Thursday, January 30, 2014

At the Mueseum

On Martin Luther Kind Day, Nana, Missy and I went to the Los Angeles National History Museum.  I thought Missy might be too young to enjoy any of it, but it turns out she is a big girl!  She enjoyed looking at the exhibits.  Although I think her enjoyment might have mostly been because she was hoping/ expecting to pet the dinosaur bones and taxidermy animals.

Hoping to pet!

Starting the Silk Road Exibit- with camels.


More wanting to pet.

Nana and Missy walking in the "marsh."

A very large tree outside the museum with weird roots hanging from the branches.


What Being a Mommy Means to Me

It means cooking and eating spinach so my daughter can learn healthy eating habits and hopefully learn to enjoy cancer fighting and energy giving foods.  Of course those who know me know I could eat pizza 5 days a week and ice cream for dinner the other 2 when on my own , so this is a big change for me.  I also made beef stir fry one night, and to get extra crazy I added rice that I cooked with soy sauce.  Another night I made pene pasta.  Ok, when I say "made" it means I opened the pouch and put it in the pan, but it is better than going out to eat.

The first night Missy did not eat the spinach, but tonight she did.  Yay, good girl!  She isn't a big veggie eater but she does love peas.  I' not sure how nutritious peas are, so I'm hoping to get her to eat more leafy type veggies.

I also bought (for the first time in my life) a papaya and a mango.  I fed her the mango yesterday and today.  And had a small bite myself.  Not bad.  She loved it. The dogs enjoyed the skin I cut off. Kinda expensive, so I don't think it will be an everyday thing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Flip Pictures

As I mentioned previously, my soon to be new to me house is a flip.  Thanks to the all powerful Oz Internet (or as my mom used to call it way back in the day, The Evil Internet) I found pictures of when the house was sold pre-flip.  It was sold for a whole lot less.  I do not think the current owners put 100K into the house, but what they did do was fix it up so people like me could buy it.  It may not have qualified for financing in it's previous state, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some I've seen, so it might have been ok to finance it.  But people like me would have been daunted by the amount of work it did need, and passed onto an easier home.  So they made money due to my lack of knowledge.  Good for them because now I get to buy it!

Old garage door, old windows and you can't tell, but there was a second large tree in the front yard.

Terrible carpet and paint.  I am going to put up a ceiling fan again.

Old kitchen and the old stove now in the garage.

I'm glad to see a ceiling fan in this bedroom because I wanted to put them up.

See?  Nothing terrible.

Boarded up windows.

Boarded up windows from the outside.
Luckily nothing horrible was reveled by these photos like obvious mold, a missing roof or that it used to be a meth lab.  The flippers did a nice job!

.So far I am still on track to close on time.  The appraisal came in at the correct amount, the termite inspection was done and the termite work will be done this week.  Reading the report I see they are going to do some local treatments but the entire house does not need to be tented.  We are still waiting for the exception for the financing, but everyone seems to think that will come out ok.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Agility Trial

I'm hoping to get both Pie and Dottie qualified for Nationals next year in Reno.  The good news is we have until the end of November.  The bad news is my dog showing budget is not what it used to be and to qualify for AKC Nationals you need 500 points!  That is a lot of showing.  The other bad news is that Pie is not as consistent as she used to be and therefore isn't earning the points (or QQs) when she does get to trial.  Dottie was getting more consistent but after our hiatus from her injury, we got out of sync.  I think we are getting back on the same page but she has gotten good enough that my poor handling choices are messing her up. I haven't had any of my runs filmed for a while but I had my tablet today and a friend got us.  Here is Dottie taking first in JWW today.  A bit awkard on the call off on the tunnel.  I didn't decel or cue a turn there, but she covered for me by NOT taking the tunnel and coming when I called and NOT dropping the bar when I called her right over it.

No QQ as standard was too tricky.  Most of the medium and large dogs failed the course.  Dottie landed pretty much on the dw up ramp so she didn't have time not to take it and got an off course.  Yesterday I messed Dottie and Pie up on the same jump in jumpers, but they both Qed and did great in standard.  Here are their pretty blue ribbons.

5 Months

Missy has been with me for just over 5 months now.  From the end of Aug to the end of Jan. She as grown quite a bit, and as you can see from the photo, she looks less like a baby, and more like a child.  Kids really do grow up fast!

Of course everyone always asks me when I'll know if I "get to keep her" or if I've adopted her yet or how the adoption is going.  I tell everyone the same thing:  She isn't adopted and I won't know her status until something happens to change it.  Right now it isn't looking very promising for her remaining with me, but anything can change at any time and of course worrying about it doesn't help or make me feel better.  It makes me feel pretty bad, actually.  So I try to ignore the possibility and enjoy the time we have together.  If she is taken away from me I will try to deal with it the best I can, when it actually happens.

Here is the uncropped version of the current picture.  Silly Missy playing in Muffin's crate.  She got a play tent for Christmas but prefers the dog crate.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Sadly, it has nothing to do with Missy.  But it is BIG NEWs none-the-less.  What could be such BIG NEWS?  I am moving!  Again?  You ask...that isn't really BIG NEWS you say.  But this time it is because I am IN ESCROW!!  Yes, I am finally, finally, finally buying a house.  That is, assuming everything goes OK in escrow.  We (my agent, myself and my loan guy) have run into some "hurdles" but they are thinking it will work out ok.  But let us start at the beginning...

After the last place I looked at didn't work out (the owners decided not to sell) I had enough.  Prices and interest rates were back up.  Inventory was still down and all cash investors had the upper hand.  It was quiet disheartening and as much as I wanted to be a homeowner, I didn't think it was going to happen for me.  So I told my Realtor I was going to stop actively looking but if she saw something particularly promising to contact me.  I edited my input on the Redfin website to only send me properties I really wanted, rather than something I would be willing to settle for in order to be a homeowner.

A few months went buy and then Redfin sent me an update.  A house just in my price range.  I looked at the pictures and it looked nice.  I contacted my Realtor and she said there was an open house that very weekend.  After Dottie went herding, Missy and I went to check it out.  I walked the neighborhood before the open house and it seemed acceptable.  Then the open house started and in we went.

The house was a flip so it was nice on the inside.  Fresh carpet, paint and a new kitchen and bathroom.  I looked around (including the outside) and didn't see anything obviously wrong with it.  I was happily surprised with the yard.  It was much larger than it looked on the Google map.

I was initially attracted to the home for the price.  There just aren't very many homes available in my price range.  But when I saw the inside I was attracted to the home as well (and not just the price.)  And the bonus was the yard.  I've spent a lot of time looking at houses with tiny yards, but deciding I want them anyway.  The dogs would have to suffer for the good of all.  (Meaning me.)  It was very fortuitous that this house, in my price range, with a nice inside, also has a great yard!

After the open house, I contacted my Realtor and let her know I wanted to make an offer.  It turned out two people had made offers at the open house, at asking price, and the listing agent was asking for "highest and best" by 7pm Monday.  It was already 3pm Monday!  My agent suggested I offer the most I could afford to avoid the bidding war.  So I did.  And the next day, my offer was accepted!  I opened my email the next morning and at first I almost missed the exciting news.  When I read the email I danced around.  FINALLY after so many years of trying and failing to buy, I was on my way!  I found a  VA letter from 2008 saying I am eligible for a VA loan. That is how long I've been trying.

The next step of the process was to get through underwriting, and to get the home inspection done, and the appraisal, and also to get the loan final approval.  All has gone well except the loan final approval.  Because the house was flipped, the bank doesn't want to finance it without 20% down (which I don't have.)  That is one of the "hurdles."  As I said, the "team" thinks we will overcome the problems and all will be ok.  I can only cross my fingers and hope!

More news soon.

The yard!  Needs work, but has lots of room!

The very small kitchen.

Living room and eating area seen from the kitchen.

Looking into the bathroom with the two bedroom on the left and the master on the right.

Linen closet and master bedroom.

A walk in closet!

The third bedroom which is identical to the second bedroom.

A small garage that my car barely fits into.  And an old stove.

Late Christmas Present

REALLY late.  I believe these are from last year!  Either that or I bought them on sale last year and they were supposed to be for this year.  I found them when I was cleaning out my dog closet.  The dogs say better late than never!

Pie immediately chewed off a little ear.  See it laying there?

Ugh, who is going to clean this up?

Fancy pretending to be Ms. Innocent. 

The mess has multiplied since taking these pictures, but I think you most likely have the idea.


This is a happy child.  And a dog who is fooled into looking happy.

Pie would be a lot happier if Missy understood being gentle.  We are working on it, but no joy so far.  Missy seeks Pie out because Pie will usually hold still for the "petting."  (In reality is is whacking, pulling, poking, etc.)  Fancy and Dottie are more likely to excuse themselves.  I have a no petting policy with Missy and the Muff.

Fancy Mach 1!

Yes, you read that correctly.  This is Fancy's video from her very first Mach.  And mine too.  A special day.  I've always had it, but it is in a strange format (it was filmed on a video camera before they all used flash memory) and YouTube wasn't around when she earned it.  Now we have YouTube and now YouTube supports this file format so here it is!

The man filming didn't know which run would be my Mach so he filmed several runs leading up to it.  His wife can also be heard on the tape.  She was one of my very first agility friends.  She befriended me as a newbie because she ran beardies and Bloom was beardieish.  She just passed away last month.  Agility trials are not as friendly without her.

Yay Fancy!  When my hair was short and Fancy's was long.  I think I need to make the effort to be that skinny again!

Old Letters

I'm going through some old stuff and came across the package of letters from Basic Training in 2001 and Tech School in 2002.  I planned to toss them (you can't keep everything forever) but after looking through them, and the pictures, and news articles (Star Wars was coming out!, Kentucky Derby upset!) and cut out comic strips, I decided to keep them.  I kept looking and looking, but didn't find Grandpap's distinctive handwriting.  Then finally I came across one of his letters, and it had the extra gem of mentioning his time in the Air Force (Army Air Corps back then!) during WWII.  Lots and lots of letters from both sides of the United States and both sides of the family tree.  Plus friends, mom's class, and even one card from the dogs!  Those letters were my life line in Basic Training and very welcome in Tech School.  In Basic they would hand mail out at the end of the day, but they held several days at once (meanies) so my name was called for mail pretty much every time.  In Tech School we had a PO Box which of course I would check every day.  Since I could use the phone and since the mail wasn't withheld, I didn't have something every day while in MO, but I got enough to keep me happy.  THANK YOU to everyone who wrote me!  It meant a lot then, and remembering how much it meant back then, it also means a lot to me today.

Besides G/P (as he signed his letters), I also had a letter from Chee-Chee and a Sheba pawprint.  I'm happy that everyone else who wrote me is alive today.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dottie Vs. The Broad Jump

And Dottie wins!

This was 11 ft 7 inches and I hoped to get it up to 12 feet, just because it is a nice even number.  But I think she was getting tired and after this picture she started turning it into 2 jumps and landing between the boards.  No doubt more boards would also be helpful.  Just for the record, she did clear the last board.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missy: Fashion Model/ Dog Whisperer

While hanging out at the dog show, Missy showed off her sassy side while showing off a very cute dress Aunt C bought her.  She also engaged in some Dottie training.

But first she learned to drive.

Oh.  Hey there.

Hi Mommy!

Sassy walk.  Work it, work it!

The dog show is alive, with the sound of music!  Dottie approves.  Pie and Fancy are off to the left.


How to keep Missy under control- give her a leash.  How long will this work for?

Missy: I have Dottie completely under control- oh look!  A flower.  Dottie: Sigh.

Dottie: This way, small one.

Meet Poodle

Our friend K gave Missy a stuffed purple poodle that I named Poodle.  He is a boy, just like all the other small poodle type dogs we've had in our house.  Missy loves him!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dog Show Today

Yesterday only Dottie was entered and she had one bar in each run.  Disappointing because we did everything else correctly.  It was very warm (87 degrees in Dec??) and Dottie was going a bit slower than usual.  When she slows down I think she gets lazy and the bars come down more.  In jumpers a friend said I did a rear cross late (while she was over that bar) which caused her to drop her rear feet and the bar resulted.  The other bar was on a straight line and no one knows why it came down.

But today was a new day.  Pie and Dottie both QQed with first places in standard. Unfortunately both did not Q in jumpers. Pie's mistake was very odd. After I did a front cross she broke into a trot and went right past a jump. A friend watching said I did not cause it and afterwards she picked her gallop back up and finished happily. With Dottie I remembered not fling my arms around, keep my arms next to my side on my fc and not call her on the top of jumps. As a result she kept all the bars up! I also remembered to not pre-cue as I was running into position. However I neglected to say her name and I think she is used to pre-cues so even though I was in place I may have been late and either way she took an off course jump in front of her instead of making the turn. But other than that it was really nice. My favorite part was during her standard run and she had a great turn. I really like the "give up all hope" post turns.  We call it that because your dejected body posture lets the dog know you are not going forward.  If you get too excited on a post turn your dog could launch and go off course.  So by giving up hope he knows to turn tight.

My least favorite part was when my knee when out at the end of the dog walk with Dottie.  I was slowing down so it just went out and back in and didn't hurt that much.  I was able to finish the run with a first place.

Since Pie is now in P, BOTH Mals can get first in the same run!


Drama Queen

I think this child is going to be a handful in a few years!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Missy Goes to the Animal Farm

Way back in December, Missy and I were invited to visit the private petting zoo at a camp in Malibu that friends of ours manage.  Since Missy is used to the dogs, she quite enjoyed petting all the different animals.  Our friends report many children are too intimidated by the size of the animals to enjoy them, but I guess when you live with 4 dogs (2 of them Malinois!) that isn't a problem.  Missy had just begun walking, so she was able to meander around on her own.  However, she was still unsteady enough that I mostly kept a hold of her hand so she didn't fall and put her hands in the animals "mess."
Let the petting begin!

Photobombed by an alpaca!

Missy contemplates eating the dried banana meant for the animals.

I suppose I could share.

Is he going to eat my banana??

Norman is the cutest, more adorable calf.  6 months old.

Ride 'em cowgirl!

Norman investigates the tiny human.

Tiny baby lambs were next for petting.

So sweet!   Missy shows her what goes on in a petting zoo.

Next it was the black lambs term to be manhandled babyhandled.

He was quite popular.

A giant baby named Buba who out weighs Missy.  She wasn't impressed and ate her banana instead of petting him.

Chickens!  And ducks.

Feeding the fowl.  Note the lettuce in her hand.

I like this chicken.

Of course we had to pet Luke.  He is a border collie who is bigger than Pie!

Missy is holding a wooden egg.  It has a smiley face so it isn't accidentally collected from the coup as a real egg.

I love ALL the animals!!!!!!!!!

Petting Norman one more time.

Happy girl.