Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Oh my, I am overdue with this update!

MS Pooch Parade - What a wonderful success! Matilda, Eleanor, and I headed out to Chapel Hill on a sunny, crisp day. Not a cloud in the sky. The girls were hyper as I got ready, knowing that something was up. When I put them on the leashes and got them into the car, they were so exicted! They whimpered and cried all the way to Chapel Hill. The traffic cooperated, even though there was a game at Duke starting at noon and a game at UNC at 1:30.

When we got there, we checked in, and I got a second Pooch Parade leash so that I could ditch the retractable ones in the car. (They had only sent me one leash with my welcome packet.) We had some time to kill before the walk actually began, so we wandered around, trying to spend as much time in the sun as possible. Then it was time for dilemma #1...how to use the port-a-potty with 2 rambunctious dogs. Solution - stick them in the car while I took care of myself.

After awhile, the vendors were set up, so we wandered around. We got free samples of some treats, and had a Polaroid taken of the three of us. People were very helpful, calling the girls to get them to look at the camera, and the picture turned out great. Then it was time for shock #1. Matilda refused a treat! That little roly-poly has never met a treat she didn't like...until then. I was going to hold onto it and try again later, but Ellie grabbed it once she had finished hers.

Finally, it's time for the walk. There was a 1-mile and a 3-mile course. Originally, we signed up for the 3-mile, but I had my doubts. Ellie could handle it with no trouble, but I wasn't sure about Tilda and me. Usually, I had to work Tilda up to longer distances, and the bad weather and my health had kept me from getting her out for "training walks". Speaking of my health, I had been so exhausted the day before that I had to leave work early. Would I be up to it?

My stubborn nature took over, and I decided that I would not let the stupid disease win. We were walking 3 miles. Besides, from what I saw on the map, we could bypass the last mile if we wanted to. So off we went, amidst the big dogs. We were doing fine. Matilda needed extra time on the hills, and I had to take off my fleece jacket because I got too warm. The first checkpoint was right in front of Borders. It was great! There were nice girls offering water bowls and biscuits for the doggies. I only took the first two biscuits I was offered, but I could have easily stashed away a dozen more if I were greedy. After our snacks, we headed back to the course.

As we were approaching the second checkpoint, I realized that we were the last ones. So what? It wasn't a race. And it was a gorgeous sunny day. The second checkpoint was in the Blue Cross parking lot, not far from where we had parked that morning. I was half expecting Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race, to be standing there and saying, "Amy, Matilda, Ellie...you are the last team to arrive." I know, time to cut down on the reality TV shows.

At that point, the 3-mile trail converged with the 1-mile trail, so we could have continued on the trail or just headed back to the festivities. Since I wasn't in the mood to carry Matilda, I decided that we had done enough for one day. We headed over, and I grabbed the lunch that was so generously donated by Quizno's. Yes, I'll do product placements for organizations that supported this effort!

Time for dilemma #2...how to eat a sub, pretzels, and cake without dropping anything or letting the dogs attack it. Ellie wanted that cake! She sniffed at the sub a little bit, but she's definitely my dog, because she quickly homed in on the sweet stuff. I sat down in the wet grass and tried to distract them with dog biscuits. It worked for Tilda, but Ellie was still focused on the cake. Somehow I managed to eat most of the sub and cake without Ellie getting in the way, but I had to give up on the pretzels. I did drop one giant crumb of cake on the ground, but I left it there for Ellie to find. I knew she'd be pleased that she got away with something. Speaking of getting away with something, Matilda managed to grab the biscuit I was using to tempt Ellie, so she got a double treat. Still, on the scoreboard for the day, that brought the total to Ellie 2, Tilda 2, so it was all right.

After lunch, there was an agility demonstration by some flyball teams. Those were 4-dog relay teams that jumped over fences and retrieved a tennis ball from a board at one end of the route. I was fascinated. The girls didn't care one bit. They were too happy with the situation to notice anything else. It was a beautiful sunny day. Ellie was cuddled on my lap, and Matilda was curled up beside my leg. They didn't care what was going on in the world...they had it made where they were!

After the demonstration, there were some contests, but we didn't compete in those. I had been too tired to get costumes for them, and they didn't know any smart dog tricks (other then trying to steal my cake). I didn't look enough like either one of them to do well in the owner/dog lookalike contest - and we would have lost to the little girl in the dog suit anyway! So we headed back over to a vendor tent to get a dog pillow for the family room, and then we headed home. After I cleaned up, I put their pillow on the couch, and the three of us curled up to doze off while watching college football.

The grand total raised...$550!!!!!!!!! I was so thrilled. Thank you, thank you to everyone for all of your support - not just financial.

My health - Been having some back trouble, but other than that, I'm doing all right. The fatigue from last week has subsided, and I am better able to function now. For the time being, I'm going to move back to a Friday shot night, so that it won't interfere with work. It looks like I still need to adjust, and I want to make sure I have some recovery time.

I've been having some back trouble too, but I'm getting to work on that. I've got a booklet of stretches from the MS Society, and I've been doing those the past couple of days. I'm also starting to pick up the exercise. I've got some yoga, Pilates, and walking tapes which should come in handy. And at last week's Junior League auction I bought a Wellness Package from a local yoga/Pilates studio. Oh, and the package includes a massage!

Weekend plans - I'm signed up for a half-day conference for women with MS this weekend. Should be an interesting program. I'm on call this weekend, so hopefully there won't be any problems that make me leave the conference. I'm not complaining though...I was supposed to be on call last week and switched so that I could do the walk. I definitely made the better choice there.

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