Sunday, February 20, 2011

Does anyone ever get jealous of the “dog’s life”...

...such an expression has been badly misused. Sick as a dog – if they did not eat poop they would be a heckuva lot healthier … So short into my blog for today and I digress already … These thoughts came to me when I overheard someone say they were sick as a dog. As with people, if you respect the temple, it will reward you with good health. Dogs need good, food, plenty of water, exercise, love and a 5 foot bean bag chair to rest on and smacko, they live happy, healthy and a nice long life … Like us, if you feed them junk, keep them up late and stress them out all the time then you will have a dog sick as a human …

Anyway, jealousy. That is what I have brought you here today to discuss … I actually found myself being a little jealous that Calvin gets all the comments such as , “oh my lord, you are so cute”, “what a handsome dog”, “I LOVE your dog”, “hey puppy, want a cookie”. Especially that last one really gets me.

One day last week I was having a sort of bad day, ok, it really sucked, and someone remarked how beautiful and handsome Calvin was was. Well, they did not exactly say Calvin but were clearly talking about him. They said, if I recall, “what a gorgeous boy”, so I said without missing a beat, “thanks, is my dog cute too?” … Guess I gotta be careful who I say that.

So I was not exactly jealous of him but I did think of not shaving anymore and letting my ears grow.

Colorado – some more words on my Ski for Light trip and my fantastic voyage with A and C, J and c and all of Calvin’s family in Denver …I lucked out with some really great weather for my first few days in the Denver area and Calvin was likely thinking, where is all this damn snow you kept promising … and why is our house not so comfortable, beautiful and where is outr front yard so I can relive myself without you hovering over me? Oh, and can I have a little brother or sister …

Talk to your mother I told him. He just stared at and licked the floor.

Anyway, I may have mentioned that the days in Denver before skiing were great, full of great times for Calvin, especially the day we discovered he loves the mud, sorry Stinky, the m-u-d … We spent an afternoon on a dog walk that more resembled the Wide World of Dogs .. it was an expanse of over three miles across and wide with a path near some water, fileds and about fifty unleashed dogs. He was with his friends chloe and Roman and just ran himself silly. It was a great test of his recall which he did pretty well … when a, C and I all called him but I have never seen such a fantastic place for dogs. What a fantastic Disney for dogs it was.

After the few days of great weather we made our way to the Denver Airport to catch the shuttle to Snow Mountain Ranch, the Colorado YMCA, the site of our week or snow and frivolity … and lots of illness … Sunday and Monday were quite nice, Calvin had some chance to leap like a rabbit in the deep deep snow but Tuesday and Wednesday proved to be a bit more challenging. I knew we were in trouble when on the morning of Tuesday while taking Calvin out for his morning tradition of watering the grass and copping a squat he took about three steps outside and just stopped. He looked at me, tried to breathe, looked back at me and said, “where is MY down coat?” …I gave the usual command forward with the slight hand motion indicating to proceed. Nope. Do not think so. Sorry, really do not have to go that badly.

Calvin, forward.
Calvin FORWARD. OK but you are going to pay for this.
That day he decided he would pee at low levels but find the highest snow bank he could to poop. Being Dr. Science, I realized I may not make it up there in my pj's so the next time I made a mental note to put on long underwear for this part of the day.

Did I mention it was -35F or so … Yup. Friggen cold. Calvin did teach me a lesson but really seemed to enjoy being King of the Mountain.

