Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interesting interview and so timely

A few days ago I added a link of a letter from Best Friends founder regarding Michael Vick and the state of his rehabilitated dogs.  Best Friends was very clear, Vick only made overtures to the dogs based on court order or in hopes of increasing his public personality.  Now he's talking about all of the things he's been accused of ignoring in the past.  Be willing to bet his publicist coached him about talking as he does in this interview.  It is unlikely that he really feels any of the things he's said.  Michael Vick really should be a non-issue at this point.  Maybe he will keep some inner city kids out of dog fighting, but he still lacks the credibility of the guys who came from the street and are now working towards the end of dog fighting in the inner city.  One of the federal attorneys on the Vick case said that they won't stop dog fighting, but they'll put a dent in it.  I still pray for the day when it ends. There are an awful lot of sociopaths involved in this heinous activity, and until they change their thinking, it will continue to be a serious fight. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is what we need - more discussion - less laws - more compassion - responsible people

Good article out of Ohio.  This shows that Best Friends continues the fight and is making progress.  Great job!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our first Christmas in our new house

Callie decorated the Christmas tree last night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Flu season

I was feeling fine yesterday.  Today, not so good.  I tried to get up and go to work, but my head has been hurting for three days and I have a fever now.  Callie and I took it easy today.  We had a big hike yesterday and she cut her paw on a rock.  It's healing well, but today we hung around town, much to her dislike.  It's been cold, and kids are in school, so the sick season has arrived.  I was feeling better for about a minute this afternoon.  Now my fever feels like it's back with a vengeance.  I have tomorrow off, so I hope that I start feeling better.  Things are changing at work, which isn't helping my immune system.  The new store is almost done and everyone is moving around, except me.  I know why, but I can't figure out what else to do right now.  I'm working on a story and hope to have it done soon and maybe out for review.  Sometimes I just wish I could sleep for a few days.  My body won't let me.  I get up, hike the dog, go to work, do some writing, try to stay off the pity pot.  Finally got a sponsor and worked the steps.  Someone in my group told me they felt enormous relief when they finished the steps.  I didn't feel that.  I felt exhausted.  The baggage gone.  I ran around for about a week looking for more baggage to carry.  Finally, I realized...there is no more baggage, now I get to redefine my life in terms of the present moment going forward.  But I spent so long lost, I don't know where to begin.  My sponsor says I have to allow myself to be.  I can explore whatever I want and create a life on purpose instead of letting things happen to me.  Make it a joy, not a job. It's a hard habit to break.  I'm used to things happening outside of me.  Looking at me was really hard, but worth it.  Now I get to do everything I wanted to do in the past, but I get to do it with a clear head and a clear conscience.  Maybe being sick is my bodies way of saying...awww!  I'm trying to take it easy on myself.  I thought for a long time that everything good that was going to happen has happened and it's too late to start anything new.  Today the thought went through my head that it's only to late to start something when I'm dead.  So I guess I better get started.  I'm glad I have Callie to make the journey with me.  She's a great friend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Good article out of Chicago

Chicago is also where there is an ex-gang member, Sean Moore, is working with inner city kids teaching them to be responsible, loving pit bull owners.  He does work few can.  I listened to him give an interview on NPR.  Because he came from the tough streets he has respect that people like Michael Vick can never get.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


As folks are out there celebrating Michael Vick's accomplishments on the field and looking to him as the possible MVP, let's remember the face of dog fighting.  I usually really like to celebrate the good news about pit bulls, but this showed up on my FB page last night.  Gypsy was found by the side of the road in North Carolina a number of years ago.  She is not a Vick dog, as has become urban myth.  The assessment is that she was used as a bait dog and then thrown on the side of the highway when the sociopaths were done with her.  She was picked up by a good Samaritan and taken to humanitarian doctors.  Although she had to undergo many surgery's and have a leg amputated, she was adopted out to a great human being who gave her a wonderful forever home, and I read she lived a full life.  Gypsy died last year.  Thank God there are good people out there who made the most of her ability to forgive and love.  Too bad there are people who would do this to an animal and think it's perfectly justified because "it's just a dog".  FYI,  other pits are not always what is used to train fighting dogs.  Your favorite and beloved pet could have been stolen.  These people are sick and methodical and they are out there despite our best efforts to ignore them and pretend they don't really exist.  Please don't close your eyes to this.  Please don't forget there are many innocent victims to human depravity, not all of them survive.  Just because it is a dog, in some ignorant minds, doesn't mean it ever deserves this.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Friends response to LA Times article

I want to work for Best Friends.  They continue to take the high road and are doing all the right things for all the right reasons.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great LA times column - can never be said enough

Let's hope Vick can't out run his past.  These types of stories need to be told.  Only then is there hope of ending exploitation and abuse.  I hope I live long enough to hear that dog fighting has become part of our embarrassing history.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Check out this website

The attached is Wallace's website.  I ran across it surfing the PBRC website.  Wallace is a national flying disc champion and a pit bull.  What a cool dog with a very cool family!  Roo Yori and his wife adopted Wallace from a shelter and have done amazing things with him.  The family has also adopted Hector from BAD RAP.  Hector was a Bad Newz Kennel dog rescued from the Vick fighting ring.  The more I learn, the more I'm disgusted that the NFL let Vick play again.  But Hector is in a safe place and the news is all good for him.  Hector is now a therapy dog.  I love these stories!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Obedience 101

