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!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Leaving on a jet plane...

Out of El Paso at about 8:30 a.m.tomorrow. North to Alaska at a time other than summer. It was 46 in Fairbanks a few minutes ago and is currently 87 in Alamogordo. But I am going--I've worked on this for over two years now and to finally see it happen is amazing. I am not sure how long I will be able to stay--mid December at the latest and possible not that long but it will be the real experiences I have hoped to gain for the authenticity of my future book.I hope to be able to post several times to the GwynnMorganAlaska blog. Probably not much if any here.

Yes, I am scared but very excited and I am going to give this my best shot! I have all my cold weather stuff and work clothes in one big suitcase--30# or so--to be checked and my computer case and a small daypack to carry on with me. I will be toting a shirt jac which may look silly in Phoenix but I am going to Alaska!

Whenever I get shaky I look at my special picture taken in June with Aliy and Deedee, my two amazing heroines, and I know I have to musher up and dream it, dare it and DO IT!!

A prayer or two and some positive energies are appreciated!!  Go in peace until I check in again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rico--the next special dog

I mentioned Rico in Sadie's story but he deserves his own tale. Early in 2004, Butch and Jim had been gone for around two months and I had started to look for another dog hoping to pull Sadie out of her obvious depression. And do not try to tell me a dog cannot have such emotions! We checked the shelters but none of the candidates seemed quite right. Then a friend of a friend alerted me to a possibility. An Australian Shepherd had been found and was staying at the kennel of a woman who raised GSDs (German Shepherds) down in the southern part of the valley between Hereford and Palominas. Sadie and I drove down in my Buick Century,

Rico, newly adopted
She didn't get hostile and the woman who had found and taken the dog in wanted him gone--an intact male, he did not fit into her crew. Her daughter had called him Oreo since he was black and white but I later learned he was actually a blue merle although not the classic or typical one.  He came home with us that evening and quickly fitted in. I took him to the vet shortly since I do not keep intact dogs as pets and had him "fixed" and got his shots, probably overkill but I had no way to know. I decided to name him Rico (Enrico) a bit after Alanna's  Henry in California who was not an Aussie but a Blue Heeler although I was vague on the difference at that point. My late husband liked bird dogs and I had not really had a herding type dog since my dear Flash, so long ago.

A few days later the lady who had brought him to Cochise County from northern California got bck from somewhere and looked for him. He'd been left in the care of a disabled friend who could not handle him and he had escaped. I offered to return him but said I would need to be reimbursed for my vet bill. When she learned he was now 'fixed' she had  a fit and cussed me out.She had meant to use him as a stud. "Too darn bad," I thought. "You didn't take great care of him."

Although Sadie never bonded with him as she had with Butch, it did help. I soon acquired a little red
Rico, standing stacked
Mazda pickup with an extended cab and fixed a bench between the two jump seats in the rear area so a dog could ride there --or even two. That was not a popular spot but two mid to large dogs did not fit in the passenger bucket seat and I do not do laps when driving.  That was usually Rico's spot and he accepted it with mild grumps. I took them with me often for the next couple of years and occasionally left them in a kennel and one time at my youngest brother's new house in Sierra Vista. when I went to Colorado to help the other brother move when he and his wife decided to split..

Sadie lasted another year, until October 2006. That left Rico as a solo dog. Perhaps I should have left well enough alone but I like to have a pair. I got involved with the Aussie rescue organization in Arizona and arranged to take Belle, who was fostered in Kingman. She seemed so small beside Rico, who was a very large Aussie (near 75 pounds), that I thought at first she was a "mini."

They had one fight within a week and I thought that settled the matter. Splitting that up, I got bitten badly on the left hand by Rico. I grabbed for his collar and missed. He put fang marks on both sides of my thumb joint. I wrapped my bleeding hand, put Belle in the crate I had gotten and drove myself to the Sierra Vista hospital's ER. Triage--a bleeding hand was not life threatening. I finally got home about nine. He was quarantined for two weeks but it was not his fault--my stupidity. Breaking up dog fights is dangerous at best.

