Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  January ~ April, 2012



Well, the year 2012 started out unlike any other for us. Martin had surgery scheduled for early January at the Vet Admin hospital in San Francisco, California, so that was of course the focus for that time. He came through the surgery OK, we stayed at daughter Deb’s house in San Carlos (near SF) for a few days before we moved ourselves, and the cats, to our friend Pat’s house in Walnut Creek, just across the San Francisco Bay.


 Martin prepped for going into surgery, January



After being well cared-for by Deb, it was still nice to have an entire house to ourselves, where we could spread-out, and have a lot of peace and quiet. We were in this house for the duration – the docs at the VA wanted Martin to check back with them every two weeks for a long time, to be sure all was healing well and all was moving forward. He had very good care at this VA, we were both impressed with the real caring we felt from the staff and the level of professionalism all around. Besides all of that, the SF VA sits on absolutely gorgeous, scenic property, overlooking the bay just west of the San Francisco Bridge - - not a bad place for Robin to have to sit and wait….


While languishing in the Walnut Creek house, healing up, we did manage to fill some of our time with good times with both family and friends. Les and Diane of the sailboat Gemini were in the area ~ we enjoyed a very nice evening filled with good Cuban food and drink with them. Diane and Bill, formerly of Wirewalker, along with Kathy of Spirit Quest and Bill’s sister, Willow, were also just down the road and we enjoyed a fun evening with them and a home-cooked meal. JJ (formerly of Rapsculion) and Michael came through the area on their way back to Santa Cruz ~ we explored a nice Thai restaurant one evening together. Deb dropped by the house a number of times, we drove to San Carlos a few times, son William came by to see his dad, and Robin had a chance to spend some time with some good ole friends. Robin and Cinny, one of her long-time friends, spent a couple of afternoons perusing the shops in downtown Los Gatos, plus the afternoon both of us visited Cinny & Bill at their mountain home in the Santa Cruz mountains. Keri, Robin’s “sorta step-daughter” who lives in the San Jose area, was available too, and Robin enjoys seeing her very much. Since we were in the Bay Area for a period of time, Robin also had the chance to spend time with Judy, Andrea and Kathy, friends since they met in junior high!!! It truly was a great time, seeing so many friendly faces and having the time to catch-up with so many people



     Dining with the (former) Wirewalkers & Spirit Quest Kathy                                       Robin with long-time buddies Kathy & Andrea


                         Martin & Bill fixin’ the world’s problems                 


We even decided to do some of the tourist things that we have not indulged in for years and years. We spent an afternoon in Japan town, and another day wandering around China town. What a delight! And, what a difference between the two cultures and neighborhoods!!



                                                     Japan town in San Francisco                                                                               Plastic renditions of items on the restaurant menu



                                                               China town in San Francisco                                                                                 That is the price, in US dollars!


Those of you who know Martin know that he has the reputation of being tied to the computer. He has had a long long history with computers, the development of computer technology, etc., so that has been a continuing source of pleasure for him. While recuperating after this surgery, however, Martin found a new passion: painting with watercolors!!! Whodathunkit??!! His mother, Laura Hardy, painted and wrote children’s stories for many years, but who knew that Martin had the art gene?? What a shock. Robin would wake up after a restful night and find Martin at the dining table, painting away. And he stayed there for many an hour during most days, too, developing a style of painting that is quite likeable. 



                                                        Date Request                                                                                                                      Whales



Well, since Martin was enjoying an artistic vein so much, Robin had an opportunity to develop some of her own craft skills, as well, at the other end of that dining table! Robin has been making jewelry, mostly with beads and shells, for a number of years, but during this time she began using abalone pieces, plus sea glass and shell pieces, beads and pearls and crystals, in a new way.



                      Abalone capped with pearls, beads, and crystals                                          Shell piece encrusted with beads, pearls, and crystals


You can find the artwork for both of us on the Fine Art America website ( To find Robin’s individual artist website there, to go   and to find Martin go to  Martin’s work is under the paintings and Robin’s is under the jewelry selection of the Products drop-down menu. We are both changing and adding new work often, so check back and see what we are creating!


While both of us enjoyed seeing friends and family, and developing some new art skills, this time was not all fun and roses. Martin did have some tuff times along the healing road, and needed to take care of his health. We made many a trip across the Bay Bridge, a couple of trips were unscheduled, but all-in-all Martin did finally begin feeling better and stronger. The house we were in backed up to a very nice, very large community park, where there were great walking trails, ponds, and lots of waterfowl to observe. Robin enjoyed getting back to her power-walking routine, and Martin had a great place to strengthen his body, one step at a time.


            Heather Farms Community Park, just behind the house in Walnut Creek, CA


We had driven up to the Bay Area in our little (really, quite little!) Honda Civic hatchback, a 1988 version, which did fine but was really quite small….and very low to the ground. Being low to the ground is not necessarily a good thing, driving around in Mexico. And, we really wanted something a teensy bit bigger, but something that had room to carry stuff back n’ forth during our journeys. So, we began talking about what we would like – and Robin mentioned the Subaru Outbacks, which she was seeing a LOT of around town. One thing led to another, and we ended-up buying a Subaru Outback from our friends, the afore-mentioned Cinny and Bill!! What a great deal ~ we knew who had the car since new, how well it had been taken care of, and it just worked out fine for all concerned. Well….except that Cinny really was not quite ready to part with her Subie….but she had a brand new one to get used to, so it was OK. 


           Cinny and Robin exchanging ownership of Subie, our “new” Subaru


Neither of us really like cold weather, and we were NOT looking forward to being in the Bay Area during the cold months at the beginning of the year. However, we lucked-out and had beautiful weather! Driving across the bridge, we had postcard picture views of San Francisco. Too bad we never got a good photo…. The temperatures stayed quite nice, not too cold, and we had very little rain & wind. All of that was great….until March, when it suddenly turned to winter!! Brrrrr, and it was wet and windy, too.


                                                             Mt. Diablo covered by clouds as seen in Walnut Creek, CA


A very sad thing occurred during this time, and that was the passing of our beloved cat, Toes. Toes was well-known and loved within the cruising community, and amongst our land-based friends. Most of his life, Toes weighed-in at a healthy 20 pounds; he was a loving pet and very affectionate. Except when a dog (a dog larger than him!) was around…then he turned into an aggressive dog-fighting cat! Toes is missed very much aboard The Cat’s Meow, so named because of him and Squeak, our cruisin’ kitties. Toes lived a long, adventure-filled life, just one month short of his 18th birthday. 



                        Toes & Robin in earlier years                                                                                                Squeak & Toes, inside & outside, March 2012


Another rather sad thing happened, as well, during our stateside time. Pat’s mum, who lived in a care facility in Walnut Creek, and who was in her 90s, was becoming weaker and Pat was called to come back to the area from La Paz. It was a difficult time for Pat, keeping a vigil with her mum while she became closer to passing on. We are so glad that we could be there, in the house, to offer support to Pat during a very anxiety-producing time. We think that we all helped each other ~ Pat is such a good-hearted person, always a pleasure to be around, and she offered Martin much assistance with his burgeoning painting skills, as she is an accomplished artist. Pat’s mum passed on one night, hopefully in peace.


In a different vein, while Pat was in Walnut Creek she finished a lap-quilt for us she had started while in La Paz. Pat hand-painted a leopard and used squares depicting African animals in a very special design commemorating our South African trip!! This was a labor of love ~ and very much appreciated!! 


                                     Pat working on the beeuuteeful lap quilt she made for us


While we were all living together in Walnut Creek, Pat and Robin enjoyed some cultural exhibits in the area, including an exquisite display of flowers & art at the De Young Museum in SF, and a show of local artists working with clothing. Wow. This was funnn for Robin!


          Example of the show at the De Young Museum


One very rainy, cold day in March we met Cinny & Bill in Silicon Valley to explore the computer history museum. Now…Robin thought this could be a very boring day….but she was wrong. Revolution ~ The First 2000 Years of Computing, the museum located in Milpitas, is done very well and is not boring at all. One of the highlights for us was the area demonstrating the development of the first computer mouse and the first transmission of computer-to-computer that were not in the same location, way back in 1968. Martin was part of that incredible group of people who developed all of those things, and that have had such a significant effect on our lives right here, right now.



        Entry to the Computer Museum in Milpitas, CA                                                             Martin was a member of the team that made the first computer mouse

       Here he looks over the SRI display


When we arrived in Walnut Creek in January, we expected to be there for about six weeks. Finally, in April, we were ready and allowed by the VA docs to head southward, back to Pto. Escondido and The Cat’s Meow. Again, we are forever thankful to Pat for her willingness to have us living in her home in California for soooo long. We enjoyed an Easter Sunday dinner together, complete with a huge leg o’ lamb, and then we packed our many bags and our cats (yes, Toes is still with us…) and took off. We only went as far as San Jose the first part of the trip ~ about a two hour voyage.


Ken & Rhonda, Martin’s brother & wife, live in San Jose and they put us up and put up with us every once in a while. Since it happened that we visited this time during the Easter season, and Rhonda is Jewish, she graciously had a Seder ~ the traditional Jewish feast ~ complete with all of the traditional readings and foods. Along with some mutual friends, Jan & Alan, we learned a lot, had a good time, and ate some different, very tasty foods.



                     Rhonda’s gorgeous table ready for the Seder meal                                                               Jan & Alan listening to the recitation of traditional Seder verses


Another couple we drop in on to visit at times is Diane and Vito, who live on their ranch outside of Paso Robles. It is always good to spend time, catch-up, and relax in their gorgeous home. Martin found a sunny spot to continue his artistic endeavors while we were there.


                                                      Not a bad place to paint, eh?


After once again stopping to see another of our good friends, Dianne and Hans in the SoCal area, we spent a couple of nights in San Diego picking up mail and just a few other absolute necessities….ha….before we finally crossed the border back into Mexico. We like to go through at the Tecate crossing, because it is quick and easy, no long lines, and the drive from there to Ensenada is a comfortable, easy drive which includes some very nice wine country. Yes, this IS the Tecate of the beer fame, and yes, Mexico has developed some quite nice wines, and wine route is full of small boutique wineries, very fun to visit.


Once again, we were in the land of the cardon and the cirios cacti, and long vistas in the desert. It always amazes both of us how much beauty is along this desolate, open road. And, we were glad to be back, back where the sun warms our bones, and we can see for miles and miles with no obstruction but the mountains. 


 The Baja desert……… muy tranquilo


We did make it back to The Cat’s Meow, sitting right where we left her many months before in Puerto Escondido, on her mooring ball in Cocktail Cove. She was glad to see us, as well, and Squeak was soooo surprised to be back home!!! We arrived just in time for the boating community’s annual fun-filled Loreto Fest, so come back and see what we got into next……..Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!