Monday, May 30, 2011

The Weekend

Oh my goodness, here it is Monday night and I have to go to work in the AM, after a 4-day show weekend that was at the same time both very tiring and lot of fun!

By the way, thanks to all who sent me email and wished me luck at the shows. 

The pictures you'll see throughout this post are of Walker, Multiple Group Winning Grand Champion, Champion Joyslyn Mi Toya Wind Walker.

Baby Walker, Dec. 2002
The shows were in Bloomington, Illinois, just a couple hours from here. I drove over Thursday afternoon to reserve grooming space for myself, my three friends who were coming from WI, and for my Shiba friends. Then back home I went, where I spent the rest of the night bathing and drying the 3 dogs I was taking with me and packing for myself and the dogs. Friday AM I left for Bloomington and returned home this evening about 6:30. Since then I've been doing laundry, unpacking, grocery shopping, and bathing 2 puppies so they are cute and fluffy for someone who is coming to see them tomorrow night! Oh…and answering email, talking on the phone, and writing this blog entry. It's nearly midnight now and the alarm rings at 5:20!

(An aside: We stayed at the Ramada Inn, which was a great place to stay. The only odd thing about the place was that in the bathroom, the toilet paper holder was clear across the room  (about 2 arm lengths) from the toilet! Whoever designed that room needs a salary reduction. So that will become part of the "remember when" travel stories about weird places we've stayed and odd things that have happened on our many dog show journeys.)

Walker's first point, May 2003
The show…well it had its ups and downs. On Friday Mr. Booth awarded Walker Best of Breed. We did not place in the Group. Friday afternoon, I and other American Lhasa Apso Club members conducted a workshop and seminar about the Lhasa for judges who were interested in adding the breed to their list of approved breeds to judge. We had a great time and we taught them a lot about the breed.

Saturday was Maggie's first show. I was apprehensive about her being in the ring, certain she would put on the breaks and not walk at all. I even cautioned my friends, "Don't you laugh at me!" before I took Maggie into the ring. She surprised us all. When I said, "Let's go Maggie!" she did just that and went around the ring like a pro. She got her first blue ribbon (she was the only one in her class!)

Walker's first major, Sept. 2003
Saturday night, we stayed late so our puppies could take part in the fun match the club was sponsoring. Like all fun matches, this one took forever, but the judges were really good with the puppies and gave us lots of practice with them. Raven made her ring debut at the match and won not only best Lhasa puppy in match but also placed first in the Non-sporting Puppy Group.

Saturday and Sunday under judges Sturm and Holloway, Walker took Best Opposite Sex. (That means that a female took the Breed both of those days.)

Winner's Dog, Nat'l Specialty 2003
Sunday and Monday, Maggie repeated her Saturday performance. (Hurray!) Monday Walker again won the Breed under Mr. Miller. (Big Cheer!) As I took Walker out of the ring and placed him on the ringside table, I looked at the purple and gold Best of Breed ribbon, looked at my friend, and teared up – that was Walker's last show and his last Best of Breed ribbon. He is now officially retired as a special. We did not place in the group competition, but we were one of the six dogs who "made the cut." Again, I got teary-eyed when it was all over and it hit me again how much I loved showing Walker and how, even if we go out again a few times in the fall to practice before the national specialty, I will miss specialing him. I am so proud of him. Right now the plan is to show him in the veteran's competition at the national specialty. He'll be 9 years old by then.

Walker in 2010
A lady at ringside was taking photos of him but I forgot to look her up after the group to give her my email address. I sure wish I could see the photos!

There is never an end without a beginning. In June, I will begin showing Breaker (Ch. Joyslyn's Heartbreaker) in Best of Breed competition. After Walker, I will be facing a challenge. Breaker is a beautiful Lhasa, but he definitely has an attention problem. Keeping him still in the Group ring will require patience. Walker is an old hand at it and knows what to expect in the group ring and what I expect from him. Breaker will learn and I'm sure we will eventually "gel" as a team.

Everybody with a Lhasa, give your dog a big hug and kiss! In our hearts they are all Best in Show dogs!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!

It's been fun! Thanks Walker!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Off to the Show

It's pouring rain here today (again!) so keeping the freshly bathed Lhasas dry and "show ready" was a problem this morning. Tomorrow I leave for the 4-day show weekend in Bloomington, IL. If you are nearby, stop at the show to watch the Lhasas. The show is being held at the Interstate Center. This will probably be Walker's final shows until September, when I'll take him out to a few before we go to Albuquerque and the national specialty. Maggie is making her debut in the ring on Saturday. I decided to give her Friday to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells and relax a bit. Raven is going along for the ride.

Tonight will be busy…packing, packing, packing…more bathing, drying, and general fussing with the coats…loading the car (I hope the rain stops by then)...and I think we are supposed to have our granddaughter overnight also.

Here are the pictures of Connor and Secret's girls that I mentioned yesterday. We had cuter ones of Tempe but the flash made her eyes green and alien looking! Ugh. 





I'm off to the show tomorrow AM, hoping I don't have to swim to get there!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Myth of Sisyphus

The struggle enough to fill a man's heart. One must  imagine Sisyphus happy. ~ Albert Camus

Sisyphus as painted by Titian
Ah..the ancient Greeks. Their myths bespoke all aspects of people's lives and natures. They had a myth for everything.

Take, for example Sisyphus.

Do you remember the myth about Sisyphus, the guy in the underworld whom the gods punished by making him roll a huge boulder up a steep hill and then, when he just about had it to the top, sent it rolling back to the bottom of the hill, where Sisyphus had to start all over again? For eternity!

In spite of so many things to be thankful for, I've been feeling a lot like Sisyphus like lately—especially when it comes to achieving my goals concerning the puppies.

I'm usually an "every cloud has a silver lining" and "the glass is half-full" and "I get knocked down and I get up again" kind of person.

Yet that boulder keeps tumbling down. It's darn irritating!

On a lighter note, I should have puppy pictures posted later today or tomorrow.

Repeat after me, "Life is good…life is good…life is good…." (especially when you have a Lhasa to love you!)



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some Updates and Photos

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~ Leonard Bernstein

Once again I ask, "Where does time go?" Here it is Wednesday already; the week is half gone; the month is more than half gone, and I don't seem to have accomplished much. Granted, being away at a dog show on a weekend always puts me behind. Chores like dirty dishes, dirty laundry, dog grooming, etc. do not magically get done just because I don't want to do them.

Anyway, the chores are done, the grooming back on schedule.

Last weekend Walker and I went to the show in Rock Island, Illinois. I paid $10 for a reserved grooming space (well worth the cost!) so getting in the building, finding my spot (a nice one close to the door leading out to where the exercise pens were set up), and setting up was a snap. There were three Lhasa entries, one a class dog whose owner decided that since there were no points, she would save her gas money for another show. The other two of us were specials entered in the Best of Breed competition. Walker won Best of Breed both days, with both judges commenting on his color and his lovely coat and its texture.  Sadly, we did not place in the Group competition, but he showed really well. He turns it on when people applaud and cheer for him!

On Sunday the club also held veteran's competitions for dogs at least 7 years old. I entered Walker. He had no competition in Lhasas so we automatically went to the Non-Sporting Veteran Group, which I am pleased to say that we won. The long-coated standard Dachshund won Best Veteran in Show.

Ch. Joyslyn's Heartbreaker
Oh…speaking of Best in Show, the Shiba friends with whom I generally travel were in Ohio last weekend at the Nippo Classic. My friend Jane's Shiba (Waka) took Best in Show there. I was so excited and happy for her when she called with the news!

When I returned home on Sunday evening, Lynn was just finishing drying Breaker so we took a few pictures of him. His first shows as a special will be in Iowa City at the end of June. He is a pretty dog but will be a challenge for me after showing Walker for so long. Breaker does NOT like to stand still. I'm sure his antics and my attempts not to show exasperation will be cause for laughter among friends watching outside the ring!

I don't know about the rest of you, but the floods in the south along the Mississippi have certainly been giving me nightmares for the past three nights. I keep dreaming that we live near a river that is flooding and have to evacuate suddenly and leave the dogs behind. No matter how I replay it, the ending is always tragic. I wake up absolutely horrified and feeling ill. Many dog breeders and pet owners live in the flooded areas. I imagine they all have horror stories about the flood and what happened to their animals. My heart and prayers go out to all pet owners and farmers in those areas who have been forced by nature into abandoning animals dear to them.


The puppies are doing well. I'm posting recent pictures of three of the four. Penny's pictures looked horrible (she was not cooperating!) so we need to retake some and just have not had time. Penny, who started out such a little thing, has grown so that now she and Dreamer are hard to tell apart at first glance. Dreamer's new owners are coming to get her over Memorial weekend. The other three are still waiting for homes.

Our son Trevor graduated this month (yippee) with his Bachelors of Music Degree in Jazz Performance. We are very proud of him. He is a fine guitarist. He and three friends have formed a metal band (Black Fast) that has just released their demo CD. Their playing is amazing, and I have come to appreciate a music genre that heretofore I did not want to listen to. (I still only listen to Black Fast so don't think I have totally changed my mind and entire personality and started buying heavy metal CDs! I take it in small doses!)

Speaking of music, I am back to my question about American Idol. Who will it be?  I was sad to see James leave the show. I liked his style and energy. I really cannot take Haley's screechy voice and hope she leaves on Thursday. While I am not much of a country music fan, I would much rather listen to either one of the other two sing than have to continue to listen to Haley! Tonight I will be grooming a dog or two while I watch American Idol.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catching Up After A Week of Not Blogging!

All you moms reading this…I hope you had a great Mother's Day! I would have missed knowing Mother's Day was on the 8th had I not been bathing dogs on Friday and listening to the radio while doing so. The announcer kept talking about a contest with prizes for Mother's Day. It finally got through to me that he was talking about THAT Sunday, not the 15th, which was the date I thought was Mother's Day. For those of you who think I am nuts (okay, I'll grant you that), I can explain by saying that generally we are at a dog show in Rock Island on Mother's Day. At least I always equate that show with Mother's Day, and that show is THIS coming weekend. Anyway, the result was that the gift I had purchased for my mom way back in mid April was mailed Friday afternoon and I don't know if she has it yet or not. I did, however, call and explain. She got a kick out of it because normally she is the one who forgets!

Lucky me, my own children knew the correct date for Mother's Day!

We were indeed at dog shows last weekend in Jefferson, WI. I entered Belle and Walker. Walker won the breed on Saturday but did not place in the Group. Belle took second (out of two) in her class. She was so unremarkable that the judge (Ann Hearn) did not even call her back in the ring to try for Reserve. How sad is that?
Belle: Joyslyn's Beauty Secret

Saturday Belle took second again (but this time out of three) and then took Reserve. Walker did not win the breed but did take a Select over one other male special.

Regarding Belle, people at ringside told me she actually showed well and looked good in the ring. I don't enjoy showing her because if she feels the slightest tug on the lead, she stops dead in her tracks. It is really hard to remember to let her lead hang loose and at the side of her neck rather than at the top. It goes against my habits of 38 years of showing! She did okay in the ring but the experience only underscored what I already knew: Belle doesn't really like showing or want to be a show dog. She is an adorable, small Lhasa, who wants to be a lap dog. So now I have decided that if the right home comes along for her, she can have her wish. (Realize please that I have known since she was 6 months old that she hated the lead and disliked the show ring. It has taken this long – two years later – to convince myself it is a lost cause and that, love her as I do, she needs to be someone's lap dog.)

The excitement over the weekend was because my friend Jane's Shiba Inu puppy won a 4-point major on Saturday and a 3-point major on Sunday, taking the breed both days and placing 4th in the Group on Saturday. We were thrilled about that.

It was nice to get home Sunday night to Mother's Day calls and cards. The puppies were happy to see me. Jake left for his new home on Saturday, and I got an email today from his new owners who are absolutely in love with him. That made my day. He is such a people-loving puppy. His sisters seem to have grown in the short two days I was gone. I'll post some pictures.
Callie and Temp, 11 weeks

Penny and Dreamer, 11 weeks
A good thing that happened yesterday is that the contractor finally sent his crew to repair the damage to our roof and front porch ceiling caused by a determined raccoon who wanted to nest in our attic. I think falling through the porch ceiling must have scared her off because she hasn't been back (thank the Lord) since she created all the havoc.

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the people I have met because of the Lhasas. It has been such a blessing, whether they be puppy buyers, fellow Lhasa Apso club members and exhibitors, or exhibitors of other breeds. Good people, giving people, grouchy people, downright nasty or unprincipled people – they have all shaped my thinking and served as examples of how to (and not to!) behave.

We'll soon be preparing for the Rock Island show. Lhasa entries are way down…only two specials this year. One class dog is entered but is not going to be shown since there are no points. Walker and I are going. He is entered for Best of Breed both days and for the veteran's event on Sunday. For you non-dog show readers, the veteran's competition is for dogs that are 7 or more years old. After the Memorial Day weekend shows in Bloomington, Walker will probably not be shown again until the national specialty, except for perhaps a weekend just to remind  him what shows are all about. It is time for Breaker to hit the ring again and see what he can do. We'll show him a bit this summer and go from there.

Is anyone watching American Idol? Whom are you cheering for? I'm sort of thinking James or Scotty will win. We'll see…

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Monday in May

"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."
-  Edwin Way Teale

Our May began in a great way. We are blessed to have one of our sons and his family living in Macomb. The other two of our three children live some distance away and came home over the weekend to spend a few days. One of them we have not seen for a year, so it has been great to have her here again. She lives in FL, so the chilly, windy, overcast, and cold rain that has been Macomb's weather has not been pleasant for her.

They are enjoying the puppies and the puppies are enjoying new people and extra attention. We took some video of the puppies over the weekend so I am going to try to share with you -- just a couple short clips. No need to bore you with "home movies." (They are really brief videos.)

I am making my first attempt at uploading videos to the blog. We'll see how successful it is!

These two videos are both of Penny playing with a ball. She's small but mighty!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you (and when all your family is once again together at the dinner table!)