Homegoing

“Home” isn’t a place any more, well, other than my house. There was a moment when I realized that I am a snail and home is a thing I carry with me all the time. Even now — in what I believe will be my last house — I feel like a tenant and I’ve been slow to unpack.

When I moved back to Colorado, I learned something about what home means to me by what I chose to put in the rented van I drove over the mountains.

I packed a box of art supplies, another of winter clothes (because, coming from San Diego in October, I would need them), my dad’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and my three dogs. Were those things — and animals — “home?” The animals, definitely.

My goal as a young person was to be “at home in the world” rather than tied to a place. I’m not sure I managed that. If “home” is a feeling, well, I’m home when I’m outside with my dogs experiencing whatever happens to be going on when we arrive.

Nature is not “out there.” It’s right here all the time. In my case, it’s literally a block away in winter. Now that the crepitus of arthritis has been diminished through surgery (I still have it in my left knee), my days are centered around the time when we can go out and see what’s happened in REAL reality while we were sleeping.

We humans with our towns and cities have just carved out little bastions of human safety in the midst of it. All animals do this for themselves one way or another, and all of them are destructive to some extent though I don’t think they regard nature as a foe or friend. I think they get it in ways we humans have forgotten. I like it very much when I’m out there and have to adapt to something I cannot negotiate with like cold, rattlesnakes, heat, whatever. For me there’s liberty in that depth of reality.

I hope this summer to have even more chances to go home. It’s a little difficult now without a 4WD car, but that’s OK. I’m making plans.



Slim Pickings

Yesterday Bear and I went for a long ramble out to see “our” deer. We didn’t see them, but we saw where they had been in various signs they’d left behind, like a story, across the page of snow.

The empty field beyond the golf course has been fallow for as long as I’ve lived here. I’ve chosen not to think about why (development?) but the stripes of the last hay cutting are still prominent. It’s a buffer zone between houses and the Big Empty. Beyond it are farms and open space, the railroad tracks and what many people my call “nothing.” Then there’s the river. Along the way to the river are little bends of backwaters, sloughs. Perfect deer land, filled with yummy shrubs, even wild currants. There is good cover, too.

The first time I saw the deer this past fall (when the grass was green, and the leaves were golden) they were grazing on the “volunteer” alfalfa growing this field.

The alfalfa is down to nubbins, brown and frozen to boot. Yesterday we saw many patches where the deer had moved the snow away to get at what remains.

I remembered some friends in California who had a little house in the Cuyamaca mountains outside Julian. They were trying to make a pretty garden on the hillside, but the deer kept eating their plants. I’d gone up there for dinner with my white husky/low-content wolf, Ariel Punky. When Ariel saw the deer, she howled. The deer ran. For fifteen minutes my friend practiced a convincing howl that he could use to drive the deer away. He knew his howl was good if Ariel joined in.

I came home yesterday from our ramble and looked up how to feed deer in winter. I learned a lot — mostly that it’s a bad idea. Deer can die if their food is changed too suddenly. It’s just as well. I don’t see me lumbering out there with enough food to do any good come March.

Deer tracks in the fallow hay field.




Resolution and Wonder

I always thought the Buddha was kind of precious saying, “desire creates suffering” but damn. He was right. After four days of very frigid weather, today the temperature warmed up to the 20s (-3C), and Bear and I finally got to take a long snowy walk. What a walk!

My desire for more money and X-country skis and (yeah, maybe, this, too, YOUTH), all that had made me unhappy, vanished in what I saw and learned.

Walking in 8 inches of snow isn’t easy, but it’s fun. We headed across the golf course out to the big empty. Wildlife don’t know the difference between the two, so, besides the snow (which Bear and I love) there were all these smells, “ordurves”, urine sprays, scent markings on the bottom of trees, and TRACKS. Humans have ONE gift on the hunt and that’s height. Bear has, for a dog, very good vision, but I’m taller. Still she gets to experience a lot of things I don’t. I think I’m glad.

And then I saw “my” deer. The two does, running across the empty alfalfa field. They stopped when they saw me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something running, more like floating, on the snow. I knew who that was. It was “my” fox. I haven’t seen him in two years. HE was why my deer were running.

My fox a couple years ago in the snow and mist


The does leapt over the fence. The fox ran in another direction, not liking seeing me and Bear. You never know with that guy. Sometimes he’s curious, sometimes he’s not. The deer stopped running and walked a few yards toward me. We looked at each other. I let them know I was very happy to see them again (did they understand?). I wondered where the buck, the other doe and the yearling were, but I couldn’t ask. After we acknowledged each other, they went into the willows to browse.

On my way back I saw two x-country skiers trying out the newly groomed trails. One was a really good skate-skier. The other was a guy struggling. It’s a sport you have be pretty stoical to enjoy when you’re just starting out. You have to like the possibilities because it’s a little awkward to learn. I hated it the first time I tried it in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. It was hell. But, a few years later at Devil’s Thumb Ranch near Winter Park, I took lessons and it turned out to be one of three sports I’ve tried in which I had a natural ability. It’s so nice to get a break like that.

I waved at they skier. He came over to say “Hi,” and I asked him if he were having a good time. He just said, “Well, it’s a nice day.” Colorado speak for, “Hell no.”

I just smiled and said, “Keep enjoying yourself.”

“Oh yeah,” he said and struggled off.

Unlike him, I was having a good time, and it occurred to me that I’d rather walk through the snow with Bear than X-country ski. I thought of all the places we could walk in the back country, and I realized that my new winter sport is…

1/10 the cost of X-country skis and MORE versatile for going into the snow with my big white dog. I don’t need new boots. I have poles and it’s something I’ve never really done. An adventure.

Thank you…

I really appreciate all the care and support while I’ve been having my existential melt down. It helped a lot to write it down, it helped a lot to “hear” what you all had to say, your experiences, your take on it.

It actually helped me figure it out.

Five years ago I saw the handwriting on the wall. My job was being “outsourced” to another department at the university and no one was going to tell us. There were five of us who had 3 year contracts to teach Business Communication. I had a year left. I had every intention of finishing my contact before retiring, but I ended up without the choice. An “under-the-table” deal was made and, since no one went to the union to complain until I did at the last minute, it was, essentially, a fait accompli. But in English. Looking at most of my income gone, I had to retire and leave. OK. Psychologically I was ready. Physically? I was already showing signs of the hip arthritis I had remedied in 2018.

My move to Colorado was great. I’m happy to be back, but it was a little freaky that — though a native — I didn’t know how to live here any more. It all came back, but there was a long period of adjusting both to retirement and life in a very small town I’d only visited once.

This blog helped me a lot as did the one I wrote specially about my move. That blog is gone, but it was good for me to write.

The first thing I did when I moved here was get an Airdyne. I knew I was overweight and in terrible physical condition. I wanted to be able to hike in the mountains and do things I wasn’t able to do. I wasn’t me, but I’d had to work so much the last few years I lived in California that there was nothing in my life but driving, teaching and all the things connected with teaching — grading, prepping, meetings, etc. When I finally moved into my house, the dogs and I began walking on the golf course and going 1/2 mile was difficult for me (and for Mindy T. Dog ❤ ) but we got better. The Airdyne was good, I did get in better shape, I was able to do yoga again (meaning getting down onto and up from the floor) and I did lose a little weight.

Still, the struggle to regain my body took so much longer than I imagined it could. I didn’t even realize until the end of 2017 WHAT my mobility problem was. Then came the search for a surgeon.

Meanwhile, I wrote. I arrived in Colorado with a work in progress, The Brothers Path. In 2017 I finished an important book — My Everest which is about my time in California hiking with my dogs. It was a total labor of love to put that book together. Then I sucked it up and finished The Price which was very difficult to write for numerous reasons I’ve already written about. The surgery worked and my pre-op training and post-op training have returned to me a body with abilities I haven’t had in a decade. I still can’t run. Maybe I won’t ever run — I do try, though.

I’m grateful and lucky. But at this point in time there is also the feeling that another shoe WILL fall. I will be 67 this coming Monday.

We always say we want to have no regrets, but I don’t think anyone can reach this point in life without regrets. I’m surprised at what mine are. I wrote about that, and last night a friend said, “Lots of people say they want to write books but they never do. You’ve written 3 (actually 6 1/2 but who’s counting?)…can’t you look at writing them the way you look at all your hikes? You never thought about point B; you just went.” He is absolutely right. That’s exactly how I can look at my books and writing itself. Everything, maybe.

