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!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Dog Named Sadie

Sadie--about 1998
Like Butch, Sadie came to us already named. If a dog knows their name I prefer not to change it. With horses it doesn't seem to matter but dogs are closer attuned to us and listen more.

Anyway we know Sadie's mother was a purebred Labrador. She got mixed up with what we are guessing was maybe a Setter. I'm opting for Irish Setter since although Sadie was black, there were a few red highlights in her coat.

She belonged to a young couple who were friends of my daughter. They got her as a pup and added her to a couple of older dogs. They also erred by free-feeding all from one big dish. The older dogs were food hoarders and Sadie didn't get much. Then she dug up their newly landscaped back yard and John threatened to shoot her!  Stephanie called Jennifer in a panic and said she had to bring Sadie over at once. However Jennifer and her kids already had a female dog and the two girls did not hit it off.  We were over to babysit soon after that and took Butch along. He and Sadie seemed to fall in love at once so she came home with us. That was sometime in 1996 although I am not sure of the exact date.

Sadie was a pretty dog but hard to photograph since she was soooo black! Finally as she aged, she got a ring of white around her eyes and along the edge of her lips and muzzle. It looked like exotic makeup and then better photos were possible. She was very outgoing, loved to go for rides and had no fear of heights or much else. She got Butch out of his partial shell also. She and Dog did not get along so well so he did not come around so much after she arrived.

For awhile Sadie stayed home with me while Jim took Butch to the VFW. She would hear them come home and almost go wild. At one time I was going to write a spoof romance story about the girl who rushes to see her beloved in delight and they fall to the floor ,rolling around together etc. and finally at the end admit they were canines! I never did but it was fun to watch them.

It is pretty common for a female dog to pick a male person as her special while a male dog will bond to the woman of the house. That slowly happened with us. Butch became "my" dog and Sadie became Jim's. Usually we let them stay together--both would go or both would stay.  I have not seen many pairs of dogs that were so affectionate and well partnered as the two of them.

We enjoyed their companionship for seven great years. We laughed about "Sadie's wild hair days" since her long silky coat would blow in the wind and get very unkempt but she was a 'tomboy' and did not care. She knew she was pretty and was very confident in everything. They went on many fun trips, stayed in a kennel when we had to go where they could not only a few times and were known around the neighborhood. Most dogs still ran loose in that area and we were back from the highway and did not worry about them too much. They preferred to go hunt in the big pasture behind our home rather than go out near the busy road.

Thus it was a terrible ;loss to Sadie when bother her master human and her beloved companion left us at the same time. She would wander through the house seeking them and then come to me with the saddest look. "Where are they, Mama? Please bring them back." I wept many tears into her silky coat.

The next spring I got Rico, a young mostly black blue merle Australian Shepherd who'd escaped from his new owner. Sadie tolerated him and he was always respectful of her but there was no great bond. I had Rice neutered almost at once before the former owner belatedly tried to find him. I said she could have him back if she'd reimburse my expenses but she threw a fit--she'd wanted to have him as a stud since there weren't too many Aussies around at that time. So I had two dogs again. I took them with me a lot and only boarded them a couple of times.

In the fall of 2006, I could tell Sadie was losing her will to live. I had to coax her to eat and she would wander into a corner and could not find her way out. Knowing what was coming, I spent a couple of weeks digging a good deep hole in the side of the yard next to where Alanna and Butch had been laid to rest. The day came and we went to the same vet who had relesed the other two dogs when their time came. I brought Sadie home and put her in the waiting grave. As I began to shovel the dirt in over her, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice spoke in my mind. It was Jim and he said, "Thank you for doing this for her since I cannot. It's just her empty shell but it deserves honor. She's here with Butch and me now and the rest of our companions. We'll wait for you." Blinded by tears, I finished the job and took Rico into the house with me. He stayed very close for awhile. I missed Sadie but knew she was happier with her dearest friends again.

Two dogs with "Papa" Jim
Going trick or treating!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Dog Named Butch

I was living in Whetstone, just north of Huachuca City, AZ when Butch came into the household. Jim and I had to have Alanna, our beloved wolf-Chow of 13 years, PTS due to an inoperable tumor in October 1990. We went dogless for almost three years. I was reduced to taking treats to neighborhood dogs and feeding scraps to what seemed to be an orphaned half-grown coyote--a VERY BAD practice which I DO NOT recommend!!

We were active in the local VFW Post in HC and became  good friends with an older couple, John and Alyne Pope, who also were. active members. She died from COPD (they were from Kentucky and both smoked like chimneys!) and he carried on for a bit and got a dog, probably mostly Brittany Spaniel, and named him Butch. Butch got to know Jim and me well, so when John had to go into assisted living and move nearer his adult children, he begged us to take Butch and in late 1993, he came to live with us.

For awhile Butch was more Jim's dog and went down to the VFW almost daily with him--he was an officer at the time and had tasks to take care. of.  However Butch and I got along well too and he went places with me also. He was deathly afraid of riding in a car yet he did not want to stay home. Mostly he would crouch in the back seat of our SUV and if we drove on a mountain road, he totally refused to look out. He  did enjoy going on expeditions with us though ,and went along on a number of picnics and hikes.

He was not much to get on the furniture but I tried to keep him clean as his white coat showed dirt badly. He did not like baths but for a long time I think I could have skinned him alive and he would not have snapped or fought. Here is one of his bath sessions. Doesn't he look crestfallen?

In about 1996 we acquired Sadie, who will have a story of her own. She and Butch hit it off at once and became virtually inseparable. Together they went almost everywhere with us although we did put them in a boarding kennel a time or two, like when we made a trip to Kentucky for my grandfather's 100th birthday in 1997 and to an RWA conference in 1999.

I'm not sure how old Butch was when John got him or when he came to live with us. At the time though he was fairly young and lively. A neighbor had a part Border Collie he had inherited from a nephew who lived with him awhile. The black and white rascal was called simply Dog, Dog and Butch were great friends before we got Sadie and loved to play a kind of doggie-tag chase game. Wow, those two dogs could really run! They'd trade chased and chaser positions and run until I was worn out watching them. Dog lived to be 18, a very elderly canine, and  was around until I left in 2008.

We did a lot of yard work and Butch had a favorite hiding place in the shallow basin we'd dug when planting a small tree. We called it Butch's foxhole. He would rest his chin on the rim and watch us work frr that cool and shady spot! He also took his job as guard dog and welcome officer very seriously and would sit in what I called his sentry pose, alert and watchful until his eyes were drooping shut!.

Finally in 2003 he was going down hill and no longer ran. He even got a bit grumpy and we had to coax him to eat. It was Butch who got down and could not get up when I took Jim to the ER the night before the massive heart attack took him and it was Butch who got his release at the Vet's within a few minutes of the time of Jim's actual passing. Thus they went together to the Rainbow Bridge to collect Alanna, Angus, Flash, Mickey, Madra, Beauregard and a number of other dogs that had been part of my life, Jim's and ours as a couple. Sadie and I carried on after that but it was a hard and sad time for both of us.

So on National Dog Day which I extend to a week, I lovingly remember Butch   It will be good to see him again! In the end he was my dog as Sadie had become Jim's.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Coincidental birthdays

After I mentioned this post coming the other day, I realized that one of my cousins in Kentuckyand a very dear friend who is an Arizona girl like me but only moved back again a couple of years ago share August 18. They are not too far from the same age, both younger than me but I think Ruth Ann, my cousin is a wee bit younger, maybe five years or so. Happy birthday--belatedly--to Ruth ann Witt and Melinda Rucker Haynes!

May 1969
High school senior
Now to the August 20 birthdays. I first met Betsy in the spring of 1969 when she was between nine and ten. She was one of those children who had been around adults more than other kids and was quite mature for her age in many ways. She was the daughter of one of my profs at Northern Arizona University and I came to be a companion-sitter for her rather often for a year or so there. I last saw Betsy in the spring of 1971; later that year her parents and she went to Australia for a year or two and then lived in several different places when they came back to the states. She wrote me off and on for several years.  It was she to whom I gave the big batch of paper dolls which her mother returned to me, still in very excellent condition, in about 2006 when she came across them in packing to move back east after her husband ,Betsy's dad,  had passed away. Oddly, Betsy was just a bit younger than my youngest brother and my middle step-son. They were both born in 1959, Alex in May and David in July, so she was just a wee bit younger than they. She and Alex would have hit it off, I think, both rather fey, very bright and somewhat eccentric kids. The last I knew, she lived in Albuquerque and was involved in some kind of social work. that is not surprising since her parents were both rather that type as well. Happy birthday Betsy, wherever you may be tomorrow as you celebrate your 57th!!

