Monday, July 28, 2008

The Burning Man Shower Project

There is this strange Art Festival being held in a faraway land, called Black Rock City, and my Mum is going there to stay for 2 weeks in August. She's been working hard, planning, making costumes and getting all hyped up about her trip, and I suppose its like me going to a huge off leash dog park, same thing. She's going there to make human connections with other souls, hearts and minds, and enjoy the art (she says). Me supervising Rob to make sure he's doing it right

Her gift to the Burn this year is a shower system for her camp. Dad and Mum both planned the structure together, bought the parts and pieces, and they've been working hard putting things in place.
Since Dad isn't a burner (yet) and won't be going this year, he'll be staying home with me. Poor Rob got pulled in to help assemble it, but Rob's going to be Mum's camp buddy, so I guess he's going to have the luxury of taking showers in Mum's shower system too, so he can't complain.
Well, I wasn't too sure about the shower when it first got assembled together (guess its fairly obvious if you look at my face in the photo above). The wind kept making the curtain flap, and I got nervous. I took my time to sniff it, walk around it, and just observe. As usual, Mum said it was necessary to face my insecurities and fears, so she made me sit beside her next to the shower, while she worked with Rob. After a while, I realized it was no big deal, and I shouldn't be such a wuss.

Laying on a "Down" command next to Mum's shower

Ok Mum, I'm not being a wuss anymore. Can I go sniff at that bush that's been calling out to me?

Me posing with Rob as they were finishing up

Nuts, wing nuts, ring nuts, screws, there were many small and big pieces of stuff lying here and there, but I didn't even try touching one. Here in the photo, Rob is putting wing nuts in.

Rob pulled out a strange looking bag full of water. Later I learned it was called a Solar Bag.

Hey Daddy, have you finished soldering Mum's EL-wire yet?

Daddy loves to give me hugs and kisses. I moan and grunt in delight every time he does.

Chilling next to the huge shade cloth

Dear Mummy, I'm going to miss you when you go to Burning Man in 2 weeks.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Oma and Opa's Visit

Having many family and friends come visit us in Washington state is a common thing. Almost every month, or every other month, we've got guests staying at our house, but this time, it is extra special. My Oma and Opa were here to stay with us for a whole entire week.From left, Opa Wolfgang, Oma Rita, me, and Daddy.
We were standing in front of the bubble gum wall, in a corner at Pikes Place Market. The whole wall is full of bubble gum left behind by many different humans. Lots of DNA on the wall.

We toured many parts of Seattle together, and did the round of touristy spots, and I got to go along of course. I go everywhere with my parents.

One of my favorite days while they were here was when we went to Marymoor Park together. It is my favorite offleash dog park where I go to relax, catch up with old friends, make new friends, and sniff butt. Sometimes, I wade in the river, but most of the time, I love sniffing and reading the latest news about my canine friends around the bushes and trees.

I meet a new beagle friend, while Oma, Opa and Daddy look on from behind.

He He He, what kind of trouble can I get into this time, without anyone watching?.... darn it, Mum's still got that camera eye on me.

My parents and I

At the end of the fun day, I got back into the Touareg, and off we went home. I have my own mattress at the back of the car so I can have good cushioning and support as I lay down. That mattress is also an orthopedic mattress, I have the exact same one in my room where I sleep at night.


Mad Mesh Dash

As some of you may know, my Oma and Opa came from South Africa to visit me and my parents for the very first time now in July. My Daddy and his parents are German, so that is why I call my grandma "Oma", and my grandpa "Opa". My parents have now lived in America for 4 years, and this is the very first time my grannies have come to see us.

Since the weather has been hot lately with summer and all, my parents have resorted to using mesh doors to keep those nasty flies out. Unfortunately, one afternoon, I had forgotten the mesh door was up, and as I was making my usual mad dash out to the backyard, I crashed right through the mesh and made the door rim fall out. I got such a huge shock, I dashed right back in, and in between Mummy's legs. Thank goodness, my Mum and Dad did not scold me, and they just acted like everything was normal. Can you imagine that? Who put that mesh door up and let me get such a fright?? Fortunately, Opa was here and he was one of the most handy man ever. He helped Daddy take the door off and after a quick visit to Lowes, they were able to buy parts to fix the door right back. But look at me in the photo, I was darn scared of the door. Mum kept putting me on a climb on my sofa, to put me close to the object of my fear.
I kept a close eye on Daddy and Opa, and that nasty mesh door that gave me such a fright. I wanted to run and hide, but Mum wouldn't let me get off my 'climb', she said we needed to face our fears, and get over things.

Oh Mummy, look at my sad face, my big brown eyes, and my droopy ears, I wish you'd let me go hide from the door.

Eventually Mum let me off my 'climb' and I dashed off to keep distance between myself and that mesh door. A while after that, just as Mum predicted, I got over my fear of the door quite quickly since no one really made any fuss, and I jumped right back onto my favorite spot in the house. My black leather sofa.

From my spot on the sofa, I scan and survey my neighborhood.
Hmmm.... nothing much really happening today. Wonder where the neighbors' cats are...


