Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have you checked the box "Yes"?

Below is a link to an article in today's Columbus Dispatch about organ donation. The article focuses on the journey of the Price family and the gift of life they gave after their son Paul died in 2004. Jeri is the newly elected president of women's Varsity O - and is very passionate about this cause, as I have experienced first hand over the past three years I have served on the board. She, her husband and their daughter all went out to Pasadena to work on a float to be featured in the Rose Parade with the theme of "Stars of Life". Paul's picture will be one of 37 on the float. The float was featured during the weather segment of the Today show in the 8:30 half hour.

I hope all of you will consider marking the box "yes" and making sure your families know that in the event of the unthinkable, organ donation is your wish. This is a very personal decision - one that may not be necessarily for everyone, but I hope that each one of my readers considers it. As I am sure you have all guessed, my driver's license indicates that I wish to be an organ donor.

Have a very safe and happy New Year!

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2008/12/31/oller31.ART_ART_12-31-08_C1_HCCCQ40.html?sid=101

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's not where I want that, Mom"

This morning, I gave Chelsie her frozen yogurt kong before I went to work - as is custom in our household. I put it on the kitchen floor - the tile kitchen floor - in an effort to keep it off my nice, clean carpet. Not 10 seconds later, she picks it up and takes it into the living room - on the carpet. Not sure what the difference is between the kitchen and the living room, but apparently there is some sort of significance to eating it in the living room - on the carpet. Oh well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

QQ vs 0-2 & BBQ

Well, let's just say that yesterday was a better agility day from a results perspective than today. Yesterday, we got our 6th double Q - with a whopping 5 MACH pts and today we got ZERO q's!!! She ran so freakin slow through the weaves yesterday on her jumpers run that at one point I actually said to her..."Good god, hurry up out here!"

Although our results do not reflect how well we ran today, I could not be more proud of her. Today's bobble in the std run was the result of mom sending her into the weaves at full acceleration...she made the entrance, but at about pole 4, could no longer manage her body to get through the poles. She skipped 2 but reentered....we were already done at that point so we just kept on going. Video assistance provided me great information about what had gone wrong...and as usual, it was "Praise the dog, slap the handler". She knocked the last bar on the triple in her jumpers run - someone has made a potential suggestion about why that happened, and I will review the video evidence tomorrow. My mom graciously records her runs when she comes, and it is very helpful. One look at the video today of our std run and I said to myself, Yep, that is why she came out.

Please keep our friends Janet and Jessica in your thoughts. After the show yesterday, their six year old border collie Ruckus developed bloat very suddenly (think Marley & Me) and they were unable to do anything for him. Jessica, 18, was a trooper today and was on course running her dog, Pistol. Can't rightly say if I would have been able to do that...

Tomorrow is another day, so we will be back at it full steam. We hope everyone is still able to enjoy a few days off from the holidays!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A little self pampering & indulgence

Today marks the day one of my club's three day year end trial. While I love agility and competing, the course building I do is very physically demanding and is exhausting. We run in an indoor riding arena, so I walk around on dirt and concrete all day. By the end of the day, I am wiped out.

For most of you that know me, gentle is probably not a word you would use when describing how I treat myself sometimes - physically and mentally. Well, tonight, I decided a little self pampering was in order. I stopped and got some aromatherapy stuff from Bath and Body - Eucalyptus mint pillow spray, sugar scrub and candle, along with some bubble bath. I took a long hot shower, gave myself a face mask, and used the sugar scrub...it was fabulous. A little tea tree lotion on my poor abused tootsies and a little yoga to stretch out and relax my muscles that literally feel like they are tied in knots. My cousin had this great yoga video I did with her when I was in California, and she sent me one for Christmas. It is basically 20 minutes of stretching, but it feels so good...I need to make sure it gets incorporated into my nightly routine going forward.

As the entire process will start again in a matter of hours, I am off to sleep in the soothing smells of eucalyptus mint....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

OSU 20 ASU 17

You might recognize this as the score from the 1997 Rose Bowl when OSU defeated ASU by a score of 20-17 on a last minute (literally last minute - ASU got the ball back with 14 seconds on the clock) drive in the 4th quarter. It was on ESPN Classics today, and I caught the game with about 4 minutes left. Now, I was present at that game with many of my teammates (I think we all might have been screaming at Joe Germaine that David Boston was open - thank god he saw that too!) but can anyone explain to me why 11 years later it was still so stressful to watch, even though I WITNESSED the outcome?????

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reliving the Glory Days

Last night, I was on a mad search for some of Chelsie's puppy pictures to put in a frame my good friend Kim got me for Christmas. I could not find them (and still have not been able to locate them - grr), and in my search came across what appeared to be a random box. I opened it up, only to find it was a bunch of prep sports newspaper articles from my junior and senior year in high school. Orange County did a pretty good job of covering HS sports, especially softball, because it was so competitive. My dad saved a lot of those articles for me...one day, when I have time, I would love to go through them and put them in some sort of chronological order. For me to have time to do this, I think I will have to win the lottery....

Among the articles I found:

List of the 1993 All County Team - I was in some pretty good company that year. Many of my fellow all county teammates went on to have very successful softball careers at various colleges.

Articles about the victories that got us the Woodbridge Tourney Title - we went into extra innings in the semis and in the final game. In the final game, one of our sophomores who had been struggling came up with the bases loaded and on the first pitch, crushed the ball to right center field for a base clearing triple. They had walked our number 4 batter to get to her, and she just absolutely ripped the cover off the ball on the first pitch the other way. Amazing what you can recall - I remembered it quite well as I read about it. That was the top of the 8th inning - I think I maybe threw a total of about 7 pitches in the bottom of the 8th. I believe my senior year we won both HS tourneys we played in - Woodbridge and Cypress. That was a really big deal considering the competition in the county.

Kennedy 2 Garden Grove 1 (AT TWAIN FIELD) - Hey Garden Grove, what the heck is an Argonaut???? So my 4 yr starting class of softball was just myself and one other girl - Lana Jimenez. Garden Grove was our big rival, esp at the their home field, Twain Field. We beat them handily and consistently at our home field (Cypress Arnold Park, Main Diamond - the field I actually grew up playing on) but we could not for the life of us beat them on their turf. Our freshman year, we tied them 1-1. The game was a 20 inning game, called for darkness. Lil old freshman me had the RBI for our one run, and the last out of the game, I threw the catcher out on a ground ball in the hole at shortstop that was arguably in shallow left field. I should qualify this by saying anyone other than the catcher would have beat this easily...but 20 innings in a squat position tends to make your legs a little tired. Anyway, the article was on our last game at Twain field...the game that finally gave Lana and I our vindication. We were up 1-0 and they tied it in the 5th, on an unearned run. Flashes of 20 innings went through my head...I knew I could pitch as long as I needed to (soccer conditioning had me in really good shape for pitching!) but dear lord, 20 innings? Well, my good friend Kristi Hensel took care of that for us. In the top of the 7th, she hit the ball into the gap in left center - it rolled to China and she was around 3rd when they got to it. Kennedy 2 Garden Grove 1. Finally. :)

And finally, I have kept this letter I got from my chemistry teacher junior year - it came to Ohio State with me, through all of my nasty college apartments and now is housed in my nightstand drawer. This was after we lost in the CIF Semi Finals to one of our biggest rivals, Cypress High School. My freshman and sophomore year, we had one of the top pitchers in the county and I did not see much time on the mound - which was fine with me. But my junior year I pitched exactly about half the games, and we were very successful because when I pitched, our other pitcher (a freshman) played shortstop, and vice versa. I threw down and out, Lisa threw high and harder than I did. It was a great combo. I was given the ball in that game, and my usually reliable defense let me down a lot that day. In fact, I remember the first error of the game was hit to my friend Laurie at second base...she bobbled it and the girl got on...I remember laughing at her because of it...but 5 errors later, I was not laughing so much, because it really wasn't funny anymore. After the 5th error, I had one of those "Oh Sh*t" pitches, where I let go of it and knew I was in trouble. The girl crushed it and the runner scored from 1st base - we got the girl out at third, so that was the only damage of the game. However, it was enough, and we lost in the semi finals 1-0. Here is the letter that my chemistry teacher, Mr. Murray, sent me 1st period of the next day.

Nicole -

A small not to you before I see you, per 4, Wed.

Of all the 100's of softball games I have seen over the years, rarely - maybe 2-3 times - have a seen a braver effort by a pitcher to stop a disaster waiting to happen. It was so sad to see your confidence eventually, finally dribble away after the big hit that scored the runner from 1st base, on based courtesy of Kennedy's 5th error. (Maybe the left fielder would have been 4-5 steps back without a runner on 1st base?)

Whatever. I just wanted to write this small not to let you know that I was very proud of you this afternoon, even though the official records will show you as the losing pitcher. What went on behind you eventually did you in. I am sure the whole team knows this, but I just wanted to say it too.

Nicole, I have watched the best - HS and college and in truth, this game should be in the 18th inning...continued to Wednesday!!!

Larry Murray


Let's just say the tears started flowing again after that on Wednesday morning...yep, can you imagine me a crier??? Haha. I have often wondered what happened to Mr. Murray, but I have kept this letter and have read it time and again. I read it a lot when things weren't going as planned in my college softball career - and still to this day pull it out and read it quite frequently. Maybe I need to frame it and put it up in my buckeye room...because it is that special to me.

And finally, as someone who watches a lot of college sports, I hear this all the time:

"There are 380,000 NCAA athletes, and nearly all of us will go pro in something besides sports"

No truer words have been spoken. Hard to believe that this little game I started playing so young because I wanted to wear cleats would eventually fund my college education. This past Thanksgiving, I found an envelope in my jacket pocket from my uncle when I was in California...in it was three pictures, one ot them of me in 1977 with a glove and a ball (I was 2 1/2)....I guess you can take the girl off the field, but you can never take the field (or the competition) out of the girl....right Natalie???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birthday Day

So Saturday was my birthday...33 years of my life are a wrap and the 34th has commenced. On Saturday, I did not get out of bed until well after 10 (maybe closer to 11?) which is virtually unheard of for me. As it was not freezing, windy or raining, I opted to take Chelsie for a walk. I treated myself to a pedi...the color on my toes is called "I'm not really a waitress" (an OPI color). Dinner was Mongolian BBQ, followed by a happy hour at BW3. It was a lot of fun.


This is the quilt my mom made me for my birthday. She has been quilting now for about 2 years, and I have been eyeing this quilt in the quilt store for about that long. She kept telling me "Nicole, there is no way I can do that". I am here to tell you I could never do this quilt justice in a picture. She has been working on this quilt for the past 6 months, as have the ladies at the quilt shop. All who stop by the castle have to see this. I am still working out how I am going to display this - clearly NOT ON A BED where an animal can lay on it.


Mom and Chelsie. This was right before we left to go out...and right before Chelsie had to go with grandma and grandpa. Anytime the thought that she may have to go with them enters her mind, she runs right to my side. Last night was no different. She was very glad to get in the car tonight and come home with me. I assure you she is treated very well at grandma's house.


Belinda and I at BW3. I think the last time she and I were in BW3 at the same time was when she told me she was pregnant with Bryce. He was 3 in Sept. No calculator needed for that math. :)


My good friend Lisa I used to work with at Deloitte. She shares the same birthday as my little brother and I was in her wedding 4 years ago. She and her husband are expecting a daughter (probably Ashley) at the end of February. They came from Blacklick (solid 40 minutes east) to celebrate - and poor Lisa could not even have a drink.


Chelsie cuddling on the blanket Aunt B gave me for my birthday. I love blankets and this is a really fun one. My gift also came with a toy for the bug a bean. The blanket has since been taken off her and is around me right now.
Thank you to all who came last night - I had a really great birthday and a really great time!!! A lot happened to me in my 33rd year, some better than others, but I lived to tell about it. I can hardly wait to see what 34 brings!!!

The LAP-rador


Our beloved chocolate lab Ella - the LAPRADOR. She is such a lover...and 80 lb lover, but a lover at that.
Last night, Grammie and Grand Paw agreed to take both children so Uncle Joey and I could go out to celebrate my birthday. Ella behaved so badly all night - got up 4 times before Grampie finally had it. She spent the rest of the night on the bed leashed up, with Grandpa holding her leash so that she would stay put. Apparently there were no more issues after that. Can you all imagine my dad leashing this dog up in the middle of the night???

Friday, December 19, 2008

Love is...

Being so happy to see your mom that extreme lab laps around the coffee table with your stuffed cow in your mouth are necessary!!! Did I also mention you were beating yourself in the head with your cow?

Anyone that has walked in my house is well aware of the greeting I get from my little bean....I get the same greeting all the time, whether I have been gone 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days. She is always so excited to see me, you can't help but be in a better mood when you walk in the house and all that exuberance greets you. She is a fantastic companion, and I cannot imagine what my house would be like without her...Chelsie Belle, you are the BESTEST puppy in the whole world!

Quotable Quote:

"If your dog doesn't like someone, you probably shouldn't either!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tressel & Katzenmoyer

For all you Ohio State fans out there, you absolutely know who Tressel and Katzenmoyer are. Tonight at Dodd, we visited a patient whose daughter had 2 labs named Tressel and Katzenmoyer - whom they called Katz for short. So they had a dog named Katz - and we were laughing about it, and I told them, no biggie, I had a cat named Scoobi. The patient was laughing at them asking them what happened to the good old dog name of Rover...it was cute.

She was fabulous tonight as usual. The house was pretty quiet - we definitely see less patients this time of year because they go to sleep earlier. But everyone who saw her was glad to see her. Morover, we have a number of patients going home before next Wednesday, and that is always very, very good news. One of them was a man named Roger - the past 2 weeks we have seen him, he has not been able to speak. But tonight, he spoke loudly and clearly and told Chelsie what a beautiful dog she was. The therapists there are pretty freakin amazing.

We are now resting in bed - the trip in Indiana wore mom out, and she is tired. We hope everyone is having a great week and that the Christmas spirit has come upon them!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maybe it is dementia?

Tonight, I am spending the night in lovely Merrillville, In. I flew over this morning on the jet (makes me never want to fly commercial again!!!) and met with my boss. After work, I decided I was going to try and do some Christmas shopping, as there are a lot of stores around here and I still have some to do.

Into Target I go - and out I come, with zero recollection of where I parked the car. To make matters better, it was a black car (a pool car they keep on hand for people coming to Mville) The unfortunate thing was that it was absolutely freezing outside - probably close to zero with the wind chill. I said some words under my breath (which I could clearly see) that would have turned heads had I said them out loud. I probably walked around the parking lot for 5 minutes before I found the damn thing....

I better sharpen up and get my act together...maybe I need to start doing some of those brain teasers or something...or maybe it is not enough sleep. The FB game on is a booty kicker and it is not even half time, so I think we will call it a night in this hotel room....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mystery Bruises

You all know EXACTLY what I am talking about - and this time, I have not been dancing on any bars, tables or anything of the sort that could lead to the infamous mystery bruises! Not that I ever did that anyway....(I am sure someone out there has photo evidence to the contrary, so let's keep that among friends, can we??)

However, oddly enough, one has mysteriously appeared...and I found out about it this morning when I was half awake and my little bean pounced on me to tell me it was time to eat. I was half laying on my side, half on my stomach when all 58 lbs of her exuberance found their way to my calf...I yelped and startled her, and was trying to push her off me. The only thing that came from that was her other three paws finding that mysterious spot. I finally managed to free myself and look at the spot, and sure enough, there was a bruise - as of this moment, I have no idea what I could have done to cause that bruise...not sure whether to think it is a mystery bruise or whether I have early onset of dementia???

Saturday, December 13, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATALIE!!!

May you live 1000 years...

And drink 1000 beers (I think you have probably already accomplished that!!!)

Get plastered you bad girl (done that too)

Happy birthday to you!!!


I would be happy to sing it live to you. Name the time and place!!!!

Facebook & Old College Roomies

So, a few mos ago, I got roped into Facebook...I am not big into it, I don't poke people, throw snowballs or chickens at them or anything like that (although I have had a chicken thrown at me, thank you very much Dean!!!) But I have reconnected with many people I went to college with, most of them my athlete friends.

A few weeks ago, I got back in touch with one of my old college roomies, Tracey. Tracey was from Philly and played field hockey. We lived at 232 W 9th Av, Apt D - and what a place it was...we thought it was great, but in all reality it was probably disgusting, just like all college apartments were. I knew Tracey was still in the Columbus area - I randomly ran into her and her 2 sons in Dublin Kroger of all places probably 4 yrs ago. Well, she finds me on Facebook a few weeks ago and we start communicating and what not...and then, she found one of our other college roomies and one of my former teammates, Jen. So we all start communicating and decide we should get together, and today was the appointed day. We met at Tracey's house in Milford Center - Jen is living in Kentucky, working in Cinci so she drove up to my house and then we went out to Tracey's.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive...I was very excited, but still nervous at the same time. For all my gentle readers that do not have history on this situation, let's just say a few mos into our junior year, I moved out of the apartment under some circumstances out of my control, and sort of lost touch with them. It was the best thing at the time, but I was really sad - I had lived in the dorms with both of them, and we had a lot of fun. But the circumstances of the situation, which I would rather not get into, left me in a somewhat difficult situation, esp with Jen because she was one of my teammates until this whole little scenario arose (no one was arrested, did any drugs, or anything illegal like that, for the record).

If I had to describe Jen, I would say she is just a really good person - and I was so glad to see the Jen I knew all those years ago today. She has really done well for herself, personally and professionally. She and her partner are raising her partner's 11 yr old daughter from a previous relationship, and it was funny to hear Jen talking about school districts, grades, homework, how she flipped out on Caylee when she got a C on her report card and Caylee told her that was average (Jen's response - I AM NOT RAISING YOU TO BE AVERAGE!!) I wondered if there would be the any resentment about what happened so long ago - esp when she saw my buckeye room which has my bat, my varsity jacket, etc in it, but no trace of any resentment at all...

Tracey is a stay at home mom with three kids - 2 boys and a darling little girl. Eric, Tracey's husband, is returning from Iraq on Friday, and Tracey has been on her own for nearly a year with all three kids. She is so patient and is such a good mom..and looks freaking fantastic for having three kids. I ended up losing touch with Tracey because she still lived in the old place, and was sort of in a rough spot in the whole situation as well. I still saw her over at Woody Hayes, but not as often, as field hockey had a different competitive season than we did.

Overall, it was great to talk and catch up...the day flew by, literally. We made a promise not to wait another 12 years to get together again, and I told Tracey she needed to come up for a girls night out...her response? "Twist my arm"...the same response we got all those years ago when we were trying to convince her to do something. It was funny to see where we have all ended up...probably not in the place we thought we would, but hey, we are all doing fine and we all turned out OK.

The world gets smaller every day...and I am greatful for that in this situation, as I now have 2 of my dear college friends back in my life!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

IF YOU THINK FOR A MINUTE....

that they are as cute and innocent as they appear in this picture, think again, I am here to tell you that YOU ARE WRONG! Today, we are baby sitting Truth the guide dog...her mom thought she could use a day off, and being that I am working from home, I said sure, bring her over.

She has been here for 15 minutes and they have already been outside romping around and multiple face offs resulting in serious unladylike behavior have ensued. The girls used to play a lot more when they were younger, but don't often play like they used to these days. Little miss Truthie is nearly 10 years old and will likely be in retirement sometime in the next 6 months but she is as full of pep and mischief as a 10 week old puppy sometime....and I would not have it any other way.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Unselfish Acts

I know I always say that I should know by know not to guess who wants to see us, but gentle readers, you know I am a slow learner sometimes...

Last night, I walked by a room with an older gentleman in it - initially, I thought he was somewhat incoherent, but turns out I was wrong as usual. He definitely had trouble speaking - but the look on his face when I walked by told me to get my booty back there in the room. I put a chair by his bed, and he just reached up and started petting Chel's ear. He could not speak - well, let me rephrase that - I could not understand him. He just sort of moaned and kept petting Chelsie. He was definitely a dog person - Chel just sat there and let him pet her. I had her on a chair and my knee on the chair as well, and she was leaning in on my knee while he was petting her ear. I was saying a prayer for cooperation from her the whole time, and divine intervention kicked in and she kept on sitting there.

About 5 minutes into our visit, the man began moaning and pointing next door - I finally figured out he was saying take her next door, the guy over there would like to see her. I told him when we were done visiting that we would go over there, that this was his time. He smiled and went back to petting her - and she ate it up. His roommate was very glad to see him as well.

It was pretty amazing to see this guy try and send us to someone else. It brought back memories of another stroke patient we saw, her name was Angel - I know I blogged about her at one point. Oddly enough, Angel's speech was grossly impaired as well and on our last visit, she told me I should go visit someone else because she was better. I told her that when she was done, we would move on, that this was her turn. She smiled.

For the last few weeks, I have been burning the candle at both ends...this was a good reminder to slow down and smell the Christmas candles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Your Ligaments are in Tact"

For anyone that has ever had a potential knee injury, those are the best words in the world.

A few weeks ago, while course building at an agility trial, I lost my balance with a sandbag in my hand - don't ask me how that happened. The end result was the sandbag hitting me knee and hyperextending it backwards. This induced immediate panic, esp given that you can't exactly jerk a 40 lb sandbag off you quickly. My knee had not been right since...loose, painful to move certain ways, but ok for the most part, as I could still do whatever I wanted. However, to be sure I had it looked at this morning.

End result was likely a sprained MCL, that heals on its own with little or no intervention at all. Doc has asked that I wear a brace - which I will do gladly is because it offers a ton of support and will definitely increase my confidence on the soccer field (I will not have to wonder if the next move it going to blow my knee out!) No activity restrictions and recheck in 6 weeks.

I feel very lucky to have the wonderful folks at OSU Sports Medicine in my backyard. The PA was actually a trainer when I was at OSU, and they were so nice and incredibly helpful. And I am very grateful that everything was ok.

Hope everyone is having as good a day as I am now!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In the spirit of Nat's post....

I added some music that should definitely bring back some memories...you always knew 39 W 10th B was rockin' when the Atomic Dogs came on, usually as we were putting the banners down on the floor on Thursday night!!

CP...what was the name of the bar on Three's Company??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Words to Live By

This is the December quote on my Black Lab calendar:

"Don't always keep your dog on a leash if you want him to be attached to you".

Could not agree more..assuming the word "come" is part of their vocabulary!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Congratulations to Team Megan's Miracle Workers!!!

My good friend Kim's 15 year daughter Megan was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes three years ago. I met Kim through my volunteer work at CCI. For the past three years, team Megan's Miracle Workers has tirelessly raised funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Tonight, at an awards reception, Team Megan's Miracle Workers was honored for their outstanding fund raising efforts this past year, raising $20,600, the highest dollar amount earned by a family team. Last year, Megan's goal was to raise $10,000, which she surpassed easily, earning is excess of $14,000. Her goal this year was $20,000, which she met as well.

Diabetes is a nasty, nasty thing. My good friend Sharon lost her sight as a result of complications from diabetes. Over the past three years, Megan has worked really hard to maintain steady blood sugar levels. This is a very difficult thing to do in puberty, as raging hormones make this quite difficult. She has ensured many highs and lows, but always maintains a positive attitude and is a great kid to be around.

Congratulations Megan, Kim, Chris, Stephen and Shaun!!! I am honored to be part of your team and hope I can actually walk in the walk next year!!!!

Back in the Swing

Well, it was a successful Wednesday night in our house - we made it back to Dodd and back to agility class. One of the ladies in class told me that if was not at class last night, they were going to send a search party for me. It was really good to everyone at both places.

I was a little concerned about how last night would go when I got home - for the last three nights, Chelsie has gone APE when I have gotten home from work - extreme lab laps all over our yard and neighbor's front yard and then jumping around like a jumping bean, as if she still can't believe I actually came home. But she calmed down nicely once I put her working jacket on her...maybe after nearly 7 years she is growing up?

