Monday, December 28, 2009

Road Rage Redux

Evidently somewhere along the line in the last few weeks I made this blog post and never published it. Oopsie! This might just be rantings of a mad woman (er, uh, as if any of my posts are anything but) but reading after the fact I found it amusing. Here it is:

Road Rage

It's hard to road rage someone when that someone is a cop in front of you sitting through the green left turn arrow. Doesn't he know that the green arrow only stays green for approximately five seconds? Doesn't he know it's stupid hard to turn on the green yield at this particular stop light? So, what, I'm reduced to sitting back there fluttering my hands and just HOPING he'll look up since I'm sure as spitting not going to honk my horn at a cop? Who beeps their horn at a cop? Not me in my way-past-due-for-inspection minivan. But really, he's standing between me and "The Baconator". That's two gigantor beef patties and enough bacon to send me into cardiac arrest with one bite. He wants to get between me and THAT? Not advisable.

Is road rage a verb? I don't think so, but it should be. I will admit that road-raging someone isn't terribly effective when you're driving a mini-van full of dog crates. It surely takes some of the sting out of it. Well, then there's the fact that the CrazyMobile doesn't have much get up and go - and it's hard to tailgate when you can't keep up. Oh, but I can cuss them out in their rear-view mirror like it's nobody's business. Then there's the fact that I don't speed. This is, of course, is an obstacle to be overcome in the act of road raging. But I win extra road-rage points for intent.

Just like sheep can read the dog's intent, so should other drivers on the road get MY intent. It's hot, mad, angry, and more than a little crazy. If I could keep up I'd kick their bad-driver behinds. But for those two seconds at the stoplight I'm all UP in their tail pipes. For those two seconds I'm a badass. That's those moments right before I push the gas pedal and the engine just rattles a little louder.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Training Linc

(Photo by Robin French)

I suppose this is my dog blog most of the time, but here lately I haven't had much dog-blogging to do. We're in a bit of a holding pattern here, the dogs and I, since I'm limited as to how much work I can get my dogs at the moment. I've got limited mobility, limited fundage, and I can't do any trials right now. But, I figure I can't ONLY talk about farting in colors and whatever other stupid stuff that strikes my fancy, so maybe I'll actually talk about training a dog for a change.

So. Nick's rocking right along. Not much to talk about there - I absolutely adore and depend on him. I think everyone should have a first dog like him. He's been so good for me - and he keeps my shoulder blades warm at night too. Nick believes in yes ma'am moments. He has opinions but he's open to my input, unless I'm REALLY wrong. Sometimes even then. But he believes in yes ma'am moments.

Linc is interesting. Linc doesn't believe in yes ma'am moments. He believes in "tell me why I should listen to you" moments, "make me" moments, and sometimes in "please make it clearer because I just don't get it" moments. I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, and not always fast to know where his head is some days. Linc is complicated. He's complex. He's stunning to watch. He has a shiny coat.

At the Water Cress SDT he was weird about walking straight in on the sheep - and I've seen that since. So two weekends ago we tried just letting him figure it out. Linc has a tendency to ratchet up when I correct him, so Robin and I worked on letting him know when he was where I wanted him, and otherwise leaving him alone (more or less ignoring some of the silliness). So last weekend he demonstrated that he had remembered how to bring the sheep - how to run out enthusiastically, how to walk in, and how to bring them.

So then I had to remind him he needed to stop. We'd moved on to some driving, and while tooling along I'd try to stop him. Of course I would - he was starting to slip around (ok, not slipping, more like careening) and I was trying to manage him with a stop. He wasn't listening, I was riding him, and next thing I knew he'd be blowing into the sheep on the side. Robin explained that I needed to make it clear what I wanted (not nagging for sure, which I was doing) and clear up the grey areas.

This time we used corrections when he tried to slip around the sides of the sheep (instead of my nagging him to lie down and correcting him BADLY and ineffectively as he was already committed to finding a sheep to hang off of), and talked nicely to him as he began to fall in behind the sheep. 'Lo and behold as I made this clear to him he began to soften. He was *getting it*. He was not only getting it, but he was taking corrections nicely (as opposed to butting heads with me), understanding what I wanted, and we both got to go home happy and pleased with ourselves. He finally got to the point where he wasn't testing the edges, he just was happy to sit back there and drive the sheep. A soft word from me had him adjusting. When we left Robin's last weekend I had another dog that believed in yes ma'am moments - even if only for that day.

I wonder, sometimes, if dogs sit around and discuss me like we do them. I can hear Linc right now:

That human. She just has the suckiest timing, and it makes me want to choke her. Since I can't choke her I just hang off of some sheep every now and then. It makes her SO mad! I just don't understand her. If she'd LISTEN to me. If she'd just be more clear maybe we'd mesh better. She does feed me. She picks up the poop a lot. I thought for a while she was eating it, but I've figured out that she's putting it in some bag as she goes along. As far as humans go she doesn't suck the most, but sometimes she REALLY makes me crazy. I have to work hard to figure her out sometimes. She's complicated. She does have shiny hair.

Yeah, thanks buddy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bah Humbug

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I actually said some of the things I think. I mean, truly, I often do. But sometimes for the sake of good old southern tact I hold back. It's the right thing to do. So here's what I really think about the holidays this year. If you're full of Christmas cheer you should probably stop reading now.

For starters, this ornament swap thing I have to go to every year? It's my idea of HELL. I respect that my step-mother is making a tradition (and I go because it's important to her). I go because I know it matters to her, but as a matter of personal things I would choose to go to this *type* of activity is not one I'd ever choose. So, on principle I have to gripe about this.

I don't do social gatherings really unless dogs and sheep (or seriously good food) is involved. None of the above is really involved in this thing. It's a bunch of people (mostly family) at my Dad's house and these types of gatherings I find very stressful.

Everyone brings an ornament. Numbers are drawn and then the sneaky Santa game is played with Christmas tree ornaments (I call this part multiple layers of hell). First off, it pisses me off when someone steals what I have, unless I hate it. Then it's OK. Hey, it's my hell, I can make my own rules. I don't like to steal from the others because it's not nice. See? Bound by my own conventions, but it's still hell. I'm expected to make nicey-nice when what I really want to do is single-handedly wipe out the fruitcake plate, which of course I eventually do because apparently I'm the only one there who likes fruitcake. While this should make me happy the guilt that follows plummets me into another kind of guilt-ridden hell.

I seriously wait until the first person leaves and I'm hot on their heels. Hell. Normal people just cannot possibly love these types of things.

So at the personal hell party I was discussing the logistics of getting my Christmas tree into my living room this year with another resident of this personal hell. As I am without big strong man I now have to depend on someone coming over to help me not only lug the 9' tree in there but also help me put it up and somehow get the topper on. Julie has offered to come help because she's way too good to me. However, I'm thinking the only way Julie and I are getting that topper on is if she stands on my shoulders. I draw the line at shoulder stands. I gave up shoulder stands when I graduated high school. That is unless you're talking about the sexy shirtless guy who plays Jacob in the "New Moon" movie. I might would relent for him.

At any rate, I lamented to her (another resident of hell) that I couldn't see going through all that trouble just to put up a tree that won't have a single present under it. Her comment? That I should wrap empty boxes so it would LOOK like there's presents.

Uh... hello? Who does that? I'm going to be the bigger woman and say that I want real presents under the tree dammit. Yeah, that's right. I'm not wrapping stupid empty boxes to go under the tree. What, is that like some sort of perpetual exercise in disappointment EVERY DAY? I can't imagine walking in there every day to be like, "Oh. They're empty." I mean, seriously, she even suggested I could write an "E" on the bottom of the empties so I'd know which was which. I almost choked on the stupid little cracker covered in some sort of unrecognizable but reasonably tasty dip.

While I'm at it, if I hear another Christmas song on the radio I'm going to claw my own ears off. And the movies? Everyone is all like "Ooooh! I LOVE all of those touching Christmas movies!" Gag me. I have crops to harvest on FarmVille. I don't have TIME for Christmas movies, and even if I did why would I want to sit around and snivel at all the Hallmark moments when I could be attending fun things like ornament swaps and white elephant parties?

Harbinger of Christmas Sneer = Me.