Greetings from a nice winter evening in Iowa…
We’ve had a nice weekend with no snow or rain and temps getting into the upper 40′s. Starting to see bicyclists on the trail across the street. I’m tempted to get my bike out but don’t like having the cold air against my face as I pedal.
On Saturday morning I went to dog training at the Animal Rescue League. The training took two hours, but was interesting and it went quickly. We started out learning about basic procedures at the shelter, then got into how “clicker training” works. We each received a free clicker and then we did an exercise we took turns pretending to be a dog and learning what to do based on someone using the clicker to guide us. Main gist is to click the clicker and give a treat to the dog when it does something good. It helps to provide consistent training when many people work with each animal.
Next we learned how to identify when an animal is not happy and could potentially bite you. Lots of little body language queues too look for. Main idea is to review to whole animal (not concentrate on just it’s face) to determine it’s current mood. Final step was to learn how to enter the dog’s kennel space, and put a collar with leash on it. I had a large dog named “General” who was pretty easy to work with – was able to get the collar on and adjusted with little problem.
After class was done, I checked in as a cat volunteer and spent three hours in the cat area. They like us to pet and play with the cats – then write something cute about the cat on the window outside their cage. Like – “I love to play” – “Lovable lap kitty” and etc. I played with at least a dozen cats – my favorite was a 13 year old kitty named “Maverick”:
Maverick is still listed on their website – so probably not adopted yet. Spent time getting cats out of their cages and moved to “Hug Rooms” to interact with potential adoptees. Most of the cats were cooperative, but ran into one that was sleeping and did not want to be disturbed. Gave it a few treats and then it liked me enough for me to wisk it away to the room.
I helped a nice family adopt a 4 month old kitten named Joy. Then I ended up in the dog section (other volunteers were not dog trained) to help an elderly couple adopt a little dog. They were very cute and the dog was a perfect match for them.
Would like to go to “rabbit and guinea pig” training in the near future. The small animals are located next to the cat section and several times I needed to locate someone who was trained to take them to a hug room.
This morning I did some laundry and John was looking bored – so asked if wanted to go out and do something. I suggested checking out the antique malls – which he balked at. I then said I wanted to drive to Newton, IA because I’ve not been there before. He was game so off we went.
Took us a half hour to get there taking 80 East. We basically drove around, looked at houses and businesses. Not much happening in Newton at 10:30am on a Sunday morning. Most everything was not open yet. We did drive past where the Maytag corporation was located at. It’s a nice campus with well maintained, but mostly empty, office buildings. The last appliances were made there October 25, 2007. Then the jobs and machinery was moved to Benton Harbor, MI where it merged with Whirlpool’s operation to save money.
We then drove around the countryside and eventually on some gravel roads through farm country. Was not a particularly pretty time of the year to for the drive, but was still interesting to check things out.
On our way back into town we wanted to stop at Jethro’s BBQ in Altoona, IA (not far from Adventureland Park) for lunch. I messed up the GPS and we ended up at their new location in Ankeny, IA. It had opened up in December and the landscaping was not in yet. Their menu had more seafood and cajun dishes then the one we went to by Drake University. I had pulled pork, with creamed jalapeño corn and mac ‘n cheese. It was too much food, but it tasted good. John had a Bayou Burger – an Angus patty topped with a shrimp patty. He said it was good…
Had my last ice skating lesson for this 7 week long session. We were tested on our skills to see if we can go on to the next level or not. I graduated to level 3. Yeah!! Finally…. The instructor said my cross-overs could still use some refinement, but overall I’m set for new challenges. Adult 3 will probably take me a few years to get through – they have us learn:
- Backward edges on a circle, outside and inside, clockwise and counterclockwise
- Backward crossovers, clockwise and counterclockwise
- Inside Mohawk, either direction
- Basic forward outside and forward inside consecutive edges
- Forward progressives
- Beginning two-foot spin
- Backward snowplow stops
After skating I went to JT’s Slap Shot to get my figure skates sharpened. The one blade had uneven edges that I wanted to get corrected. They do a good job and only charge $5.00. Will see how they feel during my lesson tomorrow night.
Not much else going on… time to watch TV for a bit and prepare for the work week. Should be an easy week – I work on Monday (President’s Day) when most of my coworkers do not. I’m then taking the floating holiday off on Friday.