Monday, June 25, 2007

Scottish Highland Games

This Saturday and Sunday the annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games were held in Vista, about a half hour north of here. The weather was fantastic, sunny and 75 degrees. The games were in Brengle Terrace Park, which is hilly, grassy and very large, which was important because there were a lot of people there! I've never seen so many kilt-clad men in one place, ever. I approve! There were vendors for all things Scottish -- tartans, kilts and kilt pins, shortbread, and Celtic jewelry, artwork and music. Of course there were lots of food booths and a beer garden.

The caber toss involves balancing a large pole and tossing it in an attempt to flip and land the opposite end at a 45-degree angle. The poles are pretty much the size of telephone poles -- 19 feet long and weighing about 125 pounds. This little video shows a successful caber toss.

We spent most of our time hanging out under the shade of the pop-up tent, watching the sheepdog trials with Anna (blue hat), Danielle (young), and Ross and his wife and a few friends. Danielle had her dog Chesney, Anna had brought Riddle, Tikkle, and Alli, and Ross had Cross and Finn. We left Daisy at home this time, since we are too much the newbies to enter the trial.

We enjoyed watching all the kilt-clad men walk by, young and old.

The Sheepdog Trials really were fascinating. It was the first trial for Danielle and her dog Chesney, who train with Anna in Valley Center where I go with Daisy. They did very well, as this slide show depicts.

The sheep knew that if they ran up the hill to the left in the pictures, they'd get to the exhaust pen and be able to rejoin the rest of their sheep friends. They were very motivated to do this, and more dogs lost their sheep than not.

Red Dog (aka Finn) is desperately trying not to lose this sheep. Meanwhile his other two sheep are free to make a break for it.

More pictures of the the games and the dogs are posted at the Border Collie Boards.

I love Celtic music, and there were always bands playing at two venues, as well as the bagpiping, drumming, and highland dancing contests. The band Molly's Revenge played in the beer garden while we ate lunch. They were wild! We all agreed that, in fact, a wild look goes well with a kilt. We saw several kilt-wearers who sported mohawk haircuts, and it was definitely a good look.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beyond the Pier

We can't get enough of the low tides! "Daisy, Dog of the Sea" and I spent almost two hours on the beach this morning. I love the grey skies and cool temperatures of early morning. The crowds choose the afternoon, but give me the morning, and the earlier the better.
We met many dog and human friends this morning. Kima, a nice young boxer girl, has gotten to know Daisy and her Border Collie obsessiveness. She tolerates Daisy's ball fetish very well. Check out her red toenail polish!

In fact, all the beach dogs get to know about Daisy. They'll run with her, but they know better than to touch her beloved Penn. Now what I would really like to know is how do you photograph a dog with black fur and brown eyes? I mean, so that it doesn't look like an eyeless dog?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Walkin' the Dog

We follow our tide calendar avidly, never missing a good low tide morning at the Shores. Out the door at 6AM, with the very minimum amount of bush-sniffing, since we know we're heading directly to the beach. We know that because the human is carrying a ball-chucker and in her pocket are Floppy and Penn. The early summer mornings at Kellogg Park belong to the seagulls. It's their favorite, favorite time. Do they swoop gracefully through the sky, dropping to the sea to snatch up a silvery fish? Well, nooo....

The park is universally popular. With all people and animals, and even with a certain species, which will remain unnamed, that consumes only part of its food and leaves the rest to ripen overnight on concrete altars. Are these offerings to an unknown deity? The only other interpretation is that these food leavers are incredible slobs!
Daisy crosses the grass, her nose alert to the possibility that she may be able to find a throat-piercing chicken bone and get it into her mouth before her human can react. Her head darts out like a snake striking! But her human is alert. "Leave it!!" Finally the sand is reached. Off comes leash. Out comes Floppy. It's time to warm up.
Now, it's time for Penn. The serious running can begin.
The low tide not only creates a huge space for running, but leaves the nicest pools to cool off in. Sometimes you even share your pool with a star!
Penn has adventures in the tidepools. Sometimes we try to get the human to fetch. It's only fair, after all. But she is surprisingly unwilling to run into the ocean for Penn. Go figure!
We survey the scene. We would be happy to stay all day, if only the human would!

One Year Gone By

On June 16th a year ago, we scattered Jack's ashes at sea. We are through a complete cycle of milestones that happened without him. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first dance performance. It won't be the same again.

We spent some time remembering him, and talking a bit about the things we'd like to tell him. I know he'd love hearing about Jan and Erin's Scrabble game, especially Erin's play of JETE onto the triple word square, with J on the double letter square!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Baby Steps

Daisy and I are making slow progress with the sheep. But we are making a little progress! Daisy's slowing down enough to get a bit of the sense of what she ought to do. Anna retired Smiley, the wether whose horns were the mortal enemies of my thighs, so I'm getting where I ought to be a bit better too.

Tribute to Canyonview

When I think about why I live in San Diego, and I do all too often, always the first thing that pops into my mind is ... swimming. The weather is perfect, the best, but most of all it enables ... swimming. The beach is lovely and perfect for long walks and the daily Daisy+ frisbee action, the shore life is interesting every day, the ocean is beautiful and ever-changing. But that never-changing black line at the bottom of the pool is what I want to see when I'm ... swimming.And on deck, I want to see a coach! Sickie's been coaching the UCSD Masters swim program for over 25 years now. There are swimmers who've been with the program almost that long. I can't imagine life here in La Jolla without at least one conversation with Sickie per week. And in case I miss seeing him, I can refer to the Sickie bobble-head doll we all received as this year's annual tchotchke.

And I want to see a workout! Even if, as Sickie often says, "This is Masters. Take it as a suggestion."

It' s pretty amazing how much further we all swim with an assigned practice and friends swimming along side.

Seems to me that we all get a lot more sentimental -- well, let's admit it, cornball -- as we get older. I care more and more about seeing familiar faces in familiar places. Here in La Jolla, there's one place where I can count on seeing people I know and like ... swimming. Swimming at Canyonview!