a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary

Thursday, May 23, 2024

National parks Passport stamps

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:  I've been traveling a bit

Note: I do have T-shirts for several of the stamps that are currently in my passport book. I might or might not have created a page for them yet here. I will try to remember to put links to them later. Probably very much later. Later later later.

meanwhile: I finally bought a passport book for the national parks in mid-2021. I have added most of the stamps here in a long driving trip that we took in September 2023 and in April 2024. Details And photos, again, might come sooner or later or not. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

"I and my dog could never do agility"

SUMMARY: ...or could we?!
Backfill: From a Facebook discussion May 18, 2024, on video of Nimble, fabulously fast, happy, and accurate purpose-bred mixed-breed border collie/papillon winning westminster agility--astonishing run.

(If this video doesn't work, you can simply search for "Nimble, mixed breed dog wins Westminster dog agility)"

Admit it. Everyone of us dog owners out there, wish our dogs could do that.


MA They can. It’s just a huge investment of time, training and money.


MA Yeah, but you have to live with the dog, which means giving him or her regular training, a job to do, or else you end up with a bored destructive dog that ends up in a shelter. 😉

Ellen Levy Finch

MA That's what I thought the very first time I saw a dog doing agility--wished my dog could do that. Teeter! WEAVE POLES! ALL the things! I just *Knew* that I and my dog could never do those things, but I was willing to try and signed up for classes. HS. At the time, I had the budget for it. I had a dog who was active and eager to learn and I spent time teaching tricks and obedience every day, as well as long walks. It was ssoooooo good for me, too, but agility ended up making me and my dogs healthier and happier. 20 years later, I could look back at my four agility dogs (3 were mixes), each of whom earned at least one championship and two who earned multiple championships in different organization. PS And two of them came from shelters or rescues because they had *too much energy* for multiple failed adoptions. Perfect for me at that time.

SO --YEAH-- I wished my dogs could do that and it turns out that they could. 🙂e

Saturday, May 18, 2024

What is a Rescue Dog anyway?

SUMMARY: It's a very debatable question
Taken from a facebook thread about a mixed breed (purpose-bred border collie/papillon) winning agility at Westminster
I would love to see some sort of championship for rescue dogs

DS -  Mixed breeds and purebred can be rescues. Mixed breed dogs can compete in every venue for championships.

Ellen Levy Finch
DS  Some clubs sometimes offer special prizes at their competitions for specific categories of dogs-- e.g.,highest-scoring mixed breed (not as much any more), highest-scoring shelter dog...
The challenge is in defining "rescue dogs". We've had a lot of discussions about this. Is a rehome a rescue? What if it's from a really bad home? What if it's from a loving home? What if it's facilitated by a rescue group even if they don't handle the dog directly? Is a dog adopted directly from the shelter a rescue dog? What if a rescue group saves the dog from one shelter and places them into a more friendly shelter? What if the dog spends a lot of time in a shelter and then a rescue group pulls them out and finds a new home? Is a dog found in the street (or abandoned in the hills, etc.) and the owner can't be found and is then adopted by the finder who basically served as their own Rescue, is that a rescue dog? Do we have to be sure that the dog was abused, neglected, or abandoned by a previous owner to qualify? Does giving to a shelter count as abandoned? Etc.

rescue dog
in British English
1. a dog trained to assist rescue workers See also search dog
2. a dog that has been placed in a new home after being abused, neglected, or abandoned by its previous owner
Collins English Dictionary

Where do rescue dogs come from?

we like to refer to rescue dogs and cats as Mutt-i-grees: any dog, cat, puppy, or kitten who has been adopted into a responsible loving home, or is still waiting for that perfect family. 
Rescue dogs are homeless due to a variety of reasons.
They may have been surrendered by owners who could not care for them anymore, found on the street, or perhaps they were part of a litter born in a shelter. Animal League America also rescues dogs from puppy mills; these are often animals who would have been euthanized because they were determined no longer viable for breeding. Sometimes dogs are found after a natural disaster, when pets get separated from their owners, who then can’t be found.
What they all have in common is the need for a family of their own.
North Shore Animal League

Sheba -- the only one of my dogs who came directly from a shelter. Remington, Jake, Tika, and Zorro all spent some time in custody of rescue groups, although  Jake was first adopted by my agility instructor and then came to me. I believe that Tika, Zorro, and Remington spent some time in shelters before that.  Chip was a rehome directly from the previous owner. And Boost and Amber came from friends who were their breeders--intentionally in the first case, accidentally in  the 2nd.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Money, money, money…

SUMMARY: As a kid, allowance or wages?
Source:  A friend asked on Facebook April 24, 2024, "Does someone in your family receive an allowance? How about calling it a budget instead? (As I understand it, an allowance is granted to someone from the generosity of the person in charge. Whereas a budget is allocated to a manager to fund vital and important activities. An allowance emphasizes a hierarchy and a budget recognizes the recipient as part of the team. IMHO.)"

This was all a very long time ago. Some parts I remember clearly, some parts are a little vague. 

we siblings received allowances as kids. We were expected to do a pretty minimal amount of work around the house and yard. If we did extra – for example, mowing part of the lawn or washing the dishes – – we got a bit extra. 

We did not buy necessities out of this money; parents paid for our room and board and clothing and any school necessities. And anything for official organizations, such as Girl Scout uniforms. Or camp. Lessons for our chosen instruments. And they paid for our college education as much as they could afford. I think we paid for our own books if we wanted to buy instead of borrow from the library, so thank goodness for the scholastic book club! .25 or $.35 for a whole novel!

Our allowances were not huge. I might have been able to afford one or two comic books a week (at $.10 or $.12 each… I remember being horrified when they went to $.15 each) and maybe a candy bar or two. And, yes, we were expected to buy gifts for people that we wanted to give gifts to. thank goodness for Woolworths back in the day! 

parents helped us to open savings accounts when we first had some quantity of money for some reason (maybe a relative sent a monetary Christmas gift or we earned money babysitting or what not). probably one of our parents showed me how to manage a check register, but I honestly don't remember; I was certainly keeping my own checking account by the time I headed off to college. 

I don't particularly remember discussions about getting jobs, but it was pretty much understood that if we wanted money for more that we would have to earn it ourselves. I was a Mervyn's clerk my senior year in high school, I worked at Gemco doing Basic clerk sort of things. During the holidays my college freshman year; my junior year at college, I worked nearly full-time for the food service at the dorm. And those were all things that I pursued on my own. I think that parents were still buying my college textbooks even when I had a job (they were miserably expensive even back then). I usually tried to buy used versions of the textbooks and then sell them back at the end of the quarter if I weren't intrigued by the book itself--such as, I still have my complete works of Shakespeare from my freshman class at UCLA, and my history of the English language class book from going back to school about the time I got married.

I must confess that, as an adult, with my first "real" job and my first apartment rental and my first need to commute, I managed to find a used version of the model of car that I really wanted but didn't have quite enough to pay for it all on my own and asked parents (read: dad) For a loan--After I had already given the private party a good portion of the price of The car. Dad was not thrilled, but he gave me the loan and I paid it back on a regular basis even though it kept me to baloney sandwichesAnd cheap canned goods for probably four years.?? Things like that.

My parents were basically generous people. But my dad tried to be very cautious and rational about money. I remember – when I was an adult and fully out on my own – – being around when my parents were having a relatively calm discussion about lending my mom's sister's Husband Some money to "consolidate his debts and try to get back on his feet". My dad kept saying various forms of " we will never see that money again if we do this".And mom kept saying various forms of, "but she's my only sister and she is now disabled". They lent them the money. They never saw the money again.

I try to remember both 

I tried to remember their generosity and their caution and their love whenever questions of large money come up. I have loaned relatives money in a quantity that was not insignificant to me, but I was completely certain that I would eventually get paid back. And I was. I have not loaned relatives money if I were pretty certain that I would not get it back. At least one of my Siblings has stepped in to shoulder that responsibility [it was a complicated situation however] and has not yet been repaid yet.

So far, I have mostly done OK. I am retired, I own my own home, I have started a small Social Security Income monthly.To be seen whether I have planned sufficiently or whether I will run out of money in the next two or three years because of Profligate spending on foolish items.Not likely to happen unless there is some major disaster in my life or health. Fingers crossed.

If only I still had someone around to give me a minimal allowance for buying comic books and to pay for my necessities of life. Oh well.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Supper bowl--er, Super Bowl

SUMMARY: much human excitement and dog boredom
Source: My photos from Facebook from this past Sunday, February 11. Text is new though.

At my sister's house for the Super Bowl played at Las Vegas, San Francisco 49ers (my home team I suppose) versus Kansas City. It has been 20 years since the Niners won two out of three Super Bowls. Hard to believe, but yup. Time is flying.

There were just five of us-- me, Seester, my BIL (Her husband)--All rooting for the Niners -- and Zorro and Abby, the latter two rooting primarily for food. 

Note Abby in the chair in the background. Pretty much stayed there the whole time, staring at us.

Not me.

The game was intense and very close, even went into overtime and it came down to the last three seconds, and KC scored. Plus, as we all know, the Super Bowl often has spectacular ads because companies will pay big money to get their bits to so many viewers. So a good time for us to get up and go play with the dogs or get them food or such important things never occurred. Never ever! We even stubbornly and repeatedly refused to share the potato chips (Ruffles have ridges) and M&Ms, even though they were right there at dog face level. And someone even yelled at Zorro when he did the very logical thing and stole a used napkin and began eating it! Humans are so terrible.

Some of us were yelling and moaning and jumping up and down. Some of us were bored out of our little brains.

We were ahead almost the entire game, including the overtime. About 70 minutes of playing time.
Until the last three seconds.
Sportz can be like that.

We mostly ditched the halftime show, even though Usher was supposed to be very good, and my relatives took the dogs for a short walk, and we gave them dinner, and then everyone was completely happy and satisfied--why were we sitting around all day staring at the wall when we could've been giving the dogs food all along? 

This blog is supposed to be about dogs… And Binkies…

SUMMARY: So here come some dog posts, a few from Facebook recently.
But honestly this site has really become more of a diary plus random thoughts.

Zorro does like to keep all of his treasures in one place if he possibly can. I tried to keep his Binkies a various sizes and shapes in different parts of the house. I am so cruel to him. (These are things that he likes to snuggle and nurse on.) His favorite place for this these days is on the small carpet in the living room. It is like his own outline of a room that is just for dog.

Two days ago, I found this: In the back, the two Binkies that are usually in the living room, one on his raised bed, one on his luxurious bed; the red Binkie and the doughnut Binkie Bed that are usually in my bedroom, one on my bed and one on his bed; and even Squeaky Snake, which he sometimes uses in the same manner after he is done playing with him.

The only missing Binkie is the other one that sits on my bed in my bedroom.

Yes, he makes me laugh at least once every day and usually more than that. I am glad that he has his Binkies for friends.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The important things in life: Binkies

SUMMARY: Sometimes Zorro's bedding needs to be washed. It just does.
Posting link on FB now

So much has been happening in my life. Over the last year. Ear surgery, knee surgery, knock myself unconscious (Which came with a bonus first ever ambulance ride and a first ever helicopter ride), Covid almost inevitably in January 2024, long RV trip through the west, trip to Disneyland, stuff like that. So I choose to talk about: washing Zorro's bedding.

Trying to launder Zorro's Binkies is challenging. As soon as I pick them up from their usual environs and start walking away with them, his eyes open wide and he starts saying, no, these are mine, I had them where I wanted them, don't move them! And he grabs one or more and tugs until I determinedly make him let go. And then as soon as I set them down to get the washing machine prepped, they all start disappearing.

I had picked up three of them this time; and this is where they were when I was ready to put them into the washing machine…  one close (Darker blue with light blue circles) to the washing machine but not where I left it. (where He is standing trying to decide whether to steal back that one also), one (brown with aqua circles) halfway through the doorway into the hallway, and one (Aqua with brown circles) way down the hallway in the living room. 

Update 20 minutes later: I re-collected the three, washed them, and they are now in the dryer. Fortunately they dry quickly.

... they did! Dried quickly! So when I took them out, he selected one to go nurse on for a while in the living room. Happiness restored.

Next I think I will do the red one. And attempt to remove the covers from two of his three cushion beds.
Maybe from all three cushion beds… Except that he typically is lying in one or another of them, so I guess I need to leave one clad for a bit.

Then the big challenge will be figuring out how to stitch back together his favorite Binky bed without a sewing machine. And he will definitely obsess over that one when I pick it up to sew it, and again when I need to wash it afterwards.

BUT after just now trying to vacuum out just one comfy bed and its cushion, I realize that perhaps doing all of this in one day after 10 days of recovering from Covid is not the best choice. So: that's it for today.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

So now it's the 21st century and...

SUMMARY: It's going to be WHAT? 2024? No wayyy!
Inspired by my comment on FB: Dec 31, 2023

A friend on FB threw the question out to his world, having lost his partner of 20ish years: What is everyone doing for New Years Eve? Party? Family gathering? Champagne at midnight? Me? Probably in bed by 8, scrolling for a fun movie. No one to kiss at midnight.

Taj MuttHall responds -- I'll be doing something useful like washing dishes or OH NO donating to charities at the last minute, snuggle with Zorro a bit but no kissing because COAT BEING BLOWN WHY?! when winter is just starting?!, in bed I hope by 8 and hope the fireworks noise isn't enough to keep me or Zorro up. Last year he hid in my closet and seemed fine there. Thank goodness I don't have Chip's terror to deal with any more. [But I miss him none the less]

Wishing you and the world at large a happy 2024.

 (How can it possibly be that year?! I still keep referring to, for example,  six years ago as 2007. Or sometimes 1997. Too many years to keep track of )

Me and former husband at a friend's fancy New Year's Eve party.
Back in 2018.... 2008... oh good grief, 1988. I'm sure I still look the same

Saturday, December 23, 2023

A little Christmas melancholy but a very Merry holiday to you

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:  It is hard not to feel it. For me anyway. At this time anyway
Source: Discord chat with another writer Dec 22,2023

Somehow I seem to be more busy than before I retired, moved out of state, and left most of my family and friends behind. But I have finished my Christmas shopping since I really have only two family members, two dogs (Only one of them mine), and a couple of neighbors And friends to shop lightly for this year. Such a small number of gifts. So surely I can leave wrapping them until the last minute tomorrow.

As much of my life as I can remember – – and I'm retirement age, so that's...forever – – everyone in the family and their significant others (And often their parents and siblings) and their children and random friends and cousins from near and far and Dad's parents until they died (in the 1970s, but I can still recall how disquieting it felt the first Christmas that neither of them were there) gathered at my parents' house Christmas morning for an astonishing number of Christmas present openings. Even if each person received one gift, that was still a lot, but some of us--like my dad and me--enjoyed giving more than one gift to each person. Christmas at their place became legendary.

Then my dad died in 2015 and it impacted me like a crash and burn. We still all gathered that Christmas and still had a lot of gifts. But he had been the true driving force, And of course their house was good because it was huge because we all grew up in that house. The following year, mom's health declined rapidly and she died two days after Christmas, and we sold their house. We tried for a while, but it wasn't the same. I know they say that, to avoid this kind of sadness during the season, one should create new traditions. We didn't seem to be doing that. I didn't know what to try to create.

[Sidenote: That was a hard, hard year. Lost dad and mom, Tika and boost, dad's cousin who used to spend Christmas with us, and the beloved dog,Who got along well with Tika and boost, of My cousin (dad's cousins daughter) who also used to spend Christmases with us]

I have to work at managing the grief around this holiday. Not looking for sympathy, it's just a thing that is true. Three of us moved completely out of state to basically the same town and we are experimenting with planning a Christmas this year more suitable to three people than 20. We will open gifts, we will have a good meal, we will go for a probably short hike, we will drive out Christmas Eve looking at decorated houses,  we will see about trying to visit some of the many local waterfalls that we haven't seen yet, we will go through our notes and photos from our big trip in October, We will probably watch some Christmas shows or movies. we might do a jigsaw puzzle. Whether a new tradition will spring out of this remains to be determined.

This will be our ninth Christmas without Dad Cheering us on and preparing parts of a Christmas feast to browse from all day and mom trying to keep him moderate and doling out love. Missing them still feels like yesterday.

I have mom's Christmas T-shirt that she received fairly late in her life. It's almost new. I have worn it at Christmas. I don't feel like mom when I do. But the message on the front feels like her.

Friday, December 15, 2023

I'm a little behind in my blogging

SUMMARY: Maybe I'll just spam my own account

Whenever I have a topic that I want to bring up, or edit, or expand upon, or capture from Facebook (or other places) to a more permanent place, or add photos to first, I create a draft post here. 

It's getting out of hand. 94 drafts. If I were to publish one a week, that would give me a year and a half of posts. BUT many are within the last year, where I felt that I haven't had time to turn them into actual posts becauseI'mtoobusyreadingclickbaitonfacebook because I'm still unpacking the house and trying to organize things and now also get ready for xmas.

It occurs to me that, perhaps, I should not wait for the editing or the photos or the additional info, but just spend 10 minutes each and post whatever it ends up being. (Backdated to their original date, of course...?)

One challenge is that many of my original ideas for posts have become obsolete, or the focus will necessarily have to change. Of my two earliest drafts--

Nunes Agility Field, used both by NAF and by VAST (Valley Agility Sport Team I think)--consisting of the same people-- has changed drastically. "John" died several years back. Then the group decided to decommission the NAF organization. Then the leased/loaned land was reclaimed. Pretty soon nothing was left, and this year VAST dissolved as well. A very different story.

The Future of Dog Agility has changed so much (is USDAA really on the way out? How about CPE? Will UKI take over?) that the questions (those questions) weren't even on the horizon back then. Furthermore, whatever I had intended to say 18 years ago (OMG!) I didn't even outline in the draft. Wish I had. I'll bet it would have been interesting to read now.

Meh. Requires making decisions. Plus my speed  at creating drafts has increased lately, it seems:

  • December: 4
  • November: 5
  • October: 1
  • September: 4
  • April/May/June/July/August: 0

Instead, I've created this actual post about Drafts. Is this some kind of meta thing? 

Instead, back to fretting about boxes of books and holiday decor nowthatI'vespent45minutesonthissuddenunplannedentry.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

And to you your xxxwassailxxx Wagtail Too

SUMMARY: We haven't been walking the dogs for so long--
More best-loved lyrics straight from your favorite, K-TajMuttHall radio

--and that's where K-TMH dreams up so many of their fun Alternative Lyrics.

Here's from yesterday.

Here we come a snuffeling [it's 3 syllables, yes, just--sing it like that, ok?] along the weeds so green
And here we are a-wandering so furry to be seeeeeeeennnn--

Treats and toys come to you, and to you a wagtail too
And Dog bless you and snuggle you with flappy floppy ears
    And Dog snuggle with flappy floppy ears

We are not evil squirrel thugs who rob your feeder seed
But we are neighbors' puppy dogs who are always starving because no one gives us regular meals so food is what we need

[Co-author's note: Dog poets are not always known for their innate rhythm sense, nor veracity]

Treats and toys come to you, and to you a wagtail too
And dog bless you and snuggle you with flappy floppy ears
    And dog snuggle with flappy floppy ears

Dog bless the master of this house no matter gender role
And give us rotten apples please to bury in a hole

Treats and toys come to you, and to you a wagtail too
And dog bless you and snuggle you with flappy floppy ears
    And dog snuggle with flappy floppy ears

Friday, September 15, 2023

Peninsula Living, Part 2

SUMMARY: But don’t you have to drive a while to GET someplace? Lol
Answering this friend's question on Facebook Sept 11, 2023

Depends on what you mean by "someplace". Within 5 minutes I have Costco, Home Depot, Safeway (and 2 or 3 other local/organic/nonchain groceries), Walgreens, Rite Aid, YMCA, local medical center, hiking opportunities, Dairy Queen, Burger King, McDonald's, Papa Murphy, Applebees, Taco Bell (plus nonchain restaurants and cafes)... and Walmart if you're inclined. 15 minutes to Toyota dealer if I want them to do things on my car, Wendy's... trying to identify local places by familiar names.

I *do* miss: Target, Macy's, Trader Joe's, Penney's (yes there is one up here!), Panera, major movie theaters, ... but all and many more are in Silverdale usually <60 minutes from here, so we just make it a day (or morning or afternoon) and go enjoy ourselves and do the shopping we need.

The biggest issue: Closest 24 hour emergency vet is also in Silverdale.

Most of my doctors are in Port Townsend (by choice--that's where I started up here and I like the facility and the docs etc) which is 35-45 minutes, but I'm so used to driving it that it doesn't bother me at all, AND... no traffic! The only traffic lights are at the onramp to 101 by my house and maybe one in Port Townsend--and within town they use roundabouts.

But NO TRAFFIC getting to all these places is such an amazing benefit--

I mean, it could take me an hour to get home from work in San Jose because freeways were jammed (15-20 minutes on a weekend). So driving freely through quiet mostly wooded areas for 40-60 minutes is nothing.

Not everyone else up here thinks that way. They just shop at walmart and online.

Yes, then I do have to consider gas prices. [shrug] I'm far from wealthy, but it's not like I make those drives every week.

I do avoid going to events in Seattle--it looks close, but it's either a 2-plus-hour drive or a 2-hour trip with less driving but waiting for and riding a ferry, less gas, plus ferry ticket. Ferries are pretty reliable.

You can drive around locally and find eggs and fruits and veggies and flowers and more at people's homes or at local small farms etc. And often it's just a small booth with the product and a sign stating the price and a place for you to drop your payment. Pretty cool. Of course, as population grows and more thieves arrive, that might go away.

Any more-specific questions? 😉

Photos from various  visits  to Silverdale (I have selected a whole bunch more, but from blogger into photos on my iPad, there's no way I can find the ones that I want. So I'll have to come back later on my Mac and figure it out.) ...(OK, I give up, the captioning and things don't even work right on my iPad. Here's what I've got so far kinda.)

This is a couch I've been considering for months. Then I bought that tie-dye thing. Oh well.

Sister and husband buying rugs at Macy's in Silverdale.

Monday, September 11, 2023

9-11 Twenty-two years later

SUMMARY: We'll never forget, but we can't remember every day of every year
From a reply to another blog about today

My dad's photo of the New York city skyline, when we visited in1975
The World Trade Center only 2 years old

I didn't realize what day it was until I had to write the date on something. It doesn't kick me in the gut so much any more. Not like the first day, watching the videos (on TV of course--most channels it seemed) over and over in shock. Not like the 2nd day, watching again. And, by afternoon, realizing that if I kept that up, I might never climb out of that hole. I recorded a couple of hours of the news, then turned off the TV and didn't go back to it. But there was no escaping the numbing realization of what had happened -- not just to the iconic buildings, but so so many people who had nothing to do with anything. Just people. Dead. Hundreds of men, women, children; moms, dads, sisters, brothers, business partners, cousins, lovers, husbands, wives, teammates, best friends--whole departments of companies wiped out-- and all of the first responders who paid the worst price of their professions.

But now--it was a long time ago.

Twenty-two years. More than a generation. My youngest--barely adult--niece wasn't born yet and the next youngest was only a year old. Over 13,000 babies were born in the US on that day (this article from 2021 shares some of the things that these adults will never know as a result of the fallout from the event). Imagine 22 years more of that many babies born every day, making well over a million US-born residents who have no idea what life was like. And it was different!

Day after day now, we encounter restrictions that didn't exist. There's a boundary of Before and After, like a black line drawn across time. A curtain beyond which, looking back, can't be seen through, really, unless you were there and already know.

But I don't think about it much, any more, really. Life is what it is and it's hard to stay angry and afraid this long. Still, today, and 9-11s in the future, I'll remember.


A couple of my photos from 1983 from atop the towers (unedited, sorry). The tower was 10 years old.

It fell at age 28.

Some of the bridges across the East River into Manhattan (where the towers were); I think the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges

It was a long, long way down.
You can barely see how many taxis there are (yellow)
I haven't taken the time to identify the streets or buildings--
but I wonder how many of these still exist after the disaster--