Friday, February 28, 2014

Chocolate Moose

As you may remember, I'm trying to put on some weight. So, I've been regularly enjoying an "English Breakfast" at Café Manila (eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, toast) after having my healthy breakfast at home (oatmeal, honey, muesli, fruit, and yogurt). Sometimes, I follow the English breakfast with a scone, butter, and marmalade.

I snack throughout the day. Although, San Geraldo doesn't think I do a very good job of it. I suppose rice cakes with a dab of peanut butter won't add many kilos. So, I've increased the amount of peanut butter and I've been adding a square of chocolate to the top.

Today, I mixed two different brands of peanut butter. I don't need you to tell me it looked disgusting; and it wasn't the most pleasant thing to eat either. So, I decided to go on YouTube and take lessons from an expert. If you watch the video that follows my rice cake photo, you'll notice that I have all the ingredients I need.

CHOCOLATE...



... MOOSE.

Then again, that green sign behind Moose is on the awning of a large (and excellent) ice cream and dessert café. Why should I cook?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Up Against The Wall

Today was a day spent sipping Spanish coffee ... for two hours; doing laundry; rearranging furniture; eating lunch in; washing dishes; putting away groceries; and relaxing. Yesterday was not much different, except for the hour I spent before lunch lying on the beach. I'm not quite back in tune, but I'm getting there.

(CLICK ANY IMAGE... YADA YADA YADA.)
SORRY ABOUT THE GLARE.
(FOR MY FRIENDS IN THE UK:  THAT'S CALLED 'SUNSHINE.')

San Geraldo re-re-re-attached the corner yucca to the wall. More wire encased in more hose and hooked tightly to bolts drilled into mortar ... in four places. It's not pretty (we'll camouflage it all with other plants and vinery). However, if that yucca goes over now, it's taking the wall with it. (And I'll have another blog post, which will be titled: "A Few Bricks Short Of A Load."

I tried to take some photos of San Geraldo's handiwork, but Dudo and Moose kept getting into the picture.



DUDO. 
MOOSE.
WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SNAP...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blooming Bottle Brushes in Los Boliches

Despite being bug-eaten and brutally battered (by San Geraldo's cyclonic winds), our three beleaguered bottle brush bushes are blooming (along with much more on our terrace and around town). It's been looking a lot like spring.

BOTTLE BRUSH IN BLOOM ON OUR TERRACE.
(CLICK FOR A CLOSER LOOK ... AT THE POLLEN.)

This is our one-year anniversary on the beach and I do remember that our first few weeks here were not very pleasant weather-wise; so I expect we haven't seen the end of winter yet. Temps won't even hit as much as 20C/68F every day. As a matter of fact, I think tomorrow is only supposed to reach 19C. Woe is us.

AND LOOK WHAT'S IN BLOOM ON THE TERRACE AT CAFÉ MANILA.
BOTTLE BRUSH SLUSHEE!  (UNPOLLENATED.)

I've finished this round of antibiotics. My swollen glands are almost gone (and never got very bad this time). I've lost about 4 kilos (9 pounds), which I did not want or need to lose. My clothes are hanging off me. I'm tired. My stomach is still unsettled. I'm not the most charming company (to say the least). And I sigh a lot.  *SIGH*

But, as Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day." 

Maybe I'll wear my new swimsuit to the beach... Watch the video to see my the tassel.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

King Juan Carlos Spotted at Carnaval, Los Boliches

Fuengirola has never been known for its Carnaval celebrations. That's not really a problem given that San Geraldo and I have never been known for searching out those kinds of revels. (Although I am just lately back in touch with an exceptionally dear old friend from San Diego who once — that I know of — flashed her [substantial] breasts during Mardi Gras in New Orleans just to get me a couple of ropes of purple and green bead necklaces that I guess I must have needed.)

THE KING OF SPAIN...

Since arriving in Spain, I've been interested in experiencing, at least once, a traditional Carnaval. The city of Cádiz is famous for its celebrations — parades, costumes, music. But the crowds and noise may be more than San Geraldo can handle. This weekend has been the predominant Carnaval weekend (Torremolinos, just 20 minutes away, celebrates next weekend) and we figured we would just let it slip by. So, it was a really nice surprise to arrive at Meson Salvador for dinner last night to find the restaurant filled with people enjoying the music of a "chirigota," which means a joke or something characterized by good humor, and is a group of Carnaval folk-singers who wear costumes and perform satirical songs.

The Chirigota at Meson Salvador in Los Boliches...



We got there just in time to see the chirigota perform one final song (above); and for us to grab the one remaining table inside. This year, the group decided to lampoon the King of Spain (which included gold animal heads on the fronts of their hats — a slam at the King's unfortunate Botswana safari). Next year, I'll be sure to be at Meson Salvador for the entire performance.

THE KING OF SPAIN (AND A SINGER IN THE BAND).
THE KING OF SPAIN.
THE KING OF SPAIN.
THE KING(S) OF SPAIN..
I WONDER WHO MY FRIEND HAS TO FLASH TO GET ME ONE OF THOSE TAMBOURINE HATS.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

If You Ain't Got Elegance

I was so happy with our freshly painted walls and our new slipcovers. We included a couple of bold dark colors, so chose off-white slip covers to lighten up the room. There should be plenty of natural light and that unobstructed view of the Mediterranean Sea, but the "cyclonic winds" blew over (again) one of the big yuccas on the terrace and we've got it in front of the living room sliders until we get around to reattaching it to the wall around the corner. So half the view and half the light are obscured. (As usual, click any image to get the big picture.)



Originally, I thought it was all kind of elegant. I still like the wall colors. I haven't seen much of the slip covers, which were very quickly draped with purple throws to protect the fabric from cat hair and careless claws.

DUDO BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN CHAIRS.
(FINE NEEDLEPOINT PILLOW WITH ITS BACK TO THE ROOM... AND DUDO)

But some aesthetically placed throws weren't enough. Moose understands the difference between a sofa and a scratching post. Dudo does not. So we then bought more purple throws — to protect the seats and legs of the sofa and chairs from Dudo. Then, when there still weren't enough purple throws to go around, we added (temporarily) old, cat-clawed bath sheets in less-than-coordinating colors (blue, green, white). We usually find them all on the floor in the morning. But, I have hopes of being at least just slightly elegant, so I plan to pick up a bunch of off-white, machine-washable, throws to see if I can still carry it off.

For now, it's all kind of hideous if you ask me. But, of course, Dudo and Moose haven't asked me and San Geraldo doesn't seem to care. It's all about the cats.

THE BOYS TAKE OVER THE SOFA. AT LEAST THEY'RE ON THE TOWEL.
MOOSE: "AGAIN WITH THE CAMERA?!?"
DUDO: "JUST SMILE. HE'LL GET BORED."
MOOSE: "OH, WOULD YOU JUST GO AWAY!"
HALF A VIEW BEYOND TOWELS AND THROWS.
YOU MISS THE POINT, MOOSE! THE THROW IS FOR YOU TO SLEEP ATOP,
NOT FOR YOU TO CRAWL UNDER.
MOOSE: "BUT I'M SO ADORABLE!"


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Four Lions, No Waiting

I returned today to the National Police for my appointment to replace my lost residency card. As you may recall, the Englishman at the front desk Thursday gave me mis-information, telling me I needed to go to Málaga to replace my card. After phoning the Málaga police station I learned the truth. I needed to go back to the Fuengirola office. I did and I received an appointment along with the forms to be completed. Per instructions, I paid the 15.31€ fee at the bank and I made a copy of every page of my passport, including blanks. 

Today, I waited 45 minutes for my number to be called. The officer who helped me was professional and pleasant. He told me I was perfectly prepared, except I only needed to provide a copy of the front page of my passport. He had the assistance of an expert staff member to look up my info in the database. The staff member — also professional and pleasant — gave me another form that indicated I owed an additional 3.06 €. He said the wrong price had been written on the first form. The staff person told me I could make the payment at the bank and come right back. I wouldn't have to wait again. The nearest bank was 5 blocks away. I filled out the form. I paid the fee. I walked back to the police station. In 30 days, I go back to pick up my new card... from the Englishman at the front desk.

I took a taxi there today and I walked home. My bacterial infection has returned and so have the antibiotics. But I'll whine about that another day. (Meanwhile, click any image to see a bit of what I saw.)

THE WALK HOME.


Before the walk did me in, I passed Fuengirola's main post office. It's a contemporary building that backs onto a charming small plaza filled with restaurants and shops.

THE MAIN POST OFFICE.

The plaza, as I mentioned, is charming. The post office is a large white marble box. But, someone gave it a little charm by placing four lions' heads on the entrance ramp. You drop your mail in the appropriate lion's mouth. There's a lion for local mail in the city of Fuengirola, one for Málaga Province, one for the other 49 provinces of Spain, and a final lion for anywhere else in the world. Four lions, no waiting.

THE REST OF THE PROVINCES.

15 MINUTES FROM HOME AND NEEDING A SIT-DOWN.
NO SENSE IN WASTING THE MOMENT.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Way You Wear Your Hat

While San Geraldo and I were having our coffee at Café Manila this morning, Darren pulled up on his motorcycle and joined us.

As Darren removed his helmet, San Geraldo grabbed it and exclaimed, "That's what I need... a helmecycle hatlet!"

It took a while to get the words out correctly — what with all the laughing. But finally, after San Geraldo had modeled Darren's helmecycle hatlet, I then tried it on for size.

Darren told me even though it was too small for San Geraldo it had still looked better on him. I said I was sure it did because "I don't look good in hats."

HATLETED HERALDO HAD HEATHER HYSTERICAL.

However, I have one hat right now that I do like. I wear it on rainy days, so I don't have to carry an umbrella. Most people I know here call it my "Frank Sinatra hat." They think it makes me look like a New York gangster.

In response to my comment about how I look in hats, Darren tried to tell me that my Frank Sinatra hat suits me.

He said, "Well your Franksahatra not suits you."

San Geraldo then headed off for his Spanish class. Maybe next week he and Darren can start working on their English.


I was never a big Frank Sinatra fan, so I hope you enjoy this version of the song:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

You'd Be Surprised

I'm taking a little break while San Geraldo prepares dinner. As you might remember, San Geraldo is not only a great cook, he's great at turning the kitchen into a disaster area. (Click here, if you dare, for a reminder.) It can be quite a shock to the digestive system to head into the kitchen immediately after a San Geraldo dinner — no matter how brilliantly prepared. So, we've developed a routine. He cooks in stages and I clean the same way. I usually do one or two interim clean-ups followed by the final one after dinner. When he's ready, he just calls out, "There's a clean-up." You'd be surprised what magic I can work in 5 minutes. As for San Geraldo, well, you'd just be surprised...

(CLICK ANY IMAGE TO INCREASE THE SHOCK.)
DINNER IS ON THE TABLE.
WHILE DINNER COOKS...
CLEAN-UP NUMBER ONE.

YOU'D BE...
... SURPRISED.



Friday, February 14, 2014

He Said / She Said

I tried that phone number I was given yesterday by the man at the National Police station in Fuengirola. Success! My call was answered by an absolutely wonderful woman at Málaga's National Police station. We spoke entirely in Spanish. Without a problem.

Well, there was one problem. She said I needed to go to the station in Fuengirola, not in Málaga. I told her I had done so and was told just the opposite. The man here was unusually pleasant yesterday; in the past he has been very un-pleasant. How was I supposed to go back and tell him he was wrong?

After coffee this morning, I took the 2.5-km walk back to the station. Today was even more beautiful than yesterday, so I had another uplifting vigorous 35-minute walk in the sunshine (and back again). Both days, I got to see a sand sculptor at work on a scenic view of the Alhambra (Granada's palace/fortress). On my way Thursday, he was almost finished building the base. By the time I headed home, he had already begun adding the details. Today, the progress was a wonder. He said he should be finished tomorrow.

THE ALHAMBRA THURSDAY.
THE ALHAMBRA FRIDAY.
(CLICK EITHER PHOTO TO ENLARGE.)

I stood in line at the station and stepped up to the same man who helped me yesterday. He did a double-take as if to say, "What are you doing here?"

