Monday, February 27, 2012

Great Dogs, Great Weekend

We had such a good time this weekend despite the fact that we did not sleep well. Our usual Elk Grove hotel is such a pain in the ass. Always something wrong at that place. No towels, remote doesn’t work, no dishes, etc. I have actually had rooms with someone else’s underwear hanging over the shower rod and, one time, a third of a Pringle left on the bathroom floor. One of my agility pals joked that the Pringle was Extended Stays version of a mint on your pillow. “They just want you to feel welcome.” HAHA!

This time – no functioning heat/AC unit. Like a sweat box in there. Until about 3am, then a freezer. Dogs rolled into tiny little balls of chilly. Makes them look so small on that king bed.

Bella was a frickin’ champ this weekend. Even when she wasn’t, she was. 11 out of 12 Q’s. Some of those runs were not pretty. Barely held together with lots of “Ah, no, over here!” I think that’s why I enjoy the games so much. We can do our own thing. Have our own fun. No worries. Just RUN! And run we did. She is just so full of Try. My favorite part of all our runs is the end. Bella is not a barker, but at the end of a run she always runs back to me and gives me one bark. I think she’s giving me shit for beating me to the end. It’s very cute. Yes, Bella, you win.


And Kate? Bestest Auxiliary Dog ever. She is just so easy-peesy to have along. Gets to play ball, go for walks, have people feed her. Perfect weekend for her, too. She is gracious in her support role.


I guess it’s part of not being a competitive person, but I do get more satisfaction – feel more pride – not when someone compliments us on a run, but when people compliment my dogs out of the ring. I love to hear people say that they like being set up next to us because the girls are so good. Much more satisfying then “nice weaves.” :-)

And on our C-ATE journey… oi… I’m so tired of thinking about this. It’s dumb that I’m feeling any sort of stress or pressure because, personally, I don’t think titles mean anything, at least not anything beyond your personal journey with that particular dog.

What does have meaning to me are LISTS.

Love them.

The smart people at work have figured this out. Need something done in a ridiculously short period of time? Make me a list. Even better if you put little boxes on there I can check off as I go. I hate unchecked boxes hanging over my head!

In CPE, the C-ATCH is sort of the sprint and the C-ATE is the marathon. Once we got the C-ATCH out of the way I had no list to worry about. No boxes to fill in. 5000 points is a lot of points and you end up with a ton of time to not even think about that shit. Now? Back to counting and filling in and checking off. I also have a small staff of agility accountants that are counting and checking, too.

  You know, in case we get audited.

Hopefully it’ll be over next weekend. Then back to our regular running without counting. No more folks asking, “So, what are we down to?”

Yes, “we,” it takes a village, and all.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Where Does The Time Go?

Nine!  Can't believe she's nine.  Seems like not that long ago that she was too small to tackle stairs on her own.

Bella has never been big on playing with other dogs.  Would much rather do something with a person.  Unless she is at home and no one else is around.  Home is for wrestling.  Outside?  Not so much.  You need to be ready for anything.  Someone my need you to do something important like bring a ball back.

When we lived in AZ, she had a wrestling buddy.  This is Oscar.

He was about 10 or 11 months old here.  And although non-dog people were generally afraid of him, he was the biggest wimp ever.  He is an American Bulldog.  People were constantly asking if he was a pitbull.  People would actually cross the street when they saw him.  So funny.  Yeah, he was so tough that he let people break into his house and steal a bunch of his mom's shit while he hid in the bedroom.

So much for protection.

At the dogpark they would ignore each other.  At home?  Game on!

My downstairs neighbors must have hated me.

When Oscar would need to take a breather, he would pin Bella to the back of the couch so he could catch his breath.

That was the only time he ever used his bulk to his advantage.

Bella's sorry attempt as escape.  Note that the foot on his chest is her back one!

Bella has never really been silly and as much as I love old, settled dogs, I do sometimes miss the exuberance of youth.  Not the actually puppy-puppy time, 'cause who misses chewing and house-breaking, but that teen time when they are eager to absorb and things are still new and their bodies look all oddly put together.

Eh, we will just enjoy wisdom we have.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, yes?

So, a Happy Birthday to the bestest dog ever.
She gets to do agility tonight. 
Would probably rather have cake.

ETA:  Is is sad or funny that Bella gets more birthdays emails than I do?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

West Coast Photo Peeps...Anyone Need A Cam Bag?


Free to good home.

Lowepro Slingshot 300.  Amazon info linky-link below.

Lowepro Bag

Here is where I show why I am not in sales and generally not allowed to speak to customers at work...

I hate this bag!

First, not a fan of the whole slingshot thing because you can't switch shoulders.
Second, this bag is large.  I am 5'-6" and even with all the slack taken up, it still sits a few inches above my tailbone.  Too low.  The waist strap helps, but still not super comfy to carry for any period of time.

The up side of the large bit, though, is it holds a ton of stuff.  Will hold a 80-200mm 2.8 attached to the body with room for 6 additional lenses in the main compartment and lots of extra space.

If you are an average sized man, a woman who is taller than me or you could just use a bag of this size for equipment storage shoot me an email at pgronvaldt AT gmail DOT com.

The bag is in great shape as it has primarily been used for storage.  I cannot, however, guarantee that there won't be any dog hair on it.

I will ship to CA, OR or WA.  The bag will ship via UPS, so no PO boxes.  No need to worry, though.  A) I am not a weirdo.  B) Even if I were, I'm way too lazy to actually stalk someone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Getting Better With Age?

Bella has a birthday coming up. A reminder that none of us are getting any younger. I decided to look at her agility stats to see if she is slowing down at all. Since I am not much concerned with things like her time or points, I don’t really think about them much.

Did we Q?  Yes?  Good.
That’s about my general level of concern with those things.
My usual plan for games is to have enough points to qualify with 10 obstacles and then just add some shit that makes sense from a flow point of view.
A World Team Member I will never be.
Since data never lies, I would say Bella is in a good place.  Prime, even.
Bella has decent speed.  Decent.  Not pokey, not crazy fast.  What she doesn’t have is collection.  Wide turner, that one.  If a course is wheeled at 150 yards, we probably run 200.  Ha!

I was surprised to see that her Standard times are actually in a downward trend.  We hate Standard.  Those boring numbered courses. Who needs someone else telling them what to do? 

Her FullHouse points are on the rise.  Good.  That’s probably me getting better at planning a course.

Jackpot (Gamblers for you real agility folk) has always been our favorite.  It’s very steady.  Makes sense.  Those spikes are non-traditional ones where we could probably get points for multiple gambles.  (Soooo not fast enough to get 80 points in a traditional one). I love this game.  I wish we could have a trial with nothing but Jackpots. In CPE, they have Excellent titles – 30 Q’s.  We refer to them as PhD’s.  Bella first PhD was in Jackpot.  She only had 9 level C Jumpers Q’s at that time.  Barring any catastrophes, she is a few trials away from her C-ATE. With the 7 classes that CPE has, 22% of her Level C points are in Jackpot!  The next closest is Snooker at 16%.
Did I mention we love this game?

And the one that makes no sense to me… Our Jumpers suckage.  That shit is all over the place.  No weaves in Jumpers for us either?  Wahtup wit dat? 

And... just because it's funny...

She doesn't like her pools to be moving.  More of a hot tub girl, than a whirlpool girl.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Well, At Least He's Honest

As seen on craigslist...

needs good home (vallejo / benicia)

Date: 2012-02-10, 1:03PM PST
Reply to:

I have a 5 year old bored collie who needs a good home.

Yes.  Bored collie.  Those are the worst.

I see them at my house, too, sometimes.


That one won't end up on craigslist, though.

Even if I do threaten her with it occasionally.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Treat Fairy

Human children have the Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, yes? 

They get all kinds of good stuff for free from secret beings they never get to meet. Maybe Santa at the mall, but everyone knows that's just a drunk fill-in, right? Human children should not have all the fun.  Oh sure, they don't crap in your living room or get hair all over your nice black pants, but are you really getting a lifetime of unconditional love?  Tell me your 15 year old jumps up and down with excitement because you came back in the from the garage?

I didn't think so.

Here we have the Treat Fairy.  Mysterious being that comes when you are sleeping and leaves things for you to eat. 

Bella sleeping with a goldfish on her foot.

You have to try this.  You need to use a treat that doesn't have too strong of a smell.  If your dogs wake at the slightest crinkly noise you need to be sneaky about it.   Plan ahead.  Let them wake up on their own time.  Resist the urge to poke them.  Their little faces are hysterical when they wake up.  Little stretch, blinky-blinky, then the nose wakes up and pupils get all big and they cannot believe their luck! 

This is very hard to photograph.  Hence the crappy cell pic.  Impossible to photograph Kate because she is wide awake at my slightest move.  I can't ever move to place something near her.  I have to toss and hope it doesn't hit her.  Bella, OTOH, sleeps like a rock.  I could probably put a steak on her head.

Try it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm

This past weekend was one of the last “off” weekends before our spring trialing ridiculousness starts. Do other venues do this? Just a CPE thing? Northern CA CPE thing?

We can go 6-8 weeks with nothing, then… BAM … 87 trials in a row. OK. Maybe 4 or 5 in row. Still, that’s a lot of back to back shiz.

Kate was oddly relaxed this weekend.


She is the kind of dog that has perpetual ants in the pants. You recall Tyrone Biggums? Dave Chappelle’s crack head character? That’s what Kate is like.

She has that sort of Malinois-ish….JRT-y…kind of energy. Jittery. She would be that person at your office who is constantly tapping their desk with a pen.

Not this weekend, though. It was really nice, but at the same time, makes me worry.

Hi, you, with nice, soft, round eyes.


You’re not dying are you?

Nope. Just chillin!


The Belly Bean was pretty relaxed, too.


Too relaxed. Too many pictures of dogs looking bored or judge-y

We livened things up


Kicking at ball at their heads usually works


I don’t know who makes the best faces…

Bella looks like she’s being held at gun point


But Kate, with the tongue


She has no control over that thing




I am hoping our upcoming trial is as good as our last one. Our first trial of the year was fantastic. We actually got the room we reserved. We all slept well. Ate well. It didn’t rain. Not a single weave issue. Not a single anything issue, actually. It was one of those rare weekends where every run just seemed to work. No off courses, no missed entries or contacts. We actually ran like we had our shit together. Totally fun!

It looks like we have the “no rain” part so far. Hopefully the rest will fall into place, too!