a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: October 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Easy Come, Easy $180 Go

SUMMARY: Boost's toenail = vet visit.
Boost ran fine in class last night with vet wrap around her toenail, but when I unwrapped it, it was bleeding again. Wrapped it for play this morning, and again it was bleeding.

I looked more closely at it. The broken part that I didn't want to cut off because it's below the skin line is basically pinching the quick and continuing to injure it. So--off to the vet we go.

Vet won't cut into the skin without sedating the dog. I guess that makes sense, but it's very expensive: sedation and 3 hours under observation afterward. Plus they want her on antibiotics because the injured skin will be making contact with the ground. He said she will be fine for agility in the morning, but not this afternoon. So no bar-knocking drills today, either.

She's at the vet now. I picked a vet closer to home because today is very busy with work and packing for the weekend, and I didn't want to drive the half hour to our regular vet. I have to go pick her up at 4:00. I cry when I have to leave my dog at the vet, I'm such a wimp.

I'm a bit weepy, too, when I have to spend $180 for one broken toenail.

At least it's not raining.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do Those Dewclaws That You Do So Well

SUMMARY: Poor Booster's little toeie has an owie.
Dinnertime last night, and Boost is lying in the corner lick lick licking her paw. I check it out: Dew claw toenail is broken in half at the quick and it's bleed bleed bleeding. Gotta hurt, too.

I don't trim them often enough, and it was pretty long, so I blame myself for this one. Thing is, Tika's dew claws (and back in the day, Amber's and Sheba's) kept themselves trimmed down--proof positive that some dogs indeed get traction from their dewclaws when running. Jake's *never* wore down at all; Boost's wear down a bit but not enough. So with one dog who doesn't need it at all and one dog who needs it seldom, I just forget.

I was able to trim off most of the broken part with no sign of pain on her part. A little styptic power to stop the bleeding, a nice flesh-colored bandaid (couldn't find any merle-colored bandaids) to cover it for a little while (chyeah, that stayed on for hours--not!), and some constant reminding to leave it alone.

By bedtime the bandaid was lonnnng gone and she was leaving it alone. Just trying to decide whether I want to wrap it in a bit of that mesh tape when she's outside running the next couple of days. In class tonight. And how about at the trial this weekend? Since I know that she uses them a bit, since they wear down a bit--

argh, decisions! [Gnaws at own nails--]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ack! Is It That Time Already?

SUMMARY: Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that I had a whole month until our next competition?
USDAA trial this very weekend! And I haven't been working on our issues because we had SO MUCH TIME until our next competition.

How does this happen?

I guess I should do some bar-knocking drills this week. Especially for The Booster.

Then the following weekend is DISNEYLAND! woo.

Then the following weekend is USDAA Nationals and I AM NOT GOING THIS YEAR! First time they've been in range of California that I haven't gone. I think I've been 7 times. Made it to team finals once with Tika. Got like an 8th and a 10th place ribbon a couple of times with Tika in various random events. And one semifinalist polo shirt. (Hmm, OK, two, because got one with Jake back in 2001 I think. But it looked different then.) That's a lot of time & money & all that for just taking hundreds of photos that I never get around to sorting through. Ahem. Yes, we won't mention that.

Then the following 2 weekends are CPE; need to decide now whether I want to try entering either of them. I'm kinda liking this staying home thing. Although the dogs aren't, so much. Going dog stir crazy.

I wonder if someone else wants to run them for me so I can stay home? They haven't trained with anyone else, that's the problem. And Tika is a proven Mama's girl when we did try to get her to practice and run with Ashley. He was fine as long as he had treats, but otherwise--back to Human Mom.

OK, will just have to decide.

Then one last USDAA for the year in mid-December.

Then on to 2010! Who'd'a believed it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Compare and Contrast: Two Videos

SUMMARY: Team Standard Videos from Labor Day Regional
An agility friend just posted videos of us from the Team Standard--Thanks, Mary!

Here's the course map to follow along:

I almost lost Tika while nursing her down the dogwalk so she wouldn't fly off--and she nearly flipped into the tunnel alongside. Can't quite tell in the video what I did to cause that, but she pulled off it OK and kept going, for a clean run. (Tika and her teammate finished with a 2nd place out of 36 Performance teams at this Regional.)

Boost starts out looking OK but about halfway through we start to lose it, with a spin and some hesitation and the bars start coming down. Still, she didn't E (which is crucial in Team). Just her dumb handler started celebrating before clearing the last bar, bringing down one more. AND that teeter exit was pretty iffy, Boost!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And Another Day Bites the Dust

SUMMARY: Rainbows, shopping, cameras, walkies, parks, bad lyrics--

Don't you love finding that your magical rainbow is just beyond your kitchen door? Do you dare open the door to look for your pot of gold?

Don't you love going for a long walk through the park and both your dogs put up with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old giving them attention?

Don't you love talking to adults wherever you go and explaining what "blue merle" is and that yes Boost is an actual Border Collie?

Don't you love trying to find a word that rhymes with "leashie" so you can post the lyrics to another badly abused song? As in (think Yankee Doodle for this one):
Boostie doggie used her teeth to pull upon her leashie,
Glad we're in the U.S.A 'cause that won't wash in Vichy.
Don't you love wondering about little idioms and wondering how nonnative speakers of English will ever figure them out? "That won't wash--" "That won't float--" "That won't fly--" "That won't go--" ?

Don't you decide to completely rearrange the lyrics to find something that's easier to rhyme with?
Boostie grabbed and tugged her leash while going on a walkie--
...mumble... walkie...bawkie..cawkie...dawkie...fawkie...gawky (maybe)--...hawkie...jawkie (jockey? sort of)...  mumble...

Don't you like taking your little crappy point and shoot and the dogs up to the 4th floor of the local shopping center and taking photos of the sunset in combination with various man-made shopping center attractions?

Don't you love finding a friend for your dogs at the shopping center? Do you suppose he does agility?

This cute skinny little guy looks very agile and like he wants go go home with you!

Don't you love posting the rest of your photos from your shopping center trip on your regular photo site, with captions?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Focusing In--

SUMMARY: Camera and weaves.
Lenses arrived yesterday for my new camera! Yay! Started really playing around with things today. Getting a feel for the first nonzoom lens I've ever owned.

Spider has a brand new web that's much neater than the previous one. Yesterday morning she was showing me her underside.

Today, no sign of Ms. Spider at all. Trying to get a dark background to view the complelte web, so it's at an angle here (instead of looking roundish when straight on).

Autumn--cyclamen are blooming!

And the rain lilies.

Have been working on proofing weaves. For about a week, I ran them straight into an area between a tree and a bench to make sure dogs would keep going even if I didn't and even if there was nowhere (obvious) to go after that.

Now I've got them sideways along the far side of the yard, with jumps lined up more or less towards either end, about 18' from tunnel to jump, 18' to jump, 18' to weaves to get a good running speed (and that's about as far as I can get in this yard). This way the dogs approach the weaves at a right angle or even greater than a 90-degree angle at full speed and have to make the turn into the weaves.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks. Oddly, Boost who has trouble managing these things in competition (and in class last week), is doing great. Tika, whose weaves have almost always been lovely, has been popping out early or missing her entrances. Not often--but I think more often than Boost.

The training never ends!

Random pollinator on rose, violating rules of macro: hand-held in shadow with a plant swaying in the wind. Wonder why it's not perfectly sharp?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Competitive Dog Sports -- Another Pass-Around Thang

SUMMARY: About me & my dog sports.
Found on Facebook. I'm posting here because I've answered many of these questions before and I'm just going to link to 'em. If you want to do this note on facebook and tag your dog-sport pals, copy & paste these instructions as well as the rest of the content:
Copy and paste the content below, then erase the other person's answers and put in your own. Tag as many Dog Nuts as you can think of, including the person who sent it to you as "first tag." Don't be shy to make your answers long, if need be.

NOTE: This will be a very long read if you also read the links in which I answer some questions at length. Don't you have something better to do with your time?

List the dog sports in which you compete. If you have a particular favorite please tell us, and tell us why!

Is there anyone you'd like to thank or BLAME for getting you into competitive dog activities?
My obedience instructor started taking agility classes and recommended it to me. For my active, eager dog. Who is also clearly to blame.

Please tell the story of how you got started in dog sports. Where/when (year please, don't be shy!)/why/etc.
Remember, you asked. (First competition: January 1996.)

What is your FAVORITE thing about dog sports, and what is your LEAST FAVORITE?
One answer, from June 2009, on "why agility?"
What I hate about agility? Disappointing myself, sometimes; the expense; the amount of time it takes away from everything else in my life.

What breeds or mixes thereof do you/have you owned? Please list their name, their breed (or mix thereof) and then their BEST quality as a sport dog and their WORST quality as a sport dog.
Whoa, can you believe I've never done a post on this? (At least not that I'm finding.) This would make a good future blog post. Summary:
  • Remington, Squirrelhund (Lab/Shepherd probably). Almost never dropped a bar. Loved to learn. Could be pretty fast. Extremely sensitive to my moods and shut down a lot.
  • Jake, Semidachshund (sheltie mix probably, maybe beagle?). Took forever to learn anything new. But once he got it, very reliable.
  • Tika, Craussie (Aussie cross, maybe Husky?). Pretty darned fast, loves doing agility, easily distracted, fights the "rules" every step of the way. 
  • Boost, Border Collie. Extremely fast and driven. Loves to learn. Very focused. Wants to do agility. Light on the concepts of keeping bars up and doing weaves from beginning to end.

How many dog beds do you currently own and what did you pay for the most expensive one?
  • Double-thick bathmats once were primary dog beds. (3 or 4, bought on clearance for about $15 each in the early '90s. Tucked away now or used at trials when sleeping in the van.)
  • Official dog mats, thick pile fleece with blue border. (3, one in kitchen, one in crate in bedroom, one for trials. About $15 each at pet stores through the years.)
  • Raised PVC bed frames with rip-stop "hammock". (3, one in office, two in kitchen. Bought one at giant February AKC dog show at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds. Two bought at USDAA Nationals in Scottsdale. $55 each in 2001. )
  • Big thick dog bed cushion with zippered cover. (2, both in office, one on a PVC bed frame--which the dogs take turns using--one from Costco about $20, one won in agility trial raffle.)
  • Down-filled bed with stuff bag. (1, stored in closet, won in raffle.)
  • Giant fleece/fabric sturdy throw used as dog bed in my bedroom. (1, won in raffle.)
  • Smaller fleece rectangle with raised sides in my bedroom. (1, won in raffle.)
  • Spiffy actual nice plush dog bed, bought for Jake with a Christmas gift certificate to PetSmart (so it was either free or $79.99, depending on your viewpoint, which could make it the most expensive). (Jake died only a month later, but he loved it while he had it. Tucked in the corner of my office, Boost uses it all the time. Tika sometimes uses it.)
(Short post in which this photo originally appeared.)

What is the most you ever paid for a large bag of dog food? Probably $55. Same thing sells at a discount at nearby Pet Club for $35.

What is the most you have ever paid for a dog toy, and what was it?
No clue. Probably in the $20 range from time to time.

List the vehicles you have bought specifically for traveling to and from dog competitions.
MUTT MVR! Read my 2005 post about it in the Quintessential agility car.

What is the furthest you have ever traveled in order to attend a dog event?
Scottsdale, Arizona (USDAA Nationals 2004,05,06,07,08).
Second furthest: Either San Diego, CA (USDAA Nationals, 2000 and 2001), or Eureka, CA (2002, chasing the last gambler's let for Remington's NATCH).

How many dog-related pieces of clothing do you currently own?
As of March 2007.

How many dog toys do you own? Don't forget to include the ones in the car and in various closets and at your in-laws' house.
As of November 2008. (Remember that you can click on a photo to see a larger version of it to make out more details.)

(Read the original post that goes with the photo.)

How many dog-related books do you own?

Remember that you can always click on a photo here to see a larger version of it if you want to browse bowser titles yourself. (Read the post that goes with the photo.) Here's the list of the books as of 2006. (Read the short post that goes with the list.)

Have you ever been bitten by a dog? If so what were the circumstances?
Accidentally when Jake and Remington got into a fight between me, the couch, and the coffee table.