This morning I read Cara Sue Achterberg’s blog post, on “My Life in Paragraphs.” She writes about how she and her husband are figuring out together what they want the next step in their lives to be. They’re about to be “empty-nesters” and they’re addressing this question with colored Post-It Notes on which they each write something they want in their future or want their future to be. Cara ultimately asks, “What do you want?” and my first thought was, “A marriage like yours, but that ship has sailed.” ❤

As I read, I thought about the different transitions — the late-40’s transition and the late-60’s transition. I didn’t notice the late 40’s one because the usual late 40’s physical stuff happened to me a lot earlier. Looking back, the time between 47 and 54 were really great years for me and, thankfully, most of the time I knew it. Physical debility and a bad love relationship set the “tone” for the next decade, neither of which I could possibly have seen coming. I thought, “I had the house I wanted. I lived in the mountains. I had great dogs. I hiked with awesome human companions, too. I had the job I wanted. I had all I wanted and then…”

It’s always a balancing act between what we want and what we get, I guess.

Yesterday I wanted Cross Country Skis. I texted the local outdoor store — Kristi Mountain Sports — and asked the appropriate questions. Today I got an answer. As it happens, I had written things down on a Post-It note.


Basically, what Kristi Mountain Sports has for sale is exactly what I want.

Today I want $550. It’s right there! It’s even on a Post-It Note! 😀 But I also want to know that if I buy the skis (which means more debt until the tax refund) I’ll actually use them. I have this big white dog and she doesn’t ski.

Anyway, I realized that I if I were to continue with the Post-It Notes, that what I want is a new adventure. I feel a little nervous even saying that — let alone committing it to an actual Post-It Note — because the universe might go, “You want adventure? Ha! I’ll give you adventure.” No, universe, this time let me find my own. ❤

Spike

The cutest baby in the animal kingdom is the California coastal horned lizard. Your chance of seeing one is pretty bleak since, as you see from the photo above, their camouflage is excellent. Add to that they’re shy. You would be, too, if you lived in a place with innumerable skillful predators. Whenever I saw one on a hike, I felt a little bubble of joy. One day I saw a baby. I picked it up and looked at it a long time. As it was in the olden days before cell phones with cameras, you have to look at this other guy’s hand with a different baby horned lizard. It’s OK. They all look the same and all of them are named Spike.

That Time of Year

Today I took down my 2018 calendar and put up my 2019 calendar. I’m ready for a new year. Before I tossed the old calendar into my recycling bin, I looked through it to see the main events.


At the end of March, my sweet Australian Shepherd, Mindy T. Dog, suffered a severe stroke and I had to have her put down. It was difficult to feel sad because she was suffering incredibly. She was a miraculous creature who had the magical ability to make people feel better just by looking at her. She moved out here with me from California and loved every bit of the journey and her new home.

The main event of the year was my hip replacement surgery. Most of the year was made up of activities leading to and away from that moment — physical therapy, slow, painful dog walks and rides on the Bike-to-Nowhere.

I tracked distance and calories on my wall calendar most of the year. Not because I cared so much about either, but because I wanted to see that I was getting somewhere. On the calendar are the days after my surgery when I walked in the neighborhood with my walker and then with my cane.

Lois came down to get me and take me to Colorado Springs then spent 10 days making sure I was “viable” 😀

The dogs were kenneled because there was no way I could take them on walks with me. I missed them, but I knew they were being loved and I could visit them.

Bear and Dusty being loved on by Lori on my first visit to them after my surgery.

I’ve recently realized (duh!) that I don’t have to track all this on my calendar or do the math. I’ve used a couple of apps for years to track my walks, but a couple weeks ago, I realized I can use one for my bike rides, too, so now it all goes on Map My Walk. I still need to see that I’m getting somewhere, even when there isn’t anywhere to go, really, but it doesn’t matter. Just GOING without pain is absolutely wonderful. Walking without thinking about it is absolutely wonderful. Parking FAR from the front door of the store is absolutely wonderful. Regaining my balance without fear of falling, absolutely wonderful.

December, 2018

I’ve written often about the hip replacement because I know that a lot of people in my age group (I call that 50 to 80, since I had my first hip surgery when I was 54 and my neighbor had his two years ago at 83) might be looking at a similar procedure. I’m grateful for the help, care and moral support I received from my friends here in Colorado, in Italy and online. I’m exceedingly grateful for my doctor’s skill and sense of humor.

Bionic me. On the left, facing, my hip resurfacing prosthesis from 2006. On the right, facing, my hip replacement from 2018.

In October, my surgeon pronounced that I had no restrictions on anything I wanted to do. “Run up a mountain. Maybe I’ll see you on the slopes.” I do not remember ever being more unequivocally happy.

One of the high points, besides the surgery (actually, almost everything was related to the surgery) was my first mountain hike since I came back to Colorado nearly five years ago. My friend Elizabeth and I headed up to hike the Middle Frisco Creek Trail, but missed the trail head. It was no big deal. The three forks of this creek run parallel and we didn’t go far. We hiked on the fourth anniversary of my moving into my house in Monte Vista.

Wrong trail but really who cares…

At this point, I’m no longer rehabbing but just getting ready for whatever athletic adventures await me. I’ll be 67 a week from New Year’s Eve (tomorrow!) but somehow I don’t care. I’m waiting for more snow to see if I can still X-country ski. I’m hoping I’ll be able to downhill ski at least once if only on the bunny slopes of Wolf Creek with my friend Lois in March. These are things I’ve loved forever, missed during my life in California, and hope I can have again, even just a little bit.

Behind all of this physical rehab were two books — The Price and Fledging. The Price is for sale on Amazon, and Fledging is a private project.

I think 2018 was a pretty amazing year.

Wind

Sometimes you go out for a walk only because your big white dog is yammering at you from the back yard yelling, “Human! It’s time! It’s time!” You agree, it is time, but the winds are gusting at 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s not all that warm. Not all that cold, either, but combine the wind with the 36 F (2 C) degree temps and it’s not Key West.

So you put on your fancy new wool and fleece mid-layer and your ultra-light semi-puffy jacket. You grab your new Buff, because, dammit, the wind in your face walking north isn’t going to be fun OR healthy. Your little fleece hat is in the pocket of your ultra-light jacket.

Things go OK until you get out in the open and you and your dog are blasted sideways, but you walked to school uphill both ways (actually, it’s true…) in the snow in Nebraska as a kid and this is NOTHING.

The wind has scoured the air and the clouds are low, bringing the sky within reach. Only a couple of undaunted ravens attempt to surf this wind. Un-trapped dead leaves dance past your feet. The patches of snow have not so much melted as evaporated.

You hope to see “your” herd of deer. You regret saying to them that you’re not friends. You’ve thought about it in the meantime and you think you might be. You hope you’ll see them, but the usual place is a mile straight into the wind the whole way. It doesn’t sound at all like fun, so you turn, resolving to take a Bear walk which is slow, rambling, lacking direction but revelatory of animal visits to your dog, anyway.

The fierce wind blocks out all sounds except the cry of a surprised raven. You stop while Bear does a thorough examination of the ground around a cottonwood. You look toward the train cars to see if your deer are anywhere around, but they aren’t. The walk continues when suddenly you notice someone has tagged the tank cars with the word, “Wild.” You love it.


You go on with no destination, stopping often for your dog to examine the ground. The sun has gone behind a small cloud, and the wind and light have brought a mountain close. The world has emptied of humanity and nothing remains but you and your dog, the immense Wild! beyond the train cars, the light and the mountain. In the strange solitude of this “ordinary” walk, you remember what you love and that it loves you.

Halcyon Days

I have a feeling that one’s halcyon days might depend on one’s attitude. I’ve been feeling glum about things. Anyway, woke up in a blue mood, confused and disenchanted. The prompt “halcyon” wasn’t happening. 

I realized lately it’s probable that I’ve hit another one of those “turning points” or “crisis junctures” in life, often related to age. Also, maybe, it’s also related to the time of year which everyone agrees isn’t always the “holly jolly” thing it’s supposed to be. In my case, after all the HOPE and striving last year, I have landed square in reality again. It’s OK. It’s a far better reality than that in which I lived last year.

Over the past two days I’ve seen what story the Work in Progress actually is. It’s not a happy story, but it is definitely a Goliard story and it’s a view at a little known aspect of the Middle Ages, though that’s not all it is. I still want to write it, but it’s going to require a lot of discipline and mountain hikes. I wish it would really snow so I could find out if I can still X-country ski. I make take horse-riding lessons. To write this story my life is going to need a very powerful balance toward the good, the happy, the light. Thank goodness I have a pal who’s always ready to go outside with me.

Anyhoo, with all this in mind, I left the story for the day, shopped, cleaned, took the dogs for a walk. At the store a couple of guys were making fun of salad dressing and it just cracked me up.

“All there is is raaanch.”
“I hate raaaanch.”
“Me too, but look at that. Every brand of raaaanch.” (You have to pronounce it in kind of a nasal way like in a cowboy movie)
I had to go where they were to get salad dressing and I said, “You guys are totally cracking me up.”
“Yeah and we haven’t even had anything yet.”
“Wow.”
“What about rawnch.” (Faux British accent)
I laughed. 
“Oh, ranch” (French accent).
“Mai oui. C’est merveilleux.” I said. 

Lucky I’m easily amused. 

Still in a funk, I took out the dogs. We’ve been walking at the end of the golf course where, if I were a deer, I wouldn’t hang out. Now I think my herd of deer might actually “like” me. 

Bear notices them as soon as they are within our “range” which is about 100 yards. I knew they were coming and from where when Bear suddenly stood between me and what seemed to be the “big empty” to the west. I knew then it wasn’t empty, but I didn’t see anything. 

We kept walking and from time to time I looked toward the north, toward the parked tanker cars beyond which the deer hang out. Not always “beyond which” I know for fact from their footprints, spray on snowy trees, tracks and Dusty and Bear’s passionate sniffing. Then I looked over at the train and saw big ears turned in my direction under one of the cars. I stopped. 

Bear resumed her guardian position. I took Dusty’s collar because we were pretty close — maybe 50 yards away and no real barrier. If he saw them, there was every chance he’d bark and chase. I turned and kept going. When I turned around, one of them had emerged from under the train and was walking toward us. 

Well, my deer. “We’re not friends,” I told her. “These are dogs and your dad or husband doesn’t like me.” She stopped. Dusty, Bear and I walked away from them and when I turned around, they were gone. 


Then I thought, “What’s really better than this? I can walk. I can write this difficult story. It’s in my power now, but it wasn’t before. I live in this beautiful place. I can spend the winter getting ready to climb mountains this summer. Never before in my life have I had this kind of freedom. So what if I’m old and ugly? Dusty and Bear don’t care and neither do my friends. That’s MY female ego problem, nothing more. So what if I’m approaching that ‘three score and ten’ they go on about in the Bible? I don’t want to live forever anyway. Sure, right now I’m disappointed about some stuff, but who isn’t? These are halcyon days, these winter days with the steeply angled light, the indigo mountains and the promise of snow.”

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/rdp-monday-halcyon/

My Playground

My pals and I go outside to play every day. Yesterday Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog and I went out and played for a long time. It was a magical clear beautiful enchanting calm-wind day. My pal is a great playmate. She always wants to play and when we get to the playground, she knows just exactly what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to smell things and roll in the snow. She’s also supposed to pull suddenly on the leash when a very fresh scent hits her nose, but she’s never supposed to pull me down. When I stop to enjoy the scenery, she is supposed to lean against me and I’m not supposed to move away so fast that she loses her balance. When we near the end of our play time, and I say, “OK, Bear, let’s go home,” she’s supposed to walk peacefully beside me while I rest my hand on her back. 

Our trail. Mt. Blanca in the distance
El Rio Grande

I’ve been playing in this way all my life. It’s amazing what can happen when you go out to the playground. Lately, in one of our playgrounds, we’ve had the pleasure of watching a small herd of whitetail deer watch us. Among them is a very large buck who vigilantly cares for his wives and children. He’s a little scary, actually, and I’m glad we’re never very close. 

The big buck is at the far left facing, looking right at me. 

What I’ve learned over all my years of playing outside is that there is always some reward (though play itself is reward enough), a destination (in terms of destiny).

I always see something. Sometimes it’s light on the trees. Sometimes Kris Kristofferson’s face in the clouds (seriously and it was weird). Sometimes a rainbow. Sometimes hawks hunting low over the chamisa or desert broom. Sometimes bald eagles in the trees. Sometimes deer, elk or some other large ungulate. Sometimes a wild cat, a fox or coyote. Sometimes a friendly person. Sometimes the litany of night written in the dust. Sometimes an amazing bird. Yesterday my reward was a Great Blue Heron. 

Just like this (from the Audubon Field Guide)



I thought of a poem by Jack Kerouac the moment the heron revealed himself by leaping into the air, taking flight. 

