New Dog on the Beach

Loki in Loreto, heading north.

Dogs seem as much a fabric of Baja life as the sand and the sea.

When I first purchased a home in Loreto, I was surprised that it ‘came’ with two dogs, Negrita, a black short legged German shepard mix, and Medici, a tall typical Mexican kind of gal. I had never had dogs. That was my sister’s gig. I was a cat person, a long story about dogs not liking me, but no matter, the dogs had been left behind by their owner, and stared at me expectantly.

I did exactly what any new home owner would do: moved them outside, along with their sandy paws, dusty dog hairs and food bowl.

That lasted? Well, not too long before I realized that I had bought ‘their’ house, and simply opened the door to the house, my heart, and all the dog-love they were ready to share.

Over the years, more dogs were added to the pack, as puppies and strays were tossed into the ‘gringo’ neighborhood. At one point, seven pups in various sizes, shapes, colors and attitudes wandered my property and the beach front. Yes, they guarded the property, and yes, they all became my best friends.

The last two who joined the pack were some kind of poodle mix, a blonde and a grey, who surprised us by delivering five puppies. “NO MORE DOGS!” rang out my war cry, and I quickly had them placed two with locals and found homes for three of them in the states.

But there was this one pup, the one male, the brown faced puppy who from the first began ‘mind-melding’ me with a kind of Doctor Spock energy. “I am your dog,” I kept hearing. “You are my person.” The seven other dogs could have cared less. They were fed daily, had a beach to run and a house to protect. But the puppy? He wiggled his way into my heart, and because he was little and could not fend for himself, became bi-coastal and somewhat bi-lingual. Buster gained residency in the USA, but kept his roots in Loreto, Baja California Sur.

Sweet Buster, aka Bubby, Buster Brown, Sugar Pop, etc., owned my heart for the next 13.10 years. He was my constant companion, a certified ESA traveler, and when he left me in February, 2021, my heart was in pieces.

Over the years, the other dogs had passed, and I said to no more to dogs. The heartbreak so deep, so emotionally disabling. And then there was this dream.

This might sound airy-fairy, but the dream was so real as to sit me straight up in bed. It was Buster, telling me that i had to get another dog. That he could not see me so sad, and he knew I was against, it, but he had found the next dog. Here he is, he said in the dream (in dog language of course), and showed me exactly the dog i was supposed to find. I searched shelters as far east as Arizona and far north as Oregon, and none of the pictures matched the image in the dream.

Finally, I did a google image search, and found the dog – in Australia! Which of course, due to COVID, was in lockdown and not shipping puppies. They suggested I try a breeder in Colorado, and in June, 2021, Loki the Lokster was born. He came home in September, and quickly became a challenge, a joy, a giggle, a smile and filled up that heart. He’s not Buster in temperament or in size – YIKES he got big!

But the Australian Cobberdog has come to roost, in both his Laguna home and his digs in Loreto.

Life is just better with dog :-).

Yep .. Better with Dog!

Baja in the time of Covid

It’s true for all of us – worldwide – global. Life as we knew it changed with rise of an invisible, silent, and killer virus transmitted between humans by vaporous breath.

Baja did not go unscathed, but at the time of this writing, my sweet “Pueblo Magico” of Loreto, has survived with zero cases. The population has maintained its physical health through many of the same strategies practiced in other parts of the world: social distancing, mask wearing, and for those entering town, temperature taking and confirmation of residency. A cadre of devoted volunteers insured that the local hospital was fully supplied with masks and PPEs, should the need for treatment arise.

Airlines stopped carrying passengers in and out of Loreto in April, but now, come June, weekly flights are again scheduled. Alaska Airlines has added Saturday only flights, and those are carefully booked to provide distancing between passengers. It is my understanding that masks must be worn from check-in to disembarkation. Seems smart to me.

Loreto, like the bulk of cities and towns in Mexico that depend on tourism, has been badly hurt economically. Food drives developed through grants and donations provided both locally, and under the aegis of the International Community Foundation, have assisted with keeping food in the mouths of the most affected and needy. Eco-Alianza de Loreto, through the overwhelming support of their donors, initiated a voucher program, that will continue to provide much needed assistance throughout the summer.

June in Loreto. Restaurants slowly begin to offer more than take-out service, and shops other than grocers open their doors, while everyone looks toward a change in the season.

Sultry morning hunter ……..

Hot and sultry – those are the marks of summer on the Sea of Cortez, the fishing shifts to those species that like warmer water: yellowtail, dorado, marlin, wahoo. Seabirds move more slowly. Life is steady and calm. Easy days on the hammock for reading material consumption. Cold beverages in the afternoon.

Slowly, we inch toward our new normalcy.

Hopefully, we will remember some of the insights gained by being forced to stay still. Hopefully, we have expanded our ability to hold open our hearts, increase our empathy and personal understanding of both our frailty and our strength. Hopefully, we are ever more aware of our shared humanity.

See you soon on the beach ….

Chilly Scenes of Winter

Sunrise

Chilly Scenes of Winter

 

While most thoughts of Mexico in the winter are of sunshine filled days lazing or frolicking on the beach, there are still those that sneak in – like this morning – cloud filled and gorgeous – and yes, chilly.

