Thursday, December 31, 2009

State outrage

"A Fruita man accused of dragging a dog to death on Colorado National Monument was ordered today held without bond over the coming weekend.

Steven Romero, 37, is scheduled for a detention hearing and arraignment Monday afternoon at the Wayne N. Aspinall federal building. Romero, shackled and dressed in a yellow jumpsuit from the Mesa County Jail where he’s being held, expressed bewilderment at the allegations.

“I don’t get it,” he said of the charges, sitting alone at the defendant’s table in court this afternoon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer then rose from her seat, walked toward Romero, and tossed a copy of the charges on the table in front of Romero.

Heldmyer asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn to order Romero held without bond for the next three days, requesting the detention hearing be scheduled for Monday. She indicated the government at that time will seek to keep Romero locked up.

Romero expressed concerns about sitting in the jail over the weekend and said he’ll be hiring his own attorney. He told the judge he’s employed as an over-the-road trucker.

“So, in other words I’ll be sitting in jail and probably lose my job, too?” Romero asked Milburn.

“Yes,” the judge responded.

Romero faces a maximum three years in prison, and a fine up to $100,000 and a year of mandatory parole, if convicted on a federal charge of felony cruelty to animals."

Sitting in jail and losing his job should be the least of his worries. He is lucky he was held without bond. The crime is outrageous and the public response is appropriate according to the crime. If he were able to bond out, from what I read, there may be people willing to risk jail to do some damage to him. The evidence is pretty overwhelming. He told one witness that he was going to kill the dog. The monument has his truck on camera going in with the dog in the back and then coming out shortly after without the dog. The owner posted a comment on the first article that it was his dog and had been stolen from Delta along with a second dog. The second dog is safe and on his way home, thank heavens. No one has been stupid enough to argue that public reaction is too strong because it is "just a dog". Everyone who has commented appears to have the sense of knowing that if this guy would commit this kind of crime against an animal, he probably wouldn't hesitate to commit this kind of a crime against another human being. The only thing good that may come out of this terrible event is that because it was a crime committed on the National Monument it is federal. The feds have a way of bringing the hammer down in a way state and local law enforcement can't. I wish them well. I don't want this man on the street anytime soon. Callie got extra hugs tonight and my protective nature regarding her has obviously increased. It would kill me if she came to harm through the violence of an individual or group. No one will love you like a dog will. Unconditionally. She trusts me to protect her and I take that responsibility very seriously.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Alcoholics can justify any behavior

Mysterious Alcoholic Author Steals His Own Books From Boulder Book Store:

"A manager at the Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado says that an author shoplifted several copies of his own book from the store, but he won't say which author. The manager, Christopher Ohman, told the New York Times he thought the author was somewhat entitled to the copies.

He continued:

In some ways I can kind of understand that logic. I mean, it's a commonly held misconception that authors get as many copies of their books as they want, and that's not always the case.

Ohman told the Times that he though the author struggled with alcoholism, which contributed to his tendency to steal his books. He would not, however, disclose the name of the author.

Nor would the store's current manager, Scott Foley, who--in an interview for the Boulder Daily Camera--said that the incident has become part of the training manual for book store security officers.

The Times article has prompted the prominent national gossip website Gawker to publish a page postulating which Boulder author could possibly have orchestrated such a plot. Gawker jokingly speculated that Boulder residents Jon Krakauer and Jello Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher) may be the culprits.

Until one of the Boulder Book Store employees discloses the identity of the mysterious book thief, we're left in the dark. For now, no Boulder writer seems safe from national speculation."

I can understand the logic as well. However, if the author had been sober, I'm guessing the thought may have crossed his mind, but he would not have acted on it. In our sobriety we may have those "logical" thoughts, but because we are thinking more clearly, we rarely carry them to conclusion.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Split decision


"WHEAT RIDGE - After a split vote, a union spokeswoman offered conflicting statements on Tuesday as to whether any Colorado grocery workers had met the necessary requirements to go on strike.

A majority of King Soopers workers accepted their employer's 'last, best and final' contract proposal.

The UFCW Local 7's outgoing president, Ernie Duran, Jr. had urged workers to strike.

Safeway workers voted to reject the deal, but did not meet the two-thirds margin need to prompt a strike, union spokeswoman Laura Chapin initially told 9NEWS on Tuesday.

Hours later, Chapin backed off from her original assertion there would be no strike action.

A union rule, said Chapin, allowed Duran to apply the two-thirds strike authorization rule to the membership as a whole or to individual bargaining units.

Chapin said Duran chose to measure strike authorization by units, which are largely defined by city.

By that measure, some Safeway workers in select stores did approve a strike, but no action is imminent, Chapin said.

Chapin requested more time to research whether Duran's decision was made in writing and to clarify what happens in the four King Soopers"

The vote tally as of yesterday was 66% of Kings/CM employee approving the contract and 63% of Safeway employees rejecting the contract. Kings employees will continue working under the new agreement. The union had a Kings representative say that the reason Kings employees accepted the offer is because the company threatened to lock empoloyees out if Safeway went on strike. I don't think that is why the offer was accepted. The vote was simply to protect themselves in this hard economy. I am glad this is finally settled.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ousted grocery-union execs get big parting gifts - The Denver Post

"The family members who run one of Colorado's most powerful labor unions are being forced out of power, but not before they receive parting gifts paid for with union dues.

Ernie Duran Jr., the longtime president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, will receive his union vehicle, a Ford F-350 pickup, as a retirement gift.

Outgoing union secretary-treasurer Stan Kania will drive away in a union-purchased Ford Five Hundred.

Both gifts were approved by Local 7's executive board, in what 7th vice president Will Joseph called a long-standing tradition.

'If every other president got the vehicle on departure, I don't see changing the trend,' Joseph said.

Several UFCW Local 7 presidents who served in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s said they did not receive vehicles as retirement gifts and had never heard of that being done.

Duran and Kania declined interviews through a union spokeswoman."

I won't discuss the union here as I received some advice not to. Click on the link to lean more about Ernie and company. All I will say is that it makes my blood boil.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow December 8, 2009

Only one good picture of Callie. She was too busy running as fast as she could to kick up as much snow as possible. She loves this stuff

There's a car under there somewhere!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let it Snow

"The city of Grand Junction is under an accident alert this afternoon, as accident reports are piling up due to the continued snowfall and slick roads.

The alert means drivers involved in non-injury crashes within city limits should move their vehicles off the road, exchange information with the other driver and file an accident report within 48 hours. Grand Junction police will still respond to accidents involving injuries, suspected intoxication and hit-and-run.

Multiple accidents have been reported across Mesa County and the Grand Valley in the last hour, including rollover crashes on Broadway on the Redlands and on Interstate 70 just on the other side of the Utah state line. Accidents have also been reported on the Fifth Street Bridge and at U.S. Highway 6&50 and 23 Road. No serious injuries have been reported so far, although the southbound lanes of the Fifth Street Bridge are currently closed.

Grand Junction is under a winter storm warning, effective until Tuesday evening. Snow that began falling in the valley this afternoon is expected to intensify tonight and carry over into Tuesday morning. Forecasts are calling for up to 8 inches in the valley."

We haven't had snow like this in a few years. It's been great! I can't wait to see the canyons in the spring...tons of water for Callie to dive in...what a blast!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Advice

Upon some good advice I have deleted all references to my issues with work. It will not be discussed here any longer. I doubt it was job threatening. I didn't say anything bad about my company, my issues are with the union alone. However, this person is right, it is better to err on the side of caution as it is likely we no longer live in a democracy, we just think we do. The voting will be over in a couple of weeks, and I doubt my insane rantings will have much effect. I prefer to focus on other things at this time. I want to get back to my writing and have work be the means to give me time for that. Thank you to the person who suggested I protect myself. You are right and I understand more than ever how cruel and unfair this world can be, especially to a lowly useless grocery store worker.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm sorry, I had to chuckle

MSNBC: MELBOURNE, Australia - An Australian man was in stable condition Monday after being slashed across the abdomen and face by a kangaroo that was holding his dog underwater.

Chris Rickard, 49, said he was walking his blue heeler, Rocky, on Sunday morning when they surprised a sleeping kangaroo in Arthur's Creek northeast of Melbourne. The dog chased the animal into a pond but it then turned and pinned the pet underwater.

When Rickard tried to pull his dog free, the kangaroo turned on him, attacking with its hind legs and tearing a deep gash into his abdomen and across his face.

'I thought I might take a hit or two dragging the dog out from under his grip, but I didn't expect him to actually attack me,' Rickard told The Herald Sun newspaper. 'It was a shock at the start because it was a kangaroo, about 5 feet high, they don't go around killing people.'

Kangaroos rarely attack humans but will fight if they feel threatened.

Dogs often chase kangaroos, which have been known to lead the pets into water and then pin them underwater as a means of defense.

Rickard said he ended the attack by elbowing the kangaroo in the throat, adding Rocky was 'half-drowned' when he pulled him from the water."

I know the guy almost lost his life and the dog came very close to the great beyond, but I had to chuckle. I was thinking as I was reading this the Kangroo was saying, "I'll show you!" It did.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I can see how this happens...everyone is grasping for the magic wand "SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — Fortune-tellers, tarot card readers and psychics are reporting an uptick in business during the current economic downturn as people look for guidance, employment advice and a window into their personal economic future.

In the past, the majority of customers flocked to psychics for advice on their relationships and love lives, but the questions today revolve mostly around finding a job and money. Psychics at the Psychic Eye Bookshop in Sherman Oaks say their business is being driven by fear today about the economy and their clients' financial security.

And while many might view astrology or fortune telling as a luxury service, many medims say their business is holding steady and — and in some cases doing even better — as people look for guidance in the difficult economic times.

I have always read my horoscope, more as entertainment than anything else. One thing I have gotten from those readings is a way to behave. The wording always reminds me to treat others with kindness, compassion and respect (I can do that very easily in my sobriety). It is good advice, especially now. People have become insanely rude and self-centered. I chuckle at my horoscopes most of the time because they tell me I'll be lucky in love (Ha! never have been yet), I'll make a lot of money (still holding out hope for that one), and that everyone around me will be kind (see above). I understand the grasping for answers in uncertain times, but the reality is that when people are broke, paying a psychic only makes them more broke. We happen to simply be in a horrible economic situation, and it is going to take a long time to recover from, there is no simple or psychic answer. I hate to be such a pessimist, but our country is a mess, no astrologer, psychic, soothsayer, or spoon bender can get us out of this one (by the way, neither can the democrats).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Callie then and now

Because we are on the second day of writing for the NaNo contest and because I'm procrastinating, I thought I'd post some pictures of Callie. It actually got brought up because a friend of mine was looking at my photo album on Facebook and commented on a picture I took of Callie at Fruita Reservoir. He liked it a lot, and since he's a professional photographer that actually meant a great deal to me.

This is the picture that John said he thought was great. I think I agree. Looking it you can see the detailed muscle definition on her body and the height of the picture is correct and has a good solid backdrop. I like it. I printed and put it in a frame on my desk.

Callie when she was new to my life. I can't believe how little she was and how much she's grown.

A picture of Callie this morning. How did I get her to pose like that? I was eating a sandwich.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sneaking up on it

We are almost there. The November NaNoWriMo challenge. 50,000 words in thirty days! I'm starting to get nervous and beginning to realize I'm running out of time. I want to submit some shorts to Writer's Digest that are due December 1st. Because NaNo is coming up, I need to finish those stories now because in November there simply won't be time! Oh! Such problems to have. Man do I feel lucky! Me thinks I soon will feel very tired...better rest up! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why I love hunting season

Two men face charges after an apparent alcohol-fueled exchange of gunfire stirred several hunting camps in White River National Forest.

Joshua Hall, 24, of Burlington and Kalob Ludwig, 19, of Carey, Ohio, were booked into Rio Blanco County Jail on suspicion of weapons-related charges after authorities were called just after 3 a.m. Sunday on a report of multiple shots fired at a campsite off Forest Service Road 240, near Sterry Lake.

“We had about a half-dozen 911 cell phone calls from other campsites of anywhere from 12 to 20 shots fired,” said Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Michael Joos.

According to Joos, Hall allegedly fired at least nine shots from two handguns into a campfire. The shots “alarmed” three others in the same campground who had been sleeping, according to a news release.

Ludwig, one of the sleeping campers, emerged from his tent with a 30.06 rifle and allegedly fired a shot into the ground in the direction of Hall’s feet, Joos said. Hall was standing next to his girlfriend at the time. Nobody was injured.

Hall was believed to be intoxicated at the time.

He figured he’d be funny,” Joos said of Hall’s initial blasts.

Hall was booked on suspicion of prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Ludwig was booked on suspicion of reckless endangerment. Joos said both men were released after posting bond.

Several Rio Blanco deputies, along with Colorado Division of Wildlife officers, responded to the scene. The incident happened on the first night of rifle hunting season; Hall and Ludwig were part of a group of five hunters who had camped for the night.

“It’s going to be a banner year, I’m sure,” Joos said.

Inbred rednecks running all over the mountains with guns and booze. I look so forward to this crap. I can't believe how many of them can't put a complete sentence together, yet are allowed to carry a loaded weapon and drink. The worst part of this is, these assholes are probably back at their campsites ready to go shoot at anything that moves this morning. And might get drunk again tonight! Love it! It is a shame they only shoot deer, elk and bear. It would be great if they shot each other. Make the world safer, one less idiot at a time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cybercriminals are targeting Facebook and e-mail users by pretending they are friends or relatives in desperate need of money. And they're doing it by tricking people into unwittingly revealing their e-mail logins and passwords. NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates.

I didn't have this happen to me yet, but I did have someone send an email saying they wanted to add me as a friend. I didn't recognize the name and didn't respond. Lucky for me, I know who my friends are. If on Facebook, you can reject a request to from someone to be added as a friend. I've been finding it a great way to keep in touch with several people, many of whom I haven't seen in years! One, Dominic, who I've been pen pals with for almost 15 years, and have never met! I swear I'm going to London someday before we both keel...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Ribbon

I talked mom into hiking the Ribbon with me yesterday. It was probably more than she should be doing right now, but she was trooper. One way is 3.1 miles from top to bottom. It starts on a massive rock and follows rock almost down the whole in a "Ribbon" pattern. The Ribbon is open to hikers and is a black diamond mountain bike trail. We didn't run into anyone, but it looks as if the trail is well used. It is a beautiful hike that has panoramic views of the valley from almost any vantage point along the trail. I would hike it again, but I won't go alone. There are some places that really require a second person there, if for no other reason than to call 911 if you get hurt (Callie can't dial a phone). It's actually not that bad, but it was tougher than I thought. I think we had a good time, I know for sure Callie did. We're both pretty tired this morning, so lazing around until I have to go to work. I'm glad I did this hike. It's not on my list of 100 things to do before I die, but it will have to do. I'm not sure I'll get anywhere close to doing the things on my list. Life never seems to work that way for me, I usually get what I don't want, so I keep my dreams small these days. This is a suitable substitute, I guess.

Looking back up the trail. The trail is actually carved into the rock and likely formed naturally by water run off.

Callie playing in the sand. She just loves sand.

Grand Junction in the background. The hill in the front is actually where the Eagle's Wing trail is. Callie and I run up that trail most everyday. The Ribbon trail ends at the bottom of that cliff about in the middle.

The Valley with Mt. Garfield in the distance. Now there is one challenging hike. Callie and I may do it someday. I've done most of it, but didn't' make it to the top. I'll try for the top next time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thought for the day

For years I've made my life way too complicated. This morning I was thinking of how I've simplified it, and how it works so much better.

These are my life requirements at this time:

Vanilla creamer with my coffee, a good book in a warm bed on a cold night, and a daily walk with Callie. If I keep focused on these three things the rest of my day goes so much better. As frustrated as I can get sometimes with my situation, I can always back it up and do one of these three things to recenter and remind myself of what's important. I have a job, my family and a few friends. Bills are paid, credit is being rebuilt and my sobriety is allowing me to have a life. I have to remember things are as they should be and that is just fine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall on the Mesa

Callie, Dana and I went up to the Mesa to check out the fall colors since color Sunday was last week. We weren't terribly impressed, but think it is a little early yet. We traveled Land's End Road instead of I-70 just for a change of scenery. I got some pretty good pictures, I think.

If you look at the front of the picture there is a chipmunk trying to get me to give him/her a peanut.

Looking back down Land's End Road. The road is dirt and loaded with switchbacks.

Some colors are starting to change, but it is still a little early.

In the distance is Grand Junction. Pretty cool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Callie's Ears

Mom and I hiked up at Mica Mine yesterday. Mom got some good photos of the area and Callie's ears.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Callie and Nicholas

Nicholas has been with us for a few months now. Grandma has quit asking about him, so we're guessing she has forgotten him. More and more it is only things burned into her long term memory that she wants to talk about. She has become comfortable at Manty Heights. Mom bought her a comfortable chair, and the roommate she complained about unendingly she has made peace with and become somewhat protective of because Maybel is completely incapacitated by her Dementia. Everyone here has adjusted well. I was frustrated because the first few days with Nicholas were incredibly hard. He was so used to being the only pet and having complete run of the house. But that was only the first few days. Since then he has been a joy. He has shown affection to me, tolerates Callie and he and Abbie have claimed their respective corners and rarely tangle anymore.

Nicholas has taken over Callie's kennel. She rarely uses it anymore and he finds it a great private place to nap. Callie is content with the middle of the floor and a chewy to bide her time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I just got back from a day in Ouray. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the country and that it's only two hours away to pure serenity. I've been on vacation this week and haven't done much other than hike around here because I'm working on a writing project that has to be submitted December 1st. It has gone well and so I took today to go up and soak myself in the hot springs and wander around one of my favorite towns. They call Ouray the Swiss Alps of the United States. It is easy to see why. Ouray is simply spectacular. Leaving Grand Junction, the San Juans are impressive from a distance. As I got closer to Ouray and the middle of the San Juans they became even more awe inspiring. Pretty soon those amazing mountains were wrapping themselves around me inviting me in. I love climbing to a higher altitude. There is something about thinner air that just relaxes me. I went directly to the pool and floated for about an hour looking all around me at the high mountain peaks. When I was done decompressing in the pools I wandered around town for a while. Went to the Backstreet Bagel company and had a bagel sandwich, the bookstore (of course) and a coffee shop for a warm drink. It was overcast and chilly there today and it rained while I was in the pools. Perfect weather to be in a hot spring frame of mind. I've been pretty content with this vacation. I've gotten done what I want to get done and had some time to get out of town. Tomorrow I'm off to Cedaredge to play golf with Mom and Dad. Then I have three more days to unwind before I hit the grind again. It has been so necessary and so worth it. I'll be glad to get back to work feeling rested and ready to go again for the fall.

Monday, August 31, 2009

California Wildfires

Callie and I went up to Bang's Canyon per usual. There is a short hike I like to take when I'm overtired and haven't slept much, which was the case this morning. As we hiked up the hill to the first meadow on this terrific trail I saw two hummingbirds flying around. They looked like they were thinking of making a nest together and lay some hummingbird sweet. We came around the first bend where the trail heads back down and we can usually have a spectacular view of the entire valley from the Mesa, Mt. Garfield, the Bookcliffs...all the way to Utah. I love looking down at the valley from that vantage point and I feel so lucky I live in such a beautiful place. Today the sky was filled with smoke so thick that I couldn't see the Bookcliffs or the Utah border. Mt. Garfield and the Mesa were masked by a thin haze and I could see the smoke settling down over the city. I hope those in California suffering through this disaster see some relief very soon, and I'm sorry we've already lost two firefighters.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I wonder if she'll be open to a second date

FERNDALE, Michigan - A first date went from bad to worse when a man skipped out on the restaurant bill, then stole his date's car, police said.

