Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ann Wants to Know...

Ann wants to know... What is your perfect dog?

She wants to know what I like in a dog. Good question.

I like a combination of things in a dog. I will say that some days I like one dog better than another for a certain job.

But overall, in general, I like a dog with a lot of natural that just needs some occasional input from me. I don't like to command a dog a whole lot, and if they're doing what I either ask for or need I don't feel inclined to say much. I'm not interested in telling the dog every step to take, and in the trialling department I'm willing to sacrifice some points because I'm not going to whistle my dog to death. It gives me a headache.

That being said I'm probably not going to win a lot of trials that way. *shrug* The truth of the matter is, that in order to get really tight and precise lines you're (usually) going to need a lot of whistles. So if I want to win trials (all other issues aside) I NEED to up my whistle game. That being said, you can ask my friends and they'll tell you I only have one speed... meander. Upping my whistle game and other stuff like that may be a challenge. Right now, though, no money to trial means it just doesn't matter so much.

And when I've got a good run going it's usually because my dog is reading things right and I'm not having to say much anyhow. If he's not reading the sheep well no matter of whistling from me usually will fix it (assuming we're talking about Nick). That being said, sometimes I do find myself whistling or commanding more than others.

In general, if I'm not at a trial (or doing any sort of really precise work) and not training - just doing a job - you may not hear me say much of anything to my dog unless he's being naughty. Actually, even if I am at a trial (assuming things are going well) you may not hear much more than an occasional steady whistle until after we turn the post.

I like to have enough under the hood - and a dog that even when it may be lacking in the toolbox it isn't lacking in the heart department.

I don't mind having to ride the brakes some. I don't care to have to urge a dog up. I don't mind having to have an occasional discussion with my dog. But I don't want to have to go to full out war with that dog every time I work it. I HATE butting heads with my dog on a regular basis. I don't mind my dog having opinions. I actually LIKE it. But then when I insist I want them to give in.

I like a dog that figures out what I want or what I'm asking and does it. I like a dog that has umph but knows how to turn it down a notch when I need careful quiet work.

I like it when a dog doesn't quit.

Ann specifically wants to know (my answers in italics):

•Do you like a dog that is really on the muscle? Sometimes. Not all the time.
•Do you like a dog that needs a steady stream of whistles? er... no.
•Are you a maximal or minimal whistler? Minimal. And if things get hairy I often move to voice. I'm not fast enough yet with the whistle.
•Do you like a natural dog that feels the sheep and just needs a little direction here and there? Without question. YES.
•Do you like a dog that prefers certain type of sheep? Not necessarily. I like a dog that adapts and learns from whatever type of sheep we're working.
•Do you like a dog that wants to partner up and be a really good team player? You betcha.
•Do you like a dog that really knows what s/he wants and you, as a handler really has to manage? To a degree, yes. But I don't want to have to manage this constantly.
•Do you want push? Yes and no. I want umph in a dog, but also the dog to have the ability to control that umph.
•Do you want a good listener? To a point. Definitely I like a dog that does the right thing when I'm wrong. Nick has saved my bacon many times this way.
•Do you want try? (Not tri.) Absolutely. The other stuff that I might not like doesn't matter as much to me when the dog is trying.
•Do you like a dog who gets the job done, no matter the sheep, but it’s a big job to get that dog listening? Not so much. For me if I have to beat the dog to get it's attention I am not happy. Like I said, I don't want to butt heads with my dog every time we work together. I won't do it.
•Do you want it all? Apparently. lol
•Can you have it all? I think so. Most of us spend our working lives looking for it, anyway. :)

How does your style as a handler select the style of dog you like?

I'm guessing that this will change for me as time goes on. As I'm exposed to different things, and then once I get my own operation up and running my needs and preferences will likely change. Well, to a degree. The fact that I don't like to tell a dog every step every flank is unlikely to change. The fact that I don't like to butt heads with my dog on a regular basis is unlikely to change. But some of the other stuff probably will.

Right now I like a dog with a lot of stock sense. One that takes care of me. One that when I turn my back I can feel comfortable believing that he's doing the right thing - or at least the sensible thing. I don't see that changing for me.

Pretty much Nick has been the perfect first dog for me. Linc is a very different kind of dog, and at first I was not happy. I don't know if he's moderated or if I've just progressed, but suddenly in the last year or so I like him a lot too. I think it's a moving target.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Food Poisoning?


'Nuff said.

No. Not enough said. I'm getting ready to cross the line here, but it's my blog and I can do that if I want to.

First of all, my teeth are diametrically opposed to contact with ANY testicles. I'm sorry. Ain't happenin. After Nick and Linc were both neutered they wound up with floppy scrotum (spellcheck tells me that the plural of scrotum is scrotum. I think it's lying, but whatever). I had to inspect them as they healed, so I'm familiar. Even without the jewels I still can't even imagine a scrotum and tooth train wreck. Ew. Sorry to the men in the world, but I am pretty sure that women's idea of fantasy does not involve scrotum, or testicles. Ever.

Now combine scrotum/testicles/teeth and (gack I'm getting queasy just writing this) livestock? OMG no. Please say it ain't so. If it took castrating a lamb with my teeth to prove my toughness then I guess I'd just have to be considered a pansyazz. If a lamb's scrotum were the last thing standing between me and the buffet at the Golden Corral... well I'd just go hungry.

Yeah, they're slippery. The lambs suck em back up when you try to grab em. Frankly I suck at trying to band lambs. But I'm still not putting my mouth "down there".

I mean really. Dudes. You stuck your mouth near a lamb's butthole. You put genitalia in your mouth. What did you really expect?

Um... and I hope you are feeling better, cuz bacterial stomach bug stuff ain't no joke.

PS - calling it "food poisoning" bug was very polite.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tell Me Thursday Surprise!

Crooks and Crazies

Ok mah peeps, I'm hearing you guys out there. So here it is... a surprise TMT for you. I haven't been able to post or get around to blogs much, but I thought maybe this would be a way to check in. I know some of you have been cruising right along by yourselves - AWESOME!!

The new button was made for me by Nana at and you can see her dog blog at She's an online bud of mine, but like many of you she's somehow become a real life friend. Nana rocks.

So. Tell Me Thursday. Questions. Hm, what to ask?

1. What are your plans for the holiday season?
2. Do you decorate? If so, what have you done so far?
3. a. Favorite recent dog photo? b. Photo that shows your mood today (or one word)?
4. There's been a discussion on the BC Boards about "don't train for the novice classes... just train for open and the rest will fall into place." What are your thoughts on this?
5. What are your top five cannot-do-without-them dog items?

1. What are your plans for the holiday season?

This year will be a little different for me. I plan to farm-sit. I've never been "away from home" over the holidays, and my Mom is worried that it'll be sad for me. Truly, though, the holidays have felt weird/sad/depressing since my divorce, and I'm not sure that where I am physically really matters. So I'm thinking to start some new traditions this year. Maybe it'll be chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.

2. Do you decorate? If so, what have you done so far?

Normally I do. This year, so far, I haven't. I have a 9' prelit slim tree that's absolutely GORGEOUS with my vaulted ceilings in the living room... but it's a bear to move even in pieces. Apparently slim does not equal lightweight. Two years ago Julie and Sandy came over, and we had a grand time decorating. This year I think I'm pretty much going to let it cruise on by. Maybe I'll get out the Santa stuffie that Spottie liked to make jingle with her nose. That surely will be decoration enough???

Not only that but Pia is such a good puppy until the second I turn my back. I have a sneaky suspicion that I'd be pulling her out of the tree somehow.

3. a. Favorite recent dog photo? b. Photo that shows your mood today (or one word)?

a. Pia on sheep over Thanksgiving. (Photos by Julie Poudrier using Robin French's camera)

It was close between that one and this one of me and Nick up at the setout between fun runs (and Julie's Ranger, too):

b. my mood today:

4. There's been a discussion on the BC Boards about "don't train for the novice classes... just train for open and the rest will fall into place." What are your thoughts on this?

Meh. I think you can't train for open specifically when you've never trained for open. I think it's the whole "you don't know what you don't know" thing. However, I think you should train your dogs with Open being the goal. The lower classes are meant to be stepping stones - learning opportunities, not end results. When I train my dogs I don't train thinking we're going to get around a Novice course - I train with an eye towards open level work. Then when it comes time to step on a trial field I think about how much I think the dog can handle and enter the dog in that class. BUT. This is a big but. When I'd only ever run in Novice Novice I had no earthly idea what I needed to do to get my dog to Open - even if I'd watched several trials.

Some days I'm still not sure I know much of anything. But, again, I'd say train your dog with Open being the ultimate goal (or Open level work). Excellent mentors, instructors, clinicians, and friends along the way are invaluable resources in this.

5. What are your top five cannot-do-without-them dog items?

5. Flat sided water pails
4. Double sided faux-wool crate bedding in the winter
3. Slippery Elm Bark powder
2. Crates
1. Tiny little beds for big dogs

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Updates but no TMT

It keeps looking like my weeks are more and more swamped as the holidays approach, so I'm going to put TMT on hold until after the New Year. My apologies to everyone - I know we all look forward to it. Hopefully things will settle back down and we can keep rocking it after the holidays.

I got my ZUMBA® Instructor license last weekend. I don't have a permanent class arranged yet, but will be subbing for my sister next week, and hopefully will figure it out in short order. I'm both excited and nervous, but mostly excited!

For information on Zumba or to find a class to go to, visit

The dogs are all good. Pia's busy growing up, and Zippy's well... Zippy. He's hanging in there, though the old dog issues seem to increase every day.

So there it is. Everyone have a wonderful holiday season! If you have time to post an update on you and your pack today just come back here and leave me a comment so I can go see!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #15

Crooks and Crazies

It's time for Tell Me Thursday - Thankfulness Edition #1! For the four weeks of November I plan to ask you what you're thankful for every week. So there.

My apologies for flat out missing last week. All I can really say is that last week my work life got all wild and crazy on me, and I just didn't have the time/energy to post. One of these days I'll tell all of you about it. But not today. Suffice it to say that any prayers and good vibes would be appreciated. I can tell you that I've reevaluated and have taken everything as a kick in the pants reminder to take care of myself.

Anyway. On to more fun stuff! May the force be with you.

1. What are you thankful for this week?
2. How do you deal with a squeaker/shrieker/noisy dog?
3. Barbara wants to know: what would you say is ONE skill or attribute needed to be successful?
4. Pippin wants to know: what are your favorite games?
5. What are some of your strategies for dealing with winter?

And here are my answers. I may not have time to get to all of them right away but I will as the day goes on. If I was really organized I'd get all this together days in advance and be done with it. Oh but no.

1. What are you thankful for this week?

I am thankful that I have a job, and a roof over mine & the dogs' heads. I am thankful that I have great friends and a great family to love. I am thankful for Sara who brings me breakfast at work sometimes. I am also thankful that my fuse seems to be much longer today.

2. How do you deal with a squeaker/shrieker/noisy dog?

Clearly if I am asking this question it's cuz I suck at fixing this particular issue.

3. Barbara wants to know: what would you say is ONE skill or attribute needed to be successful?

Determination. I think if you are determined to do something, and then persevere to the end you'll do it. I guess maybe that's two things. Determination and perseverance. I can't imagine someone being determined and NOT persevering, but then I'm like a pesky little gnat. Or maybe a pesky big gnat.

It also doesn't hurt to be funny. Or hang out with me when *I* am funny. At the very least you'll enjoy being funny and determined with me. Ask Julio about the time we pounded fence posts on the rock hard ground to put up paddock fencing. In the 9000 degree heat. When there hadn't been rain in months and months and the area was sandrock. We were determined. And funny. Funny trumped determined and we got the fence up. I did the running man. They laughed. See? That's how things get done.

I digress.

4. Pippin wants to know: what are your favorite games?

I'm leaving this one open for interpretation. My fave online games are Ultima Online, and then the facebook free games. But I don't play UO anymore. I'm reformed. Board games? Um. Sorry. And Trouble. Card game? Shanghai Rummy. Or Spades. Unfortunately when I divorced my husband I also divorced his PS2. That was a sad day. I loves me some console games. Why yes, I am five years old.

My dogs' favorite game? "Bite Linc". Yes really. They love that game. Linc loves it too, which I find strange, though I think it's a pre-requisite if you're going to live in my household to BE strange, so all in all it's not terribly surprising. When I ask them to stop he gets up and asks them to keep going, so I've stopped worrying about it. I do wish that "Bite Linc" didn't also include a side game called "Bark Like June".

5. What are some of your strategies for dealing with winter?

First I break out the Cuddl Duds. I can't stand anything on my legs or feet at night, with the exception of these:

Image from I like them because they're soft, stretchy, warm, and don't stick to the sheets. I sleep in them. Also, I usually also wear them under my outside gear too. Fabulous!!!

Also for winter I do like Julie and acclimate some, though not as much as she does. I let Ginger's coat grow out so she doesn't freeze, and the Small Dog has several coats from which to choose. I also bake a lot in the winter - it warms the front of the house up nicely.

I also do my best to take advantage of radiational heating. The front of the house gets full sun all day - so I open up the blinds and let the warmth in!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #14

Crooks and Crazies

Hey, folks! I thought I would have time to at least pull up a full TMT lineup of questions this week, but I'm utterly swamped and there just isn't enough of me to go around. We'll be back in full force next week - so stay tuned!

So for this week I'm going to just put out an essay type question and let you all roll with it.

Here we go. I hate to say it but this one may not be a no-brainer exactly.

What obstacles have you overcome this week, and what did you learn from them? This can be training obstacles, life obstacles, whatever obstacles you want to talk about.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #13

Crooks and Crazies

I'd tossed around the possibility of skipping this week since I have way too much on my plate, but then thought there might be some sort of revolt and someone might try to steal my two boxes of Little Debbie's that I bought last night. That would never do. In fact, I'm pretty sure that as I type Ginger is at home trying to hatch a plan to break into the oven and steal them.

In light of that, here are my questions this week. Those of you hoping for deep thoughts are probably going to be sadly disappointed this week. I'm fresh out of deep thoughts. I'm in a Little Debbie induced stupor. If we're friends on Facebook you probably already know this, but because of the sugar and fake chocolate overload I'm unable to control myself. Plus deep thoughts are scarce around here today.

1. What is your favorite Little Debbie snack? If you hate Little Debbie then I bow down to your greatness. (I suppose you can include some other favorite snack. Maybe it'll inspire me to get over LD for today.)
2. What do you use for laundry detergent?
3. Tighty Whities or Boxers? (this, obviously, is open for interpretation)
4. Dogs: On the bed? In the house? On the furniture? Never? What are your rules?
5. Favorite dog-related website (aside from my blog, obviously har har har)? Favorite NON-dog related website? Can be blogs, or whatever.

Have at thee foul Little Debbie.

