Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dogs Try Hard

SUMMARY: Just sayin'--they're usually good pups.

I have not yet moved the dogs into sleeping off the bed at night. Chip isn't the problem. You know who is.

At least now Señor Z moves off my side of the bed when I tell him to Move. Firmly. Maybe even only 2 or 3 times.  I thought we'd never get there.  Even Tika, who was stubborn about it, was moving on command within a month or so of starting on the bed (as I recall--certainly didn't take 2 years!).

They really do try hard when I give them a chance. And they both know so little. They’d love to spend more time with me. I’m still just feeling meh about it.

AKC has just announced a new Tricks titles progression, and a friend (Sparkle's/Ben's/McKenzie's human mom) has announced that she's going for it and is teaching tricks.

This half motivated me.1 So in the last few days I've done teeny tiny bits of tricks work:
  • (a) Hold biscuit on nose. (b) Then toss it up and catch it.
    This is new for the boys. Chip wants to lower his nose. Zorro wants to raise his.
  • Crawl or walk backwards (Z & C, respectively).
    Have worked casually at this for a while. Very casually. Almost invisibly.
  • Shake left, shake right depending on which human hand is offered.
    (C has done this for a while. Z is not completely solid, but almost.)
  • Spin Left or Right on command.
    (Have been working on fading the hand/finger swoop assistance. Getting there slowly.)
  • Touch nose to (a) hand (b) target.
    (Both do hand very very well. I've lackadaisically worked on a separate target.)
Others that we've worked on in the past:
  • Find It.  I hide a treat in the other room, dog has to find it.
    Also part of this--dogs have to stay in Down in first room while I'm out of sight hiding the treat.
  • Paws Up. Front paws on whatever I indicate.
    Z does this naturally pretty often. When I practice, I combine with "Off" (as another "trick") . As in, Off (treat) Paws Up (treat) Off (treat) Paws Up (treat) Off (treat).
  • Roll over.
    Jeez, I started this with them once and never went back to it. I should. This is in the basic half dozen things that every dog should know. IMHO.
  • Blow bubbles in a bowl of water
    (I got stuck on making progress and so stopped working on it)
Things my previous trick dogs (Remington, Tika, Boost, Jake, Amber, in that order) have done that I would add to the list if I were really working on tricks:

  • Figure 8 around my legs (a) standing still, (b) with me walking.
  • Speak.
    (Well, actually only Rem ever knew this. Only thing I succeeded in this with Tika and Jake was that they no longer barked at things that used to make them bark. Opposite of what I was trying for.)
Everything we work on, they behave so differently from each other!  Style differences in napping--

Both cute, though.

1 Not that I'm likely to ILP these boys with AKC. But, who knows--a couple of years back I bookmarked this other organization that started offering tricks titles. Just didn't want to pay the fees for them, either.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The T-shirt Project

Summary: Attempting to downsize the collection. Hahahaha!

This, my dears, is what 170 t-shirts looks like when called out to muster.

I really do periodically pull out a few and give them away, but then more find me and follow me home.

For example, just went to Walt Disney World and somehow 2 more ended up in my suitcase. Don't know how it happens.

This week, Team Taj is seriously totally attempting to downsize t-shirts by A Ton. So far, "a ton" consists of 30, but that's pretty good, for me.  See, I like them. I wear them. (In as much as one can say that one wears them when one wears only one a day and only during the warmer 6 months of the year, and not even every day during those months.)  They just never wear out. For some odd reason.

But--things fit better into the bureau already. Yay! Until some other insidious t-shirt whispers my name--

Let me introduce my pretties (in the preceding piles).

Colors or patterns
w/no message,



USDAA nationals,
Power Paws,
Bay Team,
Other clubs
and events
Agility misc.,
Dog nonagility

oops image
squished this
pile wrong!

DisneylandDragonsTravel  /
More travel
 /  tourist

You can see how dogs--and agility in particular--have contributed to my, ahem, scholarly collection.

Oh--prefer them organized by color? Can do!

Oooh! Oooh! Ooh! Can I show you this, can I, huh?

Do we detect a trend here? I love it! Love it! Mwah ha ha haaaaaa!

