Thursday, July 26, 2012

six months later, Curzon is cancer-free

Apparently I took a summer vacation from the blog.  Oops.

Well, it's more like I got behind on my posting, then ended up sort of paralyzed that I hadn't posted, and then I went on vacation.  But the end result is no posts for two months, so we'll call it a summer vacation.  Rather than start with my mental backlog of posts, here is the most important thing that's happened in the last two months.

Curzon is cancer free at six months post-op.


I took him in for chest x-rays on July 10th, which are included below, and he looks perfect.  Apart from the obviously trimmed ribs and sternum, as well as a few surgical clips where his muscles were adjusted, there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about his chest films.  His heart, lungs, and other organs are clean.  There is no tumor regrowth around the surgical site, and no visible lumps or metastases on the film.  There are no physical lumps anywhere on his body.

We have our boy back, and that is a wonderful thing.

I will be taking him to the NAFA CanAm Classic, October 12-14 2012, which is essentially "flyball nationals" in Indianapolis, where he will race with a friend's team.  Next year, during 2013, he will earn his Flyball Grand Champion 50,000 point title, and in October of 2013 he will earn his Iron Dog Award for earning points in 10 consecutive NAFA racing years.

I can't wait.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

spinning with a wheel for the first time

On Tuesday, I took a beginner's spinning wheel class with my friend Christy at the Weaving Works down in the U District in Seattle.  I went into the class with a very basic skillset in drop spindle spinning, which I learned at the Sew Expo back at the beginning of March, and with never having sat at a spinning wheel before.  The slight familiarity I had with fiber and how to draft it was very helpful, but of course none of my other baby spinning skills translated in the slightest.

There were a variety of wheels set up in the class for everyone to use, and the one I ended up using was a Lendrum single-treadle folding wheel, similar to the double-treadle one available at the store now. It was easy enough to use once I had played with it, with a single treadle on the right side and three whorl sizes to choose from to adjust the ratio of the flyer speed to the wheel speed.  For this class (and so far at home) I'm keeping it on the slowest speed possible, as it's already very fast to me!  I had always wondered how you set up a wheel to spin, and it turns out to be quite easy once someone shows you how - the yarn comes out of the orifice (the black tube at the top of the photo above) to join with the fiber you're spinning in your hands, and once it's through the orifice it is attached to the flyer in order to wrap around the bobbin.

By the end of the class I had a bobbin about half-full of beginner yarn - some well turned, some not, some way overtwisted, and some not twisted enough.  My biggest challenge so far appears to be controlling the twist in the fiber - I'm using my right hand close to the wheel to control twist, while my left hand is managing and feeding the fiber to my right.  It's very easy to loose my right hand too much and then get twist in my fiber supply, which means a thicker slub of yarn forming since it's difficult/impossible to break that up once the twist is in it.  I also had trouble at the beginning with too much twist going into my yarn, which actually caused it to kink up and almost bind up the flyer, so that's going to take some time to get used to as well.  I only broke the yarn once, though, so overall I'm pretty pleased with the results for my first attempt.

At the end of class, we were shown how to use a niddy-noddy to pull the yarn off our bobbins, and then the teacher tied off the ends for us.  Apparently I wound onto the niddy-noddy very tightly, and it was difficult to get the skein loose once it had been tied off!  The yarn is only a single strand at this point, and of course when it's allowed to relax then all that twist comes out in curlies and overall twist of the skein.  I think it's kind of pretty, honestly - and it's amazing how much yarn was on the bobbin, and that was only about 2/3 of what I spun that night (my one yarn break was irredeemable and I started over at that point with a new leader).  That's probably the same amount (or possibly more) of yarn that I've spun on my drop spindles over the past few months!

