Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Kev and I are both competitive people. He was always active in sports, even now as a referee. I danced competitively through college. Whether it was scoring the highest in the classroom or on the field, we both are type A personalities and we like to win. Maybe that's why our friends don't invite us to watch their kids play Little League. Well, there was this one incident when we did heckle the opposing t-ball team and might have embarrassed a few parents, but the kid was hogging the ball from the other players and he wasn't as good as he thought he was. Needless to say, when I decided to take the girls to our first lure coursing event Kev had to remind me to check myself before putting the racing jacket on either of our two children.

Roxy was a great racer. Seka, not so much. So naturally I thought that Roxy would take to lure coursing like a duck to water. Unfortunately, Roxy would rather make her rounds through all the spectators and get lovin' than chase any plastic bunnies. Roxy in fact showed the world that not all greyhounds like the lure and laid down on top of it to make it stop moving. When I attempted to slip her and encouraged her to chase the three white plastic bags attached to the pulley system, she ran back to the ex-pen and waited on me to let her in. So it seems that Roxy prefers to be an "athletic supporter." At least for now.

Surprisingly enough it was Seka who ran the course like a pro. After her practice run on the long 930 yard course on Saturday afternoon they allowed me to change out Roxy's entry on Sunday and put Seka in her place. The Sunday course was shorter, only 640 yards, but the turns were much harder and I thought that she would absolutely have a hard time with it. But as long as she came back in one piece, I didn't care. She had so much fun on Saturday, how could I not let her do it?

But she proved me wrong, and had little trouble with the course. Making the turns beautifully. Keeping her eye on the lure in front of her. Running as fast as she could go, but not so fast that she couldn't maintain control. It was truly amazing to see her perform. Breathtaking, as my girlfriend Patti describes it. In that moment you suddenly realize that you love an elite athlete and you're so proud of what he/she can do. They're not performing for you out there. They're not chasing those silly plastic bags because you told them to. They're running because they love it.

So, Seka came home with a blue ribbon on Sunday after scoring 310 cumulative points (156 in her first run and 154 in her second). The video posted is of her afternoon run. Oh, did I forget to mention that 31o was a tie for the highest score of the day! (And yes, there were more than two dogs running.) Is that my type-A, competitive personality creeping in? Or just a really proud mom? I can't quite decide. I've not started smack talking or thinking of any heckling that applies to lure coursing yet, so I think I'm doing pretty good.

But it's official, we've got the bug - our next lure coursing event is May 3! Let the training commence. (Insert Rocky Theme here)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not So Luck of the Irish

Like any high school girl, I enjoyed experimenting with grocery store hair dye. I didn't go platinum or purple. I stuck to tone-on- tone coloring - more along the lines of increasing the depth of my brunette hues. Boring? Sure. Safe? Well, I thought so until I bought a box of Ash Brown dye on March 16, 1993 and proceeded to follow the directions on the box. It didn't look all that bad after the initial wash and dry. But by the next morning, my hair was a lovely shade of green just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

My parents weren't the type who would find a hair emergency a legitimate reason to stay home from school. I think if I had accidentally blinded myself with the tip of the dye bottle, they wouldn't have considered even this the type of unfortunate accident with Miss Clairol stay-home worthy. So, I put on a green sweatshirt (a bad choice since it only emphasized the shade of my hair) and braved the unforgiving hallways of Northside High School. After being asked more than 100 times, "Did you mean to do that?" and "Will that come out?" I realized that I better figure out a way to fix this green-do issue and fast.

Now, if I had made this mistake in 2008, I could have found out how to correct my beauty school drop out boo boo online. But in 1993, I had to call my hairdresser, who proceeded to strip my hair using a concoction of powdered Tide laundry detergent and Palmolive liquid dish soap. After five washings, that seemed to burn off more of my scalp than remove any of the green we turned to the only solution - red hair dye. So, for the next two years, I spent my days as a foe Irish lass and I loved it.

This past Saturday we were supposed to participate in the 150th St. Patrick's Day parade through downtown Atlanta. Well, Mother Nature had other plans, and a tornado touched down on Friday evening around 9:45 p.m. just as I was putting the finishing touches on the girl's hats. UNLUCKY! Kev thinks that Seka and Roxy called in a favor to the gods of nature to do something about their pending stroll of shame down Peachtree Street (which is different than the walk of shame btw) all decked out in totally adorable hats and festive scarves and actually caused the tornado to occur. How else can you explain such a freak event?

But I say, what's the point of owning these regal creatures if you can't humiliate, I mean, show them off? I went to all the trouble to get everything ready and since today is actually St. Patty's Day I figure I could force them to wear their adorable parade gear for 10 minutes. Kind of like the gift your great aunt sends you on your birthday that your mom makes you wear so she can take a picture and then you never let that itchy sweater with the embroidered cats on it see the light of day ever again? So today, for 6.5 minutes, they humored me - even if it was just in the backyard.

While shopping for the celebratory supplies for the parade, I actually contemplated purchasing a green bob wig to wear for the festivities. Going with my better judgment, I decided to go with the green boa instead. Oh well, maybe next year the girls and I will get to live it up with the Irish in the big city. I'll be the one with brown hair and two embarrassed greyhounds.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Buddy

Like many little girls, I had my share of stuffed animals. They filled my toy box and covered the bed in my room. I had a special order I preferred to see them arranged in, based on who I thought would get along best with whom. I mean, it's obvious that the brown bear would be friends with the polar bear and the white fluffy dog should probably be separated from the baby tiger. Yes from a young age I had a problem with anthropomorphism. While I had several stuffed animals to play with, there were only two that were special enough to take turns going EVERYWHERE with me.

