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I love him so

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We found each other on November 30, 2000 when I was just a poor, struggling college kid and he was a stray, palm-sized kitten, cold and frightened, hiding under a shrub. He became my cat and I became his human.

On his sixteenth birthday, November 30, 2016, I had taken him to the vet. He had trouble eating, and well, you know what happened from then on. He was given two to three months. He had until February. He was supposed to be gone by then, but he stuck around much longer. Until two days ago on a late, warm May afternoon.

His vet comforted me by telling me it was because I went above and beyond for him that he defied expectations. But sometimes I wonder if it’s because he just didn’t want to make his human cry.

It’s a struggle to put into words how hard this was and how hard it will be going forward. So I will just just leave these here, pictures, words and my favorite song for Link, and then cry a little more.

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The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Strolling through the valley of death, again

Considering how badly 2016 went and how equally terrifying 2017 was going to be, we thought no place was as fitting as Death Valley to celebrate the New Year.

We’re already halfway through the year and I’m still as anxiety-filled as ever.

And hopeful. I’m hopeful, at least.

And danngit, why were there so many freaking people at the sand dunes? Too many footprints everywhere!

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Sea Dogs

Continuing on from our drive down the PCH, we stumbled upon a small viewing area by the beach where lies hordes of elephant seals. They’re pretty much like the typical California sea lions, except they looked funny (and smelled funny) with their big snout of a nose, hence their name.

They laid around most of the time in tightly packed groups like sardines in a can. They moved like them too, which is not much.

Yet despite their lack of movements (and the smell), I was pretty excited. Nothing is more exciting to me than wild animals. Really fat, ungraceful, wild animals, who, by the way, would occasionally sing the song of their people when it suited them. Or yawn… really loudly. I could’ve stayed there for hours, but alas, it was already late in the afternoon and we still had what? Five hours of driving to go?

And so our journey continues…

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Big Sur

We stopped so many times, I lost track. We see a pretty house, we stopped. We see a pretty bridge, we stopped. We see a pretty forest, we stopped. You get the the picture.

Anyway, I don’t recall which of these pictures were actually part of Big Sur and which were not. It may just be the one with the trees, but at this point, who cares. Anywhere in NorCal next to the ocean is Big Sur to me.

Enjoy.

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The other obvious reason why it took us so long to drive down PCH

State Route 1, known more for its famous moniker, Pacific Coast Highway or PCH for short, is one of the must-see places in California and one that I have taken for granted. I’ve lived in California for God knows how long and have never driven through it. Probably because it’s about 500 miles long from San Francisco to Orange County. That’s approximately 11 hours of driving.

But I’ve made time. Just a shame it wasn’t enough. We left the hotel in Marina around 8 AM, but didn’t actually started driving down PCH until 10 AM, thanks to that abandoned military facility. We stopped at every single viewpoint that I deemed photo-worthy enough (which was practically every single stop). Granted, we started driving at 10 AM, we had about 8-9 hours of non-stop driving left before home, but as it was, we were again, stopping at practically every single stop, so you can imagine what time we got home.

Yeah, very late.

Gotta plan this trip again, this time with more days off.

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One of the many reasons why we took so long to drive down PCH

Just after a short trip to San Francisco and before a long drive down PCH, we came across this abandoned military housing area in Marina. At least that’s what I think it is. It was hard to say whether I preferred to be alone or have someone around when taking these shots. Alone meant heightened creepy factor. Having someone around meant having strangers around which equals to a whole lotta stuff that my wild imagination can conjure, homicide being one them.

The first night when we first explored the area, it was close to twilight. There, we found a beaten up SUV with a buncha stuff packed on the top and at the back, as if the driver was some kind of vagabond. It was sitting right in the middle of the road in between abandoned buildings, the driver nowhere in sight. There was also a lady walking about in an old-fashioned veiled hat. Yeah, I wasn’t having any of that.

The second day, we got there early and wandered as far as our extremely cautious selves would allow us. We were alone which meant we only had to deal with the heightened creepy factor. Took about an hour to shoot these and then we were off as soon as a group of young people, possibly potheads or just curious kids, drove in. We meant to leave earlier, but the place was too fascinating to pass up. And that was the beginning of a whole lotta regret (but not really) on my part. I’ll talk about that later.

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