Dog Training

I took my new little dog to a training class to get some help with the basics of getting him to be a well-mannered pet.

The training course is six weeks long and run through the local Petco.

Copper is in the Adult Dog 1 course with another little dog named Licks.

Copper and Licks are both little scaredy dogs and spent most of the lesson hiding under their respective owners’ chairs.

Fortunately the lesson was mostly about the basics of what we as owners could do to correct undesirable behavior at home.

For example, Copper has a strange habit of digging into the couch when we sit down. The trainer thought this might be because he isn’t getting enough exercise due to him being crated during the day while we’re at work.

Copper’s house training has been progressing, he no longer pees in the house, only poop. In general we’ve been doing the right stuff but the trainer still had some tips.

We take him out and reward him for pooping, but what if instead of pooping he wanders around the yard?

The solution makes sense. Take him out in the yard on a leash and keep him in the “bathroom area” of the yard. Pretty soon he realizes what we want him to do and then he gets rewarded! Success!

Copper also got some homework to work on before his next class in two weeks (the classes are normally every Monday, but we’re taking Labor Day off).

His homework is to learn how to pay attention. We teach him this by holding a treat for him by our face and saying, “Look.”

If he looks we say, “Good dog!” and give him the treat.

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Here’s Copper working on his “look.” Also a shot of my toes.

As this continues we wait longer and longer between saying, “Good dog!” and giving him the treat until he stares at our faces for ten seconds.

After the ten second point, we start doing it without the treat or in more distracting environments until he stares at our faces for thirty seconds without a treat.

He’s managed maybe two seconds of staring with a treat before the cat distracts him.

Since we’re supposed to do it without distractions we’ll have to train him without Lucky in the room in the future.

-GoCorral

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Making Cheese with Dad

I went home with my wife for Father’s Day and we did the usual thing where I went to my family’s house while she went to hers.

My dad and step-mom kept with their usual Sunday routine of going to the local Farmer’s Market and making omelettes for brunch.

I’m no omelette fan, but I had some scrambled eggs with them.

After brunch we went on a hike up to the Dish in the Stanford hills.

When we got back my dad made some pizza dough for later.

My dad had already made some plans for the day to go to a Sufi meeting.

My dad has been into eastern religions as long as I’ve been alive. I don’t remember when he started being a Sufi, but he has been for a while now.

Sufism is sort of a mystical interpretation of Islam.

It shares a lot in common with Buddhism so I’ve always described it as a mix of Buddhism and Islam in the past.

What is the religion about? That’s a complicated question. It’s about meditating and praying to figure out what God wants you to do in your life.

There’s also some stuff about dancing in circles, but my dad’s Sufi teacher doesn’t subscribe to that part of Sufism.

The meeting was fun. We talked about particulars of the mystic traditions that are a little hard to describe in writing (sorry!). I’d go to it again if it was in Davis, but it isn’t.

When we got back from the meeting my dad and I made some cheese.

My dad loves making things of all sorts, so why not make some cheese to go on our pizza!

If you haven’t made cheese before, it’s super simple. Cheese is made by adding some enzymes usually taken from animal stomachs to hot milk to curdle it (our enzymes were made by plants somehow).

The milk separates into curds (floaty cheese bits) and whey (gross yellowish liquid). We started with a gallon of milk

We took the curds out of the whey which when put together were about the size of my head.

We squished the liquid out of the curds until they were about the size of two baseballs.

And that’s pretty much it. We added some salt to the cheese and then slapped it on a pizza.

The pizza was great!

We watched some old Wallace and Gromit cartoons after dinner.

Presents fell somewhere in the day as well. I got my dad a graphic novel by one of his favorites authors (sadly he already had the one I got) and two Conan comics!

We waved goodbye and I headed over to pick up my wife at her parents’ house before driving home in the dark.

Happy Father’s Day!

-GoCorral

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

My parents-in-law visited for Memorial Day weekend.

They’ve been coming up to Sacramento every Memorial Day weekend for ages because my father-in-law plays drums in the Sacramento Music Festival every year.

Look at those hands!
Look at those hands!
The difference for this visit was instead of all of us staying in a hotel in Sacramento, we had them stay over at our house in Davis.

They arrived on Friday night after we’d spent the day cleaning up the house (Things get really dirty when you’re still in the moving in process!).

My father-in-law wasn’t playing in the Sacramento Festival until Sunday, but he did have a gig in Oakland on Saturday night.

We spent Saturday hanging out and taking a tour of the activities in Davis.

Our new house is right by the Davis Greenbelt, a walking path that goes throughout the whole city and connects most of the city’s parks. We went walking on that and showed the in-laws the neighborhood that we live in now.

They got to visit with the cats and see Carma’s injury.

After my father-in-law left for his job in Oakland we went to our old apartment which we are still paying our lease on and swam in the pool there. I didn’t swim because I thought it was still too cold, but my wife and mother-in-law did.

Sunday morning I had an unfortunate surprise of having to do more schoolwork. I’d thought I was done, but it turned out that I needed to redo one of my lab reports. I spent the morning doing that and then we went to the Music Festival.

Usually we go out for ice cream after the festival, but this time we went to our favorite ice cream place, Leatherby’s, before. Ice cream for lunch is great!

The Festival was a lot of fun. The room my father-in-law’s band, The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, played in was so full that even though we were related to one of the band members it was difficult to find a seat.

After dancing and listening to some 20s and 30s style jazz we came back home and I continued to work on my lab report late into the night.

The next morning I continued to work on my report with a break to chat and talk with the in-laws before they left.

A great little visit from family. Lots of fun!

We figured out we could probably use another little trashcan, a lamp, and some hangers for future guests.

That’s the story from Memorial Day Weekend!

-GoCorral

A Typical Day on the Island

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: Mackinac Island

I’ve described what’s on and around Bois Blanc Island, but what do we actually do there?

A typical day starts with my wife and I waking up in the Pines Cottage at 8:30. We sleep that late partially due to a three hour jet lag, but mostly because vacations are created for sleeping in.

In the morning we turn on the space heater in the living room (I’m bad at lighting fires in the fireplace) before doing some activities in no particular order.

We shower, eat breakfast, work on a 1000 piece puzzle of a dragon on a cliff, read, write, and play on my wife’s iPhone with limited internet access.

We finished! One piece was missing. Probably stolen by our cat before we brought the puzzle to Bois Blanc.
We finished! One piece was missing. Probably stolen by our cat before we brought the puzzle to Bois Blanc.

At the end of the morning we eat lunch before calling my relatives on the West End to figure out dinner plans.

My wife is a vegetarian. If meat is in the main dish we have to make sure she has something else to eat.

After calling ahead we pack up what we need for the day and go over to the West End.

When we arrive at the West End we put away any food we brought that requires refrigeration before starting another group of activities in no particular order.

We read, write, wade in the water, kayak, watch my cousin and his friend from Montana windsurf, go on a walk, bike, work on a 500 piece puzzle of a pile of beach glass, eat snacks, play board and card games, and chat with my relatives.

This kayak is FILLED with invisible spiders.
This kayak is FILLED with invisible spiders.
Bois Blanc has butterflies too! Take that Butterfly House!
Bois Blanc has butterflies too! Take that Butterfly House!
Two missing pieces that we found later on.
There were two missing pieces that we found later on.

We don’t do all those things in one day, but we managed to do them all in the week we were on Bois Blanc Island.

Around 5 or 5:30 we go over to the New Cottage for drinks with my grandparents, drinks being anything from vodka to diet soda.

We talk with them or they talk around us about people all my aunts know but I’ve never met.

Half an hour later dinner is served and we gather around a big table or two tables if one isn’t enough.

We eat dinner and dessert if there is any.

After dinner we do a few more of the afternoon activities with the additional options of watching the sunset over Round Island at 9:15, or starting a fire in the fireplace or on the beach.

First time messing with my wife's panorama option on her iPhone.
First time messing with my wife’s panorama option on her iPhone.
I made the fire with my uncle's help. Maybe I can eventually make a fire without help.
I made the fire with my uncle’s help. Maybe I can eventually make a fire without help.

Then we pack up our stuff and dodge deer on the drive back to the Pines Cottage.

At the Pines we read, write, work on the dragon puzzle, and eat a few snacks before going to bed around 11.

Then we do it all again!

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: Food on the Island

Sacramento Music Festival 2014

I went to the Sacramento Music Festival for a vacation this Memorial Day weekend with my wife and my parents-in-law. Here are some pictures of all the stuff that was going on there.

Here’s what our hotel was like.

The Governor's Inn where we stayed had birds named after the Reagans.
The Governor’s Inn where we stayed had birds named after the Reagans.
First time I got room service with my wife!
First time I got room service with my wife!

We went on a walk along the river by our hotel.

Here's a bridge in Sacramento by our hotel.
Here’s a bridge in Sacramento by our hotel.
There was this weird water thing in the river.
There was this weird water thing in the river.
An abandoned boat out in the river by our hotel.
An abandoned boat out in the river by our hotel.
The abandoned boat was an anomaly. Most of the boats were sailing around like this one.
The abandoned boat was an anomaly. Most of the boats were sailing around like this one.
The Rusty Duck Restaurant is quite rusty as it has been abandoned for awhile.
The Rusty Duck Restaurant is quite rusty as it has been abandoned for awhile.
An abandoned PG&E block building.
An abandoned PG&E block building.

And we went to the festival where my father-in-law was playing.

We were stuck in line for one of the music sets, but there was a polevaulting event outside to watch!
We were stuck in line for one of the music sets, but there was a polevaulting event outside to watch!
Here the girl is going over the bar.
Here the girl is going over the bar.
The girl did not make it over the bar.
The girl didn’t quite makeĀ it over the bar. She hit it on the way down.
A bunch of Hawaiian kids played some covers on the street to earn money for college.
A bunch of Hawaiian kids played some covers on the street to earn money for college.

The College Fund band that we saw on the street has a Facebook page. Here’s the link.

My father-in-law's band playing some 20's jazz.
My father-in-law’s band playing some 20’s jazz.

My father-in-law’s band is called the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra (RSJO). You can check out their website here.

And that was my weekend! Lots of music and lots of fun!

-Mister Ed