Friday, December 30, 2011

Four Wheeler Video

Here is the video from Christmas day at my parents house. If you are prone to motion sickness you might not want to watch this video lol. It's very bumpy since I was riding on the back of the four wheeler. I cut out a lot of the footage that was too blurry and also the parts where I was twisting around to face the other direction since I'm sure you don't want to see a bunch of blurry 360s. :) I also took the sound out of most of it since we were calling the dogs, whistling and just being loud in general. Sorry it's not fantastic, but I love watching Storm run so you might like it too.

It was a fun day. :D

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Canine Exercise & Clicker Training

So I've been trying to get caught up on reading blogs because I had over 300 in my Google Reader . . . I'm down to 150 so I'm getting there. In my readings I was catching up on one of my favorites, Honey's blog, and came across this post ( . . . and as most of her posts do, it got me to thinking. I have two (three?) high energy breeds, a Siberian Husky and a Beagle/Mountain Cur cross and I am NOT at all consistent with our exercising. Sigh. And yes, most of my excuses are selfish and lazy. Talk about feeling bad lol.

When we went to my parents house on Christmas day we had some fun with the four wheeler (yes I'm still working on getting the video ready to post) and Jackal was sore for a few days after that. He's had issues with one of his rear legs since he was a puppy and I think it was my fault for over exercising him on asphalt. So I have to be really careful not to let him overdo it, however letting him get fat and out of shape is one of the worse things I can do!! I also slacked off on my own exercise since I decided to take a break during November for NaNoWriMo and well I never got back to it. So one of the things I'm going to get back to for 2012 is exercising, both me and the dogs. I'll post more on my goals for 2012 on New Years day.

So for now, since we're all out of shape and lazy lol, I'm starting with two ten minute walks a day, one before work and one after. I also have a bad habit of marching off at a fast speed in a hurry to get done instead of enjoying the scenery and time spent with my dogs. So now when we walk we're walking in the ditches (softer on their joints) so the dogs can sniff around where the deer, raccoons, rabbits, armadillos and opossums roam around lol, because a dog sniffing is like us reading the newspaper. They love it! We can only do that in the winter though because in the summer the grass gets tall and ticks are horrible. We're also practicing at running, walking (while they trot) and walking slow (so they have to walk too) for changes of pace. So far they definitely approve of our new way of walking. :)

So anyway, when we got back from our after work walk today I decided to work on all of the tricks Jackal learned for 2011 (January: Crawl, February: Shy, March: Fetch Leash, April: Close Door, May: Marching Paws, June: Go to Bed, July: Paws in Bucket, August: Say Your Prayers, September: Stand, October: Recall, November: Sidepass and December: This one is a surprise!) so that we can start videotaping them. He did fantastic! I guess the walk got him in a training frame of mind because I could not have asked for better. :D

We've been having trouble with his sidepass . . . the way we were doing it before was having him stand in a heel position on my left and us walking sideways to our left, but I was bumping into him (or tripping lol) and his front and rear just weren't working together. So I finally turned to face him and lured his nose to his left while gently pushing his hip to the left. After clicking for that once he did it all by himself the second time!!! I was so proud of him! So even though it didn't look like he was doing well the other way it obviously was sinking it and my new method just made it click for him. I love it when a behavior comes together like that.

The other one we're having trouble with is Say Your Prayers. I'm having him do it on his little stool and he does great sitting with his paws on it (that took forever to teach), but he doesn't hold it long (I guess it's not comfortable yet) so I haven't been able to get much duration and thus can't get him to tuck or rest his nose on his paws . . . So for now he's sitting with his paws up instead of saying his prayers lol. We'll keep working on it, but it won't be finished for our video.

We worked on most of his other tricks too. The only ones we didn't cover were his recall (he's really good at this in the house so far), fetch his leash (he loves this one and is great at it) and shy (this one needs work, but the session was getting long and I was out of treats). We'll catch them next time. He's getting a lot more confident with closing the door on the entertainment center. When it slams shut it doesn't startle him anymore lol. I can probably start trying to work on another real door now. :)

Also on his Stand I have inadvertently taught him to bounce his front end in the air when he pops up out of a sit. It's so cute! I might let him do that or I might fix it. Not sure yet. :) He's also doing great on his Go To Bed behavior and he's so cute doing it! He gets so focused on me that he doesn't really pay attention to where the bed is. When he misses it and lays down I don't click so he bounces up, backs up and lays back down. I just laugh at him until he backs up onto the bed and lays down, then I click. It's so cute. I love his enthusiasm.

Anyway, sorry this got so long winded. We had so much fun and I just wanted to share. Keep an eye out for the video. I'm going to try to get it done soon, maybe this weekend. It may be a week before I get it all ready and posted though, just depends on how busy I am. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! - Dogs' Christmas Gifts

I love Storm's expression here! It's one I get a lot from her hehe.

Storm got her Christmas present first.

A new bed! It has the thick foam in it to protect her aging joints from the hard floor.

She loves it!

Then Jackal got his gift.

Naughty boy is on my chaise lounge eagerly awaiting his stocking.

Mmm smells good.

"Mom, it's a little small. Help!"

He chomped it down so quick you couldn't see it, but it was a dog treat. Food is his favorite thing ever after all. Don't worry though, there's more!

They got to go to my parents house (which they love!) where we celebrated Christmas with our traditional Mexican food dinner (enchiladas, white cheese dip, tacos, taco salad, etc. also fruit salad and cupcakes yum!). They had a blast! Bet you can't guess why they are so hot and tired in these next two pictures.

I took my dad's four wheeler out to the pasture and let them chase me all over the six acres. :D Then after everyone had eaten Christmas dinner and relaxed a bit . . .

Storm gave me this look! Which means she wants to go again! So we went a second time. I will edit and upload the video I took tomorrow. :)

Waiting at the gate that leads to the pasture.

Trotting back to see what is taking my husband so long getting the four wheeler out of the shed (had to let it warm up).

Not the best quality, but the cutest picture ever!! And a perfect recall too!

A couple of very, very blurry, but cute running pictures. I was on the back of a four-wheeler so forgive me for the blur hehe.

And just for fun I used GIMP to give it an oil painting look. Cool, huh?

And Jackal's blurry running shot. This is why I mostly shot videos. :)

Love it! And below is his oil painting version.

One more cute shot of Storm.

I wish the grass hadn't been in her face, but I love how high she's stepping through the grass. Cute!!

Also had to share this because he's so cute. My mom's dog carried his bowl around all day to keep my dogs from trying to eat his food . . . even though it was empty LOL!

Well, that's all for now! I hope everyone has a very, merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

The last of our turkeys. Our three Midget White turkeys.

Well, vacation ended on Wednesday. Work has been fine since I got back, but sheesh I forgot how incredibly boring it is there!!! Luckily it's been busy so it's not too bad and I did miss my customers. They are so awesome. :D

My allergies have been horrible!! I thought I was getting a cold, but this has been going on since around the twelfth so it's probably allergies. Normally I have three weeks of misery every spring and fall with them, but it's normally so much earlier than this. We've had a strangely warm fall/winter so far and I guess whatever I'm allergic to is blooming later. Oh well, it can't be too much longer before whatever it is dies. I will not miss the headaches or lack of sleep due to the inability to breathe lol.

I'm going to be very busy over the next few days so I don't know if I will have time to post. I'm going to try to work on getting video of the tricks Jackal learned this year, but don't be surprised if it's January before I get it posted. I also bought some small toys/treats for the critters so I should be able to get some cute pictures that I'll post when I can. I hope everyone has a great weekend, Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Be safe and have fun.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Secret Santa Fun!

My friend's adorable rescued Chihuahuas.

My group of closest friends decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange because we are all broke. Doing it that way meant everyone got a single nice gift instead of several cheap gifts from everyone. We drew names and spent the week thinking of the best gifts to get for our Secret Santa. Then we all contributed to the buying/preparing of the food (which was delicious!).

We had barbecue little smokies, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, baked beans, Hawaiian rolls, turtle pie and German chocolate cake. It was awesome!!

I made a homemade rope halter (like the one I made for Chrome that he's wearing in all of his pictures) for my Secret Santa. Everyone was confused why I kept saying we had to open gifts before dark, but I wanted to try it on her horse and make sure it was sized right lol. She loved it.

For my gift I got this gorgeous, handmade necklace . . .

I love it! He made the whole thing himself. It's made with wire thread, beads and a piece of ivory. On the ivory he carved my horses' initial C, F and Z, for Chrome, Faran and Zeppelin. :D It's one of the best gifts I've ever received. We had so much fun! This is what I love about Christmas. Spending time with great friends, eating good food and exchanging thoughtful, creative gifts. Hope everyone has a great week! I have two more days of vacation and then it's back to the grind, so I'm going to enjoy them as fully as I can. Goodnight everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Smart Jackal

First a story from Jackal's time at my parents house. Their front yard is fenced and has a gate straight out from the front door and one to the right of the front door. Currently there is a gap in the fence to the left as well because they are extending the porch. Outside of the small decorative fence they have four acres fenced securely. So my mom let Jackal outside and he went out of the front yard through the gap to the left. After he'd run around, played and taken care of his business he came to the front gate and whined, wanting inside, so she let him in. She decided to leave the front gate open so next time he could come in using it and she wouldn't have to walk out there to let him in. The next time she let him out he went through the front gate and did his running around. When he was ready to come in he went to the right side gate and whined. LOL! So she let him in and left that one open too lol. Silly dog is such a dork.

So now that you've seen his dumb side, here is his smart side. At the end of December I'm going to make a video of the twelve tricks he learned this year, so I decided to do a practice run through. He did all but two of them perfectly because he's still learning those two. Some of these tricks we've only had one or two sessions on and he hasn't practiced them since early, early this year. :D I'm amazed at how well he retains what he learns. Good boy Jackal!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Back!!

I'm not sure if I posted that I was going to be out of town for a few days, but if I forgot I'm sorry! I thought I was going to have internet, but I didn't really so I wasn't able to read very many blogs, comment or post on my own. I'm back though and very happy to be sleeping in my own wonderful bed lol.

The first good news is that I did not catch whatever bug my boss had! Yay for GermX and Clorox wipes lol. The second news is that I had fun visiting my husband's family in a different state (where we wore short sleeves in December oh yeah!) and I am now home safe.

I missed my puppies!! Storm and Jackal went to stay with my parents who live an hour away while we were gone Monday through Thursday (today). They were very well behaved, but poor Jackal was having bad dreams every night full of snoring, whimpering, chasing and barking lol. When we got there to take them home he excitedly got in the truck and promptly passed out. I didn't hear another peep from him for the whole drive and normally he's loud and obnoxious. It would have been nice if I hadn't been worried about him lol. We got home and he bounced inside, ate his supper and is now curled up next to me. I think I'll let him sleep in bed with me tonight. I can't believe how much I miss my critters when I go out of town.

Anyway I'll update and share some pictures of the trip tomorrow. Good night everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Update

I have to get up before dawn tomorrow, so just leaving a quick update. My boss finally went to the doctor and he has the beginning stages of pneumonia (which he's prone to since he's had it before and they gave him antibiotics to prevent it from progressing), which started as a head cold, so thank goodness it wasn't the flu or bronchitis. Hopefully that means I won't be sick for my vacation or if I do it'll just be a head cold and not something serious. I'm just glad he's going to be okay. He's been miserable. I just wish he'd gone to the doctor two days ago like I told him to. Sigh. My week has not improved and the weekend is going to suck too, but hopefully my vacation next week will be fantastic. Thanks for listening guys!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Complaints . . .

I don't like to complain on my blog, but the first week of December has been absolutely horrible! It rained almost every single day I had to work Chrome after his gelding/castration. It got really cold. My boss at work is sick and doesn't seem to give a damn in he infects everyone else. I get really stressed around sick people under normal circumstances, but right now I really don't want to get sick because next week I have to drive seven hours to another state to spend a few days with my inlaws and that will not be fun at all if I'm sick. I hurt my back and the next day had to be on my feet for over eight hours straight at work because my boss finally decides to stay home sick (really???). I haven't done any training with Jackal at all. I didn't get to spend hardly any time with my husband on his birthday. And . . . and . . . and I'm just tired . . . sorry for the rant . . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jackal's Favorite Spot

When he's not cuddling with me, this is Jackal's favorite spot. Right in front of the wood stove. :D He's staked it out as his warm spot to sit so that he's not in the kitchen, but can still watch what is happening in there while we're cooking. It works out for everyone. Please don't anyone tell him he looks fat in this picture LOL!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What's Wrong With Jackal? - Video

Watch the video and see if you can figure out what's wrong with Jackal . . .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Training

I'm keeping Jackal's December trick a surprise. :D I am going to spend the month of December practicing all of the tricks we learned this year (plus our new one) so that we can do our best for the video at the end of the month. :) Anyway sorry for the short post, I'm so ready for some sleep. I have a really cute video to post tomorrow, so look forward to that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Winner!!

I don't know how I did it, but I did! 50,090 words with only a little over an hour to spare! That was cutting it close. Third year in a row winning NaNo ( and definitely the hardest one yet lol. Thanks for the encouragement guys. I am so glad November is over this year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day Twenty Nine - NaNoWriMo Word Count

Good thing I didn't have to work today, because all I did was write, write and write some more. I wrote a total of 5,892 words today for a total of 42,246 words for day twenty nine of NaNo ( So I have 7,754 words left to write. I hope I can finish it tomorrow! It's going to be tough!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best Summer Ever!

This has been the best summer I've had since moving to this city four years ago! I finally met some great friends that I have a lot in common with. We spent all summer fishing, swimming, having late night card (Rummy) nights, riding horses and four-wheelers, taking pictures, etc (all without spending hardly any money lol). My friends have been what kept me sane during the huge stresses of our uncertain financial future, the dreadful start to the year and the stress of accepting/learning the assistant managers position this summer. I've learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the time I've spent with my friends and pets. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it keeps getting better and better. :D

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

First off I want to say that it is very difficult to take nice pictures at my parent's house because the lighting isn't very good, so please excuse the ugly photos lol. Second I had a fantastic Thanksgiving!! It's my favorite holiday because the family is together eating good food and thinking about everything they are thankful for. :) How was yours? I hope it was great!

Here are some pictures from today (sorry I completely forgot to take pictures of the food hehe). I'm not posting any of my human family (except hubby) because they are camera shy and would be very peeved if I posted them to a public blog. So you get to enjoy pictures of the furred family members who got to go along.

Hubby and "lap dog" Storm. :D I love this picture.

The only (unflattering) picture of me because I'm always behind the camera.
And yes, immature hubby is giving me bunny ears lol.

My mom's dog. I interrupted his wallowing session on the recliner lol.

Storm begging for a bite of turkey lol.

My mom's dog playing with his toy. Flash washed it out bad. I love my mom's couch lol.

Jackal wiped out after an exciting day.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

P.S. I got ZERO writing done for NaNo today lol, but I had fun and that's what counts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day Twenty Two - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I wrote 1,295 words today for a total of 31,438 for day twenty two of NaNo. Not a lot, but I can still catch up in time I think. :D

Driving Lessons

One of my goals for 2011 was to learn how to drive a standard. I haven't really practiced much because the truck we have has no power steering and I didn't feel safe taking it out on the roads. Now that we have a new truck I decided to give it a shot again. What I learned is I have definitely improved at driving a standard from the first time I tried it earlier this year. My problem area is when first taking off from a stop. I can shift from first through third once I'm moving easily. I've definitely gotten that part down lol. My first time trying today on the road I only stalled once and only popped the clutch once. Then I watched my husband drive and learned a few things.

1. You can push the clutch all the way in quickly and without the brake.
2. You can use the brake without the clutch in shallow turns.
3. You have to ease out on the clutch slowly . . . very slowly!
4. You can skip gears going up but NOT down!
5. You always use the emergency brake on slopes when parking and must be in 1st or L.
6. You must be under 10mph to shift down into 1st.

Then I tried again and immediately stalled and popped the clutch all in the matter of a minute! Go me! Once I got going I did well all the way to the end, then I had trouble getting turned around again. I did some reversing too and that doesn't freak me out as bad as it used to. When I got back to the house I practiced easing on the gas while parked to get above 1000rpm, but it sticks right where I need it to ease off the clutch, so I just need to practice jumping the gas up above 1000rpm, easing off the clutch and when the rpm drops again jump the gas again, then good to go. It's just going to take practice. :) I had fun even though it gave me a headache haha!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cute Dogs Make NaNo Difficult - Day 21 NaNo Word Count

Okay, these adorable faces make writing very difficult. However, today I resisted. I wrote 6,357 words today for a total of 30,142 for day twenty one of NaNo ( I'm still about 8,000 words behind schedule, but I'm off tomorrow and it's going to be raining all day again so I'll try to write a lot again. For now I need sleep!

Oh and yes I wrote ZERO words the last three days. You probably thought I just forgot to post about it, but nope I'm a slacker lol.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day Seventeen - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I wrote 2513 words today for a total of 23,785 for day seventeen of NaNoWriMo. Much better! I'm feeling a little more inspired, so maybe I can catch up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Sixteen - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I keep dozing off, so it's time to call it a night. I wrote 1494 words tonight for a total of 21272 for day sixteen of NaNoWriMo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day Fifteen - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I wrote 1,111 words today for a total of 19,778 for day fifteen of NaNoWriMo ( I was really hoping to reach 20,000 today, but it's almost midnight and I'm totally exhausted and uninspired lol. This may be the first year I don't complete NaNo . . .

Jackal's November Trick

Picture taken 5/09.

Some of you may remember that I was going to play around and see what Jackal offered for his November trick. Since I'm busy with NaNo ( - Haven't written anything the last two days oops) I wanted something easy to teach. Well I was watching a movie on T.V. and there was a horse doing the halfpass and I thought that would be totally cool to teach Jackal! Well, actually the sidepass. So I decided to try it. I figured why not? What could it hurt?

I got him into a heel position and started walking forward with a lure in front of his nose to keep him in position. As we went forward I started going slightly sideways, sort of like a halfpass. When he crossed his feet over I clicked and gave him a treat. After a couple of times of that I started going completely sideways after just a couple of forward steps. He started to anticipate me pretty quickly, but was swinging his butt wide, so I didn't click those. I only clicked the ones where he stayed right next to me. Eventually I wasn't even having to bump into him. A couple of times he tried to spin and face me, but that was just my lure and delivery. After a few small tweaks we had a cute sidepass going. Of course it's only a couple of sideways steps. We'll have to work on having him do it without a lure and me standing up straight, but for the first session he did great!! Jackal is so much fun. I really need to review all of the tricks he's learned this year so far so I can make my end of the year video. I can't wait to show it to all of you. Start thinking of cool ideas for his final December trick and I'll add them to the poll. :)

P.S. I met a lady today who has Papillons!! The one she was babysitting was adorable! I didn't get to see her dogs because she lives in a nearby city, but maybe someday. I wish I were ready for another dog now because she has puppies, but it'll probably be a few years. I wish I'd had my camera to get a picture for you. She was so cute!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day Twelve - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I wrote 1233 words today for a total of 18,667 words for day twelve of NaNoWriMo.

Silly Cat Video

My cat is so cute. She doesn't get much air time on the blog so I thought I would post this video. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kitchen Remodel Part II

How does it look? I got the third coat of paint up (turns out only the wall needed a third coat), installed my new spice racks and organized all of my stuff. I love it! I'm so excited. Now I get to empty and clean the other side so I can start painting it. I was hoping to get it done in a week but getting sick slowed things down lol.

Hubby likes his spices lol.

This is with the spice racks pulled down. It's so nice to be able to pull them down to eye level. :) That leaves my bottom shelves for dishes. Yay!

Sort of hard to see, but this shows it pulled down from the side.

And just for cuteness factor. Jackal thinks he's a lap dog. :D

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day Ten - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I'm coming down with something (cough, headache, exhausted) so I only wrote 541 words today for a total of 16,595 for day ten for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I'll do better (and feel better) tomorrow.

Cute Jackal Picture

Since all of my NaNo talk may be a little boring here is a cute picture of Jackal for you. :D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day Nine - NaNoWriMo Word Count

I got the second coat of paint on the first section of cabinets. Sadly parts of it will need a third coat. I didn't realize how dark that yellow was. Luckily the cabinet facings and doors will only need two coats. :)

I also wrote 1,382 words in my novel for NaNoWriMo for a total of 16,054 for day nine. :) I'm still having trouble getting into it. I keep procrastinating starting writing and feel like I have writer's block, but when I start writing it usually starts to flow okay. Normally though when I get in the groove I can easily write 5,000 plus words in a sitting. This time however my inspiration is short lived (usually 800-1000 I have to force anything beyond that). I'm not sure why I'm having trouble with this one. It's a fantasy novel of a world I made completely myself from the ground up, so it's completely unique. Sometimes I think I've spent so much time planning out the planet, climate, races, societies, flora, fauna, calendar, etc. that I get bogged down in a "thinking" mode and lose my creative flow. Luckily that's what NaNo is for, forgetting all the planning and details and just writing! So NaNo is forcing me to push through the procrastination and writer's block. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day Eight - NaNoWriMo Word Count

Yay! I finally got some writing done. I wrote 2,054 words for a total of 14,672 words for day eight! I was getting worried I was falling behind, but I pushed through my fatigue and got caught back up. :)

Kitchen Remodel Part I

Alrighty. I want to post a disclaimer first. My husband and I live in a very old fixer upper house. The people we bought it from originally bought it for their daughter and made some "repairs". Their idea of repairs were lazy and cheap! We've had to redo about everything they did (such has putting up window casings without caulking the windows so that air was actually blowing the curtains!!). This house was built during a time when electricity was an afterthought, if that tells you how old it is. When my husband bought the house he started working security where he was working up to seventy hours a week, so he had no time to put into remodeling it.

When I moved in I did what I could on cleaning and organizing it, but my husband has a LOT of stuff and no room to put it lol. I've done the best I could but without money or my husband's help (because he was working) I couldn't do much. Now that he's going back to school we're finally starting the remodel. We're doing one tiny project at a time so we can afford it and don't get overwhelmed. The first project is repainting the kitchen cabinets and reorganizing them (including throwing away a lot of stuff).

So with that in mind and knowing that I've absolutely hated this house the entire four years I've lived here I will let you see the pictures. I forgot to get many before shots, oops. That's okay though because the mess is embarrassing. I know you have to make a mess to clean a mess, but ick . . .

Before. They painted the insides yellow. Ick. And the walls.
And even the stove (left) is yellow. Also note there is no floor (just sub-flooring).

This is after painting the inside of the cabinets today (can't wait to repaint the walls!).

The small cabinets over the sink, showing the difference between painted and unpainted.
I have to do one side at a time so I can move the dishes over because I don't have a place to put them lol.

Showing the color difference again. Note the cobwebs and wall cracks lol.

I'll post more pictures as we make more progress. Slow progress. :)

Note: Also keep in mind that this is just the first coat so it's by no means perfect lol.