Sunday, July 29, 2012

Guest Blogger, Otto Von Beacon

Otto has been really excited this weekend and has something he'd like to share. Since I clearly haven't had too much to share lately, I thought I'd pass the reigns.


Yes, really excited!!!!!!!!  Whoooooo  hoooooo.. Okay, let's step back a moment, most of you who know me, probably don't think of me as somedog who gets very excited.  But DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE CITY?  OMG!! Yes O...M...G... There is a GARBAGE STRIKE. Do you know how exciting this is??!! This means that on every block in this city there are rows and rows of garbage cans and yard waste bins full (yes FULL and getting more full by the day) of tasty rotting treats just waiting for me.

And somehow no one else seems to share this excitement. Certainly not my stupid mom. Listen people, this is the best thing that has happened in the city since, since, well, probably since I found an amazingly awesome stinky rotten fish and rolled in it. My mom didn't get that one either. For that all I got was 'god you stink' (repeated ad nauseum) and then I was very rudely stuck under a hose of cold water. This time it's similar. I snuck away during some cat drama and found a nice garbage can with no lid that I am sure what left just for me. So, of course, I helped myself and made sure to take the time to roll my nose in some of the wonder. Now all I hear is, 'Euuw, why does your nose stink'. I'm sure the hose is next.

Ah, what's this? Hmm, this one's boring!

Mmm, this one's better.

Ooh, besty!
Anyhoo, big excitement hear on Beacon Hill and since I can't get mom or Daisy excited, I wanted to  share with the world. (And yes, there is plenty to share!  Come on down.) 

All my love, Otto. 



This place showed up on Dexter this week or maybe last. I think it's about the best name for a hair salon ever!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I think I mentioned that I bit the bullet this year and I am once again trying to grow tomatoes (after a couple years of tomato trauma). I bought some very happy tomato plants from my gardening super star neighbor. And they have been sitting on my porch  growing like gangbusters!

Warm days + excessive rain = happy tomatoes and lavender.

This year I just decided underwatering, not over watering had been my issue. So I cast caution to the winds, did not obsessively cruise the internet to find out how much I was supposed to water, and decided to treat them both to a pan full of water daily. I also fertilized them!  I've never fertilized a plant in my life.

Anyhow, despite the rampant growth, I was seeing no tomatoes. Until today!!!!

Ain't she a beauty!
 In other, it's about time news, after about 5 years of waiting for my poor sad hydrangea to decide it's a plant that wants to live...

Almost a real plant!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Traveling with Otto

We end the series on my road trip, with a brief description of Otto as a travel partner. Though, as you are probably already guessing, this may just be a vehicle for cute Otto photos!! Oh well, my blog, I can do what I want.

When I was planning for my trip, taking Otto was the part I worried about most. Otto is (of course) perfect and mellow. But he likes his routine. He likes his couch and his cat and his sunny porch. When he's not at home he tends to whine a lot. I was afraid we would get no sleep. Or that he'd drive my friends crazy with his whining.

In reality he was the dream dog. He could not have been better behaved! Even when we stayed with a non dog lover he won 'good dog' brownie points.  Yea Otto!

Not only did Otto provide company, but having him along made me do things I wouldn't have done otherwise. I stopped more and 'explored' small towns. I went on river walks. I went and saw dinosaur fossils. (That one actually didn't work out so well because it was 95 degrees on scorching sand and poor Otto's paws were a mess from all the rocks in Colorado. By the end of was trying to carry him because he kept lying down.)  It was hot. My sea level/cool weather dog was probably over heated and over exercised. But we had fun!  A sample;  

Otto, sunbathing, views, Steamboat Springs CO
90 degrees, 8000 feet, Chautauqua, Boulder, CO

Post Chautauqua, sun stroke.

Nicole's cat (looked like this the entire 24 hours we were visiting).  Golden, CO

Allison and Otto (right before Otto decided to bark at her). Golden, CO

Otto and train, Laramie, WY

Otto enjoys the river walk, Evanston WY (?)

95 degrees, scorching sand hike + cool collapseable dog bowl. Somewhere hot and conservative in Utah.

Otto and Buddy SLC, UT. 
Otto and car, WA, OR, UT, CO, WY MT
And we'll end this series with some non Otto cuteness. This was only thing going on in Snowville, UT (besides the gas station)! I think these cows thought Otto and I were the only thing going on. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Drunk Dog Drama

Today I'd like to interrupt the road trip series to tell you about the Fourth of July drama we're currently experiencing. Otto hates the Fourth. To say Fireworks terrify him is an understatement. And firecrackers are already in full force here on the hill, so Otto has been slinking away to the back room every night. He seems to find a smidgeon of comfort in the dirty clothes bin.

Last year his vet gave us an anti anxiety medication that seemed to do nothing. So this year the doctor prescribed Xanax. The prescription calls for 1/2 to 1 pill every 12 hours. I gave him 1/2 pill a couple nights ago and it didn't help. So today, with firecrackers starting bright and early, I figured we'd try a full pill.

Well, Otto is drunk!  His coordination is way off, he can't really navigate stairs. He isn't really responding normally to commands (come, sit etc). And his normal inhibitions are gone. Usually, if I'm eating he'll sit back hopefully, waiting for a treat. Today he's practically in my lap trying to get food. Normally, when I open the back door, he goes and lies in the sun, today he was running around, scratching at the back gate and trying to get out.

