Thursday, December 30, 2010

Byron Photos from Vaca

I took quite a few photos while I was up in Woodville visiting my parents.  Too tired to edit all of them so here are the ones I took of Byron out in the leaves of the yard before sunset.  Hope everyone is having a good week!

Byron - Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Puppy 5 Months

Byron - Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Puppy 5 Months

Byron - Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Puppy 5 Months

Byron - Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Puppy 5 Months

Byron - Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Puppy 5 Months

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Christmas Means to Me

My Baby Rattle is now a tree ornament
Growing up in my home Christmas was always an intimate affair. I didn't have a gigantic mountain of gifts like other kids on my street. I didn't go to a bunch of different houses to open gives either. We usually just stayed at home, woke up early on Christmas morning and I'd open gifts once my grandmother came over. She lived next door so sometimes we'd go to her house to open more gifts afterwards.

I'd get special gifts that my parents knew that I'd like and would take care of for a long time. I don't know if it is something that only children do or maybe it was just me but I would always be quite careful with my toys and try to keep them from getting dirty or breaking so they would last a while. My mom still has some of my toy horses and stable in a closet somewhere. Most of them look new.

My parents never did the whole Santa thing with me. From the outset I was told that Santa didn't exist and where the gifts came from. I was taught to be grateful for what I received, even if some years it wasn't anything at all. We had enough to get by and somehow my parents always made Christmas special for me even when times were tough. I don't know how they did it.

Decorating the tree was always fun for me to do. I think once I moved out my mom didn't want to deal with it for a few years. Then she realized how much she liked it and got a small tree again to decorate. She gave me all the tree decorations so she had to go out and get more.

Each year we have a tradition too - the first person to surprise someone else by saying "Christmas Eve Gift" gets to open a gift on Christmas Eve. I always seem to forget and get phone calls with people blurting out "Christmas Eve Gift" before I even know what is going on!

Christmas Tree 2009
Moving out on your own and getting married has a tendency to change some traditions though. My husband and I do things low-key. I don't make a gigantic meal or really decorate the house much. I don't have children so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. We have our big meal at his parents house if I'm not in Tallahassee and then Christmas day we just relax at home. If we get hungry and don't feel like doing leftovers we'll go get Chinese or Waffle House. Mostly I spend the time watching movies with the doggies in my lap, crafting or reading books.

Generally we get 1-2 special gifts per person in our family. I'm trying to go more homemade so that I don't keep feeding the commercial machine out there demanding we go into debt each holiday. I managed to make 3 homemade gifts and purchase 2 homemade gifts for relatives this year which makes me feel good. Next year I hope to do more. 

So enjoy the holidays!  I'm doing some traveling and when I'm home I'll be quilting and relaxing.  

What are you doing this holiday season?  What are some of your family traditions that you love (or hate)?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trial Results

  •  Jackpot - Level 1 - Q - 1st Place w/ 41 points
    • We missed my planned opening, Basil got a bit stressed in the beginning and ran off.  I had to double back to get the correct gamble obstacles and avoid the incorrect ones.  It was a fun gamble (two contacts and a tunnel).  We did well on the contacts and he ran right for the table when I called for it.  
  • Jumpers - Level 1 - Q - 1st Place w/ time of 37.90 and 5 faults
    • Even with the judge changing the opening jump to something easier, I still lost him between jump 1 & 2.  I got him back, kept going and finished out the course that way.  I thought I'd completely missed Jump 2 resulting in a NT (no time, thus no score) but after checking the records we were only given a 5 point fault for an off course.  I was surprised.  
  • Standard - Level 1 - NQ - Off Course
    • Had start line stay issues on this one.  Tried a running start but completely lost him and he wandered off to smell the back fence line where the feral cats mark.  Then he ran completely out of the ring. 
  • Full House - Level 1 - Q - 1st Place w/ 23 points. 
    • I had a plan and mostly stuck with it.  Still had some issues starting out but once we got back together everything flowed pretty well.  He likes tunnel to tunnel entries!  Kept me sprinting that is for sure.  And they had the table wrapped around the jump so when I said table and pointed he took the tunnel.  I managed to get him up on to the table though so everything worked out. 
  • Jackpot - Level 1 - NQ - Ran out of the ring.
    • Thought we'd get the gamble but didn't and then the table was so close to the ring exit he just ran right out and peed on a tree.  I guess he really had to go.  It was a fun gamble though, I made the mistake of doing it the hard way by having him enter on the more difficult side because he happened to be over there.  
  • Standard - Level 1 - NQ - ran out of the ring.
    • Couldn't even get his attention after the first jump.  Did a good start line stay, then totally lost him when he refused the A-frame (obstacle 2).  He ran to the back of the course to smell the cat pee fence line and then ran out of the ring.  
  • Colors - Level 1 - Q - 1st Place w/ time of 25.72
    • This course flowed pretty well.  He ran around obstacle 5 but I managed to fix it and we finished the course just fine.  I avoided obstacles near the cat pee fence line and took the course that kept us away from that.  Start line stay was pretty nice, got a bit of a 1 jump lead out.  
  • Full House - Level 1 - Q - 1st Place w/ time of 39.38
    • He stayed with me really well on this course being that it was the last run of the day and I know he was tired.  Had great running contacts on dog walk, got the jump combo and ran to the table like a champ.  
Things I learned:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quickie Post

