and the blonde performed her exercises with her very large, unnaturally upright, and strangely solid breasts facing out proudly to the passers-by.

THE BREAST STATION?

Another topless woman about 50 feet away on the beach sat comparing her own large breasts to these new models on display. She placed her hands beneath her full, gravity drawn, breasts and lifted. Significantly. She compared the results and then let them drop. Heavily. She finally threw up her hands dramatically and laughed.

I really wanted to take a picture. I also wanted to tell the blonde those exercises were not only ineffective but also, in her case, totally pointless. But then she already knew that. She clearly just liked showing them off. Good for her.

THE HORIZONTAL BARS ARE APPARENTLY BEST ... IF ONLY FOR FULL EXPOSURE.

And speaking of show-offs: As I continued my walk, a guy passed heading in the opposite direction. He wore nothing but a pair of hot-yellow running shoes and day-glo orange nylon running shorts.

Unbelievably short and skimpy day-glo orange nylon running shorts.

With, very obviously, no built-in support — and clearly no underwear or jock to compensate for the lack of built-in support — the guy's shorts left absolutely nothing to the imagination (and I mean nothing). OK, he wasn't bad to look at but all I could think as he jounced ... I mean jogged ... by was, "After a while, that has got to hurt." He was also blond. But I'm pretty sure his parts were real. I probably should have back-tracked to see if he also took a crack at the horizontal bars.

So, in all, it was an excellent, invigorating, and entertaining walk. But in my cotton shorts and supportive underwear — with my T-shirt hooked into my waistband — I felt seriously over-dressed.

ALMOST HOME. MAYBE IT"S JUST ME...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Glad All Over

My sister Dale taught me how to dance. She also, unintentionally, taught me how to say "damn it" and "go to hell" just as I taught (also unintentionally) our little brother Chuck to say much worse. But, being taught to dance was a more pleasant activity (although learning how to swear was much more practical). (Click any of the photos to fill the screen with love.)

DALE IN THE ARMS OF THE DUCHESS, 1952.

Because today would be her birthday, (I suppose it still is; she's just not here to celebrate it) this post is all about Dale (mostly all about Dale), in pictures. Two years and nine months into her life, it became all about me. And then another five years and eight months later, it became all about Chucky, and it has remained so. (Not really, but I like to say that.)

DALE, DAD, AND THE DUCHESS.

Anyway, Dale had me brushing up my dance moves to her LPs and 45s the evening before every wedding, bar mitzvah, and school dance. I was never as relaxed a dancer as she was. And, although she always encouraged me, I did get some mixed messages. She taught me to dance mostly to The Temptations and The Dave Clark Five. Good beats, she would say. But she oddly always taught me the back-up dancers' moves. I guess she was meant to be the star.

DAD AND DAUGHTER ON THE RICKETY OLD BACK PORCH.
DALE IN BLUE.
CHECK OUT THE YOYO, MA!
DALE, THE DUCHESS, AND LITTLE BROTHER #1 (ME) ON THE WAY.
CONEY ISLAND. DALE WANTED A PONY FOR CHRISTMAS (EVERY CHRISTMAS).
(FIVE PHOTOS FOR 25 CENTS???)
DUCHESS, DALE, AND LITTLE BROTHER #2 (CHUCK) ON THE WAY.
(MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS THAT SHE WAS LOOKING AT HER MOBILE PHONE!)
AFTER ANOTHER LONG NIGHT OF DANCING AND DRINKING.
(MY BAR MITZVAH...)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Misery Loves Company and Another Google(d) Home

This morning while enjoying my coffee at Cafe Manila (yes, admittedly, I enjoyed it), I was looking at yesterday's blog post and I noticed one photo was missing. I had remembered to grab it from Google Maps but had forgotten to include it in the post.

We spent two years living in Irvine, California, between (chronologically) Las Vegas and Sevilla. Irvine is a master-planned city. Completely landscaped. Pristine. Perfectly manicured. Everything carefully thought-out ... and controlled. Many people like it. My take? "The Stepford Wives" comes to mind.

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA. WE WERE RIGHT NEXT TO THE CLUBHOUSE, GYM, AND POOL.


Who Could Possibly Remain Miserable?
Sharing my pseudo-misery with you yesterday helped me overcome it quite a bit. So, thanks! I hope I didn't pass it on. Coffee at Cafe Manila this morning helped some more. As Tynan expressed it, there were two "Canadans" (as opposed to Canadians) having breakfast. We haven't looked up the origins of the term Canadian (although Tynan suggested we do so), but he did make us wonder why we aren't called the Americanians. After that highly intellectual and thought-provoking conversation (for which we can always count on Tynan), San Geraldo headed off to his Spanish class. (What is this world coming to? First he starts losing weight. Then he starts formally studying Spanish.) I came home to the cats and they let me share their bed. It's not so bad.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Google Home

I've been thinking. Well, I've been wallowing is more accurate. So, I haven't been much inspired to post anything. No. That's not true either. I've wanted to post, but I figured if I did you'd all run away screaming. But a 5.5-mile walk in 90 minutes today while listening to Paul Simon's "Graceland" album may have helped get me back on track. My sister Dale's birthday is coming up and, although she's been gone more than 32 years, this one has been strangely difficult to face.

VAN SICLEN AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY.

Instead of one of my more usual blogs (do I have a usual blog?), I decided to go on Google Maps and see if I could find every place I've ever lived (not including college dorms or anyplace I/we stayed less than 6 months). A few places are in "gated communities," which Google must not have had permission to drive through. In Guilford, they just didn't drive up our cul-de-sac. In those instances, I either included a photo of the community entrance or an aerial shot.

NORTH MASSAPEQUA, NY.
BROOKLYN, NY.

One really fun discovery: I had been under the impression that the house we lived in when I was born had been torn down long ago. It was built in 1901 (and, yes, it was already a really old house when I was born!). But there it is on Google maps— still standing. It's the first in the series.


The University Years
BROCKPORT, NY.
BROCKPORT, NY.  (APPROPRIATELY, AT THE END OF HIGH STREET.)

A Place of My Own
BROOKLYN, NY.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS.
BOSTON.

The San Geraldo Years
BOSTON.
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA.
GEORGETOWN, WASHINGTON, DC.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT.
GUILFORD, CONNECTICUT.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
SAN DIEGO.
SAN FRANCISCO.
PALM SPRINGS.
SANTA BARBARA.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA.
LAS VEGAS.
SEVILLA, SPAIN.
AND NOW... LOS BOLICHES, FUENGIROLA, MÁLAGA.
(AND, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I'M EXHAUSTED!)
DALE AND I, VAN SICLEN AVENUE, 1956.