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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween wildlife

We had a pretty steady stream of trick-or-treaters from 6-8 tonight. When it slowed down, I joined Mike across the street to talk with the neighbors and wish Joe a happy birthday. He seems excited to work with us on our landscape design at the new house if/when we get it. It's always nice to catch up with Joe and Jan. They told us that it wasn't teenagers that destroyed pumpkins on our street--it was javelina. They saw 7 javelina around 12:30 at night earlier in the week on our street. The javelina know how to tip over trash cans, so it's good that we put ours out in the morning rather than leaving it overnight.

I also met the new neighbors. Their little girl loves dogs, so Teka and Cassi kept an eye on her running around outside while I was packing some boxes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Where is Mrs. Post when you need her?

Fifty things restaurant staffers should never do
Let's show some manners! My faves:

2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, "Are you waiting for someone?" Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar. (I hate that "Just one?")

6. Do not lead the witness with, "Bottled water or just tap?" Both are fine. Remain neutral. (I would add, if tap is not fine, figure out why and fix it!)

8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment. (Don't ask "how is everything?" when you can see we all just took a bite.)

12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.

14. When you ask, "How is everything?" or "How was the meal?" listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.

15. Never say "I don't know" to any question without following with, "I'll find out." (This is a rule for LIFE!) From the comments: Think the "I don't know," and don't open your mouth until you get to "I'll find out."

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait. (Some don't agree, but I think it makes the slower eater feel rushed.)

18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, "Who's having the shrimp?" (Unless the group is playing musical chairs, there is no reason a server doesn't know who ordered what.)

25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table. (Who wants dirty dishes? I can stay at home for that. J/K!)

30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle. (I probably wouldn't notice, but interesting to note.)

40. Never say, "Good choice," implying that other choices are bad. (Love it! Don't make the rest of the group insecure!)

46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal. (Repeat after me: all guests are equal. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Age or lack of age should not determine how people are treated anywhere, just as clothing doesn't show how much money someone will spend. On the other hand, customers anywhere should present themselves the way they WANT to be treated, rather than expecting to be treated fairly while presenting themselves as bums.)

48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order. (This goes with #18. A server's job is to know who wants what.)

From the comments: When picking up the check, PLEASE do not ask "Do you need change?" Bring the change, or say "I'll be right back with your change." (And give me my change, rather than assuming any tip--what if someone else at the table is leaving the tip?)

Don't ask "Still working on that?" when eying my not-empty plate! Food is for pleasure, not for work. (Kinda funny!)

These are actually good rules for the guests too: never touch the server, never curse, never ask for the server's favorites, etc. It is easy to forget that a compliment to one person, when in a group, often means others feel left out. No one means to snub, but they happen. If we all thought about the over all experience our interactions create, we would be much better off.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

God Dries It for Free--Solar Clothes Dryer

I was reading the NY Times headlines yesterday (keeping current on the news for work) and ran across something I had to read at home.  I read all the comments and clicked on most of the links because I thought it was pretty interesting.

Apparently there is a laundry war in this country. All over the world, people hang laundry to dry, generally outside. In fact, it wasn't that long ago that it was common here. However, after the invention of the dryer, the laundry line became known as obsolete. Now there's a movement to go back to the laundry line, because it is energy efficient as well as relaxing alone time. But some neighborhoods have banned this, while some areas, such as Florida, have passed legislation prohibiting the ban of laundry lines. I have a gas dryer now, so a lot of the statistics are not relevant as I am not running an electric dryer and there doesn't seem to be much information about savings when switching from gas to the laundry line.

The neighborhood we are trying to move to has a laundry line ban in the CC&Rs, but they also have a solar panel ban if it can be seen from a neighbor's house (which you can see anything in the backyard from some neighbor's house) and that cannot really be enforced.

