Archive for March, 2016

Our Big Fat Spanish Birthday Party


Bill and Puri took advantage of her family’s commercial fruit orchard and cortijo outside the Alpujarra village of Órgiva to stage Claudio’s ninth birthday party. Claudio was fully aware of the import of the day. As guests arrived he would inform them one by one: “It’s my birthday!”

The life of the party was Puri’s mother, Pura, who produced both a smashing paella and a giant pan of habas con jamón (just-picked baby broadbeans steeped in olive oil with thinly-sliced salt-cured ham and green onions–a religious experience on Easter Sunday), both cooked over an open fire como Dios manda. Maureen provided her legendary multi-story chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and whipped cream. This year she smothered it with gumdrop wild mice with chubby gumdrop tails, which were a big hit with young kids and old kids.

The guests included Puri’s children–Martín, Carmen and Elías–eight or ten cousins, and a slew of grandparents, aunts and uncles. The kids ran around like cabritos and the old timers, your correspondent included, sat around and ate too much, drank too much, and swapped medical histories.

It was a perfect day for a birthday party: good weather, good food, good company. The best news is that we only have to wait 364 days to do it again. Here’s the pictures:


Read Full Post »

The Printmaker from the Oakland Ghetto

Maryly took advantage of a tour of Andalusia with her writing group to tack a workshop with me on the end. She’s glad she did, as together we explored the surprising possibilities of solarplate printmaking and the creative printing of the resulting plates. Maryly was serious about it; she took copious notes.

One of the many stories Maryly had to tell, one that I found extremely interesting, was about her printmaking studio, located in a renovated neon sign factory turned into artists’ studios. It’s located in the middle of what she refers to as “the Oakland ghetto.” Asked if the neighbors were “artist friendly” she affirms, “The whole factory is walled and gated, and there’s space inside to park cars, so the artists don’t have much contact with the locals.” From here it sounds like an interesting setting for creative work.

Here are a few pictures Mike made during Maryly’s workshop.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: