Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bohemian Rhapsody

I heard this song in the car today as I went to meet my friend for lunch. I was about a junior in HS when "Wayne's World" came out, and actually saw that movie with my dad. We were on a weekend trip to Arizona to watch a college softball tournament, as many of the schools I was being recruited by were playing. We took a break from softball and went to a movie, and he agreed to see "Wayne's World" with me. To this day, when I hear the song, I think of seeing that movie with my dear old dad.

Welcome Austin

My friend Lara and her husband Jim welcomed baby Austin James last night at 9:07 pm. Lara is a good friend of mine from HS - one of 2 whom I have remained close with over the years. Mom and baby are well - hopefully sometime in the not too distant future I can make my way to Texas and see them.

Congrats Lara and Jim!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

We actually only made it down one side of the hall tonight...and one room on the other side of the hall. A few weeks ago I blogged about a patient named Angel - she loves Chel, and as we were leaving, her husband and son came in and we had time for one more room, so we ran down the hall to see Angel.

We saw a few people we have seen for the past few weeks. Our first visit was to a lady who we saw for the first time last week - she is a real nice lady, loves Chelsie. We sat down and talked for awhile. She had a rough couple of days, but had a lot of visitors for the past day or so, and I think we capped off her evening. Real nice lady.

We also saw a brain surgery patient we had seen for the last three weeks, she was doing well - got up and took the stairs today and gets a free pass for a few hours this weekend. Chelsie licked her, which mommy did not care for, but she did not mind..I think it made her day. This lady's roommate was the one who broke my heart tonight.

Last week, she was getting her fingers worked on while we were there, so she just admired from a distance. Her fingers looked awful, and very painful - they did not look much better today. Turns out she had a history of kidney stones, and on April 13, along with her kidney stone, contracted a kidney infection and went septic. Long story short, people who get an infection that goes septic (enters the bloodstream) do not survive. My Sharon (blind friend) lost her mom to a bladder infection that went septic. The infection gets in the bloodstream and usually by the time it is discovered, the damage is too great. Well, this lady survived the infection, but it wreaked havoc on her body. Her fingers were in bad shape because of circulation issues, and both legs had to be amputated at the shin because of circulation issues. She had such a great attitude - said yesterday was the first day she broke down because they want her to go home next week and she does not think she can care for her wounds by herself, as the dressings have to be changed twice a day. She knows she is lucky to be alive and knows she will be walking sometime in the future thanks to prosthetics. Hard to imagine having that kind of attitude, especially knowing the sickness has left you disfigured and likely, she will be permanently disabled due to the condition of her hands when this is all done, which is likely to be 6-12 mos. Humbling to say the least.

Lastly, we saw Angel, the stroke patient. What a difference a week makes! The big motorized wheelchair was gone and Angel looked great. Moving real well, eating real well, but most importantly starting to get some speech back! Very garbled, but I understood her. She laughed her terrific laugh for us as she normally does. They are such a nice family, and in conversation with her husband, have great support from their community. Social services at Dodd found them a grant to help make their house accessible and a local contractor has donate his services - Lowe's has also donated the wood. Her husband said he has not had to cook since Angel has been in the hospital, and knows he is very lucky to have such support. Angel was supposed to go home next week, but is making so much progress, a joint decision has been made for her to stay another week beyond that. She is going to therapy twice a day, and it has been determined the extra week will greatly benefit her. Her husband said tonight it is both a blessing and curse, but he knows staying at Dodd is the best thing for her. They are such good people.

Many of the patients tonight were very sick people, in one way or another. I always leave there grateful for my mental and physical faculties, and tonight was no different. Over the past few mos, as we have done agility and volunteering on the same night, our agility has really taken off - I think it because I leave Dodd realizing what is important and we just have fun. Be sure to say a little prayer of thanks for your health and the health of the ones you love tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Joys of Happy Home Ownership...

