Puree the liver in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spread onto parchment paper on pan and bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. Cut into small squares and put back in oven at 275 until crisp.
The very beloved dog turned 15 this week. She got liver treats for her birthday and ate them eagerly. I’m always happy when she eats eagerly — it doesn’t happen very often. The vet thinks that’s caused by anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease that she tests positive for, but a month of antibiotics hasn’t made any difference to her appetite and I am not going to continue to torture her with them.
So she probably has permanent anaplasmosis to go along with the permanent erhlichiosis and the canine dementia. If she showed any signs of being in pain, I would be facing hard decisions, but in fact, she seems perfectly happy. Well, as long as I’m in the room she seems perfectly happy. She complains piteously if I leave her, which can be hard on whoever I’ve left her with. Hard on her, too, of course — she’s the one who’s crying! Anyway, I try not to leave her much.
We still go for walks, we still snuggle, she still plays with her toys. She doesn’t respond to voice commands anymore — or only very rarely. That’s the canine dementia in action. But she knows her hand signals and follows them without hesitation. She doesn’t need to be on a leash either, although we still use one when we go for walks. The leash used to be mostly about squirrels — she’d never run away, but she was definitely going to chase a squirrel wherever it took her. The squirrels are safe now.
Her eyes are still bright, she is still curious. She snores now, though, which she didn’t use to, and I rather love it. It’s not a big snore, just a sweet snore. Sometimes I lie awake and listen to her breathe, and dread the day that the van falls silent. That silence is going to hurt. But it’s not silent yet and it reminds me to appreciate every day I get with her. I’ve had a lot more of them than I expected to have in May 2018 or July 2019, so I’m counting my blessings. I am very lucky. And she is very beloved.
Somewhere in the WordPress interface, there exists (existed?) a little calendar that shows you the days of the week on which you’ve posted. I can’t find it anymore, but I think I’ve been posting mainly on Mondays and Thursday for about five years. In 2020, I’m switching to Tuesdays. So radical!
Also a little ridiculous. There is no real distinction in my life between Sundays and Mondays — it’s not like I’m racing to get out of the house for my long commute to an office where I’ll punch a time clock. But Mondays still feel like Mondays and I want to focus my Monday writing energy on fiction. I’m imagining myself being so productive, so inspired.
And maybe I will be. I’m sure I could find a podcast that would enthusiastically tell me that anything I imagine hard enough will come true. Affirmations! Visualizations! Create the world you want! Yeah, I’m listening to (and reading) far too much self-help right now. I really do want to get into a steady meditation practice, because I know from past experience that meditation brings a stability and joy into my life that I very much appreciate. But I really am bad at it. So far I haven’t found THE meditation podcast that’s going to change my life, but the nice thing about meditation is that just showing up is half the battle.
This is maybe true for appreciation, too. For my 2020 reboot, I changed five of my six tasks in the Streaks app. The new ones are Meditate, Appreciate, Exercise, Learn, and Create. My sixth task stayed the same: Floss. It’s not quite so aspirational, but I really do a better job of flossing when my phone reminds me that I haven’t checked it off. Anyway, it’s easy to know whether I’ve successfully flossed — I suppose I could judge my level of flossing, but mostly it’s a yes/no question — but it’s not so easy to decide whether I have successfully appreciated. Is a two-second gratitude prayer sufficient? Do I need to prove to myself that I have felt appreciative? I’ve been tagging the occasional picture on Instagram with #appreciate2020 as a reminder, but mostly it’s just a mental moment.
Today’s appreciation, however, is the Giz, aka Gizmo, aka my current house guest. Van guest? I’m dog-sitting for my dad for a few days, so we have company in the van. Long-time readers might remember Giz, but he’s a golden peke-a-poo, a mix of poodle and Pekingese, sweet and charming, with a very fluffy tail. Hmm, I wonder if my experience with Giz is what makes me find fluffy tails so charming? Perhaps, because he wags his tail all the time and it is quite, quite adorable.