Callie and I have completed basic obedience.  I got the thought one day out walking and she jumped on a lady who was hiking by herself.  Callie is very friendly and exuberant.  She loves everyone.  However, it dawned on me...finally...that unless I had better control of her, a day would come when she would scare someone.  It would escalate because of the way she looks, regardless of whether she's friendly or not.  So I signed up at "Angels in the Making" and work helped me out by making my schedule work with training.  I am grateful.  Callie tested 190 of a possible 200 points in obedience.  She didn't hold the wait/come command for a full minute.  At about 40 seconds she got bored and started walking towards me.  No matter, I am proud as can be of my girl.  She loved training and the interaction with other dogs, as always.  One dog there is a teeny-tiny chihuahua who was rescued from a puppy mill.  She had big problems with large dogs.  Callie brought her out of her shell and they had a fabulous time playing and working together!  What I love most is continuing to smash the pit bull stereotype of the killer dog.  I don't do anything nearly on the level of Bad Rap or Best Friends, or the many fabulous rescue groups on the front lines, but I believe that one by one, responsible pit owners can show the world these dogs are great pets, awesome companions and peaceful, loving dogs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kanab, UT

Welcome center at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Zion National Park

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was going through some old pictures, trying to clear out some memory on my hard drive.  I came across some good pictures that sum up how my life is through my animals.

This was Ozzie's last day.  I can tell from looking at the picture that I made the right choice to put him down.  His hips had given out and he was in a lot of pain.  He had been to hell and back with me.  I think because he knew I was okay, he could go.  This picture was taken with my neighbors dog right before I took him to the vet.  I had to lift him in the car, and it took two of us to carry him to the exam room.  I held him as he slipped away.  I do miss that dog.  He was a great friend.

Eight days later - Callie came into my life full throttle.  She hasn't eased up since!  What a ride!  I love all of her energy and unbridled enthusiasm for life and all it has to offer.  When I was going through the pictures, I cried looking at the pictures of the Great and Powerful Oz.  I started laughing out loud when I got to all the pictures of Callie.  Everyone should have a friend like this - who knows no bounds, and fears nothing!  A friend who hangs with you when your sick and runs with you when your healthy.  A friend who shows how great life can be and how fun it really is to be here no matter what you're doing.

Abbie has pretty much looked this way for two years.  I now sleep with one eye open.  She can't believe that I let this D-O-G (Callie) come home.  Even worse, I appear to take the dog away, but I keep bringing her back!  Who do I think runs this show?!

Last, but most certainly not least, is the Nicholas. He was grandma's cat.  She finally had to go to a nursing home.  She was instrumental in saving my life.  Since I could no longer help her, I saved her cat.  The ungrateful bastard walked into the house, put his paws behind his head and proceeded to tell us girls how it would be...he forgot...grandma had him declawed.  Once he became clear on his role, he has settled in nicely.  He loves to hang out in the backyard, now that we have a fence, and he loves to pretend he's the king of world when us girls aren't watching.  Otherwise, Nicholas is known as the "stalker".  He stalks everyone through the house so he doesn't miss any potential good happenings, but he tries to be quiet so we don't know he's there ready to pounce and run!

It's not much of a life, but its all mine.  Most days I'm pretty content with my little brood.  Other days I wish for more.  One of the things I know for sure...I am lucky to be here at all, so I must learn to live where I am and not worry about anything else.  It's all pretty good when snuggled up in bed and surrounded by my best friends.  They never let me forget that no matter what - they think I'm okay.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Lost Dogs

I think this book should be required reading for everyone.  The story Jim Gorant tells is so compelling.  Heart breaking and heart warming at the same time.  There is no blanket happy ending here.  Some of the dogs are doing well, some not, some have died.  He lays out the facts.  He shows the good, the bad and the ugly as it is, no punches pulled.  There are good people in this world.  The investigators who took this on. The feds who took this over.  They did the right thing for the right reasons.  The rescuers deserve to be supported and celebrated every single day.  They have taken the mindset of destroying all fighting dogs and turned it on its head, so to speak.  The result has been to evaluate dogs on their individual merits and personalities rather than clear the decks.  I hope that remains the effort.  Actually, I really hope dog fighting comes to a halt, but I fear it won't.  Mostly, I am more glad every single day that because I was able to look at these dogs and their journey, I made the right decision to keep Callie.  She got a lot of hugs and kisses as I was reading this book.  More than usual, but she deserves them all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The areas of re-evacuation include the Boulder Heights, Pine Brook Hills and Carriage Hills subdivisions, as well as homes on Olde Stage Road and Lee Hill Drive that were allowed back in at 10 a.m. on Thursday.  Residents in the areas of Sugarloaf, from Boulder Canyon to Sugar Court; Fourmile Canyon from Boulder Canyon to Poorman; Sunshine from Boulder Canyon to Poorman; and Lefthand, were possibly going to be allowed back in at 2 p.m., but that was cancelled.  Some residents are extremely upset by Pelle's decision, calling it a "broken promise." Pelle says the safety of the residents is the top priority, especially because there is no phone or electricity going to the homes at this time.  "Our ability to do an immediate notification in the middle of the night and get them out of there if the fire slips the lines is very limited, and I do not want people to burn in their houses in the middle of the night because we can't get to them or get a phone call to them," Pelle said.  The mandatory evacuations did not stop some residents from trying to get back to their property. Cmdr. Rick Brough of the Boulder County Emergency Management Office says one person was ticketed for trying to cross into the closed-off area.  Brough says after surveying 80 percent of the nearly 10-square-mile burn area, 169 homes have been destroyed in the fire. They say another 20 percent needs to be surveyed before they reach a final tally.  Authorities say there were no additional structures reported as burned down or damaged on Thursday.  Fire officials say 550 firefighters were currently working the blaze and an additional 160 firefighters arrived on Thursday to join in the fight.

