a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary

Monday, June 07, 2021

Happy Gotcha Day Toys

SUMMARY: Zorro's 6th anniversary

Six years ago, I drove 4 hours home from the Sierra Foothills with a year-old pup named Luke in the crate next to Chip in his crate.

Five years ago, he became Zorro. And his favorite toys are Jolly and Squeaky Snake. He shares them with you for this anniversary. With his favorite game--pretend to fetch but instead tease Human Mom by showing, from a distance, how rewarding it is to chew on it.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Wooden things in the kitchen

SUMMARY: Keep? Give Away? At least sometimes dust?
sparked by a discussion on FB: May 23,2021

I have a few wooden spoons of different sizes. I cannot remember the last time I used any of them. Of course, I haven’t done any real baking in years, either. Just mixing eggs and water into mixes and such. For which you don’t care about what kind of spoon you use. 

At least, I don't. Except I prefer things that can go into the dishwasher.

I also have a wooden meat pounder, which I don’t think I have ever used! --hmmm-- Just now I can think of a couple of uses for it that could’ve been handy through the years! And they've been right in front of me on the counter the whole time.

And wooden spatulas. Don't recall ever using those at all.

And a wooden fork?!

And OMG what is that big wedgy thing with a hole in it?

Fascinating to be reminded of things that are right in front of me all the time and I have stopped seeing. 

What do you have in your wallet kitchen?  Anything that your brain has stopped acknowledging? Anything of wood?

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Tribulations of Planning Agility Trials

SUMMARY: How to organize walk-throughs and runs for multiple dog heights?
Backfill: My responses to FB question on May 28 '21. Something that every trial chair has to wrestle with.

My first three agility dogs. All different heights, of course.

From Facebook (Cynthia H):

At AKC agility trials in the Utah/Idaho area, at the Master/Excellent level, we would usually split the walkthroughs for the small/tall dogs by using the walk/run, walk/run method.  This seemed to be highly popular in our area.  Lately, it seems clubs have changed to walk/walk, run/run.  With not much of a break in between, just to switch out workers.  I guess the theory is that it saves time, but it only saves about 5 mines per class, so maybe 10 minutes a day, which doesn't seem to me like it's worth it.  I'm wondering, in your area, what do the clubs do?  And what do you prefer?

Many comments about pros/cons of each. I'm picking this one:

Hmm good question. We typically do walk, walk, run for 24-20 then 16. Walk 12, walk 8-4 run all. So it's split tall and small.. I hate it personally because I have a 16 and a 20/24. So sometimes I have to cut my 16's walk short to get my 20/24 ready to run cuz he's often first dog on the line. 

Taj MuttHall says:

I had two 24-20 dogs for years (er... 30/24... er, 26/22...LOL!note) with different needs and capabilities. So if it were walk/walk I'd sometimes sneak back out with the small dogs to figure out my 20" dog's plan--then cut that short and rush to get my 24" first on the line. But if they did walk/run walk/run (or only one walk for everyone), I'd have to cram two dogs' plans into one walkthrough. Or when running three dogs... [trembles with terror]. 

After several years of USDAA Nationals, where everyone walked all the courses early in the morning and you really literally might not run for hours and have to remember several courses, I learned that I can handle any variant.  

For handlers who are novices, though, arrangements that are easier on the handler are better.

I've been in on the planning and there's never a perfect answer for every issue, curse the agility gods! [Oops, sorry agility gods, I was joking...]

About jump heights, if you care --
darn it, I might pull this into its own blog post. Later. There's never a perfect answer for every blog issue, curse the blogging gods! [Oops...]
When I started, Remington jumped 30" and Jake jumped 24" in USDAA.
Shortly thereafter, that became 26" and 22", which lasted for years, so Tika jumped 26" and Boost jumped 22".
More recently, they dropped to 24" and 22"... or something... I've not kept up with it all. (In all cases, dogs in Performance jump one height lower so, for example, when I switched my dogs to Performance, Tika jumped 20" and Boost 16".) 
(I've not even begun to mention all the jump heights for all sizes of dogs. Here's page 1 (of two!) for USDAA this year.)

Friday, May 28, 2021

More about the T-Shirt Project (Update)

T-shirt tales—Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Tell me more. or Read all t-shirt tales

SUMMARY: A couple things.

  • I've also redesigned the astonishing t-shirt page banner (as above) to take up less space and give more astonishing useful link names--and will eventually apply it to all previous posts, too. Probably.

     (Sigh--I wish I could create a macro that would just reference the appropriate HTML so I wouldn't have to update it everywhere. Dream on...)
  • In the process, I discovered my astonishingly random way of "consistently" titling these posts, so I might go back and fix them the way my greedy little heart wants. I won't change the current links, which means that you might not be able to invent a link to previous posts based on their titles. (I doubt anyone cares.)
Old banner:

T-shirt tales? Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Whaaaaat??

All T-Shirt Tales

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Remembering Señor Hot Tub and Sir Shed

SUMMARY: Flashback Pre-Pandemic

Rollback to September, 2019.

I had grown tired of a hot tub that I hadn't used for several years because of [scary music] Drought, and finally couldn't use after our old frenemy Entropy entered the scene.

And of a pre-existing wooden shed whose condition had been iffy when I first moved in 18 years previously, and by now it visibly consisted largely of rot and rat debris; door no longer opened or closed (so I left it open, so really the shed provided no shelter and I no longer used it for anything).  

When Zorro finally started dismantling the shed in July to get at rats or squirrels or capachubras or whatnot, I had had enough of it. 

When Zorro finally started dismantling the hot tub's pump housing in September to try to get at rats or squirrels or capachubras or whatnot, I had had enough of the hot tub, too.

Zorro is so useful at helping me make decisions like these.

Despite knowing that all of my dogs had loved it as a sunny, soft pillow with an expansive view of the yard (see June 9, 2019,Vantage Points) I finally decided that I wanted that hot tub space back. And Zorro would be perfectly competent at finding things to rip apart other places in the yard.

After I returned from Walt Disney World that month, I found a handyman who would haul them both away. For not too much money. (The hot tub was lightweight vinyl and styrofoam.)

Squim (Or Sequim if spelled correctly)

SUMMARY: What you see is not what you say.

My seester and I did a driving scouting-of-locations around the Seattle Area May 8-18. But not actually in Seattle. Where could we retire to? Since I'm almost there this year, it's kinda important that I know what the heck I'm doing. Or going. Sequim is very nice. In May.  We thought that a nice quiet small town near sailing for my B-I-L would be good.

I learned how to pronounce Sequim (the name developed from the Klallam language) when a couple I know moved there in 2019. And also when another couple I know moved there in 2019 (actually to Port Angeles). And also when a couple that Linda knows moved there a couple of years ago also (actually to Port Angeles, too, but who's counting). And they all love it there.

All from our general area in California. 

An exercise for the student: what will Sequim look like in 20 years??!

Another exercise for the student: Find Sequim on the map. Or use your favorite maps app.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

NOTICE: Sadly, if you subscribe here by email, that Blogger feature is going away by July 2021. Until I figure out another solution, you'll need to view this in your feed ... somehow ... .  The official notice from Blogger:  "Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue sending emails, you can download your subscriber contacts."  [I'll try to do this before july, also.]

Originally posted May 4, 2021. Reposting May 26.

T-Shirt Tuesday Tales: Apparently Movies Aren't My Big Thing

T-shirt tales—Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Tell me more. or Read all t-shirt tales

SUMMARY: Not a guilty pleasure. But then, once, I gave in.

Remember my unduly long post from a month ago,  T-Shirt Tuesday Tales: My Guilty Reading Pleasure...? The first-ever guilty pleasure t-shirt that I can recall buying about a book--or about anything, for that matter?

So, abandoning all hope at a good segue, here I am to discuss 50 Shades of Gray. Which, back in 2011, I had hoped would be a guilty pleasure. But the book--erk. Couldn't stand another word after about the 3rd chapter. Ever. My curiosity completely extinguished. And I didn't even feel guilty about it (see what I did there?).

But then they made a movie. And you know how I am about movies.

Screen Rant Pitch Meetings, three years ago, showed how the Pitch Meeting for the three Gray movies probably went. I loved the post back then, and I just stumbled across it again. So I watched it again and said:

I might have commented 3 years ago, but since these movies are some of my "favorites" and Pitch Meeting definitely highlighted some of their highlights, I'm commenting again.  

(1) I tried to read the book but my brain imploded by about chapter 3 and I never wanted to try again. 

(2) I figured the movie couldn't possibly be as bad as the book, so on a dull weekend when I had seen all other movies that were playing, some of them more than once, I went to this one.  Turns out I was wrong. So so so so horrifically wrong.  

(3) When the 2nd movie came out, a couple of critics said that both actors had improved since the first one, and for some inexplicable reason, probably brain damage from the 1st one I decided, I went to see it, too. I'm so so so so sorry, everyone, for tossing my money their way for content that would be lucky to ever be elevated to even "pure junk" and I regret every penny even though it was a discount matinee. So-- 

(4) --you nailed it again. Thank you, Pitch Meeting!

Therefore, Gray never became a guilty pleasure and I never (duh!) bought a t-shirt for either the book or the movie. (I'm glad, because my Captive Prince guilty pleasure is so so so so much better. IMHO.)  

In fact--to use another poor excuse of a segue--to the best of my recollection, I had never bought a t-shirt for a movie or movie characters at all, ever.  Until last year when, apparently, I started buying "first-ever" t-shirts.

 And it's because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Loved. Those. Movies. Saw most more than once. And yet, couldn't find a shirt that rang my bell until I found this one. It particularly appealed because I've often commented about how, maybe, if some of those female characters had been prominent when I was a kid, maybe I'd have grown up not quite wishing I were Batman so much. And about how lucky girls are now, to have these movie characters.

... And I strongly recommend that no girls use the heroine in 50 Shades as a role model. What a milquetoast, idiotic, poor excuse of a character. 

All are characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Black Widow.
Captain Marvel. Valkyrie.
The Wasp. Pepper Potts. Mantis. Gamora.
Scarlet Witch. Nebula. Okoye. Shuri.


Me hangin' with my favorite buds... because my real guilty pleasure here is that I have crushes on most of the male characters (Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston (not included here), Chris Pratt (ditto), Benedict Cumberbatch (ditto))... I mean, who wouldn't?

Friday, May 21, 2021

Some Things We Looked Up While On Our Trip

SUMMARY: We both have curious minds.

So, this happened:  Seester and I headed north to western Washington to investigate possible future retirement locations. Driving is the best! Lots of time for conversation and asking questions about--anything! [yeah, will probably get around to talking about the trip at some point.]
  • Can we reasonably make it to our first area of exploration (Silverdale, WA) in one day? Answer: Yes, if we're willing to drive for 14 hours. Not including rest stops, food stops, gas stops....  Final answer: No.
  • Where should we stop our first night? (Checking distances from our starting location to Portland, Crescent City, Eureka, Ukiah, and some other places.) Decided on Crescent City but I insisted on not making reservations until we were well on our way, and glad about that because we made it only to Eureka for dinner with a friend.
  • How does tolling work for non-Washington residents crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? (Apparently they'll get our address from CA DMV via our license plate and send a bill.)
    When we headed home, that was really the only day with dark foreboding clouds.
    Which pretty much cleared up by noon.

  • Did L. Ron Hubbard *really* have more published works of fiction than Stephen King? (Guiness World Records says yes.)

  • If I wanted to pick up Zorro the day after I got home instead of Friday night, and he was in Sonora, how long would it take? (Gulp--4 hours round trip. Answer: No. Fortunately arranged a pickup in Tracy, only 2 hours round trip.)

  • Which rest areas (er, "safety roadside rest areas") are currently open on I-5? On US 101?  (Didn't have much luck finding those answers.)

  • Where exactly is Trees of Mystery and what are their hours?

  • What's interesting about Port Angeles?

  • Rainfall averages for various places in Washington?

  • Lots and lots and lots and lots of queries in Google Maps for how to get somewhere or how long it would take or where it was.

  • Where's the nearest AAA office?

  • Tsunami Hazard Zone Maps for WA.

  • Exclusion zones for Mount Rainier eruption dangers

  • Iceland isn't on the Ring Of Fire, so why does it have volcanoes?

  • How did prehistoric irrigation work in the Americas without the wheel? Was it all gravity-based? (Apparently, yes.)

  • Calories in a Wendy's small chocolate Smoothie?

  • Common name for Humuhumunukunukuapua'a? [Yes, I could remember the Hawaiian name, but not the common  English name.]

  • What is all the white stuff growing next to  101 around Eugene? [Answer: Meadowfoam. OK, what is Meadowfoam?]  
    Meadowfoam, by phone from a moving car.

  • Is there an airport near Labanon OR? (Yes, the Labanon airport.)

  • Are wild pigs just domestic pigs gone feral?  (Maybe in some cases, but actual different species. They are a likely ancestor of domestic pigs.)

  • Are wild turkeys just etc etc. (Domestic turkeys are descended from them.)

  • ARE there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side? (Interesting and funny blog post about this.)

  • List of fictional characters with stars on the Hollywood walk of fame?

  • Does EVERYWHERE WE GO have a Safeway?  [It sure seemed like it. I think we saw more safeways than anything other than trees.]

  • Can that photo of our hotel on [something] Bay [which appears to be mostly mudflats] in the far background of an orca leaping into the air be real? For that matter, do orcas really breach often? [I said, yes, they're basically just big dolphins.] 

  • What's the best Incorrect Quote we can generate for our favorite fictional characters?

  • If someone says their dog is a Service Dog (and the person is disabled after overseas service), but the dog is badly behaved, can it really be a Service Dog? And how is that defined?

  • Where is the wooden ship Tally-Ho being rebuilt in Sequim? (All that info has apparently now been hidden and we couldn't find it.)

  • Rules about capital gains on primary residences.

