Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rip the retriever?

Rip likes to carry things around.  Every morning when I let him out of his crate to go outside, he searches around on the floor near the bed, finds one of my slippers (or socks), picks it up, and carries it nicely to the door.

Friday when I took the dogs for a walk, I dropped one of my gloves.  Rip came over and very nicely picked up the glove.  I let him carry it for a minute, then I told him to "give" and I took the glove back.  He gave me such a keen and pleading looking that I told him to "take" and gave him the glove back.   Rip proceeded to very proudly and seriously carry the glove nicely in his mouth for the rest of our walk (approx 40 minutes).  Such a helpful boy.

Here's a couple of pictures I grabbed with my phone.  The white thing in Rip's mouth is my glove.  It's now slightly grey, but washes easily :)

Don't take my glove away.  I'm working!

I won't have any trouble with the glove exercise in Utility, mom

I doesn't look like it will be much of a struggle to train Rip to retrieve dumbbells or gloves for obedience!  This will be a welcome change from all the work I had to do to get Maggie, Denzil, and Ziggy to retrieve.

Friday, February 25, 2011

If only we could move there now....

I mentioned in a previous post that The Husband and I have been looking for a house w/ some acreage in Southwest Washington State (just north of Portland, Oregon).  Our intention is to get into the property market when prices and interest rates make the location affordable.

At more than one point in the process, I've felt like I'm in a bad HGTV episode:

  •  First, we looked at houses, but didn't find anything that we really liked. 
  • In late September a listing came up that seemed a good deal, so we sent my parents out to look at the house.  
  • We put a bid on that house.  The house was a short sale.  Our offer wasn't accepted, but we were "second in line."
  • In December we still  hadn't heard anything on the first house, so continued to look at houses.  
  • We fell in love with another property.
  • We tried to put in an offer on that property (another short sale), but the bank pulled it off the market on that same day.  
  • We still loved the second property, and found out that it was headed into foreclosure - scheduled to be auctioned (back to the bank, most likely) next week.
  • We were waiting to see if the second property was a possibility (as it was our first choice).
  • Then a few days ago we heard back on the first property that the first in line offer pulled out - so we were in the #1 slot.
  • The bank wanted to know by the next day if we still wanted the property.  (It's funny to me that the bank takes 5 months, but we're expected to decide in a day...)
  • We stall that bank for another day, and send my dad back out to look at the property.
  • We said yes!  

If all goes well w/ the house inspection, here's our property:

The dogs would like to point out some highlights:
  • SHEEP live on the property next door - southwest side
  • COWS live on the property next door - southeast side
  • The NW corner of the property has a seasonal creek (MUD!)
  • Yard to the N of the house is large enough for an agility field
  • Small barn to the N of the house is big enough for obedience practice 
  • 5+ acres means The Humans can have horses and/or alpacas (poop to eat!)
The Humans would like to point out some additional highlights:
  • Great location!  Just 20 minutes from the Portland airport, 24 minutes to Jantzen Beach, 20 minutes to my parents' house, 20 minutes to my brother's house....
  • Space in the yard for a garden
  • Enough room to add some more trees and make our own "forest"
After closing we'll have some work to do on the house, then we'll rent it while we try to figure out when/how we can make the move.  Whew.  What a week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

OK, maybe conformation is a little fun....

There's a term in the horse world called "push button."  If a horse is a "push button" horse, it knows what to do, and nearly anyone can ride it.  Push button horses are great for beginners.

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to show a "push button" Cardi.  Dawn at Daybreake mentioned to me a while back that she was coming to Des Moines for a show, and asked if I'd like to join her there to learn more about grooming, showing, etc.  That sounded like fun to me - go to a dog show, get to meet a fellow Cardi blogger, and learn more about conformation, too - so I said yes!

Dawn also asked me if I wanted to show one of her Cardis, Grace, to practice.  This sounded like a good idea to me -- get into the ring with a well-trained, finished dog to get some practice.

We met on early Saturday morning, and I got to watch Dawn (and Cindy at Foggybottom, too) get dogs ready for the ring.  I also got to ask a lot of "basic" questions like, "when did you give your dog a bath?" and "how do you set her up on the table?"

As we got ready to go into the ring, Dawn talked me through the judge's routine, and showed me the finer points of showing Grace.  Grace is an excellent girl, by the way.  She tolerated a new handler (after a bit of bribing w/ steak) and is a pro in the ring.  The good news is that despite her rookie handler, Grace took Best of Opposite!  What a good girl.

Thanks again, Dawn for the coaching and for allowing me to show your lovely red girl!!

Now I guess I'd better get to work on Rip, as I'm planning to take him to his first show the first weekend in April.  And based on the gap between Grace and Rip - I've got a LOT of work to do...

P.S. - Carolyn, does this count as "just doing it?"

Monday, February 14, 2011

The job of boss is in dispute

Maggie has now trained 3 male Cardi puppies, and has remained at the top of the pack for 8+ years.  In her info on the blog, I say that she's "the undisputed boss."  She was young with Denzil, so they had fun playing together - but Denz was always clear about his place.  She had Ziggy trained so well that all she had to do was start to raise her lip at him and he fell in line.

Rip is different.  For the most part, he has not bothered Maggie at all.  That is starting to change.  Rip is starting to push back at Maggie a bit.  Especially when food, or just-empty food bowls, are involved.

We've had a few "corgfuffles" (that's a kerfuffle involving corgis) that have sounded and looked quite bad.  Fortunately nobody has been injured, nor have either of them tried to injure the other.  I am now managing around this by feeding with doors closed,  picking up food bowls immediately when the meal is done, and keeping Rip's crate door closed after meals.

In the event that they do get into a spat, I've been breaking it up (Rip drags a shortened leash around the house to make getting him out of trouble easier), and putting them both in a down stay - facing each other with me in between them - until Rip calms down.  Maggie doesn't want to be involved in the nonsense anyway, so she calms down quickly.  I picked up this tip from Patricia McConnell's book, "Feeling Outnumbered." This seems to be working well so far, but it seems that this will be a long process.

When food isn't involved, Maggie and Rip seem to have a good relationship.  He's normally contrite with her, backs off when she gritches at him, and even snuggles up for a bit of "mothering."

You can't come near my food bowl, but you can clean my ears

I sense more of a change coming, though.  Rip is asserting himself more each day.  The other night, he was sleeping on the prime bed in the family room (aka Maggie's bed).  He wouldn't let Maggie join him, and she backed off quickly.

The Husband and I are a bit worried.  The pack has been very stable with Maggie as a leader.  As The Husband says, "I do not want this house ruled by an adolescent male."  If things keep going in the same direction, it doesn't look like we'll have much of a choice.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snark Power!

A friend of mine says that I have a snarky sense of humor.  I must admit that she's probably right.

So when I passed by this business while in India, I just couldn't resist...

Now what am I going to call my business, 
should I ever start one?

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Wish I Could Be Somplace Else....

Where I'd really like to be tomorrow is meeting The Ocho and some Cardi friends at Janet's puppy party.

Unfortunately this is where I'll be:

Just insert a bedraggled me and Ken the Kindle into the photo...

It's time to get out the compression socks.  I have 26 hours of travel ahead of me tomorrow!! 

At least I'll earn about 20,000 miles for the agony, and get to see my family (human and furry) for the first time in more than a week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Incongruous Dining

As I mentioned in a post from a previous trip to India, sometimes the dining environment is not always consistent at restaurants here.  For instance, there is often a lovely setting (5 star hotel), but strange music (hard core rap) playing in the background.

Tonight I had another of those incongruous dining experiences. 

Some friends here in the India offices decided to take my colleague and I out for a group dinner.  We went to a place that serves shish-kabob-type  barbecue at the table (there's a little coal grill inserted into the table, and grilled vegetables, meats, etc. are served on skewers for the group).  I really like the food at this restaurant, and seem to recall it had a nice, normal atmosphere.

Not so this time.

Under the Sea?

I started to suspect that something was a little different when the entrance looked like this:

A giant, illuminated octopus.
Why wouldn't that be at a place famous for grilling at the table?

Behind the octopus, on the glass near the entrance was this:

The Little Mermaid? 
Now, we all love Ariel, but....

We were brought to our table, and this was on a nearby wall:

Nemo (ish)?
What's going on here?

I started to look around the restaurant, and there were random sea creatures everywhere.  Thinking that maybe I was just having a "cultural" moment, I asked my Indian colleagues what was up. 

None of them had an explanation for the under the sea theme.  They were as puzzled as me.  We asked our server.  The restaurant was having a seafood festival.  That explains it...!?????

Dance Club?

After we were seated for a few moments, we noticed that our table was right by a little stage filled with big speakers.  A couple of folks at the table started to get nervous that conversation would be impossible if those speakers were turned up, so they requested a new table.  The on-duty manager assured us that there would only be, "10 minutes of loud music around 8:30pm."  Okey dokey.

True to their word, around 8:30 someone came by and started messing with the speakers.  He put in a CD and turned the music up loud.  Servers and cooks started to appear nearby.  Then we understood why:

A dance!
Of course.

Pretty much all of the restaurant employees lined up and started to do the same dance.  It was odd, but at the same time, a lot of fun.  And not something you see everyday.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Indian Mexican

I made it to India safely, albeit a bit travel weary.  From the time I arrived at the airport at home, to the time I arrived at the hotel here was 28  hours.  ugh.

Yesterday (Sunday) was highlighted by two things:  Melatonin and Indian Mexican food.

I've never taken the stuff before, but it's been recommended by an in-law, and one of my co-workers - both of them swear by it as a "jet leg sleep aid." 

We arrived at the hotel at 5am, and I hadn't slept well on the last flight (thanks, parents from Italy for letting your toddler YELL for most of the 9 hour flight....), so I decided to take a rest before my 1pm meeting.

I decided to give the melatonin a try, since I had 7+ hours to sleep.  I cut a pill in half, and headed to bed, figuring I'd be up by 11am or so.  I was awakened from a deep and lovely sleep by the sound of my hotel phone ringing.  I looked at the clock, and noticed it was 1:15pm.  It was my co-worker calling to find out where I was was.  YIKES - that melatonin worked a little too well. 

Lesson learned:  beware Melatonin unless I'm planning to hibernate.

Indian Mexican
In the evening my co-worker and I scheduled dinner with a friend of mine who happened to be in town.  She'd received a recommendation that the food was good at the only brew pub in the city.  Who can pass up a brew pub?  (not me)

We had a driver take us across town to the restaurant.  When we arrived, we were seated in the brew pub.  Then a server came over to us and mentioned that we could have beer but no food - the restuarant was closed for renovation.  Hmm - glad we trekked across town.

Thankfully there was another restaurant right next door.  The restaurant was called "Salsa" with the promise of fine dining.  Good enough for us.  We were seated outside (don't tell The Husband - who keeps having to shovel snow - that we got to dine outside at night in short sleeves) and a server brought the menus.

Turns out the name Salsa fit -- about 1/3 of the menu was Mexican food.  I've eaten (very bad) Mexican food in Australia, so why not try it in India?  As a starter we had nachos and jalapeno poppers.  For dinner I had vegetarian enchiladas.  I was VERY happy with the food.  I even liked it better than American Mexican (at least the kind we get in the Midwest).  It was much more fresh - less laden down with sauce and greasy cheese - and not overcooked.  The jalapenos used for the poppers were about 6" long, mild, and still crispy.

The best part about it is that it's now been 24 hours since my Indian Mexican food experiment and I'm still feeling good.  Fingers crossed that this continues for another 4 days!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More air miles

I've enjoyed having nearly two months without any travel.  Unfortunately, that changes tomorrow, as I'm headed to India once again.

I'm looking forward to:
  • Having time to read books on my Kindle (I have seven in the queue)
  • Temperatures that are 100 degrees fahrenheit warmer than they are here.  That's not typo.  It's really 100 degrees warmer there.
  • Some good Indian food

I'm not looking forward to:
  • More than a week with no dog training
  • Missing a puppy party 
  • Missing a local obedience show-n-go
  • Not seeing my family 
  • The inevitable digestive upset

This year looks like it's shaping up to have at least as much travel as last year.  So far I've got plans for:
China, Singapore, UK (twice), Portland, San Diego, Germany, Brazil (maybe)

I'll try to find something fun to post from overseas, but this time I'll be spending pretty much all of my time in a conference room (yippee!).

P.S.  If anyone's got any "must read" books that you've come across lately, please let me know.  7 books for 16,000+ air miles just doesn't seem like enough...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cardi feature of the day: weatherproof coats

Blizzard conditions started here a few hours ago, and are scheduled to last through noon tomorrow. 

This makes it a perfect time to talk about the weatherproof nature of the  Cardigan Welsh Corgi coat.  As the AKC breed standard states, the Cardigan coat:  "Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant."

After a mere 10 minutes outside, Ziggy was thankful for this feature:

What is this thing lurking by the back door?
Should we let it in?

It's me, mom:  Ziggy!  
Thank you for letting me in - it's snowy out there.

Maybe I'll just go in my crate.
Do I have to come out to be dried off?
Ok.  Just don't put me back out into the snow.

P.S.:  In case you're wondering, Rip was outside for the same amount of time, but came back in with almost no snow on him.  The advantage of perpetual motion.
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