Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

My New Guy

There's a new guy at my place. When I first saw him, I knew that he was perfect for me. He wasn't too tall or too heavy, and his sleek physique really caught my eye. I guess you could say it was love at first sight. I was really attracted to his simple, easy-going manner. I could hardly wait to get him home to see what he could do.

I was not disappointed. I only had to point him to what I needed, and he took care of it. When he was finished, I was not only impressed, but completely satisfied. He is not only powerful, but thorough as well. Then I stowed my Dyson in the closet.

Rylie's Note:

For crying out loud, he's a vacuum!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Guess who showed up in my old home town of Duluth, Minnesota? George Clooney! Not only that, but he was in the very same building where my Mom works part-time, the old train depot, which now houses some museums and other arts organizations. Now why couldn't he have been there while I was there last summer? Dang! He was there along with Rene Zellweger to promote their movie, Leatherheads, which is about a Duluth team. My Mom said they were both very charming.

Speaking of movies, Cammie and I went to see The Other Boelyn Girl, which I thought was very good. It has a lot of suspense and both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johannsen did a great job. Cammie liked it too. We also played scrabble. I beat her, but that's because I got the Q, Z and X. I did not have any spectacular words, but I did get 69 points for "zone."

Things are finally settling down here at the RV park now that the car show is over. Why do guys think noisy engines are a good thing? Wouldn't a powerful but quiet engine be ever so much better? I've never been able to understand that lust for noise.

Al Gore was on 60 Minutes tonight. I have so much respect for him. That man has a lot of class. This country really missed out when that whole election/Supreme Court fiasco ended the way it did. Our political process is so screwed up in this country. Presidents should be elected by popular vote. End of story.

Rylie's Notes:

Let's talk about something interesting, like the Italian sausage that was cooked up tonight but not eaten. What's up with that? It's just sitting there in the refrigerator, not doing anyone any good. You should eat right away at least a little bit of something that smells so good, just to make sure it turned out okay. I could take care of that.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

The boys with the old cars were revving their engines early this morning, but I still managed to sleep in. I was up late last night, so I told Rylie to let me sleep in until 8:00 a.m. He woke me up at 7:55. I guess he can tell time too. He knows it takes me a few minutes to fully wake up. While we were taking our walk there was a parade of cars coming in for the car show, and we saw some neat ones. Rylie got a little spooked when some of those guys revved their noisy engines, but not too bad. It's going to be crazy around here this weekend with all of that horsepower and testosterone.

Last night I had a great dinner with Carolyn at Pasta Pomodoro in Pleasant Hill. They have the best butternut squash ravioli that I've ever tasted. Yum! Then we went to see Rick perform in his play, Olympus On My Mind. It's a musical comedy, and Rick plays Amphitryon. He did a great job. Not only can he act, but he can sing too. I was over at their house before dinner, and he was suffering from a cold, but I sure couldn't tell when he was on stage.

We had some light rain yesterday, and today it's foggy and overcast. That's okay, I'm enjoying the moisture after being in the desert for so long. My skin feels much happier. I brought my car back in to the body shop and all that they had to do was grease the door joint and it's fine now. I also had another eye check, and the doctor said the cornea looks fine. The vision in the left eye has not improved, according to the chart test, but I must be patient. I went through this before. It seems better when I'm reading the street signs, but I guess it's still fluctuating.

Today I'll see Cammie again, but tomorrow she has to work, so it will be a chores and errands day for me. I have a lot of April/May birthdays in my family, so I'll be doing some shopping for birthday gifts. I also want to replace the brake pads on my bike and take care of some other odds and ends that have been neglected for awhile. I only have one more week before I have to start working again. This time off has been going way too fast!

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff is surprised that I can tell time? That's not all that I know. She has no idea.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Teeth, Cars, and Dogs

I woke up at 5:59 this morning, a minute before the alarm was set to go off. I always seem to wake up before the alarm goes off, probably because I can't stand them. Rylie didn't know what the heck was going on, but I needed to get him walked and fed and myself showered and dressed and drive in the commute traffic to Walnut Creek for my early dental appointment. I think Rylie was a bit surprised that we were taking our morning walk before the sun rose, but he managed to scarf down his breakfast an earlier hour without any problem. The traffic wasn't quite as bad as I anticipated, so I made it there just before the dentist, who drove up as I was walking to the door.

I spent the next 1-1/2 hours laying nearly upside down in the chair with my mouth wide open while the dentist wrestled with my teeth -- not a fun way to start the day. But I got the first half of my crown work done, and the cracked filling replaced. The right side of my face was so numb when I left, that when I tried to put on my chapstick afterwards, it ended up on my teeth. I had plans to meet with Cammie right after my appointment, so at least she got a good laugh from watching me try to smile. We did some shoe shopping, and then met up with Brian for a late breakfast after my face had de-numbed a bit. Then Cammie had to go to work, so I headed back to the RV park.

I got a call from the body shop letting me know that my car was done a day early, so I returned the rental car and picked up mine. It looks good, but there is one little problem. They must have done something to the driver's side fender or door, because it is scraping when I open and close it. Looks like I will have to bring it back tomorrow.

After that I drove to my old neighborhood park and met up with my dog group friends. This is a group of people who bring their dogs to my old neighborhood park every day. We had lots of poker and other parties together. I caught up with some of them and then shared a bottle of wine with my friend Pete. His dog Joey, who I used to take care of when I had my dog daycare and boarding business, was very happy to see me. It was nice to be remembered. Rylie had fun catching up with his old pack, and some of the new additions as well. Pete and I always have interesting conversations, so it was fun catching up with him. I couldn't leave the neighborhood without driving by my old house, just to see how it felt. I felt a little bit sad, but more concerned about whether the lilac bushes were being cared for properly. I think they were.

There is a classic car show going on this weekend near where I'm staying, and a lot of the car owners are arriving and staying in my RV park. I'm not normally impressed by cars -- I just care about having reliable transportation. But I must admit there are some cool old cars here. They are definitely more interesting than most of what is produced these days.

Rylie's Notes:

Today I got to see the leader of my old pack, Sam. Not only that, but I saw Breezy, Gertie, Joey, Boo Boo, and a bunch of new additions. Then we went over to Joey's house and I got to hide underneath the deck. The Staff was looking all over for me. tee hee hee

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yet Another Change in Plans

I was planning to leave here on Monday and head down to Morro Bay, where I was going to meet up with some of my Baja pals at a Lazy Daze get-together. But my teeth had another plan. When I got my teeth cleaned today, the dentist told me that I need to have a crown -- and possibly a root canal -- plus a cracked filling replaced. He said that normally a crown would take two weeks, but they are going to squeeze me in and rush the crown so that I can get down to the Central Coast area to start my next work assignment. Unfortunately, it looks like I will miss meeting up with my friends. Bummer! At least I'll still get to spend time with Julie and Bob and my friend who lives down in that area. I haven't had a cavity for twelve years, and my dentist has been warning me for years that I need to get my old fillings replaced, so I shouldn't be surprised that a couple of them have failed.

On a happier note, I had a long walk with my friend Brenda last night. It was good to catch up with her. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with another friend, and Thursday night a glass of wine with another friend. I'm also seeing Cammie on Thursday after my dentist appointment and before she goes to work. On Friday I have another eye check-up, I have to return the rental car and pick up my car from the body shop, and then I'll be going to see Brian's Dad, Rick, perform in a play. Yikes, it's busy! I'll be seeing Cammie again on the weekend, but that should be a more relaxed schedule.

Yesterday I also got the contact lens removed from my eye, and my vision in that eye is improving. I remember that my vision fluctuated for awhile after the first Lasik procedure, so that may happen again.

Rylie's Notes:

I don't know why The Staff packs her day so full of activities. There should only be three activities per day: walking, eating, and napping.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I've been having fun with Cammie and Brian. I helped Cammie make a spaghetti and meatballs dinner last night for Brian's parents at Cammie and Brian's place. Today we had a really nice Easter brunch where Brian works, and then spent the rest of the day together. The weather has been really gorgeous and we had a nice walk today with the dogs.

