Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photos of Holidays Past and Present

SUMMARY: Those were the days, my friend--and so are these.



(The one in the middle here is on the left in the preceding photo.)

1966 - Sam still puppyish

(Me in long blonde hair. Dad in blue plaid shirt.)

1978 - Amber comes home

(Me in long blonde hair.)

1983 - Sheba and Amber

2001 - A rare three-dog Christmas (Jake, Tika, Remington)

2009 - The Merle Girls


(Mom in green, Dad in back.)


(Mom in white, Dad in blue plaid shirt (some things NEVER change!). And these are the sisters and the cousins and they number up by dozens and the aunts!)

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

SUMMARY: Do you detect a theme among some of our gifts?
Tika had no trouble at all identifying which one would be more appreciated by Dogs than by Humans. And she'd like to start appreciating as soon as possible, thank you very much.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Christmas at Taj MuttHall

SUMMARY: It's a beautiful morning.
  • Frost on the grass that melts the moment it's touched by the sun. The sky is brilliant blue; not a cloud to be seen.
  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has declared this a Spare The Air Day. We must restrain ourselves from burning that Yule log as long as the weather conditions insist on trapping everything in the valley for us to try to inhale. It's still SO much better than it was 30 years ago.
  • The Merle Girls took Human Mom for a walk to the park this morning and rejoiced in frisbee in the dew-laden grass until even Boost didn't want to run any more. Tika wore her bootie on her erstwhile sore foot and there's no sign of soreness at all. HOOOOOray.

  • Gifts are wrapped (although some still don't have ribbons or bows).
  • I get to see my WHOLE family this afternoon! Two years in a row--it's a miracle. Might try for another photo if they're actually all in the same building at the same time.
  • I say: "Dog bless us, every one."
  • Daneen says: "Wreck the halls with Dals and Collies!" (Or: "Wreck the halls with cows on dollies," for those absurdists among you.)
  • Mallary says: "Hope you're having a great dane!  All the best for the howlidays and the new year!"
  • Tracey says: "Fleas Navidog!"

Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and the best of everything to all of you.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Corgi Christmas Photo Ever

SUMMARY: Just go look.

Corgi channels christmas tree.

Oooh, thanks! many muddy paws for permission to repost it here.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Holiday Music from Taj MuttHall

SUMMARY: Only the best hijacked and misused lyrics from KTMH.

I needn't burst into "Bark us all bow-wows of folly," as Pogo already did that many years ago.

Instead, while shaking and rattling our lovely jolly ball in the yard and listening to the dogs' collar tags jingle, we came up with:

Jingle tags, jingle tags, jingle all the day,
Oh what fun it is to play at tug-of-war this way,
Jingle tags, jingle tags, jingle all the day,
Oh what fun it is to play at tug-of-war this way!

Dashing through the yard with our fav'rite jolly ball,
Running very hard, trying not to fall.
Our bods are lean and lank, have great mobility.
You know what we have to thank--it's dog agility!

Oh, jingle tags (etc.)

OK, back to the drawing board--

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, December 21, 2009

Candyland Agility

SUMMARY: Best gingerbread house of the year.
For those of you who haven't finished assembling your gingerbread or candy house yet this year--and who among us has?--here's fellow Bay Teamer Tania's (and spouse's) offering as an inspiration to you. As San Jose Sharks fans, they provided a rink on which the Sharks can practice (because they need all the practice they can get), but even better a whole agility yard! With sugar-coated Aframe, candy-cane weave poles, and a red licorice jump bar balanced on life-saver uprights. I'll bet Santa will have trouble getting his reindeer back to work after they have a chance to play here! (Remember you can always click photos here for larger versions.)

(Thanks, Tania, for letting me use your photo. This is SO cool. Brings back memories of the creative candy houses my dad made for us every year.)

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Big Eating Equals Big Shopping

SUMMARY: Why maybe it's not such a good idea to go shopping at 5 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving.
I tell the Merle Girls that I am merely going to the grocery store and that it will be a boring, boring trip, but they tell me that I am a boring, boring Human Mom and I had best take them for a Ride or pay the consequences. So we drive together to the grocery store down the street. The dogs offer to guard the car for me while I shop, so that's how we arrange things.

I am a good ecocitizen and am remembering to take my reusable bags into the store with me. For once.

Here is the huge area in which normally an eager shopper can find a squillion shopping carts, all the way from here all the way down to the other door down there. But today?

We must start our hunting and gathering by hunting and gathering our own shopping cart from the completely full parking facility. There's one, trying to hide behind that tree! (Shopping carts aren't very smart.)

I am another good ecocitizen because I have returned my plastic bags to be recycled. So did a bunch of other good ecocitizens.

The San Jose shoppers mindful of the American obesity epidemic, have completely cleaned out the kiosk on which boxes of freshly baked cookies are usually stacked several deep. That is perhaps so that they are saving themselves from stuffing themselves on unhealthy items like pumpkin pie and apple pie, which actually contain some actual vegetables and fruits. Better to just have cookies.

However, the Christmas cookie stock is replete if you'd like to skip ahead one holiday.

Of course you're familiar with the Eggo Waffle shortage crisis? Have you started hoarding yours yet?

I was expecting to get some nice photos of completely empty shelves as the hungry underfed American shopping mob descended like locusts upon the store. But no, the clever grocers seemed to have everything well in hand. All the veggie bins were filled to overflowing. (Hmm, cookies gone, veggies in plenty. Obesity epidemic. Coincidence?)  Oddly enough--except the brussels sprouts. I hadn't heard that brussels sprouts were a hot thing for Thanksgiving. Go figure.

Even the turkeys and hams and roasts facility contained plenty of aforementioned meat items so that no starving San Jose American would have to go hungry even if shopping at the last minute.

The big ugly part of shopping for groceries at this particular time and day is: The checkout lines. Every lane was open. Every line extended past the front walking area and up into the grocery aisles.  Crowds to the left of me--

shoppers to the right; here I am, stuck in the middle with food. (Um, I think that's how the lyrics go--)

The Merle Girls were pleased when I returned with several reusable ecofriendly bags filled with nourishing vegetables and other mostly edible matter for them to sniff thoroughly to check for possible explosives, illegal substances, or weapons of mass destruction.

Tomorrow--Salad or the Bush!

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend and Top Turkeys

SUMMARY: A little agility, a lot of food, and who knows what else.
Thursday is the big family day. Big. Lots of food. Too much food, and all of it amazingly tasty. Dogs have to stay home with the Renter while I go off and indulge. It's about an hour and a half out of town. Maybe less.

Friday is our one day of agility for this month. It's about 2 hours out of town. Guess I'm going to be doing a bit of driving this weekend.

Friday is CPE. We're not doing much CPE these days in our attempts to save time and money and sanity. Too bad; Tika does very well in CPE, usually. I had thought we might eventually earn her C-ATE, which is similar to ADCH-Gold in USDAA. Lots and lots of Qs. Her Q rate is typically very high in CPE, but it's just--lots and LOTS of Qs. But it's a nice fun way to spend an agility day, and maybe Boost can Q in something, too.

Plus we love Full House. It's similar to a gamblers opening and the goal is just to get as many points as you can (with certain obstacles that you have to take during your point earning) with same rule about each obstacle max of twice for points. Tika and Boost love that kind of game. Faults don't matter, just lower your points.

So we'll go and play and maybe that'll sate the dogs for a little while, since no class this week.

And even more, the Friday evening after thanksgiving is the Turkey Trot. We love the turkey trot! My goal, if nothing else, is to win the turkey trot. And maybe even place 1-2. It's a 3-dog team event, and every year the competition is different. First year it was a basic 3-dog relay. The next year it was a 3-dog strategic pairs-type trio. Then there was the one where you had to do certain sequences to earn the right to pick a letter from a bucket and try to spell turkey. And so on. I've done it three times.

And now I have a reputation to uphold!

The first year, Jake's team won in the 16" group. Tika's team was 2nd fastest in the 20" but Tika took an extra jump at the wrong time so we ended up 4th (of 12 teams).

The second year, Jake's team won in the 16" group and Tika's team won in the 20" group.

The third year, Tika's team won the 20" group and Boost's team came in 2nd right behind them. (I wanted to enter her in the 16" group because she's eligible, but the teammates I found were 20"ers.)

So this is our 4th time to try to win the Top Turkey award. Again, both Tika and Boost are in the 20" group, so they can't both win--but 1st and 2nd would be pretty cool.

WAG tries to design the competition so that it's a mix of luck and handling skill and strategy appropriate for the game and so it's not just speed. That's a nice thing to do. But we still want to be Top Turkeys again!

And then--two more whole days off! Yowza! So many things I can make progress on. Looking forward to it. Maybe a hike or two.

And the weather looks like it'll be clear (but on the cool to cold side--not quite freezing overnight but close) all the way through.

In case I don't post again this week: Happy Turkey Day, everyone! I'm thankful for my wonderful dogs, for plenty of food and friends and family, and for having a blog in which to post my dog diary.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Belay Them Contact Trainin's Fer a Wee While

SUMMARY: Today be Saturdee, Septembree 19--Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Ahoy, all me dog-lovin' shipmates an' kin! I vowed that this voyage I wouldna miss International Talk Like a Pirate Day. On accoun' o' I be homeport a lot this moon, I figured that this be a good time t' point 't ou' t' sea dogs an' land lubbers alike. Nay that I be havin' anythin' t' do wi' "pirates"--er, sea dogs. Nay at all. Nay.

So get yer piratical buns ou' thar an' start talkin'! 'T dasn't matter whether ye be havin' swabbies around wi' whom t' converse; canine shipmates wi' do.

What will me dogs do when I be talk like a gentleman o' fortune t' them? I spake "Arrr, ya scurvy dog!" t' Boost. She didna be havin' much t' say; jus' sat up an' eyeballed me wi' a patient expression an' stopped pantin' fer a minute. Then th'lassie hid behind the cap'n's chair.

Tika responded t' "I'll keelhaul ye, ye landlubber!" by gettin' t'er feet, waggin' th' lass' wee stub o' a nubber tail frantically, then movin' into a different part o' th' foredeck 'ere I couldna get at 'er.

I be thinkin' that me dogs be nay into conversin' like seafarin' heartys.

(Besides checkin' ou' th' "How t'" link on th' official site, here be a couple o' translators t' help ye, ya lily livered scurvy curs! And I be meanin' that in th' most respectful way, o' course.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Olio a la Canine

SUMMARY: Dog Day, rats, computers, lawns, cameras, ballet, agility, and anything else I remember to stick in here.

Ballet: Canine freestyle keeps advancing in wonderful ways. Plus this is a blue merle working border collie. Let's see your jumping horses do this.

National Dog Day: Who knew? Check it out.

Rats: Returned to my attic shortly after we thought that they were eradicated and sealed out. Apparently gnawed a new hole. Didn't I vow live traps after my last trauma? There's a reason why you wire the traps to something large or immobile when you set them: Yesterday, a young rat caught just his rear leg. Dragged the trap as far as the wire let him. Tika is an avid rodent hunter and slayer, so I figured, take it out to the yard, release it, and Tika will make quick work of it. Boost was intrigued, especially at the squeaky-toy squeaking. Tika? Turned tail and ran into the house. Came out when I insisted but wouldn't come within 5 feet of the rat and backed off as quickly as possible. Boost, who apparently has a soft mouth, thought it was a great toy--picking it up, carrying it around, tossing it in the air. This was a cruel way to treat the poor injured thing, and when neither dog showed any interest in completing the task that I really didn't want to do, I got a shovel and dispatched it with one quick slice. Sorry. It was traumatic for me, too. I am definitely in the market for a live-capture trap. I have no idea how effective they are. Dang dogs. Dang rats.

Camera: Still haven't decided for sure what to get. But it might be postponed even longer. Because--

Computer: Have been putting off buying a new Mac for as long as possible. Bought this one in January 2001. Invested in an upgrade processor a year ago, plus new internal disk drives. The processor died back in April, but it cost me a goodly sum of service dollars to get to the root of the problem. Went through 2 replacements under warranty until we got a 3rd one that finally worked. This week--all the symptoms are starting to reappear. I am close to not having a working Mac anyway. Jeez, I hate computers. I would really LIKE to get a new one, but it's all about the $. However, I'm starting to get into a negative time & $ flow on the existing one. Sort of like having an old car--when you start paying more on repairs than you'd pay monthly for a new car, it's time to switch. Sighhhhhhhhh--

Lawns: Mine. Infested by grubs. Last year they killed a small section of grass before I figured it out. This year lots being killed, but I kept checking and didn't find any grubs until last week, when suddenly all very visible. Applied grub poison yesterday. Labeling is very scary. Kept dogs off lawn all day yesterday until it had been watered in twice & dried (label says once/dried is enough). But can't afford to keep resodding lawn, either. Maybe too late. Much dead grass.

Agility practice for this weekend: Ha.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, December 29, 2008

Good Thing There's Work So I Can Recover From the Holidays

SUMMARY: Busy busy busy.

December 21, I went with a few of my sisters and bros-in-law out to dinner and then to the refurbished California Theater to get into the holiday spirit with a screening of White Christmas.

Sing along now with sisters #2 and 3, "Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...!" (Watch/listen as performed by "Haynes sisters"...or, bonus, as performed by Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye)

Christmas Eve was fairly relaxing. Wrap a few gifts. Listen to Christmas music. Actually quite a bit to do; dogs neglected except for a short walk. At least they got those big juicy bones to work over.

Christmas Day I dropped in on a long-time friend, we went for a walk and chatted. Then Family most of the rest of the day, then a brief evening with some other friends. Home around 10 p.m. and crash into bed. Dogs were totally neglected.

The day after Christmas found me driving to Monterey with other selected sisters and related children. Took dogs for a really quick half-mile walk before I left, which really barely gets us started.

Beaches at Monterey have a lot of "no dogs" signs. Maybe these weren't really dogs. Or maybe this wasn't one of those beaches. Viszla discovers kelp.

I took no dogs of my own to bound gleefully along the beach, but fortunately I thought to bring along young offspring of random sisters to fill the void.

Sister #4 successfully conquers kelp.

Dragons are my other thing. Besides dogs. And photography. And writing. And some other stuff I like to do but don't have the time for. This one isn't really missing his tail; I'm missing some determination to finish merging multiple photos...

Sister #2 and bro-in-law who instigate many of these trips gaze longingly out to sea. No one knows why.

Nieces and nephews--can hardly tell who, because mostly all I ever see are the backs of their heads dashing away from me so fast that their color shifts towards red--stop for a moment to gaze longingly out to sea. No one knows why.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, danger lurks in every corner; assorted nieces and nephews are nearly devoured by a giant clam.

A special exhibit of otters from around the world nearly devours my inadequate frolicing-creatures-in-the-dark-interior-through-thick-spattered-glass-surrounded-by-crowds-of-people camera skills. One of them, sensing my fear, pauses for a millisecond in triumph and I finally get it on film.

I hate younger generations whose camera phones take photos that are as good as or better than my digital SLR. But ha! take THAT you young whippersnappers, I get two photos of jellies for the price of one!

In the evening, we rush home and then out for a Boxing Day banquet at another assorted sister's house. Home by 10, crash in bed exhausted. Dogs are completely neglected.

Two days after Christmas, leap out of bed early and head for the hills for a strenuous 8-mile, 2500-foot-cumulative elevation gain (and drop back down) hike. It's a perfect day for it, but my up-hilling equipments have gotten out of shape over the last couple of months of not doing any hill hiking. I can barely drag myself across the parking lot for a late afternoon movie viewing with a friend.

I crawl into bed at 8:30--dogs completely neglected again and started to really show it--and sleep for 12 hours. Except for the nightmare where Tika runs across the freeway out on the coast and is hit by a car. I cry for a bit and then fall again into an exhausted sleep. I am SOOOO not going to see Marley and Me.

Next day, my body is wiped out and rebels in many ways, but I make it out to the theater for yet another movie (all those studios releasing all those good movies the same week. Dash it all! How to keep up?!). I, the popcorn maniac, cannot at this point in my rebellious bodydom, stomach popcorn. I crawl home afterwards (hard to do in a minivan, I'll tell ya), collapse into bed for a long long nap. Dogs are going nuts. I can't believe I don't even turn on my computer for 24 hours.

Then spend 6 hours sorting and editing hundreds of photos. I'm STILL not quite done with the last week's worth, and I didn't even take any photos on the hike or the Boxing Day banquet or many other activities. Someday I'll get back to my October Monterey trip, my September Montreal trip, and my November Scottsdale trip photos. In the meantime, dogs are very very neglected and are not letting me forget it.

Meanwhile, I've finally met someone special!

OK, I think I can almost walk again today and have no movies, parties, trips, or photography sessions scheduled. Must work. Must take dogs for walk. Might even think about practicing some--uh--what's that sport called that I used to do with my dogs before THE HOLIDAYS kicked in?

