Monday, February 29, 2016

The Second Quadrennial Día De San Geraldo

During our first six months in Sevilla (2011), San Geraldo decided it was all too much for him — having to try and communicate in Spanish, to find his way around town, to survive the Sevillano summer heat.

We had noticed that there was always some kind of procession on the streets of Sevilla. A saint (a statue, a relic, or actual remains) was paraded through the streets with great pomp. He considered locking himself in the house never to emerge, but he thought that would be a bit extreme.

So, being the 22-greats grandson of King Ferdinand III, San Geraldo commanded that he should only have to be paraded on his one special day — just like all the other saints of Spain. He then took it one step further and decided His day should be observed February 29. In that way, he would only have to go out in public once every four years.

Well, here we are again.

On San Geraldo's first Quadrennial, I clothed him (using Photoshop) in the robes of a very holy statue. (Click here for the original post or see the photo below.) He thought I had been disrespectful.

SAN GERALDO, SEVILLA, 2012.

So this year, I give you San Geraldo in the original 800-year-old ermine-topped cape of his multi-greats grandfather, San Fernando Rey. San Fernando died in 1252, but was canonized in 1671. I even let San Geraldo wear Grandpa's crown, leaving San Geraldo's own crown (at top of post) in the Tower of Los Boliches (our apartment building) with the rest of the Crown Jewels. So, until Leap Year 2020, it's back in mothballs for the ermine cape — and San Geraldo.

SECOND QUADRENNIAL DÍA DE SAN GERALDO, 2016.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Uncut And Stuffed

Thursday night at dinner, our waiter very kindly brought us a complementary appetizer. A small plate containing what looked like an uncircumcised penis, hollowed out, stuffed with something, and lying atop a bed of seasoned rice.

The rice looked good.

On closer inspection, I saw that the dead penis was filled with bits of tiny squid and ground pork. I guessed, correctly, that the thick skin had been part of a much larger squid. We learned once we moved to Spain that squid, like penises, come in all sizes.

San Geraldo said, "What smells?"

I touched the penis with my fork and exposed ground meat and little squid legs.

San Geraldo — who will usually try anything unless it contains walnuts, coconut, or olives — refused to take a taste.

I — who will usually hesitate to try anything that doesn't contain recognizable elements, like walnuts, coconut, or olives — took a teeny taste.

That teeny taste was immediately followed by a slug of Málaga wine, which was followed by a thick slice of bread.

San Geraldo began to cut into the penis for a closer look.

Still chewing bread and unable to bare ... bear a closer look, I pushed his hand away, and covered the plate with a cocktail napkin.

CHIPIRONES, CALAMARE RELLONOS, POTAS Y CALAMARES.
(SQUID, STUFFED, SQUID, BIG SQUID AND LITTLE SQUID.... AND VERY GOOD RICE.)

We apologized to the waiter for being so ungracious and so lacking in taste.

A moment later, a very elegant couple at a nearby table had an entire huge plate of dead, uncircumcised, stuffed penis and consumed it greedily. Shows how much WE know!

FROM THE WEB: KIND OF WHAT OURS LOOKED LIKE.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Make It Better Each And Every Day

A couple of months ago, I was inspired to dye my facial hair. The idea is not to pretend my facial hair isn't mostly gray. The idea is to add some fun and a little style.

This is not a good shot, but you get the general idea. Initially, I dyed the band straight down to under my chin. Now, I'm experimenting with only the moustache and 'soul patch.' But before I make up my mind about that, I need your opinion on the following:

Does this dye job make my ass look big?


THREE WEEKS AGO OUTSIDE EL CORTE INGLÉS DEPARTMENT STORE IN MIJAS.


I'm a Soul Man... (if only I were this cool)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Dose Of The Dowager Duchess

My Mother The Dowager Duchess is doing well and continues to be a delight, although she'd tell you she doesn't feel like herself (which is true) and is frustrated that she can't do as much as she used to (which is also true and understandable).

She goes for walks when the weather cooperates and is fortunate to have help with laundry and cleaning, and with errands when the weather doesn't cooperate. She's hoping to get back to watercolor class — again, when the weather cooperates.

Although The Duchess and I Skype every weekend, The Kid Brother has been, as he says, "taking a break." It's become a very long break, but the Duchess understands him and doesn't mind. And she's happy he's become much more social and involved in his group's activities.  He and I speak about once a week.

So, everything is fine. San Geraldo and I are planning another visit in the coming months, which means The Kid Brother will finally visit the Dowager Duchess, as well. (He and I will go to Nathan's for hot dogs and to play skee ball in Coney Island. He and San Geraldo will go to "the racetrack" to gamble at the casino next door.)  Life goes on.

SUNDAY ON SKYPE WITH THE DOWAGER DUCHESS.
PHOTO TAKEN AND POSTED WITHOUT HER PERMISSION.
BUT I FIGURE WHEN YOU'RE AS GOOD-LOOKING AS SHE IS, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Oh, Please!