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Twin Lakes Hike

This entry is back dated. As you may read in the previous blog entry, friends had come to stay with us for a week. There were many things to do, and Mum and I simply had no time to update my blog.
from left, Me, Dad, Rob, Mum, Rachel, and Koos (the entire backpacking crew)

Our hike destination was Twin Lakes. Located in the Cascade Mountain range, Snoqualmie-Mt Baker Forest in Washington. It is about a 3 hour drive from our house to the trailhead. Rachel and Koos are from Canberra, Australia, and they both loved hiking too. What a great way to see the Pacific Northwest.

Hike distance: 8 miles return
Elevation Gain: 1000ft
Terrain: Varied, but mostly forest floor, rocky trails, and along the river

We camped at the upper Twin Lake, which was nicer because there was an actual campsite, with a fire ring, so we were able to make a fire for the night.

Daddy leading the way as Alpha, me following off leash and Rachel following behind as we hike single file along a granite rocky path. I always hike offleash because I am very reliable and trail friendly. I have been trained to hike behind the alpha at a consistent pace and not to hinder other hikers or cause any problems.

Mum and I, taking a short break, while we feast our eyes on the beautiful vistas of the mountains around us.

Another break stop.
I keep my backpack harness on during the stops, so that it isn't too troublesome putting it back on. I also wear a bear bell (muted in the mesh bag) so that I can alert any bears that our hiking party is approaching. Rob is also resting by my side, chatting with Koos (not shown in photo).

The family that hikes together, stays together.

After getting to our camping destination, we were awestruck by the beauty of the place. Vistas in every direction, and a nice wooden platform for sunbathing. Absolutely divine. Here Mum and Dad pose in a photo, while I sit in the foreground.

Learning to walk on logs floating on the lake surface. Balancing can be very tough when the logs roll around in the water...

Mum and I sunbathing on the wooden platform

Daddy and I


Wading in the lake

I loved exploring the area on my own, while Mum kept a watchful eye over me. She doesn't make a fuss when I fall into the water, or yell out for me when I go out of sight. She knows I don't wander too far off, and I also keep an eye on her. I follow Mum everywhere she goes. So while she takes photographs, or meditate in her silence, I wander off to explore on the logs, or wade through the shallows. This is the good life.

Keeping my eye on Mum while I wade through the long grass on the lake.

Doing what dogs do best, sniffing, exploring, basking, absorbing all that is good in nature.

Chilling out with the boys on the wooden platform. (from left, Me, Rob, Daddy and Koos)

When dusk came, we settled back at the campsite, and built a nice warm fire to keep us toasty. We sat around the fire, played word games and shared stories after a long 4 mile hike. (A good distance considering this is the first proper backpacking hike with a heavy backpack that turned out successful - no snow on trail)
Watching my parents have dinner around the fire, while I wait for my dinner. (raw beef flanken ribs)

At the end of the return hike on the 2nd day, I soaked my feet in the gushing river to soothe my paws. Because of the late snow fall in April, and the great amounts of snow we had this past winter, the river was running very strong and high. Mum was so worried that I might wade too far out, and she kept calling for me to stay close to shore. (That's me in the photo telling Mum not to worry)

One of the many scenic vistas on our hike.

Washington is really a green and beautiful state. I love my state and I hope we stay here long. It rains often and it gets cold, but the rain keeps everything fresh and pretty. The air here is so good too. There are thousands of trails for hiking and packpacking, and so many places to explore. I hope we go hiking again soon.

Oh, by the way, we just had our 4th of July weekend. I hated the fireworks and the loud booming and low frequency booms. My parents were playing Taboo with Oma and Opa in the kitchen, and we spent a bit of time looking at the fireworks from the kitchen, but most of that time, I was tucked in between Mummy's legs. I wanted to stay close to Mum and Dad. I didn't shiver or shake, or act too scared, but I wasn't happy if you asked me how I felt about fireworks.


Fall City Days Parade

Mum and I have been MIA (missing in action) for the last several weeks, because we've had a string of guests staying at our house, and there has been too many things for Mum to do, other than to update this blog. So sorry for my absence, for my friends who also have blogs and Mums and Dads who have busy lives, I'm sure you'd understand.

One of the main events while I was away included the Fall City Days Parade. My school, Cascade K9 was one of the entries to do the parade so we all dressed up in our school t-shirts, and bandannas for the dogs and off we went. We did obedience drills and walked in formation during the parade, it was fun. Dad & I, getting ready and waiting at the booth.

There were loud sirens, fire engines, all kinds of people, policemen, firemen in weird hats, people in strange costumes, screaming children, and many other loud noises, but we the dogs were all chill and cool. No drama kings or queens. Everyone behaved their best. It was very impressive to see 24 dogs marching in unison and formation with the owners. It was fun for us doggies too.
Mum feeding me a drink of water, from my water bottle.

Mum and I, walking in formation during the parade.

Performing obedience drills during the parade to show off our skills.

Dad's friend, Koos and Rachel came to stay with us, and we all had a fun time together.
Now my Oma (grandma in German) and Opa (grandpa in German) are staying with us, and we've been busy too. Going to Seattle, doing little touristy things around town, and having meals out. Busy busy busy.