Just Call Me Dorothy

There’s No Place Like Home

I’m so glad we went to CLR in Arizona!

And, I’m SO glad we are home again!

Talk about changes ( last blog), there have been changes in me too.

I didn’t enjoy the drive.

I was WAY homesick.

I was wishing for a pair of Ruby Slippers.

I’m wondering if I’m no longer ‘Wandering Spirit’?

It seems like most of my adult life, I’ve been searching for ‘home’. I’ve moved across the country a number of times, and in between those times I’ve traveled, and always in the back of my mind I’ve wondered, ‘is this where I belong?’, as I’ve enjoyed beautiful and memorable places. Then I’d end up back here by the Monterey Peninsula and feel like, ‘ok, this is the place’.

Not a bad place to be!!!!

But this time…this time, I don’t know, it’s like I’ve been working this giant puzzle and all of a sudden all the rest of the pieces just fell into place suddenly.

I walked in the house and felt… settled. ( picture a bird schooching into her nest). With a sigh of relief, I finally felt like I belong here. I fell in love all over again.

I belong here.

I BELONG here.

I belong HERE.

Oh my gosh. I’m 71. It’s about time I figured that out? 🙂

This sure isn’t a fancy place, and it’s a month to month rental, but it feels really right…really safe…really comfortable.

At 71 I find I’m more into ‘comfortable’ than in the past. As in warm ( but not hot!), soft, cozy, healthy, and peaceful.

I decorated my front yard for Christmas.

I’ve felt the urge to wander leave me before. It was always temporary. But now, I’m not so sure it will return again, at least not in a major way. I don’t consider myself weak or frail at all, but neither am I as strong physically, and, umm, vibrant? as I used to be. My eyes have issues ( need those in good shape to drive long distances, obviously).

Oh I’ve always loved home and part of the charm of wandering for 4 years in WS ( my Casita travel trailer), was that no matter where I went, I was home.

One example of home!

Only now do I realize what an important part of the equation that was. WS was tiny, cozy, and warm or cool as needed. It sat in the midst of some beautiful places, and it was Joys and Shilohs and mine. That all worked and I have to say, it was an exceptionally wonderful part of my life.

But that was then, and now it feels like the wanderlust might be calming. Oh not my love of animals and trees and mountains and the ocean and the wilds and all of nature. That is all etched into my soul and as long as possible I will find ways to have those things in my life on many levels.

But feeling settled feels SO good right now.

Blue Sky seems to be feeling settled too. 🎄

Life is always changing. Doors close. New doors open. I love that! Let’s take deep breaths and stay positive as we close out this strange year of 2020. Let’s renew kindness and compassion and caring in our world. Some small ways we can do that is by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and keeping our distance.

Be safe and much love to you!

Sunset at CLR

Arrived Safely at CLR…

It’s a relatively peaceful place.

Blue contemplates the sunset.

Life here holds a different set of challenges, much more basic than those at home.

Such as making sure to have clean water and remembering how precious it is.

And making sure the heat source works, because the moment that the sun goes behind the mountains, the chill sets in quickly.

And relying on and trusting neighbors for help if you need it, because ‘civilization’ is 40 or so miles away.

And being alert for snakes and coyotes and javelina when Blue and I go for our walks in the desert.

And greeting old friends and hearing their stories ( while socially distancing).

Another sunset

And then there is the night sky! (I have no pictures of it and if I did, it wouldn’t tell it).

The utter majesty of it. I want everyone… EVERYONE…to see the clear night sky in a dark place. I literally gasped when I went outside my first night here. Oh I’ve seen it before of course, and growing up where I did, starry nights were just normal.

But I forgot! I forgot that the night sky is magical and mystical ( while at the same time being pure science).

It reminds me that God and science and mystery and magic and mystical are all one entity.

It reminds me that politics and hatred and anger and war and power and riches are….gosh, are just so nothing. The man-made mess and distress we piddle with.

This little earth and it’s amazing beauty… what we haven’t destroyed yet…are just a tiny part of the big, gigantic picture of things. It’s so easy to forget that in our everyday lives. We get so caught up in our heads.

So my advice to you?

Find a dark time and place where you can really see the stars… even the Milkyway, and stare up into the night sky, and project your thoughts and your heart out into the universe of which there is no known end, and try to wrap your mind around it. You can’t. But try. And let that peace you find there fill you, if only for some moments. Let it wash through you… breath deep… feel the oneness of all things…know you are beautiful star dust.

You didn’t think I’d forget to bring Joy and Shiloh back here did you?

Ok I’ll try to be more, umm, ‘down to earth’ next time, but right now my head is in the clouds with my Blue Sky.

On Our Way

It was emotionally hard to leave home!

I used to tow my home around with me, so leaving it wasn’t an issue, but this time was different.

Seems I wanted to bring everything but the kitchen sink in my Subaru Crosstrek, with Blue Sky insisting on the whole back area with the back seat folded down.

It’s a good thing Mick is cardboard thin!

I HAD to bring Mick so as to uphold my reputation.

But….

He has to wear a mask too. Oh gosh, it already slipped down under his nose!

Anyway, we reached our first nights destination which was only 137 miles, to Cayucos, California. I went to the ‘Bring Fido‘ website and found a cute little motel here on the ocean, that caters to dogs and their people, so that’s where we landed.

Blue checks it out and then I check in.

When I reserved the room they asked for my dogs name.

So this is what was waiting for him when we went into the office.
Blue checks out the cute little room.

I waited for cooler weather, and boy did I get it! Downright cold today with high winds and high surf.

Our view from the Cayucos Pier.
These will be some of our last ocean views for awhile.
Blue enjoyed his walk to the end of the pier. He loved the wind and watching the seagulls.

Our next night will be spent in the desert, a totally different experience for Blue.

We are taking it slow. Blue isn’t fond of car rides. (I’m hoping that will change. ). And I’m not crazy about long driving days anyway. Besides, no need to rush.

Retired. Whoo-hoo! Never get tired of that. 😊

Planning & Packing

The good thing about planning and packing is that these activities put me in a traveling state of mind, as though I’m already on my way.

I’m thinking about it, talking about it, and acting on it. It’s like in my mind, I’m already on my way. Not to mention it’s a great distraction from the rising anxiety and insanity readily available in the USA these days, which I seriously take to heart.

For me, who likes to over-think things anyway, all this planning and packing is right down my alley.

Blue Sky surveys the mess that is my early packing crazies.

Since Blue will have access to the whole back of our little Subaru Crosstrek (with the back seat folded down), that doesn’t leave a lot of space for ‘stuff’.

Very glad to have the cargo carrier on top.

Since I don’t know for sure how long I’m staying, or what supplies are already there, I’m not sure what I need to bring.

Since there is a pandemic going on, and I’m wanting to isolate as much as possible while traveling AND after I arrive at Caballo Loco Ranch, that means avoiding stores when I can, which means packing more ‘stuff’.

See what I mean by ‘overthinking’? 😁

Seems like camping ( tent… eek) would be the logical way to go to help me isolate, but I’m not up for it! I’m just not!

I really considered it, and especially like the idea of how much money I could save by staying, oh, say a night at Owl Canyon near Barstow (would be $3.50 with my Senior Pass), and then somewhere near Quartzsite ( probably a freebie).

Good memories come with thoughts of Owl Canyon.

Besides, since traveling in my own tiny house on wheels for years, the thought of a motel/hotel is far from ideal, but that is what’s going to happen.

And though I’ll come in armed with masks, wipes, cleaners, etc, I still want to stay somewhere that is following CDC guidelines AND doesn’t have bedbugs. So, it’s not going to be cheap.

Wow does that sound like some old geezer-lady talking or what? Yup, that would be me!🎃

And what does Blue Sky think of all of this?

He sees the up-tick in my mood.

He hears the Joy in my voice.

He feels my building enthusiasm and excitement.

I think he likes it!

Since he’s been squeamish about car rides, we have been hanging out daily in the back of the car together for awhile, having fun and eating yummy treats.

I’ve covered the whole back area with 3 inch memory foam and he has his own set of steps for getting in and out. ( He likes the ramp that I used to use for Joy and Shiloh, but in this smaller vehicle there is just no good place to store it, what with all the rest of the ‘stuff’). There are ‘screens’ on the back windows so they can be open as much as he likes. >sigh<

Blues ride

Right now the plan is to head out in 2 or 3 weeks. We are waiting for the weather at the ranch to start acting like it’s autumn… in other words, for the temp to drop a bit… then CLR*, here we come!

*CLR=Caballo Loco Ranch

We Want to Wander!

So many times I’ve written and then not published this blog.

The reason for that is because I want this to be a mostly positive, uplifting place that conveys peace and love, and due to the way things are these days and the anxiety, unease and depression I feel, I end up conveying anything but those positive qualities.

Above, some peaceful scenes from past travels….ahhhh…. deep breath.

So putting all negativity aside, I am determined to take the high road and focus on goodness, kindness, beauty, and love… hey, there IS a lot of that around. Maybe more than ever.

Having my Blue Sky with me during these times is what makes each day doable. He is the perfect companion. As I’ve said so many times, animals have so much to teach us, and now I’ve come to understand that even more.

Matching outfits

You may remember back in the spring ( which seems more like 20 years ago), I talked about Caballo Loco, a ranch in southern Arizona where I hung out a lot ( in the winter months) during my 4 years of travel ( http://www.onewanderingspirit.wordpress.com if you feel like reading more about that) out in the desert, deliciously in the middle of nowhere.

