For the Birds / Para los Pájaros

I think I’m suffering the post-holiday blues. Given my life with clinical depression, I suffered the pre-holiday blues and the mid-holiday blues, as well. But, these past couple of days have been a bit worse than the rest.

Dudo and Moose don’t care. As long as there are birds to watch (and a drain hole to monitor). I wish I could be more like them.

Come to think of it, never mind. Although they both know how to chill, they can be even more anxiety prone than I. The sound of the door bell sends them scurrying into the closet. Nothing could make me scurry into the closet. Nothing.

Creo que estoy sufriendo la melancolia después de las fiestas. Dada mi vida con depresión clínica, también sufrí la melancolia previos a las fiestas y durante las fiestas. Pero, estos últimos días han sido un poco peores que el resto.

A Dudo y Moose no les importa. Mientras haya pájaros para observar (y un agujero de drenaje para monitorear). Desearía poder ser más como ellos.

Ahora que lo pienso, no importa. Aunque los dos saben cómo relajarse, pueden ser incluso más propensos a la ansiedad que yo. El sonido del timbre de la puerta los hace correr hacia el armario. Nada podría hacerme salir corriendo hacia el armario. Nada.

Dudo (bottom) and Moose and, the three photos below, just Dudo. / Dudo (abajo) y Moose y, las tres fotos de abajo, solamente Dudo.
I waved to Dudo from the street. He perked up and met me at the door; because I didn’t ring the bell. / Saludé a Dudo desde la calle. Se animó y me recibió en la puerta; porque no toqué el timbre.
Moose chills. / Moose se relaja.

Vacation Plans

We’re planning a September whirlwind tour across the United States, beginning and ending with the Dowager Duchess. Not lots of time in any one place, but some very special family visits that are long overdue. It’s still more than two months away and the days are already filled.

San Geraldo always acts as our travel agent and he does a phenomenal job finding flights, getting good seats, scheduling connections, getting in touch… He finally booked all the separate flights that will take us from Málaga to the Northeastern US to the Plains States to the Pacific Northwest and back again.

Even though the boys won’t be joining us, Moose has assisted every step of the way. He’ll be in big trouble when Dudo finds out.

FINALLY DONE AND HAVING A SIESTA
AFTER ALL HIS STRENUOUS … SIESTAS.

Your Spanish Friend

A few weeks ago, I told you about my long weekend in Madrid staying with Guadalupe (click here for the last of several posts on that trip).

Guadalupe and a few of her friends can communicate fairly well in English. Other of her friends are fluent — and probably have a much better academic knowledge of English grammar than I do… than do I… than I… In addition, some are also fluent in French, German, and Italian. One friend is even fluent in Hebrew. All I could remember how to say in Hebrew was, “What’s this?,” “I go to Hebrew school,” and “Koopy is a good monkey.” Phonetically, that’s “Koopy cove tove,” if it ever comes up in conversation.

Putting Koopy aside… The core group of five professional women started a business together called “Your Spanish Friend.” They host people in their homes and offer a few days or more of immersion in Spanish conversation while sharing the city of Madrid from an insider’s view.

This all sounds like an advertisement and I don’t mean it to be that. I just thought I’d let you know about it in case you’re interested. Although Guadalupe and I had recently become friendly, we weren’t close friends and really didn’t know each other very well. I agreed to go up for a visit and was kind of nervous about staying in someone else’s home (not my favorite way to travel) and spending so much time in such close proximity to a fairly new acquaintance. I also love to travel independently, so didn’t know how I felt about being taken around Madrid by someone else.

The entire visit was a revelation. First, the homes are large and elegant. I had my own beautiful room and private bath. I know people with apartments smaller than that. So, staying in Guadalupe’s house was like staying in an elegant B&B — with the added benefit of feeling part of a family (and being able to eat whenever I wanted). We spent the entire weekend speaking only Spanish. At times, my Spanish was comical, but I can’t believe how much I improved, and how relaxed I was the entire time.

YOUR SPANISH FRIEND(s).

You may remember the photo I shared of Guadalupe and her friends. They are all gracious, fascinating, classy, relaxed, warm, kind, funny, knowledgable. I could go on an on. I fell in love. I told San Geraldo even he (yes, even he) would have had a great time.

This is not a shameless plug since it’s not about me. Check them out at www.YourSpanishFriend.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YourSpanishFriend. (You may recognize some of the photos. I sent all of mine to Guadalupe.)

AND JUST THINK, AFTER YOUR TIME IN MADRID,
YOU CAN VISIT THE COSTA DEL SOL AND WAKE UP TO THIS.
CLICK THE IMAGES TO FILL THE SCREEN WITH SUNRISE (AND FRIENDS).

Koopy
During your next trip to Spain I know you’ll be asked about Koopy the monkey (he comes up all the time, as you can imagine): When asked, all you need to say is:“Koopy es un buen mono,” because Koopy is a good monkey.

If I Knew You Were Coming

If I knew you were coming, San Geraldo would have baked a cake. And I would have washed up after him. Instead, San Geraldo baked six loaves of banana bread, six loaves of cranberry-orange bread, and six loaves of date spice bread (three loaves at a time). And I washed up after him… every time. The breads are incredible, as is San Geraldo.

Slushee’s son, Antony, (click here if you don’t know who Slushee is) tasted the banana bread and decided he deserves his own personal loaf. Little did he know, San Geraldo baked a batch of banana muffins to test the recipe. Antony will get those “testers” as well.

San Geraldo and I have sampled the cranberry orange bread (my favorite) and the date spice bread (my favorite). The Date Spice Bread is supposed to be Date Nut Spice Bread, but San Geraldo hates nuts. And, although I love nuts, I’m not complaining. We haven’t tried the banana bread (made with Canary Island bananas that are out of this world), because San Geraldo, like I said, is a saint.

THE SAINT.  RELEASED FROM THE KITCHEN FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE.

Speaking of saints, I haven’t had any chocolate since New Year’s Eve… OK, only because that’s when I ran out and all the stores were closed New Year’s Day. But still…

DATE SPICE BREAD. (THE DATES WERE SOAKED IN COINTREAU.)
A LOAF OF CRANBERRY-ORANGE BREAD.
LESS THAN A LOAF OF CRANBERRY-ORANGE BREAD.



Speaking of Slushee
Christmas Eve Day, while San Geraldo and I were enjoying our usual morning coffees, a woman passed by that made Slushee gasp and say, “I’ve been de-slushed!”

I’M JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE SHE HAS HAIR.

ANTONY SCORES! (ON HIS FÚTBOL APP)
(CHRISTMAS DAY WITH SLUSHEE, DARREN, AND ANTONY.)
DARREN… 
SAN GERALDO AND DELIGHTFUL, DELIRIOUS…  DESLUSHEE.

The Recipes (for the bread, not the pink hair)

Best Banana Bread from food.com
(http://www.food.com/recipe/best-banana-bread-2886)

Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread from chow.com
(http://www.chow.com/recipes/29110-cranberry-orange-quick-bread)

Date Nut Spice Bread from foodnetwork.com
(http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/date-nut-spice-bread-recipe/index.html)