Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's All Folks!

As 2008 winds down to a close (I'm posting on New Year's Eve eve, in case I'm too busy tomorrow night), now is the time to reflect on the past 12 months. As far as birthdays go, it was a banner year for me - I hit the big 3-0. It wasn't traumatic or anything like that, just another birthday. Goodness knows I don't feel (or act) 30 . . . maybe that will come this year?

January was my trip to the ASC Flushing Spaniel Show in Philly, and seeing Billy again (and meeting so many wonderful e-friends). What an awesome, awesome experience! I got to see my favourite dog, and to meet some great people.

March saw the addition of Jack Jack to the world (and ultimately my family, but that came later). March was my parents' cruise, and their eventual caving in to my request for a third dog.

April was the birth of my new niece, as well as Farley earning another performance title, at the ripe old age of 8!

May was dog shows, Vegas and my mom's birthday.

The summer was a blur of puppy classes, dog shows and people visiting. The fun never ended, but man I sure got tired.

The fall saw me teaching my first set of obedience classes, as well as Jack Jack earning his first points on his first day in the ring. Can't complain about that! Jack Jack and I continued with obedience classes, and Grace and I started training in agility. It got very, very busy again.

November saw me on the road TONS for work . . . too much. I think it was the start of my dark state of mind, mostly from exhaustion. I also did too much training, and felt pulled in all directions.

December was Christmas . . . parties, teas, luncheons, presents, wrapping, family, etc. You get my drift.

What will 2009 hold? Nobody knows. But I hope it's a pleasant trip, and I hope it's a happy, healthy year for my friends and family.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Ties That Bind

Well, the first half of holiday celebrations is over . . . Christmas has come and gone, and there were no fatalities due to disagreements. That's always a good thing! My brother, his fiancee and their four kids came up to visit, along with their three dogs and my brother's step-daughter, who lives with her mom here in town. We had five adults, five kids and six dogs in this house, and I learned that although the square footage is mathematically sufficient, there wasn't quite enough personal space. People were always stepping on a kid or a dog, or maybe even each other.

The dogs handled it well, for the most part. There were VERY few accidents (none from my dogs - yahoo!) and only a few tense moments. For the most part they co-existed well, which is saying a lot for my cranky old man, dominant female and scaredy-cat dog. Jack Jack didn't scream at anyone (other than my 8 month old niece today, for some odd reason) and Farley only scrapped once, which is darned good for him. Grace was a pro . . . of my three dogs, she is by far the easiest to introduce to others. Nothing fazes her, and she handled everything with aplomb.

We had the typical kid arguments, but nobody lost any limbs. My middle niece did lose her cookies more than one - there's nothing like the gift that gives over and over again like the stomach flu. Poor kid. And of course, when one has it, everyone gets it eventually.

The adults even played nicely for the most part. There were a few tiffs, but nothing worth dwelling on. Everybody made an effort, and it was noticed. There was a lot less stress than any of us anticipated, and it was a welcome deviation.

Hope your family ties simply bound and didn't strangle over the holidays . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Update

Many, many hours. Blood (well, maybe), sweat and tears. Goodness knows how much money for a new toilet, new seat, extra wax seal and a bunch of new tools. Cursing, more sweat and more tears.

New toilet. Finally. Maybe there is a plumbing career in our future after all (it was a family effort - even Farley tried to help!)

Thank God.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Learned something new

Yes, that's right. Today I learned something new. I'm not a plumber. Now, I'm sure this doesn't really surprise any of you, considering I've never had any training as a plumber. But the flushing mechanism on my toilet crapped out (pun intended *snicker*) just over a week ago, and I figured it should be an easy fix. Buy a new chain at the hardware store, fit it to the flushing mechanism, and presto! the toilet would be fixed. Hah! The chain was relatively easily fixed. But then I snapped off the floating arm that stops the toilet from overfilling.

No worries, I thought. I figured it would be simple to fix (relatively). I've installed a ceiling fan, so what can't I do? Apparently installing a new floating arm thingy is slightly beyond my capability. And of course, now I'm annoyed beyond belief. We have company coming from out of town on Wednesday, and we're down a toilet. Sigh.

Anybody have the number of a good plumber????

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Pictures





Here are two pictures of some of the ornaments on my mother's Christmas tree. It has a bird theme, and I was playing with my Rebel XTi on macro settings.

Also pictured are the reindeer cupcakes that I made for the work Christmas party . . . cute, heh?
And what holiday post is complete without a photo of Santa Paws????

Monday, December 15, 2008

What a weekend!

Everything started Thursday, with my sore throat. I seem to always get sick at Christmas, and apparently this year will be no exception. I guess the good news is that I'll be sick before the big day, instead of during. Thursday night I was meant to choose between Mackenzie's Christmas concert and Jack's second last obedience class. I ended up going to neither, since I felt so awful. I went to bed instead.

Friday was uneventful, with the exception of the sore throat. UGH! We had our team meeting at work and our Secret Santa gift exchange. It was fun. I left work early to run some errands. Friday night mom and I had fresh Atlantic lobster for supper. Yummy, yummy, yummy! I went to bed early again, because I wasn't feeling well.

Saturday morning I got up at a decent time, as my mom and I had to stop by the post office to pick up some parcels. We had tried to pick them up on Friday night, but the post office had locked their doors for 2 hours to offload a truck. Mom was heading out of town to Sherwood Park, Camrose and then to my brother's place for a couple of days. We went our separate ways, and I ran a couple of errands before heading home. As I was walking in the door, my cell phone rang. It was my mom - the car had broken down on the highway about 20 minutes outside of the city. She couldn't get through to AMA, so she asked me to look up a family friend's phone number (she works for a tow truck company). I turned around and left the house, to get my mom. I had to stop for gas on the way, so I was slow. Fortunately, mom got ahold of our family friend, and a tow truck was actually on its way out of town, so that worked out well. Mom called me and we agreed to meet at the Chrysler dealership in town.

We have recently had lots of snow, and Chrysler hadn't cleared all of it from their cement barriers that demarcate their parking lot. As I pulled into a spot (not quickly at all!), I hit a barrier and heard a huge crack. It was the bumper of my car, cracking almost clean off :( I wanted to cry! I went inside to ask for help, and eventually a fellow from Service came out and re-attached a piece of it, so the car is driveable. So I waited for my mom, and then when she arrived with the tow truck, we moved everything she had packed from her car into mine. Then we went for lunch and went home.

Saturday night was the training school party - a ray of sunshine in a crummy day. We had a "chinese" gift exchange, where everybody brings a gift under a certain value and then people can steal from others, etc. It was fun. Koralee (owner) had tons of food, beverages and the world's most incredible cheesecake! She also bought gifts for all the staff - I got two VERY cute Cocker Spaniel t-shirts, a calendar, and some small goodies.

Sunday morning my throat was still super sore, so I decided to go to Emergency. He told me I have strep throat and gave me penicillin and codeine-laced cough syrup.

On top of everything, we have mice somewhere in our basement (in the crawl space), and darned if we can figure out how they got in. We've trapped and disposed of several now, and it grosses me out. I just want it all to stop!
So how were your weekends???? LOL

Friday, December 12, 2008

Secret Santa

Today at work we had our Secret Santa gift exchange. Basically, everybody pulls a name from a hat and buys for that person (as long as they don't draw their own name!). The dollar value is $20-$25, and the gift has to be tasteful. It's lots of fun!

People got some great gifts this year . . . it's obvious that a lot of thought went into what people bought. Our boss, who is here from Australia, got a Royal Canadian Mint 50 cent piece with a holographic snowman on it. VERY cool! The co-worker that our boss purchased for received a small framed print by an Australian artist. I got a dog record book - like a journal for a dog, with sections for all aspects of a dog's life. VERY nice.

Everybody brought in some goodies (I brought in cupcakes decorated as reindeer), and a nice time was had by all. I hope your workplace (if you have one, of course) does a similar, festive event.

Monday, December 08, 2008

12 Wonderful Holiday Traditions to Share With Your Dog

1.Pick Out a Tree Together. There are tree farms that allow you to walk around and tag your tree. How about doing it with your dog? What a wonderful tradition!

2.Holiday Paw-di-cure. How about a holiday pedicure for your pooch? You can be creative and paint the nails alternatively red and green just for fun.

3.Pet Parade. Some towns or pet stores sponsor a dog event – even a dog parade. Dress up your dog in his favorite bandana or Santa cap and take part.

4.Hang a Dog Stocking. Why not? If you have a stocking – your dog should too. Many of the dog lovers I know have stockings for each of their dogs.

5.Go See Santa. How about a photo of your dogs or you and your dogs with Santa? This also makes a great holiday card.

6.Blessing of the Animals. Check your local paper or pet store bulletin board to find out if there is a local event in your area.

7.Make Some Dog Treats. Make some healthy homemade dog treats and allow your dog to be the helper and master sampler. Make extra for your dogs friend or your friend's dogs. Go to: Holiday Treats and Healthy Dog Treats for recipes.

8.Quiet Time. Spend a little quiet time with your dog. Even an evening when you decorate the tree or just listen to some holiday music is often a welcome time for you and your dog.

9.Holiday Walk. Go for a stroll and enjoy some of the views and lights.

10.Bandana. Some dogs like to be dressed and others don't but most will tolerate a simple holiday bandana. How about dressing your dog up with a special holiday-themed bandana. They are easy to make – Go to Instructions for a Dog Bandana to make your own.

11.Plan Something Special From Your Dog. A very sweet tradition for many pet owners is to do something nice for people that are nice to your dog. That may be send a special card or buy a small gift "from" the dogs.

12.A Little Eggnog. Maybe you can enjoy some wonderful holiday eggnog and you can treat your dog to some dog-approved ice cream. There are different manufactures of products such as "Tasty Paws".

And don't forget to put a little something from Santa for your dog under the tree or in his stocking.

(borrowed from a Cocker Spaniel forum I belong to - not sure of the original author, but if anybody knows, I'm happy to give credit!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Seriously????

So, roughly 7 weeks ago, Canada had an election for Prime Minister and ruling party (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party). Millions of dollars were spent just so Canadians could end up with another minority government, with the Conservatives in charge. No change, other than the Conservatives having a few more seats than they did prior to the election.

Now the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have signed an agreement to form a coalition and overturn the Conservatives. Interestingly enough, Stephane Dion (Liberal leader) has been chosen to lead this new coalition, despite the fact that he had decided to step down as the leader of the Liberals after their election loss.

Seriously, can these people not just accept defeat and move on? Why are they pushing this issue now? I can't believe it's in anybody's best interest for these three separate parties to attempt to work as a group - their values and ideals are not the same, hence the need for THREE parties. I know that many Canadians (and certainly many Albertans, who are primarily Conservative) are very upset with this turn of events.

But hey, what the hell do I know? I'm just some small voter, who exists to pay taxes and support these government follies.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In The Mood

I am slowly getting in the mood for Christmas. On Sunday night my mom and I attended a party held for volunteers of the local animal shelter . . . we have been sorting bottles to raise funds for the shelter. On the way down to the party, both my mom and I were tired and hoping that it would be an early night. The meal was amazing - beef wellington, rice pilaf, a couple of salads, vegetables with goat cheese and a lovely dessert.

The most fun was afterwards, when they had the live auction. Everybody attending was asked to bring an item for the auction - there were no limits on what people could bring. Because it was for charity, people really opened their wallets and spent a lot of money. It was awesome! The lady that acted as auctioneer is actually the lady that taught the writing course I took in early October - she has a fabulous sense of humour. She interacted well with the crowd, and everybody had lots of laughs.

My mom and I left smiling and laughing, and definitely much more in the mood for the holidays. So, happy holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful AND Proud!

Early on in the life of this blog, I had Billy living with me . . . the one and only puppy born at my house. I kept him until he was 14 months old, showed him to 8 Canadian points, and took him through some puppy classes. Billy told me (in no uncertain terms!) that he wanted more out of life, so I placed him with a wonderful woman and her family, and he hasn't looked back since. I got this email from Billy's owner this morning, and almost cried with happiness and pride. How could I ever ask for more???? I have found puppy-owner utopia!

Billy and I had a job interview yesterday and he was hired!!

Billy will be a therapy dog at St. Francis Country House, a nursing home in my old home town..... He did so well that we were offered the Dementia Wing..... Most of the folks are pretty lucid and were so excited to have a Puppy Visit..... Our new boss, the volunteer coordinator, told me that they get few visitors and that they had other dog visitors who never came back after the first visit..... I told her any place that I can take Billy where he'll be welcomed is a place that we'll come back to..... It was really pretty fulfilling..... A few of them reminded me of my Dad so it was really nice to be able to visit with someone who enjoyed the company and didn't have many visitors.

Billy was so sweet and gentle and wasn't put off by the wheelchairs or walkers or walking canes..... He had his first elevator ride with me and was so brave, he only flinched once and then just looked up at me..... We "tested" with one man who was very grumpy and said that he didn't want company..... Billy just walked in front of me and looked up at Sam (the grumpy guy) and wagged his tail..... After about 30 seconds Sam offered him his hand to sniff..... Another lady spoke to me non-stop for 5 minutes, barely taking a breath..... Only problem was that she was speaking Italian..... I kept telling her "No Cap-Eesh" and she kept laughing and talking and pointing to Billy and talking some more..... Maybe he speaks Italian?

We'll go every Wednesday (since I'm working a 4-day week and have off every Wednesday) and spend a few hours.

Fate put Billy's owner in my path when I was looking for a home - well, Fate and a very, very good and special person. I may never find a puppy home as good as the one Billy has gone to, but I'm sure gonna keep looking!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Smart Dogs!

Well, I am feeling pretty proud of my dogs this morning (although Grace is really testing my patience by stealing toast off the counter this morning). It seems that they're all on a streak of being super smart.

Jack Jack is taking a Tricks & Treats class (just 3 sessions), and he's doing really well with it. So far he's learning to target to my hand, bow, spin left and right, sit up and beg and play dead. He doesn't like to play dead, but he's doing really well with everything else. Such a smarty pants!

Grace is doing SUPER well with agility. Last night while practising weaves, twice she went to run by the entry, and she changed her mind, changed her path, and entered correctly! It doesn't sound like a major accomplishment, but it means she understands the weave poles and how the entry works. She loves agility so much . . . it's definitely her "thing."

But Farley was the smartest one of all. This morning he jumped on the recliner in front of the big TV downstairs and managed to turn it on. Since we have satellite, TV and a number of other electronic gadgets, just turning on the TV is pretty challenging. I thought that was pretty clever, but I'm not sure the trick has a lot of reproducability.

Thanks for letting me brag about my smarty-pants dogs . . . it's not too often that all three are on a smart roll at once!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's All Over . . .

Yesterday was my last Rally O class . . . I had 3 courses chosen for my students (pupils?) to run through, as long as there was enough time. In an hour-long course, it can be tough to get everybody through a course a few times, change courses, and repeat the procedure. Because I haven't set up that many courses, I'm a bit inefficient at changing over from one course to another, so it takes me longer than it would take most people.

Anyhow, everybody ran through the first course twice. The first time I allowed them to use treats, but after that I asked them to run as if it were in a trial. I followed behind, as if I were a judge (ah, the power!!! It almost went to my head!), to give them that experience. All of them did very well. I am so pleased at how far they've come over just 6 weeks. People really seemed to want to understand the signs and the technicalities, and how everything is meant to run.

We ended up going for about an hour and a half, if not slightly more. It had been just over an hour by the time everybody had gone through the second course, and I offered them the option of calling it a day at that point, but everybody wanted to continue on.

I have really enjoyed teaching this class, and I look forward to seeing some fresh faces in January, as well as working on trial preparation with some familiar faces.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Festival Of Trees

One of the traditions in the community that I live in is the annual Festival of Trees. It is a fundraiser for the health region, and it's a huge deal. What happens is that several trees are decorated in a theme and then donated to the Festival of Trees. The trees are displayed for a weekend, and on the Saturday night there is a gala supper where people can bid on and purchase the trees. The fundraiser brings in a large amount of money, and people from the community flock to the display to see what the trees are every year. This year there were some awesome, awesome trees . . .

The "Let It Snow" tree, which had a theme of snow and snowmen. VERY cute! There was even a tree ornament with the words "Let It Snow" on it. I would have purchased that tree if I had the means to do so. There was a "Candy Land" tree done in red and white candy decorations. So, so cute! A Webkinz tree with 70 Webkinz, some accessories, and a laptop for the winner to register their Webkinz. There were roughly 75 trees (I could be way off base), and each one was unique and breathtaking. The peacock tree was just awesome! Sparkly and colourful.

This event was a great way for my mom and I to get into the holiday spirit today. When we got home, I was very ready to dig out the Christmas stuff and put up the tree! I hope you're getting into the holiday spirit too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of ME

Last week I was in Edmonton for work. I drove down on Wednesday and had two days in a contractor's office down there. I brought Jack and Grace with me, and stayed at Jackie's place. We had a GREAT visit, and we got some cute pictures of Jack and his sisters. When I have some time to go through them I'll post them. I managed to get a fair chunk of my holiday shopping done, and my mom, some friends and I saw the musical "Hairspray." It was a great trip.

Jack had a tooth that wasn't coming in properly, so I made an appointment with Jackie's vet to have it pulled (he can't be shown with a funky tooth). Her vet is at least half the price of mine, so I use them when I can. Anyhow, they were testing to see how tough it would be to get out (before putting him under), and it actually popped out with very little pressure. It was an underdeveloped tooth that wasn't attached to the bone. So that was cheap! And now he has a gap in his mouth . . . just like a little boy that got into a fight LOL That was an adult tooth, though, so he'll always have the gap.

Grace had a blast at Jackie's - her daughters just love Grace, and she loves them back. She played and played and played. Jack enjoyed it too . . . he was picking on his sisters quite a bit. It was cute! Jackie and I had a fabulous visit as always.

On the Saturday night, I was driving home from supper with Jackie and the kids (but in my own car), when the pick-up truck in front of me hit a deer! The deer flipped through the air and rolled into the ditch, and the guy slammed on his brakes. I was sure that I was going to hit him, although I wasn't too close or driving too fast (about 20kmh below the speed limit). By the grace of God I missed hitting him by no more than 4 inches. That scared the crap out of me.

Sunday I drove home (4.5 hours) - thankfully traffic was light and the roads were good.

Monday morning I woke up at 4:30am to fly to Calgary for work overnight. Normally I love traveling, but I was already so tired. But off I went. After work, my co-worker and I went to check into our hotel (that our company travel department had booked and confirmed), only to be told that they had oversold the rooms and we couldn't have one. Oh my goodness, I was tired and cranky already, and that almost put me over the edge. We ended up in a Best Western (which is okay in itself) in a VERY dicey part of town. At least the hotel was clean, and only one guy wanted to buy drugs from us. Yikes! But it was a room. It's almost impossible to get rooms in Calgary because the economy is still so hot and there are lots of head offices there, so at least we weren't sleeping in the rental.

That night I took a taxi to meet some friends for supper - I almost didn't go because my dad was going so poorly, but I don't get to see these friends too often, so I couldn't pass it up. I got the world's most CLUELESS cab driver! He had never heard of the restaurant, and refused to follow my directions. I was so frustrated . . . you really have NO idea! Thankfully supper was good, and my friend and her husband drove me back to the hotel.

Yesterday was a better day, although the Denny's did get my order wrong. At least there were no major mishaps! It was so good to get home last night!!!! I don't expect to be traveling anymore until the new year, and that makes me VERY happy!So that's my news . . . life continues to be crazy-busy with obedience classes and dog grooming and stuff. Grace has Tuesday night agility (we missed it last night due to my travel), Jack has Thursday night obedience (we missed last week due to my travel) and starting Friday we have 3 sessions of Tricks & Treats training (Jack and I).

Sunday is my last Rally-O class - I can't believe it's over already! I've enjoyed teaching it so much, and plans are already underway for another session in January, along with a more advanced session for my current students.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the road again . . .

Holy smokes! I have been busy, busy, busy traveling for work, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Sigh. I just got home from Edmonton today after spending two days in a Contractor's office in Sherwood Park. I stayed with Jack-Jack's breeder (coincidentally also one of my best friends!), and made it into a long weekend. On Saturday I went and saw the matinee performance of "Hairspray" the musical, and had a fabulous time. I highly recommend it for anybody that either loves musicals or 60's music, or even both. It was a blast!

Tomorrow morning I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn (somebody else's words, not mine) to fly to Calgary overnight. I just want to be home, in my OWN bed. I hate being on the road so much! It's a bit ironic, really, since the idea of a lot of travel for work sounds so exotic, but in reality it's just exhausting. I am having dinner with a couple of good friends, which makes it better, but still . . . I'd rather be home.

So if you don't see many blog posts this week, bear with me. I do have to hang with the pooches a bit too!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Please, take a moment to be silent and remember those that have sacrified their lives, who gave up their families and homes, or who are continuing to serve so that WE may have the freedoms that we take for granted. They deserve our thanks and recognition.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cocker Rescue

As the holiday season begins, people seem to feel more charitable. I think it's just something about the spirit of giving that infuses peoples' souls. One of my big passions (as those that know me well know) is Cocker Spaniel rescue. Cocker rescue helps find homes for Cockers that would otherwise end up in shelters, possibly being euthanized due to lack of space or overcrowding. Cocker rescues are run by volunteers who give their time, money and hearts to these "throwaway" dogs. They rehabilitate them and find them loving homes.

Some of the rescues that I work with are running some holiday fundraisers.

Life's Little Paws is running their holiday auction, which benefits several rescue groups - http://www.lifeslittlepawsauction.com. It runs until November 22, 2008.

Camp Cocker is doing a calendar fundraiser - this one is neat because a competition was run to see which dogs would be featured. JackJack and Grace are featured one month, so it is with pride that I share the end product with you - http://www.lulu.com/content/4818239

Several Cocker rescues have come together to promote Santa Paws this year - Cherished Cockers, Camp Cocker, Second Chance Cocker Rescue, Columbus Cocker Rescue and Life's Little Paws are running a donation drive. You can send funds to Donna J at donnaj624@gmail.com. You can see the original post at http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=32947. This money could really make a difference for these rescues, and every single one featured is reputable and super hard-working.

All it takes is everybody contributing just $5 and the amount raised will grow exponentially. So please consider sharing the wealth and enhancing a Cocker Spaniel's holiday season.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Transformation

I am so impressed with my Jack-Jack over the past couple of days that I just had to share. I know I talk far too much about my dogs, but my life is about dogs and training and sharing their lives, so you're stuck reading about it.

I am house sitting for friends this weekend. I brought Jack and Grace to their home, to stay with their 2 Keeshonds (sort of like big, grey Samoyeds). I knew that bringing Jack into the house was going to be an issue, but he really went all out. He screamed bloody murder as soon as he walked into the house, even with the Keesies behind a baby gate. I'm sure the neighbours had the phone ready to dial 911 given the noise that he made. It was horrendous! He calmed down enough to stop shreiking, but was still very afraid. He wouldn't go anywhere near the Keeshonds (who weren't even paying attention to him), and was in my lap, shaking, all night. Grace was playing with Gibson (the male Keeshond) and having a blast.

Saturday morning was somewhat better, as Jack wasn't shaking, whining or walking around with a wild-eyed look on his face. I was out running errands most of the day, so Grace and Jack were in the kennel and the Keesies were loose. Last night when I fed them and then let them out, he was able to potty in the run with the Keesies in there, which was progress.

This morning I thought I was going to cry - tears of joy, not of sadness. After eating and going outside, I was eating a cookie in the kitchen, and Jack was trying to initiate play with Gibson! He was play-bowing, wagging his tail and jumping around. Hallelujah! I know he's not totally cured of his fear, but what a huge transformation from Friday night to Sunday morning! We're there until Monday night, so he has some more time to realize that other dogs aren't terrifying monsters at all, but really just fun to play with!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ooops sorry!

Well, I have been remiss this week about not posting. Typically I don't go this long in between updates (or pupdates, as they typically are) but things have been busy. On Sunday I taught my fourth Rally O class - I can't believe we're 2/3 of the way through the session now! My students seem to be enjoying the classes, and I'm having a blast teaching them. The owner of the school and I are talking about some more classes in January, so that's a good thing.

Monday was Jack-Jack's graduation from Junior High Obedience. From an obedience perspective, he did fabulously well. His heeling has come along nicely, and he is a very responsive dog with a nice work ethic. From a fear viewpoint, he has made some gains, but they're not as noticeable as I'd like. Some days are better than others, but I suppose that looking at it on the bright side, at least there are some bright spots. We're signed up for Household Obedience, which starts next week, so we'll keep working at it. He's so good with people and situations that I hope we can overcome this fear of other dogs.

Tuesday was Grace's agility class. She's always worked well for me when we've done obedience (she's mostly been home-schooled), but man, she ADORES the agility. As soon as we park at the training centre her tail starts going on little circles, a mile a minute. She practically does the equipment without me, she loves it so much. So we're having fun. We're definitely both beginners (although I did take my Old Man Quigley through some classes) but we're enjoying it.

Next week the class schedule changes a bit, so I'll be teaching on Sundays (for 2 more) and in class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That spreads it out through the week a bit, which is easier for me. I promise to write more regularly then too!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My handsome man

A guy has to get his rest, you know . . . my day is very busy, what with guarding the house and maintaining peace and order!


My Aunty Donna bought me this purple ducky toy for my birthday . . . I love it so much!

Grandma bought me this puck . . . we're gettin' ready for hockey season!



Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blog-A-Palooza

Personally, I think this is a fabulous idea! I meant to sign up to take part, and I forgot. My bad. But I did leave a comment . . . I sure hope I win one of those awesome goodie bags!

http://aknickerson.blogspot.com/2008/10/blogapalooza-what-strange-trip-its-been.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yummy treats!

Tonight my mom and I made some super yummy treats for a bake sale that her area is holding tomorrow to raise funds for the United Way. She bought some of these at a bake sale in Camrose while she was visiting my aunt, and tried making them with my brother and his family while she was visiting them last week. They're SUPER easy to make - even I could do it! Those of you that know me know what that means.

Take some caramel candies . . . you know, the little brown, plastic-wrapped square caramels that you get at Halloween. They don't have to be Kraft, but those are the most common. Melt roughly 60 of them in a double boiler. We used a Pyrex bowl placed in a pot of boiling water. Watch the caramels, stirring occasionally. It takes around 20 minutes for them to melt fully. Have a bag of large marshmallows, and a big bowl of Rice Krispies (we bought Vanilla-flavoured, but my mom says the regular ones are better). You also need some bamboo party picks - the kind you put in cocktail weiners so that you can pick them up. Put the pick in the end of the marshmallow, and then coat the marshmallow in caramel. Be careful - it's hot! Then swirl the caramel-coated marshmallow in the Rice Krispies, to coat it. Place on a wax-paper-lined baking tray to cool.

We made about 50 of them I think, maybe more. They're pretty rich, so you can probably eat a maximum of 3 or 4 per sitting. But man oh man, are they YUMMY! Easy to make, and we had fun with it too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ho, ho, ho!

Well, it's officially two months until Christmas now . . . not that anybody's counting LOL I absolutely LOVE Christmas - it's my all-time favourite holiday (well, tied with my birthday, 'cause birthdays are fun). I really enjoy buying gifts for people, and who doesn't enjoy getting gifts? Scrooge, maybe.

How fitting, then, that today was our first official snowfall. When I got up this morning, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Maybe 1cm, if that much. I don't know how long it'll stay, what with the sun shining down on it. The dogs were pretty frisky, especially Jack, who doesn't really have snow experience. He ran around like a fool, trying to figure out this white stuff that was sticking to his feet. Grace, ever the princess, tried to convince me that her feet were cold (at -5? I don't think so) and Farley just went on his business as usual.

The neighborhood kids are having a blast, trying to throw snowballs and build snowmen. It'll be a while until we have enough snow for that (Mother Nature willing, of course), but it's fun to watch anyhow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pictures

What the heck is this thing guys? It looks kind of like a doggy, but it doesn't bark or run or try to steal our tennis ball!


Ooooooh, now I get it . . . it's just another gimmick so mom can get our picture. She never gives up, does she????
Happy Halloween everyone . . . costume pictures will come, but not until closer to the big day.



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kennel Cough

Ah kennel cough. I would wager that every dog owner deals with it at some point, although some people just seem lucky enough to avoid it. Kennel cough is the "street name" for canine tracheobronchitis - doggy irritation of the trachea (windpipe). You'll know if your dog ever gets it, because all of a sudden they sound like they have a 2-pack-a-day smoking habit. The dry, hacking cough is really not a nice sound - almost like a honking goose. Add that to sneezing and runny eyes, and you have a dog that looks pretty haggard.

Kennel cough is basically the doggy equivalent to the human cold. Irritating, but not life threatening. It's very contagious, but of course, we can't ask our dogs to wash their paws every time they come into contact with something. It's spread through nose to nose contact, or snot (after sneezes, etc). Right now it's making the rounds in the community that I live in, and even the KLAD cockers are not immune. Poor Jack-Jack has kennel cough. Fortunately, so far the other two dogs have managed to avoid it, knock on wood. I suspect they just have better immunity than Jack does, what with him still being a puppy.

In an interesting turn of events, I also have a cold. So I guess the age old question of the chicken and the egg applies here, in a certain sense. Who had it first, Jack-Jack or I????

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

285 Posts!

I have to say that when I first started this blog, I never imagined that I'd still be posting on it almost 3 years later. I really thought it would be another one of my passing fads, and that once I got tired of it, it would just fade into oblivion. It hasn't faded yet - and I still feel a pull to post at least a few times a week.

I took a writing class last weekend, and one of the things mentioned by the presenter was that in order to be successful at writing, a person needs to write every day and read every day. While I don't post on this blog every day, I do think that every post I write helps sharpen my skills. At least, I hope they do. I definitely read every day.

For those of you into different books, not the standard fiction or non-fiction stuff, I would recommend Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch - it is the sequel to his bestselling Wicked. It's not a super easy book to read, but it is a good one. There is now a third book out, about the cowardly lion, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. A little bird tells me it's on its way out West as I type this :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some Improvement

Tonight was Jack-Jack's 4th puppy class (we missed the second one when I was out of town for work). I had in the back of my head the various tips that people sent me when I asked for help last week, and I changed my plan of attack slightly. I got to class early, and picked out a spot in the far corner of the room, away from the entrance. I got Jack's attention focused on me with the use of food and the Watch! command, and kept his attention with food. Pretty much a stream of very small treats as the other dogs came in. I lost his attention once, and he barked his head off for about 10-15 seconds, until I was able to get his attention back on me. Definitely MUCH better than last week! Although there was some noise, there was no growling or posturing at all. Some raising of the hackles, but to a much lesser degree than last week.

He wasn't as focused on me for the entire class . . . in fact, he attempted to play with another dog! I know the teacher would have liked me to get Jack focused back on me, but I was so happy to have him showing positive interest in another dog that I allowed it for 2 seconds and then got him back with me. That was most definitely a big step for my little man! Unfortunately there was no off-leash playtime this week, as it might have gone better than in previous weeks.

I appreciate all of the advice, and will continue working diligently on his reactivity and fear. As I said, he's excellent with people and new situations, it's primarily other dogs. In the show ring he's fine - very natural and showy and confident. It's just in these face to face interactions that his feathers get ruffled.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Major Breakthrough!

Okay, so the major breakthrough is in a relatively small, inconsequential area of my dog training activities, but given the amount of time I've put into it, and the fact that I had to adapt my training to work for my dog, I'm pretty pleased with it!

I've gotten it into my head that I should teach the dogs some tricks - you know, like shake a paw, wipe your nose, roll over, etc. Jack-Jack caught on to shake a paw within about 5 minutes, using a clicker and some tasty treats. He's a smart dog, and not afraid to try new things, so it wass quick. It has developed into high five and shake a paw, and we're working on adding wave to his repertoire. But the real challenge was Grace. Grace is a very, very soft dog that absolutely HATES getting things wrong. If you even use a non-reward marker (like yuck or unh-unh) she will melt into a little puddle. So no matter of treats would encourage her to offer me any behaviors. She'd far rather just sit and look at me . . . trying nothing so she can't get it wrong.

So with Grace I've taken a different approach, and done a more tactile training, actually taking her paw in my hand and adding a cue. This method is slower, and I wasn't sure it was working, because I didn't feel like I was seeing any progress. But today, after our target training in the yard (for agility), I thought I'd give it a try. When I asked for her paw and she offered it, I let out a big whoop and fed her a really nice jackpot of treats. She did it several times in a row, so I know it wasn't a fluke. How awesome is that???? I am so pleased with her! She took a big risk in offering it to me, and I made sure she knew I was beyond happy about it.

So I guess I'm at least a slightly better trainer than I thought . . . and that makes me very happy :) Thanks for letting me indulge!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New iPod Applications

Okay, this is a completely frivolous post (like many of mine are LOL), but I learned something exciting today. One of my co-workers has an iPhone (something I would really like to have, but can not justify in ANY way). She brought it into my office today, knowing that I have an iTouch, and am jealous of her phone. She has a new application that she purchased from the iTunes store online . . . it is called "crazy pumpkins" and it's free. It's GREAT! There is this spooky laughing, and if you shake your phone, the pumpkin's face changes (or if you drag your finger across the face of the phone). You can have a pig's snout, fancy mouth, scary eyes, and more. They say simple things for simple minds, but I really got a kick out of it.

So I visited the iTunes application store, and WAY more exciting than the crazy pumpkins (which I admit to downloading) is the fact that I could download Scrabble to my iTouch. How awesome is that? I LOVE Scrabble, and now I can play more often :)

Thanks for indulging my childish enjoyment of this new "toy."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seven Random Things

Seven random things about me:

1. My dream is to be a published author - not just articles, but a book or some freelance work that I get paid for and that people actually want to read.

2. I love reading magazines! I subscribe to so many that I can't even count them (7 or 8 I think), and I read them all from cover to cover every time I get an issue. Some of them I keep, but many of them I pass on when I'm finished with them.

3. I am terrified of the dentist. I had a dentist when I was a kid that did a few fillings without freezing, and ever since I've been super nervous about going. I tend to avoid seeing the dentist for as long as possible.

4. I am one of the only people on earth that doesn't like turkey. I'll eat it at Christmas, but I really hate all of the left over meals (soup, turkey sandwiches, etc)

5. I hate shopping for clothes but I love shopping for STUFF - books, CDs, kitschy stuff.

6. I have two best friends and two more very close friends, and all of them live far away from me :(

7. I am very, very close with my mom, and have a pretty darned good relationship with my dad too. I consider myself extremely lucky to be close to both of my parents.

Tag seven people:
1. Ange
2. Victoria
3. Jessica
4. Ben
5. Louisa
6. Any random person that may read my blog
7. Sorry, I've run out of people to tag!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fraidy Cat


Well, as much as I adore my puppy Jack, I have a problem with him. He is very afraid of other dogs. He used to be quite fearful of new people, but he's met quite a few in his 7 months, and has only had positive experiences, so now he's much better in that regard. But he still has fear issues with other dogs.
When I take him to puppy class, while we sit waiting for class to begin he barks and barks and barks at everything. He gets himself very wound up, and it gets hard to distract him and reward him for focussing on me (which is what has been recommended to me as a coping method). During class he's fine, as long as none of the other dogs approach us, because he is able to focus on me and tune out the other dogs. At the end of class we have a short off-leash play period, divided into small dogs and large dogs. I ignore Jack and walk away from him, but he still tries to climb between my legs and he barks and raises his hackles at the other dogs if they approach him. He's had one set of puppy classes and is halfway through the second set, and I don't really see any improvement at all.
I did post to some email lists for suggestions, and I got some great advice, but now I have to implement it. Keep your fingers crossed that I can bring my fraidy cat out of his shell, and show him that other dogs are fun, not scary!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2 down, 4 to go

Well, today was my second Rally O class as a teacher. I think it went well, and a couple of people told me they enjoyed it. That's really my only barometer - that and their smiles and laughter during the exercises. I changed it up from last week - instead of running everybody through a full course, I decided to teach them the footwork for right, left and about turns, as well as working on some Rally skills. It went well, and the time just flew by. I think that before I know it, the entire session will be over.

As I'm typing this, my mom is in the kitchen making our Thanksgiving meal. We have always eaten on the Sunday, and even though the people that we used to share our meal with have moved away, we are maintaining that tradition. We're having spiral ham, mashed potatoes, yellow beans, carrots, squash and cucumber. Mmmmmm. The hams smells just amazing!

Wishing my blog readers a very happy Thanksgiving - take a moment to think about the things you're really thankful for.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

8 Things (okay, only 2 things, but who's counting?)

My friend Louisa tagged me in a post called “8 things.” I'm supposed to list 8 things in each of the following categories, but I'm lazy so I'm only doing 2 of each (I stole this text from Weeza - I am possibly lazier than you! - and I'm only doing 2 of each, like she did.)

2 Things I am passionate about... dogs and reading

2 "words" or "phrases" I say way to often... seriously and totally

2 Things I want to do before I die... have a book published and win Best in Show with one of my dogs

2 Things I have learned from my past... people like you a lot more when you're positive (not negative) and guys come and go, but friends are forever

2 Places I would love to see... New York City (Broadway, specifically) and South Africa

2 Things I currently need or want... an external flash for my camera and a place of my own

2 More people I tag... Well, I don't know anybody else with blogs (that hasn't been tagged already) so . . . well . . . nobody LOL

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Conferences

Well, I'm in Calgary for a conference for work. It's the very first Canadian national conference for the IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors - http://www.theiia.org). It's a big deal, and they've had fabulous turn out for this event. There are 400 auditors here! It's been a great event for networking - so far I've talked to auditors from all corners of the country (including the Yukon), and each one has provided me with new insight into the profession. There are facets to audit that I had never even thought of before. It has certainly renewed my vigor for this profession, which is one of the purposes of a conference, I'm sure.

Some of the speakers have been outstanding, and some a little bit more lackluster, but I honestly believe that the organizers have done their best to have a wide variety of presenters for the sessions, to reach everybody in the audience at one point or another. It's been a great learning experience, and I'm so glad that I was able to attend.

I hope that my faithful readers get chances like I have, to learn more about their chosen (or forced?) profession, and to get energized. It's a good feeling!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Big Day!

Well, today was a big day for me - it was my very first Rally Obedience class! Not taking one - I must admit that I've never taken a rally o class - but teaching one. I was so nervous that I couldn't even eat breakfast, so by the time class was done (roughly 1:30pm) I was starving! I think it went well. I have 8 dogs in the class, mostly big dogs. All of the people taking the class have taken either obedience or agility, and they are all very in tune with their dogs. Fun, fun dog people to work with! I have some tweaking to do for next week's class (working on particular stations, rather than doing a whole course), but overall I think it went well.

Thanks everybody for having confidence in me - I really appreciate it!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Some people are jerks!

So, I was getting into the work truck with my mom yesterday morning when I noticed the passenger door of my car looked ajar. I figured that my mom hadn't properly closed it last night, after I picked her up from the airport, so I got out to close it.No such luck - somebody broke into my car last night :(

They stole my satellite radio, and they also took some of my change (just the loonies and toonies, not the small stuff). They went throught EVERYTHING and left a huge mess in the car. I am feeling quite upset about the whole thing - now I know why people feel violated. UGH! I went to the local police detachment to file a report, but I doubt anything will come of it.

Now I'm paranoid about locking the car, the house and about people walking down the street. I wonder how long that will last?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Happy 9th Birthday Farley

Okay . . . so it was actually on Tuesday night (Sept 30th), but better late than never, right?

From left to right, Farley, Grace and Jack-Jack

A toy with SIXTEEN squeakers from mom, and the purple toy is from Aunty Donna

Aunty Donna, thank you for this toy, I love it!

Man, that was some party! Whew!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My folks & a contest

Yes, I got some great ones when parents were being handed out! I could have come up with so much more, but I chose to limit it to ten that I felt made the most impact on me. I am one of the luckiest people I know, because I have close, non-confrontational relationships with both parents. My mom really IS one of my best friends, and I know I can talk to my dad about anything. Not many people are as lucky as I am.

I wanted to let everybody know about my friend Sarah's blog contest . . . check out her blog at http://callhermum.blogspot.com and check out her latest post. Make sure that if you leave a comment, you let her know I sent you there :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things I'm Thankful To My Parents For . . .

1. Raising me with excellent morals, ethics and family values
2. My mom, who attended every softball game, concert, awards ceremony, performance and "event" throughout my childhood
3. Always having plenty of good, healthy food to eat (even when money was tight)
4. Getting me a dog when I was 10 - that shaped my life forevermore
5. For encouraging me to be an avid reader - my life is infinitely better due to my love of reading (I can escape, I have learned tons, and I can always find the answer)
6. For teaching me that cleanliness is next to Godliness (but that clutter doesn't mean dirt)
7. For helping me get through TWO university degrees without complaining about going without so that I could pay for tuition and books
8. For encouraging a terrified 17 year old girl to live away from home for a year, because I wouldn't be who I am today without that
9. To my dad, for showing me that any man can be a father, but it takes an incredibly special man to be a DAD
10. For accepting the dogs and truly loving them and treating them with kindness, even though they mess up the house, chew shoes and do bad things from time to time

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wishful Wednesday

In the tradition of my Thankful Thursday posts, I am starting a new trend - Wishful Wednesday. Hopefully this new theme will keep me occupied for a while. I have so many wishes and so little time to list them all :)

But this week it's easy - I wish that I could take a super fast flight or train to get to the dog show. As it is, the drive is something like 6.5 hours, which is basically a full day. UGH! Work in potty breaks (for the dogs and I) and gas breaks (for the car, not me) and it makes for a long day (or evening). If the show goes late on Sunday, I run into the issue of having to drive home in the dark, in relatively heavy traffic. That thought is less than thrilling. Okay, less than acceptable, really.

What do you wish for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My favourite show . . .

Is back! Nope, it's not Heroes, the cult favourite. It's not even Prison Break, although I will never complain about new episodes of that show. Heck, it's not even House, although that show is a very close second. It's NCIS - Naval Criminal Investigative Services. If you've never watched Mark Harmon crinkle just the corners of his eyes as he's pondering something, you have not fully lived! He may be old enough to be my father, but he is still sexy.

Now, imagine my disappointment at finding out that the only time this episode is being aired is tonight at 9:00pm. That doesn't seem that late, but I'm tired. The days are getting shorter, and the darkness is just sucking the energy out of me. We're running mad at work on this audit, and I'm trying to get my homework sheets done for the Rally course I'll be teaching in just over a week. It's a lot to do in a short amount of time. So I like to be in bed, with the lights out before 10:00pm.

But for Mark Harmon and his fabulous crew, I will make an exception. I will keep my peepers open, and pay rapt attention. The season finale was a bit of a cliffhanger, and I need to know that everything will okay. I hope everyone is enjoying the premieres of their favourite shows!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Day, Another . . . Dog Show?

So, after a relatively long dog show drought (a couple of months, which seems endless for addicts like me), I am doing another dog show, just two weeks after the last one. This one is in Lloydminster, which is on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. I didn't think it was a very long drive, but I've been told it's longer than I think, so I have taken a day off work to accomodate the travel time. Not the ideal plan for me, given that I only have 10 hours of vacation left to get me through Christmas, but what can you do?

Anyhow, I spent yesterday grooming up a storm, to ensure the dogs are ready. Granted, their trims have held up fairly well since the last show (only a week ago and a day or two), but there's always touch-up work to be done. And since Grace was dirty (she's like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, I swear!), I bathed her. Dried her and made her look lovely.

Imagine my dismay when I opened the door to the smell of poop. First of all, regardless of what I have planned for the day, week or month, that's a crappy way to come home (yes, pun intended!). But less than 24 hours after spending ages bathing and blowdrying my dog, I knew Murphy's Law had reigned and it HAD to be her that was dirty. I was right. Now, they share a wire crate large enough to house a Great Dane, so both dogs were icky, but Grace was just disgusting. Lucky me. In the 30 minutes since I've gotten home, I have washed the crate pan, started laundry and washed the back end of an otherwise clean dog. She's had Kaopectate, and I sure hope this diarrhea gets under control soon!

Anyhow, that has been my Monday adventure thus far. I hope your week started off better. Oh, and happy birthday to Benny-Wenny-Poopy Yucky! I know you love the nickname, so . . . enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It's been a long time since I've done a Thankful Thursday post. I kind of ran out of steam, and lost ideas for things to be thankful for that don't sound trite or over-used. I'm thankful for all of the usual things - friends, family, my health, etc. But there are all kinds of little things I'm thankful for too. I'm thankful for the weather at this time of year. While the Deep South is still hotter than heck, our temperatures are in the more moderate range, which means that we can be outside a lot more. The dogs are enjoying their walks, and even though the mornings are brisk, afternoons are almost perfect.

TV is back on - all of the season premieres are taking place, and those year-end cliffhangers are being resolved. It's a guilty pleasure, but I'm very happy that Prison Break, House, NCIS, The Office and all of the other shows are back on the air.

It's United Way fundraising time at work, which means silent auctions, pizza days, and other fun fundraisers. If I'm going to donate money, I enjoy being given the opportunity to do it in a fun way. And fun it is!

If you have a moment, think about some things that you're thankful for today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall Breeze

Over the past couple of weeks, the weather has turned to fall weather here in Northern Alberta. We have woken up to frost a couple of times, and the leaves are changing colour and falling off the trees. Hopefully we don't have any super windy days over the next week or two, otherwise our trees will be naked!

Most days it still warms up as the sun comes out, but today it was cool. Very fall-like, which I must admit, I'm not totally ready for. Brrrrr! I am wavering between continuing to wear my fall jacket or breaking out the winter coat. It's only September! I was hoping we might have a nice Indian summer before the cold weather really sets in. The dogs, on the other hand, are loving it. Well, except for Farley, whose joints stiffen in cooler temps. Grace and Jack are truly enjoying the cooler weather, and positively frolick during their walks. It would be cute to watch if I didn't have blue lips and a cold nose ;)

Okay, so in a few weeks, I'll really have a reason to whine, when temperatures are down below zero on a daily basis. This will seem positively tropical. But for now, in my small world, it is just too darned cold!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Report


Well, another dog show weekend has come and gone . . . my first one since the first weekend of June. I actually only showed one day, but Grace was shown all 3 days by a handler. On Friday and Sunday Grace took Reserve Winners Bitch (runner-up) and on Saturday she didn't win anything other than first in her class. It wasn't an entirely positive experience with her handler, but in any case, the best dog DID win all weekend. The female that beat Grace was very nice - she moved well, showed well and deserved to win.


Jack-Jack, on the other hand, shocked the heck out of his breeder and I by doing some SERIOUS winning. He took Winners Dog (beating 3 other non-champion males), Best of Winners (beating 7 other non-champions) and Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed (beating a champion dog). He also won Best Puppy in Breed. He earned 3 points for all of this, on his 6 month birthday! My goal was for him to be happy going around, so this was a VERY big bonus! Just 7 more points, and he'll have his Canadian champion title :)
Thanks for cheering us on everyone!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good Grace News

Well, today wasn't Gracie's day at the dog show . . . from all reports she showed well for her handler, and was groomed very nicely, but the dog that beat her just looked better. I don't have an issue losing to a nice dog . . . although it does hurt to have her lose when I'm paying for the handler. But that's dog shows . . . tomorrow is another day!

The wonderful news is that Grace went for her hip x-rays today, to ensure that she doesn't have hip dysplasia. The films will get sent to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), and they will give her a rating. The vet that did the x-rays said that they should get a good rating, so I'm happy with that. They checked her knees as well (this is a manual test) and they're in perfect shape. So on that front, all is well. With her good eyes and these tests, she should be set for a breeding next year, assuming she stays healthy and I can find a good boyfriend for her.

Keep your fingers crossed that she does well tomorrow, and that both her and Jack do well on Sunday :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nerves are setting in

I don't know why, because I've been to tons of dog shows, but this weekend's dog show has my nerves a-jitter. I suppose it's because for the first time ever, one of my dogs is going to be shown by a professional handler. Grace has been down visiting her favourite Aunty for the past week, and now she's with her handler. I have never sent my dogs with anybody else, because I don't like the feeling of not being in control. I'm going to be sitting at work tomorrow, nervous as all get out. And then again on Saturday - well, I won't be at work, but I'll be in the car, waiting for that fateful text message or phone call.

It will culminate on Sunday. Sunday marks Jack-Jack's debut in the ring. I'm not sure he's totally ready, but I'm only attending 2 shows this fall, so I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to show him as a puppy. He's still fairly shy, but I'm hoping that me being with him in the ring will help.

I most likely won't post blog updates until Monday now . . . I have to prepare tomorrow night (pack, etc) and then I won't have tons of time while in Edmonton. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

She taught me

Today my best friend called me to tell me that she'd bought her first book on "tape" through iTunes. I'm so proud, because I know she is coming into the 21st century whether she likes it or not. But that's not the part of the conversation that resonated with me.

She told me that I had taught her what real friendship is about. I thanked her and reciprocated, and proceeded to tell her that she is stuck with me for life, whether she likes it or not. But well after hanging up the phone, I was thinking about what she said. How did I teach HER about true friendship? The whole time we've been friends, she's gone above and beyond to show me love and caring. She's done and said little things that have made my day better (or my week or my month or whatever). She knows when to call or write or email . . . it's almost like she has a sixth sense.

She has shown me patience and tolerance - even when I'm at my grouchiest and meanest. She has shown interest in my passions, even though they may not be the same as hers (although I think I'm converting her slowly but surely). She loves my family and my friends.