Belle and Rico on good day
For quite awhile the two of them got along fine, They were not furniture dogs but slept on rugs near my bed and chased ground squirrels and the field rats. I had half my large yard fenced so they had plenty of room to run. I was gone one day and came home to find Belle cut up some. I thought she had gotten into a pile of wire and trash in the yard,but learned different soon. From that point on, the situation went down hill,.. When they had a major fight indoors in the spring 0f 2008, I knew we could not continue. I kept them separated from then on and began to look for a place to rehome Rico.

If that seems odd and unfair, I will say it broke my heart to let him go after four years but Belle had a medical condition that required daily care and I suspected most people would not give that to her and manage the expense for drugs etc. I had guaranteed her a forever home when I took her. After a few weeks a lady up the street from me saw my notice in the post office and came by. She said her mother lived in a small ranch near Patagonia, AZ and wanted a good big dog to keep strangers out of her yard. I let her take Rico although I was not happy about it. I kept planning to go see him after he had a few months to get settled in his new home but many things changed in my life along about that time and I ended up moving to New Mexico in August.

I always missed my big doofus--like most male dogs he was a bit of a doofus!--but he was loveable, loyal and generally a good dog. I just pray he had a good, long  life and ended up peacefully.  He'd be an old dog now if he is still on this side of the Rainbow Bridge. He was not quite two early in 2004. I never stopped having regrets and that is the only dog I have ever rehomed. I just have to trust that I made the right decision. I hope he is there with his stumpy tail wagging his whole backside, as Aussies do, when I get to the Rainbow Bridge, and that he won't be too mad at me.  He may have another owner of his heart now but maybe he will at least say hello.
My handsome boy!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cops, Anniversaries and Memories

Yesterday there was a 'shoot out' in my little southern New Mexico town in which a cop and a wanted felon were both killed. That makes two in two weeks--a 'routine traffic stop" that turns into death for two young officers, both leaving kids and a loving, grieving family.  At least this time the career criminal went down, too, but at such a price.

I know policing is dangerous work. I've known that all my life, really. I was very blessed that my husband always made it home--and in time he shifted to a slightly different career path after he learned how much I worried each time he donned that blue suit and left home... And that was some years ago; it has only gotten more dangerous.  I will be the first to admit there are a few rotten apples in the office barrel, people who should never be wearing a badge, but 95% of the men and women who serve o so with a sincere calling and a true desire to "protect and serve." Most are color blind and share a brotherhood with all the other officers in our nation who serve as well. I am getting very tired of seeing our officers killed, often needlessly. How can we get young men and women to serve with this danger and a sense no one supports them?  I am reminded of the military people during Vietnam--they so did not deserve the hate and nastiness they were shown. Whatever we thought of that war--and there are no good wars!!--we should not have been so brutal to those returning; too many were in coffins and body bags. as too many still do in today's war. Blue Lives Matter and so do military lives!! They all bleed red and die for a cause--and there are many Black, Latino, Asian and others among them.

As I shared on my FB page, today would have been my 45th anniversary. September 3, 1971 in
Bisbee, AZ, a day I will never forget. Here is a shot of me and my handsome husband, not in his blue uniform for this event. I was a "hippie bride" wed in green! We were married by a Methodist minister in Jim's dad's home, where he had grown up. The minister first asked the two kids, then 7 and 11, if they would accept me as their new mother; had they said no I do not think he would have done the ceremony! I thought that was very special.  Thank all the powers that we were allowed to have thirty two years together sharing a zillion things we both loved to include writing.

We only managed one novel which I actually finished a year or two after Jim's passing. It  is, of course, a cop story, and as authentic as we could make it. Jim would get so upset at TV shows which were soooo unreal, fifty car chases clear across Texas and such junk! We had planned two or three more books set in the same area where characters would make cameo appearances after their story was told but sadly we ran out of time. I did not dare try to do them alone because I could not get the authenticity they deserved. Still, January Gets Her Gunn stands as a joint effort although it was published in my known pen-name. I won't tout it here; I do not sell on this blog, but I *might* put a snippet on the other one which I share with that naughty Deirdre O'Dare who writes those x-rates stories ;-)

Anyway, my prayers to the families of fallen officers  and my happy memories of a day long ago which mingle smiles and tears today. I'll see you again, my personal hero, and will never forget. Greet these new arrivals who are blue-clad brothers and make them welcome until their loved ones join them.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Alanna--A VSD

I know I have mentioned this dog before, Alanna, a wolf-Chow mix that was with us (my late husband and two kids and I) for a bit over thirteen years. She still remains at the pinnacle as far as smarts and being a unique and very unusual dog!

