Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Words

True to an earlier post, I have been living my life out. My partner and I have simply been us... where we go, we hold hands. We interact with the general public, retail and otherwise, holding hands, arm in arm, or some form of ritualistic together symbol. To be sure, we aren't making out in the street or the middle of Wal-Mart, but we are together nevertheless.

Often, no one seems to notice. They are either oblivious to our presence in its entirety or they just simply don't care. Occasionally, people try to stare without being noticed, and when I make eye contact and smile, they tend to whither away, turn away, or suddenly realize the lint on their sleeve is the most important thing in the world to them right then.

Last night was a little different.

We walked into our regular Subway last night, hand in hand, as usual. And we were received with snickers from a small table. Two guys and one gal. I hesitate to call them boys and girls because they were older than that. But I couldn't call them men and women, because they were giggling as we walked by and that doesn't seem to fit men and women. At any rate... they were giggling and as we got right next to them, one of the guys fully laughed out loud. I suspected that we were the topic of their humor right away but didn't want to be so conceited as assume it was us. We ordered our food and paid and my partner needed to use the bathroom,so I stood and waited. The group got up and one of the guys commented to the sandwich artist how much he really enjoyed the sandwich she made him. They threw their things away and stepped out the door. Then one of the boys - and yes, now he is a BOY, turned, opened the door again and yelled...........

FAGGOT!!!!

And off they went. They had yelled it loud enough that my partner in the bathroom heard it.

I walked out the door, intending to defend my honor in some way I suppose, and they were gone. I don't mean off in the distance in the parking lot, but flat out gone. They must have run as fast as they could to get around the corner of the building to be out of sight in case we followed.

Ignorant chickensh!ts.

To her credit, and I suppose, Subway's credit as well, the sandwich artist confirmed with me what had just been said and she said, with seemingly sincere conviction, well, THEY won't be allowed back in THIS store again... how rude!

What WOULD I have said, if they were still out there, perhaps waiting for my response?

I thought of several replies:

It takes one to know one! (sound familiar?)

Chickensh!t!

Ignorant chickensh!t!

Perhaps I would have tried to engage in and intelligent discussion on the meaning of the word faggot with them....after all, I am not a bundle of sticks.... or a sewing stitch or a meatball dish from the UK.....

Thoughts of penis size comments came flitting about my brain.

In the end, I am sure it was better to not have engaged these particular people at this particular time. After all, it was just a word. And words can never hurt me, right? So I have been told.

But it did bring up a question for me.

When would be a good time? A "good" circumstance?

I don't know the answer to that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quiet


Didn't realize how much I would miss noise. To be sure, the riot that was exiting the house, isn't missed.... The demands for breakfast RIGHT NOW and dinner RIGHT NOW.... also not missed...

But the tap tap tap of the feet behind me everywhere I went.... the sighs of disgust or pleasure as she laid on her bed... the cute little howl she would sometimes make.... the 'whispers' she tried to please me with... the harumph as she finally gave up following me around and would lay in the middle of the room to track me anyway....

All that noise... I miss it. There is so much more I miss. I know I grieved the loss of her working life a few years ago, but even that is feeling fresh and new again.

Time. It will take time.

I know that.

But still, the tears fall.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Please 4/1996-12/2009






There comes a time in every dog handlers life when you must say goodbye. Sometimes it is sudden, sometimes it is not.... but say goodbye you must. They give us so much... their heart, their dedication, their love, their work ethic.... they teach us so much.... and they are never around long enough. 3 years.... 13 years... it is never long enough. We ask them to do so much for us.... and they gladly do it... just show me how, they ask. And if you do your part, they do you proud. They want nothing more back from us than love, protection and care. From beginning to end.

She came to me at 6 weeks of age... I had watched her from the day she was born to the day I took her home... I was going to make her into a SEARCH DOG. I had been down the road before, and had made my mistakes. Now, I KNEW what I was doing. So she was going to be IT. At 6 weeks of age, we were up at 5 am playing ball, so she had play drive. We were doing puppy run aways at 8 weeks old to instill in her the work that I wanted from her - to make it second nature. I didn't inhibit any behavior so I could find out what would be HER alert. And I got... a jump alert that she added a bark to. I let her pick her reward, so I knew which paycheck she wanted - we went through a tennis ball (fantastic toy, but not the end all be all for her for search....) a soft frisbee - worked great until she some how injured her mouth and refused to touch it again.... finally she chose a kong. Actually, she stole a kong from the vet office from our 'forgotten toy' bin.... I still have it. And then from there we were set for adventure.....

Her first find was a set of keys. My friend had left them in the grass at softball field one evening and then they turned the lights out.... after many people searched for them, I brought her out and she took all of 5 minutes and she found them. Her first live human find was of an alzheimer's man that had walked away from his home in the city of Chico. They had been searching for him for hours before they finally called Butte SAR. We had been working only a short time when her head popped up and over the small rise she flew. Then she was coming back to me, but she kept looking over her shoulder. I could then see our missing person, continuing to walk from yard to yard and she was trying her darndest to keep him in sight, and still keep coming to me to tell me what she had found. Her most memorable find, for me, was of a suicidal subject that had hidden himself in a van, and passed out. The night was dark and I was so focused on my dog that when she alerted, I didn't understand what she was telling me. She kept taking me to a clump of grass... that was all I could see. And when I didn't understand what she was telling me she finally flung herself up against the back of the van that I was standing next to and never saw. I got the message then.

In her life, she was mission ready with CARDA, Tehama County, and Butte County. She was mission ready in Wilderness, Water, Cadaver and BUDD (Basic Urban Disaster). She made an impression everywhere she went, and her voice wasn't soon forgotten. Many a boat driver who had experienced her before cringed with they saw us coming because she never shut up on a boat... except when she was pin pointing scent. Any thing that remotely looked like it could be a search area, brought out the barking monster that I created. No trip was for 'pleasure'... there had to be a search at the stopping point..... just ask her, she told you.

When I thought I wanted to quell her barking, and discovered a veterinary behaviorist was conducting a research project on barking dogs and the best method to control the barking, right here in town, I jumped right up and said PLEASE pick me! Dr Yin did... and then, within a week, rejected her for the research project, saying she was too well behaved... she never barked for Dr Yin.

Time, age and infirmity caught up to Please. I can't say she live a short life. Who can complain about nearly 14 years? Her working life was cut short due to joint problems, but her life with me was long and full.

In the end, I had to give to her the respect she had given to me over all the years we had together. I had to allow her her dignity. I had to say goodbye and let her exit gracefully. I couldn't be selfish and keep her around for me, knowing she was uncomfortable and in pain.

So, on December 5, 2009, I said goodbye to Please. The search dog that showed me what a search dog should be. The search dog that taught ME more about search dogs than I ever taught her about being a search dog.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Humor In The World

Often time life presents opportunities for us to laugh and Friday night was no exception.....

We walked into a restaurant, gave our name to the hostess and sat down. There was a woman and her child of about 3 or 4 standing next to the lobster tank. The child was STANDING on the bench, whining something to the mother. The child was looking at the lobsters and wanting to hold one... The mother was trying to tell her they weren't creatures you could hold, but the child was getting louder and more persistent. Then an employee enabled this child by coming along and actually scooping one up and bringing it over to the mother and child.

While the room of people waiting for their meal watched, the mother explained very matter of factly to the child that she could not hold the lobster, she could only pet it. The employee turned the lobster over and said "you can pet it's belly". The little girl reached out and petted the belly of the lobster - ONCE - and pulled away. As the employee put the lobster back in the tank the mother said:
Do you have kids?

And before employee could speak aloud her reply (which was a 'no'), with a sigh, the mother said:

If not, remember this.

The room burst into laughter, including the employee, while the mother collected her girl and went back into the restaurant.


There was probably some karmic retribution to those of us seated in the lobby, as we all were seated next to the large family gathering that included this mother and child and got to continue to witness the antics of said unruly girl, but we clung to the mother's exasperated earlier comment of

If not.... remember this....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Closet Door Is Glass

There is a civil rights movement going on. In a country where the declaration of independence says that all men are created equal, there is, once again, a civil rights movement going on. Years ago, women didn't have the right to vote. People fought, people got hurt, people died. After many years of struggle, women gained the right to vote. Years ago, black people had no rights. People fought, people got hurt and people died. After many years of struggle, black people gained their civil rights. Or some of them. And they had to fight again for more, like marrying the person that they loved, regardless of 'color.'

Now people are deciding, almost square acre by square acre, across this country, my civil rights. It seems as though the question of my civil rights has come up a lot in the last year. I find it interesting that all the other people in the nation have a say in my basic civil rights. One might think that in a nation where civil rights struggles have occurred time and again, that, as a nation, it might not be a hard fight to recognize that I am a human being, deserving of rights, simply because I am a human being.

We have been complacent too long. We need to fight. We need to stand up and be counted. We need to get in the face of those who think that they are better than we because they can love someone of the opposite sex. We need to stop standing on the sidelines waiting for our rights to happen. We, as a population of people, need to come together and say that we won't take it any more.

The argument against our struggle being similar to those struggles.... woman's suffrage and the civil rights movement involving black people.... is that "You can hide that you're gay... I can't hide that I am black." Wow. So that means that they deserve rights and I don't? Because I can hide who I am?

Since coming out of the closet, I have never looked back. Sometimes I have scurried behind it for a moment or two, but for the most part, I have been as out as I could be. And frankly folks.... all the lesbian and gay folks out there... that is what MUST happen.

