Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tagged!! The Saga of the Everlasting Doughnut

First I have to explain the background to this tale. There is, or was, a box of doughnuts that has been passed around among the members of Georgia Team Pharaoh for more than a year now. It started when someone tucked what was left of the morning’s munchies in Brianna’s car after some event. Her passion for doughnuts is well known!!. Apparently, they stayed in her car for quite a while, and still looked ready to eat. They were so hard, you’d break a tooth on them, but there was not one speck of mold to be found. They were perfectly preserved. Kind of a scary thought if you’d actually eaten any of the original doughnuts. What did they put in them to preserve them for so long?

That box of stale doughnuts became sort of a boobie prize to be secretly or creatively pawned off on an unsuspecting victim – sort of like a hot potato. They even made an appearance at the Pharaoh Hound Nationals back in October and were presented to Brianna as an award for being the Raw Food Educator of the Year. I’m sure I don’t have the back story exactly right. I know my Pharaoh phriends sometimes read this blog so please feel free to comment and set the story straight.

Anyway, I guess I need to explain why I'm telling this pastry adventure story here. I got to the coursing field Saturday ready to set up camp and was presented with a very nicely wrapped present from my friend Bekki. I should have suspected something when she made me open the package then and there. I’m sure you can guess what it contained. Yep, the original donuts have now finally gone to the great dustbin in the sky, but have been lovingly and creatively replaced with the toy pictured here.

Now I’ve got the doughnut and I’m already plotting it’s next adventure. You guys watch your backs!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Wish Fulfilled....

Or, be careful what you wish for….

I haven’t posted in awhile as the holiday rush washed over me like a tsunami. As a result, I have lots to report, but will start with Christmas Day and its aftermath.

As a kid, I always wanted to sleep by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. For obvious reasons, my parents never allowed me to do so. Gee, I wonder why? Even as an adult, I really like to turn all the lights off in the house, plug in the tree, lay on the floor, and just watch the tree. It’s as good as a campfire, and better than TV. Why you ask, am I giving you all of this unsolicited information? Wait a minute, you’ll see.

On Christmas Day, the whole crew, by that I mean my mother, my sister, her husband, and her four kids, all came to my house for dinner. No big deal there, I cooked some, my sister cooked some, and my mom made her famous cheesecake. Just as an aside, her cheesecake is to die for. I had ten hungry people in my house on Christmas looking for food, drink, and Christmas cheer. The kids were also looking for presents! Just before my sister’s crew arrived, I opened the fridge door and the butter dish fell out and hit me on the foot. After muttering some expletives not in keeping with the spirit of the day, I looked around for the stick of butter that should have been on the dish. No stick of butter was to be found, so I assumed that someone had put the empty dish back in the fridge so they didn’t have to wash it. If you have kids in your house, you can understand how that might happen.

After everyone arrived, Rosie managed to find the butter that had escaped the refrigerator. Unfortunately, I only realized her discovery as it slid down her throat. I briefly considered pouring hydrogen peroxide down her gullet to bring the butter back up, but decided that such a cure was probably worse than the problem, especially since we had a house full of folks who wouldn’t appreciate my dog running around the house foaming at the mouth. I figured I was in for a long night as the butter worked its way through her system.

Yes, she had diarrhea, pretty much all night just as I expected. The fun part however, occurred at about three in the morning, After just coming back inside following about the sixth or seventh trip out to the potty, she jumped up on my bed and puked – all over my pillow and about every other sheet and blanket on the bed. Then she jumped down and continued the barf-a-rama in various locations around the bedroom. My poor girl was about a sick as I’ve ever seen her. The good news was it seemed that other than a couple more trips outside, the butter was pretty much out of her system. The bad news was that even if I could have managed to get the carpet cleaned in the middle of the night, the bed was gross, right down to the mattress.

Rob and I looked at each other, laughed pretty hard (it was either that or cry) and went downstairs and slept in the family room on an air mattress right next to the Christmas tree. Be careful what you wish for; your wish might just come true!!

P.S. I’m doing my part to stimulate the economy by purchasing new pillows for my bed. The sheets wash, down pillows, not so much.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing You A....

Merry Christmas!!

It really is A Wonderful Life!!!

May you and your family have a
safe and happy holiday...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend in Review

First of all, I learned that one of my loved ones has an addiction. It’s serious and I think he needs real help. I’ve never dealt with substance abuse before and had hoped I’d never have to go down this path.

Now some of this problem is my fault. I brought the offending substance into the house and I encouraged some moderate use. What I didn’t know was that the problem would get so out of hand.

Nick is really and truly addicted to marshmallows and I think Wheeler is his enabler. You see, Wheeler likes munching on mushies too, and has been making regular trips to the pantry to sneak a sweet treat. Apparently, he’s also been sharing with Nick. For the record, Rosie still thinks they’re disgusting and is holding out for liver treats. She takes the mushie in her mouth, I guess because Nick seems so excited about them, but she spits it out every time.

The irritating part about it is that now, every time anyone opens the panty door, Nick rushes over and starts bouncing around. Not exactly behavior I want to encourage. Wheeler on the other hand is unrepentant and continues to share.

In other news, we finally got our Christmas tree decorated. I know, I know, we’re very late on the draw this year. We’ll leave it up though until the 12th day of Christmas though. I must admit, now that it’s done, I’m glad. This is Nick’s first Christmas, and I can see the wheels turning. He’s filed this one under “people really are crazy.” He’s wants to know why, if we go to the trouble to bring a big bush in the house, he can’t use it as a potty, especially since it’s so cold outside. Rosie, on the other hand, is probably encouraging him to water the tree figuring that any misbehavior on his part will make her look more like an angel.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Procrastination - Wordle

I have tons to do – it’s that time of year when I have to make a list and check it twice just to be sure I remember to do everything I’ve promised. Tonight, I’m supposed to be wrapping presents. So what am I doing? I’m creating a wordle and posting it here. Kinda crazy, huh?

You can procrastinate and make your own at Try it if you haven't already, its fun!

Edited because I posted the wrong image.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It was a Mommy Kind of Weekend

I spent this weekend doing mom stuff. Wheeler had a wrestling tournament that lasted all day Saturday. His school was hosting so, of course, we had volunteer duties. I agreed to a three hour shift at the door. We charge a small admission, just enough to cover the costs of putting on the tournament. What amazed me were the excuses I heard from people trying to get out of paying to get in. “I just want to come watch my kid wrestle. Do I have to Pay?” Well duh, I don’t think there are tons of attendees that aren’t here to watch someone. “I only have a $100 bill, can you break it?” Lady, this is a high school wrestling meet, no, I don’t have ton of change. I started the day with $50 in ones. Eventually, I’ll have change, but not first thing in the morning. Now bear in mind that most of the people complaining were carrying cups of coffee that cost more than our paltry admission fee. They didn’t seem to have a problem with paying for that.

Door duty also makes you the complaint department. One lady harangued me because the sign pointing the way to the tournament was not big enough. There was a sign on the door that said “Wrestling” as well a much larger sign indicating the gym building. Call me crazy, but even if I missed the small sign on the door, I’d probably look in the gym before say, one of the classroom buildings. The school’s not that big anyway. Even without any signs, close your eyes and listen for the sounds of ref whistles.

Truly, those whiners were the minority. I really love door duty because I get to meet and talk to lots of folks.

All in all, it was a good day. Wheeler wrestled well and no one got hurt. Sorry, no pics though. He made me promise not to post one as he says he looks like a dork in a singlet. News flash Wheels, so does everybody else - but they are better than the Speedos the swimmers have to wear.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comfort Food

Everyone has different favorite foods remembered from childhood. You know, that consumable that always makes everything, no matter how upsetting, seem better. For me, I remember afternoons with my grandmother who believed, and rightly so, that what she called a Black Cow could fix just about anything from hurt feelings to a skinned knee. They’re simple and easy to make with very few ingredients, and very, very tasty. It takes only about 2 minutes to pour a Coke over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, stir in a tad of vanilla extract, and top with a cherry…mmmm!!!

Not everyone has the same childhood associations and some may not even like my grandmother’s Black Cow whether they’re in a funk or not. In fact, my fizzy favorite may sound downright disgusting to you. The funny thing is, apparently my two canine pals, both adopted as adults, have a difference of opinion when it comes to one of Nick’s favorites. Reading Patti’s blog reminded that greyhounds are often given marshmallows by their trainers at the track as treats. They’re cheap and the dogs find them to be yummy – well usually. I used to buy them for Speedy and Sugar, but have fallen out of the habit in recent years. The other day, I walked past a shelf full of marshmallows in the grocery store and tossed a bag in my basket, thinking that the pups would love them.

When I got home, I pulled out the bag of white, fluffy goodness expecting both dogs to love them. Nick recognized the bag before I even got it opened and began bouncing around excitedly as soon as he saw it. Now Rosie is no dummy; even though she's not a greyhound and had most likely never seen a marshmallow, she could tell Nick was expecting something tasty, so she also began a happy dance. Nick happily gobbled up his prize. Rosie also seem thrilled to get the marshmallow. I wish I had a video of what came next. Rosie got a horrified look on her face and promptly spat the offending white, fluffy morsel out. She nosed at it for a minute or two, obviously trying to figure out what Nick found so wonderful about marshmallows, then walked away. Nick was happy to take care of her leftovers.

I guess marshmallows are an acquired taste…..

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who Stands Outside for Two Days in Cold, Rainy Weather?

Apparently , I do! The Metropolitan Atlanta Whippet Association hosted an ASFA field trial Friday , Saturday, and Sunday. What better way is there to fill out the Thanksgiving holiday? Actually, we only coursed Saturday and Sunday, but the trial went for all three days. My pharaoh phriends are always prepared for all sorts of weather, so we didn’t suffer much from the cold rainy weather. Bekki scored a great deal on a tent at the black Friday sales, so we were dry and warm inside with heaters going. Sandy outdid herself with hot soup and BBQ for lunch and Brianna brought tempting sweets. Despite the weather, it was impossible to be unhappy as we were warm and well fed :-)!

Despite my reservations, I let Nick run on Saturday. I was scared as it was wet and the course at Calhoun is hilly. I’m used to coursing Rosie. Pharaohs are lighter and not as fast as Greyhounds and aren’t as likely to get hurt if they fall. In fact, Rosie has tumbled more than once and never been the worse for it. Nick though, moves faster, weights more, and isn’t as experienced. Obviously, I’m a Nervous Nelly. In the end, I let him run and he did very well. He was the only open Greyhound, but he outscored both field champion greyhounds that ran. He tumbled down the hill on his first run (my worst fear realized) and skidded in on his shoulder when he “came in for his landing.” After I got my heart out of my throat, I checked him over – he was fine. He ran well in finals in the afternoon, and managed to keep all four feet under him. I didn’t wrap his legs at all for that run, but did in the morning, so I don’t know if that make a difference. He didn’t run as well in the best of breed run off though, so he only came away with 4 points for winning open. I think is was probably sore from his fall when he ran for best of breed, and I can’t blame him. He woke up Sunday morning pretty stiff, so he stayed home, much to his dismay. He was fine by the time I got home, and didn’t let me out of his sight the entire night. I think he was afraid I’d sneak off with Rosie again and leave him home.

Rosie, the trooper that she is, ran well both days and took best of breed Sunday. All the Pharaohs ran well, including Femi, who at age eight, has decided she wants to try her paw at coursing. Apparently, she was never much interested when she tried as a youngster. She won open on Saturday, but lost by a hair to Reign for best of breed. We teased that she just didn’t want to over obligate herself in her younger days as she’s had great success in agility and in conformation. Trey won field champion Sunday, so really the Pharaohs passed the honors around with everyone having a chance to run off for best of breed.

All, in all, it was a great weekend. It was fun for human and hound – despite the weather!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Act of Kindness!!

I got an early Christmas present today! OK, not really, but it sort of felt like it.

As you may or may not know, Wheeler is into wrestling. It’s the perfect sport for him since he’s very agile and slightly built. Practice started a while ago, and their first meet is this Saturday. He had practice this morning and came out afterwards to tell me that his wrestling shoes are way too small and he needs some more before Saturday. Now all this is fine, except that I like to order those sorts of things since they’re generally lots cheaper online. Of course, being a 14 year old boy, he hadn’t told me that his shoes didn't fit, which I would have realized if I thought about it at all, and that he couldn’t find his knee pads. Off we go to the local big box sporting goods store to load up on expensive shoes and knee pads so we’ll have them before the meet on Saturday. Grrr!! Now I know this last minute dash is partially my fault – I didn’t ask – but you’d think that since he’s been practicing for a month he would have thought to tell me that he’s been wearing tennis shoes because he can’t shoe horn his foot into last year’s shoes.

After finding a pair of shoes that fit, some knee pads, and a mouth guard, we got in line to pay. While we were standing there, we were approached by a complete stranger who gave us a 20% off coupon!! Said he hadn’t found what he wanted and it looked like we had lots of stuff. Wow!! Now, the coupon was about to expire, so it wasn’t really any skin off his nose, but he really didn’t have to do that. Sometimes I get the most pleasure from the unexpected.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It Was A Beautiful Fall Day....

Actually, we had two beautiful fall days in early November for the CHASE Veteran’s Day field trial at Old Mill Farm in Cartersville. I’m finally getting around to posting about the weekend. The field was neither too hard nor too muddy, and the air was crisp, but not cold. As an extra bonus, the leaves were about at the peak of their fall color, making for really nice pictures. Both Rosie and Nick ran well. Nick especially so on Saturday when he placed second out of four greyhounds. Not bad for his first weekend out. Lee Gearhart of Uma Rapiti Photography was there taking pictures and got some good ones of both Nick and Rosie. Here’s Nick running with the greytblackdog on Saturday.

And here's another of him running alone.

Saturday also went well for Rosie. Four Pharaoh Hounds were there and Rosie placed third. I can’t complain about that one bit. Her buddy Reign, who placed second Saturday and first on Sunday, earned his ASFA Field Championship that weekend. I love watching her run; she alway has such a ball!!

On Sunday, Nick didn’t run as well. I think he was still tired from Saturday, but he’s still new at lure coursing and two days in a row of vigorous running is tough. Rosie clearly wasn’t tired on Sunday, (she’s like the Eveready bunny), and managed a second place finish.

The best part, and really the most important part, of lure coursing is the fun and satisfaction the hounds get from it. Also, they snooze so peacefully after a weekend of running.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Six More Things....

Addie tagged me with a new Meme. The idea is to think of the six things you would change if money was no object. This one has really made me put on my thinking cap. The first things that came to mind were things I would buy, and don’t get me wrong, we could definitely use lot of things that plenty of money could buy. Next, I started thinking about what I could do to make me feel good inside. So here goes.

1. I’d set up a college fund for my nieces and nephew and so they could go to any school in the world without worrying about money. I’d also beef up Wheeler’s. Though we’ve been stashing cash for his school since he was born, tuition has gone up faster than inflation and even with the money we’ve saved he’ll have to consider cost and scholarship money (keep those grades up kid) when the time comes.

2. I’d set up a charitable trust with trustees to administer it to which I could refer folks with hard luck stories. You know, the ones that you hear about on the evening news – firefighter dad killed in the line of duty leaving wife and baby with life threatening disease. When I hear those stories, I always wish I could help. With a trust in place, if the story checked out, I could. The trust would have significant funds dedicated to animal rescue too.

3. My first thought on the home front was to move. Get rid of my 60’s ranch style house and move up in the world. But I basically like my house, and with just the three of us we don’t need any more room. I’d do all the fixing up we’ve put off (like get rid of the 60’s paneling in the basement) and call a real landscape company to fix the yard so it works for human’s and dogs.

4. I’d look for a piece of land with acreage where I could build a house to move to after Wheeler graduates from high school. Then, the location wouldn’t matter to us and I could have all the dogs I want – and maybe even a horse.

5. I’d hire a full time cook and maid. It’s no secret that I hate house work. Trust me, one visit to my house and you know that I’m not a neat freak. I’m also not the best cook. Oh I kind of like making special meals and trying new dishes. In fact, before I had a family to cook for every day, I would have said I enjoyed cooking. But coming up with dinner ever night is wearing especially hearing “Oh mom, are we having chicken again?”

6. Last, but certainly not least, I’d plan, and execute, lots of trips. I defiantly suffer from wander lust and there’s pretty much nowhere in the world (absent places where bullets fly regularly) that I don’t want to visit.

So there you go. Now you know my self-serving desires should some long lost and currently unknown relative pass on and leave me untold millions. And now to pass this game along, I tag Heather, Patti, and Denise. What six things would you change if money was no object?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Queen Bee

You know how in every group, there’s one person who wants to tell everybody how to act, what to do, and when to do it. At work, its’ the person who is constantly trying to organize pot luck lunches. You know the kind where everybody brings something, plus you have to chip in for a ham or something to share. Then she (or he) wants you to say ahead of time exactly what you are bringing. Often the green bean casserole (or whatever you offered) isn’t good enough. “Can’t you just whip up a simple crabmeat soufflĂ©?” This person then goes over the top decorating for the lunch and gets upset is everyone doesn’t want to participate. As an aside comment, I have nothing against pot luck meals. In fact, I enjoy them – it’s just when they become overly organized and turn into a party planned in detail by one self appointed office “queen bee,” and then executed through coercion by the worker bees that I object. In reality though, we need those “queen bee” types. As much as we complain about their methods, we all kind of like the lunches.

There’s no doubt who the “queen bee” of dogdom is at our house. In truth, I think Rosie is in charge because Nick could care less one way or the other about most of the day to day doings at our house. He figures as long as he as two square meals a day, a good walk (unless the weather is really nasty,) and a soft place to sleep, he’s good. Rosie on the other hand, wants to be sure that everyone knows that she rules the roost. Which dog is always first thru the door? Who always claims the prized dozing spot? You guessed it. Rosie. Now I’m not sure what makes one dog bed preferable to another but in Rosie’s mind, she gets first pick.

Nick, on the other hand, is Mr. Easygoing. I don’t think he cares one bit whether he sleeps on the dog bed on the left or the dog bed on the right. While Rosie is strutting around at feeding time hoping to move up her dinner by a minute or two, Nick is quietly waiting for the bowls to come out. In his mind, does it really matter who goes through the door first? So in reality, I think Rosie is the “Queen Bee” at our house, but I think she earned her title by default.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Science Project...

My life of late has been consumed by Wheeler’s science project. Why, you ask, is my 9th grader’s science project consuming my life? Because it’s a group project and he can’t drive himself to his friends house or on the multiple trips to the hardware store necessary to acquire the parts to build the small steam engine he’s trying to construct. Also, even if they work at my house, I’m reluctant to leave two or three teenage boys alone in my house building said steam engine. The explosive potential is real, and I don’t know if my homeowners insurance covers damage caused by the explosion of a home built steam engine boiler. Since 14 year old boys don’t always use common sense, I feel the need to stay relatively close by to monitor progress.

Did I mention that I hate group projects! Teachers think that they are a wonderful way to teach kids the skills that they will someday need in the workplace. Obviously they have never tried to find enough time for three boys, who all have other school work, sports, family commitments etc to get together at night and on the weekend for long enough to plan and construct the project du jour. Realistically, they aren’t going to build a steam engine, or anything like it, in one afternoon, so it really is a scheduling nightmare and ends up being a pain in mom's rump. Not to mention that I’ve had various sizes of duct taped up cans with copper tubing sticking out scattered around my kitchen for weeks.

Hopefully, one of the prototypes built over the week-end will work. Wheeler plans a test run tonight as he thinks the silicone caulk that’s supposed to hold the thing together will be dry enough by then. Here’s hoping it works – and my house doesn’t blow up.!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad Mommy... Good Dog!!!

Yesterday morning I set out for my daily walk with Nick and Rosie. We walk almost every day on one of the trails by the river. There are some great trails both just inside and just outside 285 in Atlanta that are very lightly used – a great thing in a city of our size. First order of business is always a potty break for the beasts – I hate carrying poop bags after they are filled and prefer my pups to take care of business before we start.

Yesterday, just as I was leaning over to recover Nick’s deposit, Rosie saw a squirrel and bolted toward it. I don’t know how exactly it happened, apparently I didn’t have the leash properly secured. The bottom line was, I wasn’t paying close attention. Off she went into the woods after the squirrel dragging her leash behind her. It’s amazing what goes through you mind as you see your dog’s butt disappearing up a hill through the woods. There are so many squirrels and other things to chase out there, I imagined her running forever tracking first one critter and then another until she thoroughly lost herself. There have also be reports of coyotes in the area. Something else to worry about.

The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Rosie, leave it!” At that, she whipped around and looked at me. I couldn’t believe it, she broke off from chasing a squirrel and actually listened to me. I’m more confident of her sit/stay than I am her recall, although we’ve worked on both. She came to me with some leash aggression issues, so for quite awhile, every time we passed another dog I asked her to sit and stay until the other dog passed. I still do at times if the other dog looks like it might bark and lunge at her or if there a bunch of dogs coming toward us at one time. That way, I can get between her and the dog(s) and make her feel safe and under control.

Anyway, I asked her to sit and stay. Amazingly, she did, and Nick and I walked into the woods and got her. After lots and lots of treats, we went for our walk. I’m not sure I needed one at that point as my heart rate was already way up. I was very proud of my girl. She did what I asked when I asked it just when I most needed her to do so. Next order of business – more recall proofing so next time I don’t have to hike off trail. She actually would most likely have come this time if I’d called her. I just felt safer with her butt on the ground and her eyes on me.

Jen, if you’re reading this, thanks for all the training tips over the years. Your example and tips really saved my bacon yesterday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

See Spot Run!!

I only bought one shot from Rosie's runs as I've already got a bunch. But I couldn't resist several shots of Nick as it was his first time out.

See Rosie run!

See Nick Run!

See Nick Run fast!

See Nick catch the bunny!!

OK, sorry for the 60's Dick and Jane reader reference. I'm showing my age ;-)!

I just got the CD with these pics in the mail today from The Southeastern Greyhound Club trial on Oct 26th and I can’t resist showing off a few. Both Rosie and Nick had a blast. All photos were taken by Dan Gauss of Shot on Site Photography.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm a Believer!!

Nick has had an odd gait ever since I got him back in September. Watching him from behind at a slow trot it was clear that something wasn’t quite right about the way he moved his right rear leg. Whatever it was didn’t seem to affect the way he ran, and all but vanished at a fast trot. It wasn’t a limp, really it was more just an odd way of moving. He didn’t show any signs of pain, but I wanted to be sure that he didn’t hurt, and that I didn’t cause him injury by lure coursing him.

First stop, my vet’s office. Dr. Amy Mathews at The Buckhead Animal Clinic has been taking care of my animals for around 20 years. I can’t say enough good things about her. Most importantly, she doesn’t get irritated with all my many questions and always explains what she thinks and tells me why. In addition, she got Sugar through a couple of really scary medical scrapes.

She spent a fair amount of time watching Nick move and also manipulating his limbs and in general giving him a good once over. She did see the odd gait, but couldn’t find any indication of pain, or any restriction in range of motions in any of his limbs. We x-rayed his lower spine and saw no skeletal problems. We discussed x-raying his hips, but elected to put it off since I really didn't want to put him under anesthesia and she didn't feel strongly about it. She said she didn’t see a problem with letting him course. OK, so why does my pup have what I can only describe as a “hitch in his getalong??”

Second stop Dr. Lance Cleveland, an animal chiropractor I found through a friend. He treated her horse and she believes he helped dramatically. I called him on the number she gave me last Friday afternoon. Turns out, it wasn’t his office number, but was his personal cell phone. He was in Atlanta at an American Veterinary Chiropractic Association conference. He lives in Mississippi, but travels around the southeast to various barns and is in Atlanta treating patients about once every two or three weeks.

Even though he wasn’t here to treat patients, he agreed to meet me Sunday afternoon at one of the barns where he regularly works (conveniently very close to my house) and take a look at Nick. Wow!! I never expected him to do that. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, he also saw Nick’s “hitch”, worked his magic, showed me some stretches to do daily, and guess what, vast improvement in Nick’s gait. He also said that in his opinion, coursing him would do him more good than harm, and I shouldn’t take his fun away. We’ll see him again when he’s in town just before Thanksgiving.

I was amazed at the good he did for my boy, and wonder now if maybe I should see a chiropractor too, as I also have one or two “hitches in my getalong!!”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If You Were Elected President.....

Now that the election is over and we know the outcome, it’s time to see what the next four years bring. While I was sitting in a meeting this morning and thinking about the election - anything but pay attention to another long boring meeting - my mind started to wander and to consider what it would be like to actually be President.

Now mind you, there’s no way I’d want that job. There’s way too much 24/7 pressure and besides, you always have to worry about folks being out to get you. Also, have you noticed how much older all Presidents look after four years in office. I don’t think there’s enough beauty cream in the world to counteract that rapid aging.

There are, however, certain perks. What would it be like to never have to straighten up or clean the house again? I’d never have to plan or cook another dinner. The White House Chief would have to listen to Wheeler when he complains “Meat Loaf again!!” Air Force One would be available to whisk me off to my chosen destination. No more standing in long security lines at the airport clutching my small plastic bag of liquids in one hand and my shoes in the other.

I’m sure there are lots of other pleasant perks that go with the highest office in the land. What would you like best about the day to day life part of being President?

P.S. I'm in no way making light of the importance associated with holding the highest office in the land. Just wondering what everyday life would be like, minus the heavy duty responsibility.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Up, Stand In Line, and VOTE!!

Tomorrow is election day and if you haven’t already voted please do so. I think that we take our right to vote for grated way to often in this country. It's actually refreshing to see so many people voting early and to hear that really longs lines are expected tomorrow. Don't let lines discourage you. Remember, if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about the way the country is run. Stand up and be heard. I just ask that you vote for what you really believe in. Please think it through carefully, and don't be swayed by media hype one way or the other.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tis the Season...

Ok, it’s not Christmas yet, but it sort of felt like it to me this week end. I’ve really been looking forward to lure coursing with Nick since I got him and also couldn’t wait to get back to the field with Rosie. The Southeastern Greyhound Club hosted the ASFA National Greyhound Specialty on Saturday and an all breed trial on Sunday. We couldn’t make it Saturday, but were there bright and early for roll call on Sunday. Rosie and Nick were entered, Rosie in open and Nick in singles.

The field at Bear Creek Farm in Moreland is one of the nicest around. I was really excited about seeing Nick run for the first time. Rosie, as usual, was chomping at the bit to have her turn. She started bouncing around as soon as she saw the crates go in the back of the van on Saturday afternoon. Nick didn’t know what was going on, but picked up on Rosie’s excitement.

Nick ran very well, especially for the first time out scoring a 154 in the morning prelim run. They did certifications at lunch, so he ran again, and certified. Now he can run in open at our next trial. I pulled him from finals in the afternoon, figuring that two courses in one day were enough for his first time out. He ran as beautifully when he certified as he did in the mourning, and most importantly, he seemed to love it.

Rosie also had a good day, taking first in open. She lost best of breed to a Pharaoh from Texas.

I don’t have any pics of them running, but will post some as soon as the photographer updates his site with this weekends pics and I can order a few. Gotta have pics of Nicks first outing. Dan Gauss from Shot on Site Photography was there, and I’m sure took a few I won’t be able to resist. I didn’t look on Sunday as there were too many others in front of me gathered around his computer. I’m way to impatient to wait long, especially when I know I can see them later on-line. I also think I buy less when I wait until I’m at home alone and can think about exactly how much I’m spending.

Here’s a shot of my crew in the back of the van.

And a couple of them after we got home. Two exhausted, but happy, hounds.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Can't I Just Take a Walk in the Park???

Ok, I’m not usually a complainer, but I’ll be really glad when this election is over. I’m older that I care to admit and have lived though more presidential elections than I want to fess up to, but I don’t remember people being as emotional about their choice before. Now I fall solidly into the independent, middle of the road camp, and won’t reveal which candidate will receive my vote here. I don’t want to argue about it. I’m tired of being accosted while going about my day to day life by random strangers badgering me about the subject. There is one woman in particular who started showing up at the park where I walk the pups about a month ago. The first time I saw her we had the following exchange (I’m paraphrasing as I didn’t record the conversation at the time)

Random Jogger: “Someone with such beautiful dogs is bound to be a democrat right.”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Random Jogger: “You can’t vote for McCain. He hates women and will overturn Roe vs. Wade”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Random Jogger: “That must mean you’re voting for McCain. He wants to let babies die in our country because their parents can't afford health insurance. Obama is the clear choice for right thinking, intelligent people.”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Now after that, she jogged off and attached herself to another lone woman walking. I’m sure she intended a similar conversation. I was annoyed (OK pissed off) that this woman had disturbed me during my walk. It’s the only time in my day that is mine. I like to clear my mind and think about nothing while I walk. Now don’t get me wrong, I have my morning walking buddies that I see most every day. We speak, some of them pet and admire my dogs. I pet and admire their dogs if they have them, speak to their babies in strollers, etc. I’m not ant- social. I just don’t want to engage in a political debate with someone with extreme views on either candidate during my morning meditation/walking time. Truly though, about a minute after she left, I’d forgotten all about her.

That is until I bumped into her again a couple of mornings later. Similar conversation – slightly different versions of why John McCain is the anti-Christ and I’m a complete fool if I even consider voting for him. To sum things up, I’ve run into her five or six times in the last several weeks. Yesterday I finally, very abruptly, told her to leave me the heck alone. Hopefully she will.

Now she’s not the only evidence that emotions are running higher in this campaign than most. One of my closest friends has told me that I’m an idiot if I don’t vote for the candidate of her choice. She thinks we need real change in this country and there’s only one way to get it. Just about everyone seems to have firm views as to who they support. That’s fine – I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the I’m right and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is an idiot attitude, and I’ve seen it from supporters of both candidates. I have a right to my opinion, and you have I right to yours. I may not agree with it. In fact, I may stridently disagree. I don’t even mind discussing it. Real debate on the issues can be helpful and interesting. Name calling is hurtful and polarizing. I just don’t see the point.

Ok rant over!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hound High School.......

Think back to your high school days. When I remember school, I don’t remember much about studying. What I mostly think of is hanging out with friends. Primping with girlfriends before big parties. Late night gossip at sleepovers with the same girlfriends. What’s really neat about it is that my best friends even today are those same girlfriends. We’ve kept up over the years and are still very, very close. Anyway, I digress. Perhaps that’s fodder for another blog post.

Watching Wheeler this year has reminded me of the less fun part of high school – studying. He’s had a round of tests in the last week or two, and has been really burning the midnight oil. Wheeler is more of an auditory learner than a visual one, so before his elementary and even some middle school tests, he had me quizzing him and helping him memorize facts. Now realistically, I can’t keep doing this forever. He has to figure out a way to learn and remember on his own. I’m not in high school, and I won’t be going off to college with him. But the fact remains, he learns better when he goes over what he needs to know aloud.

He’s tried a couple of study methods this year – some more successful than others. His most recent idea may actually work pretty well. That is, if I can quit laughing about it. The other day, I came home from running errands and found him in the family room reading The Odyssey to Nick and Rosie. They both seemed to be listening raptly. He was also explaining to them who the characters are and how they relate to one another.

Later in the day, he was teaching them Ancient Egyptian History. Now Rosie, the Pharaoh Hound, may have more of an aptitude for ancient Egypt than Nick, but they both seemed pretty interested. It didn’t hurt that he, and as a result they, were snacking at the same time. I’m sure Nick and Rosie were more interested in the finer points of the Pharaohs than in the chips Wheeler was sharing with them - yeah right! At least he was making them offer a down before receiving the very nutritious potato chip snack.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll let him know I see humor in his new study method. Maybe it will help him learn, and the dogs love the attention even without extra snacks!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Zoomy Man and the Wild Child.....

Nick is fine. Three doses of Pancur and some metronidazole (sp) and Nick is much better in the poo department. Also, he doesn't look like he's lost any more weight since last Wednesday when we went to the vet. He may even have gained a pound. In fact, he looks pretty good to me. He also acts like he feels better - not that he ever acted like he felt bad, but he's much more animated that he was. I guess I'd be less energetic if my guts where in a knot!!

I've got to get some action shots of Rosie and Nick careening around the house and yard. My father in law's house, which I guess is our house now since his death a couple of years ago, has about three quarters of an acre fenced. The yard is built into a hill. The dogs love to run in a big circle up and down the hill. Rosie, being the wild child, instigates rambunctious chase games up and down the hill and into the wooded, un-landscaped (read wild and out of control) part of the yard. There are several large boulders at the top of the hill that she delights in jumping on top of and sort of lording over Nick. He barks at her - I can see her laughing at him. Silly greyhound, can't you even climb a rock. Nick, on the other hand, isn't sure why you'd want to climb on top of a rock when there's plenty of room to run in rock free zones.

I haven't been able to get any good pics of their antics mostly because they're both a lot faster than me. Rosie is really enjoying having a buddy her own age that she can play with. I'm liking watching them together. They are so different - sort of like fire and ice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm a Little Concerned About Nick...Warning Graphic Poo Discriptions - Skip Post if Easily Grossed Out

Nick will celebrate his four week anniversary at my house on Saturday. We have been struggling with pudding poo ever since he got here. Also, he has been steadily losing weight. When we adopted him, he weighted 68 lbs. on the scale at the adoption kennel. The following Thursday, I took him to my vet where he weighed in at 63 lbs. I had them check the weight twice, but in the end chalked it up to the difference in scales and was unconcerned at the time. Also, his racing weight was 61 pounds, but his racing records show that he weighed about 66 when he ran 17 of his 22 total races. Why was his official reported weight lower – I don’t know. Anyway, he was ribby when I got him and didn't look overweight; he look just about right. I wasn’t initially worried about the pudding poo either, assuming it was caused by all the upheaval in his life. We also started treating itchy inflamed ears at the first vet visit. They weren't horrible, but you could definitely smell them and he was scratching at them.

I’ve fasted him for 24 hours twice and started him back on a rice/boiled ground beef mixture. Both times his poo has firmed up, but deteriorates when regular food is added. I’ve also been giving him canned pumpkin and plain yogurt every day. Sometimes I get reasonably formed poo, and sometimes I get liquid. Also, he looked like he was losing weight – so off to the vet we went again yesterday. He weighed in at 59 pounds. Now I’m getting worried. Also, his ears are still bothering him.

I feed my dogs raw meaty bones in the evening and a veggie/ground beef mixture for breakfast. Nick has never really worked up to the ground meat mixture. I’m feeding him a ton in a effort to get him to gain a little weight, way more than twice what Rosie, at 38 pounds gets and more than either Speedy or Sugar ever ate. Nick’s not a picky eater and relishes his meals. He loves to eat. I don’t think further upping calories is going to help. My vet suggested worming, metronidazole, and a prescription diet. I bought a bag of the food, and fed it last night and this morning. I’m not a big fan of prescription diets though and am kind of scared to read the ingredients. In any event, she’s not suggesting it for life. We also started him on another ear drop to try to clear up the ear inflammation.

I can’t tell how he feels, but on the surface he doesn't seem sick. He gets excited at meal times and when we come home. He likes to be loved on, but he doesn’t enthusiastically jump in the car when it’s time to go to the park for a walk. He often tries to stop to pee or sniff when we walk. Don’t know if he’s tired or if he’s just trying to walk me. He hasn’t won at this – it’s my walk and I let him come along :-)! The fact is, I haven’t had him long enough to really know him and how he acts when he doesn’t feel well. Don't picture a poor sick mopey dog though. He appears happy and engaged in our household.

Bottom, line – I’m more worried about the rapid weight loss than the pudding poo, but since they are likely related we need to address both issues. I’m hoping that the only problem is some worms and intestinal upset associated with the recent upheaval in his life. I'm likely just being a worry wart, and he will be fine in a few days. I'm open to suggestions though.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nick Has Settled in Nicely......

I think he looks kind of tense myself, but Rosie tells me he likes it here.

It's fun getting used to a new pup though. He reacts to noises from the TV. When he hears applause, he jumps up and runs to the window barking. He also reacts when he hears bells (like the phone ringing). He doesn't bark for bells, but he does look like he wants to do something when he hears one. I'm not sure what's up with this behavior. When he hears the applause, does he think he won something? Judging from his race history, he doesn't have much experience with winning so....?

Of course every time he and Rosie go outside, he wants to pee in the exact same spot that she used. I know he wants to be sure to mark his new territory well, but how do I tell him he needs to wait until Rosie finishes. She hates when he sprinkles her!!

Rosie seems to like having a playmate her own age though. They romp and play together. It's fun to watch...:-)!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nick's First Walk in the Park.....

I took my first walk by myself with Rosie and Nick this morning. Walking one feisty Pharaoh Hound and either one or two senior Greyhounds is totally different than walking the same Pharaoh with a young, just off the track Grey. Actually, all in all, it went very well, but I did have to keep telling myself that things will improve with time and a little training. I was very, very glad that I remembered to pack my sense of humor.

First of all, Nick may be cat friendly and pretty much ignore my cats when they walk by in the house, but he is defiantly not squirrel or chipmunk friendly in the park. Secondly, he walks pretty well on the lease, but does at times seem like he’s drunk. He weaves all over the place. :-)

The outing was a definitely success though. Rosie didn’t explode at another dog once and Nick pretty much figured out which side I wanted him to walk on. Now if I can just teach him to jump into the van himself instead of just standing there waiting for me to lift him in.

Here’s what Nick had to say -

This morning my new mom took me for a walk. A walk is when you get in the back of a big vehicle and ride awhile then get out and walk around for awhile. There are lots of little animals running around to chase, but you are on a leash, so it’s hard to catch one before the leash stops you. I was unsuccessful today, but I’ll keep trying. Oh yeah, the best part is that you get lots of treats for walking where mom wants you to walk. She doesn’t like it if you walk into her, but sometimes laughs if you weave around a lot. When we were finished, she led me to the back of the vehicle and acted like she wanted me to do something. I’m not sure what she wanted though. I guess I’ll figure it out eventually. She kept waving a treat under my nose and putting it in the back of the vehicle. Doesn’t she know I can’t reach it there?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Introducing Nick......

OK, it’s time to pull myself out of my blue funk and post something. I’ve really been missing Speedy and Sugar, and haven’t been able to write about it. I’ve missed them both, but in a weird way, I’ve missed Speedy the most. Probably either because he was my first adult dog and thus a sentimental favorite or because Sugar had so many health problems I was kind of expecting her to go. Speedy left me unexpectedly and suddenly.

Anyway, I’ve wallowed in self pity long enough. I’d like to introduce our new family member Nick. He raced (not very well I’d like to point out) as Highwind Ruckus and met all the major criteria for a hound in our house. First of all, Rosie didn’t hate him on sight. She was even nice to him while she was on lead. Rosie, as I’ve mentioned before, has issues with leash aggression. We’ve worked hard on overcoming, or at least controlling her problem, and have made lots of progress. We can now walk in the park with only an occasional outburst, unless someone else snarls and lunges at her first - then all bets are off. I’ve gotten better at reading other dogs from a distance and trying to avoid any that look like they might be lunger/snarlers. When we run into one, it tends to set us back. Anyway, she greeted Nick well on lead, then romped and played with him off lead. She liked him because she could get him to chase her. He’s not one bit shy and seems confident and sure of himself. He’s also young at three years old, and is cat friendly. The fact that I think he’s gorgeous is an added bonus!!

He’s settling in nicely and may even try his paw at lure coursing if I can find someone to show me how to wrap his legs and explain when and why you need to do so. Pharaoh’s are easy, just make sure they’re in good shape, lead to the line and release. I guess they are smaller and sturdier, so are less prone to injury. I don’t know how good he’ll be as a courser. His prey drive at least in the house is low (doesn’t try to eat cats). I took him out yesterday on a long lead, with a plastic bag attached to a lung whip and he went nuts trying to get it – so maybe he’ll chase a plastic bag across a field.

I know that I’ll eventually come to love him. At this point he makes me smile and is I know he’s what I need to heal. In a weird way, I think Speedy sent him to me. Rob and I hadn’t planned to adopt a hound yet as we felt we weren’t ready. We had thought to foster for a while and then maybe adopt later. There was something about his picture that made me want to meet him though and the hint of black on top of his head (Speedy’s mark of approval) sealed the deal.