Giz does not quite understand the van life, however. He is mystified by why we are not in a house. He’s relaxing a little, but I swear he spent all yesterday waiting for us to go somewhere. “We are in the vehicle, why are we not moving?” he seemed to be saying. When I take him into the house, mostly intending it as a pass through to the fenced backyard, he promptly finds himself a corner near the couch and flops down to relax. And he has absolutely no interest in the backyard. He hovers by the concrete patio and avoids the grass. But he is sweet and snuggly and I’m enjoying his company.
My brother was here last week for his annual visit and Florida did its best to shine for him. Perfect weather — in the 70s, sunny but not overwhelming. This week the temps are all in the 80s and it’s more overcast. This morning, I walked the dogs, wearing shorts, in a quickly burning off fog. The trees are all draped with Spanish moss here, and the light was beautiful, the dogs were energetic, and the air felt like summer. It was a lovely morning, easy to appreciate on many levels.
If I had a one-percent chance of winning the lottery, I would definitely play. Those aren’t great odds, but they’re better than any lottery odds I’ve ever seen.
If I had a one-percent chance of hitting the New York Times bestseller list, I would be thrilled. Not that one can ever get odds on being on a bestseller list, but given that millions of books are published every year and a few hundred make it to the NYTimes bestseller list, they’re definitely better than my real odds.
So if I might be sick with something that has a one-percent chance of mortality, how do I feel about those odds?
I spent part of yesterday debating that question, then opened up my computer and sent a message to my doctor. She’s going to see me this morning and we’re going to run the bloodwork and I didn’t ask how much it would cost. But I am so grateful for Obamacare today. It lets me say, yeah, 1% chance of dying is high enough to sacrifice some blood to make sure I’m fine. (I’m sure I’m fine.)
Zelda, however, sacrificed her blood last week to find out that she is not fine. She still tests positive for ehrlichiosis but she also tested positive for anaplasmosis. Wikipedia thinks those are the same thing in dogs, but the vet thinks differently. I really wanted to believe that’s what she was sick with this summer and that she’s recovered now, but the vet felt strongly that she should be treated, so we’re entering a cycle, probably a month, of hard-core antibiotics. I’m not happy about it, and she’s not going to be happy either. These are the same antibiotics she had in 2017, when she basically stopped eating anything except Whole Food roast beef delivered straight from my brother’s hand.
Fortunately, the vet took my concerns very seriously, so Zelda’s starting out with an appetite-stimulant and some anti-nausea drugs, too. The appetite stimulant is kind of awesome. The vet gave me two options, with the warning that one of them could make dogs “kind of hyper.” I took that one, thinking I handled puppy-Zelda, ergo I could manage “kind of hyper.” I can, but “kind of hyper” is a lot more challenging inside a camper van in the rain than it was in an apartment with plenty of room to throw a ball. It was fun, though. And she ate her entire bowl of kibble, twice, which hasn’t happened in years.
Worrying about Zelda has definitely been very distracting for the past couple of days, though. I keep trying to focus on Cici — who is probably worrying about Thunder and Lightning — but I can’t seem to get her moving. And I’ve got so much going on in the next several days. I may wind up just giving myself a break for the holidays and starting back up again post-Christmas. In fact, now that I’ve written that, I think it’s an excellent plan. 🙂
So Merry Christmas! I hope your holidays are filled with joy and fun and the families of your choice.
From New Hampshire, I headed into Maine, to my first big meet-up of fellow Travato owners from the Travato Owners & Wannabes Facebook group. (Serenity, the camper van I live in, is a Winnebago Travato, for any new readers out there.)
I arrived on Thursday, a day earlier than most of the others, because Gary, an online friend from the group, had offered to teach me how to change the oil in my generator. It was the first order of business when I arrived and involved raising the van on ramps, crawling under, draining the old oil, and pumping in the new oil. Gary did all the hard work, I mostly watched and chatted.
Conclusion – yay, I don’t need to change the generator oil for another 150 hours of generator time and yay, now I know I will probably not be doing that by myself. Ever. I paid $125 to have it done the first time it needed doing, which seemed expensive for an oil change, but now I’m thinking was a good deal. Of course, not nearly as good a deal as watching Gary do it, but I definitely owe him a bottle of wine. (Thank you, Gary!)