Oh the joys of home I have said before, there are certain things that are a MAN's job (despite what B and Nat say). I had the joy this weekend of 2 of those things...obviously the first one being mulch (that is 30 bags right there). It is a good thing the finished product looks good because the process to get there is fricking back breaking labor. I do love how it turned out though. All the labor reinforced the necessity of an irrigation system, which will hopefully be here shortly. The back breaking labor pretty much knocked me out on Sunday - I got up to feed Chel and open the back door for the animals, but then I went back to bed until almost 1PM. Um, how pathetic is that???? But is felt good, I had not been sleeping well despite serious physical activity (including 2 days of kickboxing)

The second man chore I did this weekend was the removal of dead bees from my deck. Those little varmints picked the wrong deck to eat - Lonnie from Columbus Pest control assured me he could do something about them, and he has. Now they are dropping dead on my deck, and although I would rather have them dead on the deck that boring holes in it, it is still DISGUSTING to pick them up. I picked up 9 yesterday (with a broom and dustpan) but just thinking about it grosses me out.

Maybe my old age is turning me into a pansy....

The Park is Open!

Much to Chelsie's delight, the Barkpark is open!! Barkpark is a not for profit organization sponsored by a lady here in Dublin, who has graciously made her 10 acre plot of land into an absolute haven for dogs. The property is fenced in, has a pond that is cleaned with animal safe chemicals, they have a bbq every weekend and it is a ton of fun. Since inception, it has raised over $850k for animal rescue. Mention of the word "Barkpark" in my house ensues hysteria, as does turning onto Glick Rd from Riverside drive - I have to listen to her carry on like a banshee for about 5 miles, whining and crying and barking out the window. As if I might get her there and then not let her out of the car.

It works like this - I pay a membership fee of $150 for the summer and then $5 every time we go. Each weekend benefits certain animal rescue groups - for example, this weekend was Franklin County Animal Shelter. Barkpark's founder is very, very active with FC. They had all kind of goodies there, but what was most important to Chel was what she could chase out of the water. By the time I pay our $5, she has already been to the pond and is soaking wet. Here are a few pictures from her first day at the park.

One other great thing about the park is there are always lots of toys to chase out of the water...the new toys this year are the little rubber duckies as seen above. As a duck dog, Chelsie felt it necessary to hoard the ducks - I was not able to capture her swimming with 2 more in her mouth. The funny thing is, not just any rubber duckie will do - if I throw one and it is not the one she wants, I have to throw another one - which is why she was swimming at me with 2 in her mouth, because the first one I threw was not the "right" one.
Coming to mom with the all important rubber duckie.
While there are a number of free dog parks in the city of Columbus, I choose to be a member of Barkpark because of all the fantastic resue work it supports. Hats off to all the people who do animal rescue - one thing I know I could not do. All the puppies here are current on their vet records and agressive dogs are removed from the park, so it is a relatively safe environment. We have only ever gotten into 2 skirmishes at the park, both of which we very minor relative to the one that took place in my driveway a few mos ago!!
Thanks Marcia, we love the park!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dogs Rule, Humans Drool

Last weekend, I had the good fortune to babysit the nutty, lovable chocolate lab. As far as Chel is concerned, El snores, farts, leaves the toys all over the living room and pushes her way in front of Chelsie at mealtime. Underneath it all, Chel loves El, but is always glad to see her go home. El is much more of a cuddler than Chel and when I cuddle with Ella, she goes nuts...I suppose this is why she is always glad to see Ella go home!!!

The apple does not fall far from the tree...

My dad has a green thumb...has beautiful plants in his house and yard and is very gracious to share them with me. As they are on yet ANOTHER European vacation, I am babysitting some orchids. I have three beautiful, flowering orchids.

I am proud to say the green thumb has made it to me. After 4 years of pure sweat equity in my landscape, it is established itself beautifully and I get very happy when I see it. Here are a few snapshots of the fruits of my labor.

My own personal favorite yard decoration - her collar matches the bucket!! She is such a good dog she does not need to be on leash while supervising yard work, and always comes running when her mom calls her.
The second plant to the left of the gas meter is one I am very proud of. It was in a different bed and not thriving, so I moved it (moving plants is a PAIN) It liked the move and is now doing very well. I have to celebrate the small things...

