Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last day of 2009

Let's take a look outside, this last day of 2009 ....

It snowed!  Everything always looks better after it has snowed.

Happy New Years Eve!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It Snowed

It snowed!

Everything looks so pretty after it snows.  The jingle bells are wearing bigger snow hats than they did yesterday.

Glad I got the reindeer up before it snowed too much yesterday. They are wearing snow hats too :-)

We ended up with about 7-1/2".  Not a lot compared to the 20" in parts of Maryland, VA and NC, but a lot for around here. We usually don't have a "White Christmas", so this is exciting for us. 

And, yes, I measured it :-)

Enough with the snow, can we go in now?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More ....

Let the wrestling begin .....

I got to watch a wrestling match earlier this morning.  This was after a game of "your toy is better than mine"  They each had a toy but they were eying the other's toy.  Then, as if on a signal, they would stop, look away briefly, and then pounce on the other's toy.  Repeat for 10 minutes.

Then we had the wrestling :-)

We've had a stint outside and now all is quiet and peaceful.

For now.

Snow & Such

Wow, two blog posts in a month!  Is this possible?  LOL

Bought the dogs each a coat and they arrived on Friday.  Luce accepted her coat without qualm, but Blaze was paralyzed in his.  Just stood there and would barely move.  Had to drag him outside while Luce was bouncing all around him.  The next time I brought The Ball out with me ... that took his mind off of the jacket  :-)

Common picture here when The Ball is out.  Luce waiting for Blaze who is waiting for The Ball to move.

Today is Saturday and it is snowing.  The states further south of us are getting dumped upon but we only have maybe an inch so far.

The Koi are hibernating

Blaze is getting used to his coat ... he still thinks he is going to die when I first put it on, but getting used to quicker and quicker now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In progress

Been a while since I posted again.  Things have been busy and disorganized around here.  Was secretary for a bunch of agility trials since August, plus went to trials, and even got to go to Scottsdale, AZ for USDAA's Nationals in November!

But the biggest thing has been our kitchen/familyroom.  Under construction since August.  Sigh.  It takes that long when we are all busy working and trying to squeeze in other things, so it just gets done in the spare time.  And there hasn't been much of that this fall!

We decided to redo the kitchen so some degree ... including painting the kitchen cabinets and stripping the 23 year old wallpaper.

Evan spent the last few days that he was home on the kitchen.  We used a chemical stripper.  That combined with 23 year old wallpaper placed directly on bare drywall = takes a long time.

While we were at it, we also decided to add some trim to the bottom of the cabinets.  You can see the tile backsplash that we had on the walls, plus the cabinet color before we sanded and painted.

Boy, does Hugh ever hate mitering :-) but he did it :-)

The cabinet doors all had to come off, get washed down and sanded.

We also decided on granite countertops.  So, the old counters had to come off ...

... before the new ones could be installed.

We are still in the midst of painting.  A beadboard backsplash was put in and we also put it on the island.
In the meantime, I still went to trials and Blaze even earned his Advanced Gamblers title and is in Masters Gamblers with a Q!

And ran a bunch of trials, including a VERY MUDDY trial at Fair Hill, MD

We have now taken all of the wallpaper off in the adjoining family room ... I rented a wallpaper steamer which made the job a LOT easier and faster!  But, again, the wallpaper was put on the bare drywall with no priming or sizing.  I would love to decorate for Christmas, but it is kind of hard when the family room looks like this:

Maybe some lights on the ladder?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sophomore Year

August saw Evan go back to Duquesne for his sophomore year.

He moved in before his room mate.  It was a dull and dreary day.  This building is older and not as nice, so it was a little depressing!  Sorry for the poor quality .... these were taken with my Blackberry Pearl!

Took us a lot of trips up and down the elevator to get everything in.  It was raining out, so we alternated being wet to dealing with the humidity.

A couple of weeks later, Evan sent me pictures of his room after his room mate moved in and they moved things around ... certainly looks a lot better now!

It's Been A While!

