Friday, January 15, 2010

National Hat Day

SUMMARY: As long as I'm talking about matters of great global import--
Just found out what today is: National Hat Day!
(And, sorry, miscalculated my focus so all these are fuzzy. Need to get that replacement remote control!)

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Monday, January 11, 2010

White Elephant Gift Exhange Isn't For Chickens.

SUMMARY: Or maybe it is.

The Bay Team's annual holiday party, combined with meeting, awards, and what's now become a traditional annual retrospective slide show, took place Saturday. The gift exchange is a White Elephant Gift Exchange (read our rules for stealing--er, re-ownering--gifts). Many gifts are beautifully wrapped with dog or Christmas related themes.

First time around, I stole a gift with a huge Rollover-type sausage and a blinky collar light. That was eventually relieved from my hands. At that point, my skewed sense of reality went for the plain brown wrapper. My theory was that the best gifts come in the plainest wrapping.

I was right about that--this time, anyway--as it included both a Lance Armsquawk squawking toy (find several bird-related sports figures here):

And this luxuriously soft blanket:

 By the time I had received this treasure, most people had already had their turn, but none-the-less it also found a new home very quickly and I had to pick again. I unwrapped one more, and it was the perfect gift for me (everyone started yelling about how it was the perfect gift for me--what makes them think I like blue tie dye?), and here we are together in my office the next day.

Team Small Dog was also there, and scored big with three new coats for the Little Black Dogs:

I'm sure you'll read about it at TSD when the time comes.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009


SUMMARY: We've been here two full days now--

One more full day to go, then a few hours Sunday morning, then home again, home again, jiggity jog.

I love being at Disneyland! So much to see and do, and even if I come every couple of years (which I've been doing for a long time), it's still a wonderfantabulous experience. I like just walking around and looking and being there.

Plus taking photos. Unfortunately I've discovered that my old laptop's software doesn't recognize my new camera's raw format, so I've got nothing to upload here at the moment.

And we've done so much, it's hard to shrink it to a quick post. We've done several things more than once each: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, Astro Blaster. I've done a token Indiana Jones and Matterhorn and don't need to do those again this trip. We've sailed the Rivers of American in both the Mark Twain and the sailing ship Columbia. We've explored the pirate's cave on Tom Sawyer's Island. Had lunch at the Blue Bayou. And so much more!

Tomorrow we'll hit California Adventure until it closes (3 hours earlier than Disneyland, I believe) or until we run out of things we want to do over there (possibly way before closing).

And tomorrow for crying out loud I'll remember my tripod finally (I promise, really I will) and finally get some of those night shots I've been trying to get hand-held and some that I know I can't get hand-held.

And when I get home--hundreds of photos to sort through (already) as usual. AFTER i've worn out the dogs and taken them for a long walk, presumably.

In honor of the fact that I'm not leaving for USDAA Nationals in the next couple of days, I've worn two of my USDAA Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships polo shirts. It's all about the clothing, you know!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Competitive Dog Sports -- Another Pass-Around Thang

SUMMARY: About me & my dog sports.
Found on Facebook. I'm posting here because I've answered many of these questions before and I'm just going to link to 'em. If you want to do this note on facebook and tag your dog-sport pals, copy & paste these instructions as well as the rest of the content:
Copy and paste the content below, then erase the other person's answers and put in your own. Tag as many Dog Nuts as you can think of, including the person who sent it to you as "first tag." Don't be shy to make your answers long, if need be.

NOTE: This will be a very long read if you also read the links in which I answer some questions at length. Don't you have something better to do with your time?

List the dog sports in which you compete. If you have a particular favorite please tell us, and tell us why!

Is there anyone you'd like to thank or BLAME for getting you into competitive dog activities?
My obedience instructor started taking agility classes and recommended it to me. For my active, eager dog. Who is also clearly to blame.

Please tell the story of how you got started in dog sports. Where/when (year please, don't be shy!)/why/etc.
Remember, you asked. (First competition: January 1996.)

What is your FAVORITE thing about dog sports, and what is your LEAST FAVORITE?
One answer, from June 2009, on "why agility?"
What I hate about agility? Disappointing myself, sometimes; the expense; the amount of time it takes away from everything else in my life.

What breeds or mixes thereof do you/have you owned? Please list their name, their breed (or mix thereof) and then their BEST quality as a sport dog and their WORST quality as a sport dog.
Whoa, can you believe I've never done a post on this? (At least not that I'm finding.) This would make a good future blog post. Summary:
  • Remington, Squirrelhund (Lab/Shepherd probably). Almost never dropped a bar. Loved to learn. Could be pretty fast. Extremely sensitive to my moods and shut down a lot.
  • Jake, Semidachshund (sheltie mix probably, maybe beagle?). Took forever to learn anything new. But once he got it, very reliable.
  • Tika, Craussie (Aussie cross, maybe Husky?). Pretty darned fast, loves doing agility, easily distracted, fights the "rules" every step of the way. 
  • Boost, Border Collie. Extremely fast and driven. Loves to learn. Very focused. Wants to do agility. Light on the concepts of keeping bars up and doing weaves from beginning to end.

How many dog beds do you currently own and what did you pay for the most expensive one?
  • Double-thick bathmats once were primary dog beds. (3 or 4, bought on clearance for about $15 each in the early '90s. Tucked away now or used at trials when sleeping in the van.)
  • Official dog mats, thick pile fleece with blue border. (3, one in kitchen, one in crate in bedroom, one for trials. About $15 each at pet stores through the years.)
  • Raised PVC bed frames with rip-stop "hammock". (3, one in office, two in kitchen. Bought one at giant February AKC dog show at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds. Two bought at USDAA Nationals in Scottsdale. $55 each in 2001. )
  • Big thick dog bed cushion with zippered cover. (2, both in office, one on a PVC bed frame--which the dogs take turns using--one from Costco about $20, one won in agility trial raffle.)
  • Down-filled bed with stuff bag. (1, stored in closet, won in raffle.)
  • Giant fleece/fabric sturdy throw used as dog bed in my bedroom. (1, won in raffle.)
  • Smaller fleece rectangle with raised sides in my bedroom. (1, won in raffle.)
  • Spiffy actual nice plush dog bed, bought for Jake with a Christmas gift certificate to PetSmart (so it was either free or $79.99, depending on your viewpoint, which could make it the most expensive). (Jake died only a month later, but he loved it while he had it. Tucked in the corner of my office, Boost uses it all the time. Tika sometimes uses it.)
(Short post in which this photo originally appeared.)

What is the most you ever paid for a large bag of dog food? Probably $55. Same thing sells at a discount at nearby Pet Club for $35.

What is the most you have ever paid for a dog toy, and what was it?
No clue. Probably in the $20 range from time to time.

List the vehicles you have bought specifically for traveling to and from dog competitions.
MUTT MVR! Read my 2005 post about it in the Quintessential agility car.

What is the furthest you have ever traveled in order to attend a dog event?
Scottsdale, Arizona (USDAA Nationals 2004,05,06,07,08).
Second furthest: Either San Diego, CA (USDAA Nationals, 2000 and 2001), or Eureka, CA (2002, chasing the last gambler's let for Remington's NATCH).

How many dog-related pieces of clothing do you currently own?
As of March 2007.

How many dog toys do you own? Don't forget to include the ones in the car and in various closets and at your in-laws' house.
As of November 2008. (Remember that you can click on a photo to see a larger version of it to make out more details.)

(Read the original post that goes with the photo.)

How many dog-related books do you own?

Remember that you can always click on a photo here to see a larger version of it if you want to browse bowser titles yourself. (Read the post that goes with the photo.) Here's the list of the books as of 2006. (Read the short post that goes with the list.)

Have you ever been bitten by a dog? If so what were the circumstances?
Accidentally when Jake and Remington got into a fight between me, the couch, and the coffee table.

Has your dog ever peed/pooped/barfed someplace that they really shouldn't have? If so, tell us what happened!
Are you kidding? I own dogs! Duh!

Has your dog ever stolen a major item of human food? Tell us!
Not that I recall.

When competing in dog sports, did you ever admire someone else's dog from afar so much that you will always remember that dog? If so, please tell us all about it.
So many dogs! Several Border Collies stood out, including one who would eventually become Boost's mom. Several mixed-breed dogs! I love their distinctive looks and how well they do even against Border Collies.

Of all your friend's dogs, which dog would you like to take home and keep if you had the chance? You can list three, just to be fair...or just one if you're ruthless!
I've had such a wide variety of my own, I now know that there is no perfect dog. Any one will have its issues and its successes. I don't covet others's dogs.

What has been your most embarrassing moment thus far while competing in dog sports?
Probably a tie between:
  • Me and Jake running a beautiful first half of a Pairs Relay course, to have our partner cry, "Where's the baton?!" as I came racing in, empty handed. (That's an automatic disqualification.)
  • Running into the teeter totter. Read about it here.

What has been your most shining moment thus far while competing in dog sports?

Oh, so very many! Jake's MAD (the first I ever earned). Remington's NATCH (my first dog's championship, FINALLY). Winning Full House with zillions of points over and over in CPE trials with Tika and Boost. Boost doing the weave poles correctly! Winning a ribbon at USDAA Nationals with Tika in an individual event. Making Team finals at the USDAA Nationals with Tika. Finally getting Jake's 5th Gamblers Q for his ADCH. Finally qualifying for Grand Prix semifinals with Tika with a smooth and beautiful and aggressive run. Having a Perfect Weekend with Tika. Earning a trophy at CPE Nationals with Tika--one Q away from a perfect 3-day Nationals with 1sts or 2nds in everything (and I mean of everyone competing, not just her class). Remington getting excited about agility again and running like when he first started. Jake jumping into my arms at the end of a run. I dunno--I could go on and on. 220 trials over 14 years--lots going on in there!

What are your goals for the future with your dogs?

Not sure any more. Once upon a time it was to win More First Places and Make It To the Nationals Finals. But now, I dunno, I'm thinking "retire and do a lot of hiking."

If the Dog Fairy could grant you one wish (sky is the limit), what would it be?

I love my dog family the way it is now. Love the dogs, love how they get along together, love how they've come along in their training. Don't want to have to start over again. Keep them around and healthy and active for many many years.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

All the News That's Fit To Blog--Plus Clothing

SUMMARY: Boost jumps and dogwalk and weaves, Tika jumps, flying your dogs, Disneyland, Sylvia Trkman, facebook, insurance--whew! Anything else? Oh, yeah, it's all about the clothing!

  • In class last night, Boost hit bars like a new 21-year-old on amphetamines. Argh. I was jumping her at 24", not the 22" that we usually do in class (although often use 24 or 26 at home). Will be doing a private with our instructor this weekend to work on bars.
  • Also: Contacts! Last week in class Boost left her dogwalk contact early once and I punished her severely ("Oh! My! What happened!" (lean over and grab her as if to pick her up, and in a low voice:) "You have to stick those contacts! Don't be leaving early!") and all of a sudden she wouldn't blast to the end into 2on/2off but instead stopped halfway into the yellow. I immediately put her back on 2 or 3 times until she got the 2o/2o and rewarded lavishly. This week, first dogwalk, stopped halfway into the yellow. OMG have I broken her perfect dogwalk at age 4 and a half?! Dang sensitive dogs! We repeated the down-ramp part 2 or 3 times until she got it, then rewarded lavishly.
  • On the other hand, Boost's weaves were perfect all evening! Even the hard ones!
  • Jumped Tika at 24". Have been jumping her at 22" lately, too. She knocked several bars. I have to remember before a USDAA trial where she'll be jumping 26" in a couple of runs to get her back up to 26" probably at least a couple of weeks before the trial with plenty of bar-knocking drills at that height. It's always something!
  • Southwest airlines is now accepting small pets in the cabin on a trial basis.
  • I'm going to Disneyland! Nov 7-8. Staying with my sister & husby at their favorite place, the Candy Cane Inn, which has a convenient shuttle that I almost never use. Which means I won't be doing my club's (Bay Team's) November CPE. Instead I'll do either the Turlock USDAA right before it or the Turlock CPE a couple of weeks later. Nice to have choices! Disneyland, yayyyyy!
  • Sylvia Trkman is coming to the Bay Area to do 4 days of seminars! I can't afford all of them, but signed up for a one-day Masters Handling with Boost and two evenings of tricks as an auditor.
  • I'm going to try to get onto the FaceBook brand-new choose-your-username-URL land grab at 9:01 this evening to get my choice! I think I'll go for Ellen.Finch if I can get it; if not, maybe TajMuttHall. What do you think? (You have until 8:30 PDT today to tell me what you think. ;-)) The thing is, I'm mostly taking as friends only people that I really already know in one way or another--e.g., local agility folks, relatives, people I've communicated with in blogland--not the world at large. So my own name might be more appropriate. We'll see...
  • Still waiting for the final insurance paperwork to arrive for me to sign and send back to finish the settlement on my auto break-in. They said it went into the mail "late last week or early this week." I haven't gotten it yet. Hm. Starting to look into what camera & lens I can really afford on that settlement. And haven't even started looking for a replacement for my Perfect-For-Everything Coat.

A Few Adventures of The Perfect-For-Everything-Coat

Finding the right replacement coat is crucial because--after all--agility [and everything else] is all about the clothing!

Photo junket at Almaden Quicksilver Park Winter 2009Touristing at Cannery Row Dec 2008Hiking at Big Basin Redwoods Park summer seminar at Monterey Bay Aquarium Oct 2008
Flying home from Montreal Sept 2008 (reflected in seat-back TV)

Hiked up Black Mountain Spring 2008
Hunkering down at Grand Canyon May 2008

With Tika, hiking at Truckee March 2008
With Boost at Power Paws Camp 2007 (on back of chair)
With Jake and Top Turkey Team, Nov 2005
Tika's C-ATCH Nov 2005

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Thursday, May 14, 2009


SUMMARY: More on the break-in

So--here is why they never bothered to open the door, which is why they took only the things they could reach through the front passenger window:
("Protected by Chapman vehicle security system".)

It's funny to see that in the remnants of my side window, but not funny in that having the alarm in fact DID probably protect most of the other stuff in my car. I am grateful for that.

The glass company came out and replaced my window--he finished exactly 24 hours after the break-in occurred (within the same 20-minute period), which is a nice symmetry. Just under $200. Much less than my auto deductible, but still a good chunk of change--although I'm trying to keep that in perspective, too; it's not much more than one dog's full entry for an agility weekend, and I write those checks all the time!

Shattering that one window threw glass all the way through my van. Found bits in the far ends of the dogs' crates in the very back of the van. The repair guy vacuumed a lot, and then I spent another half hour vacuuming in even more detail. And every time I turned around, bits of broken glass had reappeared where I had just cleaned. Even big chunks of the safety glass. Which mostly breaks into chunks, but there are tiny shards and slivers among them.

I am truly grateful that the dogs weren't in their crates at the time; I vacuumed up some sharp bits. (Although--would the crated dogs have deterred them? Dunno. No way to know.)

My homeowner's deductible is much larger, but when I actually added up everything that was taken, it was way over the deductible, so I'll get some money back. Not enough to replace everything (because it's minus my deductible). But at least some small comfort. For the 12 or so hours that it took to research my losses, report them on the SJPD web site, report them to the insurance claim adjuster, go dumpster diving, make a flyer and post it in various locations, talk to Kaiser security, and so on and so on. Of course insurance doesn't cover THAT time, either.

Take a last look at my camera, telephoto lens, belt case holding another telephoto, and black and teal all-purpose jacket that I've had for 13 years and hardly shows the wear. It'll be tough to replace that. (Thanks, Steph, for the photo.)

But they didn't get my favorite Pluto Unleashed hat, thank goodness, which was behind the seat (covered with broken glass). Nor my hiking boots, nor my agility cleats, nor cell phone or digital camera, nor any other dog gear, nor the tools I carry for auto repair--All a great relief.

All things considered, I'm not feeling too bad. Concentrating on the "grateful for"s and just holding up a mental "STOP!" sign every time I catch myself thinking "If only..." and either dismissing it or turning it into "what did I learn that I can apply next time." It's tough to do but I think it's working pretty well. Like--oh, well, I do still have my point-and-click camera. And I still have a ton of unsorted, unlableled photos from the last couple of years that I can be working through instead of taking lots more photos with my "real" camera.

And I'll try to be satisfied with the point-and-click for a while. Its quality for tough lighting situations isn't great, but I can get SOME semblance of shots for things like these sunsets--April 20 and last night, after the break-in--which lightened my heart greatly, stopping to admire it--both seen from my car and dashing for the nearest place to pull over and get a photo. Not great, but OK after a little photoshopping.

Whatever gods or physics daemons are responsible for the universe--thanks for making it a beautiful place to live.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mixed Blessings


On Sunday, we had a lovely Mother's Day dinner at my parents' house. I took my camera bag just in case I wanted to take some photos. I picked up my video camera to take it, too, for my sister in Nevada, but decided at the last minute that there was about a zero chance that I'd want to take the time to video something, upload it to the computer, etc., so it stayed on the table by my door.

Today, for the first time in a year, I decided to go work in my company's office about 45 minutes from here instead of at home. To get me into a work-social setting and to help me focus on getting more hours in, because I am very sadly short on available money.

I've been working on this version of this 500-page manual for well over a year. In the process, I have printed 3 versions, but I have also been scribbling change notes and questions--and applying these wonderful colored tags to dozens and dozens of pages. Well, maybe hundreds of pages among the 3 copies. I've been working lately on trying to get all of those changes folded in because I'm tired of staring at 3 copies of the 500-page manual (single-sided) on my desk. Make that 4 copies, because the PREVIOUS version had some handwritten notes about things that were never resolved.

Gads, OK, to go up to Mt. View to work, I had to haul all those with me. Plus my daytimer with all my schedule notes and where I track for my timecard and all that, my nice black leather daytimer that's been with me since 1989, with my name on a blass plaque on the cover.

What on earth to carry all that with? Much too much paper to fit into my document bag. BUT--ta-da!-- I have cleverly saved lots of sturdy bags in the garage, and there were two double-walled Apple Store bags with drawstrings--VERY sturdy for all those papers that I had to haul.

What to wear? Not one of my many $15 flea-market fleeces like I'd wear to agility. To look "dressed up," I donned my very pricey brown "Grand Canyon condors" embroidered fleece, my one souvenir indulgence from my hike last year into the canyon.

I packed up my laptop, too, figuring that it would be easier to transfer files to and from that rather than having to upload to some web site and then download again, but after hauling those heavy bags of paper out to the car, I decided that I really didn't want to haul that heavy computer bag, too, so left it sitting in the chair in my office.

And I hauled all that paper up to mountain view and into the office. When I got there, realized my camera bag was still in the car. But I have this nice lined coat with a black lining; tucked the camera backpack up against the passenger seat and tossed the black-side up coat over it. Looking through the tinted windows, you'd never know it was there.

At lunchtime, I took my wallet out of my purse (left the purse under the jacket, too). Bought my lunch. Tucked the wallet way back under my driver's seat because it was so much easier than digging out my purse, cramming it in there, and rehiding the purse.