The above and below pictures are from Monday of this week. Begonias (the flowers above), salvia and geraniums were what I chose for my garden. I have a very strange sun angle on the house, so I need a lot of plants that can grow in a variety of conditions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stories of Caring

The volunteer theme at OSU this year is "Stories of Caring", and our pet pal coordinator has asked us to contribute something to be shared with the volunteer, staff and hospitals. Below is the contribution I submitted as our "story of caring".

Team: Nicole Paloney and Chelsie Belle, F/Black Lab (Dodd 4)

Chelsie and I have been volunteering on Dodd 4 for about 15 months now. I was so proud of us for accomplishing my goal of being a certified therapy team and was very exited to start "sharing" her. I knew she would do great with the patients, but in no way was I ready for the impact our volunteering would have on my life.

As a patient, Dodd Hall is a very challenging place to be. Many of our patients are very mobility challenged, and endure long, exhausting days of rehab. Many of them are not from Columbus, so it is difficult for their families to be able to spend time with them. But week in and week out, the patients continue to work hard - while we tell every one we hope to only see them once, it is very rewarding to come back week after week and see improvements. Because it is not always easy for our patients to move around to see the dog, Chelsie has learned a new command called "chair". "Chair" instructs her to jump in a chair beside the patient's bed, so they can easily see her and touch her. The patients love this.

Weekly, I am reminded not to guess who might or might not want to see the dog. I walk by a room and decide they probably aren't interested in seeing her, yet oddly enough, those are the patients that really want to see her. Chelsie knows who the "dog people" are - and when she finds them, she sits in her chair for as long as we stay there. If "dog people" are identified, I usually cue them to the fact she loves to have her ears scratched...and when they find the right place, she will lean her head into their hand, sigh and groan. What this little series of events does for the patients cannot be put into words.

As I looked back through the blog I keep of our visits, what I realized is that each visit and each patient are unique. Every time I leave Dodd Hall, I am reminded of how life can be irreparably changed within seconds. A stroke, a broken leg, a car accident - whatever it is, a few seconds can change the course of someone's life. I am reminded weekly of the greatest gift I have been given, and that is my health. No matter how crazy the schedule gets, or how tired I am, our volunteer night remains very high at the top of the priority list. I love to see the looks on people's faces as we trot through the hospital on our way to Dodd. I have to say, Chelsie is right proud of herself, and knows she is doing a good thing.

People ask why we chose Dodd - when we first started, there were not a lot of therapy teams there and they had requested some pet pal teams, so that was where we landed. It is an environment that seems to be mutually beneficial to Chelsie and the patients, so onward and upward! We look forward to our weekly visits to Dodd and hope that our patients do as well!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"You're fat"

Really? That's what some girl on the soccer field told me yesterday when I got the ball away from her, that the only reason I could do that was because "I was fat" Really? Are we in first grade here?

It took every ounce of discipline I had not to show her what my fat a$% could do to her sorry little a#$. She was very petite and I probably had a few inches and probably not as many lbs on her as she thought I did, but at any rate, she got in my head and I was fuming. She was obviously afraid of my reaction, as 30 seconds later, she called for a sub. I told her next time that she was going to talk the talk, stick around to see who can walk the walk.

As mad as I was, I would never do anything cheap or intentional to hurt someone - this is supposed to be a fun, calorie burning experience for us fatties. But it was fun to make her think I would...and the other girls on my team are as evil as I am, so next time we play them, we are going to have some fun messing around with her....

Where do they come up with this stuff?

We are very fortunate to have a great relationship with one of Joe's neighbors. At times, you can call us the Paloney-Holden family. They ate Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with us, my mom watches the kids, Christyn picked Joe up from the hospital when he had his table saw accident because my parents and I were out of town, when we had 10 feet of snow in March, Joe used the snow blower and cleared their get it. They have 2 kids, Matthew and Nathan, who are 9 and 5. Their house operates under martial law, with Christyn as the general (Dave is a pilot and is gone a lot) In short, these kids have great manners and are expected to behave and if they don't, there are consequences - and they know it. They refer to my parents and Mr. and Mrs. Paloney, and Joe and I as Mr. Joe and Miss Nicole.

Yesterday, we were at the lunch table and Dave was getting after Nathan for putting sugar on his frosted flakes at breakfast - telling him his nice white teeth were going to rot if he kept eating that much sugar, and that he would have a mouth "full of lead like daddy did". Christyn made some comment about how she sometimes would like to knock the rest of his teeth out sometimes (jokingly) and Nathan got real quiet and looked at her and said:

"Mommy, Jesus would not like that very much".

Of course, Joe, Dave, Christyn and I were cracking up, and we had to stop because this was a very serious matter as far as Nate was concerned. Chrsityn quickly assured him he was right, that was not nice and apologized to Dave. That satisfied Nathan, who then asked "May I please be excused from the table" very quickly (that is the only way you leave the table in that house) We had a good laugh about it after both of them left.

Where do they come up with this stuff??

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Heart Bryce

So, sometime in the last week, I got a phone call from Bryce (B's little boy) It was the cutest thing...he called me and told me he wanted Chelsie Belle and I to come over and visit him. It made my day.

So, today, I made good on his request. I took the day off and went over there this afternoon. Byrce was not home from school yet, but got home just as B and I were about to take a walk with Chelsie and Teagan (who is very adorable, by the way). So we turned around and went back, and Mark showed Bryce that mommy and I were walking back toward him. He ran at us full speed ahead and gave B a big hug and held her hand all the way home.

We enjoyed a very nice afternoon - we visited, watched a video about potty in which I was re-educated about certain body parts that are made for "pee pee and poo poo", played with his train, threw the ball for Chelsie and ate dinner. After dinner, it was time for us to go to our softball game, so Bryce gave me a hug goodbye and went to watch us go on the front porch. In the winter, he and Mark stand in the window when I leave and wave, and I flash my lights to him. Since it was nice, they sat on the bench when we left. As I was leaving, he was yelling goodbye to us - and then he said "Bye Cole, I love you!" Talk about making your heart melt...I love you too Brycie!

He is also fantastic with his little sister...loves her to pieces. She is pretty darn lovable...B might have disagreed with that at 3:45 this morning when she was up!!!!

Mark and B, you guys are wonderful parents and have done such a good job with Bryce. He is a fantastic little guy. I can hardly wait to see how his little sister grows up. Thanks for letting me come over and visit and for feeding me dinner - I need to make a meal and bring it up to you guys!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gone to Bed

Sometimes, Chelsie is so tired she feels the need to "go to bed". She is not picky about which bed she sleeps in, and she has been known to "go to bed" in more than one bed in the same day. Usually, it is the bed in the buckeye room or mom's bed, for some reason, the bed in the happy room does not seem to make her happy (a dog hair free zone is how I like to look at it). In fact, she has been known to throw all 11 pillows off mom's bed. She likes to lay in the buckeye room because she can look out the window and guard her house. As you can she, she was especially tired today, and her nap required that she strip the bed all the way down to the mattress.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watch out for your Idenity

I spent the last 2 days at a conference called "Emerging Trends and Issues in Fraud Investigation" put on by the Auditor of the State of Ohio. I needed the continuing education credit for both my CPA and CFE, and it was really cheap (16 hrs for $150 - which is DIRT cheap, actually) Not that I pay for it, but...

Anyway, one of the workshops I went to today was in regards to identity theft. The orator was an investigator in the Chicago Police department, and he was fabulous. I am sure all of you out there are aware identity theft is increasing exponentially as we speak - in 2006, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimated a $652 billion dollar loss related to identity theft. It is growing exponentially every year - right Nat???

I am sure you are all very careful - I am relatively obsessed with this actually. I had a good friend find out her identity was stolen when she went to get student loans for grad school. Myself, I have had credit card info stolen and have had to deal with credit agencies to get a warning put on my account if someone tried to open credit with my SSN.

At any rate, I wanted to make sure you were all very aware of just how common this is and how we unwittingly put ourselves at risk every day by for being the victims of this crime (it can happen in any and all retail Establishments) I have included the links to the FTC and DOJ website, they have really good information on how to protect yourself against identity theft. I have pulled my name off all those credit card offers and my junk mail has decreased substantially. Additionally, I also joined a credit watch sponsored by Equifax ( Cost me $15 bucks a month, but I can set notification limits on my credit cards of when they increase over certain balances, and have gotten notices from them telling my my Chase card went from 0-$100. The $15 is well worth it in my mind.

Anyway, here are the sites for further information. Take a bite out of all those unscrupulous folks out there and don't let them steal the good credit we have all worked all our lives for.

I Graduated...AGAIN!!

Not really, it is just a certificate stating I completed my program, but it looks pretty darn official. Welcome back Monday and Wednesday nights! Another decoration for the Buckeye room.

(Taken with my spiffy new camera, which I have managed not to lose yet)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to measure success

In our world today, success is often measured by material things...houses we live in, cars we drive, toys we have, vacations we take, you get it. Tonight, I have a new definition of success. We were in a room visiting with a patient when one of the nurses, a regular, I think her name is Ann, came in and said "Mrs. X is asking for you, she just got back today and wants to see the dog". That patients remember us and ask for us, that I can use the Chelsonator to make someone's day better, is a very high metric of success in my world.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What was I thinking?

Yesterday, I blogged about how appreciative I was of Joe volunteering to haul our agility equipment back to our class facility - to show him how appreciative I was, I volunteered to do his laundry. Well, he did not come back last night like he said he would - he needed a nap too, so I thought he might forget about his laundry. WRONG! The basket was waiting for me tonight, placed nicely in front of the washer. It is now 10:10 and I am on load #2...however, I do have a bargain to hold up. At least he carried it downstairs for me. As much as I give him grief, he IS a good brother. I will even carry it up tonight so he can see it is waiting for him. What a sister.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Agility Weekend

Well, it was another long agility weekend...we got home at 5 tonight, and I think it was sometime around 9 when we finally came to, all three of us. (Joe's dog Ella is here) My parents graciously allow us to use the truck they use to pull the trailer to pull our trailer we use to haul agility equipment, and being as they are somewhere between Chicago and Frankfurt right now, Joe graciously agreed to pull the trailer from the trial site back to our facility where we have classes. He took the truck home and needed a nap himself, so El is having a slumber party here tonight. She snores loudly - like sawing logs.

Chel was awesome this weekend. We only have 2 Q's to show, but she was great - did everything her mom asked of her, including going right by a jump yesterday. We teach the dogs to "come to hand", so body and arm position is very important. When I hold my arm down at my side, that means she needs to come to my side - small problem when you need to go over a jump along the way. I pulled her right by a jump, so we got an off course. On a positive note, she responded perfectly to the command I gave her, which is very critical in tight courses, such as our jumpers run today. The jumps were very close together, but she never once made a move off course. unfortunately, she knocked one bar down - not sure why, it was not the jump I thought she would have knocked, but I will take it. Today, the weather was awful - hard rain on a metal roof, some thunder to complement it. One dog was at the top of the A frame when I huge clap of thunder sounded off...I prayed that would not happen when we ran (it was our jump height that was running) because Chel does not like thunder, at all. A couple dogs took some serious spills off the A frame and dog walk today, one of them was from our club. Dart, one of my instructors dogs, went up the A frame at an angle so fast he could not slow down and went flying off the top...thankfully, Dave was right there and literally caught him. Dart is a border collie that weighs maybe 40 lbs, but it was scary nonetheless. He was fine and finished the rest of the course perfectly. Scared the rest of us.

Well, this household is exhausted so we are going to bed. Hope this finds everyone well and have a great week!

Friday, May 9, 2008


I have successfully fixed my anti virus program!! It took another 40 minute chat session with someone in India, but it has successfully been downloaded!! Woo hoo! Now it is time for bed - it is 11PM and we have to be up for our competition tomorrow. She told me she was going to get three Q's...


Ugh - Kelli, I feel your pain!! It is now 12:23AM...and I have been in a chat with people from McAffee (my virus protection) for the last 2 hrs. For some reason, over the past few weeks, my virus protection has not been updating, which causes me a small degree of paranoia. The IT guys in my department regularly hack into each other's email and think its funny - so if they do it, I can only imagine what freaks are out there following this message right now...