Wow, haven't blogged since 4th of July!

I spent most of July battling an abscessed tooth. After several root canal retreatments, I think we fixed it!

What I did do in July that was productive was to get to our annual hazardous waste collection day. Got rid of a bunch of old computer stuff that was cluttering up the basement.

It was nice to see the long lineup of cars waiting for their turn - less hazardous stuff into the landfills!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

I made the requisite flag cake .. easiest one there is. Sara Lee pound cake, Cool Whip, strawberries and blueberries. Oven is broken, so didn't have a choice :-)

Beautiful day today. No rain, not too warm, no humidity.

Hope to get into town tonight and watch some fireworks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Hugh going around The Oak Tree at VIR

This past weekend took us to Virginia. Virginia International Raceway to be exact.

Hugh was participating in a Drivers Education event with Zone 2 of the Porsche Club of America for white group and above (ie those that can drive solo) and there was also Club racing as well.

I wandered around and took a lot of pictures from a lot of different places, so it didn't turn out as bad as I thought. Had to get used to the camera again! Also took video which I still need to edit and put together.

Hugh had some good runs and didn't wreck his car (a very good thing!)

Club racing turned out to be VERY serious for some of these people! HUGE big rigs and whole tech crews to look after the cars! And the carnage on the track! Hugh is now rethinking the whole club racing thing :-)

I need to do a lot of post processing on the pics I took. But I hurt my back again and am taking it easy this week while the office is closed!

Catching Up

Been a long time since I updated. I read on someone's blog somewhere that they won't read a blog if it doesn't have pictures. I haven't been taking a lot of pictures, so I'm not posting ....

USDAA NE Regional - that went well and thank goodness it is over :-) We got decent weather with only some rain on Saturday afternoon. I tend to obsess on the things that didn't go well, but, really, it went smoothly - people keep telling me that, so I'll believe them :-)

Luce was entered only in the 3 P3 Titling classes ... and only ran one. And got a refusal at the weaves, so no Q in Standard. Oh well. Blaze was entered in one class per day. First day was Gamblers and we knocked every single bar in the gamble :-) AND broke a weave pole!! A first! Second day was snooker ... my first 0 point snooker!! He knocked the first red and was over the #3 jump before I could redirect - whistle and out in 4.something seconds! LOL

Gamblers was the 3rd day - he Q'd for his Starters Gamblers title!!!

Blaze held his start all 3 days and got all of his contacts. Missed a set of weave poles ... did that at Saratoga and Flexi as well. All 3 times it was the doing back to back weaves, him on my right. Hmm. I can't reproduce it here at home.

Had a some stress getting him measured and didn't get his final measurement until Saturday. He was measured at 21" on the nose at Saratoga by the CMJ. I was hoping to get two measurements there as it was a 3 days trial, but the other judges said to leave well enough alone, so I did. Got 20-3/4" at Flexi. First day at the Regional, I was stressed, rushed etc etc and Blaze did not cooperate, so we didn't get a measurement. As soon as the junior judge got there on Saturday morning, which was before a lot of people got there, I got Blaze measured and got his 3rd measurement at 20-3/4" YAY, done and officially a 22" jumping dog which is what I wanted! Sent in the card and he is now showing as permanently carded on the USDAA site ... just have to wait for the actual card to come in the mail.

Now going to enter Blaze in more than one run per day ... we'll leave Jumpers and Pairs alone for now and just add in Standard.

FINALLY going to go to class tonight after 3 weeks!! Should have gone to Luce's class last night, but there was threat of thunder. Won't drive for an hour just for her to sit in the car shaking. Blaze doesn't seem to care about the thunder, so we'll go. I'll take Luce in case there is an opening in his class, just to get her on equipment.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stack o' Mail

I am a trial secretary for USDAA agility trials. There are no entry limits, so people tend to enter at the last minute. It is not uncommon to get half of the total entry during the last week before closing. This year, we are hosting the NE Regional for USDAA in June. I was away for the Memorial Day weekend and this is what was waiting for me ... that is Thursday, Friday and Saturday's mail. Still to come was Tuesday and Wednesday. Yikes!

Of the total 440 dogs entered in this trial, 302 of them came in during that last week. Yikes again :-)

Good thing I expect this now and plan accordingly.

Luce, APD and Blaze's USDAA debut!

We had a WONDERFUL weekend at YAgility's USDAA trial in Saratoga Springs, NY

First ... Luce finished her APD (Performance ADCH)!!!! We have needed two gamble legs for quite a while and our history shows that we get one gamble per year. Was hoping to get one as we have been "this close" at several trials.

Well, we got not one ... but TWO!!!! Unbelievable!! It was two weeks ago and I am still smiling

The weather was gorgeous the entire weekend which was a bonus. This was the first time I had been to this site and I like it. Rosemarie and I got a good spot when we arrived on Friday and helped with set up. Our tent was between some pine trees, so the dogs were shaded all day long .. plus it smelled nice too :-)

On Luce's first gamble on Sunday I was nervous. It was a gamble she could do and has done before - I just needed to make sure I really drove towards the tunnel so that she would get it. Then the teeter was right in line with the exit and so was the final jump. She got it and I knew we had enough opening points!! But ... timer malfunction. It had started and stopped. Judge asked the timer/scribe what happened, thought about it and then asked me if I wanted to run it again or to just take SCT (Standard Course Time) I took the SCT (and still placed!) for the Q!

Next day had gamblers again and I didn't feel confident about this one. Jump to tunnel that was on the other side of the aframe, then two jumps. Wasn't sure she would bypass the aframe to the tunnel. I ended up having to walk both Luce's Gamblers course and Blaze's Gamblers course at the same time. They were similar ... dogwalk along the left side of the ring with a yellow tunnel in a U Shape under the middle. Weave poles towards the back edge, aframe over to the right, gamble over to the right. Jumps and stuff in the middle :-) Had a similar plan except Blaze's included the weave poles and Luce's didn't as she is too slow in the weaves.

Blaze's run was first. I had been working the score table in the 3rd ring, so finished there, went and got Blaze and threw the ball a few times, then we were right up. Good boy, held his stay at the start and worked nicely. We did the dogwalk and he held his contact, good boy! Tunnel, weaves, jump, back to the weaves .. hmm, had to restart them, okay, tunnel, jumps, go to the tunnel under the aframe ... where is the tunnel under the aframe?!?!? Isn't there, go back and do other stuff ... horn goes and we get the gamble for his second gamble Q and 1st place!!

But where was the tunnel under the aframe?? Walk past the ring where Luce's gamble is going to be ... oh there it is!! I had run Luce's course in Blaze's ring

Luce's turn next. We were the 4th last dog. Dog ahead of us poops on the dogwalk. Handler is ashamed and apologetic ... I had seen her walking her dog but he just hadn't produced :-) He wasn't running right and we all now knew why :-) They clean it up, no problem. Luce's turn ... we do the dogwalk fine and she even gets her contact YAY. We usually can do about 10 obstacles in 30 seconds, sometimes more depending on what they are. We get to the 10 obstacle (jump after the tunnel under the aframe which was now where it was supposed to be!), no horn, okay, keep going. I always have some obstacles in reserve to loiter on .. use them all up, start going further away from the start of the gamble ... no horn!!! Finally, I stopped and said the horn should have gone because we can't DO that many in 30 seconds. Timer had stopped ages ago.

Have to rerun. Yikes. My instructor was there and asked about the dogwalk ... what if we do it again and don't get the contact .. we got it the first time? Judge says, I'll give it to her once as we did it once. We wait for the rest of the dogs to go, then it is our turn again. I did the same opening (but better this time) and Luce MISSES her dogwalk! But we get the points, horn goes and WE GET THE GAMBLE OHMIGOSH!!!!!!!

