Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing it in…..

Become Casey’s FAN on her Telluride Dog Blog Facebook page.  Check out her shots of skiers up close and personal with a porcupine! Yes, a real live porcupine out with the skiers in Telluride.  Is it a good idea? Not making a judgment call on that one.  Enjoy.


The last words I heard were,”don’t worry about Casey, she’s fine. She had a pee.”

Is that all they think I need to celebrate New Year’s…go outside, sniff a spot, take a pee and all is well.  I think not.  I like champagne too. It’s true; I probably can’t drink as much as they can before I make a fool of myself but I’ve seen owner make a fool of herself….what about the night of the Margaritas with Kevin, Susie, Kristina and curly-haired.  She made a complete idiot of herself the next day lying  on the cool tiles in the room with the glass torture box (if you’ve read my postings you‘ll know what that is.).  Luckily for her everyone went out that day and she was left alone to feel sorry for herself and heal.

Anyway, back to New Year’s.  I’d enjoy a small dribble of champagne even if they’ve never even let me sniff a cork…..they think they are protecting me.  Going out with the wild French crowd for some Raclette….a kind  French fondue from the mountains……yes, I’m totally down with that.  Meeting up  for a gentle cup of tea at 4 in the afternoon to chat at Between the Covers….I’m in guys…hey it’s me Casey….I’d love to join you!  What about the torchlight parade and fireworks up in Mountain Village, can I come?  Standing by the courthouse and ringing in 2010….of course I’d love that.   No, I just get to go out and pee.  Woe is me.

Sometimes it is just not worth being a dog.  However, P1040674at least we went out for a nice walk along the River Trail today.  We walked right into a cloud. No, it wasn’t like fog at all.  It was like a frozen cloud covering everything, quite spooky really.  The funny thing is that as soon as I took my tail into that cloud my paws must have gotten wet. Instantly my feet were frozen and I was doing the two legged hop.  End of walk! Marched home. Damn.

Illness appears to be leaving our house bit by bit.  Curly haired and BP1040692enj have been hitting the slopes every day, especially now that some fresh snow fell.  Rockband took place with a diminished crowd…owner in bed, and a few of Benj’s old friends from Phoenix (and now France) banging out some tunes.  I had a good time lying at the foot of the drums.  Owner was so out of it she never heard a peep, actually thought no one came by.

Hopefully next week we can get out and get some great ski shots for you. No, they won’t be of owner…those would be  basic standing on her skis shots. Benj has a week left to ski his heart out.  Snowshoeing is coming up soon on January 7 at Priest Lake.  Our new foster dog, Donnie (at press time but that could change, we already lost Louis as he got adopted before he got here…we must have scared the hell out of him, eh?) should be around.  He’s a long long long dog of several long varieties…hotdog and big droopy-eared  Bassett Hound….hope he’s nice. If not, I’ll just make them lock him in his crate..  haha!!!! I have myP1040691 methods.  In my heart though I want to like Donnie because another compadre around here would be good for me.  I am so often misunderstood.

Happy New Year and don’t forget I’m on Facebook now.  We just publish automatically to Facebook and if you are a FAN (why wouldn’t you be?) your updates will automatically go there.  More pictures will be available there too as only so much can go into a blog.  Today you missed the great weather report for Telluride that we published just for laughs.  This was really in the local paper.

Crowded slopes likely today with a heavy influx of holiday travelers expected on Lifts 4, 5, and 12.  A big furry hat warning is in effect through the weekend.  Gotta love Telluride, eh?  Where else can you get a  weather report like that?

Happy 2010.  May you enjoy good health, happy times with family, safe travels, and JOB OFFERS to everyone looking for a job!  See ya later.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting in Gear

IMG_0086  Owner has the flu and is downright miserable (to be around).  Not much is happening except sneezing, moaning, and groaning.   I had to forage in her diary  to come up with a posting.  By the way I thought this photo showed her “hang dog” look of the moment) So here we go, Kath’s diary.  Enjoy.

