Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Midweek reflections.

So I am starting not to care about the presidential election. I think my newfound apathy is a self-defense mechanism, however, because deep down I'm really just bitterly disappointed about the whole quagmire. I don't like any of the major contenders AT ALL. Ultimately, I will console myself by going to the polls and writing in Ron Paul's name, because if you don't vote you can't complain, and let's face it - I am definitely going to complain during the next four years. But really, once the primaries are over, and Ron's officially out of the race, I am left cold and alone without a favorite to get behind. It's so much more fun when you have a person to root for and a t-shirt to buy. Oh well. Revolution.

On a lighter and more playful note, with all the attention I've been giving Maddie on the blog lately, I thought I'd show Sugs some love and post a pic we took of her this past weekend! For those of you who don't know Sugarbear, she is the snuggliest, fluffiest, softest dog EVER and she loooooves to cuddle. She also likes to use her paws like hands, which is funny. She paws at things like she thinks she can grab hold. I think I may get her into the agility stuff if all goes well with Maddie. She's kind of clumsy and scared of everything, though, so that might be a challenge. Maybe modeling classes? Whoa Nelly - I need to get a life

Monday, February 25, 2008

Agility class number one!

Today was Maddie's first agility class! She is in the introductory class (obviously) and the classes are in this big grassy field off Centerville Road. The classes are every Monday at 7 pm, and since it's dark, they have a huge spotlight illuminating all the little obstacles. Add to that equation six or seven other dogs and a twenty minute drive, and you have the perfect recipe for a truly remarkable Maddie Meltdown. And she didn't disappoint. As soon as we got there, she started barking and flipping out. I kind of knew this would happen though - lots of stimuli everywhere. I'm not in denial about Maddie. Well, maybe I am a little bit, but Gavin isn't. The other people in the group were really nice though and didn't seem to care. We really thought we were going to get kicked out for a few minutes there. Of course the other dogs were well behaved. It always happens that way.
The first trick we tried was the hurdle. It's just a little gate that the babies jump over. They set the bar pretty low on this first time out, and I thought Maddie would be all over this one, since she loves to jump, as we all know. She was distracted, though, and didn't care about the treats we were offering. She kept looking for Daddy, who was over by the car with Sugarbear, who we had brought because we didn't want her to feel left out.
Anyway, I had to jump over the little hurdle with her to finally get her to do it. I was the only parent who had to do this, mind you. I think she'll do better next time when she's not looking for Sugarbear - we will have to leave her at home for these next few sessions, just until Maddie gets used to being out there. They are not used to being separated. Here's a picture of what a dog is supposed to do with the hurdle. Notice this dog's owner is nowhere in the picture. We'll get there eventually.
The second trick we tried was the tunnel. This was another trial, but a lot of the other dogs had issues with this one too, so I felt a little better about that. The first time, I tried it alone and Maddie was not going for it AT ALL. She loves to burrow under the covers, but I guess the cold, dark, polyurethane tunnel is not quite as inviting. The second time, the instructor had Gavin get on the far side and call Maddie through. I stayed on the near side to help Maddie stick her face in, basically. Anyway, she did it! She ran through the tunnel to Gavin and we were so proud! I mean I was literally jumping up and down for joy. All the other dog parents clapped and cheered for us because they knew we were trying so hard. It was a beautiful moment. Then she did it two more times!! They didn't even have to shorten the tunnel for her. Gavin said she looked so scared running to him, with her little ears back flat against her head, but she did it! She's so brave. Here is a picture of the tunnel.

So next week we will do these obstacles again, and then learn one or two more. We are going to do some exercises we learned with Maddie in the meantime to get her to focus on us more amidst distractions. This isn't going to be easy, but I really think she is going to do ok with this, with time. She's so smart, she just needs more discipline. Keep your fingers crossed for us!! Goooo Maddie!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dog Show Recap

Hey! So Saturday we went to the doggy show. The weather cleared up and we had a great time. Here are some pics. Some of them are blurry because I couldn't use a flash (distracts the dogs and handlers) but I did the best I could.

This first picture is of a Parson Russell Terrier - a Maddie Dog! Isn't she gorgeous?

Here is a Corgi relaxing in his own folding chair. Awww.

Two exotic breeds indeed, indigenous to the Southern United States.

Below is a Chinese Crested named Chili. This is actually my friend John's dog, so I got to take a few pics of him, up close and personal.

This is Uno! The beagle who won it all at the Westminster Dog Show made an appearance right here in Tallahassee. It was so exciting because he's been on the Today Show AND Good Morning America! He was very sweet and let all the kids pose for pictures with him.

My favorite part of the day was the agility competition. This is where the little doggies run through obstacles. Some of the dogs are great, some not so great, but they all have so much fun that it's hilarious to watch. I am actually going to get Maddie enrolled in some classes here in town! She is so athletic and I just know we would have a lot of fun doing this together. I'll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, here are some pics of babies running through the different obstacles.

That's all for now, but stay tuned for a more complete weekend recap when I retrieve my camera from my friend Schmashley. Lata!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dog Show!

So you know how a couple posts ago I talked about how I love the movie Best in Show? Well guess what! A real live dog show is a comin' to town and I am pumped.

Gavin and I go to this dog show every year. It's out at the North Florida Fairgrounds and it's not like the dog shows you see on tv. That is, it's not like all the dogs are in one auditorium and you have to take your seats and watch from the stands. No no. It's basically a wide open, rompin' stompin' free-for-all. There are all kinds of breeds competing all at the same time in different little buildings, and basically you just walk around, looking at all the different dogs. The dogs are beautiful and I want to hold them all but you just have to look - no petting allowed unless you want to get b*tch slapped.... pun intended as always.
They also have stands set up where you can buy hot dogs (hehe), purchase dog items, ranging from fashion accessories to bones and rawhides. It's so interesting to see the breeders and handlers get so into the competition. They have these huge RVs and portable dog runs set up everywhere as they travel from show to show. You can even bring your own dogs, assuming they are well behaved. Obviously mine have never been.
My favorite part, however, might be the agility competition. This is where the dogs run through little obstacle courses and they are judged by how well they handle the obstacles and how fast they get through the course. Since we are in Tallahassee, many of the dogs and handlers are, well... not professionals. That is what makes it fun, though, because a lot of the dogs will hit a few obstacles and then will just run around barking until they get disqualified. It's hilarious.

Another thing I love is that the humane society and other rescue groups usually have a booth set up with some puppies they are trying to adopt out. This gives me an opportunity to play with puppies and then cry on the way home because I can't have another one. Totally worth it though. Here's photo evidence of that, circa 2007.

So if you are available this weekend and looking for something to do, give it a shot! If not, please pray that the weather clears up so I can go! Here is the link for more info:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seize the Pedicure

So I have a friend who is turning 40! She shall remain nameless to protect her innocence, as most folks do on this blog, but we'll call her "Schmana." To celebrate this momentous occasion, I and two other friends, "Schmary" and "Schmictoria," took Schmana out for lunch and a pedicure! We all felt a little tiny bit guilty about engaging in such tomfoolery in the middle of the school day, but life is short, and our paws needed pampering, so off we went with mimosa ingredients and reckless abandon. It was a fun time and I'm fond of these folks.

Schmana and Schmictoria are very smart, compassionate, and well-educated people. They are also unapologetically liberal, so I enjoyed shooting down their communist (albeit well-intentioned) political offerings with my unfailing common sense over lunch. What's new. I also explained why Ron Paul is my ideological soulmate and is right about everything. I wish more people got this. Maybe I'm just explaining it wrong. Who wants to buy me this shirt?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Young, eager med student, at your cervix.

So today I had my dreaded annual complete physical, which of course included a girl-parts exam. Yay. I mean, we all hate it but you have to do it so whatever.

Anyway, today I discovered that my doctor is working with FSU Medical School by helping to train young med students. Admirable. So as I'm lying on the table in clothes of paper, waiting for my ordeal to begin and then promptly end so I can get on with my life, my doctor poked his head in the door and asked if I would mind if the male med student observed. Well I hate to stand in the way of professional development, so I consented.

So in walks a nice YOUNG man of maybe 23 (first year student). He was fresh out of college and definitely looked it. He was probably doing keg stands at the Pike house six months ago and here he is, seeing everything. I mean everything. He saw stuff I've never seen.

I've never been particularly modest; I mean, if you are a female member of my family, a close friend, a former roommate, or my husband, chances are good that you have seen me naked, or I have at least mooned you. However, even I had to blush today. My favorite part, "Have you ever seen a cervix, Matt? No? Do you mind if Matt looks at your cervix?" Wow. I have to laugh though - you don't hear that question every day!

Anyway, he was a nice guy and shook my hand and thanked me after it was over. I thought it was funny and no regrets of course. He needs to learn, after all. I always like to help if I can, and I'm glad I could lend a cervix.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

God Loves a Terrier...

One of my favorite movies of all time is Best in Show. It's a Christopher Guest movie (think Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, Spinal Tap, etc.) about dog shows. It is hysterically funny. Anyway, I thought about it the past two nights as I have been watching the Westminster dog show. I love watching the toy group (the pekingese is so fascinatingly weird looking) and the terrier groups of course (creative facial fur).

Of course these things always get me thinking about my dogs. They are both rescue dogs, so we don't know their breeds, really. It's not like they have papers with ridiculous names like "Johnson's Sugar Ferry in the Nighttime Mist" or something like that, but we think we have a pretty good idea of what they are, for the most part. Maddie is clearly mostly a Jack Russell (now known as Parson Russell) Terrier. Check it out. Compare the perfectly bred JRT (top)with my baby Maddie!

And compare and contrast the perfect lab (top)with my baby Sugarbear! (bottom)

Clearly my shelter dogs need DNA tests. They could be models! They are even better looking than their "perfect" counterparts. I honestly think we are going to get them tested for their breeds. You can buy these test kits now - I saw it on the Today show and we gave one to my parents-in-law for Christmas for their pound puppy Sable. You just swab the inside of the cheek, then send it off to the lab, and they tell you the different breeds that make up your dog (up to 38 different breeds)! It's amazing. Science H Logic! Anyway, the tests are kind of pricy but I just really want to know what other less obvious breeds my dogs might be mixed with. If any of you are interested, check it out for yourselves:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine's Day Puppy

So today I got a forward with some pictures of a chihuahua puppy with a heart shaped spot on his fur. While I'm not a huge fan of chain emails, I AM a huge fan of chihuahua puppies with interesting and distinctively seasonal markings! Check him out! Isn't he cute? I want to steal him! Everyone feel free to tell Gavin to get me this or a substantially similar puppy for Valentine's Day.

So another weekend is in the books. True to my previous post, I cleaned out and de-furred my car and Gavin's car. I also cleaned my house and did a bunch of yardwork. It's SO much more fun with power tools! Maddie just barks at the power tools, much like the vaccum cleaner, the fish tank, other dogs, babies, and old people. She's so meek and mild.

We are completely revamping our backyard landscaping. What was back there just wasn't working, so we cut a TON of nasty brush back and raked up all the dead leaves. We kept some of the healthy greenery, but got rid of most of it. So now we are working with a blank slate and I'm having fun looking for new ideas in landscaping books and websites. New hobby!!! It will be great to get out there with my hubby in the next few months. I'll keep you "posted" on our progress and maybe even share a few pics If I'm satisfied with the results. Lata!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another weekend.... right around the corner. Yay!! I feel like every week is like the loooooongest week ever.

This weekend I am DEF going to vacuum out my car and Gavin's truck. The amount of fur in each vehicle has reached unacceptable levels. So, in case you haven't noticed, I have been a bigtime project tackler lately. I think the deal is that unfinished (or unstarted) projects can only bug me for so long until I snap and just pounce on it and continue pouncing until it's done.
Example: last weekend I spent about 8 hours on yardwork in my backyard and cleaning the pollen off the rails on my deck. I don't know what happened, really, other than I was tired of releasing my babies into a jungle every day. I was afraid a wild boar would emerge at any second. I even used power tools, and it was greeeeeeat. Rarrrr!

So now that Romney has dropped out of the race, I expect Ron Paul to really make some headway. Seriously, I am depressed about this. I actually heard that McCain might choose the impossibly tan Charlie Crist (Governor of FL) as his running mate. Typical. One democrat in sheep's clothing deserves another. I miss the golden days of Jeb Bush - I hope he runs for the big enchilada someday - we'll see.

Here is a picture of me with the fairer Bush, just seconds before the secret service tackled me.

And here is a pic of me with my two main men. Oh the mems..... Hands below the waist, sir... hands below the waist. Ha cha cha.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super T reflections

Awww, Super T was one of my fave local bands in college. post for another time. In this situation I refer to Super Tuesday of course! Well Super Tuesday is over and things are clearing up for the Republicans. Ron Paul came on strong, walking away with 9 whole delegates! Go baby go!
(Cabbage patch!)

In other news, it looks as though the McCain-iacs have beaten out the Smitten Mittens for now. It’s too bad because I much prefer Mitt Romney (hubba hubba) to McCain but I guess I’ll fall in line for the good of the party. Interestingly, I can’t say the same for many of my comrades in the conservative movement. A startling number of them abhor McCain to the point where they are either going to vote Democrat (rationale: McCain is as liberal as Hillarack Clintama so might as well let the Democrats take the heat for ruining the country) or abstain from voting altogether. Ann Coulter (who, despite what you may think of her, is hilarious) has said that if McCain is our nominee, she will get out and actually campaign for Hilla-beans! I say we write-in Ron Paul before we go to these extremes but whatev.

My own mother will be in quite the quandary. Eight years ago she saw McCain be mean to Maria Shriver on the news (back when Maria was a journalist) and hasn’t quite been the same since. She believes she got a glimpse into his soul that day and didn’t like the view. It will be interesting to see what she’ll do. Mom, Arnold forgave him - can you?

Anyway, I will be staying abreast of the situation and offering my thoughts periodically. Elections are so fun. Ta for now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday!

It’s Super Tuesday everyone! After today, I fully expect Ron Paul to be our nominee. Cha cha cha! Just kiddin. It will be interesting to see what happens, though. I still support you, Ron - get the message out! Revolution!

As far as the Democrats go, I’m not too concerned about the outcome. However, I will say that if Hill loses the nomination I will feel sorry for her. I feel like she has been waiting in the wings and biding her time for years, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce, building up experience and credibility, and here comes young energetic Barack, barging to the front of the line after a couple years in the Senate. It's sad - I would even vote for her if she didn't scare the hell out of me. In the meantime, people who supported the Clintons unconditionally in the past (remember the impeachment?) are now out and about for Barack. I'm feeling her pain. It's like, WTF guys! This was not the deal! It has to hurt to see an old pal like Oprah campaigning against you with so much on the line.
Et tu, Oprah? Et tu?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Taco jealousy confession

My pal sent me a pic of her chihuahua watching a tennis match. Apparently he loved it and just watched the little ball the whole time. I get so jealous when I see other people able to take their tiny dogs everywhere in their purses. Can you imagine Maddie at a tennis match? She would hurl her little body over this guardrail and chase the ball all over the court. It would be funny but distracting to the players. Sugarbear is generally fine when we take her places. Sure she likes to tackle small children, pin them down, and lick their hands and faces, but she does it out of love. We're working on that... once we get that issue ironed out Sugs will be much more mobile.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday - again!

I am sooooo ready for the weekend. This has been such a busy week! I had to drive to Georgia three times this week for work and of course when you're out of the office the emails and papers and everything else pile up to frightening proportions.

So Maddie is DEF getting a trim this weekend. Girlfriend's facial fur is out of control. I mean mustache, beard, AND eyebrows. When I first got Maddie at the pound, her mustache and beard were so long she looked like a little Tom Selleck lovin' billy goat. Her eyebrows were so long they looked like 1980s Prom bangs. She was so scruffy because no one cared enough to take care of her. I started trimming her that day and never looked back.

My dad thinks we should let her eyebrows, mustache and beard grow with reckless abandon, because it is natural for terriers, and all that fur has grown there for adaptive reasons and blah blah blah. I could do that, but then everyone thinks she is a little male dog and I think that hurts her feelings. It's also a functional thing, because the furrier she gets, the more efficiently her snout holds dirt.

We would have trimmed her two weeks ago, but Gavin insisted that the fur shrapnel might get in her little incision where she had stitches. Riiiiight. A convenient excuse, I thought. He is he one who trims her (apparently I "don't do it right") and it's not his (or her) favorite activity.
Below is a pic of the fur that I snapped as I was leaving for work one day - you can tell they wanted me to take a personal day. Awww.