Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Agility in Sedona

I took Frankie and Mo up to Sedona in June for an agility trial. It was a gorgeous weekend, in a beautiful location, with awesome friends. You don't get a backdrop like this for most trials!Frankie:
It's been so long since we've done any agility. We don't go to class anymore and our trial availability is so sporadic. Sometimes I'm amazed that my dogs even remember how to jump! I was able to take the dogs to practice once at Jim's the week before the trial to refresh their memories. Frankie did great. But, Frankie is always great at practice and always cracked-out at trials...so my expectations were low. Based on those low expectations, I would say Frankie did okay. He Q'd 2 out of 10.

It was me who did terrible. For my last 3 runs on Sunday, I forgot the course. All 3 times. It was humiliating. I usually only do one day of a trial weekend. I guess I don't have the mental stamina for 2 full days of agility. Two of those runs I blew were Frankie's jumpers runs. He always Q's in jumpers. Unless I lead him off course. Twice in a row. Boo. If I wasn't a moron, he would have Q'd 4 out of 10.

One major accomplishment - we Q'd in Beginner Trigility! Woo hoo!! Yep, Frankie is a specialist level dog who never could get out of beginner in Trigility. It took him FIVE YEARS! :) Thanks to my random partners for helping us reach this milestone!

Frankie jumping for joy that he will no longer be mocked by his Specialist level peers:
The last time I practiced with Mo, she was awesome, doing all the contacts like a pro and almost looking like she was enjoying herself! It was beautiful...and yet she shut down again at the next trial. This practice was horrible. She flew off the teeter and scared the bejeezus out of herself. She fell off the dog walk (yikes!) and scared the bejeezus out of me. She, luckily, did not get hurt. I had zero expectations for Mo at this trial. She blew my expectations away! We had one AWESOME, PERFECT, WONDERFUL run in jumpers. Of course, she was still Slo-Mo, but she was actually moving fast for her. I had my hopes up for her first-ever Q, and I knew that if this run didn't earn one, then she'd never earn one. Alas, no Q. :( When my Slo-Mo runs her very fastest, even with the extra time allowed for being physically challenged and a veteran, she still goes over time by many, many seconds.

Her other events were disastrous. She had to be coaxed to go in the tunnel. She did the weaves, but then shut down and refused any contacts. The fastest she ever moved was after the run was complete - then she'd hustle speedy-quick to the safety of her crate. Poor Mo.

And so I have conceded the fact that Mo is not an agility dog. She is officially retired. Agility helped her gain confidence, especially with strangers and noisy situations, which was the goal, but it is just not something she enjoys. I don't see any future benefits to be gained for her by continuing to ask her to do it.

She may never have gotten a Q in agility, but she sure is pretty:
If you are looking for Q's, don't look at my dogs...look at Vickie's dogs, Conor and Kaylie. Here they are chilling with Frankie, Sheryl and me:
Let's take a look at how many ribbons Frankie and Mo earned this weekend. Two measly ribbons:

Now let's look at how many ribbons Conor and Kaylie racked up. Show offs.

Want to become the most interesting person a dog has ever met? Never underestimate the power of kibble:Seriously. It is hypnotizing!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Which Jill Are You? - The Competition and Cake Blog

My 40th birthday party was more than just really awesome costumes. It was also about two of my other favorite C-words....competition and cake!

The JillOlympics was broken up into 5 events; an adventure/agility race, ping-pong, Kinect Dance, Jill Trivia and the costume contest. Each party-goer accumulated points for participating and earned extra points for winning or placing in each event. Bonus points were offered with a Jill skit or dance.

The first event was the adventure/agility race. Here we are all gathered for the rules and clue-sheet distribution. Ready, set, go! The agility course included monkey bars:
and a balance beam:
The other events in the race included puzzles:and a front-yard letter search to find points for a word you were assigned:
We also had to solve clues and run around the neighborhood, which was quite a sight to see in our costumes. The clues were easy for me because they all revolved around me. That doesn't make it cheating that I won that event, right?

Throughout the rest of the night, everyone competed in ping-pong (here I am, beating Leah much to her dismay!)I lost in the next round. Boo. Shouldn't people be letting me win cuz it's my birthday? NFBF eventually won the ping-pong tournament.

I don't have any pictures of the Kinect dancing, but Michelle won the event. NFBF, the world's WORST dancer participated just to earn the participation points. It was quite a sight to see. He was also the only one to perform a Jill Skit, so he got bonus points for that, too. He was in it to win!! I was surprised that no one else had prepared a skit or dance. Irene and I would never let a chance like that go to waste. I thought the majority of my friends were attention seeking extroverts! Lame. (Ok, not so lame...keep reading to the costume blog and you will see how not-lame my friends are.)

The costume contest involved a parade. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Everyone put their all into it! Here is the winner, Elaine, as Swimming With the Dolphins-Jill. The runners-up were Brian and Steve C. as the sizzling hot Showgirl-Jills and Josh as Swing-Jill.

The All About Jill trivia was won by NFBF and Elaine. If you would like to try the trivia, I have put it into a Survey Monkey (Click here) so you can take it online. :)

At the end of the scoring, the winners of the JillOlympics were NFBF in 1st place, Aimee in 2nd place and Steve C. in 3rd! NFBF would like to remind you to ALWAYS do the bonus!! The world's most excellent party-throwers, Irene and Nicole, made JillOlympics t-shirts for the winners.
What a fun party! Thanks everyone!!! It was a pretty amazing night. The second-most amazing thing of the evening was that Elaine stayed out past 10:00!!
Which, of course, begs the question of what the first-most amazing thing was.

The MOST AMAZING thing of the evening was...this cake:Aimee put in an ungodly number of hours making this uber-personalized cake masterpiece. She included all the things I like to do. See how she made my name in Scrabble letters? The middle cake is a library of books I've read. Hockey and soccer and puzzles, pictures of my dogs and family...
This was only the 6th cake that she has decorated! Craziness. Pretty talented, wouldn't you say?
Simply amazing! If you would like to hire her to make a cake for any upcoming celebration, let me know and I'll get you in contact with her. She is awesome. And the cake was yummy, too!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Which Jill Are You? - The Costume Blog

The Birthday Party - Part One

Looking for a great idea for a 40th Birthday Party? You've come to the right place! Do you want to see a ridiculous amount of pictures from a 40th Birthday Party? You are still in the right place!

To alleviate the depression that comes with turning 40, my awesome friends threw me a party celebrating me! "Jill" was the theme of the party. Here's the invite:Guests were asked to dress like Jill, bring a potluck of Jill-food and compete in the Jillolympics. What a perfect party to take the sting out of turning 40. (40! Seriously. How did I get so damn old???)

The reason there are a ridiculous amount of pictures in the post is because my friends are the coolest, funniest, most creative friends EVER and I need to show that off.

Irene was the hostess of the party. She dressed as Xanadu-Jill, from the time we did the most awesome Xanadu routine at a friend's birthday party. Nicole was the other hostess. She went pretty far back and reminded everyone of my failed stint as a mailman. Oy. Mailman-Jill:I dressed as Work-Jill because none of my friends ever see that part of my life.

Nicole's husband came as Showgirl-Jill. How hot is he?!!Wayne came as Adventure-Jill:
Aimee was Agility-Jill. She was hilarious during the costume parade. She did a perfect show of running her pretend dog through a course.She was the one who truly looked the most like me. I rarely see her in glasses and I was shocked when I saw her to realize how much we really do look alike.

Emily was Racer/Twilight Town Trek-Jill, complete with Camelbak.
Christy came as Urban Adventure Race-Jill, wearing our last year's costume. NFBF dug through his really, really old stuff to find the Carlos O'Kelly's shirt. We met while working at Carlos 19 years ago! That hat is from 19 years ago too.
Leah was Soccer-Jill. Her costume parade antics included getting hit in the face with a ball. :) Josh came as Swing-Jill. Back in the days of swing dancing, I was known as "the bouncy one", thus the springs on his shoes. So clever!
Elaine came as Swimming With the Dolphins-Jill, complete with a picture of me actually swimming with the dolphins. Her costume parade included mimicking a dolphin ride.
Steven and Pat were both Everyday-Jill, though I think I'm a little offended that Pat thinks my "everyday" look is a mullet pulled into a ponytail. I DO NOT have a mullet.Little David is Hockey-Jill and Iren is Showgirl-Jill. David even pulled out the old swing dancer jersey that we wore back when I played roller.
Brent. Brent. Brent. Oh so infuriating Brent. He came as 2nd Place-Jill. He looks like Urban Adventure Race-Jill in his CitySolve t-shirt: But no...he needs to rub in our 2nd place finish to his fabulous 1st place finish with this insult. 2nd Place-Jill:
Jen came as Migraine-Jill. This is exactly how I looked when she came over to walk my dogs during that time: She even brought a kitty to curl up with:
About this time, I made my first costume-change of the evening. I didn't really want to be Work-Jill all night, so my plan was to change into matching costumes with all of the guests. I brought a ton of stuff over so I could match as many people as possible. Here is matching Xanadu:
The next costume change was supposed to be matching Coyotes Pack-Jill: ...but Marin chickened out and instead came as Book Club-Jill. She and her husband have their library cards pinned to their shirts and books in their pockets:At this point I gave up on the matching costume changes, though I did have matching costumes for Showgirl-Jill, Soccer-Jill and Urban Adventure Race-Jill.

August came as Foster-Jill:

Karissa was Hit In the Face (again!) with a Soccer Ball and Have the Scar to Prove It-Jill. It looked so real, but it was just make-up!
Kiri pulled off a really fun version of Bikini-Jill:She was nice enough to give me boobs and a six-pack! But she wasn't nice enough to forget my birthmark:
Seriously, do I have the MOST awesome and creative friends you've ever seen? Yes, yes I do!

Stay tuned for the second part of the Birthday Party posts where you will see pictures of the greatest cake ever!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Extreme Heat Night Race

This is another one of those posts that Blogger messed up. I spent about 4 hours writing the race recap and then I even went back and proofed it, making a whole bunch of changes. Then I hit "publish post" and Blogger said "please sign in". WTF? Somewhere along the line, I got logged out but didn't know it and kept working and working. When I logged back in, only half of my post remained. I wanted to cry. Maybe I even did.

This happened a few months ago and I'm barely getting over my anger enough to try this again. I'm not going to take a lot of time to re-write all of the stuff that got deleted, so forgive me if you get a thorough beginning followed by a half-assed ending. Boo hiss blogger.

With the end of the clue-solving race season comes the start of the adventure racing season! We kicked it off on May 7th with the Extreme Heat Night Race. (May 7th!! I told you I wrote this a long time ago!)

The race started at REI in Paradise Valley at 6:00 pm. Immediately we were split up with one racer running to the nearby park for a challenge while the other teammate went into REI to do a challenge. Irene felt that I have more energy and run faster so she sent me to the park. Wow, it is a sad state of affairs when the faster/more energetic teammate starts a 1/2 mile run at the front and arrives at the challenge second to last! :( Running sucks!

While Irene ran around REI gathering prices of various merchandise, I got to do this:We had to balance a golf ball on a tee, go out around a cone and come back to the start line. If the golf ball fell off the tee you had to go back and start over. I dropped the golf ball right away and then got into the right rhythm. I started second-to-last but I finished the challenge ahead of most teams. Yay! Then I had to run back to REI. Boo. A lot of people passed me. Back to the back of the pack. My running sucks!

At REI we were given our map of bike check points. We had to ride 3 miles to the mountain preserve. My road biking is as awesomely stellar as my running and a bunch more teams passed us. Then I got to flaunt my mountain biking skills as we entered the park.The majority of our adventure races have used jeep trails for the bike portion, or the bike portion was short in comparison to the hike. This race, however, was real mountain biking, technical mountain biking and I couldn't do it. I tried really hard but it was horrible. I was horrible. We had to get to 7 checkpoints, in order, so there were a lot of people in the same place. At one point a bunch of teams took a wrong trail and we got ahead of them. This seems like a good thing, except that as they caught up, they all got stuck behind me on the single-track trail. Half the time I was too scared to pull over because there wasn't a safe-looking place. Also, I couldn't always tell if there were irritated racers behind me because I am not even coordinated enough to look behind me while riding on a road, much less on a rocky, skinny trail! It was horrible for everyone involved. I apologize to all those other teams out there. Not surprisingly I walked the bike A LOT!

There was another racer having as much trouble as I was. The young girl in the golf ball picture looked absolutely miserable. She walked her bike a lot, too. She was a lot faster at it than I was though. I talked to her after the race to find out that she was 17 years and hadn't ridden a bike since she was 14. She's awesome and watching her struggle and beat the mountain helped me struggle through as well.

Irene, of course, rocked the navigating and we steadily got all of our checkpoints though steadily falling further and further behind as we did. I was positive that this was the race where my inability to mountain bike really was going to screw us. We've been so lucky up til now! I tried to keep my spirits up for Irene because I knew I was holding us back. And then it happened. Ugh. I finally crashed. And not like "hit a wall" crashed but like literally fell off my bike and hit the ground crashed. As the sun was setting, there were a lot of little no-see-ums buzzing around our faces. It was so annoying. As I was riding, I very carefully lifted my left hand to get one out of my eye and BOOM! Down I went. It was painful and embarrassing. It was particularly embarrassing because at this point there were racers both right behind and coming toward me on the same trail and they all had to stop for me. Ugh. Irene, however, didn't notice I fell and thus didn't stop for me. I screamed her name but she didn't hear me. Ugh. By this time we had been riding for almost 2 hours and I didn't think we'd ever be done. Alas, we were in the middle of a mountain preserve. Even if I wanted to quit, I'd still have to ride/walk my damned bike out of there. So I let Irene lead me to the rest of the checkpoints while I muttered angrily to myself about how stupid I am to enter these stupid races when I can't even ride a stupid bike.

And then it was dark. I went to turn on my bike light...and no bike light. It must have snapped off when I crashed. Ugh. I did have a headlamp so I used that instead. After we got our last bike checkpoint, we had to either go straight up and over a mountain or around a mountain to get to the bike drop. Another women's team had been following us most of the race, after they realized that Irene was crazy-good at map-reading and navigating. I choose to go over the mountain for two reasons. One, the other ladies would probably give up following us and two, if we were going straight up and straight down, no one would expect me to actually ride my bike, right? Besides, it was so dark that you couldn't see how daunting the mountain really was. It probably wasn't the wisest choice, but it worked - the ladies didn't follow us and I didn't have to ride the bike. As we climbed the mountain we saw only a few bike lights out across the desert, meaning we were pretty close to last. :(

When we finally reached the bike drop, on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood that abuts the mountain, we had to search the area for index cards with values for various letters. The index cards were taped to flashing traffic cones. You'd think flashing traffic cones would be easy to find at night, but they did a good job of hiding them behind bushes. We had to find all the letters and their values for the word "obstacle." We found the letters and tried to do the math. We were dead tired and our brains weren't functioning very well. I said to Irene, "24+31" and she responded "54". Yeah, that can't be right! We continued like that for awhile, laughing our asses off at our inability to do basic addition and at the look of pity and amazement on the race director's face. However, we did give her the correct answer and she awarded us with the trekking checkpoint map.

Yay! Trekking!

This is where my original recap ended, so things will be shorter from here.

The trekking portion included 5 checkpoints that you could do in any order. You could do as many or as few as you wanted, as long as you were back by 10:00 pm. Each checkpoint was worth a point value, depending on how easy or hard it was to find. Since our biking was so slow, we didn't have a lot of time. We chose to skip checkpoint one because it was the lowest point value, and was in the opposite direction of the other checkpoints. I figured we'd get 2 and 3 and then be out of time. But we were feeling good (actually running for lots of it - the moonlight was great!) and Irene was feeling greedy. She was determined to push the time limit as much as possible so we went for 4. I wanted to go back, as we still had to get back on our bikes, do one more bike point and then get back to REI and we were getting close to 10:00. But Irene pushed us on to #5, navigating like the super-star she is. We got 4 out of 5 checkpoints. Woo hoo!

We were second to last back to our bikes, not a good sign. We raced out of the cul-de-sac, picked up the final bike checkpoint (on the bridge over highway 51) and headed back to REI. We had about 10 minutes to get there. We got a little lost getting out of the neighborhood, which really panicked me. Uh oh. We saw some other teams heading back as well, which calmed me down a bit.

We rode up to the REI finish line at 9:57! Plenty of time to spare. The race organizers congratulated us for finishing by the time cutoff. Then they mocked us because Irene's helmet was on backwards! I guess we raced out of the bike drop a little too fast. :)

In the end, Irene's greediness paid off. All of those points we accumulated put us in 3rd place! Hurray for Storming the Castle!

In first place was the other girl who couldn't ride a bike! Yay for her. She must be a damn fast runner because they got all 5 checkpoints and finished 40 minutes ahead of us. When I grow up I want to be her!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vote for Mo

One night while procrastinating doing my chores, I found this contest on facebook:It's a photo contest for shelter or rescue dogs. I entered this picture of Mo, with a brief rundown of her rescue story:
Out of thousands of entries, Mo was chosen as a finalist! YAY!

If she wins, $10,000 will be given to the Arizona Humane Society! TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Seeing as they saved her life and all, I would love to be able to get them $10,000. When they found Mo, she was so severely injured that they could easily have made the cost-conscious decision to euthanize her. Instead, they rushed her into surgery and gave her a chance. I can't thank them enough for that decision and for bringing her into my life. I love my Mo! And I love my AHS!

This contest is decided by votes on their facebook page. Please go to your facebook, "like" Fuzzy Nation, click on the Super Model contest link on the left and then vote for Mo! You can vote every day starting Monday, through August 21st. Vote often! Tell your friends!

This is the contest link: https://www.facebook.com/fuzzynation?sk=app_117170818364057