An eventful week

Here’s Mischa with her gold medal and her family. That’s my niece Katrina behind her. Katrina’s husband Ares (I always want to call him my nephew because he is so dear), and my great nephew Søren.

This week included a couple of events, one that I missed and one that I didn’t miss. The one that I missed was my great niece Mischa’s taekwondo competition. I was originally supposed to go along with the family to Seattle, spend the night Friday, and attend the competition Saturday, hopefully seeing my brother’s family sometime those two days. However, the play I was supposed to attend the weekend before, Jeeves Takes a Bow at the Magenta Theater, got postponed to this last Saturday. At the time that they were reseating people, it wasn’t at all clear that we would be going to Seattle, because snow was forecast all week. So, I decided to stay and go to the theater with Deb.

It did not snow all week, however. In fact, it didn’t snow at all until Saturday night. And, Mischa won a gold medal at the competition! Surprisingly, since she is so good at form, the gold medal was in sparring and against a girl who not only was two belt levels above her but repeatedly cheated. (They’re not supposed to push, and she did, even once pushing Mischa to the floor and once chopping her in the throat.) Mischa’s parents said that her misfortune in form was to be matched against the three best girls at the competition. She only got bronze in that competition.

As for the play, it was about what I expected. It was fun and entertaining, even though the characters were the wrong ages for their parts (most of them were too old), and the acting was generally so-so. The sets were a lot more impressive than I expected, and the actors that played Jeeves and Vivienne were good. The one musical number was dreadful. Someone had written extra lines that were spoken by the radio between scenes. That was a clever idea, but the lines were overwritten and occasionally used the wrong word. The audience was very enthusiastic, though. The theater seems to have developed a loyal following. Most of them were older, and I’m not sure if that is because it was a matinee or relates to the reason why the actors were older than their parts. I would expect any community theater to have lots of younger actors trying out.

In any case, my friend Deb and I had a nice day. We went to lunch at Lapellah first, then had one truffle each and a coffee at a chocolatier down the street from the theater called Fleur Chocolate. Very good. It just would have been nice to see Mischa get her medal (although my niece said it was a very long day). I understand the sparring match was exciting and that even the people from the other schools were rooting for Mischa.

Last week since it had snowed before our hike, we went to one of our default hiking places where we know the paths will be safe, Lewisville Park. Once we crossed the river, though, there was no sign of snow in Battle Ground. It was like spring. And speaking of spring, even though we have snow still in our orchard, the blades of some of my daffodil plants are peaking through.

Yesterday we had an appointment with an accountant to talk over our tax problem. I was a little concerned last week that since we arranged the loan, Wayne acted like it was all taken care of. I didn’t see that we could possibly be expected to pay taxes on money we never saw, but he maintained that that was just how it worked. Finally, I told him that I was going to see an accountant, and he could either help me by collecting papers and coming along, or I would go by myself and have to guesstimate the amounts and talk theoretically. He decided to come, and last week I saw him collecting papers. Unfortunately, the accountant said that the best we could do was request a record of the transactions on the policy, so that we could determine if they figured the amount correctly. Wayne is supposed to contact them about that before we finish our taxes with the accountant.

One thing the visit to the accountant settled. Wayne had gotten it into his head that the IRS had begun charging interest on any taxes due for the previous year beginning in January. I couldn’t understand how that could be correct, as most people don’t even have their forms for filing their taxes before the end of January, and it seemed to render the IRS deadline in April moot. He found out he was wrong. Our taxes are due, not now, but in April, as usual. I don’t know where he got the idea from, but I assume he’s been paying our taxes early ever since he “learned” it.

For the third time in a few months, Wayne ran down the car battery by leaving something on. This time, it was the fog lights, which were on when we were at the accountant’s office. We had to ask a guy in the parking lot to jump our car.

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Snowpocalypse!

I took this picture on Sunday, when we still had lots of snow and it was sunny. Everything was sparkling. It was beautiful. The picture doesn’t convey how the light sparkled off the branches. Too bad.

I don’t know if the media has dubbed our recent storm snowpocalypse or if it was one of my funny brothers, but that’s what our family has been calling it. After the relatively modest snowfall I reported on last week, the snow began falling on Friday evening. Within an hour we had about an inch. It snowed all night long, and we awakened on Saturday morning to what looked like at least a half foot of snow! The official measurement for our area was three inches, but it was at least six inches deep on our driveway.

All our Saturday activities were cancelled, and aside from taking Luke out into the snow, where he had fun playing, we stayed home by the fire. I tried to help someone who had slid off the road near our pond, but I wasn’t able to get him out. I was trying to instruct him on rocking his truck, but he couldn’t do it. I went back up to the house when he decided to walk in to the house he was visiting and get help. It was our neighbor having a Native American ceremony, so there were lots of people there to help him, and later on I saw that the truck was gone.

It continued to snow on and off for the next couple days. Sunday was bright and sunny with little melting, but the snow sparkled in the sun. Then Sunday afternoon it started raining and then snowing and then raining again.

On Monday morning, we ventured out for the first time, to take Luke to Puppy Play and Train. We hadn’t plowed or shoveled our driveway, and our drive down the driveway was interesting. Because it had rained on top of snow but the snow wasn’t gone, it was slippery on our little road in front and on the first couple of main roads, but once we crossed the river on our way to Battle Ground, the roads were suddenly clear. We ran some errands and had breakfast, then picked Luke back up and drove home. By then, it had been raining all morning, but the snow was still on the roads up in our part of the county, so it was much more slippery. We finally failed at driving back up our driveway, which has a good slope at the start, probably more than 30 degrees. We ended up slightly off the driveway and had to walk up it. Later, though, after it had rained a while more, Wayne took the shovel down and got the car out. Yesterday it was rainy, but it is a mark of how much snow we got that we still have lots. Today it’s supposed to stop raining and become partly sunny.

The Lewis River from the Moulton Falls bridge after our first snowfall on Tuesday. If you look closely at the right middle of the picture, you can see a shower of snow falling from a tree.

To return to the earlier part of the week, last Wednesday my hiking friends and I took our default hike when it is rainy or slippery to Moulton Falls Park. It was a very cold day, much colder than this week, and we had that snowfall the day before. We went to the park because we were afraid of the footing, and we were very glad we did. It was so beautiful! It was a sunny day, the river was high, and the snow was showering down off the treetops into the river in lovely falls. We met several people there, and everyone was talking about what a nice day it was. My numb fingers turned warm after a few minutes of hiking. To read more about this hike, see my post on Fat Girls.

In art class, I got to do a fun thing. I had painted my buildings, and we wanted to do a glaze on the right side that would put everything in shadow. I think the result looks really nice. This week I’ll probably go on putting details into the other buildings, particularly the ones in shadow.

This weekend, my friend Deb and I had tickets to a play at the Magenta Theater, a Vancouver community theater that I had seen a poster for at art school. However, with snowpocalypse, neither of us felt like we could venture in for the show, although it was not cancelled. They nicely rescheduled our tickets for this coming Saturday. The play is a Jeeves and Wooster, which should be fun.

On the not so nice side, we got news of an unexpected tax amount that we owe the IRS. It’s a long story, but the sore point for me is that I feel we were robbed in the first place. We are being taxed on an amount of money we never received, and the taxes are going to be huge. It has to do with an insurance policy my husband took out twenty years before we were even married. So, on Monday we had to go down to our credit union and see about a loan. That’s depressing, because we were pretty much out of debt except for our car loan and some incidental credit card charges. Sigh. At least the credit union lady was very helpful and nice.

After we learned about that, we tried to cancel our deal to get a new roof, one that only Wayne thought we needed. However, they told us we would have to pay 40% of the cost if we cancelled, which is just ridiculous, especially considering they already had the shingles in stock. So, aside from the snow, it wasn’t that nice of a week, and we are getting a roof that I didn’t think was necessary to begin with.

It finally snowed!

Here’s a view of our orchard on Tuesday morning. The road off to the left is the single-lane gravel road into our neighborhood.