There are several solutions presented in the comments. Here are my favorites.
  • Use a retractable line--certain items can be hung without clothespins by looping
  • Use a portable drying rack, available at IKEA and
  • Use an umbrella style rack--can double as an umbrella by putting some type of tarp over it
  • Use boat cord and boat hooks (Martha Stewart idea)
Those already doing this say it takes less time than drying in a machine, clothes last longer, and the sun bleaches whites better than bleach. Here are tips I picked up.
  • Laundry can be hung inside if neighborhood issues prevent outside drying
  • White vinegar in the spin cycle
  • Hang colors inside out to prevent fading
  • Hang tops down, bottoms up
  • Use natural detergents like Old School Brand Laundry Soap--I currently use Seventh Generation, Method, or Ms. Meyers
A good resource: Project Laundry List is making air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Agility Class

Teka's class had 3 parts, including a mini course. She was pretty excited about her sock toy tonight, so I used it for the weave exercise and she did them very quickly, so I know she CAN. We also practiced turns, starting with two jumps that are touching like an L, and then moving to a 5 jump exercise, with two pairs parallel and one at the end, doing almost a figure 8, with the turn on the end. The mini course had the big jumps (triple, broad, double) and the tire, which she did with no problem.

Cassi's class did a weave race, which she did well at but the dog she raced beat her (barely). She did all of her weaves quickly, without missing entries, so this past weekend was even more frustrating! We also had the mini course and she did well. She would do better with another handler! They change the order so I got lost. :) We also were able to work on the teeter during our distance exercise and she started doing it quickly when she didn't get her cream cheese for doing it slowly. The distance exercise was four jumps in a circle, with obstacles between the jumps, so the circle was weaves, jump, tunnel, jump, teeter, jump, weaves, jump, but all facing out. Standing in the center of the circle, I can send her to any of the obstacles and call her back over a jump. I need to try this with Teka!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running (almost) barefoot

This past weekend, I noticed that several people ran their turns at agility without any shoes on. I hesitate to go barefoot at an agility trial because there are dogs there (meaning there is pee in the grass). However, if a dog "eliminates" in the ring, they are eliminated and the area is cleaned, so running barefoot in the ring may not be so bad.

In the NY Times, they talk a bit about the book written recently about long distance runners in Mexico compared to marathon runners in the US. Those Mexican runners wear a thin sandal and have no running injuries, while marathon runners have increasing numbers of injuries.

This morning, as I was leaving my neighborhood, I saw a guy running barefoot--totally barefoot on the pavement. It seems odd, but then I thought back to a time when I walked to and from the public pool with two younger girls (my boyfriend's sisters) and they walked it barefoot. I guess it's like conditioning your dogs' pads to walk on pavement. I'm tempted....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Valle del Sol Golden Retriever AKC Agility Trial

Two days, two dogs, two rings, one me! Teka was in the wrong height class; she has been measured now and will be entered at 20 inches instead of 24, but I entered her in 24, same as Cassi. That was NOT good. I think Cassi was feeling it that she didn't get enough one-on-one time before her runs and she was a total flake half the time. She also did the super slow teeter moves and the refusing the tire and didn't get one set of weaves completely correct all weekend. I'm not even sure if she had fun, but I think she did at least some of the time.
Teka did much better than Cassi but she went right after Cassi all but once so she didn't get enough "focus on me" time and ended two runs with (probably from stress) peeing on the course. One of them, a FAST course, she actually would have qualified if she hadn't peed. She also had some trouble with the tire, and near the end of the weekend, the extra tall jump height was getting to her--she started dropping bars on jumps. But she stayed pretty focused on me (some sniffing issues, but that's to be expected at her FIRST trial!) and she does a beautiful teeter and broad jump. Weaves are super slow; we'll have to work on that.
I was very stressed out and probably did not help my dogs with that energy. I tried breathing but I'm really glad I decided to skip the USDAA trial next weekend. The next AKC trial is the following weekend when I have to be out at Robbins Butte for the VSWC Hunt Test, and the next one is the BIG show Cynosports at Westworld, happening while I'm in Denver, so the next AKC Trial for me to consider will be Wags for Wishes around New Year's. The only other trial I know of before then is the USDAA Contact Zonies show the first weekend in December, which I may do, but I won't have the truck, as well as Mike or his dad to help out.

I would like to get a real teeter so I can work on Cassi's issue. I also need to take my weave poles out to some parks and work on them with both girls. And more!

