Janet’s Inner Child Goes to the Dentist

I really dislike the dentist. Let me rephrase this statement, I really dislike going to the dentist. Since I was in fifth grade I have gotten bad news from almost every dentist I have ever had. Often when I visit the dentist I feel like a fifth grader again.

It is not unheard of, in my past, to break into tears as the dentist once again announces that more dental work needs to be done. Impacted teeth must come out. Oh look I need another root canal. Those crowns look old, time to be replaced. There is a cavity underneath that crown, off comes the crown a filling is placed, and on goes a new crown. About five years ago it was announced that two of my back teeth needed to come out, bone buildup needed to be done, and just like that, I had my first implant. Oh sigh.

At close to seventy years old “young Janet” often shows up when she goes to the dentist. If there is one place that my inner child finds free reign to come out and create havoc, just point me towards the dentist. I become a nervous wreck, not sleeping well the night before my appointment, and bracing myself for the “hard news” once again. I encourage myself to be strong and don’t cry. It isn’t that bad. The news feels like the end of the world and the tears come.

I will use several techniques to keep calm and in control. I wish they always worked but at least I have them in my arsenal and often I am amazed to find they do work.

  • Breath Work. I have practiced yoga for many years. I am able to bring forth breath work to help me through this stressful time. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.
  • I picture the whole event before it happens. I see myself as calm and in control.
  • I have had talks with my inner child from time to time, remembering to tell her that she is loved and this is a part of life. After the appointment is over I can have a treat. It helps. Really. Today a Donut. (I know, not a healthy choice but sometimes…)
  • I do a lot of research so that I can become my own best advocate. I know it is sometimes hard for the dentist to have to answer all the questions yet it makes me feel better to be a little more in control.
  • I arrive early so I have time to relax and breathe.
  • There was one dentist in my past that had a massage chair. I liked that a lot.
  • And if all else fails after my visit I have a good cry and get over it.

I am in San Diego, camped at Mission Bay and I have two more dental appointments this month. Sigh. It helps that this periodontist is professional and kind and treats me with respect. As I signed the treatment plans today I felt that I was becoming a part of the team. I think this helps me remain a little more the adult Janet.

I still went for that white cream-filled donut on my way back to my rig.

Woody the Cat, Checking In

Hi, this is Woody the cat here.

Sunday, the door opened and there was Mandy and Rocky the dog. Where did they come from? First, they leave, I get used to them being gone, and then just like there they are. Hmm.

Janet told me that she is leaving. What’s with that? Why does everyone keep coming and going? I don’t know. I don’t really care a lot as long as my needs as “King Cat” get met. What are my needs? Eating, yes I like doing that. Sleeping. Ooh, I like that too. Being petted is always a good idea.

It has been an interesting month with Janet. I moved from Mandy and my bedroom to the guest bedroom. At first, I would come in at night and sleep with Janet. I like to snuggle. Then I decided that I really liked that bed and after Janet was up I decided to stay. She seemed to be surprised at this but why go to another room when that bed is already warm. It is easier to just stay where everything is broken in.

Janet came and went. Most days she disappeared for a while and then she came back. She brought back interesting smells with her. A lot of it smelled like salt and outdoors. Once in a while, she came back smelling like food. She told me that she goes kayaking. I am not sure what that is but it involves water. I don’t think I would like that. Water is for drinking. Mandy sometimes squirts me with it. Water for drinking is good. Water for squirting me, not so much.

Janet bought me a red dot. I am fascinated by this red dot. It goes on the floor, it goes on the wall. It seems to go wherever it wants. It appears to come from a little object in Janet’s hand. Even if I can figure it out, well, I like it. The red dot is fun and I am glad it is here.

She also introduced me to a “mouse game” on one of her computers. These little mice come out of nowhere and then they disappear again. I like these mice. They are quick and I try to catch them. I wonder where they come from and where they go. I like this mouse game. I hope she shows this to Mandy so I can keep up with these mousies.

I am glad to see Mandy and Rocky. Even though I complain about Rocky the dog at time, I like to play with him. He chases me around and well sometimes I egg him on. It is fun to irritate the dog.

