Friday, March 19, 2010

Some Things You Just Don't Take Photos Of

SUMMARY: Not the best health week ever.
One tries to do what one can to live a healthier life, given that one has exceeded half a century on this earth (could it be?! doesn't seem possible in those terms).

Plan A: Vacation

So, for example, one might go down to Carmel for a couple of days of wonderful long multi-mile walks in the perfect weather. Despite a sore throat waking one up during the night a couple of nights in a row, because surely that's just the change in the weather, maybe allergies.

Plan A1: Beach

Then after one day there, the next morning finding that one's body has no interest in getting out of bed, not very hungry for breakfast. One almost bags it and goes home right away, but no, it's beautiful down there and dammit one is going to follow one's plan and dammit go to the beach again and go hiking again.

So one goes to the beach and discovers that one doesn't have the energy or enthusiasm to go to the other end of the beach after all.

Plan A2: Hiking

So again one almost bags it and goes home, but figures, what the heck, now that one and one's beasts are in MUTT MVR, one might as well at least drop by the hiking park again for a tiny stroll in the sunshine.

So one does that. One finds that sitting down on every available bench has tremendous appeal. One's dogs are a little impatient. One ends up covering maybe a mile and a half, on the level, slowly, before discovering that one is suddenly very grateful for there being a restroom not too far from the chosen path. Perhaps something one ate the night before?

Plan B: Sleep sleep sleep

So one DOES bag it and head for home, an hour's drive, and despite a long night's sleep, one is dyin' for bed, crashes at home and sleeps for 2-3 hours before dragging one's self out of bed to try to do something useful with one's evening. Brain dead tired.

Plan C?: Common Cold

One wakes up still exhausted the next day and the nose has gone into full-time exercise (yes, running), and one is now pretty sure it's a cold, not just allergies. One sleeps a lot despite it being a work day. (So much for that Personal Time Off that one has finally accrued by doing less agility and more work--wasting it on sick days! When one works at home! That's pathetic.)

Making an effort on Wednesday

The next day, one crawls out of bed, still tired, still with a marathon nose, but puts in a full-time day to try to get the clients' deadlines met. Something, er, intestinal is telling one that perhaps one did have something that disagreed with one back in Carmel. Not too bad, just enough to notice.

Plan T: Thursday already, so on with the Chard

And that fatigue, the cold, the iffy digestive system keep one mostly in bed the next day, too, but by the middle of the afternoon, one showers (steam feels good!), washes hands thoroughly, bops into the grocery store for milk and bread and fresh garlic so one can finally cook that Swiss Chard.

Because, yes, in an effort to be healthy, one signed up for a local "CSE" (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery of fresh fruit & vegetables every 2 weeks, and the first box arrived last Friday. Fruits have been good but time to cook that Chard! If one has never cooked Chard before, or even eaten it as far as one knows, and one's renter has never eaten Chard before, one follows the farm's recipe for cooking it. Pretty easy and very tasty! And it's supposed to be very healthy. Even the renter, who's not much into "oddball" vegetables, seems to like it, and one discusses with one's renter how to use the next batch in salads or soups.

Plan ugh: Not what one had expected

Except halfway through, one's intestinal portions give a mighty alarm and now it's really serious. One hasn't been eating much all day, but still, not a happy system. But back to the Chard, finish it (very tasty, a little garlic & a little cayenne & a little olive oil).

And then--one spends the rest of the evening essentially in close personal communication with the white porcelain fixture in the Reading Room. One can't even sit at the computer long enough to read a paragraph. One finally discovers that lying down eases nature's call somewhat, at least longer between porcelain visits, so one gives up and crawls into bed.

Then one and one's renter, also, it turns out, spend the evening and most of the night in turns hurrying to each own's Reading Room, over and over, and then one hears the flushing of the facility, and on and on and on. One catches half an hour of sleep here or there but not much.

Look, now it's Friday

So then it's Friday. One is thirsty. One drinks a bit of water but it is still rejected. Later a little toast; maybe a little better received. Banana eaten slowly over a period of an hour mostly seems to be accepted. Around noon, one makes a bowl of jello that one and one's renter consume cautiously but mostly seems to be a safe thing to eat.

One crawls back into bed after that and sleeps for maybe 4 hours or so, so hooray, one's system seems to be cautiously optimistic about functioning a bit more normally.

So, more toast, more jello, a bit more water, then one has the energy to play fetch with the dogs for a bit out in the yard for the first time in several days.

By 8 p.m., one has successfully consumed two diet soft drinks and several handfuls of pretzels as well, plus a slice of very lightly buttered toast. Who knew how good such simple foods can taste when one is very hungry and very thirsty!

Who knew?

So: Apparently Swiss Chard has all kinds of useful nutrients. Which, when eaten in large quantities in particular to ones who aren't accustomed to it, can cause awful intestinal & stomach upset. (Many web sites, incidentally, point out not to give it to your rabbits, goats, or dogs, as it can cause severe diarrhea. Most human web sites point out how many healthy nutrients it has; only a few point out that it can cause issues. So one thinks that perhaps it's inherent in the Chard itself, not some infection--and one has taken it off the list of things to be delivered to one's house in the future.

Ah, isn't it lovely to live such a healthier life?!

Gratuitous nature photos to expunge mental images of intestinal distress

So, let one leave one with a few wildflowers from Monday, now that one has the energy to sit at the computer for an hour.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, March 08, 2010


SUMMARY: Musings between agilities.

Tika's fur is SO thick that her feet and legs are like sponges, and particularly the thick hairy bits on her behind. I'm thinkin' that makes her Sponge-dog Hairpants. Am I right?

My not-too inspired-photo for week 9 of 52 Weeks for Dogs:

When we go for a walk, and we encounter grassy areas, I play tug of war with Boost and her leash and allow her to run run run a bit with the handle of the leash in her mouth. She runs 20 feet ahead and then comes back for more tug. (She has never ever ever run out into the street, but I'm very careful anyway.) She now gets very excited when we get to grassland! Because we all get to run and play! And so, singing to her as we go, with apologies to Paul Simon:

We're going to grassland
In southern San Jose
We're going to grassland.
Doggies and walkers with leashies
and we are going to grassland!
My walking companion is five years old
She is so bored with simply smells
But soon we'll tug and play
And pretend to run away
in grassland!

(Original lyrics here.)

We've had no class for two weeks; been rained out. Rented the field with a friend and her 3 border collies Saturday afternoon and went up and practiced for a couple of hours. Mostly ran Tika just to run Tika. Tried to set up things with Boost where she's ahead of me or I have to push her out or I have to serp her. Bars were knocked. Speed occurred. Progress might have been made. I think just DOING things like that over and over until we get them right is probably good.

At home, have done some desultory threadles and serps. Today took a different approach: Worked on sending them into gambles where they had to keep going straight ahead of me. Not too bad on just jump jump tunnel, but stick a teeter instead of the 2nd jump and things went all to pot. This was good. Good practice at keeping their focus straight ahead.

Then the skies burst into a sudden downpour, although the sun continued to shine brightly. I retreated to the back porch, but continued to send the dogs down to the lawn area to do obstacles for a thrown reward. Rain didn't bother either of them! And revealed again that Boost doesn't know her left from right except in certain very circumscribed situations. I think this was actually an excellent exercise, because now the dogs do not have my body language (good and/or bad) to guide them, just my commands! So they have to listen! AND pay attention!

Again, I think progress occurred and I think I'll try more of that. That continued until I looked up across my back fence--and had to abandon the dogs to race for my camera:

Meanwhile, I am STILL liking the idea of not doing agility. Of course, after our 4-day mega-event Apr 15-18, in rapid succession there are my own home clubs' USDAA trials April 24-25 and May 1-2. See, this is the problem with trying to spread my agility out over the year: The convenient ones and the highest ROI ones are all glopped exceedingly tightly in just a couple of spots during the year, and the rest of the year is empy (that's empty without the hard-to-pronounce t in the middle).

Sigh. I will be VERY tired after those two and a half weeks are over! And probably ready for no more agility for a very long time.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, January 31, 2010

UKI Birthday Fun Match

SUMMARY: A good time was had by all.
Compared to a regular agility weekend, it was SO much nicer to (a) not have to pack nearly as much, (b) sleep until 6:30 rather than 4:00 a.m., (c) drive half an hour rather than 2 hours, (d) watch the sun rise and the full moon sink (wanted photos but didn't want to stop. Regretting that decision.), (d) be done with 4 runs by noon.

I'm not the best person to comment on the styles of courses; course design doesn't interest me at all; I just like the challenge of how I'm going to get myself and my dogs through in the most efficient way possible, and it doesn't really matter what the specific challenges are. I must say that nothing I saw today looked out of the range of possibility for a USDAA trial (in terms of odd turns or weird positions or that ilk). But all the courses were run on a very small rings; they might have been 70x70 (rather than 100+ square), but I'm thinking they were maybe even smaller than that.

Java Agility has a permanent fenced location set up in one corner of the Swiss Park ("available for rental! Banquet hall!") in Newark. I have no idea what the Swiss part is all about, but the building was pretty cool.

Fun matches are useless for us to work on anything that dogs do only in competition; despite my best efforts, they know it's not real--e.g., Tika did every one of her contacts perfectly. In fact, Tika just kind of glided through the courses, OK, this is fun but not REALLY serious.

Standard agility ("agility") was your basic numbered course with all obstacles but no table. Jumpers is jumpers-with-weaves, different from USDAA but same as for AKC and international. Gamblers has an interesting variation; someone said it's sort of a combination of AKC FAST and USDAA gamblers; I'm not familiar with FAST so dunno. The gamble always has an option of going over the line to do it but for fewer points, which is nice.

Their Speed Stakes is just a Jumpers course like USDAA (no weaves) but set up for speed like a Steeplechase would be. We finished with that and both dogs loved it; Tika even got excited enough once she caught on to what kind of course it was that she zoomed in and grabbed my feet at the end, which is normally an only-at-trials behavior.

Boost knocked bars but her contacts and weaves were lovely. I was trying to concentrate more on having her keep moving out ahead of me and taking obstacles rather than checking in before every one. We had some success with that, but still a ways to go.

Tika waits her turn. (This is my 4/52 in my 52 Weeks For Dogs photo group.)

On the way home, the lighting was so interesting (sunny but muted by faint cloudiness) that I stopped and took photos. These are the mountains east of Newark rising above the NUMMI plant (New united motors), a joint venture between GM and Toyota for the last quarter century that employs 5500 people--until GM announced that they're pulling out, and Toyota isn't going to keep it running by themselves, so in 2 months it's shut-down and outawork.
It's amazing what you can see while standing at a freeway overpass in the business/industrial part of town on a spur-of-the-moment stop to take photos of the mountains.
Marsh grasses surrounding a reflective pond.

Purple flowers (duh!).

Bird of Paradise

These guys cracked me up. It was clear they were talking about the neighbors.

But when they took off, pure grace.

Seagulls may be the rats o'the sea, but they sure do look nice against a bright blue sky.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

And, Oh Yeah, Sunrise

SUMMARY: Tuesday morning across the big field

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, December 18, 2009


SUMMARY: In my back yard. This morning.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And Another Day Bites the Dust

SUMMARY: Rainbows, shopping, cameras, walkies, parks, bad lyrics--

Don't you love finding that your magical rainbow is just beyond your kitchen door? Do you dare open the door to look for your pot of gold?

Don't you love going for a long walk through the park and both your dogs put up with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old giving them attention?

Don't you love talking to adults wherever you go and explaining what "blue merle" is and that yes Boost is an actual Border Collie?

Don't you love trying to find a word that rhymes with "leashie" so you can post the lyrics to another badly abused song? As in (think Yankee Doodle for this one):
Boostie doggie used her teeth to pull upon her leashie,
Glad we're in the U.S.A 'cause that won't wash in Vichy.
Don't you love wondering about little idioms and wondering how nonnative speakers of English will ever figure them out? "That won't wash--" "That won't float--" "That won't fly--" "That won't go--" ?

Don't you decide to completely rearrange the lyrics to find something that's easier to rhyme with?
Boostie grabbed and tugged her leash while going on a walkie--
...mumble... walkie...bawkie..cawkie...dawkie...fawkie...gawky (maybe)--...hawkie...jawkie (jockey? sort of)...  mumble...

Don't you like taking your little crappy point and shoot and the dogs up to the 4th floor of the local shopping center and taking photos of the sunset in combination with various man-made shopping center attractions?

Don't you love finding a friend for your dogs at the shopping center? Do you suppose he does agility?

This cute skinny little guy looks very agile and like he wants go go home with you!

Don't you love posting the rest of your photos from your shopping center trip on your regular photo site, with captions?

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yessirree I Have Agility Dogs

SUMMARY: Another fine weekend, all in all.

The drive back down to Carmel started the day nicely with entertainment from Mother Nature. The sunrise took various forms and colors and I captured only some of them.

It's interesting, driving through a sunny morning and yet being able to see that you're about to drive into a fog bank in the next low-lying area.

Then, suddenly, you're in the fog. And fog is seldom more entrancing than when it's wrapping around some of the distinctive Monterey trees.

Several of us volunteered to wear leis to be the "ambassadors" who could answer anyone's questions, whether Starters folks trying to understand Snooker or Members Of The Public with questions. I got one to match my tie-dye.

We started the day with Snooker with a deceptively devious course. I thought that I could easily get Tika through a six and two fives, but this course required precision handling every step of the way and not many of us were up to it; not a lot qualified, and considering that there were 4 reds, only maybe 3 or 4 out of 120 dogs got more than 50 points. We made it through 6 and 5--barely--and then Tika took a bonus red at the wrong time and we were out.

Boost I had figured on 3 sevens; acutally I liked the flow better than Tika's course, but it covered a lot more ground and I didn't believe that Tika had the speed for it, whereas Boost does. We in fact got through the three 7s in the opening very nicely, with just a couple of occurrences of "this jump?" dancing around, which cost us time. But then I managed to NOT handle the #2 in the closing the way I had walked it, got in Boost's way, and she knocked the bar, and we were done. We *might* have had enough time left to finish the closing after our opening bobbles, but it would've been close.

So no Snooker Qs again.

Tika qualified in Performance Grand Prix *again* and *again* took 2nd place, not the lovely 1st that would earn us a bye into round 2 at the regionals in september. Explain me this, that tika can continually win steeplechase against the same dogs that she can't beat in Grand Prix? Argh. I shouldn't be complaining about Qing OR about placing 2nd in GP, but still...

And Tika had a lovely Standard run, getting enough toes into the contact zones to convince the judge that they were legal, although I miscued something and she turned in completely the wrong direction, losing several seconds to get her back on track. Don't know whether the correct execution would have gotten us the win; she Qed and came in 2nd there, too (to the same dog who beat her in Grand Prix) by a big gap of 3 and a half seconds.

Boost's Grand Prix was SO close to being lovely, but an ominous thing happened--instead of doing the "refusal dance" at 2 jumps ("this one? this one? really?"), she did the dread Border Collie full-speed spin! Ack! Not a good sign; don't want her to start spinning--it's a terrible habit for the dog to get into. But it's a sign of not getting the right info fast enough. Still--it really was SO close to being lovely! And we got called for only 1 refusal, so it was SO close to being an actual Q!

Boost's Standard run was scheduled near the very end of the 120-or-so masters dogs, and that class was still getting going while *everything* else, including my score table job, finished and the courses cleared away and packed. I really didn't want to wait for an hour or more for Boost's run and have it be another mess or something that would reinforce those ugly spins.

But... well, I waited. And I'm so glad I did, because Boost ran PERFECTLY! Stayed at the start line, went over jumps in front of her, hit all her contacts, made her weave entry and stayed in to the end--oh, it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, like a run with a fast dog like her SHOULD be!

I could tell in a couple of places that she slowed slightly, not showing a CONFIDENT drive forward, but still DID go forward, even responded correctly to TWO rear crosses AND a serpentine... I mean, really, it was beautiful, and I have no complaints whatsoever; it's quite a breakthrough for her, and I don't expect her to be as confident and driven through a difficult course (only 8 of 38 dogs in her group Qed) as some other dogs, so for her at this time it was a spot-on, flawless run.

I am still floating.

Furthermore, she was fast enough to place 3rd of those 38 dogs! She's never earned Top Ten points before, ever, and this weekend she did it in TWO classes (Gamblers yesterday and Standard today). Wooty woot!

Now, it's not like she was really super-fast--just fast enough. Her time was 39.96, only about 4 yards per second. The 1st place time was 38.73, which makes her look pretty good--until you realize that dogs like Sweep [Basic] had a time of 36-something (although with a contact called), and Boost's sister Gina had an absolutely drop-dead astounding time of 34-something (although slammed through two jump bars).

So we can just keep doing what we've been doing, I guess, and her confidence will build, and so will her speed, and then I can also start releasing her very quickly on her contacts (if I want to go for placements)--note that Gina has glorious full-out running contacts and Boost stops at the bottom of each one. That alone makes quite a difference.

On the way home, traffic came to almost a complete stop much sooner than it had yesterday evening. Grumble grumble.

Gave me a chance to roll down the window and admire strawberry fields forever.

After taking 20 minutes to go half a mile, I looked at the map and saw an alternate route that took me a few miles out of my way, but at least I drove at the speed limit the whole way. Back on the main highway 101, traffic was at only about half speed through Prunedale and beyond, but finally picked up to near speed limit.

Today, my 1 hr/15 minute morning drive turned into a 2-hour evening drive home. Gahhhh.

But here we are, I'm happy, dogs did quite well again.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, June 07, 2009

We Live In A Fascinating World

SUMMARY: Full of dogs and hills and grass and trees and light and colors and coyote poop.

Wednesday night, rather than join the Sierra Club group for our weekly brisk 5-mile strenuous hike, I struck out on my own closer to home. I wanted to take the dogs. I wanted to be able to stop and browse upon the scenery with my camera. I wanted to prove to myself that I can and will do a strenuous 5-mile hike all on my own. I wanted to sweat.

But not too much.

So, although the day wasn't particularly warm, I waited until 6:00 to head to Santa Teresa County park, a 1700-acre park just a 15-minute drive from home whose open hillside trails on steep terrain can be a bear in any kind of warmth. The bonus would be that I could catch the sunset from up in the hills.

We started at 200 feet above sea level at the foot of the hills, passing by the historic Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, where Tika announced a fierce interest in the chickens in their coop. We decided not to linger. Later in the hike, when a startled California quail directly in our path flapped noisily into a nearby shrub, Tika suddenly became suddenly intrigued by their distinctive clicking call coming from the undergrowth we passed.

I carried only my little point-and-shoot; didn't want the weight of the borrowed SLR, hadn't actually familiarized myself with it yet anyway, and besides, hiking with the dogs and any kind of electronic equipment is always risky. So I have no bird photos to share, and few photos with the dogs (who move too much for the P&S's personal tastes).

Boost bravely streeeeetched wayyyy out to investigate some ancient farm equipment left on the hillside to moulder away. I have no idea why that was classified as one of the many Potentially Scary Evil Things in the world--looked pretty innocuous to me, but then I'm not a sensitive Border Collie.

Most of what I saw on my hike looked pretty much like this.

But I also enjoyed looking at the views of the valley and up to the observatory on Mount Hamilton, the lurking dark peak in the distance--near the right, to the left of the cloud.

Dogs also enjoyed checking out coyote poop.

As the sun sank, everything glowed amazing golden colors, and our shadows threw themselves longer and longer before us.

Plus there was coyote poop.

We passed the Norred Stables, where apparently during the day some REALLY BIG DOGS do some agility in the arena. (My sister has one of those really big kinds of dogs.)

The dogs particularly wanted to analyze Every. Single. Coyote. Poop. On. The Trail.

Human Mom wanted to take pictures of Every. Single. Scenic. View. On. The. Trail.

We accommodated each other. It worked. The highest point on the trail was about 930 feet, but we did quite a bit of upping and downing, so cumulative elevation gain might have approached 1000 feet. Distance covered: Somewhere between 4 and 5 miles. Walked it briskly, trying to emulate the Crazed Wednesday Night Hikers Pace, but stopped often for various reasons human or canine.

We lingered on the last high hillside trail until the sun had vanished from the sky, then dashed down the trail--literally--about 450 foot drop in half a mile. Felt good! Got photos! Sweated! And successfully kept all members of the expedition from rolling in coyote poop.

These are about half the photos I took; you can see the rest of the bunch on my usual photo site (along with these) with captions. I think there are a few particularly nice ones in the bunch. Enjoy. Love your dogs. Love your dear ones. Love life.

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

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.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dogz Yardz Dragonz Toyz

SUMMARY: A busy afternoon out in the back 4. (Not enough space to be 40.)

Note 1: OK, yes, I am really stupidly going to upload 32 photos to Blogger, 2 at a time. I hate this photo interface except that it conveniently resizes them and makes thumbnails.

The shrubbery has gotten out of hand. And out of feet. And probably arms and legs, too. All 90 feet of it. Here is quite a bit less than all 90 of its feet. There is a fence in there somewhere. I swear it.

This is what I am prepared to do.

This is what Tika really wants me to do.

Boost's darned ear doesn't understand the proper way for an ear to behave in public.

Mr. Rusty Yard Dragon is being overgrown by Mr. out-of-hand shrubbery. However, he remains silent on the matter.

Mr. Triceratops is not, technically, a dragon. He is a token dinosaur-that-might-be-dragon-like-kinda. He sleeps with the gravels that the dogs slide through, pushing them up gradually until they mostly cover Mr. T and then I unbury him. He continues to sleep. Extinction is like that.

I think Tika is gorgeous. Whether or not she's all Aussie. Someday--maybe--the DNA test.

Boost is pretty gorgeous herself.

What Boost likes to do while I am trimming shrubs. Waiiiiiiiting--

until I toss a branch, and then--leap and grab! Leap and grab! ...Leap! and Grab! ...


...and leap and grab!

Tika does not get this game.

This is what Tika really wants me to do.

This is what happens to the nifty yard-waste basket that you can collapse into a flat package and store neatly in the shed, when you leave it uncollapsed and sitting out conveniently in the yard 24/7 for several years where you can get at it at a moment's notice to toss yard clippings into.

Leap and grab!

The shrubbery is looking so much better. Only another--uh--70 feet to go.

Mr. Rusty Yard Dragon is no longer being devoured by overgrown shrubberies. However, he remains silent on the matter.

I like Mr. Rusty Yard Dragon (for short, I fondly call him: Mr. Rusty Yard Dragon) because he looks cool and he's supposed to be rusty so he takes no maintenance. Just hangs around.

Really, Tika wants me to do this.

Boost wouldn't mind some of that, plus agility tunnels would be cool, plus her ear is inside out. Again.

Leap and grab!

This is what I should really be doing, according to Tika.

This is a history of what happens to purple Jolly Balls in our particular back yard.

#1 slowly developed little cracks from all the sharp doggie teeth digging into it to play fetch and/or tug-of-war day after day, week after week, month after month... but it is still throwable, fetchable, and tug-of-warable, and is really floppy so is fun to shake if you're a dog who likes to shake things, so we can't get rid of it yet. #2 unfortunately developed a problem with the handle, as in it is no longer there. Plus it got left on the patio in 100+-degree heat, and that concavity thing is what results. #3 is slowly developing cracks, too. Plus it got left on the patio on another 100+-degree day. It does not roll so well any more. #4 is our current experimental subject. #5 is also apparently experimental, because it vanished about 7 days after it had been put, brand new, into this very back yard. We have had 2 dogs and 2 people looking for it off and on for months. It has experimentally vanished into some odd backyard thin air.

Could the shrubbery have eaten it? The shrubberies are very overgrown-- I CAN take a photo at 1/10 of a second without a tripod, I can I can I can! ...Or maybe only if you squint and look at it in really small resolution so you can't see how fuzzy it is...Does this look like a JollyBall-eating shrub to you?

I am not complaining about tonight's sunset. Over the neatly trimmed 20 feet of shrubbery.

Now I can see the neighbor's tree house against the sky in the leafless winter tree.
Note 2: OK, yes, this photo upload process was astonishingly tedious and time-consuming. Plus reviewing images, moving them to match text--Bleah--Blogger is NOT designed for posting photos. In future, must revert to diverting you-all to my Smugmug for bigger photo collections.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels