Hawaii Dreaming

DSC_5951Finally getting around to editing some of my old photos, and found this dreamy guy in my files.  Happy Wednesday everyone.

This post is part of the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.  Click here for a full listof participating bloggers.  


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My Life Beyond the Keyboard

DSC_7072Our blogs are a refuge. They’re a place where we live chronicled lives in high resolution, where our adventures are worth sharing and our dogs are perfectly socialized.  In my blog, my dog always comes when called.

That’s probably why I’ve hesitated to write this post, or even to continue with my blogs.  I left my blog, The Daily Toki, on something of a cliff hanger.  Moving back east! About to have a baby!  The date was permanently stuck on April 2012, perhaps because that’s the last date that could be called “normal” in this last year and a half.

Shortly after I departed on an Amtrak train (just for the heck of it) bound for Ohio, my husband, who is the smiling man often holding on to the end of the leash in my blog posts, felt ill and checked in with our family doctor.  As I made my way slowly across the country, the situation unraveled.  By the time I arrived in Ohio, my husband was in the hospital with a diagnosis of Stage IV Melanoma.  There had been no indication of the disease progressing in his body other than a nagging backache that we attributed to too much rock climbing.  My daughter was born in July.  My husband passed away in December.  There are no words to describe how devastated this loss has left me or those that knew him.

I initially looked back on these dog blog posts with a sense of ironic bitterness.  It was hard to stomach my obsession with chew toys and Toki photo shoots, in light of the issues that faced my family.  But as the months have passed, I’ve found myself wanting to revisit the silliness of my daily dog blog.  The experiences that I narrate on this blog aren’t frivolous.  To the contrary, they’re the building blocks of a life well-lived.  I look back on so many of these adventures with gratitude.  And I’m so happy that I was able to share them with my husband.

So I guess this means that I’m back.  Although I’ll probably post sporadically.  And my dog is temporarily living on the other side of the country with my parents (don’t worry, she’s having the time of her life on the farm).  But I miss you guys, and I’m glad I’m here.  And on that note, lets take a moment to savor it, the silliness and the escape of our chronicled lives, where our adventures are always worth sharing and our dogs always come when called.

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A Milo mat

Happy Friday!

(Thanks for the picture Josh P!)

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This was our day today:

Actually, this is a picture of an ongoing exhibition at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), called Metropolis II.

Chris Burden’s Metropolis II is an intense and a complex kinetic sculpture, modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city. Steel beams form an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of 18 roadways, including one 6 lane freeway, and HO scale train tracks. Miniature cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings. According to Burden, “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.”

It’s a fun exhibit — lots of zooming cars and moving parts.  I liked how there was a person standing and tending to the cars in the middle of the exhibit during our visit.  I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be part of the permanent installation, but there was something funny and apt about a full-sized person standing in the midst of the chaotic miniature cityscape.

I certainly felt like I was that guy today . . . We spent most of today prepping Toki for our big move.  Here was her/our schedule:

  • 9:30 AM – anesthesia-free teeth cleaning at Healthy Spot in Santa Monica
  • 10:3o AM – cleaning and packing up all of Toki’s toys, gear, food and sundries for the cross country drive . . . can’t forget her medical records!
  • 12:30 – one last trip to the beaches of Malibu, at the Leo Carrillo State Park (sigh)
  • 2:30 – a quick Furminator de-shedding session at the trailhead of the Zuma Ridge Trail (it’s so much easier to de-shed outside!)
  • 3:00 – a rattlesnake brush up training session . . . best done before leaving California (reputable rattlesnake aversion trainers aren’t common back east)
  • 4:00 – Grom ice cream at the Malibu Country Mart for the humans (with a taste for Toki) to celebrate
  • 5:00 – back home, and time to pack our stuff!!

I have some pictures from Leo Carrillo dog beach and the rattlesnake aversion training that I’ll post next week, but first, I have to recover . . . !

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I admit it, I’m a sucker for People Magazine, US Weekly, and the other celebrity fodder that lines most supermarket checkout lines.  My favorite features are the “Just Like Us” photos, where you can see stars going about their mundane business.  I’m not sure why I find it amusing . . .

So I was excited to discover that fellow dog blogger Shannon, at Her Dog Blog, has a new feature titled “Celebradogs“, featuring the furry friends of famous people.  Who knew Amanda Seyfried’s dog Finn was such a cutie?

My personal favorite celebradog has to be Jennifer Aniston’s Dolly.  She’s a Toki twin!

Uh, Jenn . . . where are you going with my dog??

I can totally imagine a doggie daycare scenario of that 90’s movie, “It Takes Two” (starring the Olsen twins) . . .

Does your dog have a celebradog twin?

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Mad Max

Spotted on Abbot Kinney.

He must have heard that GQ recently dubbed Abbot Kinney Blvd. “The coolest block in America“. . .

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Escape to the Druid Stones

In anticipation of our upcoming move, Josh, Toki and I have been hitting up all of our favorite spots in and outside of Los Angeles.  No greatest hits tour would be complete without a visit to the Sierras.  It’s our favorite spot for rock climbing, and Toki has been accompanying us there since she was a puppy.

Toki with her “bestie” Jeff

This weekend, we headed to Bishop, our home base for weekend climbing and bouldering trips.  We met up with some friends of ours for a day at the magical Druid Stones.  It’s an area perched on a steep hillside above town, with dramatic granite boulders and fantastic views.  The 2,000 foot climb from the valley floor is enough to deter the crowds.  And the strenuous hike makes it a great place to bring your pup for the day.  By the time you get to the top, your dog will probably be content to rest in the shade while you tackle your favorite boulder problems.  The lack of crowds also means that your pup can usually have the run of the place to herself.

Michelle on “Skye Dance”

Admiring the view of Bishop, California

Normally, I’d be climbing the rocks with everyone else, but this weekend, I stuck with Toki’s routine.  We found a comfy spot and watched everyone else climb, we played around on the rocks,  and when we got hot, we lounged in the shade and ate snacks.


It’s not bad, being Toki . . .

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