Blood: Tuesday, I donated. Hey, medical types: what's more needed from an A+ donor, whole blood, plasma, or platelets? (The last two might keep me from being exhausted for the next week, but they're considerably less convenient.)
Sweat: Monday, 8:00 a.m., I'm in the car, driving two-plus hours to a prison to take a prisoner's deposition. Call the facility to make sure the inmate hasn't been moved overnight, and the staff tell me that they have no idea that I'm coming to do this deposition at 10:00 a.m. After numerous phone calls and much metaphorical wringing of hands, everything gets straightened out, thankfully—yay, cell phones.
Also, the big project I caught last week is still big and I still can't talk about it, but it's going to be a busy few weeks (at least).
Tears: It snowed on Wednesday. (Okay, I didn't actually cry. But I wanted to.)
Friday I drove out to Massachusetts for dinner with a bunch of friends from high school, one of whom was in town from California, which was excellent. I spent Saturday day with my folks and headed back here that night. Today we did some house stuff, looking for something to give color to the white blinds and white walls in the living room and dining room, and then watched our football teams both win, thereby breaking the zero-sum karma trend.
Also this week, we started dog training classes. The first class was people-only, to talk about what we're hoping for in the class and get some basic information without being distracted by our dogs. Let me tell you, listening to other people's dog issues made us really grateful that we have such a wonderful dog. One woman in the class said that she had a young Golden who pulls pillows off the couch and then tries to pick a fight with her over them: if the owner ignores the dog, the dog growls until the owner pays attention, but if the owner tries to take them away, the dog bites her. To think that what we'd like to fix is that she's skittish around other dogs and pulls too hard on the leash . . .
I like our trainer a lot so far. She listened to and remembered everyone's issues, and followed up on our questions and comments with good information. (At one point, she asked a teenage dog owner a question; the owner's mother answered for her, and she told her, "Hey, I didn't ask you, Mom!" I loved that, because parents answering for kids is one of my pet peeves.) Her techniques are all based on positive reinforcement for choosing desired behaviors, which is reflected in our four homework tasks. The first is name recognition: say her name once; as soon as her head comes around even a bit, praise and hold out a treat. She pretty much had this already. The second is eye contact: show her a treat and then hold it out to the side at arm's length; when her eyes eventually flick back to you, praise and reward. She's getting this one pretty well. The last is eventually going to be a "relax" command: step on the leash so that the dog's head is pulled down toward the floor (can't do this with a pinch or choke collar, obviously); eventually the dog will lie down, and when she does, drop a treat between the paws. It took Emmy three tries to learn this one so well that you don't even need to put tension on the leash before she goes down. We have such a smart dog. (The fourth thing is a "sit for everything" rule (petting, food), which is absolutely not burdensome and is helping manage Emmy's nudginess somewhat.)
The trainer also showed us the best dog toy ever, a Buster Cube. It's a plastic cube with a cylinder in the center, with side compartments off the cylinder; you put food inside and shake the cube so the food goes into the side compartments, and then when the dog rolls it, a bit of the food comes out. It took Emmy the afternoon to figure it out (at first, Chad would roll it, she'd eat the food, and she'd lie down and stare at it until he tried to show her again), but once she did, she went to town—literally hours of entertainment, and she completely tired herself out pushing it around. All we had to do was occasionally extract it from behind the couch. I know what our parents' dogs are getting for Christmas this year . . .
- VH1 has been on a lot this week because Chad is addicted to "I Love the 80s", which is now in a second edition. One of VH1's commercials is the most brilliant thing I've seen in a long time: it's an animated rendition of "Welcome to the Jungle," done in sort of photographic cutouts, with Axl Rose as a tabby cat and Slash as a white rabbit, both with appropriate wigs and leather jackets (cat!Axl has a bandanna, and rabbit!Slash has a top hat and guitar), plus a monkey popping around in the background and sticking its tongue out at the camera. Words really can't do it justice, and I can't find anything online about it, but I just about hurt myself laughing every time it comes on.
- A Virginian-Pilot reporter is blogging from the capital murder trial of alleged sniper John Allen Muhammad. It's strangely hypnotic reading. It sounds like the prosecution might be pushing its legal theories somewhat in order to try for the death penalty; considering the fight over which jurisdiction had the best chance for the death penalty and would therefore get the first trial, frankly I am surprised. The prosecution's case also includes all the other shootings (and I bet there was a heck of a fight over the admissibility of those, pre-trial), which makes it appear, from this end, very fragmented; it will be interesting to see how well the prosecution's closing manages to pull it all together. Also, given this level of coverage, I'm amazed that the jury is not sequestered.
- One of the cutest dogs I've ever seen: an Australian Shepherd, featured in one of the dog shows that Animal Planet covers.
- Music via iTunes: Barenaked Ladies' "Another Postcard" (audio, lyrics) makes me very happy. Yay, chimpanzees . . .
Right. Back to legal research.