Kerouac was kind of a Buddhist. For a while he was a happy person, too. During this time he wrote/recorded some lovely stuff. My favorite is The Dharma Bums.  Anyway for a while I had a bunch of CDs of Kerouac reading his work and some of his interviews on TV in the 50s.

In one of his poems he says, “Like kissing my kitten in the belly, the sweetness of the reward that we’ll get. This I know.” 

And it’s true. 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/rdp-saturday-play/

Walking Update (and Product Plug)

Yesterday after I rode the Bike To Nowhere, Bear and I headed out for a ramble. I kind of wanted to see the horse that I call “My” horse because she’s so big and so friendly. She’s about a mile away, across the golf course, across the driving range, past where the burnt house once stood, beyond some pastures. You get the idea. When she sees me, she runs to the fence to get as close to me as she can. I wanted to go all the way to her paddock (which I cannot do with Dusty because of his barking) and maybe give her an apple. Dusty was pretty stove up after our last walk together and needed a day off.

So out we went, just Bear and me.

Cesar Milan is right in saying if you want to bond with your dog, walk with it. 

I have been walking and hiking with dogs since I got my first one, Truffleupagus of Song and Story, in 1987. For years and years walking with them in a wild place was always a suspension of normal human life. These were soul-lifting walks into a world where dog and human shared an experience that wasn’t all dog and wasn’t all human. I always felt it was one of the things that drew dogs and humans together eons ago. It’s hunting, it’s non-verbal communication, and neither dog nor human is in charge. It’s a partnership.

Not every dog I’ve lived with has been suited to this relationship. Dusty isn’t. He just likes to go for a walk. The huskies (most of them) were not. They were passionate about the Husky Agenda and didn’t notice the human beside them, except Ariel who was Husky with a smidgeon of wolf. She and I shared a very deep rapport on the trail. Molly was also great partner, though she did not share everything with me. I’ve sensed that Bear would be a great partner in this way, but, as long as I’ve had her, I haven’t been up to the partnership. I’d even begun to doubt if it was real. Maybe it was a fantasy I’d fabricated to explain having fun with my dogs on a trail.

But yesterday, it happened. All it took was for me to feel well enough that I was no longer conscious of my body. For a long time it hurt to walk. Then I was aware that it no longer hurt. I couldn’t focus on what was outside very easily.

Yesterday I never thought about how I walked. It was my first truly free day on a trail since late 2004/early 2005. Really. I didn’t know this was about to happen when I set out; I didn’t expect it.

I got to share it with my wonderful big white dog whose gifts are immense. We took off and there we were, confidently striding across the world toward the big empty.

She spotted the deer — a young buck calmly walking along the railroad track. Bear alerted me without barking or making any sound. She just let me know he was there. Not all dog breeds are gifted with great eyesight, but the Akbash is. They are a composite of breeds assembled hundreds maybe thousands of years ago in Turkey. One of their components is a Sight Hound, like an Afghan dog or Greyhound. Bear just stopped, stood still and watched. I immediately looked where my dog was looking, just as she had told me to

As soon as she knew I saw the deer, she was ready to go get him (with me) but she didn’t. She looked at me, “How are we going to do this, Human?”

I whispered, “Bear, sit.” She sat. “Just watch,” I whispered. She watched, rapt, ready. I’m sure she wondered when we were going to go get him, but she didn’t make a sound.

When he took off (calmly, slowly) by going under the train car, she stood as if she were saying, “Hey, Martha, what?” 

When I said, “You’re perfect, Bear,” and hugged her she understood. 

I can’t explain the connection clearly. I don’t think it’s a word thing, but I’m sure others have experienced it. You see it with working dogs all the time, Aussies and Border Collies working with their people to keep a flock of sheep in line. 

And now for the product plug…

Trying to combat the effects of cold air on my lungs, I’ve been heading out with a scarf wrapped around my mouth. OK, mostly, effective but it doesn’t stay put or tied or… Then Xenia, in Scotland, whose blog is Whippet Wisdom mentioned a thing called a “Buff” that she wears when it’s cold. I checked into this thing called “Buff” and bought one.

I just got back from a Dusty and Bear walk, heading north, which is always cold this time of year, walking in my own shade. I wore my new Buff today. It was GREAT. Because it can get to -20 F here, I got the extreme one, fleece on one side and microfiber on the other. It matches both my jackets which is pretty amazing since one is red and one is purple. It contorts into numerous functional shapes and the one I bought is made from two plastic bottles. I love it.