Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings

As Christmas Eve winds down toward Christmas Day, I am happy to have all my very small shopping and sending done! I attended a family party with my gentleman friend and then we took a little drive to look at the lights -- there is still a magic in the day and the trappings we have linked to it, many from much farther in the dim past than we realize. Now I am quiet at home with my canine friends.

This is a favorite Christmas picture from very long ago, 1951 to be exact. That is eight and a half year old me holding my new baby-doll, a living one, my then six week old brother. He's the same one I share a home with today. So many years later, we can remember many holidays shared. That is a precious gift indeed!

It is my opinion that Christmas was carefully placed at this time by the very early Christian fathers who realized they were not likely to completely erase centuries old pagan traditions. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! And so they did. I think that is okay and just chuckle at some of my more intensely fundamentalist friends and acquaintances who are horrified at the very idea. One's faith and spiritual beliefs are, to me, personal and private and not to be disputed. but to each his, her or their own! Mine have been 'different' all my life but I honor those of others with total respect so long as they do not cause actual harm or pain to anyone.

At any rate, the oldest of the traditional carols and hymns still bring tears to my eyes. I sense there is something definitely sacred and special about the season. Always has been and will be. It is just a bit odd maybe that so many different cultures and ethnic groups recognize some religious or secular event around this time of the year. Perhaps the vast collective power of belief and commemoration has created an energy and an entity here that we cannot see or pin down but many can feel. I count myself among them. So with that in mind, I'll share a few verses I have scribed in recent days for the Yule, the Solstice and the coming year. And I wish all my readers here a joyous time of celebration and sharing with friends and loved ones. Treasure the precious and empowering time!

Season’s Greetings!

2014 will soon be past
And quite a year it’s been
As ever a mix of good and bad,
About like all I’ve seen.

Amazing travel chasing a dream,
Many quiet times at home—
A new goal and purpose discovered
That gave me the courage to roam.

My two little canine companions
I had to leave sadly behind
But they were delighted to see me
When my way back home I did find.

Old friends and new share my vision,
Just as I share in their dreams;
Goals only come with much struggle
But the triumph that much sweeter seems.

My wish for all loved ones this season
Is that you may also find new
Purpose or goal for achievement
And in time it will come to you.

So honor the holy celebration
And cherish the loved ones you hold
Close to your heart all year long
And pray the Great Spirit enfold

All of them in a safe embrace
And fulfill all their wishes and needs
As  we all go into the near year
To reap those dear-planted seeds.

                        GMW © 2014

Another year is fading fast;
Each seems quicker than the last.
Where does the time go, back behind
Us? Is there yet any way to find
The things we’ve lost along the way,
Or are they past and gone to stay?

As long as memories live they’ll be
A part of us, eternally.
All we have loved and done and been
Within us dwells, naught comes between.
Neither you or I an island lies
Apart, alone, beneath earth’s skies.

There are things that never change
However many years we’ve seen.
The timeless love of friends and kin,
Sweet memories of good times mean
More as they fade into the past.
They will be with us ‘til the last.

As we near the end of another year
Do we find ourselves looking back
More instead of forward now?
Perhaps we seek a different tack
To take us to our ending time,
Now yearning for  the heav’nly clime.

Yet each day and year is a rare gift,
For the many miracles we may find:
New friends, new dreams, as well as old
And all the precious ties that bind.
We are the sum of all we’ve done
Triumphs, challenges and races run.

So life your face up to the sun
And revel in its warmth and light
The precious gifts of light and love
Shining upon us, ever bright.
The promises we know will be
With faith, ours for eternity.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Moon and Midwinter Solstice

Here is The Sun about to emerge from a peak in the mountains behind my home. Camera could not capture the very subtle sundog rainbow that I actually saw but a hint is visible! This was a couple of days ago, just not quite perfectly on the solstice date although there was similar this morning as well. To my eye, there is so much power and promise in this scene.

For these two happenings--new moon and solstice-- to fall on the same day is unusual. It also creates a kind of double whammy from an astrological standpoint. It's said that the day before, the actual day and the day after a new moon are times to stop and assess, plan ahead and perhaps profit from past errors but not to begin new projects. There is much the same mystique about the shortest day/longest night of the year when the sun is farthest from us here in the northern hemisphere and then begins his long journey back to midsummer.

As a very sun-centric person, I do look forward to this date and the subtle shift in energies as I know the heat and light is coming back, albeit slowly. But I also realize it is important to honor and appreciate the dark and cold for they are part of the natural cycle and the turning of the wheel of seasons that still govern much of our lives even though we have come so far from the ancestors who lived directly off the land and were much more subject to the capricious whims of weather and seasons than we are.

Having spent a good bit of my life in situations where I had to be outside and working in all kinds of weather and closely associated with animals, I may sense all this more than some of my contemporaries. If one merely goes from climate controlled house to equally sheltered car and workplace and back. other than maybe dealing with wet or slick roads on a commute, it doesn't matter much. But to me it does and always will.

I have lived in primitive conditions where heat was only from the wood one gathered and cut to size for the stove, where water might freeze and pipes have to be thawed or even buckets carried to fill one's needs. That's humbling in many ways but also empowering for you learn you can cope and care for your needs or those of your family and animal friends.

Yes, I am looking back today, as I have quite a lot the past few months and years. But that does not mean I cannot and do not look ahead too. In mere weeks the first signs of spring will appear and I'll be alert to them. It's an exciting time with the promise that life truly does go on and after the small deaths of falling leaves and withered plants, animal hibernation and such, reawakening comes. That is encouraging to one who recognizes she's on the last ten or twenty percent of this particular life. There will be others in time as there have been others in the past!

It's no coincidence that modern Christian Christmas is so close to the ancient pagan celebration of the Solstice and that many things we associate with the Christmas season have roots far deeper than we might guess. That is good, in my humble opinion, for it creates a continuity between us here and now and our ancient ancestors. History, even the most obscure and distant, still has things to teach us. We are still humans and despite our many technological and scientific advances are not so very different than our caveman fore-bearers. We still eat plants and animals, albeit they now come in neat cans, boxes, and saran wraps and fire and water are still essential to our lives although they too mostly come to us instead of us having to go and make them available for our needs.

At any rate, I hope you will take a moment today to acknowledge the ancient realities are viable to this day and relevant to us, and to perhaps honor the spirits and energies that operate 'behind the scenes' for us as they always have and will. Whether you think of them as the Divine Being, the "Force" the Star Wars folk spoke of or the varied deities pagan folk recognized does not really matter.

