Monday, January 19, 2004

It was a busy weekend. Long, too--I got today off for MLK Day. Mark's brother flew down to Mexico to see after his mom. Although she has no broken bones, she's in a lot of pain and she has a big lump on her back that seems to be the source of a lot of her woes. They're trying to determine if it's something that will require surgery, or if she just took a hell of a blow from the accident and needs time to heal. They want to get her out of the hospital because they need the bed, but she can't travel yet, so I think she's going to stay in some sort of a clinic. She also can't leave Mexico because all of her documents disappeared--probably some corrupt cop lifted them from the car and they are now somewhere in the Mexican black market. Mark's brother said that after seeing the car he's amazed she survived.

Here's another tip: If you're going to be in another country, make two copies of all your important documents. Keep one with your things (but apart from your passport) and send the other to your next of kin. That way you can get new docs issued more quickly. We did this on our last vacation, but we never thought of making sure Mark's mom had done so. Unless we find some useful docs when the movers show up with her stuff we're at the mercy of the US State Department. But the consular employees have been more than helpful so far, so I'm sure we'll get her back in the US one way or another.

Anyway, while Mark spent hours on the phone making sure his mom was taken care of, I managed to do so a few of the items on my agenda. Saturday I went to a "Lure Chasing Fun Day" with Lucy. Lure coursing is a trial sport for sighthounds--similar to greyhound racing but without the betting or prize money (the object being to get more titles on your dog so you can brag about what a champion it is--and increase the worth of its offspring when you breed it). The events are usually run by the AKC or breed clubs and are are open only to registered sighthounds. But non-sighthounds will chase the lure, and it's a lot of fun to watch your dog in a flat-out run across a field, so one of the Greensboro dog sport clubs hired a woman with a lure machine to hold a "fun day" for all dogs, including mutts like Lucy. The object of such a fun day is basically to watch your dog behave like a dog and chase a moving object that looks like a critter across a field. There was also a photographer on hand so we could get photos of our dogs behaving like dogs. My favorite photo of Lucy was taken while she was watching the lure go by--she looks like a little hunting dog. I really like this one, and this one as well.

Lucy wouldn't actually chase the lure at first. They have someone at the start to release your dog, and you're supposed to go to the finish to catch her. But there was a little rise in the ground between start and finish, and the dog can't see where you've gone. So when they released Lucy, she ignored the lure and ran up into the clump of spectators, looking for me. So I figured that I'd release her and have someone else catch her, on the theory that she'd be more comfortable running off after her prey as long as she knew where I was. That worked well. Before I released her, I wanted to focus her on the lure, which was just lying on the ground in front of us. So I said "Get the critter!" But instead of focusing her on the lure, it made her look off into the woods next to us. I kept saying "get the critter," but every time I said "critter" she'd look toward the woods. She still took off after the lure when it started moving, though. Later I realized that she knew perfectly well that the lure lying in front of her was not an actual critter, and that she also knew that critters live in the woods, therefore when I said "critter" I must have been talking about something over in the woods. So the next time we were at the start line I said "Get the toy," and she focused right in on the lure, which did indeed look a lot like a toy.

We also bowled our first sanctioned league games Saturday night. I was exhausted from my doggie fun day, and Mark was exhausted from making arrangements for his mom, so we weren't feeling up to it. But we couldn't not show up on the night we set our handicaps, so we went. I bowled a 120 the first game and Mark didn't do even that well. But we got better--my high for the evening was a 171. I can't remember Mark's high score. And it's actually better not to do well the first night, because that gives you a higher handicap. So in the long run it will help us as long as we can bowl better from here on out. Which we will.

No comments: