Sunday, February 28, 2010

San Diego Obedinece Trial Day 2

A much less eventful day today. Beautiful weather. Sunny and warm. Pie qualified in both open and utility earning her second UDX leg. (Such a good girl!) No placements today. Pie didn't get as many pets today since I had her crate out the entire time she spent more time in it. Even though we are not a very precise team (my lack of training Pie to be correct) we still received many compliments about what a nice working dog she is. One lady (a steward!) us we should have had first place since my dog obviously adores me. If only that was all it took!

Pie's go outs were so straight yesterday I was a bit disappointed they were not as perfect today, since it was the same ring and all. Ah well, it gave us a chance to show off she can correctly take the jump I direct her to even though she is much closer to the other one.

Another bobble was she had trouble with the leather article. She picked up the wrong one, put it down, picked up the right one, put it down, did more checking, then picked up the correct one and brought it back. It is points off for picking up and putting down, but I was oh so proud that she continued working and didn't panic when she couldn't make up her mind and randomly pick one. What a good girl.

But even better was when I did a horrible throw on the Retrieve on the Flat (darn those indoor shows and bouncy dumbbells!) and the the dumbbell ended up behind the jump. Pie went out, turned around and headed for the jump, then swerved at the last second! Whew (insert brow wiping.) She thought about it and made the correct choice. I do proof for this by standing close to the jump and throwing it and giving a verbal correction and stopping her if she is about to take the jump when she is not supposed to. The cue that she is supposed to jump no matter where the DB ends up (I proof throwing it off to both sides a lot) is I send her with "over" on Retrieve Over High Jump and "get it" on Retrieve on Flat. I still use "get it" in AKC even though I changed it to "bring" for SchH.

The drive home was smooth. I stopped for lunch and bought Pie a double cheeseburger which she ate in one bite. I saved the top bun for Fancy and Dottie.

Fancy's pad are better today. No limping.

I just took Pie for a 2 mile bikejour ride. She sprinted the first mile and I didn't pedal except to start us off. Then she trotted back home with me helping on the hills. Now she is running around the yard with Dottie. If I had know she still had energy I wouldn't have pedaled at all! We are not going too far to start off to make sure her pads don't get injured.

Dottie also went for a very short ride but with her we are working on not pulling.

The entire time I was typing this and checking my email, Pie has STILL been running around the yard, barking in frustration that she isn't catching Dottie, then some wresting, then a drink then MORE running! Crazy dog. Apparently long car rides, being crated all day, and no exercise make her insane. Who could imagine? I wonder if the stress of working hard at the show has made her feel the need to relax and "blow off steam" by running. Running A LOT.

Now Fancy and Dottie are playing chase. I hope to get a video of that someday.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

San Diego Obedience Trial Day One

I woke up to rain. Drat. Driving 2.5 hours in the rain won't be fun. Turns out it was a lot less fun than I thought, and I was prepared for no fun at all.

It rained hard. The entire way. I didn't think I would make my class, especially when the freeway was shut down and we didn't move at all for 10 minutes. I know 10 minutes is a short time, but I imagined it would go on much longer. Of course, getting lost didn't help either. Let me start at the beginning.

I left about 15 minutes later than I planned, but I wasn't worried. I'd still be there 15 minutes before my class started. Then the rain came down harder and I drove slower and slower. I avoid the fast and slow lanes in heavy rain because of the possibility of them being flooded. Since it was dark out, I wouldn't be able to tell if there were big puddles, and it is very unsafe to hit a puddle going freeway speeds. I was headed up a hill, relaxed a bit since there can't be standing water on a hill when I very suddenly found out there CAN be standing water on a hill. The car next to me threw copious amounts of water onto my windshield. I was completely blind. I knew there was a truck in front of me, and I knew the road was going straight, but I could not see anything. I applied the brakes (but did not slam them on) and kept the wheel straight and hoped the truck in front of me did not stop and hoped no one behind me had the same problem and did not stop. However, I was not too concerned with people behind me because they were just hypothetical. I am a very defensive driver (probably due to the Pepsi Defensive Driver Course shirt I had as a very small child) and I knew the car that blinded me and the truck in front of me were the only two cars in the vicinity. After what felt like a few minutes but was probably only a second, I slowed down enough and/or the puddle ended and I was no longer in the spray zone. But while my windshield was completely covered and I was blind it was quite scary.

I continued on through the poring rain. At one point I came to a confusing section of the freeway. The lane I was in indicated I was to say in this lane to continue on the 5 south, yet the line to my left was solid white, which tends to mean you are being diverted onto a different road. When I first started driving on the freeway, I was very nervous I would be in a situation where I was confused as to what lane to be in to go the correct direction. This is the first time it actually happened. Well, actually, I have been confused at times, but I've always made the correct decision. Not so much this time. I think I ended up on the 10. I got off on the first exit, hoping I could get back on the 10 going the other direction and pick up the 5 from there.

I think my exit put me onto a movie sound stage made up to look like a deserted warehouse district where all kinds of bad stuff goes down. Maybe drug exchanges or counterfeiting operations or even human smuggling. It was bad. Totally deserted. Boarded up windows. Erie buildings. Buildings built right up on the street with no sidewalks. Just a really strange place. One block over things started to get more normal. I made a few turns, based mostly on the fact that the streets I were on said, "No outlet" then found a well lighted Shell Station. I ran inside and asked for directions. The next street I was going to turn on was the correct street and I made it back to the 5.

Now I was really late. But it was still raining hard. Then the freeway was shut down and I was even later. I reminded myself that while it is true I can't show if I miss my class, it is even more true that I can't show if I am dead. So I refrained from driving unsafely in the rain.

I got to the Del Mar Fairgrounds at about 8:05. My class started at 8, but I didn't have my paper to tell me if I was first or how many dogs were ahead of me. Not surprisingly, the driver of the car in front of me to pay for parking was explaining the plot and central characters of War and Peace to the parking attendant. Or something. I kept my cool and did not start honking OR ram them from behind. After all, I had an impressionable young dog watching my every move.

After finally paying, I had to drive through the entire fairgrounds to the parking lot, which was almost full. I found a spot and jumped out of my car... into a giant puddle. I had parking right int the middle of it. Yuck.

I got Pie, my scent articles, show collar, leash, dumbell, ball and dog cookies, locked the car and took off for our buidling. Is anyone surpirsed it was at the same end of the grounds that we came in at but had to park farthest from? Pie and I ran the entire way to the building in the rain. Upon checking in I learned we had NOT missed our turn. I even had time to warm Pie up, take her to the bathroom spot (an x-pen filled with shavings that I am surprised she would go in) and then it was our turn!

Pie qualified in Utility B with a third place. In Open she also qualified. So that is our very first UDX leg. Only 9 more to go!

I was a bit worried about the groups since last time she went down on the sit. Just as we were getting ready to go into the ring a huge deluge came down. The judge thought he was doing us a favor by taking us out a different door with an overhang. The dogs got to watch us walk away, and away and away, further and further, until we finally went out a door. Personally, I'd rather get wet and have the Q, but it turned out ok anyway.

I went back to the car between Utility and Open to get Pie's crate (slogging through the huge puddle again) and brought Dottie back. She was not too thrilled with the show building and it's huge crowds and loud noises. (This is a very challenging venue. I do not believe obedience MUST be in a more quiet spot, but it is nice not to have the judge loose her voice because she is shouting to be heard over the noise of the blow dryers. Even though it is a challenging venue, I've had good luck here. 2 years ago- or was it 3 already?- Fancy got her UD at this show.) Back to Dottie. I'm sure it didn't help that she would not stop pulling frantically on her leash, and I kept yanking on her and harshly telling her to stop. I realized afterwards I think sometimes she pulls like that because she is worried. Other times she is just excited but this time I really blew it. I couldn't get her to put her ears up even with food bribes. Actually, they would come up for a second but then they'd go back down. After Pie was done I bought her a toy and we played with that and all was good.

Pie was quite the breed ambassador today. Other than Dottie she was the only Malinois at the entire show. People who knew the breed were very excited to see her, and people who didn't know but asked what she was were so pleased to meet her. Pie got pet by so many different people and loved every second of it. The only thing I have to be careful about is I don't want novices to think all Malinois have Pie's same temperament. Her "I am so outgoing and love everyone" is not very common. Not that Malinois are unfriendly or aggressive, Pie is just much more effusive in her generous love than most Mals. She is more like a Golden Retriever than a Malinois, and at the National Specialty at the Breeder's Education Seminar, the breeder-judge said Malinios should NOT have a Golden Retriever personality. So while Pie is perfect for me and for greeting people and making friends at the dog show, her temperament is not the most correct and I don't want people to be mislead. So when people ask if they are all as friendly as she is, I try to reply with something like, "She's a bit more excessively friendly than is normal."

Dottie did not get pet by anyone because when I had her out we played with the toy. One man did play with her with the toy, and actually he did pet her, but for the most part, she is too unmannered to be pet by the general public.

After the show I drove to the Motel 6. Sadly, I got lost... I was supposed to turn on Avenida Encantas, but when I found Encanas Bldv, I figured Google Maps and messed up the name and turned. When I didn't find the motel I got back on the other road and finally found the correct street. I think the missing "T" should have been my biggest clue. I carried all my stuff up to the second floor (you'd think I was moving in permanently) and went back for the dogs. And it started pouring, again. The dogs had their potty break in the pouring rain and then we headed upstairs. As my loyal readers know, I have 2 dogs with the advanced obedience title, the UD, and a somewhat trained puppy. It should not have been this hard to make it up a flight of stairs.

Pie and Fancy headed up while Dottie took a detour and went around the railing and stayed on the ground floor. Dottie hitting the end of her leash going in the opposite direction than us made me stop which in turn made Fancy and Pie stop. Pie thought I was telling her she was going the wrong way so she went back down the stairs and around the railing while Dottie figured it out and came up the stairs. I was trying to get Pie back up the stairs while Dottie found a gap in the railing and started to stick her head through it, which distracted me from getting Pie to come up at which point Fancy headed back down. I jerked Dottie back from the hole and went down to join the other two and we all started back up together. It was at that point I noticed the lady watching us through her window and laughing. At least someone was enjoying it.

Dottie thought it was exciting to be in a motel room while Pie and Fancy are jaded due to their frequent travels. Dot enticed Pie to play while I unpacked and I hoped there was no one below us to hear the thumping of a combined 100 pounds of Malinois jumping and wresting.

I confined Dottie to her crate since I had to call tech support to get the WiFi running in my room. I was excited to I use my laptop to blog in an alternate away from home location for the first time. The tech support guy was helpful and got me running (obviously.)

Dottie is still in her kennel since it is so much easier for her to be in there than out running around the room terrorizing my power cord, the trashcan and my suitcase, among other things.

Day 2 of the trial is tomorrow. I hope it does not rain on our way home. Right now it sounds like it is still raining hard and I heard some thunder earlier.


On Thursday I took Fancy and Pie for a bicycle ride. Both dogs have started to misbehave on our walks in the hills behind the house. Since they are so familiar with the area and it is basically our back yard, apparently their thinking is they will not come when called, not check in, range super far away, chase bunnies onto neighboring properties, go the opposite direction I am, and the most grievous misbehaviour, not come home until they are ready. I am not going to let them get away with that, so I needed to find them a new form of exercise.

Both Pie and Fancy have biked before. Fancy has the most experience. Just hook her to the back tire support by leash and off she goes. At one time I was biking with Fancy and Bloom was riding in a back pack. I bought a basket for him to ride in to save my back, but he was really too big for it.

Pie wants to pull. Having her on the side wasn't working so I threw a harness on her and attached her to the front. Viola! We are now bikejouring!

I need to get a real harness and make one of the pole type things to keep the line from getting caught in the front wheel. The first day we went up the street at a moderate pace and passed some Texas Longhorn Cattle behind a shoddy looking barbed wire fence. There was a cute calf, but also some really big bulls. We moved on quickly. Fancy kept up and Pie pulled. I didn't realize how much she was pulling until we turned around and headed home and it was all down hill and I had to keep the breaks on.

After finding out it is ok to start Dottie on some easy "roadwork" I took her by herself on Friday. She was not happy being hooked to the bike and pulled sideways out from the bike. I took her leash in my hand and I think she liked that more because she could feel some give to it and she was trotting next to me instead of the wheel. We just went a super short distance and turned around and when we got home she wasn't even breathing hard.

I put Dot in her crate and hooked Pie and Fancy up and off we went! This time we went the other direction. I don't know why, but sitting on a bike and not peddling while Pie pulls you along at a good clip is soooo much fun. I say "Pie Pull!" and off she goes, in a dead run. I peddle at the start to get us going, then just sit back and enjoy the ride. Pie settles into her lope which reminds me of a wolf lope because it is so smooth and fluid and it looks like she could keep it up all day. Seen from the back on a bike her haunches rise and fall in perfect rythn and it just goes on and on and on. Wait. What's this? Fancy is having trouble keeping up. Pie is going too fast. Come on Fancy. Hurry up. Fancy is running fast but something looks wrong. Stand Pie! Pie slows down and stops. I examine Fancy. Her pads are bleeding. Hmmmm.... I'm not sure how far we have come but Fancy cannot walk home like this. I could carry her home but that will take a while. Can I carry her home while I ride the bike? I experimented a bit and haven't quite given up but think it is looking not so good when a lady pulls over and asks if I need help. Luckily the back of her Explorer is set up for her dog, so she gives us a ride home. I went back for the bike in my car. It was just under a mile from the house.

I know Fancy has soft feet, but I didn't expect them to go bad so quickly. I cleaned them up and she is limping around now. I've tried booties on her before, but all the ones I've bought have just fallen off. After she recovers I'll take Fancy on Dottie's super short runs.

When doing roadwork you are supposed to keep the dog at a trot since that works all the muscles evenly. I'll do Dottie correctly, but I'll let Pie run until the trots voluntarily. Sort of like the huskies.

When I was rescued by the nice lady and left my bike behind I wasn't worried since our street is so out of the way and used infrequently. Plus, it is a case of, "If you need it that badly you can have it." The poor thing has been kept out in the elements since I moved out of my parent's house 7 years ago. I've had it probably since jr. high, so I'm guessing it is at least 15 years old. The gears are really out of whack. I can't get it into the gear I need for cruising speed. The spokes are rusty and I am sure I need new tires because they don't hold air. The back of the seat is split, the hand grips are disintegrating and I think the rear brakes are almost worn out. And yet- it is doing the job I need it to do.

Bikejoring with Pie is more fun than I ever considered it to be. But what I would REALLY like is dryland mushing in a dryland cart. Anyone want to build me one?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weird Disorders You Didn't Know Existed

I came across a rather horrible story about a very rare disease where a mutation causes tendons and muscles to turn into bone as a result of trauma. Trauma as slight as a bruise. The unfortunate people who suffer this condition do not live very long and end up becoming more and more immobilized as the disease progresses. Yikes.

Luckily for me I do not have that condition.

The condition I do have is Claustrophobic Leg Syndrome, or CLS. This syndrome is characterized by an uncomfortable feeling when the sufferer is unable to move their legs for extended periods of time. The legs themselves may or may not be sore or in pain, but the feeling that characterizes CLS is quite distinct. The legs themselves become panicked and may attempt to thrash around or free themselves from confinement. The only treatment is to avoid circumstances that confine the legs. In my case, the doctor recommended I get a bigger bed.

The problem is I have been letting Dottie sleep with me occasionally. No, that is not the problem. The problem is I also let Pie and Fancy sleep with me. Pie on my right and Fancy on my left and that leaves the foot of the bed for Dottie. She likes to drape her 40 pound body over my legs and even if she is not actually on my legs, with Fancy pinning me under the covers on one side and Pie anchoring the covers on the other, Dot is between my ankles and my legs are as immobilized as they would be if they were encased in cement. Last night I tried to readjust them and I almost popped my kneecap out of place. Unless I get a king sized bed my CLS dictates Dottie will be sleeping in her crate. When she is 100% house trained she can sleep in the room, but she'll have to stay off the bed.

Obviously there is nothing too exciting going on in my life right now if I am making up names to describe what happens to my legs when three dogs share the bed with me. I could blog about how I almost got subjected to a Trial Committee Hearing at the agility show over the weekend but that is embarrassing, so I'll skip that...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ring Also

Dottie rang her bell and I had the camera ready so I tapped it.

Pie and Fancy

(Three posts today and neither got a mention so I decided to remedy that.)

Dottie Agility Training

A short video of Dottie agility training. She is only 8 months and not done growing so it is not safe for her to jump- hence no bars on the jumps. We are working on wrapping the uprights. However, even more so than that we are working on speed. I know it may be surprising, but Dottie appears to be "not that fast." (We don't want to use the "s" word.) ffluffy has been giving me lots of great encouragement and promises we will work on building speed and drive and urges me to not become dispirited.

While I was editing this video Dottie thought I had learned ventriloquism because she heard me saying "bark" on the video and thought I was saying it to her in the living room. She complied and I'm sure I really confused her when I then told her to be quiet. To show her spite and disappointment in me she rang her bell. I told her to stop that also so she came back and gnawed on my laptop screen. After putting a stop to THAT she found a piece of Kleenex from somewhere and brought it back into the living room to consume it so I could see her treasure (and tell her no) which caused her to harass Pie (and sadly for Pie I allowed that.) After tiring of Pie she settled in to chew on one of her antlers. It is a wonder I ever got this 2 minute video edited and posted....

My Suggestions for USDAA Rule Changes

Rule Suggestions:

Get rid of or make longer up contacts, at the very least for big dogs. My 26 inch dog can stride right over up contact on DW, even when approaching it straight on. This is not a safety issue. Allow the judge to fault unsafe performance if dog hops on sideways. I have to slow my 26 inch dog down to hit the up contact and once I loose that speed, it takes those long legs a few strides to get up to top speed again. Unfair for big dogs. Small dogs cannot stride over it. Medium sized dogs might also stride over, but it is the big dogs it hurts the most.

In steeplechase and snooker, do something different than lumping 26 inch dogs in with 22 inch dogs when there are not enough 26 inch dogs. Unfair for long strided dogs to be judged against dogs with shorter legs and backs who can turn tighter. Even more unfair because it takes longer to get over a 26 inch jump. At the least, allow the 26 inch dogs to jump 22 inches in a situation when they are being judged together.

Change the cut off to jump 26 inches to 22 inches. A 21 inch dog jumping 26 is asking too much over the life of the dog.

Most importantly- make 24 inch spaced weave poles mandatory. If you are concerned for the lifetime health of your dog, the weave poles are the only obstacle the competitor has no control over. I can jump my dog lower, I can run only jumpers and avoid the contacts, and if a course is too tight and twisty I can pull my dog. But the weaves are unavoidable. 24 inch spacing hurts no one and helps all dogs. Weaving is the only unnatural aspect of agility. Please make it as healthy as possible by making the spacing 24 inches.

Give all non-Border collies a three second advantage and any dog outside the herding group a five second advantage. Ok- I am just kidding on that one!

For those who know that I currently do more AKC than USDAA, I expect to even it out a bit more after the qualifying period for the 2010 AKC Invitations end...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ring My Bell

I've taught Dottie to ring a bell attached to the door handle when she has to go outside to do her business. I'm not telling how- trade secret.

The problem here is threefold.

One- I'm working on getting her to hold it instead of giving into urges. So she tells me she has to go out but she was just out an hour ago. Do I let her out since she asked, or is it like a kid in school who just went to the bathroom?

Two- Also like children in school I suspect she doesn't really have to go, she just rings the bell because me standing up and opening the door is exciting.

