Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Holidays are Here

Tommorrow will be the shortest day of the year.
Why do they say that Dec. 21 is the shortest day of the year? Doesn't it have 24 hours just like the rest of the days. Still, it does feel shorter doesn't it? Today it gets dark at 5:00pm and by 6:30-7:00 I feel like I need to go to bed. Self motivation is a wistful dream while heavy eyelids pull my mind to slowness and lethargy. Comfort food is demanded by my body while dieting is the one thing I should do.
I always look forward to December 21st. Starting December 22 the days get longer, warmer, and the outside is more inviting. Today, even though the sun is out, wind is blowing cold air and demanding hot coco, warm blankets, and a family movie.
I have many things that need to be done this weekend in preparation for the holidays. Wrap presents, prepare food, clean house, and of course brush pups (maybe a few baths are in order as well). I feel confident that these things will be difficult as I really just want to shut my eyes and open them sometime in you think I'll still get paychecks if I don't work? ha!
Since I'm not too inspired to write today, I'll end this entry with a pledge to go exercise. Perhaps with a little exercise, I'll wake up and face the day with a greater enthusiasum. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007


When I was seven, I fancied myself a hair stylist. My sister Trish was 2 (you know where this is going, I'm sure). Trish was the most beautiful child. She had this cute pixie hair cut with bangs and everywhere we went people fawned over her saying she looked like a little doll. I was a wee bit jealous with my wild hair and crooked eyes. I was supposed to be the star and I had been until this little bit of a girl entered our lives.

I got it into my head that I should cut off Trishs bangs. Now to convince her. Even then she'd do anything for me so convincing wasn't too hard. I cut the bangs right off. When I saw what I had done, I was horrified. When Trish saw what I had done she started screaming.

Parents intervened, punishments were handed out and many years later we still laugh. Best of all, Trish forgave me for my bad behavior...but strangly has never let me cut her hair since.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Big Shout Out to CoreMark!

Ok, so I've been lax in getting my Blog updated. It's been busy. Between weight training, dog training, putting up with my sister trish and just plain getting ready for the holidays, I'm not feeling inspired to write.

But write I will. Hmmm....I'm feeling nostalgic, perhaps I'll write a story about Trish when she was a youngster...something to do with an embarrassing moment? :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I define it as: the ability to perform while distracted.

Take me for example. Here I sit with four dogs at my feet (and let's just say it is garbage day - it is BTW). Also, I took two days off of work this week so the amount of work I need to do on this day is high. Add to that, lack of sleep. This is a good test of my ability to focus. However, I am failing miserably.
I have attempted to make it better by drinking caffeinated beverages, putting the dogs in their respective kennels, telling my coworkers to stop calling me, giving all the dogs a bone to chew, taking headache meds, and in general trying to redouble my efforts on focus, yet focus elludes me.
I think about what I ask my little Tazzy to do on an agility field. I ask him to follow my lead while correctly moving over and through obstacles while dogs are barking, flags are waving, there are things moving fast all around him, strange people standing around staring at him, food being cooked nearby, and a treats waiting for him at the end of the run. And I ask myself, how does he do it? How does he tune it out?
Focus is a really important thing that we as humans need. Think of that steriotypical image of a husband watching TV. Kids are killing each other, the dog is pooping on the carpet, the doorbel is ringing, the pipe in the kitchen just broke, the wife is yelling for help, yet that man can focus on that game and not realize ANYTHING is happening around him and when the woman finally throws something at him and hits him in the head he says, "What was that for?". How does he do it and why can't I?
I gues this is the question of the ages. I'm going to go back to work now and focus.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Well not everyone knows, but the agility worlds has just ended. The US did well. We didn't win gold, but a number of other precious metals were won by team and individuals. The worlds were held in Norway. A friend went over and video'd all of the runs and had them posted each evening. It was incredible to be able to see friends of mine competing. Course maps were posted so you could imagine how you would walk the course and then you could watch the greatest agility competitors in the world run these courses.
Today in my class, my trainer set up one of the courses. We walked the course and then ran it. I pretented I was in the worlds.
I had a good time. We came in 2nd place, right behind "Havoc" who I don't think any dog can beat.
This weekend we are off to Dixon. Tazz and I will pretent we are at the worlds and work hard on our standard courses. Hopefully the Teeter will not be our downfall this weekend.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Times, they are a changing

1 week old with mom. Fin is in the lower right corner all by herself.

At 7 weeks.

At 8 weeks

At 14 weeks

At 17 weeks

Friday, September 21, 2007

I've fallen and I can't get up

So, back again to the same old story of goals and showing consistent progress toward meeting those goals. Or the lack thereof.

I am in my third week of JC. This week seems to be hard to stay focused. Excusses abide. Then there is the blatent lack of effort. It is hard not to be disappointed in myself and my lack of fortitute.

So I say. At this morment I need to focus and stay on course. Leave the guilt, leave the doubt, leave the unavoidable disappointment and get back on track.

More later.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who's watching?

Why are personal goals so difficult to reach? Because no one is watching, that's why.

In school, we get grades - the teacher is watching
In the military, we get promotions - the officers are watching
In work, we get $$ - the bosses are watching
In agility, we get Q's - my peers are watching

I've learned to make commitments based on someone measuring my success to a goal. It is extremely competitive in a way and rewarding to do well because you get recognition.

Who recognizes whether I walked that day, or ate right, or didn't drink, or didn't procrastinate. Who cares whether I fed my kids healthy foods, made them do their homework, washed the dishes, or spent the day cleaning house. Where is my competition to make the accomplishments more fun? No wonder people would rather play a game with a finite result then wash the dishes.

I guess I have to learn something new at my tender age of 48. I have to learn to watch myself. It is frightening to imagine that I will be measuring my own success given my A personality and high expectations.

I guess I need to learn to manage myself, measure my success, and create a sense of competitiveness in order to get where I eventually want to be.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lots of News

The wait is over for alot of things. Kel did get his phone call and he seems pleased with the result. He starts a new job on Monday September 24. It is all pretty exciting.
I'm still scratching away at my prison wall and no one has noticed yet. It was hard this week as I must have hit some pretty hard rock, but my little tool is holding up and each day I've walked the yard and dumped a few more crumbles on the ground.
This weekends agility was pretty cool too. Tazz actually won money! Kel and I are thinking of starting his own bank account. There is a game called steeplechase and you run around as quickly as you can and the winners get money based on the number of entries. There are two rounds, the first is a qualifier, the second is the money earner. Tazz has never made it past the qualifier before. Saturday he did!
So Sunday we ran in the money.
Some of these competitions are huge and the winner can take home large amounts. This weekends was small and the $$'s weren't big, but we didn't care. We just were very proud to be able to say we won!
Today is back to work and we have another big show this weekend. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Seven is a really cool number. There are seven days in a week, the seven year itch, the number of my next dog, seven wonders of the world, god rested on the seventh, seventh inning stretch, it is the 4th prime number (if that rocks your boat), and it is the number of pounds I lost this week on my weight loss journey.
Since I weighed in a day early, it really seems like alot, but I do have alot to loose. I must say even I was surprised. I thought it would be five (five is also a nice number), but no, it was seven.
So on to the next week. I did have a challenge in that last night we went out to eat at a friends. This is Kels friend and I felt uncomfortable taking my JC meal with me, so I just went with the flow. She served FIVE courses of food. She really put on a beautiful presentation and I couldn't hurt her feelings. I was stuffed after the appetizer! I kept giving Kel my food and he ate it all, he is such a trooper! I really appreciated how supportive he is.
This week I have a challenge of my first dog show on JC. I have only one meal that I will eat out. The rest will be planned and on JC. The weigh in on Monday should be interesting.
I am keeping the motto, "it is not what you do one meal, it is what you do over a seven day period!" So on to my next seven.

Monday, September 10, 2007


to wait (third-person singular simple present waits, present participle waiting, simple past waited, past participle waited)
(transitive) to delay movement or action until the arrival or occurence of; to
You'll just have to wait your turn.
(intransitive) To
delay movement or action until some event or time; to remain neglected or in readiness
Wait here until your car arrives.

I really don't like to wait. I like procrastinating, but not waiting. I wait, then something happens and I wonder why I was so frustrated about waiting.

Right now, my husband is waiting for the phone to ring. He has waited for almost two weeks. He has received motivation to wait in the way of emails, "don't worry, we will call," or when he calls to check in, "don't worry, everyones at a conference, they'll call next week." Waiting is hell.

The phone rings, he prepares himself to answer, he answers, and it isn't the call he was waiting for. You know that call will come when we aren't here, so no one goes anywhere. Waiting.
This waiting stuff is for the birds. We are programed to wait since childhood. We go to amusement parks and wait in line, we make a phone call and wait on hold, we open a web browser and wait for our home page.
So can we stop the waiting? I don't think so. Can we stop the stress that waiting creates. Perhaps.
I'm going to go now as I'm waiting for a conference to start. Soon it will begin and the wait will be over.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Playing scrabble makes one think. There are lots of words that come up that have absolutely no relationship to each other. These words are on the same board and used to add up to points but in no way related. Someone wins and the rest are...well...they don't win. Everyone, however, has fun.
Ace, big, peony, water, cook, zipper, brand, error, flirt, fish, loud, pod, column, book, disturbed. These are just words, but in the game of scrabble, they are interpreted in terms of points. A 3 point word could become a 9 point word given a position on the board. A 10 point letter becomes 30 points if you are lucky enough to place it on the correct spot when spelling out your word.
Life can sorta be like scrabble. There is definitely skill associated with the game, but also a certain amount of luck. Strategy can be to hold onto a potential word to place it in a more strategic position, but without the luck of position, the decision to wait to play tiles can be a mistake.
I think there is a certain amount of skill that we get as we grow. We learn that patience is something to value. We learn that speaking just to be heard isn't always the best approach. We learn that age has some benefits. But there is a certain amount of luck in life that one needs to get the "big plays."
Today I'm pondering luck. I feel lucky although life hasn't always been fair. I feel lucky even though I find myself in a body I didn't really want nor deserve. I feel lucky even if things aren't always perfect.
Most of my life I have thought about what I wanted and worked to make it happen, but it was luck that brought the people in my life that have made such a difference for me.
My husband Kel has been a huge influence and I would never have met him had it not been for a smokey bar, dancing, and a boozing friend. I was in a good position to play tiles that day for sure. I'm pretty sure I played a Z on a triple square that day!
My income is due to luck in a way. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, I just knew what I didn't want to do. Then a person came into my life who gave me a key that I've held dear to my heart. The key was only a few words, but I was lucky that day to hear them, "Vici, 10 years from now you can be sitting at this desk, or you can be doing something else." On a scrabble board these words could add up to alot of points. In my life, these words gave me the big bonus that I was looking for.
My joy and my passion, my pups are somewhat of a lucky chance. Kel and I were looking for a pup and of all the breeds, we were lucky enough to get a sheltie. Little Sophie was a triple word play for sure. Then came Chester, Maddie, Rocky, Tazz, and now little Fin.
My scrabble board is getting full, I've been really lucky and with a little strategy I think I'm winning this game!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Personal commitment, interaction dominated by obligations. These obligations may be mutual, or self-imposed, or explicitly stated, or may not. A personal commitment is a solemn pledge or promise to yourself for your personal growth for the purpose of acheiving a personal or spiritual goal.
The question is, what is my commitment to myself and my passions?
Today begins the third day of my prison jail break. My tool is a metal spoon that I stole from the lunch room. It barely scratches the surface, but scratches it does. I actually filled my pockets today for dumping during my walk. I'm hiding my progress from the guards with my large poster of a thin woman running a fast dog over an agility jump. They don't suspect a thing. My goal this week is to create a hole the size of a sack of flour. Let's see if it happens. The way things are going it is going to take a year for me to break out of prison....but break out I am committed to do.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Loss things found

There are many things that we loose. We loose pencils, money, time, keys, cell phones. We also loose family, friends, and pets. Many of these things we loose, we regret their loss. However, sometimes we loose something on purpose. And then, sometimes the things we lost on purpose come back.
That's what I'm going to write about today. Lost and found.
In my lifetime I have lost a LOT of weight. In my lifetime I have found alot of weight. Today, I'm holding on to alot of FOUND weight. I don't really want this weight, but somehow I hold on to it as if my life depended on it. I keep it around like all the boxes of stuff in my attic. I don't really want this stuff, it's just there and I don't know what to do with it.
The weight, however, I know what to do with. Loose it AGAIN! Hope that someone else that needs it finds it. Couldn't I just ship it overseas? I see alot of adds for skinny kids that want to weigh more, but I guess it doesn't work that way.
Tues Sept 4 I made a decision. It wasn't a happy decision, it was rather a reluctant decision. The decision is to do something about my weight. This isn't easy as it implies. I have a weight issue. I don't want to have a weight issue, I want to continue to eat what I want, when I want cause it makes me feel good. However, the long term effects of my behavior are not promising.
So Tues I walked into a "jenny craig" and signed up. I'm on my second day and am still feeling like woe is me, but I know that will change as soon as I start to see the results. I figure, one day at a time. One pound at a time.
I feel like a prisner that is slowly digging a tunnel. Each day I'll take a walk and sprinkle my weight around outside and no one will notice. Then one day, I'll be less than what I was and everyone will wonder where I went!
So today is another day in this journey. My tunnel is just a scratch on the surface but I see the vision of escape becomming clearer with each scratch I make.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Of regularly occuring, dependable nature.

