Friday, July 20, 2012

Club Newsletter Editor

Last month I stepped in as our dog club's Newsletter Editor, the previous very popular gal  having had to resign suddenly for personal reasons.  I had already been contributing articles, ideas and feature stories for the past few years, and had been helping proof each month's draft for a couple of years, so I already had the template on my computer and pretty much knew the drill.

In fact, I already had an interesting feature story written up on Tracey Roth, a long time club member who pursues AKC's Versatile Companion Titles, so I had material for the June issue on short notice, and have been working on other articles as well.  What I hadn't encountered yet was the cost of mailing hard copies to our 5 club members who don't have email.  Our Constitution requires that each member receive a newsletter, and most are sent out electronically, but we charge $6 per year to those who request hard copies.  I hadn't realized how inadequate that fee is.  I bought postage yesterday to last thru 2012, at $22.75, and realized that mailing out 8 pages costs .65 cents a month per person (up to 2 ounces), not to mention color printing costs (an even larger expense).  All tallied, it actually costs our club $21.00/year per club member to mail out hard copies.  And we charge $6. I learned that the previous editor ran these costs thru her employer, but I don't have an employer so either the club will have to pick up the tab or we need to find another donor.
Yikes!  I have to bring this information to the board immediately!  So that's my job today.

Tomorrow morning, Saturday, Ken and I go to the agility field with Max, Lucky and his novice dog, Casey, and begin training in preparation for the Hattiesburg Trial, only 3 weeks away.  My hip is still sore, but not debilitating at the moment.  Hope I can pull this off.

Upwards and onward!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2nd Anniversary of this blog

Today, July 17th, is the 2nd anniversary of this blog.  I've been trying to figure out how I might commenorate this day, but up to this morning nothing had come to mind.

I have some cause to celebrate besides the anniversary, though.  Last Saturday night I volunteered to help set courses at our club's agility field.  I brought Lucky and Maxie out for a bit of socialization (we haven't trained nor competed since April due to my very sore hip).  But when I arrived at 7:30 p.m., the courses were already set up, so, nothing to do.  I decided to try running both dogs, my adrenilin got to pumping, and I ran each dog twice without the slightest hip pain!!!!!!!!!  Perhaps I've sat out long enough that my hip has healed.  It didn't start aching until the next morning, but only slightly.  If I take it easy and don't overdo, I can possibly manage 4 runs per day.

So today I decided the best celebration I could imagine is to re-enroll in the Monday night advanced class, and sign up for my next trial. I filled out the paperwork for Hattiesburg August 8, 9, 10 (3 weeks away) and I'm going to go mail it in right now. Suddenly I've got my mojo back to put the final finishing touches on the motor home, and get this agility show back on the road.  WHEE!

And, as I've been watching Cake Boss on Netflix and wanting to bake and decorate a masterpiece, just needing a theme and an excuse, I ran to the store and bought a carrot cake mix, buttercream icing and some glazing tubes, and commenced attempting a cake resembling the artwork shown above.

Unfortunately I suck as a cake decorator!  It was fun to do, though, and my tongue and fingers turned blue from licking the mess off the blue tube. Maxie found that perplexing!  We'll all get a slice of cake after I get back from Conformation class with Pepper.

Upwards and onward!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Is Agility Expensive?

John, Nathan, Audrey and I had the pleasure of attending my grandson's final day at summer camp last Friday-- a week long adventure at Bennett's Water Ski Camp in Zachary.  Kids from all over the world attend this camp, to the tune of $775 for a week, plus lodging.  The staff comes from all over the world as well, usually attending ULL (University of Louisiana Lafayette), which has a world renouned water ski program.  We met staff and students from Columbia, South America, Australia, Mexico, and other far-off places. 
Here's a 360 video of the campus.  Pretty impressive.  More pix on their website.

We also took videos of my grandson doing his final "beginner ski" run in Lake #3 -- my son rode in the boat with my iPhone, and I videoed from the shore with my Sony 3.3 megapixel HDD Handycam.  For some reason, Jonathan got quite a few more passes around the lake than the other students -- perhaps because he is athletic and strong and could take the beating.

I also think it's because he's a good student -- he doesn't get rattled when he makes a mistake, just gets back up and keeps going.  He seems to understand that there is "a learning curve", that it takes lots of practice to get good at anything.

After his turn, we visited the Pro Shop to get a cold beverage.  The shop was small but packed from floor to ceiling with water ski paraphranalia from vests, caps, bathing suits, wet suits, underwater cameras, ropes, goggles, and, of course, rows and rows of skis.  I was shocked at the prices!  The skis I liked were $1500, and a used water board propped up in the corner with a "For Sale" sign on it read $500.  Everything costs a fortune.

Each lake had a ski boat on it towing students one after another.  Our boat was the smallest, a MasterCraft, which we were told cost $65,000.  No telling how much gas it burns in a day. There is nothing cheap about water skiing!

And that's just to pleasure ski.  Competition water skiing, getting to the venues, lodgings, etc., must be very expensive as well.

Made me appreciate that agility is a relatively inexpensive sport -- an agility Pro Shop unnecessary.  Most of the equipment is stuff we'd use to care for the family dog -- a crate or two, leashes, dog beds and cushions, treats, dog food and bowls.  Add a few camp chairs, an exercise pen, a rug, a cooler, a battery powered fan.  No fancy attire required - your everyday shorts, tennies, jeans and T's.  A sweat band or two.  A few jumps in the back yard, and a place to practice that has all the "expensive" equipment.  Or, like me, you could have your own fully equipped agility yard for under $1000 iif you build your own.

Of course, our most essential piece of "equipment" is the dog!  And that, we'd probably have anyway.

Upwards and onward!