Sunday, November 19, 2006

Busier 'n a One-Armed Paper Hanger (again)

Dinah graduated from Basic Obedience this past week. She was just beginning to get the difference between walking with me (if not in a perfect heel) versus gaiting around the show ring. She's also not inclined to remain with four on the floor during the "polite greeting" exercise. Although we did in fact graduate, I'll probably repeat Basic or move to Advanced Basic. Something tells me she's not quite ready for the CGC test just yet.

We have more Dinah news from the shows over in . She now has 3 points toward her championship.

I've entered Seamus in a couple of AKC rally trials in March and April, so our mission there is clear: Practice, practice, practice. We have to do the Advanced courses off-lead, and we have to be prepared to navigate the evil Offset Figure 8 with the two food bowls and to perform an honor exercise in the ring while the next dog in the order does the course. Seamus has never been one to stick with a down after his mind starts to wander, so we have work to do there as well.

These are the visitors from next door who had Charlie in such a state a while back...

Knitting Stuff

Yes, at last there's been some. Here's the long-ago-promised photo of the Oakley shawl in Berroco Suede:

My current "idiot knitting" project is a scarf for my nephew in camouflage yarn. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm voluntarily knitting with Red Heart yarn, but my 6-year-old nephew is deeply into G.I. Joes, and all he cares about is that it's camo. His parents will be thrilled that it can be thrown into the washer. All the same, if I ever run across a "nice" yarn in camo, I'll give the kid an upgrade.

I've finished the red scarf in Debbie Bliss SoHo that was my last "idiot" project, and have made a few rows' worth of progress on the Seacolors sweater. I also took a sock cuff along to the dog shows in Springfield a couple of weeks ago, and added a round or two there.

In general, I'm not a big fan of winter. I don't like the cold, the weather, or the fact that I'm stuck inside against my will, burning $10 bills to keep warm because it's cheaper than refilling the frickin' oil tank. After spending so many weekends at dog shows this year, though, I'm really looking forward to having to stay home and knit some more.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dinah, Media Darling

Dinah's going to be all over the January issue of . Dog In Sight is a little local publication for dog lovers based in NH, and they've just started publishing within the past few months. They might be small, but their production is pretty high-quality. Anyway, they had a contest where you could win a "day at the spa" for your dog if you sent in a photo and explained why your dog needed it. I sent over this photo...

Yathink she might need a bath?!

I also explained that Dinah needed the "total makeover" because she's a show dog, and she needs to be cleaned up quick before the paparazzi catch her looking so dirty. The editors sent back a nice email thanking me for my entry (and concealing howls of mirth, I'm sure). They have a Lab. They know mud.

Anyway, we won. I believe the "makeover" is taking place at the grooming shop of an old friend who has done my Beardies in the past, and to whom a lot of people in York (where I used to live) still take their Beardies. I don't use her any more because I live just too far away now, but she knows and understands Beardies. The paparazzi will be on hand to photograph the Lovely One as she emerges from the bath, clean and sweet-smelling. Her "after" picture will be used to grace the breed profile page as well -- now that January will be the Bearded Collie issue.

If you live within the distribution area for the magazine, be sure to get yourself a copy of that issue -- it's liable to be a classic! The photos might also be online, so even if you don't live in the NH/southern ME distribution area, remember to visit in January.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Week in the Zoo

The Birthday Kids!

It's been a real Animal Week around here, for sure. Seamus had his 4th birthday on 11/2, and Dinah's very first birthday was 11/3. Amazing -- seems like only yesterday, I was looking through newborn puppy photos emailed from Wales and wondering which one of those puppies would be mine.

A flock of chickens dropped by on Friday afternoon to help celebrate. Dinah didn't much care -- they didn't appear to need herding -- but Charlie just about turned himself inside out trying to order them off HIS property. Seamus, who rarely barks outside, sang backup. The chickens were well aware of the fact that the boys were inside the dog-yard fence, and ignored them. Eventually, the neighbors who owned the chickens came to collect them, so the boys' brief career as would-be chicken herders came to an end.

Dinah Does Ducks!

On Saturday, Dinah and I took part in a herding clinic up at , put on by the Collie Club of Maine. We had the option to herd sheep, but Dinah was so fascinated by the ducks at the National Specialty that I signed her up for ducks just to see what she'd do.

She did a beautiful job! Not only did she herd them without eating any of them for lunch, but she also stopped and changed direction when told to. This was my first experience with ducks too, and I was so psyched I'm considering keeping a little flock myself just for practice. You can really see what you're doing with ducks (it's much harder when you're moving sheep).

Sorry that there aren't any photos to show Dinah at work. Some of the kindly Collie folks were taking pictures, so I know there are images of her out there. We just weren't able to take any.

New Blogs!

Sue has a blog! It's about time, really. She's been writing articles for the front page of the POC newsletter for ages now, and now her observations on life with animals can reach a wider audience. Welcome to Blog-land, Sue!

More Music News

Last Thursday, Greg and I made the trek into Medford to hear his Consort for Viols rehearsed by the quartet from Longy. Turns out their name, not the name of the piece, is Long and Away. Anyway, they were nice, knowledgeable folks who will really do the piece credit by the time they have it all worked out. They had to wrestle a bit with new instruments and maintaining tune, but when they hit some of those harmonies, they were dead-on. Greg's thrilled to bits. I mostly stayed in the kitchen and worked on a sock cuff, but I absolutely love Renaissance music. Even though the viols were playing a 21st-century piece, they still had that lovely sonority of the Elizabethan era.

The next day, Greg made yet another journey back to Boston to hear the first reading of his arrangement of Arkadia for full orchestra. I've always felt that Arkadia as arranged for chamber orchestra was one of his best pieces, and it generated a lot of excitement among the people involved. Even some of the more avant-garde composers on the composition faculty raved about the piece. I hope there will be another performance, since I couldn't get away to attend this one. Greg says that he does have a good enough quality recording of the reading that he should be able to stitch together a creditable version from all the various "takes."

Knitting News

Two words: Not Much. The Oakley wrap left for LA last week, and I haven't had much time to make progress on anything else. The time I spent on the sock cuff during the rehearsal was about the only knitting I got done all week.