Reconstruction

At the invitation of Chris I joined a group on Facebook that posts drawing prompts. I just did my first one. It wasn’t easy, but it would have been easy four months ago. It took two tries. It’s OK, but not exactly “me.” That said, I’m happy with it because I learned something from it and it’s not ugly.

There’s a book by Laurence Durrell that’s very inspiring to me as an artist — that is the last book in the Alexandrian Quartet: Clea. Every artist has obstacles within him/herself. The most common is fear. But there are skill obstacles (which are frustrating but IMO fun to push through), vision obstacles (both objective and mental), intellectual (putting the idea of how something should be in front of what it IS or wants to be), and something else which I don’t have a word for. I discovered when I was trying to put together Rainbow Girls in Wheatland Wyoming soon after I had Covid. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could paint/draw it — I did draw it. It was something else that I had not experience before, it was that I couldn’t “see” the painting in my mind’s eye. I don’t know how to explain that, but it’s a real thing. I paint TOWARD something which is, for me, like starting a relationship. “Hi, my name is Martha,” kind of and the painting answers and we “talk” in colors and images and there it is, a kind of dance or dialogue.

Now, for me, it’s like sitting at a dinner with people who are talking around you, even to you, and you understand maybe two words out of five? Not enough to make a sentence or get the big picture. As I was working on this little watercolor/watercolor pencil piece, just a small still life of a dish that has a lot of meaning to me, I could feel it. I could feel the brush saying, “Are you there? I can’t hear you clearly.” I don’t need to relearn the technique of painting. I need to FEEL the relationship between my eye, my mind and my hand.

In Durrell’s book, the character, Clea, is a painter, but (in her mind) something has always been missing from her paintings. The book is set in North Africa in WW II and if I remember the story correctly, Clea loses a hand diving in the bay and hitting a mine. I don’t remember why she was doing that — but that’s I believe what happened. Her hand is replaced with a prosthetic hand. She has to learn to paint with it and, to her surprise, she is able to paint from her authentic self with that hand, something she had never been able to do. Durrell’s books are wonderful, unforgettable, but I read them a long time ago and don’t have them any more so I can’t check my memory or put something beautiful here to share.

Covid affects the brain and the connections between the brain and bodily functions — digestion, breathing and thinking. I don’t know why I got “long Covid” but I did. Grrrrrrrrrr…… 🤬 Anyway, I can’t let this beat me out of the ONE thing I have fought for my whole fucking life.

MAK the Knife?

I haven’t painted since July when I got Covid. My imagination hasn’t worked in that way and the concentration needed for painting is different from “normal,” and I haven’t had it. Yesterday, struggling still with Covid’s lingering residue — which I’ve accepted could last a long time — I decided I could try at least ONE thing.

I have one of my garden signs hanging on the fence in my front yard. I don’t like the painting very much, and apparently no one else did, either, because it didn’t sell. It’s a salmon poppy against a blue sky. It should have been pretty, but somehow it really isn’t. I hung it on my fence during the spring and summer drought for a little color and to get it out of my studio. It’s a nice enough painting, so, no reason not to, right?



But poppy season has passed, holiday season is upon us in full force starting today, and I thought yesterday, “Well, I can do that.” I went out to my studio and took out a primed piece of plywood that was ready to become a garden sign. I had the thought of painting something seasonally acceptable, specifically, “Let it snow,” sort of like a prayer flag with my and Bear’s and every farmer’s prayer written on it.

Then the magic of painting kicked in.

I listen to music when I paint. I listen to YouTube, and sometimes they put a song I like in my list that I haven’t listened to in a while. The song in question was this:

Whoa… Two things happened. One was hearing a song I think is beautiful and has to do with snow. The other was the word “fox”in the band’s name. I’d already experimented on the sign with something I have long wanted to try. I’d painted the snow on the ground with my palette knife. That was fun. I knew it would be, but nothing I’ve painted so far lent itself to that experiment. I’m not sure a board is the best surface for that, but maybe. Painting with a knife uses a LOT of paint, but I have a lot of acrylic for which I gave thanks to my deceased friend, Alex Colville, more especially his wife, my friend Louise, who, last year gave me Alex’ paint. It’s a nice story. You can read it here.

I drew a fox across what was to be the letters. I had the idea the letters would remain, but as I began painting the fox — directly squeezing paint onto the board — I saw they wouldn’t. The whole thing changed.

I had such a good time. It’s not a masterpiece, and I’m not happy with the proportions of the fox, but I’m trying to ignore that and leave it alone.

So now my job is to varnish it and hang it on the front fence.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone whether you’re in the US — where it’s a holiday today — or anywhere else in the world. One of my most beautiful Thanksgivings happened in the PRC in 1982. No turkey, but we had a chicken. No mashed potatoes, stuffing, or sweet potatoes, but we had potato salad. No biological family, but a home filled with Chinese friends and chosen “family.”

As for today’s prompt? I think the Aussies have the BEST slang.

Dictionary of Australian slang 

Packapoo ticket

1) smth. messy;

2) toilet paper

Not the Best Evening of My Life

Ahh… 1993, the beginning of the tattoo craze, and I was there. Tattoo Ted and his wife, originally from Batavia, Iowa, tattoo parlor on Rosecrans Street in San Diego, near the Naval Training Base and the bay. Samples on the wall, not actual SKIN samples, but photos. We’d been planning it for a weeks. My friend was very afraid of needles because of HIV. He was from Zürich where, at the time, heroin was such a problem that public toilets had blue lights so people who went into them to shoot up couldn’t find their veins, so, in parts of Zürich there were used needles everywhere. Because of this he systematically, with the hysterical thoroughness driven by paranoia, researched every tattoo parlor, studying their sterilization processes. We ended up at Tattoo Ted’s because of his autoclave, not because of his skill.

After looking at the wall for a while, I picked out a Celtic Knot — an absurd choice given my appearance, like it needed to reinforced? Everywhere I’ve traveled people have immediately said, “You must be Irish” except China where the consensus was that I was Swiss. I’m both those things and the official name of Switzerland is Celtic Confederation (Confederation Helvetica). My friend got a tribal to go around his ankle, not because he was from a tribe but because he thought it was cool.

I wasn’t young; 41, and my skin had already lost some elasticity, so as I sat there with my back exposed — the tat is on my left shoulder — Tattoo Ted found it a challenge to do well on the loose canvas. “Stretch her skin, buddy,” he said to my friend, who tried with a mixture of horror and hilarity. It’s one of the worst tattoos anyone ever had that wasn’t done by the other kids in high school history or something. It’s like and not like those in the featured photos. And no, you can’t see it.

It’s black. Just an outline. I was supposed to go back and have it filled in with color, but I never did. Why not? Well, there are a lot of things in life more fun than getting a tattoo. There’s even PAIN that’s more fun than that, like falling off your bike and landing on a broken Coke bottle or playing tennis barefoot on an asphalt court on a 95 degree day or being sideswiped by a pick-up truck that tosses your head against a curb.

The boys on bikes were all jonesing for tattoos but no one had that kind of money. NOW a couple of them (in their late forties) sport complete sleeves, from wrist to shoulder. Their first tattoos were done by their friends using a needle and ballpoint pen. When they turned 18, and got jobs, they got tattoos as dumb as mine. One of them got the name of his hometown across his back in Gothic letters — that made me laugh because I figured if he got lost, all anyone had to do was put a few stamps on his back and send him home.

Anyway, that’s $100 I wish I had back.

Thankful for Shoes

Bear and I took a walk, not really news, but…

Last night my annoying health app gave me this information. It’s part of the fall warning system built into the Apple Watch. I hate this information because for the life of me I haven’t been able to figure out any way to improve my “walking steadiness.” I last fell on September 26. A few weeks later, I got my new shoes, and here’s the story:

I seriously NEVER thought shoes would make that much difference. I was already wearing really good hiking/walking shoes, not flip-flops or something like that, but expensive shoes made by an excellent Italian boot manufacturer, Asolo. They’re great. Supportive, water-proof everything anyone would want, but something about them has been — apparently — wrong FOR ME. I have NO idea what, but now that I’m not wearing them, I feel it. I didn’t know I was struggling. I just thought I was old and worn out and so on and so forth. I’m still 70 but..

Most of the time this past month or so I’ve worn the slip ons (featured photo) but I also bought legit boots/shoes that I wore in the snow. They were also great, wonderful, amazing, comfortable.

Seriously, it never occurred to me that just shoes would make such an incredible difference. I’m walking 3 mph and change, enjoying it a million times more, walking farther. I feel like a new person — or the person I remember being.

Seasons are Birds

Lined up along the road, around the pond
Black with golden heads, beady-eyed curious
Gregarious and brave, sun’s yearly bond
Brings them here in springtime’s furious rush.
Small brothers, shiny black and red, take flight
Together from the willows or sing their
Rusty-spring song from lonely fenceposts, write
Love songs in the sky, sonnets in the air.
Partnered up, squawking geese, chase their rivals
Down the road. There is no way around it;
All beauty hides a fight for survival.
Fox tracks in spring snow, a raptor’s silent lift.
Eggshells on the road, strewn feathers, remind
me to savor my own moment in time.


This sonnet is a VERY casually constructed Shakespearean sonnet. You can learn more about the form here.

Winter Light

Because there is no rest for the wicked (huh?) I was persuaded to take my two canine sidekicks out to the Refuge for a late afternoon walk. I’d already ridden the Bike to Nowhere through some Spanish mountains and thought “That’s it for today,” but I was wrong. How do you resist two dogs attempting to help you put on your socks, looking at you with their yearning canine eyes, communicating more clearly than any human ever could? How do you resist that? How do you pretend you don’t know what they’re saying? Dogs see through that anyway. Is evasion possible? of course it IS possible but do you really WANT to evade it? So there we were, in Bella, heading south under a spectacular, bright blue sky that didn’t have even a single cloud. Meanwhile, Mohammed’s Radio played “Where the Streets Have no Name.” Clearly (ha ha) the jaunt was destined.

There is a change in the angle of sunlight, moving further south, only a month away from the shortest day of the year, the light is becoming winter light. We usually do an out and back walk, and I noticed the light on our return walk. The return walk was Bear’s “turn” which means she got to walk on the nature side of me and follow her heart’s desire within the length of the leash. During Bear’s turn, we went more slowly than we do on the way out when it was Teddy’s “turn.” He doesn’t savor the experience; he chases it. He pulls and sniffs, can’t get “there” fast enough. He’s like a kid with birthday money at the mall. Bear will hurry toward the experience then take her time savoring it.

The road is elevated about four feet above the wetland, for obvious reasons, and on the north side of that slope there are still snow and tracks. Along the road were several spots where deer and/or elk had bedded down in the grass.

When it was her turn, Bear pulled, too, but not ahead. She pulled down the slope to get closer to the spots where the ungulates came up and went down. At one point she was rolling in the snow and slid almost all the way down. Luckily, I was able to bring her back up the slope before that happened or all three of us would’ve been in the ungulate bed.

Meanwhile Teddy stayed close to me, sometimes touching my hand with his nose, “Are you still there, Martha?”

For most of my dog-owning life, I didn’t leash my dogs. It was only after a ranger in the Laguna Mountains took me aside. He’d caught Ariel and just loved her. “You should leash her,” he said. “Here’s why.” He went on to explain that if my dog encountered a cougar there were a lot of possibilities. 1) nothing would happen, 2) the dog would be killed by the cougar, 3) the dog would run back to me with the cougar following, not a pretty situation.

Ariel had great recall, so I didn’t worry about her running off, but I also didn’t think about mountain lions and packs of coyotes. I kind of ignored the Ranger until one of my dogs, Mila, Chow/Golden retriever mix, went off to join a very large pack of coyotes. I got her to come back, but there were upwards of 20 coyotes in the valley below the trail on which we were walking. That was it. When I became an owner of Siberian huskies, it was obvious to me THEY had to be leashed or they’d head into the territory ahead of the rest which was their primary motive in life, to find poop, game, or an Iditarod… 😉

At the Refuge dogs have to be leashed, so I try to minimize the effect of that on what is in my dogs’ nature to do. Both of these dogs equate their restraint with freedom which is a very interesting philosophical position. I really admire them.

While Bear was rolling happily in a patch of snow, I had the chance to notice the light. From a photographer friend a long time ago I learned always to turn around. “I’ll be taking a photo, completely absorbed in it, use up my last plate, then I turn around and there’s a better picture. Now I look around first.” When I turned, I saw that the long snow shadows matched the sky, reflected the sky.

Featured photo: Frozen pond

I realize I write the same post over and over but this is my life. I was thinking as I put this together this morning that maybe it’s a good thing to offer a few minutes of Refuge.

“Hey, Vito…”

I was thinking this morning of how many lawsuits are going on right now over stuff in DC over the past few years. It’s a good time to be a lawyer, I guess. That said, I’m not going there no no no no…. I came within inches of law school, well closer, really since I WORKED at a law school for a few years when I was a grad student. Great job, too, doing PR and fund-raising for the law school. I liked it. Smart people all around me and I met one of my life-long friends there. BUT…as I didn’t know then and certainly know NOW things change all the time…

New Dean, new administration, my immediate boss asked to leave over something, going for his job, being turned down, yada yada yada that’s a life-long chorus, I think. SO… got a job at one of Denver’s largest law firms. THAT was weird at first because they thought the young associate who’d recommended me was sleeping with me. They wanted him SO badly (judge’s son) that they hired me as if I were a condition. That was the late 70s/early 80s ladies and gents. When it became apparent I WASN’T this guy’s main squeeze, they were kind of stuck with me. I worked there for three years, becoming the paralegal (!) to the city attorney(s) for Lakewood, Colorado’s second largest city. It was a good job for me because that kind of law encompasses about everything there is in law. I didn’t work in the cop shop — well I did, later — so I wasn’t dealing with the court docket, etc. but all the other stuff. We had more than 2,000 active paper files.

I kind of liked the job, but I had the Wanderlust. Also, it didn’t pay great. One day one of the clerks — a friend of mine with whom I went skiing pretty often — said, “So what do you think? You’re not going to get promoted to lawyer.”

I signed up for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Stuff happened between my signing up and actually sitting for it. (Wanderlust; ‘luv’). I signed up for the Peace Corps. I signed up for the Foreign Service Exam. I passed the written Foreign Service Exam. The Peace Corps? That was weird. I was ready to take the ONLY opening they had at that moment, in Thailand, but when the person interviewing me didn’t know where Bangkok was, I backed off. What if I wanted to come home? And luv’. OH well…

So I showed up for the LSAT early one Saturday morning in a classroom kind of thing at Denver Muni. Halfway through or so I realized if I passed, I would go to law school. I realized I didn’t want to go to law school or be an attorney. I got up, turned in my exam and left. Oddly, I still passed. How I have NO idea.

The most fun part of my life as a paralegal was during Denver’s penny stock fraud in the early 80s. My main boss was tired of being City Attorney and wanted to do something more exciting and was slowly moving out of our office. This was one of his earlier ventures into the big wide world that was not the City of Lakewood. I got to take depositions of some of Denver’s mafia figures, the best was the deposition of an elderly lady from the Smaldone Family. Her lawyer pleaded that she was too old and too frail to come to our offices to do a deposition in person. The judge agreed and she was allowed to depose herself (great language in law, anyway) over the phone. I took that deposition.

The Smaldones were Denver’s mafia family, centered in North Denver in what was historically the “Italian Section” sometimes called “Little Italy.” I’d lived in that neighborhood for a year in a carriage house behind an old mansion. It was in that neighborhood I discovered I loved teaching.

Mrs. Smaldone was full of Italian charm, and I liked her, but I asked the questions I was supposed to and pushed her when necessary to give me straight answers. Some of my attorney colleagues thought she was the brains behind the whole thing, but I’m not sure that was true. Maybe. It would have even easier to judge if I could have seen her in real life, but I couldn’t. If the phone deposition hadn’t worked, I would have been sent to her house, but the phone depo worked.

The day after our deposition a dozen long-stemmed roses arrived for me from Mrs. Smaldone. My boss didn’t know if that meant I’d done well or done badly, but they were beautiful. She also called him to tell him what a treasure he had in me and that he should hold onto me. I still don’t know if that was good or bad. I hope it just meant that I treated her with, you know, respect.

The Land of My Childhood

As I was reading through all the great blogs I follow, I was captivated by some words on “I Didn’t Have My Glasses On.”

“there is no land like the land of your childhood.”-Michael Powell

I guess there might be millions of Michael Powells, but I wondered if this one weren’t one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. A lot of his films are in black and white, made during WW II. I imagine his most well-known film now is the Red Shoes which is an amazing film, but not my favorite.My favorite is A Canterbury Tale.

Even if those are not the words of “my” Michael Powell, they are magical. They made me think of a Christmas card I drew a long time ago of my brother and me sledding through the forest near our home in Nebraska, a small fragment of the forest that grew along the Missouri River. The woods were our playground, and we spent as much time in them as we could.