  • Dimensions of a king-sized mattress?

  • Actual name of the Klamath River bridge that washed away, and is it the same name as its replacement?
    Site of the old bridge. Seester taking a photo.

  • Earthquake and liquefaction hazard maps in and around seattle?

  • Did our favorite hotel Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim survive the pandemic? [says it's currently "under renovation"... whatever that really means]

  • Kaiser locations in Washington and Oregon?

  • Nearest Wendy's?

  • We're alongside the Salmon River -- want more info.

  • What causes nighttime leg and foot cramps?

  • Where did the city name Cotati come from? (Coast Miwok)

  • So much more--but I didn't save everything... and sorry I didn't include all the links (sometimes searched a lot for an answer). 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Does Your Dog Bite? Redux

SUMMARY: I might have mellowed a bit--

--since this post in 2008--

In recent years, in situations where someone asks, does your dog bite?, I'll likely modify my response to something like:

"All dogs bite. He hasn't bitten anyone yet, and as long as you're not trying to hurt him, he's unlikely to bite you." 

Or variations such as:

"All dogs bite. These dogs love people and have never bitten a person. Are you asking whether it's OK to pet them? If so, please do, they love the attention."

Sometimes I'll leave off the "all dogs bite" part, but it feels a bit like a lie.

A game of bitey-face-hand. 

Someone's post on Facebook today - I promise this isn’t another usual  my-dog-on-leash-other-dog-off-leash type of post (however long it remains available) about "my [loose] dog is friendly"-- and the human's response is priceless. I'll have to remember this.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Foxtail Tales

SUMMARY: So small, so dangerous
Started with my response to a Facebook post about dogs wearing anti-foxtail covers over their heads.

They can be beautiful, early in the morning, glistening with dew

I've experienced two unpleasant foxtails encounters, and others not so bad, with my dogs. In the early '90s, one evening while out in our big yard, my husky Sheba started sneezing and couldn't stop, and then started sneezing blood. Ran her to the nearby open-at-night emergency vet , where they sedated her and found and removed a teeny tiny foxtail way up in her sinus. Expensive. And of course the toll on the dog.

And Jake, in the late '90s, we were out of town at an agility competition--we went hiking at a nearby lake one evening and the dogs went swimming [this is where I discovered that Remington loved loved loved swimming; that's a different story]. Foxtails in prime sticking form surrounded the trail to the lake. Back at the car, I must've spent half an hour trying to get them out of Jake's long silky coat and tail.

A trail like this: Narrow; foxtails ripe and abundant.
All it takes is the dog to stick his nose into those for just a moment...

There they are, almost ripe and each
seed ready to torture a dog

The next morning, before the agility competition began, he started scratching at his ear (he had long floppy long-haired ears) and shaking his head. He was prone to ear infections, so I always carried special goop from the vet.  I figured he'd gotten water in his ear while swimming and an infection was starting.  Applied goop per the normal schedule. We went to the vet when we got home--actually the next morning when they opened. Vet said, nope not an infection, but was able to pull a foxtail out of his ear fairly easily without anesthesia--he said that's because the goop had softened it so much that it couldn't stick in anything and he could just grab it with long tweezers(?) and glide it out, no anesthesia. Disaster averted.

So, not too expensive, but of course going to the vet just costs.

Tika had extremely dense fur. Like a husky's. Fun fact: Dogs have, on average, 15,000 hairs per square inch. A husky can have up to 83,000.  (Otters have even more!) Tika had such dense hair, particularly with her winter coat, that I'd have trouble seeing even a speck of her skin.  Her hairs were not particularly long--in memory, I think 1-1.5 inches. But they were perfectly straight and, as it turned out, exactly the length and texture of a foxtail seed. When she managed to dash through a field of foxtails, you couldn't *see* whether she had any in her coat, even though she'd have dozens and dozens.  You'd have to hunt. Wrong kind of treasure hunt, but it was what it was. (Not something I encouraged, I assure you.)

Once, when petting her at home, I found a foxtail halfway embedded into her skin. Fortunately, when I tugged gingerly at it, it pulled out fairly easily with minimal blood. I cleaned the spot and added a little neosporin, and no infection. I tried not to think about what might have happened if I hadn't accidentally found it.

"Bubble head" protectors--friends have posted about their dogs wearing them for several years now. Two people today recommended OutFox brand. Expensive. But compared to some of the horror stories shared in comments to that post...

Note: I have so many photos of foxtails! They are gorgeous, actually. These photos came from different years and locations.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Forever in Blue Jeans

SUMMARY: I'm Zorro's Blue Jean Baby
From -- of course--Facebook. My post of April 24 '21 and my followup comments on April 25-26.

Downsizing/Disencumbering Continues. And body and body image and, yes, blue jeans! 

You need to know that I practically live in blue jeans.   Yes, it's true: 16/7/365.   (I don't actually sleep in them. Normally.)

Except--maybe?-- during the pandemic?

Except--maybe--after having Total Joint Replacement surgery?  OK, no, jeans would not work for the swelling, the bandages, the icing, the exercises, constantly getting into and out of bed... so I mostly wore leggings in and out of bed for a few weeks.

So: We arrive at April 24, 2021.

This morning, this section of shelf held 12 pairs of Levi’s that would undoubtedly “fit me again someday." It’s not just my weight, which is close to reasonable. No, it's other stuff. For example, there were several pairs of long -sized ones, which were barely short enough for me several years ago, and now are ridiculous.

Tried them all on this morning, found one that fit today. (Proving my hypothesis that at some point in the future any of them might fit!) But I overcame my don’t - get - rid - of - it Mentality and easily took them off to Plato’s Closet to see whether they would buy any. They did! I’m now $24 richer! And have 5 fewer pairs to dispose of in other ways.


April 25: Follow up to the original: within an hour after I had posted six pairs for free on NextDoor, I had not only promised them off to people, but I had also promised three pairs that were in my rag/ recycling bag because the woman uses them to make rugs from all the denim! Score! So, really, 15 pairs to better homes!


April 26: Oh, for.... !!!

Remembered that I had another place for storing jeans, and now I have 5 more pairs to try on and then [probably] dispose of. 

Discussion on April 26.

The thing that gets to me is that the big stack mostly contained the "I *will* get back to my goal weight and keep it off." So, periodically, I'd get back to my goal weight and keep it off for a while. And many of the jeans would fit. But, then, gained some pounds, took a while to get back down-- But, suddenly, those jeans no longer fit!

Side note: I have never again been anywhere near my top weight from way back. Thank goodness for that! But, you know, 10 lbs or sometimes even 5 makes a difference...

So it's not the weight, per se. I am also (as of a couple of weeks ago at Kaiser), 4.5 inches shorter than I know I was when I moved to this house, and probably was for a long time thereafter. (I *know* that I had started to shrink 5-6 years ago when 2 friends who didn't know each other and in different contexts said, "are you shorter than me now?!" So I had a nurse measure my height--at the time, in a different department, so it didn't make it into my record, but it was something like 2 inches off. I was horrified. I had no idea.

(Becauuuuuuussse decreasing constantly now.)

But my old goal weight at the new height means that there's now too much weight in the wrong areas and I need a new goal weight. And, even then, not certain that most of those would fit any more. Because: Less muscle mass, and fat takes up more space for the same body weight. 🙁

Friend replied:  ah bummer. I had wondered if the BMI is based on shrinking size and then decreasing weight goals over time. Sigh...that is soooo wrong. Now I know.

Well--it mostly works. But it also depends on where one's body stores the--er--extra. Back in the couple of years in the '80s when I weighed over 180 (it was awful--by comparison, my goal weight has been 142 for around 30 years), it seemed to be distributed everywhere, and more in my arms and butt. Now most of it seems to be around my middle while the rest of me is ... kinda ok. BMI supposedly takes that into account ("fat around your belly is bad") as people age because that's a common thing even if you're not overweight. But it never *asks* for things like that.

Anyway, so, add that to DOWNSIZING, and I've decided to stop storing them. Yay me.

How Much Help Will I Need After My Joint Replacement Surgery?

SUMMARY: Some additional comments
Posted on Facebook 4/24/21 for a friend who asked how much additional help she'd need post-surgery if  she already had a resident spouse/companion who's willing and able.

...an addendum to this previous post...

Short answer: 

Unless you need a lot of physical help to sit up, stand up, sit down, lie down, if you spouse is in the building and on-call 24/7, I can't see that you'd need any other assistance. I didn't need anyone during the night, ever, because I was able to get myself to the bathroom and back, set my own alarms for meds, made sure I had enough to drink and some snacks and reading and whatnot within reach from my bed at all times, etc.

I cleverly lifted my walker up over me while in bed to try to keep the dogs from jumping on me. Actually worked pretty well.
When not using this, I also built a pillow barrier (mostly with couch cushions),
which worked... sorta kinda..

Long answer:

I lined up people to stay here full time for the first 2 weeks (friends and relatives) because that's what they require by default. I believe that I got the OK to send them home after about 11 or 12 days because my progress was good. And the *main* reason I needed them was because I wanted to be in my own bedroom upstairs until the PT helped & approved me going up & down on my own; hence, I needed food, drink, ice shuttled up & down for me. Occasionally something else, such as a couple of times when I wanted to change items of clothing and for some reason it was awkward for me to do so. Or fetch another blanket. Or feed the dog. However, even on the same floor, it would've been difficult to get things & carry them around, even with the bag for the walker.

There were a few exercises that I used my assistant (whoever was there) for a few times (with PT's suggestion). I did invite whoever was here when the PT came to sit through the PT session with me to better understand my needs and why we did what we did and to get all of my questions (and my assistant's questions) answered. And so they could help *me* remember! (Although I did take notes during each session. And asked lots of questions.

Tip, keep a notebook and pen by your bed to jot down Qs for the PT, because you'll have a lot between sessions.

The 2nd main reason they were here was in case of medical issues or emergencies in the days after surgery

Note that, until surgery, I was fully capable of walking w/out an aid (cane, etc.), just not for long distances and not painlessly. AND after surgery, when they first asked me to sit up (and, later, stand up, and, later, walk), I could do so easily on my own, although they were right there making sure I didn't collapse. IF you find that you have difficulty going from lying to sitting or sitting to standing--or walking--, THEN you might need physical assistance to be readily available, and you'd need to decide who could best be there to tag-team Mike.

MOSTLY I slept a lot, and they were off entertaining themselves elsewhere in the house.

I suggested that I use my aa-ooo-ga horn to call for assistance, but my assistants pointed out that we all had cell phones, so if the person was out of easy [gentle] yelling distance, I'd just call or text.

I guess my 3rd main reason for having people around was to prevent me from being bored. 😉 We spent a loooootttt of time talking, but then, I didn't live with them full-time already.

Did I mention that you'll likely want an easy place to get to for sitting up to take meals? If you're on the same floor as your kitchen & living room, probably no biggie.

I hope that they do send an in-person PT; would've been much more challenging if it had all had to be done by zoom-equivalence.

You're lucky to have a husband dearest already in residence, so you don't have to explain where everything is to everyone different.

>>  Visit the Wordless Wednesday site; lots of blogs. << >>  Visit Cee's Photo Challenge blog; lots of blogs. <<

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Still Missing Her

SUMMARY: Wrong kind of anniversary, but it's in my heart.
Backfill: Copied from my Facebook post this morning

April 21, 2005: The most gorgeous blue merle pup in the known universe came home with me.

We had joy, we had fun, we had agility in the sun! And hiking! And All The Things!

The utterly reliable off-leash dog sometimes helped with the mostly reliable off-leash dog. 

April 24, 2015: Ten years and 3 days later, she was suddenly gone. She overflowed with life and that spills over into my life now, every time I think about her.

Good girlie, Boostie, Booster, BOOST.

Tip: Follow the "Boost goodbye" tag for more photos and then more anniversaries...

If this were Tumblr or Archive Of Our Own, which I have started using in the last year, I might tag this "#I'll probably do this every year."  Oh, what the heck, I'll tag it like that anyway.

Friday, April 23, 2021


Part of the theater's art--featuring the musical Audrey Hepburn! -- Eastridge Mall, San Jose

SUMMARY: A meme thing from Facebook
I responded to a friend April 23, 2021. In my usual overly verbose way. How about you?

Original request:

  • Musical I hate:
  • Musical I think is overrated: 
  • Musical I think is underrated: 
  • Musicals I love: 
  • Musical I cherish: 
  • Musicals I could listen to on repeat: 
  • Musical I still want to do: 
  • Musicals that made me fall in love with musicals: 
  • Musical that changed my life: 
  • Guilty pleasure:
  • Musical I am surprised I like: 
  • Musical I should have seen (live and in person) by now but haven’t: 

Set for Hamilton, Orpheum Theater, San Francisco

Taj MuttHall's answer:

Most of my musical experience comes from the movies (or official videos of the live performances). FWIW.

Musical I hate:      I like musicals with some semblance of a story. Hence, not keen on Cats (singing about being cats, I guess) or Chicago (singing about the crimes they committed and who is more popular because of them, I guess--although at least it has more plot than cats. Not that that is hard to do). I haven't seen them enough to hate them, and I didn't see them live, so can't say I wasted money on them. They probably fall better into:

Musical I think is overrated:      Cats, Chicago, Mama Mia (it's ABBA songs. Period. Oh--wait--it also has more plot than Cats. I love ABBA music on its own.)

underrated.     .. no idea.      Maybe South Pacific? This site rated it #88! WOS100: The top 100 Musicals of all time!

I love: 

  • My Fair Lady, 
  • The King and I, 
  • The Sound of Music, 
  • JC Superstar, 
  • Carousel, 
  • A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum

I cherish:         pretty much the same. Maybe    Mary Poppins (the real one*)

I could listen to on repeat [and have!]:    JC Superstar

I still want to do:                                 As in, act in?

Made me fall in love with musicals:    See above

Changed my life:           Hm. A musical. Changing my life. Nope, don't think so.

