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Van 2.0

January 9, 2017 Family, Freewheeling No Comments

If you read my Welcome, 2017 post and/or if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we bought a new van in September. Well, we bought it in April, but we had to wait for it to be built.

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Brand new 2017 Ford Transit! (The color is called “magnetic.” We get asked all the time.) And as you can see below, we opted for no interior options. Well, that’s not exactly true. One of the amenities that we did opt for was cruise control, and our sales guy missed that on the last iteration of back-and-forth. Not cool. We got an aftermarket kit that Greg has installed, but that was no help for me driving 2000 miles across the desert…

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My parents and I picked it up outside of Kansas City, fresh off the assembly line, and my dad and I drove it back to California so Greg could get to work building it out. The odometer had 11 miles on it when we hit the road. Don’t worry, there are stories.

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Right off the bat, I’m sure you have a million questions and I’m going to answer them in a very comprehensive post. I can’t really talk about the whats and whys of everything right now. I promise, I will fill you in when the time is right. Sorry for being so cryptic, but I’m honoring Greg’s requests on this.

Anyway, NEW VAN!

I have a ton of pictures and descriptions of the build-out. Greg designed it (allowing me a lot of input on my preferences) and is doing a crazy-good job of making it come to life. Every day, he comes home from “real” work and changes his clothes to go work out in the garage and van for the rest of the evening. He had a holiday break from December 23 through January 2 and the amount of work that he got done in those 10 days is amazing.

I can’t wait to show you the progress!

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Daily sMiles

January 4, 2017 Fido, Fun No Comments

Here are a few shameless dog pictures, just because this good boy makes me happier than almost anything. Sweet Murphy, too.

These dogs just want to be together all the time. And they want to be where I am all the time. Fine by me! As a person who works from home, I’m happy to have people to talk to. They’ve been known to hold a conversation better than Greg. Ha!

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Fall fun at Tina’s.

 

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Pete’s fantastic pic of Murphy at Fort Funston.

 

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The Three Amigos reunited! Murphy, Miles, and Archer at Coyote Point.

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Their respective treats (Murphy turned 2 on Oct. 23 and Miles turned 5 on Nov. 8) were vanilla ice cream encrusted in Fancy Feast cat food, garnished with a Milk Bone. These were served in my great grandmother’s fine china, of course.

 

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My audience while I do my DailyBurn or YogaDownload workouts.

 

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The best view of the outside world is from here. Make yourself comfortable… Notice dog beds/crates aplenty in this room.

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The magic hour at Davenport Landing on New Year’s Eve 2016. No filter needed.

These sweet pups, among the others I take care of (Lola and Maru), really enrich my life. Between them and the kids I take care of (Carver & Abel, Ashwin & Neela), I’ve got it pretty good. I don’t go to an office with coworkers anymore, so I’m taking the interaction where I can get it. Murphy does like to protest vocally when you give him a command, Maru’s baby teeth draw blood, and Miles is stoic AF, but it’s a good crew.

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Welcome, 2017!

January 2, 2017 Family, Fido, Fun 1 Comment

Happy New Year! 2016 definitely had its share of ups and downs, including a lot of change for me. I quit my job, learned a completely new trade that launched a new career (Thanks, Kelli!), we bought a new van, we sold our old van, and Trump won. So there’s that cloud of fear hanging over everything…

But alas, things are good around here and I’m the last person who has anything legitimate to complain about. After a 6-month hiatus of no weekend trips or travel (with each other), Greg and I loaded up the ol’ Honda Element and headed over to Santa Cruz for an overnight. We stayed in the dog-friendly bungalow at a quaint B&B and enjoyed everything the coast has to offer. Booze and snacks to be sure, but also much-needed sun and sand.

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I can’t wait to show and tell you everything that we have going on. I know I say this a lot, but you should expect to hear more from me this year. Seriously. We have so much going on.

Wishing you all the best in 2017!

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Archer!

July 20, 2016 Fido, Fun 1 Comment

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.

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MDW Cycling Adventure

More adventures awaited us on Sunday. Greg had been poring over maps for a few days to find a good bike ride for us. We know the Vineman race routes well, but wanted something that headed out to the coast. Greg showed me the options, me being very clear about saying I wasn’t up for a long ride — 25 miles was my goal for the day. He estimated a route for me that we could do together until I peeled off to head home and he continued on for a longer ride. Let’s go!

The first nine miles were great. Rolling hills along the river and into the town of Cazadero. At mile 9.5, the road went up and continued going up with only slight reprieve for another nine miles. I have not been training on hills and this definitely felt like work. Also, I had a lot of time to think while I was climbing. Not all of the thoughts were good ones, GREG. Among them was the thought that there was no way this was going to be a 25-mile ride. I knew where I was on the map and there was no way this was going to work out. I was right.

It turned out to be a 37-mile ride with 3,151 feet of elevation gain. Yeah, not exactly the ride I signed up for. But the scenery was beautiful!

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During a photo op outside of Jenner, I let Greg know what I thought about his route planning skills. Ha!

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It’s always an adventure when Greg is doing the planning!

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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.

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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!

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Photo Faves

This photo is old, but it’s one of my favorites that I didn’t share here:

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Greg and I took a road trip the week after Christmas 2014 and woke up on New Year’s Day in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, I can’t tell you the nearest town. We were in central California, somewhere between Highway 101 and I-5, as if that is any help at all… We eventually made our way to Ojai that afternoon (and it didn’t take all that long), but I have no idea where we were.

I had just finished my first run of the year and came upon the van to find Greg standing on top of it with his binoculars. I loved that it was the first day of the new year and it seemed as though he was looking back at 2014 from up there. I don’t often run with my phone, but I was really glad I had it with me that time.

I’ll try to post more photos that I find in my camera roll that I haven’t shared here; it’s kind of fun to look back on our adventures that way.

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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!

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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!

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Raccoon Underground Railroad

March 25, 2016 Fear, Fun 1 Comment

I got home around 10 PM last night after having dinner with a friend. It was late-ish for me, but Thursday is my Friday and I’ve had a particularly momentous week and life is good right now, so I wasn’t quite ready to join Greg (and Miles) in bed. Instead, I opted to sit in the hot tub and listen to one of my meditation podcasts to end the night. After undressing, I put on my fluffy robe and went out to the hot tub. I disrobed and lowered myself into the 104* water. Ahhhh.

As I was getting out, I picked up my robe and my phone managed to slip down the crack between the tub and the deck. What are the chances?!

I’m a problem solver, so I instantly thought of the “grabber gadget” someone had given me when I was broken. I knew right where it was in the basement (even in the dark) and retrieved it quickly. Only problem? My phone somehow landed several inches away from the space and I couldn’t reach it with the grabber. Fuck.

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I thought about my options:

  1. Go into the garage and try to find heavy gauge wire and stick it down the slats of the deck to try to scooch my phone to where Greg created an access point for the sprinklers, a distance of about two feet and a corner.
  2. Leave my phone overnight and get it in the morning. Leave it on the wet ground underneath the deck, with the meditation podcast still running.
  3. Crawl under the deck to retrieve it.

I chose Option 3.

I donned a headlamp and nothing else to army-crawl under the deck in the very dark night to retrieve my electronic device that I apparently cannot live without. SOMEONE MIGHT TEXT ME BETWEEN NOW AND 6:30 AM, YOU GUYS.

There were probably raccoons under there. They run rampant in our neighborhood and like to taunt the dogs, so I’m pretty sure our under-deck area is a rest station on the Raccoon Underground Railroad. There were certainly spiders and maybe even snakes and slugs and snails and rats and mice and I don’t even want to think about what else. I made myself one with them. Me and my headlamp, army-crawling toward the soothing voice of the meditation podcast. I made eye contact with none of these things, thankfully.

Of note: when I say “army-crawling,” the actual maneuver was more like a forearm plank, tip-toeing myself forward to the phone and then backward to get the fuck out of there. So basically it was a bonus workout for the day. No wonder my abs are sore today.

My phone and I were reunited and at this point, and I was bare-ass freezing. I needed to get back into the hot tub, obviously. But I couldn’t get in with under-deck dirt and muck all over me. It would be a waste of precious water and time to come into the house to take a shower, just to get clean enough to get back into the hot tub.

Being the problem solver that I am, I turned the hose on and “showered” with freezing cold water in my driveway. Then I got back into the 104* water and giggled at my antics until my soothing meditation podcast was over and I went to bed.

P.S. No one texted me.

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Aaaaaaand we’re back!

June 7, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Sorry for the malware-induced hiatus! I finally got my act together to get it cleaned up and we are back in business.

I have a lot to share: (what promises to be) a fabulous trip to Europe, Miles updates, adventures in keeping other people’s humans and dogs alive, and some van upgrades.

Until then, I will leave you with this video I took with my phone on March 10 at Coyote Point Marina (about 2 miles from home). Miles was swimming in the water just to my left and these birds were just doing their thing. They “murmurated” several times, enough times for me to get my phone out and record one from start to finish. What a treat!

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