Friday, May 29, 2009

Random Friday

My lack of cooking skills are legendary but I think I've outdone myself. Wednesday night is Jonny's mountain biking night which means it's also pizza night because it's one of the only things I can cook and I'm too tired to attempt anything else anyway after a full day of work. I got home at around 7:00 pm this past Wednesday and I won't bore you with the details but it was a long, 12-13 hour day and I was tired. So tired that I managed to screw up a frozen pizza in such an original way that I'll bet you can't guess. I didn't burn it, leave the plastic on or put the cardboard in. I'll give you 'til the end of the post to figure it out.

In the meantime, is this the cutest sausage dog mix or what? This woman has almost got me convinced to try the Crossfit thing, I've gone so far as to call a local gym about lessons but then my knee acted up and now I'm even more scared to try it than I was initially. Maybe I'll get my nerve up again this fall but I can't bear the thought of spending one moment of summer in a gym. She has fabulous outfits too but I could never get away with them. Maybe if I ever do get the nerve to take up Crossfit and if a huge pile of money falls from the sky so I don't have to look presentable for work.

And finally, looks like this Border Collie is already a master of the Crossfit.

Now, the answer to how not to cook frozen pizza? My culinary tip for the day is do not put it upside down directly on the oven rack. The mess was something special though Cody was ecstatic with being put on minor clean-up detail (No I did not let him lick the hot oven, he got whatever fell on the floor). Happy weekend to all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fun with teeters

I shot some video of Strummer's teeter mostly to show Team Small Dog what my big fast dog looks like doing a 'wait for the board to tip then run down' performance. I'm not a fan of the 'run to the end and ride it down' for the big fast dogs because I think it's harder on their bodies and can get super ugly when the dog is running high at a competition. If you've got a 3-4 lb toy dog, well, that's a whole 'nuther story and you may have no choice if you want to finish your run during daylight hours. There was a wee dog (10-12 lbs I'd guess, jumps 12" in USDAA Champ. division) at the DOCNA trial this past weekend that had a teeter performance similar to Strummer's first rep in the video, ie she hunkered down and waited for the board to drop before moving on and I'd say it was a pretty quick performance. This dog is awesome, has an ADCH, NATCH and probably at least one MACH if not more.

There are 4 reps shown in the video and he gets progressively farther down the board with each rep with the last one being unacceptable. The second rep is probably the ideal performance for competition but the first one is probably best for his body. No, I don't have any scientific studies to prove it, I'm going by the simple laws of physics here. On the last rep where he runs to the bottom of the board while it's in the air you can see how the teeter whip could be a problem if his timing was different and the board smacked him while he was leaving. The whole performance looks so much more out of control compared to the others. There's some board whip on the first rep where he's waiting at the tip point but it doesn't effect him all that much since he's holding still and so high up on the board. The board is settled by the time he runs off the end.

I think the most interesting thing from the video is to see the way drilling effects Strum. He starts out perfect and degenerates to unacceptable in just 4 reps. Makes me wonder about all the drilling I've been doing on the dogwalk and the crazy inconsistent mix of success and failure I've been getting from session to session. Yesterday I ran him on a Grand Prix course and his dogwalk was beautiful, even with a soft turn to some jumps. I stopped and praised the heck out of that let me tell you, I almost felt like a real dog trainer when I saw him do that. And that was the only dogwalk we did, I didn't want to press my luck with drilling him. I think if there are too many reps of something he gets overstimulated and his brain leaves the building. I've been doing very short sessions on his plank/table in the backyard and if his first 3 reps are successful I stop. I'm going to keep experimenting with these super short sessions. I've been laying off the dogwalk training at the field for the past couple of weeks because I felt like I needed a sanity break and it was taking away too much training time from other things that needed work. We've got another one day of DOCNA this weekend and one day of a non-titling USDAA match so we'll see how the contacts hold up. And if the stinker does a Superman over the A-frame I'll be stopping and letting him know about, you betcha.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lions and DOCNA and Bears

ETA: I fixed the links to the photos.

It was a busy holiday weekend and I took an extra day off since I hadn't taken any vacation days yet this year so I had 4 days of fun. There was hiking and biking and lots of dog walking and some agility and wildife and a bbq and the rest is all a blur.

Sunday was fun at a DOCNA trial for the trouble twins. I left Cody at home with Jonny and it made me sad but was probably the better thing for him and was definitely the better thing for my wallet. It's a 2 hour drive to this trial which is why I chose to do only 1 day of the 3 since I didn't want to pay for a hotel. It's a shame though because it's a nice facility, parking and crating are close to the ring and it's only a one ring trial so I could relax and not worry about conflicts. The judge had some nice courses and was so nice to deal with. The entry was small so she wasn't rushing us into the ring while the other dog was finishing so I was able to keep Strum relatively calm before his turn and go in after the other dog was finished. We got through 5 events by 2:00 pm so no I wasn't dragging out the day. In fact I was set up and ready to go several times before the 'Go' signal was given.

On paper our results look good. Both dogs Q'ed and took first place in their Jumpers and Standard classes. I left the ring 1 second early for Lola's Time Gamble and something like .38 secs too late for Strum's so we missed a Q in that class and those were all the classes I entered. However in reality Lola's Standard run was a mess of run-bys and I kept fixing them which I don't like to do and I'm not sure why I did. Her Time Gamble went o.k. but there was some weirdness to my handling because she didn't follow my plan and I had to make something up which sometimes doesn't end well. By the time she got to her Jumpers run she was stress sniffing on the start line, something I haven't seen in ages, so I started with her instead of leading out and had to alter my handling plan yet again and I got a bit lost for a moment but I got her through the course and it was a nice run. I hate seeing her stressed out though, even if it's only a little bit. I'd trade a crappy run with a Q for a nice smooth, happy, barking at me in joy run with an NQ any day. We have another trial next weekend and I'm going to remember not to mess with her on course if things go wrong.

Strum also had a not so pretty Standard run that was a Q but felt like it shouldn't have been. The highlight was his running dogwalk and A-frame. Both were things of beauty. However he hit the weave entry with too much speed and missed the 2nd gate, my forward motion was to blame. I should have stopped and let him find the entry then caught up to him since his weaves aren't yet independent. Then my lungs exploded after he exited the blue tunnel for the second time and my handling went right down the crapper. We held it together for the Q but ugh, not a very smooth run. Thanks to Greg we have video. It isn't pretty but oh well, he's just a baby and it was only his second standard run at a trial.

The worst part of the trial for him and me though was his A-frame during the Time Gamble. It was the first obstacle and he did his launch over the top and land at the very bottom of the frame thing which is frightening and not at all what I want him to do. When it happens in practice I always mark it very strongly with a no reward marker. This does seem to work because the reps I get after that are good in practice. I should have stopped him during the run, told him 'No way mister' and had him try again. Instead I kept right on trucking, I was so focused on the handling and getting ahead of him, he's so fast. It wasn't because I cared about the Q and in fact had I stopped and redone the obstacle it wouldn't have mattered because it's Gamblers so that wasn't why I kept going. I need to remember to reinforce my training in the ring and let the run go if I feel like I've lost the flow of the handling. I get so single mindedly focused sometimes, have to work on that.

His Jumpers run was awesome though, a wide turn but otherwise no problemo and he had the fastest time of the entire Starters class, all height/divisions. We pulled off some nice lateral sends and front crosses, even a rear cross-fun! No bars down in Jumpers or any of the other classes unless I didn't notice something go down in Time Gamblers. Perfect startline stays for all his runs too. Teeter in Standard could have been better, I've been letting his teeter slide lately. He behaved nicely for the most part at ringside and though he took a few glances at the ring when I had him off leash at the practice jump he chose to stay and work with me. I felt like he was calmer (relatively speaking) and more composed and focused then he was at his last trial so hopefully we're making some progress in that area.

Here's a great photo of Strum jumping with his tongue hanging out, what a goofus. And Miss Lola doing what she does best. Strummy's flying dogwalk. And looking like a kangaroo on the teeter.

One of the cool things about this trial is that you get toys for your Q's. The dogs loved getting new toys and we spent Memorial Day playing with them.

The girl with drive who don't take no jive.

All mine.

Strum did manage to get his paws on one.

Pleeeeeeeze throw it for me?? Pleeeeeeeeze??!!

As for the lions and bears. We went up to a friend's house for Memorial Day and she lives in the Foothills above Boulder, just 10 minutes up or so but still it feels like you're up there and beautiful views of the surrounding hills. They were even more beautiful because a storm was blowing through and low clouds settling in between the hills. I was going to bring my camera but changed my mind at the last second, didn' want to be bothered with photography during social hour. Yeah, I know, what an idiot. I felt even more so when the bear made his appearance. We were sitting in the living room in front of a roaring fire listening to my friend's tales of the wildlife she's run into living in this house including a mother bear and cubs coming right up to the living room window. Next thing I know I see a bear come up near the window and I'm on my feet pointing and yelling and nearly peeing my pants 'Bear!!!! Bear!!! There's a baby bear!!!' It was a yearling actually but still very cute. He made his way around the house and we all followed him from room to room, some of us running downstairs, some of us staying up and everyone running when someone yelled 'There he is!'. We had to yell to scare him away a couple of times, once when he went in the garbage can (it was empty) and once when he started licking the grill (food was all inside but we left the grill out to cool and forgot about it). It's no good for the bears if they get used to people. Eventually he disappeared when he realized we weren't going to let him get anything good. We told our friend we expect to see a bear everytime now when we come to visit.

Then the next day I noticed a Division of Wildife truck cruising my neighborhood. He parked in front of my house and hung out for awhile which made me suspicious. I went out and asked him if something was loose in the neighborhood and he said a mountain lion had attacked a goat last night and headed back towards the hills right through the neighborhood. He was listening for radio signals in case the cat had a transmitter collar. The goat attack was maybe 1/2 mile from my house (goat was o.k., Great Pyrenees dog chased the cat up a tree). Hard to say but it's likely the cat ran up a drainage ditch that runs just 2-3 houses away to get back to the mountains. I'm worried he may come back now that he knows about the goats (there are tons of babies) or maybe he'll come back for wee Lambchops who lives only 2 blocks away. I've been looking in the yard and up in the trees and calling 'Here kitty kitty' first before I let the dogs out in the yard. There are so many deer in the neighborhood in addition to everyone's dogs and livestock it must be so tempting for the cats to come into town. There are a lot of foxes about too, I saw 3 yesterday in the space of a few hours. Not sure if the cats eat them though. I'm always on the lookout for mountain lions but we've never had one come so close before. Much as I'd like to see one from the comfort of my living room I'm hoping he'll stay in the mountains where it's safer for everybody involved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I know I'm old but do you have to rub it in?

The grocery store by my house plays appallingly bad 70's rock (o.k., I know that's redundant) and when I got to the checkout counter this morning the teenager/20 something checker asks me if I know who the band is that's playing. She tells me the song is called 'Renegade'. I'm ready to cry right then and there, on so many levels. And it's not even 8:00 a.m. yet. Not only do I have to suffer the indignity of looking like I'm old enough to know who did that song but I'm also old enough that I can't for the life of me remember who. I tell her I know the song and I knew who it was back in the day but I have no idea now, senile old lady cannot remember. Or maybe I actively blocked the memory of that awful band and song, yeah, that's it, I'm too hip to know. Yeah, right. Anyway, she says no worries, my dad will know. Ouch. What did I ever do to her? In fact I'm standing there bagging my own groceries and I always sign my credit card slip quickly and keep her line moving right along and bring my own bag most of the time. Maybe she's bored and has fun messing with the people having mid-life crises?

Of course it bugs me all the way to work what band is that and the best answer I can come up with is The Eagles. That's my answer to all those 70's songs that sound like that-The Eagles-because they all sound alike and The Eagles is the only band name I can remember. I could not tell you the name of a single Eagles song right now but every bad 70's rock song I assume is The Eagles. My second choice is Styx, same reason as the Eagles but I thought of them second. Thanks to the magic of the internet the answer is...Styx. I'm going to go reserve my place in the nursing home now. Hopefully they won't pipe bad 70's rock into my room.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My turn at the Rez

I love the smell of neoprene in the morning. Some triathletes love the smell of chlorine and I've never understood that. Pool chemicals-gross-and so bad for you. I prefer the smell of neoprene because it means my wetsuit which means summer and the excitement of race morning and open water swimming without the limits of lane lines and walls and stinky chemicals and psycho overcompetitive triathletes tailing me and watching the clock and are we on the 7th or 8th 100 out of 12 and what was the interval again? I love swimming in the Rez, enough to get up at 5:30 a.m. so I can be there on time for my early morning masters group swim. Usually the water is freezing at this time of year but temps were in the 90's yesterday and more of the same predicted for today. I had Strum at the Rez last night for a swim session and the water felt o.k. but I didn't venture in past the shoreline so I figured it might still be cold further in but when I got in this morning I was shocked at how nice it was. Now it was not warm, I needed my full wetsuit, but it wasn't that horrible take your breath away, what the hell am I thinking type cold either that you would normally get this time of year.

There's always a tense moment when I have to squeeze into my wetsuit for the first swim of the season. Will it fit? Some wetsuits have a decent range of weights/body sizes that will accomodate each suit size but mine fits relatively closely and doesn't allow a lot of room for winter indulgence. Somehow though I manage to squish my butt in for yet another year. Phew, what a relief, those suits are expensive.

Usually my first open water workout of the season is spent swimming back and forth parallel to the shore line for maybe 10-15 minutes because for some reason I freak out the first time I'm back in the open water. But today I started right into the 900-1000 yard loop course with no fuss or muss. The courses vary so it's hard to compare but usually they take me 20-23 minutes or so. Today's took just over 19. Of course it could be shorter than normal but still I was pleased enough to be able to do a whole lap my first time out let alone at a good clip. I felt like a wuss getting out after only one lap but I didn't want to push it and poor Lola was in the car freaking out about being at the Rez and not being out in the water playing with me. She was barking when I left her and I hope she didn't bark the whole time I was gone. I thought Memorial Day was the cutoff for dogs being allowed at the Rez but when I drove in the sign said May 15th (oops) so she was S.O.L. I let her out at the entrance to the Rez to play on the grass there but it's not the same as being in the water. Maybe tonight I'll take her to the north side of the Rez which is open to dogs year round but fills up with naked hippies and rattlesnakes during the summer months so I don't like to go there normally.

I got to work feeling all relaxed and happy only to be greeted with the news that my swim coach's brother, Dave Scott, had been hit by a car over the weekend while cycling on a street in my neighborhood where I walk the dogs all the time. For the non-triathletes out there, Dave Scott is something of an icon in the triathlon world. He won the Hawaii Ironman a zillion times as a pro and continues to race and coach athletes here in Boulder and is an all around nice guy. His sister Jane has been the swim coach of my master program since I started a zillion years ago and though I thought it weird that she wasn't at practice this morning I didn't give it all that much thought. I'm not sure if she was missing because of her brother but it's not often that she misses practice. There weren't a lot of details about the accident, only that it was bad enough that he needed shoulder surgery and that there was a big dent in the car. The stretch of road where he was hit is a very quiet, low speed suburban road, not a place you would expect to get hit. Anyway, that was an unfortunate jolt to the morning and I'm hoping he recovers quickly.

In completely unrelated news I rode a new (to me) trail with some friends over the weekend up near Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins. The Blue Sky trail is only a few years old and it was fabulous. Beautiful smooth single track, rolling green hills with red cliffs at the top, gorgeous wild flowers, quad busting climbs and whee-ha descents, who could ask for more? Unfortunately I forgot my Camelback so had no way to carry my camera and didn't want to risk it falling out of my jersey rear pocket so I have no pictures. Darn, I guess I'll have to go back to get some.

There was a USDAA trial this weekend that I missed for various reasons but mostly to save money since it would have required an overnight stay and I have to say I'm sure I had just as much if not more fun riding that trail than I would have had trying to drag Lola around an agility course in the hot sun on Sunday. I'm debating whether I should enter her in the July 4th weekend trial since it's usually so hot. I was only planning on entering Standard and Gamblers with her but maybe I should bag it altogether and spend the money on triathlon entry fees. On the other hand my knee has been so wonky I go back and forth about whether I should race this year and surely Lola would be o.k. with 2 runs for 2 days, especially with the first run of the day and it's only 45 minutes away. Ah, decisions. At least they are good decisions.

I have lots to write about Strummer's dogwalk but the internet went kaput at my house and I've sort of been enjoying not being on the computer at home so I probably won't have it replaced anytime soon and I've been busy on my lunch hours at work so not much time for blogging I'm afraid. This weekend's DOCNA trial should be interesting. Thankfully there's only one dogwalk in Standard to worry about if I keep him off it for Gamblers. This running dogwalk training has certainly challenged my training abilities and my sanity. Fun! I think.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm only happy when it rains

Saturday at 5:30 a.m. I had another one of those moments where I marveled over the weird and unlikely course my life has taken as I inspected an unusually foul smelling pile of poop to see is it liquid or solid or what. I think poor Jonny must have been having similar thoughts at 2:30 a.m. when he was up cooking rice for her. Rice is Jonny's cure all for all things runny and stinky. No, I did not suggest he cook rice for her at such an unspeakable hour and in fact I lost an hour's sleep or so because the kitchen is right across the hall from the bedroom which does not have a closeable door thanks to Strummer's crate. I gave Lola a marrow bone on Wednesday knowing full well that the consequences might not be happy but I figured whatever the outcome, so to speak, she'd be fine by trial morning. Unfortunately her stomach was not running on my schedule. Fortunately whatever gymnastics her stomach and associated digestive tubes were going through did not effect her mood or performance but of course it added some worry to my day.

We had a nice cloudy, cool weekend, a bit of drizzle and light rain on Sunday but not while I was running any classes. Perfect weather for dogs running and jumping and carrying on, especially if your name is Lola. Throw on some fleece and Gore-tex and it's no problem but I heard a lot of grousing. Me, I'll take that kind of weather any day for agility.

Lola only ran 2 runs per day and we were done by just past noon both days which was perfect. I think I see a lot of half days in my agility future. Both of us had plenty of energy and enthusiasm for our runs and I didn't feel like I'd been run over by a truck when I woke up Monday morning. Well, no more so than usual anyway. No Q's to speak of but we had some fun out there and best news of the day was that she did her tables for both Standard runs no problemo. Next thing to work on is getting her to understand what releases her because she broke her stay both times on my motion which led to NQ's further down the course.

Saturday's Master Standard class was hilarious, it was so crazy there were no Q's in the entire Performance class, all heights, and only 1 for the entire 26"/22" Champ classes (31 dogs I think). I was scoring so I know. I think there were a couple more Q's for the wee Champ dogs but I didn't score them since I had to warm Lola up for her run. The course was deemed unsafe by some and there were a number of injuries caused by an unsafe teeter approach. One poor woman had driven 9 hours only to have her dog injured in the first class of the day so had to turn around and drive right back. I knew about the problem area and was careful handling Lola through it but there's no way I would have attempted that course with Strummer. I wish USDAA would be more strict about their course design requirements. There's no reason to have unsafe contact approaches, ever, there are plenty of other ways to challenge us. And that crazy course was full of them. I'll post it if I can find my course map.

Gamblers was easy peasy but somehow Lola wasn't for doing the gamble. I guess I'll have to do something drastic and start practising distance or something. Or maybe not. I don't practice much with her any more in hopes of keeping her sound. Snooker was a beautiful run until I forgot to redo the #2 obstacle in the closing after doing it for my last color in the opening. Doh. Standard run #2 was a more reasonable course and looked very do-able for Miss Lola but she broke her table stay when I moved after the table count and I couldn't quite pull off the front cross I was planning which led to some not so successful creative handling on the fly.

Below is the Masters Standard course map from Sunday which had some interesting challenges.

I handled the opening for Lola by leading out to just before jump #2 with her on my right and front crossing before the #3 tunnel. If I was running Strummer I'd lead out to between 2 & 3 and send him into the tunnel on my left but Lola doesn't know how to do that and she would have skipped both jumps and run right to me. I only watched some of the 12" and 16" Perf. class and some of the 22" & 26" Champ class (if you can call 1 dog in the 26" class a class) so I don't know how most of the big dog people handled the course. Of the people I did see quite a few started with their dog on their right and pulled to the #3 tunnel which typically worked o.k. except then they had to rush to get the front cross in between #3 and #4 and ended up blocking their dog a bit. Having your dog on your left as it entered the #3 tunnel was definitely an advantage.

I front crossed between #3 and #4 then did another front cross between #6 and #7 and pushed Lola over the #8 jump after the dogwalk. Some opted to stay on the left side of the dogwalk which sometimes led to an off course at the A-frame which is what I feared with Lola. Of those that stayed on the left, some fronted the dogwalk which is what I would have done while others did a rear/flip.

The course was set with the #10 jump in line with #9 and #11. The judge did this supposedly because of the wet grass conditions but I think there would have been a mutiny if there was yet another course with a bad entry to the teeter. I kept Lola on my left all the way to the table which was also more in line with the #12 tire than is indicated on the map. Quite a few people front crossed the #11 teeter and I'm not sure why. All that did was switch the dogs lead and draw them to the A-frame. Some dogs made a straight line for the table but some drifted toward the frame and had to be called back though I don't think I saw any actually take the frame.

My intention was to front cross the table so Lo would be on my left going over the A-frame then I'd rear between #14 and #15, front between #16 and #17, front again between #17 and #18 then keep her on my left through the chute since the #20 jump was actually set more in a straight line with the chute. Instead she broke her stay when I moved after the table count so I was forced to keep her on my right and push over the #15 jump and since I wasn't prepared for this I botched it and she went straight between the #15 and #16 jumps. Some people handled this way on purpose and it worked nicely for them.

Since I had a refusal and NQ anyway I decided I'd try a pull between #17 and #18 instead of my planned front cross just for laughs. This strategy worked for a lot of the small dogs but Miss Lo was committed to that tunnel before she took the #17 jump and there was no convincing her otherwise. That was a tricky section and I think a lot of Champ dogs fell victim to it since they had a triple and if you had a fast dog there was no way a front was happening. The one 26" dog handler with a super fast dog used a rear cross between #16 and #17 and it worked nicely but that didn't work for all handlers. If I had it to do again and I had to do the triple (no spreads in Perf. so Lola had a single jump) I think I'd try a rear. Definitely one to set up and practice with Strummer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More fun at the Rez

Today was Lola's turn to go to the Rez. It's her favorite place in the whole wide world and she whines noisily the whole way once we turn down the road to go there.

This is our Ghetto version of the underwater treadmill

Lola treasures her tennis balls. If only we were all so easily contented.

Time to go

We had a great time at the trial this past weekend. No Q's but it was cool and cloudy and Lola had a blast out there. I'll write more about it later but for now I have to scoot.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pictures of Ewe


My neighbor's sheep had a baby yesterday, too cute. Wish I had better photos but that was as close as my lens would zoom.

Lola sez mmmm, lamb chops

Lola is scared of sheep. She had an instinct test many years ago and did a combination of charging/barking and running/hiding so that was as far as we ever went with that. Strummer is the one with the good herding instincts but I've not pursued it mostly because of the cost but also because he gets so overexcited. Last time I tried with him was at USDAA Nationals and he did o.k., didn't get too over the top but was still a bit overexcited. If only it was cheaper and not an hour's drive I'd let him do it more. I feel bad because he obviously loves it but oh well.

I've got a USDAA trial this weekend and I'm only taking Lola and only doing 2 runs per day. On the one hand it feels so weird not taking Cody but on the other I'm looking forward to not having to run like a crazy woman between ring and crates to run both dogs in the same class. Strummer is staying home as well, he's not ready for an unfenced, 2-ring trial. My big hope for the weekend is that she'll continue with her enthusiastic table performances at an outdoor venue. I haven't had any more fun matches to practice at but we've been keeping up with our backyard training. A gamble Q would be nice too. Mathematically she could finish her Perf. MAD if she gets both Standard Q's but I'm not holding my breath on that one. We're in Snooker too because I'm a sick person and I like Snooker and it was first class of the day so it will be nice and cool. I think she's a Q or 2 away from whatever the 2nd masters level title is called but I'm too lazy to look up her records. We'll find out if it comes in the mail.

Speaking of which her DOCNA Masters Standard title (or whatever DOCNA calls it) came in the mail. I didn't realize at the trial that she'd earned it. DOCNA gives you a nice certificate, much nicer than the weird one USDAA gives you, and it was a nice surprise. I think she's a million Q's away from the Champ. title (MEX or something?). DOCNA was supposed to grandfather in some of her NADAC Q's but when I checked her records they hadn't added them in and I don't care enough to bother the office get to the bottom of it.

Looking forward to a fun weekend, it's been over a month since we've trialed and it's the first outdoor trial of the year. I love being outside as long as it's not too hot and predictions for this weekend are 50's on Sat., 60's on Sun. and maybe some rain on Sat. which sounds about perfect except for the rain but hopefully that will come late afternoon long after we're done. I signed up for early classes so we'd only be doing 1/2 days. I hate that zombie feeling on Monday after a full weekend of trialing so I'm limiting myself to half days and/or one day per weekend.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Head Like A Hole or Fear And Loathing in the Jeans Department

Both my knee and Strummy's running contacts decided to self-destruct last week leaving me wallowing in a pit of frustration. One step forward, how many steps back? The knee turned south a week ago Sunday night. We'd spent yet another weekend painting and I'd done a small bit of kneeling and other weird movements related to painting in small, hard to reach places and Sunday night while walking through the living room my knee gave out on me. The pain was so bad I couldn't put any weight on it and had to hop to the couch. My back was in a bad state too probably from a combination of painting and bending over to brush the dogs. I gave everything a few days to heal up but was still in pain on Wednesday and managed to get an appointment at the chiropractor for Thursday. My chiropractor is awesome and also specializes in sports medicine and treats all manner of running injuries in real actual athletes. He worked his magic on my back and sent me home over the weekend with a knee icing gizmo that surrounds your leg with icy cold water while applying pressure like those blood pressure testing devices that choke your arm. So I had yet another boring weekend of no fun on the trails and stayed off my knee aside from a 3 mile walk each day with the dogs. It was another cold, rainy, gloomy weekend (4th or 5th in a row!) so it wasn't a huge deal but still.

I've been trying to buy a new pair of jeans for the past month or so but painting has interefered every weekend and I hate shopping and I might get swine flu if I go out in public so I was happy to have the painting excuse. But my 'nice' pair of jeans looked so bad that even Jonny said 'You're not wearing those to work are you?' When I told him I was going for a new pair he said, 'Oh, so the homeless look is out?' It's what I get for marrying a snarky Scotsman. Since the weather was gloomy and I was grounded anyway I figured I'd put off the inevitable long enough and dragged myself kicking and screaming to the department store. I already live in constant fear/hope of the 'What Not To Wear' people showing up at an agility trial while I'm wearing one of my Crazy Dog Lady outfits and making me cry but then making me fabulous. I'm pretty sure I could make that scary lady cry, I'm so hopeless and clueless and stubborn when it comes to clothes.

She has a cute little dog, maybe she's not so scary?

I always get the exact same pair of Levi's, I know I know, Boring. But they're comfortable and I like them and they're affordable. When I tell one of my frugal friends that I'm going shopping for jeans he tells me I must go to Costco, that is the place for a bargain on jeans and I tell him no way, I may be cutting down on agility trials but times aren't so tough for me that I need jeans from Costco, I can afford the $25-$30 that I'm sure my Levi's will cost. So already I feel like I'm splurging going to the fancy pants department store for name brand jeans but they're having a sale and I have a 20% off coupon and I'm not even sure if Boulder has a Costco and if so where it might be. As soon as I walk in the store I see jeans and they're not Levi's but they look o.k. and I think maybe I'll live dangerously and try another brand and then I see the $120 price tag. $120. For jeans. Who spends $120 on jeans??!! I have no idea why so expensive, they look like regular jeans and are made in the same or similar sweat shop as the cheapo Costco jeans so why? Then I see jeans with a dragon embroidered down the front and side of one leg-on the sale rack! Oh lucky day! They were originally $140 (o.k., maybe I can see this if you have a cool ass dragon embroidered down the side) but marked down about a million times to $38. A little out of my price range but I will pony up the extra $$$ for the cool ass dragon and the chance to get out of the store right away. Then I see they are size 16 and I'm pretty sure that even with my incredible laundry talents I can't shrink those down to a size 6. Well, maybe the dragon was not terrbily appropriate for the office anyway.

So I continue my quest to find the Levi's which I'm hoping do not cost $120 but I'm thinking maybe I'll have to be a little flexible on that $25-$30 budget. I finally find the Levi's and they're over $40 but marked down to $34 and I'm not sure if my coupon works on sale items but this is close enough to my budget. There are a million styles and sizes and some are hanging up on racks, some are folded on tables, some are hanging on the wall and there is no rhyme or reason to any of it. They're mostly 'Boot Cut' which I find is a euphemism for 'flares' and I hate flares, I want simple, straight legged jeans which turn out to be ridiculously hard to find. I do manage though to find my size except they're too long. I find out they do make a shorter version but after looking at every damn piece of denim in the department I realize they don't have the 'short' version. So I go to the 'petites' section and that is a nightmare. The pickings are slim and dorky, even for me. Then I remember there is a store across the street that sells only Levi's, surely they'll have jeans for short people.

I go to the Levi's store but the jeans are $70-$80 and they are made for teenagers. They don't have the kind I'm looking for and I cannot pull off the teenager look, I had that jarring realization lo the many years ago when I inadvertently wandered into a Juniors department. To this day I'm surprised that no salesgirls came rushing into the dressing room when I screamed in horror at the sight of myself in a pair of skinny leg hugging jeans. Yeah, I didn't need the fashion police to tell me I couldn't pull that one off. Anyway, I discover the fancy Levi's store has a clearance section and I find a pair of jeans on sale for $18 and organic cotton and they fit fabulously in the waist! But again they are skin tight around my thighs and legs and I can hear the mean t.v. fashion lady yelling 'and what is going on with your butt??!!' Then some guy coughed and I immediately fled the store for fear of contracting Swine Flu.

So I decide maybe I will try the department store again but online where I'm much less likely to contract Swine Flu. My coupon is still good and they have free shipping. I go home and when I walk in the door I hear Jonny yelling, 'Elayne, I've had an accident'. His tone sounds guilty so I think he's in at the painting without me and we will have yet another weekend of breathing in paint fumes to fix his 'accident' but when I get in the bathroom he's sitting there swaying from side to side and a huge pile of blood on his head. Usually I'm freakishly calm in an emergency but something about all the blood on his head sent me straight to panic mode. 'You're going to the E.R. RIGHT NOW'!!! Then I remembered about how the Boulder E.R. sucks and you only go there for dire emergencies. And of course it will be teeming with people who have Swine Flu. He told me a bicycle wheel rim fell on his head an hour ago while he was cleaning the garage and he insisted he didn't lose consciousness and he's only a teensy bit dizzy. He looked a bit shocky to me but he insisted he wasn't. The blood on his head didn't look so bad up close and it wasn't gushing so I sent him into the shower to clean up the wound so I could see how bad. Once everything was cleaned up the bloody area didn't look too large and it was oozing, not gushing, and there was no visible gash, nowhere obvious for stitches to go. It was more like an abrasion. I called a friend who was a nurse in a former life and she said the E.R. was likely an overreaction, just wash it and keep and eye on it. After some Thai food and a few episodes of 'Flight of the Conchords' he was fine.

The next day I went back to the department store because I found out you had to spend over $99 to get free shipping and that according to the size tag the jeans I was wearing were the exact same length/size as the ones in the store and must have shrunk over time so I didn't want the short ones and I would shrink them and they'd be too short. On my way to the Levi's section I saw some more jeans and thought I would check them out, maybe they'll be cheaper and fit better but they were $175! Uh, yeah. I ended up with the exact same jeans I have right now except they don't make me look homeless. When I went to pay I oouldn't find my 20% off coupon and told the saleswoman I'd have to go out to my car and she said, 'Oh I've got a better coupon than that, 25% off the sale price'. In the end I paid $28, right in my budget and I didn't have to go to Costco. Was a good thing too because I had an unexpected meeting with a brand new client this morning. And I looked fabulous. Or at least I didn't look like homeless crazy dog lady.

I also bought some new bras as long as I was in the store but I'll spare you that tale of trauma. You thought the jeans story was long and drawn out.

I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing, stress free agility trial next weekend where there is no painting or shopping or kneeling or bloody head traumas. Pretty please. I don't even care if it snows.