Three- I think she just enjoys ringing the bell. She uses her nose to do it. See previous post regarding Nosy Belgians and Dottie in particular.

The biggest problem in regards to training and maintaining this bell ringing behavior is she will go every single time she asks to be let out to go. So I can't really know if she honestly HAD to go, or just went because she was out there. The bell might have to go. It is getting a bit silly. She was just out a minute ago. She is now standing there, ringing the bell, then looking at me, then ringing it and whining. Then she runs off into the other room to make me think she is going to choose an inappropriate bathroom location so I become paranoid and next time she rings the bell I actually let her out.

I confess Dottie is the first dog who I have owned who has made me understand why some people have "kennel dogs" as opposed to "inside dogs."

No One Nose Like a Belgian

I have found someone nosier than Pie. Surprise! It's Dottie. Some people might not be able to imagine a nosy dog. Trust me that the term "nosy" was originally invented in regards to dogs, and probably Belgians in particular, and perhaps even with the foresight that it would especially apply to the two residing in my home. In the dictionary it says, "Nosy. Adj. A dog who puts her nose everywhere, especially places it does not belong and at inconvenient times. Is now used also to mean a person who minds someone else's business."

Fancy is not nosy. She will watch what I am doing but will keep her distance. If, for example, I'm doing something that involves sitting on the floor, say putting together a bookshelf, she may mosey over and get in the way by standing on the directions or putting her chin on my knee to get pet. But that is not being nosy. First, she is not interested in what I am doing, and second, her nose is not involved. Pie, on the other hand, will put her nose in the bag holding all the little screws and root around as if she is an ant eater looking for a meal. Or maybe she will put her nose in the narrow box just as I am pulling another shelf out, and therefore her nose will cause the shelf to become jammed inside the box, until I yell at Pie to remove her nose, and remove herself from the room.

I think Belgians are so nosy because they have big pointy noses. Other dogs have pointy noses too. I am thinking in particular off Borzoi and Collies and Greyhounds. I am guessing these dogs are nosy too. Any dog with such a pointy nose would have to be. However, I argue Belgians are the most nosy because not only do they have pointy noses, but they also have the muzzle strength to back it up. Even if you did not WANT your Belgian to shove his nose into the pvc pole you just put glue all over, that is too bad, because you were too physically weak to make him keep his nose to himself. Also, with out naming which breeds I may be thinking of, I will also say Belgians are the most nosy because they are the most active, most intelligent, and the most curious. The other pointy pests cannot hope to compete.

If you have a Belgian, make sure he or she has a full understanding and inclination to obey the words "out," "leave it," and "NO!" before ever letting him or her into the bathroom with you, or any other location you may plan on disrobing. I'm just warning you.

So, back to Dottie. I recently took my vacuum (sweeper, for those who are strange) to the repair shop and got the on/off switch repaired. The nice man also cleaned it up, replaced a filter, and also the belt. The belt breaking was what prompted me to finally take it in. I can replace the belt myself, but since I had to go to the repair shop to buy a belt anyway, I might as well get it all fixed. The first time I used it since I've had it back, the brand new belt broke. I was pretty sure that was what was causing the horrible smell, but I flipped it over and got out the screw driver to take it apart just to be sure. And here is where Dottie ears the title of the most nosy. Not only was her nose touching the underside of the vacuum where I was attempting to unscrew the screws, she actually began to nibble on the screwdriver, while I was using it! And not the handle either. After I determined it was the belt, she further demonstrated her nosyness by poking the little black rubber shards the belt deposited in the carpet, sniffing the pile of dust the vacuum left behind when I opened it up (as I was attempting to clean it up by hand, of course) then poking the packing tape roll I had used to pick up the rest of the dust. Keep your nose to yourself, Dottie.

Hmm... I just realized I probably could have used one of the hose attachments to pick that dust up instead.

No doubt the further nose adventures of Dottie will continue. I just hope the vacuum isn't involved next time.

So what is the metal part of a screw driver called? I'm guessing "shank" but only because it sounds plausible.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I downloaded and began using the internet browser FireFox in the hopes that it would outsmart my computer and internet connection and give me better service. Overall, I think it has helped but I still do have to restart my computer when my internet looses connection in the middle of working on browsing the web.

FireFox is supposed to be faster and more secure than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. I know I recently read about a vunerability in IE that Microsoft did not fix in time and it was allowing viruses onto computers, or something technical like that. One way I'm guessing it is more secure is people don't take the time to write viruses for it since it isn't as popular as IE. I do notice it is faster in that it will load the text on a page and the pictures will come up when they are ready, instead of leaving everything blank until the pictures come up. IE was timing out on me waiting for pictures to load, but FF loads the text and I get to start reading while I wait for pictures (if there is any waiting needed.)

All of that is good, but the best part is it seems to have a built in spell checker, which is nice for people like me whose mom always wanted to buy her the shirt that says, "Bad spellers of the world untie!" When I type posts in FireFox in an online board about Belgian Shepherds that does not have a spell checker, it underlines my mistakes in red and when I right click on them it gives suggestions. It was also spell checking my blog posts, although that does have a spell checker built in also. However, if you respond to someone else's blog, there is no spell check for that, yet FireFox was helping me out there too. When I underlining first happened I thought the Belgian board had finally gotten a spellchecker. Imagine my delight at my discovery when I realized FireFox was the one responsible!

If anyone is interested, you can download FireFox for free. Just search for it on the internet, and after it is downloaded you can still keep your original browser and go back to if. FireFox even imported my favorites and cookies, although the favorites are out of order and I see some changes in the way some pages are displayed. I suggest everyone who hasn't checked it out should give it a try. You can always delete it if you hate it. But anyone who has a build in spell checker gets my vote!

Now I'm off to untie with the other bad spellers who love FireFox!

Watch Out!

But now the watch is back in. My Swiss Army watch battery died. If you have not seen a Swiss Army watch before you should not be imagining all kinds of gadgets. It is just a nice normal (well made) watch. Since the battery has been dead, I've been using my dress watch. My dress watch is spiffy because it's battery can never die. It is solar powered. Actually, it is photosynthesis powered or something like that because household lighting powers it also. I used to keep it in a jewelry box. Then I wanted to wear it and it wasn't working. I had confused my watch with the kinetic watches that have a little pendulum type thing that winds up when you move. So I put the watch on thinking it would start back up but it never did. I was wearing long sleeves so it couldn't get any light. I did a bit of research on the Internet and found my mistake. Since then I just leave it out and it gets all the light it needs.

It is nice to have my normal watch back because that is one less thing to worry about. You see, I seem to be very hard on my watches. Either the face gets so scratched you can barely read the time or the face shatters. I shattered the face on my last watch by dropping it on the tile floor in a bathroom in Vegas while I was there with the Miata club. I may have shattered it a second time also. Knowing this history of abuse, when my parents bought me my current watch as a present they bought one with a sapphire face, which is unscratchable, and perhaps even unbreakable. Or at least nearly so. I can report despite dropping it numerous times, and whacking it very hard (accidentally against things such as granite counter tops and rocks) it has remained intact. This watch gives me one less thing to worry about because I do not have to quickly snatch up my sleeve to check the condition of the watch face after swinging my wrist into a door frame or some other solid object. Plus, having a sapphire faced watch is just cool. Or at least, I think so.

At one time I thought Sapphire would be a good name for a dog. Pretty, yet strong. You could call her Fire for short. I'm glad I didn't pick it for Dottie because there is another Belgian named Sapphire who is currently doing well in the show ring, and I never want to be a duplicate.

As I mentioned, someone is filming something at the big house across the street. On Wednesday, they kept filming a scene over and over when a man shouted "Jenna!" Either that or someone was looking for their assistant. I don't think Jenna ever showed up.

Tonight they have a huge contraption up that I'm guessing is solely used to reflect the huge spotlight back at the scene. See below for a picture.

And... oooooohhhh.... a close up......

Random other updates- Pie is doing well in her tracking, Dottie doesn't seem too enthralled with agility and Fancy disappeared during our walk on Thursday and while I was sure she would show back up by the time we got home and set up for puppy agility practice when she didn't I drove down the road so I could see the walking spot and she still didn't show up and then I thought maybe she had caught her collar on a barbed wire fence or went too far in a drain pipe after a rabbit so we just started to walk back out to look for her when she showed up. She was VERY BAD. And then today I found a tick right by her eye. Good thing I just ordered the flea and tic meds online.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Outside Blogging

My Internet is cooperating for once. It's been very temperamental recently. I took the laptop outside and am blogging in the cool weather. Pie and Dottie are running around chasing each other and Pie is barking at her occasionally. I hope that isn't disturbing the filming going on at the house across the street. They had those signs up along our street with the arrows that you know are pointing the way to a shoot of some kind but I was surprised to find it was our neighbors. They have huge bright lights up that I have to avoid looking at or I get temporarily blinded.

After work today I used some of the grass on base and laid one track for each dog. I tried a serpentine for the first time, instead of the circles we have been doing. Hmm... I don't know how tight or loose to make each switch back. All the dogs basically followed the really short track, and each came off the track but when they didn't find cookies they wandered back on. I don't really know if we are progressing correctly or not. At the Terv Club agility and obedience trial at the beginning of next month, we are going to attend a tracking seminar so I hope that helps us.

After the short tracking I worked Pie a bit in obedience. Then we drove home, took a walk and now I am blogging waiting for my every-other Monday private lesson to arrive.

Just another typical day.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

One Foot In the Grave...

I was just reading an article about how our local hospital is no longer allowing certified nurse midwives to deliver babies. The article mentioned certified nurse midwives usually deliver low risk babies. High risk babies are usually delivered by ob-gyn doctors. But that isn’t really the point of this post. The point is one of the high-risk factors mentioned in the article. The high risk factor mentioned when delivery a baby is a baby who is being born to an older woman (30 plus years.) I might as well just check myself into a nursing home now. How depressing.

PS- The post about the chaplain is not a true story. It was inspired when I saw the scratches on my arm from playing with Dottie. I think she needs her dewclaw trimmed as I think they are very sharp and that is what has been scratching me. I don’t generally brag- “Look how crazy my puppy is, she’s chewed my arm up!” because I think a pet dog should be more careful to not accidentally bite you. Dottie still draws some blood on my hands, but it is when she is really excited and I’m had feeding her small pieces of food while training. It would not be good training to get your dog all excited, then discipline them for not being careful enough when taking food. Better training would be to make sure the dog was calm before giving them the food, but in the case of many dog sports, that isn’t practical. So toys are a better reward method. But I like to use food because when using the toy I always want to be sure to use it correctly and not take it away too soon and accidentally decrease desire for it. Using it correctly takes up time. So any accidental hand tooth scratches (because it isn’t a bite) is just something I just deal with, but not something I think one should brag about. All of that isn’t really relevant to the made up “Story” because the scratches referred to are from her claws. However, I did want to mention I don’t think it is a good thing my dog has scratched me, nor do I think it is good when she bites me, although if you do think it is a good thing (you know who you are!) then that is your prerogative.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


So the base Chaplin comes to me today and says, "Marla, we need to talk about your problem." And I say, "What problem?" And he replies, "I'm not sure if I can help you if you don't admit to yourself you have a problem, but I am referring to what some people call being a 'cutter.'" And my first thought is, "I've never cut in a line in my life. In fact, using my front of the lunch line pass in junior high always made me uncomfortable." He must have seen the blank look on my face because with concern in his eyes he gestured to my arm. Glancing down, I spotted the problem. Multiple thin scars. Scabbed over cuts. Brand new lines that looked like they just finished oozing. All overlapping and criss-crossing in intricate and yet random patters.

I shrugged. "I appreciate your concern, Sir. But I'm not mentally ill. I have a Malinios puppy. Or is that the same thing?"