Dowager Duchess’s Dog

My Mother The Dowager Duchess was not an animal lover. Not by any stretch of the imagination. When she was a little girl, her mother got a cat to fend off any rat/mouse problem in their tenement apartment. My mother told me that one day, when she was around 9 years old, the cat jumped onto her lap and she sat and petted it for a while.

I said, “Wow. I can’t imagine you doing that.”

She said. “It was disgusting. I finally felt so sick that I pushed the thing off.”

My mother couldn’t understand how we allowed our California cats, Dobie and Maynard, to sit on the furniture. They weren’t allowed on tables or counters, but my mother found it just as bad that they were allowed on sofas and chairs.

Once, when my mother was visiting us in Santa Barbara, our long-haired, gentle, friendly cat, Dobie, walked by her chair. She reached down and stroked him absently before lifting her hand away in disgust.

I said, “How can you be like that? He feels like a fur coat! You love fur coats.”

“Well,” she said, “Fur coats don’t breathe!”

DD’s Dog
The Dowager Duchess did have her own “pet dog” for more than 25 years.

She had created him from yarn, felt, buttons, and cardboard. She gave him a red leather collar with a gold buckle. Even he had to sit on the floor.

So, while we were cleaning out the apartment, I allowed the old boy to sit wherever he wanted.

MY MOTHER LOVED THIS COAT SO MUCH SHE KEPT IT FOR 68 YEARS.
(BUT I NEVER ONCE SAW IT ON THE SOFA).

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.

I Can See All Obstacles In My Way

I’ve been frustrated in recent weeks with the quality of my photos, from both my Canon compact digital camera and my Sony phone. I had been blaming poor light conditions — too much, too little — but have continued to try. I’ve been improving the results in Photoshop, sharpening focus, reducing what looked like shake, and improving colour. But I prefer to have better quality to start with.

In addition, I’ve begun to collect photos of Dudo and how he creatively positions his tail. He was lying on the bed in the den this morning in the heavenly glow coming through the vertical blinds. I snapped a couple of shots. But the heavenly glow made the photo really unclear.

But I thought, “That shouldn’t produce such a bad photo.” And then it hit me. All my photos had a very “misty” quality. “When was the last time I had cleaned the lens?” I wondered. The answer: Long before the most recent tempesta and vientos ciclónicos (click here).

The camera lenses on both my Canon and my phone had gotten covered in salty sea spray. As Homer Simpson would say, “D’oh!”

And speaking of “d’oh,” the other night, I wasn’t looking where I was going and I walked into the sharp branches of a low-hanging tree. I got a hard knock on the head and some scratches. I even took a selfie when I got home. The quality of the image seemed blurred to me. Maybe it was the knock on the head.

I’m sometimes slow, but I do eventually get there…

Check out Dudo before and after… (Click to enlarge.)

BEFORE…
AND AFTER.

I can see clearly now…

Where’s Home?

In my last post, I told about the Three Kings Day parade and the great friends I got to enjoy it with. Yesterday, those great friends happened to stop at the new cafe outside our building. Elena’s sister Ana was off for a walk, but Ana’s husband Doug was there. They talked about my blog post and Doug reminded me that he was also at the parade Sunday and wondered why he didn’t even receive honorable mention.

TRYING TO APPEAR RELAXED,
BUT I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT DOUG.

How did I forget Doug was there? He’s warm, charming, interesting. We stood next to each other and talked much of the time. We walked together after the parade to have a drink. We told stories as we sat.

I HAD EVEN CROPPED DOUG OUT OF THIS PHOTO.

Doug and Ana are visiting for the holidays. We only just met Saturday night and I immediately liked them. Feeling guilty about possibly hurting Doug’s feelings, I stewed the entire night and woke up still stewing.

DUDO: “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FORGOT DOUG. I’M SO ASHAMED.”

I doubt Doug lost any sleep over it (at least, I hope he didn’t). But, just in case, this post is all about Doug… well, kind of.

MOOSE: YOU’RE ASHAMED? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL? POOR DOUG.

Home is Where?
Ana is originally from Spain. Doug, from the American Midwest where they now live together. Doug had an uncle (he has many uncles). His uncle had a son who was kind of out-of-control. Not a bad kid; just always in motion. When the uncle died, Doug and Ana went to the funeral. It was Ana’s first American Catholic funeral. She was used to the formal affairs she had experienced in Spain. Doug’s family is, apparently, not very formal. In addition, Ana had never before been to an open-casket funeral.

Doug’s now-adult cousin’s son and other kids are as wild as the cousin had been when he was young. As Ana watched, in the midst of this oddly boisterous and festive funeral group were these children. Playing tag.

Ana was aghast when Doug’s cousin’s son, while dodging through the mourners, yelled, “Home is the casket!”


MY BROTHER CHUCK IS APPALLED, AS WELL.
HE HOPES THIS LITTLE DITTY MAKES DOUG FEEL BETTER. (TOO BAD THERE’S NO AUDIO…)