Monday, April 30, 2007

Tucker Goes to School

Today was Tucker's first day of class. He is getting big. I am guessing at least 50 lbs. Since he is going to be such a big dog, he really needs to go to obedience class to learn basic commands. Over the weekend we got in touch with the trainer that was recommended by a friend. We caught it just in time, as class started today. (April 30th)

The class started with basic introductions. I had to verify that Tuck had all of his immunizations. Class soon started with an attention exercise. The instructor demonstrated that it is important for the dog to pay attention to its master before anything is to be taught. Thus began that "watch" command. It started with using a treat to get the dogs attention and then to put the treat (fortunately a hot dog) and have the dog take it from a spot on your face. That is where the watch/attention comes from. The attention shifted from the hands to the face. When I saw the trainer do this, I thought she was nuts as she had Tucker take a hot dog from her mouth. She then looked at me, handed me a handful of hotdog pieces and told me it was my turn. After several times of doing this, I started to notice how much his whiskers tickled my face! I couldn't believe I was allowing my dog to do this, but he learned to focus.

Next on the was taking a treat...Eassssssy. The instructor stressed the tone of our voices is very important. Tucker picked this one up easy as well. This was followed up quickly by the basic commands of sit, then sit and down. We soon worked up to a trot around the room, focusing on the focus command...having the dog look at us as we walked. I was really impressed with how fast he was picking things up, but then again, he is a really smart dog.

The last thing was sitting and staying. The trick was to have Tucker stay at my left side. I would instruct him to sit, then stay. I would then pivot to the front of him then back, rewarding him if did indeed stay. That was the hardest for him to grasp, but he got the general idea after a few tries.

The class ended by a trot around the room combining all of the commands learned that day. Tucker did really well. The trainer even complimented his intelligence and said that he was picking the commands up quick. At that time, I could relate to a bumper sticker I see often that reads, "my Labrador Retriever is smarter than your honor student." I think I got a special dog here.

When the kids, Elaine and I were all together at home, I demonstrated what we learned. They were impressed. I guess my $110 will be worth it in the end! That in addtion to the $140 it will cost to have him fixed next week! While my wallet will be lighter than usual, not that it is full by any stretch of imagination, it is all worth it in the end.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. My one hand held the leash and my other hand held the pieces of hot dogs for rewards.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Yankee Game--Postponed

On Wednesday afternoon, I departed the sunny skies of Norwich at about 1:00 for New York...specifically the Bronx. On my way, I was stopping in Trumbull to pick up a friend who shares my love of the team that resides at 161st St. and River Avenue in the Bronx. The Yankees were hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. I was excited to see the Yanks play the Jays as they have a good team, and I have seen the Jays and Yanks at the Rogers Center. (oops I mean Centre for my Canadian friends)

When I exited the Merritt Parkway in Trumbull, I noticed that the sky was looking rather ominous. I began to get a little worried. I picked up my friend, and we continued our trek down the Merritt, to the Hutch (Hutchison River Parkway), to the Cross County, to the Deegan South. Those are all nicknames for the various highways. By the time we got to the stadium the clouds had thickened considerably. We parked and went into Stan's, a sportsbar that Lou Gehrig used to frequent. I grabbed a burger as I anticipated enjoying a Stadium hot dog a few hours later. Soon the hour approached for the stadium to open. With tickets in hand we proceeded to section 333. Our seats were in the right field homerun porch. I was totally excited as I may have the chance to catch a home run. Here is the view from our seats. The tarp was a sign of things to come.
After a little while of having some conversation, my friend told me to go to Monument Park. I hadn't been there since the late 80s. A lot has changed out there, and some monuments were added since I last was there. Here are some pics.After my visit to monument park, I was walking back to the other side of the stadium, I heard the voice of legendary Yankee PA announcer Bob Shepard come on the loudspeaker. I was thinking, "its too early to make general announcements." He of course said that the game was postponed. After driving 130 miles, paid $14 to park my car, I was dissappointed, but there is good that can come out of this. The Yankee Bullpen can get some much needed rest!

I was back in the car at 6:15 and of course thousands if not millions of other people were on the highways exiting NYC and heading toward Westchester and Connecticut, so getting home took much longer. I got home around 9:30. It was a long day for nothing, but the good news is my tickets are good for the make up game. The unfortunate thing is that has yet to be announced. I just hope it doesn't conflict with anything on my schedule.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


One thing that has been on my mind lately is restoration. My sermon at the Homiletical Symposium I attended was entitled Restored. I spoke on Simon Peter's Restoration following Christ's Resurrection. I shared in the opening comments that my desire is to one day get an older car and restore it to its former glory. I have not yet had the chance to do this, but would definitely like to someday. A Camaro, Cutlass, or a Mopar vehicle would be ideal. A Corvette would be awesome, but I digress.

As I have blogged last month, we are in the process of teaching children how to play brass instruments. I knew my mother had an E flat Alto horn that my Grandfather gave her when she was teaching kids to play in their first appointment some 20 years ago. Well, to make a long story short, I gave her a call and asked her if she was using that great little horn. I was pleased when she said, "no, you can use it if you want, just take it with you when you move!" To the gossipers out there who read, no we are not moving as far as we know this year!

Last week, while in Erie, my mom handed me the horn. It looks like it has been sitting for some time. It was seriously dirty and tarnished, but I knew I could get it restored and looking good.

Fast forward to today. While waiting for Jay to finish his lunch before catching the bus, I decided to take the valves and slides out and pull out my silver polish. I started rubbing gently and low and behold the shine was coming back. If I had thought about it, I would have taken before and after shots, but alas, I only have after shots.

As you can see from the pictures it is a Salvation Army Triumphonic E Flat Alto. I can tell you that these are incredibly high quality instruments. When I removed the valves, I was immediately impressed that they were solid brass. The instrument itself feels solid...almost heavy. They sure don't make these like they used to. I have no idea how old this horn is, but I estimate it to be at least 50 years old.
Elaine is thrilled, she has always wanted an Alto to play around with if she needs it. She has most of the musical talent in our family. Thanks Mom, we will take good care of it.
Now, does anyone know where I can pick up a case for it?????

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Jay Tee Ball and Tucker Update

Last evening, we raced home from Erie. Well, we didn't really race, but the cruise was set at 75 most of the way home. The reason for rushing back was for Jay's first Tee Ball Practice. While in Erie, we picked up a glove and Jay was ready to go. The whole way home he was asking if it was Tee Ball Practice yet, and when we told him no, he was quite upset.

Grandpa Camuti worked with him a year or so ago with a Fisher Price Tee set, but now he is using aluminum bats and "real" balls. Below are some pictures.

While on vacation, I had a good time, but something was missing. The two things that were missing were none other than Jasmine and Tucker. They were really happy to see all of us. Last evening while getting into my pjs, Jasmine staked out a spot on the bed as if to say her life was restored. Below are some pictures of the dogs.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Vacation

Hello everyone! I write to you today from the frozen Tundra of Buffalo, NY. No, unfortunately I do not drive a frozen Tundra...that is my dream truck, but it is very cold for the middle of April.

We have come to visit family while our kids are out of school for spring vacation. On Monday, we will make the trip down the southern shore of Lake Erie to Erie to visit my parents.

We arrived last evening and enjoyed some Buffalo Wings on arrival...can't beat that! Today we all went Bowling. The kids had the rails up so they did quite well. However, Jay did not get enough velocity on his rolls to make much of an effect. Sammi was getting mad because Jay's turns were taking so long! Elaine managed 4 straight frames of gutter balls. Her first game score was around 25! I scored a personal best 140.

I am going to keep this short as my father in laws computer space bar does not like to work well, and we all know mine is STILL at the Geeksquad.

I will update throughout the week.

PS Theives there are still 2 dogs, and a dog sitter at the house. Tucker and Jazz hear anything!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

PC at Geeksquad...Again!

Sorry I haven't been around, but my laptop was on the verge of death, but thanks to the service plan I paid big bucks for when I bought it, my computer should be as good as new when it returns.

I do have a computer at the corps that I can use to blog with, but more often than not, I don't have the time to sit and write a blog as I sit and do my work. I have on occasion, but I can't do it regularly.

I should be up and running again any day now. I hope to get my computer back soon as it has been about two weeks getting repaired.