Keeper, 9 wks

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Keeper is 9 weeks old today. She is feisty, wild and sweet. In a few days she’ll be too big to fit behind the couch, her favorite hide out. She’s learning quickly and already knows how to “sit”, “give paw” and “lay down” on command. She tells us when she has to go outside and likes to carry her water bowl around when she wants more. At night, I’ll lay down with my back on the floor and fold my arm loosely in towards my side. She’ll find the space I created and curl up in the crease of my elbow. It puts a quiet smile on my face every time, this feeling of earning her trust and friendship.

This week and last have been busy ones. I’m looking forward to getting out and spending more time outdoors soon. We’re in the process of building a bed in the back of the Land Cruiser for a trip down the coast this weekend. Keep’s coming, Jack too. Woot.

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Fried chicken, pickles

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“Hey bay, if you could eat anything you wanted right now, what would it be?” I asked Trey, looking up from the magazine I was reading on the couch. “Fried chicken from Fremont Diner in Napa”. He responded promptly from the next room having obviously already thought about this.

It was the weekend. We were on vacation from the week. We needed to take showers anyway. Driving an hour for fried chicken just made our brains feel right. So off we went with the dogs. Keeper sleeps a lot. She runs everywhere all enthusiastically and then just stops in her tracks and falls asleep in the middle of the floor. Her favorite place to sleep in the truck is either inside the center console that’s missing its top or on the bench seat in the back with Jack. She’s Jack’s biggest fan. He’s incredibly sweet to her. They play together a lot and she has perma-wet ears because Jack puts her whole head in his mouth.

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Anyway, so we drove and got chicken and ate it in the truck because it was cold outside and there was a wait. We stopped at a gas station on the way home, our mouths on fire from spicy chicken. Next to the gas station was a Goodwill where Trey found an old polaroid camera for $8. We’ve been playing with that a lot lately. Jack is such a good sport. Good guy, Jack.

Santa Cruz

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Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset keeper (1) Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Hello, 2015. Last year we rang in the New Year with friends on the top floor of an apartment in lower manhattan NYC. This year we have Keeper girl so we decided to go on a day trip south and spend the evening in with champagne, leftovers and watching the fireworks through the trees outside our bedroom windows.

It was the sunniest day in Santa Cruz. Trey rode his bike at a DIY skate spot right off the beach, then we walked on the beach and got tacos. Santa Cruz is such a great place. I love the vibe there. Since Keeper doesn’t have all her shots yet she had to stay in my back pack or our arms most of the time. She’s very eager to run free. It won’t be long until her and Jack are chasing each other down the beach. I get all proud watching them together. She follows Jack around everywhere and he just kinda goes with it. It’s really adorable. This photo pretty much sums up their relationship right now:

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A pup called Keeper

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horses Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Over the holidays we got a new puppy. A little girl border collie named Keeper. We had been talking about adding another dog to the mix for a while now, but had gone back and forth as to whether we should actually do it. It went something like this – “No, we’ve got all we need with Jack”, “Yes we should, Jack needs a dog buddy to grow up with” , “No, it might change Jack in a negative way”. Then, last week the opportunity came up to see a litter of unwanted border collie puppies an hour outside of Yosemite and we decided – “Yes, let’s do it”.

Jack and I have been by each other’s side for five years and there’s a certain amount of love and loyalty that comes with that, so it was really important to me that he didn’t feel like he was being replaced or anything (slightly anthropomorphizing here). When we got home, Jack kept his distance, his eyebrows tellingly furrowed with worry whenever she walked past him. But, like all mammals, there are certain introductory rituals that need to take place before a relationship is formed, and we knew it would take a little time before they would feel comfortable around each other.

It’s been a week and we can’t get them to stop playing together. It’s very fun to watch. It took a few days of adjusting, but now they run around our place nipping at each other’s heels and rolling on the floor. They are really different in personality, but meld well together. If Jack is the studious, responsible boy who likes rules and instruction, then she is the energetic, highly intelligent rebellious girl. I can tell already. She likes to sit on my skateboard while it’s rolling and bite the waves in my hair if I lay on the floor. She follows Jack around and growls back at him if he growls at her. When you tell her no, she walks away howling. Her nicknames currently include Youngblood, Amy Whinehouse, and The Teenager. We also call her panda because she tends to look like a fluffy little panda cub.
Welcome to the pack, Keeper! Hope you like learning how to do cool stuff.

Holiday Woodland Origami

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Origami is such a cool art form that often gets overlooked. It comes with a certain degree of patience and commitment. It’s intricate, delicate. Each step must be mastered successfully before progressing, each fold creased meticulously until finally a 3D shape emerges in the palm of your hands. 

There’s this used bookstore down the street. They have this section outside that’s discounted, with books lamented as throw-aways in a box labeled $.99. Most of the books have yellowed pages, discolored from age and exposure to the elements over time. Something about taking something old and discarded and turning it into something new and revitalized always feels somewhat right, so I bought one of the books. Over the last few nights we made woodland creatures – bears, foxes and hares, as well as balloons, cranes, little presents, and a star made up of several smaller pieces from the pages of the book. Then we threaded some sparkly twine through them and put them on the tree. Jack helped (then later he helped knock the tree over and felt so bad about it he put himself in the corner).

