Tuesday, February 26, 2013

from four dogs down to three

 Friends, family, and those who have read my blog know that having Phoebe the JRT in our house has been a challenge for the last five years.  While Phoebe was an amazing flyball dog, a phenomenal ratter, and a great JRT all around, her personality conflicted with my border collie pack and led to several fights (one of which put her in the hospital).  In order to manage the conflict, Phoebe was rarely allowed to wander loose in the house and always under supervision, and she spent most of her time leashed to a piece of furniture in whatever room we were in at the time so that she could not attack the border collies if they pissed her off.

With the advent of Phoebe's retirement and the impending arrival of our new border collie puppy, it was time to find Phoebe a new home where she could be loved and spoiled as an only dog for her retirement.  I put Phoebe up with several rescue groups, including WA/OR JRT rescue, Old Dog Haven, and New Rattitude, in addition to posting at several local companies and at our own vet.  We tried a trial placement with a coworker of mine, which did not work out, and I was starting to despair of finding her a home and worried that I would have to put her to sleep instead.  Luckily, one day in January, I got not one but two inquiries about her within two hours of each other, and the first one panned out and we arranged the adoption of Phoebe to a lovely retired couple in La Grande, OR.

Phoebe with her 2011 Region 7 MVP plaque, her retirement plaque from JCJ, and her retirement blanket which reads "Phoebe - Always A Jet City Jumper."

Phoebe ran in her last flyball tournament a week and a half ago (February 16/17), and on Saturday February 23 my teammate Tami and I drove to Sunnyside WA to meet up with Phoebe's new family.  Having Tami go with me was a very fitting end, as she's the one who discovered Phoebe at the breeder so many years ago and brought her into the Jet City Jumpers flyball club.  We had a smooth trip to Sunnyside where we met up with Phoebe's new family, had a nice lunch at a nearby cafe, and then separated to go to our respective homes.

Tami, Phoebe, and me on the handoff day.

Phoebe with her new family - she will be so happy!

 Phoebe waiting for us to finish lunch so she could go to her new home - she rode all the way there on her new mom's lap!

Her new family was so excited to bring her home it was amazing.  I am thrilled that they want her so much and they're already happy with her, having settled her in on Sunday and taken her to the vet for a checkup on Monday.  Phoebe will have a fenced half-acre to run and play in, recently checked and reinforced by her new dad, as well as squirrels to watch from the windows, laps to snuggle in, and a bed of people to sleep with.  And best of all, she won't have to deal with any pesky border collies in her life anymore!

We will miss Phoebe in the flyball lanes and on the barndog course, but will not miss the stress and trouble she brought to the house of border collies.  I hope she has a long and spoiled life with her new family, and even though she's about to turn 14 in May I expect she's got a lot of adventures left to enjoy with them.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

this weekend, in pictures

We got back from our trip to Ireland late on Thursday evening, and then after just 18 hours at home we left for the first flyball tournament of the year up in Canada.  Four countries in less than forty-eight hours, oof!  Pictures of the trip to Ireland will come later this week, first I wanted to put up some of the amazing photos and celebrate the milestones from this weekend.

First up are a couple of shots of me playing with Jadzia in the runback.  She never really liked the tug in the first place, and in her old age I'm only using it as a visual marker for her and instead I play with her using the ball she's brought back.  This makes her very happy, as you can see by the tail blur in the photos!

Finally, at long last, this weekend was Jadzia's FGDCh-60k title - Flyball Grand Champion 60,000 points.  This will be the final title of her career, as she'll be retiring from active racing in April at her ninth anniversary tournament, and it is a well-deserved title.  One of my teammates got this shot while I was watching the clock to see if the time was under 24 seconds to get those last few points....and it was! 

The other milestone this weekend was Phoebe's retirement from flyball, as next Saturday I will be taking her to her new family who lives in La Grande, OR.  She will have a retired couple all to herself, with no other dogs or cats, and I think she's going to be very happy.  These photos were taken by several of my teammates, and they really sum up Phoebe's career in flyball.  As much of a pain in the ass as she was (and still is for four more days) at home, at flyball Phoebe was always great and I will miss running her.


Last flyball run ever...

Curzon and Ezri did well all weekend, in fact Curzon even helped "break in" a new handler on our team as she's never run a racing dog at a tournament before.  She did great, and he behaved himself, so all was well.  I'm pretty proud of him this weekend - he had fewer bobbles than he did in December, and several times he did return over all four jumps after a bobble.  He wasn't perfect, but he ran mostly clean and had a great time, and that's all I want right now.

And last but not least, some incredibly beautiful shots of both Curzon and Ezri by my teammate Liz.  These are two of the best photos of Curzon that I have period, and definitely the best of the last few months hands down.  I love the photo of Ezri stalking the tennis ball...so much focus!


And yes, for those paying attention, we have changed flyball clubs with this tournament being our first running with Unorthodogs.  Curzon and Ezri, as well as our soon-to-be puppy will race with Unorthodogs moving forward, and Phoebe and Jadzia are retiring with our friends on the Jet City Jumpers.  This was not an acrimonious move at all, and was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, and I'm ever so grateful that my friends on both clubs have been gracious and accommodating as we make the change.  It means a lot to me that Phoebe and Jadzia will retire in lime green, the color they've raced in their whole career, and I'm so glad that they are going to do so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday morning photos

Last Friday I was surprised to get a random package in the mail - my sister had sent me a birthday present from an Etsy vendor, PetitBeast.  It turned out to be a set of three Jellyfish Air Plants, which are just wiry air plants with a sea urchin shell and clear line to hang them, which when put together makes them look like little jellyfishes.  These are *awesome,* and I was very excited to put them up in my kitchen window, where I hope they will be happy and you know, not die.

Close up of jellyfish air plants - yay for purple shells!

Jellyfish air plants hanging in my kitchen window - sort of looks like they're swimming against a current, which amuses me.

I also finally did something with the pretty dragon patch that I bought in a shop in San Francisco when I was there with my mom and sister several years ago.  It's just been tucked into the ribbon board in my office at home since then, but I am trying to make strides to use the pretty things I buy rather than just sticking them somewhere "for later" so I decided to attach it to my even older small Timbuk2 bag.  It took a lot of work and a few tries, but I finally got it secured and even protected the knots on the back with some nail polish, so it should be safe for use.  I'm taking it with me tomorrow on my trip, in fact!

Last week I had my phone out and ready to take a picture when I opened the bedroom door, and this is what I got.  Chris is awake before me, and by the time I'm up and dressed he's already let the dogs out of their crates and taken them outside to potty, so Curzon and Ezri are usually waiting by the bedroom door to greet me as soon as I open it.  This photo is a little blurry, but I love the look on Ezri's face and the fuzzy blur of her wagging tail, as well as Curzon trying to get to me as fast as possible despite me not stepping out of the door.

And last but not least, a photo of the handsome boy himself, waiting for me to get dressed this morning  I thought his positioning on the blanket was just perfect and had to take a photo of it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

last quilt of 2012

At the beginning of last March, I went to the Sewing Expo in Puyallup, and one of the classes I took was a "slash it up" quilting class.  The technique taught used twelve fat quarters stacked up and then cut up in a random pattern, then shuffled and reassembled to create a quilt top.  I finished the quilt top in the spring, but it kind of languished as I worked on Averie's quilt (and started, but stalled on Aidan's quilt) throughout the rest of the year.  In November, however, I decided that it needed finishing to give as a Christmas gift to my sister in law, and so I worked hard to finish it up.

Ezri decided to photobomb the picture of the finished quilt, shown laying over our couch.

 Fold of the quilt showing the backing (including the feather fabric I had to use to complete the backing) and the striped inset made from the leftovers of the original quilt blocks.  I had bought out the rest of the bolt of the brown/black fabric used for the sashing and intended to form the whole back of the quilt, but it wasn't enough and I couldn't find any more.  I used a neutral feather pattern to take up the space, and while I wasn't thrilled with it I think it did turn out looking pretty nice.  I also had some difficulty with seams, and ended up using some bits and pieces of iron-on labels to cover those problems after the quilt was completed.  I managed to make it all look intentional, but this wasn't my proudest finish to date for sure.

Back of the quilt after washing - you can see more of the random straight-line quilting that I did after it was washed.

Binding shot - I love this purple color that I chose for the binding.

My sister in law loved the quilt, and I think it will be well used and enjoyed, so that is awesome.  Right now I have two baby quilts in progress, one that's finally ready for quilting (and that baby just had his first birthday), and another that's in the piecing phase and must be done by March 2nd for a baby shower.  I absolutely have to put down my knitting and spinning for a while to get these done!