Last night I had a choice. Do I go to sleep with my always peeps or do I sleep with Janet? I did both. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

Janet says she leaves tomorrow, Tuesday. I will be sad to see her go. Then my routine will get back to normal, whatever that is. That is what cats do, adjust to whatever is around. I think I may remember her as she is kind and boy did I have her wrapped around my paw. She carried me about. I got treats on demand. I got smart about the treats and eventually, Janet could not leave them on the counter anymore. Sleeping under the covers was a great chance to snuggle against this human. I liked having her around.

Well, I am out of here. I liked writing on here and introducing you to Elwood Blues Carter, otherwise known as Woody the Cat. Remember me as the cat with the glorious tail. Maybe you will hear from me again. I am very glad to have met everyone.

Today I am thankful for meeting all of you. Today I am thankful for Janet. Today I am thankful to have Mandy and Rocky home. Today it is good to be “The Cat”.

A Month in Salinas

Today I realized that my month in Salinas, CA is almost up. It feels like I just arrived when in truth I have been here for three weeks. Time has a way of slipping by.

What have I been doing with my time? What spectacular places have I discovered? How is the whole house-sitting thing going? What is next and next and next?

Here are some of the things I have been doing with my time in northern California.

  • I have discovered the Elkhorn Slough. The Slough is in the center of Monterey Bay and is managed by the Nature Conservancy. One can hike or kayak and bird watch in and around the Slough. I have taken full advantage of it’s close proximity to Salinas. I think I will kayak for an hour or so and then three hours later I am returning to my put in at Moss Landing, hungry and happy for a day on the water. And, oh the wildlife I have seen. It is definitely a place worth exploring.
  • The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove was alive with Butterflies. By the time I leave on March first the butterflies will also be migrating. I am glad I saw them. It is a special place.
  • Calla Lily Valley at the north end of the Big Sur Coast was in full bloom. After enjoying the lilies I made my way out to the beach and admired the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
  • Wineries abound in this area. I spent my first Saturday afternoon at the Folktale Winery, tasting wine and listening to good music.
  • I have done a lot of walking around Salinas. I have enjoyed looking at the well cared for and lovely homes in the neighborhoods.
  • I have explored the coastal communities. I have been in and out of several state parks and explores some of the local wildlife refuges. I love being outside and exploring the natural settings.
  • And then, there is Woody the Cat. He is a darling boy who I am glad to have met. This cat craves affection. He snuggles with me every night. I have found him sleeping next to my face, on my head and under the covers. He is a delightful boy, a charming personality.
  • My bicycle has two new tires and is tuned up for another season. It rides well. It is always good to find the good bike shops in town.
  • Although not submitted, my taxes are complete. This is the first year in many years that I have done my own taxes. Turbo Tax made it relatively easy. My “accountant” Cynthia (not offically my accountant) will review them with me before I submit them. It is good to have friends who understand accounting and are willing to help. I am thankful for Cynthia’s help.

I could go on but as you can see my time, even when I am in new places, is a mix of adventure, and getting things done. It is no different than yours. We go have fun and then we do taxes.

Where to next? I am returning to San Diego for most of March. My dentist and I have an ongoing relationship of many years. I am returning to San Diego to once again get involved with dental work. Oh joy. I once told Jim, my husband that he should have checked my mouth before he married me. With his usual roll of the eyes, he laughed and proceeded to love me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for the opportunities that continue to gift my life. I am thankful for the dentist. I am thankful for Woody. Today I am thankful.

Woody the Cat Tells His Tail

Hi, I am Woody the cat. I am new to this experience of telling my story. Janet says that Elsie, her kitty, would write on here and I decided to try.

I live with a really nice person. Her name is Mandy. I also live with a rather rambunctious dog, Rocky. I like living with them. They let me cuddle and visit when I want to. If Rocky gets too much for me I go to my private retreat, under the bed.

Mandy likes to travel in her “Roadtrek”. It is a big, well to me, a really giant house on wheels. When I look out the front window I see another one that is not quite as big in the driveway. Mandy has gone on holiday. She leaves and then she comes back. I have no idea where she goes. As long as she comes back I am good with that. I am also glad I don’t have to ride in it, I am not sure about this riding in a moving object. Rocky goes with her. Phew, I have some dog-free time to do what cats do, sleep, eat, sleep, get brushed, sleep, and snuggle and cuddle and sleep. I am good at snuggling and cuddling.

I am resting

When Mandy goes away I often go to Scott’s and Megan’s house. I like being there but I don’t like having to be caught and put in a tiny box and driving in a car to get there.

Guess what? This time when she left, I got to stay here. I am really happy with this arrangement. The day before Mandy left, Janet showed up. Ooh, I have heard she likes kitties. I don’t know where she came from. I have no idea how long she is here. No one ever tells me anything. Maybe it is because I don’t care. I am a cat.

Janet says she is house sitting and cat sitting for me. I am good with that. And…I get her all to myself. She is really nice to me and I get my needs met and a little more. I am good with this arrangement. I sleep with her every night. She lets me snuggle by her head or anywhere else I want. I get petted and sometimes she carries me around. She also feeds me and gives me treats. What else can a cat ask for? Well…I would like to go outside but she says no, even though I tell her it is OK. Sigh.

Look at the tail. My pride and joy.

Before I go take a look at my tail. My tail is beautiful and I carry it proudly. It goes straight up and then curls to my back. It is a fine feature and one of my best. All kitties should be so lucky.

It’s nice to meet you and I might just write again. It depends on when I can get to the computer. It depends on whether I am sleeping.

Mouse Zero, Janet Won, Again

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. I have had many interesting and unique experiences with my tiny home on wheels.

One of the more unique experiences was discovering wet tar on my tires in the middle of no-where Wyoming. I spent half of a day slowly peeling the tar off my tires so the tread would be visible and work again.

In the past six months I have had a new encounter and situation dealing with little creatures in my rig. I encountered a desert mouse while I was in Phoenix. It decided that my rig was going to be a good home. I did not think so. I was able to successfully live-trap it and send it back to the desert.

I am in Salinas, CA for a month. I am taking care of Woody the cat and house sitting for another fellow Roadtreker and friend while she is off exploring the California desert.

I left San Diego, five days ago and did a rather quick meander up the coast of Southern and Central California. I spent two days on the Big Sur Coast camping within a stones throw of the Pacific Ocean. My Campsite was prime. The sunsets were amazing. And…there was no cell phone service. I was in nature. Sometimes I need these moments to ground myself and find wholeness once again.

Nature comes with less pleasant sides. Mosquitos or ants come to mind. I am not a big fan of snakes but I believe they have a place in the wild and I can respect their presence.

My second night camping at the perfect campground, I had a visitor in my rig. Oh no, another mouse. This one was much smaller and of course I only found out I had this vistor after I went to bed and could hear this little field mice exploring in my only storage cabinet with a hole in it. It is funny how loud mouse nails can be when it is quiet at night.

I wanted to catch this little mouse and I wanted to catch it alive. I really wanted to introduce it to a nice wilderness to live in rather than my warm cozy rig. Since I left my live trap in San Diego my first stop was Home Depot. There were all types of traps, set to kill. Finally I found a live trap.

The Game was on. I set two traps, one on the floor and one on the kitchen counter and let it be for the night. Sunday morning arrived early. I went to the rig and there the mouse was, safely tucked into the delicious peanut butter trap.

Mandy and I took a short drive this morning and delivered the mouse to nice riparian area along a small river in the Salinas Valley. Once again it was free to explore. And…hopefully my RV is now free of little creatures. Just to be sure, the traps are set again tonight.

I believe I am ready to get down on my hands and knees and begin to explore entry spots in my rig. It is time to make it harder for little grassland and woodland creatures to enter my rig and set up house.

RV and small house living continues to give me new adventures and experiences. The challenges help me grow and become stronger and surer.

Today I am thankful for new plans and adventures. Today I am thankful for a little field mouse living strong and independent in the wild.

House Sitting Adventures Continue

Where has the time gone? I have been in San Diego for over two months. All my medical and dental care is done and I am ready to venture out. Am I going to the desert? That is where I usually go in the winter. Change is in the air. I am departing later this week for Salinas, CA.

I have another house and kitty sitting adventure for a month, while a friend of mine goes off in her Roadtrek to visit with friends and plays in the desert.

Salinas is near Monterey and the Pacific Ocean. I am looking forward to kayaking and biking opportunities. It is good to explore new places. The ocean becomes more rugged as one adventures into northern California. I love to be around wild water.

I am so excited to be around kitty again. Mandy tells me that Woody the kitty is very friendly and will most likely sleep with me. Ooh, I am thrilled! I am ready to enjoy a cat. It has been over two years since Miss Elsie went on walkabout. It will be so good to be sharing space with a kitty again.

After being stationary for a while it takes a bit of organization and planning to get ready to get “on the road” again. My rig has been washed, waxed, and detailed. I have had the opportunity to fix small things that needed fixing. She has been cleaned and is ready to go.

All things that have been moved inside the home where I am staying, thank you Cynthia & Ward, have to be moved back into my tiny home. Everything has to find its place. All the details of moving again can be a bit overwhelming. I find if I move things into the RV a little at a time it becomes more manageable and things find their places easily.

I have to figure out where I will be camping. That is not as easy as it used to be. Due to Covid more people are camping now and finding reservations at state park campgrounds and even private campgrounds is more challenging. Thankfully I have Harvest Hosts and Bonndockers Welcome memberships. I really enjoy these alternatives to campsite competition. I usually meet delightful people on these camping adventures. Sometimes I get to sample wines when I stay at Vineyards for the night.

I want to take a moment to thank Cynthia and Ward for their continuing hospitality. Cynthia and I started as friends. During the first year of Covid, they lovingly took me in. We spent almost nine months living in the same house together. Our friendship grew and when I finally departed it felt like I had left family behind. This year they were giving me a place to stay while my rig was in the shop. What started out as a week’s stay became two months. I will miss them when I depart. I appreciate their ongoing hospitality and loving support. Good friends are indeed a treasure.

As I prepare to move, I invite you to join me in the unknown adventures that lay before me. Please, come along for the ride.

Today I am thankful for friends, my little rig, and opportunities that continue to be offered to me.

I am Getting Ready to Roll.

Still…Memories

When I sold my house five years ago, I was not ready to let go of all of my “things”. Emotionally I was not ready to let go of the physical memories of my time with Jim, my husband. Jim died of cancer in late 2012.

I rented a storage unit and moved the things I wanted to keep into this space. It included two sixteen-foot kayaks, a dresser, desk, entertainment center, and more. I have a 150 cc scooter that lives there until I visit San Diego. Every year on my return to the Southern California area I visit the locker and relish my brief time with these treasured items. I especially love looking at my watercolors. Yes, I used to paint.

Each year I return I review everything in the unit and decided what to keep and what needs to go. One year I sold the kayaks to a friend in San Diego. Another year the dresser went to another friend who loves the Mission Style furniture. The computer desk and file cabinet went.

This year I sold the desk that Jim had bought for me. It is a beautiful cherry wood desk. Although I knew this was the right move it brought forward emotions I did not expect. I like meeting the people that buy these items. I like knowing it is going to a good home. When the sale was finally made I felt sadness and a bit of regret to see it go. Melancholy is a good word for this set of emotions.

Jim has been gone for over nine years and although all things around his death and my life transition have gotten easier, I am surprised when these emotions pop forward again. It is bittersweet, and I feel the emotions of loss once again. I am thankful that the emotions are softer and mixed with sweetness now. I treasure these memories. I am grateful for having been given the gift of such an amazing relationship with a very good man.

I don’t try to hide these emotions, I can experience them and know they will settle once again and I will be off to discover as much joy and adventure in life as I can. When I experience these emotions it brings me back to the now. It is good to be in the moment. I am reminded that each breath is precious. I am reminded that each moment is precious. I am reminded that nothing is permanent. It is OK to release and let go of treasured items.

Today I am thankful for impermanence. Today I am thankful for such lovely and warm memories.

Next Up

Does anyone want to buy a Mission-Style Entertainment Center?

Still Moving Forward.

Those Tiny Blessings & Magic Moments

Happy New Year. It has been another odd and interesting year. Already I hear people saying, “Whew I am glad 2021 is over”. There are reasons that we might want to see this year go and welcome another year to try again.

It is so easy to reflect on the negative things that happened over the last twelve months, they were so in your face. I wonder how I might reflect on the year that has ended if I took a moment to remember some of the small moments of magic that helped 2021 not look so bad after all.

  • Kayaking on the North Fork of the Payette River, Idaho, early in the morning and seeing a mother moose and her baby, wading through the shallows. No one else around just me. Just me and nature.
  • Hundreds of snow geese flying around and over my rig. It was so amazing to hear their wings and feel a bit of the wind they created as they flew.
  • Seeing the first sunset from Jim’s and Sandy’s home, where I house sat on Whidbey Island. After a month I thought I would not have to take any more photos of sunsets and then I would turn around and there was another sunset that required another photo.
  • Long walk on the beaches. One day I watched a large flock of seagulls diving in to the water over and over again as they fished in a school of fish.
  • One day, one walk on a beach on the west side of Whidbey Island I almost walked right into an eagle who was standing on the beach. I was looking at birds out in the water and didn’t see him right in front of me.
  • Flowers, oh the iris, daffodils that transitioned through to the season of lilacs, rhododendrons, dhalias and more. It has been many years where I have seen so many wonderful flowers.
  • My friendship with a little brown bird, a song sparrow, that lasted for six months. He discoved me one day in the spring when I was playing a sound on one of bird apps, trying to identify his song. He would come every day and sit on my ankle, knee, arm and eventually made his way to my shoulder and head. He provided me with hours of entertainment and outright joy. As the seasons progressed towards fall, I saw him less. Every few days he would show up in the yard and we would greet each other like long lost friends. I am glad he still has his wild bird life and I am so grateful for his adventure into my life. I will never look at a little brown bird the same again

Click on this photo of my brown birdy and see him on my Head.

  • Friends, I am blessed with such wonderful friends. Thanks to vaccines and masks and cautiousness, I was able to see some of my friends in person. For a long weekend this July seven of us, all owning Roadtreks, gathered at a State Park along the Oregon coast to visit and hike and reconnect. It was a delight.
  • Some of my friends appeared on my doorstep while i was house sitting on Whidbey Island. It was a welcomed reprieve from spending so much time alone. I treasure my friends.
  • I had neighbors on Whidbey Island, Robyn and Tom who quickly became friends. I enjoyed being invited to small gatherings at their place. I also joined them for a movie night at a local theater in Langley. Tom was my go to person for anything I needed help with. I am grateful for my connection with them.
  • I visited my friend Pat on San Juan Island. She and I are both photographers. One day we discovered the foxes of the island. It was so exciting to see them and share that moment with someone who was as excited as I was.
  • Amazing Boondockers Welcome campsites in the Phoenix area. I met such lovely people and the sites were lovely to camp in.

Now I know I could go on yet I think you get the idea. There was a lot of magic out there in 2021. I don’t think any of us had to look far to see it. We just had to acknowledge it when it showed up.

What were your magic moments and tiny blessings from this past year? Take a moment and reflect back, I can almost guarantee you will find at least one moment that enriched and changed your life.

Today at the start of the New Year, I am glad to have had a chance to review the moments from 2021 that make me smile, knowing I have changed and grown because of them.

I am thankful for this past year and with excitement and wonder, I am moving into this New Year waiting to see how it will unfold.

Changing it Up

I have been blogging for several years. I finally decided to change it up and create a new look for my blog. Hmmm, sounds easy, doesn’t it?

I started working on the “New Look” on Christmas day. Although it is almost finished, I am still working on it. It was not such an easy process. What did I have to do?

  • First I had to pick a theme. Easy, right? Not! WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose from. I tried out several themes before I chose the final design. Whew, I am glad that is over.
  • How many pages do I want? Each page represents a part of the finished blog. If you want to contact me, all you have to do is click on contact and just like that there is the form. I need to create that contact page. I needed to create a Bio page. Pages, pages and more pages. These all help to create a clean and complete look.
  • What fonts do I want to use? How large do I want them?
  • Links take you to other places. What links should be included? This part I have not finished yet I am not sure what links are of value to my readers.
  • I had to create a link to my Photography website, jarnoldarts.com. Don’t look too closely at this site. It is my next project. I plan an update.
  • All parts had to be done correctly so that when you as the reader click on any part of the site the correct information shows up.

WordPress has representatives that, via chat, will gladly guide and answer questions. I really like this service. Each time I fumbled or could not figure something out all I had to do was go to a representative and ask questions. Not only did they give me written answers, but they also sent me short videos to watch. The videos were created by the representative on the spot. These people know what they are doing.

This morning, four days after the process began, I have a new and updated page. I hope you enjoy it. Even if I was frustrated at times, I am pleased with the results and hope you as the reader will be also.

Any suggestions? Please do not hesitate to speak up.

Today I am thankful for perseverance and updating my Blog.

Desert Rat-2 : Janet Won!

I have been very fortunate with my RV. Shortly after I bought my Roadtrek, I had one incident with a small creature and took care of it quickly. I blocked holes so it could not get to my food and quickly it departed. Since then I have been critter-free, until recently.

When I first arrived in Phoenix I stayed at a marvelous Boondockers Welcome site north of the city. It was rural and wildlife was plentiful. It was warm in the desert, so I decided to leave my front side windows open. I have screens to put over them. No longer traveling with a kitty I decided the windows could stay all the way down. BIG MISTAKE!

No sooner had I climbed into bed than I heard scurrying sounds in my rig. What the heck was that? Then I felt something running down my legs, on top of the covers. Arrgh, stop already! I got up turned on the lights and of course, there was nothing there. Feeling gullible I decided I had scared whatever it was off and returned to bed.

FAT CHANCE! So began the saga of Janet and the Desert Rat. First I put all the food away. Nothing remained on the counters except the bananas. The next morning there was a bite out of one of the bananas. This was war! I love bananas.

The next evening I did a double-check and everything was put away. That little mouse was quite ingenious and I could hear it scurrying up the wall between the interior and exterior of my van. Oh no, it was making a home. I knew it was time to get serious about getting rid of this invader. Oh, but it is so cute, well at least the pictures on the internet are.

Now going on close to five days I had not been successful. I started with “Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent – Environmentally Friendly, Keeps Mice Out”. I placed it what I thought were strategic spots. It added a pine scent to my RV but it did not seem to deter the determined rodent.

I decided it was time for the big guns. I was going to buy mouse traps. Did you know there are many kinds of mouse traps? There are the ones I grew up with that just snapped and hopefully killed the mouse when it reached for a piece of cheese. Now there are ones that look like a little house. You still bait them but when they go inside the deed is done and all you have to do is throw out the trap. There are sticky papers which I think are kind of cruel. Live traps are also an option. If you research mouse deterrents the choices are plentiful.

Round one-a live trap. I really did not want to kill anything. If I could catch it alive that would be the best solution. The first night I set it out I had no luck. After hearing it crawl up and down the wall that night, I decided that I was going to have to be a big girl and get a kill trap. I bought a couple of the house-type traps. On night seven I set out the live trap and two of the house traps. I could hear the darn thing as it got braver and braver in its wanderings.

Ah, there it was, the sound of something catching a cute little desert rat. I could only hope. I turned on the lights and there was the little culprit caught in my live trap. Ah-ha, I had prevailed. The mouse was still alive, I could only hope it was the only one. I duct-taped the ends of the live trap and put it outside until morning.

When morning came I took a half-mile walk into the desert and once I felt I was far enough from the rig, I opened the trap and the little rat ran into the desert to create a new home. I went back to my rig and got out of there before it could find its way back. Now I had to hope it was the only one.

As I have not heard anymore moving up and down the walls, I have gone back to my slovenly ways, leaving a few nuts, and fruit on the counter and so far nothing has touched them. The other day I was looking at my water pump which is hidden under a compartment inside the rig. I found little pieces of cloth and threads in there. I recognized what they belonged to. I cleaned those out, made sure the Fresh Cab was in place, and closed the compartment. Those pieces of thread and cloth certainly indicated that the little desert rat was making a home somewhere in the walls.

One day I was cleaning out one of the cabinets where my food is. There was more evidence it had been in that cabinet. It had bitten into the uncooked rice and chocolates. Chocolates! If I had known that earlier, the war would have escalated sooner. That cabinet is the only one with a hole in it. I moved all my canned and glass goods into that space and all other food moved into a cabinet with no entry points.

I think I have been successful.

Living this lifestyle presents unique challenges. I have to consider things I would not usually think about. It allows me to be creative in a thought-provoking way. It gives me a chance to meet up and win a challenge with a determined yet cute desert rat.

Today I am thankful that I was able to catch and release this little rat instead of killing it. Today I am thankful the rat is gone.