Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good dogs, good foot-what more can I ask for?

A good weekend all around. Saturday morning I set up an exercise focusing on contacts out at Biscuit Eaters for Cody & Lola and also to test out my foot. I saw the doc on Wednesday, told him what I’d been up to and showed him some video footage of agility so he could see what was involved. He told me everything sounded good and that after watching the tape he was even more confident I’d be fine for the trials coming up in 3 weeks. He’d also had a chat with my PT and he was fine with what she’s been having me do. So I decided to try running the dogs for real for some short exercises. I spent nearly 1/2 an hour dragging equipment around and setting up an exercise and the dogs spent less than maybe 5 minutes each in total running. It was such a hassle for such a small bit of training but I didn’t want to overdo my foot or the dogs. I wasn’t nearly as fast as I’d hoped but I was able to go fast enough to get in some front crosses and more or less keep up with the dogs. My handling/timing were so off it wasn’t funny but hopefully in the next few weeks I can get back into it without screwing the dogs up too much. They were both so happy to be out & running. Each of them was barking & jumping up & down when it was their turn, big fun. We had an audience in the form of a cyclist that stopped to watch and oddly enough it threw me off a bit, strange since I’m oblivious to the crowds at trials.

In the afternoon I took Strummer down to an AKC trial in Golden to work on his trial manners and practice with the measuring device. It’s always something at those AKC trials-last time I had Strum on a gentle leader and a friend I was talking to told me she was pretty sure they weren’t allowed at AKC trials. Nobody hassled me about it but yeesh, what a dumb ass stupid rule. This time I was working on Strum standing still on the table under the measuring device thingy and someone came up to me and told me that earlier the judge had gone off on someone for doing the same thing. He’d actually left the ring and come over to reprimand the person. For crying out loud. Luckily I was just about done anyway and the judge never came over. Maybe all the stupid rules is why people are so nervous & uptight?

The good news was that Strum was so good, not a single bark or lunge at the ring. I even brought him in the stands, something I thought I’d never be able to do, and he laid down all on his own. I never got around to writing about it but a couple of weeks ago we had him down at the Boulder Rez when the Canine Classic 5k/10k running race was being held. It was pure chaos, hundreds of runners & dogs crammed in a small area plus the spectator crowds, vendors & loudspeakers. He was so good there too, even when a loudspeaker squealed to life with feedback right when we walked past it. Today we were back at the Rez with another race going on and he strolled right past the loudspeakers without showing any signs of even noticing them. A couple of dogs lunged & barked at him but all he did was look at them and get a little stiff, not even a tiny growl from him and no barking or lunging in return. Hooray for the Strum man. I think clicking and treating him for calmly watching the things that overstimulate him has been a big help. He’s still not as relaxed as I’d like and I feel he still has some ways to go but I’m so pleased with his progress.

I saw Joy at the trial and asked her about starting up with lessons again. She’s going to World Team Tryouts next weekend so of course she’s focused on that right now but she told me she’d be back to doing lessons some time after she gets back. I haven’t had a lesson other than a one day seminar since the end of October, is it any wonder my handling is in a state?

Today I hit some trails with hills on my bike. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do the whole trail let alone make it up a steep hill at the end but it was all no problem, my foot didn’t hurt at all, I wasn’t tired (but wasn’t pushing myself), and I finished in 1 1/4 hours, way faster than I thought I’d be though not a fast time for that trail. Next week I’ll try some tougher trails. I’m encouraged that I’ll be able to hit some ‘real’ trails by next month and certainly by June when the high country trails should be rideable.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Like I've Got Time For This Crap

And yet I can't help myself. Somebody sent me this:

Celebrity Pet Quiz

Lola came out as Oprah which I can't see at all:

A true rags-to-riches story, Lola is a comeback pet who has not only survived a troubled start, but uses her success to lend a helping paw to others. Well-rounded and hard-working, Lola has re-written the rules of stardom and continues to spread her influence throughout the animal kingdom. Still a down-home country girl, Lola's one weakness is the chow that she knows from her youth, and she's not afraid to gobble up a little gravy every now and then. Lola manages to keep her positive reputation intact, despite being hounded by the press and her thousands of diehard fans everywhere she goes. Lola is smart, creative and innovative and has used these qualities to build up an empire the likes of which have never before been seen.

