Changing My State of Mind-Feeling Grateful

This morning I woke up feeling a bit sorry for myself. I miss Elsie, I miss Jim, I miss having a permanent home (sometimes-Oh wait isn’t my RV a permanent home?), I miss, I miss, I miss. Isn’t that a pleasant way to wake up? Not!

Once I climbed out of bed I decided I was going to look around me and find things I am grateful for. It is way past time to walk away from the “oh woe is me” thinking. After doing this, the sorries are gone and I am back on track, ready to take on another day.

What did I see that made me grateful and happy, if not, content?

I live in a pretty amazing small space. When I am cold I can turn on the heat. I am warm and dry and comfortable. I have a very comfortable bed, one I have been creating for as long as I have been fulltiming, to make it just this comfortable. It is hard to get out of comfort in the morning. This is a complete home, minus the cat, that fills my needs just as much as if I had a permanent spot on the map. I am so grateful for this little home on wheels.

Recently friends of mine, Helen & David, told me that the latest research shows that coffee may be good for a person. When I left their home in Nebraska this past fall I left with a filter, coffee filters, coffee, and a scoop. About once a week I indulge myself in a rather weak yet good cup of joe. Every time I pull out the filters and coffee I immediately think of my friends. It reminds me of how loved I am by them and so many others. Funny how just getting out the makings for a routine cup of coffee can remind me of such good friends and make me grateful.

Zentangles

I look at the front of the cabinets and there are small Zentangles that were drawn by a very long-time friend of mine. It reminds me of how the two of us have gone through so many changes in our friendship of close to thirty years and we still endure. I am glad I have Nancy to go to when I need an in-depth and hopefully honest conversation. We have helped each other over the years. Again I am reminded of friends near and far who love and support me, even when I am not at my best

Last night I had another potential Elsie sighting. I am so grateful to the people on the Santee Nextdoor App. More than likely this will not be Elsie, the description is wrong, yet I am so grateful for all these unknown people out there who have been supporting me through this hard process of trying to locate my lost kitty. They have been amazing and I will remain grateful for this community for the rest of my life. You might want to check out Nextdoor and become active in a different way, in your community.

I take for granted that I have clothes on my back and when they get dirty I have the money to go to the local laundromat to wash them. There are people who struggle to have one pair of shoes. As I look toward my sleeping area I see two pairs of shoes there. Today I am grateful I can have my pick of shoes and clothes and food and well just about everything else that makes my life a bit easier.

Have you ever noticed how unique and incredible the people around you can be? When I get up in the morning I usually check my emails, and then social media. It is not unusual to read a little of people’s lives on Facebook in the morning. I know that most of the time we present the better side of ourselves to the world, but, what amazing people I know. One couple is very involved with the San Diego Maritime Museum. They are always doing the coolest things with the ships that are a part of the museum. Their interest in the museum has even led James to a part-time job working for Scripps Institute of Oceanography, helping to captain their research vessel. How cool is that? Pretty darn cool, I think.

Others travel and learn. I have had friends who have hiked the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. I follow them with interest and a bit of desire and take pride in knowing them and sharing, even vicariously, in their achievement.

Ginny

My family is becoming more and more important as I have grown older, not old. I love the moments when I talk with my sister, Ginny, on the phone. We don’t often talk of anything important, though sometimes we do, it is the talking and sharing that is important. I follow my other sister and nieces through Photo Sharing and Facebook. I can share their joys and sorrows, if not directly through all these forms of media that keep us connected across the miles. My one niece is expecting a new baby in March. Yes, I am excited, although an absentee Aunt.

Everyone continues to teach me about love, acceptance, being human and more. I have friends who stand by me through thick and thin. Others, thank you Cynthia, teach me new and old forgotten skills such as crocheting. It is not just the skill that is important, it is the gathering and conversation and sharing that is. Each friendship expands my world and teaches me value.

And lastly, there is Elsie the wandering kitty. I had fourteen years of her company. Her toys are still out and her blanket is still on the front seat. She may come back and she may not. I have been slowly working my way towards acceptance of the latter part of that statement. I am grateful for every moment I had with that little darling kitty. She taught me a lot and was quite the reluctant social butterfly. Because of her, I have met so many people in the Roadtrek and RV world. People have become my friends and I am grateful she was my introduction to some of them. Not everyone came to my rig to meet me, but because of her presence, I have met kind and wonderful people.

Now I am feeling stronger and better. Being grateful is always a good thing. Some days, like today, I need to start out small and look about me, be thankful and get myself back on track.

The wind has died down and it is time to get on that bike and ride.

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year. May it be filled with adventure and gratitude. See you next year.

 

 

 

The Power of the Web

I have been learning a lot about the power of the world wide web in the past month. When Miss Elsie disappeared I immediately started to put her information out the best way I knew how. I made flyers and posted them in the closest neighborhoods.

The most effective alternative was to get her posted on as many sites on the internet as I could. I started with the San Diego Humane Society and expanded spreading her information from there.

Did you know that you can log on to almost any Humane Society site and see who is lost and who is found? In a large county, like San Diego, it helps me not to have to travel as far as often. I also was able to post her information into their system. The Humane Society updates their website every fifteen minutes.

nextdoor.com-This is my favorite site. You put in the zip code of the neighborhood you want to connect with and then you can post messages. Why is this my favorite site? The people in the surrounding community have been amazingly helpful. Some of them have gone above and beyond to help me find Miss Elsie. I may not have found her but the care and support I received from total strangers has been amazing and comforting.

pawboost.com-This site is connected to the Humane Society. They create fliers for you and post this on their facebook page and their website as well. This is another group of people that have been supportive and kind. You can also increase your search area by purchasing additional packages. Flyers get sent to the local vets and shelters. This all happens while I go off and search for her.

findingrover.com-Finding Rover is connected with the humane society as well as other sites. They search for animals all over the United States. You post a picture of your lost pet and it scans your pet and then shows all found pets near and far away from you. The first ones are close matches to the pet that is scanned.

petfbi.org-Yep, there is such a thing. This is a fairly new organization. They let me post for free. If I wanted to upgrade there are packages to increase visibility.

petamberalert.com-This site sends out automated phone messages to the surrounding area where I lost Miss Elsie. I received one so I know they work.

lostmykitty.com & lostmydoggie.com-This site lets you post your missing dear one and they post your missing animal report on their web site.

petfinder.com-This is another site that broadcasts your lost animal to the wider web.

nokillnetwork.org-No Kill refers to the shelters that have a no-kill policy. This broadcasts Miss Elsie to all the No Kill shelters in the United States.

I still visit the nearby shelters a few times a week. I like saying hello to all the kitties and doggies. I am not able to touch them. My fingers itch to touch them but alas I cannot. I want to pick them all up and snuggle. Instead, I talk to them. They seem to like the attention.

Even though Miss Elsie has not returned, I feel like I have done my best to locate her. I miss her so much. It just isn’t quite the same without her presence. Slowly I am gathering her things and putting them away. Each step is hard yet necessary.

Slowly my life is expanding outward again. I am enjoying the holiday events and other people’s company. It takes time to get over the loss of a close companion. I am trying to remind myself that it is OK to grieve and enjoy myself all at the same time. I am glad for close and not so close friends who have taken the time out of their busy lives to love and support me.

Today as always I am grateful for family and friends and for those many people I don’t know yet have become a part of my world wide support network.

 

 

 

 

A New Month-Moving Forward

December third will mark a month since Elsie took off. There have been sightings. I have answered every one. I have met some very nice people and seen some sweet kitties, yet all of them are not my cat. Sigh. I have become intimately familiar with the shelters in the county and the numerous web sites that help people find their animals. Cats and dogs go missing and so do parakeets, bunnies, geese, and pigs.

I know you all wish me well. I know that all those good thoughts and prayers are being sent out to support her return and to support me. I want you to continue to do this, yet what I need now is to not dwell on it so much. The longer she is gone the less is the likely-hood of her return. I need to get my life organized as a truly solo person. Could I ask you to continue to pray for her and me without letting me know with each blog post or a facebook post? Each time I see that someone is praying for her safe return or to support me, it puts me into a sad place and I need to go there less. I need to look ahead while hoping for her safe return.

I am staying in San Diego for another month at least. I still have doctors and dentists appointments to contend with. Most of them are complete and I still have some major decisions ahead. Yep, that is correct, the rest of my life is moving forward, just minus my little kitty.

Janet & Pat

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was given a surprise visit by a fellow Roadtreking friend. Pat lives on the San Juan Islands off of Washington State. She is on a several month drive-about of the west visiting family and friends. Knowing that she would be close, she decided to come and give me a pick-me-up and a diversion. It was delightful to see her and her two pups. We talked and caught up and broke bread together. I am glad she thought enough of me to rescue me from a serious case of the doldrums. It was a good couple of days.

I successfully made it through Thanksgiving. I had some interesting offers come in for my plea not to be alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had to say no to some, as they were not local and I have made a commitment to myself and Elsie to give her two months.

I actually had three Thanksgiving dinners. Santee Lakes, where I am camped, had a potluck on Wednesday night.

On Thursday I went to dinner at my friend and one of the best yoga instructors around, Lisa’s home. Along with 19 others, I celebrated in an intimate delightful setting. We feasted well. The food and the company were warm and receptive. I am glad I stretched myself a bit and enjoyed this holiday with others. Thank you, Lisa.

Yesterday saw my third helping of turkey served at a good friend’s house here in San Diego. Cynthia and Ward had a full dinner with all the fixings. Dinner was followed by a movie and pumpkin pie. Their home is always welcoming and open to me. I am glad Cynthia and Ward are friends.

Christmas is next. I am going to remember to breath my way through this holiday. I gave up giving presents many years ago. That took a lot of stress off my plate right away. No more late-night trips to the stores so I could go shopping when there was not a hoard of people around. No more calling my family to ask what they wanted for Christmas and then buying them gift cards. All of this has allowed me to breath more and stress less.

It is so much more joyful for me, during this month, to take time to enjoy people’s company. Going on a hike or walk, strolling along the waterfront, enjoying a good meal and conversation is a gift I can really enjoy. Would you care to join me? It would be delightful to catch up with close friends, fellow tour guides and acquaintances. Let’s take a walk or get a cup of coffee. I am open to unique suggestions as well.

And for all of you who are further away, I will carry you in my mind and heart. That is sometimes the closest that one can get. I look forward to future visits to those far away places.

Today I am thankful. This month I am thankful for friends and family, for those, I have met and for those, I will meet. Always, I am thankful to breath.

 

 

 

Learning to be Alone

It has been over two weeks since Miss Elsie the Cat took a walk. I try to remain hopeful. It is hard to do.

Since before Jim died over seven years ago, Elsie was a part of our life. She arrived as a wee kitty that could fit into the palm of one hand. She snuck her way into our hearts. She liked me and adored Jim. After Jim died, Elsie waited for five months before she decided that I was up to be part of the primary team.

Elsie was a remaining connection to Jim and my life together. The first week after she disappeared, I felt like I dove deep into grief again, similar to after Jim initially died. Grief for the loss of Miss Elsie. Grief for the loss of Jim. Grief for the loss of our life together. This kind of grief is not a good place to stay. I have been using my resources, friends and more to get me back out of that spot. It is OK to visit. It is not OK to stay long.

I am learning how to be alone. When Jim died, Elsie the cat was still with me and I could rely on her for good purry company. I love her companionship. I love how she would talk to me and look at me with those adoring eyes. Now that she is on an adventure, wherever that may-be, I need to learn to be alone. After having some type of companionship for close to thirty years, it is not an easy lesson to learn. I thought it would be easy, yet I find it difficult. I have been talking to her and Jim in absentia a lot lately.

How do I learn to be comfortable being alone? That is a loaded question and the answers are not clear as they seem to change by the minute, hour and day. It is hard to figure out the alone part when I dive into moments of sadness. I come back out and things look a little brighter and then, poof, there is another one that pops up. Sigh.

I am not looking forward to Thanksgiving or Christmas. They are holidays of celebration, joy, and fun. Being single and alone is not always fun. I decided this past week to stretch myself and ask for help. Well, actually it is asking to be included. Today I decided to ask my San Diego friends to think about including me in their holiday fun. I sent out an email to a few close friends asking them to consider including me, if not for the event, maybe for a walk or a few hours of their time. Now I want to extend that to the broader San Diego Community. I promise not to be maudlin or sad. If anything I think I will be joyous, just to be around others and enjoying the companionship and fun.