Boulder Heights is where I grew up.  Sugar Loaf Mountain is where the Betasso Preserve lives.  That was a cattle ranch my Dad's family owned for generations.  My uncle deeded the land to the city as open space.

Most importantly, people need to stay out of fire fighters way.  They can't do what they need to do when people are trying to run to their homes.  I know it's a natural fear response, but really.  I, at one time, lost everything I owned.  Not because of natural disaster, but because of my own horrible behavior.  What I learned on the other side of that - it's just stuff.  I am glad to hear that people are taking care of their families and their pets.  Let the rest go, please.  It is terribly sad, and it takes time to heal, but heal they will if they allow time to work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tough to watch

This is where I grew up.  It's hard to watch the place where childhood memories were made go up in flames.  At the same time, I know the life I'm living now is just as important.  My heart goes out to the people there, and I hope it comes under control soon.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This is heart breaking

Please tell me animal abuse will stop someday soon.  My first reaction to these kinds of articles is an eye for an eye.  The problem with that is there are too many people on this planet that commit these horrendous crimes, and most of them are underground and hard to find.  Thank God for people like Bad Rap and Best Friends, and all of the other shelter and rescue workers.  I don't know if I could do what they do - I think it would kill me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mt. Lassen

This photo is mine.  Should you travel to Chester or Mt. Lassen, you are likely to see this photo on several postcards.  It is very popular due to its beauty.

More good news from BAD RAP

My favorite part of the article I've linked here:

...a television reporter who showed up to portray the dogs in a negative light asked the veterinarian why there were so many media reports about these dogs going bad. The African American vet countered, “Why do you think there is still racism in America?” The reporter was dumbfounded.

Good answer...and it is the solid truth.  Media is one of the worst offenders of sensationalizing bad news and most of the time they get it wrong.

Forwarded to me by a friend

Remember that pets can't do a lot of things for themselves and that they depend on you to make their life a quality life! 

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful. 
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me 
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being. 
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you. 
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me. 
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it. 
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you. 
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak. 
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old. 
10 On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. 
Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters. 
We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

Please love your pets.

Monday, August 16, 2010

California, here I come

I leave to visit my aunt and uncle in Chico, CA this afternoon.  It's been a few years since I've been on a plane.  Today is thundering and lightening, which reminds me of the lightening storm I landed in in Omaha in 1997.  The last time I was on a plane, we were going to Pryor, OK to visit my other aunt and uncle and got way laid by a blizzard and re-routed to Branson, MO.  What fun that was trying to get a huge 747 to take off from a runway made for turboprops!  The turbulence was stomach turning.  The best flight I ever had was to Hawaii.  Big planes, lots of leg room, good company.  I could do that trip again in heartbeat.  Some friends and I are talking about doing that next year.  I am really amazed that I don't have to go to Denver to get the best airfare.  I fly out of town here and connect in Salt Lake.  Easy four hour ride both ways.  I was initially going to drive, that would've been four days.  Now I get more time with Judy and George.  We're going to Mt. Lassen and kayaking on the lakes in Chester after a grand touristy tour of Chico.  I look very forward to it.  Much needed vacation and rest.  It has been years in the making.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Parade magazine is publishing an article tomorrow about the Vick dogs progress.  The above link is to the military history museum and an article about Stubby, the most decorated dog soldier in history.  The last time Pits were on the cover in 2001, this dog was celebrated. It is very illuminating, and my hope is that it will give the world cause to believe this is a breed worth saving.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How come

How come when faced with a scary situation the first thing out of my mouth is holy crap or s@&# or F*$#.  Today, for the first time in the two years Callie and I have been hiking in Bangs Canyon, we saw a snake.  It wasn't teeny tiny, either.  It was a BIG mother!  Actually, Callie didn't see it, she was running ahead of me.  I'm glad she didn't see it, she may have chased it.  It slithered right in my path and I screamed holy hell!  I bet the entire town heard me.  I was close enough I could hear it hiss.  Another hiker I met told me it was probably a Gopher Snake.  He said there are a bunch up there.  All I can say was I couldn't get away fast enough.  I think it wanted as far away from me as possible too.  Probably thinking, "what is this screaming imbecile?!  I'm out here minding my own business and along come THIS?!  Ewwww!  I hope not to repeat an encounter like that anytime soon again!  An hour later I believe my heart rate has settled to near normal.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Palisade Peaches and Olathe Sweet Corn are here!

Just wanted to post that, so anyone who doesn't live where I live can feel some envy.  :-) We have the best peaches and corn on the planet, I'm convinced.  And I have easy access to get it.  The harsh winter and late summer arrival seemed to do nothing but add delicious flavor to these two locally grown, but nationally known treasures.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer vacation

It is summer vacation season.  I have two weeks off this year.  I'm looking forward to being away from work for a while and being able to focus on a writing project I'm working on and a class I'm now taking. Everyone is on vacation.  Friends from Hawaii are here for as long as they feel like it.  I think that's a great way to live.  Their lives are so easy at home and they travel when and where they want.  I think next year I'll have enough money to fly to Hawaii and see them, and I have three weeks vacation next year.  I love where they live.  It's the Kona side of the Big Island, and it is spectacular.  I really enjoyed my short time there years ago and am eager to repeat the journey.  But I'm still short on money, though I keep working on saving, so the little I have is taking me to California for a week this year to visit my aunt and uncle in Chico.  That's a nice place to go too.  It's north of Sacramento and Napa. A little college town that reminds me a lot of  Boulder.  They have a cabin in Chester.  A cute little mountain town in the Sierra's near Mt. Lasson and Mt. Shasta.  We're going to go lake kayaking.  I haven't done that before.  I'm looking forward to it.  