Anyway, the chat with McAffee was actually helpful, but it has taken three hrs to get where I am. I had to send in a request - I could not call because my computer was over a year old and there is a fee for service when your computer is over a year old...I hope you are thinking "rip off" along with me. Anyway, I had to uninstall and then reinstall - there was something wrong with the McAffee site and I was not able to reinstall, but at least I know what the problem is. For that, I will be a ZOMBIE at work tomorrow.

I also finally got a new camera tonight, you need a PHD to operate that as well. I did manage to get the memory card and battery in and have started to navigate through the book. Going into Circuit City tonight was interesting too - I swear it took the people 30 minutes to check me out. During this time, phones were ringing, customers complaining, things were beeping...I was trying to be patient, but by that point it was 8:30 and I had not been home yet (met my parents at Olive Garden for dinner, they had let Chelsie out and fed her before the met me) On the bright side, I have a really slick little camera, an 8 megapixel Canon. The guy could have sold me on $100 more, but asked what I was going to use it for and said I did not need the 10 megapixel one. It is dark purple and really cute...

I am off to bed...I am sure I will be high functioning when I make it to work...later today....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My little girl is growing up...

After 6 years, I think my little girl is growing up. For our therapy work, I have to trim her nails about every 2 weeks - she HATES it. I have only drawn a TINY amount of blood once, but she still carries on like I am trying to kill her. I have found if I can lay her on my bed and lay her on her side, I can see the bottom of her feet (she has those black nails that make this even harder) and how far I need to cut. Well, last night, I took at look at her toes - and got a look of death from her that basically get "leave my feet alone". But I got out the clippers and she just laid there - only pulled her paw away once and only got up once. She came back when I called her and let me finish. I told her that if she would just hold still and let me do this, we would be done a lot faster. She ignored me and went and got the princess squeaky toy she won this weekend. Maybe we are turning a corner with this??

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We made it!

Tonight was our usual Tuesday night madness. It started when I left work late and everyone and their mother was on Frantz Rd. No joke, it took me over 20 minutes to go to miles - I felt like I was back in California. Anyway, I literally walked in the door, changed, fed the girl and off we went.

Tonight, we made it all the way down the hall and where there for over 90 minutes. We actually probably left the last room before they were ready for us to go, but it was 8:10 and we had class in Gahanna at 8:30. She was fantastic tonight, as usual.

Our first room was a lady we had seen last week - her son was there this week and last week and remembered both our names. She was glad to see us. Her roommate was also very nice, had a large cast on one of her feet and had muscular dystrophy. She was so glad to see Chel - her husband has been bringing their dog and she has been going to see it outside. My reminder of not to guess which patients may or may not want to see her was right after that, as there was this big burly Harley looking dude in the next room who loved her. I said hi, he barely acknowledged me and when I asked him if he wanted to see the dog, he immediately perked up. He was a dog person, and she knew it and loved it. She shook his hand and he found her second favorite spot - her ears. She just sat there and leaned her head into his hand, in pure heaven - of course, no one - not mom, grandma, grand paw or the staff at Dodd - pay any attention to her.

The patient that will stick with me from tonight is a lady named Angel. I was visiting the patient in the other room and they were trying to move Angel back into bed. She was making what I thought were groaning sounds, but it was really just about the only sound she was capable of making. While they were trying to move her, her mom petted Chel - and then asked Chel if she was ready to go see an Angel. Angel had a stroke - her movement was rapidly improving, she moved her arms pretty well and stood on her own for 20 minutes today but her speech is still not up to par. Her family was really neat - her husband was a complete redneck and was great. You could tell he loved his wife - he was upbeat and positive and trying to make her laugh and punch him. I told him to watch it, one day he was going to get knocked out when he was not ready. He said it would not be the first time and he was in acceptance of "his place". Angel was very much responsive when you spoke to her, she just had a hard time getting the words out. They were a great family and I hope she makes a lot of progress.

