a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: 2021

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Christmas Paper Chain and Other Memories

SUMMARY: Red and green paper chain
Back at Christmas, I read a story online in which the protagonist makes and hangs a long paper chain made of green and red paper. Instantly it transported me--

Red and green paper chain! When I was young--maybe fifth grade, I made a short paper chain from red and green construction paper. Maybe at school? I used Elmers glue; I don’t think there were glue sticks back then.  One green, one red, repeat. But, inspired because the chain wasn't quite long enough, the next Christmas I doubled its length. 

Then, every year for probably eight years, I added more, MORE, MORE, until it could run all the way around my parents' living room and hallway and around the tree! I didn’t add to it after I went off to college, but I still hung it up every year. 

It needed a larger and larger box every year to store it for next time.

Eventually it fell apart--Christmas lives forever, but no so paper chains – – such good loyal paper rings, bringing a festive feeling to everything. 

Note: I talk about the chain in this old family xmas page, too, under "Poughkeepsie."


Also in this photo (by Dad):
๐Ÿ’š Mom! How young she looks!
๐Ÿ”ด The Little Drummer Boy album (behind the wing-back chair): always there!
๐Ÿ’š Painting (print) of three girls reading--was Dad's parents and
they had it because it reminded them of me and my sisters.
๐Ÿ”ด Advent calendar! On wall next to that. I'd forgotten about it!
๐Ÿ’š Old family clock and I don't remember its origin (but now a sister has it)
๐Ÿ”ด Mom's mug-collection cabinet (over Little Drummer Boy). She didn't really "collect" mugs--she had had a few favorites-- but we kept giving her interesting ones.
๐Ÿ’š Below Drummer Boy, a purple hippo in a blue tutu! I think
  I made that for someone as a gift that year--I'll have to ask--there's a story there, too.
๐Ÿ”ด Books. Of course. Everywhere in the house.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sew what!

SUMMARY: Once upon a time, I did just that.
Starting from a comment I made on Facebook, Feb 21, '21

A friend on Facebook bought a poorly fitting t-shirt, tailored it, and changed the sleeve style.  It looks great! Dang it, a couple of shirts that I bought 2 years ago I did so specifically thinking I'd make a go at tailoring (which I've never done), but-- haven't so far.  She offered to point me to some good information if I wanted to pursue it. 

I am not actually, really, seriously interested in doing that. Have started to think, "I have money. Other people can sew." Even though I have only very recently given away the fabric and clothing patterns that I bought when I was doing that back in the early '80s--I had never actually got around to finishing them. Crazy, right? So those traveled with me to 5 homes of various durations, and finally I realized, nope, that part of my life is done.

I'm a little slow on these realizations.

Patterns that I either used or didn't.


I had made some clothing up to that sudden cease. Simple tennis outfit that I wore a lot, wedding dress that was not simple and that I wore once ๐Ÿ‘€. 

Made the tennis dress on the right using light blue fabric and dark blue trim
 (and matching hidden shorts).

I made the v-neck version (without the belt), in a purple shiny fabric with tiny flowers.
Made a long-sleeved shirt for my husband in matching fabric.


1977, at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The project: fairly simple slightly gathered maxi skirt
and matching shawl with black fringe.

The maxi and shawl came from the pattern on the right.
(My sister made the same thing but in a different color.)
Left: I made the shirt in front with a blue and white tiny-flowered fabric.

I made a shorter skirt. A pair of matching complicated button-down shirts for me and a date for Sadie Hawkins Day Dance. Made another long skirt and long-sleeved peasant blouse for use when attending SCA activities (which I did a few times a year back then because two sisters and several friends were heavily involved), oh, and a long, warm hooded cloak for the same reason. 

Some dresses--a long-sleeved wrap-around that I really liked and a couple more. 

Wrap-around dress and its pattern. Up until about 5 years ago, I could wear it fine. 
Then, suddenly, I lost a lot of height and my chest became annoying large.
When I took this photo also I had put on a little weight. Again.
It went into the donation pile. 

Besides, I can count the number of times that I have worn a dress in the past 30 years on probably less than one finger. 




A couple of tank tops, another couple of sleeved tops.... and then: Sewing silence. The wedding dress might have been the last clothing I ever made. 

I kept the unfinished fabric and patterns because of course I'd get back to it, but suddenly post-wedding my life filled with many other things! ๐Ÿฅฐ  I sewed a few crafts: stuffed animals as gifts, some doll-house furniture... Hmmm, what else? Then I simplified my sewing life: Does it require a pattern? Yes? Gone. Does it require anything other than straight lines? Yes? Gone.  So, just harmless things like gift bags, duvet covers from sheets, repaired ripped seams in clothing, like that.

And then my sewing machine stopped working properly. I wasn't desperate enough to fix it. Keep meaning to... like I kept meaning to get back to those clothings. When I finally emptied that box, I had already cut out the fabric for one of the patterns, with the pattern pieces still pinned to it! Like a Pompeii artifact: Normal life then, suddenly, BOOM! sewing project buried forever.

It was never a specific hobby for me; I'd have never, even then, added it to a list of "things I like to do."

But it was fun for a while.

I have photos of so few of the things!

Wedding dress. Lace jacket with lace-wrapped buttons. Dress with very very very full skirt, 
Two layers: lavender satin topped with lace (the bodice: just satin with spaghetti straps).
Maybe the complexity and time it took to assemble finally wore me out on sewing clothing!
Really need to scan more wedding photos--
(My bridesmaids: Four sisters, one sister-in-law, and my maid of honor.)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

I'm A Data Wonk And Proud Of It

SUMMARY: Do databases save me time or take more?! Hard to tell--
Backfill: Started with a Messenger chat Feb 12, 2021, with a friend who just got in touch after 20ish years. Apparently we're both of that persuasion...but he uses spreadsheets...

Yes, I track all kinds of things in my life using FrameMaker databases! I don’t use spreadsheets because they’re so limited. This discussion aroused my curiosity, so I went to my system and checked how many FileMaker files I have-- Heh, OK, I have 165 FileMaker documents! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Ya know, this is crazy! I should have a database of how many databases I have!๐Ÿคฃ 

Oh--wait--not so bad after all: Many are templates and examples that came with Filemaker! Whew!

And, to be fair, some things are basically the same thing but I decided to do a separate file for each year for various reasons. Like, these 2 make up 56 of them: Xmas Gifts given, every year 1992-2018.  And my own timecard tracking and analysis for work-- every year 1994 thru now.

Some are because some databases consist of more than one file -- like Books and Authors.  Gawd, I have a lot of weird ones in here, some of which I had forgotten about!

So, here are most of 'em:

Xmas gifts given, multiple files (see above)

Timecard details, multiple files (see above)

CDs and records

Songs that are on my Classical CDs and records, because sometimes you want to know where the song is. 

Songs on my Christmas CDs and records 

Video media

Books (actually 2 connected files, one for books, one for authors)

All other household inventory, which is over 10,000 items now (you know, each pair of socks is one item…)

Where did each dragon come from? Was it a gift?
When did I get it? Is it worth anything now?
Plus--I have another 5 cabinets like this (not all dragons).
All is revealed in the inventory database.


Oh, plus I have a separate deleted-inventory-items one because how often do you think, “did I get rid of that?! why can’t I find it?”

Dog agility competition scores – – almost 20 years, 4 dogs, something like 300 different competitions, 20 to 40 events per competition…  consists of 3 interconnected files (because I wanted to track points towards titles (sometimes the official systems make mistakes) and what kind of improvements we were making and so on)

Budgeting system, prints a monthly sheet to use to track my expenses,  or a yearly analysis etc. 

Assets and liabilities

T-shirts (yes, really) (helpful when doing TShirt Tales blog posts)

Here are some of them...


Christmas cards sendees (and from whom have received them so I don’t lose track)

Contacts (people/addresses/phone numbers)

Special Dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

Work contracts that I did for different companies over the last 24 years—started, anyway, but I just found that boring and tedious and so never updated it much

Trips taken/places I’ve been, very limited, but again, I didn’t start it until fairly late, so I there are gaps and ? ‘s. I was able to work with my dad a little bit on filling in some of the gaps for when I was with them, the first 18 to 20 years of my life, but of course nothing since then from him. (When he was still around.) 

My trips/travels/places website page header 

Disaster supplies, like, what food should I have, what other gear should I have, when was the last time it was replaced, when is it due,…And it is due to be updated is what it is.

Short fiction that I sent out to various markets, and whether it sold or not (spoiler: only three things sold) But I pretty much stopped writing when I started doing dog agility.

Electricity and gas usage and how much I was paying per kilowatt hour or whatever, and how many hours in different tiers are used each month, but I ended up stopping that, too, after many years Way way way too much information that wasn’t really useful for me.

Rent payments from renters.

Xmas lights, All of the hundreds of strings, where they go (went) on the house, how long they are, etc.

Where bills are paid (e.g., online banking etc.)

Dog agility club inventory (wayyyyy out of date, I should just dump it)

House expenses since I bought this house; mostly for long-term tax use but also handy for remembering what brand of faucet or drapes or how old the broken thing is or where I got the items…

Trying SO hard not to expand
beyond 2 file cabinets

File cabinet contents — I try to label drawers and folders intuitively, but have been thinking more about my heirs lately

Grocery shopping list with checkboxes (all stuff that I commonly buy, so I can just check them off, and they’re organized by type of food or aisle, but I can sort it in different ways, too)

Travel supplies: With flags for whether I’m taking dogs, whether staying in hotels or camping, and so on, so I can generate a report just for what I’m doing. Every little bitty thing because one *always* forgets something obvious—

Savings accounts transactions - cross-posted with purposes (e.g., how much money is set aside for property taxes vs where is money actually located)

And random others

Things I do NOT have databases for:

My photos, but the organization and file naming conventions are sort of like that… They are organized In a folder structure, one folder for each month of each year, folders in each of those for each day or event that I took photos, and sometimes subfolders within those, like when I went on a 16-day multistate trip in 2018, I have different subfolders for each day or place. And I name each file with useful keywords.

movies I’ve seen! I should’ve started that years and years ago. I didn’t start tracking until about 20 years ago, but it’s all a manual list still. Great idea! Just what I need, more databases to maintain! (not even going to try, there's no way...)

Computers: making our lives easier every day in every way!๐Ÿคฏ

Friday, February 12, 2021

Feb 11 on Facebook - Rain, Cookies, Sunrises

SUMMARY: I dunno, doing this because I can. Why not?

Background: My comment on Facebook Feb 11 '21 after Linda said that her dog Abby walked a short way in the rain and then said, nope, we're going home.

Zorro insisted that I come out into the yard to play with him. In the rain. Dragged me out of bed after working at it for half an hour because I realllly didn't want to get up from my afternoon nap. Brought me a Jolly to throw, which I did, and then he dropped it and started eating grass. This is how it has been going for a long time. I don't know the reason--I think maybe some kind of stress reaction, rather than needing to eat grass, because he comes right into the house after me if I leave. Which I was happy to do this time because it was raining

Unlike Abby, he didn't seem to care about that. Not sure what would've happened if I had tried to take him for a walk. I think he'd have been glad to go but unwilling to stop while I took photos.

Photo borrowed from April 2019. 
I didn't take photos this time because it was raining!


Background: Also on the 11, a friend noted that her girl scout cookies order arrived.  I said...

Wow! Yayyyyy! I'm eating through mine WAY too fast so I just ordered more. Not good for my physical health, but my mental health is happy. 
[about 6 hours ago, ordered 5 more boxes of ToffeeTastic. Soooooooo good. Will be dropped off tonight or tomorrow]




Backgroiund: Also on the 11, I caught morning sky! orange! colors! I said...

This is definitely the sort of thing that one likes to wake up to. The sudden red-orange on the curtains is what drew me out from between my warm soft sheets.





Thursday, February 11, 2021

Crates, Ex-Pens (X-Pens), and Harnesses

SUMMARY: The topic goes on and on
From comments on my posts from the previous 2 days--

RATZ -- I'm sure that I have some relevant photos, but they're old enough that they'd be on film, so I'll have to look thru albums and boxes and scan them in. Which I'm not going to do tonight, sooooo no photos mostly for now.

I responded to a comment on my post "About Crates vs X-Pens For Dogs, My History Thereof"  about a friend's dog and crates and all that, and that her Katie was annoyed that she didn't get to sit loose in the front seat--

Mean humans! 

I didn't start using crates in the car until I adopted Tika. 

Four or five years previously I had finally become smart about restraining dogs in the car, given how many miles I traveled with them and at odd hours and in all weather and a long way from home. Remington and Jake started riding in very sturdy, well-tested seatbelt harnesses and by the time Tika came home, they had become used to that restraint. They were getting up in age and so I didn't want to start trying to get them used to traveling in crates, although by then they were plenty accustomed to staying in crates at trials. (And Remington loved standing up the entire time we were driving, particularly looking for cows-- couldn't take him away from that.) 

In fact, getting Tika and deciding that all future dogs would travel in crates was the impetus to get a minivan instead of a fun-to-drive car like my prior ones. Sigh. Soooo practical--because a crate wouldn't fit into my four-door sedan along with 2 other dogs on seatbelts and all that agility gear. 

About whether to leave a dog in the car while, say, walking courses, or working in a different ring or whatnot: Getting a dog accustomed to being crated for longer times I think requires that the dog receive plenty of practice while they are aware of where you are and then gradually increasing times when they can't see you. At least, that's how it has worked for my previous dogs. Zorro and my late Chip haven't had nearly enough of that kind of practice. They'll sleep in crates in my bedroom at night, but if I get up and go downstairs, say in the middle of the night, without them, I don't trust them to not claw holes in the mesh of the soft crates. 

Which Remington did the first time I left him alone (with Jake) in my tent to walk to the nearest water faucet in the campground. 

Dogs.

But, yep, like Katie, they'd all rather be in the seats, preferably the front, if they had a choice.

Still, for a long time, if I were simply tooling around the area on errands, the  dogs could usually be trusted to be loose in the car so they could look out the windows. Although--lesson learned--one errand I thought would take me 15 minutes and instead became more like 3 hours, and Tika, alone in the car, explained that she didn't care for that so much.


I lived with this reminder for the next 11 years.


Then I noted:  Hmmm, this feels like I just wrote another related blog post right here! ... and so here it is--rewritten and expanded a bit! 




Wednesday, February 10, 2021

About Crates vs X-Pens For Dogs, My History Thereof

SUMMARY: In which I spew more about becoming a crate utilizer and the eventual rehabilitation of x-pens.
Backfill: started this as part of my Feb 9 '21 post and split it out.

See yesterday's post for a parallel backstory--

My family's dog, Sam, never had a crate.  It was an odd contraption that I had seen at a dog show, maybe, and how could anyone DO that to their dog? Neither Amber nor Sheba had crates--they lived and slept either in the house or confined in the yard in some way. If we went somewhere, they were loose in the car. 

[Throws back of hand against forehead: So young and naive!]

Remington got me moving: Dog sports! But still no crates. Just not something in my world view. Never even thought about them really. In obedience classes, we simply held onto our dogs' leashes.  For tracking classes, that remained true at our beginning level. 

My first agility class was in early to mid-1995 (I'm so sad that I have been unable to find the exact date).  The instructors taught on their own [very large!] property, so we had amenities such as plastic patio chairs lining the front of the field for us to sit on. Many of us used them to park our dogs on when we needed to walk through a course. A very distinct location to the dogs, like having invisible walls.

After some months of this, the instructors brought in an expert from out of town for a weekend seminar, which I of course signed up for. At about that time, they became (understandably) annoyed at the frequency with which their chairs sported muddy footprints, and said all dogs on the ground if they'll stay, or in a crate.  I said that I didn't have a crate. Might have said that I didn't plan on getting one. Instructor looked at me, a bit mystified, and said, where are you going to put him during the seminar?  I might have said that I'd bring a chair for him to sit on, and she said, basically, no.  

I hadn't the vaguest, foggiest, dimmest idea of what to get or what to look for or where. Might have asked her for info, might have asked classmates. Someone said that if  I didn't want a crate, I could use an x-pen.  (I hadn't the foggiest there, either--but learned.)

So, I started real agility life (that is, beyond basic training) with only an x-pen (exercise pen), late in 1995. For Remington, so it had to be the highest height--he stood 24" at the shoulder. Therefore: tall, heavy, awkward. Because, who would want to leave their dog in a crate all day at agility or seminar things? But, oooooh so miserable to haul it around. 

Used it only at competitions--six our first year--or seminars. He'd stand in one corner or along one side of the pen and look stressed. Poor thing, I thought; he must be heartbroken at being confined.

But I discovered, possibly incidentally, possibly at someone's suggestion, that he would lie down and relax, even doze, only if I condensed the pen to a smaller size and covered the top and two or three sides with fabric. And that was OK, because No Exercise was happening in the uncovered, large no-x-pen! 

An epiphany: That's why not everyone eschews crates!  But I already had the x-pen, so I continued to use it as if it were a crate. Doh. 

When Jake arrived in mid-1997, I used the x-pen at its full size. Plenty of room for 2 dogs. Even though they hated each other, they tended to ignore each other if at all possible.  So I figured it would be fine.  It worked for a while -- three event weekends, to be specific.  

I remember clearly the evening before a trial in Placerville, in April 1998, after I had set up my gear and gone off to get in line for early check-in.  As I stood there, schmoozing with others, I was astonished to see someone walking down the nearby sidewalk with a dog that looked so much like Jake (!) on a leash.  Back then, I was such a newbie: Didn't know many people, didn't know many dogs, and back then there was such a variety of breeds and mixes! It was plausible that another dog would look similar to Jake...  and it took me several long seconds to realize it was Jake!

I trotted over, and the woman said, "There you are! He and Remington [so clearly she knew who Rem and I were--I don't recall that I knew who she was] were fighting viciously in the pen, and a couple of us separated them. Didn't want to put them back together--so came looking for you."  Yep, those boys, did this thing far too often at home, so what's a girl to do for the rest of the weekend that hadn't even started yet, 3 or 4 hours from home ?! 

I believe that Doggone Good Elizabeth had crates for sale on site and that I bought my first Cabana Crate that evening or the very next day: Gorgeous teal and purple, exactly my colors! And the largest size, for Rem to stand up in. Jake got the x-pen to himself.  

Eventually, I became all crates, all the time for agility events. But, whenever possible, I'd let Rem revert to his clever historic adored imitation restraint system (aka C.H.A.I.R.S). He seldom left it; standing on the arm merely gave him a better view of All The Things. (His and Jake's crates are all purply there--we are surrounded by zillions of x-pens.)

At the USDAA national championships, 2001.
Very professional.
I love his triangular eyes. Not always this visible.

But I still never used them at home until Boost arrived as a puppy [after Rem, Jake, and Tika] who definitely needed a secure place to rest and stay OUT OF All The Things.  I borrowed a smaller-sized VariKennel for her until she outgrew it, at which point she had earned the right also to be safe, left alone in a Cabana Crate.


I still have the old x-pen. In fact, I eventually bought another, smaller one. Turns out they come in very handy as fencing inside the house when I need to keep dogs in or out of certain areas. Or confine them outside in various ways with a bit more room to move around

In my back yard, watching the rehearsal for my sister's wedding.
OMG isn't that puppy CUUUUUUUTE!

At trials, such as on very hot weekends,
to give them more room and more options for airflow or lying on cool lawns!
But can still seek refuge in their own home crates.

Older puppy (mostly housebroken) confined to one end of the office
to play or rest and
to keep her away from things she shouldn't get into while I'm busy AND 
to protect her from Jake, who hated that she had entered his world.

To keep the new dog off the bed and accustomed to being off the bed
because (a) Tika and Boost were already on the bed, and that was plenty,
and (b) because I was *finally* going to have all new dogs never sleep on my bed,
and (c) I put him in the soft crate but he kept digging at it.
That lasted about 10 minute: He went from there onto my bed with a single leap. 
Color me astounded.


See also:  

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Tshirt Tuesday Tales: Doggone Good and Cabana Crates and All Those Things

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

All T-Shirt Tales

SUMMARY: Early crate innovator and supplier of so many things Dog.


Way back when I started agility. 1996? 1997? One competitor, Elizabeth Hyenga, another local like me, invented a lightweight, very sturdy, foldable crate so that we didn't all need to haul around heavy xpens or heavy foldable wire crates or bulky not-foldable VariKennel crates. She called them Cabana Crates. At first, she sold them under her business name of Doggone Good! straight to locals at trials. With every batch she made (she worked with a manufacturer who actually made them), she improved the design, which I admired. 

I started agility life with only an x-pen (exercise pen), late 1995. For Remington: Tall, heavy, awkward. Because who wants to leave their dog in a tiny ol' crate all day long at events?! But Remington taught me a lesson about that (see tomorrow's post...after it's posted), which brought me to understanding about crates. Still, her crates were pricey and I already had the x-pen. At some point, I became aware of Cabana Crates and I believe that I already knew Elizabeth and her Corgi, and I figured that, if I were to ever buy a crate, that would be my choice. Luxury AND pretty colors.

After Jake joined me, at events I put Remington and him into the same x-pen. Which worked for exactly 3 competition weekends, and then a big fight at the onset of the fourth such weekend propelled me to buy my first-ever crate (also see tomorrow's post), a Cabana Crate of course. on the spot: Gorgeous teal and purple, exactly my colors! Sized for Remington!

A splurge. On a thing for a dog. That we'd use only on agility weekends, pft, surely there wouldn't be that many (hahahahaha little did I know...). I think it was about $160, which in 2021 would be $255. Huge expenditure. (Compare to now, when I can buy a large wire crate for under $50. And folding soft crates for a lot  lot lot less than that. A huge splurge.)

But I liked it so much that I eventually bought a smaller one for Jake, ditching that huge heavy awkward nasty x-pen-- and then another when Boost came along.  

Tika sitting and looking out the front, Boost in the middle sitting and looking out the back,
and Jake lying down and looking out the front.

Back to DoggoneGood. 

Elizabeth started the business largely because she needed something that she could do from home while raising a young child instead of working for someone else, somewhere else.  When her crates and her bait bags sold well, she branched out into other cool things for dogs, and eventually moved her business into a warehouse and online, and a couple times a year held an open house at the warehouse where you didn't have to order through the web. Very popular events. And she ensured quality materials and quality products, so she did a lot of business. (I swear that I once took photos at the event, but I haven't found them yet--might be just film still--)

Her warehouse was just up the road from where I live now. Of course I attended them all and came away with handfuls of things each time. 

Like more Riot Tugs (because will all that tugging, they'd wear out!). Purple of course! To match the crates! Boost loved them and Tika liked them. That was our go-to warm-up tug toy while waiting for my run, not too close to the ring. (Not sure that they were around when I was competing with Jake, but maybe.)


Or bait bags (purple, of course). Lots of books  and videos on dog training. Lots of other fun toys. Lots and lots and lots. Like the bikini chicken. Who wouldn't want one of these sweethearts?!  (Apparently they are no longer made? Such a loss of a cultural icon.)


Or gear bags of various sizes (I think they came only in black). She carried other brands, like Outward Hound, but made some, too--just don't have a photo at the moment.  


Dog-related craft supplies. Dog treats. Dog training gear. Smaller agility-related items. And on and on.

Ad from 2004


One time, at a huge Bark In The Park event near downtown San Jose, still pretty early in my agility career, I wore one of her bait bags on my belt, and realized after I'd wandered around a lot among the hundreds of people and dogs and activities and booths allllll over the park that I no longer had the bag, because the bag had slipped off  its clip (still on my belt). Figured it was lost.  I walked by her booth on the way out--and she called to me--not only had someone returned it to her booth, but she knew whose it was (because I had bought it from her, of course, at some point in the past, and she knew I was here and there weren't likely to be a lot of agility people there), AND she had added a new clip, and furthermore glued it in so securely that it has never come out again. No charge.

One time, I dropped by her warehouse in desperate need of something, and we chatted, and then she handed me this t-shirt. For being a good customer.

Sadly for me, sometime in the last few years, she sold the business and they no longer have the huge variety, just the some bags and clickers.  And sadly for me, I think that all 3 of my Cabana Crates have been damaged by dogs and it's almost as pricey to have them fixed as to buy one of the many copy-cats or evolved designs offered by others now, so many varieties. In fact, I bought 2. Which Chip and Zorro have damaged already--they have no experience in waiting in crates. :-(  

So now I have 5 soft crates that aren't particularly usable at events. Because I can't bear giving up those early ones.

But I remember her and those days fondly.  

I wore that shirt at a trial in Sonora on the day that Jake finished his NADAC championship, the first championship I had ever earned with a dog.

Just a few obstacles away from a NATCH.
And I have *no* idea what that hand signal meant. Typical.

Friday, February 05, 2021

British vs American Bedrooms: A Rebuttal or More Likely Just A Response


Top sheets

Sheba and Amber demonstrating prehistoric
pre-duvet-cover, pro-top-sheet-and-blankets days
Blankets wore out quickly with all the washings.

I've lived in the U.S. my entire multiple decades of life. We were raised putting a top sheet between you and the blanket(s), which made sense because blankets can be a bit scratchy.  Sometimes we might have a comforter instead of a blanket, but we treated those the same way--top sheet first, comforter on top of that, to protect having to wash the comforters too often.  

However, because my dogs also sleep on my bed, my blankets would get dirty from the top side so I always had to wash them anyway. Which was hard on the blankets.




Zorro demonstrating a dog
on a duvet cover
Thirty-five or so years ago, I came upon the concept of a "duvet cover".  When I got myself a lovely down comforter, I didn't want to have to wash it (or dry clean it! Expensive!) frequently due to dog mud and hair. So I was delighted to discover, and start using, duvet covers.  Which are, essentially, two top sheets sewn together.

I realized quickly that a top sheet between me and it made no sense at all and thus stopped using top sheets (except in certain weeks during the summer when it gets very hot and I don't have a/c but still want something over me). 

Therefore, I have a stack of top sheets that are virtually never used because companies too often sell sheets as sets and I can't always get just a bottom sheet of the pattern I want.

Also, this set-up makes it sublime to "make the bed" in the morning. Quick shake: Done.


Found this in a drawer in my
bathroom last month.
Tossed it.
No idea when I last used it.

Hot water bottles

Used them as a kid, for warmth sometimes but usually for aches & pains.  My parents also eventually got a heating pad for aches & pains, but there was something pleasing (and more responsive, more close-fitting) about a towel-wrapped flat rubber bottle filled with steaming water. As long as they didn't start leaking.

Out on my own, of course I had a hot water bottle for many years. Finally splurged (gulp) on a heating pad-- and then I discovered that I could use themit to warm my bed (in small sections) before I got into it. And even keep me warm on particularly cold nights.

 And THEN maybe 25 years ago I discovered heated mattress pads and now I use mine all the time. Haven't had a water bottle in ages. But I still use the heating pad for aches & pains.


Our hot water bottles always looked like the one
on the right. I never saw a heart-shaped one!

Peng, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>,
via Wikimedia Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:W%C3%A4rmflasche1.jpg











Zorro kindly demonstrating another duvet cover.
He is a skilled demonstrator of such bedding.


And another. I gottamillionof'em.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Tuesday TShirt Tales: Cavern Canines

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

All T-Shirt Tales

SUMMARY: So excited! Wow! A t-shirt about agility! Must buy it!


In September of 2000, I competed in my first-ever dog agility national  championships. I'd been competing just over 4 years at that point. Still pretty rank in the ranks, although getting better.

I just now posted an uncurated blob of text about that event--because apparently I didn't really write much of anything about it anywhere.  See USDAA Grand Prix Nationals, Del Mar, September 2000.

Still, it was huge. Huuuuuge. For me. Longest-distance agility trip I had taken by about double. Longest weekend (4 days) probably at that point. And a National Championship! For which both Jake and Remington had qualified to compete! We're In Da Big Time Now!

One of the most fascinating things there, however, was the astonishing array of vendors selling Everything Dog and Everything Dog Agility! Local trials might have half a dozen folks selling leashes, treats, and  other random basic dog gear. But this--THIS--was magical.

For one thing, one vendor was selling AGILITY T-SHIRTS. And I don't mean club shirts--I had four of those by then (eep!). No, these were genuine actual shirts about agility!  I couldn't believe it! Like a dream come true!   Before the club shirts, I'm not sure that I had ever had *any* t-shirts relating to dogs.

There might have been more than one vendor with t-shirts, but, if  so, it's gone from my memory. And I don't recall anything at all about any of the other vendors, the mere existence of agility-for-fun t-shirts thrilled me so.

I settled on this version of the Cavern Canines because I loved the color and the design and the humor and the fun. And it was about AGILITY! Made me smile. Made me laugh. Gave me joy.


I had no idea... no idea whatsoever... about agility t-shirts and the path I had embarked upon--to date, I have acquired at least 49 dog-related t-shirts (and another dozen or more polo shirts) mostly specific to dog agility clubs or events or activities. So many that I've had to give away a quite a few over time to be able to still fit the rest into my dresser and closet. Hard choices, each.

But this one? I still have it, still love it, still wear it.