About three months old
We found Alanna in the Colorado Springs animal shelter early in May 1977, She had just been picked
up so we had to wait a few days to make her ours. However, that first day as we walked through the area housing female puppies and dogs, she came to the front of her pen and gave a rather demanding "yap" that said, "I want to be your dog. Take me out of here!"  That was Alanna--always the 'queen bee' and  Very confident and direct!

We took her home the same day we picked up our new SUV, which we had decided to order after spending a total of about 36 hours in a Ford Pinto and a person's house a few miles from our home during a March blizzard. A car like that with 4-wheel drive might have gotten us safely home. She barfed in the back, the only time she ever got car sick, but confirmed my insistence on getting rubber matting and not carpet in this vehicle, despite the salesman's efforts. I also insisted on several other things--he could not believe a woman would prefer a 4-speed manual shift to an automatic! That is whuy it took several weeks to come from the factory, just to our specs.

That was always Alanna's car from that day forward and she lived to ride. She got a few local trips that summer and then a very long one in a special box on the tailgate with her male dog companion, Angus. In september we moved from Falcon, CO outside of Colorado Springs to north central California after my job was cut when Aerospace Defense Command went through some reductions.
we ended up in the little town of Olivehurst, just south of marysville/Yuba City, the twin towns on opposite sides of the Yuba River north of Sacramento.

In Olivehurst about 1980
We stayed there for six years and Alanna got very well known in the area. She and Jim often wnet a quarter mile or so down the road and visited with friends who had a big rice farm and also grazed cattle. The two Johnson brothers both had herding dogs. Max's was a Blue Heeler named Henry. Alanna adored Henry and since Angus had met a sad end, she wanted a new "boyfriend." However she was spayed so Henry only wanted her as a hunting partner. There were a lot of Norway rats in the area. They tended to hang around the rice fields to glean the left overs and also in the big barn where they stored feed for the cattle.  Henry and Alanna had some great times including once when they were shut in the barn before a new load of feed arrived and between them killed literally hundreds of rats. Both had to be bathed to get the blood out of their fur!

Alanna also loved the UPS guy and wold jump in his truck if she got a chance. he carried dog biscuits for her and other friendly canines on his route. One day there was a substitute driver and she scared him half to death. He had climbed up on a rack with some packages before Jim coaxed  Alanna to get out.  She could not imagine anyone not loving her or being afraid. She had many friends, both human and canine including a little Doxie named Susie who's person carried her in a basket on his motor scooter! She seemed to love little dogs.

After six years we came back to Arizona and lived for a few months in Tucson. There she was confined in the fenced yard and people were not friendly. Kids banged sticks on the wire to tease her and other neighborhood dogs etc. She was very unhappy,  She git sick with what a vet diagnosed as Valley Fever. Up to that point all of our dogs had been outdoor dogs since jim and I had both grown up with a rule that dogs did not come in the house. We let Alanna stay indoors because of her illness and there was no going back! From then on every dog has been a house dog; not that they do not gget outside a  lot and want to be out but they also want to be close.  Alanna won that privilege for herself and all her successors.

play with a little friend
The next spring we moved down to Whetstone, an unincorporated area just north of Huachuca City. Alanna did not like the disruption of moving. Jim told her that was the last time she or he would move and that proved to be true. Once we settled she was happy in her new home and became a neighborhood favorite, wandering a little though not too far and going  with us. Jim would take her to a bakery in HC where he went nearly every morning to a coffee klatch and she waited patiently just outside the door and was greeted by everyone who came and went and often slipped a treat.

at home in Arizona

In the summer of 1990, she began to fail. About the same time we discovered a tumor in her neck or throat. It was too much around the major blood vessels to risk surgery so we had to let nature take its course.  In the middle of October the day came; she could no longer eat and barely drink so we made the trip to our vet's. He gave her the shot and the three of us held her as she slipped off to the Rainbow Bridge, her coat wet with tears of three people who had loved her dearly. She was buried in the side of our yard where some years later Butch and Sadie were placed near her. They were the last dogs we left there, or I left when I moved alone--with Belle--in 2008.