Monday, February 21, 2011

Mid Winter

Chores, projects and the usual routines have kept me from regular postings. I both admire and (wrongfully) dismiss those who write daily--admire the discipline and dismiss the need. There you have it.

Maggie just passed her second post-chemo check-up with flying colors and continues to amaze and delight her support team. Her coat is improving and she's busy growing new whiskers. She is back in class and trials, on a limited, "nuthin' to prove" schedule. Love my Maggie.
Winn is happy too- trialing many weekends. He teaches me to be in the moment in a different way than Maggie or DDare, and I am happy to be reminded of that.
It takes, it seems, a foot of new snow to get me to sit down and construct a blog entry. Truthfully this lovely female cardinal is today's inspiration. She has been sitting outside the window framed by snowy branches, inviting me to capture the image. Thank you, and yes, the feeder is filled.





One small project completed: DDare's crate cover. Of course it's hard to finish when the puppy wants to use it otherwise!


DDare's puppy agility class is going well and so are our home practice sessions. Despite winter we are able to find enough space to do our homework: backing up on to a board, the "ready 1-2-3 game" sending to targets, and our tricks. We were fortunate to attend some seminars with Sylvia Trkman and are so inspired by her! DDare is now happy to bang shut a drawer, in preparation for the noise and movement (which he controls!) of the teeter. Oh what fun is a puppy!



Allen Mosley celebrated his birthday at a South Side Agility gathering. We had a cake decorated to resemble the agility pitch for which he is caretaker. The 60 candles proved no match for his most excellent blowing-out, and the bonus--he set the aframe on fire AND blew that out, too!














And finally, this was a musing I posted to the Agile Canines group last week. These thoughts have been on my mind for a while.
***
I am on the road and sometimes that's where I do my best musings, so forgive me in advance! I was struck by a friend's recent post about feeling guilty (my word, not hers) about her dog's MACH, coming as it did among the posts regarding Becky's loss of her sweet Cody Bones.
We have all known each other for many years now, and the circle of life is everpresent, eh? Nearly everyone has lost a dog recently it seems, or is going through treatment for illness. And at the same time, there are young dogs trialing for the first time, dogs hitting their peak, and puppies being born and raised.The joys our partners bring us are not lessened by the experience of saying goodbye to them, but the grief we share is real.
I can't imagine saying these goodbyes, and yet I know I will. We can't plan for the perfect death for them. We can only be here today. And although time passes and eases some of the pain, it never heals us completely, because it just isn't possible for that to happen. I guess it's only in time that we accept our grief as an integral part of being us. Human.
Love you all, for your ability to celebrate AND grieve.
Chris
So that's the view, today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010






SNOW DAY! DDARE


video




Yes, we have snow. Last Wednesday we set a high-temp record of 68 degrees, capping off the nicest Fall season in memory. When the other shoe dropped, it was a Sorel boot.

My friend Becky Hart and I started out this morning at 5:45 am with the intention of competing in LaCrosse. It was snowing pretty well, but we decided to see where the "snow/rain" line might be. We never found it, opting to abandon our plan as far south as Northfield, and I know it was a good decision.

When I got home, the snow was falling even more heavily so it was the perfect time to introduce DDare to snow. He was born in the desert, remember. Even rain was a pretty new thing. Of course he loved it. He chased the little snowballs made by his feet. He ate it. He ran in it, with his cousin Winn (also from the desert, and who loves snow.) They swam like dolphins. They chased each other. And I could have shot more video, but the big flakes hit the lens and melted, so I had to tuck it away after a few minutes.

Now, we're all sitting by a nice fire, watching the snow fall. It's piled up. It's awful snow, heavy and wet, and it's taking its toll on branches. It will likely melt this week, giving the ground a chance to freeze.

AGILITY




I haven't posted since our trip to USDAA Nationals in October, having had scarce time to muse.

What a great experience that was--eight clean runs, some placements, and a Performance Grand Prix Finals run. I finally had a chance to look at the video last week and reflect on the whole string. I wanted to see what my handling looked like, too, and was happy to see that I was handling as well as I think I can. I never assumed the fetal position--I take that as a sign that I wasn't nervous---I wasn't nervous! I truly ran with joy and had an absolutely swell time with Winn.
Locally, Winn earned his C-ATCH 2 at the Halloween CPE trial. I had promised that I would earn (or try to!) with a 51-point Snooker score. Snooker was our hardest class for a while, requiring different skills, and we worked together to master them. Here's the video:
(It was too large a file for Blogger to upload without timing out, but the show is only a minute or so)


MAGGIE
is done with chemo! She finished up after I got back home, and although the final treatment was one of the tougher drugs, she bounced back once again. It's been a few weeks, and last week Maggie returned to class. She ran with enthusiasm! I am so blessed to still have her with me. I am full of hope that she'll have many, many more good days. We will continue to trial, but I'm entering her in only a few runs. She's lost some muscle tone and I sure don't want to risk injury with her. She likes that idea, too, and comes out to run with determination. You know, she's within shouting distance of her C-ATCH 4 and NATCH 4, and might make it to those ribbons. Doesn't matter. She can run, or coach the team from her crate, whatever she decides to do.


MORE PUPPY-NESS
DDare continues to "do well" in class and is turning into such a nice dog in many ways. He loves to run. He is just as happy snoozing on the couch. We worked a lot on attention this past week, and it improved (go figure!). I broke down and bought him a Premier Easy-Walk harness , and it worked right away. I thought I could train this without it, but frankly I think that I can still train/reward him while he learns with this "aid". It is, after all, how Winn learned it.

We have had a good time, working on turns around a cone, sending to a target, and running along a plank. I am excited, thinking about what a nice dog I am going to have--because I have a nice puppy already! It's hard to believe he's seven months old already.

That's it for rambling today---I leave you with a photo from the Halloween trial, and promise to tell you the story behind it on another posting. Until then, YOU run with joy.






Wednesday, October 13, 2010

USDAA Nationals

What I like about my dog: Everything.




video

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Indian Summer

I just can't remember a nicer stretch of weather than what we've had for the past two weeks (yes, after a horrible, flooding, damaging rainy seige). Here is what I like a lot:

  • Discovering that fields on either side of a road I travel frequently were planted in pumpkins. The orange globes just appeared the morning after our frost.
  • The migrating warblers hopping branch to branch, so tiny.
  • Combines and gleaners, and the stubble they leave behind.
  • A maple tree that changed literally overnight from green to red and gold.
  • Sweatshirts with shorts.
  • The crisp clean air under high pressure.
  • The last of the mosquitoes.
  • Apples. Apple Crisp. Caramel apples.
  • Seeing Jack's fall dapples fade as his winter coat starts to come in.
  • A harvest moon.
  • Frost on the Aframe that melts in time to play.
  • Maggie's energy in the cooler weather.
  • The way the midday sun feels so warm on your face.
  • The first batch of stew.
  • Twilight.
  • Post season baseball.

To be continued

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Winn's 2nd Place herding run at Corgi Nationals

We tied for first place on this run. I lost 2 points on the cross drive, maybe when I FELL DOWN, and the other team had 0 points off so we came in second.
I could not be more proud of Winn. I have worked so hard to learn herding, and want to thank Susane Hoffman for her patience.
Hope the video shows up here.....

video

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Corgi Nationals

It's our last night in Pennsylvania and I wanted to post quickly before crashing for the night. Tomorrow will be a long day--agility and then the start of the long drive home. As much fun as we've all had, I am anxious to get home; I miss Allen and Maggie and sleeping in my own bed (without having to shush dogs--although they've been really good and the hotel has been relatively quiet).
Our Nationals has been just terrific--seeing old friends, making new friends, watching great corgis. The weekend of herding was a wonderful experience and I learned a ton by watching. Winn worked well, and earned two 'bonus' Qs in Started Sheep. On Sunday we had a very nice run that tied us for first place (we ended up second, as ties are broken on the cross drive and I didn't make it to the #5 marker---um, I fell down and got up and proceeded to the gate instead.)
Today was obedience day! When I sent in my entry for our first Open "A" experience I really had intended to practice. And I did, right before going into the ring--ha!
It took a little bit of time in the ring to get into the rhythm of the heeling, but we actually didn't do badly--in fact Winn's heeling score was the best in the class of 12 dogs (and hey, they had all been there before!) . When it came time for the Retrieve on the Flat, though, I NQ'd us by throwing the dumbbell short of the required 20 feet. Oops. And when the judge walked over to give me back the DB, it unnerved Winn a little and he kept one eye on her the rest of the run.
Then Winn NQ'd us by going AROUND THE JUMP! on the Retrieve over the High Jump. THAT was a surprise.
The high point of my Open A debut though was that Winn actually stayed in a sit--which has NEVER EVER happened before. Not in class, not in practice...never. So THAT was worth the entry for me. And then, he got up on the long down. He has NEVER EVER done that before, either. Ah.......maybe with some practice? Next year!!

DDare's first Corgi Nationals has been great too--lots of dogs and people to meet. His sister Remy was here too and she looks great--such nice dogs.His last baby tooth fell out. He looks like a giraffe. He acts like a monkey! But he's a great little traveling pup.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No matter what I do, this photo shows up sideways. Sorry, you'll just have to lie down to see it correctly oriented. Which is what we are all doing tonight. Chillin' at the Inn.

The Road Trip Gene



So, before I was born, my dad was a travelin' salesman. He sold ad time for radio, covering the state. The story goes that he was in International Falls in mid-March 1953 when my mom went into labor--but when he drove all night to be home, in a snowstorm, part-way with a sheriff's escort (fact or legend?) it was no longer labor. (another version states that my folks' insurance didn't kick in until April, so I was born April 1)




The family traveled (SEVEN kids) for fun--our first camping/fishing trip to the Kinnikinnic; countless horse shows; and our last family trip to Montana to fetch our brother Tim at college.




I've been traveling for work for about 35 years. As a Regional Manager for B. Dalton (ah, remember them?) My region at one point covered the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as the prairie of South Dakota, and Minnesota's Iron Range. There were times when I'd leave on Sunday, spend two weeks on the road, and put about 1800 miles on my little Chevy Citation RSM car. As a buyer, I traveled to New York regularly and twice to England in search of bargain books. When I worked at Putnam as an RSM I had seven reps, 23 states, and three time zones.




My sister Nancy has a mobile gift store and routinely rises at 3 am to hit the road--sometimes Florida or California for the winter, and often the greater Midwest for "local" horse shoe circuits.




My brother Rob has been scuba diving in Bali and he and his wife Liz travel to Hawaii often.




Tim went to Ethiopia with friends for six weeks (a long story for another time, but it did involve a later-annulled arranged marriage!)




So today, after 1150.8 miles in two days to Pennsylvania for the Corgi Nationals, I pondered the idea of inherited wanderlust. I realize that most people travel, and take vacation out of town, but I think nothing of driving across the country for a dog show. And traveling with dogs means you don't take a lot of side trips, although we've done a few (LOVE the Badlands loop--but they prohibit you from even taking your dogs out of the car!)




I've been to 43 states in my life so far, and have enjoyed the drive.