Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Friends

The other day, as I was watching my new derby friends skate around in circles at the rink for practice, I realized that I should really be using them as a more motivational tool in my life and really start being good about my diet and exercise.  One of my new friends Daya, lives near by and we occasionally carpool.  I suggested that we start getting together once or so each week and do something active. 

Yesterday she texted me and asked if Diesel and I would like to go for a walk with her and her pup, Dazzy.  We said of course! She and Dazzy met us over here and we walked Diesel and I's favorite loop.  Down the street, to the CRT, into downtown, down Grey and back again.  It was kinda late, but I knew we'd get through it pretty quick.  I think it took us just about an hour to do the full 3 miles!  That's some end of the summer speed right there.

The boys got along great, and I think Daya and I had some great conversation along the way too.  I look forward to more outtings with Daya and Dazzy this summer. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weird Winter

This has been the strangest winter I can remember.  The weather has been relatively warm, and we haven't gotten much snow.  There have only been a few days that I have needed to get up early (ok, who am I kidding I never get up early) to clear the snow/ice from my car.  Most of the time I am lucky enough to check my phone for the temp, and run out in my jammies and get it started up so it has time to defrost before I get in. I think the worst of the weather was a few weeks ago, it was a bit slick on a Friday night when Mikey and I were driving home, and then that following Saturday morning I needed to fight some snow and ice on my car and on the streets.

And today was no exception.  When I got out of work today, the sun was out, it as about 39°, and the dog was extra wound up! Mikey has been taking him for walks during the day since he's been off work these past few weeks. Unfortunately though, Mikey took a little spill down the stairs the other day and rolled his ankle.  Seems someone was expecting an afternoon walk. And who could say no to that smiling puppy face? 

It was a nice enough day but it was still a little cool, and getting cooler as the afternoon progressed.  I wanted to make it a quick walk, but still get enough distance in to make Dieseldog happy.  Leash strapped on, DieselCam rolling, GPS in pocket tracking our distance and time, we were off. 

Yea, I took a picture of the rest stop.
Headed down our street towards the trail, down the trail and past the Mastodon Site.  There weren't a lot of people on the trail today, and it was a bit muddy in some places, but peaceful still. It was the first time I had been on that section of the trail since they built the new stand-alone restroom at Leach & Adams.  It was a nice improvement over the Porta-John that had been their previously.  
We headed down Leach and it was just a little ways up the street that we came across my friend Andrea as she was driving home. We stopped to chat for a moment, but didn't want to hold up traffic.  

We kept on going, without much else exciting happening. Just as we got close to home we came across a lady with her rottweiler. She introduced herself and her dog, I believe his name was Zeus.  We made small talk about the boys and agreed that we will probably see more of each other as the weather warmed. 
It wasn't a very eventful walk, but it was just the right thing for a sunny February day. We don't always get a chance to take the time out for ourselves or to appreciate the weather when its not quite perfect, but definitely better than the alternative.  I'm hoping Diesel and I can start getting a few more of these walks in.

Oh, and yes, we did try the DieselCam again but I still need to work on stabilizing it.   I get more shots of his neck fur then I do anything else. That and it clips to his collar fine, but his leash pulls his collar around and then you end up with the camera on its side, and that really makes for a dizzy replay.  I'll keep working on it and hopefully I will have a neat video for you this summer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DieselCam: Field Test #1

I awoke this morning with the makings of a good sinus attack coming on. So I opted to call in, take some drugs, and sleep it off.  When I got back up a little later in the morning, I was surprised to see that it was 45° outside, and partly sunny.  I called Mikey, and asked him how the weather was and asked if I should take the big, sleeping beast out for a walk. He thought the fresh air would do us both good. 

Considering that when this week first started out, we still had snow on the ground, and now with this sudden warm front moving in,  and the rain this morning, the neighborhood was an absolute mud pit.  Living on dirt roads has a few advantages, but the mud, lack of a decent snow plow, and the enormous potholes, are a few things that really make it not so much fun. And definitely makes taking your mutt for a walk more of a challenge. 

Well, I thought it would be fun to see how well walking Diesel in his boots would be.  A few years ago, Mikey and I bought Diesel some boots after we had gone out on Lake St. Clair while it was frozen. The top layer of the lake was an icy slush and we didn't realize until it was too late, that while Diesel had been running and chasing the four-wheelers and snowmobiles, his little paws were getting sliced open.  

So here I get the great idea, its muddy, lets put the dog in his boots so I don't have to clean up an awful mess when we get home. It was hard to get a decent, picture, but this is Diesel in his boots. It wasn't too bad to get them on him, once he put two and two together and realized that we were going for a walk, he was patient enough. Only doing one lap around the living room between getting each one on. Once we were on the road, it was even muddier that I thought it would be!  I decided to take the small route that has quite a bit of paved surfaces to try and limit the amount of dirt I would be cleaning later.  Of course the boots don't fit all that great, and so I had to stop probably six times to pull them back up and secure them.  And in the process, getting mud all over my hoodie and jeans. But we kept on trucking.

I also made the fun decision to test out my new collar cam.  I purchased the Dogtek Eyenimal Digital Videocam for Pets about a week ago, and today is the first day the weather has cooperated enough to want to use it. Having only really used it the one time, its going to take some time to get right.  It's not one of those things you can just clip to your pets collar and away you go.  My first mistake was attaching it to the wrong part of Diesel's collar.  I forgot that the weight of the clasp on the leash was going to rotate the collar, so the first 10 mins of our walk is at a 90° angle, and it eventually rotates all the way to the back of his neck and is staring straight at the sky.  And only then did I notice that. I moved the camera, and started again, only now it was facing the ground. Another adjustment. Better. It eventually rotated a bit more, less than a 45° angle and stayed like that for the rest of the walk. The other problem was that his neck fur was constantly obstructing the view. And with every step he would take, the camera would bounce in and out of his fur, also forcing the camera to have to auto-focus every few seconds.  Needless to say, it wasn't a great first walk.  The footage was hard to watch, and if you get motion sick easy, it's best not viewed at all.  

Because I know some of you may be curious about how it turned out, I did cut a one minute section off of our final 7 minutes of recording time and posted it to YouTube.  You can check it out below.  Any suggestions you might have to help stabilize it would be appreciated.  I am thinking I may buy a harness for him, and attach it to the front of that. Not really sure yet. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mild Winter Day

I am one of those people who come November, I usually stop doing fun things outside.  I hate the cold.  My toes always get cold first and then I feel miserable. And I am not that big of a fan of snow either.  Snow always manages to find its ways onto my bare skin, ya know, either up my pant leg or down my cuffs.  However it does it, it does.  I am also one of those people that hates wearing coats.  I don't like being all bundled up in a restricting jacket, add gloves, a hat and a scarf and I feel like I am suffocating. These are the many excuses I have for why I don't take my poor Diesel dog out for walks in the Winter. I am going to try and work on that this year. There is no reason I can't take him for a quick walk every now and again.

Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us one of those weird, random breaks from the cold this week. Yesterday, I believe temps where as high as 56° here in Metro Detroit.  Which for January, is warm.  The sun was out all day, and melted away all of the remaining snow from the past weekend.  The sky was blue and there wasn't much of a breeze, it actually looked as if it was welcoming everyone out to enjoy it. 

As soon as I got home from work, I located the leash, and walked around out back to find my puppy.  Diesel was overly excited! He's not one of those dogs that jumps up on you usually,or on to the fence even. But boy oh boy, was he excited! He was going for a walk and he was happy! Once I was able to finally get him to back away from the gate so I could open it, I clipped onto him and we were off. 

