Saturday, November 26, 2011


So I mentioned a few weeks ago that Coulee's feet were doing craptastic.


I think I screwed up.

The plan was to soak Coulee's feet for 2 weeks in propylene glycol for 10 minutes a night and if that didn't work, start steroids.  So for two weeks we diligently made Coulee stand in 4 little buckets for 10 minutes every night.  She is really awesome about it, but it is still a struggle.  She sulks, she pulls out her feet, she tries to shift her stance and knocks buckets over, etc.  It sucks. For all of us.  But we did it.  And on day 12 they still looked crappy, but as always seems to happen, almost over night they made a HUGE change.  They appeared dry still (i.e. were grey) but there were no more cracks and the feathering at the tips had disappeared.  Yippee!!!  We finally found something that worked.

We emailed the vet in elation and discussed long term treatment.  She said we'd have to play it by ear but it would probably require soaks just once or twice a week.

Even though they weren't perfect yet, we started to slack.  First we missed a night, then we missed another and then we went 3 days without soaking at all.  Next thing I knew, her feet looked like crap again.  Another email to the vet.  She instructs us to soak them again every day until they are completely healed and then for a solid 2 weeks after that.  Ugh.  But OK.

So we started 17 days ago and have been expecting to see improvement quickly. We weren't starting from as bad a condition as the first time, yet we still haven't seen much improvement. I'm starting to think it was just coincidence that they got better in the first place.

IF (and that is still a big if) this is an autoimmune issue, we can expect to see some waxing and waning of her symptoms.  Which means if we are constantly trying new treatments, something is bound to look like it works.  If we hadn't slacked on the soaks, we'd know for sure whether or not they worked or if it was just coincidence.  I'm so annoyed with myself.

The vet thinks they look better than when she saw them last, and they do, but they sure don't look how they did the first time we soaked them for 14 days straight.  And they sure as hell don't look healthy.

I've agreed to try for 2 more straight weeks before throwing in the towel with this treatment.  If it worked in 2 weeks the first time, there is no reason why it wouldn't work in 4 weeks the second time.  Right?

The good news is they are no longer bleeding and she is no longer on any kind of pain meds.  They don't seem to be slowing her down the way they used to and that is a very good thing.

A Week in Review

Life has sure gotten busy lately.  I am never on the computer, I don't watch TV and I never seem to be home.

So let's see... where did I last leave you...

Monday night I worked.  That's dull.  You don't want to hear about that.

Tuesday night was derby testing.  I did as expected.  I didn't make a complete ass of myself but I didn't pass my laps.  I wasn't disappointed at all with the evening.  The only people who passed were the two girls who had been in fresh meat for a few months and Scot, who started with us, but you could tell on the first night was pretty fearless on skates.  The entire team was there for a practice which was more than a bit intimidating but we also got to help out and watch a scrimmage at the end and that was fun. I continue to be amazed at how friendly and nice this group is.  Seriously.  I've never experienced anything like it.

Wednesday night was Fresh Meat Intake.  There were 10 new girls plus 4 of us from last week.   It was crowded on the track. The new people were going every which way and I'm still not able to turn on a dime to avoid them.  I'm surprised there weren't more collisions.  :) We broke into separate groups to work on things so we got to focus on some stuff we were still a little weak on, while they learned falls and stops.  I discovered I was doing crossovers wrong.  Sigh.  I'd been using my right leg to do all the work and I should be using my left.  

Thursday night I worked on my crossover problem (unsuccessfully), came home, made dinner, ate, soaked Coulee's feet and went to bed.  If it wasn't for soaking Coulee's feet every night for 10 minutes Marlin and I would barely see each other.  At least the soaks are good for something!  More on that in a separate post...

Friday night was more derby.  There seemed to be less people and there was only one instructor for the first part so we worked in one group.  It seemed way less crowded and everyone seemed much more stable.  Phew. One of the newbies said I looked smooth and effortless! LOL. I must have really improved!  Or maybe that was just in comparison to the newbies on the track.  :)  I have put my outdoor wheels on and I feel SO MUCH MORE stable!  I could always feel my indoor wheels sliding to the side, but the outdoor wheels are much, much sticker.  (I used them at work though on Thursday and talk about slow.  I'll need to be sure to change them every time I practice on my own.)  I think I figured out my crossover problem thanks to Jeremiah and Cherry Blaster. :) I'm going to practice this weekend to make sure.

