Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

We hope Santa Paws was good to you and your pack.

Cosi, Mike, Brisco, and Miss Jenny wish you health and happiness in 2009.

Here we are at Grandma & Grandpa's house in Indiana.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Parents

I love my parents.

My Dad
I love how my Dad is so well read. As I sit in his home office/den/library and look at the shelves of books, I'm impressed not only by the books in his collection, but the fact that they've obviously been read. There are a number of books on religion, church histories, and Bible interpretations. I tease him that he's crammin' for the final. I could always bring anyone home--friends, boyfriends, school mates--and my father could talk to anyone about anything. I loved to "show him off."

My Mom
Mom loves sports, all dogs, and just plain being with other people. She's the original "joiner." It's difficult to list all the clubs, community groups, and committees she's served. She knows everyone and enjoys an evening of cards, planning the next fund raiser, or deciding what type of flowers to plant in the commumity's entrance. My husband and mother can often be found in front of the TV watching baseball, basketball, or football. And it doesn't have to be professional level sports; Mom is the first one at the local AAA baseball game or to her grandson's middle school football scrimmage. She loves it all.

Loved spending Christmas and time with Mom and Dad. I get my batteries recharged and feel grounded when I'm around them. I'm getting more like my mom and dad every day--and I couldn't be more proud of that fact.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Poodles Annonymous

"Hi, my name is Bonnie and I own a Poodle." Hi, Bonnie!

That's how I imagine the Poodles Annonymous meetings would start. What is it with people and their preconceived notions about Poodles? Maybe it's the haircut. Most people see only show Poodles on TV with the Continental Clip. I think anytime you shave a dog's butt for all to see, you're inviting issues!

Miss Jenny

Jenny is my second Poodle. She's a miniature, about 14" at the shoulder. I have never seen a smarter, more intuitive dog. Nothing gets past that nose. If I had unlimited time and money (dang this working stuff!), I'd do tracking with Jenny. She's stone brilliant. I always know if there's a mouse in the kitchen and exactly the trail it took. Makes it easy to set the trap.

Then there's her loving side. No dog snuggles better than Jenny. Of course, Jenny always seeks out and usually gets the best: best spot on the couch, best crate (most space), warmest lap, and best vantage point on the couch to watch out the window. Whenever I'm blue, she'll slam to my side the moment I sit down. Then looks up at you with the warmest brown eyes and says, "Pet me. Go ahead. It'll make you feel better and take your mind off your troubles."

Jenny And Agility

Well, we tried. I was a novice handler and didn't know what to do to motivate Jenny. Brisco had all the drive, and I was at a loss with Jenny. She frustrated me because she would want to play (sometimes) but usually on her terms (No, not now, I think I'll wait. Thanks.). Since I had the perfect agility dog in Brisco, I didn't take the time to work with Jenny once I saw that she didn't take to the game. She became The Go-Along Girl. This photo shows you what Jenny does best at a trial. At the end of our run, I would say to Brisco, "Let's find Jenny!" We'd race back to the set up, and he'd actually run to Jenny's crate and touch noses through the bars.

Jenny and Mike

When I got Mike, she was not amused. Puppy--ew! She bared her teeth at him and would have nothing to do with him. Then at some point she discovered she could boss him around. She liked that, and a new love bloomed. Mike adored her from the start. She like to be adored. They clicked.

I will forever be indebted to Jenny for this one thing: She got Mike to stop puking in the car. Mike was so car sick; he'd drool non-stop and end up getting sick. We couldn't even go on a short, 10-minute trip without incident. My family lives in Indiana so when we travel, it's 10 hours. I tried everything with Mike--no results.

Finally as a last resort, I put him in a crate with Jenny. She showed him what you do: circle, cirlce, lie down, sleeeeeeeep, preferrably in the sun. She's always been a GREAT traveler. Mike followed her lead and was soon asleep with his chin on her hip. He's been fine in the car ever since.

Thanks, Jen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Other Passion

Yes, there is more to life than agility.

About three years ago I revisited knitting. I remember learning to do all kinds of needle crafts as a girl. Both of my grandmothers taught my sister and me to embroider, crochet, sew, and knit. The sewing part never worked out for me. As a Brownie in Girl Scouts we had to sew a "sit upon"--your basic square mat. Mine looked more like a rumbus. Sewing is not my thing. Jack says a button fell off his shirt. So? What do you want me to do about it? Hate. It. If there are two lines, one for a beating and one for sewing, I'm in the line for a beating.

However, knitting and crocheting always worked well for me, so I stuck to it. As a young girl I crocheted a lot. Mainly dumb stuff like doileys and placemats--your basic rectangles. Then as a teenager I got away from crafts and onward to better things like dancing, boys, and rock 'n' roll.

Our bodies have a kinetic memory. When I got back to knitting as an adult, it was like riding a bike. Only this time I had the patience and interest to improve. I started with wash cloths just to get back into the groove. It was also easy to try new stitches with a wash cloth project. Then I looked around for small projects, ones that would be satisfying in that you could create something within a short amount of time. Large clothing objects like sweaters hold zero interest for me. I settled on socks, and I found a new passion. What fun!

At first my socks had two or three boo-boo's. They were fixable, but they were boo-boo's. Then I improved my skills and started knitting socks with zero mistakes. Now I looked around for patterns that would stretch my skills. I found an awesome web site called knitting The videos were just what I needed to learn some new stitches. I bought some pattern books and downloaded some patterns from the web. Now I'm making lace patterns in the socks, leaf patterns, and cables.

I found this quote in a knitting calendar I had last year and really liked it. I share it with you now:

A Prayer Before Knitting
A blessing to my knitting to be a work of heart and hands, body and spirit
A blessing on the one who passed this ancient art to me
A blessing on the one who will receive the fruit of my prayer and my knitting

I don't have a picture of any of my knitted items. I seem to always give them away as gifts. And that is why I knit--to be able to give something I made to someone and have them enjoy it. It's such a satisfying and wonderful hobby.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who is that handsome boy?

The photo at the top of this blog is Acadia One No Trump, known to one and all as "Mike." Mike has many special qualities, top of the list being he is the softest dog I've ever known. He is loving, sweet tempered, and can get quite playful. His one true love is his Jenny, my miniature Poodle. Yes, I own a Poodle. More on that later...

Mike's Name
In the card game of Bridge you tell your partner and opponents what type of hand you have--strong, weak--and how many tricks you can take by bidding out loud. The name of the game is to take all the tricks played. When you bid "One No Trump," you are telling everyone you have a winning hand.

Mike was to be my second agility dog, my winning hand. He had all the physical attributes for the game. He shaped beautifully as a young dog. However, around age 2, a switch flipped and he could no longer focus on running a course. The tense environment of the trial atmosphere just did him in. I tried for over a year--various handling techniques, different venues, dropped down in jump height, etc., etc., but to no avail. Finally I gave up trying to trial with Mike. I love him too much to cause that much stress in life.

Life Lesson
Mike taught me there's something at the other end of the leash, and you'd better respect it. We all have our strengths. And Mike's strength was telling me that not all shelties are the same. It was a tough lesson, but one I've taken to heart.