Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blob revisited

Judy, shown here with her award winning dog, Chip, is one of my agility teachers. She recently received an IPad from her very generous and thoughtful daughter so has renewed interest in the internet. Judy is a really good teacher and employs the same positive reinforcement with us as she encourages us to use with our dogs. Operant training. Emphasize the positive, ignore the negative (to the extent that is possible and practical).
With the onset of the rain season, practicing has become a little challenging. However the raccoons which have been terrorizing our place lately seem undaunted by the weather. Every night they tear out my tulip bulbs and throw them all over the yard and I often hear them stomping and cavorting on the deck. A couple of nights ago, they were lined up outside the French doors staring at us as we ate dinner. It is as if we are being invaded by Orcs and frankly, it is a little unnerving. We have tried the cayenne pepper mixture, the Scarecrow (motion activated sprinkler). Nothing seems to work. In desperation I have sent my smaller tulip pots off to a friend's for the time being, but I would like to solve this as I fear they will go for the koi in the pond next, if they haven't already, and I have to be really careful about letting my fearless corgis outside after dark (I keep them on a leash so they won't go after them which could be really dangerous) I welcome any thoughts or suggestions any of you may have.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Last night Wynonna Judd was at Humboldt State and Mike and I went to hear her. Quite honestly, I had never listened to much of her music, and didn't know that much about her. She was part of the Judds, the other part being her mother Naomi, another gorgeous redhead. Years ago I was seated in an airplane and a man sat next to me and started to chat. He very proudly said that he was with the Judds, to which I replied, who are the Judds? He couldn't believe that someone hadn't heard of the Judds, but there I was. He told me they were the hottest thing in country music, and now that I have heard more of their music I can understand why. But back to Wynonna, the music was great (too loud, but great---we were glad we had our custom earplugs with us), and she is, well, she's a trip. She came out glorious in black velvet with sparkles everywhere. She was a vision, and frankly, it made me want to get some of that stuff and sparkle a bit myself, but it's not really my style. She is a down-to-earth, right there kind of performer and was genuinely effusive as she expressed her gratitude for all of us turning out for the show. And she can really belt out a tune. I think the most moving moment was when she asked the audience to sing the refrain back to her, and they did. Many of those there knew the words and had obviously been singing along to her recordings so they sounded great--it was like a chorus of angels singing the refrain---"Love can build a bridge between your heart and mine. Don't you think it's time?". She just closed her eyes and let it wash over her. So did I. It was a great evening and she was inspiring in many ways. Thanks, Wynonna!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vets, Conventions and Corgis


This past weekend was full. In fact, I don't think I have ever had such disparate activities back to back. I'll work backwards. No, I'll start with Friday which was Veterans Day when I attended the
event at the Municipal Hall in Eureka, which is presented by the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka. Stu Russell organizes that each year, and it is always a moving tribute to our veterans. This year, Steve Colwell was the keynote speaker and he spoke about his experiences in Viet Nam, and the deep connection that veterans have with one another. He is now involved with several worthwhile organizations, and many there were especially moved and inspired by his work with Wounded Warriors. My hunch is that Humboldt County will be doing something with that organization and if you are interested, please contact me or Stu and we will put you in touch with Steve. They do great work. I am pleased to say that we had quite a few of our Honor Flight vets there as well and it was great to see that sea of WWII Veteran caps and royal blue shirts. It was a honor to have the opportunity to say a few words about North Coast Honor Flight.

My car was already packed so as soon as that finished, I drove to Redding to show my work at the Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California. I was showing work that was featured on the cover of Forward Day by Day this past year, as well as other contemplative work, and introducing new digital prints. As always, it was good to see folks from around the Diocese that I only see every year or so. When that wrapped up (earlier than expected), I loaded up the car and headed to Dixon (near Sacramento) to show my work at the Corgi Faire. Now that was quite an experience. Imagine a very large room full of corgis. I never would have believed that corgis, who can be a little snarky, would get along so well together. It was a visual delight. Activities included races, where they tied little jockeys and cowboys on the backs of the dogs (I am including a photo so you know I am not making this up), as well as a costume competition with various categories. Proud to be an American (three corgis decked out in flags) fit right in with the patriotic theme of the weekend, and the three little pigs was pretty cute.
They also had booths with information on proper care of corgis, and I hope lots of people paid attention. There were way too many overweight corgis there (see above) as they LOVE to eat, and it takes real effort and restraint to keep them healthy and in good shape.

So, if this post seems a little disjointed, that is how life has been lately. Good, but really scattered. Now that those events are behind me, I am looking forward to studio immersion and making and posting artwork. I have some very interesting commissions and am very excited about getting back to work.

Monday, November 7, 2011

TDAA Tournament


Dogs as Body Warmers

This is Lisa, my neighbor and mentor at Del Valle a couple of weeks ago. Please note Simon, who spends a lot of time in her jacket, as shown. She makes and sells custom dog collars and leashes, and my two corgis are quite dashing in their new Celtic look.

Two Months!

How can this be? The past two months have been very busy with Honor Flight (more on that later when I figure out how to post a slideshow), when our hub took 100 WWII vets to Washington DC to see their memorial. It was a great trip. We had 50 guardians---volunteers who each paid for the privilege of helping these American heroes. But, as I said, more on that later.

I am going to do a little catch up here, working back in time. Yesterday was the Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA) Tournament in Grants Pass. The last event I attended was back in September, shortly before I fell out of sight on these pages. There was a heat wave at the time (keep in mind that Grants Pass is not known for cool summer weather without a heat wave). It was over 100 degrees. We were in a horse barn that was fine for us and the dogs, but heaven for the millions of flies that were covering everything, including us and the dogs. The misters that were blowing cooling water into the barn were turning the sawdust/dirt into mud, so it all added up to a memorable experience. This time, the temperature was notable in that it never reached 50 degrees, and hovered around 40. Same open barn, only this time it was rain that was turning the sawdust/dirt into mud. We were freezing. Now, please know that I am not complaining, just noting that one of the advantages to running agility is that it puts you in situations in which you normally wouldn't find yourself after a certain age and there is something to be said for that.

There is also something to be said for small dogs, as you can use them as little body warmers, as shown in these photos. Okay, some of them are just wrapped in quilts or cute little outfits, but the chihuahuas are often inside someone's jacket with just their heads poking out. My corgis are not the kind of dogs that wear clothes or could fit inside my jacket so we just toughed it out. The cold had a less than positive effect on their performance however. They were invigorated, and inspired to design their own course so that they could run really fast and work up some body heat. But the upshot of it was that we didn't do very well. Emma did place and qualify twice, and Raleigh once, so it wasn't a total bust. And even though we left a day early, it was great to see all of those little dogs and their owners, and really appreciate all of the work that goes into making an event like that happen.