Archives for February 2011

February 28, 2011

Yesterday was a very busy and fun day. Uschi and I started the day with a stupid early trip outside for her to get her business done. I thought she was finally relenting and letting me sleep in a bit, but this trip was too urgent for that extra hour or so. Since Mother Nature insists on the relentless snow, this turned into an extended romp in the snowbank that is my backyard for the dog while I shoveled the porch steps, sidewalk and her relief area. I wasn’t around for most of the bouncing about, but I did manage a few cute photos. All this before either of us had breakfast, which ended up waiting yet more because I came back inside and fell back into bed.

Later we headed off to SWAG where we were joined by two new members including Jenn! Among the many things, both on and off topic, that we discussed was the idea of weekly Write-Ins. The idea is that these will be held in a bit of a round so that we meet in different places each week, specifically because we have members spread throughout the Capital District. I’m very excited about the idea even though I don’t tend to get much actual writing done at Write-Ins since I find myself socializing and/or being distracted by any and everything. However, the fact that these will be weekly brings with it an inherent level of accountability — even if I don’t make it to all of them. And I honestly find just being around other writers to be incredibly motivating and supportive.

After the meeting, Alice, Josh and I went out for dinner at Red Robin. It remains one of the few chains that I genuinely enjoy and we all left there quite full and happy. We then headed to my place and played a round of Zombie Fluxx, which seems to have a ton more rules than regular Fluxx but was still very fun. And then as a very fitting end to a pleasant day, we plopped down on the sofas to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Commentary! the Musical.

Unfortunately, all the fun and excitement seems to lose something in the translation to text, so here are a few photos I mentioned above of Uschi in the snow:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abundance

Icicles hanging from the roof of my next door neighbor's house

After a teaser of Spring-like weather last week, the Capital District has been back to this winter’s norm of dumping snow from the sky. With highs in the mid-thirties, though, there is some thawing going on. It’s just hard to tell given the mountains of snow, but all I have to do is stand in my driveway and look up at my neighbor’s house to get affirmation that at least some of this great abundance of snow is melting away.


Uschi lying on her bed with her leg wrapped possessively around her giant fleece bone

If a picture says a thousand words, this one would is basically “mine” repeated a la the Finding Nemo seagulls. If Uschi were more vocal, I’d say it would just be a succession of growls. But either way it’s clear: the fleece bone is belong to her.

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In theory, yesterday was about writing. At last Sunday’s Write-In, Jenn had suggested getting together again later in the week. Long story short, we decided to meet at her place wherein I got to meet Robin and her son Iain (and Mandy and Zach and Greg, too), eat tons of yummy food, hang out with Tara (from SWAG) and Jenn and even write some. Some here meaning “way more than I wrote Sunday,” which isn’t saying much since I had a charged laptop and even remembered to bring my power cord this time. No, mostly I was entertained by Uschi who was having the grandest time playing with Jenn’s goldendoodle, Tally.

I’m always a little wary of that first meeting with another dog since you never know how either will react. And having no prior experience with how Uschi plays with other dogs, I was just the teeniest bit nervous. But it was all for naught because Tally is incredibly friendly with other dogs and Uschi was her adorably playful self. Her entire strategy to keep Tally, who is several years her senior, engaged in playing was to basically jump all of the place. Outside she’d test this by going just a bit further each time before trying to pounce on Tally. It was very fun to watch:

Eventually Tally just crashed right out, but not surprisingly Uschi was still full of playful energy. Outside of our house, especially when she’s not working, I’ve noticed that Uschi is pretty much incapable of letting herself fall asleep. Regardless of how exhausted she might be, she just is way too stimulated by everything going on. While Tally slept off all that fun play, Uschi explored the house about 6,000 times and tried several times to get Jenn’s cats to play with her. At some point before dinner Tally woke from her coma and Uschi started to entice her into another round of playtime. This time I caught it on video, though, it’s a bit dark. But it’s still pretty cute. Enjoy:

Thanks again, Jenn, for having us over! We had an absolute blast and I know both Uschi and I are looking forward to future get togethers. :-)

Free is Good

Headshot of Uschi in harness on a white background

If you religiously check my Flickr account or have been on Facebook in the last day, you may have noticed that yet another set of portraits popped up. Yes, I know that I had a set of studio photos taken not even three weeks ago, but it’s shockingly rare that I get nice photos of me and my guides together outside of my photographer friends.1. Plus, these were essentially free and I certainly am not one to pass up a bargain! I do apologize for the low quality of some of the pictures; I wasn’t able to get the higher resolution image files this time.

Some of you might notice a distinct similarity that second-to-last photo has to this other one that Cindy took a few months back. Believe it or not that was purely coincidental. Actually the last photo is somewhat coincidental as well.2 Cindy took a similar shot as I was directing Uschi to guide me briefly out of the camera room so we could switch out the backgrounds. However, while the focus was on Uschi, it was taken above so as to get me entirely in the shot as well. After much cajoling on my part, since proper photography etiquette states you never chop off a person, I got her to retake the photo.

This was the first time I’ve used the black background at the studio and I have to say I rather loathe it because absolutely every imperfection shows up on its surface. Even in these low-res images, which I cleaned up in Photoshop! I do like how boldly Uschi shows up against it, though, and I’m less enamored with the white background. Or at the very least, I’m more pleased with the contrast it gave with Yara.

That aside, I am very pleased with how this shoot went because nearly the entire purpose was to help ease Uschi’s stress in front of the camera. We didn’t have an entirely wonderful experience at the last portrait session and Uschi was very visibly stressed out by the ordeal. I spoke with Cindy about the whole thing and we decided to work on this a bit since not only will I be coming there for holiday cards but I often mooch rides home from her and end up biding time in the studio. So, I took a trip there about a week after our last shoot and pointedly stayed out of the camera rooms, which seemed to suit Uschi just fine. Yesterday, I made sure to get to the studio far in advance of our appointment so she could just chill in the waiting area and the camera room before we started taking pictures. And thankfully she was completely calm and content through the entire process. So, I’m hopeful that the one bad experience won’t be an issue in the future, but I’m still really fired up about the whole thing because there were contributing factors to her stress . . . and yes, I’m very purposefully not expanding on the details. Sorry.

  1. Well, mostly nice photos of me; there are tons of wonderful photos of the dogs. Some of them are even ones I’ve taken!
  2. Though, Laura, you’re welcome to take credit for the idea if you so wish. ;-)