Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two, Three, Four, Stick Around I'll Tell You More

I'm noticing a significant improvement in my state of mind lately and might even risk telling some stories again soon (without the fear, or worry, of boring you).

In the meantime, I thought I'd share an image of a summer neighbor who's been lounging poolside lately. She's her own work of art (reminds me of work by artist Duane Hanson; click here if you're unfamiliar).

CLICK TO ENLARGE ON MY PHOTOSHOPPED VERSION OF REALITY.

BY DUANE HANSON.


I actually remember watching this show in 1960.
(It must have been in a past life.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chiringuito Keys

I took another one of my long walks Wednesday with the idea that I would get pictures of ... um... what? ... of... pictures...

REMIND ME AGAIN WHY I'M HERE...
(CLICK IT TO MAKE IT BIGGER...)

... Oh, chiringuitos! I was about to tell you about chiringuitos.

A chiringuito is a restaurant/bar right on the beach. There are dozens of them here in Fuengirola. I have included photos of those east of where we live (and this time, I really mean east and not west; I got confused on my last post). The chiringuitos are well-known for the "boats" they have outside filled with sand and firewood for preparing different skewered fish (especially sardines).

VERY INVITING.

Enjoying a meal or drink in comfort on the beach with the gorgeous view can be very enticing. But, prices are often higher at the chiringuitos than they are at many of the restaurants and bars across the street. Also, quite often, you don't get what you pay for. There are, however, a few good ones. I've been told the one right across the street from us is one of the best.



Our friend Tynan refuses to eat at a chiringuito. As part of an agreement with the city, all the chiringuitos have to provide public access to their restrooms (toilets). I can't remember Tynan's exact words, so I'll paraphrase (and won't do him justice):

"Some bloke walks in off the beach. A waiter or someone passes him a key attached to a huge, dirty wooden thingy. The bloke comes back a few minutes later and returns the key. You know full well he hasn't washed his hands. The staffer hangs the big contaminated wooden thingy back on its hook — using his bare hand, mind you — and goes right back to dishing up your food."

THE CHIRINGUITO ACROSS FROM US WITH ITS YEAR-ROUND AMARYLLIS.
A SMOKING BOAT.
THE GUY IN THE MOSAIC MUST BE MARTIN.
ALL FIRED UP.
SHADED TERRACE DINING.
HOPE THAT'S ENOUGH BEER.
AND, OF COURSE, PAELLA.
CHARMING, BUT AIR QUALITY SUFFERS.
ANOTHER... THIS ONE APPARENTLY SELLS LOTTERY TICKETS.
SKEWERED SARDINES.
OR IF YOU'D PREFER TO HAVE SOMETHING PREPARED IN THE KITCHEN.
AN OASIS.
PEAKING IN THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW.
I STOPPED TO GET A REFLECTIVE VIEW THROUGH TO THE BEACH.
BUT SOME HALF-NAKED GUY HOVERED IN THE BACKGROUND.
SO I MOVED OVER TO GET HIM OUT OF THE PICTURE AND THEN
DISCOVERED I WAS "SOME HALF-NAKED GUY."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Step By Step

I took another long walk the other day — west east (mostly) on the Paseo. Fuengirola has 7.5 km (about 4.7 miles) of beach and the Paseo fronts most of it. When you reach the end of the paseo in that westerly easterly direction, you've just about reached the border of the city of Benalmádena (Ben-ahl-MAH-deh-nah). Fuengirola along the coast is mostly flat and very accessible. Benalmádena, on the other hand, is mostly not. But it's got some great views.

Usually, where the Paseo ends is where I stop. That's a 3.1-km walk from our house. But Saturday, I decided to cross onto the sand and continue. There's a winding staircase that leads up to a huge cliffside resort — and the main coast road into Benalmádena (although the center of town is still at least another 7 km — and then back). 

It's a quicker walk if you don't stay down below on the beach. And there are, of course, buses (and trains), But where's the fun in that?

(Click images for more sand.)

STEPPING OFF THE PASEO AND ONTO THE BEACH.
YOU CAN SEE THE RESORT AT THE TOP OF THE CLIFF IN CENTER BACKGROUND.
GETTING CLOSER.

I walked to the bottom of the steps. This was the closest I've come to climbing. It was a glorious, warm, sunny day for a walk. But, I was a bit overheated and decided that my 7-km roundtrip was enough for a summer day. So, I'll wait for the weather to cool a bit — maybe another month — and then I'll take a trip it to the top (and who knows where from there).

DON'T THOSE STEPS LOOK INVITING?
LOOKING BACK EAST WEST (MOSTLY).  NO CLIFFS.
UNLIKE IN FUENGIROLA, THERE ARE SEVERAL HOUSES RIGHT ON THE BEACH.
CONTINUING EAST-ISH WEST-ISH.  TIME TO GET HOME FOR A LATE LUNCH A LA SAN GERALDO.

Step By Step...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Window-Washing Safety Tip #117

Washing windows at our place is very easy. The windows and doors all open onto one terrace or another. So, there's no climbing ladders. No crawling out on sills. No reaching. No straining.

But I learned yesterday that, even washing these windows, caution is a good idea. After the fact, I checked a number of window-cleaning sites, especially those providing government safety regulations and not one mentioned the problem I encountered.

(Click images for bigger windows.)

A PEAK INTO THE FRONT BEDROOM.
REFLECTIONS OF THE AWNINGS AND THE BEACH BEYOND.
A SPARKLING BEDROOM VIEW OF THE BEACH (WITH AWNINGS DOWN).


SAFETY TIP #117: NEVER STRADDLE A CACTUS.  OUCH.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Los Boliches Beachability

Just a few minutes away from us in our neighborhood of Los Boliches is something that warmed my heart to see. There's a large boardwalk/terrace directly accessible to all from the paseo. People can switch out their street crutches for "beach crutches." There are thatch umbrellas (sombrillas), chaise lounges, and plenty of room for your own chairs and accessories. The boardwalk here extends all the way to the water, and there's a seaworthy wheelchair with jumbo wheels and pontoon sides that can float right in. The lifeguards who run things are skilled, charming, and oh-so accommodating.

TWO TRULY WONDERFUL INDIVIDUALS.

There's even a brilliant, and obviously loved, assistance dog on hand (that unfortunately wasn't there when I visited — but I did get to see videos). Many people are able to get down to the water independently using the sand crutches. But then what to do with the crutches? One of the many things the dog has been trained to do is swim alongside until the person is in deep enough to float. The dog then takes the crutches to shore and waits for the signal to carry them back out.

The city has been providing such services, free of charge, for 10 years. It makes me proud of Fuengirola, my adopted home. Click any image to fill your heart with sunshine.

HELPING A VISITOR INTO THE "FLOATING" WHEELCHAIR. 
FOREGROUND: SAND CRUTCHES.
BACKGROUND: BEACH-ENABLED.
RELAXING ON THE TERRACE.
HELPING A VISITOR DOWN TO THE WATER.
GONE SWIMMING.
PEDAL BOAT FOR THE LIFEGUARDS TO USE.
(IT WAS PROUDLY POINTED OUT TO ME THAT IT CAME FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA.)
EASY ACCESS FROM THE PASEO...
...IN EITHER DIRECTION.

"So, in the meantime, move on up..."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Walking On Water: Not As Easy As One Might Think

Life is good. I live on the Costa del Sol, right on the beach, with unobstructed views of the Mediterranean Sea.

I have an amazing husband, San Geraldo. After 33 years together but only 3 years legally married (as permitted by the State of Iowa), I still find it challenging to call San Geraldo "husband." In English, that is. In Spanish, the word "marido" rolls off my tongue and, here at least, never receives even a raised eyebrow.

THE INSTRUCTOR (RIGHT) SEEMS TO HAVE PERFECTED WALKING ON WATER.
THE GUY IN BLUE IS GETTING THE HANG OF IT.

San Geraldo sometimes is semi-high maintenance but, even then, almost always entertaining. He's fascinating, loving, intelligent, funny, curious, innocent, worldly, kind, empathetic, and generous. Not to mention good-looking. He gave me an incredible extended family that changed my life. He loves my mother and brother and would do anything for them. And they both love him — as did my father.

THAT'S QUITE A TAN LINE.

We've had amazing opportunities and adventures in our lives — before we met and in our years together. We've lived in exciting and beautiful places in the United States and, for these past 3+ years, in Spain. We have some truly exceptional friends.

NOT GIVING UP.

Some people who know me know full well that I'm flawed. Some think, I imagine, that I'm more flawed than even I would like to believe. Some who know me think my life has always been blessed and, therefore, they don't understand how I could ever be unhappy — about anything. Others know me, my flaws, my blessed life, and they understand. I've always wanted to be perfect and I've always been disappointed with reality.

ALMOST STANDING.

I've talked about my Clinical Depression (Major Depressive Disorder), in the past. I've lived with it all my life, but only learned what it was when I was 32 and began finally to be treated for it. The only thing that works for me is antidepressant medication. After taking meds the first time for about three weeks, I woke up one morning and didn't recognize myself. I didn't dread the day. I didn't hate what I saw in the mirror. I didn't go to bed that night hoping I wouldn't wake up the next day.

If you're interested in reading more about Clinical Depression, click here for the Mayo Clinic's helpful info.

HE AND THE BOARD DID FINALLY RESURFACE.
(TOO BAD THAT'S HIS PADDLE AND NOT A SNORKEL.)

It took me years to accept that the "Medicated Me" was the real me and not simply a doped up happy idiot. Depression is a constant in my life. Medication works for a while. Then it doesn't. Dosage is perfect. Then it isn't.

After more than 3 months of saying to myself, "Oh, these mood swings are just temporary," I finally realized (accepted) that, "No, they're not." So, the medication is back up a bit. I'm looking forward to feeling like myself again (that other person it took me years to get to know as myself).

NEARLY LOST HIS SHORTS THAT TIME, BUT STILL BACK FOR MORE.

I suppose I just wanted to say that, as you probably well know, life is rarely as easy as it might appear.

I ADMIRE HIM.  HE NEVER STOPPED TRYING.
BUT HE'S THINKING PERHAPS HE SHOULD HAVE JUST RENTED A CAR.

And it sure helps if you have a chance to laugh whenever you manage to come sputtering back up for air.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'll Be A Fool For You

San Geraldo and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary this past Saturday, 16 August.


Well, we didn't so much celebrate it as we did forget it.

And, to be honest, I don't know when either of us would have finally realized except that Linda (Jerry's sister) emailed us on the 18th to apologize for being late with her anniversary wishes. We were on the train heading to Feria Málaga when the email arrived.

"Hey, Jerry, guess what we forgot!" I laughed. He didn't have a clue. When I told him, he asked, "What month is this?"

At the start of the month, I began to wonder, "Now whose birthday is on the 16th?"

For the next two weeks, whenever the question came to mind, the only person I could think of was Valerie B.

Don't know Valerie B? We went to Junior High School together. I haven't seen her or heard anything about her since 1971. Anyway, Valerie B's birthday was July 16th, not August 16th. So, no, not Valerie B.

One would think, if I could remember the birthday of someone I haven't seen in 43 years, I'd remember my own anniversary.

So, Tuesday night (the 19th), spur of the moment, we had our second-annual anniversary dinner in Fuengirola at Sandpiper. I guess that means it's a tradition. Click here for the anniversary post from 2012, that includes pictures of us through the years... the many years. And click here for last year's celebration at Sandpiper.

Oh, by the way, apple pie smothered in custard (although sooooooooo delicious at Sandpiper) is not a good idea the day after a waffle and chocolate overdose.

JESSICA MAKES THINGS FESTIVE... WHILE WE WATCH.
MY GIN TONIC (RIGHT) AND SAN GERALDO'S GIN TONIQUITO (LEFT).
(OH, AND THAT'S MY DELICIOUS DIM SUM FRONT AND CENTER.)
TRYING TO GET AN ANNIVERSARY PHOTO WASN'T EASY.
JESSICA COULDN'T FIGURE OUT THE FOCUS ON MY TOO-BASIC CAMERA
... AND I COULDN'T GET SAN GERALDO TO BEHAVE HIMSELF.

This was the Number 1 hit when I met San Geraldo. Never one of my favorite songs but, well, if the shoe fits! Here's to My Endless Love.