Roxy training diary month 32
January 2006


Jan 30.  Roxy's NAJ certificate arrived in today's mail, along with eight more copies of Haines' Neuroanatomy: An Atlas of Structures, Sections and Systems, 4th edition, 1994.  Guess which one excited me more?


Jan 29.  In retrospect, it was probably not a great idea to go skiing the day after my 5K race.



All the time, people ask me, "Jim, what's the worst music video ever?"  Now I have an answer.

Roxy NAJ, No Longer Pending AKC Confirmation


Jan 28.  Both Rosemary and I had to be out of town, so the guys got to spend Thursday and Friday at Ruffledale.  I got back late Friday night, but too late to pick them up.  While I was in San Diego on Friday, absorbing some of the finest weather in America (but, unfortunately, stuck in a hotel meeting room and therefore not really enjoying it), it was snowing heavily in Ogden.

When I got back, then, there was six inches of fairly slushy snow waiting for me.  I cleared the walk and a strip of the driveway before I went to bed, so that the paper boy could more easily get the paper onto my porch.  The kid actually walks to each front porch and drops the paper next to the door.  We want to encourage that behavior.

Jim's Musical Run

Light My Fire — José Feliciano

Sex and Candy — Marcy Playground

Flying High — Jem

White Ladder — David Gray

Farther Down — Matthew Sweet

No Creo — Shakira

Easy Way to Cry — David Gray

We're Not Right — David Gray

Make It End — Baby Animals

Saturday morning, it was time to shovel the rest of the drive so I could go out and compete in my second-ever 5K race, part of the appropriately-named Northern Utah Training Series (N.U.T.S.)  The plan is, I do a 5K this month, a 10K next month, a 15K in March and a half-marathon on April Fools' Day (again, quite appropriate) and this is supposed to help me prepare for the Ogden Marathon on May 6.

I finished my last 5K on October 8 in ideal conditions, but with a sub-par time of 31'34", on a gorgeous Ogden fall day.  Today was not one of those.  The temperature was 25°F and the road was icy in spots.  Despite this, I still had three main goals: #1, to not fall down; #2, to post a personal best; #3, to finish under 30 minutes (see New Years' Resolutions below).  Maybe a fourth goal was to not walk at any point.  I didn't fall down, and I did post a personal best, but my time was just over 30 seconds: 30'35".  

The results for my age group, if you want to see them, are posted here.  I finished 24/25 in my age group and 333/423 overall. 

One nice thing about the run was that I had brought my iPod to distract me from the cruddy conditions.  I put that baby on full random (7290 songs, and counting) and let 'er rip.  During the first 2K of the course, which was uphill and icy, icy, icy, I had a set of nice slow steady songs to keep me going.  Then, as I got pretty tired of the whole thing and wanted to chuck it, David Gray came on.  I find David Gray to be excellent running music, with his soothing guitar work and the implied (sometimes explicit) pain and suffering in his voice and lyrics.  It's like listening to the blues during a bad breakup.  The pace picked up some in the middle segment, with a flat part, and I got my Shakira fix there.  Then, a rare David Gray doubleheader (I don't have that much of his stuff on my iPod, it just worked out that way) and, what was the funniest coincidence of all, the Baby Animals' "Make It End" for the last few hundred meters into the finish.  Wow.  What a great running set.

I did get passed by one woman with a stroller, which is sort of an insult.  A "good" time for my age group would be under 20 minutes, so I have a long way to go if I want to be competitive, which I don't.

I do need to start training more outdoors, because I can see the limitations of training indoors for an outdoor race. 

After the race, I went to Ruffledale to pick up the guys.  Annie was in the "living room"/front office area, and came to the window to greet me, which was nice.  TeAnna, the owner, then put the other dogs in the back and let Dylan and Roxy come and greet me through the window as well.

After they all got home, they got to wade through belly-deep snow.  Dylan never much likes peeing in snow that deep, and Roxy got to show off her "bounding" technique for running through deep snow.  They'll get lots more practice, as we are supposed to get six to eight inches more tonight.  I had planned to go skiing tomorrow; now I don't know if I'll be able to get the car out, or get down to the airport tomorrow night to pick Rosemary up.  

Do You MIND?

Roxy's Enthusiasm Knows No Bounds


Annie's Retirement Card

Jan 24.  Lots to report, because it has been a long time since I last wrote in this space. 

Crazy busy.

Got in another day of skiing on Saturday, Jan 21.  It was beautiful, although the light was bad and I was fighting the powder.  I never have been much of a powder skier.  I lost my goggles.

The Sundance Film Festival is in town, so Rosemary and I have been enjoying that.  We went to see "A Little Bit of Heaven" Saturday night and "Little Miss Sunshine" tonight. 

I've been plugging away at the teaching, and especially writing exam questions the last few days.  It's exhausting work. 

Although Rosemary hates my Paris Hilton updates, I have to sneak this one in.

Annie got a retirement card from the kind folks at TDI earlier this week.  That was awfully nice of them, a really pleasant surprise.  I got a bit verklempt thinking about her therapy dog career.  Her best times were at French Elementary's pre-K class.  We sure did enjoy that.

Annie and Roxy got "real" RN pins for their training bags.  Roxy and I celebrated by doing some obedience training.  Her stays are much better, with signs that she's actually reaching the emotional maturity to handle a three-minute stay in the show ring.  I even did a little dumbbell work with her.  She's not keen on the dumbbell, but you have to start somewhere and most important of all, she's got a great attitude towards the training.


Jan 16.  Celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day (until recently, Human Rights Day here in Utah).  It was a wonderful day for skiing, so a group of us from work went up and had a blast.

Rosemary was brave enough to take the gondola up to Needles Lodge and join us for a nice lunch.

I had been meaning to take my camera up in the gondola for some time, because they have a boring safety sticker that I have been dying to make right.  I mean, who would see the point in the one on the left?  Nothing bad seems to happen when the stick figure leans out the window.

Now, the one on the right gives you an immediate picture of what will happen if you stick your head out the window of the gondola.

No matter that the window only opens about six inches, so you'd be hard pressed to lean out even if you wanted to.

After we got back, about mid-afternoon, the dogs were really wound up from being cooped up all day.  They've gotten used to Rosemary being home with them, I suppose.  So it seemed like a good time for ball all around.

Snow Ball

"It's Alive!"

Boring Original

Much More Evocative Modified Version

Annie retired to the basement to play with her basketball (see below, Jan 13), while the Red Dogs got to run the Boomer Ball around the backyard in the snow.  Everyone was happy, at least for a short while, and no one leaned out the window of a moving gondola.


Jan 14.  Went skiing at Snowbasin today.  Wow.  Even though it was crowded, and windy, and parts were icy and skied-off, I had a blast.  A couple of runs, I had a total Flow Experience and that made the crummy week worthwhile somehow. I'll be back there Monday to ski with some friends.  That gives me Sunday to kick back and relax.

I passed 8th grade science with 8/8, even though they have some serious errors in this quiz.  The one that really stumped me is, "What is the charge on a neuron?"  Then I realized they meant neutron and it made the question a lot easier.


Jan 13. (Jim)


Weird Coincidence of the Month


Three years ago (within a month or so), Sen. Trent Lott (R-Mississippi, far left) was forced to step down as Senate Majority Leader after a scandal in which he indicated Strom Thurmond might well have been right in his opposition to civil rights.

This week, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio, near left) is under pressure to step down from his post as Chairman of the House Administration Committee after being accused of accepting bribes in the spreading Jack Abramoff scandal.


What do these two men have in common, besides the fact that they are scum-sucking bottom-dwelling congresscritters? 

Why, they're both sporting really bad toupees.

Mere coincidence?  You be the judge.


Jan 13.  (Rosemary)  I have an office set up in a corner of the basement, which one day will be devoid of boxes.  All that's needed is to build some bookshelves and liberate the books from their captivity.  It's hard to believe I donated about 15 boxes of books to the AAUW before moving from Jackson!  We still have enough to start a small store.

Usually, Annie can be found in my desk's kneehole, Roxy stretched out in the middle of the carpet, and Dylan on the dog bed.  Today I felt a warm head on my foot but saw Annie off to my right.  It was hard to get a photo of both of them without waking Roxy up.  Annie was not pleased with the new sleeping arrangement.  You can just make out her glaring at the indignity of it all.  For anyone unfamiliar with Australian Cattledogs, they have mastered the art of doggie indignation and become particularly expert at its expression as they get older.  Harrumph!

To make it up to Annie, while the red dogs were outside playing boomer ball, I unearthed a small-size toy basketball I'd been saving for a special occasion.  Annie got to play in the basement and had a fantastic time!

This is great!

Proper herding technique.

The most fun a dog has had in months!


Jan 12.  Busy times, and so not so many RoxyLog updates.

No pictures of our dogs, but Liz Sharpe sent us pictures of Deuce, Gift and Thorn.  Deuce is our Dylan's nephew.  As you can see, they sleep a lot alike.  It must be a Bryn Mawr kennels thing.  Thorn is Roxy's sister and appeared in the very first RoxyLog.  Roxy and Thorn were the last two puppies left out of the Twist X Tate litter of March 2003, and were great playmates once upon a time.  Thorn stayed with Denise, her breeder, for a long time, but eventually made her way to Liz' house where things are apparently pretty rough, judging by the pictures we've been shown. 

Now, Liz has added a Border Collie puppy, Gift.  Apparently Gift, like all little brothers and sisters, Really Stinks.

I guess it's a well-known fact that I love to surf the Internet.  Not just go to sites and buy things and read the news — although there's no denying that it's great fun.  Not just to go into discussion groups and either post things that get you yelled at, or yell at the trolls — good times, but even that gets old.  What never gets boring, though, is to just click from one thing to another, and let your mouse take you wherever it will.

Doing that just last night, I started off with a favorite of mine, Go Fug Yourself, which is still great, by the way.  What other blog can sport an opening paragraph like:

It's true that including Bjork on a Web site devoted to fugly fashion is a bit like including Michael Jackson in a game of Death Is Not An Option -- which is to say, unfair, because in the case of the latter, MJ will always lose, because nobody on Earth would actually want to sleep with him [and indeed if posed with something like, "Michael Jackson or John Madden?" would find a way, any way, to make death a very viable option].

Yuk! Border Collie puppies stink!

Deuce Sleeps Like Uncle Dylan

Games People Play

Maybe you've enjoyed working for the Ministry of Reshelving, or you've put your time in on the Army Men Project, but you're looking for new fun?  Try...

What's Better?

Who Would Win in a Fight?

Death Is Not an Option

Pocket Full of Wishes

I mean, that's just fricking poetry.  I wish I could write like Heather or Jessica.

But it left me wondering  — what is this game called "Death Is Not an Option"?  There it is, mentioned in an offhand, everyone-knows-this-so-I-won't-reference-it kind of way, but I've not heard of it before.  So, I Googled it, and eventually found my way to what appears to be the ur-reference in a comment on someone's blog.

Bonanza!  Along with "Death Is Not an Option", I get two more great parlor/conversation games: "What's Better?" and "Who Would Win in a Fight?".  The author (Elizabeth Crane, author of the deliciously-titled book When the Messenger is Hot) seems like an interesting person, so I read more of her blog, and that leads me to a mention of Anne Elizabeth Moore, who apparently is provoking the staff at American Girl stores:

"So I just want to be clear," I said. I knew I was provoking him, but – like Kaya, American Girl's Nez Perce Indian girl doll (circa 1764) who can't keep her mouth shut when there's a point to be made – I was unable to stop myself: "American Girl Place does not support freedom of speech?"


Jan 8.  Roxy's wonderful agility runs continued into this morning, as she managed to get her third leg on her Novice Agility (standard AKC agility) title today. 

So, you may now address her as Roxy RN NA NAJ.

She really put togther a great run on a fairly difficult course.  There were two major bobbles: she stalled for maybe 5 seconds while we converted from a down on the table to a sit ("I know I'm supposed to do a down on the table, Dad!") and near the end, we crossed signals a bit and I almost tripped over her.  We've been remiss in our table training (the table we had in Jackson fell apart and I haven't yet built a new one) so that was no great surprise.

Even with time lost at the table, she finished in 55.95 seconds on a 139-yard course, 20 seconds under standard course time.  That was good enough for first place with a perfect score of 100.

Her weave poles were flawless and she really tuned in to me.  It was wonderful.

I am extremely proud of my little girl.  Could it be that her OBM arrived with the boxes and furniture from the movers in early December and we didn't notice it?  She certainly showed what a wonderful agility dog she has become.

Yes, she got a second can of sardines.

Rosemary and I swapped dogs for the afternoon Jumpers runs.  I ran Dylan in Excellent Jumpers, and he worked very well for me.  I gave him a wrong course which NQ'd us, but that was all my fault. 

Roxy still wanted to run with me, and accepted Rosemary only as a poor substitute, but once they got going, they had a pretty good run as well.  There were some early difficulties, including knocked bars, that kept them from getting the "insurance leg".

Next trial will be in February, and I will be running a 10K (I hope!) that Saturday morning, joining Rosemary about noon at the trial.  For now, we plan to keep Roxy in Novice and let her have some fun running with Rosemary and me. 

Our plan is to enter her in Open in March, at a trial near Boise, Idaho.  Then we may make it out to Loveland, Colorado for a USDAA trial Apr 8-9.  I sure do miss USDAA agility, but there is only one USDAA trial a year here in Utah.


Jan 7.  Well, I did go skiing after all on Friday, Jan 6, and it was a gorgeous day.  The weather was warm, so it was like spring skiing, but the snow was still pretty fresh and there were just a few icy areas.  I skiied the entire day, ranging all over Snowbasin, and didn't fall once!  That's probably a first for me.

Today's agility trial was the first we've attended since moving to Utah.  Although we've practiced a bit, we haven't done a lot of work in the interim. 

So, I wasn't too surprised when Roxy's Standard run was not so great.  We just kept on going, and there were moments of brilliance, but in the end, there were a lot of letters on the scoresheet, and none of them were the letter 'Q'.

Imagine my surprise, then, when Roxy lit her afterburners for the Novice Jumpers with Weaves run.  She only needed one more leg for her Novice Agility Jumpers (NAJ) title, and that was it.  She came in second with a time just under standard course time.

We used up some time sniffing in the weave poles, but when a dog encounters horse poop, even microscopic horse poop, what's there to do but sniff a bit?

Dylan had two good runs with Rosemary as well.  Neither was a Q, but it's harder to get those in Excellent and they were still very impressive.

After getting her ribbons, as is our habit, we bought Roxy a can of sardines and she got to consume them in the parking lot. 

Who knew we were going to knock off a half of a New Years' resolution so soon after making them?


Jan 5.  The pictures from my Christmas Day skiing at Snowbird came in Tuesday, but I just got around to scanning one today.

Note that I said "pictures" plural, but that I scanned only one, and there's a story hanging on that sentence.

I found my pictures online, little tiny things, and ordered two.  One was of a guy who was really skiing well and I was quite proud of it.  In the other, the guy looked pretty lame.  I was showing the tiny online preview pictures to people at work, and I realized to my chagrin that the really good skier wasn't me.  I knew my form wasn't that good.  I had already ordered both pictures, though, so I ended up paying for a picture of a really good skier who wasn't me but was dressed similarly.    

That leaves us with a picture of me, shown at right.

It's not clear when I'm going to get to go up skiing again.  I had planned to take a Vision Day at work on Friday (Employee: "I'm having problems with my vision.  I can't see myself coming into work today.").  However, it's supposed to be near 50 degrees, and I'm fighting a cold, and I'm waaaay behind on getting my Psych 3710 course set up for Monday's start.  So I might not go.

This weekend, we'll be competing in our first agility trial since moving to Utah.  We've got the backyard equipment set up, and we've been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures to sneak a little practice in.

Rebecca Elder prefers the word "chagrin" in the third paragraph above, so I changed it.

Also on Thursday, I went to Ben Lomond High School and did a demonstration of the sheep brain dissection, the first one of those I've done since college.  We also talked about some human brain stuff, and I showed what it means to be a sheep.  I'm sure the kids were impressed.

Wow, I love to feel a brain.

Jim lectures.

I'm a Sheep.


Tracker's Bed

Soulful Tracker

Jan 2.  For Jim, the holiday weekend was spent away from Roxy once again.  This time, the occasion for travel was not business, but to go home and visit Dad for his 80th birthday. 

I've always appreciated that Dad had the foresight to be born on January 1, because it makes it easy to figure out how old he is. 

Phun Phact: if Marilyn Monroe had lived, she would be 80 years old this year.  Norma Jean Baker was born June 1, 1926.

While I was visiting Dad, I went over to my sister and brother-in-law's house for lunch.  There, I got to meet their new dog Tracker.  Tracker is the first dog they've had; they've always been "cat people" before.  He's a Greyhound rescued from the racetrack, where he apparently had an undistinguished career.  Tracker has been recuperating from a tendon injury but seems to be doing fine in his new home.  We went to the AKC website and looked for lure coursing trials in the area.  Now we just need to get the TrackerLog started.

Battle of the Blogs: Agility maven and all-around-cool-woman Tracey Roth over at the Pebble Mist agility dog blog has challenged me to restate my 2005 New Year's Resolutions, with a progress report.  Hmpf.  Here goes:

I should probably make New Years' Resolutions for Roxy's training.  Here are a few.

  • Roxy and I will earn the NA in AKC Novice agility during 2005, and continue competing in Novice until she consistently has clean runs at that level.

Didn't make this one, although we got two of the three legs we needed towards the Novice Agility (NA) and Novice Agility Jumpers (NAJ) titles.  We haven't competed since June 2005, because of the move to Ogden, which was completely unanticipated when I made these resolutions in January 2005.  So I have a good excuse, at least.  Our next trial will be next weekend (Jan 7-8) and I'm sure I'll post a report here.

  • Roxy and I will earn the Novice Rally title in AKC Novice Rally Obedience.


  • Roxy and I will compete in Novice B obedience, earning at least one leg.

Not done, in fact, we did not compete at all.  We did some fun matches in the first half of the year, and I'm contemplating taking her into the new nonstandard"Wild Card" Novice obedience class for a local trial the end of this month.  I haven't made a decision on that yet.  It will probably depend on how much training I get in between now and the trial closing date of Jan 11.

  • Roxy and I will earn at least one Standard leg and two games legs in USDAA Agility.

Two-thirds done: we got a leg in Starters Snooker (Feb 12) and Starters Gamblers (Mar 19) but have not competed in USDAA since May so I'd consider this a good achievement for five months' effort.

  • Roxy and I will train in agility at least three times a week.


  • Roxy and I will train in obedience at least three times a week.

Double Ha!

See Tracey's 2006 goals here.

Training goals for 2006:

  • Maintain my weight loss and stay between 190 and 200 lbs each day in 2006.  (I started 2005 at 237 lbs.) 
  • Exercise regularly (at least five times per week) and run in my first 10K in the spring of 2006.  (I ran my first 5K in 2005, with a respectable but not-great time of 31 min.)  Run a 5K with a sub-30 minute time.  Run a leg of the Ogden Marathon with my Academic Affairs teammates.
  • Earn Roxy's NA and NAJ.
  • Roxy and I will earn one standard leg and two games legs in USDAA agility.
  • Compete with Roxy at the Novice level in AKC obedience.
  • Train in agility at least three times a week.  (I can continue to dream, can't I?)
  • Train in obedience at least three times a week.  (Ditto.)



Previous RoxyLogs
2003 2004 2005   
The Pre-RoxyLog Days RoxyLog January 2005 (month 20)
RoxyLog February 2005 (month 21)
RoxyLog March 2005 (month 22)
RoxyLog April 2005 (month 23)
RoxyLog May 2005 (month 24)
RoxyLog June 2005 (month 25)
RoxyLog July 2005 (month 26)
RoxyLog August 2005 (month 27)
RoxyLog September 2005 (month 28)
RoxyLog October 2005 (month 29)
RoxyLog November 2005 (month 30)
RoxyLog December 2005 (month 31)
2006 2007 2008    
January January January