I didn't give him the chance. "Thanks so much for your help yesterday," I began. "I used the phone number you gave me and spoke with a wonderful woman in Málaga. She told me I hadn't asked you for the right thing. She said I should come back here and tell you I need a duplicate card."

He grimaced and I took a breath. I thought he was about to start arguing and then where was I? To my surprise, he quietly said, "I'm so sorry I wasted your time."

Maybe you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I quickly responded, "Absolutely no need to apologize. You got me the help I needed and I'm back to get things done. I should be apologizing anyway. I'm the one who lost the card."

He had no idea what to do, but a nearby manager did. I'll go to the bank Monday to pay a small fee; I need to make a copy of my passport; and I need to get a new photo. I have an appointment Tuesday morning back at the national police (in Fuengirola) and then will wait 30–45 days for my new card.

Unfortunately, a month after I receive my new card, I'll have to start all over. We're almost due for our third renewal, which will last another two years... unless I do something stupid.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Big Mistake

Today after our morning coffee I headed back to the local police station to see if my lost wallet had been turned in. No such luck. So, I continued on to the national police station to begin the process of replacing my residency card.

NEWLY PLANTED PALMS LINING THE PLAZA OF "MEDITERRANEA."

It's about 2.5 km there and today was summer-like. So I walked along the beach most of the way before turning into the center of town. The walk in the sun was pure bliss and I remained relaxed all the way there.

A GLORIOUS "WINTER" DAY.
(CLICK EITHER PHOTO TO GLORIFY.)

Debit and credit cards have all been stopped and new ones ordered (all thanks to San Geraldo). A new insurance card is on its way. The only way to replace my California driver's license is to go back to California. So, I guess I'll look into getting my Spanish license.

At the national police station, I learned that I need to go into Málaga to replace my residency card. I had hoped it would be easier than that. After all, I have to renew the card again anyway in just a few months. So, I left the national police very disappointed (although the guy at the desk couldn't have been more pleasant and empathetic).

I had been doing really well until then. Finally, the self-recriminations kicked in. How could I be so stupid? How could I be so careless? I should have... If I'd only...  Every step of the 35-minute walk was worse than the step before. By the time I got home I was flat out miserable and all I could do was crawl back into bed.




But, San Geraldo knew exactly what I would be thinking. After allowing me my hour to mope, he bucked me up and got me back on track. (I am so grateful to him for not once saying something along the lines of, "You should have been more careful.")

Losing my wallet was an accident. I didn't set out to do it and I can't change the fact that it's done. People lose wallets and purses, and phones, and laptops, and a host of other things all the time. Besides, as San Geraldo pointed out, if these things didn't happen, I'd run out of topics to blog about.

Then I came across this 1973 photo of me "dressed" for a cousin's wedding. Talk about a mistake!!!

IF I CAN FORGIVE MYSELF FOR THIS,
I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FORGIVE MYSELF FOR ANYTHING.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When We Were Naught

The day after San Geraldo turned 50, we were walking through our San Francisco neighborhood of Glen Park and saw a new sign in the window of the bank. It offered free checking for people over 50.

"Well, what is 'over 50' supposed to mean?" grumbled San Geraldo. "If you're 50, are you eligible or do you have to be 51?"

I said, "Well, if you've been 50 for one second, you're already over 50."

"No you're not," he responded a bit defensively. "You're not over 50 until you're 51."

GLEN PARK, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA:  FREE CHECKING... IF YOU'RE OVER 50.

I tried every argument I could think of, but I couldn't convince him to see it the way I did. No matter how I tried to argue the point, San Geraldo insisted he was right. We opened the discussion to friends. Most sided with me but a few sided with him. We've disagreed on the issue ever since. And that's a shame because, otherwise, we'd have always been in perfect harmony.

Today, while we were having coffee at Café Manila, I teased San Geraldo that, since his birthday was yesterday, some would say he was now over 65. I then shared San Geraldo's way of thinking with one of the other regulars, Heather, a quick-witted and very clever Englishwoman well over 65.

Heather thought a moment and then, looking perplexedly at San Geraldo, said, "So then your entire first year you were naught?"

And now he understands.

SAN GERALDO IN 1949:  THE POOR BOY THOUGHT HE WAS NAUGHT.