Something is or maybe are and we should never lose sight of that fact or fail to recognize that we are but so many tiny ants going about our busy-ness and still subject to those Powers-That-Be whether we want to be or not. It's okay, it really is! It does not take anything away from us, for we are part and parcel of the whole Universe too and share in all that goes on; we just don't control and direct very much of it! Yet our little light or spark can be strengthened by the energy of our mind and when we unite with others for a purpose, we can accomplish a great deal. Go in peace and harmony, and tomorrow be ready to start forward again with old or new goals clear in mind and a will to make them come to pass!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

National Day of the Horse

I read that today is the National Day of the Horse. Since this year is also a year of the horse under Chinese astrology, I thought it was time to celebrate some more of my beloved equine friends that played major parts in my life years ago.

I've talked quite a bit about Tina, my first personal equine--the earlier ones were more family horses. Along during my high school years and afterwards when I was working as a trainer and equine care-giver, several special horses passed through my life. We had two stallions for a time, one Appaloosa and one Quarter Horse. Yavapai Chief was a handsome chestnut with a nice blanket. He had the typical somewhat coarse head of many Appys but for a stallion was very well-behaved and generally manageable. I rode him on a number of occasions and unless there was a mare in season nearby, he was about like any saddle horse--perhaps just a bit more elan and dash! Here's a shot of me on him. His ears say he was waiting for my signal in this photo.

The Quarter Horse was named Leo Mix; he was a descendant of the early foundation QH sire Leo, a well-known Texas stud, on both sides as I recall. He was a very pretty dappled gray, almost blue roan color with just a hint of dun in the undercoat. Dun is a tan or faintly yellow hue, not bright like the palominos but a softer shade. We got him as a yearling and I was one of his chief trainers. He was a handsome guy but for a stallion, very sweet and even tempered. In fact he handled just as easily and well as any well-broke cowpony.  I rode him a lot and even got a shot of my baby brother, then about five, sitting on him!

We had a number of young mares and Quarter Horse fillies. My favorite was one that became mine and that I trained. She was small, just over fourteen hands high and a coppery sorrel with flaxen mane and tail. She was dainty and very feminine in her appearance but she had plenty of get-up-and-go. Here's a shot of me fairly early during her training. She never had to be "broke" but simply to be taught how to respond to the reins, voice and other signals that a western rider uses to cue a mount. Her name was Buzzie Bubbles and she came from the Buzzie Bell H lineage of the Monrovia, CA area. Here she looks alert and is standing poised but not tense. Later she was pretty good on the barrels. I note I was using a loose-jaw hackamore bridle on her and riding a McClellan saddle--the old Army cavalry saddle. They were light and good to use on young horses to keep the weight down. Later I'd move on to a regular western stock style saddle.

To this day I have a great love for horses. I realize their flaws and weaknesses and often say that if humans had not taken them to be both pets and beasts of burden that they'd likely be extinct now. They are not efficient users of their feed and have a lot of delicate and fragile aspects. But that being said, they still have a beauty and grace, a special character and have done so much to help us on our climb to "civilization" that right after the dogs, they are one of the most important fellow mammals to our kind!

I think that like my beloved dogs, the horses I have loved go to "heaven" too, and that they are waiting for me across the Rainbow Bridge as well. If they do not go to human heaven, then I pray the Powers That Be will let me go wherever they are! I suspect most of my most loved people will be there too because they feel the same way I do.

So today, National Day of the Horse, I celebrate and honor the equine species. Run forever in green pastures, my friends, as you deserve to do!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Alamo Gold and Desert Snow

Yesterday was one of those perfect bright days at least until mid-afternoon. I had to get out and take advantage of it. First I made my annual pilgrimage down to the Alameda Park which cuts through town parallel to the main drag, White Sands Boulevard, and the UP train tracks. The ancient cottonwood trees were near their peak. We may not have the reds and oranges and varied shades of New England, but this gold is amazing, especially contrasting with the incredible blue of our sky! Here are a few of my favorites from the shots I took. By the way, Alamo is the name for cottonwood tree in Spanish and the word is found in many western place names: Alamogordo, Alamosa etc.

Also the bandstand in the shot to the right is a landmark in more ways than one. The stone was part of a historic local structure and near there was where Ginger and I met our trainer friend Jacque Armstrong each week when Ginger was doing Basic Obedience!

After that I went out to White Sands National Monument to see if I could add a few new views to my 'desert snow' collection. The sands were not quite their most brilliant and pristine white, probably since we'd had bit of rain the day before and they were still damp. That darkens and dulls them a bit but it was still pretty--and I got a cute shot of my Ginger, the sled-dog wannabe, who envies her namesake running in the sparkling white real snow outside of Fairbanks these days! My Ginger does not have the coat or conditioning for it but she sure looked adorable sitting there grinning at me!

 There is a 'board walk' out to an overlook that we walked on. Ginger was a little spooky but did very well as we passed several people. I kept her leash short but she behaved like an angel. They were all nice when I explained she had been abused as a puppy and I was still working to socialize her. And as you can see, it is a bit hard to tell if that white is drifts or dunes. It could even be near a sea shore or in the 'frozen northlands' except the distant mountains are not white too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Incredible Sunsets

As most of you regular readers know, I am a sunset freak--completely and seriously! November went out with a spectacular sky. It had been kind of gray and overcast most of the afternoon and I did not have a lot of hopes for a pretty sky but shortly before sunset the clouds thinned and spread and combined with a lot of jet trails--they say that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest flying day of the year--the sky turned into a spectacular panorama of colors and patterns.

My favorite hue for sunsets is a brilliant fiery red-gold shade I christened "firegold" when I was just a youngster. There was plenty of that as well as pastels, real gold and coppery shades and every imaginable variety of red from pink to deep fuchsia and even near maroon. It was just awesome. It was a little chilly though the breeze was very light yet every time I thought okay, that is enough and I will go inside, I'd spot something else. I for one am thankful for a camera that captures at least a semblance of the beauty. It's not quite like the real thing but as close as we can come. The Powers that paint that sky are so far beyond us that we cannot even imagine.  So since it is gray tonight with no promise of color at all, I wanted to share a few of the best ones. Enjoy! (Remember you can click on the first one to get a slide show of larger versions!)
Via en Pax!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SAD and sunshine

Looking back, I realize I have suffered from that odd depression they now call SAD or Seasonal Affected Disorder most of my life. When the days get short and autumn slides toward winter, I am perpetually cold and it is a struggle to get up and go each day. I always have because I am too hard-headed not to do what I feel needs or has to be done, but it gets harder as the years go by. Still, I can recall when I went to college in Flagstaff, AZ, which is high enough to 'enjoy' some real winter with Ponderosa pines, 12,000 foot peaks to the north east and nary a saguaro in sight! No, Arizona is not all desert! Those winters I sat through many classes huddled in a coat and feeling chilled to the bone. For one thing, I walked everywhere! I guess that is why I am now a confirmed desert rat.

Back in my ranching and mule-skinner days, I was out working and riding on many chill, gray, wet days. I'd come in at night and sit in a corner behind the old fashioned wood-burning stove until my jeans almost smoked yet still feel my bones were frozen and leaking cold out through my body. No, I do not do winter well! And yes, I know my dreams and plans of Alaska, especially being up there in the late winter when the big races are run, is pretty crazy but I think I could cope with the enthusiasm and the will driving me. But that's another story.

We have had less of the nice fall weather than often here this year. It went from the late summer rainy period right into the transition type storms and a number of gray days and then this past week the first real hard frost with temps down in the upper twenties here at my house. We sit on a ridge where it is not as cold as lower in the basin and a bit protected by the hills looming near to the east but even in "the promised land" as my brother calls it, we have winter. I want to hibernate but of course humans do not do that. Was I a bear in one incarnation? ~ Latina  shrug--who knows.

But the last two days the sun has been out bright and warm. I sit out in it as much as I can because that precious charge of solar energy is how I keep going through these shorter days and colder times. I was inspired to write a couple of verses which I will share at the end of this post. And here are two photos of the contrast between the gray times and the bright blue fall I love. It was about the same time of day --mid morning--in both, too!

To close I have to say I do not "worship" the sun in the sense my pagan ancestors did but I can surely understand why they  might have made old Sol a deity or the avatar of one. When you feel that heat and energy and your eyes dazzle with the light, you sense the presence of something very powerful, something without which life as we know it would not be possible at all. So in that sense, I may be called a sun-worshiper I suppose.

     Sun Fired, Sun Inspired

There’s still a lot of sunshine.
As I soak in healing rays
I sometimes doze or wander down
The path of my many days.

Good or bad but often strange,
What I’ve done and where I’ve been.
What would I try to modify
If I could go back again?

The sunlight cannot absolve
The wrongs or the pain I’ve known
Yet I feel them start melting away
As I sit here now alone.

I’ve always been a bit alone
Though good horses, dogs and friends
Have shared parts of my road with me
Until such partnership ends.

I miss them all; they are a part
Of the one I have become.
A little lives on in my heart
Of each and every one.

There is still a lot of sunshine
In the autumn of my time,
The warmth and light give life to me
And call from my soul this rhyme.

Sitting in the sunshine
Gives me life and light.
It has fueled all my days
And helped me through each night.

I still love part of darkness,
A chance to see the stars
But it’s sun that keeps me going
And tears away the bars

Of my regret and sorrow for
Mistakes that I have made
And shows to me a beacon
So I go down unafraid

Too that dark end-time shadow
Where for awhile we bide
Until a new sun greets us,
There on the other side.

Both poems GMW Nov 2014 
and (c) as all material here is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two Important Days

I'd be seriously remiss if I let today go by without comment. Veterans' Day is one that holds a lot of meaning for me. My paternal grandfather served in the Spanish American War--not with the Rough Riders, I think--but he was there. My dad was involved in World War II, my late husband was a Korean vet and my middle son was in the first Middle East War or Desert Storm. Many friends and former school mates etc. went to Viet Nam and some of them never came home. We owe all our vets, past, present and future, more than we can ever repay and we must never forget them--not just on November 11 but every day of every year.

Here is a verse I wrote a number of years ago that I read first at a Veterans' Day ceremony our VFW Post (10342, Huachuca City, AZ) held in the late 1980s, many years ago. I think it still resonates on the meaning of the day. To the right is a photo of me near that time wearing our color guard's uniform. I was a member but mostly the "official photographer" although I did march or take part in a ceremony now and then. I was very proud and honored to do so!

Veteran's Day
I hear the drum roll in my mind
and then I see, before, behind,
the Silent Legions marching past
to join the Great Parade, at last.

From Flanders Fields and Iwo's sands,
from nameless near and distant lands
where they have fought and bled and died
for to uphold the Nation's Pride
and secure the Peace and Liberty
today enjoyed by you and me...

Each heart with praise should overflow
and gladly search for ways to show
that we remember and we care
and at least in spirit share
their sacrifice, their gift, their pain.
We know they did not die in vain.
The torch still burns; we carry on
 the flame kept bright by those now gone.
They're marching still, they're fighting yet;
And so must we...lest we forget  (c) GMW

The other important day was yesterday, November 10. It is doubly significant because first it is the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps which was formed even before the USA was officially a country, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Semper Fideles! (That means "always faithful" and is the Corps' motto.) 

Also, in one of those strange non-coincidential happenings, it is the day that my beloved husband and partner left this earth, now eleven years ago. I always thought it was so very suitable that he left on the creation anniversary of the beloved military organization of which he was an active member for about thirteen years and a life-long member at heart. 

And here is a verse I wrote for that day. It has been around the world because another former active duty Marine found it posted somewhere and shared it through his extensive connections. (I can still find it if I google my name --Gaye Walton--as he credits my authorship.) I was humbled to learn of that but pray the words of my heart gave and may continue to give comfort to the widows and families of other departed heroes.

The Last Muster

Selfish in my love and needing
I resisted this final goodbye
But time marches on so relentless
And the last formation drew nigh.

I knew that the trumpet had sounded,
Knew you would answer that call,
Realized it was right, good and proper
And found I could smile after all.

Your step was not quite as steady
But you held your head high and proud
As you strode out to join your comrades
In that parade for the heavenly crowd.

Once again that small band of brothers
Stand assembled upon Fiddler's Green.
I blink when at once the young faces
Square shoulders and brave hearts are seen.

My eyes haze with tears as the sight fades
But I know 'tis the truth I have seen
And my heart spills pride, joy and sorrow
For my Hero, my Love, my Marine.
                                                   (c) GMW

God bless our veterans and their families today and every day. Remember, dear friends, that Freedom is not Free. We all must pay for it in our own ways. All give some but some give all. Go in peace--for that is the ultimate goal we all seek even when we are fighting the most fiercely. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One for a lucky dog!

