Thursday, December 31, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums...

... or maybe visions of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, pie...

Grandma and Mopsy sleeping off thier Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Too much holidays

Maggie and I had an agility lesson last night after almost a month off (we have not done anything since the Tulsa trial the first weekend of December). Maggie was full of herself, racing around the obstacles on her own and jumping up to give me a little nip now and then to keep me going. And I can't blame her, after all of the holiday food and treats, I do sort of look like a sheep! On top of that, it looks like she's put on a few pounds as well, which isn't good for running and jumping. So today, after I get a few errands done, I think we'll head over to our training facility and see if we can't sneek in some practice before this weekend.
Speaking of this weekend, we will compete in our first USDAA trial (we usually do AKC). While USDAA seems like it might be more fun (more runs per day) we don't have as many USDAA trials close by, so that would mean more travelling. And my pesky JOB gets in the way of that. Hopefully we can shake out some of her "happy feet" and get her back a little more normal before Friday.
If any of you feel inclined, the trial is at Vetta Sports in Fairview Heights, IL. Maybe we'll see you there.
Happy New Year!
Lori, Maggie, Mopsy and Jake

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh. Oh my.

Last night we had a little get-together of agility friends and we exchanged gifts. I brought a small assortment of doggie items- nothing expensive-most of it home-made, and was flabbergasted to unwrap this. Under that paper was probably the nicest gift that I will receive this year- or maybe any year. Only a fellow doggie friend can appreciate how a piece of artwork can touch your heart, and this one certainly does. This is the face I see, day in and day out... turned up to my face, waiting for the command, waiting to do what I ask, waiting for me to say "let's go!" While this artist sketched her own dog, not mine, it might as well have been Maggie in the way she drew her soft eyes, the soft feathers around her neck and her ears pinned back out of the way. No photo captures her this accurately, and it makes me want to reach out and touch it.
Thanks Carol and Addie- this will always be a treasure in my home, and you two will always be a treasure in my heart. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nativity insanity continues

I would not have recognized this as a Nativity set at first. Or even after that.
Speaking of not recognizing something as a Nativity set, this once took a few minutes also, though you have to love Joseph's beard.... (this one has a cool $188 price tag if you are interested)
Artistic expression, blah, blah,.... I can see a Mary and maybe a Jesus, but what is the other thing? It looks sort of like a bottle opener to me. And what is with the hole for faces. Strange.

I don't know why I included this one. I don't see anything wrong with it... I even appreciate the breeds they chose... baby Jesus is a Golden Retreiver
: )

So are these teddy bears or real bears? How do you know?

Just wierd. Can't come up with anything clever about this except the obvious.
"Always after me Lucky Charms!"

Last and certainly worst of all the Nativity scenes (go ahead, top this one, I dare you...)
For your Christmas "enjoyment":
Jesus, Joseph, and Marty:

No more. I promise.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nativity Set Abuse

Sorry for the long time since the last post, I'm hoping to make up for it today with a little Christmas Gift laugh from me to you. But first a confession! I, too, am guilty of Nativity Abuse. First, I have a border collie that keeps watch over the sheep in my big, formal Nativity in my dining room. Second, many years ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom, I subjected my entire family to the abuse when I made them wooden, hand-painted sets for gifts- the little sheep had hearts on their rumps (sorry, I did not know what I was doing-I wasn't getting much sleep).
Anyway, the following are pictures of sets that I have stumbled upon and kept because they made me laugh (or shudder). I believe that each of them was made in ernest, maybe to cause a smile, but not as a joke. Enjoy...

Veggietales. Yes, I understand that this is a Christian-themed children's series, but JESUS AS A VEGETABLE? Come on...
Smores Jesus... don't get too close to the fire!
Christmas in Roswell (famous reported Alien landing site in New Mexico)

Penguins need Jesus too!

Nativity paddle ball? So you WANT to hit the holy family with the ball, right?

Only old SNL fans will understand the Mr. Bill Nativity... Oh NO!

I understand minimalism as an art form, but these next two go too far.

Hooty Hoo! Hoo, Hoo, Hoo's Child is this?

"Were you a good boy this year?"

Yee Haw! It's a Grand Ol' Opry Christmas! Howdy Jesus!

wait... wait.... almost... DING! .... Yes! It's Christmas!

This is perhaps one of the most ridiculous- everyone knows that cats would not have worshipped another cat that had more power than them. They would have gathered to plot an overthrow.

Baby in the bubble... just look... don't touch!

Nativity bean bag toss. Hit Jesus, win a prize!
Martian Nativity?

Look Joseph! He has your big feet!

If you have more, send them to me and I'll add them...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My kind of woman...

Okay, I'm still flipping through the 100's of old photos. I wish I was doing it on a projector with the whole family so that I could be asking "who is that?" "When were they there?" etc. I have SO many questions.

This photo especially brings up a lot of questions. It is a picture of my mom, I'm guessing around 1960.

The most obvious question is "who goes fishing in a freaking skirt?" But the answer is pretty obvious, too... I guess my mom did... what a surprise. But I have other questions... what did she use for bait? What does it feel like to reel in a bass that big? Who taught her to fish?

But the very biggest question of all... what happened to the woman who would go fishing alone in a skirt and catch a trophy size largemouth on a cheap Zebco reel?

(I miss her)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lessons from a photo album

Recently one of my cousins found some (photo) slides that belonged to my grandparents. For you that don't remember slides, in the 40's to the 60's, many people used Kodachrome film which produced film POSITIVES, not negatives. Instead of printing them on paper, they were delivered in little cardboard frames which you put into trays and viewed them using a projector. Holidays meant that someone would haul out the projector and screen and we would all view everyone's slides. So, when my cousin found and scanned some of these oldies, I couldn't wait to see them. And in reviewing them I learned some things, which I'll share with you.

1) Though we probably take 1000's more pictures than we used to, we don't look at them like we used to. When is the last time you looked at your own photos, much less someone elses?

1b) Looking at old photos is more fun in a group where you can say "remember when...."

2) Our parents, grandparents, and even our great-grandparents used to be young and active. And in a blink, we are old and feeble. Remember that EVERY DAY.

3) Though they didn't have "time-saving appliances" they had time to have fun-throw parties, dance, laugh and drink. Sometimes excessively (at least mine).

4) I enjoy looking at these old photos, even when I don't know some (or all) of the people in them.

5) No matter how well exposed, no matter how beautiful, no matter how perfect, I don't care about the vacation photos with no people in them. Even the ones where I knew where they were taken.

6) No matter how poorly exposed, no matter how blurry or crazy, I love the pictures of people I know having fun. I like remembering that their lives were (at least sometimes) filled with joy.

7) My family left a legacy- a biography of their lives in these photos. What will my decendents learn about me (about you) from our photos?

photos- all taken around 1955-60 near Lesterville, MO. Top, my grandmother, Lorraine Pershall. Next, a jeep ride with my grandfather driving and my grandma all the way in the back with their dog, Pal. I have no idea who anyone else is (though that one lady looks CRANKY) The last photo, starting from the left, my grandmother with a haircut I'm sure she hated, Margaret and Harold Baker (owned the general store in Lesterville), unknown lady with a beer, then Margaret Ludwig (my grandma's cousin and the best pie baker in the world) and her husband Henry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An editorial...

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the terrible slaughter of the First World War came to a formal conclusion. The day we now commemorate as Veterans Day is the quintessential American holiday, growing to honor all of America’s veterans at the urging of a shoe store owner in Kansas. In the almost 100 years since an assassin's bullet took the Archduke Ferdinand on a bridge in Sarajevo, the US military as proven to be an elite fighting machine. In Europe, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq and more, our soldiers demonstrate their greatness. But when the fighting is over, we Americans close that door and move on, often forgetting about those brave men and women that fought on our behalf. It isn't that we are no longer proud, it is that our lives move on... and isn't that the ideal end to the fighting? Isn't that what they are fighting for? That we all go on and live in peace, forgetting the violence, the atrocities, the pain, and the suffering. Isn't that the conclusion that our soldiers are working toward when they build the schools and the hospitals? When they re-build the bridges and carry in supplies? Perhaps what makes our military the greatest on earth is not only what they destroy, but what they build. And they make us forget, and cause us to move on.

Today, many of us will remember the fallen at Fort Hood and wonder how this could have happened on American soil. Some will debate whether it was an act of terrorism and the dead and wounded will be called "victims." But I believe that they are casualties of war, the same as those that lost their life in Iraq or Afghanistan. And during that gun fight, Sergeant Kimberly Munley became a member of our military and became a veteran, entering into a war zone. (Thank you Kimberly for your service)

Today, the same as in 1775 when the forefathers of our nation established our Marine Corps, we need a strong and dedicated military. We need to support and remember them, even in times of peace when it is easy to forget. If we do not back them, support them, and honor them, we may all be called upon, like Sgt. Munley, to BECOME one of them and fight for our rights here, on our own soil.

Especially today, thank our veterans. Share a word, a hug, a thought, a prayer. If you feel so inclined, donate or volunteer for one of the many veterans organizations that help them. But at least one day a year, do not forget-REMEMBER.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday USMC

For those of you that are not aware, United States Marine Corps was founded on Nov 10, 1775, and Marines still celebrate this date today, after 234 years. Today, all around the world Marines will gather to hear a letter written in 1921 by Major General John A. Lejeune, Commandant of the Marine Corps, ordering Marines to take a moment every year to honor the birthday of the Corps. At many of these gatherings, there will be a cake, and by tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present- symbolizing the old and experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the new generation of Marines. However, in some of the gatherings today, there will be no cake. Somewhere today a Marine is keeping peace in Iraq or searching for an enemy in Afghanistan and won't get the opportunity to share in this tradition. Nevertheless, he will likely take at least a moment of his day in honor of the Corps and the men and women that have his back.

Thank you for your committment to our country and to the Corps, and I pray that next year you are well, and able to celebrate again.

(From Major General Lejeune's letter, November 1921)

"This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received
from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps."

God bless you.... carry on.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

On the 11th hour...

...of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent and peace began its return to Europe.

"These noble Americans are our sons and daughters. They are our fathers and mothers. They are our family and they are our friends. They leave home to do the work of patriots -- and they lead lives of quiet dignity when they return. Today we send a clear message to all who have worn the uniform: Thank you for your courage, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for standing up when your nation needed you most." - George W. Bush, Nov 11, 2008

Saturday, November 7, 2009

November Sunshine

I took my three furry kids outside for some autumn photos in the pretty November sunshine. Their personality always shows up in the group photos. Maggie is always poised ready for the next command. She is always looking for her next job. Mopsy is only looking for the cookies, and Jake, sweet boy, just wants to be with me. So I was a little surprised when I lost his attention during my impromptu photo shoot. I should have realized that the one person he loves more than me was home from school.

I can't blame him though... I miss her too and was just as happy to see her.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Hell to Hero

I just got an email about a rescue Pitbull named Gunny that has been entered in an online poll for "World's Most Amazing Dog." His owner has created a video about his life and you can see it on youtube:

What touches me the most is the reminder that Gunny is not all that uncommon and that there are others, just like him, waiting to be rescued. And if his situation was not already sad enough, there are communities all across the country that want to ban people from owning dogs like him because of his breed. Even here in the St. Louis area, there are communities that have banned "bully" breeds, causing one local citizen to put a bumper sticker on her car saying:

Stop Breed Specific Legislation
Do we really want a law that says race predicts behavior?
(I wish I had the guts to put this on my own car)

Anyway, after you are done watching the video, if you want to vote for Gunny (I don't even know what he wins... dog food for a year or something like that) you can vote at:

Whether or not you vote for Gunny is unimportant. But if you care about him and others like him, don't keep that to yourself. Tell your legislators how you feel. Let Gunny's story serve as a reminder to you to speak up and lend a hand.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once in a lifetime...

This weekend I had a once in a lifetime experience with a once in a lifetime dog....

We had a four day trial in Paducah Ky. I had been pretty sick earlier in the week and really thought that I was not going to be able to do the trial. But massive doses of meds got me back on my feet and we took off on Thursday morning. To our surprise, we started off with a double Q and two first place ribbons. As the weekend progressed, we were unstoppable... by Sunday we were eight for eight... FOUR double Q's, FIVE first place, two second place and one third. And in the 2nd and 3rd place finishes we were with 1 second of the first place dog.

This kind of thing will probably never happen again. But then again, a dog like Maggie will probably never happen again, either.

I love you big girl!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If I HAD to choose...

Nicole, over on Borderblog ( came up with an interesting idea. If you HAD to choose one dog from every AKC group (not counting your current or previous dogs) what would it be? So I decided to give it a try:

Sporting: This is a hard one for me, because I love the spaniels. All of them. But, I guess I'll go with the Sussex Spaniel. Maybe I can keep up with his short little legs.

Hound: I'm not much of a hound person, but Basenji's alway interested me.

Working: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Terriers: Hard to pick just one, because I like a lot of terriers. But I'm going with Miniature Bull Terrier... how can you not LOVE that face?

Toy: Thank goodness that Cavalier King Charles are in the toy group or I would be stuck. I'm not all that crazy about the toy breeds... partly because it is harder to bend down for training and partly because people treat them like babies.

Non-sporting: Shiba Inu. They always remind me of minature akitas

Herding: Sorry in advance to all my Aussie and Sheltie friends, but shaving Mopsy reminds me how tired I am of hair. So I'm going for an Austrailian Cattle Dog.
So, now it is YOUR turn... if you need some help remembering what breeds are in what groups, zip over to and click on the "breeds" tab. That will give you a tab on the left that says "breeds by group" and you pick the groups you want to see.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mopsy Princess

You might recall this photo I posted a few months ago of my old girl, Mopsy. This photo was taken after she was freshly bathed and combed out... not a simple task. This is made even more difficult this time of year with the leaves she drags in that get stuck in her hair. And at her age, I admit that I feel bad making her sit through the de-tangling and the endless combing so I have been threatening to shave her down.

Last night I sat down to pick out her tangles and found several HUGE mats with little sticks in them. Instead of picking at them, I just picked up the scissors and SNIP! the mat was gone! So she had a couple little bald spots... she had enough coat to cover it. But then I found another mat and another and before you know it, her beautiful long coat was impossible to fix.

SO, my beautiful little princess now looks like a sheep right after shearing. But she has been anxious to snuggle with me all day. I keep telling myself that she knows I'm sick and is cuddling, but the fact is that she is probably cold....

Sorry Mopsy... we'll let it grow back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Hey Julian!* I think I found the perfect girl for you!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Breaking bad habits

Nothing makes you want to rewind the clock and start over like agility. We often leave a course and say "I want a do-over!" Of course, there are no "do-overs" but it sure would be nice just to fix your mistake.
And for those of us that are training our first dogs, how many times have we wished we could rewind the clock to our novice training days and correct bad habits. Our friend Addie had the best contacts in the business and watching her stretch those long legs back to the contact while she leaned forward waiting for the release was a beautiful sight. Notice I say "was." As we progressed and started running for time with a little bit of nervousness thrown in, Addie's mom let Addie slide a little here and there. She would hit the contact, so she didn't lose her "Q," but she didn't stop... she'd keep moving to the next obstacle. Because she was still "Q-ing" Addie was allowed to continue the course. But this bad habit grew and grew until Addie decided that she not only didn't have to stop, she could jump for the highest height, ignoring that critical yellow area on the obstacle.
So Addie and her mom are trying to rewind the clock and insist on contacts and a release, every time- or else Addie leaves the ring... "no stay, no play" Imagine how difficult that is... you've paid for the show, moved two tons of stuff to the show site, waited your turn and then your dog hits the contact, but doesn't stay. You can still Q....and the little devil on your shoulder says "you can fix this problem in training-go on!" and more than almost anything, you want to finish your run. This is the decision that separates the real competitors for those that just complain that their dog never Q's and blame it on everyone but themselves.
On a happier note, Addie got to run her first complete standard course in a long while. She hit every contact! Even though there were other problems that kept her from that Q, it was quite a wonderful thing to see. I'm sure that they have not put this problem to bed forever, but at least they see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Next time, I'll tell you about Maggie's bad habit....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Double Q

We earned our sixth double Q on Saturday and I've attached the video of the standard run below. At the very end you'll notice a crazy handling method. All of the dogs in front of us had an off course, taking the two jumps after the A-frame. The problem is that they were only supposed to take one jump and then turn. So, I gave Maggie a stay and led out to the point where she needed to turn. It ate up a lot of time on the clock, but as you can see, it worked! A couple of other people eventually Q'd as well, some of them using our crazy technique.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This weekend's agility trial

This weekend, Maggie and I were at Lake St. Louis for an agility trial. She ran really well, but was beginning to do her start line creep again. She gets SO excited to run, that she does not want to stay where I left her. The problem was compounded this weekend because the club that sponsored the event had fabric covers on their winged jumps, which blocked her vision. So, if I left her on a stay to lead out a few jumps, there were times when she could not see me and she would stand up or creep up until she could see me again, rather than wait for my "okay" to go. We were still running well, but I realized that every time I let her run after that, I was reinforcing the idea that is was okay to do.
Saturday afternoon the club had a new event that the AKC is experimenting with called RAD (Run and Done- meant to go very fast). So I put my money down, led out three jumps, turned around and there she was, creeping up! So I walked back to her, said "wrong! Bad stay!" told the judge "thank you" and walked her right back to her crate. Her head hung low and she was in shock that she didn't get to run the course. But fortunately she's a smart girl, because the rest of the weekend, she stayed on that startline without moving a muscle. It was worth every penny of the $10 entry fee.

(photo from Sunday, click on it to see a larger version and how she tucks her front feet under her chin when she jumps)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God and Dog

Thanks to my sister-in-law for sending me this link. There is nothing for me to add, it says it all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another reason to love agility

Of course I love spending time with my dog and the competition of racing against other teams and against the clock. But among competitive sports, both in the dog world and out, I don't know of another sport with better comaraderie and sportsmanship. When one of our fellow handlers enjoys a big success, we all celebrate with them, even though they may be our competition. I suppose that in some circles the competition creates jealousy and ruins the fun, but frankly, I've never seen it in my group of friends/competitors. When someone we know has a success, whether that success is hitting the contacts after a long period of blown contacts, or the biggest success of all, the Master Agility Championship (MACH), we all celebrate with them without reservation. Though they may be the team that you try your hardest to beat, the ones you think about when you train, the ones who's times you keep track of in your head, when they celebrate, you are genuinely happy for their success.

In the last few weeks, we've seen a number of big successes. Debbie and Forest earned their MACH a few weeks ago and were the first team that I've trained with and know personally to get a MACH. I cried when I saw Debbie first hug Forest and then lift that bar for their victory run. Two weeks ago, Mark and Viper were awarded their first MACH and we are all so happy about it that we have been having "congratualations" cakes a couple of times a week! Mark and Viper have (unwittingly) set a goal for Maggie and I to reach. They are a wonderful team with almost flawless runs and fast times- just running in the same class as them is a point we never thought we'd acheive and every trial we try to get a little bit closer to their times. So even though they are "sort of" our competition, we couldn't be happier.

Finally, today, our friends John and Remy got to take that victory run with their MACH bar and we celebrated again. This time with silly string...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Border Collie Heaven

This weekend is the event that I wait for all year.... more than an agility show, even! Once a year, Missouri Kansas Border Collie Rescue has a reunion for all the volunteers from this great organization, and of course, all the dogs that have been adopted through the years. We get to see the dogs that we once pulled from shelters or rescued alongside a road. Once abandoned and hopeless, we get to seem them with their loving families, healthy and happy-often almost unrecognizable from the way they were when we first met them. And if that were not enough, one of our volunteers donates the use of her farm and pond, so the dogs get to spend the day running, swimming, chasing balls and hanging out with one another. You would think that a field with 80 to 100 border collies would be chaos, and in some ways it is, but they all seem to get along and have a blast. We always try a group photo of only dogs, but few of them can sit or down/stay long enough for the humans to get out of the way... not with so much to do.

Maggie gets to visit with her foster family and they are always happy to see her. Jake flirts with all the girls and eats sheep poop (not always in that order). So you can see why we all look forward to this date. We'll back on Sunday... dirty, tired, and counting the day to next year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby of Mine

Baby mine, don't you cry.

Baby mine, dry your eyes.

Rest your head close to my heart,

Never to part, baby of mine.

Little one, when you play,

Don't you mind what they say.

Let those eyes sparkle and shine,

Never a tear, baby of mine.

If they knew sweet little you,

They'd end up loving you too.

All those same people who scold you,

What they'd give just for the right to hold you.

From your head to your toes,

You're not much, goodness knows.

But you're so precious to me,

Cute as can be, baby of mine.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea.

I love you.