Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I've gone to the Dark Side. (They have cloth nappies...)

Yup. After a few months of whining about how I'd go clothie when L was a bit older and things had settled down, we finally tried out our first cloth nappy a few weeks back. It was a Bubba J with a PUL cover. I was impressed with it and even Nic was excited. What a guy! He was actually excited over a diaper and asked when I was going to get more!

Well over the past few days, we've got FLUFFY MAIL!!!! Yippie!!!

THEY'RE GORGEOUS!!! Okay. Yeah. I know. Ultimately they're NAPPYS. They cover a babies bum and catch wee and poo. But if I'm going to spend the money I figure I might as well go for ones I think are cute. I'm still going to save oodles over buying disposables either way so... yeah, I don't quite qualify as a nappy junky yet... or at least not a hyena. Too much work! They are awful cute though! Blue butterflies (j' adoooorreee!) from Erica's Nappys, with the mint and yellow trim fleece cover, 2 blue/multicolor flower Cuddlebuns (I love the fabric!) and 2 lime-green and blue ones from Cute Tooshies because I love the lime-blue combo. We have at least 3 more on their way as well. (A rainbow one, a blue rocking horse one and a doggy pattern one.) Does this mean I'm doomed???

Today has actually been really great! I got to talk with Nic at lunch and had a nice chat and then my friend in the US called and I talked with her and my god-daughter. (Who is 5 years old and at a very silly stage atm so she was giggling up a storm!) Laurent went o
ff easy as you please for a nap promptly at 10am and slept till noon! HOLY COW!!! I was whipping about cleaning for the first time in days, absolutely GIDDY with my nice clean tidy house! Wow... two whole hours to myself! Then at 3:00 he took a second nap and again, easy as you please, nice and long! I almost don't know what to do with myself! LOL Then when DH came home, we decided to go out for dinner instead of cooking. We don't do it too often as it's expensive but we decided if we split a main meal and just had salad and rice at home (leftovers) we could do so. We went to Cafe Morivia in Camberwell and had this lovely veal dish covered in home-made napoli sauce with spring onions and oregano plus a side salad with a light dressing. Plluss I went a little bit lux since we were splurging anyway and got myself a chai latte, with soy milk of course so there's no dairy to bug Laurent... but ohhh... yum personified! I *love* a good chai latte!

Goal is to start to attach a cue to it and get the dog to offer the behaviour with minimal lag

Ten second warm up run 10x
Name the behaviour 10x
Rapid-fire name the behaviour from a different location 10x
Rapid-fire name the behaviour standing up 10x
Rapid-fire name the behaviour 1 peck method starting at 2 second eye contact 10x
Double starting at 1 second 10x (seemed a bit uncertain/impatient/antsy, was stomping her feet)
I'm still getting the antsy foot stomping thing where she'll sit, then stomp her feet and re-adjust, then sit, then move backwards, then lay down... technically she's doing it right but ick... so while naming the behaviour
Next 10x require 5 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Every time she moves, I glance away and wait for her to reset. Not achieved, several resets.
Next 10x require 5 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Not achieved, one movement.
Next 10x require 5 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Not achieved, one movement.
Next 10x require 2 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Success!
Next 10x require 3 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Success!
Next 10x require 5 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Success!
Next 10x require 10 seconds eye contact from a non-moving dog. Success! (NB: So cute, DH was in the kitchen and made some noise with what he was doing and her ears flickered back but her eyes stayed GLUED! Aww... my cute little girl behaved in the face of a distraction from the KITCHEN!)
We did a quick round of puppy push-ups just for fun. :-) Sit down sit stand down come sit etc.
We've got it on cue... now we just need to add duration and distractions and take this puppy on the road! Next goal: 30 seconds sustained eye contact on one cue!

10x of a 10 seconds continuous eye contact offered
1 peck warm up 10x
10x 10 seconds... actually no, 4 cookies into this I changed my mind... I want to get him to offer the behaviour much faster than he is now. Right now he's staring at the cookie or area they frequently are on the table, then staring at the clicker, then sniffing to see if he can smell any on me and THEN looking up... pfft. Enough of that little dog! Time is money, ya snooze ya loose!
Rapidfire rewarding for QUICK offering! 20x
Now I want to get it down to eye contact being offered 10 quick eye contacts under 30 seconds. Unfortunately I'm tired and my timing is starting to suck so I'm going to party and call it a night! We'll plan overnight and come back at it tomorrow!

The best laid plans...

Monday (I just didn't get around to posting it till Tuesday!)
How I wanted today to go: Up, cuddle-time with Nic and L, let the dogs out, let the cat out, feed/water the dogs/cat/birds/plants, breakfast, play with L, nap for L, yoga, ABA meeting, home, nap for L, meet DH at the train station, dinner, L goes to bed, we chat, bed.

Today did not go as planned... first thing upon waking up I notice a funny smell and sure enough, I have a mess to clean up from Isabella, who smashed it all over the crate before taking a wee which turned it to soup. *sigh* I then found the laundry I set to soak the other day before doing by hand is still waiting there to be done and has picked up a nasty smell. Oh and did I mention my yoga clothes were in there? The ones I needed in a few hours? Yup. Those ones. I've got to be better about laundry!

My only back-up is really old daggy track suit pants that have a small hole in a rather bad location. (I keep them as gardening pants... that's how they got the hole in the first place!) I barely manage to scarf part of my cereal before L started shrieking... he's going through this phase where he can't bear to be apart from me for more than half a minute or so, even on
his playmat. He started to look tired so I rock him off to sleep, scoop up the kitten who has been "supervising" and look outside to see the dogs are IN MY GARDEN snarfing dynamic lifter and COVERED, all three of 'em, absolutely head to toe in a mix of chicken poo, cow poo, mud and mulch. *SIGH* I holler at the dogs to get inside, lay on their bed and stay.

I still have to finish disinfecting the darn crate from earlier, L has woken up again and I have to wash his nappies. (Which are still OMG SO ADORABLE!) I think yoga just took a flying leap out the window for today... and by the time I gave up trying to keep him asleep it was 1:16 and too late to leave for the ABA meeting.

Instead we scheduled a trip to the DIY hydrobath for the dogs, chucked the child in the sling and washed the dog's squeaky clean. L still didn't take a nap, though we did get to meet DH at the train station (L is nuts about trains even at this age! LOL Guess I'll have to order some train nappys!) and he was sooooooo sweet, he'd stopped off and bought 3 beautiful roses because I'd had a bad day. So one to represent each of us! *squishies my DH*

Dinner: Coconut-Ginger-Chicken Soup and Nic's Special Fried Rice

The Soup
200g boneless skinless chicken breast
2T vegie oil
1 stalk lemon grass, crushed and cut into 1-1.5cm bits
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2-1 red or green chilli, seeds removed
12 slices Thai ginger
400 ml coconut cream
1 cup water
1 disc of palm sugar
salt and pepper
Cut chicken into bite sized bits, saute in oil till it changes color,
remove, place the lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli and ginger in saucepan
with the coconut cream and water, bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 5
minutes, add in chicken and palm sugar, cook briefly to mingle flavours,
season with salt and pepper to taste.

The special fried rice is non-recipe. It's special fried rice with whatever
veggie bits we have around, whatever seasonings he feels like adding and
this time... the rest of the char siu pork instead of lup chang. YUM!

Did a quick warm up 10 treats, first 1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds
Trial 1, 10x to count of 10 - 2 times little glance away for less than 1 second during
Trial 2, 10x to count of 10 minus those little glances away! Got that except on the 9th time he decided to glance away... I'm evil, I decided this meant he wanted me to give his cookie to Sierra. The look on his face... OMG! SHOCK! HORROR! *snickers*
Trial 3, 10x to count of 10 minus glances The 2nd time and 8th time, cookies went to Sierra. The rest of the time he kept them locked on me. The 9th and 10th times he gave whiney grumbles to let me know how disgruntled he was.
Trial 4, 10x to count of 10 minus glances Goal: to get this solid 2x before starting to attach cue "watch".
Concerns: while he is offering the eye contact from standing, sitting and down positions and on my right and left side, he is orienting straight to me and may not transfer this to heel position
Trial 4, 10x to count of 10 minus glances, 7th treat went to Sierra... whiney muttering resulted

Goal: One peck method: how many can we get with 20 tries? 18.. one treat to Izzy and one to Cade
Goal: One peck method: how many can we get with 20 tries? 29.. one treat to Izzy

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just a day, just an ordinary day...

Sorry for the annoying song title... but it was just an ordinary day but like the song says, a nice one because it's the weekend and DH was home with us. :-)

We went to the Camberwell open-air market and spent the morning wandering around looking at stuff and chatting. For a couple dollars, I managed to snag a piece of ocean agate, a piece of regular pink agate, a piece of rough serpentine from Tassie and a silver/serpentine necklace from Afghanistan. (Same source as my first piece!)

When we came home Nic finished refencing in the garden and putting down the lucerne, moo poo, dynamic lifter etc. to the new bit of garden bed and hopefully that'll be ready to plant some nice beans and stuff shortly!

After that I spent most of the night cuddling and playing with the giggly, smiley, raspberry blowing, wiggly-squiggly little tumbleweed of a child who is getting waaaayyy too good at rolling grabbing stuff! Darn thing is, he's cheeky about it because he knows I thinkhe's so freaking CUTE and terribly clever! LOL

A not so fun note... we've been having "issues" with Isabella. Her most recent seizure was longer and weird. She's also been having some "bowel" issues as well for awhile. We've been having long talks about what to do as we've tried pretty much everything at this point that we or the vet can really think of. Options are pretty limited and kind of crap, so it's been sort of weighing on me for the past several days especially.

Other than that, I'm just mostly tired... another night of L playing pop-up every 30-45 minutes or so and just not getting any good sleep poor thing. I think I might call the chiro and ask if we can't be put on a cancelation list or something. I'm guessing it's a combo of reflux and teething owwies.

No training... too tired, my timing would be crap, so better to leave it for tomorrow despite the dog BEGGING ME to PLLLLLEEASSSEEE train her by sttarrring intently at the darn clicker and whining.

Dinner: teriyaki don and char siu pork. Verdict: Teriyaki is a regular so yummy, the char siu pork Nic did something "artistic" with and it had this really odd flavoring... not bad, not good, just ODD! 8-0

Okay, so I lied.

After I blogged I went and did some training with Cade.

GOAL: 10 seconds uncued steady eye contact

Goal: eye contact for 1 second uncued no contact or body language other than looking
20X in a row - he did fine, moved to
Goal: eye contact for 2 seconds uncued no contact or body language other than looking
20x - he did fine, moved to
Goal: eye contact for 3 seconds uncued no contact or body language other than looking
20x - he did fine, moved to
Goal: eye contact for 1 peck method up to 10 seconds uncued no contact or body language other than looking
Results: got to 8, had to reset, got to 9 had to reset, got to 3 had to reset (but addtl distraction from DH banging pots he was cleaning and the other two pests drooling...) Got to ten 3x, broke concentration on the last one, reset to 1

Tomorrows goal: 10 seconds 20x, attach a cue

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I'm too tired to think of a title...

Today was not the funnest day on record. L didn't sleep well and DH and I stayed up late talking after we finally got him to go down about having a second baby and what we'd name them. So far we're at Chloe Mireille if it's a girl, which was our girl-name for this pregnancy or Mathieu if it's a boy with middle name undecided. On these lines, one of my friends may be adopting a baby (if the mum doesn't keep it, mum is friend's sister) and they're thinking the name will be Calvin Dax. :-/ Calvin reminds me too much of C&Hobbes but... but Dax? *sigh* And yes, they ARE Trekkies... that IS where it comes from. He has a major thing for Terry Farrell! LOL

As far as L's sleep goes, we're starting to try a few techniques from the No Cry Sleep Solution again but this scheduling stuff is a PITA. Mostly we rocked him. And rocked him. And rocked him. About a dozen times as he woke up not ten minutes after we'd last rocked him down. Still, if it'll help... :-?

Actually, I think what will help most is (hopefully) L's chrio. I just wish it didn't take so bloody long to get in to see her! So with L well and truely grumpy and NOT sleeping, we decided to head out to the market. I just knew this was going to be a bad idea... but I'm rather opposed to starving. So. We were store-ward bound with the not-happy-over-tired Laurent grizzling and bashing his See-N-Say toy every other second so fast it didn't finish one tune before it started the next.

We get to the store, sling him and he goes from grizzly to all-out wailing. He spent the majority of the shopping experience wailing while I rocked, bounced, and sung his favorite songs in an attempt to soothe him. Back rubs? Nope. Stroking his hair? Uh uh. Not even Mommy's Magic Boobie was going to do the trick this time. Poor squidgie. I'm not sure if it's the teething that's bugging him or a reaction to the medicine or something in my diet (though I have NO idea what) that is bugging him and making him unable to sleep.

At any rate, we chucked the stuff in the cart as fast as possible with the WHOLE FRIGGING BLOODY STORE watching us and giving us evil eyes as his wails escalated, except for those who must have been mothers themselves who were giving us the whole rueful sympathy look. Fun. So we get to the car. Go to the little Chinese grocer to pick up the last few things and *poof* happy burbling baby! *pounds head on brick wall* What changed? Not a frigging clue.
Got home. Spent forever getting him to bed. Started dinner. Ate. Plopped.

Now it's time to train with the dogs and kitten who deserve a bit of training...

Sierra: Adding in some distractions. Starting with minor ones, hands waving, tapping on desk, foot tapping on floor etc.
Goal: Eye contact for 1 second with 1 minor distraction, 10 trials per session, least lag time, ideal >4seconds/response which I know is kind of slow with a 1 second eye contact requirement but I'm factoring in my complete and utter inability to chuck the treat right to the dog who then has to run over and snuffle around to wherever the treat has skidded to before snarfing it..
Trial 1: 54 seconds, 5.4 sec avg
Trial 2: 51 seconds, 5.1 sec avg (tossing too far, Isabella got one and I had to stop and re-reward Sierra)
Trial 3: #$%@# - husband interrupted
Trial 4: 41 seconds, 4.1 sec avg
Trial 5: 40 seconds, 4.0 sec avg
Trial 6: 38 seconds, 3.8 sec avg

Not to bad. Especially considering I'm tired as heck at the moment and don't have a lot of brain capacity. I think we'll dabble with adding in 1 minor distraction with a longer eye contact requirement and 2 minor distractions with 1 second eye contact requirement.
In between this all I also scrapped a new page for L's album... and did a little more on my knitting but the freaking yarn broke... again! So I've got to try and join the two ends back up tomorrow when I'm more awake.

Pad Thai
200g dry flat rice stick noodles
125 g lean pork cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T veg. oil
2 eggs, beaten
60 g beansprouts
2 T fish sauce
1 T light soy sauce
1 T sugar
1/3 t cracked black pepper
4 garlic chives cut into 4 cm lengths
1 T chopped coriander
1 T chopped roasted peanuts
1 t roasted chilli flakes
lime or lemon wedges
Soak noodles in boiling water for a few minutes to soften and drain. Saute pork and garlic in half the oil till the pork starts to color. Pour in eggs and cook till firm. Break the eggs up into little bits. Lightly saute the bean sprouts and remove. Add noodles and remaining oil, sitr over high flame for a minute and a half. Add the sauces, sugar and pepper, then return the prawns/pork/eggs and beansprouts to the pan. Toss together over a high flame then transfer to the plate and garnish as desired with lemon or lime wedges.

VERDICT: The recipe originally called for 12 green prawns but I'm not a big prawn fan so... no prawns. *shrugs* It was still major YUMness and is getting added to our Keepers book. Nic also did these little coconut crepe things with some type of Thai savory herb but we only had regular flour instead of rice flour so they tasted fine but the texture was a bit different than it should've been. (My tummy didn't mind!)

Non-dog "Stuff"

Okay, not dog related but I'm chuffed and wanted to share...

Since L was born, we've run into a dozen or so people who are psychic,
mediums or otherwise spiritually aware. A couple of them, yeah, we were in cystal or new age stores so go figure... but several of them have just randomly made a bee-line to him on the train or while we were walking around. All of them just seemed to be drawn to him, had an unusual reaction to him and told us pretty much the same thing about him and his future. It's a bit freaky, too similar to be a coincidence being almost word for word. I keep meaning to get a proper reading/chart done for him because now I'm completely curious!

I have a feeling he's going to be very in-tune and aware to energy around him... he certainly seems to be already and he's just 5 months old. I know I was a pretty unusual child, I remembered my previous life at age 5 (and being in an ultra Christian household, man did THAT ever not go over well!), saw spirits etc. I'm not sure about Nic but I wouldn't be surprised if he was sensitive as a child as well and I know his mum did a lot of tarot, crystal
healing, reiki, etc. At any rate, it will be interesting to see. L has a small collection of crystals of his own now... a small amythyst he picked out himself, a little agate slice with a heart in the center which was a gift to him from one of the shop owners and wouldn't you know it but last
week when we were at one of the shops he was quite taken with some moldavite. When I went in, the first thing I spotted was this GORGEOUS piece of Larimar in a necklace setting. I wanted it sooo bad but upon finding out the price tag... well, $259 is a bit out of my price range!

Anyway I figured 'maybe someday' and did a bit of googling on it and found out it's a stone that is supposed to balance water and air, heart and mind, help you to view events from a
different perspective, softens, enlighten and heal physical/emotional/mental/spiritual, facilitate inner wisdom and outer manifestation. It represents peace and clarity radiating healing and love energy. Isn't it interesting how you can just be drawn to what you need?

At any rate, I left the shop and ended up coming back this past Thursday. I was still very strongly drawn to it, not just to Larimar but to that particular piece. I decided I shouldn't say "I can't..." but instead look for a way to make it happen if I really wanted it. So I asked the shop keeper if she would consider taking payment in installments, not really expecting she would.
Well to my shock, she said yes, so I put my deposit down on it and will pay $15-20 a week to it, until it's half paid off, then I can bring it home while I pay the balance! I was floating home! She also made a gift to Laurent of the aforementioned agate slice and a piece of Aqua Aura.

A weird thing also happened. While I was passing my hand over some fluroite
my hands just started shaking. It kept happening anytime I touched any of
the stuff and at home when I picked up the big chunk DH's mum had. Weird,
weird, weird!

I also FINNNALLLYYYY found out what the little pendant I bought a
few months back is!!!!!!!! I'm sure everyone was sick of hearing me whine about it. I picked it up at an jewelry stall with a bunch of Lapis bracelets and rings. It was beautiful... just absolutely euphoric energy off it, humming and buzzing and light as a cloud in the sky! But no one could figure out what it was. It stumped several shop owners. We knew it was probably mined in Afghanistan as the gentleman was from there and selling regional jewelry but that was
it. Welll... as best we can determine it is a bowenite type of serpentine known as "Sang-i-yashm". Metaphysically it restores self-confidence, dispels fear, enhance meditation, balances female hormones and milk production in nursing mothers (!!!), helps with emotional cleansing, psychic powers, and attracts love and money. It is also used in the rise of the
kundalini, facilitating the rise by opening a path that lessens discomfort."

Besides that, it was just over all a really good day... Nic had begged off work because it started out with L being up all night and me looking after him, and I was so tired I was stumbling into the walls, then not feeling really well after that. I think it was just what I needed to have
him home for the day and to really be able to just take a wander and reconnect with him you know? Lately a lot of our weekdays are pretty much him being at work all day, coming home, having dinner, going to bed. We just sort of "deal" with all the stuff and there's not a lot left over, time-wise or energy-wise, for being together or deep talks like we used to. The weekends
are usually us trying to cram in as much stuff as we can... cleaning, shopping, any chores that need doing, the house renos that never end etc. It's triage of sorts I suppose. So it was just so heavenly to just walk around, with no particular place to go, no goals, nothing in particular to
do and just talk about anything and everything.

I've had lots of all-over-good-days lately though. I'm just really happy
with where my life is at the moment... it's just about perfect. I love my
baby, I love my husband, I love our family... I have a REAL family for the
first time in my life where it's unconditional acceptance and the
relationships are based in love, trust, respect and mutually raising
eachother into better places. Money-wise if we're not rolling in it we're
doing comfortably as long as we're sensible, I'm happy in my home, our
veggie patch is doing good, the dogs are doing pretty well and I'm getting
in training time slowly but surely, we have a lovely new kitten who is the
perfect cat... life is just plain good. I've been absolutely humming with
it and you know, it's a wonderful feeling!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I live... sorta

Well, it's been awhile. The reason why is that DH's grandfather had a 3rd heart attack and passed away. The funeral had to be delayed as one of his good friends was in France at the time and it wouldn't be right to have it without her after all she's done for him. The funeral itself was as nice as a funeral can be, a good celebration of his life and all the things he did. At 98, it was a pretty amazing life!

At any rate, after the police notified me, I was pretty much in shock, then dealing with the funeral preperations and the idea that he was no longer around, wouldn't be around for Laurent etc. And then life just sort of took over and I let the training slip. We did it occasionally but nothing very focused really. :-?

At any rate, we're back on track again...

I started this time with eye contact. Easy enough, Sierra is an Aussie Shepherd and STARING comes preinstalled and factory standard.

We worked in sets of 20, first rewarding for 1 s. of eye contact. Second set, we raised the bar 1 second/click, 2s/c, 3s/c etc. going back to 1 if she failed. Pretty cinchy stuff, got to 15 seconds pretty fast. It was at this point I realized her little dog-brain had made a weird connection. She figured staring was a bit too simple and was moving all over the place. Just picture it, this little red wiggling dog STARRRRRIINNNNGGGGG holes into my head while moving up, down, sit, to my left, to my right, stretching etc. etc. etc. Never breaking eye contact mind you but MOVING like crazy!

Made me dizzy. I don't [i]like[/i] being dizzy. So I started looking away if she moved and only rewarding 1 second in the same position, 2s, 3s etc.

After a few reps of this I discover my bright dog who I'd THOUGHT had figured out eye contact was the name of the game was figuring that it was really "staring holes into mom's head". Not quite little red dog!

So I promptly ignored her while staring holes in a spot at the floor. I got a, "yo... you alive up there, I'm standing here staring so CLICK me already!" response when staring holes at me suddenly failed to work. After a few grumbling chuffs failed to gain my attention, she had to actually resort to moving until she was standing straight in front of me in the spot I was already staring and staring at me before I realized she wanted a treat. Poor long suffering Sierra to have such an obtuse owner! ;-)

Other than that, the day was pretty good. We went to a screening for Laurent with a child modeling agency. They're pretty selective but we were one of the people who got in and we had his mug shots taken today. So hopefully we will get a few jobs for him soon, sounds like fun and he's such a ham I know he'll enjoy it. Was kind of sad to see some of the mothers there who were pushing their kids, even when they clearly didn't want to do it. :-/ I got my make-up all done nicely and they gave us a family portrait as well as L's standard shots which was really nice. The make-up artist who did it was a hoot and it was kind of cool getting all glammed up like that for once. I can't wait to get the pictures back! Till then here's one DH snapped on our way to the photoshoot... L is teething so he doesn't look real happy but I look decent for once!