Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The UNIBOOB!!!

All you ladies out there know what I'm talking about! Those sports bras that are little more than elastic straps around your chest, thereby forming one lump in the middle. Thus the uni-boob.

I have been on a quest for the perfect sports bra for longer than I care to mention. I bet I've read more articles, looked at more websites and asked more people than I did when I got my van!

I've looked at Champion, Moving Comfort, Nike, you name it, I've looked. I have yet to have the nerve to spend $35-$50 on a freaking bra! However if you add the the number of hours I've spent researching I should have just purchased one already and been done with it.

So I went to my idol, my hero, the person I'd love to be able to run like. My sister!! and Do you think Dawn Marie was any help what so ever! NO!! She told me to tell her what I end up with. Gee, thanks for the SUPPORT!! G

She did, however share a very funny story, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. Plus, this way I can find out if she even reads my blog. G


Published WITHOUT permission!!


I'm not a fan of the uniboob either, but who do I have to impress? Nobody.

Just as long as it keeps the girls from hitting my chin (not that it
would happen) I'm good. I only have purchased the target brand for $14.99.

I really should invest in something better. Let me know what you end up
with. I can't remember the name of what Kim wears but it's like $50.00.
Hello! I don't pay that for my everyday bra! :)

Let me tell you two years ago I was in CR for my class reunion. Never again boring! (I'll have to inquire more about this event.....)

Anyway I forgot my bra and needed to go for a run. I thought, "I'll run into Dollar General Picked up a cheap bra get a run in, and all will be right with the world."

Made my purchase, changed my clothes and went to run on the track at Taft Middle School. Did my run and I'm feeling pretty good. There's this Old man walking on at the track and I passed him several times. Each time I pass him he has this cheesy smile.

I finish my run......

Get back to the van looked down and HELLO!
My cheep bra had slid up over my boobs and they were being supported between my heart monitor strap and the bra that is now a chin strap!

To make matters worse I had on a yellow tank top and sweat like a pig.
OMG!! The man must have thought he was at a wet shirt contest! :)

All I can say is at least I made someone happy that day. The morale to my
story - don't by a cheep bra at Dollar General and run in a yellow tank! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Goose Photography - Roller Dam


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Sheryl invited me to go Eagle "shooting" - as in photography on Saturday morning with her and Meme. Let me add right now that this might be the LAST time I'm invited. G

Meme and I arrived at the Roller Dam first and we cruised around a bit looking for those beautiful Bald Eagles. Meme did spot one up in a tree and I offered to throw a snowball at it to get it to fly. Meme told me that wasn't PC. Gee, just trying to help. Not like I could throw that far anyway! Meme probably already KNEW this was a bad idea to bring me along, but she's way too PC to say so. G

We park by the geese and Meme starts to unload her camera. She also pulls out a half a loaf of bread, whole wheat! YUMMY!! She tells me it's for the birds. RATS! I ask if it's "good" and she said, yes. SCORE!! I haven't had breakfast yet and it's 10 am!

Sheryl arrives and we exit the vans and set up to "shoot". I take a couple bites of bread and Meme reminds me it's for the birds! FINE!! But the birds are WAY off to our left and quite honestly, I need some action! BH! Oh, wait...there's a cute little mallard drake looking for something to eat. Guess what! I can help! One bite for you, one bite for me. Another hairy eyeball from Meme. GEEZ!

This little drake is going to sink with as much bread as he's eating and I keep tossing into the water, but close to the bank to see if he'll come up. In the mean time, the geese have spotted something promising. Humans baring gifts!

Honestly, I'm the only one baring gifts, the other two have big cameras and know how to use them. My mission is to draw the unsuspecting birds in, so they can SHOOT (I mean photograph) them. I wonder if you need a license for this kind of thing??

It's working!!! They are coming closer! Meanwhile the little drake is holding his own among a couple dozen birds. The geese are becoming more confident and I'm able to toss the little bread pieces onto the bank and a few pop up out of the water. YIPPEE!! If I only had a clicker!!

So, now I'm going to ask a little more of my little friends, the geese. By this time I'm pretty sure Meme and Sheryl are no longer my friends. G So I start tossing bread closer and closer to Meme and Sheryl. Meme is sitting on the frozen ground I might add. Closer, closer!! I get one within 3' of Meme and toss a piece of bread into her hair. It slipped, HONEST!!! G She of course feels it and gives me a big hairy eye ball and a tongue lashing. Scares the goose, but not me. I'm pretty sure I can outrun her and since I haven't totally pissed Sheryl off yet, I can probably still get a ride home.

FINE! I'll leave Meme alone for awhile. I focus on Sheryl. Here goose goose goose, as I toss bread right behind her. Sheryl being the focused "HUNTER" (um, I mean photographer) that she is, doesn't seem to notice. I can get the goose within 3' and Sheryl looks behind her with a "HEY". RATS!! Foiled again.

Okay, I've messed with the geese about all I can now and it's starting to get boring. I have them too close for Meme to get any good shots. Boy, are they EVER happy??? NOT!!! Now they both wish the geese would fly. I of course offer to "run through them". NO!!! Honestly, where is the LOVE?? or the fun for that matter. You want action, I offer to give them some and they "shoot" me down.

A train goes by and gets some of the geese moving into the air. I'm out of bread and even the duck figures this out and heads out to the middle of the river. We've been out here for a good 90 minutes and they've taken hundreds of pictures of GEESE! So we head home just as the local new network is arriving. I was going to offer to run through the geese for them, but thought they'd probably say no as well.

It was fun, but it would have been more fun if we'd seen some eagles?
Maybe next time, if I get invited again that is.

I had to scrapbook some of their pictures.
Below are picture by both Sheryl and Meme.
They do a GREAT job!!

Teeter Training.....101

This article is actually for my friend JIggy, she's lives out East, well East of me anyway. So, you can read on, or stop. G

There are a lot of different ways to teach a teeter. But there are two that I've found I like. The first I got from the Ann Braue Puppy Seminar, the second came from a Lori Michael's Seminar. I don't know who first "invented it" if you will, but there you have the "credits". I'm pretty sure NO ONE wants the credits for putting on a leash and forcing them over, so I'll skip that explanation. G

I believe one of the most important things about training a teeter is that the dog truly understands that THEY control the movement of the board. So you want to take this in small steps and build their confidence. You should have a dog that really wants to go before you move to the next step.

Let me remind you that EVERY TIME you CLICK you MUST Treat. Even if it was a mistake. (': Also, I'm going to assume your dog will already walk across a flat plank on the ground.


Teeter Training - Ann Braue


Start with 2 – 24” tables and the teeter in-between the tables. (whole teeter, base and all)

Running from one table to the other (will not be moving at all) and tug on the 24” table. Work on restrained recalls. If they fall off the table, just wait for them to jump back on and resume the game.

DO NOT move on until you LOVE the speed and intensity that you have.
They must be moving as fast as they can and not have any stiff “nervous” body language.

Then move one table down to 20” and the other remains at 24”. This now becomes a one directional exercise. It feels like a teeter. Add 2/2 at this point. Do this by litter plugging food/toy in their mouth as they come to the second table. Stay at each new height until they LOVE IT!! Never move on until full confidence is achieved.

Then move to 16”, 12”, 8” and ground. The one end is still at 24”.

=============================

Teeter Training - Lori Michaels

This is what I've been using for a couple years and I really like this approach.

First you're going to want your dog to get use to the noise. So have someone bang the teeter board and every time it bangs, click and treat your dog. If the noise doesn't bother your dog, GREAT, move closer. If they don't like it, then don't move closer until they are comfortable. No need to rush!

I start with a low teeter (8" tall) or the board with just the bar works GREAT!!!! We do not want to scare them. At first they get a click/treat for just approaching the board, then for putting a foot on it, then for making it move to the ground. I need to stress here that every dog moves at a different pace, so do not ask for too much too soon. At this time you can lure them onto the board - putting the food in their face and bring them onto the board. You will however want to wean from that as soon as possible. They should offer a behavior, click and then treat (reward).

You can load them for both sides and the front - up side of the board so they are willing to jump on no matter where the handler is. Here's an example of one of the puppies in class. Sporty does have a tab on because this class consists of 7 other puppies and handlers with cookies, so he may go visit. Notice however that the handler does NOT use this to force Sporty to do it. He is more than willing to do it on his own. Good BOY!!


video


The next step is going to be to walk your puppy across the board. (I'd prefer no leash or tab here as I don't want them to get caught on something) You'll want to click and treat each and EVERY TIME the board drops. So when they jump on the Up side they will get a treat and then another almost right away because when the go past the apex it will drop again. Going across the down side they will only get one click and treat as it only drops once. Make sense?

So here again you see Sporty walking across the board, getting clicked and treated at each "bang". After the first time across you can see the handler needs to catch him before the dog goes back on his own. This is EXACTLY what we want. We want them to WANT TO!!


video


The next step you move to is running with your dog back and forth across the board. This is tricky as you also want to click/treat at the bang. Once they are comfortable with that, you move to the big board and START ALL OVER!!
Let me stress that you DO NOT want to take them right across the big board and you will want to support it's drop a few times once they are crossing it.

To jump on the full board you're going to want to bring the high end down to 1/2 the height and get them comfortable jumping on. You can let it move up a bit and then again have them jump on. The idea again is to let them know that they control the board. Depending on your dog's jumping ability and size you may have them jumping on down in the colored area closer to the apex. This is fine.

I believe that the dog needs to learn how to adjust himself in order to understand how the teeter operates. I believe they need to be responsible for controlling the board vs. the handler telling the to "wait" and handler guessing when the board is going to drop. (As you know, every teeter is different) I believe it's their part of that 50/50 team work that's required to be successful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Do I Love Thee....



Okay, enough to drive you to ISU in GOD awful weather, sit with you, never leaving the waiting room from 8:45 - 2:45 until you were ready to go. Just to find out you have a very athletic heart, but yes, you do have a murmur. No meds, no change in lifestyle, you can recheck in a year if you'd like. Where's your credit card and that will be $502 please. G What the heck, it's only money!! and I'm OBVIOUSLY NOT taking it with me....of course, I'm not leaving much behind either!

When Kruz had a couple fatty tumors removed in October our Vet said that he had a slight heart murmur, but nothing to be concerned about. Well, that's like telling me there's some chocolate in the fridge, but just forget about it. NOT!!! So I stewed a while and then I started looking for things. Imagine that! I thought he slept more than he should and was that a cough? Why isn't he doing......(take your pick)

Okay, let's face it. Kruz has ALWAYS been amazingly easy to live with. He would play whenever you wanted to and would go lay down when we were done. He is on the move 23 hrs of the day like some other little BC in our household.

Anyway, long story short, I decided I'd feel better if I took him to ISU for a complete cardiac work up. EKG, Ultrasound, the whole 9 yards. I made the appointment for today, and of course we have crappy weather on Sunday and Monday. So the big decision was whether I go this am or not. Finally I decided I needed to go because I think Kruz was getting sick of me accessing his every move.

So we head out on the gravel at 6:55 after being shut in for 2 days. Lucky for us Alan has a big tractor with an even bigger snow thrower and knows how to use it!!



I'd checked the road conditions multiple times throughout the morning and they all said the same thing. Travel not advised until Tama and then 100% covered to Ames. Not sounding good at all!!! But I'm packed to the gills with my coveralls (both pair), snow boots, gloves, hat, a sleepover bag (I don't leave my dogs), pillows and a sleeping bag. Honestly, I'd pretty much set myself up to be perfectly SAFE. Oh, two PB&Js, 3-25 ounce Diet Pepsi's, water and a book.

Our gravel is 100% covered and 60% of what's showing it ice. LOVELY!!! Bill tells me to head East up the gravel, cut over on 201/Norway blacktop and then the 30 back West. It sounds like a plan to me. He also warns me that Alan had to spend a lot of time on the corner getting onto 201 as it was totally plowed shut. Thank you Benton County Maintainers! HELLO!!! Anyway, I was able to creep around the 10' pile of snow and was lucky enough to make it onto the highway in one piece.

It was slow going for most of the way, although I really wonder what the DOT means about 100% snow covered. HONESTLY!! They were not!! Sure, in some areas they were and in a couple areas you had drifts in your side of the road, but they really need to tell you the facts and not make up this stuff. Was it crappy? Yes! Was it slow going? YES! But 100% my eye!

Along the way we saw some very pretty scenery......I had my trusty camera (Meme taught me this!!!) So with Camera in one hand, Coffee in the other and knees on the wheel I took some pretty pictures. So they are not as good as Meme's, but you get the idea.



I had a couple highlights on the way there. One, I passed a HUMMER!!! Yep, I was driving "IT". Imagine the embarrassment of a Hummer getting passed by a Dodge Grand Caravan!! VBG The second will make us ALL proud to be Pepsi or Dew Drinkers. Boy, I almost didn't get the camera out in time! G



It was rather sad to see all the cars in the ditch. Abandoned with no one to look after them. Some had been there so long that grass and dirt was starting to get tossed on them by the plows. Poor things.......

Needless to say we arrived at our destination. Let the games begin, or the waiting! OMG!! Our appointment was at 9:30 and I don't think we got into a room until 10:30. During that time OMG!! The noise!! There's this couple with two Short hairs, they are champions you know. JL, could the freaking shut up! I took that as a NO!!! It was utter chaos and I was so glad when we finally got into a room.

Of course then the dreaded diet questions.....I'm going to be a brief as possible and will keep my thoughts to myself. That's good news, because I had a lot of them during this time. What kind of dog food do you feed. (I toyed with saying 'Ol Roy', but didn't) raw. "oh". Did you have a nutritionist review your diet to see if it is nutritionally balanced? No. (I'm thinking - and I'm pretty sure Mr. Wolf doesn't read the label on everything he eats either - and myself could live on circus peanuts and Pepsi - next question). Do you feed the bones? Yes. "um" I think they must be hearing more of this, because it was rather brief and fairly painless.

So then the actual DVM comes in, not who I'm suppose to see BTW, to do a very brief exam and indicts that she can hear a murmur. Gee, I came in knowing that much. She is very nice however, so she get kind points from me. She would like to do an EKG, maybe an ultrasound and some blood work. Fine. I ask if they can do the blood work fairly soon as the poor guy is kind of hungry. She said they could take him back and find a kennel for him and I could come back in the afternoon. Um, no, I don't leave my dogs. They were very nice about that and said they would try to work it so they could just take him once and bring him back. I said that was fine.

So Lori (the cardio tech) came out to get Kruz. She was very nice and told me where the pop machine and cafeteria were located. I thanked her and said I'd just wait right here. At this point I think I'm at Martyr status with them as I'm not even leaving for lunch and it's 11:30!! Little do the know, that I have 2 PB&Js in my bag and a couple sodas. G That dog has barely left the room and I'm ripping off the wrappers! Hey, I couldn't eat in front of the poor guy.

He comes back about 45 minutes later and my bladder is about popping. Of course I'm not leaving because about the time that I do they will want me. So Lori returns and tells me that everything looks good and Kruz has a good athletic heart. He does have a murmur, but the type is not something we need to worry about at this point. She said that they will have the blood work and write up in another hour or two. I told her we'd just hang out. She commented how nice it was to work with a well trained and willing dog. (Gee, YA THINK!!!) Of course Seeker was NO where to be seen. G

Then she asked if we'd had another dog come in with cardic problems. I told her we did about 3 years ago, a Bichon with an 3rd degree AV block. She said she remembered the name, so I get it pays to be "strange"..G

So, we ran to the bathroom, to the van to get Kruz's breakfast - it's now 12:30 and grab another soda. Back to our post we go. We had back to sit, drink and read. What a long wait. More loud dogs come and go, although they did NOT go nearly fast enough.

We finally got our blood results and walking papers at 2:30. Everything looks good...so we're out of here. The trip home wasn't nearly as eventful as the way there. Roads were much better until you got to Benton County. Go figure!!

We did take a detour into Marshalltown to the DQ, Kruz agreed we could not hold out until Toledo. So I had a blizzard and he had a kiddie's cup. YUMMY!!!

So, life it good. I no longer have to stare at Kruz and wonder if it's the "BIG ONE". Bill doesn't have to listen to me say, did he just cough. I can sleep better at night, as can everyone else. All in all, it was probably a wasted trip, but I feel better and we have a base line should we ever need to go back.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

OH MY ACHING ADDUCTORS!!!

You know, those muscles on the inside of your thighs that you NEVER use unless your riding a pony? Yep, they hurt today after that 6 mile pony ride yesterday with 3 visits into the ditch resulting in riding a rodeo bronc until he got back to the road. UGH!!! So today we've been taking it rather easy. Sal wanted to watch the news and I knew I should go and run. UGH!!!! But alas off I go.

I turn on the treadmill, then the radio. I hate daytime radio, too many commercials. No wonder I run early in the morning! I really need to break down and buy a inexpensive cd player. Anyway, I decide I'd best pre-medicate and luckily I keep a bottle of naproxen right on the treadmill in case of such emergencies. I medicate and begin to walk. OUCH!!!!

I decide a lot of running is out of the question today, so I decide on the tenth mile plan. walk a tenth, run a tenth. Sounds like a good idea, expect when I start to run my shins start to scream. I forgot "AGAIN" to stretch. Story of my life, oh well...I'm sure they will loosen up as I go.

The plan is, 3.7 mph walk and work my way up the speeds. As RSopie so nicely pointed out, I better start moving faster if I want to actually finish the race with everyone. Or something to that affect. So, 5, 3.7, 6, 3.7...you get the picture. Up to the 10 mph mark. MY FAVORITE!! So this is accomplished and I'm pretty proud of myself. I still have a LOT of time to go, so I decide to work my way back down. Only this time I'm going to do 2 tenths run and 1 tenth walk. I'll start with 10.

JL!! What was I thinking! Actually the first tenth wasn't too bad, but that last .5 was murder! I'm sucking wind at the walk and I know there is NO way I can do the 9 mph for 2 tenths in about 30 seconds. Change of rules! Hey, it's my game, I can change the rules!! So I decide a better plan is to work the run in both directions. So this next time I'll run 5 mph, walk, then 9 mph,walk, 6 mph, walk. You get the picture. This works out perfectly and I end with 7mph and walk until done.

During these faster speeds, 8, 9, 10 mph I do very well for the first 10th, it's that last little bit that I start to waiver. I can tell my feet are hitting the treadmill louder and I wonder what Sal must be thinking out in the Living Room. I'm pretty sure he's had to turn the TV up to hear the news. To his credit he never comes and looks. I think he's afraid of what he might see. VBG

To my credit the adductors no longer hurt, nor do my shins. This is either because the drugs are working or my body is too worried about breathing to working about muscle pain.

I have yet to experience the so called, "Runner's High". I honestly think they have made it up just to get people to run. Now, I do understand the excitement when it's over! G

Just 3 months to the race and if I can stay on track and just run 3 times a week I think I'll be ready. FINGERS crossed! I am looking forward to finally being able to run outside! It will be a nice change of scenery.

How to keep a young BC busy

The weather has been SO COLD that you run out of ideas on how to keep an active young dog busy and TIRED!!! I swear Seeker is part Eskimo, how else would he be able to actually pant while running in sub-zero weather? Yesterday was a rather nice day in the upper 20's, so we took advantage of the nice temps and the big piles of snow to create our own "border collie" exercising device!

At one point Cougar was on top of the "mountain" but soon learned it wasn't the BEST place to be. By the time I grabbed the "flip" Seeker had made a lot of trips over the top, you can see his path. He had a great deal of fun. GO FIGURE!

video

Another soon to become an Olympic Sport is "Cat Cutting". Unfortunately as soon as you grab the "flip" the cat, AKA "Cougar" isn't all that willing to show his moves.
TYPICAL CAT!!

video


Seeker will chase Cougar, then Cougar chases Seeker, it's rather cute. At least Seeker isn't as afraid of Cougar as he once was. How embarrassing is that! However Cougar still hangs out around one of the jumps while working agility in the building and Seeker will still avoid that jump. I guess that means Cougar still wins.

Cougar likes to be the center of attention and will follow you ANYWHERE!! Often we rescue him and carry him through the deeper snow. Cougar just loves to be carried and has the loudest purr I think I've ever heard. In fact when Bill came out to help me with Adam in the road yesterday he had to pick up and carry Cougar as he was following him up the lane. That Cougar hates to miss out on anything!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let the BODIES HIT THE FLOOR

You know...the song by Drowning Pool?? Okay, never mind, you don't. G

Anyway, it's an appropriate song when trying to use the treadmill when Seeker is around. I took some video this am while I safely "walked" and the baby BC was present. You must admit, he's pretty smart to figure out that if he drops the toy it will fly back. Kind of like a pitching machine. He does have to fight off an alien invader "aka Kruz" at one point, but Seeker prevails.

Note how there are times you have to actually JUMP over the toy or "kick" it out of the way. This is extremely "interesting" at higher speeds. Which is why he is then blocked out of the room. I have enough problems remembering to breathe! Let along jumping a stuffed toy.

video

Trying NOT to tick off Bill this weekend....

Well, best laid plans and all that!!
The week didn't start out really great with the wind picking up on Sunday and the roads blowing shut. Carrie was able to barrel through them and we made it home from the Twin Cities without any problems. That was good, since it was freaking freezing! Mad and I did stop at the Spring Valley DQ and believe it or not we were the ONLY ones there and YES, we got Ice Cream in -7 degree actual temperature weather! G

Bill tells me, DO NOT go east if the road isn't clear! You'll need to go West, then North when leaving the lane. Well, I forgot, kind of. I headed East and then barreled through one drift and thought I'd better turn around. Good idea, with BAD results. I got stuck. Well, technically, I didn't get stuck....Carrie did. Poor low riding Carrie, but Bill came to the rescue and I took "IT" (Bill's van to work) and he dug Carrie out and drove the Truck (who sadly doesn't have a name) to work.

So Monday afternoon, on the way home another storm is coming in. The highway is HORRIBLE and snow is blowing. Icy roads and snow coming I call Bill and suggest he stay in town. He bunks with Meme and Bbetty and is quite comfortable by the fire, cable TV and chicken cassorole. I'm BITTER!!!!

So Tuesday I work from home and make a BIG mess in the kitchen. I need to make cupcakes to take to work for Wed and make hot chocolate for myself. Just in case you ever forgot and put the HC mix in before you heat the milk. DO NOT try to heat them together. Talk about toxic overflow!! I didn't clean up the mug or the microwave....boy did I HEAR ABOUT THAT!!!

I think I was pretty good the rest of the week and I thought this weekend I'm really going to keep my nose clean!!! Famous last words! Tony from dog class got a new pony a few weeks ago and was really looking forward to taking her out. Today was suppose to be nice, so I told her we could hit the gravel roads. Tony boards her pony about 4 miles from us and since she's never been out on the roads I told her I'd come up and get her. I barely got out of the lane and ran into problems. HELLO!!! ABORT MISSION!! Oh, NO, I'm way too suborn for that!!

We head South by the dreaded "sheep" (they eat brown ponies you know!!!)The sheep were hiding behind the HUGE pile of snow, which I suppose "could" have been a huge sheep. To say Adam freaked out was an understatement. No matter how I tried, he did NOT want to go by. He ended up bolting into the ditch to get away and of course the ditch was FULL so he now bouncing to get through the drift(which is deeper than his belly) and back up to the road. Does that stop me.....oh no, again he goes into the ditch and bounces back up to the road. Bill spots us this time (I'm not sure how he missed the rodeo the first time?) Denial? Maybe. But he comes up and leads Adam past the sheep while I stay mounted.

This should have been enough to get me to stop, but no....I go on. We're doing well for the next 1.5 miles or so, but then the road is more ice than snow and gravel. I call Bill on my handy cell phone and ask him to bring me a halter in case I need to dismount and lead Adam vs. riding him. His bridle actually pulls off quite easily, so I wanted a choice. Bill shows up, but with Saphira's bridle vs. a halter. Rats!

While he's gone Adam has a complete melt down on the ice. He's so afraid to move he's trembling all over. I felt really bad for him and honestly, he would have been fine if he would just walk where I asked him. He apparently didn't believe me. Tony was counting on me, so I didn't think I could turn around. Bill came back with a halter and then leads him across a bridge that was mostly ice.

Finally after 3 miles, I asked Bill to go up to Tony's and tell her that it's just too icy and I'm going to turn around and head home. It was a pretty long ride and Bill needed to come rescue us from those blood thirsty sheep again. I have NO idea how that phobia got so bad. I told Adam he was going to need to spend a month over there if he keeps this up. Either that a few are going to have to stay with us. BH!!

Tomorrow I promise NOT to get into any trouble. With 8 more inches of snow expected....what could I possibly do?? VBG

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shopping at IKEA!!!

Yes, I know - I am NOT a shopper! Everyone that knows me knows that I HATE SHOPPING! But I happened to be up in the Twin Cities last weekend and a couple friends wanted to go. They had just taken me to dinner and they were driving, so what choice did I have?

Sitting out in the parking lot was NOT an option, I think actual temp was below zero. So we drove past the Mall of America and I pictured some of the women at work drowling. Me, I can honestly leave it. I will admit to being curious however about IKEA as it happens to be one of the the scrapbook site I visit on a weekly basis.

We pull into the lot and KOcea tells us to "make sure you remember where we're parked." Right! Not my car, so I promptly forget. They take off like a shot to the entrance, I'm pretty sure it's because it's so cold outside and NOT because they are VERY excited about shopping. We enter the store, 2 floors and 336,000 square feet. It's HUGE!!

Luckily it was later in the evening on a Saturday night, it's freezing cold and not too many other "idiots" are shopping. It's busy, but not as packed as I'm sure it can get.

IKEA reminds me a of Sam's store. Warehouse style bins with a LOT of different items. Some fairly nice quality and cheap. Others just plain CHEAP. All the items I happened to look at were "Made In China". What isn't anymore? Honestly, you have got to wonder what the Chinese think of us American's while they are kicking out "dog butts" where you use the tail as a hanger. CRAZY!!!!

We start in the cooking and eating area (MY FAVORITE!) on our way to "lamps". I did actually buy two things in the kitchen area - I know - you can stop clapping, it wasn't that exciting!! I purchased a "Lazy Tammy"...aka "Lazy Susan" and a 6-pk of 22 ounce drinking glasses. Yep, that's it!

So onto lamps, vases, fake flowers, frames, rugs, furniture, pet supplies (that's where the dog butts were) and we're toast!

We must have been there over 90 minutes and we never made it off this one floor. KOcea has what she needed, KElton has what she needed, so we were out of there. Self check out, yikes!! They are closing the store!! But we survived. Oh, one thing to note, take your own bags! Yep, they charge you 5 cents for those cheap things that you recycle later. Let me tell you, it's a great why to get people to conserve bags!!

Now comes the tricky part. Where did we park. Don't look at me Ladies, I'm a foreigner! We enter one elevator and go to the ground floor. This does not look right? I can't remember which side we were on, north or south. I do remember that it was the WRONG SIDE!! Burr!! So we run around the other side and spot our little red ride! YIPPEE!!!

IKEA was fun, probably because of the people I was with. I can't say I'd go there again. It's kind of like Sam's. You think it's a good deal so you buy it, but honestly you probably could have lived without it.

You can do a virtual tour at http://info.ikea-usa.com/IKEAVirtualTour/?store=twincities

Monday, February 11, 2008

National Take Your Dog to Work Day!!

Okay, not really! Friday I was able to take Mad Dog to work with me. I was going out of town that afternoon and it was going to save me a lot of driving time, not to mention GAS! We arrived at my usual time and since there wasn't anyone in the office I thought I should play with her a little bit to get her use to the environment. This is probably "exhibit A" as to why people are NOT allowed to bring their dogs to work.

She was actually very good and didn't cause any trouble at all. Okay, well, she did have a short "jail break" as Mo was suppose to be watching her while I went to the kitchen. UP to that point "no one" knew she was there! (':

We were still able to keep her presence a secret and I don't think there were any complaints. The people that did know she was there thought she should come everyday or that others should be able to bring their dogs too. It would be a great morale booster! video

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blind man driving hits on Carrie!! Friday 2/8/08 - LONG!!!

OMG! Do you ever have "one of those days?" Honestly, an event that happens that is so totally bizzare, you just have to laugh? Yep, it happened Friday. A co-worker, Kathi and I were innocently making out way to the "Dollar Store" in order to purchase some decorations (of the spring variety) for the office. The weather has been so cold, icy, snowy and crappy, we really needed something to lift everyone's spirits. SO off we went at 10 am, Carrie (the van), Myself, Kathi and Mad Dog (who had a special "bring your dog to work day").

We are about 2 miles from work and sitting in Carrie at a stop light when I notice a dark burgandy Blazer driving "really slow...I'm talking REALLY slow....I could have beat that Blazer to the light walking on my hands alone!" I notice he's not really in his lane. Well, wait, he kind of is but he's kind of in mine too. CRAP! Honestly, what do you do? You can't drive into the middle of this busy intersection! So I warn Kathi that she's the "bloody side".

Okay, most of you have seen Austin Powers. You know the scene where Austin is driving the asphalt roller and there is a man in front of it. It's going about 2 mph and the man is screaming for him to stop because he can't get out of the way? Swear, that is EXACTLY what this was like.

I think I was frozen in disbelief, Kathi was getting a tad bit freaked out as he was getting closer and closer. I think at one point Kathi said, "OMG, I think he's going to hit us." About that time is when you hear the scraping of Blazer on Odyssey. In some kind of weird mating dance? I'm pretty sure CARRIE was NOT in season!!! G

So I honk just before the blazer takes off the passenger mirror. He then starts to back up causing even more scrapping! UGH!!! Kathi powers the passenger window down. About that time the driver of the Blazer is also rolling his window down. I yelled, "Are you an idiot." (Thankfully I think he realized that this was a retorical question.) I was VERY proud of myself for leaving the "F" word out and Kathi advised that this would have been a TOTALLY appropriate place to insert it. Since he didn't reply, I thought I'd best open up the dialog with another statement, so I hollered, "I hope you have insurance." (I know, some times I'm NOT very witty). Alas, the guy was conscious and confirmed he did. JL He gave some indication for us to follow him off the busy road, so we did. (I was pretty sure Kathi could take him!)

After a VERY long ride of one block which took longer than I'd care to mention, he pulled onto an off street. Kathi in the mean time had dialed 911 for me as I was seriously wondering if the man was drunk. Let me tell you, I am NOT terribly impressed with the 911 service and I told her we'd had been in an accident and thought the other driver might be drunk, she transferred me. Yep.....made me wonder if it was a drive by shooting if you'd be transferred somewhere else? I didn't bother to ask. As I'm being transferred Kathi is quickly writing down the license plate number, she really did NOT have to hurry...he was NOT going anywhere fast. G

By this time the "PERP" had pulled onto the side street (not by the curb mind you, in the middle of the freaking road) so I pulled behind him closer to the curb and handed Kathi the phone back to give the 2nd dispatch the particulars.

I went over to Carrie's side and took her vitals. Only a few dents and scratches along with a fresh coat of burgandy paint. Nothing serious, so I head over to talk to the driver.

He exits the Blazer and I swear the FIRST words out of his mouth are... "I'm sure glad you honked." Well, NO "S" Sherlock, YA THINK!! OMG!!! As he exits the Blazer, I note he's an older man, I'm HORRIBLE with ages, but something is NOT right about his eyes. Do you remember Marty Feldman? One is like that, bulging out of it's socket like it's trying to escape the crime scene, the other is barely open, I think that is his "good" eye. So I ask him if he has a driver's license. He says he does and is rummaging around for it. He finally finds it and hands it to me. I copy down his name and address, and I notice his license expires this year, in JULY (hopefully for GOOD) but didn't notice what year he was born. RATS!! So I give that back to him and ask if he has his insurance card.

More rummaging (still no police officers to help btw) and he comes up with the insurance card. So I take down that information as well. He asks for my name and phone number, so I write those down for him and hand him the piece of paper. He can't see it. I am NOT LYING!! He is moving his hand back and forth trying to "find the sheet of paper". OMG!!! It's then that I really realize he CAN'T SEE!!!! Now, had I not been so shocked I probably would have "played" with him a bit by moving it back and forth, just out of reach....but I was dumbfounded.

So, then he says, "Boy, this just figures, after yesterday." Okay, come on...who is NOT curious about WHAT happened yesterday??

Turns out it really wasn't all that exciting. He just got stuck with the blazer in his driveway. Hung up on a drift I guess. So I kind of starting feeling sorry for the guy. So I asked him if his wife was home. He said yes, but he had a doctor's appointment so he had to leave. I asked why his wife didn't take him and he said that she didn't want to drive in this weather. (I'm thinking, "DUDE, you shouldn't be driving at all!!!!") I told him that I wasn't sure he should be driving at all and he agreed. Still NO cops by the way!!!!

So then he wants to see the damage to the van. So he walks over to Carrie and I just hang back to see what he's going to do. He goes to the wrong freaking side of the van! He's rubbing his hand along and finally I have to tell him it's the "other side". Kathi is TOTALLY busting a gut at this point and at the corner either looking for "tricks" or cops...whichever turn up first. CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!!!

Finally a police car is coming from the opposite direction and they drive "right by us", like they are not going to stop. HELLO!!! They finally get a clue and after wiping the powered sugar off their blues (I made that part up) they come toward us.
The "fat old one" more experienced of the jelly doughnut wranglers, went to talk to the driver. The younger one talked with us, I explained what happened and my concern for him driving home. I explained he could NOT see.

Jelly belly comes over and talks to the younger guy and they determine that Kathi and I can leave. They suggest that I fill out a police report (but they don't have one with them - they probably did but it had jelly stains on it) so I should stop over at the police station to get one. Fine, we can do that on our way back. Jelly says the old guy only lives a couple blocks away so he was going to have him drive home. I explained again about the paper he could not see. We left, so I'm not sure they took care of him or not?? Our police force at work.

Does it end there? Oh no, that would be TOO EASY! So after we are done picking up our "goodies" Kathi kindly reminds me to pick up the accident report. So we pull into the tiny lot where a police car and an SUV are parked. We're pretty sure the old guy was a retired cop (as of Thursday) because the SUV has a smashed front light on the drivers side. G

So I go up to the door. LOCKED!! What the heck! I read the sign on the door. Ring bell or dial 911. OMG!! Hum, questionable at this point which would be faster!!!
So I ring the bell. No answer. Then I notice a phone box with a rugged phone in it. Do I use it? I'm waving and pointing to it and Kathi is nodding or choking from laughter, I'm not sure which???? So I pick up the phone and it starts to ring and ring and ring...then you can tell it's forwarded to a different number and it rings, and rings......finally someone answers. Boy, talk about LOUSY customer service!!

I tell her what I'm needing and she tells me they are all out on calls. I'm thinking "Seriously"??? Yep, all out, I can have them come over there when they are free. Okay, so, just so I'm sure what's going on here. You want me to stay in the parking lot and wait for the cops to come back that didn't have a form so they can get me a form they should have had in the first place? She said yes. I asked if I couldn't just download it from the internet, she said no.

I really wanted to ask her if she knew where they hid the spare key and checked the ground for the old dog poop trick. NOPE!! I wonder if they all carry bullets in their pockets? I'm pretty sure that is a YES!! G

BTW - you actually CAN get an accident report via the web. Maybe someone should provide that information to the Linn County Sheriff's department. How crazy is that!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just When you THOUGHT it was SAFE to go to WORK!!

Well, actually...it wasn't going that was the problem!

It was the trip home, or more specifically the last 2 miles! We are talking WESTERN!!!!!
All that was missing was a couple ponies, cowboys with hats, a six shooting and HIGH NOON!

So my favorite "Snow Bandit" stopped over last night with his monster snow blower and tractor to dig out our lane. He also did the 2 mile stretch of gravel due WEST. (This is important LATER!!) So this am, it was a pretty smooth ride to work, normal winter driving conditions I'd say.....

So on the way home I "forgot" about the due WEST part (which would now be EAST) until I had pulled into the very very bad NO NO South/North road. F!!!!!!! The first thought as I entered the road was "oh, this is rather chewed up snow, it'll be tricky in the morning...I'd better get a run at it to the highway" (yes, I talk VERY fast to myself!).

Then reality struck. The Freaking maintainer had NOT been by yet!!!! Crap! I knew not to that this road! UGH!!! Well, not anything you can do about it now but to keep on a truckin'. (is that a bumper sticker??) I debate as to whether I could "possibly" get into one of the drives that are about 1/4 mile into that road, but I didn't think I should chance getting stuck there and having people hate me for life. Better to have Bill yell at me for choosing the wrong freaking road!

So I have the pedal down and I know I can NOT stop....keep moving CARRIE!!! As I drive by the houses my friend Ambush runs out and his little brown friend at his heels. They are LOVING this, because they can stay with me!!!! It's now totally white out - oh, did I mention I was also out of window wash and my windshield was streaked with salt spray?? NICE!

I'm trying to watch the two dogs and keep Carrie moving in some other idiots car tracks. Carrie is getting pulled from one side to the other and I'm just hoping I can keep her out of the ditch and in someone's tracks.

Just as I start to think I'm going to make it. WHOOP!! I hit this mega huge drift (at least I think that's what it was??) and snow comes flying over the hood and onto the windshield. Eye ball surgery or not, I can't see "S"! F!! Where's the wiper? I know have my right foot pushing on the gas, my left hand on the wheel, my right trying to get the wipers on and my left thinking about exiting the vehicle. CRAP!! Well, she managed to stay on the road and we only had one minor drift to navigate to get to the corner. I was never so happy to see 74th Street!

Boy, it that's not something to get your blood pumping.

Tomorrow morning let's hope I can remember to just drive EAST and do NOT detour onto the North/South road!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Winter Storm - Yippee - NOT!

Snow was flying this am and it didn't look like anyone was leaving the house. I do NOT make a good "shut in". But I managed to keep myself busy. I listened to the Sweeney Todd sound track about 5 times, which Sal did like better than "biggie".

About 2 PM the snow seemed to let up so we went out to the barn to let the ponies out - boy did they have fun in the snow. I wish I would have had the Flip right when I turned them out. But they did manage to keep up their rips for a while. Missed out on them rolling in the snow however. Apparently that feels really good!

After watching this I'm sure most of you will agree with me. I'm sure glad Rsophie is holding out to ride that "colored pony".

video

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend Excitement

It's been a couple months since we've been to an agility trial, so both dogs and handlers are ready to go. We're packed with plenty of food and we take off to our show site at 4:45 am. I soon discover, "CAddie" is NOT a morning person. (I'll come back to this one.)

So we arrive at the trial (close to 1st of course) and drive to the rear of the building as normal. It's NOT plowed and there's about 5" of snow. "TRip " is leading and he's slowing up to look around, I have to grab the cb and ask him to "KEEP MOVING" or Carrie (the honda) is going to get stuck. It was pretty funny as we snaked around to get back to the road. I'm pretty sure "Trip" was trying to spell DQ, but we'll never know now.

Friday's runs went well! Lots of Q's and happy dogs and handlers. The courses were nice and the numbers lower because of the weather. In fact, we worked a few classes because the "workers" from town could not get there because of the weather. HELLO!! Foreigners. Oh well, we are a rather "strange" group.

We didn't finish up until 6 that night and boy were we tired. It was all I could do to get CAddie to scrapbook. That's when she told me that she's really not a morning person. NO!!! So when I pointed out that it was only 8 PM. She advised me that she's really not an evening person either. So, then of course I felt obligated to ask - so what is your best time of day? She thought for a moment and then said, "well....late morning, before lunch, because after lunch, then I'm tired." (OH MY GOD!!) so then I have to ask, um, what time is lunch? 1130. So, it was determined that the CAddie's best most productive time is from 10:00 to 11:30. Wait until I call her employer!!! I did finally get her to scrap book for 30 minutes and then she was toast.

Saturday we arrived bright and early. TRip, BOllie and I helped set courses (no one else was there) and CAddie tried to catch some ZZZZ's. Today we had a rep and that probably didn't help move things, but we didn't get finished until 5:45 that night. UGH!! We had the "gamble" from Hell in the Exc FAST class, but Kruz nailed it. Good boy Kruz - he needed to redeem himself from the prior days class in which he had a "SR moment", but still a lot f fun.

Back at the motel, we had dinner in our room and attempted to watch the flip. CAddie was again willing to scrap book and we tried to erase color. I swear we'd spent all the privious evening on this and couldn't get it to work. So I thought it must have something to do with the new updated 6.0 version. CAddie has a black background on her laptop, so unless you are looking at it straight on it was hard to see. Finally, we're just about to give up when she realizes she had a different eraser up that was erasing ALL the layers. OMG!! I don't think I laughed that hard in a long time.

I might mention at this point that both CAddie and BOllie had the crud. I'd talked TRip into trying some effervesence back in October for colds and he must have liked it as we were not feeding this to both girls. We stopped on Saturday night for another box as I suggest it as a "preventative" medicine as well. I HATE the taste, TRip doesn't think it's that bad. For some reason he felt compelled to drop the plop plop fizz fizz into his morning OJ. HELLO!! Dumb - ba...we should have had the "flip" as it was foaming like no bodies business!! TRip drank it down, but we had fun laughing at his face as he was telling us how terrible it was. I can ONLY imagine.

Sunday it was more dusty than normal. I think it ran so late the night before that the maintance workers were already gone and no one else knew how to turn on the water and use the hose. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. BOllie wasn't feeling well she pulled Ollie from Novice.

The morning went pretty smooth and we all ran well and were ready to head home. TOTALLY oblivious to what lie ahead. In fact, in hind site I wonder if we would have skipped the PB&J talk in the parking lot and the DQ if we might not have beat it? Wouldn't that have been something! But it was not meant to be and we spent the next 6 hrs in the vans driving 30-40 mph and discussed stopping for the night. Apparently we were ALL too stubborn for that.

CAddie kept repeating how happ she was that her van (with NO name) was safely in the garage. We had a few hairy moments, but we all made it home in one piece. Who says you can't have fun driving 300 miles in an ice, sleet and snow storm. We were very surprised and slightly disappointed that we didn't see more cars in the ditches.

I'm sure I missed some funny moments, but given enough therapy I'll remember them.

Addie flat out refused to finish her MX and MXJ on Sunday....apparently she's hoping for better ribbons and a larger audience in DM.

Sometimes things are best explained via Video...

Our weekend HIGHLIGHTS!!!

I'll work on a movie later and give written comments. The trip home however, was probably the part we'll remember the most. "CR" thought of a new "term" to go along with "Focus Ester".....

"Flip It" and so....she did.....
video