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Whole Family

SUMMARY: Except 4-year-old Kate, who wanted to wander around looking at stuff instead.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well, It's Christmas All Over Again

SUMMARY: Santa Claus is coming to town. Tonight. I hope I've been good.

I haven't done much decorating this year, just no time. But my tree's lights are twinkling quietly in the background, and oddly I don't miss the Darth Vader ornament--which I hang every year but this time didn't get around to--saying "[inhale]You are not a Jedi yet, young Skywalker[inhale]" every time I turn on the lights. I realize that its absence detracts from the whole Christmas spirit thing that I try to evoke, and yet--huh--nope, don't miss it.

Never did perch the annual dragon atop the tree's highest branch.

But it sure smells wonderful in here every time I step through the door from outside and smell that conifer! And I love the twinkling lights; have always been my favorite part of the tree, along with a wide variety of unusual ornaments. This year, none of my old faves made it--no time--no grinch, no cookie monster, no Thing One and Thing Two flying their kite, no pink panther climbing down the chimney, no Batman descending the rope hanging from his batarang entangled in a tree branch. None of the whole entire box of mostly purple (with some blue) ornaments of all shapes and sizes and themes. Nor the other 3--or is it 4?--boxes of ornaments. So much for spending all that time thinning out the tree so I could hang the collection!

This year, the only ornaments are just half a dozen new ones I bought during the year that I hadn't packed away yet: A sparkly purple spiny thing, a sparkly blue not spiny thing, a blown-glass Leica camera, three silver ornaments with my initials (E L F -- seemed apt), a blue and purple velvety beribboned thing. A bunch of candy canes, which aren't lasting very long I must say.

Didn't get around to setting up the creche--mostly hand-painted by yours truly years ago although goodness knows why, I'm pretty agnostic and think that the God's Only Son story is a nice myth--OK, yeah, I think it's an interesting myth with a nice message (peace on earth, good will towards men, can't ask for much better than that)--which means that the dragon bearing the gift of a sparkling orb never made its appearance behind the manger. But that's OK, I eventually got tired of the detail work and so Mr. and Mrs. Christ and their little Christ child and half of the wise men are gorgeous, but the shepherds and camels are a little spotty, and the sheep and cattle--ha! Let's just say that I'm sure there were plenty of albino livestock in bethlehem that year.

Christmas is a little different around here.

Have done the little bit of shopping I was planning on doing, and everything is wrapped. Am not planning on baking.

After the diverse family entities trickle gradually to my parents' house tomorrow afternoon, my whole extended family looks like will be together for the first time in maybe years. I hope I can get a few photos before they all start trickling away again to their various corners of the valley or the country.

I'm thinking that I'll give the dogs their really big juicy bones for gnawing as soon as I'm done here, try to keep them on the sheets I'll spread out and off the carpet. Ha! As if!

Christmas music is playing quietly in the background. Life is good.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, December 12, 2008

Working On Keeping Spirits Up

SUMMARY: Because those spirits sometimes sink more than one would like.


Spent the day Thursday with mom in the hospital. She looks and sounds fine, but there are critical medical issues occurring. We were hoping that she might be home today, but I've not heard anything today at all. Thank goodness for another sister who spent Wednesday and probably most of today there.

Boost and bars and serpentines

Last night in class, we had a bunch of serpentine exercises. Boost got through most of the ones that I did with her, but that last one, grr. During the evening, I'm guessing that she knocked 2 or 3 bars per run, and these are sequences of no more than 14 obstacles. Not promising for getting that jumpers qualifier this weekend.

And the last serpentine was one at a very shallow angle, so the dog is taking the jumps almost parallel to her body. These are of the type that Boost always wants to run by. Well, for fun, we were timing this particular sequence because there were two ways to handle the ending--not even involving these two jumps.

Well, Boost first went past the 2nd jump a couple of times. Then she went into her alternative mode for Me No Jump, Me Run kinds of jumps: Run almost past it, then swoop in with a couple of little steps and hop over it facing almost in the opposite direction. Was driving me nuts. I tried being further behind her, further ahead of her, yelling my lungs off, telling her to Hup Hup Hup!, with assorted advice from instructor and classmates. Every. Bloody. Time. You'd think that after all those repetitions she'd figure out where we were going and adjust her path. But no.