If you think you are too old to do something, then it is likely true.  Take me for example, I’m 50.  On a really good day with makeup, hair dye, and fab clothes I look great….you might mistake me for 49. Put me in bike shorts, helmet, sunglasses, and add a little mud to my clothing and I look 37….ok, 47. To be perfectly frank, though, it’s the mud that adds to my youthfulness.

Kathy and Karen

Throw in a little adversity and the mind can decide to give in and give up or conquer all that comes in its path. I tend to be a little AC/DC with adversity. A week ago I was in the local medical centre begging for any drug they had to relieve my four day migraine. I am living at 8,750’ in the Colorado mountains and had tried massage to relieve the pain, and also crawled into a hyperbaric chamber (similar to being zipped into your tomb) to breathe in oxygen to relieve the pressure in my head. Nothing worked. Off to the medical centre it was,  son’s orders, and I succumbed to any and all drugs they were willing to slip into a vein  because at that point I was  ready to give up and die. By Monday….whole new story…..which led me on my journey back to youthfulness.

Basin Trail Ride

(bragging rights, Prospect Basin Trail….this starts at about 10,000’ and although it looks like a nice little road….this was a tough ride, especially as we got lost on the way home.) 


It’s not that I don’t take exercise seriously, I really do. My Texan  trainer, Octavius,DSCN0566 puts me through my paces twice a week. He’s a former Marine so you can imagine how unforgiving he is of age, gender, and anything else that might make me feel a bit weak. I continue his workouts on my own the rest of the week.  I take my age and sex as a directive for competition against any and all men in the gym; if they do 20 push ups I do 25 slowly. It is a sickness I know but it can’t be helped; it’s in my genes. I play racquetball if and when I have a partner. I’m a regular at spinning class and I have been known to enjoy the treadmill. As I get older my back aches a little more so I have thrown in yoga twice a week with my good friend and tough task master, Laura. But, mountain biking! That is an entirely different ball of wax.

DSCN1485Mountain biking is not new to me but it is  six years since it has been part of my repertoire. While living in Phoenix a girlfriend and I would get up at 5:30 in the summer  to hit the trails by 6 and be finished our ride by 9 a.m. We tried biking with the husbands but it just got irritating. For example, once after having fallen off my bike into a cactus, then fallen off again trying to  conquer a  hill deep in gravel, my husband turned and said, “you might want to get out of the way because a group of guys want to ride downhill.”DSCN0332 My response was pretty much, “I don’t care if the “add appropriate adjective here” Queen of England is headed my way, I’m not moving.” After that I only rode with my friend, Anna;  if a marriage is worth saving you have to put some effort into it, right? 



Fast forward  and we find ourselves living in The Woodlands, TX. It is a pretty place with nice wide sidewalks for riding your bicycle, walking your dog, SWEATING, but not really exercising. Forgive me if I offend  masochistic Houstonian runners,  but outdoor recreation is really not a big part of the Houston scene. Remember, Houston often wins the dubious prize of fattest city in the U.S. or more likely The Planet. Luckily, we began summering in Telluride, Colorado (I know, lucky dog) and mountain biking reared its ugly head once again. Of course it is called mountain biking because people like to ride up and down  mountains.  Let’s face it, my husband is an addict…but he’s not stupid, he’s never asked me to go with him since that last disaster.  Our son,IMG_5558  however, has no memories to draw upon regarding mum and mountain biking so he asked me to join him yesterday. Fool that I am my response was, “sure, sounds fun.”(as an aside I must admit that it led to me making an ass  of myself at the rental store when I put my gloves on upside down!….just checking THEY knew what THEY were talking about in the expertise department)

