Wednesday, February 29, 2012

True Colours - Royal Purple

Here we are with another coloured blog post, this week it's royal purple.

My selections for the week are somewhat mundane. I do have quite a bit of royal purple in my wardrobe but who wants to see purple shirts.

My first selection for this week is a tapestry that I bought off eBay to hang in the stairwell as it looked kind of blah otherwise. The royal purple is in the grape vines that cover the arch.

Garden tapestry
 My next selection, I wear everyday of the week. It's the lanyard for my building pass and on it you'll see my yellow Support the Troops ribbon.

For my last selection, I chose, and boy am I glad I have a wide variety of brightly coloured agility ribbons, Tucker's Advanced Agility Dog of Canada title ribbon.

Tucker's AADC ribbon
I had some fun with the twist. I think William and Kate thought I was inviting them to the Winter Gardens and not to a Winter Garden party, so they were rather undressed for the occasion.

Winter Garden Party
It wasn't as grand an affair as a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.  I was lucky enough to have been invited to one of those while I was posted in England. Actually, if you hadn't attended either the Garden Party or the Trooping of the Colour, you had a pretty decent chance of being selected by your High Commission.  It was very nice afternoon spent in the gardens behind Buckingham Palace with lots of sandwiches, canapes, fruit, desserts and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks including iced coffee, something I had never had before; it was wonderful. I didn't get introduced to any of the Royal Family but I was quite close to both the Queen and Prince Philip as they mingled and were introduced to some of the guests.

Invitation to Buckingham Palace
My niece's actually met William and Kate during their tour in Canada, well at least they got to shake their hands and say a few words. Very few, my niece said she was tongue-tied and all she could say was "Thank-you".

William in Prince Edward Island just after shaking hands with my nieces.

William and Kate in Prince Edward Island
I've also had the opportunity to attend a Garden Party with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at Fort York in Toronto.  She was the Colonel Commandant of the Medical Corps and I was, at the time, a Medical Associate Officer. I don't have any pictures of that function as it was a private affair, like the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, so no cameras were permitted.

Happy Leap Day

Leaping Lizards? No just Beckett!

Beckett, the Frisbee Fanatic

Tucker, able to leap tall dandelions

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mishmash Monday

We had a snowstorm on Friday and I tried to get photos of the dogs as they came in the house all covered in snow with not too much success.

Here are a few of the oops photos and couple of ones that are not so bad. Didn't get that perfect picture.

Tucker starting to shake off the snow.

Beckett shaking off the snow.

Beckett outside in the storm

This one didn't turn out too bad although a little out of focus.

It was hard photographing at night with the snow.

Snow dog!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blended Front Cross

I went to an agility seminar yesterday with Beckett. Wouldn't you know it spring-like weather all week, then Friday we get a snow storm. It was still snowing and the wind had picked up on Saturday morning so the highway going down was snow covered and the visibility was not great. Again, I thought, why am I doing this. But once we got there and got started, we had so much fun and learned so much that it was well worth the drive. I car-pooled with friend and her dog so that made the drive down and back fun too, well maybe not that much fun going down.

I found out once again how awesome my little Beckett is, we did lead-outs that I didn't think he would get. And while he might have not got it the first time around, he was quick to pick up the new skills. Some times he surprised me by getting things the first time, and I would think: how did he know that?

One of the big things we learned at the seminar was a blended front cross. If you can find places to use it, it is so much easier on your knees.  Personally, while I understand why they called it a blended front cross, I don't know why they didn't give it another name all together like S-cross or just Blended cross. The seminar presenter told us that it can be used where you have to do two front crosses on one obstacle or where there is a serpentine.

Blended Front Cross Exercise
This was the first exercise we had that used the blended front cross. If you look at the course map, you could have run the sequence with a front cross on the take off side of 3 to get the dog over obstacle 3 and a front cross on the descending side of 3 to get your dog around to obstacle 4. The other option to handle it was as a serpentine composed of 2,3, and 4; lead out between 1 and 2, supporting the dog to stay out after they've taken 2, call him over obstacle 3 and move off to obstacle 4.

But as a blended front cross, it was so much easier on the handler and I think would flow smoother for the dog too. In a blended front cross, there is no change of arm and, for those of us with older knees, no hard pivot.

Blended Front Cross - first position

The first position for this exercise depended on how much of a lead out you could take from your dog, but I would have to say that in this sequence, you would have to lead out to where I did, between 2 and 3 as shown in the picture. As you can see the dog would be on my left and I'm facing towards jump 8.

