Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The End of an Era

For the past 10 years I have played soccer at the Castle Sports Club 4 (or more) times a week. For a while I was playing 3 leagues on Sunday, Monday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. I was a premier member which meant I also had access to the gym where I worked out quite a bit. During that 10 years we also played roller hockey at the Castle. Pretty much, the Castle has been my home away from home for a really long time.

There has always been some frustrations with the Castle - refs who don't pay attention, not enough soccer balls, our players not showing up, other teams forfeiting, indoor games getting canceled due to rain, horrible conditions on the outdoor field, fights, etc, etc.  But for the most part, those frustrations were outweighed by the facts that I like playing soccer, I like my teams, I like that it is only 3 minutes from home, I like that it is comfortable.

Lately though, the frustrations have been getting to the point where I can't look past them anymore. Just as an example - a few weeks ago, the soccer director and the ref yelled at my team for whining when we asked if we could use a ball that wouldn't draw blood. 3 people were already bleeding from the peeling plastic parts of the ball cutting them when it hit them. We were such "whiners" for asking for a good ball, that the soccer director refused to give us the good ball because someone's toddler was sitting on it and that was more important than 2 paying teams getting to play. This kind of stupidity happens a lot and we usually just brush it off, but lately it's getting harder and harder to do so.

In addition to that, Jace and Christy stopped playing on Mondays and Thursdays (because of work and kid commitments) and despite bringing in a bunch of new people to replace them, no one stuck. We forfeited all the time and I HATE forfeits. And in addition to that, teams are dropping out like crazy. Leagues that used to have 8 teams are down to 4 teams. And usually, at least one of those teams forfeits each week.

It got to be too frustrating. My team withdrew from Mondays and Thursdays so now we play only on Sundays. We are considering quitting Sundays, too.  So sad - it's the end of an era!

This is the first season of the reduced soccer schedule and it is really sad. I miss seeing my soccer friends on a regular basis. I'm super lazy since I have so much free time and I have a lot more time to eat now, so I've been doing a lot of that! :)

To help combat the laziness and overeating, I joined an Ultimate Frisbee league. Yes, I'm about as good at throwing a frisbee as I am at flying or speaking chinese, but I joined anyway. As expected, I suck. I'm not exactly sure I like it. Games are 2 hours long and I don't seem to have the attention span for that. And being a sucky player, I'm pretty much just taking up space on the field. No one really throws it to me and I'm assigned to guard the sucky people on the other teams who also never get the frisbee, so I'm barely playing any defense either. Pretty much I'm just running up and down the field for two hours for no reason. Perhaps it will get better when I get better?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Winning Mr. Winston

Meet Winston!
Winston is a 3 year old Chihuahua mix who just had FHO surgery. He will be recuperating at our house for the next four weeks. I am currently reading 1984 for book club so I named him after the main character. Big Brother is watching you, Winston!

We've only had him for 3 days, but he is already making himself quite at home!
I love an easy foster, and Winston is certainly that. He is housetrained, he gets along with the dogs and he doesn't bark much. He does do this hilarious "talking" thing when you are eating and not giving him any of your food. I've never seen begging quite like it. He doesn't bark at you but he is very vocal. I'll have to try to get it on video.

Yo Quiero Taco Bell:

After we finished eating our super-healthy Taco Bell lunch with Winston chirping at us the whole time, Pat let Winston up on his lap. Winston immediately put his front paws on the table and pulled the Taco Bell box all the way to the edge of the table so he could scavenge for crumbs. It was so cute. He doesn't know Pat very well yet, or he would have known there would be no crumbs left over!

Updated a few days later:  I took Winston over to meet the Bacon Bits. He loved all the kids but he gravitated towards the youngest one. We were all sitting in a circle on the floor and he was scared of their cat. When the cat would come around, he'd run over to Maggie, who is 9, and hide in her lap. It was very cute.

Winston is also scared of my cat. For the first few days, he accepted Al but was nervous about it. As he was around Al more, he got more scared of him and started trying to run him off. Twice when I was watching hockey sitting on the couch with Winston in my lap and Al next to me, Winston tried to attack Al. The first time it happened, Al spooked and ran away. The second time it happened, Al wasn't phased at all (I love this cat - he is so awesome!) and just stayed put. You could almost hear him thinking "Oh, please, little chihuahua. I am so above fighting, but if it came down to it, I would kick your ass. So just simmer down now."  Poor Winston was now scared and mad so he upped the attack. Kitty still did nothing so I removed Winston to chill in his crate for awhile. 

So, I guess we'll say good with children and bad with cats. :) 

Updated March 18:  Winston passed his vet exam two weeks early (he's a good healer!) and went up for adoption. Sadly, TWO weekends have passed and Winston is still at the shelter. He is such a people-oriented little guy, I bet that he's just wilting there. I'm afraid that people aren't getting to see his true happy nature. If you know of anyone in the market for a little dog to live in a cat-free home, send them to the Arizona Humane Society Campus for Compassion. Poor little Winston.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Race Calendar

My 2013 race season started on January 26. I will be doing 14 races in 13 weeks. Hopefully, by the end of that time, I will be back in shape. I cannot believe how ridiculously out of shape I got during my ankle injury hiatus!

Here's the list of scheduled races:

January 26 - Scavenger Dash in Phoenix (After 3 hours of racing in non-stop rain, we finished FIRST and tied for the costume contest win!)
Feb 2/3 - no races, had to work on the weekend. Boo.
February 9 - Spartan Race (Our goal was to finish, and we did! We only had to do burpees at the spear throw.)
February 16 - Glow Rush Scavenger Hunt in Phoenix (We finished second in the shortest race ever - it only took us 31 minutes)
February 23 - Great Urban Race in Tempe
February 24 - Tough Mudder
March 2 - Retro Run 5K with Frankie and Georgie!
March 2 - CitySolve Urban Race in Phoenix
March 9 - Survivor Mud Run
March 10 - Urban Bike Adventure in Phoenix
March 16 - CityScape Adventure in Scottsdale
March 23 - Scavenger Ride in Phoenix. This is the same day as Urban Dare. Bummer.
March 23 - Neon Run
March 30 - nothing scheduled, going camping for a wedding
April 6 - Nothing scheduled - I'm open to suggestions if anyone is planning on signing up for something!
April 13 - Firefly Run. I've got to start working on a costume so I can defend my title!
April 20 - Cahoots Prison Break

What's missing? Challenge Nation - NO WAY! Urban Beer Hunt - not worth repeating, Toro Loco Challenge - I'm all signed up and the company has disappeared, my money with them. Bastards.

During the summer I'll do a few adventure races, hopefully, and Part 2 of the 2013 race season will start in September. Part 2 already includes a triathlon, Gilmore Adventure Race and Rugged Maniac.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We had a crazy, record-breaking cold January. Temperatures below freezing for multiple nights in a row, which is quite unusual in Phoenix! On one of these ridiculously cold days, I saw a loose dog near the park by my house while I was driving home from work. It was a pit bull mix and I could tell she was wearing a collar.

As soon as I saw her, I slowed down. She watched me. I turned the car around to park. She watched me. I got out of the car. She watched me. I opened the back door and asked if she wanted to go for a ride. She watched me. I got out a leash and some treats. She watched me. I crossed the street, walking toward her. She watched me. I got closer. She backed away, still watching me. I got out my treats and threw one towards her. She ate it, still watching me. She was very wary but also interested in befriending me.

After about 15 minutes freezing my ass off and going through almost a full bag of treats, I was able to grab her collar and slip the leash on her. As soon as the leash was on, she was immediately trusting of me like we had been friends forever. We walked around the neighborhood going door-to-door asking the neighbors if they knew her. No one knew her but I was told that she had been loose in the area for two days. This means that she was out overnight with the temperatures below freezing!! Poor little girl! No wonder she was so willing to let me catch her!

I took her to the park and asked the families there if they knew her. No luck. I took her to the EAC to have them scan for a chip. No luck. So I took her home. It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get my dogs in and out and fed, and her in and out and fed without them meeting. She seemed friendly but Frankie is sometimes sketchy and Mo doesn't always like big dogs so I didn't want to introduce them without Pat being there to hold one of the leashes. Also, it was dark out now and she was a black dog so I wouldn't really be able to see her body language when she was being introduced. So, I tied her up to the boat for a bit and I left her in the car for a bit while I moved everyone around. She was completely patient though it all. Every time I came back to her, she wagged and wiggled like crazy!

Finally I brought her into the house and to the guest room. She plopped right up onto the bed and stretched out. She almost immediately fell asleep. She must have been completely worn out from being out in the cold for all that time!
I did everything I could to find her owners. She was so well-behaved and she had on a brand new sparkly pink collar so she had to belong to someone! I searched all the websites for lost dog posts. I posted on Craigslist and PetHarbor. I posted her on my facebook wall and on a bunch of other facebook pages. I posted signs all over the neighborhood on my way to work the next day. It was 28 degrees out! My fingers were about to fall off! I emailed my neighbors. So many people pitched in to help spread the word. One of my neighbor friends emailed our Neighborhood Watch Captain and he sent her picture out to the whole area. People forwarded that email and people forwarded that. I knew it was working when I was a recipient of one of the emails! The facebook picture was shared 657 times! I posted more signs at the shelters. I posted new ads on Craigslist. And after a week...still nothing! :(

Over that week, my stray pit bull mix proved to be one of the most well-behaved, most friendly dogs ever! She liked my dogs. She ignored the cat. We had the Chocolate Chihuahua at the same time and she completely ignored the Little Shit's aggressive demeanor. She was a bit afraid of Pat at first, and other men who visited, but never showed any signs of fear-aggression and she warmed up quickly. She loved to cuddle and loved hugs. She never chewed on anything other than the bones we gave her. She was house trained. We called her Sweetie, which didn't seem like a "real" name so I changed it to Sweden. A dog named Sweden should have blond hair and blue eyes, right? Ha, not this one!  Tail wagging:
She didn't know any commands when I found her, but she learned sit in a matter of 10 minutes. She quickly learned she had to sit/stay before I would dole out her dinner. She was a smart cookie!

She was the exact same size as Mo, but weighed 10 pounds more. Yet, she still thought she fit in this dog bed:
With all the emails and all the facebook photo shares going around, I had five people contact me to say they were interested in her! So awesome! I did three family visits. One family didn't work out because they were looking for a dog to wrestle and play with their black lab. Sweden and the lab got along just fine but Sweden wasn't interested in playing. She is much more interested in hanging out with her people than playing with dogs. Another guy didn't work out because his rescue pit/border collie mix (who looked a lot like Sweden!) did not like her at all. She was scared of him and hid behind me. In the end, Sweden went to a family in Glendale who used to have a Rottie (he died of old age) and felt they were ready for another dog. They have no other pets and the mom fell in love with Sweden at first sight!

Sweden's name is now Lilly. She was a wonderful house guest and I hope she has a long and happy life with her new family!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Chocolate Chihuahua

We fostered this little guy for two weeks in January while he recovered from kennel cough. 
His real name was Ringo but we never called him that. It was always either The Chocolate Chihuahua or Little Shit.

If I wasn't so diplomatic when filling out his kennel card information, it would have read like this:
Here we have a little shit of a dog. He is a pain in the ass, not very affectionate and not very smart. He is aloof and stand-offish, which appears to be more of a personality trait than an outcome of being fearful or previous bad treatment. He will tolerate cuddling when it's cold but that's only because he's seeking your warmth. He will run out any open door and will not come when called nor will he chase you if you turn around and run the other way. He is scared of cats. He will tolerate dogs that you introduce him to while he's too sick to care, but after that, any big dogs he meets will be greeted with growls and lip curls as he has a big case of Little Man Complex.  He isn't very cute with those permanently red-rimmed eyes. His only redeeming traits are that he is 100% house trained, walks well on a leash, and he likes to burrow under the blankets which is moderately entertaining. If you choose to adopt this little shit, we hope you have a good sense of humor and a strong sense of self so you won't feel bad when your dog doesn't like you.
His kennel card ended up just saying generic stuff like he likes to go for walks. :) He was adopted in 3 days. I hope his new people are a better match for him than I was! I've been looking at the website for the past few weeks and the Chocolate Chihuahua has not showed up again, so I guess his new family have decided to keep him and he hasn't run away yet!