Wednesday, April 29, 2015

City of Industry Agility

I've mentioned before I enjoy this venue due to it being under cover and on dirt.  It seems Dottie knocks less bars on dirt.  However, the Expo Center has now started charging $5 a day for parking.  While that doesn't seem like a lot, combined with the gas it takes to get there, not to mention the time, I think I will be skipping further trials here and sticking closer to home.

We went out on a good note.  Saturday was not so good but Sunday we got a Double Q.  Second place in standard due to a spin after the chute, but a very smooth first place in Jumpers.  The courses this weekend were tricky.  I prefer tricky courses because sometimes the courses are too easy and boring (easy doesn't equal a Q for us, though.)  But these courses had weird angles- I didn't really prefer them.  But it did challenge me, so I suppose I approve.


My portable motorcycle garage finally came.  There was some trouble delivering it, but with the help of the tracking number, it was finally tracked down.

It is heavy due to the integrated floor, so it was good I was able to get help getting it into my back yard.  Setting up the CycleShell was super easy.  Just pulling it up and over.  Next step is to clean my motorcycle.  It has been sitting out so it is filthy.  Poor thing.

It is a lot bigger than I expected.  A tiny bit taller than me.  It still fits nicely in the place I park my bike.


From Dottie's instinct test, I knew she'd be good at herding.  She wasn't mean to the sheep and she wasn't too fast for them either.  Our only hold up was the cash needed for training.  Herding is not a cheap sport.  Now that I moved I have some cash to play with.  We've had 2 lessons so far and another tomorrow.  My plan is to do a lesson every other week because I don't have that much cash.  The trainer keeps telling me how well Dottie is doing and how nice of a dog she is.  You may think she's saying nice things to keep me coming, but I do know enough about herding to know that Dottie is already doing well.  Most dogs spend the first lessons running in circles around sheep.  The trainer already had Dottie coming to balance behind the sheep and walking up.  Here are some pictures from our first lesson.

Coming to balance for walking up.

Going one way...

Some frustration barking because she wants the sheep to go faster, but the trainer tells Dottie to slow down.

Then going the other way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dottie vs the Bush

I finally made it back to IPO training after a long hiatus.  I've popped in now and then but usually didn't stay for bitework. I'd say it's been months since Dottie got a bite.  I worked Dottie and Pie in obedience then Dottie in bitework.  She did well (like usual) and as her reward I let her take the sleeve into a bush.  She always wants to do that but getting her back out is a small struggle so usually I don't let her.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The 2 Sides of Pie

Is this:

Even the same dog as this??

One appears goofy, and perhaps not intelligent enough to use a dog bed correctly. The other appears regal and dignified. This dignified other probably does not even sleep on a dog bed but on white down pillows.

Oh, Pie.  I love both your goofy and dignified sides.  A club member took these great photos at a training day I actually showed up for.  Since I am the sleeping dog stalker, I took the sleeping dog photos.
Dottie looks hot and happy.

Another view of the Dog Bed Fiasco Incident.  Dottie uses the couch correctly, Fancy uses the dog bed correctly and Pie... fails.  Good news, I've since replaced the couch cover.

Home Improvement Projects

Even if I don't own a place, I'm going to improve it so I am happiest living there.  The first two things I needed to get done was the path so I could park my motorcycle around back, and fencing the back yard.

The path project was first.  It took three trips to Home Depot buying paving stones.  My van could only hold so much weight at once and I wasn't sure how much I needed.  I completed this project right after moving and while I was starting couch to 5k.  Loading the stones on the cart, pushing the cart to the register, unloading the stones and putting them in my car, then unloading them at home and carrying them to the correct spot made my body sore and unhappy.  But if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done.  And in the end it got done.

The center section is original

Done!  And Muffin Approved. 
Added paving stones on both sides so my feet are able to touch the ground.

Added the 2 rows of bricks to fill in the dirt planter between the path and cement area.

Next was the fence.  For this project I was willing to pay professionals.  Until I got quotes that is.  The first company wanted $1200 and the second $850.  That was for approx 90 feet of wire fencing with t posts, which are just pounded into the ground, not cemented.  For that cost I figured my unhappy body was good for another project.  My friend K had come by to drop off my final load of stuff from the old house.  I had the movers skip the outside stuff (jumps, teeter, etc) and some things from the garage.  Gah- move stuff to move!  When she was checking out the place, she suggested I attach the fence directly to the treeline.  That saved me money on buying posts and also the work of pounding the posts in.  We have a heavy duty fence pounder at work that I borrowed.  It was so heavy I needed 2 hands just to lift it.  I used a ladder to get it high enough to get over the top of the posts.  I went back to Home Depot and loaded up on fencing materials.

It turns out the trees are so rotted the nails wouldn't hold.  Luckily the ivy vines growing on the trees provided nice solid places to anchor the fence.  Almost too solid.  I think ivy vines may be the hardest wood known to man.  I bent more nails than I pounded it.  Also luckily it turns out the rotted trees are actually tall stumps so I don't have to worry about them falling on my house.

With more achcy bones and muscles, lots of sweat and dirt, my fence is now up.  It isn't very professional, but it gets the job done.  It only cost me $100 in materials.

Just starting.  The gate and lattice was already up.  The rolled wire wanted badly to squish/ pinch my fingers by rolling as I moved it, but I was (usually) too smart for it.

Fence all the way down the tree line.  This time Pie was the inspector.  Inspector Pie.

Done- just as the sun went down.  

The other projects I had done was replacing the toilet seat (eww!) putting up a new ceiling fan (old one only had one speed and the light had to be on with the fan) and new doorknobs.  The old ones (both upstairs and in the storage area) were so beat up that you couldn't lock the lock on the handle and you had to use the deadbolt.  Which is a pain when leaving because you have to use your key to lock the door.  And even then the deadbolts were all messed up and didn't lock and unlock easily.  I had one of the guys from work do these jobs and I paid him with Chick-fil-A and the Nutrisystem meals I don't like.

So now everything is ready to go and nothing else needs to be done.  As I was writing these blogs today I was watching online TV on my TV (instead of my laptop as usual) courtesy of my new Fire TV stick.  Basically it grabs the wireless signal and displays on the TV so I can use my computer and still watch Netflix or Amazon TV.  I finished 2 episodes of Castle and now I'm playing music on it.  I get free music since I have Amazon Prime.  Free 2 day shipping on eligible items and lots of free movies, TV and now music.

New Place

Dottie enjoying the deck. This table actually goes inside but had to be taken apart to get in the door.
My new place is an upstairs studio.  It has a full kitchen, a yard, and a downstairs storage area with washer and dryer hookups.  The studio is above the storage area so I have no one below me I have to worry about being too loud for.  I do have a neighbor in the house below which is attached to the other side of the storage area.  So while they are close, I don't have any shared walls.  I put a patio table on the deck.  The studio has lots of windows which makes it nice and bright and lets in lots of cool breeze.  There is plenty of parking although no garage.  Which is sad for my motorcycle.  I bought a special enclosure called a CycleShell that should arrive soon.  I had to enhance the path to make it easier to  get the motorcycle in and out of the yard (that is a separate post.)  I also had to fence the yard, but that is also done now (another separate post.)

Of course the studio is small, but the storage area makes it do-able.  Not only did I put my stuff from the garage in there, but also my book cases, which didn't fit upstaris.  Everything else fits great.  My couch and TV, the table in the picture above, one dog crate, my bed and my dresser.  That's all I need and it all fits!

The kitchen is a separate room and there is a small hallway between the front door and the living section.  The bathroom is off the hallway.  There is even a linen closet in the hallway (plus an ok sized closet in the living area.)  When I leave for the day, I lock the dogs in the kitchen and hallway, and they also have access to the bathroom if they feel like they need more room.  I'd like to let them have access to the couch, but I think I wouldn't be able to keep them off the bed.  I don't want them on the bed when I'm not around.

I've been here just over a month and I'm very pleased.  The only thing I would change is the stairs.  Well, if I'm being picky I'd include a garage.  And less nosey neighbors. But they are friendly nosy (she admitted to being nosy) and not "tattle to the landlord" nosey,so that's ok.  Stay tuned for further adventures in Camarillo!

I used a panoramic feature on my phone to take this.  I was siting on the opposite side of the couch from Dottie.

First Toppers in the new place!  Eating on the deck with my Craigslist patio furniture.

Storage area before organization.

Pie and Dottie watch me do something.  I don't remember what.  The stairs are not my favorite.
The yard before I fenced it.  The xpen was a temporary fence.
Storage area after unpacking and organization.  Eventually the clothes will come out of the bags.

Moving Day

I'm all moved in and I even organized my storage area.

These pictures are from moving day.  The move didn't go very well.  I didn't want to move all my little things first like I usually do.  So all these little boxes in the first picture (below) were waiting for the movers- who never showed up.  I found them on Criagslist.  Nice cheap price and they bring the truck and all the tools.  When I moved in to Santa Paula I used a mover I found on Craigslist and they showed up as promised.  Not so lucky the second time.  The guy called me saying he was running late with truck troubles.  Then I never heard back from him.  I called and texted and got a few responses that he was still working on it then he stopped replying.

When I was sure he had fallen through, I called a few more places but no one was available for same day service late in the day.  I gave in and scheduled Unique Movers for the next day.  Happily they showed up on time and did a good job.  They were a little more expensive, but the fact that they showed up made it worth it.
I ended up moving most of these boxes myself as I waited for the no show CL movers.  Ug.

Yay for movers who show up!

Unique Movers moved the big things.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Back to Camarillo

After I moved out of my parent's house and rented an apartment for a few years, my dream/ goal became home ownership.  I wanted to own a house so I could have stability (when I was renting my apartment they kept raising the rates,) I wanted to have no one looking over my shoulder counting how many dogs I had, and I wanted my money to go into paying off a house instead of into a landlord's pocket.  At first the prices were way too high and all I could do was dream about it.  I watched as the prices started coming down and as they came down even further I contacted a Realtor and got approved for a loan.  I looked at tons of houses online and a few in person.  I made some offers but nothing I could afford was available.  So I went back to waiting and watching.  I think it was maybe a year later that I started looking seriously again.  That was when I ended up buying the house in Santa Paula.

Santa Paula was not my first choice of cities to live in.  I knew I wouldn't like how far it was from work and that as a city, it was not very pretty and happy.  But I thought I wanted to own a home more than I cared about those things.  I remember when I bought the house and passed the city limit sign with the population listed.  At the time I still had Missy and I imagined upping the population by 2.  Once Missy was taken away, the house when from a home back to just a house. Missy was not the only reason I wanted to buy a house.  I wanted a house far before I ever thought about adopting.  But once I had her and had a house, and then I lost her, the house wasn't as important to me.

Another thing I didn't like was my mortgage payment.  I was paying much more than I ever paid in rent.  I didn't have cash left over for fun things like dog shows, and I was barely saving anything.  I thought I'd get lots of money back in taxes and that could go into savings in case my house broke.  But when I filled my first taxes as a home owner, I only got $1000 more back than usual.  Saving only $1000 a year didn't make me very happy.

And on top of all of that, the final problem was I was unhappy overall.  I'm not going to put my personal problems in my blog, but I thought if I sold my house and moved back to Camarillo I might be happier.  I am pleased to say I was correct.  Around the same time I also switched prescription medications so that may have helped as well.  But overall, I am feeling a sense of well-being and I think being back in Camarillo is a large contributing factor.  I am a person who is happiest being somewhere I am familiar with.  I was hoping Santa Paula could become familiar to me, but after a year I still wasn't feeling it.  I never even found a place I liked to walk.  Poor Santa Paula is pretty run down, lots of junky cars, houses with weedy yards and houses that needed fixing up.  It is interesting how well kept lawns, no trash in the street and newer construction like I see in Camarillo can improve your mood.  I'm afraid that makes me sound stuck up, but it is just how I feel.  Living in a nice place makes me happy, a not so nice place makes me feel run down.

I sold my house for more than I bought it for, but due to the real estate commission I lost a little money, but not a whole lot.  The house sold pretty quickly to an investor.  I wish it had been sold to a family who would love it for a long time.

So, I'm back in Camarillo now.  More about the move and the new rental later.

Friday, April 10, 2015

June 2001

This was the day I enlisted in June of 2001.  19 years old.  Both my Dad and I were a lot younger then!  Also, it was a Polaroid picture.  Very old school.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Dottie (and I) received a nice card and a check in the mail from the Terv Club trial.  They had contest among the Belgian Breeds and divided money up based on how many times you qualified.  The check is nice and I think the card artwork is very cool.

Couch 2 5K

I am once again doing the Couch 2 5K program.  It worked for me last time and is working again this time, but being that I am older and also overweight, it is harder physically.  The other difference is this time there is an app to help you.  Some of the weeks can be pretty complicated with the running 2.5 minutes then walking 1 min, then running 5 min, then walking 3, then running 2, then walking 1, and so on.  Last time I wrote that days routine (from the website) down on my hand and used a stop watch to time myself.  Remembering where I was on my hand was still tricky.  Now I carry my phone and the app tells me jog, walk, jog, walk.  You can even change the "trainer."  The default one was a little too cheery for me.  (Perky voice) "Let's jog!"  (Let's not.)  Next I tried the Zombie.  I thought it would say things like, "Run faster or I"ll eat you!"  No such luck.  In a tired voice he'd say, 'Time for a jog."  Then, "Time to walk. I've lost my eyes."

I finished week 3.  All of week three is running 1.5 min, walking 1.5 min, running 3 min, walking 3 min, and repeat.  Running for 3 mins should be just over 1/4 of a mile. I was having trouble, so I decided to repeat week 3.  Tomorrow will be day 2 of my second time of week 3.

This is a screenshot from my first run.


My fish is pretty! I've been reading up on betas, he is not the typical VT (vail tail) found in pet stores. The VT is the dominant gene so a non-show breeder will almost always breed VTs. They are no longer allowed in the show ring. Show aquarium? I guess its like going to the pet store and coming home with a white GSD. Phew, glad I avoided doing that!  

There are so many types and colors I was unable to determine what my guy is.  He is doing well on my desk at work.  He gets all agitated when I show up so since he has recognized my presence I feed him.


Who knows why I still have these National Treasures, but I do.  I drew it in 1988 so I would have been 7ish.  I wrote, "If his horn is cut off he will die."  How sad.  "Wow" is pretty much the only thing you can say about this picture.

National Old Dog Day

Actually, I think it was called National Senior Dog Day.  It sounds made up (and probably is!)  It was also few weeks back but oh are my Old/Senior Dogs.

Fancy will be 12 this year!  I've had her since she was 2, so it will be 10 years.  Where does the time go??  And how could Fancy be 12?  Happily, she is aging very well and you'd never know she is 11. She has slowed down a little on hikes but that's it.

Muffin is 14!!  He was 11 when I got him and we lived a year at the studio, a year at the duplex, and a year in Santa Paula, so that adds up to 14 years.

Yay for old dogs!