Has your dog ever peed/pooped/barfed someplace that they really shouldn't have? If so, tell us what happened!
Are you kidding? I own dogs! Duh!

Has your dog ever stolen a major item of human food? Tell us!
Not that I recall.

When competing in dog sports, did you ever admire someone else's dog from afar so much that you will always remember that dog? If so, please tell us all about it.
So many dogs! Several Border Collies stood out, including one who would eventually become Boost's mom. Several mixed-breed dogs! I love their distinctive looks and how well they do even against Border Collies.

Of all your friend's dogs, which dog would you like to take home and keep if you had the chance? You can list three, just to be fair...or just one if you're ruthless!
I've had such a wide variety of my own, I now know that there is no perfect dog. Any one will have its issues and its successes. I don't covet others's dogs.

What has been your most embarrassing moment thus far while competing in dog sports?
Probably a tie between:
  • Me and Jake running a beautiful first half of a Pairs Relay course, to have our partner cry, "Where's the baton?!" as I came racing in, empty handed. (That's an automatic disqualification.)
  • Running into the teeter totter. Read about it here.

What has been your most shining moment thus far while competing in dog sports?

Oh, so very many! Jake's MAD (the first I ever earned). Remington's NATCH (my first dog's championship, FINALLY). Winning Full House with zillions of points over and over in CPE trials with Tika and Boost. Boost doing the weave poles correctly! Winning a ribbon at USDAA Nationals with Tika in an individual event. Making Team finals at the USDAA Nationals with Tika. Finally getting Jake's 5th Gamblers Q for his ADCH. Finally qualifying for Grand Prix semifinals with Tika with a smooth and beautiful and aggressive run. Having a Perfect Weekend with Tika. Earning a trophy at CPE Nationals with Tika--one Q away from a perfect 3-day Nationals with 1sts or 2nds in everything (and I mean of everyone competing, not just her class). Remington getting excited about agility again and running like when he first started. Jake jumping into my arms at the end of a run. I dunno--I could go on and on. 220 trials over 14 years--lots going on in there!

What are your goals for the future with your dogs?

Not sure any more. Once upon a time it was to win More First Places and Make It To the Nationals Finals. But now, I dunno, I'm thinking "retire and do a lot of hiking."

If the Dog Fairy could grant you one wish (sky is the limit), what would it be?

I love my dog family the way it is now. Love the dogs, love how they get along together, love how they've come along in their training. Don't want to have to start over again. Keep them around and healthy and active for many many years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad Internet Connections Cause Sleepless Nights, or Spiders Got Ears!

SUMMARY: In which damaged technology and neglected cynology don't mix. Plus spiders. (Fair warning. At the end.)
This was supposed to be a very short post because I already wrote a paragraph in response to Team Small Dog's Internet fixing post. Somehow, as usual, it got away from me.

Storm remember

Remember we had a big storm last Tuesday? (How could you forget, I made, like 500 blog posts about it.) The Storm Of The Part of Half A Century Or So. Guess what happened to my internet connection. Yes. Flake city.

Imagine your crappy internet

Imagine sitting with your fingers on the keyboard, staring staring staring at the little "DSL" and "Internet" lights on the gateway, one of which is now red and the other blinking, and wait for that moment when both are green so that you can REALLY QUICKLY try to post something on Facebook, or maybe upload a photo to Taj MuttHall, or say download a 900-MB file that you need for work, or pick up your email, and DAGNABBIT the photo started to upload but then the Internet light turned red again and hte little "working" is now spinning spinning spinning.

Calling the AT&T

Wednesday when I called the AT&T about my internet connection waxing and waning, I discovered that I had an excessively generous quantity of static on the line, which can really hose a delicate data connection. It took me 40 minutes (really, I timed it) of looking things up on the web and dialling numbers and keying in my 9-digit phone number 5 different times and talking to various people and being on hold before I got someone who, when we connected, had a conversation with me like this:

* Person who knows what they're doing: How can I help you?
* Me: My internet connection has been flaky since the storm and...
* PWKWTD: ...and you have a lot of static on your line, which can really hose a delicate data connection.
* Me: Yes.

40 minutes. For a 14-second technical conversation.