I know I could volunteer, yet this year it feels like I want to be included with those I love or those who love me or both. All you local San Diegans, if I did not email you and you want to respond to my plea of inclusion, it would be welcomed with open arms and an open heart.

I am grateful for my friends and family today. I am grateful for all those people out there in the cyberworld who are helping me look for a lost kitty. I am thankful for my time with Miss Elsie the Cat.

I remain optimistically hopeful.

 

 

An Elsie Update

Elsie is still missing. Where oh where did this sweet kitty go?

I have been busy. I continue to walk the park and surrounding areas once a day. Food goes out every day. The litter box is outside, dirty clothes are outside, flyers are up in the neighborhoods and still nothing to report.

I miss her like crazy. Other cats go walk-about and then come home. Not Miss Elsie. She has a web presence and now her own email page as well. Did you know?: there is a Pet Amber Alert, a Pet FBI page out there?  She is on both. She is on all the local pages as well. The San Diego Union-Tribune add is in the local paper. And the list goes on.

I try very hard to mix hope with realism, yet when the heart is involved it is, at times hard, to do.

Elsie was Jim’s cat. She attached herself to him when she was a tiny kitty that we could fit in the palm of our hand. When Jim would go out in the yard, she would go out and when he came in so did she. She liked me and adored him. After Jim died she kept an eye out for him for almost five months. Then one day, she switched allegiances and became my kitty. I guess she finally realized he was not returning to the fold.

When I first started to travel in my RV part-time, Elsie remained at home, with cat sitters and friends. Initially, traveling in my small RV was my healing. I visited friends and family who were waiting for me, to love me and enjoy each other company. Three years after I bought the Roadtrek, I sold the house went full time, and Elsie and I took off for adventures near and far.

Elsie has developed quite a following. I know many of you are waiting for word on this mightly little cat. I am too. Currently, the status is unknown. I frequent the shelters and it takes a bit of my day to review all the sites that she is currently on. Each day that goes by makes me a little less hopeful. I have developed a relationship with a few women from the Nextdoor website. They have been so helpful and kind. And still, I wait.

This morning someone on one of the East County Pets Facebook page said they saw a dead cat near here. I went to see if I could see who it was but it was gone. I finally broke down, had a good cry (thank you, Nancy, for enfolding me) and still I wait.

I talk to her as if she is here. I tell her when I leave the park and when I return. I know energetically that she can understand this or at least I believe she can. There are so many people rooting for her return to me. The support has been overwhelming and appreciated. It makes me feel just a little less alone knowing that everyone is pushing for her return.

For those of you who have been asking, thank you. For those of you who have been searching the web sites and more, thank you. For those of you who continue to love and support Elsie and me, thank you.

I promise when there are any updates I will post them and lastly, Elsie Come Back to Me.

 

Elsie Has Gone On Walkabout-Elsie is Missing

On Monday, November third around ten at night, Miss Elsie slipped out of the door of the RV and went on walk-about. That might have been OK but she has not returned.

She has always been a curious kitty with a strong sense of adventure. I believe that she decided the opportunity was there and it was time to create even more adventure in her life.  The opportunity was a slip of an open door I was unaware of.

We are staying at Santee Lakes Reserve and Campground in Santee, California, east of San Diego. It is coyote country out here and I understand she needs to be a wily kitty to avoid them. I think she has it in her to do that. This campground is huge (300) sites. I have walked the park end to end numerous times.

I have a new routine. I set the alarm for five in the morning and walk the park until it is light and many people with their dogs are around. Then I return back to my site and check the numerous sites and pages that I have put her lost poster on, check the San Diego Humane Society, check my emails and facebook. I wait during the full daylight hours at my rig just in case she comes back. Around dusk I walk the campground again, come back eat dinner and rest. Then at eleven p.m., I walk the campground again. I walk with food, her bells from her collar and more.

Just this morning I was told about a possible sighting in one of the lower loops. I now make sure to include that on my own Elsie walk-about, three times a day.

We have traveled so much and seen so much. She has impacted so many people’s lives. I hope she continues to be that ambassador for many years to come.

