Category: Jamie


It is not easy to travel a la solo with pets, esp not 2 or 3 high energy sporting dogs and 1 senior not high energy, doesn’t like to get his feet wet or walk on oh, so many different surfaces, dog. Two of my “tough” pawslinger gang are ball crazy and will do anything to get me to throw for them long and often. One dog likes to pull the lead to see if that shoulder of mine will dislocate, another likes to tangle everyone, one wants to be carried, another is fond of 2 am potty walks, none of them wash their feet and oh, they all agree rolling and rubbing their coats thoroughly in un-nameable gunk is heaven. Sure I could stuff them all into crates and only let them out when I spot a clean perfect romping spot with no stickers, no bugs, no mud, no cars or trucks, no other dogs and none of those ‘no dogs allowed’ signs…  or better, I could uncover a fortune tucked under my mattress and  afford a nice new climate controlled, generator free motorhome that keeps the interior temperature perfect all on its own and that is easy-peasy to drive. Maybe one of those driverless ones so I could take a break once in a while and relax like my canines do.  Can you imagine getting up hills without fretting that everything’s going blow, not cringing at every dip and scrape,  jarring and banging, scarring the dogs, scaring me.  The dogs give me bad looks when the road gets rough, they can tremble and shake.

And what gives with the lack of shade in parking lots!  Really steams me that the little, if  any, shade that there might be is commandeered by luxury sedans or convertibles, anything but a pet car. Don’t those motorists know our pets are not permitted to come inside like the rest of us are? Those left behind NEED SHADE!  The non inhabited empty car does not need shade, cars don’t overheat with the engine off but I guess most motorists have yet to discover this amazing fact?  I’ve been known to troll a parking lot up to 1/2 hr trying to vie a shady spot to run in and get a meal or some groceries, let alone a museum, at least I have my own on-board toilet, an amazing blessing as you often can’t take your dogs to a restroom, not to mention even walking on the grass at a reststop.

Yes, I know there are plenty of awful dog-people who don’t clean up and let their pets engage in all the annoying and obnoxious behaviors that I’m guessing they’d really like to do themselves if they could get away with it. It’s a dog, PEOPLE, a dog, not a wild beast that cannot learn to fit in. Don’t know how to teach anything to a dog?  No Problem, get yourself a stuffed one. Don’t know or care about camping ethics, not sure how to use a trash can, too difficult to figure out how a leash works (and no it’s not a pull rope,)  get yourself a nice dog app on the playstore. And for goodness sake my dogs are not lonely and have no interest in your “friendly” scoundrel racing towards us at top speed, esp one off-leash or on a 20 foot retractable (trip) line to say, Hello?”Really? Invest in a text on dog-to-dog communication and what is a normal (non predatory) way to say hello, and if you can’t read or comprehend all that the very least have your dog go to school with a professional trainer. Mandatory schooling for dogs, not a bad idea, including potty and social manners. Oh I get it, they are dogs, they love to run and tear about, chase things, bring things back, bark, etc…  mine are nowhere near perfect but that’s my job to help them, to remind them, to keep them in line. It’s not easy to travel with your pets. It takes diligence.

A younger shot of the gang before a previous trip.

Here’s a few general guidelines for RVing with one or with multiple dogs…  kinda off the top of my head so not inclusive, just what comes to mind. .