The teacher gave us the option to borrow a wheel for the week between classes for a small deposit, so I took her up on that offer and brought it home along with the bag of fiber she gave to each student.  The fiber we're working with is plain undyed Australian wool mix, which she said is probably primarily Corriedale but is mixed with other things.  I spent a short time last night spinning again, but was having some difficulty and slightly different problems then I did while I was at the class.  First off, I was spinning in my dining room for the light and the wheel was moving on the hardwood floor as I treadled, so I used a silicone potholder to stop it from moving.  My first two sections of roving spun up very easily (and I was a lot more consistent with my yarn size, as you can see in the photo above), but then I started having more trouble controlling the wheel for some reason, with it going too fast for me at times and flipping direction when I didn't want it to.  After about the sixth time that the yarn wisped right out of my hands, I gave up for the night and pulled off the wispy bits and just wound off the edge on the guide hook so that I could just practice treadling a bit.  I'll try again tonight, maybe by moving my little ironing board so I can sit in my sewing room where there are rugs *and* good lighting.

And of course, after the frustration of having issues spinning, two of my dogs decided to be absolute brats one right after the other, which did not help matters.  That was when I cut my losses and headed to bed, as clearly anything additional was not going to be accomplished last night!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the month of May in pictures so far

The month of May is passing quickly, and the blog posts that I write in my head somehow don't make it to the I'm going to do a photo post update!

May 4th was our tenth anniversary,which was spent with our friends in Canada for a flyball tournament.  Most of our evening was spent playing the horribly awfully fun card game Cards Against Humanity, but my wonderful husband did get me a beautiful anniversary band.  It's diamonds and sapphires in white gold, with a black finish applied on the parts where the sapphires are set - very different from the usual band, and I love it.  Right now I'm wearing it on my right hand, however, as a week later I somehow jammed my left ring finger and it's still swollen, so that I can't get my band off or my engagement or anniversary rings back on - very irritating!

At the tournament I got not one but two 0.000 perfect starts with Ezri - and earned a t-shirt for my accomplishment!

Phoebe was quite tired after the weekend, as again she ran as savage height dog and at the age of 13, that's finally starting to tire her out.  I was pretty amused by her choice of sleeping location, as it's only been two years waiting for her to figure out she could sleep on the little cushion I put up there for her.  In other news, we are looking for a wonderful retirement home for Phoebe will she will be loved, spoiled, and not have to deal with bitchy herding dogs for the rest of her life.  I hope we can find one, she deserves and has earned a quite respite for her golden years.

The Subaru has been inching steadily closer to the magical 100,000 mile mark, so one day last week I gave up and just drove around a bit until I got it to kick over so I could pull into a parking lot for a picture.  I had a picture of the 50,000 mark when I got my very first iPhone, but it was lost on a software update soon thereafter, which has always made me a little sad.

A friend of mine gave me this delightfully nerdy 80s version of the Aperture Science logo to put on my RV trailer.  It's fantastic!

Another Windstone dragon has come home to live with me, this one a Coiled Dragon in a limited edition color of Black Emerald Violet.  This is my first one of this type, and the black is incredibly rich and gorgeous in person, very different than the colored sculptures that I have already.

The lilac bush that lives in the middle of the stairwell in the back deck has grown even bigger and this year it produced about 16 flowers - the most ever!  The poor thing hasn't held up well to the heavy rain we had yesterday, however, so I went out and clipped several of the flowers to bring them in for me to enjoy.  I think we're going to have to strap or tie the main stalks of the bush upright, as they've been leaning a bit for a while (aiming for the sun, I think) and are now laying across the guardrail on the deck.  Very beautiful, nonetheless.

On Saturday my friend Christy and I spent quite a while doing squilt-related things, including a trip out to a quilt shop that was having a 25% off sale for their anniversary as well as sewing time.  I managed to complete the quilt top started in the class I took at the sewing expo in March, and I've conceptualized what I need to do to piece the backing so that I can put it all together.  I also spent some time working on the baby quilt that I am making for a friend's son, and of course I have one that I have started for my nephew that I hope to finish before his birthday in September.  I need to get rolling!

But even with all of the quilting I want to do and need to do, I'm still doing some spinning.  I was getting frustrated with the first batch I was working with, so I grabbed another spindle and a different batch of fiber and started a different one.  It's a lovely color and is working a little more easily for me, which is very nice and relaxing.  I just need to do it more often - like so much else!

And as if all of that wasn't enough, tonight I am taking a wheel spinning class - whee!

Monday, May 14, 2012

London, part two

Oh dear, it's been almost three weeks since I made my first post about our London trip - and it's already been four weeks since we were there.  How time flies!  Anyway, here's part two of our trip to London last month!

On Wednesday, I spent nearly the entire day at the Tower of London, which is very impressive both physically and historically.  The building above is where the Crown Jewels are stored and displayed, which was well worth the time I spent there - it was my first destination that morning, in order to minimize the crowds that would be there later in the day.  The exhibit is beautifully done, with several holding rooms that show videos about the coronation process throughout the ages, including a loop of the video footage of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1952.  The first room shows the jeweled sword, golden cloak, and coronation gown worn by the Queen, all in glass cases that allow you to walk around and look your fill.  The next room is where the actual Crown Jewels are located, including the scepters, crowns, and rings, and they are in glass cases with slow-moving walkways on both sides.  You can walk back around to take the walkways again if you like, and I went down each side twice - not only are the jewels themselves impressive (including the Cullinan and Koh I Noor diamonds), but the artistry and craft that went into making the items is just phenomenal.  I was particularly impressed with some of the beautiful enamel work that went into the shafts of the scepters - lovely blues and whites, simply gorgeous.  The remainder of the space shows the very impressive gold plate and banquet collection, including a punchbowl that's big enough to hold something like 115 bottles of wine (and is big enough to wash a border collie in!), as well as the collection of the custom built cases that are used to transport the Jewels when they are required for official occasions.  Unfortunately the room was besieged by a large group of ill-behaved and poorly monitored children at that point, which marred my enjoyment of the rest of those items, but it is what it is.  Another display which I found later in the day shows the gem-less frames of several additional historical crowns, which was also quite intriguing and worth finding for a look.

The White Tower is the main building in the center of the Tower of London complex, and is the one that most people associate with the Tower itself.  Its previous uses are many, and now it is a large museum space that displays all kinds of things from suits of armor to keys to torture devices to cannon to guns, and even beyond.  My very favorite display was the incredible dragon sculpture (named Keeper) that was built out of all kinds of things that represent what the Tower has stood for in the history of England.  He was very impressive, especially with all the detail and creativity that went into his creation!

Parts of the Tower have been used as royal apartments throughout history, and parts of them have been restored to what is believed to be accurate representations of what they looked like hundreds of years ago.  The room above was a small personal chapel for the king (Edward III, I believe), and showed the most beautiful handmade and hand-glazed tiles that were made in the same manner as they would have originally been created hundreds of years ago.  The overall effect is very beautiful, and it is always amazing to see the beauty and craftsmanship that was present in the past and is sometimes sadly lacking in the present.

On Thursday I went to visit the British Museum, which is full of amazing artifacts and collections from all around the world.  There is so much to see there that I think I could go visit for several days and see different things on each day!  The Enlightenment Room was a particular favorite of mine, especially the parts that were full of scientific instruments such as the model of the universe shown in the photo above - how amazing it must have been to be part of the age of discovery and learning as the scientific method and the sciences themselves were born!

The Egyptian collections in the building were also amazing, including not only the Rosetta Stone but plenty of funerary items as well as things recovered from archaeological digs from around the world.  The shabti in the photo above are just a few examples of those found in various tombs and crypts, and they were included with a burial so that the deceased would have servants to do whatever work was requested of them in the afterlife.  They were amazing, both in the variety and in the detail that were put into them, in addition to the meaning behind their use.

On Wednesday evening we went out for dinner and wound up wandering around the Piccadilly Circus area for a bit, including going into a toy store that had a large Lego department, where we found the above - a copy of the Imperial crown made out of Lego!

Friday was our last full day in the city, and the only day Chris had away from his work, so we went out in the morning to ride the Eye of London and were rewarded with some amazing weather that allowed photos such as the one above of Big Ben and Parliament.  We also headed out to see Harrod's, but the weather was heavy rain at that point and after a long walk we were both overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff there - there was an opera singer in the stairwell! - that we didn't enjoy it as much as we had hoped.  I would definitely like to visit it again someday, when I'm in a better mood to appreciate it.  Friday night we went out to a lovely little French place near where we were staying for an early celebration of our tenth anniversary, where I had the best steak frites that I've ever had along with a wonderful chocolatey dessert.  Saturday morning saw us take a walk to a quilt shop near our hotel before we headed to Heathrow to fly home to Seattle.

I loved my week in London, and I hope that I will get to visit again someday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

my first trip London!

I was home from my Easter weekend trip to Victoria for just a few days before leaving on the longest trip of my life so far - my first trip abroad to London, England!  My husband needed to go there for work, as he has several people there who report to him, and so I went along for the ride and got to play while he was working during the week.

We spent the day on Sunday with his best friend from high school and her family, wandering about the east side of London.  Much of our day was spent walking along the towpath next to one of the canals, which had all kinds of interesting things to see including a floating bookshop.

We also visited a small harbor museum, had a proper Sunday supper at their favorite pub, wandered through a flower/plant market with lots of "proper cockney accents," and went to high tea at the Four Seasons hotel - which even had a gluten-free version for Chris!  We wrapped up the day with a ferry ride down the river to Waterloo, including passing under the Tower bridge where I took one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

On Monday I was on my own, so armed with my trusty Oyster card to ride the Underground, I headed off to the day's sights - St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.  I climbed all the way to the top of the Golden Gallery at St. Paul's, which is nearly 600 steps from the cathedral floor, and took some wonderful pictures.  One of my favorites is the one below, taken with the fisheye lens attachment I got for my iPhone camera - the weather couldn't have been much better for my visit that day!

Of the two cathedrals, I much preferred St. Paul's to Westminster.  Both are absolutely stunning buildings and both had wonderful tourist/visitor support with self-guided tours, but it was St. Paul's that really stood out to me as being true to its origins and much more "holy" in some ways.  Westminster has been much more the "royalty's cathedral" and as such there are tombs and memorials stuffed everywhere in the building, so much so that it's almost too crowded to walk around in some areas, and that really made the ambiance a bit spoilt for me.  I much preferred the flat plaque memorials in the cloisters, especially the section for scientists (and Edmund Halley, whose memorial is in the shape of a comet!), as that seems like a more appropriate location for such things.

After visiting the two cathedrals, I wandered over to Piccadilly and ended up on Carnaby Street, which is stuffed full of shops both local and international.  There were a few too many American stores for my taste, which I did not visit just on principle, but I found the most whimsical and fun shoe store I've ever seen - Irregular Choice.

I ended up taking home a pair of shoes that I fell in love with, which have little rosettes and trim made of measuring tape plus clear lucite short heels - they're wonderful, and something I can wear.  I was amused by many of the other shoes there, but none were quite able to fit in with my possible uses for them, sadly - I just don't wear crazy clothes or heels.

On Tuesday, I took a tour through Golden Tours that took me to the city of Bath, the village of Ludlow, and then to a sunset after-hours and up close tour of Stonehenge.  Despite storms in London, the sun was out for our time spent in Bath, where the restored Roman Baths are available for touring.  I only had a bit over an hour to go through the tour, and I wish I'd had a bit more time, but it was quite enjoyable nonetheless - and I did drink a bit of the water, and left a coin in the wishing well while I was there.  Before I got on the bus to continue the tour, I bought a tasty beef pasty from a Cornish pasty shop, and then got a very disappointing milkshake from a cookie shop - apparently the British don't make their milkshakes the way Americans do!

Much of our day was spent driving through the rainstorms around southern England, which gave rise to a beautiful rainbow that developed from a short double bow into a full arc over the course of our trip in the morning.

The village of Ludlow was very nice, although again I wish I'd had more than an hour to explore around the village and to see the abbey.  I found and bought a hand-spun and hand-knit hat from local wool, and found some of the most beautiful wool capes that I seriously considered buying.  Both the village and the abbey have been used for some of the filming of Harry Potter in addition to other shows, and the grounds are absolutely lovely.

Finally, we made it to Stonehenge, which was visible from a pretty good distance away and which was deserted now that it was after closing time.  With a quick go-over of the rules (don't touch anything!) and a bit more on the history and theories of the site, our guide turned us loose and we had about an hour to walk around the stones and enjoy the time there.  The weather was cold, sunny, and windy while we were there, which gave me opportunities for some very neat pictures.

Back of one of the standing stones that still has its lintel stone in place.  The sun is setting behind the stone on the left.

Overall view of Stonehenge.

Closeup view of some of the lichen growing on the stones - that's why you're not supposed to touch them, as much of this lichen is very rare and some only grows on these stones.  It was pretty neat to see it, very different from other lichens I've seen.

The setting sun provided plenty of opportunity for shadows and interesting shots - I am particularly proud of this one.  Yes, I'm wearing my new hat for this picture!

That's plenty of stuff for one blog post, I think - I will stop off there at the end of the day Tuesday, and leave the rest for my next post!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

UFLI Qualifiers and a goodbye

Last weekend I took Ezri went up to Victoria Island with my friends Ben and Deborah for the UFLI NW Qualifier tournament.  They are about to move to Boston, and their new team captain Sue flew out to Seattle to come with us along with her borderjack Stingray, so we had quite a fast team.  Another person from JCJ came along as well, running her green dog Zach in singles competition on both days, and he did absolutely fabulously!

I had three goals going into the tournament this weekend:
1) Get Ezri to run consistently under 4.0 seconds again
2) Break 8.0 with the pairs team Ignition Sequence (Ezri and her sister Indigo)
3) Break 16.0 with our team

Amazingly, we achieved all of these goals within the first half of racing on Saturday.  Ezri busted out with the 3.8's and 3.9's in start, running 3.87 several times throughout the weekend and not running above 4.1 (even in the pack) until late in the day on Sunday.  Seeing as her personal best is a 3.83 and she has barely run below 4.0 since last summer, I'm pretty thrilled!  She was a little more tired and had less motivation on Sunday when she ran singles, so her best recorded singles time was a 3.96.  However, she and Indigo ran flawlessly in their pairs races, and I even got two perfect starts along the way, with all clean runs under 8.0 and their best time a 7.86.

 Ezri is very focused on the box - this photo taken on Sunday while she ran in singles.

The team ran wonderfully on both days, with the addition of a friend's dog on Saturday while we ran in the qualifier.  We had two different lineups run a 15.65 (once each day), with Ezri running start dog both times, and we had quite a few 15.8's and 15.9's in addition to a plethora of low 16's.  I even got another perfect start on Sunday to make the hat trick for the weekend!  Canine Mutiny is now all set to go to UFLI Nationals in August, with a current seed time of 15.65 which will put them in Division One competition.  They have a 3.7 border collie who will take over where Ezri was running, so hopefully they will be quite competitive!

E-pen wall covered in tugs, leashes, and our First Place Division 2 qualifier ribbon.

We even managed to set one last Jet City Jumpers flyball record, with Pax / Ezri / Indigo / Goose running a 16.08 on Saturday afternoon.  I'm really going to miss my friends and racing with their dogs - it was certainly one hell of an experience to run on a team that was consistently breaking 16 for a whole weekend.  That's something the region up here has never seen, at least not with local clubs/dogs competing, as the current fastest club time is a 15.99 that was run last July.

Once we were done racing on Sunday, Ezri and Indigo were more than happy to climb into their crate for the trip back to the house where we were staying.  Pax sat out the last half of the day, so the other four dogs ran 15 heats without a break (3 races of 5/5), plus Ezri and a dog on another club decided to compete intensely and they both false-started a lot in the last two races due to that competition.

Ezri was very, very tired but wouldn't settle completely until I was showered and ready for bed - then she completely passed out and I don't think she moved until Monday morning!


Our friends' house has a short walk and a steep flight of steps up to a reservoir above their neighborhood, which provided a great place to swim after we arrived on Friday afternoon.

On Monday morning before we left, we went to a nearby state park and took a short trail walk so that Sue could see some of the incredible trees that we have in this part of the country.  This one had originally fallen across the trail and had been cut in half, and the hollowed-out halves made for great photo opportunities for the dogs!


This tree was very artistic, as the new tree was growing out of the old rotten trunk of the original tree.  I quite liked how the roots wrapped around the trunk in curves, it is very graceful.

Finally, we saw some trillium in bloom - a rare occurrence, given that the plant is uncommon even around here.  There were of course many other lovely sights, including a stream and some time spent watching a pair of bald eagles, but this will do for now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

spring at least, one would hope so...

The weather seems to have finally started a shift away from cold and wet and towards a drier, warmer space - it was 67F on my ride home from work on Monday, and over 50F when I rode to work yesterday morning.  Of course, now a new storm has wandered our way and it was about 36F on my way in today, but I will firmly cling to hope that we are finally moving towards spring.  After all, we've had less rain than the weather forecasters have called for over the past few days, so maybe we're getting there!

Curzon continues to be his own awesome self, completely oblivious to any surgery, pain, or rehab that happened just mere weeks ago.  The photo above was taken last week at eight weeks post-op, and really there's nothing more to say beyond "it's like it never happened."  His mentality, behavior, mannerisms, and even his fur (well, almost) are just as they were before that fateful day when I found a lump on his rib.  Right now I think he's frustrated with us because we're being cautious about his return to flyball, as even though he'll be competing at the May 5/6 tournament we haven't let him hit the flyball box yet.  That will come this weekend, however, as he did more jumping drills last week as well as some wall work and passed both with flying colors.

Chris has been gone on a business trip for a while, and while he's been away I've been having one of the dogs sleep with me at night on a blanket on his side of the bed.  I need to wash the duvet anyway, so I figure it's fair enough.  I'm sleeping much better since I started doing that, as I know that whichever of the two dogs who sleep with me (Curzon on weekdays, Ezri on the weekend) will wake up and alert me if something happens.  I'm a very deep sleeper, so I think I was subconsciously keeping myself almost-awake the night or two that I slept without one of the dogs, which meant the next day was pretty rough.  I took the 9 weeks post-op picture above on the blanket that Curzon's been sleeping on - he makes funny faces when I try to take pictures of him before breakfast.

Last Sunday, April 1, was the day we've chosen as Jadzia's birthday - and this year that marked her tenth birthday.  Despite aging and developing a few extra special border collie tics, namely anxiety and possibly a touch of dementia already, Jadzia is still a lovely dog to have around the house and a wonderful pet.  She is the reason we ended up playing flyball and with Curzon and Ezri, so no matter what I will always be grateful to her for bringing me down this road.  Happy 10th birthday, babydoll - Jadzia HIC CGC NDD-R TFE-II FGDCh50k.

On Saturday I took Curzon and Ezri to the nearby dog pool, where they get to jump into the water and swim for their tennis balls.  Curzon was much happier to be here this time, instead of the boring old therapy pool where I make him swim in circles without much jumping!

With Chris gone, I've been having quite a few gluten-filled meals since I don't have to worry about cooking for him as well.  This is the most adorable chicken pot pie I bought from the farmers' market last weekend, which I baked for dinner last night.  It is delicious, and is full of all kinds of things, plus it has a tiny chicken cutout in the crust - what's not to like?  I'm looking forward to having the rest of it for dinner tonight.

On Saturday my friend Michael came over and we cooked dinner together, with him choosing and making a recipe of pork chops in a red wine and garlic reduction and me making mashed potatoes and asparagus to go along with it.  The pork chops were absolutely delightful...yum...I will have to make them again for Chris to enjoy at some point.

This weekend I am traveling with Ezri and friends to Victoria island for a UFLI flyball tournament.  This will be the last time I get to run with Ezri's sister Indigo, so it will be both fun and sad for me.  I'm really looking forward to it, however, despite the way-too-early start we have to make on Friday to make the ferry from Anacortes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

first flyball weekend of 2012

Last weekend we headed up to Cloverdale, BC for the first flyball tournament of the year.  It was really awesome to get to see all of our flyball friends again, as well as to spend the weekend in my trailer - I was bouncing around from excitement at work on Friday morning before I headed out for our trip.  Chris took the day off so we were on our way with the trailer by about 2pm, and with a short stop at Camping World for a new tongue jack we were up in Cloverdale with plenty of daylight left.  And to make things even better, it was sunny and beautiful all weekend long!

Warmups for our fast team, which ran together for the last time this weekend since our friends are moving to Boston in a few weeks.  We've been working on adjusting Ezri's turn, as she's been landing too far to the left and has simply leaned forward and folded over her wrists, which is both dangerous to her health and slower.  This is the prop setup we use for her - a jump board to raise her jump, right straight gutter to keep her from turning wide, and left angled gutter to guide her further to the right on the box.

Looks like the work is paying off!  We'll keep drilling her with the props, of course, but between this picture and improved times in start (3.96, 3.99, and a lot of 4.0's) I'm feeling much better about her performance.  And I got a 0.001 start with her on Sunday!

This is one of my favorite pictures - Pax starting, Ezri in second, and Indigo in third, with all of us clustered together at the 45 foot mark.  It's so much fun to run with a pack like this, and I'm going to miss it so much...hopefully we will build a new pack quickly!

Most of us in our club use ex-pens for our dogs, and this can create the "Great Wall of Jet City" effect seen here. Five e-pens plus a stack of four crates for the terriers...each pen with at least three dogs inside!

This was our eighth flyball anniversary, as it was on March 13, 2004 that Jadzia debuted at this same tournament as the 14" height dog at just two years of age.  She's going to be ten years old this weekend. and she's slowed down a bit and is developing anxiety issues, but nothing will stop her from flyball.  Such a big change from that day eight years ago...Jadzia was so scared she barely ran under 6.5 seconds, and she flipped over and peed herself when a judge came to talk to me.  We attended that tournament (our very first) in my old Chevrolet Impala, with Jadzia and baby Curzon (at just 5 months) on a towel-covered backseat, and I didn't know anyone but the other five people from our club.  This year we attended with our truck and RV, with four racing dogs in the backseat, and I know just about everyone in the region.

Phoebe did well over the weekend, though I think the slight crack in her toenail was bothering her a bit, as she was running 5.8 and above pretty much exclusively on Sunday.  She pulled out a couple of 5.5's and a 5.495 on Saturday though, so that's not bad for an almost 13yo height dog!

And at long last, Phoebe's Region 7 2011 MVP plaque!  She was nominated once before but lost, but this year she was the only nominee and therefore won (though I'm pretty sure most clubs voted for her anyway!).  As irritating as she is, Phoebe is the reason our club has prospered and done well over the last six years, as without that little tank of a height dog we wouldn't have been able to run as often and consistently as we have done.  With Deco handling the fast team, Razer just about ready to handle a team, and Zach successfully debuted, Phoebe's retirement date will be approaching soon once we find a nice retirement home for her where she can be spoiled and not live with border collies.  She's a good little dog.