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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FYI, Crissy Field sights

East Beach on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 7th.

East Beach on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 7th.

On our walk this morning, a great blue heron just off the path

On our walk this morning, a great blue heron just off the path

 

 

 

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Surprised by a haiku !

As previously reported, my guardians’ friend, MaryLou, flew from Denver to be with us in late March.  We all had fun together, of course.  Following up, she surprised me (very pleasantly) by sending this original haiku, the first of its kind*:

      Wally

Glistening black oval nose,

Surrounded by wheat.

A frolicsome fur package.

//////////////////////////////////////////

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  We had a really nice visit and I love the haiku – Thanks ML!

*subject = yours truly

MaryLou, bags packed, well positioned for a going away lick.

MaryLou, bags packed, well positioned for a going away lick.

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March “madness”

A fairly quiet 2 weeks in San Francisco, mostly because of my guardian’s pterygium operation on the 14th.

I recall it was the 16th when I escorted my guardians down to Chestnut Street’s Squat & Gobble for an early breakfast.  Jodie and her companions happened by and, after greeting me by name, visited a few minutes.  (I usually see them at Crissy Field, see photo)

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline

Then the next day I was on Chestnut Street for St. Patrick’s Day – what a madhouse!  No beer or corned beef for me – just a couple of errands, some sightseeing,  and compliments from newly made “friends.”

On March 19th my companions and I walked to Roses Cafe for a nice celebratory lunch outside.  I like Roses because they always have a well stocked water bowl plus healthy treats.  Plus the people-watching is excellent.

Last Thursday my guardian’s dear friend, Mary Lou, arrived from Denver, staying until this afternoon.  It rained a couple inches while she was here (but we’re still way behind normal for the season).  This kept us inside sometime but we still had a really nice time – lots of laughs,  a few walks including a good one this morning down by the Bay, and a lot of small talk.

Plus we watched some basketball – I’m pleased Ohio State made the Final 4 and the Stanford ladies are in the Elite 8 – one of my companions and I will watch the Cardinal tonight with my paws crossed.

I’m hoping that Mary Lou will give her perspective…

I helped make a passerby happy on St. Patrick's Day! (@ Chestnut St. Bakery)

I helped make a passerby happy on St. Patrick's Day! (@ Chestnut St. Bakery)

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