Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

here's to friendship, safe travels, and good times in the New Year, 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the storm approaches

Franklin waits for the storm to arrive in the high west desert.
driving back to the lonely high desert was tough this time, after a spectacular holiday weekend in Idaho with family and skiing.  all it takes is a couple of hours of being appreciated by staff and patients though, and some of the loneliness subsides.  hopefully the storm will break enough for me to drive home on friday morning and get a few ski turns in in the magical Wasatch mountains.  i'm feeling motivated for a weekend of outdoor adventure.  'til then... one more day of work.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

a moment in Idaho



snow-safety and his better half

safety is no accident

Professor of Skiing

the '80s called... they want their goggles back

waiting for the road to be rendered drive-able (ie:  drinking)
Friday, Christmas Eve, i drove 6 hours to Salt Lake from Tonopah through the ice-fog to sleep in my own bed.  i did 5 loads of laundry.  the next day i woke up early and did one of my favorite runs in the foothills of Salt Lake before loading up the car and driving 2 hours up to my brother and sister-in-law's in Idaho.  we opened presents and ate brotzeit on Christmas.  we skied on Sunday.  visited with friends old and new at the ski area.  almost crashed the car off the icy road because the Sherriff was dealing with a wreck further down canyon.  drank beers in the bar and ate pizza.

tomorrow i will drive 8 hours back to the desert.  i will miss the mountains and my friends and family very much.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"You and your damn dogs"

i received an email today.  proof that what i am doing increases the happiness factor in the world.  Merry Christmas.

 I don't know if you're aware how much I enjoy seeing you with your dogs. I love it. I live vicariously through your photos, often...especially the really "playful-with-dogs" photos. They're so lucky, as are you.
I just went to the doc because a quick hug to a friend's dog last month put me pretty goddamned close to anaphylaxis, I was lucky. The allergy is getting worse. AND I wish I could have a's nothing new... lived with it since I was 4... but, now more than ever...

Anyway, happy christmas... thought you should know. I love that you love your dogs so much and apparently how much they love you. Not really jealous of it, but a big admirer.


i'm so sorry that my friend can't be close to canines, or have one of man's best friends of his own.  the love my dogs and i share is a deep and true one indeed.  i am happy though, that i am able to share my photos and stories with him and others, and that the fact that i am doing so makes a difference.

Merry Christmas ~ to all.  before heading up to Idaho today (i got into Salt Lake yesterday afternoon from Nevada), i took the dogs on one of our favorite jaunts.  just a quick four miles, but the views of the quiet, sleepy city this Christmas morning were spectacular.

on the road to Reno

Me and Frank surfing the couch at Kate's
last weekend i drove from Tonopah up to Reno to visit an old friend of mine whom i hadn't seen in twenty years!  i stayed with her and her husband (and 4 year-old and 5 month-old!) for three days, and promptly acquired a stomach flu, so i ended up surfing her couch instead of skiing the 6 feet of new snow up at Mt. Rose :( but with the high winds, the lift got knocked out, so i was thankful that i was not stranded for several hours on a broken lift like 50+ other people were.  major bummer.

Kate and little Max

after twenty years (we went to junior high and high school together) despite the fact that Kate is married with a couple of little ones and i with my two furry little ones, i feel like we really haven't changed all that much.  although we are both "grown-up professionals", our memories of childhood are so vivid, i swear we still feel like we are kids at times.  it's a really good feeling to have that you can still connect with someone after all those years.

Frank searching for spirits

on the way up to Reno, the dogs and i stopped to stretch our legs at historic Fort Churchill.  it was built in 1860 as a territorial outpost to promote peaceful relations between the western white settlers and the Paiute Native Americans.  the buildings were made of adobe brick, and the timbers and hardware were brought in from Sacramento.

Artie cruising the Fort Churchill trails

a large Inn nearby, Buckland Station, was a stage stop along the Pony Express route, which ran from 1860 to 1861 to carry mail and messages before the telegraph lines were complete.  the Fort was an eerie place to visit, out in the sage and with quiet snow falling.  i could feel the shadowy spirits and hear the whispers of ghosts as we walked among the buildings.

Buckland Station

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hidden Splendors

it's been a while since i've written anything, and part of the reason is because i haven't been motivated to do much of anything.  i got a cold about a week ago, and just when i thought i was on the mend, i got a little stomach bug which zapped me of most of my energy and had me remembering what projectile vomit is all about.

i had a great weekend (despite the stomach bug) visiting old friends in Reno whom i hadn't seen in about twenty years (since high school) and remembering why it is that i have furry kids and not the human kind.  wow.  what a lot of work and challenge those little ones are.  hats off to all of you who have the human kind of children.  i don't think i could do it.

the last few days of rest have me realizing that i need to start making a solid effort at getting ready for the 2011 event-season (aka "racing", but as a middle-of-the-packer, i hate to use that term race... ) and wondering how it is that we are almost in January already.  most event sign-ups start taking place in January, and some have already taken place.  i'm trying to figure out where i will be working this spring ~ if i will be extending my contract here in Nevada or looking north for another assignment in a similar type of practice.  the event schedule will in part be determined by where my living/working location is at any point in time this summer, and i can't say with much certainty where either of those will be... time will tell...

i was commenting on another friend's blog that i am impressed by her ability to look to the future and see where she might possibly be 5 years from now.  i'm just looking at where i might be 2 months from now, and it's hard for me to look much further ahead.  not sure why that is, but that's how my brain is functioning these days.  might be a survival tactic:  that i'm trying to enjoy the moment and not get disappointed in things that might not materialize.

for the next few days, i will be driving many miles:  first to Utah, then to Idaho, then back to Nevada.  long days in the car looking out across our Western landscape of desert is a great place to contemplate all that we have:  the hidden splendors that can show up at any time without warning, and the joys that they bring.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a joyous 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if the 6-hour drive back to SLC is worth it.  I’m spending 12 hours in the car every week since I have a three-day work schedule in Tonopah followed by four days off in a row.  Then I sleep one night in my own bed and I feel like it is all worth it.  And then I think, well I’m probably spending less time in my car per week than the average Californian does on their weekly commute to and from work, so I figure I’m right on par with a large population of the nation.

The commute today was brought to you by NPR podcasts (Wait, Wait, the Sunday Puzzler, Car Talk, and The World).  I try to listen to things that are kind of engaging like Wait, Wait and the Puzzler, but honestly I usually blank out halfway through the question and wonder… what were they talking about again?  But they do keep me relatively alert on the drive.  And Car Talk just makes me laugh.

The commute today was also brought to you by:  homemade chocolate chip cookies (I made a batch last night before I left Salt Lake), Peet’s coffee, a Filet-o-Fish Value Meal in Ely, and a bag of Smartfood Popcorn.  I’m sure all of it went straight to my coronary arteries and to my hips.  Which is why when I got back to the condo in T-pah, I did not hesitate (he who hesitates is lost, or is at least caught napping…) and put my running shoes on and got out the door with the dogs to go for a four mile run on the mining roads.  Perfect timing—we finished with the run just as it was getting dark.

A month has gone by already, and I have two months left here in the sticks.  I’m looking forward to visiting my friend Kate the week before Christmas up in Reno, and probably heading up to Tahoe as well.  We haven’t seen each other since high school (twenty years ago!) so I’m sure we will have lots to talk about.  After Christmas, I will have approximately only one month left!  Time sure flies…