Dog (sitting) Days

Does anyone know the meaning behind the term “dog days”? The phrase has become a lot more commonplace since the release of Florence and the Machine’s song “Dog Days Are Over” but obviously, this isn’t the first time someone’s used the phrase. When the title of this post popped into my mind, I had to find out. I have a bit of an obsession with knowing the origin of colloquial phrases.

Dog days are associated with the hot weather while the star Sirius is showing. Sirius is referred to as the “Dog Star” because it’s the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. The dog days are generally considered to be July 24 through August 24, so we’re not quite there yet.

My parents were out of town this past weekend for a vacation. They normally bring their dogs with them on road trips, but this time they weren’t able to. When my mom asked if I would be available to help, my answer was a resounding yes! I love those two pups so much.

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My parents adopted Gracie around 10 years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school. My mom and I had wanted a dog for so long, but could never find the right one. There was a long list of requirements for the dog we adopted; under 30 lbs, short haired, female. When my mom found Gracie in the shelter, she instantly fell in love, even though Gracie was way bigger than we had originally wanted. Gracie was found wandering the streets of Hollister. She had a previous owner and was even microchipped, but the contact info on the microchip was out of date. We lucked out with Gracie, for sure.

Miles was originally my dog. I adopted him in college, but when I moved back to the Bay Area, I realized that he would be a lot better off living with my parents. My work and commute schedule keep me out of the house about 11 hours everyday, so Miles’ life is much better with my parents.

Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house after college, I’ve really missed seeing the dogs every day. It was great spending time with both of them this weekend. I took advantage of the time with them and took them out back for a photo shoot. It’s really difficult to take cute pictures of dogs, but I got a few winners.

I also took advantage of my close proximity to the Willow Glen Farmer’s Market, and picked up some fresh berries, carrots and arugula. I was so tempted to buy all the fresh produce, but I’m only one person and I can only eat so much.

Fresh produce, long days, long walks and sunshine are my favorite parts of summer. Now that it’s here in full swing, I’m taking full advantage. What are you all doing to get your summer started?

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April and Most of May: A Month in Moments

What a great couple of months I’ve been having! It’s been summer-y here in the Bay Area since February. I don’t know about you, but it feels like I overbook myself every summer. Maybe it’s the extra hours of daylight, maybe I just notice it more in the summer.

This April was great! I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of the month and got an awesome new camera. I’m still getting used to it, but I’m having a lot of fun. Most of the photos in this post were taken on the new camera.

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My mom always gets special balloons for every birthday. This year, she got me this adorable elephant and this music note.

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My sister had a “backyard-warming” party of sorts on a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco. She has been working on this backyard for a while, and I think it turned out amazing. The space is so comfortable and practical, but also totally modern and bright. The babies were mostly just interested in all the cameras around, as you can see.

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My mom also recently purchased the exact same camera I was gifted, so we took the opportunity to take them out for a spin on Memorial Day weekend. We took some photos of the charming houses in Willow Glen. Unfortunately, it was pretty bright out, so the photos didn’t turn out fantastic. Still not bad for a first try at all. Next time I’ll be sure to look for a more overcast day, or go out earlier in the day.

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We finished our expedition with lunch and frozen yogurt. I have never been to the new Stumpy’s in Willow Glen, and they have gluten free hamburger buns, so we stopped there for some burgers, fries and tots.

All in all, the last couple of months have been great. I’m so excited to keep exploring my new camera. Are any of you guys new at photography? Any tips from some more seasoned pros?

Ojai Vacation Highlights

Two weekends ago I went on a family trip to Ojai to celebrate my stepdad’s birthday. You got to see a sneak peak of the beautiful view in my last post, but I thought I’d share a little bit more about my time there.

We rented a giant house in Ojai Valley with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. My mom, stepdad, stepbrother, stepsister, brother-in-law, nephew, aunt, uncle and all stayed in the house with 4 dogs.

Ojai House

My stepbrother and I drove down from the Bay Area together on Thursday night and arrived around midnight. The following day, the boys went out to do some kart racing while the ladies and Archer (my nephew) stayed around to prep for the party that night. My stepsister, Emilie, and I were in charge of inflating balloons. Archer helped a bit by choosing the balloon and ribbon colors. He really enjoyed them, as you can see.

Archer Balloons

We did our big birthday celebration of Friday evening. We were joined by my stepdad’s stepsister and brother-in-law (is my family confusing you yet?) I was in charge of making salad, which was a huge crowd-pleaser. I swapped out pomegranate seeds for dried cranberries and added avocado. Seriously, you’ve got to serve this salad next time you have a party. I would have eaten only that all night if need be.

My stepdad requested that everyone bring a slideshow of about 40 photos to share with everyone. It was really cool to see my family’s photos, hear their stories and see what memories they all cherished most. Our gift to my stepdad was a painting of his choice by Ventura artist Hilda Kilpatrick-Freyer. We went to Ventura for lunch on Saturday and got the chance to check out her amazing apartment/studio. Can you believe this view?

Ventura View

We all departed on Sunday. It was really only a 3 day weekend, but it was packed with so much, it went by too quickly. I was so exhausted afterwards and so ready to sleep in my own bed. Here are a few more memories from the weekend:

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More views from our rental
Bathtime
Bathtime!
Obligatory foot photo
Obligatory foot photo