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, October 17, 2016

Another Beloved Canine

Today she's been gone four years--Belle, aka Belle Starr (the bandit girl), Missy B,, Baby Girl etc. I still miss her in so many ways. If you are blessed with at least one 'angel dog' in your lifetime, you are so lucky; I've had more than one but Belle is in the midst of that number.

Belle was the dog who came into my home to keep Rico company after Sadie had crossed the
The shot that won my heart
Rainbow Bridge in the fall of 2006.  I contacted Aussie Rescue in Arizona and she was the one who was meant to come to me. A sweet lady in Phoenix who was the state coordinator at the time--I seem to recall her name was Alice--sent me two photos of a girl who'd been taken in and fostered in Kingman. I fell in love at once. In January 2007, Rico and I made the trek to Glendale, Arizona where we met Belle's temporary folks and I brought her home. She seemed tiny beside Rico, who was a big moose of a dog, but she was a standard sized Aussie.

Belle was a classic blue merle with copper points--legs and some face markings. She had one eye that was neatly divided half brown and half blue and a tiny wedge of blue in the other eye. When she came to me her poor little muzzle was terribly ulcerated to the point tissue had been eroded. I took her to the vet the next day and she was diagnosed with
After about six weeks' meds
Discoid Lupus, an auto-immune disorder that impacts the mucus membrane tissue. hers was concentrated in her nose. From that day on, I treated her with prednisone, which is a nasty drug but the only thing that would suppress the condition. I used a ton of salves and treatments and finally got to where I could give her 2.5 mg a day instead of the 20 she started with but we could never cut it out all the way.

As I've mentioned in the past, the match of Rico and Belle was not made in heaven. They ad a bad fight about a week in during which Rico bit me badly enough that I put Belle in a crate and him in the house and drove to the ER--where triage kept me waiting for most of nine hours! Things went fine for months but gradually the fights became more frequent and more severe. I knew I had to rehome one of them or there would be a tragedy since trying to keep them completely apart was almost impossible. In the end it was Rico who went. That broke my heart but I knew it was the only choice I could make. I have prayed often that he had a good and happy life.

Belle was happy as an only dog and got very bonded with me, She went nearly everywhere with me and only a few times was left in a kennel. Part of that took place while I was moving from Whetstone to Hurley, NM in the late summer of 2008. She also went with me when I moved to Colorado the
Snow dog in CO
next spring. She did not get along too well with Kaycee, my brother's young male Blue Heeler; they had one bad fight while I was back in Arizona later that year and were not left alone unsupervised after that. Kaycee was a rowdy bully at times and Belle did not know how to play. She perceived any roughness as an attack and would fight to the death although she was never the aggressor.

Dear MissyB had one weakness and that was food! She could not resist a tempting  morsel and would go to considerable lengths to  get outside  of one. I could share a dozen stories about some of those escapades but I'll save them for another time and place. Still they were part of this very unique and special little girl's one-of-a-kind character. More than once I was torn between fury and laughing my backside off at one of her little acts of banditry!

Belle and I walked nearly every day from the time Rico left us until the last few days of her life. We walked along the road to tombstone in Arizona; we walked all around the main town of Hurley; we walked over a large neighborhood in Colorado Springs, and then we walked in Alamogordo.  As 2012 went along, I knew she was slipping, almost noticeably every day, The walks got shorter--just down the street to the LDS churchyard where she enjoyed walking in the soft, green grass, often wet with dew or from the sprinklers. I started putting booties on her to help her keep her footing on the laminate floors in the house and I upped her dose of tramadol to keep her calm and ease her pain. She had arthritis and aso the prednisone was taking its toll on her organs.

Belle and Rojito--Aug '12
Finally the day came that I had dreaded. She was telling me that she needed to be set free. My brother and I held her as she slumped down and drifted away. I had her cremated and my plan is that her ashes will be scattered with mine when that day comes. Meanwhile she waits at the Rainbow Bridge near the head of a wonderful pack of my dearest friends, with Flash and Alanna and Madra and Sadie. For now I have little Rojito (he had bonded strongly with her in the few months after he joined our pack in June 2012). and Ginger to maintain my connection to dogdom.  Ginger is not Belle but a sweet girl in her own right and another link in my life-long chain of rescued canines. No, I have never bought a dog and never will. There are too many that need someone to rescue and the Doggie Deity always sends the right one my way.  Go in peace and harmony, Dear Belle, always loved and always near my heart.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Five fast years

Five years ago yesterday, Charlie and I had just gotten here with the second U-Haul truck from Colorado. Up there we had loaded in spitting snow and temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark. We got a late start and made the long and exhausting trek to end up here around midnight. There was a harrowing incident with an aluminum ladder in the middle of the freeway between Rio Rancho and Albuquerque but no harm done. I just envisioned torn brake lines, gas lines or ???  But the big truck had smashed it enough that the little Focus wagon sailed over it clean. I was going on adrenaline and willpower the past 2-300 miles but followed the lights of that truck and talked to Belle. At least we had beds and dog dishes waiting for us here.

It is hard to believe that much time has passed. A lot has happened in those years. Missy B has been gone nearly four years now--I'll do a tribute for her in a few days--and I've been on a number of trips to include over two months in Alaska. Most of the time it still feels like "The Promised Land" as Charlie says, much better than Colorado in terms of weather to desert rats like us. The dust and wind can be an aggravation but otherwise it's very tolerable and pleasant a lot of the time.  My four climbing roses have thrived and we have made great headway on the various noxious weeds we do not tolerate in our space. The overburden of stuff stacked all around has been reduced and neatly stowed away so the carport is clear for two smaller cars and only appropriate things reside outside the workshop/garage out back.

We have three dogs now that were not with us and it is not sure how much longer Beebee and Kaycee will be around. Both are showing age and some decline but with little Rojo who joined us in June 2012, Ginger in December 2012 and Riata last November it is not likely we will be dogless any time soon. If I have my way I will never be!

I've moved into a new decade and next month Charlie joins the Medicare set. We are far from well off but we have all that we really need and a reasonable level of comfort and security. Another high desert fall is underway and despite an odd little thunderstorm about three o'clock this morning --more flash and noise than either wind or rain--it is drying off and starting to cool down slowly. I put the cooler on for a bit this afternoon but mostly just to air out the house and freshen the feeling. Will we be here in another five years? One never knows and we do talk at times of maybe drifting back to Arizona but I really don't expect that we will.  Time will tell--I may even wind up spending a greater part of my time in the north 49th. At any rate, it is not over until it is over and the fat lady has certainly not sung yet!

It cheers me to compare then and now!! Progress is where you find it.
5 years ago

In front of workshop-then

current state

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Columbus Day or not?

I have not been a huge fan of this particular 'holiday' for ages. I am not even sure why we feel a need to celebrate how a crafty  Italian adventurer conned the queen of Spain into bankrolling him to cruise around looking for fame and fortune and maybe the east side of Asia.  He certainly did not "discover" America and had no clue where he was when his small fleet made landfall. 'Nuff said!

There is little doubt that the Irish monk, St. Brendan the Navigator, had been across the Atlantic. After all, Ireland is lot closer than Spain if you follow a route similar to and opposite of that which Charles Lindbergh flew close to ninety years ago.  It is likely that some seafarers from Wales also made the journey and certainly a number of Vikings traveled from Scandinavia to Iceland, Greenland and the maritime regions of what is now Canada.  In short, there are many legends and artifacts to attest to the fact of various journeys from Europe to the "New World" substantially earlier than 1492.
So if we are going to celebrate a Discoverer's Day it could as well be January 30, May 11, September 17 or the second fifth Friday in any particular month and year. We have no way to know who was really 'first' and when that landfall was made. And it really doesn't matter.

As for indigenous people, I actually have a  lot of sympathy for them because since substantial numbers of Europeans began to arrive, most of the tribes have caught a lot of hell and been mistreated, lied to and abused in many ways. However, I do get my back up a little bit at the term "Native American" since I am as native as anyone else, having been born here and being able to trace my ancestors, at least the bulk of them, back for a good three centuries on this overall piece of real estate.

