Portrait of a Princess

Callie is a very photogenic cat! She has gotten use to me aiming the camera/phone at her constantly and endures hundreds of photographs taken every week. There are times when I can tell it annoys her, but she tries to be a good sport about it. I find it interesting that she usually lowers her stare when I am focused on her, so I have to jump up and down or dangle something in front of her to capture her attention so that she will look at me. The new iPhone 7 plus has a nice portrait mode lens and it appears to combine 2 photographs into one for depth. I am very happy with the results and these are the first of many portraits that I will be taking of her…. poor cat! Glad it is her and not me!

The War on Drugs

The latest diagnosis for Callie has been viral pneumonia. She started coughing in early March and every time she finishes up a round of antibiotics, she starts to cough again. It is a deep, wracking cough, that stops her in her tracks. It has not been a fun experience for her or for me. I have to administer a decongestant and an antibiotic, a 1cc syringe full of fluid every 12 hours. This will be her 5th and 6th round. We doubled up this time in hopes that we finally get her 100% well. 

In order to not get scratched, I pull out a towel or blanket and wrap her up nice and snug with just her head peaking out. I then hold her tight and pry open her mouth so that Michael can inject the medicine down her throat. Once it is in her mouth, I have to make sure that she doesn’t spit it back out, so I have to hold her firmly until I see that she has swallowed. The first decongestant I gave her was so bitter and nasty tasting, she would froth at the mouth and then vomit. When I told this to the doctor, he laughed and said “He knew it was bitter, but had never heard of a pet acting out so dramatically!” We switched to another med that seems to be much more palatable.

Callie has figured out the 12 hour encriments too and runs and hides under the bed. She watches my hands to see if I am holding anything in them, and will take off at a brisk trot at the first hint of trouble heading her way. We have about 10 more days of dealing with this before we can be done. She is going to be so neurotic by then…. I have taken to holding her tight for awhile after she swallows the medicine, to praise her and tell her what a good girl she is. The war on drugs has been a hefty battle, but I will win the war because it is for her own good. I imagine that if this round doesn’t do the trick, we will have to figure out what to do next. It is still plausible that she has asthma or heart worm.

This morning has been a good one so far. She has climbed her favorite olive tree and came head to head with the rascally roadrunner. That bird shows no fear of Callie. She hasn’t coughed once yet and her energy is back. It is a beautiful morning in the desert and birds are singing. My hummingbirds entertain her with their swoops and dives, clicks and flashes of green and purple. It will be a mild temperature outside, with high clouds and a slight breeze in Anza Borrego. There are no more flowers left blooming except for domesticated oleander and bougainvillea and the desert has returned to an arid landscape once again…

A Heartfelt Thank You!

Dear readers and followers of my blog,

I just wanted to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of you who read my blog.

 I started the blog: TRAVELSWITHCALLIE with the encouragement of my daughter almost a year ago. It has been such an awesome experience to write and share photographs of my darling cat and the adventures we go on. She is such a good kitty and tries her best to behave like a dog. I can ask her to walk on a leash and to guard the RV. She hasn’t perfected the bark yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some day she does. She also understands the commands of sit, stay and come….that doesn’t necessarily mean she will obey them though. You can tell she knows what I am asking of her because her ears twitch and she hesitates before she decides not to do what I ask! When she disobeys, guilt registers all over her face and it pains her greatly.  If I have to chase her down, she will cower and give it up. I like that about her. She knows who is boss and that I have her best interest at heart. Disobeying is typical cat behavior so I try to be somewhat accommodating. Thank you dear readers for participating by reading my blog.  It means the world to me!❤️

Home Sweet Home ~ Again

RVing is work… you are constantly “ON” and if you aren’t actually on the road, you are setting up camp, camping, or pulling out of a campsite and preparing to leave. So far we haven’t exactly stayed in one place for more than 6 nights. For Callie that means that she is on guard most of the time. If we are hiking or biking without her, she rests in the RV but feels compelled to stay aware of the comings and goings. I can tell when I open the door to the RV, that she is hoping it is me and not some stranger. It is getting easier for her, but it is still a full time job that she takes seriously. We got home late yesterday afternoon after a fun filled weekend of activity. All of us are exhausted! It feels so good to be home sweet home again…. 

Callie’s Big Sister 

When we first rescued Callie in Redlands, California, our daughter was back home with us for a year working in a lab at LLU in Loma Linda. When I opened the front door, my husband, Lara and I all witnessed Callie race across our front yard and up to us meowing loudly and clearly in distress. While husband and daughter headed off to work, I was left with the cat and had to deal with figuring out what to do next. I ended up running to the store and got food and a litter box because it was obvious that she was here to stay. I have written about her adoption in other posts and today it is about Lara. She graduated with a PhD in physiology this weekend, and we all drove to Redlands to celebrate her success in the RV. Yay for Lara! Callie thinks of her as a litter mate… she loves Lara in a different way and is always excited to reunite with her. We had a fabulous weekend and will be returning to the middle of nowhere after lunch today!

A Door Left Open

Callie, Michael and I have been on the road for about 2 weeks now, and this is at least our 6th adventure together in the RV. I have never left the kitchen cabinets open and unattended until this morning. I became preoccupied with something and the next thing I knew, Callie was investigating the upper cabinets like it was a treasure hunt of some sorts! That is what is so much fun about cats! They are so here and now and fully engaged in the moment. Her curiosity is endless and sharing the adventure of travelling in an RV with a cat that exhibits little fear is very rewarding. I have anxiety about experiencing new things in life and she tempers it with her enthusiasm for the same thing that causes me anxiety. You can’t help but love her. She relishes adventure and looks up to me for support and safety. I can’t let her down so I have to put my own petty fears and anxiety aside in order to provide her with the best adventure yet! So the moral of this story is… a door left open, is a room that needs to be explored!

The Return of River Cat

After another long day of travel, we pulled up to the Davis Dam Campground once again before the last leg of the journey home to Borrego Springs, California. It may be 104 degrees outside, but this evening we had a lovely stroll, walking along the banks of the Colorado River where common grackles swooped down on us in a display of absolute outrage that the river cat had returned! I don’t think many cats frequent the banks of the Colorado River, but the common grackles sure seem to understand that she is a predator and go after her mercilessly. They cackle and hiss and cluck and squeak their anger at a cat that is walking down below them.  We tried to ignore their onslaught for the most part, but when they got too close, I would  jump up high and throw my arms up in the air while hissing at them loudly. This would startle and annoy them greatly and they would rush back up to the trees to continue their verbal assault at a safer distance.  It was a fair enough game for both cat and grackle as long as I was there to even out the playing field. 

Grackles scolding Callie for having the audacity to be a river cat!

The Ladder at Balcony House 

Michael and I booked a tour of the Balcony House at Mesa Verde National Park for  3:30 in the afternoon. All I could think about all day long, was the damn 32 ft ladder that I was going to have to scale at the end of the day! Never mind the 2 narrow tunnels that I was going to have to crawl through on my hands and knees; it was the ladder that preoccupied my thoughts. We spent the day checking out one “kiva” * after another and explored all the Mesa dwellings above ground before preparing for the tour of the Balcony House at the end of the day that was constructed within the cliffside.

Apparently, these people lived on top of the Mesa for many years hunting bighorn sheep, elk, deer and harvesting corn, beans and squash, and they even domesticated turkeys and had pet dogs during this time. The reason for descending down into the cliffs is still not fully understood, but it appears to be water rights and shelter. War and fighting amongst themselves does not seem to be a factor in this decision. 

This particular tour requires that you scale a 32 ft ladder before emerging on top to the back of the house. Before you scale the ladder, you have to walk down 150 stairs. The ranger that was going to be our guide explained to the group that this was a strenuous hike and that climbing a tall ladder and crawling on your hands and knees through 2 narrow tunnels was a prerequisite to exploring the house. All of those not comfortable should avoid the tour. I chose to stay after looking around and deciding that I could do it if these people could. Michael said that once the tour began, I headed up the ladder so fast,  it looked like I was having loads of fun! On the contrary, I was just trying to get it over with as fast as possible. Looking down was not an option and we were told to count if you became uncomfortable, keep at least one hand and two feet or two feet and one hand clinging to the ladder rungs at any given time….and if worse came to worse, the ranger would have to assist you in getting to the top. No one had fallen yet! When does climbing a ladder become such a big deal!? Children look at a ladder and think to themselves that the fun has just begun! What is it about becoming an adult that makes climbing a ladder such a big deal? I suppose in this case it had to do with the sheer height of the cliffs! I cannot for the life of me understand how these people managed to live like this. I am truly left in awe of the obstacles these people had to overcome just to survive one day at a time. 

Once you get to the top of the ladder and step back and look around, you are amazed at how these people lived!. You actually enter the back of the house and the entrance is actually two very narrow tunnels that the people of the time used to go in and out of the house after squeezing through a rock crevice from up above on the Mesa. The Balcony House is named after a balcony that is constructed below two apparent windows that are actually doors. The view is spectacular and the sound of silence is all that you hear besides a gentle beeeze rustling through the vast opening and far away caw of a single raven.

I survived the climb and was left in awe of a people that lived in these cliff dwellings about 1200 AD. Climbing a ladder was something for me to endure, but these people used toe and hand holds only they knew about! Simple ladders were constructed once inside the house, but the cliffs and travel passages outside the dwellings, those were all done hand to toehold!

* Kiva… thought to be a cooking area that over time became a ceremonial one….

Dead Horse Point

We headed over to Canyonlands before leaving for Mesa Verde and checked out Dead Horse Point… legend has it that several cowboys maneuvered a herd of horses onto this point and after selecting the ones they wanted to keep, they barricaded the narrow opening and left the rest to die from lack of water! I sure hope it is just a legend… what a cruel thing to do if it isn’t. 

Dead Horse Point was gorgeous though,’in spite of the horrific legend, and had a spectacular view of the Colorado Riverfar down below. We spent the day in Canyonlands while taking another marathon number of photographs and had a 3 hour drive to Mesa Verde last night. 

Heading out to see the Mesa Verde Indian ruins today and will stay one more night before heading home.

Arches National Park

There is a reason that Arches National Park is so popular. It is a spectacular place to hike, bike, climb and to take photographs. Storms have been blowing through all week and the tail end of one left the sky strewn with gorgeous clouds. We hiked to Delicate Arch like a swarm of ants marching to the same destination. It was a little unsettling after having been camping in less populated areas. What a sight to behold though once we made it to the arch. I had to ask some people to please give me a moment to take a photo before they maneuvered under the arch. That is apparently the new thing to do, pose under these natural bridges and have someone take your picture. They were considerate and let me do so. I took many photos with my Nikon D70s*and will upload them when I return home. What a spectacular day of photography though. I feel like I took over 500 photos and am exhausted and happy. Callie loves every minute of it and it is fun to know we are hiking and she is enjoying a moment in the sun and relaxing with food, water, litter box and shelter at her paw tip…We may try to go to Canyonlands today.

* None of my Nikon photographs turned out. I didn’t check the settings again after the strenuous hike and they turned out too dark. This is a very good lesson to learn the hard way!

Michael and our RV….