I just saw this on Yahoo and had to share. This poor pup is Husky and Shepherd (I assume German variety from his looks) which are two of my favorite breeds and he seems like one tough little guy as well as lucky. He's recovering from a near tragic and fatal  accident and they've got most of his vet bills covered but I agree that those rescue folks who went way out of their way to get him out of a bad spot and to safety definitely deserve a reward. Check this article out and kick in a little bit if you can. It will be good karma for sure. And hang on hard to those leashes when you go out walking with a canine friend. I know I do.

Here's the link to the article: http://news.yahoo.com/dog-cliff-oregon-rescue-save-kenny-171144105.html

Friday, October 17, 2014

The treasure of Friends

A week ago this evening I arrived in Tucson and spent a day and two nights with a dear friend who is currently in remission and maybe--hope and pray--cured of lymphoma. Hearing, while I was in Alaska, about her illness, I had vowed I would get over to Tucson where she now lives to visit, and that came about last week.

I first met Melinda (Melinda Rucker Haynes who is an author, a licensed and trained hypnotist and a multi-talented lady indeed) at an RWA conference many years ago. If memory serves it was probably the one in Anaheim, CA in 1998 but I could be wrong. When I found out she was originally also an Arizona girl, an instant bond began. We both cringe at the modern term "monsoon" for the desert summer rainy season and even know some people in common. From then on, we met at various RWA and RT events but it was always just to grab a few minutes to chat before we had to run off to this workshop or that panel or whatever. It was such a treat to be able to sit and talk non-stop for hours! We came away from this feeling we knew each other much better and just had a marvelous time!

She has lived in Seattle and in Arlington, VA the years we have been acquainted so I am glad she's back in Arizona and thus only about a six hour drive for me. I met her husband, also, and he was as much fun to talk with as she! I do enjoy people who can converse about almost anything with verve, reasonable knowledge and an open mind! So that made for a great visit. Here's a shot I took the morning I was leaving of them at their lovely Oro Valley home.

I also got to see my granddaughter and her two young kids, who are growing so fast I can barely keep up. I've very proud of Julie who is a single mom but handles it with grace and courage and so far is doing a fine job with her two youngsters. She's a credit to the family as are they and it is really neat to feel you can be friends with kinfolk that way!

I also saw another friend from my Cochise County days. Mary Frances Clinton, with whom I enjoyed lunch as I heard about her adventures with a kind of elder hostel group that operates out of Cochise College. She's met some interesting folks, even a couple of gentlemen who have caught her eye and ear. Never married, she has gone through a great deal over the years and struggled with bad baggage from the past, just as many of us seem to. She'd become almost agoraphobic so it is great to see her getting out and enjoying activities with others. I'm so happy for her. We met through the Sierra Vista "Sisters in Crime" chapter that we both attended for a time.

In between my visits I got in some train watching since the UP mainline parallels the highway most of the way from west of Las Cruces clear to Tucson. I did not get a shot to rival my old Stein's Pass one from two years back but did snap a "meet" at the Mescal, AZ crossing. In railroader terms that is a sighting of two trains passing on parallel tracks and hopefully having a chance to get a photo of it. In mine you can see the 'pusher' or following locomotive of one train and the leading two units or locos of the other. Pure luck, that.  Many modern trains now use what is called distributed power with lead locomotives and others in the middle or the end of the train. It seems to work better in most freight applications.

In a way trains are 'friends' too since I have been a railroad fan for many years and still enjoy watching them. A chance to take a few photos is a bonus. All in all, it was a great trip. I got home Monday afternoon, tired but well pleased with the trip. An added bonus, I found that my old house in Whetstone (Huachuca City mail address) has been bought and is getting fixed up and clearly loved by some new owners. Hurrah! I hated to see it empty and abandoned. Cherry on the sundae that!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Summer storms and me

I've neglected the ongoing chats about my life and the desert southwest lately but I'll see if I cannot do better now. Life is settling back to a routine after the summer's adventure and while I am working on the next chapter of that epic, there is much else to recall, think about and share. So today, the topic is summer storms--with pictures!

I think I have had a love-hate relationship with water all my life. To this day I cannot swim and although I treasure water since I'm a denizen of a very arid land, I also fear it, especially in large amounts and violent motion! As I have said, my memories begin in the old mining town of Jerome, Arizona which perched on rusty-dusty hills above the Verde Valley on the west side. I really do not recall much about storms there but vaguely that it did snow in the winter, that leaking water from the large tanks adjacent to our home froze on the fence at times and that the last summer we lived there, 1953, a summer downpour and resulting flood devastated a good part of the town.

Where we lived on Sunshine Hill, a separate ridge and peal north and east of the main town, we were above all that. It was on the main red hill where old Jerome was built, Cleopatra Mountain, that torrents of water poured down over and into the town. The damage was pretty frightful. Here is one shot Dad took of me looking at the mess. As I recall this was near the main street, a switchback or two above the Post Office and the service station which still exist on the squiggly main street, also Highway 89A, which goes from Flagstaff to Prescott through the Verde.

That and the decline of the town's infrastructure after Phelps Dodge ceased their mining operation there in 1951-52 resulted in our move down to Clarkdale which took place that fall. Not long after that, the first equines joined the family and I gradually assumed more and more of their care and maintenance. We lived in the lower town area and south of that ran an arroyo which drained some of the hills below Jerome and also received water once or twice a week when they drained the town swimming pool up behind the Clark Memorial Clubhouse which then housed the library, meeting rooms, an auditorium etc. So, when you had corrals to clean and animals to feed, rain was both welcome and a dratted nuisance!

I began to pay a lot more attention to the weather, especially the summer rains and the resulting flash floods that came surging down through the canyons. Here is a picture of brother Charlie in the bottom of that arroyo, only a matter of yards from the corrals housing some of our animals. That huge hole had been created where a rough dirt road had crossed this small canyon and exemplifies what rushing water can do.

In the summer of 1964, which was especially wet with some very heavy downpour type rains, a railroad bridge across Bitter Creek Canyon which ran between the main part of Clarkdale and the then-idle PD smelter facility to the north, was washed out twice. The large cement bases for the timber pillars supporting the bridge were washed out or so badly eroded on their foundations that they collapsed. And a major impact on my life was the indirect result for a Santa Fe B&B (Bridge and Building) Crew came to town to repair that bridge and we--brother and I--made the acquaintance of some of its members. But that is another story for another time. Here is another photo of some of the damage--not sure whether the first or second washout, probably the second since the heaped dirt and gravel was probably meant to provide protection for the first repair.

