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!