So of course he spent little time outside for the next couple of days. I, however, was not as smart. Partially because my fantastic ski guide would never let me live it down if I skipped these two days, and partially because I figured if I have been through what I have over the last two years, a little cold would not stop me .. I AM Canadian after all, in theory at least …

So for those two days I donned two pairs of long johns, two or three wicking long sleeve tops, toque, neck and face wrap, tow pairs of socks and a hot water bottle near my halenyechas (note – ask your Jewish Grandmother) …

I manged to ski 5Km the first two days, 15 the Wednesday and ten the Thursday and Friday … I took my time of two and a half hours on my first ten km trail down to one hour and fifty minutes on the Friday but race day was the “worst weather conditions in 36 years of Ski for Light” and about half of the trails were wipped out by the wind … I recorded a time of 2.11 for the race but both guide and I, affectionately turtle and rabbit thought we did better …

I literally collapsed to the snow after finishing and despite being all bundled up, face almost completely covered Calvin managed to recognize me and came over for a victory lick … his puppy raisers were there too but they did not lick, just were incredible support.

Hope everyone gets a chance to look up Ski for Light on the web and gets just a taste of what a fantastic organization it is, run mostly by volunteers that give up their time, pay for the week same as us skiers do and still have the best attitude … I hope at leat a few of you consider coming as guides in the future.

Cheers for now
Gotta walk Calvin … it is raining, do they make doggie diapers?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Part Deux: Snow White, oh so White and Cold … Calvin goes Home and learns why he is not a Sled Dog

OK OK OK, relax, rough TP was not the highlight of Ski for Light (SFL), but next time I am bringing my own.

My trip began on September 27th with a short plane ride from SJO to DIA, Denver International where two sweethearts of the snow, companions of the canines, friends for life and you-can-not-find-nicer-people- people anywhere met me and Cal at the airport. And C co-raised Calvin and since they live in Denver, or nearby, I was invited to spend a couple of days with them, their puppies before heading up to the 9K elevation for a week of adventure, fun skiing and temperatures wwwaaaaayyyy below zero.

A and C met me right on time and of course Calvin went nuts when he saw, little did he know that it was the beginning of a week or more of getting to be in the comfort, care and love … I can easily say that they made me and Calvin right at home, I was totally relaxed and had a fantastic time for the next few days until I headed up to Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, CO – did I get that right? Anyway, I urge you, dear reader, to check out SFL online, although the website does not do the level or dedication, organization and care that exists within this group.

Before we talk about the week of skiing, is Snooze open yet, kind of hungry … or for some of that great homemade granola …

Calvin had a reuniting with not only his mommies but his brother and sister and was in doggy heaven for the next few days. He took right to his old home, remembered where he was fed, took him only five minutes to go there and got some great outdoor time, including a 3 or so mile walk around a enclosed open dog park … Open fields. Dogs all off leash and not a single incident other then Calvin getting muddy and wet … Pics to follow …

The Denver area is so dog friendly it is amazing. Great friends, Snooze and the dog park … hhhhhmmmmm

I was able to visit the amazing Red Rock concert hall, walk a few steps, counted them like Rain Man, had some great dinners highlighted by the one hosted by A and C’s friend’s C salad … I stayed hydrated, rested and loved every minute of it … If my trip had ended there it would have been worth it, for me and for Calvin. He did not know who to turn to for fun, who to play tug with and hardly got to guide me as I was in the hands of friends … friends like family …

For those of you who do not know these Colorado people, this is the best way to explain it, and I hope no one is offended because they care like family and give friendship unconditionally, just like Calvin, unconditional love … We both, Calvin and I, are looking forward to going back for more visits … with some Apolo and TJ’s in hand …

And yes, I will pack lighter next time …

Next blog, Ski for Light, go do your homework and see what they are all about on line and think about being a guide next year, or a dog walker (Calvin walks are already reserved) or just a volunteer and I will see you in Utah for sure, the location of their next event … January/February 2012

Cheers for … where is that Bailey’s …

Ski For Light, not a cult but the coolest organization in a really cold place – Calvin and the White Stuff

Once again, I am remiss in my blog-sponsibilities so I take a few moments before my evening shift of work to put a few thoughts down on my recent trip to Colorado, a visit with Calvin’s family and my trip with Ski for Light.

Amazing. Incredible. Friends for life. Golden to be home to soft toilet paper.

That is about it, talk soon,
David and Snow Dog.