It was still too hot for agility running this weekend. I didn't get sunburned but I went to bed at 8 last night and slept for about 10 hours straight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Agility Equipment

We went to the Contact Zonies meeting and equipment silent auction and I spent too much but got some good stuff. The tire is too small, but I can save it for puppy training.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Agility Class

I forgot to blog last night's class right away so I don't remember all the details but Teka was excited and playful and Cassi did a sloooow teeter so I got to work her on it about 15 times at the end of class. That makes me nervous for the trial this weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Defining Liberation

Interesting how "liberation" seems to be defined by a person's values rather than the values of those being "liberated."

"Liberation is not a cookie-cutter deal. It looks different to every single woman in the world, and Muslim women are no different. There are Muslim women for whom liberation looks like a miniskirt, or a headscarf, or a university degree, or a well-paying job, or a husband, or a house, or debt wiped clean, or a divorce, or a reliable source of clean water, or opportunities for her children, or different combinations of these, etc. Forcing one model of liberation on anyone isn't liberating; it's just as oppressive as other paternalist or patriarchal forces in a Muslim woman's life."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Running Barefoot

I recently saw this author on TV talking about 100 year old men running long distances barefoot. Here's an article about the theory behind it. It sounds like a "what works for you" idea. I might be interested in trying it; I get some pain in my heels when I run so I know I don't have proper form. There are minimalist shoes that can be worn to protect the feet, but they were made for water wear, so maybe I'll wait till the next line for runners is available.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I'm back from California! I had a relaxing time with Christie and Reuben, mostly. Being the big sister, well, rational and responsible is somewhat natural for me, but patient, not so much. :) I hope that my being there was helpful. I was able to meet with Jeff and Christie and Jeff's stepdad, Kim, and I have some homework that I know I'm not going to get done soon enough....

The flight was fairly uneventful, except for the old guy that wanted to pre-board but couldn't find his boarding pass. Once I got into Phoenix though, what a mess. Apparently every flight got there around the same time. The baggage area was crazy. Once I got my bags, I made my way out to get my Gecko bus, and there were about 250 people waiting for the shuttle to the economy parking. I've never seen anything like it. People had been waiting for an hour. I ended up getting to my car about an hour after getting off the plane. Glad to be home and mostly unpacked but so much to do....

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Reuben and I went to the mall and I bought some fair trade items and we had lunch. After we picked up Christie, we went to CVS and got some nail polish and stuff. I'm leaving a gift for Chris and Lauren's Halloween wedding. I know they want cash, so I got a dish and a bag, and we made Origami hearts out of the money. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. We ended up using hair spray and an iron to get them to stay.

Reuben and Mike got the Skype going and Cassi perked her ears up and watched me on the monitor, but Teka was FUNNY. She tried to climb on top of the desk to the speaker that my voice was coming out of. All we could see was her wriggling butt trying to crawl on to Mike's head.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Spent the day traveling with Christie after dropping Reuben at school. I got some reading done during her appointments. We went to dinner and I had chocolate cake--yum but so bad. :) Reuben got a webcam and got on Skype so we could talk to Mike. So cool!

What Got you there won't get you there

For my office book club, we read this book. It was not my favorite so far. The outline of the book would probably cover all the information you would want to get from it. In our meeting, we agreed that it would be better as a booklet! Not recommended.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I finished listening to Blink by Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago but forgot to update here. It is a very interesting "read" about how we make decisions and how practicing decision-making can improve the skill.  The author talks about making decisions based on intution or gut but really based on experience. Very interesting and well written as his books seem to be. I would like to read the previous book as well and I heard a new one is on the way. Highly recommended!

Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge

I just finished reading this book I picked up at a conference in April. It's a quick read and some good information for identifying "money scripts" which are things that we think about money that may be true but not always. It goes through the process alongside the process that Scrooge went through. While we think of Scrooge as an old miserly man, in the end, he's not because he goes through the process and changes his money scripts. Recommended!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time Bank

This is a cool idea that is exploding during this challenging time of unemployment and underemployment. Time banks include all types of services, from pet sitting to professional services.

Quoted from the article:

"The goal is to get people to trust each other and to think differently about values. Our current money system encourages competition, hoarding and scarcity. Time banking is different. We'll never run out of time dollars, as long as there are people."

It is time for us as a society to adjust our thinking from scarcity to abundance; it would change a lot of the entitlement and help with defining "enough."

