Saturday, January 29, 2011

Corgi Photo Post







Book Review - The Hunger Games

I recently finished the first book of a new series for me.  This is a sort of science fiction genre but really is an alternative history subgenre.  B&N kept recommending the book to me but I know I read the premise and really wasn't that interested despite the rave reviews for the book.

The Premise via B&N:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

The pacing of the book is very well done.  There are two others after this one that continue the story and I'm currently just starting the second.  I really enjoyed the character development and how smart the storyline was.  It is an easy read if you need an airport pageturner. 

The movie is slated to be released in 2013.  Will be interesting to see what they do with it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baby Teeth!

Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Last 2 Baby Teeth
Byron is almost finished losing his baby teeth. I'm sure he is annoyed with me checking every few days on his last two teeth left, his upper canines.

He actually lost one last night finally. It was really wiggly the day before so I figured it would come out soon. Especially since Basil is his designated Dentist right now:

So now we've got one left that we're waiting on to come out.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi - Last 2 Baby Teeth

Life with Byron has been really great. He's been making friends at agility class and has a blast at doggie daycare when I take him. I'm surprised with how easy he has meshed with Bernie and Basil. I thought Bernie would have more of an issue with a new puppy but she hasn't really seemed to mind at all. He annoys her sometimes but quickly stops when she tells him to.

Cardigans are very different from Pembrokes. I think I'm just about sold on the idea of only having Cardigan Welsh Corgis. We will see as life goes on. Byron loves to make little noises about things going on in the house, he often will whine while he plays with a squeaky toy - we don't know what that is all about but it is adorable. I think he's talking to the squeaky toy. He likes to carry his toys outside and play with them there. You show him how to do something once and he knows how to do it from then on.

He is a pretty vocal dog. He gets frustrated when he is crated and I'm running Basil on an agility course and will tell me the entire time I'm out there. Not as vocal as Bernie but more vocal than Basil. He whines, cries, barks, groans, sighs and makes various other noises.

Looking forward to relaxing this weekend. This week has been nuts.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Basil has his first NADAC trial next month. I haven't competed in NADAC in over two years. I'm so lucky this trial is 20 minutes from my house!

I get the feeling that if we can conquer distance we will do well in NADAC. Basil is already starting to get confidence being handled 10-15 feet away on 2-3 obstacles in a line. It is hard to believe that six months ago we were quite a different team. My handling still had tons of Flying Arms and we were plagued by continuous start line stay issues.

I finally got another hard sided crate to practice crate games with last week. I didn't have a spare portable hard crate to practice with so in the meantime I changed my start line stay cue to see if that would help.

I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. We play a game, basically it is chase but he does most of the running around. My cue is "I'm Gonna Get You!" but I whisper it to him and make little claw motions with my hands while bending over. He immediately goes into a down until I suddenly jump at him and then he runs around all crazy happy. This game has never been associated with stress so I haven't poisoned that cue. Something at some point poisoned my stay cue with him which is why my start line became such a mess.

Karen Holik also made a good point that if your dog breaks the start line don't keep forcing them to do it over and over, just put them back to the first obstacle and do a running start. I think that was another mistake I'd made was stressing him out more and more by making him do the start line stay when he was obviously not happy with me leaving him.

Basil has always been a bit "special". He is definitely a Momma's Boy. I think if he could stick to me like velcro 24/7 he would be thrilled. Little things can make him nervous and he can be jumpy at times. We've worked through a lot of it and he loves agility so much not much can phase him while he is playing agility with me.

It is nice to have a few weeks left to practice some more start line stays and weaves. My friend Ellen was so kind to give me a six pole set of channel weaves! I can work on Basil's entry at a distance and different angles and also start Byron on super wide channel weaves, running back and forth.

So yeah - First week of February should be fun. :)

Movie Review
The Green Hornet was not a movie I was itching to see. I like Seth Rogan and all, but kind of getting tired of the whole comic-turned-movie genre. Ringo was dying to see it and it wasn't so awful looking (I.E. - Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie) so I relented. I'm kind of glad I did, it was a fun movie to watch. I had no idea it would be more comedy than anything. It was not as bad as critics said it was.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Learn from me...

iPhone 4 Front Glass Shattered....don't do this to your cell phone.  This will be the second phone that I've shattered the front glass on.  The first one was a T-Mobile Dash, and that phone was notorious for having a screen that was very easy to break the inner LCD on.  I did that successfully and then I dropped it in a parking lot and it got run over by another car.

So my iPhone was dropped on my kitchen tile and this happened.  Lesson learned.  I ordered an Otterbox Defender case to prevent any future clumsy mishaps on my part from harming the poor phone.

The phone is being sent off to a repair service out in California.  Taking bets on what time the withdrawal twitches start today... I'm thinking around 10AM or so.  

Pretty bad when we become this reliant on technology....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Being Grateful for What You've Got...

People that know me know I can be a champion complainer.  If something really irritates me - whoo boy, don't ask me about it unless you really want to hear my opinion on the matter. I think that as I get older I realize how lucky I really am.  I've made a conscious effort the past year or so to change my habit of complaining about things and learning to roll with the punches more.

Nothing is perfect.  Life wouldn't be interesting if it wasn't a challenge.  My marriage takes work, my job takes lots of work and I'm lucky enough to have a decent amount of leisure time in between.  A woman in my position would not have been able to say something so lucky 100 years ago.

Botanical Gardens
Photo I took at USF Botanical Gardens.  Perfect model
for how to chill out

So far, for the most part, I've been making changes in my life the past year that have helped my stress level.  Some people thrive on stress and convince themselves they love it when it is actually killing them. For a long time my coping mechanism with anxiety was to pack as many things into a day as possible so I didn't have time to think about things and let anxiety get to me.  Instead, I'd create more stress trying to avoid anxiety.  That plan of attack failed miserably and I burned out quicker than you can say "pancake".

Understand the Difference Between "Need" and "Want"
I think a lot of people get stressed out because they don't learn to differentiate between needing something versus wanting something and the journey to acquire it.  We Americans are already saddled with growing up in a consumerist society where a majority of us are raised, socialized and bombarded with messages to get more, get better and have the most things.  More things equal happy right?  We know this isn't the case.  They've done studies on the perceived "perfect salary" for happiness, and once you get past that magic number where do you go?

It concerns me to watch children being raised now in a society of instant gratification.  When the hard reality of getting a job comes and you don't instantly have one the minute you graduate from college what are they going to do?  Many parents now don't have retirement funds and they aren't going to be able to support grown kids along with themselves.

Loving the journey towards getting something you want helps greatly with stress levels. 

After moving into my house I know I was overwhelmed with the number of things I felt I needed but didn't have.  I'm now trying to find ways to repurpose objects into usable things.  I still have an old dresser sitting in my garage that I need to sand and refinish.  Use what you've got and you will be amazed at the cost savings and how it makes you feel to repurpose an object that might have otherwise been thrown away.

This doesn't mean hoard everything known to man with the good intention of repurposing.  That can become dangerous obviously, just watch the show Hoarders and see what i mean.  If the task is beyond you or you feel you might not ever get around to it rehome the object.  Someone else may have better use of it.

If you have a job right now you are a lucky person, plain and simple.  I tell myself this every single day.  My job may not be perfect but it has a lot more than what most people have - good benefits and the possibility of a pension depending on how long I stay after I'm vested.  There were many times in the past where I'd let myself be stressed about my job situation, nothing seemed perfect.  Now I see it differently.

September Corgis! 
There have been numerous studies done on how having a pet can lower your stress level.  I'm lucky to have three wonderful, healthy dogs that keep my life interesting.  Even though they bless me with tons of hair I still love them.  I know they contribute to my lowered stress levels, even on days when I come home to find a new cardboard box shredded up on the floor.

I'm lucky to have my life, my friends, and my family.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Scare of the Byron Kind and Other Updates

Last night was a fun time taking Byron to the ER to find out what was up with him.

Around 10PM I let the dogs out in the back to do their business before bed, then I went to call them in. Everyone came in except Byron. I looked out and he was laying in the grass. I called a few more times, he just looked at me. I shook the treat jar and had two corgis jumping on me but no Byron. I fed Basil a treat in his eye line so he could see, still, didn't get up.

Knowing Byron like I do I immediately think something is wrong. I walk over, pet him, he responds a little bit but still won't get up so I carry him inside. I set him down on the patio room floor to see if he will stand. He does, slowly. I walk away to see if he will follow. He is really lethargic and his conjunctiva of his eyes are super red. His eyes also looked swollen and he was having issues retracting his inner eyelid.

One of my first thoughts was "Did he eat something out in the yard?" and I know with all the rain, mushrooms have a tendency to pop up even if they were not there before since the ground is moist and we've had some hot weather the past few days. I check my yard for mushrooms and haven't ever had issues. Being that he wasn't vomiting or having loose stool I wasn't convinced it was poisoning but every dog is different.

I offered him some kibble, normally when I go to the food bin he is bouncing all over the place so happy that he is about to have dinner. He just moped around and wasn't happy. He ate the 1/2 cup of food I offered very slowly though. I took it as an ok sign but still really didn't have a great feeling about it.

