0

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Summertime

Just so you don’t think I’ve run away (although that’s never far from my mind), I’ve decided to give you a little briefing on my summer with Momma.  Here I am with my latest scarf creation.  Just like my life, it has a nautical theme.

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So my summer has been a mix of play and work. As you will see in the photos that follow — and this is more of a photoblog than a blog post — Momma and I continue to go about our lives despite (or in Momma’s case, as a challenge to) the COVID restrictions.  We traveled to our cabin in northern Minnesota in July, where I got to see the Norgaard relatives who seem to like nothing better than to torment-tease me.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy my time up there and here are few photos from our stay.  You may notice that I am not in any of the lake photos because someone forgot to pack my life jacket.

I have had some lake fun at home, though.  Momma has lifted her emergency executive order keeping me #safeathome from the Muskies and we’ve had a fantastic time boarding and boating.  Here we are with relatives and friends Talla, Ken, Cheryl, Erik, Jim, Lori U., the ubiquitous Lori Mac and her dog, Sam.  Oh, and the eagle who always keeps a sharp eye out for me!

 

My Agility Training Continues

My summer has included some work, too, and I am making good progress training with Annelise at Agile Canines in St. Louis Park.  Annelise has a great facility and is a master at training promising dogs such as myself.  My goal now is to make it into the Intermediate Class, and can do so as soon as I’m comfortable on the A-Frame and Dog Walk contact obstacles.  Let me rephrase that:  I am already totally comfortable on them; my real obstacle is Momma who needs to stop freaking out about me on them.  I just wish she was trainable.

As you might guess, Momma still has grandiose plans for me to do agility competitions (and embarrassingly calls me “Champ” in front of Annelise).  She takes me to train with her every week without fail — and she often makes me practice at home.  Here is my latest video doing some jumps and the weave poles in our backyard.

 

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please stop by and I’ll give you a little demonstration.  Just remember:  this dog works for treats!

Lina, Not Letting Any Grass Grow Under My Paws

WOOFDA!

 

 

6

Sit Stay Pray a Winner Again!

Dear Readers,

Last week Momma and I got another pawsome surprise!  We were notified that my second book, Sit Stay Pray, was named a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) competition.  NIEA also named the winners in the same communication, and unfortunately, SSP was not among them.  (Is this where I woof that human expression, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride?”) Perhaps, but we were nevertheless thrilled to be finalists, and will be adding more “award” stickers to our books!

This Excellence Award is especially meaningful for Momma and me because it is the second award we have garnered for SSP  — the first being the Benjamin Franklin Award for Humor.  This competition had over 1,000 entrants, and we were finalists in the Animals & Pets category.

Rather than try to explain the background and import of NIEA, I am attaching its press release about their 14th Annual Awards.  You can click on Finalists to see my book in that group.  You can also click on Winners to look for SSP (like Momma did about ten times in case there was some mistake) but will not find it.  Read on please.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

14th ANNUAL NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE® AWARDS ANNOUNCED

The 14th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) recognize the Winners and Finalists from this year’s robust competition of entries originating from all across the United States of America.

​A leader and veteran of publishing award contests, The National Indie Excellence® Awards are open to recent English language books in print from self and independent publishers. Judging is now completed for the 14th year of this competition and the results commend a wide range of truly exceptional titles.

​The National Indie Excellence® Awards celebrate independent publishing as a strong and vital sector of our industry. Recognizing excellence in all aspects of the final presentation, NIEA champions self-publishers and the independent presses who produce the highest quality books across a spectrum of metrics. Established in 2005, NIEA’s entrants are meticulously judged by experts from various facets of the book industry profession including publishers, writers, editors, and designers.

​Winners and Finalists are determined on the basis of superior written matter coupled with excellent presentation in every facet of the final published product. Jurors value the synergy of both content and form as they review entries spanning multiple genres. Sponsorship awards and monetary prize awards are selected from the overall group of Winners and Finalists.

​”This year’s entries continue an upward trend in high-quality publishing, even among first time or newer authors. The competition is intense. Indie Excellence® proudly celebrates the talent, dedication and love they put into the book product.”

