Sunday, February 24, 2008

Camera Hog

As I sit here watching the Oscars, I wonder how many directors start off with one vision and when they go back and look at their footage, it becomes something else totally different. Does it mean that the original vision is better or worse than what was actually produced - who knows? You read about so many artists, directors included, who are endlessly tortured by their desire to produce what they see in their minds. The funny thing is, most of us would have no idea if editing one scene this way vs. another would have improved a film. And most of the movie reviewers out there just like to think they know what they're talking about and really prefer to hear themselves talk or see their name in print.

I guess that's why I'm not a director, or an artist of any kind. I lack drive to express the visions in my head, and I'm pretty sure that 95% are best left inside my brain anyway. Perfection is overrated and boring.

Take this video for instance, originally entitled - These Boots Were Made for Walkin'. It was supposed to show Seka walking in her TheraPaw boots. She does this funny little strut, as you'll be able to see eventually, just after I put them on her and it lasts for about two minutes. It might have been cute. Probably much more entertaining to me because I'm close to the subject matter. During the filming of my project however, my supporting actress, had something else in mind.

I think the outcome of this video is proof that sometimes, going with the flow and taking what comes to you proves to be much better than anything you can envision along the way.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bed Buddies

My sister and I were lucky enough to have our own rooms growing up. Mine was decorated in blue and white Holly Hobbie wall paper and rose buds until I was 16 years old (awesome). My sister benefited from my mother's decorating foresight and enjoyed pink rosebuds and sage green stripes in her room, which are still there till this day. But even with separate rooms, we usually slept in the same bed. Not by force, but by choice.

I'm not sure how we made the decision of which room to sleep in. We didn't play rock, paper, scissors or anything. Maybe we realized that the mattress was getting a dip in it and it needed a rest, so we moved rooms. I don't know. But, we rotated on a somewhat quarterly basis, playing in one of our rooms during the day and then sleeping in the other at night. If for some reason we didn't sleep together (one of us was sick, we were arguing, we had been bad, etc.) and we had to sleep in separate beds, my mom claims that she could stand in between our two rooms and listen to the two of us carry on a conversation in our sleep - each of us sleeping in separate rooms, in separate beds. That's a trait we get from our dad's side of the family.

Now Seka has slept with mom and dad for the past 2.5 years. From the time she learned to jump on the bed (six months after she arrived), she has settled in every night in between us as snug as a bug in a rug (insert your choice of birth control joke here). The only time she's been forced to sleep in her crate was when I fell off of my horse last year and it was too painful for her to be in the bed with me. Yes, Cesar Milan would be horrified with the personification of my dog.

But something has suddenly changed in our home since Roxy has arrived. Now, we've not discouraged Roxy from getting on the furniture - bed included. But she hasn't tried and she isn't interested even though she sees Seka do it all day long. Roxy is happy on her bed(s) and snuggling by our feet. I'm sure this will eventually change, but I want her to do this in her own time. While during the day, Seka still prefers to nap on the sofa. At night, she has abandoned the prime sleeping position between mom and dad and taken to sleeping with her sister in the floor. No matter how eagerly I invite her to join us in her reserved spot on the bed, she prefers to sleep with Roxy, like a good big sister.

I've established a new "night night" routine for the girls and both have taken to it better than I'd ever imagined. It goes something like this:
  • Night Night Potty: Roxy is always eager to run out in the backyard, so she's easy to motivate, no matter how deep in slumber she might be. Seka, on the other hand, doesn't even open her eyes one crack when I mention it is time to go out before we go to bed. Even when I go over and poke at her, roll her over from her famous roaching position, or play with her dried out tongue that has been hanging out of her face for two hours, I get zero reaction. Usually, once I come inside from my potty trip with Roxy, Seka decides she's ready to go outside.
  • Night Night Race: The girls race up our short flight of stairs to our bedroom to see who will get to sleep on the awesome, gi-normous, orthopedic bed that dad bought them for Valentine's Day. They both can fit on it when they want to, but usually one has to settle for a plain old dog bed. You can see from this picture that when the bed is brought downstairs, Boo Radley claims a corner every time. She frequently claims Roxy as her new bed buddy.
  • Night Night Cookie: Roxy sits and Seka lays down for their Night Night Cookies. Seka has always slept better with something on her stomach. Roxy has to get up two hours after she has something to eat or drink. So I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I doubt one of them would fall for an imaginary cookie, so I get up at 3 a.m. or so for a "necessary" potty break. Every once in awhile everyone (including mom) sleeps through the night, but I've yet to figure out the combination of how that exactly happens. I hope she grows out of this.
  • Night Night Kisses: Every snooty nose needs a night night kiss, right?
I'm proud of how Seka is becoming a good big sister. She still sneaks into bed with mom and dad every now and again after a 3 a.m. "emergency" turn out. Sometimes I think she wakes Roxy up on purpose to try and steal the better bed. Maybe that's just all a part of being sisters, but it just wasn't one I expected from my four-legged kind.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


If you went to high school, you know first hand about stereotypical cliques. And if you aren't sure of what I'm talking about, you should rent 80s classics such as The Breakfast Club, Heathers, Sixteen Candles or Pretty In Pink; 90s sensation Clueless; or 2004's Mean Girls (for those of you who prefer the half-hearted attempts at updating the teen classics). Dealing with cliques is a right of passage for most people, especially in their teen years. And depending on where you work, you probably still deal with them now.

Today, I watched as the greyhounds at our monthly Pet Smart Meet and Greet create their own little clique. Now, dogs can't judge each other based on how cute their collar is or if their bum is furrier. They can't sort out each other based on whether or not they are having a bad hair day or not. Certainly, standing around outside Pet Smart they can't tell who had a better racing record. So how was it that all five brindle dogs cliqued together and excluded Seka almost the entire time we were there? Maybe she needed a bath or her breath smelled. Or maybe it was Seka who was being the snob? It's so hard to tell with her sometimes.

This was Roxy's first trip to Pet Smart, and although we didn't actually go in the store itself, she was the rock star of the Meet and Greet today. She was smiling at everyone when she was in the ex-pen on her break, crouching down and being extra sweet for the kids to pet her and standing with the "brindle clique" greeting people as they came in and out of the store.

Roxy did great with the small dogs who came to see us. All of the dogs, Seka included, loved the visit we received from the four-month-old whippet who was there for puppy school. They react so differently when they recognize something that looks like themselves, even if it is a mini-version of their breed.

We were there for four hours today, a very long Meet and Greet afternoon. But it was a beautiful day and there was a lot of foot traffic, so we stayed as long as the girls could stand it. Seka conked out half way through and assumed the position of Queen Bee on her bed in our ex-pen. Roxy begged to join her sister after three hours and they shared the bed for the last hour. They looked really cute together and I had to bribe them with treats to stand up and get love from admirers. I knew it was time to pack up and head home when neither of the girls could be motivated to get up no matter how many cookies to threw at them.

So, I'm not sure if Roxy is in the "in" crowd or if Seka is too much of a snob to hang out with the other dogs. Maybe it's like the documentary we watched last night - King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters. If geeks can have cliques, I guess greyhounds can too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fan Mail

Back in the "olden days" - that would be before e-mail - superstars of all shapes, sizes and disciplines received bags and bags of fan mail. I always wondered how they managed all of that. Obviously they didn't read it themselves. I mean if you have people to walk your dog, run your errands, clean your house and clothes, and powder everything from your nose to your toes, you're not going to read for yourself either.

I think I would have made a great fan mail manager. Not to mention it would be so much fun to get paid to read someone else's mail every day. Reading letters from adoring teenagers. Single women who remember being way prettier than they are in reality (these are the ones who would include scantly clad photos). Letters from prisoners who have little else to do but send letters to celebrities. All of which need some sort of response, even if it is a canned one. You can't let your most adoring fans think that their favorite star doesn't appreciate their sentiment. In today's world, all they do is set their fan mail in-box on auto reply and it sends back some stale, auto response and you know instantly that no one will actually ever read the message that crazy fan took all that time to craft. But back when you could send a letter to your favorite band or actor, there was a chance they might actually touch it. Even if only by accident.