Lunch was good, work was good, but those danged hot flashes--stripped off the Grand Canyon fleece.

Just so happens that I have a regular meditation session at 4:00 on Tuesdays down here near where I live. Normally I would just bip over there from home 10 minutes before, stay for that, and come straight home. Here's the dilemma: Leave all my papers at the office, which would prevent me from doing any work at home this evening, or take them home with me, since I've made good progress and am feeling enthused and competent and really need the extra hours of work?

OK, take them with me. I picked up my fleece, put the papers AND my daytimer back into the Apple Store plastic bags, tossed them casually onto the passenger seat in my van, and headed south.

Because I was so far away and going into rush hour, I left there an hour early. But, glory be, traffic was good, so I arrived 25 minutes before the class was to start. Feeling cheerful and like I had accomplished things today, I decided to take a brisk 15-minute walk around the block.

I am practicing being grateful for the following things:
* I didn't take my laptop.
* I didn't have my video camera in the car.
* I tucked my wallet under the driver's seat.
* My cell phone and point-and-shoot digital camera were buried between the seats instead of sitting on the passenger seat as they often do.

Because, 20 minutes later, when I returned from my walk, this is what I found:

Here's what I think happened. The car parked next to me when I first got there was gone. I think that they happened to glance in, saw Apple Store bags sitting right there on the passenger seat, smashed the window, took everything they could reach, tossed it into their car without looking at it, and took off. The alarm didn't go off, because they never bothered to open the door. So they weren't able to search for other stuff. My cell phone and small camera were still there. My wallet was still there. My garage door opener was still there. None of my dog stuff was removed from the back.

They took my nice leather purse (well--OK, it's very old and worn. But sturdy and just the right size and configuration and color and I have no spare change to buy an equivalent).

They took my digital SLR, 3 lenses, doubler, assorted filters, remote control, the flash attachment I'd always wanted, the nice purple backpack that I looked for for a long time to have just the right configuration of pockets (and color). I certainly don't have the money to replace that. So much for my budding career as a photographer.

They took my long, lined teal and black jacket that's my mainstay for anything out of doors--agility, hiking. Don't have anything else equivalent.

They took my Grand Canyon fleece.

And they took months and months worth of work, notes scribbled on thousands of pages in those two white plastic bags, that my brain categorized as "boring papers that no one would be interested in" but someone looking through the window categorized as "probably cool computer stuff from the Apple Store." It doesn't matter how much money I have or what insurance I have. I cannot replace that. I am heartbroken. I have spoken to my company about what to do about the client. Can't really charge them to do the work over again. Can't really afford to pay me to do the work over again without billing the client. Heartbroken is perhaps a mild descriptor for how I feel.

And yet.

It could be so much worse. For example, if they had taken my wallet with my ID and credit cards and ATM card and plenty of cash. For example, if they had taken my garage door opener and known my address. So VERY much worse.

And they didn't damage anything in the car except the window.

And all the other stuff that they didn't take because through sheer luck I didn't HAVE in the car.

Those little decisions worked both for me and against me today.

And yet--I am trying so hard to breathe deeply. Find the muscles tied in knots and relax them. Find somewhere the strength to figure out what to do and do it.

I spent 2 hours dumpster diving afterwards, hoping that maybe they'd pulled into a nearby shopping center or business to see what they got and dumped the papers. Of course--there are zillions of nearby shopping centers, with dozens upon dozens of dumpsters and trash cans in the parking lots. I also went up and down the freeway an exit and checked there. I'm sure I missed lots of places, but I sure did look in a lot of others, hoping I'd find something.

Maybe--maybe--someone will find the bags, with my daytimer in one of them, with my phone number (and address), and will think, "gee, I wonder if this person wants this stuff back?" and will give me a call.

I'm thinking I'll put a notice on craigslist.

