Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
We smiled for our group picture, told them all to stay....
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Granted - we owned a bookstore and I could justify reading as part of the job. I even led a book group in the shop for 10 years - books I didn't really want to rad but it was part of the job if "everyone" was reading them. The book group still meets, even though the bookstore is gone. It meets at the public library. I still get the notices - haven't been in a year. I miss the ladies of the book group, but apparently not enough to get my butt in gear, read the book and get to the discussion.
Now, instead of reading books I train my dogs. I teach dog training (obedience), I go to dog training classes (agility), I go to dog competitions (conformation, obedience, and agility). The people I talk to are dog people, my business is a dog store. My car has dog crates instead of a back seat.
So - I no longer live a life of the mind. I no longer engage in deep, meaningful discussions about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. (Although I do mourn Douglas Adams.)
Instead, I am thinner, fitter, more social, busier, have made more friends and love the road I've taken. But I admit it - when that Facebook list about "how many of these books have you read" came around, I was pretty pleased I'd read over half. - Hope
Friday, December 17, 2010
Golly Gear is participating in Free Shipping Friday! Use coupon code AXS2-Q1L5HK today, Friday December 17, enter this coupon code and be sure to click on the redeem button and we'll ship free anywhere in the US. Your Golly Gear purchase will get to you by Christmas too! How about a Rubit! Tag Holder for a stocking stuffer? And a Skinneeez for your favorite play-machine pup! Expand your little dog's wardrobe with a Plaid Step-in Harness (it's our favorite)! - Fran
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
And, of course, it was the only time in the whole trek I got lost. I have a pretty good sense of direction - once I've been somewhere, I can generally get there again. This time, for whatever lunatic reason, I decided to follow the signs instead of just going back the way I'd come. Mistake. I've never encountered it before, but apparently in Ohio you have to go east to go west. Silly me, I thought going northwest on one road would eventually get me to the west-bound road I needed. So I lost about 45 minutes, lost in the driving rain.
The rest of the road trip was actually kind of nice. The weather eventually cleared, I had sunny skies by the time I hit Indiana. There were no mountains, so the Land Cookie was actually able to keep the speed limit. I'm not usually quite as law-abiding, especially on my home turf, but the circumstances were unusual. I was driving a vehicle close to the size of a semi-truck, for the first time, without any license plates. Ironically, New Hampshire won't give temporary license plates to non-residents, and Illinois won't give temporary license plates without a title. Nice little Catch-22, wasn't it? I'm still rather amazed that over three days and seven states, I wasn't stopped for not having plates. I wouldn't recommend it, it made me a bit paranoid, but as a one-time thing - I'm still glad it's over. The Land Cookie is legal now - I visiting the Dept. of Motor Vehicles the day after I got home.
When I planned the trip back, I thought it would be a good idea, when I got close to home, to take the toll road that circles Chicago rather than take the Land Cookie straight through the heart of downtown. By the time I got close I was too darn tired to add the 25 minutes to my trip. The Land Cookie and I braved the Dan Ryan, the Kennedy, and the Edens Expressways at about 3 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. Heart of the city in the middle of rush hour.
I'm glad I did. Now I'm not afraid to drive that behemoth anywhere. Cause you want to know a secret? It was fun! - Hope
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Bought a new Gateway from the Best Buy that's five minutes away. So far so good. Keep your fingers crossed. - Fran
Friday, November 26, 2010
I'm thankful for my own little family - the dogs (even, maybe especially, the "works in progress") and especially my sister and business partner! - Fran
Friday, November 19, 2010
But from the day I got him, Tango hadn't wanted to tug. As most dog agility people will tell you, tugging is a great way to focus your dog and get him excited about working. So I've been working at it. I didn't want to overdo it, because that's the best way to turn him off. I tried to find a toy that he wanted to keep in his mouth, but at first he just let it go when I tried to share the toy with him. Then he'd let me hold the toy as well. Then he like to actually tug on it. But not in class, of course.
I tried a Tug-it (a mesh thingie that holds pieces of food with velcro at the top and a handle), but Tango didn't understand why he couldn't get the cheese that was inside it by licking it and got frustrated. But he like tugging on it empty. So we ran with that. But it didn't always keep Tango's interest in class.
But during Wednesday's lesson, Dee suggested that I try putting cheese into the Tug-it again. Eureka! Tango became a tugging fool! And during last night's agility class, the cheese-filled Tug-it kept Tango's interest over the other dogs walking by (mostly). Persistence and patience pay! But now I have to wash the Tug-it.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
During this trip I had with me only the things I could carry on the plane. No extra anything. Including blankets. It was a bit of a chilly night.
Next morning was gorgeous. I woke up early and decided to tackle the infamous black tank dumping that everyone dreads from the scene in the Robin Williams movie RV - Runaway Vacation.
The first thing I did was get out my sewer hose and hooked it up to the RV. No problem. Stretched it out (it's built like an enormous flexible straw) toward the hole in the ground it's supposed to attach to. And could not, if my life had depended on it, get out the plug from the hole in the ground. I tried. I tried really, really hard. No luck.
So I walked up to the campground office to get some help. I'm never reluctant to ask for help from experts. It saves lots of time and energy. But the office didn't open until 9 a.m. It was 7:30 or so.
I took a walk, took the pictures in the previous post. Sat and read. And waited. Finally, about 8:45, I went back to the office and was delighted it was open early. I explained the problem and the "strict dad" from the night before met me at the campsite.
I'm delighted to say - I didn't get it wrong. Some idjit drove over the plug and jammed it in. It took tools to get it out. And the actual dumping part? Easy! No muss, no fuss, no bother. I can see how it might go horribly wrong, but it didn't!
Cleaned up, emptied out, ready to go! I set out on the next stage of my trip, with a stop that night at another campground west of Cleveland, Ohio.
On the drive that day I learned that the RV is water-tight (it poured in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), it likes flat country much better than mountains, and that I can, in fact, drive it and park it at a mall. There was a nice-sized mall at my interstate exit in Ohio and I really wanted to pick up some blankets for that night. If you're willing to walk - there's usually plenty of parking on the outskirts of most malls. While my parking job wasn't the neatest - it worked.
So on Sunday night I arrived 10 minutes too late to check in at the American Wilderness Family Campground in Grafton, Ohio. And if all, or even most, campgrounds are as nice as the two I've visited so far - I'm hooked.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I was lucky that the incredibly nice couple who manager (own?) Cheerful Valley was still in the office. I checked in and the nice lady assigned a space to me, and explained how to get there: "Go around the Class A - you can't miss it it's 40 feet long, swing around over by the bathrooms and it's over on the left. Just back in there."
This is about the place where an absolutely panicked look must have overtaken me. I explained that I wasn't used to navigating the RV at all, had never been to an RV campground before, had never backed it up, and wouldn't recognize the hookups I was supposed to park near.
They took pity on me. "Carl will guide you down and show you how. But he's a tough dad - he won't do it for you!"
I loved that.
Carl got into his golf cart - apparently a very common feature at RV parks, and guided me down to my camping site. He was wonderful, patient, and a very good teacher. I was in place in no time.
And then I discovered a very cool thing about RV campgrounds - they're like little neighborhoods I'm used to, but in absolutely gorgeous settings and most of the people will talk to you, help you and be nice to you.
Jason and Cathy had the site next to mine. Carl was teaching me how to make the water and electrical hookups (not rocket science, but not intuitive, either) and Jason came over to chat, introduce himself, and help. We all decided I would tackle the sewer hookup in the morning - when we could actually see what we were doing. Good idea.
Jason and Cathy had a fire going (all camp sites so far have their own little fire pits!) and after I was all set (lights on, water on, motor off) we chatted for a bit. They actually live within a few miles of the campground - it's a frequent weekend getaway for them. I could see why - the neighborhood is kinda nice.
So on Saturday Hope decided to bring Teddy to the show. I'm writing this post because Hope had to pay attention to Teddy, making sure he was behaving himself and not mooching too many treats, so I was following Hope and Teddy down the aisles. Teddy was a perfect gentleman, saying hello nicely to anyone who wanted to say hi to him. And most people did. It's a good thing that we didn't have much to do on the first floor of the convention center because it took us three times longer than it would have if Teddy weren't with us! People were stopping us in the middle of the aisle, stooping down to pet Teddy. Vendors were coming up to Teddy with samples of treats. Other buyers were taking Teddy's picture! Teddy got a new harness from the nice guys at EzyDog! And Teddy demonstrated the Tornado at the vendor's booth, getting way too many treats! (Smart little fellow - I don't think he'd ever seen the Tornado before. His favorite is the Brick!) And Teddy was even game for climbing on a fitness ball at the end of the day! (Teddy learned about fitness balls in his Puppies With Purpose class.) Walking behind Hope and Teddy, I was able to see all the other people turning to watch Teddy and smile. People crowded around, snapping his picture at each stop. But doesn't it just figure, we forgot our camera! Afterwards, Teddy was tired afterwards on the ride home (taken with a puny cell phone camera). - Fran
Thursday, October 07, 2010
After a "here I go, wish me luck!" call to Fran, I set off. I quickly figured out that side-view mirrors are an RVer's best friends. If the mirrors fit, the whole vehicle fits. Another quick revelation - RVs are not good mountain climbers. In the New Hampshire mountains, for every down there's a very-closely-related up. I would like to apologize now to every single person who was out driving in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 25. Yes, that was me holding you up and forcing traffic to crawl at 25 mph. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
I also noticed the needle of the gas gauge going down - fast. I needed to find a gas station and I had no idea if I was anywhere close to hitting the interstate and its nice, wide-open service plazas. So when I saw a sign for fuel - I got off the little highway I was on and headed for the service station. Which was on the other side of a two-lane street and had minimal maneuvering room. And an awning.
I know all the hysterical scenarios being imagined here. None of them happened. I filled up (BTW - did you know most gas pumps cut you off when you hit $75?), back-and-forthed back into traffic and went on my merry way.
Remember my day started at home in my very own cozy little bed. Up at 4 a.m., off to O'Hare, flight to Boston, 2 hour drive to New Hampshire. Crash course in RVs.
So my merry way started after 1 p.m., Eastern time. I had a reservation at the Cheerful Valley Campground for that night. Cheerful Valley is in Phelps, New York, west of Syracuse. Which looked entirely do-able on MapQuest and in my TripTik. Both MapQuest and TripTiks expect you to be going somewhat close to the speed limit. Which I wasn't. I tried, but The Land Cookie just couldn't do it. And New York is a very wide state.
It was well after dark when I approached Cheerful Valley Campground. Which will be Part III.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Of course, there has to be a story attached to such an absurd name. And it's an "awwwww" kind thing, so a little bit embarassing. But we're all friends here, right?
When we were little, Fran, our Mom and I made up our very own fairy tale to help Saturday morning chores go faster. Our story featured our dog, Spunky, a Boston Terrier. We made him king of a tiny island in the middle of Lake Michigan. There was a whole lot more to it than that - years of spinning the yarn longer and longer. The upshot for our tangent is that King Spunky had a magical boat that could take him anywhere and back in an afternoon (adventures had to fit between school and supper). And his boat was the "Cookie."
Hence the "Land Cookie."
Hoping to live happily ever after.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
The good news didn't stop my headache, though. I spent an hour and three-quarters in the vet's waiting room with three, count 'em, three, unattended home-schooled children. Their other brothers and grandmother were in the exam room with the vet.
It's Monday. We have perfectly fine institutions to keep children during weekdays. It's called school. Free for the registration - sign your brood up now!
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It really almost looks like I know what I'm doing in the conformation ring with Ted! If I'd just remembered to fix those front feet - he's supposed to stand straight, not assume Second Position for Ballet!
And Dax is the first sitting dog on the right, I'm the third stern-faced individual from the right, we were all praying to the stationary powers-that-be that our dogs not move. Dax didn't on this exercise, which has a one-minute duration. Unfortunately, she did on the "Long Down," which should last 3 minutes and in Dax's case lasted about 4.5 seconds. Sigh.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Friday, September 03, 2010
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Since Tango still has issues about being near other dogs (people too), after our 6:00 class I put his wire crate next to the big post in the middle of the room where he'd be out of the way but still able to see everything going on during the next class. Other dogs with issues were on other sides of the post, so it was even good that he could see them as well. I sat next to his crate and when he was good I gave him treats. When he started barking I covered his crate until he had been quiet for a couple of minutes. Other people tossed treats to him as well. I was very happy that Tango's crate was uncovered for the second half of the 7:00 class! - Fran
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
This is the first week that we're trying out a new schedule. I'm now at the shop on crazy Wednesdays with Tango and Dax and Teddy. Wednesday had been my day off. I was somewhat apprehensive about this, with Tango's propensity for nastiness, but while he did his share of barking he didn't seem entirely serious about it all the time. And, after a setback last week, at Agility class last night, Tango wasn't as aggressive as I expected. A muzzle might not be necessary. We'll have to see.
And now there's the potential threat of oil flowing into Lake Michigan? Seriously? The Gulf of Mexico isn't bad enough? I could rant for hours, but summer's made me too tired.... Fran
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Dax was not amused.