She got right back into the swing of things right away. We did not even make it down one end of the hall before a lady came out of a room and said "you take that dog into this room and see this old guy in here". I think we saw a lot of stroke patients last night, many of them had very, very limited mobility. One case in point was probably a lady in her 50's who was laying down...I took a chair and put it very close to her head...and I was amazed at how Chel responded. The lady found one of her favorite spots - her ear, and she put her head down and let this lady scratch her ear for a long time. I don't even think this lady knew I was there - she was just petting Chel's ear and talking to her.

I do think she was ready to shoot me at one point...there was a little 6 yr old girl that was very interested in her. She tried to pet Chelsie from above her head...which is really never a good idea anyway. I got her in a "down" (in the middle of the hall, of all places) and got her to pet Chel on the back. This little girl was loud and a little jumpy, and at one point sort of teased her and then tried to grab her tail. Mom drew the line there, and we got up and went to the next room. Her patience during this "ordeal" was pretty darn good. :) I apologized to her for making her stay as long as she did with that little girl.

I was reminded again last night how silence speaks volumes. As I said, we saw a lot of stroke patients last night and many of them appeared to be verbally impaired. One such man was an older man - I asked if he wanted to see the dog and he nodded. I took her over there and he just looked at her, I thought for a minute he was going to cry. As he rubbed her ears, he was in his own little world, just looking at her. The silence was loud and clear.

After that, it was off to agility. It was so good to get back and see my friends, and I only sucked on one sequence. "Praise the dog, slap the handler" is a common phrase we use, and I only needed to be slapped once. She did really well for not being in class for three weeks! We have a competition this weekend - hopefully, mom can lead her to her masters jumpers title. At the last trial, we got our master standard title. This jumpers title will likely be her last title before her MACH. However, her most important title is still her therapy dog title, CGC/TDI.

We hope this finds everyone well!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Returning to Dodd Hall

Tonight will be the first time in 5 weeks we have volunteered at Dodd Hall. I missed it a lot and am very much looking forward to taking my girl in and making everyone's day better! A post will be coming about our visit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You know your friends have had too many babies when...

..you, as a non parent, can walk into Babies R Us, print off a registry and find your item of choice unassisted.

Like Owner, Like Dog

This morning, I was in my usual routine of drying my hair while watching the Today show. They were doing a piece about having an evacuation plan in the event your house catches fire. During the piece, a smoke alarm was going off - even on the tv, I found it to be deafening. For those of you that have watched TV with me, you know that I am don't particularly care for loud noises coming from the TV...I usually mute the commercials (yes, I know if I have DVR I would not have to deal with the commercials) Well, I found out this morning that my little bean is irritated by noise from the TV as well. When that smoke detector started going off on the tv, she came down off the bed, tail REALLY between her legs, looking around to see what was making the holy racket. I finally had to put the TV on mute, and she came running over for comfort. I actually had to turn off the hair dryer to console her and convince her it was OK to get back up on the bed.

Like owner, like dog. Scary.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home AT LAST

I am home at last. Chel is home at last. We are both very happy to see each other.

My travels home were smooth. It was a little foggy and we were delayed for about 15 minutes in Sacramento, but it was smooth sailing after that. I was up and out today for an 8AM soccer game - which was a real struggle. My throat was burning like it was my first game of the season...jeez! After that, I spent most of the day running around like a nut case. The most important stop? The kennel...to recover the children. I told the people in there - I need three trips, one for each dog and one for all their CRAP. The little labbies were WOUND up...they were trying to climb all over me as I was driving, one butting the other out of the way. El's daddy was waiting for her at my house, and she ran out and jumped right in the car. Chel is a little restless and is absolutely exhausted, it will definitely take us a few days to get back into the swing of things..starting tomorrow when I get up and go to work...

Glad to hear everyone seems to have had a great thanksgiving and has made it home safe. Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

My blessings and things to be thankful for are too plentiful to count. When constantly searching the path for greener pastures, I always remind myself my little patch of pasture is a nice lush, green (maybe because of my irrigation system?)

Happy thanksgiving to all of my readers. I am truly thankful and blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. Enjoy this special day of thanks!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Safely Arrived in No Cal

After spending the weekend in Reno with the Tuckers, I have finally arrived in my final destination of Vacaville. For those of you unfamiliar with where exactly that falls on the map, it is 50 east of SF and 35 west of Sacramento. The weather here uis UNSEASONABLY WARM thank god, so I will have the next 6 days to thaw out..literally.

My uncle and brother drove out to Reno to pick me up, because he wanted to go to this sporting goods store called Scheels...Jodi, can you even calll it that? This place is INSANE, you could wander around for hours - and we did, for about 2. I got an OSU sweatshirt for $20 (STEAL), some training bumpers for my bug a bean...and most importantly, FUDGE!!!! Yes people, they make their own fudge. Jodi and I got 6 squares and halved them and took them home...on the way to Scheels, Jods took me to In N Out Burger...omg was it good.

The drive thru the mts was spectacular. We came thru in the daylight and it was pretty clear and it was just awesome. We arrived home to a yummy taco dinner (and fudge for dessert!) and just hung out all night. Signs welcoming me to California were waiting...Amanda has graciously given up her bed and room for me. Today, my other cousin and her 2 kids are coming, and we are just going to have a big old hang out fest here for the whole week. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I will take some pix and post them later in the week...Amanda (age 12 - remember my very pregnant cousin that sat in the bleachers when we played in Sacramento? Yeah, that baby!!) is CLEARLY taller than I am...Jen age 10 is not quite there yet but not far behind...so good to be here...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hanging out w/ Dolan

So my month of insane travel is concluding with a trip to Reno to visit the Tucker's before heading over to Sacramento to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt and her family. I got in on Friday and we hung out all day...it was a rough night in the Tucker household because little Dolan James has croup (see thetuckers.blogspot.com) He is doing much better today, Saturday than he was yesterday. Poor little guy was definitely having some breathing issues, but was in SUCH a good mood for feeling so crappy. It may be hard to believe, but he is cuter in person than in pictures - and his pictures are pretty darn cute.


Getting ready to go to dinner...and getting ready for the big game with his "poop on Michigan" onesie.


He pulls himself up on everything. I was sitting on the recliner and he was moving between the couch and the chair.


Bonding with Dakota, who is currently laying on his mommy's lap in the recliner napping.



Playing shy...I love this picture.
We are in business out here...the score of the game is 42-7 and we are quite happy. Up until a few minutes ago, watching this game was its annual nerve racking experience. It was awesome to see Boeckman come in and fire off a touchdown. The score also contributes to our opportunity to win some money, as we sent James to the local casino to place our bets. The rest of our day will consist of PSU vs MSU (GO SPARTANS!!!) and then Texas Tech vs Okla. Perfect in our mind...it is so good to be here and hang out with Yodi...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where in the world is NP???

...in Reno, visiting James, Jodi and little Dolan! Poor little Dolan does sound awful, but for a sick baby, he is in a really good mood. We are just hanging out...just catching up. I am sure there will be pictures coming. I am so excited to be here!

Most importantly...GO BUCKS!! BEAT MICHIGAN!!! We will be up bright and early to watch!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sad morning....

This morning, I said goodbye to my very beautiful and gorgeous baby angel...for nearly 2 weeks!!! Uncle Joey was taking grammie and grampie to the airport this morning, and will be by to pick her up on his way back to Marysville as I leave for the lovely metropolis of Pittsburgh in the morning, and then head out west for turkey day on Friday morning (more so like the middle of the night on Friday, given my flight is at 7AM or something ridiculous like that) . She watched very closely last night as I put together nearly 30 bags of food, packed up some toys and brought her bed up from the basement. I put lots of instructions in her bag for the people at the kennel - including a brand new jar of peanut butter, 12 plastic knives and 2 freshly washed kongs out of the dishwasher...I mean, everyone needs a treat, right?