I hardly feel like I've been the one to teach HER - I feel much more like she's the one that has taught me and shown me what a true friend is. Funny how our perceptions are shaped so much around our own experiences.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another Good Read

This one has limited interest to non-obedience people, though. I was placing an order from Amazon.com for some Rally-O books to help me plan my upcoming classes, and I discovered some books by a gentleman named Willard Bailey. Now, unless you're an obedience nut like I am, and have read a zillion books and articles, you might not know who he is. But as a past subscriber of the obedience magazine Front & Finish, I recognized his name.

His first book is called "Remembering To Breathe" and it's about his journey from Novice A (the beginner's class, if you will) to earning an OTCh title, which is the highest obedience title you can earn with the American Kennel Club. It takes a lot of work, patience and training to earn an OTCh, and not very many people do this with their first obedience dog. The book is wonderful - full of anecdotes, hints and tips. It talks about the changes in training methods (from force to reward-based) and the various kinds of people you meet when you spent any amount of time in a competition ring. It also illustrates the beautiful relationship that Willard has with his Golden Retriever Honeybear.

I didn't cry at the end, but I came close a few times. It's a great book, and if you're interested in obedience competition, then you'll enjoy it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Update

Sorry that I didn't post an update about my friend Terri, in Louisiana. They had a pretty rough go with the tail end of Gustav, and the concurrent rain and tornadoes (they got two I think). They lost a significant portion of the barn, but the homes are intact (her and her folks live on adjoining property) and there were no injuries to people or animals. So that's a blessing. Now they are watching the path of Hurricane Ike with cautious eyes. Thank you to everyone for praying for her and her family. I really appreciate it.

This weekend coming up is a big one for me. My girl Grace has gone to a dog show to be shown by a professional handler. She's a lovely girl, but only managed to pick up 3 of the required 10 points towards her Canadian title when I showed her last summer. I could continue showing her myself, but with a puppy to start out, I have decided to have a pro show her. I've never done this before, so I'm a bit nervous about waiting for results - I'd far rather be IN the ring than outside of it! Keep all fingers and paws crossed for Grace, please :)

Also taking place this weekend (on Sunday) is Jack's debut in the dog show ring. He will be 6 months and 10 seconds old when he struts his stuff (okay, probably not that young, but not too far off the mark). His black sister Barbie will also be making her debut, so hopefully they have fun and enjoy their time in the ring. Jack-Jack is growing into a very handsome young man, and I'm excited about his future.

Farley continues to hold his own. I used to say he was doing well, but his bad knees and bad back are really causing him to be stiff and sore. I'm waiting on some new pain medication for him (the pharmacy had to order it), so I hope it helps. I hate watching him age, mostly because I know what follows, and I'm SO not ready for it. This dog is my life . . . I need him for a bit longer. If for nothing else than to be my Rally-O demo dog for classes! If you can spare a thought for Farley, I'd appreciate. He'd rather you spared a cookie ;)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dreams

I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember. Even when I was really little, I wanted to have a dog, read about dogs and pretended to be a dog. I don't really know where this came from, since none of my family (close or extended) feels the same about dogs . . . but I'm so thankful for it. Anyhow, over the past 10 years or so, I've spent time reading about canine behaviour and training, because I find it so interesting. 10 years ago my focus was much more on training, since behaviour was a very undeveloped field. But more and more research and education is taking place, and it's a much more common field.

One of my dreams, for a long time now, has been to train dogs. Not just my own, but also to teach classes. That dream is coming true for me. Starting within a month or so, I will be teaching "Intro to Rally-O" and I'm really excited about it. Hopefully I can do a good job, and get people excited about Rally-O, and maybe even traditional obedience. I want to inspire people to get out there and work with their dogs, and have their bonds get even stronger.

In preparation, I have been surfing the net, talking to friends and purchasing books. I think I might actually have too much information at this point, but I feel that information is power, so I'll just make use of what I have.

Wish me luck . . . I'm excited, nervous and about a million other emotions too.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Last Night Blues

Okay, so I'm not really blue . . . I'm actually looking forward to seeing my family and my dogs tomorrow. I'm not looking as forward to the 7am flight time (which translates into getting up around 4am, to catch a cab at 4:45am to get to the airport), but I can sleep on the flight to Calgary.

But I will miss Houston. It's been a fun week - both on the work side and on the personal side. Today was the last day of the course, and I think people were feeling overwhelmed by all of the information we'd gotten at that point. Everyone was noticeably quieter and more subdued, but it was still a good session.

I've eaten some amazing meals, and tonight was no exception. We went to a Mexican place (no, not Taco Bell, REAL Mexican food) and had a great meal. Mine included a beef burrito taco, two kinds of empanadas (I think) and another item (I can't believe I've forgotten already!). But better than the meal was the company - I got to meet somebody that I've been emailing with for around 6 years. I consider her a good friend, and it was just amazing to meet her finally! I got to hang out with the dogs, and I got to meet her significant other too (he's fabulous!). We had a really nice visit, and I'm so sorry that I didn't get to spend more time with them.

So, this adventure is over, and it's back to "regular" life tomorrow. Hope you've enjoyed my little notes . . . I apologize in advance for the fact that they might get a lot more boring in the weeks to come LOL

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Awesome meal!

I'm still in Houston, and somewhat shopped out tonight, so I thought I'd go for supper with some other people that are attending the workshop that I'm here for. We went to a seafood/fish restaurant called Oceania. Oh My Goodness, the meal was great! I had Costa Rican Mahi Mahi with a blue cheese butter on it. We also got wild rice pilaf and grilled green beans as our sides. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Last night we ate at the Cheesecake Factory (not to be confused with the Canadian Cheesecake Cafe) and I had chicken marsala with mushrooms over bowtie pasta. Oh my goodness, it was another fabulous meal!

Tomorrow night I get to meet a friend that I've known online for about 5 or 6 years . . . for the very first time! I can't wait, I think it's going to be wonderfully fun :) And then early Saturday morning I head back to the Great White North.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Galleria

Houston has this fabulous mall called the Galleria. There are Galleria malls in most of the major US cities. It's a high-end mall, with Louis Vuitton, Coach, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave and many more stores like that. But there are also some lower end stores as well. I had a successful shopping day today, even though I only had a couple of hours in which to support the Houston economy.

I bought shoes at Macy's, which was fun. They're Merrell shoes, and I got them for dog shows, but I might wear them all the time. They're a purplish-gray colour, and I love them! Then I bought stuff at the Disney store (and everything was on sale!), stuff at Borders (beautiful book store), stuff at Bath & Bodyworks (which really needs no explanation, although there will soon be locations in Canada, which is awesome!) and stuff at Dylan's Candy Shoppe. Tons of bags, and happy but tired feet. What could be better?

If you visit Houston, you MUST see the Galleria! It's a great experience!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Say a quick prayer please

Not for me - I`m in Houston, where the weather is hot and muggy (but only partially cloudy, with no storms predicted at all this week). The travel day was fine, and there were no hiccups. Thank God for small miracles - it was nice to not have to worry.

By my friend that lives in North-Central Louisiana has not fared so well. I heard earlier today that they made it through Gustav with little damage, but a tornado ripped through the area afterwards, and the family barn is completely ruined (gone, maybe . . . I`m not really sure). They are also without electricity and running water. Hopefully all services are restored soon . . . but in the meantime they`re surviving some wicked weather with very little in the way of cooling or utility availability in the house.

Her name is Terri - if you can spare them, please say some prayers for my friend and her family. I know I will be . . .

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav

If you watch any newscast or CNN, you know that Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the US Gulf Coast as I type this. It was a category 4 hurricane yesterday, with the potential to reach category 5 status. Fortunately it has weakened, and is only classified as a category 3 right now. New Orleans has been evacuated, and unlike with Katrina, this time most people left with enough time to get to safer ground. Hopefully even if there is flooding, wind and water damage, there won`t be such an extreme loss of life.

The scary thing (for me) is that I have a very good friend that lives in Central Louisana. Typically the folks from New Orleans evacuate to her location, but even they`re on high alert, and expecting around 45 inches of rain and winds up to 75 miles per hour. Hopefully there will be no tornadoes that develop as a result of the current weather. I worry about her and her family, even though they`ve lived through many hurricanes. You just never know when one will be too much.

My other concern is that I`m supposed to be traveling to Houston for work on Tuesday. Now, even if Houston does get some of the Gustav weather, it`s right on the western band of the storm, so it shouldn`t be nearly as severe. But it still makes me nervous to think of being down there with that horrendous weather. I`m reassured by the fact that Air Canada is very unlikely to fly into dangerous weather.

Pray for those in the path of Gustav (and Hurrican Hanna, predicted to hit the East coast - FL, SC, etc - in a few days).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Godspeed

Today I got the news that a friend of mine lost his battle with cancer. I knew he was sick and had heard that he was in hospice care, but somehow the news was still surprising to me. I think maybe it was because I had just come back to my office from lunch, and was in a completely different frame of mind. In any case, I'm thankful that his family notified his friends. It was a caring gesture.

I can't make it to the memorial party. Yes, they're having a party and not a service. It's definitely what he would have wanted. The drive is just too long, and with heading out of town for work on Tuesday, the timing is the pits. So this blog entry is my way of wishing him Godspeed. I'm glad that he's not suffering, and I know he's in a better place. But saying goodbye still sucks, no matter how a person looks at it (well, it sucks for me, anyhow).

Kevin, I wish you Godspeed. You are in the hands of angels. You will never be forgotten, and I will always smile when I think of our visits and conversations. Nobody has a better sense of humour than you had! Take care of those of us that are left down here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Read

Well, I just "discovered" a new writer, and had to share. I have been hearing about the "Twilight" books for ages (author is Stephanie Meyer), so my best friend took the plunge for me and bought me the first book in the series. I have to preface this by saying that I don't traditionally appreciate the paranormal, and so I tend not to read those kinds of books. But so many people whose opinions I respect have raved about these books, so I held back disbelief and plunged in.

Wow! What a great book "Twilight" is! Granted, it's geared towards teenagers, so you have that social element, but otherwise it is very enjoyable. The story is good, and I actually got involved enough in it that I didn't have to suspend disbelief for long - just for the first chapter or two. I have since picked up the second book, and am trying to find the third one in trade paperback as well. I can't wait to read on!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy Weekend

I normally do more blog writing on weekends than during the week, but this weekend was an exception. It was busy! One of the things that I like do it in my spare time (you know, the stuff we all have oodles of LOL) is volunteer work. One of my passions is animal rescue - so locally I do as much as I can for the SPCA. In the late winter I was helping sort bottles (which can be returned for a refund in Alberta), so I decided that I would get back to that. I did some sorting on Friday night, and more on Saturday afternoon. It's actually fairly enjoyable, because I go with a good friend of mine, and we chat as we sort. It's also a good workout. You have no idea how stiff and sore you can get from hauling around cases of beer and big boxes of glass bottles!

I also managed to get some grooming in this weekend. Jack-Jack and Grace are entered in a show the weekend of Sept 13th, so I wanted to do some preparatory grooming. Saturday I spent a couple of hours with Jack-Jack, and then on Sunday I spent some time on Grace. Both of them look fabulous and ready to take on the world now!

Other than that I spent some more time moving stuff from my old laptop to my new one. I'm still getting used to Vista, but otherwise the transition is going well. I'm happy with my new PaintShop Pro X2 software and VERY happy to have been able to install FrontPage again.

Hope your weekend was enjoyable and productive :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One Hundred Pushups

Now, those of you that know me know that I am not an athlete. In fact, nine times out of then, the word exercise has me shaking with fear. So I kind of surprised myself when I visited a website called "One Hundred Pushups" and was considering taking the challenge! But the website makes it sound so easy. Of course, there are always the multitude of benefits of exercise that make it attractive too.



The site is - http://hundredpushups.com/ - take a look and see for yourself. The folks (or folk, maybe) that came up with the idea are pretty smart. They took something that sounds impossible to most average people, and made it attainable. Heck, they even made it sound almost easy. I haven't fully committed to trying it yet, but to be honest with you, I can't really see the downside. Worst case scenario - I fail. At least I will have tried. Will you?

Friday, August 22, 2008

101 Things

So, a good friend of mine told me about this list that her friend had made - 101 things to do in 1001 days. I really liked the idea, so I decided to do my own list, with a start date of September 1, 2008. The list is broken into sections, like Learning, Randomness, Adult-Like, Beauty/Vanity, etc. I'm not going to post my list, because some of it is more personal than I want to post . . . I just wanted to give you something to think about, and maybe consider doing for yourself.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It's been a long, long time since I've done one of these posts. And honestly, I've exhausted most of the major things I'm thankful for. Family, friends, my health, etc. You know - all the things that most people are thankful for. I can only write about that stuff so many times before you guys fall asleep. I don't want you falling asleep, or who will read my blog and make me feel loved? LOL It's all about the ulterior motive folks!

So this week I am thankful that Hasbro made a version of Scrabble for Facebook, since Scrabulous was taken down due to copyright violation. I was so sad at the thought of losing Scrabulous, and by the time I got home from vacation, the Scrabble Beta version was already in place. It's not without its bugs, but I'm happy nonetheless. Simple pleasures for simple minds, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Flowers


The two above were taken in the gardens at the Calgary Zoo



The two above were taken at the Calgary Zoo, in the hothouses


This is the flower on a pepper plant of my mom's

Monday, August 18, 2008

My "specialty"

Since I bought my Canon Rebel XTi, I have been playing with taking pictures. I think I've taken around 2500 pictures in the last 6 months, and it hasn't really worn off yet. With all of my experimentation, I have discovered my "specialty" so to speak. Flowers. I have gotten some phenomenal flower photos, and wanted to share.

These are some of the roses that we bought my Grandma for her 50th Wedding Anniversary (we were in charge of flowers . . . )

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I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do . . . I'm off to do more experimenting!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adventures in Kelly-Land

I'm sure those of you that read my blog with any regularity have noticed that I've been absent. I wasn't purposely ignoring my adoring fans (okay, I might be delusional, but let me enjoy it please!), I was on vacation. My bestest friend in the whole wide world (one of them, anyhow) came out west for a visit, so I took some time off work to play chauffeur. We started in Calgary, had a day trip to Banff, saw the Calgary zoo, and then puttered to Edmonton. In Edmonton we went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Telus World of Science (VERY cool!), saw Spamalot, and got fancy pedicures. Then we headed up to Peace River with my mom in tow, for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was really good seeing my extended family - I definitely don't get up there often enough. Ange fit in like a glove . . . it was great for everybody to finally meet her.

Then we came home and hung out for a week. We watched a few movies, played some games (Scrabble anyone?), played Wii and just chilled. It was a wonderful 2.5 weeks that went by far too quickly. Ange has gone home now, and my life is back into its regular schedule. Work, home, work, home . . . well, you get the idea.

Hope you weren't in too much withdrawal ;)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I did it!

Last night I did something that I almost NEVER do (and those of you that know me well know that this is true) - I made supper! My mom had taken a pork tenderloin out for supper, and then discovered that she had to work late, so she suggested that I cook it. I HATE cooking, and am not very good, so I was nervous. But I found a recipe online, and it turned out awesome! I cut the tenderloin into medallions, browned them in the pan with mushrooms and onions, and then put them in the oven for an hour with a mushroom soup sauce. It turned out really tasty! I made rice as a side dish.

It sounds stupid, I know, but it's a big deal for me to make a whole meal and have it turn out AND nobody got sick LOL

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy happy joy joy

I am back in the land of the technologically living! Tridon (the local Telus dealer) called me this morning to tell me that my replacement phone was in . . . so I took off from work an hour early to pick up the phone. I've re-loaded all of my information onto it, so it's like we were hardly apart (aside from SEVERAL missed phone calls and text messages).



I'm not done with Telus though - there is no way on this green earth I'm paying for 10 days of cell service that I didn't use. Plus I need to be reimbursed for items that I had downloaded onto my phone, which are now long gone. This should be the fun part - wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still no cell phone

'Nuff said. Sigh.

And now I've written down the name of the so-called "customer service" rep that I've dealt with for most of the past 10 days. She has NO customer service skills at all, and was rude again today (she's the one I talked to on Friday as well). I plan to make a complaint when all of this is done - but not until AFTER I have a functioning phone in my hot little hands.

Gotta comment on the guys doing construction on some pipe that runs under the walking path by my house. They have a truck with supplies blocking the walking path . . . so I have to use the sidewalk, which is no big deal. But their construction signs are blocking the sidewalk, so I have to either walk on the road (not safe) or on peoples' lawns (most people don't want two dogs on their lawn). Smart thinkin' guys!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Haves & Have Nots

200 Have and Have nots! - I've seen this on a few blogs -the bolded things are the things I've done

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked Mt. Everest
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter