Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dinah and Persephone share a little conversation before the boys catch Dinah fraternizing with the enemy... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crime Wave

I once took Duncan to a herding clinic with Bob Vest. Bob is a wonderful instructor who is especially popular with the Aussie people in this region, and his clinics fill up almost as soon as they're announced. Anyway, we were the only Beardie/handler team in the group (as we usually were). Bob took one look at Duncan and told me, "You know, Beardies are basically criminals." He said it with tongue in cheek, of course, but sometimes it makes you wonder...

Dinah's favorite occupation (besides chewing on Seamus) is stealing underwear from the dirty laundry basket. She'll steal other things just for chuckles: Greg's pencils, stuff out of the trash, junk mail... anything that she thinks will get a rise out of somebody. Mostly, though, she steals hearts.

And then there's Charlie. He's so well-behaved most of the time that it's easy just to take him for granted. He sits, he stays, he comes when called, he's good in the car and on the trail. He's not a mellow dog, but he is a fairly easy keeper. Just look into those lovely hazel eyes of his and tell me if you think he has the capacity to be a thief.

Yeah, right. That innocent-looking brown-faced boy swiped most of a pork roast off the kitchen counter when Greg had his back turned. The guy works fast, too -- he'd almost made the whole thing disappear before Greg noticed it was gone. Let's just say that there was no joy in Mudville at lunchtime...

You have to hand it to the credit card companies for at least trying to lessen the incidence of identity theft, but sometimes the companies' ideas of what constitutes theft do give one pause. I've used the same Visa card for much of my dog expenses this past year, including Seamus's AKC and CKC registrations and Dinah's KC registration and export pedigree. Anyway, I penned in the same number on Dinah's AKC registration form and shipped it off to North Carolina last week.

Since I'm getting a decent tax refund this year, I thought I would replace my failing old digital camera with a better model that recommended to me. I carefully researched all of the prices out there and decided on the best deal, then placed my order with my Visa card.

The card came back with a "Call for Authorization" message attached. I was deeply confused, since I was way below the limit. Anyway, I called the bank.

Turns out that they had spotted some suspicious (to them) activity on my card and wanted me to verify that I was the one making those purchases. One of the purchases they'd flagged I could understand -- thieves do sometimes buy electronic equipment (such as digital cameras) with stolen credit cards and then resell the items for cash. The other charge they'd flagged, however, was to the AKC for Dinah's registration. I verified that I had indeed made both purchases, and they allowed both payments. Everything did work out in the end.

It sure makes me wonder, though. How many identity thieves rush off to register dogs with the AKC using stolen credit cards?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Best in Show?

Well, yeah -- if the show is Mud Wrestling with the Stars.

Welcome to Maine's infamous fifth season: Mud. It's what we have everywhere when it's too warm for snow and too soon for grass. Last summer, we had some topsoil brought in to level the side yard and backyard, and to fill up Charlie's archaelogical projects from last year. Unfortunately, the frost came too soon for us to be able to seed, so all we have out there now is mud, glorious mud. Charlie has even dug himself a nice "buffalo wallow" and likes to lie down in his nice big mud puddle. Better still, he's taught the little princess how to appreciate a good topsoil. I am soooooo buying rolls of turf for that yard this year -- grass seed doesn't stand a chance.

There are signs of hope, though. Sap buckets have sprouted on the sugar maples up and down our street (and someone put a couple of taps and buckets on a telephone pole -- I hope that was meant as a joke!). is March 25 this year, and fortunately that day doesn't coincide with Easter (as it did last year).

I wish I had more news to report, but the truth is, I'm boring. It's deadline time in the word mines, which means I've been trapped at work for 16-hour days for the past couple of weeks. My next deadline is the Ides of March, and then I'm only back to going crazy on one project until that one ships in mid-May. You can bet I'm running up the comp time; it'll come in handy for a few Friday dog shows and a yarn expedition here and there.

Technorati tags for this post:

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Further Adventures of Geroni-Mo Burfitt

Three guesses why we call her Geroni-mo!

Anyway, our little grrrrl is growing up. She received her last set of puppy shots a couple of Fridays ago. She also received her microchip. Dr. Cindy, the vet, informed me that all of the cats she had ever microchipped had been okay about the experiences, but that all the dogs had yelped, so the vet tech and I got a good grip on her and prepared for a squeal. Dinah never even blinked -- what a trooper! Faced with a needle that size, I probably would have passed out.

Her front teeth are coming in nicely, including her canines. Thus far her bite doesn't seem to have gone off. She has a mix of puppy teeth and new adult teeth in the back, so she's definitely still teething. I offered her a frozen washcloth to soothe her gums, but she prefers to use Seamus as a teething toy.

It seems that every time I look away and look back, she's a different puppy. Most Beardie puppies her age also sport the "exploding cigar" look, where the hair on their faces has started graying out before any of the hair on their bodies. Dinah has some graying on her face and about 7 gray hairs on her tail. (I hope she stays as dark as her dad Danny, who is nearly stay-black.) Her legs are getting longer, and her head appears to be taking more of an adult shape -- her skull is lengthening and so is her muzzle. She still has a beautiful head, but it's not as blocky as it was a few weeks ago.

We started Auntie Sue's puppy class this past week. We were a bit late for the first class, so we didn't have much time to meet the other puppies and to get our ya-yas out before class. Dinah's new classmates include two German Shepherds, two Jack Russells, a Peke mix, and a Golden. Dinah took to Sue and Camille (Sue's demo dog for the class) right away. She was a little too excited and wiggly to be interested in the calm-control exercises at the beginning, but she walked beautifully on lead. She much prefers walking on my right, so we have to work on walking on the left before the next class.

This one will be a natural at agility, though. She already likes to walk on the back of the couch, and thinks nothing of vaulting over an adult dog or two to reach the couch (or anything else she's trying to get to). She would ride on the back of the rear seat of the car if I allowed her to. She can also climb up stairs, though she hasn't mustered the nerve to go down just yet.

Music News, For Once

Greg bought a new iBook G4 this past week, and he's like a kid with a new toy... because he is a kid with a new toy. All the hardware and OS limitations he encountered with his old iBook have magically disappeared with new software and OS X. He has been happily editing the tape hiss out of old performances and importing his old Finale scores into the latest verson of Sibelius. He's also thrilled to bits that OS X has UNIX underpinnings; he used to support software on UNIX in his previous life, and he loves having the control and flexibility.

His Polyline for solo clarinet has been scheduled for performance at the 's Festival of American Music in June in NYC. It will be performed on Saturday, June 10, at the afternoon concert. Lukas Foss, Elliott Schwartz, and Beth Wiemann also have pieces in the same festival, but in different concerts.

He has been busy with a number of his other pieces. Arkadia was originally scored for chamber orchestra, but he has been busy expanding it for full orchestra. He has also made quite a bit of progress on the Sax Quartet, and hopes to get a movement or two performed next semester. He'd like to get Polytriad read at BU this semester, and last night he mentioned wanting to go back to Niagara Falls for fresh inspiration, so he can make more progress on Niagara, the piece which will probably be his Master's thesis.

Not To Mention Knitting News

My third pair of socks is finally finished! will love the colors in these: blues, purple, soft green, and a little taupe. The colorway is called Bucks Bar, from Lorna's Laces.

Pair #4 is still at the first-cuff stage. It's in Trekking XXL, in a shade that looked somewhat like an orangey heather in the skein. It's beautiful knitted, but hard to describe -- maybe like a tweedy color spectrum. When I'm done with the socks, I'll post a photo and you can decide. Trekking XXL is plied with different colors, which is where the lovely tweedy effect comes from.

My friend Susannah (whom I've known since freshman year in college) sent me more lovely yarn for my birthday, including two skeins of another shade of Lorna's Laces. This colorway is predominantly robin's-egg blue and pink, and will make gorgeous socks for spring. You'll be cheered up just looking at the colors.

Technorati tags for this post:

Friday, March 03, 2006

Seamus Gets a Brag!

Aren't they cute together? Seamus and Dinah have been well-nigh inseparable since the first moment she sank her puppy teeth into him.

Today's is Seamus's day, though. This morning we qualified in our very-first-ever rally trial! We didn't put on the spiffiest performance in history -- too many interesting smells and sights for Seamus -- but we did manage to qualify. We have our leg and our green ribbon, so it's a start. I'd sure like to tighten up our presentation before we show in mid-April, though.

Technorati tags for this post: