Fields of Gold

I realize that some plants are just flowering weeds, but weeds are flowers that just happen to be growing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Half Moon Bay is covered with these golden yellow blooms and the hillsides and fields are alive with color. Mustard grass, Bermuda Buttercups, and Fiddleneck are three of the flowers that I can identify but there are others that I cannot. Tiny white and purple flowers are also sprinkled in the sea of golden yellow.

We are leaving Half Moon Bay RV Park early tomorrow morning and moving over to Pillar RV Park on the north side of town. We will be staying right on the ocean next to the bay and there are cats hunting for mice and all such creatures in the wildflowers and I wonder how Callie will act when she sees them or meets them on our walks. She has forgotten about Romeo since we left Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and her evenings spent searching for him in the master bedroom window are behind her.

Callie is living her life again on the road and the adventures she is having are worth writing about every day:) we can’t wait for our move to Pillar RV Park tomorrow morning, what a time we shall have camping along the seashore.

Half Moon Bay

Our drive to Half Moon Bay was delightful and Callie enjoyed the entire trip hanging out on the dash and playing co-captain. The bright yellow mustard and fiddleneck flowers are blooming everywhere and cover the fields alongside Highway 1. It has been raining all of last week and it will start raining again tomorrow, so new growth is abundant and prolific blooms carpet the hillsides in fields of gold.

We stopped by an Albertson’s in Morro Bay before we headed out of town and stocked up on groceries and supplies because we are set to hang out in Half Moon Bay for a week. The GDC18 Game Developers Conference is being held at the Moscone Conference Center in San Fransisco and our adult daughter is going to attend. Half Moon Bay RV Park is only 30 miles away, so we rented a car and will take her to the conference and pick her up while we play in the city.

Half Moon Bay RV Park is basically a dirt parking lot but the bathrooms and showers are clean, spacious, AND with plenty of hot water to use without worrying about putting quarters into a slot makes it worthy of 5 stars. When you arrive at the RV Park you are greeted by 3 cats and a retired bright red, British double-decker bus with Christmas lights blinking on and off. Seeing as it is the middle of March, it is rather eccentric, but we were welcomed warmly and put in space #7 with Fred next door in space #6 alongside a tall hedge of fragrant juniper or cypress for privacy.

Our daughter Lara earned a Ph.D. in Physiology in 2017, but it was not her passion and she wants to explore the possibility of becoming a producer in the gaming industry. She is gifted in multiple languages, computer science, computer graphics, writing, and mathematics. I believe she can do whatever her heart and soul desires so we are trying to be very supportive. She is our only daughter and we want her to be in a work environment that makes her heart sing with joy, but pays well too! I don’t think that it is too tall of an order considering her vast talents.

Today it will be clear and sunny but will rain the rest of the week, so I will make sure to get Callie out for a walk to explore her surroundings. Last night we hiked to the beach and watched a glorious sunset turn from a silvery lilac and yellow to lavender, red and molten orange. It was magnificent, to say the least. The shoreline was practically empty of people and the sand was a coarse bleached, pale off-white; this was perfect conditions for photography, and I took full advantage of the evening.

Wake up- Let’s go for a Walk!

It has been rather cold and rainy this past week in Morro Bay, and Callie isn’t exactly enamored with the weather, but she is game for a walk as soon as I can entice her to go outside. The sun was shining for a little while this morning, so Callie was able to close her eyes and inhale all of the delightful scents after a sky cleansing shower. Jasmine is blooming across the street and you can get a faint whiff of this gorgeous smelling flower when you head toward the marina. When you get closer to the blooms, the scent is intoxicating.

We are spending one more night at Cypress RV Park and will take the 3.5-hour drive to Half- Moon Bay tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to exploring new territory and I am sure Callie is too. This RV Park isn’t the best place for walking a cat, she prefers a few more trees and the gravel here hurts her dainty paws.

Morro Bay is very Bike Friendly

Morro Bay is a fabulous place to cycle and hike in. The community is very bike friendly and a coastal trail for walking and biking extends for many miles. We have taken the trail to Cayucos on Highway 1 which had some traffic on it but the shoulder is spacious and I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. I do not like to share the road with cars and that is why biking in the desert is so appealing to me.

The nature sanctuary trail is also wonderful and there are viewing benches to observe birds such as the endangered Snowy Plover. The sand dunes have nesting areas cordoned off and these adorable little shorebirds are treated with respect and courtesy and given prime site sanctuary locations in which to raise their young without being stepped on and trampled. I love this about Morro Bay; they are very pro-wildlife and try to give local and migratory animals a place to thrive in alongside us humans.

If you are staying in Morro Bay and wish to bike north, head down to Morro Rock and follow the boardwalk north of town until you pass the water treatment plant. Right before you bike underneath the Highway 1 bridge, turn left into the high school and follow the paved path on the west side of the highway. This trail will take you to Morro Strand State Beach and from there you can hook up to the 1 and follow that North to Cayucos. If you wish to bike south, Morro Bay State Park is another great place to bike around in. I don’t recommend going to Montana de Oro by bike because of the narrow roadway, but it is an incredible place in which to hike along the sand dunes. Biking through town is also fun because the cars go slowly and there is a bike path.

I have a front loading handlebar basket that I use for Callie and she loves biking but it has been too rainy and she has had to be left behind in the RV. I don’t think she minds all that much though. When we return, I find her in the same position as when we left. She seems to really enjoy all the activity of RVing and there is never a dull moment. She can rest on the dash and watch people walking their dogs or she can jump up into the loft for privacy and take an uninterrupted nap.

Morro Bay has a fabulous bike repair and rental shop called – The Bike Shop that is on Main Street in town and my husband bought an off-road Raleigh bike for me last time we stayed here. I love this bike and use it off-roading in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. We have been coming to Morro Bay for 40 years now and this sleepy fishing community hasn’t changed all that much. It is a great place for walking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing.

Callie is a Rock Star

The new harness that I purchased for Callie at Petco two weeks ago has passed the test with flying colors. Not only does she look like a rock star, she IS a rock star. It looks adorable on her, and the harness which is like a vest appears to be much more secure and seems very comfortable to boot. The other harness was about 5 years old and if she put her mind to it, she could wriggle out of it in seconds flat. You could not take your eyes off of her just in case she panicked and started to back up. If that happened, it was best to release the tension on the leash so that she didn’t use it to tuck her elbows under the strap in order to free herself.

We took a lovely walk around the RV park and Callie seemed quite proud of herself. The rain has finally subsided so I will be able to walk her again later today. It has been raining on and off since we arrived in Morro Bay, but that hasn’t stopped us from having a fabulous time. It is a warm southern storm that is dumping a consistent soft rain that sounds beautiful on the roof of the RV. Callie loves it when it rains and she has a view from the upper left window to look out at. Of course, she has to nestle herself in between the rungs of the ladder.on the loft bed- that is so cat like!

Callie’s Pathetic Toy Collection

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that Callie has a pathetic toy collection. It only becomes a problem when we head out in the RV though, because she has her beloved olive trees to climb up and the backyard to hang out in when we are staying in the desert.

Callie has one stuffed giraffe tail? Is that what it is? It is a toy with a giraffe pattern on it and a fluffy brown tail at the end. She also has two catnip stuffed mice and a crop like whip that used to have a tassel on the end. She has destroyed the tassel and broken the wand portion handle in two. It is now taped together with electrical tape and Lara assembled colorful bits of ribbon and yarn and tied it to the end. I use this toy to smack her gently and sometimes not so gently on her rump and then tap it on the floor for her to chase after. She likes playtime to border on the rough and tumble side and doesn’t get all worked up and excited unless it hurts just a little bit. Calico’s are known for having attitude, so dominating her has turned her into a very nice and friendly cat. When I take her to the vet, he marvels at how well behaved she is.

Tomorrow we leave for Central California and I must remember to pack her pathetic toy collection. Walking on the leash takes up a great deal of her energy and after a particularly adventuresome walk, she is ready to nap for the rest of the day. Riding on the dash is also very stimulating, and she sleeps much better at night when we are on the road. There is so much to see and do and she doesn’t have the luxury of sleeping uninterrupted all day long. But still, in the evening, she wants to play with her toys.

Let Sleeping Cat’s Lie

If you have followed my blog posts for any length of time, one of Callie’s most annoying habits is to wake me up several times a night in order to seek permission to nibble on some kibble at my bedside. I used to get up and walk out to the kitchen to feed her, but Michael suggested I just place the food on the floor next to me so that I at least don’t have to climb out of bed anymore.

I realize that Callie is unbelievably spoiled, but I have sincerely done everything short of murdering her to break her of this habit. I have thrown her out of the bedroom, I try ignoring her, (which doesn’t have any effect) other than ramping up the charm, I have sprayed her with water, and the meaner I am, the sweeter she becomes in her determination to win this battle.

It is now easier for me to just let her cuddle with me for awhile before she jumps back down from the bed in order to eat. Mind you, she has jumped up ON the bed in order to jump back DOWN to eat. Who knows what her early formative years were, I adopted her as a stray. All I can say is that it is an uneasy truce between the two of us and when she asks to be fed, we cuddle for a while before I gently shove her off of the bed and onto her bowl of food.

So this brings me full circle to when she is napping in the middle of the day. I get to take my revenge by aiming the iPhone 7 plus camera at her while she is sleeping. It is a win-win for both of us. Her sleep is interrupted during the day and mine is interrupted in the night. Don’t let sleeping cats lie, they will sleep better at night.

Callie’s Fashion Statement

If any of you have ever tried walking a cat on a leash, you will quickly discover that it isn’t quite like walking a dog. It takes a certain type of bold and curious cat, and it is best to gently guide them along at their own pace and in the direction that they mostly want to go in. You can’t make a cat do what it doesn’t want to do and herding them doesn’t work.

It has been several years now since I have introduced Callie to the leash and harness and she took to it fairly quickly. She loves to go on walks now but you need to know how to prevent her from backing out of the restraint. She doesn’t really want Michael or Lara walking her (she suspects that they will not risk their lives to save hers!) and has attempted to escape from them to get back to me.

The first blue leash and halter that I bought for her several years ago have held up pretty well. My only complaint is that she can pull out of it when she puts her mind to it. All she has to do is tuck her elbows into the chest strap and wiggle backward. Before you have a chance to react, she is free and doesn’t know what to do next. The secret is to let go of the leash so that they can’t hook their claws into the harness. If you chase after Callie, she will panic and start to run. It has never happened to me but it has happened to Michael. He was talking to a fellow RV camper and ignored her signals of boredom and Callie became impatient. She wiggled out of the harness and was running away before he knew what to do. Fortunately my daughter was with him and understood that she shouldn’t run after her. It ended happily with Lara walking slowly up to her while calling her name softly, and Lara was able to pick her up gently and walk her back to the RV with Callie in her arms.

The shoulder blades on a cat rise up quite high and over the spine when walking, and for this reason, it is hard to find a good harness, a harness that is comfortable AND escape proof. I just purchased this darling little vest with a fish print and bowtie pattern on it at Petco and will give it a try on our RV trip next week. I put it on her and she didn’t mind at all. She does have to droop her little pot belly down though and concave her backbone a little so that she can move forward with her shoulder blades lifting up under the material. From what I hear though, these harnesses are almost escape proof.

The harness is made out of a cotton t-shirt material and looks like a vest. The material is soft and pliant and Callie seemed quite comfortable walking around with it on. They come in one size fits all and in many patterns. I chose the fish and bow-tie and the old leash will match the blue of the fish. The leash has an elastic bungee cord at the clip which is also a good idea. When they panic, they take off at blinding speed and the elasticity helps them come to a less abrupt stop. It is quite the fashion statement too, and I bet Callie will attract all kinds of attention.

The Stories just Write Themselves

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t take at least a couple of photographs of poor Callie. Whatever we are doing together, I have my iPhone 7 plus handy and I am always capturing the moment with images of her. I would hate it if someone had the lens turned on me, and Callie sometimes shows great irritation when I have it aimed at her, but for the most part, she is a good sport about it all.

So this afternoon we spent time rescuing wild desert honey bees from the pool and basking under the diffused light of the sun. There is a hazy cloud layer but the temperature is warmer, maybe 82 degrees and the insects are starting to hatch and the gnats which feed the hummingbirds aim for your eyes and nose and ears. They are quite annoying but a necessary part of living in the desert where water has been interjected.

So many wild animals benefit from the water sources of golf courses and the trees and shade that they provide. I for one am not a fan of golf but do appreciate the shade and cover from the sun the park-like setting provides for birds, cottontails, and coyotes, even the bighorn sheep depend on the grass and water before the rains come. There have been times that I am driving at night and I will see an entire pack of coyotes romping along the lush green belt.

Springtime is almost upon us and you can feel it in the air. The days are getting longer and this is probably the best time of year for desert inhabitants. Cactus start to bloom which feed the hummingbirds and pollinators, insects thrive which in turn sustain the flocks of migratory birds and people get to enjoy the mild climate in a paradise setting.

Where’s BatGirl?

I sometimes refer to Callie as ”BatGirl” for obvious reasons. She has this cute little black mask and loves to play pranks and gets quite physical with olive tree climbing and running along the sand with her tummy flattened and pretending that she is invisible.

One of her favorite forms of play is to hide and I seek. She really believes it takes some time for me to figure out where she is and delights in my ineptness. I, of course, being on the constant lookout for her and potential danger out here in the desert, really know exactly where she is most of the time. She can’t run loose outside of the yard and the call of the wild speaks to her now and then, so I have to be super vigilant. Ever since Romeo has made his nightly appearance, she is even more apt to scale the wall in search of love.

So this morning at dawn, we played a rousing game of hide and seek in the backyard while I pretended I couldn’t find her for the longest of time. I can tell that her eyes and ears follow me while I look up the olive trees and behind the oleander bushes all the while calling her name. When I finally spot her, she makes a dash for the house with me chasing close behind. After a delightful romp in the early morning sunshine, she rested by basking on the floor with rainbows flickering where prisms of light reflected multicolored flashes of color along the wall and couch.

She is a wonderful companion animal and is really quite the muse. I used to be a painter but now find painting too draining emotionally. Callie provides a creative outlet that actually fills me up with positive energy and a desire to take photographs and then write about it afterward. I am left feeling refreshed and energized, and Callie is spent and exhausted and ready to rest for the day.

She is still searching for Romeo in the evening, but alas, he did not pay her a visit this morning. Fortunately, I kept her mind off of her troubles by playing ”hide and seek” with her.