Saturday, December 26, 2009

Terfel's Big Day(s)

Two big days in a row for the puppy.

Christmas Brunch 2009

On Christmas we met up with Sj, C, and E for a bit of a walk out at Green Lake. E has a 15-week old Boxer puppy name Jamoca. The walk was fun with Terfel poking his nose into everything and otherwise leading Jamoca around.

Then back to Sj and C's place for brunch ("yum" is not really a strong enough word for "rosemary potato strata, breakfast meats such and yummy bacon and sausage, potatoes (you can never have too many potatoes), baked pancakes, toast and C’s coffee cake"), an occupation which took the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon and involved a great deal of puppy play. To wit:


Which resulted in . . .

Boxing Day 2009 turned out to be another big day for the puppy.

Brilliant blue skies and, by the time I bestirred myself from the bed, pretty warm temperatures. One of those amazingly pretty (and mild) Puget Sound winter days.

My cold, of course, has abated (some) but not enough to go run this morning with Sj (and her crew, and I missed a pretty cool run out at Tiger too). Would have a been a fantastic morning but I cannot manage even a block without descending into a coughing fit.

So, M and I decided to take the pup out for a hike at Cougar Mountain. His first time. Nothing like getting him excited about going out there now is there.

Cougar Mountain

Parked down at Red Town and took the Wildside trail out to where it joins with Red Town. A short loop really but lots of ups and downs and interesting things for puppies (and, well, me too) to poke noses in to. He was pretty happy to be climbing up logs.

Just past the trail down to Ford Slope and the Steam Hoist area we met a couple walking another puppy from the other direction. Annie, their Wire-Haired Terrier-Lab Mix, was about the same age as Terfel. We let them off-leash to have at it. About 15 minutes of full on puppy-play and chasing ensued and we had a nice chance to chat. The wind was coming up and branches (small ones) were beginning to fall of the trees. THAT got both the puppies attention.

Continuing on we were passed by a dad walking with his two daughters. This would not be at all noteworthy but for two things: first, one of the girls was plainly afraid of Terfel and second, both girls were wearing their brand-new Merry Christmas cowboy boots (one pair red, the other green). Just the thing for slogging through the mud, right?

Then it was time for a drink once we got to Red Town and so I carefully lifted the little fella up and . . .

He was pretty scared and unsure of his footing. Pawed at the water a couple of time and had a little bit of a drink. The important thing is that he did not panic.

Took a bit of a detour off Red Town down to the Ford Slope Mineshaft to read the signs. Ran down the hill and I almost biffed it on some ice. Terfel had a blast. He was less enthusiastic when we ran back uphill towards M. :-P

Terfel was tired but neither M nor I were ready to head home on such a pretty day. What to do, what to do?

How about stopping to get some more cookies from Immortal Dog and then (maybe) go for a swim out at Magnuson. OK!

While in the shop, Terfel met two lab mixes that had been playing frisbee. One, a young male, hiked his leg and peed all over a box of dog food bags. Hmm. There is a problem there methinks.

Lots of snoring out of the back seat as we made our way North.

Magnuson Park

So many people out walking their dogs in the park today. We put Terfel on Jessica's old Flexi-Line so he could get some distance and walked down towards the shore area. The first thing we came upon were two Pomeranians that were so fat (and puffed out)—imagine very fuzzy fully inflated puffer fish. Terfel tried to say "hello" but they were really having none of it. As round as these two were, however, they were obviously delighted to be out and about.

The water level in the lake has dropped and it was possible to walk along the beach for a very good distance (normally you cannot). Terfel is fascinated by bodies of water but tends to keep his distance. Today he ventured a bit closer and actually put a paw in the water. We came across a woman swimming her dog and Terfel watched and tried to play a bit but didn't go in. I threw a stick for him and he just watched it disappear. I suspect that he'll learn to swim with Jas the next time she goes.

It was pretty amazing to watch Terfel in the fields and bushes. He was bounding excitedly from place to place in obvious enjoyment. So much fun to watch.

Kite Hill was busy with kite fliers and even someone with a radio controlled glider. The kites and some of the kids flying them were very noisy. The kites because the wind was up and the kids, well, can kids ever be quiet when flying kites? I know I couldn't and I'll bet not much has changed. Terfel watched all this for a while and then we continued on down Kite Hill. A woman got out of her car and hailed us just as we were coming off the hill. "May I ask you a favor?" she asked. "Is your dog friendly?" she continued. "Sure" and "Yes" I said, "What can we do for you?" Her grand-daughter had been eyeing Terfel as we came along and wanted to meet him. She couldn't walk. So, the she opened the car door and Terfel jumped up to meet her, eliciting such a beaming smile. I gave the little girl some treats to give Terfel and she did. He was so enthusiastic and at the same time gentle. Turns out, the family was from Gig Harbor and had a baby who was at Children's Hospital. I can't imagine what it must be like to have three children, two of whom have medical difficulties at such a young age. I wished them well as we left but now regret not giving them my number. Perhaps the little girl would like some more puppy time? Her smile was wonderful.

Hmm. Perhaps Terfel has a future as a therapy dog?

Then we ran into (yet another) Lucy. What is it with that and dogs around here? We have three "Lucy's" on our block. Anyway, Lucy does not like puppies, a fact she made quite plain. But her family did, including a toddler and we stopped a bit to chat. I fed Lucy treats and pet her and everyone else pet Terfel. He was loving it.

All this running around in the dirt meant only one thing. Bath Time!

So off to Rub-A-Dub Dog for his very first bath. We'd been taking Jessica there for years, after discovering the hard way that her hair would clog the bathtub drain very, very badly.

What can I say. He did really well after a little coaxing up onto the platform. We wasn't happy about getting bathed but he didn't struggle or otherwise make things difficult. Only one problem. He didn't like the blow dryer. So, we just won't use that.

A very, very busy day which (again) resulted in

Just a few short months ago I was sadly thinking of all the "last" things I would be doing with Jessica. I am finding all of these firsts with Terfel to be wonderfully therapeutic and just plain fun.

I think he has the makings of a fine trail dog. He sticks pretty close, obviously enjoys being out in the woods, is curious, and (actually) likes to run. It'll be a while before we can do that though. Even so, I cannot wait.

Oh yes, I also learned something funny about Terfel's namesake and his pants (Thanks C!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Original Sin - Lapham’s Quarterly

The Original Sin - Lapham’s Quarterly

The Original Sin

by Francine Prose



But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.—St. Paul

Hardly anyone noticed this summer when former president Jimmy Carter explained why he had decided to leave the Baptist Church. However “painful and difficult,” wrote Carter in an essay that appeared in the Guardian, his break with the denomination to which he had belonged for sixty years had begun to seem like the only possible response to past opinions expressed and codified by the Southern Baptist Convention. “It was an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be ‘subservient’ to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors, or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief—confirmed in the holy scriptures—that we are all equal in the eyes of God.”

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Cough! Sneeze! Wheeze! Cough! Wheeze! Sneeze!

I am sick (again) and feel like whining a little.

A cold this time (I hope) and a tenacious one at that. Not the kind that puts you down for the count but rather the kind that is just annoying enough to stop you from doing the things you really want to do (like running and heading out to the mountains for some snow shoeing). It is hanging out in my head, throat, and upper chest—moving around as it pleases. Just when I think I've kicked it, it reminds me that I haven't.

So, I haven't run since the 17th and clocked in a whopping 11.30 miles last week (apologies to my mileagegame teammates (Go T3's, I can't)).

So what have I missed?

I DNS'd at the Winter Grand Prix 2-mile road race this past Saturday because my chest felt really iffy and I did not want to drive the congestion deeper down. At least PuddleThumper and MJ had great outings. Err! I hate this!!! Second race this year that I DNS'd because things were just not right.

Moreover, I am supposed to pace SJ on her 16-miler on the 26th. Don't know if I will be in shape for it. Speaking of which, I have to figure out a route with no major climbs. In Seattle no less. Wish me luck.

I know, I know. This forced rest is supposed to do me good. I am just disappointed at not finishing the year healthy.

OK, whining done. Time to move . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

Au Revoir Mr. Lorenzo

Perry Lorzeno, Seattle Opera's Education Director, died this past weekend.

I met him but once or twice but enjoyed his pre-opera lectures and the more extended series at Seattle U. His insights into Wagner were especially enlightening for me.

Even more, here was a master teacher. A joy to learn from. Capable of gleefully making opera's hoary history come alive with relevance. A joy to learn "how to teach" (and how to learn) from.

His blog and appeal for internet prayers, a heartfelt blog by one of his former students, and his obituary from the Seattle Times.

Rest well, Mr. Lorzeno. You fought the good fight. Someone once said that that you don't die until no one on earth speaks your name . . .

Thank you . . .

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Noughties, 00s: a fond(ish) farewell - Telegraph

Well, this might just sum things up fairly well . . .

Nothing like a decade-long, low-intensity headache now is there?

The Noughties, 00s: a fond(ish) farewell - Telegraph

The Noughties: a fond(ish) farewell

Toby Young takes an irreverent look back at a decade characterised by a yearning for chaos.

1 of 4 Images
Armed guard
Armed policeman stand guard over passengers at Gatwick Airport in 2006, at the height of terrorist-inspired travel chaos Photo: Gerry Penny/EPA

I was in a French ski resort on January 1 2000 and the first thing I thought about, when the fog of the previous night began to clear, was the Millennium Bug. Deputy US Defence Secretary John Hamre had predicted it would be ‘the electronic equivalent of the El Niño’.

Just how many planes had fallen out of the sky at the stroke of midnight? I plugged my laptop into a phone socket and heard the sound that will forever be associated with the turn of the century: ‘Eeeeee, orrrrrrrrrrrr, ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a.’

Is this attraction to chaos a reflection of comfort? For some people, all too many people this world over, this past decade has been all Hell, too much real chaos of every sort. And yet, Young's point about "mediated participation" in all this chaos is apt. A yearning, however twisted, to be "there" in the midst of it all?

A little scary.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Frazz gets it right . . .

Thanks to SS for passing this along.

In my case, quite apt . . .


