The Locust and the Scorpion

I am trying to bike around 20 miles every day so that I can eat whatever I want. I love to eat and can’t stand dieting. Today we did 23 miles and biked past one of my favorite sculptures by Ricardo Brecera. He lives in Perris, California but got his start as an artist here in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park.

His sculptures range from mythical dragons and beasts to bighorn sheep, camels, desert tortoises, sloths, javelinas, horses, sabertooth cats and many more. As you bike or drive around the outskirts of Borrego Springs, you can’t help but notice them.

We biked all the way to Henderson Canyon, Seley Ranch, (Seley Ranch offers free samples of organic- ruby red grapefruit) Coyote Canyon and around the golf course again. It was too early for the bighorn sheep to descend onto the golf course. Now I can pig out and eat ice cream and whatever else I want to eat!

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Butchart Gardens

Michael and I spent our last day on Vancouver Island visiting Butchart Gardens. It was crowded but the flowers and gardens made it worthwhile! It has been many years since we last visited and at that time we arrived by Tom’s catamaran. Callie was able to sit back in the RV and spent the day napping.

Yesterday evening we headed to Chuck and Angele’s house and they made us a delicious dinner and we reminisced about the old days. Chuck is an artist too and a long time friend of Tom’s. Angele, his wife, is a compassionate nurse and loves to travel around the world. Angele cannot stay in one place for more than 4 months! She has traveled all over the world with Chuck and by herself. It was so wonderful spending time with them. We were able to park our RV in their front yard and because it is only a 20-minute drive to the ferry lines. This helped us a lot for the next leg of our journey.

This morning we woke up to the delight of Callie, and with the help of an alarm, in order to get to the Black Ball Ferry line at 4:30 am for our ride back to the United States. Tom and Frances, David and JoAnne and Chuck and Angele were so good to us. We will miss Vancouver Island.

Time to head south though in order to view the solar eclipse! Central Oregon is our next destination. We will stay in Washington a couple more days though. The smoke has cleared from all of the forest fires and autumn is in the air.

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Another Day in Morro Bay

Yesterday, Michael and I went on our bike ride to Morro Bay Strand Beach and watched horse back riders galloping along the shoreline, and otter mother’s nursing their young in the bay. The marine layer is thick and the weather cool and comfortable for outside activities in the middle of the day. Biking in the middle of the day is not possible in Anza Borrego Desert State Beach during the summer months. We had the most spectacular super bloom this spring, so I really have no complaints, but it is close to impossible to live in Borrego Springs during the summer. For that reason, we are on the road in our fabulous Fleetwood- Icon 24ft RV and doing our TravelswithCallie~ road trip. We plan on staying in Morro Bay until Tuesday and then head north again after that.

Sadly, Callie is still coughing periodically, and we are taking her back to see Dr Duane Stephens on Monday for a second opinion. He was the vet we saw on April 24th when Callie’s cough wasn’t getting any better with Dr LaPorte in Julian. Dr Stephens also diagnosed it as an upper respiratory infection and gave her a shot of antibiotic that was suppose to last 2 weeks. It did the trick, but her cough returned~ it returns several days after she finishes the antibiotic. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. Poor little Callie….in spite of coughing though,  she is enjoying her RV road adventure and would much prefer being here than in Borrego Springs with the swamp cooler blasting. Her lungs appear sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature, so cuddling up in her bed in the loft of the RV is a treat for her too!

Last night Michael and I went to visit my sister Elizabeth and her husband Eric in order to give them a painting of a black oyster catcher that I had painted about 3 years ago. I had it hanging in my beach condo but it doesn’t go with my desert living decor. She made a lovely dinner for us with homemade baked oatmeal cookies for dessert, and we laughed and drank wine, and had such a good time in their company. They have a beautiful house in Los Osos that overlooks Morro Bay, so the black oyster catcher will have a good home.

Today we are going to explore the wine country inland of Morro Bay…. Yay!

