Last Summer Hurrah at Dinkey Creek

cabin-at-dinky-creek-3School is about to start so we squeezed in one last camping trip into this short but very hot summer break. I can’t believe how fast it’s slipped by already. It seems like yesterday we were mapping out all the activities we’d do and now it’s almost already over.  We have a few more fun things up our sleeves but overall we’ve done a lot this summer and I’m feeling pretty good about it. These kids better not come up blank if they have to write a “What I did this summer” essay, that’s all I’m saying.cabin-at-dinky-creek-1Payam has friends up north who have connections at Dinkey Creek so we stayed at a sweet cabin in the woods. The girls were a bit disappointed that we weren’t tenting it this time but I was just fine with a nice cabin with a clean bed and a warm shower.  Give me some trees, a campfire, a glass of wine or a warm cup of coffee in my hand and I am the happiest camper ever.

cabin-at-dinky-creek-2It was my kind of roughing it. And of course nobody complained about the abundance of wifi.
campfire-at-dinkyAh… the campfire. What’s not to love?
cody-n-bug-n-joon-in-the-creekThe next day we took the dogs to the creek and Cody was in love instantly. He is such a water dog. You can’t watch him without feeling your own heart explode with joy when you see how much he loves the water.cody-n-bug-in-the-creekSometimes he would just walk up to the water and lay down immediately, like he was sighing inside to have finally found his natural habitat.cody-n-joon-in-the-creekSometimes he’d high center himself on rocks and just lay there. This dog was completely at home in the stream.cody-river-dog-1Cody butt.
cody-river-dog-2The girls and the dogs could have played in the creek all day and they kind-of did. I secretly wish we lived here and this is what they really did all day. I bet Minecraft addiction wouldn’t even be a problem here!cody-river-dog-3“All I need is this river and this stick”, says Cody in a Steve Martin voice from “The Jerk.”river-bugRiver, river, river… or maybe I should say creek, creek, creek. The water level is pretty low but not as bad as we were afraid it might be with the drought that just keeps going on in spite of the wimpy El Niño year we supposedly had.
joon-at-dinky-creekJoon being cute….river-rats-2After the river-romping, everyone was wiped out.sleepy-river-dogsEspecially the dogs.

The dogs love camping.  In fact, I think they are a bit depressed that we are now home in boring old suburbia. They stayed outside the cabin most of the day, lazing around in the dirt or hiking around with us and then they slept uncrated (!) at our feet in the loft at night. It was their first night sleeping indoors with freedom and I’m super happy to say that it went pretty smoothly.  They were tied to the railing by their leashes so it wasn’t complete freedom but I had worries that they would gnaw at the carpet or find random socks to eat and they didn’t! They were perfect little puppy angels.  They were also very tired puppies which makes for very good puppies.

See that scruffy mutt? Take a good look at him because he doesn’t look like that anymore. That’s a camping dog right there.

The next day, right before we had to hit the road to head home, we took a quick hike up to an old milling camp that was built in the 1920’s. It was a dry, dusty hike but so worth it.


The whole camp is preserved remarkably but yet not protected. It’s open for anyone to wander around and I couldn’t believe how untouched it was. There were even old rusty cans on the store shelves. If this existed down here in Southern California it would be a camp of homeless people or meth labs or burned down completely. It was a photographer’s dream location. There was a tiny bit of tagging inside some cabins but most of it was as if it had just been abandoned in the 30’s and never touched again.


Cody was kind enough to pose for me.


He’s such a pretty boy.


Whiskey too.


Whiskey is so funny with his scruffy fur that grows over his eyes. He constantly looks like an old stuffed animal that has been well-loved and not washed.

So anyway, the mill. We went inside and it was huge. It was dark and all these little holes in the exterior shot tiny beams of light down onto the floor. It was so pretty and expansive, it kind of felt like you were stepping into a cool, dry, dusty observatory and the tiny beams of light looked like stars.

The inside of the mill just added to my  photographer’s dream location. If I lived here I would come back constantly to shoot portraits. Bug took one of me but of course I don’t like it much because you know, I’m old and vain and stuff.
I really love this time we had at Dinky Creek and I’m always going to hold a special spot in my heart for this road going down to the creek and this cabin. It was cute and little and just right.


And these people!  They are always so good to us! Until next time guys!cabin-crew-2

It was our last camping trip and it was short and sweet and to the point. It was perfect for making good memories so we can start another year of the regular boring old grind. Just kidding! We love school too but you know what I mean, it’s nice to end summer feeling like you did a lot. Like we tied a bow on it.

July Update (for lack of a better title)


Hello Summer!  It’s time to report on what we’ve been up to.

What have you been up to?

We’ve spent a lot of time at the pool. Since tennis camp is over I’ve set up a strict schedule for the girls in the hopes of saving my sanity and my struggling business. The kids are allowed an embarrassing amount of Minecraft time during the morning when I usually get the most work done. After lunch they have screen-free time (which usually involves a lot of moping and complaining but eventually morphs into real play time) and then by three we are off to the pool.

We have an agreement. If it’s over 80 degrees and after three, we can go to the pool. This helps me a lot with managing my expectations. I never get much done when the kids are unplugged so I might as well accept it and get some reading in or even some swimming(!).  And by reading, I mean a real book but sometimes I spend an embarrassingly large amount of that reading time on Facebook and Instagram. The kids do not fall far from the tree.


Nothing says summer more than lazy, sleeping pets. Or do they do that all year around? I don’t know but the hotter it is the more they stretch out and it’s funny.  It’s like their bodies melt into whatever surface they find themselves on. They really do know how to beat the heat. Just sleep it away!


Not us though. We’re too busy for sleeping. Last week (technically the week before last week since we have the girls every other week) I took the girls to CatCon LA. It’s a convention for crazy cat people like us and we had a blast.  We spent way too much money on Pusheen swag but it was totally worth the overdraft protection fees because you can never have enough Pusheen swag.

Bug has been talking about wanting a Pusheen-Minecraft party for her birthday. That should be a fun challenge. Good thing I’ve got a headstart to think up something. I’m trying to talk her into a Pusheen doughnut theme, that would be super cool and not difficult but I have the one kid in the whole wide world who doesn’t really like doughnuts. I guess I took her too many times back when we lived at the beach and used to kill time at the local doughnut shop.


My birthday was this week and I’ve been spoiled rotten with a homemade chocolate cake, a pasta maker attachment to my fancy mixer and a promised trip to Legoland this weekend! Yes, that was my choice. I’ve always wanted to go. I promised Bug a trip forever ago but never gotten around to it so I special-requested it for my birthday! I know. I am so spoiled. Payam is one of a kind crazy gift-giver and no, you can’t steal him.

I’m a big fat forty-four! FORTY-FOUR!! That’s like one more year until I’m halfway to fifty!  Funnily, I’m proud of my age. Of course I’m looking at these pictures trying to determine whether my face is fatter or not but you know what? I really don’t care anymore. I’m really, really healthy (says the doctor) because of all my intense crazy-woman yoga workouts (to be explained later) so I’m just going to be proud of where I am at for a change. I’m in a good place.

It really is true that a lot can happen in a year.  It’s a been a year now since we moved in with Payam and it’s turning out to probably be one of the best parts of my life. I’m a naturally anxious person and the happier I am, the more worried I am that something bad is going to happen.  I think I was taught that too much happiness usually ends in pain so I keep waiting for the hard times to hit. Like that’s the price of being happy or something. It’s twisted but I’m slowly starting to believe that you really can be happy and stay happy. What a crazy idea.  I’m really thankful. It’s good to be here.


And speaking of being here and now and enjoying the present happiness… (eye roll for that the obvious and clunky transition) I took my dad to see Garrison Keeler’s last Prairie Home Companion show for his father’s day gift. It was great.

First of all because I hardly ever do things with my parents, just me and secondly because the Hollywood Bowl is probably my most favorite venue ever, right up there next to the Santa Barbara Bowl. I love outdoor amphitheaters that allow alcoholic beverages. There really is nothing better than sitting outside on a warm summer night, enjoying a show (and the sunset and the stars…) while sipping wine from a plastic goblet. They aren’t stingy either. It wasn’t my most favorite wine but they poured it to the very tippy top so that I was actually a little bit stressed about carrying it from the vendor stand to my seat without spilling it on my favorite new white tank top.

It was a great show. I didn’t even care that we were so far away in the nosebleed section that we couldn’t even see Garrison Keeler’s face. It was just a really fun, sweet sentimental night. Especially because Prairie Home Companion is one of my dad’s favorite radio shows and it was Garrison Keeler’s last show AND because Garrison Keeler grew up “in the meeting” which is always interesting to those of us who share similar history.


Fourth of July was nice. We took the dogs to the pool at Payam’s moms house and it was the most hilarious thing. I don’t have any pictures of that mayhem because I need to buy a new battery for my waterproof camera and I wasn’t going anywhere near the pool with crazy dogs and my phone at the same time.

The girls and I splashed around in the pool with our amazing collection of giant snack food floaties  and then Cody got brave enough to jump in. He’s naturally a water dog, being a Golden Retriever and all but we were a little worried he might betray his genetics because when we took him to the beach he was afraid of the waves. But the genes kicked in and he didn’t let us down! He swam and swam!  He mostly just swam towards us putting us at risk of being scraped by his long dog claws but he seemed to really like it. He didn’t really get the idea that the steps were the way out but then he has the intelligence of a three-year-old so what do I expect?

Whiskey was having none of the swimming. At one point Payam threw him in and he can swim but he didn’t like it. I think he’s too smart and if there aren’t any ducks to chase there really is no reason to be floundering around in this wet stuff where there is no bottom.

Then we went home and had our classic fourth of July dinner that always includes my favorite German Potato Salad. That strangely no one but me really likes in this family?!!  What is wrong with them? How can you go wrong with potatoes, bacon, vinegar and sugar?


About those crazy-woman intense yoga work-outs… I’ve been going for six months now. I am sorely disappointed that I do not have a chiseled yoga body that I thought I would have by now. I’m working against the age curve and the fact that I really like to (over) eat regularly so I think I’m perpetually fighting against myself and slowly becoming more ripped under a healthy layer of fat.

But I am hooked. I’ve started to really become attached to my yoga instructors. They work so hard to keep us motivated. I feel like I can’t let them down. It’s also a nice get away in the morning just for me so I’m keeping on keeping on.

summer-2016That pretty much sums up summer so far besides the fifty other things I’ve probably forgotten.


Yes! I almost forgot to tell you about the time Whiskey jumped into the lake!


I was walking the puppies to the lake like I usually do and Whiskey was pulling like a mad man because he is terrier and a natural hunter of vermin. There are always bunnies and birds and ducks that call out to him to be caught and it drives him absolutely batshit crazy. I was so tired of holding him back and feeling like my arm was about to be ripped off that I decided to let him go flying down a path that I thought dead-ended at the lake.

Little did I realize that he would think the waveless lake was a flat surface to run on and throw himself into it to try and catch a duck. Boy was that a surprise for him. There was a man fishing near by and we both cracked up laughing as soon as it happened. I know I should have expected this but I really didn’t. He’d never done anything like that before and we’ve been to the lake hundreds of times.

He didn’t like the lake that much and he paddled around back to the shore as quick as he could. He couldn’t quite pull himself up on the man-made shelf so I swooped down and grabbed him by his harness and pulled him out with a big splash that got me half wet too.

Then we continued on our walk with one really skinny puppy dripping and shaking all the way home. Payam was a little disgusted that we had a wet lake-water puppy but I thought it was a great morning adventure.

Never a dull moment around here!  Happy Summer!