Elsie Steals the Computer

Whew it is hard to get this computer to myself. Janet puts it away or takes it with her and I have been wondering how to let my fans know about my adventurous life.

I know not many cats get to do what I am doing. I understand the owners and their own hesitancy. Here is what I want to tell all you cat people out there “Cats are Adapatable”!! I know, I am the world’s worst scaredy cat, yet I like to explore new places and see new things, as long as I have a home to return to when I want security, comfort and a good nap.

I have been to many places since I last posted here. Janet, me and the Roadtrek spent the winter in Arizona, I guess that makes us official snowbirds. I like the idea of Snowcats better. We returned to San Diego in the early spring. Janet says she needed more dental stuff done. I know dental means teeth. I keep trying to tell her that if she ate dry crunchies her teeth would be OK. I don’t know why she doesn’t listen.

Dharma the Dog

Finally in mid-April we left. Since then I have stayed in many interesting places. First stop was to visit a long time friend of Janet’s, Sharon. She lives in a place with “biggggggg…..” rocks everywhere. I had to get used to Dharma the dog. Whew it was hard. Dharma is big and I am small. I am not so sure about dogs but there she was. We stayed inside in a secluded bedroom. Every time I wanted to go somewhere Janet had to carry me. Who would be sniffing right behind? You guessed it Dharma the dog. During the day I would go to the RV so I could look outside and be curious. Who would be outside looking in, you guessed it? Dharma the dog. If we had stayed long enough Dharma may have worn me down and I would have become friends, of sorts, with her. Well maybe.

Since then I have been to the desert, the mountains, the ocean and more. We have camped, rallied (Roadtrek Rally, Monterey) and stayed in people’s homes. I like going back to homes I have been in before. For a while we stayed with Mary, a friend of Janet’s and mine in Medford, Oregon. I remember this house. I have been there before. I love the stairs. I haven’t seen many houses with stairs. They are so much fun to run up and down, over and over again. Janet calls it the rip and tears. I may be older but I love a good run as much as the next cat.

Me groveling with Andrew

For about three weeks we stayed with Linda and Steve and their son Andrew. First Janet was there, then she left, then she came back again. Where does she go? I am not sure. All these other people took good care of me, making sure that I got fed and skritched and loved. I really like Andrew. I am not much of a “guy” cat. Andrew is an exception to that rule. He would come in the room they had set up for me and visit. I admit I kind of ended up groveling a bit when he was around. A cat has to make the best of every situation, right?

These people had other animals. Poncho the dog, kind of ignored me. He didn’t seem to care about me at all. What is wrong with that dog? I am all nervous around him and he pretends I don’t exist. Dogs, go figure. Janet says, Poncho is such a dog. I am not sure what that means but I agree with it. The other animal was Misty the Cat. We didn’t see eye to eye. Whenever we met there was growling and hissing. Setting up territory is hard work.

When Janet returned we arrived at this lovely home that we have been in for about 3 weeks. I like it because, once again, I am the solo pet. I like it when I have Janet to myself. this place has birds and other animals to entertain me when she is out and about. It is nice that she brought my own personal sheepskin inside. I love “making bread” on it and resting in the window where I can watch the world go by. I dream of humming birds. Those swallows make me weary. The just seem to never stop, flitting here and there. I am not sure what birds are about but I like to watch their quickness. It keeps me entertained. Wouldn’t it be interesting to catch one?

Exploring

Janet says we are here to regroup. We have been traveling a lot for the past year. I like stopping for a while. I like the big house. This one has stairs too. I like being able to stretch. I love to rip and tear through this house. All my toys are here, so I can look at them with disdain when someone is looking. Late at night when no one is up I play with them and carry them around the house. They are fun. I pretend they are birds and mice and lizards. I love lizards.

I am not sure how long we are here. I will enjoy all the time I get wherever I am. Life is too short. When things get stressful I will retreat to a time out under the blankets. And when I want to explore the big wide world I will come out from under them and go off and check things out. It helps to have Janet here. She is my rock. I know she will always take care of my base needs. Once in a while when I want her to she will always be there to scratch, love and feed me. We are a team.

