Here are some posts that I shared with my Friends in the running group…
Happy new year! To all my old Friends, yay! I’m so excited to see you again! To my new Friends, Hi! I’m Oscar, and I’m the handsome feller in the picture. I’ve been doing this challenge for years with my life partner (who I named Mom), but this year I’ll be teaming up with The Grand Lady who is the pretty lady with me in the photo.They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but The Grand Lady is pretty darned old and she only just started walking for exercise a couple of years ago. Now she’s lost more than an Oscar of weight!This year we’ll be doing the challenge as a team and combining my running and hiking miles with her walking miles. We’re a team even though she lives way to the right on the map and I live way to the left of The West. Since virtual teams need to use the internet and neither me nor The Grand Lady are good at that sort of thing, Mom will still be here to help me tell my stories, and do all the computer stuff for us. Maybe this year that old lady’s new trick will be to learn to use The Facebook.
Oscar the PoochDecember 31, 2020
Maybe you guys can help resolve a family argument. I won’t tell you which side I’m on, but if you agree with me I get a cheese stick. So make sure you pick the right answer…January 5, 2021
You know how sometimes you’re running on your regular morning route and you smell a really stupendous critter? Not just a bunny or squirrel or whatever, but something really great like a deer, or a unicorn, or a mastodon…?
You don’t hesitate. You take off after him, right? Of course you do. But then your Mom is back there hooting and hollering because she’s feeling left out.
You guys don’t actually go back for her, do you? It would be totally unreasonable to expect you to turn around, right? I mean, she can’t run fast enough to catch a unicorn anyway, and if you go back for her you’ll lose his trail and won’t get to bark at him. What would she do if she caught a mastodon? Take his picture?
Obviously you have to leave your Mom behind, right? You can always tell her about it afterward.
Oscar the Pooch
There are some places that I can only take Mom on weekends, because if we go during the week we’ll be late to work. It’s not because the trails are really far away or anything. It’s because I’m such a handsome dude that Mom just can’t resist taking my picture in the places that look especially good behind me. The Trail at the End of the World is one of those weekend-only places where Mom can’t be trusted with a camera and a sunrise.The problem is that since we went out of town last week, we’re grounded for two whole weeks. Even though Mom and I took our house with us so we could “stay home” in 8 states, and we stayed outside away from people, she still had to go inside places filled with naked faces. And because Mom saw strangers’ noses and lips, now we’re grounded, “just in case.” That means we can only run on the trails where we don’t see many people. Not many people go to the End of the World on a Thursday, so that’s where we went.January 7, 2021
We had hardly run for a minute when Mom made me stop. “Oscar! Oscar! Look! The rock has stripes! Let me take a picture!” she said.
“That rock always has stripes,” I said. “Can’t we take a picture on a Saturday?”
“Okay. But look at the ocean! There must be a big storm out at sea! Look how big those waves are!”
I looked off the edge of the cliff at the same ocean we can see from our Stuck House. A wave was ker-plooshing against a rock and erupting spray high into the air. “Fine,” I said, sitting by the edge of the cliff and looking bored.
Mom crouched down to the angle where I look best, and stuck The Witch that Lives in Her Phone in my face. She scrunched up her face. “Damn. The land blocks the view.” She crawled around me, waving The Witch like a divining rod.
“Can we go back to running, please?” I yawned.
But no sooner had we jumped back over the safety wall and onto the trail when Mom noticed a rock out to sea. “Look! Look! Birds! Birds on a rock!” she gasped, clasping her front paws together blissfully.
I jumped back to the cliff side of the wall, and far, far below I spotted a pile of bird poo as big as an island nation. I lay down in the dirt like a majestic lion and waited for it to be over.
We also had to stop for: A tree on a hill, a hole in the clouds, fog, an ancient ruin covered in hieroglyphics, and the ocean.
When we finally got back to the car, a truck was stopped right behind it, trapping us. “Oh no! We’re going to be late to work!” Mom whined.
“Mom,” I said. “You have stopped to take 3 pictures of clouds, 9 pictures of the ocean, 4 pictures of rocks, 3 pictures of a hill, 2 pictures of an abandoned building, 3 pictures of the fog, and 4 pictures of the wind. That’s 22 pictures of my face, 7 of my butt, and 1 of my ear. Do you know why we’re going to be late to work?”
“Because of the truck.”
“No, because you don’t run fast enough.” Duh.
Oscar the Coach
I made a new discovery this morning! You might think that I would have discovered everywhere there is to run after running thousands of miles in My Hometown, but even after all this time Mom and I are still finding new trails and places to look at the same things from a new perspective, which makes them feel like new all over again.January 9, 2021
This morning we were running on a trail that we discovered after the world went on time out. We never used to run there before because it begins with a mile of steep uphill, and according to Mom, “Ain’t nobody got time for that dog doo.” But we were getting so bored with the same few trails last summer that we rediscovered it. At first it felt like a new trail every time because we couldn’t see our way around in the fog, and we got lost plenty of times without ever leaving the trail. The trail ends at a no-nonsense fence, which drives Mom cuckoo and not just because she never met a fence she didn’t want to climb to see what it’s hiding. What Mom hates most about the fence is that it’s 2.75 miles away from the car kennel, and she has to find a place to run a little extra to hit 6 miles, but she doesn’t want to run the extra distance uphill. My Hometown is infested with hills; even the flat routes have hills.
