Happy Birthday, Felipe!

October 3rd

Just got back recently from our terrific European cruise and had over 200 e-mails to wade through.

On Sept. 22nd I was in Delray Beach for a meeting of the interns for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival to be held in Delray Beach, January 21-26, 2008. Mark it on your calendar I will be an intern and assistant to C. K. Williams in his seminar. He’s a brilliant poet, professor at Princeton University, winner of many awards, including the Pulitzer, and you name it! What a great line-up of poets, including my professor and mentor, Campbell McGrath.

On Sunday, September 23rd at Books & Books, Coral Gables, thanks to the kindness of owner/host, Mitch Kaplan, I read two poems from my debut collection, Cooking Lessons, with a host of other wonderful published writers from FIU’s MFA program and also 2007 Graduates.

Back to the cruise … my husband was a delight and should always be on vacation–he rested, walked, enjoyed tours, chatted with everyone, ate, drank and was merry, etc. The trip was super-duper great. How could it not be? We visited some interesting seacoast spots with incredible histories that we’d never been to in France, Portugal and Spain.

Before the cruise got underway, we were in London for two and a half days, and saw two shows–one comedy and one drama with Orlando Bloom, who really should stick to film! He did not have the best role, sorry to say. London, London!!! At its best. No rain, mild and balmy days. We walked all over Piccadilly and shopped in Marks & Spencer–me for cashmere sweaters (Otto ate my other ones from there!) FR for shirts and ties, and some Christmas gifts for Nico. We also got Nico a pair of Diesel jeans in Barcelona (he loves them–they’re made in Italy) for his up-coming 28th birthday! How can that be possible? Especially because recently I had a dream that he was only turning three years old …

We loved the sight-seeing in Belgium, France, Portugal and Spain. We went to Brouge and Ghent in Belgium and ate Belgian waffles and handmade chocolates from Chocolatier L. Van Hoorebeke!!! My choice was white, Felipe’s black—I wonder if, perhaps, that’s an indication of our souls??? In France we stopped at St. Malo, and found a lovely restaurant-brasserie “Noguette” at 9 Rue de la Fosse for moules. In La Rochelle we walked all over and ate like kings, dining on mussels, oysters, and crepes. In Portugal we visited many wonderful places–the shops were gorgeous–the clothes make our styles in the States look pathetic–they’re so far ahead of us in couture. Lisbon is a huge city and with prices to match. In fact the Euro is killing the American dollar. We ate seafood galore!

In Spain we toured Cadiz, La Coruña, Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona–drank great red wines and ate delish fish, tapas, especially padrones–little fried green peppers topped with rock salt, (I make these home–but beside the green one, I use yellow, red and sometimes orange) and other goodies too numerous to mention! Needless to say, I’m going to the gym till I leave for Mexico! Must mention a little restaurant, El Dento, where I tasted and gleaned a new recipe for clams … almejas a la Francesa. I’ve already tired it out and made it once as an appetizer and once with pasta … yummy in the tummy! Recipe to follow … maybe even tomorrow. So tune in again soon to La Nina’s bloggerino.

A little note if you happen to be La Coruña—go to Mesón Augustin (It’s a Marisqueia—meaning, they serve mariscos, seafood.) This is also the wonderful stop that enriched my closet by one pair of exquisitely made shoes, a pair of “leather like butter” half boots for slacks, and one drop-dead–in-your-tracks leather shoulder bag. What can I say? Felipe’s wife has great taste. Obviously, I told him he can never retire. This was said not in jest—first of all because he’s got a mind like a trap, second because he has energy to toss away and would drive me nuts if he were home all the time—espeically when he hates to see me sitting at the computer. We currently share an office, affectionately known as the computer room–my computer, his room … (Reader, you do remember the title: A Room of one’s Own by Virginia Woolf—need I say more?)