Thursday, January 29, 2009

More On Idahooooo

How many different ways do you think I can mangle the word Idaho?

It's funny, I mentionned that I was going to take up scrapbooking to my family and they're immediate response was - "you??! scrapbooking" Geesh, you'd think I had displayed a lack of artistic talent before this. Come to think of it...

anyway, back to Idaho...

We spen the next few days alternating between relaxing and wandering about. We visited Bruneau River Canyon, which is where Jay's kennel name (Bruneau River GSPs) comes from. It was absolutely beautiful. Very deep (okay, I admit that I'm afraid of heaights and everything always seems a long way down but I'm sure it was quite deep). It's amazing to think what that inoccuous looking stuff that comes out of our taps can do over time. We took some great pictures both of the canyon and of a badger we saw on the way there and some kildeer we saw on the way back. Unfortunately, we had problems getting them off the camera memory card. Jay is still working on it and I'm fervently hoping he succeeds. In the meantime I have taken a few pictures from Idaho tourism sites to show you have amazing it is. Awe-inspiring is a good description of it. Beautiful doesn't capture just how very impressive it is.


We also went looking for wild pheasants with Mojo (Flatlander's Mountain Magic - a dog co-owned by Jay, Betty and I) and Larken (Nuthatch's Leather'N'Lace, also co-owned by all three of us). Part of the reason for my trip to Idaho was to bring Larken out to Betty and Jay's, where she will live most of the time. We didn't find any birds but did get some great pictures which are in limbo with the Bruneau Canyon pics. In the meantime though I will upload some pics of Mojo and Larken to this blog later.
My trip home was relatively uneventful. I had a wonderful time and will hopefully get out there again soon.



I'll post some better pics of Mojo tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Idaho Day 1
Our first day we decided to visit Boise. Home of the best Huckleberry Fudge ever - or so I'm told as huckleberries aren't in season in January are fudge made with fresh huckleberries are nowhere to be found.
That morning I was presented with several nice gifts including a fantastic GSP poster.

Betty is an avid scrapper (doG, I hope that's the right term - it probably is a good description of her even if taken in it's non-crafty meaning but I think those stories should be saved for another time...) - as in she likes to make scrapbooks. She adn Jay got me this beautiful album with a cover made out of (or at least covered with) leaves. The inside is blank but it is a beautiful album for me to attempt to scrap with. I'm really not artistically talented so it is hard to say how this will turn out. Having had said that, I find myself avidly accumulating ideas for this and that. Even though Betty made sure I had all kinds of cardstock, fancy paper, ribbons, buttons, brads (sadly, not the the Pitt variety), stickers and rub ons to keep me occupied for ages, I just had to keep exploring my options when I got home. I visited the Canadian Miuchael's last night and was most disgusted that the prices were more than triple the US prices. So, of course I had to check out EBay - where I shopped til I dropped lol
Anyway, our first stop in Boise was the US Michael's which started to open my eyes as to how big a hobby this scrapbooking thing is. We made a few small purchases and then moved on to Cabela's. Now I've had and bred hunting dogs for about twelve or thirteen years and I have never been in a Cabela's. There are none in Canada for one thing. I've won lots of prizes from there and always been very pleased with them so this was a must see for me.

Here I indulged in fabulous (though not huckleberry) fudge and purchased some huckleberry sauce for pancakes to bring home to Mom and Dad. We also found some neat things for Jay with pheasants (his current obsession) on them.
We then grabbed a quick lunch and then on to Harry & David's, home of still more straight to your thighs items.
Finally, we settled in for an evening of playing with Reece, Wii and tv.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Idaho - Home of Potatoes Gone Bad...

Lots to tell about Idaho. I went to visit Betty, my scrappy-dog mentor, and her family - Jay (the significant hubbie) and Reece (their son). I was also bringing along Larken (formerly known as Joan, now named for a gun maker).
Our trip to Idaho got off to an adventurous start. We were driving on the 190 heading for Buffalo when around the corner came a car going the wrong way on the highway. It almost hit us dead-on. Scared the &^*&^( out of me.
We made it to the airport alive. It was snowing and I packed up all my bags and Larken's cute little leopard-print travelling bag. The kindly airport shuttle guy pulled up in the mini-bus and picked us up. In line to pick up our tickets and check my suitcase, I made a very distressing discovery. I couldn't find my passport. I knew I'd brought it as I'd used it when I crossed the border. Petrified I started perusing the ground around me to see if I'd dropped it. I followed my trail all the way back outside to the shuttle stop. No luck, I was quickly running out of time to check in and I had no passport. George J., the kindliest airport shuttle man you will ever meet, offered to run me directly back to my car so I could check it out. Sure enough, it was on the car seat. So, I grabbed it and then he scooted me back to the terminal. Yeah!!! we made it!!!

Our first flight went from Buffalo to Detroit and it was smooth sailing. Larken slept all the way and was a perfect angel. At the terminal in Detroit I changed the puppy pad she was sleeping on and then shared some dinner with her before we boarded the flight ti Minneapolis/St Paul.
There were a lot of delays before we finally left and by the time we arrived in Minneapolis/ St Paul, it was past the time I was supposed to be on the final flight to Boise. I was sure I'd missed my flight and would end up spending the night in Minneapolis. But miracle of miracles, they had held my flight for me. So, thank you Northwest!
I made it to Boise, Idaho where Jay met me at the airport. Unfortunately, while I made the flight to Boise, my luggage didn't. So, I borrowed a pair of Betty's pjs that night and slept teh sleep of the way too tired traveller.
More tomorrow...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Catching Up (Aren't I Always...)

The short version is that I had a great time in Idaho but lost a much treasured four-footed friend while I was away. I'm now home and I've survived my latest work crisis. The long version is...
One of you asked why I felt like a perpetual disapointment. Mostly, it relates to work. I had yet again managed to make a very stressful mess that needed resolving. While I absolutely love where I work and the people I work with, I don't particularly love my job. There are days where I really enjoy it but as a general rule I find it somewhat stressful. I was much happier as a teller but got bored too often and needed something a bit more involved. As a result I have been talking to my two wonderful bosses (thank heavens for understanding bosses who tolerate crazed employees) and we're going to work on getting me in a position where I could apply for another position within the same company (alas, it won't be in the same branch) that would be better suited to me. Hopefully, this will provide an improvement and a lot more peace. I like the people I work with so much and I feel like I disappoint them by not being able to be the fabulous employee they deserve.
I promise to tell everything about Idaho and I've also decided this is a more practical (and will hopefully happen faster) than the website I keep meaning to do on my trip to Spain with Jacob this past summer. Today though, I want to talk about Maverick. Also known as Can. Ch Kristari's Codesign Maverick.
Mav arrived here as a bundle of red fur over ten years ago. He came up from Tennessee from Sharon Osharow's Kristari kennels. He captured hearts from the start - even the border crossing folks loved him on first sight. He made his debut a few short weeks later at ten weeks old at the Royal Ontario Winter Fair where he spent hours on end greeting the public and educating them about Siberian Huskies. This was a role he excelled at and he attended the fair every year the Siberian Husky Club of Canada participated while I was a member.
He finished his championship easily despite a lack of manners. We once journeyed to a specialty and we were running late. I had my show clothes in the back of the van so I could change when we got there. Mav was on the floor between the front seats as he got car sick if I put him in a crate. As it was he was covered in drool. About ten minutes before we arrived he barfed all over my shoes and the bottom of my pants, not to mention himself. We pulled into the show grounds and a friend came running out yelling that they were calling us into the ring and would mark us absent if we didn't get in there now. So, still in my jeans and sweatshirt, smelling like dog vomit, towing my dog who smelled as bad as I did and didn't look any better either, we ran into the ring. The steward hastily made a number for us and we proceeded. Shock of shocks, we won. Sometimes, politics and appearances have no bearing on dog shows.
We did start towards his US championship but it only lasted a few shows. Siberian entries tend to be very large in the eastern US which means a lot of down time with nothing to do in the ring but look good while waiting for your turn to be examined by the judge. Lots of time on ones hands and Maverick did not go well together. He was a big clown and loved to make people laugh, particularly people ringside. It was all you could do to prevent him from sneaking kisses from ringside children, play bowing, barking, anything to get a laugh. Hilarious for everyone but the person holding his leash in the ring. Of course, the topper was when he did a courtesy turn (like a small circle to get the legs in motion) before his down and back. He managed to lift his leg on the judge's jacket as he did his turn and continue on like nothing had happened. Joanna, who was showing him that day, was mortified. I pray the judge never clued in. We stopped showing him in the US.
He also loved sledding and thought a day in harness was a perfect day. I loved to point out that that show dog could be sleeping on the couch one day, in the ring the next and doing ten miles in harness the day after that.
Maverick had character. He also had my heart and he knew it. He'd come sleep at my feet while I worked at the computer and let me dig my toes into his luxuriant coat. Nothing is warmer than Siberian fur when your feet are cold. He will be missed greatly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quick Update

