Friday, June 24, 2011


Thank goodness!  Some time last night the clouds moved on, the sky cleared, and the sun is poking it's head up over the trees.  Hooray!  Everything is so lush and green, but we really need sun and should almost be able to hear things grow today.  The cardinals are singing, "What, what, what cheer. What cheer."  Me too!  It's been a really tough week at the office, far too much to get done, and I have not been sleeping well. Gray skies and endless rain didn't help.  Why is it that sunshine makes things more bearable?

Josie got her stitches out and everything checked out great.  She was not very happy to walk back into the clinic until she remembered that they have CATS that wander around.  When the Tech took her into the back for the suture removal, I had to warn her that Josie considers cats to be "house squirrels" and fair game. Dr. Jim took a look at her foot and said it turned out perfect.  She hasn't been bothering the wound on her cheek at all and it's almost completely healed.  What a great patient she was, never fussed about not getting her walks or spending extra time in her crate.  Although Ron normally walks her, Josie & I did a celebratory walk last night and I annoyed her by not allowing her to grab the rabbit that crossed the sidewalk in front of her or the bird that flew right over our heads.  Josie the hunter.

The parents of my new fish
New fish arrived on Wednesday.  Another species of wild livebearer Phallychthys fairweatheri "Dickfish".  Know I need to recheck the spelling on the genus - that does NOT look correct.  (It is.) These are "pedigree fish" because they came with location information which is important for wild fish - those not being commercially bred.  Pedigree fish are direct descendants from the originally imported fish, with no other strains mixed in.  The location info for these fish is Collected by Jaap-Jan de Greef in Rio Pucte, Guatemala in 2005.  I paid for 6 babies and the seller sent 10, all of which survived the trip and are doing well. 

I now have two tanks of new livebearers, as the Illyodon cortesae youngsters are also doing very well.  Hopefully they will grow up and produce for me some day.  The problem this summer will be keeping the fishroom from getting too warm. Because the whelping area is also in the basement, and because I will use a heat lamp for Reebok and the babies until they are 3 weeks old, the basement will get warmer than is ideal for the fish.  Wish I could afford a portable ac unit for the fishroom itself?  The dehumidifier that runs in the fishroom gives off quite a lot of heat.

This area has to be turned into a nursery
Where to start?  This weekend I have to turn the front side of my elderly basement into a whelping area, not an easy chore!  I have always envied people who actually have a whelping room.  I have extra bedrooms, but they are in the upstairs of my two story house, and it's too difficult to keep mom and babies upstairs - NOT handy for getting anyone outside.  So this weekend will be devoted to fixing up a whelping area in the basement.  Reebok will be comfortable with it, as she stayed in the big crate on the right when she was in season, and enjoys following me around the basement when I do fish chores.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Turning The Page

Josie and Argus

And still it rains.  Am so glad I have smooth-coated dogs and that I have a rock-and-block dog yard so they can be outdoors for awhile without tracking in mud or tearing up the yard.  None of them are bothered by rain, so as long as it's not raining too hard we just go about our business.  Am not sure how people survive where this weather is common nine months of the year.  I NEED SUN!  And pretty soon I'll be complaining about too much of that, along with heat and humidity.

In addition to the two responses to yesterday's blog I got three emails from other Dal friends, all older, all forced to cut back on their dog show activities because of age, finances or both. They could identify with my situations and my sadness. I'm fortunate that I am still able to show, that I have good hips and knees, and no age-related health issues.  I hope to be back in the ring eventually when I have a youngster to show, and Argus may get out for specialties from time to time, but I'll never be able to campaign a dog again.  It's just too expensive and too time consuming.  And so much work . . .

The nice thing about dog shows is that you can do it at many levels.  Once a year if that's your choice, or every weekend if you have the time, money and drive. While many people (like my daughter Jess) prefer to show in the classes, I love showing a Special.  The lows are so low, but the highs make up for it, and nothing really compares to going Best Of Breed over a large entry of quality Dals, showing in a Non-Sporting Group full of top specials in a variety of breeds, and winning the Group.  Best In Shows are more exciting at the time, but they are so often a case of being in the right spot at the right time.  For owner-handled dogs, there is a lot of luck involved in going Best In Show.  To consistently win Non-Sporting Groups is the thing that gets my juices flowing.  I'll miss that most of all.

Next goal is a really fine puppy to show & finish from the Bred By Exhibitor Class.  I've done that before, but not for quite awhile since we've had so few pups, and because I've concentrated on Specials while Jess does the class dogs.  My turn now.  Perhaps Reebok or Penny will do the right pup for me, or maybe Pauli will do that next year.  Because I will be involved in Lucy's eventual litter and have selected the dog she will be bred to, I'll ask to be signed on to her so I will be a co-breeder of her pups as well.  A breeder is always looking forward to that next litter!

Can't wait for puppies!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unpacking My Life

For the past three years, ever since my return from judging in Australia, my small purple suitcase has been laying on the chest under the window in my bedroom.  It got temporarily replaced by the larger purple suitcase once a year for DCA, and this year for Westminster as well, but normally it sits on the chest, waiting for me to finish packing for a dog show weekend.  Because it was often used two or three times a month, there seemed little point in putting it away.  Some things were always packed and ready, including a blow dryer, curling brush, some over the counter meds, a few cosmetics, panty hose, a few "coffee bags" (like tea bags), and a small flask of rum.  I'd just add whatever I needed for the weekend, and I'd be ready for another dog show.  The suitcase was like a piece of furniture, always sitting in that spot.