Today I want to talk about consistency. However, first I must give credit where credit is due. The photo of the day is from my friend Rob Michaski. He is an amazing photographer/dog trainer/english professor that I've gotten to know over the past 5 years. Just getting back from Australia, he shared some of his pictures with me. They are LOVELY. This one is an example of what he was able to capture on his trip. The timing is perfect a few minutes either side and the clouds would have changed the whole dynamic of the image. Rob's timing seems to be impecable in many areas of his life. He truly is a mentor for consistency.

This photograph makes we want to be there. It draws me in creating a sense of warmth and beauty. Our lives should be more like this photo. What we do should make us feel good and want to do more of it.
Procrastination is the enemy of consistency. I find myself procrastinating even when I want to do something. Consistency is hard, procrastination is easy. It is easy to do nothing for no reason. It is difficult to do something for some reason - until of course you do it, then you say, "Well that wasn't so hard, looking back I don't know why I didn't do it before."

I look around me and I see people who are better at being consistent in their lives than me. I see people who struggle with consistency on a daily basis. I spend alot of time myself struggling with consistency. I think my goal for this week is to be more like how that photograph makes me feel. Calm, cool, warm, inspired.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Fashion. There are these tall, thin individuals who walk around wearing expensive clothing with beautiful hair dos and makeup. Then there is me
Fashion. Amazingly groomed shelties with hairspray and white powdered coats that strut their stuff for the judges and are all about looks and gait. Then there is Fin.
Fashion faux pas. Me and Fin, we are just your average joes. Heck we probably clean up pretty good if we try, but we'd rather play in mud puddles than strut our stuff on the cat walk. As a matter of fact, take 5 people (one of them me) and have them pull weeds in the back yard for 10 minutes and the result will be 4 clean individuals with maybe a little crumb of dirt on their pants and me, covered in mud, dirt, and some slime that I slipped in. I just can't help myself, and my little girl seems to be just like me.
So the question arises. Why is it important for me to glue Fins ears? She is not a glamour girl and will not do conformation. I am amazed by the individuals who have told me that I "must" glue her ears for a "proper" sheltie ear set. These people have no appreciation for "Bat Girl!" Even my husband was like, "you've got to do something with those ears!" What's wrong with letting them do what they want.
I was inclined to glue her ears when I got her. I was very good about it. But the last time the glue wore out, she was so cute with her little bat ears that I just couldn't do it.
There are those that will critize me for my lack of conformity. The truth is, I think she is adorable just the way she is and have decided to go all natural! This doesn't mean that she will not learn proper grooming habits. She will learn to properly stand still so I can brush her and trim her nails.
BTW. between you and me, every day her ears are looking more and more "perfect." Despite my lack of attention, she is turning out pretty good :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Broken Toes and a Virus

This has been a tough week. I'm on week 2 of my broken toe. I'm in the, "I'm grumpy" stage. Then I come down with an intestinal virus on Saturday in LA, in a motel six, with my friend Laura. That really sucks. It could have been worse I suppose, but holed up in a motel six with 4 dogs and your best friend is not the most fun ever.
Despite that, I'm doing ok. I ended up sending her to the dog show on Sunday and she came and got me before the last run of the day. That gave me 4 hours in the air conditioning letting my two dogs have WWWF on the hotel floor. They had fun and I watched what not to wear so now I know how to dress.
It was a LONG drive home, but home we are.
Today I'm focusing on getting HP work completed and taking breaks for training time. Working on more solid play and getting stronger responses to my cues. She is fun to work and just full of so much joy it is enjoyable just to hang out with her. She really has a great personality and hopefully will mature keeping this good nature.
This weekend is SMART and I'm going to try to run Tazz in Standard. I will probably still ask Laura to run him in a couple other things, but I'm determined to start to run him again.
No words of wisdom or funny lines today. Just need to focus on work.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Garbage Day

Garbage day is every Thurs morning. Wed evening we have to cart all the various objects de garbage' up the driveway and put it in the street for pick up.

I hate garbage day. You'd think I'd love garbage day. You take all the stuff (some of it pretty smelly) up to your driveway and some nice truck comes and takes it all away. If they didn't take it away, I would soon be up to my armpits in unwanted refuse that I would have to find a place for. The truck is a blessing. I still hate garbage day.

I somehow feel that this is not my job and I resent doing it. Interestingly, with Kel in Phoenix, I ask my rational self, "Who's job is it?"

Maddie doesn't want to do it, she hates the trucks that come and would prefer the garbage to stay at home where it belongs.

Tazz would gladly take the garbage out, but he would spend alot of time sorting it (I might have thrown out something good), and not much would make it to the top of the driveway (in a bag anyway).