The last room was an older lady that had brain surgery. Her husband and son were with her, and when we walked by, she was practically getting out of bed to come at us (she was a bigger woman) She said, bring me that dog - and immediately found Chelsie's other favorite spot, her back end. She loved Chelsie - loved petting her and loving on her. I felt bad we needed to go, but we did. I am thinking that if it rains on Thursday and we cannot play softball, I may take her back to Dodd. She was good for a lot of people there tonight.

She did really well at class, I was very proud of her. We practiced some skills that are hard for us, and she did them well. Now, she and kitty are in bed, which is where mom will be in a minute.

We hope this finds everyone well!

One of you out there needs to have a girl baby I can buy a gift and wrap it in this pink camo wrapping paper I saw at Target today. I was looking for wrapping paper and the selection just sucked - I walked up to the the baby section and saw this pink camo stuff and it was SOO cute. I was acutally looking for something to wrap my mom's mothers day present in, but I had a hard time giving Mags something in pink camo. I settled on pink with big flowers on it for mom.

Soo, do we have any takers??? Candace? Kelli? Meaghan? Natalie??? (haha, Nat)

Monday, May 5, 2008

DPS and Prozac

As today is Monday, my parents take care of Chelsie. They were up in Columbus, so they let her out a couple of times. About 3PM, I got a call asking if it was too early for her to eat. I said fine, give her 1/2 cup food and 1/2 cup green beans. Five minutes later I got another call, asking what kind of mother I was, there were no green beans in the freezer. She still got her food, sans the green beans.

For those of that don't know, grapes are fatal to dogs - they damage the kidneys irreversibly if not caught immediately. I had some old grapes in the refrigerator that needed to go, so I pitched them. I keep the trash can on a chair and to date, she has never pulled it off the chair...however, there is a first time for everything. Paranoia took over and I put the grapes outside. Prozac anyone?

And finally, on the way home from class, I stopped at Kroger and got 4 bags of green beans. The guy in the checkout gave me a really weird look, but I just smiled and went on my way. The baby angel got the rest of her dinner when I got home, complete with her veggies.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two tired puppies...

Well, it was another fun and exciting agility weekend. Chelsie got 8 qualifying scores toward her NADAC titles and about 4 first places. She ran better yesterday than she did today - she knocked bars in a few of her runs where she should have cleared them easily. That was really the only thing I was not too happy about. She was pretty wiped out today, and in her 4th run, ran really slow. We had 2 more runs after that, both of which I thought I could control the pace. I successfully controlled the pace on one, but not on the last one - it was a course of all tunnels, and based on how she had run earlier in the day, I thought I would have no problem keeping up with her. Well, I stuck her in front of the first tunnel and took off with her - usually I make her stay and work ahead of her, but since she was so tired, I thought she needed me a little closer. Wrong - she took off like a shot and for the first three tunnels, I ran as fast as I had all weekend. Finally, we came to a tunnel with a curve in it (which slows the dogs down) and I caught up. I was looking for oxygen when I was done.

After I ran Chelsie, I ran one of the best border collies that has ever been in our club on that same course - it is the dog of the lady that tells me Chelsie is too fat. Many people dream of having an agility dog like Zesta - not only is fast, but she is smooth. At 10 years old, she was still competitive nationally - Sue retired her from heavy compeition after Nationals in March, but Zesta still loves to play, and Sue is generous in giving novice handlers such as myself opportunities to run Zesta in courses where she cannot keep up with the dog. On the right course, you can stand in the middle and point and she goes. I was looking around for more oxygen when I was done. I did not qualify with Zesta - I tried to send her left to a tunnel and go right to keep up with her - not having run with me before, she came with me and went into the wrong end of the tunnel. We made a good recovery and finished strong.

This weekend has wiped the both of us out. I am finishing up laundry, as the competitions are on mulch and it gets everywhere. My dad is very generous and offers to pull the trailer with all the equipment in it with the truck they use to haul their camper, so we had a long day and then had to load all the equipment and take it back to the building. I am worn out...and have an 8AM meeting tomorrow morning. Fabulous. Chelsie is done...crawled into the front seat of the care on the way home to be near mom and is resting in bed. She was somewhat restless all day and I am trying to stay in one place so she can settle down, poor thing. She is breathing heavy next to me on the bed, all worn out. But she and her mom had fun.