The neat thing about all of this is that I now get a chance to live and participate in life.  Because I'm sober, I have choices I didn't have while drinking.  I am grateful that I discovered this other way to live my life before it was too late, and I'm glad I'm am of sound enough mind to really be able to appreciate it and be grateful for it.  I look forward to many more vacations.  It would be great to have a traveling companion.  That may or may not ever happen.  No matter what I will make the most of it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thank you

In the title is a link to an article that has run in the Denver Post.  Finally, someone had the temerity to take on the press regarding their publication of articles about attacks by strong breed dogs, especially Pit Bull type dogs.  Maybe rational heads are prevailing after a long drawn out battle.  It is hard to say what will come next.  My hope is that it goes viral and there is some real discussion about the problems and ultimate failure of Breed Specific Legislation.  Anyone who has ever owned this kind of dog and is a rational, reasonable human being, can't help but get on the band wagon to try and save them from this holocaust that is happening across our nation.  I am more amazed every single day by how lucky I am that Callie is sharing my life.  I wish human beings would get it.  Dogs love us so much and expect so little, and what we do to them is indefensible.  For those out there who are responsible and caring, if you haven't yet, kiss your dog today.   

My comment to the post:

Thank you Monika Courtney for your well spoken rational thoughts about the media's responsibility and poor reporting. Credit also to the Denver Post for being willing to take a look and publish the truth. It's about time. I did a tremendous amount of research on the Pit Bull "type" dog before making a decision to keep my dog who was a stray given to me by friends. What I found are incredible heroic acts by reasonable human beings to dispel the myths surrounding these dogs. I found grass roots organizations taking on the establishment to save innocent lives, and I found a fantastic dog, who has become an incredible friend, terrific hiking buddy and loyal companion to me, my family and yes, other dogs and cats around me. I am glad that I found out the truth or I would have missed an incredible experience to have this pure joy in my life. I feel sad for the dogs that suffer at the hands of irresponsible and often criminal human beings because they happen to be a "strong breed". The web is replete with stories of these dogs unbelievable acts of kindness in spite of the hand they've been dealt. Fabulous resources are BAD RAP, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary who have shown, because a compassionate judge ruled Michael Vick's dogs victims, a capacity to heal and help heal others through their therapy work. I have never been more impressed with an animal than I am with the Pit Bull "type" dog. They are fantastic animals who have been the victims of a holocaust, and the media is greatly responsible for publishing human beings inability to take responsibility for their failings. Human Beings are responsible for abusing them, using them wrongly and that's why it is dog fighting is a felony. No matter what breed or type of dog you have, please love them. They give us so much and expect so little.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crag Crest

It finally got hot enough in the valley that hiking in Bangs Canyon and Devils Canyon became unavailable.  So I talked my best friend Dana into heading up to the Mesa with Callie and me and hiked Crag Crest.  Round Trip is ten miles, starting at a little over ten thousand feet and climbing to somewhere over 11,300.  We didn't do the round trip since we only had the morning available, but I think we will.  It was just the kind of hike we both like and Callie had a blast too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good news for a change

Good news for all the animals in the United States.  Click on the title to check out the link.  It really is about time.  On a different note, I am continually grateful to the grassroots organizations who work tirelessly educating the public about Pit Bulls and more humane treatment rather than dog fighting.  Especially former gang members such as Sean Moore.

He is a truly impressive human being, coming from the streets and dog fighting to fighting for the proper treatment for our best and loyalist friends.  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Three years

Today I celebrate three years of sobriety.  I don't care what anyone says, I like getting that chip.  It shows a milestone of progress in spiritual, emotional and financial growth.  All of the things promised by the program are coming true.  "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness."  That portion of the Big Book goes on to say so much more.  We will know serenity and we will know peace.  I am surprised most days still.  One of the men in my group used to say a lot, "time takes time".  That annoyed the crap out of me.  I wanted to know how long, what time, when would it all arrive.  I had stuff to get done now that I was sober, I didn't have time to take time.  HA!  Once I started to take it easy on myself and let the process of life unfold before me as  I worked on my recovery, time showed up.  Everything that I thought I wanted was here, seemingly suddenly.  Though I know better.  It is through the process of working the program and living life on life's terms.  There are no shortcuts, and I am grateful for the journey I have been on and hope to continue down this path for the rest of my life.  Things have not always worked out the way I want, but I am convinced they have worked out the way they are supposed to work.  There are still things I miss.  A relationship is a big one, but it is not time and I know deep in my heart I am not ready.  I don't know if I ever will be.  The rest has come in it's own time, maybe this will too.  In the meantime, today I have choices that three years ago I didn't have, and I am forever grateful that I found sobriety and am alive to share my experience, strength and hope, however skewed it may be.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

From the Huffington Post - by Gary Hart

On September 12, 2001, I wrote an opinion piece for the Times of London that concluded: "we will find Osama bin Laden, give him a fair trial as we did in the old West, and then we'll hang him." Since we haven't found him in almost a decade, we could hardly give him a fair trial and then hang him.

Virtually without exception, Americans supported the initial focused invasion of Afghanistan to crush al Qaeda and prevent its return to sanctuary in Afghanistan. We were a nation out for vengeance and right was on our side. In addition, the national economy was booming (that is, before the bubble burst).

In that almost-decade's time, things have changed. Mostly, around 2005, our mission changed. We decided to broaden the mission to include the creation of some kind of stable, self-sustaining democracy in that perpetually troubled land. History will show that was a big mistake. History will also show that the new President Obama would have been well-advised to adopt the original, not the replacement, mission.