I don't know what else to do.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

She Swoons Because It's All About the Clothing

SUMMARY: Agility is coming and we're not prepared. A Facebook experience, confirming that agility is all about the clothing.

I have been intrigued to see that this single Facebook status message and the single follow-up photo have elicited more comments from more people than any other facebook or blog post to date. You guys all have strange appetites. You Facebook fanatics have undoubtedly seen this as it unfolded. But--in the interest of preserving it for posterity (I have only the best interest of history books in mind)--

It all started with my status note on Thursday (compare and contrast to more typical status messages like "Joe heading for bed after a wonderful evening with friends," "Jane Doe...loves her new iphone," "Bo leaving for [fill in name of agility trial]" -- all of which are interesting but, like, normal):

Ellen Levy Finch stops suddenly, looks at her calendar aghast, and realizes that she'll be competing in agility in 8 days and neither dog has practiced in a month! She swooons.

The response trail looked more or less like this:

MB: Nice dramatic flair! [polite clapping] I can *almost* imagine you swooning.
TMH: On the divan, of course. In the parlour.
MB: I'll send for the smelling salts!
TMH: LOL! Perfect. I mean--fiddle-dee-dee!
MJ: So, with the whole parlour, smelling salts, etc, scene, I guess this means you'll be wearing a bare shoulder afternoon gown, in Spring shades, with long gloves, and a wide brim sun hat with matching ribbon tie. Oh, and being sensible, Doc Martins during competition. I'd *love* to see pics!
TMH: Sure, I'll send photos of such as soon as I have them.
MJ: Send whatever you end up with, I'll have to see what I can do. *digs through pile of old install disks* Where's that Photoshop?

So I had to dig through all my old agility photos to find one of me (lots with just the dogs, but "me" usually shows up as just a fat knee or blurred pointing finger) that I could post in response. Here's what I "found": "Dressed for swooning on the agility field. Prepare the smelling salts!"

And here's the brouhaha (emphasis on haha) it engendered:

KM: Where's the parasol to shade your delicate lap dogs from the sun?
MB: ROFL! How long did that take you to do?
GD: the agility competitions I have attended, the people are dressed like regular schlubs - polar fleece and/or shorts depending on the time of year...are there different types of competitions with different dress codes?
KM: Victorian agility is big in the Bay Area. If you think Ellen's costume looks good, you should see the dogs!
MB: Those hoop skirts are a b*&^ to run in tho!
AS: Beats wearing an Elizabethan Collar wouldn't you say?
TMH: Yep, we always dress in period costume, a different period for each season. I understand that this summer will be Mongol Horde. We'll have to bring yurts instead of our regular canopies.
TMH: P.S. This is for you, Mike!
TMH: P.P.S. Taken at SP's Workin' Paws!
CS: makes me think of Phil in his pirate costume...or as the Power Flaws girl (?) Kinda miss that guy
TMH: I was trying to find a photo of him to prove the theory that agility is done in costume. Thought I had some, but noooo--
TMH: P.P.P.S. OK, in the REAL reality, it took about 20 minutes in photoshop, I think, including finding a dress photo that's compatible with a photo of me with dog.
GD: Now I'm disappointed. It certainly would add a little flair to the whole thing...imagine some long ribbons in the doggies fur, flapping as they run the course!
SP: Why is a requirement to dress in period costume if you run a dog at Workin' Paws. Otherwise you can't attend. Thank you Ellen for giving me heads up on the Mongol Horde. I will get that ready!
LR: Love how the dress is the proper TMH colour.
MB: Garth, you have that confused with our rhythmic gymnastics courses, where the dogs and handlers must twirl a ribbon while running. Totally different from our period-costume-of-the-season courses....Now where did I store that yurt and fur g-string from last season's Mongol festivities?
MJ: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You know, TMH, maybe we'd attend more events if they WERE costumed! (The audience could vote on best costume, keep themselves amused while judges were doing judgy things.)
TMH: How about if the *audience* comes in costume? Hmm. OK, free admission to all spectators who come in costume from now on!
SY: Yes, very nice dress. I hope you can run in that.
AS: Occasionally, agility people have been known to show up in hippie attire.... and then there was that guy who used to run in a kilt... What ever happened to him?
TMH: He moved back east.
AS: Like Eastern Scotland?
TMH: LOL. Not that far.
TC: And, that wasn't was everyday attire.
Remember the trial (WVDS) when Bill N. and Terry S. dressed in top hat and tails and ran their dog in pairs?
TMH: Wasn't there! Sounds lovely.
TMH: Yeah, EB has several kilts.
EC: So how are the photoshop lessons going?
TMH: [some noncommittal reply]
MJ: Several kilts make sense if:
(1) you've got a pile of money - they're $500+;
(2) you need the "dress" tartan for evening, in-town occasions;
(3) you need a "hunting" version for country, day wear, or a trip to the pub;
(4) you need your old one as a loaner for all your friends who don't have one and might, I repeat *might,* be persuaded to try ... Read Moreone, if it were free, arm twisting were employed by their significant whatevers, and everyone in earshot promised to surrender their cameras. (Pics will be taken, of course, and posted immediately!)
Dave: Woah...I have the exact same agility outfit. Good thing we didn't wear them at the same time...THAT would have been embarrassing.
TMH: Dave, The *first* thing that popped into my head when I saw that dress was, "Whoa, that is like so TOTALLY Dave's style!" but I just crossed my fingers and hoped that you hadn't already found it.
TMH: Mike, Of course we're talking modern-man kilts: all-black, all-tan, nice washable materials for mucking around with dogs or attending dinner parties. I know I have a photo around here somewhere...grumble grumble... OK, I'll look for it more some other time.

