Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Mix

Again the weather people made a big deal out of virtually nothing ... for around here, anyway. We seem to live right on the cusp of weather vs no weather. Whereas Mom & Dad in Ontario got a lot of snow, and the NH contingent reports 9 inches, we just got a "wintery mix" yesterday. Rain, sleet, bit of snow.

The rain drops turned to ice in the evening and during the night. Most things have a shiny coating of ice .... very pretty.

Living Room - getting there

The living room is getting there ....

We still have to buy two chairs and an ottoman. Because I want an ottoman :-) The red one there is a desk chair and the green one is one of the dining room chairs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Won!

I commented over at Biggest Diabetic Loser at the beginning of the month and I ended up winning! The package came yesterday but I only got a chance to open it up today. I got a neat snowman mug, some hot chocolate, two jars of Barefoot Contessa sauces and a book! The original post was here

Thank you Biz!!! I love it :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

DOCNA Weekend Continued

Overall, I am very pleased with this weekend. DOCNA is such a feel-good venue and I am usually much more relaxed and do well.

Luce finished up some titles and was running really well. Weather was cool which she prefers. Plus, this was at the building where we train, so it was on home turf. She had 12 runs over the weekend and Q'd in 10 of them ... sure wish that was the case each trial ;-) Too many bobbles, all my fault, for my liking. Some would have been refusals in USDAA, so they wouldn't have been Q's. Only 2 bars down the whole weekend ... unfortunately one in the second jumpers today which meant no Jumpers title this year. My fault though ... I should have put in a front cross, I was indecisive and down it came. Need to be more assertive and stop chickening out! :-)

Blaze did 2 runs per day. Saturday started off with Standard and no stay at the start at all ... first obstacle was a chute and apparently that is just too much :-) I haven't really trained or worked at the start line stay, so when he was vibrating and just staring at the chute, I decided to just let him go. And, boy, did he GO! :-) It was chute, jump, aframe in a line and he stopped at the aframe down contact, so I was able to catch up. I was concerned about the next bit ... jump, jump, then 90 degree turn to the weaves. But, there was another jump beyond the second one with huge off course potential. I don't know how to "turn" him yet and I didn't want to give him a cue to turn and have him just take off and ignore me. I was able to leave him on the aframe (thank goodness for stopped contacts!!) and was able to stand at the next jump and release. Then just one step for him to take the next jump while I then pulled to the weaves and told him to weave. Which he did :-) I crossed behind and got up to the next jump.

The rest was lovely ... from what I remember ... it is all a blur. I know I had to do a blind cross at a curved tunnel as there was no way I was getting there for a front. And he doesn't rear cross yet ;-) Anyway, he was great, he got his first Q ever and a 1st place to boot! I cried :-)

Next run, traditional gamblers, was next for him. He got most of the opening okay ... the gamble was jump, tunnel, back over the jump, then bring them around for another jump. The problem was when they were to come back over the jump, the aframe was right there too and I was worried he would keep going for an off course. I guess I was too close to the jump and he took the bar. Oh well :-)

Today was Snakes N Ladders. It was beautiful ... he only ran by one set of weaves because I was blocking them when he came out of the tunnel and he came with me when I stepped aside. No problem ... turned us both around and he got them for a Q and a 2nd place and his first title!

Last run today was what I was expecting Friday night. Young, green dog running amok! I was debating running either of them in Strategic Gamblers as I was just too tired to come up with a plan. I should have listened to my instincts and just bagged it and gone home. Luce's run was first and it was horrible ... she missed both dogwalk contacts (first of the weekend) and I misjudged the closing and we were over time. I got Blaze out too early and he was WAY too high. No stay at the start and he just WENT. I tried to call him back but he was WAY gone. I am also really mad at myself for NOT holding his contacts as they were NOT what I had the rest of the weekend.

But, overall, good weekend ... for the most part, Blaze can hold his contacts (I REALLY need to work on myself to make sure he DOES hold them!! Definitely no USDAA trials before September!! DOCNA or matches ONLY) If he sees the weaves, he gets in them and does them all. But we need to learn how to turn and to handle ... which I knew. Also, outside trials will be a little easier as I will be able to go behind the tents and watch what is going on. At the building, I had to keep going up the building and peer through the windows to see what was going on. Plus, the very act of going through the door makes him crazy and all the competitors and dogs are all in one spot instead of spread out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blaze's Agility Debut

This weekend is a DOCNA trial at our training building and there are usually two classes on Friday night. There typically aren't a lot of runs and not a lot of dogs or people, so I thought it would be a good place for Blaze to actually be in a trial.

He was manageable in the building ... as long as I had his tug. But he was listening even when I didn't have it ... would sit, give me his paw, nose touches in between the yelping. I need to teach some more tricks though ... calm tricks.

We did the jump and the weave poles in the practice area and he totally was focused on me and not on the dog in the ring. Very good!! He couldn't do that the first year I had him.

First was Strategic Gamblers. He held his stay at the start. He did NOT knock every bar Yes, he knocked a couple, but left most of them up. Most important ... he STUCK his aframe (twice!!) and teeter. I mean 2on/2off and didn't leave until I said OK!!!! He was going so fast that he ended up falling off of the dogwalk. And he got his weaves and FAST! We didn't Q because we crossed the finish line way too early .... like 2 seconds too early. I haven't run him before so I had no idea how many obstacles he could do .... looks like I need to plan for a LOT more with Blaze than I do with Luce :-)

Second was Snakes & Ladders. Did NOT stay at the start. I couldn't find the smaller tug, so he was ramped up too much coming into the ring. Lesson learned. BUT ... again, he STUCK all 3 contacts ... 2on/2off until the OK. And got all 3 sets of weaves!! But we didn't Q .... I wasn't fast enough and direct enough so my pull to the finish line was weak, so he turned and put his paws on the aframe again for an "E". Oh well :-) I need to be quicker with this boy :-)

So, I was ecstatic with his contacts and weaves. I had decided to put him in this trial to see if he could do them in this situation and he can!! But .... as I suspected, it isn't the obstacles themselves, it is everything in between! One small forward cue too many, and off he goes. And I am SO used to giving lots of forward cues for Luce .... this will take some time. It didn't matter with the Strategic Gamblers as he just racked up more points. He took the wrong tunnel after one of the sets of weaves in Snakes and Ladders which altered my plan .... I put one step forward and off he went!

That was the purpose with this trial ... to see where we are. He hasn't even attended a class yet, so I'm not upset. He has two classes tomorrow as well, but for some reason, I didn't sign him up on Sunday.

I also got Blaze measured ... the judge was Bud Houston who has been judging for quite a while for various venues, so I think it is a good measurement. 20-7/8" Woohooo, under 21!! Doesn't matter for DOCNA as 22" is the cutoff for the next jump height, but he needs to be 21" or under for USDAA. He didn't snap at the judge and was fairly calm for the measurement which was good too ;-) I always expect the worst LOL Unfortunately, he will need another measurement as he isn't 3 years old yet, but he is good for the weekend. I think Darryl said he didn't need another measurement now until he is 3, but there are 3 spaces on the form ... guess I should read the rules again.

Oh yeah, I also phoned the vet today and Blaze is officially heartworm free now! So the treatment in the summer worked and we don't have to worry any more.

Luce did well ... she Q'd in Strategic Gamblers for her Specialist Gamblers Title and also Q'd in Snakes & Ladders .. that is her first Q at the Specialist level as we had to start at Beginners for that class. She was moving too, I didn't have to drag her around the ring. And she got all of her contacts - not 2on/2off at a trial like Blaze gave me, but in the yellow without leaping off.

Luce is entered in everything this weekend but I might not go on Sunday morning ... other stuff to do.

I'd been apprehensive about this trial, but it went pretty much as should have been expected. I need to manage him BIG time outside the ring. I need to work on his start line stays. He has good contacts and weaves. And we need to work on handling BIG time.

But, I was able to manage him for the most part - so I am feeling better about getting him into a class situation now. I need to figure out which class and when and how I am going to manage that. He would be eligible for a class on Thursday night at Keystone ... Luce's class is Wednesday night. Two nights in a row ... eeek. But I need to keep going to class with Luce for those 2 elusive gambler legs for her APD (Performance ADCH). We are also working towards the Silver Snooker and Bronze Standard titles as well ....

Off to bed ... we are going back tomorrow and the first dog is at 7:15am ... EARLY!!

Duh Moment

I had my MRI today ... and a "duh" moment as well. I knew that I couldn't wear anything with metal in it, so that meant no jeans. My sweatpants have a huge hole in them, so they were out. I had a pair of "activewear" pants that have a zipper on the bottom of the leg. The zipper itself is plastic and the zipper pull didn't attract the fridge magnets, so I wore those.

When I was checked in and all, the receptionist said we better not take a chance with the pants and gave me a pair of scrub pants ... and that was the "duh" moment. I wear scrubs to work every single day and never even thought of wearing those!!

One of the gals at work told me that I also couldn't wear metal when I go for my bone density next week ... so I will wear scrubs :-)

If I ever have an MRI done again, I will also make sure that I don't drink a lot of coffee ... and make sure I drink water for at least a day before. But not right before ... when you are laying there in that little MRI tube and you know you can't move, that's when you think you have to go to the bathroom (again) and when your nose starts to itch :-) They did the first series of scans/images (whatever they are called), then pulled me out to inject a dye for the second set. Well, because of all the coffee and the lack of water, I was really dehydrated. My veins like to "hide" anyway, but when I am dehydrated, it is really hard to find them. It took 2 people a long time ... and 7 tries in my hands and arms later, they finally got it.

Musing (Whining?)

What is with the weather? Who is in charge, cuz, whoever (whomever?) it is, isn't doing a very good job. It rained for TWO SOLID DAYS. Poured rain. Not just drizzle, but POURED. The dogs didn't want to do out in it and they usually don't mind.

Last weekend it was FREEZING COLD. Of course, I was at an agility seminar in an unheated building. Of course. Wednesday, it was close to 60 degrees. Did I get to go to agility? No. Won't get into that here. I have an agility trial this weekend and what is the temperature going to do? Don't need to be a weatherperson to forecast that one.

I probably need some cheese to go with this whine. But it's my blog and I can whine if I want to.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just an Update

Just an update because it is now December :-)

The living room is coming along ... the floor is done and we bought an area rug. We are now on the hunt for two wing-type chairs and an ottoman. The drums still need to go away and we need to put in the sofa table and end table. The chair that was in the living room is up in our bedroom and the couch is still, temporarily, in the dining room. It will be thrown out ... poor Luce ... she sleeps in that a lot! Not worry, I put one of the dog beds in the a corner in the living room and will be on the look out for a nicer bed for her. She was already sleeping on the bare floor after it was done, so I have made it a bit more comfortable. She does like her little corner of the room :-)

There is still a lot of stuff in the dining room, but at least we got to eat Thanksgiving dinner in there. I brined the turkey for the first time and, boy, was it ever flavorful and tender! A little salty, but then again, the brine recipe was for a 20lb bird and ours was 13lbs. I did cut down on the salt, but I guess I need to cut down a little more.

I also made this pumpkin cheesecake. Other than the crust, it was SO good! It wasn't a dense cheesecake, but rather, was kind of fluffy. The crust got hard, like a really hard cookie, but it was good too. Other people had the same problem, so I'm not sure what the answer is.

I worked from home a lot last week. Brennan had his last day of work last week on Monday and Evan spent most of his time here out with various friends. Hugh was out of town, so I was able to get a lot done!

I also, finally, got a website up for my trial secretary stuff: Took a bit of fiddling to find a website template that I liked and that I could update on my own. Brennan was going to write it, or find me a template, but I wasn't liking a lot of the choices. We tried Wordpress as well, but I found it hard to customize to the way I wanted it to look. Wordpress is primarily blogging software as is this site, Blogger. This site doesn't really easily allow the separate pages that I wanted. Separate pages are slightly easier to get in Wordpress, but I was having trouble with formatting. The hosting site that I went with has SiteBuilder for free and it just "clicked" with my brain, so that is what I went with :-) I don't want to have to reinvent the wheel or relearn everything every time I update something. Or have to rely on Brennan to do it for me. After all, one of the reasons I did want my own site was to be able to publish trial test schedules, copies of final confirmations and running orders when it was ready and not to have to rely on the webmasters of each individual club to do it. Not that it never gets done ... it does! But things can happen, people can be away, or they have work etc, so I wanted my own site to consolidate it all.

I'll get my first chance to update it when the test schedule for the sanctioned match I am doing is finally approved, which will be this week I hope. I got that done last week as well and it is at USDAA for approval. I am sure there will be changes as there always ARE changes. I was lucky ... only two changes for the February Keystone trial and those were changes in wording that USDAA had just decided on, nothing that I had missed .... but this is a brand new test schedule, from scratch, so I am sure there will be things that I need to change around.

I also need to figure out how to get a list of height cards that I have on file into one big READABLE list and figure out the best way to update it as well. And I want to get results on there for the two October trials. I got some of it on there already. It will be easier to produce when I am wrapping up each trial rather than go back and do two whole trials all at once.

Evan went back to Duquesne yesterday. Hugh decided to come along as he hadn't seen the school since Evan went to look at it in April. However, it rained/sleeted the whole drive there and rained/sleeted the whole way home. The drive there took a bit longer than usual as we had to slow down to 30mph at times due to fog. As we got over to the west side of the state, past all the tunnels, we noticed that the eastbound turnpike was stop and go with lineups miles long. A couple of times it was due to the salters being out and doing their job, but other times, we weren't sure. We're talking MILES long. So, after we got Evan moved back in, we got out the map, played with the GPS and took an alternate route home. Which took longer. LONG day of driving and Hugh did all of it. He wanted to drive and kept refusing our offers to drive. I slept off and on and listened to books on my ipod :-) Evan slept most of the way.

Because there were 3 of us, we were able to move Evan back in one trip. Hugh, of course, was appalled at small size of the dorm room. He was always appalled when Brennan was at school too and can't understand why everyone just doesn't live at home :-)

We didn't walk around the campus because it was cold and raining. Of course it was ... I brought my camera!