– Doug Fogelson, President National Indie Excellence® Awards

To view the 14th Annual NIEA Winners and Finalists click here: Winners, Finalist

https://www.indieexcellence.com/

Because this is such a special occasion, I wanted to wear one of my designer scarves, but Momma had a “better” idea.  I can barely hold my head up.

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Lina, Humbled Hound Wearing Heavy Medal!

WOOFDA!

Pawscript:  Please don’t forget we have copies of SSP (and Lina Unleashed) on hand, so if you’d like to buy a copy (or two or three), I would be happy to pawdograph them for you, and Momma will make sure you receive your copy/copies.  So much better than ordering the book from another source because it will bear my priceless paw print, plus there will be more proceeds to pass along to the Animal Humane Society and Helping Paws Minnesota.

Also, don’t forget Momma and I still have some openings for bookclub meetings.  (You can tell your friends that my first book, Lina Unleashed, won an award in the Humor category and Sit Stay Pray won awards in both the Humor and Animals & Pets categories!)  In fact, we will be appearing at one in September for Momma’s good friend, Sandy Becker (see the Events page on my website).  We are even up for Zoom or outdoor meetings to ensure that we are following appropriate distancing protocols.

2

Muskie Madness & July 4th Wrap Up

Dear Readers,

Well, I guess this was not just another fish story.  I was hoping the Muskie crisis (how many more can we stand in one summer?) was over, but if anything it has gotten worse.  Momma has curtailed her boarding, and when she goes (she has me self-isolating in the house) she keeps a sharp eye out for another Muskie rearing its ugly head.  In fact, I often see her gazing out at the lake from our living room as though she were looking for the Crystal Lake version of the Loch Ness monster.

Momma is being extra careful because we now have more proof that we are in the middle of a Muskie pandemic.  The other day we received two photos of our neighbor, Dave (he lives a mere six doors away), holding humongous Muskies he recently caught (and released!) According to his wife, Kelly, Dave caught the first one right in back of their house, and the second in another part of lake (Momma sure wishes she knew where because, as we all know, fish always stay in the same spot.  Momma also wishes she knew why Dave is missing a shoe.)

On another front, our 4th of July celebration is over, and I’m told the fireworks were the best ever.  Momma had Talla and Tammy’s families over for boarding and kayaking and pontooning in the afternoon (she wisely did not bring up the Muskie tail with the little children).  Then a group of friends came over to partake in some Fourth Fun including the fearsome fireworks!  The fab photos below were taken by Tammy’s husband, Paul.  (You may have seen them before on Facebook, but I want to save them for pawsterity on my blog!)

Meanwhile I was safely ensconced in my private suite at Camp Bow Wow.  Here I am watching my very own flat screen TV.  Don’t tell Momma (or she won’t let me come back), but I was watching CNN to find out what is actually happening in the world.

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Just lapping it up!

Lina, Staying Safe & Informed!

WOOFDA!

 

2

Momma and the Muskie

Momma has been paddle boarding for close to twenty years now, and will tell anyone who cares to listen that she is the original boarder on our lake.  She has loved almost every minute of it.  She used to take her late dog, Ben, along and now usually takes me.  Ben and I have been good passengers, each of us only falling in only once.  (Momma:  “At least Ben knew to swim back to the board, Lina.  Just saying.”)  Neither of us has contributed any dog paddling for added power, though, as Momma thinks we should, and as some smart-aleck boaters occasionally suggest.

Speaking of boaters/fishers, Momma often calls out to them asking what they are fishing for.  Their usual answers (when they care to respond to the ditzy lady with the little Aussie) are Bass, Northerns, Crappies and Sunnies. Recently, when we were out for a spin, a fisherman teased Momma that there are lots of Muskies in the lake, and she better watch out so they don’t get her little doggie (me!).  Well that got Momma’s attention, and now her boater banter usually ends with “Have you ever seen a Muskie out here?”  Only last week, a fisherman answered in the affirmative, saying that he and his wife were out fishing and one swam right up to their boat with its mouth wide open.  Momma wished she hadn’t asked, but tried to put it out of her mind.

I bring all this up because Momma recently had an encounter with a Muskie that may change her boarding days forever.  She had gone boarding alone when Lori couldn’t join her and she knew it was too hot for me with my double fur coat to be out in the blazing sun.  She also knew that I would be disappointed, so she practically belly-crawled down to the lake so I couldn’t see her leaving.

The minute she got down to her board, she ran into a neighbor, Lisa, who was kayaking by (as I could see by looking out the window).  They joined up and cruised all over the lake, then Lisa peeled off to head to her house.  Just as Momma was crossing a channel close to home, something caught her eye off to the right and not more than ten feet away — a muskrat she thought.  But upon a closer look, she saw it was a gigantic fish that looked like a monster from the deep.

Immediately, she knew it was a Muskie and screamed at the top of her lungs (as though she had just seen a shark), “Muskie! Muskie!”  Lisa and a nearby boarder — and let’s face it — almost everyone on the lake — looked at her with great curiosity.  In fact, Momma’s voice was so loud that I could hear her all the way back in the living room (more proof that she had left me behind).  When she dared to look back at the creature, she saw it was still above water with its mouth open and looking right at her just before it dived under.  Momma saw it that it indeed was a humongous fish.

Shaken, she turned to the nearby boarder who said he had seen it, too.  In fact, he said when he was out on the lake last week, one tried to crawl on his board.  This was almost too much for Momma to bear.  Would she ever take me out on the board again?  Would she ever go on the board again?

That question was answered when she and Lori (strength in numbers she thought and fortified by champagne) did a little après July 4th boarding (once again leaving me behind — too hot and I might get eaten by a Muskie).  Amazingly, they ran into the same boarder who confirmed to Lori that a Muskie really had tried to climb on his board the previous week.

Next, they encountered a neighbor, Mark, working on his dock.  Momma, by now had ramped up her Muskie inquisition, and asked Mark if he had ever seen one.  Yes, he responded, and further informed her that a fisherman had caught a forty-four incher just the other day not far away.

Momma was horrified by that news, especially when Mark added that the fisherman threw the Muskie back in, explaining that most people just catch them for sport and that the DNR stocks the lake with Tiger Muskies!  Tiger Muskies?  Were they insane, she thought?  She did not pay taxes for the government to put attack fish in the lake to ruin her fun.  (And by now she had Googled “Muskies biting people on lakes in Minnesota,” and found at least two incidents cited, one of which required stitches!)

To be honest, I’m a little scared myself.  Here I am in my favorite scarf wondering if I’ll ever get to leave shore again.

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Lina, Muskie Munchie?

WOOFDA!

 

 

 

1

The 4th of July and a New Leash on Life

Dear Readers,

Happy 4th of July greetings from my outdoor satellite office where I will be bringing you today’s briefing!  Here I am in my (way too big but Momma tries) patriotic scarf.  Nice, no?

B9D66A73-FFFA-4DCF-BECA-510F31AE41BCAs you can probably tell, this year I really am excited for America’s birthday.  Why you may ask?  I’m sure some of you remember how I have been forced in the past to stay at home with Momma and endure the mind-blowing 4th of July fireworks which are shot off practically from our own back yard?

Well things are different this year.  While Momma and her friends will be partying it up on the lake, having their hearing (and probably eyesight) destroyed by the fireworks, I’ll be relaxing in the lap of luxury at the ultra-quiet Camp Bow Wow in Eden Prairie (it even sounds like paradise).  How did this come about?

Well, Momma doesn’t know it yet, but Manager Scott has booked me into a luxury suite at the Camp over the Fourth this year.  In addition to the normal amenities one would expect in their regular cabins including a fleece blanket and a campfire treat before bed, I will be enjoying an extra large bed, lights which dim, an individual ventilation system to ensure the perfect temperature, and my own flat screen TV!  Can you stand it? I’ll probably be watching DogTV all night long!

I’ve also signed up for some of their Individual Enrichment extras including one-on-one play time, one-on-one snuggle time and one-on-one brain games (not that I need those, but why not?). I will even have a private 24 hour web cam, should Momma ever think to look in on me.  Then when I awake on the 5th, I’ll be served breakfast in the peace and quiet of my private suite.  Woo hoo!  If Momma finds out, I know she’ll want to stay here, too, but I’ll woof no!  I need a little “me” time.

Have I woofed how much I love Bow Wow?  Here I am relaxing on the bridge with some of my buddies and enjoying another Spaw Day last week at the Camp.  I wonder if they take full time residents.

But back to my greeting and America’s birthday — I hope you all have a wonderful time (remember those ear plugs!) and that your holiday is as relaxing and fun as mine!

Lina, Celebrating in the Lap of Luxury

WOOFDA!

2

The #IBPABens Judges Speak!

Dear Readers,

Last week Momma and I received the promised judges’ feedback on our Benjamin Franklin award-winning book, Sit Stay Pray.  We had been anxiously awaiting their comments because they “lift the curtain,” so to woof, on what the judges really thought of our effort.

There were three judges — one for design and two for editorial comment.  The design judge gave us a somewhat disappointing overall score of 6.7 out of a possible 10.  Here are a few of his/her comments:

I’d work to make the title bigger as well as the subtitle . . . Font choices for subtitle and author skew the book into self-published area, go with less “character.”  Author name aka is confusing . . . Fewer words in subtitle would help layout . . . Body font choice of a san-serif condensed font makes it harder to read main test.  Blah, blah, blah . . . 

Okay, Momma made me add the blah, blah, blah, but I agree, you’d read enough.  The judge was not really taken with the design work, and in some respects Momma and I agree.  Live and learn as they woof.

On the other paw, the editorial judges gave us fantastic scores.  They really “got” the book and gave us fab reviews.  First, from the one who ranked us number one(!) in the humor category and gave us an almost perfect score:

This title ranks one out of the top ten books reviewed . . . Lina certainly can tell a story . . . The reader does not necessarily need to be a dog lover or even an animal enthusiast to relate, appreciate and learn from Lina’s “tails” . . . Presented in a diary-memoir format, the stories flow nicely and allow comprehension and interest for the intended reader . . . Excellent work, excellent stories, excellent product.  This literary evaluator found Sit Stay Pray an inspired, charming, laugh-out-loud read.  Keep writing!

Does it get any better?  Momma and I are feeling so #validated!

And from the judge who ranked our book number two:

Cleverly written.  Dog’s point of view is genius.  The dog’s interaction with her owner is on-point and amusing.  There are many chuckles in these pages.

Momma and I are both over-the-moon with our editorial reviews.  In fact, they were so good that Momma (now all of a sudden a believer) is convinced we lost the gold because of the Russians.

I also recently received my “Silver Winner” book stickers in the mail.  Here I am in my office — bet you didn’t know I had one! — sporting my appropriately themed star scarf of the day, next to my stickered copy of SSP.

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Note that Momma couldn’t resist placing the Ronald Reagan book in the background.

In closing, I want to thank you all again for your loyal readership and hope that, as with the judges, we have given you a chuckle or two or maybe even a belly laugh over the years.  And after those reviews (and the judges order!), who would not continue to write!

Lina, Recognized Author

WOOFDA!

1

Scarves & Summer

Dear Readers,

As we recover from the disastrous events of this winter and spring, Momma and I continue to take steps to try get back to normal (and ours always tends to be a new normal).  We stay busy and my briefing today will give you a little update on #LinaScarves and a bit of summer fun!

First things first.  Many of you have expressed interest in my personalized line of #LinaScarves.  I am currently looking into vendors for making them and in the meantime, I continue to try out different looks.  Today I am featuring another paw-crafted beauty. This creation is meant to reflect the colors of nature:  green for trees and grass (and parsley!), blue for water, yellow for sun and orange for sunset.  So eco, so organic, so sustainable.  (Momma:  “Will it end global warming?”)

I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.  Can’t you just picture Fido’s name on the front?

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In another sign that summer is here, I had a surprise the other day when my step-sister once removed, Talla, her husband Ken, Momma and I went for an impromptu pontoon ride.  The whole thing started when Momma replaced the tattered American flag on the back of our boat, and noticed that the battery was dead (and she was pretty sure it wasn’t her fault this time).  Uncle Ken came over, fixed it, and off we went.  Here I am with our new “Old Glory” in the background.  #readyforsummer!

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Lina, Designer and Pontoon Pooch

WOOFDA!