All week we had snow forecast, and each day they put if off for a couple days later. Finally, on Sunday afternoon we had a little snow, and by Monday some had accumulated in blotches. But when we awakened on Tuesday, we had the winter wonderland that seems to be almost the default when we have snow here. Luke had never seen snow before, and he humped his back and sort of hopped around in it like a demented rabbit.  He got pretty wild, in fact. I think that meant he enjoyed it.

Luke running around by the pond

I took him around the property, and I intended to walk him down to my niece, Katrina’s, house, since I knew the kids had a snow day. However, when we went out, I realized he had his regular collar on, not his prong collar. He is off-leash around our property but not allowed on the road without his leash. But I can’t handle him on a leash without his prong collar as he is very strong, and he pulls.

Later on that day, Luke and I drove over to visit the kids. They were delighted and threw on their outdoor clothing. Luke was bouncing around in the snow so much that when the youngest went out, he bounced into him and knocked him over. However, I made the mistake of trying to go inside the house to visit with my niece. Instead of playing with the kids, he stood by the front door and looked in. This is a problem with him. We can’t let him out and have him occupy himself. He keeps waiting for me or Wayne to come out. Once one of us is out, then he occupies himself very well, but he wants company. We tried to see if he would run off and play with the kids, but I finally had to go out with him, and by then the kids were doing their own thing.

Last Wednesday, my sister and one of my hiking buddies and I tried to go for an easy hike out in the Yacolt Burn Forest. However, the signage at the trailhead was confusing, and we ended up on the wrong trail. The one we went on was mostly uphill, but luckily it had lots of switchbacks, which made it easier for me than if it had just been straight uphill. I could still have gone on when we had to turn back, because our friend had a vet appointment that afternoon. It was a nice day, and we saw some good views. If you’re interested in it, you can read about it on Fat Girls. When we got back was when we realized that the trail was actually closed for construction, but we didn’t notice anything going on while we were on the trail.

In art class, I started putting details on the buildings in my painting while my sister began working on her first oil painting. She says the medium is very different from acrylic, and I know she sometimes finds it frustrating. But she says she thinks she’s going to like it.

And that’s about it except that my niece, Áine, received her first acceptance to college yesterday. Yay!

A mild week

A view of our pond on this beautiful day. I took the picture from our deck.

We are feeling for the rest of the country, which seems to be suffering this winter. I hear from a friend in Michigan that she and her husband have about used up all their firewood, and another storm is due in this week. We had some snowy winters the last two years, but this one has been really mild, and we think a bit too dry. During the last week, we have had hardly any rain, although we had several foggy days, and since Monday we have had beautiful, clear but chilly days. Still, our chilly days have only been in the 40’s or 50’s most of the winter.

Oh, my gosh! My brother just sent me a picture of his dashboard showing the temperature. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and it is -22 there! My niece sent him back a picture of her kids playing in the greenhouse yesterday with their shirts off. What a contrast!

We have gotten a bid on financing our roof from the roofers, and now we have to go visit our credit union to see if they can do better. I hope so. We are also having to have our satellite dish moved. It is supposed to be mounted on a proper mounting on the side of the house, but there are actually several satellite dishes on the roof, from services gone by. All of them have to go.

In fact, the satellite guy was scheduled to come out to our house yesterday. We had dentist appointments at 10 but thought we would be home by noon, which was the beginning of the time period during which he was supposed to come out. What would the odds be that he would be on time? However, our appointments lasted longer than we expected and in fact when we arrived home at 12:20, we had missed him.

Our dentist appointments were rescheduled from last Thursday, when we drove into town to find that the doctor was out sick. He did not have measles but stomach flu, he told me yesterday. If you are paying attention to the news about the measles, you have heard there is an outbreak in Washington. What you probably don’t know is that the hotbed is here in Clark County, which has a large percentage of unvaccinated children. My great niece and nephew have had their vaccinations (my great nephew is only partially vaccinated because of his age), but I know that my niece is worried they might get sick anyhow, as the number of vaccinated people who got sick is “unconfirmed.”  The first children to get sick attend a school that my great niece’s school shares its parking lot with. The kids were sick last week but not with measles.

No hike last week but one is set for today. My sister has said she wants to go with us, but as usual, her sights are set on a more challenging hike than I can probably do. A couple weeks ago, we went on one of our easy hikes that we do when it is raining, and I found it a lot tougher than I had done in the past, because I have gotten more out of shape since we have been missing so many hikes.

Oh, now we have made our plans, and we are doing an easy hike that we have never done before. Interested readers will be able to see my write-up in Friday’s Fat Girls.

Last week, the women whom Luke and I go dog-walking with were supposed to come to my house so that their dogs could play in the wolf pen. However, this outing completely fell apart. Instead, I took Luke over to the house of Christine, Peter, and Duchess, as Wayne had promised to help Christine and Peter with their computer. Luke and Duchess played in their backyard, and they had a blast running around in circles. The only problem with this was, that during their next class, Luke was sitting next to Duchess and clearly wanted to take up where they left off. He concentrated poorly during that class. I would like to see him do well in front of the trainers so that he can graduate to the next class. He is clearly bored with adult class. I don’t want to quit going entirely, because I think the socialization is good for him.

 

Playing with the eyeball ball

Last night, Luke and I spent some time playing with the eyeball ball. This ball is the famous Christmas present that I got this year from my husband, another entry in a long line of tasteful gifts. In fact, had I not asked for a jacket at the last minute, this ball would have had the dubious distinction of being my only Christmas gift besides some tools for my tool box (including a socket wrench set—be still my beating heart). It is a clear bouncy ball with a light inside it that changes color from red to purple when you bounce it, and it has an eyeball on the front of it. It immediately became Luke’s toy. I can’t show you a picture of it right now, because it is under the couch.

Wayne tries to watch TV while Luke runs around with the eyeball ball in his mouth. It is currently in its red state, and the eyeball must be facing into his mouth.

Here is our game. I bounce the eyeball ball, which changes colors, which Luke appears to like. He catches it. We bounce it around a bit, and then he loses it under the couch. He does this on purpose because of the next bit, which is that I get the mop out from the closet, which he then attacks, and then I poke around with it under the couch until the eyeball ball comes out. Then he purposefully pushes it back under the couch again. Then he runs to the closet to get ready to attack the mop. Oh, what fun. After about the sixth or seventh time, when he lost the ball before I even put the mop away, I left the ball under the couch. He must have a dozen balls (you can see one under the table in this picture), but he likes the eyeball ball the best.

Most of my news this week has to do with Luke, as there hasn’t been much going on. No hike again last week, because both my hiking partners failed. We did do a mini pack walk on Thursday with Luke’s doggy friends Lola and Duchess. Luke misses his best doggy friend, Ruthie, though, as either she or her mistress has been ill the last month.

On Saturday, perhaps to make up for the snub last week, the owner of the dog-training place invited me and Luke to take part in a pack walk. We had to jump through some hoops to do this, as it was during the time when I usually take Mischa to taekwondo. What we did was pick up Mischa early, then Wayne dropped me and Luke off for the pack walk and took Mischa to class. Then he came to pick up me and Luke at the pack walk destination, so that we didn’t get to walk back with them. I was worried that it would be too tough on me, because the last one went at such a sharp pace. This one did, too, but the distance was quite a bit shorter, so I didn’t have any trouble. I could go both ways and do the exercises in the middle if it weren’t for dropping off and picking up Mischa.

Then later that day I went alone to take Luke to his regular class. The class was conducted by the owner rather than his regular trainer, because she was at the Portland Dog Show. Luke did very well right up until the end, when he came off place twice while he was waiting his turn to be called away. That said, he did better than any other dog in the class, but I would have liked him to do perfectly, since the owner was there and had ejected him from Relationship Class.

When I got home with Luke on Saturday, Wayne promptly disappeared to the basement even though I had had Luke for several hours that day by myself and would have liked a break. This is fairly usual behavior for Wayne. He didn’t come back up for hours.

Aside from that, it was a normal week. I am still working on the same painting in art class, although my sister is about to start her first oil painting after having worked on a series of exercises. The art teacher discovered that we actually do have a checklist for oil painting, so she checked off the things I had already done and I get to start following it once I finish my landscape.

Wayne has been meeting with some roofing people. During a recent wind storm, we got a shingle knocked off our roof. Although the roof looks okay to me and I figured it would just need a repair, Wayne thinks it needs to be replaced. The roofing guys came out again yesterday, and it looks like we’re getting a new roof.

Delinquent dog

The first thing that happened last week after our hike was I got an email from the owner of our dog training facility that Lukey was kicked out of Relationship Class. She made it sound like I had taken him to the class on my own initiative, so I wrote back and said that the trainer had instructed me to try it out. She said she didn’t know that, and we would talk about it on Saturday. They had had a bad day, because a woman drove through the front of their building, Wayne reported, just before he arrived to pick up Lukey from Puppy Play and Train.

I was pretty angry at her tone and way of handling this, and on Saturday, I tried to point out to her that she had handled it poorly and that she should have talked to the trainer before sending the email. I didn’t care whether Luke went to Relationship Class or not, even though I felt that he had done as well as some of the other dogs in the class. However, either she misunderstood me or she lied, because she said she did talk to the trainer, which was exactly opposite of what she had told me before. Anyway, Luke is now just taking the adult obedience class.

And he has been a real pain lately. Wayne says he is suffering from an excess of testosterone, but he is adverse to the idea of having him fixed now. He wants to wait until Luke is almost a year old. I asked the trainer about it, but she said she didn’t think dogs should be fixed at all, so that is no help. In any case, he takes a few naps, but when he is awake, he is either playing (good) or getting into mischief (bad). There is no middle ground.

A case in point is the baby gate at the opening to the hall. Our original intention was to install a semi-permanent gate at the opening of the hall so that Hillary could come and go in the back part of the house without worrying that Luke could get her. However, we could not install that metal gate at the opening because of the pocket doors in the hallway. We ended up installing it towards the other end, so that it only blocks off the doors to the two bedrooms. Since Hillary’s cat box is in the laundry room, however, we supplemented that with a wooden baby gate at the opening of the hall.

That gate worked fine until he figured out that he could just push the ends aside and squeak back behind it, at which point, Wayne tied it to a bookcase on one end and the pantry cabinet doors on the other. Then, he just chewed through the twine on the pantry end, so Wayne chained the gate to the pantry doors.

That worked for a while until Luke figured out that he could bully his way through the door. So, we put a ladder behind it so that the door could only open towards him.

Luke on the wrong side of the very battered gate, with the ropes and the bungee cords on it.

That worked for a while until Luke figured out that he could work at the door until he opened it toward him. So, the last few days, Wayne has been bungee-cording the door shut, which, by the way, makes it very hard to get through. Then, this morning, Luke got through the bungee cords three times.

So, we finally gave up and removed the gate. Hillary is still safe behind the second gate, and I moved her cat box to the other side. We are keeping all the doors shut, so, sure enough, now that there’s nothing keeping him from going down that hall and nothing to see, he’s not interested.

He is generally always on a path of destruction. We had to block off the downstairs stairs with a large, heavy footstool, because he went down to the bottom of the stairs and began ripping up the carpet. He has been steadily chewing on the gate, and although he hasn’t been chewing on the windowsills or coffee table as much, we still catch him chewing on the door frames. He ripped a huge hole in our old quilt, which I had the forethought to put on top of the nice bedding. His latest is to have chewed his leash in half. The trainers told us to keep him on a leash inside so that we could give him a correction when he chewed something he wasn’t supposed to chew, used his teeth inappropriately on us, or jumped up on me. The result was not that he stopped doing any of these things but that he has destroyed his leash. Wayne tied it back together. We bought him a new leash for class, but he will wear the old one at home until he stops doing some of these things. That was his latest, but his worst thing was to get a hold of my reading glasses (prescription) when I wasn’t home and chew them up. He also tried to chew up my hairbrush, but Wayne rescued it.

He is certainly in a contrary stage of his life. He knows what he is supposed to do, but he doesn’t want to do it, except in class. He knows what he isn’t supposed to do, so he is determined to do it. I hope he gets out of this stage soon. Before I got up, I heard Wayne cursing him all morning long as he went from one misdeed to another.

No hike this morning, but we went on a nice one last week, although it was raining. When it’s a soggy day, we usually keep to one of two parks that have nice, paved trails. Last week, we went to Lewisville Park. What with the pack walk last Monday, the hike, and the mini pack walk on Thursday, I got quite a bit of exercise last week. This week it will just be my jaunts with Luke and the mini pack walk tomorrow.

The waterfront trail has a cantilevered pier hanging out over the water.

Oh, and my friend Deb and I went for a walk along the Vancouver Waterfront Renaissance Trail on Sunday. First, I met her at the Cascade train station in north Portland, and then we drove back across the bridge to Vancouver. We first went to When the Shoe Fits, where Deb bought a pair of hiking shoes just like mine. Then we went for lunch at a waterfront restaurant called Twigs, and we walked along the trail for a while afterwards. It was a gorgeous day, clear and not too cold. Finally, we went to see the movie The Favourite. It was quite entertaining, although I think it took huge liberties with history. I read a biography of Queen Anne a few years ago, and she wasn’t the nincompoop that this movie and history has made her out to be. What she was, was very ill.

A missing bag, a poltergeist, and snow

Our New Year’s guests left Wednesday to drive down to Oregon, and Wednesday night they texted me a picture of two similar bags, saying, “Is the one on the right yours? You can see they are identical, and we took it by mistake.” I was appalled to see it was my art bag, and okay, the bags were the same colors, but mine had a whopping great STC logo on the front. I’m afraid I got a bit testy with them, but I was wondering what I was going to do the next night, which was art class. Also, and everyone in my art class agreed with me, my art supplies are the one thing I don’t want someone messing with. Luckily, I had mixed a lot of paint colors for what I was working on the week before, and my brush roll was still in my office, so I had my brushes and palette knife. My sister was offering to let me use her paints, but since she had just bought her oil kit and not used it yet, I was relieved to only have to borrow a sheet of palette paper from her.

The other thing was that after Christmas I had looked around for a new art box, because the one I had was stuffed to the gills. The art box the art school gives you is exactly big enough for what you get with it plus a few more tubes of paint. Over the past year that I’ve been painting, I’ve bought a few colors at my various teachers’ suggestion, and I put in all the colors from my old art box that weren’t duplicates. So, I can barely get my box shut, plus my medium leaked out into it months ago, and it is coated inside with sticky stuff. I now keep my medium at the art school. (That’s exactly what happened to my old art box, which I opened up to find that all the paints were stuck to the bottom and each other.)

My new art box. Some of the reviews complained that the box hinges didn’t hold. I hope that won’t be the case, as it really wouldn’t be nice to have my paints fall all over the floor. It is definitely more cheaply made than the old, smaller box of the same brand that I already had. This one, however, has space for even more tubes of paint

So, I had looked around at art kits (the one that was bigger was very expensive), tool boxes, and fishing tackle boxes looking for one that opened up in tiers, like all tool boxes used to, but apparently don’t anymore. The fishing tackle boxes do, but their slots are too small for paint tubes. And I wanted tiers so I could sort my paints by color rather than just dumping them into the bottom of the box. I finally ended up buying a new ArtBin that is larger than the old one I have had for 20 years. That one wasn’t big enough for some of my brushes, so they got bent. The new one, alas, while the perfect size, is more cheesily made than the old one, which uses metal for the risers instead of plastic and has metal hinges instead of plastic ones. I had been excited that it was due to arrive the day of my art class, and I’d been hoping to switch everything over and take it to class, but of course, I had no supplies when it arrived. I got my art bag back on Friday when my brother and family were on the way back up to Seattle, and now I have all my supplies in my new box.

Friday night, we were startled by a rap on the door after dark. There was something odd about it, since we didn’t hear the UPS truck, and we don’t usually get people at the door that we don’t know are coming, so Wayne told me not to answer until he got there. When we opened the door, no one was there. Wayne hadn’t heard it (he is deaf, so of course, nothing he doesn’t hear actually happens), so he was trying to make out that nothing had happened because Luke didn’t bark. Then it came again. We didn’t catch the little brats, but both the kids next door and the kids across the road were outside playing. We could hear them. Wayne, though, said that maybe Nadia, my niece who is 11, had left her poltergeist here, because they are usually associated with girls that age. (For those who don’t know Wayne, that was a joke.) It didn’t come again, so I figure there were two kids and each one had to take his or her turn. I just didn’t think we would have to deal with stuff like that out in the country. It was a little unnerving because, although we aren’t so far into the country that we don’t have neighbors, they would have had to come across our fence or at least come up our long drive or across our orchard to do it. (Just to carry the theme a little farther, though, our valley is notoriously haunted, although I don’t think that rapping on doors is the usual manifestation.)

Everything is returning to normal schedule-wise. Luke had his first adult class of the month on Saturday and did very well. Then we went Monday to the first Relationship Class. This is the one that they say the dog must be very obedient to take, so I was a little worried about Luke, as he usually does well in class, but is a little imp at home sometimes. He actually seemed to do very well at first, better than some of the other dogs who have been going there a while, but then they did a long exercise where the dogs had to be in a down until it was their turn to either come when called or weave through all the other dogs. He was staying down pretty well, but he goes down for treats, and I had forgotten to bring any. A few other dogs got back up, and one had to have someone stand on his leash. However, after about ten minutes, Luke began popping up regularly. When he saw I didn’t have any treats, he was reluctant to go back down. Finally, I borrowed some, but then I think he was getting up just to get more treats. One of the trainers came over and stood on his leash, which made him go frantic. When we originally trained him to go down, you do it by standing on their leashes, and it made him scream. Our original trainer and I were unable to get him to go down that way, and I had to resort to luring him down. It was a mistake not to come to class without treats, but on the other hand, at some point he’s not supposed to need any to do what he’s told. The other trainer said she would work with him on his downs today while he is at Puppy Play and Train.

After that was a pack walk. About a third of the class left, and the rest went on the walk. It just about killed me. I don’t know what distance we walked, but it wasn’t the distance so much as the pace. I am a slow walker. When I pack walk with the women from Luke’s puppy class, I have to walk faster than normal or they have to stop and wait for me, and we are all retired women. These people were younger, and they weren’t trying to walk fast, but they were going about twice as fast as I usually walk. I tried to keep up with them on the way there, but on the way back, I just went at my own pace and was way behind. The nice trainer who said she would work with Luke stayed back with me, and she had her son in a stroller. She even traded Luke for the stroller for a while, because having my arms on something made my back and shoulders feel better. I sometimes have a problem when I am walking for a long time where they hurt, presumably just from the weight of my shoulders and arms. I have broad shoulders that sometimes seem too broad for my body.

So, now I have to consider whether I want to do that again. I was aching all over by the time we got home. Luke was worn out, too. The walk was supposed to last an hour. That’s about how long we take on our mini pack walks, but we stop and gab part of the time. This walk actually lasted about an hour and a quarter. I just measured the distance we went, and it was three miles, with a break in the middle for rest and exercises, so not so far, but fast for me. Many of our hikes are longer, but one of my hiking companions is even slower than I am, and we never go faster than the slowest person.

As for the weather, it has been rainy and cold most days, with an occasional clear, colder day. Snow was not forecast on Sunday, but for about half an hour on Sunday afternoon, we got some. It didn’t accumulate, but at least we saw some coming down. At least we had that little bit if we don’t get any more this year. Snow was forecast for Monday, but we did not get any, and none is forecast for the next 10 days. It’s a big contrast to our past two winters.

Today, I am going on a hike for the first time in over a month. One of my hiking partners has been in Europe for the past month. The other one ended up substitute teaching every week but one, and that week she got sick. One of them can go today, though, so that will be good. I’ll be getting some exercise this week, what with the pack walk on Monday, the hike today, and another mini pack walk scheduled for Thursday.