Thursday, February 28, 2008

Humor in Advertising

While dealing with lower back issues, I've worked from home the last 2 days, and true to my multi-tasking (read...ADD) self, I've had the TV on while proofing the undergraduate catalog. Amazingly I am less distracted here at the house than at the office. Don't ask me why - that's just how it is. I actually feel I get more done with less fidgeting while working from home.

Anywho...during the course of the day I saw a commercial that tickled my funnybone. It was for the Clear Blue Easy digital pregnancy test. Its tagline - "Without a doubt, it is the most sophisticated piece of technology you will ever pee on." Hysterical. That's great marketing, in my opinion! It can poke fun at itself and leave an imprint on one's that if the need arises and the occasion warrants...that product would be easily remembered.

I enjoy folks that can poke fun at themselves. I'm not a particular fan of Timberlake - but did gain an appreciation of him when he hosted SNL and performed the unforgettable (and Emmy winning) " 'Junk' in a Box" song which poked fun at pop princes and their cheesy "hop in bed" ballads that were so predominant (and clogged MTV) in the 90s.

Back to the original is kind of ironic at all the research and technology that goes into developing a product such as the CBE test - only to have it used once by being peed on and ultimately tossed. It does seem a bit silly in the end.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Puppy Potential - Racing Practice and New Stack Shots

We managed to take puppies to GIT's LGRA meet to get some practice in this past weekend. The "Boogie Babies" (Solo/Monkee) Wulf, Buster and Faina attended, along with Pumpkin (Solo/Duri) on Saturday, and on Sunday Pumpkin and her littermates Nox and Azchyl came along. We also brought yearling Peepers along both days to see if she agreed more with straight-racing, since she seemed completely offended by turns at coursing practices previously.

Nox has a successful practice

I brought along my little digital camera that I had purchased for the trip to NYC - since it was too burdensome to attempt to bring the SLR and tote it around, I had wanted something I could stuff in my big ol' purse. It's turned out to be a pretty handy gadget - so I brought it along to take some pictures of the pups practicing and to attempt some new stacks. I also tried my hand at some "artsy" photos with Wulf and Buster and got some really pretty results.


All the "Boogie Babies" had promising practices - I sure hope they keep it up! Peepers had a really nice practice on Saturday and so-so on Sunday, although she became more determined after she stopped for a tinkle. Of the Spells pups, Nox showed the most promise - then Azchyl and then Pumpkin. But Pumpkin definitely showed more interest than our last session with the lure toy at home - so hooray!!


We also got some nice stacks and head shots of everyone that came to practice. I hope to have them edited and online in their albums in the next few days. All in all - a fairly productive weekend!

February Straights with GIT

Solo, Demi and newcomer Sugar

GIT hosted their first LGRA meet of the year in McKinney, TX so we hauled a few over to Myers Park for the event. Our visitor, Beaudreaux, seems to have screwed his head back on (after some frustrating coursing outings where he was clearly not thinking about the job at hand) and put in some good races both days, winning the meet on Saturday and coming in second on Sunday. Demi was doing well on Saturday then tossed it all in the 3rd program and also didn't put forth her best efforts on Sunday, developing a severe case of the looky-loo's in the second program (although never veering from her path - she was just overly curious about who may be running near her). I think she's getting ready to come into season - a shame she did not take advantage of the hormonal speed rush [sigh]. We ended up bringing Solo to play on Sunday and he managed to earn another GRC point. He's getting harder and harder to get off the lure at the end - he has figured out how to grasp it in between his front feet and just curl his legs around it. It's somewhat amusing to see his tongue hanging out of the muzzle trying to get an extra hold on what he considers his toy. Someday I need to get someone to take a picture of the wrestling match to get him away from the squawker lure.

Ginger-Watch Time

We now have Ginger set up her whelping pen in our bedroom - breaking in our new, custom-made circular fleece pads for the kiddie wading pool we have. She seems quite content to have her own little private space even though it means she's not cuddled up in bed with the rest of the crew (and ourselves - who become dog pillows for the night). She is less than enthused with the twice daily temperature-takings though as we attempt to further pin down her possible whelping day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gettin' It Out of My System

A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.
~ Gene Hill

I've always told folks that there is a reason that my degree is in Animal Science...I just don't understand people at all. There are times when I beat my tired head against the wall because of some of the folks I have to deal with during my all-too-intensive participation in the dog fancy. How fun is it for anyone to have people ask one for their assistance and guidance based on experience and then poo-poo, ignore, and/or fuss about the advice given with the best of intentions. It's about as fun as a yearly visit to the physician; or having teeth pulled; surgery? It's such a wonderful thing to be treated flippantly by the instant experts one tends to run into constantly, be it at work or in one's hobby. You can almost see and/or understand how postal workers go postal. Yes...I've had it up to the gills and have felt the need to somehow vent publicly.

I am so lucky that I do have dog people that are a source of joy for me, be it folks that I have learned from, or people who have joined our extended family by bringing one of our pups into their lives, or folks that I've met along the way. Thank goodness for them to make up for the other, less pleasant experiences along the way.

No animal I know of can consistently be more of a friend and companion than a dog.
~ Stanley Leinwoll

So the heedless ingrates can just get stuffed . Now that I've vented, I will go and have another play in the online shooter game I found - and when I get home, I am going to play and interact with those that truly appreciate what I can do for dogs (and perhaps a cat).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ginger's Home!

Ginger returned home to us from her tryst in Washington at Tangaloor. Alison took fabulous care of her and she's in great shape - fat, sassy...and preggers! Woohoo - mission accomplished! So hopefully we will be blessed with a beautiful bunch of Harper/Ginger pups at the end of this month!

Off Again - Denver and RMBC

It seems that no sooner than I get back from NYC, than I leave for Denver! Poor Solo had even less turnaround time - as he and Victor arrived home Wednesday night, and we left Thursday night. Aren't hobbies supposed to be a method of relaxation?? With me and Solo was Burni, Bugg and Lars.

I was still pretty whupped from the NYC trip, and was only able to make it to the rest stop outside Quanah about 4 hours away from home. Of course, I didn't have the Zoibus, so finding a spot to curl up in the Astro-van was an interesting enterprise, to say the least. I ended up squashing myself between the crates and the side door and pulling a couple fleece blankets over myself (in addition to wearing my jacket) in order to keep warm. I managed to - although it wasn't what I would call either restful or comfortable. It wasn't warm either - it was 30 degrees outside and the wind chill was in the teens, not to mention the van being rocked back and forth all night. I managed 4 and a half hours of fitful napping before hitting the road again at 4:30 am.

I had told Jill that I didn't think I needed to be there in time to show on Friday, as I didn't think the judge would care for Solo. I did get there on time - and she didn't care for him . I was too tired for a "told ya so" - so I headed down to Colorado Springs to enjoy Nadine's hospitality along with Jan Browne. After dinner I pretty much passed out for the night and this time got lots of rest, as did Solo who had curled up with me.

It was great to see folks at ringside on Saturday for the specialty! I love coming up to visit here and see everyone and their dogs. Had some interesting experiences in Sweeps and muddled on through the regular classes with Lars and Burni. I didn't get to show Bugg in Open Bitch as she had managed to lacerate her side and it looked uglier (and bigger) once I got to Colorado. Solo showed well and was very happy and animated (almost too much so) even after a travel-heavy week. He made the cut and went on to win an Award of Merit at the Specialty.

The drive home seemed to take forever. I ended up stopping in Memphis, TX and this time actually got a hotel room as my back had been cussing me since Thursday evening's slumber in the van. Although the hard bed in the Travelodge did not do much to make my back feel better! At least it was warm!

the Really Big Show

Boy - did morning come early! Solo went downstairs to take care of his morning business in the potty set-up in the Penn's basement ballroom and then up into the tub for some scrubbing. His toe pad that had been lacerated the weekend before didn't seem to be bothering him, although my hair and nails had not yet recovering from the pulling an chewing endured that previous week. After being dried through we returned to the room after picking up some breakfast in the coffeeshop downstairs and began readying ourselves.

The walk across the street to Madison Square Garden was downright bone-chilling. Brrrrrrr. In the teens with a cutting wind to boot. We got the the exhibitors' entrance ramp, showed our paperwork and made our way through the bowels of the Garden to our benching assignment. What a madhouse! For someone who regularly attended rock concerts in her earlier years, I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds. Stifling for me, Solo really sucked it up since he enjoys meeting anyone and everyone. He's also better at mornings than I am - there wasn't enough caffeine in the world to make me feel more conscious. Thankfully we found several familiar folk to chat with to help pass the time.

David's charge, Lashes (Chinese Shar Pei), was in the ring at 11 so we went down to watch that and experience the floor. The floor was actually more congested than I was (still battling "the crud" on this trip) and we staked out a good spot at ringside where I could take some pictures. Lashes showed wonderfully (as usual) and we hooted and hollered for her during her turn around the ring and when she made the cut. Her tail a-waggin' - always a happy girl. She came away the breed winner and we hoped for some of that mojo for our boy.

Borzoi were scheduled to show at 2 pm. We wandered around a bit then came back to the benches and chatted it up with folks. Our friend Laurie Courtney, another Texan, was there with her girl Molly, and we did some catching up. We took Solo over to the ex-pens to see if he had anything to declare and then brought back over to an empty spot on the benches to brush him out and put a little extra foo-foo on him.

After his tidy-up it was back to the mania on the floor. I was banished from ringside as Jill wanted Solo to be on his best behavior and she hadn't really realized just *how* attached he was until witnessing his mooning behavior in the hotel room. A definite momma's boy. I headed up to the 2nd level seats, taking the camera and leaving Victor with the Flip Video to attempt some ringside action. Hopefully soon I can work on retrieving the various clips on it - it seemed idiot-proof, it's just a matter of getting the time to do it!

Solo in the line-up with Ace (front)

I was a wreck sitting by myself in the stands watching Solo strut his stuff. There were several admirable dogs there, most of them quite a bit older than my brat and carrying more coat. His foot didn't seem to be bothering him at all either, to my great relief. It turns out that another competitor had the same problem with a pad cut and was not as lucky as us. Solo made the cut down to 10 (out of 31 entries), but that was as far as he got! I am still very proud of him and was quite weepy that he even got that, being the youngster that he is. Of course, after we finished showing came the really excruciating part...waiting for the benches to be released! We had arrived there about 10:30 in the morning, and could not take Solo off the bench until 8 pm. Luckily some friends of ours from the Silken world came by and we went to an Irish pub across the way. Some really good food, although really shoddy service. We seemed to have gotten trainees with really bad memories - but at least the food was tasty and the soup nice and warm to try and rid myself of the chills from walking there and prepare for the walk back! Jill had managed to change her flight to leave that night, so she went back to the hotel to pack up.

We watched some of the groups as the line to escape the Garden was quite long and looked absolutely miserable. Since Solo was comfy - we opted to take in the experience of watching live what we've only seen on TV. I can certainly say that witnessing it in person adds quite a bit to it! I am not much for Terriers as a whole - but seeing the Sealyham and Kerry Blue Terriers perform and just act like they owned the ring was amazing. Watching Charmin (the Sealyham) cover the ground like nobody's business and the carriage of the Kerry sent chills over me - they were absolutely stunning dogs. No surprise to me that Charmin took the group, although I was surprised the Kerry walked away empty-pawed. We then cheered on David and Lashes in the Non-Sporting Group and he made the cut, although I was a bit dismayed that that was as far as they got. Last year they had been awarded a Group 4 so I hoped they would get another piece this year.

We got back to the bench and packed up as the line had dispersed and we could make good our escape back to the Penn. We made arrangements to have the van brought up at 7 am the next morning so Victor could head out of the city. Time flew and next thing I knew I was hobbling downstairs with Solo so we could get everything loaded and get Victor on his way. Folks on the street were stopping to admire and pet Solo and chat with us as we loaded up. Finally we got him inside and he settled down quickly on his pillow and they drove off into the morning traffic. It was somewhat anti-climactic. I killed time with a book and breakfast and then checked out to head to the airport and finish out my wait in the terminal. Uno was all over the news that morning and they were speculating on his BIS win before the other groups' dogs had even shown in their breed classes. I need that dog's publicist . It's a bit disheartening at times to see the dogs and owners they constantly play up each year during the show's coverage miraculously take the top award, a notable exception being Cosby's Dandie Dinmont. Anyway - it was still a remarkable experience, and although it didn't end on as high a note as Sassi's participation last year, I still had a marvelous and wonderful time!

A Bite of the Big Apple

The last week and a half has been so INSANE! Traveling here, there and seemingly everywhere. Flew into NYC on the 10th with Jill, Victor having left the previous Friday afternoon with Solo happily atop the big 4X4 floor pillow in the back of the Astro. Jill and I arrived at the Pennsylvania and was immediately hit with the visual chaos of its lobby as a multitude of folks were standing in line awaiting check-in, most with dogs in tow. Not a fan of crowds, my first thought was "I hate it already"!

Victor called to let us know he had pulled up in front of the Penn just as we were next in line to check in. How's that for timing?! Jill went to snag Solo so the van could be unloaded and I checked us into the hotel. We took everything up to our microscopic-sized room (although the closet was large enough to hold Solo's crate for when we were absent from the room) and then worked on the rest of the evening's schedule.

First up was a walk (make that...trek) to Times Square to the M&Ms store. My lord - what a confectionary overload! Every imaginable item with the M&M's logo or characters on it! And there was the "wall o' candy" that practically gave me a sugar high (or diabetes) just looking at it. All the colors of the rainbow and more of candy-coated choco-mania.

We managed not to freeze to death on the walk back to the hotel. Along the way I took a few pictures of the theaters signs for plays that I would have loved to have seen while there - Spam-A-Lot and Young Frankenstein (who'd a thunk it). The Young Frankenstein facade included a wonderful dancing monster next to the sign. I will be uploading more pictures into the online photo albums sometime soon. After a bit of rest back at the room while Jill helped ready an Aussie for the next day's showing, we met David down in the lobby and hailed a cab to Lips for a "drag dining" experience! I had heard about the drag show and restaurant from previous tales of Westminster trips, so had wanted to experience it for myself. OMG - did I ever have fun! The food was fabulous and our waitress was the best - Frankie Cocktail, whose drink concoction was absolutely yummy (included Southern Comfort, Peach Schnapps, Vodka, and other stuff I cannot remember, considering I had 5 of them - whoops!). I brought along the camera and the new little Flip Video gadget I got before the trip, and really broke them in!

To top it off - either Jill or David told them that it was Victor's birthday (actually a week before) so he got pulled up out of his chair for a little fun later in the show. Needless to say - I have a picture ! Below is a pic of us with Frankie - hopefully I will get to go again! You can check out the Lips website at

We managed to get back to the hotel before midnight and drop into bed. We had a 6:30 am appointment to bathe Solo to prep for the big show and then haul our happy selves over to the Garden.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Heathens, Photo Ops and Web Update

Wandered about the yard attempting to take candids of pups gone wild. Sassi's and Duri's pups that remain here were introduced to each other and after teaching Azchyl that little Munch was not, errrr, munchable - they played amiably for a few hours, part of which had me roaming about with them trying to snag some good photos. I did manage a little group shot of Sassi's crew together...

Left to right is J/T, Shugah and Munch.

Managed several stacked candids and some on the move. Nox was determined to plant her hiney on the ground at all times, especially when the camera lens was pointed in her direction, so when Victor returned home he got recruited to stack her for a decent shot. It seems like we've never had a proper stacked picture of her - she is maturing so nicely, along with her sisters Azchyl and Pumpkin.

All the new pictures are now posted online at the Gryffyn's Aeyrie web site!

Tyler is Top Dog!

On the first weekend of February we attended a Rarities show in Aledo, TX. How refreshing to not have to drive a minimum of 12 hours to show our Silkens!! Tyler was entered in all 4 shows as a special, Trouble and Gabe were entered in all 4, Isaak and Missi in 2 shows apiece. Also attending were our friend Sandra with her boy Umber, and the Freys with Sylvi (Missi's sister).

At Isaak's 1st showing, he got Reserve Winners Dog. We were pleased that he took to it as well as he did, and he showed even better the 2nd time. Gabe and Umber traded Winners Dog at 2 apiece, bringing them both closer to their ISWS championships since they both have an ISWS-specialty win under their belts.

Sylvi snagged her first points at one of the shows. Vicki has been working hard to get Sylvi into ring shape by attending handling classes. Sylvi looked really nice and is growing into a lovely young girl with a taller frame than sister Missi and both girls are carrying wonderful muscle tone. We're thrilled with how Sylvi is turning out and the Freys are wonderful folks! Missi was much more cooperative than at BooFest. Although a hard start when it came to getting her on the move, she actually did manage to string more than 2-3 strides together at the same time - although she still showed some of her bratty tendencies. There's hope for her though.

Tyler was his usual showman self and took Best of Breed at 3 of the 4 shows. We also actually had competition in the Group with a nice little blue Iggy and the Silkens swept the Groups! Tyler was awarded a Reserve Best in Show and a Best in Show! Even more exciting for us was that he came away as the Top Dog of the weekend!!