Crocheted Nuts / Nueces de Ganchillo

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

AND ONCE AGAIN, I’m at a loss for words. I received a box today filled with love. It was sent by my friend Susan in the Pacific Northwest. Susan found me via my blog and we’ve been having a running email conversation for months. It’s as if we’ve known each other all our lives. And, still, what she did for my birthday is beyond belief. Susan is clearly gifted with crochet needles. She created a scarf for me that makes me pine for winter. Catnip-filled toys for the cats that have them in ecstasy. Pot holders. Coasters. And even two penis warmers for San Geraldo. Oh, wait, I think they’re actually to slip over the handles on pots and pans to keep him from burning his hands. But I think they’d make pretty good penis warmers. Then for nourishment, there are Original DAD’s Old-Fashioned Root Beer Barrels; enough to feed an army. And bags and bags… and bags… of goodies from, including black licorice and crystallized ginger! I can’t believe Susan’s generosity and thoughtfulness. The gift of her friendship this year has been gift enough.


Y UNA VEZ más, estoy sin palabras. Hoy recibí una caja llena de amor. Fue enviado por mi amiga Susan en el Pacífico Norte. Susan me encontró a través de mi blog y llevamos meses manteniendo una conversación por correo electrónico. Es como si nos hubiéramos conocido toda nuestras vidas. Y, aún así, lo que ella hizo por mi cumpleaños es increíble. Susan está claramente dotada de agujas de ganchillo. Ella creó una bufanda para mí que me hace querer el invierno. Juguetes llenos de hierba gatera para los gatos que los tienen en éxtasis. Posavasos. Posavasos. E incluso dos calentadores de pene para san geraldo. Oh, espera, creo que en realidad deben deslizarse sobre las asas de las ollas y sartenes para evitar que se queme las manos. Pero creo que harían calentadores de pene bastante buenos. Luego, para alimentarse, hay caramelos duros (Barriles de Root Beer) — suficiente para alimentar a un ejército. ¡Y bolsas y bolsas … y bolsas … de golosinas de, que incluyen regaliz negro y jengibre cristalizado! No puedo creer la generosidad y la consideración de Susan. El regalo de su amistad este año ha sido suficiente regalo.

Come on. What would you use them for (if you happen to be someone with access to a penis)?

Venga. ¿Para qué los usaría (si fuera alguien con acceso a un pene)?

Root Beer & Tootsie Pops

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ROOT BEER SODA. If you’re not from North America, you may not know what that is. And, if you don’t know what it is, it’s not easy to explain. We’ve tried. So, while we were in Las Vegas (which, believe it or not, is in North America), I thought I’d find the old-fashioned hard candy called “Root Beer Barrels.” Not the actual soda but, I thought, at least our friends could sample the flavor. Unfortunately, I never found my way to a gourmet candy shop, but I did manage to find a sugar-free store-brand at CVS Pharmacy on the Las Vegas Strip. (Pharmacy shops in the United States are usually more like supermarket/variety shops that include a pharmacy.) I haven’t yet shared these CVS root beer barrels with our friends because I wanted to try one first and make sure the imitation tasted like the original. I tested one last night. It’s perfect.

Since I can’t share samples with everyone, I’ll try and describe root beer. It’s a soft drink (soda) made using the bark of the sassafras tree. It’s usually non-alcoholic (how San Geraldo and I know it) and it has a thick, foamy head when it’s poured. It was made centuries ago by the indigenous populations of North America. Oh, and it’s excellent in a “root beer float,” root beer and vanilla ice cream. Sadly, I can’t do that with the candies.

I ALSO RETURNED with some Tootsie Roll Pops to share, one of my favorite candies from my childhood. A ball-shaped lollipop filled with a “Tootsie Roll,” a chewy taffy like candy, the first penny (one-cent) candy individually wrapped in America (in 1907). I haven’t had one myself. I’d have to keep my Invisalign braces out of my mouth too long if I wanted to truly enjoy it, although it really is impossible to patiently suck away at a Tootsie Pop. One lick, three licks, bite and chew!

Oh, yes, the braces are back — not the retainers. Another 9 months maybe. I told the orthodontist she really needed to do a better job of telling me what’s going on. Anyway, my life is filled with sweetness and I’m still smiling.


ROOT BEER SODA. Si no eres de América del Norte, es posible que no sepas qué es eso. Y, si no sabes qué es, no es fácil de explicar. Lo hemos intentado. Entonces, mientras estábamos en Las Vegas (que, créanlo o no, está en América del Norte), pensé que encontraría los caramelos duros a la antigua llamada “Root Beer Barrels” (barriles de cerveza de raíz). No la soda real pero, pensé, al menos nuestros amigos podían probar el sabor. Desafortunadamente, nunca encontré mi camino a una tienda de golosinas gourmet, pero logré encontrar una marca de tienda sin azúcar en CVS Pharmacy en el Strip de Las Vegas. (Las tiendas de farmacia en los Estados Unidos suelen ser más como tiendas de supermercado/variedad que incluyen una farmacia). Todavía no he compartido estos root beer barrels de CVS con nuestros amigos porque quería probar uno primero y asegurarme de que la imitación fuera como la original. Probé una anoche. Es perfecto.

Como no puedo compartir muestras con todos, intentaré describir “root beer”. Es un refresco (soda) hecho con la corteza del árbol de sassafras. Por lo general, es sin alcohol (como lo saben San Geraldo y yo) y tiene una cabeza espesa y espumosa cuando se vierte. Fue hecho hace siglos por la población indígena de América del Norte. Oh, y es excelente en un “root beer float” (flotador de root beer), root beer y helado de vainilla. Lamentablemente, no puedo hacer eso con los dulces.

TAMBIÉN REGRESÉ CON algunos “Tootsie Roll Pops” para compartir, uno de mis dulces favoritos de mi infancia. Una piruleta en forma de bola llena de un “Tootsie Roll” (un caramelo masticable, el primer caramelo de un centavo envuelto individualmente en los Estados Unidos (desde 1907). No he tenido uno. Debo mantener mis brackets de Invisalign fuera de mi boca demasiado tiempo si quisiera disfrutarlo realmente, aunque realmente es imposible chupar pacientemente un un Tootsie Pop. ¡Una lamida, tres lamida, mordida y masticar!

Oh sí, los brackets han vuelto, no son retenedores. ¿Otros 9 meses tal vez. Le dije al ortodoncista que realmente necesitaba hacer un mejor trabajo para decirme lo que está pasando. De todos modos, mi vida está llena de dulzura y sigo sonriendo.

Thanks to CandyWarehouse for this image of the inside workings of a Tootsie Roll Pop.
Gracias a CandyWarehouse por esta imagen del funcionamiento interno de un Tootsie Roll Pop.

Grandma Style / Estilo Abuela

As the below photo from the 1920s shows, my father’s mother had some style. She probably wouldn’t have fit in here in Fuengirola, although her Russian would have come in handy on the Costa del Sol. She was born in Slutzk!

My grandmother died when I was 3 years old. But I remember she had a covered cut-glass dish filled with hard candies with soft raspberry centers. The dish sat on a kidney shaped tea table in the living room and she used the candies to coax me out of my shyness. It always worked.


Como muestra la foto de abajo de la década de 1920, la madre de mi padre tenía algo de estilo. Probablemente no lo habría encajado aquí en Fuengirola, aunque su ruso hubiera sido útil en la Costa del Sol.

Mi abuela murió cuando yo tenía 3 años. Pero recuerdo que ella tenía un plato cubierto de vidrio tallado lleno de caramelos duros con centros de frambuesas suaves. El plato se sentó en una mesa de té con forma de riñón en la sala de estar y ella usó los dulces para sacarme de mi timidez. Siempre funcionó.

I Call My Sugar Candy

San Geraldo had a doctor’s appointment Friday (one of his big feet has been sore), so we rented a car and ran errands together afterward. While I waited for San Geraldo at the medical center, the Three Kings arrived in the lobby. Monday is Three Kings Day. Sunday: Parades of the Three Kings (“Cavalcadas de Los Tres Reyes”) all over Spain.

The Three Kings (and friends), hospital scrubs peaking out from beneath their robes, had candy for everyone and gift-wrapped toys for the kids. As you know, I’ve been out of chocolate for a few days. So, I was very happy when Baltasar (Spanish spelling) filled my hand with candy. Yes, I took candy from a stranger. And nothing happened! 


After I finished my candy, we headed to the garden center (to exchange the pots we purchased a few weeks ago — that I so carefully measured — for two of the correct size; click here for a refresher). We then headed to a store called Iceland, an international importer where San Geraldo can find all different kinds of frozen berries. I found sweet memories of my sister Dale, in a Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut bar — her favorite (only when it came to Cadbury). I had the option to buy one big bar or four smaller, individually packaged bars. I bought the individually packaged bars because that would mean I wouldn’t consume the chocolate quite so quickly. I’d only eat one bar at a time, saving the still-wrapped bars for later. It made perfect sense. It didn’t work. Gone in a heartbeat! But my mental state has been improving. It must be the chocolate.


San Geraldo continues to bake his holiday breads. I think he’s got one more batch (three loaves) of cranberry-orange bread and he’ll be done. But maybe not. He did some substitutions on his latest batch of date spice bread and it was even better than the first three batches. He had Medjool dates this time. They didn’t chop in the food processor; they puréed. So he added raisins for a bit of texture. The rich flavor of the Medjools combined with the firmness of the raisins. Heaven. Like Big Maybelle (listen to the music below), “I got a sweet tooth for my sweetheart.”