Beach Cats and Sawdust Summers

Labor Day has come and gone, tourists left town and kids are back in school. That’s it—summer is officially over despite what the calendar says. And despite living two blocks from the beach, this cat lady spent more time in Laguna Canyon (or just “the canyon” as locals call it) over these past couple months. When it comes to my favorite outdoor place to be, I used to think of myself as only a beach person. I spent many childhood summers hanging out at the beaches of Newport and Huntington.  I eventually made the beach my home, landing an apartment on Lido Isle in Newport Beach.  It was a charming little place built in 1941 and was part of a triplex situated on the small strand of beach facing the harbor.

This is where my crazy cat lady identity manifested, as I became known by the kids in the neighborhood as “the-lady-who-walks-her-cats”.  On several occasions these kids watched with marked curiosity, my former feline compadres, Punkie and Frankie walk with me on the sidewalk running parallel to the shore, which lead to a boat dock.  Frankie would follow me onto the dock where we would sit together and watch the boats go by.  Punkie would either stroll back home, or take a seat in the sand and wait for us. These adventurous cats also accompanied me on the beach, sitting next to me while I read or took in the view.  I was fondly called “crazy cat lady” by the couple next door; only the “crazy” part wasn’t about having too many cats.  You just don’t see too many gals strolling along the shore with cats dutifully trailing behind them.

Frankie and Punkie
Cat Lady sans cats but you get the idea. This is where they would sit with me, and in the background is the walkway leading to the dock in the far upper right corner.

Early morning at the dock. If only I had a photo of me and Frankie on it.

But after I moved to a neighborhood bordering Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, a preservation area of Laguna Canyon, I found myself going for hikes more than walks along the shore.  I was captivated by the canyon’s ancient rock formations, lush foliage and the scent of sage scrub and soon became enamored with my new earthy environment—and I’m still struck by its beauty.  

View of the canyon from Nix Nature Center after attending a presentation on birds of prey, where I met a couple of owls and a redtail hawk.

I also find beauty in the canyon off the hiking trails.   During the summer months I commune in the canyon while browsing through mini art galleries and listening to live music at an enchanted place called the Sawdust Festival.  The Sawdust, or “The Dust” as they called it back in the day came to be in the late 1960s by a group of artists who rebelled against the traditional juried art show in town and created their own distinctive and funky haven to show and sell their artistic wares.  The Sawdust’s rustic venue and flower child vibe that still lingers makes this place truly magical.  

Cat Lady and artist Shamus

Woodstock Day at Sawdust, singer/songwriters Kurtis Gentile and Alisa Eisenberg revive popular tunes from 1969.

The Heretics bringing back favorite songs from the ’60s through ’90s

Missiles of October rock the Sawdust

Blue grass melodies by The Salty Sweets

And the crowd goes wild on closing day of Sawdust.

I still love watching waves crash onto the shore and feel of sand under my feet, but to hike among sycamore trees and escape to a place where canyon walls harbor timeless creativity completely feeds my soul and keeps calling me back.

If only I could bring the cats.


Posted in Art Festivals, Laguna Beach, Live Music, Nature Hikes, Relaxing with Cats, Summer Cats, Summertime, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

What About Bob…cat?

Although I’ve been preoccupied with Lexington while being the best palliative care provider I can be, Bobcat, my other love-bug still gets plenty of attention from me, especially because he knows how to get my attention.

He always seems to be where I want to be…

I was about to catch-up on local news, but I guess Bobcat will have to apprise me of the goings-on in town.

Cats are known for their curiosity, but I’m amazed at Bobcat’s curious behavior.  How the base of my coffee table or a rock on the walkway can serve as comfortable pillows is beyond my comprehension.

His entrance and exit strategies are so complex.  He’d rather go boldly down the rocky garden retaining wall than use the porch steps.  He prefers to depart through the windows and only wants to use the front door when it’s shut despite the open French doors in the bedroom.

He laughs at my birthday cards, thinks he’s a boudoir model, and has become Lexington’s personal bodyguard.

The Universe is conspiring with Bobcat. The other day I got a reminder about him on the way to work.

That’s my boy!

Love ya, man!


Posted in Cat Behavior, Cat Lady, Cottage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Dogged Cat

Lexington’s two front legs make a languid stretch out from under his chest; first the left, then the right with his big paws leading the way.  He props himself up into a sphinx-like position, yawning as he awakes from napping on the porch.  He looks at me, blinks, and says “hello” with a raspy meow.  He slowly transitions into a standing position, making it evident that he’s lost muscle mass, and that movement is no longer effortless.  He attempts to walk down the three stairs of the porch, but I pick him up and walk him over to the grass. 

Lexington gingerly walks around the yard sniffing weeds, he gently pushes a tennis ball with his paw all the while vocalizing chirps and meows in various pitches and modulations.  I watch the heart-warming scene, grateful that he’s still here and happy, even though I know certain movements are not comfortable for him.  I help him as much as possible to alleviate extra stress on his little body.  I lift him up onto the sofa, the bed, and transport him from the porch whenever I can.  If it were up to him, he’d do everything by himself despite the discomfort, and at times, pain.  Felines are stoic, like so many animals, when they are suffering.  It’s their genetic connection to their wildcat cousins that mask pain to throw-off predators.

Some days he doesn’t leave the bed and he looks fatigued as he stares off at nothing in particular. I’ve often thought over the past two months that he wouldn’t make it through the summer, but here we are, two weeks past his supposed “time” according to the vet’s prognosis.  Lexington stills enjoying lounging on the porch, exploring the yard, hanging out at the “local watering hole” with Bobcat. 

Recently, he joined a small soiree that I had here at the cottage, warming the hearts of guests as he waltzed onto the patio then sat with friends Michael and Laura while observing the partygoers.

Lexington’s body may have cancer, but his determined spirit isn’t ready to move on  just yet.  

I attribute his relative well being to CBD edibles for cats made by Hempstrax, my doting attention and love, the love of Bobcat, the tranquil environment of our home, and the love, attention and prayers from friends and family.

I thank everyone for your support of my darling Lexington.


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