Sorry, this is going to be a long one...
Ben arrived on Thursday afternoon and we headed right to downtown Northampton. Ben got a burrito at Bueno y Sano - a typical college town burrito shop with lots of vegetarian options.
We took it easy for the rest of the day - and finished the night off with the VP debate. We were going to play the drinking game, but after reading it closely we realized that we would have gotten too drunk. The game included drinking after Palin said, " maverick, hockey mom, Joe six pack, Bush doctrine. For Joe Biden it was, " washington insiders, green, alternative energy, working class, Delaware, Scranton.
I won't go into my opinion of the whole thing at this point, but lets just say I'm hoping Tina Fey won't be seen on SNL for the next four years!
Anyway, on Friday Ben came with me to a herding lesson. Indigo is finally making some progress. I am learning that unfortunately some of my obedience training has been counterproductive to herding training. I could not figure out why she would stop moving as soon as I stood still. She circles around the sheep very nicely as long as I am right there at her hip, but as soon as I stop moving...she freezes.
In obedience I taught her to stop at my side when I stop walking. This is extremely useful when walking downtown. The practical thing to do would be keep up with obedience, but I'm not really very practical when it comes to my dogs. Getting her trained to work sheep is very important to me, so I'm going to have to start avoiding training her to focus on me so intently. Hopefully it doesnt' get to the point that my best option is moving to a farm and getting some sheep, but....you never know! Border collies have been know to be manipulative enough to get themselves a farm of their own.
After herding we met up with our friend Matt that we met in Costa Rica. We had a nice greasy dinner at the Amherst Brewing Company and then Ben and I went to see the new movie Religulous. We love Bill Mahr and his sense of humor and thoroughly enjoyed this hillarious movie. I would not recommend it to anyone who is very religious, as it could be extremely offensive to any God loving person. Oh and it was directed by Larry Charles, who produced and directed some of my favorites (Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Borat)
Bright and early on Saturday morning we met up with the Shryocks and drove to Essex, CT for a Fall foliage tour. The tour started out with a steam train ride and ended with a river boat ride on the Connecticut River. The scenery was somewhat lacking, but riding on the historic train was fun and of course spending quality time with family is always nice.
On the way home we went to New Haven, CT, the birthplace of American pizza. The pizza is called "apizza" and is traditionally cooked in a brick oven. We were so focused on finding a good pizza place, that we forgot to check out the Yale campus. Maybe next time...
We got back to my house, walked Indigo and then went out to Tabella in Amherst for dinner. We enjoyed a "slow food" style dinner with lots of different dishes and one of each dessert they offered. It was one of those places I love - with all local meats, dairy and produce. One of the few times I enjoy meat at a restaurant. I have no complaints about my beet salad with greens and goat cheese, followed by pork loin with an apple cider reduction and mashed potatoes. Everything was cooked perfectly.
The next morning Ben and I had to get up at 6 am to get to a flyball tournament in Greenfield, MA hosted by the New England Trailblazers. The people from Canine Mutiny were very welcoming, helping me adjust to the nuonces of racing in this region. Indigo raced very well. She make no mistakes, happily taking start dog position all day and running consistent 4.0-4.1 all day. Our open team consisted of a red border jack, a blue merle border collie and an 11 year old black and white border collie. Everyone got along very well and enjoyed racing together. We got 2nd place in our division and won some cool prizes!