At this time of the year, the one song that keeps running through my mind is "Last Good Day of the Year," by a British one-hit-wonder band named Cousteau. (Great song -- they sound even more like Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach than Elvis and Burt did.) With the screaming winds driving the rain sideways and the shift to Standard Time happening this weekend, Friday might actually have been the last good day of the year.
Mother Says: Keep Your Blog Clean 'Cause You Never Know Who Might Visit
As a rule, I don't get a whole lot of comments or links on my blogs -- so it's always an occasion when I hear from people who have been reading these posts. Yesterday I heard from a friend I haven't seen since her wedding back in the '80s. (Hey Rachel -- drop me a line. Susannah will want to say hi too.)
Susannah came out to visit a couple of summers ago. Here she is with Charlie, who has a mutual admiration society thing going with her.
A belated shout out goes to Dave, aka citizentwain, keeper of the Too Stupid to be President Web site. He recently ran across this reference to his site from back in February, and sounded pleased that I named TSTBP among my favorite sites to visit. (It is! Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from screaming -- which explains why we watch Comedy Central almost all the time.)
Also from the Whodathunkit files: Back in this post I made a passing reference to our Mosquito Magnet. Next thing I knew, a nice man named Andrew from the marketing department at American Biophysics gave me a call to ask me what I thought of the Magnet, since I'd mentioned it on my blog. We happen to love the thing, since it keeps the Maine State Birds (mosquitoes) from carrying us off in mid-barbecue. Anyway, one discussion led to another, and just the other day I received a big package from Andrew with a free package of octenol attractant, a propane tank cover, a couple of Mosquito Magnet baseball caps, a matching tote bag, and a couple of marker pens. Hey, Andrew, if you're out there... Thanks!!
Lots of Rally News
It's been so long since I was able to sit down and write a post that I have even more news to catch up on. Back at the beginning of October, our local Beardie club held a Rally Fun Day in Saco. Judy, our wonderful instructor, gave a brief explanation of the novice exercises, and then let everybody try.
Seamus got to be a demo dog when he wasn't sitting on Uncle Pat's lap. (Uncle Pat is our friend Traveler's dad.)
I have to brag on my little guy. Last weekend we headed to Littleton, MA to the APDT rally trial at Gemini Dog Training. Seamus broke his down in the morning trial, so we NQ-ed for the very first time in our lives. However, in the afternoon, we were able to restore the family honor with a second-place finish and a score of 206 out of a possible 210. This finishes Seamus's RL1 (Rally level 1) title, making him Sheiling Angelic Ties, HIC, RN, RL1.
There are many, many, many nice things about APDT rally. We like AKC rally and do well in it, but APDT trials are so relaxed, and everybody's so friendly. We fell in with a really nice couple from New Jersey and Millie, their Portuguese Water Dog. Another friend of theirs from NJ came up with a Field Spaniel and a Standard Poodle (what a pair!).
Other Dog-Type News
Dinah got her very first point at the Bangor shows a couple of weeks ago! One down, fourteen to go. Photos and details are on Dog Show Newbie, as always. This show was the last one she could enter in the 9-12-month Puppy Class, and we made a nice finish. On to 12-18-month class!
The little princess celebrates her first birthday next week (November 3), the day after Seamus turns 4 (November 2, which was also Duncan's birthday). Somehow, she's started going through an energy spurt instead of just a growth spurt, and she just plain requires more exercise now than she has before. She's just not happy unless someone is throwing the ball for her (me) or chasing her at top flat-out speed (Charlie). She can jump five feet straight up, from a standstill. The boys are energetic enough, but if I could hook Dinah up to a generator, I could kiss Central Maine Power goodbye.
Charlie had minor surgery a couple of weeks ago to remove some fibroid growths from the skin on his back. He was already knocked out for a dental cleaning, so the vet removed the lumps and stitched him up. He had his sutures removed, so he no longer gets to be Frankenbeardie for Hallowe'en. At least the rest of his coat mostly covers the shaved spots. When he first came home, he looked as though he'd lost a fight with a weed wacker.
One more Whodathunkit: You can't swing last month's copy of Wired magazine without hitting some mention of MySpace and/or social networking sites on the Internet. It amazes me that so few articles mention social networking for dogs -- but the phenomenon is out there. Now, I'm not one of those people who dresses my dogs up like Disney characters and carries them around in a purse (66-pound Charlie would require the biggest American Tourister out there), but I'm not above sending the occasional goofy email from my dogs to their dog friends. I draw the line at baby talk, however.
Anyway, I've just ended up on Dogster. In one day, my dogs have amassed more friendly emails, virtual gifts and goodies, and shout-outs from fellow online canines than I ever did after a couple of years on AOL. I will never see another of those awful eHarmony or match.com commercials on TV without wishing they would do one for Dogster instead. "We discovered we have lots in common, like rolling in dead stuff on the beach and sniffing every single tree on the street before we pee."
We ended up there thanks to a question on the CityPuppies registration form. The dog's biography portion asked what our Dogster ID was. I answered that we already had two blogs and a Web site, and then went off with Dinah for our photo session for the book. While we were waiting for our turn in front of the camera, we ended up visiting with quite a few other local dogs and their owners who were active on Dogster. Intrigued, I signed us up as soon as we came back home. It's only been a day, and already my two neutered males get more email from the girls than a lot of high school kids!
More Music News Than You Can Shake a Baton At
Greg's had a busy season of it, and it only looks to get busier. He's been writing CD reviews for a classmate at Curtis who runs a CD label, and he's been having a good time of it. They make him return the CDs when he's done reviewing, though -- so I haven't heard more than a minute or two's worth of music from any of them. One composer whose CD he really liked is Myron Fink. Greg raved about his music to me, and presumably he did so in the CD review as well.
This season, Greg has so many performances lined up that it's a wonder if I can remember them all. This coming week we're going to listen to the viol consort (Long and Away -- at least I think that's the title) played in Medford by the string quartet from the Longy School. The next day, Greg goes to BU to hear the orchestral version of Arkadia read for the first time. (Arkadia has been played before in a chamber-orchestra arrangement, but Greg recently expanded it for full orchestra.) If I haven't misremembered, I think his four-part choral piece April will also be performed at BU this semester.
He'll have another performance at the ACA Festival of American Music, and he just had to go through the submission process for next June's concerts. If the New Hudson guys are available and if there are other pieces for sax quartet on the program, they'll perform his Sax Quartet. If not, he'd like to have Clayton Runaround, the Cape Breton-esque piece for solo violin, performed.
The ACA concerts have turned out to be much more than just great places to have New York City premieres of new compositions. At least year's concert, Greg not only met the New Hudson guys, but he also got to meet Richard Brooks (a fellow composer and president of Capstone Records). Greg and Richard are currently working out plans to record their sax quartets, plus one by Lukas Foss and maybe another composer or two, on a Capstone CD with the New Hudson guys as performers. Everyone's schedules are fairly packed at the moment, so it might take a while to get this effort coordinated -- but it will make for a terrific recording when it comes together. It'll even be available at amazon.com someday!
One thing I'll say for this crummy weather is that it provides a great incentive to stay inside and knit, instead of grabbing the closest available dog and going for a romp in the leaves. I finally finished the Oakley wrap for Susannah. The picture's still on my camera; I'll upload it soon. It took me a while to make my peace with Berroco Suede, but with patience and the right needles, it actually turned out to be pretty fun to knit with.
Because the UFO pile abhors a vacuum, I've picked up a couple of balls of red Debbie Bliss SoHo, and am whipping up a simple 1x1 rib scarf for my friend Caryll in London. I promised her last January that I'd knit her something, so I'm long overdue to make good on that particular promise.