Checking out Font’s Point

Our daughter is driving to Anza Borrego from Redlands, California and with all the storms pounding the desert, we were concerned about road conditions in the low lying areas that are subject to flash flooding. We decided to take Callie for a car ride and to make sure Lara would be able to get through. There was quite a bit of damage but no road closures. Callie loved the drive and the weather was really brisk and dramatic. Now Callie can settle down and relax for the evening. She was starting to get really bored and now she is relaxed.

Tis’ the day before Christmas…

We have had one storm after another in Anza Borrego and it feels so appropriate for Winter Solstice. The temperature has dropped down into the high 30’s at night and we have had considerable rainfall. Trying to keep Callie entertained has become a little challenging but Lara, my daughter arrives today and the sun is suppose to return to the desert tomorrow. I love storms and these past few days have been impressive. I have managed to sneak Callie out into the backyard and up the olive trees in between showers. It is fresh and brisk out and Callie has needed a warm bed to take naps on and to sleep in at night. She has once again adapted to the situation and by placing her Kong housebed on the piano, she has a nice place to sleep and keep an eye on the festivities.  I am not a traditionalist and will be serving spaghetti and salad for dinner tonight. I have created my own tradition of not doing any one thing every year. Last year we were on an Alaska Airline plane back to San Diego from Maui. Our house was under renovation and uninhabitable. It wasn’t that far along when we returned after 3 weeks of being away. It was still uninhabitable but we managed. I am especially appreciative that this year I have a warm and dry house that is providing my family with shelter from the storm. Merry Christmas to all who read this blog. May 2017 be filled with peace and joy, health and wisdom. We are heading to Las Vegas for the new year and Callie will be tagging along. I can’t wait to write about her adventures in Vegas!

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain…

Anza Borrego has received more than an inch of rain in the past few days. This is extraordinary for the desert. It has been a steady downpour at times and a light drizzle at other times. This is perfect for the sand to absorb the rainfall and not cause flash flooding. Everything is soaked and I can’t wait to see what the ocotillo will do right around Christmas time. Strong winds are expected the day before Christmas and this will blow all the clouds away and Christmas Day will be saturated with golden sunshine. Maybe the ocotillo will bloom and fill the desert with bright orange/red blossoms. That will be a sight to behold.

But poor Callie is getting very bored and restless. She has been so good about comforting Michael and Michael is doing much better, but it is time for an adventure again. Hanging out in the house is getting old for her. Fortunately Callie will follow me and I am able to walk her around the backyard before the rain starts again. Looking out across the desert, you can barely see the foothills that always glow so pink and golden at sunrise. There are no birds singing and it is very quiet outside except for the sound of rain drops falling. A low lying mist is hugging the foothills all the way to the desert floor and it feels odd to have so much dampness in what is usually such an arid region. The smell of wood burning in fireplaces permeates the air and rain water has collected on all the leaves and darkened the bark of the olive trees. Puddles have formed everywhere and they cast lovely images of light and shadow.  Everything is saturated and Callie cant’t even climb her trees because they are so wet.

And just when I thought I had Callie figured out, and that I would be sleeping with her from now on, she has returned to her bed high up on the hutch in the master bedroom. She has been sleeping close to me and hogging my pillow the past week and I thought the best approach is to be generous and share the bed with her. Two nights ago, she jumped back up on her own bed and has been once again using it during her daytime naps. I am thinking that she felt really insecure when she first got home after having been boarded and needed a little more reassurance. She is back to her secure self again and taking long naps and she isn’t walking around the house meowing loudly. It feels good to know that she has returned to normal.

It is dark and cloudy out today and more rain is expected tonight. There was just enough of a break in the weather that I was able to invite Callie out for a roll in the sand. Another big storm is heading our way tonight. Anza Borrego and California need the rain… So I say, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain! Callie will be going with us to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve! She can be patient with the weather just a little bit longer.

Better to Give than to Receive!

My husband Michael had surgery on his hand and Callie is doing her best to help him heal. It is important to her that she stay in his lap and keep him warm and dry and offer him comfort if he is in pain. What a cat!  She never ceases to amaze me at how far she has come. Even after Michael came home from the Surgical Center yesterday late afternoon, and I had gone to bed that evening, she has stayed by his side. I believe that the patience and kindnes that I have shown Callie, now that I have seen the light, has helped her to mature into a well adjusted and very affectionate adult cat. She was not always this way and was actually very neurotic when I first adopted her, and I wasn’t always as patient and kind to her. Our friendship has blossomed over the years.