1

Challenging Times Update

Good Evening Dear Readers,

Boy, you talk about your tough times.  First the COVID-19 pandemic and then the senseless killing of George Floyd.  Both events followed by disastrous repercussions, including the stop-the-spread lockdown with people losing jobs and businesses, and the violence and destruction consuming our country after Mr. Floyd’s tragic death.  Momma and I are both heartbroken about it all, and hope for a full recovery from COVID soon, and for peace and calm and justice to prevail in the Floyd case and aftermath.

Am I right to assume you might need a change of subject?  I hope so because my briefing today is going to be about how Momma and I are putting one foot and paw in front of the other and trying to move forward.

For example, yesterday Momma had some time on her hands so she went to the fabric store in Apple Valley to buy some scarf material for me to pursue my dream of starting my own #LinaScarves line.  And guess what, she even came home with a few colorful swatches of cloth that might work.  Here I am modeling my very first paw-crafted scarf (okay, Momma did help because she can handle the pinking shears better that I can)!  We chose this material because it nicely complements my red merle coloring, don’t you think?  Note the cute little hearts.  They might become my signature symbol – after all, love is so important, especially right now.

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I plan to offer the scarves in my favorite colors and themes and will personalize them for you and your pets.  And remember, they double as masks so they work for humans, too!  More to come.

On the same trip, Momma slipped over to Chuck and Don’s to pick up some supplies for me.  (Momma thought she was buying local — don’t burst her bubble by telling her C & D’s was purchased by a big NYC company last year.)  Anyway, she got some bones for me, poop bags (although she had very little to choose from — it’s as if there was a run on poop bags just like toilet paper!), and some treats for my agility training.

Speaking of my agility work, as I mentioned earlier, I am now doing some training in a well-equipped facility in the Twin Cities.  It’s fun (and I ❤️ the treats!), but it’s also difficult.  We even have homework!  Momma is still not sure what front and back crosses are, but I pretty much do them anyway no matter what signals she gives me as we practice in our back yard.  Who knew the training would be more about her than me!  Hopefully I will have a video for you soon.

So that’s about it for now.  What are you doing to stay busy and get by?  Please stay safe and pray for justice and peace.

What Momma and I wouldn’t do for an ordinary day.

Lina, Almost Unable to Speak

WOOFDA!

0

Memorial Day 2020

Dear Readers,

Momma and I are forever grateful to those who have given their lives for our country and the freedom we enjoy because of them.  With this year’s pandemic restrictions, we appreciate that freedom more than ever.  Humans and dogs alike are indeed lucky to live in this great country.

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Commemorating Memorial Day 2020

We also want to remember and honor all family and friends (including furry) who have gone before us.  You are loved and missed.

Lina, Humbled Hound

 

1

Briefly

Dear Readers,

Greetings again from my home office.  As you will see in the photo below, I am continuing to wear a scarf-mask for my briefings.  I think I am way ahead of the (flattening?) curve with my new concept and may just start my own #LinaScarves line!931C1A23-0B74-4FF8-8EFD-8AA57F7D8451I really don’t have much to report so this will be brief.  The Big Pawse goes on with some businesses, restaurants, and Momma’s beloved salon still closed.  In fact, many things haven’t changed much at all.  Momma continues to come and go as she pleases, even though Governor Walz just lifted his #StayHomeMN order last Monday!  (And based on her age group, she should still be confined to a . . . I mean our . . . home.)   Even her shopping hasn’t tapered off, and she is now a regular at Ace Hardware (who knew we needed WD-40?) and Home Depot.

When she does stay home, Momma continues with my agility training.  Here I am practicing on the (mini) agility course in our back yard.  Our neighbor, Bob, who often looks after me, shot this video the other day.  Such fun.

I have also started agility training this week at a facility here in the Twin Cities which has tons of equipment (some I’ve never even tried).  The first session went well, although I can tell it’s going to take the trainer a while to whip Momma into shape.  I, on the other paw, showed them “what for” with the weave poles.  Update on that coming soon, as we have two sessions scheduled for next week.  CAD609D7-5BF5-4D18-B037-6E6234BB6B26

The only other news I have is that Momma did some housecleaning the other day.  I know, right?  When I came upon her, I thought it was an apparition, and was a little scared to woof the least (as you can tell by the photo at right).  Apparently even Momma has to “dig deep” to get through these tough times!

Until my next report, #staysafe!

Lina, Bringing You the News

WOOFDA!