The Only Dog

Navi has handled losing Barclay better than we have. She quickly realized ALL the toys, treats, and attention were hers (well, some goes to the cats, but they don’t count). She was a little scared going for walks alone without her gregarious big brother by her side, and the first few walks she spent slinking around with her tail down. I tackled this by taking treats and a clicker, and clicking whenever she saw something scary. The idea was to teach her that 1) those things get her rewards 2) quit looking at the scary thing and look at the person with the treats. That has been working really well, and she is getting much better at walking on a loose leash too, because I’ve been clicking for that as well. She’s getting more confident and likes going on a walk to sniff things and get treats.

Since it’s Christmas season we are getting lots of deliveries for her to bark at, so she’s happy to have a job. When she’s not barking at the front window, she is under my desk or trying to get pets from me while I’m trying to work. She comes up and lays her head on the desk next to me to get attention. So cute!

She’s a good girl.

Lately she’s been getting snappy about having her nails trimmed, so I am working on training her to let me use the dremel on her nails. It’s so much easier to train one dog than two. With two dogs, the other one is always trying to nose in on the other dog’s training time. Now we only have to worry about cats.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

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This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.

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Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

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surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

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I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

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It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

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Winter Artwork

Wow, it has been a long, cold, boring winter. I don’t remember a winter that has been this cold, or snowed so many times. We usually barely get any snow, and usually get none at all. But this winter…well, at least the dogs enjoyed it!

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Not sports car weather!

 

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I do love it when the trees look like this, especially against a bright blue sky.

 

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And I love the dramatic shadows cast by the low winter sun.

 

Tree Shadow

So I cleaned it up in photoshop and made a piece of art of it. That is actually a pretty nice way to pass the time when trapped inside by winter cold.

 

Mount Navi

Winter Navi.

We also went to a Winter Woolies horse show and took some photos. I love doing horse photos.

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And then for something completely different:

boats in the bay

This piece was made from a screenshot from Red Dead Redemption 2. I added the textures to make the sky-glow and painted it. I was really happy with how it turned out.

So that’s how I’ve been fighting the winter doldrums! Luckily it is almost over, and spring is on its way.

A ‘Me’ Party!

The Photo Club assignment for this month was to make a composite photograph, so I composited the heck out of that challenge! I set the camera up on a tripod and raced around changing clothes and setting myself in different scenes around the room, then merged them all together with a little photoshop magic, to produce a party of ‘Me’s hanging around the house with the dogs.

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Navi is my digger

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Navi is 7 years old, but she is still a digger. She dug a HUGE hole in the backyard chasing down a mole, which she finally caught after several days of expanding her hole! Luckily she hoses off and dries clean. Of course in this pic she had just come in to visit me in the office after working on her project – dirty dog!

 

Trout Lake 2018

Over Memorial Weekend we took our annual trip with our Airstream friends to Trout Lake, to our usual campground snuggled under shade trees with a gorgeous view of Mt Adams. This year the weather was windy, but otherwise fine. I was a little worried about reports of ticks being bad this year, but we tried to stay out of the grass.

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We set up the X pens in front of the trailer door to make a little yard for the dogs, and the door was pretty much open all weekend, so they could hang out inside or out, and watch all the goings-on around the site. Of course there were also lots of walks, including walking into town to get lunch at the hamburger/milkshake/gas station/coffeeshop (it’s a small town!)

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Sunday morning I woke up at 5am and realized the trailer was lit up pink, so I pulled on clothes and grabbed my camera and went out to see what was going on.

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Just a beautiful mountain sunrise. I was enjoying photographing it when I thought, what this picture needs is an elk.

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Why, thank you very much! I was so excited to see the elk, I was almost shaking! How cool is that?!

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The river behind our campsite was high, and I would have loved to fish it, but it was not open until a week later.

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Everyday there was gorgeous. I just can’t believe we get to hang out someplace with this amazing mountain right there on the horizon, it is in the background of everything we do.

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We had a tinfoil hat contest (Dave and I just watched):

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Everyone was so creative!

And every night it was music and sing-along beside the fire.

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Full-moon night-shot.

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I brought a book to read on my kindle. Dave played a game of cornhole and got into a card game. Navi snapped at our friend Gary when he wouldn’t quit petting her. Barclay was chill as usual.

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The trailer functioned perfectly – not bad for a 50 year old trailer. Basically a good time was had by all. In no time another fun long weekend was over, and we all went our separate ways, until next year.

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Just for fun

I wanted to get the dogs photographed against a beautiful blue-sky-puffy-cloud background. Finally had the perfect sky for it, so I enlisted Dave’s help to get Navi to pose up on a bench, while I got down low to try and get the sky behind her. Barclay wasn’t interested in participating.

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Navi is so eager to do right and be good, she is just delightfully goofy sometimes.

What a pretty girl!
“The hand of God” 🙂

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Just hanging with the dogs

Playing stickball a couple days ago. There was a standoff, Navi had the ball, Barclay just calmly hung onto the rope until she gave up and dropped it – just as I snapped the pic, of course.

