• Bug,  out out out of the house!,  the dogs,  travel

    Camping 2016: with kids AND dogs!


    Summer is here and we are packing in the activities! Well, at least the few weeks have been packed so far. The kids started tennis camp today (on the hottest day ever–91 degrees in the shade and it’s only June!) and we went camping (with puppies!) the week before last. I feel like I can take the rest of the summer off we’ve accomplished so much already.


    We were super excited to take the puppies with us camping but also dreading it because we really had no idea what we were in for. We can hardly handle them at home under controlled situations!  But of course they loved it and it was a big, fat, dusty blast. When we came home our dogs were a completely different color than when we left. They got sooooo dirty.

    My mom and dad came too and brought their dog, Speckles. It was a very dog-friendly affair.

    The girls got their own tent and did really well. I thought they might get cold or lonely during the night and crash our tent but they faired just fine. Probably because they were so dead tired from having so much fun.

    Camp cooking is always my favorite part. I know hiking and enjoying nature is the basic premise of camping but I’m perfectly content to stay at camp and play pioneer all day. I like to cook, eat and drink beverages while watching sunsets and admiring the trees. I have to say I’m so thankful to live in California where there are relatively no bugs. I probably wouldn’t love camping half as much if we got eaten alive like they do on Naked and Afraid.  I love nature but dang, the bugs would get to me every time.camping-with-dogs-6

    Bug and I did get a chance to take a little hike behind our camp while Payam and Joon went horseback riding. We had a really nice time following a rugged path through the trees searching for pinecones and just kicking the dirt while we discussed mother daughter things.  At one point we thought we heard rushing water and we were so excited to see a waterfall or a stream. So you can imagine our disappointment when we rounded the bend and found a chain link fence protecting a water treatment plant. Denied! It didn’t even stink though. You’d think it would smell like sewage or something. But no, just green water being sprayed up in the air in a green pond.


    Payam and Joon had a nice time on their horses. You might be wondering about now where we were camping. Where would they have such amenities as water treatment plants and horseback riding? We weren’t roughing it by far. We were staying at an RV resort park called Thousand Trails. We have some friends who live there who we were visiting. It was a good first camping trip for us with dogs since we didn’t really know what we could handle.

    My mom and dad came too with their trailer. They’re old pros at RV camping.

    Apparently RV camping comes naturally to dogs.

    Dogs + Dirt = No problem! Just keep them cool and it’s all good.

    Back to not roughing it. There were so many activities scheduled at this resort. There was an ice cream social, swimming, pine cone races, some kind of craft that we didn’t make it to and an organized campfire s’more making night. Actually, the organized s’more-making fire was because of fire danger. You’re not allowed to make fires in your camp (which was a huge bummer when night temperatures drop) because everything is really dry up there and the smallest little stray spark could cause a huge forest fire.

    We listened to Cowboy Jack play some tunes and we had our designated one s’more apiece. It wasn’t so bad. In fact it was really cool because Idyllwild is very dog-friendly and they even had a designated dog sitting area in the campfire amphitheater. I’m sure a fire in our camp would have been nice but we probably would have gotten bored eventually and ended up either going to bed super early or playing on our phones.camping-with-dogs-13

    The next day we went into town. Which is also very dog-friendly. Who knew! Need something fun to do this summer but you can’t leave your dog at home while you go on vacation? Take them with and go camping! There’s plenty to do in the great outdoors.

    Not to completely mislead you… there was plenty of phone activity going on too.

    The kids were missing minecraft pretty bad and took up Instagram to hold them over.

    And then we went home! The end.

    Actually, after we got home and shipped the kids off to their respective other parents, we took our dogs to the day spa and they came back a completely different color.  Whiskey was a rusty brown orange and now he’s white!


    The groomer cut off all his puppy fur! Or most of it. He’ll probably lose the black on his ears someday too. Good thing he looks super cute this way too.  It’s so funny, we knew nothing about Soft-haired Wheaten Terriers when we got him. Joon just fell in love with this scruffy, teddy bear of a dog. I would have never picked him out, personally. I’m more of a big-dog-loving kind of person. I usually turn up my nose at small aka yappy dogs. But Whiskey is not that small and he has wiggled his way into my heart. He has sooooo much personality. He is smart and very playful. He makes Cody (who was my first choice in dogs) look like a big, lazy, stubborn oaf of a dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both equally for such different reasons. They are perfect and all-consuming and now I am one of those crazy dog people who can only talk about her dogs.

    Sorry, not sorry.

  • out out out of the house!,  the dogs,  travel

    Train Ride to Old Town and a Puppy Update (of course)


    Payam surprised me with a train trip to Old Town San Diego this last three day weekend. It was super great timing too because I was having one of those days where I miss my kid (it was her Dad’s week) and I feel out of sorts because I know I should be doing something important with my free time (like work maybe or start some big project) but I’m sitting on the couch procrastinating instead. I hate weekends like that.

    I had no idea that Amtrak (specifically the Pacific Surfliner line) was so awesome! It was the most peaceful, calm, beautiful ride along the coast, ever. The BEST views of the ocean I’ve ever seen. I’ve driven this route many times on the highway and gotten glimpses but nothing like what you can see from the train. In many places the surf actually hits the rocks that the rails are on. From now on if anyone comes to town to visit I am taking them on this train. It really is the best way to capture the essence of Southern California.

    Of course the company I had influenced my opinion a lot. I’m sure if I was stuck on the train with a bunch of sweaty, race track drunks or somebody grumpy griping in my ear the whole ride I probably would be reporting a whole different experience but I had Payam, who graciously bought me a bloody mary and some pretzels from the snack car (I’m proclaiming that all train rides from now on require such!) and it was just the best.


    I’ve been to Old Town a lot with Bethany but never before with Payam. It was fun to show him our old haunts–which of course made me miss Bug even more but Payam and I made a promise to each other that we will definitely do the whole trip all over again with the girls because they would love it.

    We were starving by the time we got there so we had a huge lunch and then we walked off all the zillions of calories looking at all the little shops and museums.


    We even took a little rest in the park on a picnic blanket because that’s what you do when you are out and about and kidless! It was really nice.

    We did spring for the Whaley House tour and what a huge disappointment that was. Not that I’m keen on seeing any paranormal activity or anything. That’s not my thing but I was hoping for at least an interesting tour of old town lore. Nope.  We were instead bored to tears by the worst story-telling tour guide ever. The poor guy. I don’t know what his problem was but he couldn’t remember anything in a straight line and he kept repeating himself over and over. He really wanted us to see orbs of light in our cameras (which I’m sure is cool) but I didn’t see anything. I wish they would have hired someone who could have memorized a script because I’m sure this house is filled with amazing stories. In fact, I know it is!  Five people died horrible, painful deaths in this house and an archway in the living room is built on the exact spot where gallows used to stand but our tour guide choked through the history so badly it was painful. I couldn’t even bring myself to ask leading questions because I knew he’d take forever to answer anything. Good thing it didn’t cost that much or I would have asked for my money back.

    But whatever! We bit our tongues and tried not to yawn too much. And then back on the train again for the best tour around: SUNSET!


    I thought I better include a picture of me looking old and tired because I am getting old! I don’t need to be fooling anyone. Now and then I find myself looking for a link in my archives and dang, I started this blog when I was so young!  Forty-four is coming up next month! It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for like 13 years or something.

    I just bought tickets for Alt Summit in Palm Springs (Are you going?!! If so, email me!) and I had to fill in all my social media handles and how many years I’ve blogging and even though I’m a nobody now, I realized that I’m not a nobody because I’ve been doing this forever! Sometimes I fall into the trap of feeling jealous of millennials who have zillions of followers and really cool sponsors and how they always take the coolest pictures of themselves looking skinny and hip but that was me back then too and you know what? This is what being a forty-something blogger looks like. It’s not that bad! We barely write anymore but we’re still kicking around. We take fun road trips with our stable-relationship partners (gasp!) and it’s pretty awesome. So I’m not so jealous anymore. I’ll stop trying to hide my age. It’s all part of the journey and when I’m sixty I’ll be looking back on these posts wistfully.


    I can’t end this post without at least a little puppy update, right?! Look at these guys! Five months old and they have doubled in size. Cody is losing all his puppy fluff and now he has a four-inch river of wire-y hair running down his back in it’s place. He is so long and strong! When he pulls me on his leash it’s all I can do to hold on and stay up-right. Training him has been challenging because even though he is the sweetest dog ever and he really wants to please his masters, he does have a stubborn streak. Meaning: if he doesn’t want to walk, he likes to plant himself down in the nice shade and he won’t budge for a good minute or two. I used to pull and scold but I’ve learned that he just needs a minute now and then. He gets hot easily and needs rest. But I have no idea how he is going to handle summer because it’s barely hot now and August is going to be a killer.

    Whiskey, on the other hand, is a sweet little bugger.  He has the best personality. He is very affectionate and will do the cutest things but he also loves to play games and instigate mischief. We take them for walks constantly (up to six miles a day now!) and just when you think you’ve finally tired him out, he’ll get a wild hair up his butt and race around the house like he’s possessed. It’s comical when it’s not maddening. But we love him and his crazy witching-hour personality. Not sending them back, nope. They are so much a part of our life now. Our crazy, crazy life.