The first was Grover. This wasn't just any Grover. My stuffed Grover was as big as I was at 3 years old, with arms and legs that could wrap around my neck and waist, although I found they were best used to drag him with. The second was Henry Dog. I loved Henry Dog because my older cousin, Lisa, had a Henry Dog and I wanted to be cool just like her. Both of these stuffed buddies had their share of wear and tear and had to be repaired regularly by my mother. Grover, in particular had to have at least one leg sewn back on at one point.

Seka has always preferred to play with a ball, no matter the shape or size. From the second day she lived with us, she would retrieve and even catch a tennis ball. But to add variety, she has her share of squeaky toys and stuffies overflowing out of the toy basket and she does play with them regularly. I would say that 99% of the toys in the toy basket squeak.

Roxy is just discovering the joy of toys. She'll go over to the toy basket, pick through the assortment, take the chosen toy back to her bed, inspect it for defects as if she worked on some sort of assembly line, and then go back to the basket for another - repeating the process over and over again until 70% of the toys are spread across the floor. I've not figured out how to get her to pick up the toys and put them back in the basket, but I'm sure that my mom felt the same way about me when I was a kid too. She doesn't really play with too many of the toys she selects because once she realizes a toy squeaks, she's through with it. It's almost as if she doesn't want it to talk back to her. But really, who does? I don't think I would have liked Henry Dog or Grover if either one of those talked back to me. It would be a little freaky. And after seeing Child's Play 15 years ago, the dogs are lucky I let them have any realistic looking stuffed animals in the house at all.

So, I've been on a shopping mission to find toys that do not squeak. Now, this isn't all that easy as it seems all dog toy manufacturers believe that dog toys must squeak to be effective. And the truth is, while most dogs like it, they usually destroy the little plastic chirp in 10 minutes and then the toy isn't any good anyway. I have to give it to them, it's a good marketing strategy.

I know I could kill or remove the squeaker from a toy that we already have, but I'd like to find some other noise that would be attractive to Roxy. And I think I've found it, in the form of an empty water bottle. A girlfriend of mine gives empty water bottles to her 5 month old English Cream Golden Retriever puppy, Millie, and Millie destroys them in about 1.5 seconds. But puppy teeth are lethal and I don't have a chewing problem so I never thought about giving one to Roxy. However, I found this adorable sock monkey-esque canvas toy with plastic water bottle inside (which is replaceable with any old 12 oz water bottle) and decided that Roxy might like the crunching sound it makes. Needless to say, I've found her best buddy. We've been through 3 water bottles in 2 weeks.

So, while I'm still trying to find toys who's noise is something other than a high pitched squeal, for now Roxy has a new buddy (who needs a name). So far she (the purple monkey looks like a girl to me) has all her arms and legs still attached, despite being much loved.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bathtime for Bonzo

When we were house hunting this time last year, I usually inspected the master bath first of any house we went to see. Sure, I want counter space for all my beloved products I require each morning. I am a girl, after all. But, I really wanted to check out the bathtub. To me, there's nothing better than running a hot bubble bath, settling in with a good book and closing out the world.

So when we fell in love with the house we bought, it might be shocking that it didn't have a great master bathroom. In fact, it's rather Brady Bunch with its shower/tub combo. Certainly not long enough for my 5'9" frame to comfortably relax in even if I wanted to. What sold me on this house, among other things, was the hot tub out on the back deck. I frequently wait until it gets dark, sneak outside, slip off my robe, hope the 11-year-old neighbor boy isn't watching out of his bedroom window, and spend the next 45 minutes catching up on my reading. Kev says I should be more worried about the 75-year-old next door neighbor spying on me, but I figure if he's going to stay up past his bedtime to hope I get in the hot tub that night, then he deserves a peek.

We finally got around to giving Roxy her first bath last night. Between her enormous spay incision and my laziness, it just hadn't happened yet. Now, I'm always a little embarrassed to tell people that I bath Seka about three to four times a year. She just doesn't get dirty and she isn't smelly, but most non-greyhound people won't believe that. The main reason for giving her a bath that often is so that she stays used to it. Even then she goes to our bedroom, jumps on our bed and hides her head under the blankets hoping we can't find a 65 lb black dog in the middle of a light green comforter. I guess dogs are colorblind.

Now I've heard stories of how some greyhounds collapse while being bathed. That the warm water relaxes their muscles so much that their legs just give out on them. I knew this, but never really gave it much thought until at the end of her bath Roxy seemed to pass out in the water. No matter how hard Kev and I tried to get her to stand up, her muscles just wouldn't work. So we got her out of the water, wrapped her up, embarrassed her by taking her picture and within three minutes her back legs seemed to be working again. She got her marshmallow for being an such a good girl in the bath and then she began showing everyone (me, Kev, Seka, and all three cats) how clean she was through a celebratory lap through the house. Well, several laps.

Seka was second in the bath and the reason why is the way she leaves the tub. Now, Seka has an incredibly shiny coat. Most everyone, including those who own black greyhounds, comment on how beautiful her coat is. I have little to do with this. It's all genetics. I really don't notice her shedding on a regular basis, but when I bath her it looks as if there's enough hair for another greyhound left in the tub. Where does this come from? Roxy left six hairs in the tub. Seka left 6000. I guess she's high maintenance like her mother.