Monday, September 17, 2012

We attended the Teacup Dog Agility trial in Grants Pass last weekend.  It's always fun to run and compete with small dogs and their owners---there is a lightheartedness to these events that makes for a very enjoyable experience.  It was the second trial that I have attended since Raleigh's back problems ended his career.  Boy, do I now realize how I took the little guy for granted.  I hate to admit this, but I used to think, hey what's the big deal about q'ing (short for qualifying or getting a passing grade leading up to titles)?  Now I know.  Raleigh was a very reliable athlete. Emma has a ways to go. Please note the comparison of the ribbons above.  That was Raleigh after an AKC trial last spring.  Emma after this past weekend where she q'd twice, both times in a game where speed was the only thing that mattered.  We have our work cut out for us. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lee Klein

Lee Klein was Navy pilot in the War and served in the Pacific Theatre.  He had several brothers and brothers-in-law who also served,  and at one time, eight young men in his family were in the military, directly involved in combat.  Stories like this really bring home the effort and sacrifices made to ensure our freedom and survival as a nation.   Lee and I met on a flight two years ago, when I was a guardian with my friend, Charles Moon. We sat by each other on the flight home and discovered our mutual regard for Lee Bailey, an icon of style, good living, and fine food.  Not only is Lee and American hero, he is a great cook, fine raconteur, and good friend.  It is a privilege to know him.

Colonel Tom Monroe

Colonel Tom Monroe recently celebrated his 95th birthday.  The party held at the historic Eureka Inn,was a festive celebration of an American hero.  Colonel Tom was on our first flight over a year ago, and his daughter, Catherine Mace, was a guardian on the first two flights.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Raleigh's Final Trial

The final day of the Ferndale AKC trial, described below, Raleigh was really disengaged, and simply not his usual exuberant self.  In looking at the videos of his runs all weekend, he just didn't have the speed and enthusiasm that he has always shown while competing.  A visit to the vet yesterday told us why---he has been diagnosed with two calcified discs in his spine, so the little guy has been in quite a bit of pain, but pulling it together to run anyway.  He is now in healing mode----restricted activity, anti-inflammatory medication for two weeks, and odds are he'll be fine.  But, to our great chagrin, his agility career has ended.  These photos are from the last Teacup trials, his joyful smile melts the heart. When he's better, we'll focus on Rally, a gentle sport that he can still enjoy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lost Coast Agility Trials

This past weekend we had the pleasure of competing in the local agility trial hosted by the Lost Coast Kennel Club.  This is always an enjoyable event---especially for those who come here to get away from the heat--but this year was even better due to the higher than usual number of corgis in attendance  (see above). Not only are these dogs cute, they are fine competitors, and did the breed proud with their stellar performances.  Well, most of them anyway.  Emma seems to be calming down a bit, but we still have a ways to go as her enthusiasm gets the best of her.  Raleigh, however, was on his game---three titles, four firsts, and a total of seven qualifying runs.  This sport is a joy--what could be better than spending the weekend with a bunch of dogs and their people, tackling challenges on the course, cheering the other teams, and sitting around in camp chairs watching and visiting?  It's pure recreation and we are very grateful to the Lost Coast Kennel Club for making this possible. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Well, Open Studios is over and many thanks to all of you who traveled north to visit my studio.  As always it was fun to see old friends, meet new folks and have some good conversations about art, and a few other interesting topics as well.
One of my very special visitors was Walt Pieper, whose portrait was featured on my email invitation to Open Studios and is also posted below on March 19.  While Walt was here, he heard a familiar sound coming from the sky, and we stepped outside in time to see a B-17 Flying Fortress fly over the house.  How is that for synchronicity?  You can barely see it to the right of Walt.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Sandy invited me to go on a wildflower walk at Fort Baker Ranch earlier this week.  Here we are taking a break from our looking at wildflowers.  It was such a treat to roam those beautiful hills with our hostess, Peggy Rice, a knowledgeable and kind guide, and other nature lovers.  I wish I could say that I remember (or paid much attention to) the names of all of the flowers that we saw, but I was content to take lots of photos in preparation for an upcoming watercolor series (more on that later), and just enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Friday, June 1, 2012

North Coast Open Studios

This weekend is the beginning of North Coast Open Studios.  Studios all over the county will be open two weekends, June 2,3 and June 9,10  from 11-5. 

I'll be showing new work---especially recent drawings of the World War II Veteran Portrait Project, which is my real focus these days, and of course a few dog paintings, plus some florals, contemplatives, and recent archival prints.  Come on by!  We might even have a couple of agility demonstrations. 

Eugene AKC Agility

Mike, Emma, Raleigh and I spent four days in Eugene at the Eugene Kennel Club's AKC Agility trial.  It was a great weekend and Raleigh once again showed himself to be a steadfast competitor.  He ran 11 times and qualified in ten of those, earning two titles.  Oh, and he placed first each time.  He is shown above with some of his ribbons.  It would not be honest to omit the fact that often there were only three dogs in his class, and sometimes only one, so it wasn't very difficult to come in first place.  But, he ran well, and considering the unimpressive skill of his handler (me), it is pretty remarkable that he does so well.

Emma on the other hand, continued her pattern of zooming all over the course, jumping off of obstacles, and being pretty out of control.  In spite of this, she did title in Fast, which at this point is her only real attribute in the sport.  Raleigh's performance took a bit of the sting off of the fatal fault received by one judge (definitely deserved), and being whistled off the course by the other (again, totally in order). 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cassius Smith

This is one of the veterans who was on the second flight.  Cassius, who also goes by Ed, is a great guy with some remarkable and very moving stories about his experiences in the Pacific.  He enlisted when he was 17 years old and soon after was send to Wake Island where he was a prisoner of war for four years.  He is a true American hero, and a heck of a nice guy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It was not my intention to post this photo of my cat Zoe, but as I opened up the program, I remembered that I had promised a friend to show her how well this cat is doing. So here you go, Frances. Zoe will be 19 years old pretty soon and as you can see, is aging quite gracefully. In fact, sometimes it's difficult to see that she is aging at all.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekend in Lake County

We went to Kelseyville this past weekend for the Lake County Kennel Club Dog Show. The deciding factor about attending was that our dear friend, Fr. Leo Joseph lives nearby and we wanted to visit him. He serves St. John's in Lakeport, so we attended Palm Sunday service (note the large palm cross on my lapel). It was a lovely service and a very meaningful beginning to Holy Week and such a joy to spend time with Leo.

Now to the mundane. It was cold this weekend. Really cold. And wet. The dog show was outside, and the weather changed every 30 minutes or so. It never got warm, stayed in the high thirties/low forties, and alternated between rain and hail. The course was not covered, so we huddled in the covered area hoping that it wouldn't be hailing when it was our turn to compete. Quite honestly, the weather was better than our performance. For some reason both dogs were distracted, finding really interesting things to sniff in the lawn or the breeze, or the rain come to think of it. The worst part was that Emma was fascinated with the judge on Sunday. It may have been her British accent or red jacket, but Emma kept heading towards her and ignoring my directions. Very frustrating. Amazingly, we qualified in all four runs. On Sunday, Raleigh took a fourth, and Emma got second place. The only thing I can figure is that perhaps the judges couldn't see the real performance due to the hail, and they gave us the benefit of the doubt, which I appreciate very much. Oh, the photo is of the presentation of awards after Raleigh titled in Advanced. Notice that he is looking right at the camera. I wish his focus were that good during the competition.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Lest it seem that my entire life is consumed by vets and dogs (although there could be worse things) here is a photo taken yesterday before my Book Club convened. This is a lively group, and we are dedicated to reading, honest discussions, and good food, with a tiny bit of emphasis on the latter. Dan, the Executive Chef at the Ingomar Club is shown above presenting our Hawaiian themed hors d'oeuvres, shrimp in coconut. This tasty beginning set the stage for our discussion of this month's book, Moloka'i (which everyone except me really liked). We ended on a sweet note with delicious coconut butter cookies. Not a bad way to discuss literature.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Walt Pieper

Walt was one of the three veterans on the first flight who served at Iwo Jima. Aside from being a warm and elegant man, he is a real supporter of Honor Flight, and it is always good to see him at our reunions.

Hardy Wallen

Hardy also had a 90th birthday party recently, and it was great to be there with his friends and admirers from all over the county. Hardy is quite a guy---and I try to stop by Alder Bay, where he and Phil (another vet soon to be on these pages) live--when I am in Eureka. Friday afternoon is the time to be there, as the two of them preside over the weekly TGIF (Johnny Walker Black label being the beverage of choice)

Art Wilson

Mike and I had the pleasure of attending Art's 90th birthday celebration on December 30. It was a dance at the Moose Lodge in Eureka. In addition to being an all around great guy, Art is an excellent dancer!

Honor Flight Veterans

After the last Honor Flight in October, when North Coast Honor Flight chartered a flight from the Arcata Airport and took nearly 100 local WWII vets to Washington, making a total of nearly 150 veterans, it became apparent that it was time for me to get back to the studio, and let some other local folks have the privilege of being involved with this great program, and meeting and serving these American heroes. What I didn't anticipate was that it wasn't the end of my involvement, it was simply the beginning of a new phase. Along with my other artwork, I have been working on drawings of the veterans, mostly those that were on the first flight back in May. I'll be posting them on this site, and we are considering various venues for a show and possible slide presentation of this series. In the meantime, I continue to draw, and will be posting them on this blog. If any of you have ideas for a venue, we welcome them.

The first drawing above, is Bob Brown. Next is Carl Zander, who passed away a couple of months ago.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

After the agility weekend, the dogs and I paid a visit to our friends, Andy and Sandy Westfall in Ferndale. Andy is the author of the fabulous book, Humboldt Heartland, and Sandy is a professional organizer extraordinaire. We knew each other when we were students at Cal Berkeley many years ago, and then, as now, they were a bright spot and people that I feel privileged to know. In addition to their other vocations, they are ranchers and live next to a dairy ranch. This was the first time that Emma ever saw a cow up close, and she, well, she went nuts. Come to think of it, her behavior was a lot like it was at the trials the previous weekend--a little out of control. You can tell from the photo that they cows were really intimidated by her. They nearly knocked the fence down trying to get a closer look at this odd little dog running around in figure eights and circles. I don't think that this is the kind of bovine behavior that a cattle herding dog is supposed to elicit.

More teacup folks

Two other teams---I especially like the row of trucks behind them. You meet the nicest people in agility---it takes a certain kind of person to spend the weekend in a truck barn with a bunch of small dogs and their handlers.

By the way, the group shot and video were taken by Susan Fan-Brown, who does beautiful work, and was a great asset to the weekend.

We recently participated in the first TDAA Agility Trial hosted by Pint-Sized Agility. The trials took place in Santa Rosa, in a very large building, that I think is some kind of a truck garage, well I know that it is as there were a bunch of trucks parked next to the arena. TDAA is for small dogs so you agility folks out there will notice that everything in the course is downsized. Unfortunately, this more appropriate scale did nothing to improve Emma's performance, as evidenced in the video. Out of eight runs, she did not qualify once, and several times, didn't even manage to stay on the course. It did take a bit of the fun out of it as there was no happy anticipation before we started each run, but rather, a mild sense of dread and apprehension since there was no telling what she would do next, and odds were that it wasn't going to be something good. Raleigh on the other hand was on his game---the first day anyway. After three "q's and one title on Saturday, he celebrated that night by sneaking into the jerky treats and consuming nearly the entire, Costco-sized container. He did this while we were visiting friends, and he was in the car, so I had no idea until that night.. When he started consuming great quantities of water and looking pretty puny, I really thought that he was diabetic and was quite concerned, until that is, I started packing the car the next morning and found the tell-tale empty container. He paid the price for his gluttony by only qualifying once. He was so bloated that he looked a bit like a bratwurst trying to run the course. I have never seen him run so slowly.