Update on my late 2015 whereabouts

Yes, I realize this post is long overdue and I apologize. On many days since I last wrote I’ve been traveling between one spot and another, keeping my guardians company. On other days I’ve been napping, which shouldn’t surprise anyone now that I’m a Senior.  (My how time flies!)  Nonetheless, no two days are the same, and I’ll try to convey that in the photos I’ve chosen to post along with a few words of narrative.

Terry's one of my buddies at Main Beach in Laguna Beach

August, 2015 with my good buddy, Terry, in the morning at Main Beach

When in Laguna Beach, on many mornings I’ll connect with Terry, one of Laguna’s renowned watermen, a real estate agent, and a nice guy too. Terry has been a lifeguard, surfs of course, and can’t imagine being too far from the California coast.  He’s one of the Laguna denizens I know at Main Beach, and in the future I’ll mention a couple of others.

 

 

 

 

Last November my guardians and I were invited to Thanksgiving with relatives in Idaho;  even though it’s a long, long drive from Laguna, my family didn’t find that too burdensome so we took off.  Much of the drive was beautiful but nothing topped driving up US 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada:

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Typical view of the southern Sierra from 395 near Lone Pine, CA

While on that segment my guardians took a 2 mile detour to visit Convict Lake, base camp for a long day hike one of them took earlier in the year.

Last Thanksgiving we stopped to stretch at Convict Lake.

Me & the Convict Lake boathouse.  A sliver of the lake is visible on left.

Laguna to CDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington we went over two long days.  (But, to be sure, drives don’t stress me much – I have my bed & am almost always resting easily – er, dogging it.)

Our destination and home for a few days was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a town/city of about 46,000 humans and quite a few dogs.  As it’s known to locals, CDA has a lot going for it:   a nice downtown that’s situated adjacent to beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene for starters.  Other noteworthy attractions, to me at least, include the world famous Hudson’s hamburger store, the Bakery by the Lake and its quite tasty dog treats, and Figpickels Toy Emporium.

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Front door of Hudson’s, in CDA since 1907

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Hudson’s interior just after opening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CDA also has a very nice public library which itself is near to a wonderful lakefront park with trails that I love, Tubbs Hill.

Sadly, we don’t have photos of me in the Thanksgiving festivities.  But I was there with all family members including two from my peer group.

Soon after Thanksgiving we began the trek back to California.  We routed ourselves through Portland and stayed a couple of nights so we could spend time with our friends there and also see a niece we’d also seen in CDA.

At Riverplace Hotel in Portland on trip home after Thanksgiving

I’m being held captive behind the Portland hotel counter awaiting my guardians’ return from dinner.

From Portland we drove down Interstate 5 and ducked into Eugene for a wonderful lunch at a Vietnamese hole in the wall.  Then on to a quick night in Ashland, OR and on to San Francisco.

From SF my guardians flew to Cleveland to see relatives while I stayed in the City and networked with my friend and admirer, Judith, and her lawn bowling friends.  Upon return of my guardians, we got back in the car for the day drive to Laguna so we’d be there for Christmas with our Laguna family and the holidays with my many friends there.

So, you can see the last few months of 2015 were busy and, I hope, a good enough excuse that you’ll understand my not writing sooner.

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Here I’m in Portland’s Pearl District with my lifelong pal, Bill.

 

 

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It’s hot here in Laguna Beach!

Hello from sunny & super hot Laguna Beach!

It hit 100F Saturday (10/10), the high today was 94F and it’ll be warm for at least a few days more.  The air temperature was also in the 90F’s for an extended period in September.  Compare these torrid temps with “normal” which in October is a high in the mid 70’s:

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When I went down to the beach today at 5 PM it was 90F, windless, and busy. But just a few of my peers hanging out, just too warm.

Getting ready to hit the beach, today! I love to just hang out down there.

Getting ready to hit the beach, today! I love to just hang out down there.

For the full effect, my guardian took this short video:

As a civilian non-scientist, I don’t know all about global warming but I can feel that it’s Hot. And way hotter than normal.

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Serving Others

Hi there!

One of my guardians recently visited Ohio for a high school reunion, to see family, and to participate in a tour of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, an auction item on which he was the winning bidder at a fundraiser for one of his causes, The Education Foundation.

