Monthly Archives

September 2010

Family, General

How to tell that your kid is listening

When Sarah was here we talked about rears a lot – Cardigan rears, so get your mind out of the gutter. We were putting puppies up on tables and making Doug fall asleep behind our endless discussion of pelvic angles. A couple of days later I picked this up off the floor – note all the wrinkles and stepped-on marks – and started laughing. It’s the most thoughtfully she’s ever done a stifle and hock joint. Mysteriously, the griffin has lovely length of second thigh and a good low tailset, though his carriage perhaps leaves something to be desired!

Good on ya, Meri – keep listening!


The Mysterious Case of the Howling Hound

Hey, everybody – feel like giving me some input?

Clue’s baby Ellery (now Buzzy) moved to NJ and lives with a wonderful family there. They are doing a great job with him.

A couple of weeks ago he became convinced that 1 AM is when you get up and go eat and play. He was sleeping on their beds with them and began waking them up every night, on the dot.

I advised them to go back to the crate with him, to re-train him to sleep through the night.

Well, our friend Buzzy has decided that this is the WOOOOORST THIIIIIING that has EEEEEVER HAAAAAAPPENED. And he’s yelling it. At the top of his lungs. All night. For seven days in a row.

I know what I’d do in my house, but I would truly love to give them a whole bunch of options to try – I am well aware that what works tends to be effective because of a combination of technique and personality. What would work for me might not work for them. And Buzzy’s got himself quite a head of steam worked up, and is not going to go easy.

So please – share your favorite “adolescent dog decides he’s a night-owl” tricks and tips and I’ll send them to his exhausted family so maybe they can get some rest!


Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

Whoever was with me over the weekend at Paula’s had to tolerate the fact that we’d all be walking along talking and then out of nowhere I would throw myself to the ground – call it having a photographic seizure. I would see some dog alerting to a squirrel or caught in a tiny pool of sunlight and drop into the dirt to try to grab it.

I am pretty sure I was in a group of about a dozen people when I took this set of MaeMae – their feet were all around my head and I was stretched out full-length on Paula’s rug while they talked about toplines or something. Knowing me, I probably shouted something about loin length from deep in the carpet fibers.

I don’t know how any of these people stand me.

These were three consecutive shots – you may see that her eyes change just a tiny bit as I took them. I edited them three ways to see which one I liked best, which captured the mood.

The only thing I like taking photographs of more than baby puppies is old dogs. Not only are they gorgeous to photograph, they give you something beyond what the lens sees. The way she has her face in the rug just killed me.

Old dogs are the best dogs.



Today I turned thirty-seven.

Twenty years ago, when I thought about what it would be like to be in my late thirties, this sounded like “Today I will turn DEAD.” Being here, actually at DEAD, feels less like dead and more like extremely tired. I didn’t think thirty-seven would involve this much yawning.

Turning thirty-seven also means that Zuzu will turn three in a couple of months. With every baby there has been a sense that I am completely subsumed, just sucked under by the urgent boredom that is this creature that needs extremely banal things but needs them NOW and also IN THREE MINUTES and also FIVE MINUTES AFTER THAT.

This particular baby, though, has been notable in how keenly I’ve felt the process of clawing myself back to myself. Even myself at DEAD. A couple of months ago when the time came for me to rent a movie I walked past BLAM BLAM KISSING and grabbed DIALOGUE AND SOME FRENCH and it felt like a personal victory. I read a book yesterday, not because I was editing it but because I wanted to. Four hundred pages in a row in a lovely bed-and-blanket haze, with Ginny tucked against one hip.

Turning thirty-seven means the twelfth year I’ve worked this job that was supposed to get me through the summer of one.

Turning thirty-seven means Lucy would be ten.

Turning thirty-seven means I’ve known Doug more years than I have not known him. Nineteen years, since the day I walked into a college theatre audition and couldn’t figure out who the skinny loud kid was.

I am blessed in more ways than I can count, and as much as I thought I’d mind being at DEAD I feel remarkably non-depressed and remarkably ornery and happy. Thirty-seven feels a little rebellious, like I might go buy something turquoise or eat fish prepared daringly.

And holy heck, am I glad to enjoy dialogue and a little French again.


Shelly and Bonnie Blue

One of the more surreal things about being up at Paula’s house was the sheer number of “big” dogs – I don’t mean size; I mean that on your way to the bathroom you could trip over one Nationals winner and feel yourself in danger of landing on another one. Stand up straight again and a third one licks your ankle. The dog you have to shove over so you can put your feet on the ottoman owns that huge red-white-and-blue rosette over there.

Here’s what was sitting on the chair:

Shelly is Pecan Valley Blue Bomb Shell – she was best in sweeps at the 2009 National and RWB at the 2010 National. I am absolutely unreasonably obsessed with her. Every single one of Paula’s Cardigans is beautiful, so beautiful that you go home and look at what you have and throw yourself across your bed and weep – but Shelly is not only gorgeous but exactly what I love in a Cardigan. Size, proportions, topline, and a hilarious temperament. I invited her into the car to come home with me, but Paula caught me first. Rats.

Bonnie Blue is Friday’s 3/4 sister. She’s fancy. I mean FANCY. Soooo pretty and her color is unreal. Huge black patches on a merle and white background – she has a lot of harlequin in her spotting.

I’m still editing the pictures of the dogs that were under that chair. Like I said – it gets surreal.

Mystery puppies


Magnum (Clue’s baby) was up at Paula’s, which allowed me to take a few million pictures of him. He is a free-stacking FOOL, holy heck. I just love this boy – love his temperament and personality and he totally pushes my buttons in terms of conformation. The fact that he screams with excitement and spends an hour washing my face every time he sees me doesn’t hurt either.

Mystery puppies


Awwww, look how wonderful he is. We still miss him every day, but we’re so happy that he’s with such fabulous owners. Who don’t mind a little soap and dog hair :).


Themey McChanges

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader you have no idea what I’m talking about, but the blog has been slightly uglified in order to make a few critical changes. I loved the look and feel of my old theme but it was built on a framework that was quite restrictive and would not tolerate most edits without breaking.

One of my happiest changes is that you can now upload a picture to the comments and can edit your comment after you’ve left it. There will be other functional improvements as I find my way around this simpler theme; if you can think of any you’d love to see let me know.