Not only are we struggling to succeed in Afghanistan, our own economy is in deep trouble. Probably close to 15% of American workers are unemployed. Our friends and neighbors are in trouble and have been for months and sometimes years. Our war of necessity that became a war of choice is costing hundreds of billions of dollars needed to employ our workers and get our country back on its feet. We are funding our foreign wars with money borrowed from our children and the Chinese.

There is now a great cry for austerity, largely from people who will not put the Afghan war on the budget cut list and who themselves are not suffering and will not suffer from austerity. Sometimes even great countries cannot do everything. When those occasions arise, our own neighbors and fellow Americans must come first. History's road is littered with the wreckage of empires that tried to rule the world even as they were collapsing at home.

We are failing the fundamental duty to our nation created these 221 years ago.

I am not a democrat, but article is absolutely right on the money.  And I doubt the failure runs along party lines.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” - Ghandi

I encourage everyone to support these tireless organizations who do their very best every single day to make the world a better place.

Dogs Deserve Better

Best Friends Animal Society

BAD RAP - buy cool items and feed shelter animals.  They also have the stats.  8 million homeless animals a year go through shelters, 4 million are euthanized.  This is a sick reality of how human beings continue to ruin the world and think they have the right to exploit whatever catches their interest at the time.  

Your local animal shelters  This is a blog dedicated to the survivors of Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.  It is so heartwarming to see.  All of these dogs have gone to great lengths they didn't even know about to crush the myth of the pit bull breed.  Amazing!  I am so glad there are people out there who can do that work and I hope that someday dog fighting ends for good around the world!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I just got back today from a short trip to Breckenridge to visit family.  A cousin was getting married and I attended the ceremony.  It was just beautiful up there and the marriage ceremony was lovely.  Although it was sad to see the devastation of the beetle kill that has ravaged the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Colorado.  Dad said it hasn't reached New Mexico yet, but will likely get there.  It is a testament to the effects of too warm winters and not allowing fires to burn.  The other thing that struck me was the vast amount of people.  Mountain towns are no longer mountain towns, they are cities right in the middle of what was once a pristine wild wilderness that is quickly disappearing.  I can't help but hope that Mother Nature does a course correction soon.  The world needs it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Birthday hike pictures

I went hiking on my birthday instead of going to a meeting.  Sometimes I need the hike more.  It is the place where I connect with my higher power.  Even if there is only cosmic chaos out there, it comes together looking spectacular!  And I have to believe because of the gifts given to me in my sobriety, there is a power greater than me.  Even if it's only nature.
The rock climber
Spring wildflowers

My view while hiking

I love that flowers will grow anywhere

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1st

It's my birthday today.  Next month I will be sober three years.  Life sure hasn't turned out the way I thought it would, but I think it is better than the plans I had.  It is more stable, more serene and on life's terms rather than my own.  That in itself is a good thing.  Left to my own devices I will drive myself into destructive and dangerous places.  With the support of my family, friends and the program, I am on course to live a more complete life.  In the end, that's all I want.  I think that's what we all want.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What a beautiful day for a hike

Pretty day today.  Middle school kids were up for a field trip.  It only dampened the serenity of it a little bit.  No matter what, the frup had a great time and I loved listening to the water sounds and the birds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer may get here yet

Summer has been a long time coming to the valley.  I know it isn't officially until June 21st, but it's been downright cold here. We're in the Banana Belt of Colorado for God's sake!  Mom and Dad went to Beaver Creek this week and wandered into nine inches of snow!  It's been great hiking weather (cool is good to work up a sweat), except I haven't taken my camera on any adventures lately.  I need to do that next week and get some shots of the water before it's gone.  There is a lot of water in the canyons this year.  Callie is thrilled!  I'm still looking at a summer trip, but plans may change again.  I may do Kanab, Utah and then Chico, CA.  I just got word my friend in London may join me.  We've been pen pals for almost fourteen years and have never met!  It would be great to get to know him in real life instead of just over the web, but no matter, he's been one of my best friends through all the turmoil and trauma and now the good times too!  Amazing how life works when you work with it instead of against it.  The serenity prayer is right...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Whether there is a God or not, there is a rhythm to life that calls for us to pay attention.  Lost in addiction, we pay attention to nothing that works and systematically fight the world and all it has to offer.  Sober, we live life on life's terms and accept the natural ups and downs and forge ahead.  No matter the judgement of others, I am grateful for this second chance that I've been given to do the right things and live the life I want to live, consciously, lovingly and completely.  With all of the bad in the world, and the cold harshness that others choose to focus on, I am grateful for all that has been given to me, and all that I have, and I am sober to enjoy every second, every minute, and every day.  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thank goodness

Colorado shoppers are much less likely to find beer, wine and liquor on supermarket shelves after a House committee on Wednesday killed a bill to expand alcohol sales and the prospects dimmed for two similarly aimed ballot initiatives.
It was the third time in as many years that a coalition of convenience stores, supermarkets and consumer advocates has been thwarted in the legislature.
House Bill 1279 would have allowed a supermarket to buy the license of a neighboring liquor store from its owners in the industry's most creative attempt yet to secure the beverages for their stores.
I, for one, am okay with this bill failing.  I lived in New Mexico for way too long and all I found was the ease of getting alcohol fueled my drinking.  I chase career drunks out of my store everyday, and I know we all get tired of dealing with the same drunk, different day.  I don't want to deal with hard liquor sales, 3.2 beer is reminder enough of why I no longer drink.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today is a milestone day

