So, what have I been up to these past few weeks?
Last month Jerill and I went to Hawaii - our first trip there ever. It was lovely and I actually wasn't ready to come home. We went to the Big Island, on the dry side where all the resorts are (little north of Kona). The sun was out every single day and it was warm day and night. I was a beach-bum and I even got a nice little tan! We haven't seen the sun in a very long time here in Washington State. And, since we've been back home from our tropical-trip, we haven't really seen the sun at all. This Spring has been horrible here at home weather-wise. We did take pictures in Hawaii but I haven't managed to download them yet - those will come soon.
Jerill and I went to the U2 360 tour on June 4 in Seattle's huge football stadium with our friends Liz and Laird. It was a great concert! Having never been to a U2 concert before, I had no others to compare it to. But my friends who are U2 fans, as well as Jerill who has been to a few of their concerts over the last 20 years, all said this concert was their best yet. The stage was amazing. We were sitting pretty far up and back from the stage and it still seemed enormous.
At the end of May, I ran Scott his last 'big-field' sheepdog trial. He turned 12 on June 6 and it just felt like the right time to retire him while he is still feeling good. We didn't have that great of a run - he was not listening very well and he was slicing pretty badly. But, I do admit that I was allowing him to have his fun rather than grind on him. I figure the numerous times we circled the pen gave our photographers plenty of opportunities to get some fabulous pictures. I also ran Diane's dog Roo in ProNovice as I've been working with him for awhile now. We actually got a better score than I did with Scotty. Roo was awesome with me up close, but at a distance, he was pushing my buttons by not listening! Our 2nd leg of the drive was poor, but we did have a perfect pen!
I had a birthday on May 31 - turned 35. I'm now in the 35-44 age demographic group. I'm still not sure how I feel about this. I know there is nothing I can do about it, but I still don't know how I feel about this!
Work is going well. I was appointed to a 7-person "think tank" in late April to scope out a comprehensive plan for my company - my main contribution is marketing strategy. Not to be too uppity, but the CEO of our company calls us "The Dream Team" and I think that's pretty cool. I have to say, I now know more about healthcare reform than pretty much anyone I know. I'm getting some great exposure to the top managers and executives at my company which I like a lot too - it's nice to finally be let out of my daily-grind-role as a market researcher.
Diane and I both got our entries in for the 2011 Calgary Stampede World Stockdog Championship and both of us got in, so we are planning our trip up north to Scott's old stomping grounds in mid-July. This will be Scott's very last competitive trial. The trial is a time/points trial held in an arena, so not a lot of running but he will get to use his old-dog skills in stock-rating and power. He has ran at the Stampede before with his prior owner, so this trial won't be new to him. What will be cool is that his prior owners will be at the trial too! They are pretty excited to see the old-dog again. I'm hoping the good luck we had at the 2010 Highland Games time/points trial last year will grace us again (the trials are held on the same weekend so I'm taking that as a positive sign!).
Jude is coming along very nicely with his stock work. He is pure energy and enthusiasm, which I find adorable but other folks say things like "you've got a handful of a pup there!" He suits me well I think. Jude had his 1 year old birthday on May 18 - he's now 13 months and we actually did a little bit of driving for the first time ever this weekend. I'm pretty excited about it too because he seemed super comfortable and wasn't being stupid (and he wasn't clappy or eyeing up either).
We did have some tragedy on the hobby-farm regarding my chickens. In early May, we lost Flo the Sicilian Buttercup to a neighbor dog who's owner had no control over him - this owner watched the murder happen apparently. The Lab was allowed to run up to our front door/porch, jump through our ferns/plants and hop down our 8 foot rock wall to chase and ultimately murder Flo and rough-up Holly and Brigit. Brigit has lost a fair amount of feathers. I only found out about which dog it was when the dog came back for round 2 the next day and I caught it in the act (as well as catching the owner trying to pull her dog out of our bushes). The owner of this black Lab is one of the stupidest dog owners I have ever met (and we'll just leave it at that). Then, a week after we got back from Hawaii, Stephanie the Silkie became victim to a raccoon who snatched her out of the coop in the night. Since Stephanie's slaying, we have raccoon-proofed our coop and habitat and have incurred no other chicken-losses from dogs or raccoons. We are back to 7 chickens now, from 9.
That's pretty much all the news from the last month. There are some things that I still need to post pictures of and talk about but that will all be coming soon.