Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sweet Temptations Expo & Other things

Another non-doggy weekend! This is about the 3rd in a row and boy, I think i'm starting to have withdrawals!! Saturday involved Mum and I going out for a very belated Mothers Day present :). Usually now, rather than giving her presents, we'll go out for the day and do something, or go out for lunch etc... much more enjoyable :). So - the main reason it was so delayed was because whenever I was free, Mum had something on and vice versa! Always the way!! Anyway - we decided to go to this "Sweet Temptations Expo" at the Exhibition building - basically it was an expo of all things 'sweet' - chocolate, cakes, icecream etc,etc. The day was heaps of fun and boy - did we eat our fill! Almost every stand you walked past had something to 'try' and mmmm..... they were yum! By lunch we were all 'sugared' out so briefly left the expo to have something a little less sweet (ended up at a nice dumpling restaurant in Chinatown), came back to the expo for another 'demonstration' and then headed off home :). Mum thoroughly enjoyed herself and picked up some great ideas for cake decorating etc, from seeing what was 'out there'.... they also had 'cupcake demonstrations' ie: making fancy decorations etc on cupcakes - was interesting and now Mum is all inspired.... well - who am I to refuse - means I can be the taste tester right?!

Well - here are some piccies from the day:

Chocolate Fondue fountain - free and you could have as many as you liked! Mmm.. the chocolate was sooo tasty too :).

A 'rocky road' pyramid.... this stuff was really nice - bought some home - all kinds of flavours - original, honeycomb, cookies and cream, choc mint..... you get the drift!
Cupcake designs: mum is all inspired to make these now :)

Our attempt at making cupcakes (mine on the left... ie: the one that looks worse!)... i'll let you be the judge of which is better - the ones in the stalls, or ours!

A sample of the types of cakes on display:
Came home Sat arvo after the expo to get ready to go out to Frankston for Kylie's birthday bash. Twas a good night, but unfortunately not many 'pub' choices around - so by the time we got there - we had to wait in line for 2 hrs!!! THEN, as I had to get up in the morning (7am) and drive for 1hr to get home (and remain awake) I had to leave a short time after getting into the pub! Major bummer! But, we still had a good night! Some piccies:

Kylie, Loz and Myself.

The whole gang - don't know how I did this one! The wonders of 'happy snaps'!!

Loz and Kylie

Ended up getting home at about 2am! Had to get up in the morning for Kinta's basic 2 test - which she passed with flying colours :D. This now means that we can join the 'trial ring' for some proper practice rather than rambling around class. I did have a giggle to myself though - as I have missed so many classes, I wasn't sure how we would go. I read through the criteria and realised that the dogs had to 'heel' for 2mins!!! There was no WAY I was going to heel K for that long without any reward.... so I didn't and told her just to walk "with me" instead.... coz I was talking to her she was great, but of course a bit 'blah-ze' at the end (which was fine, as I think she started to realise I was saying "with me" as opposed to heel LOL. Even after that I still think she was one of the better 'heelers' in the class VBG! Next we had to do food refusal - OOPS!!! I completely forgot to practice that and had also *never* done that in class!!! Hmm... would be interesting to see how that goes (a whole plate of sausage under her nose!).... the little trooper was soo good and only took one command to leave it!!! yipee!! Her SFE was also good considering I only did one run through with her last Monday night, using dad as the 'dummy'... this i'm especially proud of as many of you remember how she was a bit 'skittish' when she first came home... now she is quite confident (with minimal training aside from show training) to hold her SFE with me out front :D .... so the long and short.... yes, i'm proud!

Sunday had some lovely weather so ended up taking the pooches for a lovely long walk and romp - they had a blast, but apparently a 1hr off lead run chasing each other, balls and ducks is NOT enough exercise and we still have ample energy to burn *rolls eyes*!

