The Trouble with Relationships

For those of you who have not been visiting my blog for long, we have a dog we adopted at the end of January who likes to carry squeaky toys with him wherever he goes.  Because he was previously mistreated, he has issues with food.  So, getting a new squeaky toy every once in a while has been a more effective reward than traditional doggy treats.  This has resulted in some unexpected growth to the family.

Many weeks ago, we had an “incident” where Lamb disappeared.  She went missing for two weeks.  About the second week, ‘Possum also went missing.  We were suspicious.  About a week after posting the story of our Lost Lamb, Lamb turned up again.  She was hiding under the bed.  ‘Possum turned up about a day later, mysteriously reappearing without any explanation.

Interestingly, since that incident, Lamb and ‘Possum were rarely seen together.

In the meantime, new members of the family seemed to be getting out of control.  I decided I needed to do some new portraits since it’s been a while since I last shot the entire collection of Tisen’s collection.

Unfortunately, quite a few members of the family were out in the car, but I did manage get a group portrait of Red Dog, Minnie, Eddie, Baby Beaver, ‘Possum, Lion, Big Dog, Duck, Goat, Lamb, and Blue Dog.  In the car were Squirrel, Mr. Beaver, Puppy Luv, Tiger, Jack, and Hog.  I’m thinking you can probably figure out which ones are which.

What I didn’t expect when shooting was the revelation of some really strange relationships.  As it turns out, apparently Lamb and Duck have something going on, but ‘Possum is not over Lamb.  This was revealed to me in the middle of the shoot when Duck and Lamb unexpectedly started to run for one another and ‘Possum got in the middle of it.  In fact, ‘Possum grabbed Duck by the throat and, had I not intervened, Duck would have been a goner.

By taking a photo of the event in action every few seconds, I managed to get 18 shots that I’ve strung together into a video.  It’s a bit  . . . uh . . . rough, but you’ll get the idea.

It was a lot of fun to be shooting and have two of your models suddenly expose previously undetected emotion.  Even better, a third participant decided to be extremely jealous.

At least I know where to look if Lamb disappears again!

Monkey Feet

It all started on the hike to Grinnell Glacier in Montanna.  Pat and I were working our way up the mountain trail with me in my hiking boots that felt like giant led-filled balloons when we passed a couple on their way back down.  They looked impossibly fresh.  They weren’t limping.  They looked relaxed and comfortable.  As I looked down to find footing, I noticed their feet.  Low and behold, they were wearing fivefingers shoes.  I had heard of fivefingers before, but it hadn’t occurred to me people would wear them on the trail.

After limping our way back at the end of the hike with me barely able to put weight on my knees and hips, I found myself wanting to try fivefinger shoes.

When we got home, I bought a pair like the ones we saw on the trail–black neoprene.  Although I didn’t give them a true trail test for many months, they turned out to be a miracle on the treadmill.  My knees and hips felt better than they’d felt in years after the initial adjustment period.

There definitely is an adjustment period!  A whole bunch of tiny muscles in my feet and ankles had to be reborn and developed before I could walk as fast or as far as I had been walking.  But, once I’d adjusted my stride and footfall and developed weakened muscles, I was pretty sure I could walk forever without getting the shooting pains I’d become accustomed to.

Alas, the neoprene was hot.  It was hot indoors and hot in the fall and spring, but not warm enough for the colder temperatures I’d hoped to wear them in.  That led to the trekking pair.  They have a mesh weave that breathes.  Unfortunately, they weren’t made to be drug across the ground on their tops, which is exactly what happens when one is learning to hang glide, resulting in excess wear and tear.  My feet also do not like the tread on those shoes.  If I walk on hard surfaces in them, I get blisters on my big toes.

This led to the much softer and cushier black and gray pair, which I love.  However, they are a little too soft for the trail, which brings us to the orange pair.  They are supposed to have some extra support to protect against rocks.  I’m testing them tomorrow for the first time on the trail.

There are definitely tradeoffs.  Kicking a rock or stepping on something sharp feels a lot different (and not good!) in fivefinger shoes than in hiking boots.   They are also not good in cold and/or wet conditions.  My feet turned to blocks of ice on a short 2 mile walk that started off slogging through mud last November.  I was glad I’d brought my boots for the longer hike we did right after that.  For this reason, I bought a new pair of boots, too, much lighter than my previous pair.  I wish I didn’t need them.