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 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:


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 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 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 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 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!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Off to the races...again...does it ever end?

According to my brother, you can sleep when your dead, so I guess the answer is no. :)

The craziness started tonight when I agreed to sub for softball - which in and of itself was not all that bad, however, there was one slight miscalculation in the whole deal. Apparently tomorrow is the last day of the Fairfield County Fair, and I had told David I would go with him...I thought it was next weekend. I was actually considering going up to Cleveland tomorrow night, as our competition is there this weekend and I am tired - not getting up to leave at 6AM would have been nice...but it was not meant to be. Next weekend is the Circleville Pumpkin show, I told him I would go there too...and after that down to Hocking Hills somewhere for a Unit 1 (Columbus Fire) picnic. THAT should be interesting, those boys are always an interesting crowd...I promise to take pictures of the 1,000 lb pumpkins.

We are competing in Cleveland this weekend (approximately same schedule Megs if you are looking for free entertainment before Alexis's naptime) and that is always a good show. She did ok in class the other night, not great - pulled out of weaves a few times and on the last time, got a pretty harsh verbal correction from her mom, which did the trick. I spent tonight cleaning, doing laundry, packing up her food, my food (I take sandwiches and snacks) and packing. The pest control people are coming tomorrow, so we will start the termite eradication process tomorrow. I also have the plumbers coming next week...that scares me a little. I am having them stick a camera in the down spout (at $140 per hour) and if they find it is clogged, they will blast it out with a high pressure water stream (at $250 per hr) I feel a "bend over and get screwed" coming here, but not much I can do about it...I have to fix this. Hopefully, we find the issue quickly and the blast yields swift, immediate results...

On that note, have a great weekend and we will chat with you again on Sunday. Please properly secure your curtain crawlers in their car seats!!!

Stark Raving Mad

Tonight, I saw something that absolutely makes me crazy - kids not buckled into car seats. Not only did I see it in one car, I saw it in 2, right in a row in the drive thru of McDonalds. I agreed to sub for softball tonight (for Heidi) and we had a game in between our 2, so I ran to get something to eat. I was in the parking lot, eating my grilled chicken chipotle bbq snack wrap (which is actually not too bad, considering the source) and saw this one car in the drive thru with 2 little kids moving around in the back seat. The mother was talking on the phone, not really paying attention to them until the one tried to climb in the front seat - and then she yelled at her. Um, HELLO? Anyone else see something wrong with this picture? I felt like yelling at her if she would buckle them in, she would not have that problem. Now, I was at Greenlawn and High, which is not the greatest of neighborhoods, but jeez, come on. In the next car right behind it, same thing.

I have seen enough car seats (and put enough kids in one) to know there is no way in holy moly those kids could get out if properly secured. When I see things like this, it further supports my theory that some how, some way, we need to set parameters on who should be allowed to have children...and somehow accidentally sterilize the ones who have no business raising offspring. May not be the most popular opinion, I know, but seriously - I am quite confident those poor kids did nothing to deserve a parent with such blatant disregard for their safety.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tornado Chelsie

Yesterday, I came home to 2 unmade beds, the couch pillows on the floor and the African violet in the kitchen sink. Tornado Chelsie threw several pillows off my bed and pulled the comforter down. In the buckeye room, the blanket and both pillows were on the floor, but she had not pulled the sheets off it - this time.

The only thing I was really annoyed about was the plant - initially, I thought is was on the floor in my living room (on my nice, light brown 11 month old carpet) and I got after her - ignored her when I walked in the house. One could argue this was my fault, as I left my PBJ in the pass thru next to the plant. I remembered it halfway to 315 and pretty much wrote the sandwich off at that point, expecting to find the remains of the ziplock baggie it was in when I got home. What I found was the plant in the sink and the sandwich up by the faucet. I am surprised she did not wreck the kitchen sink trying to get to it, as she can get things out of the sink - I know this, because I have picked up things from the sink in various other rooms of my house. My little Chelsonator is precious.

