The White Dog


And then there was one.

A little over a year ago, we had three dogs: Archie, the ever-ready border collie; Hoops, the fluffy, grumpy big dog; and Roxy, the “white dog” who would would suffer blonde jokes if she was a human.  We had to euthanize Archie and Hoops, so now we are a one-dog family.

Roxy is pretty worthless as a dog – she doesn’t hunt, doesn’t fetch, would probably lick an intruder before biting him, and won’t clean up the food that falls on the floor when I’m cooking.  But I love her anyway.  She lets Wyokiddo dote on her, is always ready for a walk and occasionally makes Outdoor Guy smile with her dingbat ways.  I guess we’ll keep her.  I mean, just look at this face.  How could you not love this face?




Hurling Insults

I had a guy try to insult me on a completely unpolitical Facebook thread by calling me a Hillary supporter.

I am not, in fact, a Hillary supporter. But neither am I a Trump supporter. I am a registered Republican, pro-gun, pro-hunting, fiscally conservative, pro-ag, anti-federal land transfer, pro-gay marriage, pro-energy, anti-hate, anti-fear mongering, educated Christian white girl who stands for the national anthem and believes climate change is probably a real thing and that money talks louder in politics than either public opinion or science. I was raised to think for myself and not feel constrained by a political idealogy I had no hand in creating. I evaluate people by their character and how they treat me and mine, not by the color of their skin, their income, their religion, their sexuality, their education or even by a completely unpolitical comment on a social media site. My morals, values and beliefs don’t fit nicely into either an R or D box and who I vote for on any given day is nobody’s damn business but my own.

If someone wants to insult me, they’re going to have to do better than call me a Hillary supporter, because I happen to know some very smart and talented Hillary supporters. I’m even probably related to some. I don’t agree with them politically on many issues, and never will.

But neither could you insult me by calling me a Trump supporter.  I happen to know some very smart and talented Trump supporters.  I’m even probably related to some.  I don’t agree with them politically on many issues, and never will.

Here’s the thing…I am confident enough in my own beliefs and values not to be threatened by a dissenting opinion. In fact, the only way we ever grow is to open ourselves to different ideas and a different way of thinking.  I know that my beliefs are different than they were ten years ago, largely in part by the highly-intelligent, eloquent and compassionate conservative AND liberal folks I’ve had the opportunity with which to surround myself.

I will engage in an intelligent, civilized conversation on any issue with anybody trying to improve their knowledge base, regardless of their political affiliation. I certainly don’t need to post terribly unimaginative insults on a completely unrelated Facebook page to make me feel better about life or place in this world.

Seriously folks, this is what our country has come to?  Slinging perceived insults at someone you’ve never met on a social media garage sale site.  It is a sad day indeed.  I don’t know how to fix things, but I also know that we are headed down one dangerous path.

I wanted so much to reply to this guy that has never met me but decided to judge me because I dared to offer a different perspective that does not assume the worst in people.  A million different replies went through my mind. I even typed a few out, but never clicked the send button. Then I realized that it would be wrong to turn a post on a Facebook garage sale site about a woman having to euthanize her very old and sick horse into a political debate. That woman is hurting and going through a really tough time. She needs kindness and compassion, not me and my intelligent repartee hijacking her post during a very, very tough time in her life.

So if you are so inclined, say a prayer to your God or simply make a wish to the great beyond to help this woman and her daughter deal with the heartache of losing her beloved horse.  And maybe say a prayer for humanity while you are at it.  I fear we need all the help we can get.


P.S.  If you want to piss me off, call me a CSU fan.  That’s the worst insult a University of Wyoming grad and fan can endure. Or a Phil Sims supporter.  I HATE that guy!  :-)




I’ve heard a group of birds referred to as a “dissimulation.”  Google defines that term as “concealment of one’s thoughts, feelings, or character; pretense.”

Who knew birds were so shady?  Given the thousands of red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds I saw today, we might be in big trouble with these nefarious beings lurking about…


Shoot the Moon


The harvest moon gave me the opportunity to practice some moon photography here on the eastern edge of Wyoming.  I’m almost there.  Almost.  I love the composition of this, but it needs some work on sharpness.  I get frustrated with mistakes like this.  But then I stop and think a year ago, I couldn’t have gotten a shot 1/10 of this good.  So I’m getting there!  Even Ansel Adams had to start somewhere, right?


Soul Food

Life can be so complicated, so crazy, that we often get caught up in the elaborate.  But there is joy in the simple things.

Tonight, our family opted for a simple dinner of ham-and-cheese omelettes, potatoes from our garden, peppers and peaches with cream.  While I prepared the omelettes, Outdoor Guy joined me in the kitchen to slice and fry the potatoes.  I could hear Wyokiddo happily playing in the living room as we worked and chatted.  We couldn’t help but run into each other in the tiny kitchen, and each time, Outdoor Guy would take the opportunity to steal a kiss.

I enjoy the challenge of  cooking a complex meal, or dinner on the town with my handsome husband on my arm.  But nothing beats the quiet camaraderie of my beautiful family, homegrown food and a Wyoming sunset.  The preperation and the meal were both food for my soul.



HoopsSuch a heavy heart I have this morning.  As I sit here, typing, my oldest and dearest dog is struggling out on the porch.  For the last few weeks, he’s been struggling.  He’ll alternate between good days when he begs me for treats and wants to play ball, and bad days when he limps around in obvious pain and only wants to be left alone.

The bad days have outweighed the good days here lately, and my heart can’t bear to watch him struggle anymore.  I know that our time together is coming to an end, and that I must give him one final act of kindness.  Even if it rips my heart out in the process.

This is Hoops.  He’s 13 years old, almost to the day.  I adopted him from an animal shelter in Cheyenne, and in those 13 years, he’s been a loyal, loving companion.  He has been part of my adult life for so long now, it’s hard to imagine life without him.  He was there when I was 20-something, single, and struggling with a job I disliked.  He was there when I endured a string of bad relationships and broken hearts.  He was there when my dad had a major stroke and the prognosis was uncertain.  He was there when I suffered two miscarriages and endured one hellish pregnancy.  He was always there, his fluffy head on my leg or back, the weight of him reminding me I wasn’t alone.

One night, he might have even saved my life.  A naer-do-well was running from police officers and tried to run through my backyard to affect his escape.  It might have worked, but for the yellow dog sleeping outside.  A scuffle ensued between my protective big dog and the man.  I woke up to frantic barking, flashlights shining in my bedroom window and pathetic cries from over the fence.  “The dog bit me.  The f’ing dog bit me.”

In the end, the police apprehended the man in the neighbor’s yard.  He was missing one shoe, had his pants shredded and required stitches for his calf and hand where the “f’ing dog” bit him.  I shudder to think what might have happened had Hoops not intervened.  The man might have come right through the backyard, into my bedroom and who knows…thankfully, the big yellow dog did his job that night.

Hoops has also been with me for the best times, too.  Nights with me rubbing his belly while I talked on the phone with Outdoor Guy as we planned our future life together.  Riding shotgun on Sunday mornings to get a breakfast burrito (Hoops was just in it for the bacon) followed by a trip to the dog park.  Days wandering the badlands of Washakie county, evening walks across the high desert prairie of Sublette county and afternoon romps in the water at Bump-Sullivan reservoir or Springer lake.  He has patiently endured Wyokiddo’s exuberance, Outdoor Guy’s teasing and a furry brother and sister added to the mix.

I couldn’t ask for a more loyal, loving dog.  I know there will be new dogs down the road, dogs that I will care for and love almost as much as Hoops.  Almost.  Because there will never be another curly-tailed, fuffy butt, grumbly big dog like him.  He is one-of-a-kind, both in looks and in spirit.

My heart aches at the idea of what tomorrow holds.  The goodbyes I must say and pray Hoops understands.  I don’t want to do it.  God, how I wish I could be spared the decision of euthanizing my best fur buddy.  But I love him too much, I owe him too much to be selfish.  So I will drive him to the vet and weep in his scruff as our time together comes to a close.  I will feel my heart crack wide open and the tears flow freely.

I wish there was more time.  But even that wouldn’t be enough.  A lifetime of being loved by this big-hearted, goofy dog wouldn’t be enough.  So instead, I’ll thank my lucky stars for the 13 great years I had with him, for his comfort and protection and his love.  My heart is broken now, but his presence in my life has been a gift.  And that is what I will carry with me.

Love you, big dog.  I’ll miss you oh so very much.



My heart still aches today, and will for a long time.  Our house that once seemed small with three dogs underfoot is now painfully, painfully empty.

I wanted to let go of Hoops the same way I brought him into my life, just him and I.  So I drove while he rode shotgun next to me in the car, occasionally nudging my hand for more petting.  Hoops returned from getting his IV in the back and perked up considerably at the sight of me.  He even gave me one last kiss on the cheek, before settling in my lap.  His passing was as peaceful as I could make it.  In the end, it was just me and him lying on the floor together.

We’ll receive his ashes back next week.  I’ll bury them in our front yard, under the shade of the big elm tree.  It was his favorite place to lay, and that way, he can always keep an eye on me.  He took that job so seriously in life, protecting me.  Maybe, just maybe, he can keep on looking out for me and mine from the Great Beyond.  RIP Buddy.  You were loved.