Clinton River Trail 1/6/12
The road of course was a muddy mess, and Diesel nearly dragged me all the way down it. He was walking so fast, we actually passed another dog walker.  I had to convince him to slow down for the sake of my shins once we got to Auburn.  I was hoping the trail wouldn't be too muddy either, considering that it sits on top of an embankment from where the old train tracks ran.  And sure enough, as we reached the trail, we stopped and waited for two joggers to pass us by.  It was a good day to be outside.

I don't know if it was the weather, or just the excitement of being out on a walk, but it seemed like we couldn't walk 50 feet without having to stop so Diesel could investigate some smell he had found.  That dog had his nose to the ground almost the entire way down the trail.  At one point he had stopped so dead in his tracks I nearly fell over.  Sometimes having a leash that connects at your waist isn't a good thing.

Diesel stalking a squirrel
We walked the trail to downtown, and crossed Auburn on to Grey like we usually do.   There weren't too many people out on this stretch but we did pass one other dog walker along the way.  I actually expected to see quite a bit more. What we did see however, were squirrels.  Lots and lots of squirrels. And Diesel knew it too.  It was a welcomed break from all the sniffing, now he was searching the trees and yards with a keen eye, looking for his favorite little creatures, hoping I would let him off his leash for a good chase.

It started getting cooler once the sun started going down a bit more.  We continued down Adams and crossed back over into the neighborhood.  We met a man on a bicycle who had just moved into the area.  We chatted for a bit about the nice system of trails in the area and all of the good neighborhoods to cut through.  He said we really had a good town here.

And that was it for our first walk of the year.  Sure is nice to go out on a January day wearing just a fleece and a scarf. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate some more this winter and Diesel and I will be able to go out again like this. And like this I mean without feeling like my ears and nose are going to fall off, or having soaking wet pants from all the brown icky slush.  Oh what can I say, I am just not a fan of Old Man Winter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello Readers! I know it has been a long time since I last wrote, and for that I apologize.  When it started getting cold out and Diesel and I weren't taking as many walks (ok, any walks) I didn't have much to write about.  But with the new year upon us, I would like to write more.  I have made it a goal of mine to write every day in 2012.  I have the mobile app and there is no excuse for me not to get something written, and it also helps that I have 3 blogs.  So, with that being said, if you have stuck around this long, please keep reading.  2012 is going to be a good year and I can't wait to share it with you! I leave you with a pic of Diesel and I in the car on the way home from up state New Years Day.  (Yes, he has a funny smile thing going on, I think its from the car ride).
Happy New Year from Diesel and I!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Warm October

It seems that for the past few years, it has been staying warmer come October.  At least it has here in Michigan.  For instance, this week we could see a high of 80° on Saturday. It has been sunny and nice out all week so far, which has been an amazing change from the cold and wet of the previous weeks.  

Just yesterday, when I got home from work, it was 70°, not a cloud in the sky and I just couldn't resist taking Diesel out for a walk.  And being that it was so nice, I decided to wing it and just walk for the pleasure of it with no real route in mind.  

Along the CRT - East of Adams Rd.
We had to start out on the Clinton River Trail like always, because I couldn't pass up the opportunity to escape from the asphalt and surround myself with the peacefulness of the trail.  As I was enjoying the many new fall colors to be seen, Diesel was busy searching the trees for squirrels.  The squirrels have been super busy lately, running in and out of the walnut trees, and barking at one another.  It didn't take long for him to spot a few black squirrels and we saw quite a few fox squirrels as well.  
Downtown Auburn Hills

Once downtown, I was happy to see that new flowers had been planted along the road way, really capturing the essence of autumn.  Downtown Auburn Hills sure has come a long way since I was a kid, but one thing I can count on is a quick soft serve cone at the Twist & Dip.  It may not be run by the same owners, or carry any fancy ice cream flavors, the Twist & Dip has always been a nice place to get a cold treat on a hot day.  Today wasn't exactly hot, but it sure was nice, and there aren't going to be many more days like this!  Diesel got his usual of a doggy dish; small bowl of vanilla with a doggy biscuit, and I just got a baby vanilla cone to satisfy the craving.  After all, we are out walking for our health.

And since our health is important, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to add a little to our route and see how a detour would be.  We first swung through Riverside Park, walking along the river bank.  One of my favorite places in Auburn Hills.  The park may be small, but it has a nice trail along the riverbank, a play area, a nice gazebo, a pavilion, and restrooms.  A great place to enjoy lunch, or an evening downtown.  They have hosted a few different events at the park, most recently the Clinton River Trail Fall Classic that I participated in, as well as an Annual Exchange in the spring, and concerts on Fridays during the summer. 

The Clinton River
Not ready to head home yet, I thought it would be nice for Diesel and I to head down Squirrel Rd, and make our way back to South Blvd, and then Adams going that route, I figured it would add at least a mile to our walk.  It's funny how the simplest things can have you reflecting back on fond memories.  And its not like I haven't been down these roads before, I have many times in fact, but there is just something about walking the sidewalks where I used to ride my bike as a kid, really can bring a smile to my face. Even after a not-so-good day of work. 

It started to cool down and Diesel and I made our way down South Blvd. and I was glad I had worn my hoodie.  Even though the temps have been nice during the day, as soon as the sun sets, you are reminded that it is October in Michigan.  One last picture I took along our walk really sums up what I love about this time of year.  And maybe it can be the motivation I need to hang the Halloween decorations. (Trust me, 80° this Saturday is not going to make it very easy.)  So I leave you with this, a beautiful shot from the corner of Adams & South Blvd. 

I just love the colors of the trees right now. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Bit of Fresh Air

Sunday night I started to get a stuffy nose, and sure enough come noon on Monday I had a full blown cold in the works.  I left work early on Monday and came home and got some rest.

Today, still not feeling the best I decided to call into work. Diesel and I spent most of the morning snuggled together in bed.  He will take the spot of anyone who has left it. And besides taking up a lot of room, he's quite the cuddler.  As a matter of fact, as I am writing this, he has just awoken from another nap and has come walking down the hall from the bedroom stretching his poor legs.  Such a lazy dog if we'll let him.

Around 1 o'clock or so today, I couldn't help but notice just how awesome it was looking outside.  The sun was out, the sky was blue, and I could tell there was even a bit of a breeze.  A quick peek at the weather on my phone confirmed it.  Should we go for a walk? Will it make me feel any better? Could it actually make my cold worse? I just couldn't resist it though and I got my stuff together for the walk.

I got some water for us, and ate a quick banana while he finished his breakfast. He could tell something was up.  And sure enough, once he saw his leash he was ready to go.

I love all of the colors that come out in the fall
We took it nice and easy, and headed on down to the trail. Avoiding the millions of potholes that fill my street.  It always surprises me how many people are out on the trail in the middle of the day, but its good it gets its use.  We walked down the trail a bit and I was starting to get worried I was wearing too heavy of a hoodie, but I think it worked out ok.

The Clinton River in Riverside Park - Auburn Hills
We stopped at the Twist N' Dip and got Diesel a dog dish, which will probably be the last of the season.  I ate a nectarine I had stashed in my pocket and then we continued on.  I thought it could be a nice day to head into the park again and see how the river was flowing.  As we walked on down the road we stopped and chatted with a man outside of Duffy's that thought Diesel was a great looking dog.  Not to brag, but he is!

At the park, we walked along the river, and stopped to see some ducks.  The park was pretty quite today, with kids back to school.  The lunch crowd had started to thin out a little as well.  After we hung out there for a while, I decided that we should get on back home and rest for a bit. 

And rest we did!  Diesel took a nap while I watched a few episodes of Buffy on Netflix.  Now the nice weather has shifted to rainy and cloudy, but that's autumn for you.  At least my mums are getting water, and they'll continue to fill out my planter boxes a little more.  I love looking out the front window at all the awesome fall colors as they change day to day.