Wonder what I will go home to today? I think maybe I will send grammie over there first, she is coming to Cols today....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rising Costs Hit Home

Usually, when I go to the grocery store, I am pretty diligent about making a list and buying only what I need. I go through my coupons before hand, and pick out which ones I want to use. I usually just accept the prices for what they are, and live with it. My diligence has increased, as I am now paid monthly, and I buy a gift card at the beginning of the month to help control these costs and give myself a budget to strive for.

Tonight, I about FELL OVER when I saw the price of a 12 pack of Diet Coke - $5.25. Can we say armed robbery??? Do I really need this Diet Coke? Um, heck yeah! The $5.25 DC wins the sticker shock award of recent grocery prices. Ridiculous - that and Quaker Oatmeal. It is $3.99 for a package of 8, and you can get 55 of them for something like 11.99 at Costco. And V8 - it is $4.69 for 6 in Kroger and $18.57 for 48 in Costco. There is still about 30 can of tomato juice in front of the refrigerator in my office...

Am I whining or does this seem crazy to anyone else out there? I should also add, I was the coupon queen tonight...$33 off in coupons (sales, coupons, doubling of coupons)

NADAC Weekend

This weekend, we competed in a NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) trial. Three years ago, this trial was our first trial...and on our very first run, we crashed into each other and I fell in the mulch. But we got up and finished the run. I am happy to report that I managed to stay on my feet this weekend - almost went down once in the mulch, but my amazing athletic prowess allowed me to stay on my feet.

We were 6 for 12 this weekend. A few things happened this weekend I did not care for - she inexplicably pulled out of the weaves on one run, and we knocked way too many bars down. A few of those were clearly MOMMY'S FAULT but a few I could not pinpoint anything I had done to cause the bar to fall. (Grammie records her runs on the video camera) On the whole, she ran her little heart out for me and we had a great time. We ran in 5 different events this weekend, and that was fun. Chelsie did not budge when the alarm went off this morning..neither did I for that matter. She is currently in her "I AM EXHAUSTED LEAVE ME ALONE" position - on her side, body and paws slightly curled. I will refrain from playing with her toes at this exact moment...

One of my favorite things about NADAC is the support this venue gives to jr handlers. Case in point, Rachel and Cessy. Rachel is 9 yrs old and trains with our club - great kid. She was so patient with this dog that had the "zoomies" as we call it. This dog ran all over the place, dug in the mulch, would not come to her - and the judge was awesome. She knew it was their first trial, and she went out and helped this precious little girl. This morning on the jumpers run, they got to jump 5 and Cessy started digging. The judge got up to help her get going...apparently, Cessy had found some sort of stick in the mulch and wanted it. After a few seconds of messing around, the judge got the stick from the dog and gave it to Rachel. Cessy was then willing to do whatever Rachel wanted her to do, and they finished the run (did not count for any points to her title) The crowd cheered. In tunnelers, Rachel got her through 7 of 11 tunnels and was able to stop the digging - got her all the way to tunnel 11 and Cessy ran by it. Rachel was able to get her back and get her through the tunnel - and the crowd went nuts. I am not sure what kind of ribbon she got - placement, qualifying score - but I saw her later with Cessy and she had attached the ribbon to Cessy's collar. She was so proud of that ribbon.

The judge was great with kids but on the whole, clearly not one of my favorites. Yesterday, I barely got home for the game AT 8PM...I usually get home by 6 at the latest. Day dragged out, my feet, back and whole body for that matter are killing me. But we had fun.

My Buckeyes pulled out a close one...when the line parts like the Red Sea and ol' Terrelle gets going, you will have a hard time stopping him, just ask the Badger defense!

We hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Giving the Gift of Life

I feel compelled to write this post after seeing an acquaintance of mine today in the sandwich shop across the street at lunch today. I know this guy through playing softball with Belinda many, many moons ago - on the fields behind the Varsity Club on campus, of all places! At any rate, his 5 month old son is ill with a rare disorder and needs a bone marrow transplant. They have been fortunate to find a donor, and the transplant is set to take place next week.

Many patients - men, women and CHILDREN of all age and ethnic backgrounds - are not nearly as fortunate as this family in being able to locate a donor. I have known some people who have been ill that were unable to find matches where a bone marrow transplant would have opened a whole new road of treatment for them. After one such case, I decided that I was going to become a registered bone marrow donor, and I did. When I did it, all I did was give a blood sample at a local Red Cross location equipped for this scenario. I even paid the $45 for the tissue typing. Donor compatibility is determined based on specific tissue matches - the donor cannot be entered into the registry without the tissue typing being completed. I felt that $45 was a small price to pay for the opportunity to give someone their health back.

I urge all of you reading this to go to It is a wonderful website that explains the whole process from start to finish. I have been on the registry for more than 10 yrs now, and I have never been called to donate, but would do it in a heartbeat if called. You don't necessarily have to pay for the tissue typing - the Red Cross takes donations for that, and samples are then processed as funds become available. I put myself in some poor family's situation and hope that if I was ever in the situation where I or someone I love needed a donor, that someone out there was willing to help.

Organ transplantation is also very near and dear to my heart. Many of you have heard me talk about "the blind lady". Sharon lost her sight in her early 20's from complications of diabetes. She has also undergone 2 kidney and a pancreas transplant. Her doctors are currently evaluating whether or not she will be placed back on the waiting list for another pancreas. Her pancreas was transplanted in 1989 and has slowed down - she needs a functioning pancreas to help stop the other impacts of her diabetes, mainly from destroying her kidney function. Diabetes is a very, very nasty disease - that stupid little pancreas can screw a lot of things up. The obesity epidemic in our country has caused diabetes to sky rocket in our country and in most cases, it can be prevented. I have seen first hand the havoc it wreaks, and it is a real motivator to stay healthy.

Please, if you are compelled to do so, pay it forward and register to be an organ and marrow donor.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Natural Instincts on Display

Over the past few months, some of my agility friends have encouraged me to explore ACK Hunt Tests with Chelsie. As all of you know by now, Chelsie is pure lab at heart - when you hold her kong ball in front of her, she enters a state of being possessed. She retrieves full force until you physically take the ball from her.

So I got in contact with a local hunt trainer some of the people from my club use, and we met with him yesterday up at a training center in near Mt. Vernon. My goal was to let him take a look at her and determine if hunt tests would be something she could have fun with. After I spoke with Mitch, the trainer, I went and got Chelsie out of the car - along with the brand new training bumper I had picked up for water retrieval. When we got out near the pond and I pulled the bumper out of my bag, she went nuts...started jumping around and getting excited. I tossed it in the water and she went flying in - completely ignoring all the duck decoys in the water. Mitch looked at me and said with the proper training ("teaching her the rules of hunt test") she would likely be able to get her junior hunt title in one weekend, and had the drive to get her senior hunt title as well. Master Hunter is the top prize, but I am not sure we will ever see that.

My goal with this whole thing is to let her try and excel in what her natural instincts are. Those natural instincts same out when they brought out a pheasant wing (wings they had clipped from training pheasants to introduce dogs to the scent) She took one whiff of that pheasant wing and went right after it. Mitch put the wing and the bumper in front of her to see which one she would go after, and it was fantastic to see her little brain processing which one she wanted.

So I think we are going to give this a try. We will probably have one lesson a month through the winter and take our test in the spring. I have a few concerns about this - first, I have to touch dead birds. Seriously? Mitch said I would get over that - I am glad he is confident about that, but I am not quite there yet. Second, they use some training methods I am not accustomed to, primarily an ear pinch if necessary. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but I am taking comfort in that Chelsie is a "soft" dog and that one ear pinch correction will be all she needs to correct whatever undesirable behavior she displays. A lot of our agility stuff will carry over, so that will be helpful. But we will see. I am hoping that me asserting myself as the alpha will limit the ear pinches necessary. I did come home with a pheasant wing in a ziplock bag, it is in my garage. A city girl like me with dead bird wing in my garage..go figure

Chelsie's party in the pond lasted 90 minutes, so I am expecting her to go to bed in a few beds today....