Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody! 2010's almost history! Ready for lots of great stuff next year! I don't make resolutions, but if I had to, here are a couple I'd try to keep: be more patient with my family (all species), and try keeping up with my to-do list. No, not checking stuff off of it, but making sure that everything is on it so I don't forget stuff! How about you? Resolutions?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The puppies graduate!

Before our last "Puppies With Purpose" class last night we decided to get some pictures of our little graduates. They've all been promoted and will be starting Beginner's Agility class next month. From left: me and Teddy (French Bulldog), Emily and Juno (Keeshond), Sharon and Mason (All-American Dog) and Diane and Cosmo (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.) Taking the pictures started out fine. We all got our dogs attention.

We smiled for our group picture, told them all to stay....

Which worked for half a second.

Who's missing??


Monday, December 27, 2010

Best buddies

Teddy and Tango chewing away at their respective bones. It's an unusual moment of peace and quiet - usually there's only one good bone in the entire house and the other guy has it! Rough and tumble, with accompanying barking, growling, whining and complaining. ensues. Then the other guy steals the precious object and off they go again. - Hope

Friday, December 24, 2010

Amazing gift

Our friends Tony and Carlene gave us this amazing holiday gift last night. We couldn't believe it! Tony drew this wonderful piece for us - Dax, Tango, Teddy and the blur that is Ceilidh. He captured each perfectly.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Time

10 years ago, I read a book a day. And for about 10 years before that - a book just about every day. Now it takes me three weeks to get through a book. That's how much life has changed.
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

Ready Set Ship!

Hope and I are still getting used to our new PCs. Some nice surprises - Hope is happy with the speed of her new PC. Most of my software loaded without a problem. And some nasty ones. Apparently Microsoft only allows you a certain number of PCs to die before you have to buy a new version of Office. But my new Gateway was preloaded with Microsoft Office Starter - and these versions of Word and Excel appear to have everything I need.

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

RV adventure - Part VI

Monday morning, bright and early, (ok, early, chilly and wet) I started on the last leg of the journey - the Land Cookie was going home!
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

RV adventure - Part V

Finally, I've got a few minutes with nothing more urgent to do - I can take up the story of bringing the Land Cookie home. When we left our heroine (me!), I had just arrived at the American Wilderness Campground in Grafton, Ohio - too late to check in for the night. I now know that many RVers find a friendly WalMart and just park for the night, but I was new to the whole thing and kind of dreaded being without water or power for the night. I was flummoxed for a few moments, until I saw a man drive in and head for the house on the property. I explained my dilemma and he told me "just find a place and set up. Don't worry about it!"
So I did.
As I was hooking up the electric and water, my new next-door neighbor came home. Another Jason! Apparently he lives there most of the year and was very helpful. While we were chatting, a golf cart came whizzing by - with more nice people aboard. We were passing the time of day when one of the ladies asked "Are you Hope?" Turns out she was the campground manager and signed me in on the spot. No need to check in at the office - no need to worry about anything. I was legal and everything!
The best part of the whole trip was next. I called my friend Michelle, of Brutus the Frenchie fame, who lives in the area. Truth be told - I chose this campground because it was in Michelle's neighborhood - kinda. We'd planned for her to come by and see me and the new RV. She asked what she could bring - I told her "anything alcoholic." It'd been a stressful couple of days.
And, wonderful as it was to see Michelle again, it was over the top terrific that she brought Brutus and Carmen, her French Bulldogs, along. We walked around the campground for a while, then settled in for a three-hour visit.
You'd've thought we'd known each other forever. We'd just met the previous month at the French Bulldog National Specialty show. You know how you form an instant connection to some people? Michelle was one of those. It's kind of great knowing someone you just met is going to be a friend for life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back again

Hi folks. I've been in computer hell for the last ten days. Since my old PC (3 years old) crashed 3 times in the last 6 months, and Dell was running a fantastic sale, we decided to buy 2 new ones. Out of the box, the first one had problems. No internet. I thought it was fixed and tried installing one of my software programs. Internet gone. Again, thought it was fixed and installed another program. Internet gone. Four days on the phone with Tech Support from one company or another. The last guy from Dell I talked to told me to call Adobe.?!* Complete and utter frustration. We tried setting up the second one. Worked like a dream from the start (knocking on wood here). So I gave up on the first one and sent it back. Understand that the return process took a couple of hours on the phone with Dell.

Bought a new Gateway from the Best Buy that's five minutes away. So far so good. Keep your fingers crossed. - Fran