Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wedding Projects

Project #1:

Find a dress to wear to my son's wedding on Sept 17th. 

Action Taken:
A) Walked through all the dress stores in the Santa Rosa Mall.
     1) Except for those with big "Petite" signs on the walls.
     2) Tried on exactly two (2) dresses.  Banana Republic.  Cute.
              a) Left them.  Need to weigh less, and have more $ in budget.      
     3) Am willing to buy a dress even if it says "Hand Wash Only."  But not "Dry Clean Only."
     4) Practiced being nice to pushy salespeople.
     5) Lived to tell the tale.

B) Walked through all the dress stores at Montgomery Village.
     1) Did you know the "hot" colors this season are pink and grey? 
     2) Was advised by bride-to-be to look for green.  Did you know very few stores carry green items?
     3) Tried on exactly one cute lace-style sweater.  It was brown. 
             a) Worried dogs would destroy it.  Too much money.  Put it back.
     4) Enjoyed coffee and croissant at cafe.  Decided might buy "Dry Clean Only."
     5) Lived to tell the tale.

C) Combed through back of closet, desperately looking for clothes from corporate days.
     1) Found one green rayon/poly/? dress.  Dark.  Long.  Too corporate?
             a) Probably way too dark and too hot for a 2:pm outdoor wedding-in-the-sun.
             b) Will it even fit, after all these years?
                  c) Possible Emergency Back-Up Plan dress.  Ahhhh....   Calming down. 

       2) Found one semi-long green cotton skirt.  Light color!  Comfortable elastic waist!  Pockets!
               a) Maybe all I need to look for is a top?  and a slip because you can maybe see through this skirt? 

D)  Not thinking about shoes yet.  Should I be? 

E)  May have to go to Coddingtown, Petaluma, Downtown Santa Rosa....(GASP!) Corte Madera....??

Project #2:

Prepare for "prehearsal" dinner, Sept 16th.

Action Taken:
A) Location groundwork.
         1) DONE!!!!!  It will be in our backyard. Caterer hired. Invites out to 40+.
                  a) Wedding party plus out-of- towners, per Mother of Bride's list.  RSVPs trickling in.
         2) Invites said "casual" so my plan is to wear nice jeans and T-shirt.  Sweater if it gets cold.  :-)
         3) Buy candles for tables?  5 tables, 8 chairs each.  Might grow to 6 tables.  We can handle it.
         4) We CAN do this.

B) Tidy up backyard.  Clean house. 
         1) Weed, weed, weed.  Remove dead flowers.
         2) Move flower pots around.  Buy more flowers (yay!) and get them planted, asap.
         3) Ignore 3:am nightmare involving falling acorns and leaves and huge gobs of bird poo.
         4) Save vacuuming house for last possible moment.  Darn dog hair. 
C) Light up trees and path.
         1) Mr. Electrical Wizard Jeff is on it.  Scoop lights for trees.  Solar lights for path.

D) Schedule activities to make sure dogs are really tired by 5:pm that day, and ready to be in X-pens.
         1) Agility?  Hiking?  Sheep???    :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Substitute Handlers

It can be both a thrill and a tough thing, to watch someone else run your dog on an agility course.  You've put weeks/months/years of training into your pupster, and then someone else comes along and takes her for a spin....          How does it feel? 

If you've been careful about who gets to play with your dog, and if the reason you're not running is because you're lame, it's a thrill.  Your dog gets to play!!  After all that time off, all those walking/practice drills, and six-obstacle segments (the only way your lameness wants to get around on a field) your dog finally gets to run a full course.  It doesn't even matter if your dog earns a Q or not.  Just being able to watch your gorgeous dog perform - in person - not on a terrific.  

'Course I wish I'd taken a video.   

My older dog wouldn't run with other people, although I have asked a couple of my friends to try.  I just wanted to watch her run - in person - not on a video.  But she didn't want to.    Now that Riff is in her life, and she's basically retired from agility, she's a bit more willing.  Which is to say, she's gone over a few jumps with my husband handling her.  (I'm trying to get him more interested in agility!  Think it will work??)  But I doubt Keeps would run for anybody else, except perhaps LP. 

Riff would probably run with just about anybody.  His has a very different personality than Keeper's.  But he can be a shy dog, too...and can turn very skittish in a heartbeat, so I've only asked two people to run him.  He loves those two great handlers, and has known them all of his young life.  We're so lucky!  They're both cracker-jack, top-drawer handlers. 

All that said....I can't wait to get back in shape enough to run Riff myself.   We've been working on distance, and sending...but if I could do more running, it sure would help. 

Wait.  Did you hear that?  I think it's my exercise bike calling....

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This has been a week of "pull yourself up by the bootstraps, girl!" with back pain / leg pain threatening to pull me into the big black pit.  "No, No!" I say, "Stay away!"  and I pretend like all is well.  Smile, walk around, laugh with gets me through each day...and mostly it works really, really well.   I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking...   ....  ...  ....   ...some days are more difficult than others.

But we had some fun times, we did! 

We toured the wedding site with my son and his girl, and her folks.  We met the DJ (a Tom Hanks look-a-like) and the photographer.  A couple of cute King Charles spaniels ran up and joined the mix, too.  (I wish they were a healthier breed...they look like a lot of fun.  But so little!)

Future in-laws chat with the DJ

Emily and her dad
Riff and I were finally able to make it to an AKC show on Sunday, too.  Woohoo!  It was absolutely G-r-r-eat to see a bunch of our agility trial buddies.  It was the first time we've been at a trial since April 10th.  We miss them very much!  

And Channan was able to run Riff in the ExA JWW class.  No Q, but they had a ton of fun! 

Hi, Annette!
Channan and Riff at the startline...

....and at the finish
I was so enchanted by watching them run together that I forgot to video tape it, or to take any photographs....!     They were wonderful.  
A bit later, we took a couple of snapshots of littermates Rampage and Riff.

Rampage and Riff watch a toy.  Look at those eyes!
Two beautiful dogs

Looking at this photo, I'm thinking "Riff needs a bath!!"  and "Wow, Rampage sure has a luxurious coat..."
Riff says "Thanks for running, me, Channan!  I sure had fun at the dog show..."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Practice photos

oops...he flew right out of the picture!

aw....there's that cute face!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bridal Shower

And there was a bridal shower this weekend!  I knew about the shower weeks ago, but it snuck up on me anyway.  How does that happen?  Suddenly it was time to go...and I didn't have a dress.... I disguised my favorite dog agility outfit by wearing leather Danskos with it (they're scuffed, but nicer than my running shoes) and this pretty necklace.  I don't know what this old 30's (?) necklace is made of (formica?) but it has great energy, and is a trustworthy friend.

As showers go, it was lovely time.  Lots of energetic young people, friendly oldsters, good food, great art, a beautiful and happy bride-to-be.  Not too many games.  At one point, we were all instructed to grab one of the fire-colored strings coming out of the mouth of a sparkling dragon-shaped cake, and to make a wish.  It was challenging to get all 23 of us around this cake, but it got done. 

I wished (probably harder than I've ever wished for anything) for a Good Life For My Youngest Son.
[Note:  The boy getting married is my middle son.  But the youngest has been experiencing some major challenges...]

Out of the cake jumped this little frog charm.  

It came with the saying "You will think he's a frog, but he is a prince."    

This is good.  Yes?  Yes!  ♥♥♥♥♥


Air Show

When you're unable to trial your agility dog, your weekends can take all sorts of unexpected turns. 

You might even find yourself checking out the airplanes at the Wings Over the Wine Country Air Show. 

The artwork on the fighter planes is something else.  Lots of teeth!!  Do birds notice?  

I like this little tiger.  But he looks a bit anxious.  Is he flying 'on a wing and a prayer'?  

There are plenty of babes painted on jets.  Apparently, airplanes are female.  And beautiful.  And dangerous.  Is that little tiger a girl tiger?  "Miss Maria" looks innocent and alluring, until you notice the huge bullets.  All of the airplane babes are scantily dressed.  Are they trying to distract enemy pilots?   Or are they trying to tell everyone 'this flying fighting-machine-of-death is gorgeous'? 

There were a gazillion planes to look at.  The cockpit of this old DC-3-style Russian plane looks a bit worse for the wear.   I like to think most cockpits do not look like this. 

In spite of the potential for claustrophobia and air-sickness, apparently lots of folks love to fly.  All of them were at the Air Show, climbing in and out of airplanes old and new, large and small. 

There was plenty of action in the sky, too.  The photo below is from a "rescue demonstration" by our local SWAT team.  Wow.  These folks mean Business.  I hope we never have to call them.  

This is called the "Missing Man" formation.  This fly-by preceded a moving "9/11" ceremony.  Did you know that we now have a piece of iron from the World Trade Center at our local air museum? 

The Air Show was very impressive, but it made me feel sad.  Not only for all of the innocent WTC folks, but also for our young men and women who've suffered and/or died since, in these crazy wars. 

The main attraction at the show seemed to be the fighter jets.  Fast, loud, incredibly amazing jets. 

Built to fight. 

Crazy, crazy wars.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One of My Goals

One of my goals is to be able to "dance" on the agility field, with consistent grace and confidence.

Riff would appreciate it.

Lately it seems like I've been trapped in the body of a fish.  A confused, floundering fish.

Riff suffers, sometimes, because of it...which breaks my heart.
(Riff cr-r-rashed into a triple wing, and brought down the jump.
He's okay.  He continued class like nothing happened.
Jumped the triple very well.
He got a nice massage this evening,
and he'll get one tomorrow.

I'm trying to find some sort of key that will allow my new fish body to dance.

Because it looks like I may have this body for quite a while.
(Or...maybe I've had it all along?)'s either find the key or give up the sport.

It ain't an easy key to find.

But I keep working at it.

Because fish are beautiful, and they can dance! 
(...can't they?)

Ever onward.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

This weekend there was a dog agility trial at the Petaluma Fairgrounds, a mere 45-minute drive from here.  I'd planned to go say HI! to all our friends.  The weather was great.  I'd planned to run Riff and Keeper in the exercise area, and then just hang out, and watch all the marvelous dogs run.  It was a good plan - a very fun plan.

But we never did get up and go. 

Sometimes leaving the house is a huge effort. 

I'm not sure why.

Part of me worried about handling the dogs at the trial.  Both of them get excited and start pulling on their leashes.  They're big BCs, and incredibly strong.  I worried about my back.  Sometimes I put "hardware" on my dogs - Sensation harnesses, slip leads, etc.  Which they often ignore, at agility fields.  I've even tried being a "Pez" dispenser - constantly rewarding good leash behavior with treats.  It started out fine, but didn't last long.  You can't bribe a working BC with a treat, when all they want to do is work.  I have a prong collar that I can use when my back is particularly tweaky.  ...  ...  .... 

Lately, at practice, we haven't been using a leash at all.  We enjoy "no leash."   

OR I could've gone to the trial without the dogs. ...  ....  Hardly!  My dogs are great, and I would've missed them terribly.  They just get excited.
But - let's face it - they're not very well leash-trained.

In any case, we never did leave the neighborhood this weekend.  Any running the dogs got was in the backyard.  They love to play in our backyard.  We've come up with some terrific games. 

But, you know, it's just not the same as agility.

I fell so far into the doldrums this weekend that I ignored the laundry, and the vacuuming.  I did not visit my friends at the trial, did not go shopping for a mother-of-the-groom dress, did not even go to the fair with my sweet husband (who brought home some nice photos).  I rode my recumbent exercise bike.  Watched fast agility dogs on Facebook and YouTube.  Watched the slow Giants lose baseball games on TV.  Buried my head in books.  

The books were okay.  Not great.

And I forgot to sign up for Monday practice time!  The doldrums stretched from Friday afternoon all the way through yesterday.  Were these my "Dog Days of Summer"?


So.  Thinking about Now.  Riff and I have an agility class this afternoon.  HALLELUJAH! 

We have company arriving on Friday, and they will stay all weekend.  Cat people.  But fun cat people!  (Unfortunately, we won't be able to squeeze in any practice time on Friday.) We'll take our friends to a great restaurant, a winery, and maybe the air show....  Then there will be a bridal shower on Sunday.  I'll find a really cool present for the bride, wear something totally comfortable, and it will be FUN.  Right?     

Right. Definitely. For sure!
Except for the part about leaving the dogs at home.

Never fear!
The following week will be GOLDEN!!!  

I've asked for field time on both Monday and Friday. 
We'll practice a lot. 
Riff is entered in an AKC trial that weekend.
The trial will be right here in Santa Rosa!



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Little Backyard Tour

This little tour is primarily for Linda, to show her where we're thinking of having our catered (p)rehearsal wedding dinner:   
looking at the patio, from the back porch
from middle of patio toward upper fence
from uphill side of patio, looking down
from middle of patio, looking toward outside corner of the yard

from middle of patio, looking up

a chime that often chimes

from patio to downhill path

downhill path

a small "maze" next to the path

from the bottom of the path, looking up

the path continues around the front of a shed
and on up to a gate by the side of our house

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