Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween! Love, Gypsy, Maggie and Nim

Happy Halloween all! This is probably one of my top holidays and I feel like I have done nothing...not even black nail polish!

Last weekend mom and I took the pups out for photos and a little early Halloween celebrating.

First, we went to PetSmart. They all got their matching costumes there.

Nim's head part wouldn't fit over his big giant head and neck.

And Maggie wouldn't stop talking about her feelings. Nim was a little confused.

Maggie was less chatty in this second photo. 

Gypsy, well. It is hard being Gypsy.

She had to wear a costume and cameras are trying to suck her soul. Interestingly the head part actually fit on her. She even has her little antennas up.

 Apparently Maggie was trying to say that she wanted her own photo alone too. 

After we left PetSmart we then drove to Woodinville for Cascade Kennels Haunted Puppy Town. That was nuts! I really am impressed with what they pulled off for this. That was a lot of dogs and kids in a pretty small area. It was great fun.

All of the following photos were on the Cascade Kennels facebook page. I definitely needed all my hands free at this event.

Gypsy was probably a bit underwhelmed with the riff-raff, and I am sure that a week later she is still processing the events of the day.

Maggie of course had fun and she got to see one of her favorite trainers there. I am pretty sure all of Maggie's trainers are her favorite, but you never know.

Nim and Maggie went through a maze together. Maggie peed in it. Nim did not. Ha!

It was really a great event. Several different groups were represented. You participated in the event for a donation and they all had little treats to give away. There were even animals for adoption there.

This was the first event that Nim was surrounded by kids in costumes. It wasn't until I noticed him really trying to investigate one of them that I realized it was probably a weird experience for him. He wasn't freaked out or anything, but really just seemed generally interested.

We took some time in a corner for awhile so Nim could actually calm down and just be present. In retrospect he really needed a lot more support and work on the way in.

Either before or after this photo was taken Nim jumped on the table. Judging by my vice grip on the collar I guess it was after.

The "Maggie Favorite Trainer" (Katie from Dogs in Progress) had a little agility course set up that was fun. I haven't yet taken a class from Katie, but I have seen her in other classes and watched her compete. Great handler and trainer. Another "Maggie Favorite Trainer" was supposed to be there (Pritamo from FunQuest Dog Sports), but she was out sick. Gypsy says Pritamo is HER trainer anyway and NOT Maggie's. But since Pritamo is a Nose Work trainer I was of course hoping for a scent game. :)

Both Nim and Maggie had fun on the agility course. It has been about 2 years since I have done any agility and contact work and watching Nim slow to do his contacts made me miss it a lot.

There was a bobbing for hot dog event for the dogs (I think the humans were competing on Marshmallows). This was slightly disastrous because first Nim wanted to jump on the guy with the string. The guy was actively moving the string and talking to Nim so from Nim's point of view that is where the game was. Nim was completely missing the hotdog dangling in front of him. Then when he finally did understand the hot dog part I had to fight to get the string back.

This photo of Maggie and Nim is hilarious.

I leave you on that.

I have been silent due to a dead primary computer, work, and studying, but really miss my blogging. This Halloween adventure was a nice break.

I can't believe November is starting...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hello October!

This has not been a pretty couple of weeks. I am not loving my life right now. Fortunately for you, I have a lot of pretty photos. It is also a good reminder to me that I have some really nice things still in my life.

The pellet stove is back in operation. I even went shopping for my first ton of pellets. I also changed my car oil that day. That, my friends, is called "studying avoidance."

For whatever reason this year Nim seems to like the leaf piles.

He is really into running them which has never been his thing. The last dog I had that really liked the leaf piles was Rusty.

Leela says for the record this is not snuggling. She actually backed into Emile in an attempt to move him out of her spot. It was unsuccessful.

Pretty flowers on a walk.

You can see how tiny they are next to Nim's giant head.

Mt Si going into dusk.

Happy Nim in full support of me blowing off an evening of studying.

This sunflower might be my favorite thing I have grown. It was just a tiny start that my friend gave me, look at it now.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Study Weekend & Study Motivation List

Well this is what Nim's Friday morning looked like. He took his time getting up. I think he wonders sometimes what I think I am doing so early in the morning...especially when it is dark outside.

When Nim finally did get up he had breakfast with Emile. Most mornings I try to move Emile, but sometimes I just give up. I swear Nim moves to the side to give Emile a spot.

Today I wanted to buy a new puzzle and ended up putting it back. I will add puzzle to the motivation list. That list is growing. This my motivation list to study hard and pass all these exams (preferably on the first try):

  • Road trip/camping/vacation
  • More hiking
  • Regaining a personal life
  • Less isolation (let me tell you, it was a surprising day as an introvert when I realized my study schedule was really isolating me)
  • More sewing
  • Take a new enjoyment class (writing, quilting, knitting, something entirely new????)
  • Increased dog training time
  • Hours to put into a 1000+ puzzle
  • Satisfaction of studying right the first time
  • Save money by not retaking exams

Have a great weekend! I got my new laptop today so no more excuses for me. :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sister Laptop...It Was a Good Run

I have been using my sister's HP Pavilion laptop for probably about 2 years now. It has got me through school and all the exam studying. Total lifesaver. Well finally last night I think it was done. I am grateful it waited until after the last tax test.

A couple of weeks ago we thought it was done because it wouldn't hold a charge anymore. This was an issue because the cord gets too hot when it is constantly plugged in. Then one day it started charging again and my sister and I did a little dance. This was also around the bad noise stage.

Well last night...this:

Nim blames Emile and Emile blames Nim. My sister and I had a moment of silence.

All I know is that I had it on its pillow/cookie rack set up (don't judge), I went into the kitchen, and then there was a crash and I came in to the laptop on the bed. It slide like 1/2 foot from the pillow/rack set up to the soft bed so I don't know if that was enough to cause this or if it was timing.

Meanwhile my bed light got more broken than it already was (that was the crash). And Emile and Nim both ran out the room.

Leela says it wasn't her.

So I am looking at both ACER laptops and chromebooks. The Chromebooks have my attention for sure. My desktop is also on borrowed time so I am trying to weigh what I need when. :)

It is a Monday folks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Puget Sound K9 UKC Rally Obedience Argus Ranch - September 21, 2014

Today was a beautiful day at Argus Ranch in Auburn, WA. This is notable because 99% of the time I go to Argus it is pouring rain and miserable. :)

Argus Ranch is first and foremost an agility trial location and training facility, but it is also a host to many dog sports including luring and obedience trials.

For the rally competition today only one ring was in use, leaving a lot of room to spread out and walk around. The ground is packed dirt and that can be distracting to the dogs.

Nim knows the outside well, but has actually never trialed at this location. We are usually only there to watch other dog friends or to get our Santa photo done.

Horses and a horse track is right up against the property. There were actually several cats in the pastures. But they weren't cooperating for a photo.

Our first run was a struggle. We were the first dog in and I didn't get there as early as I would have liked so let's just say there was a lot of Nim out there. We struggled on the line that had the spectators which is rarely our problem, but the trial was actually exceptionally quiet and he knew some of the people he could hear talking on the sidelines. I really struggled to keep him working with me.

We still managed to get our RO1 Title! First title for both of us. :)

This photo is funny. Nim was in a snit because he wanted his first place toy (we were the only dog in our class which worked greatly to our first place favor because it wasn't a super high scoring run) but I wouldn't let him have it because he would just sit there and squeak it.

Our second run of the day was magical. Because I had my RO1 titled I could have moved to RO2 but I opted not to because of his scattered behavior in the first trial. It was the right decision.

We worked it hard! It was hot and the course was plagued with "sits." On the last sign I knew he had to sit at he gave me a disgruntled look before he sat down and then of course he checked out his penis in case it fell off or something but fortunately that was a temporary distraction. We lost exactly 2 points. One I knew where it had happened, and the other one it doesn't surprise me, but I don't remember it.

We have a problem right now with one particular move (finish, left side) and that is because I am in the middle of changing it to a more appropriate traditional obedience command. I learned today he is not ready for that new command in the ring without food.

Yes, we were a "class of one" again, but it was hands down our best competition ring performance in the entire 7 times we have been in the ring. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Enrolled Agent DONE - SEE Part 2 - Business Passed

Good Evening all! I passed my final section of the Enrolled Agent series today. This was a big personal deal. The poor test people, I had a hard time not crying right in front of them.

With the Enrolled Agent done, I now switch gears fully to the CPA. The first exam I will take is REG which is all about taxation. In theory the Enrolled Agent exam should have helped build foundation for that exam.

As usual, I will sprinkle the test experience with photos.

Fall is coming.

The cats have started stationing themselves in line with the pellet stove every case I want to start it up.

Now that I have finished all three parts, some thoughts:

I won't know until I finish REG, but I am unclear why the Enrolled Agent is dismissed as easy. Now in fairness I only seem to see that in the CPA forums. It sure wasn't easy for me and I have a major sense of pride to have completing it. So either REG is impossible, or more likely, we all have different threshold for exam and study stress.

I used the Exam Matrix study experience for all three parts and I did request several supporting IRS publications. I am glad I used this study system and I would recommend it. The downside is that I never saw an overlap in the questions between the study system and the real exam, the upside is that I feel like I really learned a lot of material.

My order:
SEE - Part 3 (Regulations)
SEE - Part 1 (Individual)
SEE - Part 2 (Business)

Had I had the choice, I would have done them in order rather than starting with Part 3 mostly because Part 3 had questions that were really more Part 1 and Part 2. I didn't notice as much overlap with the other sections. Still, I survived, and yes, you can take them out of order.

Part 3 was unsettling for me because it was my first experience with the exam format and none of the questions matched the study material which caught me off guard. By Part 1 I was in a subject that I had hands on experience with because of my volunteer work and I knew what to expect from the testing format.

Part 2, which I took today, was the hardest on me emotionally. I struggled to retain the material using the study plan (probably more because of external stress like my job) and I had put a lot of pressure on myself that if I didn't pass I had to stop working on the Enrolled Agent until I dealt with my first CPA exam.

The reason for the added pressure is that when you apply to schedule a CPA exam and eventually get the OK, your invitation to schedule the exam WILL expire. So you are racing the clock on something that cost you over $300 to apply for. (Each Enrolled Agent section is a $105/exam).

Basically I was kind of a wreck for today's exam. The testing center is also located near a major annual fair (Puyallup Fair) and needless to say, the traffic was a nightmare. With all the build up and stress around this final IRS test it is no wonder I almost cried publicly when I passed. :) Something tells me tears happen at a testing center however.

Tomorrow Nim and I are entered in another UKC Rally Obedience competition. Thanks to my accounting related standardized testing experiences, dog trialing now seems like fun. At least I have my partner by my side. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014


It is going to be hot out here today, so we got out early. I hike so infrequently right now I cherish the outings we do get and I am sure Nim does too.

It is going to be a long week! Best to start it off right.