Sunday, November 09, 2008

Uninspired and Still Reliving Scottsdale

SUMMARY: Postnationals Tropical Depression

I am SO uninterested in practicing anything related to agility. Maybe it's because I worked on it so much more than usual before Scottsdale. Maybe it's because it's finally raining in San Jose worth mentioning and the lawn looks gorgeous (how can that possibly happen overnight?) and I know that dogs rampaging around on it will tear it even more to shreds by spring way beyond what the grubs did to it this fall and the barometic pressure is hosed.

Maybe I'm still still still getting over that nasty cold from Arizona.

Maybe it's that everything in my life is full of challenging transitions at the moment: So much to learn, so much to process, only so many hours in the day. Pursuing photography more. Want to get back to writing more--November is NaNoWriMo again and again I have friends pounding away at their keyboards and again I'm missing it; agility season never ends in California (but girl don't they warn ya...) and we've got a trial this weekend and I'm looking for teams for both dogs for our December trial because my Scottsdale teammates aren't available; trying to get rid of Stuff From My House; eager to help my parents with some things; Boost wants me to throw the tennis ball throw the tennis ball just throw it; Tika is bored and chasing around after the crows in the sky; not enough chocolate; not enough hiking.

I need some ommmmmmmmm time I think. Or more sunrises like this one Sunday morning over the kenneling area in Scottsdale.

I thought I'd type up more notes from our competition at Scottsdale but am feeling uninspired there, too. Have sort of sorted through the photos at a quick first pass. More work to do. I like this one of Robert and Cap in the Grand Prix finals, making sure they get that danged dogwalk contact after 10 of the 24 22" finalists got called on it. And the judge is looking to make sure he does, too!

Here's my World's Most Expensive Polo Shirt! (I'm wearing it over my other shirt, which is why I look a little bulky in the upper vicinities.)

Here's my traveling companion, Dogg, with her Grand Prix finalist shirt, wearing her finalist Team shirt as well. Looks pretty danged happy to me! I'm delighted that she's done so well, as this is the first time at the nationals with her new corgi after 3 years of absence after her last one died so suddenly (see here and here).

Her license plate is apparently pretty accurate; in addition to being in two of the three finals, Porsche was the overall highest-scoring 12" dog in the team event over four individual classes. Not bad for a wee shy doggie.

And here's d star corgi her very self.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Random Thoughts from Scottsdale Trip

SUMMARY: All kinds of experiences, thoughts, and rumors.

  • Videos: I got absolutely no videos of any of my dogs' runs. Forgot to take the camera out of the car, or forgot to take it ringside, or forgot to ask someone to videotape... I blame it on my head being stuffed to the gills with fluid which flowed constantly out of my nose and eyes. One friend videotaped at least a couple of our runs on her camera, so maybe I'll get something eventually.
  • More on the tire blow-out: The back side of my right front tire blew out. I don't know why. Dogg thinks we hit something, because something made a really loud odd flapping then ricocheting noise under the car, which I think might have been the first piece of the tire coming apart, but which could also possibly have been whatever caused it to come apart. We pulled over at the very convenient next exit to examine the tires, found nothing, and 2 miles down the freeway the tire really blew out. It was not at all difficult to handle the car and get over to the side. Normally I'd have changed it myself, but we were too close to traffic for me to be comfortable without a large truck between it and me. It took less than half an hour for the Tire Guy to show up, and not long at all to replace the tire. Just a small nuisance, really; we were very lucky there. Here are the very odd things about this experience:
  • Coincidence? Karma? For about the previous 15 minutes, we had been talking about flat tire experiences.
  • While we were waiting, I noticed that the tie-downs for the four-foot-long table on my car-top carrier had come loose, and if we had driven much longer, it would have probably flown off onto the highway behind us, causing maybe a major disaster.
  • We passed some friends on the freeway just before this, who kind of waved and we waved back but eventually we separated. They told us later that they were trying to tell us that our table was coming loose, but we didn't get that message. They apparently also had a blowout an hour or so later.
  • Where I spent an hour Wednesday morning:
  • Sudden losses: At the PNS finals, they had an official moment of silence in memory of Wishy the Writer's husband's dog Mesa, who had earned a bye into that final round. So hard to lose a dog; particularly hard when it's sudden and unexpected; even more so on your way to the national championships where you have a good chance of winning. Hug your dogs. Appreciate them.
  • Walking: For Thursday through Sunday, my pedometer measured 40.25 miles. And it was attached to me the whole time. So presumably it measured what I walked. That's a huge site!
  • Crating error: When I got to Westworld, I discovered that, instead of packing Tika's and Boost's crates, I had packed Boost's and Jake's. (I remember thinking how well they seemed to fit into the car--but I was packing things differently because there were two of us and I wasn't taking a lot of things that I usually take.) Thank goodness for agility friends who pack extra stuff; one of my dogs would've been very cramped otherwise.
  • Long legs: If you calculated the average height of the Steeplechase finalist humans, would it be wayyy above the average height of Americans? Above the average height of agility competitors at Scottsdale? Above the average agility competitor in general? Think Ashley Deacon, Stacy Peardot-Goudy, Terry Smorch, Sandy Rogers, Robert Yi, Channon Fosty, and so many others--
  • Crating with friends and walking and talking: We reserved 25 crating spaces in a row for Bay Teamers. I think that was only about two-thirds of the club members who actually attended; the others presumably crated out of their RVs. It was very nice to leave one's dogs and belongings surrounded by familiar people; as Dogg noted, even if everyone wasn't there all the time, usually there was someone there most of the time. Also, four of us shared the same channel on our walkie talkies so we could keep in touch about what we were doing, who needed what, and when we'd be meeting up again. It was fun.
  • My USDAA news posts: I wrote up course analyses for three of the courses for posting on the USDAA news site, which USDAA's Brenna Fender jam packed with stories, results, and course maps. Now that was a full-time job! My articles:
  • European Standard
  • Team Snooker
  • Team Gamblers
  • Tired? Sick? Recovering? Man, I was way wiped out yesterday! Mostly unloaded the car, tried to catch up with all my email and photos but failed to get through half of each before crawling into bed and sleeping for about 10 hours. I've been up for 2 hours now and am mostly through my email and newspapers and snail mail, still trying to load all the photos onto the computer, and I'm drooping and about ready to go back to bed to sleep as long as my body wants.
  • Future nationals: Oh, what fun are rumors if you don't spread them and cause some angst? Ken said at Wednesday night's dinner that they're evaluating other sites and would love to hold it elsewhere if they can find an appropriate location. Later in the weekend, I spoke to someone who said they had spoken to someone who said they had spoken to Ken who said that the event would be at Westworld for the next 3 years. This seems silly to me, since there's a huge contingent of competitors who are being left out, but on the other hand(s), (a) someone from Westworld (?) got the microphone during one of the final rounds and said something about looking forward to having this event there in the future (could be just wishful thinking?) and (b) the finals were filled with people from around the country, so the top competitiors seem to get there no matter what. But it sure would be nice for some of them to have shorter trips and not have to fly their dogs, and for me not to be tempted into spending more than a week of vacation every year on the Cynosports event.
  • The Smoothies, as before, were wonderful tasty fruity treats in the heat. You could get peach (mix), mango (mix), strawberry (mix), or banana (fresh), and they were all wonderful, especially if you mixed two flavors. Mmm! Even my dogs loved the tastes they got.
  • I took another 800ish photos. Still haven't finished Montreal's photos! I'm thinking that a lot of this weekend's will be junk, though, as I shot a lot of photos of people and dogs while they were moving around.
  • RV onsite: Having the trailer onsite was very handy for Dogg and her dog, who got plenty of air conditioned rest between runs. With two dogs in different rings, I didn't have time to go alllll the way out to the far lot between runs. But it was very nice to have it so close when getting up early for walkthroughs and at the end of the day if we wanted a change of clothes or anything else. Nice to have a refrigerator onsite. Funky small shower, and you're really living in close proximity to someone else so that getting up in the night to visit the Little Agility Handler's Room is a notable disturbance, but I'd be willing to do it again. Just really missed the onsite web connection. Home away from home:
  • Who's your daddy?

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday at Scottsdale

SUMMARY: A busy day and I didn't actually do anything.

My first day at the World Cynosports Whoosits was uneventful but somehow extremely busy, although I didn't enter today's sole class.

Woke early, walked the dogs, edited some photos while eating breakfast.

The RV Guy told us about a Discount Tire place just the other side of the freeway from Westworld--how convenient is that?--so I took the van over and got a new tire while finishing editing my photos (this is a sloowwww ancient computer). Then I sat in the Starbucks parking lot for an hour, uploading the photos, providing captions, and adding this morning's Taj MuttHall entry.

Stopped at the grocery store for ice. Back to the RV, walked the dogs again, then drove over to the crating area to unload our gear and get set up. Walked all four rings in which the course was set up to get a feel for it so that I could write about it for USDAA. Followed Dogg and Porsche (doesn't that sound like a Wall Street firm name?) to their ring around 2:00 to videotape their run, then watched other competitors of various heights ffor about an hour, taking notes and talking to people about their impressions of the course.

Tracked down our favorite doggie chiropractor because Tika was acting stiff and sore all day, besides never wanting to jump up into her crate the whole trip down yesterday. After working over all of Tika's joints, Ziji said that basically Tika was "a train wreck." Tika has always been much improved with Ziji's ministrations, and I've also now got her back on the rimadyl.

I might scratch her from Steeplechase Quarterfinals tomorrow, since we're so unlikely to move on in that anyway, but I'd really like to run team and also, preferably, Grand Prix. We'll see how she looks in the morning.

I finally finished lunch around 4:00. Now it's 5:30 and time to head over for the welcome/awards dinner. Where did the day go? And I took hardly any photos, too! I have an article halfway written for the USDAA site about Wednesday's class, but the person to whom I have to give it isn't arriving until tomorrow sometime, so I have time to finish it.

Meanwhile, once again at Westworld I kept an eye out for a flaming Yul Brenner, but so far we seem to be safe.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Trip To Scottsdale 2008

SUMMARY: Mostly hunky dory. With a blip or two.

Dogg, my traveling companion this year, arranged for an RV rental at Westworld. I told Dogg that if we left my house by 8 a.m., we should be in Scottsdale by 10 p.m. no problem. So she arranged to meet RV Guy at Westworld at 11, when he would turn over a fully functional and ready-to-go RV. We actually hit the freeway at 7:40, so we were good!

All three dogs (my two and token Corgi Porsche) behaved themselves very well the entire trip, even though that meant that they ended up in their crates for most of 16 hours with only a few short walks interspersed.

For the most part, the trip went very smoothly. We had a little bit of an issue right at the city limits of Blythe, which involved car-part modifications like this:

But all together, we were in Scottsdale at 9:30, had a late dinner, did some grocery shopping, verified that I could make an Internet connection at the Starbucks by the grocery store (because I have an AT&T account anyway), and discovered that RV Guy had the trailer there but not set up. We responded politely to his questions (like "Do you need the water hooked up tonight?" Correct answer: "Yes please." Internal answer: "Are you nuts? Why do you think we're paying all this $ for an RV instead of sleeping in a tent?") and were finally in bed and asleep sometime after midnight.

More photos and narrative here.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Tips for USDAA Nationals

SUMMARY: Link to Bay Team page.

I've just filled in a lot of accumulated wisdom about the USDAA Cynosports World Championships in Scottsdale on this Bay Team page; includes some info about renting RVs, what to expect at the site, background info, and maps (from last year's program that most of us never saw).

There's also a lot of stuff specific to traveling from the Bay Area.

If you are a Bay Team member, you can log in and add to the wiki page. If you're not a Bay Team member--we'd like to allow nonBTers to edit it, and I think I can figure out how to do it. Just email me if you want to try (webmaster (at) bayteam (dot) org; mention that I said to do this in case someone other than me gets the message).

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Progress--And Back to Square One

SUMMARY: Knee is good. But about those November Nationals--

I started making a point of doing a little bit of sprinting with the dogs in the yard during training this week, and it worked fine. Took Tika to class Wednesday night for the first time since before Christmas and only the second time since November 15. She seemed happy to be there, ran off to explore only once on a missed tough weave entry that I didn't handle very well, and actually paid attention on the down contacts instead of snuffling for food.

course map showing layering challengeI went ahead and ran full out where I could, and it felt good to be doing it! The knee is still marginally puffy and I could feel that it didn't bend quite as nicely as my good knee, and I felt like a lump of lead trying to accelerate, but at least I was able to make the effort. I even tried for a really tricky send-dog-to-tunnel, layer-the-aframe, get ahead of the following jump for a front cross and actually made it--barely, as Tika's turn before I captured her on the front cross was very wide, but I got there and made the turn and was very pleased that my knee didn't complain. (It wasn't an official class exercise but I wanted to see whether I could do it. The diagram shows Tika's path in red solid, mine in blue dotted. Squares are 10 feet. Distances are my rough recollections from 2 nights ago.)

By the end of the evening it was feeling a little achey, though, so I didn't stay for the last run, but I have no complaints--except that I really felt those additional 6 pounds I've put on since my knee surgery (from being sedentary AND eating too much crap).

Boost's Thursday class was cancelled due to rain again, so I haven't had class with her for 2 months, argh! Instead I went to physical therapy, and walked nearly a mile at a brisk pace in 15 minutes on the treadmill, then did 6 minutes of exercycle but knee was starting to complain then--plus there had been all the other assorted quad exercises before that. But I did all kinds of things that I wasn't able to do without pain the last time I was there--gee, a whole month ago, December 7--and haven't been able to do even for a couple of months before the surgery. So i guess I really am making progress.

It was sore and stiff Thursday night/Friday morning, but just a very little bit--I want to emphasize that--and by afternoon it felt fine, and I worked out with the dogs a little in the yard and did fine, and walked into the Home Show and was on my feet for 3 hours working the Home Composting Education booth, so I'm getting so close to normal! Wahoo!

Dogs are dying for more exercise and entertainment, though. So, instead, tomorrow I'm taking Tika and Boost to get tattoos, which I'm sure they'll love. They'll be big hearts that say "Mom". OK, kidding, they'll be ID numbers as additional backups to their microchips and ID tags. I really want my dogs to come back to me if they get out.

Meanwhile, I'm already starting to fret about whether we'll qualify for the Nationals again! Tika has one Grand Prix qualifier and needs one more; needs 2 Steeplechases; needs Team. Boost needs everything. And we had to cancel out of two trials in October with GP and Steeplechase because of my knee, so our opportunities are fewer and fewer... argh! I hate this! We just hardly got back from Scottsdale and already I'm thinking about next November! Sighhh

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