I am slowly adjusting to life without my buddy. It is hard to do. I feel so guilty about having that door open. I am trying hard not to personalize this. It wasn’t that she was unhappy, she is just a curious cat and grabbed the opportunity when it presented itself. Ever since I started this lifestyle I have acknowledged fully that something like this could happen. She is a cat and has those wild instincts. That seems all good on paper, but my heart is involved here and I miss her.

The good news is that RV’ers are a good sort of people and most are on the lookout for her. I am thankful for that. My friends are doing the best they know how to support and love me. I am so thankful for that. I don’t want to leave the rig closed, so friends have offered to come and spend a little time at my home on wheels when I need to go to an appointment.

Meanwhile, I am letting my emotions be what they are. I try not to berate myself too much. These things happen. Right now between my walks, I try to get enough rest, because I imagine this body is still recovering from surgery. I am remembering to breathe. I have to grieve, I have to let my heart do its thing and then I too will pick up and move on, in whichever direction I need to.

Currently, I would like to ask all of you to pray, send energy, and whatever else to get Miss Elsie back to me, if at all possible. She deserves it and so do I.

My Summer Vacation by Elsie the Cat

After a long, long summer break I am back in my home on wheels and heading into the sunset. As usual, I am riding shot gun while Janet drives. I am not sure where we are heading, and it doesn’t matter, as long as I am going along for the ride. Janet and I, we are a team.

Three months ago, that is what Janet says, she left me and my tiny home at her sister’s in Northern New Jersey. I really don’t know where she went but I was left in this cushy home and gradually as I became braver I was able to explore the whole house. This house is a lot bigger than my tiny home on wheels. There was so much to explore.

At first I was timid and would come down the stairs and peer into the living area. There is a rug in that room that smells like catnip. It was the first thing that pulled me further into the living space. I loved rolling on that rug. If someone paid too much attention to me, I would run back upstairs to the safety of my room. I know it was my room because my toys, litter pan, food and water was there. Every kitty needs a safe place, a place to call home.

My Summer Home

After a few weeks I discovered that Ginny and Frank were really nice people and they welcomed me into their lives. I would sit on Ginny’s lap sometimes. It was warm and fuzzy place to sleep. When Frank would take naps I laid on his side or next to him. They often had the heating blanket on and it became a favorite place for me to nap.  I soon found that the blanket at the end of their bed was another great place to snooze. Us kitty’s nap often.

Ginny served me my food on blue depression glass plates. I felt very special. She gave them to Janet to take with us. I get served my meals in elegance and style, wherever I go.

They have a kitty, Kitty Lepore, who ignored me most of the time. As I got braver I would run up to her and we would both hiss and then I would run away. I don’t think she ever really liked me a whole lot. I am not sure I liked her either, but life with her was bearable. I have had some other encounters with kitties that were not so pleasant as Kitty L’s and mine. I will take her over other cats, any day.

When Janet and her friend, Phyllis (she has shoes and purses that I love to rub on) returned, the balance in the house changed. I had to get used to Janet being back in my life. She says she was gone for two months. For a little cat like me it felt like an eternity. I was just beginning to think that this house was going to be a forever home when Janet returned. As soon as I saw my little home on wheels, I was ready to get on board and travel once more.

Mid-September, Janet and I stepped into our RV and began to head west. I am back to being an adventuresome kitty. We stopped in Ohio to visit with more family. They have a kitty, Callie, we have never formally met, just stared at each other from across the room. Then we went to Chicago to visit good friends of Janet. While we were there I introduced Charlie and Thuey (more cats) to rabbit pate. It was a big hit.

Me and Percy

A few days ago we left Helen, Dave, Percy (I don’t want to even go there), and Oreo (another kitty) behind and are now heading west. They live in Lincoln, NE. I love visiting with Helen and Dave. When I arrive there is my very own personal guest basket. It has treats and toys to play with. I feel very welcomed there. I am so glad Janet has such good and kind friends. It makes life a bit easier for this little cat.

Now we are going to Flagstaff. More good friends live there and I think we might spend a few days there before departing for San Diego. Janet says I have been to this friend’s home before. I am not sure, I will have to wait and see. Having friends is a good thing.

Well the hour is getting late for this little kitty. I need to give myself a bath  before going to sleep again. You can never get enough of a good thing.

I will wake in the morning to new adventures. Bring them on.