Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Whimsical Witch and Conspiratorial Cats

THE GOOD WITCH.
Wicked Witch
Our niece Ericka, who lives in Southern England, loves "fancy dress" parties. To an American, that would probably entail wearing an evening gown, cocktail dress, or tuxedo. To a Brit, it means wearing a masquerade costume — like for Halloween. Ericka has been texting me for the past two days telling me about her outfit. Her dad emailed a photo this morning.

San Geraldo thought she looked great here with black hair; he didn't mention the green highlights (which I think are especially attractive). Ericka's natural hair is fairly short, and very thick and wavy. It's currently platinum blonde. I say "currently" because she works in a salon and gets free color, cut, and style whenever she feels like it. And she feels like it often. I wonder if, one of these days, she'll feel like green and black.

Ericka is much too sweet to ever be called a witch. However, she is quite an actress and she can be somewhat dramatic. I have a feeling she could easily pretend to be very convincingly wicked. (And I have a feeling her parents would agree.)

Note: I'm curious to know what sweet Ericka did to get the wicked Mardis Gras beads.


Innocent Cats
Dudo and Moose know plenty about being wicked. In fact, sometimes I think they're just pretending to be sweet. I caught them this morning sitting on the chaise lounge — in the corner of the terrace they're supposed to avoid because it leads to the apartment next door. Yes, I've built a bamboo and foliage fortress there to keep the cats out, but they're cats. I know one of these days they'll find a way through.

The boys had their backs to me and were staring hungrily at the recently returned swallows that were flitting about finding places to settle. Our terrace is obviously not a good nesting or roosting place: 1) There's too much activity. 2) There are cats. (Click the photos. You should be able to see the guilt written all over their faces.)

"THEY'RE CALLED SWALLOWS, BECAUSE WE'RE SUPPOSED TO SWALLOW THEM." 

Dudo and Moose keep hoping one of the swallows will stop by for a visit. Fortunately, both cats appear to be old enough and smart enough to know better than to jump over the wall after a bird. But they still make us nervous and we monitor them closely. When I spotted them this morning, I said calmly, "What are you two doing?" They turned. As I continued to eye them, they stepped off the chaise and pretended to be interested in the floor tiles.

WHAT? NOW WE CAN'T EVEN SIT ON THE CHAIR?!?
MOOSE, LATER: "JEEZ, A GUY CAN'T DO ANYTHING AROUND HERE! RULES. RULES. RULES."
ME: "UM, MOOSE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE DINING ROOM TABLE?"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Casas de Pescadores

Fishermen's Cottages. They used to be the most common structures in Fuengirola. Since the late 1960s, things have changed dramatically. What was once a fishing village with few public services and with dirt roads connecting it to other smaller fishing villages is now a city of nearly 75,000 incorporating those other villages into the city itself. Our neighborhood, Los Boliches, was one of those smaller fishing villages. Some of the fishermen's cottages have been squeezed out or overshadowed. But, many remain. Some have been enlarged. Some are restaurants, bars, or other businesses. But, they're easily recognizable.


Fishing has remained a major industry here. At night, the sea glows with the lights of fishing boats of all sizes. In the early morning hours, I watch most of them head back into port. At those times, with our clear view of the Mediterranean Sea, I find it easy to imagine what it was like when this was still only a fishing village.















AFTER A NIGHT OF FISHING, HEADING HOME TO HIS COTTAGE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nordic Pole Dancing?

I haven't seen any pole dancing here in Andalucía. Well, for that matter, except for on television and in movies, I haven't actually seen pole dancing anywhere. But, now that summer is officially over, I've seen an awful lot of pole walking. It's also known as Nordic Walking but it's not another Viking invasion. The Nordic Walkers seem to be mostly from Finland, where the training method was developed in 1979. The activity is also called "pole walking" because it's done with what look like cross-country ski poles, although significantly shorter in length. No matter how it's done, it's much less erotic than pole dancing (and even when done correctly, I doubt it's as good a workout).

By the way, Polish jokes (i.e., jokes about Poles) and all ethnic jokes are always forbidden on my blog. And, on this post specifically, I will refrain from making adolescent comments about any men pictured with well-used poles, etc. Oh, did I mention the option of a solid pole or a pole that extends to its full length and retracts again so it can be easily tucked away? (Sorry. Add juvenile snicker here).

DOING IT RIGHT: SHE'S GOT WHAT IT TAKES AND SHE KNOWS HOW TO USE IT.

The idea behind Nordic Walking is that the entire body is used when the arms (and poles) are moved correctly. It can be a good workout that produces "...up to a 46 percent increase in energy consumption compared to walking without poles." I see all types of people walking along the paseo proudly displaying their Nordic poles (another snicker... So I lied; I just can't help myself). A few are clearly getting a good workout. Others use the poles like hiking sticks; still others simply drag them along. My guess is that most pole-walkers don't achieve the intended benefits.

POLE-WALKING THE PASEO PRIOR TO THE PESETA (THE SCULPTURE).
ONE OF OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS, SANDPIPER, COMING UP ON THE LEFT
(JUST PAST THE ICE CREAM SHOP).
PASSING THE MONUMENT TO THE [NAKED] TOURIST.
ABOUT TO FACE OFF?
A RARE SIGHTING (FOR ME)... POLE-WALKERS ON A SIDE STREET.
PASSING US BY AS WE HEAD FOR OUR MORNING COFFEE.
NORDIC WALKER IN THE MIST.
ANOTHER MISTY EYED POLE WALKER.
POLE-WALKING TO CHURCH... IN PARADISE.
(WELL, NEXT TO PARADISE, A COCKTAIL LOUNGE, WHICH IS NEXT TO MANILA, A CAFÉ.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Trellised Terrace

San Geraldo and I bought two different types of jasmine for the terrace and began training them onto newly installed trellises. We planted two pots of Star Jasmine and two pots of Lemon-Scented Jasmine. The fragrance is already delicious with just a few blooms visible. Dudo and Moose inspected, sniffed, and walked away (to my great relief).

STAR JASMINE.

Despite all the insect infestations of spring and summer and the multiple prunings and treatments required, most of the plants have really lushed out and the terrace is becoming a bit of paradise. There's still more to be done, but we four cats (Dudo, Moose, San Geraldo, and I) love it out there. And Dudo is always on hand to offer suggestions. (Click any image to magnify the beauty. You might even get a whiff of jasmine — but probably not.)


ON MY WAY TO THE TERRACE...  WHY DO I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE I'M BEING WATCHED?
DESIGNED TO STOP THE CATS FROM GOING NEXT DOOR.  IT'S WORKING.
OR ARE WE SIMPLY BEING LULLED INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY?
NEW TRELLISES FLANKING THE WINDOW.
STAR JASMINE READY TO DO ITS THING.

AROUND THE SIDE.  DOUBLE-TRELLIS OF LEMON-SCENTED JASMINE.
DUDO INSPECTING MY ART INSTALLATION WITH A SKEPTIC'S EYE.
(NO WONDER.  A MINUTE LATER, THE WIRE BROKE.  I CAUGHT IT BEFORE IT HIT THE FLOOR.)
LEMON-SCENTED JASMINE.
DUDO CONTINUES HIS INSPECTION.
ENOUGH WITH THE PLANTS. WHAT ABOUT ME?!?
LATER.  DUDO (LEFT), FINALLY JOINED BY MOOSE.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spanish Fly On The Menu

FLY ON THE MENU.
You may remember that Sheikh Geraldo has been having a little battle with the early autumn flies of Fuengirola (click here if you need a recap). So Friday morning at Café Manila, Richard brought over his remedy for those pesky flies: a small plate containing a slice of lemon into which he had inserted cloves. He says it keeps the flies away.

Sheikh Geraldo removed the towel from his head and went back to being plain old San Geraldo.

It turns out Richard was right. Not one single solitary fly went anywhere near ... the lemon and cloves. They did, however, continue to visit us, the condiments. And, yes, [a] Spanish Fly was even on the menu.

Fortunately, the fly on the menu wasn't "the" Spanish Fly. The Spanish Fly, historically used as an aphrodisiac, can be deadly. Our Spanish flies are just annoying.

San Geraldo is back to being the Sheikh. (And I do need to tell you that our "fly problem" is not as bad as it might seem.) This is simply San Geraldo's experience of it — the same man who complained this morning about the bitter chill, saying, "It's only supposed to get up to 21 or 22 today." I responded, "You do realize that's around 70 fahrenheit, don't you?"

I got "a look."

THE LEMON AND CAPERS CURE.

THE SHEIKH BESIDE THE LEMON AND CAPERS CURE.

THIS IS WHAT A DREARY SUNRISE LOOKS LIKE IN LOS BOLICHES.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE... YOU STILL WON'T SEE ANY FLIES.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mangos and Papayas... Anything Your Heart Desires

That little mango pit San Geraldo planted a few weeks ago is already growing into a tree! OK. Maybe not exactly a tree. But a stem with leaves on it. It now sits on a cabinet in front of my bedroom window. San Geraldo brought it in from the terrace to protect it from the "chilly winds of winter."

DUDO: WHAT ARE YOU TAKING A PICTURE OF? NEED MY HELP?

San Geraldo makes some delicious salads with a fresh fruit and veg base. He'll have to start using the mangos produced by our own tree. I understand it takes only 5 to 10 years to get fruit from a seed-grown mango tree. Think of all the money we'll save.

I THINK I'LL PLANT SOME KIWI SEEDS... AND PLUM AND NECTARINE PITS... ALMONDS, TOO.

While we wait for our tree to bear fruit, I'll continue to serve up my own gourmet meals. Sadly, I'm the only one who'll eat them.

 CHOCOLATE COVERED RICE CAKE PB&J.

Chocolate-Covered Rice Cake PB&J Recipe
Ingredients:
1 package chocolate-covered rice cakes
1 jar peanut butter
1 jar raspberry jam (substitute with jam of your choice... lemon marmalade is my favorite)*
Instructions:
1. Open rice cake package and place rice cakes on plate.
2. Spread peanut butter atop chocolate layer of rice cake.
3. Top off with a small "dollop" of jam or jelly.


Fall Colors
We went to the garden center last week to buy some jasmine and trellises for the terrace. I'll share photos as soon as we've finished cleaning things up. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you some examples of the "fall colors" on display outside. (Click any of the images to truly experience our winter chill.)