The beach walkers bundled up in sweatshirts and even down jackets. Ugg boots, or at least fat socks and tennis shoes, instead of flops and beach shorts. Their pace is a little quicker to fend off the cold.

Winter in Baja.

A place where pelicans, boobies and arctic terns dive for bait fish in the shallow waters close to shore. Where egrets and herons patiently hunt on the shoreline or in the estuaries, side by side with sandpipers, godwits and occasional killdeer. Where offshore, orcas, fin whales, dolphin, and dancing mobula entertain guests and locals, while we wait for the arrival of the blue whales.

A place and time for contemplation. The hunkering down that winter begs of the body and the mind. A hibernation of such, so that when spring unleashes her torrent of renewed growth, we are fresh from rest and ready to press forward again.

Rocking and Rolling on the Sea of Cortez

Great morning reminder that everything is built on flux and nothing remains fixed …  Easy roller –  5.2 mag earthquake about 80 miles east of Loreto. Everything in place – nothing falling from shelves – but houseplant leaves looked as if a strong wind had blown through the door. Life on the edge …  

Christmas 2016

Christmas morning 2016

Christmas morning 2016

‘goodest’ christmas morning you ..

woke to a crescent moon lingering over dark seas .. the lights of the small city twinkling across the beach and water … grateful to be able to walk to the beach .. stand on the shore and ponder the inhale exhale of the planet and it’s inhabitants.. the strangeness and the things that make sense .. so many mysteries .. how energies can work at cross purposes and how our now individual manifestations can blend or clash with amazing intensities …

i sit somewhere down this long narrow peninsula .. once a piece of a grander whole, and wonder if that isn’t just us .. small fragments of something once much larger ..

or still connected .. that cosmic force that is unseen but occasionally intuited .. 

ah .. the ponder .. the fresh cup of hot coffee .. the sleeping children way past the dawn .. the gifts waiting to be opened .. the stockings to be reckoned with .. the early preparations of a meal to be shared with family and friends .. 

so many ways to open a day ..

on this christmas morning .. i wish you the magic that fills the hearts of children in anticipation of the holidays .. the gift that winter bestows, begging us to rest .. in preparation for spring and the burst of new life ….

‘Tis the Season …

.. or maybe I’ve gone too far for a desert beach Christmas?  After sourcing the fabric shop and grocery store in Loreto, I’ve come up with enough bits and pieces to ‘decorate’ Casa de Catalina for the holidays.  Too many issues in the past few years had kept the ‘spirit’ at bay … and numb had best described my feelings.  This year, I play Christmas carols – Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis. I see my grandmother playing her accordion and my grandparents dancing around our living room.  I see my brother and sister in matching pajamas carefully setting out cookies for Santa. I see my mother beaming, an apron around her waist, as she flits between the kitchen and the raucous spirit in the living room.

This year, I am creating a space of playfulness, with a focus on love and laughter. I hope that each and everyone one of my readers has a joyously full holiday season.

A Year of Dreaming …

It was always the dream. When I first purchased the beach house and the adjoining lot in Loreto, I dreamed of expanding the property with a guest house, pool and entertainment area.  After nine years of dreaming, I took the steps with local architect Yvo Leonardo Arias Salorio to draft the plans to manifest my dream.  Contractor Jose Rochin and his crew worked with me to craft a magical home and outdoor world.

The photos below capture the transition from plan stage to completion.  Yes, dreams do come true!

After a couple of dry runs with family and friends, “Casita de Catalina” is finally ready for prime time rental. If you or your friends are interested – first in vacationing in lovely Loreto – and second staying in a dream property just feet from the Sea of Cortez, the property is listed with VRBO .  Photos and rental information can be found by clicking here:  https://www.vrbo.com/966177?unitId=1514132

 

Celebrating the magic of Loreto and the need to protect its beauty and resourses

It’s no surprise that I have a deep connection with the city of Loreto in Baja California. Ten years ago I went to visit my girlfriend, Val Wilkerson, and left with a house, a decision that I have never regretted. Loreto sits perched at the edge of the Sea of Cortez against a backdrop of the craggy and towering Sierra de la Giganta. Marine and mammal life forms abound.

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Loreto & the Sierra Giganta

Aside from it’s natural beauty, Loreto is home to some of the kindest people I have ever known.  The original capital of California, the city grew from five founding families,and their descendants carry on on century old practices of family first.

Just before I had been introduced to Loreto, an organization to which I am now an advisor, The Ocean Foundation, had become an integral part of the development of Loreto Bay, billed as a sustainable community to the south of the city proper.

This morning, President of TOF, Mark Spalding, posted a blog piece about Loreto, and if you’d like to know more about his work in and out of our Baja community, please read what he has to share.  He provides an overview of the natural resources, their current and threatened state.

Sunday Morning Easy …

sunrise_240416Sundays by the Sea … Shore bird chatter presses landward, layered against the backdrop of whirring hummingbird wings and the staccato call of the flashy yellow oriole.  A few walkers.  A few dogs. Temperatures in the low 70s.  The color of sunlight plays amidst the palm fronds and the pink and red garden flowers.  Yes … morning … Grateful I am to inhale your intoxicating air.