Conquering Fear

Ode blogger has an article on conquering fear:

I find that some of us have a fear of failure because we want to be perfect, so I like that the author says, not "just do it" but "do it anyway."

To combat fear, the author advises a combination of exercise (generally slow exercise, like a long walk) and pyschological/holistic like breathing exercises. I agree with that advise--walking and breathing exercises work for a lot of mental hurdles!

Travel conspiracies

So, I've been traveling, and with the length of this trip, I did check a bag and didn't have to worry as much about the security restrictions. However, I did take the mermaid lamp that Mike bought for Christie in my carry-on. In Phoenix, they wanted to make sure the ball was not a snow globe--apparently they aren't allowed due to the liquid! Well, it's a lamp, so they opened it and let me continue on. (He was going to rip it open and I said it's a gift, please find something to cut the tape, so he did.) No issue in LAX though.

So I got an email that says: I always thought that Ziploc and the TSA were in some secret cabalunder the guise of "airline security." That is funny! So the product they are selling is essentially a designer Ziploc; I wouldn't go out of my way to buy them, but it's amusing, so here's the site:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To Sacramento and beyond

I made it to Sacramento. My flight was delayed, and they told me that I could make an earlier flight but my luggage wouldn't make it, so I stayed so "we" would be on the same flight. When Chrisite and I had waited for all the luggage to come out from my flight, an announcement was made that some luggage had come on an earlier flight and was waiting at the office, about 10 feet away. So my luggage made it on the flight I didn't take because they said my luggage wouldn't make it!

Anyway, it's raining on and off here, cool and beautiful. We picked Reuben up from school, saw L and C (and their 2 Dobes) and then went to dinner. Jefe is staying at his dad's during my visit, with Junior and Bo. Christie has 3 dogs now, Slippers, Baby, and Roscoe. Jefe's fish are very friendly and like to be petted! I'm not sure how many cats are here but they are friendly like Kachina.


I was stressed about finishing packing this morning. I have a blister from all that walking in the wrong shoes so I wore tennies today but forgot to put my inserts in! It looks like it rained while I was sleeping. It's the last day of conference and a lot of people didn't stay. I think it was worthwhile. I told BK the other day about the ethics speaker as I saw him a few months ago and it was the most interesting and entertaining ethics presentation I've seen. I went to a couple of other sessions during that time and they were interesting and practical. It drizzled on me when I was walking back to the hotel. I'm waiting for the shuttle to the airport and then off to see C and R!


It's Monday, last full day of the conference. Again, great speakers. Went to "dinner" with BK and JR from my firm and then JR and I went back to the reception. We ended up leaving with D (guy from India) and R (gal from FL) and walking to Downtown Disney. Fortunately, we passed by my hotel so I was able to leave my bags. We listened to several musicians (R and I both bought CDs from one) and watched the fireworks. We were going to walk R back to her hotel but we were tired and thirsty, so we went to Cheesecake Factory and split a piece of cheesecake. I love their green ice tea, unsweetened with mint. Yum. We had an interesting conversation about meditation, yoga, health, and religion. We were one Christian, one Deist (not sure I understand that one), one Hindu, and one Muslim. I got back to the hotel very very late and still have to pack....

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Long day at the conference. Lots of interesting speakers and information. Too tired to elaborate now. Went for a long walk to Walgreens to get feminine products. The Walgreens I ended up at was tiny, so I went to the Target behind it and got my product. I walked back, making a square of about 3 miles. I stopped and got homemade cashew caramel ice cream from Tilly's and saw the fireworks again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


What a day. Since my pre-conference workshop was cancelled, I slept in, had a leisurely morning in my room, ate some oatmeal and an apple. I walked to the conference center and checked in, did a little shopping, and walked back to the hotel. I got a manicure and pedicure and had some lunch before going back to the conference center for the opening session.

The keynote speaker was Bert Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good. He was entertaining, energetic, and an obvious optimist. I'm a big fan of the brand. Afterwards, I got my book signed (I bought it during my shopping-proceeds go to charity) and I was able to talk to him briefly. I told him that he should consider more agility Tshirts and he said he has heard that and probably will. I noticed they ran out of books; I was thinking I should have bought some for donating to raffles, but....

