Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Return from the Land of Waffle House and Southern Hospitality

So we had a lovely time in Georgia for the hunt tests this past weekend! The drive was l-o-n-g, but the trip was well worth it: new senior hunter "legs" for both dogs. Moving on after completing their Junior Hunt titles earlier this fall, Gibson now has a total of 2 senior legs, and Watson brought home his first. As always, I was extremely proud of how well Michael handled them at the tests and of the hard work he has put in to get them to this point!

This was our first trip to these tests. They have been highly recommended over the years, though, and the Cocker Spaniel Specialty Club of Georgia did an excellent job, as advertised. The grounds and hospitality were first-rate. Thank you for hosting this event! Special thanks to the judges who donated their time to make and to the other Clumber folk who came out to cheer on our breed this past weekend. Congratulations to the other qualifiers, especially the Clumbers, and special kudos to those who titled this weekend - Kara, Cathy, and Roe!

While we traveled with the "youngsters," Wooster vacationed with our good friends Darrell and Brenna, along with Thor, Loki and Sebastian. Thanks guys! To the cats: we owe you a new glitter ball. Sorry Wooster ate yours (but glad it came back up!). To Wooster: sorry you had to eat cat food for breakfast yesterday. Don't know how I mis-counted when I was scooping out food to send with you!

And now, to continue the pattern of the bad weather following us wherever we go this past week (including Georgia!), we brace for the winter storm...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ease on Down the Road...

Well, since no one else seems to be blogging at the mo' - I will.

Just to have something to do instead of pack for the weekend. Many things have been accomplished so far this evening, and a break is in order.

Done: hunting training (I am the self-styled "lovely and talented" assistant for this training); dog bath; laundry.

Still to do: dry dog; finishing touches on dog grooming; pack clothes (5 min); pack lots and lots of dog stuff (half an hour or so - we can see what's important here).

Notice dinner was not on the list. Since my enthusiasm for cooking has waned noticeably since getting home, I am thinking we will have to resort to something frozen - bummer!

For all you dog lovers out there, here is a quick pic of my Woo-man, who knows something is UP! Also, he is in desperate need of a haircut...

And now, back to the mines, as we are hoping to ease on down the road to Des Moines right around 5 tomorrow! Wish us luck...


Friday, July 17, 2009

Bang, bang!

I am happy to say that I shot 18/50 targets tonight. OK, so they had to give me some do-overs (2-3) because I still had the safety on.... Still, a VAST improvement over the first time I shot, maybe 9 months ago, when I hit 5 or 6 of 50 targets! If the improvement continues at this rate, I calculate that within a couple of months I will be kicking both boys' butts. That would be great mostly because it might stop them chirping at each other about who won. :)

And now, for the rest of the weekend...nothing! A rare occurrence. I may head to the office for a couple of hours tomorrow, but other than that, no firm plans...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Say Cheese

Hope you enjoy these photos of Kylie & Watson following the Williana Specialty this past weekend! Thanks to Kylie for presenting Watson so beautifully at this event. Congratulations to Schroeder (CH Clussexx Tickling the Ivories) on his BISS win and to all of the other winners.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shoulda Taken That Left Turn at Albuquerque...

Well, we've had a busy evening.  

First, we erected temporary fencing around the pond in an attempt to repel any nosy Clumbers (or Frenchies or Salukis) during tomorrow's Clumber Jamboree.  Sure, our dogs get into the pond occasionally, but the main culprit from our household is out of town.  (Gibson is traveling to Toledo with Becki and Kylie this weekend, to compete in the FSSA supported entry there.)  No, I am primarily concerned about Fannie, who last time managed to get dirty despite the fact that we had drained the pond and covered it with a tarp!!  She is persistent.

Wooster naturally wanted to inspect our work, so he was allowed to go out into the yard after that. Surprised to see him intently poking one area of grass with his nose, Michael called him back.  When he didn't come, Michael went to investigate and found the source of Wooster's interest: a nest of baby bunnies that somehow miraculously survived yesterday's mowing and were now attracting the wrong kind of attention from Woo.  (Unfortunately, there was one dead one.  Since we didn't see any marks on it, however, we conclude that it was the victim of neither the mower nor Wooster and must have died of "exposure" or some other appropriate baby bunny disaster.)  

We finally called the emergency animal clinic, which directed us to cover the nest back up and hope the mama bunny comes back tonight and moves them.  Here's hoping, since we're expecting, at last count, about 12 people and 16 dogs to invade our yard tomorrow around noon!!