We hope this finds everyone well. Have a great week!

Friday, May 2, 2008

I love Paris....

If I could speak a lick of French, I would have written the title in wild, adventurous Friday night included watching House Hunters International, which was in Paris. I have been to many wonderful European cities, but for some reason, Paris has stolen my heart...City of Lights, City of Love. I have walked along the Seine, been to the top of the Notre Dame, top of the Arc de Triumphe, overlooked the city at Sacre Coeur (Church of the Sacred Heart) and of course, the Eiffel tower. The most unfortunate thing about my visits to Paris is that they have been with my work homies and not with Mr. Right. Kudos to Tom Cruise for asking Katie to marry him at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The ultimate? To visit Paris one day with Mr. Right (Mr. Right Right, not Mr. Right now - which by the way has ended)

Off to bed, dreaming of Paris..reality will hit early enough when the alarm goes off at something ridiculous like 5:30. I mean, come on, I have to be pretty when we compete.....

The "Chelsonator" in Action

Here are a few pictures from our competition in April. We have trials this weekend and next weekend. Our trial this weekend is a warm up for next weekend - we get to run 6 runs per day this weekend!! It also means mom has 18 course changes per day - there are elite, open and novice runs in each class (the things I do for my child) These trials are neat because they tend to have young handlers just learning agility, and it is fun to see them with their dogs. All the fans are very supportive of the young handlers, which is really neat as well.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever of her - this is actually a fantastic form picture for agility. She is jumping over a triple jump, meaning the jump has three bars that get successively higher. The dogs have to be able to see the triple jump and adjust their stride so that they get up and over the jump. You can see this picture caught her in full extension, meaning that she had a good approach and good stride to the jump. Dogs that miss this take AWFUL looking spills into the bars and the dirt - we have only done that once and thankfully not at a compeition. This form makes mom very, very happy.

I had to get these 2 pictures to remind myself that she ABSOLUTELY knows what "spot" means. She is usually very, very good about it on the teeter (the bottom picture is the teeter) and the dog walk (not pictured here) but not so good about it on the A frame (middle picture) What you don't see is me in the photo screaming at her "YOU SPOT, YOU SPOT, YOU SPOT". Obviously she got it - this time.
She is mom's baby angel...and she told me this morning she will rest up to prepare for her competition tomorrow. She also told me that she is very glad our third trialing partner, her grammie, will be with her this weekend. Unfortunately, she does not know that grammie will not be with her next weekend, as the Paloney parents are hitting the road next week. Where to you ask? EUROPE - AGAIN!! This itinerary will include Italy, Turkey, France, Spain and Greece. One of the Italian stops is in Venice, where they will go on a Gondola ride through the canals...maybe one day.....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

In the news...

Which Free Agents Will Be Signed?

After a lackluster performance with the bats last week, the Free Agents redeemed themselves this evening at Coffey Fields on the campus of The Ohio State University, obliterating the competition tonight in 5 innings. The top of the 5th inning proved to be too much for the competition, as the Free Agents batted around 3 times and scored 15 runs to go ahead 25-6. The competition was unable to come back in the bottom of the 5th inning and went down in order again Free Agent ace Kristin Miller. The Free Agents offense was lead by second baseman Natalie Monroe and first baseman Nicole Paloney, each of whom had 4 hits.

The Free Agents showed spunk and determination this week after losing to the Bomber's last week. Last year, the Free Agents were 2-0 against the Bombers in the regular season and eventually beat them to win the league championship. Last week's struggles at the plate were long forgotten tonight, as the game ended in the 5th inning tonight due to the 15 run mercy rule. In addition to their bats being on fire tonight, the Free Agent's gloves were on fire as well, as solid defense was the name of the game tonight.

It is still too early in the season to see which, if any teams, express an interest in signing any players. Meanwhile, according to manager Kristin Miller, the team will attempt to continue down the same road they were on tonight. Stay tuned to see if this story is continued next week!!!