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 15, 2010

A Few Carmel Photos

SUMMARY: From among the hundreds I took.
I'm so tired, so very very very tired. Beyond just hiking and beaching tired. Don't know why. I think the sore-ish throat I've had since Friday night is just dry air and/or allergies. I *did* cover about 9 miles Saturday and 4 miles Sunday; but still, just drop-dead bone tired beyond reason.

So here are just a few of the photos from Saturday.

Our hotel room, with the stack o'dog supplies they provided us, and the 6"-deep pseudo-fireplace.

Tika loves the beach.

Boot did some running, too. Here, she looks like some sort of heraldic beast, not so much like a Border Collie. Perhaps a heraldic border collie, rampant.

One spot on the beach smelled really good, apparently. Both dogs rolled enthusiastically, then Tika discovered that if she dug instead of rolling, she could find some really excellent stuff to eat, which Human Mom annoyingly put a quick end to.

Tika loved to chase the frisbee. Boost usually brought it back.

After our beach trip, dogs took a nice nap.

After the nap, we hiked for a couple of hours, maybe 4-5 miles at Garland Regional Park. Thirsty dogs discover a new use for the rainwater collected in the Indian Grinding Rock. [why is this photo not showing up? Maybe it's still processing. Will double-check in the morning--]

Around sunset, we raced back to the beach to try for some sunset photos.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel-Away-From-the-Sea

SUMMARY: A vacation day with the dogs.

There is nothing like being in the great outdoors with your dogs running freely off-leash. Wish we could enjoy that with greater regularity.

For various reasons, I got a late start this morning and arrived in Carmel around 12:30 on a beautiful day, perfect for a little hiking. Although check-in time at the Cypress Inn is 4:00, I figured it was worth dropping by early to see whether our room was ready. Yowza, it was, so we made ourselves comfy in our spacious room. (The fireplace is a bit of a fake--it's about 8" deep with a tiny flame and no way to adjust it.)

We then walked the half mile down to the beach (and it is *down*). The beach is over a mile long, and we walked up to one end and partway down to the other, then randomly encountered a friend who happened to be there at the same time we were, and strolled back towards the first end again.

We played some frisbee as we went, but I quickly tired of Tika catching it, running out into the surf and dropping it, and then Boost refusing to get anywhere near moving water in order to bring the frisbee home. Each time, we had to follow the frisbee down the beach as it appeared and disappeared in the waves, until finally it was close enough to the receding edge of the wave for boost to bravely get her feet wet and retrieve it.

Squillions of dogs of every size, shape, and color romped on the beach, off leash. At times when I put the frisbee away, Boost made attempts to do outruns on dogs chasing their own toys, but I kept moving along the beach and so she had to come along, too.

Tika liked exploring and running in and out of the surf, but Boost just wanted to play frisbee. Tika once again became so excited that she had to grab my feet for a while to get it out of her system. Boost, not so excited.

Per the pedometer, we got about 3.5 miles of walking between going to & from and the long walks along the clean, smooth sandy shore. Stopped in the hotel room for a little while to play with my computer: Wireless is listed as being available in the courtyard, but my room is close enough that I get it right here.

Realized to my dismay that I hadn't brought the card reader for my camera's memory card. So no way to upload photos, which means that one again I've missed the deadline for my 52 Weeks For Dogs. Crudola. THat's twice in 2.5 months; I think you're out if you miss 4. Just last week was so busy--

And I think I got a lot of nice photos today, but can't use them next week because them's the rules.

After that, we drove out Carmel Valley Road about 8 miles, through Carmel Valley, to a regional park that allows dogs off-leash. (Carmel Valley is different from carmel-by-the-sea. They just want you to know that.)

The weather remained perfect; sunny but just cool enough that I could walk as briskly as I wanted to and not work up too much of a sweat. I picked trails to walk that were mostly level, but did a little uphill and downhill. One branch of a trail descended abruptly via a series of a few dozen steps cut into the hillside, crossing a broad trail running the length of the valley. Boost apparently found THAT exciting--she blasted up and down the stairs and raced madly back and forth on the trail down in the valley. Not sure what sparked that excitement. OK, for Tika it's surf at the beach, for boost it's stairs in the woods.

Boost was quite happy to just run and explore in the park, unlike at the beach. She mostly used her hobby horse floppy puppy gait (picture those horses mounted in a rack on springs that you'd rock back and forth on--kind of like that) that's so unlike the focused, intense border collie working look.

After the first 25 minutes, I discovered that my pedometer had fallen from my belt and dangled from its leash, and had registered only .2 miles. I'm thinkin' it missed maybe a mile of hiking.

Not a lot of wildflowers yet, but a few here and there. The showiest display came along the Lupine Loop, where--surprise!--a field of lupies blued the scenery.

When we got back to the car about 20 minutes before sunset, we were approaching 8 miles on the pedometer total for the day (plus whatever it didn't count while loose). We then parked back at the hotel and raced to the beach for some glorious after-sunset sky colors, then back up the hill again to the hotel for a shower in a nice marble shower, dinner with the dogs at my side in the restaurant (in the dog section)--AHI tuna and some stuff, and a coconut creme brullee, yum!

I am VERY tired. Dogs are completely sacked out. Think I'll join them.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, March 11, 2010


SUMMARY: A two-day doggie trip sans agility. Can you imagine?!

Last year, a funny thing happened at the worker's raffle table. I earned a bunch of raffle tickets by working all day. I usually put them all into any free-entry certificates, hoping to win one here and there. Just for fun, I dropped one ticket into the bulging-full jar for one free night at the Cypress Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Because, why not?

And I won.

Pets are Welcome there. In fact, all of Carmel loves dogs. Nearby Monterey's pretty good about them, too. In Carmel, I can shop and dine out and hike and go to the beach, all with my dogs along. You know it's dog-friendly when that's noted at the top of their Wikipedia article!

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a truly charming town, originally an artist's enclave but now an extremely pricey (and yet still charming) town that has no street numbers for houses; the houses all have names instead. And they're all different.

Believe me, I will be taking my camera!

You should also read about some of their unusual laws.

We're going next week, just me and the Merle Girls. Our reserved room has a king-sized bed, fireplace, and private courtyard, usually running in the $400/night range at full price. Well--technically, the room isn't FREE because they don't include the $50/night pet fee in the free gift certificate. But that's OK, I'll take it anyway.

I am SO looking forward to a couple of days of off-leash hiking and beaching, some nice meals, tons of photos, and a little pampering. And, although I may meet with some agility friends for beaching or hiking, there will in fact be no agility activities for us at all! THIS is my new life. ;-)


Complete list of labels

Monday, January 04, 2010

Vacation in the Snow

SUMMARY: Do we look happy, or what?

Dogs can't wait to get back to running amok.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tika's Happy Toe

SUMMARY: Update on Tika's toe: Doing great!
Somewhere over a week ago, I put the doggie door back in so that Tika could go in and out on her own again. No sign of problems with the toe. (Just a problem with Boost whom I spent 2 weeks unintentionally teaching to tap at the door when she wanted to go out or in. Now guess who taps ALL THE TIME even though the doggie door is now available once again!)

I'd been putting a little bootie on her left front foot whenever we were out in the yard, and I continued to do so. Then earlier this week I started letting her run and chase the toy when we go out to play, instead of holding her collar while Boost chased it, like we've been doing for weeks now. (And, yes, that was as much fun as it sounds.)

And the toe was fine. So we went to the park and played frisbee with the bootie on. (The bootie on tika's foot, not on the frisbee or not the frisbee on tika's foot...) And the toe was fine.

This weekend we went up to the mountains and Thursday we played a bunch in the snow and she was SO happy butt scrunched under leaping ears back running running running grabbing my feet, with bootie on. And the toe was fine.

With much ecstatic growling and tugging:

Then on Friday we hiked for about 3 miles in the snow, and her bootie came off after about 1/4 mile and I decided fagedaboudit so she was unbootied. And she ran ran ran happy foot grabbing happiest. And the toe was fine.

Then Saturday we hiked over 6 miles on sometimes extremely icy sharp cold snow. She slowed down quite a bit but so did Boost. And the toe was fine!

I'm thrilled. Happy new toe year!

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, November 09, 2009

Disneyland Photo Teaser

SUMMARY: Just a couple. Don't have time for more at the moment.

Friday was blue-and-purple tie dye day.

Me--hamming it up for the camera-- and my sister's Australian friend "Sho" racking up them thar points in Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters ride. Boy, it sure helps one's scores if the ride stalls out while you're right in front of a target.

Here, I'm placing the raven's feather behind Dumbo's ear to make him fly, while Sho prepares to document the event.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, November 08, 2009


SUMMARY: I love Disneyland. I love being home.
When I walked in the door, the merle girls acted as though they hadn't seen another human being in three years. We got some frantic tug-of-war in, a bunch of tennis ball throwing (all of this indoors, mind you, as it's dark outside), some scritching and affection (not too much for Boost, would rather do the toy thang), and now they have bully sticks to gnaw so I can start transferring and sorting all my hundreds of Disneyland photos.

That'll take a while, and I'm VERY tired.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

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!

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, September 19, 2009


SUMMARY: Random things from the treat jar of dog thoughts and lifestyle issues that have been piling up, gathering dust.
  • The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind -- Time magazine article about dogs following pointing fingers, recognizing words, sharing, and altogether acting more human than wolf, and why. Thanks Wishy The Writer for the link.

  • This lady (OK, me) walks into a Postal Annex (no, really!) with the merle girls, tells them to "down" and they do (and stay, I might add), and commences her transaction with the clerk, who, after a couple of minutes of business, says, "Pretty dogs. Are they trained?" Um...

  • Trying to cut back on agility events, and in particular avoid weekends of agility back-to-back... But wait (she says, remembering squillions of Gamblers briefings where everyone has to clarify the terminology--again--)--or is that weekends *in sequence*? Not sure how you'd do weekends back to back-- sat-sun then sun-sat of the same weekend? Nice trick if you can do it, and you should CERTAINLY get double points for it.

  • Johann the dog asked "What is your favorite toy?" Found it hard to answer. Varies from dog to dog. Sheba loved the floppy plastic left over from a beach ball. Amber liked hard plastic things or sticks. Remington liked his plush "flippy" and cardboard boxes. Jake was into nubby plastic squeakies. Boost likes her bone-shaped plush with a squeakie in the middle. Tika prefers nonplush things that we can play tug with, especially her Jolly Ball. Me? Hmm, maybe my Macintosh.

  • New Mac Mini arrived this week! Bought this old one in January 2001 (was a 2000-year model). Looking forward to getting the new one running. Have heard that the tools now for transferring everything are amazingly good. Or so "They" say. And you know how They are.

  • Even though USDAA has made the Performance program more like the regular Championship program--everything now the same for titling, but sometimes they shortchange awards and title names--and despite well-respected competitors' efforts to promote moving *over* to performance instead of *down* to performance, it still felt like I was giving something up to move Tika from 26" Ch to 22" Pf. But, I'll tell you, she is running so much more smoothly and comfortably at 22"--and winning and Qing a lot more, too--grins--that I'm beginning to like the change. Although I still find myself qualifying her successes by saying "in performance, of course."

  • Still haven't decided for sure on a camera. Do I go with the Rebel series (the XS or the new t1i)--or the midrange not-quite-pro series (40D, available only refurbished, or 50D)? Price *is* an object.  So many things going into the decision, though. Almost decided on XS this morning, then almost on 40D. Probably one of those two. Would love the 50D but not sure I can justify the extra, which I'd rather spend on a lens or two.

  •  Hand touches: Taught Boost a hand touch to my palm very thoroughly and then realized to my dismay that this prevented teaching “shake”/”high 5"/”wave” etc. This year I decided to  change the Touch to only the back of my hand when held straight down, and Shake to the palm held level.  Maybe will post on how I converted, if anyone's interested. Taught Tika the new touch, too; she already had the Shake. Now both dogs know the distinction. Although sometimes in the heat of the food moment, Boost touches and shakes simultaneously. Overachiever.

  • OK, I admit it: I go places without my dogs. Lots of places. Hiking. Traveling. I see them all day every day and work or play or walk with them several times a day and I'm often ready to just not do dogs.  If more hiking around here were off-leash legal, I'd probably take them more often. But, unlike so many of my agility friends, I need lots of vacation from my dogs! Perfectly happy leaving them behind. Sorry, merle girls, life's hard.

  • But now, I retire for the night to my king-sized bed. WITH the merle girls. Life's not so hard after all, is it, me pretties!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Day in Old Montreal

SUMMARY: Another 8 miles, another 10 hours, and what a cool city!

I slept late this morning (9ish) then, by the time I was done futzing with photos and determining that I was just not going to be able to get ont he Internet, I headed in the general direction of Old Montreal.

I took hundreds of photos today. My little old laptop is too pathetically slow to be able to sort through them tonight--plus I have to pack for my early-morning flight tomorrow. But I did get a dog photo today! Here is Pilot, who warned Old Montrealians of a sneak attack by the Amerindians (what they're referred to here in Montreal). Her statue is here in Place D'Armes with a lot of other notable people.

I hadn't originally thought that I'd stay in Old Montreal the entire day, but there was so much to look at! I took a lovely guided tour that totook about 2 hours, then I had lunch around 4:00, strolled out by the St. Lawrence River, and by then I decided to stick around and see how it all looked lit up for th eevening. Pretty cool--but I'm afraid that a lot of my photos will be too blurry. But here's Rue St. Paul as the sun is going down.

That'll have to be all for tonight! Maybe more tomorrow night if I have energy after the trip back to California, with a stop in Denver, which used to have a waffle-cone baker right there inthe airport--

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday in Montreal: The Search For Dogs

SUMMARY: More work, more walking, a few dogs.

Backfill: Friday night; couldn't get on computer last night
Meetings all day again today. As usual, I took a long walk at lunch, out to Parc Fontaine, where I was sure I'd find some nice things--maybe even dogs--to take photos of.

I did find a whole plaza full of quite unusual chairs. Look, there's one now!

As usual, I saw a quite a few dogs on the city streets, but they usually were on their way somewhere and I didn't have a good way of getting their portraits. These dogs held still for me, though, and looked quite happy about it.

At the park, I saw quite a few dogs, but the lighting was bad, or I couldn't get to them quickly enough, or the photos that I did take were just really blah. This one was kind of cute, though.

Hey, look, there's a golden retriever over there, but dagnabbit once again there are annoying trees and boring people in the way!

Sure, it was business all day, but we left early as a local company sponsored a cocktail party. I realized after I'd been there for about half an hour that my energy was not at all up to making conversation with people I barely knew, let alone meeting scads of entirely new people, so I waved goodbye and headed for the hotel. But I chose to walk back along Rue Prince Arthur, where I passed all the sidewalk cafes last Sunday, and couldn't resist stopping for a light dinner right there.

It was a lovely night once again, and I was far from the only one strolling the Rue or partaking of dinner in the open air.

Got back to the hotel--walked up the stairs--and suddenly realized that I was more than a little tired: I was nearing exhaustion. So I crawled into bed and slept very well. Dagnabbit, now I'm finally on Montreal time, and I'm heading back to San Jose tomorrow!

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, September 22, 2008

Montreal Photos

SUMMARY: Photos from my Sunday 7-mile hike are available, including more dogs.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leaving My Dogs Behind--Je Vais Aller au Montréal

SUMMARY: Business and pleasure. And no agility.

I will be leaving you all for a week. Might be able to log in and post some random things, but not sure yet. I'm flying cross-continent to attend a meeting/conference, which I'm looking forward to--meeting some people I've met only by phone, and being in the middle of discussions on plans for features for the next product release. And I'm hoping to get a little sightseeing done at either end of the week. Il faut pratiquer mon francais--- jeepers, is that even close to right? It's been so long--

Je manquerai mes chiens! (Right form of "miss"? Argh!) And, simultaneously, I'll be glad to have a vacation from them and their training and their exercising and their feeding and their fur everywhere.

And we'll hope that Boost's middle-of-the-night problems, whatever they were or are, will not reappear to plague my renter, who is taking care of the beasties for me. (My vet made it sound as if some kind of noncalcium bladder stone was a more likely problem than an infection, but we're sticking with the antibiotics and keeping our fingers crossed.)

And we'll rely on the fact that all those Québécoises speak English without a twitch and I can practice my francais only if I really want to.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Interrupt Dog Agility and Hiking for a Sleepover Party

SUMMARY: An annual birthday party in Visalia.

(With some but not very sincere apologies to Team Small Dog for shamelessly stealing her theme AND dialog for today's post.)
So I went to a sleepover party this weekend.

Every year (for roughly 25 years) we've gone to Visalia--in California's central valley where it's HOT in August--for my brother-in-law's birthday sleepover party. It was cute when they were in college. Now, outsiders find it odd that we're still taking our sleeping bags and sleeping out for two nights on the lawn in his parents' back yard next to the pool. (Caption: Bunches of group photos. This year was one of the smallest Vicons ever, only 17 people.)

But, ha!, we enjoy ourselves! Take that! (Plus, now, it's tradition!) Even if it is 102 F when we arrive at 6 Friday evening.

And I am always the photographer. (Caption: Me checking some photos. This was one of five Mac Powerbooks in this very back yard. Not a Windows in sight. Ha! Again!)

(Caption: I had some help, though. (Damn iPhones with their built-in cameras!))

(Caption: Much fun at "Vicon.")

(Caption: We mostly hang out in the shade by the pool. VERY traditional.)

(Caption: Reading is an important tradition so that your brain doesn't rot in the sun while doing nothing for 3 days. Especially if you know the author. )

(Caption: Nice guests.)

(Caption: I make some new friends. And I don't even drink beer.)

(Caption: Cute nieces and nephews are de rigueur.)

(Caption: Wild Hawaiian shirts are de rigueur AND traditional. Plus breakfast in the shade, with a very traditional scrambled eggs, toast, and sausagey-type meat products.)

(Caption: One of my favorite traditions: Birthday cake Saturday night!)

(Caption: An innovation this year: Movies alfresco.)

(Caption: Did you know how easy it is to make a Richard M. Nixon shadow image?)

Caption: A big toast. (It's hot. Everyone's always drinking something.)

Every year, I take my "The Party's here" sign out of my attic, put it into the car, drive 3 hours, set it up on the front lawn of the party house, leave it there for 3 days, take a photo of it (not sure why--another tradition), put it back into my car, drive it home, and put it back into my attic.
(Caption: Here's what it looked like this year.)

(Caption: Here's the very funny thing: We look it up on Google maps Street View. What perfect timing their cameras had last year!)

Tomorrow (or whenever): Back to the dogs.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels