Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Giant inflatable lawn ornaments....

Tis the season for twinkling lights strung carefully along rooflines, down pillars, over hedges and around tree trunks...I'll accept holiday lighting as a custom of the season - beginning years ago with the really big bulbs, now morphed into neighbor out-does-neighbor, war of the cul-de-sac where the winners spin their electric meters the fastest.

In the last few years though I've observed a frightening trend...instead of silhouetted reindeer (moderately tacky), plastic manger scenes (observant but tacky) or giant plastic foot soldiers from the nutcracker (don't get me started) the new "thing" to install on your December lawn in order to show how "christmasy" you feel (and thus want to push down your neighbor's throat) are giant inflatable snowmen, snow globes, santas, reindeer or - the worst so far - a giant inflatable nativity scene - 8' tall with optional inflatable wisemen. (sigh)


You too can have your own GIANT INFLATABLE JESUSThe commercialism of Christmas is one thing - not that I am a deeply religious person because I'm not, but I am completely flummoxed that someone with a moderate amount of decorum, intelligence and common sense would go out to a retail outlet, walk down the aisles and actually spend money for a big plastic pool toy. Then - oh then it gets better. Those people pack their cars, drive home to their raised ranches, capes, colonials, etc and think to themselves - "hey, you know what would really make my house look great? That giant inflatable snowman I just bought at WalMart for $9.99!!!". So they inflate Frosty, stake him to the ground and step back to admire their creation...what a look! What a fantastic conversation piece! What a tribute to their own Christmas spirit. Wow, you know what Frosty really needs (besides a run-in with a nail gun of course)? Frosty needs a friend - how about we go back to WalMart and purchase the giant inflatable Santa wearing Mickey Mouse ears too! Now one hideous lawn ornament isn't enough - we must have three, four - FIVE of these damn things.

If these abominations were limited to Christmas I think I might not mind them so much - but it's not just Christmas. There are ghosts, scarecrows (what ever happened to making them with old clothes and straw or newspaper?), witches, goblins, etc for halloween, giant inflatable hearts for valentine's day, inflatable Turkeys, leprechauns, and who could forget Uncle Sam for the 4th of July...I even saw one 10-15foot tall inflatable Iwo Jima flag raising inflatable for memorial day...Oh - it so gets worse...

So remember, the next time you think Christmas - think inflatable. It's what all the cool kids are blowing up for Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Big Snow...

It's been snowing pretty much all week, an inch or two here and there. Today was the big storm and it didn't disappoint the snowbuffs. We had about 8" by 11:30 this morning then a bit of a break until round two socked us in again around 4pm. I think we've got about 14" out there now and it continues to snow a bit.

Teller galloping in the snow

The boys were mostly cooped up in the house today as it was pretty windy and nasty out there...they don't seem to mind but I don't want them getting cold and wet and then potentially sick, so when they went out I went with them and then gathered them back up and inside after their business was finished...OK, maybe it's me. There's something about snow days, watching cartoons and eating chicken noodle soup from a can that's ultimately appealing to me once in a while. Sure, I make a helluva homemade chicken soup, it's so easy to make and there's of course something to be said about soups with more than teeny pieces of chicken bits and bloated egg noodles (you know, like vegetables) - but there is also something so satisfying about the campbells brand...maybe it's childhood, maybe it's simplicity, maybe it's because it's so damn easy, maybe they put something addictive in that yellow concentrated broth (to which I never add water). I guess it's just MMM, MMM, Good.

Murphy strikes a pose

We did make it out briefly to let Teller and Murphy play with Quinn from next door. Teller and Murphy spent 20 minutes or so chasing each other around in circles - why they needed Quinn's inspiration to do that, I'm not sure...If it hadn't been 8pm and pitch black I would have taken pictures - I love watching them have so much fun...

Teller with one of the few toys not buried under 2 feet of snow....

So I didn't get a lot accomplished today, even with the best intentions. I cleaned the kitchen, bathrooms, changed the sheets on my bed and sorted the mail - but then ran out of steam. With any luck the snow will stop and we'll be bailed out in time to head to work tomorrow. There's no doubt at this point that we'll have a white Christmas this year!

Murphy (left) and Teller pause to listen for the big mean earth-shaking plow truck.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Teller's Canadian Adventure

Teller is now 11 months old (on December 6th) and is becoming quite the show dog - and he seems to enjoy every minute of it. How he can be so wild and bouncy all of the time yet he can stand like a champion when the judge goes over him in the ring. Thanksgiving weekenend we were in Montreal (making three day trips between home and Montreal - about 2.5 hours each way - longer with border delays). I was up and driving during hours I generally choose not to recognize as legitimate waking hours, I even saw the same border patrol man at the Canadian border every morning! The show was at the Olympic stadium - what a HUGE place!! In addition to being a dog show, it was a pet expo event for the public. There were two bouncy castles (one right next to the grooming area and the other next to the obedience rings), ponies (yes, real live ponies) just outside the breed rings, snakes, rabbits, fish, birds, hamsters...you name it - and all of the accessories that go with all of those critters. It was a mad house - so loud, so chaotic - a lot of dogs didn't handle the building very well at all. I left Murphy at home with my parents each morning and while he was pouty about it....but he would have been so stressed up there in that building.

This was Teller's first weekend going into the ring with a handler - Graeme came highly recommended to me by a few people and while the first day was a little bumpy - Teller totally warmed up to him and worked really really well for him. They had 6 rings of conformation two rings of obedience, flyball and agility - Like I said - utter chaos!

I thought the ponies were going to be an issue for Teller - I also thought the bouncy castles would be an issue - I needn't have worried - honestly - Teller continues to shock and amaze me, every step of the way. I brought him over to the ponies and he looked at them and then looked at me with the funniest "yeah so?" look. The ponies winnied and he just looked at them - again, what's the big deal mom? So we moved on to the bunnies - no biggie there either. Birds were interesting, but no more so than the throngs of people milling about. He seemed to enjoy watching agility, but basically took everything in and nothing phased him. So I brought him over to the handler's setup to drop him off and went over to sit in the stadium seats near the breed rings. From where I was seated I could see the handler's setup and the rings - the grooming area happened to be setup 10-15' away from one of the bounce castles. Teller is getting groomed on the table, they had 2-3 dogs going at any given time and each member of the team moved from dog to dog - everyone who worked on Teller ended up giving him a smooch on the nose - though I didn't see them kissing the other dogs :-)

As I watch the castle inflate (and the walls flop all over the place) I notice that some of the other dogs aren't handling the moving castle very well - Teller was between people and just sat there on the table, watching the castle and watching the other dogs freak out. He never flinched. My brave boy. Saturday just as they were heading into the ring the loud-speaker came on screeching something in french - almost all of the dogs freaked out at the screeching - I leapt out of my seat - but again, Teller didn't care. Teller rocked the ring - he was 2nd out of 6 on Saturday - really moving nicely, stacking nicely.

Sunday we got robbed - the judge was AWFUL and put up the red dogs - Teller was 4th of 6...Teller worked his best on Sunday (figuring the handler thing out) and was really brilliant - and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom - he really was super - and we had so many nice compliments on him all weekend. The folks up there really seemed to like him: his temperment and personality - loved that he did what he was asked to do - once he figured out what the expectations were he just got better and better. The tail was an interesting development - when he's happy it goes up - when he's really happy...well, let's just say that it looks like a big bushy white peace flag in the air. Teller really liked all of the folks on the team as a matter of note - as he stood with me holding the leash he's looking up at Graeme - smiling and doing his best standing still wiggle. So different from my Mama's boy Murphy who would never ever work with someone else he didn't know. Just a different dog I guess. Teller makes everything look so easy - he really really really wants to work and I find myself asking for things I haven't taught him and more often than not he does them...a right finish (sitting in front come around behind me and sit in heel position)? OK mom - and he does it - I swear I've never taught him to do that!

In Murphy's world, he is really enjoying his work as a therapy dog - now that we're not trialing every weekend, we've been trying to get to nursing homes twice a month - and then he's been reading with kids when it doesn't conflict with something else we have committed to. Therapy work is really his forte.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The first significant snowfall of the season...

The first "big" storm is underway - we've got about 6" so far with another 6" or so on the way. The boys LOVED the snow this morning and afternoon when I unexpectedly came home early - It was still light outside even!

C'mon Murph! Let's PLAY!!! Murphy (left) zooms as Teller (right) bows...
Teller with his special training woobie - I let him have it for the sake of pictures....here he is showing some nice extension - hard to tell with the snow though.

Catch me if you can! Murphy in the lead and Teller right on his heels! Murphy is faster than Teller - but Teller is famous for cheating and taking shortcuts to catch up...


Teller and his Woobie...

Teller strikes a pose...

Teller...Who Me?

Another shot of Teller...


Murphy looking handsome.

Teller again.

Mr Murphy takes a break from snowy zoomies.

Another Teller pose...

Teller taking a break from harassing Murphy...

More posing...


Lots going on and I'm WAY behind on my blog...I'll get an updated post together shortly...