Monday, July 29, 2013

Dog Friendly Restaurants: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Yesterday my friend Ellen and I headed out to celebrate her birthday.  The weather was nice so we headed over the mountain to Half Moon Bay to enjoy a brisk coast side walk after our lunch.  We wanted seafood and needed someplace dog friendly. Ellen remembered a previous trip, when we were Bizz free,  and we ate at Barbara's seafood (with no outdoor seating not dog friendly).  Across the street had been a restaurant that she recalled had dogs outside.  We stopped on our way at the Sunday Farmers Market a block up and went to check out the goods.  We were immediately told that Bizz was not allowed so I opened the car windows( a good 4 inches each), took off his leash (he is known to get hung up on it when he's left in the car for as much as two minutes alone) and promised him a fast return.  I cruised the market quickly and after a chat with a glass blower who is from New Jersey (Maplewood - right near my home town) and who also spent his summers on the Jersey Shore (Barnegat on Long Beach Island)we headed back to the car. There was a couple staring into my car and I thought god what have I done.  Then we started laughing. Bizz had curled up on the top of the back seat directly under the rear window and was napping. He looked like a cat.  I rescued him and after a long cat with the people who'd been watching him off we went to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

I give this restaurant 4 out of 4 stars. First off, they have a huge outdoor patio.  It is dotted with fire pits but also heaters are liberally distributed so you could eat outdoors on a very foggy morning win complete comfort. I was very happy in my shorts and t-shirt, no jacket required.  We were given a table with space so Bizz could stretch out next to it.  We were brought glasses of water while Bizz received a nice bowl.  There were a large number of groups scattered about with their dogs by their sides.  The men us large but not overwhelming. I had the best new England clam chowder in a bread bowl that I've had in years.  Ellen loved her fish tacos.  Bizz enjoyed a few bits of bread. I had decided not to buy him his own burger patty since I had snacks for him with me. 

I especially loved watching single people eating out with their dogs. It's nice to know I'm not the only person who talks to their dog like a person. One woman won my heart as she finished eating and said to her dog - that was lovely.  Are you ready to go?  Me too."  And off they went to continue their day.

The service was speedy (which is good since dogs do not have an unlimited patience with restaurants and Bizz does like to run up to other dogs), the food great and the atmosphere just lovely for a relaxing Sunday morning.  After that we went to the State Beach and did a long walk.  The only downfall was Bizz spotting an enormous group of horses and suddenly lunging.  I had him on a firm leash but he landed in what seemed like ashes and went from being my glorious little white dog to a black and white dog.  It was not a good look.  After dropping Ellen at home I brought Bizz back for a bath so he is once again my lovely little white dog.

So, highly recommend HMB Brewing Company the next time you and your canine companion are in HMB.  Also, the prices were very reasonable.

Saturday in the Park with Bizz

Bizz and I timed our outing on Saturday perfectly.  We ended up at our favorite dog park when there were loads of little dogs for him to cavort with.  Of course , being Bizz, he did not cavort. He did the routine and much required butt sniffing routine with all the other dogs but spent most of his time at my feet or very nearby - guarding me from all these interlopers who dared to approach me.  He did break periodically to bark like crazy at large dogs approaching the other side of the fence, returning to me with his tail high in the air and a self assured attitude that said, I told him.  All in all he was hilarious.

I ended up on a bench chatting with numerous other dog owners, all comparing stories of saving their beloved pets from shelters, dying relatives and the streets.  It's a rare thing to meet someone with a dog that they got from a breeder as a puppy and when they do they tell their story with an apologetic tone and a I'll get my next one from the shelter.

All the dogs have their thing - one dog will chase a ball but won't fetch it. One dog with amazing legs will fetch every ball thrown no matter who's master throws it.  Some dogs rough house and some dogs simply go from person to person waiting to be patted. 

What they all have in common is the absolute adoration of their human owners.  Like me they all feel very lucky to have found the right dog, their dog.  And of a single accord we all departed when it approached noon and the temperatures began to climb.

We walked out past the women prisoners who'd come to clean the park, the sheriff's bus prominently parked and the guards walking about.  The women all smiled at Bizz (he is the cutest dog) and I could see they wanted to pat him but we could not approach each other.  The lake was full of fish and ringed with fisherman - couples  happily fishing together, fathers and sons, grandfathers and their grandsons - all enjoying the lovely day. 

I love our Saturday mornings in the park, always very similar but no two exactly alike.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's a Small World After All...

Yesterday just proved to me that karma and something else is at work in the world, or the world is even smaller than I thought.  Here's the story.

About a week ago I received an email from KQED - the local PBS station. They invited me to order free tickets for a taping of a new series - Genealogy Roadshow.  I ordered two tickets and when I got my confirmation I asked my friend Marina to drive up to San Francisco to watch the taping.  She said yes so we planned to drive up on Sunday morning.

Two days later I heard from my second cousin Bonnie.  She and I have never met in person but her dad and I met at my grandmother's funeral 15 years ago.  We've emailed and done Christmas cards for years and of course we connected as soon as we could on Facebook.  Bonnie introduced me to yet another second cousin who is working on - you got it - the family genealogy of my grandmother's family.  Patrick and I started emailing and we had a wonderful dispute over my grandfather's name. He kept insisting it was James and I kept telling him that was not possible since I was actually named Jerri after my grandfather.  He double checked and confirmed I was right (and thanks to my cousin Nancy who checked with her mom to confirm my grandfather's middle name was John and not James).  So much genealogy stuff in one week - who would have thought it?

Anyway, yesterday Marina and I hopped in the car and off to SF we went.  We were early - we'd been told to get there about an hour early. Taping was taking place in the old Mint Building - which now a very cool museum.  We stopped to chat with one of the KQED folks and he told us we could wait in the waiting room or if we had questions for a genealogist we could ask. I looked into the room and I saw what looked like my friend Jean Hibben.  Jean and I met back in 1999 - when I had first moved to California.  We had friends in common and we had all decided to meet up in Tahoe.  I drove in through a horrendous late season storm.  Thank god I had rented an SUV since some of our friends were coming from the UK with a skiing tour group (even though none of them skied).  Jean, our dear friend Wendy and I shared one room at the hotel and we had a blast that weekend. 

Anyway, I know Jean lives in LA and I couldn't figure out if it was here or I was seeing one of those doppelgangers we all have roaming around. I asked the man who she was - he said - Oh that's Jean , the chief genealogist for the show.  I immediately went towards her with a big smile on my face.  Poor Jean, I could see she could not place me right away (context is everything when it comes to facial recognition) and she said, "are you with the McCormick Family?"  I told her no and my name and she jumped up and hugged me.  She had had the same problem I had - she knew she knew me but not in the context we were in.

We had a wonderful reunion, chatted about old friends, she told me about the show and how much prep work it is to gather the information which looks so easy on TV.  She did finally have to get to work, but I'm hoping we can see each other again soon.  Marina and I managed to get in on one episode's taping.  Amazing how much work it is, especially when everything has to stop every time a vehicle with a siren goes whizzing by (which in San Francisco seemed to be about once every 10 minutes). I learned a lot watching and we had a wonderful time.

The episodes of Genealogy Roadshow will be airing in September and October. If it does well they'll do a season 2.  Like Antiques Roadshow they will be coming to different cities so if you want it to come to your hometown you better watch it.

Here are Jean and I with big grins on our faces.

And yes, Bizz did have to be left home. Yes he was a maniac when I got back.  He did have Kelvin doing work around the house for company so he could have hung out and had a guy's day but he chose to spend it sleeping amongst his stuffed buddies.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Scandinavian Feet

I had to go to the podiatrist late last week, as part of my regular health maintenance.  I had purchased the walking shoes he recommended on my previous visit since my daily walking with Bizz was wearing out my shoes quickly.  He was pleased with how everything looked and told me I had great Scandinavian feet.  Scandinavian?  I'm 3/4 Irish and 1/4 German/French -depending on which country the region belonged to when my family immigrated. He explained that Scandinavian feet meant a broad sole of the foot, high arch and narrow heel.  Nice sturdy feet made to do plenty of walking.  Which explains why I have spent my whole life struggling to find women's shoes that fit properly.  My feet just don't fit into pointy high heeled shoes, never have and I am happy to say I never will try again.

I will admit - when I was diagnosed with diabetes my feet were my primary concern.  My great grandmother (also a diabetic) had undergone an amputation due to her diabetes and my step grandmother's brother had as well.  Plenty of reasons to control my blood sugar and keep on walking.  It's also why I never take my shoes off - at home or at other people's houses - protecting my feet is my top priority - though if warned in advance I bring slippers along.

So what does this have to do with Bizz?  Nothing much.  Though he does have an incredible fondness for my shoes and will often move them about the house to keep him company when I'm gone or bring them into bed with him. 

So how are your feet doing?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Little White Dog vs 3 Year Old

This Sunday I had to leave Bizz at home and head off to the beauty salon to get my hair done.  While there I discovered my hairdresser had brought her 3 year old stepson to be.  I found myself comparing Bizz and the three year old the entire time and realized they are more similar than you would ever imagine.

1.  The three year old repeatedly attempted to flee though the open door.  Susie had to keep one eye on him at all times since every time someone opened the door he'd attempt to take off.  Yes, Bizz does the same thing. An open door (or gate) to him symbolizes freedom, even though he has no clue what's out there or why he wants to go.

2.  A three year old has the attention span of a gnat - two toys were simply not enough for two hours.  Bizz is the same way.  He is endlessly roaming the house with his toys and abandoning them for something else.  New is best. 

3.  Three year olds have no compunction about demanding attention from everyone.  He approached every patron with the intention of engaging them in conversation. Bizz can't see a dog without immediately straining to engage.  Equally they both lose interest fairly rapidly.

4.  If there is a piece of furniture you don't want them on, well that's the one they will immediately climb on.  The three year old climbed on every piece - including the shampooing chairs.  Bizz would have done the same only much faster.

5.  They can make you feel terrible for yelling in a nanosecond.  Bizz has the most expressive eyes and so did this little boy.

6.  You spend a lot of time saying Sit and having the subject in question basically ignore you if there is something they find more interesting.

7.  What did you do?  Also an expression I am very familiar with.  At least the child can try to answer but mostly like Bizz he just would get big eyes and shrug.

The big advantage in taking Bizz along is that no one questions why he's on a leash.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Little White Dog in Summer

So now that the heat has really started here in sunny Campbell, CA I have had to learn more about dog care in summer.  Bizz is a very fluffy white dog and he can overheat really quickly.  I've had to figure out a few things and fortunately found some web sites and tv shows that have offered some helpful tips.

1.  Hydration - dogs can dehydrate very quickly.  I make sure Bizz always has a full bowl of water at home and it's full of ice.  I know that people who know me are very aware of my ice addiction in all things cold, but - dogs like icy cold water as well. Helps them cool off.  One show also recommended that you make a dog ice lick mixing water and chicken stock and freezing it so dogs can lick it.  Bizz and I aren't quite there yet since he does like to carry food to odd places in the house - I'm not sure I want a big block of frozen chicken stock melting in my bed.  I have also started carrying with me small bottles of water (available at Trader Joes) and I've trained Bizz to drink from a bottle. He laps the water out of the bottle or I pour it slowly and he licks it like he would from a faucet.  I now carry water bottles for both of us when we are out walking.  And at restaurants, outdoor cafes and even fast food places - just let them know you have a dog and ask for a cup or plastic container of ice water.  Everyone is incredibly obliging and helpful and I've never been turned down yet.  I am still in search of the perfect foldable container so if you know of one send me a comment.

2.  Walk at the coolest times of the day - Bizz and I do two longer walks during the day - one before 10 am and one after it gets dark (after 8 p.m.).  That way he can walk longer and the hot pavement doesn't hurt his feet.  Also, the advantage of California microclimates is that you can drive to a cool foggy place fairly easily - hence our explorations of Fort Funston and Carmel.

3.  Always have a shady spot outside for him to rest - we are very lucky to have two shady trees in our yard and a small overhang that provides shade all day.  Dogs can't be left out in a yard in full sun without anyplace to retreat.

4.  Frequent bathing - not every day but  Bizz does get a bath at least once a week (more if he rolls in something disgusting).  Dirt on a dog can cause them to get hotter.  Also, I make sure to wash his head and face each day with a cool washcloth to help him stay cooler.

5.  Don't expect them to eat as much. I was fretting since Bizz wasn't eating very much but I realized that like humans dogs feel the heat as well.  I make sure he always has access to fresh kibble and water and he still gets his wet food but in smaller amounts. 

6.  NEVER LEAVE A DOG IN A CAR - I am endlessly shocked that people will lock a dog in their car just for "five minutes".  Cars can heat incredibly rapidly and cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. I never leave Bizz in the car except at the gas station and there the window is open and I'm right outside of it talking to him. If you can't be making sure your dog is ok and comfortable then the best thing to do is leave him at home in a shady yard or cool house.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bizzy Unleashed

My friend Kathy's visit was awesome last week.  We cruised all over the Bay Area with Bizzy in the back seat enjoying the ride. It all culminated on Friday with a trip to the place I now consider Doggie Heaven - Fort Funston. Fort Funston is in San Francisco and was once an old military installation. It has now been converted to a park which allows dogs to be completely off leash throughout.  It includes hiking trails, fields, green grasses and a beautiful beach and overlook. 

Our morning started with the drive up to Fort Funston - a short 35 minutes from Campbell but a world of difference in terms of climate.  We went from hot and dry to foggy and cool which was lovely.  When we arrived the first thing I saw was dogs - lots of them. And all off leash.

Now the thing to know is that Bizz is a bit of a runner. He runs around in dog parks and the fenced in yard but I've never taken him off leash.  He has three times escaped from the yard/house. The first time through a hole in our fence which has since been patched. I discovered he was gone and found him fairly quickly - two blocks away attempting to break into a yard where several dogs were fenced in.  He did come back when I called. The second time he made it to the end of the block but he saw I was not following when he looked back (I was stopping traffic to try to keep him from getting hit if he ran into the street) and he came back to me when I called. The third time he ran around my car three times and I was able to catch him on the third pass.  So my fear has always been if he's off leash he'll take off and be completely gone.  Well Fort Funston was going to be my experiment - would he take off at a mad run never to return?  I was counting on getting him pretty far in and a lot of other people to help catch him with me if he didn't come back.

We walked in with Bizz on leash. The park is lovely and we went quite a ways in before I took a breathe and released Bizz from his leash.
He was terrific. He stayed within 20-30 yards of us the entire time.  The training we've done the last 4 months paid off. He would check over his shoulder to see where I was (if I was following him) and would wait if he was too far ahead. He came very time he was called. And most hilariously he would periodically run up to strange dogs and bark then come running back to stand between my legs.  Kathy said it was obvious he was brave as long as he had me to protect him. 
The best part for me was how happy Bizz was off leash. He could run as much as he wanted and it was amazing how happy he was.  Here are some photos - thanks to Kathy and her camera for the excellent shots.

We had a great time on the path, the beach, and all parts of the park. We will be going back at least once a month so Bizz can be unleashed and enjoy.  We followed our outing with a visit to Half Moon Bay then came home and crashed with a very tired little dog spending the night sound asleep.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bizzy vs The Golden Gate Bridge

I was really hoping to be able to report to everyone how Bizzy did crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. But alas, we arrived to discover a large sign that clearly stated no dogs on the bridge.  My friend Kathy and I were so disappointed - we had walked across the bridge and back several years ago and thought Bizz might be up for the adventure.  Instead we discovered a hiking trail that leads from the Visitors Center down to the former warming hut by the water.  Kathy and I got some great shots of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bizz had a good time and enjoyed what must be his version of a stair master.  He got a lot of exercise and lucky dog just pooped out in the car on the way home.

4th of July was not as much fun for Bizz - he's terrified of fireworks and we'd gone for a walk in Campbell when suddenly it was as if we were under fire from all directions. Poor little guy trembled for over an hour after we got home. I must admit I was none to calm myself.

Tomorrow I'll post on our biggest adventure yet.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beach Blanket BIzzy II - Carmel

So my friend Kathy Dear, who has known me since grad school, is visiting for the week.  We are notorious when together for loving to travel near and far.  So today we loaded Bizz in the car and off we went to our favorite place - Carmel CA.

Jerri:  I have drinks, towels, both leashes, a bowl, treats, toy alligator.   I'm ready to go.
Kathy:  We're going to Carmel, not the moon.
Jerri:  Never underestimate the needs of the tiny white dog.
Bizz:  Treats Now!  And where is my alligator?

Arriving in Carmel we found a parking space and hit the streets.

Bizz: So many trees, so little time.
Kathy:  I thought the purpose was to walk the dog - it's taken 10 minutes to go a block.
Jerri:  Bizz has to greet each tree in his own special way.  Trust me it will be easier on the way back.

Upon hitting Ocean Ave we stopped at one of the first stores because there in the window was what looked like a small painting of Bizz.  Kathy immediately went inside chanting Christmas gift while Bizz and I followed. He was greeted by both the store owner, the clerk and our fellow customers as the celebrity he is.  Kathy secured not just the picture (which is actually note cards) but several bars of soap that smelled divine. I have so many soaps in my stash I am not allowed to buy more until I use mine up.

Kathy:  Awesome place.
Jerri:  Bizz -they treated you like a star in there.
Bizz:  Their treats were not good.  I do not like crunchy treats.  You should tell them.
Jerri: I know, but they really liked you.
Bizz:  Was there ever any doubt?

We proceeded down the street with people actually stopping us to ask his breed and tell us how cute he was.  After shopping a while we decided it was time to find lunch. Dogs can not eat inside a restaurant however open patios do allow them.  We found a very handy map to Carmel which included a listing of all restaurants with those that are dog friendly highlighted.  The Hogs Breath Inn - Clint Eastwood's place - was dog friendly and my car was parked outside so we headed that way.  Upon arrival we were greeted with great enthusiasm by our waiter.

Waiter:  Will this table do?  (A lovely table in front of a fireplace).
Jerri:  Yes, thank you.
Bizz:  He was talking to me.  It will do my good man.
Short time later the waiter arrives with water - for Bizz.

  Kathy and I never did get any water.  We ordered burgers and I had them make a burger for Bizz - just what I thought would be a small meat patty since he hadn't wanted any breakfast.  Our burgers arrived.
Bizz:  Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me.
Jerri:  It's hot and all in one piece. I need to cut it up.
Bizz:  Mine, Mine, give it to me.
Jerri:  Try this piece.
Bizz:  Yummy, yummy.  I want Clint to make this for me every day.  More, more.

Our burgers were quite good as well. Bizz ate about 1/3 of his burger and the rest is in the frig for another meal.  He loved it.  The good news was he would walk it all off at the beach.

We arrived at the beach at the end of Ocean Ave and parked.  I had to double back for the poo bags and Bizz waited quite impatiently.

Bizz:  What is that smell?
Jerri:  That's the ocean - the salt, the sand, the sea air.
Bizz:  What's that noise?
Jerri: That's the ocean.
Bizz:  What is this?
Jerri;  Sand.  And the Ocean.
Bizz:  All mine.

Bizz was on his long leash and headed down the sand to the water.  At first he deftly avoided getting wet but then a wave caught him and got his feet wet. The look on his face was priceless.

Bizz:  What is THIS?
Jerri:  That's called a wave baby.  They happen a lot here.
Bizz:  We'll see about that.

Well, we walked all over - probably around 2 miles and by the end Bizz was quite happy splashing about.  We got him back in the car and ended our day with a long drive up Route 1 and over the mountain home.  I popped Bizz in the bath and got all the sand and salt out of his hair and he is now settled in for a long sleep. He was so tired he could barely take his evening walk.  Just wait till he sees what we have planned for him tomorrow.