Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Millie ate my asparagus

I came home to find the asparagus I picked up yesterday, that I was going to make for dinner tonight, all gone. Apparently Millie got bored and clearly I didn't push it back far enough on the counter. After a frantic online search to make sure asparagus wasn't bad for dogs, things are cool and I'm having peas instead.

After weeks of struggling to be productive at work with my crappy machine, I finally caved and am having our computer people re-image it. It'll take about a week until I can be at the same level of productivity pre-computer suckiness. In the meantime, I'll be working from home on my quick little desktop. I really do owe Microsoft a bit of thanks for that one. If we were on Linux, I'd never get to work from home because of computer crashes!

I bought 2 little pumpkins the other night and am planning on roasting the seeds sometime this week. I haven't done it before but I *love* pumpkin seeds so I figured I'd give it a shot. If it works out with the little ones, I'll have to get me one of those big honkin' pumpkins for even more seeds. :) I plan to cook and mash the pumpkin part of the pumpkin, which I'll then throw in the freezer for the days when the kids have upset stomachs.

I still haven't decided what I'm doing for Halloween. I can't even believe it's snuck up on me like it has. I should probably decide so I'll know whether or not to go grab candy.

I've been thinking about next year's freestyle routine. I have the song, something a little more edgy and quicker paced, something you'd hear and say, 'Oh yeah, that's fitting' without the blood and gore from the album cover. I asked my ex if he could massage it so it's not as in your face and screamy since they typically need to be "family friendly" songs. I'll have to remind him of that so I can start dreaming up all the things I'll forget on the field.

The other day I decided to forgo the shellac on the bookcase and started loading books into it. I'm a little afraid there isn't enough room but I'll go through them all before I'm done to make sure there is. Today I decided I was a blipping idiot for that and stopped at Home Depot to purchase a can of shellac. I know that I will *NEVER* unload all of those books and shellac it in the future so I'm making myself do it now. Yay me.


Monday, October 27, 2008

doggies and babies and ballots, oh my!

My sister's baby shower was a hit. Cara did a phenomenal job with the decorating and planning - it was gorgeous! Cal got most of the stuff that she needed and suffered through hours of opening gifts gallantly. At least it felt like hours and hours.

Baby showers are sooooo not my thing. Elissa's was cool, but that's because it wasn't typical at all. It was more of a rock star themed shower than an actual baby shower. I mean, how can you not love a shower where the gifts included a Misfits newborn T and lots of tiny clothes with skulls and crossbones on them?

I sucked it up and did the big sister thing and the writing down the gift thing. It was a really, really long day. The good part is that I have plenty of leftovers from the party and won't have to cook at all this week. That's one of the good things about being a bachelorette - everyone sends you home with food. :)

I've been looking into the propositions on the ballot this year. I like to think I'm a somewhat educated voter - at least I try to be. I found a site (ballotpedia.org) that gives a great breakdown of what the measure is, as well as what the pros are, who's for it, what the cons are and who's against it. A layman's description of the political jibberish used to write them.

Anyway, the Greyhound Protection Act, or the 3rd question puts me between a rock and a hard place... big time.

At first glance, it would appear to be a very good thing. Who wouldn't want to save dogs that appear to be mistreated. For dog lovers everywhere, it's a no-brainer. At least, it's a no-brainer if you don't think about it.

I'm actually going to vote No on this measure. Most people that know me are completely shocked by that and can not for the life of them understand why. My life revolves around my dogs - nothing on this planet is more important to me than my dogs. So let me see if I can explain my reasoning.

While keeping in mind that there are two sides to a story and each side will only highlight what they feel backs up their side, I play devil's advocate to see if I can see the real issue. The Pro-3 faction says they're confined for 20+ hours a day. Does that mean they're in a crate for 20+ hours a day? I don't think so, otherwise they would've said crated for 20+ hours a day. So, they could be in a fenced in area or in an expen or in a room or building. Please tell me what the difference is between that and what happens when dogs are boarded in a kennel. How about in a shelter, what's the difference there?

How about at my house? No matter where the the dogs are, they are confined. They're either in their crates, in the house, or in the fenced in yard. I don't let them run free and terrorize society. I don't let them poop on other people's lawns while they go about doing whatever they want. I don't let them get into a situation where they could fight with other dogs, chase small animals and cats into the street to be hit by cars. Even when we go out for a walk, they're confined by the leash. I'm not seeing a large difference.

Another argument is that they suffer serious injuries. They're right, they do suffer serious injuries, the same injuries that happen in everyday life. Millie gets a sprain once a year from running on uneven ground. Tweak will dig a hole that Millie doesn't know about and when she gets the zoomies, she's not looking for new holes, she's just racing around because she wants to. Injury is a part of life, aren't I a freakin' clumsy walking billboard for pete's sake? Do the dogs get the care required to heal them? Or are they left there, untreated and in pain?

Side note: Nobody can question why a dog is euthanized because one will never agree with the other. Being in rescue for the past 10 years I've had to euthanize dogs that I would've preferred not to. Sometimes it's a quality of life issue, sometimes a safety issue, sometimes one of a billion other reasons. So I'm not even considering this when thinking about the measure.

Moving on, another reason they use as justification is mysterious illnesses. They don't go into any more detail than that so I have no idea what's so mysterious about the illness. Pulling a situation from my own life, I'm sure kennel cough would be a mysterious illness if you didn't know what it was. How about that time of year when the flyball community goes through the kennel cough warnings and teams pull out of tournaments left and right to prevent it from becoming an epidemic? It's contagious, maybe that's mysterious. Since they give me no other information to go by, this weak argument gets a weak defense.

I feel like I'm rambling so I'll get to the point. For me, I don't want to open a door that could potentially cause any kind of timed, fast-paced dog sport to become illegal. My dogs live for flyball - I found it because Freddie needed a job, not because I needed something to do. To take it away from him because other people see very little difference between greyhound racing and flyball is just plain mean. The key here is perception, not fact. We've already been turned away from certain venues because "dog racing" wasn't allowed in that city. It didn't say Greyhound racing, it said dog racing, which is exactly the same language used in the this ballot measure.

Anything considered "dog racing" has the potential to be shut down if someone doesn't like it and can show any kind of correlation between the new law and the sport. So if you think I'm cruel to run my dogs in flyball, you can bitch, moan and complain that I'm "dog racing" and goodbye flyball in Massachusetts. If someone dislikes the height of the A frame and thinks it's dangerous, goodbye agility. Anything timed and fast could be subject to this ruling. No more herding trials, they're timed. Goodbye disc dog competitions, timed and fast. See you later flyball, agility, lure coursing, bikejoring, earthdog trials, jack racing, weight pulling, mushing, scootering, dock diving, etc., etc.

At a federal level, it could make the Iditarod a thing of the past. Seriously.

Can you imagine what would happen to high-energy dogs if they didn't have a job to do and running around of any kind was forbidden? Good lord I'd go batty (!) as would my dogs. Some dogs need a job and since I can't afford to sell my house, move up north and buy a farm so Tweak has sheep to herd, we're stuck with conventional dog sports.

So, as much as I love Greyhounds, I'm voting No on this measure. I think the potential for this ballot to open a door that shouldn't be opened is far too high to take the chance. I think perception and interpretation of the law would cause far more harm than good. "Dog racing" is far too broad and in a world where perception is key, I'm not willing to take the chance that you not liking flyball could force it to be illegal in this state.

Instead, I'd like to deal with the issue at hand. Make sure the Greyhounds that are racing have proper food, water, exercise, vet care and shelter. Punish the groups that don't provide, at the very least, the basic requirements to care for the animals - like we do with hoarders when we find out about them.

Getting ready to defend my thoughts,


Friday, October 24, 2008

just another day...

I found a new supplier yesterday that I'm really excited about. It will take a bit to be able to order from them but I think it will be worth it. I'm thinking of building a shelf type thing to hold supplies but since I can't cut a straight line, that might not work out so well. I have to come up with something...

Tomorrow is my sister's baby shower. She's my sister, and I love her very much, but I don't want to go. There's very little joy in me seeing baby outfit after baby outfit come out of little boxes. I'll love the kid, watch the kid, protect the kid and teach the kid, as well as spoil the kid as a good aunt should. I'll help my sister in every single way possible and support her in every decision she makes. But I still don't want to go.

My job tomorrow is to write down who gave what so there's a listing of what Cal needs to thank them for. At least I'll have something to do. I've also promised to provide lots of sarcastic remarks to my sister during the process since there really isn't much more that she hates in life than opening gifts in front of a lot of people.

I'm waiting to hear back about a herding lesson with Tweak's sire's owner. I don't know if she has what it takes - that instinct or whatever - but we'll see. It should be fun regardless since Sarah will be there.

Sunday I have to close the pool. I know, I just haven't been here! So it's not as crystal clear as it should be but I can deal with that when I open it.

Really I just can't wait to get the business up and running. The last part is the website and I'm s-l-o-w-l-y getting there. Every spare moment is spent staring at the computer so it'll be done soon, hopefully.

Halloween - I have to figure out what I'm doing!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to Catch a Border Collie on a Tug

Thank you to Dave Strauss (http://www.waltzking.org/) who took these photos of Michelle running my Tweak while I was at a wedding that night.

This is a good photo depiction of what it's like catching a dog on a tug during a flyball tournament. I've always wanted to write a picture book!

The Steps

After you release the dog, run up to the line, scream the dog's name as loud as possible and start running away. Remember, don't run backwards but instead run forwards while looking back. Someone said it causes less pain this way. Very important: Hold the tug away from your body!

As the dog runs towards you (don't worry, you'll hear the little pitter patter of feet steam rolling towards you), brace yourself for impact. The dog will propel itself at the tug and with one final leap, take it in its mouth. Remember what I said about holding the tug away from your body? Yes, don't make the crucial mistake of pulling the tug close to your body like Michelle demonstrates here. Those teeth are going to grab on to something and the dog probably has its eyes closed in a final Hail Mary kind of attempt. Trust me when I say the dog does not care if it missed and got your leg/hand/boob/etc. instead. (Hence why Michelle wears hockey gloves in the ring.)

Once you feel the dog on the tug, quickly throw out your other arm in a panicked attempt to save yourself from momentum. It doesn't really work, but it's worth a try. Swing the dog around while still on the tug to try and redirect the motion in a useless attempt to change it enough so that if you do fall, you land on your butt instead of your face.

Once the dog is almost on the other side of you, you can resume breathing. Chances are, if the dog does take you down, the both of you might've slowed down just enough that you won't break anything but instead will just look foolish.

Once all 4 of the dog's paws hit the ground, the chances of serious injury decline. Play with the dog and the tug as a reward for not killing you this time. Do not let your guard down, however, as one quick head shake could quite possibly dislocate your shoulder. Remember to hold on to that tug like your life depends on it because...well, because it does.

Want to see it again?

Slow Motion Replay

Here Michelle is catching Tweak on the tug. She has good form - her arm out to balance the force pulling her forward and the swing of deterring death has already begun.

Sometimes the dog falls off the tug, kind of like when you were a kid and you jumped off the swing while it was up in the air. We're not sure if they do this on purpose or if the propulsion used to launch for the tug pulls them off of it. Watch what the dog does, more times than not, the dog will surprise you.

Here Tweak demonstrates her gymnastic ability by landing in a full hand stand after releasing the tug. Michelle is probably screaming "oh my god" at this point thinking she just broke my dog. Never fear! Those disc freestyle moves come in handy at times - this was one of them. Reposition the tug so when the dog does land it can immediately launch itself at it again. Very Important: Do not hold the tug in front of you as demonstrated. Your asking for your stomach to get a nifty new scar that way. The dog will oblige you immediately and forcefully.

Once the dog lands and launches itself back on to the tug, breathe and continue playing tug like normal. Now is also a good time to pray. Remember, it's not over until you set up for the next heat, which means any number of very bad things could still happen.

I hope you've enjoyed this presentation of "How to Catch a Border Collie on a Tug." Stay tuned for my next presentation titled "How to Wrap the Injury Caused by Not Moving the Tug Away From a Body Part."


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

it's dark out...

...and I'm up. Weird.

It's been too long, I've been too busy, I know.

The disc dog seminar this past weekend went well. It looks like I'll be heading down again in the next month or so to give a seminar to the local Search and Rescue groups. They don't really understand drive as well as they perhaps should and since they build it for their working dogs, it's kind of important that it's done right.

Today will be spent in CT, I'll let you know how that goes.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

weird things

Yesterday I was getting out of my car, just about to shut the door when I felt a rustling at my back. I turned to see what it was, closing the door as I turned. I couldn't see anything but when I looked back at the car, I saw feathers sticking out of the car door. A bird had flown in behind me and gotten stuck *in* the door when I shut it! I immediately opened it and the poor thing, thankfully not dead, hopped away, shook it's head and flew off. WTF!

Tonight I stopped at the supermarket on the way home. I haven't done that in about a month or so and I figured it was about time. I brought in my reusable bags (yay me!) and gave them to the bagger explaining that there were more but they were under the food and I'd pass them down when I got them. Apparently he didn't hear me, nor did the cashier as when I did pass them down they both smiled and the bagger said, "I was wondering how we were going to fit all of this in 2 bags." Right. Einsteins at Market Basket tonight... free show! Anyway, no sooner had I thought that when I clocked myself in the eye with the box of kitty litter. Karma is such a bitch sometimes.

With it being cooler out, I was in the mood for some comfort food - food that says stay inside and have a hearty meal since it's nice and warm in here and you don't want to be out there. So there's a meatloaf in the oven baking away while I type. I can just start to smell it through the house and my mouth is watering. I love meatloaf. :) Add mashed potatoes, corn & gravy and you've got my favorite meal in the whole world right there. It's the simple things.

I had to run to Barnes & Noble again today, even tho' I spent enough money there yesterday, because I forgot the one thing that I actually needed to get versus wanted to get, a computer book. I walked around their bargain book section and found a book on container planting. Mine! Next year I'm going to attempt to have a garden completely in containers. I've been thinking about it for a while and it just sounds sooo appealing - growing your own vegetables. I'm hoping my black thumb doesn't hit them like it's hit the poor seedlings I attempt year after year. I never do well with them so I'm forgoing the seedling thing and instead will just buy ready-to-grow plants. The book even has design plans for making your own self watering containers, which I'll attempt as well.

I know, the chances of me actually *doing* that are slim but I've got my fingers crossed!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

slowing down?

I successfully pulled off the weekend without having a stress attack; although I cut it pretty darn close.

This past weekend we hosted a flyball tournament at Greenfield. One of our teams went FEO due to an injury. :( The other team took 1st place I think. It's all such a blur I'm not sure I even remember to be honest.

In the middle of it, I had to leave so I could attend Jill & Pete's wedding in Charlton, MA. What a drive that is! It would've been worse had I not been 1/2 way there already. That was a fun time although I couldn't stay as late as I would've liked. Jo was watching all of my dogs while I was gone, on top of all of hers, so I didn't want to push her over the edge.

The ceremony was great! It was far from typical as they threw in personalized vows like "Do you promise to stop and ask for directions if you're lost?" and "Do you promise to share the ice cream?" and "Do you promise to obey every single request that comes to you, regardless if you know you're right or not because you and I both know even if you're right, you're still wrong?" When it came to the "love, honor, cherish & obey" part, the groomsman handed him Sharpies. Pete took them, did a little crossing out and asked her to read it aloud again. When it was Jill's turn, I couldn't help but add my two cents and let her know I had a pen for her. I've never been to a wedding where audience participation was encouraged! lol

Anyway, it was a fun time and I got to chat with Glen & Elissa for hours, which I haven't had much of a chance to do lately so it was good. They went off to Adam & Paul's Oktoberfest party and I jealously drove back to the tourney. It's hard when there are soooo many good things going on at the same time and I can't do all of them - really hard!

I'm finally done etching too. I metal etched 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on to dog water pails for the placements and glass etched the titles on to glasses for the title awards. I think they came out pretty good, but I have to call the company and see if there's a way to seal in the etching on stainless steel. They didn't stay as black as they should've when I washed away the chemicals. Not too shabby tho' for a first timer.

I was joyously reunited with Tweak this weekend too! Yay! I finally got my dog back! I didn't go and see her as soon as I got there because I knew if I did, I wouldn't want to do any of the work that needed to be done for single dog racing. So I waited until it was her turn to race and then met her out in the lanes. She jumped up once for a "Hi Mom!" and then went to line up in her lane. I thought she'd be a little more excited to see me but ah well - flyball is way more fun. She made up for it that night by sleeping right next to my head and giving me kisses every hour or so.

This week is filled with cleaning my dump of a house before leaving for New Jersey on Friday. I have an intro to disc dog seminar to teach and then we're heading into NY for the Capital Steps show. It should be *hilarious* with as much fodder as they have these days. The only thing that could possibly make it better was if Tina Fey showed up to do Palin for the show. That would completely rock.

After that, I think things are slowing down a bit for me. My sister's baby shower is coming up in a few weeks but that's really all I have planned at the moment until we head to Montreal in November. Woohoo! I get to relax!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

it's fall...

I'm a summer person - I love the heat, I love the sun, I love the hours and hours of daylight, I love the flowers growing, I love it all. There's a part of me, deep inside, that smiles and sighs when I get to relax in the sun. Of course, summer is my busiest season so there isn't a whole hell of a lot of relaxing getting done but occasionally I can sneak it in there.

So I'm a little sad that fall has arrived. I enjoy fall, I just like summer better. There are nice things about fall, I like being able to sit in front of the fire pit at night in the fall. I like how the air has a crispness to it that can't be found at any other time. I like how colorful things get here in the northeast during this season. But I'm still sad that summer is over.

The thing that tells me that fall is here is that I don't need the air conditioner on at night anymore. A fan in the window blows in cool enough air - that's my switch of seasons.

So, it's time to change my thinking again - fall isn't a bad thing. There are good things about it and I have to focus on that and not think at all about the fact that I won't be able to swim in my pool or wear sleeveless shirts. I really like sleeveless shirts.

I, instead, need to think about going apple picking. I need to look forward to Halloween since it is my favorite holiday. I need to be thankful that I won't have to mow the lawn anymore this year. I'll think about how it's still warm enough to go out and do things with the dogs versus when winter comes and I hibernate as much as possible.

Compared to winter, fall is a good thing. I guess.

On a totally different note, I have something to bitch about. I was out doing errands during my lunch break today and I stopped at Burger King to get a bite to eat. I got a burger and asked for a small side of onion rings and a diet coke (regular coke is sweet and puts a coat of crap on my teeth). The kid comes back and says they don't have a small size, the smallest size they have is medium. I think to myself, how can you possibly have a medium size if you don't have a smaller size to compare it to? Medium usually sits in the middle - I haven't looked it up but that's probably how the word was created for pete's sake. There has to be a middle in order for there to be a medium! Rather than get into a debate about it with the poor BK kid that really just wants to drive to the 2nd window, I kept my mouth shut and pondered it some more.

I did, however, look at the menu after I thanked him to see what sizes were listed: medium, large and extra large. Let me get this straight - BK offers 3 sizes of onion rings but rather than call them small, medium and large, they're instead calling them medium, large and extra large. Ok, that makes sense. Not.

Look, I'm all about artistic freedom and thinking outside the box. I'm not so far gone that I'm saying there isn't a spoon (can you name the movie?) but c'mon now. Can't we all just agree that there needs to be a small before there can be a medium? I mean, is that so hard?

So, Burger King, you're on my shit list for not applying the most basic tenets of sizing logic to your side orders. I will miss that zesty onion ring sauce but I like not being treated like an idiot more than your delicious sauce.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

almost done...

I'm almost done with the awards for this weekend. *Finally*

I finished the placement awards yesterday so now I only have the title awards left. I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow night since I'm pretty much out of time after that. Changing how I was doing it in the middle certainly didn't help, but they are going much faster now that I have. Maybe I'll try and sell the ones I did earlier since they, now, don't match.

Only two more days 'til the Tweakster comes home!! Man, I just can't wait. I'm sure Freddie will hate it as he's loved her being gone. He's back to his obnoxious, pushy self without her herding him around. I'll have to make sure I manage that better once she comes back.

I finally have a step-by-step list of things to do to get the business off the ground. Supposedly my lawyer is going to call me tomorrow so we can go over the terms of the license agreement that I was supposed to have made up oh, I don't know, about 6 months ago or so now. Susan will be happy since that means she can get rid of all the crap that's on her porch. :)

Tomorrow I have to go see the building inspector so I can get the zoning on my property changed. I'm not going to have a storefront but apparently I have to do it anyway. Whatever. I'll do what it takes so I can get this thing off the ground. Soon now, very soon.

I still have to find a dress to wear to Jill's wedding on Saturday. I'm hoping I'll have some time during lunch tomorrow to run to the mall. Otherwise, all I have are summer dresses and that probably isn't going to cut it. I think I might be a little on the chilly side.

I'm branching out at work, looking for other growth opportunities within the company. I had an excellent opportunity to soft shell to a different department but my boss said no and ultimately it's up to him. So, now I'm looking for something a little more permanent somewhere else. I spoke with a few people today so we'll see what happens. I'm still kinda pissed about that soft shell job not working out - I really, really wanted to work with that group in a very bad way.

Other than that, life has been pretty normal - organized chaos. Maybe that will be my next tattoo. Apparently I can't function without it. :p