Monday, December 29, 2008

Scarves and Lanyards

Thanks be to the Turd for her excellent modelness... and apologies for the SUCKY pictures. But, it's inside, and it's dark, blah blah blah blah...

My second scarf - I'm keeping this one for myself. Mary gave me knitting needles and a how-to book for Christmas, and I've become quite the spaz.

A scarf and a lanyard I made:

A turd, a scarf, and a lanyard:

Actually, that's the same Turd, the same scarf, and the same lanyard, but who cares??

And, a blue and black lanyard... not that you can see the colors with this crappioloa camera. This is me heaving a big fat camera envy laced sigh.

Almost the New Year

I'm sort of bah-humbugging it at the moment, so please forgive the lapse in attention to the blog. I'm not feeling overly talkative at the moment - an admission that likely will have jaws dropping to the floor. Yeah, OK, so there's a first time for everything. So what have we been up to?

I've been making beaded lanyards. And knitting. And... is that not just vaguely scary? Yeah, me of the 12 year afghan crocheting project... learning to knit. I've been knitting scarves, which are infinitely smaller and less unweildly than a blanket. Right? So the lanyards turned out very nice, and I may actually make some to sell. I'll have some pictures later on (if I get that motivated), hopefully.

On a dog front Nick is still not quite right, so we're going to go visit an ortho vet tomorrow. He isn't dead lame - but still off enough that I want to see if we can't go on and kick this thing without messing around too much. I say that because I feel sort of like the last few weeks have just been time wasting. I'll let everyone know what the doc says tomorrow.

I worked Linc at Robin's Christmas get together the other day, and he looked pretty darned good. I think he's ready for Jack Knox in January - and I'll bet we'll have an absolute blast. Sure, we ain't got no stinkin stop or call off...

Oh, and while working Linc I did a face plant in the roundpen. Well, actually it wasn't a total face plant, because one of Robin's ewes broke my fall. I had a ewe shaped clean spot from the middle of my belly up to my head. The rest of me was covered in mud. Mm-mmmm good.

I survived my sister's wedding. For those who knew about it - I found the cutest little pantyhose type biker short dealies that are sort of girdle-ish... and band-aids. I didn't have time to find sunflower you-know-what covers, so I had to settle for bandaids. Turned out that with the amount of lining and boning in the bodice I didn't need them anyhow. I did, however, look pretty good in the dress and my silver strappy sandlehickeys. In freaking December. For a couple who was already married.


I'll try to get some decent pics of the scarf I made myself, and one of the beaded lanyards.

I've decided that either I'm depressed and nesting, pregnant (NOT), or maybe perhaps just happy in my own skin these days. Maybe I'm nesting and happy. Maybe something about being slightly crafty appeals to me. Who knows, but I'm having fun actually MAKING something.

That may last for a few more weeks.

Ah, I did find a picture I took of my first two lanyards. Sucky picture, on the dog-haired carpet, but you guys get the idea. This was before I finished them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picture Thingie?

Ok, so I think I'm supposed to post some whositswhatsits thing about a sixth picture somethingorother. A meme something? Something about opening your sixth file where you keep your pictures and posting your sixth picture. I realized that several folks had tagged me to do this - sorry guys! Didn't mean to be remiss. I promise, though, that when I'm finished cooking up what I've been cooking up this week all will be clear and I'll be forgiven. *laughs maniacally*

My sixth picture thingie:

THAT, my friends, is about a four month old Noodlehead showing that on occasion he DOES come enthusiastically when called. Will you LOOK at those ears? That was right as his ears were starting to stand, and a stiff breeze would blow them over backwards. There's the Small Dog standing over off to the side. At this point Nick was just barely bigger than the Small Dog. What cracks me up is looking at those LONG legs... some things evidently never change.

Nick is still being rested, and I'll probably continue to rest him until next weekend. There's nothing pressing, and soft tissue injuries can be a real bear to heal, so I'm trying very hard not to rush things.

In looking through my old pictures I ran this one, too, and it made me giggle!

The date is wrong, by the way. But I call this one "The Troublemakers". Nick was maybe nine weeks old here, and still smaller than Zippy. He and Ginger were non-plussed about this whole puppy thing - and if you look you'll see the TurdiTude, and the Small Dog leaning as faaaaaaar away as he can without actually moving. Nicky looks just a tiny bit forlorn, too.

There's not a whole lot else going on around here. Personally, I'm scurrying around getting ready for Christmas, and my social calendar feels like it's on the verge of overwhelming me at the moment. It always does this time of year, and it also always manages to work out OK in the end.

All of the things that need to be in motion at the moment are, and by this time next month my divorce will be final. Saturday night is my Dad's Christmas dinner, and Monday night is Girl's Night Out with some of my favorite women... Julie's birthday, and then CR's birthday following right on it's heels!

It's looking like rain, unfortunately, for Sunday which might muck some things up. Sounds like a good reason to lounge around in my powder blue fuzzy slippers and drink my coffee as slow as I feel like. So there.

Oh! I almost forgot... I think I'm supposed to tag other people to do the same picture thing... but I think some of the people I'd normally harrass have already been tagged. So, lets see...

Jen, Becca and Darci... you're up.

I *think* I'm supposed to tag more folks than that, but I'm feeling wholly uninspired today. I guess I might deserve my brother's two T-shirts that read "Doesn't Play Well With Others" and "Doesn't Follow Directions". lol

Monday, December 15, 2008

Small Dog in a Little Coat

Imagine I'm singing this like David Spade in the movie "Tommy Boy"... you know, "Fat guy in a little cooooooaaaaaat", right? Well, this is small dog in a little coat:

How can I not adore that fluffly little ball of grumpiness? It was a tad chilly for a small dog yesterday, so he got to putz around in his little coat at Julie's yesterday. It makes him very happy to do that, and tickles me too. He does look rather goofy with his hair all sticking out everywhere. It's even worse in his jammies.

Friday night was my company Christmas party. Chuck came with, and it actually was a good bit of fun. I might have had one too many fuzzy navels, but I managed to not say anything remarkably stupid, and kept all of my clothes on. This would be a good thing around coworkers, right? Saturday I got to help out CR with some ear tagging duties (which makes me happy 'cuz that means activity points baby!). Then yesterday a bunch of us went over to Julie P's for a lesson with Robin.

We took Linc for a quick spin yesterday and have determined that he's pretty ready to do a little bit, so I'll probably work him some next weekend. His spark was back, and while he was (I think) a tad tense in the smaller area and slightly concerned about the sheep on the outside of the pen he was looking pretty good!

I worked Spottie for a few minutes yesterday - and am feeling good about that. She's taking my whistles at Julie's pretty nicely. I was disappointed to have to pull from the cattle trial up at Roy Johnson's this past weekend, but Nick's on the "being rested" list at the moment. Anyway, a couple of pics of Spottie from yesterday:

All photos today by Darci Gunter, by the way...

So I was really reminded of how much I depend on Nick this weekend. It's the small things, like "would you hold sheep for me?" or needing him to help with tagging sheep... I missed him. Don't get me wrong - I was really glad to have Spottie there, and she was a very good girl. I guess what feels so odd is not having the dog that seems to just *know* what I want, and just helps me. He just... does it. I think I'm beginning to understand the relationship that so many handlers have with their dogs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nick Updates

I thought maybe I'd put some Nick updates in one spot, and I'll try to update this post as I get information. Nick is at the vet this morning. I just called (and I managed to hold myself in check for THREE hours before calling), and he's being worked on right now. I'm a nervous wreck. When I left him, though, he was happily wiggling and sniffing the vet tech. Obviously he's not too concerned.

New update:

The vet called. She said, laughing like a loon, that he was the hardest dog she'd ever tried to manipulate physically. Evidently every time she'd try to move him he'd go all rigid or push against her. Silly boy. lol Anyway, X-Rays showed that his back and discs and knees were excellent. She said his hips were good but there was a tiny question on them, so I may ask her today for a referral to have a second opinion just to make me feel better. Even with that she said she didn't think the hips are his problem at all - and that they're nothing to worry about. Obviously she doesn't know me very well, hunh?

Anyway, she says his abdomen looks good also. Her feeling is that he strained/sprained/pulled a muscle in his lower back. She's suggesting resting a bit longer, and some more anti-inflammatories. I'll be off to pick him up here in just a little while.

Thanks everyone for the prayers and good thoughts!

Latest getting ready for bed update:

I went in and looked at the X-Rays when I picked him up, and after mulling it over this evening I'm agreeing with Dr. P that I'm not going to worry about his hips. So now we have to worry about getting this muscle thing fixed! He's to rest - not full official crate rest, but no working, and no blazing around either. So we're working on that right now. He's under my feet making chewbacca noises at Linc as I type. Any of you who've ever talked to me on the phone know exactly the noise I'm talking about. Hah!

I'm still not 100% convinced that it wasn't partly an overabundance of poopage. The beast has gone like... four or five times today - once in the vet's flower bed.

And in totally unrelated news, my mother has decorated her house for Christmas. She has all of her lights up outside, including the prelit reindeer flock she has - all six of them. Last year while she was gone my brother made it so several of them were mounting each other. She was not amused. I, on the other hand, almost wet myself laughing. Maturity is grossly overrated.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Broken Back Ranch SDT Update

Well, the good thing is I didn't barf on my shoes. I felt like it, but I managed to at least appear outwardly calm this weekend.

Nursery, Friday, Nick's first run... is mostly a blur. Outrun was nice, lift a little off, fetch started out squirrelly, but got it under control. Actually, we didn't lose many points on that part. I think zero off on the O and L. I can't remember if we made the fetch gates or not, but when they got to my feet it was like Nick didn't want to flank. We made a REALLY wide turn at the post, and had some trouble getting them online to start the drive (right hand). He finally got them online, and the drive away was right lovely (made the panels pretty dead on) - and he was taking tiny flanks on the fly (with whistles) so nicely. We made the turn at the gates, and slightly overflanked, resulting in needing him to flank come bye.

He'd been a tad odd on the fetch, and by this point he was really sluggish and off (flanking REALLY slow and REALLY wide), and acting/moving a bit oddly. We got the sheep almost online on the crossdrive, putting one through the gates and the other three missed low. When I flanked him to bring them to the pen he looked really weird, and I realized he wasn't having an attitude problem but a physical problem. He wouldn't even come all the way to the pen, but the sheep walked in for me. When I flanked him to bring them out he started holding up a rear leg. Yikes.

So Tony exhausted the next set of sheep and I pulled him out to look at him. He was hobbling funny on the back end. Anyway, to make a long story short we wound up in the middle of the pack scorewise, but any good feelings I might have had about the good things were quite overshadowed by my worry for my dog. I scratched his second run. I've had him on anti-inflammatories, and have been resting him. He's looking fine by today, but I'm going to keep him quiet for the rest of the week - and might either pull completely from the cattle trial next weekend or substitute Spottie for Nick. If he's still funky by the weekend I'll take him in and have my vet take a look.

Spottie... was a very good girl. I walked to the post with my heart pounding in my ears. On the first run the OLF was really nice. I did give her a redirect on the outrun, but I'm not sure she needed it. On the fetch the dogs were to turn the sheep at a hay bale instead of bringing them all the way up and I really struggled to get her around there. We got things under control and the drive away was reasonable. Cross drive was really wiggy, and we were having troubles communicating. I don't think she was being obstinant, we just weren't quite together. At any rate, we wound up retiring at the end of the crossdrive (right at the panels one sheep broke away and I had trouble getting her to cover... and by the time she did the sheep were practically at my feet again), but I was pleased with what I felt was reasonably respectable considering she's only been with me three weeks. She wasn't taking my whistles very well this weekend, even though she has been at "home".

Second run yesterday she stopped short on her outrun, so the lift was a bit off, but she did take my flank on the fetch to get them online. But, then I couldn't get her quite around that hay bale to make the turn (almost did, and at the last second she decided NOPE), and we wound up RT with our sheep at the exhaust. The judge was great, and came out and told me that at that point I could have sent her the other way - and although that would have been crossing our course (the reason in fact why I didn't) that it would have meant we could have kept going. See? You get to learn all kinds of cool things when you jump into things feet first!

They gave us these cool handlers badges, and I was so excited I thought about pinning it to my undies and wearing it forever.

We ate good this weekend, that's for sure. All of my friends had some really nice runs laid down, and it was fun to be a part of it. I got to scribe for the judge, and had an absolute ball! It was quite chilly, though, and I'm glad to be back home and in my bed. So that is it - the good, the bad, and the ugly. It wasn't quite the spectacular display I'd hoped for, but reasonable and respectable - and certainly not a total trainwreck! The hospitality was great, and the field was absolutely gorgeous.

Now I have to actually go do some work at work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Trialin This Weekend...

So this is me packing. Like it? Yeah, me too. We're headed off to SC this weekend, and if they have room and will agree to squeeze me in I'm going to ask them to let me run Spottie in Open after all. Robin's going to hide in the van. In a trenchcoat. And a Fedora. Just for good measure.

Nick has two nursery runs tomorrow, and I plan to roll out of here by no later than 7am. That means I need to go to bed... uh... now? The jeans I'm wearing tomorrow are in the dryer, my clothes and snacks are in the van, and all that's left is a few minor details.

Oh, and I sent in my entry to run Nick on cattle next weekend. This is me over here throwing up on my shoes at all of the new experiences I'm planning to undertake in the next few weeks... running a dog in Open, running a dog on cattle, getting a divorce, spending Christmas with people I love and truly enjoy this year...

Spottie says, oh, it's you again!

I was hoping you were someone... else. Oh, wait... what is THAT? Are you going to throw it?

I didn't think so. You're not much fun when you have that camera thing in your hand. I'm on to you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Tree

I found my memory card! It was in a truly stooooopid place... way on the back of a filing cabinet under some stuff. Now I KNOW I didn't put it there for safe keeping, so I'm figuring I put it on the shelf next to it and it managed to jump off and under that stuff. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, so here's the pic of the tree.

I tried hard to get pictures with the lights lit, and it worked out not-so-good. You really can't see much, but you CAN see that this beast is freaking tall.

If you look down towards the bottom right of the picture there's a little Santa dude sitting on a cedar chest (the chest was made for me when I was a child). This little guy has a bell on his hat - and Spottie's new favorite thing to do is to run up and bump him so his bell will ring. I suppose it doesn't help that I giggle every time she does it.

The picture doesn't even really come close to doing the tree justice, but you guys can get the general idea. With the cathedral ceilings I felt like I needed a tree with some height to it, but since I don't have a ton of floor space this one doesn't take up much room at all.

Anyway, so here's a picture of just one of the crystal angel ornaments that Judi gave me:

That is all. Now that I'm in the Christmas mood I'm busy harrassing CR about putting up a tree in his foyer. Yeah, as if putting up one Christmas tree wasn't enough trouble. Hah!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Katie Bar the Door!

So I promised dog working updates, no? The dogs and I farm-sat for Mary & Tony Weds-Sat, and had just an absolute ball. She has a few katahdins and some tunis, so between her place and Julie's right up the road we got a lot of good working in over the span of the week.

Lets see... Spottie is just working nicer and nicer for me. It appears that the Bad Sunday was quite possibly just a minor blip on the screen. She's being quite enthusiastic (increasingly so) and nice and sharp. She's starting to take my whistles - which are quite different from Robin's. She's also been really good (and really patient) with helping me with the shedding. I feel like we're really starting to connect - like we're having a conversation out there... working together. She's a lot of fun, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.

Nick... Nick is an alien. I'm probably going to have to make him a tinfoil testicle holder thingie so that he can get his brain back. Between Spottie coming in, and the very inclined to run sheep at Mary's... he's gone ape on me. Stop? We don't need no stinkin stop! Friday at Julie's he was rather wild and crazy when we walked out on the field (totally out of character for him), and despite the orange fire shooting out of my eye sockets he's not been very inclined to get his feelings hurt either. In some instances I'd be determined before a trial to try to get his attention a tad more, but I'm almost inclined to leave things be. I have a suspicion he may need his push in certain situations. I just hope his brain comes back a little.

I did, however, remind him that he does have to stop - giving him a stop command and then enthusiastically getting him back up as soon as he thought about giving it. That seemed to mostly straighten him up, but left a little of the push in there (as per Robin's suggestion, technique wise). I'm beginning to wonder, though, if he's not going to get tougher and bolder as he ages. I wouldn't complain about that.

Additionally, between processing what Robin has been telling me, working with Spottie, and watching Alasdair MacRae's shedding video, something has clicked for me shedding-wise. We went down to Julie's and twice used an almost perfect group of sheep. I changed several things about my body position... I got closer to the group I wanted him to take, made the hole a bit bigger, and made sure that I turned completely sideways (presenting my hip to him) when I called him in. As he would get almost to me I'd give him a short flank command, and then stop him after he went behind me and walked him on up. Finally my mental understanding and physical ability to carry it out are starting to merge.

One huge gaping maw of a problem I'd been having was standing smack in the middle of the hole, putting pressure on him AND the sheep by leaning face on towards him. I was standing there in the way, and it was just not working. He'd start to come in, then he'd slam on brakes and try to put everything back together. Then I'd fuss at him, or flank him around endlessly, ending in a not very happy dog. Well, he was definately happy dog when I got my act together!

We'll probably do this a while longer, and then start progressing. As it is now he's coming through nice and enthusiastically - and taking good confident control of his shed off sheep.

That being said, on Saturday morning I got the bright idea (after our progress) to try to do this on some completely inappropriate sheep. Lesson learned. I wound up going back down to Julie's to fix the mess I'd made, but to my relief the damage was quickly reversible. However, I think I mentally beat myself to a bloody pulp first. *sigh* I'm quite grateful for Nick's forgiving nature.

While at Mary's we basically worked on stopping running sheep (mostly damage control) and I was pleased to see Nick getting more comfortable coming off to the side and catching the eye of the lead sheep... and he was also much more inclined to stay on contact. Many times when sheep run he gets wider and wider to try to release the pressure. While sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not, and I'm trying to help him to distinguish the difference.

The other side to that, however, was that he was also quite gee'd up by this whole process. Thus, Katie Bar the Door!!

Linc is still just being a puppy. I'm thinking to pull him back out around Christmas and see where he is. If I feel like he's mature enough I'll enter him in the Jack Knox clinic. If not, I may put Nick in instead. A lot of my January plans, however, will hinge on whether the company I work for does what they normally do at Christmas. Some prayers that they will would be much appreciated.

This coming weekend I'm running Nick in Nursery down in SC. Should be interesting, and a fun time. He'll get two runs - and while I'm nervous I'm also very much looking forward to it. I feel like he's made a lot of progress on some things recently, and provided I remember the tinfoil testicle holder thingie so that the aliens won't steal his brain we might just have a good time!

This pic is from about a year or so ago, but it seems rather appropriate at the moment.

photos by Julie Poudrier