Monday, May 29, 2023

Sophie at 6 Months

Sophie will be 6 months old on June 3rd. Then on the 6th she’s getting spayed. I’m a little nervous for her; she seems so little, but it's not too early according to the vet and of course we don’t want to take a chance on her going into heat!

She is almost completely potty trained but we still have occasional accidents. It’s seems that now they happen when we have visitors and there is a lot going on. With the nice weather we have the back door open a lot so often she can go in and out as she pleases but she still may get distracted and forget to go outside, and then OOPS! Not unlike a human toddler. But we’re getting there.

She’s IS growing because she can reach things she couldn’t reach a couple of weeks ago. I’ll think I have things safe from her curious little puppy teeth and then, surprise! I’ll find a crochet hook on the floor, or some yarn where it shouldn’t be.

She’s a little thief, just like her mother, apparently. She really likes shoes, my underwear and socks, wash cloths, and toilet paper. Unlike Stella she doesn’t just pile her treasures on the couch, she drags them through the house and chews on them!

We still have to watch her in our little backyard and check on her frequently. She will dig if given a chance (she’s a Westie after all), and she is still very little, only 10 pounds so far. She will gain another 2 to 8 pounds before she is fully grown, and will fill out a lot. She still looks like a puppy.

She needs to fill out some because she keeps getting through the cast iron fence. All winter we had dog fencing around the yard, but now the dog fencing is around the flower gardens so we have had to figure out something else.

We put up nylon netting, but she can get under that. So we used stakes to make that impossible, but we can’t put the stakes at the gate so she was still getting out there. Now we’ve got garden fencing where the gate is and so far that seems to be working.

She’s not really trying to escape, she’s just curious. When she gets out she doesn’t go anywhere, she’s just sniffing around. We have realized that she’s escaped within a minute or two but it’s still scary. It’s a good thing she’s not a determined escapee because if she was we would have to do something else to thwart her. She just needs to grow a little more!

The two older dogs are playing with her a lot more. It’s so much fun to watch them play. They never play as long as she would like but it’s great while it lasts. Tag, wrestling, chase the ball, zoomies. They don’t play tug of war, at least not yet, maybe because she is so much smaller than the other two. I think they would just yank her off her feet!

When Harper was young we went on long walks and hikes too, but the older dogs can’t handle that anymore. I feel kind of bad for Sophie in that respect. We’re all older and so far she’s not getting to have adventures like the other dogs did when they were younger. She did go out to breakfast with us the other morning for the first time. She behaved herself, mostly. And soon she’ll get to go out on the pontoon boat too.

One thing I really like about Sophie is her fearlessness. If something alarms her, a child’s toy, a vacuum, she may just shy away at first but then she comes right back and investigates. She taught herself to use the dog door. She does bark but it’s not too bad. Again, she’s a Westie!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Harper Gives Us a Scare


Harper has pancreatitis. She is Improving and should make a full recovery but it was still scary. On Tuesday she started vomiting intermittently. The vomit contained some chunks of food and a lot of white foamy stuff. We put her on a bland chicken and rice diet but she didn’t improve. She would keep one meal down and then vomit again. I called the vet Wednesday afternoon and thank God they were able to see her Thursday morning.

When the vet palpated her intestines she growled, which is highly unusual. Normally she loves going to the vet, she’s such a social little dog. X-rays confirmed the diagnosis. Her intestines and pancreas were very inflamed. She must have been in a lot of pain.

So yesterday she stayed at the vet getting IV fluids, pain and nausea meds and a new treatment from Japan that has just been approved for use in the US. It consists of 1-3 infusions of a drug that rapidly reduces the inflammation. She had one infusion yesterday, came home last night, and will go back again today for a second one. She is already showing improvement so we are feeling quite hopeful that we caught it early and that she will be fine.

Going forward she will be on a special diet that is low in fat to avoid the possibility of a recurrence. So far she really likes her new food, which is a relief because she is so picky. Some of her favorite treats such as peanut butter and cheese will be a no-no going forward but we will adjust.

After I left her at the vet yesterday I just sat in the truck and sobbed. Not Harper, nonono, not yet, not now. Because of her insulinoma we have been mentally preparing ourselves to lose Heather sometime in the next year or so, although she has been doing great. But not Harper. I am NOT ready to lose this dog! She was our first, our gateway Westie, lol. We love her madly and whenever she does finally leave this earth it will hurt, a lot. But not yet. NOT YET.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

San Francisco and A Bike Trip 2023 - Back in SF

Saturday March 4.

Last night we ordered Chinese carry out from a place Dan and Kelsey hadn’t tried before Z & Y Restaurant. We all agreed that it was amazing, some of the best Chinese we have ever had. We ordered a lot different dishes and tried our best to do them justice. The spicy ma pa tofu was really good, the mo gu Gai pan was delish. The beef noodles, the scallion pancakes, it was all great. 

In the morning I went for a run. I went north and ran down a long dock just for variety. Then I miscalculated the distance so I ended up running a little longer than the 4 miles I had scheduled.

We decided to try the Dim Sum place right across the street from Dan and Kelsey’s apartment, Yang Sing. It was fancy, even had a Michelin star! We were a little early and could walk right in (they don’t take reservations) but 20 minutes later the place was packed. It was very good and not as crazy expensive as they thought it might be. We got dumplings, Bbq’d pork buns, egg rolls, fried garlic tofu, egg tarts. Their egg tarts were amazing!

Now we’re sitting around their apartment, watching basketball on TV, and the bands of rain blow by.

Sunday March 5

After the basketball game (Mizzou won btw) we decided to go to Ballast, a new brewery in Dogpatch. It had only been open for the previous weekend so it really was pretty new. All ordering was done by QR code. The code at our table was kind of worn and I had trouble getting my phone to recognize it, but Dan’s phone could do it. We ordered several different beers and a couple apps. The apps came promptly but no beers. Finally Lee went up to the bar and asked and then a waitress realized that something was wrong and sorted it out. I have no problem with QR codes unless something goes wrong. We think that maybe there was some confusion about who’s table we were, but no matter.

We all got a few 4 Oz pours so we could try a few different things. Since I don't like hops I got a lager called Wahoo and then a Porter. The porter was good, it tasted like coffee and vanilla, just like the description. The lager was ok but very bland. I guess I think if you’re going to be trying fancy beers they should taste like something!

Then we drove over to a Greek place nearby called Souvla . They served various types of Greek salads, or you could get your salad as a sandwich on pita bread. Most of the salads included meat but they also had a veggie salad with potatoes and that’s what I got. It was really good! Daniel got some frozen yogurt for dessert. I took a bite, and then another, and then another. It was really good too!

This morning I went for my last SF run. It was a beautiful morning. It had rained during the night but when the sun came up the sky cleared and everything was bright. I ran toward Oracle stadium and back, 5 miles total. 

We took the trolley to Fisherman’s Wharf and ate lunch at In-and-Out. Then we walked over to the Musee de Mechanic, basically a penny arcade with all sorts of old fashioned games, everything from Pac-Man to mechanical pianos, to peep shows. Most things cost a quarter or fifty cents. It was silly, and fun.

Tuesday March 7

We flew home yesterday. We were delighted to land in Minnesota and even though they got 4 inches of wet heavy snow Sunday night, the Parknfly lot was clear and the truck was easy to get out. And our neighbors had plowed our driveway before we got home!

It was a great trip. In spite of my initial doubts about our bike trip I had a great time riding and would ride with them again. I have a little advice for them but I’ll save that for another post.

Now today, big doings as Sophie’s flight lands at 1:30 and our lives are going to change big time. A puppy! Well you know I’ll be writing about THAT! (and have once already. More to come of course!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

San Francisco and a Bike Trip - The Biking Trip Part II

Thursday March 2

Back at the b&b I actually fell asleep for awhile. I really was tired. We went down to happy hour and then walked to our dinner reservation at Dry Creek Kitchen. This was a very nice, fancy restaurant with a prix fixe meal and wine pairing too. We got the 3 course dinner, we didn’t think we could handle the 5 course tasting menu. As it was I could barely handle the dinner so that was a good call. They let us get one wine pairing and split it, which was nice. They even brought us both the pairings that went with whatever we had ordered, which was VERY nice! That way we actually got to taste 6 different wines!

Let’s see. For the first course Lee got the octopus and I got the hamachi. The hamachi was very nice, lots of interesting flavors. I didn’t think the octopus was that great but Lee liked it. It was roasted, and big. For our main course I got swordfish, which was wrapped in prosciutto and served on polenta and pine nuts. It was very good. Lee got a pork chop. Then for dessert they had ice cream so Lee got that of course! He ate a massive amount of it but couldn’t finish it all, there were 6 scoops! I got the dirty chai latte cake. It was good, not incredible but I shouldn’t talk since I ate it all!

I was stupidly full after that. It was good we had to walk back to the b&b, and I stayed up for a little bit just to help things digest.

I slept until almost 7. Yay! How nice to wake up and not have to wait for coffee!

Again we took our time and didn’t start on our bike ride until 10, just to let things warm up.

Today was sunny and beautiful with not much wind. We did the shorter Russian River loop, about 23 miles total. We rode to this one lane bridge over the Russian River and ate lunch by a redwood grove right by the bridge. I felt so much better without all that wind, even though today was even hillier than yesterday. I slowly removed almost all of my layers. First my ear warmers, then my gloves, then my windbreaker, and finally after lunch my windpants. It felt great to have my legs bare!

After lunch we rode a few miles and then stopped at a winery for a tasting, Landmark Winery at Hop Kiln. 

They had some very nice wines! We bought a Pinot and a Chardonnay that was like a French Chardonnay. We now have 4 bottles of wine so tomorrow before we leave Healdsberg we’re going to ship them.

Friday March 3

So continuing: yesterday we rode the remaining 3.5 miles to Healdsberg, and went to the coffee shop. We were a little later than we have been and it was almost closing time (3 pm). They came around with their leftover pastries and asked us if we wanted any. “Take 2! Take more!” Lol. I took a chocolate croissant and a blueberry scone. Thanks! I saved them for later.

For dinner we walked into town again and went to a Japanese place, Taste of Tea. It was ok. The tea was good anyway!  Got a mint/hibiscus/lavender variety. I got a mini rice bowl with unagi which was good, and some gyoza which were fine but shaped like wontons which was kind of weird. Lee got ramen and the broth tasted like tea. He liked it but I thought it was odd.

I was so tired, I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 8:30. I knew I would be up early but it wasn’t too bad, I made it to 5:45. With all that tea I had to get up and pee quite a few times.

After breakfast we drove to Petaluma and bought some sandwiches for lunch and then went to Point Reyes and took a short hike. We went up the Bear Creek trail to a meadow, ate our sandwiches, and walked back, about 4 miles total.

Now we’re back in San Francisco for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

San Francisco and A Bike Trip: The Biking Trip Part I

Monday February 27

It was a rainy morning in San Francisco. I finished Rossi’s sweater. It came out cute and she enjoyed wearing it. We tried to take her for a walk when the rain let up for a minute but it started raining again so we had to cut it short.

Daniel drove us to the rental car place at 11. It was pouring, but it stopped just long enough for us to get our rental car. Whew! We headed north on 101 to San Rafael. We ate lunch at a Peruvian place called Sol Kitchen. Their specialty was roasted chicken and it was delicious! Instead of fries I tried their plantains. I got both the garlic and the sweet ones. I liked the sweet ones better. I got a cafe con leche too, which was fabulous!

Sol Kitchen Lunch

Then we drove the rest of the way to Healdsberg. Such a cute little town in the Russian River Valley. We stopped at Getaway Adventures to check in and get oriented. So far I am not impressed, although my bike is nice. They are kind of freewheeling, which some people might enjoy but I like structure, especially when I’m biking around an unfamiliar area. He showed us in a general sense where to go and suggested some wineries. We had trouble getting the directions into Google maps, but finally got that figured out. 

Tomorrow morning is probably going to be rainy so we’re not planning on starting until the rain lets up around noon. Unclear if we will eat lunch along the way or before. They gave us water bottles for tomorrow but no snacks. And their itinerary says we have a guide the first day but there was no mention of that today. 

I know I need an attitude adjustment. I wasn’t in charge of organizing this, so I really should try to chill. Maybe after tomorrow I will have a completely different feeling about it. I hope so.

After that we checked into our b&b, The River Belle, right on the Russian River. It’s nice. Our room has a beautiful view, even if it’s small. Breakfast is included but the earliest we can get coffee is 7 am. Ugh. Maybe I’ll sleep til 6. We can hope!

Tuesday February 28

The b&b has a happy hour every afternoon at 5:30, so before dinner we went to that for a bit. There was a nice plate of snacks and I had a small glass of wine.

Then we walked the 1/2 mile to dinner at Lo and Behold Kitchen and Wine Bar. They have an eclectic menu. We got a few small plates and then split an order of their noodles with kimchi. The hostess here at the b&b recommended it. Sounds weird but it was really good! The noodles were perfect, the kimchi was fresh and tangy and the water chestnuts added a nice crunch. We got their eggs rolls and a pea shoot salad for the small plates and they were very good too.

In the morning I almost made it to 6, 5:45 anyway. Then I patiently waited until they brought coffee to our room at 7. At 8 we went downstairs for breakfast which was delicious. It was raining off and on, but Lee looked at the radar and said we’d have a window with less rain between 10 and 1 so around 9:30 we went over to the bike shop, got on our bikes, and off we went.

First we stopped at Oakville Grocery and got sandwiches and other snacks for lunch. Then we rode about 12 miles up Dry Creek West to Bella Winery. It was a very pretty drive, but hardly flat, as the bike tour said! I guess maybe by local standards it was flat, I don’t know. It rained off and on, briefly fairly hard, but never a real downpour.

We reached the winery around 11. They let us sit inside their wine cave and eat our lunch and then we did a leisurely wine tasting, about 8 wines. I bought 2 bottles. All day it rained, off and on. By 1:30 we were ready to head back into town. We could have gone a different way but we were wet and kind of cold and didn’t want to risk getting lost, so we just rode back the way we came.

We stopped in town for a coffee and then went back to the b&b. A hot shower felt really great!  Now we’re relaxing until it’s time for happy hour and then dinner with George and Lori.

Wednesday March 1

At happy hour yesterday we chatted with a couple from Europe that were also doing a bike tour but they were going from one place to another, spending each night in a different inn. That would be fun too, more like what we did in Italy.

We met George and Lori at Sweet T’s in Windsor, a little town about 10 minutes away. It was still raining when we got there. It was so nice to visit and catch up. The restaurant is known for their bbq.  Got a small plate with smoked brisket and Mac and cheese. Very good. I didn’t have any alcohol, I had enough thank you! But that meant I got to drive back to the b&b. It was dark but at least the rain had stopped. It’s getting harder and harder to drive at night. Sigh.

This morning I managed to sleep til almost 6. The coffee came at 7 and I had an energy bar too. Then we went to breakfast at 8 and I had a Belgian waffle. 

We waited to get started riding til almost 10. It was pretty cold, but sunny and bright! And windy. Like really really windy. The wind was out of the north and all morning we rode straight into it. It was very tiring. I felt like an old woman. It was a beautiful route, not very hilly, with lots of flowers and snow capped peaks in the distance. 

By the time we got to Geyserville for lunch I was hungry and worn out. We got a pizza and a beet salad and then I felt much better!

It was about 15 miles to Geyserville but only 10 miles back and we were riding with the wind. It probably took half as long! We got ourselves another coffee and then headed back to the b&b to rest.

View From Our B&B Window


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