Saturday, July 30, 2011


I'm in a little fun-show thingy tomorrow.  A team thingy...

A. from Rex's barn wanted to go, she talked Rex and myself into going.  We each ride 2 tests, the team's scores are added together and averaged for an overall score.  It's a fun event - doesn't count toward anything.  Hopefully it'll be a fun day hanging out with our horses....    in full sun....  95 degrees.... 8am - 5pm.


They wanted us to come up with team names, colors, costumes.

We are bright green because where else would my screamin' bright green breeches come in handy?

Team name?  The Lucky Charms.  (my idea thanks to having been raised on sugary cereals of the 70s like Trix, Count Chocula, Cookie Crunch, Flintones Fruity Pebbles, Cap'n Crunch, Frosted Flakes etc. etc. etc.)

And I hear there will be stenciling of shamrocks with green glitter on our horses' great big behinds.  I've never done glitter and horses before.

What if I like it?

What if I begin to glitter Sera and Rosso all the time like My Little Pony dolls? 

I wonder if there support groups for that sort of behavior?

Friday, July 29, 2011

What? there IS no magic pill??

I went to see The Groper today. 

The guy who fixes my back but does muscle pressure holds and manipulations in areas awful close to *ahem* your naughty bits. 

Well no more titilation for me... he's into acupuncture needles now and they frigging HURT! 

I was cussing up a blue streak at him.  Good thing he is young, cocky and everything bounces off him like rubber....

I talked to him about my knee - trying to divert his attention from the needles in my hip, lower back and butt.

Told 'im when I go walking it feels like it over extends sometimes and hurts on the back side of the knee...  he said my quads are needed to hold the knee and they aren't doing their job because they are weak.  He started talking about little old ladies who come to see him saying they worked out hard weeding or carrying their groceries.

Pause.  Heyyyyy.... wait a minute....

"Are you calling me a little old lady?!"

He said I was headed down that path if I didn't start working out again.... I asked him about all the walking I'm doing and he scoffed.  "It's not strength building".

Well crap.  That'll take the wind outta yer sails on a Friday afternoon.  No groping to speak of and being told I'm one step away from being a weak little old lady. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Movie star goats....

Weird.  It was weird. 

I loaded up the 2 youngest goats - they are smaller, malleable, friendly, interested in new things.  I had grain, hay and a 5 gal bucket o' water cuz I didn't know how hot it'd be, if they needed them to do something for them and the goats would need to be plied with grain or what.... brought Toe with.

Drove 1.5 hrs up the canyon to Pingree Park - there is NO cell reception there.  I was praying the directions were good otherwise there would be no way to find them - huge National Park - tons of people camping etc.

I get to the first fork, take the right and the directions are that I should take my first right from that road.... I'm going down this single lane dirt road.... been going prolly 10-15 min and a car comes from the other way - I pull to the side to stop and let him past - he rolls down his window and says he's the rancher that owns the land they are "filming" on... says one of his sons is part of it and sort of rolls his eyes... tells me to go exactly 1.4 miles and there is a really steep road on the right where their campsite is.  

Found the campsite - let the goats out who had peed and pooped in the back of the car and lets all hear it for those rubber Subaru mats!   I took that out and drained all the pee off it... flipped it over and rubbed it around on the was gross and I heard a couple of the guys exclaim "whoa..."  due to the gross factor....

The guys introduce themselves... then we load up and move on to where they are filming....

2 guys are dressed I guess in older time clothes - one takes the goats - is asking me how to make them follow him and I'm like... uh, walk forward and pull them, they will follow you.... little goaties just going along with whomever cuz they are thinking...where ARE we? 

One guy goes up the mountain with the goats.... the other guy has a shotgun.   I'm joking "there will be no shooting of the goats right?"  crickets.   The scene is that these 2 guys stole these goats as they are making their way back home...