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Elsie, A Little Cat Exploring a Big World

Elsie on the road Again

Elsie on the road Again

Wow has my life changed. One minute I am in my house and the next minute Janet and I are in the Roadtrek, and living in her friend’s driveway. I knew for a while, something wasn’t right. The furniture started to disappear, everything in the house was getting spiffed up and then, just like that the house is gone and I am on-the-road with Janet.

I am glad Janet is a constant in my life. I am just a little kitty (under 6 pounds) and change is a bit overwhelming for me. Where did the house go? Why am I in the trek? Where are we going? Why?

I am a traveling kitty. Last summer I rode in this magic, mobile home for four whole months. I experienced many things and saw so much that was new. I am at it again.

Janet made sure that some of my favorite things were in this little home. I still sleep under my sheepskin every day. I have toys, and my food and treats. Even my catnip is here. Janet remembers to comb me. I like that a lot. At night I curl up next to her and sleep. Life is not too bad. Oh, I almost forgot my favorite string to play with is also in my current home.

The first part of the trip, once we left San Diego, was up the coast (I am not sure what that means but it seems to involve water and sand). The water scares me a little bit but the sand is really kind of cool. I love to roll in it.

My private patio

My private patio

Staying in peoples homes seems to be a part of travel. The first home we stayed in was big. Janet and I had our own suite. My favorite part of that house was the private french doors to our own patio. I felt safer when no one was around. I could go in and out. There was a lot to explore and if I got nervous I could run inside.

I have seen big trees, Janet says they are redwoods. I can’t imagine trying to climb one of those. It might take me weeks to get to the top. I wonder what is up at the top. I guess I will just have to imagine it.

Elsie & the Bird

Elsie & the Bird

 

 

At one of the campsites I got a close up view of a little bird.  I think it wanted me to come out and play. It may have been taunting me. It sat just outside the Roadtrek and looked in. It might have been a good meal. Janet gives me yummy food from a can and I don’t have to work for it. I guess that little birds will continue to taunt me.

We spent about a week somewhere called Crescent City. It was in those big tall trees. I thought it was going to be peaceful but then this woman, Cat showed up. I immediately liked her. How could you nor like person with the name Cat? I think I have seen her before. Right after I saw her, two dogs showed up. I know I have seen them before. They make me really nervous. I am suspicious they aren’t going away too soon.

Now I am somewhere called Oregon. There are a lot of trees and it is green. I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden I moved into house #2, with a cool back yard. Mary seems to be in charge here. She tries to be my friend but I am just a bit wary. I don’t know why we are here. It is kind of a nice break from the little home I travel in. Janet and I have a nice room and it is upstairs. It is private. When things make me nervous I run for the stairs.

I am suspicious that this nice home is not going to last. Change seems to be in the air. I am going to keep a close eye on things. In the meantime I am getting braver and exploring this house before it disappears.

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Change-Big Change is Coming

Search-Colorado-Springs-MLS-Homes-for-SaleThis past Monday, my realtor and I went “live”. My home is up for sale. I have been working on the house since February getting it ready for this moment. My broken ankle slowed the process down for a few months. Now that I am walking and doing better each day, it is time.

Today, Tuesday, two interested parties came to view the house. When I received the first call, I was nervous and excited and a bit anxious and scared all at the same time. There are so many mixed feelings with this move.

cardinstallation_02@2xEver since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I feel as if my life has been tossed up in the air, like a deck of cards. While I was picking up the cards from this incident, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Up went the cards again. Eight months later he was diagnosed with a metastasis from the original cancer, up the cards went once again. With his death all those cards have been taking their time coming down. I have been slowly picking them up, one at a time. Picking up each one has certainly been taking time. No set schedule here.

I thought I would sell our home  3 months after Jim died. I now understand that was way to soon. Grief needs time and I needed somewhere comfortable and secure and safe to manage the initial stages of grief and loss. There was nowhere better than the home where Jim’s and my relationship flourished.

Janet driving in the alley in Chicago(3)

Me & the Trek

I have been trying to figure out what is next in my life since Jim’s  death. I have been waiting for a grand moment of awareness. It has not arrived. I am going looking for it. Miss Elsie the Cat and I are going to make my sweet little Roadtrek into our home for the next year. It may be longer than a year or it may be shorter but I have decided to go traveling. I love to travel. I enjoy learning and meeting new people and exploring this grand country I live in. And to create some expansiveness, I am including Canada in my travels, as well.

Link to Listing

I don’t plan to set out until the house sells, unless it is on the market for a while. If that happens then I will be heading out before it sells. Maybe I will figure out where I want to live. If not it will be one grand adventure. I look forward to seeing friends, friends who I have known forever and newer ones as well.

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The nervousness and anxiety comes from the unknown. It is a little overwhelming to put my trust out there in the universe that all will be OK. I have moved several times in my adult life. Each time has been just a wee bit harder than the last one. I am not sure why that happens, but I do think it has to do with age. Maybe as I have gotten more mature I have found myself more settled with each move. I do have friends in so many places and I hope to meet up with as many as I can. It is time to catch up.

I am getting ready to roll. What should I take? What should I leave? Where am I going? Is this crazy?

Then there is the house. It takes a bit of effort to dismantle a house. I have been in the process of doing this for the past few weeks. I still have a ways to go, yet even this is manageable as long as I don’t get too stressed.

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Miss Elsie

And then there are the memories. Sigh. Even this is OK. It can even be therapeutic. And the bottom line here, is I need move ahead with my life. I want to create adventure and exciting, happy challenges. I am ready. Miss Elsie, well who knows but she is coming along for the ride.

Getting ready, change is in there air.

 

 

 

Serendipity

SerendipitySerendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. An easier description is that when you least expect it really cool things happen.

When my friend, Nancy and I travel together we try to be aware and take advantage of serendipitous moments. We welcome them. It is not always easy to catch those moments, I find I need to pay attention, stop when I was planning to drive straight through, talk to people and enjoy that very moment in time.

We are both members of the Nature Conservancy’s Legacy Club. Once a year they offer us an opportunity to learn about one of their projects in California. We hike and listen to the specialists talk about the projects in the area we are visiting. This year was a bit different yet still very interesting.

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Oso Flaco Lake with the Dunes

We explored the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes near Pismo Beach. This is not an active project, instead we were able to witness what a mature project looks like. It is open to the public and has some lovely hiking trails. One crosses Oso Flaco Lake, a fresh water lake just on the other side of the dunes from the ocean. It was a birder’s paradise.

We opted to leave a few days prior to the Conservancy hike and explore some areas that we had never been to before. Jalama Beach, 14 miles west of Lompoc, CA, butting up to Vandenberg Air Force Base was our first destination. It is a classic wild California coast line. If you need a lot of things to keep you busy, well this is not it. At the beach there is the campground, a store and grill and…that is about it. I love walking the beach. It is a great spot for sunset photos and checking out the surfers in the early morning. I loved it there. I am already planning a return trip, for a longer stay.

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Sunset, Jalama Beach

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Walking to the break, early morning

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morning surf

 

Bob Thomas was one of the Conservancy tour participants. He is also the owner of the Arroyo Grande Tortoise and Turtle Rescue. He offered a tour of the rescue facility the day following the Nature Conservancy hike. Serendipity??? You bet. Early the next morning we arrived at this beautiful 5 acre ranch that is currently the home to 300 plus turtles and tortoises. It was a great tour and it was led by Bob who has a passion for these creatures. Every day people bring him or send him their reptiles they cannot own anymore for various reasons. After more than an hour and a half our minds had absorbed more info on these creatures than our brains could hold. We saw big tortoises and little turtles and even a galapagos tortoise. It was a fascinating hour and a half. If you are ever in the area look this Turtle and Tortoise Rescue of Arroyo Grande and take a tour. Tours are by appointment only. They also had alpacas, goats, many birds and the friendliest dogs.

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Tortoise & Turtle Rescue Ranch

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In our quest for free camping in the wilderness, yes there is still wilderness in southern California, we discovered Figueroa Mountain Road out of Los Olives. The road was extremely narrow, frequently steep with little shoulder room, and required cautious driving. There were pull outs in case you met a car coming head on. Thank goodness we did not have to back up, we met very few cars. What a grand ride it was. The views were spectacular and the road was “fun”. You definitely would not have wanted to take anything larger than my sweet little RT on this road.

camping among the oaks

camping among the oaks

After we crossed the summit of Figueroa Mountain we descended to Sunset Road where we headed north until we found a great National Forest Campground, Davy Brown, in the San Rafael Wilderness. Until late in the evening we were the only ones there. One other group came in and camped at the other end of the campground. Talk about quiet. We camped in the tall oaks and, in spite of the drought, there was a stream flowing next to us. The moon was almost full and it was so delightfully quiet.

The next morning we finished the loop by traveling to Happy Canyon Road. As we maneuvered the twisting road we drove by two large group camps of mostly young men. Shortly after we encountered cars parked along the sides of a steep down grade and more young guys sitting skateboards. As I drove carefully through them we stopped to ask questions about what they were doing there. The Gnarbara, first legally sanctioned down hill skate boarding event on this road, was about to begin. There were participants from all over the world. Most were young, teens and twenties. Many do not do tricks or jumps, they just like to go fast.

IMG_6930After driving the coarse, I parked the RT at the bottom and we hiked back up to the medical tent to watch some of the event unfold. Yes, you heard me right, the medical tent. It is not unusual to treat skin abrasions and broken bones. They had a walkie talkie connected to 911, in case they needed to make the call. Yow!!!!

There were several categories, professional, amateur, hands up (no hands onto the pavement what so ever) and more. Because of time constraints we could not spend the day. We were able to watch the practice runs and some impromptu races. By the time they reached the finish line (no one could quite decide where that was) they may be reaching speeds of 35 mph.

IMG_6952Here is what I have decided. You need to be young to do this event. They are all a bit crazy. If I knew of things like this in my teens and twenties I so would have been there. Now I think about broken bones and hospital bills. While the participants caught the bus back up the hill, we, unfortunately needed to head south and home to San Diego.

This event is the ultimate serendipitous moment. We could have driven by yet instead we stopped and got involved (as observers). We met nice people and watched something that I may never see again. All the young people were great to talk to. They reminded me a lot of surfers in their language and actions. Most of all I had fun. I took pictures and videos and talked to the parents of some of the participants.

Now I am back in San Diego, cleaning my RT out for the second time in less than a month. I am glad I have my small mobile house to see places in comfort and style. I will continue to drive the small byways of California and find the unusual and serendipitous moments with friends and alone. All these moments make me grow as a person. Many of these events make me laugh out loud. Mostly when I come across the unusual I meet the nicest people that care.

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Me & My RT in the San Rafael Wilderness

What a joy serendipity is. Got any moments to share?

Elsie At Home

Me & My Sheepskin

Me & My Sheepskin

Hi everyone. It took a few days to get to the computer when Janet wasn’t looking. It helps when she works 12 hour days. I am not sure what work is but she tells me that it keeps me in the lifestyle I am used to. OK, I accept that.

I now know what home is.

Home is:

  • where I don’t have to sleep under the sheepskin all day, although it remains close by in case of emergencies.
  • huge compared to the little home on wheels I have been in for the past almost 4 months.
  • where I can go outside during the day without a leash. Yes I do still have to wear my halter and yes I do have to come in before dark each night. I am not sure why I have to do this,  but if it lets me go outside without a leash, I’m good.
  • filled with windows I can look out anytime I want to.
  • stationary.
  • quiet. There are not as many visitors. A lot of people want to look inside my little mobile home. Then they stay around and talk. I don’t know why they all do this yet Janet seems to like talking to all those strangers.

I have had some grand adventures on this trip.  Did you know I got away twice? It was after dark and there was big woods all around. I would have really liked exploring but the first time I heard fear in Janet’s voice. Since I kind of like her when she called and clapped three whole times I ran into the RT. The second time it was really foggy and I could have gone far but a big truck drove up the road and scared me and I ran into the RV. That little home on wheels is one of my safe places.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip.

  • I stayed in two houses, and two hotels.
  • I saw lots and lots of water. Big water and little water. Some tasted kind of salty. Some had waves (that is what Janet called it). Waves scared me.
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    Oh No, More Horses

    At the very beginning of my trip I saw horses. And…they were right behind my little house. I stayed under the sheepskin for almost four whole days!!!