The Gentle Art of Origami- A Tribute to Debra, Diane and Tracey

When my daughter Lara visited over the Christmas holiday, and when we weren’t chasing Pokémon “items” all over town, she chose to spend some quiet time creating origami cranes. “Traditionally, it was believed that if one folded 1000 origami cranes, one’s wish would come true.” It is also the symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. I lost a dear friend to an automobile accident several weeks ago. Diane D’Aoust was the life partner to Debra Anne Roberts and a memorial service is being held this Saturday. I would like to dedicate these 4 cranes that Lara created to Tracy, the daughter, and to Debra, Diane’s life partner. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and suffering they must be going through, but I can reach out to comfort them and offer them hope and healing during a very challenging time.

When you work with paper products, and especially when tape or plastic are involved, you can bet your bottom dollar that Callie will be right by your side investigating what you are doing and trying to get in on the action. You practically have to push her nosey little self out of the way because she is just so damn curious. If she hears the sound of tape ripping, she goes bananas. It has made painting a difficult process for me because I either have to lock her out of the studio, or lock myself in the studio and listen to her howls of anguish. I have turned to photography and writing to find a way to create that doesn’t grab her attention. I can quietly work on my iPad and she is, and I am, no worse for the wear. But Lara had to endure her bossiness while trying to create the cranes and it was so comical to watch. There wasn’t an artistic fold of paper that didn’t go unnoticed, and Lara had to put up with Callie’s unwanted participation. 

I will place these cranes in a lovely box and present them to two beautiful women when I see them at the memorial service. Debra and Tracy, I Look forward to shedding some light and levity to an otherwise unbearable situation. Thinking of you both and sending you my love…..


The Hunt for Pokémon in Borrego Springs, California

Our daughter Lara came to visit Michael and me for Christmas and after a day of feasting and watching Santa Claus movies, she suggested that we go in search of Pokémon Go, a new version of Pokémon designed for people that are on the run who can search for rewards while they travel or excercise outdoors. I scoffed at the idea that any of these little creatures, or as Lara calls them, “items” would be discovered within 100 miles of Anza Borrego and the small town of Borrego Springs! Lara thought otherwise. She proceeded to give me an abridged version of the creation of this game that has become popular everywhere, and I took a half hearted interest in it only because I wanted to prove her wrong. The creator of this game inadvertently designed it to help children get out of the house and discover the joys of physical exercise. There are eggs that you can collect that appear on your phone that hatch when walking a certain distance, and rewards are set up to entice the player to search for them outdoors. Apparently quite a few autistic children benefit from participating in the game too, because they like to collect things such as bugs, and this game being a treasure hunt of sorts, draws them out of the house. With this in mind, I decided to take Lara up on the challenge, but only after telling her I was 100% sure we would not find any. We loaded up our well fed bodies into the car, and with Lara’s phone on, and me driving safely, we headed toward the center of town. It wasn’t long before the first Pokémon Go item flashed on Lara’s phone, and it was located at the outdoor fountain of my favorite Mexican restaurant, Pablito’s. We parked the car and ran over to the fountain, and she was able to capture some kind of a mystical pony, a PONYTA or FIREPONY that is difficult to catch. They actually run away as virtual beasties, as each area has its own biodiversity, and the desert has SANDSHREWS and DIGLETTS! She also took a photo of the fountain, and I had to admit I was amazed that we found an item so soon into our adventure! Somewhat humbled, but still a skeptic, we headed out again, only to find another Pokémon at Carmelita’s, then to my absolute amazement, the library, (which was a gym) whatever that means, and I was in on the game and totally inpressed. Who would have ever thought there would be Pokémon items in the middle of a retirement community! I then had the brilliant idea that maybe the sculptures that our local artist, Ricardo Breceda created, and were exhibited in unusual places, may somehow have Pokémon items at their locations. Lara thought why not? So off we went in search of the wild horses on Borrego Springs Rd which is about a mile from town. Ricardo Breceda created a small herd of horses that are galloping and bucking away in fright that are being attacked by sabertoothed tigers. People from all over the world come to see these horses, and many of his other sculptures. They are known world wide as the Galleta Meadows Sculptures, and the Mythical Dragon is probably his most famous work of art. All of the sculptures on public land have a Pokémon item at their location, and Lara and I had so much fun driving from one site to the next in search of treasure. Not only do you get to view these beautiful works of art, but people are collecting Pokémon rewards to boot! I wonder how many parents know about this?  We ran into families from all over that were admiring the sculptures, and I bet the children were collecting Pokémon items too! It was a fun filled afternoon and I was able to appreciate the hunt for Pokémon Go after having experienced it myself, firsthand. Lara and I did spend an afternoon running around from one sculpture site to another and ended up doing a fair amount of exercise. I am still shocked that Anza Borrego has so many Pokémon creatures hidden in the middle of nowhere, and in the harsh environment of the desert, AND you would never know it unless someone enlightened you of their existence! Anza Borrego Desert State Park and neighboring Borrego Springs continues to surprise me, and I have to admit that I was wrong about Pokémon Go, and that my daughter was right! I guess I am not in the middle of nowhere after all! I also have to make it clearly understood that I am sharing a story from the perspective of someone who knows literally nothing about the game of Pokémon Go, and that the moral of this particular story is to NOT judge a book by its cover, or for that matter, the content that it contains…………..

