Friday, August 26, 2011

Pillow Fight?

This was the scene in the front guest room when I got home from giving John a ride to pick up his motorcycle from the shop. It looks like either the boys had quite the pillow fight while we were out, or some early winds from approaching Hurricane Irene whirled things around a bit! Since the windows were closed tight, I don't think Irene is to blame :-)


What an odd week, we started with an earthquake and we are ending with a hurricane. Mother Nature must have had her Wheaties for sure! I hope all my East Coast friends weather this storm well!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYONE!

(and try to stay safe and dry!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake!

Here on the east coast, with an epicenter in Mineral, Va, we experienced a 5.9 earthquake! I am sure Californians will just smile knowingly, but it was FREAKY! I was at work, on the 9th floor. The building started to vibrate, building to quite a big rattle! You could really feel the sway! Earthquakes do happen here, about once every 20 years it seems, but this one was definitely a biggy (for east-coasters). We evacuated the building and stood around outside on a very lovely summer day. After about 20 minutes they let us back in, and promptly sent us home. They knew no more work would be accomplished this day :-) Of course every other company around did the same, so there was a huge traffic jam at 2:30 pm.

It scared poor Jimmy like a thunder storm would!

So, how about you? Did you feel the earthquake?

Potomac Play Day

Saturday was a bright, sunny, and pretty hot day. We didn't have much on the agenda so we decided to make the boys happy by taking them down to the Potomac River for some R and R.

We have a favorite island we like to ride out to. Every time we go, it's a different scene. Either the river has left behind something or the humans have......

A Hillbilly version of Stonehenge?

On a mandatory swim break, Jimmy seeks the only nearby shade under one of the horizontal Stonehenge planks.
Pointy sea-monster toes.......

Wilson at his very happiest! He loves to swim!


And for the finale, a few seconds of live action......

video


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Goofball

Jimmy is a very animated boy and he has a very expressive face. Wind him up and let him go, and you are guaranteed a smile!



HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYONE!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weekend Report - Timing is Everything!

Well, my title, Timing is Everything played into both my Jumpers and my Standard run yesterday.

First up was Excellent B Jumpers. It was a middle of the road course for difficulty and Jimmy whipped through cleanly. Yea! As I am putting his leash back on, the judge walks over and tells me the electronic timer failed for my run. This does not affect my Q any, but it means I have no time with which to earn MACH points. When this happens they offer you two choices, take the full standard course time (47 seconds in this case) and get no points, or, you get to re-run the course just for time. And the best part, when you re-run for time, you do not need to worry aboout keeping the jump bars up! How cool is that! Just go full out to try for your best time. You must complete the mapped course but your Q sticks no matter what! Who would pass up that opportunity?! So at the end of all the 12s, I got to run again. I cheered Jim on through the weaves, something I would never risk in a regular run, and hauled as fast as I could everywhere. We finished in 37.19 seconds, earning 9 more MACH points and a respectable third place!

Next was the new Time 2 Beat class. It was a slightly tricky course, starting with a jump, jump, AFrame....off to the right of the AFrame by about 6 or 7 feet was a tunnel. I put Jimmy in a stay, lead out past the first jump, released him and clearly indicated he was going to the AFrame. The naughty little tunnel-sucker zoomed BEHIND me (very bad!) to take the off-course tunnel! The brat! He came flying back to me, and promptly got snagged and given the walk of shame out of the ring. There was no way he was going to get to play with such disrespectful behavior!

Very soon after T2B came Excellent B Standard and of course a Double-Q was on the line. It was another middle of the road course, not horrible but a couple of concerning spots. Now we have been having an incredibly dry, hot summer, but Saturday decided to give us off/on showers, some quite heavy. When the rain came down hard, it made ALOT of noise on the metal roof of the sportsplex. Just as I was queuing up for my run, the rain started once again. It made Jimmy a bit nervous. By the time it was our turn, and Jimmy was going to the start line, the sky cracked open and poured! Poor Jim just wanted to leave the ring and hide. Unfortunately, the rules of the game don't allow you to wait out the rain, so we had to try. I lead out and released him, and he did his best to concentrate. When we got to the table, he got on just fine (good boy!), and I nearly lost his stay to him wanting to run to the judge for comfort. He was giving her his cutest little, ears-back, tail-wagging best, and was barely holding his stay in his desire to run to her. But he stayed the count. Whew! Next was the biggest jump, the triple. As we head there, unbelievably, it rained even harder, and it scared Jim enough he knocked the bar. So, there went the Double-Q, but I could hardly get annoyed with him, as he was giving his absolute best in what for him was a very scary situation. He just wanted out of that ring! He even finished up fine after the bar, getting the correct end of a very tough tunnel, sticking his dogwalk contact just fine. Just as we finished up and grabbed the leash, huge peals of thunder boomed out. Poor Jimmy, what a miserable experience he had! But he still had the wherewithal to lick his peanut butter reward :-) And within just a few minutes of leaving the ring, the rain ended. Sigh.

So, as I said, timing was everything. Fun in my first run, a disaster in my last. C'est La Vie!

This will be the last weekend report for a while. I am not signed up for any more agility trials until the October/November period. After such a long break, I am going to be jonesing for a trial, Jimmy, too!

Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:
Excellent B JWW legs: 13 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) Now he's working on his MXJ2!
Excellent B STD legs: 2 (out of 10 needed for his MX) But at least we are now in B class!
Double Q's: 2 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH)
MACH Points: 205 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have You Ever Seen The Movie 'Heaven Can Wait'........?

I imagine at least some of you have seen the late 70's movie, Heaven Can Wait. It stars Warren Beatty as   Los Angeles Rams quarterback, Joe Pendleton, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die,  and comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire, Leo Farnsworth. Needless to say, Joe (Warren Beatty) is a bit confused with the situation in his new body. In one scene, the butler brings Joe a polo uniform to wear. Joe regards it dubiously, and asks his butler, 'Do I.. ..play Polo?'...to which his unsuspecting butler quips, 'Not really, sir.'

So, you might ask, what does this have to do with anything?

Well! If you were to ask me, 'Did you really go out and get a Border Collie puppy?' I would have to respond with a, 'Not really, sir.'

But I sure had fun pulling everyone's leg :-) The pup belongs to my agility instructor. She has been bringing this cutie to the classes she teaches to work on his socializing, etc. I am not one to pass up the opportunity to play with and photograph a puppy! And I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a good ruse, either :-)

Guess What???!!!!





Will I have to change the name of my blog?
Has my agility addiction caused me to cross to the "dark side*"?
Is he just about the cutest little BC ever?! SQEEEEEEeeeeeeeeee!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYONE!


* In agility circles, when you give up, and get a border collie, it's called Crossing to the Dark Side.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Very Handsome Man!

I just love early morning light. All the lovely colors are just as the camera saw them with no tinkering.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Weekend Report - A New Title and a Double-Q, Too!

This weekend we had an agility trial in Fredericksburg, Va, held by the Norwegian Elkhound Club of the Potomac Valley. The very first class of the day was Open FAST. This is the class where you pick your own course based on points and then must complete a Send. The send is a taped off area I cannot enter but must send Jimmy into to complete it. The judge was very kind and set up an easy challenge, just a tunnel to an AFrame. Jimmy did it without a hitch. This was his third leg so he earned his Open FAST title (OF).

Next up was Excellent B Jumpers (JWW). It was a medium difficulty course and we made it past all the challenges. We were in the home stretch, but alas, Jimmy knocked down the top bar of the triple jump, the 2nd to last jump. So close, so close.....

The running order for the day was tall dogs down to small dogs. When I had finished the JWW run, Excellent Standard B had just started, which meant I had about a three hour wait to run. Since we are in need of Double-Qs now, and my chance for one had been knocked down by the JWW bar, I opted to save all that wait time, packed it up, and headed home. Even with the hour and a half drive home, I still had a whole hour at home before my 12 inch competitors had their turns.

Here is a very rare photo of me. Jimmy's breeder, Anne, came to watch us run. She snapped a nice photo of Jimmy and me with his new title ribbon.


Today, the running order was the much more pleasant small to tall. Excellent B Standard started the day this time. It was a fun course that spiraled in on itself. Jimmy did his table just fine! He finessed the rest of the off-course traps and completed with no mistakes. He was 22 seconds under course time, so he earned 22 more points toward his MASH tally. He wasn't quick enough to earn a placement ribbon but did come in 6th.

We waited a couple of hours for Jumpers. Of course,Qing in Standard meant the chance of a double-Q if we were successful in JWW. I tried not to let that pressure me, yea, right! Fortunately, the judge was kind (and wanted to go home!) so she gave us a reasonably easy course. We had a bobble or two but nothing that ruined the run. Hooray! We earned Double-Q number two! Also, we added another 15 MACH points. There were a lot of speedy dogs running, so we came in 9th, but I am happy with a top ten spot!


Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:
Excellent B JWW legs: 12 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) Now he's working on his MXJ2!
Excellent B STD legs: 2 (out of 10 needed for his MX) But at least we are now in B class!
Double Q's: 2 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH)
MACH Points: 196 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH)

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Am All About The Bling!


From my very first piece of jewelry I mail-ordered as a grade schooler (we lived rurally, no malls way back then either :-) ), I have always had a thing for bling! In my teen years it was Native American silver and turquoise pieces which I still love, to the gold chains popular in the 80's. I can definitely say I have a weakness for pretty baubles. Somewhere along the way, I started buying special pieces as souvenirs on vacations. I have a very lovely pair of gold dolphin earrings to commemorate a trip to Jamaica. They have certainly lasted well past the point any T-shirt would have survived!

As my dog hobby took off, I began to see more and more dog-themed pieces creep into my collection. To commemorate my first Cardigan Welsh Corgi National Specialty, I got this wonderful pendant. I searched high and low for the artist's business card to give her credit, but I couldn't find it. Based on her TM on the pendant she is B.Braumuller. Her work is beautiful and if you don't get to her vendor table ASAP!, you find she is sold out!


When Jimmy and Wilson got their HTs recently, as hard as it was to believe, there was actually a jewelry vendor out at the farm. She had the cutest little ribbon with paw print center, and of course I had to have it! Now when I wear it, I think of how fun it was to go herding.


Next a great paw print ring at the end of a good weekend of agility, and a Cardi ring by the same artist as the pendant above.


In my area, Italian charm bracelets were all the rage. I don't think they are quite as popular now, but I have kept mine going as we have a vendor who makes the best charms, Beauty of the Beasts . These pictures didn't turn out as viewable as they looked in my photo viewer but there really are some great charms here. I add one for each title we earn, so the lettered ones represent that. This first one is Jimmy's and a couple of the ones you probably can't read say things like " I am barking and I can't shut up" and "The King of NOT Quiet". Both are SO Jimmy :-) There's a little sheep to commemorate the HT, a squirrel since he loves to chase them, and a tennis ball, plus a nice black Cardi head and full Cardi.

Click to enlarge

Wilson's has his titles, a little sheep, a set of weave poles which was always our nemesis in the ring, a little dog face with Zoom!Zoom! Zoom! on it. That one would really be better for Jimmy but I got it because we always drive to the shows in my Mazda and that's their moto. There's one that has the red circle with the slash through that says Agility Gremlins. It commemorates the time Wilson gave me the prettiest, fastest Excellent B Standard run, and as we were in the homestretch,bumped the jump stanchion as I ran past and the bar fell. I ruined his beautiful run and it took a very long time indeed to get that Q back.

Click to enlarge

Now at the Gettysburg CWC National Specialty in 2010, Jimmy just could not pull off a single Q. Wilson saved the day by giving me his very first (and only since he is retired) Double-Q toward his PAX/PACH title. Not only did I get a beautiful  Double-Q ribbon from the National Club, but I added this adorable brindle Cardi pin to my collection. Seeing it reminds me how hard Wilson tries to please, and what a good boy he really is.


So, of course, I needed something to celebrate Jimmy's recent first Double-Q on the road to his MACH. For the longest time, I have had my eye on this pendant but then Kathy put up a very pretty Cardigan specific piece on her Etsy site, and I was torn between the two. After a bit of back and forth discussion, Kathy combined the two ideas and here is the result:

Kathy's website:  http://pangaeapugs.com/

I love it! I also love the message because it is so easy to lose sight of why you are doing this, and get overly focused on the end result. This little pendant not only celebrates Jimmy's accomplishment but helps to remind me that this is all about having fun, playing with my dog, and not a high-speed race to a big title.

Of course, between the training fees, seminar fees, agility trial fees, and all this memorabilia (aka The Bling!), I'd probably be years closer to my retirement savings goal! But, it's all about the journey! My dogs and this game called agility are a big part of that ride. I want to remember every precious moment!


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Splash!

Jimmy says he wants his moment in the spotlight, or in this case, water. He says he can spray it around just as well as Wilson can!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Down By The River......

A couple of weekends ago, when we had a day that wasn't so brutally hot as the norm has become, we road John's Harley over to Charles Town, WV. It's a nice ride through pretty country scenery. Our destination was a large casino they have there, just as a change of pace. I'm definitely not a gambler, but it's still a fun spot to look around. However, I digress.....

On the ride over, we noticed one of those little brown signs indicating a local park that had, as the sign put it, "Public Stream Access". John took the bait and turned off in the direction of the arrow. After a couple more well-marked turns, we came to a narrow road, heading down a steep slope. It twisted and turned until it came out to a nice big circle of pavement in the woods. The stream the sign was referring to was actually the Shenandoah River! It came complete with a cement boat ramp, nice fresh, deep water, and a gorgeous view. We looked around for a few minutes and headed on our way, but we also filed it away in our "places to check out again" folder.

This past Sunday was another upper-90's day. Too hot to be outside unless there was water involved. So we packed up a lunch and the dogs, and headed back to that park. Not surprisingly, some people were already there enjoying the water. They didn't seem to mind the dogs, so we set about playing some stick fetch.

Here's a peak at the view:

The woods came right up to the river's edge so there was plenty of shade to enjoy.

You can't tell by the picture, but there are rock walls off to the right and straight across. The folks that were there said that on most days, the rocks are home to a group of feral sheep. They hop around the ledges just like the mountain goats you see out west. We didn't spot any however.

One of the things I love about taking photos by the water is all the abstractions the water ripples and reflections cause.





This next one is my favorite. The water in the foreground is just gorgeous!

Another Kraken sighting......

Next are just a couple of more portrait-like poses:



The boys would retrieve the stick for hours if you let them!

OH! Please! Please! Throw the stick! Throw it! Please!

One final shot of my Shenandoah Retrievers:



Wilson thinking: I wonder if I can make it to that stick back there before Jimmy steals it?


While we were there, a few other cars/people came and went. It was definitely not a busy place which was very nice. Both boys bark alot from all the excitement and I would not have wanted to ruin others' fun with so much noise. (The original group had already left.) After a couple of hours, the boys were starting to slow down noticeably, and we started to think about leaving. One more car appeared in the paved circle and then pulled all the way onto the boat ramp where we were. Wouldn't you know it, it was the local Parks and Recreation Sheriff! I ran and grabbed the dogs so they wouldn't run in front of his big SUV.  John waved and said Hi, and then threw a stick so the dogs would be quiet and swim away. The sheriff motions me over to his vehicle, and in his best WV accent, tells me he could give me a ticket for the dogs being loose. Here we are in the middle of the woods, no other people in sight, and we are about to get an off-leash ticket! Fortunately the officer didn't feel the need to ruin our day. He said he could see the dogs were having fun, but to be sure to leash them if/when any other people showed up. Whew! That was a close one! In this day and age of state budget shortages, a couple of off-leash tickets probably would have netted WV 200 bucks.  I am very thankful we were let off with a warning.

Wilson, for whatever reason, seems to take on tons of water when he fetches. Jimmy does not. So we walked them around the edge of the parking lot before leaving to give them a chance to pee before the 45 minute drive home. We plopped them in the car and instantaneously they were asleep! About 5 miles from home or so, Wilson wakes up, and sits by the window. A minute or two later, he lets out a small whine. I figured he wanted to sniff the air, so I lowered the window a bit. I see him in the rearview mirror and he's panting, even though the a/c is blasting. He lets out a few louder whines. I'm wondering if he's getting carsick, so I lower the window enough to get his head out for better air. By this time, we are nearly in the home stretch, in our own neighborhood, with only a few turns to go. Wilson not only puts his head out but he tries to wedge himself through the opening! This is NOT normal behavior and all of the sudden I get it! He has to pee and he has to PEE BADLY! Hold on, Wilson! We're almost there! I speed faster than I should the last mile home. John throws open the door and grabs Wilson, who staggers about two steps and starts peeing for all he's worth. You could almost hear the sigh of relief he let go. The poor boy peed for well over a minute straight! I kid you not! What a very good boy for holding it in, despite the desperation he was obviously feeling in the car.

Click any of the pictures to get the full-size version......

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Kraken in His Natural Environment

If you had a chance to read my post from friday, then the title of this post will make sense :-)

The Kraken: Probably no legendary sea monster was as horrifying as the Kraken. According to stories this huge, many armed, creature could reach as high as the top of a sailing ship's main mast. A kraken would attack a ship by wrapping their arms around the hull and capsizing it. The crew would drown or be eaten by the monster. What's amazing about the kraken stories is that, of all the sea monster tales we have, we have the best evidence that this creature was based on something real.....

....On something LOUD....something BOSSY....something JIMMY!




Like most of the country, we've been having ridiculously hot weather. Jimmy and Wilson don't like to go out unless it is going to involve watersports. So, whenever possible, I try to find a water source on our walks. By this time in a hot summer, many favorite pools have gone dry, or even worse, stagnant. This was taken at our last fresh spot that's still a fairly close walk. I am afraid that soon enough it won't even be deep enough for a Cardigan!

Lots more water-themed photos on their way........
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