Today I close escrow on a town home for Callie, Abbie, Nicholas and me.  It is a big day and one certainly filled with mixed emotions.  I never believed I deserved anything good in my life and I set out to prove it. Boy, did I prove it, and then some.  Lost in the abyss of addiction and one bad choice after another because I couldn't stop drinking.  I wouldn't stop drinking.  I drove, systematically, everything and everyone I loved out of my life, some for good.  Three short years ago, I was standing at the crossroads the big book talks about and was literally looking at the choice of life or death.  Frankly, I was leaning towards death.  Somehow, something bigger than me pulled me from that deep, dark hole and saved my life.  I will be three years sober in July, and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.  There are those that believe because of the choices I made while drinking, I don't deserve anything good in this life now or ever.  I question it sometimes to be sure.  I still don't think sometimes I deserve anything good.  The thing that comes to mind in this now sober head, is that I deserve what I work for.  When I was drinking, I didn't work at anything but drinking, so the results were what you'd expect.  For the last three years I have worked hard at my sobriety, a job, creating balance in my life and keeping my priorities straight.  I think I have succeeded in almost all areas because I know sobriety is my number one priority above absolutely everything else.  To those I loved and lost because of my choices then, I wish you well.  No matter what, I hope you find what you are looking for and that it brings you happiness and serenity.  I never thought I would walk this world without a partner, but I know now this path is mine to walk alone and  I believe that with my continued sobriety and the power of program, all will be well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More hiking pictures - I think it will be a great summer!

Balancing rock

This rock looked like a face carved by God.

The Callie girl resting.  She is still so cute!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Supreme Court has ruled a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty is an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
The 8-1 decision was a defeat for animal rights groups and sponsors of the unusual congressional legislation.
The specific case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulldogs attacking other animals and one another in staged confrontations.
This is an incredibly outrageous and poor ruling.  George W. may not have done a lot of things right during his term in office, but one thing he did very correctly was sign a law making dog fighting a felony in all fifty states.  The sale and marketing of a video showing fighting and abuse is a direct violation of that law.  The people selling these videos staged and filmed animal abuse.  This is not a free speech issue.  This is a dog fighting and animal abuse issue.  The law is clear.  Breeding, training, staging and participating in dog fighting in any form is a felony.  Filming it is simply evidence.  The Supreme Court should not be allowed to hide behind the direct question curtain.  I ran into this with Amazon when discussing the sale of books on breeding, training and fighting dogs.  They came back the freedom of speech argument.  There has to be a line drawn in the sand.  Where does freedom of speech cross over and become a crime?  The more I think about it the more I believe, as long as no one is hurt, freedom of speech rules.  When intentionally compromising, using or abusing and killing another life of any form, it is not free speech, it is a crime.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Hiking

I am so glad spring is here!  Callie and I have had some terrific hikes over the last few days.  I got some great pictures.  My 12.1 MP Canon is a great camera.  I just need to learn to be a better photographer and we'll be in business...sharing spectacular photos that is.

Callie up in Bang's Canyon when there was still snow.

Mount Garfield in the distance.  It was a beautiful day and we could see the fog moving out of the valley.  We were in Devil's Canyon about ten miles from Garfield.

This tree is on a trail in Devi's Canyon.  I just like the way it looked.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Callie is soon to have her own yard

Look at that frup!  She was so little when she came into my life.  Tomorrow Callie will be two.  I don't know her real birthday, so I made April 1st her official birthday celebration.  That's because the joke was on me.  Who knew this little critter could bring so much joy to my life?  Everyday with her is fabulous and different and exciting.  She is a true lover of life and relishes every single minute.  For her birthday, I got her some new digs.  She will now have her own yard.  She has a yard now, but it's not fenced, so when she's outside, she has to be tied up.  And she loves to be outside!  So I am going to make that happen for her.  She will have the safety of a six foot fence and all the grass she wants to kill!  Callie knows something cool is happening, but she doesn't know what.  It  doesn't matter, she's game for any of it!  Now all she needs is a dog house and I'll probably never see her again!  She'll be in dog heaven with her own space and freedom to roam.  I'm pretty excited too.  I get more room for me and a bigger kitchen.  Life is good!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Romero to plead guilty

Federal prosecutors have struck a plea agreement with a man accused of torturing and killing a stolen dog on Colorado National Monument.
Steven Clay Romero, 38, of Grand Junction, is expected to plead guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, the lone count lodged against him by a federal grand jury earlier this year, according to court filings.
The terms of Romero’s agreement with prosecutors aren’t specified.
Edward Pluss, Romero’s federal public defender, filed notice of the plea agreement Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver. Both sides in the case are expected to meet next week to schedule a plea hearing.
This case did bring national and international attention to the grand valley.  Buddy is a prime example of human behavior out of control.  Please remember there are hundreds of thousands of animals in this world that human beings domesticated and are now abusing and neglecting who need our help.  Best Friends in Utah is an organization doing the right things for the right reasons for all domesticated animals.  And please remember, if you want a pet, check your local shelter first.  I have found the best pets I've ever had there.  They have brought me a life of joy and I could never imagine being without them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Only in Boulder

There are so many things I miss about Boulder.  The great off-leash hiking trails, Moe's bagels, the downtown mall, the free love hippie culture...Oh, I get that same thing here!  I also miss the do whatever feels good culture that used to be Boulder and, alas, is no more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another new favorite

I just made grilled pork chops and put it over a bed of Parmesan Couscous and covered it all with a Pear Chutney that has all the great stuff a good chutney has.  Yummo!  I could be better than Rachel Ray...I made it less than ten minutes!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Stop!  Reverse!  Go that direction!  No!  Go this direction!  Seems to be the tone of my life.  They are choices I never knew I had until the program.  Now I have choices I never believed I could have.  My life continues on a scattered, obscure, odd trail.  But I know I am closer to the right path.  I may already be on it.  And I have to believe, that if I keep searching, I will see what this has all been about.  I may find myself in a place I never thought of looking in my wildest imagination, and it will surprise me in ways I never thought possible.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A new Callie Picture

Here is a picture of Callie on our hike today. Callie the snow dog. The sissy frup who sleeps under the covers by night and romps in the deepest snow and biggest mud puddles she can find by day! I have so much fun with her!

