Roxy training diary month 49
June 2007


Jun 30.  A week of change in the kitchen.

There is nothing like dealing with hordes of workmen, coming and going at all hours and oftentimes not coming at all.  Luckily, Anvil Cabinets, the contractor, is dealing with most of it, but a lot of things don't get done because the tradesmen have other things to do.

For example, right now we're wondering what happened to the electrician and the drywall guys.  You can see that the electrician was around.  (These pictures were taken before the drywall guys came.)  They both promised to come back; we've not seen them since.  Was it something we said?

Rosemary and I went out to Kelley Creek Farms to help out with a herding trial.  We got to sit up in the Judge's Aerie and help scribe and time.  It was not hard work, but interesting to see some of the things those black and white dogs can do.  We will go back Sunday to work some more.

The cabinet install is due Tuesday, July 3.  The countertops are supposed to be in July 13.  We'd like to get started painting, but we can't until the drywall work is finished and has a chance to dry.  We may have to paint with the cabinets in place, which is not my first choice.  Also, neither Rosemary nor I are sure when the floors are supposed to go in.

I was supposed to go on an 11 mile run this morning.  I decided I'd like to try part of the run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  It wasn't a very good choice; I was tired from yesterday's pace run, the trail was steep, and it wasn't a great running surface, so I hiked it.  Then I had to cut my run short because I ran out of time.  It wasn't bad, nine miles instead of 11, but I was frustrated with myself just the same.

Dining Room Door

Where the Sink Used to Be

Kitchen View into Dining Room


Jun 26.  The remodel project began today.

The first phase was to demolish a wall between the kitchen and dining room (behind the refrigerator in the middle picture) and rip up the floor in the kitchen, dining room, and living room. 

The house is a split level design and there was sort of a unified tile (with an island of carpet in the living room) all over this level.  We decided the whole thing had to come up, even though we didn't mind the living room. 

The kitchen was tiny, so by knocking the wall out we will have a large kitchen with dining area instead of a tiny kitchen and formal dining room.

Each of the dogs has a different sleeping style.  Annie's tongue is often out.  Dylan likes to lounge on his back or side in a corner of the couch. 

To add to today's excitement, I got to help my friends at the Northern Utah Area Health Education Center with their summer camp program.  We got to discuss brains.  It was so much fun, I even made it into Chris' blog again.

Annie Says "Blecch!"

Dylan Awaits His Doom

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen View into Dining Room: Before

Living Room: Before


Jun 20.  Roxy had another herding lesson tonight, and it looks like she's really getting the hang of it.  I'm increasingly confident that, come the ACDCA National Specialty in September, she'll be ready for the Pre-Trial arena.

A lot of Real Men herd cattle with their Australian Cattle Dogs.  This is as it should be.  They often make fun of those who use their ACDs to herd ducks, calling them "Australian Duck Dogs".  I may be the only person who has a Portugese Water Dog and Australian Duck Dog at the same time, though.

Australian Sheep Dog

Wearing Thick

Australian Water Duck Dog

In between herding sessions, Roxy relaxes with some dock diving lessons.  She would rather dive from the rocks than from the docks.  It's a pretty good drop, and she tends to sink when she dives in.  We're working on her form.  If Annie were feeling better, she could show Roxy how, but we've tried and it's just too much exertion for Annie.  She gets to guard the house while Roxy is out having fun.

Rocks, Not Docks

Lemme At 'Em



Jun 15.  I had to wake up at 4:20 am today so that my running partner and I could make it to Highland, Utah for the first-ever Bank of American Fork half-marathon.

It was a small race, and we got there in plenty of time.  The morning was absolutely gorgeous.  The course was pretty tough.

Loni, my running partner, started fighting severe muscle cramping or spraining in her ankle about mile 7 or 8 and by mile 11, she was done.  She had to just lay down and wait while I went back to get the car.  I think she's okay now, but I feel bad because I'm pretty sure I talked her into it.

So, my time was not great, but I didn't expect a PR on that course anyway.  Even the best runners were close to 2 hours.  My time was 2:25, 42/51 men and 4/4 in my age group.  Still, with all the walking, stopping to try and help Loni, and those darn hills, I was still happy with that time.  I had approached it as mostly a training run anyway.

I didn't make my weekly miles this week, and next week is a step-back week, so I have a bit of a rest coming up.  I can't seem to get much over 20 miles without feeling blah — yet.  I'm going to keep working on my weekly miles to see if I can get them up where they need to be.

