Yesterday was my birthday, my first in Spain, and it was pure happiness from start to finish. I awoke to a birthday serenade from San Geraldo. We then headed out for our usual breakfast at Emperador Trajano but we added dessert. Apple and Dulce de Leche (caramel-filled) muffins. Our first over-dose of the day. Included in this blog post are the 10 lessons I learned on my birthday this year.
This one was really for San Geraldo. There is a big difference between año and ano. The Spanish word for birthday is cumpleaños. Jerry told Paula at Emperador Trajano that it was my comple-ano — in essence, my “complementary anus.” I explained to San Geraldo that the “ñ” (en-yay) is sometimes an especially important letter.
I didn’t do much else after breakfast and dessert because I was saving my strength for dinner at Catalina with Adela, Miguel, and Teré (and, of course, San Geraldo). We had lunch downstairs at El Sanedrín, where I was greeted by the birthday song performed in Spanish.
|LESSON 2: THE DOWAGER DUCHESS IS GIFTED (WELL, I REALLY ALREADY KNEW THAT).
MY BIRTHDAY CARD THIS YEAR. ANOTHER ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PAINTED JUST FOR ME.
I had an, as usual, fun and loving Skype call with My-Mother-the-Dowager-Duchess and my wonderful brother (who has enough nicknames without my giving him another one for this blog). That Skype call was followed by another joy-filled Skype call with our family in England, when I heard the birthday song performed once again. I told them it had now been sung to me in three languages (American, Spanish, and “real” English).
|LESSON 3: MY EYES ARE STILL BIGGER THAN MY STOMACH.|
I’m sorry (well, not really) that while we were at Catalina, I was too busy eating and drinking and laughing to take pictures. And if I dont’ take pictures, they don’t get taken. I don’t have one single photo of our main course feast at Catalina, which was — as usual — unbelievably delectable. And the service made us feel like we were family. It had been a very hot day and was still a very warm night when we arrived around 9:45. We asked for the coolest spot in the place (which was already comfortable when we walked in the door), but the host took us into the back dining area, seated us right under an AC vent and turned it up. Within minutes, the always-steamy San Geraldo was very content.
|LESSON 4: THERE IS NO JOY GREATER THAN GOOD FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
(EVEN WHEN NO ONE IS READY FOR THE CAMERA.)
During dinner, Teré commented admiringly on the golden glow of her own arms. She’s using, I think, a new body lotion that she really likes. She said she had arms of gold. San Geraldo thought she was trying to speak English at the time and that she had said she had arms of oil (and not of oro). That evolved into some laughter and a lesson in Spanish. I asked for the word for “oily.” “Aceitosa” is one. And that DE-volved into slightly obscene gestures about what would happen if one tried to hug Oily Teré, which then devolved into my dubbing Teré with a new name: Terésa Aceitosa.
|LESSON 5: I’M STILL A WINDBAG.
LESSON 6: CATALINA’S TRIPLE-CHOCOLATE CAKE IS A CHOCOHOLIC’S DREAM.
LESSON 7: I SHOULD NOT ALLOW CLOSE-UPS.
|LESSON 8: DESSERTS SHOULD BE CHOCOLATE (ACCORDING TO ADELA).
“CARROTS ARE DELICIOUS, BUT WHY WOULD YOU PUT A VEGETABLE IN A DESSERT?”
(THIS WAS TERÉ’S UNBELIEVABLY LUSCIOUS CHOICE … NO MATTER WHAT ADELA SAYS.)
After dinner, around midnight, we walked in the direction of home. San Geraldo split off and went to bed. Teré, Adela, and I went across the bridge to Triana to have a drink at Miguel’s bar (he had taken a break to join us for dinner). So in addition to what I drank at Catalina — Tinto de Verano, Champagne (complements of the house), after-dinner gin and tonic shooters (complements of the house) — I had a mojito prepared by Miguel. And Miguel makes by far the best mojito I have ever had.
At 2:00, Adela and I walked back across the river. She lives about 5 minutes beyond our house. I was in bed at 2:30. I partied just like a grown-up!
|LESSON 9: I CAN STILL KEEP UP.|
Clint Eastwood is pronounced “Clean Ees-GWOO.”