I am not saying that coming out is easy. There are consequences to every action. You may have some struggle at work. You may have to deal with family turmoil. You may have to move. You may have to make changes in your life. You may get hurt. I am not wishing for anyone to have pain, emotional or physical in their life, but the fact remains ....

We must come out. We must show that being in the closet isn't an option. Why should I have to hide who I am in order for people to convey my civil rights to me? And it doesn't even work. Hiding in the closet doesn't work.

For any of you that are struggling with coming out of the closet, let me let you in on a little secret....

YOUR CLOSET DOOR IS GLASS.

Everyone around you knows. They may know and have had many discussions about it. They may know and not want to know. So it doesn't bother them when you are denied your civil rights because you, the gay person in their life, don't have a face to them. But never the less, the closet door is glass.

Break thru. Step out. Walk into the sun.

Rosa Parks stood up for herself and for all the black people in the nation by sitting at the front of the bus.


Find your 'front of the bus'.....

Go to walmart and hold hands with your girlfriend. Give your boyfriend a quick kiss as you walk through the mall. Be noticed. Be brave. Be strong. Be OUT.

Be yourself.




Friday, October 23, 2009

Drives, Photographs, and Dogs

What do you get when you combine a wonderful trip to Portland, night time, a drive to a high point called Rocky Butte, and forgetting a tripod shoe for your camera?

You have a beautiful view of a wonderful city, with a fantastic camera and an excellent tripod.... with no way of getting them together to steady that phenomenal night shot you had in your head.

Most would say ... that sucks, cuz you don't get pictures.

Which is initially what I thought too. I had gone to Portland, hoping for a few nightscapes of a big city. Funny, my friend up there said she didn't think Portland was a big city.... I guess it's all in your perspective. Never the less, I persevered. I tried using the cement borders of this landmark in the city, only to discover that none of them were flat. Didn't make for good photos. Then I just decided to go this route:


I also discovered that trying to photograph waterfalls in the rain, especially when the rain included very low lying clouds, proved to be unsatisfactory. Kaeden thought driving around to all kinds of waterfalls was somewhat fun, but mostly annoying because every place looked like a fantastic place to explore. Except he never got to get out at any one of them.



Aside from this excursion, Kaeden had a blast, as we did as well.

Ah my handsome man at council crest in Portland Oregon.

This leaves us looking forward to the next trip to the Big City.








Sunday, September 6, 2009

Night On The Town

In a smallish town well known for it's party reputation and it's big Labor Day Float down the river, we decided to join the night life. We watched as we saw police everywhere on look out for idiots (there were plenty) and drunks (more of those too...) We then decided to look beyond the people and reach for what the city had to offer.... We saw the sights... and I decided to capture it on "film". (OK... Memory Card, but that doesn't sound as romantic!)

This is a sample of what we saw last night. This is passing Casa Ramos on West East Avenue (don't ask, my opinion on street names was never sought.....)

Look for more to come....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A puppy dog tale!!!

This is my boy saying "IT'S HERE" and in the next moment, as we were rowing away, he was saying "BUT WAIT!! IT'S BACK THERE!!!"



He truly loves his job.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Take Nothing For Granted

Tell your dad he is important to you
Even if he is far far away....
Tell your mother you love her.
Even if she yelled at you this morning.
Tell your best friend she means the world to you.
Even if you haven't had time to talk in weeks.
Tell your coworkers how much you appreciate their help
Even when it is so busy you don't have time to breathe
Hold your partner close at night
And don't forget a kiss goodbye in the morning....

And if you see any or all of these people every day, if you interact, hug, talk to, love, touch and share with any or all of them.....

Take the time to tell them what they mean to you..........

Today is here and now.... there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. No guarantee.


http://deputyericchristopher.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Only Thing That Stays The Same, Is Change

That is the title of a Melissa Etheridge song. And she's right. If there is one thing you can count on in this world it is that things change.

Seasons change. The economy changes. The world changes. People change. All of that is constant. All of that change....

That said, life for me has changed. That which I knew, is no longer. Indeed, things that have changed in my life have been my choice. That doesn't mean it was easy. Sometimes, the choices we make create big changes in our lives. Sometimes, the choices made by those around us create big changes in our lives.

And so, she goes her way. And I go mine. What was, is no longer. It had changed. I had changed.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's More Fun?



Watching paint dry? Watching the pot that never boils? How about watching water freeze???

This is water freezing!!! We recently spent some time at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. This was one of the coolest things we saw. I couldn't help but take pictures of it!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Abuse - there is no excuse

This is long and involved, and really, not even complete. If you are interested in the whole adventure and have the time, I encourage you to read the whole thing. If not... the moral of the story is (I hope):

Have courage, and persist. Do not give up until your safety is assured. Reach out for all the help you can. The help does exist.

ABOVE ALL: DO NOT BE ASHAMED TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE TRAUMA YOU SUFFERED! It was a real event or series of events. You must work through all the fear to get to the other side a stronger, healthier person.