The original plan was we would cruise the local River Trail (easy, anyone who can ride a bike can do this) and then explore a bit further out on to the newly acquired Valley Floor. Let’s examine the word “floor” for a moment. Doesn’t it conjure up images of an easily negotiable and  relatively flat surface? Well, that would be wrong.  It was a struggle for me to maneuver my bike up eight inch  inclines because there were large bundles of roots in the way, loose rock to skid through,  boulders to squeeze between without amputating a foot, and fabulous bridges made of one or two rotting logs to traverse (on my bike, are they crazy….I walked!). Of course if you are 19 these are fun and basically non-existant  obstacles to be jumped and swerved around. It is a given that eighty year old locals would have been better on their bike than I was. Oh, and lets not forget the mosquitoes that attack 50 year old women trying to partake in a child’s game. The mosquitoes hovered directly over every bare piece of my anatomy having a veritable Thanksgiving Day Feast. At one point I looked down and was horrified tDSCN0277o see large clots of blood all over my shirt. I was a bit panicked to think that I had been so thoroughly eaten alive within the first twenty minutes of our bike trip. My son, Benj, laughingly assured me that it wasn’t blood, merely large globs of mud. Mud….well, that was kind of cool I thought. You know what they say though, if you aren’t bleeding you aren’t riding. (fooled you, not my arm!)

Once I had survived the floor it was time to hit the Goose. I’ve hiked the Goose before and it goes straight down to a river and then you turn around and hike straight back up to YOUR CAR. Now we had to ride down and ride up and then ride home. What was I thinking? It’s only a couple of miles total  but a mile  straight up a  hillside is demanding. I got a quick lesson in using my brakes; at my age information not essential to my daily life is quickly tossed out so that I can continue to remember the important stuff.  For example, don’t slam on the front brake or you are going over the handle bars. I followed this directive so completely that I had blisters on one hand from only using my back brake, and this with gloves.  That is, I only used my back brake until I became frightened by a giant rock in my path. Oops….wrong brake, smash pubic bone into bike frame, lift bike up off ground, fall over sideways  down a hill, pull bike on top of you, land on shoulder. I’d say in the world of falls it rated a 10.0. Of course, my son was nowhere to be seen so I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and, as the song  says, start all over again.

The rest of the trip pretty much went without mishap. All of that exercise I do paid off since I was able to bike up the hill no problem. OK…huffing and puffing could be heard but the trip was completed and in good time. The only enduring issue was my sore shoulder and it caused me to use some pretty extreme language. Since my son has lived with me ever since he was born! my sailor talk just rolled off him like water. He paid me no attention whatsoever. Instead he drew my attention to a herd of  30 deer nibbling in the field next to us. He is wise.

 McLaughlin Photos 2 Yesterday was a strong reminder of something I already know deep inside my soul. Get up, get out, and keep moving. Go wild. Go extreme….for your age that is! No true mountain biker would even call what I did yesterday mountain biking!, but for me it was a great step outside of my every day world. I finished the ride feeling victorious. I felt I had conquered the world. I felt alive. I felt muddy…and every puddle splashed through had taken a few more years off my age; and I don’t mean off my life!

Many fifty year old women are paying big bucks to get covered in mud to feel young and rejuvenated; there are cheaper ways if you dare.


Kathy at Beach

Casey at the helm again….See ya later.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bye bye Christmas


I thought they were never going to get up on Christmas morning.  I waited and waited to see if we could open our gifts.  Only one item was on my list, and yes folks it was in a bag with my name on it.  I am now the proud owner of my own camera…it attaches to my collar and I can take photos as I wander around.  However, I’m not  good at it yet.


This was taken as we head out on my first walk.  I’m not sure if I can fix up the angle of my shots or not.  Red walls on their own don’t do much for me, but  you can see stray bits of fur…guess I really do need a good grooming because it all looks a bit ratty.



On my way  to my food bowl I got a shot of life at my level.  Getting good at manipulating this thing properly will be difficult since I have no fingers, as I’m sure you remember.  However I’ve never met a challenge I’m not up for…..this will be fun.  The main thing I need to remember is to get the camera out of the way when I’m going in for a sniff; dog behinds are not high on the list of things many humans want to view up close and personal, so to speak.   Humans are so squeamish! I guess crotch shots would go on that list as well; my behaviour is going to have to become impeccably ladylike now  that I am on constant photo alert. 

P1040546Do people find Christmas as exhausting as dogs do?  It seems to be a mad whirl of shopping, hiding (I like that part because I can nose around looking for things I’m not supposed to discuss --  as if I can talk?).   Then there is the wrapping, the cooking, the eating, the eating, the cooking and did I mention eating?  I’m always watching my waistline sP1040548o I only had a small portion of gizzard on Christmas Day.   I savoured every mouthful. Of course the fun part is the unwrapping and the spontaneous trying on of the new items….people were stripping down everywhere to try on their new wool sweaters, cross country ski pants…I was a bit embarrassed by their immodesty. Note to self…curly haired does not like photos that emphasise anything to do with hairline…..practice cropping!

  We got up and went for our morning walk and fed the birds as per usual. These birds are the best fed birds in Telluride.  We have a large bag of suet in our freezer that we chop up every day…owner learned a long time ago from Mrs. Barry in Haileybury  that birds need fat to P1040565  survive the winter so we are putting that tip to good use this year.   Today the flock got leftover Cindy bread…do you know how much that stuff costs?  Sometimes we smear it  with with a bit of  peanut butter if curly-haired isn’t looking.  Cold corn from our turkey dinner rounded out the menu  and  may I add everything was well received.  These mockingbirds are the meanest things in creation.  At first owner was sad we were only feeding the large black crows and not the pretty little birds  but now she feels bad because the mockingbirds do not allow one bit of food to slip down the gullet of a crow until they have eaten everything of value!  Very strange indeed this survival of the fittest!

SP1040589URPRISE…I went back to work.  Ann needed a break from her store so she could spend a bit of time with the grand kids. this means  we are back at The  Bounty Hunter.  No one remembers me of course but I have had a few pats and also one tiny piece of popcorn that fell on  the carpet.  I’m glad I snagged that before owner decided to vacuum. It is nice to be back in the store, even if only for a short time.  It is a great place for me to work on my theories about human nature which I hope to share some day.  If any of you need a gorgeous Italian leather jacket, shearling coat, custom boots or hats Ann is the womanP1040591 to call. She’ll happily take photos for you.  Her stuff is one of a kind.  I bet it is absolutely delicious to gnaw on Italian leather but I’ll never get to find out.   They pretend but I know they keep a close eye on my snout as it passes by the leathers and furs!  As if I would?  Well, I wouldn’t!!

So Christmas is over for another year.  A few moments of tears took place during the holiday.  Owner always wishes everybody and their uncle were at our place for the big day or the big week.  David is off in China but at least he had a fantastic dinner with Melissa and all the Chau’s as they gathered in Shanghai.  Jon and Kim had their pot roast and enjoyed hours and hours of The Wire as they relaxed during their break from work, study and job applications.  Poppa prepared for his long trip to warm his bones in Florida and indulged in a little karaoke and some good meals with Margot and her family.  Karen and Jim did the big family Christmas, church service and traditional gatherings with friends. Jackson and Katelyn called to tell us the gifts were nice, the jacket didn’t fit and they had tons of Lego!  Something always goes wrong and I guess the jacket was it this year. At least I had nothing to do with picking out the sizes.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  The  New Year is looming with some snow shoe jaunts and perhaps some skijoring (uh what? you say) with a Husky called Blazer and a friend called Doug.  Rockband will rear its ugly head again on Monday night when a band of French citizens, a Polish girl and other friends of the family get together to try their hands at being rock stars.  Now why on earth did I ask for a camera?  I should have demanded some ear plugs!   See ya later.


(I’m working on my photography skills, give me a break…I’m going to be great at looking for lost objects though, aren’t I.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

YES, Virginia….there is!!!



Today we got to participate in a time honoured Christmas tradition.  We listened to our good friend, Lauren, who heads up the local museum and followed her out to Schmid Family Ranch to get a tree.  She and her crew put on a fabulous event and I had a blast.  The place was crawling with dogs  which was a sure fire sign the day was going to go  well.   

I’m in the car and raring to go.  No coat, boots, hat, or  mittens for me.  Get a move on people. They made me wear my bear bell in case I got lost in the forest.  I’m glad I didn’t have to wear my Christmas bell collar…I feel silly in that thing and it is a bit uncomfortable. The things I do to keep humans happy can be ridiculous.



Here we are.  Lauren (Telluride Historical Museum) and staff have helped us find our way here by hanging candy canes on the road signs. (A Christmas Hansel and Gretel thing I guess?)  Finally I’m on the farm and leashless….a day of memories begins.




Coffee’s on, hot chocolate is available, popcorn, cookies….I loved the crumbs under the table and spent a lot of time nosing around.  Real cowboy coffee by the way….lots of grounds…not a mon gout! (did you know I speak French? it’s the Canadian in my family, sometimes I just get overwhelmed and have to drop a bon mot, oops, there I go again)  

P1040238  P1040186

Owner wants to get down to business. There are two ways to go….old fashioned axe or modern chainsaw with a real live ranch hand to help us out.  We wander into the woods to check out the trees….which were planted years and years ago so they are really tall, sparse near the ground and hard to picture in your living room. (mainly because you are only going to take the top five or six feet home with you…and hopefully someone will use the trunk for firewood.) It pays to go into this venture with an active imagination and then everything works out well.


P1040216 P1040248

P1040398 P1040279  

While I was off in the forest running around being a dog, peeing on everything I  could find, sniffing my pals,and  just generally having a good time…..back at the ranch kids were visiting with Santa and the calmer canines who preferred not to  act wild and crazy.

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P1040231 P1040407

Pups get tired,  even the cuties with beautiful Christmas bows. This puppy just flopped down on the wreath making branches and could not be moved. I guess he was plum tuckered out.


As for us it was time to drag the tree off into the distance, tie it to the car and head home.  I slept the entire way and had fantastic dreams of running free with friends. I finally wedged that last popcorn kernel out of a back tooth.    It was a great day and I’d do it and go straight to Wilson Mesa again tomorrow.   Farms, ranches, Santa Claus…I’m a big fan.  It is my biggest wish that Lauren organise another dog’s day out on the land……it was the best day of my whole life. Schmid Family Ranch was a pretty special place.


P1040418  P1040461

And so we drove home. We thought about taking a slide down the hill on the flying saucer for old times sake but held ourselves back.  It would have been fun though.  Maybe we can sneak out there another day.  The horses bid us farewell as we left  with dreams of returning next year to get another tree.   Thanks Telluride Historical Museum….we had a wonderful day in the fresh air of the mountains.



See ya later.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

He’s been making a list….




P1030839 If Santa’s workshop is anything like Telluride’s Angel Basket headquarters, he must be taking Tylenol along with his milk and cookies.  What a lot of work he must go through with the lists he receives, the elves he has to organise, and the packing of the sleigh.   Thank goodness he has other  helpers  to count on to help round out his gargantuan task on Christmas Eve.   Angel Baskets  in Telluride is a beehive of activity so what must his workshop be like?

It takes a devoted group of people to make dreams come true for those caught between a rock and a hard place this Christmas Eve.  Not only do the local Angel Basket volunteers   work long hours making sure everyone’s hopes are met as much as possible, but they do it with true love and care. Before there is even a wish to pin to a tree at a local church or record in the gigantic “wish binder”, people –  shut-ins, P1030837toddlers, teens, single parents, entire generations of a family have to be located and identified.  Once identified someone, likely MANY someones, has to find out what would make life easier for them this year, what item of clothing is essential, what would be their idea of a wonderful  treat to enjoy on Christmas morning (the sort of  things I take for granted because  I’m sure (hmmm hmmm, throat clearing here) there will be a delicious bone from Clarkes for me to gnaw on as gifts are opened around our tree. Eloise the vegetarian dog will likely get a gigantic carrot to chew on – I mention  her because that dog just tickles my non-existent funny bone. Because Zak the dog lives with a great family he’ll probably get a little rub with some liniment to relieve his aching bones.  Why then shouldn’t people having a rough time get some treats that take hardship out of the picture for the day?

Along with the larger items, the real meat and potatoes of the gift department, everyone receives other small treats so they have a few things to unwrap on Christmas morning.  P1030847 Food baskets are delivered to make their grocery demands a little lighter this month, hams are passed out, gloves for cold fingers, detergent to launder those gloves when needed and on and on. My brain, unfortunately  is way too small to handle such a task.  My heart, on the other hand understands implicitlyP1030859 what is going on here.  Just as in the “A Dog Named Christmas” post about fostering a dog for the holidays, Angel Baskets is about love and care toward your fellow man.  Some little boy or girl somewhere is really dreaming of a new bicycle, someone would like a fly fishing rod, a warm jacket for cold mornings,  perhaps a bit of chocolate would be nice since the grocery money just can’t stretch far enough to include that delicacy.  And let’s not forget….animals can also benefit from Angel Baskets.  These are such kind and generous people that they try to make sure that pets receive some food as well.  Some people might think that when the chips are down a pet is an unnecessary commodity for a family --  HELL NO I say!  We provide love, comfort and warmth especially when the chips are down.  Luckily the Angel Basket people are real humanitarians and animaltarians…they rock.

The Angel Basket organisers had hoped to have theirP1030844 entire workshop wrapped up by December 15 but as we all know life never works out quite like we plan.  Sometimes I am convinced we are   headed out on a five mile walk and owner only takes me  to Clarkes….life has a way of interrupting goals.  When we dropped by on the 15th many presents were being shipped out to families around the area.  Everything arrives gift wrapped which  makes their job a touch  easier.  I was told that about 600 people in San Miguel County which includes Telluride  (likely more) will benefit from this programme this year. That is aP1030851 wonderful number but it is a bit down from last year…which makes me think back to the posting about the Economy.  However, people are still digging deep into their pockets to help others who are in a tight  spot.

This year Angel Baskets forgot to mention that  food donations can be made for animals.   If you only have a few dollars you can spare to help out, why not drop off a bag of dog food or cat food that they can deliver with their Santa packs.  It won‘t go to waste I can guarantee it.

If  you suddenly realise that “YES”  you are able to help out with a gift for a child, people burned out in a house fire,  an expectant mom, a family recently split from dad because of violence, or PET FOOD (I just don’t let things go easily do I? ha! )give them a call to find out how to donate – numbers below.   Often Christmas Eve Day rolls around and a few items are still unaccounted for and these dedicated volunteers begin to worry someone may have to go without,  but then the community comes through and all ends well.  Let us hope that this is the case this year. The great thing about Angel Baskets is it exists everywhere.  Sure, it could have a different name where you live  but trust me, dogs always know,  there are always good people doing good work to help those having a tough time.   Christmas carols will sound sweeter, gingerbread will taste spicier, and the feelings in your heart will be warmer if you do anything you can to help someone else. 

Owner has had some tough times in her life. She  had to choose between regular groceries  on the table or skating lessons and hockey equipment for Jon – one of the few  Canadian boys who never got to take skating lessons and  play on a hockey team.  (luckily he has forgiven her but he has been known to remind her of this past issue!). She remembers but acknowledges  she  always had enough groceries for the bP1030893oys  during those lean times  and the tree always  had gifts.   She was one of the lucky ones. And  curly-haired is one of the most generous people on the planet so he is always looking for ways to reach out and help others…..I’m a lucky dog to live here, after all they rescued me and that was kindness itself.   As they get older they realise how many opportunities there are facing us each and every day where we can give a little but help a lot. Everyone gives in different ways and everything someone does to help someone else is a gift of love.  People are almost as amazing as dogs when you think of it that way.

As I trudge through the cold landscape, and yes my paws are feeling it lately, the heartwarming feeling I got from seeing all those volunteers working so hard will keep me just a little bit warmer this winter. 

Dogs, of course, give every day all year long.  There is no need for us to form an Angel Baskets.  We give licks, tail wags, snuggles, uplifting moments to everyone whenever we can.  Think I”ll go snuggle in now with owner…she’s a bit cold after a long cross country ski.  She looks like she could use a dog hug. Hope she doesn’t hog the darn bed like last night.  See ya later. 


(and yes, now that I’m wearing a jingle bells collar I’m always a bit concerned I’m going to get my ass kicked!)

Angel Basket Donations:

Angie Peterson 970-729-1899 (food donation)

Nancy Talmey 970-708-0647

Lylya Kirsh 970-596-3938