I have again avoided being the "bad guy" who drops the doggies off at camp - I love how I shove the dirty work off to other people (mainly my mom and brother) and then get to be the hero when I pick them up. I hope she behaves herself...when we went to Myrtle Beach last summer, she barked herself hoarse - came back and she had this really pathetic bark. I will have the camera handy when I get back, because it is pretty funny and sad all at the same time. I know she will be fine, but still hate leaving here there...my little velcro dog. It will be very strange not to have her there with me tonight.....

Maybe I can start a biodegradable waste bag movement at the kennel???

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How have YOU gone green?

Long post...sorry. But I think it is important - and I hope you all respond with lots of other things for me to do as well!

I have seen a lot of posts lately about going green...and have definitely been making an effort to go green myself - however, I do draw the line at biodegradable waste bags given their cost and the amount of you know what I clean up after you know who...

So....I am interested in knowing...what have all you out there done to become more green? Here is a list of some of the things I have done...

1) Programmable thermostat - easy as pie. Warm/cool when you are home, consistent use of HVAC. Program it once and forget about it - all you have to do is flip the switch from hot to cold based on the season. Bottom line can be seen in utility bills.

2) Reduce bottled water consumption - Not to say I don't have any bottles in my house, but I purchased a few rubbermaid bottles and have been using those. They work great - they fit in my lunchbox (barely) and I keep 2 in my refrigerator so I always have cold water. In addition to helping the environment, it also helps the wallet.

3) Recycle - Unfortunately, Columbus has not yet reached the "green" phase yet. I pay for my own recycling and recycle everything I can. Boxes of all kind (mostly of granola bars, cereal, frozen meals) cans, glass, all the junk mail after I shred anything with my name on it...you get it. I pay something like $20 every three months, so it is not too bad. Makes a big difference in the amount of garbage I have, no doubt about that!!

4) Installing irrigation system - now, this may be stretching it...however, keeping the curb appeal of my house at top notch requires watering. The irrigation system is on a timer, and comes on literally in the middle of the night, when it is best for the grass. Less water is wasted than before I had it installed because they are positioned to more effectively water the grass and not the sidewalk - seems like a "duh", but I always felt bad about how much water was being wasted to get to certain spots in the yard. A luxury, I know, but there is definitely less water on the sidewalk than there was before. I gotta do what I gotta do to keep my property value as high as possible...

5) Light timers - I have set the light timer on the microwave so I do not have to leave lights on for Chelsie all day now that it gets dark at 5PM. It is set to come on at 5PM and go off at 11. Additionally, I have installed a timer switch for my porch light to have it come on at 5PM and go off at 7AM, for safety reasons. I intend to install the same switch for the back deck light as well.

6) Solar light - installed on in my guest bath, it has no window. The solar light lights not only the bathroom, but the entire hallway - it lets in so much light that it is not necessary to turn the light on while in there during the day. In the spring, I will be treating myself to another one in the pantry - it is pitch black back there because I have poor lighting in the kitchen, so I am hoping this will help with the light in the kitchen as well.

7) Turning off lights when I leave a room - just more aware and making a better effort to be better about it.

8) Insulated garage/insulation in general - makes a big difference, esp in the winter. Helps keep the rest of the house warm as well. I also discovered in the whole termite mess that the insulation in the basement was not great, so being as there is already 6 feet of drywall missing from the office, I will rip down the remaining drywall in my office that covers walls to the outside and properly insulate it. I also replaced the basement windows, which has made a big difference as well (and is another safety thing - anyone that tries to kick one in will only succeed in breaking a limb)

Also, with the cool weather coming in, I keep all the blinds closed so as not to let too much air in from the outside. Replacing the sliding door has made a huge difference as well - the doors that were there when I bought the house allowed a serious draft to come in. Not this thing...this is a custom made, double paned door - custom made not my choice, but because a std door is 6 feet and my other door was 5 1/2 feet. Go figure. I will spare you all the heartache of what that translated into from a $$ perspective. Anyone who tries to kick this in will also end up with a broken limb. The orchid room has one more little insulating factor - one of those things you put by a door to stop the draft on the window in that room. The blinds have to stay open for light, so that long, sausage-y looking thing is on the window in front of them to soak up the cold.

9) Funky light bulbs - not crazy about the light they emit all the time, but I am sure technology will help with that eventually. Not ready to put those in my ceiling fans yet. :)

10) Running Errands - so I do have a big SUV (Pilot) and love it. I did not love $70 to fill it up over the past few mos, so I have worked on being much more efficient with my schedule/errand running. For example, our night at Dodd typically coincides with agility because we are already halfway there by going to OSU and then on to agility. During the summer, Wed night soccer was the same way - it was halfway to Gahanna, so we just did it all in one night. A lot in one night, but it saved about 45 miles round trip - a lot of miles when you get about 350 to the tank.


I am sure I can do lots more little things...so help me out. Hopefully, I have helped you out with some easy ideas to be nicer to mother earth!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where in the world is NP???

Good question, my body has absolutely no idea what time zone it is on. :)

I am in Las Vegas this week, coming home Wednesday. This place is incredible...glitter, glitz and excess are the three words that come to mind. I walked into the Bellagio tonight to meet someone for dinner, and became claustrophobic upon seeing the number of people in there...I guess that means I am getting old!

I have been really fortunate to do lots of fun things over the past few weeks, and am seriously behind in blogging and posting pictures. Unfortunately, my fun things have been outside of Columbus and have kept me away from home and of course, my very beautiful and gorgeous baby angel...I miss her so much. She is holding down the fort with gramma and grampa and has been having lots of play dates with her cousin. Mommy misses you very much Belle, and I hope to see you Wed night! (assuming no issues, my flight does not arrive until 11:30 PM....any problems out of Vegas and I will be spending the night in Chicago, so she may be staying an extra night with them...)

Pictures to come soon, I promise!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winter Wonderland

So last night on our walk, I note 2 houses with Christmas lights. No mistaking it, there were wreaths in both light exhibits. On the way to the doctor this morning (my poor little toe is still infected) I heard Christmas music on the radio. Does anyone besides me think it is too early for that? I mean, I am just trying to make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff is out. It has been out at Macy's since before Halloween. MADNESS!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Heart Stopping Moment

Last night, after we got home from agility, Chelsie was doing her usual tour of the front yard while I was unloading the car. As I opened the door to the house, I saw this black animal of some sort going flying by - and then saw Chelsie chasing after it. I screamed her name and immediately slammed the door to the house closed...for fear that she was playing with a skunk again. At first glance (and smell) it did not appear that she was, but you can bet I checked her out THOROUGHLY before letting her in the house. Her penchant for playing with skunks seem to come late at night, but thankfully that was not the case last night. Scared the dickens out of me though - cleaning up skunked dog at 10:30 was definitely not on my agenda!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Witnessing History

Well, it is probably pretty clear that they type of history I am witnessing is not the type of history I had hoped to witness, but I cast my vote, as did the rest of America and our country has spoken - loud and clear. I truly believe the first day the bottom fell out of the market was the day the nail was hammered into McCain's coffin.

We will see if Barack is a talker or a doer. It also appears the Dems will be in control of Congress...I just hope that someone keeps control of the checkbook and does not start giving them blank checks. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to all of this - according to my financial advisor, the markets tend to respond more favorably to a Republican than a Democrat...I have already watched my hard earned money decrease in excess of 10%. Although everyone says "you won't need that money for a long time and it will come back" it is definitely discouraging to see it continue to fall - esp because I have been very disciplined about saving a fairly significant portion of my paycheck for retirement.

So for all you Obama supporters, congratulations - we will see if your man walks the walk as well as he talks the talk.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Traveling is hard work

I have forgotten how much traveling wares me out. I have come back to the hotel for the last 2 nights and have napped before dinner. Yikes!! This upcoming weekend, I am headed to Cali to see Adrienne before going to Las Vegas for a conference for work, and the thought of getting on a plane is not my favorite right now. Hopefully, the ride home tomorrow will not be bad - we were able to come here to Indiana on the Corp Jet, but have to fly home from Midway (my company HQ is about an hour away from Midway Airport in Chicago).

I know, I know, you all can get your violins out...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Agility Weekend

Hello everyone,

Well, after a not so great start to my weekend, I rebounded to finish with three straight Q's! My fellow competitors and I had some difficulty with the first jump of the weekend on our standard run on Saturday - I did not just tick the bar with my little toes, I barreled through it. I told mom not to fill the dirt in behind the first jump, but to dig it out, so I had some traction - filling it in gave me no traction to be able to jump. Jesus lady - in all those years you played ball, did you ever fill the batters box? I think not - I do believe you dug it out. Thank god mom is a fast learner - she made sure there were not dirt piles for me to run through to get to the first jump today.

I am now two Q's away from earning my MX and MXJ, my last titles before my MACH. I earned one dbl Q and 19 MACH pts for my efforts this weekend. Mom forgot treats this morning, but thankfully my friend Webster's mom shared his treats with me. I also got banished to my friend Grant's house after the competition was over, so mom could go shopping. I got to play in Grant's HUGE backyard with him and his sister Sandy. Mom FINALLY came and got me, and FINALLY took me home for dinner.

Thankfully, my old lady is going to work tomorrow. I have to rest from all my hard work this weekend. Have a great week everyone!!

Very Sincerely,

Chelsie Belle

PS From Mom - bad news for you my little bean. Grammie is coming to get you in the morning. Mommy's suitcase will be coming out tonight!! :)

All the Republican in me...

Its probably crystal clear what my political position is, and I normally would not post something like this, but I laughed pretty hard at this. What even funnier is who it came from - it came from this guy my mom used to work with, and I can totally picture him sending something like this. Enjoy - and join me in thanking God that it will be over on Wednesday. Be sure to cast your vote on Tuesday!!



I seriously just had this conversation?

Be warned...this is a shallow post, probably more like a rant than anything.

My new favorite store (even after this incident) is White House, Black Market. I had a coupon that expired today, and was in search of this beautiful shirt I loved, just not at the full price it was when I tried it on. It had gone on sale, so I called the stores here locally and they said they sent it to the outlet. I call the outlet, they have it, they hold it I go down there - to find a huge sale. One item on sale was this pair of black pants - I have a pair I paid full price for, and have absolutely zero regrets about, because every woman should have a pair of black pants that make her feel this good. They don't have my size, no big deal. But as I got further away, I decided I needed to have them see if they could find another pair, because they were only $30.

Like I did before, I called the store and told them I was there earlier, they did not have pants in my size and could they call the other outlet to see if they had them? This is what the girl told me:

"We don't answer calls from other stores on weekends because we might be too busy. You have to wait and call the other store in the morning."

I was dumbfounded - I asked her what they did if a customer was standing there and wanted something they did not have. She repeated the above. I said, fine, whatever, and that I found that incredibly hard to believe given the high level of customer service they have always provided when I have been there.

Please, gentle readers, tell me you think the nature of this conversation was as crazy as I do - especially given the current situation for retailers in this economy!!! I still can't believe it. The next time I go into the store here at Easton or UA, I am going to say something to the manager about this. I find it absolutely astonishing that this would indeed be the policy from this store.

It should be noted that I got 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, a dress (that definitely challenges my comfort zone - but is "sh*t hot" as my friend Diane would say) and 2 necklaces for $162. I had a coupon for $50 off $200 or more, plus my White House member discount (that 5% adds up!) I also FINALLY found some decent turtlenecks that were not $70 at the Ann Taylor outlet...thank god. If anyone can tell me where I can find a black winter cardigan type sweater, I would greatly appreciate it - I need one that is a little heavier than I currently have, given that my office has an entire wall of windows...

What night for college football!

Wow! The end of the Texas Tech/Texas game was amazing!!! Can anyone explain to me why Texas kicked off and gave the Red Raiders a chance to run it back with a minute and 30 seconds left??? They ran it back over halfway down the field!!! What a game!

I am sure you have all noticed the songs I have added to the blog...I couldn't help it. I mean, its fall and I live in Columbus, Ohio!!! For all my softball girls out there, I hope hearing these songs brings back special memories of fall and football. I got chills just hearing them as I loaded them on...be sure to listen to the Carmen Ohio version I have on here...I love it, it is so, so awesome.

For all you non OSU grads out there, my play list is a list of songs that are near and dear to every fan's heart. The one missing song on here is Script Ohio, there was a load problem with it from the playlist website. You have not lived until you have come to an Ohio State Football game and seen Script Ohio!!

HEY, BUCKEYE FANS, WHAT TIME IS IT????

Growing Up so Fast...

So, as you all probably read on Belinda's blog, I went up and handed out candy last night. Bryce and Teagan were just too darn cute all dressed up in their costumes!!!

It had been about a week and half since I had seen them, and as I was driving away last night...it hit me how much they had changed just in that short time period. About the only notable physical difference I can call out is the little curls that suddenly have appeared over Teagan's ears, but Bryce seemed just all of a sudden seems to have just really grown up...all in a week and half.

I better watch out...a few weeks from now, he may be driving something other than his trains on the floor in the living room. We love coming to hang out with you Bryce and Teagan!!! (and I guess you too Mark and B! :) )

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Last night, being as it was not colder than all get out (and because I had been away for three days), I decided that my little girl needed a walk. Of course, last night being beggar's night, all the little ghosts and ghouls - and their candy - were out. I heard Chelsie crunching on something...and looked down and saw a white stick out of the side of her mouth. I quickly yanked it out. Trick or treat to me - I can't wait to pick up lollipop poop.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why my parents rock

Its no secret that my parents take very good care of me...and a little more. This past week started a marathon of travel for me over the next 4 weeks - some is work, some is personal. Thankfully, this is an anomaly and is not expected to carry out past this month.

My travels began this week with three days in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for work. I returned last night (will post about that later) and we landed at 7:15 - as it is Wednesday night, it is usually agility night at 8:30, but there was no way I was going to get home and back to Gahanna for class given I was getting in my car at 7:45. This is how it all worked out.

1) My parents brought my little bean - agility leash, treats and all - out to the McDonalds by the airport. Our agility class is off Hamilton Rd in Gahanna, literally behind the airport. My dad called my while we were waiting in Baltimore and said they would do that - it was awesome, esp because we have a competition this weekend and have not been on agility equipment in two weeks as we were between class sessions.

2) I sent my mom a list of a few items that would be nice to have so I could pack my lunch. I am a religious "lunch packer" and it is very important to me. I returned home to the necessary goodies for my lunch habit.

3) Mom sent dad up yesterday to strip my bed and collect my bath towels. While he was at it, he took the smelly soccer socks from Sunday home, along with the little bit of laundry there. Really, all that was there was what I wore after I had done laundry on Sat, so not a lot - but anyway, it was folded on my dresser and I had a nice clean bed to crash out it.

So, as I woke up this morning with one trip under my belt, there was a high amount of order in my world, thankfully. Most importantly, my little bean was snuggled up next to me and moved right into her "spot" when I got up to shower.

And...tonight is massage night!!! All in all, I am in pretty good shape!!! Thanks ma and pa!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As a pitcher, you know it is not your day when...

...the opposing pitcher hits his first career homerun off you in Game 4 of the world series in front of hometown fans.

How bad would THAT suck?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Making things simple...

Today, I took a much needed day off. I have been burning the candle at both ends as of late, and just needed a break. I was asked to play on another soccer team, and am actually considering saying no - or that I would do it just part time. Big step. :)

I spent most of the day just getting crap done. Probably the most important issue that was resolved today had to do with the removal of something that was causing great pain on my big toe. I don't know why I waited this long to take care of it - I was out of the doctor's office in 30 minutes...and actually, the darn thing is sill numb in a few places. I liked this doctor - she said it was no problem to play soccer tonight if I could tolerate it. Wore a sneaker on the right foot and my cleat on the left, and bowed out gracefully with 12 minutes to play. The girls on their team were just chasing me around (man to man coverage) and I HATE when that happens. I am convinced I am in better shape than most out there even at this early stage of the season, so I just run them around in circles. :) They get annoyed, and so do I, because those are the types of games where I don't get to touch the ball very much.

Probably the primary focus of the day was just trying to simplify my life for my upcoming month. November is turning into a crazy busy month, and this is really the last weekend I have to get ready for it, before it is here full swing. Got the oil changed on the car and the tires rotated. Picked up dry cleaning. Got fully stocked up on hair product - ladies, you know this is a necessity, besides, I had a coupon and got $40 off. Getting cut, color and brow wax tomorrow. Went through travel toiletries to make sure I had what plenty of what I needed. Brought shredder upstairs to deal with mail in a more timely manner - I am paranoid about shredding anything with my name and address on it and can't stand the mail piling up. Set timer on microwave light so I my poor bean is not in the dark. Tomorrow will entail cleaning and some more crap being thrown away, so I am not coming home to clutter. You all know that a mess causes me to become bipolar.

So happy day off to me. I was able to get some shut eye later in the day...my little bean actually let me cuddle with her. She is going with Uncle Joey tomorrow, as he will be up here and volunteered to take her home so I don't have to try and get to Marysville on Sunday - because I have soccer at 11:40, 2:30 and 5. :) Love it.

And finally, one little thought of gratitude - I was especially grateful tonight for having my garage. When the weather is crappy as it is tonight, it is SO NICE to pull into a nice, dry garage.

Have a great weekend! Go Bucks, beat PSU!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dodd Hall and Bird Feathers

Tonight, at Dodd, I asked Chelsie's fan club if they would take a picture with her. These are many of her favorite nurses. The picture was taken outside the elevator bank on Dodd 4. She did a very good job tonight, as usual, and I was very proud of her, as usual.

Visiting a patient. Her carriage had turned into a pumpkin at this point, and she was ready to go home. The real issue, it turns out, was that she needed to um, go. We took care of all this before left, so I was a little surprised and felt bad I did not address the issue sooner. Bad mom. Someone call DPS for her.

After we got home, we worked on "hold". She did a very good job, I was very, very proud of her. As a reward, she got to hold her bird wing. Over the past few weeks, she had been shaking it and trying to bite it, which was not a good thing, so I took it away from her. A few days of practice and she seemed to know she was not supposed to do that. Yep, people, I touched that dead bird wing. :)

Civic Duty Complete

This morning, I mailed in my absentee ballot containing my votes. After waiting three hours to vote in the last presidential election, I determined not only that three hours would probably be half the time I spent in line this election, but that I did not have the patience to wait in such a line. Absentee ballot was clearly the best choice for me.

I think my choice of candidate is relatively clear, however, I am slowly coming to acceptance that it is unlikely my candidate of choice will win. I have done what I can, made my peace and now just have to wait and see how the whole process shakes out.

On my ballot, there were many public bond issuance, many of which I voted for - and contributing to my own increases in taxes. One thing I feel is being VERY overlooked in this election season is the aging nature of our American infrastructure....the three greatest examples I can think of in this arena is the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the many near misses at airports because of an aging air traffic control systems and the gross failure of the levies in NO during Hurricane Katrina. I have become very aware of this after working for my company for just a very short period of time - an area of great focus for my company in the gas distribution business (ie, the business that provides gas to homes and businesses) is the replacement of aged pipe in the ground. Much of our pipe is 80 year old bare steel pipe starting to corrode and cause gas leaks. We have a program in place committing hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 5 years to replacing this pipe in the ground. Also, cities and local municipalities are being affected as well, as they need funds to replace aging school buildings and public safety equipment (ie, police and fire trucks) David's engine is regularly taken out of service for repair - their main engine is ~ 6 yrs old with close to 150,000 miles on it, hard miles I might add.

So please take these thoughts under consideration as you head to your local polls this election season. It may cost you some dollars, but these are important dollars that impact the health and welfare of every citizen.

While your at it, be sure to cast your vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Field Work Lesson


While most parents cart their children all over town to tap dance, gymnastics and football, I signed my little precious up for her first lesson in the rules of field trial/hunt tests today. We drove out to Frazeysburg, Oh (where???) and met with Mitch White of Gamekeepers Retrievers for our lesson. Mitch is very well known throughout the state of Ohio in the arena of field training.
So off we drove to Deliverance - literally. The last 5 miles to the house was on a gravel road, and the last intersection to get to the gravel road was marked as "Dangerous Intersection", and that it was. Good thing there are no other cars on the road to Deliverance...anyway, she did awesome for her first lesson. Here are some of our homework assignments for the next month:
1) "hold" - she has to learn to have a very "soft" mouth to hold the birds she retrieves. This is accomplished through a series of exercises where I stick my hand in her mouth and force her to "mouth", hold my hand without biting it and release when I say give. She is somewhat confined while this is done - attached to something similar that you would see at a groomer. Not her favorite, but she got it toward the end. A little bit of practice and she will have it down. I took one thumb chomp tonight and decided I was not too into that, so we have to work on getting this down - quickly.
2) Line Drills - throwing a bumper toy in succession. By throwing the toy in succession, she will learn to bypass the scent of the previous throw, which will be a critical skill down the road as she learns to retrieve multiple birds in one hit.
3) Y line drills - same concept as above, only the bumpers go in different directions. This is to get them used to going in different directions in one hit. If we seriously pursue this, at some point down the road in a trial, 2-4 birds will be thrown and she will have to remember where they are. She struggled a little with this, but always found the bumper and brought it right back.
4) Whistle response - I need to get a whistle (like I used to have when I refereed soccer) and teach her to respond to some basic whistle commands. One whistle means sit, three means come. She was getting that toward the end of the session today. Food rewards should help this command easily and quickly.
One other thing that was very positive in all this was her response (or lack thereof) to gunshots. Yes, gunshots - when you live in Deliverance, no one can hear the shots! They were of course blanks, but he shot that gun off while she was running to retrieve the bumper and she never broke stride. We will see if that continues, but that was a very big hurdle to climb over initially.
Most important, she had FUN. His property is quite unique, with lots of GREAT smells - she came across some bird scents before the field, and was just having a grand old time. Mitch walked away with all the training bumpers, which was very confusing to her initially, but she got the "game" of Mitch throwing it, me releasing her and her bringing the bumper back (and handing it right to me!) very quickly. All of her natural instincts were on display today, and I was very happy to see her just loving the environment.
So, in addition to her weave poles, rear crosses and distance work of agility, we can now add the above drills. Hopefully, they will go well and she continues to have fun. Our next lesson will probably be sometime in early December. I was very proud of my little retriever tonight!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

King size that, please

Good thing I have a king size bed. This is rare...usually when Scoobi Doo jumps on the bed, Chelsie jumps down and walks over to my side of the bed to come up and snuggle. What does mom do? Pulls the covers back and invites her up. Clearly, we know who runs this household...

Improvement Needed

...on cooking for one person. I told myself when I got my new kitchen that the only way I could justify the $$ output was to cook in it, and I do. I have finally mastered buying only what I eat at the grocery store, now I just have to work at getting better at not making gallons of stuff when I do cook. This was a broccoli cheese casserole on the back of a pasta box - it was ok, needed something more to give it a little bit of a kick, but not bad. Good thing since I have about 800 lbs of it. It is also the season where I like to use my crockpot, but again, that makes gallons of everything. Whats a girl to do????

As it is that season, here is one of my favorite crockpot recipes, which will be a staple in this household for the upcoming season:

TACO SOUP

1.5 lbs of ground turkey, browned
4 cups tomato juice
1 jar of salsa (personal favorite - peach mango)
1 envelope of taco seasoning (use low sodium to better your health)
1 large can of blackbeans

Toss in the pot on low and enjoy when you get home. Top it with some sour cream and cheese, eat it using some nachos...YUMMY! For thicker soup, you can add more beans. Bon Apetite!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beautiful Flowers

One of my dad's many hobbies in retirement is growing orchids. For those of you that are orchid challenged, they thrive in warm, humid climate - which accurately describes the climate here in Ohio, right? When I went to Singapore last year, they were all over the place, which makes sense given that in the "cold" part of the year, it was about 90 and humid! Anyway, my dad has the basement all rigged up - has a really nice hand build platform that raises the plants closer to the light in an attempt to keep them warm...but his basement does not seem to hold a candle to the happy room in my house! The sun hits that room in the afternoon when it is at its warmest. I close the door to keep the heat in and they just take off, as evidenced by above!

