Cat Naps, Sleeping, & Everything Feline

Whew, I finally got a hold of the computer. It is hard to figure this out when Janet isn’t around. I think of posting but then I see a lizard or a bird flies by and I get distracted. And then there are my frequent naps, after all I am a wild animal and I never know when I might actually need to chase down my next meal. Like that is really going to happen, yet it is good to be prepared.

Did you know that cats are among the top sleepers in the animal kingdom? We have to save up strength to catch our next meal. In the wild that means all sizes of kitties need to rest a lot. However, we are never “off the clock”. Even when I am dozing I am alert to everything around me. If a strange noise wakes me up I am immediately ready to act, even if it is to run and hide. I am really good at that. Us felines sleep about 16 hours a day. I have to be ready to hunt at a moments notice. Where is that can of food?

Janet and I are staying in a really large home. After being in our tiny home, this is pretty amazing. I still sleep a lot, however I also have a huge amount of space to rip and tear. I like to start at one end of the house and run like crazy to the other end. I do that a few times. Then I am ready for another nap.

This house has interesting animals called chickens. They are white and reddish brown, make funny sounds and live in a small area that is penned in. I am not sure what their purpose is, maybe they don’t have one. Janet goes out to see them a few times a day. I try to ignore them because they make funny noises that scare me and they flap around if I get too close.

There is something else about this house I am not sure of. In the backyard is a “pool”. It is a big pit filled with water. What the heck is that for. Janet has gone swimming in it a few times. When she calls me over I blow up my tail and run for the door. What is it about humans and water? No cat in it’s right mind would go swimming in water. Not me, not ever.

There is so much I don’t know or understand about the world.

Even though this house is big and quiet and pretty, I like to stay pretty close to Janet. We are buds. If she is having breakfast in the sun room I sit in there and give myself a bath. When she is watching a movie I lay near her. We may not always say much but we are a team, the perfect friends.

I don’t know how long we are here for. I like being in one place, and I look forward to getting back into my tiny house on wheels and seeing what is around the next corner. There is just so much for me to explore and know. I am glad I have nine lives.

Another Year

Today is my birthday. As I have gotten older, I appear nonchalant about this day, not much ado, just another day. Secretly, inside my heart and mind I want someone to remember, to call, to drop off an unexpected gift, to remember. All of this changed six years ago.

My birthday is October 16, Jim my husband died on October 17. Well there is a heck of a marker for this time of the year. It took two years after my 60th birthday to celebrate my 60 years. How could I choose to remember a milestone when Jim’s death was a much larger milestone and has over shadowed this time of the year. Sometimes I look at October as a month to get through. This year is a bit different and it feels like I might be returning to honoring myself on this day, at least a little bit of me is shining through.

I always had to be careful what I wished for when Jim was around. If I wasn’t careful those wishes would show up on or around my birthday.

  • A four hour horseback ride in the mountains. Please don’t even ask about the trick riding that ensued.
  • Soaring in a Sky Plane above Warner Springs. It was good while I was upright. When they turned it 90 degrees to the ground, I broke out in cold sweats and told the pilot  to turn it back up or I was going to throw up all over the his back. Jim didn’t go on this one.

    A Janet Original

    He had a thing about heights. When I landed he put his had on my back and said “your back is wet”. After I told him the above story I think he was doubly glad that he had not gone up.

  • Water Color lessons. Jim bought me my first five lessons and supplies. I studied with Hannah for over a year. This small gift became a move into something I loved doing until Jim died. I believe I lost my muse.
  • Diamond Earrings. I used to tease him about not having a diamond engagement ring. Several years later the earrings showed up.
  • Massages for both of us at Esalen Instiute on the Big Sur Coast. What could be better than sitting in a hot tub looking out over the Pacific while waiting for our massages?
  • We both celebrated our birthdays rafting down the Grand Canyon with AZRaft. The river guides baked me a delicious carrot cake in a dutch oven.

I assume you get the idea. How do I find my own way back,  to celebrate this time of the year? Does it matter? Wow there is a loaded question. I believe it matters because I have now lived a full 66 years. In a human life span, I believe that this is worth noting. Not everyone makes it that far. Jim didn’t.

Continuing with the theme of feeling better around small groups of people, I am going to a movie with a friend of mine later today.

Currently I am sitting on the sun porch enjoying a leisurely breakfast, looking out over the pool. As I look down, here is Miss Elsie the Cat sitting by my leg and watching all the back yard activity. This house is huge, she could be anywhere, yet there she is hanging by my leg. I like to think we are both enjoying a moment of companionship. This alone is a very good birthday moment. I am glad for this little cat who has adapted to a nomadic life.