The one with the gun yells out - "Jed, they're makin' too much noise - get 'em outta here now - take 'em up the trail"  and the other guy walks across the scene leading the goats.  (of course the goats are completely silent... guess they'll have to edit in some goat noises eh?)

They are doing this over and over to get the right lighting etc.   I ask if they need me there or if I can go hiking with the dog?  They tell me to go do whatever and they'll be done in an hour or so and there is another place they want to go to shoot some other scene involving the goats....

I hike around with Toe - there was a stream so that was good for cooling and water for him... .TONS of biting flies... my ankles are chewed up and I am itching them between typing....

Got back to the cars - they weren't done and I sat in the car with the air on, windows up to avoid flies.... listened to NPR.... ate sunflower seeds.... they get back an hour later and say they shot the other scene cuz they found a good spot to do it further up....

The one guy - I think he would have been what some might call "the director" says "oh, your compensation".... he pulls out this sweaty, pathetic, crumpled $5 bill and three ones....stammers and says he has more money at the campsite.  At this point I just want to leave and get home....

I say - uh - why don't you give your Dad some good beer, he can give it to Mrs. Kravitz at work and she will give it to me.  Kid's face lights up - oh!  good beer!  oh!  ok!  That can be your compensation!

I ask them if the goats will be screamin' out their names in the night.... nothing... crickets.... alrighty then.  Figure they must be super serious about their art and immune to any sort of humor....

They hand me the goats and walk back up to where all the equipment is... goats are thinkin' - What!?  We've been in and out of that damn station wagon twice already... no way jose!   I'm left wrasslin with goats and getting them in the car... the kids finally turn around and shout down - "do you need help?"  

No shit sherlock.   I had gotten the goats in, shut the hatch door and waved the kids off....

Got home....Mrs. Kravitz calls and says WHAT?  about the compensation.  She says no way - you need $100.  I'm going to make his Dad feel so guilty and tell him that his kid screwed my best friend and get you $100.

Whatever Mrs. Kravitz - it's fine - I don't care....

Do you think this is how Joe Camp of Benji fame got started?   heh heh

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I have a lot o' tadpoles swimmin around in my pond... I was doing some pond maintenance.... microbial additives and barley straw extract to help with the string algae... adding some water and picking out the string algae when I caught THIS!

You can still see a remnant of his little tadpole tail.....

                                                      Do you see it?  The tail nub?

No wonder we can't find the frogs in spring when they are singing their little froggie songs... they are tiny!  Western Chorus frog haven in my yard and  I'm so happy to have these little guys in my tiny pond....    heh.  It's all about the little things right?  Even if they are little frogs!  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Movie goats?

Mrs. Kravitz e-mailed me saying one of the vets at the Vet Teaching Hospital where she works has a son who needs some goats for a film.

Guess the kid is in a film school in San Francisco... he must be home for the summer and he's making a "short western".   He was desperate to find someone with goats.

Enter me.  

It's all about promote the goat, baby.

I gave him a call and I'm gonna take 2 does up to Pingree Park in the canyon Saturday afternoon.  The kid was telling me that I could stay on set as long as I liked and he'd discussed it with the rest of the "crew" that the goat handler could be there as long as they wanted.   He said it like it was a pretty big privilege.

I didn't say anything but I was thinking more along the lines of - ummmm, how long is this gonna take so I can get home and on with my day?  

How bad can it be? 

I'll take a nice drive up the canyon (wait - 2 goats screaming, peeing and pooping in my car.... maybe not such a nice drive).   I'll bring my little dog, Toe... a book... an iPod. 

Tho a co-worker looked at me and said, "Wait.  You are taking 2 goats up into the mountains to meet a guy you don't know and have never met?"

Hmmmm.   It does sorta have the makings of a hillbilly gathering gone a little  wrong dontcha think?

Thursday, July 14, 2011


When we take the dogs a'walkin' in the morning, the grass is so high in spots alongside the road that all we see is tall grass fronds moving around and our flexi-leashes disappearing into the tall mass o' grass.

I stood waiting while Bequia and Toe were snorflin' around in the tall grass and I thought...

Wow!  This could be a movie....


The dogs are in the grass, unseen, snorfling around per usual.... the grass starts moving wildly.... the flexi is zig-zagging  in the grass and all of a sudden the flexi snaps back to my hand.... empty.... no dog on the end.... just a frayed, bloody collar....


I think I watched too much of the Aliens vs. Predators movie on some cable channel the other night....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Toe and the bag o' hotdogs....

So uh.... I was a little over-zealous and trying too hard in my last post about this.

I toned it down... let him just sniff the bag o' food... let him lick it.... moved it a little on the ground so he moved toward it.... 

Last night in our agility class he bit the bag and was TUGGING it!   Hooray! 

Who knew I could get so happy over a dog tugging on a mesh bag full o' hot dogs? 

Monday, July 11, 2011

I survived

Yes, I actually survived the three year old's birthday party complete with many little ones so jacked up on sugar there were nuclear meltdowns happening all around me in tiny human form.

Since my niece is the only child in our family she gets a MOUNTAIN and I mean MOUNTAIN of toys.  So many that it's overwhelming to me and I would imagine to a three year old as well. 

Tho' I did see one of her tiny friends go running thru the backyard waving the primitive gourd rattle in one hand while simultaneously blowing the slide whistle and I had to smile.  Little kids LOVE running and LOVE making noise. 

I think my niece and her five or six friends had a good time and were adequately sugared up.  Isn't that what birthdays are all about when you are tiny?

I was pretty glad to come home to the peace and quiet of our little house in Northern CO... I sat in the sky chairs and breathed in the peace.   Ahhhhhh.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Revenge is sweet....

My 3yr old neice's birthday party is this weekend.

I bought a lovely wooden slide whistle and a gourd rattle from a store that brings in things from other countries and pays back a % of the profit to the locals who made them. 
They are both really loud.   Really.   Loud.
evil grin.  
I thought about giving Niece a nice package of colored Sharpie permanent markers....  thought that might be going a little too far.
Picked Sister up some earrings while I was there.... and a couple fancy chocolate bars for each of them. 

A sugar high will improve Niece's slide whistle, gourd rattlin', one woman band performance for sure.
The Evil Aunt strikes again....

Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The funny pages....

I know it sounds odd - and yet - our subscription to the Denver paper is mostly because of the comics. 

Who wants to read about murders, domestic violence, child abuse, animal abuse, who is taking what drugs and shooting people or crashing cars or causing fatal accidents on highways or in bars.   Which actor is sleeping with which politician or vice versa.  Which politicians are making shady deals or sending pictures of the bulge in their underwear to underage girls....

It's depressing.

Then you move to the comics pages and there are (or were) FOUR whole pages devoted to making you smile.  Clever artwork, puns, humor, characters and the comic artists come up with something new every single day.  Amazing when you really think about it. 

Furry Husband and I ease into each morning sitting at the kitchen table with mugs of steaming hot coffee - mine doctored up with plenty o' fresh goat milk from the girls - and we read the funny pages together.

Then one day, The Rocky Mountain News closed shop and merged with The Denver Post.  For a couple of months I was in heaven because they kept ALL the comics... from both papers! 

They cut a bunch of comics after taking a poll ... I protested in writing and with a call to the comics editor when they took some of the comics I enjoyed.  Nothing changed, the comics I missed weren't brought back....I figured compromises had to be made.

They recently cut another bunch of comics.  No warning.  No reason given.


We didn't renew our subscription and let them know it was due to the further comic page cuts.  I wrote to the comics editor again and I don't have much hope they'll bring anything back. 

I don't want the paper for all the violent news... we have local news channels and news radio. 

I subscribed online to DailyINK for some of our favorite comics like Bizzaro and Rhymes with Orange.  The rest are found at GoComics.  Really not the same tho'.   Our giant black cat Mojo can't dive under the paper to play.... the easy morning rustle of newspaper pages.... the smell of newspaper and ink....

Give me back my funny pages!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The phone call....

We call Furry Husbands Mom on Sundays usually.  Every once and a while tho' we get so busy running around and with chores that by the time we get inside it's 9pm or later and Mom-in-Law lives in a time zone one hour later than ours.  We can't call an 84 yr old woman at 10pm her time....

We were fixing dinner last night and I grabbed the phone to give her a call.

She answered the phone, flummoxed that we would call her on a Tuesday night.  She asked if we were trying to confuse her and that she felt like the Monty Python skit called, "Confuse the Cat."

We really weren't trying to confuse her but that had me laughing... confuse the cat.  


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New way?

Waaaay back in the day I thought it would be really cool to take a dog and train him up through the Utility level.  I went to a giant dog show held at the Western Stock Show Complex in Denver with a friend from college back when I was 18 I think.... watched a Utility class and it was so cool to see dogs that tuned in to their owners. 

I had a dog but he was a mix breed (Bloodhound X Aussie Shepherd - people always asked me if he was a Catahoula dog) and at that time you couldn't compete with your mix breed dog in "real" events.  You could go to fun shows or practice shows but it just wasn't real in my mind.  Where I got this idea to compete I don't really know....  I worked with him enough so that he was a very nice obedient dog, had a great time with him, loved him immensely but obedience competition never really went anywhere.

When he died, Furry Husband was in the picture.  We met with the woman who taught the basic obedience classes I went to with my first dog and brought some different breed profiles we were thinking of.  She worked with dogs and taught dogs - we figured she'd have some good insight and I wanted to go purebred so I could show in AKC obedience.  

We discussed pros and cons of the breeds we picked out and decided on the Gordon Setter. 

I took Booker everywhere but was told not to do very much obedience work with him because I would "break his spirit" for the conformation ring.  Booker was a wild man.  Oh, he absolutely LOVED everyone and everything but he was a wild man.  Not a mean bone in his body.  He really thought he was the mayor of Denver and wanted to shake every one's hand and kiss every baby.

We did conformation and it just wasn't my thing.  He was nice enough to win occasionally - he was middle of the pack - nothing spectacular but certainly not horrible either.  I didn't want to keep going with it.  shrug.  It just wasn't my cup of tea tho' I do enjoy watching conformation from the sidelines and we always tune in to Westminster Kennel Club every year. 

We began obedience work and we were the number one Gordon Setter in the US for Novice obedience published in Front and Finish obedience magazine.  (probably not a whole heck of a lot of Gordon's doing obedience work - they aren't generally great obedience working dogs) People would tell me what a nice working dog he was and how it was great to see such a happy dog in the show ring after we went.  I won a prize in one of my competitions - it was a decorated 8x10 mirror which I keep in my cubicle at work to this day so I can check my teeth for spinach particles.

We moved on to Open obedience and it was a lot harder.  The training methods got a lot tougher.  I didn't know I had options.  I thought this was the way it had to be.  I started to feel like each lesson I was beating my dog into submission (no I didn't really beat him) and the instructor was beating me.... he wasn't having any fun and I certainly wasn't having any fun.  We got one qualifying score in Open and I quit.  Just about that time my Dad got really sick and it was a pretty intense emotional time.  I couldn't focus on the obedience work,  I wasn't having fun and there were too many things going on that were pretty un-fun in my life.  I took a break from the un-fun things I could control and the break became permanent. 

Decided after a while that I didn't mind not having all that pressure and someone yelling at me all the time and I sure didn't miss forcing my dog, in sometimes pretty hard ways, of doing things.  I loved him and decided I didn't need a dog that obedient if that is what it took.  I just let him be our dog.  He was well loved and still goofy, happy and wonderful.  He was a really good boy. 

When Booker died, I wanted another happy, go-lucky companion I could take anywhere.  I truly appreciated Booker's optimistic nature, tho' I wanted a smaller dog.  Booker thought he was a lap dog but at 75lbs... I'm pretty sure my bruised uterus and ovaries from his paws/elbows in my gut gave a big sigh of relief when I started looking at smaller dogs. 

I really wanted an English Cocker Spaniel.  Seemed like some Gordon Setter people also had English Cockers.... the English Cockers were still a gun dog, active, not too small but not too big... they had merry temperaments - not frail - I was already used to grooming a long haired dog.  I'd met two in an obedience class with my first mix breed dog so long ago and always thought they were lovely dogs. 

 Enter Toe.

Dog training changed a lot in 10yrs.  It's all about the clicker now.  There are a bunch of 100% positive only methods.

I read a book about dog training 100% positive.  Oh my.  That author wanted you to change your life in ways you wouldn't believe in order to keep the dog 100% happy 24/7 no matter what the dog did.  It was unsettling and very odd.  If your dog wants to bite you, let him and be sure to give him your other hand to keep him interested and happy - don't mind the disfigurement cuz it's all about the dog and his happiness.  That wasn't gonna work for me and really turned me off looking at other 100% positive training methods... but I didn't know what would work. 

I decided this time around I'd explore different doggie avenues vs. obedience only.  I tried Tracking...Rally.... I thought I knew enough and could do the Novice obedience on my own without paying for classes or lessons. 

That didn't turn out so well... we got our Novice title but no one was coming up to compliment us on our work in the ring.   I didn't want to go back to the previous methods and didn't want to go the 100% positive route either.  Thought I could do it on my own.  Turns out I didn't do so great left to my own devices. 

Feeling pretty lost about knowing anything in dog training right about now actually.

I started reading this book called Control Unleashed.  It's geared more for Agility.... but there are some really interesting concepts in this book.  There are more positive methods and they work... so far. 

I started with something simple - something I knew from way back.  Only this was a new way to teach it.    It worked faster that the old school method and so well it's sort of blowing my mind.  I'm really excited to try some of the other exercises - I see the practical applications of them and the theory behind the methods makes sense to me. 

I'm messing around with the exercises in it with both Toe (supposed to help with focus in the ring) and with Keenan.  This book was recommended to me after Keenan's Cujo moment for dogs teetering toward aggression because of fear... I'll keep you posted.   Really different but interesting exercises.  I'm all geeked about it and it's sort of nice to feel excited and hopeful vs. clueless and frustrated.  

Friday, July 1, 2011


I'm taking this agility class right?

We discussed using "tug" as a motivator vs. food.  You can play to reward your dog vs. feeding him... a different motivator to get him pumped up and excited.

That's great.   Cept' Toe doesn't tug.

There is a mesh bag you can buy online at to teach your dog how to tug.  Put some sort of softer food in the bag with the idea that when the dog bites the bag, the food squishes out the mesh holes, he's rewarded and the lightbulb will go on for the tug game.

The agility instructor tells me to play with Toe every day for 5 minutes.  Even if he doesn't play back, be happy and playful and pretend like he is playing back with me.  She assures me this will work and Toe will become a dog who loves to tug.

Every day I take my mesh bag of squished hotdogs outside with Toe.  I squeeze the bag so the inside of the hotdog is coming out of the mesh.  And yes!,  it is just as disgusting as it sounds.

Toe stands there... stump slowly wagging...  looking at me dubiously like "What in the...."  and I proceed to dance around like Muhammad Ali... float like a butterfly...sting like a bee.... waving the mesh bag of smooshed hotdogs in Toe's face.... lightly hitting him with the bag seeing if he'll bite or go after the bag. "get it, get it, get it, get it" I squeal as I dance around my little dog with the bag of hotdogs.

It's not working.

He's beginning to run away from the crazy lady dancing around him, talking in high pitched excited words and hitting him about the mouth, chest, neck and head with a mesh bag full of smooshed hotdogs.