Things I Love Thursday; Chapter Deux

Black animals. I have always had an affinity for all-black creatures. My first horse of my very own was a huge black gelding (who dumped me over fences more times than I’d like to recall). My first dog was a ubiquitous black lab border collie mix, sweet sweet sweet. Super-bright. If I had known at the time, she would have made a great agility prospect. Had two black cats, one a dingbat and the other whom I still miss horribly. She was my heart-kitty. Showed up at our back door one day as a kitten and wouldnt leave. She was an absolute love and moved all over the country with me. On personal moral grounds, I refuse to keep cats indoors… and we’ll leave it at that. I am not allowed to have cats anymore. 😦

I have noticed an explosion of baby crows around this week. They are all ratty and gawky, exploring the world. I was fantasizing about coercing one into my yard and feeding it. I’d bet you good money you could clicker train a crow. I have always had a thing for crows. They are genius and know how to use tools. More than Forest or Diego can boast!

And, for the last month or more I’ve been heading south on Wednesday mornings to go hack my aunt’s big black warmblood Romeo. He is a big loveable lug; completely stereotypical warmblood. Massive and athletic, super-sweet and lazy as hell. She was gifted him by one of her oldest friends who couldnt keep him anymore. He was originally imported from Europe, no doubt for a pretty penny. He is dead broke, a nice mover and lovely to ride. Automatic lead changes, gets on the bit, et all. He does make you work for it though. My aunt was told by the friend that he had a multitude of soundness issues, but once she got a pad on one of his front feet, he’s had zero issues. We havent done much more than hack him or trail ride him, and I have felt him be a little stiff, but we’ve been having fun with him. My aunt however has a touch of the ADD–he is a big dopey warmblood after all–and she wants a hot little QH to blast around on. She keeps trying to get me to take him, but I know better than that. I’d have to quit all things dog, and even then I couldnt technically afford him. So, he’s on the market to the “right home,” which means I better enjoy him while I can.

(Forest is terrified of horses. He did not bite Romes after this was taken, fortunately.)

I also heart iPhone apps. Those specifically related to dog stuff. I know I’ve mentioned here before how much I love the Agility iLog app for my iPhone. They also keep updating it–actually listening to feedback, shocking!–and it keeps getting better. Yay on those guys. They also happen to have released a Rally flash cards app. Another $10, but, I think I am about to crumble and get it for Diego and I. (Whom I think may be almost ready for the CGC!)

Sue Ailsby also released her Levels Dog Training iPhone app this week. Check it out on iTunes. Her Levels training system is genius, perfect for an organiz-o-phile like myself. How far along I get in the actual Levels is beside the point. I can sleep at night knowing my training levels are all neatly and perfectly ordered, waiting for me to jump back in at any time. Download it for $0.99 before she figures out she’s waaaaay underselling herself. It is on version 1.1 and seems pretty minimal, but if they do as half a good a job as the iLog peeps on updates, it will be worth the price 100x over.

Lastly, 4 day weekend!!!! HOOOray. So excited. And not that many plans, which means plenty of hang out and dog time. Maybe I’ll get super-motivated and drag my 2x2s out to the park. Forest has been nailing it in the patio, even with two sets, and an additional obstacle. I think this is how I will train weaves from here on out.

Happy holiday weekend!

Things I Love Thursday, Take One

In the spirit of being positive, and maybe under the influence of a new “motivational” book I have been reading/working in, I am jumping on the “day of the week” posting themes with “Things I Love Thursday.” Hopefully we’ll stick with dog- and agility-related stuff, but I am sure I wont be able to resist throwing in some odds and ends as well. Here goes the virgin voyage:

Dogged Goodness:

Acana Grasslands Kibble — I have been experimenting with the boys, and so far this has been the best. Eating the food is never a problem in our house, its the exit that causes us issues. Mainly with Diego. Seems to come out all okay, no drama, and Diego’s coat looks especially amazing. (On a side note, I need to tape a huge reminder in the kitchen somewhere that says “Do Not Experiment with Diego’s Dinner.” I was all thinking I was super-dog-mom last night and cooked up a scrambled egg, canned salmon, brown rice and parsley omelette for them for dinner. It was scarfed up in seconds flat, with pitiful looks for second servings after. Yet, Diego was not a happy camper this morning and had his first ever accident in my office. Yay for scrubbing half-digested brown rice off of office carpet. My own fault.)

– Forest’s new collar from All Hounds Apparel — he has the tiger stripe one, rawr. It makes me feel better when he pulls on walks like a maniac.

– 2×2 weave training! — We aren’t really “done”, or even close to done, but I think it is going to be soooo hugely helpful in getting Forest to weave independently of me. He seems to really get it, and doesn’t seem at all confused (I was worried that he might be with already “knowing” how to weave, but no issues whatsoever.) Laurie also caught me babysitting his weave entries in class last week, so I need to work on that too. But, so far, I think this is going to make both of us way more confident. Hooray for “systems” that work.

Non-Dog Good Stuff:

mint.com — I have always sucked at managing my money. I pay bills on time, but I am no stranger to a bounced checking account either. Mint is free, online, and helps you track and manage your finances without a lot of effort. I am finding it pretty easy to keep up with, and its really helping me budget and visually see where I am spending too much money. (Ummm, are you shocked the number one red flag is my “Pets” category? Of which agility is a sub-category? Its not pretty, but at least I know I have a problem. Thats the first step, right?)

– hand-me-downs from my grandmother. People probably think I am creepy, but I love that I have been able to have a few things from Nanie that remind me of her on a daily basis. A few of her button-down shirts, necklaces and rings that I wear, a super-retro-regency dolphin soap dish I use for my jewelry, the cricket cage that my sister and I used to play with on the nightstand in the kids bedroom. It makes me feel like she is still around, and I know she would love for me to have those little pieces of her.

White Buffalo — going to see him tonight again, this time with a full band. I dont have much patience for shows these days, but for him, I do. Amazing.

Heading out to the Dogs Allowed to Be Dogs Place tomorrow evening for a car camp out. From there I have to get up and out reasonably early on Saturday AM for more wedding festivities. As in I have to make it from the remote campsite, to a shower and a hairdryer, and to a nice restaurant wearing—as per the invite—a purple or green outfit by 11:30am. Joy oh, joy, this will be fun. I think I can pull it off at this point, but, we’ll see how it goes.