So that's how it stands as of 11:00 this morning. I am now desperately in search of:
* Photo of EB in his agility or evening kilt (I do have the latter--must be in my archives somewhere).
* Photo of Phil in any of his--uh--unusual agility outfits (I've seen photos but don't remember whether they're mine--more searching necessary).
* Photo of Bill N & Terry S in tops & tails doing agility.
* Like that.

Remember: Agility is all about the clothing. Really.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Walkin' In the Rain, We're Happy Again

SUMMARY: Entertainments after 6 consecutive rainy days.

We are agility dogs not doing agility because it is raining. We've walked backwards up the stairs. We've circled left and right til our eyes pop out. We've practiced balancing on, and rolling, the giant exercise ball. We've chased Mr. Monkey tossed into the dining room twenty thousand times. What we really want is to go OUT OUT OUT! We don't care if it's raining! We're big active dogs with thick, thick fur, fur cryin' out loud!

Human dog-mom is doubtful, as the incoming skywater remains constantly downward-coming. But, Holy Sennenhund, is that a patch of blue sky gathering on the horizon?

We are so excited! Mom has leashed us up and we are bouncing off the walls in the front hallway! We are throwing ourselves down the front steps! We are going for a WAAAALLLLK!

Mom is not taking a toy with her, the fool, so when we get to the big soggy green park thing, she has to throw the leash for Boost to chase so that Tika will chase Boost. We are sooooo happy. Even human dog-mom is smiling a bit--even though it's STILL raining--because now maybe we won't crawl all over her while she's sitting at her desk. For a little while.

It may be true that some of us are a little damp.

And we might need to be hosed down and dried with dozens of towels because some of us have coats that are like 26"-jumping sponges. But our human dog-mom thinks that cleanliness is next to dogliness, so yes, we will do the hose.

And what does the well-dressed agilitiphile wear for a stroll with cabin-fever-crazed dogs in the rain? The waterproof Bay Team logo jacket--which goes well with ANY jeans--and the favorite agility Pluto Unleashed hat, of course! Because the rain must be kept off of the glasses so that one can detect whether an Aframe has sprung up suddenly in the field. Tika, however, demonstrates why dogs don't need no stinkin' jackets.

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