I have grown rather weary from all of this traveling. A lot of boot scooting around the USA. In the last 10 days I’ve been to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Washington DC, and back again. Now I’m gonna stay put and firmly plant my two large feet on the ground.

What is charmante about riding the train is all of the Heartland scenery is out there for the looking. America is covered with fields of corn and a lot of tires have been left by the wayside.

weary traveler. what a pity.

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wild parsnips and the eating thereof

I have two personal rules that I take very seriously.

1. Do not eat wild parsnips.

2. Do not drive stagecoaches drunk or aggressively.

The people in Death in Yellowstone taught me these maxims, so I didn’t have to learn them the hard way, i.e. death. That is a pretty hard way.

But what happens when you break one of your own commandments, not once but twice in one day? I did not have the opportunity to drive a stagecoach drunk today, and I’m sticking to that one.

I hiked with my most trustworthy and helpful of all neighbors, John. We have lessons in botany  on our rambles across the Alpine tundra. Today, there was much Mountain Parsley there for the picking. I asked somewhat mischievously if you can garnish plants with this yellow flower. John told me no, but you can toss the leaves on a a soup ‘r’ salad. So I picked some and saved them in my pocket for a rainy day. Next were Glacier Lilies, and he told me they are all fructose so eat up.

But here ye, gentle traveler, do not even think about purple flowers. They iz poisonous. Purple for poisonous, ‘member this. You ‘member?

I put the parsley in my tuna. I put lilly in my iced tea!

So I guess it brings it back to the most important #1 rule – do something that scares you everyday. And good luck to me in avoiding death. I guess otherwise my head stone will read “Shouldn’t of Eaten the Wild Parsnips.”

 

 

 

 

 

learning lessons

Outside the window pane is a man in a baseball cap trying to mail a letter to his mother. There is a shiny blue official mailbox there, just ready to scoop up letters and get them to their respective recipients. To get to this point of standing in front of the official USPS box, the scruffy man must have had to search high and low to find an envelope and stamp. Mailing supplies aren’t lying around like they used to. He then had to seal the envelope with an ack licking of a stamp. There is no worse taste than the adhesive on a stamp.

And finally he had to walk across the street to get to the box. Inside, we are at work observing this series of events unfold. He is taking a long time out front, having a lot of difficulties dropping the letter in the box. He seems to not understand how to open it. Smirk. It’s really as simple as 1.2.3. Pull handle back. Opening will emerge. Drop letter in. He continues to fiddle with the elusive mail drop off. Finally he leaves in frustration. I grin at his perceived dimwittedness. I know him, which makes it even more funny. I go back to work.

I forgot about this situation UNTIL the following week. I also wanted to mail something. I open up the mailbox and no opening emergeth. I scratch my head, and then see that the drop has been sealed off!

So in conclusion, I learned do not JUDGE THOSE THAT CANNOT OPEN MAILBOXES. And it probs would have been nicer to help the down and out.

baby

This baby goes by the name Anderson. He belongs to my sister Terrell and my brother-in-law Ben.

I like him. Every time I go to visit him in Texas, I ask if I can take him back to Colorado. I would raise him like a bulldog. Terrell says, “No way Jose.”

You might ask Andy what is in his nose and expect him to say boogers. He will take you off guard and reply “babies.”

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water for the drankin

On long drives, it’s nice to pullover at watering holes and gain some relief. I’m not talking about Conoco stations.

On the side of Monarch Pass, a spring springs from the side of a rock. The water drains through a rusty grate into a rusty steel barrel. On the rock walks, wildly untalented artists have expressed their deepest sentiments. The prepared have brought spray paint. The neophytes of the novice have used Sharpie markers or paint. The drawings and writings leave much to be desired.

Above – sad alien saying HI.

Above – I interpret this as someone forgot to go to a volleyball game, because she was swinging on a playground. She is very apologetic for this slip of judgment. Again, she is so woebegoned about missing this match, she has taken the time to draw an elaborate tree on a rock wall. I will take it upon myself to forgive thee.

But wait a minute. I did not stop for this vandalism. I stopped for the water, healing properties and all. It is cool and clear and giardia free.  And it tastes a lot better than the surroundings look.

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rhubarb

This is a photo of my latest science project. These are the entrails of rhubarb. I was caught quite off guard with how many are ignorant of this fruit/vegetable that can make tart desserts. I made a rhubarb crumble and served it on up with a scoop of that original vanilla ice cream. P.S. May is the best month for this celery like plant. Duh. Who doesn’t know that.

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porcupines don’t make good valentines

I live where the porcupine roam. These prickly pears of mammals amble from here to there and back again. Foraging on blades of grass and twigs, they would seem to be a docile creature. That is until those pernicious quills become erect. Then Johnny-B-Good and a dear and stay away from those spiky rodents!

 

In the West Elks, where the air is thin, the population of these pot-bellied-beasts is thick. This is particularly true on any trail you want to take a dog on a hike. Folks up here all have stories about encounters between the slow moving porcupines and their unassuming dogs. And the thing is, the porcupine always wins. The dog limps away with a face full of quills. And it happens a loooot.

And then it happens. To my poor baby Judge Doom. The baby bulldog is a mischievous rabble rouser. So when I got the phone call that his face was jacked, I couldn’t say I was surprised. At first glance, I cried. He had a beard of 40 black and white quills spiking out from his cute little mug. At this point, he still wagged his cotton tail and smiled.  But then the removal process begins. It takes a village to de-quill a pup. Good neighbor John, Brad, and Lindsey all came together to hold Judgy down. The first step is to cut off the tip of each quill to depressurize and allow for easier yanking. One by one, the barbed quills were removed by a needle nose plier. This was not pleasant for the Doom Buggy. There are still a few quills that brittled off that we are going to leave to the vet to dislodge.

Mason thinks that for this reason we should seek to run over porcupines barreling down the road. But that won’t work. Then the walking blowfish will wage warfare on your tires. If only we could just all get a long – the misunderstood porcupine, the concerned human, and the doggies with waggy tails.

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brown bag despair

From a very young age I had to pack my own lunch. I ate small pouches of Funyuns everyday for six or seven years. I was always a little bit disappointed when I got to school and looked into the dark of my brown bag lunch. My mother, Ann, did not purchase Little Debbies, Fruitsnacks*,  Lunchables, or pre packaged Rice Krispie Treats. We were supposed to make our own sandwiches. Hard to believe.

* These days, I more than make up for the Fruit Snack deficit in my rudimentary years.

Things are still pretty much the same all these moons later. I try and pack a lunch, and the same let down happens each and every day. My lunch is never exciting. I never have goat cheese or salamis in it. I still lack that planning and preparing finesse. Below you can see my watercolors of the yom yoms that do not hold a candle to your lunch. You’ll notice that I have quite an elevated taste in food. More like a predilection for children’s snacks.

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a bulldog’s plight

Bulldogs face prejudice just like any other marginalized group of creatures. AND I would know, because I spend most of time with two of these delicate  and noble mammals. Hence, my main purpose in life is to promote the most beautiful kinds of dogs in the world. And that is why I share this picture that I found in a book my dad gave to me. This is the way it should be with bulldogs, smothered in love and affection, and to always be surrounded by fancy ladies.

Miss Twinkie Jackson and Judge Irwin Doom (2 brindle bulldogs) do not always meet such graces in this world we live in. In fact, some misappropriate fear to these lovable dogs. But you know what, for the most part, they get pets and ooohs and ahhhs.

Except for the dangerous older lady that drags around her Yorkie around town and who is a menace to all.

It started out this way. Judgey and Twinkie asked to come to breakfast with Mason and me. We happily obliged and took the gremlins to the  bagel store. While Mase Pot got the goods, I walked the babies down the alley to get their noses some exercise. It was a beautiful day with a bench behind us and coffee in front of us. People came and went from breakfast, petting and asking about the dogs.

Until Cruella Deville and her nefarious sidekick (Yorkie Terrier) entered stage left.

Aside, the thing to know about this woman is she has driven her car into lake. She has already lambasted me in public before for bringing my newborn Twinkie into the Post Office. Ain’t gonna hurt nobody. I find her too aggressive for such a short, old, weathered tan woman with a trying-too-hard-newsboy-cap.

Judgey begins to bark, wanting to make a new friend with this pitiful excuse for a dog. The other dog barks and growls and the evil temptress begins hooting and hollering. She bemoans that we are sitting in the seats in front of the restaurant. See, she wanted those seats, and now has to walk another 15 ft to tie up yip yip jazz dog. I didn’t feel sorry for her.

She tells her dog to shut heck up as he barks at a very irritating pitch, successfully riling up all animals. Judge is a puppy and will bark given any opportunity. So of course he is meeting Yip Yip with noises of his own. The old lady then walks past us and tells my baby to shut up!  And that is entirely crossing the line. No, I did not meet her with rudeness. But come on!

Then after all that ruffling of feathers, I felt that the two dogs just needed to sniff one another another out. Of course this was after the evil woman was in the store. Mason led Judgey on the leash to the Yorkie and then the Yorkie ugly growled at my dog and tried to nip him. It’s all just because he looks a little different with those wrinkles of love, a rib that juts out, and a strange tail.

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flossing for gold

I actually really don’t like teeth, nor do I treasure visits to the dentist’s office. But there is something totally different in using molars, canines, shark’s, whatever you got as ornamentation, for jewreeee. Here is the latest and greatest piece from my box of adornments.

Dip it in gold!

Bestowed upon me by a dear friend Katie Wolfe, I will be forever reminded of the day that her wisdom teeth were removed by a greedy dentist, cashing in on the Tooth Fairy. But really, what the hell does the tooth fairy do with all of those discarded choppers? Ack, I would never want to gain entry to that storage cave.

P.S. I have been told that this is not a suitable charm to wear to weddings or other formal events.