April in Arkansas

April 28th, 2009

A few branchesIt’s been a little over 3 weeks since we got back. The HUGE mountain of limbs, branches and sticks has now been reduced to a medium sized pile of mulch….courtesy of the local volunteer fire department and their chipper. The yard immediately around the house looks completely back to normal. Outside of the fence (which is all repaired now) there is still carnage from the ice storm. There is way too much for any one human to ever clean up so it will have to stay there and Mother Nature can take care of it. The motor home is serviced, clean inside and out, and safely back in storage for the next several months.

FriendsWe had a wonderful visit from our friends from Canada, Bernie & Susan (part of the Desert Rats crew) when they stopped by on their way home to Ontario, Canada. We’re hoping that some of our other friends from Desert Valley will also stop by for a visit on their way home to Michigan and Ontario. We hope to see Tami and Craig and Jackie and Tino soon.

We’ve had some nice warm days and absolutely perfect nights. We’re hoping that it will continue for a long time, but this is the April, the rainiest time of the year, so it can’t last forever. Mike is keeping himself in shape and getting very fit with his walking… a regimen that he started when we were staying at Desert Valley. He’s up to about 8-9 miles almost every day and is cranking it out in about 2 hours. I’m about as much of a couch potato as ever, but I have been getting out and training dogs every day that the weather permits. Strider The dogs are enjoying sleeping out on the deck all day long….. only jumping up to chase the occasional squirrel. Gandalf and I were entered last weekend at the Harrison Kennel Club shows and he did very well. He should stay ranked in the top 10 for quite awhile because he qualified in Harrison 3 out of 4 times in the ring.  He qualified in Open B both days and on Sunday he also qualified in Utility B so he got his first UDX leg!! His scores ranged from 189.5 to 195 out of a possible 200. He still never ceases to amaze me. He also qualified in Open B at the Tucson show just before we left. At that same show Strider took Best of Breed on one of the days. He went out and acted like the good looking show dog that he is.

And the biggest news we have is that Chase Michael Grimm 6 lbs 4 oz 29 inches long arrived on April 16th in Maryland to proud parents Adrian and Jessica and brother and sister, Cameron (Bubba) and Courtney. We don’t have any pictures yet, but as soon as we get one, we’ll share it here. Check back in later.

Spring? Maybe…Maybe Not!

April 6th, 2009

It’s only taken a few days, but most everything is back in its’ rightful place in the house and the motor home is all but empty. We’ll not put it back into storage until it gets a thorough cleaning both inside and out. The inside is done except for the carpets. I’ll do that while Mike is cleaning the outside. We’re on hold with the whole project until we get some decent weather. The first couple of days were great. The dogs spent almost all day sleeping out on the deck on their beds …that’s when it was in the 60-70’s. Now they’re all hunkered down in the laundry room. You have to force them to go outside. Night before last, it thundered and there was lightning for about ½ hour. Nali had to come spend the rest of the night in our room because she can’t handle the storms. She’ll be in there with us a lot in the next few months, I suspect. Then last night was 32 degrees with high winds. Right now the wind is blowing 20-40 mph and we’re expecting a hard freeze tonight and with rain and possible snow. Yuk! We have a 50 amp plug that we can keep power going to it, but we only came home with about ½ tank of propane so I sure hope we don’t run out because we’ll have to run the furnace to keep things from freezing.

We’re missing Arizona big time!

And yes even with all this stuff can happens while we’re gone, it’s a sure thing that we’ll back next year. We got the news just before we left that Mike and I are going to be grandparents…sometime in Late November. The kids don’t know yet if it’s a boy or girl..so for now we’re calling it Tuesunday Bebean. Don’t ask!… It’s more or less a private joke between the kids and us. We’ve had a lot of fun with them and with the nickname and we’re looking forward to big event. So everyone should plan on seeing us again and not be surprised if we look a lot older. Grandparents are supposed to look old, so I’m betting that we’ll fit the bill.

Got to the photos section and check out the new pictures of the ice storm aftermath and what we came home to. We tried to get out and pick up some of the biggest branches in the front yesterday and the wind was so cold and the whole task seemed so insurmountable, we just gave up. We have some really awesome neighbors who came over last week and at least cleaned out the driveway so we could get the motor home in…..and then we have some really low life neighbors who knew we weren’t home and they cleaned out their own front yard and dumped the sticks and branches in ours. Too bad we can’t prove it was them…we’d haul them all back.

We’ve tackled almost all of the branches in the front yard and some of the side and have a rather tall pile started at the edge of the driveway. Then we moved on to the back….Geezo Peezo…what a mess! Some of the branches are so big, it takes both of us to move them…and upon closer a look at the fence…there are a couple places that are really damaged and are just going to have to be replaced. What we’ve done back there is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s left There are still trees lying across the fence. We don’t own a chain saw, but I think we probably will before the week is out. Some of the trees are so big that you can’t use anything else to cut them up with. Then there’s the hauling them out to the front of the house where hopefully we can get a chipper in to get rid of them.

Gandalf and I are entered in the Harrison AR shows the 18th and 19th so there is a certain amount of training that needs to be done to get us ready for that. There’s only one large tree that’s lying on the field so we’ll just have to find a way to work around it. But neither one of us is interested in going out until it warms up a little.

We know that Arizona has had some nasty winds and serious blowing dust, but Mike and I have both agreed that we’d trade what we have here for what’s there. Missing you all…wherever you are.

Home Again

April 2nd, 2009

We made it home about 2:30 pm. We hit no rain until we got into Arkansas …then it poured off and on the rest of the way. It was really coming down right after we pulled in at home so we opted not to unload the motor home right away. Came in and got water and heat turned back on. It was about 44 degrees and raining and windy so it’s friggin COLD!. We both are missing the warm temps. Glad I didn’t take the electric blanket off the bed.

Mike got the computers back up and running and online, got the Direct TV going again..but not without a call to customer service because they deactivated our receiver box. I went to work on the freezer and cleaned all the thawed and refrozen stuff out of it. Dogs are happy to not have to be in crates and just be loose in the laundry room again. I’m thrilled to have a dishwasher again.

The yard isn’t quite as bad as I was expecting, but the fence is smashed down in about 4 or 5 places. It’s not all the way down so the dogs can still go out and stay secure. They were pretty happy to get out and run and the boys had a marathon peeing contest remarking everything they could find. Duncan would’ve been the happiest of all of them, I’m sure.
There are several really huge limbs in the yard. Some others are laying on the fence and even more piled next to the driveway from when our neighbors came and cleaned it up. I discovered as soon as I walked into the garage, that our saying, “well at least nothing hit the house” wasn’t quite true. A branch broke off next to the garage, hit one of the the garage windows, tore a hole in the screen and broke the window. It’s dual pane so it only broke the exterior pane, but still….it’s just one more thing to have to fix.

Tonight is supposed to be in the 30’s but tomorrow is supposed to be warm (70) and no rain. So we should be able to finish getting the motor home unloaded and I can get started on mountains and mountains of laundry. A trip to the P. O. for mail, the grocery for a few things, and the hardware store for fence fixing parts will have to be squeezed in too. Mike wants to get the motor home cleaned up and get it back into storage asap before any more storms hit

I’ll get some pictures of the yard carnage tomorrow…and get them posted to an album. It’s two hours later here than in AZ and we’re having a hard time adjusting.

April 1….. April Fools Day

April 1st, 2009

Another long windy day on the road …but we’re settled here in the KOA east of Oklahoma City. Would’ve been here an hour earlier, but we got detoured through the town of Clinton, OK because ALL of I-40 was shut down. We never did find out why. Between the backup and the detour through the little town of Clinton, we lost over an hour. Clinton is located on historic Route 66 and while I’m sure it’s a nice town, I wouldn’t recommend anyone put it on their bucket list. It’s really a pretty sorry place.

The dogs are ready to be out of the motor home. Strider screams every time Mike stops for gas or for a bathroom break. Nali has been riding in the car with me..which is a good thing because the roads through Oklahoma City are so bad, the motor home has just been, beaten with everything rattling and being shaken. She gets so upset when the ride gets rough like that.

We’re hoping that the weather will hold and that we won’t be trying to unload the motor home in the rain or storms. Planning on getting on the road early and hope to be home by mid afternoon.

Will post a message after we get there and maybe post a few pictures of the ice storm carnage…

On the Move

April 1st, 2009

After a long day driving and a few stops along the way, we’re here in Santa Rosa NM. Got here about 9:00 pm…. a full 12 hour day. A very uneventful drive…It was just good to get out of the car/motor home and walk around. After a bite to eat and a 3 dog walk, it’ll be time for bed and we’ll start again tomorrow. Expecting a windy ride the rest of the trip. A stop in Oklahoma City tomorrow night and we should be home on Thursday. Then the clean up and work can really begin.

It was so sad to say good bye to everyone. What an amazing time we had this winter! And our new friends, Jackie & Tino, Tami & Craig, Bernie & Susan, Dan & Kay, Russ & Jan, we’ll hopefully stay in touch with and see them all again next winter.

Not to be forgotten are the friends that we have known for years and how wonderful it was to se them all again too. Lynn & Dave, Cheryl, Charlie & Bev, Frank & Iris, Howard & Karen and Dennis & Susan. Looking forward to see you all again too.

Mike & I feel truly blessed to have such great friends!

What’s new …

March 29th, 2009

ChristmasI haven’t posted since November and since losing Duncan…and a lot has happened since then. The sadness over the loss of Duncan has eased somewhat and has been tempered by the fact that we’ve had just a great time this winter. We’ve shared some really fun times….both with old friends and with new ones that we’ve just met.

Thanksgiving was here in AZ and was spent with BJ and Nicole and Christmas was spent back in Arkansas with BJ, Nicole, Mike’s sister and her husband and Mike’s son and wife and their two kids. They came from all over to spend the holidays with us. We couldn’t wait to get back to AZ and we were back by January 10th. Throughout all the time, the dogs and I trained and competed both in agility and obedience and even came home with a few ribbons.

NaliNali got her first agility FAST title in November and Gandalf got his first FAST title in January. Gandalf and I are still working in Utility B Obedience. He’s qualified almost every time and finished out 2008 as the #6 Obedience Weimaraner in the country. Not bad for a 9 year old dog. He never ceases to amaze me.

StriderStrider got his first Rally title in November…Finished with a couple of 2nd place ribbons. Then in February, we tried for his first obedience title. He finished his CD title in 4 shows with 2 third places….but it sure wasn’t pretty. He showed he still has some really skitsy issues ….like a noise coming through a hole in the wall that sent him bolting out of the stays like a shot and his not being able to take his eyes off of a pretty weim female who walked in just as he was starting his off leash heeling. But we made it.

All of our time this winter has been spent at Desert Valley RV Resort in Eloy, AZ. We have met some really cool people here. We’ve had lots of laughs with Craig & Tami from Michigan, Jackie and Tino from Ontario, Canada, Bernie and Susan, also from Ontario. I think that they’re also responsible for making sure Mike had a good time while I was away on dog show weekends. As far as I know, no one was arrested and there’s no video record of anything…but I think table dancing at the Tumbleweeds Bar in Eloy was involved.

Pictured above are some the Desert Rats we’ve come to know and love…

More to come later….

When Lives Are Forever Changed

November 5th, 2008

DuncanThe day Duncan came into our lives, we were given the honor of sharing the next 5 ¾ years with the most incredibly special creature that was ever put on this earth. At the time, we had no idea how special he was. That knowledge came over time.

It took several months for him to put all of his fears of abandonment and mistreatment aside, but eventually we were able to convince him that he was truly “home” and would never want for anything ever again. After he really settled in to our home, we got to see the quirks in his personality that made him uniquely Duncan….for example: He was not a toy driven dog at all….he would never play with toys. But a throw rug….? That became the joy of a lifetime. Countless rugs in our house were left crumpled in a lifeless heap after being vanquished by Duncan the Conqueror.

DuncanHis social side was one of a confident, yet vulnerable dog. He was always the first to say “hello” (read:butt sniff) to another dog, but never tried to dominate. After the greeting, he would move on to other things that interested him more. Most of the time, the things that interested him more were people…especially kids.

Even though we never did field work with him, he was an excellent hunter in the limited venue that we gave him…our yard at home. On way too many occasions, be brought rabbits, mice and pack rats to us as prizes and proof of his hunting prowess. He absolutely LOVED to dig and dirty nails, dirty noses and humongous holes were always the result.

He hadDuncan many nicknames; Some were just changed versions of his real name, Duncan: Dunker, Dunk the Hunk, Dunden Dunner, DunCan do anything……….and some were a direct reflection of his behaviors: Mr. Patience because he always waited for his food bowl without any noise, jumping, dancing or drooling. Mr. Reliable because you never had to beg, plead or wait for him to do his business outside. He’d go right out, take care of it and move on. He also invented the Duncan Dance of Joy which was a dust cloud generating, grass clump flying 4-footed dig after every “deposit”. He was also know as the Bama Slammer from his roots in Alabama and his uncanny ability to plant both hisfront feet on your chest when you least expected it. His favorite place to sleep in the house was on the futon for which he also was known as Mr. Futon. He would stretch out and take up the whole thing and no one ever challenged him for an square inch. I remember wondering once if Duncan would ever be able to do agility. We came to the conclusion that he might….but only if there was a futon at the finish line.

DuncanHis career as a therapy dog was long and very successful. We recertified three times for an almost 6 year span. He was a wonderful physical therapy partner at both Carondolet hospitals in Tucson, but where he really shined was when he was with children. He loved going to school and helping kids read and also he loved helping me teach kids about dog safety. He would quietly lay at my feet while I talked and when his part came, he stood patiently while they swarmed him. He would just stand there in the midst of all sorts of hands, heads, high pitched voices and who knows how many and what kind of smells. He was completely at ease.

His time as competitive performance dog was fairly short. He did get his Companion Dog title Duncanwithin a year or so after we adopted him. But it was crystal clear, this was not his first choice on how to spend his time. After AKC Rally became a titling class, I decided he at least needed to finish all of his Rally titles. He did….with many high scores and several placements. But Duncan was above all…a
thinker…and during Rally instruction, I could just see the wheels in his head turning. If he could talk, I know he would’ve asked me to explain to him why…. as a dog, he needed to know how to do a 180 degree left pivot. It just didn’t make sense to him. But he did it for me because he knew it was important to me. Even though, he wasn’t into performing, that’s not to say he wasn’t resourceful……His chart at the vet’s office was marked with the words “ Escape Artist——-Can Open Crate Doors”. He would always give any door or baby gate a good stiff head butt….just to test how secure it was.

Duncan loved to travel and he was always anxious to go in the motor home. Every new place we stopped, he would savor and take EVERYTHING in. He would air scent and then prance with head and tail up in the air. He had a beautiful gait that would rival that of any breed champion.

When we removed his first mast cell tumors in 2005, we knew that the odds were stacking up against us but he remained happy, healthy and strong. So we did all that we could to keep him that way. The second MCT in 2008 was much more serious and because he was still so strong, we decided to let him have whatever time he had left and make it as high quality as we could. Chemo and/or radiation would not have let him have that. He showed no signs of weakening or pain until the very end. The vet said it had definitely been coming on for a long time and he had just been able to work through it. I did not want to have him put down in Arkansas with a vet who was not familiar with him…..or us. Somehow he must’ve known this, because it was almost like he waited so he could let me have things the way I wanted.

In a almost eerie twist of fate, when I first registered him with an AKC ILP number, I had no birth date for him because he was a rescue dog. So I used his rescue date as his birth date. He was rescued on 11-1-02. We estimated he was 3 years old when I adopted him so his date of birth was made officially 11-1-99. His last day with us was 11-1-08. I choose to believe that was his way of telling us that the time was right for his trip to the Rainbow Bridge.

Our lives were forever changed when we adopted and brought this sweet soulful dog into our lives. He taught us so much about quiet love and deep respect and taking joy from small things. One of the ways we plan to honor him is to not forget these things. Our lives are equally changed by our loss. We are grieving still and each day begins with a few tears. I miss his smile, his funny way of holding his ears that made him look a lot like Dumbo, his hound like bowzer bark, and his pushy way of flopping his head in my lap when he wanted petting. I miss his high fives, which was one of the few tricks he allowed me to teach him.

Duncan

Not everyone is lucky enough to have shared their lives with a dog that is more than a companion. Some of us get to have our lives enriched and be part of helping enrich others. So if the price I must pay for having this amazing dog in my life for such a short time is my broken heart, I consider it more than worth it.

God Speed, my wonderful special boy. Enjoy your time at the Bridge and I will meet you there one day.

Duncan

Duncan Silver Lining of AZ : November 1st 1999 – November 1st 2008

Where in the World, Chapter 9

May 27th, 2008

After the Tucson Cluster (re Chapter 8) we spent the balance of November and December between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. After thirty years in Arizona it was like being home! This time was joyously consumed with the holidays, Family, good friends and the notorious I3 Gang.

The plans for our Arizona stay differed between us; I thought February would find us traveling back to Arkansas, Nancy thought early March and we stayed until late March. Our lives have gone to the DOGS? While in Arizona, Nancy traveled to New Orleans for an AKC Judges Seminar. Two weeks later she would be in Camden, Arkansas judging an AKC Rally Event for the South Arkansas Kennel Club.

Returning to Arizona and all of her good dog friends Nancy was encouraged to enter Gandalf and Nali in Utility at an Obedience Event in Phoenix, sponsored by the Phoenix Field and Obedience Club (PFOC). Both dogs did very well; neither qualified but did all the exercises and scored well. Nancy was now on a mission; living in the Motor home, training at RV Resorts with borrowed equipment, homemade stuff I manufactured and help from Kim and Adrienne, Nancy worked daily with Gandalf and Nali. We both agreed they would enter the West World Shows in Scottsdale, AZ. The first day of the event Gandalf earned his first qualifying score, the first of the three required qualifying scores and captured first place, the world was Shocked! On the second day of the event Nali earned her first qualifying score and also captured a first place finish. The final show day found Gandalf receiving a second qualifying score and capturing first place again. In five shows Gandalf had earned two of the required qualifying scores in Utility and Nali had earned one qualifying score. Now it was again decision time: there was another show in Tucson in just three weeks——guess what, we stayed, entering the Canada del Oro Kennel Club Shows! The first day of the CDO Show, Gandalf completed his Utility Dog Titling requirements with qualifying score of 185 and a first place. Gandalf titled in Utility in just six shows, Nali still has one qualifying score but is still training and will be competing again soon.

Finally leaving Arizona for Eureka Springs the drive was enjoyable considering our winters success;
CH Smokey Topaz Eagle Scout, Strider successfully earning his AKC Championship
Gandalf achieving his AKC Utility Dog Title
Nali earned her first Utility Qualifying score
Duncan with a Perfect score was re-certified as a Delta Society Therapy Dog.
In all we were returning with
Four titling ribbons
Two Highest Scoring Dog in Class Ribbons for Agility
Ten first place ribbons (Breed, Obedience and Agility)
15 second and third place ribbons (Breed, Obedience and Agility)
And most importantly four happy and healthy Weimaraners!

Finally returning to our cabin in the woods, WOW, I have never seen so many leaves! Being gone all winter meant a lot of work with leaf removal, twigs, sticks and tree limbs. After returning it was only two weeks before Nancy returned to Casa Grande, AZ., judging an AKC Rally Event for the Lost Dutchman Kennel Club. Then a quick trip back to Arkansas and off to Harrison, AR. for another Judging assignment for the North Arkansas Kennel Club Shows.

Now we are finally enjoying our home, and after a short break Dog Training has resumed, Utility for Gandalf and Nali, Obedience and Rally for Strider, Agility for all three. Duncan has made it clear he’s done with performance events having completed his Rally Excellent Title with a First place finish in Oklahoma. He is ready to just chase squirrels or visit hospitals and schools making people happy!

We’ve just started to plan this year’s show schedule but know we will be in Oklahoma City and Lawton Oklahoma in August and October for judging assignments. Although the schedule will not be as aggressive as last years especially, in the Motor Home, requiring 150 gallons of Diesel X $4.79 gal @ 8.2 miles per gallon.

Don’t worry about the weather, it’s always sunny in NW Arkansas, so stop by we’d love to see ya!

Where in the World, Chapter 8

December 8th, 2007

Here Comes Strider:

We are now back in Tucson and had a great time at the Coyote Classic All Breed Dog Show. Strider, our handsome boy took Winners Dog and a four point major to finish his title “Champion” on November 18, 2007

This was a long journey filled with fun, excitement and pride. Strider’s show journey started in Tucson, Buckeye and Scottsdale, AZ in 2006. He has since shown in Indiana, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Arkansas, and Read the rest of this entry »

Where in the World Chapter 7

November 15th, 2007

Travels ended, home purchased and No Place to Go!

Well we bought that dream log home on 5.5 acres in the Ozark Mountain Forest, surrounded by Oak Trees and less than a mile from Beaver Lake. Our requirements were parking for the motor home, flat space for training the dogs and a fenced yard. This home had none! The builder agreed, as part of the deal to create a flat training area, fence in about an acre, and installed utilities for the motor home. Now we had our dream home. Yes Virginia this is retirement!

The move went well; moving in all our things was exciting and actually went fast! We were completely moved in by mid-July and felt quite at home in a small community filled with really nice people. The dogs now have over an acre fenced in to run, occasionally visited by deer on the other side of the fence or a playful squirrel dropping an acorn or maybe it’s a Squirrel Bomb, at the dogs. Both equally set them off and Read the rest of this entry »