A new favorite meal

I just made the best meal.  I am a glorified foodie, and love flavor combined with nutrition.  I can't get myself to jump on the vegetarian bandwagon, sometimes I wish I could, but I am trying to eat better.  I just made Tilapia with asparagus.  It has chili powder and garlic powder, and gets fried up Cajun style.  The asparagus is steamed al dente and then finished in the pan the fish is cooked in with some lemon juice.  Just fabulous! And fast.  Ten minutes from start to finish!  I like that part too.  This will be added to my regular meal rotation.

Little Park Road

Callie and I went hiking this morning for the first time in a long time. I have several pictures, but can't figure out how to get them uploaded. This is a picture taken with my new Canon Powershot 12.1 MP camera. It really is a great camera. I'm thrilled. And we had a great hike to boot. It has been so miserably cold and snowy this winter that a break like today has been rare, so we made the most of it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good point

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't!! Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Moments of Clarity

"...the hope that this thing can change.  No matter how long it has gone on, no matter how bad it is...Lives that are transformed inexplicably are interesting.  They are interesting for us to read about, they're interesting to ponder, they're interesting to meditate on.

"But more than anything else, they show us that what's right in front of us is not all there is.  There's something else going on out there...And that is grace."

I am a grateful recovering alcoholic who loves reading other alcoholics and addicts stories of recovery and success.  Christopher Kennedy Lawford wrote a fantastic book about his destruction and redemption in "Symptoms of Withdrawl".  I related to his story though his drug of choice was heroin and mine was tequila.  I have his other book, published last year, "Moments of Clarity" and I am enraptured.  Reading the stories of other addicts always gives me hope and reinforces in me my commitment and desire to stay sober and help other addicts achieve sobriety.  In reading the stories I was taken back to my own despair and hopelessness.  My feelings of having no way out, not wanting out, yet wanting out so desparately.  Not being able to find my way, feeling like there was no help, but it was all around me.  Destroying everything and everyone that came into my path.  Those are incredibly painful memories.  My drinking career was relatively short by some standards, but infinite in others, and it was destructive, unbelievably destructive.  Even when I wasn't a drinker, full or part-time, my life never made sense to me.  I clung to everything to try and make myself safe.  I tried to control everyone and everything around me.  Then I began drinking, and I began drinking more, and more, until I was drinking full time.  And the consequences were severe and I learned my lesson.  I got sober, and I got sober for the right reasons, and I am grateful.  And now my life makes sense to me and I am at peace.

I talk on a daily basis with other recovering addicts in formal and informal settings.  We seem to have a common theme:  to be accepted.  I don't know how that got twisted in our heads that alcohol or drugs could make us acceptable, but it seems to be a recurring topic.  I have a co-worker who is struggling with the painful emotions of her sons addiction.  I finally said to her one day, "once he figures out he is valuable, he will get sober because he will know he is worth it."  And then she told me the story of why he thinks he's not valuable and it breaks her heart.  I know that feeling and it was suffocating.  "I'm not worth it, I'm not important, I'm not valuable."  And then the other side I had unbelievable grandiose thoughts about who and what I was and wanted to be.  None of it made any sense and is the classic addict thought pattern.  What a relief to walk into the rooms of AA and be accepted.  Finally.  No matter what, I am accepted, and I know I am valuable.  No matter my twisted thoughts about anything, I am accepted.  I learned that I am valuable, even if in a small sense of the word and world.  I belong right where I am and everything happens for a reason.  In this book, the purpose is to bring addiction into the open.  There is a stigma and I understand that stigma.  No one wants to be around an addict who is active.  I know this alcoholic was explosive.  But we need to understand it at a deeper level and reach out to those who are still suffering because they are suffering in ways normal people can never imagine and they need our compassion.  I am grateful Lawford wrote this book and others were willing to share their stories and I hope it creates a dialogue of openness.  So does he.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feeling Better

I'm feeling better today. I started planning my summer vacation. I'd like to take Callie and do a road trip to the southwest. It is actually a simple circuit when I looked at it. I just picked the places I wanted to go and it's a quick circle we can do in a week. I want to go to Moab for a night, then to Sedona for a couple of days and then I'd really like to visit Dogtown. Visit their website to learn more. It is a huge animal sanctuary in southern Utah that came to my attention when researching Callie. They took 22 of Michael Vick's dogs and have been working to rehabilitate them. They were instrumental in animal rescues after Katrina and have been on the ground in Haiti. This is an organization I can truly get behind: I'm a firm believer in shelter adoptions. They do the right things for the right reasons and I for one can support that wholeheartedly. The places I've picked to visit have pet friendly accommodations and no breed specific legislation. I have two weeks this year and I thought I'd take one week and hit the road with my favorite girl. She's pretty excited, except she doesn't know why :-).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Don't Quit

I'm not feeling well emotionally the last couple of days. Things seem to be moving at a snails pace, some things seem to not be moving at all, some huge disappointments have occurred. I read this quote I was given while in rehab, by my mother, oddly enough, and I carry it with me wherever I go and whenever I feel like this I read it; which fortunately isn't often, but it's happening in a big way this morning.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit. Author Unknown

The big book talks about "trudging the road to happy destiny". Life was never promised to be easy, but I know this alcoholic often thought it should be easier than the Mount Everest path I chose. In order to avoid the hard challenges, I drank. I haven't done that for almost three years now, life has gotten easier in many respects, and more challenging in others. "The long period of reconstruction" of a life completely destroyed by alcohol is not simple, but I still have to believe, in the end, it will be worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fix the Income

I can't get my link to work (I seem to be having more problems with Blogger since switching search engines), so I have copied and pasted an entire blog post by Jamie Lee Curtis from the Huffington Post. It is an interesting opinion and I agree with much of it. What I found more interesting were the comments by readers about their viewpoints of the problem (to see the comments you have to go to The Huffington Post and click on the blog). I think many Americans have given up. They feel the system is too broken and it can't be fixed. It certainly won't be fixed by the people in office now (voting them out appears to do no good, more idiots seem to get voted in). The political machine has a strong selfish motivation for keeping the status quo. I know I feel pretty helpless. Mostly I just want to be left alone to live my life and feel powerless over trying to change a government that is irreparable.