Can't write for long as I still need to pack but wanted to let you know that the Peanut passed away last night. I'd like to think Mother Nature had her reasons but it is always hard to lose one, even one so young. Thankfully his brothers and sisters are doing well and gaining weight like they should be. Although Kaylee was a little uncertain about motherhood at first, she's now got the hang of things and is doing great.
More work stress. I'm glad I'm going away for a week. I feel like a perpetual disappointment lately and I can't seem to overcome it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Catching Up

The computer hated me yesterday and wouldn't work so today's entry may be longwinded.
Saturday I worked which was good if unexceptional. Sunday though was Kaylee's day. She started at 11:30am and by the end (last one was born at 7:16pm) there were seven new babies - 4 girls (all solid liver) and 3 boys (1 ticked and 2 solid liver). The largest, and first born, is the ticked male. He weighed 18 ounces. Most of them were about 14-15 ounces except the Peanut (my nickname for him so far) who was only 7 ounces. I'm worried about him. People talk about how much hard work it is to breed a litter but they don't dwell on all the hard decisions that go with it. If a puppy is having a difficult time surviving, do you baby him and do your best to keep him alive or do you accept that sometimes Mother Nature knows better. It seems like so often you pour everything you have into a wee pup and spend day and night caring for it (and in the process becoming so attached to it that it isn't funny) and then it passes away anyway because of an internal defect that was undetectable at birth but prevented the puppy from surviving once it reached a certain size. On the other hand, I can't just let them pass with no effort on my part. I think the Peanut and I will be going to the vet for a second opinion.
Apparently Blade and her hubby had a great time aboard a tall ship, the Lady Washington. I am so envious. Sheer Pirate Heaven. I think Red is right. We Pirates shall have to take a trip aboard one together. See Wesley's blog for pictures of the ship.
Monday was spent at the lab having more x-rays and ultrasounds done on my knee and then off to work. They called today and I'm back to the doctor's on Thursday. They confirmed osteo-arthritis but that was all they'd say on the phone. There's nothing like privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality to frustrate a patient who wants to know what's going on.
I've downloaded my itinerary for the flight on Thursday. Then it's off to Boise! (Whoever thought I'd be excited to go to Idaho???)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Well, I'm glad I saw the resident - she was very nice and I felt like she actually listened to what I had to say. That being said we did some medication adjustments and are redoing the x-rays and ultrasounds. She asked me to keep the appt on the 15th and we'll see what progress we've made. It feels ridiculous to say but I actually feel hopefuly for the first time in awhile (and yes, I did pick up the antidepressants but no I haven't taken any yet so we can't blame the upswing in my mood on drugs).
Blade sent the sweetest email ever, I almost cried in my office. Then Mom showed up with flowers for me. It had no choice but to be a good day.
Now, I switched on the computer to do my little update and got to see Betty's updates on her blog, Get to the Point, and it had the best photo of her husband Jay and her son Reece. It reminded me of playing in the snow with Jacob and Alex when they were younger. It also made me think of a snowman built many years ago with a fellow Pirate Queen in the front yard of a place she was renting while we were in university. I didn't think it was possible to have so much fun while suffering from frostbite :)
Today was one of those days where I was reminded that while there are always pitfalls, I'm really very blessed to have such a great family and friends. You guys are the best.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Potential Lost and Babies on The Way

OK first, before anyone has a panic attack, when I say babies I mean puppies. Kaylee is due this weekend so I've been getting the whelping box ready. I'm looking forward to this litter. I always look forward to puppies but I think because I'm bringing Joan (who I am indeed spoiling rotten - she also likes roast beast and toast) to Betty's next week which leaves me with no puppy of my own to spoil. Mind you I'll only have Kaylee's for 8 weeks or so too as I already have a wonderful family that wants to foster the bitch we keep from this litter. But by then, I'll be almost ready to bring the new addition from the UK home so hopefully I won't get too bad a case of I-miss-puppy-breath-itis.
I know there have been some in the past who've accused me of having too many litters. In this respect, I'm very lucky. I usually have a waiting list before the litters are born (six of Kaylee's puppies are already spoken for). I also have Dad, who is retired and therefore has a very flexible schedule most of the time, who can stay home with puppies and loves to play with them for hours on end. Why am I any luckier than other breeders with respect to finding homes - I don't know. I do know that I always take the time to talk to people and help where I can regardless of who bred the dog causing them grief or how many questions they have about the breed - regardless of whether they're calling about purchasing a puppy, breed info, rescue info, or because they're having problems with their current dog and need advice. I know I work hard to be as honest as I can in all aspects of our breeding; I don't treat people like I was raised in a kennel with no manners; and I do everything within my power to produce stable, healthy dog with good temperaments that first and foremost will make great companions. I love showing them and doing hunt tests with them but most of the dogs we breed will end up as pets and that's a fact of life for the vast majority of breeders. There is no shame in being someone's pet. In fact, I consider it the highest praise when people call or write to tell me what a wonderful dog they have and how much joy that animal has brought to their lives.
Now on to that potential thing. I had an interesting talk with my boss today. I love talking to her and missed her greatly while she was on maternity leave as she is easy to talk to and you invariably leave her office feeling better than when you went into it. Anyway, we happened to be talking about the past and how I ended up in the bank. She asked me if I didn't think I wasting my potential by staying at the bank. I had pointed out that I was the unaccomplished, dumb one of my best friends and it's true; my fellow Pirate Queens all make at least twice what I make a year and have impressive titles with equally impressive jobs. I, on the other hand, kind of happened into banking and have a relatively unimpressive job with a rather menial title to it by comparison.
This is a question that I have pondered on my own many times. Should I be doing something more with myself. Am I wasting the gifts I was born with? In the end though it doesn't feel like a waste. If I do something I usually enjoy (hey, no one enjoys their job all the time), that helps lots of people (I've helped people buy their first homes, first cars, get their first credit cards, and eased the stress of months of worry about how to cope with ones bills and debt.) is it really a waste? I'm thinking the answer is no. After all, is it a waste if someone with a real gift for athletics decides to become a social worker instead of an NBA player? Is my situation really any different? Besides, if I thought I was wasting my life I'm sure it would only depress me in a big way.
Speaking of depressing, I have been feeling very emotional this week - overwhelmed, close to tears all the time, unsure if I can cope where I would normally just tell myself to put my big girl panties on and live with it, etc. On my way home from work today I realized that I've been out of my anti-depressants for about a week (honestly, I was planning on getting a renewal but just figured it could wait until the 15th). Apparently they really do serve a function lol It does leave me with the question as to why I am like this when without medication though. I know all the medical reasons - serotonin levels etc - but other people with much more complicated lives than mine cope just fine, so why can't I? Am I just weak?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Well, after signing off last night I decided to make some muffins for work for the rest of the week. I like to have low fat muffins on hand for snacking so I can avoid hopping across the road to diet Hell (and Timmies). Upon turning on the over I discovered that a chunk of fat from the roast beast had fallen off on Sunday and attched itself to the hot metal wire thing in the oven. Sorry I have no clue as to what it is called - what I do now know is that preheating the overn under these conditions causes tremendous amounts of stinky smoke and some fire. Despite all this my latest experiment (pumpkin angel food cake muffins) turned out rather well.
Today, there is no good way to say it - I fucked up. I underestimated a fee for a client and I feel terrible. They'll still benefit in the long run but in the short run they're going to be very angry with me and I can't blame them. I would be too. I hate disappointing people.
There was one very nice spot in the day. Two if you count that I now have an appt with the dr's resident on Thursday. There's this great article in the Toronto Star on teh front page of the world section. Apparently, these two kids (aged 6 & 7) decided they were going to get married and go to Africa. They brought along her younger sister (age 5) as a witness. They were picked up at the train station with lots of swimming gear and toys and no money :) Apparently they didn't think they would be gone long so they didn't feel the need to let their sleeping parents know they were off to Africa. The article is just too sweet and funny. They're home, safe, sound and still unwed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Day of Movies and a Day of Losing It

Sunday was quiet. I got up early and got the dogs done before running into town to pick up some chocolate for cookies for my vet (who I cannot say enough good things about). Upon returning I discovered that Mom and Dad had picked the same things up on their way home from the hotel they stayed at last night (after seeing a show about the British Invasion (musical invasion that is) at Stage West which they gave rave reviews). Great minds think alike. Of course with all those ingredients finally at hand I found I had lost my desire to cook.
Funny, I love to bake. It is something that I find very relaxing and when I start to feel stressed I reach for the flour and the sugar, Despite the fact that I have an enormous sweet tooth, I am as happy cooking for others as I am cooking for our household. There is something rewarding about feeding people. Joanna (my sister) and I laugh that someday we'll start a catering business - she'll cook and I'll bake. At any rate, I decided to give baking a pass for the day and instead veg out in front of the tv watching favourite old movies.
We started with The Replacements with Keanu Reeves. This ranks as my all time favourite sports movie for absolutely no good reason other than that I love Keanu Reeves, I like the underdog (especially when they are so very odd in so many funny ways) and I love the soundtrack. Possibly also because my younger nephew Alex does a wonderful imitation of Rhys Ifans licking his fingers and rubbing his nipples.
Followed it up with Speed - yes, still more Keanu Reeves. I still remember seeing this one in the theatres with fellow Pirate Queen, Barn-Yen. We were on a blockbuster-a-week binge and sat through it twice that day.
For the finale that evening, I left Reeves-land and watched an old favourite - True Lies with the current governor of California. A relaxing evening all in all.
Today, less relaxing. It really shouldn`t have been bad as I had lots of good business come into my office with lots of opportunities. Unfortunately my leg chose today as a good day to act up and I just got crankier and crankier from the pain. I called to book an appt with my doctor for the 15th. I figured that a week and a half is plenty of notice for an appt. I have some prescriptions that need renewing and I figure it`s time I stopped using the walk-in and saw him about my knee as it has become apparent that the stop-gap measures used so far just aren`t enough. I`m getting so frustrated and over-tired from not sleeping properly that I was close to tears several times today. The nurse told me that a week and a half is not enough though as, except for emergencies, my doctor is now booking for the end of January. She could put me in with one of his residents on the 15th though. I thought the purpose of having your own doctor was the consistency and the fact that you don`t start fresh with someone who doesn`t know you or your health each time you visit. Apparently I missed something. I accpeted the appt but later on today I came to the conclusion that this is too an emergency and I`m not sure I should wait until the 15th. I`m going to talk to my boss tomorrow and see if I can be a bit late on Thursday morning and book an appt. Otherwise I think I`m going to drive everyone around me crazy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year`s Resolution and a Trip South

This was my resolution for the new year. Several friends have been complaining I don`t share the minutiae (sp?) of my day often enough. I believe this to be because they`re relatively dull but as you`ve asked I will attempt to share them here. With a little luck this one will last longer than my normal resolutions do. Come to think of it, I think it already has.
Yesterday, I got up at the crack of dawn (actually, it was still dark out at 5:30 am) to set off for Albany. I know with the title a trip south you`d think I`d gone somewhere warm, nice, vacation-like. N0o, I went to Albany and back in a day. I went to drop off a puppy to her new home while visiting with some friends.
The drive itself wasn`t too bad. long but not bad driving. The munchkins (I took Frankie - who was staying in NY - and Joan (just for company) and Dalwhinnie who doesn`t qualify as anyone`s idea of a puppy but who makes better company on a drive) slept most of the way. Stopped at Timmie`s and got Timbits for the drive. I was willing to be generous and share with Dal but Dal decided to get picky and repeatedly selected Timbits from the box then decided she didn`t like them and spat them on the floor. So much for Timmies.
Dal ended up staying with Sarah for a bit and I spent most of the trip home consoling the now very lonely Joan. (Don`t tell Betty but Joan likes Macdonald`s cheeseburgers - I forgot to bring some food for her so we had to improvise. I`m a bad breeder.)
I don`t envy the dogs when we take road trips as they are subjected to my terrible singing for hours on end. It is a sad statement when you listen to only three CDs over the course of almost fourteen hours of driving. I think that by now Joan could probably sing all of Leonard Cohen`s Hallelujah all by herself. I think I repeated it at least four times in a row everytime we came upon it. I have this really nice version of it with k.d. lang singing. I don`t get how Joanna can like the Rufus Sewell version better. It`s obvious the dampness of BC has affected her ears. I`m not quite sure why I like this particular song so much. The best I can offer is that I find it soothing which makes it sound like I need soothing which I don`t think is true most of the time. OK, let`s just ignore my mental states for now.
Today has been very quiet. A really nice family came to see the dogs. Hopefully, they`ll put a deposit down on Kaylee`s litter. Sinead goes home later today and then poor Joan will be really lonely until she goes to Idaho in a few weeks. How badly do you think I can spoil her between now and when we get to Betty`s :)
As for me, I`m thinking it will be a quiet evening and maybe watch the new Mummy movie.