So, I'm hanging out in the back yard with him and he goes into the laurel hedge. There is a fence on the greenspace side of the hedge, so I didn't really worry. But in about a minute he was gone. And then I started to hear yelling from the greenspace.

A second for some back story. About a month or two ago, people essentially moved into the greenspace. They make a lot of noise, I'm pretty sure they have fires, they play music, they sing, they party. I've tried everything I could to see where there are, but couldn't. The city was supposed to have removed them (you can't camp on city land), but they are still there.

So, I could smell food, Otto was gone (and is currently not following commands and no normal inhibitions), and there was yelling. Conclusion, Otto is in the homeless camp trying to steal food. So, I panicked and rushed out and forced my way into the greenspace. This used to be pretty easy, but now the blackberries are so overgrown, getting in there from my house is pretty impossible. But, much like a mother who can lift a car off her child, those blackberries were no match for me.  Well, it turns out there is a tent essentially 20 yards below my house (no wonder it's so loud). I found Otto stumbling around just above above the tent, grabbed his collar, and headed out. Unfortunately, I didn't have a leash. We tried to get out, but there were so many blackberry bushes that Otto balked, he pulled away from me and ran as fast as he could the other direction.

I tried to follow, but he had disappeared, so finally I just fought my own way out and FORTUNATELY, he had come out and was standing above the house. Crisis averted. Usually I wouldn't really worry - he can handle himself normally - but right now he is not himself.

Currently, he's sitting by the back door, whining to go out. But I think Otto's Xanax days are over, from now on, we're sticking with the Thunder shirt*! (Only 10.5 hours until the Xanax wears off!)

I'm drunk!! 

Pretty pretty please, let me go forage for food!
*A friend suggested I try the thunder shirt. It's like swaddling a baby. I guess it applies pressure on nerve endings and calms dogs down. It actually seems to help!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I'm sure you have all been dying to know about the food I ate as I made my way through god forsaken towns in mid America. I'd say there were two parts of the trip. The parts where I was with friends - and I had little control over my food. And the times I was by myself. When I was with friends, I simply told them that I didn't eat wheat, but otherwise I'd eat whatever. And every meal I was served was awesome!  There was a spaghetti dinner once, but my friend made a spaghetti sauce out of tomatoes, broccoli and chicken that was so filling and delicious there was no need for added pasta. I think they felt guilty, but I was happy as a clam. At the same meal I was served kale from their garden roasted with olive oil and salt - so how could there be any complaining??  In Colorado I was served some amazing meat from happy cows, those Colorado folks are serious about their meat.  

For the times when I was by myself I had big plans pre trip. I was planning on camping. I bought a cooler. I bought a camp stove. I bought a camping knife, a fold up cutting board and some plates!  I was ready. Unfortunately, after spending 8 hours in a car, I couldn't imaging unloading a tent and sleeping on the ground. At one point, I decided that I was going to cook anyhow and figured I'd just go to a park. Well, that didn't really work out so well. That was Wednesday, Wyoming and the worst day of the trip. At lunch time I ended up in the town from hell, aka Rock Springs, WY. I drove up to a couple parks, excited to pull out my stove and whip up some bacon and eggs, and all the parks had signs decreeing 'no animals'. Since it was about 95 degrees, leaving the dog in the car wasn't going to happen. So, I did the thing I only did this once on the trip - I went backwards.  There was a town about 10 miles back that had a sign for a state park. I figured i could hang out in the state park. Well, the state park ended up being 60 miles out of town. 10 miles out of my way was one thing, 60 quite another. Then I had this BRILLIANT idea. there was KOA right in town. Maybe they would let me cook. Well, I drove up to the KOA and it was basically a parking lot with a bunch of big huge camper thingies and way too depressing to produce food in. So I drove (forward this time), getting progressively more hungry and grouchy. I finally pulled over at a rest area. Once again dogs weren't allowed. And it was so windy you didn't really want to be out of the car anyhow. So I sat in the 90 degree car and ate turkey that I wrapped around olives and felt sorry for myself. (There was a lot of feeling sorry for myself that day, and only that day.)

Well, that's what I didn't eat. What I did eat? Well, it turns out with a cooler and a little pre planning, you can actually eat some decent food purchased from places that care about food.

Arugula, olive, broccolini, avocado, turkey, jicama Pendleton OR

I don't know what all was in there or where I was, but I do remember it being delicious. 

Roast beef, roasted yam, breakfast burrito (yes wheat), Missoula MT
 I didn't take a picture, but in addition, the first few days for breakfast I had some roasted yams and hard boiled eggs (fresh from the neighbors yard) warmed up in the hotel microwave. It may sound iffy, but it was delicious - all three mornings.

And, lest you think I'm too pure. In the morning there was some 'I need a cafeine hit' chocolate. This was actually a bit problematic, as chocolate wasn't so happy in a 90-100 degree car. Then there was the 'it's late afternoon, I'm sick of driving, I'm falling asleep and I need a treat' snack.  (below are a couple examples of those snacks)

Otto, milkshake and tea, Baker City, OR

Tea and milkshake, Rawlins, WY  

Technically this was a milkshake, but it was tasty way beyond a milkshake, Dillon MT
 Restaurants, I hit a restaurant once. That same Wednesday from hell with no food in my cooler except stuff that needed to be cooked. I went to a ale house type place in Laramie WY.  It was eh. Nice to sit in a restaurant, but the food wasn't as tasty as either my own or my friends. I'm also pretty sure they ruined my salmon burger with wheat. 

Anyhow, that's 3000 miles of delicious food!  Even in small town America!