How did this happen. When did it happen? Was it the crash or the Mad(off) men or the shock and awe of the (don't bet on the) banks and the bailout (rages)? What happened to the good old days? They were never that good, as each successive generation supplanted the one before. "Here Son, stand on my shoulders, reach for the stars." Higher and higher till you retired. A gold watch and a fixed income, yours for life. When did that change? What happened? A financial Mt. Everest that once was scaled has now let loose a tirade of snow and ice, slippery and treacherous, and we are all struggling for a foothold and purchase as we are pulled closer and closer to the edge. Many we have watched go over it.

Makes me think of Touching the Void, the stunning filmed re-enactment of the true story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates in the Peruvian Andes. After reaching the peak and during the descent, Simpson breaks his leg. As rescue is impossible they decide that Yates will attempt to lower Simpson down. As Yates was attempting to lower Simpson 300 feet at a time, the gradient went into a vertical drop and he was propelled over a cliff. While Yates was being pulled slowly toward the edge, his footholds slipping and no response coming from his partner hanging below, as a measure of self-preservation as there was no other option, he cut the rope. Simpson survived falling hundreds of feet into a crevice, causing more damage to his shattered body. When deep within the crevice with no way of possibly climbing up out of it Simpson makes the only choice he can. To climb down, deeper into the crevice. Dragging his broken body inches at a time, down darker and darker there was a crack of light through the ice and eventually he was able to make his way to it and out of the crevice. Now in the bitter cold and in abject pain he made his way, crawling, dragging himself miles down the mountain, over the frozen ground. In the pitch black of night in a howling storm he knew that he was near the base camp because he smelled shit. He had in fact crawled through what was their latrine area and was finally able to call out for help. His companions, who thought he was dead, and were leaving in the morning, of course saved him and they all survived.

I thought of this today as I heard another story of a broken dream of a financial life cut off. Another small business closing its doors, employees joining the growing unemployed and another dream gone. Cut off. Dropped. Fired. We are all crawling through shit. I am a lucky one. I anticipated. Probably because I am a child of show-off business and therefore know firsthand how dismissive Hollywood can be as a business, how fickle and ageist and chauvinistic and homophobic. I have seen lives destroyed, as people's careers were deemed dispensable and were disposed of. SAG sends off the sagging. I saved and lived way below my level and am fine. I will be fine.

I am thinking about the millions of workers who were cut loose by their partners, their government, their businesses, their bosses, their schools, institutions. The rope has been cut. One lost job creates another. Who is going to FIX THE INCOME? Who is going to allow people to age with dignity and safety, that there will be a cushion, a soft seat for them to grow old on, to care for them, to help them to assist the living?

Messages from the good old days? In Britain during the Blitz, the tube stations had a poster that the Government placed there, Keep Calm and Carry On. A simple message of hope and perseverance while the bombs dropped. I was given a replica for my 50th birthday. It makes sense. Carry on. Keep moving; but how can we tell that to a worker in Detroit with three kids who has to decide if he will buy his daughters medicine or food? The shuttered storefronts, the unemployment lines. The economy grew, but not in jobs. How can you fix the income? By keeping with the same team? By holding steady? By carrying on? By keeping calm? The Main Street that is often referred to in speeches needs repairs. There are potholes and cracks in the infrastructure. How about we start by fixing them? And our crumbling schools. And the crumbling infrastructure of our country. Fix the income and we will fix America.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Denver Post - Two people were indicted late Monday by the federal grand jury in Denver for the death of a dog and subsequent cover-up.

Buddy, a German shepherd mix, was dragged three miles up a steep, snowy road at the Colorado National Monument.

Steven Clay Romero, 37, of Grand Junction, did "knowingly torture, needlessly mutilate and needlessly kill" the dog, according to the indictment.

The grand jury alleged that Romero tied a rope around the bumper of a vehicle and tied the other end of the rope around Buddy's neck and dragged the German shepherd mix until it died.

Romero's sister, Marie Lockhart, 32, of Fruita, was also indicted.

The grand jury alleged that Lockhart knew that Romero had killed Buddy early on Dec. 30 but lied when questioned by law enforcement.

If this case actually makes it to trial they may have to change venue to a U.S. Territory. I've never seen a case garner so much attention and selecting a jury will be incredibly hard. I think this case shows the depth of human evilness and tears at our conscience. It was premeditated and horrific in its execution. I know it would kill me if something like this happened to Callie, and I am overly protective of her. Buddy was some one's beloved pet, he was no less. Just because he was a dog doesn't make him less valuable. If anything, he should be a lesson in what people are capable of and how low they will go. I so hope that someday we figure out how to permanently stop these cruel acts. This is no better or no worse than human beings using dogs for fighting or mercilessly beating them. Animals are our responsibility. We owe them the duty of caring for them in nothing less than a caring and compassionate manner. Dogs would never treat us the way we have treated them.