Strummer came out as Jonny Knoxville and I don't know who that is but the description is pretty accurate:

Johnny Knoxville
Up for Anything
The kind of pet that can leap tall fences in a single bound (or not, but give it a shot anyhow), Strummer is the original Jackass, Johnny Knoxville!
Going through the pain so you don't have to, Strummer knows that he trots a fine line between funny and stupid, but he doesn't care—he's laughing about it all the way to the pet store. His over-the-top antics make you grimace with fear and you often find it hard to believe that he actually enjoys playing the class clown. But Strummer laps it up and continues to defy the odds, despite your warnings and concerns. Other males in the pack tend to be a little jealous of Strummer, but the females find him simply dreamy. A die-hard good ol' boy, Strummer is more of a General Lee type than a Knight Rider, but give him enough time to think things through and he's sure to find a way to wreck both vehicles at the same time.

And Cody? George Clooney! I reeeeeeealllly don't see that:

George Clooney
Mr. Hunky
Cody is none other than superhunk George Clooney!
Turning heads everywhere he rolls, Cody is a huge hit with both googly-eyed babes and older, wiser fans. Admirers will paddle across no less than eleven oceans just to get a glimpse of this A-List heartthrob in the fur. Cody isn't in a big rush to settle down, so is often seen out on the town with the cutest members of the pack. Not just a looker, Cody's activism knows no limits—enerpetically involved in the campaign to save Dogfur, Cody is always looking for a worthy cause that he can sink his teeth into.

Plenty of stuff to write about but I waste all my free time on stupid celebrity dog quizzes. Ah well, it's Friday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bono is a wanker

I think it all started with me being pissed off about Earth Day hoopla. Millionaire bloated celebrities telling me to turn my heat down and put on a sweater while they jet around the planet between their multiple mega-mansions while the earth goes down in flames. Somehow this put me in mind of Bono & Africa. I think the thing with Bono is that you either think he’s a saint or a wanker and until today I fell in the minority camp of yeah he’s probably a wanker but I really don’t give a crap can we please talk about something else? If you’ve ever gotten caught between people from opposite camps having an argument about it you know what I mean. First you want to laugh because it’s so damn stupid but the thing is it never ends, just gets more & more heated as each side digs in until you want to poke hot pokers in your eyes. Same thing for Bob Geldof (yeah, he’s a wanker too).

Today I found out just how much of wanker he really is (oh there's more, so much more, but all you have to do is google 'Bono' and 'wanker' and you can see for yourself) and I probably should just leave it alone, take a deep breath and step away from the blog because I’m supposing most of you fall into the camp of I really don’t give a crap, can we please talk about something else? Isn’t this supposed to be about dogs and maybe swimming/biking/running? Yes, you’re right so I won’t go into a big rant. But yeesh, I’m really fed up with mega-rich celebrities trying to inflict their guilt over their outrageously lavish lifestyles onto the rest of us. Happy Freakin' Earth Day. I'll be in a better mood tomorrow I promise.

(Bonus points to anyone who can calculate the carbon footprint of Bono's hat.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shorts & T-Shirt Weather

Beautiful weekend, shorts & t-shirt weather and I’m finally able to enjoy it. Kicked off with a trip to Biscuit Eaters Sat. morning with the full crew. Not my brightest plan ever but I figured that if other people were there I couldn’t work Strum so may as well have the back-up crew. No one was there when I arrived so I decided to work Strum first. We mostly worked the teeter and he’s up to around 6-8” shy of a full height teeter. No problemo. Then I let him rest and set up a front cross exercise for the old school crew. It’s a circle of jumps with a jump in the middle. You take the middle jump then a jump on the circle then the middle jump then another jump on the circle, etc. and you work your way around the clock. I cheated and set up just a semi-circle. It’s a strenuous exercise and I didn’t see the need of a full circle plus my foot was starting to bug me and I was feeling lazy. I decided to try it out with Strummer just for laughs and he did great, much better than the other two do. I put it down to the jump foundation training we’ve been doing. I think it’s helping me almost as much as Strummer.

I took all 3 for a short walk so I could cool down Strum & warm up the other 2 and by the time I put Strum back in the car I’d felt as if my foot had had enough. I did a bit of running with Strum on the teeter and of course all the back and forth to the car. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking area to the field and I parked a bit farther away in the open space lot across the street in hopes that Strum couldn’t see us as well and wouldn’t commence to screaming (he pitched a fit when we left but settled down after a few minutes, phew, there’s hope for him yet). But I felt bad for the other 2, dragged em all the way out here, warmed em up and then they don’t get to play? How much does that suck? So I decided to suck it up and went back to the field.

I had a huge stroke of luck though in the form of Sandy showing up at the field. I explained my debacle and she was happy to run my dogs for me. She’s an awesome handler and has a fast, big, long-strided Border Collie so she’s a perfect fit for my dogs. Plus I’ve taken classes from her so both dogs know her. Cody’s a bit of an agility whore, show him the treats and he’ll run for just about anybody but Lola’s a bit fussier and usually needs coaxing. She ran beautifully for Sandy though, tearing around the course with a big stupid grin on her face. Cody looked even happier. Both dogs were fast & happy, had great contacts, didn’t go off course, they looked fantastic. I should get Sandy to run my dogs all the time, she did a much better job with them than I do. Poor dogs, they’re so awesome and they’re stuck with me.

Got home, hit the couch and put the foot up on some ice. After some lunch and rest it was back out for a bike ride. I decided to drive to the south side of town for a change of scenery. I hate driving to ride my bike but it was only 15 minutes. I started at the Bobolink trail and headed south to the South Boulder Creek trail which, duh, goes along South Boulder Creek. It’s an easy flattish trail, a bit of an uphill but a good choice if you’re gimpy. Dogs aren’t allowed so you don’t have to worry about them running in front of your wheel, a problem I have on the trails in my neighborhood. There’s a nice view of the Flatirons which are the foothills that Boulder sits up against as well as nice views of the Continental Divide. There’s still loads of snow up there but down here it’s shorts and t-shirt weather. The only problem is that the trail is only a couple of miles long so I ended up going back & forth a few times. I only got in 1 1/4 hours instead of the 1 1/2 I had planned but I’d forgotten my mp3 player and was bored plus I figured it was long enough given that I might have overdone it a bit in the morning.

I took some pictures in a prairie dog town that the trail passes through. Prairie dogs are smart and have a highly developed communication system. They not only have words for say ‘person’ and ‘dog’ but if you go through their town on a regular basis they’ll make up a name specifically for you. I used to run through a couple of towns on a weekly basis when I was training for marathons and as they ‘eeped’ at me when I passed I was sure they’d made up the most uncomplimentary names. I was sure they were taunting me too. ‘Hey Slugpants, move yer ass, you are beyond pathetic’. Or maybe it was just the voices in my head.

At one point while I was snapping photos the dogs all got very excited, lots of ‘eeping’ and running for holes. I looked around for a loose dog or coyote and then the sky above me went dark and I saw an enormous shadow on the ground before me. A Golden Eagle was swooping over my head. I’m not sure how close he was and by the time I looked up he was pretty high so maybe he never came that close but wow he was huge.

In fact I saw lots of cool birds this weekend and I wasn’t even looking. Saw an Osprey out at Biscuit Eaters on Saturday, the Golden Eagle, then a Great Blue Heron and a huge flock of Pelicans at Biscuit Eaters on Sunday. Or rather they were at the ponds on the adjacent open space and I saw them while we were cooling down. There were so many Pelicans sitting out on a peninsula that it looked like it had snowed. Too bad my camera lens sucks for that kind of photography. Maybe I’ll try my video camera. My favorite is the Heron though. They look like dinosaurs to me. The Pelicans should be around for another couple of weeks, I’ll try to remember my camera but I’m not hopeful that I’ll get anything amazing.

