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Archer!

July 20, 2016 Fido, Fun No Comments

We had the pleasure of taking care of a sweet Goldendoodle puppy for a week. Of course, hindsight is everything and it could have gone either way. As it turns out, Archer is ~18 months old and such a special boy.

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I just sent him back home with his parents and things are pretty sad around here. Within five minutes of him leaving, these two were sound asleep. I’m sure they were dreaming about their little brother…

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Archer listens well, minds well, doesn’t shed, sleeps wherever I am (including curling up in the bathroom while I was showering or getting ready or doing my business), doesn’t get on the furniture, doesn’t beg for food, doesn’t run off when not on a leash, quiets his bark when told to, and is otherwise the best dog ever. Kudos to his parents for doing such a great job in training him!

That said, having a poodle mix for a week was quite a cautionary tale. His fur is SO HIGH MAINTENANCE. I’ll take Miles’ and Murphy’s shedding all day long over the work that Archer’s coat required. I was careful to brush him out a couple of times every day — quite time consuming — and he still looked like a ragamuffin most of the time. Not only that, there were tangles/mats all over that will need to be cut out. I was really surprised about how difficult it was to maintain him.

It was Camp sMiles around here for Archer. He had never really spent much time around other dogs in a situation like this and he took to it very well. More than that, he had never been swimming! Miles and Murphy showed him the way and he caught on very quickly. These three had the most fun all week long!

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We can’t wait to have the opportunity to have sweet Archer back for another visit.

MDW Kayaking Adventure

We headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge for the holiday weekend; Greg took Friday off, so we got a head start. Heading to the Russian River was my idea. I was chasing the sun and 80*F temps, along with water that is very swimmable this early in the season. Thankfully the forecast was accurate!

We stopped at the Fishetarian in Bodega Bay for a lunch of fish tacos and beer.  It was chilly on the coast, so we quickly made our way inland to Monte Rio. It’s a little sleepier than Guerneville and there is a shady parking spot adjacent to the dog beach. Perfect! Miles swam around with his ball during cocktail hour while we contemplated how to spend the next 3 days.

RussianRiver

The real adventures began on Saturday. Greg and I went for our respective long runs (7.5 miles for me, 10 for him) and then we started scheming the best way to kayak the river. For all of Greg’s planning efforts, things could not have gone worse.

We drove 3 miles out to Duncans Mills to drop a bike there. That’s where we’d take the boat out of the water. I volunteered to ride my bike back to collect the van, which we would be leaving 7 miles upriver in Guerneville. At Johnson’s Beach, we loaded the boat with our phones, my cycling shoes, booze, and snacks and set off down the river.

The three of us (me, Greg, Miles) were in the inflatable kayak, which made it very difficult to steer. Greg also forgot one of the seats, so he was leaning against a lifejacket in the back. These two things alone made for a long trip. What literally made the trip long is that the current in the Russian River is about as strong as that on a lake (read: almost imperceptible). So instead of just floating happily with the current, we were actually having to do a lot of paddling. I’d happily paddle, but Greg was having to work so much harder to steer the boat when I paddled that it was better for me not to (other than when we were paddling into a strong headwind, which was often). We thought we’d be able to average 3 mph or so down the river, but we were only averaging 1.5 mph. A booze cruise that should have taken no more than a couple of hours took over four and ended up being a lot of work.

On the upside, Miles had fun! We would throw his ball and he’d dive off the kayak to fetch it, then swim alongside the boat until he could walk on an island to rest for a minute. We got good at lifting him into the boat using the handle on his Ruffwear harness. He’s such a good adventure dog!

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We were thinking we’d be able to pull off onto islands to stretch our legs and hang out, but we were running out of time. We didn’t get started until 2 PM and we had a small issue at the end of the line. This is where Greg’s planning skills really fell apart. You know, details like where we’d be able to pull the boat out of the water in Duncans Mills. He thought he saw a place on the map. He assumed there would be a trail. He guessed no one would be around to see us hauling a kayak and gear out of the water into town.

Well, there were people at the place he thought he saw and they said it was a private beach (maybe). The other place he had in mind was farther away than he thought it was. The one place he did find wasn’t really a trail at all, which would mean we’d need to bushwhack our way up the hill and into town. I was OVER IT by this point (as we all were), but there was no choice but to go with this plan.

It was treacherous and awful. I was wearing a bikini and flip flops, having taken my river shoes out of the van during ski season and not remembering to put them back. There was poison oak and thistles everywhere. At one point, I made Greg stop so I could take a picture to document the desperate situation. Of course, once we got the boat into town, I had to get on my bike and ride 7 miles back to Guerneville. FML.

The sun was behind the mountains by the time I got back to Duncans Mills at 7 PM, and the breeze blowing off the ocean was cold. Greg and Miles were wet and freezing by the time I rescued them, and Greg still had to break down the kayak. We slept well that night and woke up sore.

Three days post-adventure, spots of poison oak rash started showing up on my legs and torso. And my face. My chin and lips are covered in oozing sores. I got a steroid shot this morning and am on my way to the pharmacy for cream now. What a delightful souvenir from our trip!

Murphy!

April 21, 2016 Fido No Comments

In my last post, I made a reference to “dogs.” As in “more than one dog.” Meet Murphy!

Murphy!

Murphy is Pete’s puppy that we have had the privilege of taking care of most every day since last July. Pete went through the Remodel From Hell and needed to be out of his house, so we gladly offered to provide daycare for 9-month-old Murphy. I fell in so much love with him that I still want him with me every day, even though Pete is back in his house now.

Murphy is a flat-coated retriever who has already had a pretty traumatic life. He survived two life-threatening issues that both required major surgery, in addition to surviving the normal things of puppyhood (like eating socks and earrings and anything else Greg left laying around). Yes, coming home from work every day used to be very interesting. Some days, not a single thing would be out of place. Those days were rare. Most days, there would be a pillow from the couch in the back yard and Greg’s clothes and shoes would be strewn around the house with the insoles removed. Often, the soles of the shoes would be chewed to pieces as well. He chewed up the entire carpet pad under the rug in our bedroom, save for the parts that are under the bed itself. Sadly, we never got around to putting a camera in the house to watch him in action.

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There for awhile, we thought it might be easier to train Miles to babysit Murphy than it would be to train Murphy not to be naughty. Slowly but surely, though, he learned what was his and what wasn’t. He goes to the toy box when he’s bored, or provokes Miles into a wrestling match or game of keep-away. He’s such a love and follows me everywhere I go. He’s goofy and happy and, in Greg’s words, Murphy has “boundless enthusiasm.”

Stay tuned for more stories of adventures with Murphy; it’s never a dull day when he’s around. Lucky for me, he’s around a lot!

Daily sMiles

January 12, 2015 Fido No Comments

Here is Miles at the beach in Santa Barbara on January 2. He’s been struggling with a limp for the last month and we had to separate him from his best friend, Mr. ChuckIt, while we figured out what was wrong with him. We let him play with his ball for awhile as the sun set that day and he was sooooo happy. Reunited, and it feels so good!

Before the limp, he was capable of running 5+ miles most days. We have no idea what happened, but all-of-a-sudden he was unable to walk around the block without limping like a 3-legged dog. On one afternoon walk to the market, we made it about three blocks before it was clear that he could go no further. I had to tie him up and run back home to get the car to pick him up. I was in tears! Many vet appointments were made. Many hundreds of dollars were paid. No answers were found.

Of course, a limp that won’t go away had us VERY nervous… Finally, after 6+ weeks, the limp has resolved. We still don’t know what was wrong with him, but we are assuming it was an overuse injury of some kind because resting it seemed to do the trick. We’re working to increase his endurance again, and he’s glad to be back to his swim/hike/run lifestyle!

Daily sMiles

November 6, 2014 Fido, Fun No Comments

Miles gained an affinity for his Halloween costume when he found out where lions register on the food chain.

Look at the determination in his eyes! He is out to get his next prey: string cheese.

Miles’ affinity for the costume was a direct correlation to how many treats he was plied with when asked to wear it. We spent weeks wearing it around the house and playing fetch in the yard so that he’d grow comfortable wearing the mane and not insisting on pulling it off every time he stopped moving. It got to the point that he would get excited every time I showed it to him. Your classical conditioning shit is more than a theory, Pavlov!

He wore it to the office and to a party on Halloween and made many people very happy. Even dog-haters couldn’t help but grin. The little girls who live across the street came running out in their pajamas screaming, “YOU TURNED HIM INTO A LION!” That’s right. Miles the Friendly Lion.

Or, if you are interested, make me an offer on him being your Cowardly Lion for next year’s Wizard of Oz group costume.

Lately (6 months of it)

Do you guys realize it’s May? Sorry I dropped off the earth for the first almost-half of the year. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Not Training for Anything! 
This is probably the most exciting thing I have going on: I’m NOT racing Wildflower this weekend! The crew that usually attends/races is not doing it this year and we were not gung-ho to go ourselves because the drought California is enduring has forced the race organizers to change the event. The water capacity is at a mere 5% of normal. While I do not miss the sufferfest, I definitely miss these people!

WILDFLOWER 2010

(PSA: look at your water consumption and cut back where possible! We put in a fake lawn several years ago, installed an on-demand water heater last year, saving greywater for plants, switched to a low-flow shower head, and installed a pee/poo flusher option on the toilet).

I don’t have any races on the calendar, though I *may* do Bay to Breakers for fun with friends next weekend. Greg might do Vineman Monte Rio, if there’s enough water in the Russian River… I just can’t be bothered to swim/bike/run all at once right now. I haven’t swum since the Santa Barbara Tri!

Still Staying Active
While I am not following a specific training plan, I’m not loafing either. My goal this year is different: look good and feel confident in a bathing suit/naked. You can shake your head all your want; I don’t care how trivial it sounds to anyone else. Body image is something I struggle with and I decided to make it a goal for myself. This goal requires an an entirely different approach to diet and exercise than training for endurance events. Most of my workouts are 30 minutes or less and involve high intensity intervals. My diet includes minimal carbs and much smaller portions than when I was training 20 hours per week. I have not given up wine, obviously.

I also find reasons to walk/run more places. I got the new Garmin Vivofit activity tracker and it is a great excuse to take a walk around the block after a couple of hours of computer work and walk downtown to pick up those last minute groceries. I find myself purposely pulling into the parking spot farthest away and incorporating walks into my social time with friends.

Daily sMiles
Now that I’m not training and/or exhausted all the time, I spend a lot of quality active time with Miles. We run/hike/swim at Water Dog Park in Belmont a couple of times a week, which is fantastic except for the poison oak he gets into. Greg and I are both very allergic and itchy spots pop up on us all the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tahoe

It was far from an epic winter in Tahoe, but we turned the few times there into fun times. We celebrated Keith’s 50th birthday in March and I learned time and again that working from The Van is very productive.

 

 

Girlfriend Getaways
My local girlfriends did our annual getaway to Murphys this year. We drank a bunch of wine, met new friends, excelled at Cards Against Humanity, and had a wonderful weekend in the Sierra Foothills.

My family and I successfully completed the 9th Annual Sisters Trip in March, this time with a beautifully-appointed rental home in Aptos. More laughter, drinking, walks on the beach, and life-changing conversations. I’m so glad we set aside the time and money for this trip each year.

Which one is not like the others?

We have some fun stuff planned as summer nears. I won’t let six months go by without posting again!

Miles is TWO!

November 8, 2013 Fido No Comments

Miles is TWO! 

So far, he hasn’t forgotten his commands and still answers quickly (and correctly) when asked whosagoodboy? I realize it’s all suspect. Now that he’s a teenager, he should start to be more defiant.

But I have hope. Greg can be counted on to dish up a little ice cream after dinner every night and Miles really enjoys sharing that with him. So he’ll put up with our plebian commands to come/sit/stay just for that luxury.

With enough ice cream, he could rule the world. This one has big plans. You wait and see.

Mandatory Happy Hour

October 4, 2013 Fido, Fun No Comments

Greg sent an IM to me this afternoon, saying he would be attending a mandatory happy hour at work at 4 PM. I quipped that “mandatory happy” is an oxymoron. He agreed, adding that he would die in traffic on the way home.

“It has been nice knowing you. Thanks for The Van. Miles and I will think of you fondly while we live in it, down by the river.”

All Miles heard was “mandatory happy hour.”

Daily sMiles

October 2, 2013 Fido, Friends 1 Comment

Miles and his brother Tater were reunited after 12+ months of not seeing each other.

Miles on the left

They seemed to remember each other and played as though they had never been separated. So many of the same likes/preferences and mannerisms, so many similar expressions. And they can both fit 2+ tennis balls in their mouths!

Miles in front

You can see that Tater’s hair is longer and he is a bit taller than Miles, though Miles is more “filled out” than Tater.

They are both smart dogs who have responded well to training. They are both very affectionate with humans and other animals, though Tater is more submissive than Miles is. He displayed typical submissive behavior of licking Miles’ mouth and ears and deferring to Miles initiating play.

It’s so hard to believe these ~75 pound dogs were 1/10th of that when we met them:

Miles on the left

Just for fun, here are a few more pictures of them playing. A couple of these include Caryn’s other dog, Rutzie. The way she was playing that day, no one would guess that sweet girl is going to be 11 next month!

Daily sMiles

August 20, 2013 Fido, Fitness 2 Comments

This past weekend was the final training weekend before the Santa Barbara Triathlon. I put together a “mock tri” for myself. Since I’ve been making it up as I go training-wise this year, I figured it might be good to put all three sports together again for the first time since my last race on June 16.

The family unit went over to Coyote Point for an open water swim early on Sunday morning. The skies were still cloudy and the temperature gauge registered 60*F outside. Even the water was warmer than that…

Miles likes to swim, and loves to swim with us. I went out for my swim while Greg stayed on the shore and threw the ball (actually, two balls) for him. I finished my 1 mile swim and then Greg went out for his. Miles was very vigilant, watching the splashing going on and keeping tabs on him at all times. I’d throw the balls and he would fetch them, only to come back to shore and look for Greg again. 

We finished our swims, then I went out for a 17-mile bike ride + 3 mile run. It went pretty well, all in all. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I guess that’s good. :)

We race on Saturday. It’s a 1 mile swim + 34 mile bike + 10 mile run. Between my knee and generally being a poor off-the-bike runner, I’m worried about the run. Regardless of my results, it’s going to be a great weekend with friends, racing in a beautiful location. I’ll be back with the details!