I’ve Got Priorities

In the interest of trying to provide my suddenly footloose and fancy free life some structure, I’ve vowed to do something constructive every day. Yes, every day.

I made myself commit to this about three weeks ago, on the very same day I got The Call. See, my first reaction to The Call was “what the fuck am I gonna do with all this free time I’m gonna have???!” Other reactions and thoughts followed, but seriously, that was the first thing that slapped me upside of the head.

I know myself well enough that if I don’t make a vow to so something productive, I’ll be completely unproductive.

How’s that going so far you may ask?

Lay off with the demands! It’s not even the first week!

Okay, but I have at least done something each day. Mostly it’s been about the dogs, but anyone that knows me would figure that’s pretty much a given.

So this didn’t happen. It’s on the list. In fact, it’s at the top of the list.

001Yes, feel free to look more closely. Those are dust bunnies. I think they might actually be dust hares. Hares are bigger than bunnies.

Despite the fact that giant clods of dog hair, dirt and other assorted items from the natural outdoors world that people don’t usually want in their house have taken up residence, they are still there, right now.

I’m taking this as a sign of my personal well being. I tend to clean when I’m angry or upset about something. My house is a freakin’ dirty mess. Therefore I must be quite happy and content. Either that or it’s simply so overwhelming that it’s depressing to think about. Moving on…

Instead, I opted to do this:

003That’s right. I looked up points for each of the dogs for their various levels in CPE (Canine Performance Events) and I entered Brady in a trial coming up in June now that he’s been cleared to return to normal activities.

Since that took a lot of mental concentration, I moved on to this:

002Actually, this felt like a major accomplishment. I cannot even remember the last time I sat down and read a book for several hours – in the middle of a weekday. Well, I did do it a few times last summer, but always after the east coast office had closed for the day.

I was joined on the couch by Youke, who is pretty much the best nap partner ever, and everyone else assumed their nap positions in various spots near the couch. They sort of look like satellites orbiting around the mothership that is the couch. Tuesday’s beach trip completely wore JaYoBaCa out and they were still feeling the impact yesterday when this took place. Naturally, all that peaceful happy snoozing lulled me in a nap as well.

Today, I decided it was time for more physical activity. This was actually part of an evil plan I concocted earlier in the week when Brady was given the all clear. Three weeks of restricted activity and he’s entered in a trial this weekend. Lord help me! Time for a trip into the woods.

002Off we went. Four hours later, I returned with four happy and tired dogs. I think I accomplished the mission, Brady, who has to spend about half of every hike on leash due to the tempting nature of nature itself, was walking, not jogging when we got back to the Jeep. Poor Youke was so tired, I briefly contemplated carrying him for a while. Of course Camm was still perky. And Jasmine too. Hard to believe she’ll soon be 12. The thought occurred to me today that she might outlive us all.

Of course, I might have over-accomplished. Had to take a hot shower when I got back to loosen up. Never a good sign when the aches and stiffness start the second you disembark from your vehicle and waddle back into the house.

But still one more priority for the day – other than making Brady’s day perfect and letting him rip at tonight’s agility class. Yup, should be entertaining, and frightening. He hasn’t done agility in a month.

Had to pack up some stuff for this weekend’s show.

004Because getting out of town and playing with your dogs is ever so much more important than, say, cleaning your house or job hunting or other stuff that most people think is normal.

A Magic Beach Day

“You must have some magic,” a man with a black lab called out to me as I walked in the deep sand, towed along by my four dogs.

“How’s that?” I asked.

“They’re all so calm and walking nicely,” the man hollered back. Meanwhile, I kept an eye on his dog, wary it was gonna run amok and upset my delicate dog balancing act.

There’s a reason my dogs were being so lovely. They were tired. See, three and half hours running on the beach will do that.

So it turn out that when you’re unemployed, you have time to do fun things, like go to the beach with your dogs on a gorgeous day in May.


Being that I am unemployed, I opted to try to sleep in a bit. Of course, Camm chose this morning to have some kind of weird tummy issue that resulted in extremely loud rumbling noises. So if I was already awakened by the two trips outside before 7 am, I was kept awake by the grumblings and echoes from within her tiny stomach. I never knew such a small belly could be so loud.

I finally got out of bed, with the sort of idea of going to the beach, but I was grumpy and needed coffee first. And it turned out that after Camm’s third trip outside, she needed a quick pants bath. See when you have gorgeous flowing feathers or “pants,” sometimes “stuff” sticks there. Luckily for me, Camm knows this routine and is surprisingly cooperative. All I have to do it tell her she’s got “poopy pants” and she races to the tub for a quick scrub and shower.

So. got that done, but then still grumpy and feeling at loose ends. That latter is something I’m going to be fighting. It’s a bit of a shock to go from clocking in before 8 am and just working on getting shit down until it’s done and making sure you’re kicking ass while you’re doing it to pondering what time you’re gonna get up, should you check Facebook, personal email or not and what hike you’ll do or what adventure you’ll take your dogs on today. So it’s like a vacation. An extra long, super extended vacation. Fun, yes, but for a type A personality, disconcerting too.

So after much thinking – because I have a lot of time to think – found myself on a ferry and headed to a beach.

I don’t know where that man was when we got there, but there was absolutely nothing magical about our arrival. Brady has been on restricted activity for three weeks due to a bite wound and the removal of a cyst and was wound up tight. Jasmine is almost always frantic with excitement when we head to a new place and Camm is a handful anyway. Even Youke, “my good dog,” was being a brat and winding around my legs and pulling with excitement on his leash. Yep, me, four dogs, a rucksack, a camera and poop bags, tangled together and flying down the path. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall or trip, so maybe there was something magical there. Nothing magical about people’s faces as we swept by though. Only pure horror.

I finally unclipped Youke and Jasmine before something horrible happened, as in my face being abraded in the sand from all the dragging. They flew into the soft sand and into … an algae-filled tidal pool. Great.

By then Camm and Brady had managed to twine themselves into each other’s leashes, so I let them go to. As I watched Brady fly around in circles at warp speed nine and then leap into the surf, I quietly hoped that he would wear off three weeks of restricted activity between today and the next couple of days or I will be screwed at this weekend’s agility trial.

The first half hour out at the beach was potentially appalling, but a quick call here to avoid other dogs, and skirting around a few couples prevented any interactions with the crew of crazies. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch Brady scarfing down his crab dinner until he was nearly finished, but at least he was the only one who even thought about partaking of a seafood dinner. We even has a red Aussie with a tail momentarily join us with no scuffles. Of course, that’s because no one but Brady even noticed her. I guess to Jasmine, Youke and Camm, all crazy red dogs look alike. Unfortunately, the red Aussie came with a little girl. The little girl started running down the beach to join in the fun. Knowing that Camm has a serious aversion to small screaming unformed human beings, I managed to quickly leash her up and strike out for the deeper water. Luckily, the more fully formed larger human beings saw the small person and called her back.

A half mile out from the way we came onto the beach, and peace and quiet. And very, very happy dogs.


Nothing. Nothing but us out for a fun day of adventure.


Three and a half hours of running in the sand, leaping in and out of the water, swimming, trying to catch cranes and exploring the driftwood. Okay, that was JaYoBaCa. I just walked in the sand, took a lot of pictures and got really dirty. And really sunburned. Note to self, this is gonna hurt tomorrow.


I still am amazed at how different parts of the west coast are. You’d never see a stretch of beach this secluded and undeveloped back east.

And then it was time for us to turn back. Another 90 minutes or so.


So that is the magic part. Pretty simple really.

Maple Bacon Popcorn



It’s my first official post.

I was going to write about my new state of unemployment. I was going to tell you about the sudden abyss of free time, the scary fear and anticipation of the future and how I’m going to hike every day in the next two weeks with my dogs.

But then I thought maybe I’ll write about the wonderful people in my life, near and far, who have been so incredibly supportive in the past couple of months and how much I’ve valued their advice and how much they’ve made me laugh. (Okay, I maybe made them laugh more with the drama of my life of late).

Then there’s the bit about how my life is a country song lately. But I think that’s another post.

So, instead, I’m going to tell you about maple bacon popcorn. And about itty bitty chocolate cupcakes with sparkly frosting. Read More



This. Going away.