Living Life Wide Open

The advantages of being Bipolar are endless if you can control the ups and downs of life and minimize the damage it causes. Most of the time I live my life wide open and people would describe me as effervescent. I am a talented artist and photographer and I am now enjoying writing this blog about Callie and me. I knew that I was an artist even when I was a young child and can remember feeling disdain for children in kindergarten when they drew the sun in a corner with beams spread out over the page. That is not how the sun looks I thought to myself. I knew how to draw and paint and did not need art lessons. School has always been a difficult format for me to learn in, and I lack the fundamentals of english grammar for instance, but have managed to acquire a B.F.A. in drawing and painting at Cal State Fullerton when I was in my early 30’s. I had just finished giving birth to my daughter Lara, and graduated from college the year after. When Lara was born my creative outlet was painting portraits of her and I started photography about that time too. She became my muse and now that she is 30 herself and living on her own, Callie has taken her place. There isn’t a day that goes by that Callie doesn’t get her photo taken when we are together. There are days when I take 50 or more photos of her. It gets to the point where she actually glares at me if I take too many pictures and don’t spend enough quality time with her. When I dropped Callie off at Holiday Pet Hotel, I asked them if it would be possible to take a few photos of her while I was away in Maui. Today they sent me a photo of Callie in a Christmas hat and scarf. This photo is also on their Facebook page. This is the reward I get for being open and vivacious and if I may say so myself, Callie benefits from this too. You can just tell by the photo that she is use to being a diva and having her picture taken is no big deal! And you can tell that Callie is in very good hands at Holiday Pet Hotel…❤️

Callie My Muse

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t take multiple photos of Callie. It gets to the point that when I aim the camera at her she frowns at me. She would much rather I play with her then  take photographs. She doesn’t know exactly what I am doing, but I stop chasing her and pulling her tail and grabbing and tickling her. She loves to be handled and touched, and takes great satisfaction in a little rough and tumble playtime. For her part, she poses and plays with such abandon, that I get numerous quality images of her to work into paintings. She is also able to play outdoors and I can take photos of her while she plays. She can’t be outside without my protection because of all the coyotes in the area, and so I take photos of her and get some work done at the same time.  It is a simbiatic relationship that we both benefit from. I am grateful for her playful personality and for the companionship she provides. Some may very well say what a spoiled cat she is, but it is “I” that have been spoiled. She  is the most adorable, sweet, fun loving , brave, curious and big hearted cat I have ever had the good fortune of having a relationship with. And to think that all I wanted was another dog….