It’s about time! / ¡Ya es hora!

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I SPOKE WITH THE KID Brother last night. We connected at 11:00 on the dot, 5 in the afternoon his time. Of course, his roommate Chris answered the phone. Like San Geraldo, The Kid Brother has a secretary. When Chris gave him the phone (he was standing right beside him), instead of saying “Hello,” he said, “Well, it’s about time!” I knew what he meant. He was impressed that I phoned him on the correct day at the precise minute. I said, “How do you like that, Chuck? It’s Tuesday and I’m right on time.” He said, “Yeah, I noticed! You got it right this time!” It was a pleasant conversation. He’s hoping the bowling alleys open soon, so he won’t miss his bowling season, especially since his softball season was cut short.

Last week’s call was a bit challenging. He was having a difficult time accepting I wouldn’t be there to visit in September. But we got through it, although I lost a couple of night’s sleep. I worry, often unnecessarily.

OUR ANNIVERSARY (#39) DINNER at Mesón Salvador was, of course, a pleasure. The food was excellent, as usual. The service, perfect. We feel like members of the family — and we’re always told we are. When we’re there, we’re home.

For our chupitos (after-dinner drinks) Adrián started us with something special, Ponche Caballero. A traditional Spanish liqueur, it’s a blend of Spanish brandy, oranges, plums, sultanas, cinnamon, and other dried fruit and spices. It was delicious. San Geraldo didn’t like it. I told Adrián we adore Pionono (from a village outside Granada and only served in Fuengirola at Mesón Salvador). He said he thought we might like a change sometimes. I told him it was a waste of time. He brought me Pionono. It was delicious. Next time we’re there, I’m asking for Ponche Caballero — for a change. SG never has more than a sip anyway.

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ANOCHE HABLÉ CON EL HERMANITO. Conectamos a las 11:00 en punto, a las 5 de la tarde su hora. Por supuesto, su compañero de apartamento, Chris, contestó el teléfono. Como San Geraldo, El Hermanito tiene una secretaria. Cuando Chris le dio el teléfono (estaba de pie junto a él), en lugar de decir “Hola”, dijo: “¡Bueno, ya es hora!” Sabía lo que quería decir. Le impresionó que le llamara el día correcto en el minuto exacto. Le dije: “¿Qué te parece eso, Chuck? Es martes y llegué a tiempo”. Él dijo: “¡Sí, lo noté! ¡Lo hiciste bien esta vez!” Fue una conversación agradable. Espera que las boleras se abran pronto, para que no se pierda su temporada de bolos, especialmente porque su temporada de softbol se interrumpió.

La llamada de la semana pasada fue un poco desafiante. Estaba teniendo dificultades para aceptar que yo no estaría allí para visitarlo en septiembre. Pero lo superamos, aunque perdí un par de noches de sueño. Me preocupo, a menudo innecesariamente.

NUESTRA CENA DE ANIVERSARIO (# 39) en Mesón Salvador fue, por supuesto, un placer. La comida era excelente, como siempre. El servicio, perfecto. Nos sentimos como miembros de la familia, y siempre nos dicen que lo somos. Cuando estamos allí, estamos en casa.

Para nuestros chupitos, Adrián empezó con algo especial, Ponche Caballero. Un licor español tradicional, es una mezcla de brandy español, naranjas, ciruelas, pasas, canela y otras frutas secas y especias. Estaba delicioso. A San Geraldo no le gustó. Le dije a Adrián que adoramos a Pionono (de un pueblo en las afueras de Granada y solo servía en Fuengirola en Mesón Salvador). Dijo que pensaba que a veces nos gustaría un cambio. Le dije que era una pérdida de tiempo. Me trajo a Pionono. Estaba delicioso. La próxima vez que estemos allí, estoy preguntando por Ponche Caballero, para variar. SG nunca toma más de un sorbo de todos modos.

• My olives. Mesón Salvador always has the most delicious olives. These were made with rosemary. Even San Geraldo, who hates olives, thought they smelled wonderful (and nothing like olives).
Mis aceitunas. Mesón Salvador siempre tiene las aceitunas más deliciosas. Estos fueron hechos con romero. Incluso San Geraldo, que odia las aceitunas, pensó que olían muy bien (y nada como las aceitunas).
Our fried cod.
Nuestro bacalao frito.
San Geraldo’s ribs and chips (French fries, obviously).
Costillas y patatas fritas de San Geraldo.
My steak and vegetables.
Mi solomillo de ternera con verduras.
Adrián.
Tarta de la Abuela (Grandma’s cake).
Café con leche.

Ponche is Spanish for punch.
In 1830, José Caballero, came south from Galicia and started mixing up the traditional northern queimadas (a homemade liqueur) with other ingredients, for his family. It became so popular that the family began to sell it in 1917

En 1830, José Caballero, llegó al sur de Galicia y comenzó a mezclar las tradicionales queimadas del norte (un licor casero) con otros ingredientes, para su familia. Se hizo tan popular que la familia comenzó a venderlo en 1917.

Ponche Caballero.
Pionono (similar to Bailey’s Irish Cream, but so much better).
Pionono (similar a Bailey’s Irish Cream, pero mucho mejor).
Heading home to begin our 40th year.
Regresando a casa para comenzar nuestro 40º año.

