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I have been remiss about writing here, focusing more on my robotics blog at http://www.kidsengineer.com/.
But I will do a quick update that Wyatt and I have been picking off some Elite Chances Qs and now only need one more for his NADAC championship. I am so excited! We have 4 tries scheduled for June so I am crossing my fingers.
Whippet Wyatt NADAC Elite Chances Video Run March 9, 201
We lost our cat, Amara, last week. We rescued her at about 1 year old and she lived with us for some 14 years. It was much harder than I thought it would be. I am very attached to my dogs, especially my agility partner Wyatt. I run with them every day. I train obedience every day (now for fun) and train agility daily with Wyatt most days in the warmer months. So I figured that the loss of our cat, who, in comparision, I don’t interact with much would not be too bad.
We started noticing the week before last that she was losing weight and looked a bit off. I changed her food and she seemed to rally a bit. But last Friday, I knew I needed to take her into the vet. I could not get an appointment until Tuesday due to a Monday holiday. Each day, Saturday to Monday, she rapidly went downhill. When we came home Monday from cross-country skiing, she was laying down in the shower, would not even get up, and would not take food or water, so we decided it was time. I took her down to the emergency vet clinic allowing Aidan and Dawn to say goodbye. We told Aidan she might not come back though we were pretty sure she would not.
It would have cost $1500 just to get a diagnosis so considering her age and condition, I decided to have her put down. I was a wreck, lots of tears, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I did agree to have the vet take a look and she supported my decision. They brought her in with a nice blanket and I held and petted her for a long time. She was at peace and dozing in the blanket when the vet finally came in and did what needed to be done.
When I got home late, Aidan was still up waiting to hear what had happened. We were all upset and crying and comforted each other and answered Aidan’s many questions. The next day, I had Aidan and we were both still crying and missing “Kitty” so we wrote a book based on “The Ten Good Things About Barney” by Judith Viorst. We wrote and illustrated it and it helped to read it.
I still feel loss when going to to her hang out spot in the basement, when I throw out some of her stuff, and just at moments when you expect her to be around. In the past, I’ve had outdoor cats, who have just disappeared. So I think this process was harder in a way. But she has a good long life. As Aidan wrote, “Have a good time in heaven, Kitty. She loved our family.”
I was happy to see Wyatt, once again, make the Top 10 Breed Lists for many NADAC classes. Great job, Wyatt! This dog Hugo must be awesome too!
2012 NADAC Agility – Whippet Standings – Need at least 3 elite Qs to qualify
1 110 Hugo Chances Whippet Kiely Grundahl
2 30 Wyatt Chances Whippet Dawn Heffernan
1 70 Hugo Jumpers Whippet Kiely Grundahl
1 160 Hugo Regular Agility Whippet Kiely Grundahl
2 95 Wyatt Regular Agility Whippet Dawn Heffernan
1 40 Hugo Touch N Go Whippet Kiely Grundahl
2 30 Wyatt Touch N Go Whippet Dawn Heffernan
1 110 Wyatt Tunnelers Whippet Dawn Heffernan
2 90 Hugo Tunnelers Whippet Kiely Grundahl
3 40 Isaac Tunnelers Whippet Sharron Lane
1 80 Hugo Weavers Whippet Kiely Grundahl
We use Apple’s iCloud in our family to share calendars. This is great for knowing my son’s schedule and for my wife and I knowing each other’s schedule no matter where we are. I also use iCloud to synch podcasts, photos, music, and TV shows. I use Dropbox for all my current graduate school work, mostly to read research papers on my iPad. I recently got an iPhone 5, which I primarily use as a phone but will also use in a pinch to check email, Facebook, and my one social game I play – Mousehunt.
Last week, I got Evernote and To-Do Queue (great app if you have not heard of it) synching correctly on all 3 devices. I also created a new shopping list in Evernote and shared it with my wife. I do most of the shopping but she also shops for us sometimes. It worked pretty well though I did have to stop and check the list in the aisles and it took a little longer that checking a paper list. Also, to uncheck something I bought was a real pain. Evernote repaints the screen every time you check or uncheck something and it’s hard not to check or uncheck an adjacent item frequently. I may research this for a workaround. I will try it some more. I suppose it saves from having to write and remember all the frequent grocery items. And if we forget the list or go on an unplanned shopping trip, it will be there. And having a shared list will be handy at times. Does your family have a different way of sharing information like this in the cloud?
Wyatt and I got another NADAC Elite Chances Q (qualifying run) this weekend. Elite Chances is a very difficult class where you have to guide your dog from behind a piece of tape. Your dog can be at much as 30 feet away from you and you have to train your dog to follow your direction and also discriminate between different obstacles from that distance. After breaking a year long “drought” in August, we got 2 additional Qs recently, averaging about 50%. It suddenly seems much easier to me and I feel much more confidently. Of course, feeling confidence helps your performance just as not feeling confident hurts your performance. Confidence (or lack thereof) affecting your performance creates a spiraling effect, which magnifies your success (or not) over time.
I am very happy that we seem to be much better now because I have worked on it for about 3 years. We got our required jumpers and regular Qs years ago and only need 3 more Chance to earn Wyatt’s second agility championship (in 2 different venues CPE and NADAC).
So I noticed that in agility, I feel most happy about our process and I anticipate that getting the NATCH, while it will be really nice, may be somewhat of a let down or at least not such a big deal. The journey has been very rewarding. We are also finishing our basement right now and for me, for physical projects, I feel the most satisfaction with the finished product. Perhaps it has to do with the amount of learning involved.
I’ve been thinking about how vacation time has eroded and changed over the years. I have been very active this summer with my robotics work, graduate schools, and some side consulting, as well as the usual emails and requests and memos I get from school even though I am not normally paid in the summer. So I have been feeling that this vacation has not been the most relaxing one I’ve had. Thinking too about our constant connection to the outside world, including our work life, via electronics. Even our vacation houses are more like our normal houses, with TV, Internet, central AC. Basically, our vacation life is becoming not much different than our day to day life, maybe a little slower and in a different location. One of the nice things about the “olden days”, as my son calls the time when I grew up, is that vacation was 100% different. No one could call us, there was no email, texting, etc. I made a point not to read the newspaper so I could totally forget about the problems of the world for a time. Our cottages were very rustic and basic and very different from our regular houses. And we would spent tons of time outside, on porches, playing cards with friends and family and just handing out. I suspect that we still need this kind of time but it is increasingly rare to arrange it.
Wyatt and I headed up to Vermont last week for some extra chances at NADAC Elite Chances run. For the first run, we got everything but missed one weave entry at a distance. We got the second one. It was a relief to break our year long NQ streak in Chances since we have been doing very well overall and just missing one thing for many of these runs. Should be 5 more for Wyatt’s NADAC championship. We have 3 chances for Chances this weekend.
Had a fairly easy Elite Chances course today. I knew we could do it but did not get nervous because of that. There was an A-Frame (left) and tunnel (right) side by side to start after Hoop 1. Wyatt tends to tunnel suck. This was all before the distance tape so I could handle any way I wanted to. So I decided to handle on the right, Wyatt on left and push him out to the A-Frame. I was aware that in moving away from the tunnel when I got to it to go around it, there was a danger of pulling Wyatt to the tunnel with me. Sure enough, that’s what happened. So I went back to the hoop and tried it on the other side (I was still off course). Sure enough, we went right up the A-frame and did the rest of the course flawlessly. Well, the good news is the “rest of the course flawlessly part.” I have tried to let go of goals though. Things are unfolding like the should. We are getting better and better. The Qs should follow.