Police say 23-year-old Terrance Dejuan McCoy had dinner with a woman April 24 at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. The woman said the two met a week earlier at a Detroit casino and she knew McCoy only as "Chris."

And I thought I had met some really lousy men!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living in the past can be a good thing

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—With the help of a $250,000 reward, the founder of the Papa John's pizza chain has finally reunited with the muscle car he sold years ago to help keep his family's business afloat.

John Schnatter sold the gold-and-black 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for $2,800 in 1983. The money helped save his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Ind., and he used the rest to start what would become a worldwide pizza business.

I loved this story. If I could, I would find my Karmen Ghia too. It was my favorite car, first cars are always the best. I still managed to wreck it twice before Dad sold it, but it was cute and fun to drive when I wasn't running into other cars. :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


There are more than 300 million of us in the United States, and sometimes it seems like we're all friends on Facebook. But the sad truth is that Americans are lonelier than ever. Between 1985 and 2004, the number of people who said there was no one with whom they discussed important matters tripled, to 25 percent, according to Duke University researchers. Unfortunately, as a new study linking women to increased risk of heart disease shows, all this loneliness can be detrimental to our health.

This is the first paragraph in a Newsweek article I read this morning. The whole article spoke to me. This is the core of my problem. And it has been like this for years. In or out of romantic relationships, surrounded by friends, working with people on a daily basis. I am intensely lonely. I know part of what's happening this minute is an attempt at total redefinition of myself in sobriety. But above that, I'm in my mid-40's with no direction, no passion for any subject, no real career that interests me, no love relationship and no one I can turn to for support. I am surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and customers and I have never felt so lost and alone in my life. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about finding a safe harbor to navigate from. And I still believe I have found that safe harbor. What I didn't know was how comfortable I would get in that harbor and then how it would leave me completely empty. When my life was full of drama and alcohol and transient relationships there was at least some activity happening, whether good or bad. Now, as much I love my sobriety, it is so different. I feel so happy that I am sober, and I will go to any lengths to maintain my sobriety, but this overwhelming feeling of heaviness and emptiness and I am on my own forever is strong and suffocating. I guess I hope that if I talk about it here and other places, it will pass, I will find my compass. My purpose and life will have meaning and that meaning will take away the intense sadness I feel. I hope.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Impressive photography

I was browsing the best pictures of the last decade on There are some incredible pictures that capture some major events that have taken place. The Twin Towers, Iraq, Albania, etc. This picture struck me the most. I don't condone fighting, but I have to say, this is some seriously impressive photography. These squirrels in a campground in Namibia are duking it out over camp food.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Callie girl

I haven't posted any pictures of Callie in a while and was downloading some pictures this morning after our hike. We've been hiking fools this summer, running all over Bang's Canyon pretty much on a daily basis. It's good for her, re-centers me and gets everyone some good exhausting exercise. We did go up to Glade Park once with Dana and did the Turkey Flats trail. That was great! Once I quit obsessing about what happens if we run into a Bear, I had quite a nice time. We didn't see any Bears, but we did see one dear and lots of trees and flowers.

She's so cute. This is what she looks like after a long hike and she's tired.

Playing with Gauge. Miles and Gauge have moved to a house, so Callie is missing her friend. They used to love to play tug of war with a huge rope Gauge has.

Turkey Flats Trail. Miles and miles of wilderness and beauty. Dana liked this hike a lot because the trail was smooth and relatively flat. There were still some challenges since we were at about 9000 feet above sea level.

There's a dog in that pond. We love taking advantage of hikes after the rain. Small pools form in the canyons, the water is cool and Callie dives right in!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now for the good news

Believe in miracles and good deeds?

Best Friends trainer John Garcia, who was on Larry King Tuesday night with one of the dogs, Georgia, talked about their rehab with us before going on the TV show. "They're great dogs. We're setting them up for success," he says.

John Garcia gives Georgia a hug at Best Friends animal sanctuary north of Kanab, Utah. Her teeth were pulled out all together, probably to keep her from attacking while she was bred to produce litter after litter.

Best Friends, the largest no kill animal sanctuary in the USA, took 22 of the pit bulls in January 2008 when other groups called for their destruction and said they could not be rehabilitated. Garcia says all but two of the pit bulls will be sent to families eventually. Halle recently was adopted and Handsome Dan just went to a foster home. Only Meryl and Lucas will stay at Best Friends for the rest of their lives -- and that's due to court orders, Garcia says, more than anything else because they were prize fighters.

I watched Michael Vick's interview on 60-Minutes. There are skeptics out there who believe he is giving lip service to his contrition. Philadelphia generally is not happy that the Eagles signed him. I think that his celebrity status can help educate children about the brutality of dog fighting specifically, and maybe eventually reduce the numbers. Can he help end it? I doubt it. Human beings for some sick reason love bloodsport, whether human or animal. We are the only species that participate and encourage this destructive behavior. Michael Vick did appear humbled by what happened to him. When asked about losing his $130 million dollar contract and endless endorsements he stated, "I deserved it." He now has a tremendous responsibility, burden, and opportunity. I hope he is up to the task. As for the truth of what he feels, he is the only person who knows what is inside his head, and time will tell if he is committed to the job before him. If he is not committed, it will show, and it will show very soon. As for the dogs, they have done an incredible job of showing their tenacity and willingness to change, ability to adapt and perform amazing acts of forgiveness and kindness. Human beings should take a hard look at themselves and be so tough in the face of adversity.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drugs were at the bottom of a midday shooting at the intersection of Fairfax and Forest streets in Thornton that left the victim hospitalized and three men in police custody, police say.

The 18-year-old male victim was taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening after several neighbors reported hearing gunshots at 12:33 p.m.

The victim was standing near his truck at the intersection when a group of people pulled up in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle, said Matt Barnes, spokesman for the Thornton Police Department.

A passenger allegedly jumped out of SUV and opened fire, hitting the victim in the left wrist and upper right arm. The injured man then ran to his home nearby at 12757 Fairfax Street, where police discovered him.

This is a subdivision where my ex-husband and I had a house built. It looks as though this crime was committed less than a block from where we used to live. I remember reading years ago that new housing then would be the slums of tomorrow. I guess tomorrow is here. It's too bad. I liked that neighborhood and the house we lived in, but I know with the economy, foreclosures, etc., that it was only a matter of time before the virus spread.

Waste of taxpayer money, again and again

More than 200 peace officers helped cover multiple events in the county related to the first family’s nearly three-hour stop in the Grand Valley Saturday.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Junction Police Department, Grand Junction Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol, Bureau of Land Management and the Clifton Fire Department helped U.S. Secret Service agents keep an eye on events surrounding President Barack Obama’s visit.

The police department spent some $3,000 to $5,000 in overtime pay to assist the Secret Service, with 75 employees, including officers, dispatchers and police service technicians. The Sheriff’s Office estimates it cost $5,000 to $10,000 to assign 71 employees to cover multiple events Saturday. Each department will pay the amount required to provide assistance.

“We consider events like this to be an agency assist,” said Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey. “The Secret Service is one of our federal law enforcement partners and they can not fulfill their missions without local law enforcement. We are pleased and proud to be able to assist them in their mission today.”

This doesn't include the cost of the secret service, who was put up at the Hampton Inn. I can't imagine they got much of a group discount rate from the owners here. Other costs: Fueling the motorcade that runs through all the towns he visits, fueling Air Force One, or the helicopter that brings him in and out of the venue, cost of set up and take down of the venue, etc., etc. This doesn't come out the "departments". This is our pockets. I don't make a lot money (less than $40k a year), I contribute the max amount to my 401(k) to defer taxes, and last year I still owed the feds. I appreciate their concern over spending more and more and more for nothing, nothing, nothing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Future

I'm thinking about going back to school, trying to figure out how to fund it and how to make ends meet while I study. I know where I want to go and what I want to do. I simply can't figure out the money part. I used to be so good at making decisions and making things happen. I haven't been able to do that lately. My sense of security in my abilities to have life work out was shaken to the core and I cant' seem to get my strength back. I used to just make stuff happen. I would set a goal, make decisions and it would all fall in place, and I never worried. Things always seemed to work out, even when I wasn't entirely sober. If I took the leap of faith, things fell into place. Now, not so much. Life just doesn't seem to work. I'm scared shitless to make a wrong move, I have nothing to fall back on now. I used to be able to believe in life and the universe and me. I'm beginning to not believe in anything anymore. And I hate that. I've always been optomistic, brave, forward thinking, ready for any and all action and really out there going for it. Now I don't. I go to work, go to meetings, pay the bills, hike with Callie and sometimes friends, sleep a lot, cry a lot, and wish it had been so different. My world has gotten so small, so much lost. I always wanted so much more for my much more. I've never been a negative fatalist by nature, but so many things have happened that have dampened my view of my life and it's purpose and meaning and ending. What will I have contributed to this world after I am gone? It feels like it has been nothing but wasted space. I hate that I think like that. It makes me so sad.

We'll See

In a Tuesday morning appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike In The Morning, former NFL coach Tony Dungy talked about the interest in quarterback Mike Vick.

Said Dungy: "I think something's gonna happen this week." Dungy also explained that his comments from Sunday night's Hall of Fame game broadcast on NBC regarding the level of interest in Vick arises from the fact that a dozen NFL coaches have called Dungy for input on Vick.

Dungy said that Vick needs to "get with a football family," and that the sooner it happens, the better off Vick will be.

We agree.

If Vick had been with a team as of last week, we might not have seen his "interview" last weekend with Young Jeezy, which doesn't project the kind of change that people are looking for from Vick.As we explained yesterday, some of the teams that have said they aren't interested in Vick are actually pursuing him. We heard five teams are currently after him; Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that "at least five teams" are interested.

I guess I am going to be surprised. I won't be surprised until the ink is dry on a new contract. Apparently this "Interview" did not show Vick in a favorable light. I tried to view it and it has been removed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beyond ridiculous

NEW YORK - A New York City woman who says she can't find a job is suing the college where she earned a bachelor's degree.

Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court. The 27-year-old is seeking the $70,000 she spent on tuition.

Thompson says she's been unable to find gainful employment since she received her information technology degree in April.

This is simply ridiculous. When Information Technology started to collapse in 2000 I began thinking of a career transition (I was working as a software/hardware engineer recruiter). I went back to school and obtained a paralegal certificate. I attended a school certified by the American Bar Association to increase my credibility with potential employers. The school I went to advertised that they helped with job placement. However, I knew that it was all up to me to find a job suited toward my skills and impress potential employers with my abilities. The economy was in a serious downturn then, not as bad as now, but it was very slow. I found jobs on my own because of basic persistence. In the beginning I had to take contract hourly positions and finally in a year found something with more stability. I think people are expecting the world to be rosy if they get a degree, any degree, from any school. That simply isn't how it works. People need to take what jobs are there and work their up or into a position that they desire. Jobs don't get handed to people on a silver platter because they have a piece of paper. Suing the school because of her inability to find work shows she lacks personal responsibility. Employers will look at that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

School Supply Season

My favorite time of year. I'm easing back on the purchase of school supplies this year. I have plenty of supplies to move forward with my current writing projects, but there is something about freshly sharpened pencils, new model pens and fresh highlighters in millions of colors that gets my blood pumping! At work, we have to begin to work around school schedules and two of the other managers were quite frustrated about it yesterday. I pointed out that at least we have kids working for us who have goals and are in school, rather than drop-outs with no ambition but to find an employer to take advantage of and abuse, and then quit and end up on welfare for the rest of their natural lives. I may join some of them in school again in the spring...hopefully.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Who are Mutt and Jeff?

Callie and I were walking through the park this morning and saw a couple walking their dogs. One dog was enormous, the other an itty-bitty little thing that came up to the other dogs ankles. I immediately thought of Mutt and Jeff, and then realized I have been using that phrase forever and don't really know who Mutt and Jeff are. Now I do, and discover that as with many facts about life, I have been using it as a misnomer. I probably will continue to do so.

A comic strip created in 1907 by Bud Fisher.

Augustus Mutt is a tall, dimwitted racetrack character, a fanatic horse-race gambler, who is motivated by greed. Mutt has a wife and a son, Cicero, whose cat starred in the Mutt and Jeff spin-off strip Cicero's Cat. Mutt encounters the half-pint Jeff, an inmate of an insane asylum, who shares the passion for horseracing. They appeared in more and more strips together until the strip abandoned the horse-race theme and concentrated on Mutt's other get-rich-quick schemes, with Jeff as a sometimes unwilling partner.

The original inspiration for the character of "Jeff" was Jacques "Jakie" Fehr, a tiny (4'8") irascible Swiss-born shopkeeper in the village of Occidental, California. One summer day in 1908, Fisher, a member of San Francisco's Bohemian Club, was riding the North Pacific Coast narrow-gauge railway passenger train northbound to the Bohemian Grove, the club's summer campsite. During a stop in Occidental, Fisher got off the train to stretch his legs and observed the diminutive walrus-moustached Fehr in heated altercation with the tall and lanky "candy butcher," who sold refreshments on the train and also distributed newspapers to shops in towns along the train route. The comic potential in this scene prompted Fisher to add the character of Jeff to his A. Mutt comic strip, with great success.

I think about a lot of things as Callie and I are walking our route in the morning. The other thing that came to mind was the word dogfight. Is it dog fight or dogfight? I have noticed several articles have used it both ways, as have I. According to my research, both uses are correct. Regardless, my research also showed that while illegal across the globe, and a felony in the United States in particular, it seems to be a widespread "sport". What I hope through Michael Vick as a public example, this horrendous criminal activity will eventually come to an end. Whether you use the term as one or two words, it is cruel, unnecessary and serves no purpose for the betterment of humanity.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

UFL may be the only hope

Another team turned down the opportunity to sign reinstated NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn told the media his team wouldn't sign Vick "at this juncture."

Zorn says he wishes Vick the best and is sure the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback will return to the NFL.

The Redskins join a long list of teams — including the New York Giants, Jets and Dallas Cowboys — that have said they don't want Vick after he served 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.

This may be how it goes for him. Teams quietly passing because they are "staffed up". I'm not so sure I agree with Zorn that Vick will return to the NFL. He may have to go to the UFL. I only hope that he keeps his commitment to work with the Humane Society regardless of where he lands his next paycheck.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm in a reflective mood today. Twenty years ago today was my wedding. Thirteen years ago today my husband said he was leaving. It has taken this long to figure out that I felt that I was cast adrift then and I didn't find a safe harbor until now. I was looking in all the wrong places: Other relationships, work, exercise, over-eating, drinking for years on end...surprise! None of them ever worked. How many times has this story been told before? Hundreds of millions, and I find I am again simply one of the masses who has survived abandonment and all that follows: Searching, turmoil, loss of self-esteem, feelings of betrayal, falling into addiction to mask the pain, and on and on, spinning out of control. The addiction was my ultimate downfall. I let everyone down, especially myself, and now I start from the beginning again, because I lost absolutely everything. I heard once that your life is a do-over. I can feel that now. I have set up my safe camp in this safe harbor and nested myself into a feeling of security (maybe false, but it works for me) that helps me move out into the world and explore this new life on my own. The good news about a do-over is that I have the wisdom of years and experience behind me, so that I have the ability to do it over better this time. But it will never be how I envisioned my life from the beginning, and that makes me incredibly sad on days like today. There will likely never be another relationship, there will certainly be no children. There are friends and there is work and those keep me going. I write and it helps me feel as if I have some purpose, I just don't know what yet. I am considering a career path that will give me something to do in the meantime and help me feel like I am more than wasted space on this planet. Ultimately, I feel safe in myself now. I have two years sobriety and trust myself again and know that I can count on myself again to make good choices regarding who to trust, who to keep at arms length, and mostly how to feel something besides anger and self-loathing. In looking at my life, there was never anything that caught my attention and held it as much as the thought of building a life with someone. I looked so forward to it, and then it failed. I do like living alone, I can do whatever I want. But I miss the experience of having someone to share life with. It would have been fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt

NEW YORK - Frank McCourt, the beloved raconteur and former public school teacher who enjoyed post-retirement fame as the author of "Angela's Ashes," the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of woe about his impoverished Irish childhood, died Sunday of cancer at age 78.

I read Teacher Man about a month ago. All his years of teaching creative writing in New York City the end, only one student challenged him to write a book. The last line of Teacher Man:

"Maybe I will."

I'm glad he did.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The sweet corn harvest began in Olathe on Wednesday, which means one of the Western Slope's sweetest delicacies will soon be in farmers markets and grocery vegetable bins in Colorado, and in markets as far away as Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Washington.

This year's harvest is sizing up to about 550,000 cases of corn that each contain 48 ears, said John Harold, owner of the 1,300-acre Tuxedo Corn Co. farm. He has been been growing corn for 28 years.

He said this year's quirky weather moved the harvest up two days earlier than last year.

Hard to believe how fast the summer has gone. People mark their calenders for the time we can relish Olathe sweet corn. Yummo! Of course it is cause for celebration, however, as a store manager, I am aware that we must be very careful. Customers have been known to pummel each other for the privilege of being first to pick their corn :-)!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mt. Garfield

This is a dust cloud created by a rock slide on Mt. Garfield this morning. Callie and I went hiking later in the day and didn't notice any difference on Garfield, but I wasn't looking for it. The county isn't saying it was an Earthquake, so it was probably some wild mustangs or mountain goats frolicking in the cool morning air...sure.

One by one they will fall (I hope)

(CNN) -- An investigation into dogfighting across five states has resulted in federal charges against 19 people, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

More than 350 dogs were seized after an investigation into dogfighting across five states.

Indictments unsealed in Missouri, Illinois and Texas detailed gambling rings in which owners bred and trained dogs to fight, then killed them if the animals were badly wounded or failed to perform as desired, according to separate Justice Department statements issued in Missouri and Illinois.

Some of the suspects allegedly served as referees for fights, while others were accused of being "sponge-men" who wiped off blood and cooled down dogs during matches, one of the statements said.

More than 350 dogs, primarily pit bull terriers, were seized in a series of coordinated raids on various dogfighting venues, it said.

The statement named seven suspects from Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa who will face a variety of charges including conspiracy, illegal gambling and bookmaking. Each of the five counts in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment without parole and a maximum fine of $250,000, the statement said.

"The indictment alleges that the defendants denied the dogs adequate and humane medical treatment of wounds and injuries suffered as a result of the dogfights," the statement said. "The defendants routinely and inhumanely destroyed dogs that became severely injured as a result of a fight, the indictment says, by shooting the dogs in the head, then throwing the carcasses into the river or burning them in a barrel."

According to the statement, one of the accused works for a state school for the handicapped, another is a registered nurse at a Missouri community hospital and a third works for a school district.

Another Justice Department statement identified five East St. Louis, Illinois, residents who were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit unlawful activities of dogfighting.

What these people have done makes my blood boil. While I appreciate the work of law enforcement who has worked so hard to take these organizations down, I feel these people don't deserve to be on this planet. It takes a seriously sick individual to conduct this type of "business". Before I get judged, how would you like to be a gladiator for your own life and then lose it because you aren't strong enough? And just because this has gone on for centuries doesn't make it right and doesn't mean that it shouldn't be brought to an end. Thank goodness George W. had the strength to sign a bill that made the laws harder on these individuals.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We Had Him

I watched the Michael Jackson memorial this morning since I had to work yesterday and missed it. I found it truly moving. No one will know the truth about the controversy in Michael's personal life except the people who were there, but plenty of people feel compelled to express a negative opinion simply in an attempt to lower him to their level, only making themselves look ignorant in the process. I believe he was innocent, but a victim of his kindness and naivety and desire to help others. And he did help others.

One thing I didn't know about him is that he holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most charitable donations. I believe through his music and in his life he cared deeply about humanity and there were times it worked against him. Songs like "We Are the World" and "Man in the Mirror" don't come from self-serving, egotistical maniacs. Those songs come from a deep, compassionate and a caring soul, who I do hope we celebrate as Congress has promised to debate declaring June 25th Michael Jackson day.

Finally, I don't think he meant to kill himself. I think life had become overwhelming to him when charged with child molestation and he never recovered. I remember him saying in an interview after being acquitted that he would leave Neverland, that it was no longer a home for him. I remember the profound sadness in his eyes and voice; and thus he was cast adrift in this world seeking a safe harbor. He seems to have never found that safe place, but felt the financial pressure encircling him and needed to do something. I believe what the nutritionist nurse said that he just wanted to sleep; he was so tired. I understand that kind of exhaustion. Clearly, I've never felt pressure at his level, but I know not being able to sleep and medicating it inappropriately until the world collapses around me and I feel like I can't get up. There were days I didn't want to get up and had wished I was dead. I doubt he was ready to go, but Stevie Wonder was right, God needs him more. I hope in remembering him, we can remember to be kinder to each other and remember we are in this together.

I love Maya Angelou's poem about Michael Jackson (below). She has expressed so well (some parts omitted by me) I believe, what people feel. I do hope we remember him in a positive light. He gave so much, was such a genius, and a true gift from God to us.

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rough Canyon

In our constant meandering, Callie and I headed to Bangs Canyon again today and tried the Rough Canyon trail. Very quickly we discovered it is appropriately named. I explored for a while, but think I'll wait to explore further until I have another human companion with me who can dial a phone if we get in trouble. It was beautiful. There is no end to the beauty in that area. I love it more and more every time I go and see something new. I put new batteries in my camera and got some pretty decent pictures. Callie observing her kingdom is my favorite. It's really hard to get pictures of her because she moves so fast and so often. I frequently show pictures to my friends and say, "Callie was just in that spot when I took the picture!" She is a fun hiking buddy and seems to be thrilled every time we go someplace new. The wind was rustling the leaves a little today and she didn't quite know what to make of the noise, so she hid behind me now and then, and then when I determined all was well, she bounded off to check out the road ahead.

Queen Callie observing her kingdom.

The trail mostly winds through a dry river bed. There was occasional water for cooling off as we pondered the trail ahead.

I liked that rock to the left. It was near the trail head.

An overlook of Bangs Canyon from the road. I think it is simply spectacular.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Something to think about

A human being is a part of the whole called by us "the universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein

How do I break free of this prison? Who do I trust? Where do I go? The ego of my universe continues to contract because of fear of the unknown, as well as fear of the absolute. It has not brought contentment, but bred restlessness, yet I am struggling for the courage to break down the walls I have built around me and allow myself to fly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett loses her battle with Cancer at 62

There were several thoughts and reflections that passed through my mind as I read this headline. I remember I was in elementary school when Charlie's Angels was a big hit. My friends and I pretended we were Angels all the time. I had to play Kelly because I have dark hair. I always wanted to be Jill, but that role went to my cousin, ironically named Jill, because she was blond. I remember carrying my badge and toy gun to school (that was when you still could) and Norman went through my purse that I especially bought for the role. He teased me incessantly! He also got into a lot of trouble for snooping through my things! We dated for a short time in high school. He really was a sweetheart, just a boy, though. And I was just a girl wanting to be more than I was.

I also thought about a dear friend of the family, Katie, who lived on the boat with us. She lost her battle with breast cancer in 1992, she was not as old as Farrah when she died. Katie was in her early 40's. When her cancer was discovered it was too late to do much, and at the time there was not much known about how to treat breast cancer. As an RN and scientist, she gave herself to research at Bethesda and they learned some things through her time there. I like to think that treatment options are better today because of the small piece Katie played in research work.

The most important thing that came to mind in reading Farrah's story and looking at pictures and hearing other peoples thoughts was, we need to make sure our priorities in this life are straight. We really never know how much time we have on this planet and I hope we all live to the best of our ability. There is a certain amount of survival instinct necessary because we are animals, but also as thinking humans we must add a component of quality. Tell those we love that we love them, give them our time when we have none to give, share, explore, participate and live. As a recovering alcoholic, I like to think that I have a greater appreciation of what life has to offer from a quality standpoint because I missed so much of it in the selfishness of my addiction, and I have a lot of making up to do. Even though I didn't know her personally, my perception of Farrah Fawcett was that she lived life well and loved well and did something to change the world around her.

Bad deal for everyone

Denver - Safeway workers across the state have overwhelmingly rejected the grocery chain's counter-offer and re-authorized a strike first approved on May 8.

According to a statement late Wednesday from United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7, employees voted unanimously in most locations to reject Safeway's latest bid, because it did not provide "livable wages and a secure retirement," according to the statement.

No date has been set for a strike.

This is a bad deal for everyone involved. If Safeway strikes, Kroger employees are looking at the possibility of a lock out. It makes sense that the company has to protect itself. Safeway employees in the grand valley have been extremely disgruntled for a very long time, they have poor management and have been treated very badly by Safeway. The decision that Safeway made years ago to cater to the upper income public was a failure. That decision was made and then the economy changed. Kroger, on the other hand, made a decision to get as competitive as possible with Wal-Mart. Not an easy task given the union and requirements of the company. Kroger doesn't do the volume that Wal-Mart does, and this is a low margin, high volume business. But Kroger has made incredible strides, they have worked at it for five years.

I'm told this could have all been settled in February. A vote was called for raises, benefits and one showed up. So here we are. This is a scary proposition. In the store I work at, there is almost no one who wants to strike. Many of the workers in that store are single and some are single parents who can't afford this and are scared shitless now. Now we are in a no win situation with a horrible economy and no public support. It is a shame no one showed up to vote in February, we could have saved ourselves a lot of grief. If the company locks us out, I'm out along with everyone else even though I'm management. I'm not happy about any of it. I've been working hard to rebuild a life and am dependent on that paycheck to move forward. Sadly, the area that I live has few jobs to begin with, and if we are locked out, there will be even less. While I have more tangible skills than many of the people who work in these stores, I will be hard pressed to compete in an already tight job market, just like everyone else.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Cliff

By the time Grand Junction was three years old it had become apparent to its citizens that they needed a good coal supply if the town was to grow and prosper. Early in 1884 an experienced coal miner by the name of George W. Smith set out to locate a mine that would adequately supply the city’s needs. In a remote and unexplored canyon of the Book Cliffs twelve miles from town he found a huge body of coal. Smith and several other men developed the discovery into what became known as the Book Cliff Mine. Two years later another coal mine was opened a half a mile north of the Book Cliff coal mine; it was called the Grand Valley Mine. Both mines were purchased by William Thomas Carpenter in the summer of 1888 and under his Grand Valley Fuel Company they were improved and further developed. He built the Little Book Cliff Railway to serve the mines. A small community of miners took root near the mines and the U.S. post office established a branch there during June 1890--officially dubbing the settlement Carpenter, Colorado.

This is where a friend and very experienced hiker took Dana, Michael and me to visit today. It was quite a grueling hike. We walked up to the very top of the mine (I wasn't sure they would get me back down) and it was breathtaking. Carpenter is now a ghost town and shows little evidence of humanity trampling there except for the hiking trails. The trail follows directly the path of the Little Book Cliff Railway straight to the mine shaft and beyond. The town population at its peak was about 100 people and was a company town. I could see that living there was likely a tough experience, but today we got to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, my camera batteries died. But I think some of the pictures show the area pretty well.

The view from the bottom. Not bad at all!

The view from the top. We had to climb back down that! Yikes!

A culvert that was built to move water from a natural spring into the town. All the rocks were cut to make the bowed shape.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bangs Canyon

Callie and I have been exploring the hiking in Bangs Canyon pretty intently of late. We have had a nice cool spring/summer so far and have taken serious advantage of the weather. Today we explored the Tabegauche trail, a few days ago we hit the Little Park trail. Before that the Mica Mine and The Ribbon. From looking around the canyon and studying the map, I think we could explore for months and not cover all of the trails. I like it because Callie can go off leash and I get some exercise while being a lazy dog walker at the same time. The drive is at the most twenty minutes to the top. The hike we did today was ten minutes from the house and we hiked for 45 minutes. It was uphill all the way, so I feel good about the cardio benefit I received. I feel like one of the luckiest people on earth. We live in a beautiful area, with fantastic places to go and be and enjoy nature so close at hand, and I feel so grateful to have the ability and capacity to be able to take full advantage of what I have. This feels like the best time in my life, even though I really have no material possessions or monetary security, I have discovered they never brought me happiness (for one brief time, I had it all). What I have is my sobriety, and because of that I have a life worth living. I have the ability to earn a living that supports a life I treasure, and I love that I appreciate it and am able to enjoy what the world has given me as a result.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nicholas the House Monkey

Grandma has gotten pretty sick of late. It's been coming for a long time, but dementia has set in and we moved her to a nursing home yesterday. I now have Nicholas, her cat. She adopted him when he was three weeks old and his mom was chased off by the neighbors dog. Their attachment has been strong and this has been incredibly hard on him. There was a pretty horrific event that lead up to Grandma having to go to nursing care, and my Mom tells me that Nicholas knew that day something was very wrong. Now his whole life is upended and he's back to living with Abbie and now he deals with Callie on a daily basis. She's terrified of him (she doesn't know Grandma had him de-clawed). He's warming up slowly...very slowly. He makes me crazy because he is into everything. Especially anything on the kitchen counter, and I can't keep him off. Above anything else, pets on the counter make me nuts! We've had it out more than once, and all I can say is I'm grateful he doesn't have claws, he would have taken me out! I haven't decided if this is going to work over the long term, but I do know that even in Grandma's dementia she remembers him and asks about him, so the least I can do since she saved my life is try to save his, and if I can't make it work, maybe I can find a safe place for him, as she found for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dontcha just love rednecks

A Greeley family who allegedly pounced on the former girlfriend of their eldest son during a fist-swinging, hair-pulling tussle was rounded up early Monday after a 10-hour standoff and marijuana investigation at the family home, according to Greeley police.

The alleged victim, Christina Vanderclip, had driven by the home of the man variously described as her common-law husband or former boyfriend, Travis Schneller.

She stopped to talk to Schneller when she saw him at the house, according to Sgt. Joe Tymkowych, spokesman for the Greeley Police Department.

According to police reports, the 24-year-old Schneller struck Vanderclip and pulled her hair. He was soon joined by his mother, Kimberly Schneller, 47, who allegedly jumped on Vanderclip's back and also joined in the hair-pulling, said Tymkowych.

At that point, Travis' younger brother, Michael Schneller, 18, and father, Robert Schneller, 47, joined the melee. Michael allegedly struck Vanderclip and Robert allegedly choked her. Robert also allegedly tried to use a type of stunning device — which emits a blue arc — on Vanderclip but was unsuccessful, according to police.

A Vanderclip friend, who had been watching from the car, helped rescue Vanderclip, and they drove away and called police.

It was then, said Tymkowych, that the standoff at the house in the 2400 block of Sixth Street, began.

The Schnellers "would not open the door," said Tymkowych. "We knew they were in there."

At that point, Greeley police had to find a Weld County District judge to sign an arrest warrant. Using the warrant, police entered the home at 4 a.m. Monday — six hours after the incident began — and arrested the Schneller family.

While in the home, officers spotted a marijuana plant and related paraphernalia, said Tymkowych. They had to get a second warrant so they could seize the plant and paraphernalia.

Authorities completed their investigation at the home about 8 a.m. Monday, said Tymkowych.

Tymkowych said that Travis, Kimberly, Robert and Michael Schneller were all arrested for investigation of third-degree assault. Travis also was arrested for investigation of domestic violence.

"They had had an ongoing intimate relationship," said the police spokesman explaining the domestic-violence allegation. "She had lived at the residence with him."

Robert, the father, also was arrested for investigation of the attempted use of a stun device.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I went to Gunnison today for a writing seminar. It was a good, solid and productive day. I even had a minute to walk around Western State campus and take a couple of pictures.

Outside the conference hall where we had our classes.

Blue Mesa lake. The wind was blowing and I liked the view of the mountain with the white caps in the foreground.

I was gone for an extraordinarily long time today. I haven't been away from Callie for that long. Mom came and checked on her for me and let her out. I'm guessing that my mother is no longer talking to me. Here is the reason why:

This is a rug that Mom and Dad got me for my birthday. It's really pretty, don't you think? I know it was very expensive because mom and I had looked at it together. I distinctly said, "I have a dog, and an expensive rug is not a good idea."

This is why...I don't even know what to say. I gasped loudly, said Callie's name about a million times, she disappeared into her kennel. I laughed, and then I cried.

The guilty party. She knows her mug is getting posted to the world so everyone can see this is the number one contender for the Marley award!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mica Mine

I went with a friend on a hike to the Mica Mine in Bangs Canyon. It was the best hike I've been on. Even better than Devil's Canyon. There is plenty of water and shade and incredible canyon views. These are some pictures I took. I took a lot more than this, but am limited on posting options.

Balancing Rock

Mica on the trail. It was like walking on snow.

The view from the trailhead. The trail drops down into an amazing canyon full of lush trees and folige. There were seemingly millions of wild roses everywhere. This is a hike worth doing over and over.