After dealing with the bunny crisis, we spent the remainder of the evening getting our digs squared away before tomorrow's invasion.  (Did I mention we may be hosting a Saluki?!  I've never met one before...)

On tomorrow's agenda: cleaning, grocery shopping, hopefully grooming.  Then, enjoying an afternoon with friends and hoping all the dogs get along.  A lack of drama would be refreshing!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Counting Down

Getting very excited about the National coming up in a little more than a week.  I guess we leave for St. Louis in about 10 days.  In honor of the coming event, I thought I'd post a few pics here from prior years' gatherings.  Unfortunately, I apparently took very few photos at most of the preceding events and don't have access to the husband's camera (or hard drive) just at the mo, so I'll have to make do with what's on my own computer.  Note to self: take more photos this year!!

First, one of my all-time favorites:

Watson (l) and Wooster (r) with the "Duke of Newcastle," who lugged his period costume (fresh from Crufts!) all the way from England and did photo ops with the dogs as a fundraiser for the Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation!

Above, Wooster & I take a picture after placing in the Veterans' class.  You can just barely see the Delaware River in the background.  We showed in sweeps & classes for the National and classes for the regional that followed.  We weren't exactly the star attraction, but it didn't matter-- it was just great being in the righ with my Woo-man for the first time ever!  I am looking forward to showing again this year!

Terrible photo - great memories!  This was taken as we took Kipper (1993-2006) on his "victory lap" in the CSCA's Rescue & Placement Parade.  This was the 2nd time he made an appearance in the R&P Parade, the first time being in 2003, before we even joined CSCA.

Kipper with his friend June.  June does instinct (a/k/a "birdiness" testing every year at the National.  She comes all the way from Wales to do this!  In 2005, when Kipper was about 12 (we only got him at age 8 or so), she tested him.  He was "off the charts" (in my unbiased opinion).  Afterwards, he followed June all the way off the field, pouncing on her bird bag the whole way!!

Hopefully, you've enjoyed this little mini-retrospective.  Stay tuned for more National-themed photos after the event!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Pitter-Patter of Little Paws

No, don't get excited. I do, in fact, mean little paws - four of them - not feet. As in, "When you don't crate the puppy, you spend the entire night listening to the pitter-patter of little paws."

It has become apparent that Gibson does not dig his crate, especially not for sleeping purposes, which is extremely detrimental to my own ability to sleep through the night. So Monday night we made the final leap in puppy-proofing the bedroom-- thereby exposing our own shortcomings in keeping the laundry current-- and let Gibson have the run of the bedroom, along with Watson, overnight.

So far, so good from my perspective. Turns out that even if I wake up a couple of times an hour to a 40-pound puppy vaulting over me to get back onto the bed, I am still happier in the morning than if I wake repeatedly to whining and yapping. There's just something about that noise.

Still, I'm not sure Watson would call the experiment a success. He vacated the bed in short order once he realized Gibson would be allowed to stay. Seems as though he preferred the noise.

Monday, March 30, 2009

State of the Art or "Technical Difficulties"

So I got a new camera for Christmas.  At first it worked great, then I began experiencing technical difficulties that caused most of my dog show photos to blur or appear very dark.  After checking over the manual tonight (thanks, Canon, for putting it online, since I can't locate the hard copy - except the Spanish language version!), it seems the device is compensating for the lack of lighting in the various venues when I turn off the flash.  So now I have to figure out how to set the ISO and shutter speeds.  Bummer!!  But at least I know what the issue is and can attempt to fix it.

A few of my pics were salvageable and are available via my Facebook album   As you'll see, these most show our Watson.  However, I did manage to capture a few pics of a friend's FS puppy, another friend's nice Curly-Coated Retriever and some photos of Laura handling Jack, her GWP special.  The above is my favorite photo of Watson from this weekend.  Had more of the pics turned out, there might have been a cute head shot; however, the butt shot will just have to do this time around. Sigh.

P.S. - Two breed wins, running unopposed; nothing in group.

Fairgrounds in the Rain

Enjoyed the shows in Iowa this weekend - despite driving sleet on Saturday afternoon.

Note to the show committee: think about a different venue! We were at a fairgrounds. Grooming was in a different building than the ring. Poor Michael had to carry Watson, a featherweight at 70+ lbs., between buildings all weekend to avoid muddying that white coat after he was groomed! (Me = recovering from pulled muscle in back; yes, I think I injured it lifting/carrying dogs last week.) Once the sleet started Saturday afternoon, and continuing as it warmed/melted off on Sunday, the dirt driveways in the fairground turned to slushy mud puddles! At least the ring was on a concrete floor.

Note to the operator of the Motel 6 in DeWitt, Iowa: we understand you just took the place over and are in the process of making improvements. I hope new pillows and bed linens top your list!!

Thanks to Laura for presenting Watson so beautifully this weekend and for all the extra grooming help due to my aforementioned back issue.

We also had a (mostly) successful experiment with letting puppy (a/k/a Gibson) sleep loose/uncrated on Saturday night. The wee hours of Friday found him once again guarding the truck, and I was not about to venture outside in the weather on Saturday night, so we puppy-proofed the room as best we could and hoped for the best, knowing he'd at least be quiet if he wasn't crated. I think he "buzzed" Wooster's crate at least once, resulting in a loud scolding from the "big dog," and he must have gotten in a sleeping Watson's face once, too, from the sound of things. He also periodically woke us by leaping on and off the bed (and on and off of us), but my sleep-fogged brain was more tolerant of this behavior than of constant whining, so we were ahead of the game. Now if we can just puppy-proof the bedroom at home!

Am experience technical difficulties with my camera and so only got a few photos of the show. Will post them if any turn out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Still Life with Tennis Ball

That's what I'm calling this picture of Wooster (even though it isn't really a still life) because, if you know Woo, you know he was rarely "still" in his younger days. He was a busy Clumber. (And he didn't come to our house until he was 2 and a half years old!) Knowing Wooster, it could also be titled "I know what's mine!"

When I wanted to take this picture, I didn't have my camera handy, so I got up off the couch - thereby waking him up. Luckily, he didn't move and, once I settled back down, went back to sleep in virtually the same pose...for a change, still. And beautiful.

(He's beautiful in action, too, but my talent and state of the art generally preclude my taking action shots in the field.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My apologies...

I cannot figure out how to rotate the mobile photo I sent. Note to self...take pics to upload only in landscape format. Until then, you'll just have to crane your heads. J

From the WKC shows this past weekend...

Showing off my mad mobile blogging skills. Hopefully with no typos this time. J

I have figured out mobile logging...

Fear me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Weekend (or, What, we're staying home??)

Yes, we actually had a weekend at home.  "At home" is of course a relative term, since we tend to fill up our time with activities (a la last weekend - PheasantFest!) and not get anything done around the house.  Avoidance, anyone?

Anyway, I spent a VERY enjoyable weekend with my Valentine.  Went to the movies with friends, went shooting with friends and made it to the dog park BOTH days.  Oh, and we also had a very enjoyable Valentine's Day dinner at Bunky's Cafe.  Highly recommended.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Does Gibson really think...

that he can dig out of his crate if he tries hard enough?

He rarely does this in a wire crate, but seems to think the vari-kennel crate in the bedroom is fair game (thereby also interfering with my sleep!). Oh, and he's already destroyed one of our soft-sided crates doing this. Seriously, Michael went to fold it up one day and found he could see white carpeting through the "floor".

What gives puppy??

Monday, January 26, 2009

No time to blog

Well, we have been on the road showing 3 weekends in a row.  This coming weekend we are traveling to visit family.  I have simply been too busy to blog! *throws hand over eyes in dramatic gesture*

That being said, I do have some small brags.  Watson has taken BOB each of the last 2 Sundays.  Two weekends ago in Des Moines, he had a small win on Sunday over 2 girls, one special and one out of the classes.  We had quite an adventure getting to and from Des Moines, but we are glad we went.  Thanks, Laura, for getting him ready and showing him so nicely!

You can see my amateur photography of this event including pics of Watson as well as pics of some of our dog show friends here.

Yesterday in Grayslake, Watson went BOB over 2 other dog specials and 1 bitch special.  No class dogs entered at that show.  Made our weekend!  Thanks, Kylie for handling Watson to such a nice win at this event.  He looked great!

Gibson had his moment on Saturday, when he went WD for 1 point toward his AKC championship.

Photos of Watson and Gibson at the Grayslake event are available here.

We enjoyed seeing the very nice Clumbers (and Field spaniels) entered at these events!  Also sending a shout out to our friend Jenni (and kids!) with the Sussex in Des Moines!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not feeling too clever today...

But I know the reading public is insane with curiosity about the status of my decaffeination experiment.

I am pleased to report that my plan is working.  I have managed to have no caffeine at all at the office or at home.  So far, my only breakdowns, cave-ins, what have you, came at fast food restaurants on the road.  It is hard to order a combo meal minus the soda, and I just can't get excited about diet anything.  Some places have OK (and caffeine-free) root beer...everywhere else I am making an exception to the no caffeine rule and allowing myself a cola.  But hey, I'm still cutting over 2500 calories/week out of my diet.  That, and cutting out the sugar, are the main goals!

On a completely unrelated topic, we had a lovely time in Des Moines, Iowa last weekend.  Watson went BOB on Sunday, which is always nice.  Also, we met up with a friend whose family was along w/ her.  Had a blast meeting her family.  She did well in group, and I always enjoy seeing friends win, so that capped the weekend off nicely.  Watson managed to get really messy when I pottied him before group on Sunday, necessitating about an hour's worth of work.  As everyone knows, this is purely human error.  I will have to be more careful about how & where I exercise him in the future - and perhaps acquire some additional "outfits".

I got quite a few pics of Watson and our friend w/ her Sussex spaniel.  Will try to post them in the next few days...

Grayslake here we come this weekend...

Not feeling too clever today...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 3

I see the NaBloPoMo theme for January is "change."  Time for some positive change here, I hope.  Like keeping in better touch with old friends.  Returning our Netflix DVDs promptly so as to get the most out of our account.  Keeping up on the laundry.  Blogging a little more (and a little better).  And definitely - kicking the caffeine habit.  Again, these are not Resolutions.

Day 3 is almost over, and I'm feeling happy that I refused to indulge myself and stuck to my plan today.  A small victory, but something.

On the keeping in touch thread, I also found over the last couple of days that my high school has an alumni directory.  It is published in hard cover - $60!  Of course, it is comprehensive, but do I really care about the guy who graduated in 1949?  Probably not!  You can pay a smaller fee - about $40 - to access it online, but then you have to pay an annual subscription fee.  Grrr... Also, I seem to be connecting with people on FB to the point where I can get contact info for most anyone I want to find that I haven't found yet.  Perhaps you can tell that I'm on the fence about buying the directory?

Well, directory or no, I am excited about finding old friends in the New Year.  And kicking the caffeine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 2 of the New & Improved, Caffeine-Free Me

Well, I decided yesterday that I must ditch the caffeine once and for all.  Really, it isn't the caffeine so much as the sugar (or rather, high-fructose corn syrup), but since I take my caffeine in the form of cola rather than coffee, they are, unfortunately, inseparable.  And since I came to this conclusion, this is not in the nature of a "New Year's Resolution" but rather just a completely unrelated stab at personal improvement.

If my plan is wildly successful, I'll be raving about my strong will and self-discipline and, if it tanks horribly, I'll probably be figuring out how to edit this post so that it is as if I had never said anything.

We have a busy January coming up, so if I'm lucky, I'll be too busy to notice.  Seriously, I have tried this before, and once the headache stops, I don't really care so much about having more caffeine.  It all boils down to a bad habit.  

So this is Day 2, and it's almost over.  Almost time to go back to normal after the craziness that begins right around Thanksgiving each year.  So Day 3 will begin a 5-day work-week, too.  Work days will be the biggest challenge, since the caffeine is free and readily available, thus making strong will and self-discipline all the more necessary.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We rung in the New Year with some "Gomeroke" (not really sure of the spelling).  We had dinner at Brocach, a local Irish pub, which had advertised live trade, so we were quite excited about that.  However, mid-way through dinner we learned that there was no Trad, but Gomeroke instead.  Allow me to explain.  The Gomers are a local cover band who provide a sort of live karaoke.  It was not un-enjoyable, though I was glad to be one floor up and at the back of the room in a booth with high walls - would have been too loud otherwise.

When we got home, ca. 2 am, the dogs apparently thought I was having too much fun sleeping.  Shortly after I feel asleep, both Watson & Gibson started crying.  I ignored them - after all, they had JUST been out.  Bad idea.  Woke up a bit later to more crying and to notice Watson had barfed his dinner up on the bedroom floor.  Not sure what that's about, but he obviously doesn't feel well!

So, I spent the too-short first night of the year napping on the couch in between letting him in and out and listening to the dulcet tones of Gibson in the bedroom, where they no doubt annoyed Michael as well.

Hope Watson is feeling better soon...think I'll try for a nap later!

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and, perhaps, started the year with more sleep than I.