...and Seamus celebrated.
Ayuh, the January thaw is now history. (Actually, I think it made history with a record warm temperature one day this past week.) Now it's back to Winter Classic and more of the white stuff.
I did manage to rescue most of the toys and bones from the yard as they emerged from the snow, but Dinah is busy dragging them back out of the toy box into the yard to be reburied. She does love a good surprise, and now she can get surprised all over again the next time a thaw takes place.
ScribeFire is Fired
Ah, sad thing it is, too. I really enjoy the convenience of having a screen pop up from Firefox whenever the inspiration strikes. Because I do what I do for a living and understand the complex and sometimes fragile nature of the client-server connection, I've never been wild about composing directly on the Web, either -- and there are certain things you can't do offline in a regular text editor. ScribeFire seemed like the ideal solution.
Anyway, I like everything about the ScribeFire plugin except the fact that it's turned all the text in my blog page to italic. Even if it's fixable, it's not acceptable. Buh-bye.
Taking the "Free" Out of "Freelance"
I just received my first check from Downeast Dog News this weekend. I honestly never much thought about the fact that I could actually get money for doing articles -- I've just been writing for the fun of it, and to take a break from writing about computer stuff for work. I'm also pleased that I have another publication to list for my application to the Dog Writers of America. A friend of mine who writes for Dog in Sight magazine encouraged me to join, so I can add the membership to my "journalist" credentials. DDN was just nominated for the DWAA's Best Canine Newspaper or Newsletter award.
Might As Well Take the Plunge
I've signed Seamus and me up for the next APDT rally trial, which will take place in Swanzey, NH at the end of March. Since we're working on a "money title" that requires 10 qualifying scores (RL1X), we won't finish any new titles at the trial even if we Q in everything -- but we could come home 7/10 of the way toward the next one -- and thus, we'd be only one more trial away from finishing the title. The joy of APDT rally is that there's still plenty to do on-lead, so we can continue to trial even though he might never be reliable enough off-lead to continue in AKC. I'll continue to train him, but I'm not sure I can ever trust him.
Dinah, on the other hand, is terrific off-lead, but needs time and work to acquire some precision. She's not working at the prodigy level that her sister Buffy is at this point, but that's because I'm a much lazier trainer than Jana is. I expect that eventually, with some time and some training, that Dinah will be able to do pretty much anything. If we didn't still have to chase those stupid majors to finish her conformation championship, we could plan to enter more trials this year and work on some other titles.
In the spirit of learning -- and not because I think we're ready for prime time -- we're going to our first agility trial next month. CPE agility is a great place for an agility dog to start. Level 1 courses contain no teeters (which Dinah likes) or weaves (which she doesn't care for), and the courses are simple. I've chosen to enter her in the Enthisiast level, so the jump heights are even 4" below what she'll be expected to jump in the Regular classes when we get there. It's about the best way we can find of easing into agility trialing. It's more important to me that she get used to the sights, sounds, and routines of agility trials at the moment. We probably won't Q -- especially if there are chutes on the course -- but we'll have acquired some experience. (Plus, we'll have friends there. A classmate from Auntie Cindy's agility class will be there with her Rottie boy.)
Seamus is back in Uncle Jim's agility class for this session, too. Because he's not an off-lead kind of guy, I'm not sure he'll ever run agility outside of the classroom, but we have a great time. We know most of the dogs and people there, and we still learn stuff. It's also a good way for me to sharpen my clumsy handling skills in a second class.
A Good Time for Wool
Greg's second hat is growing slowly. I've been able to make tiny amounts of progress each day. On snowy, crappy days like these, it just feels right to play with yarn. While we were in Portland over the weekend doing an art gallery crawl, I managed to sneak into Central Yarn for another ball of Encore (charcoal gray) for him, plus a skein of purple hand-dyed Seacoast Handpaints sock yarn for myself. No, I didn't need more sock yarn -- but I made the mistake of picking it up out of a conveniently placed basket on the floor, and the yarn refused to leave my hand. I had to buy it and bring it home -- I had no choice! I also saw a pattern for a gansey with a lobster design that I just have to make (maybe several times), so that leaflet also followed me home.
I've been so busy cranking out hats for The Man that I haven't started Jody's second Jawoll sock yet. The first one is beautiful, though. If we have a few more days like this one, I should be able to keep The Man in hats and still get some warm socks out to Nebraska for Jody pretty quickly. Lambing season's coming up, and she'll appreciate being able to wear something warm on those midnight slogs to the barn.
Speaking of The Man, Greg's started a new piece for trumpet, piano, double bass, and drums. Its title is Comp'ing, and it's going to be a Very, Very Cool piece when it grows up. Greg's using it to take a bit of a break from The Seven Wonders. It's as spontaneous and playful a piece as The Seven Wonders is studious and involved, so the two make great foils for each other.
Greg received a Christmas card from ERM Media, but hasn't heard anything about the Masterworks series since. As far as he knows, the CD with the orchestral version of Water will still be released at the end of March, and people should still be able to download the piece from iTunes at that point.