Tuesday, January 28, 2014

They Had a Falling Out

I awoke this morning to find Mabel Lou all scrunched up by the pillows, giving Baby Lou the vast majority of the bed. I have no idea what happened during the night, but it seems they had a falling out. And Baby clearly won!

UPDATE 1/29/14: The girls apparently made up last night! I awoke at three am to Mabel and Baby wrestling! There was much kissing and cuddling when it was all over!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Greenies from Mr. Chewy

Chewy.com sent us another package to review! This month it was Greenies Regular Dental Treats.

So com'on Mom... let me see the goods... And geez couldn't you have moved the laundry for my photo sesh?? Oy! These humans!

Ok ok... so they come in a nice hermetically sealed package. 

Mom sorta tore into the packaging so here's what it really looks like:
They are kinda cute... Mom says this is what a toothbrush looks like. I don't remember...it's been that long since she tried to brush my teeth! Mom got frustrated cause all I did was chew the chicken flavor toothpaste off the toothbrush! But my doc wants me to have a dental treat... so it was good to try these!

They smelled so neat, I ran and buried one! Mom didn't get a good shot of that cause we were in a tiny space between a tree and two walls - I'm crafty that way! Mom tried to dig it up but she couldn't find it...even after taking pics of me burying it! My burial skills rock!

But I was really surprised when she gave me a another! 
So I tried it! NOM NOM NOM...They were a little hard to chew...but I think that's the idea.

 I'm really working it here:
Mom was quite proud of me. She said I "hoovered" all the little pieces parts up really well! I give them four paws up! They were really tasty and I had to work at it and chew them quite a bit! 

And as always, we're so happy that Chewy carries them! We love Chewy around here!

BTW, Mom wants me to let you know Chewy is having a giveaway this month... click that linky thing below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creekhiker was not compensated in any way for this review. Mabel Lou was given a free bag of dog treats to eat - or not - by MrChewy.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Only In L.A.

Los Angeles can be such weird place to live sometimes. From amazing quiet beauty to loud, proud and downright strange. It's often a study of dichotomy.

I awoke to fire in a beloved place this morning. Not really a surprise with the winds we've been having. But, there's some tug at my heart; a deep sadness when some place I love burns.

This is a new place to me. I only saw it for the first time during Christmas. It's a favorite fishing hole of an old college buddy and we spent an afternoon exploring there less than a month ago. And today, it's on fire.

And you just have to love our local yokel news station. The news casters spend a lot of time talking about nothing and they are certainly less polished than their major network affiliate counterparts.  But in the end, they tell more local news than any other station here. So they are THE choice for morning news. I would leave the channel on all day if it didn't devolve into the endless bleeps and shouting from crap tv like Maury and his baby daddy seeking ilk.

On a day like today, with "major breaking news" they broadcast the fire news all day. That is...until it was time for the red carpet walk at the Critic's Choice Awards (what the heck is that?). Then the major breaking news was all about "Who are you wearing?" and "What does it mean to be nominated?"

Only in La La Land.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Here They Come

I've been trying in vain for weeks to capture our friend Sue giving Mabel a hug and a kiss when they first meet. Sue is really fast, so I haven't caught it yet. 

They are always so excited to see one another!

I love how Hank comes leaping in for a greeting of his own!

This pic was taken a few days before the series above. Just look at the sweet kisses Sue gives her pal!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Oh Just Get Over Yourself!

I've been terrified of this post. I was petrified about what to write. Yes, I've hit post number 1000. It just feels like I should write something profound or interesting. But in the end, I've decided just to get it over with!

No, I had no idea what this blog would do to me back in November of 2006 when I started this journey. I gave it very little thought. I had been reading Velvet's blog and many on her blog list back then and after cautiously commenting on some, I felt I had something to say and took the plunge. I never dreamed it would lead to 1000 posts. I never really thought I had that much to say!

Mabel Lou the Super Model (photo by Rottrover)

Knowing I would hit 1000 (I thought it would be last year), I started a page (never published so don't bother looking!) called Essential Creekhiker. It was to feature one or two of my favorite posts from each month of this blog. Which led to Essential Mabel Lou... because she is my co-star and #1 muse. I started re-reading this blog from the begining... I got bored before I finished three years! If it bores me, it probably bores you too...

But I was always a writer.

I wrote as part of my job creating bids for commercial directors. Ad agencies are incapable of understanding budgets and so a "sales" letter must accompany every bid. Often I would be sitting at my computer in some motorhome on the set of some commercial and the writers would be quibbling over dialog. I would spit out the fix over my shoulder and go on with my work. I can't tell you how many times that happened!

I remember writing an addition to Rodgers and Hammerstein's King Arthur on the fly back in high school when a temperamental make up artist caused Morgan Le Fay to miss her entrance.

When I left my "real" production job to go through surgery and run my own business, I didn't miss commuting or people. I missed writing. I joined a local writing group. It was a blast. I wrote some of my best stuff ever. But then the men in the group started fighting over every little comma  and almost came to blows. I was done.

And then came blogging. I've met a number of bloggers in person since starting this process. I was most star struck to meet Velvet... she's one of my favorite writers and I simply adore her.  And I've encouraged many others to blog.  Taking photos while hiking, I explained to my hiking buddy what "blog fodder" was and that she could see pics of her rotts on my blog.  She started reading all the dog blogs and even started her own. It still smarts that she gets so many more comments than me. But I blog about too many subjects to really worry about that.

The Unfaithful Writer Tries to Find Herself...

Yes, this may have been my first blog... but it's not my one and only. I quickly realized what a good business practice it is to have a blog. And I tired of posting beads and my sales stuff here. It felt sacrilegious!  So I started a bead blog. I soon realized that the rss feed set up of a blog and places like etsy and artfire - that allows for instantaneous sharing when a new item is listed - would be excellent for a website! So after a few feeble attempts at my own dot com for my glass beads, I restarted it using a word press template with a shopping cart built in. All because I had learned to blog! So, that gets us to three!

I manage a team blog for other bead makers. Four!

Because I am forever in search of a gig or way to make some money, I needed a place to stash some of my published work. So... writing blog! (Sorely in need of updates!) That's Five!

Along the way, another friend started learning how to actually make money blogging. Not just pennies but a living! I was already curious about some of the repeat hits I get on this blog. A post about taking the CBEST constantly gets hits. Another post on a long cancelled tv show that jumped the shark gets tons of traffic to this day. A rejected article I wrote for aol about gifts for pet lovers...tons o hits. The post I wish I had not titled "Doggie Porn" ... way too many hits (Ewwww! Creepy!!).

All of this led to my "retail adventures in blogging" trying to find a way to get a blog popular enough to make a little dough. Jump the Shark and Retail Rants and Raves were utter failures. (Six and Seven! OMG! I'm tired!)

I suddenly realized, I really "should" have a blog for my day job...food safe rubber stamps as too many bloggers were writing about the technique and leading to much misinformation that can get people sick. So... Food Safe Rubber Stamping started last year! EIGHT!

And finally... I found my niche with number nine. In March of last year, I was googling the terms "glass beads" and "lampwork" and realized that no ONE artist was EVER going to crack the "Chinese Wall" of garbage glass beads on the internet. But... if a bunch of us were to use ONE public site over and over, we could make it to the first page of Google. And Glass Beads Daily was born. It has been successful beyond my dreams!

And no, number nine won't be my last... I have at least two more up my sleeve!

I realize that blogging came along at just the right time for me. I was working alone and from home. It was a creative outlet that allowed me to promote my businesses and connect with others.

I think I only have two or three readers from the beginning and I'm happy they've stayed with considering all the changes this blog has undergone. And though my fingertips may wander... this blog is home. It's more ME than any of the others.

And just for the record:

This is actually my 1006th post...if you count drafts. There is a post for Mr. Chewy pending. A post about my New Year's Resolution which is starting to bore me. Both of those will see the light of day.

But I have others I'm not sure why I started:
  • A post about things I've had to rent. From the mundane helicopters, private jets, cranes and gorilla suits to the far more interesting submarines, reindeer and a working prison. 
  • A post titled What Not to do to the Dying - my way of lashing out at some of the stupid things people said and did while my sister was sick. I may never have the guts to share that. 
  • A Things that Make you go Hmmm... too short to bother
  • A post about the best day of my life... that has no point
So it's really post 1006...No big deal

But then if you count those others:
Fire Divas - 142
Holly's Folly Beads  - 681
Writer Holly Dare - 28
Retail Rants n Raves - 7
Jump The Shark - 4
Food Safe Rubber Stamping - 26
Glass Beads Daily - 278

This post is actually my 2,172nd post... I don't know what I was so afraid of. No big deal, really.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Termite Trails

Do you ever feel like your life goes in some kind of strange pattern and if you could just stop, pull back and view it all from a distance, it might - just maybe - all make sense??

That's what I think of when I see the patterns that the termites have carved under the bark of this fallen tree in the creek. I took a different path last week and found myself astraddle this tree and became mesmerized by the termites and their world. 

I need this. I need moments of wonder that have nothing to do with my own life. Moments free of the pressures...real and imagined. The need to earn a living. The loneliness of this life. The sadness of losing so many I have loved. The anger from changes I'm not ready to accept. The pettiness of people who value surface over substance. They wear me down and I need an escape... daily.

That is my biggest fear about any job. How will it work in winter when the sun isn't up til 7 and is gone by 4?

The other week, when I wrote this poem about Mabel, I was crying so hard. Not just because the thought that our days together are not nearly as long as I wish they were but because my Mom had tore into me that day. Instead of being able to write about that, I wrote about my love for my dog.

I was going to explain all that on another post from last week, but my muse apparently forgets just where she's supposed to lead me and when. Sigh... Silly Muse!

In true narcissistic form, my mother rarely asks how I am and it's even rarer for her to wait or listen for an answer. So imagine what planets must have collided that day for her to do both!

I answered that I thought I was getting a cold, which set my mother off.

Most days our phone calls consist of me typing and semi- ignoring her on my speakerphone as she rips into some relative's life. "Why does he do that? His ex-wife is a _____________! He ain't got no sense"... and on and on it goes. I do pay some attention...listening for any problems I may have to deal with but when her complaining and negativity and criticism of others gets too much for me to bear, I make up some excuse to get off the phone.

She rarely rips into me as I'm the only person who has anything to do with her. But my potential cold...

"You drag yourself out to that damn creek at all hours of the damn day to please a damn dog!"

Before I could begin to defend my life and my choices she tossed in, "And you could've had you a nice job in a warm building but no... You want to work in a damn cold shed..."

I wasn't in the mood to fight. I simply said, rather tersely, "I have to go."

I just sat here crying, hating the fact that my mother, my only blood family, has known me for 50 years and yet...she doesn't KNOW me. Nor does she want to.

If she knew me at all, she would know that I've been slipping off out in the woods for a good walkabout alone for...well, since I could wander off and trust that she wouldn't panic and miss me!

She would go visit her girlfriends... all of them lived on the edge of some wooded area... and off I would go. One lived through the woods from a drive in. I used to love to slip off in those woods on a summer night when I could still hear their voices but see the movie. My grandmother had 160 acres next door to my uncle's 60 acres. I knew every fruit grove and pond and dilapidated house on both properties.  My step-aunt and step-grandparents had back to back dairy farms and fish ponds on 70 acres. My uncle in our town lived on 60 acres of hobby farm land. My uncles in Denham Springs and New Orleans each owned triple lots. There was much to explore.

Even when I moved to LA, I wanted to explore my little section of town on foot. And as soon as I discovered our rugged mountains, I would go for hikes alone as often as I could. I would even drive home along Mulholland - the mountain road that straddles the peak between city and valley - after a hard day just so I could pull over and take it all in. And just breathe. I need that. I've always needed that.

Living in Argentina, working on a movie, I would walk the three miles to work as often as my over-protective driver would allow.  I would walk for dinner and if I could leave the office, I would walk to pick up lunch or to the pharmacy. Sundays, my coworkers slept til noon and we would meet for lunch and adventure. But I was always up by 5:30 for a walk to the docks for sunrise, through a garden, breakfast at the only pancake house I could find followed by a walk to the park and the graveyard. I loved the quiet beauty of the Recoleta Cemetary. I saw more of Buenos Aires than all of my friends put together. And I saw it on foot.

Walking takes all my fears and frustrations and puts them on a shelf. It is my daily time to breathe...just breathe. It is why, despite my weight issues, I have amazing blood pressure. Despite my penchant for sweets, my sugar is low. It is why I had pneumonia but had no idea... walking moves the crud out of your lungs!

And the only thing that has changed in my life is, as I've gotten older, I realized it's probably not safe for a woman to be out in the middle of nowhere all alone. And so I carry a phone and a dog. You see, the dog is for my pleasure, not the other way around. Yes, I adore that our walks make Mabel so very happy. But they make me happy. If they didn't, we'd be leash-walkers.
Like those termite trails, all roads seem to converge. Mine converge on the back porch, where my tennis shoes are waiting for another walk. That's the only thing that has ever made any sense to me.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Review: Smooches from Mr. Chewy

We were delighted to get to review another product from our fave pupster web supplier: Mr. Chewy. But with all the holiday rush, we just got around to it today! I hope this doesn't put us on the Mr. Chewy naughty list!

We were sent Smooches Chicken and Cranberry treats from the Honest Kitchen.

Needless to say they were a huge hit!

We decided to share our bounty with two of our hiking buddies from the Rottrover pack, Bart and Ruby. We all met at the creek. I brought out the Smooches and the pack was drooling in anticipation:
Aren't they just precious??? Even though we were with friends, The Queen Bee of Everything had to horn in and go first!

Then Ruby got to try them:

Patient Bart let the girls go first. What a sweet boy he is!

 And finally got a reward of his own (Check out Mabel Lou licking her lips!):

They were all anxious for MORE:
And then they wanted even MORE! Seriously, they would've eaten the whole box if we let them!
The Smooches have really good things in them. Yet again, a quality treat I feel good giving to my baby. The little heart shapes are perfect for Senior dogs that have issues with larger, harder treats.
 And Barty boy even posed for our product shot:

Creekhiker was not compensated in any way for this review. Mabel Lou was given a free bag of dog treats to eat - or not - by MrChewy.com

We are just two posts shy of 1000! The pressure of what to post is overwhelming and I may just take a self imposed break until I get over it!