Black Acorn Dogs

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Black Acorn pack!

Ebby, Indie, and Ben

Indie and Ben

Ben poses for the camera.

Ebony plays with the toy from her Secret Santa Paws.

Indie sacks out with his new kitty toy from Nani and Papa Bill after all the excitement.

Oh yeah... we exist too. Someone has to hold the camera. This is Diane and Erica with socks from Diane's mom.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Party That Went to the Dogs

Ebby and I went to the Christmas party at our training center A Click Above today. You know, every time I think she's doing really well, she goes one step further. I expect Ebby to have a nice time at an event like this, especially since it's somewhere she's already well familiar with, but I think this was the first event I've ever taken her to where she was truly *relaxed* and happy the entire time. She had her ears forward the whole time; typically she had an anxious expression with her ears down a fair amount of the time. I find it extremely difficult to get nice pictures of her for this exact reason, because she does this even around the house. For some reason, she has been different this week. She's been very confident, and very affectionate. And today at the party, she was... well, a normal, happy dog. Now, the word normal is really the wrong one to use, because really the *average* dog does not behave so well and so calmly outside the house, but that's still the word I go for in my mind.

I kinda wish I knew what it was about this week that's kicked in this newest jump in her emotional evolution, but then, it doesn't really matter. I don't think I can really express how it feels to watch her continue to become more comfortable in her own skin.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ebony and I went herding for the first time this morning with some of our other Shiloh Shepherd friends, and we had a blast. She'd been up to see the sheep once before, just enough to tell that she "turned on" to them without trying to eat them, but that was back when Marti was still fostering her and my main focus was just trying to keep her from clawing her way back to Marti the entire time. I'd taken her in, but we just didn't even know each other yet.

This time she was still quite excited about the sheep, and I felt much more comfortable with directing her. She, ahem, left quite a bit of wool around the round pen but she definitely showed some potential (in the above picture, she's still showing a bit more "chase" posture than "herd" posture). And I'm getting the gist of it, and training me might be harder than training her anyway. We're actually going to enter a trial in January to see if we can get her first herding title. I hadn't been all that interested to get involved in herding because it gets expensive to train for something that we can't even practice on our own, and well, we just have a bunch of other irons in the fire, but we really had a good time so I'm looking forward to going back for more.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Still still going

7 hours later and they've still been entertaining themselves by gnawing on the bones all day, despite the hammering and noises downstairs. This was a definite score.

Still going

Almost an hour after I put the ribs down and their still going. This was the best idea ever.

Although, I am kind of glad I'm planning to give them all baths tomorrow.

Ah, The Power of Distraction

The guys are back to do some more work on the house today (the deck did get finished Tuesday and looks fantastic, incidentally). I planned the dogs' breakfast around the guys coming and saved it to feed the dogs when they arrived, since the dogs have to be crated anyway. I swapped out the food I was planning to feed tomorrow -- big racks of beef ribs that we got for 72 cents a pound. I figure those will keep the dogs occupied for a good while and they should be all tired out and ready to nap in their crates when they're finished. Sure enough, they're having such a great time eating that they haven't even noticed all the noises going on downstairs. I won't be surprised if this occupies them for more than an hour.

Whoops, 15 minutes in, Ben just realized he can hear noises and voices downstairs. He barked for about 5 seconds, then returned to his ribs. Heh heh.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy, happy! My new computer arrived yesterday. I've been busily setting it up, and it is my new friend.

I'm not thrilled about having to go through some of these steps again since I just went through full re-install three weeks ago, EXCEPT that nothing has really been working quite right on my other machine this whole time. E-mail has been flaky and slow, and I haven't wanted to dig in and get truly organized since I knew it would all be temporary. My old hard drive is still out at DriveSavers so I still hold out hope that I'll be doing some more major organization soon (please, please, please), but even when the data comes back (when, not if, please please please), at this this machine is my new 'home'. Hallelujah.

And I've already managed to get e-mail working properly. And fast.

My life may still be acting like a situation comedy, but at least I have a new computer! Huzzah!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Day in the Life

I swear, if my life were on TV this week it would be a situation comedy.

Yesterday was flat out miserable, but in little ways that I won't even remember a few weeks from now. The dogs are so wonderful though. I was working from home with them because they're rebuiling our back deck. It was getting near the end of the day, and I lay down across the couch for a minute to try to slow the pounding of my headache and stretch my poor achy back. Both boys came and brought me toys. Indie dropped his ball on my chest and Ben dropped his rope on my stomach. Then they both stood there expectantly, waiting for me to toss or tug. Dogs simply don't get the concept of "bad days", and I think that's what we love about them. Today is a little better, if nothing else just because I'm in better humor and more of a mood to laugh at the pure ridiculousness of it all.

I had to drop the dogs with Melissa this morning because they are (still!) not finished rebuilding the deck, and I couldn't be there this morning. This made a lovely start to the day though, because I dropped them off, and they were so excited to be there that they didn't even care that I was leaving. Rather than forcing me to drag him into the house, Indie dragged ME the house so that he could get to the yard (no external gate, for safety). Ben was just overall excitable. Once outside, Ebby stood at the fence until I got into the car, but neither of the boys even looked back at me, and instead ran off to pee on the big tree and romp with their buddy dogs. As I drove slowly down the driveway, all three of them ran alongside the van for just a moment, but had already run off by the time I reached the end of the fenceline. It warmed my heart to see them having such a good time, and with Ebby and especially Indie, it makes me happier than words can express to witness them being so unconcerned with my departure.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Returning from Evanston

(As written Tues afternoon):
We're driving back from he airport from Evanston, IL, where we had our two-day workshop. Whenever I'm driving in unfamiliar regions, I love looking at the subtle differences in the architecture of houses. The houses here are very cute but somewhat boxy in that the roofs have very low peaks. Houses in the northeast tend to have higher peaks on the roofs, which I've always thought was to help the snow slide off and reduce ice build-up and weight on the roof. The Chicago area has no lack of snow, so there must be other reasons for a local convention of lower peaked roofs. Very interesting to me, at any rate.

Evanston is a really nice little college town that feels very clean, sociable, attractive and safe (no clue if it IS safe, but there were lots of people walking casually on the streets at all times of the day, and I didn't see anyone who looked like they were wandering aimless or looking for trouble). I particularly note that they were walking, because the area seemed to be quite pedestrian friendly -- something that is sorely missing in the D.C. metro area and suburbs. There was a plethora of little shops and restaurants, and I even had a chance to stop in a little shop called Kiss My K9 that sells holistic products, high end foods, and a small selection of toys and leashes. I bought a used hardcover book at a great price for the plane ride home. I also had a few minutes to stop into a camping supplies store next door (sign on the door welcoming dogs -- gotta love that), and I as I wandered around with the question "Is there anything here that I need?" I realized that many women ask themselves that question when browsing purses and handbags. I'm perfectly happy to ask myself that in a camping store. I didn't buy anything there although I did come close. Definitely a little town I'd enjoy returning to in the future.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Porn Star Name is 'Lady Union' -- I Win

I'm in Chicago tonight, although I'll be home tomorrow. One of hte most interesting things today was actually on my flight itself. I got on the plane and sat down, and I felt like I had an amazing amount of room. My knees weren't touching the back of the seat. I felt like the seat was overall larger than usual (though I think that was an illusion). It felt downright *luxurious* it felt just to fly with unexpected legroom. It was most striking to me that I was packed on this 100% full flight with more than a hundred other strangers six across, and I was feeling delight with my sheer amount of personal space. Now, I am not a large person, so it also made me think about how it must feel to fly for people of a more substantial stature than myself. I can't imagine how miserable those little tiny seats must be.

I did realize shortly after boarding that I'd been booked into the Economy Plus section, and that explained the extra legroom. It's just crazy to have the Economy Plus option and not take it. I don't know what it cost for this flight, but I think it's usually about 25 bucks and so worth it.

When they came around with the drink cart, I asked for cranberry juice, and they handed me an entire full-sized can. All for me. Once again, I was struck by how much I appreciated that one can of juice, since most flights I've been on in recent times either give you a tiny can or else just pour you out a cup of juice and continue on down the line with the rest of the can.

We had a workshop all day, went for tapas (first time I'd done tapas... both yummy and entertaining), and finished up in the hotel bar with some of the most interesting round I've ever done of generating our porn star names, soap opera names (we also kept going into defining our soap opera characters), and moving into generating our alien names, paint chip colors, rock band names, and Internet cam names. I promise you that it was a lot more fun that it might sound like... hilarity did ensue.