Luce's APD - I was crying I was so happy :-)

We also finished second in Team (PVP) Charlie's Luce in the Chocolate Factory was in the running the whole time. That finished up Luce's Bronze Tournament title and we are now done with Tournaments. She is losing speed and having trouble Q'ing in Steeplechase(she will be 10 in September and some of the hot shot Ch22" dogs are now in P16" in our area) and Blaze is starting to show, so will save some money.

Blaze ran in one class per day. I was worried about the #6 teeter for Snooker on the first day, plus, I was nervous about him :-) Called out too soon at the #5 jump in the closing and down came the bar. No Q. But ... he Q'd on Sunday and Monday in Gamblers!!! He held his stay at the start all 3 days, got his contacts and went where I wanted him to go. Can't ask for more than that :-) It is SO MUCH EASIER to handle him outside than in a building!!!!!

What a weekend!!

Soapstone Cat

I made this cat in high school art class in the early 1070's. It's out of soapstone and then rubbed with furniture wax.

Mom had it in her house after I got married and moved, but told me to take it a couple of years ago.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


View from my end of the leash

I used to be able to post to the blog from my blackberry. Hmm, doesn't work any more.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Between Showers

It has been raining off and on all day. Had a bit of a break and the dogs needed to go, so I brought along the little purse camera.

Lots of things in bloom. Crocuses and pear tree has been and gone.

The dogwoods are all blossoming now. Like dabs of bright white paint on a background of growing green.

Bright pink azaleas showing flashes of color.

Don't know what these are, but they are carpeted in patches here and there.

Yeah, and these groupings of yellow too.

Rain and Oak Trees

It's raining ... again. The rain over the past week seems to have washed all of the yellow pollen away, but the last two days has brought something new. The oak tree seeds.

Yup, 'tis the season. Right now they are wet so they don't sweep up. But they also don't get tracked in to the house the way they do when they are dry. Then they get crushed and bring in dust. Or cling to socks and shoelaces and get tracked in whole.

When they are dry, we will have tumbleweeds of oak tree seed pods .. or whatever they are.

Just one of the things to deal with there are over 30 trees on the property :-) At least they give nice, cool shade in the summer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


One of the advantages of having the house listed for sale, is that I get to have cut flowers in the house. I love tulips :-)

Great class

Blaze and I had a great class last week and I hope we can have another one tomorrow.

We ran two sequences and the first one just felt SO GOOD. A glimmer of what it will be like when we are more in synch! It didn't start out so hot ... jump, teeter WEEEEEE. Oops, that would be a fly off and certainly not part of our criteria :-)

Start again and we got through the whole thing, including the table, nice turns and the weaves. YEAH!!

Second sequence .... well, good thing we had the run before :-) Could not get the weaves. I could see his face ... it was almost like ... crap, can't slow down, okay, I'll just run by. Hmmm.

I have been working on Blaze's stay at the start the last few weeks. Have been doing Rachel Sanders "Bridging the Gap" without any obstacles and just doing it a few minutes here, a few minutes there. I am seeing an improvement in class. He had his toes splayed out and gripping the sprint turf :-)


Wow, a month since I posted last. It's just been crazy. Yeah, normal :-)

The picture is from the many forsythia that have been in bloom for the last couple of weeks. I do like this time of year with all the flowering trees and bushes. So pretty, but too bad it doesn't last.

Just had a very nice jumping session outside. Blaze is really reading my deceleration now, so much so, that if I don't say "jump", he shears off the jump. Which is way better than just taking each jump in full extension!!

He is also reading the rear crosses more than half the time now which is wonderful.

Of course, once we get to class tomorrow night, most of that will fade away, but hopefully some of it will stick.

Have been using one of the Bad Cuz balls outside. It doesn't get soggy, it can be washed off when it gets dirty and I can hold on to it by the feet, so my hands stay relatively clean. Plus, it bounces in all sorts of weird ways which keeps Blaze on his toes :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is this a test?

Oh boy, how much more do I need on my plate? Getting the house in order (that alone is HUGE), I need to finish the taxes, I need to finish the database at work, I need to get the test schedule done for June.