Thanks to Roxy, I may be able to live out my fantasy of becoming fan mail manager through her as she has started to receive some fan mail of her own. No it's not because of her fabulous racing record that we're receiving letters from all those old duffers at the track in West Virginia who won it big thanks to her speedy box to wire wins. Roxy has a special admirer in Massachusetts who can't wait to see more pictures of her on this site. So, Roxy took this special modeling shot just for Emily.

And it's even pawtographed - well, it's a pawtograph copy. But what do you expect? She doesn't have time to sign every request with her busy napping schedule.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ice Cream & Greyhounds

Mobility is very important. Whether you have two legs or four, if it's difficult for you to get around, it makes it difficult to enjoy life. After our pet therapy visit this weekend, it totally reinforced this truth.

Seka loves to go on pet therapy visits. At one time she was TDI, Inc. certified and we made lots of visits each month to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the children's hospital. She enjoyed getting love, exploring new places and if mom turned her back and a nice lady gave her chicken from her lunch tray that was okay by her too. I enjoyed visiting with the residents and learning about their former pets and hearing about what they had for lunch or who cheated at cards that day. But unfortunately, my work schedule took over and I was traveling too much to have time to continue our visits and keep her certification up.

But now, we're back in the saddle and making visits again and working toward getting re-certified. This Saturday we made our first visit to a nursing home in over a year and I think we both forgot how much we enjoyed it. We joined Amy with Amber Opal and Lauralee with Charlie at Summerhill Senior Living Community (doesn't that sound nice?). Seka sported her Thera Paws on her back feet so she could tolerate the hard floors (stupid corns). She walks really funny when she only wears one, but when she has both of them on, there's no change in her gait. Really, Thera Paws have changed our lives around here.

The activity of the afternoon was entitled "Ice Cream and Greyhounds." Now I'm not sure how the two go together, but it worked. The common area had several residents waiting to see the pups when we arrived. I always get a little tickled by a few of their comments or actions. Here are a list of my three favorite questions from our visit:
  • Do they bite? Yes, we are bringing three biting dogs for a visit just to see how fast you can walk/wheel/power chair yourself out of this room. We're here to keep you on your toes. I'll say that at least she asked before she reached out to pet. The other person that asked this, did so while encouraging Seka to kiss her in the face.
  • Is there a reason they are all girls? Well, yes. Girls are better. I think she thought that boy greyhounds were bad, mean or they killed them at the track or something. Bless her heart.
  • I bet they eat a lot. Now I find this interesting since most people think they are way too skinny and need to eat more. Maybe because they are big dogs they think big servings. I did hear her say she had on new glasses.
It was an enjoyable hour, but of course because Seka had to stand for more than 15 minutes, she was tuckered out and she couldn't wait to find a place to lay down. The closest place for a doggy nest was the pine straw in the flowerbed just outside the front door of the nursing home. She was just overcome with love I guess.

All I can hope for is that when I get to where I can't get around by myself that I find a place to take care of me that brings in greyhounds to love me on a regular basis. Better yet, maybe by then there will be a greyhound/human retirement community where we can both retire in peace and quiet. Until then, Seka and I will just keep visiting as often as we can.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chicken Sit

Why did the chicken cross the road? Why is this even a joke? The last time this was funny it must have been the early 1900s, where little girls with Polly Anna curls pranced around in pantaloons and mothers sat under parasols giggling at the crazy idea of a chicken walking across the road. I would think that back in the "olden days" most chickens were surely free-range and I'm sure that they were flying around and crossing the unpaved roads all the time. Someone, please explain to me why this might be funny.

Today I took on the task of "Chicken Tender." Yes, I gave myself this title. I took care of a friend's newly acquired chickens while he and his family were out of town on a fishing trip. I have very little experience with poultry, except in the kitchen, but I do love to go to the poultry world exhibit at the fair each fall where they show you how chicken is grown and eventually gets to your table. The walk-through display is wonderful, but it loses it's effect in the middle when they let you hold baby chicks and love on them. I always want to put one in my pocket and run. But what would I do with it when I'm riding the Tilt-a-Whirl?

Do not fear, the chickens I tended to tonight will not be on the table. These chickens are uppity chickens. They live in an uppity hen house and eat uppity organic food. They even have their own guard dog, Pearl (an American bull dog mix of some sort). The momma and seven biddies came from the barn where I board my horse. One day soon they will be laying all sorts of eggs and I'll have farm fresh organic eggs to enjoy, thanks to having friends with uppity hens.

A quick update on my corn dog. Thanks to some helpful SEGA readers, I used a tried and true home remedy - corn remover and duct tape. Believe it or not, it worked! In fact, having the duct tape over the offending pads helped her walk a bit better. I put the corn remover on the corn and covered up the whole pad with duct tape and left it until the tape fell off. When the tape fell off, the corn was loose enough to peel off too. I've ordered a pair of Thera-Paws for her back feet to help her stay comfortable when we are out walking. Humiliating video to come as she learns to walk in them.

I leave you with a joke.
Where do uppity chickens stay?
The Holiday Hen!
Chicken jokes really aren't all that funny.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super(stitious) Bowl Sunday

Most athletes are superstitious. You see baseball players avoiding the baselines when trotting back to the dugout, adjusting themselves several times prior to stepping into the batters box, and who knows how many times they've worn their jock strap without washing it. Basketball players have their own routines, like Kevin Garnett who powders his hands and dusts the entire press row with the excess just prior to the jump ball at mid-court.

Football players must be a little more low-key about their superstitions. They wear too many pads to show if their are patting themselves down prior to the play call. They don't have time to do some silly hand jive just before the snap. I'm sure someone has some special way they wrap their ankles, exotic sports cream they use in unmentionable places or weird meal they eat 30 minutes before kickoff, but it's not sexy enough for the media to care about or else we would have heard about it this week prior to the Super Bowl.

Just as athlete's superstitions are weird and somewhat extreme, so are their fans. In particular Patriots fans. Why is the GBD house completely empty this year on Super Bowl Sunday as the New England Patriots attempt to make their mark on history and Tom Brady becomes the greatest QB of all time? The reason can be found in the infamous words of Stevie Wonder, "very superstitious, nothing more to say."

Since we didn't host one football party this year to watch our beloved Pats go undefeated, we won't have one today. Kevin's day consisted of sleeping in, reading the newspaper, getting a haircut (a lucky cut maybe), and going to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet (yuck) in town, as he has done for 19 weeks in a row supporting his Patriots. All of which was carefully paced and choreographed until 6:32 this evening (kickoff for non-sports fans).

I hope my purchase of two new Patriots collars for the girls didn't throw off the good chi for the Patriots. These new martingale collars came from Greyhounds of Distinction. Great prices, awesome selection and wonderful service. It's VERY difficult to find any sports-themed martingales, so I was psyched to find these just a week before the big game. Alice, the owner and creator of these collars, was kind enough to put them in the mail so they were here by Wednesday. Now, I'm on the look out for Red Sox collars for this spring.

With all this talk of superstition floating around our house I hope Roxy doesn't get any more spooky. Still no toy playing yet or yard running, but it will come around. Maybe she's got her own superstitions too that we don't know about yet.

Go Pats! As I post this the score is: NE 7 NYG 3 early in Q2.

Edited to add (post-Super Bowl): I'm blaming the Patriots' loss tonight on Coach B's red sweatshirt and not on my girls' new collars. I mean, where the hell did that come from? He wears a beat up, cut off gray one all season long and all of a sudden on the biggest night of the year he busts out with some shiny, new, jinxy, sweatshirt. Blame the loss on a sweatshirt, not handsome Tom Brady.