a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

USDAA Gets Around to 24" Weaves and Other It's About Times

SUMMARY: New rules forthcoming!
In today's news posting on the USDAA site, FINALLY! 24" weaves are acceptable! I believe they were the last agility organization in the known world to allow it (but they did it by making it 22" spacing with 2" tolerance. So you better not be MORE than 24")! Did I actually predict that in my blog earlier or just in general chitchat? I know I predicted to someone that it would be soon, because there was just no reason to stick with the 20-21" when everyone else had changed.

AND, this is equally fantastic, they're finally changing the Performance program title names to parallel the Championship program! No more of the old "Just earned our APD! That's the Performance Championship!" Now we can *legally* say, "Just earned our Performance Championship!" Yowza! I'm'a bein' vera happy about dis one, jes I am!

They had already changed "Performance Whatever It Was" to "Performance Grand Prix," thank goodness, now the only holdout is "Performance Speed Jumping" instead of "Performance Steeplechase." I'm still hoping that someday they'll see the wisdom in changing that, too.

I salute you, USDAA; late on these issues is better than never!

(There are other changes; these were just the best IMHO.)

Mario Brothers Agility

SUMMARY: Life imitates art: Getting to agility class.
I've never felt so much like I was playing a video game in real life as I did last night on my way to agility class. Spooky, how things kept stacking up, like some insane game designer was chortling in the background as he threw things at me. I wasn't sure whether to hope for, or fear, moving up a level, because then doesn't it get harder? Even though maybe you've gained a 2d20 vorpal sword or the equivalent? 2d20 front cross? Anyway--

Pedestrians were everywhere, which is odd, because in Silicon Suburbia, no one walks anywhere. And of course they weren't using crosswalks. Which I sometimes don't, either, but at least I have the courtesy to stay on the sidewalk or in the median as a car approaches. But no, they'd stop, so I'd continue at my 40 MPH, and THEN they'd step out into the road. Two different locations. How quickly can you say Stop? Or the guy walking along the narrow windy hillside road up to class. OK, if you're going to walk and you're up there, well, that's all you can do, be in the road. But scary driving by.

My Stimulus Dollars are going to work repaving the badly disintegrated roads in my neighborhood, which is great, but that means that there are no lines yet painted on the 2--or is it 3--lane roads with MPHs of 35 to 40. I know where the lanes are from experience, but apparently other drivers don't, so watch out for those weird drifting motions in front of you.

And I seemed to hit traffic lights at that awful "Do you stop or don't you" point, that fractional second where it's not clear which is better, then at one you decide to jam the brakes, then realize that the guy behind you has decided to go for it. Yikes. I think I was very lucky that he didn't hit me; all I could think was that the dogs were in their crates in the very back and that's where he'd be hitting MUTT MVR if he couldn't stop.

Then there was the bird in the grass next to Hwy 87 who decided to take off just when I whipped past at 65. Whap! I hate it; don't remember whether I've hit a bird before, but probably. I try not to think about little nestlings somewhere whose mom isn't coming back. Like the abandoned nest and egg on my back porch. I'm just lucky he didn't get 12" further along, because I could just see him hit next to my windshield. At that speed, I might have had a cracked window.

CHP vehicles were driving on I-280. And paranoid dingbats all slow down to the cops' speed, even if the cop is in the slow right lane bogged down by traffic and the dingbats are in the fast lane. Plus that merge from 87 to 280 is always a weave-fest anyway.

On Alum Rock, the major arterial leading up to the foothills, traffic came nearly to a stand-still; I could see one or two cars going through the next traffic light each cycle but couldn't see why so few. Finally got to the intersection, where there's a cop car and a broken water main. There are 3 lanes of traffic and NONE of them are blocked by this, just right turners. Had to have been the looky-loos holding things up. (I got a photo while stopped at the light.)

With long daylight hours and nice weather (only low 80s F yesterday), the road up to class is a popular place for bicyclists. Another popular thing that you'd probably never catch me doing; narrow and windy and wayyy too many cars. Scary when you're driving up and see a bike veering out into your lane coming down the curve ahead of you, and there were a couple like that last night.

AND cars doing the same thing! Yikes! Usually people are pretty careful on this road. Maybe they were pissed off about having to drive behind bicyclists.

Fortunately, no deer running out in front of me this time (that was last week; half-sized guy still with white spots). But at the driveway entrance to class, some turkeys were having some kind of family reunion. Couple of adults and a whole slew of teenagers. Yeah, REALLY turkeys. And they were not impressed that I wanted to drive into where they were hanging out. The finally dispersed; guess that when one of the adults felt worried enough to actually FLY up onto the fence, the others decided that discretion was the better part of valor and scrambled for cover.

Whew! And then I was at class, still alive, not bumped up one level to where it was impossible to survive. The girls did very well in class; Boost knocked some bars but not really a lot. Serps are still a problem both in bars (maybe I'm in her way) and in not wanting to come in to the serp jump. But everyone's contacts were lovely! Remember that when this weekend's trial rolls around... and we start feeding the quarters into the REAL agility NASCAR game.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Giving Away Stuff

SUMMARY: Giving it away is sometimes hard.
As a fairly active member of FreeCycle, I often OFFER to give away things that I'm trying to get rid of. Usually minor things--you'd be surprised at the interest in, say, large, sturdy, empty Almond Roca cans. Old plant pots or flats. Clothing with stains but otherwise usable. A huge lilac shrub I didn't want in the middle of my yard any more (they even dug it out for me).

But it's harder for me to give away things that I spent larger amounts of dollars on, particularly if they're almost new or in otherwise excellent condition, or rarer, or so on.

This, despite the fact that I have a beautiful oak entertainment center, like new, that I got for free on Freecycle (someone OFFERed it).
And a gorgeous, really heavy and effective wrought-iron patio umbrella stand, also for free on freecycle (I posted a WANTED--and got about a dozen offers for various types of patio umbrella stands!). I have a Lazy-Boy recliner (another OFFER) that has a broken bracket so it's not perfect, but is in really good condition and is quite comfy.

I try to remember those treasures when I'm waffling about being reluctant to post these items and instead save them for the garage sale that I'll probably never have and probably won't make financial sense anyway. (And actually taking photos and dealing with selling things on craigslist or ebay--too much time, and nothing's worth *quite* enough to make that time pay off.)

Sometimes WANTED postings come through for things that are easy to give away. Cardboard tubes from wrapping paper. Pieces of PVC pipe. Things that are already in my garage sale boxes, so what the heck. I always leave the things that people want (whether they asked for them or I've offered them) out on my front porch & they just come and take them away. I've left SO many things over the last several years; other things I've given in response to WANTED don't come to mind, but I know I've done many.

I've failed to give away the huge ancient satellite dish that needs dismantling, despite a couple of OFFERs and a couple of WANTEDs; previous owners really installed it solidly and in a complicated manner. Ah, well.

But then there are people's WANTED requests that I've got a match for that I don't really need or use but are in that second category of Things I Paid A Lot For or in the category I'll Use It Again Any Day Now.

Last year I finally broke down and gave away all my unused film to a student who WANTED some for classes. At that point, most of it was expired or about to expire, and I was coming to the conclusion that I wasn't really going to ever use it. That might have been a hundred bucks worth of film. (Sorry, Dad, I should've offered it to you first, but didn't think about it.)

And then this year I gave away my first-ever SLR camera to someone who WANTED one, the film one that I was going to use the film with. It was still a perfectly lovely camera, but I've become completely hooked on the ease of digital, and I hadn't used that camera body in 4 or 5 years. And I KNEW it wasn't worth much any more, having taken it to a used camera shop and been offered maybe $25 for it, although I paid hundreds for it only... erm, well, ok... 14 years ago. That was hard to do, even though I had given away all the film already.

Now there's my ZIP drive. I used it for backup enthusiastically for several years. I have forty 250 MB disks that I used with it. Of course, when I'm backing up 300 GB drives, that backup gets really tedious, really fast. So I haven't used it in a while, maybe a year or two. Or... erm...well, ok, someone posted yesterday that they wanted a ZIP drive for college. I looked at the dates on my backups. Latest: 2003.

So it's been sitting here, plugged into my computer, using energy and space (although it's really quite small), for 7 years without ever being used. SO despite it having originally cost me almost $300 (including firewire adaptor) and the disks collectively about $500, well, really, they're of no use to me know, they're obsolete technology and not really even supported any more, and this person needs the drive. So--

In the background, I'm running all 40 disks one at a time through the zero-out-er utility to be sure there's no private data that anyone could ever read. And then I'm givin' 'em away. If I had a Winibago, or a whole herd of Winibagos, I'd be givin' them away, too. (Or maybe I'd keep one for dog agility. But I don't, so I'm not.)

I just have to decide--what about all the storage drawers that were the perfect size for 3.5" floppies (oh, yeah, still have hundreds of those) and zip drives? Do I give away this beautiful teak roll-top storage box that won't really fit anything else neatly? Or do I throw smaller stuff into it randomly and use it like a general storage box? It was a gift, and it's really nice teak. Sigh...

Freecycle.org is the best thing in the universe since sliced dog agility.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun Day in the Heat

SUMMARY: Got some practice, exercise, socializing, and food!
It was the Bay Team Fun Day in Hollister today. Yesterday's weather was lovely. Who knew it would shoot up into the 90s today? (Well, yeah, ok, there's always looking at the weather report ahead of time...) Everyone spent their spare time darting from shade to shade. And consuming beverages.

After I walked a couple of rough miles at the San Jose Airport (checking out the new terminal) last night, my legs were already tired. (Why is that kind of walking so much harder than 5 miles round trip up a mountain several hundred feet and back down, like I did Wednesday evening on Black Mountain?) With the heat and the sore legs, I was set up to be just too tired to do much.

I got there at 8:30 and by 11:00, I was finished. The day was scheduled to go until 5:00, but with the exception of a few people who showed up at lunch, we all pretty much cleared out after the EXTRAVAGANT pot luck. Lots of fruit salads today, for sure. Wayyyy too much food for us to make even much of a dent in. Bay Teamers are such good providers!

But we did get in runs on the Jumpers, the Standard, the Gamblers, and the Whatever courses; I think I did probably good 4 sessions with Tika and 5 with Boost, each session with maybe a minute and a half of good solid course running. So probably at least twice the on-course time that we'd have at a typical real trial--since they'll both typically finish a jumpers course in 25-30 seconds and a standard course in maybe 40-50.

I used some of the preset courses, but also made up a lot of my own. With Boost in particular, I practiced lots of just running fast around a large loopy shape both to send her ahead of me or to get way ahead of her. She seemed to be getting the idea as the day went on. Also practiced some aggressive rear crosses on weaves and Aframe, and she didn't blink an eye on those.

I took a small 6-pack cooler with drinks and the usual blue-ice soft-drink-cooler frozen thingie, but by the time I was packed and headed home, the drinks were warmish and I was aching for ice-cold libation. The agility site was wayyyyyyy out in the boonies in Hollister, but there is a roadside cafe not too far down the road.

I popped in and asked whether I could buy a big cup of ice, but the guy said, Just go ahead and take what you want from the ice dispenser (on the soda machine). So I did! Ahhhh, wonderful!

And they really do make great sandwiches, out there in the middle of agricultural land (and just up the road from where we had our only herding lesson).
Sooooo I don't know that I'm completely ready for next weekend's trial, but at least this afternoon and evening the dogs haven't been pestering me for attention. We'll see how long THAT lasts.

If you want to see the rest of my photos (just of people at the trial, mostly), they're here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

About to Be Swamped By Dog Agility, Plus Drawings

SUMMARY: My leisurely spring is coming to an end.
No more quiet, relaxing weekends at home doing calming, casual activities like frantically trying to clean up a yard that hasn't actually been guestified in a couple of years to be ready for a blackberry sorbet party (Prince sings in the background: "Blaaaackberry sorbet..."). [FYI, yes, thanks for asking, my 25-yr-old electric ice cream maker worked great!]

Summer used to be agility down time, but not no more.

  • This Sunday: My club's agility fun day--agility plus potluck plus hanging out and enjoying each other's company.
  • July 4 weekend: 3 days of USDAA agility
  • July 10/11: Open
  • July 17/18: 2 days of USDAA agility (it actually starts Friday night but my common sense finally absolved me from having to go friday night for one run).
  • July 24/25: 2 days of USDAA agility.

Whew, I will be having had enough of agility for a while after that, and WOW LOOK no agility for 4 more weekends after that! How'd that happen?!

I can answer that: Because all the clubs scheduled all their USDAA-like events IN IMMEDIATE SUCCESSION starting at the end of August:

  • Aug 28,29 SMART USDAA
  • Sep 3,4,5,6 Bayteam USDAA
  • Sep 11,12 VAST USDAA Turlock
  • Sep 18,19 TRACS USDAA
  • Sep 24,26 USDAA course-building clinic (if I can afford it by then)
  • Oct 2,3 NAF UKI** (** UKI being USDAA-like, if I may be so bold)
  • Oct 8,9,10 Haute Dawgs USDAA
  • Oct 16,17 VAST CPE

and those are ONLY the trials I'd consider going to; not even mentioning the many ones that I'd not attend.

I think that I will not do all of those, but it is hard to decide which to skip! I mean, all my friends will be there!

Meanwhile, Tika and Boost are bored bored bored while I do exciting things like try to catch up on sorting all my photos, cleaning the house once a year whether it needs it or not, trying to see all the good movies while they're still in the theaters--oh yeah, and working--

So, because I always like stealing good ideas and using them to avoid doing the things that are nominally at the top of my priority list, I was reading Team Small Dog's blog, and once again TSD's talented producer who is an actual artist produced some actual drawings of her dogs in yesterday's post, and I thought, hey, I'm a writer, which makes me capable of drawing, too! (Oh, yes, I get this all the time: "I'm an engineer, but I know how to type, so that means I CAN WRITE!" and "I'm a marketing person and have my MBA and I wrote term papers in college so that means I CAN WRITE!" and "My mom loves my stories so that means I CAN WRITE!" and so obviously having any kind of skill, call it SkillA, means that you automatically also have SkillB, call it DrawingSkill in this case.) (Plus someone gave me a book "How to draw dogs" when I was a kid, likely because they saw one of my earlier drawings of dogs, and I faithfully followed all the exercises, mostly by tracing the pictures in the book.)

So I labored over drawings of the Taj MuttHall dogs for at least 3 minutes, and now in the future instead of photos I can use my extremely accurate, talented, dog-drawing skills to illustrate my tales of agility woe and exhilaration. As you can see for yourself.
I hope that no one will mistake my drawings of Tika for a mangy dwarf coyote. Poor Tika. I wonder whether she'll hold still long enough for me to trace her on a large sheet of paper?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ack! Finchester.org having troubles

SUMMARY: Photos missing from blog sidebar, etc.
This is twice in a week that finchester.org has been suspended because some automated tool (or some person) reported that I was sending spam. I spent an hour trying to resolve it Friday, spoke at length to a person who unsuspended me, and then today, bam, with no warning at all, I'm suspended again.

Because my blog is now hosted on Blogger (Google actually) apparently this blog is OK, but everything else on finchester.org (including the photos of my dogs, in the right sidebar) is out of my reach. I am so frustrated!

Spoke to a guy again. He said they will resolve this so that it doesn't happen again. They're supposed to be sending me copies of the offending emails so that I can try to figure it out. (A month or 2 ago they suspended me because someone else sent ME email! I have a feeling from something that one of the 4 people I've talked to so far said that because THEIR system is set up (under my account to forward my emails all to the same name (so, e.g., webmaster (at) finchster (dot) org just forwards to my main email address (at) finchester (dot) org), that some tool is reporting that as spam because webmaster (e.g.) isn't a real email alias.

But if I'm not getting their emails, I can't prove it!

I know that you don't want to hear about this, really. But in case this blog goes dark suddenly , not just the missing photos, you'll know why, until I get this straightened out again.

Party Done, Dogs Aren't

SUMMARY: The advantage of having people over is that you clean up!
The back yard now looks SO much nicer than it has in a while, because I spent hours and hours over a couple of weeks getting things organized, trimmed, ready for summer, put away, and so on. (Plus the tree trimmers coming through a couple of weeks back and getting rid of all that dead wood helped tremendously.)

This is why I should have parties more often.

The blackberry sorbet was, as always, astonishingly delicious, the friends were good, the weather was pretty much perfect--not too cold for sorbet, not so hot as to make us uncomfortable.

The only thing that didn't work well is the fact that my dogs are so dang bad about bringing toys for people to throw. I have to send them repeated graved invitations every day when we go out into the yard. It's not that they don't WANT the toy thrown. It's just that Tika prefers to prove that she can get it and then wait for me or Boost to do something with the toy (and I refuse unless she brings it back). And Boost gets tired of bringing it back and then always having Tika--Ms. Dominant Dog--get it first when it's thrown.

But, even when Boost DOES get it, she brings it back about 20 feet away, drops it, and stares at it, waiting for someone to throw it.

Oddly enough, this does not get a lot of action from party guests sitting in their chairs on the patio chatting cheerily with their neighbors. So the dogs are not completely worn out. (Jake used to be the superhero of retrieval. Nothing deterred him from dropping the toy at people's feet endlessely.) But at least they were on their feet pretty much all day from around 1:00 until just now (8:00) following me and/or the guests around, so that should hold them anyway.

Oh, and I saw Toy Story 3 this morning. I cried at the end (it was happy but sad at the same time, you know?) and then I laughed at the further end in the credits. But I also got the lump in my throat when the family dog--who was a bouncing crazy fun little guy in the earlier movie(s) showed up old and gray and barely mobile. Dang dogs. Movie was well worth seeing, and the 3-D was nicely done, not gratuitous.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Hope It's Out Of My System Now

SUMMARY: Droppage and breakage.
The last week has been a real mess around here. I don't know why. It's not like I'm sleep deprived or anything--that I know of. There was the plate of spaghetti I dumped in my lap. (Don't recall ever having dumped a plate of food in my lap, ever, since i was maybe 3.) The milk jug I dropped while trying to put it into the fridge. (I think I'd remember having ever dropped a milk container before.) The glass I knocked into the sink and had to clean out all the tiny glassy shards. As three examples. But by the time I had gotten to the milk thing, I was already thinking, "I can't believe I'm knocking over/hitting/dropping/breaking so many things this week, like, more this week than I've done in the past 5 years cumulatively," and I already can't remember what they all are.

This morning on my way to my desk, I knocked the houseplant off the top of the speaker, where it has been for the last 9 years with no problems at all. Miraculously, the large ceramic pot it was in hit the carpet and did not break. However, the ceramic saucer that matched it hit the tile next to the carpet, shattered--sending tiny sharp bits of ceramic across the room as far as the eye could see--and, large crap, broke two of the ceramic tiles in my floor. This is not a trivial fix, even if the previous owners left matching tiles in a box in the attic somewhere (possible, but I haven't checked).

I don't know what's going on, but I'm a little worried about hosting a blackberry-sorbet-making party this sunday (I haven't left anyone deliberately off the invite list, and this was sort of a last minute thing) which involves carrying large containers full of pureed blackberries which, if spilled or dropped, will stain everything in sight with no hope of redemption.

Let's just hope that my system has gotten whatever it is out of itself. And if not, hmm, maybe I'd better have someone else carry the mush.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation Photo Teasers

SUMMARY: --because I'm completely photo-backlogged and it'll be a while before I get all the Arizona trip photos up.

Self-portraits of one sort or another (sometimes using a person as a tripod and remote control).
(Friday) Andersen's Pea Soup in Santa Nella. First time I've ever stopped here, although wayyyyy back when I was in college I often partook of the Solvang location's all-you-can-eat pea soup on my way by. My expectations were low, but lo! the pea soup was excellent.

(Sunday) The Arizona Museum of Natural History was my sister's idea, not mine, but I think I ended up having more fun than they did. Plus it was air conditioned, a bonus with 100-degree heat (38 C).

(Tuesday) Tuzigoot is a small National Monument, ruins of a huge pueblo perched on a ridge overlooking Arizona's Verde Valley.

(Wednesday) The Grand Canyon has not yet ceased to amaze me. What also amazes me is how I never get any of those famed glorious sunset or sunrise photos. This was sunrise. Nice lighting, huh?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time to Get Buns In Gear

SUMMARY: Work on those agility issues before the president comes and kicks my--er--butt!
Once again I'm almost entirely frittered away my huge gap between agility trials during which I was going to Fix Everything Once And For All. Instead, we play some fetch in the yard, run through some tunnels, sometimes go for walks and play frisbee in the park.

Dogs are actually bored; I can tell this because Boost disassembles the dog beds and empties the toy buckets everywhere, thereafter tossing the toy bucket around.

I passed up my chance this last weekend to attend the first actual UKI trial in California, at which some of my agility friends earned, say, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd UKI titles ever given in California. They will probably also earn the first UKI championships ever given in the U.S. Maybe. Who knows.

It's not a venue that seems likely to give me free entries for working the score table, since they do the score table. Maybe crew chiefing, but I'm not very good at that with 2 dogs in different groups (championship & performance, or even 22" and 26"), I've discovered.

Plus I'm trying to do less agility, not more.

Plus do I want to start on the title track for yet another organization? Tika, for example, already has legs towards her NADAC titles (is in Elite in several things, but not everything since we haven't competed in NADAC in ages, but that's maybe ok because), she also has legs towards her ASCA titles (is in Elite in some things, not as many as NADAC because not all the NADAC trials we did earlier were dual-sanctioned). Plus is now maybe halfway to her CPE C-ATE, which at our current pace will take maybe 10 more years at one trial a year.

Plus Bay Team is having trouble finding trial committee for our CPE trials, so maybe we won't do any? We have no trouble getting people to attend and pretty much fill up 2-ring CPE trials, but those of us who wanted to chair/secretary/etc. have pretty much done our share (and sometimes more than our share) and are really ready for a break. Maybe all those people competing aren't actually Bay Teamers and maybe that's why we can't get a committee out of them? We do have someone who seems to like being trial secretary for CPE, so that's lovely. Anyway...I'm seeing NOT more CPE in my future.

We could start AKC, now that mixed breeds are welcome (at some clubs, not all). Tchyeah, like that'll happen.

Anyway--the point was that Boost still knocks bars and has trouble with serpentines and rear crosses, Tika's contacts are getting worse, I'm not doing any running of any kind except in class these days, and in fact am not even getting out for hikes or walks, so I'm in no great shape at the moment.

Where does all the time go?

Time to get a move-on! As soon as I've put in 50 hours at work to make up for all that vacation, sorted all 2700 photos--oh yeah plus a couple hundred more for two nieces' graduations, cleared all the stuff off the table, finished organizing & photographing the ribbons spread all over the living room floor, arranged for a blackberry sorbet party for next weekend and cleaned up the whole yard...

OK, any day now. SOMEone better start kicking my butt or this mess will NEVER get cleaned up.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

From Hopeless to the Top

SUMMARY: A Journey with Dylan video.
Some video clips at the beginning of this inspiring agility-dog vid show how far down one can get, before going on to how far up one can go.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Watching the Top Ten

SUMMARY: Watching the rankings rise and fall...
OK, I apparently lied when I said you wouldn't have to hear about Tika and Top Ten rankings until July after our next USDAA trial. I happened to be on the USDAA Top Ten page for something else, so just thought I'd look.

Tika is currently:
  • 9th in Performance Gamblers
  • 3rd in Performance Jumpers
  • 3rd in Performance Snooker
  • 6th in Performance Standard

Yeeehah! Love fantasizing about this!

(Disclaimer: This is results through the 1st or 2nd weekend in May, and our next trial isn't until 1st weekend in July, so people have 2 months in which to push us further down the list.)

OK, that's all, just stoking my ego!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

MUTT MVR aka Swagger Wagon

SUMMARY: I never realized how cool I was for having a minivan, until now.
Thanks, Team Fernandez-Lopez, for pointing out this video.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Home Again

SUMMARY: Another whirlwind vacation to Arizona.
  • Days on the road: 8
  • Miles driven: 2150
  • Photos taken: 2775
  • Weddings attended: 1
  • National Parks, Monuments,  Forests, Recreation Areas, and Historic Landmarks visited: 9
    • Tuzigoot national monument
    • Coconino nat'l forest
    • Grand Canyon nat'l park
    • Prescott nat'l forest
    • Kaibab nat'l forest
    • Lake Mead nat'l recreation area
    • Hoover Dam nat'l historic landmark
    • Joshua Tree nat'l park
    • Taliesin West nat'l historic landmark (Scottsdale)
  • State Parks visited: 3
    • Fort Tejon SP (Tejon Pass, CA)
    • South Mountain SP (Phoenix)
    • Red Rock SP (Sedona)
  •  Tourist-trappy kinds of fun places visited: 6
    • Casa da Fruta (Gilroy)
    • Pea Soup Andersen (Santa Nella)
    • Alien Fresh Jerky
    • Mad Greek
    • Peggy Sue's '50s Diner
    • Nevada casinos
  • Educational, culturally meaningful places visited: 8
    • Arizona Natural History Museum (Mesa)
    • Harvey House, plus Railroad Museum and Route 66 Museum (Barstow)
    • Twenty Mule Team Museum (Boron)
    • Borax "mine" tour (dang, closed, photos from outside only) (Boron)
    • Calico Early Man archaeological dig site (Yermo)
    • Tehachapi Loop (railroad) (Tehachapi pass)
    • Jerome, AZ
    • My sister's house in NV
  • Geocaches found: 1 in Arizona, 2 in Nevada.
  • Dog petted (that I remember): 3 (Shiba Inu at wedding, Labrador at Tuzigoot, terrier at Harvey House)
  • Photos involving dogs: A few
  • Agility sites visited: 1 (Westworld, although there was no agility there at the moment)
  • Wild mammal varieties seen: 5 (jack rabbit, elk, deer, cottontail, big horn sheep); photographed: latter 4
  • Wild reptile varieties seen: a bunch, mostly lizards (some photos), a couple of snakes (no photos), desert tortoise (wow! Yay!); also big red-eared sliders in a domestic pond
  • Wild birds photographed--none very well or very close: quail (from a distance), scrub jay, raven, though maybe condors but now I think they're just turkey vultures (sigh) from a LONG distance, lesser goldfinch (I think), white-winged dove
  • Wildflowers photographed: Wow, were there a lot of wildflowers this trip! Identifying them all will take a while.

Dogs were very happy to see me; I'm very tired and have unpacking to do plus go through all those photos! I think I'd better do the wedding first and get to the others later, but just because I've already edited this one, here's a white-winged dove on a blooming saguaro.