Everything is all at once ... why is that? I don't even want to go into further details because it is depressing. And I don't see an end any time soon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

1st of March

Turns out that I did/do have bronchitis. So no class this week for either dog and also didn't go to Rosemarie's. They won't have class this coming week as I will be up in Canada for Dad's surgery.

Today was the first day in a few days that I actually had energy to do something. Not too much, but a little. Did go grocery shopping and vacuumed out my car. I even got a bucket of soapy water and washed the floor in it ... love that Honda Element! :-)

Also cleaned out the two shoe closets and threw away any shoes that were cracked, broken or generally just not going to be worn any more. And threw out two more boxes of old, old files from the basement. Don't think anyone needs home & school files from 1994 any more!

I want to gradually get rid of the JUNK that this house is drowning in!! But it is hard right now. We are going to get new carpetting upstairs, so right now, I don't have a bedroom and all of our furniture is everywhere else. Evan can't even sleep in his room (he's home on break) as there is so much stuff in there.

And it isn't going end once the carpet is installed this week. The kitchen ceiling will have to be taken down where the shower stall is to get at the ever lasting leak from there ... so mess city, here we come!

I'd like to get rid of most of the junk in the "ski room". I can then use that room to pile up boxes of things that won't get thrown away. I remember when we looked at this house before we bought it that the previous owners had that room stacked to the ceiling with boxes.

Okay, laundry beckons again. Dishes need to be done. And I have to finish cutting up chicken for the dogs' meals while I am gone. At least the garbage is outside already ... hopefully we won't get the 8" to 12" of snow that they are predicting .. I need that garbage and recycling picked up!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's still February

I should be driving home from Luce's class right now ... but am really feeling yucky right now. Fighting a cold and it feels like it is winning. I want to go tomorrow night for Blaze's class as he needs it more so I stayed home tonight.

The Keystone trial was 2 weekends ago. It went well. I was happy with most of my runs with Luce even though we only Q'd once (GP!) Should have gotten the gamble ... it was a jump, tunnel, redirect to the teeter then on to a jump. I wasn't sure Luce would go to the tunnel, but she did. She came out wide and I told her teeter ... she was so wide that I thought she was going to go past the plane and go on sideways, but she veered over enough ... had I just said "teeter" one more time .... but she sheered off at the last minute!

Grand Prix was next and we got it all ... I was very pleased with her weave poles ... fast straight on entrance. Standard after that ... and could she get the stinkin' weaves? No! And it was one of those runs that I did not feel good about. I felt like I was "saving" every other obstacle. However, she got all of her contacts in all 3 runs which was good. Even gave me a 2on/2off in gamblers which pleasantly surprised the heck out of me :-)

Monday was Snooker first ... I still don't know what I did to get whistled off :-) Gotta love Snooker :-) Jumpers ... ack, I went straight when I should have turned and so did Luce. My fault! We did a Mulligan Run after the trial was over and Luce and I got it that time.

She is such a good girl. So easy to travel with, so easy to have by ringside. She wasn't always like this, but she sure is now!

Didn't bring Blaze ... indoors at such a big trial would be too much and we still have a LOT of work to do before we should be thinking of entering any trials.

Blaze had class the last two weeks. Blaze's Aframe two weeks ago. Can we say "flying dog"? Well, he did touch yellow going up and going down. Needs to work on contacts when someone is there in judging position apparently.

Last week I discovered that he can't do the tire if it is the first obstacle. Add that to the ever growing list of stuff to work on. Also have to work on recall to heel stuff as he apparently has forgotten most of it. Sigh.

Went to a Sends & Recalls seminar this past weekend ... same one that I audited back in December. Didn't get a working spot, so audited 2 of the 3 days so that I can fix this stuff in my head a little better. It was a good seminar but I would have liked to have tried this all with Blaze as I learn better by doing. I didn't get a chance to go on Friday which was the basic foundation recalls and sends, so I'm sure how much that changed. I heard a little of it did ... I wish I could have gone just to get that part fixed in my head as well.

I wanted to get to the Kruisin barn this week, but that isn't going to happen. We were supposed to have carpet people here today to measure ... now they aren't coming until Friday and won't be installing until next week sometime. However, Rosemarie did invite me for Sunday, so we will get a chance to work again. We have a trial the weekend of the 14th, so it would be nice for Luce and I to get some practice in. I do have to say that I think we are running better as a team lately ... practicing with Blaze has improved my handling of Luce. But that isn't going to get us those two remaining gamble legs!

I've been looking over the agility calendar - would have liked to go up to New York for two different 3 day trials (double gamblers at each!) but just can't do the first one. Evan is coming home from Duquesne the day I would need to leave and I just found out that Hugh will be doing a drivers ed event then too. So, I'll just go to Saratoga. I'll need to find a team for Luce to make it worth while - if we get the Team Q, that will be her Bronze Accomplished Tournament Dog title! I didn't like the site 2 years ago at Saratoga but the new one is supposed to be WAY better. Before I got Blaze it wouldn't have mattered, but that boy needs room for playing with the ball!

Evan and I will be driving up to Canada on Wednesday for Dad's surgery so I might not even see it until I get back late Sunday night. Which means the furniture might not be put back where it belongs either .... I just hope this carpet is the right color because the "surprise" dining room carpet is definitely wrong :-(

Okay, gonna go and drink more fluids and get some sleep.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Agility Class & Training Session

Got back from almost 2 weeks in Canada last weekend. Then catch up on work, laundry ... you know, the usual.

Luce's agility class on Wednesday night was cancelled due to ice, however, Blaze's class on Thursday night was a go. And then on Saturday I met up at Rosemarie's with a couple of people for a training session. I really envy Rosemarie her indoor :-)


Thursday night we had Mary Ellen and Alaina. I REALLY NEED to work on Blaze's start line stay. Okay, I can do that. He was releasing when I raise my hand. I worked on that on Saturday and I can see some improvement. That is something I can work on in the house. It is supposed to warm up above freezing for today only, so hopefully I can pry one of the jumps out of the ground, or even get the shed doors open, and bring a jump inside.

Blaze is dropping bars. One jump work. So, more use for a jump inside. He tends to do it when jumping very extended or very collected. I can work on the collected part in the house, but not the extended. I also noticed on Saturday, that if I can be very, very calm and quiet, he drops fewer bars. However, and Jean had the same problem with T, also a "baby dog", when I am trying to move into position to handle the next bit, then the bars go flying.

I also noticed, that whereas Blaze can find obstacles here in the yard or up at the Kruisin barn, he had problems the first sequence in class and then on Saturday. He isn't used to looking for obstacles so he ends up running by them. So, that will mean going to run throughs etc. But now now ... there is more training to be done.

While dogs did Mary Ellen's sequence, others went over to Alaina to work on dogwalk contacts. Alaina gave me some good pointers, the most important being to visualize what I want in the end contact behaviour. What I want Most important. I am willing to accept a foot or two off of the plank. I am not good enough (or let's face it, patient enough!!) to enforce all paws on. What I really want out of the dogwalk and teeter, is Blaze in a down and one elbow on the plank and at least one back leg. I need to train myself to see it as soon as it happens and give him a verbal marker, which will be "yes" Then ping pong the duration. So, I also need to pry either the teeter board or travel plank out of the ice and bring that inside also.

We also worked on the aframe on Saturday where I realized that I will accept a different performance. There, I want a down, but I don't care if his elbows are off the board ... I want the back feet ON, but given the steepness, I can accept that he might not be able to stop with elbows on. If they ARE on, fine, but he has to have his elbows touching a surface.

I was very please that he is landing ON the aframe very softly and running up. I hope he keeps that!

Luce was happy to do some agility again and running with her is so comfortable! She doesn't have the distance that Blaze does and doesn't have the "twitchiness" either. But she also understands more. One of the sequences was much easier for Luce and Zen than it was for Blaze and T due to their experience. However, Blaze can get weave pole entries that Luce can't.

