I said to my brother last week, “I think it’s a really good quality in a day if you think your dog would say, ‘BEST DAY EVER!!!’ about it.” Even if you wouldn’t say it yourself, if your own more measured perspective would think it was a pity that the sun didn’t shine more, and that the wind was so strong, and that the food was fine, but nothing so great that you’d remember it a week later… Even then, if your dog thinks it was the BEST DAY EVER!!!, then probably it was a pretty darn good day.

Of course, Sophie is kind of an easy audience. Her version of Best Day Ever!!! needs to include some time running around off-leash in nature, some activity with a ball, something to chew on somewhere along the way, and a fair amount of time with her people.

dog on beach with ball in her mouth

A ball on the beach might be all that’s needed for the BEST DAY EVER!!!

Speaking of her people, the BBE came to visit me for a couple of weeks and Sophie adored him immediately. I did not appear to be a particularly good dog trainer, because she was up on him, in his face, providing kisses and full body tail-wags and demands for tummy rubs pretty much from the moment she first saw him, and then every time they’d been separated for a few hours. Honestly, it was adorable. Not exactly well-behaved, but super cute anyway. I love that she loved him so much. She has good taste, my girl.

the BBE with Sophie in his lap

Not really a lap dog, but she wanted to be.

But speaking of well-behaved, she ate with us at a multitude of restaurants over the past couple of weeks and she was very good. The first time was the most work for me. She didn’t quite get the concept of just hanging out by my side and wanted to explore the entire patio. But after that one, she figured it out and was such a good girl that I got nice stranger/waitress comments about what a good dog she is.

In other news, well, yeah, I went on vacation with the BBE. We spent a few days in Arcata, while I dragged him around to all my favorite places — Moonstone Beach, the Mal’el Dunes, the Arcata Marsh, the bottoms, Stewart Park, Creamery Field. Yes, all my favorite places are basically long dog walks. Oh, but also Little Japan in Arcata which is a store with a great selection of Hi-Chews, a candy the BBE introduced me to in the summer of 2021, when we hung out in FL together.

After a few days in Arcata, we drove up to Oregon. We spent three days at a beach house in Waldport, where the weather wasn’t exactly awesome, but wasn’t too terrible either. We ate oyster tacos at Clausen Oysters, and gluten-free burgers and fries from a place called Skosh and more than one meal at the Drift Inn in Yachats, which had a great dog-friendly, covered patio. And we walked on the beach. A few photos:

a mysterious dead thing on the beach

A mysterious dead thing on the beach. No idea what it could have been.

A bald eagle on the beach.

But in the morning, bald eagles were eating it.

A sunrise

The sunrise view from the house we were staying at

After Waldport, we headed to Bend for a few days. We did nothing there except eat good food and take Sophie for long walks at the good dog trail next to our hotel. Well, okay — we went to one thrift store, and one other dog park, and the BBE went to the crazy expensive grocery store, I think to prove to himself that I wasn’t exaggerating. (I wasn’t!) And there was a little sitting outside in the sunshine reading and some peaceful hours hanging out. Mostly, though, long walks in a beautiful place, good food on patios so Sophie could be with us. And much nicer weather!

mountain with snow

Still snow on the mountains! The clerk at the hotel asked if we were there for the skiing. Ha, no.

Sophie loved the trail so much. Lots of running and exploring and really just an excellent response to my recall whistle. There was one time when I’d gotten a little separated from the BBE — we were on separate, adjacent trails, that we assumed would meet up again soon but that hadn’t yet. I could see him over the brush and vice versa, but Sophie could not see him. She disappeared. And stayed disappeared. I stopped moving and stood still, whistling, waiting, calling, waiting, whistling again. It was maybe a minute or so when she came barreling up the path to me, racing so fast that her ears flew out behind her in what I fondly call her otter look. She’d gone all the way back to the river to try to find the BBE where I’d lost him. She was very happy when we found him again.

river with dog

We made it to the river on Good Dog Trail more than once. Sophie did not approve of the swimming dogs! There was much barking.

The restaurants we ate at in Bend were mostly familiar but with two new additions: The Blissful Spoon, where I had a really incredible chakchouka, and Poke Row, for delicious GF poke bowls. I’d eat at either of those places again, quite happily. Oh, and on our way to Bend, we stopped in Philomath, aka the middle of nowhere, and ate at The Eats and Treats Cafe. Now I am SOO jealous of Philomath. Arcata is also the middle of nowhere, but we don ‘t have a restaurant like that. It was a really excellent, entirely GF menu. The roll on my barbecue chicken sandwich tasted absolutely like real bread, and my chocolate chip cookie was delicious.

On the way home, we stopped in Ashland for the night. Our hotel was very centrally located. Also very loud. It was nice to be able to walk to all the shops and restaurants on the main streets and wander around the downtown area, but I think I prefer a hotel where sleep is feasible at 11PM. (It was both a Saturday night and probably the first warm Saturday night of the year, so highly likely that it was worse than usual. But it was not good.) We ate at Vida, the Brazilian cheese bread bakery for lunch, and then stumbled across Thai Pepper in time for a really lovely dinner on a patio with Sophie underfoot and the sounds of a rushing creek nearby.

I did not manage to break my step count high for the year, which was 19,582 steps on March 26, but I did average 13,000 steps for the week, for which I’ll give myself some shine. It’s a little bit apples to oranges, because I do have a watch tracking all my steps now, not just a phone tracking the steps when I’m carrying it, but still, my 2022 average was 4652 steps, so I’m ahead of the game right now.

I will now, however, drop behind the game, because my goal for the next however much time is not steps, but words. Lots and lots and lots of words and these ones don’t count. I am determined that the next thing I do — no idea when, but the next thing I do! — will be to publish a book. So now I just have to get back to writing one. Although first, ha, I should probably walk a couple dogs. And eat a healthy breakfast with lots of vegetables! Our vacation was lovely but it included more cookies than vegetables. Which is not a bad quality in a vacation, really.