Guilty Pleasure:               Pinball wizard [do "rock operas" count as musicals?]

Surprised I like:            drawing a blank

Should have seen (live and in person) but haven't:    There is no should, only do.

Musicals I *have* seen live pro (not community theater): 

  • Les Miz. 
  • The Wiz. 
  • JC Superstar. 
  • Wicked. 
  • Book of Mormon. 
  • Hamilton. 
  • ... oh, surely I've seen more than that... (yeah, quite a bunch more in community/college/whatever theater)

Musicals I've seen the movie version of: at least 30 of the 100 on the aforementioned list. And, I realize, more that aren't on that list.

(Really what I like are Gilbert and Sullivan. But they're comic operas, not musicals.)


* The recent travesty was, well, OK, but really why bother with the remake?

Book of Mormon backdrop, same theater, Angel Moroni at the apex

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Contemplating Changes...and Climates

SUMMARY: Wordless Wednesday. 

At least, no words of my own beyond this: Compare and contrast, say, precipitation (bright blue bars) or low and high temperature curves (lines).

California selected cities


Half Moon Bay

San Jose 

Washington selected cities



Port Angeles

Port Townsend


Whidbey Island

All screen captures from https://www.usclimatedata.com/

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

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Downsizing: Agility Equipment

SUMMARY: A-frame and Chute are free to good homes, maybe triple jump, maybe more, hard decisions 
(scroll down to "What am I not planning on taking with me when I move?")

Ooops, thought I posted this on Friday (the 16th). Guess I'm posting it now, and just backdating it.)

When I bought my current home, nearly 2 decades ago, my Agility Gung-ho-ness expressed itself dramatically by taking my money. And I don't mean classes or competitions or travel (although those were also true). I mean: Equipment! Full set! Here in my yard! To train fabulous world-class agility champions!

... we didn't get to world-class because I'm honestly too lazy to be that dedicated to training and improving our skills.  But it did help in achieving speed, accuracy, and championships of various sorts and quantities for Remington, Jake, Tika, and Boost.

What I had before moving here

  • A teeter, gift of my then-husband less than a year before we split up.  It's not that he wasn't usually a kind and thoughtful guy, because he was. But--life happens. (1998, $400)
  • A tunnel, a short 10-foot yellow one for which my agility instructor arranged group pricing, for her students and other agility folks. (1996, $100)
  • Cheap weave poles, as in, I bought white stick-in-the-ground fence posts and tried using them (the little tabs all the way up them, however, were not an ideal surface).
  • Cheap weave poles #2, as in, I bought a long metal strip from Home Depot and drilled holes in it and used very long bolts over which I dropped PVC piping of the correct size for agility. BUT turns out that that solid-seeming metal strip became astonishingly flexible when dogs raced through the poles.
  • Cheap PVC jumps that I made using PVC for the bases and uprights, drilled holes through them, put a longish bolt through the holes, forming places on which to balance the crossbars.  This didn't work well for several reasons (e.g., in one direction, if the dog crashed the bar, the whole jump came down).
  • Tire jump, made with an actual motorcycle tire and heavy-duty huge PVC frame and base.

What I splurged on in 2001/2002

  • Table: Wood top with PVC base--to change heights, had to change out the PVC legs, which wasn't speedy, but it was lightweight. (2001, $100)
  • Weaves: purple powder-coat w/adjustable offsets (screw in pole supports), 20" spacing, 2 folding 6-foot sections for easy transport (2001, $197)
  • A-Frame:  From Duncan at Action K-9, one of the earlier makers of high-quality sturdy competition equipment. (2002, $865)
  • Broad jump: 5-pc metal and wood, (2 short, 2 medium, one tall), flat tops --all of which made this obsolete for at least USDAA and CPE several years later, if it wasn't already that way because I think it was designed for AKC purposes. (2002, $174)
  • Dogwalk: See Aframe. (2002, $752)
  • Jumps!: Finally. Four official metal-frame with screw-on metal jump cups (2002, $170 total)
  • Teeter base, adjustable height, heavy-duty metal base: Also Action K-9 (2002, $2.75)
  • Tunnel: 20' heavy-duty double-walled teal & gray with 4" pitch--totally competition level. (2002, $360)
  • Chute (aka closed tunnel): Competition quality plastic barrel with metal stand, 8' blue/purple/white sexy chute fabric! (2002, $251)
  • Triple jump, whooo, big time! Purple powder-coated metal, 2 pieces (2002, $127.50)
  • PVC for jump bars -- as needed, bought fancy tape and shelf paper to decorate them all with, ditto for the weaves. (Ongoing--minor costs)
Over time, added more jumps, more tunnels; retired jumps and tunnels as they rusted or wore out in the sun, replaced the table top once. The screw threads in my weaves rusted away, so that was useless, so replaced once with someone's no-longer-using 20" spaced official weaves, also eventually had issues, so replaced with someone's no-longer-using 22" spaced official weaves (of course at that time, USDAA had moved to 24" spaced weaves, so really they were no longer official). Resurfaced the teeter. A friend borrowed and resurfaced some of the Aframe.

