I Hate Yoga.

There. I said it. Sometimes I hate yoga.  And not just occasionally.

Yoga teachers say it’s “just” resistance. I found one definition of this resistance – Your Ego’s natural distrust of your own essence.  nope.  don’t think so.  My essence would just rather sit on the porch with a beer.  And my Ego can get behind that.

Plus I hate being somewhere at a specific time.

But, whatever, yoga is good for me so I cram my rolls into stretchy material. Fancy stuff from Walmart.  I avoid yellow and black because I would look like a lumpy monarch caterpillar.  I love caterpillars, metamorphosis, transformation.  So, maybe it would be appropriate? But very asthetically unpleasing. so no. just no.

The husband is wearing a bright orange tank sometimes referred to as a “wife beater” although probalby not by yoga types.

We arrive to LOVE yoga studio.   The lobby area has sitar music and cucumber water and hushed conversations about otherworldly things like where to get your nails done.    The yoginis are all cool and coiffed and draped in Lululemon. They are an elegant roomful of whippets and greyhounds who are now affronted by the lurpy Midwest golden Retriever types – us – who just bounded in trying to say hello.

The teacher is beautiful, tiny and serene and I want to hate her.  She asks if we are new to studio.  How did she guess?  We are invited into the yoga class room.  One wall is painted bight orange with a giant sun on it.  Everyone starts arranging their gear and warming up.  Husband goes to the sun wall which matches his wife beater exactly.  He throws himself against the wall  posing dramatically like a giant chameleon.  I give him the stink eye and he comes back to his mat.  Hopefully he will behave.

So we begin.

I don’t mind not knowing the poses.  I like my beginner’s mind.   In fact the most intelligent thing I have probably ever said is ” I don’t know.”

But I hate chanting and I hate sitting still and being contained in this room for an hour.   Today the poses are too hard and the routine goes so fast we don’t have a chance.

Finally it’s over and we are in shavasana or the corpse pose which seems about right.  I got this one.   Relax.  Have a blank mind.

But then I become mindful.  Of everything.

Sound. The hissing.  I don’t know if Darth Vader joined the class or someone is on a mechanical ventilator in the corner.

And smell. The perfume. All 7 varieties.

My senses are working says my busy lil money brain.  Maybe this is good?  What other senses?  Taste.  Oh yeah a big ol burger would taste so good right now.  What’s in the fridge at home?  nah I don’t want to cook.  Wonder if we can stop at 5 Guys on the way home.  Not in this get up.  I wonder if I can remember this grocery list. When is this gonna be over?  Did we turn off the coffee pot before we left home?

And then it is over.  We all sit up, some words are said and then we bow and say Namaste.  Or most people do.  Husband says “Have a nice day.”








Getting things done. Or not.

I have been “reminded” twice lately that I am a writer.  Or that I used to be.  It’s been so long since a single word spilled onto paper, I could hardly remember it. Being too busy lazy resistant and ADD to start something fresh, I visited my drafts folder.  I figured I might actually FINISH one of the 85 drafts I have stashed away. I could clean those up and publish them right? Who knows?  Maybe there is something good in there.   Not likely something near as good as Sheri Rowe Langford’s Farm Fresh Forensics, but maybe a stray Harry Potter or Twilight (told you it’d been awhile).

Browsing,  I found one titled Getting things done/Finishing things- which seemed like a good place to start.  The draft was dated Feb 28, 2018.  So that’s not so bad.  It starts out talking about a rug I finally finished.  It is a hook rug and I remember starting it while we were remodeling the house – because I needed something to stab.     It says the rug took 4 years to finish and I see that it took me another 2 months to write about finishing it.  And now here I am almost 18 months later finishing THAT post/writing.  In my defense, I have finished a few other projects since then.  None of them are writing.

The rest of the draft says… well here’s the thing.  I’m not sure what it says or what I meant to say.  Same for most of the other 84 drafts. I have a vague idea on some of them,  but most?  No clue.  The extreme ones appear to be written my someone else and I am concerned for that person’s mental health.

Here are a few highlights

Leonardo – kinda remember he didn’t finish things either.

Fat pants

serial killers

mushrooms and pea crabs

the hour formerly known as 3 am.

I guess my readers – all 3 of them – have THOSE to look forward to in their finished versions.  Or not.

For now. here is the FINISHED rug – December 2017!

finished rug






Live Like You Were Dying?

In 2004, Tim McGraw had a country hit “Live Like You Were Dying”

I hated that song.

It’s one that can get stuck in your head and, in case you aren’t familiar, it’s about a guy that gets a terminal diagnosis.  When asked what you do with that sort of news he talks about living like you were dying.

To him this meant “speaking sweeter and loving deeper” which made sense.  But also -“going Rocky mountain climbing, sky diving and 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.”

This the part I found ridiculous.  NO ONE (I thought) that’s dying does any of that.  They are busy being sick.  They are scared, they are angry, and they are likely a million other things I can’t begin to imagine.  But they are not able physically or emotionally to pursue their passion.  Or maybe even to have any.  They don’t RIDE A DAMN BULL.  Not even for 2.7 seconds.

Then I met Deb Meier.

I met her in person only once.  At a dog clinic of course.  We became facebook “friends” – something I also didn’t “believe in” but Deb did.

We started talking over a dog.  Just around the time of her diagnosis.   I didn’t know her all that well in some senses.  We never talked politics or religion and I don’t think that would have gone well.  She thought I was a bit too soft hearted about working dogs and she was right. I thought she was a lot more soft hearted than she wanted to let on.

I was having trouble with my dog and had a tendency to leave the post when things went wrong.

We both had a slight  twisted sense of humor, an underappreciated ( in our opinion) habit of saying exactly what we meant. We shared a  firm belief that stock dog event lunches should be hearty – with meat!  She shared that she thought Minnesota handlers were a little “yuppy”  and she was served cucumber and sprouts finger sandwiches at a clinic.  I think she might have made that up.

Our conversations turned to life and her diagnosis… to fear and indecision and courage.  About having those health tests I was afraid to have.  She didn’t sugar coat that one.  She said I was “stupid”.  I had the test.

We talked about staying at the post.  About living although you might be dying – not living LIKE you were dying.

While I whined about the heat or the drive to a trial, Deb was coming out of chemo and driving cross country.  She got to run Tripp and she won.  She entered trials and clinics months away expecting to be there. I wish I had half her courage.

I’m going to a trial this weekend.  I won’t whine about the heat or the drive.  I’ll be bringing meat for the potluck.  And when I go to the post I’ll stand there a minute. For Deb. Then I’ll send my dog and try my hardest to stay at the post.

Deb’s passion wasn’t skydiving or rock climbing. But I can compare the bull riding to going to the post with her dogs.  Again and again.   No matter what.  If anything I think her passion got stronger and the dogs kept her going.

Her ride was way too short but damn if she didn’t stay on that bull and stand at that post.

Nice ride Deb, good run.  Now rest.


54 Things

1517264052506-1522098042At my age you might have thought birthdays wouldn’t be very important.  Not so.  I love my birthday week.  Yup – a whole week.

People ask you what you want for your birthday the way they ask how you are.  You are supposed to say fine – not tell them how you really are.  For the birthday question, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to say.  People say “nothing or not much or I have everything I want.”

I am not one of those people.

So in case you were considering asking – and even if you weren’t – I made a list of 54 things I would like for my 54th birthday.

A new president,  A new government, a whole-house humidifier, easy open packages that are easy to open, and tea with my old aunt JC.

A magic spell allowing dogs to live forever, a California abalone pearl, a wheelbarrow in a free bookstore, and enough food for everybody. All the time.

Lunch with my high school biology teacher, Mr. Perpich.  Mr. Perpich rocks.

For my border collie Mark and I to get out of novice class have fun this sheepdog trial season.

A home for every dog, lilacs that bloom longer than a week, a published novel, grandchildren (not to be delivered before march), and an MP3 player with songs already loaded – from my head.

One of those dinner where you can invite 12 people living or dead.

The concert version of one of those dinners were you can invite 12 people living or dead.  Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Waylon Jenning, John Denver, Prince, Cat Stevens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jim Morrison, James Taylor, Wendy Waldman, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Jimmy Buffett,….Ok.  I know I’m over and I could keep going.  What does it say about me that most of them are gone?

Northern lights.

A second published novel, Leonard Peltiers freedom, 4 healthy 2018 lambs (girls please), and a garden that weeds itself.

Someone who can clean my house without actually having to come to my house.

World peace and a brown sugar cupcake with salted caramel butter cream frosting from Grace and Shelleys.

Elimination of the phrase “reach out”. I think this is actually possible given the “me too” movement.


A pony for every kid, the cure for cancer, time travel back to May of 2006, and a week of flat water for paddleboarding.

A mirror or glasses that shows you what a person really looks like.  On the inside.

For every single person to have a chance to stand at the edge of the ocean.

A visit with Alicia (bestie from Ohio), a tri colored border collie named Charlotte, the solution to global warming, and front row seats to James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.

A flash mob singing Joy to the World.  The bullfrog one.

More time travel – Santa Cruz California the summer I was 17.

Coffee with Eddy (Spanish brother) and his wife Carla, a dog for every home, and free ice cream on Sundays.  Served by Willy Nelson.

A train trip with my mom.

The chance to snorkel with humpback whales and hike the Dingle Way in Ireland.

A roof over everybody’s head.  And let’s build that wall.  Around the redwoods.  And Glacier National Park.

A road trip without a destination.

Another trip around the sun.


Feeding People


Anyone who knows me knows I like to feed people.

Except for Rollo who thinks I sometimes take food to friend’s homes in case I get hungry while I’m there. Valid point.

It’s more than that though.  I like feeding friends, but I also want to feed people I don’t know.

I could donate to food shelf or something similar but I want to do it myself.  I want to make the food and I want to SERVE it to somebody.

Sing it to me Bobby D!

I don’t think service is always about food and I think Bob agrees with me.  Maybe your presence is service.  Trust is service.  If you can’t cook maybe listening, forgiveness or compassion would work.  Gratitude. Simple kindness.

I like food so I mostly stick with that – hoping I’ll get to join in for a bite?

I tried a project a few years back. I wanted to surprise random people – strangers – with food…but it gets weird. People get embarrassed – or afraid or something and sometimes those people is me. Maybe I overthought it.

How would I know who needs or wants to be fed or helped?

Can’t decide by appearance.   If so, I would be the one getting handed a warm blanket, a pair of socks (wool please) and a cup of soup! I might look a tad homeless at times.  What with my uncombed hair, dirty clothes, and that one pair of crocs.  They are two different colors.  I lost leftie kayaking in the river and then rightie kayaking in the ocean. The survivors were perfectly good shoes.  Why not wear them? Seriously. People stop me to point out I have two different shoes on.  Thanks folks.

Anyhoo.  Back to the issue.  How do you know who needs something?  They probably aren’t going to tell you.

The other problem is what if you make a mistake?  True stories here.

Rollo and I stopped for some guys that were out of gas on a freeway ramp.  We drove them to the station and filled up their gas can for them.  We felt like pretty good citizens. We decided to have lunch at that same exit stop.  45 minutes later guess who we passed “out of gas” again a few miles down the freeway?

My mom gave a lady standing on the side of the road some cash.  Tried to chat her up and asked how she had gotten herself in such a spot.  Said lady replied she just bought a brand new car and wanted help with the payments.

What if someone uses cash you give them for drugs?  or smokes? or ? What if they refuse your food? How do you know?

I dunno. You don’t. I decided to just go for it. Take a chance.

A few Christmases ago I baked up some cookies and put them in cute little Santa bags.  My sister and I took them to the Mall of America intending to give them to total strangers…

…who thought we were trying to poison them.  I guess.  Some ran away like we were trying to get them to join our cult and drink the magic Kool-Aid.  Some took the cookies Minnesota-nice-polite-like and hurried off (probably to the nearest trash can) looking over their shoulder at us.

I haven’t tried serving anybody again until last week.  I struck up a conversation with a young mom ahead of me in line at an Asian food place.  The typical.  “Have you been here? No, you? No.  Hope you enjoy.  Have a nice day. ”

I got up to the cashier and young mom had bought my lunch.  I did glance down to see if my shoes matched. And then I was SO grateful. The cashier, however, was somewhat confused.

The sesame chicken was way overdone and dry and you could have chipped a tooth on the wontons, but it was the best lunch I’ve eaten in a long time.  I’d been served.  I caught her eye and waved.  Her smile was bigger than mine.  Could it feel so good to give that I’d served her too?

After crunching my way through the wontons, my lunch partner spotted a young man she knew in the same food line.  She went over to talk to him. My chance to test the theory.   I snuck up to the register. “Pssst I want to pay it forward” The cashier was now totally mystified but I didn’t have time to explain the whole book/movie thing.

I paid and made a get away – around the corner a bit so we could watch.  Hungry lunch guy spun around looking for whoever paid for his pork fried rice and egg rolls and wontons (careful kid) and kung pao chicken and hot and sour soup.  The look on his face was amazing.  Better than having my own lunch paid for. Service squared?

C’mon people.

I don’t have a message. I have no Kool-Aid.  I don’t want to hug you. I just want to hand you a homemade cookie or a ham and cheese sandwich or buy you a cup of coffee.  Or so really crispy wontons.

Take them. Take a chance. Serve somebody.








Not Pictured…

…me sitting on my butt in a feed tub with a string of green lights around my neck.

Has everyone see the cool Extreme Shepherding video? If not, here ya go.


The Welsh shepherds had a general, an electrician, LED master, LOTs of good dogs, skads of sheep and, apparently, cases of batteries. Maybe a bartender too.

They call themselves the BAA-STUDS.  I think the BAA-STUDS should have included a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer.  But they didn’t.  So of course I did.  Try it at home.

I wasn’t expecting anything near as spectacular as what they did.  I only had one dog (Mark), four sheep, three packs of batteries, and a santa suit. No bar or bartender.  Not even a drop of eggnog was used in the filming.  Just hoping for a funny picture or two.

Things were off to a Baaaa-d start when I tried to install batteries in the LED light strings.  I didn’t have a tiny screwdriver so I used the tip of a tiny pair of scissors.  Really sharp scissors.

I put on a band aid and went to the barn to figure out how to attach lights to sheep.  Mytle was wearing a coat already so I tacked the lights on with needle and thread.  I can’t sew but thought it would hold up for a short photo shoot.  I wrapped elastic bandage around Diane’s neck, up between her front legs and around her body and wove lights under that.  Sort of a lite up Zombie, ghost of Christmas past look – but again it only needed to last a bit. Here she is.


Two more to go.

I had little bits of Velcro on some on the strands of lights so I thought I could drape it around the sheep and attach it back to itself.  The next sheep isn’t exactly shepherd friendly so I draped the lights around my neck and used a leg crook to catch her.

Said crook “latches” on the leg so the sheep can’t pull out of it.  Handy.  Unless you let go of the crook.  Then you have freaked out sheep bouncing off the walls with a crook on her leg. I got ahold of her but she didn’t stop.  She beat me in the shins with the attached crook and jumped and bucked and tried to wipe me off on the walls.   I “flew through the air with the greatest of ease” saying un-Christmas-like words.  I’m pretty sure I made the full eight seconds before I landed on my butt in a feed tub still wearing the green lights.  (NOT PICTURED)

I still didn’t let her go.  After we caught our breath, I wrapped the lights around her neck.  She got up.  I didn’t.

For quite awhile.  And when I did, it wasn’t pretty.  I leaned on a hay bale for a long time but I now had three light-decorated sheep blinking away.  Only Norman was left and he was starting to un-decorate Diane – so I forged ahead,  But first I took a picture of the offender.

Here she is.


I tried to bend over to wrap Norman’s Velcro lights around him and found out bending was a baa-d idea.  So I sort of dropped-threw the lights at him and they stuck!

Finished product.  Four decorated sheep happily munched hay while I limped inside for my Santa cape, Mark, 800 mg of Ibuprofen and the camera. When I got back Diane the Christmas zombie was almost completely unwrapped and thought her lights were chasing her.  Rollo had also arrived and helped rescue her.   I thought he might be the voice of reason when I suggested we (ok he) take the lights off all of them and we forget the whole photo deal.  He only offered to take the pictures.

It didn’t go well.  I can’t imagine why.  I don’t know if the sheep were more scared of me in a red cape, their own lights bouncing on their backs or a border collie wearing a light-up collar chasing them.  In the dark.  We got minimal blurry footage that will NOT BE PICTURED here.  Myrtle finally took off running.  Into the fence.  This can clearly be heard on the video right before more un-Christmas like language and then silence while we waited to see if she would get up.  She did.  Her lights remained on the fence.

This is the last picture – traumatized sheep inside- me in my cape, hyped up green-collared Mark and good old Norman the red-fleeced “reindeer” saying good night and Merry Christmas.  Remember don’t try this at home.



Chris T is the bomb

Cupcakes, songs, and agility sheep

I feel a little tense?  Does anyone else feel it? It’s sort of normal for Rollo and I to get tired and stressed at this time of the year as the paving season comes to an end.  We call it November. Borrowing from Merle Haggard’s “If we make it through December”

If we make it through November, everything’s going to be alright I know.

It’s the longest month of paving and I shiver when I see those dump trucks roll.

and roll. and roll and roll.

But this year seems worse.  I can’t think of a reason why….Can you?   Hmmm.  curious.

Anyway.  I think we need cupcakes.  All of us. Obviously I can’t get them to ALL of you, but I’m going to start with a few people.  Like throwing that ONE starfish back in the sea.  Start where you’re at – do what you can.  Here is your virtual brown sugar cupcake.  Buttercream frosting glazed with Rebel Queen honey and sprinked with sea salt.  Feel better?


I thought we needed music too.  “What The World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love” was a possible choice.  Think we might need more than love though.

How about the New Seekers? I can’t teach anybody to sing, but I love their outfits.  Click to hear them.  Plus they mention honey bees, so why not.


I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace throughout the land

And a laugh.  I said recently I would never have goats – because they are “naughty”.  They get out of fences and stuff.  But this happened her this morning. Looks like they were practicing all night, but I don’t think they are going to make it as agility sheep.


One. More. Week.

Tired of politics?  Me too.  I tried posting a photo a day on Facebook to blot all the campaign stuff out – cats and dogs and flowers and stuff.   It didn’t really work.  I can’t unsee some of this stuff.

This is the nastiest election ever, we hear.  But, is it really that different from past elections?  Some of the horrible things the candidates are doing and saying…well, they HAVE happened before.

I have no T.V. but every time I turn on the radio someone is YELLING. Wasn’t there a candidate that once “lost the presidency” for screaming?  There was.  I looked it up. There’s a T.V. show called “How to Lose the Presidency?” Maybe I need a T.V. after all.  I watched some episodes on History.com.

Here’s that losing scream.


Then there’s Al Gore kissing HIS OWN WIFE. One can only assume she was consenting.


Can you believe there was once an actual sitting president that was a hater?


Nothing else to say.  Godspeed to all of you as we journey through the next week.


Happy Halloween – WARNING: content may be offensive to some viewers

I like to dress the dogs up for Halloween.  I know they probably don’t like it.  Frank probably doesnt’ mind much – he will do pretty much anything – except come when you call him.  Oh, and no nail trims please.  I do lots of stuff for them and I don’t like some of it all that much either.  Mostly yelling COME HERE, scooping poop, and fishing disgusting things out of Frank’s mouth.  So they owe me, right?

Here is the Halloween picture from years back.


Zack, Nimble and Angus probably didn’t like dressing up either, but they all survived a bit longer.  Just until they were 16 or 17 years old.  They only had to endure for a minute while I took the picture….and the hour it took to get them dressed and posed.  All for my entertainment. PETA didn’t catch me that time.

This year with a new generation of dogs, I thought it would go just as well.  Not so much.  Either I am not the dog trainer or not the photographer I used to be.  Or Frank and Mark aren’t as patient as the eye rolling angel, the bitchy witch and the devil were.

We call Frank (among many other names) Lion Heart so it was easy to decided he would be a lion.  Mark would be a sheep.  Wolf in sheep’s clothes.  Lion lays down with the lamb.  All good, right?

I could have ordered both costumes online, but I didn’t want to spend 50 bucks for a photo op.  So instead I went to the craft store with a handful of coupons and got some faux fur.  I can’t sew a button on but why let that stop me?

It only took 3-4 hours of cutting and sticky Velcro.  The “lamb wool” shed so much it looked like it snowed in the kitchen.  (Thank god the honey project was downstairs.) Each dog had to try their costume on a few times during costruction for fitting.  Mark was skeptical, but Frank actually climbed in his dog bed in his partially compete lion suit and tried to nap.



Friday afternoon was warm and sunny.  Perfect for their Halloween photo shoot.

Wolf in sheep’s clothes didn’t like his costume.  Or was so embarrassed he wouldn’t look at the camera.


Apparently Frank DID like the costume – quite a bit.


What?  You said lay down with the sheep right?


No one seems to be having fun – but they all humored me.  And it was just for a minute.

Thanks boys. Happy Halloween – your my treat every day!