Category Archives: Travel

Summer of Mischief: a guest post by Lola

It wouldn’t be fair to say that my person neglected me over the summer while she was busy tap dancing with the California Rhythm Project. Let’s just say that she was a little less attentive than usual, so I had plenty of opportunities for fun.

I chased a cat up the acacia and it ran all the way to the top… miles above my head.  I think it would have stayed up there for a long time, but my person called her tree trimmer to get it down.

I also dug holes in the garden so my person will have less work to do when she’s ready to plant something new.

I chased rats out of the vegetable bed.

I barked at the hawks and the crows.

I took naps in my person’s chair, under her desk and on her bed.

I even helped recycle the junk mail.

Now that the summer is over, we’ve settled back into our routine for the most part, but I heard her talking on the phone the other day and I think she’s planning something fun for us. She said that the car is tuned up and ready to go. You know what that means.  Road trip!

Look out, Grandma and Grandpa… here I come!

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Filed under Dogs, Friendship, Lola, tap dance, Travel

Thanksgiving in Texas: a guest post by Lola

My person is still working hard on her NaNoWriMo project. I hope she is almost finished. Meanwhile, I’m helping out on her blog again with another guest post.

We went to Texas for Thanksgiving this year. It takes a long time to get there – we have to drive for two days across the desert and over mountains. The first day in the car is fine, but when we have to get in the car that second day, I’m feeling pretty stir crazy. It’s all worth it, though, to spend some time with some of my very favorite relatives.

The best part of being at G&G’s house is that there is always something happening, especially in the kitchen. If I sit politely, I get treats. My person’s mom is a dancer, too, and I love to watch her practice her clogging dances. She even had a performance while we were visiting. (She is the tall one who looks like my person.)

G&G live in a house with a really big yard. It has a tall fence to keep out the deer, so my person lets me run around as much as I want. There are lots of creatures that do come inside the fence, like a fox and raccoons and squirrels and birds, so I have plenty of scents to chase.

I like to follow my person’s dad as he works in the garden. He lets me help him dig and he doesn’t mind if I accidentally fill in a hole he is digging. He just chuckles and empties it out again. Sometimes he gives me empty flower pots to play with and he is always willing to pause in his work and throw a ball for me.

We go for long walks every day and we see lots of those deer that can’t come into the yard.

There is even a little pond that I can play in. Heaven!

The best part about this visit was when my favorite little person arrived with her family. We have so much fun playing together.

I do get a little time to myself for long naps on the couch when all of my people go places I can’t. This year, they went to the Texas Furniture Makers Show in Kerrville. Then they went to a place called Grape Juice that my person said was a wine bar. Another day, they went to the 11th Street Cowboy Bar to listen to music and dance. I don’t know why dogs can’t go to these places, but I will admit that after so much playing, I’m happy to have a little quiet time.

On Thanksgiving Day, we went to visit more relatives and my canine cousins.  Annie and Ranger are Wheaten Terriers and they are so pretty! They win prizes and everything.

Ranger is only two and he loves to play with me. We had a ball even though Annie, who is nine, sometimes had to bark at us to settle down.

After another long ride in the car, I’m home again. It’s good to be back at work patrolling my yard, but I sure did have a great time in Texas. I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine.

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Filed under dog walking, Dogs, Gardening, Lola, NaNoWriMo, Travel

Acupuncture

I struggled with chronic hip pain for months without any relief. I tried stretches, heat, cold, massage, chiropractic care. All of those things helped a little, but nothing solved my problem. I stopped running hills and then stopped running altogether. I cut back on my dance classes and tried writing standing up, but I still had pain.

That’s when my doctor suggested that I try acupuncture. It’s covered by my medical insurance and several friends have had great experiences with it. Could it work for me?

I like to have at least a vague idea what medical treatments do before I try them. There are theories about acupuncture, but when I researched it, I couldn’t find a scientific explanation of how it works. (This could simply mean that I didn’t know where to look.) Generations of people have found relief with acupuncture, though, and there are few side effects, so I was encouraged to try it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first appointment. I’d heard that the needles are so small you can barely feel them and I was hopeful that would be true. I’m used to getting blood drawn, so I don’t mind some discomfort, but I get woozy when I see a needle sticking into my vein and I always have to look away.

During my acupuncture treatment, I was on my back on a table, so I couldn’t see a thing but the ceiling. If my head started to spin, at least I knew there was no risk of falling. For most of the needles, I felt a slight poke and then a very light weight on my skin. Two of the needles did hurt, but the acupuncturist took them out and replaced them so I felt only the weight.

Once the needles were positioned, I was left alone to let them work. I wondered how long I would be able to lie still on the table – afraid to move lest a needle shift. I was tense at first, but I concentrated on my breath and managed to relax. Then I felt a tingling sensation throughout my body. When that faded, I fell asleep.

The day after my first appointment, I had much less pain in my hip. Over the weekend, some of the pain came back, but it wasn’t as severe as it had been.

