I just realized that the previous post, written in haste while my son chanted, "Shut down your computer…shut down your computer…." so that he and I could watch a movie, may have led some to concur that The Queen Dianne is living at the Greenleaf Estate. Not so. I can barely get people to come in and sit down in that little house, let alone consider it an actual living space for human habitation…for some reason it is viewed as one shitting ruminant short of being a barn. Speaking of which, the other fallacy I may have unwittingly promoted was that Dianne was peeing on my carpets. Again, no. There were puppies present.
Today I worked Pat at Dianne's. We just sort of worked on various things. Driving, penning, shedding..just Pat and I, in the snow, and some sheep. It was good. Sometimes I have to remind Pat that I only want to say or whistle "LIE DOWN" once, but it only takes a reminder. One time running through the sheep asking sternly, "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?" does it. He looks away with his "No Trouble Here" Pat look and he listens more closely from then on.
Pat just wants to do Good. Pat is excited to Do the Right Thing, even if the thing that I'm saying is Right…he feels, or knows, is actually Amateur and Stupid. And sometimes, though I feel that I am getting better, it is both amateur and stupid. I make mistakes with timing. Pat tries. He tries to disregard common sense and follow direction, but he's fast and sometimes common sense takes him down a path lined with my screeching contrarian whistles. Again, I love Pat. It's not because we work so much better than Jen and I, or that he's so much more anything superlative than any other dog I have….it's just something especially endearing and engaging to me in Pat. Something that clicks with me. I am glad that I have this opportunity to work with him. He's teaching me a lot. And when I can, I give him chicken, plush toys and a soft bed. I hope it makes up for the times I shed the wrong group or shove him in a car with Scout (looks like a Border Collie, acts like an alligator).
For Christmas I got a new whistle. It's a silver whistle made by my friend (or frenemy – she's works in silver, but is a 24 karat SMART ASS- Amy Raymond. It's not just beautiful, the sound is really great and easy to blow. It's makes blowing easier, is what I am trying to say, and normally I just naturally seem to….blow…yeah. Exhausted that one. Anyway. I love this whistle. Amy does phenomenal work. Anyone who doesn't like her work, and blowing, should just show border doodles in AKC and suck, as Nature intended.
In more news: DIanne is the newly elected Queen of Greenlifa. Amidst pomp and ceremony and traditional peeing on carpets, she took the crown and the thrown last night, along with an ample serving of her signature accessory – cake- made by the amazing P*Trick. To say that it was an emotional and extravagant affair is to place way more emphasis on the carpets and peeing than I think is good for her reign. Regardless, Look for her in a parade coming to Your Town soon. She'll be the one eating cake and bearing arms on a float made of Oatmeal and McDonalds coupons.
That's all for now…
Today I worked Pat for the first time since the Sleddin' and Sheddin' trial. I have been out of town or ridiculously busy pretending to love garland and wrapping shit in colorful paper. But that is OVER and I'm around for awhile.
I went to Dianne's house this afternoon and practiced shedding with Pat. I've only ever tried shedding once before, last summer, with Jen. To say that it's fun sort of minimizes the point and maximizes my idiocy. Still. There it is. Pat is especially good at it. This exercise in particular highlighted for me how intelligent Pat is…as I'm sure it highlighted to Pat how I'm lucky to have thumbs and a job that doesn't involve livestock. He doesn't understand how, yet, but somehow I bring home the chicken. The few times that I'd set things up right and then take the wrong group, Pat would hesitate, look at me, look at the right group, then take the group I was indicating despite it violating his esthetics, I'm sure. I'm also certain that if he had a shrug, here is where he would employ it. Pat is too nice for a middle finger. I love him.
Not a lot of dog time in the last few weeks, due to work travel.
Last weekend Pat and I participated in the world famous Sleddin' and Sheddin' Trial, held at the Helsley Estate in New Plymouth…(not the NEWEST PLYMOUTH, for fans of politics, but a fairly modern Plymouth and it will be part of Derek's and my new Annex with Greenleaf coming sometime after the next election cycle. Our first action will be to make it illegal to use horse trailers as pens in setout within city limits.)
Trial wise, I did better than I did last year, when I actually failed to enter. Last year I was training with only Scout and I opted to just RT her at home and scribe for Patrick, hang out and watch other runs, etc.
So Pat and I did not do as well as my delusions like to promise nor as badly as reality tends to threaten. We made it around the course and penned both runs. The panels….seemed to Pat more like a suggestion and to my timing not a very plausible one. Still, it was a good time and we'll enter whatever trial comes next and hope to do better.
It never rains like this in the My Town.
My hotel room windows look like I'm driving through a car wash, minus the spot free rinse…the windows leak and the wind is shrewing out there like a crazy bitch; the night I finally get some sleep… So I check the online NOAA weather and find that we're under a tornado watch, plus some other, lesser watches, thunderstorm, flooding, Piggly Wiggly closures, sustained bad hair…. I assume someone or thing will wake me if I have to go find a root cellar. This seems like the kind of place that has them. Somewhere. Probably I'll have to take a cab to the Root Cellar district.
On the positive side it is 67 degrees out.
What a hateful day! I'm so giddy to be done with it, that I've ventured out and will have REAL FOOD and a drink at the hotel bar.
First, I admire people who can teach, but I am NOT one of them. I don't even LEARN in that sort of structured environment. NEVER have. I'm not a process person. My mind is not linear. Its impossible for me to read instructions. I just skip around. I can't listen to someone talk about anything for very long, unless it's their business and none of mine. Sometimes books …if they have something new to say. I can't sit and go through a process; it seems like the long windy road around. SO, for me to walk people through exercises today, slowing steps down, reiterating everything….hundreds and thousands of times repeating simple obvious instructions….instead of just pushing them out of the way and doing the analysis for them. It was agonizing. These are intelligent people. They are, many of them, addicted to process. It was 3 hours of this and I ran out at 5 to get on a conference call and talked to the slowest talker in the world for another hour. We talked about my group and our planned coup. We talked about our meeting next week. He …paused….so…many times…during …this …call…that….I….actually…..jumped…up and down……then I remembered my half bottle of wine from last night and drank it. I surfed the web. I twitched for it all to be over, knowing how relieved I'd be. I AM!! I AM!!
FOR YEARS I would not agree to be the GS rating I am now because I KNEW what it would mean and that I would hate my job because of it. The money just wasn't important enough to dred going to work. Here I am and what I've come to learn is that its just like everything else. The low points help make simple highs like tonight possible. Seriously. I am FUCKING giddy to be eating my hummus and drinking this overpriced drink in the hotel bar because my day is DONE. My week, really, is done. Tomorrow is just sitting in the back occassionally answering a question. I can handle that.
GIDDY, I tell you!
I'm in Atlanta.
I'm not a fan but that is because I'm not here for the right
reasons. I'm here to work. Were I here to explore and have a good
time, I'd probably really like this place. I've always wanted to drive around and see the south, but this isn't that trip. I flew in and took the subway to my hotel. That is where, as they say, the sidewalk ends.
You can't walk here. You have to take a cab or drive or stand around looking confused because the side walk ends at 5 lanes of rushing GA highway traffic. Seriously, my hotel is .8 miles from the office where we have our training…and I have to take a cab. Gah. I'm saving my lofty government per diem, though; i'm drinking wine I bought at Krogers and eating Luna bars and cashews for ALL MY MEALS.
I thought about going down to the bar for happy hour…but I feel like my wine and my cashews are the better option. God knows I throw away money, but not on food. I will drink alone, but I have a hard time eating alone.
I can't adjust to this time zone, so I'm staying up all night. Bright eyed and bushy tailed will only begin to describe what our students get by tomorrow afternoon when My Gig is Up.
This afternoon I went out and worked Pat one last time before the trial… One of the bitches at Dianne's house is in heat so Pat was a mess. He didn't listen, took the wrong flanks, wanted to work for Dianne, thought seriously about humping Ann's leg. Nice. It wasn't pretty. In turn I responded, as I do, with frenzy. At the pen, I said, "AWAY!" when I should have said, "A-way". Dianne reminded me that it's important how we say our commands, especially when things are ramping up or the pressure is more than usual.
"You screeched at him, 'AWAY!' …. he responded as Pat will, in a frenzy. You need to say it softly and draw the command out if you want him to respond more calmly. Use 2 syllables and you will get 2 syllables. Shout out one fast command and that's what you'll get."
I have reconciled myself to accepting whatever happens. We'll do our best. I love Pat, he's a great dog and we both have
issues. If I end up being the Poster Child for all that can go
wrong…so be it. I think facing the Worst Trial Experience Ever could be worth something in itself. I am learning a lot, slowly.
Tomorrow I leave for Seattle. I've bumped it up a day. Cienna and I both miss my mother. I'm taking Scout with me for company.
I might blog, I might not. I'm looking forward to the Dina Martina Xmas show. This will be my third season.