Today I am finding my way back to being grateful to be alive. Today I am thankful for Miss Elsie the Cat. Today I am thankful for all my friends and social media friends who have taken a moment out of their day to wish me a happy day today. Today I am thankful that I am still here. Today I am thankful.

 

Friends & Urban Farming

I have been in San Diego for a week. My re-entry to this community is usually a bit hard. I don’t think it is the memories. I feel it has more to do with me trying to decide if this is still my home.

Last winter I rented a studio at the beach for 3 months. It was delightful to be near the beach, yet I found I was lonely. When one disappears from their friends for a long period of time, well they move on and in some ways so do I. I wondered how I would feel coming back this fall.

My month long home

Things are different this time. For the first month I am here I am house sitting for good friends in a large, beautiful home that has a feel of a retreat in the middle of a busy city. Both Elsie and I are enjoying the space. There are ample opportunities to sit outside, by the pool, looking over the canyon and a cozy, protected side deck and yard.

Having this space has offered me the opportunity to invite friends over and enjoy their company. Many of my friends are curious about my current home, so they arrive in ones or twos to visit, catch up and take a look around. And, because the house comes with six laying hens, people can go home with fresh eggs.

I am learning about chickens. When one stopped laying a few days ago, I was concerned. Like all good techies or techie wanna-be’s, I headed to the internet to read up on why one of the girls is not laying.

  • Did you know that when daylight hours are decreased hens will stop laying? Yep…so I wonder if this is the reason that she has stopped laying. Chickies need 15-16 hours of light to lay eggs. Our daylight hours are decreasing, so this might be a normal event.
  • A chicken needs around 20 grams of protein to lay an egg. In addition to protein, chickens need: calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, fat and water.  A chicken also needs a lot of protein to grow feathers; feathers are approximately 80% protein. So a chicken only has enough protein to either lay eggs or moult, it doesn’t have enough protein to do them both at once.
  • Too many goodies-table scraps and such may also cause them to stop laying because they are not getting the nutrition they need from their main food source. OK I admit it, I have been table scrapping them. This stopped yesterday.
  • If they are dehydrated they will also stop laying. Chickens will drink around three times as much water by weight as they will eat. I don’t think that is a worry as I change their water every other or third day.
  • Are their nesting boxes clean? They don’t like them damp or dirty. Guess what I am doing this afternoon?

Now, you too may know more than you ever needed to know about the urban chicken craze. I had two pet chickens when I was growing up. I am enjoying being around them again. They are funny and personable.

I am house sitting for a month and then plan to camp and visit other friends for about 10 days and then return to chicken farming for another couple of weeks. It has certainly upped my game. I am relaxed and sleeping in and am enjoying exploring my new neighborhood. It is a beautiful area. For those who know the city I am in Tierra Santa and some of the trail heads to Mission Trails Regional Park are a mile away. Sweet.

I am enjoying seeing all my friends, a little bit at a time. I still do better in small groups. Large crowds continue to overwhelming to me. For all my San Diego friends. I am back and I plan to stay until January 2019. Please give me a call or email or text. I love this time of the year because I catch up with all of those who have been part of my social community for almost thirty years. I love all of you.

Today I am grateful for friends near and far. Today I am grateful for this lovely home and retreat. Today I am grateful for chickens. Today I am grateful.

Travel Themes

Sunset on Puget Sound

After spending two months in Northwest, I am heading, slowly south. Well I am picking up speed on Friday.

It has been a good summer and fall. I have figured out a few things about myself and this mode of living and travel. I have adjusted accordingly and I am more content, less lonely and have loved meeting new people. Elsie the Cat remains my faithful buddy in travel.

As I reflect back on the past seven months I have seen a theme emerge for this time period. Friends are wonderful, old ones, new ones and those not yet met. There is something about long time friends that is a bit of a mystery to me. I have visited with friends I haven’t seen in years and yet, when we meet it is like we just saw each other yesterday. Why is that? I love the feeling of comfort and acceptance this gives me. I hope my friends feel it too.

In the past seven months I have had the opportunity to visit with five very long time friends.

  • Joy I have known since high-school. We traveled together and laughed a lot. Thanks to her and her sister I was able to enjoy a real family Easter.
  • When I reach the east coast, Chris and I try really hard to connect. I have known her since my first job as a nurse in 1973.
  • I had the opportunity to travel with Leslie in Alaska for two weeks. We had not seen each other in a few years. We were roommates on a small ship Alaskan cruise. Not only did we have a fun adventure, we also had ample time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Helen and I explored Indiana together. She is one of those special friends we talk deep and still find plenty of opportunity to create adventure and laugh.
  • Melissa and I re-met after having not seen or communicated in over forty years. Wow-I swear it was just like yesterday.

I have know all of these friends for twenty or more years. It has been a special event to spend time with each of them. Each of our lives take their own path. It is so much fun when those paths intersect and we have time to catch up.

My good friends, getting ready for the Artisans Market

I have been in Oregon for the past week. I have another long time friend in Corvallis who I am visiting now. Kat and I met Scottish Country Dancing in San Diego. We became fast friends. We reconnected two years ago after a long period of absence. Her and her husband, Charlie are artists. Kat spins and weaves and Charlie is a potter and basket maker. The last time I was here I learned to dye wool with natural dyes. This time I an learning how to weave on a Turkish spindle. I have new beautiful yarns to play with and pet. Kat and I have had a week to catch up and enjoy each other’s company at a leisurely pace.

Today my RV is getting new shoes (tires). On Friday I am moving south. Once a year I return to San Diego to get “stuff” done. Over the next few months I will get my annual mammogram, visit with my doctors and see my dentist. Once I am done, I will be given the all clear and then I am ready to figure out what is next.

San Diego Here I Come

Heads up all you southern California friends, I am heading your way. Miss Elsie and I have been asked to house and chicken sit for good friends in San Diego. Ah the life of the urban farmer. We are house sitting for a month and then will move to a campground through the New Year.   I look forward with anticipation to visiting with all my San Diego friends, who have supported me faithfully since Jim’s death six years ago.

Today and every day I thankful for all of my friends. I feel blessed and special to know so many absolutely wonderful people.

 

Friendship & Social Media

This is me at Graduation

I was a new graduate out of nursing school in 1973. I worked for a year in a big city hospital in Philadelphia to gain experience. Boy did I ever gain experience, charge nurse on a 40 bed sub-surgical specialty floor with 2 nurses aids, on the night shift. What????

After a year I decided it was time to spread my wings and leave home. I had always wanted to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. When the application came and I realized how far I would be from my family, I was not ready to commit.

I was too young. 

I decided that I would stay state side and become a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Volunteer. After a week of training in Chicago, I traveled north to my assignment for the year, in a little town-Glenwood City, Wisconsin. I worked in a West CAP program (Western Wisconsin Community Action Program). Although I really never had a job description, I worked for the all the programs the office housed. 

There was a young woman who worked in the office, Melissa. We soon became fast friends. We did so many things together and it was fun. Through out the 1970’s we stayed in touch but gradually we went in different directions and lost touch. 

Enter facebook. Melissa and I reconnected about a year ago. It was such a delight to connect with her again. We have followed each other on Facebook. It has been almost forty years since we have seen each other. How could that be? I am not that old.🤔

Melissa & Me 

Last Tuesday Melissa and I met. Elsie the Cat and I have been camping in her and her husband, Will’s driveway since last Tuesday. It has been so nice to re-meet her. She and I have a lot of years to catch up on. We have been busy talking, a lot. It is interesting to see what she remembers and what I remember from our past.

Here are few things we have quickly found in common.

  • Yoga, today it is more mainstream than when we first took classes.
  • Contradance-we love to dance and we both met our husbands dancing.
  • Our political beliefs are similar.
  • Embracing our joy for life is similar as well.

This has been a wonderful meet-up with Melissa. I had no idea that we would actually visit with each other and still have so much in common. We even think we still look the same. I feel blessed. 

On Monday I will be driving south into Oregon. I am planning to meet friends there as well. I feel so grateful today for all the unique menagerie of friends that are such an important part of my life. 

I am feeling thankful.

Moments of Pure Joy

 

IMG_8385Have you ever experienced a moment of pure joy? You know, the moment I am talking about. You see something or someone and you feel true happiness or delight in what you are seeing, hearing or doing. The joy can be so overwhelming you may even giggle or laugh right out loud.

Last Thursday I left Port Townsend and began to travel south along Kitsap Bay. My destination was Suquamish, not too far from Seattle and yet isolated enough to avoid the busy-ness of the city. I am visiting with Jean and Jim who I met through the Roadtrek (my RV) community. Currently I am sitting on the deck looking out over the bay and enjoying the sailing regatta in the distance away.