To be continued!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October's Bright Blue Weather

That phrase has always resonated with me because it is so evocative and fits the best time of year in the southwest so well. If I ever knew who coined it, I had forgotten so I checked. It's wonderful what you can find on the internet. I learned it is the title and a refrain of sorts in a poem written by Helen Hunt Jackson, best know as the author of the novel Ramona. She lived in southern California many decades ago before smog and cities and crowds so I expect the weather was much like I now enjoy in Arizona and New Mexico. Here is the first stanza:

“October’s Bright Blue Weather”
SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

And that is now upon us here at last. The latter part of the summer was very, very wet. One might even say soggy! July was the wettest month in central New Mexico up around Albuquerque but it rained the weekend I left for Alaska and quite a bit while I was gone and was much gray and damp after I got home. Hurricane Odile laid a swath of moisture heavily across much of the southwest and we got our share. Roof leaks and so on.... Too much of a good thing. But the weather can change literally overnight and change it did, on Tuesday to be exact and now it is clear and dry, the sky again that proverbial bright blue and the autumn flowers decorating the desert after all that rain. Not always good for allergies but lovely to behold if your eyes are working. Mine are back to fairly normal today; I think my ocular allergies may be due to molds. 

Anyway I took the red dogs walking and enjoyed the 'sneeze weeds' as well as the white, magenta and purple flowers, many of which I shared photos of last year. Maybe I will take a camera along the next day or two butt there is not much new to share, really. But it is nice to see even the cactus leaves plump and green, well watered for now.

The next few weeks should be wonderful to get out and enjoy. I'm hoping to make a trip to Arizona in a week or two and see some dear friends there that I miss greatly and I expect it will be very green there until the first frost and flowery as well. And on that trip perhaps I will take pictures. 

My skin already feels the absence of moisture and its back to the lotions and potions to forestall the lizard hide effect as much as I can! But I will tolerate that for the cooler evenings and daybreaks and the glow and beauty of my favorite early fall time. It's a good time to be alive and living where I do!

Here are a couple of rather iconic fall scenes; Alamogordo's balloon festival is earlier than Albuquerque's internationally famed one which begins this Friday and is supped to be terrific weather for it. The other is a few miles to the north and the grass will be green now not gray as this was in the late winter but the blue sky is the same!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rabies Awareness Day

I know a lot of you who read my blog are dog lovers just as I am. Most of us are responsible and make sure our pets are up to date on their vaccinations but this terrible disease can impact not only pets but wild animals. An then  through them all of us. I'm sharing this article as a reminder to keep your pets, kids and everyone safe since in some areas this illness is running rampant. Bats and many rodents as well as coyotes. foxes and skunks especially may be carriers. GMW

Rabies Awareness Day, 28 September
     (Article from a farm magazine)

Although the rabies virus is commonly known for causing a life-threatening disease, many people are unaware of what exactly it entails and how to prevent its transmission. In honor of World Rabies Day on September 28th, here is some information to help further raise awareness about rabies and how to help protect your family and pets from this deadly disease.
Rabies is an infection affecting the central nervous system, or brain and spinal cord, of humans and animals. This infection is caused by a virus that is transmitted primarily from bites wounds, scratches, or tissue from an infected animal. It is nearly always deadly if not treated before the beginning of symptoms.
“Symptoms include fever, lethargy, seizures, and ultimately paralysis,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “This paralysis can include paralysis of the muscles that control swallowing, leading to a ‘fear of water’ or ‘hydrophobia’ that is often described with rabies.” Behavior changes leading to abnormally aggressive behavior may also occur.
Since humans and animals alike usually become infected through a bite by a rabid animal, many believe that it will be easy to tell when or if the disease has been spread to them. However, it is entirely possible for rabies to be transmitted to you or your pet unknowingly. Bat bites or scratches, for example, may be so miniscule that they go unnoticed.
“Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in the United States,” said Dr. Eckman.  “It is important to always avoid any contact with them. If you have come into contact with a bat, inform animal control officers in your area so they can submit the bat for testing, if possible, and contact your doctor.”
Although bats are the biggest threat to humans, household dogs can easily contract the disease if bitten by another infected dog or animal.
“Worldwide, dogs are a common transmitter of the disease via bite wounds,” said Dr. Eckman. “But it can also affect humans, cats, farm animals, raccoons, and many other warm-blooded animals.”
The time from exposure to the virus until symptoms appear is usually only a few months, and unfortunately, once symptoms begin, there is little hope in humans for survival.
“There are treatments that can be given after a bite and before symptoms begin (post-exposure) that are useful,” said Dr. Eckman. “They include human rabies immunoglobulin, followed by a series of rabies vaccines given over a two-week period.”  These shots help the body's immune system destroy the disease in its early stages, and getting them before symptoms appear is usually helpful in preventing infection.
However, prevention is always said to be the best treatment, and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the rabies virus. The easiest method of prevention is to always steer clear of unknown or aggressive animals. This includes avoiding contact with stray dogs, bats, or any wild animals, as well as avoiding the handling of a dead animal.
Depending on the situation, preventative rabies vaccinations may also be a recommended method.
“Vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of infection for people who have a high risk of exposure, such as those who work with animals, including veterinarians,” said Dr. Eckman. “Companion animals and farm animals should be appropriately vaccinated by a veterinarian.”
If you think that you or someone in your family has been exposed to the rabies virus, wash the affected area with soap and water for five minutes after potential exposure and seek immediate medical attention. Rabies is more common than you might think, and preventing its transmission to you or your loved ones is the most effective form of treatment. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

September-- Memories, Time and Too Much Rain

At midnight, September will be half over. For many years September and October have been my favorite months with September having a slight edge. A lot of key events in my life have happened in this month going way back to the time when the school year began right after Labor Day. Fall in the high desert it a great time and there were lots of adventures in my earlier years--camping and hunting and expeditions into the mountains that I loved. Even a big mule deer that fell in the bushes...

Next, I went off to college in September which was almost like being born again into a new life. Then I was married in September a few years later and started yet another and very different chapter in my existence. So even now, I still enjoy this month and cherish the memories that were made over the years. The daughter who became mine when I married in September 1971 turned fifty yesterday! I still remember her as she was in about 1972 when we were celebrating our first anniversary as a family. Happy Birthday, Jenna!  It's hard to believe how much time has passed--it runs like water, years flowing together into a stream.

The other day I spoke of water--and unfortunately, it was way too much in many places last week and it looks like a repeat performance is coming our way. My heart goes out to the folks who live in Baja California and those who were vacationing there when Hurricane Odile hit last night.

