Friday, December 28, 2007

No Turkey a la King!

'The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, ALL GONE! '

My apologies to anyone who has never watched the movie 'A Christmas Story'. But, unfortunately, that quote fits my situation to a 'T' today; no river! no cabin! no hiking! no picture taking! no mother/daughter time! Gone, ALL GONE! Waaaaa!

I've got a horrible cold. I tried to suck it up (and used a combination of TheraFlu, Musinex and Afrin) through the last of my baking on Christmas Eve, and dinner on Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning, and then starting loosing it Christmas night when I was getting ready for dinner at my house. And then really lost it Wednesday morning when my mom and I and Holly and Mikey were supposed to be heading off on our trip. I managed to get everything packed and loaded in my car for our trip, but was shaking with exhaustion by the time I got to my mom's house to transfer everything in her SUV and finally cried 'Uncle'.

My mom went to the cabin by herself yesterday, and I lay on the couch all day with the dogs watching TV feeling bummed. This is the second year in a row I've been sick for the holidays. Probably a good hint that I need to slow down and stop stressing over all the holiday stuff. Duh.

What's really so laughable about it is that I made an appointment today with the same PA that I went to on exactly the same day last year. Last year my nasty cold went into a sinus infection and bronchitis, and this year I'm additionally on Enbrel, which suppresses the immune system. And I really would like to enjoy a couple days of my vacation. Plus, the TheraFlu, while great at alleviating the cold symptoms, is causing havoc with my tendency for irritable bowels.

Yeah, I'm feeling a little blue.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and Wags to All!

Here's the Christmas card I made for this year. We're heading for the hill country Wednesday morning. I promise to take lots of pictures! I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let Us Play!

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the Cardis are so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let us play! Let us play! Let us play!

Oh, they don't show signs of stopping
But I've brought some balls for tossing
They'd love to do this now 'til May!
Let us play! Let us play! Let us play!

When we finally start the game
How I love to see the light in their eyes!
They always bring such warmth in my heart
Oh, the kisses, that's the best part!

Well, my arms are slowly dying
But, the Cardis are barely tiring
But as long as I love them so
Let us play! Let us play! Let us play!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My I Don't Have to Run Day

Remember the song from the 90's (or maybe it was the 80's)? '. . . Sunday, that's my fun day, my I don't have to run day. . .' Or something like that. Anyway, I'm enjoying at least a slow morning; a slow, long walk on the bayou and then sipping coffee and catching up on all the blogs I enjoy.

Mikey did a little funny at the end of our walk. Because there wasn't a soul out there this morning, I let both dogs run off leash right up to the gate back into our complex. Well, it's a wrought iron fence, and there's a bigger gap between the poles at the edge of the gate, but only that one space is bigger. Apparently big enough for Mikey to pop through. Because Mikey was running full tilt and, POP, there he was inside the gate, while Holly and I were still outside. I called for Mikey to 'come', but the goofy boy kept trying to go between the poles everywhere except the one gap that was big enough for him to fit through. You should have seen his face! Like 'OMGosh! What have I done!' So I told him to 'sit' and 'wait' until I could get to the gate and let him back out to put leashes on. Mikey is such a goober!

On the agility front, there's not much going on. I went to my parents house last weekend, and here's the course I set up. I don't show any numbers, because we ran it back and forth from either direction. The two side ways jumps we did as a serpentine because the space was just too tight to try a threadle. I don't think I'm going to try to go to my parents this weekend.

Some how we missed agility class this week. I was running late from work on Monday, so I tried to go on Wednesday, but when I got there, nobody was there. I don't know what happened; it was misting lightly, but I didn't get a rain out e-mail, and as far as I understood classes would continue until Dec. 21 and then brake for the holidays. I guess I'll go ahead and drive out there tomorrow unless work gets in the way.

My dad got a second Novice leg on Meg yesterday, although my mom and I didn't go to watch. The entire weekend has kind of been off because my mom was supposed to go visit family in Missouri this weekend, but didn't go because of the weather there (which turned out not to be any weather at all), and my dad really wasn't planning on showing on Saturday, because he was taking my mom to the airport and the show location is several hours away. So when my mom's trip got canceled at the last minute, he decided to go yesterday anyway. He and Meg got a 94 and fourth place and he's really pleased with how up and focused Meg was. They're not going back today, since he's already entered in a local show in January and my mom and I would like to be there when Meg finishes her title.

I'm thinking about entering Holly in Rally Advanced at that show. But, I have an agility trial with Mikey the weekend after, and then a weekend off, and then another agility trial the next weekend and I get tired just thinking about show weekends back to back. On the other hand, local(ish) obedience and rally trials are few and far between. There is a breed/obedience/rally show the weekend between the two agility trials that I was planning on entering with both Mikey and Holly, but I've decided not to because it's about over an hour away and obviously, that would be back to back to back weekends of showing, not counting the one my dad has already entered. Whatever. Mikey needs one more bloody point and there are a couple of local shows and then Reliant this summer. Surely he'll finish eventually.

I spent all day yesterday making three double batches of cranberry bread for gifts and for our family (my mother is off tomorrow and, since she's not in Missouri, she's going to make a few more loaves). My kitchen is a disaster area and I've got house work and laundry and bills, so I better get my rear in gear. Since I can't make cranberry bread for any of you for Christmas, here is the recipe and the recipe for the cheese spread we make to go with the cranberry bread (minus the bits of dough and shortening stains all over my recipe here). And here are a couple of not so great pictures of my outside lights (which I always rush right out to put up the Friday after Thanksgiving, because I am a total goober about Christmas). I also just realized that I've got to get my Christmas cards finished today! Aaargh!

Currently reading 'The Sunrise Lands' by S. M. Stirling.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Doggy Merry Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house
The puppies were squeaking an old rubber mouse.
The stockings that hung in a nice straight row,
Were now crooked with holes chewed through each little toe.
The wreath that had merrily hung on the door
Was scattered in pieces all over the floor.
The tree was subjected to bright-eyed whims,
And now, though still splendid, it's missing some limbs.
I catch them and hold them. "Be good", I insist.
They lick me, then run off to see what they've missed.
And now as I watch them, the thought comes to me,
That their's is the spirit that Christmas should be.
Can children and puppies yet show us the way,
And teach us the joy that should come with this day?
Could they bring us a message that's written above
And tell us that, most of all,
Christmas is LOVE?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


All three of us - soaked. It wasn't raining when we left for our morning walk. . . Coming back we closely resembled the Three Stooges. We ran all the way back home, but one dog or the other kept trying to stop and shake the water off. Run, one dog stops to shake, I say 'No, hustle', run, repeat. D'oh!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

To Weave, Or Not To Weave?

That is the question. Of course, I know the answer to that question, but Mikey apparently doesn't have the same answer. I think I'm going to try to steal one set of my dad's weave poles this weekend. Then we can do a little practice everyday in the house (if I move the dining room table, they should fit; and no, I don't think there's anything strange about that).

Other than the weaves, Mikey was right on the money. I'm so proud of how he's doing, especially considering he is the most green dog in his class. While still being fast as a little bunny, he also always remains focussed on me and very responsive to my direction. And our problems with the A-frame seem to be a thing of the past. Either Mikey has just gotten over it, or the extra exercise I've been doing with him has strengthened his back legs and made the A-frame easier; either way, he's consistently charging up it without a second thought. Good Boy!

In answer to the question posed on the previous post, you can tell that Holly is fixin' 'ta roll in something nasty by the look of absolute joy on her face and the wildly wagging tale. When you see this combination, you have mere seconds to prevent her from going face down in the dirt (and whatever else)!

Currently re-reading 'Scarlet' by Alexandria Ripley.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.


I came down with a cold on Monday afternoon, so I missed class Monday evening. But. . . I was able to go to class last night (same class, same instructor(s), different folks and their dogs). I'll try to get a course map up tonight. In the mean time, take a guess how you would be able to tell if Holly was fixin' ta' roll in something nasty? Just in case you ever need such information. . .

Baby Holly. . . So innocent. . .

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Do-Over Please!

Just a rotten day for everybody! First my dad had a beautiful run going with Meg in Novice. . . and then she stood up on the long down stay! Aaaargh, so close! And then Mikey went Reserve. . . out of two dogs (including Mikey) that actually showed up. And I didn't even show Holly. Between my RA flaring up for the past few days, and the rain that started while I was showing Mikey, I decided to just call it a day and go home after Mikey and I finished. Of course the dogs all think it was a great day, and they're really right. We all got to spend time with each other and with the dogs and with some great people and that's just how the dog game goes; some days you kick butt, and some days you get your butt kicked.

I'll try to get some pics from my mom over the next few days.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

And. . .