And that's it. My week in review.  I spent the rest of my spare time walking the dogs, and making endless pounds of dog food for our two bottomless pits.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Think Like a Speed Skater

So my first roller derby "test" (aka mini benchmarks) is tomorrow night.  We'll need to demonstrate that we know at least 2 ways to stop, 3 different proper falls, that we can give and receive a (gentle) hit, that we can glide on one foot, that we can do crossovers, that we can jump 3 inches high, write a written test on the rules and that we can do 5 laps in 1 minute.  I think that's it.  But that is enough.

I will not pass.  I can't do 5 laps in 1 minute.  I am slow.  Quite slow. And whenever I try and speed up, I'm not comfortable so I just slow down again.

This weekend I practiced at work 3 times and all I did each time was skate in a circle for an hour. We need to be able to do crossovers in order to get 5 laps completed in a minute.  So that is all I did.   Crossovers, crossovers, crossovers.  Preacher's Slaughter (or Abigail, whichever you prefer) was talking a lot about our centre of gravity at Friday's practice but it wasn't until Saturday that I really got it.  One of the problems with my crossovers was regaining my balance in time to do the next one.  I finally figured it out.  I need to use my arms to transfer my weight back over to my left foot so I'm ready to pick up my right again. With that in mind, I was finally able to do a whole bunch in a row smoothly.  I thought "I've finally got it!!", and promptly crashed to the floor. LOL

I've been told my technique doesn't suck, but that I just need to gain confidence on my skates.  I completely agree with the confidence part, but crashing to my ass really isn't helping.  For example, on Friday we were practicing jumping - I did my first one, crashed to my ass the second time and then COULD NOT work up the nerve to do another one properly.  I don't feel stable on my skates. I don't feel comfortable even just standing on them.  They seem to move in directions that I don't always intend them to.  I watch the experienced women with awe as they glide around effortlessly.

I will be in Fresh Meat for at least another month and I'm perfectly OK with that.  To be honest, I'm scared to move on.  I don't feel like I've mastered this stuff enough yet and I'm not ready to learn even more.

My goal is to pass everything but the laps so that next month, that is all I'll need to do.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


1. I bought Lacey a superman cape.  This makes me happier than you know.

2. I can remember learning to skate in Ontario right outside our back door and using a chair to stay upright.

3. I wish those lessons in skating were helping me now. And I wish I could still use a chair.

4. We have a "mini benchmark" test on Tuesday for roller derby.  I am not going to pass.

5. Being realistic is not the same as being pessimistic.

6. I'm going to practice skating a lot this weekend.

7. Internet "spying" on my business competition often makes me giggle.

8. Coulee's feet are craptastic, but I don't want to talk about it.

9. Lacey is a wild, savage beast this morning.

10. The poor dogs have not had enough attention these last few days.

11. I have SO MUCH TO DO this weekend.

12. I just want to sit on my ass after what felt like a super long week.

13. I'm quite enjoying this randomness thing.

14. I might go and photograph 2 puppies this weekend... if the weather doesn't turn them into frozen pupsicles that is.

15. I just realized yesterday that because we've stopped taking new clients at the daycare, I won't be able to get my puppy fix.  Maybe we'll make a rule - we'll take new clients, but only if they are puppies.  ;)

16. It is only 7:30 on Saturday and I already feel guilty for not doing work.

17. I'm sure a much deeper post could be written about how Lacey is my hero that would be better suited to these photos, but my brain is much too scattered for that.

18. About 20 minutes after these photos were taken a storm rolled in and it was dark, grey and snowing.  Weird eh?

19. I'm going to check out some of the dog show this weekend.  There are no Lancashire Heelers entered.  One day, I'll see one in person.

20. Photographing birds in flight, is a skill I've yet to master.  As only 1 in 20 shots were in focus, this one was obviously a fluke and not talent.  Isn't he pretty?

21.  My brain is finally blank.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Big Smile

We live on the edge of a park and unfortunately with the direction of the winds, we usually get any of the loose garbage in the park, packed up against our fence.  The city clears it out regularly in the summer months, but in the winters we can rarely open up our back gate due to all the crap out there.  It is kind of a pet peeve of ours but occasionally something fun comes our way.

The other morning I looked outside and saw a giant yellow smiley face looking back at me.  Every time I looked out the window, I just had to smile seeing it out there.  I knew it would blow Lacey's little brain to play with it, so I brought it into the yard...

When the craziness started to get too much, I would pick up the ball.  This is what happened when I did.

I asked Marlin after, if he had heard Lacey (she did a high pitched bark the whole time she chased the ball too) and he informed me the entire neighbourhood could hear.  Ooops!

Coulee also got in on the fun, although Lacey was never far away.

Coulee stopped to lay claim to the ball and do her neurotic sniffing, much to Lacey's horror.

Coulee was the one to kill it in the end, although Lacey took all the glory.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Week's Recap

Don't worry, Derby hasn't killed me, I've just been busy lately.

We are hiring at the daycare and while that means I have had resumes and stuff to sift through, it also means I've been working an extra 9 hours a week.  We did working interviews with 2 people this week and have 2 more to go next week.  They stay for 3 hours, and it is the best thing ever as you get a much better feel for who they are and what they are like.  It also gives them the opportunity to realize that the job isn't all fun and cuddles with the dogs.  I leave in the middle of it (I work a split and it gives the interviewee the opportunity to meet all of us and vice versa) and I love how much more relaxed they are when I get back and they've spent a few hours surrounded by the dogs.  Not surprisingly, their first hour is pretty stiff.  :)

At the same time, I've also had a final rush on dog event photo sales from the summer as they were about to come off the server. I have one more print order to make and then that will be completed. Phew. The photography aspect of my business is great in the summer when I have time, but it sure is a drain on spare time when I'm working full time at the daycare.  I had a job lined up last weekend and when they called to cancel, I was so relieved.  I love it, but don't always have time for it.

The rescue calendars are finally printed and they look fabulous!!!  We've had some problems with the quality/consistency - first they were delayed, then some of the calendars had pages that were printed on with two different things, at least one has had the months out of order and the most recent issue is the coils not being properly shut.  Sigh.  That has been frustrating, but the good news is we are already 50% sold out in less than 2 weeks.  Walmart is letting us hang out this weekend and sell them in one of their stores and I'm hoping that will take care of the rest.  It was a bit of a risk buying 500 calendars but I think it is going to pay off.

We are still cooking food for the dogs.  We made a week's worth for Coulee last weekend and we'll be doing that again this weekend.  I think we'll be shopping for a decent knife today.  Every time I cut up a huge slab of pork loin from Costco, I curse our knives and the cramp in my hand.  Our grinder is awesome and fast, but the cutting into chunks takes a while.  Marlin also got a small deer the other weekend so we have deer meat for Lacey.  We made a giant batch of food initially for Lacey (it was originally going to be for Coulee too until we decided to put her on the Pork and Potato diet) so we haven't had to do any prep for her for a while.  But if we don't get some done this weekend, she'll be going hungry this week.  :)

On the fun side of things, I went out and took pictures of sheep herding last weekend.  You can see a few pictures here if you want -

I've also been going to Derby practice Wednesday and Friday nights.  Most of my equipment arrived on Wednesday so that was pretty exciting too.  I'm just waiting for my helmet still.  I feel awkward all class as we practice falls and stops and stuff but when we do our warm down skating around the rink, I'm amazed at how much more comfortable I feel compared to the warm up.  So I must be getting at least a little better.  I actually rolled backwards last class by accident and it didn't put me into a complete panic.  :)  I put my outdoor wheels on last night but I think it is going to be too windy to skate outside today, so I might head down to the daycare and try and practice my cross overs.  I also bought some padded shorts. They were expensive but when I fell on my ass last practice, I knew they were worth every penny. :)  I think I just need to get more comfortable in general on skates and then the other stuff will come a little more smoothly.

I've still been out walking the dogs, but I haven't been bringing my camera much as I don't have time to do anything with the photos after. I brought it out with me yesterday (hence the random photos in the post) as it had been way, way too long.  It was super windy out but the dogs didn't seem to mind and it kept everyone else out of the dog park which made it a stress free walk for me.  The dog park has been getting busier for some reason and I've had some stressful moments trying to keep out of other people's paths.  It would be fine if people weren't so damn friendly and kept trying to seek us out.  LOL

I had to laugh at poor Lacey.  A truck was coming down the road and she was trying to prick her ears up in the wind... she couldn't quite pull it off.  :)
I'm very happy we have a long weekend although I'm still going to be fairly busy.  I'm volunteering for a few hours selling calendars tonight at Walmart  and have derby practice after that.   I'm also volunteering tomorrow night at the Derby games.  It should be fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fresh Meat Night

Ugh. As I lean back to type this I feel the multiple bruises on my butt. And my elbow. And for some reason my jaw is sore... LOL. I didn't fall on my head. At least not that I remember!

I went to my first Roller Derby practice today - otherwise known as Fresh Meat Night. I sucked when I started and I still sucked at the end of class, but I'm proud to say I sucked less at the end. I fell (by accident) way more in the first half than the second. :)

The people were super nice.  The other fresh meat were mostly better than me, but to be honest, I barely noticed because I was concentrating so hard on what I was doing.  Watching others and skating at the same time is a skill I have yet to master.

We learned how to fall and not hurt ourselves (note - this only works when you fall forward, when you fall backward there is nothing you can do but hurt your ass - which I did... multiple times), we learned how to stop (I still prefer using the walls) and we learned how to skate in a group. Surprisingly while in the group, none of us fell and none of us took anyone else out with our bad skating.

There is a huge difference in the people who can skate and the people who can't.  Thankfully the class seemed to be catered to those who can't.  And the improvement by the end was huge.  I actually feel like I could skate outside and not kill myself.  I can't wait for my equipment to arrive so I can practice on my own. I have my fingers crossed it will be here by Friday for our next group practice.

Despite the pain (I actually felt like vomitting after one fall), it was a lot of fun.  I was still stoked when I got home and talked Marlin's ear off before promptly jumping in the shower.  I can't wait to go back and do it again!

My only complaint is that I can't take photos and skate at the same time.  ;)  And as I hate having blog posts without photos, and this would be the second in a row, I've posted a picture of Rudy, a dog with the Windy City Canine Rescue.  He is looking for a home and is pretty stinking cute.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tips for Applying for a Job

We are currently hiring at the daycare and I am dumbfounded by the resumes and emails we are receiving.  I'm sure none of you, my lovely readers, need these tips, but I just thought I'd share these all of which have been inspired based on what we've received.

  1. Writing with capitals at the beginning of your sentence, along with using punctuation (especially at the end of sentences) in your email would help make a better impression.
  2. Don't just email "I want to work there - call me 403-xxx-xxxx"
  3. Don't mention how your work experience with animals equals your work experience with people and then have nothing listed on your resume that has anything at all with animals.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
  4. Don't apply for a part time job yet state in your resume you are looking for full time.
  5. Don't apply for a job that requires you to work from 12-6, and then state you can't start until after 4.
  6. Change your objective on your resume to match the job you are applying for.  That is great if you are looking for an office job to utilize your incredible computer skills, however that isn't what this particular job is about.
  7. Don't pop in to chat because you are so eager and qualified that a resume just wouldn't do you justice, then have nothing to say other than "Hi, my name is Jane Doe, I love dogs and I'd like to work here."
  8. Using multiple exclamation marks does nothing but annoy me!!!!!!  It is OK on a blog, Facebook or casual email, not so OK on a job application.  The same goes for smiley faces.  :)
It is really scary how horrible some applications are.