Archive for Dogs
12 Random Things from Southern California to Northern California I am grateful for…
My friends and family in Southern California.
Newport Beach – I love walking on that boardwalk.
(@Katpm saved this bottle of champagne I gave her 21 years ago!)
Mi Casa Restaurant. (You have to have grown up in OC to understand this love.)
My mom taking a whirlwind 36 hour adventure with me this weekend. Started in So Cal, drove through the snowy Grapevine to No Cal, saw the Bay Bridge lights, attended a Vision Book workshop , then flew back to So Cal.
Here’s a shot of the snow off of Hwy 5 that my mom took while I was driving.
My friends and family in Northern California.
Stinson Beach – I love walking on that beach.
Maybe I can’t teach an old dog new tricks but it seems an old dog can teach me some things, about life. I think I am going to take advice from my aging dog and slow down a bit this year. Poncho was a crazy puppy. He had a LOT of energy. Kind-hearted people always told us just wait until he is 2 and he will calm down. Well, he turned 2 and he did not calm down one bit. In fact he made it all the way to 10 without calming down much.
Now he is 11 making his way toward 12 and he is finally calm (most of the time).
Poncho used to go, go, go! Now he spends most of his time sleeping. He still likes to play, but not for too long. He still likes to go on walks, but tires sooner. He still enjoys seeing his doggie BFFs but hardly plays with them like he used to. His younger dog friends try taunting him but he usually chooses to lay down over playing tug-o-war, chase or wrestling.
He is losing his eyesight. His muscles are degenerating and I am watching the process of aging do its thing in the rapid way it does in dogs.
I get sad sometimes seeing him slow down knowing he may not be with us for much longer. But he is not sad. He is just living life, taking it as it comes and enjoying it as much as possible.
I wish I could be more like Poncho. I spent the last year in the go, go, go mode and to be honest it was not a very satisfying year.
Instead of go, go, go I am going to try to slow, slow, slow. Life is flying by fast enough. I see proof of this when I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles on my face. What is the hurry?
I am going to slow down, spend more quality time with my dog in the sunset of his life and maybe learn a little bit from him on how to worry less and appreciate more.
I am not sure how I am going to do this but slowing down is my intention for 2012.
This is my dog Poncho and his new Vet Dr. Cynthia Steele, whom we both love.
He’s getting old.
He has lumps and bumps and not as much energy as he used to have. Recently he has developed a strange problem with his eye. I hadn’t been happy with my current vet and I needed to find a new one. I was not looking forward to taking my 11 year old dog to a new Veterinarian office. I was afraid they were going to over prescribe treatment for him. Also, Poncho is not a big fan of going to the vet, he gets very stressed & doesn’t like to sit still. It usually takes 2 or 3 of us to hold him in place for an exam.
Someone suggested we try a mobile vet. I had no idea mobile vets existed. A mobile vet is a doctor who does house calls. They come to your house to examine your dog. Way less stressful for you and your dog.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the mobile vet I called but what I got was an awesome vet! Cynthia and Maureen (nurse) showed up at my door and greeted me with a hug. Poncho instantly loved them. He thought friends came to visit just him. They spent a whole hour examining Poncho and talking with us about his health. The cost of the visit was only slightly more than a trip to the vet but the quality and care was 100 times better.
If you have an older dog or would rather have your vet come to your house instead of sitting in a stressful waiting room with a bunch of other sick pets I highly recommend calling Mill Valley Mobile Vet. Since she is mobile you don’t have to live in Mill Valley to use her services. She goes all over Marin and I think even to the city sometimes.
Cynthia Steele, D.V.M.
If you live in Mill Valley there’s a good chance you’ve met Annie (a.k.a. the one-eyed dog). Annie has been making her way around Mill Valley making friends for many years. Annie was also one of my hiking buddies. For a long time, Annie, Amy (Annie’s person), Poncho and I got up early every morning and went hiking for an hour.
Annie is no longer with us. I know she touched the lives of many, many people so I just wanted to give her a little space here to be remembered.
Annie was one of those dogs a book could be written about she was always getting in to something. If you knew Annie please feel free to share a story below in the comment section.
In memory of Annie. February 20,2011
Who do you call when your appliances stop working? If you live in the Marin, the answer is simple. Call, Tweet or Email Appliance Techs of Marin!