These above are some of the recent ones I have been babysitting...the picture really does not do them justice. The ones on the top right are called "Dancing Ladies", as when they bloom, their flowers look like dancing ladies. The one on the left is one of my favorites...I got it when my parents went on their last trip and never gave it back. The first time I saw it, I told to dad to watch out, that I was going to swipe it...and it still managed to get to my house! Hopefully it won't be leaving for awhile...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Massage Therapy

Don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the athletic ability the good Lord bestowed upon me. It took me all over the country, paid for my college education and has provided me great pleasure from a recreational perspective. It has also come with many aches and pains, some more easily dealt with than others.

I have been dealing with extreme discomfort in my neck and shoulder area for a long, long time now. No doubt working behind a desk all day is helping the cause... Modern medicine has not been able to do anything for me - I have Xrays and have been to many different doctors, trying to get some relief, as it impacts every moment of the day. Lately, I have been waking up, barely able to move my neck because the muscles are so knotted up. Two weeks ago, I decided I did not have to live like this anymore, and decided I was going to try something new - massage therapy. I figured if nothing else, it could bring me some short term relief, and maybe over time, bring some longer term relief. Last night, I had my first visit with my new messus, Page. She is conveniently located right around the corner from the house (by Bravo) and has fairly reasonable prices. We had a long conversation about what has gotten me to this point and that this will not be an overnight fix, and I know this. My treatment last night was 55 minutes - I endured about 45 minutes of pleasure and about 10 minutes of excruciating pain. While I have some extremely sore spots (mainly below the hairline on my neck) overall, I am feeling much, much better. I have not been able to move my neck like this in the morning for weeks now, and can't believe how much better I feel. I go back in 2 weeks for another 30 minute massage, and can hardly wait.

I know it may seem like a luxury to some, but this is a matter of functionality to me. I only wish I had given in sooner, and saved myself the frustration and discomfort I have endured, mostly over the past 6 months. I urge all of you out there to occasionally treat yourself to a massage, as it not only makes you feel great, but helps improve your circulation and assists in ridding your body of toxins that build up in your muscles over time.

TGIF...I am at home waiting for the sprinkler guy to come winterize my system, and also just got the first estimate for replacement of my downspout pipe...$2350. Yeah right. How creative can I get in rigging up some pipe to have it drain into my backyard at about $100?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ode to my FABULOUS agility partner...

Last night was our last class of this session, so we ran courses. There were only 4 of us there, so we ran a lot of courses - which is literally conditioning work for the dog, because courses are like a minute of sprinting, jumping, etc. I actually pulled out about 15 minutes early - last night was also the last soccer game of this session, and there was some serious bumper chasing going on at the game. We had to use the bumper last night because it is bright orange, and it was so dark I needed that bright orange hue in case she ran the opposite way that I threw it...so she was a little tired to start out with.

She was fabulous last night - ran her little heart out and had so much fun doing it. Hit her contacts, did some distance work, took some jumps at tough angles...she worked her little black lab butt off for me. I was so proud of how far we have come as a team and how much fun we have doing agility.

GOOD DOG, CHELSIE BELLE, GOOD DOG. Mom is very proud of you and has a great time doing agility with you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Plumber w/ A Sense of Humor

One of my agility friends sent this to me and one of my cousins looked this up and I guess this guy is for real. Given my recent plumbing issues, I needed this to laugh about them.

Oh the joys...

So last week I gave Columbus Pest Control $1400 to deal with the termite problem, and this morning the plumbers are here dealing with the downspout. I absolutely want to vomit. As I guessed correctly, the downspout pipe has some issues...they put the camera in the pipe at the back of the house and it made it 27 feet before it could go no further due to the pipe being "crushed". Next shot was to put it in at the curb and it made it 16 feet. Proper remedy to address the problem is to just replace the whole pipe - at an estimated 4 digit cost. The guy said somewhere between $1200 - $1500 - and for good measure, he threw in there that they are not responsible for any irrigation lines they may break in the process. Of course, the yard will be in various states of destruction....yet again. I seriously think I could go throw up right at this exact moment....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not sure how I feel about this....

I had a doctor appt yesterday, and after weighing me, the lasy says:

"You have only gained three pounds this year".

Seriously? I am supposed to be happy about this???

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is your state motto?

I was chatting with a friend of mine, who had mentioned she had read a book on Mt Rushmore and how it seemed like many of our accomplishments as a country were many years ago. Oddly enough, Mt. Rushmore is a place I would really like to see...so I responded to her this was a place I would like to see and that "under god, the people rule" in SD.

I was curious as to what the motto of the great State of Ohio was..."with god, all things are possible".

What is your state motto and its origin?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Congratulations Diane and MACH Who and Alicia and MACH Lily

Our departure from Cleveland this afternoon was delayed due to the MACH run of my friend Diane and her little sheltie Who. (they run at a 16 in jump height) Diane and Who needed ONE DOUBLE Q this weekend for their MACH. After difficulty on the standard runs all weekend, they pulled it together today and managed to get their double Q. It was a beautiful run and a bunch of us stood up in the stands and cheered when Who cleared the last jump! Great job Diane and Who! Also, congratulations to Alicia and the Lily the Superpoodle, who earned her MACH last weekend in Dayton.

We were 2 for 4 this weekend - we had some trouble Q'ing in standard this weekend. Yesterday, my little bean decided she needed to exit the weave poles and go sniff the ground...UM, NO WAY!! I was not happy...according to some of my spectating friends, that message came through loud and clear when I left her at the end of the A frame and told her emphatically to SPOT. She has NEVER done that to me. I vowed to put her in a "down" and take her off the jumpers course if she did that again, but an emphatic "you weave" seemed to do the trick. She was awesome on jumpers and got 2 Q's and 12 MACH points - 6 pts per run, a record for us.

Out standard run this morning was interesting. She ran it beautifully - until her handler led her right by the weaves. Boo on the handler. The weaves and the tunnel were literally right next to each other, and you came one direction in the tunnel and went back the other way in the weaves. In this particular run, it did not matter which side of the weaves I was on, as we were going to the table and that was really the only thing in her line of sight...I opted to try and get her on my left, she seems to weave better on my left and I wanted to give her some weave confidence. Unfortunately, she came out of the tunnel and found me so quickly that I did not guide her with my arm into the weaves...I said "weave", but my arm was not out to queue her to weave. She came right up to me and looked at me like - aren't we supposed to weave? She properly queues to my body position as opposed to verbal command, and today was no different. Good girl Chelsie Belle. Mommy is sorry she screwed that up, but takes ZERO responsibility for your little sniffing escapade yesterday!

Our run really got interesting after that. After properly doing the weaves, we headed up to the table. For some reason, she literally ran around it. I just happened to look down...and there was poop!!! I said out loud - OMG, there is poop! The judge comes running over...and tells me to finish my run. We do, she calls for the clean up crew and then let me approach the table again. It was very clear that Chelsie avoided the table because of the you know what, and she wanted to give her the option of properly approaching the table, to let her know she was a good dog and had not done anything wrong. I was very grateful for this - we took a couple of obstacles and then she ran right up on to the table. I made a big deal of it - and was very grateful to the judge. She let me do it because we had already NQ'ed at that point - if that had caused us not to Q, I would have been allowed to run again. Typically, when a potty incident happens on the course, the dog is disqualified. As unreal as this sounds, we do not know who the pooper was...it was one of those things where it was just a little, but clearly enough to be distracting. I was glad the judge had given me an opportunity for her to go to the table again and glad she took the table with no issue. She was rewarded with lots of praise and cookies.

Of course, our fannies are whooped tonight...mom has had better nights, I just don't feel all that great and my neck and shoulder are really sore. I am icing as we speak and have a massage scheduled for Thursday, given modern medicine seems to be able to do NOTHING for my growing discomfort. The place I am going is right around the corner from my house and I have heard nothing but good things about my messus, Page. Hopefully Page has the power of bringing me some relief...

We hope everyone has a great week!!!