DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Agility Class

Tonight's class was divided into 3 parts. Teka's first section was a "course" in a circle to practice distance. She does really well if I don't get too far (so not so great for distance!) but she had a lot of sniffing going on. It was a jump, A frame, tire, weaves (she did them if I reminded her what she was doing every pole), walk it, teeter. She was playing with her shark and play bowing at the other dogs and being very verbal tonight. :)

Then we did a tight jumpers course, with 4 in a circle and then another circle around it. There was a tunnel there too. She was playing with her octopus and ran around with it being cute and showing how much fun she was having.

The last thing we did was teaching wrap, which I often use "here" but should use wrap, so I did both since Teka hasn't heard wrap from me much. She did really well and worked for treats, though she wanted to play with the target the instructor put on the ground. It was a red foamy thing she said she cut from material obtained at Joanne's.

The instructors felt that she is ready for trials, definitely jumpers and probably Standard and FAST for AKC since they have tighter courses so distance is not as much of an issue. I'm not sure on FAST because you make up your own course (good for Teka) but the final part is distance (bad for Teka). I'm filling out my entries tomorrow so I have to decide....

Cassi's class had two parts. We did the same jumpers course but with different ordering, so it was harder, but Cassi rocked. The instructor showed me how to work on a rear cross by putting Cassi in a sit, standing behind her, and treating (or clicking or yes) when she looks over her shoulder without getting up. Then I should continue, moving back further each time.

Then we did a discrimination exercise. There was a walk it with tunnels on both ends. On one end was three curved tunnels in a row and the other end had two. This was very difficult; I had to really keep her close to me and watch where my body AND hand were pointing. She had a lot of fun and we got a prize for our teamwork. I got to pick a book so I got "That Dog'll Hunt" in honor of Mike. It has "Texas definitions" so I guess I got the right one!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So last week, we put an offer on a Litchfield Park short sale property. Today we got the acceptance with some modifications. Several items do not convey: the refrigerator (which wasn't in the kitchen anyway), the water softener (we have an almost brand new one), the projector and screen (duh), the drapes (thank God), and the ceiling fan in the loft (the only one in the house, except for the one in the garage).

Of some concern (more for Mike than me) is that it is not on sewer; it is septic. It's really only a concern because neither of us has experience with it. However, I have heard it is better for the environment. I will have to train our friends after I figure it out, but there might be no garbage disposal, but I HATE garbage disposals anyway--I think they are SO disgusting, so I'm not too sad. But I guess you have to have a truck out every 3-5 years to take care of the tank. The seller has to have it serviced before we close, so he has to take his shit with him. :)

Assuming the bank approves the sale, we are moving west, ya'll! My fortune cookie told me that I would win! Oh, so much to do, to plan, to figure out. You know that almost all HOAs have rules against solar panels. I think we may have to break that one. Eventually, I think they will be overruled, like the rule a lot of them have about antennas. The FAA says they can't tell you that you can't have access to broadcast TV. Anyway, we've got some planning to do.

MS and the Flu vaccines

The AZ MS Society posted an article from the National website on Facebook about the flu vaccines. I thought the flu shot was also a "live" vaccine but they said no. Some are okay and some are not for us MSers--as long as they aren't live. I think I'd be inviting trouble, since I'm finally not getting sick every time someone sneezes. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Agility Class

Teka's class did three exercises for distance. First we had a jump, tunnel, jump, teeter. The teeter and tunnel were parallel, so they start over a jump to the tunnel, I stay on the far side of the teeter, she goes over the other jump and then up the teeter. I had to stay on the near side of the teeter so that Teka would go in the tunnel but she did well. We did this for Cassi's class too but did it the opposite way also, so we stayed on the far side of the tunnel while they do the teeter. I didn't do that for Cassi since she has teeter issues. (I was able to take her on it about 10 times at the end of class and I'm not treating her when she does it slow now.

Then we did a distance exercise where she goes over a jump then out to the far end of a curved tunnel, and back in to another jump. Again, I had to go out with her to the tunnel.

The last one was a chute, broad jump, tire, and table, all in a row. She did very well at each obstacle but she always turned around to check with me before going to the table. I was surprised how well she took the broad jump since she hasn't seen it many times. She was really excited about this exercise, I think because she got to run a little.

The other exercise in Cassi's class was actually a mini course, set up 2 ways for discrimination. Her "get in" really helps with that. We had to go past the a-frame to get to the tunnel. She pulled out of the weaves, so we need some practice there.

They also set up some NADAC hoops, which are flat bottom (sit on the ground) and the rest is circular. I used these with Cassi to practice switch and here and play with her in between turns. She seemed to like that a lot. Maybe I'll have to add that to my equipment although we aren't planning to do NADAC. (It's too hard to keep track of the different rules for AKC and USDAA; I don't think I'm adding any other venues.)

Monday, September 21, 2009


We were showing Mike's parents the photos of the house yesterday and I found a live tick on Cassi's neck. I noticed last week that we have new dogs in two of the four yards that neighbor ours. The other two have had dogs. Mike got it off and applied Frontline to both dogs.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

House Hunting 9/20

Today's trek was to Litchfield Park. It's about 20 minutes from Mike's work. We took Glendale from the 101, and found out that the Candy Store is replaced by Xplicit. Looks brand new, like it was built for the stadium after-parties. Anyway, looked at several houses and may put a bid on one.

First, the bad news. It's about 45 minutes for me to get to work (over an hour in traffic), so I will have to work out a better schedule and definitely work from home once a week. It's about 4 miles from Luke Air Force Base, which is one of the top flight schools in the country, so while we are not in the flight path, we are likely to get some of the noise.

Why we love it. The lot is about an acre and a half. The house is not too far back on the lot (like we have seen in some cases.) It is listed as 5 bedrooms but there is a sixth small bedroom--the kennel room likely.

The downstairs has the common areas, plus a little room for the extra fridge and freezer, the kennel room, and a master bedroom that would probably be a gym. It's all tile except the piano room, which we would get tiled. Kitchen is very nice, some interesting features, gas stove, no fridge, a desk off the dining room. We looked at another house with essentially the same floor plan that was not set up as nicely. This house does not have a fireplace, but that's not a deal breaker for us.

The stairs are bamboo wood which continues through the hall and master bedroom upstairs. There are three more good size bedrooms, which would probably be the his and hers offices and guest room. There is also a loft (needs carpet to be replaced with wood, same as the offices) for the pool table.

The front is beautifully landscaped, with a 3 car garage, RV gate, nice entry and artificial grass. We could do without all the palm trees , and there is a path on the left that goes directly into the wall, but we would put another RV gate there when we do the back yard.

It is very reasonably priced so we will have money in the budget to re-paint the interior as well as put in alternate flooring in the areas with carpet and replace all the window coverings.

After we are settled in (assuming we get it--crossing everything!), we will have a huge backyard to be landscaped; nothing is done except the block fence. I think we will have a lot of it done professionally so it can be done more quickly. We may want to put in a balcony, extend the patio, put in doors upstairs, and of course a doggy door somewhere. Later, we may put in a detached RV garage/workshop/kennel. Still working on getting my chicken coop but Mike thinks I'm nuts. (He married me anyway....)

I'm excited and trying not to get my hopes up in case we don't get it.

Brunch with Mandy at Chompies

I'm kind of sad that they moved to PV Mall, but still yummy. Always AWESOME to hang with Mandy. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shopping with Sue

We went shopping at Kohl's with my 30% discount. I saved my friend, Sue, another $40 by letting her shop in my closet afterward. She can return a blazer she bought since I had one almost exactly like it. I also bought a skirt in a (smaller) size that I have not been wearing for a while! I tried on several XL tops that were way too big. I'm heading in the right direction!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

House hunting 9/11

Went to look at a few homes in the Northwest Valley. Nothing yet....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Agility Class

First night of classes--Advanced!
In Teka's class, we worked on flip--dog walk to tunnel. Then we worked on jump, far end of tunnel, out to other jump (like a U but the tunnel entrance and exit are taken opposite.) Then we did Go, which Teka has trouble with. I really have to go with her everywhere.

Cassi's class, we worked on switch (I forgot my word!), with the frame lined up with a jump but she's supposed to take the jump to the right. She did the tire without any hesitation every time and kicked it about 75% with her funky higher back-end kick. Then we worked on a different U, with three jumps on each end of the tunnel, but before getting to the tunnel, there were 6 weave poles perpendicular to the jumps (so if the tunnel wasn't curved, they would have been parallel). I have a good lead out with her, so she goes over the three jumps to the tunnel. I had to do a front cross to get her lined up for the weaves but then she was ready for the jumps back. Interesting set up.

Cassi did very well and we had fun. Teka did very well and I think she had fun. I had her wear the gentle leader so I would have a lot of control of her head while she wasn't working and she did well around the other dogs, but I don't let her socialize anymore. She growled at one dog that was jumping around in a circle nearby. Not a bad night for her.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I like free, sometimes. This article has links to lots of freebies. Some are good to know, like free video games, digital storage space, and tech recycling. Some are things that, if you don't know by now, you probably won't ever, like free ATMs, online bill paying, airline "freebies," and shipping. But my favorite, that I use frequently:

-- Free books, movies and music: Dust off that library card. It's your ticket to mounds of free books, magazines, CDs and movies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

House hunting 9/13

We checked out a basement home nearby. Unfortunately, it is not move-in ready and still at the high end of our range, so we can't afford it without selling our house first. It was a short sale and had about half the flooring still to be done; never lived in and not completed. The flooring that was complete was beautiful, same with the tile work and wood flooring.

We looked at some houses in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale next. Unfortunately, the older houses just don't have the open, entertaining layout that we're looking for. We saw a nice patio that was similar to a pebble tec surface. Their dead garden had an interesting layout in the corner through an archway.

One house was right off Thunderbird but was a horse property. The horse licked everyone's hands. They had chickens and roosters. I totally want a chicken coop! The house had two detached garages. One was "connected" by a covered patio walkway, wide and shady.

The Happy Valley house we were excited about seeing was on almost 2 acres. The lot was great, like living on a park. Unfortunately, the house was the oddest layout we've seen so far. It faced away from the yard, with the patio facing away from the yard, and the only door in the back of the house to the yard going through a bathroom. The street noise was not good either, especially considering it was only a Sunday! They had a built in water/rock feature inside the house that was completely inappropriate for indoors. This house had little "rooms" with no purpose as well as saloon doors in the master bathroom separating the extra commode and urinal from the remaining toilet and bathroom area. The built in shelves were a nice feature.

I think as we look, we try to figure out if we can make a place work for us even though it isn't perfect, and so far, nothing fits! We'll keep looking.... Do NOT like: carpet in bathrooms, sink outside the bathroom (in the bedroom), his/hers commodes, urinals in houses, pool fencing that runs right up to the house, electric stoves in islands (or at all).

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I finally watched a Michael Moore movie. I know I went into it skeptical, and of course, I may have a different perspective than many. However, he did NOT sell me on his opinion, and trust me, that "documentary" was his opinion. He wants to show the worst cases in the US and then show the easier cases in other countries. He doesn't ask about so many things that he should but thinks he is making his case anyway.

I'm not saying he's completely wrong; I'm sure if I could stomach watching it again, I would find something I agreed with. But, I don't think of Mr. Moore when I consider preventive care!

By comparing someone who lost his fingertips to someone who cut off his fingers and had them reattached, I feel he loses credibility. I knew someone who cut off a fingertip; who wants to go through getting that tiny flap of skin sewn on rather than stitched up? Maybe I'm naive; well, we know I am, but...

And then to show that insurance companies in the US don't cover experimental treatments but not show that other countries make similar decisions is irresponsible. Many countries do not provide certain medications for MS because they are "experimental" although they have been used for years for that purpose. Or they aren't approved because they are not a cure or do not treat a specific symptom. Don't worry that the medication can slow MS progression....

And the whole thing with drugs in Cuba being VERY cheap compared to the US--first of all, don't they get their supplies from China, the country that's trying to kill us, our children and our pets? Secondly, when are we going to stop letting pharmaceuticals advertise? Oh, wait, they lobby, we can't. There you go, there's something where I agree with Mr. Moore.

This morning, after seeing this movie last night, I stopped to get gas. At every pump, there was a sign of either a donut or a breakfast sandwich on a pretzel. Mr. Moore wants to point out how everyone else lives longer than us, and wants to attribute it to their superior health care coverage. I think that is so misplaced. It is obviously more to do about out advertising and lifestyle. Sure the French eat, but they also live a more active life and eat differently than we do. They savor their meals and drinks; we eat in our cars and in front of the TV, which is blasting us with photos of Blizzards and Double Whoppers. I don't think that has anything to do with the way health care is paid for. The closest I can come to agreement on this issue is that their government paid for vacations and lighter work weeks probably give them less stress, thereby decreasing health issues.

He also discounts the many sources of national and state health care systems already in place. No one (including illegal immigrants) gets turned away at the ER; that's why there is a long wait for non-critical care. Low income earners in every state have assistance available. In addition, there are low cost clinics in every state of the nation. Mr. Moore should spend a little more time educating people how to get the available resources and a little less telling us how bad we have it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doctor visit and medical update

Quarterly assessment. Dr. M seemed a little concerned about my walking, which I thought was fine, but it wasn't as straight as last time or something. The rest seemed fine. Dr. G and Ryan confirmed I will have another MRI in 9 months. Dr. G's office gave me my films from my last MRI, proving I do have a brain, even if it has holes in it! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vick finances

The Color of Money section of the Washington Post asked what readers think about Vick's bankruptcy, brought on by giving family and friends houses, cars, etc. This was my favorite:

There's a difference between helping and enabling. One puts people on their feet. The other makes them crawl on their knees.

Another reader from Johannesburg, South Africa, said that it needs to be known the assumption of wealth, like the assumption of democracy carries responsibilities.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cassi goes to the vet (again)

Cassi went to the vet because the growth we had removed from her armpit got big and red again. Mike "popped" it and drained it out, so by the time she got to the vet, he wasn't concerned about it. However, she also had one incision on each side that was puffy, like there was fluid. Dr. F said that sometimes the dis-solvable stitches they use on the inside layer don't dissolve; the dog has something like an allergic reaction--the body rejects them. He drained the liquid from them and suggested a warm compress to keep the swelling down. Seems to work...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

House Hunting 9/6

Back from Goodyear where we went to look at houses on acre lots.

First house was on a busy street and they ruined the beautiful kitchen and tile work throughout the house by having a huge bump in the tile in the kitchen. The yard was a blank canvas but had a completed block fence. Huge ant problem in the front and shared a driveway with neighbor, kind of.The second house had a courtyard in the middle of the house, and the house didn't have access all the way around so it wasn't open enough. The pantry light was connected to the door so it automatically switched on and off by opening and closing the door. Some of the window sills were pretty low. They had a mole problem of some type and an uncovered, empty spa to go with the green pool. I liked the pathway around the pool to the back of the yard but it was unfinished. The casita had an odd flow and would not have any purpose for us.Third house had no room for the pool table or piano, but had a mudroom (kennel room), one of the largest kitchen/dining room areas we've seen, a great stove (kind of an odd layout for the stove and sink access though). The garage had epoxy and those "bumpers" on the floor for knowing where to stop. Huge RV garage/workshop that included a bathroom, but no AC and very little storage. The house had large bedrooms, including an actual walk in (no step up or down) shower in one of the guest rooms and a built in desk in the hallway (why?). I like his yellow flowers; Mike thinks they are Mexican honeysuckle.Next house had a wetbar in the kitchen, nice tile work and cabinetry and granite, needed appliances and some work. Yard was not fenced yet. Irrigation canal starts at corner of house outside master bedroom window. Lots of palm trees in front, on corner lot.All of those houses were in the same neighborhood. Then we headed out to the foothills for our last one. It was beautiful but had no usable yard. The three car garage had one of them that can be driven through, so instead of driving in and seeing a wall, you see another garage door. The entrance was a nice covered entry with circular drive. It had a fireplace that can be accessed in the living room or on the patio outdoors. The stone work was amazing and there was a wet bar in the living room. They even tiled the garage. The raised bathtub in the center of the master bathroom was a bit much and didn't even have a view because they put in block windows, but the his and her closets were nice. Every bathroom had different tile work, including a border around each mirror. Too bad it was far and no yard.

Friday, September 4, 2009

House Hunting 9/4

Off to Peoria for just a few.

First house had a baseball diamond in the backyard and a sheriff building for the kids. They had a big dog kennel with a swamp cooler.

The second house had a nice back splash behind the (electric) stove and two extra refrigerators in the laundry room.
The last house was across from cows and the access was an easement (someone owns the land and has to allow access.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Friday funny! Actual excerpts from cover letters and resumes. Meant to be a lesson in proofreading, but a great way to waste some time!

Why "it's our policy" is lame

BofA's thumbprint rule angers man with no arms
A co-worker sent this by email.

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule. 4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. 10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly. 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. 1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100. This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?

I would stop if I had time, but with my perpetual tardiness, I can't say. I stop to listen to the pianist at Nordstrom's. (That's one of my retirement dream jobs! Too bad I can't play well!)