Part of “our” forest is still there and I’ve even navigated through it on Google Earth. As Michael Powell said, “There is no land like the land of your childhood.” The only way I have to return there is through art. I know now, as an adult, that part of what makes the land of childhood is that it is a land of the mind as much as a land on this planet, so art is a pretty good mode of travel to reach it from this distant point in time, 60 or so years on…

Here are photos we took in “our forest.” My dad let us take the camera. I found the pictures when I was scanning the China slides a few years ago, and I was very happy to see them there. The first photo is me in the grass that filled a big meadow that is no longer there. The middle photo is my brother on the trail that led deep into the woods. We sledded on our Flexible Flyers through this, weaving our way through the trees along a ravine for a short while. The trail ended in a neighborhood of very good sledding hills. It was one fast ride, thrilling, dangerous and fantastic. Where we ended there were always a lot of other kids on the sledding hill. The hill was reached by skying over a low retaining wall. Our parents never knew what we were doing which was for the best (for us). All we got when we got home was, “Did you have a good time?” Luckily we never lost any teeth or broke anything… That would have raised OTHER questions…

The forest belonged to the Columban Fathers. The photo of me standing was taken from the top of a concrete grotto that was one of their Stations of the Cross. The forest was beyond their monastery. I wanted to share the drawing of “the land of my childhood.” 💚

Thankful

When I was a little kid, I learned “grace” to say at the dinner table. My brother got the “For all we eat, for all we wear…” one and I got the thankfulness one.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

Thinking about it this morning for the first time since I was 8 or so, I realize nothing has changed for me and this sums it up. As for “God,” I don’t have a better word for the wonder that is the universe or the kindness that brought me here after the OTHER immense kindness of allowing me to exist? To live in this beautiful place? To have the amazing life I have? Blows me away.

Yesterday Bear and I took off for a long ramble. I’m still amazed at what a difference SHOES make in my life.

It was cold and lovely out there, no wind, no people, basically NOTHING. A couple of cars went by, a Subaru (of course) and a bright green Jeep Cherokee driven by a tiny old lady who waved at us like we were Santa Claus. The Jeep sported a wheelchair license plate and I was thankful for that drive loop with the pull outs that makes it possible for her to see quite a lot.

The Refuge has done a LOT to make things accessible to almost everyone. Of course, MOST of the Refuge isn’t accessible to anyone, but this one small part? It’s great. People can see things without bothering anyone (meaning wildlife). Bear’s favorite little loop has helped so many people rehab from joint surgery. Sometimes I see them out there, often a elderly parent with a walker accompanied by their kid or friend, slowly making their way at least part way around that little loop. There are some spots in that loop that need repair, but most of it is accessible to a walker or kid’s stroller. Not many people, but a few.

Snow squalls were playing around over the San Juan Mountains, but the big event was the snow remaining within Bear’s reach. Lots of tracks, lots of smells, and opportunities to roll in the snow. Bear was happy. I wasn’t exactly happy, having had something to think about — when that happens to me, it’s like having a splinter in my mind. I have to work it out. I did, I think, and comments from you helped me see more sides of the situation. I thank you so much for that. No one in the range of my voice would have been able to relate to that situation, and, well, I’m a writer not a talker anyway…

Last week we got about 3 inches of snow. Not a lot. It has stayed very cold, so the snow hasn’t melted except in the spots where the sun hits it. North and south here in winter are very distinct even on a flat, totally exposed, cultivated field. Un-touched landscape has ways of keeping all the moisture it can. This was obvious out there yesterday. Bear still had snow up to her, uh, ankles? on the north side of the low ditches beside the road. A friends who lives in a snowier place asked if our snow was already gone, so I took a couple of photos to show her what this high desert wetlands does to keep the snow as long as possible, protecting it from the wind and the sun.

The bushes that fill the landscape form a snow-keeping conspiracy, shading the white treasure from the intense, high-altitude sun. The snow in the cattails isn’t going anywhere, either, unless it gets a lot warmer than it’s likely to get until April. Some of the patches of snow in the second photo are on top of small, frozen. ponds. The only way it’s going anywhere is through evaporation unless it warms up a LOT.

In my Facebook memories this morning I found photos of the Refuge that I took 8 years ago when I had lived here only a few months. I don’t know why I happened to go out there; it wasn’t my thing back then. It took COVID to show me the treasure within my reach. One thing I notice in this photo is that iPhones have WAY better cameras now!

Featured photo: Bear found a perfect patch of snow in front of a sign telling people about the birds that nest on the ground. She laid down in it, took a couple of snowballs out of her front foot, and looked up at me for all the world like she was saying, “Thank you, Martha. Wasn’t this fun?” Then she got up and walked to the car which was parked about 8 feet away.

And ON and ON and ON (Politics)

My message to Adam Frisch having learned of his conceding to Boobert when the small difference in the votes would have launched an automatic recount for which the state would pay. No fundraising involved:

You’re a tool. Seriously. This would be an automatic recount. Even if you lost that (and you probably would) it would say something to the Democrats in D3 who didn’t think it worth their time to vote at all. Maybe you think this is “dignified” and “respects the electoral process” or something, but no. Part of that process is a recount to be sure human error didn’t enter in. It’s not like you called the Secretary of State and asked her to find you 18,000 votes or something. It would be a message to the National Democratic Committee, too, to get behind EVERY democratic candidate in EVERY state because NOTHING is a done deal until it’s a done deal and empirical probability is just a bad guess; it’s not real unless you’re looking at nature or science. Very disappointed in you.

With votes coming in from the military oversees and ballots that needed to be “cured,” there are now only five-hundred votes between Boobert and her contender, Adam Frisch. Both of them are in Washington learning how to be representatives for Colorado. I hope she listens this time, but I dunno…

Since the votes will ALL be counted by noon today (that’s pretty soon), it looks the closeness of the votes will trigger an automatic recount. As there are (or were) only 300 votes left, Frisch will not “win” in the usual sense. A recount could give him the lead, but I personally doubt that will happen. And in such an unlikely situation, would Boobert accept a loss? Since she’s gone on these two years insisting that TFG is the legitimate president, I don’t think so.

Regardless who wins at this point the Republicans have the House. Last night I read their plans for the upcoming term and none of them involve leading the country. They are going after the Democrats. Heather Cox Richardson summed it up, stating first that the Republicans ran on inflation but…

Yesterday, midterm results gave Republicans control of the House of Representatives after a campaign in which they emphasized inflation; today, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has received his party’s nomination to become speaker of the House, along with other Republican leadership, outlined for reporters their plans for the session. “We must be relentless in our oversight of this administration,” the number 2 Republican in the House, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, told his colleagues. They plan to begin a raft of investigations: into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, the origins of Covid-19, the FBI, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and so on. But not, apparently, inflation.

They are also going to investigate the prison conditions of the January 6 prisoners who have not bailed themselves out of jail or found anyone to do it for them. That is absurd since none of them have to stay in prison.

For my part, I don’t know what Hunter Biden has to do with anything. We know enough about the origins of Covid 19. The FBI is a branch of the gubmint acting on orders of an apolitical government branch. After what, 21 years? Withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been easy or without cost. Could we please move forward? Please? I know it’s hard, but… It’s like a bad marriage.

Somehow I didn’t know that we elected officials whose main job was to investigate other officials that we had elected. I thought they had another job, like leading the nation and producing policies for the welfare of the people. I wonder why we pay them. I get the January 6 Committee — the events of Jan 6 were an attempted coup against a new administration that had been elected by the majority of the people — but I don’t get this. I guess I’m very naive or maybe it’s that only recently (last six years?) I’ve paid attention to government at all. I’m very conflicted about a lot of things. Like the central government is immense and expensive; what should its role actually BE? I know here in the bark-of-beyond and all the other barks-of-beyond in this country people feel alienated from the federal government and wonder what it’s doing there; and they vote Republican, which, I realize, is really voting AGAINST the federal government; it’s a Libertarian leaning.

I could fall into dark dudgeon over this stuff, but I don’t think I have much to do with it. I’m beginning to question the usefulness of “staying informed.” In fact, I’m questioning a lot of things right now.

One thing I DON’T have to question is the meaning of the expression on this little dog’s face:


He got his wish and as soon as we arrived, we were “met” by a group of more than fifty cranes calling out, spiraling higher and higher in the sky. I discovered four more muskrat nests (featured photo). It was a cold but beautiful afternoon out in the Bark-of-Beyond.

All the stuff on the floor — I live in a house that is more or less a dog house depending on the conditions in the yard which, right now, are pretty dirty/muddy/snowy. My living room rug is mostly white. You get the idea. The kitchen is a passageway to the living room. The ONLY time this is a purely human house is when I’m having human guests for a few hours. It’s the way it is when you have a giant dog who will dig a hole bigger than she is and then continue to refine and perfect it.