I mentioned I was able to lease my site on the little mountain again, and I was going to spend some time there this winter.

Some variations in the plans have occurred over the months since then, but as it stands, Blue Sky and I ARE planning on going there and it couldn’t be happening at a better time, since my Wandering Spirit has been speaking to me LOUDLY about her need to… well, wander.

Oh, THIS is home, where I can sometimes hear the surf crashing on the shore when I’m awake in the night. Here, where Blue and I can leave footprints in the sandy shore whenever we like.

But there is still the beauty beyond.

I never felt like I was finished wandering ( if given the opportunity to do so), but I’m limited by finances, age related issues, and well, the fact that there is an unending pandemic happening.

But, it’s almost time. It will be time actually, when southern Arizona cools off a bit. Right now I see that at the ranch it’s still in the 90’s just about every day. The 90’s are not the friends of Blue or I. They bring out the worst in me. I won’t elaborate. :-))

I’m hoping that in about a month or so those 90’s will be mostly 70’s, and we will be good to go.

I’m not going to be on my beloved mountain after all, but still in a beautiful spot. A friend (Gail) of a friend (Ruth), has a nice set up there on a different site. She won’t be able to use it this winter and so she is letting Blue and I stay there, and I think Mary may join us for awhile too.

Here is Ruth standing by her sister Joyce, who will be there too.

Due to social distancing and such, I don’t suppose there will be much in the way of pot lucks, happy hours, etc like there used to be. That’s ok, there will be visiting ( with 2 lengths of Blue Sky between), and catching up with old friends, and there will be lots of time with nature.

Walks in the desert…
Glowing cactus

Desert walks will be a whole new experience for Blue.

Watching birds over morning coffee by the campfire…

Cardinals are abundant there in the winter

Looking up into the crystal clear night sky to see stars that look close enough to reach out and touch.

And the sunsets. The awesomely glorious sunsets…

Like this….
Or this… along with a water tank in the lower left.
Or, oh my gosh, this…

I don’t really know how long we will stay. You know how I always say ‘it’s all about the dog(s)’, and so a lot will depend on what Blue Sky has to say about it all… how he likes desert life. ( I know he will miss his friends here).

And it will also be about my eyes. I’ve recently had cataract surgery on my right eye. My left eye is still working pretty well, but I don’t know when that situation will start changing. So we could stay a few weeks, or a couple of months. We will…see. ( pun intended).

So I’m gonna start packing. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

Please be safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Social distance. We can do this.

Fires and Losses

Two and 1/2 weeks ago it was unusually hot in California. Even here at the central coast it was in the high 80’s for a few days. We had another unusual phenomenon too… Blue and I woke in the middle of the night to loud crashes of thunder. Thunderstorms are rare here, and this was a ‘dry lightening’ storm. It kept up for some hours and started literally hundreds of fires, and there was no rain to speak of.

The closest fire to my location was south of Salinas, and is called the River Fire. As it spread the evacuations increased, and the evacuation warning area was a mere 5 1/2 miles away. (Evacuation warning means ‘get ready because you are next to leave’).

Though we were outside that area, still, I was ready to go, with the cargo carrier atop the car and various bags packed.

But that wasn’t the only fire that started near the Monterey Bay area that night. Another started in the Carmel Valley and many started in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Big Sur had escaped, until the next night when a man STARTED a fire there, apparently on purpose. ( He was found and arrested).

Big Sur Fire, named the Dolan Fire.

If you live in the western half of the US you may be experiencing smoke from the Cali fires. We certainly have here, along with ash covering everything.

Seven lives have been lost

and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

There are no words to express how wonderful the firefighters are and how hard they have worked. Hero’s , every one of them, which is why there was such an uproar when someone broke into one of their cars and stole his wallet while he was out in the firestorm. The thief emptied the fireman’s bank account and maxed his credit card, but he was caught and arrested. Most people have good hearts, but the bad apples can be rotten to the core.

I think of all the wild animals, in particular the California Condors that were being overseen by the Ventana Wildlife Society in Big Sur. All the Condors were free flying at this time, so able to get away, but as of yesterday 13 are still missing, including some chicks. These huge birds ( wing span of adults of over 9 feet) are equipped with some sort of GPS device, and have not been located. The VWS says they still have hope, because Cali Condors have survived fires like this before, even chicks, but at the same time, not being able to locate them at this point is not a good sign.

For this local area the Monterey SPCA has done wonders helping evacuees with their pets, even though they themselves were eventually in the evacuation warning area and had to pack up and leave, and relocate again, all the relocated animals they had rescued.

And then this casualty…Deetjens Big Sur Inn.

This place, now an inn and restaurant was built over time in the 1930’s by Helmuth Deetjen, from Norway. Now know as Grandpa Deetjen and passed away in 1972… but what he left behind is thick with folklore. It’s now a registered Historical Site and mostly still standing and not touched by the fire this time, but previous fires, flooding of the canyon, road closures due to the above and then COVID-19, and now Hwy 1 being closed again… it’s more than the place could take and they have had to close, probably for good. It’s the most eccentric place ever, hard to describe, except to say spirit and magic mixed together with a few fairies and elves added in.

Mary and I by the fireplace.

Here are a very few of the more than 100 pictures I’ve taken there. I’ve stayed in I guess 5 of the rooms over the years… my little get always. One of the really neat things about the place is that all the rooms had a collection of journals you could read or write in. You could entertain yourself long into the dark night with wild and crazy stories from those who stayed before. You could learn about the idiosyncrasies of each room… some had ghosts. By reading the journals I learned that there were hidden benches up the path, and I walked often, through the redwoods, where fairies sometimes peeked at you, up up to the views of the ocean far below, to one hidden bench or another, a bit farther on. Surreal.

At the inn, I don’t know, maybe it was just the setting and the fireplace comfort, but the coffee was the best ever, and so was breakfast, EVEN for vegans.

Hoping somehow, someway, someday they can come back!

The Beach

I had this posted a day or so ago, and somehow it disappeared. I’ll try to repost the basic content.

I mentioned that August 11 was Shilohs birthday, and had he lived, he would be 14 on that day. After he passed away, I began writing a poem for him. For days lines would come to me, day and night. I was going to post it here, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I posted it in my blog June 7, 2018. The blog was

http://www.onewanderingspirit.wordpress.com In case you feel like reading it.

It was a good poem.

So instead I’m posting some pictures of Blue Sky on the beach recently…..

Just us….

No one else on this vast stretch of beach that morning, so Blue got a lot of off leash time.

A different beach

Dog Shaped Love

Since our second vet visit Blue Sky’s paws have healed nicely, I’m happy to say.

I had to wait in the car due to the Covid routine, but the vet called me after she finished with Blue to let me know what was what, and long story short she drained and cleaned the area that must have been infected. I continued with foot soaks for a few more days and no walks for a short while. Now he is back to his normal routine with his normal sparkle.

Westwings Crazy Blue Sky, CGC

The CGC stands for Canine Good Citizen, and the initials can officially be part of their title now.

Vet bills ran almost $600. Could have been way worse. When I was a kid my parents wouldn’t have paid $50 to a vet. It’s a different world now. When you get a dog or cat or rabbit, horse, etc, be prepared to accept the bills that come with your new friend. Food, supplies, grooming, licenses, registrations, classes, insurance if you choose that, and vet bills…it’s a major consideration. Once you have them and you love them with all your heart you will want to give them the best care that you possibly can. They are worth every penny.

Dog-shaped love.

Foxtails

This is the thing I didn’t tell you about when I posted about the camping trip.

Foxtails, and I don’t mean the fluffy appendages that’s hang from the end of foxes.

Here, I picked a bouquet of them for you.

These are wild grasses that grow in abundance in these parts. (I don’t remember foxtails from the first half of my life, in Michigan).

When they are green they are fairly innocent, but when they turn golden and the nasty little arrow shaped seeds come loose, they become monsters. The nasty little arrows have tiny barbs on them… you can’t see them but you can feel them… that cause them to penetrate in the direction of the tip of the arrow. So if the seed gets caught between your dogs toes, or he sniffs one near his nose, or one finds its way into his ear… well, you can guess what happens next.

So of course knowing this, you check frequently, right? I know that Blues feet are foxtail magnets, so I check all the time, between each toe and pad. I removed plenty of them over those 3 days we camped, but they were everywhere. Millions of them.

Millions of foxtails

I was being obsessive about it, like a crazy old woman, picking them off the mat, off the ground in our camp, sweeping the earth, literally with a broom, over and over.

Still, when we got home, after a day or so I could see Blue Sky was having problems. What happens is, that you may be able to pull most of the foxtail out of the poor little ( big) paw, but sometimes just a sliver of it remains stuck inside.

We end up at the vet within a few days and she is able to remove many of the tiny pieces.

Some of the foxtail pieces are taped to this 3×5 card.

She felt there were more still there in his feet that she couldn’t get to yet, so I was to give him pain/anti inflammatory med and soak his feet in epsom salt twice a day.

After about 10 days of this procedure one large lump began to form between his toes. He has another appointment with the vet in a few days. He’s not limping and really not paying too much attention to that paw so I’m thinking he’s not in pain. I’ve added antibiotics to his care, and more frequent soakings of that particular paw.

“Watch this space” (as Rachel Maddow would say), for further updates. And please be aware of foxtails with your pets. If you live in foxtail country check them over after they come anywhere near an area where foxtails might be.

Ugh