(For that image, I folded each to hide any text or images, so that you can wallow indulgently in just the colors and the patterns. Also, I pulled together almost all of my tie-dyed clothing for this one, adding to the 13 short-sleeved Ts the following: 4 polos, 4 long-sleeved Ts, 2 pairs of socks, one pair of leggings, one tank top, and one bra. And, yes, I do  know just from the pattern exactly which item is which. My preciouses...)

Perhaps later I'll show you close-up photos of all of my pretties. So many have backstories, too! Like the "Slave Labor" shirt--good friends from 1984!--

Or the "Vicon 5-0" shirt--family and long-time friends at the annual sleep-over in 2011--

Or the Power Paws Camp group of agility friends from 2004 -- "The Flying Rearendas" --

Ah, yes. But that's enough story-time for tonight, my dears. Now, off to bed for sugar-coated dreams of magical t-shirts!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

March through May Emotions

SUMMARY: So much history of dogs coming and going in just a small date range.

The Boy Beasties stayed home without me for 10 full days. I'm sad that I didn't miss them much at all. Almost the only times I thought about them were when my sister wondered how her dog was doing at home during the same time, and also at night when I'd be dozing off and switch positions and my foot would bump something and I'd apologize to the dog--which wasn't a dog, it was a pillow or bunched-up blanket.

I've always liked vacations away from my dogs, frankly--they are so limiting unless I'm specifically planning a dog getaway, in which case my activities are predetermined and dog-focused.  But usually I miss them a *little*, anyway.

Got home very late last night. Dogs--well, Zorro in particular--didn't want to settle down even though I was exhausted and in pain, and frustration reigned and grew and grew until there I was in the middle of the night physically throwing him off the bed and yelling at him.Repeatedly. Because I was too tired to want to get up out of bed and put him into his crate.

Not among my prouder or happier moments.

But it did make me think that, after all these years of me and the dogs working things out to our mutual satisfaction on the bed-- 7 dogs in all -- it's time to move them into their own nighttime spaces.  I have to figure out what and where; really room for only one crate in my bedroom.  Not sure whether I have the wherewith all to teach them to stay in beds of their own without crates.  Sigh. Another training challenge in response to a relationship problem or two.

But I digress--

This is only my second time at Walt Disney World; the first time was just under 2 years ago when my same seester and husband took me after the Merle Girls died.

I'm left, during this period, with mixed feelings all around:

  • March 9, 2015: Tika dies
  • March 29, 2014: Chip arrives
  • April 21, 2005: Boost arrives
  • April 24, 2015: Boost dies
  • April 29, 2015: First saw Luke (Zorro) picture
  • May 11-15, 2015: Actually asked whether he was still available, eventually confirmed that he could be mine
  • June 7: He came home with us

To me, his "gotcha day" will always be May 11 because that's when I seriously started the process, and I will always tie his arrival to Boost's death because it was so close after she left that I first saw him and tried to resist.

2 years later, still so very many mixed feelings about both my wonderful, gorgeous Boy Beasties. So smart, so full of potential, so underappreciated.  Guilt and grief and joy all intermingled. Compounded by confounded me who found that neither dog could remember how to sit or down on command after 10 days. Let alone stay there while sitting or downing. Let alone getting them to look at me. Weird emotional stuff.

Doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy snuggling and rubbing tummies this morning.

Where Literature and the Jungle Cruise Meet

I've been to Walt Disney World only twice--once 2 years back and once this past couple of weeks. Not nearly enough time to see and do everything.  (Compare to Disneyland plus California Adventure, which is much smaller, although jam-packed--and I've been there more than a couple dozen times.)

One of our always-must-do rides at both Disneyland (Cal.) and Magic Kingdom (Fla.) is the Jungle Cruise. Terrible puns  and other jokes all the way through, and we love it.

This visit, my seester booked us for lunch at the highly recommended Skipper Canteen at the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd.  It continues the Jungle Cruise ethos for those of us who can't get enough. The waitperson told us, "If you're familiar with the Jungle Cruise ride, we're nothing like that.  Would you like me to point out some things on our menu?  Well, here's some printing, here's some more printing, here's the paper it's printed on..."

Luck placed us into the secret library meeting room of the S.E.A., and we had a chance to peruse some of the titles on their massive bookshelf doors that hide the room (although they were wide open at all times). They include some real titles but mostly lots of in jokes and world of Disney references. I can't begin to identify what a lot of them are, but just the titles of many should be entertaining for even the uninitiated.