I took a break, let some other dogs run, tried again. Same thing. Finally I said screw it, she's just going to do it the way she wants to do it and I'm going to try to finish the run to get the time on the last part. Well, I tried so hard to get to where I wanted to be and get her over the jump also, that I crashed backwards through the side of a heavy wood-winged jump with the built-in metal ground bar, and somehow my hand ended up beneath me.

Nothing broken, near as I could tell (jump or bodily parts), but the thumb hurt enough that all I wanted to do was to get home and ice it. Put the dogs in the car, downed some NSAIDs, and headed home. Turns out that ice on my thumb was more painful than the injury. Don't know why it helps so much on a sore knee but not the thumb--not enough flesh to absorb the cold?

Waking up today, I'm also thoroughly bruised on my opposite arm, although I don't even exactly remember hitting anything with that arm.

I hope things go better tomorrow in Santa Rosa...


...Oh, the snow level's now supposed to be down around 1,000 feet "in snow country"; Santa Rosa isn't, really, but it's at about 350 feet. Could we have a White Agilitymas? That would be cool. I mean...really really really cool... like, guess I should pack my long down coat.


Spent two hours today trying to solve the issue of why I could send email up until 9:25 this morning but not after that. An hour and a quarter with AT&T (service provider), 5 different people, and they said it's not their problem and I finally believed them and hung up. Except that they basically run their service through yahoo (I'm not entirely clear on the concept), and it's apparently yahoo's AT&T servers that are giving me the problem, and their online help covers a lot of ground but not the ground in which my problem is growing roots. (OK, give me a break, I'm coming up with metaphors in a rush here.) Problem is not solved. Have to copy and paste everything I want to send into a rudimentary web email facility to get it to go out. Well, at least I can *get* email. Or... I was, before I started fixing things. Hmm, nothing has arrived in several hours. AM I getting email still?

I hate computers.


I'm a Christmaholic. Usually can't get enough of it. I have tens of thousands of lights in boxes in my garage that are not going up this year. I have a couple dozen boxes of Christmas ornaments and gewgaws and decor in my attic, only some of which will make an appearance this year. I have an entire 60-disk CD case that is filled to overflowing (as in, maybe should get another one) with Christmas music. Love it love it love it. Have more Christmas CDs than all other kinds of music put together. I will listen to all of them, sometimes multiple times. Deck us all with dogs and dog hair, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-laaaaa-laaaaaaaah!

I turned it on about half an hour into my journey through AT&T's support system to try to remind me to keep the holiday spirit. Not sure it helped. Made it harder to understand what they were saying, sometimes, which was maybe not a bad thing.

Dogs pretty much ignore the music, unless I sing along, which disturbs them greatly. At least, having all girl dogs these days, I don't have to worry about what alternative uses they might conceive of for my lovely Christmas tree, whose twinkling lights I can see above my computer monitor. Yay Christmas!

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Tree, No Beast

SUMMARY: Some lights are up.

Tried photos with Tika in them, but they all ended up blurry. Oh, well.

Tree with some lights. Progress occurs.


Complete list of labels

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Trimming the Tree

SUMMARY: Of course I mean literally.

I like Christmas trees with room inside to hang ornaments. Because I have a lot of ornaments. And because ornaments that lie at an angle down the outside because the branches are so thick don't count as "hanging." That's more like lying on the tree. And who wants to encourage lying at Christmas?

If I could afford it and could find them every year, I'd always get a silver tip (AKA abies magnifica). But they don't grow 'round these here parts, apparently don't grow well in many places, grow really slowly anyway, and they cost a purty penny when thems getsk here.

Second best is noble firs (AKA abies procera); sometimes you can find them almost as nicely openly layered as the silver tips if you spend a lot of time looking in various lots and paying more than average moolahs. But often they're just barely open in some places but too dense in others. Like Mr. Tree who came home with me this year.

So a little thinning to correct to bring out the open beauty that it really wants to display is sometimes necessitated. (Compare to previous photo of unthinnedness.)

And this is so much easier than fixing a bar-knocking problem with TWO individual dogs.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, December 05, 2008

Weird Weather and Whatnot

SUMMARY: Dogs are playing, dogs love agility, what's with the lemon tree?, what's with xmas?, and whatever else.

