Sunday, April 29, 2012

Car Shopping

I had a post but my computer hates me so it is gone. I even copied it before publishing because I was getting strange errors, but that didn't work either. Grrr... my internet is so slow nothing will come up, and when I search Google and find a page I want to view, I get 404 Error not found for every single page. And then my post gets eaten! Summary of the Lost Post- I'm looking for a car to tow a travel trailer since the Buick is getting elderly. The Suburban won't work but the Toyota Sienna or Ford Expedition might. A full sized Ford Van has lots of room and can tow more than I need, but gets really bad gas mileage and I won't be able to keep it cool on the inside when parked. Or I might give up on the towing idea and drive the Buick into the ground then buy a mini-van.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dottie's Videos and a Book Report

P1 Standard, Saturday. 1st Place. Video picks up 1/2 way through the run (right as I mess up- figures.) She did really well. Check out the dog walk!

Steeplechase, 5th Place.  That wrap turn couldn't be any tighter!

Jumpers.  1st.

Gamblers, 1st.

Grand Prix.  2nd.

Pairs, 2nd.

Standard.  NQ. Another good dog walk and a good a frame too.

And now for the book report.  I just finished reading all the books currently written in the George RR Martin series Song of Fire and Ice.  It is being made into a TV show on HBO called Game of Thrones, which is the name of the first book.  The fifth book just recently came out, and there should eventually be 1 more to finish up the series.  A co-worker gave me a bag full of books, and the first 4 were included.

The first book started off in the way of fantasies that I do not prefer- jumping right into a strange land without explaining anything.  But soon enough I figured it out.  The beginning was a tiny bit slow, but after that it never slowed back down.  It is a fantasy, but for the most part you almost forget.  Eventually a sorceress shows up who appears to have magical powers, and I thought she was a pretender, until I remembered it is a fantasy book so she might be genuine.  It is a great series.  My main complaint, which is shared by many and appears to be a theme in all of his writing, is he is a bit too much like Steven King with the killing off of so many characters.  It is like the old philosophy question- if a boat leaves the harbor and is completely re-built while sailing (presumably with lumber and nails found in the middle of the water) is it still the same boat when it reaches the next port?  Is it still the same series if all the original characters are killed off and new ones take their place?  Ok, it isn't that bad, but almost.

Another complaint is I don't think the author has ever ridden a horse.  If a horse sinks up to his withers in mud, I don't think the characters are going to live to tell about it, much less turn around and find a different way to go.  I would have liked a tiny bit more realism when it comes to little details, such as how tired a knights writs got during a particularly long battle, or maybe someone getting measured for fitted armor.  But the books are already pretty long so maybe that would have put them over the top.

I hope the last one comes out soon, but it seems unlikely as number 5 was several years in the making, I think.  I'm lucky in that I came into the series so late and I only have to wait for one book to come out.

Another one of the hand me down books was Lonesome Dove, which I am reading now.  I haven't seen the min-series and other than knowing it is a western, had no idea what it was about.  I also felt this one started off slow, but it is picking up now that the idea to head to Montana has been introduced.  I wanted to see what year the show was on, and while looking that up I learned the 2 leads originally sought were John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart.  That would have been a great cast!  But John Wayne turned it down and then it didn't get made until later.  After finishing the book I will watch the series, but I'm not sure I will watch the HBO Game of Thrones.  Sometimes HBO can be a bit over the top for my taste.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

USDAA Southwest Regional

USDAA is the United States Dog Agility Association, a venue I don't participate in as much as I do AKC.  On reason is the long days.  There are more runs each day so you end up being there all day.  That doesn't leave much time for weekend chores, or even weekend sleeping. 

I went to this show because it was local- just down the street.  I didn't treat it as a "regional," meaning something more important than a local event.  I just went to have fun and to see if I can pick up some legs towards titles.  All my dogs are currently in the performance program in USDAA.  This is the lower jump height.  Pie because of her back, Fancy her age, and Dottie because she is 22 inches tall and is required to jump 26 inches and I don't think it is necessary to jump that high.  That and the regular jump height is very competitive, and at this point in her career, Dottie is not a very competitive dog.

Pie and her friend Maggie Mae were on a team called MagPie.  In the team event, which was Friday, you combine your scores and  then the teams either qualify or do not.  Both Pie and Maggie had some issues here and there so we did not qualify.  Each dog/ handler had 2 huge mistakes, and even with those huge point losses, we were not that far out of the running!  In the team events you don't really Q or NQ- it is time plus faults.  So I'll only mention one if Pie placed.

Pie placed 3rd in Team Snooker.  Outside of the team events we also did regular Master Level classes called PIII.  Pie got a Q in relay, 2nd in standard, and 2nd in Gamblers, and 2nd in Jumpers.  She also got 3rd in the Grand Prix. 

Fancy was also in PIII.  She qualified in Performance Speed Jumping (Steeplechase), Grand Prix, relay, standard, jumpers and snooker.  No placements for her.  Darn border collies.

This was Dottie's first USDAA show.  She placed 1st in Standard, Jumpers, and Gamblers and 2nd in the Grand Prix.  Which is pretty good since Grand Prix is a technical course and all levels run together so she was running against masters level dogs.  Her GP run was not terribly fast since I had to run all 3 dogs 1 after the other, and my friend held the waiting dogs outside the ring.  Dottie was on her slip lead and strangled herself trying to join me in the ring.  We went in with her tongue dragging on the ground.  Poor girl.  Still, it was good enough for 2nd!  She Qed and placed 5th in Speed Jumping.  She NQed her second standard run due to hitting the displacable tire, so it is the same as a bar down, and I NQed us in Snooker due to forgetting our plan and starting the closing before I did all the reds.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, just know that it was an NQ because I am brainless.

I put a lot of effort into keeping Dottie happy and reved up before our runs.  I think she needs maximum effort from me in order to give her maximum effort.  Sigh- some day I'll have an easy dog.  Oh wait- I guess that is Pie.  Pie whose tail is injured.  The drugs are helping a little bit.  Poor Pie.

I let Dottie not stop on the contacts in an effort to keep her happy.  I think it helped, but when I say touch too early she slows down too early.  Some times I didn't say anything.  That seemed to work ok too.  I got all of Dottie's runs on video, but the internet is going slow slow right now they will not get loaded tonight.  Stay tuned....

Dog loot.  As usual, Fancy is not impressed.

Fancy AKC Nationals Videos

It looks like I am quite remiss in sharing these!  I never did get around to writing the entire story of Fancy's nationals, but looking at the "brief" version it looks like I got it covered.  I was quite disappointed in myself at first for not going back to fix our second mistake and therefore getting a score and a pretty ribbon, but due to several pep talks and my own reflections, I've made peace with myself now.  I think for the future the key is to have a "self destruct/ evacuation" plan.  If things don't go as I hope, will I keep fixing everything, or will I bail?  I think my thought process while on course was to just get out of there as quickly as possible, since who knows how many hundreds of pairs of eyes were watching us.  By going back to fix our second mistake, I would have been drawing out the time spent in the ring, for no reason- we were out of the running...  Then it turned out the person I expected to win came away with three (or possibly more!) mistakes.  So it just goes to show you never know what might happen.

But as I said, I'm no longer stewing over it.

First round.  The announcer is not talking about us.

Round 2.  She got 4th place.  At a National Event!!

Round 3- holding on to 3rd place finish overall to get into the finals!

And our Finals Round!

Good girl Fancy.

I never expect, or even had the thought, that this dog:

would do so well in everything I ask of her.  When I took this picture of her in the shelter, I promise you that I was not thinking that some day I'd be in a Livestock Arena in Reno, with it snowing outside, and 100s of people watching as we gave it our best in the Final round at the AKC Nationals.  Who would have thought? 

Happy Late Birthday Dad!

I can't let a birthday go by without commenting on it.  Dad's birthday was last week and while I wasn't there on his actual birthday, I did make it for the birthday dinner on the weekend.  Although I am sad to say I was late.  But better late than never, my mom always said.  Hopefully my dad feels the same way!  I love you Dad!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dottie VST Training Video

Is she really tracking, or just pretending? I'm undecided. I need a larger area and I need to not block her and see if she figures out the right way, or just takes me for a walk going the wrong way.

Dottie and Kerby Playing

Happy Easter!  This is not an Easter post, but it happened on Easter.  They played much more and longer yesterday, maybe they were still tired from that today!  I bet they will really enjoy playing when Kerby is older.

VST Tracking

Since I didn't get into the last TDX of the season, I decided to start working on Variable Surface Tracking, VST, since they have some of those in the summer.  The bad news is all the ones around here are all on the weekends I have to work!  Still, maybe there is one within driving distance in a different state that I can get into.

Yesterday after the agility trial, I tracked with Dottie in the asphalt parking lot.  I knew if I could convince her to try, she could do it.  We started in the dirt planter and made a turn, went down the curb, and then went straight for a while, and then made a 90 degree turn to the thin black leather article.  I guess she really was tracking because at the turn, she clearly indicated she lost the scent.  I asked where it was and she put her nose back down and made the turn and continued.  I'm not 100% sure she was really doing it and I wasn't accidentally guiding her, (because it seems to good to be true) and wanted to try today again.  But it is very windy today so I guess I'll wait until it calms down a little.

If I try again and she really does "get it" that is pretty exciting!  However, how a dog is supposed to follow a scent 3 hrs old on concrete is beyond me...

Try Not to Be Too Scared

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


To help you pass the time until I blog again.

As it turned out I didn't  get in bed early like I planned.  I was just about to go to bed when I leaned over to pet Pie, and ended up laying down on the couch, and a few seconds later I was asleep.  There is nothing worse than having to get up to go to bed.  Eventually I made it to bed, but I'm still tired, so no long post today.

Hard to get a flattering photo of 2 dogs and 2 people at the same time, especially with a third dog outside the picture and NOT holding a down. (That would be Dottie.) Fancy had 3 clean runs, plus a fourth place and a clean Time to Beat run, and Pie had 2 clean runs plus a clean T2B with ffluffy who ran Pie amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up.  I hate that it always posts pictures taken sideways like this, even though I rotate and save them.  Why does it save the cropping, but not the rotating?

Here is a little tidbit that is not dog related.  A few months ago I got a note from the State Franchise Tax Board saying, "You didn't pay your state taxes last year."  I thought I had, since I had them done at the Navy Base, as always, and it gets taken out (and deposited) electronically.  So I went back to my bank statements, but couldn't find it.  So I sent in the paperwork and a check for $18, which is what I owed.  Today in my PO Box I had another letter saying, "You did not respond to our request, so now you are in trouble, and this is not a bill, but we've drawn up an assessment for you, and we think you owe $300."  Then I opened the second envelope from them that said, "We got your measly $18 but you owe us $19 more due to penalties or maybe just because we say so."  I'm wondering, was the first letter just because they are incompetent, or because they wanted to make me happy to pay $19?  Which, you might notice, is more than I owed to begin with.  If I pay the $19, will they go away, or will they keep leeching me of money for years?
Then to add more bad news to my PO Box, I got a bill from the emergency vet from Dottie's last episode, saying I owed them $70.  I had paid my bill in full at the time of the services, but there was some confusion about the receipt printing the wrong amount.  I have the receipt showing the handwritten correct amount, with the person's initials.  This should be fun to try to explain over the phone. 
The only good news in my PO Box was my new debit card came, so I can stop using the cracked one, and now I'll be able to use the ATM again.  Oh, and a refund of $60 came for the rained out trial.  That is probably about a third of what I paid for 3 dogs for the 1 day that was rained out.  Better than a poke with a sharp stick.  Or annoying letters from the tax board or the e-vet wanting money that I don't owe.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Agility Nationals Wrap Up

Apparently some of my fans have been on the edge of their seats to find out how we ended up.  I have more pictures to share, and a detailed account, but I must get to bed, since I am still tired from my all night drive.

In brief, Fancy held onto the third place overall and we made it into the Finals!  One dog from the Challanger's Round also won a spot into the finals, so each prefered jump height had four dogs in the finals.  We had a mistake in the finals (I cannot run clean in finals- 0 for 3 now) and I went back and fixed it.  Then we had another mistake and I just went on.  This gave us a score of 0, so we finished up in 4th place over all.  Yay rescued Tibetan Terrier!  We beat all those border collies, Aussies, goldens and all the other breeds bred to work and run fast.  That is because Fancy is the best!

Pie had a clean run in round 3.  She was super all weekend.  Since ffluffy didn't fix the weaves in round 2, she got a 0 for that round, so her overall ranking was probably pretty low, but I didn't even check.  I'm happy with how fast and smooth she ran.  ffluffy and her both had a great time.

I had to be at work on Monday, so I didn't stay to watch all the finals.  I drove until about 10:45 pm until I couldn't go on, and slept in my car in Coalinga for 3 hrs.  I was still tired, but my start time at work was looming, so I pushed on.  I made it home by 5 am and unpacked just the essentials from the car, and went to bed at 5:30 am.  I got up and went into work an hour later, 8 am, giving me and hour and a half of sleep!  I actually made it through the day ok, and even went to SchH that night.  Good thing too, because they had a cake for us!  Then I stayed late chatting, and ended up staying up late loading some videos, and that caught up to me and I was tired today.  It is now 9 and I am going to go to bed and get lots of sleep tonight.

I'll post more videos and pictures, and write more about the courses and our triumphs and defeats later.

But for now, here is Fancy, the 16 inch Prefered National Champion 4th Place Finalist!  And me.

Taken with ffluffy's phone, with our 4th place Standard Ribbon.
Yummy cake!  It was also for IPO 3 Dottie and IPO 2 Hanky.  Poor Pie is the only 3 Dog Days dog not recognized.