Rocky helps all he can by picking up all the old apricots off the ground and eating them (the result is more garbage for me to poop scoop, but I don't tell him that, I like him thinking he is helping).

Then there is Fin. She would be willing to help I suppose, but only weighing 7 pounds, I'm not sure she can handle the large amounts of trash we accumulate.

That leaves me. So last night I sat with my broken toe in the air considering the trash. I could have organized it and taken it out last night, but noooooo. I waited till 4:50 this morning organized everything and to the chorus of barking dragged the trash up the driveway.

You'd think it would end there. But now the fun begins for Maddie. The trucks come, she barks, and they leave. I've tried to explain to her that they will leave with or without her barking, but she will have none of it. I crate her, I put the citronella collar on her, I give her a big juicy bone to chew, I've held her in my arms. NOTHING, and I mean nothing stops her from barking at the trucks. I have to plan my business conference calls around the trucks coming. I ask myself, what kind of dog trainer allows this behavior. The answer is quite simple. It is easier to have her bark for 5 minutes than to stop her, so she keeps barking every Thursday.

There are alot of lessons to be learned from garbage day. I'm a little busy trying to stop Maddie from barking to understand everything I have to learn, but I'm sure it will come in time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fin training Aug 15

To day I have a few goals I'm working on:

-quite time in the crate can be fun

-walking along my side is very rewarding (as opposed to darting through my legs at 50 miles per hour)

-back up

-pivot board






-restrained recalls

I'm starting to add verbals to the down cue and getting it 100% of the time if my hand is also cueing, I'm trying to fade the hand cue and go to just verbal.

Tomorrow I'll sum up how our day goes.

Wed August 15 - Invoice Day!

This blog is going to be about training dogs. It is my experience with training. In it I will discuss what I do on a daily basis and try to measure my progress toward my goals - keeping in mind of course that often times, my goals and my dogs goals are quite different.

Soo...what the heck is training anyway. Wikipedia says: Obedience Training usually refers to the training of a dog and the term is most commonly used in that context. Obedience training ranges from very basic training, such as teaching the dog to reliably respond to basic commands such as "sit", "down", "come", and "stay", to high level competition such as agility, competitive obedience, or herding.

I don't find that enlightening. I'm not really an expert in dog training. My dogs however, are masters of human training. My blog is going to be about my adventures in trying to learn from my dogs on how to effectively illicit intended responses . I feel what this means is that my goals for their behavior is going to blend with their goals of getting resources.

I'll begin today by introducing the characters you will meet during the time I maintain the blog. I have four dogs:

Rocky: The Rock of our little band. He is protective of our home and of us. Definitely can depend on Rocky in a dark alley. We nicknamed him Eeyore. He is the grumpy guy in our house. Definitely a pessimist, his favorite thing in the world is fresh apricots off our tree second only to a specific squeaky ball we call "puppy crack," and of course, we can not forget his love of splashing water.

Maddie: The Sweetness in our pack. Maddie is my most accomplished trainer. She could teach courses on manipulation. If Rocky has something Maddie wants, she will pick up something that she doesn't want and start to play with it. She will toss it in the air, pounce on it, getting closer and closer to Rocky. She will increase her intensity and just when Rocky can't stand it any longer, she will toss the toy in the air close enough that Rocky will drop what he has and pounce on it. Maddie calmly walks over and gets whatever Rocky had (what she wanted in the first place) and leaves Rocky standing there with a toy in his mouth nobody wanted anyway. This works EVERYTIME. There is definately something to learn from this.

Tazz: My Shadow. My blue eyed brown eyed nutball. Tazz has a busy mind. He is always wondering what other dogs/humans are doing and forgets to focus on me. He is also a very good trainer. He has trained me to feed him, to give up when he acts like an idiot, and to reduce my training criteria when I shouldn't. But Tazz has taught me a great deal more than the negative. He has taught me that ego has nothing whatsoever to do with dog training. It is best to leave it at home in a box and not bring it with out when working your dogs. He has taught me that patience is the most important criteria of training.

Fin: The baby. Why oh why you ask did you get a fourth dog? Hmm. I think that is like asking "why'd you eat all of that?" I couldn't help myself. Fin is now 12 weeks old and is definately the baby. She is a spitfire of energy and is showing signs of the kind of trainer Maddie is.

You will find alot of Fin in this blog as much of the "training" that will be undertaken by me in the next couple years will be focused on Fins development. Rocks Maddie and of course Tazz will also be featured as I'm always trying to teach new things to all my dogs.

During the next few years, I'm hoping to share humor, drama, and perhaps a few words of wisdom along the way.

That's it for Aug 15 2007. Vici