Remember that post I wrote a short time ago about the adorable, coy, and irresistible Dudo and how much posing/flirting he could do in a mere 60 seconds? (Click here if you don't). Well, it's only fair that I do the same for Musy (aka Moose).

Moose is adorable.

Moose is irresistible.

But if you're expecting coy, coquettish (or even cooperative), forget it.

Presenting two minutes with Moose.






Friday, February 19, 2016

Cyclones, Lampposts, And Uncool Cats

San Geraldo's cyclonic winds were back overnight and into Friday morning. The winds and the rain kept him awake. I received a photo taken by Juan Carlos who was on his way to work around 9 and saw that an outside light had been blown off and crashed into the roof of one of the permanent concession booths near our house. This particular booth has never been used in our three years here, so by the time I left for coffee, it had been demolished.

With a low of 9C (48F) and a high of  15C (59F), and with wet sea air, we were  all feeling the chill. I don't have heat in my office, so I plugged in a space heater. Dudo liked the heat. When I turned it off as I was leaving the house, he headed into Jerry's heated office and cozied up to Moose.

JUAN CARLOS SNAPPED THIS ON HIS WAY TO WORK.
LATER, ON MY WAY TO COFFEE.

DUDO KEEPING HIS TOOTSIES WARM IN MY OFFICE... JUST TO BE NEAR ME.
SNUGGLING TOGETHER IN A ROOM WITH REAL HEAT.
GERALDO'S SAINTLINESS BEING TESTED FRIDAY NIGHT.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Better Than Muscles?

The other evening, the setting sun turned the sky ablaze before evolving into soft grays and pinks. The winds had been dramatic for about 36 hours (cyclonic, as San Geraldo would/did say) and they were still blowing (although much less) when I began my walk. By the time of the flaming sunset, all was calm.

I've been reading the usual blogs this week and my Canadian friends have been boasting of their spring-like weather. It's been up to 9 degrees Celsius, they've said. That's around 48F.

Well, we were DOWN to 8 degrees Celsius that one night and we weren't calling it springlike. The word we used to describe the weather began with an "f"; and that's not "fine." Everything's relative.

But don't worry about us (as if you were). We headed back to Meson Salvador (San Geraldo in long underwear) and we come home feeling warm, loved, and over-stuffed!

BLOWING IN THE WIND. (LEFT) MY FOOTPRINT WHEN I RETURNED FROM THE WATER.
(RIGHT) MY FOOTPRINT WHEN I HEADED TO THE WATER TWO MINUTES EARLIER.
LOOKING NORTHEAST AT SUNSET
LOOKING NORTHWEST AT SUNSET.
PINK AND GRAY.
MEJILLONES (MUSSELS) AT MESON SALVADOR.
AND I LOVE MUSCLES.... MUSSELS! (OK, BOTH.)
THEY WERE OUT OF LITTLE MINI-MUFFINS FOR OUR COFFEE.
WE HAD TO MAKE DO WITH HOME-MADE CHEESECAKE BITES. WOE IS US.

NOTE: The difference between mussels and muscles can be confusing for non-English speakers. I've known Spanish friends and Norwegian family to pronounce "muscles" as "muss-kulls." When I've told them both muscles and mussels are pronounced identically, I'm asked, "Then why are they spelled differently?"

Monday, February 15, 2016

All In The Familia

Meson Salvador has been in our neighbourhood, Los Boliches, since 1969. The owner Jose (his father was Salvador) is a welcoming, kind, generous, and gifted host.

We happened to have lunch at the restaurant when we were here looking for a place to live (more than three years ago) having no idea we had stumbled upon one of the best places in Los Boliches.

Each and every member of the staff is exceptional at what they do, charming, kind, and funny. And the minute you walk through the door, you're called familia.

The welcome we receive every time we visit (which is often) makes any day better. Exceptional food. Huge portions. Excellent prices. Jubilant atmosphere. Professional, and sincerely kind, service.

If I only had one opportunity for a meal in Fuengirola, this is where I would go.

And I'll shut up now. You've got a lot of food to get through.

(Click for larger servings.)

SOME NIGHTS I START WITH VINO MÁLAGA (LOCAL SWEET SHERRY),
AND ALWAYS  SPANISH OLIVES.
PARRILLADA (MIXED GRILL) FOR TWO.
(I'M SURE IT COULD FEED FOUR — IF WE WEREN'T THERE.)
SPANISH TORTILLA TAPA (LIKE A POTATO PIE).
(OBVIOUSLY, NOTHING LIKE A MEXICAN TORTILLA.)
ABANÍCO IBÉRICO.
(PORK. ABANÍCO MEANS FAN.)
SURTIDO DE CROQUETAS Y VERDURAS A LA PLANCHA.
(CROQUETTE ASSORTMENT AND GRILLED VEGETABLES.)
CORDERO (LEG OF LAMB).
ALBÓNDIGAS (SPANISH MEATBALLS)
IN A TRADITIONAL ALMOND SAUCE.
COFFEE WITH LOVE.
NORMALLY, THE NIGHT ENDS WITH A COMPLEMENTARY PIONONO,
(CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT PIONONO.)
ABOVE WITH THE ADDITION OF WHISKEY AND WHIPPED CREAM.

