Nevermind me. Just puzzling out what works. Ondine behaved as well as she ever has tonight - though she still gave chase to most of the passing cars, she only barked at one. I thought if I jotted some notes it might help us over the long haul. So what did we do tonight? Two miles...
A comically fast pace
5:00 p.m., before dinner
Fine weather, 70-ish and clear
We encountered a couple unleashed but well-mannered dogs. They were no problem with a steady (fast) pace and a little distance between us and them. (She's consistently OK if the other dog behaves, but she's also always on high alert and reacts quickly to changes.)
We've been using the combination martingale/front-pull harness with the chain leash. Seems to be the best rig so far.
Oh, in other news, I figured out the whole dark energy thing. You know how when you get older time passes more quickly? It's like that. Somebody just has to do the space/time math now. But yeah, when you realize time's a sliding scale it helps square the 6,000-year-old-earth thing, you know, like when the world was just a kid, those first few decades were really really long. Time lasts longer when you're young. (How is it that I'm writing "2012" on stuff? Sheesh when did that happen?)
January 24, 2012
January 22, 2012
Ondine and I went for a long afternoon hike at the river. She was horrible in the car on the way there and back, but I'm just going to have to inure myself to it. She's a great companion on the trail.
Another topic - field injuries. I was crouching to take a picture of some tiny flowers bespeckling an emerald patch of ground cover when I lost my balance and put my hand down to keep from toppling over. As soon as my hand touched the ground, my brain said, "Why is someone poking a red-hot screwdriver through your palm?" as another part of my brain simultaneously said, "You know better than to put your hand someplace you haven't looked first!" I lifted my hand and inspected my palm - nothing. No puncture, no splinter, no evidence of injury at all. Still hurts, though. Not sure if it was the ground cover or something hiding within it. Lesson re-learned! (Topical hydrocortisone seems to be helping.)
I also poked my foot and thigh on a prickly pear. I have to get some better field boots soon.
January 21, 2012
January 20, 2012
January 17, 2012
January 16, 2012
January 15, 2012
...because crappy phonecams need love too.
Ondine has been backsliding with cars and bikes, but between yesterday and today we've walked ten miles. (She has also sprinted at least ten more in the backyard chasing tennis balls.) Beautiful weather this weekend - cold mornings but pleasant afternoons. Today is overcast and cool, but nice. Lots of kite fliers in the park.
January 14, 2012
I awoke to moonglow on the tent walls, the chilly air redolent of woodsmoke. The smell took me to a lot of places in that pre-dawn space, but as I shivered awake it struck me that the backyard wasn't one of them. I got up and went in the house. Bren was sitting at the kitchen table working on a puzzle. She hadn't been able to sleep, and had gotten up and built a fire in the hearth. And now this too will be one of the pre-dawn places to which the smell of woodsmoke takes me.
January 10, 2012
We brought Ondine home a year ago today. I've had many fine dogs in my life. Frosty was one of the noblest spirits I've ever known. Juniper, the most courageous. Nisa and Ciara, the sweetest. And now, as I approach a half century, I've been blessed with one of the best friends I've ever had, far and away the most interesting creature I've ever known.
One of the chords she strikes with me is how hard she tries to communicate - not only to listen, but to make her own thoughts heard. It's a deeper conversation than I've had with, well, anyone. She's teaching me to watch and listen.
She came along at a time when I really needed a friend, and I hope she sticks around a good long time.