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A View of Port Gamble

On my way to Suquamish I discovered the town of Port Gamble. The community, originally known as Teekalet and later renamed Port Gamble for the bay which gave it access to ocean commerce, was founded as a company town by Puget Mill Company in 1853. The town is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The community has a wide range of shops from antiques to a tea shop and an old-fashioned general store that is a popular tourist destination

As I was walking around town I discovered the post office and a whole garden filled with the most delightful dahlias. It was one of those moments of pure joy. I looked at all those flowers and laughed right out loud. They were beautiful. Out came the camera and for the next half hour I reveled in this beautiful garden. Those flowers made my heart glad. Dahlias were one of my father’s favorite plants and it immediately brought both my parents to mind. Such a delight.

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Enjoy the slideshow of these beautiful flowers. Maybe these photos will bring about your own moment of pure joy. If this is not your moment, go out and find yours. It is often waiting in the most unexpected of places.

 

Changing It Up

Sunrise near Tofino

I attempt sometimes to post my latest trip news. Somehow when I read it, it does not seem real or honest or me. I am not a travel journalist or writer. I am not sure what I am when it comes to writing but I don’t think I am the above. It feels phony.

What is it that I write about? And, why do I keep writing? I am not sure of the answer to that question. Yet, write I will until I don’t feel like doing it any more.

When I first started this blog, my intention was to keep my friends and family informed as to my where abouts, as I traveled the United States and Canada in my cute little RV. Here I am five years later still writing and still sharing my feelings and adventures in my life.

After a month on Vancouver Island-I arrived there late in July-I am once again state side. I have been in Washington for a few weeks and am exploring all these new places I have never seen before.

A Month on Vancouver-Slideshow

My month on “the Island” was good. I met very nice people and did a lot of fun things. The smoke hampered my activity a little but, not much. By the time I left Vancouver at the end of August there were at least five hundred fires burning in British Columbia. Smokey, Smokey, Smokey. Fire in the west is what it is. It makes me feel sad for the people, animals, birds and more that get caught in its path.

This past spring was hard for me. I was sad and lonely. By early July I gave up and increased my antidepressant dose. I was on a minimal dose and decided to increase it, a little, to see if that would help. Amazingly it did. One of the young woman I had my hair cut and colored by, told me she is on an antidepressant. She said that if taking a small pill every day for the rest of her life allows her to enjoy her husband, children and her life, she is willing to take a pill to help her do the above. I think of her often and after she said this, I decided that I was going to give the increase dose a try.

I also decided that I was going to change up how I traveled in my rig. I suspected that if I was around people a bit more, the loneliness might lessen.

I belong to a couple organizations and I have not really accessed them the way I could. They are RV lifestyle organizations. One organization is Boondockers Welcome. If you are a host, you offer your driveway or yard to people traveling through your area by RV. Some of the sites are a driveway and you must be self contained. Others offer electric hookups and/or water. If you really lucky you may even be able to dump your gray and black water tanks. As a visitor you contact the people via the website and request a stay. The hosts can accept or refuse. It is not personal if they refuse, sometimes the hosts just have other things going on.

I started to access Boondockers Welcome when I was in Idaho. My first visit was under the tall pines. It was quiet and lovely, next door to a state park and near a small town on Lake Pend Oreille. The home owners and hosts were lovely. We spent an evening sitting in the driveway, exchanging stories and meeting the neighbors as they walked their dogs. It was delightful. They were delightful.

Since then I have been to several hosts homes and each one has led me to meet kind and interesting people. I love the socialization. I have perked up. I am glad that I listened to my inner voice that guided me away from the isolated lifestyle, I have chosen to lead over the past few years. Now I mix it up. I spend days on my own and when I feel the need to socialize I will look for a home site near me and park in the driveway for a few days. The hosts understand that you need time alone, yet we also make sure to visit and exchange RV’ing stories with each other. Sometimes we share a meal. And sometimes I end up making a new friend who hikes and explores their own home territory with me. Other hosts,  I am planning to meet again, “on the road”.

When things are not working for me it is certainly time to change it up. Thanks to organizations like the one mentioned I have the  choice to change it up. It is a healthy lifestyle choice for me. I am glad I could recognize the need within myself to try something different.

Tomorrow I am on my way to the Seattle area. I am going to be staying with a couple who I have met through the Roadtreking : The Group,  Facebook page. They have a full site across from their home. I can easily catch a bus to the ferry and take the ferry into Seattle. I am enjoying ferry travel this year. Another new adventure awaits. I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring a rather large city without having to drive my Roadtrek into the heart of it all. I am looking forward to meeting this couple and changing it up.

I think that will be my new mantra “Change it Up”.