Maybe I should entitle this one: Tell Me Thursday - Fluff edition. Or maybe "Tell Me Thursday - Laura wants to be entertained".

Here are my answers:

1. What is your favorite Little Debbie snack?

Swiss Rolls. Followed closely by the honey buns. Oh, and those little Christmas trees. Back in another life my ex-husband could throw down on some of those little trees. Of course I could too. As I said on FB... a pox on you Little Debbie. I managed to forget her for a looooooooooong time, but then my sister and mother had to bring up her name the other night. Then I got a hankering. Then they went on sale. Bah humbug.

2. What do you use for laundry detergent?

Back when I had enough money I used tide or gain. These days I mostly go for things like... "Xtra" or whatever store brand is cheapest. I want to get the most bang for my buck. HOWEVER. The other day I was looking around and ran across this blog (I got there from the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op blog): Love Made the Radish Grow where she tells you how to make your own laundry soap. I collected the ingredients at my local "Ace Hardware" and whipped up a batch. AWESOME!!!! Good stuff indeed. I suspect it will probably take me 2-3 months to go through the batch that I made, and then I have enough ingredients for a second batch. I spent a total of about $9 for ingredients. So for about 6 months of laundry detergent I paid $9. Usually I buy about 2 bottles per month, at say $2.50 each. So $5.00 per month over six months is $30.00 - so I'm saving some. The small stuff adds up eventually.

Not only that but this formula is very green - and you can control what goes in it.

Next month I plan to make a batch of castille soap to use for my soap shavings. Yet again, I can control what goes in it.

3. Tighty Whities or Boxers?

Tighty Whities!!! I don't even know why. I just like the way they look. Plus in a pinch I can borrow them. That is, assuming that he's not way smaller than me. If he's way huger than me I can just tie a knot. See? Multipurpose. Plus I can put a pair on a dog if I have to. Boxers? Cute, but mostly useless.

For me personally I do a bit of everything. Granny Panties, high cut, string bikini, regular briefs... no thongs or boy shorts. I tried boy shorts for a while 'cuz I thought they were cute but then realized that boy shorts only look cute if you LOOK like a boy. Otherwise, if you're me, you just look like a fat girl squeezing into some kid's underoos. Not pretty.

4. Dogs: On the bed? In the house? On the furniture? Never? What are your rules?

Rules? We have no rules at my house. Dogs, dogs everywhere. Actually there are quite a few dog beds on the floor, and mostly when we're hanging out the dogs either get in the dog beds or lay on the floor. Ok, and sometimes Pia does zoomies and banks off of the backs of the couches. Rules schmules.

Though I do let dogs sleep on the bed the only ones who do are Nick and Ginger.

5. Favorite dog-related website? Favorite NON-dog related website?

Favorite dog-related website is usually the BC Boards. I really don't post there much any more, but I like to go lurk.

Favorite non-dog-related site is a toss up between the Pioneer Woman and the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op. I'm also totally digging a soap making forum this week. I finally tried my hand at making home-made soap this past weekend. I'll have to do a blog on that soon!

Until next week...

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #12

Crooks and Crazies

Well, it looks like another week bites the dust. Glad we made it. Just so that you guys will know, I'm having trouble leaving comments on the blogs that have the little ID drop down boxes. For whatever reason blogger won't let me comment on them. The ones that pop up seem to be working. So I'm not neglecting you!

Secondly... I don't have my cell phone today, so the only way to get me today is email or here on my blog.

1. If you won the lottery (a big one... I'm talking stupid muchos cash) what would you do with the money?
2. After winning the lottery would you work a day job? If so, what would you do?
3. Do you have any auxiliary dogs? Auxiliary dogs are dogs that are not essential to your main purpose (usually tiny, but not always). If you don't have an auxiliary dog what might you choose?
4. Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe (or other recipe) you can share?

Stopping at four today since #4 might be tricksie. :)

Here are my answers:

1. If you won the lottery (a big one... I'm talking stupid muchos cash) what would you do with the money?

I would so buy a new mattress and box springs. This is #1 on my list. Some people would buy a new car. Me? A mattress that won't make my back hurt. Every. Morning. Beyond that I'd pay off my house and rent it out - and find myself a lovely decent sized farm to buy. I'd get an RV - one of the smaller ones that the truck and sleeping areas are all the same vehicles. The last thing we want me doing is trying to pull a trailer. I'd get myself a little beater car hatchback that gets good gas mileage for driving around. I'd have a ton ass of sheep.

And of course I'd donate some money. But I'm not going to act all righteous and say "all I'd do is give it away". Not. Happening. I'm not even going to pretend otherwise. One thing I'd like to do is give a hefty donation to Ovarian Cancer Research in honor of Joan Knight. I'd also like to fund a scholarship to the first college I went to (Southern Wesleyan University).

But yeah. A new mattress.

2. After winning the lottery would you work a day job? If so, what would you do?

This is a toss up for me. I might would just farm. The idea of living as sustainably as possible appeals to me. Or... I might go teach gymnastics again, but I have so many memories tied up in that (many of them quite negative) that I doubt I'd do it. I might would farm for my "living" and just teach a few Zumba classes a week. There's no way I could just NOT do something for work. I also think it would be fun to work at a dog food store. I'm a nerd like that.

3. Do you have any auxiliary dogs? Auxiliary dogs are dogs that are not essential to your main purpose (usually tiny, but not always). If you don't have an auxiliary dog what might you choose?

Why yes, indeed I do! Zippy, aka Small Dog, is my main Auxiliary dog. He's almost 18 years old (will be in January) and I adopted him when he was 11. He's been great fun, though I think his time with me is now limited. He's given so many of us such joy and amusement, and I'd like to think that I've given him a great life in his golden years.

His early years suxxored bad - he was in and out of rescue I think they said seven times by the age of 11. He was half starved at one point, and then given lunch meats to fatten him up. He was tied out. He was kennelled (who kennels a ten pound dog??). Who knows. I think he had some love in there too, and I'm glad we found each other.

He used to bite my ex-husband on occasion. I came eventually to agree with him on that one.

4. Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe (or other recipe) you can share?

This is one I just tried from I did some adaptations and I'm including them here:

1 pound(s) lean leg of lamb, stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
15 oz canned beans or chickpeas drained and rinsed
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes w/green chilis, undrained
1/2 cup(s) canned beef broth or water
1/2 large onion(s), chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
1 clove(s) (large) garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger root, freshly grated (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 tsp sugar or splenda or to taste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or 1 TBsp fresh lemon juice

Put everything but the vinegar in your crockpot. Cook it 6-8 hours on low. 7 was about enough. Last five to ten minutes stir in balsamic vinegar or lemon.

It did NOT call for searing the meat, and surprisingly it turned out GREAT. Very little fat on top, so little I didn't even bother. Very tasty - but you do need the sweetener to bring out the cinnamon and ginger.

Serving size 1 cup, and about 7 points plus WW values. I served over 1oz of pasta, but would be tasty over couscous or rice, or even alone!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Departure from the Norm

I've finally sworn off Internet dating sites (well, at least until the next time I get bored on a Saturday night). Good for me. But I've not yet completely sworn off dating totally. Anyway, I happened to run into someone a week or two ago that I knew when I was a kid (only vaguely though). After running into each other we sent a few facebook messages back and forth.

Then he asked me out for Saturday night. Normal stuff... dinner and a movie. YAY me! I said yes, and was really looking forward to it.

We tossed around a couple more mundane messages when the conversation went really far south. It went a little like this:

Him: Beard or no beard?

Me: I don't really care. I totally dig facial hair on men, but it's a matter of what makes you happy. I was distracted the other day and didn't notice if you had facial hair or not. So go with what makes you comfortable.

Him: I'm curious... just how freaky are you?

To this I thought, Ok, maybe I'm not understanding the question. If you know me you know that I'm not always the quickest on the uptake when it comes to lewd suggestions. Some things just fly right over my head. So I figured I would shut this thing down nicely but try not to completely run him off. I'm walking a line here on this one.

Me: Telling you would take all the fun out of finding out.

See? A little flirty, but dodging and not wanting to go there. In retrospect I should have just gone ahead and delivered the People's Elbow right then. But ya know, I was trying to somewhat preserve this rapidly deteriorating situation. I was hoping that he wasn't trying to go there. That I'd misunderstood.

Him: I like your attitude. Ever been in a threesome?

Yep. He's trying to go there. I wasn't misinterpreting. Apparently my response wasn't the correct one to convey my intent. No more nice girl. No hinting, no dodging - clearly it was time to lay it out there. Liking my attitude wasn't exactly the message I was trying to convey, so I figured I'd better get pretty blunt.

Me: Ok, so clearly I'm not freaky enough to be having this sort of conversation with you this soon.

Him: I'm horny. What are you wearing?


He then proceeded to give me his cell number so that I could text him because it would be faster and "more responsive". Uh... sorry dude. I've had enough response from you.

Me: I think we're on totally different wavelengths here. I'm going to have to pass on the Saturday night thing. But take care!


I mean, really?!? How do we go from mundane to this? Do people really get this personal so quickly these days? He's not the first guy I've had to fend off with this whole "sexting" thing since my divorce. It's really too bad - the guy is really nice looking and seems to have his life in order.

I'm really REALLY mad at him for screwing up my first date with him. Now it's a no date. Poo.

Julie asked me, "Where do you find these people?"

I have no idea.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #11

Crooks and Crazies

What? Why yes, it is National Give Laura Chocolate Day. No, not really, but I've been trying to convince people for two weeks that it is. I guess you guys want to know what it is that I want to know this week, hunh? Allrighty then. Here we go:

1. What movie do you love but are too embarrassed to admit you love it?
2. Ann wants to know: How far do you drive/travel to attend trials, clinics, lessons? How far is too far?
3. What is your theme song (circa Ally McBeal)?
4. Laura S wants to know: If you had to choose a new dog activity, one that you had never done before, what would you choose?
5. What would your dog choose (or scribe, if you're Pippin)?

1. What movie do you love but are too embarrassed to admit you love it?

Ok, I secretly love the Ace Ventura movies. They're crude and disgusting, and I laugh like a lunatic every time I watch them. Even when I'm grossed out I still can't help but watch and laugh. Most of my friends know that I have a teenage boy type taste in comedies, but I rarely ever admit to loving me some Ace Ventura. Alllllllrighty then. Glad we talked about that.

2. Ann wants to know: How far do you drive/travel to attend trials, clinics, lessons? How far is too far?

Right now I'm pretty limited by my transportation. If I had a more reliable vehicle and more money I'd happily go 8-10 hours away. As it is now I have the AAA 200 mile towing thingie, so I go no more than 200 miles. :)

3. What is your theme song (circa Ally McBeal)?

I'm sure you're all wondering what the phooey I'm talking about. Last week we talked about theme songs on the trial field. Now I'm wondering about other theme songs - life situation theme songs. I actually have several theme songs, prepared for different situations.

a. When I'm wearing heels and walking my sexy walk I play "Mustang Sally" in my head. Oh yeah.

b. When I'm walking down the hall with my boss' tea cup in my hand I play the "Imperial Death March" in my head. You know, think Darth Vader.

c. Sometimes it's "Fat Bottomed Girls" for just random days. Yes. Really.

4. Laura S wants to know: If you had to choose a new dog activity, one that you had never done before, what would you choose?

Probably Dock Diving. I cannot bring myself to consider some of the more sedate ones and though I loves me some cougar dancing I don't care to do freestyle particularly. Well, maybe I could teach my dogs the "Running Man" and we could do our freestyle to some MC Hammer songs. I hear that Hammer pants are coming back in style. I think I still have mine somewhere.

5. What would your dog choose (or scribe, if you're Pippin)?

June would choose Flyball. But really... there's just no sanity in putting June in a situation that might involve barking. Nick and Linc would totally choose Dock Diving. I don't know about Pia yet - though she does love to tool around in a pond. Ginger? Sunbathing. Zippy? Snorkeling, apparently.

What? Sunbathing and Snorkeling are not dog sports? The heck you say.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday's Flea in Your Ear

Friday's Flea in Your Ear (Fitness Tips):

- Today at every stoplight suck in your belly. Tighten up your abs and hold them until the light turns green. Don't forget to breathe. If you're not driving then try it when commercials come on TV. If you don't have TV... well... pick something.

- If you find yourself munchy hungry ravenous get in my belly later in the day take a look at your protein intake in the morning. Bump it up a little and see if your willpower doesn't take a serious boost!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #10

Crooks and Crazies

I actually forgot that today was Thursday until just now. Today's TMT is somewhat of a Free Form Edition. What I mean is that I'm going to give us all a broad topic, and I'm being intentionally vague because I'd like for everyone to feel like they can interpret it and answer it in ANY way they choose.

That being said, do me a favor. When you come back to link up please link to your specific post. Then, six months from now, we'll have it for comparison right at our fingertips. More or less. You'll see why when you see the question/topic.

So. Today's TMT Question/Topic is:

Going forward over the next six months, what are your goals?

Goals. I gotz them. For my life in general over the next six months:

1. Get my Zumba instructor license, and start teaching.
2. Get my finances all in a place that makes me happy (or at least be moving in that direction)
3. Clean up the potty mouth (how does this keep coming up on my list???)
4. Lose 35 pounds
5. Change my work circumstances
6. Make lots of lanyards to sell
7. Farmsit more
8. Get a new CrazyMobile. I don't WANT to add this one to my list. *sigh*

For the dogs:

1. Get Linc running in Open, or at the least ready for it. I guess this would involve actually making some trials. And working my dogs more regularly.
2. See how Pia progresses, and start her when she's ready. I'll probably give her a go about once every month or so until she seems ready. This may or may not fall into the six month time frame
3. Get Nick some places where I can stretch his outruns some.
4. Try to know when it's time to do the right thing for Zippy. I don't want him to linger and suffer. I don't think that time is too far off, unfortunately.
5. Get my dogs all worked more regularly.

This isn't a goal specifically, but I've been tossing around the idea of writing a book. About chickens.

My overall general goal over the next six months is to put myself into a place where I'm doing more in my life than just existing. More than just surviving. I guess in this world and this economy there are probably a LOT of people that are just surviving. I know I'm not alone. But I'm over it. SO over it.

In six months we'll do this again - and compare to see where we are in accomplishing our goals. Goals are good. They keep us grounded and motivated!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Lanyard Winner

Using a random drawing generator, cuz I didn't go to Zumba last night, we have a winner. Doniene won the drawing, and has the option of a lanyard or scarf. Doniene, I'll send you an email! Congratulations.

Completely coincidentally, Doniene has linked up every single week!

Pia Wild Wing says thank for playing!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #9

Crooks and Crazies

It's that time again! Time to tell me what I want to know. I am actually this nosey in real life, though I don't grill my friends. They just don't know I'm this nosey because I just let them think they're telling me because they want to. It's my evil plan for world domination at work. muahahaha

This week I'd like to know:

1. If you're not at the 2011 Sheepdog finals this weekend what are you planning to do?
2. One item you NEVER walk onto the trial field (any trial field, or training class will suffice) without?
3. Katy wants to know if you have a pre-run ritual that you observe?
4. How old were you when you had your first real kiss?
5. Bonnie wants to know what you do for yard mud control during the winter?

1. If you're not at the 2011 Sheepdog finals this weekend what are you planning to do?

I was thinking about hosting a "finals party" at my house for all of us who can't afford to go. But then it occurred to me that if we can't afford to go then probably we can't all afford to drive to my house to feel sorry for ourselves. So instead I'm planning to watch pretty much every moment of it on streamed video. WOOT! I also plan to eat lots of PB&J sandwiches. I'm going to turn into a PB&J.

So don't be calling me unless either a. the world is ending or b. you have amazing commentary cuz you're watching the streaming too.

Or maybe c. you have really good gossip that can't wait. Or if something is really wrong. And don't be coming over here unless you bring food. And diet dews.

I'm mostly kidding about not calling me. I'm not even kidding about bringing food if you show up on my doorstep though.

2. One item you NEVER walk onto the trial field (any trial field, or training class will suffice) without?

Sunglasses. I never ever walk onto the trial field, training field, or out into a pasture without sunglasses. The downside is that often I like to hang them on my shirt, which often tangles them up with my whistle/lanyard, and then I have to stand there and detangle. You'd think I'd learn my lesson.

3. Katy wants to know if you have a pre-run ritual that you observe?

I go to the porta-john. Repeatedly. Yes, really. Even if I don't need to go I think I need to go. Over and over. I also stand there and try to look like I'm cool and composed but inside... porta-john baby. I used to try to envision our runs but usually I got too creative and thought about train wrecks. I found that to be rather counter productive. So now I just sort of wander around and try to breathe and not throw up.

Oh, and I don't eat before a run. Even if I don't run until 5pm.

When I walk onto the field with my dog I play the theme song from the first Matrix movie in my head.

4. How old were you when you had your first real kiss?

Stop reading Mom.

12. It was gross. I get all ewwww just thinking about it. I'd rather never kiss again the rest of my life than have to endure THAT again. Oh wait! I'm already well on my way with the "never again" thing, eh? Yeah, no magic there.

5. Bonnie wants to know what you do for yard mud control during the winter?

I pretty much just hope for the best. I leave the yard alone but if it's wet out I line the kitchen floor (my back door is the kitchen door) with towels. If it's really, REALLY bad nasty out I let dogs in one at a time and towel off feet. Yes, that's a lot of feet. But hey... I have white carpet. Don't judge me. The white carpet came about when I had only one dog.

I'm thinking about throwing down some straw this year. I've tried mulch in other areas but for some reason my dogs just want to eat mulch. Weirdos.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Random Blather

Oh yes, it's time for another random blather post.

I got a new cell phone Friday two weeks ago. It randomly turns itself off when I try to view my own freaking blog with it. My own blog hates me. Or the phone hates me. Maybe both. This annoys me. It also begins to randomly flash the screen light on every 15 minutes beginning sometime around 4am. This also annoys me (um... hello... and it wakes me up). I'm going to have to go to the Verizon store tonight to take it back.


And, no, I don't recognize the ring tones on this phone as "rings" any more than I did the other one. I also don't lose it any less. However, it does have a nice little guard so that when I drop it (which I haven't yet) it won't damage it as much. Small favors.

I bought the unlimited ticket so that I could stream the 2011 National Sheepdog Finals to my leetle heart's content. Last year I could barely drag myself away from the screen. I cannot wait to start watching! If you want to watch too, take a look at the links in my post from yesterday. I just can't help it. In case you were wondering, buying the unlimited ticket is pretty much two weeks of very conservative grocery shopping. I will likely lose weight the next two weeks. Which, isn't that really the point? Sortof?

PBJ... oh PBJ... wherefor art thou, PBJ? In my belly you say? Oh my love, PBJ.

A Zumba instructor class has opened about 30 minutes from my house in November. I'm signing up tonight! Well, I will be if I ever get out of the phone store.

Oh yeah, I'll be teaching Cougar Dancing in NO time! Lookout world.

While farm-sitting for Julio little miss Pia turned on. I didn't get good video, but it was good! She went from bopping along behind me to WOOT SHEEP! in 0.2 seconds. Ok, more like thirty seconds.

I know I owe new Pia pictures. Soon, I promise! She has a few longish hairs near the withers, and off of her little butt cheeks but otherwise she's still downright slick. All but her floofy ears.

I'm thinking I might occasionally post some lanyards here, and if anyone wants to buy them they can. No pressure. Seriously.

I also promise to do the drawing tomorrow night. I live by myself and they don't take kindly to personal crap at work, so I've not had anyone to help. I'll get my sister (please!) to help me at Zumba.

I love ice cream cake.

Being lactose intolerant sucks.

This does not stop me from eating ice cream cake.

Or bacon cheese fries.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 National Sheepdog Finals

The 2011 National Sheepdog Finals are upon us. I'd like to give a special shout out to my real life buddies, and to my blogger friends who are running there. Best of luck - I know you'll all rock it!

Last year I watched the Finals streamed live - and this year they're doing it again (though somewhat differently).

For information on streaming video watch this Instructional Video.

Click here to pre-order your DVD.

To register to view the webcast please click HERE.

Since I'm in a linking kind of mood, here are a few more for you:

Sheepdog News
Finals Blog

Lastly, per Heather via the BC Boards please also note:

1. DVDs are ten percent off up until the end of the Finals on September 18. After that, they can be ordered through early November. Once the ordering deadline has passed, they won't be available again unless they show up on Ebay. So if you think you might want one, buy one! (I've gotten a lot of emails over the past year from people who really want to buy the 2010 DVDs, and are sorry and surprised to learn that they can't.)

2. If you've purchased an unlimited web cast ticket, you'll be offered a further discount on your DVD. So if you`ve bought such a ticket and want a DVD, do NOT order now. You'll be sent an email after the web cast with a link for your discounted price.

Best of luck to all - wish I could be there!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #8

Crooks and Crazies

Guess what? We hit 20 people linked up last week. I'll be doing a drawing over the weekend and will contact the winner. I think more people have been playing than have been linking up, so as per usual don't forget to link to my blog in your post, and then come back here to link back to YOUR post.

This week's questions (my apologies - I'm not so much into digging deep this week. I promise to get back to more thought provoking subjects next week):

1. What is the biggest thing that grossed you out over the past week?
2. What do you feed your dogs?
3. If you could move anywhere where would you live?
4. What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or thing that happened to you) this week?
5. If you couldn't have your breed of choice what would be next on your list?

I'll have to come back and answer as I have time today. We had a death in the family over the weekend and with evertything that's been going on time is sort of sparse at the moment. But you guys should stay tuned... there will probably be a chicken story in here somewhere.

My answers (editing to add):

1. What is the biggest thing that grossed you out over the past week?

Well... I farm-sat for Julie over the long weekend. I think pretty much by now my feather-phobia is pretty well known, but in case you don't know... I'm skeered of chickens. Anyway, there were two chickens sitting in nest-boxes when I went into the chicken house (shudder) to collect eggs on Sunday. I needed to get the eggs from under them, which meant I was going to need to put my hand under them. I took a stick in there thinking I could just poke the chicken with the stick and while she was distracted I could steal the eggs.

This sort of worked. The first chicken pecked the stick (I screamed like a little girl every time she pecked the stick) and stood up. But she didn't come out. So after she stood I walked out of the chicken house.. and she jumped down to get some chicken feed.

SCORE! I jumped in and collected her eggs. Ok, more like walked carefully around the throng of chickens at my feet, but whatever.

The second chicken was NOT moving. She pecked and pecked and I screamed and screamed. FINALLY I just stuck my hand in there. She pecked the stick and she pecked me, and I chanted "Oh god oh god oh god" and got the eggs out. Thinking I might have missed one I put my hand back in there. This leads me to my grossest thing of the week (and it's not what you think):

I touched her legs. I literally almost threw up on the spot. Chicken legs are not cuddly. They're scaley and... just... ew. Gross. I don't know how I ever thought I could actually catch and kill a chicken when just feeling their feet makes me want to hurl.

Second grossest thing was that I kept rapping my head on their perches in the chicken house. I now probably have chicken disease in my forehead.

Oh, and Sandy? Sandy stood there and watched. I'm sure we all wish she had videoed.

2. What do you feed your dogs?

At the moment Diamond Naturals. I rotate around, and I like to I try to get them onto something that is NOT a Diamond product. But really it's the best bang for the buck I've found. Sometimes I add in some canned food, cottage cheese, sardines, eggs, mackeral, ground lamb, or whatever. But I'm careful with the add ins these days as I often work long hours and try to avoid potty problems. When money was better and before P&G bought out Natura I rotated with Healthwise or Innova Adult when I could.

3. If you could move anywhere where would you live?

Ireland. Or Scotland. Or Wales. They call to me. I still have family in Scotland, and I'd move there if I could. I'd have myself a lovely little cottage and sheep. And an old cast iron claw foot bathtub.

4. What is the funniest thought that occurred to you (or thing that happened to you) this week?

I'm not feeling the funny much at the moment so until I can think of something I want to go with gross again. When I stepped outside this morning the entire neighborhood reeked of human vomit. I literally almost gagged. It was SO strong that I went out in my PJs and walked the perimeter of my fence to make sure nobody had barfed on my fence. I never could find the source of the smell, and when I went back out an hour later the smell was gone. But it was NASTY.

Editing to add that Ginger has now supplied me with my funniest thing. This is the face she makes when I go to open her mouth to pop a benadryl in there. I KNOW it looks like I'm doing that to her but I'm not. Earlier she started doing it before I even touched her.

Yes, you fans of TurdiTude may thank me now.

5. If you couldn't have your breed of choice what would be next on your list?

Why, a Papillon of course! Actually, probabably about 15 Papillons. I'd be a pap hoarder. I'd be a little old lady with tiny dogs stuffed in my dresser drawers. For reals. If I couldn't have a Pap I might want a really big galoof of a dog. A fluffy one. One that doesn't drool much though, cuz I'm not a big fan of drool. OH! Wait! Maybe I'd have one of those dogs with the dreadlocks. They rock, and you can wear them like a hairpiece like the dude in that commercial does.

And when it's time to bring the sheep in I'll send my Papillon out to get them.

I'm totally holding out for the paps stuffed in my dresser drawers.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #7

Crooks and Crazies

Yes, indeedy, it is time for another Tell Me Thursday! If you would, please link back to my blog in your post, and don't forget to add the button too (code at the bottom). Come back here to link back to your post. For those interested in being entered in my lanyard/scarf drawing when we hit 20, I won't know who you are if you don't come link up!

Anyway, I can't believe we've hit week #7. Honestly I wasn't even sure we'd make it to week two, but you guys have all been rock stars. I'm running around like a crazy person this week, and I'll try to stop by everyone's blog but may or may not have time to comment. Today's questions:

1. What five things can't you live without?
2. How do you transport your dogs? This question suggested by several peeps, including Mara.
3. What role does obedience play in your training or running of your dog(s)?
4. At what point do you start putting commands on your dogs?
5. Do you talk to strangers in elevators? Question posted by Laura #1

1. What five things can't you live without?

Lip goo
Ankle socks
Good Coffee. Oh heck, any coffee as long as I get some.
My dogs

2. How do you transport your dogs?

I drive what I refer to as the CrazyMobile. It is a '95 Ford Aerostar with nothing but crates in the back. I drive it like I stole it. It has 240,000 miles on it, and usually it just rattles a little louder when I step on the gas. My friends think I drive Miss Daisy because I'm skeered, but mostly I'm just afraid I might leave my transmission on the highway somewhere if I go any faster. When I bought it (for $300) I threw the seats away and started packing crates in. I am badazz doggie soccer mom rebel without a cause. I haz sliding door without a handle cuz I pulled it off. You guys are in AWE of the CrazyMobile. Blazing speed of power. Rawr. I pwned a guy in a Mustang week before last.

I roxxors the minivan.

3. What role does obedience play in your training or running of your dog(s)?

Seriously? Not all that much. I mean, yeah, I expect them to by and large come when I call, lie down when I tell them to, and I expect them to flank the direction I tell them to go.

But really? For us it's SO much more fluid than that. If I'm dead wrong I also expect them to ignore me and do the right thing. If I lie them down and the situation changes and their intervention is needed I expect them to get up and fix things. But if I lie them down and tell them to stay there I expect them to stay there. You know, unless they need to fix something. I can't tell you how many times I've insisted my dogs do something to find out they were resisting because I was wrong. I guess I could say that obedience is important because when I insist they do what I'm insisting. However, I've also learned to trust at least Nick's judgement sometimes and if he's resisting often I will leave him be. He's usually right.

I'm always baffled at their amazing ability to understand this. The non border collies (Ginger and Zippy) don't get this grey area stuff. Or maybe they're just too ornery to care. But it always amazes me to see that stockdogs seem to just "get it".

Oh, and I totally expect them to do their stupid tricks on command. Most of my dogs know a few stupid tricks. I say few because *I* can only come up with a few before I'm over it.

4. At what point do you start putting commands on your dogs?

Um... maybe about two days before their first trial? I pretty much start using a "lie down" command when we start working, and a that'll do, but I don't actually start putting actual flank commands on for a while (though I may use them somewhat conversationally in the beginning). I eventually get around to it when I realize I'm about to walk to the post at a trial and my ragamuffin dogs don't have flank commands. I think this sort of ties into the natural dog thing. Linc is not as much of a natural dog, so he had flank commands pretty early. Not so much on the lie down. Oh wait, he still doesn't have much of a stop!

I didn't have a solid flank command in sight on Nick at his first trial. It was Novice-Novice, and yea though we sucked through the valley of the shadow of the gates, we won. I also walked a straight line... to the middle of nowhere near the panels. He took every flank command I didn't give him. But I digress.

Early on I like to let the dog work, and learn from the sheep. When everything else falls away I want the overall concept to be "go get the sheep and bring them to me". So we wear, and I'm quiet. Impossible to imagine, I know. Eventually though I *do* get around to putting flank commands on.

5. Do you talk to strangers in elevators?

Hello? Have you guys met me? I think the better question for me would be more like, "Laura Reloaded, when do you ever NOT talk? Have you ever NOT talked to a person anywhere that you've been?" Yes, I talk to people in elevators. I find that their discomfort makes a tiny little giggle blossom up inside of me. I am easily amused.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #6

Crooks and Crazies

Sorry for the delay today. I had these great intentions that involved getting this up at like 7:30 am, EST. Clearly that's not happening. While I'm thinking of it - if you have questions you want me to ask, or questions you'd like to answer shoot me a quick email (it is enabled on my profile page). See? I'm even giving you all an opportunity to shamelessly promote yourselves. You don't even have to be playing, I'm all ears for anyone who emails.

Ok. Questions for today:

1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?
2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food? Clearly I have food on the brain much of the time.
3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports?
4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! (For example, how did you get from Novice to Open? How long did it take? Train dogs? Buy dogs? I'll take answers for any sort of discipline, or even how did you go from wild dog that didn't listen to well behaved dog - interpret this however you like.) This question was suggested by Pippin.
5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.

1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?

Uh... well... pretty much I start by calling the big dogs and usually the puppy comes too (as a side note, I have found that this method does NOT work as well for dogs that don't start out with me from the beginning). I've found that for some dogs this is pretty much enough, but others (Linc) not so much. When I start teaching them by themselves I make a big deal over them when they come in difficult situations. With Pia I've actually set out with a treat to specifically teach her what I am asking. I find that usually at some point I wind up having to walk a dog down, and then usually after that they are solid. Gah, I'll never forget Nick at 16 weeks at a Jack Knox clinic up in VA... he ran away from me and I spent 20 minutes walking him down. I'm pretty sure my head was about to explode off of my shoulders.

So I'm trying to circumvent public humiliation by paying closer attention to recalls with Pia.

2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food?

Mmmm. Ham's. Bacon Cheese Fries. 'Nuff said. Second to that is probably Outback or Lone Star Steakhouse. But really I love a good Italian or Japanese place too. Oh, or Mexican. Ok, pretty much anywhere is my favorite.

3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports?

Zumba! It is my new love. I'm nursing an angry knee at the moment, though, so no Zumba for me in the last two weeks. Boo! This is probably one of the few things I do that is just for me and doesn't involve dogs.

4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! This question was suggested by Pippin.

I got June in 2005. April 2nd, actually. I started taking lessons with her (on stock) and though I took her to two trials we never got past the lift and it occurred to me that I'd need another dog. I bought my right hand man, Nick, as a puppy from Julie Poudrier out of her Twist by Roy Johnson's Sonny in mid-2006. He pretty much hit the ground working, and then I gave him a whirl in Novice/Novice in December of 2007 (or was it Jan 2008??). I ran him in Nursery, and managed to get Nursery leg but then he had a soft tissue injury. Anyway, I moved him up to Open in Sept. of 2009, just past three years old. We've done pretty well for ourselves given how little we've trialed in the last year or so.

How did we get there? Lessons with Robin French, for starters. I also bought a handful of well broke hair sheep from Robin, and kept them out at Julie's (for both of us to work).

The short answer is... it's the dog.

5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.

There are a few things I would have done differently with Linc (things that I am making sure to do with Pia after learning this lesson with Linc). I found myself typically only correcting him for not coming when called (too much redirection when a correction would have sufficed). I have really struggled with the fact that for a while every time I corrected him on stock he'd leave them and come to me. I don't know that he's EVER actually understood correction on stock, though I've worked hard to teach him (remedially) what corrections mean off of stock.

Another thing I'd do differently is send him to stay with friends overnight at a much younger age. This was hard for him to fathom, and as a result he has been a bit of a punk about it. I probably would also have done more ridiculous trick training with him. Read that more as a "more team building" sort of thing with him. I think he would have benefited.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Letters to a Small Dog

Dear Small Dog,

Though we've only been together for six years now, sometimes it feels like a lifetime. At 17.5 years old I often wonder just how much longer you'll be with me. Then somehow you do things to make me think that you might be like a parrot; that you might outlive your human. So if we're going to make it for a while longer yet, we have a few matters to discuss.

First premise: swimming is bad. Do not try it again. Ponds are not your friend. Because of this new obsession of yours I can no longer trust you to not go wading into water and then drown. This is both hysterically funny and frustrating at the same time. I have no desire to have to retrieve you from Robin's pond, so when we go out there next you will find yourself on a leash. This is really too bad because I KNOW how much you love walkabouts there.

Secondly, please stop launching yourself off of the back steps. For that matter, please do not launch yourself off of anything anymore. Last time at Julie's you launched yourself off of her front porch. It was distressing. Don't do it.

Please do your best to not face plant onto the sidewalk. I'd appreciate it if you'd try also to not chin plant into the steps going back up. Maybe it would be best to just not even go near the steps. Besides, you've already declared the doggie door a no-fly zone, so this is really the next logical step.

Since you don't see very well anymore and your body hurts, much of the time I find it necessary to carry you up and down the (two) steps, in order to avoid the above-mentioned face plant scenario. Seeing as to how we don't have much choice in this - at least not until I can build you a tiny little ramp - is it REALLY necessary to growl at me? Every time? Your displeasure has been duly noted. Truly.

Thirdly, please note that jerking your feet and bucking like a bronco when I'm trying to trim your toenails results in blood. Jerking your feet while I'm trying to stop the bleeding only results in the bloodstop stuff smeared all over both of us, and very little of it actually winding up on your toes. While I'm on the subject, please also refrain from howling like a banshee in my ear. Oh, and holster the teeth, OK? I don't know how we did toes for 5.5years with no complaint and now this is where we are. It's just no good.

Lastly, please stop enticing Pia to play. Every time I convince her that she shouldn't pounce on you because you're old, doddery, arthritic and cantankerous you blow it by going over there and play bowing to her. I don't even know how you CAN play bow since everything ELSE seems to hurt. I understand that playing with her makes you feel like a young buck again. I get it! But please... when I've intervened on your behalf be the bigger dog and walk away. Ok?

In return, I promise to take you to the groomer next time your bloomers need a trim. I am truly sorry for the butcher job I did to your tiny little hiney.

Clearly I won't be quitting my day job to become a groomer.

I AM sorry about the bloody toes, so next time I'll do it when you're sleeping (like I did last time).

If you will do these things for me I will give you extra sardines on fish night. I'll also stop offering you up free to a good home to every person I meet. Probably.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pia and Jade

I took dogs out to Denise's last weekend, mostly so that Pia and Jade could visit, and so that Denise and I could visit. Denise got some lovely shots of them both - and as always all photos belong to her and please do not use without permission.

Now that THAT is out of the way, the pups are now 16 weeks old. I was a bit dismayed last week as one of Pia's ears had deflated. But they're back up - either tipped:

or completely pricked:

She's teething right now, so I'll be interested to see how they wind up. When I weighed Pia a couple of days ago she clocked in at 15 pounds - though she'd not yet pooped so lets call it 14.5.

Jade has great ears too!

Both pups seem to just, as Denise puts it, have good intentions.

At home right now mostly Pia is just learning to have general manners. She's learning that while Zippy likes to play with her she's too big and too rough for him now. She's learning that yes, she has to come when I call her, and that my socks and flip flops are not for puppies.

She did have her first exposure to sheep this past weekend. She showed some glimmers of interest - and even at one point was going to head them. I could see her checking in and flaring out. Very cool.

It's always interesting to me to see how each new dog reacts to the first exposure to sheep. Linc? He followed me around hopping up and down going "Hi Mom! Hi Mom! Hi Mom!". Nick took off the second his little (or not so little) feet hit the ground, went around, and brought me the sheep. Pia showed some interest and instinct - and almost went around a couple of times, but wasn't completely turned on yet. Very neat. Can't wait to see what she does next time!

I think this is my favorite part - the first few times on sheep. It's all so fresh, free and exciting... yet timeless.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #5

Crooks and Crazies

It's that time again! Time to tell me what I want to know. And hey, don't forget to go give some comment love on each other's blogs.

Today I'd like to know:

1. Who is your newest dog? Where is he/she from, and why did you choose this particular dog/breeding? This question posted by Jodi.
2. What traits drew you to this dog or breeding? (also by Jodi)
3. What's on your feet right now?
4. What are you reading right now?
5. What upcoming trials are you looking forward to? If you don't trial dogs I'll take whatever activity that you're looking forward to.

1. Who is your newest dog? Where is he/she from, and why did you choose this particular dog/breeding? This question posted by Jodi.

My newest dog is Pia (aka Pia Maria Anna Lucia). She is from Denise Wall - she is out of Denise's May, by Lyle Lad's Shep. She is 15.5 weeks old. The more dogs I work/use the more I get a feel for what I do and don't like in a dog. I had decided that I didn't really want another puppy any time soon, but I just couldn't pass this one up. I chose this particular breeding because I think that they will turn out to be the types of dogs I find myself drawn to. Though I don't know Shep personally I've heard tremendous things about him. I sure do like May, and I know Denise and felt like if this wouldn't be a good cross for me she'd let me know. See Tuesday night's post for a few updated Pia pics. :)

2. What traits drew you to this dog or breeding? (also by Jodi)

For starters I loves me a natural dog. I'm still in a place where I need a dog to have a lot of stock sense, and to know what to do. I'm not always fast enough, and it helps me to have a dog that does what needs doing without a ton of input from me. Not only that, but I just plain old flat out don't like to have to tell my dog everything to do. I like a dog that is somewhat easy to train, and nice to handle. Plenty under the hood, but inclined to partner up. These were all important decision makers for me. I also was looking for a dog that didn't need to be worked down. With my limited stock access situation at the moment I don't have room for a dog that needs to be worked down first, and I need a dog that's good in the house. I expect this to all be the case for Pia. So far she's been a very good puppy.

Uh... can I also hope for prick ears and a stylish dog?

3. What's on your feet right now?

Pia thinks they need to be bitten. I don't blame her. I need some more little clog type slippers.

Adding: those were on my feet earlier, now I'm in dress shoes at work.

4. What are you reading right now?

I am reading two books: "The Laughing Corpse" by Laurell Hamilton, and "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver.

"The Laughing Corpse" by Laurell Hamilton is a fiction book about Anita Blake, the vampire slayer. This is the second one in that particular series and I'm enjoying it. Hamilton is very witty, and really engages the imagination right away. There's plenty of dialogue and vivid detail in the books to keep me entertained.

"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" addresses how to sit at the feet of Jesus (how to rest in Him, and develop a relationship with Him) in a world where we as women are so crazy busy. One of the ladies at work passed it over for me to read. I thought she was trying to "save me" but now that I've started the book I realize that she actually pegged it right on. The book has been exactly what I've needed to get my relationship with God started back on the right track. Not so much doing, but more BEING with Him.

5. What upcoming trials are you looking forward to? If you don't trial dogs I'll take whatever activity that you're looking forward to.

Well... none for me this year. There's the slightest (and I do mean slightest) of possibilities that I might manage to make it for a day or so of Rural Hill, but as of right now I'm pretty much homeward bound (due to finances). However, I AM looking forward to farm-sitting for a friend during an upcoming trial. I loves me some farm sitting.

And not dog or trial related, but I'm also looking forward to getting my Zumba instructor's license. I've got the money scraped together, and I'm just waiting for a class close enough to open up. WooHOO!

Don't forget - on the day that we reach 20 folks linking up I'm going to enter everyone on the list into a drawing for a lanyard. I was going to pick either the first person or the 20th person, but decided a drawing seemed more fun. So there it is!

So here's your code for the button (and by the way, I'm having a new button designed - should be ready here before too long):

If you have questions about how to join in I'll give a description in the comments.

And here's the spot where you link up:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wordless (almost) Wednesday

I know, I know. Hard to imagine me wordless. I was trying to get updated Pia pics (she's fifteen weeks) and she was not cooperative. Nick, on the other hand, was feeling quite photogenic today.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tell Me Thursday #4

Crooks and Crazies

Yay! It's Friday Eve. I'm not entirely sure how I got here this week without imploding or exploding, but I made it. Hope the rest of you did too.

Before I pop the questions, I've got a couple of little things to tell you. On the week that we hit 20 people linking up, I'm going to make and give that person either a beaded lanyard or knitted scarf (their choice, and choice of color). I'm also going to give variations to some of the questions so that people without working dogs can play too.


Ginger, you're such a good model. :)

Questions for today:

1. In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously? posed by Ann
2. How many crates do you have? For reals.
3. How do you keep your dogs in shape?
4. Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?
5. What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can subsitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs).

1. In sheepdog training (or lets call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your dog, your lack of progress too seriously? posed by Ann

Uh... well... I can't say that I've figured this out yet really. I've learned to relax just a little, but quite frankly I hold my dogs and myself to a very high standard. I'm dealing with some lack of progress as we have very limited access to stock at the moment. I'm pretty sure I would have Linc in open by now if I got him to sheep more than once every few weeks. But I've accepted that this is my situation for now. And... lets be honest... I can't afford to trial at the moment either, so our lack of progress isn't smacking me in the face. When I was trialing them more often I was frustrated with some things that popped up (like Nick crossing at my feet at Rural Hill grrr).

I'm pretty emotionally invested in how my dogs work sometimes. I've actually had to work hard to become somewhat more circumspect. I've had to learn to work Linc as if I were someone else, and it has made a difference. When I work to separate my dogs and my value from how they're working it helps me to be more objective. I'm not always able to do this, but I'm able to more and more, and they benefit from it. It takes some undue pressure off.

2. How many crates do you have? For reals.

I'm down to 20 now. WOOT! I actually MADE myself throw away a partially broken crate a few weeks ago. I actually went down to the trash and brought it back up twice before I finally convinced myself to leave it. I think this is probably some sort of sign of illness, but whatever. 6 dogs, 20 crates... not an awful ratio if you ask me. Relatively speaking.

Hi. My name is Laura. I have a crate problem.

3. How do you keep your dogs in shape?

Right now? Hah! When I can I take the working dogs out for a trail run, and some swimming. It's been so ridiculously hot this summer that mostly we all just try not to suffocate. I long for the day when I have enough property to be able to get them out and *really* run them.

4. Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?

Kenny Johnson - plays Ham in Saving Grace. Yum. Yum yum yum.

5. What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can subsitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs).

At one time I kept some sheep out at Julie P's. After my divorce I had to sell them, so since then I've been mostly bumming sheep time off of friends. But I'm a good worker, and try to earn my keep as much as I can. I'll say, though, with friends further away, gas expensive, and no sheep of my own I find myself in regular sheep withdrawal. Farm withdrawal. Friend withdrawal (though I do have other non-farm owning friends). On the other hand, it makes me even more motivated to get my own farm. Not that I wasn't already motivated.

To my friends who share so generously with me, thank you. I always hope they know it, but it doesn't hurt to be told every now and then that you're appreciated. They are.

Don't tell them this, but I'd go out there and help with sheep and chores even if I couldn't ever work my dogs again... even if I didn't have a dog at all. I enjoy the sheep that much. They're even better than horses cuz you can eat them. If you ride them (which I wouldn't recommend) then you don't even have as far to fall.

Kidding. Kidding about riding. Not kidding about how much I appreciate my friends, and not kidding about eating them. Sheep, not friends.

So, link up, and tell me!

Here's your code: