Friday, October 26, 2012

First Snow, Sort Of

Technically the first snow was a few weeks ago but I was in Chicago and missed it.  Not sure how much if any snow stuck on the ground back then.  This time we had a couple of wimpy storms that amounted to only about 3"-4" of snow by the time we were done.

Wonderland Lake -one day it looks like this

And the next day it looks like this.

The sun had just come out and the storm started to clear when I took these.  The snow will be gone tomorrow, those fall snowfalls melt quickly.  I'm just glad the sun is back - 3 days of clouds and damp is depressing.  But it's very good that we got some moisture, hopefully it'll be enough to put out the wildfire up in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'm tired of driving home from agility trials and seeing smoke over the mountains.

I don't have any good snow dog pictures.  It's a wet mushy snow and not enough of it that the dogs want to run and play in it.  I'm sure we'll have plenty of photo ops in the months to come so I'm not complaining.  There's still plenty of fall left to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


A nice weekend for Strum and me, nice smooth runs, a great site with wonderful cushy matting, and that easy breezy low key atmosphere at your typical DOCNA trial.  Not too many opportunities to try anything too fancy pansty but a fun weekend for Strummer no less.  He loves to let loose on those flowy open courses.

High points were a couple of nice Jumpers runs where Strum did such a nice job of collecting, sending ahead, reading my turning cues, and generally being awesome.  But sheesh, yet more courses that were just pinwheel to 360 to pinwheel.  Lots of running down a straight line of jumps and a box to negotiate but otherwise nothing too crazy.  No wraps so no chances to practice a Ketscher.

Jumpers Round 1

Jumpers Round 2, the reverse of Round 1

Jumpers 1 & 2 with some goth music in honor of Halloween.  And yes I know it's after Sisters of Mercy went all crappy, poppy, commercial but I don't have any of the cool old school stuff on mp3.  And this particular song is a guilty pleasure.

DOCNA SPECIALIST JUMPERS, OCT. 2012 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Another high point was that Strum got 3/4 of his dogwalks including both Standard runs.  Unfortunately he had uncharacteristic off courses in tunnels for both runs.  Round 1 he did that weird thing of running across my feet to take the least obvious entrance.  This mysteriously cropped up in a practice session several months ago.  He seems so sure of himself when he does it, I'm sure he's interpreting a cue in some way.  Wish I knew what he was cueing off of.  Round 2 was probably a case of me rotating too slowly out of a front cross and he took off for the wrong tunnel while my shoulders were facing it coming out of the cross.  Hard to say from the video and during the run I was shocked to have lost him so I'm not sure exactly what happened.  Otherwise some nice runs, especially Round 2 where I managed to hustle up a straight line to get a front cross in a couple of jumps after the A-frame.

Standard 1

Standard 2

Standard Rounds 1 & 2 and Strategic Time Gamble.  Missed that stupid time gamble by .08 seconds.  If only I hadn't stepped on my poor dog and caused a face plant.  Was a nice run otherwise and he got his dogwalk.

2012 DOCNA OCT STD TIME GAMBLE from colliebrains on Vimeo.

And here's our Snakes and Ladders run, perfect except for the missed dogwalk.  I'm mostly posting it because I found a cool version of Rocket Man performed by a band formed by This American Life from the classifieds for the purpose of doing just the one song.  The musicians included and indie rock drummer/bassist, a theremin player, jazz singer, acid funk guitarist, electric violinist, you get the picture.  Little Stinker got all his weave entries, over the moon about that.

DOCNA SNAKES & LADDERS OCT 2012 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

In all a fun weekend.  The indoor arena at Denver Dog Sports was so nice, felt great to go home without hacking up lungfuls of dirt and I love the cushy surface.  Strum's first 2 runs were a little crazy but it's hard to say if it was due to getting used to the springy surface or due him running his monkeys out.  After those first couple of runs though he settled in and ran so nicely on that surface.

The site is very near the site for USDAA Nationals so I knew where all the good food places were and I had a good lunch both days which always helps with energy levels.  Didn't have that exhausted feeling waking up Monday morning.  Plus I was done with my 4 runs by 2:30 or so on Sunday.  Hope they use this site again next year.

Next 4 trials are only 20 minutes from my house at Boulder County Fairgrounds, alternating USDAA and DOCNA one per month.  Such a relaxing thought after all the running around I did that past 2 months.

Final Stats

Specialist Jumpers Saturday Q-2nd place

Specialist Jumpers Sunday Q-2nd place

Specialist Trigility Q - 1st place

No titles that I'm aware of.

3/4 (75%)

5/5 (100%)

 5/5- 100%, though all were iffy, not what I wanted, could have been the particular teeter

Weave pole entries
6/10 (60%), no pop-outs

Bars down
None.  Yay!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Question for Any International Readers

I'm curious about the types of dogs that compete in an average agility trial on those technical, international style courses.  I ask this because an interesting discussion popped up on my Facebook about making courses in the U.S. more 'interesting' like the courses in Europe.  And there were a surprising number of people saying they wouldn't like to see this because agility should be for all breeds of dog and their Flooferhound couldn't possibly do those types of courses.  I don't know because I've never been to a typical European agility trial but I have a feeling there are all sorts of Flooferhounds kicking butt on those types of courses on any given weekend.  I realize there are lots of countries with different courses, rules, etc. and the answer may differ from country to country but if anybody out there has information/opinions about this I'd love to hear it.

You can leave info. in the comments and I'll add any comments to this post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Last year at this time I knew exactly what my goals were for this year.  Now it's this year and I'm resting and rebuilding after finishing up those goals and wondering what's next.  Because at some point I have to turn off Honey Boo Boo, get off the couch and get back to pursuing something.  The big question is what to do about agility goals.  I'm not going to Tennessee for USDAA Nationals and even if I do decide to go to DOCNA Champs, Strum's already qualified and it's not a super challenging goal.  Chasing titles is not an appealing goal either.  Can't quite muster up enough 'give a damn' about them.  Of course I want to get out of Starters/into Masters in USDAA but aside from training dogwalks until I'm blue in the face there isn't much to work on because that's the main thing holding us back.  Wish USDAA would let everybody into the Masters Challenge events but they don't and not every trial offers them anyway.  So wish we had UKI but I'm stuck with USDAA Starters and DOCNA.

I think for now I'm going to play around with trying more handling moves at trials that I'm not 100% sure of.  There were 2 places at USDAA Nationals where I think a Ketschker turn was a great handling choice but because it was Team at Nationals there was no way I was going to take a risk with it.  Time to start testing the things I've been training.  I have a DOCNA trial this weekend and I'm not optimistic that there will be many opportunities for trying stuff out but you never know.  Maybe I'll see if I can make up some challenging courses for myself in the 2 Gamblers classes.

As for triathlon, it'll be a couple of months before race dates start getting announced and this may determine goals for next year.  Would love to return to Utah for Xterra Nationals if it's in Utah again.  Definitely won't schedule so many races so close together, that was the biggest lesson of the season.  For now, I've gone back to fitness boot camp with a vengeance.  Weights, track work, Kangoo boots, I'm so sore right now but it's a good kind of sore, a 'my muscles are getting stronger' kind of sore.  Haven't been back to masters swimming because my arms are so sore but for now I'm not too worried about swimming.  It's nice to take a little break and do something different.  I think a big weakness of mine, especially on the bike, is lack of muscular strength and muscular endurance and it's hard to build this up during the regular training season.  I think boot camp will be good for agility too, especially the plyometrics.  I've been having fun with it anyway.

Went for an easy 3 mile hike in the high country and it felt positively decadent not feeling like I had to be on some marathon expedition.

Snow on the high peaks, Mud Lake in the foreground

And still a few bursts of color left

Somebody had a lot of fun

For now I'm shifting my energies into my hypnosis practice.  I've got a lot of plans for the website - videos, articles, etc. and I'll post links here as I get stuff up that might be of general interest.  I'm doing a talk up at the University for the psychology club and that should be fun.  More on all that as it develops.

Monday, October 08, 2012


I am so so SO glad to be home.  When I finally saw the mountains off in the distance out of the plane window my heart filled with such joy.  And I know how hokey and cliche and cheesy that sounds but I don't care because it was so much the truth.  It was funny, it was all I could do to restrain myself from excitedly pointing out the mountains and saying how happy I was to be home to the guy in the fancy pantsy business suit sitting next to me.  I spent the flight watching video on my laptop of Strum and me from an agility seminar last February and realized with a certain degree of embarrassment that I was currently wearing the exact same outfit of grungy dog clothes that I was wearing in the video.  And I mean the exact same outfit down to the big klunky trail running shoes.  Driving from the airport I could hardly wait to get home as the mountains got closer and closer.

I got a very big greeting from some crazy off their heads monkey dogs.  Even Cody got up to shuffle over and say hello.  I wondered if he would notice I was gone and miss me and I think he did.

There was some excitement on the home front while I was gone.  Jonny ran into a bear just a few houses down the street from ours while walking Strummer.  He saw the bear before Strummer did and stopped until he'd moved along but when Strummer caught a whiff of it he turned tail and tried to pull Jonny back to the house.  Then Lola had the best day of her life and by that I mean she finally caught a squirrel.  Like had it in her jaws.  Jonny's panicked screams caused her to drop it and miraculously it got away and presumably lived and has a good story to tell to his squirrel buddies around the water cooler.

Usually whenever I go out of town a celebrity dies and miraculously none did even with 3 weeks of in and out of town.  Andy Williams died while I was at USDAA Nationals which is sort of like being out of town but not really so it only kind of counts.  I loved Andy Williams when I was a little kid, was sad to hear he'd passed away but to be honest was sort of surprised he was still alive.

Normally at this time of year I start getting excited about next year's goals but right now it feels so good to be done with this year's I can't even begin to think about next year.  Plenty of time for that in the coming months.  For now I'm going to hunker down and enjoy my time at home for the next few months.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hanging at the Lake

I haz wifi's.  Who knows for how long but maybe long enough to get out  a quick post.

Went down to Lake Michigan today for a quick visit.  It was not so very nice out.  Grey and windy and not freezing cold but that penetrating dampness that I so don't miss living in Colorado.

The lake looked more irritated than angry.  You should see it when it's angry.  But don't go in it when it's angry, trust me on this one.

I tracked a ton of sand into my aunt's car after tramping around on the beach in my trail running shoes.  Oops.

Nice view of the Bahai Temple from the Wilmette Harbor.  More pictures of the temple here from a trip 2 years ago.

The Village of Wilmette loves rules.  Lots of signs everywhere to remind you of the rules in case you forget.

They especially like rules when it comes to dogs.  Dogs, even on leash, have not been allowed in any Wilmette parks since the 70's.  Now there is a dog beach that you can take your dog to but there are lots and lots of rules and you have to take your dog on a designated route to get to the beach.

There were even more signs about stuff you'd better not even think of doing but the pictures came out too blurry.  I think my poor point and shoot camera is starting to go.

Wilmette is also very particular about businesses, signs, etc.  This is what a Starbucks looks like in Wilmette.

Do not even think about opening a Walmart or Target or McDonalds in Wilmette.  Though maybe it's a good thing that there are some places somewhere that don't have a Walmart or a McDonalds.

Today's big family drama was all about timeshares.  My grandfather bought a bunch of weeks of timeshares up in northern Wisconsin during times of the year that no one in their right mind would want to go to northern Wisconsin.  Like in February or the end of November or I don't even know when.  And the maintenance fees on these weeks . . .  yikes is all I have to say.  Nobody in the family wants to inherit the timeshares and pay the maintenance fees and go to northern Wisconsin, well, ever, let alone in February.  You cannot even give these weeks away and we know because my aunt tried.  She gave away 2 of the weeks that weren't in February but the others?  No way.  And the other aunt is telling me I'm going to eventually be responsible for my share of the maintenance fees even though I haven't been to northern Wisconsin in 20 years or so and I argued vehemently against buying the timeshare back in the 70's.  Because even as a teenager I could see this was a bad idea.  But my grandfather fancied himself a genius investor and I was just a dumb teenage girl.

Anyway, after much searching for 35 year old pieces of paperwork and going around in circles about this and freaking out by me because I'm having enough trouble right now with my own mortgage let alone property that I don't even want and why on earth would I ever go to northern Wisconsin in February and good gravy people, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.  So I googled and according to the internets I don't have to inherit anything I don't want to, especially not timeshares with ridiculous maintenance fees in the frozen tundra no matter what sort of genius agreement my grandfather entered into.  Now I know googling in the internets is maybe not as good as consulting a lawyer but since we can't find the paperwork that the lawyer needs I'm going to assume the internets knows what it's talking about.  Unless any of you would like a free week or three in the frozen tundra.

Two more days.  I wonder what adventure awaits tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Wheels Up in 24

Tomorrow morning I fly to Chicago for yet another few days of adventures.  If you want to know the truth I've had enough with adventures.  I love my life of quiet routine and at this point I'd like nothing better than to slip back into it.  Two weeks of driving and racing and poor night's sleep and beating my brains out over race strategy, mountain bike courses and agility courses has been plenty.  So tired right now.  A good tired but ready to go back to real life.  I contemplated going back down to Commerce City to watch Grand Prix Finals on Sunday and in the end I ended up having a nap from 1:00-3:00.  A 2 hour, out cold, deep sleep in the middle of the afternoon is unheard of for me.  I'd like to say it was great but I only woke up feeling groggy, a feeling that still persists 3 days later.

Normally I would not have scheduled my yearly trip home to Chicago on the heels of 2 nationals but I wanted to coordinate the trip with my out of state aunt who works weekends and this was what we came up with.  Plus I figured I'd be tired and unproductive anyway.  Just didn't figure on being this tired and unproductive.

I've been trying to gear myself up for it, at least get to the point of not dreading it, but it's been a challenge.  Every year it's a challenge.  But it makes my grandmother happy so I do it.  And it'll be nice to see her and my aunt and a good friend that I've had since high school.  But leaving home and Jonny and the dogs and my routine yet again is not something I'm looking forward to.

On the other hand I called my aunt last night and she sounded so exhausted.  She's in her 60's and works as an ER nurse and was probably working some insanely long shift for days in a row so she could get this weekend off.  You want to talk about exhausted.  So I decided to quit my bitching.

4 days in the suburbs with no car or internet though.  At least there's a coffee shop with internet a mile away so maybe I can walk there and deal with any business related stuff if it comes up.  I have phone internet but I'm not good at it, can't use the onscreen keyboard very well, can't get the apps to work, so slow.  Hopefully any potential clients will call rather than email.  I'm sure I'll survive.

It's so nice here in Colorado right now though.  Sunny blue skies, crisp and cool in the morning warming to the 70's by the afternoon.  I saw my last clients for the week yesterday so today I think I'll treat myself to a mid-day swim outside at masters and then a hike to enjoy the last of the fall colors in the high country.  Because heck, what's a little more exhaustion to add to the pile?

Miss Lola.  Just because.