Monday, December 13, 2010

last flyball tournament of the year

The first weekend of December was the last flyball tournament of the year, held up in Abbotsford BC. Despite the very cold temperatures the weather was dry and sunny, and with the nice heated barn we were perfectly comfortable during the race day. We had a good time with not only our teammates but many of our flyball friends from other clubs, and it was a great way to wrap up the year of flyball. Our next tournament isn't until mid-March, which is one of the longest breaks we've had since we began attending tournaments regularly in late 2004.

The border collies relax in their e-pen between races...well as much as border collies EVER relax!

Phoebe has her own crate for tournaments, fondly referred to as the PCU - Phoebe Containment Unit. This way she has her own space, much warmer coverings, and doesn't get stepped on (and therefore pissy) by the border collies. Incidentally, she is now up to number 47 on the top-scoring Jack/Parson Russell Terrier list with NAFA. Flyball does end up being her main redeeming quality, and she is very, very good at it!

We worked together with our friends from Muddy Paws A'Flyin (Salem, OR) to enter three teams into this tournament. As you can see, our board was quite full of races - and the day before, Jadzia ran on the Portland Tail Blazers team, making it four teams we were involved with! All of the dogs ran really well, especially since so many of them had never run together before, and a good time (and many points!) was had by all.

Finally, what would a tournament be without neat prizes? First up is one of the "I <3 Flyball" keychain/pulls that the hosting club (Dogwood Pacesettters) made for all attendees, which are super awesome. My husband wasn't particularly attached to having one himself, so I got to keep his too - I have a green-bead one that's on my Can-Am tote bag, and this purple-bead one that's on the messenger bag that I carry for work.

And secondly, I did a favor for some friends who are also artists, and as a thank-you they made me the most delightful Christmas tree ornament - a replica of our flyball box, loaded with a tennis ball on the side Ezri takes from! It's really amazing, just a few inches tall and with tons of detail, and I absolutely adore it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

thanksgiving and the holidays!

Two weeks ago, it was Thanksgiving. Despite the wintry weather we had in the days leading up to the holiday, we had everything we needed for a great celebration. Our friends Jeremy, Christy, and Brian (from our D&D group) joined us for dinner, a movie, and Rock Band, and a good time was had by all. I enjoy making Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps because it is only once a year, and everything came out very well.

The turkeys came out very well, with their "before" shot to the left as they were prepped and ready to go into the oven. The long brining really affected the sweet-brined turkey that was wrapped in bacon, as between the two it came out tasting almost like ham! The savory-brined turkey was rubbed with olive oil and stuffed with sage, basil, rosemary, and garlic, and it was amazing as well. My mashed potatoes were a little off, as I cooked them a bit too early and left them in the pot, which caused them to absorb some water, but they were acceptable. The biscuit rolls also got a little worse for wear after being put into a warm crockpot after baking, I think they actually baked a little more while waiting for dinner, so I'll need to adjust that for next year. Everything else was great, however, and I even got some tasty flavored butters from one of the local creameries so I didn't have to make them myself. Yay for Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving also means I can use our lovely china service, which has been steadily building up since our wedding thanks to gifts from our parents, and my set of sterling silver which was given to me by my Nana as a wedding gift. The crystal goblets were an engagement gift from Chris' paternal grandparents, so nearly everything on the table is a family gift of some sort. Very appropriate to use them for Thanksgiving! I only wish I had a few more excuses to use them throughout the year, but the hand-washing and delicate nature make it not a good idea to use them every day.

Once Thanksgiving was over, it was time to decorate the house for Christmas. Not everything is up yet, but the lights went up on Saturday after Thanksgiving, complete with the annual "drat too many lights died let's race out to Target for more" trip. As usual I handled the lights up on the roof (white icicles with multicolored along the edge) and Chris handled the lights on the ground (green rope around the sidewalk and purple in the rock/plants). This year he expanded his plans and began running colored larger LED's in the bushes alongside the road, and they look great too. Eventually the colored lights might make it all the way out to the stop sign, but not this year!

Since we are traveling back to New Jersey for the actual Christmas holiday, we are not getting a real tree this year so as to not worry about it while we are gone. Instead we found an inexpensive pre-lit 5' tree at Home Depot that I set up in the window seat in the dining room. I decorated it last week with colored lights, a bow for the topper, a bit of bead garland, and as many ornaments as could fit on it. I was actually able to put nearly all of our unique ornaments on the tree, leaving off many of the fillers (glass orbs, metal icicles, etc.) although I did put plenty of our purple bells on the tree for tradition sake. I'm really pleased with how it came out! Yes, there are already presents under it - my mom sent most of them home with me when I saw her in Indiana in October. We will probably have a small "Christmas Morning" on the 23rd before we fly out to open these and any presents to/from each other that are too big to travel easily. I'm not a big fan of splitting up Christmas like that, but I also don't want to ship things two or three times, or end up with something that can't be used in New Jersey anyway. So I will look at the positive side - yay two Christmases!

And of course, no holiday is complete without embarrassing the dogs.

Ezri wants to know why do I do these things to her?

Curzon will do anything to be called a good boy!

No silly picture of Jadzia, as she was at work with Chris when I was taking these shots. :) Speaking of photos, we did a wonderful photo shoot with our friend Amy at Artis Photography on the 28th, and we get to go see our photos tonight! I can't wait - they take SUCH good action shots of the dogs!