Does anyone deserve to be hit? Over and over?

In my past, many years ago, I was beaten up in the street. The woman who did it was my partner at the time, and she was drunk. She hit me over and over again, yelling at me that I will never hit her, even though I hadn't even made a move to hit her. When all was said and done, I had a bloody lip, bruised face and ended up having to have dental work done because of the blows to my mouth.

What did the cop say who came to take the report? "Well, I have enough evidence here for you to press charges for battery. BUT," then he cautioned that I would become a witness for the state, and I would have to tell my whole story, every detail, to the judge and the courtroom. There was no hiding from anything.

I wasn't out yet. Only a very small group of friends knew I was a lesbian. Tell my whole story to the judge (and was he the same judge that went to my church???) and a whole courtroom full of people?

Seeing the fear in my eyes, he offered to just 'log' the information so that if anything happened again, there would be history with the police and I would have a better case.

I opted for that route. Even though I knew that meant that I would have to get attacked again in order to have something done to protect me, that fear was less than the fear I felt about going to court and outing myself to the tiny community I lived in.

I spent the next two years with her stalking me. There were no stalking laws and there was no mandatory arrest for domestic violence for lesbian or gay couples then, so I was left on my own.... watching my back, fearful of the next corner, the next visit to the store, the next phone call....

Fast forward to now. Domestic violence laws have changed, and really for the better. But still the system lacks....

Recently, late one Friday night, my partner's ex decided to hunt her down, force her way into the house, and attack her and myself. Upon leaving she destroyed property by running into it with her car. The Sheriff's Department was called, but arrived long after our assailant left. Now there are mandatory arrest laws for domestic partners and such, but guess what? My partner didn't have enough of a 'wound' on her to qualify. The bloodied, bruised lip I had qualified for misdemeanor assault, but because it was a misdemeanor, there was no arrest possible at that time. We both signed complaints requesting charges be filed, and were strongly advised to seek a restraining order immediately come Monday morning.

So Monday we went to the courthouse, got handed a 1/2" thick stack of papers and got told to fill it out and turn it in. A list of resources for help in filling the request for a restraining order was included with the packet. We spent 45 minutes filling out the paper work, only to be told as we approached the counter "You can't possibly have that filled out right. I told you to use the resources on that sheet of paper. Do that and don't come back until you have everything filled out and copied." And yes, the tone of voice you can infer from those statements was there. So, off we went for 'help'.

Thank goodness help was indeed help. She assured us that we had done everything correctly, with one small exception. She corrected that, added some paperwork we weren't given that was required and made copies for us. So for a couple of dollars, we had what we needed and were on our way back to the courthouse to file for a temporary restraining order.

Armed with a file number, we were told to call the next day at 11am to see if the paperwork was done being handled by by the judge. 5 phone calls later, with 4 "no the judge hasn't seen it yet" 's, and a speedy drive to the courthouse before the office closed, and a Temporary Restraining Order was in hand. Time on the paperwork that the judge signed it?? 9 am.

Court date set for three weeks later, we had to have the other party served with the paperwork. We were advised that the sheriff's office would do it at no charge. The paperwork needed to be served at least 2 days before the court date and because my partner and her ex worked in the same department, and the fact that the TRO didn't provide any protection at work, we held off on getting paper work served until we were closer to the court date, out of sincere fear of violent reprisal at work.

I went to the sheriff's office one week prior to the papers needing to be served. I was met with "who are YOU?" "Are YOU included on the TRO?" And then I get told I was LUCKY that I was on the TRO because otherwise they couldn't accept any paperwork from me. And then I was told, rapid fire, how to fill out the paperwork requesting service, "and you can't put the form numbers on this, you have to put the names" and so on and so forth, harshly, even angrily. And then she said, " "I don't even see how we can do this! There is only me in here and this has to be served by Friday!! What were you thinking?"

As I took the paperwork and fairly well crawled to the chairs in the room, I couldn't help feeling horribly defeated before I started. I also thought that if I were a woman who had been horribly beaten up time after time who had finally gotten the courage to do something to help myself, I would have just gone home and crawled into a closet and waited to die because it would be easier than the process I had already gone through, especially knowing it wasn't over yet.

Even though we requested service, the Sheriff's Office couldn't make it happen. So she didn't get served and we had to appear in court on the appointed day and ask for a reissuance of the TRO and a new court date. That process took 4 hours and a lot of collective sighs and antsy waiting for a clerk in a court room who clearly hated her job. When handed the paperwork for her stamp and date, she said, loud enough for the entire, filled, courtroom to hear, "I will get to it when I can" and she literally threw it on the floor and got up and left the courtroom.

We thought filing the police report with the application for a permanent restraining order would help in getting the permanent restraining order. So another adventure was had. Getting the police report was interesting. While those clerks were very nice and very helpful, because the assault is an ongoing investigation, the clerk had to black out every involved party except the person picking up the report - so the judge will get a report with the facts of the case, but next to no names to go with it! And it cost $17.

Then filing the report with the application! Back to the courthouse and the generally unhelpful customer service agents at the counter. The police report was a controlled document so no copies could be made. Good money was paid for this set of papers with a bunch of black lines on it! Give it up?? I don't Think so!! This time the gal behind the counter came close to being nice by encouraging that the original report be filed with the application, and that it would be helpful for the judge to see. In the next breath she is saying she can't give advice. So the original went with the application

I guess we'll see where it goes.... court is in one week... another day of waiting for someone else to decide how to make us safe....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The ride has come to a complete stop

Nearly a week has gone by and while the ride had some twists and turns, and some pretty scary moments, now that I kept my hands and feet inside the car at all times, I have indeed returned safely to the station.

Both dogs are doing well. Please is having to deal with not being able to have any NSAIDS for a bit yet, but she's a trooper and is handling it well.

We thank you for all of your support in this.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Fair

My Red Wing Hawk got an Honorable Mention at the Silver Dollar Fair.

The Icy Windshield got an Honorable Mention at the Silver Dollar Fair.
And my Foggy Canyon got a First Place at the Silver Dollar Fair!

Small town fair, but it felt really big to me... thanks to those of you who have supported and encouraged me!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Can a Plant Have Courage?

I don't know much about plants. I care for those plants and trees that were at one time someone else's, and so far I seem to be mostly successful. I saw this particular plant at the edge of a colossal canyon. It was all alone. That is a solitary blade of grass right next to it. It is tiny compared to the massive surroundings, that include tremendous cliffs, gigantic trees, and impressive brush. It is probably a weed. It doesn't know that - the idea that a weed is less desirable than a true 'plant' is not a part of it's make up. It is surviving. It has taken what it was given... a place to live, an environment to survive in, proper nutrients to grow on.... and it is living and growing. And I think it's kind of cute.

Is that courage? Taking what you have around you and finding a way to make it work so that you can flower and become what you were meant to be? Standing amongst others surrounding you that are bigger and in many eyes 'better' and being willing to hold your ground?

I don't know. All I know is that when I saw this little plant, the word that screamed through my head was courage. It seemed to fit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Top 3 Things You Wouldn't Expect To Hear In A Veterinary Office

I manage a veterinary hospital. Day in and day out, I hear all kinds of things that are similar in nature to one another. What vaccines does my pet need? How much will this cost? My dog is a genius. My dog is really dumb. When should my cat get spayed? My dog hates my mother in law, what can I do?

I, and my staff, do a fantastic job in responding to these questions or statements. But every once in a while, what a client says will throw us, and sometimes, render us speechless.

Here are the top three things I have heard that in a million years I never would have expected to hear at a veterinary hospital.

3. Upon exiting the office after scheduling an appointment: "What day is Mother's Day?"

2. If you have read my blog before, you know about this one: Asked by a very concerned father: "Be honest with me.... does she match?" Referring to his very young daughter who was insistent that her clothes didn't match that morning.

And the number one statement, never in a zillion years imagined to be heard in a veterinary hospital:

"I was in such a hurry and I didn't want to be late for my appointment. So I just hopped out of the hot tub, threw this on and didn't even bother to put on any underwear."

And she wasn't Paris Hilton. Although she was sure trying.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

When The Day Is Done

When the day is done can you say that you had fun?
Can you say that you made a difference?
Will you have accomplished all you set out to do?
Have you told someone that you loved them?

When the day is done can you say you saw something beautiful?
Did you tell someone that they were beautiful?
Did you laugh?
Did you cry?

When the day is done
And I mean really done
And there is absolutely nothing more
Will you have any regrets?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

As Luck Would Have It

On a small beach below a fantastic restaurant, I spotted this Sea Lion. I was actually quite sad when I first spotted it and its companion, because I thought they were dead. I sat far away from them, trying to catch some pictures of the waves in the cove. Periodically I would look over their direction and sigh, feeling saddened by their loss, even though I had no personal connection to them.

I decided to go to the other side of them to get a different angle of the surf, and as I came close.... VERY close, I realized they were breathing. I know that Sea Lions can inflict great injury, so I had a moment of visualized panic... I visualized Sea Lions moving faster than I could ever imagine they could move on land and me having a nasty bite or two or three that wouldn't feel good.

So I tip toed. And then I spoke. I just said I was sorry to have interfered with their napping space, but since I was here, could I please take a picture or two. One of them just kept on napping. The other acknowledge my presence. So, while holding my breath, I took several pictures. It (I hate saying it, but I have no idea how to tell male from female in the sea lion world, and I felt that 10 feet away was already too close) allowed me to sit on a rock and take as many pictures as my little heart desired. It stared at me, it scratched itself, it threw sand on itself, and then it sneezed. Which actually answered my question about getting sand in your nose when laying on the beach without a towel.



As I finally took my leave, I read a "Warning" sign posted near by, that I honestly hadn't seen.

WARNING - DO NOT GET CLOSER THAN 100 FEET OF MARINE MAMMELS..."

Woops.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Is it JUST another rainbow?


For those of you that know the area, that's Sawmill Peak in the background. I took this from the Skyway.


Friday after work. Very long week. Driving home. Thinking about the weekend and the fact that there is still so much to do. Immersed in thought.

Driving is a bit meditative for me. It probably shouldn't be because you are supposed to be paying attention to the world around you and how your actions affect others and how theirs affects you. But so much is rote. And so often my mind wanders.

Around the corner I go and POOF in front of me is this PIECE of a rainbow. Due to all the things that make a rainbow happen..... light, moisture, refraction etc, because of where the sun and the clouds and the rain are, this all I get.

BUT WOW! It is so beautiful and it takes my breath away. I HAVE to pull over and take a picture.

Is it JUST another rainbow? Or is it a reminder to keep eyes open.... to pay attention... to realize that there is beauty in so so so many things out there. Be ready for it. Be open to it.

AGAIN... proving why my camera is always with me. You just can't recreate this stuff!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tiny and Mighty

Quick learners are humming birds.... I watched several of these come in for an evening feeding and then decided I would go get my camera. After two pictures (and yes, the flash went off, I needed it!) they figured out that when I lifted the camera up, I was going to make it flash, so they zipped off. I was able to catch this one mid flight.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rainbow in a cloud

Nothing philosophical to say tonight. Just wanted to share a picture I took tonight. 2 hours, 147 photos, and this is the best one, I think.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Imagining the past

When I saw this boulder, the resting place for this fallen tree, I got a clear image of the past. This tree, vital and strong. Then laying across the rocks, perhaps as a climbing post for small creatures scurrying up to the top of the rock. Rainstorms. Snowstorms. Sunlight. Time.

Now, slowly broken down, piece by piece, bit by bit.... until it is a skeleton of its former self.

Is that what will happen to me? Will my death, at some unknown point in the future, tell a story of my life?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In The Middle of Somewhere, But Close to Nowhere

I liked the bridge. There is a nice sign off to the side that names all the people that helped to build the bridge. There is a woodpecker that really likes one side of the bridge. This covered bridge is out in Oregon City. Which is in California. Its near Cherokee. Kind of near Oroville. But the road really doesn't go very far from here. There a school house near here that is an historical monument. I wanted to take a picture of the historical monument sign, but someone had a "For Sale" sign duct taped to the monument, selling their car that was parked up the road a ways.

Which should tell you something about this place that is in the middle somewhere.

Nowhere I'd like to live, but somewhere to visit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Promise Of A Journey


This railroad called me back to it. It made me stop along the highway and walk along the bridge above it. In it, I could see a promise of a journey. It goes on, around the corner, just beyond my sight, but the journey is there.

The path is before me, if I choose to follow it. It may curve along my way, as well as go up or down, but the path is there. Even if I can't see where it goes, I have to trust that the path is indeed there, taking me to the next stop along the way.


Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm OUT!!



My wife threatened to out me by telling everyone I liked flowers now! I am, generally, not a "flowers" kind of gal.

But I have decided to come out now. It might be nice to get flowers every once in a while. Mostly however, I like the vibrant colors that a lot of flowers come in. Also, I am fascinated by just how fast nature makes things happen. Less than a week ago, that red flower was barely a bud on the bush, and yet I swear I turn around just once, and *poof* there is a bright red flower! And the little bitty leave just trying to become a big leaf wasn't there last Monday!

I have taken enough photos of flowers to now warrant a folder on my external hard drive labeled flowers.

So... there you have it. I am out.

I like flowers.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Discoveries




We moved into our house in May of last year. And frankly, aside from the lawn, I paid next to no attention to the plants in the planter boxes.

Until now.

We have some pretty cool flowers. Don't ask me to name them... I have zero clue what any of them are. But these are just a couple of the cool flowers we have.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Marker - A Memory - A Memorial

"Gone, yet not forgotten, Although we are apart, your spirit still lives within me, forever in my heart."

This is the same overlook where I have taken numerous pictures and where, no doubt, I will take many more. For as many pictures as I have taken there, well over 100 that I can count, I had not seen this marker. This day, I finally saw it. I was amazed I had never noticed it before. I am not sure of the significance of the jar of pennies that was once intact. If you look at the background, you can see that this marker hangs over at least 200 feet of cliff below it, if not more.

I don't know who this marker is written for. Given where it has been placed, it could be for any number of people. There were, rare, rescues of live people and, many, recoveries of deceased people. I took part in many recoveries from this place. At times I was involved in making sure there were no other victims. Often in the dark, more than several times, I skirted poison oak and prayed the rattlesnakes would leave my dog and I alone as we searched what we could at the spot where the vehicles would come to rest. It was a narrow, treacherous and a frequently, slippery area. I have repelled down, been flown down to, and hiked down to this area numerous times. I have stood at the edge ensuring no one else got too close as we attempted rescue, or made a recovery. I stopped a woman from looking at her brother in a condition no one should ever have to see their loved one. I know closure is important, but nightmares aren't necessary.

Now this lookout is just that. A lookout. Measures are in place to keep cars from flying off the cliffs here. It is odd to me that, until I saw this marker, the changes that had taken place to turn this area into a vista point had sufficiently allowed my mind to close off the memories of the tragedies that had taken place there.
Tragedies that I had had some part in. I had talked about them abstractly while being elsewhere, but hadn't even thought of them in the many times over the many months that I have stopped and taken pictures.

Until this day.


Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life. ~Jean Paul Richter



Driving and....


In CA, I know there is a law about talking on a cell phone while driving (you must be hands free) and there is a law about texting (you can't do it...) but I don't think there is a law about taking pictures and driving.... which is what I did last night. (I suppose there probably OUGHT to be a law about it... and I am not recommending it to any one else...)

I know the photos aren't 'correct' or have technical merit, but I sure like the results



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mountain top

These are the types of moments I live for. That moment in time where the world presents itself and says "photograph me now!" I was actually taking pictures of my dogs in my truck after a search, because they were being so cute. And then I looked up and saw Mt Shasta. I abandoned my dogs in favor of taking pictures of this mountain.

I love traveling up this part of I5 when the weather is clear. Mount Shasta becomes so much of your view for a while on your journey. So close to something so huge and majestic.

Too bad I don't ski.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A crossroads


The day I was waiting for the moon to set so I could take a picture, a day too late I might add, I took this picture of the canyon below me.

I love this canyon. I see so many new things each time I look, like this road with many roads off of it. It feels very symbolic of life. If you could look at your life from this perspective and see the many choices that will present themselves, maybe you would make different decisions. Or maybe it would just help to know that a new choice was coming up just a few hundred yards away.

Or maybe it would make life more confusing.


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Face Of Pure Joy

He is never happier than when he is dirty. It is not a good search training unless nearly all of his white is some shade of brown.... This is actually cast off he is subjected to as he runs behind Kaeden through the muddy creek near our search and rescue headquarters.

Oh to run for the pure joy of running. To do windsprints just because it feels fun and good. To not care about mud or water or cold or wind... to just run for the fantastic fun of it. My dogs are fanatics about it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reality Check


A good man died today. I don't know enough about him to say all that could be said about him. I do know that he was thought of highly by all who knew him, including me. He was a constant, a mentor, and a friend. His actions, over the course of a lifetime, touched thousands. He helped those who were sick and in pain. His skills were unquestioned, and his abilities passed on to many.

From diagnosis to passing, barely six months went by. Through it all, he still tried. He still fought. He still smiled.

Reality check.

There is only so much time before the sand in the hour glass runs out.

And you never get to peek at the hour glass to see how much sand you started with.

Or how much is left.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Contemplation


After today's emotional roller coaster, a night in the woods next to a soft fireplace sounded good. No one to ask me yet another question, no one pulling me in six different directions only to discover I needed to go a seventh. Only a quiet dark evening, with a fire beckoning me to sit and forget it all.

This was a fire from a back packing trip my wife and I took with good friends back in July of 2007. Just for a moment today, sitting by this fire sounded like a welcome relief from all that a hectic, crazy emotional day can bring.

Staring at this quietly long enough I can hear the surrounding wildlife and feel the light nip in the air on parts of my body not directly facing the fire. I can feel each of my dogs next to me, sighing contentedly after a day filled with hiking, swimming and other fun activities. I can feel the happy calm that the atmosphere brings....

ahhhhhhhhhh.....

Monday, March 2, 2009

What a Dyson Cannot Do.

A Dyson, at least the model I have - the Animal - cannot pick up wood chips. Or wood splinters. Or wood pieces.

Okay. Actually that is not entirely true. For the most part, it can indeed pick up the majority of those things. What happens though, is they get stuck in one of the cute little curvy parts, and they don't make it to the canister.

What happens when you don't realize that the pieces are getting stuck is you continue to pick up as much wood as you can. When you realize the suction is mostly gone, you begin investigating why. That's when you take off one of those curvy parts - the one on the bottom - rather proud of yourself that you figured out just how easy it is to take your Dyson apart.... and suddenly you have a neat pile of wood chips, splinters and pieces on the floor you just tried vacuuming up.

That's when you realize you need a shop vac.

But I suppose we should start at the beginning. The very beginning... Love, Life and Puppy Dog Tales. It's been a while since I have been able to share the antics of my four legged furry ones. Today, Hazer is the star.

He is not to blame. FAR FROM IT. If I search my memory, I would swear, yes swear, as in a court of law kind of swear, that I saw Hazer before I left for work today.

I was wrong.

I got home tonight and was greeted by Please. I had Kaeden with me. It took only a short time for me to realize Hazer wasn't in the equation. I asked my wife if he was with her, and she said no... and as a matter of fact, she hadn't see him. We called, we searched, and for a moment, I panicked.... he had gotten out and taken off. How would I ever find him?

Why in the world would he ever leave??? That is not the velcro Hazer I know.

Nope. He didn't go anywhere.

He couldn't.

My wife opened the laundry room door and there he was. Then I heard my wife say "OH. MY. GOD." as she peered into the room.

The floor was covered in wood chips, splinters and pieces. Border Collies are well known for their focus. And Hazer focused on getting out.


Yes, the molding is gone. He destroyed the molding so well that it was a mere sawdust formation of itself. What was left of it had the nails in it.... he didn't eat those... he did have survival on his mind. Then he began working on the door frame itself.

To his credit, after 12 hours in the laundry room, he didn't urinate or defecate in the room
. He could have tried to go out the window. He could have destroyed the carpet. He could have eaten the nearly 60 pounds of dog food at the other end of the room. Instead, he focused on the molding and the door frame. He focused on pulverizing the space between in and out.

And thus I had a pile of wood chips, splinters and pieces. Things that a Dyson cannot pick up. At least not effectively anyway.

Lesson? Make sure to take dog inventory before leaving the house in the morning.

Although, Hazer isn't too keen on spending any time in the laundry room right now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remembering to Breathe

An opportunity has finally become an actuality. Given that all the paperwork is in order and the licensing gods smile down upon me, I will have an opportunity to sit for the state boards to actually get my Vet Tech License some time later this year.

I have been studying throughout this time frame, hoping that this opportunity will indeed happen!
This process has been a roller coaster over the last 10 months or so. Will this possibility come to fruition? As the state board mulled it over, I anxiously awaited the minutes from their meetings. Vote now? No. Vote now? No. Vote now? Yes. Result? YES.

Yippee.

Except.

The DCA (department of consumer affairs) had to sign off on it. I was assured that they would, but they had to meet first.

Remember that budget issue?? It is amazing how many things that affected.... the DCA couldn't meet again in 2008 due to budgetary constraints. So they didn't sign off on it.

Until this month. Mind you, nothing about the time constraints of the window changed. The window opened up on Jan 1, set to close Dec 31, 2009. But we couldn't crawl thru it. Until now. I have to shower them with paperwork that proves that I am worthy of this test. That goes in the mail tomorrow.

New snag....

Remember that budget issue? Right off the bat, we are being told that there will potentially be a 60 day processing period because of the state mandated furlough days.

Then there is a probable 6 week wait AFTER the paperwork is processed to actually have the test scheduled.

More waiting.

BUT..... I should get to take this test! I will probably have only one chance at taking this test.

I am excited.

I am also anxious.

I have always had test anxiety.... I have to get past that for this test.

Why am I here writing??? I have to get back to studying!!

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Perspective

There is so much I like about this picture. The contrast between the snow covered land and the land without snow. The trees or brush that has the red hue. The rows of pine trees far off in the distance. The light haze of clouds to one side.

It makes me want to explore so many pieces of that photo in the real world and it makes me wonder how I can get to all of it.

If you observe life from many angles, from many perspectives, you can see so much more. If you focus too intensely on one thing, you will lose out on all that is out there to explore.

And another day is done.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Uniqueness


The patterns that form on my truck windshield never cease to amaze me.
These two photos were taken the same morning on the same windshield, just different sides - passenger vs. driver.

Neither of these photos came out perfectly. The shape and angle of the windshield makes getting good focus and depth of field difficult at best. But never the less, I still am fascinated by these images. I can look at them over and over again and still see something different or something more.

I suppose that's kind of like the people in our lives, particularly the ones who are closest to us. The more you look, the more you see. And the more that is shared, the more that you reveal the intricacies that make each of us unique.

The unique is not hard to find, particularly if you take the time to look.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It Snowed Again

The fence between us and the neighbors has a slight tilt to it... and snow sticks like this. I love it.

I woke Friday morning and didn't even notice that it had snowed. Funny how stuck in your routine you get. I had made at least three trips across the house, crossing in front of the sliding glass door each time, but never looked outside. It was only after reviewing a voicemail on my cell phone from a coworker in which she stated it had snowed, and the problems that might cause her, that I looked out the window. And I saw snow! So I got my camera out and snapped a few pictures.

I even stopped at lookout point to get more photos because you could see just how far down the canyon it had snowed.

And so, creature of habit that I am, I now have a new habit.... every morning I look outside when I get up.... just to see what's there.