Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Furry Alarm Clock

One of the really great things about this lifestyle is that in the morning I don't have to wake up to a beeping, buzzing or otherwise annoying little box telling me it's time to get up and go to work. However, if I'm not awake by 7:00 a.m., my furry alarm clock comes and lays on my chest and does his best to kiss me awake, while I do my best to escape his tongue. There's no chance of sleeping after that, so I scratch his ears, sing him the good morning song (my own composition), and drag myself out of bed. Not a bad way to start the day. Dogs make the best alarm clocks. Well, almost the best.

I'll confess, I do like to linger in bed a bit in the morning. It's not because I'm not eager to start the day, but rather because my bed is so comfy and I like to lay there and think for awhile. I get some of my best ideas as I'm waking up.

This is what I wake up to in the morning:

Although sometimes it's this:

Rylie's Notes:

If I don't get The Staff out walking before 7:30, it puts me way behind schedule. I've got countless trees and bushes to attend to, and everywhere I turn there is more grass to water. I've got to get all of this done before I can take care of the most important task of the morning: BREAKFAST.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sold My Soul to the Devil

My blog might start looking a little different, now that I've sold my soul to the advertising devil. This means there could be ads or links on my pages, in addition to the usual blabber. I am starting to get creative about ways to make a few dollars so that I can travel to Baja again next winter without returning to the ratrace. I can feel my horns sprouting already.

Here are some of the other ideas I've come up with for making money:

1. Get paid a nickel for every person who tells me that they want to do what I'm doing (quit their job/sell their house and travel). Potential income: $9 billion dollars. Now I just need someone to pay me the nickels.

2. Lemonade stand. Potential income: $1.50.

3. Own an oil company and get away with bilking billions of dollars from hardworking (and not so hardworking) people. Potential income: to infinity and beyond.

4. Organ grinder. Potential income: With monkey, $50. Without monkey, $0.50.

5. Sing for my supper. Potential income: negative $25,000. (Compensation to listeners for infliction of emotional distress.)

As you can see, I'm open to good suggestions.

I haven't been taking many photographs lately, but I'm including a couple here. One is of the sunset the other night from my campground. The other is of Brian's family and Cammie when we recently went to lunch in Napa to celebrate Brian's and his Dad's recent birthdays.

Sunset in Rio Vista

(L to R) Grandma Dot, Chris, Sarah, Luke, Brian, Cammie, Carolyn and Rick

Rylie's Notes:

If The Staff would diversify her portfolio and invest in my recommended stock picks, she wouldn't be talking such nonsense.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Believe it or not, even though I spent the first 20 years of my life living in Minnesota, I have never been to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I guess when you grow up surrounded by lakes --including the big one, Lake Superior -- traveling to see more lakes isn't as exciting as seeing something different. Since I've been living away from Minnesota for so many years, I've been appreciating my home state more. I have been wanting to see the Boundary Waters area for a long time, and I'm finally going to do it.

My sister Julie and her husband Bob are going to visit Minnesota toward the end of August, and we are going to stay, together with our parents, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Julie, Bob and my parents will be staying in a resort, but I'll be in a nearby campground. I have made my campground reservation, and it's a good thing. There were only seven spaces left.

I have never seen a moose in the wild, and that's one thing I would really like to see. Maybe this will be my chance.

Rylie's Notes:

What's a moose? Is that something I can herd?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

To Lasik, Or Not To Lasik, That Is The Question

While I'm paused here in the Bay Area, I thought it might be a good idea to check into getting Lasik. I've been wanting this for years. I've worn contacts since I was 17 years old, and glasses for years before that. In recent years I've noticed that my eyes have been feeling very dry and irritated from my contacts, and I think of how nice it would be not to need contacts or glasses. How great it would be to wake up in the morning and be able to see immediately!

I've got an appointment scheduled for Monday to see if I'm a Lasik candidate or not. I would like to get the IntraLasik, which is the bladeless Lasik. I'm also considering the monovision procedure, where they correct one eye for distance and one eye for reading, so that I won't need reading glasses.

Please let me know if you have any stories, good or bad, about these procedures. You can post your comments here or email me at heidilyoung@yahoo.com. It's always good to hear about personal experiences when making a decision like this. I would appreciate the info.

Rylie's Notes:

Border collies have great eyesight. We can control sheep with just a look. I can control The Staff with just a look too. All I have to do is give her the sad puppy dog eyes, and she melts.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Back to My Former Nesting Place

I'm in the Bay Area again, spending time with my chick and catching up with friends. Someone should start a campground in the East Bay. There are no campgrounds or RV parks in the area, so I'm sure it would be full all of the time. They probably don't want a campground, though. They prefer to put in more retail shops to keep adding to the already terrible traffic and parking problems. Anyway, I found a little RV park on the Sacramento River in Rio Vista. This is a 40 minute (without traffic) drive to where Cammie lives in Pleasant Hill, but it's the best I can do. Rio Vista is kind of quaint, and reminds me a bit of Duluth -- on a much smaller scale -- with its Victorian and craftsman houses and old fashioned stores downtown. It even has a bridge. The RV park is very windy, but it's well-kept and the people are nice. It's so good to have cell phone and internet service in my motorhome again. I don't feel so isolated and inconvenienced anymore. I'll be here at least a week, and possibly longer.

Sacramento River

Rio Vista Bridge

While I'm traveling around, I'm always on the lookout for a place that might be good for me to settle down in when my time on the road is done. After living in a metropolitan area for nearly 20 years, and tiring of the traffic, pollution, materialism and crowds, I had been thinking I might like to try a smaller town. After spending a month in Aguanga, I might have to change my mind. I didn't realize how much drama there can be in small towns. In that little town with only a post office and a general store, I met several people who had spent time in jail, used meth regularly, got in fights, wouldn't show up to work for days at a time and didn't call in sick, and had their children taken away. And that's just the women! I don't think I want to know what the men are up to. It's a rough crowd. Does this stuff go on because people are bored, so they create their own drama to make things interesting? Or is it that certain types of people gravitate to those areas? Now I'm thinking a small city might be more up my alley.

Rylie's Notes:

There is a cute little female cocker spaniel next door. I think I like it here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dog Tricks and Tricky Dogs

It took a couple of days without the noise, but Rylie is finally back to his old self. Hooray! I feel better too. I’m getting to do some of my favorite things: travel and see new places, or old places I haven’t seen in awhile; and spend time with family and friends. I feel a thrill of excitement when I’m planning my next adventure or hitting the road. I wonder if that ever goes away?

Does your dog roll down the window? When Rylie and I are driving in the car, he usually rides in the back seat. Since I have automatic windows, he can roll down the window by standing on the button. The first few times he did this I figured it was just an accident, but lately he has been doing it every time we’re in the car. It’s not because he stands in the same place, because once he gets the window rolled down, he moves over to where the curved window is lower and he can stick his head out. I have to keep the windows locked, otherwise he’ll roll them down when we’re on the freeway. If he figures out how to open the door, I’m training him to empty my holdings tanks. Now THAT would be a great dog trick.

Rylie's Notes:

If I do decide to open the door, I sure won't be letting The Staff see me do it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sad to Leave, But Glad to Go

That may sound contradictory, but it’s true. I’m sad to leave my friends here at Jojoba Hills, but I’m glad to be leaving this place that is causing Rylie, and therefore me, so much stress. Things are still booming here. I don’t mind leaving the heat, either.

I’ll miss my buddy Tami and her dog Mona, but we’re planning to travel to Baja together next winter, so I know I’ll see them then, if not sooner. I’m also going to miss Charlie and his dog, Lucky. Charlie is such a sweetheart. I would ask him to marry me, but I know he would turn me down. He’s still so in love with his wife, who unfortunately passed away years ago. Charlie still wears his wedding ring, and misses her dearly. I did get a farewell kiss out of him, though. I worry about him. He needs someone to look after him. Lucky is a great dog, and Rylie really likes him.

Charlie and Lucky

On Saturday I went to a barbecue at the home of my former brother-in-law, Mike. His son and my nephew, Nate, was in town visiting for the weekend, so I was glad I got to see them before I hit the road. I saw Nate last month in Phoenix, but I hadn’t seen Mike in many years. It was fun catching up with them and other members of their family that were there. We took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the horrible winters in Minnesota. We thought nothing of going out as teenagers when it was 60 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor, without hats or gloves. Who cares about frostbite? We just wanted to look hot, as you do when you're a teenager. Mike lives in Temecula now, and has a pool installation business. Oddly enough, his company installed the pool at Jojoba Hills. I’ve been swimming in that pool several times. Small world.

Rylie’s Notes:

I think I can hear the silence at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Plan B

The loud noise that has been terrifying Rylie continues. Even though I have been keeping him on something to sedate him, as recommended by the vet, he still refuses to go out and go to the bathroom and isn't eating normally. My manager here was unsuccessful in his attempts to get the noise to stop, so I must go to Plan B. I gave my notice that I will be leaving, and everyone has been very nice and understanding about it. They are all dog lovers and owners too.

So instead of working here at Jojoba Hills this summer, I will head up to the Bay Area to see Cammie, then make my way to Minnesota to visit my family. I might stop at Yellowstone on the way. If I’m lucky, I will find a little part-time job or some temporary work so that I can extend this little party awhile longer.

Thanks to those of you that posted comments about Rylie. I’m sure he’ll be feeling better soon.

Rylie’s Notes:

Get me out of here!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Living in a War Zone

For the past six days I have felt like I’m living in a war zone. I have been hearing small explosions, like small bombs or loud fireworks, going off at various intervals, 24 hours a day. I learned that this is a tactic used by the vineyard owners to keep the birds and other critters away from the grapevines. There is a vineyard on the property next to where I’m parked, and I am the lucky one that is closest to the noise.

I'm really concerned about poor Rylie, who is terrified. He is really afraid of loud noises, and he doesn’t want to go outside to go to the bathroom, and spends the entire day hiding behind a chair. He isn’t even eating normally, and I know when Rylie skips a meal and doesn't want a walk, it’s serious. He has been so stressed out that he made himself sick. I will spare you the gory details, but some of the symptoms looked quite serious, so I brought him to the vet. They said this can happen when dogs get really stressed, and recommended some medications. I've been keeping him somewhat sedated with Benadryl, but if this keeps up I may not be able to stay with this workcamping job.

I’m told that this is perfectly legal for the vineyard owners to use this method, and apparently it went on all summer last year. I wish I had known that before I took this job. I'm not sleeping well, and I'm concerned for my little buddy. I’m not a happy camper, and this could be a deal breaker.

No Rylie’s Notes. He’s still hiding behind the chair.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My New Boyfriend, Chip

Let me tell you about my new boyfriend, Chip. We met here at work. Chip likes to eat a lot, so I constantly have to feed him. (Just between you and me, he’s a really noisy eater.)

Whenever I’m with Chip, I get all hot and sweaty. He really wears me out! He’s so big and strong, he can handle just about anything that comes his way. He’s really romantic too – he produces such beautiful flowers.

No one is perfect, and Chip is a bit temperamental, so I have to be careful that he doesn’t bite my hand off. Chip and I will probably have a regular date once a week or so. We like to have a threesome with one of the other guys here.

I’m just happy to have him here, because he makes my life so much easier. Chip, or the chipper, as the others call him, might be just a machine, but I like to think of him as my Chip.

No Rylie's Notes this time. He gets too jealous when I give my attention to other guys.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cambria and Camberleigh

Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Near Cambria

After my gate duty was done last Thursday morning I bolted up the freeway to my sister Julie’s house in Cambria. Well actually, I bolted up the freeway until I got to LA, and then I parked on the freeway for about 25 miles, and it wasn’t even rush hour. I guess every hour is rush hour in LA. I really dislike driving through LA. I think driving there is much more stressful than driving in Baja.

Anyway, Julie and her husband Bob have a very nice house in Cambria about eight blocks from the ocean, and I love to go visit there. Too bad the house is for sale so that they can retire early and move to their property in Hawaii. Camberleigh (that’s Cammie) drove down from the Bay Area after work on Friday, so I had some fun with my daughter and my sister and brother-in-law.

Rylie in Cambria

On Friday Julie and I went to Montana de Oro State Park and had a nice hike along the cliffs above the ocean. We saw a rattlesnake next to the trail, so I was glad that Rylie wasn’t with me. He had a nice walk along the ocean in Cambria that morning. It was foggy at the coast all weekend, as it often is in the summer, so it wasn’t ideal for taking photos. (I have used some from a previous visit.) Julie and I stopped in Morro Bay on the way back to Cambria, which is another nice coastal town.

Montana de Oro State Park

On Saturday we met up with my friend DeAnn, who I met when I was 17 and she was 14 and we worked at a restaurant in Minnesota. Dee moved to California a few years before I did, and lives in Arroyo Grande. She recently got engaged to Tom, so it will be the second marriage for both of them. We all went to the Strawberry Festival in Arroyo Grande, where we were tempted and entertained by food, arts and crafts booths, and various music groups. From here we left to attend a barbecue and first birthday party for Ava, Julie and Bob’s youngest granddaughter, so I got to see Bob’s kids and grandkids too.

This was a quick visit for me, since I had to leave Sunday morning to drive back to Jojoba Hills for work on Monday. I realized that I feel really good and peaceful when I’m in the Cambria and the Central Coast area. If it weren’t so expensive, I could see myself living there when my traveling days are done. It’s a beautiful area with a lot to offer, and the people are friendly and nice. Besides the beautiful Pacific, I like the rolling hills, trees, and cows. There are a lot of vineyards popping up around that area, so it will probably be the next Napa Valley.

Curran and Colleen

Lilly and Rita

Ava's First Birthday

Rylie’s Notes:

Squirrels, deer and wild turkeys. Cambria is a good place to visit. Too bad they don't allow dogs on the beach, otherwise it would be perfect.