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.

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.

 

A Winter in San Diego

Crystal Pier Sunset

A month passes fast. I have been in San Diego for just over a month. Elsie and I moved into a rental near the beach for three months. It is nice to be able to walk the two blocks to the bay and then in a few miles be at the Pacific Ocean. I have missed “Big Blue”. I walk or ride my bike every day, in between appointments.

 

One of the reasons I moved back to SD was to get “stuff” done. Important stuff but still stuff.

  • Dental appointments, galore -I am on the finishing side of my tooth implant. My close relationship with the periodontist is at an end. He is a nice man yet I will be glad to put this chapter behind me.
  • All my doctor appointments are complete (many appointments in December) and I am good to go for another year. I know this sounds light yet, this is just the sign of relief I feel after being anxious about these annual visits.  I begin to fuss  about two months in advance. After having breast cancer, the trauma does not seem to totally go away.
  • I completed by new web site. It went live about three weeks ago. Go check it out. I am proud of it and if you want to purchase any of my photos it is all on the web site. Your comments are always welcome jarnoldarts.com
  • My storage locker is still there. I am starting to acknowledge that it may be time to get rid of some of the things that are in the unit. I am discovering that absence really does not make the heart grow fonder. I am beginning to realize that many things I kept because of sentimental value. After a year and a half away, the sentiment is growing less with each passing day.
  • I spent several days cleaning and sorting and fixing my Roadtrek RV. I enjoy doing this.
  • My rig is at the RV hospital getting repairs done and getting her physical check-up.

I could go on but you get the idea. The first month has been very busy. I am now finding more days that have nothing on the calendar. I am glad to see that because it means it is time to visit more of my local friends. I will enjoy catching up with everyone.

Another reason I moved into a “sticks & bricks” studio was to test the waters. Is San Diego a contender on the potential list of places to live? I figured that maybe moving in and staying put for a few months might answer that question. The jury is still out.

I have a good core base of friends in San Diego. I now realize that peoples lives move on, even my friends. They are caught up in their own lives, as it should be. I knew this was a possibility when I chose this current lifestyle, yet I miss seeing some of them and being more involved in their lives. You could say the same thing about me. I have changed and grown too. We are all caught up in our own lives. I do know that I need to reach out more and contact my local friends.

I really enjoy everything a large metropolitan area has to offer. I don’t like the traffic. San Diego is huge, the 8th largest city in the United States. It is spread out and rush hour traffic is a major hassle. Try driving it in a larger vehicle. People are impatient, and I get honked at and sometimes the middle finger is raised in salute. I don’t particularly like the hurriedness of it all. Being at the beach has helped. It has a different vibe.

And then there is the cost of living. I have spent some time on the weekends strolling the neighborhoods and stopping into open houses. Wow, the price of homes is amazing, really amazing. There is one that sold across the street from my studio that sold for $1.3 million. Jaw dropping, to say the least. Rentals are not much better. It is a landlords market currently and they can ask whatever they want. Thank goodness for my little rig.

Another reason to even consider this area is the weather. Many of you are currently in a deep freeze. It has been in the high 60’s and low 70’s in San Diego. Every day I spend time outside. I walk, I bike ride and hike and more. I love being able to access the outdoors every day.

Walking the Beach

The diversity of nature here is really a plus. For being such a big city, there is so much to do outside. Yesterday I walked the beach. I can go to the desert and to the mountains and many environs in between. I love this diversity. There are over 52 microclimates in San Diego county. This lends to some great exploring.

So here I am still in the “what do I want to do with this next phase of my life” issue. Who knows, maybe I am already doing it. I love to travel, the RV is certainly a good way to travel in comfort. Yet, I do know in my heart of heart’s that I want to settle into one place again. I am still exploring the where.

And, the jury is still out.

Arriving & Departing

Two weeks ago I arrived in San Diego. It was hot, like really hot. Even though I don’t mind camping in all kinds of weather….the heat did me in. I lasted a day. I don’t care if I have air conditioning in my rig, I don’t care if my little home on wheels is super comfortable. When it is over 100 degrees at 7 pm, I give up.

I know I have told all of you this before but….here it is again. I have wonderful friends. They are caring and loving and giving. I feel fortunate. My dear friend Pat rescued me from the heat and took Elsie and myself into her home for most of the two weeks. I feel so fortunate and grateful to her. I got to sleep in a comfortable bed with air conditioning. Elsie had a large space to romp about in. Pat and I had ample time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. I am grateful to Pat and to those treasured shared moments in time.

Entering into San Diego this time was hard. I had a busy agenda. Most of what I needed to do is complete. I am signed up for Medicare. The next step of my dental work is complete. The rig is ready to roll. Once all that was done I had time to visit with friends. It was a busy couple weeks.

Emotionally I have been all over the place. Coming to San Diego really triggers all kinds of emotions and feelings for me. I feel vulnerable. I feel strong. I feel sad. I feel joy. Sometimes I am close to tears, more often I am not. Man those emotions really bounce around. I wonder sometimes if I don’t feel a sense of displacement when I arrive here. It is not unusual to have friends welcome me home and yet I am not sure this is my home. I am beginning to feel a longing to figure out where home is to me.

I don’t think I stayed here long enough. It felt rushed. I think when I return in November or December I will stay at least a month. Maybe I can find a rental and Elsie and I can settle in and see how it really feels. I don’t think I will spend all winter in San Diego. I have a longing to winter up north, somewhere in the Monterey Peninsula. That is a changeable goal. Everything is changeable. Life is change. I am certainly learning that and yet I  need to be reminded.

The view from close to where i am camping.

Tonight I am camped on Mission Bay in San Diego and am enjoying the temperate ocean breeze. Tomorrow morning I am heading inland. Elsie is going to visit a friend of mine in Colorado for about two weeks. She has been to Deana’s before. Deana and her sweet pup are going to care take Elsie for two weeks while I head to southern Utah and adventure off with my good friends Mary and Linda.

We are going into the back country of Canyonlands National Park. I am excited and looking forward to this next adventure. It is fun to have met others who like to do the same things I do. Some of this adventuring is a bit daunting on my own. When I am with others, it becomes a grand and fun adventure and less of a challenge.

The full package of who I am follows along with me each day. I am grateful to have friends I can call and share deep felt emotions with. I am grateful for friends to have fun with, share a dinner, share a movie or just sit and talk. I keep seeing and feeling the phrase in my mind “all we can do is walk each other home”. I am glad to have those around me who are willing walk the journey with me.

Tonight I am feeling so grateful and every other emotion in between.

 

 

Totality


fullsizeoutput_8201My extended summer vacation is drawing to a close. I have had an adventurous and good time in Idaho and Montana. I can’t thank my friends, Linda (for her “cabin”) and Mary (including me in her adventures) enough. It has been a fun.

The finale to my time in Idaho and Montana, and a little bit of Oregon was watching the Eclipse in totality, with new friends. We were in Unity, Oregon. The eclipse was every cliche or phrase or word you have ever formulated for amazing. I had told myself that I would not take photos. I was just going to watch it. Well the best laid plans can go awry. I did get one good shot of totality. It was fun to take pictures of the people and the shadow, and the sunset. Yep it was downright awesome.

And to think, I almost missed it. What?, you may wonder. She was planning to do this since last spring. How could she almost miss it?

I have been out in the back country for most of the summer. I have hiked and biked and kayaked and more. I have spent a lot of time alone. When the news started coming in that they were expecting close to a million people in Oregon for the eclipse, I hesitated. McCall Idaho was expecting up to 100,000 people. People were worried about traffic. There was concern that gas stations would run out of gas. The more the reports came in, the more unsure I became. I was not sure I wanted to be around all these people. I have seen one other eclipse. I could easily head south and avoid the masses.

Mary & Janet waiting for Totality

What drew me to Unity to see the eclipse was my friend, Mary. I had made a commitment to her to share an RV site. I had made a commitment to be there. I like my friends and I really don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t break commitments very easily. So with some hesitation on my part, I drove to Unity, Oregon.

And the result? 

I had a great 4 days. The group I was with were delightful and easy going. The day before the eclipse we went to Unity Reservoir and mucked about on the water. Everyone got along. The town and the townspeople were welcoming and helpful. We had a great big grassy area to sit in, the morning of the eclipse. Other people outside of our group joined us. Everyone was having fun getting to know each other. There were no hoards of people. We left on the August 22. There was no traffic. We had no difficulty driving or getting gas. The trip to Medford Oregon was long yet easy.

 

I am glad I stretched myself. I am glad I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and mesh into a fine group of people. I believe that it is important for me to be a bit uncomfortable from time to time. The emotionally scary experiences help me to become more-more human, more whole, more of everything. I know several posts back, I spoke of fear. Fear has been pretty much a part of my day to day existence since Jim died. I can let it drown me or I can make it my ally. The trip to Unity is a good example of asking fear to be my ally. When I support this part of myself and push forward to a new experience I grow and fear becomes a tiny bit more distant.

Sunset in Totality

I am driving south. I am going to be in San Diego for two weeks, starting this Sunday. I have to visit the person I have an ongoing relationship with for another six months or so, my dentist.😁 I have to sign up for Medicare. Good heavens, I am 65 this October, how did that happen? The rig is getting checked out and serviced. It is time to get my eye exam and order new glasses. It will be a busy two weeks.

I am hoping to see all my San Diego friends. I have missed my major support group, since Jim’s death. You all know who you are. I hope to see each and every one of you in my two weeks in town before I adventure out again.

Tonight I am at the beach. I have missed the ocean and have felt a draw to the west to say hello to the Pacific, and Jim (he was buried at sea). It is time to get my shoes on and take a walk. It is time to say hello to the wide open ocean.

 

 

The End of the Bicycling Journey

Cat and the pups

Cat and the pups

The day prior to the election, Cat completed her bike tour of the west coast. She and her pups completed the Pacific Coast Bike Route. Although there were several issues with her bike along the way, mostly the tour was without incident, and on a sunny and warm southern California day she arrived at the Mexico border and went on to Rosarito for a couple of days of R&R on the beach.

She cut her trip short. She felt a strong need to head to northern California after the election results. Cat is now at a friend’s house in Yreka, before she starts her new adventure.

I made it back to San Diego in time for Halloween. After a successful post on Facebook, where I had six unique and different offers of places to stay, Elsie & I are in temporary residence with a good friend, Pat. I feel blessed to have remet her last winter. She has welcomed both of us with open arms. Thank you, Pat.

I did not realize I needed some recovery time after almost three months of pretty constant travel. I was road weary and a bit emotionally done.

Cat’s and my goal was realized. We both wanted to get her safely to the border of southern CA. It was very successful. She rode the last distance from Cambria to San Diego, almost totally unsupported. I was there if there was an emergency, otherwise she was on her own. I tracked her on my Find Friends app. We did text quite a few times to help her negotiate LA. When she arrived in San Diego we met up and spent a few pleasant hours together at the KOA in Chula Vista putting some finality to the trip. My last siting of her was from the San Diego airport car rental building as she and her two pups headed  north in a rented SUV.

Would I do this type of trip again? I am not so sure. Am I glad that I did this trip with Cat? Yes. Were there issues along the way? Yes. It wasn’t always easy. We arranged how we did this journey with each other about 4 times. There is a lot that goes into traveling with someone, being the sag wagon, dealing with each other, two dogs and one cat. One of her friends told her that she had given us about 2-3 weeks. We proved her wrong.

Here is what was successful and good about this trip.

  • The scenery I drove through and explored was amazing.
  • Waking to the sound of waves or looking up into the redwoods was such a peaceful and calm experience.
  • Cat and I got to explore our relationship. I know that since this trip I can define a little bit more about who I am in this universe.
  • I visited with my friend Kat, in Corvallis. After 13 years of little communication, it was such a joyful and good reunion.
  • img_0012Elsie the cat continues to surprise me with her adaptability.
  • Traveling 40-50 miles a day gave me such a wonderful chance to explore areas, either hiking or biking. I did not have to move every day because of the short miles.
  • I met or saw so many people on this trip who were kind and good. I also stayed with several. It firmed up some new friends and reaffirmed some of my long standing friendships.
  • When I sent out a plea to hear from friends, I received wonderful e-mails and phone calls. It definitely made me feel a bit less lonely out on-the-road.
  • Being rescued by Mary, a good friend, when I had an “incident” with my RT.
  • Being happy with my pics.

Here is what Could have been more successful on this trip. This is definitely from my perspective.

  • Cat had to continually stop at bike shops on this trip. Although it gave me time to explore, it was a often a delay. I could feel Cat’s frustration.
  • Traveling with someone else so closely for so long was, at times, stressful. I don’t think we always communicated clearly with each other. Clear and frank communication is so important. I still need to work on this. I believe this will be an ongoing issue through out the rest of my life.
  • Later on in this trip I found myself frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement for my role in this trip. I know, I know, I should not need this, it should be about the journey. I discovered this was part of the journey for me. I hope, some day, I won’t need this recognition, but for right now, well, I am human. It would have been nice to have Cat tell other bikers my true role on this trip. Sigh.
  • I have discovered that it is hard to have dirt in my RT. I was continually cleaning and I am not so fond of cleaning. I am proud of my little home on wheels.
  • My accident in Crescent City. On the good side is I got to spend a week with Mary in Medford, Oregon.
  • A computer screen that needed to wait until I got to San Diego to fix.
Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

Any trip I do has the good and the not so good parts in it. Sometimes the not so good parts become the story one tells of a trip. There were special moments on this trip that I will remember for a long time to come. My morning on Ruby Beach, WA is one I can think of immediately. A beautiful beach, low tide, star fish, anemones, starting in fog and ending with a blue sky and brilliant sun.

I am in San Diego until after the New Year. It is good to be reconnecting with long time friends. I even had some work, which gave me time to see all my fellow tour guides, and friends.

Now that I have had a few weeks here it is time to figure out where Elsie, the RT and I are heading when we get ready to head out again. As long as it is warmish and without snow I am good.

Any Suggestions????