Roxy has a herding lesson tonight at 6, so we've got our day planned out.



Jun 14.  The weather was absolutely spectacular for my run this morning.  While out, I met Tony Spanos from Foreign Languages, and he and I chatted and ran together for the last mile or so of my run.  It turns out we're both going to the same half-marathon this weekend. 

The cable guy came yesterday and hotted up the cable in the basement, so I moved my office down to the basement, partly because I was tiring of the laundry room and partly because we're sorta-kinda moving to the basement and den levels in preparation for the upcoming kitchen renovation.  Now that I have my computer set up in the new location, I can post to the RoxyLog again.  Woohoo!

Roxy got a herding lesson yesterday evening and I talked with Shauna about what level of competition might suit her in September.

I built a ramp for Annie so that she can get up on the bed easily without climbing.  It has a two-foot wide platform along the side of the bed so she has more room to stretch out if she wants, also.


Jun 12.  No herding lesson today, as Shauna had other commitments, but we did discover that Shauna had built a dock at the pond, so I decided it was a good time to teach Roxy the fine art of dock diving.

Annie was a master dock diver back in her day, and even appeared (very very briefly) on TV in a dock diving competition.  That got us a free trip to Universal Studios Florida.


Roxy took some dives off the new dock.  The camera on my new phone has some limitations as far as delay and timing so nothing of her in the air, but these should give you the idea of what we were doing.

To my surprise, I had occasion to teach Roxy another one of Annie's old tricks, The 'Pop' Trick.  I sing "Pop Goes the Weasel", and when I get to the word 'pop', Annie would jump up and snatch a treat out of my hand or mouth.  (Depends on how brave I was feeling.)  I was flabbergasted that Roxy learned it so quickly, and in front of a group of witnesses as well.  So that made me look like an actual dog trainer, which is something. 


UFO Sighting

Jun 10.  For reasons that passeth all understanding, Roxy has come out of her shell a great deal over the past couple of days.

I've been trying to teach her to ask to go out.  Her house training has always been spotty (pun intended).  She has gotten much better at holding it, but she never has learned to ask to go out.  In fact, Dylan normally asks for her, which is pretty cute but not as efficient as we would hope.

So, I am trying to teach her to ask to go out.  Barking to go out was a non-starter; for some reason she can't or won't "get" it.  But scratching at the door is something she seems willing to learn.

I need to go downstairs and fish out the Mar-No-Mor from a box that hasn't been unpacked since the move, and install it on the door.  It's like a little washboard that they can scratch and make a satisfyingly loud noise.  I can't find an online source, so they may not sell them anymore, which would be a shame.

Today Roxy asked to go out, and then ran over to the side door to the garage, by the gate to the driveway. 

I went to Rosemary and said, "she's trying to tell me something about the gate.  Maybe she wants to go for a r-i-d-e, or for a w-a-l-k?" 

"No," Rosemary said, "she wants to p-l-a-y with her Boomer Ball."  That's a hard plastic ball that the dogs "herd" around the yard.

Smart Mom.

So, I fished the gigantic egg out of the bin in the garage where it was stored, since it's sort of an ovoid Boomer Ball and Roxy hadn't seen it in a long time. 

That and the camera and Roxy made for fun times.


June 9 (afternoon).  Annie doesn't like to snuggle or even be petted too much, so one of the tough things at a time like this is knowing what I can do to repay the loyalty and forebearance she's shown me over the last 14 years.

Rosemary and I want to hold her and cry into her fur more than anything else right now, but she'll have none of that.

Annie does, however, like to go for a ride in the car with her Ruffwear Roadie. 

It's a beautiful day, so what better time to uphold another House of Grey(t) Animals family tradition, the post-diagnosis trip for ice cream?

In 1992, my "heart dog" Kiri was diagnosed with mast cell cancer, which is always fatal.  We had a few weeks, maybe months.  So on the way home from the clinic, we stopped at the Sonic and got some ice cream at the drive-up.  Kiri thought that was a good deal.

When Kiri died in January 1993, Rosemary found Annie for me.  Annie was born in March 1993 and came to live with us in May. 

Needing a place to go, I decided a drive up to the famous "Fruit Way" was in order.  All summer, roadside stands there will sell seasonal fruit.  I figured it was probably a little early, but we needed a place to drive to.

On the way, I decided to stop by Kirt's Drive-In.  It's one of the old-style ones, and is a North Ogden institution — it has even been featured in movies.

Annie's Aunt Chris was not busy, so she drove down to meet us at Kirt's. 

I ordered Annie a "baby dish" of vanilla ice cream.  It was still pretty big, but best of all, it came with a chartreuse plastic mermaid on top. 

So the mermaid and the orange elephant that came with Chris' cone were put to good use as ersatz St. Christopher statues, as good luck omens for our road trip.

Annie was happy to get ice cream, but she was especially happy to not have to wear some stupid pioneer bonnet.  When we got out to take pictures, she had a "puppy moment" and jumped on me, knocking the 3/4ths of a dish of remaining ice cream to the asphalt. 

The fruit stands were not yet open, but it was a pleasant afternoon's drive.  Annie seemed to appreciate the outing.

I even snuck in a few ear scratches and some petting, as much as she would allow.

Thanks, Dad.  Having Fun Now.

The Little Mermaid

Mmm, Ice Cream.

I Made a Mess

Who Needs St. Christopher, We Got Mermaids and Elephants


June 9.  Annie is very sick. 

She has been getting weaker and weaker lately, and she's been panting a lot.  Sometimes she has a little hacking cough.  I know pretty well what those symptoms mean, so I bypassed the usual procedure and went straight to echocardiography.

The veterinary cardiologist confirmed what I had suspected.  Annie has dilated cardiomyopathy

Annie is 14, so she's had a good long run.  We'll do some stuff together, but I don't think a man and his dog could be any closer.  Besides, she has a very low tolerance for any kind of mushy stuff.  Like Greta Garbo, right now she wants to be left alone.  She's taking enalapril (an ACE inhibitor, for those of you who like to know that sort of thing, it's the human drug Vasotec).

To console myself, I plan to re-run some archival pictures of Annie in happier times.  This one is from Annie's 10th birthday party.  Little did she know that, 2000 miles away, Roxy was being born at the very same time this picture was taken.  Having to share her birthday has been a great burden for Annie.

Later today, I will put her seat belt on and take her for a ride.  She came to like her Ruffrider Roadie and I think she'll enjoy visiting her adoring public.

I've made it through the first week of my marathon training calendar.  I came this close to a PR in the 5K this morning, missing it by five seconds.  That's okay, but I would still like to break 25 minutes one day.  I came in 3rd in my age/gender group, so I got a little ribbon.  It was 3rd out of 4, but as Rosemary says, "that's better than fourth."  I was 47th out of 82 men overall, so I still haven't cracked the top half, but I'm getting closer.   Results are here.


June 4.  Today, I began my training for the October 6 St. George Marathon.

The weather is getting hot enough now that a morning run is a better idea than the usual afternoon runs I've been doing.  Those who know me well know I'm not a morning person — unless by "morning", you mean 2 a.m. 

I needed to do 3 miles, so I set out this morning on one of my favorite routes.  It's uphill from the house to about the 1 mile point, then downhill, a small uphill, and a steady downhill run to home.   

If you want to get technical, the training calendar started on a Sunday, and Sunday is a cross-training day, so Rosemary and Dylan and Roxy and I took a pretty strenuous 5½ mile hike last night.  We made it down from the mountain before sunset — just barely.  Dylan was pooped.  Roxy got to sleep outside of her crate last night, and she was pretty pleased with that arrangement.



June 3.  I spent the weekend in Denver, visiting family and having an all-around good time.

While I was there, I ran in a 5K race to jump-start my training for the October 6 St. George Marathon.  A group called Girls on the Run was sponsoring a 5K race in Denver's City Park, and my sister Lisa was kind enough to offer me a ride down there, so we went and I got to run in the park on an absolutely spectacular morning.  My time was not the best, 26:45, but one had to take care not to stomp on little girls who were having a blast just running with family and friends. 

Because of all the little girls and parents entered, there were not many unattached males there, so I placed 3rd in my age/gender group and 31/400 overall, proving to everyone that I can outrun a little 9 year old girl.  So dere.


Here's a picture of my Dad's dog, Chico.  Chico and Dylan love to play when they get together; Dylan took a real shine to her from the first moment they met.

The pictures from the Ogden Marathon arrived.  One of them (my personal favorite) is posted at right; the rest are found here.


Previous RoxyLogs
2003 2004 2005   
The Pre-RoxyLog Days RoxyLog January 2005 (month 20)
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RoxyLog December 2005 (month 31)
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