  • I met three other kitties on this trip and three dogs.
  • I went to Canada where I learned to speak French, “juste un pue”.
  • I met a lot of wild life, birds and animals. They were all interesting and I really liked the ones that moved fast. I would have really like to have met some of them quite a bit closer but Janet said no. What a spoil sport.
  • On

    On “The Land”

    I liked going out on my leash. Every place we stayed was different. I really liked the quiet ones where it was just us. One of the last places we stayed was on “the land”. I am not sure what that means. We were the only ones there and the grasses were super tall and I got to explore in them with my leash. It was fun.

  • Watching the fish in the water at the Lake in NJ was very entertaining.
  • Chippies…Squirrels….Birds…….well you get the idea.
  • IMG_6475I finally got to see a coyote. Janet says I can’t go out after dark because of coyotes. This one did not look threatening. She says they are wiley. I am not sure what that means. They have big voice and yip a bunch. I guess I better stay away from that one.
  • Janet and I spent quality time together. I liked talking to her and snuggling up next to her on cool nights.
  • IMG_1629I liked riding on the dashboard. I got to see a lot. I tried to not be a back-seat-driver.
  • I was in 22 states and 4 provinces. That is a lot for a little six pound kitty like me. Just call me, Miss Elsie-Adventure Kitty.

I like both my houses but the big stationary one, is still my favorite. The little one on wheels is also kind of fun and I like being on an adventure. The more I travel in it the more fun it becomes. And I like seeing all the places and animals and “stuff”.

Janet tells me my adventures are not over yet. Hmm, I wonder what that means?

Friends

When I add a post to my blog I am never sure where it will go. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say and other times I have no idea until I sit down to type the post up. There are times that my mind wanders and I take me and all of you off on an unknown adventure.

Missy and Janet Enjoying Moxie

Missy and Janet Enjoying Moxie

I have just returned to civilization after spending five days with my friend Missy and her husband, Dan on Moxie Lake out in the woods of Maine. Having extremely limited access to the digital age was truly a vacation.

Missy and I have been friends for many years. Even though we live 3000 miles apart when we are together we seem to easily pick up where we left off.I always feel that is a sign of true friendship. It was good to have five days to catch up, laugh and explore together. Missy and I love to take wildlife photos. We spent quite a bit of time watching and photographing the loons that frequent the cove next to the camp.

When we left camp this morning it was hard to leave. I feel safe and loved and secure when I am with people that care about me. It is hard to leave that for the unknown. From now on I am on my own and traveling into new territory as I drive north up the down east coast of Maine. I am heading for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Friends are a continuing important part of my existence. Since Jim died I have recognized how important my friends are to me. Their ongoing support and encouragement help push me forward to explore the next chapters of my life.

Right now six of my friends have very willingly taken on the task of taking care of my house and yard so I could comfortably get into my RV and travel and explore. I appreciate these friends so much for their effort and kindness. I would like to share with you a little of these six incredible women.

Nancy and Janet

Nancy and Janet

Nancy is the coordinator of the house sitting project. She even found an on line calendar so that the six of them could sign up on the calendar for the days they wanted to check on the house. Nancy and I have been friends for close to 30 years. We have had our ups and downs but we always have remained strong friends. She feels like my sister. We both have a love of native plants. We see each other often and share a lot of our intimate thoughts with each other. I am so glad we met and have been friends for all these years.

Phyllis

Phyllis

Phyllis and I used to work together as nurses. I quit after 25 years but Phyllis remained a nurse for much longer and is now happily retired. One of her passions is to walk the 3 day, Susan G Komen walk for the cure. She has done these walks all over the United States. We usually find a day each week to walk and have breakfast, one of my favorite meals to eat out. She has very unselfishly supported me. After Jim was diagnosed with metastatic cancer all I had to do was call her and she would be there, even at 2 in the morning. It is good to have a friend who I can always lean on if need be.

Janet in the Desert

Janet in the Desert

Janet and I met dancing. We have been friends for many years. We also share the same passion for native plants and her yard is exceptional. Janet and I walk together, go to the movies and much more. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. Janet loves to English Country Dance and Contradance. She often is traveling to dance. Her unending support of me has been treasured.