I cannot even begin to imagine how terrifying it is to experience one of these fierce storms. I saw on weather.com where some places received eleven inches of rain in an hour??!! Yikes, that is beyond imagining. So I pray all can survive and live to build new homes and tell children and grandchildren about their adventures. During the balance of this week, moisture from that storm will spread north and slowly east so it is likely that Arizona and New Mexico will get hit with some heavy rain. While we need it to break the drought, too much at once can wreak havoc. So I'm saying a few prayers for all in the path of this weather.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Water in a thirsty land

I cannot claim credit for that phrase although it has stuck in my mind for decades. It was originally written by the late Raymond Carlson, for many years the esteemed and seemingly eternal editor of Arizona Highways magazine. There can be no doubt he knew and loved the southwestern desert for he had many such phrases that captured the essence.

At any rate, that is what I experienced yesterday. I had driven up to Capitan, a small community north of Ruidoso at the edge of the mountains and the eastern NM prairie where a dear friend lives. Someday I will have to tell you about her amazing house but that is another tale. Anyway I took my laptop computer--the one that was too big and heavy for my recent trip--and a flash drive full of pictures. We spent several hours looking at them while I answered Kathleen's questions and kept up a running travelogue. All at once we were jolted by the sound of thunder. It was way past lunch time so we drove down to the town and feasted on a yummy salad at a neat little cafe. By then rain was falling but mostly just a gentle drizzle with a few booms and flashes some distance away.

I realized I had better head home and decided to go by way of Carizozo instead of back up and over a shoulder of Mount Blanca to Ruidoso and then  through Apache Pass, some 7000 elevation feet or so. I had to use the wipers most of the way down the hill but it did not seem bad. I got to Carizozo which hovers between the juniper hills and the edge of the desert and the sun came out.

Ah, I thought, I'm almost home free. It is roughly sixty miles from there to Alamogordo. I had to go up and over a final ridge south of town that separates distinct zones of climate and vegetation. And then on the south side, I ran into a virtual wall of water!

A storm had come spilling down off 12,000 foot Baldie or Blanca and it was a wild one. All at once I could hardly see the hood of my little Focus wagon to say nothing of the road. Winds buffeted me back and forth across the water slide that passed for a highway. I did not dare pull off as I could not see the edge and did not want to end up in wheel deep mud or even worse, a running arroyo so I plowed on at a slow pace.

Now and then a semi would suddenly appear, about three car lengths away. I would scroonch over as far as I dared and it would roar past, adding to the rain with a huge wave from the drenched road. I got through one of those rain bands to enjoy a drizzle for maybe half a mile but soon hit another and then two more before I finally got out of that zone.

Yikes! I don't think I ever drove in harder rain. There was water everywhere as it was one of those frog strangler flash flood making sort of rains. The only worse time I could recall was when I was going back to Colorado after my first trip to look at property here in August of 2011. Just short of one of the little towns between Trinidad and Pueblo, I got into a fierce hail storm. It was crazy. The noise was deafening and it soon felt like driving on a road paved with ball bearings. I didn't get into a wreck or even see one but it was scary!!

At any rate, I finally got out of the storm yesterday and the last thirty miles or so were calm. It didn't begin to rain here until after supper time, about eight. We got a tremendous light show for an hour or more and then it rained. not hard though. It was just a moderate, gentle rain all night long. This morning there was 1.1" in the rain gauge! We had low clouds and fog for awhile but then it became mostly clear and there was no rain close to us today although some dark clouds billowed up over the mountains to the east. So, we welcomed water in a thirsty land and I did not hear of any serious flooding or damage. When you score both of those, it is a good day in the desert! This evening there was even a rainbow that lasted a long time and moved along south above the rugged hills. It was much like this one and we saw some clouds like the classic thunderhead but also some very black and ominous looking ones but they drifted away.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Slipping toward high desert fall

Tomorrow I will have been home for two weeks and the trip is beginning to feel like a distant memory although still very much front and center in my plans and projects. Still, my regular life has resumed and it too has demands and dreams and of course dogs to hold my attention and dominate at least a good part of my time.

I'm back to a morning walk with the two red dogs, watching the subtle change of seasons.  Here is a shot of the fall mesquite--dull and olive instead of the bright spring green now. And the evening scatter of clouds no longer heavy and rain-bearing. I'm back to aerobic classes Monday and Wednesday. And I'm working with a writer friend who started her own small publishing firm months ago and really wants to see if she can make it a success on it's own scale so we're exploring promotional venues and economical ways to get it and her name "out there" where the public can discover both.

In time I will probably have some books there myself and am now an editor and will be part of the editorial board that will select and ultimately review and fine tune any books that go out with the AZKatz imprint. (Preliminary website is at http://www.AZKatz.net )  For now it is limited to two thriller/romance novels Brenda has written under a pen name, a non-fiction book she and a friend did about their cosmetic surgeries (a bit of an expose!) and a book or two by another author she knew and has worked with in the day job in high tech military stuff. Brenda did a two year tour in Iraq with a civilian contractor and I am "after" her to do a memoir about that. She had some experiences I know few civilian women and only some military women have had.

Yet another Celtic knot here: she and I met in Arizona through a local writers' group when we both lived in the Sierra Vista area. I had recently retired from Fort Huachuca as a civilian employee of the army and she worked for a contractor. Well, she and her husband bought a lot north of Alamogordo and her earnings from the Iraq job helped them self-contract to build a home there. They sold the old Sierra Vista home and relocated for a variety of reasons. Significant? Well, yeah!

When I was beginning to look for the retirement home for myself and my brother, she encouraged me to consider this area. I'd visited Alamogordo briefly while I lived over near Silver City and tended to write it off, but she connected me with the real estate agent who had sold them their property and I came down to look at places three years ago this month. The agent in turn put me with a local mortgage officer at a small local bank who did some magic and got me approved. My brother had credit issues due to a divorce situation. We made one offer on a place but withdrew it when the owner proved to be difficult and shifted the offer to this place. Voila, after a bit of trials, tribulations and major nail-biting, I signed the papers the first week of October in 2011 and here we are. All because of Brenda's intervention!!

Anyway, I can tell that there is about an hour less daylight now than at high summer the latter part of June. The quality of the sunlight has changed to a lower angle and more golden tint. Even the wind has a new character although we just had several 'summer rainy' type days and are slated for more the latter part of the coming week. Summer goes out in spurts and jerks, often lingering even into November. It is slow and gradual as the shift to autumn occurs and always has been my favorite season. Still is.