Blended Front Cross - position 2
Once you released your dog and they have committed to obstacle 2, you start side-stepping to the right hand wing of obstacle 3.  The seminar presenter called it a grapevine step. If you've seen line dancing, you should get the idea. Your dog will come back in to you. I gave Beckett too much room the first time and he came between me and the jump, of course though he had never seen this move.  Note, the dog is still on the left arm and I'm still facing obstacle 8.

Blended Front Cross - position 3
As your dog is approaching the jump, you drop your shoulder back over the plane of the jump and, when a dog is learning this body language, you may have to take a step backwards.  Again, note the dog is still on the left arm and the handler is still facing obstacle 8.

Blended Front Cross - position 4
In this sequence, once the dog is committed to 3, you start to move off to obstacle 4. You might think the dog would back jump but this isn't likely since you're heading off the other direction, they just wrap around and follow.  Note the dog is still on the left arm and the handler is only now turning their shoulders towards obstacle 4.

I hope I've got the key components down correctly. I didn't take notes yesterday. I find it better just to listen.  I find I miss too much by taking notes and often miss things that are even more critical than what I'm making a note of. I had people try to explain and show me a blended front cross before, but I didn't get it. The key things are no change of arm and no hard pivot like in a front cross. I didn't get any video yesterday so I've added a YouTube video that might give you a better idea of what I've been trying to say.

Blended Front Cross example

Thursday, February 23, 2012

True Colors - Pearl Grey

This week's True Colour is Pearl Grey.  I didn't have much of a problem finding pearl grey except that I didn't think all of my stainless steel appliances should count; once I decided that it was a little more difficult.

First is a piece of art that I bought for my mother one Christmas. It's a winter scene of a village church done on ceramic. The frame is also pearl grey.

My printer, which is right beside me as I type this, is also partly pearl grey. My last selection is made of metal but I think it still counts.  It's a beer stein that, in the military, was often given as a departure gift when you were posted from one unit to another. It's not the stein but rather the crest on it that made this my third selection for pearl grey.

It's the crest of the 5th Canadian Brigade Group, notice the roman numeral five under the lion. The motto "Allons-Y" translates as "Go There" which signifies the willingness of the men and women who serve in the Brigade to go where they are most needed, to the four corners of the world if need be (note the compass arrows around the lion).

And my photos of the twist, I have to admit come from the idea that Reilly and Denny's Mum had, they are just photos taken in our backyard.

Tucker and Beckett in the backyard

One of the maple trees in the yard, unfortunately, not sugar maples.
If you haven't tried the True Colours challenge yet, give it a shot. It makes you look at the world a little more closely and it's fun to see what everyone else has found.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MishMash Monday

This a picture of Mattie, Tucker's mum with her two boys when they were about 5 weeks old. I'm not sure which is Tucker as their markings were so similar. This picture was taken before digital so you never knew what you got until the film was developed. This was the best picture of those I took and it still was a little out of focus. I'm not a great photographer but I was usually better than this.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Funnies

It was such a nice day today that I took the camera with us when we went for a walk over in the park. It was a bit cooler today than yesterday but that worked out just fine as Beckett is able to walk on top of the snow since there is a nice hard crust.

Tucker sitting in the sun

Beckett waiting for the next toss.
The birds were chirping in the trees and the squirrels were out to annoy Beckett. You would think he would have learnt by now  that he can't climb trees.

Before the squirrels showed up, Beckett and I had a good game of Frisbee. After he finally had enough of them, we were able to play Frisbee once again.  Today Olivia, a golden retriever, and her Mum were also in the park this morning. Olivia just loves people, for her, dogs are only kind of okay and nothing to get excited about.

It seemed like spring this weekend but I'm sure there's some winter weather to come yet before we really can say spring is here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

True Colours - Aqua

Alright, I said I was going to post earlier so here it is my True Colours - Aqua blog post. Aqua wasn't too hard to find, at last, one colour that I didn't have to struggle to find.

Caithness Glass paperweight

My first selection is one of my Caithness Glass paperweights. I think they are so cool. While I was in the military I was posted to England and when I was there I had the opportunity to vacation in Scotland. On my vacation, one of the places I visited was the Caithness Glass factory. I bought a glass bowl at the factory with two dogs, that look like Shelties to me, playing ball etched into it. I also bought a number of limited edition paperweights mostly at the American PX as their prices were so good.

Cheerios Thomas the Tank Engine
My second choice is a Cherrios Thomas the Tank Engine that my Dad got by sending in box tops from Cheerios cereal boxes. He got me one as well but a little black dog, named Beckett, chewed mine badly; so I gave away the engine which was still in pretty good shape. When my Dad passed away last year, it was one of his things that I decided to keep.

Ceilidh Starter Games and Advanced Games Dog Title ribbons
And my third choice, but it's not the least important to me, are Ceilidh's Starter and Advanced Games ribbons. Funny that they were both earned at the same agility club. Ceilidh loved agility and started off getting her Starter Agility Dog title in just 5 months, but these two titles took another 2 and half years to acheive. She was so exuberant that she often missed the yellow on her contacts and popped out of her weaves usually incurring either course faults or time faults. But we had fun. At the time of her passing, we only needed 6 more qualifying scores for her Agility Trial Championship. She managed to whittle that down from 10 after returning to agility following surgery to remove a Mast Cell tumour.

And some of my also rans.

Blue Jay from my Ty Teeny Beanie Baby collection

Liqueur glasses

Another starving artist painting

And my twist on the twist is water in one of it's solid forms; an ice sculpture taken downtown at Confederation Park. It's Winterlude here in Ottawa right now. The ice carving and judging take place the first weekend of Winterlude. I stopped on my way home last Friday to see the sculptures and take pictures. It's been rather warm (around freezing) here so unfortunately some of the more delicate sculptures had melted or broken.

Ice sculpture bear
Inuit and an Elk


Norse Warrior and horse

And how could I show pictures of water in its solid form without showing you the World's Longest Skating Rink, the Rideau Canal Skate-way. The rink is seven kilometers long going from the Ottawa river locks to Dows Lake. The actual canal is much longer that that.

Rideau Canal Skate-way
Skaters on the Canal
Next time you're in Ottawa, I'll take you to have a beavertail on the canal. If you don't know what a beavertail is; you don't know what you're missing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mishmash Monday

Tried to get a picture of Beckett with some of his little buddies at Red Gate this weekend. This was about the best of the many pictures I took. Most were just blurry as Beckett and his friends were moving too much, circling, jumping or pulling on the leash. You get the picture. I'd love to be able to take great action shots but it's just not my forte.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Red Gate Fun

The temperatures hovered comfortably around freezing all last week, wouldn't you know it though, this weekend we are in back in a deep freeze. And, of course, it was time for Red Gate's fun match. I left Tucker home with one of my neighbours to check in on him; I didn't want to have him out in the cold all day. As it turned out it wasn't all that bad inside the arena. We had another sunny calm day so it warmed up inside the arena and with the days starting to get longer it was even comfortable at the end of the afternoon.

The runs yesterday were a Standard and a Steeplechase; only our first Steeplechase run was videoed. Our second Steeplechase run was perfect, always helps to have a  practice run. But Beckett did just fine the first time around too. A lot of dogs missed the very last jump as they were turning back into their handlers rather than moving forward. I thought I would really have to run when I saw the course map for this Steeplechase but it wasn't too bad. In any case, we only ran it once each time and then played some Frisbee. Even though Beckett loves agility, I'm sure that he really enjoyed that as Frisbee is his passion.

Weather forecast are for the temperature's to rise back again to above freezing by Wednesday, wouldn't you just know it.  Next weekend, we have no agility as our classes end today too.  What will I do??  Oh wait, I could do some housecleaning, or some painting.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

True Colours - Eucalyptus

I guess I'm going to have to start doing my True Colours post on Wednesday nights as by the time I have it up for True Colours Thursday, its nearly the end of the day.

I didn't find anything eucalyptus coloured, but I did have a basket with eucalyptus on it. My mother made it for me, as well as a cat that hides a roll of toilet paper and a doll for an air freshener.

Basket with dried eucalyptus

As you can see I use the basket in the bathroom for toiletries so that if a guest has forgotten something I may have some they can use.

Basket with air freshener doll and toilet roll cat.
For my items from Australia, they were brought back for me by my sister and brother-in-law. They were on deployment in Afghanistan and got to go to Australia for their holidays, how cool is that. A trip to Australia is on my bucket list.
My boomerang and Australian prints.
A Crane Dance?

Going Walk-about?
I think the prints are supposed to represent dream time. They certainly are bit whimsical.