(The tour was given by Bruce Latimer, the museum’s former Executive Director, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, and an authority on the evolution of human locomotion.)

Bruce Latimer, renowned paleoanthropologist, and a portion of the collection at CMNH.org.

Bruce Latimer, renowned paleoanthropologist, and a portion of the collection at CMNH.org.

While in Ohio, my guardian connected with a good friend, Jim Walters, legal counsel for my guardian’s hometown, the City of Berea.  In the course of one of their conversations Mr. Walters posited that, to put purpose in life, one must help others…  Put another way, that serving others was an important dimension to a full and meaningful life.

Of course I agree with that and, in my own way, do my best to serve others by “working” to help them to have a better day.

Here I'm meeting with several University High students before class, helping them to a pleasant mood, for sure.

Here I’m meeting with several University High students before class, helping them to a pleasant mood, for sure.

For example, when I awaken, I time my jumping out of bed to coincide (more-or-less) with my guardians’ arising, so we can begin to enjoy the day together with my licks & tail wags.  In return I usually get some small talk I don’t understand, but no worries.  If convenient, I might lie on my back and allow them to scratch/rub my belly – from the delight I convey I can see the pleasure they also receive.

Playing around with my friends, Bill & Julie; everyone is smiling!

Playing around with my friends, Bill & Julie; everyone is smiling!

As the day progresses and we get out for our walks together, I do my best to cheer up just about every dog and person I meet.  I sense my peers’ interest in socializing and react accordingly with sniffs, tail wags, and other civilized behavior.

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline…with so much time in Laguna Beach, I miss seeing them

 

For those with only two legs, child or adult, I offer my penetrating brown eyes along with tail wags.  Occasionally I even sit on one of more of their feet to be in even greater emotional consonance.

As you might guess, many of my days seem to blend into the next.  Laguna Beach, San Francisco, back & forth, walks to downtown Laguna, the Presidio Library park or Crissy Field…these are all tolerable (in the case of our all day drives) to exquisite (Crissy Field or trips with my good friend Judith to her club, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club.)

Judith & Bill, SFLBC's volunteer instructor...we all have such a good time together!

Judith & Bill, SFLBC’s volunteer instructor…we all have such a good time together!

Wherever I am, wherever I go, I do my best in service of the world to make it a happier, more pleasant place for all.

Kelsey and me after a great afternoon on Crissy Field, just before we said our goodbyes

Kelsey and me after a great afternoon on Crissy Field, just before we said our goodbyes

 

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Checking in….

Hello friends,

It’s been a long time, especially in dog years, since I corresponded. Sorry, I wish it weren’t so and I’ll try to be better…

I’ve been spending most of my time in San Francisco, Laguna Beach, and points in between including a few trips on Interstate 5. Life’s been good. Made a lot of new friends. Eating well. Still exercising, although there are occasional days I don’t really feel like it.

I see old friends now and then but not often enough. Life goes by fast, you know. We need to be in touch better.

Rather than providing a boring, linear report on the last year, I thought I’d post just a few photos that I find interesting or are representative of how my days go. (Some boring times are omitted, as are some really fun times, but you’ll get the drift.)

Until next time, warm regards,

Wally

 

Across the Bay in Alameda, a very well located and patronized corner with a great brand!

Across the Bay in Alameda, a very well located and patronized corner with a great brand!

Winter up near Weed, CA, the teepee is down but the landlord still likes to have fun.

Winter up near Weed, CA, the teepee is down but the landlord still likes to have fun.

On a spring day on our way to a Golden Gate Band concert, I was diverted by this fun group.

On a spring day on our way to a Golden Gate Band concert, I was diverted by this fun group.

'Twas an overcast autumn day but that didn't limit our friendship-making.

‘Twas an overcast autumn day but that didn’t limit our friendship-making.

The brother of one of my guardians, who was visiting from far away, invited me to come a little closer.

The brother of one of my guardians, who was visiting from far away, invited me to come a little closer.

New friends I found playing at Woods Cove

New friends I found playing at Woods Cove

Winter sunset from a favorite walk, Treasure Island Park, just seaward of the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

Winter sunset from a favorite walk, Treasure Island Park, just seaward of the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

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Back in town!

Yes, I had a walk at Crissy Field the morning of Saturday, Oct 5, 2013, even though the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was Closed because of the partial Federal government shutdown!  Man, what a beautiful day!

Yes, I had a walk at Crissy Field the morning of Saturday, Oct 5, 2013, even though the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was Closed because of the partial Federal government shutdown! Man, what a beautiful day!

Hi! This is Wally writing again. A lot has been going on at my end, which has kept me away from updating you by my blogging on MrWally.com. I’ve been either busy or lazy for more than a year and am sorry…

I just wanted to check in and give you a brief update.

Last summer my guardians decided we should make a change in our living quarters. (They’d been in the same house for 25 years. I liked the home a lot, the only one I’ve really known, especially my perch on the front window seat.) Anyway, we took the summer to shine the house up and then put it on the market in early September. Before long there was an accepted offer and we all transitioned to the downsizing/moving mode. That wasn’t too much fun for anyone, but at least the Giants won the World Series! Also, I was able to get away for a couple weeks in late August to visit my relatives in Laguna Beach, which I always enjoy.

In early November we moved 8 or 9 blocks up the hill from our old Cow Hollow house to a condo in Pacific Heights. I don’t mind it here, especially since there’s library across the street with lots of comings & goings. Also, it’s surrounded by grass, making a nice park that almost always has some from my peer group to play with. (Some of my most favorite pals are Bea, Penny, and Charlie.) Another benefit of this neighborhood is that it’s busier, so I see dogs and people on almost all of my walks. Plus there are more directions we can walk to access coffee shops easily, and it’s still easy to get down to the Presidio Starbucks to hang out. Although there is no window seat (yet) so my view isn’t as good as it was, at least there’s talk of installing one.

Right after moving but before we’d really settled in here, we drove up to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the Holidays. That was a nice getaway and quite fun for me – a chance to cool off, see some relatives, and get lots of play time in snow, a first for me!

In April one of my guardians and I drove to Laguna Beach to babysit a new grandchild in the family for a week or so. We had so much fun!!! Cece and Peg were in town and Oscar, toddler William, and baby Barrett came over a lot. Especially Barrett.

We had such a nice time…the relatives are very nice to us…when they returned from Washington (DC), my guardian and I were encouraged to stay several more days, which everyone enjoyed.

In mid May my guardians and I went up to Idaho again to experience “springtime” there for the first time. It was pleasant, not too hot, not too cold; lots of sun. (I forgot to mention, on the April visit to Laguna, one of my guardians’ sisters encouraged us to look for a home in Laguna Beach.) We were quite relaxed (at least I was) when we received a phone call from the sister in Laguna about a “cottage” that just came on the market. She wanted us to check it out on the Internet, which we did, and then things moved Fast! In short, our visit in Idaho was cut short because we had made an offer which was accepted on the cottage even though we hadn’t yet seen it in person!

We returned as quickly as we could (2 day drive) to San Francisco, took a day off, and then drove the 8 or so hours to Laguna, so we could all check out the cottage we were in contract for. To cut to the chase, my guardians purchased the cottage, and I’m driving down later this week to take up residence there, which I’m sure I’ll like. But I like San Francisco too, so I was pleased to learn we’ll be back in San Francisco on a regular basis.

After being on the sidelines for so long, I’m so glad to have picked up my pen and written. I’d been feeling guilty about letting folks like you down, but now I feel a lot better about myself. Going forward, I promise to be as good a writer as any dog can be.

Proving that I still have a “large footprint” (pawprint?) in San Francisco, look at me on another of my walks last weekend:

A good time to be in the urban Alta Plaza Park, near sundown Oct 5 2013

A good time to be in the urban Alta Plaza Park, near sundown Oct 5 2013

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Mother’s Day expedition

It’s been a normal routine for most of the past two weeks, with the highlight being a very excellent Mother’s Day.  First off, I had an early walk to Home Plate and waited in the car for my guardians to rejoin me after their breakfast.    In the early afternoon we all went on an expedition to San Francisco’s Sunset District.

By way of background, one of my guardians has become interested in the stairs of San Francisco.  Yes, there are a lot of stairs…in fact, there are guidebooks pointing out some of those not to be missed.  On Sunday, my guardian who had the honor of selecting a stairway destination referred to Stairway Walks in San Francisco published by Wilderness Press, and off we went…

The Sunset District is just south of the Golden Gate Park, a 15 or so minute drive.  Sunset neighborhood names of  Inner, Central, and Outer Sunset suggest a certain uniformity and the architecture is largely consistent.  The street grid is east-west-north-south and the Pacific is the Sunset’s western border.  At its widest point, the Sunset is around 50 blocks, almost 3 miles.

In truth, there aren’t many stairs in the Sunset.  However, there is one good-sized hill in the area, and on Sunday we learned that it and its surrounding streets are a carve-out from the Sunset called Golden Gate Heights.  The hill is called Turtle Hill and there’s a park on top, Grand View Park.  That name is accurate!

We found the steps we were looking for and they are awesome!  The genesis of the beautiful steps is the surrounding community, which conceived, planned, and funded the

That's me posing near the stairway bottom. Notice the fish!

That’s me posing near the stairway bottom. Notice the fish!

wonderful mosaics on the 163 steps.  For the story, which is quite interesting, go to http://tiledsteps.org/Default.asp.

After summiting Turtle Hill, we enjoyed the grand view with our PB & J & pickle sandwiches and then

In foreground, one block of Golden Gate Heights. Beyond is the Sunset & Pacific Ocean with fogbank.

In foreground, one block of Golden Gate Heights. Beyond is the Sunset & Pacific Ocean with fogbank.

descended the many flights of stairs.  Our next stop would be GGNRA’s Fort Funston in the southwest corner of San Francisco.

Fort Funston is a favorite for all dogs – it’s big, scenic, and oceanfront with handsome sand dunes and a sandy beach.  Most remarkably & importantly, the National Park Service doesn’t mind if my peers and I are off leash!

At Fort Funston: I'd like you all to follow me!
At Fort Funston: I’d like you all to follow me!

It was my first ever visit there and we had a long enough walk – although I met a lot of dogs, visits weren’t that lengthy since most of us were primarily immersed in the fresh air, views, and smells.

Upon returning home, I benefited from a nice warm bath and then a well deserved nap…

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Changes in the Presidio

As you know, I spend a fair amount of time in the Presidio, especially down near the Bay at Crissy Field. With a fine beach, views, and a large grassy field where I can go off leash, Crissy Field is one of my favorite places, as it is for my guardians and their family, neighbors, and friends.

This past weekend was a watershed for Crissy Field and a former elevated 5 lane roadway that paralleled Crissy Field just a few yards away, Doyle Drive.  I say former and paralleled because it was and did but doesn’t – beginning last Friday at 8PM and continuing until

View on Saturday of lots of machines & rubble - NE toward Crissy Field lagoon & E Beach

View on Saturday of lots of machines & rubble - NE toward Crissy Field lagoon & E Beach

5AM this morning, with a large staff of people and machines working around the clock, Doyle Drive was torn down!

Constructed in 1936, Doyle Drive was the route most vehicles used to reach the Golden Gate Bridge.  It carried around 100,000 vehicles/day, and most of those were heading to or from the Bridge.

(Sidebar: Doyle Drive was constructed for Golden Gate Bridge traffic – the Bridge itself was completed a year after Doyle Drive in 1937, and a festival for its 75th anniversary is planned for May 27th. http://goldengatebridge75.org/ )

Doyle Drive will be replaced by a remodeled roadway, termed the Presidio Parkway.  The 6 year project began in 2009 and is planned to cost just over $1 billion.   See http://www.presidioparkway.org

View north Sat 4/28/12

View north Sat 4/28/12

Doyle Drive was 76 years old.  Improved seismic and traffic safety were the drivers of this project.

Much of my weekend exercise revolved around a couple of long walks to inspect the demolition efforts.  I did the longest on Saturday with one of my guardians and her sister, who was our houseguest for several days (and also is one of my friend’s, Cece, guardians).  The sisters mainly collaborated on family photos and archives when not studying recipes, cooking, or interacting with me.

For several days the demolition effort has been the biggest news around here, with TV shows broadcasting live and often using helicopters to supplement their ground crew.  On our walk Saturday, one of the local stations, KTVU Channel 2, approached my companions and me and filmed an interview with my guardian – it screened on the 10 PM news.

It was mega-fun to be part of such a major happening!

View south from former visitors center, across street from Crissy Field

View south from former visitors center, across street from Crissy Field

Looking south from sidewalk alongside Crissy Field

Looking south from sidewalk alongside Crissy Field

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