Friday, October 31, 2008

Can you say internet?


I'm here at the USDAA Nationals in Scottsdale AZ. Fin and I have been busy traveling around. Wed we set off for Avondale and made it in 10.5 hours. She was a good girl and pottied at every stop and slept or chewed on her bone the entire time. We got into Avondale around 6:30pm and my friend Helen had just arrived home that day. She and her husband and baby Kayla came over and helped me unload the van. Then we all went for a walk.

There was a frozen dinner of uncertain age in the fridge and I thought, I'll eat this. Unfortunately, the age did not agree with me and I had a rough evening of it. But slept in the next day till 8am, got up and started cleaning. To say the least, EVERYTHING in the fridge is now in the trash. Sunday night is trash night and it felt good to toss it all out and clean the fridge. All is going well on house cleaning, I've got alot packed and ready to go and will load up the Van for the return trip on Monday.

Today I'm at the nationals. Got to watch my friend Laura run in Team standard. Right now her team is in 6th place overall! That is just fantastic! Tomorrow is gamble and send good luck to them to keep their spot.

Tonight was PNS finals and was very exciting. I had a bit of a headache, but stayed for the fun. Left there around 8:30 and headed to my scottsdale hotel (one night only...tomorrow back to AVONDALE). Fin is pass out on the bed right now :)

I'll blog when I get home, will have some video and pictures. It is just amazing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can you say road trip?

I'm driving to Phoenix tomorrow. Only two days late, but there ya go. I'll work on the house on Thurs and Friday morning, then head over to Scottsdale for the wonderful world of Agility. Can't wait.

I'm taking the video camera so hope to have some great agility to show next week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Birthday Hiking

Kel's birthday is usally a quiet affair. Kel and I meet up with some family and friends and have a lovely dinner. Kel's not one to want something "big," but this was his "50th!" so I felt something special was needed.

Thanks to the loan of Laura's van (which she detailed just for us), we were able to invite my sister trish who spent the weekend with us. Fin and Tazz also joined us. We left the older pups at home with my mom.

So off we went to Pinecrest Lake/Strawberry California. We were thinking alpine experience and we got so much more than that.

The hiking was fabulous! The trees were turning and everything was amazing. Since this is considered, "off season," most of the time we were out there all by ourselves.

Most of the time the pups had to stay on leash as there were other hikers, dogs, and let's not forget the wild life. But there were times were it was pretty open or the pups just needed a cool water break and were off leash. Fin was the funniest getting the zoomies on all sorts of inappropriate places (sides of cliffs, rocky terrian, etc) but both dogs were great and you could tell really enjoyed the hiking.
Even though the lake itself was low, the river flowing from it was amazing. We spent most of our time hiking along the river (on and off paths - a story for later).

I love big rocks and got my fill.

This was my view for most of our hikes.

I especially like this pic that Trish took. Thanks Trish!

Everything is so big in the forest. This is when we were on the trail. There was many times when we were not on the trail (some of the best times :) ).

Obviously we've been married way too long!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Havoc Joy

I think this sums up how I feel about agility. Havoc brings the joy to the sport for me.

Photo by the famous Rob Michalski :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halfway to First Goal

Ok, my first goal, "I will not run Fin in an agility trial until I loose 30 pounds."

I'm halfway there. Today I'm at 15.2 pounds. This means I only need to loose 14.8 pounds and Fin and I can enter a real trial. I guess I need to focus and work on sequencing! Get those turns sharp!

So today while I stood in line for Weigh in, I decided I needed new goals. "Once I loose the 15, I can't show her if I gain any of it back!" Ouch! Ok, I'm on a roll. Here is another. For the "April Team trial, I must loose another 30 to put her in team" I really want to get that team Q, I already have a team set up for April. Can I get 60 pounds down by April? I see alot of yogurt and grilled fish in my future :)

So. 44.8 pounds by April. That is only 5 months away. I'm now questioning my sanity! But it is written down. I know what I weighed when I started. I know what I want to weigh. I'm going for it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Madera Weekend

Madera is always one of my favorite venues. This weekend, the entries were small and we finished in time to get home, take showers and have dinner with the husbands. We did have to get up at 4:50am to drive back, but dinner with Kel was worth it (and sleeping in my own bed).

I really liked our judge. His courses were challenging without being over the top.

First up on Sat was pairs. Usually one of my least favorite classes, this pairs was fun. It was so long that it felt like a mini standard run. Not very many clean runs, but Tazz got through clean and his parter got through with a couple faults, but still under course time so "Q Baby!"

Next we did standard. I thought it was doable. Tazz was first of the day, he was perfect, just slow:

Havoc was next. A couple close calls, but miracle of all miracles, he didn't call any refusals....until 3rd jump from the end she went around it, great time, just no "Q."

The rest of the day was like that. Laura asked that I work contacts in gamble, so I did and Havoc was a good girl. Just didn't want to go out to the Teeter. It was a repeat performance for Tazz, good in the opening, no gamble.

Grand Prix was a pretty tough course. Was fun though. Tazz was a good boy and ran for Laura. He stopped at the 4th jump and looked confused (I think he was looking for me) and got a refusal. But the rest of the course he stayed with Laura and was a good boy. Havoc was almost too good at the beginning. There was some nice parts...then there was the part that she went around the teeter :)

Havoc Standard on Sunday

Tazz on Sunday was a story of slow. He just didn't have the speed needed. His standard was his best run of the day, but he missed the dogwalk contact. Otherwise a pretty good run.

The trial was over by 1:00pm! Came home, greeted everyone, played ball, then went over the gym and did 45 minutes of cardio. I felt that even though I had an active weekend, it was probably good for me to do some extended cardio since everything I did was in short burst.

Came home, had dinner and fell asleep on the sofa.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another pound bites the dust

and another one down, another one down, another one bites the dust! Bang!

Bark Night

A friend of mine has an agility class in a dirt arena on Wed. nights. They call it "Dirt Night." The arena is sprayed with some oil to keep the dust down and the dirt sticks to everything, hense the name. When I read her blog, she makes dirt night sound like so much fun, but in reality, I know it is just dirty.

On Thurs. nights I go to Robs in Salinas. His agility field is made up of bark. Tazz really hates Robs agility field and rarely gets out of 2nd gear there. Since he doesn't enjoy it, I've started leaving him at home and I run "Havoc" (Lauras dog).

Last night Fin started at Bark night. I'm still running Havoc and I'm letting Laura run Fin. My strategy is to get Fin to love agility that she'll run for anyone. This takes me out of the equation since for Tazz I am the equation (and I have the added luxery that Fin has an additional trainer - Laura is one fine agility dog trainer!).

Fin DID GREAT! Even though I was standing not 10 feet away she listened to Laura, ran fast, and had a fabulous time. Unlike Tazz, the bark doesn't bother her at all. Laura ran her the first 3 times and I ran her the last run of the class.

There is still some maturity that needs to come, but she hit her contacts and had no issues on weave pole entrances. Her jumping for the most part was good, but I noticed that she was so excited she wasn't really paying attention for those threadles. She came in to me, just after jumping out 10 feet :). So more work on if the handler is not moving forward that we don't launch out into space.

Havoc was all I could ever ask for and is the bomb to run. Lauras dog Wynn was quite excited because the sheep were eating next to the agility ring. He felt that agility is for dogs! Those sheep have no business being anywhere near agility equipment. He was a little distracted with communicating his thoughts on the matter, but once going had some beautiful runs.

That's the bark night summary.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's in a dream?

Had my first Fin agility dream last night. I'm running Fin and all of the agility moves are different. It is sorta like Rally-o for agility. While I'm running I'm thinking, "what am I doing, why didn't I prepare better, what will people think?" "Why is this not easier."

I guess this is the same as dreaming of going on a job interview naked.

So I'm learning to deal with Hot Flashes. I just wish I didn't have them all night long. It is hard to sleep and then I wake up and remember my agility dreams. I don't want to get up, I want to sleep all day. But here I am, "making it work."

Last night was the last time Project Runway will be on Bravo. I am sad. I actually really like project runway. I love the creative process. When they make dresses out of garbage and the dresses really look cool, it is amazing to me. I'll miss the "Bravo Version," but I understand it will be on Lifetime channel now. I'm not even sure I get lifetime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

what happened to the month?

It is October 15! It is Fall. Winter is around the corner. It was 80 degrees at 4:00pm in Hollister!

Today we worked on lead out pivot.
The top left is where we started (of course we did this both sides (left and right leadouts). We were working up to the two bottom ones. Fin figured it out quickly, but I could see that we still need work on this area. I need my leadouts so I can have a head start.
Today I was most proud of my timing. After the first attempt, I got really got at understanding Fins commitment point and I was hitting my FC right at the correct time. Excellent exercises.
We also worked on Weave entrance with just the two by two weaves. So cool to see Fin catch on since we did these about a month ago, but still needed help in some areas...more to work on!
Lots of fun today. Work out at 11:30 with David. Elliptical, sit ups, and push ups and I'm a noodle. Then off to agility with Fin. Circle work, circle work, fun jumps, and weaves.
Home and my husband is watching the debate. I can't. Just makes me emotional. I've already done my ballet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Agility Videos

Ok, I know, BORING! But such is life of an agility person.

We had our trial in lovely Dixon, CA. The fairgrounds there sported an especially nasty little stickers that the dogs kept getting in their paws. This sticker had two very sharp pointy ends and when you tried to take it out of their paws, it stuck you. Just lovely.

Dixon also is known to be a little windy. Friday night when I arrived I had no idea. I got up bright and early to the sprinklers that were watering the plants and lawn outside my room. When I opened my door, the wind was so stong, it blasted me with the sprinker water (VERY COLD). I quickly shut the door and wondered what to do. I considered the window in the bathroom, but figured the dogs could make it, but I'd probably break a leg. So we opened the door and ran. No potty for them, just get in the car before the tornado lifts us up and takes us away.

When I got to the show site it was still dark, all the camping spots seemed to be taken and I parked pretty far from the rings in an area I thought would be quite. Well it was quite because it was a garden of thorns! The poor dogs. I moved the van on Sunday, but Saturday we were carrying dogs back and forth.

Lunch was exciting. In my quest to eat healthy, I tried to make a turkey with salad roll up sandwich. All I will say is that it is difficult to make a sandwhich in the wind. I ended up eatting a little bread, and Turkey/cheese rollups as my lettuce was blowing across the field.

We had our ups and downs. The best run of our agility career was the second run of the day on Saturday. Masters Standard. Tazz and I clicked. I did nothing wrong and Tazzie actually was a little speedy!

After the run, I found out I didn't Q. I said, "oh well, such is life." But when I found out that we were EIGHT seconds over time I was totally upset, I could see .25 seconds, or even a half a second, but we really ran well and NO way could we be EIGHT seconds over. I watched the video again and again looking for areas we could save time. I started to wonder whether this was the right sport for Tazz and I. I tried to just shrug it off, but I'll be the first to admit, I woke up a little depressed on Sunday morning. What I found out once we got to the agility trial made me feel really good. Turns out that there was a problem with the measuring wheel. They made the adjustment and Tazz "Q'd!!!!" Whew!

Here was our first gamble attempt. Notice my warm fuzzy hat and multiple layers. It was chilly AND windy. Tazz had a pretty good opening for Tazzie, but once again, that invisible string that attaches us kept him from gong into the tunnel for the gamble. It was a doable gamble "IF" he went in the tunnel. No gamble on Saturday.

This was our steeplechase. A couple late crosses kept us out of Q range, but he really had a nice ending.

The rest of the runs we had our ups and downs. His jumpers run on Sunday looked good but a little slow, I was really trying to run fast to speed him up and left him in the tunnel. In his quest to catch me, missed a jump (I felt that the tunnel to jump was a straight line, but in watching other dogs I see you really needed to support the jump).

Fin was a joy. She played chuck-it. Got to walk around. Played Tug. Worked at the practice jump. Met alot of people and dogs. Ate half my sandwich that blew off my chair on Saturday. Wrestled with her BC buddies. Made her mama happy. She is such a happy soul.

A long windy weekend that maybe wasn't our best, but we came home with that Standard Q and that was worth the sand blasted skin, ouchy stickers, raw lips, and lost salad makings.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A letter from your agility dog

This is my version of something I found on the web. The text in parenthesis was the original, I've made it my own.
When you are tense, let me (teach you to relax) forget how to line up and lead out pivot.

When you are short tempered, let me (teach you to be patient) blow all my contacts.

When you are short sighted, let me (teach you to see) run off course.

When you are quick to react, let me (teach you to be thoughtful) threadle instead of 180.

When you are angry, let me (teach you to be serene) let me run around the ring and pee on the tunnel.

When you feel superior, let me (teach you to be respectful) drop the last bar of a steeplechase run where I'm the fastest dog.

When you are self absorbed, let me (teach you to think of greater things) trip you as I come out of a tunnel.

When you are arrogant, let me (teach you humility) go into a tunnel but not come out.

When you are lonely, let me (be your companion) snuggle up to you and resource guard you from all others.

When you are tired, let me (carry the load) pull on my leash.

When you feel financially secure, let me show you some vet bills.
After all, I am your dog.

The Biggest Winner

Today I weigh in. It is a weekly thing. I go to WW and stand on the scale and weigh.

Last night the contestants on the biggest looser weighed in. They lost between 0 and 8 pounds....yes EIGHT pounds in one week. Lordy. This is their fourth week. I know I shouldn't compare, but something tells me I should be doing more!

One thing on the show that was a little surprizing is that one of the trainers gave all the girls homework. The homework was to do 90 minutes of cardio. It is hard for me to image doing an additional 90 minutes in a day. I know it is a show, but does that additional 90 minutes even help? If I don't loose weight this week, I might be in the gym tonight instead of watching survivor!

So this week I've been very good on my work outs. I'm in the gym doing cardio EVERY day...not just 20 minutes mind you. The least cardio I did this week was 30 minutes (that was just one day). The rest of the week I've done 45 minutes cardio with warmup, cool down, and stretches. I also did two days of personal training with David. David knows how to kick butt.

I can see a difference these last two weeks in my body. Cloths are much looser. But the scale doesn't reflect the changes. The changes seem to be more shifting and tightening. We'll see what the scale says, but I weigh myself here and I know what my scale says.

Gotta focus on how proud I am that I'm getting to the gym EVERY day. Now this weekend I'm in Dixon, but I'm parking the car far from the rings so there will be some walking to do. I'll make sure that I actually get out and do some exercise (take Fin for a walk) other than just the agility.

Another day in paradise, working hard and focusing on my health and well being. I am the biggest winner since I've been taking control of my life. :)

Updated: I lost 1.6 pounds this week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Debate

It came down to this. Do I sit and watch two guys talk, but not answer questions (is it just me, or was it just a little weird that they resemble lounge singers?), or do I run around outside playing with the dogs.

I figured, I ask questions of the dogs all the time and they answer with nonsense, so I skipped it.

I "DVR'd" (I'm so 21st century) for Kel so I heard him watching it. It was making me mad so I had to remove myself. Instead, me and the dogs went in the back and had our own debate.

Today we find our candidates on the campaign trail in a format of debate called the “town hall.”

The first question is for our esteemed colleague, “Razzmatazz”

Tom Brokaw: Tazz, how will you solve the energy crisis?

Razzmatazz: Well Tom, that’s a really great question. My colleague, Rocky, has voted 17 times for more dinners. I on the other hand feel that fewer dinners will help the economy. I like snacks and I believe more snacks are what will help us in the long run. The economy is in fine shape and we’ll see that even though Rocky wants to bail out big business and provide no healthcare, I'm all for snacks and dinners and healthcare.

Tom Brokaw: Okay, Rocky, how will you solve the energy crisis?
As I have said over and over we need to have our government buy all the default dinners and make sure all the people don’t loose their dinners. This will solve all our problems and then we can focus on resource guarding which is what our country really needs.

Tom Brokaw: Let’s move on. Tazz, do you feel that education is important?

Education, the economy, it all comes down to whether or not we have dinners and snacks.

Tom Brokaw: Ok, Rocky, do you have an opinion on Education?

Rocky: It is one of the top issues of the day, but what is really important is that when Tazz was 8 months old, he was associated with some older pups that ran with a bad crowd. Those other pups were prejudiced and wouldn’t associate with any of the Pugs. I’m all for pugs. You won’t find that I ran with any wrong crowds as I was too busy defending my country and getting tortured by running AKC agility.

Tom Brokaw: Well, is it fair to bring up something about Tazz when he was barely old enough to make his own decisions? Why not stay on the topic at hand. Ok Tazz, what about choice? Where do you stand?

Tazz: I’m all for choice. Rocky doesn't like the choice. I vote for choice. Them bitches have the right to choose.

Rocky: The focus really isn't on choice, it needs to be on what is good for everyone. We need to have a plan for resource guarding or all will fail.

It went on like that. Maddie fell asleep, Fin played with a dust bunnie, and I finally asked Kel if we could watch something else.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Exercise Seminar

Now, you might think that I would go to an exercise seminar for me as I'm working so hard on getting fit. Today however, I did a seminar on Dog fitness.

Sarah Johnson came out and did an all day seminar (9-6pm!). She has a video out called Pilates for Pooches that is very good. The first half of the seminar was demonstrating the exercises in the video. The second half was exercise at the trial site.

Here is a link to her video:

We started out the day doing exercises where the dogs pivot on boxes, walk across the boxes learning to step with each leg (the boxes were all different shapes and sizes, Dogs walked making sure all four feet were on a box before moving to the next one - hind end awareness was one of the key things here)

After the boxes, we moved to the balance balls and bosu (the bosu is for very advanced dogs and Sarah gave a strong warning to work up to it slowly).

Here Garret demonstrates the sit to stand to bow behavior.

Derede's dog Wingz was fabulous, demonstrating more advanced Bosu work.

Nick is teaching the back up onto the balance ball. He is using the xpen to help with the direction.

Here a boxer is just learning how to put his legs on the balance ball. Notice the box to the right. She can also use the box to walk onto the balance ball to make it easy for her dog.

We used the ladder to work hind end awareness walking sideways with the dogs lifting their legs over the bars sideways.

Here the dog is using two balance balls to work his core.

There were also cans attached to a board and we were teaching our dogs to lift up their front or rear legs and put them individually on the can. Fun shaping stuff.

After all this exercise, isn't the best thing to go get a massage? Well. we got to learn about our loaves of bread and kneading them. We learned about hula dancers and all kinds of interesting things. Two areas were covered, first what to do when you are at a trial (getting the dog ready to go into the ring, and then afterward when you are at the hotel room).

Each of us was supposed to lay our dogs down and slowly knead them using the techniques she was demonstrating. Here is a good loaf of bread.
An exceptional loaf of bread.
My loaf of bread. She kept trying to wrestle and play bitey face while I was kneading her. She had trouble finding her inner loaf.
All in all we had a great day. Fin had a full day with the mom with no other siblings. She was in heaven.

I recommend Sarah's seminar. I really didn't know what to expect, but was glad I went. It is inspiring to hear the stories of the dogs that she has helped rehab. She presents practical, easy to understand content that I am already applying to help my dogs have better body control. What I'm most excited about is what I learned for older dogs. I believe that the exercises that I'm going to start with Rocky will really help him.

If nothing else, this is one more fun thing to do with our dogs. If you get the chance, have your club bring Sarah out. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where will our Country be next year?

Politics. Not really my forte. Don't want to talk about it much. Have strong feelings about somethings, other things, well, I just don't know. I like agility because the politics are minimal. However...

I just have to speak up for a moment.

If you haven't registered, get out and register. The last day to register to vote is fast approaching.

Vote on November 4. Do an absentee vote if you don't like going to the polls. Just do it. It is important. This is an important election. The United States isn't doing so well. We need to speak our voice.

By the way, what is your voice?

McCain is a good guy, but is he the correct person to run our country? What about his running mate Sarah Palin? Lots of press about her. I'm not sure she'd make my "good guys list." She wants to bring something fresh to to Washington, but her views are "no choice," "increase defense spending," and "cut programs," what is fresh about that? Why did McCain select her, she doesn't seem like she is the right person to run my country? If this is an example of his decision making, is this the type of decision making we want? They both say they want to cut taxes, however, how can you cut taxes, cut spending yet increase spending for defense...all that will happen is our debt will increase? Why does Iraq have a surplus of 70 BILLION $$?

Obama is a good guy. Is he the right person? In many ways, I wish Hilary had made the ticket as I truly believe she was the better choice. However, I can't argue that Obama is looking good. He selected someone with experience. Biden is "pro-choice." They both agree that to get us out of the mess we are in that Americans will have to tighten their belts. They acknowledge that this IS a mess (McCain believes it was the right thing to do). They feel that it is time to help the American people and ask other countrys to help themselves a little more. What is wrong with that?

Hmmmm, I've actually already made my choice. I'm voting Obama.

I don't mind paying more taxes for change. I, like anyone, don't want my taxes increased. I just don't see a way out of this mess that our current leadership has put us in. I have been against the practices of the Bush administration the entire 8 years of his leadership. I am embarassed for what the US has done in Iraq and wish to god there was a way to take it all back gracefully.

I of course want all my readers to vote Obama, however, I don't care who you want to vote for, just get out and vote. This is an important election. Do it.

There are alot of other things on this ticket that are important. What about the rights of individuals that would like to get married? Marriage is a legal contract between two people that want to spend the rest of their life together. Married people actually pay more taxes that single people! Who cares what sex they are, if they are compatible, let 'em get married.It is a good strategy for increasing the $$ in washington and getting us out of our mess!

Come on people. Have your voice heard. Register. Then vote