It was nice to get into "agility mode" again!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Well, agility is on hold ... I'm not at home! Drove up to Canada to help my parents. Mom was coming out of the hospital and also needed to be here for Dad. The drive up was great, 8 hours door to door, no traffic and very little snow.

I had been wondering about the ramp into the house and whether it would be too steep. I was happy to see that it looked very manageable.

Of course, it wasn't covered in snow when I got here ... that came mostly last night and this morning. Here is my car after a few hours of being swept off:

There was quite a bit of snow when I got here and more has fallen. Believe it or not, there is a pool here :-)

I'll call this section: For The Birds.

Poor birds! Dad keeps this path shoveled out and replenishes the bird feeders. But look at that bird bath!

This bird feeder is somewhat protected and it still got dumped on:

Snowy Bird Feeder

Okay, bye for now!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blaze's First Agility Class

Blaze had his first agility class this past week. He had been in a few beginner classes over a year ago, but got so high, that he couldn't function.

We've worked through some of that and, plus, he is older now.

Working in the building is hard though .... he needs to stay in the car until it almost his turn. Otherwise he barks like a maniac .. or we have to tug. I think my arms are longer now :-)

This class actually splits into two sections with both sections working the floor at the same time. Well, we learned that Blaze needs to be the only dog on the floor. Sigh. Not going to worry about it yet ... hopefully by the time he ever goes to a trial outside with two rings running at the same time, he will be even better in the focus department.

We worked on his start line stay .. Jean gave me some good tips. I haven't really worked on it, so I'm not worried about that either.

The second half had a dogwalk and he FLEW off of it twice. Ended up scraping his knee up, but isn't limping. And I mean FLEW. I don't want to slow him down, but I somehow need to figure out how to get him to THINK about what he is doing. He was fine both times at the Match this weekend, but it was in a different location and I came up with a sequence in the opening portion of the gamblers to bleed off a little speed first.

I was pleased over all ... he is responsive to what I am doing so it will be a matter of him learning what my cues mean and me learning how to give him the information HE needs properly. He doesn't handle like Luce and that will take me time to figure out how to handle him properly. I didn't enter him in Jumpers at the Match for that very reason as I have no idea right now how to handle all jumps with no places to slow down or catch a breath like at a contact or weaves.

It will come ... but now it is on hold for 2 weeks. Eventually we'll get to class ... I hope :-) I didn't plan to have him entered in a USDAA trial until September Blackthorne at the earliest ... and now I have to wonder if there is going to BE a September Blackthorne ... ack, always something!

Sanctioned Match

We got through the Lehigh Valley Dream Weavers Sanctioned Match!

There was a huge threat of major snow and we discussed if we should cancel or ... what could we do.

We decided to start the day and see if we could get enough classes in. And it really worked out well with the snow holding off! A lot of people didn't make it, which was understandable. But enough die hards, more than half!, came out and we had a good time. Agility people are crazy :-)

Lehigh Valley Dream Weavers is a nice club to work with. Most of the members were prepared and had really thought things through. It won't be a problem when it is time to hold a "real" trial ... finding a date will be the toughest :-)

I didn't bring Luce with me as I'm still not sure about her foot/toe. Doesn't seem 100% yet, so I just brought Blaze. He was just entered in Gamblers and Snooker so that I could try to maintain my contact criteria. He did a good job for the most part. He didn't get the gamble because he went WAY out and took something even further away! But got and stuck both of his dogwalks and the teeter. Did one set of weaves and he nailed that too.

He had a fantastic snooker run!! 47 points and 1st place! I told myself to just stay calm and I did and just tried to stay in tune with him. I walked one plan that I had and it would have required too much "snookering" with him right now. We don't have those kind of skillz yet :-) Came up with another one and it was perfect for him. He didn't drop any bars (it looks like if I slow down or stop as he is in the air he will drop a bar, so I have to keep moving and let him know before he takes off that we are going to turn or go straight or whatever), responded well, and got his teeter contacts both times. Very, very pleased. And what a rush to run him!

