Living a Life of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this blog post. I have much to be grateful for and one of my greatest pleasures is to share my experiences of traveling with Callie the cat and my husband in our 24 ft Class C RV. We have recently parked the RV at the Riviera RV and Mobile Home Park in Encinitas, California to give ourselves a rest from being on the road and to enjoy our home in Borrego Springs for the winter. The desert has some of the best weather in the country now and to stay there for weeks at a time is a luxury instead of an inferno!

For Thanksgiving, we decided to go to a local restaurant called: Captain Kenos that provides a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, carrots, corn, stuffing, hot buttered roll, and pumpkin pie to the needy, lonely, and homeless. They welcome all with open doors and arms, and a shout out of Happy Thanksgiving with big smiles on their faces, as guests enter to partake of a delicious feast. If you can afford it, a $3.00 donation is warmly welcomed, but otherwise, it is totally free, no questions asked. We made a small donation so that others could eat, and then sat down to a community dinner that was served until 6:00. The doors had opened up at noon and there was a steady stream of people lined up at the entranceway receiving a much needed meal.

People of all walks of life, most of them poor, stood patiently with plates in their hands, now had a warm and cozy place to eat and to be served by respectful and cheerful volunteers with Christmas lights twinkling merrily and rock music playing in the background. The owner actually sat at the bar and chatted with his guests as if he were rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. It was such a welcoming sight that I just had to go up and speak with him briefly in order to thank him for his generosity. Gerry Sova, the owner also provides another feast for those in need on Christmas Day and he has been doing this for over 36 years!

Michael and I then drove over to Moonlight Beach to watch the beautiful sun set in the Pacific Ocean as people played volleyball and sat around hot, roaring campfires. We listened to Bob Dylan on the radio and reflected on past Thanksgivings we had shared together. Our first date was 41 years ago on November 6th and our first Thanksgiving, Michael braved visiting my entire family of 6 sisters, their boyfriends, 1 brother, and my mother and father and paternal grandmother. He survived that gathering and then we went over to meet his parents and 2 brothers and their girlfriends. And here we are today, 41 years later, still miraculously married and with an adult daughter and an adorable cat we are very fond of.

Marriage is not for the meek of heart. It takes a great deal of love, grit, forgiveness, patience, respect and most importantly, only one of you can be angry at the other at one, single, time. If you survive young adulthood together and merge into middle age and then on to becoming senior citizens, your hormones are no longer raging but you now have aches and pains, disease and the joy of getting old. I can honestly say though that this is becoming some of the best times I have shared with my husband. We have a rich and vast history together and have been through more than most couples would have tolerated. So, I am feeling particularly grateful for hanging in there, at least it is how I feel today; it is always subject to change. Smile!

So Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Give thanks if you can, for LIFE can be incredibly difficult. It waxes and wanes though, and tomorrow could bring either hardship or joy, pleasure or pain. The act of being alive means to live, get out there and live your life to the fullest. This is not a dress rehearsal! Thanks for reading my blog.

Cleaning out the WC

Callie is such a fastidious kitty and she takes it upon herself to REALLY, really clean her litter box after she has used it. Sometimes I catch her standing in the shower of the RV and reaching up along the walls and cabinets with her front paws. It is so funny to watch her grasp and drag a big pile of nothing to cover up her poop. This particular short video doesn’t do her cleaning duties justice, but I thought it was cute anyway.

We are still at the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park in Encinitas, California and Michael and I love the temperate climate and the community atmosphere of this neighborhood. The park is ideally situated with restaurants and the beach is within walking distance. Steve, the manager is hard working, thoughtful and always lends a helping hand if needed. We have a beautiful pool to swim in and our daughter, Lara has been visiting us for a week. Next Tuesday we head to Yellowstone if all goes well.

Hissing and Screaming

I don’t know anything about Callie’s past when she was a kitten. I rescued her at the age of 3, lost and frightened and I told her I would prefer it if she would act more like a dog because I had just lost my Jack Russel of 13 years to cancer. She has done her very best to fulfill my request and walks on a leash, rides in a bike basket and can hike in a backpack.

What I don’t understand though, is why she absolutely despises her own kind and practically goes crazy when she spots another cat or smells their markings. She loves dogs and would march right up to one to say hello if she weren’t on a leash. The dog’s, on the other hand, go nuts when they see a cat being walked on a leash. So confusion reigns for all and I just have to make sure there isn’t a confrontation of sorts and someone gets hurt.

Last night at 9:00 pm, Michael and I went for a walk with Callie tethered to the leash and we didn’t go down one block before she let out a shriek and a growl and hunkered down by a parked car. She looks up at me and then back again at the car, and I have to gently coax her to continue walking. We turned around and headed back and to my dismay, a sweet-natured ginger tomcat came out to greet Callie and welcome her to the neighborhood. He had a cute little Calico sister also! But Callie was so upset, growling and hissing, that I had to have Michael go over to the cat and ask him to return to his house. Once he turned around, I carefully picked her up and carried her back to the RV. Callie was so tense as she growled and shrieked, that she is actually quite dangerous to handle because she is beside herself with a mixture of fear and outrage.

Once we got her back and safely inside, she relaxed and wanted to stare out the window for hours. She literally has a tomcat and a beautiful calico right next door at our new space and she is going to have to come to terms with her PTSD. Watching them from the safety of her bed may help. She was so exhausted this morning, that she is now going to sleep past dawn. I will work on her social skills and see what I can accomplish this week. We are staying at the Riviera Mobile and RV Park for one week more and then we are heading for Montana.

Day 4 of Callie’s Diet

I can’t believe how easy this has been for Callie. Monitoring her food consumption means that she has to ask for food, which she does frequently, but all I give her is about 10 kibble pieces and when she finishes them, I put the rest back in the freezer. She loves frozen kibble on a hot, sunny day and would rather I feed her often and with small portions anyway!

Her allergies have been terrible though at the coast, with sneezing and itchy ears but her asthmatic cough is better. I think she must be allergic to grass because for a while her 2 ingredients-Venison and Pea Diet was helping her. Now we are back to square one again and increasing the steroid use until we can get back up to Morro Bay and her wonderful veterinarian. If anyone has any suggestions for itchy ears, please feel free to offer up some advice. I am going to swab them with Sea Breeze, an astringent that burns but soothes itchiness. I have used this before and at least it prevents her from getting an ear infection. She has nowhere to hide in the RV and when she smells the astringent she wants to run under a bed. The bed is up in the loft!

So, Callie will get up on the table when she is hungry while I am reading and writing and capture my attention by lying down and patting me with her paws in a very friendly manner. She is polite about begging for a handout.

Day 3 of Callie’s Diet

I was right in the middle of chowing down on a Hagen-Daz chocolate and almond covered ice-cream bar when I remembered that I was going to give up chocolate to show my solidarity with Callie when it came to her diet. She is on steroids because of asthma and her weight has gone up because her appetite has been stimulated. It isn’t fair, and I feel bad for her because I absolutely despise dieting, but Callie can’t get enough exercise and has to cut down on her caloric intake instead. So I didn’t even make it to day 3 before I inadvertently screwed up, but Callie is doing better than I expected and isn’t showing any signs of distress.

We went on a long walk this morning and she picked up a young suitor. He is gray and white, long and lean and followed us back to the RV to check out this new and cute arrival to the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park in Encinitas, California. There are in fact, quite a few cats that run free, and when Callie gets a whiff of their scent, she hisses at imaginary shadows and bushes in anticipation of a fight. She hates other cats and prefers dogs. This handsome boy doesn’t know it though.

Callie is doing well, has more discipline than me on the 3rd day of her diet, resting comfortably in the RV while I write and work on my photography, and Michael works on his research. It is a quiet day with a marine layer muffling the sounds of the nearby coastal train. Encinitas has a train station and it is really an awesome beach town. We are so appreciative to be out of the desert heat in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park and back home again to our favorite city. We had to move away from here about 3 years ago and love the desert 9 months out of the year. The summer is truly an inferno though and I feel so bad for the plants, animals, and humans that are forced to endure the brutality of the heat!

Pretty Please!

Michael, Callie and I would much rather be here in Encinitas than the desert, but sometimes the RV gets a little small for Callie and she needs several walks and rough and tumble playtime. Michael and I went to go see The King movie about Elvis and the decline of America and the middle class and she was stuck inside the RV all by herself for a couple of hours. When we returned, it was within her rights to demand some fun and I obliged her by getting out the catnip mouse and “the worm,” so that I could wear off some of her pent-up energy. The rug came in handy too for a few swift kicks and bites before it succumbed to her deadly attack. She is now resting comfortably on the front seat and I will walk her when the sun sets so that the asphalt isn’t too hot for her paw pads.

BTW- The King was a very insightful documentary on Elvis and civil rights and how it took a white male singer to introduce the Black Blues to white Americans. It also touches on the pain and difficulties that Elvis had to endure with his quick rise to fame and fortune. I loved the movie and am saddened by the state of affairs in our country. I can’t stand Donald Trump and don’t care if I lose readership because of my position. The movie touches on the conditions that were festering and ripe for this con man to be voted into power.

Someone had her Asthma Medicine

Callie still has asthma attacks periodically and I have to apply the steroid cream to her inner ear flap. When we change environments like we did yesterday; going from 115-degree weather to the balmy marine layer of Encinitas, she will have coughing episodes. She had 5 yesterday, so I applied the cream last night and within an hour or so, she had her vim and vigor back and was ready for rough and tumble playtime.

She adores the cotton rug on the floor because it can’t escape and she can capture the rug in a tight paw, death grip, and can then kick the hell out of it. She looks up at me when she does this with a sweet expression of, “I kill you!” on her face while beating the rug into submission. Once the rug stops resisting, Callie settles down and some of her predatorial energy has been dissipated. For her comfort, she has been provided with the front seat of the RV decked out with a lovely folded, soft, fluffy blanket and a room with a view, but this morning because of the slightest chill in the air, she crawled up under the protective covering on the sofa. What a princess she is! But she is feeling so much better today, and for that, I am relieved.

We are once again staying at the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park and are very happy with this place. Steve is treating us great

and Callie has her route picked out where she can walk safely on the leash and I can keep an eye out for dogs that are also being walked. She has one particular fence post that must be a marking spot for all the animals around here because she has to stop and roll and rub her face in ecstasy back and forth on the fence. She has a look of absolute bliss on her face while she does this and it takes up to 15 minutes of our time. I can’t pull her away from the fence post until she is good and ready to go. I suppose if that is how she wants to spend her time while out on a walk, she is within her kitty rights to do so!

Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park

When we headed down from Whitney Portal so that I could find a place to park the RV while I waited for my eye surgery and the removal of a Pterigium, we decided to wing it and just hope for the best as we got closer to Encinitas. Well as luck and good fortune would have it, Steve from the Riviera Park returned my call when I left a message, but only to tell me that there was a strict “no” pet law enforced and that I should call Oceanside RV Park. When I tried calling repeatedly, the line was busy, so I called back and told Steve I would jokingly flush Callie down the toilet! He was appalled by that and reassured me that he would work something out and to try and get there before dark because that too was an issue as the office closed at 6 and we were still in Murietta.

Well, it all worked out and Steve found us a place in the Mobile Home section where animals are allowed and we were able to make it to the surgery the day after and the surgery went better than expected and Callie did NOT need to be flushed down the toilet! We used Uber to get back and forth from the Morris Eye Clinic and the surgical center below and everything worked out better than planned. The surgery was a success, Callie had a blast walking around the facility on a leash and taunting all the dogs, and we bonded with Steve and will be going back again on Thursday for follow up care and for Michael to be scheduled for cataract surgery. Getting older is the pits, I also have to have a neurological exam for an old back injury that is causing numbness in my feet. At least we have good medical care, and we now have a super awesome place to park the RV at while we seek treatment.

It was a little more than sad to walk past the bench that I was sitting on when I heard of my good friend, Dolly’s death, but life goes on and I am glad she isn’t suffering anymore. I got to see another good friend, Nancy who goes way, way back and Michael has Fred and Robert that live in the area too! It will also be wonderful to get out of the heat again. It was 120 degrees in the desert today and it puts such a strain on living in Borrego Springs in the summer. We will get laundry done, check on mail and the house and will try to pack up and head out again either tomorrow or Thursday morning.

I was able to get my hair cut and colored and do a little grocery shopping and Michael did most of the laundry while I was gone. I needed to offer Callie ice water and try to keep her cool because only one of the air conditioner’s is working. It was 96 degrees last night in the house, but at least tonight it is only 87. Still really hot though.