  1. Bring water from home or provide bottled water. The water at location may be perfect for you but differing mineral contents can easily give your dog the runs.
  2. Don’t forget the canine first aid kit, including a cold pack, stuff for disinfecting and bandaging, tick puller, itch lotion, flea comb, meds, nail trimmers, bathing items, warming blanket, cooling pad, hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, hydrocortosone, I like TZON pet skin care. I always carry stomach pills like Pepcid AC (Famotidine) , Pepto Bismal, Tums or Kaopectate, Pedialyte, saline eye wash, Benadryl, vet wrap, activated charcoal, Vit C (I also keep Colloid Silver,) ginger for travel sickness, Swimmer Ear, deodorizing shampoo, a muzzle, some paw balm, a little oil like olive oil for getting out fox tails, scissors and wraps and whatever else your pet needs.  A hair dryer is a good idea for warming up a cold pet or drying out a soggy one and whatever you use for parasite control and on this trip am bringing apple cider vinegar and cedarwood oil to help make my dogs (and me) unappetizing to ticks.
  3. Teach your pet to come when you call, to stay and to wait. Also teach quiet, leave it, instruct on where to potty and no your dogs do not need to sniff and poop and pee on everything,
  4. Carry pooper bags and clean up. Leave every place cleaner than you found it.  I also bring a rake for those camp sites that are too dirty for my dogs and I clean before I let my dogs out.
  5. Monitor the temperature in your camper…  not too hot, not too cold.
  6. Always provide water and make sure they are drinking enough.
  7. Don’t leave your dogs sitting around barking and howling all day.
  8. Maintain a respectful distance from other pets, children or really anyone unless they specifically ask to pet your dog or if their dog can meet yours and you like the way their dog is behaving.
  9. Nope, they don’t get to chase wildlife, there are lots of other ways to have fun.
  10. Don’t leave your dogs in your camper, tied to a stake or in your hotel room to bark and bark and bark, get a pet sitter. You can train them to wait more or less quietly as long as you don’t abandon them while you’re out having fun.
  11. Keep them on a SHORT leash when in crowded places, A 3 or 4 foot leash is ideal. teach them to sit or lay down when you stop somewhere. Under the table is a great place when you stop for a meal.
  12. Be mindful of things that scare your dog. a calm dog is a happy dog and a happy camper.
  13. Make sure they do have fun. Take them swimming, for a run, let them explore, take a long walk or a hike with them everyday. Establish a routine that everyone likes including a way to keep your space clean and comfortable.

lately I see death as light, not the stuff that comes from our eyes and brain but the stuff that makes up the substance of existence. We are moving there along with all creatures, along with the elements, whatever is not empty space and apparently “empty space” is the most prevalent element “known” in our existence.

Here in the play of our world, our planet, what we know and don’t know all leads to this shooting of light. The bonding of one being to another births grief at its ending all dependent on the acceptance of what is inevitable and the degree of vulnerability. Vulnerability in the sense of the ability to feel deep compassion and love.

Grief as a spiritual substance allow us to grow. It allows us to cherish our emotions and to live without selfishness. In the face of a society that does not encourage acceptance in preference of dilution, pushing aside, forgetting or obliteration with any means of other substance or diversion perhaps it is rare to see death and loss as a great giver. But it does give, from death we see how we are all the same, not so different from the flashing lights I see death as…. zooming in some namelessly tiny particle at a speed that has no meaning.

I have been changed for Good

Grief as Spiritual Space: Part 1

My Hospice therapist mentioned last time I saw her that we in “modern society” attempt to push away grief as undesirable, esp for our dead or otherwise departed…. this for those who occupied great meaning in our lives. Instead, she suggested that we honor the people, animals…. that have moved us. Honor their place in our lives and even, surprisingly, honor their loss.

This song is for Jolyon…. someday I will write a piece about him… seems I’m not yet ready. He was a good man, full of life and high spirits. He was a challenge. The path of sadness and pain was never hidden. He loved with the greatest joy and the gifts of believing.

What’s the Use Of Wondering (Carousel)

No more cuddling in bed, laughing about new discovers, arguing in philosophical rambles, no more going out to breakfast at “our” spots, laughing together, walking in the rain sharing an umbrella, getting mad at the dirt you brought in or wondering what we will do today…. you this…me that…. playing with the dogs together, you bringing the coffee and the conversation, sharing our day…. what did you do… and really caring, going out hand ‘n hand, celebrating, crying, laughing, getting mad and getting happy, grabbing a bite to eat, did you get your water, always being late because you forgot something, packing the dogs and us off for drive, a visit, a hike, exploring, an adventure… new discoveries, going shopping, wondering when you’re ever going to get off the phone, wondering why you have to be so nice to everyone, watching you fix things knowing I could do it better and faster, calling you a million times ’cause you won’t answer the phone, wondering where the heck you are, meeting at midnight, going for a walk at 2 am, propping up pillows, giving a shoulder massage, just doing stuff together…. a lot of stuff together because we like it, waking up to a new day that is ours. .. . . . .. . No more of this….. no more shared times, no more arguments, no more kisses, no more of that feeling happy and content to just be in the same space…… No more learning about the world from you, hearing your appreciation of me being me….. Why on a holiday? …. Just because. A holiday alone is every other day alone. Alone with memories. Alone with missing.

Wallets, Windows and Welcomes

The dogs and I headed north Good Friday Morning.

I woke at something like 5 am from my usual head spinning with too much stuff. At a quarter to six I bumped out of bed, at 7:30 I was sitting in the driver seat, dogs in their spruced “car beds” for a little more padding against the rough ride. Mason adored his, Olympia, hard to tell, she wound up sleeping on the edge of her bed kinda hunkered over with her head hanging down draped over the edge although at times she managed to fill the entire curve. Her bed is too small but its fits perfectly in the space she insists is the only place when the LT is in motion…. closest to me between the two captain chairs. She is fairly well wedged, Mason rides on the passenger seat which I’ve turned to face away from the windshield with back dropped against the dashboard…. not legal for humans to ride backwards. I should probably strap him in but he likes to get up from time to time to have a drink of water, on rough roads he prefers the floor next to Olympia or behind her in the walkway. I’ve considered crating them but they both rate riding in the rear where there’d be room for the crates or on the rear bed as undoable, the vibration must be horrific back there.

For amusement I’ve begun to snap shots of pet rest areas. We stop at about 1 to 3 out of 4. We’ve learned a neat trick, what I do as I pull in I try to discern the pet area so I can park as far from it as possible. This way we get a nice long walk on a clean path and over some soft grass to get to the pet area. Same on the way back. The pet areas are  filled with stickers, weeds, rough gravel which Mason will not walk on, and worse dog’s piles which their owners leave for other dog owners. The pet area tends to be stuck on the edges in dangerous corners with collections of snakes, spiders, bees, suspicious strangers; dry, hot, hard on the paws and barren. Thank you so much rest area guys, we know how you value us. To make it worse there are never any tie-outs to leave your pooch outside the human restrooms, so if it’s hot only the 4-legged ones get to relieve themselves. At times I’ve run to the restroom leaving the dogs with the overhead fan spinning and the windows open, only to find a line!!! Not much time to wait; in full sun I count the minutes until it gets too hot, I go quick and race back to the LT, much easier when it’s cool. Yes I have a micro-mini bathroom on board but sometimes I don’t want to deal with black water.

Okay, thanks for providing a sign but a bit limiting isn'tit?

Okay, thanks for providing a sign but a bit limiting isn’tit?

Rattlers and dogs, now that makes a good combo

Rattlers and dogs, now that makes a good combo

Ah, the fire hydrant!

Along with my new arrangement for the dogs, I’ve simplified the contents and layout of the LT. Less is more and all, so at one point or another I moved my wallet to a place where it cannot be seen. I’m sure I thought it out clearly, what a good idea it was. When I returned from my human potty visit, I sat for a bit, I was tired, I reached for my wallet thinking of several of the must do now things on my list and it was gone!  I mean gone! Nowhere! Frantically I re-opened the bits of windows the overhead fan racing back to the commode…..there was a long long line. I didn’t really believe I could have dropped it and not noticed yet I stood there in front of the line next the one I’d been in telling anyone who’d listen that I wasn’t cutting in but that I had to get in there and see if my wallet was in there. Vaguely there was a shadow in my head saying I was wasting time over a false panic but I couldn’t help it. Usually I carry enough cash for tank of gas in a secret location, I hadn’t done that this time. The flash went through my head, me sitting at a gas station or some lonely on ramp with the two dogs on my lap and my pathetic sign: Need cash for gas! Sure, right lady, my foot, you need money for your RV, get real!”

Nothing in the commode area, the poor lady in there, said, “don’t look at me, I didn’t touch anything, I don’t have your wallet!” ….  Okay I was talking kinda loud, half asleep as I was. As an excuse I can say there was no one to hold my hand and calm me down. I chased down the worker, who in broken English told me to knock on the door to the office down by the pet area. There was a guy in there having lunch, he got up and checked in a drawer, I could see a few things, sunglasses, a cap, maybe a man’s black billfold, a few keys. He was nice, I liked him, but I didn’t want to talk, he walked with me a bit but I rushed away back to the LT wondering if I had enough gas and enough strength to go back to the last rest area some several hours away. Since I had nothing else to do except think how my trip would be very short after I bummed $$$$ for gas, and how I’d have to abort my just started trip, I just sat there. Who was gonna give me $80? Maybe Mom could give the gas station her credit card number over the phone? I needed a banana chip, the dogs are used to my stressing out and were trying to ignore me, I’d torn through the LT looking for that wallet upsetting the happy calm of the day. Thank goodness I was hungry…..where I never ever put my wallet, because it’s nicely out of sight, not too far from the banana chips, you got it, my wallet. I stuffed the darn thing where it usually goes, so someone could see it if they tried, like me! Well, trip back on.

The work on the LT was great, the engine has tons of power, no more overheating and no more limping up hills. It cruised along perfectly at 75 and when I wasn’t paying attention at 80 along I-5. I took the north route from Santa Barbara and cut across Hwy 41 to I-5. I drove on parts of Hwy 41 I didn’t remember thanks to my GPS, it was lovely and almost devoid of traffic, then I joined all the crazy holiday traffic.

I arrived in Placerville around 5 pm. A little over 8 hours maybe 8.5: 2 gas stations, 4 rest stops, plenty of road construction, heavy traffic, a few dead slow trucks.

Tired but happy I reached Craig and Lee’s house, I love their place. Zak and Olympia did their battle thing but Lee is so cool, she could handle it and the dogs… Zak and Toby are the residents; Olympia and Mason were soooo happy, my two think this is heaven on earth!

Lee showed me all the work done since last summer, lovely fireplace replacement, bookshelves, pool all spruced up, super cool garden art, paint coming. We tromped down to the new gazebo…..all gorgeous but I couldn’t concentrate on any of it….no, my trip was ruined for the second time that day. The passenger window on the LT had made a strange sound…. I’d attached a shade suction device on it for Mason. The sun was beating on him. The window was stuck a little way up but wouldn’t budge, I pressed it down thinking it would re catch and tried the switch again, what a stupid thing. I started berating myself, I might have been able to pull it up and just leave it up but now it was gone into depths of the door leaving a big hole in my plans. Lee’s friends, David and Louie installing the great projects like the beautiful gazebo and the bookcase were still there. I wanted the guys to fix the window. They didn’t want to, it would take a body shop, maybe a window shop, an RV shop, whatever… sure, I thought, 5 pm Fri of Easter weekend, sure I’m gonna find someone to fix this….  So it was back to aborting my trip. Somehow we’d get home, the wind and rain soaking us soon to be chilled to the bone travelers. I called Frans, he knows what to do, right? I stomped around the van and tried to get the window to do something, the motor was pumping but no window; the guys were looking at tree that needed trimming to unblock the view from the gazebo. I was pacing with my phone in my hand like I do. Lee was on the computer and her phone trying to get help for me. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it taken care of,” No, I wasn’t going to go to the glass fusing class tomorrow after all, how could I with my little house open to the world. The guys coming up the driveway hearing all this fuss did a turn around. I was surprised, it’s been an eons since I’ve come across these sweetheart types. Yes I was a damsel in distress and Yep, they fixed it!!!! I was sure they were gonna to pull the wrong thing, shred something in the door listening to their work it out banter, but they didn’t. The track bar holding the window had fallen off. That nifty kit of tools that Frans gave me got a nice workout. Wow. I put everything back and gave the guys some cookies, a hug and a kiss.

The next day I woke up too early, Olympia needed to go out, her stomach was a bit upset; I couldn’t get back to sleep. Lee, Mary Peters and I headed to the glass fusing workshop, me mostly brain-dead from lack of sleep and left-over stress. There’s been stuff going wrong for weeks, months, actually make that years. I was worried the workshop was gonna be stressful, turned out the three of us were the only attendees, it was great. We had fun, Lee said it was a birthday gift, lunch too, dinner with Craig too. Am very happy to be here, I love these friends, there’s so much space, trees, grassy areas, flowers, craft and art, music, delicious food, conversation, busy active people, the dogs are crazy happy. My old stomping ground on the rivers nearby.

Mary Peter's creation:  waiting for firing and slumping.

Mary Peter’s creation: waiting for firing and slumping.

My round one... will be a bowl, Lee's will be a sushi plate

My round one… will be a bowl, Lee’s will be a sushi plate

The craft studio in Placerville, CA

The craft studio in Placerville, CA

We cleaned up our work area and put all our tools in the bucket. LOL they said we didn't have to do that!

We cleaned up our work area and put all our tools in the bucket. LOL they said we didn’t have to do that!

Heading South After New Year

Time to use my own links to find camping near Indio, CA. First stop The Kennel Club of Palm Springs dog show.

Amazingly 15 Lagotto Romagnolo entered!! This is our first AKC show .. . what a great show it will be!

Jan 5, 2013
Ring 30. Ring time 2:35 pm

Jan 6, 2013
Ring 9
12:35 pm


The Trip

It’s Fall now, so I can look back and say Summer is gone. Over. Finished. And it’s a good thing. Summer in kid days was camp, swimming and horseback riding, chasing frogs in fields of tiny wildflowers, rafting cold wild rivers and sleeping to the heavy blur of crickets. This last summer was a lost valley. I hit the end. The end of the road, the end of the line, the end of patience, the end of hope. Headaches, heartaches, sinus pressure, clogged ears, ragged nerves and just not feeling well. It’s over now. Severed connections alive and dead merging with new people and connections with long-lost people. Like the bird that died at my retreating feet, Summer is still. Time has flown. Fall, not yet discovered.

Because the world is beautiful…. one more slideshow: The Trip to Wyoming (hmm…. not quite in order… will try to fix…. later)

Thank you everybody who made comments or told me you enjoyed my writing or my photos. I love comments! Thank you for your kind words. And thank you (again) Mom….. it was you who helped me push past my sadness to be strong and confident. I can run my little RV without incurring offers of help, I can back into my space, hook up, take care of both my dogs (and they both needed doctoring) and keep the road under the LTs wheels. Come Winter the dogs and I will head to the desert, see friends, check out the happening at Quartzite and look for the vancampers. I will begin a section here on my blog on the camps and parking places in which I stayed, with my comments of course.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hoping for Wyoming

September seems to be an ideal month to visit Wyoming tourist attractions, crowds are smaller, the mosquitoes are dead and the weather is usually milder.


Sounds good! Right?


It’s been a summer of changes.  Connections dissolve blurring the scenes between past and future.  Time is the mystery, we limit it by definition.


There are great people I want to spend time with, but today am hoping for Wyoming.  This time I’m going to sneak up on the road.


I have many things to be doing, the challenging search for a breeding match for Olympia, art classes and submissions for shows that I’m missing, teaching Nose Work classes, where to live, cleaning and gardening, sorting my life after losses and far more but if I can sneak out those things will wait.