I had two treatments the next week. I experienced the same tingling in my arms, hands, legs and feet, but it wasn’t as intense as the first time. I found it much easier to relax, though, and my hip pain was reduced a little bit more after each treatment. I also got rid of a knot in my neck and an ache in my foot. Unfortunately, the pain in my hip came back after a few days.

The third week, the acupuncturist wanted to add electrical stimulation to my treatment. She attached what looked like miniature jumper cables to two of the needles in my leg. She turned on the machine and I felt like something was tapping on my skin. When she turned up the current, it was more of a vibration. It was distracting, but eventually, I was able to relax and fall asleep. After that treatment, my hip felt significantly better.

Does everyone fall asleep during acupuncture treatments, or am I just lazy?

By the end of the fifth week, I had much less pain in my hip than I’d started with and the relief lasted longer. Then we went on vacation and I skipped a week of treatment. Sitting in the car all day didn’t do great things for my hip, but I wasn’t as achy as I expected to be.

I have two appointments left and I’m hopeful that I’ll find more relief. I wish I could say that my hip pain is resolved, but that might be too much to expect considering the longstanding nature of my problem. Maybe I won’t ever be free of it, but I have experienced significant improvement and for that, I’m grateful.

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Filed under chronic pain, Dance, Running, Travel

Sedona

A guest post by Lola

I have mixed feelings about suitcases. Whenever they come out of the closet, one or both of my people leave. I hate that. But sometimes I get to go along. Although I prefer home overall, great things can happen when we load the car. I love to sniff the vents as we drive down the highway. The trouble is, those rides last way too long. I get tired and thirsty, but I don’t want to drink the water they keep offering because I never know how long we’ll be on the road.

Last week, we drove to Sedona. Every time we stopped to rest they carried me from the car to a tree and back again. I do not like to be carried. I’m not a little dog. Then I stepped onto the blacktop and I figured it out. Youch! I’ve never felt anything so hot in my life.

Finally, we got off the big highway and I knew that meant we were almost there. Thank goodness.

As soon as we arrived, I took a big drink and started to explore. I liked what I found at our hotel. It wasn’t as hot there as the places we had stopped along the way and there were lots of dog smells for me to study. Our room had a cool stone floor and a back door with a small yard just for me. I wasn’t the first to claim it, but if I have my way, I’ll be the last.

Just outside our front door was an inviting lawn but I wasn't allowed to roll in it or even walk on it. A dog can dream.

After dark, we set off on a walk, my favorite thing to do. We went to Ken’s Creekside American Bistro for dinner and I had my own menu. I really wanted the steak tartar, but my people said it would be too much food for me. So I ordered a couple of jerky cookies and they were quite tasty. My people seemed to like their food a lot, too, because I only got a tiny nibble.

This enormous spider ran out onto the sidewalk as we went by.

I wanted to sniff the tarantula that we almost stumbled over, but my female person squealed and leapt away from it, pulling me along with her. My male person watched it for a while and took the picture. I think his reaction was much more appropriate, don’t you?

The Fay Canyon Trail is shady and I loved how easy it was to walk on the sandy path.

On Tuesday morning, we hiked in Fay Canyon. Hikes are even better than walks because they last longer and there are more things to sniff.

When my people spotted the arch above Fay Canyon, of course, we had to go up. Personally, I love a good climb, but it was a little hot on that rocky path.

When we got to the top, I cooled off in the shade while they took pictures.

My people really like taking pictures. I guess if a camera could record all the fascinating odors I pick up on a hike, I would take a lot of pictures, too. It would be nice to have an olfactory souvenir of our trip.

This was my view of the arch over my head from my cool spot against the rock wall.

After our hike, we had lunch on the deck at Red Rock BBQ. I was content to sprawl in the shade of our umbrella with my bowl of cold water. Then, I got my own dish of pulled pork. People in this town really know what dogs like!

The West Fork Trail crisscrosses a flowing stream

It was cool when we started out on Wednesday morning, but as it got closer to noon, the temperature rose. I was so happy to wade through the water on the West Fork Trail. If only they would have let me chase that squirrel… but they never do. Still, I have to say it was my all-time favorite hike.

On our way back home to San Diego, we stopped at Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Watching my people pack the suitcases made me nervous. They would never leave me behind. I know they wouldn’t. I was feeling twitchy, though, and I was glad to get out of the car for a while, even if it was blazing hot at Montezuma Castle.

We took a short walk on a sidewalk so my people could look up at the houses on the cliff. I suppose the families who lived there had reasons for building their homes like that, but how did their dogs get all the way up there?

I appreciated the chance to stretch my legs, but I was happy when it was time to get back in the air-conditioned car and drive on home. Still, I hope we go back to Sedona sometime. I want to hike West Fork Trail again.

If you ever go there, tell them Lola sent you.

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Filed under Dogs, Hiking, Lola, Travel