As for the saying 'it never rains, but pours' seems to be the case at the moment! When Leo was a bub, he went through a week where he had vet visits about 3 times in a week - once for his vacc, once for a tummy bug and then again for a bee sting! Since then, he has barely been to the vet other than for his vaccinations etc.... now he seems to want to be sick again - constantly *sigh*... as you know- both dogs have had Kennel Cough last fortnight (which they are both much better from :) ).... Leo had a bad dose of it and was quite lethargic on the Friday.... then Wed just gone, Leo came down with a bad bout of the runs which it seems is only *just* starting to clear up today. He was quite lethargic Wed night but fine from Thur arvo onward... his normal self again on Sat/ Sun.... so hopefully this is starting to clear up now.... But - went outside yesterday (as you do) and said 'howdy' to Leo - I noticed that he had considerable swelling in BOTH ears! My first thoughts were 'haematoma'... but then, how would he have got it?! Never mind - I thought - i'll take him to the vet Mon/ Tue to get them drained (insert very BIG sigh here!).... even then, I thought it a little strange that he should have a haematoma in both ears... likewise if it were an allergic reaction (and he was quite sprightly). Then, throughout the course of the day, the swelling started to reduce.... I wiped his ear clean and it was leaking clear fluid (not coming out fast, but enough to make his ear wet.... there is no smell etc. Today - the swelling is near gone, but the ear still sore/ red.... will see how it is tonight/ tomorrow and if still sore - off to the vet we go! But I have no idea what it is (bacterial infection?) or how it happened.... but bl**dy hell dog! I have other ways to spend my money ya know!!!

This week is pretty busy work wise - more piggery visits, more storyboarding and a weekend trip to Syd to visit my brother with the family :)..

Cya all later :D

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Never work with kids or animals.....

*Dial-up warning*!!! Lots of piccies so let me know if there are too many and i'll keep in mind not to be so 'generous' next time! We have graduation photos too, but since they were taken with the good 'ol film camera (mum's SLR) you may have to wait a bit for me to scan them etc ;)

OK - onto todays adventures. The dogs are much better from their KC, but since we weren't going to our show today, I decided to take advantage of the nice green lawn out front, the sunshine and two *reasonably* clean dogs (you should have seen them earlier in the week!) and take some pics ;). I wanted some pics with *me* in them as I'm forever snapping away the dogs on their own/ together, but never with me in them! So - I set up my camera, get the dogs ready and try and shoot some nice shots (apologies for the 'over-exposure' in some!).

First up - stacked shots..... These weren't too bad - once I had the bait out.... before I brought out bait they were looking at me, looking at the camera etc.... all in all *much* easier than stacking the dog and 'waiting' for the right pic to come along!

Kinta at 12mths!

Leo at 3yrs!
So they came out quite good right?! So - I thought - great - i'll get some pics of both dogs and myself - it would be nice to have them, and if a *really* nice one came out, I might elect to put it on my webpage.....

Take 1: Hey look at that - Mum is behind me... wonder if she wants kisses!!!!

Hmm... not exactly the shot I was after! Some time later........ Hmm... whats that over there?!

Still no luck! Some time later...... FINALLY a nice shot of the dogs..... pity I looked absolutely horrible in it (cut out for a reason!)!!

More time still ..... hmm... what seems to be so funny?!?!?! *apologies for quality!*

OK - we're getting there!

Finally - a nice shot!!!
Hey - we even got game and tried different 'styled' photos!
Individual shots!
Pics of the dogs together:
and alone.....
(Leo's thought of the whole affair!)
Then at long last - I come inside and decide 'enough is enough'.... time to collaborate what I have, delete half (gotta love digital camera's!), and ponder over the other half as to what is good and what isn't (usually half the photo looking good, the other half looking less than mediocre!). Of course i'm always FAR more critical coz i'm in the pic - so half of the ones up here i'm not even too sure on! Then.... I come across this pic! Completely random shot! As you may have guessed, I used a fair amount of bribery to get the dogs to co-operate, mainly their favourite toy (squeaky Cuz).... Guess the click came a little early in this one!!!

Hope you enjoyed - check out my little space on You Tube also as I will have uploaded some video clips for critique (hopefully they won't be too small that you can't see us!). Pity the camera doesn't zoom while you take videos!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bad Karma?? Murphy's Law???


Seems I am about to find out what that strange foreign life is *outside* of the dog world! I have been soooo bored all week, but in another sense - i've been able to clean up a lot around the house ;).

The story starts last week when I got an email saying that the dogs that my lot had been running around with had been exposed to kennel cough. Since Kinta had a bad dose of it last year, before I got her, and Leo also had it last year, I was 'hoping' that neither would contract it. Unfortunately for me this was not the case and Kinta started coughing Monday morning *sigh*.... so both dogs have pretty much been in confinement all week albeit on *very* restricted walks occasionally to the ovals where 'no dogs dwell'..... The plot thickens as Leo started coughing this morning, just as Kinta was getting MUCH better, so looks like they will have to be confined a little longer..... can't say it was unexpected considering Kinta spends half of her life down the back of Leo's throat cleaning his tonsils!!

The worst part is that because I had a weekend of shows planned for the little miss and I was looking forward to another weekend of showing - our last shows before the Royal (because of agility trials and such) and August has been a quiet month! Not to mention Sept/ Oct looks pretty quiet too! But, there is no way i'm going, so unfortunately i'll have to let those ones pass! Bummer!

What's more annoying was that I was searching through the gazette last night and why is it that *every* show I want to enter either has an agility / obedience trial on the same day OR falls on a Sunday..... the days when I am free - there is nothing to enter - no obedience/shows or agility! That's not fair *vbg*!

My aim is to have Leo ready to compete in obedience again by Croydon's December trial.... I think... might have to re-think that dependant on how much I am expected to do in terms of preparing (club wise) for the trial... He is coming along smoothly, but there are still a few areas we need to glitch out.... namely starting training for out of sight stays and his 'dumbell' which seems to have taken a small backward turn...... *again*! Nothing drastic, but it is annoying that just when things start going well, he decides to muck at least *one* thing up *vbg*! Who's idea was it that dog training was fun?!?!?!?!

Other than that - there is nothing to tell as i've spent my days at either work or home..... but having fun in the freezing cold playing with the dogs, cleaning up the yard, cleaning blankets etc..... LOL. Might be off rock climbing this weekend with the uni gang since I can't show :(. Hmm... that would be interesting - i'm hopeless at that kind of stuff!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A New Graduand

Well today was the big day! I have now graduated from my Bachelor of Animal Science course, albeit 18mths late (deferring 12mths while deciding to do hons or not, and missing the boat due to admin issues for March....). Despite being long-awaited, the day was still just as special and memorable. Who'd have thought that wearing a simple gown can make you feel soo clever ;). Needless to say, it brought back memories. Memories of the good times I spent at uni - many a day in the ILFR computer labs, sitting down doing little work, chatting with friends (of *course* I was the quiet one in the corner!) and listening to Llama songs.... *vbg*! Memories of complaining of long days with no breaks (one that springs to mind is 3rd yr, Thursdays with 8am,9am lecture, 10-12prac,1pm lecture and 2-5pm prac!!!), complaining that we bit off more than we could chew for the Industry Project.... Memories of everybody asking me what lecture they had next because despite the fact I *couldn't* remember lecture material, I knew what everyones classes were (hmm... weird person I know!).... and most of all the bonds we built. I really miss the uni days - not the studying or exams (ugh!), but I daresay the friendships I built among those walls will last a lifetime and no matter the distance or regularity between our 'meetings' I believe we will stay firm friends! The only disappointment of the day was that the majority of my friends had graduated earlier, so there was only 4 of us who went through our 'journey' together (Durani, Michelle, Ange and myself).

Thank goodness the ceremony didn't drag on - I recall Scott's seemed like forever and a day, but this one didn't.... maybe it was because I was involved.... but both Mum and Dad also agreed :P. I'll have more pics later as Mum was the chief photographer (I think my cheeks are permanently stuck to 'grin' mode).... I swear, these gowns have to be *the* most photographed outfits (excusing of course wedding gear.... they would get a work out too ;-) )..... but here is a pic of Michelle and myself, post-ceremony ;-).

Although I walk away with *only* a "bachelor" degree, I still feel immensely proud of what I have achieved. I didn't scrape through with scored - I know I achieved reasonably good marks throughout and the door is not closed to future study.... just not yet ;). What the future holds however still remains cloudy. HOW do you decide on what you want to do??? Especially when you add the fact that you want to work in the 'animal industry'.... I still haven't closed the doors to being a Vet yet. Perhaps I may have a better chance coming from a degree and 'research' background..... I would still love that as a career choice, and after a few years break from study, would probably look forward to going back.... but it would be a long haul, and I don't know if my brains are smart enough for that! Am I hanging on to it because it has *always* been my dream, or do I really want to do it? At the end of the day, I can see myself as a vet....... hmmm......

On the flip side of the coin - do I continue with what I do now? Research? Do I work as an RA for a few years, to go back to study (Masters/ PhD) in something with companion animals? I guess if the project *really* interested me, I would enjoy it, nay, revel in it.... but in all honesty, I can't see myself in this profession. I am not an 'office' person and this style doesn't really suit me.... as Mum says - i'm a people-person who wants to be chatting and interacting with people all day....

Then - there is my third option, and probably the one i've been treasuring the most of late.... do I want to take the risk and persue dog training/ behavioural training?? I can really see myself in this field, but this would be the scariest option.... Do I have the knowledge or experience to follow through with this... can people actually *understand* me if I were to talk 'dog training' to them, or do I make them more confused..... Do I have the knack for this career and most of all, will I be able to make a living out of it???

It's scary as i'm the type of person who likes to see straight down the line - I want to know where i'll be in 5 years and all I can see in front of me is fog. What do you think? Where would you see me??? I don't even know what/where my abilities lie anymore! LOL! I'd love to hear what you all think!

As for how the rest of the day panned out? Well - we stayed in the city and went to Chinatown for lunch - Shark Fin House for some Yum Cha which unfortunately was most disappointing - not as much 'variety' as we would have liked - not to mention they were out of my favourite... Egg Tart!!! Noooo!!! LOL.. The food was good - but the service far from it.....

After that, we just wondered around the city - into Myer as they had a shoe sale and I have been looking for some boots (I can hear Kylie gasp - oooh shoe sale *vbg*!)..... I came away with 2 pairs of heels though :-O for under $30 each!!!!! Originally about $70 each -so I think that was quite good! Kylie - you'll be pleased to know - I got a *red* strappy pair that will go v-e-r-y nicely with the lovely red top (and grey skirt) that I got last night ;-).

So thats my day! Another one for the memory books, and another chapter in my life closed..... who knows what the future holds.... but if anyone has a crystal ball - please tell me!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Intelligence Test

Ok - well you have probably heard me say that Kinta is by far more switched on/ intelligent than Leo.... but last night this was put to the test ;).. Some new toys arrived for them from an online friend - a busy bee and Iqube - both of which are 'problem' solving games whereby the dog has to 'figure out' how to get the objects out of the toy (3 bees/ 4 shapes all that squeak)..... So.... I have since set the challenge - which dog is more intelligent of the two??? Hmmm.....

The Challenge:

Well the challenge itself was pretty simple - each dog was given the toy and I watched to see who could figure it out the fastest ;). They were given a shot on both types as the IQube is definitely more difficult than the busy bee ;)

The Contestants:
First up we have Leo - Ellagant Full O Mischief CD JD, 3yr old who loves nothing more than a lazy cuddle ;). Nowhere near as wired as 'contestant #2' but very biddable and easy to train..... does he have the brains to take on his rival?!?!?!

Next we have Kinta aka Ellagant Full of Antics - 12mths old, a whipper snapper compared to Leo. Quick to learn new tasks, happy-go-lucky and ALWAYS on the move ;)..... she was the favourite entering into the competition.....

Round 1:
Unfortunately - due to 'technical issues' I *can't* upload the video of Leo and the 'busy bee'.... Apparently it is too large to upload onto youtube, and I have no idea on how to reduce the size! So you are going to have to take my word for it ;-). Pity coz it is a cute video ;). Well..... Leo managed to get a bee out in under a minute (lol, it was a fluke I think ;) ), but was none-the-less pleased with himself. Once he got one bee out, that bee then had to be taken away to stop him from squeaking the darned thing and 'get on with the task' LOL! If Leo could talk, I am sure he would give this toy an over all 4 star - methinks he liked it ;-)
*getting right into it*

Kinta's first round consisted of the IQube, which does seem to be a much harder toy to pull the objects out ;). At first - picking it up by the tag and shaking it was far more interesting. I do have a video of this, but if you watch it, you have to excuse the rather eccentric owner talking to her dog ;).....

Ok - so 1:30mins of play and still no toy pulled out - evidently shaking it and trying to play tug with it was much more exciting *g*.

Round 2:
Well - after a short break, we came back to complete round two of the challenge. This time they switched toys ;-)

Leo's turn on the IQube - again - he impressed all by getting ALL objects out within i'd say probably a 5min bracket (which did include squeaking the toys vigorously each time they were pulled out *rofl*).... he would bunt, chew and grab to pull the objects out and I think he would rate this one 5 star.... *heaps more fun* :P

ETA - love dad's comments and our shock that he got them out! Plz excuse the cat trying to get in the fun ;)

Next was Kinta's turn on the Busy bee - this video comes in 2 parts as I didn't realise that I had the camera on zoom *rolls eyes* - I still love the 1st video though as she gives the toy one vigorous shake, the hive goes one way and she promptly walks off with her 'prize'.

Apparently Kinta's theory was once I got one prize, she didn't need to worry about the rest and kept wanting to go back to her 'first' bee *rofl*

So, it seems that our assumptions are wrong! Leo passed this intelligence test with flying colours and beat the pants off his rival!! As to what the dogs think of the results:

*of course i'm the smarter one you fool - beauty AND brains!*

*I wasn't really trying - thought i'd let him win once in a while ;)*

As for what the cat thinks........
*say WHA?!?!?!!*

Hope you enjoyed - Sarah I have loaded all these pics straight from the comp - let me know if it takes too long again - I always seem to do photo overload *vbg*!