cats

I started my next post on our trip to California and was suddenly all, “Crap. Should I do this chronologically or leave the latest update on our quest to reach the Griffith Observatory for the end of the post?” And I stopped there.

So instead of doing that, I’ll do this.*

My 16-year-old dog and 17-year-old cat are perking along, more or less. It’s expensive to keep animals this age going and that’s really eaten into my travel budget because my travel budget comes out of my allowance. I pay myself an allowance, and any money I have left in that budget at the end of the month used to go towards travel. Now half goes to vet bills and half goes to travel, which is nearly $1,000 that I’m short for my 2018 trip.

We’re going to end up doing the trip I outlined back in August driving into New Mexico for a couple of days, except even more scaled-back. We go to at least one branch of the National Park Service every year, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park is only about seven hours away by car. So that’s our first day in New Mexico. Our second day, we’ll visit White Sands National Monument and spend the night in Las Cruces. Then we’ll drive north up towards Taos. One of my friends has a hotel that she recommends up by Santa Fe, so we’ll probably stop there for the night. The Wild Earth Llama Adventures people recommend staying in Taos for a couple of days to get acclimated to the elevation before the camping trip. We don’t have the money for that, plus the camping trip would be $800+ for the two of us. I’m going to call the Wild Earth people and ask about their llama day trips. If they’re less strenuous and we could do it in a one-day Taos stop, I’ll shell out the $250 for us to do that. If not, we’ll just knock around Santa Fe and Taos for a day. Then our final day in New Mexico, I would like to drive into Colorado just to do it, because at this point, Colorado will be a lone unvisited island in the center of Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In other words, I’ll’ve been to all of the states that surround Colorado, but never actually to Colorado itself. If not, well, we’ll do a Colorado trip some other time.  Our final stop will be Capulin Volcano National Monument (which will take care of our every-even-numbered-year volcano), and then we’ll head for home, stopping for the night in, probably, Lubbock.

I’ve passed the $500 mark on paying myself for my language studies, and with the final $200-ish, I’ve purchased my first share of stock. I was ready just as the bottom dropped out of the market this last couple of weeks, but it looked like that stock was about to rebound, so I bought. And then the price dropped farther. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m an investor, not a speculator, so just so long as I hold my current position, I should come out plenty of money ahead in the long run.

I want to go back to tutoring foreign languages this year (I was my junior college’s Spanish and German tutor back in the day) and get more experience so that I can get closer to my goal, which is to be able to work translating children’s books out of any of my assorted target languages into English. The money from that will be put in with the money I’m paying myself to study and all of that will go towards what I guess I’d call my “stretch goal,” which is to get a graduate degree in a modern language. By my calculations I only have $15,500 to go.

*I will get back to California eventually. Hopefully in the next day or two. Probably.

Crap. I knew I’d been derelict, but didn’t realize it was that bad.

Sorry! I’ll try to get back on this horse soon. It’s getting pretty late and I don’t know if I have the time to cover our sixth (and final full) day in California. We spent that day finishing up the things we hadn’t been able to get to in the previous days (and we finally got to the Griffith Observatory!).

Until then, here’s a cat picture:

black cat on white washer in green laundry room

My Phobos on top of the washer.

I hope to link this picture to Jenny Lawson’s post on her bout of the flu. She asked for cat pictures and I’m really proud of this one. I’m going to try to post it in a comment, but just in case it doesn’t take, I’ll post a link to this post so that she can see it.

You see, Phobos has a bit of a weight problem and a few months back I began restricting his caloric intake (he used to free-feed 24 hours a day and now he only free-feeds 16 hours a day — I pick up the bowl between midnight and 8 am). So back on December 4, I was sitting where I’m sitting now and I heard a loud “WHUMP!” from the laundry room (which is behind me). I walked back there and looked in to find that Phobos had actually managed to jump up on top of the washer.

I was so pleased because this is evidence that, even if he’s not losing weight (which I’ll bet he is), his energy levels are getting better.