Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trinkets

When I was maybe five or six years old, I had something unfairly taken from me.  At least, that's how I remember it.

I was on vacation in Michigan with my parents and some family friends.  We'd stopped at a small farm to buy some fruit and vegetables. In addition to produce, the farm also had a few knick-knacks for sale, including a ceramic Siamese cat with a hole in its back.  Apparently it was a planter or something, but at the time I didn't know that - I just knew I liked it.

One of the other kids saw me holding it, and demanded that she get the ceramic cat because she had seen it first.  It was obviously a lie, but the adults sided with the other kid and made me give it to her.  I was extremely upset.  In an effort to placate me, the adults found another ceramic planter for me... a rooster.  I didn't want the rooster.  I wanted that stupid Siamese cat.

I have literally been bitter about this for over twenty years.  I'm sure the girl that stole that ceramic cat out of my hands doesn't remember doing it, and probably doesn't even have the cat anymore.  Who knows - maybe if I'd gotten the cat, I would have broken it or lost it too.

This past weekend, I went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota with my friend Aryn for a dog show.  On Saturday, Aryn's mom and aunt came with us so we could all go to a craft fair and get some shopping done.  Before we went home, we went to a few antique stores.

... and there it was.

Or, most likely, a ceramic cat just like the one that was stolen from me two decades ago.  Five bucks.  I bought that ceramic cat, and it's sitting on my dining room table right now.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but the important thing is that it's mine.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Dreams!

It's been an interesting night.

My dream started out in my old house in Valley Junction.  The yard was infested with snakes.  I wasn't too concerned, until a red and yellow snake (approximately 14ft long) chased me from the garage to my front door.  I tried waving a shovel at it, but that only made the snake more keen on chasing me.  I called Aryn, who in this dream was apparently a zoologist.  She came to my house, assessed the situation, and told me that it was worse than she'd originally thought and my only option was to move.

Suddenly I found myself in a prison.  It was built more like a two-level mall though, and the public could apparently come watch us from above.  I got checked in, and was told to go talk to another prison official about my job assignment.  On my way to the job table, my mom appeared on the upper level.  She was holding a shirt she'd presumably bought for me, and yelled down to me that once I was done with the job table, to come up and we'd have lunch.  I yelled back that that wasn't how prison worked.  She seemed shocked.  Not to be deterred from helping her dear daughter, she hollered down that she'd give me some money.  I told her I wasn't supposed to have money in prison, but she threw a $20 bill down anyway.  I quickly hid it in my pocket, and ran over to the job table for my assignment.

For my job, I was assigned to walk the police horses and play beach volleyball.  I never did find out why I was in prison in the first place, but apparently I didn't care much.

My dream ended in Jordan Creek Mall again - the same mall where, in a previous dream, I threw a iPod at Jenny and had to ski home through the Alps.  My regular readers will remember this dream.  Anyway - I was near Cinnabon and noticed a huge crowd of people on the upper level, seemingly waiting for something to happen near the main elevator.  I asked a shopkeeper what was going on, and she told me that Robert Downey Jr. was rumored to be making an appearance at the mall that day.  I shrugged, and walked over to Teavana to buy Christmas gifts.  (In my dream, Teavana was right next to Cinnabon.)  By the time I was done at Teavana, the crowd had completely disappeared.  Robert Downey Jr. hadn't shown up after all.

But then, as I was walking past Cinnabon... there he was.

He was sitting at a food court table, all by himself, picking at a piece of pineapple pizza.  I walked over to him and said, "So I guess you showed up after all."  He grinned, and asked me if I'd like to help him eat lunch.  I sat down, and he handed me the crust of the pizza.  I looked over at his plate, and saw that he'd picked all the pineapple off and was just eating the cheese and the pineapple.  I asked him if he couldn't eat bread.  He smiled again, shrugged, and said that they hadn't ruled that out yet.  I told him I couldn't technically eat bread either, but figured I could make an exception for times such as this, because it's not every day Robert Downey Jr. wants you to eat lunch with him.  He laughed, and we spent the rest of the dream driving around Des Moines, looking for RV hookups.

... and I woke up thirty minutes early - on a weekday - to make sure I got this post typed out before I forgot everything.  That's dedication, folks.


Friday, October 12, 2012

MEOW.

Last weekend I found myself driving down an endless stretch of Nebraska highway (75 mph speed limit, woohoo!) to get to yet another dog show.  Aryn and I managed to break our existing pack-record for the HHR... getting two dogs, two chairs, two coolers and various bags full of clothing and dog junk into the cargo area.  (Tangent: One of these days, I'm going to take a photo of everything we cram into the HHR.)

The conformation part of the weekend was a disaster.  Rocket is a nice dog, he really is, but he doesn't look like anything else in the ring right now.  Our breeder produces awesome dogs, but many of them have a "retro" look - like something out of the past, and not in a bad way.  Problem is, judges don't know what to do with them... so they get dumped. 

Phew, that was a dreary paragraph.  Let's talk about something brighter... lure coursing!  Despite it being freezing cold, the dogs had a great time at the Coursing Ability Test.  Rocket finished his CA and only needs six more CAT legs for his CAA, and Kaylee earned two very enthusiastic (and loud) legs toward her CA. 


(Above: Unbridled power, right there... GO ROCKET!  Can you imagine being a criminal, and being chased down by that dog?  I know, better pack an extra set of underwear!)

The following set of photos are all of my rockstar girl, Kaylee.  Most were taken by my friend Julie, but the ones with the watermark were taken by Doug Neal... thanks Doug!

 (Approaching the start line... she was being a little obnoxious.)

(Still pulling like mad... almost there!)

(THE SLIP! You can see how wide here eyes were, and how her neck fur was all scrunched up from how tight the slip lead had to be... she's a maniac!)

(I love this shot - poetry in motion, and SO powerful.  Dobermans just ooze power, it's part of why I love the breed so much.  Sighthounds may be Ferraris, but Dobermans are the squadcars in pursuit!)

(Getting closer!  Notice how nice her running form is... she's learning how to be a better courser.)

(Almost on top of them!  Notice the black bag - I've never seen a black bag used before, but apparently the judge used it to add more contrast.  You learn something new every day!)

 (Another amazing shot... rippling muscles, crack ears, plus that scarily intense look in her eyes... )

 (The catch... and it was over in roughly 45 seconds... 13 yards per second, 27 miles per hour.  Not too bad, not too bad.


The CAT dogs were the last ones to run.  I did make an observation that I nearly forgot about, but I'm glad I remembered... because I can talk about it now. 

A lot of work goes into putting on a successful lure coursing trial.  Volunteers are needed, but few people actually seem to step up and help.  One of the criticisms I've heard about us CAT folks is that we don't care about any of this, and that we have nothing to offer lure coursing clubs by way of assisting others.

Out of the eight or nine people that stuck around to tear down the field... five of us were CAT folks.  The rest were members of the club that put on the trial and test. So for those of you who think we CAT people are a burden, remember this - When the sighthound folks drove off, destined for their cozy hotel rooms and hot suppers, we CAT people were traipsing around in the field at dusk... collecting pulleys... helping with tear-down.... you're welcome.

It was truly a great weekend... the people simply rocked - we made several new friends, and reconnected with friends we'd made at other events.  I can't explain how happy it makes me to see my dog having the time of her life, and to see so many people cheering her on.  I saw this online a few months ago, and it really rings true for this sport:

We do conformation with our dogs for us, not for them.
We do lure coursing with our dogs strictly for them.
 
However, I somewhat disagree - so far, there's nothing I love more than watching my girl run after those ridiculous plastic bags. It's more thrilling than the biggest conformation win or the longest conformation rosette. To be frank... lure coursing kicks ass!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

From Afghanistan, With Love

My buddies at Village Veterinary Hospital reminded me this evening that I haven't introduced my foster dog yet!

I think she may already have a home, but nothing is official until the paperwork is signed.  Selma is a 2-3 year old pariah dog from Afghanistan.  An American soldier brought her back from the warzone, but hit some hard financial times and Selma found herself at a kill shelter.  Illinois Doberman Rescue stepped in with some help from other rescuers, and the rest is history!

She's a typical pariah - aloof with strangers and distrustful of other dogs until she knows they're not a threat.  She loves my dogs, with the exception of Kaylee... but let's face it, Kaylee isn't really the type of dog who volunteers for the Welcome Brigade.