Holly has a new title and Mikey went BOS for, ummm, 1 more point and Meg has her first Novice leg. Yay Holly and yay Mikey and yay Meg!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wish Us Luck

So, here's the schedule:

Mikey – Breed, Ring 2, 8 am
My dad’s dog, Meg – Novice Obedience, Ring 9, 8:50 am
Holly – Rally Novice, Ring 9, 11:30 am
Meg – Novice Obedience, Ring 9, 9:50 am
Holly – (hopefully) Rally Advanced, Ring 9, 10:45 am
Mikey – Breed, Ring 3, 12:35 pm

Last year all breeds except Toys and Groups were outside and all obedience/rally was outside. Weather forecast:

High of 76, partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.

High of 78, with a 50% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Cardigans Saturday, 3-5-0-0 and Sunday, 4-6-0-0.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spoiled Rotten

At least that's how I feel this morning. Spoiled rotten and so decadent! I'm taking a vacation day today and I haven't had so many consecutive days off in several years; and I'm also taking the days between Christmas and New Year's off, awesome! And my mom and I and Holly and Mikey are going to a cabin in the Hill Country (see this post) the day after Christmas! Spoiled Rotten!!!

Holly and Mikey say 'We're feeling pretty spoiled too!'

Pictures from our hike in Sam Houston National Forest on Friday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Day After Thanksgiving

Pics of Holly, Mikey, Meg, and Bobbie from Thanksgiving morning (where we tried to wear all the dogs out so we could enjoy a quiet meal). Many more pictrues to follow, a soon as we can get them off my mom's computer.

Currently re- re- re- ect. reading 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Agility and Fog

Oh yes, tricky tricky, tricky!

Man, Cardigans may not be able to keep up with other dogs in a straight line, flat out run, but they handle like a sports car and can turn on a dime! The two places that we had trouble on this course were at the weaves and once doing the 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 combo. Part of the problem with the weaves was just typical Mikey, getting a little too eager and popping out at the last few poles. But the other problem was figuring out the line from jump 3 to the weaves. There was just barely room between the A-frame and jump 3 for a human body, and if you were running with any speed, this space seemed even smaller. But. . . taking the outside line around jumps 1, 2, and 3 meant that you had both a longer running distance than your dog and that you had to guide your dog into the weaves diagonally (which is bad if your dog doesn't reliably do independent weave entries). We all ran this course twice, so I tried both lines and didn't really like either one. I saw both lines tried by other people in my class, and lots of people had trouble with either line too.

And then the 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 combo. The first time through I did a threadle through 8, 9 and 10 and then tried a front cross from 11 to 12 and planned to go between jumps 12 and 8 to get Mikey to the tunnel. But. . . I didn't give myself enough room to get around jump 12 in a strait line so Mikey got way out ahead of me and spun in a circle after jump 12 like 'Where do I go now?' So we stopped and I retried starting from jump 8 again and this time I tried a back cross from 11 to 12 and I cut between jumps 12 and 10 to shorten my running line to the tunnel. This worked really well but. . . I really had to haul butt to catch up to Mikey before he came out of the other end of the tunnel. So when we ran our second course I tried the front cross again, but from further out ahead of jump 11, so that I had a nice strait line for my path from the front cross strait to the tunnel, and that seemed to be the best option for me. Mikey and I had a great time and I love figuring out these kinds of options.

Oh, and it was soooo humid that there was actually fog coming up from the grass, just like in a scary movie. Yes, our temps have been consistently in the mid 80's since last week, but the good news is that we're getting a significant cold front in, so Thanksgiving will be in the 50's.

Now just to keep fingers crossed that the cool weather holds out for next weekend's show (Dec. 1 and 2) so that I can work out of the back of my car instead of having to set up crates inside. Holly is entered in Rally both days (hopefully she will finish her novice title on Saturday and I can move her up to advanced on Sunday) and Mikey is entered in breed both days. Mikey shows at 8 on Saturday and 12:35 on Sunday and Holly shows at 11:30 on Saturday and 11:35 on Sunday. Mmmm hmmm, we're going to cutting it real close on Sunday. Plus, my dad has his dog Meg, entered in Novice at the same show, and they will show at 8:50 on Saturday and 9:50 on Sunday. Busy weekend!

Currently reading 'Rhett Butler's People' by Donald McCaig.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Girl

I realize that an awful lot of space in this blog is devoted to Mikey. 'Cause, you know, Mikey is exciting, and busy, and always up to something. Mikey is kind of like some people I know. They walk into a room and are immediately the center of attention. Much like in real life, Holly's more quiet nature takes a back seat to Mikey's more in you face personality. But lest you think she also takes a back seat in my life, let me tell you about my heart dog.

The day I brought little Holly home I had been laid off for three months, and just three short weeks prior, I had put my nearly 14 year old Doberman, Misty, to sleep. Puppy training and just hanging out, going everywhere with me to experience lots of new environments, puppy classes and later beginner obedience classes, and tracking classes, walks on the bayou and naps together; we had our own little daily schedule that revolved totally around Holly. She helped me keep my sanity through a time that could have been one the hardest times in my life.

And Holly and I just real get each other. Holly is sweet and gentle, and feisty and tough. She can be a perfect, gentle angel with strange dogs and strange people and then turn around a few minutes later and drag Mikey across the room by the scruff of his neck and then tell me off at the top of her voice the next minute. Holly knows how to appreciate a good meal and a soft spot on the couch, but she's ready for action if you are. She has very strong sense of her own dignity and a wicked sense of humor. She really adores 'her' people, but new people really have to work hard to win her over. Lot's of mornings I wake up to find her sharing my pillow. If I'm lucky and she's still asleep, I can feel her soft breath puffing against my cheek. Oh, and if she is already awake, when I roll over she will give a sharp poke to let me know it's time to get up and get on with the day. Whenever you ask for her a kiss, she lifts her little head up and gives you the most delicate and gentle touch on your nose with her nose. And if you have been a really good human girl, she might add a tiny little kiss too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In The Mail!

The entry for Mikey's first agility trial! January 12 and 13.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh Boy! My Favorite!

This is what we say is Mikey's response to everything. 'Oh boy! My favorite!' This boy just seems to enjoy everything and everyone. He's never met another dog or a person that he didn't just love. He's a super energetic and driven boy (I call him my border collie in a cardigan suit) and he's always, always happy.

But. . . I realized this week that he is getting a little pushy (ok, a LOT pushy). He's picking on Holly and being rougher with her than he has ever been. And she's not standing up for herself the way I would expect her to, especially since she has always been alpha bitch since the day he arrived; now I'm having to handle him for her, because he is being too rough. He's not settling down in the evenings; he almost acts like he can't settle down. If he's not bringing Pink ball to me constantly, he's rolling his soccer ball all around the house all by himself. And this evening on the bayou, while I was talking to a friend, he was not just jumping on me, but SLAMMING me with his front paws in the thigh, trying to get me to throw his ball. And 'no' wasn't doing a thing, I really had to get after him to get him to quite.

So. . . I've checked his teeth (his teeth get tartar sooo much easier than Holly's) to make sure nothing obvious was going on there, and expressed anal glands this evening. But I don't really think something physical is making him irritable. I kind of remember this kind of attitude from when he was a 'teenager'.

My question to you guys is, has he reached a new level of maturity that is causing him to try and shift his place in the pack? He will be three years old in January. This is my first male Cardigan, so I'm wondering if this is an age where they normally try to push their boundaries. This evening when he got pushy with me on the couch while I was trying to read, a sharp 'no' settled him right down and he curled up and went to sleep. So maybe I just need to make it through this phase and make sure to keep the lines drawn in the sand and my normally sweet boy with come back?

Oh, and while I'm sure he would love three times as much exercise as he is getting, he is getting a nice off leash walk on the bayou in the mornings (about 20 minutes) and a longer walk (usually with lots of ball chasing included) in the evenings. We have missed agility for two weeks running now, and maybe he is antsy for his favorite activity. And I would have thought that he would be a little tired this week from the show last weekend.

Anyway, all of you that have raised Cardigans for years, is this an age thing?

Just finished reading 'Nefertiti: A novel' by Michelle Moran.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

A picture my mom took of Mikey sleeping in her lap when we were taking home from his breeder.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go Ahead and Say It!


Cardigrandma is just wicked with her camera!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Just Entered Mikey in the Conroe Shows

'Nuff said. My mom did get some pictures that I will try to get around to posting later in the week. Back to so called 'work'. Will someone write me a note so I can go home!?!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride

Mikey went Reserve today. Still sitting on three majors and 13 points. Try, try again tomorrow.

Thanks for taking so many great pictures Cardigrandma!