Just a quick post before I go to bed - we had a fun day at agility today.  We got qualifying scores in three out of four runs that we entered and 1st places in all.  Fun day :)  Basil now has a title of CL1-F since he got "Qs" in both Jackpot and Fullhouse at level 1 today.  We also managed to squeak out a Jumpers Q.  Totally blew it on Standard - I'm not as much fun as cat pee apparently and Basil thought that was way more interesting.  We did get the opening before he ran off to smell the cat pee on the fence line.

Byron did quite well at the new venue too.  I managed to get a few pictures.

CPE Trial Dec 2010

CPE Trial Dec 2010-2

CPE Trial Dec 2010-4

CPE Trial Dec 2010-6

CPE Trial Dec 2010-11

CPE Trial Dec 2010-13

Tomorrow we have more fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Photo Post!

I took a bunch of pictures at the corgi beach meetup today.  Those of you not in Florida - the beach down here is nice even in the winter months.  It got up to about 65 degrees while we were out there.  Everyone had a good time.  Byron ran in the surf a bit but never actually went for a swim.  I'll post the slideshow and then share some of my favorite pictures under a cut.

Fort De Soto Corgi Meetup-30
I like the crop I did on this photo. Makes Basil look like he's out in the wilderness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Plan

My lesson last night with Karen Holik was fun and productive I think.  Basil was a little stressed in the beginning, probably because it was a new place and he has only been to a handful of new agility courses so far.  I explained our continuous start line stay problem and she watched us attempt a few segments.   He ran off the first time, came back and we attempted it missing one jump because I pushed in too much. 

Our segments were fine, especially when he was held for a 2 jump leadout.  I've been working on my flying arm syndrome and it has gotten a lot better lately.  Basil is more consistent too without me running around like a flapping chicken.  Byron will benefit from this later on in his training too.

My "prescription" was to work on crate games with him and use a crate at the start line.  I don't have a copy of Susan Garrett's Crate Games DVD but I know some of the basic things.  I just have never transferred it outside of my bedroom where the doggie sleeping crates are.  I ordered the DVD.  I'll be working on it as I have time before the trial next week and we will see where that takes us.

I also got some great tips on puppy agility training.  Byron is so young right now I've been doing little more than socialization and play which is perfect.  She showed me how to use a toy to begin training cues like a release, ready, leave it and go get it.  I'll do some crate games with him too so that he has a good start line stay foundation for when we begin actual training.  Karen said at this age you just want to PLAY with your puppy and get them excited about toys.  Overloading a puppy with cues and commands for agility just doesn't work and their little brains right now can't handle it anyway. 

I'm excited about our first real trial next week!  I hope he has fun and I don't get all nervous and mess up my handling plans.

Byron goes to daycare for the first time on Monday.  :)  I'm excited to see how he does.  I think he will have fun playing with other new pups.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gearing Up

I'm getting excited about Basil's first CPE trial next week.  I've gotta read up on the games again so I can refresh my brain on the rules.  I think he will do well since he did pretty good at DACOF.  Our private lesson this Thursday will be a good indicator as it will be somewhere new with a new coach on the field. 

Finished Jungle Corgi Wall-Hanging
I haven't decorated for Christmas and I'm not sure that I'm going to bother.  We don't have any family coming to the house this year and with the puppy in the house I'm hesitant to put anything out.  He is chewing on everything.  I haven't noticed any teeth coming out yet.  Most of the time he goes for his toys but on occasion he will test out the couch or some other piece of furniture if a toy isn't within grabbing distance of his mouth. 

He loves cardboard boxes.  Any cardboard box on the floor gets pulled around the house and chewed up.  A good motivator to clean up the boxes I sometimes leave on the floor after receiving them in the mail. 

The hubby acquired a cold bug from work so the past five days or so has been fun trying to get some sleep.  What does it say when he gets his cold from guys at work and not his wife?  I found that strange.  Maybe he is immune to all contagious illnesses I get.  This is promising for when the Zombie Apocalypse comes upon us.

Byron's ears still aren't standing up. 

On the menu this week:  spaghetti and meatballs, crockpot chicken and veggies, sausage dogs, taco bake, and hamburgers. 

I attempted using a cake mix to improvise a pound cake and it turned out awfully.  I won't ever be doing that again.  It is a crumby mess.  That is what I get for trying to do shortcuts. 

Can't believe it is nearly December.

Look at my completed corgi wall-hangings now on Etsy.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day of Rest. Yeah Right.

Things I learned yesterday:
  • Most toilet tissues do not break down in the drain line.
  • The previous owner of the house was an idiot and put weed barrier and red lava rock over our main drain line access porthole.
  • Don't trust a company that says they will be there within 4-6 hours but can't give you an exact time
  • Things don't always go as planned (I knew this but it was a good reminder yesterday)
Our main drain line to the sewer clogged yesterday.  I knew something was up when I went to take my shower and stepped into 4 inches of water after letting it warm up.  Then I went to do the dishes and the water backed up into the sink and disposal.

I thought it was the disposal that had clogged.  Looked online how to clean it out, grabbed two buckets and a bowl.  Got the trap undone and lots of yucky water and drain cleaner everywhere before realizing it wasn't the disposal.  In the meantime Byron's sister Alice came to play so I felt bad having to deal with all this while Ana was here.

I dealt with a horrible company waiting to have a plumber sent to my house.  I get yelled at when my husband gets home for not dealing with the problem the right way apparently (trust me, I gave him an earful after that comment). He called the horrible company and asked them to have the plumber that was sent out to call him.  When the plumber did call him the plumber said it was the first he'd heard of my service call all day (7 hours after my initial request for service).  He also said there was no way he'd be able to come out since it was so late now.  We called a different company and they came out within two hours to fix the problem. 

So - my advice to you, don't use any toilet tissue other than Scott one or two-ply.  Don't ever use flushable wipes - he says 90% of the drains he unclogs is because of those and they don't break down in the drain line or sewer system.  They just sit there waiting to clog.  Keeps them in business.  We don't use flushable wipes but I know lots of people do.  We just used Cottonelle tissue but apparently it is way too thick of a tissue to be using.

Car crash 11/22/2008
My husband has a call into the original company that I called to speak to the owner and find out what exactly happened yesterday.  I wish I could be the fly on the wall when he speaks to them.  I've already posted several reviews online of the horrible company just to warn others to not use them.

Oh yeah - today is the second anniversary of my car crash.  Things could be worse as I am reminded this day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Trouble With Food

Sunday evening I purchased Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi.  Tuesday evening I finished it.  It is a short read, 602 pages.  Reading the book brought back some painful memories of high school and my own struggle with anorexia.

Me Summer of '99
You wouldn't know it looking at me now (or even then probably) but when I was sixteen I prided myself for being a size 3.  I loved that I was 103 pounds.  I loved that number on the scale.  I didn't love myself at all and I still hated the way I looked.  I vividly remember lying in my tub one night feeling my ribs and my hips and poking at my stomach that was still too big and it poked out too much.  I hated that flab under my belly button that never seemed to go away.  I hated my thighs.

103 wasn't enough.  I still felt it should be smaller.  A girl of 5'1 had a weight range considered healthy between 100 - 110 pounds according to a chart at my doctors office.  I wanted to be 100 pounds.  In the 8th grade I weighed 130 pounds and had a rough time of it.  I'd moved to a new school and didn't really know anyone.  All the girls in my classes were skinny, much skinnier and prettier than me.  I was plain and uninteresting looking with short hair and glasses.  And I was fat.  I felt alone and left out.  I hid in my writing and books.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Agility Frustrations & Puppy Fun

Just try to take it. 
Getting ready for the CPE trial next month I've been trying to work on my start line stay.  The mat seems to help Basil target something better but he gets so stressed at the start line and then I lose my focus on what my handling plan was as he runs around the jumps to go look at something else after being released.  That was the first 5 minutes of our class last night, him staying, me walking out 20 feet to do a 2 jump leadout and then me releasing him to watch him run around everything and run off.  Rinse, repeat 4 more times to a very frustrated Katie.  Doing the standard course with a running start worked much better and I was able to do my handling plan with the front cross without a problem. 

I noticed Basil limping last week on his right rear so I wondered if maybe that had something to do with him refusing jumps on the jumpers course.  I stretched him and felt each toe individually.  He didn't protest at all and I didn't feel any heat in the leg.  So I'm thinking it has something to do with the start line stay issue. 

I think for now I'm going to do running starts until I can get a handle on the start line stay stress.  Bernie did the same thing.  I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  I've got a lesson planned with Karen Holik next month before the trial so maybe I can get her insight into my training issue.  She's been on the World Team seven times so I'm sure she can show me the error in my ways. I'm also hoping to get some advice on starting a puppy in agility. 

Byron was a little ham at agility class last night.  He has totally come out of his shell and loves being on the field while Basil and I run.  I even let Byron walk over the dog walk following some hot dogs for the first time last night.  He did pretty good and was careful for most of the way.  I watched his back end as he's still a clumsy puppy doing stuff.  I've been doing some shadow handling with him and treating him for that.  He follows my hands really well right now. 

He is a fearless little puppy.  I can tell I'm going to have to be careful with him when he tries stuff out.  Teeter bang noises don't bother him at all, he doesn't mind the dogs running over the a-frame or doing the weave poles.  I let him explore the weave poles last night and poked them with my finger a bit to have them move.  He didn't care.  He just looked at it, acknowledged it and was like okay.  He is so laid back and just a happy guy.  I think he will be a nice blend of what I like best in Bernie and Basil for agility. 

Tomorrow night is the first puppy class for us officially so that should be fun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Today begins the interview process that might culminate with a move to Virginia.

There are a lot of "what ifs" in that scenario before a move would be decided but it is fun to think that it is a possibility.  Truth be told, I'm ready to move out of Florida.  The heat is just awful and while home prices may be low, property taxes and sales taxes look like they are going to continue to increase. IT jobs in the area are few and far between so it has been difficult for my husband to find a good company to work at.  I'm itching to go somewhere new. 

We've moved three times in the last five years.  I've gotten a little better with each move.  A cross country move does make me a bit nervous but I think we can handle it.  The biggest thing I'm concerned about is selling the house.  We would have to do a few things to get it ready for sale (adding grass back into the backyard where the dogs have worn a trail to the favorite squirrel tree) but I don't think it would be so much that it wouldn't sell at all.  Our neighbor across the street sold his house in September for 195,500.  It was on the market a few months though I believe.

Anyhooo.... will be interesting to hear how the phone interview goes this afternoon and if they will be flying him up for an in person interview.  I hope so. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Raw Diet - Six Months Later

I haven't really blogged much about Bernie's raw diet and I know some owners out there are curious about it. I also want to document my experience with it so far.
Two weeks worth of Bernie's food

My choice to switch to a raw diet was a personal one, motivated by Bernie almost dying after a bladder surgery to remove a sizable bladder stone comprised of stuff that came from struvite crystals. Switching any animal to a raw diet can be highly controversial, especially given there isn't a lot of research out there substantiating the diet, pros and cons. When prescription medications and kibbles failed me I had to turn to something controversial in hopes it would work to save my dog.

There are lots of ways to start feeding raw. Some people use something called "prey model" which consists of mostly whole cuts of meat or small animal carcasses (sometimes complete with fur/feathers) and very little vegetation.  Some people prefer the BARF diet.  Some people make up their own diet as a combination of both of these.  I opted for something more scientific and hired a canine nutritionist to formulate the diet for me since I don't know the nutritional requirements of canines.  I also didn't know the balance of vitamins needed to keep a urine acidic and to prevent it from forming crystals.  Thankfully, the nutritionist knew exactly what I needed and she had done special formulations before.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prime Socialization

Saturday morning I took Byron to a quilt show.  You can see my blog post over at my quilting blog complete with slideshow.

Corgis-10-31-10-16I couldn't walk two feet without being stopped and someone asking about Byron wanting to pet him and find out what breed he was.  He must have been touched by at least 40 people, including a few children, several wearing hats and coats, wearing plastic gloves to touch the quilts with, pushing strollers, carrying bags, using cameras, wearing glasses, all shapes, colors and sizes too.  It was the best socialization experience I've ever done with a puppy.  The atmosphere is ideal given that there are large quilts hanging and blowing in the breeze, lots of noise, plenty of grass and leaves to play in and quiet areas in case the puppy gets overwhelmed.  The two hours we were there he had the best time and got totally exhausted.  I was pretty tired too by the end of it since I had to carry him most of the way (he isn't walking on a leash quite yet, sometimes he'll run a few steps and stop but he's only three months old).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Busy Day

Basil and Byron Share a Stick

Off to a quilt show this morning and then I'm taking the dogs to a corgi meetup (leaving Byron at home since he hasn't had 2nd boosters yet).  They are loving the cooler weather!  Byron's ears are getting taped up again today.  Had to take the tape off and clean his ears since dirt got all on them.  Gave them a day to rest.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Agility Improvement

Basil's First Agility CompetitionRight now my agility handling is still coming along.  I'm working on getting rid of Flying Arm Syndrome and that is going well.  Basil handles much better when I've got better control of my arm signals and I don't fling them around.  His rear crosses are getting better and I'm fitting in more front crosses where I can.  He takes wide turns and I've got to work on him pulling into me better after a turn or change of direction.  I've tried some jump wrapping exercises but he hasn't totally got it down yet.

Basil doesn't like 22" spacing on weave poles.  He only consistently does 24" spaced poles.  I find that interesting. 

Next month is the CPE trial.  We've got 4 weeks to practice for it.  I entered him in 8 of 15 runs and we will only be there for two of the three days. I don't think either of us is ready for a full three day trial with all 15 runs.  I love the CPE games so I entered us into Standard, Jackpot, Fullhouse, Jumpers on Friday and Standard, Colors, Jackpot and Fullhouse on Saturday.  Definitely not ready for snooker yet, that game gives me a heart attack.

NADAC is hard for me because they love to put lots of jumps in straight lines and Basil doesn't send out like Bernie does.  He will do two or three jumps and then pulls off if I can't keep up with him.  Probably why I prefer the tighter CPE courses too.

Byron seems to enjoy running around and chasing toys.  He leaps off the ottoman to tackle Basil and shows no fear.  He loves to climb all over the living room furniture and continually tries to climb up from the floor but can't yet. He has this infatuation with Bernie that I don't understand.  She doesn't really play with him much but he absolutely LOVES her and goes out of his way to lick her muzzle and play bow in front of her.

I might pull out the play tunnel this weekend if the grass dries off and let the dogs play out in the yard.  See if Byron wants to do the play tunnel.  I bet he will.

I've been focusing on people socialization right now.  I'll probably begin some training this weekend and next week.  He's settling in well and is very happy.  Not much concerns him.  Sometimes a noise might startle him but for the most part he's a pretty confident, goofy guy.  He does love to bark sometimes though!  His little bark is so funny.  It is true that Cardigans make all sorts of noises about everything.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Day in Pictures

The morning was spent doing some mild cleaning and then Byron's sister Alice came by to visit.  We let them play outside a bit before taking them on a short outing.    Basil has quite the crush on Alice.    Here are a few of my favorite pictures from today:



Basil lets Byron bite all over his muzzle.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Good and the Bad

Dropped into a puppy kindergarten with little Byron last night.  He didn't know WHAT to think.  He adjusted well considering it was a full class (three hairless terriers, a yorkie, a large mix, vizlea, beagle and king charles spaniel) and the terriers loved to talk.  He loved people, had little interest in the other puppies.  I'm hoping some time in daycare will help him warm up to other dogs easier.  He gets his 12 week boosters on the 11th so after that I'm gonna start him doing a day of daycare when I'm able to. 

This weekend I plan on hanging out at the local outdoor mall to let him get some people exposure.  We'll find a quiet bench and see if any passersby want to give him treats.    He's a great little dog.  He loves toys and has really taken a liking to Bernie.  Bernie hasn't returned the sentiment yet, she will sometimes try to play with him but generally doesn't have any interest and raises her lip at him while he licks her muzzle.

And the bad news.... Ringo's company got bought out.  The deal will go through early next year.  There is talk of the Tampa office he works in getting shut down completely.  I hope he doesn't get laid off before he is able to find another job.  I told him to start applying nationwide and take what he can get.  I can sell the house in a year and a half and move wherever he is.  If we have to live apart for a year and a half so be it.  Hopefully that doesn't happen. 
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