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Balls!" Cried The Queen

This has been a temptingly off-colour week. But somehow I've managed to [mostly] behave myself. First there was the post about the fútbol-shaped sauna (click here) at which time I managed to avoid  talking about sweaty balls.

Then there was the fruity post about granadillas and mangostanes (click here). Mangostán is the hollow fruit filled with gooey seed[s].

Today, it's all about luscious balls of sweetness — hazelnuts dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cocoa and cinnamon. A gift to me from Ana Crespillo and her fruit market (click here if you haven't met the Crespillos) to make up for the fact that she gave San Geraldo some strawberries the day before. And, although San Geraldo didn't share his strawberries with me, I shared my balls with him. (Sorry, mom.)

AVELLANA TRUFADO CON CANELA.
(HAZELNUT TRUFFLE WITH CINNAMON.)
HAZELNUT ENCASED IN WHITE CHOCOLATE.
ROLLED IN COCOA AND CINNAMON.




Whence the title (that's English for 'where'd it come from'?):
"Balls!" cried the queen. "If I had to [two], I could be king!"
The king laughed. Not because he wanted to [two], but because he had to [two].

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's Grumpy's Birthday

One of the other of the many names I have for San Geraldo is Gruñon. It means Grumpy.

"ANOTHER PICTURE? REALLY?!?"
A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER. STILL FEELING THE CHILL...
... AND SERIOUSLY GRUMPY.

San Geraldo is not always Gruñon. But, when he is, he does it with style and drama — as he does all things.

He also does everything with kindness, empathy, intelligence, love, and a warm and generous sense of humour.

So, here's wishing Grumpy — my muse, my inspiration, the butt of my jokes, and the love of my life — a joyous birthday.

He's the reason I'm Happy.



Interesting that Grumpy is the one playing the piano. Just like in real life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Nao, Victoria?

When San Geraldo and I were walking to the gym one afternoon last week, we spotted a 500-year-old ship in the harbour. He wondered aloud, jokingly, if it was the Santa Maria, while I wondered if it was the Niña (no votes for the Pinta).

A FIRST GLIMPSE.

It was enough that San Geraldo was walking to the gym, so I wasn't going to tempt fate by asking him to take a sidetrip. Instead, I took a walk on my own a day later and discovered that the ship was a replica completed in 2011 of the Nao Victoria, the first ship to circumnavigate the globe. "Nao" means "carrack," which was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in the 15th century.

The Victoria was built in the year 1512. The Spanish expedition, which began in 1519 and ended in 1522, was commanded by Portugal's Ferdinand Magellan (who died during the voyage). They set off with five ships and a total crew of 265. Only the Victoria completed the journey, returning to Sevilla with 18 of its original 42-man crew returning (and its hold filled with exotic spices). Crew members scattered, mutinied, died, or were killed — either by each other or by native populations.

The replica was completed in 2011. For 3 euros, I was able to board and explore. Not a lot to see, really; it's amazing how tiny these sea-going vessels used to be. But it was definitely worth the price.




SUNDAY MORNING, I AWOKE TO THIS SIGHT AS THE VICTORIA HEADED
FURTHER INTO THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, toria...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Being Fruitful

San Geraldo made his daily stop at Ana Crespillo's fruit market here in Los Boliches (click for the Facebook page) and she had him try two new-to-him fruits. He liked them so much that he bought two of each so I could share in the ecstasy.

Mangostán
The first is called Mangostán. I've looked it up and learned the English name is Purple Mangosteen. It's a tropical evergreen tree. The fruit I tasted had a subtle fragrance and a mild, pleasant, and very slightly tart flavor. It's got little nutritional value, but that's not the only reason I eat.

[Postscript: Although there is no scientific evidence that Mangostán has nutritional value, there have been no studies done on the fresh fruit — only canned fruit or juice. It is reputed to have quite a number of benefits.]

MANGOSTÁN (PURPLE MANGOSTEEN).
ABOUT THE SIZE OF A TANGERINE.
ONLY THE WHITE PART OF THE FRUIT IS EDIBLE.

Granadilla
The second fruit is called granadilla. Native to the Andes Mountains, it's known as grenadia or passion fruit in other parts of the world.

Pictured below in San Geraldo's unusually large hand (he's got two of them and they are well-balanced by his unusually large feet), it looks much smaller than it is. I added a photo at the bottom of a granadilla alongside a plum-sized mangostán, so you can see the difference.

When the granadilla is sliced open, there's a gelatinous pulp surrounding the seeds. You simply pour that into your mouth. It looks like mucous and it tastes like nectar from the Gods. Sweet and smooth. And containing Vitamins A, C, and K, phosphorous, iron, and calcium. I could develop a passion for it.

GRANADILLA.
I WAS SUPRISED BY THE PERFECT FLAVOUR AND TEXTURE.
IT EVEN HAS BUILT-IN PADDING TO PROTECT THE SEEDS.