Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where am I again?

I think my last post was from my last night in Europe...and today I have been home for a week...so I suppose I should fill everyone in and let them know I made it home safely. It was not without incident...it had been raining in Atlanta, apparently in large quantities, and we were stuck there for 9 hours. Our final destination was Dayton, not Columbus - and at 12:30AM. By the time I got home, I had been awake for 24+ hrs and by the time I got to sleep, it felt like 8:30 in the morning. I still consider myself to be in the end stages of recovery from this trip.

I knew going into this that the schedule following my return would be NUTS...softball Tuesday and Thursday, agility Wedensday, a dinner event on Friday after day 1 of a three day agility trial where I was course buiding (not for my club, another club). On Monday, I made my way over to Indiana, where I am currently drafting this post. I will be returning tomorrow. As luck would have it, we happen to have the same schedule as our CFO, and we will reap the benefits of the corporate jet coming and going on this trip. I can't tell you how nice it is not to have to deal with the chaos at Midway...esp because I am TIRED. It is also nice to have the morning to work, because I have a new hire starting on Thursday and have not done much to get ready for him. Did I mention I have a presentation with some big wigs on Thursday afternoon as well? Such is life....busy hands are happy hands.

This weekend, I have NOTHING. The inside of my house is a mess by my standards...I had to deal with the outside before I left to come to Indiana. My grass was so long you could have made hay...it had been raining pretty much since I had gotten home, so I couldn't mow. Sunday provided a little break, and 4 hrs later, the yard was mowed (and I was happy) I hope to sleep in and spend some time with the bean - maybe take her to the park to chase her ball or on some nice long walks. I have not spent a lot of time with her as of late, and I miss her.

Blogger was crabby in Europe, so for those of you who are not my friends on FB, here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. Hope everyone is well!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Did you know....

That men don't wear underwear under liederhosen??? My useless fact of the day...obtained straight from the source. And where would that source be? Why, the men wearing the liederhosen...at OKTOBERFEST IN MUNICH!!

Today, instead of going to the compeition, a group of us piled in the car and went to Munich to Oktoberfest. It was CRAZY!!! We drove up to Dachau, north of Munich, because someone from our group had taken a train from there to Munich. We followed all the people in Liederhosen, and next thing we knew, we were at Oktoberfest!

Basically, it is a bog street fair, with tons of biergartens, tons of food and tons of drunk people running around in Liederhosen. It was a blast - one of those things that as I am sitting here typing this, I still can't believe I have done. It was on my list of possible things to do while I was here, but was not sure it was going to happen based on timing. But this morning, Susan (Jenn's mom) encouraged us to go, so we did. I had a ton of fun - we ate chicken and pretzels (what everyone was eating) drank beer like everyone else (in much smaller quantities) shared a 1/2 meter brat (a huge brat) and I got my crepe...and an amazing experience. Heads up Columbus - Tiffy brought the travel section of the Dispatch and we took our picture right below the "Wilkommen Oktoberfest" sign!!!

95% packed at this point, have to have my stuff down to car at 5 15 to leave for airport. We go from Zurcih to Atlanta and then on to Cbus, est landing time to be 6 40. All in all, I could not have imagined a better trip - got to see places I never dreamed of seeing because I didn't know they were there, met great people and got to see Jenn and the midi team win a silver medal. I am excited to come back and train with Chelsie - we have a three day trial this weekend at Easton. I am so excited to come home and spend time with her - I have missed her so much, as I always do, and I will let her go crazy when I see her. :)

Hopefully, you have all enjoyed my posts - I definitely let loose a little on this trip and had a great time. I am exhausted, but it was worth it.

See everyone back in CBus!!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This after noon, Jenn's team, the medium dogs (exactly what you think, there are small, medium and large classes here) won silver in the team competition! Yesterday, 2 of 3 dogs were perfect, and today, all three of them ripped off AMAZING runs, right in a row! Nice tight turns, no lost time, all contact obstacles perfect!

Watching all the dogs run was incredibly stressful - and then having to wait for the other teams to run was even worse! The US moved into first place, teams self destructed (went off course, dropped bars) another team moved into first, more teams self destructed...it was finally over when the second French dog went off course, and then our party started!!!

The supporters got to go down on the turf and do a victory lap with the team, it was amazing! So much fun! There are a ton of supporters here, esp from Austria, Germany and Swiztzerland - for obvious reasons due to proximity. When handlers get eliminated (go off course) the crowd cheers really loud for them - it is really neat.

Its hard to believe our time here is almost over. I had an amazing time, saw more than I could ever imagine, watched a lot of agility and met a lot of really nice people. I have agility shirts from Brazil, South Africa, Canada and France. Jenn has one more run - it is in the individual competition in the standard course. She and Blaster had a little bobble in the jumpers that has pretty much taken them out of the medal running - he was "communicating" with her instead of looking at the entrance to the weave poles. But he more than made up for it with a beautiful run in the team compeition. Jenn's goal is a clean run for tomorrow and then just see what happens. We had a nice dinner tonight in the hotel, and Jenn is very happy with her silver medal - her first team medal in 4 years.

And with that...I am off to pack. My buckeyes won, so I am happy. As has been custom, we will be up and out early, so I am off to bed shortly after that!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Compeition - Day 1

So today was the first day of the competition. They had an opening ceremony, where all the countries and their dogs walked in, just like the parade of nations at the Olympics. It was super cool.

The first dogs up were the large dogs (border collies and such) running jumpers, followed by the medium and small dogs. These courses are nothing like we have in the US, they are very fast and very technical. Each jump height had one dog that had some sort of issue where they were not 100% clean - dropped mar, refusal, etc. A wrong course eliminated your score, and we only had one of those in jumpers. My friend Jenn was clean in her run today, and Blaster was a very good boy.

The large dogs also ran the std course - 2 of 3 dogs had issue and were eliminated for off courses. It was a hard course, right from the beginning - over jump 4 with great speed looking right into the end of the WRONG tunnel. The tunnel the went into was not in their immediate line of sight, and a lot of dogs blew right into that tunnel. The one successful run we had on that course was the one dog that had trouble in jumpers - it is her first time on the team and her first run definitely did not go according to plan, so it was really nice to see her come back. Russia took gold in the large dogs competition, followed by Italy and then Great Britian.

Tomorrow, the rest of the std runs are completed and then the individual runs start. Jenn runs twice tomorrow and once Sunday. GO JENN AND BLASTER!!!

All in all, it was been a great trip so far. Got to see a ton and am learning a ton from watching all these handlers. We have a competition this weekend, and I really hope we do well. There is nothing wrong with the dog - although she might be really pissed at me because first she had to go to gramma's house then today, she had to go to Uncle Joey's house, as gramma and grandpa went to California. I told her to stay out of his trash. Anyway, my point is, there is nothing wrong with the dog, only the handler. As you know, we recently went through a spell of NQ's, which we seem to have resolved - I have concluded that this is the result of my being overconfident and complacent. I have focused a little bit more on managing her, and she has been awesome - so I am hoping for some QQ's this weekend, assuming I am not passed out on the course somewhere....

Hope all is well in the US...up to do this again tomorrow....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Already Thursday??

I guess time does truly fly when you are having fun.

Today's fun started with the phone jolting me out of bed at 5 30. We got up and took a couple of people from our group to Davos, Switzerland, where they caught the Glacier Express that will eventually take them to the Matterhorn. By 8 30, we had dropped them off, were all starving again and felt like we had put in a full days work. Of course we hadn't, so we pressed on...to St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Someone had told us this was a beautiful place - and indeed it was...in the middle of the mountains. We drove through some of the tighest, straight up haripain turns you had ever seen - sometimes behind trucks and RV's, sometime next to semi trucks that did not know how to stay in their own lane. Did I mention usually that was when we were next to a HUGE drop off??????

But the drive was worth it, and once we got there, it was gorgeous. A little hazy and foggy, but you could still see plenty. I had looked up this cable car ride I wanted to do, so we did it and man was it beautiful! Up 10,380 feet into the Swiss Alps. The top was clouded over and we could not see much, but it was still amazing nonetheless. Thankfully, we had a pretty good handle on navitgating down the mountain, and that took about half the time of going up. We drove through Lichenstein, this tiny little country on the way home, and discovered we made it home in time to see the US team practice at the venue where the competition will take place. Tomorrow, we will go out decked in red, white and blue to cheer for our team.

