The Educated Cat / El Gato Educado

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

TODAY, 1 JULY, is the eighth birthday of Moose and Dudo. They were born 11 days before we arrived in Spain and taken to a shelter along with their mother and three littermates. The littermates were tabbys and were adopted quickly, while Dudo and Moose remained at the shelter for 10 more months until I saw a video online and told San Geraldo they were the ones. They spoke only Spanish at the time, but are now fluent in English, as well. And Dudo has completed a course in surveillance at the National Intelligence Centre (if we can believe him). I’m so glad they waited for us. We got the two smart cats in that litter.


HOY, 1 DE JULIO, es el octavo cumpleaños de Moose y Dudo. Nacieron 11 días antes de que llegáramos a España y fueron llevados a un refugio junto con su madre y tres compañeras de camada. Las compañeras de la camada eran gatas atigradas y fueron adoptadas rápidamente, mientras que Dudo y Moose permanecieron en el refugio durante 10 meses más hasta que vi un video en línea y le dije a San Geraldo que ellos fueron para nosotros. En ese momento solo hablaban español, pero ahora también dominan el inglés. Y Dudo ha completado un curso bilingüe en vigilancia espía del Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (si podemos creerlo). Estoy muy contento de que nos hayan esperado. Tenemos a los gatos más inteligentes en esa camada.

Reading and discussing San Geraldo’s books — entirely in English.
Leyendo y discutiendo los libros de San Geraldo — íntegramente en inglés.
Dudo detects a bug.
Dudo detecta un bicho.
Apparently, we have to pay for the advanced spy class if we want him to know what to do once it’s detected.
Aparentemente, tenemos que pagar por la clase de espía avanzada si queremos que sepa qué hacer después de que se detecte.

Snoring Logs / Roncando Troncos

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

It’s no wonder San Geraldo gets confused when he speaks Spanish, I’m still trying to teach him English.

San Geraldo woke up from a siesta. Moose loves to join him. He told me, “Musy [that’s Moose’s official name] is still snoring logs.”

“Sawing logs,” I corrected.

“What?” he asked.

“Sawing logs, not snoring logs,” I said, thinking he would realize his error.

“Why sawing?” he asked, as if it were the most ridiculous phrase.

I mimed cutting a log with a saw and making the noise that goes with it.

“Oh, it makes the same sound!”

It’s not the first time I’ve corrected him, but it is the first time I’ve explained it.

No es de extrañar que San Geraldo se confunda cuando habla español, todavía estoy tratando de enseñarle inglés.

San Geraldo despertarse de una siesta. Alce le encanta unirse a él. Me dijo: “Musy [ese es el nombre oficial de Moose] todavía está aserrando troncos”. (Nota: La expresión en inglés es “aserrando troncos”, que significa roncando (porque suena como el ruido que se hace al aserrar troncos.)

“Serrando troncos”, corregí.

“¿Qué?” preguntó.

“Serrando troncos, no roncando troncos”, dije, pensando que se daría cuenta de su error. [Nota: En inglés serrar es “to saw” y “roncar” es “to snore.” Suenan similar.]

“¿Por qué serrando?” preguntó, como si fuera la frase más ridícula.

Imité cortar un tronco con una sierra y hacer el ruido que la acompaña.

“¡Oh, hace el mismo ruido!”

No es la primera vez que lo corrijo, pero es la primera vez que lo explico.

Listen to the audio (full volume if you dare). It’s San Geraldo “snoring” logs.
Escucha el audio (volumen completo si te atreves). Es San Geraldo “roncando troncos.”

Another photo of Moose and Dudo. Dudo doesn’t snore. / Otra foto de Moose y Dudo. Dudo no ronca.

The Watercolorist

After reaching the heights of the Moorish District of Frigiliana on Monday (see yesterday’s post), we came upon an artist’s studio. Above the door was a sign that read “Acuarelas” (Watercolors). The works displayed outside were so intriguing that we decided to go in for a closer look. (Click the images for the color enlargements.)


We were greeted by a charming man who turned out to be the artist, Klaus Hinkel (check out his website here). Klaus has had his studio in Frigiliana for 20 years. During our entire visit, I kept thinking how much My Mother The Watercolorist Dowager Duchess would have loved Klaus and his work. This was a day I would have enjoyed sharing with her.

San Geraldo and I very quickly fell in love with a large, framed, fine-art giclee print. Klaus painted the original during one of many trips to Morocco. The original painting now hangs in Boston, Massachusetts, where San Geraldo and I first met.

Judyshannonstreetwhat chose three small, unframed Frigiliana street scenes.

When Judy wondered aloud how she would get a large framed painting home to Seattle, Klaus said, “Oh, it rolls.”

We all looked perplexed and imagined attaching wheels to the bottom of the frame.

Judy followed with, “And then what, it would just fit under my seat on the plane?”

Klaus laughed and said, “I mean, I take it out of the frame and it rolls [up] in a cardboard tube.”


Klaus and I initially began to converse in Spanish and he asked where I was from. When I told him I was American, he was surprised. I’ve been told at times I speak Spanish with an Italian accent. But Klaus, originally from Germany, told me he thought I was either Swedish or German. Ach du lieber and Swedish meatballs! Swedish or German? Italian and Spanish are at least both Romance languages!

These are called “panqueques” in Spanish. Or, as I pronounce it, Flappen Jacken Hooten…

Whiskey And Soda, And Rock And Roll

Our favorite pizza place (we don’t eat Spanish food every day) — here in Los Boliches, Fuengirola, Málaga, Spain — is another great spot just a few minutes from home called Pizza Maestro.

Pizza Maestro, although in Spain and serving excellent Italian food (and thin-crust, very healthy tasting pizza), is Finnish. Well, Finnish-owned.

Everyone speaks Spanish. One of the waiters hails from Morocco and his native tongue is Arabic. Some people find English easier. But the language one hears most often is Finnish.

They’ve been playing great music lately. Perfect atmosphere.

This afternoon while we shared, of all things, a pizza Hawaiana, San Geraldo blurted, “Listen. It’s Klezmer!”


“They’re singing Yiddish!” he exclaimed.

Here’s what was playing (for the umpteenth time, by the way). Yiddish?

(The translation isn’t the best, but you get the idea.)

A Trail Of Memories

I had my regular psychiatrist appointment yesterday. It’s not much more than a “med check” to ensure all is well. All is not well with one of my two meds, which I’ve been on for most of the 4-1/2 years we’ve been in Spain. I’ve noticed I’m experiencing some side-effects in recent months. Really very minor, but enough for us to make a change. So, I’m phasing off this one and will probably try something new soon.

(Click any image to make the trails — all bird prints — more clear.)

My visit was a revelation (I’d say Epiphany, but that was Wednesday). I can now easily speak with my psychiatrist, in Spanish, on any subject.


During our brief conversation, as I answered a question, it dawned on me that despite all the bumps in the road it turns out my life is the kind of life I fantasized about as a child. My sister Dale had the same kinds of childhood fantasies and, although her life was filled with bumps and only lasted 29 years, I think a lot of her fantasies came true, as well.

We both imagined lives different from most of our friends and family (not better, just different). We both imagined foreign lands, foreign loves. Dale traveled the world, married young, and lived in England with her foreign prince.

I met San Geraldo from South Dakota (even more foreign to a New Yorker than someone from England). We moved often, constantly re-imagining our lives. And now we’ve made a foreign land our home — and no longer foreign. And we’re still constantly re-imagining our lives.

The psychiatrist  asked me if I felt that Dale was traveling with me through life. Without hesitation, I said, “Absolutely.”

I was never a fan of author Louis L’Amour, but I like this:

“No memory is ever alone;
 it’s at the end of a trail of memories,
a dozen trails that each have their own associations.”

Where are you going?