The rest of the attendees started arriving Friday morning and continued coming and going all weekend long. The spot was beautiful – a house on a hill owned by Trish, a stained glass artist, with incredible art inside, wide porches outside, surrounded by fields of wildflowers, and enough parking room for 20 or so vans to line the driveway. And the company was delightful — interesting people, doing interesting things, all of us ready to talk about our travels, the places we’ve enjoyed, adventures on the road, ways of living in our vans and mods. Many, many mods. (Aka modifications to the vans.)
Also, of course, our own lives. On the first day, I wound up sitting with two fellow dog owners, Deb & Ken, talking about journalism, editing, the dot.com years, raising kids with learning disabilities, writing books… and after a couple hours of conversation, Deb said, “Hey, we’re going to be on the road for the month of September, if you want our driveway, it’s all yours.” I think I probably blinked a few times. Seriously? They live in Maine, across from a river, with bald eagles living in their trees… so, so tempting.
That night, everyone brought out their camping chairs and we filled the porches while we ate potluck appetizers and desserts. The next day, some people wandered into town during the morning, while others hung around the house. In the mid-afternoon, Trish collected lobster orders and we all ate corn, grilled vegetables, and fresh Maine lobsters with butter. Afterwards, some people played cards, some played music, and some listened to the music. I was the latter, but there was lots of laughter from the card players — apparently, the Travato owners group’s card game of choice is called Five Crowns and I am definitely going to have to learn how to play someday.
The next day, a few more people arrived and a few people left. Trish made a delicious lobster chowder for lunch for us all, and in the evening, people set out salads and snacks for another potluck. After dinner, we all carried our chairs out to the firepit in the front lawn and sat around a glorious campfire, toasting marshmallows for s’mores and listening to Faith and Daniel Senie sing and play.
I feel like I spent a lot of my time following Zelda around as she roamed. She was a busy, busy wanderer, which was… well, interesting? My time with her feels so precious to me now and I want her to do what she wants to do. I don’t know how many days of wandering she has left, so I really don’t want to shut her in the van alone, which she is usually unhappy about, or tie her up. But I don’t know that anyone would ever have guessed she was an old dog from the way she behaved, except in that she stayed very clear of the more boisterous dogs. She didn’t want to play. But she did want to sniff every single solitary blade of grass and explore every corner. Fine by me. But one of the dementia problems is that she doesn’t respond to voice commands any more, although she still understands her hand signals, so I can’t trust her to come when she’s called. It meant a lot of interrupted conversations as I jumped up to follow her around.
On the last day I was there, I picked up some bruises. I actually took a picture of my bruised knees, which I am not going to post, because ugh, who wants to look at bruises? But whenever I stumble across it in the future, I am going to pat myself on the back.
So the story is: Trish had warned everyone that animals were welcome but that her dog, Rosey, chased cats and any cats would need to be kept in their vans.
On Monday morning, Rosey spotted a cat sitting in the doorway of her van.
As long-time readers know, last year Zelda was attacked by another dog. It was the fastest, most violent, bloody experience of my life — out of nowhere, aggression and blood and screaming and fear, and for Zelda, pain and shaky trembling and near-death— and I had some post-traumatic stress afterwards. I worked on it, because I didn’t want to be afraid of dogs, but I definitely became wary, aware of how quickly a dog could do deep damage, and tense around bigger dogs. I think my time in Arcata helped me get over the fear, because occasionally I had that reaction to Riley — when he moved fast or unexpectedly, my heart rate would soar, my breath would catch. He turned out to be the sweetest, softest, loviest dog imaginable, though, which helped me work my way through the anxiety.
And that was good, because when Rosey went for the cat, I went for Rosey. Even as I jumped on her, I knew that if she turned around and went for me — which is a not unnatural reaction for a dog in a fight who feels herself being attacked from behind — I was going to get hurt. But I didn’t let the fear stop me. And yay, Rosey didn’t go for me, and I didn’t get bitten, and the cat escaped and was unhurt and Rosey was unhurt, too. She didn’t even get scratched. A couple hours later, she came and snuggled up with me on the porch, letting me give her lots of rubs and scratches, so she didn’t hold a grudge either. I didn’t realize that I’d landed hard enough to bruise my knees until the next morning, when I rolled out of bed and said, “Ow, what the heck?” But I’m pleased with those bruises, because they are a symbol of recovery from fear. I like that in a bruise.
Moving on, later on Monday I headed down to South Gardiner and Deb & Ken’s house. I had a lovely afternoon/evening with them, sitting in their front yard watching for eagles and chatting, and then sharing their dinner. And temptation accepted! I’m going to spend September in their driveway, working on the book (finishing it, I hope) and watching the eagles. And the loons and the hummingbirds and the river. I’m pretty delighted with the change in my plans. I might even manage some kayaking.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, I drove to Rockport to spend some time with my friend Barbara (first pausing at a rest stop on the New Hampshire highway to have lunch with Pam and S). More about that later, though, because this blog post has gotten long and our lunch plans — steamers? not something I think I’ve really had before — are beckoning.
For a moment, when I thought about writing this post, I thought, “Oh, no, I haven’t taken a single picture in July.”
Duh. Totally wrong. I took many, many pictures, because the best part of July was spending time with the Best Brother Ever’s puppy.
Also, of course, BBE’s kids. Well, and him. And his wife, aka Best SIL Ever. But mostly the puppy. 🙂
Still, the nicest part of this exact specific moment of the month is that my own puppy is doing really well. I’m a little scared to write that, of course, because time is not on our side, but she’s eaten for several days in a row and yesterday she actually ate all her dog food and then seemed interested enough in her bowl that I gave her more and she ate that, too. And this morning she woke up at her historically normal time and wanted to go for a walk. Joy! It’s amazing how moments that you took for granted for years can become special, but this morning’s walk was definitely special.
In a nice moment of serendipity, I was hunting for a USB drive to transfer some files to my nephew’s computer, and I found one that turned out to have some old photos on it. Fourteen years old, in fact.
I’m sure that when I first saw this photo, I thought about how messy my hair was and how much I hate my freckles and how fat my arm looked, because, you know, photos. I don’t like them and I don’t post ones of me very often. But now I look at it and I see how sweet my puppy was and how much I loved her, and I’m glad this photo came back into my life.
I wrote a blog post last week and didn’t post it, because it was sad, and also because it stopped being true. I spent much of a day saying good-bye to Zelda, torn between rushing her to a strange vet and letting nature take its course, eventually deciding through many tears that the most loving thing to do was to just be with her, letting her know how much I loved her.
Nature decided that it was a bad day, but not the last bad day. A couple days later she ate a little chicken and by yesterday she was walking again. Not with any speed, and I’m still pretty sure that the baddest of bad days is coming soon… but it’s not going to be today, and that’s sufficient unto the day.
Meanwhile, I am puppy-sitting and working my way through that scary to-do list. I made definite progress — I think I’ve whittled it down to about twenty items, but of course, the twenty items left are some of the worst and scariest. One of them is so tiny — fix the Subscribe button on the sign-up widget — but the fact is, I have absolutely no idea how to do that and am probably going to easily spend a full day working on it, feeling frustrated and annoyed the whole time.
Is that a good use of my time? Obviously not. Does anyone really care if the subscribe button doesn’t look like a button? Well, I do, so yeah, probably there are some other obsessive people who would be bothered as well. Mostly, though, I think it feels like a symptom of my life being outside my control. So many things I can’t fix, can’t make better, but here’s a thing I could/should be able to fix. I wonder if I could convince myself that leaving it alone would be a signal of acceptance? And signal is not the word I want, but I can’t find the right one.
Speaking of things I can’t control, I’ve been experimenting with ads this weekend. I’d really like to get book sales back to where they were before I tried putting Ghosts into Kindle Unlimited. I was never earning enough money to live on, but I was steadily managing to push off the day when I’d have to start filling out job applications. That day is now zooming toward me. Is it ironic or just sad that one of the big reasons I’ve been avoiding a 9-5 is my reluctance to leave Zelda alone all day?
Anyway, ads. I had fun making them, but so far, they’ve been a pointless waste of money. My clickthrough rate is 0.13%, which is roughly equivalent to 0.
I might do better with more comparable authors — the authors I chose were almost at random, just people I liked, with audiences sizable enough to give me a big, reasonably inexpensive pool. (Robin McKinley, Sarina Bowen, Ilona Andrews.) So here’s a question for you: who are your auto-buy authors? Oh, and comments on the ads also welcome. Feel free to make suggestions!
On Friday, I visited the school where P teaches and answered questions asked by three of her language arts classes (and gave them tours of the van & introductions to the dog). It was so much fun that it made me wish I wrote middle-grade stories so I could visit more schools. In the evening, we went to a literary event where three authors and a musician read/sang from their works. It was also fun, but made me glad I don’t write literary fiction.
And now I’ve been thinking about those things for twenty minutes or longer, but I’m not sure I’ve got anything more profound to say about them than this: talking to kids about creativity and imagination and writing to please yourself felt full of joy to me; listening to the adults share their pain in literary form for our muted applause had no joy in it. At least not for me. Maybe it did for them? Either way, I’m not going to start writing literary fiction.
On Saturday morning, P and I caught the 6:10 AM Edmonds-Kingston ferry, to visit friends of hers on a farm near Quilcene for the weekend. The weather was miserable and Pam’s hopes of stunning me into devoted love for the Pacific Northwest seemed doomed to failure. Rain, gray clouds, a chill in the air… But we hung out at the farm, which was quite beautiful, and met the chickens and goats and resident cat and people. Ate veggie hash and chicken-apple sausage for lunch and tried not to get too wet. The air was amazing — fresh, clean, with that smell of wet plant-life mixed with a hint of ocean — and everything was lush and green.
In the afternoon, we went on a walk to a beach: not a hike, more of a stroll. But it took us on a dirt road through a nature preserve, surrounded by gorgeous rain forest. Then down an invisible path, Zelda hopping over the logs in her way, until we reached a marshy area that opened on to an almost deserted beach, with oyster shells everywhere.
Sunday dawned almost as gray. But I had a nice walk around the farm with Zelda, and then an excellent late breakfast of blueberry pancakes, bacon and potatoes. Afterwards, P and I drove into Port Townsend and wandered around for a while. It’s an appealing small town, right on the water, but around noon it started to get crowded. Lots and lots of dogs on the sidewalks for Zelda to sniff! On our way back, we stopped at the tiny local grocery store, where I found gluten-free sandwiches, gluten-free brownies, even gluten-free oats. And some beautiful fruit and veggies. The weather might not have been selling me on the Pacific Northwest, but that little store was amazing.
And the weather was starting to improve. The sky was clearing, patches of blue showing up. By late afternoon, it was gorgeous. We took another drive, this time to an oyster beach where Pam could harvest oysters. She’s got a license that lets her harvest 18 per day, and we brought one of her friends from the farm with us, so the two of them harvested 36 oysters, while Z and I wandered around and admired the view and the day and the feeling of ocean air.
That night, our hosts invited several people over for a barbecue. They grilled salmon and shrimp and beef and pork tenderloin and chicken, with roasted vegetables, kale salad, and potato salad, followed by ice cream for dessert. Oh, plus the oysters, rolled in corn meal and pan-fried. It was an incredible feast, all of it delicious. We sat around a bonfire and ate, then shared a few ghost stories.
On Monday I woke up super-congested and not feeling very well. I’d had plans for the day with a local friend, but he texted me that he’d caught something over the weekend and wasn’t feeling great and since I was also not feeling great, we agreed to try again next year. Then P said, “Oh, if you’re not leaving, we should kayak today.”
Apparently, the word “kayak” is a miraculous health restorer for me, because I forgot all about not feeling well. We took the kayaks and Z and went for a paddle. Unfortunately, Z was not super-cooperative. I put a towel down for her on the front of the boat and she did okay for a little bit, but then she started jumping off, repeatedly. I managed to pull her back in without overturning the kayak multiple times, but finally I took her back to shore. P went to put her kayak away so she could help me with Z and while she was gone, Z peed without waiting to reach grass. (An indication of how urgent the need was, because Z only pees in grass.) Drat. I wish I’d realized earlier that that was her problem, because we could probably have kayaked for longer and farther, but by then P was out of the water and it made sense to head home. But it was absolutely lovely to be on the water and it was a perfect day.
After kayaking, we began the trek home. We knew we’d have a long wait for the ferry, but we used the time to first get ice cream and then walk Zelda down to the beach by the ferry dock. I’m not going to post any more pictures, because I’m actually writing on Tuesday morning and hoping to get on the road in the very near future and my internet is so slow that picture-posting is tedious — but the path to the beach had wild roses and fennel growing, and the beach had kids playing in the water and people enjoying the sunshine, and it was lovely and warm and perfect.
Despite the weather, my congestion, and the traffic, it was an amazing holiday weekend. I still don’t think I’m going to wind up living in the Pacific Northwest, but I hope to spend lots more time here in the future. But not today — today, I start heading east. I have no reservations and no definite plans, but I want to be in Michigan by June 22nd, which means it’s time to get moving.
Yesterday, I took Zelda and Riley for a walk down to the railroad tracks. While we were there, we met a chocolate Lab from the nearby wood-working shop. Zelda was busy sniffing some interesting plant and when this Lab came toward her, she ignored it. The Lab behaved like a typical dog, sniffing her thoroughly, head-to-butt, but Zelda offered no return sniffs, no acknowledgment. When she finally turned away from the plant she was sniffing, she actually walked underneath the Lab, still not showing any sign of noticing it was there. I wanted to believe it was a ghost dog, but I think it’s just more evidence of my girl’s age.
Last night, I was talking to S about Z’s unwillingness to eat — a topic that is probably thoroughly boring to people in my life, because it comes up every day — and S said, “Do you think she might not be processing that she’s hungry? The same way she doesn’t really process sound anymore?” Maybe? But I also think she’s still aware enough to know that the food that comes off my plate or out of my bowl is more likely to be interesting than anything I set on the floor for her, so I’m going to consider that the good news. Meanwhile, I buy every new (healthy) dog food that comes my way, because she’s often willing to try something new. Once, anyway. Rarely twice, alas.
I do wish I could see inside her mind, though. She has good days and bad days, these days, and on the good days, she’s fine: bouncy and happy and playful and inquisitive, the way she’s always been. On the bad days, she’s… foggy. On a foggy day, she is utterly untrustworthy. She can and will wander into the street; she will get lost in the backyard; she gets very distressed if she can’t find me (and sometimes doesn’t realize when I’m right next to her); she doesn’t show any sign that she can hear me call; and she doesn’t eat. She sleeps more than she used to, too — which is saying something, given how much dogs sleep. On the spectrum of terms for age, I feel like she’s moved past “senior” and is slowly sliding from “old” to “elderly”. She’s only 14, and Jack Russell terriers can live to be much older than that, but… well, the good days still outnumber the bad.
Her nicknames are changing, too. S calls her “Small Madam” and I frequently call her “Princess” now, both said affectionately. But in part, I think those names have come about because she really requires a different level of care than she used to. She was never really a princess dog, but now she is. And care is maybe the wrong word — attention? It’s not that I care more than I used to, but… well, a couple times recently I’ve regretfully declined fun possible adventures, saying, “Sorry, I don’t think I can make that work.” The reality is, I can’t make anything work if takes me away from my dog for more than a few hours, because she needs me. Every day, she needs me. And I am all too aware that we are running out of days. If I have my way, none of the ones she has left will be spent whimpering, wondering where her person has gone.
Meanwhile, though, she is sleeping on my feet and we’re going to the beach this afternoon and I am so, so grateful that she’s still with me. It’s been a year since she was diagnosed with canine dementia and our year has included far more happiness and far more fun than I could possibly have predicted back then. It’s a potent reminder that fearing the future just gets in the way of appreciating the day I’m in.
If I had the money to live anywhere and was completely unconstrained by thoughts of friends and family, Bend would have moved to the top of my list this week. It’s a fantastic small city. Good thrift stores, good parks, reasonable roads, and excellent restaurants. Also, very, very dog-friendly.
We spent a fun afternoon there, doing all of the above: lunch at Parilla Grill, a fun walk in Drake Park with the dogs, visits to a couple of thrift stores. Then we checked in to the La Quinta Inn for a night of luxury. Woo-hoo! Clean showers, comfy beds, and electricity. And internet, too!
I know I’ve been posting as if I was writing the entire trip, but in actual fact, most of our campsites didn’t have electricity or internet. By that point on Sunday afternoon, my computer had been out of charge for three days or so, and I hadn’t written a word for two of them. I told S that it felt like I was going through withdrawal.
So I was happy to write for a while and then we used our delightful internet access to find a restaurant for dinner. We wound up at 10 Barrel Brewing — with all three dogs! While we were browsing restaurants, I pointed out that they had a patio, and S promptly called them and asked if they allowed dogs on their patio. The woman on the phone answered, “Yes, of course.”
“Yes, of course,” even applied to three dogs. Yep, we took all of them out to dinner with us. Everyone else on the patio brought their dogs, too. It was great, and completely solidified my already growing love for Bend. The dog at the table next to ours was a puppy that looked so much like Zelda as a puppy — white body, black ears, patch over an eye, except about twice as big. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of him. But here’s a picture of Zelda under our table.
To complete our restaurant pleasure, on Monday morning we ate at McKay Cottage Kitchen one more time. And this time I took a picture. 🙂
But after breakfast, it was time to start the long trek home. Of course, when you’re traveling with three dogs, it’s one thing to say, “We’re just going to drive all day.” It’s another thing to actually accomplish that.
We stopped at a rest stop in Chemult and let the dogs play in the snow.
We stopped at the Rogue Gorge and walked the dogs along the river while S told me Tolkien stories.
We stopped at Fred Meyer in Grant’s Pass and bought snacks and sushi and gas.
And eventually, we stopped at Florence Keller County Park and spent another night on the road, because even though we were only 90 minutes away from Arcata, why not spend a night camping in the redwoods when you can?
On the way home on Tuesday morning, we stopped at the Redwood National Park visitor center, for the final moments of a truly lovely vacation, in which the weather was mostly perfect, the adventures were mostly pleasant, and the company was always fantastic. The food was generally pretty good, too!
Yesterday morning, I had just settled into a writing sprint with my friend L — timer set and everything — when S appeared outside my door and said, “Beach?”
I don’t think S should be going to the beach, because she has pneumonia and is the sickest I’ve ever seen her, but she swore beach air would be good for her. I remain unconvinced — she’s definitely no healthier from the experience — but it was an amazing day to be at the beach. So beautiful.
And so fun. Zelda tolerates other dogs, but she’s usually not particularly interested in them. She and Riley, however, seem to be becoming actual dog friends. It’s odd, because he’s peed on her head multiple times — she finds a good scent, he comes over to check it out, and she’s still sniffing when he lifts his leg and adds his scent to the original. I object loudly every time this happens, but Z doesn’t seem to care until I’m scrubbing her head when we get back to the house, and then she’s displeased. Personally, I would find being peed on to preclude friendship, but apparently dogs are more flexible. Anyway, S and I wound up finding some nice rocks to sit on and Riley and Z wandered off exploring together, while Buddy bounced around introducing himself to the other dogs on the beach. It was an excellent beach visit.
The day didn’t include any actual Easter festivities, except for the belated purchase of some terrible stale chocolate and some jelly beans. The chocolate was so bad I threw it away, but I enjoyed the jelly beans. Instead of ham, we had salmon salad made with artichoke lemon pesto on rosemary buns, warmed in the oven, with side salads of mixed greens, pea pods, cucumber, and avocado, for dinner. It felt very springlike somehow. Or maybe that was just because the sun was shining.