Raquel

Raquel

Raquel house sat for me and took care of Miss Elsie two years ago while I traveled in my Roadtrek. She and I have become friends over the past couple of years. I enjoy having her down the block. I can stop in and visit whenever I want. We never seem to run out of conversation. Raquel is a beautiful artist. She is a costumer for the local theaters in San Diego. Her work is amazing. I am glad we met.

JoAnn is a new friend. I met her through Nancy. I don’t know her well. I enjoy her company and hope when I return we can do more together. She has house sat for me and Miss Elsie the cat really likes her. She lives down the street from me and so it is convenient for her to swing by the house. What I like about JoAnn is that she is easy to converse with. I feel we have some common interest. She is going through her own life transition and I am glad that I am part of this transition time.

Janet and Beth

Janet and Beth

Beth is my massage therapist, healer and friend. Although we don’t do much outside of her office we have grown close over the years. I appreciate her insight and her joy of self discovery. I appreciate that she takes the time to listen to me and support me. She supports me in all ways, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Beth loves to dance and she has the most amazing singing voice. I appreciate her gentle and insightful way and her commitment to self growth and friendship.

Aren’t these the most amazing women? And they are my friends. I feel so honored to know each one of them. Friends are important in my life. I never forget that. It is because of their loving support that Elsie and I are adventuring around the United States and Canada. Each day I give thanks to them.

As my journey continues I will tell you cool things I see along the way but I also will share with you from time to time some of these amazing people that are in my life.

Tomorrow I journey north. I am looking forward to seeing new things and await new adventures along the way.

Getting Ready To Roll

mapsTwo summers ago I began a new adventure in travel. I bought my cute little Roadtrek RV and traveled the United States for two and a half months. I felt a strong pull to visit as many of the people that supported Jim and myself through three plus years of struggle. I wanted to thank those people for their support and have fun and some adventure along the way. It was a marvelous summer.

Little did I know that this journey would contine on past my travels that summer in my RV. I have been overwhelmed at times and continuously grateful for the ongoing support of all those friends, near and far, older and newer that have continued to love and support me as I have traveled through the uncharted territory of grief. I am blessed.

In two weeks I am packing up my RV and traveling to the east coast and beyond. I am planning to be on-the-road for about three months. Where am I going this time?

EventPhotoFull_horsedriveposter-2015 aI have a date to ride in the Hells A’Roaring Horse Round-up in Gardiner, MT May 21-23.  I am so excited about this. I love to ride horses and you know even though Jim was not fond of horses, he would have done this. Oh my, he did try so hard when it came to horses, yet I know that he was not fond of this activity. It did not stop him from trying. Hmm…there might be a lesson here somewhere.

After spending time in Yellowstone National Park and Montana, I am driving east. When I began to plan my departure, I knew I was attending the wedding of my niece, in July, in Connecticut. Now good friends are getting married in June in North Carolina. If you have been following my blog you may remember my visit to Zoe and Kay in North Carolina in 2013. In early June they are getting married. I am ready for a grand celebration. Does anyone else want to get married while I am traveling? Terry?

In between do I know where I am going? Well kind of, and kind of not. I like the idea of planning my touring from day to day. I want to be spontaneous and let adventure take me where it will. I am hoping to connect with many of my friends and family along the way. Heads up all you northern United States people. The journey of thanking others continues.

Elsie in Patagonia

Elsie

This year I am not traveling alone. Miss Elsie, the cat is going to join the adventure. So far I have had her on two short trips and she did OK. I really did not want to leave her home this time. I will need to consider her needs a bit. I have decided to stay in one place for more than one night. This way she gets adjusted and you know I don’t need to be in a rush. I can enjoy different places and enjoy relaxing and exploring along the way.

I am already so thankful for those friends (6 of them) who are going to love and support my home while I am away. My neighbors are also going to help. For the first time since I have lived here I now have the most marvelous neighbors. There is so much I feel thankful for on a daily basis.

A week from Sunday this new adventure begins. I am opening my heart and mind and am ready to find the expected and unexpected. Please join me as I blog my way through the summer. It will be fun to meet up with some of you along the way.