Tomorrow I'm finally bringing in my car to get the body work done from the accident in Pahrump, picking up a rental car, and then I have to drive to San Jose to get the contact removed from my eye. I've got a lot going on this week with various appointments and getting together with friends. The time always goes so quickly when I'm here and it seems that I can't get together with everyone that I want to see.

Rylie's Notes:

I've been spending a lot of time lately with the Little Squirt at her place. The Staff gave each of us a bully stick, and the Little Squirt kept trying to steal mine. Then we went outside and met a whole bunch of dachshunds. The baby, Mishka, who is four months old and deaf, kept following me around everywhere. I couldn't seem to shake him. That's okay, I'm used to adoration from youngsters.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Power of Valium

Before my Lasik procedure yesterday they gave me a Valium, and I guess I was pretty drugged up because I completely forgot that the doctor put a contact lens on my eye to act as a bandage. Removing the flap caused a "scratch" and they put the contact on until the eye heals a bit. When I went in for my follow-up appointment this morning, they took the contact out and put in another one, which they will remove on Monday. I guess the eye has not healed quite enough. I'm just amazed that I completely forgot about it, but then I'm not accustomed to taking Valium. I could tell it was really affecting me because I was moving very slowly afterwards and I slept a lot.

Spring has definitely sprung in the Bay Area. The temps are supposed to be in the low 70's this weekend, so it should be a nice Easter. Tomorrow night Cammie and Brian are having me and Brian's parents over for dinner, so that will be fun.

Rylie's Notes:

Today started out as a good day. I took The Staff for a long morning walk and then later she went to Pet Food Express. She brought home a big bag of dog food and some bags of treats, plus the freebies they give out at the counter. She gave me the little freebies, but that's not what I really wanted. I wanted the good stuff, but she ruined it by dragging out the scale and getting me on it. She shook her head and stowed away the treats. I hate that scale.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So Far So Good

I had my Lasik tune-up today and so far, everything seems fine. There was a little more discomfort than last time when they were lifting the flap, because the doctor just lifted the old flap instead of cutting a new one, and apparently there were adhesions. But he added more numbing drops and it was fine. I didn't feel the reshaping of the cornea at all. I had less discomfort after the procedure than the first time, because they didn't have to correct as much, but that was gone after I took a nap. My sight in that eye is a little blurry and it's sensitive to sunlight, but again, not as much as last time. Hopefully I'll be happy with my vision. My vision was 20/30 in the left eye before the surgery, and it was sometimes difficult to read street signs when I was working. The vision in my right eye is slightly less than 20/20, which will hopefully give me a monovision effect and allow me to avoid the reading glasses awhile longer.

Cammie picked me up after my surgery, stayed with me for a few hours and walked Rylie for me. This time was much easier than last time, definitely.

Rylie's Notes:

The Junior Staff came to see me today without the Little Squirt, so I had her all to myself! The Staff wasn't much fun today. Our morning walk was shorter than usual.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Living Color

I didn't realize how starved I was for some color until I was driving up Central California yesterday. Being in the desert of Pahrump for more than three months was like being in an old-time sepia photograph. Nothing but shades of brown. Normally, driving up I-5 in Central California is more of the same, except for the orchards running along the highway. But for a short time during and after the rainy season, the hills are alive with color. Yesterday I was treated to green hills and plains dressed in huge patches of yellow, orange and purple wildflowers, with the blue ribbon of the California aqueduct weaving in and out of view. It was a very pretty drive.

I was so happy to see my chickadee, Cammie, and so was Rylie. He even got a bit playful with her dog Laila, which he never does, so I think he was happy to see her too. We walked the dogs, had a chat, and then watched Out of Africa. Cammie had never seen the movie (!), but it's one of my favorites, so I've seen it quite a few times. I still cry every time I see it. They just don't seem to make beautiful movies with worthy messages like that any more. Going to the grocery store was also a treat. It was wonderful to see the great selection of lovely produce again.

This morning I woke up to fog, and even that was a welcome change. Rylie and I had a long walk on our usual trail, and I could almost feel my skin greedily drinking in the moisture. It got very dry after several months in the desert, despite my creams and potions.

Tomorrow I have my Lasik tune-up, but just in one eye. Hopefully my distance and night vision will be better without sacrificing my near vision.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Rylie's Notes:

I stayed up late last night playing with The Junior Staff and the Little Squirt. The Staff thought I was being kind in letting her sleep in this morning, but the truth is, I needed the sleep. There are lots of things around here that need herding: geese, squirrels and even feral cats. I've got my work cut out for me.

Monday, March 17, 2008


After being blasted for three days, I was so happy to leave the winterly winds of Pahrump behind me. As soon as I got out of the Pahrump Valley, the wind disappeared. Driving through the green mountains of California into the Bakersfield area, I felt better. The weather in Bakersfield was gorgeous today. We arrived at our RV park here in the late afternoon, so I walked Rylie and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading. I can't remember the last time I did that.

Happy St. Paddy's Day! Being a wee bit of Irish, I should have been wearing green today, but I did not. I guess I deserve a pinch.

I'll leave you with the only Irish phrase I know, taught to me by my Irish friend Rosaleen: Slan leat (goodbye).

Rylie's Notes:

I'm happy to be out of the wind too. My nose doesn't work as well in the wind. It takes a lot longer to pinpoint the interesting smells, and The Staff is sometimes in a hurry on our walks. She needs to learn how to take time to smell the roses -- or the fire hydrants, as we dogs like to say.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hitting the Road

Except for some last minute preparations, I am ready to hit the road. I can't say that I am sad to be leaving Pahrump, although I met some very nice people here. I also have some wonderful memories of the fun I had with my visitors to take along with me, but I'm ready for a change of scenery. It was a profitable work assignment, though.

I have been catching up on some chores the past couple of days, and today I went to lunch with Charlee. We went to El Cancun, a Mexican restaurant in Pahrump. The food and the margaritas were delicious, and the prices were very reasonable. I highly recommend it.

Rylie said goodbye to his pals Sparky and Max, but we didn't stay outside very long because it is windy and cold today. The temperatures went from about 80 degrees mid-week to the 50's today. There were also some dust devils making their way around town, according to one of the women in the park. This place is quite a wind tunnel.

I'm excited to see Cammie and my friends in the Bay Area. I'll be there until the end of the month, when I move to the Central Coast area. Julie and Bob will be staying there for the first three weeks of April, so I'm sure much fun will be had.

Rylie's Notes:

Are we done with the diet yet? This is getting old. Poor Sparky got put on a diet too, so we're both miserable.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Crossed the Finish Line

My work marathon in Pahrump is finally over -- yippeeeeee!! It feels soooo good to be facing three weeks off. It will be strange to have an entire weekend off, but I'll be busy with my departure preparations. I plan to barrel out of town on Monday. I was going to leave on Sunday, but we're supposed to get a storm that day, so I think I'll wait until Monday. There's no need to battle the elements.

I think Rylie will miss his pals Sparky and Max, but he'll be so excited to see Cammie again. I know I am. I can also bring him to see his dog pals at our old neighborhood park. He'll be happy once we get on the road again. He always seems excited when we hit the highway.

Next week I'll be getting a Lasik tune-up, but just in one eye. My distance vision could be a bit better, and it should help my night vision as well. Getting it in only one eye will hopefully keep the reading glasses at bay awhile longer. I don't need them now, so I'm hoping I won't after this surgery.

Get ready California, here I come!

Rylie's Notes:

First The Staff cuts down on the treats, and then she gives me a bath. I am not pleased. What's next, trimming my nails?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good Work Week

I'm having very good sales this week. The later daylight hours helps with catching people at home, but I don't know why more of them are buying. Whatever the reason, I'm happy. Tired too. I've been working later hours, plus I haven't been feeling well part of this week. I have also noticed that the last few years it has taken me about a week to adjust to the Spring time change. I must be getting old. Rylie hasn't adjusted either. He's still waking up at the old time, lucky for me.

Don't you just love watching dogs while they are dreaming? I would love to know what their dreams are like. Do they sometimes have nightmares like we do? Just a few moments ago Rylie was dreaming. His feet were twitching and he was making stifled barking noises.

Max is an old dog here at the RV park, and he and Rylie made friends early in our stay. Lately Rylie has been just as insistent on stopping by Max's place to say hello as he does with Sparky. The surprising thing is, he doesn't get any treats at Max's place. But Max always whines hello and wags his tail.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm insulted. The Staff apparently doesn't think that I have any social skills. I'm not all about the food, you know. I sometimes think about other things.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I really need to scramble this week to get all of my work done before I have to leave for the Bay Area. Lucky for me we have more daylight in the evening now, so I can catch more people at home. I had a pretty good work day today. My last customer was way out on the northeast side of town, and they have a lot of acreage, so no homes were nearby. The photo of this house looked like it had the entire valley to itself, with the mountains behind it. The sun was setting as I was driving up, and they have the most spectacular view of the sunset. One of my customers yesterday said that wild horses have run through their property. That would be neat to see.

I'm not sure when I'm going to have time for my departure preparations. No goofing off this week. Too bad, because the weather is gorgeous -- perfect goofing off weather.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff has been giving me more carrots lately, apparently as a replacement for treats. Attention KMart shoppers, carrots are NOT a substitute for treats!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Another Wolf

I met another wolf today. This one was not living free like Lady, the other wolf I met, but was a pet of one of my customers. I got to meet Star, and she is a sweetheart. She has been raised as a pet since she was a pup, so she is really tame. My customer got her from some Native Americans that couldn't keep her any longer. She is very affectionate and licked my hand and wagged her tail, and she knows how to sit and lie down. She's really beautiful, though, with coloring similar to Lady, and a little black mixed in. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo, but I did get to hear her howl. It's so hauntingly beautiful when wolves howl.

Rylie's Notes:

I have been taking The Staff for her morning walks in the desert more lately. Things are getting a little ho hum in the RV park, and there are LOTS of interesting smells in the desert. Sometimes I get to see rabbits too. We still go up the road occasionally, and the other day there were some goats right next to a fence that I managed to scatter. They know the boss when they see him.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Chomping at the Bit

Yes, I'm a bit anxious to see Pahrump in my rearview mirror, but I'm having a test in patience. I'll be here another week. I haven't been able to finish up my work for one reason or another -- weather, running out of mats for the photos (I had a bad batch), and taking a day off for some fun last week. This, plus the fact that I need to go to the Bay Area means that I won't have time to go to Arizona before starting my next work assignment in California. That's a bummer, because I was hoping to meet up with a couple of my Baja pals there. Sigh. At least I'll still get some time off. I need a break! I don't know how much of a break it will be, however, because I have a long list of things that I need to catch up on. My number one priority will be spending time with Cammie though, and I know we'll have some fun.

Rylie's Notes:

Why doesn't The Staff check with me before making travel plans? I think I should get to decide where we're going once in awhile. First I want to go to Petco, then PetsMart, then Pet Food Express, and then I want to go over to Sparky's place. Then we can go to California to see The Junior Staff, and after that to Minnesota to see The Substitute Staff.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mailing Chickens

When I was at the post office yesterday I heard a rooster crowing in the back, so I inquired whether mailing chickens was allowed by the post office. It turns out that not only can you mail chickens, but apparently ducks too. Does anyone else find this alarming? After my recent experience when it took more than three weeks for a priority mail envelope to make a three day journey, I have my doubts about these critters making it quickly and safely to their destination.

The postal clerk told me that the chickens are usually sent by express mail, but this did not alleviate my concerns. I asked how long they go without water and food, and she said one to two days. Apparently now there is something that can be put in the container to provide moisture, but I wonder if people really go to the trouble to make sure they are okay. Why would someone mail a chicken, anyway? Maybe you folks already knew about this, but there is a whole world of chicken mailing out there that I was not even aware existed. I wanted to ask if I could go in the back and check out the mailing container, but I knew I would not be allowed into the sacred confines of the back room of the postal service. I don't want anyone to lose any sleep, but there could be a need for a chicken mailing advocate here.

Rylie's Notes:

I would like to volunteer to monitor the chickens. I believe I have the proper credentials: a keen eye, highly superior sense of smell, and superb herding ability. Not only that, but I really like chicken.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Miscellaneous Nonsense

Well if you guessed that I would take the day off on Sunday, you were right. I did go out for about an hour and locate homes, but I didn't knock on any doors. I just didn't feel like battling the wind. Luckily, I had good sales on Saturday and yesterday to make up for slacking off on Sunday. I did chores instead. I dumped my tanks, filled my batteries, did laundry and some cleaning. I also watched Michael Clayton, which I thought was a very good movie.

Last night I went over to Charlee's place for dinner. It was nice to have dinner prepared for me after working all day. When I was living in my house I used to think that if I had my choice of hired help, such as a house cleaner, gardener, or other assistance, the thing I would most like to have would be someone to cook my meals. I must have been absent the day they were handing out the gene for the joy of cooking.

As often happens with me, my plans have changed. I'll be heading to the Bay Area sooner than expected. I'll be there later this month instead of early April. Cammie is going to Disneyland with Brian for her birthday, and I'm going to have my Lasik tune-up this month, because my eye surgeon is only available one day this Spring when I can be there for the surgery. Cammie is going to come down to Morro Bay so that we can celebrate her birthday down there. We both love that area. I don't know yet whether I will have enough time to go to southern Arizona on the way to California. I'll have to decide when my work is finished.

I just discovered that my water heater is leaking. Where is a good Canadian when you need one? (A very kind Canadian helped me when my water pump was leaking in Baja last year.) I need to do some investigation.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff might be cutting down on my treats, but I still have my sources. Sparky's Staff can still be counted on to toss a treat my way, and now I have Charlee, my new best friend. She really knows the way to my heart. The other night she gave me a little piece of leftover beef, and a few days later, a few pieces of chicken. I think The Staff should spend more time with Charlee.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My Facial

Now you guys out there might not be interested in this post, but the ladies might. I had my very first facial on Friday, and it was wonderful. I thought that Julie at Great Lengths Salon did a great job, although I have nothing to compare it to, of course. In addition to the things she did to my face, she also gave me a shoulder, arm, hand, lower leg, and foot massage. She even massaged my ears! After she massaged my hands and feet she put them in heated mittens and booties. I could have easily fallen asleep on the massage table.

I have sensitive skin, so some of the products she was using burned a bit so she didn't keep them on, but the seaweed mask was really nice. The whole experience was so relaxing and I felt very pampered. She spent more than an hour with me and my skin has felt very soft ever since. I would definitely recommend it. Julie said not everyone who gives facials does the extra massages, so that might not be part of the deal at other places.

Today is extremely windy again. The motorhome is rocking and rolling, and I thought we were having another dust storm, but I think it was just temporary and located here in the RV park. I'm trying to decide if I can work in this much wind. I hate to miss working a Sunday, since Sundays are usually my best work day, but I think this might be too much. It's difficult to hold the framed photograph so that people can see it when it is so windy, plus it's difficult for them to hear what I'm saying over the wind. What do you think, am I looking for an excuse not to work?

Rylie's Notes:

Things have been really boring lately. I haven't seen Sparky the last few times I've been out, and The Staff wouldn't let me stay in the pet run yesterday when the cat was coming in. Not only that, but she got us both on the scale and decided "we" were starting a diet yesterday. Since then there has been a definite drop in the treat activity. I didn't sign up for any stinkin' diet.