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Winter's Day Magic

The rumor is that the Puget Sound is rainy and grey all the time. Much of the time this happens to be true but on occasion (especially during the summer) the region lights up in the sun. Those are the times that I just don't want to leave because everything goes from drabness to brilliance in a flash.

Of late we've been blessed by some early winter sun. The less said about the chilly temps (18 degrees F this morning) or the stagnant air (Stage 2 Burn Ban) the better. It sure looks pretty and after all the bluster of the past few weeks feeling the sun on one's face is a wonderful thing. Or is it just numbness from the cold?

I graded all morning and then, instead of going for a run, decided to take Terfel out for a long walk, his first real ramble actually. Aside from the standard things to sniff we saw some interest and odd things

From Winter Day
Someone (or thing) constructed a very large nest in the Union Bay Wildlife Refuge. Anything that big with a penchant for using blackberry bushes to do this is probably not something I want to run into.

From Winter Day
It appears that someone else (or perhaps the same creature) had a bit of icy fun at the UW's Conibear Shellhouse. There is a fair amount of ice going out some distance into the lake from this vantage. It seems quite thick in places. Thick enough to freeze this dock into immobility.

From Winter Day

Close up of the Ice Man.

From Winter Day

I don't think this boat is going anywhere soon. Good thing winter break is upon us.

From Winter Day

Terfel and the Ice Man.

From Winter Day

Terfel decided to take a puppy nap under Harry the Husky before attempting to cross Montlake Bridge for the first time. I could just hear the furrows being cut in his little brain with all these new experiences. He seemed giddy with excitement and that made the walk all the more enjoyable. We arrived home after and hour and forty five minutes of brisk walking and he was still going strong.

The weather is expected to "improve" if you can call warming temps and the potential for rain and/or snow an "improvement". I'll miss the sun, sitting in a window absorbing the heat looking at the blue skies. Actually, some blues skies and sun reflecting off a new blanket of snow would be quite a treat.

What a nice way to end the quarter.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nice surprise on my door step this afternoon.

My Nike Free ID shoes arrived.

They are interesting and seem put them together differently than the pair I have for running. Not much in the box except two inserts (5.0 and 4.5 support). The uppers are suede with venting accomplished via the holes you can see in the picture. Major differences in the heel counter too. Instead of a "hard" counter, Nike opted for a thin stretchable and highly breathable fabric that grips the heel but does not hold it.

They were a little tight when I first put them on but within an hour or so they stretched out into that familiar comfort that I have come to expect.

This pair, a little on the "formal sneaker side", are intended as my walking around shoes rather than running.

All part of trying to strengthen my feet, ankles, and legs. I look forward to wearing them.

And where did they come from?

Nike Inc ℅ Quindao Chang Shin


No 6 Quan Zhou Road

Jiaozhou City

Qingdao 266300


Thus continues my experiment . . .

Baby It's Cold Outside!

We are in the deep freeze here in the PacNW. And, no, I don't expect any sympathy from those in colder climbs.

20 rather dark degrees F this morning when I took my rather reluctant dog for a walk.

But is HAS been stunningly sunny, a pleasant change from last December when we were wading through tons of slushy snow in a paralyzed city.

Here is a picture of me (courtesy of PT and her DH) finishing the first race of the 2009 Club Northwest Winter Grand Prix. Yep, I wore gloves and a double shirt the entire time and was generally freezing the entire time.

I am pretty happy about how I did. A little slower than last year but I felt much stronger than last year—there was more left in the tank and I could power up Kite Hill and use the downhill to my advantage. Still have that duck-foot thing going though. Almost caught one of those guys I was chasing last year.

Results are out: 110 out of 148 runners with an overall official time 16:20.1.

Here is the data blow-by-blow:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance? - Well Blog -

September 23, 2009, 12:01 AM

Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?

Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance? - Well Blog -

Vitamin D is an often overlooked element in athletic achievement, a “sleeper nutrient,” says John Anderson, a professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina and one of the authors of a review article published online in May about Vitamin D and athletic performance. Vitamin D once was thought to be primarily involved in bone development. But a growing body of research suggests that it’s vital in multiple different bodily functions, including allowing body cells to utilize calcium (which is essential for cell metabolism), muscle fibers to develop and grow normally, and the immune system to function properly. “Almost every cell in the body has receptors” for Vitamin D, Anderson says. “It can up-regulate and down-regulate hundreds, maybe even thousands of genes,” Larson-Meyer says. “We’re only at the start of understanding how important it is.”

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dog ownership better than a gym membership? A new survey says yes | L.A. Unleashed | Los Angeles Times

Dog ownership better than a gym membership? A new survey says yes | L.A. Unleashed | Los Angeles Times

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Well here is something you don't see every day . . .

Welcome to the Magnuson Geyser Basin!

Took the dog for a walk on this most sunny of December afternoons and came upon this scene.

Apparently, this is what happens when you "drain" a water fountain line (or something) for the winter.

Pretty cool.

Sounded like a real geyser too, great whooshes of air.

If you haven't been to the Park in a while you really should take a look at the "new" wetlands constructed on the former site of "Mud Lake".