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SEPTEMBER 2-4, 2006

Mia and I have decided that getting lost on our drive up to this show is a good sign for us. Next year, we'll have to remember to leave the directions at home to make sure we can continue this tradition. We have also learned that if signs are written some sort of Asian language, that store probably won't have anything we want (ie Lean Cuisine Lasagna) and will smell like fish. Avoid the Ranch Market if you come up here, despite the name, there's nothing Western about. Between the hanging ducks (I know what they were because the heads were still on them) and the giant headless fish, we weren't hungry anymore.

This show is a lot of fun although I must say that I am kind of glad that Chance couldn't make it (his human grandmother got real sick so everyone think positive for her) because they are running this show like Nationals. All our walk throughs are in the morning and we are rotated throughout the day in groups. This means, that unless you have an Adv or Std, you have NO conflicts - which is pretty amazing when you consider we are running in three rings (4 if you include the Adv/Std ring!)

That being said, I have had a pretty amazing show. First off, GALE HAS GREAT WEAVES!!!! Yay Gale!!! Her contacts and start line seem to be going fast but then again, so is she :-) We've all decided that I need to "drop the reins" on Gale and let her party for a while. So...that being said, she got a Masters Pairs leg yesterday and was 3 for 4 today! Wow...I still can't believe it - she picked up a Masters Jumpers (for her JM), a Masters Snooker leg and, the most important thing, she got her 2nd Q in Performance Grand Prix! I am still in shock.

I can't seem to remember a whole lot about the first day of showing - I know Patches picked up a PIII Standard leg, Cinder got another Masters Pairs leg with Max, a Masters Std leg, ran all her DAM classes without being eliminated (on a NASTY Team Standard course which both my other team-mates E’d on) and I think that's it.

Sunday was a really good day for me. Patches and Cin Q'd in Snooker, Cinder got through the Grand Prix, (so think positive for us tomorrow about getting a bye into the semis) and Cin had a smoking Steeplechase run but dropped a bar :-( Cin also dropped a bar in Jumpers so I took her to the doggy massage person and boy I am glad I did. She was super sore in her back but seemed much better after Cindy worked on her for almost an hour. Cin got pulled from Masters Std so that I can save her for tomorrow. Patches had a lovely and fast off course in Perf Grand Prix so, thank heavens she is already qualified!

I had a GREAT day on Monday despite Cinder's back. When I arrived at the show site Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Cin had made the 2nd cut of the Steeplechase! She hadn't had a great run (dropped a bar and I felt it was slow which is why we went the doggie massage therapist in the first place) but apparently she was fast enough. Despite the massive thrill I get running Cin in the second rounds of Steeplechase (I LOVE running that dog full out) I decided to scratch her (because of her back) and save her for the 2nd round of Grand Prix. I also scratched her from Std (I figured she had one good A-Frame in her and the course was icky) but did run her in Jumpers and Gamblers. She was FABULOUS in Jumpers - flew around the course clear and then excitedly squeaked her way through Gamblers but we couldn't get the gamble :-( Gale also flew around the Jumpers course for another Q and had a lovely Standard run (hit a gnarly weave entrance) but launched the A-Frame. Sigh... Patches was old reliable and handily Q'd in both Jumpers and Standard (and she was MOVING in Jumpers!)

So, I tried not to obsess all day about Round 2 of the Grand Prix. The course was LOVELY (and super easy - especially compared to the Round 1 course which was a friggin' nightmare) and I just spent the day trying not to think too hard about it. Of course, it was the last run of the day and they ran 22's last...figures. Gale was in Perf. Grand Prix and I made a total bone-headed maneuver which cost her the Q but she was dynamite - got all her contacts (the judge was nice about the A-Frame) and zipped around the course. Too bad her mother is a moron :-( Cinder was, as usual, perfect. All I wanted to do was run clean and get a bye into the semis (and get the shirt!) so I did NOT run her all out. I am so glad I have a dog that I have "speed control" on - makes things much easier for me in situations like this. Cinder was great and now all the pressure if off for Nationals. Yippee Skippee!

On a final note, the drive home was much easier this year than last year, probably because Mia and I were in the same car rather than in separate cars talking on the phone to keep each other awake. Several very hysterical things happened in the last 100 miles (at least Mia and I though they were hysterical, maybe we were delirious.) First off, we had fed the dogs somewhere after Salinas and then were on a total mission to get home. Gale started standing up in the van around King City and never really sat back down again. By SLO, she was trying to crawl into my lap. It was pretty apparent that Gale needed to go to the bathroom - poor Gale - I was NOT stopping for anything. So, Mia and I had a great time at poor Gale's expense and at one point were almost in tears we were laughing so hard. Gale stuck it out though (although she RAPIDLY ran into the backyard when we got home...)

The other hysterical moment was somewhere around Gaviota. We had been keeping phone contact with Kate during most of the drive and knew she was ahead of us. By Santa Maria we had gained on her and she was only a couple exits ahead of us. But Kate usually drives a lot faster than I do so we were not expecting to pass her on the drive home. We made it to Buellton (finally, according to Mia) and started up the hill outside of town. People were driving like morons so I started passing people on the right...after a little bit, I noticed this car was riding my rear bumper so I politely pulled over into the right lane to let them pass. The car pulled in behind me. When I went to pass a truck, the car followed (right on the bumper still) and then wouldn't pass me when I got back into the slow lane. So, I slowed down to encourage psycho-driver to pass me - they wouldn't. Mia and I had just started speculating on the possibility of us being tailed by a road-rage syndrome mad killer with a shotgun when the phone rang. It was Kate: "Why are you guys trying to ditch me???" Somewhere I had passed her and not even known it and she was our scary tail. Certainly made the last 30 miles more interesting!

Poor Kate....


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