Odd warm weather this fall. We haven't had frost yet even once so far. In fact, the spells of unseasonably warm weather have really confused things: My lemon tree is starting to bloom. I think that's a bad thing. Don't remember when it usually blooms, but I don't think it's mid-December.

After 2 weeks without agility, both dogs were nuts to run in class last night. Boost did very well on the handling, but both dogs dropped bars like crazy. That'll learn me to not have any jumps up in my yard for a whole month. Now I've got a week to fix all that again before the last trial of 2009.

Actually it was fairly cold last night in class. We did a whole series of short exercises involving jumps and weaves so that we could keep moving. I wore three layers and stayed warm (except the nose) but some others had cold hands and feet. Wasn't below freezing, though.

Tika and Boost used to play together every morning on my bed while I dressed, but that stopped earlier this year. Was it about the time that I stopped having Boost and Tika in separate agility classes? About the time Tika had an anal gland thing and got pissy a bit? The last 2 mornings, first time in many months, they played tentatively and briefly again. Thank goodness. Hope it continues.

Meanwhile, if I spend 10 minutes a day working on my xmas tree, it should be all ready by Xmas. Can't believe that's less than 3 weeks from now already! I haven't even figured out what to get myself yet!

My Mom called last night and she sounds great, just wonderful, completely totally like Mom again, vigorous and youthful and active and is starting to do things around the house again. Now that's an awesome xmas gift. Maybe I don't need anything else. Even if she won't accept my housebeasts as granddogs.

(Man, how does Team Small Dog find the time to do all those clever labels on all those photos?)

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Of Christmas Trees and Grocery Clerks

SUMMARY: The dogs helped me get a tree.

Well, not really; the dogs just happened to be in the car when I picked out a noble fir at an amazing price--less than $40 for a 7-foot tree when it's usually close to $100. Either it was a good year for nobles or the economy's really bad.

With Boost's blue merle coloring and droopy ears, even people in the agility world sometimes mistake her for an Australian Shepherd. People in The Real World almost never figure out that she's a Border Collie. And most don't know what to think about Tika.

So it was interesting to me that, when two grocery clerks were tying my tree to my van's roof rack, and one saw Boost in the passenger seat so was hesitant about opening the door for better access, the other said, "She'll be fine, she's a collie; those are good dogs." Of course he was right on all counts, although I'm not sure that I could guarantee that all BCs would sit calmly and watch.

It surprised me even more, when Tika popped her head up from the back seat, that he also said, "Oh, you have a Border Collie AND an Australian Shepherd--or is she an Aussie?" In my experience, the guy putting the Christmas tree on your car doesn't know nuthin' about no herding dogs. Turns out he has a BC and an Aussie mix. I didn't ask whether he does agility with them--I'd probably know if he did.

But it was fun to have the experience. And now my house smells WONderful with the scent of evergreen wafting in from the living room. Maybe I'll even get around to putting lights and decorations on it this year.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, November 27, 2008


SUMMARY: I'm just glad.

Backfill: (Posted Sunday morning.)
My family's all alive and we're all getting along and we love each other. My dogs are healthy and alive. I can afford a house and food. I have a job. I try to remember it's just the basics, just the basics.

Family at the dinner table. Twenty of us--only the niece & nephew in Baton Rouge weren't here.

(Clockwise from bottom left featuring assorted related hair: Brother-in-law Martin's hair, Bro-in-law Doug, Dad's cousin Carol, Dad, Mom, sister Sharon's main squeeze Mark, sister Sharon's hair, sister Linda's hair, Bro-in-law Paul, my cousin's spouse Simon, sister Ann's hair, niece Katie's hair, niece Elizabeth, my ex Jim, his mom, my chair, nephew Alex's hair, sister Susan's hair. Not in photo, me, cousin Dawn, niece Kate, or any of our hair.)

Jamela (cousin's dog) gets some Thanksgiving loving:

Annie (cousin's mom's dog) gets some Thanksgiving loving, but really she was more interested in the food.

The food guest of honor: Mr. Turkey.

Uncle Marty teaches his nieces the finer arts of computer gaming. (Oh, really, they can probably out-geek him any day of the week.)

Mom. Can you believe she turns 80 on Sunday? Her mom didn't look nearly so good on her 80th. No, she doesn't color her hair. I hope I'm so lucky!
But noooo, the hair in front of my ears is already fading...fading... But I'm thankful anyway!

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels