Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Adventures in Canadia

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Friday we took the day off to go up to Victoria, BC to see Nine Inch Nails live for the 3rd time in 18 months. This would be the 5th time we’ve seen them. We planned this trip months ago when the show was announced, but it recently was made more interesting by the addition of bringing a Bernese puppy back from Victoria for Robin. Of COURSE we jumped at the opportunity to spend a few hours with a 12 week old Cherokee (sssshhhh!) puppy.

We arranged to leave Titan with Lisa Ebnet overnight. She lives up in Ferndale, just south of the Canada border. I thought it would be a good test for him, as he’s never spent the night elsewhere, and he just might enjoy romping with the girls she still has at the farm. We hung out for a bit, then ducked out while he was trying to get Cami to play with him.

The border crossing was a breeze and we were pressing to make the 1:00 Tsawwassen ferry. Goob had a meeting with a colleague in Victoria at 3:30, which would have worked out great with a 1.5 hour ferry crossing. We got on the boat and sat down to listen to some Canucks play some decent music while we waited for the food service line to get shorter than 300 people. About 20 minutes into the crossing, and right after the first song, the boat’s alarms sounded, the captain called all hands to stations, and the boat took a sharp turn.  We looked out the right side and saw a cloud of orange smoke. Turns out, some joker jumped off the boat. They rescued the guy, got him on board, and we headed back to the Tsawwassen terminal. They had to cancel the next ferry, but we left later without issue, and only 1.5 hours behind schedule. I hope that the dude who jumped had a real good reason for doing that. If not, then he should be jailed.

Once we finally got to Victoria the rest of the evening went swimmingly, pun sorta intended. The NiN show was great, although the energy of the crowd was pretty low. 2/3rds of our section didn’t stand up until towards the end. Trent always puts on a tremendous visual performance, and even though they were lower energy, the crowd dug the show. It was a small venue too, maybe only 10,000 people? It was over around 11:00, and we stopped at a pub for a quick beer before heading back to the hotel to crash. We had business to take care of in the morning!

Saturday morning we got up and headed back out towards the ferry. We arranged to meet the puppy, Autumn, at a grocery store enroute at around 9:15. She was living with some breeders at a kennel there, Swiss Kiss Berners, and we met Jeff as scheduled. Autumn is adorable. We have pictures and will post some. We hung out for a bit to let her get used to us before heading to the ferry. Everything was fine until we put her in her crate. Then she freaked out. So…. out of the crate she came and Goob played with her in the back. When we got to the ferry line she was totally fine again. That’s the nice thing about puppies, they get past things quickly and return to being themselves. She romped around the soggy muddy grass at the terminal for awhile, getting wet and muddy, and attracting throngs of people who just had to pet her and say hi. If you don’t want to attract attention to yourself, don’t be seen in public with a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. The ferry ride back was uneventful, and we stayed on the car deck the whole time, playing with Autumn and plotting schemes to keep her instead of giving her back to Robin.

The line to get across the border was about 1.25 hours long. Bleah. So it was a good thing we had a cute puppy to play with and entertain us. When we were finally about 5 cars behind the booth, the border guards came out with their sniff dogs. We had just watched a German Shepard work while we were at the ferry line in Edmonds on Thanksgiving and he was all business. This dog… a young golden lab, was too playful. I don’t think she took her job seriously. We watched her sniffing along, kinda la-dee-daa happy go lucky, until she got to our car. Boy, she liked our car. The two officers took note of that, and to avoid false positives they take dogs away and let them continue on smelling other cars, then circle back to the offending car to confirm. Well, when they came back, she was VERY curious and totally dug our car. They’re trained to react when they smell drugs or bombs or explosives or certain chemicals or what not, but otherwise be calm. Goob and I were laughing, because here we are with this puppy in the car, the same car that within the last couple weeks has been to 2 different breeder farms, PLUS had Titan smells all over it… And this dog DUG our car. I was watching the officers and of course, they’re all serious and official. They radio up to the guy in the booth. When we get to the booth, they’re waiting in our lane in front of us. We go through our normal thing, where we went, how long, etc. Then the booth officer says “We’re going to ask you to pull over to the left for a little vehicle processing”, and sticks this orange sticker-form on our windshield.

So, we pull over to the left and the two very serious officers are discussing things, then the one without the dog comes over and asks me to shut off the car, and to give him the orange form. He walks off-camera while the dog handling officer takes ’super-happy sniff dog’ around the car. When he gets around to my open driver side window, this dog jumps up into the window to say hello. We’re laughing the whole time in amusement. When the dog finishes her circle, the other guy comes back up to talk to us.

Officer 1, “Is it just the two of you in the car”
Me, smiling, “Yep, just us two. And a puppy.”
Officer 1, “You have a puppy in the car with you?”
Us, full grins, “Yep. 12 weeks old!”
Officer 1, fighting a smirk, “Please wait.”
Officer 1 speaks to Dog Officer. Dog officer glances at car, rolls his eyes, and also fights a smile. He pets sniff dog and I swear he laughed.
Officer 1 returns to car, “We’re going to have you back up. You’re free to go.”

The drug/bomd dog loved our car because it was a haven of doggie smells, AND I’m sure because we had the puppy. I think these guys have had this sort of false positive before, based on their reaction. So funny. I will remember this little episode forever. We’d been joking all week about smuggling a puppy across the border, and then this little sniff dog took a shine to us for that exact reason. So funny.

Anyway, we made it back to Lisa’s to pick up Titan. He was wrecked. He was dirty from trying to play with the Ebnet girls. Most of which wouldn’t play with him. He was also tired and hungry because his overnight didn’t go so well. He hadn’t eaten. But, he got us and a puppy to play with a bit so that helped him calm down. As soon as we were in the car and on our way home, he was zombie dog the whole way.

We got home about 5:00 and Robin came by at 6:15 to get Autumn and take her to her new home. She left by 7:15 and Autumn had gone. She was so cute. I hope her new home in Wallingford. We will definately be keeping tabs on her to make sure she’s doing good.

All in all, it was an action packed Canadian adventure. Gotta love ‘em.

Let’s Recap, Shall We?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Apple Crush… GOOD! Lots of food and plenty of good homebrew. Everyone dug my beer, even the people who beat me at the Chelan Fair. Did I mention tons of apples? We brought back about 7 gallons of freshly crushed cider and a whole box of apples in which to make all sorts of applely things like pie and crisp and sauce. Want an apple?

Politics… Sigh… Is it frickin’ over yet? I’ve watched the debates, I’ve read the stories, I’ve reviewed the various SNL skits. Stop telling me how important this is. If it was, then the LAST time it was so important, why did nothing change? And how can I be focused on “The Most Important Election In The History of The Universe”(tm) if I’m also supposed to be scared shitless over the economic collapse of the entire planet, which apparently both candidates caused?

Beer… Dean clued me into a new brew competition coming up. Turns out it’s on November 1, and I’m entering. I brewed last Monday Night, and while it might still be a bit young, I have just barely enough time to get it fermented, bottled, and conditioned before they open them up on 11/1. I tried to do the same recipe as “Stranded Hiker”, but I had to substitute the yeast and 1/3 of the malt with other things. I still don’t have a name for it. I will have more bottles this time, so if it’s good I’ll have plenty to share.

Dodgeball… Team Meatballs is ripping it up not. I roped Goob into the team, along with Ace from work and 5 people from Blue Steel, and just got Chuck’s lady drafted this weekend. We lost our first matches last week, so we’re 0-2. It was tougher than I thought it be, and much more exercise. Last week we played for the 1st time in 20 years so we had an excuse. This week we don’t have that excuse. We’ll have to come up with a new one. WOOOOO!

Titan’s getting his winter coat in. Suddenly he’s shinier and thicker. There’s a lot more furry doggie there to grab onto and rough-up. Good thing that coat never covers up his goofy face. He’s had some food weirdness lately, like not eating everything. He’s OK though, so either he’s just not that hungry or he’s getting picky with his kibble. He visited his new vet last week for a check-up and he’s healthy and happy.

Oh…. did I mention that Stacia hit the board on a dive during her diving meet Saturday? Yep. She broke her big toe on her left foot, plus strained it a bit. She also sprained her 2 middle toes on her right foot. Thankfully, she’s fine and never hit her head or anything, but she’s done diving, is on crutches and has limited mobility. It’s hard to walk on crutches when you have 2 bad feet. She’s going to try hard to recover in 4 weeks because she’s got gymnastics coming up. We’ll see. Today was her first day back at school, and first day not just sitting on the couch getting iced and rested.

We’re still kinda looking around for a companion for Titan. I have a couple of very different leads in very different directions, but am waiting to see how they pan out. In the meantime, I have to email the local Berner group and see if there’s some Berner folk close by that we can arrange some playdates with. He needs a buddy. I have thought about not even doing another Berner, but I didn’t think that for long. I’m a Berner dude.

Tomorrow is Shayna’s 38th birthday. Well, it would be, if it wasn’t for that rather unfortunate death issue. Tommorrow I will spend the day trying not to think about that. I’ll distract myself with Presidential debates and dodgeball.

I think that’s it. If it’s not, well, that’s it anyway.

Assorted Miscellaneous Flotsam With a Accidental Peppering of Haphazard Random Chance

Friday, September 12th, 2008

16 verra-nice pictures have been updated in the gallery. Mountains, wet tree bits, and puppies abound!

I got the review forms back on my beer from the Chelan County Fair. It’s a helpful review, it kinda shows me where I fell down in my attempt. Or, at least compared to how it’s supposed to be according to the style. I wasn’t intending it to be true to a style, I was going for drinkability. That’s the first step; make something drinkable, then worry about style adherance.

I realized I haven’t posted any trail reports from the few that we’ve gone on lately. I’ll sum them up: Long. Cloudy. Upwards. Titan cute, then tired. Foggy. Too crowdy, use frash.

I played my last game with my kickball team on Tuesday. We lost, but it was a good game despite the buttheads we were playing. Seriously, it’s kickball. Get over yourself. Anyway, we’re at 2-3, but there’s one more game so I hope we can end up at .500. Good luck Blue Steal! Next up? DODGE BALL!

Centralia is all but done. Just waiting on final confirmations of payments and whatnot, and then it’s all over. Coming soon : More babbling, and some numbers.

I heard a rumor about me being on a sailboat this Saturday. Curious. Maybe I’ll unveil my latest brew on the boat with Scott & Bernie. ‘Stranded Hiker IPA’. It’s a hoppy, fresh hoppy brew. Fresh. (Fresh) Exciting.

Next week I am in Vegas for the VMWorld Conference. It will be 100 degrees and fake, all week long. Hopefully I learn something. Hopefully I don’t get fitschaced and bet the house on craps. I come back Thursday night. I haven’t flown anywhere since February. I haven’t gone on a business trip since March 2006.

Next Thursday is our anniversary. Four years. WOO! But, I’ll be in Vegas. That’s ok. Goob’s supposed to be wrapping up this crappy project that has consumed and wasted her for the last 6 months that week. Then, we’re taking the next weekend off and doing a ton of hiking, including an overnight up at Goat Flats. I’ll need a week off just to recover from the vacation!

First weekend in October is a big one. Dean’s Apple Crush Festival is on the 4th, and there’s tons of apples to squish and drink, homebrew to drink, and food to eat and people to laugh at. Plus, I’m bringing both of my beers there, and hopefully lots of people will give it a try and maybe even some will dig it. I’m really looking for feedback, good or bad. After that, there’s a home Seahawks game on Sunday. And I think Monday is the Overkill show. Not sure if I’m going or not.

New Metallica CD is suprisingly good. You can’t expect it to be like the stuff they did almost 20 years ago, but it definately sounds more like them than the last few records did. It’s growing on me. I got the concert tickets and will see them on December 1st. First Metallica show since the one I saw with The Zonies at America West Arena in Phoenix on the Black Album tour. 1992? Have I mentioned the 5 Nine Inch Nails shows I’ve seen since then?

Speaking of, they’re coming back this December to Victoria and Portland. We’ll go to the Victoria show. That’s two this year. Hella cool.

Check out this place. Perhaps Titan digs it?

Next beer : A porter. Nice and dark and roasty and smokey. But… ’smoooooth’, just for the Goob.

That’s all I got right now.

Weekend Update with Guido

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

So far, the weekend looks like this:

Saturday Morning – I’m brewing beer, Dammit! I’m going to get it RIGHT.
Saturday Afternoon – HOA picnic thing. Yipp. Eee.
Saturday Night – Nine Inch Nails concert. FUCK YEAH! Twice in less than a year.

Sunday…. Variable, options listed below in ascending order of likelihood. (1 = less likely)

Option 1:
Sunday Morning – Drive to Ferndale to meet with Lisa Ebnet re: Titan’s paperwork & meet her doggies who need homes.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Option 2:
Sunday Morning – Go hiking out I-90
Sunday Afternoon – Visit Robin & let Titan romp with puppies, play with Titan’s poppa, Rocky.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Option 3:
Sunday Morning/Afternoon – Go hiking anywhere.
Sunday Evening – Titan romps with Ben & Jewel, the neighbor Berners

Next weekend is even more up in the air… Hiking… or maybe sockeye fishing at Lake Wenatchee? I can’t lose either way.

The Berner Butt-Whomp : Total Takedown!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

We went camping at a family reunion out at Pacific beach this weekend. More on that later, but I just had to post this video.

Titan loved the beach and he was offleash most of the time, being a total goofy dog. Sunday morning we (sans Kylie, plus Aimee) went down to the little river that drains into the ocean and played around a bit… skipped some rocks… Titan played at the shore… Goob decided to take a simple little movie of Titan digging in the sand… It was a nice quiet morning. Then Kylie woke up and came to the beach to join us. Titan the 98lb puppy was happy to see her… and then he took off…

Random Acts of Senseless Blogging

Monday, July 14th, 2008

This post is also known as “Short Update Update”…

So, the hand. Of course, I didn’t break anything. I have a rather mashed up and irritated tendon or two, which go from being ok, to being stiff, to hurting like bloody fucking hell, but nothing’s broken. It’s probably just my anxiety. I wear a brace from time to time and try to not use it, but still use it so that it doesn’t weaken or stiffen up. The weather last week and ALL week was beautiful for cycling to work, but of course, I didn’t even touch the bike because I can’t grip well, and I certainly can’t absorb the shock to the palm. And I’m not good enough to go for 13 miles in traffic one-handed. I was going to try and bike today, but a bad night caused me to sleep too late and also my hand was pretty stiff this morning from using it all weekend, so perhaps tomorrow. But I’ll live.

We didn’t hike this weekend during the great weather either, for two reasons. One, Goob is so shot and beat from all the work stress and bullshit that she needed the downtime, and I totally get that. The second reason is because we had other plans for Saturday, both of which fell through. So, Saturday ultimately became a complete wash. At least until I took Titan down to the beach for some wet romping, and a surprise visit with his neighbor Berner buddies.

Saturday, we were planning on going back up to visit Titan’s breeder Lisa to speak about her dogs that need homes and to meet them, but that fell through. Most of the reason why I have had so little success with getting in touch with her is because she found out that she was moving to England at the exact same time I got Titan, so she’s been spending the entire time since getting ready to uproot her entire life. And with that same reason, our meeting got postponed until the 27th because she’s still swamped and has other things going on and didn’t want to shortchange the meeting with other plans. So, that was ok. But we were also talking with Robin (who owns Rocky, Titan’s dad) about a female dog she needs to rehome, and we were trying to get something set up to go visit her and the dog and Rocky on Saturday as well. But that also fell through, for busy reasons on her end. (Every time we try… it falls through.)

Sunday we had a little BBQ. Chuck came over and made his “world famous” BBQ corn on the cob and some kebobs. We had brats, dogs, and burgers. Goob’s sister Aimee came over as well. It was a nice Sunday afternoon, and we grilled up a mess of meat, messed with the dog, had a few beers, and sat outside chillin’. Then there was pie! I love pie. PIE PIE PIE! And Ice Cream. Goob made two pies, her always most excellent Blueberry Pie, but then also tried a new pie, Peach! PIE PIE PIE! Sunday was good.

This weekend we’re going camping at a family reunion on Goob’s dad’s side out on the Ocean. It will be our first camping trip with Titan, and I’m concerned about the space in the car. We tend to bring way too much shit, and now we have the back taken up by the pooch. So, I dunno. I’m sure we’ll make it happen fine, after a bit of me stressing out about it. But hey, it’s a three day weekend in any case, so as long as it doesn’t rain on us like last time, it should be good.

The Mayhem Festival was… well, Lemme say this: 15-20 years ago when I started going to shows and listening to heavy bands, there were 3 types that just never did it for me. I’ve always been very picky about my heavy metal.

  1. The growlers. (Example: Cannibal Corpse) They tend to have really, really heavy music, very dark and moody. But then the guy opens his mouth and it’s just barking. And it is usually about death and demons and whatnot. Hey I understand that growling is brutal and definately metal, but you just gotta change it up. Ask Chuck Billy. He’s a perfect example of someone who uses EVERYTHING his chords give.
  2. Two: The screamers. (Example: DragonForce) These bands are the ones who have the fastest guitar chops around, fast paced, high energy music, but the guy they drafted to sing sounds like he should have never left the soprano section of the choir. And they always sing about dragons and mists and really pussy demons. These songs are easily identifiable as soon as they start. Fast Riffs, very tinny, and then BAM! Some guy’s nuts are put in the vise for 4.5 minutes. NEXT!
  3. Three: The yellers. (Example: 60% of the bill at Mayhem, i.e. Walls of Jericho) These are relatively new. These piss me off the most. The yellers are those who’s songs start like normal metal songs; very heavy, good solid riffs and heart pounding drums. Then the vocals start and it’s just yelling/screaming. What did you just say? Why are you screaming so much? Shut up fucknut because the music behind you is good, you’re drowning it out! I blame the Deftones. They were good at the scream vocals. But they always changed it up. That’s the thing. It can’t be your only trick.

These jokers are not doing anything new. I’ve heard all that before. When you were still shittin’ your diapers, we did that scene. It’s old. GOOD metal finds a way to be heavy, convey a message, and still be understandable. Even those who don’t get into the heavy stuff can tell the difference. You still can’t beat the Professionals who defined the genre: Go study Testament, Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, Flotsam & Jetsam, Overkill, Megadeth, and understand your roots. Then take the new metal elements and work them into it. You can do it. Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, and Slipknot are prime examples of bands who have done that.

Anyway, I went there for Slipknot, Disturbed, Machinehead, and Five Finger Death Punch, so there was a lot of waiting around while these other assclowns played. Machinehead sucked live. 5FDP stole the show on the small stage. They’re really good. They have all the elements to be a big hit. On the big stage the show was owned by Disturbed, and then Slipknot. Disturbed was really good live. I was impressed, as their songs transferred well to the live show. I will check them out again when they do their own tour. (And if you’re still stuck on that song from 10 years ago… get over it.) As for Slipknot… Wow. WOW. The energy they put out… They’re fucking nuts. My neck hurt afterwards. It was their first show in 2.5 years; new CD coming out, new masks… good shit. Goob was… uh… well, it’s not her thing but she took it all like the trooper she is. I did catch her boogying a bit though… It was worth wading/waiting through the crap.

There are a ton of new pictures posted in the Gallery. Go over there and check out new pics of Titan, puppies, waterfalls, moss, and other NW goodies. There’s about 10 small albums with about 40 total pictures posted.

Speaking of pictures, here’s one I’ve been waiting to post. This is a picture of Titan and his sister Touché. Can you guess who’s who? I’ll give you a hint… Titan’s the one sitting. :) Look at their faces. They are almost identical! (Click the image for a bigger picture)

Titan & His Sister Touche

So… about the 2nd Berner… That’s for another post…

Doggies! Doggies Everywhere!

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This post is also known as “Titan’s Exciting Weekend”

Ah… a three day weekend comes around finally, one without a day being sick on either end. Here’s a rambling account of the weekend activities. 

Friday after work I went out for a drink with Jen because I’m a helper. See, her computer died 10 months ago and she’s been unable to get it working since. It’s also taken her 10 months to ask me for real help. We met so I could get the computer and work my magic. (My magic appears to work well.) Afterwards, I was supposed to go down to the market to get my Copper River Salmon, which is my extra-extra splurgy birthday treat for myself. But they were closed by the time we got there. I pouted for about an hour. :) We got home, made dinner, played with Titan, watched Sahara and then went to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up with ideas of hiking. The forcast for the week had shifted from being promising to looking like crap. But you should never let that stop you. We opted to go to Lake Serene, and off we went with Titan. As soon as we got out of the city, the clouds were gone and it was a beautiful day. The hike was good; we were basically the first ones up the trail. Titan did really well and I think he’s getting conditioned nicely to our activity level. Lake Serene is a short trail, only 3 miles one way or so, but it gains its 1600ft of elevation gain in miles 2 & 3 via a number of steps. The big goof had plenty of energy, wasn’t too hot, and loved it all. We didn’t make it all the way to the lake because the final slope was rather snowy and had lots of postholes and gaping black spots of nothingness, and Titan didn’t quite know how to handle it, which made our traverse of it dangerous. So, we just stopped and had our snacks there.

We were running a little late after the hike because Titan was due for his monthly bath. The place closed at 3, and we got there at 2:30. He’s been blowing coat lately, and he was getting groomed on Sunday, so getting a bath on Saturday after a grungy hike was important. He was very tired after the hike and during the bath, but when we got home he still had energy to romp around and play. Like I said, his conditioning is getting better. He did crash hard later though.

Sunday was planned to be a big, big day for Titan. On the morning walk we met the local Berners, Ben & Jewel, who live down the street. We’ve seen them before and had good encounters, but we haven’t spent much time with them. Titan’s very timid with dogs, but with Berners he’s much more comfortable. After a minute of uncertainty, Titan let his guard down and he was romping around the yard with them. He really liked Ben, and they rolled around the yard, romping, huffing, growling; fur flying everywhere. Jewel participated too, but she was more interested in flopping on my feet and getting a belly rub. We parted company and made tentative plans to get together on Monday for more romping.

At 9:30 we left to go down to Tukwila to visit with Dave & Shirley, Titan’s previous humans, and get him groomed. He’s not been back to the house since we took him home on March 8. As he got out of the car he was excited, curious, and as soon as he saw Shirley he went nuts; jumping around, tail wagging wildly. He wandered through the house, sniffing everything, checking out all the old haunts. And if all that wasn’t exciting enough, they then let the dogs out:

Spirit, the now 6 month old puppy he used to babysit and play with.
Summit, a new 6 month old puppy he hasn’t met.
Touche, his sister from the same litter, who he has only seen once since the litter split.
Luna, his old girlfriend and the one who makes him lose his mind.
Bart, his old friend.

What a mass of dog. We all hung out on the deck while the doggies checked each other out. Titan was tremendous. He was a little unsure at first when all the dogs came at him, but he got over it quickly when the familiarity of most of them took hold. He especially liked Luna. Titan, the dog-timid Berner, was romping and playing with 4 dogs in an enclosed space. He batted Spirit around as usual, he welcomed Summit with an open mouth and a big paw, and Luna? Well… he’s only been fixed for 3 months. He kinda remembered what she meant, but nothing happened. Of course, Touche interested him too. He was great with all of them. Totally at ease.

Then we got the carting equipment out. He’s never been attached to a cart until now so I was unsure of how he’d respond. The first time alone was ok, but he was definately uneasy with it on him at first, but calmed down a bit. To aid in his acceptance, she changed the cart from a single to a double and put him in a team with Bart. This was the key. Bart did most of the work. He’s a carting national champion. Titan was calm and walked next to his buddy proudly. Then we took Bart off and let Titan go it alone and he did much better this time. The cart still spooked him at times, but he didn’t freak. I will definately be getting him a cart to work with from time to time.

We all played with the dogs, ruffing up puppies, being extra nice to Touche (she’s people-timid), and getting covered in drool and hair.

After all the dogs calmed down we grabbed Titan and put him on the grooming table. Dave groomed him nicely, and after blowing coat, having a bath, and a grooming session, he was in prime condition. Then Robin came over. Robin owns Titan’s dad, Rocky, and she was instrumental in me getting Titan. She got to see our big, beautiful, healthy happy Berner Boy Titan for only the 2nd time in 5 months. She was impressed. She also brought along her puppy Ferarri, who is 4 months old. That puppy got mauled by everyone when he showed up.

It was a great visit, and D&S were impressed with Titan. He’s is great shape, well behaved, and I was very proud of him, and with myself and all of us too, for being able to take care of him like we have.

Around 1:00 or so we left to head back downtown. I still had fish business to complete. We parked at Goob’s office and walked down to Pike Place Market to obtain my salmon. It was packed with people. The goobers stayed back with Titan while I went to the fish throwers. Titan had had enough by the time I got back with my fish. Too much going on, too many people paying him attention, hot, thirsty, and tired. We walked back to the car and he had his “I’m ready to be done” walk. This walk is fast and purposeful, it’s only direction is the one that leads directly back to the car/house.

It wasn’t over for him yet though, because we had to go to his final class in his Better Manners course. He was excitable, tired, hungry, and a little off during the class. He wanted to play with the other dog (which he never did before), and was timid around the instructor. But, he was attentive and followed instructions well. We went through all the tests of the CGC (Canine Good Citizen), and the only one he had a problem with was the ones with the instructor petting him, grabbing a paw, etc. He’s done it fine before, but he was just off on Sunday. He finished the course, got a toy and a certificate, and we went home for dinner.

Somehow, he still had energy. Both Saturday and Sunday when we expected him to be a Zombie, he managed to be energetic and playful. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with if we can’t wear him out on a hike.

He’s had a big weekend thus far. Today should be low-key because this human needs a day of rest. However, Ben  & Jewel may come over for some romping. Other than that, he’ll be calm. He’s tired, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He’s sleeping right now, but I guarantee that if I grab his lead and show it to him he’ll be up, alert, tail wagging, and ready to go for a long walk again.

As for the humans, Goob’s home working, I have fish, floors, and computers to attend to, and the girls have… well, homework and room cleaning. Other than that, we’re lounging today.

Drunken Squirrel Suppositories From Beyond the Moon

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

So it is May 15th already, huh. Damn. That means that I have rolled another digit on my doomsday clock. It also means that May is half over and that the summer months are on the way.

That means hiking! Yay! We’ve done some goober hikes lately with Titan, such as Rattlesnake and Wallace Falls, but pretty soon we’re going to have to start doing some harder hikes to get in shape for the season. We’ll also have to work more on Titan’s conditioning and see what trails are appropriate for him. He’s a big strong boy, but he’s got a thick black coat and can get very hot. Plenty of water breaks are definately in order.

We have a short heat wave on the way; it’s supposed to reach 85 by Saturday. Bleah. Mid 70’s would be plenty, but I appreciate the higher temps to help melt that snowpack. I’ve got marmots to play with! Anyway, we’ll head out somewhere like Lake Serene on Saturday and take advantage. Probably get the grill out, maybe take Titan to Magnuson park, who knows.

The bike is out and is in full swing. I got a tune-up yesterday, and they let me know that my chain was uber-stretched, and should have been changed 1,500 miles ago. Because I hadn’t, it wore down the gears. It all makes sense because last year I started having a lot of sluggishness when riding, but I figured that it was just me. So I got a new chain and a new gear cassette. What a difference it makes! Anyway, I’ve got at least 2 rides this week, and might get 1/2 one tomorrow morning. With the weather nice, it gives me an opportunity to work on my chipmunk racing stripes.

Last weekend was Maifest in Leavenworth and Titan and I walked in the silly little parade. He met a bunch of cousins and half brothers and about 40 other Berners and Swissies. He did really good with all the dogs and people, I was rather impressed. He even stayed in an Xpen with 2 other dogs with no issues. However, by Sunday I think he’d had enough dogs and while we were waiting for girlies to get ice cream he barked and caused a fuss at non-berners as they passed by. I think he was mentally tired and turned into a bit of a snot. I dig that doggie a lot, but he can certainly get on my nerves with some of his behavior.

That’s about all I got. I’m not really exciting. I work, I take care of dog, I sleep. That’s about it. There’s some TV, eating, and maybe other extra curricular activities like hiking/biking/bouts-of-uncontrollable-rage, but it’s pretty predictable. Like Trent Reznor said, “Every day is exactly the same…”


Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Holy cow it is May already.

Today is May Uno, a.k.a. May Day. Unfortunately it is not a holiday here in the States because our holidays suck (i.e. we don’t have enough). I have managed to string 2 days of biking to work together, which is quite a feat considering I’ve only been able to do it once before since getting Titan. Between the weather being inconsistent, being sick here and there, and the whole doggie schedule thing, it just hasn’t been happening. But now that it is May, it has to. I need it for health and sanity.

Speaking of “May”… Next weekend is a big weekend. I’m taking the Friday (9th) off, and we are headed to Leavenworth for the Maifest activities in the Bavarian Village. The Seattle Bernese Club is participating in the parade, so we’re going with The Boy to chill out and eat BBQ and watch a buncha Berners romp around. That Saturday is my birthday, too. I’ll be… old. We’ll come back Sunday morning, which is Mother’s Day. Everyone be sure to call your mommies.

And now for MAYHEM! A couple years ago I dragged Goob up to Canadia for GIGANTOUR, which was a huge concert with Fear Factory, Anthrax, Megadeth, and a bunch of other heavy bands (this year’s billing SUCKS). I enjoyed it, Goob endured it like a champ. I told her she could pay me back by dragging me to Blink182 or something. She hasn’t yet. Instead, I dragged her over to Hawaii for a NIN show last year. Well, I’m at it again. I guess I refuse to be old in some ways. I still dig shows.

I found out almost by accident that there was a huge show coming up in early July called the Mayhem Festival. Who’s on the bill? Well, tons of bands that are MEH, plus Machine Head and Five Finger Death Punch, and headlined by Disturbed and…. SLIPKNOT! Well, I couldn’t say no. I medically needed to see Slipknot perform live; those fuckers are crazy, all NINE of them. So… I bought tickets, informed the Goob, she rolled her eyes and snickered at me and agreed, so we’ll be there on July 9. Although this time I think we’ll skip a lot of the opening schmucks.

That’s it for now. Happy May. It’s a good month. Lots of birthdays and spring is in full steam… Yay May!

Weekend Outwook & Woof!

Friday, February 8th, 2008

So as mentioned in another post, today is Goob’s birthday. We don’t have anything specific to her birthday planned for today, but we do have stuff to do this weekend.

Today after work we are headed south for the weekend. We’re starting off by heading up to her Dad’s cabin by Mt. Rainier & the Crystal Mountain ski area. Their cabin is pretty cool, and we’ll be staying there until Sunday. Saturday we’re heading up Crystal to go skiing. Except that I don’t ski. I tried once and it didn’t go well. My legs just aren’t made to bend and move like that. So instead I’m taking a snowboard lesson. What’s that you say? I’m almost 34 and never snowboarded, plus I’m not flexible and will probably break something? Yeah. That. I figure boarding, if any of it, would be the best bet because when you fall, at least your legs stay together. In skiing, your legs go all sorts of ways and that would be bad for my knees. Plus, my feet are naturally in a snowplow position anyway. It would end badly. Anyway, that’s the plan and we’ll see if I survive. I have to survive. I’ve got other things to do!

So, we’re staying there Saturday night as well. Sunday morning we’ll head over to Sumner. What’s in Sumner, you ask? Well I’ll tell you. If you haven’t spent much time with me lately, you may not notice there’s something I just won’t quit talking about. But you might have picked up some little statements on the blog about me wanting a dog. Not just any dog, but what I believe is the ultimate dog for me, the Bernese Mountain Dog. In Sumner, I am attending the meeting of the Bernese Mountain Dog Society of Greater Seattle to meet many Berners and their people, and learn, learn, learn.

Now for a few statements of history. One, I had never really thought of myself as a dog person. We never had dogs when I was a kid, even though we were on a farm. Not sure why we didn’t. I think someone didn’t like them. There was also a period of time where I was afraid of them, and one day it just ended. Of course, later on we had cats. Lots of cats. Gobs and gobs of cats, some who were cool, many who were not. When I went out on my own, I had no intention of getting any pets, except for the fish I kept. I liked dogs just fine, but didn’t feel that I could care for one or give them what they needed.

But I always said that one day I would have a dog. It usually came out in the conversations with The Mad Zonie about being old grumps sitting on the porch drinkin’ whiskey, with a big lazy dog and a shotgun, yelling cranky old coot phrases at the passing whippersnappers. I even came up with the basic idea of the dog I wanted, and anytime the topic came up the phrase would be as such: “I want a big, lazy dog. I want him to spend all day sleeping just so he can have enough energy to lift up his head every now and then and go “WOOF!” and go back to sleep. And every now and then he’d get up, go absolutely nuts, then fall back to sleep.” It amused me to think of that kind of laid back dog.

This changed a bit when I moved to Seattle. I started hiking and seeing the dogs hiking with their people and I liked that idea. I modified the statement to include that the dog had to be a hiking dog. He could be laid back and quiet, but boy howdy when it came time to go hiking, he’d be rip-roarin’ ready to go! Then one day years ago I was out hiking somewhere with Jen and we saw this big & strong and very happy beautiful black, tan, and white dog on the trail. I know nothing about breeds, but this dog struck my brain instantly. I asked her what it was and like the wealth of trivia facts she is, she knew and said it was a Bernese Mountain Dog. I did some research and learned and realized that this big furry dog was a huge undertaking and probably waay out of my league. But it didn’t change my interest. As the years passed on I saw a few Berners here and there and they always reminded me. And now, whenever the topic of getting a dog came up the previous statement about ‘my kind of dog’ was modified to specifically state the kind of dog: A Bernese Mountain Dog.

But I was nowhere near getting one, or really thinking that it was the right thing for me, Berner or not. I just liked the dogs. The thoughts always came and went as life changed and conditions improved to being able to support a pet. I knew I wanted a pet. We talked about hermit crabs, bunnies, lizards, even a cat, but any discussion of a dog stopped when I thought about it because a) I knew I wanted a Berner-type dog, not just any dog, but they had too much hair, b) they require a lot of attention, c) I’m just not fond of picking up warm piles of fresh shit. But that’s with any pet. So the pet discussions went nowhere fast.

It was again on a hike that things started to change. One day last year Goob and I found ourselves lazily walking around a thawing Mount Baker, taking the usual pictures of water at various stages of melt. These people with a puppy were coming up to us on the trail, and we stepped aside. As the puppy came closer I got a good look at it and it was absolutely the cutest puppy I have ever seen. Period. Look, I like puppies, everyone likes puppies. They’re all adorable. But this one was… wow. Even Goob, who historically has been apathetic towards dogs, was taken aback. I asked them what kind of dog it was because it looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure. I was taken aback when they said it was a Berner. I had never seen a Bernese puppy up close. It was adorable and to this day I still remember it. That encounter got the brain working.

More recently, other dogs helped to change things. We worked on a WTA work party early this summer and one of the volunteers brought his dog along. The dog’s name was Goober, and he really liked Sunny. He was really fun to watch. Another item was when Jen finally got Duncan. She had always wanted a dog, but it was always something she talked herself out of, made reasons for why it wouldn’t work, procrastinated, etc. And the magic that Duncan did in her life to be a companion and the instant match that he was for her was very cool to see. It got me thinking, heck, if she could do it, why couldn’t I? What are the things that hold me back? Not too long later we saw an adult Berner resting on the sidewalk at U-Village, and I didn’t want to stop watching her.

More recently, I started thinking seriously about the dog question. Obviously, I started looking at Berners. They have a lot of drawbacks, such as short life span, some health problems, and obviously they are big and furry and probably poop a lot. They need a lot of attention, exercise, and most importantly, they need to be a part of the family. They are big house dogs who love you to death and expect to be treated like family, not just the dog. It’s quite the commitment, and I had to know if I was able to handle it.

As time has progressed, I have been doing a lot of research on the breed, and even more time researching my motives, and figuring out how or if it would work, and what I would need to change to make it work. I would need to make some physical changes to the living environment, but many more mental and emotional changes. Along the way in this exercise it stopped being about any dog, but a Berner, and a boy Berner to boot. When I focused on that, I found myself being able to visualize the dog, the change in life, and the exact kind of dog I want. And thus far there is zero doubt in my mind that it is this wonderful breed, the little bears called Berners.

So, back to the dog meeting this Sunday. All of us are going, and we’re going to have our first real encounters with the dogs. See, I can read and investigate all I want, but you only know you’re sure when you meet the dogs and get to know how they act, what their temperaments are like, and especially talk with their humans who share their lives. Getting involved with this group will help me learn about the breed, dogs in general, and give me the ability to get a dog when we’re ready. Plus, it will help me make sure this is the right path. Having a Berner as your first dog is a daunting starting point, and I have to get it right. It’s the only thing that’s fair to the dog.

As for the timeline for getting a doggie, well, I don’t know. We have some changes we need to make to the house. Carpet to take out, doggie doors to install. We also have to save up for all this, because it is not going to be cheap. Plus, even if I was ready today, I still might have to wait months just to get one, due to demand and availability. We’re not sure on puppies or adolescent dogs yet, either. This I hope to have answered as time goes on. But over the next few months we will be slowing making those changes to support the new family member. Because even if it comes out that a Berner isn’t the right dog right now, I’m still getting a dog.

More on all this later.