Anyone for some stickball?

Today I gave the dogs chewies, and they both took them outside and sat in the grass to eat them, in a drenching downpour! They did not care a bit about the rain! They could have chewed them inside, or at least under the patio cover, but they both sat out in the grass and got soaked!

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Barclay & Navi

Mr B gave me a terrible scare a few weeks ago when he had a seizure or something. It was pretty terrifying. I called Barclay in after dinner and he was walking weird, then he started staggering and taking big exaggerated steps, and then laid down and flopped over and looked really out of it. So I called Dave (who was on his way to the theater) and bundled B into the car and drove straight to the emergency vet. He was feeling better by the time we got there, and was pretty much his normal self by the time we left. Vet couldn’t find anything abnormal. She said it could have been a seizure or a heart arrhythmia. She said to watch him closely the next 48 hours. Nothing happened, so I guess it’s all good.

Navi is doing well. Nothing going on with her lately, which is good. She’s just such a sweetie.

She contorts into the funniest positions while sleeping.

The other night Barclay had the nylabone, and Navi wanted it, so he set it in the middle of the living room and waited for her to try and take it. But she knew it was a trap, so she just sat back and waited. And he waited. And eventually they both fell asleep.

These dogs are nuts, but I sure do love them.

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Gone Campin’ for July 4th!

Time to pull out the Airstream again and go camping. This time our friends Scott and Sherry (and their pups Sake and Sitka, who we frequently doggie-sit) invited us to join them at one of the RV Resorts they camp at – KM Resorts Ocean Breeze at Ocean City, WA.

Navi and Barclay are buckled up and ready to go!

We stopped along the way to get a pic of our handsome new rig. I’m still delighted with how the Flex tows, how maneuverable it is with the trailer (Dave has a much easier time getting the Airstream in and out of it’s home behind the house than he did with the van) and of course, how it looks. I think they make a sharp-looking pair!

We got there and they had saved us a cozy little spot in the trees. The campground is heavily wooded, and felt very private where we were. Other rows were much busier though, so this was a great spot. There were a lot of mosquitoes too, because you can’t have everything perfect!

In no time we had the dog yard set up and the dogs were barking at everyone going by – business as usual! Our friends were camped with their giant 5th wheel right next door, on the other side of the trees. Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures because it rained so much I ended up leaving my camera safe and dry inside for most of the weekend.

They had us come join them for 4th of July, because the beach at Ocean City, and for quite a distance up and down the shore, turns into a giant party. I’ve really never seen anything like it, and I’ve lived in the NW my whole life. I’ve never even HEARD of such a thing. Of course I grew up in Oregon, where the beaches are treated like they are kind of sacred. They are preserved and kept natural for the enjoyment of all. It was kind of appalling to see people driving up and down the beach in WA, camped out, with big bonfires, car camping with windbreaks built up all around them, firing off fireworks. It was probably the closest I’ll ever get to Burning Man, I’ve just never seen anything like it.

Here in this video I took before dark to see the cars as far as you can see in both directions, several camps deep between the dunes and the driving area, and then more people parked between the driving area and the water.

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beach party from Stephanie on Vimeo.

In this video after dark you can just make out fireworks off in the distance. These were BIG fireworks, being shot off probably a few miles down the beach, and then I panned over the same view as in the video before dark. Now you can see fireworks all the way up the beach to the North, as far as you can see. It was really an amazing sight!

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fireworks after dark from Stephanie on Vimeo.

The next day we explored Aberdeen, WA, had some very good clam chowder, and then lazed around and rested. I love napping in the Caravel on rainy days. I just get warm fuzzy tingly all over, it makes me so happy. The Caravel is just a warm and cozy place to listen to the rain falling.

We spent a bit of time around the campfire (in and out of the rain), and had a nice dinner with our friends, and then Dave and I went to hit the nearby indian casino and dropped $40 in less than 40 minutes! Not as much fun as I’d been led to believe!

The next morning we woke up early and decided to head out early. There was something interesting we’d seen on our way to the beach that we wanted to check out on the way home.

It is an abandoned unfinished nuclear power plant near Elma, WA. Wow, seeing those cooling towers peeking over the tree-covered hills really got my attention – we had to take a detour to visit it.

This nuclear plant has been reclaimed by turning it in to a business park. It was unfinished and never had nuclear material in it, so the power plant parts of the structure just sit abandoned and taking up space. Look at the  top of the unfinished containment building, the rebar is just sticking up out of the top!

Looks like they at least put a top on the other containment building before they abandoned the whole project.

There are two cooling towers. Far enough apart I couldn’t get both in one picture.

And now they sit surrounded by weeds and wildflowers.

They are really really really BIG! They sit there hollow and empty.

Well, that was pretty fun, and totally worth the side trip. We hung out there for a bit and ate breakfast before continuing the journey home.

When we got home we decontaminated the trailer – just kidding! It was time for it’s annual bath, and the weather was too lousy last time we took it out. This was a nice day, so we gave it a good scrub before putting it away under it’s carport. I can’t wait to see where we take it out to next.

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