Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lemons to Lemonade

In the past couple of weeks I've been accused of being unrealistic about the state of the world. Maybe. Or maybe I am just optimistic in the strength, imagination, and determination of the human spirit.

I wasn't tagged for this particular meme, but I thought it would be fun to share my own lemon to lemonade experience.

When I was 20 years old I started working for a local city government. I had taken the job after working for a State agency for 4 years. Yes, I started working for the State at the age of 16. When I left I was a secretary and in my youth and ego I wanted something more prestigious.

The city job was billed as a sort of Office Manager and Assistant to a Director. It sounded perfect for me - organizing, keeping track of travel and expenses, running meetings. I love that kind of stuff.

Unfortunately the job turned out to be less Manager and more Assistant. And the Director was a world class git.

In case you weren't aware, I am not prone to kissing butt. I don't care if you're the Queen of England. You're still a human being and I am not going to alter my personality to please you. Granted, I've mellowed out slightly since I was 20. I do bite my sarcastic sense of humor back much more now. Back then I didn't have a very good filter for my tongue. :) This guy thought his poo didn't stink and expected quite a bit of butt kissing. So we definitely didn't get along.

Plus, 10 years ago I was not really aware of how my Depression worked and affected me. Nor did I have any idea that I'd been diagnosed bipolar. No clue. So some of my behavior was probably a little ... off.

After 9 months I was being written up for taking too many sick days. Now, my sick days were mine. There were no rules as to how many I could take or that I had to bank any of them. Sure I took too many and I should have fought harder through my depression like I do now. I rarely take a sick day just because I don't want to face the world nowadays.

Then on Valentine's Day 2000, nearly a year after I took the position that was boring me to tears, I was called into my manager's office (I was managed by a different person than I supported) and fired. Yes, fired. I'd never failed anything in my short life to that point. Okay...well I failed shop class in the 8th grade. Otherwise I was an overachiever.

You can imagine how devastated I was as I walked back into my office (oh yeah, everyone had their very own offices...I do miss that) and packed up my things. I fought to not cry but it didn't work.

This was a very traumatic and turbulent time in my life. I had broken up with my long time boyfriend (5 years) the summer before, moved apartments twice, and had just started dating this really handsome State Trooper (now my sweet hubby), and was living without a roommate and had rent to pay. I was working my way through school, paying my own tuition and taking classes at night and on the weekends (I soon started taking online courses from WSU).

And then to get FIRED. First place I went was back to the State agency I had left barely a year ago. I don't think the HR lady ever really liked me so my odds were slim and there were no openings at that time for me.

So I trudged home and landed at my then boyfriend's apartment. I sulked for the rest of the day. Ate quite a bit of chocolate and some ice cream. Cried a lot on the couch. For one day.

The next day I hopped online and wasted no time in applying for positions around the area, including a larger city 25 miles away. I would never in a gazillion years considered leaving my City job and applying for a new job so far away. I wasn't happy in my City job but I hadn't even once thought about leaving.

On February 16, just two days after being fired, I got a call from an HR person at this company (Company A) in 25 miles away city. Could I come in right away for an interview?

Um...YES! Just tell me when and where and I'll be there. So I got set up for the interview and actually had another interview with Company B that same day in the afternoon. (I didn't waste any time in trying to become re-employed.) While waiting at the second interview I got a call to ask if I could come BACK to Company A in a week for another interview. Um...yes please. Needless to say I was a bit distracted during the interview at Company B.

Let me tell you, Company A's interview process is BRUTAL. I was only interviewing for a project assistant type role - sort of a cross between an administrative assistant and project manager. It's fairly low on the totem pole. And even for that role I had FIVE interviews the second time around. The first interview was a proficiency exam and HR manager interview. The second one started with the HR manager. Then one with the supervisor. One with a panel of the other assistants who I would be working with (these are the ones you really need to impress). And finally one with each of the managers I might have been supporting (come to find out later they were hiring for two positions at once and weren't sure who would work with who).

Less than one week after this second round I was hired. =) And eight years later here I a new role (a little higher up) but in the same company. If I hadn't gotten fired from the City I would never have found myself here. It is one of the best companies in the entire country. And I'm not just saying that. We're actually ranked ... something like the 11th (or there abouts) best small to medium company in Fortune magazine.

I believe that everything happens for a reason - even the bad stuff. Even the really bad stuff. From the time I was fired I was out of work for 3 weeks. It was devestating and embarrassing. But it happened for a very important reason. I always think we should look for the lemonade when life hands us a lemon.

Now to pass on the meme.

The Rules


* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Link back to person who tagged you.
* Write about an incident in your life you first thought was really bad, but ended up being a blessing.
* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
* Let each person you tagged know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
(* And if you want to - link back to this
original Lemonade Meme post too.)

I’m going to tag:

Do you have a Lemonade Moment you'd like to share? You can leave a comment and tell us about it, or if you're a blogger, link back here or to the original meme post and join the fun!


YAY! Lost doggy Zoey from TNChick was lost for 6 days but thank God has been returned home! I can't even imagine how scared and desperate I would be if my babies got out (two of them have in the past but never more than 12 hours!).

I've never heard of Find Toto (warning - stupid evil talking popup window but you can X out of it easily...I hate those things) but I'll definitely use their services if I have the need. Sounds like it saved Zoey's family more heartache.

Wordless Wednesday - One Happy Boy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Only ONE More Day!

Wow. This month has just flown by! I can't thank everyone enough for helping make this the best birthday month ever.

There is only one more day to take advantage of the 30% off discount for my website. If I have any extra goody packs I may include them in orders in May but I only have a couple left.

And Thursday I will be drawing a name for the grand prize!!! I have had SO much fun reading everyone's comments. I've met so many new people and discovered some incredible blogs.

I will post the winner's name here on Thursday and just might have a surprise in store. :) If the winner didn't leave a way to contact them and doesn't check in by next Monday I will draw a new name.

You still have over a day to get your comments posted - each comment counts as an entry (one comment per post though). And if you make a purchase, not only do you save 30%, but you get 10 entries!

Thank you all!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Try Try Again

Our 5th Agility lesson was today. Sundays are much harder than Thursdays. Trooper is full of energy having slept all night. And he isn't super hungry. Plus we're outside and it is much more distracting - all the smells and sights that aren't in the barn.

My sister in law joined us today, which was SO great. She hadn't gotten to see him in class yet and she took videos. =) I'd like to point out that I did not fit in those jeans 6 months ago and now they're starting to get a little bit baggier. Woohoo!

Trooper was having a hard time going from one jump to another. The instructor had me work on the second jump over and over - jump, treat, jump, treat. And then he was supposed to do two jumps in a row and get a treat but he decided to keep going to the end. And then to the tunnel which also seemed a challenge today. Plus the other group was right there and very distracting. :)

Then we get to play on the plank. When we first got to class he went across it without me even asking. lol He's definitely not scared of it. He's quite a handful. =) The goal is to walk the plank and then turn, jump, and go through the tire. I was glad he went through the tire so easily - Thursday he didn't do so well with it.

Yes, he got slightly distracted with his girlfriend at the end of the plank. They had lots of fun last week playing together in the field. Her name is Abella. :)

And last but not least we did the Teeter Totter. He's not so fond of this exercise. But he did a lot better on Sunday than he did on Thursday when we practically had to pull him through it.

After practice we got to run and run and run in the field next door. He can run pretty fast for such a big guy and I love his face when he runs. This is just a few seconds of him running and heading for the water. He gets hot fast too. And dirty.

Camera Critters Sunday

Thursday night was Agility training again and the little baby lambs at the farm were just so precious that we had to take time to photograph them. The mama lamb was not so hot on Trooper's presence and did NOT take her eyes off of him the ENTIRE time. It was so cute.

Starring straight at Trooper and me...I'm glad there was a fence between us.

We have training again this morning and I bet the little lambs have doubled in size. :) They are so cute I want to cuddle them all up. My MIL saw them bounding and bouncing in the field while we were in the barn. lol SO sweet!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Photo Hunt Saturday - Unique Funny Signs

First, I want to ask everyone to pray for TNChick. Her Beagle, Zoey, is missing. :( I know how scary that is and I pray that she is found quickly.

Quinn escaped one day soon after we rescued her. I was heartbroken and beside myself with worry and fear. Hubby left her outside (door open mind you) while he took a nap and she dug out (literally ripped the lower part of the fence off) and took off. He called me on my way home from work which of course made me start crying. We drove around trying to find her. Someone had left us a voice mail but by the time we got there they had left and she'd escaped their yard! So we went back home and finally got another call from a 'neighbor' about two miles away who lived very close to the railroad tracks. She was muddy and very stinky but happy and alive. It was quite an adventure she had but she's never strayed again.

On to the Photo Hunt. Hmmm...this is even harder than last week. The theme is Unique / Funny Signs. I had a jewelry class tonight and there is this funny computer shop and I've always loved their sign. I feel that way about my laptop right now.


Okay...government is out of control!

$1,000 or 6 months in jail for COOKING BACON DOGS!!! Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?

Oh dear Lord in heaven above. These nanny state do-gooders are out of control. Back off my bacon!

Drew Carey is fast becoming my hero.

Get a Grip People

Good grief. All together now...take a DEEEEEEEP breath. Exhale slowly.

Now repeat... "The world is not ending. The world is not ending." "I do not need to hoard rice. I do not need to hoard rice."

Feel better now? No? Take another breath and get a GRIP.

I'm not an eternal optimist who can't see hardships and reality. But neither am I a 'world is ending' pessimist. This world and everything in it is complex and truly beyond our full understanding. If science were the be all and end all for explaining everything we'd never be surprised by a snow storm in April again.

Worried about Global Warming? Relax. Buy some sunglasses. Remember that the scientists can't even predict your local weather. I highly doubt that the so called claims of a global disaster is truly eminent.

Worried about the coming ice age? Buy a sled. And relax. Time Magazine predicted an ice age back in 1974.
However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age. Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F.
This is hilarious to me! Why should we listen to scientists today? Follow the money - many of these alarmists are looking for government handouts for their research. No one is handing out money to prove that our global climate is complex and hard to predict. You get money for claiming a crisis. And blaming man is nothing new either...
Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin's Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth. Climatic Balance. Some scientists like Donald Oilman, chief of the National Weather Service's long-range- prediction group, think that the cooling trend may be only temporary.
While I do think that mankind can have a significant influence on the local environment through pollution I do not think that we have the kind of power we imagine to affect the ENTIRE planetary climate. Volcanoes do more damage than we puny humans.

These ridiculous rice hoarders are creating a self fulfilling prophesy. Buy up all the rice and create a shortage. But it's an artificial shortage. Are grocery prices going up? Yes. But the end of the world is not coming!!!

Now, I do think people should have enough food and supplies on hand to last at least one month in case of an actual emergency. Note the word ACTUAL. Like an earthquake, volcanic eruption, terrorist attack. You know. REAL emergencies. Not made up political ones.

So go into the weekend with a light heart. Enjoy the day. Look at all the beauty that surrounds you. Take joy in small things...a flower blooming. A child's laugh. A beautiful photo. Life isn't that bad.

She Gave You Life

Mother's Day is all of 17 days away. Have you thought about what you're going to give your mom yet? Instead of the same old flowers or chocolate how about ordering something special just for your mom (don't forget your mother in law too!). Is she a crafty mom? Etsy is the perfect place to find unique and special items for the crafty mama.

If you don't win my April Birthday Giveaway, which includes a great crochet hook holder from Good Karma, you can buy one directly from her. Excellent service and an incredibly well made product. She has knitting needle holders too. I love the fabric she used for this one. Perfect for the knitting mama.

What goes great with knitting? YARN! That's right. And there are talented folks out there who actually take apart old sweaters and clothes to recycle the yarn. Talk about patience. I don't think I could do it. Black Coral has the patience and the results are fabulous. Win the Birthday Giveaway and you'll get a stunning Cotton Candy skein, but if not head on over to her shop and pick out your favorite!

Since I'm on a good roll with this theme, complete the knitting package with a custom pair of knitting needles! Again, if you don't win the Birthday Giveaway head on over to Chelle and pick out your favorite pair of customized knitting needles. I love the Knit Wit pair. :) But I don't knit.

Or is your mom into rubber stamping and scrapbooking? How about a really unique and custom rubber stamp? Perfect for making special cards, accenting scrapbook pages, or stamping on envelopes. It amazes me that Craft Pudding carves and creates these herself. Her kitty stamp is part of the Birthday Giveaway but I really like this Russian Doll one too.

If your mom isn't the crafty type, don't worry. I'm on the hunt for exciting and unique gifts to recommend for the anti-crafter (like my own mom). Have a great Friday!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Really Matters


It's hard to feel sorry for myself for not getting vacation time when other face such sorrow. My talented jewelry friend Marie Christine lost her mother suddenly and unexpectedly.

Count your blessings and give love to your friends and family. Because you just never know when you won't get a chance to again.

She shared this short quote with some of us...

I am standing upon the seashore; a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and is just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her: and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!", there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "There she comes!"
And that is dying.

Hugs to you all.

Is it Friday Yet?

No vacation for me this week. Drat! I was really hoping to be sleeping in this morning but no such luck. Work is just too busy and I have too many things to do.

I am looking forward to Agility training tonight though. My mother in law is coming with me again so I'm hoping she'll take some more photos.

There's so much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Hubby's birthday is Sunday and I haven't even gotten his gift yet. I wanted to order from the Wren's Nest but it's too late for that. *sigh* Any ideas?

Saturday I'm taking my MIL out for groceries. She's stuck in her little apartment with no car and no way to get around. Hubby won't let her take the bus (I know - I don't get it either) but she doesn't really feel comfortable with the bus anyway. I don't mind taking her. She's a great MIL. I just have so much else to get done.

If I can get all my work done in the next two days I am going to take some time off next week. Keep your fingers (or paws) crossed!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

I am glad they did away with "Secretary's Day" because I think Administrative Professional is a way better description of what secretaries really do and are. I used to be one (for at least 8 years) and hated the term secretary.

So here's to you - you who hold the rest of the company together and make the actual everyday decisions. :)

Worldless Wednesday - Turtle Surfing in Maui

Please don't add your site unless you're playing along. I will delete you! :)

Survey Time - Learning from Breakups

My last two breakups before I met hubby were fairly messy but they did teach me some things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Would You Eat It?

I'm a little creeped out by this story of Stem Cell Fast Food.

What do you think? Would you eat meat grown in a factory somewhere? Is it "better" than eating slaughtered pig, cow, or chicken?

I honestly don't know how I feel, other than a little weirded out. I eat chicken all the time, nearly every day. But when I see the semi trucks going down the road with the chickens stuffed 2 or 3 to a cage I get sad. I still eat them. :) How else are they going to get to slaughter?

Would I resort to eating meat grown in a tube or a sheet? The thought makes me ill. I've been so adamant about buying free range, grain fed, no antibiotics/hormones, all natural and organic stuff lately. How would Grown meat jive with that? Sure it'd be more humane. But then wouldn't we have an overpopulation of cows, chickens, et al?

I'm curious what you all think.

Birthday Celebration Sponsor - InVita Paper Studios

People don't write personal notes or cards least not nearly as often as they should. It's so fun and uplifting to receive a special letter in the mail. For no reason at all. I've had a couple of customers even send hand written thank you notes and those mean SO much. I save them all.

What better way to motivate yourself to send cards is to have amazing and classy cards at hand? InVitaPaper Studios is there to provide! I started buying Adriana's cards last year and was so impressed that I asked her to do custom Thank You cards for my jewelry business. Every time someone gets their order they also receive a thank you note written on my InVita note cards.

And for all of April people are receiving a free card in their Birthday Party Favor gift. There are two different cards available and this lovely Thank You card is one of them. I actually ordered a set for myself because I liked them so much, and sent them out to folks after my birthday party. :) While supplies last of course and the stock is getting low!

InVita has great customer service and I love supporting handcrafting. All of her cards are designed and created from her home. Oh and she's pregnant! Congratulations, Adriana!!! :) I am so excited for her.

She also kindly contributed two packs of cards for the big Birthday Giveaway (ending in just over a week!!!). A pack of recipe cards that make even me want to cook just so I can use them! And a set of So Sweet super classy and elegant cards.

She also does Wedding Invitations and Birth Announcements! If I were getting married I would totally have her do my invites. And when my little cousin finally ties the knot (we're waiting guys!) I'm going to pony up and pay for InVita's amazing work. My JoJo deserves it. =)

If you love surprising people with a special note I highly recommend InVita's professional and handcrafted work. Oh and visit her blog One Blue Chocolate to say hi!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tired and Fluffy

Trooper is a tired puppy. We had agility training yesterday and then he got to go to daycare today. He gets so excited but he's such a good boy and very patient getting in the car. He doesn't howl and whine and bark like my other two monsters when they get to go. And he stays and waits when I open his door and get his leash. And then he tries to pull my arm out of the socket to get to the kennel.

I think I got one of the girls in trouble today though. *oops* I've specifically asked that he NOT get rawhide bones. With his jaw strength he's going to snap those suckers (they're the skinny twisted ones, not the bone looking ones) and swallow it in chunks. And his little picture label even has in big letters "NO RAWHIDES OR CHEWS" ... but sure enough when I looked in his assigned kennel this morning there was a rawhide.

Do you know how hard it is to duck into a kennel (it's only about waist height tall) while your dog is lunging at the other dogs in their kennels? He's not a mean dog in any way and they even confirmed today when I talked to them that he has NO issues with other dogs. They say that when "mommy" is there the dogs tend to get more protective. lol I duck in and grab the rawhide before he can go in and get it. He is good at "leave it" but I didn't want to risk it. Before I left I got him a chicken strip and his water. I wish I could watch him play while at daycare. As I was leaving he was "woooo woooo wooooing" even though I KNOW that he loves it there.

So hubby picked the boy up around 3 ... and today was his first day of grooming at daycare. Apparently he didn't want to go up the steps to the grooming section and they had to carry him. ROFL I can just imagine this poor girl carrying 85 pounds of wiggle.

But now he's super fluffy and super tired. My favorite!!! And they even put on a cute little scarf!!!

Look at that tail!!! =)

And Quinnie was getting a good nap this evening too.

Can you tell that we don't use our couch for us? LOL The dogs own this place!

Me Time!

My super online friend Rosanne just commented about having Me Time. And I SO badly agree with her. lol

If I get Thursday and Friday off I definitely want some "me time." What would I do?

First I'd sleep in. A definite must.

Then I might hop online (might...who am I kidding? I can't help myself) and stroll around the internet. Dropping Entrecards like a madwoman. :) And visiting all the blogs I love to read.

Of course Thursday is our Agility Training with my Trooper Bear. It'll be our 4th lesson.

I also want to take my mother in law shopping. She's been cooped up her apartment since she moved in. She doesn't have a car and I can only imagine the cabin fever.

And believe it or not I want to clean house. It is horrible to finally be in the mood to clean and not have the time. My work space is a disaster (as hubby reminds me constantly) and I refuse to let him vacuum anywhere near my desk because I drop so many beads and findings. Yes I am a clutz.

Not to mention the kitchen table which has become Birthday Celebration center with piles of goodies and bubble wrap. :)

And Sunday is hubby's birthday so we're going to go out to eat before he works. Even on his birthday he has to work his night shift. I don't know where we'll go but I know he loves IHOP. ha!

I'd really love to get a facial or something but that requires money. Or effort to do it myself.

So what would you do with more "me time"?

Manic Monday - Quaking in my Boots

Today's theme for Manic Monday is Quake. And I am quaking to get a vacation day. Seriously.

My whole body is achy and quaky. lol That Sunday Agility Training with Trooper was brutal! But so much fun. He did really good and had his longest run so far. His longest one was jump, tire, jump, jump, jump, table. =) I was a very proud mama when he did the whole thing without swerving.

And he got to start on the teeter totter! Oh my goodness. He's just so freaking big that he kept falling off. LOL

But it's Monday and I wish I were home. I haven't had a vacation day yet this year which is really odd for me. I normally have at least scheduled half my time by this point in the year. Hubby has a couple weeks off coming up in May but they're during our busier time at the beginning of the month at work. I don't even need to do anything fun ... I just have so many things to do. I'd LOVE to give the house a really good cleaning. Not even cleaning necessarily but organizing. I hate living in the unstructured mess we are right now. But I just don't have time to do everything I need to do and everything I want to do.

I've asked for Thursday and Friday off but it depends on our workload and whether I can get several assignments done beforehand. Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay? :)

At least I got some photography done last night. I have several new pieces that I need to try to post on Etsy and my site this week. Especially my brand new Family Cherry Tree Birthstone Pendant necklaces. I LOVE how they turned out! =) But trying to figure out the logistics of getting all the options listed. (EDIT - The Medium one is up!)

I love Botswana Agate. There's so many different designs and varieties. So I made this simple yet bold necklace. And it's already posted on Etsy!

Just for fun...something a little different than my standard design look. I love lampwork beads but rarely work with them anymore. They're usually super expensive and just aren't really the style of work that I do now. But I had a bug and had to use these. :)

Not sure what to call them. The bottom part reminds me of a pink party dress skirt. =D

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Hopefully I'll get some time off soon and be able to create new and wonderful pieces to share with you.

Don't forget that my Birthday Celebration ends next Wednesday. Just a little over one week to take 30% off and enter to win the big birthday gift. =)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Camera Critters Sunday

So many critters to choose from but this one is one of my favorites. It actually SNOWED here this weekend and it's just so wrong that I need the reminder that spring is really on the way.

I took this last year when our pretty lilies were blooming.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Do Not Forget History

I am fascinated by WWII (and history in general) and believe that if we forget history we are doomed to repeat mistakes. Like sitting by and allowing millions to be rounded up and slaughtered like pigs.

Sixty Five Years Ago - Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

"The Nazis walled off the ghetto in November 1940, cramming 400,000 Jews from across Poland into a 760-acre section of the capital in inhuman conditions. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the ghetto by sending tens of thousands of its residents to death camps."
It astounds me that there are actually people alive today who don't believe that the Holocaust happened - or that it happened but wasn't as big a deal as people make it out to be. I shake my head and my heart gets sad. Because the more time that goes by, the more distant a memory the "great" war was and the fewer who are alive to tell the truth about history.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Photo Hunt - 13 (Thirteen)

This one was hard! And my photo totally bites. But I managed to find this little flower budding with 13 little fruit looking things. lol

[EDITED TO ADD - The tag says it is a "Korean Spice Viburnum". Hubby is the plant guy. =)

Agility Training - Week Two

Okay, I could NOT have more fun at this. My husband is embarrassed because I'm seriously like a little kid at a fabulous playground. It's SOOOOOOOO much fun!!!

Of course, seeing photos of myself is just painful because I really thought I'd lost more weight but apparently I have a long way to go still. But we'll just ignore the fact that I look pregnant even though I'm not! K?

On our way to the Farm.

Holding on for dear life...Trooper is STRONG and he wanted to get moving.

Good Boy! Sit! Stay! Yes, daddy has a treat in his hand.

Action Shots! Yes, they're blurry but what do you expect. I'm running for dear life to keep up with this monster! You can almost see my lips forming the words. "Jump" over each one. I'm so impressed with him. It's only our second training and he's already able to go over 4 jumps in one stretch.
Waiting our turn...and yes that is a pit bull next to us. A sweetie. Male puppy who isn't neutered yet but he did really well. I was *slightly* nervous because Trooper has no sense of space even with other dogs and can quickly overwhelm them but the most the Pit did was move fast toward Trooper to say "back off" and all was well. =)

Through the tunnel...this is his biggest challenge. After all, he's bigger than the stupid thing and now that they added a bend he can't see to the end. He kept turning around and coming back out which the trainer thought was hilarious. She couldn't figure out how his big A*S was turning around in there. Ha! He's limber. And look how HAPPY he is coming out at the other end, seeing his papa and a treat!

Walking the plank...this one made me a little nervous because last week he kept jumping (falling) off and it was only 12 inches off the ground. He actually did better with it raised up.

Trust me when I say we held on tight! He's so big and I was really worried that he'd hurt himself. But we went slow (very difficult for my boy to do) and he did excellent! You'll notice my flannel had come was still cold but I was working up a sweat!

The tunnel again! That streaky blur on the far left is my boy hauling butt and following my instructions to the table where he's supposed to jump and stay. And he did!

Last but not least we (well, Trooper) had to go through the tire, onto the table, through the tunnel, and over the A Frame. It's my job to guide him to each thing and give the command "tire", "table," "Tunnel," and "A Frame". He rocked everything the very last time...the tunnel still gave him fits and the trainer had to stand at the mouth after he went in to prevent him from coming back out! LOL It was funny!

GOOD BOY!!! He got lots of treats and was super sleepy on the way home. I want to go again on Sunday. =) I can't wait until next Thursday.