Putting him in bed I noticed his eyes seemed to get worse, he was still lethargic and I just decided better to be safe than sorry and made the trip to the 24 hour ER vet. We have pet insurance to cover any illness or injury over $200 up to $12,000 per illness/injury, especially after what happened to Bernie.

He perked up when we got out of the car going into the vets office and we waited over an hour to be seen. She thought it was an allergic reaction to something. He got an eye wash and a little shot of epinephrine to help with any remaining reaction that might be going on and I was given the amount of Benedryl to administer if he needed more.

By the time we got back home and in bed it was after 1AM. I felt much better and I know he did too when he bounced into the house happy to see Bernie and Basil. They checked him out all over to see where he had been and they all settled in together in bed.

He seems to be doing ok so far today. I'm going to do a thorough yard check and remove anything suspicious looking. 

Everyone at the vet ER loved him and several people in the waiting room came up to say hi to him.  He was a popular dude last night.  

Other than that I've just been busy with agility practices for the upcoming trial, trying to get my house back in shape after the holiday crazyness, getting used to my husband's new shift, and some sewing when I have the time.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Countdown to Cruise

Yummy yummyThe Quick Update on Goings On:
  • I might have gallstones.  Ultrasound tomorrow to find out.
  • Hubby is interviewing for new jobs but no word yet on how that is going
  • Byron's ears are staying up!
  • Bernie had a great vet checkup right before Christmas, results are all positive and she is very healthy
  • Basil is getting ready for his first NADAC trial on the first weekend in February
  • Can't believe the new year is already upon us
  • Found out the lady I use for doggie boarding will feed raw so Bernie is in the clear when we go on vacation in March
 And that brings us to the main topic today, countdown to my cruise in March!  We took our first cruise last March and absolutely fell in love with cruising.  There were things we loved and hated about the cruise in general but for the most part I think it was the best vacation we've ever taken together for one big reason - I wasn't stressed out the whole time.  

Carnival Cruise - Legend - Out of Tampa - 3/21/10In the past I've had major anxiety about going to new places and with a bit of therapy I've gotten better.  I still overplan to compensate and will have detailed driving directions, daily itineraries and books whenever we go somewhere new because I have a tendency to worry about being in a new place and not knowing where things are.  A cruise solves a lot of these problems.

For one, you are on a big ship when you aren't in port.  If you get lost, you can ask a trustworthy staff member for directions or reference one of the many maps posted around the ship.  (Heck, there is even an iPhone app with deck plans if you want it.)  You can't really get too lost as the ocean prevents that. 
When you are in port most people either stay in the port area or go out on a tour that is planned ahead of time.  For a Caribbean cruise you are generally on an island so again, it is hard to get TOO lost.  

Can you tell that getting lost was probably one of my greatest fears in life at one point in time?  Now, I don't really worry about it.   

During a cruise you generally don't have to drive, don't have to cook, don't have to clean (other than general picking up around your stateroom), don't have to wash clothes, don't have to answer a phone or e-mail and you don't have to worry about who fed the dog.  

This leaves you with a lot of free time.  I don't sleep well in strange places so during the cruise I didn't sleep a lot at night.  I woke up to watch the sun rise on our balcony most mornings which was nice.  I spent a lot of time on our balcony reading or relaxing.

The ports were fun to explore and we did one excursion last time which was a blast.  

Cruising is an easy vacation to plan and really relaxing once you get on the boat.  I'm a complete addict now.  We convinced two of our friends to go with us and we're working on convincing a few more.  For now - I'm counting down the days until we get to go. boards are keeping me sane until then.  :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More Photos from Tallahassee Trip

I was finally able to give my mom her gift I've been working on.  She liked it!

Byron spent most of the week sleeping on it and breaking it in for her.  Hopefully it will get years of good use as a warm lap quilt.  I had fun making it.

On Tuesday Dad and I went to see Tron in IMAX 3D.  I'd already experienced it here in 3D the weekend it came out but he hadn't watched it yet.  It was really fun to watch in IMAX.  I like the film and I liked the first one a lot too.  The music is awesome!

Wednesday morning Mom and I went to a quilt show at the Museum of Florida History (go to my quilting blog to see the photo slideshow of that) and that afternoon Dad took me shooting.

When I lived in Tallahassee I was a member of the private gun club and would regularly go on the weekends to do some target practice.  I also competed a few times in the rimfire silhouette competitions they have once a month.  I miss doing that.  It is impossible to do without regularly practicing so I don't go to any of them down here.  Lots of fun!

Some photos from the shooting that we did:

And now I'm home with lots of housework and other things to catch up on.  Not looking forward to going back to work on Monday.  Seems like the time off has just flown by.  Hope this year is a great one!
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