While cleaning house last weekend, I suddenly "noticed" the suitcase, still sitting there, still waiting.  For what?  When would I be using it again?  When could I reasonably expect to travel again?  Maybe this fall?  Maybe not.  So I unpacked the bag, put everything away, and sadly stowed my trusty purple suitcase in the extra bedroom, and then wiped away a few tears.  That chapter of my life is over.   Onward.

Several pictures to use today but my computer seems to have been hijacked again.  The CPU is running hard and I can't get the pictures uploaded to the blog.  It's not the virus software or the spyware software, although it sure sounds as if it is updating something.  Must be the aliens.  Well, maybe I can add the pictures tomorrow.   Sure wish I understood what went on behind the scenes in my computer!

Things are dreadful at work and we are no where near ready to go live with the new accounting system.  And yesterday the old one was not working either, or at least MY appropriation wasn't working.  Millions of dollars that I could not access - all payments from that approp received the error message of "invalid budget fiscal year".  Obviously "someone" made some kind of change over the weekend, but no on is available to help me figure this out.  All personnel are working on the new system, rather than supporting the old one.  NOT a good deal for me, with tons of work to get done by next Thursday when we turn out the lights because no budget is in place for us to work in the new fiscal year . . .  Ah, such fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breakfast with Sue

Breakfast from White Castle, umm umm good!
Woke up groggy & hungry this morning.  It rained much of last night and I don't sleep well when we get heavy rain.  Living in an old house with a marginal basement, elderly gutters & a middle-aged roof, heavy rain is always a concern, especially when accompanied by strong winds.  I was awake much of the night, got up to check things out a couple of times, and when sleep finally came it included a dream about a leaking roof and collapsing ceilings.  Far too realistic!

If it was Sunday morning, I'd walk Argus around Como, and then head off to White Castle for breakfast.  It amazes me to see the lines for breakfast at McDonalds when White Castle does a much better job.  I find McMuffins to consist of cardboard muffins, rubbery eggs, equally rubbery cheese and grainy tasteless sausage.  White Castle breakfast sandwiches are made with tasty muffins, freshly fried eggs, cheese that actually melts, and tasty sausage.  Plus the counter people greet you with a smile and seem genuinely glad to see you, and the drive through people wish you a good day.  What a difference!  I'm told that White Castle treats their employees well - it certainly shows, and their breakfast sandwiches, potato cakes & coffee are all delicious.  Not something I could eat every morning as it's still high in calories, sodium & cholesterol, but I've always felt that if I am splurging on something that is not exactly good for me, it had better TASTE good!  Try it, you'll like it!  Argus certainly approves.

Reebok is doing well and has settled in comfortably with us.  She runs with Argus & Watson, and I'm very careful when she is out with Coral & Josie as she worries about them.  Although my girls are quite friendly, get along with other dogs, and are used to visiting girls, Reebok has had some bad experiences and worries about them, so I don't take any chances.  She's doing well on Pro Plan Lamb & Rice (that's what she's used to eating at home) for breakfast, and raw for dinner, usually chicken backs which she absolutely adores.  With three weeks to go, she looks to be carrying a good-sized litter.  We go walking every night as it's important that pregnant bitches get enough exercise and she's puffing pretty good by the time we get back.   Need to start planning my whelping set up, I guess.
Reebok as a show dog.

Three weeks to go.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bad Weather On The Way

The yard is looking good

Rain in the forecast, ugh!  We just got 2.5 inches, certainly don't need another 3 or more.  So far I have not had any water in the basement, but always worry about that.  My planting is done, the dog yard is pretty much finished (you can see it in the corner surrounded by privacy fence), the grass looks great after a slow start, the perennials all survived, and the annuals are all planted.  Flower beds have no room for anything to be added,  and even the alley along the back fence is planted!
Argus enjoyed splashing in the lake.

A pleasant and productive weekend, although most of the chores on my list remain undone.  It's such a novelty to think that if I don't get them done THIS weekend, I'll be home to do them NEXT weekend.  After three years of being gone at least two weekends most months, I'm still not used to this.  One of the things that did get done was taking Mr. Argus to Lake Como for a Sunday morning walk/splash. Unfortunately there was some kind of 5K walk/run so the first part our walk was done with a lot of joggers, walkers, and people pushing those large-wheeled baby strollers made for joggers.  Even saw several guys pushing double strollers.  The scary part was how many obese people were trying to jog.  Hope they all survived!  They need to start with walking until they get their weight under control!

This blog was longer, but Blogger did not save it before the page froze up.  How annoying.  I'll save my griping for tomorrow, I guess.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feet And Flowers

Josie gets her wrapping off

Josie got her wrapping off yesterday and the stitches will come out in a few more days.  We still have to keep the stitches dry so Josie wears a plastic boot when she goes outside, but we're almost done with this.  She's bothered the stitches in a cheek just a bit so will have more of a scar on her cheek, but nothing serious.  Can't believe how good she's been about her foot, but that's typical of Josie who has always been such a good dog.  Lively, playful and obsessed by squirrels, but always sweet, co-operative, non aggressive, never destructive, and rarely barks or whines.  Good girl, Josaly Posaly!

The Show Lady Slipper is flowering right now.  The plant has been in the family for many years,first with one of my grandmothers, then with my brother, and when he moved to Costa Rica it came to me.
The Minnesota State Flower

Seems as if I should be in Fort Dodge Iowa at dog shows this weekend.  Argus did well there several years in a row and when I woke up this morning I thought I was in a motel in Fort Dodge!  Must have had a dog show dream, but I don't remember it, or how Argus did.  

No dog shows for us!  When I finish up here my little doggy and I will head over to Lake Como, and if it's not too crowded, perhaps he can swim or at least wade for awhile!