Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Rylie and the cows, standing in a field, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. I couldn't help thinking about that childhood song as I watched Rylie making out with the cows this morning. No kidding, they were kissing each other. I had my camera with me, so I got a few photos of the cows coming over for a smooch.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff is so juvenile. Apparently she is not aware that when exchanging pleasantries with cows, it is customary to exchange a tongue swipe here and there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Beach

It was so warm in Morro Bay this morning that after our usual morning walk, Rylie and I had a nice romp on the beach too. Usually it's windy and cold in Morro Bay in the Spring, so these last few days have been a real treat. I was wondering why there were so many cars at the beach. It turned out there was a surfing competition going on, so we sat and watched the surfers for a bit. There were plenty of kite flyers too.

Part of Morro Rock and Surfers

Kite Flyer

Rylie's Notes:

There was some Native American drumming and chanting going on this morning when I took The Staff for her morning walk. I didn't care much for that, so I suggested that we go to the beach instead. That seemed to make her happy. The Staff bought me a new toy yesterday. It's a plush tree with three little squeaky squirrels that can be hidden inside and taken out through several holes. It's supposed to "keep dogs busy." Yeah, for about three seconds. It doesn't take Einstein to figure that one out. Now if she puts some treats in there, THAT will make it interesting.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Conversing With Cows

Rylie had a long chat with the cows yesterday. Not only did he touch noses again with his favorite cow, but he touched noses with the other three as well. Then he stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the boards of the fence on one end of the pasture and whined. He wanted to get in there and frolick with the cows. One of the cows tried to squeeze its head through the boards to get out where he was too. Rylie did not want to leave his new cow friends. Nor did he want to leave them today. He was halfway through the barbed wire fence to get to the cows before I realized what he was doing and pulled him back. He must be desperate for some entertainment, or maybe he just wanted to roll around in the cow pies.

The weather was beautiful today, even in Morro Bay. I was really tempted to play hooky from work and go to the beach. But being the work slave that I am, I went to work instead. I need to catch up from my month off and my pricey dental work. Sales have been pretty good the past couple of days, although they are up and down in this area. But the people are so nice and friendly here, it's a pleasure just to be in this area.

I've been seeing a lot of deer while I've been working. I drove past a herd of nine this evening. Some of them were shy and moved away as I slowed my car to look, but a few of them just watched me as they lay on the ground or grazed near the road.

The hills are already starting to turn brown here. It's amazing how quickly it goes from green to brown. But the ocean is still very, very blue.

Rylie's Notes:

There is more going on with cows than most people think. Yesterday we debated presidential candidates and today we discussed chess strategy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Rylie and I got rained out this morning when we were trying to do our walk, so we only got in about 15 minutes. The poor guy didn't get to see his new cow friend today. Julie walked Rylie on Saturday while I was working, and said that he and the cow touched noses again.

Today I saw something while I was working that made me laugh. I pulled into the driveway of a house that had three deer in the yard. There was also a shitzu (is that how you spell it?) and a beagle loose in the yard. The shitzu kept running over to the deer to chase them away, but one of them, a doe, did not back down. In fact, she started toward the shitzu, so they did a little dance back and forth for awhile, trying to decide who was boss. Once I got out of my car the deer moved off, and the shitzu was very grateful.

I'm missing my neighbors, Julie and Bob. I really have nothing more to report.

Rylie's Notes:

It's too bad I wasn't there with the deer today. I would have shown them who was boss.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Trails, Julie and Bob!

Julie and Bob hit the road in their motorhome this morning to begin their year-long journey. It was really fun spending time with them these past two weeks and I was really sad to see them go, but excited for them at the same time. They are going to have so much fun! Besides, I'm sure we will figure out a way to meet up somewhere down the road. Rylie was sad to see them go too. He wanted to run after their motorhome as they took off down the road.

I just found out today that a friend of mine from the Bay Area, who is in her 30's, is going to travel too. She left her job, and her trip will last several months and cover the Southwest. This seems to be a growing trend. I find this very interesting, and wonder at its implications. A lot of people seem to be deciding, as I did, that they don't want to wait until traditional retirement to pursue their dreams and freedom. Maybe we're just not meant to live a work life of indentured servitude. I know that I am all about the freedom right now. Certainly I could have greater financial security later on if I were doing the traditional 9 to 5 grind right now, but for me, freedom, pursing my dreams, and the experiences I am gathering are much more important.

Today I only worked about an hour because I ran out of photos, and my new ones don't arrive until tomorrow. I drove to the nearest shop-o-rama and got myself a new bicycle helmet and pump, among other things, and snuck in a nap back at home. Recently I learned why I've been so tired, and what has been causing some of the other symptoms I've been experiencing. It turns out that my thyroid has been out of whack, and has been for quite some time. I'm working with my doctor to adjust my thyroid medication, so hopefully I'll be back to normal soon -- whatever that is.

Rylie's Notes:

This is not good at all. Some of the herd took off today, and The Staff would not let me get them back. She does not know the first thing about herding.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rylie's New Pal

Rylie made a new friend while we were on our morning walk yesterday. Lately he has been very eager to go down a side road that we usually visit on the way home. No doubt because there are many interesting critters that live there: horses, cows, chickens, a young colt, dogs, cats and even a blue heron that likes to hang out with the cows. Yesterday the four cows were close to the road, and Rylie wanted to get up close and personal. When he approached one cow, she moved nervously away from the fence, but another one that was younger seemed just as curious about Rylie as he was about it. They sniffed each other and rubbed noses, but then the other cows came hurrying over and that was a bit too much cow for Rylie. He backed off and started moving along, and they trotted along side the fence for a moment. That was the first cow meeting he has had.

Last night after work I met Julie, Bob and some of their friends at the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero for dinner. It's a nice place but they have a pretty limited menu. I had the halibut lasagna, which had fresh spinach and other goodies in it, but was quite different from traditional lasagna. It was windy and cold even in Atascadero yesterday. I had to wear my jacket while I was working!

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff exaggerates again. I did not rub noses with the cow. We were just getting a good sniff so that we could figure out each other's chemistry. How else are you going to know whether someone is a good egg or a rotten one?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Quarry Trail

View From the Quarry Trail

Instead of our usual morning walk yesterday, Rylie and I had a hike with Julie on the Quarry Trail. This is a pretty easy hike of just over two miles round trip, but has a pretty view of the bay on one side and a nice view of the hills and valley on the other side.

Start of Quarry Trail with Los Osos and Bay in Background

The framing company shorted me on frame clips with my last frame order, so I ran out of framing clips and was forced to take the day off. Oh darn! I spent the day with Julie and we had nice time. After our hike we met Julie's friends Terri and Renee for lunch at the Bayside Cafe, a nice little restaurant at the marina by Morro Bay State Park. From there we went to Terri's house in Los Osos and saw her beautiful gardens. She and her husband Dennis have two acres, which Terri has transformed into a really beautiful yard. It was like visiting the botanical gardens. She has tons of irises and roses, among many other things, and her jasmine smelled heavenly. Dennis is an artist and not only did he paint all of the artwork on their walls, but did a beautiful job painting their floors. I've never seen anything like it and it was stunning.

Terri and Dennis also train white doves for release at memorial and wedding services. I learned that the birds that are released at these ceremonies are not really doves at all, but are white pigeons. Terri let the pigeons out for us so that we could see them fly in formation and return back home. It was interesting to learn how they train them to fly back home from long distances.

After that Julie and I went to San Luis Obispo for some shopping, which I carried on while Julie was at an appointment. Then we drove back home and DeAnn came over for a glass of wine and to say her goodbyes to Julie and Bob. They leave on Monday. We went out for a bite to eat and were entertained with karaoke while we ate. It was a fine day.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff is no fun at all. She won't let me chase the chickens, the cows, the bunnies, or the cats that taunt me by coming into our yard. She didn't invite me to go see the pigeons, either. She just doesn't know how to let loose and have fun.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Awwww, How Cute!

I met this cute little colt while I was working yesterday. He was only 15 hours hours old, but his owner let me pet him and take his photo. He has two blue eyes, and was silky soft. That was a bright spot in my day.

It has been nice having Julie and Bob to hang out with. It's a shame they are leaving next week. They will be hitting the road for their year of travel in their motorhome. Apparently it's contagious. Hopefully we'll meet up somewhere on the road.

Today I realized that not only do I love this area, but it feels like home. I might need to figure out a way to live here permanently. But not yet. I have some more traveling to do. And who knows, maybe during my travels I'll find a place that I like better.

Rylie's Notes:

I had a very interesting morning. While I was walking The Staff, we came upon cows that were lying down right next to the road. If it weren't for the barbed wire fence, I could have hopped right on top of them. A little further up the road, I met some llamas for the first time. They were quite interesting, but they did not back down during our staring contest. Do border collies herd llamas? Somehow, I doubt it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Settlers of Catan

Cammie came down from the Bay Area for a quick visit. We had a belated birthday celebration for her, since she was in Disneyland with Brian on her birthday. We had a nice dinner at Upper Crust, an Italian restaurant in San Luis Obispo. I had a delicious pasta dish with shrimp, chicken and prosciutto, with enough leftovers for three more meals. We also played a new game to us, the Settlers of Catan. It's a board game that is sort of a cross between Monopoly and Risk. We played several times and decided we all like it. The weather was gorgeous all weekend, even in Morro Bay. Cammie, Julie and I also poked around Morro Bay a bit on Sunday. It has turned colder today, unfortunately. Cammie left today to head back to the Bay Area, and I returned to work.

DeAnn, Cammie, Me, Julie and Bob at Dinner

Work has been going well here. I met another wolf, domesticated since it was a pup. This one was also white with blue eyes, and very soft. I noticed that there are a lot of donkeys around here, and some llamas too.

Rylie's Notes:

I had a very good walk with The Staff and the Sibling Staff today. I got to herd some chickens, however briefly, but the cows were not in the mood to be herded. Nor were the horses. That's okay, I had my fun.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back at Work

Wildflowers in Morro Bay

I took the above photo on my morning walk today. Rylie and I walk past this field every morning. The weather is gorgeous today. I wish I could take the day off, but I will be taking Sunday off when Cammie is here.

Sales have been going pretty well the past couple of days. It has been a bit difficult finding some of the homes that are hidden in the canyons, however. Now that the company has switched to digital photography and GPS maps, I decided that I need to get a GPS system to be more efficient. I am going to try out Julie and Bob's GPS today to see how I like it.

There are some pretty steep and winding roads where I'm working. It's not a good place to be if you're afraid of heights. I've seen a lot of deer and even some wild turkeys. The new digital photos really turned out nice, especially because it's so green. It won't be long before it gets hot and the hills turn brown. The canyons where I'm working are not as cool and foggy as Morro Bay or as hot as Paso Robles, so I think it would be a nice area to live in. Out of my price range, however.

My Current Work Area in Atascadero

Looking Over the Valley and Atascadero

Rylie's Notes:

Forget about the flowers and canyons, I'll tell you about the interesting sights in the area. This morning we saw a mare and new colt, cows, chickens, a Jack Russell terrier and a rat terrier.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Julie's Birthday

We had fun celebrating Julie's birthday yesterday. First we headed to Eagle Castle winery, which looks like a medieval castle inside and out, complete with a moat. Bob was our designated driver, so it was up to Julie and me to investigate the wines. There are so many wineries in this area now, it looks like an early Napa Valley.

Bob and Julie in front of Eagle Castle

Julie and Bob Clowning at Eagle Castle

After Eagle Castle we made our way to Peachy Canyon, and from there to Wild Horse. We had the most fun at Wild Horse. Julie and I both like their wine, so we ended up with a few bottles to take home. From Wild Horse we went to Adalaida, and then it was time for dinner. Driving through the hills and canyons was so beautiful. It's still very green, there are wildflowers aplenty, and I got this shot of wisteria and wildflowers near one of the wineries. Not the best shot, but it gives you an idea of the color in the area:

When we were done sampling some of the wineries, we drove to Pismo Beach to have dinner at Steamers, one of Julie and Bob's favorite restaurants. My friend DeAnn, whom I have known since we were teenagers and both worked at the same restaurant in Duluth, met us for dinner. Dee lives in Arroyo Grande, not far from Pismo Beach. The restaurant is right on the ocean, and we had a really nice view. I had the swordfish special with asparagus mashed potatoes, and it was tasty. I also had a taste of Bob's albacore, and that was really delicious.

Bob, Julie and Dee at Steamers

Dee and Me at Steamers

It was a fun day. I could easily live in this area.

Rylie's Notes:

Well I'm glad somebody had fun yesterday. My day was not nearly as stimulating or tasty. I didn't see any doggie bags coming home from that restaurant, either.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Finally, Some Photos

I have not been very forthcoming with the photos lately, have I? It seems that recently I've been forgetting to get the camera out when I'm visiting people, so the only people photo I have to offer right now is of the folks left over from the Lazy Daze get-together at Morro Bay State Park this past weekend. We had a really fun party Saturday night with the whole group -- but of course I didn't have my camera. Those Lazy Dazers really know how to have fun parties. Most of the group left on Sunday, but there were some of us that stayed until today, so this was part of that group at cocktail hour before dinner on Sunday. Julie and Bob weren't staying at Morro Bay State Park, but they came up from Pismo Beach to see me and have dinner with the group.

Bob, Julie, Jim, Henry, Pat and Doris (and dogs)

The campground was near a protected nesting area for blue herons, egrets and cormorants. When Rylie and I walked past this area in the morning, the trees were filled with nesting birds. I couldn't get close enough to get a good photo of that, but this blue heron was sitting in the tree next to my campsite:

I got this shot of Morro Rock not far from the campground:

Today I moved to an RV park where I'll stay for the duration of my work here. Unfortunately, they won't let me stay that long at Morro Bay State Park. It's a nice campground. Julie and Bob came to stay at the same RV park, and they will be here for two weeks. Tomorrow we are going wine tasting and out to dinner to celebrate Julie's birthday.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff made me wait an hour before taking me out to scope out the new territory. She knows that I like to investigate right away when we get to a new place. She is really annoying sometimes.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Morro Bay

When I left the RV park in Pleasanton this morning, it was packed. The Cinderella Ride, a 65 mile bicycle ride for women, was taking off right outside of the RV park. No wonder the RV park was full. I was lucky I got a spot to stay an extra night.

My drive down to Morro Bay went smoothly and was very pretty. The hills are still really green and there are many wildflowers running about. The Southwest Lazy Daze group is having a get-together here in Morro Bay, but I'm just catching the tail end of it. I've already seen Pat and Doris, two of my Baja buddies, and there will be a cocktail hour and potluck this evening. Julie and Bob, who are staying not too far away in Pismo Beach, may drive up for the party tonight. I'll stay at this campground until Monday, when I move to the place I'll be resting while I'm working. Julie and Bob will move there on Monday and stay for two weeks before they hit the road. I don't start work until Wednesday, which means I get to play with Julie all day Tuesday -- her birthday.

I love this area. I can't wait to go romp on the beach. The sun is shining but the wind is a bit brisk -- cooler here than the Bay Area.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff was sitting around yakking when there are TONS of places I need to investigate. It's very frustrating.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Elephant Artist

I'm hoping I can figure out a way to insert a live link to this video that Cammie sent to me of an elephant painting a self-portrait. If I can't, try copying and pasting it into your browser window. It's really amazing, and hard to believe it's for real.


Hopefully it will help people to realize that there is more to animals than a lot of people think. I wish I could see the elephant painting in person.

I finally installed the new brake pads on my bike, only to discover that the tire is flat again. Since I got rid of my bicycle pump when I disposed of the rest of my stuff (I didn't have a bike at that time), it will require getting out my air compressor and dealing with that monkey business. Maybe I'll have time tomorrow.

Today I got my hair cut, my blood drawn, drove to the Camping World in Fairfield (the closest one, and not close at all), visited my favorite grocery store (Trader Joe's), wrapped the birthday gifts I bought earlier, and had a long chat with my friend Michael.

Yesterday I played some more with my Dyson. This time we got down and dirty with the attachments. We did the furniture, the valances and blinds, the screens, and the floor again just for fun. I'm becoming very fond of my Dyson. The best part is, he is only 2/3 the size of a regular Dyson, but still has lots of power. He's a new model that just came out this year. I am very pleased that I found him.

Tomorrow it's back to the dentist. I also need to move the motorhome to a new spot in the RV park, since someone has my spot reserved starting tomorrow. I'm hoping to get propane and get the oil changed on the motorhome to prepare for blast-off on Saturday.

Rylie's Notes:

I could paint a self-portrait too if someone gave me a paintbrush. It would look a lot like George Clooney.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Sometimes I think that being a parent is more difficult now that Cammie is an adult. Maybe it's because I have a hard time letting go of my sense of responsibility for teaching her what she needs to know to live a happy and fulfilling life. I worry sometimes that I haven't taught her everything that she needs to know to make her way in life, especially when I see her making decisions that I think might cause her unhappiness. Sometimes we have disagreements that make us both feel terrible -- like the other day. I imagine that I'm not the only parent that has a hard time letting go of the sense of responsibility for their child once they are an adult.

I just need to remind myself that Cammie is a smart and responsible adult, but she is still young. She will need to make her own mistakes to learn, and sometimes I just need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Letting go seems to be a constant lesson in life, at least for me. Especially lately.

I met up with my friend Nancy again yesterday. We had a nice walk and lunch. We've had some really good chats since I've been back. She also showed me some of her pictures from her New Zealand trip. It looks so beautiful there. I would really like to visit some day.

I also got the oil changed on my car yesterday. I had them check my battery because of the noise it has been making sometimes when I start it. The battery is fine, so we think my starter could be going. They couldn't duplicate the noise, so I guess I will have to wait until it gets worse.

It looks like another slight change in plans. I got an email from my boss telling me that the new helicopter pilot was not working out, so they can't photograph yet in Atascadero and therefore, I won't be starting work this weekend. Right after that I got a call from my dentist's office telling me that the crown-maker was delayed in getting started on my crown, so I can't get the crown work finished until Friday, rather than tomorrow. It's funny how things work out. Since I won't be working this weekend, I should be able to meet up with some of my Baja friends, who will only be in Morro Bay for the weekend. As much fun as I've been having up here in the Bay Area, I'm looking forward to getting to Morro Bay.

Rylie's Notes:

Today I finally found a squirrel that I could catch. Unfortunately, it was dead. It's not much fun chasing dead squirrels.