Friday, February 6, 2009

It's The Wind Again

Friday night and I have put the dog outside for a little

peace and quiet. The wind howls and I decide since it

isn't too cold I will clean up. Throw stuff away. Get rid

of all the clutter. And I carry the bag of trash out and

around the barns and across the newly graveled parking

lots and drives and around the breeding barn lab and

heave the trash into the dumpster. I've collected an

as I check to see how all the baby foals are doing.

walk to one of the back pastures hoping to catch a

glimpse of the other mares and their babies already turned

out. But Im not even sure this is the pasture where they

are kept. and Wiley the Australian Shepard trots back to

the barns with me. This week was a good one. After 7

months I have figured out how to reconcile the checking

account and get up to September and discover that is the

one month that is missing and have to ask the boss to prin

Creative and non logical. That's me. He looks hopeful.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Folks love to talk about the weather and Texas weather

gives them something to talk about. Twenty-nine degrees

in the morning and seventy-six degrees by 3 PM.

My dog noticed. He got sick. And since I kiss his little

face (not on the mouth no no no!) I must have caught

his sniffles. I lay in bed in the upstairs portion of my

barn apartment and listen to the wind howl around the

support beams outside and expect at any minute my

television and Internet will blitz out. Now downstairs

sipping coffee with an unhealthy amount of vanilla

creamer in it, I see through the curtainless kitchen

window the low grey sky. Ranch workers crank up the

tractor engines and the music begins. My dog rolls

out of his house and does his sleepy downward dog pose

followed by a couple coughs. Corgis are not stupid so if

I want to insert a syringe into his mouth and pump

antibiotics into him, he wants time to figure it all out.

No random drive by pumping. This guy wants to have a

presentation. Half way through this presentation I jam the

medicine in and he figures it out after the fact. That he

doesn't follow this act of violence upon him with a round of

harsh barks means it wasn't all that bad.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh Baby Baby

As nigh settles across the ranch all kinds of things begin to happen. The dogs bark at the coyotes howling, the moon feels bigger than a baseball in your hand and babies are born.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My dog has gone from grateful to where's mine

in the short span of 2 months. He barks if we get off his

schedule, he barks if I don't continually pet him in the car

and rub his little legs that get stiff when he lays down, he

barks when he is hungry, when we have been in the office

too long and he wants to go outside. He barks outside until

I follow him and he leads me down to the pond where he

runs patrol around the perimeter chasing geese and birds.

He barks because he wants to speak. He makes gutteral

sounds but gives up and barks. It's so much easier.

Especially since he is a dog.

Friday, January 2, 2009


From our fourth floor balcony I look out over downtown Austin.

A bit like Paris in its beige understated two-story existence. I have

had my breakfast, showered and gotten back into the comfy Driskoll

Hotel robe. No creeping down the steps to see if I can catch my

little dog sleeping in his doghouse, all curled up and snuggly in the

back and deep within the cushion. Some mornings he stretches in the

doghouse and sometimes he barks without getting up. Without lifting his

head he barks good morning. I can even pull him out while still on his side

like I was unloading a torpedo on a ship and he remains on his side once

out of his house and on the apartment carpet. He sits at my feet as I

move about making coffee but once I speak to him he's awake. He gets

lovingly shoved outside until my morning time is up and I have to go to the

office in the main barn and give the other dog her medications. Itchy,

scratchy, neuroic meds. Hopefully before she has had a chance to make a

huge doggie mess because she was not let out in time. My dog barks

hello and the other ranch dogs appear, if they are not already sitting at

attention at our door. In the office everyone gets cheese. Cheese with the

meds for one and cheese because I have to be fair with the others.

And now out and across the pasture and to the pond where geese have

rested on their annual trek. The winds blow and its cold and thank you

for the ranch jacket with hood and the scarf and mittens.

And it's a vacation from my dogs barking for what anymore I don't

even know. He has been fed, petted, walked and he pooed. If he

could speak english it would probably be something like "Hey you

petted someone else and not me." No more calling back the herd of

dogs when the UPS or FEDEX truck pulls up. Then there's the bark that says

time for another walk and no we won't venture out alone. And the bark for

work day's over and time to go. And just the rustling of paws near my

desk chair that says I love you and want to be touched again please.

Nope none of that. This is a vacation from the dogs.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Day After Christmas Resolution

We gaze out at downtown Dallas from her balcony.

Fifteen floors up it's windy out here and all that worry

over my hair a waste of time. A girl I was friends with

for 16 years before leaving for NYC is hosting an

after-holiday party with her boyfriend of five years.

My guy is still grousing about being here with all

these "old" people. "Are we this old?" he asks. No,

now sit down and enjoy yourself. He wants to know

why we left so quickly from my other girlfriend's

townhouse. The house with 20-somethings and

substantial food about to be served. Free food.

I'm annoyed that he won't stop asking. "I hate

these hit-and-run social events. I'd like to get to

know some of your friends." We'll stay longer next

time "What's our time limit for this situation?

I'd like to be prepared." I tell him to get another drink.

It's fun seeing my friend again but can't recount the

crazy escapades in front of our current guys. Not

appropriate on so many levels. She was my friends

back in the the day. Those crazy electric early

days when we'd pretend to have important things

to do before showing up at the clubs at 10 PM.

A lot of wasted time pretending. Next year I

pledge to not waste any time.

I watch her interact with her new friends made

in my 16 year absence. I met her in a restaurant

in Dallas. Down the bar there was this beautiful girl

in a striking red suit and matching red hat. Any

woman who has the balls to wear a red hat with

confidence is someone I want to know. And so it

began. We dated two guys that were best friends,

suffered with each other through break ups and

heart breaks. I think about one particularly painful

breakup. I sat on my sofa for weeks and don't

remember how the bills got paid. How I was so

numb from despair that I was unable to talk.

How I knew I would never kill myself but did have

crying jags on the phone with therapists. And

anyone that would listen. So much wasted time.

It's fun talking to her new friends. And one old one.

She starts to tell me when the last time was we

saw each other. The Fairmont Hotel on New Year's

Eve I say. Surprised, she agrees. Then recalls we

then went to the 8.0 Bar after. That I don't

remember. Truth be told I recently looked at photos

from that New Years Eve at the Fairmont Hotel

twenty years ago. I remember thinking why

didn't I wear more make up and what was going

through my head when I pulled my hair back like that.

One of her friends and her husband are taking

9 months off and leasing a home in Aspen so their

13 year old daughter can learn to ski. Must be nice

I comment. She says it costs about the same to do

that as it does to put her daughter through one

year of private school. I can't imagine this idea

hatching from the brains of my parents. But then

my father was an engineer and I doubt her husband is.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

She Used To Be Queen

Nearly as many dogs as people on this ranch. But not as well trained. Aussie Shepherds dominate. There's one odd Corgi and a brown dog with splotches on him. The kind you are afraid to touch.

There are rules for the care and feeding that will confuse even a genius. The momma dog that is quickly becoming neurotic and loves to nip at people is outside during the day and in the main office at night. Food and water and her 3 pills twice a day wrapped in cheese. She grunts and groans when she moves, an outward manifestation of the depression she feels inside. No more litters to care for. Even the little stuffed animals she gathered around her have been devoured by her constant attention.

She was the queen until "the others" arrived. Now she's just lost in a sea of barking, fur, dog food pellets and lack of attention.