My best portrait if Dusty
The other birthday on August 20 was my first love and very special friend who would have been 36 when Betsy was born. Dusty was born in upstate New York and adopted as an infant. He worried a bit about not knowing his birth parents and background as did my husband who experienced a similar situation, but to me it made no difference in either case. They were both good men who had been raised by good foster parents. However Dusty came to Arizona as soon as he got out of the military (he joined the navy at a very early age) and became thoroughly western, He always wanted to own a ranch and we shared that dream for awhile. Sadly it and many others never came to pass but I carry a trove of precious memories of the times we spent together.  He passed away in 1993 so I would have been a widow ten years sooner had we married as we hoped at one time to do. RIP Dusty and wherever you are, I still remember your birthday and am very thankful that you were born, whatever the circumstances may have been. We were only for a reason and a season and not forever but who knows what happens next time?

In some ways Betsy was the daughter I never had although I cherish my step-daughter very deeply. Jenna is very much her daddy's girl and her birthday is September 14 (1964)  so she does not belong in this month's bunch.

Maybe in some alternate world, Dusty and I did marry, got our ranch and had a son, Duncan Morgan and a daughter Charlene Angela--with reddish brown hair, very blue eyes and crooked teeth, inherited from both parents! I sometimes think every choice or fork in one's path results in two futures--somehow and somewhere. Who knows? It's kind of like in Richard Bach's lovely, odd book One.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Catching Y'all Up

I've been busy and neglected my duties here. Let my play a quick game of catch-up. As you know, I went to Alaska the last week of June and put out some feelers for a fall/winter kennel position. Well, that was not getting action fast so I went on a site where mushers and kennels advertise and sent out a few emails. Many of them are in or go into Canada where I can't due to no passport--looks like that is on my long-term to do list but not quick enough for now. I know a lot of them are put off by the fact I am not a gung ho young (20s to mid 30s) wannabe champ racer who is looking to learn the tugline so they either do not respond or have already filled--or say they have..

However one gal was interested enough to call me at 11:00 pm Alaska time which was 1:00 am here catching me in bed. She called again the next day and it looks like I will be going to the Fairbanks area in mid September to work at Slow Rush Kennel. She is not a big racer but takes people out and has raced some. She has about forty five dogs and I won't be the only helper, which is reassuring. That way if I need to head south sooner than later, I can go and not leave her in a lurch. Yes, I am excited and yes, I am kinda scared but it is the chance I've been seeking and I am going to take it unless the local court system refuses to accept my request to delay jury duty for six months.  Much more on that, the trip, not the jury, later, mostly at the gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com site.

Second, my writing is picking up again as I now have three publishers who are taking some of my orphaned Amber Quill steamy/spicy tales to reissue but also want a mixture of new tales to intersperse. That leaves me a lot to do before I depart since I do not expect to have much time--either internet time or actual writing time--for the 60-90 days and possibly more that I am in the north 49th. And then there is a lot of personal business like dogs and bills and other things to arrange first too. I've never been away that long, not even when I was going TDY (temporary duty, mostly for classes) while I was working for the Army and Air Force way back when and to conferences and such since my day-job retirement. Two to three weeks was the max. Big difference!!

So that is my half-a$$ed excuse for being very quiet for a couple of weeks. I will try to put up several things in the next 3-4 weeks since I will probably be pretty scarce for awhile after that. Next post will be to mark the shared birthday of two very different people who passed through my life and left major impressions. After that, we'll see. Probably no more diatribes as I have sworn of polytix and all related stuff until after the big election. I just don't have time and patience to get wrapped up about it now; it will be what it will be regardless of me so why get my knickers in a knot?

Oh, my two red dogs got too close to a skunk night before last. They didn't get too badly sprayed but enough. There is a cleaning product called Oxy-orange or similar names that is good to clean up stinky pet messes such as barf and dire-rear and by golly, it does help a lot to neutralize. There are  no hazardous chemicals so I did rub it into their fur and  will rinse  a couple of times. Much better--just a faint sourish scent remains. Since both very determinedly sleep with me that was a huge relief!