23 October 2008

See ya in AZ!

I'm leaving immediately after work in the morning. I will try to update on here as far as how my runs went - I'm just not that great at calling everyone I know to get the word out. So check here for updates, especially beginning Wednesday night. I may not post till then, as that's the first class and check-in (and groan at the distance you have to walk from tent to ring).

See ya!

Cocaine is bad.

Those of you who know me well have heard me mention a certain coworker previously. She is deaf, but aside from that, she just does the weirdest things sometimes. A year ago she marched right up to me (I was sitting at the computer doing my own thing) and wrote down "I never stole anything in my life!" Then I tried to ask her who had said she stole something and she said that I had said so. What?! No idea who gave her that idea and when I tried to explain (by writing) she just eventually stormed off in a huff and brought my boss out who spoke to me and explained to my coworker (she's a part-timer, only here a few hours in the morning) that I did NOT in fact think she was stealing things. ((I should mention that sign language has a different syntax than spoken English so the way she writes things and the way I write things don't always match up so misunderstandings do happen.)) To this day (over a year later) I have no idea what brought that on. I think this lady may be a little "touched". Earlier this year she marched up to DJ and said the same thing, except this time it was "I never do cocaine in my life". Dj says. . .uhh. . .OK. . . who said you did? And once more she points at him. Sensical? NOPE!

Today she told me another part-timer (we have about 50 in the mornings to load the delivery trucks and various related tasks) had stolen her (gasp) box cutter. Box cutters are like a dime a dozen but she said this kid was "a bad person" and after she told me this (like I care!) she then came back in and said that she knows that Cocaine is bad for your body and she doesn't do it.

OK. Great. Yes. Cocaine is bad. I'm about the cleanest person you'll meet (never smoked a SINGLE thing in my life that wasn't distant second-hand). I hardly drink. But I sure as hell don't walk around saying "I have never done cocaine!" as a conversation starter! And I don't tell people "I know cocaine is bad!" That's WEIRD. That is sort of in the "doth protest too much" category, if you know what I mean. . . .

Anyway, just wanted to jot this incident down before I got into packing and practicing and forgot about it. Have to remember to buy water for the dogs on the way home, its the one thing I forgot yesterday when I went to the store.


Well the Phils pulled it off and won last night, thanks to Cole Hamels, Ryan Madsen, and Brad Lidge pitching, and Chase Utley and a few others providing some offense. World Series Game 1 down, only 3 more wins to go!

I tried to stay up and watch some of it, got through the first 2 innings, fell asleep, woke up and watched the 5th, went to bed again. I actually saw the last of the scoring in the 5th, as they ended on the same final score of 3-2.

Today we are going to train and pack up. I have to remember to buy some water for the trip (distilled, no liquidy excrement due to water changes on this trip thank-you-very-much!), then pack dog dishes and hairbrush type stuff that I am still using. Can't believe we leave TOMORROW! I'm excited!

The USDAA site has the running order and check-in info up. Bleh. I only have 14 dogs listed between mine, which means I will be needing Sharon to helpe me with holding/ferrying dogs back and forth to the crating area, especially since it sounds like there's no parking on the road around the field this year. Last year I brought the car in and just "staged" my dogs in the car with fans.

Go Phils! Even if I won't be able to stay awake again tonight!

22 October 2008

Feeling better, but still have lots to do!

My muscle is feeling better, I'm only getting a slight twinge when I walk now. It doesn't seem to bother me when I run a bit, but I don't know if that's just because my brain blocks it out or because it actually doesn't hurt.

I worked the dogs on a couple sequences with hard weave entries (both directions) and some more dogwalk reps. Drifter's dogwalks are settling back to where they were without any help, and his weave entries, as always, are phenomenal. I just LOOOVE sending him to a hard weave entry from the up ramp of the dogwalk and watching him take aim and shoot into them, brake hard and make the wrap. Amazing and wonderful! And he loves it too, is the cool thing. Discovered Kiba can't QUITE do an acute angle on the off-side entry (dog on right), though she sights on the first pole and wraps it, she doesn't always wrap tight enough. That's OK, she's easy to "shape" slightly to get an entry if necessary, and I can't even say the last time I needed a dog to do an acute angle entry. I just like to train it so I don't have to babysit in the ring on right angles.

I washed and packed a lot of clothes the last two days, but I still have to organize them a bit and make sure I have enough socks and undergarments. We have a washer/dryer in the house we're renting so I don't have to bring 2 weeks worth of stuff, which is great. I already got the dog food together and stripped the car. Now its in getting serviced and we pick it up after work. Another couple hundred bucks down the drain! Was necessary though. Oh well. Winter is for paying down debt, right? Once I get the van back this afternoon I will start packing some basics in, including the folding bike - assuming its holding air in the tires. It was in the garage all year and I had to put air in them since they were flat. They seemed to fill easily enough and hold while I rode around so I think they're fine, just sat for too long.

Still need to get a hair cut. Will probably do that this afternoon. Just want some trim and thin so I have a pony tail instead of a full-fledged horse version :-D
(my hair is T-H-I-C-K)

Can't believe we leave so soon, but definitely looking forward to it. This will be our 5th year at the same site, so it's feeling very familiar. When I sit and think about being there, I feel like I was just there last week. I can't believe how quickly the year flies by!

21 October 2008


I strained my quadricep. I looked it up.
I'm guessing its a bad grade 1 strain to my rectus femoris (the main part down the center of the thigh). I fit a few grade 2 symptoms as it is a bit painful to the touch and I had some pretty severe pain on impact when walking yesterday, but overall I don't think I have the swelling or severity for a grade 2 strain. So I'm guessing the worse end of grade 1.

Here's definitions:
Grade 1 thigh strain:
What are the symptoms?
Tightness in the thigh.
Unable to walk properly.
Probably not much swelling.
Trying to straighten the knee against resistance (video) probably won't produce much pain (unlike a grade 2 or 3).

Grade 2:
What are the symptoms?
Probably cannot walk properly.
Occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity.
The athlete may notice swelling.
Pressing on the muscle causes pain.
Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain (video).
Unable to fully bend the knee.

Because I can fully bend my knee, and there's no visible swelling, AND I didn't notice the exact time that I injured myself, I'm thinking its not too serious. Here's the recovery for grade 1:

Use a compression bandage or heat retainer until you feel no pain.
Ease down on training for a week or two but no need to stop unless there is getting pain.
Apply cold therapy if pain is felt in training.
See a sports injury professional.

If it's grade 2 it gets more serious:

Ice, compress, elevate, use crutches for 3 to 5 days.
Wear a heat retainer or support.
See a sports injury specialist who can advise on rehabilitation.

I don't feel like I need crutches, and this morning the impact pain of walking is lessened pretty significantly - still hurts, but not bad. Running does not cause any particularly severe pain either. I did laser the area and have been trying to stretch. I'm in a similar boat that Drifter was in, I guess:-)

I did some dogwalk work with Drift the last few days, hoping he doesn't forget it all with Nationals so close. He did ok overall, not as perfect as I'd like but I stuck a small strider at the top of the ramp to remind him to extend over the second apex and after a few reps he was remember how to run properly even without it there. He remember the dogwalk-GO-WEAVE exercise - I think that's one of his favorites. He extends and pounds down the ramp for his weave poles (he loves them). Not so much for the table:-)

He looks great still. I'm happy.

20 October 2008

Drifter's Daughter

This is Drifter's daughter when she turned 8 months back in September. Isn't she lovely?
A friend likes to call her "daddy with hair". I'll get to meet her on Sunday while I'm in Texas. Maybe we can get some cutesy pics with her daddy!

Cold and Lots to Do

Fair Hill went in a very mediocre fashion for me. Overall Kiba was pretty good, nailed a tough jumpers course except for one bar, nailed GP except for a contact (note to self - do NOT pull away from the aframe early no matter HOW far down I THINK she's going to land!). No E's, but no stellar clean runs either. Her times are phenomenal, almost always in the top 3 barring time-eating mistakes. I didn't hang around but I'm pretty sure her team will Q even though we had an E in Relay. Singe did fairly well overall, and it was actually my mis-reading of her reactions in 2 handling situations that earned her 2 E's. One was a wrap and I asked her to go left which was a rear cross, and she jumped so straight on that I thought she was coming into me on a right hand turn so I changed my mind and said "come", well it turned out she WAS turning left like I asked and I panicked too soon so when I said "come" she flipped around the other direction (right) and ended up back-jumping. Ooops! That was just total lack of trust on my part. She ran GP very well with a single bar down despite some weird distances and turns. She got around a tough jumps with a few bars down but stayed on course where many others did not. Then in relay I didn't realize that I needed a strong false turn to get the aframe in a discrimination, I thought she had it and took off, well she didn't haev it. Again lack of communication, not really her fault. She did the harder part. Seri was pretty good overall, no E's till relay where she went off her stick completely and just ran amok. But she got around everything else (somehow!) with only minor faults. Her team almost certainly did not Q. Singe's I'm not sure, we were 7th going into Relay but 2 of our dogs E'd in relay. A lot of other dogs did too, so we may have stayed above the cutoff line for a Q, I'll have to ask my teammates.
Somewhere among the running 3 fast dogs and hiking back and forth in the rough grass and hilly ground I pulled a muscle in my left thigh. I don't know which one. It hurts when I put my weight down on it.

This week I have a TON of stuff to get done before we leave after work Friday for TX and then AZ. Here's the abbreviated list:
The van needs an oil and filter change, tire rotation, and general fluids/brakes checked.
Lots of laundry to be washed and sorted. Running clothes packed immediately. Travel clothes set aside. Toiletries packed.
Practice at least once, seriously, with Sharon at the field. Drifter can run now.
Laser and stretch Drifter every day (takes 20 minutes)
Laser and stretch myself every day (another 20 minutes!)
Get dog food, crates, cool coats, etc together.
Get a hair cut!

There's more, I'm sure but I'm out of ideas for now. It's getting colder here in the warehouse where I work. It was 33 and frosty when I got up this morning. Brrrr!

17 October 2008

Looking good

Went back to the PT for a check on Drifter's healing progress yesterday. She said he looks great and he's cleared to start running around a bit more. I won't do any agility or hard turns or full extension running until next Monday, but I don't have to confine him to a leash all the time either. He'll be so happy to run a bit:-)
He basically stretched perfectly and she got no pain reaction from anything. His neck was tight for some reason, but that was it. Yay!

16 October 2008

Joe the Plumber, I do not feel bad for you.

I did not watch the debate last night. But I've been reading about it this morning. Aparently this Joe fella in OH was one of McCain's "point scoring" opportunities. See, the guy Joe has been a hard-working plumber for a while. So he's decided he wants to buy the small plumbing business he works for. Well apparently this business is making some real good money, taking in more than $250K a year. Under Obama's proposed tax plan, the taxes for someone making more than that amount would raise from 36% to 39%. Joe spoke to Obama at a question/answer session in OH and wasn't pleased that Obama couldn't tell him he wouldn't raise his taxes if he bought the business. So Joe says if Obama was president, he couldn't afford to buy the business.

Here is an interview with the belligerent conservative plumber. Note that he seems to think that people who don't make as much money aren't working as hard? He of course says not all of them, but that's the impression I get from the guy is that he went to Obama's event JUST to try to rattle him.

Excuse me, am I supposed to feel sorry for you Joe the Plumber? I know that I certainly couldn't afford to buy a business like that. And 3% more is going to break you? I don't think so. That is $7500. From a business making $250,000 that is not a huge deal. Man up and help your country by paying taxes that SOME of us can't afford to pay. And don't tell me that you can afford to buy a business that owes $90,000 in taxes, but you couldn't POSSIBLY deal with one that pays $97,500 in taxes. Does that make any sense? Come on. The gas price drop ALONE will probably pay that difference on your trucks and vans.

McCain thinks that "spreading the wealth" is a horrible idea. Me? I like that idea. I can't afford higher taxes. Joe the Plumber who owns a thriving business? He can. He sure doesn't WANT to. But he can. I can't. Really. I'm just thankful to have a job that's not in jeopardy and a company that can afford to give me a good raise, and not a below-market one.

There are actually people who think Obama is a socialist. That was a new one for me. Guess he learned that from "palling around with terrorists" (translated - lives down the street from a former Vietnam War protester).

Luckily for those of us with brains and sense, Obama is opening up a lead, and McCain's bitter personal attacks last night won't eat away much of that lead. McCain's behavior lately has rallied those who already support him, but those who were on the fence see nasty personal attacks and negativity and it doesn't exactly attract them.

Go Obama!

Things that make me happy

This for one.
Pretty exciting that the year I got partial season tickets is the year they made it all the way to the World Series! Go Phillies!

Another thing that makes me happy. Gas prices last week dropped the biggest amount ever since they started recording such things 30 years or so ago - 33.3 cents in one week. If you estimate our trip to AZ and back at about 5000 miles (yeah, a lot). If the average gas price is only 2.90 and the van averages 24mpg gas will cost $604. If gas had still been hovering around $4 it would have cost us $833 instead. The drop in gas prices over the last month will probably be saving us over $200! Woohoo! That's like getting 2 of our 3 planned hotel nights for free! Yay!

Something else that made me happy yesterday was that Singe did well in class. Even my mom noticed that she is checking up more and not over-accelerating/misreading my speed cues. And the bars she did hit were because she was trying to turn tight, so while I do stop and try again, I don't get after her too badly because she is still working out the mechanics of turning and leaving the bar up and precues and such. I'm feeling a little bit optimistic about this weekend with her. We'll see!

15 October 2008


Drifter has been outwardly sound since about Friday or Saturday. Monday afternoon I wanted to take him for a walk but it was too warm to walk on the pavement in the afternoon (around 80 but the sun was strong). So I stuck him in the Civic and we drove up to Green Lane Reservoir Park - about a 15 minute drive. It's our closest park. I put the 26' Flexi on him and let him roam a bit. I kept him to a walk but for the first time allowed him some extended trotting sessions. I let him stop and sniff things more than I usually do as well. He needed to get out of the house and get some mental stimulation. Since it was warm I even let him wade in the edge of the reservoir at one point (they allow fishing and boats too so dog feet aren't an issue). He had a ball. We went for maybe half an hour or so, maybe a little more. Probably only about 1.5-2 miles total, but this was with hills and grass and dirt and roots and interesting things, so much more fun than the housing developments he's usually confined to. He looked great. No limping, not once. Trotting up and down hills and such didn't phase him. Yay!

I didn't do anything yesterday aside from the now usual stretching and lasering routine. It was again warm and I didn't want to go to the park 2 days in a row. Today i'll bring him along to class and walk him up and down the driveway a bit between runs.

So I ended up pulling him from Fair Hill and substituting Singe on his team. I have been working with Singe for the last few months. I started sort of "all over again" with her jumping and handling. I really wanted to work on her understanding the mechanics of turning her body before after and during a jump. I also introduced my personal "precue" which is just raising my outside or "new" arm before a front cross and on lead-outs. This takes away the feeling of a sudden change in direction that I think was making her knock some bars. She is pretty reactive when her handler does something, so if she can leave the start line or even just come to me over a jump already knowing which way we're going next and where she needs to stop - well that's just more to both of our advantages. Anyway, we did lots of basic recalls, front crosses, serpentines, wraps and such over 1 and 2 jumps. Then I worked on some basic deceleration with one jump, starting far away and running towards it then slowing down and asking for a wrap with her ahead of me. That's where she gets too excited - when she gets ahead of the handler. She is much better at keeping calm and turning if I can stay ahead of her. Which is a challenge. This dog accelerates like an Indy car. So she isn't really ready to come back out yet. But it's just for one trial, and I think I can at least keep her on the courses, unless they are really megadifficult (let's hope not). It'll be an interesting test to see if she can remember things. She did sort of mediocre at the field yesterday, knocking some bars and forgetting her turn cues once or twice. But she's showing some improvement in the area of controlling herself from accelerating into space. So that's good.

Seri did well again. I'm excited to run her. She's so fun and so powerful. World Team material for sure when her brain settles in completely. Woohoo!

13 October 2008

6 is a good number

Kiba is 3 years and 10 months old. WTF? She's insanely good now, apparently. She qualified in EVERY SINGLE CLASS this weekend. 6 for 6, with an extra clean run thrown in Steeplechase round 2. She was not perfect - she missed an aframe contact in the closing of Snooker but had exactly 37 points so still got a Q so I could say we Q'd in everything:-) I don't believe I've EVER done that in my entire life! Wow! She hit zero bars, aced the tough courses, stayed, jumped, handled, everything! She got 2nd in Steeplechase round 2 by .03 of a second behind Donna and Mick - we did have one wide corner where she drifted out and looked the wrong way. Didn't lose much time but it could have been more than .03! I'm happy anyway. And Seri! She started the day with a whacky but clean Starters Standard, putting her only one more Standard and Jumper away from her AD title. Then she finished her Starters Snooker title. Then. . . she ran CLEAN in Steeplechase Round 2! She screamed her way around, nailed the aframe, managed to stick her weave entries and left all her bars up. She got beat by Sue's Whip who is much tighter and more experienced, but she picked up 2nd in the 26" class! Woohoo! Crazy wild baby dog rockin' it! She then knocked one bar in Starters Jumpers on a front cross, but that's OK, she had a great weekend overall, and I'm not as worried about screwing up her team next weekend now!

So a good weekend in USDAA. Kiba was 6 for 6 on Q's, with 6 out of 7 totally clean runs. Seri was 4 for 6 Q's with 5 for 7 clean runs if you count Steeplechase round 1 (with two "refusals"). I'm happy with all that. I think Seri only hit one bar all weekend and stayed on all her see-saws!

11 October 2008

Keystone Day 1

Today we had Gamblers, Standard, and Steeplechase Round 1. I didn't enter Pairs.

Kiba had Masters Gamblers first, and she ran perfectly, gambled perfectly (a weird send/wrap/send gamble), and won the class. Seri had Advanced Gamblers next, and she had the same gamble but closer to the line, and she was also fantastic and got the gamble - which is her Advanced Gamble title, putting in Masters for that class! Wow! After that we had Starters Standard, and she broke her stay and knocked the first bar but after that was just brilliant. Steeplechase was next, and Kiba was excellent, running clean and taking first place by .4 of a second over the next dog (her cousin!). Seri was very good as well, although she ran past a tunnel entry and then missed her weave entry, but was clean other than that so still made the qualification cutoff and got her very first Steeplechase Q! Last was Masters Standard for Kiba, a somewhat tricky course, and she aced it for her 3rd Q of the day, and probably a third 1st place as well, although they weren't done yet when I left.

Kiba is on a streak of 10 consecutive clean runs - I include the gamblers runs (2 of them) because she didn't just Q, she was also totally clean on the course I chose for her - no bars, contacts, etc. That's astounding to me. I don't think Drifter's ever had more than 4 or 5 clean runs in a row, and not very often. I'm starting to think I may leave him down at 22" next year. Seri is already looking great (at 26"), and Kiba is totally ready for Nationals and IFCS, so maybe I should just keep him as my crazy 22" National-level weapon and just forget International events with him. Not sure if that's what I'll do or not, but I am entertaining the thought. I still might take him to FCI Tryouts in May (if he happened to make that team I would certainly work on 26 then!), but if he doesn't make it I may just back him off and let him do 22". We'll see. I've got about 6 weeks to figure out what height i want to qualify him at for Tournaments.

He looks good today, too. I stretched, lasered, and walked. Today he looked pretty sound trotting so I let him have some free play in the flexi lead and he got some faster walking and easy trotting in.

10 October 2008

Revising "The Plan" and Self-Discovery

I've learned something about myself this week. Don't worry, it's not something mushy and full of rainbows and cupcakes. I learned that I really, really prefer USDAA trials. Like, not just with my logical head, but subconsciously too. All week I've been so excited about Keystone coming up, and getting to run in all the classes (except Pairs), and have fun pushing Kiba and running Seri again. Last time I had an AKC trial coming up I didn't feel excited at all, just slightly anxious hoping my dogs could run clean twice in a day. That's not such a great feeling! So I've learned that I love USDAA. I already knew I wouldn't be doing much AKC next year (I will do a couple of the local ones that fall on free weekends - such as early in the spring and over the summer). But now I'm settling into being comfortable with that decision. Clearly all of me wants to do USDAA.

As for revising the plan - after speaking with Drifter's PT we haven't ruled out jumping 26" just yet. After all the first time he pulled this muscle was last September when he had been jumping 22" for 2 months straight, so we can't say it's the jump height alone that did it this time. More likely it was just a fluke of wet grass and the way he jumps (he goes full extension quite a lot, with a hard snap of the rear legs back to landing, which is a motion that works the iliopsoas muscle quite hard). So the plan is to rest him (with laser, ice, leash walking) for the next week or so, and if he's looking sound I'll slowly ramp him back up to cantering/galloping on a relatively straight line, and then probably the few days between Fair Hill and when we leave I will do a few easy jumping sequences with him and see how he fares. I am very fortunate that I didn't have any big issues to quick-fix before Nationals. He's pretty solid on everything, although he's still not as consistent as I'd like - but you can't fix that in 2 weeks anyway. Long term he is already entered in 4 AKC trials in November at 24". Remember that he's run 24" from early July all the way through September with no issues whatsoever, so I don't think that bothers him. After those are done I will put the jumps back up to 26 and start training a little harder again, run him at the MADness trial New Years weekend at 26, then get him evaluated in January to see how he looks after 6 weeks or so of jumping 26 all the time. If he is sore or pulls his muscle or pelvis, he will go right back down. If he is FINE and the muscle was unrelated to height, then I will leave him up and attend AKC/FCI Tryouts and try for IFCS with him. I hate using a wait and see approach but really there's nothing else I can do at this point unless I want to give up on 26 right now, but even the PT seemed to think it was worth waiting. He's only just turned 6, he's generally quite sound aside from the minor toe issue (his shoulders and wrists are FABULOUS and aside from one time after Perry his back has also been strong).

Another thing of note is that more and more I am truly enjoying running Kiba. (or "Giblet" as she's affectionately referred to around the house - yes it's weird). I was really able to push her hard in GP last weekend and it was great to have her come through for me. I am looking forward to Nationals (so excited that I could potentially have TWO dogs in 22" GP Finals!!) and looking forward to next year trying for IFCS with her. When she was a pup I never, ever would have guessed she'd be outrunning dogs 2" taller with handlers 5mph faster than me. This is a dog who stares at the ceiling half the day and would roll over or run away if I said "No" when training her. She's worked through a lot (now I actually have to lie her down if she's wrong!) and turned out to be quite the little dynamo.

And Seri has a bright future too, but she'll be learning the ropes in 2009. I hope to qualify her and take her to Nationals, but I won't be pushing her to win at Regionals yet. I'd like her to be attentive and perform as asked properly before allowing her enough rein to really run full-out. She's just that kind of dog.

09 October 2008

Diagnosis: Just what I thought

Ria confirmed that Drifter has a mild strain/pull of his right iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscles. His pelvis was also out, and that could either be an effect or the cause of the muscle issue. Impossible to tell which came first. So she loosened it up, got his pelvis back where it belonged (it had shifted rearward, not sideways), and I have 3 stretches to do every day plus specific points to laser and continued leash walking.

He MAY be fine for Fair Hill. He may not be ready yet. I won't know till next week. It depends on how quickly he heals. Last time he pulled it he was completely sound at a walk/trot by about the 8-10th day of 'rehab', so if he holds true to that he should be OK for Fair Hill. I have another appointment to see her again next Thursday. I emailed his team-mates to see what they want to do. If they'd rather find a third now so they aren't left hanging, that is fine with me. I can switch him over to a couple Master classes instead and then if he doesn't look right I'll pull him at the last minute.

ETA: I spoke with one of Drifter's team-mates and she was VERY emphatic that I should NOT run him at Fair Hill. And honestly I think she's right. I need him to be sound for Nationals. So I've emailed the secretary to withdraw him. If for some reason there are no other broken teams or draw entries I will run Singe as their third. I've been working with her a lot the last few months and while she's not Drifter, she should be enough to get them a Team Q.

So Drifter will be going out to Nationals on a month of rest from trialing!

Paypal does something right for a change

Remember last week when I said I had 6 Skype charges on my Paypal account, but only 3 were refunded? Well it happened again the other day, except this time it was 10 pounds (british!) instead of Euros, and this time all 6 were refunded. WEIRD. I emailed Skype this time and bitched that I wanted them to stop billing me since I never use their service.

Today I heard back from Paypal regarding the Skype charges from a week ago. And they actually ruled in my favor - that there must have been a third party broke into my account or something. But I still find that strange since, um, they refunded all but $45 of it. Why break into someone's paypal account (which I had 2 credit cards and a check card linked to!) only to charge $45 worth of Skype fees? Then do it again and refund all of them? Why? that is not logical at ALL! Anyhow, I removed all 3 cards from my paypal account so even if someone tries to charge it they won't get the money from anywhere. I already had paypal send me a check for my balance (a whopping $50), so paypal has no way to get money from me without me consenting to do so (by entering a card #). Anyhow Paypal concluded that the charges WERE fraudulent and they would refund the remaining ones and look into the security of my account. Fine by me since I removed my cards already anyway, AND I haven't seen Paypal or Skype show up on my credit card statement yet (been checking online) so I don't think I've actually paid them anyway.

Looking forward (anxiously) to seeing the PT this afternoon. Kiba will be going just for a pre-Nationals check-up, and Drifter obviously is going to get a more solid diagnosis and rehab schedule for his leg. If it is as minor as it seems to be right now, I believe he MAY be OK to run at Fair Hill... If not then he should be fine by Nationals at least. Being a minor muscle pull I may get away with just using a long slow warm-up to get him going. We'll see today!

08 October 2008

More of the same

I didn't get a chance to walk Drifter today but did laser him before leaving for class with the girls. He seems a little less resistant to stretching (I didn't do it for 2 days, thinking I maybe shouldn't). He likes when I massage around the groin area (what guy wouldn't?) but doesn't seem to react in pain from any probing. We'll see what the PT says tomorrow. The appointment is at 3:30 but it's a good ways into NJ so I have to leave around 1:30. I'm very glad that Drifter is a good house dog (quiet), because some dogs with no exercise for 3 days would be clawing up the walls, but he is not like that; he's just laying around. He maybe is a little more eager when I get up and open the door, but that's about it. He still looks sound around the house so nothing new to report.

The girls were pretty good in class. I don't think I'm going to get a full running frame from Kiba anytime soon, but she doesn't exactly come down slowly, and she somehow seems to understand the "lie down" behavior - which means throw another little stride on there and don't leave the general vicinity of the down-ramp before I do. It's sort of a non-trained communication thing, somehow she knows what I mean and what I reward, so that's what she does. And it involves coming down relatively quickly AND hitting the yellow so its good enough for now. Class was two pretty tough jumpers courses (with weaves), and both girls had their moments but I was pleased overall. They both got a hard weave entry, and after Kiba's first try she didn't touch many bars. Seri had trouble with a few handling spots (her stride and jump can be SO HUGE) but overall she's really trying to listen and I'm pleased with her. She was barking halfway 'round the course again. Crazy!

07 October 2008

In which I join Facebook and learn it doesn't work on my computer

So this morning I joined Facebook. I generally have some deep-seated dislike for social networking sites but a bunch of my friends are on it so I figured I'd at least join and see WTF they are doing all day. Well I joined while I was at work, on the computer there. No problems. Came home (got delayed at work then had some errands I forgot about - buying stuff for the trip to Nationals aleady, wow!). Just logged back into Facebook. . . and the buttons don't work on this computer. Crap computer! After I get back from Nationals I will be backing up all the worthwhile stuff on this hard drive, then switching to my dad's "old" laptop (which isn't old at all). What happens on Facebook is that the page will open up, I can read everything on it, but when I try to click a button for "Post" or "Confirm", the computer thinks for about 10 seconds, then does nothing. Tried putting the pointer in the line and then hitting Enter and it does the same thing. Conclusion? Facebook buttons must use Java applications, and this computer is notoriously stupid with Java. I've tried to re-install it numerous times with little success.

As for how is Drifter today, well, I left for work at 3:30am and he looked, um, sleepy. Just got home and walked him to potty and he looks "ok" but I didn't trot him out or anything. I will laser and walk him later on and get a feel for how he looks then. He's certainly not worse.

It has been suggested indirectly that it might be Lyme. It is not Lyme. It is a re-injury of something he pulled a year ago. It isn't recurring, the mysteriousness isn't that sometimes he is limping and sometimes he isn't, the mysteriousness is what part of his leg(s) hurts him. And guess what? Iliopsoas muscles are also known to be mysterious and hard to diagnose, so that does make sense. I'll have confirmation on Thursday. Now if we go in and he's achey and they can't find a muscular cause, then yeah, I'll go get him tested for Lyme.

But keep in mind that till after Nationals at least, I won't be able to respond to Facebook comments. I can read them, just not post. So if you want to talk, email me!

06 October 2008

Injury Update

Drifter looks. . . well. . . not bad. He walks sound, and moves around the house sound.

I took my mother's low-strength (instead of being instantaneous beeping, you have to hold it on the spot for 3-5 minutes, but it does the job eventually) and today I went through and lasered several spots both underneath the iliopsoas area (belly/groin) and on top of his pelvic region, including his lower back. Then I did a spot on his upper/mid thorasic where he was sore at Northeast Regional, and his left toe/wrist area as well. I also took him for a nice 15-minute leash walk. I don't walk fast enough for him (even though I walk relatively fast) so at my walking speed he walk as well. No sustained trotting. Which, for now, is what I want. When I got back to the driveway I trotted him in a circle both directions. He's still slightly off circling to the right. Really flippin' hard to tell which foot/where but I am still thinking right rear explains the mysteriousness. Circle to the left (this is a maybe 14-foot across circle, radius of my 5-foot leash plus me walking in a little circle in the middle) he appears mostly sound with only a small hitch or two.

So I will keep him on laser and leash walk until seeing the Acciani's on Thursday and get a more solid diagnosis then, but I'm relatively sure it's the iliopsoas. Grr. Hopefully minor like before. Better be.

Mystery Lameness

Since I grew up dealing with performance horses and dogs I'm usually pretty good at evaluating lameness. I can trot them out, manipulate joints/legs, and usually at least pinpoint an area where something is wrong, even if I can't say "It's XYZ muscle that is pulled". I could say "it's in the groin area" or "it's the front left foot/toes". Well this thing that is making Drifter limp? Mysterious to the Nth degree. First I think its his left toe - an old injury that is No Big Deal if he limps for a day or two. Then I notice its worse when he's trotting on a right-hand turn. Well that would indicate a right rear, given that the head-bobbing is going along with the left front, and the right rear bears weight on a right hand turn but moves at the same time as the left front. But then it looks like when he stands he is shifting weight off of his left front. But flexing it reveals nothing, no swelling and he only cried once when I did it, and never again. And he's a baby, he always cries when something hurts. No crying on manipulation of the right rear, BUT he is not stretching it out properly like he usually does, he pulls it back like it's tight. So maybe it is the iliopsoas again after all? I have to say he's never limped quite like that with the toe thing. Crazy Mystery Lameness!

Obviously I won't be working him this week. I heard back from Keystone's secretary (she's so nice!!) and she pulled him and is even giving a refund. I'm leaving him in for Fair Hill for now since he's only got to do 22" and he's only running 6 total classes over the 2 days there. I heard back from the PT and he goes out to see them on Thursday afternoon. So I guess I'll know after that whether he can do Fair Hill or not.
For now he is going to get laser treatment on his right groin and his left front wrist/toe just in case. And leash walking. That's it. Poor guy! I don't even think I can swim him, but I will ask on Thursday. I don't want to lose all that muscle tone I worked so hard to get! Luckily he's been working 24/26 for a while now so taking a week or two off and then doing 22" really shouldn't be too tough, and overall his handling is pretty good, just a couple minor issues I think I can handle around since I know what they are.


05 October 2008

Artful Dodgers/Wilmington and a Nervous Situation

Saturday I went to Artful Dodgers USDAA trial. I ran all 3 adult dogs. Kiba was fabulous, running perfectly in all 3 runs - a Gamblers Q, 2nd and a Q in Grand Prix (she missed 1st by .2 of a second, and was one of only 2 dogs under 31 seconds), and then her and her partner ran clean in Pairs. Drifter also was great in Gamblers for a Q, but knocked a bar in GP, and went over an off course jump in pairs - I think my forcing a front cross sent him wide - I usually don't force fronts that make him swing tight around him. And Seri started out great with a perfect Advanced Gamblers Q, then sort of had a bit of trouble staying on things in Starters standard - jumped off the table, flew off the see-saw, and then sort of slid off the side of the top ramp of the dogwalk. Oh my! Stayed on course and had great weave poles, anyway. In Grand Prix she was a wild child, knocking 2 bars, missing a weave entry, and then running by the see-saw (partially my fault). But again at least she stayed on course.

Saturday night I noticed Drifter looked a little off, limping slightly, but figured it was his left toe bothering him again. No big deal.

Sunday I drove up to Wilmington for an AKC trial. I did not enter Seri to save money. Drifter was first, and again I thought he looked slightly off, but thinking it was his toe I ran him anyway - he knocked one bar and rattled 2 or 3 more. That's a lot of rattling. On the way back to the car he looked off again - worse. I trotted him and circled both ways and discovered his doesn't look like his front left, but might be his right rear instead. Which is the one he pulled his iliopsoas slightly last year. So I scratched him from standard and just got him out and walked him slowly several times. Each time he was worst coming out of the crate and better after walking, so it is definitely a muscular issue.

Kiba was fabulous, again. She won JWW at 6.29YPS, and then ran clean in Standard as well. She may not have won that as I held her on the dogwalk and wasn't as perfect everywhere, but she ran clean and that's what counts. 40.something, so a decent time. I will check her placement online tomorrow. So she's now got 5 out of 6 double Q's, I'm feeling more confident about at least getting her to AKC Nationals! Yay!

I am waiting to hear back from our PT about getting Drifter out to see them this week. That's the Nervous Situation. Nationals is only 3 weeks away. I did not need a lame dog now. Although I will say that when I got him out of the car after the 1 and 1/2 hour drive home he didn't seem that sore, so hopefully not a bad pull. Sigh.

03 October 2008

Phillies game and more Paypal woes

Last night DJ and I went to the Phils vs Brewers game; National League Division Series Game 2. Wow! is all I can say. It started at 6 but we got there early to get a good parking spot (near the lot exit gate!) and have time to wander around. We even had pretty good tickets, lower level, just foul of the foul pole, not quite in the outfield but close. Citizens Bank Park has great views all around though, and since we weren't that high up we had really good seats. Also, we lucked out and ended up with aisle seats! We didn't know because most of the sections are 40 seats wide but ours was slightly irregular, being in the 'joint' or 'curve' of the park it was slightly triangular. But very cool to have aisle seats! We only got the tickets last week too on a last-minute offer emailed to me because of my partial season tickets.

They gave everyone a "rally towel" which is a white towel with a red logo that says "Fightin Phils" on it. Whenever we cheered we stood up and waved the towel - makes for a crazy effect when the entire stadium was waving them (attendance was a park record 46,208 - about 1,000 of which were Standing Room Only).

The game itself was fantastic. We were a little nervous as the Brewers had C.C. Sabathia pitching, who is billed as one of the greatest pitchers in the MLB right now, but Philly basically tore him to pieces. In the 2nd inning the crowd starting chanting "C - C" really loud and mocking. Really got a good loud rhythm going. And just then CC started to crack. He went from throwing strikes to throwing balls, and after walking 2 to load the bases our own "Flying Hawaiian" Victorino hit a grand slam to put us up 5-1. After that Sabathia just wasn't the same. The crowd continued to chant at him on and off, and cheered every time he threw a ball. Our pitcher, Brett Myers, had a great game, and pulled off two amazing at-bat's where he ate up 9 and 10 pitches of Sabathia's time and the Brewers' pitcher ended up leaving after 3 and 2/3 inning, after throwing 98 pitches, a good chunk of those balls. After that there wasn't a lot of hitting going on from either side, really, but the crowd was very excited and wild, and the players were obviously playing for all they were worth. We stuck it out to the 9th inning, and the Phils won 5-2. Then I took a very minor detour after mucking my way out of the packed parking lot, and we managed to get from the lot to 95 South in only 15 minutes! (I heard that when leaving the first game it was taking people 2 HOURS to get to the highways). Hooray for looking at Google Maps and finding a way around!


So I got to bed around 11 and got up again at 3, so I'm running on 4 hours of sleep. And then when I checked my email this morning, I see 6 charges to my Paypal account by Skype (an international web/calling service). I've never used Skype in my life. Very strange. Even stranger is that there were 6 different 10-Euro charges (about $14 each), and Skype had immediately refunded 3 of them, but not the others. So I had to go back into Paypal and dispute them as unauthorized transactions. Really, how was I Skype-ing someone while I was at the ballpark? DUH! Anyway I'll have to wait a bit to hear from Paypal whether they will refund it or not. Hopefully they will. My account did not appear to have been hacked (well, and why hack something just to take like $80 and then refund half of it?), but I will be closing it permamently as soon as I get my money back from paypal. I'm sick of dealing with them, they don't provide the service they say they do.

I'll be offline until Sunday afternoon - leaving for Artful Dodgers in MD this afternoon, and staying there overnight until Sunday morning when I head up to Wilmington, DE for one day of AKC, then back home Sunday afternoon to catch Game 4. I'm really hoping we can pull in a station in the RV that plays the game on Saturday!

01 October 2008

Strange Dichotomy

When I was a kid (and a young adult) I traveled to agility trials with my mother. She entered, she paid, she drove (or we shared the driving). Thus, I generally just let her schedule which trials we went to and what hotels etc. Now that I've been doing this on my own for several years now, I find that I have an obsessive need to schedule trials months and months ahead of time. I am already planning for next February. I am actually upset that USDAA clubs don't have their info on the USDAA's event calendar for next spring yet. I had no idea I'd be like this. I find it a little strange. I am also very neat and organized at work, and while I don't necessarily have my entire work day scheduled precisely, there is a loose order and routine to what I do every day and I make sure it all gets done.

The strangeness about all this is that in my own home I live a very disorganized and messy life. I hate cleaning, I hate folding laundry, I hate mowing the lawn. My car, while generally not filled with dirt or mud, definitely collects spare clothing items. The dog vehicle collects empty water bottles and half-filled ziploc baggies of dog food. And while I am aggravated to live and drive in messy conditions, it's not usually enough to make me clean it every day. Odd, since if I walk into my work area and the opposite shift has left more than one or two things lying around I am Supremely annoyed and wish horrible violence upon them.

Isn't it strange? Home life - disorganized mess. Work and Agility life - hyperorganized scheduled neatness. Hmm. I'm a weird one.
So, if I start keeping the house and car super clean, would my agility scheduling go down the drain? (doubtful, but an amusing theory)


Today I am teaching my mother's afternoon class. It's not exactly huge, with 4 people in it. But I haven't taught much lately so it's a change from the norm for me. I have to watch myself because I use a lot more outside arm prior to front crosses than she does. Our handling has diverged a good deal lately. I will bring Drifter, Kiba, and Seri all to class, show up early and work the 2 Nationals attendees, then run Seri in the class. She needs the excitement. (well, she NEEDS it like I need a hole in the head, but rather I meant that she should get used to it more!). I'm actually excited about finally running her again this weekend! Even if it is only in Advanced Gamblers, Starters Standard, and Grand Prix. Then Sunday she has to sit in the car while I do more AKC. It's a split weekend for me. USDAA on Saturday in Millersville, MD, then Sunday morning I'm leaving early for Wilmington, DE for a day of AKC. One last chance at double Q's before I completely change focus to USDAA for a month.