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!
I am fortunate to live among the Bighorn Sheep of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The population of sheep has been growing steadily and appear to be healthy. It is interesting when hiking Borrego Palm Canyon, you will come across bands of young males hoping to become the next breeding dominate ram. These young males hang around each other a safe distance from the main herd and practice butting heads and improving their skills. It is the dominant female that shows the young where to graze and search for water. The herd that hangs out at De Anza Country Club have quite a few lambs and at least two collared females. The ram has a broken right horn and snakes his head and stretches his neck in and out while nipping at the flanks of his family to drive them forward. When frightened, they can dash up the mountain and are almost soundless as they scramble up the steep cliffs. They are amazingly agile animals and disappear into the background once they stand still.
During the couple of years that I lived by the sea, I had a studio off of the kitchen that faced east. I lived on the second floor and there was a walkway out front and when neighbors passed by my window, I could wave and invite them in for a look at what I was creating. Manu Chao would be playing on the stereo and dinner simmering in a crockpot. The energy along the coast was very conducive to creativity, and whenever I would settle down to paint, I had a difficult time keeping Callie off of my watercolor paper. It was irresistible to her and when the paint was wet, and especially when I was working with acrylics, it could spell disaster. While I painted, I was constantly keeping one eye on her and the other eye on my work. She would have liked nothing better than to jump up on the table and investigate my latest creation by walking all over it and then plopping down and rolling on top of it. There was something about the smell of the paper that was incredibly enticing! I tried shutting her out, but had to put up with her howls of indignation, sneaking away when I thought she was taking a nap, only to have her discover I was missing, and to finally come to an agreement that she could hang out below my art table as long as she didn’t jump up on my painting. There were times when I worked on a large scale and I would have the painting on the floor in order to add gestural drips and slashes in a free style form of artistic expression. As soon as Callie spotted this turn of event, it would be a call to action and she would rush over in a flash to investigate what it was I was doing. It was like I had whipped out the catnip and was sprinkling it all over the floor like pixie dust. The look on her face was much like an artist in the throes of painting a masterpiece! Some day I will have to collaborate on a work of art that has Callie’s input literally stamped all over it by way of paw prints, scratch marks and fur imprints, and it will most likely be THIS painting that makes me, and more than likely, CALLIE, famous…..
Not having Callie around to write about has drawn attention to myself. I had no idea how therapeutic writing would be for me and have always resisted keeping a journal or diary. Who wants to read about themselves day in and day out? The benefits of writing down your thoughts though, is that you can keep an eye on your moods and when you start to go down, hopefully you will be aware of it. I have yet to figure out what exactly triggers a downward spiral, but I am going to start being vigilant.
I haven’t painted in over a year because the move out to the desert from the coast has been a difficult transition for me. I love the solitude and quiet of the desert, but it is so far away from civilization that it makes daily life a little more challenging. You can’t just run to the store for groceries, shopping, seeing the dentist, visitng the doctor, etc. Leaving town requires planning and an itinerary to go by. You can’t be impulsive because it is a 2 hour drive to somewhere else.
We had to renovate the house when we moved and my studio is not quite up to par compared to what I am use to. I am off of the kitchen, which is a good thing, but the living room and kitchen are one big room and I feel too exposed. I will have to adjust though in order to create again. I also get too high when I paint. Photography and writing don’t seem to give me the same high that painting does. That is a good thing for me. I need a steady dose of middle of the road energy to thrive. There is a price to pay for creating artwork and becoming too manic!
I am curious as to what the next year will be for me. My goal is to do a road trip with Michael and Callie. Callie is so much fun to travel with because she is so open and curious about every little thing in life. She looks to me for protection and if I am doing well, she marches forward without a thought. When I took Callie around Convict Lake in Mammoth and a pack of horses clomped by, Callie just stepped aside with me and watched them in amazement. She had never seen a horse before that I am aware of. It is so much fun to experience these little adventures and see them through the eyes of a cat.
So for now, I have decided to post some of my paintings and photographs so that I can look back on my artwork and appreciate all that I have created. I was very prolific and may one day be again. Writing and photography will have to suffice for now.
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….