After which he said maybe someone can come out next tuesday. I argued that I can't work in an environment where I can't even reliably get or send email. They argued that tough shit. Only he phrased it like, "we're very busy right now [duhhh (that's mycomment about the storm)] and Tuesday's the earliest anyone can come out."

Gone gone gone I've been gone so long.

So I kind of expected that eventually they would tell me WHEN on tuesday. But I can't work with no reliable internet (try downloading a gig of data with a connection that drops every minute or two), so I started commuting (gasp) to Mountain View every day. This means about 15 minutes every morning of packing up and getting ready to go, a 40-minute drive there, an 8-hour work day, and 40 minutes drive home again.

Plus Monday I had an emergency dental appointment, so take me out of the house for an additional 2 and a half hours, and yesterday I had an emergency chiropractic appoinment, so take me out of the house for an additional hour and a half. Make that gone 12 hours Monday, 11 hours yesterday.

Imagine your dogs

Imagine you have two active driven agility dogs who are used to you being home all day and taking occasional breaks to throw the toy and maybe walk for a mile or two and even do some weave pole proofing.

Now imagine that all you've done for 2 days is throw the ball for 5 minutes.

Now imagine trying to sleep at night while the dogs are restless, stand up, lie down, move around, chew on the foot, scratch behind the ear, sniff at your face to see if you're awake, get off the bed, get on the bed, get off the bed, go into the crate, rearrange the bedding in the crate, get back on the bed. In various combinations all night.

Appointment? Not really.

So anyway, yesterday morning I called the AT&T to find out when they'd be here, and they (AT&T being plural) said that I had signed up for a 12-hour window. I said that I certainly wouldn't have signed up for a 12-hour window if someone had asked me about it, and I can't sit here for 12 hours with no internet, so do I have to actually be here when they show up?

The said it would be nice if someone would be here but most of the time they can fix it outside the house and they guaranteed to have it resolved by 8:00 that night but if it isn't resolved ("guaranteed"? huh.) then I can call back and sign up for a one-hour window at some other time.

So I commuted to Mtn View again. When I got home well after 8:00 at night, I appeared to have a new, steady relationship with my internet, and an urgent phone message from the repair guy on my home line, and an urgent message from the repair guy on my office line, and the repair guy's business card stuck in my door telling me urgently to call him ASAP underlined. I guess I should call him to tell him that apparently he fixed it outside the house and I appreciate that.

Imagine gouging your eyes out

And all I had to do was to tear my hair out for almost a week and gouge out my eyes with the dull end of my mouse while trying to download huge files or even post to facebook. But at least I didn't have to open up any walls or any junction boxes and stare numbly at all the wires and try to remember what I did the last time I played with phone wires back in the summer of I think 1826 or so.

Happy endings

I felt so good about having a working internet that I took the dogs for a nice mile and a half walk around the neighborhood in the dark until Boost got to where she wasn't playing tug of war and flying back and forth hanging onto the end of the leash full tilt and had calmed to where she was merely trotting eagerly.

They slept better last night than before, but still. Not perfect.

Spider warning for arachnophobes. But this one won't bite, guaranteed. If it does, I'll call you back Tuesday.

Today, work at home, do some more weave pole proofing. And finally get around to taking photos of the cool Basic California Garden Spider whose lovely web is on my back porch and greets me in the morning when I let the dogs out. For those scientifically minded folks who want to know how big the spider is, I quickly grabbed a ruler and measured his body, and so you know: It is about 2 picas long. Oops. Guess I picked up the wrong ruler. So for you non-type-layout sorts of people, there are 6 picas to an inch, 2.4 cm to an inch--the rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

It was tough taking the photo at times because while I was standing on the bench trying to do macro photography, Tika stood on the porch near me and every time some molecule somewhere popped an electron, Tika would let out with a huge BARK! and the spider would jerk into an erect spider posture with his legs sticking out in the air and the web would vibrate (and so would my head). So apparently spiders can hear BARK!

And here he is (yay, can haz uploaded photos!):

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn confidence

SUMMARY: In which something about my true nature is revealed.

Sometimes I practice exuding confidence as I'm walking. Usually it's when I'm by myself, when I'm not likely to encounter anyone else I really know. At the mall. In another city. Walking around an unfamiliar neighborhood. And without the dogs, who are a major distraction from exuding anything except "stop pulling, dangit!"

It's early autumn in California. Leaves are just donning their autumn colors and have barely begun falling, but enough have dropped that, sometimes, when you walk along, they crunch beneath your feet. The air is cool, clear, and crisp, just the sort of air that makes you think that anything is possible.

As I take a stroll, I put my shoulders back, raise my chin slightly. I imagine that I am supremely confident in my ability to handle anything physical or mental that comes my way. I imagine that I am physically stronger and more agile and better trained than anyone I am likely to encounter. I imagine that I am the unbeatable world champion in dog agility, fencing, sprinting, chess, aikido-- I imagine that I am keenly and hypersensitively aware of everything going on around me, before me, behind me, in line of sight in all directions.

This is not just your average supreme confidence. This is confidence at a mythic level. I might look like everyone else walking down the street, but I am so much more. Indeed, I am Bruce Wayne. I am Strider. I am Bourne. I am Corwin.

Hear me, demons and wizards and serpents of sin! I am here, and I am invincible!

And then I realize, as I'm Strider/Bourne/Wayne/Corwinning down the sidewalk, that I am unconsciously--but with great precision and determination--adjusting my stride to step on every crunchy leaf within my path.

Perhaps I'll practice my supreme confidence on a less autumnal day, so that today I can dispatch all those crunchy leaves threatening the very fabric of humanity.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


SUMMARY: Twenty years ago today.
Twenty years ago this evening, just after 5:00 p.m., the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.

It was NOT the big one; registered a mere 6.9. For most of the millions of residents of the San Francisco Bay area, damage looked no worse than this (one of our chimneys) and mostly much less:

or this (a neighbor's chimney)

I already posted a brief, general account here two years ago.

And I posted some of my photos and other memorabilia on my photo site, with additional commentary about the quake.

I took no photos of the dogs and their behavior (well, I was a little preoccupied). But here's how it went with the dogs.

I was at work when the quake hit, about 15 miles from the epicenter and about 2 miles from home. After the main shaking stopped--and it continued for about 30 seconds, which feels like an eternity when the ground is shaking so hard that you can't really walk--we all evacuated rapidly into the parking lot, where we gathered around our cars listening to the car radios. (Remember--no cell phones, no world wide web. This was "the good old days"!) Aftershock followed by aftershock rolled across the earth, but none so bad as the original quake.

When the aftershocks had died off somewhat, upper management checked out the building quickly: It was a mess (yes, that's the air conditioning ducting hanging out of the ceiling and my co-worker's collapsed bookcase), but didn't look like it was on the verge of collapse. so they escorted us into the building in groups of 3 at a time--to dash in, grab our purses or car keys or wallets, and go back out the the parking lot.

So I couldn't get home for at least half an hour to an hour after the initial shake. I made a quick pass through the house, saw the disaster of broken glass and liquids in the kitchen and assorted disarray, damage, and breakage in other parts of the house, so hustled my dogs out of the house into the driveway. There we sat in the pleasant evening on lawn chairs, listening to the radio (battery-operated--no power!) and hoping that eventually my husband would call and tell us he was OK.

Sheba, our Siberian Husky, was panic-stricken. She was a known escape artist from way back, and the moving earth drove her into a frenzy of trying to get away. We were lucky once because my mother-in-law was staying with us at the time, was in the kitchen looking out at our driveway gate when the quake hit, and could see the gate swing open and Sheba try to make a break for it. We were lucky again as the days and aftershocks wore on that Sheba never did escape; one friend's dog took off and was never seen again, despite all of us plastering the neighborhoods with LOST DOG signs. The humane society reported a vastly increased number of stray dogs in the days after the quake.

Sheba hated every minute of it. I think that she was in a literal state of shock herself; eyes wide, panting uncontrollably, not interested in eating, shaking and trembling every time an aftershock came, and continuing to do so for a long time after each one. On that first night, I didn't feel comfortable sleeping in our second-floor bedroom (especially with the bureaus and closet doors and such strewn around, and especially not with the aftershocks continuing). So we opened the sofabed in the one-story part of the house and slept there.

Or, should I say, TRIED to sleep. Sheba was not a cuddling dog. But all that first night, she lay on my chest, her haunted eyes staring almost blindly at me, panting and shaking and drooling. She was 9 at the time, and I was afraid that she was on the verge of a heart attack. Took me a very long time trying to get a dial tone on the phone to call the vet. Not because the phone lines were down, oh no! But because everyone's first reaction was to pick up the phone and start calling people! So all the lines were overloaded. The radio kept telling us to STOP CALLING if it's NOT AN EMERGENCY so that people who NEEDED to use the phone for important things (e.g., calling 911) could do so.

Eventually I gave up on contacting the vet that day (and possibly the following day). She didn't relax for several days, and I'm not sure how much sleep she got during the first couple of days.

Amber, our German Shepherd/Golden mix, as a counterpoint to the husky, remained unimpressed by anything having to do with the earthquake. On an aftershock, she'd lift her head wherever she was sleeping at the time, look around in mild annoyance at the disturbance, and go right back to sleep immediately afterwards. Thank goodness, because having TWO dogs shaking and drooling and panting on my chest all night would have been a little too cozy.

And neither of them EVER gave any indication that they had an inkling about an earthquake or aftershock about to occur. None of my dogs ever have. Dang worthless earthquake predictors.

I was amused, however, when my office eventually reopened (after the earthquake safety inspectors had been through) and discovered this on my Far Side calendar for the day after the quake:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gratuitous photos

SUMMARY: Just playing around in the yard with new camera and borrowed lens.

Tuesday's Storm--The Aftermath

SUMMARY: Big storm indeed!
For San Jose, this was the 7th worst storm in 50 years. At San Jose airport (10 miles from here but milder microclimate), this storm provided 2.48" of rain compared to the worse, in December 1995, with 3.27"; and 87 MPH (140 KPH) winds compared to 1995's 103 MPH. I had only one branch blow down, and it was already dead. Boost is happy because that's more sticks to chew on.

My yard is healthily damp now. Everything was so dry that it had no problem absorbing 4" (10cm) of rain.

Reservoirs captured quite a bit of the rain--"enough to provide water for 20,000 families of 5 for a year." (But are still at less than 50% capacity--which is good for flood control at the beginning of the rainy season). Tika is happy because my big pond, which has been dry all summer, now has a foot of water in it and that's her favorite place to pop into while exercising and playing intensely.

Because it has been so dry, no hillsides were already saturated with moisture, so although there were a few mudslides, only a couple of houses (that I know of) were partially damaged by hills rearranging themselves into their living spaces.

Rain has been very good for all those fires that were still burning around the state.

None of my agility tunnels are full of water. That is odd, because usually they fill up with the slightest hint of moisture. Maybe they are so deteriorated that they're now full of little built-in drain holes. At least I don't have to crawl inside to dry them out. (Yes, easier than trying to lift & drain.)

My Internet service is A MESS. Horrible static on the line. Keeps dropping out, over and over and over. Hard to do anything. Phone company says (a) probably water in the lines somewhere and eventually it'll dry out and get better. Probably. and (b) they are so busy making repairs at the moment that the earliest they can have someone come out here is NEXT TUESDAY! Aughhh!

(See, I just clicked Save Now on this blog and it can't because it has cut out again! About the 20th time since I started typing.)

Tonight is agility class. Although Tuesday and half of Wednesday classes were canceled for wind and rain and mud, they've been ongoing since yesterday evening, and it's a *beautiful* sunny day today, so off to class we'll go! Yay!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Storm As Seen on FaceBook

Seeing everyone's input as the storm wears on certainly gives one a better perspective than simply checking the news. Here's how it progressed among my friends.

HANDY TIP: For the big picture, read through the main WHITE status boxes. For more interesting details, view the indented BLUE responses to the main status posts.

(Detail of Amy's post--Amy is on the east coast--)

(one of Gina's photos:)

(For some lyrics referenced in preceding post, go here.)

NOTE: All preceding snapshots taken around 8:00pm tuesday evening (hence notes about "12 hours ago", etc. refer to this time). Following post captured around midnight (hence 2 hours ago = 10:00).