The witches fly across the sky,
The owls go, "Who? Who? Who?"
The black cats yowl and green ghosts howl,
"Scary Halloween to you!" ~Nina Willis Walter
Happy Halloween, everyone! Some people love Halloween; others hate it. I fall more into the "dislike" category. It's a holiday I could do without. I'm not a person who enjoys dressing up in a costume, probably because my childhood memories involve a lot of crying over costumes that just did not turn out to be as impressive as I imagined. Then I had to go through the same ordeals with my children. (Cosmic justice???) As I pointed out to them, "People are going to give you candy whether you like your costume or not." Nonetheless, I've had some dramatic/traumatic moments tied to Halloween.
My best memories are of trick or treating in my grandmother's neighborhood. The ladies across the street gave us huge popcorn balls and caramel apples. The couple who lived a block down the street were noted for making trick or treaters sign a guest book each year, but they gave us all big Snicker bars (still my favorite!) so the burden of signing in was worth it. Of course my trick or treating years came before the advent of mini and bite size candy bars—and before the era of having to worry about children getting homemade treats.
We are well prepared for tonight's onslaught of ghosts, goblins, pirates, and Disney princesses. Our healthy treats include small boxes of raisins and fruit snacks, bags of pretzels, and packets of instant hot chocolate. I was smart this year and bought no candy—because I always end up eating the leftovers! We have no idea how many children to expect since our neighborhood consists mostly of grandma-and-grandpa-aged people. However, as Robert Brault said, "I don't know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids." It is certainly true where we live!
I have some favorite bloggers and know how disheartening it is when they do not post for a while. My deepest apologies to all who have been checking this site and wondering what the heck is going on because I have not posted for nearly 3 weeks. I'll lay the blame on being sick and then packing for the National Specialty, attending the National Specialty, and recovering from the National Specialty!
The American Lhasa Apso Club's 2012 National Specialty week has come and gone. The days leading up to my trip to Mansfield, MA, were rather panicky at moments. I was quite ill with a monster of a cold that refused to go away. In desperation I went to the doctor, saying I would be traveling and sharing a ride to MA and a hotel room with a friend who I was sure did not want to listen to me coughing 24/7. Four prescriptions later, things were looking up. I finally took a sick day and allowed my body to rest and heal. By Friday, I was not over the cold but at least I could travel without coughing day and night (and risking Marsha either tossing me out of the van or making me ride in a crate on the top, as she casually mentioned perhaps doing).
|The back of the loaded van|
Specialty week was great. The Merrimack Lhasa Apso Club was the host club, and its members did a wonderful job. If the behind-the-scenes activities were frantic, there was no evidence of it for those not involved in the crisis. One of the best things about attending National Specialty week is seeing people I have not seen since the last specialty or for ages because they haven't attended a specialty in a while. Our specialties move among three different regions of the country (east, middle, and west). While many ALAC members attend the National year after year, others opt to attend only when it is in their regions.
|The side of the loaded van|
This year, I was happy to see Dorothy Kendall (Orlane Lhasas) and Janet Whitman (Ja-Ma Lhasas), neither of whom I had seen for a while. Janet has not attended a National in many, many years. Janet was one of my early mentors, along with Marjorie Lewis. For many years the prefix Ja-Ma Joyslyn appeared in many of our Lhasas' names. Both Dorothy's and Janet's Lhasas have had a positive impact on the breed over the years. They are both indeed grand ladies in Lhasa history and in laying foundations for the future. I have been privileged to know them.
ALAC mourned the passing of two wonderful long-time members: Ann Burton and Ray Sledzik. Both loved the breed and served the club well in many capacities. Ann most recently as the Recording Secretary and Ray for 25 years as ALAC's AKC Delegate.
|Janet and Dorothy with me|
|Janet with me before the banquet|
|Rafe on the bed for a tummy rub|
Windy was entered in the MLAC Specialty and Sweepstakes as well as the ALAC Regional and National Specialties. Monday was her first time in the ring (also her 6th month "birthday," always a landmark occasion for show dogs). She was spooky and nervous, not too sure of herself but trusting me. She took 4th place (out of 5) in both the Sweeps and the Specialty. That was it for her placements for the week. The two ALAC specialty shows each had entries of ten 6-9 month old puppy bitches. Very impressive to see the up and coming females. By Friday, Windy was comfortable and more secure in the ring, as long as there were no unexpected noises. We had a very naughty puppy ahead of us each day in the ring. By Friday, Windy very much wanted to discipline her, so I had my work cut out for me. Windy has a distinct alpha personality, even at her young age! The photo below is of Windy on the table being examined by Sweepstakes judge Pat Martello.
|Windy in the Sweepstakes ring|
Rafe was part of a photo shoot at the National, but he did not want to cooperate and was nearing a meltdown. The picture of him on the right was taken as the photographer's assistant attempted to soothe him. You can see that he appreciates her soft touch. Look at that expression on his face. Awww.....
|Rafe at the photo shoot|
|Rafe getting some extra loving|
Since my return home, I've been unpacking, resting, and catching up at work and at home, especially with grooming. My husband had the house and dogs in great shape when I got home, but once we unloaded all my "stuff" the house no longer looked tidy.
Given Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on so many people's lives, I should not complain about the problems we've had at home since I returned from MA, one of them being not having heat for four days because the furnace died and no part was to be had until yesterday. The dogs were comfy since their room has its own heat source. We hung out a lot in the family room and enjoyed the fireplace, so we did not suffer too badly. (I will say that I looked forward to going to work on Monday so I could enjoy my warm office!) We recently paid over $6000 to have all the copper water pipes (which were seeping) replaced. Now we have a definite leak coming from somewhere that has yet to be determined. Our new floor tile in the remodeled family room is fine, but the sealant is defective because it keeps coming up. The company that installed the tile has repaired it once. When it came loose again, they called the manufacturer (Congoleum) to come to determine what was wrong. It's been a month and two additional phone calls to Congoleum. No one has shown up yet to evaluate the problem! What impressive customer service (if you like negative impressions, that is)!
November should be a quiet month. We have no shows until the 30th when we go to Belleville, IL, for a 3-day show weekend. That will be it for shows until next spring. I'm not certain yet if Maggie is pregnant. She was bred to Rafe in early October. She's "gone off her feed" and that is usually an early sign of pregnancy in my dogs. I could have an ultrasound done but I'm thinking, "Why bother? She either is or she isn't and time will tell anyway." It would be nice if someone developed an early pregnancy test for dogs but I imagine there would be some humorous stories about trying to get the dog to pee on the stick!
I've been fortunate to receive some updates and photos from people who have our puppies. Loretta sent a lovely photo of Griffin II, Rafe's litter brother, as he was running through the grass. Mary sent a photo of their brother, Gabe, enjoying a bully stick. She referred to him as her "precious companion." Ellen sent a photo of Oliver (we called him Noah) and Sherri sent a photo of Libby (we called her Rainy). Oliver and Libby were two of the puppies from Breaker and Mira's litter. Stacey sent a nice email about Lola, who is evidently quite a character and a "big dog" in a little Lhasa body! Lola was born in 2011 and you can see photos & video of her in the archived blogs. Around here, she was known as "Dreamer." "Lola" is a more suitable name.
Along with all of you, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy as they pull together to clean up their homes and communities and to rebuild their lives following the storm's wrath.
If you have not taken advantage of early voting in your area, please remember to vote on November 6th. Voting for our leaders, making our voices heard, and impacting the country's future is not only a right but also a responsibility of each American citizen. Don't take it lightly.
As always, life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!