Friday, October 31, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

From the Frio River, of course. . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blue or Bust - Flash Paws Agility Trial

That was the theme for our trial this weekend. We either came in first, or where eliminated.

Holly was all blue and no bust! She resisted the temptation to visit ring stewards, and took first place in Novice Jumpers (by breaking score ties with faster times) both Saturday and Sunday. At 8 inches no less! Stupid judge measured her at 11 1/4 inches Saturday morning, which bumped her up into 8 inch Preferred. Looks like we'll have to do a challenge measure at our next trial. I was so proud of my little Holly! When she first starting doing agility agian after a year off, she was kind of unpredictable and soooooo slooooooow; but now she is back to her dependable and consistent agility diva self! And she was running pretty darn fast!! Fast enough to break tied scores two days in a row. Guess those sprints we've all been doing are coming in handy for more than just me. And I always get such a kick out of seeing her have a good time.

Mikey did pretty darn awesome too; his problem was dropping bars. No Qs in Jumpers; I'm starting to think we're never going to get out of Open Jumpers. Worse still, one more Q and Holly will be running in Open too! Aaaaargh! In Standard (Excellent!) Mikey got first place (score of 100!) on Saturday! Excellent is very competitive, in fact I think Mikey was one of only two or three 8 inch dogs entered in Excellent A, all the other entries were Excellent B. On Sunday Mikey dropped another bar in Standard. Other than the dropped bars, Mikey had great runs all weekend. I couldn't have asked for more. I think the dropped bars are partly due to body type, and partly due to handling. All of our dropped bars were on turns. Mikey's got a long, heavy body (hello! Cardigan!) to get over those jumps. He can turn on a dime, but, obviously, he has a hard time turning and jumping and doing it clean. I think I need to work on my handling and figure out how much room he needs to get a clean jump on a turn. It seems like the problem is when I signal for a turn while he's in the air; Mikey is so responsive and reacts immediately to my signals, which I think is causing dropped bars. Nonetheless, I was very, very pleased with how Mikey did this weekend.

My dad and Meg had a similar weekend to Mikey and me, except her problem is getting over excited and running off to take a tour of the ring (resulting in an off course and elimination). On Saturday, she took off in Jumpers and he called her back, excused himself, and marched her right back to her kennel. Later, he took her to a huge open field next to the show grounds and threw the ball for her - for a long time. In Novice Standard, she showed what she is capable of doing, and had an awesome run for first place to finish her Novice Standard title! Part of their problem is that she doesn't take off like that in class, so he's having a hard time trying to figure out how to prevent it from happening at trials. Obviously it helps if she's a little tired, but he tried the same thing before Jumpers on Sunday morning, but apparently it wasn't enough.

The funniest part of the weekend was when I went and sat in the bleachers with Holly and Mikey for a while on Saturday. Holly was semi-interested in watching the people walking back and forth, particularly if she could lure them into coming and petting her (she's such a flirt!), but Mikey was glued to the action in the ring. I'm telling you, he watched EVERY dog that ran, from start to finish, with intense concentration, occasionally letting out a little yip of excitement. I guess he really, really likes agility, even as a spectator!

Good times and fresh air had by all!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Scoop

The rest of my week since my interview in St. Louis has been relatively quiet. We were rained out for agility class this week. We've got a two day agility trial this weekend. Mikey is in Excellent (!) Standard and Open Jumpers, Holly is in Novice Jumpers, and my dad's dog, Meg, is in Novice Jumpers and Standard (one leg to go in each!) Saturday and Sunday. It doesn't look like there will be any ring conflicts between all three dogs, although finding time for lunch may be a challenge! There will be a Volunteer Measuring Judge at this trial, so keep your fingers crossed Holly gets her second measure at 11 inches or less! (Speaking of which, Holly ran at our last trial in 4 inch Preferred with the little Pembroke that originally gave me the idea last year that Holly might be small enough to run at 4 inches. Seeing them side-by-side while we both waited ring side, yup! they're almost exactly the same size!)

Also, Kate wanted to know if Mikey has finished yet. No. He still needs one more bloody point! And yes, I do intend to finish him. Actually, there was a local breed show this month that I had intended to enter, but the closing date was the week after hurricane Ike, and it totally slipped my mind until the weekend after it closed. There are a couple of shows in November that I'm planning on entering, including a supported entry that coincides with the Bluebonnet club meeting/Christmas party. Honestly, I really don't enjoy showing in breed anymore, but with only one point to go. . .

And please keep my parents in your thought/prayers. Bobbie, their older Brittaney, is not doing well, and hasn't been doing well for a while. They're having 'the talk' this morning. I haven't been talking about Bobbie partly because it's painful (I still lived with my parents, with my old dog, Misty, when Bobbie joined our family), partly because it's not my story to tell, and mostly because it's not my decision to make, and I know my mom reads my blog. Love you Cardigrandma! I'm sorry it's so hard and so painful and I wish I could do more to help!!!

Hug your dogs.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Home! As in back from my interview in St. Louis. Interviews are sooo much fun Did I mention I HATE to fly?

The good news is that this interview went (or at least felt) much better than the interview in Kansas City. Coincidentally, I FINALLY got an e-mail, this afternoon no less, from the HR recruiter for the KC job. "Thank you for your interest, but get lost". I joke, but that's how that kind of e-mails always seem to me.

I have mixed emotions about the job in St. Louis. I liked all of the people I interviewed with quite a bit, and felt much more comfortable with them than with any of the people I interviewed with in KC. While still a large, stable company, the actual group I would work in is nice and small.

On the other hand, Kansas City seemed like a safe move, since most of my extended family live in the greater Kansas City area, and I don't know a soul in St. Louis. . . And, salary never came up in today's interview. . .

Guess I'll just have to wait and see. And keep on job hunting.

And, last but not least, a big thank you to Cardigrandma for staying with Holly and Mikey last night so that I didn't have to board them! She must have taken really, really good care of them, since I got an underwhelming greeting when I got home, like "Oh, so glad you're home. Ummm. I guess this means grandma won't be coming back to stay with us tonight? Bummer."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boot Camp - Cardi Style

The Burn, I Feels It!

Ok, so maybe Mikey and Holly haven't been lifting weights with me, but since I was laid off, we've really kicked it up a notch with our primal exercise schedule. We've been going to the George Mitchell Nature Preserve two or three times a week to hike. The loop is two miles (see the map at the bottom of the page I've linked to) and, depending on how hot/humid it is, we either do one brisk loop, or one loop plus some of the side trails. We love the place; since we've been going on weekday mornings, we usually have the place to ourselves. It's peaceful and beautiful and, according to Holly and Mikey, full of interesting smells.

Holly, Mikey and me have also been running sprints about two times a week (not including agility class/trials). Actually, I added sprints into our schedule several months ago. Sprints are not necessarily something I would recommend for someone with rheumatoid arthritis, but we love it. My joints do suffer afterwards, but I feel so free and powerful, and Mikey and Holly think we're playing some awesome game together. Running full out with them brings back a feeling from my childhood. As an adult, nobody runs just to see how fast you can go, or to see if you can keep up with your four legged friends. What a fun way to get some incredible exercise!

And, it's all totally working. We're all faster and stronger at agility. I don't get winded like I used to, which means that I have breath left over to call out obstacles. Holly's got muscles in her thighs that weren't there a few months ago, which has got to be good for her hips. And Mikey got a great compliment when we went to our vet for bordetella vaccines last Thursday; when she was listening to his heart, she said 'Wow, you can tell he's an athlete'!

Now, if I can just figure out how them to lift weights with me. . .

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Monday, October 13, 2008