Overall, it has been a great trip. We have packed a lot into 4 days, and now, the compeition is starting! We are talking about heading to Oktoberfest this weekend up in Munich, but we will have to see what the running order is and right now, we don't have enough information to devise a plan.

I have posted an additional 150 photos to FB - I figure if I don't do it now it will never get done, so enjoy. On that note...I am off to pass out again!!! Hope all is well across the pond!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Innsbruck and Salzburg, Austria

So my goal was to come here and see how much I could do in Europe in 8 days. Keep in mind I came to watch my friend Jenn compete in the World Agility Championships. The compeition starts Friday and ends Sunday. The US team has 2 of the 3 gold medal winners from last years event currently on the team - plus, Jenn has been on the team 4 times and has won a bronze and silver medal in her height with her dog Guess. This is her first year with Blaster.

So lets see...we got here Sunday afternoon...Monday, we went to Neuschweinstein Castle in Fussen, Germany and Tuesday we went to Innsbruck, Austria and then on to Salzburg, Austria (the hills were indeed alive with the Sound of Music!!!!) I had always wanted to go back to Fussen to see this white castle - and I am glad I did. It actually was not all that great inside, a lot of it was unfinished, but the scenery around it was beautiful and amazing. It did not help that it rained all day...

Innbruck, Austria was AMAZING! It is this beautiful little town tucked into the Alps, and was twice the site of the winter Olypics in the 70's/80's time frame. We went to the distance ski jump venue - you know, where the guys go striaght down the hill and jump as far as the can. When covered with snow, you don't get the full appreciation of this thing. It is amazing. I will try to post photos...but not tonight, I am too tired. We also went to the bobsledding venue - and actually got to lay in the track! It was pretty amazing! Jenn and I pretended to be a team from the USA - we of course won gold and then walked right over to the podium to get our medals. I will post photos of that too.

After than, Jenn and her contingent went back to Lustenau (her coach had asked her to return to the hotel at night) and some of us went on to Salzburg. What a gorgeous old city. It is actually very, very close to Germany - in fact, it took us an hour to get from Salzburg to Munich. We enjoyed walking around the city and then took a tour of the fortress in the city this morning. It was gorgeous. The tour included models of how the castle evolved, which really helped to put things in perspective.

We intended to go to the Hofbrauhaus after in Munich but we stayed later in Salzburg and then got lost trying to get there. We waved as we drove by, and headed back to Lustenau, as we had the team supporter dinner at 7 15 tonight.

Tomorrow, we are leaving at 6 30 and taking some people in our group to Switzerland to catch a train that will take them through Swiss glaciers. We will then bum around Switzerland - no real destination, we will know when we get there.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on how truly beautiful the scenery is here. I have really tried to appreciate that I am in the Alps and make the most of every view. Austria is such a beautiful country...I had no idea.

I am exhausted, despite calling it in early last night and getting 12 hrs sleep. We have walked a ton, and I won't lie, my little tootsies are tired. My whole body is tired!

I hope everyone is doing well. I have posted photos to FB, but none of them are from the last 2 days...just too tired. Will do my best to get some more up tomorrow. Hope everyone is well!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Top 10...day 1 in Austria

Oh, what a day...a long day, but a really fun day. We left at 9AM, and I am still posting pictures/blogging at 11PM. I still have to pack an overnight bag and then take a shower to get the chill out of my body - it rained most of the day, and we were out walking around in it. It was probably about 45 degrees and pouring, so the thought of a shower is intoxicating.

So, without further ado, here is Monday's top 10.

10. Spatezle for lunch - it is a regional dish I have had several times while in Germany. It was very yummy today - I had it at a cafe near the castle...a nice hot meal before we went into the castle. It is a noodle dish of sorts...really noodly macaroni type of thing for lack of a better description.

9. Living through the night after killing what to me was a HUGE spider on the wall. Spiders creep me out. I posted a photo to my FB page of it...eww grossed out thinking about it.

8. Getting to see the beautiful countryside of Germany. Green and lush and beautiful...why? Because it rains here - it rained on us all day.

7. Schloss Neuschweinstein - During my previous trips to Germany, I had only gone in the yellow castle. I always hoped to make it back to see the white castle, and I did. Crazy King Ludwig's castle!

6. I drove on an A Autobahn!!! A7, north to Ulm. Our driver wanted a nap, so I said "I will drive!" Went over 100 mph..well within the posted limit! I still got passed!

5. I got a hat from this cafe we ate dinner at - we needed translation help with the menu, and the lady that helped us out was crazy! Gave us all hats from an event they had last week and some Austrian schnapps. The stuff burns going down and would probably knock you out before you knew what hit you. One mini sip was all that was necessary.

4. Tomorrow's plans are to go to Innsbruck and spend the night in Salzburg. We are going bobsledding in Innbruck!

3. Jet lag not too awfully bad! I would be lying if I said I was not tired, but we went nonstop all day and it is 11 15.

2. I saw cattle being herded down the street from the window of my hotel room. There is a lot of grazing pasture around here, so cattle are prevalent. However, you don't see cattle being herded down an aspahlt road every day!!!

1. Got stopped by the Austrian border patrol upon re-entry into Austria. The other car got stopped first and then they flagged us over. Turns out we did not have the proper toll pass to drive on the highway in Austria - they got us when we came back into the country from Germany. Apparently, there are signs all over that say you need a pass, but 10 people in 2 cars never saw it. The border patrol guy was scary - I of course was driving at this point, and could not figure out why we were being stopped. I tried to tell the guy we didn't know, that we were tourists, but he had no part of it. He kept saying the same thing over and over, and I finally asked him what he wanted me to do. He said "Get out of the car" and my blood froze. I got out, and he said "You come pay". I said "I have cash" he said fine. I gave him 120 euro and off we went. I can laugh about it now...but I was terrified. We will get the right pass tomorrow.

That about wraps it up for the night...hope you are all well!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Greetings from Lustenau, Austria!!!

Well, after about a 20 hr trip, we successfully landed at our hotel, Gastof Kronele (www.kronele.com) in Lustenau, Austria!!! We started out in Columbus, stopped in Atlanta and eventually landed in Zurich at 7:51AM this morning Zurich time. The flight was fine - pretty typical. Crammed in the seat, exhausted and spending time trying to get comfy - a perpetually losing battle.

I am in Lustenau to watch the the US team at the World Agility Championships - the compeition is actually in Dornbirn, a neighboring town. My friend Jenn (who I train with) and her sheltie Blaster made the US team that is competing over here. I am here with her parents, BF, aunt and cousin - in addition to me tagging along, there are also 2 other tag alongs on the trip, giving us a group of 9.

Blaster the dog was an excellent traveler. Jenn had him in this bag that she put under her seat, and he never even made a peep. The flight crew on the way to Atlanta were a little pillish about him, but I don't think the crew going to Zurich even knew he was down there. He was quite happy to get out of his bag, use his "facilities" and get some breakfast. I rode next to him in the car on the way to the hotel, he was a very good boy.

Our hotel here is very, very nice - definitely in the top three I have been in while traveling in Europe. The rooms are pretty much "as advertised" on the website - I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I considered the rate (68 Euro per night) and what they looked like on the internet. I guess I should have more faith. I will be testing out the shower shortly. I have provided a link to the hotel, as well as a photo above, below or wherever blogger sees fit. I have also posted several photos to my facebook page.

After getting here, we ventured out to find something to eat. I was pretty famished at this point, having skipped both airplane meals. We did eat in Atlanta, and I had a few PB sandwiches my mom made me - and I was a much happier person for eating those instead of airplane food. As you can see, I do have snacks - bagels, PB, furit snacks and granola bars. Hopefully we can find a grocery tomorrow and get some water. As many of you know, things are very expensive here and the exchange rate is certainly not favorable at this point, so we are maximizing saving oppotnities at every corner. We found a little Italian joint and got some pizza, which was actually pretty good!

We then ventured off to Bregenz, Austria, which is very near a big, beautiful lake called Lake Constance. We found a little place on the lake to sit and have a drink/dessert. I chose a dessert - some sort of Austrian Chocolate cake, which was not nearly as pretty as Tiffy's banana split! We walked around, took photos, enjoyed some scenery and came back to the hotel and CRASHED. I woke up about 9 - I will probably regret it, but I had reached the point of exhaustion. It is a 6 hr time difference, so it is 10:30 here. I am going to test out the shower and probably pop a DVD in my computer to help me sleep.

So tomorrow starts the craziness!! We are venturing off to Fussen, Germany, to see Neuschweinstein castle. Myth has is this is the castle used by Disney to create the castle you see at Disney parks. On Tuesday, we will venture to Innsbruck and Salzberg, both in Austria, and spend the night in Salzburg. We will ventrue up to Munich on Wednesday, but it will be a short venture, as we have a US team supporter dinner in our hotel on Wednesday night at 6PM. Not sure what else is planned, but that is a good start. I do know some people are going to Vienna, and if possible, I would love to tag along. We will see if that happens.

At any rate, we made it here, it promises to be a fun, exciting week. I will do my best to keep up to date with posting and getting pictures up - be sure to check FB as well.

Wiedersen!!!! (PS - blogger not letting me upload photos, check out FB)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wondering if I will live to make it to vacation?

So it is now 5:10 PM...leaving for Austria in um...about 18 hrs. Million dollar questions:

Questions that have NO answers to them:

1. Have you packed?
2. Have you compiled lists of things you want to pack and need to get done around the house?
3. Have you checked in? (Only because I need my pasport to do so and I don't have it on me)
4. Is your laundry done to facilitate packing?

Another million dollar question - where are you? Still at work...want to run to Easton to try and find a pair of jeans. I have looked everywhere for some jeans that are not $100, but I can't find any that fit properly (yes, people, I have legs and a booty) so I am sucking it up and going to the Lucky Brand store.

Somehow, someway, I will get it all done...thank god for long plane rides and that I can sleep on a plane. I did manage to get everything I needed to get done at work, so at least I have that going for me. Off to Easton...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Agility Weekend

One of my favorite photos of my future little MACH girl:

So...what does 5-6 and 52 MACH pts look like? See above! She is black and furry and 21.8 inches tall with a graying muzzle and has a tail with a gray tip on it. Of course, the one NQ was TOTALLY MOMMMY'S fault...and it was over quickly, at jump 2 - even after I told myself...support this jump, support this jump.

Overall, I was very, very proud of her. She earned QQ 12 and 13 and finished the weekend having 399 pts. The road to MACH is now 7 QQ's and 351 pts. We do have a quite the busy trial schedule coming up, so hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have all our QQ's (20 needed) and about 600 pts. We found out consistency this weekend, and she definitely has a little spring in her step! Held her contacts beautifully all weekend and kept the double and trip jumps up in every run!

Congratulations to my friend Jill and MACH LELAND! They earned their first MACH this weekend on Friday morning. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, that will be us as well.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Smathering of Happenings...

Just a few random updates...

1. Yesterday, Chelsie earned her 12 QQ on the road to MACH. At the end of yesterday, she has 12 QQ and 374 pts....8 QQ and 376 pts to MACH. Leaving shortly to go for QQ 13 today.

2. Today is the first day of BUCKEYE FOOOOOOBAAAAALLLLLLL! Go Bucks, beat Navy!!!!

3. Yesterday, my little brother turned 31. Happy birthday brother butt!

And we are off...at 6:39 AM on Saturday morning!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good News from Dodd

Our patient that we saw last week that could not speak is now able to speak. He was able to give Chelsie some commands - like the good girl she is, she happily obeyed (didn't hurt that mom was standing right there holding some Charlee Bear treats).

Trip worth it last night just to see that. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I can't believe this is happening....

Ok, so who out there at one point in their lives has made fun of their parents for taking off their glasses to read something in front of them? I will be the first to admit, I do it all the time.

So today, I was in a meeting...and sort of looked down underneath my glasses at the document in front of me. I was startled to realize how much clearer I could see the document without my glasses(it was actually an org chart). I took them off and it was a whole new world. As I type this, I am currently "glasses free" - and the world is an amazingly clear place.

This confirms 2 things:

1. What goes around comes around.
2. I think my body might be getting old.

No worries, I intend to put my glasses on when I drive home. Actually, I will put on my prescription sunglasses....