A few anthropologists might still argue a bit but it is fairly well accepted that the ancestors of the modern tribes in North America did come out of the northern quadrant of Asia and worked their way down from what is now Alaska into north, central and even south America. So why are they "more native" than the Caucasians who sailed across the Atlantic?  It's just a matter of a millennia or so. As far as we know, they did not displace any preexisting residents, at least no human ones, but I don't think we are a hundred percent sure of this.

It is a fact that the beings who became modern humans probably originated and dispersed out of Africa, maybe even while the land mass of the newish planet Earth was closer to being a single continent than it is now. I mean, who was there to observe? And as various groups, bands and tribes migrated and dispersed, some went into new and unoccupied land and others may have overrun, absorbed, or eradicated previous dwellers. I do not say that is right or good or anything else, but it is a fact.

So, who is "native" of any place is highly questionable and subject to a great deal of debate. Yes, today's "Indians" (incorrectly termed this since that scam artist Italian thought he had reached the East Indies, a term used in ancient times and somewhat more recently as well  for the southeastern area of the Asian continent where wonderful spices and great wealth was believed to exist) were here when most of the ancestors of modern U. S. citizens arrived. We probably took possession without much due process. Not the first time and likely not the last. When we eventually go out into the greater universe it will probably happen again. Humans are greedy, rapacious and despite a thin veneer of civilization still mostly observe that might makes right. Most of us are pretty shitty folks!

In short, I am fine with an Indigenous Peoples Day--let's have one world-wide and sponsored by the United Nations and do it up in good style. There are lots of indigenous groups on every continent.  I am not fine with Columbus Day, but if we were to declare a Discoverer's Day, perhaps we could both placate and piss off a lot of folks.  Being of Irish and Welsh descent in good part, I'd be happy to recognize their adventuring efforts and according to what I've seen on TV, Vikings were big, bold sexy guys, so let's recognize them too! Forget Columbus; what the heck did he do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Into and Out of Time

I ended my latest Alaskan adventure a bit early due to circumstances beyond my control and not connected to my ability or lack thereof to fit in and work out. My host had some major personal/financial issues crop up and we decided it would be best if I got out of the way so she could address her full attention to them but I am welcome to go back again once things calm down--hoping that actually happens!--and can have a good recommendation when/if I try to find a similar situation. Still I crammed a great deal of experience and learning into the available days and enjoyed it thoroughly. I'm not ready to be a real musher yet but I know a lot more about sled dogs than I did a month ago!

While I was away, summer has decamped and it is now in the midst of high desert fall, always a favorite time for me. We did get another 5/8" of rain the first two nights I was home but then it has warmed back up (mid 80s) and the skies have gone to their bright blue October beauty. We hope for 10-15 days of good weather, just cool enough that some fairly strenuous work is not unpleasant. So far I have trimmed back my four climbing roses, a rosemary bush that insists on trying to become a spreading shrub, and a "butterfly bush" that has ambitions to be a tree.

My two red dogs were ecstatic to see me. The little guy ran dizzy circles for fifteen minutes, up onto the bed, behind me, down and around again. Ginger, meanwhile, snuggled close and licked and licked every bit of exposed skin! It was good to know I had been missed! I'm sure they caught the scent of some forty four assorted huskies I had been much around but they didn't seem to be too concerned. All is now back to normal, more or less. Tomorrow we should resume our morning walks.

I had planned to be at least 45 days in Alaska so have been slightly at  loose ends and trying to decide how to get back to my routine. It almost feels like some "free time" since I had pretty well cleared my calendar and am not sure where to go and what to do first and next. However, my usual practicality and tendency to stay busy is asserting itself and I am sure I will be heading off into a number of projects soon.

Here is a rare selfie of me with part of the dog yard in the background. That is just to prove I have been there very recently!
Temporary dog handler at Slow Rush Kennel,
Fairbanks, AK