Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog has dreams. I live in the here and now. She dreams of snow, I just enjoy it when it happens. I had no idea that a dog could “yearn” but she does.

Don’t accuse me of projecting my feelings onto my dog. I don’t. I’ve watched her. She has a hole in the yard which is on the north side of the fence and in the shade of the lilac hedge. It’s the last place snow melts. She has dug it to be almost a foot deep. When it snows, she shovels snow into it. She lays in it, not realizing her body heat makes the snow melt.

The moment snow starts to fall, Bear knows it and wants OUT. She just stands in it until she’s sure it’s happening. Sometimes (depending on the time of day) we go for a walk in the falling snow. In Bear’s world, falling snow isn’t silent and it has a particularly sweet aroma.

In summer, that spot is her favorite spot in the yard. It’s where she dreams of snow.  

“A few more months, Bear.”
“I’ll wait here.”
“That won’t work, sweetheart. Come in and get a cookie.”

Squatter’s Rights in China

It was the normal way to sit in China without putting any body parts on the ground. Anyone in pants squatted beside the road, waiting for the bus. Women in skirts stood demurely. Kids squatted, playing marbles, in the shade of the trees. Men with cigarettes and pants rolled up squatted to play cards. People on their lunch break squatted along the sidewalk with chopsticks and a tin box that held what they’d brought from home or what was served at the canteen. 

It was a squatter’s world, and white people were shut out — too tall, too fat, too, well, white. Our two most effective diplomatic gestures in China of the early 80s were probably our abilities to pick up a single fried peanut with chopsticks and to squat in the shade of a tree enjoying a slice of watermelon. 

The featured photo is of a market in Guangzhou. The guy is washing and selling chicken feet from which he’d make the big Renminbi. Chicken feet are a Chinese delicacy. The rest of the leg? Most of the chicken I ate in China came whole (without feet).

Letting Go

This is kind of a PSA. Yesterday I dumped some of the WordPress Blogs I built over the last few years. I dumped “My Everest” and “Martha Goes Home.” WordPress personal blog is $48/year (includes a custom domain and no ads along with other features I don’t use like emails and chat support) made it absurd to pay for sites that are nothing more than scrapbooks for me to read. I didn’t find an option to “downgrade” to a free site so I dumped them.

I was happy when WordPress said, “Do you want to download your content?”

Yeah, I did, especially “Martha Goes Home.” Unfortunately, the “download” was an inscrutable text dump of XML files, and the image files were unreadable. I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world. I haven’t looked at either blog in I don’t know how long and THAT is the test for me for throwing out anything. 

I’m going to dump some other blogs, too, and end up with only two — this one and the one for my books. That one is pretty inefficient, but I built it after I already had blogs for individual books — now, I think, I can streamline the whole mess. 

The moral of the story? Save your stuff your own way. Don’t rely on WordPress to “download” your blog.


Friends are the family you choose, or you happen upon, going part of the way with you or years with you, precious as diamonds, rare as rainbows, more fun than a carnival. Sometimes they’re dogs. My friends are all very different from me except for ineffable qualities of heart, respect, affection and sympathy. In our cyber world, friends can live thousands of miles away. Wherever they are, life is much better with them than without them.


Searching around in my memory for an exultory moment, I come up with nothing. I’m not sure I’ve ever exulted, but until now, I never thought about it. I’ve been happy, really happy, but exult? What would it take? 

A mysterious person showing up at my mortgage company and paying off my mortgage without ever meeting me or saying anything about it? The person then goes on to cover the car and the credit card from hell. I might not exult (fearing there were impossible strings attached, such as the loss of my soul) but I’d be very (cautiously) pleased.

Hmmm…. That’s not going to happen…

If I were to go to Wolf Creek and ski downhill with no problems, without falling? Yeah, that would do it. I’d exult. Wait… I exulted when Dr. Ed told me I had no restrictions at my last post-op visit. Definitely exulted, walking on air and stuff, but the thing is, you don’t get to exult long. I drove over to my friend’s house to give them the good news and got met by someone’s grumbling bad news. That’s life for you.

I think I may have exulted when my neighbors hooked me up with really good Internet last summer. I was happy to have the improved Internet, but most happy that my neighbors thought of me and took that kind of action. My neighbor’s the president of the company. 

I think I exulted on my mountain hike in October, kind of a quiet transcendental exultation, but definitely joy.

The Season

Frost per se is pretty rare here unless we get fog and that will coat every small branch, every wire on a fence, every stuck tumbleweed in crystalline magic. This is a high desert and usually there’s not enough humidity for frost to get a decent chance. When it does, it’s most beautiful on top of snow, making sharp small prisms. If we have a few very cold days in a row, the prisms grow, and it seems they will last forever.

It’s a cloudy morning here in the back of beyond, and I have company coming. Snow is in the forecast (from 4 pm to 5 pm) but it’s snowing in the San Juan Mountains so Wolf Creek Ski Area is getting a fresh dusting. That seems to be winter in the real west. Nothing happens, no one I care about is driving, until someone needs to go to the hospital or I have guests, then it snows. 

I knew that when I moved here. 

Yesterday we had a little tea party. One of my friends is facing some tough stuff and the tea party was a way — our way, I guess — of letting her know that we’re here and care very much. I think she probably felt that. I hope so. Messages like that are conveyed in offers of help and willingness to drive. It’s an oblique language that tries to say, “I’m really sorry you have to go through all this. I hope it’s over soon and that everything turns out well, but now it’s hard and we’ll do whatever we can to make it easier.”

The thing is, no one can really DO anything except be willing to do whatever we can when the moment arises. 

Meanwhile life everywhere goes on. Life this weekend in my town means Christmas. Tomorrow we have a pancake breakfast, visits with Santa, a craft fair, caroling, a parade and fireworks. My guests will be coming down to partake in the wonder of it all and I will be very happy to see them. Bailey — my short-term golden retriever — will be coming with them for a visit as will Reina, a brilliant Australian shepherd who used to be my dog. 

As they drive west over the pass, my neighbors will be driving east toward some of the difficulties they are now facing. I wish them all — and everyone else — safe travels. 

Life in Colorado. My friends will be crossing La Veta Pass which is a few miles east of the + sign.

Lamont and Dude Ponder Friendship

“‘Unaware of the dangers that lay ahead, Lamont and Dude pursued the Protoceratops with a vengeance‘. What do you think?”

“No, Dude. No one had any desire for revenge against a protoceratops. They were just leathery sheep with armor and a nasty bite. You can’t write that.”

“I have to put some drama into this thing. Otherwise it’s just a dull recitation of, you know, a dull recitation.”

“There was plenty of drama without adding vengeance against leathery sheep. As I recall, somewhere in there was a meteor.”

“Who’s writing this? You had your chance. OK so what?”

“Just take out ‘with a vengeance.’ Wasn’t your whole idea to dispel the myth that we were evil predatory giant lizards?”

“Yeah, but I’m wondering about that now. We weren’t exactly giant and we weren’t evil, but lizard and predatory holds true.”

“When it came to the protoceratops, we were pretty evenly matched, too.”

“When it was two against one. Alone, we couldn’t take a protoceratops. We had to team up. That’s how we became friends.”

“Dinosaurs didn’t have friends, Dude.”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.