I suspect this will be long even though I have nothing terribly exciting to say... you can always just look at the pictures :)
So, let me clarify that Dear Husband is not up here yet -- well, he was and will be again but not yet for good (or for bad ;). We had decided it would be disruptive to move him here in the middle of the semester so it will be summer before he is here on a permanent basis. In meantime, he has TEN WEEKS of paid vacation to use so we will be seeing a lot of him -- that is a good thing :)
It is Spring Break now and we started with a bang, so to speak. Sydney did some throwing up over night, so I decided we would sleep in a bit (as in -- 6:00 a.m.) since we were up so much last night. Sigh. Bad idea -- I got up to quite a mess in the living room and dining room. Did you know hydrogen peroxide is a good carpet cleaner? She is fine now, having thrown up the offending sticks and plastic bag while I was busy cleaning one part of the carpet. More sighs.
Undeterred from my general happiness and additional happiness because it is Spring Break (and amazingly enough, Spring!) we have proceeded with the morning, candles burning of course. I have gotten some nudges about the lack of Blogs so that is early on the agenda, obviously :)
Let's start with some pictures from last night and this morning...
Karma and Zoey
Isn't this a nice picture of Halo. Okay, I have not gotten to her ears yet...
Asia in a state of Stick Bliss.
More Stick Bliss -- Halo this time
Cadi, also with a stick!
Life in Montana is excellent and will be better on Tuesday when Dear Husband arrives for another week long visit. I love my job and I love this house and I just love Montana. Yes, there are things I miss -- the kids and friends especially -- but it seems appropriate to finally have a life of my own, and kids and friends are still part of it but in different ways. So things are quite good here -- sometimes it seems unreal and I worry I will wake up and this will have all been a dream... however, in dreams you do not usually include what I woke up to this morning so maybe I am safe...
Anyway, I highly encourage solitude and reflection. Lately I have been thinking a lot about who I really am and who I really want to be. Once my dad posed this question to me: "who were you before you were socialized?" I think about that a lot -- the difference between my true nature and the person I have been shaped to be. Since authenticity matters a lot to me, it is an interesting exercise...
And stripped free of the demands of kids and busy-ness, one has the chance to really reflect and ponder whether the choices I make/made are my own, or because they were expected. I think about how parenthood especially shapes us away from ourselves, and into a person who children need us to be. Of course, none of us are perfect at parenthood EVER but I think being a parent demands letting go of parts of yourself in order to make room for children.
And gender and culture and religion and education and work and relationships and family and all the other forces that shapes us -- I have been thinking long and hard about all of it, trying to discern who I was before all of the various forces worked on me. My hunch is that real happiness only happens when we are real, and that when we spend energy fighting who/what we are, we cannot use that to do good in the world. Therefore, it seems important -- to me anyway -- to at least try and sort this all out because I do believe that we are all here to make a positive difference, and that is hard to do when we are fighting with ourselves.
And so I plug along, a work in progress -- as we all are. I have found that being organized is actually a better fit for me than the life of last minute chaos that I lived for decades. And that brings me to my various lists... I have a busy brain and it lives to come up with ideas, but it is not always the most focused and organized brain around. Therefore, I have discovered that I can actually get even more done when I help that idea-generating machine to be focused. I am not great at it yet but I have made excellent progress, and those lists help 100%.
I make "to do" lists several days a week, and because I have that (un)fortunate combination of optimism and a busy brain, my lists are usually VERY long. The other factor that goes into that is that I make them in the morning when I am at my best -- if I made them at 7:30 p.m. they would likely include 1.5 things and one of them would be, "go to bed".
So, armed with an enthusiastic attitude generated from my morning optimism I make these lists, and because I am also very dogged and determined, my lists get done almost every single time. Dear Husband can tell you that I get quite single-minded about The List -- "never mind the storm, if the list says "walk dogs" we are walking".
So, it is likely no surprise that my dog training lists reflect no unchecked boxes. I am in the Specialty Countdown (more on that in a minute) and so my usual doggedness is amplified by a close goal. This week I did nine obedience sessions with Asia alone! I won't bore you with all the details but I did 33 training sessions in the past week -- plus my six dog walks and four bike rides -- and my job. It kind of amazes me actually but really -- what else do I have to do?! I work and I train dogs and I exercise and I think a lot -- that about sums it up and I have to say, I love it all.
But although I have tried to solve this problem with lists, I am unsuccessful at resolving my Specialty Dilemma and need some help. The Specialty is in May and the first problem is that I have to leave early because of graduation at the University. I have known this for over a month and have been too sad to talk much about it. I will have to miss Best of Breed and the Versatility class and the beauty pageant class Zoey would have shown in -- I am SO SO sad about all that. There is no solution to it -- it is what it is, and I accept it since I cannot be in two places at once.
So the real problem I have now is about who to take and I really cannot decide. I "should" only take four dogs but probably could take five since we have a suite; taking all six is not an option. The dog(s) who stays will be with Galen in Utah.
Let's review the choices...
1. Mrs. Maize should go because she could show in the 9 - 11 veterans classes. Since the average age of death for a berner is close to 8 years, this is a Big Deal. Maize, who is almost ten, could also do an agility class -- that all by itself would be amazing and fun. Mrs. Maize also has a lot of fans who would enjoy seeing her so that is a reason to take her.
But last year Maize did not have fun going to the Specialty -- I thought she was sick the whole time but really, she was just a) pouting; or b) depressed. When I load the car with show gear, Maize REFUSES to leave the deck -- she clearly is done with shows. So the reason not to take her is because if we asked her, she would say that she prefers to hang out with Galen.
2. Halo did not go last year and was promised the trip this year. She will show in obedience, rally, and draft. At seven, she could do the 7 - 9 veterans class. So Halo needs to be a definite -- mostly because I promised her she could go this year.
3. Cadi -- we all remember Cadi's last Specialty disaster where she spent the week in the hotel recovering from her near death experience. Cadi is a definite -- she has lots to do and even though I am super sad about her missing the Versatility class, she can do all the performance events.
4. Asia -- another definitely going. I have been working hard for her obedience debut at the Specialty and so she is going, even though I am extra sad that she has to miss Best of Breed... Asia will also do draft, rally and hopefully tracking (if we get in to the test).
5. Zoey -- we are getting into the questionable ones again. The reason to take Zoey is because she would be VERY unhappy left behind -- she does well with me and when I am not around, she is not as happy. If Galen could stay up here in Montana, I would leave her but it will be in Utah -- she is not as familiar there and I just know she will not be happy. In addition, Galen knows she will not be happy and is not keen on having her for a week. If she went, Zoey would do one agility class and that would be it...
6. Sydney -- the reason to take her is to show her in the puppy beauty pageant classes. If she had flunked the TD test, I would take her for sure so she could have done the Specialty tracking test but she passed, as we know, and so there is less of a reason to take her. I would like to show her in those puppy classes, but I am not sure she will have much coat AND Galen wants to keep her especially -- he LOVES and misses Syd.
So the choices are:
1. Leave just Syd;
2. Leave just Maize;
3. Leave just Zoey;
4. Leave some combination of above.
Okay, enough words for now -- more pictures...
Here is THROW THE BALL NOW Zoey...
Fun ball scenes
And just look at how happy that ball makes her :)
But it does make for a dirty tongue!
Halo up close and personal
Syd and Maize...
I call this picture, "Collective AHHHH..." Maize and her granddaughter, Sydney.
Now go make your own AHHHHH moments :) (and tell me who to take to the Specialty!!)