The Memorial for Forrest Lewis was the largest gathering Three Springs has hosted. I heard some 200 people in attendance. Tears, laughter, rituals, food, memories, Forrest songs and stories carpeted the community; there was even a skit and a telling of Forrest jokes. Everytime I turned I swore I saw my friend and was about to tap him on the shoulder, give him a hug, tell him how much I missed him and what did he think of this big party in his honor? I sat in the spot that I’d known him to occupy, waited till the end when the kitchen was empty just as he would have done to snack on the plethora of potluck dishes. I met more of his friends that day than I have ever known; shared with his family and faces I’d not seen in an eon. I told my story and was gifted with hugs. They filled me where I was hungry, with questions, with comments, “oh that’s what Forrest was like before I met him, before he came here, before his transplant,” they told me their stories, they gave me their love. I connected with his world, the people he loved; our loss blended into celebration of how he’d come and gone.

The North Fork (and surrounding) community is strong, living among them would be an experience yet I couldn’t help consider talks with Forrest, his disappointments and joys and compare them to the remembrances of the day. I tried on his eyes, his feet wandering, gazing at the land. What Forrest would think, what he would say? I think I know.

I left late, retrieving Olympia and Mason, busy rummaging among the snacks, yanking a hundred stickers and burrs from Olympia’s coat, pulled on the LT headlights which were dim. I was moving, and pulled again, now the road ahead was inky. A car passed and I darted behind it pulling and twisting the headlight knob recklessly. A strange sensation swept me. I chased the only other car on the road, holding to its ray of light. I knew it was foolish, like a Disneyland ride, the Mad Hatter or some evil ghost the kind that I’d been afraid of as a child. Afraid of the dark. Felt like Forrest was sitting on my shoulder, playing one of his games, saying, go ahead now; you go and keep up with him. There was wind coming from the wing window but I hadn’t remembered I opened it as I groped in the dark flipping switches and driving faster than I had any right to hearing the sound of loose gravel past curves and shadowy trees. When my GPS beeped the turn-off for Matt’s house and I was alone in empty darkness checking my eyesight for the rough dirt road I couldn’t see, I pulled once more just for the heck of it, wondering if I could use my flashlight strapped to the front bumper to find the way, and wolla the lights popped on, the brakes responded with a musical groan.

Something told me it was a right of passage, a parting gift from my dear friend, a heralding of all friends; I shouldn’t forget that the road holds surprises, that an ending is fantasy given the point of observation from which we view time, that fear of the unknowing (darkness) may be nothing at all, that we are closer now with space dissolved, with the mortal parts of us in the past.

…………………………… Word Press Trouble: Trouble seems to be in the new update for Firefox not loading the javascript windows . . .anyone know how to fix this???? Am using a differnt browser temporarly but this one is acting weird very hard to use… need a fix for Firefox

On The Porch at Matt’s house in North Fork, CA

A sweet cat, a friendly goat, chickens. . .lots to explore. Was very very hot.

Getting Ready

I’m lucky to have been able to live in such a beautiful area: the cool fog that buttresses from the interior heat, the artistic ambiance, the gentleness of the ocean on our south facing coastline. I took a walk this morning in the expensive neighborhood around the Four Season’s Biltmore  luxury hotel in Montecito CA, where I once was part of the Banquet staff. I stopped at Lazy Acres for a salad bar and few items to stock in the LT.

The Biltmore Four Seasons, Santa Barbara. A side entrance.

Along the Bikeway overlooking the sea in Montecito CA

Summer in Montecito / Santa Barbara

The replacement lid for the air vent brings in a sweet light to my motorhome. The LT is plugged &  charging her batteries., the frig is cooling. Tomorrow the dogs and I will head back to North Fork. The end of the circle; many troubles began with our trip to Oakhurst some weeks ago. My dear friend Forrest Lewis (check out his page) will be honored at Three Springs Community, a place he loved. We will all walk the ½ mile to his property and say good-by.