A few weeks ago my garbage disposal stopped working. I had a very old garbage disposal, at least 20 years old. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fix or change the thing myself. It was big and old and stuck. I thought to myself, who do you call to fix a garbage disposal? A plumber? An electrician? A handy man? Then I remembered my Twitter friends Mike and Nancy of @ATOMsanRafael and posted this on Twitter:
In less than a half an hour, I got the following response. I didn’t even have to pick up the phone! Who says Twitter is a waste of time?
Mike from Appliance Techs of Marin came out that week and put in a brand new, quiet garbage disposal in no time. I was so impressed with their work I asked if I could interview them for my blog. Everybody needs an appliance tech at some point. They do so much more than garbage disposals!
Where is your favorite place to hike or bike in the Bay Area?
Having a 6-day a week job doesn’t leave too much time for fun. So we consider ourselves little ‘homebodys’ who really enjoy our own neighborhood (Terra Linda/Marinwood) for both walking about, and the even-rarer, biking about. Very hard to balance work, our kids’ school & work schedules, and family obligations, with personal delights.
What is your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?
This is probably the hardest question to answer, because there are SO many wonderful restaurants around. I guess it really depend on the ethnic dish we’re craving on any particular day. We do find ourselves going back quite often to Sol Food, Jennie Low’s, Fish, Roadside BBQ, Chipotle. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
Favorite Coffee/Tea shop?
We are definitely bean lovers. Whole, not ground, please. Hold the sugar and ‘cream,’ but please add the Coffee-Mate … liberally. With so many variations of flavors & world regions they’re grown in, it’s actually quite fun trying a new one each time we run out of our latest pound of beans. We do explore a bit with different vendors, but gravitate more towards Peet’s because they’re local; home-grown right here in the Bay Area. The free medium drink offer when we buy a pound of coffee beans is always nice, too. What can we say .. Free is fun. And, supporting local business is really important to us.
Although, we can’t cross tea off our list either. Hate to admit it, but we keep a box of Lipton’s cold-brew tea bags in the cupboard, because it’s the easiest to make, and the taste is always refreshing. Yep, we’ll have a glass of tea, hot or cold, plain or sweetened, with or without lemon, thank you. Loose tea is fun, lots of flavors, too, but waaay more work than we have time for.
Favorite park for people and dogs?
We love Point Isabel park in the East Bay, because we can bring our dog, Mala, along. It’s really big, and they have a fantastic view of the Bay; lots of trails to roam, picnic tables and benches along the way. It’s free, but you have to get really creative with parking sometimes. There’s also a doggy shower in case your pup decides to get dirty or jump in the Bay (there is a fee), and a little shop for drinks and what-nots.
McInnis Park is another favorite park, because it’s local. Plus, we love visiting the Marin Humane Society’s dog park after regular hours, too. Mala loves being with the ‘pack’ and we love watching her play.
It would have to be Moylan’s in Novato because they brew their own, and we’re really big on craft beer (especially since the last stronghold, Budweiser, sold out to a Belgium company). We like trying different microbrews; we follow Lagunitas Brewing Co. on Twitter so we know what’s currently brewing in the tanks. And, basically, any and all micro-breweries that are not so well known get a big thumbs up from us. We love the little guys!
Favorite place to shop?
This is probably the category where we tend to go national, but really try to shop local wherever, whenever we can, even if it means spending a little bit more. For example, Ideal Stationers instead of Staples or Office Depot, that kind of thing. Craigslist is another favorite to shop from (For Sale categories we love include: free, clothes+accessories, furniture, materials, general, household, business, farm+garden). That website has been good to us; we’ve been able to sell & purchase several items. It’s fun to reduce-reuse-repurpose.
What do you love most about the Bay Area?
Fascinated with the micro-climates; absolutely love the stunning landscape of rolling hills, quaint towns, and picture-perfect water views of the San Francisco Bay; sports teams to watch and root for from every level of talent; innovative companies are born here; rock-n-roll legends are from here, play here, and live here; area farmers who share their goods with you and take time for conversation; and the best wineries and brew masters around! That’s what we love most about the Bay Area.
Favorite book store?
Boy, that’s like a dying breed these days. Border’s was a favorite hang out, but lately the store feels like it has way more ‘open space’ instead of bookshelves.
Dr. Michelle Gannon (aka @DrMichelleXO) is another Twitter friend turned real friend. She’s great! Michelle is very active on Twitter and Facebook, I love meeting professionals that “get” how social media works (ie. tools to build relationships, not just to broadcast yourself). Besides being a successful Psychologist, a wonderful mom & wife, and a super fun person, Michelle is a fitness freak inspiration.
Because of her expertise in relationships and exercise I asked her to share some fun fitness things to do around the Bay Area (with or without your partner). ~Sally
Dr. Michelle Gannon is a Psychologist in private practice in San Francisco working with individuals and couples for the past 20 years. She is also a founder of Marriage Prep 101, Award Winning Couples Workshops for Engaged, Newlywed and Seriously Dating Couples that she has led with her husband, Dr Patrick Gannon for the past ten years. The Gannon’s recently won the SF Bay Guardian Best of the Bay Award for Best Couples Counselor for the 6th year, and are often featured in local and national media. Michelle loves what she does, and she tries to practice what she teaches…
Below Michelle shares some fun ways to exercise in the Bay Area.
Hi Sally, It has been such a treat to meet you. As you know, I am a big believer that all of our relationships benefit from us taking good care of ourselves. For many of us, physical exercise makes a significant difference in our mood, and emotional and physical well being. For those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Marin, we have some great options for exercise. I am happy to recommend some of my current favorites.
Also, I wonder: If you are in a relationship, are you someone who likes to exercise with your partner? Or would you prefer to exercise on your own? I have tried both options. Since my husband and I both like to be fit, I thought it would be fun to exercise together. However, our different personality styles come up when we exercise. When we run or bike together, he actually wants us to be completely quiet. He likes his exercise routine to be meditative and introspective. No surprise to you that I like to chat if we are together. What’s the point of exercising together if I have to be quiet? Ha! So over the past sixteen years together, we have decided to do our regular exercise independently, and then come together for the occasional hike or bike ride. Also, since we have children, it has worked out well for me to get up early and exercise without him! When I spoke with the coaches at my current favorite gym, Tamalpais Cross Fit, they reported, “Exercise builds camaraderie with their spouses. Working out together gives new dimension to their conversations and how they spend their free time. They even felt closer after they exercised together”.
What about you Sally? Do you and Celia like to mountain bike together? Um, no.
Or do you have better times hiking? Exercise together or apart? I prefer to hike with my dog. She prefers to bike without the dog. We occasionally come together for a hike or a mellow bike ride along the bike path of Mill Valley & Sausalito. ~Sally
What are your favorite running, hiking or biking routes?
I live in Marin, and like to hike with my golden retriever, Max. The loop around Phoenix Lake in Greenbrae is one of our favorites. It only takes an hour to walk around the lake so you can easily squeeze it in no matter how busy you are. You can also make the hike longer by following any of the uphill trails. My office is located in Presidio Heights in San Francisco. One of my favorite running routes starts with a jump over the Presidio Wall, then a twisty run through the Presidio and along the Marina Green and Chrissy Fields. I enjoy passing by the Palace of Fine Arts, beautiful Pacific Height homes, and finishing by running up the Lyon Street Steps. It is indeed a challenging San Francisco route rewarded by breathtaking views of the city.
In terms of biking, we like to bike out to China Camp along San Pedro Road in San Rafael. In San Francisco, one of our favorite routes is to bike from the city, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and up the Marin Headlands. Of course, biking in Sonoma or Napa from winery to winery is another good way to spend an afternoon.
What is your favorite yoga studio?
I have a Sunday morning ritual of yoga and coffee date with girlfriends. We really like the classes taught at Yoga Works. Originally, I went to The Yoga Studio, and was hesitant about the change in ownership. The Yoga Works studios in Larkspur and Mill Valley have both kept their commitment to offer excellent yoga instruction in an inviting setting for all levels.
Any other exercise recommendations?
Every couples of years, I like to try something new for fitness. Two months ago, I began the most challenging workout program ever: CrossFit. Coaches Michael, Corey and Meshelle at Tamalpais Cross Fit encourage, motivate and support us in small group classes. They deliver an hour long high intense, constantly varied workout utilizing weights, gymnastics, plyometrics, running, rowing, kettlebells, pull up bars, and more. My fellow cross-fitters are the kindest, most encouraging fellow exercisers I have ever met. The coaches are also available for personal training, but I like the group support. We can moan and complain out loud here, and not get in trouble for talking!
Please consider making time to exercise as an intentional way to become more physically and emotionally fit. As an intentional way to work on your relationships, please consider Marriage Prep 101 or call Michelle at 415 905- 8830 for therapy, workshop or reading recommendations. You can also follow her at Twitter.com/DrMichellexo, Facebook.com/MarriagePrep101 or read her blog at DrMichelleGannon.com.
As you may or may not know my neighbor Amy and I are pretty dedicated hikers. We go out every morning (6-7 days a week) with our dogs for a hike. However on super rainy days we do not go. This is problem because hiking is what we do for exercise. I decided instead of being a wimp on rainy days I’d go out and buy some rain gear so at least we could still get out when it is pouring rain, even if we didn’t go on the trails we could walk up and down the winding hilly streets of our neighborhood.
I wanted good quality rain gear but I didn’t want to spend the money I would have to if I went to REI. Instead, I went to the Sports Basement in San Francisco. The Sports Basement is an awesome place for getting great deals on quality brand name athletic clothing. A few years ago I bought a big puffy down Northface jacket from the Sports Basement. I called REI first to compare prices and it was $50 cheaper at the Sports Basement.
The Sports Basement in the Presidio is located in one of the most beautiful spots in San Francisco. It’s right across the street from the Crissy Field Beach located below the Golden Gate Bridge. The views are breathtaking. You can see the bridge, Alcatraz and the city skyline. We were lucky because when we got to the store it was not raining so we took a walk on the beach before doing our shopping. The boardwalk was full of happy people walking, jogging, rollerblading, biking and playing with their dogs.
It’s fun to shop at Sports Basement. It has a very casual friendly feel. There are couches throughout the store and they encourage you to hang out and chat. There is even a play area for kids. Lot’s of community stuff going on there. I found a great rain jacket and a pair of convertible pants I love! We’re back to walking or hiking everyday and it feels great!
I have a clean doggie! I went to Woodland’s Pet Food & Treats and rented a bathtub (also known as a Pet Wash Center) for Poncho. He is now very clean and fluffy (and smells good).
The dog bathtub rentals are run similar to a do-it-yourself car wash. First you enter the fancy store filled with dog toys, dog food, and homemade dog cookies that look like human cookies, then you go to the counter and pay $15 for a dog bath. (Yes his bath cost more than my haircut but this is Marin where even the dogs feel entitled.) You then lead your dog up the steps in to the tub, clip him in with cables that are attached to the tub walls, put your token in the machine and begin the wash cycle.
First you rinse your dog, then move the knob to shampoo/conditioning cycle, then rinse again, and rinse some more to make sure you get all the soap off. Then use the blower to blow him dry. Meanwhile your dog looks at you like he hates you but in the end he comes out happy, fluffy, smelling and looking good.
Afterwards you walk through the fancy dog store trying to explain to your dog that all the toys and snacks on the shelf are not actually his.
Anyway, washing your dog on a Sunday afternoon at Woodland’s is a fun family activity for everyone but your dog.
Poncho is very good at expressing his feelings.
701 Strawberry Village
Mill Valley, CA 94941
I tried to take his picture after the bath to show you how clean he is but I think he is still mad at me. He refused to get up.
Did you know you can visit a sticker factory in the Bay Area? I was delighted to discover Mrs. Grossman‘s on Twitter the other day. Seeing her name sent me spiraling down memory lane.
Those of us that were children in the 70s and 80s were of the generation when stickers become the craze! Did you have a sticker collection? Was the collection in an album? I did! My favorite stickers were Mrs. Grossman’s because hers were the best quality and there were so many choices. I remember saving up my money, going to the mall with my friend and buying the stickers one at a time off the roll, they were .5 – .10 cents each. Then my friend and I would go home add them to our sticker albums and be armed and ready to go to school to show off our new treasures and to do some serious trading.
Since I no longer own my sticker album I did a Google search and found this blog about stickers. This woman was a serious sticker collector!
After discovering Mrs. Grossman’s on Twitter I followed her and found out you can visit their factory for a tour and discovered the factory is right here in the Bay Area! Mrs. Grossman lives right here and her stickers are made here in the Bay Area! How cool is that?! I immediately arranged for a tour.
Andrea Grossman started her home-based design business in 1979 from her dining room table in Woodacre, CA. Today Mrs. Grossman’s is housed in an 110,000 square ft. corporate headquarters with it’s own printing plant. The company has designed more than 2,200 different stickers and sells their products throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. -www.mrsgrossmans.com
When I arrived for the tour I was greeted by a friendly woman who gave me some stickers and walked me in to the room with the rest of the tour (I was a few minutes late). I joined the group and sat and watched a video about the history of Mrs. Grossman’s. I learned Mrs. Grossman has a dog named Angus who is the customer service representative of Mrs. Grossman’s. The first sticker ever made for individual sale was the big red heart. Mrs. Grossman’s favorite words are “I love my job” and everyone that worked there seemed to really love their job.
Mr’s Grossman is celebrating her 30th anniversary in the sticker business this year. The first sticker was made in 1979 and sold in a little store in Sausalito (right here in Marin County) called Pine Street Papery. I just checked and they are still selling Mrs. Grossman’s stickers! Their Website says they carry every single Mrs. Grossman’s sticker made. I think I might be stopping by there for a future blog post.
Mrs. Grossman’s recycles their waste paper and were certified green in 2009. She has also donated millions of stickers to childrens hospitals throughout the years. She allows employees to bring their dogs to work. The factory is located on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the water and hills. I almost asked for a job while I was there.
Mrs. Grossman’s son Jason who is now the president of Mrs. Grossman’s. He launched Pargaon Labels (a division of Mrs. Grossman’s) in 1988, it is one of the most successful wine and food label printing businesses in the County. It was also Jason who began the tour idea. The sticker factory tour attracts more than 30,000 visitors a year. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting and have small children this is a super fun thing to do. Actually, you don’t even have to have small children, if you are a kid at heart or just want a walk down memory lane I highly recommend going for a sticker factory tour at Mrs. Grossman’s.
On Friday Nov 6 Mrs. Grossman’s heart stickers will star in “How It’s Made” on the Science Channel!
After the tour I met with Barbara Morino, the PR gal at Mrs. Grossman’s. She was delightful and shared many storiesabout Mrs. Grossman’s stickers saying, “Mrs. Grossman’s is like the Tiffany’s of the sticker”. I even found out that Princess Diana bought stickers for William in the 80s. Even the Gosselin kids love Mrs. Grossman’s stickers (you know Jon and Kate’s kids).
As you can see, I’m very excited about my visit to the sticker factory. I could go on and on about how fabulous my experience is but this is something I think you should try for yourself. The tour is free, your kids (and you) will come home with some cool stickers, you will get to see all sorts of neat machines that do amazing things and you will meet lots of happy people who love their job.
I’m off to go play with my new stickers.
I learned that stickers aren’t just for kids and are not just for collection. You can make some very sophisticated things with stickers (cards, gift bags, etc). You can decorate office supplies, drinking glasses and so much more.
I took so many pictures I uploaded them to Flickr so you can see all of them. Mrs. Grossman’s has a wall of fame showing all the stickers ever made from 1979 until now. You can see photos of the wall of fame here.
Mrs. Grossman’s is located in Petaluma. Check their Website for tour dates and times.
I’d love to hear about your memories of stickers. I’ve noticed that almost everyone woman I told about my visit to the sticker factory got nostalgic and shared some great stories with me. Do you want some Mrs. Grossman’s stickers? Post a comment below about a memory you have about stickers and I will send you some Mrs. Grossman’s stickers. To get the stickers you must post the comment before 10/31/09 and email me your mailing address (please write stickers in the subject). Be sure to tweet about your sticker comment too!
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If you are visiting the Bay Area or live here and are looking for a fun thing to do, I suggest spending a morning in Tiburon. Tiburon has one of my favorite views of the Bay. You could start with breakfast in Tiburon at at the New Morning Cafe or stop by Cafe Acri for a light breakfast and coffee or tea. The view from Cafe Acri is pretty amazing. Cafe Acri is located right on the corner of Main St in Tiburon.
After breakfast you could take a stroll along the water front and soak in the amazing views of the Bay. Whether it is sunny, foggy, cloudy or rainy you will still get a beautiful view.
Be sure to check out the fountain at the entrance to Main Street.
Main Street is a lovely little street full of charming shops and restaurants.
After perusing the shops, maybe tasting a little wine and having lunch you could catch a film at the Tiburon Playhouse.
Or if you are the more adventuresome type you could take the ferry to Angel Island and do some exploring.
Finally the thing I love most about Tiburon is that it is a dog friendly town. Many of the shops even have bowls of water set outside their doors to keep your furry friend hydrated.
And of course, if I had a Mini I’d totally drive it to Tiburon.
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