Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy ROO Year!
Seamus wants to wish everyone a Happy ROO Year!
He says ROO when he's happy or excited about something, and that includes fresh snow. Sure, he likes to romp in it as much as the next Beardie, but he also maintains that it's not just for breakfast any more.
Yeah, we got our White Christmas, and our White Boxing Day, and our White Every Other Freakin' Day This Season. I think it probably snowed more days this week than not -- or maybe it just seems that way. Seamus and Dinah have three or four storms' worth of buried toys out there in the snow now -- those suckers aren't going to see the daylight again for a long while!
Heard on the radio that this past snow (the one two days ago, not the one today) set a new record in Boston for snowiest December. Ha! You call this snowy? We eat snow like this for breakfast every morning! Apparently it's only the third snowiest December in the Portland area.
I do feel bad for my across-the-street neighbor, though. The poor man came back from a winter in Florida this past spring just in time to get bombarded with snow. Now, although he really did plan to stick around this latitude until after the holidays, he'll be lucky if he can dig out the camper and get south before the next storm gets in the way.
I have only this to say about all the frickin' snow: At least it's not ice.
The Fudge is Strong in This One
Ever since he was just a little brown puppy, I've referred to Charlie as my "little piece of fudge", especially when admiring his handsome brown fudgy nose and his fudgy brown feet. He is handsome, and he does know it.
Charlie has always kept to his own schedule for things and made his own choices. He didn't care for doggie performance sports, even though he humored me by trying all of them with me when he was younger. We went only because I liked sports, though, and he made that clear by showing the most enthusiasm when he knew class was just about over. Over the years, he has continued to learn things on his own time, and in his own way.
When we had the doggie door installed, Dinah was letting herself in and out within ten minutes. Seamus needed a little more coaching, but soon picked up on the concept. He'll still stick his nose in or out a few times before deciding which side of the door he wants to be on, but eventually, he does decide.
As for Charlie, he was sensitive to the idea of having the rubber flap swinging in his face, especially if he tried to follow one of the other dogs out through the dog door. He'd stand or sit in front of the door, and I swear he wrinkled his forehead in concentration as he figured out how to use the door. He wouldn't go out or come in without me holding the door open a crack, so he could see it was open.
Jokingly, I kept pointing to the door and using Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice on Charlie. "Use the Fudge, Charlie. Uuuuuuse the fuuuudge." What I meant was for him to employ that fudgy nose to nudge the door flap open, and then he could let himself in or out.
For whatever reason, he got it. Now "Use the Fudge" has become an actual command to him, and he will nudge the door on command! Seamus and Dinah, who don't have fudgy noses, still just let themselves in and out at will.
The holidays whooshed past before we had a chance to blink, but I think they were pretty good. Usually I pay at least lip service to the holidays by getting wreaths up on the front door and on the barn, but I didn't even manage that this year.
On Christmas Eve, I made my annual appearance in church (in a skirt, no less!) to hear Greg play and conduct the choir. The service was packed -- standing room only -- and I heard from more than one parishioner that if only the same number of people came on Sunday, then the church's money worries would probably be a thing of the past.
We had been hoping to grab a quick dinner at the Kennebunk Inn again this year, but the kitchen had closed at 8 PM and we arrived at 8:15. We'll go back again sometime, though. We ended up at the one restaurant on Route 1 that was open after 8 on Christmas Eve: a combination Chinese/Japanese restaurant. I'm usually leery of combo-Asian restaurants... but Greg's sesame chicken and my unagi-don were both pretty danged good. I'd go back.
Christmas Day was blessedly clear, so the annual pilgrimage to the hometown wasn't bad -- just long. The twins received lots of musical instruments this year, so they and Uncle Greg had a wonderfully raucous time playing all of them. I almost had to forcibly separate him from the electronic guitar that played all manner of wicked riffs when you pushed each button or combination of buttons. We ate, we laughed, we all played the electronic guitar... all in all, it was a good time.
I'm glad I've had the week off between Christmas and New Year's, though. I needed a couple of days just to recuperate!
We also hit my local kennel club's holiday party on Saturday evening and had a great (and highly caloric) time. Everyone dispersed in time to get home and watch the kickoff for the Patriots game -- well, except us. We're loyal members of Red Sox Nation, and we're happy when any Boston team rocks the house, but we don't generally make a habit of watching football games on TV. Maybe I should have, since this was a historic occasion, but I did sneak off to the team's Web site to check the score.
If Only Life Were This Easy
By far, the world's Most Rockingest Christmas Gift Ever is the TomTom GPS my brother and sister-in-law gave us. I'd been lusting for a GPS for ages, and just couldn't part with the bucks to buy one -- so imagine how tickled I was to pull one out of a gift bag on Christmas Day! For me, this is almost the equivalent of the legendary Red Ryder BB Gun, without the possibility of shooting your eye out.
I've since discovered that you can even download custom voices for your TomTom, in case you get bored with the preinstalled ones. For $10 or so, you can even get John Cleese to tell you where to go. I downloaded a couple of free voices, including Sean Connery ("You have now reached your destination. Shaken, not stirred.") and Homer Simpson ("You have now reached your destination. If only life were this easy.").
Most of the time, the direction commands given by the voices are pretty straightforward: "Turn left." "After 400 yards, turn right, and then get onto the motorway." Greg and I just about howled when the route planning software asked whether we wanted to avoid toll roads where we were driving. The query is, "Do you want to avoid congestion charges?". Homer, however, said, "Congestion charge? Congestion charge, my ass!" We laughed so hard we almost choked. Beats shooting your eye out.
I also downloaded a couple of software updates that locate Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Horton's throughout the US and Canada. I'm waiting for Homer to come out with, "Mmmmmmm, donuts."
My Own Personal Media Blitz
A few days ago, the publisher from Downeast Dog News called me to let me know that my Q&A-style article on the AKC Canine Good Citizen test will be printed in the January issue. I'm working on another article on a favorite subject: obedience clubs. Dale and Sue will probably be able to offer me some insights into that particular subject, methinks. If I can get the whole piece together in time, it'll probably appear in the March edition.
Even though I haven't had much of a chance to update my Dog Show Newbie blogin a while, I've had the pleasure of hearing from some of the nice folks I met while I was doing my newbie tour of the Bay Colony Dog Show. The owner of the PR firm says she loved the article, and she's more than welcome to repurpose it for this year's shows if she wants to. She was also kind enough to introduce me online to Monica, the Dog Lady of Ask Dog Lady fame. Monica and her Web site are both a hoot and a half. (That adds up to three hoots altogether.) Lisa Peterson, Director of Club Communications for the AKC emailed me to say she enjoyed the blog posting, and to say that she used to show against my cousin Marie in the Norwegian Elkhound ring. Small world, isn't it?
Finally, Some Knitting Progress
Maybe I should thank the weather gods for making it impossible to do a heck of a lot outdoors this month aside from shoveling. It does mean that I've made quite a bit of progress on various of my knitting projects. I finished Susannah's organic cotton scarf, have almost closed the toe of the first of Jody's Jawoll socks, and have even started a couple of knitted hats for Greg. (Hey, he asked -- and that's cool enough for me.)
Susannah gave me knitting books from my Amazon wish list for Christmas (Thanks, Susannah!)! She gave me Jackie Fee's Sweater Workshop, which I'm hoping to get inscribed at the SPA Knit & Spin in Portland this year. Even cooler than a blue moose, she gave me the Vogue Ultimate Sock Book. I must knit all of the sock patterns from the magazine that appear in the book, except maybe the "sockies" (ugh). I know better than to make that a New Year's resolution, but it would be nice to come back to this blog in December 2008 and say, "There. I did all that."