Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloweeny!

Well he wasn't too keen on dressing up at first, but once I got the camera out, he was striking his best pose. He did all of his trick-or-treating at home, but for him, it's trick-and-treating. I think he kind of liked wearing the scarf. He does seem to enjoy wearing women's clothing.

I had a pretty good day of sales, and I'm done with my second roll of photos. It looks like I'll be leaving here Friday or Saturday to head to the Bay Area. Good, I'm ready for some fun!

Rylie's Notes:

Is this what the Hollywood dogs wear when they are riding in convertibles?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Roller Coaster

Things change quickly in the world of sales. After my good work day Saturday, Sunday was a bit disappointing. Only two sales, one indecent proposal, plus I had to work on really dusty roads all day. Lots of sneezing and nose-blowing, plus now I have to wash my car before I can head out again today. I'm too embarrassed to drive that dust bucket the way it looks now. Oh well, some days are like that, and I'm sure another good day is just around the corner.

The weather has been just about perfect here in Chino Valley. High 70's during the day, although it does get a bit chilly as soon as the sun goes down, when it eventually gets into the low 40's. I haven't seen any wildlife other than rabbits and roadrunners.

Rylie's Notes:

Roadrunners don't have the faintest idea how to be herded. When I charge them they just run back and forth like they can't make up their minds which way to go. Not at all like the crafty roadrunner that Wile E. Coyote deals with. They aren't worth the bother, really.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dog Training

I had my best sales day yet, work-wise, in spite of the security gates. I think the people in Arizona have even more dogs than the people in Texas. A couple of my customers had seven dogs, and many had three or four. Yesterday one of my customers invited me in to see his three litters of puppies. He had greyhounds, chijuajas (how the heck do you spell that, anyway?), and pomeranians. One litter of puppies was only two days old, and the other two litters were about two weeks old. Awwwww, how cute!

When I was still in the ratrace and working in San Francisco, I used to give Rylie a treat when I was leaving to go to work for the day. I wanted him to have a positive association with me leaving, instead of getting depressed, giving me those sad puppy dog eyes, and making me feel guilty for leaving him home all day. I figured I didn't need to give him a treat when I came home, because he was always excited to see me when I returned. Well, it worked. Now he seems to watch me closely as I'm preparing to leave for work, and even seems a bit anxious for me to go. I guess I don't have to feel guilty about leaving him home alone to face a long, boring day.

Rylie's Notes:

I can't wait until The Staff leaves for the day. As soon as she is out the door and down the road, I unlock the door and the gang starts filtering in. We make a dog tower and open up the refrigerator and cupboards, and everyone has at it. The funny thing is, The Staff is always muttering about how much she spends on groceries and how fast the food disappears, but she never suspects what's really going on. She must think we're just a bunch of dumb dogs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Full Moon

I know the moon isn't officially full until tomorrow night, but it looked full tonight when I snapped this picture on my way home from work. I like the sunsets in Arizona, they are very pink, when they aren't red.

I started my second roll of photos today, and spent the day wandering aimlessly along the back dirt roads, trying to locate the homes. It turns out that the geographical map that the photographer marks with the roads the helicopter pilot followed in order to shoot the photos was hopelessly inaccurate. I drove around in circles trying to make sense of it, and encountering just as many security gates as I did on my previous roll of photos.

Why are we so security conscious? Are we a nation living in fear? One of my customers yesterday told me that I should be armed as I go about my work. I have been told this before, and quite a few people seem concerned for my safety. Is it really so dangerous out there, or is that just what we have been trained to believe by our "if it bleeds it leads" news media? I have never had a situation that made me feel nervous or uncomfortable, and most of the people that I meet are very nice.

Speaking of the news media, I am sick to death of the paparazzi hounding celebrities. Those guys are going to be the death of poor Britney Spears -- or the cause of her insanity. I don't care for Britney Spears, but I hate what they do to her and other celebrities. I don't think what Britney, or Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan do should be breaking news. It's totally ridiculous, and I hate it when I turn on the supposed "news" and I get rubbish about what those types are up to. I don't buy any of those celebrity magazines, and hopefully you don't either. Let's put those stalkers out of business. They are the ones that are dangerous.

Yesterday I drove to Prescott and bought myself some new books. That's always a special treat for me. I used to collect books, and had around 700 of them before I sold my house. I used to love being surrounded by my books, and they were the most difficult thing to give up when I was getting rid of my possessions. I didn't get rid of all of them, though. I saved the valuable ones, and the special ones, and the ones that I got signed when I went to book signings. Those are in storage until I have room for them again.

Rylie's Notes:

You know what's weird about the rabbits around here? They don't run. I've given a couple of false charges to some rabbits and they barely budged. I bet if I didn't have The Staff on leash I could make them run.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


There are some terrible fires going on in Southern California right now, so I called my pal Tami to make sure she was okay. You might recall that we were both working at the Jojoba Hills RV park near Temecula before I had to leave in June because Rylie couldn't stand the explosions in the vineyard next door. It turns out that they were evacuated on Sunday because the fire entered the RV park. Luckily, no one was hurt, but they did have some damage from those Santa Ana winds. It burned the area where I used to meet my boyfriend Chip, as well as the back part of the park where Rylie and I used to walk in the morning. They were able to return Monday afternoon, but there is another fire coming from the Palomar Mountain area, so hopefully they will not be evacuated again.

Last night I had a glass of wine with my co-workers, Steve and Gerri. Can you believe it, Gerri had ten kids in her first marriage -- ten! And yet she seems perfectly sane. Not only that, but she looks young for her age. I'm in awe.

Rylie's Notes:

Ten is a nice sized herd. I could get ten rugrats rounded up in a bundle faster than sheep. Have you noticed that sheep are not the brightest crayons in the box?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Prescott, Arizona

Prescott is nice. It has one of those downtown squares that I'm especially fond of, I don't know why. I guess it's a bit of nostalgia for simpler times.

I really like tree-lined sidewalks and streets, so I had to snap a photo of that too.

I have been pretty focused on work here so far, but I did take a little time to check out Prescott. Chino Valley, where I'm staying, is nothing to write home about, but sales have been all right so far. The people are really nice, too. I met another couple who works for Air Photo, so it has been fun talking with them. Steve and Gerri started working with the company about four months before I did, so they have had some good stories to share. The weather is fine, high 70's during the day, and high 30's or low 40's at night. I'll probably be here another week or two before I head to California for a visit.

Rylie's Notes:

Guess who I've got staying right next to me? Tami Lynn! She looks like a movie star. I wonder if she knows Lassie?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bagel Crisis Narrowly Averted

Whew, that was a close one! I was running scared, knowing that I had eaten the last of my favorite kind of bagels this morning, and none of the grocery stores I've been to lately have carried the ones I like. I'm fond of the Thomas' whole grain bagels (8 grams of fiber per bagel!), and they are sometimes hard to find, so when I find them, I buy an extra package and put it in the freezer. I like to eat them for breakfast with low fat cream cheese or an egg and cheese, and they even make them in a square shape in addition to the round ones if you want to make a sandwich. I was getting nervous, but luckily when I went to the Safeway store this evening in Chino Valley, Arizona, they had them. I can sleep peacefully tonight.

For the past two days I have been battling the wind. I felt like I was driving all day making a left hand turn through scampering tumbleweed. Driving in the wind is tiring for me, so I am very happy to have reached my destination. Today I drove through Flagstaff, Arizona, which I have always wanted to see. I thought it was really beautiful, with slowly sloping mountains, many-colored mesas and plenty of pine trees. I would like to spend some time there, although maybe not in the winter, since they must get a lot of snow there. Chino Valley is at a much lower elevation and not nearly as pretty, but it's definitely warmer than Flagstaff was. It's still at a pretty high elevation though, so it's cooler than it was in Texas. I went from summer weather to fall weather in a hurry.

I thought it was strange that Rylie has not eaten his breakfast for the past two days, because he is usually such a chow hound. I'm not alarmed, because he did eventually eat it for dinner, and he can stand to loose a few lb's anyway.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff has been so tired from driving the past few days that she has been going to bed early. On the other hand, I have been sleeping all day while she was driving, so when bedtime came, I was raring to go. So the other night I gathered up some of the other dogs in the RV park and we played a game of strip poker. This was a high stakes poker game. Besides the stripping, we had a jackpot of only chicken breast strips and freeze dried liver. No Milk Bones in this jackpot, so I was determined to win. I thought my strategy was pretty good. Whenever I lost a hand, I took off my ID tags one at a time, instead of removing my entire collar. Poor Max only had a bandana on, so he was out early.
Daisy came scantily clad in only a collar, so I knocked her out pretty fast. Sadie had me nervous for a bit, because her staff treats her like a Barbie doll and she had every accessory you could imagine: bows in her hair, rhinestone collar, even a sweater. Luckily, she is a terrible poker player, so I made quick work of her wardrobe. That left me still wearing my collar, so I hustled the rest of them out of there and began my feast. I felt pretty bloated the next morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Amarillo, Texas

I got a really late start yesterday. There was a big storm this morning, and I wasn't about to break camp and hit the road in thunder, lightning and pouring rain. The thunder had poor Rylie shaking, panting, and trying to hide, but the storm passed eventually. I had to unhook and pack away the various cords, hoses and leveling blocks in the mud, and hook up the car. At first I thought one of my wheel chocks was missing, but I found it under the motorhome. I have no idea how it got there. At the end of the day I realized that I forgot my water pressure regulator on the faucet. I was probably in too much of a hurry to get out of the mud. It was one of those times that I wish I had a human travel partner to make sure I didn't forget anything. Or better yet, help!

I finally made it to
Amarillo, and I feel better. Maybe the energy in Weatherford just didn't agree with me. Hopefully I'll get an earlier start tomorrow, because it will be another long day of driving.

Rylie's Notes:

Yeah, about the wheel chock. Bruno, the St. Bernard down the street, has an enormous head and mouth. I bet him three dog biscuits that he couldn't fit the wheel chock in his mouth, so of course he had to go for it. Unfortunately, the chock was just a bit too big and got stuck. Bruno started to panic so I had to jump on him and whack the back of his head to jar it loose. It shot out under the motorhome and Bruno decided to head home -- after collecting his biscuits. That was the end of my fun that day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So Long, Texas

It's time to hit the road again. I think I can rule out north Texas as my future residence. Although I did meet some nice people, overall I did not find the Texans to be all that friendly or nice. That surprised me, because for some reason I thought Texans were friendly people. There are other areas of Texas that I would like to explore, perhaps some other time.

I did see a few interesting things, like the beautiful horses I mentioned earlier. I also saw some Texas longhorns, although as you can see in the photo below, the tips of their horns were cut off. I know nothing about this. Is this something that is done to keep them from poking each other's eyes out?

Texas Longhorns - Abbreviated

I also got to talk to some real cowboys. One of them even was wearing spurs. I didn't know cowboys still wore spurs. I got to see an armadillo too, although it was flat on its back with its feet in the air -- quite dead, unfortunately.

Next I'm headed to Arizona, although I'll take a few days to get there.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm ready to hit the road. Hopefully the next place will have more room to roam away from the traffic and noise. Too bad I can't bring my new friend Shorty. He liked to squeeze under the fence and trot with me when I was walking The Staff.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Took a Spill

Rylie and I were having a little bit of a jog on our morning walk today when he got spooked by the loud noise of a passing truck and ran right under my feet. My feet objected to running with dog in front of them, so down I went on the pavement. I scraped myself up a bit and will most likely have some bruises, but luckily I didn't break anything. Rylie was very apologetic and seems to be fine. He managed to remain standing. I'm just glad that the weather has been a bit cooler in the morning because instead of wearing my usual shorts and tee shirt, I was wearing long pants and long sleeves. The scrapes would have been much worse, I'm sure. As it is the worst scrapes are on my right hand and arm, which should make work interesting today. It's a good thing my work is almost done here.

I wish I knew what happened to him when he was a puppy that makes him so afraid of loud noises. I know that he had a very rough start. His litter was abandoned and ended up at the pound. Border Collie Rescue got him out of there, but he was really sick and terrified. He had mange, his coat was really dry and brittle from malnourishment, he had worms and few other ailments. He was also terrified of everyone and everything. I adopted him from Border Collie Rescue, but had to wait a bit to take him home until he got a little healthier. He has come a long way since then, but is still terrified of the loud noises. I guess I'll be doing my jogging without him.

Rylie's Notes:

I don't want to talk about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Horses and Dogs

When I'm working, I meet a lot of dogs and see many horses. Many of the ranches and farms that I visit have a lot of both. It is not uncommon to have a welcoming committee of three or four dogs and cat or two, with cows, goats, and even llamas standing guard. Dogs usually like me and are friendly, although there was one rottweiler recently that acted like it wanted to tear me apart. Luckily it was chained up and couldn't quite reach me. Most of the ranch and farm dogs just run around loose. At the end of the day Rylie is always interested to sniff my legs and feet to see who has been jumping up on me, rubbing against me, or licking my toes. (I'm talking about dogs here.)

Being the big softie that I am when it comes to animals, it is sometimes heart-breaking for me to see how some of these dogs are treated. Some of them are kept in kennels that are much too small, or they are left outside in the heat with no fresh water in sight. I've seen some with bad-looking wounds that needed attention, or that cowered when I went to pet them. Those ones have obviously been hit. Some of them just seem starved for attention. It's all I can do to walk away from some of them.

The horses I've been seeing lately are really gorgeous. There have been quite a few breeding ranches in my work territory. Today I saw something that made me smile. I visited a ranch that breeds Arabians and Arabian pintos, and I saw the most beautiful Arabian pinto. He was feeling quite frisky and was kicking up his heels and racing around his pasture, trying to get the horse in the next pasture to race around too, which it was. I had to stop and just watch them for awhile. It really made me feel happy to see such a beautiful animal in motion. Simple pleasures are the best, I guess.

Rylie's Notes:

I wish I could race around in a pasture. This place is getting smaller by the minute.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Finally, a cool breeze swept in last night. I saw the leaves showering from the trees as I was driving home from work last night and figured we finally had some relief from the heat. The temperatures are now in a much more tolerable 80's range, and the humidity has dropped. Whew! I was starting to get a bit grumpy, and that's not a good thing when you have a job that requires that you're always cheerful, smiling, and nice. I had to quit a bit early last night because I got the hiccups and they would not go away. I didn't want my customers thinking I was drinking on the job.

There sure are a lot of beautiful horses around here. It's just too bad that the people are so fond of their security gates. It makes it difficult for me to peddle my photos. One nice thing about the homes in Texas: they are not all the same. In California all of the homes seem to look alike, but here they have variety.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm getting bored. I could use a good squirrel chase. I'm done chasing the fly that was in the motorhome. I won.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Leaky Tire

I got all packed up, dumped the tanks, and hauled my home up to Weatherford, where I'm all settled in at my new RV park. It's still a little crowded for my taste, but at least it's not on a noisy highway and there is more grass and open space, plus a better place to walk.

One of the tires on my car has been leaking air, so I got that repaired today. The folks at Discount Tire were nice enough fix it for free. It turned out I had a nail in it. It was just six months ago that I had a screw in a motorhome tire. People, keep your screws and nails off the highways, please!

A funny thing: I noticed when I was putting my bike in the bike carrier that it was all muddy. Now how did it get all muddy just sitting under a tree all week?

Rylie's Notes:

Yeah, about the bike. It gets pretty boring while The Staff is working, so me, Buddy and Trixie took the bike for a little joy ride. Buddy has the longest legs, so he worked the pedals. I sat on the handlebars and steered, and Trixie sat in the water bottle holder and just squealed. She's just a tiny little thing. We got going pretty fast, and it was almost as good as riding in the car and sticking your head out the window. But then we decided to go through a puddle in a ditch and Buddy got distracted by the long legs and long hair of an Irish setter and forgot to peddle. We hit the upside slope of the ditch and our joy ride came to an end. Trixie had the good sense to bail out early and landed safely. I got spanked by a handlebar as I scooted out of the way, but poor Buddy got his leg caught under the bike and he's going to be limping for a few days. There's $100 in the vet's pocket for another mystery malady.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Granbury, Texas

I'll tell you one thing, Texas is hot! It was 95 degrees today, and that's with humidity. It has been like this all week, but I guess that's about ten degrees above normal for this time of year. Because I've been busy working, I haven't had much time for taking in the sights, but I did take a few pictures of the downtown area of Granbury. It has one of those historic downtowns that are arranged around a square, which I really like. It also has a really pretty lake, but unfortunately I do not have any pictures of that. There are some very cool Victorian homes, too.

Hood County Courthouse

Granbury Home

On The Downtown Square

Next stop, Weatherford, and more work.

Rylie's Notes:

You know what else is interesting about Texas? Frogs, and lots of them! I get a kick out of the way they jump. Today I had a stare down with a sassy cow. I had to give her a little bark to remind her of who was in charge.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


After two days of driving I made it to Granbury, Texas. I could only find one RV park or campground in the area, so this small RV park will be home for about a week while I work my next roll of photos. This RV park is the type I normally don't like to stay in, with small, crowded campsites where you fell like you are right on top of your neighbors. It's also expensive for what you get, even with a weekly rate. I think what bothers me the most is that there is no good place to walk. It is right on a two lane highway with a 70 mile per hour speed limit, which makes for noisy and dangerous walking. There is a very short farm road -- a court actually - where we can do a brief walk among the livestock, but it's not enough exercise for me or Rylie. The town of Granbury is nice, though. More on that later.

I'll be working hard for the rest of this week, then will move to another area with a more comfortable RV park.

Rylie's Notes:

Texas is hot and humid, which are not the best conditions when you are wearing a furry tuxedo. There is some interesting scenery, however. Cows, horses, sheep and goats. I like how all of the sheep and goats run away when I run down the road. They know the boss when they see him.