I got lots of freebies from the exhibitors, met a lot of people I won't remember names of, and then went for a long walk to get dinner and water. I saw the Disney fireworks on the way back.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I got lost trying to find the economy parking today. I thought I was going to miss my flight but it was delayed so that worked out. After catching the Super Shuttle to my hotel and getting checked in, I went to eat at the hotel restaurant but no one helped me so I walked to the corner restaurant. I had a good dinner (and homemade ice cream) and watched the Disney fireworks. Between the travel and not getting enough sleep this week, I'm exhausted!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Agility Class

Last night, I went to Anabel's for some special pre-trial training. We did some work on the teeter for Cassi (but Teka got to do it too). We named slow and fast, starting with fast and slow "with me" and then doing fast sits and downs. She had a game where she walked backwards, humming, and the dogs follow, and whoever does the faster sit or down when she commands, gets the treat. EASY and cool! Then we named fast and slow on the low teeter and moved on to fast on the regular teeter. She advised me that when Cassi does the slow teeter, just pick her up, tell her that was slow, and then re-start the teeter. She didn't end up doing the slow teeter there but she did in class later and I was able to do that and it totally worked! Anabel also said I should use (tape underneath) weights on our teeter so she gets used to the pivot point being "different" and going anyway.

We also worked on the tire, and I guess I've changed my command several times (based on various advice) so I am NOT to use hup (it's not a normal jump and they have to collect differently) and I don't want to use hoop because there is another thing that is a hoop, so we're going with tire. I was originally told not to do tire because it starts like tunnel, table, and teeter, but apparently that's okay because they both started doing it correctly FINALLY.

After that, we went to our class for course night. It started with the tire, then walk it, a double jump, frame (Teka missed it both times and had to come back), flip to a tunnel, out to a pinwheel jump (3 jumps), switch out to a tunnel, back to the jumps for a serpentine (I had to front cross to get to the far side; on the close side they both were confused), then wrap (around the jump instead of coming back over it--Cassi had a lot of trouble with it) , to the tunnel (under the dog walk), back over the jump, to the teeter, pause to cross, then jump and weaves (I have to front cross for Teka so I'm on the right side; Cassi kept pulling out at #10), then jump. I got to run twice with each of them. I ran Cassi at 22 and Teka at 20. Teka did knock a bar before the weaves because she tried to turn too soon. I guess I called too soon--it must have been the only time! I'm always late!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Consumption or population?

Recently, on a LinkedIn group I belong to, I saw a discussion about what can be done about overpopulation. I did not agree with the premise or most of the commentary. This article explains the myth of overpopulation and goes on to the real issue, overconsumption. BTW, some of the comments are ridiculous. Let's not blame cattle for everything....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Divas in the house

Ten reasons the Diva Cup can change your Life!

Pretty funny but educational. I laughed at the end--my sister and I were SOOO annoyed by the "have a happy period" marketing. I wonder if I know anyone that uses the Diva Cup or if I have to be a pioneer? There are lots of comments so I scanned through a few before giving up, but the consensus is that those using the Diva Cup LOVE their Diva Cup. The author responds: I don't know any woman who says, "I love my pad." Ha ha, that's so funny!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Banned Books Week

As a child, I was an avid reader, to the point that the librarian would let me take out as many books as she thought was reasonable rather than the set limit. Over Christmas break, I was probably in fifth grade, she let me take The Yearling, a very large book that took me the whole break to finish. I read above my grade level as long as I can remember. I still love to read, although I don't devote the time I would like and am often relegated to reading "work" stuff rather than fun stuff.

This week, celebrate the freedom (fREADom) to read. Here are some links about Banned Book Week and, Banned and Challenged Books, and Tango Makes Three--the top challenged book in the US the past three years

Many challenges today seem to be due to content that parents don't want their children reading. Isn't that part of a parents job--to monitor the child's activities? Don't take the choice from everyone else that doesn't share your views. It's probably more important that children ARE reading than WHAT they are reading.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I'm submitting entries for both Cassi and Teka at the AKC Agility Trial to be held at PV Park on the 24th and 25th. That's Jumpers with Weaves (6, not 12), Standard, and FAST for each of them each day, so I am going to run 12 times. I've apparently lost my mind somewhere; if anyone finds it, please return it to me--I'm too busy and lazy to check the lost and found.