This morning she wanted to run even further than 6 miles, so we ran on the dead-end trail that we discovered last month, and then we ran the trail covered in horse poo that we discovered the month before that. Then we ran on the trail with the potty that we discovered a couple of weeks ago (a bathroom is always an important discovery for Mom), and then Mom we kept running into the unknown.
“Wait, what? This trail goes down the other side of the ridge! I thought that that whole area was fenced off…” she said, looking around and orienting herself by the hills and power lines.I looked down the hill to see what was in this mysterious foreign land, but everything was hidden in a fluffy blanket of cloud. “Let’s see where it goes!” I said.
“Weeeeeeeellllllllll,” Mom bleated like I’d suggested she take a bath. “We’ve already run 5 miles, and I don’t want to run 2 miles up this hill after we’ve run 2 miles down it. Let’s save this exploration for another day…”
“Yippee! More adventures!”
People tell me all the time that I live in a place that’s so much better for adventures than where they live, but that’s because everything is more exciting with a dog. I’ve had fun adventures sneaking through fences to break into Oklahoma, and lousy adventures high in the Cascade mountains. I’ve chased critters in the dog bathroom behind my house that are just as thrilling as the javelina I chased in Arizona, the big horned sheep I barked at in Las Vegas, and the bear that ran in front of the Covered Wagon in the Sierras. That’s because adventures happen in the mind.
Haven’t you discovered adventures in Your Hometown since we were put on time out? I bet if you think about it, you’ve had home adventures too. And if you haven’t, why not have one tomorrow?
Oscar the Coach
There’s this trail on the other end of My Hometown where I go once or twice a week to discover the Pacific Ocean. I can see the ocean from my house, and I can also see it out the car window for most of the drive, but this trail is my favorite place to look at the ocean. We start running at the last house in town and climb almost 1000 feet through the woods and brush. You can’t see the ocean again until the tippy-tippy top, when the trail turns behind some bushes and the whole ocean spreads out to where the sky comes down to meet it. There are almost no human things on the short drop in between, so it’s like I’m the first one ever to see it. Then I run a ways down the other side, imagining that I’m the first dog on earth until Mom says it’s time to go to work, and we turn around and run back toward town.
This morning the dirt on the trail had turned to slimy mud, and the air was cool and foggy so that Mom could concentrate on running rather than taking pictures (the pictures here are from a different day). We ran to the top of the mountain, discovered the Pacific Ocean through a blur of clouds, and set out to see what surprises there were on the far side of the mountain. What was waiting for us was a raincloud.
Suddenly the cloud pixilated into drizzle and the drizzle bolded into rain.
“Aaaahhhhh! I can’t see! It’s in my eyes! My eeeeeyyyyeeeessss!” I howled.
“No!!! My phone!” Mom moaned. She peeled her shirt away from her skin with a sucking noise and used it to smear the rain on The Witch’s face.
“Forget you! I’m not letting you charge me for the rest of the day!” The Witch sulked.
“It’s getting in my fur! Ow! My fur!” I glugged. “How much longer do we have to go before we can turn around?” I stopped running and sat in a puddle, just to see what Mom would do.
“Now! We’re turning around now!” Mom cried. She stopped, about-faced, squeezed the wet out of her eyebrows with determination, and ran back toward the inland side of the mountain.
As soon as we turned around, the rain started to fade. It went from a hiss to a drizzle, a drizzle to a cloud, and then from a cloud to a memory of wetness that only lived on in my fur and The Witch’s mouth and ears. I don’t know how long the whole thing lasted, but we’d run less than half a mile so… four hours maybe? (I don’t know, dogs aren’t good at counting or measuring things).
When Mom opened the car door for me like a valet, I didn’t want to jump in. “I’m not tired yet,” I said. “I want to keep running. You shouldn’t have cut our run short. You ruin everything.”
“We ran more than six miles! Don’t you remember that rain?” Mom spluttered. “How it was cold and wet and making us both unhappy? You stopped running first.”
“I was testing you,” I said wisely. “You can’t expect things to be perfect all the time or else you’re going to be disappointed a lot. Like I am right now. Disappointed in you.”
“You’re so full of it. You won’t even go to the bathroom when it’s raining,” Mom grumbled.
“Who ever heard an inspirational story of dedication and grit about going potty?” I said. “How am I supposed to tell motivating stories of toughness if you are always chickening out and hiding in the car?”
“Maybe your next motivational story should be about how you got the courage to go pee all by yourself at 4:30 on a cold rainy morning without me having to drag you out there on a leash…” Mom said.
“No offense, Mom. But it’s a good thing you’re not the writer in this family. No one wants to read a story about pooch abuse.”
Oscar the PoochJanuary 22, 2021