Here are the ones I had time to photograph. Among them are;

  • Book by Dr. Albert Falls, after whom the famed Schweitzer Falls are named
  • A trilogy of waterfalls: "Exploring Great Waterfalls," "Standing on Great Waterfalls," and "Surviving Falls from Great Waterfalls"
  • Another nonfiction trilogy starting with Born Into the Jungle
  • "Reasonable Expectations" by Charles Skippens
  • and more.
(Here's another fan's post with other titles and lots of explanations.)

Saturday, April 15, 2017


SUMMARY: Human Mom Actually Cooked

I've actually cooked so seldom in recent years, that this was a landmark event. Cooked for my company's holiday party the other weekend. (Yes, really. Holiday party.) This was my first cookbook and my mom's first cookbook. And this might have been the first recipe I ever cooked from. Have made it many times since then. Pretty simple, particularly if you have a Foley Food Mill, which I got years ago specifically for making applesauce!

Side note: Discovered that Chip either doesn't like apples or maybe it's the cloves. Wouldn't lick the dish afterwards. Zorro, however, took up the slack. (No photos of that part, sorry.)

How many places have you lived?

SUMMARY: I'll tell you mine if you'll tell me yours.

From a random Facebook discussion:

18 different addresses. But --

If you count places where I "lived" for at least a month, I'd add 2 or 3 more (hotels with family while waiting for homes to be built, staying with my parents' parents, etc.).

If you count the same address at different times, I'd add 3 more for my parents' house again:
  • a year at college, then back to parents' house for a year is 1 more
  • living on my own for 3 years then back to parents' for 3 months while my new house was being completed
  • 10 years then back to parents' for 3 months while my next house was going through some legal crap.)

The 18 includes:

  • 2 lodges in the Adirondacks that my parents managed
  • 3 homes that my parents owned in 3 different states
  • 4 places that my parents rented in 2 different states
  • 2 places I rented on my own (all in santa clara county)
  • 4 places I owned (all in santa clara county)
  • 3 dorms in 2 different cities

PHOTOS:  There are some gaps still. will have to come back later and fill them in.


(Following: Inside apartment, me baby, somewhere pretty sure dad has a photo of the building. Still looking.)

(Following photo: Trying to find photo of the whole building--one does exist somewhere among dad's photos. Meanwhile, here's me in front of the apartment.
OK, next one--our apt to the left, our car in carport, me playing house (each blanket is a different room in the house.)






Finchester Mystery House

Oh--ha ha--my bad; that's the WINchester Mystery House!  I need to find all those photos of the FINchester one.




My next house?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Great Old One: Boosthulhu

SUMMARY: Some toys just name themselves, especially when Elder Gods are involved.

Most of my dogs' toys have names. Most of them are pretty obvious. But some are obvious only to former residents of Arkham, MA.

Boost knew many of the names, as in fetching the toy by name. This includes the toy fondly known as "Cthulhu-Face".

(These were originally posted on Facebook in October '15.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Dear Taj MuttHall, Where Have You Gone?

SUMMARY: A letter to myself

Dear Taj MuttHall:

I am sad that you haven't been posting. One post in each of January, February, and March (so far)? Truly that's all?

And nothing about life with dogs--or life at all, just some nice photos. Which are nice, of course, but I was hoping for substance. And dogs.

You intended this as a journal for yourself, to look back at from your Future Life and marvel at the progress that you made with each canine beasties and all of the things that you did together. But words seem to have failed you.

I understand that your Mom died two days after Christmas, and then you went to work clearing out the family home of 48 years and putting it on the market. And that you've been wrung dry of things to say or energy to say it.

I miss you, Taj MuttHall. I read some of your older posts from way back, and they make me laugh, or think, or sing. Please find yourself/myself again.


Taj MuttHall

Yosemite Valley, Saturday vs. Sunday

SUMMARY: Wordless Wednesday

>>  Visit the Wordless Wednesday site; lots of blogs. <<

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


SUMMARY: Wordless Wednesday (mostly)

(What the following animations are missing is the Slam! Slam! Slam! of the paws whacking the lever to dispense the food and the lever springing back into position immediately. The sound is left as an exercise for the student.)

>>  Visit the Wordless Wednesday site; lots of blogs. <<