What am I not planning on taking with me when I move?

  • Aframe: Just too heavy for me these days. I haven't used it in several years, plus there is an important bit of damage that I can't fix myself. AND it's the old style textured surface, where now everyone uses rubberized. And it needs one critical bit of work.
  • Chute: No one will want this, probably: All agility organizations canned them a couple of years back. Such a crowd pleaser (and I loved watching it), but they added too much time on the course (adjusting the fabric before each dog), and posed a risk to dogs who got tangled which BTW I also thought was unfair because that often added time to the dog's run and, really, there's only so much you can control with a fast dog through a floppy piece of fabric.  I ended up never using it except with each new/young dog or as a refresher once a year or so. So it's in excellent condition.
  • Triple Jump: Sigh. Lovely purple thang. I think no organizations do this any more, either.
  • Dogwalk: Erk. At the moment, I *am* planning on taking it, but it needs some rehab and repainting and it's the sort of equipment that (because of its weight) I'd likely just set up in one place and leave it there, which reduces a bit its usefulness for anything beyond the contacts themselves (complex sequencing with the walk in the same place always is a little predictable for the dogs...)  Still pondering. (And ditto on the rubberizing like the A-frame.)  

And... really... how much agility training will I ever want or be able to do in the future?  It is just a FUN thing, though!

What I AM planning on taking

  • Jumps that are in reasonably good condition. This is maybe only half a dozen...
  • Tunnels that are in reasonably good condition.  This might be only one or two... [frowny face]
  • Table (... oh, and the tabletop needs cleaning and repainting)
  • Teeter with both bases
  • Tire jump--TBD?   Dunno--that motorcycle tire is heavy and needs to be retaped and is definitely not competition legal, and the big-old-PVC frame is broken in 2 places (works Oooookayyyyy just in the yard for basic use) that would require sawing and buying more pieces and measuring fit and gluing...  ugh. But the PVC is lighter than metal frames...   

    ... oh, also much cheaper, so I could build myself another one for not much other than time and effort. But how much would a real one cost me? Checking online--from inexpensive PVC-framed (but looks better made than mine) or used ones (quality TBD) to top-quality competition: $150 to $625 [really, J&J?!?!? REALLY?! -- I mean, Clean Run has one for $350-$525...]
  • OK, tire jump NOT TBD, just talked myself out of taking it.
  • Weaves. Even if they are only 22" span.
  • Broad jump. I guess. It's not standard by far any more... but it's what I have and would probably work for basic training.
  • PVC jump bumps for training (look up Susan Salo jump bumps).
  • Tunnel bags - I have only 2 good pairs right now, and they fold flat once the sand/gravel is removed. ;-)
  • Misc small other random stuff

Gallery of equipment fame and shame

Dogwalk when only a few years old. Glory days.

Dogwalk is about 30' long. 

Dogwalk needs... um... TLC?

A-frame in its younger age.

A-frame in my back yard. (Go straight across to the right from the green arrow.)
Takes up a lot of visual space and all in one large chunk. 

Aframe now. Mostly usable condition.

But this is a problem (bent pipe).

My teeter gets a lot of unauthorized use.

Why teeter needed resurfacing 10 years back. Replaced with fiberglass.
Currently, the metal parts are rusting and some of those surfaces are peeling away.
But I think it'll be OK.

Old tire parts I dragged out from behind the compost bins. Needs work.
But OK for occasional gentle use at the moment.

When expensive metal jump bases rust away... out they go.

Same model chute as mine. Beautiful colors! Mine has no duct tape.

When tunnels (purple) and tunnel bags (teal) are new and beautiful.

When Good Tunnels Go Bad...
and should really have been disposed of much earlier.

This is what USDAA broad jumps should look like.
Mine are flat across the top and form an upside down arc
instead of an ascending format.

My current weaves (except I've removed all the colored tape).
Weaves also take up a lot of space: 12 poles with 22" between.
(And modern poles have 24" between. So, yep, 22 feet long.)

Previous weaves. The pegs had screw bases so they could be put in line as usual
or you could move them out onto the tab to one side or the other for training.
Those little screw bases' threads rusted away, sometimes the entire screw base.

Tika demonstrates an unauthorized use of weave poles. 
Rules prohibit dogs from lying on their sides and
pulling themselves along the weaves by hooking paws over the poles. 
Such a rebel.