Friday

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Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset What are your plans for this weekend? Jack’s thinking about having a quiet night in with a glass of local pinot on the fire escape, listening to the sounds of the city in the background. Maybe watch a documentary on bees later if it feels right. #hipster

 

The Shipyard

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Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset It’s noon. I’m thinking eggs. My slippers are a good five feet from the bed, so you know, I will have to sit and think about that for at least 20 more minutes. Mila is making her rounds, meowing loudly in each room she passes, announcing to the world she’s hungry. Jack is more subtle, remaining by my side until I make a move. Trey’s in the shower, says he wants to ride the ship yard later.

It’s cold in my apartment. The one time I adjusted the radiator valve it caused a leak downstairs so now I just wear more clothes. My mind’s on surfing somewhere warm. I won’t go in the water here, not now. The water is too cold and it’s white shark season. There’s this rock out at the Farallones (some islands just off the coast), called seal rock. It’s called that because during high tide the rock gets flooded and all the elephant seals that typically occupy it get washed off the rocks into the water. It’s a popular place to see great whites because a big, blubbery elephant seal is like chocolate to them. After leading trips out there and experiencing a couple 18 footers wipe out seals, it’s like….nah, I’m good for a bit. 

So yeah anyways, Sundays. You really can’t beat them. Sleeping in late, eating eggs in your pajamas, playing around in ship yards with the sounds of the fog horns in the distance. check. check. check.

The Tree Farm

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This year we wanted to cut down our own tree, so after a quick google search we found that there was a tree farm deep in the East Bay hills.The farm was started by a U.C. Berkeley forestry professor in the 60s who wanted to provide a place in the woods where you could cut your own tree every year. As we drove through the hills, we passed through densely forested areas and came across the tiny town of Canyon, a hidden, unincorporated community, home to only 200 people and a post office. 

When we arrived at the farm, they gave us a hand saw, a couple twists of twine and a map showing where to find the type of tree we wanted. We were looking for a small/mediumish Douglas Fir that would fit nicely in the corner of our living room, but not be so big that it overpowered everything else. Something a little more like A Charlie Brown Christmas and a little less like the Griswold’s Christmas Vacation.

We found a little patch of trees we liked and stopped along the dirt road we had come in on. As soon as we opened the back door to the Land Cruiser, Jack jumped down and sprinted full speed through the rows of trees, zigging and zagging around them like he was completing a high speed obstacle course. We walked along the rows, inspecting each tree. Too tall. Too short. Too fat. Too lopsided. Then we came upon the one that was just right. “Where’s Jack?” I asked Trey. Just then a little girl screamed “DOGGY!” in the distance. We stuck our heads up over the trees to make sure it was him. It was. “He’s friendly!” I called out to her before whistling him back to my side. Trey sawed our tree down and carried it, then together we secured it to the roof of the truck.
Now our tree is home with white lights wrapped around it’s branches looking all ready for what is expected to be a most excellent Festivus.

A Date & Wintery Things

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I got a text from Trey around 4pm on Friday afternoon asking if I wanted to get some dinner and see a movie after work. I was down, happy that the week was coming to an end. I got home and combed through my closet for something to wear. Jack followed dutifully at my feet, moving from the closet to the mirror to the closet over and over again until he got tired. Finally he circled a few times and laid down in the hallway. I settled on a gray sweater, black skinny jeans, chelsea boots and some apple-y red lipstick I picked up a few weeks ago. Trey walked in a little while later bearing two bottles of red wine, one in each hand, presenting them like gifts at an alter (I may be embellishing here, but that’s what it seemed like at the time). “This one is the storeowner’s favorite, and this one I just liked because there was a dog on the label”, he told me, reminding me why we get along so well. We opened a bottle and laid in our hammock looking up reviews of sushi restaurants nearby. Then we made our way downtown for some sashimi, sapporo and miso soup. After dinner we stopped in at a french bakery and managed to get the last chocolate macaroon left in the case. Then we walked the few blocks to the theater and watched Night Crawler, the one with Jake Gyllenhaal where he begins covering night crime in LA and sells his footage to a local news station. It was equal parts entertaining and creepy.

On the way home I picked some wintry looking foliage from the nearby trees and bushes, carried it home and hung it on the wall the next day using some twine. It’s beginning to look festive around here, especially since yesterday we went and chopped down our tree! I plan on sharing that later this week.

Around Our Home

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1. Paddles, out of the water until Spring  / 2. Jack on our walk yesterday morning / 3. Reviving the small succulent a tenant before us left behind / 4. Messy bed, happy heart / 5. Some holiday diy happenings around here / 6. Pine cones in the morning light / 7. The prettiest twine

It rained all week, which was really great for the trees and plants around here. California has been in one of the worst droughts and this week the sky finally opened up and made up for its lapse in precipitation. Jack wasn’t very psyched to stay inside all day though. I came home to find him sitting up on the bed looking out the window, doing a little soul searching on a Wednesday afternoon. By the third day of constant down pour, we were all ready to trade in our soggy socks for dry ones. This morning we woke up to see the clouds had cleared. Mila Cat rolled around contently in the shafts of sunlight breaking across the foot of our bed.

Let’s see… this weekend we’re going looking for a tree. A certain kind with branches ready to be adorned with ornaments. One with clusters of evergreen needles that smell like winter. Then I’m sleeping until noon on Sunday, just watch me.

Have a nice weekend.