Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm No Expert

No, I'm no expert by any means, in fact I'm downright amateurish when it comes to dog sledding and skijouring.
Amateurish in comparison of some raging lunatic musher friends that I have had since first becoming addicted to this sport about 5 years ago.

No matter though, the only way to learn is by 'doing' hands on... mistake after mistake of learning the right way of doing things.

In my 5 years of being involved I have;
  • cracked a cheek bone leaning over an overly excited sled dog while hooking up
  • dislocated a thumb falling while skijouring
  • tipped many a sled on many a corner
  • lost a team after tipping a sled on a corner
  • fallen and have been dragged by a team of 6 extremely hyped up dogs
  • broken up 2 dog fights
  • lost various items off my sled
  • frozen the tips of my toes on my right foot
  • been so tired after a full day of sledding I've fallen asleep sitting up
  • I'm sure there are more 'things' to add here BUT they are hazy because......
In my 5 years of being involved I have;
  • made many, many good friends in this 'world' of dog sledding
  • experienced the unconditional love of many a dog
  • ridden many miles on a sled
  • experienced the solitude of riding for long periods of time on a sled at night (there is nothing like it... an amazing feeling)
  • Had coyotes sneak looks from a distance, then sing to us as we passed
  • witnessed a full moon play with the snow crystals making them dance as we silently swooshed past with only the sound of padding dog feet and the jingle of the harnesses
  • had icicles hang from my eye lashes (it was a cool feeling actually)
  • Learned how to hang on to a sled when it falls
  • Learned how to avoid tipping a sled on corners
  • learned not to lean over excited jumping dogs
  • learned that although I will always fall skijouring my dogs will always wait for me to get back up
I am an amature... but we all are when it comes to learning to read our dogs..... and the changing weather... and new trails......
I think that is what makes it an exciting sport... that and being allowed into the world of my dogs, catching their excitement in the hook up and their love of the run.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My New Years Resolution

I am having a hard time believing that in just 2 sleeps it will be New Years Eve.

Another year has passed me by... taking me that one step closer to another year older.
I am one of those who will have a very hard time when that 50th birthday arrives.

No, no, not this year but sooner than later and I wish it was later. 
I am not looking forward to growing old.  Not mentally, you just have to know me to realize that I will be a kid at heart for as long as I'm alive... it is my aging body that scares me.

I love dog sledding... more than anything I've ever done.
And I'm looking forward to skijouring more this coming January.... however as my body ages how much longer will I have to enjoy doing my new found love?

Resolutions are something I've never taken part in as they are always broken.  This year though I was thinking of actually trying one out.  (I wonder, is that like trying on a new pair of shoes?) ... like eating healthier and staying fit to keep my body from turning on me and getting old and achy and unable to handle the dogs and the physical aspect of the sport.

Alright then... how does this sound for a New Years resolution?

I resolve that in the year 2011 to eat vegetables and fruit and to take the dogs for a walk.

*looks at resolution above*

yeah that works... no sense in setting myself up for disappointment in something that I might not do... 2010 was fraught with disappointments... I plan to stay away from them this coming year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Moving On

Christmas to me is all about being together as a family and following certain traditions.

This year was no exception.... both my kids were home wrapping me in a cloak of happiness and contentment, filling the hole in my heart, A condition to the heart that all mothers develop when their children are born. This space is filled with pride most of the time, but it also is where worry and the feeling of loss sits when they move on is carried.

Christmas traditions that are carried out each year took place, which included our annual trip to Heritage Park complete with a huge brunch buffet at a favorite eating establishment.  They day was exhausting but full of laughter and new memories to be stored in the recesses of my mind.

Gifts are a huge part of our family... not because we are greedy or stricken with commercialism that is thrown at us from box stores or the bombardment of advertising surrounding our lives this time of year. No it is because this is an opportunity to show others that we are thinking of them.
I love homemade gifts the most... gifts that have thought put into them from the giver.
My family is really good at finding things or creating things with that person in mind, a lot of thought put into how they see them.
That is my favorite part of giving... because it is the reaction of the receiver that makes me feel good inside.

When my kids were little we would take them to a dollar store and set them free.  It was a wonderful gift to me just to see what they would choose for each person, see how they thought of each family member.  And everyone always looked forward to what was carefully wrapped by each child under the tree.

This year I am floundering in an emotion of disappointment.
It at first made me feel so overwhelmingly spoiled.  Until I worked it through in my head while I struggled to fall asleep thinking about it last night.
One family member, an important one in my life of a small family didn't get me anything.

No excuse was given, but I was told I had a choice between two things that we would go out and get after Christmas.
Like I said it isn't about the gifts, but the thought put into it.
In the past this family member has made me little note cards with a promise of a gift (usually a trip) which never actually surfaced, and although that was disappointing the thought that was put into the idea was kind of nice.

I decided laying in bed unable to sleep that I don't want to go out and get a gift picked by me because it isn't about the gift at all.  It never has been about presents ever.  I could go to any store at any time and buy myself whatever I want or need...... .the idea behind gift giving is the love and care taken while thinking of that person.   Which is why I love homemade gifts, knowing I was thought of in a special way with care put into the gift.   Even store bought has put the giver into the position of thinking of the receiver.  thoughts of "what would they like" or "this is perfect for them"

My emotions this year are in turmoil I feel un-cared for by this person yet I feel like a spoiled kid wanting more.
I was very spoiled for sure from my family receiving some lovely gifts.... an e-book that I have never seen before showed that this person knew my love for reading and figured something like this would be perfect... which it most definitely is. (I've already read 1 book)
A little bell for my tree with an angel on it.. very me and it had thought put into it.
A DVD of a new television show.... we love HBO series as we don't have cable and movies are not always something we want to watch all the time.
Gloves for my dog sledding which I so desperately needed and wanted as well as a GC specifically for underclothing for cold weather play.
A GC for scrapbooking as well as a subscription to Canadian Scrapbooker which again is so me
And camera accessories that are perfectly fitting.

It's not like I really needed anything or wanted anything more it was the fact that this person couldn't be bothered to think what I would maybe like... no, not even that... it was that this person didn't think that I was worth the time and effort to go out and look for something I would like.

I just feel hurt.  Even just something small to go into the stocking that I ended up making myself would have been nice, it would have let me know they think of me even if it was standing at a check out stand and they took note of my favorite candy. 
My heart also hurts with a knowledge that perhaps this person doesn't really care about me in the way I am led to believe.  If I am not worth the time to go out and make something for or purchase even something small just this once in the year how am I thought of the rest of the time.
Unimportant in the whole spectrum of the busyness in our lives.

Does this make me spoiled?

I feel spoiled and will try hard to put this all behind me as we make our way to a new year.
It isn't about the gifts, but in how we show our love and appreciation to others that is important.  Maybe the gift giving thing has clouded my view on how this person sees me.  Maybe it is time to put Christmas behind us and just use the holiday time to spend it with those we love without the packages.

Time to move on.... stop feeling sorry for myself.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I HATE Housework

I took today off of work so that I could get my house ready for the holidays.
Lets see, what have I done today?

3, 2, 1 loads of laundry in
2, 1 loads of laundry folded and put away
Bathroom cleaned
Kitchen floor swept and washed
get rid of recycling
clean up dinning room
Clean my bedroom... hahahahaha.. like THAT'S ever going to happen.. *chuckles*

Well the bathroom is an important room to have clean... and it could have taken me all day to do.
However the playing on the computer, nap and lunch got in the way of my housework.

Did I mention that I hate housework already?
Well I do.

hmmm it is almost 2:00.... I still have so much to do and I only have about 2 hours to do it in.
Can I do it?

Do I want to do it is the more important question..... you don't want me to answer that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Could I Forget??

I was talking yesterday of the adventures of walking a sled dog.... and it sounded all so sweet and fun meeting almost naked men, going for runs in deep snow.

What I failed to mention was what it really is like to walk a sled dog.

Every corner, lump of snow, bush, tree or even shadow is in need to be explored (smelled, peed on) and it has to happen RIGHT NOW, which means getting there as quickly as two dogs can while pulling the weight of me.
And let me tell you that every corner, lump of snow, bush, tree or shadow is never in a complete straight line... nor do both dogs want to get to the same place at the same time.

I have learned quickly how to stay up right while being whipped around in circles.... on ice!

Our dogs could be taught to walk properly I suppose. The potential is there.
It is just that we spend so much time teaching and using the sledding commands that I don't have the time or bother to work on the 'normal' stuff.
Besides we give them the opportunity to pull to work on building their muscles (what I like to tell myself) and my muscles... you should see my legs!

You see when our dogs are put on line/ leash or rope they all of a sudden get this urge to RUN.. it is in their make up of who they are.  And why would I want to dampen that spirit, I just wish I could run as fast as them.  This is most noticeable in colder weather when this need comes out strongest in them.  A big reason why we are trying to organize morning sled runs instead of walks. 
I just wish my life would slow down a little so I could do this.

Walking sled dogs is a challenge... but it is fun.... and if I had a nickle for every time someone says to me.... "I saw you walking your dogs, or should I say  your dogs walking you" ..... I would have pockets heavy with change!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Adventures of Walking Sled Dogs

Every morning as is ritual the hubby and I gear ourselves up for an early morning walk/run.
We try to leave by 6 as there is generally no one else about other than the odd soul who on their own without reason (dogs) puts on runners and runs for fun (??)

Our gear this time of  year consists of extra pants, usually fleece or these special new fangled ones that are suppose to wick the sweat away from your skin (whatever) and a warm hoodie under our winter coats.
Neck toques, hats and mittens are taken, but I end up ripping these off 1/2 way...even in -40.

Last to be put on and most importantly is the walking/ skijouring belt. This incredible invention is just what it is called, a belt. It locks around your waist or hips, which is where I find it most comfortable, which has attached to the front a clip with a lead or rope that splits into two that attaches to the dogs collars or harnesses.

The dogs get incredibly excited when they see the belts around our waists and begin the greeting of "hurry, hurry, hurry, me first, me first, me first!!!"

The gate opens and out we go... at first being dragged down the driveway until I can find my own footing and tell them 'Easy' which is suppose to slow them down.

Smells abound on our walk, although I personally have never had the joy of experiencing the wonders of whatever my kids come across.  In the winter cold I must say dog poop doesn't really smell at all, (unless it is fresh and warm).
We stop at every corner to pee, smell, scratch the ground and sometimes roll in the deep snow.

There are a couple of sections that I run, however we used to run the entire length of our walk before the snow... but as I keep trying to explain to my pups it is rather hard to do for a human who has limited traction on their people paws... so they enjoy our sections of running to its full extent.. and I must say I'm having a blast too.
I have picked a couple areas with deep snow that we have trekked out to make a trail and give them the sled command "hike" or "hup" or just have to say "lets go" and go they do. The deep snow makes it easy for me to stay upright as I am pulled and follow behind. 
This is the time that hats are usually pulled off as the heat builds up quickly!

The pups and I have had many adventures on our walks from men clad in only underwear running from their car for whatever was most important that they didn't have time to dress first to coyotes in the local park to pet dogs running at us from their homes to cats and bunnies skipping out across our paths.

Today was a lady with 1 little bitty dog and 1 medium sized bull dog who decided that it should challenge my two walking mates.  This bull dog was either crazy strong or the lady had no strength to hold it back.  My guys pulled to get a closer look also although they didn't make any noise but an odd whine or two while this bull dog made it known to the entire town what was going on.
The best part was the reaction of this lady... the language that came spilling out of her mouth would make a trucker blush.   Her panic was almost comical.
I didn't laugh out loud of course because if the table was turned that could just have easily been me.

I doubt she will walk her dogs again at that time in the morning.

Some mornings are a struggle to get moving, but once I'm out there I love my walks as much as the dogs do.
It will almost be a little sad when we finally get ourselves organized to take them sledding instead of walking..... well maybe only a teeny tiny bit sad... sledding is way more fun!