I looked at my weather.com page and saw Fairbanks was  49 today and Wasilla in the low 50s at mid morning. Autumn does not delay there but comes rolling right in. Even before the equinox, the daylight is shortening by several minutes a day. So in some ways it is good to be home. Yet something still draws me north, having been there. I will go back; the only question is when. That will be resolved as its own particular Celtic knot unwinds. It will of course be charted on my http://gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com  blog as will progress on the women mushers book.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Synchronicity and A New Blog!

Summer is winding down in the New Mexico high desert although it's far from over. Yesterday had a faint flavor of fall but today, although it is cooler, it feels like summer again since we have another monsoon flow bringing up precious moisture and clouds for a day or two. Then maybe before the traditional end-of-summer (most places) Labor Day weekend, it should dry out. The official monsoon season (summer rainy time to us old timers!) runs through September, but the quality of the light has changed and we know summer is slipping away.

Synchronicity is a funny thing--you know, those strange parallels and coincidences and patterns that I liken to Celtic knots. I was reminded the other night when I was sprawled on my bed watching the 10:00 news with my two red dogs and happened to look down at them. They were close together and their legs were in exactly the same positions. I've seen that before with them. I knew I could  never get up and get my camera to capture it without waking them so they'd move but it was just such a neat thing.

As most of my regular readers know, one is a Border Collie with a bit of Aussie in her family tree (Ginger) and the other is Dachshund and perhaps small spaniel. Yet they are both red and mine and have a 'family' feeling. Still, to lie in identical positions, close to mom whom they had missed while I was away, seems odd enough to note. I thought it was pretty neat!

In our house we have the red dogs and the blue dogs and they know who they are. Brother Charlie summons the male Queensland Heeler KayCee and the female mixed Heeler and maybe Corgi, BeeBee, by saying, "Blue Dog Time" and they know they are to go out or go to their (his) room or whatever. Then I say "Red Dogs" and Ginger and wee Rojito jump up and come with me. I'm not sure if the blue dogs ever lie in the same pose or not. I'll have to observe or ask. They are cousins and mostly friends but recognize differences. They are a pack or a team to a point but each pair has a closer bond.

At least in my world, those patterns appear all the time. Did they always? I am not sure but perhaps I was not as observant in my younger days. Young people tend to be pretty self-centered and focused a lot more inward. Now with three score and some years behind me, my questing gaze goes to different aspects and finds different perspectives. For a time I was looking back a lot and I guess my blog here showed that. Now with a new and --at least to me--very exciting project taking shape, I am again looking to a future and seeing a long trail ahead. I have no way to know if I will get to my goal or not but I will be trying and with the teamwork help of many who are encouraging and supporting me, I shall certainly do my best to reach it.

To that end, I am starting a new blog titled Alamogordo to Alaska
URL:   http://gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com/  which will focus on this project and my pursuit of it. I will copy all the relevant posts from here going back to about March and post them there and also go into more depth in some areas and chart my progress and the 'checkpoints' that I will pass along the way. All of my readers here are more than welcome to join me there. I will still be posting things here though, for that  new effort is only one aspect of my current life and there are many other facets and endeavors to explore as well. They will be covered here--past, present and future.

I passed the 200 post milestone while I was on my trip and did not note it. Anyway it was a minor milestone and an achievement of sorts. I struggled for quite awhile to become a regular blogger and now I have several. Some get more attention than others but that's the way life is. Emphasis shifts from one thing to another and my blogs reflect those shifts.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Travail of Travel and Home at Last

I kind of dropped the ball but I'll explain why! My final day in Alaska went by fast and nicely but the trip back to New Mexico was a bit of a challenge. I left my hostess's home in Wasilla about 1:00 pm and drove by the back roads down to Anchorage--Eklutna (neat little Russian cemetery  there but no pix as they had no parking signs everywhere) and on to Chugiak and Eagle River, now actually pretty much Anchorage "suburbs."  I also stopped at the Native Heritage Center just on the northern outskirts of the city. There was not time to really take it all in and turn my rental car in on time so I just visited the gift shop briefly--yikes, very pricey! I'll save the museum etc. for next time.

Anyway, got my car turned in and was of course very early so had to wait outside security until I could check my suitcase four hours before the flight and then finally upstairs and out to the gate area. I people-watched and read a bit. There was a very intoxicated old man who appeared to be at least part Native loudly proclaiming that he was straight and also drunk. It was funny but a little creepy too. I think security finally took him away. How he got through the TSA I have no idea but maybe he hit the bar on the inside of the check-in point.

Finally it was time to board and I settled into my seat, sharing the row with a young couple. At least no lap dog this time! I managed to catnap a little -- maybe 2-3 hours total--and we landed at LAX shortly after sunrise. I hope I never fly through that mad place again! There was lots of construction and perhaps some other issue as my American/Alaskan Air (kind of a joint thing)  flight landed at the Delta terminal. From there I finally found I had to take a shuttle bus to American and then another one to the American Eagle commuter terminal where the smaller plane would take me to El Paso.

By then sleep deprivation and some dehydration were hitting. An hour touring the flight line (jet fumes are nasty!) in a diesel-belching bus took their toll on my allergies, especially eyes. By the time I landed in El Paso, I was as bleary-eyed as when I had the infection last year. Good thing I did not have to drive home. My friend Jim picked me up and by about 2:00 local I was home. One whupped puppy I can tell you!

So I had to take a couple of days using lots of eye drops and sleeping quite a bit to get back to semi-normal. But I was home and my two red dogs were very glad to see me and to snuggle on the bed or in my recliner while I rested. They were very comforting.

Looking back, it really was an amazing and marvelous trip! I am already planning to go back and will be working every angle I can find to make that happen in a few months to a year. Meanwhile though, I have the close to 300 photos sorted out--there will be a new page on Facebook and on Pinterest soon and I will share links once I have those set up.

I'm sending out thank you notes and such, and will be pursuing some financial assistance along several routes. Also getting back to my other writing as well as starting to put together bits and pieces of Women of the Iditarod (working title as I want one with more oomph for the final version!) More on all that later. Thanks for traveling with me vicariously; that has its benefits as no airline miles are involved LOL.

More photos in a bit. Here are two of me that Gail took on our trip up to Hatcher's Pass Saturday afternoon, the 16th. The first is on the Little Susitna River and the other looking across a glacier-scoured flat beneath that range of mountains.  I wore that purple shirt-jacket everywhere; now it is special with a dog track or two and lots of memories.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The last whole day

It was gray and drizzly this morning, kind of depressing, but I got my big box of clothes and personal stuff over to the UPS place and sent it home for less than I sent it here.  It is kind of going slow boat LOL but that is okay; it will get there in a week plus which is soon enough.

Then my hostess and I talked crafts and stuff for awhile. She makes some really neat dream catchers on caribou antlers--shed ones, not from killing caribou--and some jewelry like anklets with a toe loop.They are kind of like the slave bracelet linked to a ring but for the foot! We puttered around in the yard after lunch and then the sun came out some and she said, "Let's go up to Hatcher Pass." It's in some of the  higher mountains on the far side--NW--of Palmer and there is an old gold mine which is a state park and tourist place now. WE didn't wander around there--you have to pay a park fee and it was later in the afternoon--but took picture that show some real Alaska type mountains and a rushing stream, the Little Susitna River. It was a lovely drive and a nice end to my adventures. Tomorrow I will drive back down to Anchorage and hang out at the airport for a bit and then get on my flight to LAX and hence on to El Paso and then home.

Yes, I am eager to get there, pet my two beloved Red Doglets and fall into my own bed and start to recover LOL. I may get the last photos downloaded this evening but no guarantee. And tomorrow/Monday will be a very long day. But it will end with me home and more memories than I can sort out in a few hours. And I will be back; next early fall if not before. I have a new 'little sister' here in Wasilla and other new Alaskan friends and that is special too. .

Friday, August 15, 2014

Winding down

Yesterday was fairly uneventful.I spent quite a lot of time at the Fairbanks airport since I had to turn the rental car in at the midday hour I had picked it up and my flight was not until late afternoon. Airports are rather fascinating for people watchers and most of us writers are people watchers. I made a game of deciding whether people were tourists or locals or at least long term Alaskans. No way to verify my guesses but it was fun. I read some, wrote some--just rambling impressions and emotions as I started the long journey home, with a stop back here in Wasilla.

Sadly although I was on the west side of the southbound plane, there were a lot of clouds and I did not get a peek at the peak--although I looked almost all the time. It only takes an hour, a trip of about 350 miles that would take a long day by car on the highway even in good weather. But if I do get back say in early fall next year there is a chance I may try it and make a stop in the Denali National Park. I did want my own photo of  the Big One but that was not to be although I got a number of post cards etc. which of course were better views than I could expect out a plane window!

Again it was one of the Q400 prop planes. It is strange after many years of jet flying to travel in such a plane.It is actually less noisy I think than a jet and I was sitting even with the wing and not that far from the engine on both flights The propeller--which is huge--is spinning so fast it blurs and you can pretty much see through it with just a faint distortion. All in all a rather novel experience.

This time I got an economy car, and it was the costliest of the trip for the least time but it was too late to catch the bus from Anchorage to Wasilla and I was not going to ask my hostess to pick me up again and then return me on Sunday evening so I left the airport around 7:00 pm, still in sunshine, driving. a silver gray Chevy "Spark." It  is kind of a mini-mini crossover, boxy, four door and a hatch back. Low and feels like you are riding in a boxed up skateboard LOL. But it got me up the highway back to Wasilla and back to the house on the lake. I was tired, no question.

The teens here are back in school. So nobody slept as late as they did the first time I was here. Later I went to the Wasilla PO and got some priority boxes (my hostesses very good idea) and packed up the books, prezzies and souvenirs and sent them on their way to Alamogordo. They will arrive a little bit ahead of me in all likelihood and I got money's worth out of one large flat rate box! It must have weighed twenty pounds! The other was not as heavy. Tomorrow my extra clothes and such start home, probably by UPS. I need to finish packing that and tape it up tonight.

It was drizzly much of the day and a few harder rains so I did not try to do anything else. I am  not sure if the city library is open tomorrow or not. If it is I may drop in and see if they have any more recent Iditarod year books since the Fairbanks collection ended in the early 90s. Of course they are more focused toward the Yukon Quest which is "their" race.

So I may post again before I get home but also may not. If it is sunnier tomorrow I may go up to Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine, a tourist attraction in the mountains above Palmer, which I visited my last day here before but didn't go up in the mountains, much closer there. Or not. And I may try to nip out to Eagle River and Chugiak off the highway to the south on my way back to Anchorage on Sunday, again weather and when I actually get ready to go will determine. But of course I will do some wrap-ups and more pictures once I get home and download stuff to my familiar larger computers and return this lovely little machine back to Brenda, hopefully none the worse for its adventures with me! It will be a couple of months or more to get my finances back in shape but I will be shopping for one of my own, for sure. I really like it for travel!!

A few more random photos: puppies at Buser's kennel; a special sled at the Knik museum, the front entry and side of Mary Shield's home, Paige Drobney and one of her dogs, and Aliy's house which she had built herself (she was in construction as was her husband when they met) and owned before they got together and that they now share. The upper windows are their bedroom and look out over the dog lot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nearing the last of Fairbanks

This is really a pretty town and fairly easy to get around in. But for the winters which I am sure would take some major adjustments for this desert rat, I could live here. With a solid vehicle with snow tires I could probably even get around most of the time. In the summer it is really lovely with the flowers and is mostly pretty clean and people are mostly friendly too.There are trains--I hear them night and day--the long days of summer are very inviting and inspiring.

I spent more time at the library today and then took a final drive up into the hills to the north east to the area of an old mining camp called Fox. My only real disappointment with the scenery is that the trees are so thick and even on a ridge top there is no view.I am reminded of Kentucky and North Carolina in that regard. You saw the mountains around the Prince William Sound on which Anchorage sits and Wasilla is just above but here it is a valley and the hills just roll away gradually higher and higher. Not looming and impressive.

So tomorrow I will fly back south and the final days will zip by. I need to pack and ship a couple of boxes by Saturday and maybe I can visit the Wasilla library and see if they have any mushing stuff that Fairbanks lacks. Other than that, not much left to be done. I am a bit tired; it has been hectic and busy but I feel I  have made progress, less perhaps than I had hoped or wished but a good start.

Once I get home I will focus on fund raising efforts, taking stock of where I am and what else is needed and then lay out the next stage or two of the program. Of course other things will intervene such as stories to be written and sewing, my exercise classes, and the various normal chores. I'll be a few days getting back into that, I am sure. But I will. And life will go on with its normal joys and sorrows and frustrations and all the rest! But I did it; I set a goal that seemed very pie in the sky and I believed and made it happen!! I am proud of that. And here are a few of the displays from the museum I visited yesterday.