But now, we have to take 2 weeks off. I need to get up to Mom & Dad's and need to leave on Tuesday for almost 2 weeks. Leaving the dogs at home as Mom's leg is still too fragile to risk one of the dogs possibly bumping into her.

So, now gotta get a bunch of stuff done so that I CAN leave!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

First, Happy New Year!

And so I start 2009 ... being very, very tired because we stayed up way past midnight. New Years Eve is hard for someone who usually falls asleep by 10pm :-)

I'm waiting for the rest of the household to wake up, so I hopped on to the blog.

Last week was a PIP. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly all rolled into one week!

Let's start with The Bad & The Ugly and get that over with. Where to start? Mom fell off a stepladder 2 weeks before Christmas while decorating the Christmas tree and shattered her left knee. Had to have surgery with pins or screws and she is still in the hospital. It will be weeks before she can put weight on that leg and then months and months of rehab. She told me yesterday that the doctor said she had "destroyed" her knee.

The Sunday before Christmas had everything all covered with ice. Luce ran out on to the yard and couldn't stop and bent her outside toenail on her back right paw. Took her in on Tuesday as she was still not putting weight on it and she had to have her toenail removed. However, she is now fine and not limping at all.

Looking pitiful on Christmas Day with her bandaged foot.

Something went wrong with the hot water heater on Christmas Eve, so we only had a bit of hot water every few hours. Which really sucks when you are trying to clean up after a prime rib roast on Christmas Eve, a turkey on Christmas Day and about to have company. It was still under warranty and the company sent out a new part (a control board I think)

Then there was the fiasco in the master bathroom the day after Christmas ... pipe came apart or something and flooded the cabinet and into the kitchen ceiling and the kitchen window seat ceiling.

Enough of that and on to The Good! Well, it was Christmas :-) And, wheee!! I got a Wii! Didn't get a Wii Fit yet though ... they are hard to come by and I don't want one badly enough to pay double for it. The boys laughed when I said I wanted one and Hugh said he wouldn't use it, but, gee, guess what has received a LOT of use since Christmas? :-)

Blaze was in heaven on Christmas - he got a new can of tennis balls! Which one to play with first, oh, the decisions!

And 3 days before Christmas, I got a new car - a Honda Element! Hugh had driven out to Pittsburgh to pick up Evan for Christmas break and said the transmission was slipping in my Envoy. It had a lot of miles on it, so he started looking for a new car for me. Now that I don't have to car pool for middle or high school, I could expand my list of cars. The primary purpose will be for driving the dogs around and the Honda Element is considered one of the ultimate dog cars as it is easy to clean out and it is very boxy in shape which makes it easier for dog crates. It also gets better gas mileage than the Envoy. Oh, and it has an outlet for my iPod with volume controls in the steering wheel - a huge selling feature for me right there :-)

The bumble bee in the inset is an antenna topper that I got for Christmas ... helps me find my car in the sea of silver SUV's in the parking lot :-) My choices of colors were silver, silver and silver. I really like the Element - it is fun and peppy to drive. And surprisingly peppy on the highway as well. Hugh will build a shelf for the crates to sit on in the back and that will give me storage underneath them. We will take out the back seats as well.

Oh, just before Christmas we also bought two chairs for the living room at a company that is going out of business. I really like them. Next will be a footstool or ottoman, but that will wait until I find what I like. Unfortunately, I hate furniture shopping (almost as much as I dislike clothes shopping!) and there doesn't seem to be an Ottomans R Us store around here, so it might be a while :-)

We have had two sets of company this past week, so the house is cleaner than it was. Note, that I didn't say "clean" But it is getting there.

So, I think that is about it. We don't have snow even though it sounds like the rest of the country does ... even places like Seattle, Vancouver and Arizona. We just have either 60 degrees and mud or freezing cold and ice.

Happy New Year!