Today was more of the same, agility in the morning with Cody & Lola then a bike ride this afternoon at Boulder Valley Ranch and the Rez. I ‘ran’ short segments of a course with each dog, stopping to reward and catch up. Cody did great, Lola was more hesitant. I shouldn’t run her when I’m not 100% but she was having fun anyway. I’m sure I’ll regret this as I usually do, bad trainer, I’ll never learn but it’s so hard to be patient sometimes.

Biking today was great, went a bit farther than last time in the same amount of time which was encouraging. I decided to ride a bit harder this time and go only a little further rather than try to add on a bunch of distance/time. I remember the PT for my knee surgery recommended this and it worked well. Hopefully by next week I’ll be able to run better with the dogs and maybe add some hills in to the biking.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's just a jump to the left...and then a step to the right

Don't worry, I won't be discussing the upcoming presidential election so set your mind at rest.

I went to physical therapy yesterday and sheepishly confessed that I'd been running just an itty bit out at the agility field. Much to my surprise the therapist said yeah that's o.k., in fact why do you go out there and try some more? I was happy about that. I've been worried that the PT doesn't quite understand what's involved with agility since she's never seen it so I'd brought my video camera to show her a run just to make sure she's o.k. with me trialing next month. She did seem surprised by it, she was thinking it was more like the conformation thing but still insisted I'd be o.k., maybe 75% but still able to run.

Anyway, she started me on some exercises that involved little not quite running steps, sort of like dance moves and as I was doing them I was thinking that they'd be great for working on handler footwork for agility. I thought I'd share them here with the disclaimer that you proceed at your own risk. If you get your legs all tangled and end up flat on your face or your ticker says uh no thanks, well, you're on your own there. Also, you'll have to forgive the graphics. I drew them myself and in addition to not being a medical professional I'm also not in any way good at art.

Side Shuffles 1:

Side Shuffles 2:

Zig Zags:

Cha Cha Cha. Or something. I'm not much of a dancer. I was traumatized by disco dance lessons that I was forced to attend when I was 12 years old and never quite recovered. Feel free to add in whatever groovy moves you have to the basic patterns.

Obviously I've only mapped out the basic moves, you can repeat the patterns over and over in a long line, then go back the way you can to work the other side. I think the PT had me doing the Zig Zags forward and backward and I tried them backward on my lunch hour with no problem apart from inherent complete lack of coordination. The Grapevine is sometimes recommended by agility instructors as a way to work on footwork for front crosses so maybe some of you have seen if before or perhaps you've been to aerobics class but it looks complicated if you've never seen it before. Never fear, it's easy once you figure it out and maybe seeing a video of it will help if the diagram looks too complicated. If you search YouTube you can find perky aerobics teachers that have nice abs and wear tight sport bras that show off their nice abs to give you a demonstration but this woman is more my style:

Sorry, I can't embed the actual player (it's all Blogspot's fault I tell you) but if you click on the link it takes you right there.

In addition there's always the Time Warp:

I'll bet those pelvic thrusts are great for the abs.

Darn it. Blogger's acting all screwy and I can't get enlarged versions of the diagrams when I click on them and of course they're too small to read on screen. I'll see what I can do about it. Also, I promise I'll fix the colors on my blog one of these days. I changed them while on Vicodyn and I'm not entirely sure what I did or how to change them again. Yeah, I know, the clueless shouldn't try to run blogs but I'll just bet half my technical problems are Blogger's fault. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

There's Uncle Joe, He's Moving Kinda Slow

That's how I've been feeling lately-Uncle Joe. Moving kinda slow. That's o.k. though, at least I'm moving.

I took Strummer to Biscuit Eaters on Saturday and Sunday to work on the teeter and contacts. This was my first time back there since surgery and I wasn't sure how it would go. I put the teeter a notch or two lower than where we had left it at 6 weeks ago and he had no problem . By the end of the session I had it back to where we started, about a foot below full height. Sunday I moved the chain 2 links tighter by the end of the session and he'd had only one flyoff right at the start of the session and I think it was a freak thing so didn't worry too much about it. I took video on Sunday as sort of a video progress report of where we're at and after spending tons of time uploading, editing it and editing it some more I decided it was way to boring to post. I noticed a few things about myself, firstly that I'm still not walking great. The PT told me I was still limping and I thought she was nuts but I can see from the video that I'm still not walking properly. Secondly, I was running for a few steps here and there! Very bad, I'm absolutely not supposed to be doing that yet and I didn't even realize I was doing it. I get carried away with the training and forget myself so I think I need to stay away from the agility field for a bit. Maybe by next weekend a few steps of running will be o.k. but my foot was mighty sore when I got home and I couldn't figure out why until I saw the video.

After watching a bunch of runs at last weekend's trial and paying particular attention to contact performance I've decided to switch the older dogs to running contacts as best I can and switch Strummer's training for running contacts. Yes, I know, just like that I change my mind but I'm more and more worried these days about Cody & Lola's shoulders and the running contacts looked so much nicer, the dogs looked so much happier and motivated. I've been following this dog's training diary and so far I think the results are really nice. I've never had much of an idea of how to train this and I'm not sure I'll be able to have the same success since I'm not hardly anywhere near at the same level but it will be fun to try and how will I ever get any better at training if I don't try new things? What I need is about half a dozen dogs so I can experiment with different methods but for now poor Strummy will have to humor me. I'm not so concerned about Cody & Lola getting to the point of being 100% consistent as the number of reps they'd have to do to get there is way too hard on their older bodies. Heck, I have crappy contacts with both dogs at the moment, how much worse can it get? I think a big part of the problem is the difference between training and trialing. I can get nice 2 on/2 off contacts at practice but it all falls apart in the ring and the dogs are too soft for me to do things like take them out of the ring or make them lie down when they're wrong. I may have the same issue with the running contacts but no way to know unless I try. I'll get it right by dog number 10, I promise.

I started with trying to get Strummer to run straight across his board without stopping and laying down at the end. This was depressingly easy since I thought that down was pretty solid. He was quite happy to run across the board for tossed treats though and he seemed to be enjoying the game. I tried to click the moment his front foot hit at the very end of the board (no leaping) and it's hard to get your timing right. I've got some video from Sunday but I'm hesitant to post it. He was nearly perfect, had only one or two misses, but toward the end he's trotting across the board at a not very impressive speed and then there's me gimping around in the background and running again when I'm not supposed to and it looks kind of lame. It's hard and frustrating to do agility, even the foundation stuff, when you can't move properly so I think I'm going to wait a bit before getting back into it. I don't think there are any more trials this weekend so hopefully I can get someone to run Cody & Lola for me at practice.

In addition to the agility I had a walk on Saturday (1 1/4-1 1/2 miles) and an hour bike ride on some easy trails and dirt roads. Bike was great, walk was maybe 1/4-1/2 a mile too long. I was going to walk even longer since it was such a nice day but luckily talked myself out of it and 5 minutes later I was glad that I had. Walking is getting better every day but it only takes about 5 minutes before something starts hurting and half an hour is about my limit. The doctor and PT say I'll be fine for the agility trials next month and I guess I'll have to trust them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Owl Cam

You might like this if you're easily amused like I am. It's a link to live video of a Great Horned Owl sitting on a nest. There are a couple of babies but you have to catch them at the right time. Around 4:00-6:00 p.m. mountain time is your best chance because that's around feeding time. I caught a good view of them at around 5:10.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is why I always carry spare underwear with me

I got to my physical therapy appointment 15 minutes early and the therapist spotted me just as I as settiling into a fascinating tome on the latest trials & tribulations of Britney Spears. She was still working on another patient but told me that as long as I was there I could get on an exercise bike and warm up my foot. At first this sounded like a good alternative to rotting my brain with People magazine but the thing is it was 11:00 a.m. and I had to go back to work after therapy. But I'm wearing jeans and clogs so how crazy can I possibly get on an exercise bike especially if I put the resistance setting to super easy. I'll just spin and warm up my foot. 20 minutes later I was covered in sweat, even my hair, and I think this is one of the main reasons I hate working out indoors so much. I went to the changing rooms to clean up a bit and my bra was soaking wet, no way I was putting that back on. My shirt was sweaty too but maybe it would dry out by the time I got back to work. Sadly this is not nearly the first time I've walked around with a soggy bra in my jeans pocket. I usually carry spare underwear with me for this very sort of occasion. Of course they usually come flying out of my bag at the most inopportune moment like the time I was in the fancy offices of the financial planner and I reached into my bag for the important financial papers that would help him determine if I would ever have any hope of retiring without having to eat cat food and along with the important financial papers came a pair of underwear. At least they were in somewhat decent condition and didn't have any holes.

Of course I'd only just cleaned out my big bag o' crap and had decided that since I'm not likely to be going for a lunch time run or out to a job site in 98 degree heat anytime soon that maybe I didn't need to be carting around the spare underwear right now so I was S.O.L. This was also an inopportune time to decide to experiment with giving up on deodorant (the aluminum is bad, or so I'm told). Luckily there is a shower at work. I figured if I hung the bra up in the car and drove with the windows down it should be dry by the time I get back to work. If not there's a deck outside our office where I could leave it to dry. Or is that unprofessional? Thankfully it was dry by the time I got to work so I didn't have to ponder the point too hard. In the end I decided to skip the shower and wash up over the sink. If my undies are sweaty there's no way I'm putting them back on after a shower and while it wouldn't be the first time I'm really not in the mood for going commando at work for the rest of the day. It's only a few hours then I'm going to the pool and I'll have to shower again anyway. Slightly sticky with undies beats squeaky clean with no undies any day. Am I the only one who faces these sorts of decisions during an average work day?

This morning I wised up and wore workout clothes to therapy and tonight I'm restocking my bag with clean underwear. You just never know when it will come in handy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

You Know You're Old When...

Do you want to know how to make a 43 year old woman cry if you’re a stereo salesman? Turn on the fancy stereo at your store so she can hear the difference between the 9 zillion speakers you have and when the rap music comes on apologize profusely, rush over to the controls, pull the cd out and put on the classical music. All I could think was jeebus just how old and unhip do I look? I wasn’t even wearing a crazy dog lady outfit.

Do you want to hear about my ongoing stereo woes or the dog agility trial or my ambulatory status? I guess we’ll start with the trial. Remember how I said I was just as excited to go to volunteer and spectate as if I was running a dog? Well, I lied. As soon as I walked in and saw the rings set up and the people walking the course I felt bad that I wasn’t competing and I missed having the dogs there. But I had a good time anyway. I’m one of those weirdo freaks that loves working the scoretable so they set me up in the masters ring for most of the day. I did a little timing and scribing too. I worked from 8 am until 4:30 or so and had no problems with my foot. It got a little ‘hot’ at around 3:00 and I was planning to leave but it turned out they really needed a scribe in the Steeplechase ring so I agreed to stay. I thought they’d relieve me for Speed Jumping but everyone was so busy trying to run Master pairs in the other ring that I stayed for that too. Would have been better if I’d brought my ice pack in but I wasn’t planning on staying so long. Came home and had about 4 minutes to change out of my dusty dog clothes, brush the dirt out of my hair and wash the stinky dog slobber off my face so we could meet some friends for dinner and I wouldn’t be a total embarrassment. It was nearly bedtime by the time I finally got some ice on my foot and it was fine, a bit stiff this morning but feels o.k. right now. I had no problem with the distances I had to walk at the trial and I must have been hardly limping at all because while people asked me why I wasn’t running my dogs nobody asked me about the limping. Here’s a handy tip, if someone tells you they had foot surgery don’t ask them the details of it. One poor woman made that mistake and she was getting green in the gills when I got to the part about them cutting off my toe.

I thought my foot would be sore today but it feels even better and, shazam, I can suddenly walk, just like that. It’s sore and I still have to think about keeping my weight even but I took Cody for a short walk and was able to go fast enough to move him into a trot. I went for a short bike ride today too and not on the trainer. It was such a beautiful sunny day I couldn’t bear the thought of being inside like a hamster on a wheel so I went for a 3.3 mile spin through the neighborhood on the Wonderland Trail. There were a couple of short steep hills in the neighborhood but they were no problem. I’m sure by next weekend I can shoot for an hour or so. I even did a little weave pole practice with all the dogs in the yard today. It finally feels like I’m through the worst of it.

As for the stereo system, well, here’s the thing about owning ancient stereo equipment-it does not like to be moved around. Because of the size of the new turntable I had to completely rearrange the other pieces of stereo equipment in the cabinet and move one of the speakers. My stuff was all so old that the second I moved it it disintegrated to dust. The CD player not only stopped working but ate at least 2 CD’s, including my much loved ‘Doughboys’ CD, and refuses to give them back. I push the eject button and it whirs electronic profanity at me and refuses to open. I tried some profanity of my own as well as the tried and true method of banging it with my fist but to no avail. Then the brand spankin’ new turntable played some records nicely but others sounded awful. We narrowed the problem down to records that had a lot of bass but why? Why only the bass-y records? I called the stereo store and asked them if they had any suggestions before I brought the thing back to them and they said that if the speaker is too close to the turntable it will pick up the vibrations, esp. if there is a lot of bass, and you will get feedback. Is my speaker near my turntable? Uh yeah, it’s sitting on top of the cabinet that houses it. So we moved the speaker and it still sounds like crap, a terrible farting sound coming out of the speaker closest to the turntable. I say move it farther. Jonny opens up the speaker panel to reveal the following problem:

See the big gap where the green rubbery stuff should be? That would explain the farting. I’m just hoping there isn’t some horrible stuff in there like asbestos or some other deadly substance that was banned 20 years ago. It was probably fine until I moved it then the big chunks of cracked rubber fell away. It’s time to say adios to my 30 year old speakers. I suppose I could look into fixing them but I decided that maybe it was time to treat myself to a nice new pair. I’ve never had a new, decent pair of speakers. When I was younger I promised myself someday and today is the day. It seems like a late Sunday afternoon trip to the stereo store is becoming a tradition around here.

Finally we have everything hooked up and it all works and there is no speaker farting and the sound is amazing. Neither of us can believe it. We didn’t get super fancy speakers but they’re not 30 years old with gaping holes in them so yeah they’re going to sound amazing. Jonny is like a kid at Christmas, pulling out record after record to hear what they’re really supposed to sound like. My new project is to listen to all my albums on the new speakers. Now if I could just get the freakin’ CD player to give me back my Doughboys CD.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Walking For Dummies

Walking is complicated, esp. if you're not all that coordinated to start out with. This morning the physical therapist assured me it was o.k. to bear weight on the surgical site and encouraged me to try to walk as normally as I could even if it's sore. I have to think really hard about rotating my arch in and shifting the weight to my big toe or I end up gimping along with the weight on the outside of my foot which does nothing to help increase my range of motion. I'm thinking that I've probably been walking & running for quite some time now with my weight shifted to the outside of my foot because the toe area was so sore from the arthritis. Before surgery I would notice on occasion that I wasn't able to put full weight on that area of my foot but I could shift the weight off it and get along just fine. This might explain why my foot was able to get so bad before I felt any serious pain. Anyway I never thought getting back to walking properly would be such an issue.

Today I went for a little longer walk on my lunch hour and concentrated hard on doing it properly, not just gimping along and after a few minutes I felt like I finally had it down and wow look at me go, I am such a rockstar when a woman in a car rolled down her window and asked in a concerned voice if I was o.k. I guess I have a ways to go. I'd like to say I'm being patient and philosophical about it but really I'm frustrated and want to throw things and maybe even have a tantrum. Why do 2 years olds get to have all the fun?

I'm planning on volunteering at an agility trial this weekend and I'm looking forward to it almost as much as if I were running. I like going to watch and volunteer. There's no pressure, I don't have to worry about the dogs and I have plenty of time to visit with people and watch other people's runs. Plus I can go home when I get fed up. I was going to get a ride up with someone then decided it would be better if I went on my own so I could leave if my foot got too sore. Last year this trial went until 8-8:30 on Sat. night and while I doubt it'll run that late this year I don't want to chance being stuck there so long. It's only a 50 minute drive, it shouldn't be a problem. I'm toying with the idea of taking Strummer so I can work on getting him to relax while being measured. He measured 21" exactly at the DOCNA trial but the judge said maybe he would go under if he wasn't so squirmy. There's no way I'm jumping him at 26" so if he measures over he'll go in Performance like my others. Why am I cursed with the 'just over 21 inch' dogs? I'm not thrilled about this because if you have a lifetime Performance dog you're screwed when they get old as there's no vet class for you. You go from competition height to retirement. Maybe by the time Strummer's a vet they will get out of the dark ages and offer us a vet class but for now your choice is to enter NADAC and DOCNA if you want to give your old dog a break and jump 16". I'm determined to teach him to stand still for the judge and I'm sure he can do it. I'd also like to work some more on his trial manners, maybe even set up a crate for him and keep him inside the arena area for a bit but then you see how complicated this is getting for a gimpy person so maybe he'll stay home in the end.

I'm going to try to take my video camera to get some footage of a younger dog that's got the fastest running dogwalk I've ever seen. The whole crowd gasps when this dog flies across the walk. I haven't seen her in nearly a year so it will be interesting to see if the behavior has held up over time and if she's still as fast. I'll post it if I get any good footage.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I took my very first walk today and my dog of choice was the worst possible one but Jonny had already left with the other 2 for morning walkies so it was Lola or nothing. I took her to work with me and on the way in we stopped at the Rez to run out some of her monkeys. Then on my lunch hour I managed to gimp my way out to the field, maybe 1/4-1/2 a mile from my desk. It's amazing how uptight you become about 'No you may not pull me' when you're injured. Lola's heeling was hardly stellar but I did manage the short gimp without incident. Cody is usually my go to guy for coming back from injury. He doesn't pull, in fact you have to pull him because all he wants to do is stop every couple of feet and perform forensics on every piece of foliage he can get his nose on. One time when I was coming back from stomach flu I took him on a walk and decided I wouldn't move him along at all, we'd go totally at his pace just to see what would happen. It took us around 40 minutes to go half a mile. Running with him is a nuisance because he's always slamming on the brakes to smell something and I have to cajole and sometimes even pull to get him moving along again. Anyway, Lola and I made it to the field without injury to me and she was rewarded with a nice game of Chuck-It with the tennis ball. I hate playing ball with her, it's so bad for her, but there isn't much else I can do with her just now so I tried to make it as safe as possible and kept the session very short (5 minutes or so).

I had a nice obedience dog heeling on the way back to the office. Walking nicely is suddenly an easy thing for her when she's leaving the field, funny how that works. Foot feels fine, hopefully by next week I can go back to working on Strummy's jumping and weave poles. No running of course but he's not at the point with the jumping that I need to be running anyway.

The PT did give me some hope that maybe I can enter a triathlon in August. I was looking at the website for the off road one I did last August and was so bummed about not being able to do it so I asked her about it and she said no problem but I'm still a little skeptical. She's a mountain biker and does plenty of hiking & skiing though and she's familiar with the area where the race is so I suppose she knows what she's talking about. She had me on the stationary bike for 10 minutes of light spinning and it was no problem so I may attempt a little ride this weekend. She said I can hit the novice level trails in May and the harder trails in June so maybe an August tri isn't totally out of the question. This is so much more hopeful than what the doctor had originally told me so we'll see.