Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oodles of Poodles

My poodles had a big day at the grooming shop yesterday, and since they're all nice and clean and in my good graces for right now, I thought I'd write about them. The big guy sleeping on the couch is my oldest standard poodle, Spenser. Spenser's official name is Champion Cadbury's Spenser for Hire. He's 12 years old now, and he is my first champion and the love of my life. When I look back at his show career now, I have to shake my head and wonder about my sanity. It took almost 3 years--and a ton of money, blood, sweat, and even more tears--to get him finished. I can remember the day he finished his championship like it was yesterday. It was a March afternoon in 1999, and I was playing hooky from work. (Shhh--don't tell anyone!) He was one month shy of his 3rd birthday, and I was desperately hoping he would finish before then. My friend who was actually in the ring with him had an asthma attack while in the ring with him, and I'm not sure how she made it around the ring with him. She did, though, and we spent the rest of that weekend on cloud nine.

The lovely girl in the second photo is Rory, now almost 7 years old, officially known as Champion Cadbury's Evening Star. I got her and Spenser from the same breeder, thus accounting for their kennel names. Fran Fischer of Cadbury Standard Poodles, is best known for her brown standards, but Spenser and Rory, as you can see from their pictures are both black. Fran knew that I liked black dogs, so I was lucky enough to get these two from her. In this picture, Rory is being shown at the 2004 Poodle Club of America show. While I (and a friend) showed Spenser to his championship, Rory went to a handler to be shown. It took her significantly less time to finish than it did Spenser, no doubt because her handler knew what she was doing. Rory is a real pistol. Even as she moves into middle age now, I never know what to expect from her. My couch is in the middle of the living room, and Rory never walks around it in order to get onto it or off of it; she sails over the back of it as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

The little brown girl in this picture is Rory's daughter, Emmy. Her registered name is Cadbury's Terms of Endearment. Fran and I bred this litter together, and Emmy was the puppy that remained at home with me. I had high hopes that Emmy, too, would be shown and become a champion, but her temperament is not well suited to the show ring. She is a baby, in every sense of the word. It's hard to tell from the picture, but she is pretty small for a standard poodle. She doesn't like to go places, and she gets nervous if too many people look at her. At home, though, this little girl is a demon. I've lost count of the number of shoes that she has eaten. Yes, I said "eaten." I wish she just chewed on them. I might be able to salvage some of them if they just had teeth marks on them. She has finally trained me to put my shoes up--way up.

The black boy in the last picture is Emmy's brother Ace, also known as Cadbury's Helpful Hardware Man. Ace and Emmy are 2 years old. Ace lived for a while with a friend of mine in Wisconsin, but for various reasons he came back home to me this past summer. He was a delight as a puppy, so I was happy to have him come home. What I didn't know was that he had grown up to as much of a terror as his sister. He likes shoes, too, but he likes cross stitch supplies even better. He seems to be particularly fond of overdyed floss and Silkweaver fabrics. I'm now trained to keep my cross stitch things put up--way up. I have had some nervous moments worrying about the things he's ingested, but so far--knock wood--there have been no complications as a result of his bizarre tastes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Been a While . . .

I haven't posted in quite a while, mostly because I've been so busy. The semester has gotten crazy with lots of papers and tests to be graded. Grading, to me, is the least favorite part of my job. I have a hard time forcing myself to sit down and start reading papers. Once I get started, I then have trouble stopping, even if it's getting late or I need to get moving in order to get somewhere. I'm glad that we have a short week next week. I can't decide if Friday will be a shopping day or a resting day. Guess it will depend on how much turkey I eat on Thursday!

I took the dragon that I stitched for my nephew to the framer this afternoon. My sister went with me, and she helped me pick out a frame that my nephew would like. It's not the one that I would like if I were keeping the dragon; I would put a big, ornate frame on it. My sister reminded me, though, that my nephew is not very ostentatious and doesn't really like things that are loud and gaudy. So, we went for a more sedate frame and a much lower price than the one I had originally gotten. When I get it back, I'll post a picture here.

I've been working on some cross stitched bookmarks for Christmas gifts for people at work. I hope to finish at least 4 of them in the next 3 weeks. My needle better get to smoking, though. I think I'm the world's slowest stitcher, especially when I've got a deadline in front of me. The bookmarks are easy, though. I found the patterns online after someone on the 123Stitch message board posted the ones she had done. They are simple, symmetrical designs, so they do stitch up fairly quickly.

I'm off to bed right now. Even though tomorrow is Saturday, it's another early morning for me. I'm loading up the poodles and taking them to the grooming shop. Rory and Emmy are going to have haircuts, while Ace and Spenser get baths. Two weeks from now, the boys will be getting haircuts. It nearly kills the groomer--and my budget--to groom all four of them on the same day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What a Week!

This past week has been a tough one for me. On Tuesday night, my best friend called me around 10:15 pm to tell me that her standard poodle, Capri, was sick. After talking with her, we both set off from our houses to meet at the emergency vet clinic. Capri had bloated, and her stomach had twisted. (The appropriate and technical term for what happened to Capri is gastric dilation and volvulus.) After dealing with one of the worst vets I have ever encountered, we made the very hard decision to have darling, beautiful, wonderful Capri put to sleep.

Desi (my friend) got Capri about nine months after I got Spenser. Spenser was born in April, and Capri was born in October of 1996. Desi and I became friends because of these two dogs. When I needed help grooming Spenser and showing him, she stepped in and helped me out in a big way. When Capri came along, we fell into a team rhythm with the two of them. I bathed and brushed and learned how to put topknots up; she groomed and handled. We had so much fun in those years of showing the kids, as we've always called them. We lost many more times than we ever won, but win or lose, we enjoyed going to the dog shows. Our lives have moved on now, as lives are wont to do, but we both look back fondly on those days.

In 2006, my last litter of puppies was born. Capri was utterly captivated and fascinated by the puppies, and my girl Rory (the mother of the puppies) seemed to be pretty content to let Capri observe the puppies and sometimes even climb in the whelping box and hang out with the puppies. In this picture, Capri was lying on the couch, and we put one of the puppies up on the couch with her so that she could snuggle with it and love on it. She never had puppies of her own, but she loved those little guys of mine as well as any aunt anywhere. When they got older and got too rowdy, she would look at them as if to say, "Whew! I'm glad I don't have to take 'em home with me."

On a brighter note, I got some stitching done this week. On Friday night, I finished one of the Mill Hill ornaments I just bought. I always think these are fun stitches. I like the beads! I use little things like this as stocking stuffers for friends. Today, I'm going to start stitching on Emma's Garden. It won't be finished in time for Christmas, but I do want to get it going. And with that said, I think it's time to head into the living room, find something totally without merit on television and start stitching!