Friday, October 5, 2007


I really enjoy my Fridays. I get off from work a little early and usually grab Ayla to go have fun somewhere. Most of this past summer we went to Shadow Cliffs, part of the East Bay Regional Parks system. The main lake has a swimming beach, fishing docks, boat rentals, grassy picnic grounds, and probably a ton of other stuff. But I haven't really been there, because if you go over the hill on the other side of the parking lot there's a bunch of little lakes and dogs are allowed to be off-leash. That's such a rarity, the grail search of dog owners out here, a place where your dog can run unfettered by nylon or leather leads.

So today we headed out to Shadow Cliffs for what will probably be one of the last trips till next season. Ayla loves going here. She really likes swimming, or her approximation of it. She often makes friends with the other dogs we see and I've met some interesting and mostly nice people. They're not always nice though.

A couple of weeks ago we went, and there's one beach area that Ayla can use to get in the water. All the other areas have drop offs and she's a bit wonky and can't handle them. So we're playing fetch in the water, she's splashing about and having fun, when two fishermen come up behind us. One sets his tackle on a table a ways back while the other continues on. I nod my hello and continue playing with my dog. A few minutes later the remaining fisherman comes up behind us, rod in line. In disbelief, I ask is he's planning on fishing here, to which he responds, "Yes, its the only clear space [its not the only one, he didn't want to walk farther]." I say, "Yes I know its a clear space and the only one where my disabled dog can get in the water." "Hmmph," he says, readying his cast. "Well, I guess we'll leave," I say. "Oh you don't have to," he responds. "But I don't want my dog getting hooked on your line," I say. "Hmmph." "We have to go now, Ayla," I say and lead her away while she's looking behind her.

What? Why would a fisherman want to fish where a dog has been swimming? There's not going to be any fish there! And why would someone push their way in where someone else already is? What happened to first-come first-served? I was just flabbergasted and left, though I wish now I had said something and stood my ground. Anyway, we walked a loop around and came back, by which time he had left, and resumed playing in the water.

That rant aside, it really is a wonderful place. Here's a little slideshow of pictures I took today:

Its been a nice relaxing day and a good start to the weekend. After Shadow Cliffs we came home and rested, then I did some grocery shopping. For dinner I made Giada De Laurentiis' Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce, which I watched her make last weekend and have wanted to do since. It was tasty but turned out more like a casserole. I think there's probably twice as much rice and lentils in the recipe than there needs to be. Two measly eggs and some mozarella isn't enough to bind it all together, like Giada's was on the show. Chris liked it and the checca sauce, so I'll play around with the recipe and get it to work right. Oh, and don't serve it with mashed potatoes. Can you say carb overload?

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