Spain’s Got Talent? / ¿España Tiene Talento?

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

“YOU WOKE ME up! I was asleep!” barked The Kid Brother after San Geraldo and I telephoned in a rousing rendition of the Birthday Song.

“Sorry!” I said. “But we wanted to wish you a happy birthday.”

“I got scores for you!”

San Geraldo signed off with, “Happy Birthday, Chuck,” to which The Kid Brother muttered, “I know!”

I had my Excel spreadsheet already open and I added The Kid Brother’s bowling scores to the weekly report.

“Did you like our singing, Chuck? We’re talented, aren’t we?” I asked.

“Uh…” he thought for a moment. “I give it a 2!”

“A 2?!? Unbelievable!” I laughed. “A 2?!? … You know that money we put in your new bank account on Saturday? That’s your birthday present. How’s THAT for a big birthday present?”

“Pretty good,” he said before he went back to bed.

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“¡ME DESPERTARON! ¡Estaba dormido!” ladró El Hermanito después de que San Geraldo y yo llamáramos por teléfono a una versión conmovedora de la canción de cumpleaños.

“¡Lo siento!” dije. “Pero queríamos desearte feliz cumpleaños”.

“¡Tengo puntajes para ti!”

San Geraldo se despidió con “Feliz cumpleaños, Chuck”, a lo que El Hermanito murmuró: “¡Lo sé!”

Ya tenía la hoja de cálculo de Excel abierta y agregué los puntajes de bolos de El Hermanito al informe semanal.

“¿Te gustó nuestro canto, Chuck? Somos talentosos, ¿verdad?” Yo pregunté.

“Uh …” pensó por un momento. “¡Le doy un 2!”

“¿¡¿Un 2?!? ¡Increíble!” me reí. “¿¡¿Un 2?!? ¿Sabes el dinero que depositamos en tu nueva cuenta bancaria el sábado? Ese es tu regalo de cumpleaños. ¿Cómo es ESO un gran regalo de cumpleaños?”

“Bastante bien”, dijo antes de volver a la cama.

1-1/2 YEARS OLD AND ALREADY EMPTYING MY WALLET?
1-1/2 AÑOS ¿Y YA VACIAR MI BILLETERO?
WITH THE EXASPERATED BIG SISTER IN 1963.
CON LA HERMANA MAYOR EXASPERADA EN 1963.

Loosening A Jar From The Nose Of A Bear

The Kid Brother is focused, which is another way of saying The Kid Brother is obsessive-compulsive and has a very difficult time changing his routine.

“Whadda YOU want?” he blurted when I phoned at 6:25. “I take my shower at 6:30!”
“You’re late!” he snaps, when I connect on Skype at 11:01 instead of 11:00. 
If I connect at 10:59, he mutters, “You’re early!”
Sundays during spring/summer, he plays softball in Central Park. So he visits my mother Saturdays and they have lunch together.
Saturdays during fall/winter, he bowls in a league. So he visits my mother Sundays and they have lunch together.

Three mornings per week he drops off his laundry at a nearby fluff-and-fold. They originally told him it would be ready by 4. So that’s when he picks it up. Not 4:15. Not 5. Four o’clock.

(Click the images; they get bigger.)

MUSY, AS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE AS HIS UNCLE.
HERE HE IMPATIENTLY AWAITS HIS AFTER-LUNCH TREAT. “IT’S 3:30!”

San Geraldo and I catered an 80th birthday bash for The Dowager Duchess (eight years ago). We included The Kid Brother as our co-host. The evening before, he told me he couldn’t come to the party because, “I got softball Sunday, ya know!”

The Dowager Duchess told him when he was 13 years old that chocolate wasn’t good for his skin. He’s now 55 and still doesn’t eat chocolate. Unless it’s white chocolate, which apparently doesn’t count.

Our sister Dale died in 1981 in Sheffield, England, when The Kid Brother was 21. We and our parents went to the hospice to say our good-byes. It was such an awful shock to see his big sister that way that he has refused to make a hospital visit ever since. Just being around someone who’s ill makes him very nervous. 
So, of course The Kid Brother wouldn’t visit the Dowager Duchess during the 7-1/2 weeks of her  hospital stay. I was pleased to be able to convince him to come to the apartment once she was home (before I came back to Spain). He only stayed briefly and then he and I went out for lunch. Having a stranger in the house (the home healthcare worker) threw him off.
Well, The Dowager Duchess is on her own again. After five weeks she, too, has had more than enough of a stranger in the house. So, now I’m trying to convince The Kid Brother that things are back to normal and he can return to his old routine. 
I just have to break him of his new routine. 
When I spoke with him Friday (to convince him to visit our mother on Saturday), he said, “Maybe in December.”
I have my work cut out for me. (But I’m hoping he’ll come around by this weekend.)
Meanwhile, I’m awfully pensive and unfocused lately. Maybe The Kid Brother’s routines wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
MUSY HAS ALSO BEEN VERY PENSIVE LATELY.
I LOVE THAT ELBOW.
For some reason, I woke up with this song in my head…