I wrote in a much earlier post that Callie needed frozen kibble and that I had to get up several times in the night to stir her food. I also wrote about her choosing to sleep on the roof of her adorable house shaped bed instead of sleeping inside of it. So much has changed in the past 4 months that I thought to myself that I just have to share our latest stories. For one thing I have placed her bowl of food on the floor by my side of the bed, and when Callie informs me that she would like a midnight snack, all I have to do is reassure her that it is ok to eat, and then deposit her by her bowl. I no longer have to serve it frozen, which is her way of compromising, and I don’t even have to get out of bed anymore.  She loudly crunches on about 6 nuggets and when satisfied, hops back up on the bed to cuddle and sleep. I have no idea why she needs permission to eat because I don’t know anything about her formative days as a kitten, but she insists on asking me if it is ok to eat, and I have agreed to participate in this little dance of give and take. I use to be so much stricter with her, and was actually mean at times, but she has shown me the joy of, “in giving you shall receive,” approach to life and we are both much happier for it. She also abandoned her house shaped  bed about a month ago when the weather became cooler. She hasn’t figured out how to wrap herself up in a blanket without my assistance and has decided that sleeping right next to hot, little old me, is a fabulous solution. Five years ago I would not have allowed it. Now I wouldn’t feel right about kicking her out of bed, and would be overwhelmed with guilt if I did. She has taught me the art of sharing my bed and pillow with her and I feel better for being generous and kind hearted. She is so appreciative and affectionate that once you get over the feeling that you are being manipulated, the idea of sleeping with a cat isn’t so bad after all. Why was I so adamant about her sleeping in her own bed? What harm is there in letting her sleep with me?  In return for the favor, she has agreed to eat her midnight snacks without making me get up and walk across the room to stir her food. Dropping her off on the side of the bed in front of her bowl is far more convienient than having to get up. So, allowing Callie to sleep with me has turned into a win-win situation for both of us. I get to stay in bed and Callie has permission to sleep with me and have her meals provided with minimal effort on my part.  I am being somewhat tongue and cheek about all of this, but really, when you stop to think about it, isn’t it better to give than to receive?

And it isn’t all receive on Callie’s part and give on my part. She is taking her job of comforting Michael very seriously and in that regard, she is giving back to both of us. Michael is comforted by her warm little body next to his injured arm and I am provided with stories in which to write about. I personally feel that having Callie come into my life has been one of the best things that has every happened to me. And in these very troubled times, just having someone and anything to love and be loved, is a comfort and joy.  There is way to much suffering in the world. So on that note, may there be peace and joy on earth and love and kindness shown to all of you! Happy New Year 2017.

An Abundance of Charm

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be sharing my bed and pillow for God’s sake with a cat, I would have gasped in disbelief and adamantly disagreed. I do not share my bed with anyone other than my husband! But somehow and someway, Callie has charmed her way right into bed with Michael and me and now she sleeps in the middle with her head on my pillow and nestled by my side. How did she manage to accomplish this miracle? My Jack Russel, Miss Addie, who was the love of my life, was not able to cross that line and had to sleep on the floor in her own bed and with her own blanket. How did a stray cat come into my life that is now sleeping in the same bed with me?

When we decided to keep Callie after a month of searching for her owner, I was very firm about house rules and one of them was not sleeping on the bed. She was not a kitten when she came to us, but a three year old cat that had a mind all her own. The previous family actually dropped by after a year of watching me raise her and confessed to us that she had been their cat and was impossible to live with. She was constantly running away and caused them no end of grief. When they saw that she was happy with me, and me happy with her, good riddance, they did not want her back. So, to get back to the sleeping in bed with us story, I can remember with some guilt now, that I would spray her with a water bottle if she attempted to crawl up on the bed. I would physically discipline her with a swat on the butt and scold her only to have her sneak back up on the bed ever so quietly whenever she thought I was asleep. I think the breakdown in communication had to have been with Michael. He felt sorry for her before I did and would look the other way when she snuck up quietly and rested against his feet. Once she felt safe about that rule being broken, and there were no repercussions, she had a taste for more. She would ever so slowly and quietly creep back up and make herself at home further up on the bed.  Callie would have gotten away with this except that she would start purring loudly. The purring would give her away because it would wake me up and I would have to take action by removing her from the bed once again. This lasted for months. I even kicked her out of the bedroom and shut the door in her face, only to hear her plaintive howls on the other side of the door. Now everyone knows you can’t sleep with a cat on the other side of the door plaintively howling. At the height of the disagreement, I actually threw her outside and made her spend the night in the backyard. I cringe at this memory because when I got up in the morning, she was huddled by the back door in a tiny little heap of despair, and it nearly broke my heart. That was the beginning of the turning point for me. I couldn’t stand to see such suffering on her part, so I capitulated next. Now Michael and I are both on the same page and Callie is welcome to crawl up on the bed whenever she likes. She is charmingly persistent and her best tool for gettting her way is exactly that, charm! Callie is the sweetest cat I have ever known and to this day I somehow feel like I got the better end of the bargain by letting her sleep with us. The looks she gives you and the pats and purrs are the warmest and most heartfelt I have ever experienced. She is genuinely appreciative and happy that she is in bed with us. It almost makes you feel like she is doing you a favor, and actually she is… I am writing about her now and enjoying the process so much. She has given me a creative outlet that feels so rewarding. I love writing about her.

So, no matter how wonderful Holiday Pet Hotel is with Callie, they can’t hold a candle to the life she lives at home. She is an equal standing member of the family, sleeps in bed with us, is pampered in every regard and no amount of spoiling at HPH can compete with that. When we pick her up after having been boarded for 17 days, there is a price to be paid. It isn’t that she’s a brat when we are reunited, it’s that she is so very, very sad and doesn’t understand why we left her in the first place. She needs hours of snuggling and petting and reassuring for her to feel secure again. It would be interesting to hear Holiday Pet Hotel’s take on this…….I told you that she has an abundance of charm! 

A Walk on the Wild Side

Callie and I are enjoying a quiet day after too much adventure yesterday. The storm has subsided and it is sunny and calm outside. After sweeping up from the debris of the storm, Callie and I decided to go for a walk over to the De Anza Country Club Golf Course and soak up some sunshine. She is becoming very comfortable on the leash and harness and we are able to go for quite the distance before she quits. She has to roll frequently and smell often and of course, sharpen her claws on the huge eucalyptus tree at the golf course green. On our way back home she decided to climb the wooden, big horn sheep statue that resides across the street from the house. Callie looked like a miniature mountain lion and you could tell that she felt proud of herself while taking a walk on the wild side of life. Nothing beats a nice stroll on a beautiful day… I am tired from travel and feel a little bit jet lagged. This was a nice break in the day.

At the Rainbow’s Edge

Michael and I left Maui yesterday afternoon with a potent storm building out in the Pacific and arrived in San Diego with the same storm packing quite a punch.  We are now in Borrego Springs and the wind is blowing really hard with some rain sprinkled into the mix. I have sand dunes forming on every door and window sill, and the pool looks like a wild and wholly pond. Palm fronds and sand are everywhere. Our power is out and the house is cold and soon it will be dark. I have plenty of candles lit, thanks to my good friend Dolly and I will just have to settle in for the night with my iPad. Aren’t storms, weather and mother nature amazing? That is, as long as you can seek shelter from the rain….

We picked up Miss Callie at 10 am Friday morning at Holiday Pet Hotel and headed home with the rain pouring down and Callie crying softly to herself. She was restless and meowed a lot but was just fine. Holiday Pet Hotel takes excellent care of her and no amount of complaining on her part will convince me otherwise. She is a funny little one, and her facial expressions are so dramatic that you can tell exactly how she is feeling. She can be very expressive and quite the drama queen. That is why she reminds me of my Jack Russel, Miss  Addie. Addie was a drama queen too. So Callie complained to herself the whole way home but perked up as soon as we started to head down Montezuma Grade. She could smell the desert and recognized that we were almost home. The wind was howling down the grade and just as we crossed the line leaving the high desert, the sun started to peak out from the clouds and a rainbow emerged in the distance. Callie sat up on top of the suitcases and watched the storm blowing past and you could tell she was excited about heading home again.

As we continued down the grade, the rainbow turned into a double with the second and higher rainbow trying desperately to hold its own. This lasted until we got down to the desert floor and we rushed over to our favorite lookout at Henderson Canyon so that I could take a couple more photographs. Michael is very good about that with me. He is always super supportive and encouraging about my photography, and even after a long day of travel, and a super long day yesterday, he goes the extra mile to place me in a good position to take a fabulous photo. As we drove past the house, Callie let out a squawk and a meow of complaint. She had recognized the house when we drove past it, and couldn’t understand why we didn’t turn into the driveway.

The last photos are taken out at Henderson Canyon and the reward at the end of the rainbow were the beautiful clouds that were forming because of the powerful winds. What a gift and a pot of gold for me to drive back home just as the storm was cresting over the San Ysidro Mountain Range. I will remember this day for a long time and I can tell that Callie is very happy to be home again and in Michael’s warm embrace. 

Hit the Road Jack!

There is very little to complain about concerning Callie the cat. She has charm in abundance, is rarely irritable, loves to be petted, is cute as a button and I get to see her again Friday morning. It will be almost two and a half weeks since we dropped her off at Holiday Pet Hotel. The first time we picked Callie up after having been gone for three weeks, she complained bitterly to herself during the 2 hour drive back to Borrego Springs. Every once in awhile she would remember something particularly distressing and let out a mournfully sad meow. You could tell it had been traumatic to her in spite of the good care she had received at HPH and she felt abandoned, only to be rescued again. Her relief at being back together with us was countered by the anxiety she felt at having been separated for so long in the first place. She didn’t know whether to be mad at us or glad. When we finally got home and she was able to wander around the house, she let out plaintive cries for hours as she went from room to room. She was feeling very sorry for herself and didn’t start feeling better until she got a chance to climb her beloved olive trees, and once again feel the bark beneath her claws. The second time we dropped her off, she faired much better and didn’t seem nearly as stressed out as the first time. The third time around, Holiday Pet Hotel should be familiar enough to her and a routine established. It will be interesting to see how she does when we pick her up. When traveling to Maui, I really don’t have any choice but to board her, so she has to make the best of her situation. The goal in the next couple of months is to purchase a used RV, adopt a rescue jack russel and hit the road, “jack!” That way my travels with Callie blog can be continued with a dog to add to the mix! Can you imagine the stories I wil be able to tell then?!

Napili Point-Maui

It will be two weeks tomorrow since we dropped Callie off at Holiday Pet Hotel. It is never easy for me to have her boarded, but there comes a time when I have to go to Maui and Callie would not fit in well here. There is a fairly busy road in front of the condo and the birds that hang out in the front lanai would drive her crazy. So, I get a well deserved break from her and Callie from me. Holiday Pet Hotel is a fabulous facility though, and I recommend it highly to anyone living in the San Diego area that needs to board their pet. 

Napili Point is on the north side of Maui and the complex looks out at Molokai and to the west. Napili is much like Encinitas, California in that it is a sleepy little town that boarders on funky. Napili Point is magical and our condo sits a little away from the ocean but has privacy and a feeling that you are separate from the tourists. This morning we watched the moon set over the water before the sun rose and it was a beautiful sight to behold. 

The flowers in the tropics are like no other and the Red Crested Cardinal, a cheeky little bird, would fly over to beg for tidbits. Maui is renowned for it’s rainbows and I have seen several on this trip alone. We had record rainfall and Maui needs rain just like California. I haven’t minded the rain at all because of living in the desert. How fortunate I am to have two such extreme locations to visit and live in.

We return to Anza Borrego on Friday and I am very excited to see Callie again. Holiday Pet Hotel says she is doing fine and they enjoy her visits with them. I am sure that Callie is making the best of her situation, developing friendships and being a happy, cheerful cat. That is just who Callie is…

You Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry!

We adopted Callie in December of 2011 and have not regretted it since. She was an unexpected Christmas gift and after a month of trying to find her owners, we accepted her into the family as one of our own. She has such a big personality and reminds me of my deceased Jack Russel Terrier, Miss Adelaide. She acts more like a dog than a cat, but there is one very cat like trait that drives me nuts, and that is exploring inside the fireplace. She is convinced that the bird sounds she hears echoing through the chimney are worth pursuing and if I don’t have the opening closed up, she climbs inside and gets filthy dirty with soot and grime. When she finally gives up trying to locate the source of the bird song, she climbs back out and gets paw prints all over the house. I of course have to bathe her afterwards, and she complains quite bitterly when I do so, and she feels really sorry for herself and I can tell that she is embarrassd by her appearance. When she is soaking wet, she is very scrawny looking, and her tail resembles that of a rat, and she looks quite pathetic and appears to know it. She crawls under the bed to hide or sits in a corner and pouts until she is dry and fluffy again.  Does that stop her from climbing back up into the chimney? Of course not… But Christmas is coming Callie, and you had better watch out, better not cry, better not pout, I am telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.