Sunday, September 24, 2006

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Welcome to the bittersweet experience that is fall in New England. You can smell the fall leaves, even on a fairly warm day such as this one. The bugs, while not entirely vanished, have diminished enough in numbers that Greg trundled the Mosquito Magnet back into the garage for the year. It's easier to drive around closer to the coast, now that many of the tourists have gone home (or have gone somewhere other than to the beach). You can wear clothing with sleeves and trouser legs without risking heat stroke. The only complaint I have about fall is that winter comes after it.

(If frickin' Blogger Beta were working at all, I would publish a couple of nice photos of fall colors right here. Maybe is is time to see what Typepad has to offer. Blogging on .Mac is dirt-simple, but not flexible enough for us techie types who like to mess with stuff.)

Greg's birthday is in October, and he always gets special pleasure out of being born at this time of year. He would rather have pumpkin pie on his birthday than birthday cake. He's been spending much of his free time planning his final White Mountain hike of the season. Now that fall is here, he's studying maps of more local hiking trails and trying to figure out which hikes would be dog-friendly enough for Charlie. (read: hikes where people won't be out hunting in the same area, and who won't mistake a shaggy brown dog for Bambi)

The latter half of my summer just sped past -- especially since I've just spent two of the past three weeks on the road -- and the advent of fall spells the end of my summer vacation season as well. Yes, I'm a little disappointed to see it go, but I'm mostly relieved. Vacations spent at dog shows aren't really vacations, even when you're having the time of your life. Now it's fall, and I'm staying closer to home. Work deadlines are creeping up on me again. Seamus and Dinah both have classes to attend. The local dog shows have moved indoors now for the season, since we're coming up on one of the unpredictable phases in our year of weather.

Catching Up on the News

Seems I've been away for a long while (plus Blogger Beta hasn't made posting any easier). Most of my dog-show exploits with Dinah will eventually show up on my other blog, .

Seamus and I have been taking rally classes with Judy on Sunday and Thursday mornings (when I've been home), plus we've signed up for a Tuesday night rally class and an agility class on Thursday. While I was at the 's specialty, I had occasion to chat with a dog trainer who knew Seamus from his previous life. When I mentioned that we were doing well in rally and regular obedience, she asked, "No agility?" Apparently Seamus was quite the little agility dog, and Sharon recommended that I get him back into it sometime. When the opportunity presented itself this month, I signed him up. Our first class doesn't take place until this Thursday, so I have nothing to report just yet.

Dinah Moe, aside from being Best Puppy in Show at the Canadian specialty and getting 4th place in the American specialty, earned her herding instinct certificate, so she now has her very first title. You may now address her as Breaksea November Storm, HIC. We haven't been able to get a handling lesson in months -- 8 AM on a Monday is not my preferred class time during a busy work week -- so I'll probably drop in at the show handling classes on Monday nights at It's a Dog's World. I can use all the help I can get, and hope that I can still make some progress in my handling skills. Before the whole flurry of Specialties, I was just barely beginning to be able to put all the steps together.

In other dog news, our local Beardie club, the , received approval from our parent club to become the newest regional club under the 's umbrella. Val (club president) and I attended the Board meeting at the specialty, handed out fridge magnets with the club logo on them, and even accepted a membership from the BCCA President right on the spot. We're putting on our next local event on October 7; this will be our first as a real, sanctioned club.

I hope our rally fun day goes well. We've had very few responses from the membership as to whether they can attend. We know a few who can't due to work or other commitments, plus a few who are definitely coming. We also have a large population of "lurkers" on our email list who don't say anything at all, ever. I'm not sure how to reach those people. If they would express opinions about which activities they'd like to see, we could plan to do them. If they'd complain that we offer too many show/performance activities and too few activities of general interest, we could do something about that, too. However, these folks just drift along, saying nothing, venturing nothing, doing nothing. I'm not sure that we even have a way to reach them or bring them into the club. Maybe if we just keep trying, something will click with them sometime.

Music News

Greg has started his fall semester at BU with multiple musical goings-on. The New Hudson Sax Quartet is eagerly rehearsing his Sax Quartet down in New York, and we're awaiting word of the premiere. His Viol Consort will probably be performed in Boston in late November or early December sometime. He located a viol consort at the Longy School of Music, and they're planning to perform the piece at BU for him, plus at some other concert(s) for themselves. They work for barter, so I may end up designing their Web site for them as part of their fee. (The things we do for our loved ones, eh?)

In addition, Greg hopes to get his four-part choral piece April performed at BU, if the school is planning to do another special concert featuring choral works. If they have orchestral readings available, he might even get a performance of the orchestral version of Water.

Knitting Stuff

Just because the days are getting cooler is no guarantee that I'll have more time to spend with yarn and needles, but I sure hope to be able to spend more time knitting. In a fit of enthusiasm for the new season, I've started a pile of projects from the to-do list, thus promoting them to UFO (Unfinished Object, for the curious) status.

The Seacolors yarn I bought at last year's craft fair is about a quarter of the way toward growing up to be a tunic sweater with a roll neck. All of the yarns in that line have meltingly lovely, heathery colors. I opted for a thistle-ish shade for the main body, plus a trim shade of heathered blue-green somewhere between pine and teal.

My friend Susannah in LA fell in love with the Oakley wrap done in Berroco Suede, so I've been working on one of those for her. The wrap is basically a triangle with an increase at the end of each row, so it fully qualifies as "idiot knitting." This is a good thing, since I can work on "idiot projects" just about anytime without worrying about muffing the pattern with the slightest diversion in attention. (I don't do many Berroco patterns, but the new Soleil wrap in the new Suede colors is pretty hot. In spite of the fact that I rarely wear wraps, I covet that one and might have to make it anyway.)

Socks? Oh, there are always socks. I've been working on a cotton-blend pair in Sockotta in black, blue, and purple stripes. These are my first cotton socks. They're coming along well enough and I can't wait to have a pair of hand-knit cotton socks (Because I prefer to wear cotton), but I do miss the nice springy nature of wool-blend and pure merino yarns.

I also started a cuff for a pair in Lang Jawoll (which always makes me want to shout, "Jawohl!") in black, white, wine, and fuchsia stripes. The combination really is prettier than my description of it. Anyway, I started the socks on my plastic #3s as plane knitting, and will probably frog them to re-knit on something smaller. They looked fine on needles that size, but the fabric was a little bit "holey" for my tastes. The socks will last longer in a denser fabric, too. I'm not a major fan of the little plastic Balene circulars, but maybe it's time to start the search for something plane-friendly in a size #2, or even a #1.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blogger Beta and Other Adventures

This is one of my current favorite photos of Dinah. Greg took this during the Mid-Coast Kennel Club show yesterday. Gory details, for those who are interested, will shortly appear on Dog Show Newbie.

Pirate reports that she's had trouble logging into my blog to comment, even though she herself has a Blogger account. This is probably a Blogger issue, since I switched to Blogger Beta a while back in order to take advantage of the nifty new features. Just for chuckles, I disabled the comment moderation features to see if the problem's there someplace. Pirate, if you'd be so kind, please give it a try now. I sure hope I don't get bombed with blog-spam again.

I am considering moving at least one blog to my .Mac account, but I haven't had a lot of time to play with it just yet. If that happens, I'll post links here and let everyone know.

So Where the Heck Have I Been (Again)?

Seems as though dog shows have been my life lately -- either I'm driving to one, or have just come back from one and am too tired to squeeze out even a few sentences. I really do have an actual life between shows, but it's just been a lively time of year.

A couple of weeks ago, Dinah and I took off to Gananoque, Ontario for the Bearded Collie Club of Canada National Specialty. I saw friends there whom I haven't seen in many years, though we've swapped emails. I drank beer, laughed, learned the proper pronunciation of Gah-nah-NO-kway, had some fantastic meals (if you're ever in the 1000 Islands area, definitely have dinner at the Athlone Inn in Gananoque), and stole kisses from every puppy in the place. Dinah had a fine time for herself, bouncing with her fellow pupsters and flirting with all the handsome boy-doggies. If you're not inclined to follow our dog show adventures on my other blog, let me give away the happy ending here: Dinah won Best Puppy in Show, and we brought home a huge rosette, a lovely handmade stained glass mini-window of a black Beardie puppy, and a big honkin' trophy that Greg and I refer to as the "Stanley Pup."

We've Got $#%@in' Socks on a Plane, Part Too

Maybe Blogger just doesn't like sock photos. I've just tried to upload the shots of the two pairs I recently finished, and it gagged yet again. I'll use Hello and see if that works. Sorry... again.