Saturday, January 31, 2009

40 Things About Me

It's taken me a while to get around to this -- I was tagged over a week ago by Danielle -- A Girl and HERDogs -- but the sticking point has been trying to find a picture of the dogs with me in it (never mind the "most recent" part of the deal). I take 95% of all of the pictures and am rarely in front of the camera myself. This picture was taken at Ft. Bridger, Wyoming at the site of Thornburg the Dog's grave in June 2007 - it was very, very windy.

Per the rules of this game, I'm supposed to post the most recent picture of myself and my dogs and then write down 40 little known facts about myself. So, here goes . . .

1. I never had a dog growing up because my Dad wouldn't let us have one. Thousands of cats, though. I got my first dog from the Humane Society when my spouse and I bought our first house (back in 1992). Kamp was a German Shepherd/Rough Collie mix and he was a wonderful dog!

2. I am a Troop Committee Member in my son's Boy Scout Troop and am in charge of the yearly Valentine Rose fundraiser -- last year we sold over 300 dozen roses and they filled my entire living room. What an aroma!

3. I hate chocolate. (I ate 2 or 3 of those extra large Hersey Bars back with a couple of friends when I was in grade school and I got very, very sick -- I haven't liked chocolate ever since.)

4. I also hate cheese -- any kind of cheese. (Yes, I realize that's possibly un-American and people ask me how I can eat pizza without cheese, but I really can't stand it -- it's the texture, I think.)

5. My first real job was packing bags of potato chips into boxes at the Clover Club Potato Chip Factory when I was 16.

6. I worked as a waitress at a restaurant at Bear Lake (up near the Utah/Idaho border) the summer after I graduated from high school. I lived on the beach in a mobile home with 6 other girls and because we only worked like 4 hrs. a day, spent the rest of my time playing swimming, playing tennis and sailing.

7. I love to go flyfishing.

8. I moved to Deer Park, Texas (near Houston) with my family when I was 18. It was a major culture shock for somebody who had never lived outside of dry Utah before and the "waterbugs" and humidity about killed me. :)

7. I'm an amusement park junkie and love thrill rides, corny midway games and cheap souvenirs. We buy season passes to the local amusement park, Lagoon, and go often during the summer. I especially love roller coasters. Disneyland is a pilgrimage we make every other year. (Oh, and Elitches in Denver, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags (California and Texas), etc., etc.)

8. I like to go to museums and arboretums while I'm on vacation (I'm a sucker for the Model Train Museums at Cyprus Gardens, Old Lighthouse Museum, Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump, Shore Acres State Park, etc.)

9. I'm quite short - only 5 ft. tall. Even though I am the oldest of 5 children, my sibs are all quite tall. My two youngest sisters are around 5'10 and my brother is 6 ft.

10. In high school I won a dance marathon.

11. I also went to every school dance when I was in high school, but never went once with the same guy.

12. I once went skinny-dipping in a local reservoir with friends after consuming a number of Tequila Sunrises. (It was still daylight. :O ) I don't drink tequila anymore.

13. I didn't learn to swim until I was 30. My mom and one of my sisters and I all took lessons, but I was the only one who learned. I can now swim quite well.

14. I'm a pretty good cook and like to collect different kinds of cookbooks.

15. I am also a book hoarder and, due to space restrictions, recently had to donate around 250 hardback books to a local charity because we had no space available on any of the 12 large books cases we have at our house. I love to read!!!!

16. I once got to sing in a chorus at the historic old Mormon Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It was actually pretty exciting.

17. I like to paint. Water color is my favorite and I love to paint plein air. I also like pastels and charcoal, but am not very fond of using oils. I frequently take my painting supplies with me camping and on vacations.

18. When my son was in grade school, I used to volunteer teach art as a 2 or 3 times a month. We did fabulous projects from clay sculpture, textile weaving and drawing. We (all of the 3 sixth grade classes and the parent volunteers) even did an extremely ambitious project of doing a large leaded Iraqi Painted Glass window in the library of the school.

19. I was the manager of the Camera & Records Department at a large department store while I was going to college.

20. I have 4 or 5 great 35 mm. film cameras I never use anymore because I prefer digital. One of these days I'm going to get a DSLR!!

21. Gardening is my favorite hobby and I spend hours in my yard every day (when it isn't covered with snow). Pulling weeds is a great way to work off stress.

22. I love to go hiking in the local foothills and mountains with the dogs.

23. I used to down hill ski a lot, but once I fell and got "tipped" by my ski. I showed the wound to the Ski Patrol at the top of the lift and they made me ski down and get 5 stitches in the First Aid Clinic at the Lodge.

24. I prefer to cross-country ski to down hill.

25. I'm very afraid of heights.

26. I love a good red wine.

27. I love Teva sandals and even wear them in the winter (with socks - how granola). I have a really good Teva tan on my feet all year long.

28. I don't watch television. (Unless I'm traveling for work by myself. I was stuck in Los Angeles in May -- and you don't really walk around much downtown after dark -- so I saw a lot of TV that week.)

29. I can fall asleep with all of the lights on, music playing, people talking, etc. It drives my spouse crazy.

30. I love all kinds of music - classical, rock, punk, celtic, western, zydecko. I have a very eclectic selection on my iPod.

31. I learned to play the violin, clarinet and piano and played in both the Orchestra and Band growing up.

32. I have a "thing" for redheads. :D (Yup, my spouse is a red.)

33. My major in college was physical geography. I really wanted to be a geologist, but there was too much required math - which I sucked at.

34. I pick up rocks from every where I go. My coat and jacket pockets always have rocks in them and they rattle around in the washer every time I do the laundry.

35. I can't watch movies about dogs or other animals. They usually end up making me cry. I ran sobbing from the room when my husband rented "The Bear".

36. Yellowstone National Park is my favorite place on Earth and I would live there, if I could.

37. Walking and spending time with my dogs is one of life's big pleasures. I love my dogs!

38. Camping is always my vacation of choice (and the dogs love it, too).

39. My only (human) kid came over 3 months early and weighed barely 2 lbs. He turned out great, but I never dared do it again.

40. I never respond to chain-mail e-mails and delete them promptly (especially if they say "don't delete this").

Whew! This was kind of an interesting exercise. I'm going to have to reserve the right to "tag' other bloggers at a later date (once I have the chance to scroll through the blogs I read to see who hasn't done this yet.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Midwinter's Morning Walk

It was a beautiful day today and in celebration of being on holiday we met with our friends, Zephyr and Zin (and their humans Margie and Gabby - and her friend Mollie) for a mid-winter hike through the Parley's Nature Preserve.

It was a momentous occasion because we were taking Margie's temporary foster Border Collie, Zorro, for his first walk with the gang. (I picked Zorro up yesterday at 4:30 p.m. from a small local all-breed rescue that just didn't have a place for him to go. I dropped him off at Margie's last night and he has settled in wonderfully with her crew.)
Introducting "Zorro"

Zorro is telling Rusty a Secret
(Actually, Rusty is not fond of other dogs -- hence the alarmed look, although they actually got along pretty well.)

Zorro had a marvelous time!

Allie loved the hike and had a great time. She ran like a crazy fool!

Rusty mugs for the camera. :)

It was also 5 mo. old Zin's first time at the Parley's Nature Preserve. She thought it was great, but stuck close to big brother, Zephyr.

Zephyr, Zin and Zorro

Border Collies and Human Folks All Have a Great Time.

Allie and Rusty (both "Water Babies") love to play in the river. Zin check outs the river.

Gabby and Mollie (the human kids) play on a rope swing.

What a wonderful day!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tales of the Kitchen Coyote

We often call Allie our "Kitchen Coyote". It's not really because she looks much like a coyote (anyone who has seen coyotes in the wild knows this), but more because of the way she moves.

Yellowstone Coyote


She has the undulating lope, kind of sideways and crooked, that makes you thing "wild creature". She has been mistaken for a coyote several times, however.

Once we were on a camping trip in Zions National Park and a group of tourists got off of the tram when Allie and I were walking by. We were quickly surrounding by the tourists who were snapping pictures and pointing at Allie. The only word I understood was "coyote!". I guess that these folks must have thought that here in the wild, wild west we put pink bandanas on our wildlife and walked them on a leash.

The dogs and I were out for an evening walk the other night and, because it was dark, I was ignoring the city's leash laws and the dogs were running ahead of me. Allie sprinted ahead (as she always does), and sat at the corner waiting for permission to cross the street. I could hear voices and picked up my pace, so that I could get to the corner before the people got there. Usually, at this time of night, the only other people we meet are other folks stealth-walking their own dogs, but I guess these folks were returning from a late evening meal at the local French restaurant. As the people approached I heard them say "Look! There's a stray neighborhood coyote!" I quickly apologized for the dogs being off-lead and they laughed and said that they were hoping that Allie really wasn't a coyote, but that she sure looked like one. (Allie did present her paw at that point to shake hands, so fortunately that dispelled the coyote question.)

We do like to walk at night (for the afore-mentioned reason that we can stealth-walk the dogs off-leash) and last night my son and I took the dogs for a nice evening stroll. We had just reached the corner of the neighborhood park and there was a sudden explosion of colorful fireworks in the sky and Allie went into terror escape mode. Allie is severely noise phobic and fireworks send her over the edge with fear. On the 4th of July we have to give her valium and she sleeps curled behind the commode in the bathroom.

We always avoid taking her out when there is any chance for fireworks because she is absolutely terrified of the noise. These were probably leftover fireworks from New Years Eve (and illegal ones, too). We couldn't get to Allie with the leash quickly enough and she frantically sought to escape the horrible noise by quickly jumping into the front seat of a car in a nearby driveway that had unfortunately just opened the door. (Oops!) Imagine the look of surprise on the face of the woman sitting in the front seat with 30 lbs. of quivering Border Collie on her lap.

I was babbling apologies to the couple and trying, without much success, to releash Allie and get her to leave the safety of car. She kept wrapping her forelegs around the woman's neck and burying her face. It seemed like eternity, but it was probably only a second or two, before Allie responded to her recall and jumped off of the woman's lap. Once the shock wore off, the woman in the car started to laugh, got out and gave Allie a big hug and said what a "sweet little coyote" she was. I was mortified and kept apologizing profusely. Fortunately for us, the couple liked dogs and thought the whole thing was very amusing. They said they'd never had a "coyote" jump in their car before and wanted to take a picture of Allie and give her a dog treat.

It was a big embarassment, but we did finish the walk. However, we finished it with both dogs on lead.

Does this look like a coyote to you?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Farewell 2008

Well, 2008 is over. I have to say that I'm glad, because it definitely was a year filled with challenges. Not all of them were bad -- in fact, some of them were wonderful, but I am looking to a bright and shiny new year. Looking back, here are some of the highlights of the outgoing year --

Roses. Supervising, selling, sorting and delivering over 2500 roses for a Boy Scout Fundraiser on Valentines Day. (I sure had my fill of roses, but we made a lot of money for the Scout Troop.)

Family Vacations. A great family trip to Disneyland.

Scout Camp. Heading up a 3 day Boy Scout campout to Moab and riding the Gemini Bridges Trail (and not losing a single scout off the sheer drop-offs or out in the desert.)

Fine Dining. Meals al fresco on the patio.

Fun-Filled Family Reunions.
Camping in Flaming Gorge, fishing and river running on the Green River.

Staying in a condominium on the shores of Bear Lake.

Camping Trips.
Never enough time for camping, but we squeezed in a few great trips.
Antelope Island
Grand Tetons
Flaming Gorge
Mirror Lake


A Miraculous Recovery.
My 8 yr. old nephew, James, defying the doctors' predictions, recovered from a tragic accident. There was a guardian angel hanging around this little guy, that's for sure.

Fledgling Leaving the Nest for A Summer in Yellowstone.
My 15 yr. old son spent a wonderful and adventurous summer of hard work, camping and hiking in the backcountry of Yellowstone working with the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corp.

Hangin' Out With Friends. Allie and Rusty had a great year visiting, hiking and playing with old friends and making new friends.

Zephyr, Zandy, Allie & Rusty
Rusty, Allie and Zandy
Zephyr, Allie & Zin

Adorable Zin!

Just Spending Time With Each Other.

Going to the Soldier Hollow Sheep Dog Trials.

A Historic Election Year.

Holiday Parties With Family and Friends.

I won't dwell on stock market plunges, family health problems or any of those things because they are now in the past. I'm going to finish this post to my blog, put on my shoes and take my dogs to the park. Farewell to 2008 -- Hello 2009!