a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: May 2021

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Wooden things in the kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

And a wooden fork?!

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

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

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

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Tribulations of Planning Agility Trials

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

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

From Facebook (Cynthia H):

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

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

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

Taj MuttHall says:

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 28, 2021

More about the T-Shirt Project (Update)

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

SUMMARY: A couple things.

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

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

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

All T-Shirt Tales

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Remembering Señor Hot Tub and Sir Shed

SUMMARY: Flashback Pre-Pandemic

Rollback to September, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squim (Or Sequim if spelled correctly)

SUMMARY: What you see is not what you say.

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

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

All from our general area in California. 

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

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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

Originally posted May 4, 2021. Reposting May 26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, May 21, 2021

Some Things We Looked Up While On Our Trip

SUMMARY: We both have curious minds.

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

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

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

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

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

  • What's interesting about Port Angeles?

  • Rainfall averages for various places in Washington?

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

  • Where's the nearest AAA office?

  • Tsunami Hazard Zone Maps for WA.

  • Exclusion zones for Mount Rainier eruption dangers

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

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

  • Calories in a Wendy's small chocolate Smoothie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Rules about capital gains on primary residences.

  • Dimensions of a king-sized mattress?

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

  • Earthquake and liquefaction hazard maps in and around seattle?

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

  • Kaiser locations in Washington and Oregon?

  • Nearest Wendy's?

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

  • What causes nighttime leg and foot cramps?

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

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

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Does Your Dog Bite? Redux

SUMMARY: I might have mellowed a bit--

--since this post in 2008--

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

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

Or variations such as:

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

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

A game of bitey-face-hand. 

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

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Foxtail Tales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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