Monday, March 30, 2015

True Colors

Summer has returned to the Costa del Sol. Just in time for Easter. I won't be surprised if winter rears its ugly head one more time. But, at its worst, winter here is really only mildly unattractive. Winter in New York? Now that was ugly.

OUR TRUE COLORS.
(CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)

I'm feeling great again (well, except for the hernia).

Our American passports expire soon, so after a brief phone conversation last week with the American Consular office, we went this morning to have new photos done and to submit the paperwork (and pay).

Everything went smoothly, although not necessarily pleasantly. I will say that, like bureaucrats everywhere, American bureaucrats are alive and well (and officious).

There was a large sparsely furnished waiting room separated from the work area by a high counter topped by an impenetrable glass partition. The first thing I noticed through the glass was a laser-printed sign standing atop a file cabinet in the background. It's a quote I've seen often over the years. However, it's a quote I would never expect to see in any consular office.

"Just when you think you've made it idiot-proof,
someone comes along and makes a better idiot."

I was tempted to comment on the inappropriateness — and offensiveness — of the sign, but didn't want to risk creating any kind of snag in our processing. At any rate, I didn't know if San Geraldo had also noticed the sign. And, since, he was already having a difficult time distinguishing between his inner voice and his outer voice, I decided to let it pass. San Geraldo reigned it in. We smiled (insincerely) and said, "Thank you."

STILL LOOKING FOR BLUE SEA GLASS.  TODAY'S BITS.

So, we're both feeling well, our passport renewals are in the works, I spent this afternoon at the beach, and it's Holy Week, which means we're going to enjoy a procession or two in Málaga. Some things at least do get better.


In the words of Cindi Lauper...

Friday, March 27, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons?

San Geraldo baked his indescribably incomparably excruciatingly beautiful and delicious lemon merengue pie. We enjoyed it and, Tuesday, the day of my doctor's appointment, we decided to split the remaining half between us, as dessert after lunch. (His idea, not mine.)

(CLICK IMAGE FOR A BIGGER PIECE OF PIE.)

When I started to feel a bit "off" later that afternoon, I assumed it was a combination of anxiety and pie. (That's what I get for taking my cue from San Geraldo.)

By the time the evening was over, I knew it was a stomach virus (see yesterday's post).

What a waste of lemon merengue pie.


The Merengue with Celia Cruz — What my stomach did Tuesday night...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Do You Want Me To Hold Your Head?

As I suspected, I do have a hernia. I'll have surgery probably toward the end of April. (The doctor initially scheduled it for April 9, but that would have impacted my social calendar!)

Today's photos have nothing to do with today's story. Once you've read, you'll understand why and will be grateful. (Still, click any image to enlarge the adorable.)

MOOSE DISCOVERS A CANVAS TOTE BAG.
(NOTE THE FLASH OF WHITE INSIDE THE BAG... DUDO GOT THERE FIRST.)

My stomach was upset Tuesday afternoon and, as I sat at the medical center waiting for my appointment, I proceeded to feel worse. At first I thought it was nerves, but by the time we headed home I felt weak, feverish, and had chills. I got out of the taxi and headed quickly into our building.

In the elevator, San Geraldo asked, "Do you feel like you're going to throw up?"

"No," I responded, "I just feel like I can't stand much longer."

A minute later, as I slipped the key in the lock, I said, "I think maybe I am going to..."

DUDO:  "HE'S SO ANNOYING!"

Fortunately I made it to the bathroom.

And that's as much detail as you'll get about my stomach virus. Except I will tell you that as I knelt and worshipped at the porcelain god, San Geraldo called from the den, "Do you want me to hold your head?"

Some people might find that endearing. (Well, I suppose I do, too.) But if I hadn't been choking at the time, I would have laughed. San Geraldo gets the dry heaves at the mention of the word "vomit." A great help he would have been.

AND MOOSE ENDS UP THE WINNER... FOR ONCE.

Later that night, San Geraldo did get the dry heaves. At first we thought he had also contracted the stomach bug, but as we look back now we're pretty certain his was an empathetic illness — dry heaves carried to an extreme.


Reciprocation
In the middle of the night, San Geraldo called out (as he is wont to do when he's not feeling well), "Miiiii-tchulllllllll."

I staggered to the bathroom to find him, as expected, kneeling on the floor and tipping sideways. I threw a towel under his head and said, "I'll get you a pillow."

I returned and realised I myself was close to passing out.

I thought, 'Maybe I should help him up.'

Then I thought, 'I have a hernia!'

"Here's a pillow. I can't help you," I blurted as I grabbed the doorframe for support before staggering back to bed.


A recent typical evening at Meson Salvador.
(Because I didn't take video Tuesday night ... John Gray of the blog, "Going Gently," probably would have — click here.)
video

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blow The Man Down

We haven't had much sunshine here in Fuengirola since our return nearly two weeks ago. Given the miserable weather we experienced in New York, while we were there San Geraldo insisted he would never again complain about Fuengirola's weather. He lied. I've complained, too, but I never said I wouldn't.

"To me, weigh hey, blow the man down."

A WALK ON THE BEACH LAST WEEK.
(CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
video
A TYPICAL DAY LATELY.

Still, the view is pretty amazing. Even if the wind gusts got so strong minutes before the solar eclipse that our table and chairs got blown over and tossed from one corner of the terrace to the other. Fortunately, there was no damage. The glass table top didn't get a scratch. But some of the furniture ended up in the living room for the remainder of the day. (I appear to have a hernia — doctor's appointment tomorrow — so San Geraldo did all the heavy lifting.)


"Give me some time to blow the man down."

NOT VERY GOOD FOR SITTING.
REDECORATING... TEMPORARILY.


"That spanking full rigger to New York was bound..."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Boys' Lollipop

I didn't have many opportunities to shop while I was in New York, but I did manage to visit a few local shops to pick up some all-American sweets for our non-American friends.

This time, I found little "bouquets" of Tootsie Roll Pops, as well as Marshmallow Peeps — a traditional Easter-time goodie. They're called "Peeps" because the first ones produced in the 1950s were little chicks made out of marshmallow. In 1980, the Marshmallow Peeps bunny was introduced. The original Peeps came in pink, white, or yellow. Lavender Peeps appeared in 1995 and blue ones in 1998.

I found a gourmet version at It'Sugar (click here to see the store); yellow chicks dipped in chocolate (three to a pack and not cheap — pun intended). I also bought pink and yellow Bunny Peeps.

I learned from my mother's friends about Tootsie Pop miniatures. Sheila had some at her house from Halloween; and Rosalie told me they were the perfect size to double as Q-tips (cotton swabs). The next time she came for a visit, she brought me a bag. They're cute. But not only couldn't they satisfy a sweet tooth, they couldn't even fill a cavity.

"PEEPS" — BUNNIES AND CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CHICKS.
TOOTSIE ROLL POPS IN BUNCHES AND MINI TOOTSIE ROLL POPS.
MY BOYS LOVED THEIR MINI LOLLIPOP,
OF COURSE, I'D ONLY LET THEM SNIFF.
MOOSE'S TURN.
THEY DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO LICK IT.


Dedicated to My Boy Lollipop... (and Dudo and Moose, too).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Here's To The Lady Who Lunches

During her five-week stay in hospital and rehab, My Mother The Dowager Duchess wasn't very anxious to have her picture taken. She felt in need of a haircut, a manicure, and some healthy color in her cheeks. We thought she still looked beautiful, but I respected her wishes... well, mostly (click here).

The day after The Duchess returned to her apartment, the Kid Brother came over and the four of us went to Hana, a nearby Asian Fusion restaurant (about a .25-mile/.4-km walk). I snapped a picture of my mother in the elevator and in the lobby. She still wasn't thrilled... but she's awfully cooperative.

The Dowager Duchess did her nails her first day home. She went out and had her hair cut last week. She's as beautiful as ever and is so happy to be home and back in charge.

IN THE ELEVATOR FOR HER FIRST LUNCH OUT.
IN THE LOBBY.
(OF COURSE, SHE KNITTED THAT HAT.)
THE MANICURE ...
AND SALMON TERIYAKI.

My mother is not one of "those" ladies who lunch.  Still, everybody rise...
(And, yes, Elaine Stritch, the Dowager Duchess at least does at times "still wear a hat.")

Friday, March 20, 2015

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

I had a very special uncle named Aaron. He was the husband of my mother's oldest sister, Lilly. I first wrote about them on my blog about four years ago, sharing a story of their later years. (Click here.)

Aaron was nine years my father's senior. He taught my father to drive. He taught me to ride a bike. I loved Aaron. When I was a baby, the first time I said "daddy" was when I saw Aaron walk into my grandparents' apartment.

UNCLE AARON AND DAUGHTERS, 1949–50.

Aaron was kind, generous, loving, funny, and entertaining. He and my father were very close and similar in many ways. And they at times shared a somewhat (understatement) corny sense of humor. Sometime in the 1960s, Aaron gave my father a very special "gift."

While the Duchess was in rehab last month, I was searching for some paperwork in my father's night table and I came across the above-mentioned "gift." It had never even been used (to my enormous relief).

(Click any image to enlarge.)

LIKE-NEW, RARE, PATENT ALARM CLOCK.
THE SETTINGS.
THE INSTRUCTIONS...
(SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR TRANSCRIPTION.)


So, who wants to help me burn my candle at both ends?


INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING
Just before going to sleep, instead of placing the candle in the candle-stick. STICK IT IN YOUR ASS up to the proper mark indicating the hour on which you wish to wake up. Then light the candle, lay on your face and go to sleep.
NOTE:  Don't fart in your sleep or you'll blow out candle.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Everything Old Is New Again

In 2013, I wrote a post (click here) about a sweater My Mother The Dowager Duchess knitted for my father in 1949. Having finally been outgrown by my father, the sweater sat in a drawer until around 1969 when he passed it on to me. I wore it into the late 1980s until I too outgrew it. I then gave the sweater to my cousin Evie for her son, Evan. I didn't know if Evan would want it but I figured, if he didn't, Evie could give it to charity.

THE DUCHESS AND THE SWEATER.
CONEY ISLAND, NEW YORK.  SUMMER 1949.
ME WITH A FRIEND AND THE SWEATER.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT.  WINTER 1986.

Evie has always had a difficult time parting with things of sentimental value. I didn't know about that in the 1980s. Last year, while San Geraldo and I were visiting the Duchess, Evie arrived with my favorite sweater. And it fit (snugly)! I can no longer wear it with a shirt and tie, but that's not my style anymore anyway.

NEARLY 66 YEARS OLD... NOT ME, THE SWEATER!
SANDPIPER RESTAURANT, FUENGIROLA.  WINTER 2015.


"Don't throw the past away. You might need it some rainy day."

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Like A Yo-Yo

We've been home in Fuengirola since Wednesday morning, and we're trying to get back to normal (OK, our version of normal).

I'm still jet-lagged and feeling a bit like a yo-yo. One moment, energized; the next, exhausted. One moment, content; the next, depressed. Then, back to content again.

I am so grateful for My Mother The Dowager Duchess's good health, and her own graciousness and gratitude throughout her confinement. The staff at the nursing home hugged and kissed her on her departure. They said she was the nicest patient they had ever had.

I'm also so grateful, as I always am, for San Geraldo.

Of course, I'm grateful for The Kid Brother. For his love, humor, and even for his early bird arrivals (before 8 in the morning) at the Duchess's and for his empty pockets (but only when it comes time to pay for a meal).

I don't know how to express my gratitude to you for your messages, comments, and positive thoughts. The Duchess has repeatedly told me that your kindness made her feel immediately better. Thank you all!

I've got a photo — in a folder somewhere — of the Dowager Duchess as we headed out for lunch her second day home. When I find it, I'll share it.

Meanwhile, some pix from our trip. (They get bigger with a click.)

SAN GERALDO READY TO LOAD UP FOR THE RIDE TO JFK.
(FORTUNATELY, A TAXI ARRIVED A FEW MINUTES LATER.)
READY TO TAKE OFF.  AT LEAST IT WASN'T SNOW.

THURSDAY NIGHT AFTER DINNER AT SANDPIPER.
BAILEY'S AND MALTESERS. (WE THOUGHT JESSICA HAD BROUGHT OLIVES!)
DUDO (ABOVE) AND MOOSE ARE SO HAPPY WE'RE HOME.
(BUT THEY WERE CLEARLY LOVED AND CARED FOR IN OUR ABSENCE.)
I HAVE A FEELING WE'RE NOT IN BROOKLYN ANYMORE.
(TRY PUTTING THAT ON A BAGEL.)
BACK TO THE BRACING, CYCLONIC WINDS OF LOS BOLICHES.
(SAN GERALDO SAYS HE'LL NEVER COMPLAIN AGAIN. I DON'T BELIEVE HIM.)


The Yo-Yo that came to mind:  Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, and "coming round right."
(You were expecting maybe the Osmonds? Not a chance!)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Feed Me, Seymour

The Dowager Duchess has already spent two nights at home in her own bed. Her recovery has been incredible. After only 24 hours at home, she began to take charge of her apartment again. (She even re-did her nails.) By tomorrow (Thursday), I might not be the boss of anything around here.

And that makes me so happy.

Too bad the weather continues its miserable ways. Otherwise we'd get out for a walk together. In the meantime, the Duchess did get out for a bit today (in the rain) so we could check in with her doctor. (All's well.) In addition, she and I do laps of her building's, thankfully block-long, lobby.

Temps are supposed to be back below freezing tomorrow (and snow). If the Kid Brother shows up, he and San Geraldo will head to the casino for a while (poor guys). The Duchess and I will stay home for some appointments and deliveries.

TSAR PUTIN.  OOPS!  I MEAN TSAR NICOLAS II DARK BREAD.
IT'S GETTING HARD TO TELL ONE FROM THE OTHER... THE TSARS, I MEAN.

I don't know what we'll do about lunch tomorrow if San Geraldo isn't here. He's been serving up wonderful soups and sandwiches. Tuesday, we had grilled cheese served on the most delicious Russian dark bread, alongside tomato/basil soup. The soup was Healthy Choice, out of a can (tin), but that's more than I would have done. Of course, he cooks dinner, too. Pasta, chili, home-made chicken soup, chicken/rice curry.

GRILLED CHEEESE ON RUSSIAN DARK BREAD.
TOMATO/BASIL SOUP.

Sunday, the Kid Brother and I walked over to Nathan's for hot dogs. Despite facing directly into the wind-driven snow, we had a great time. And we capped it off with another visit to the store across the street from Nathan's, IT'SUGAR.

It's the only store open around there this time of year; otherwise I would never have gone in... again. I swear!

SO EASY TO GET A SMILE OUT OF THE KID BROTHER...
ALL I HAVE TO DO IS ASK HIM TO PAY FOR LUNCH.
IF NOT FOR SAN GERALDO, THIS IS WHERE I'D BE DINING.


Feed me, San Geraldo...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ice-Cold Chocolate Therapy

The Dowager Duchess is coming home Monday. San Geraldo decided to stay with us another week to help her get settled and then he and I will fly back to Spain together. Have I mentioned that the man is a saint?

It's currently 29F/–2C here on the beach (in Brooklyn). And, although at this point, Sunday and Monday are expected to be miserable days (clouds, snow, rain, sleet), temps are expected to be above freezing for the foreseeable future. A veritable heatwave!

Here's a quick look at what we're enduring and how we're surviving. (Click any image to enlarge.)

WAITING FOR MEXICANA CAR SERVICE FRIDAY AFTERNOON.
VIEW OF ICE FLOES FROM THE DOWAGER DUCHESS'S KITCHEN WINDOWS.
(HAVING PASSED THROUGH NY HARBOR AND HEADING OUT TO SEA!)
A GROWING ICE BRIDGE BETWEEN THE NURSING HOME AND SEAGATE?
(A COMMUNITY AT THE TIP OF CONEY ISLAND.)
THANKS TO SAN GERALDO, THIS IS HOW I COPE.


He's the ice cream man; he's so good to me, yeah.