Saturday, January 31, 2009

All aboard!

Bookmark and Share

Aboard the Ruby Princess

Embarkation Day!
I'm on board the beautiful Ruby Princess. After waking up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a 6:55 am flight from O'Hare - thank you, Hope, for the ride! - I boarded the new Ruby Princess for a week-long cruise in the Western Caribbean. There's a nifty Internet Cafe here on the ship, but unfortunately the PC doesn' t seem to want to give up my pictures from the memory stick from the camera. I'll email Hope and maybe she can post some pictures!

This ship is so huge I've already gotten lost three times. I expect to get lost many more times before the week is up. Did I ever mention my horrible sense of direction?

More to come...
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hope's on her own!

I'm off tomorrow to cruise the Caribbean! What could be better in the middle of winter than to go on a cruise. Palm trees, rum punch, snorkeling. And no snow. I'm feeling a little guilty because (here's a deep dark secret) Hope gets seasick, so she's not going. It's a cruise with a bunch of friends, so we didn't choose the venue. I'll get over the guilt, but I guess I'd better bring something really primo back!
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Get out there!

This session I'm teaching the Novice Obedience class. So, despite the fact that Dax and I haven't yet qualified in Novice, we're in the Open Class. Now I know for sure that we'd stayed way too long in Novice. We had a blast in class! She jumps! She fetches! She heels! What a good girl Dax is!
It's all my fault, I know. I love the training part, but the competition is stressful. So I've avoided it and now we're paying the price. My solemn advice to anyone who's training in any dog performance sport: Get out there and compete! The more you do, the more fun it is, the less stressful it will be and the more you'll succeed.
So don't be like me! Just do it. (Nike's right!)
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Princesses do, on occasion, harrumph!

When Dax and I got home from Agility Class on Thursday evening, the other dogs had to check us out. It was the usual "Where have you been?" "Who was there?" and "What did you bring me?" sniff-a-thon.
Golly usually gives Dax a cursory sniff and then goes looking for the treat she always gets when we came home. This Thursday, though, she took her time and gave Dax a thorough sniffing. Then she looked at me, actually "harrumph"-ed and plopped herself into a sit, clearly outraged by the results of her investigation.

It took me a minute to figure out what was going on. That evening Dax said "hello!" to MacDuff. Apparently, it's not allowed - MacDuff is Golly's boyfriend - they even hold hands! (MacDuff is a Border Terrier, Golly is a Brussels Griffon)
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting back to normal

It's been almost a week since the great deluge and we're just about back to business as usual. We still have to deal with insurance matters, and we have to repurchase the inventory that was damaged. The new (replacement) label printer is working and we're shipping out orders as quickly as before the flood.

It could have been worse.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A really, really bad day

When I got to work this morning, I knew something was wrong. This is how the door to the building looked.The landing leading to our store wasn't good, either. And this was the sight that greeted me when I unlocked the door. Apparently some pipes in the upstairs apartment burst. And water cascaded onto our suspended ceiling, bringing it and a deluge of water into the shop.

This is my desk. Poor little mouse.

My desk, again. Believe it or not, the desk lamp did work after we dried it off.

Fran's desk didn't look any better.

Our comfy customer chair was ruined.

Apparently I couldn't get over the mess of my desk.

There was about a half an inch of water all over the floor.

More mess.

My desk, again. It apparently was in the path of the waterfall.

The worst part of it was that our landlord didn't even call us when it happened. We lost a day, the label printer that was on my desk, a good bit of inventory, and our composure. We're really, really sick of winter. And water.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Next verse, same as the first

It seems that the weather is dominating every aspect of our lives. It just takes so much longer to get anything done - from taking the dogs out (coats for all four), to getting to work (have to warm up the car, traffic slowdowns), to shopping (maneuvering around giant parking lot snow mountains). Every news report is dominated by the weather and the forecasters seem to delight in spreading panic daily.
I'm tired of whining about the weather, but it's the overwhelming factor in everything we do right now. So, nothing's new around here. How about by you?
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 12, 2009

Please start paying attention!

I've been feeling rather optimistic about the political scene. The President-elect seemed to be following through on his promise to unite the country. His choices for advisors seemed rather well-considered, balanced and experienced.
Then I saw him yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and became really worried about the advice the President-elect is getting.
A Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Hound?
A Labradoodle is a mutt, not a breed.
And it's Portuguese Water Dog, not hound.
So - are his information sources wrong? or was he just not paying attention?
We actually decided a long time ago that the perfect Obama pup would be the Portie. We can call them that - some of our best friends have Porties. We can put him in touch with Portuguese Water Dog Rescue - anyone can find them here: If they get a rescue - everybody's happy. The Obamas get the dog they want and the warm, fuzzies because they "saved" a dog. Win-Win-Win!
Generally speaking, the world would be a much better and more organized place if everyone would listen to me.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just another day in paradise

It's snowing in Chicago. It seems like it's been snowing here for six weeks. Years and years ago, when her show was A.M. Chicago and before she went national, Oprah said that if we had good weather, everyone would want to live here.

Now we don't even want to live here.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 09, 2009

Party Time!

Last night was our Agility group's annual holiday party. I think the longer we drag out the holidays the shorter the winter will seem. That's my theory, anyway. So lots of people from all levels who train with our instructor got together last night at the training hall and had lots of fun, ate lots of good food and even practiced on the equipment. Everyone brought a dish to share, so there was (literally) tons of food, and all of it was terrific! How often does that happen? And our instructor gave everyone a nifty training bag with her "All Fours" logo embroidered on it.

Hope ran Dax through some short sequences. At first Dax seemed a little nervous but then she got into the party mode and tackled the jumps, even banging the teeter down a few times! I left Ceilidh home since she doesn't do well in crowds. But, I'm looking forward to taking the next session.Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A bit more experienced than we'd like...

You know the old saying: Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. Well, last weekend Dax and I got a bit more experienced in agility. We had a great time with our friends, we had moments of competence on the course. And our friend Betsy was trying out her new camera and was nice enough to take some pictures. The one obstacle Dax did beautifully all weekend was her weave poles. Good girl!
The judge you see in the background, very carefully not looking at Dax, is our instructor! When I spoke to her later she told me it was, indeed, on purpose - she didn't want any Frenchie neckwear!

Dax truly does love agility - her grin in this picture is ear-to-ear - if a tiny bit manic!
One of the highlights of the weekend for us, as it turned out, was getting to meet Gunny - another agility Frenchie! He's 11 years old now and still loving it. Which gives me hope.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow - another year. I think about resolutions every year about this time but I'm just too tired. When I get up enough energy, maybe I'll think about it again and resolve to just do whatever it is I'm thinking about. Like get off my butt and play with Ceilidh. Except for right after we play, she generally wants to play. So maybe I'll set the timer and spend ten more minutes with my dog. That'd be fun, huh? Or if I'm not home, I'll remember to be nicer to the people I really care about. So often I vent my anger or stress at the people who don't deserve it. Then I'll have to find another outlet for venting. Maybe go downstairs and exercise and blow off some steam that way. Solves two problems. And instead of eating a processed snack, maybe I'll make something creative and healthy.

Those Nike marketers had it right - just do it.
Bookmark and Share