If The Shoe Fits,


wear it…

If the words are pouring out…write them.

Months and months ago, in Keep Writing Your Story,  I shared my thoughts, feelings and breeding plans. Most have not changed… well except for the breeding plans. Ella ended up bred to Danba, producing Zopa, Tanner and Landin.  Jena was bred to Rishi producing Payton and Indy. And that’s it. That’s all she wrote. Ha! I could stop there. That’s all she wrote. 

But that ain’t all I’m gonna write. Not today. Not in the future.

Stymied by an additional workday along with wondering what words would be valuable to readers, I stopped. I didn’t stop writing. I just stopped putting words here. That’s gonna change. Not sure what the change will look like, but I’m headed back down the writing path.

The Photo My Photo. That’s the name of my current photography project. Based on favorite photos by real photographers, I create an image inspired by the photos. And it usually has to do with dogs. This photo by Nancy Warner inspired the shot of my agility shoes sitting on a cloth given to  me by Madame Yolande de Zarobe.

Nancy Warner_18

So, Deb, Put On Your Red Shoes. Let’s Dance. Or write.

Photos I Love .11.1.2009-15

A merry twinkle

A merry twinkle, I saw her grandfather in her eyes this past week. Eve…if you will…has been here a month.

Sprite had a sense of humor. The grandfather of her intended mate was much too serious to twinkle. Drepung was dignified. He took watching – watching out for his pack, watching the day go by – seriously. From the front of the Volvo between Ceese and Mac, he watched out the front window coming ‘cross country, delivered with nine of his tribe to my Rocky Mountain home over ten years ago.

He was my dog, Drepung. He’s been gone almost a year, dying the same way he lived. With dignity. He had not bonded to anyone back east, so I was told. He was not a cuddly dog which was, perhaps, the reason why. I admired him from the time we met. His quiet, powerful presence. He was with me in St. Louis when I first presented the Gompa dogs to members of the American Lhasa Apso Club. I almost didn’t take him with me, evidenced by his lack of a long hair on top of his head in those photos.

That was yesterday. And yesterday’s gone. Over ten years have passed. Where on earth does time go?! My, how that project evolved over those ten+ years. I did the best I could. That’s all one can ask.

Two weeks ago Sarah flew to Denver to pick up Zen. During our conversation she asked about Zen’s attributes. Mid list I choked up. And told her when I look at Zen I see her ancestors. The tail females, Hattie, Danielle, Summer, Tommy, Bell and Jelly Bean, all Champions – a handful in the 120+ Champions over the years – and most Register of Merits. What I couldn’t express – and wouldn’t express with someone I’d just met – was sending Zen onward to her forever home was much more than…that.

Putting the kennel dogs out one morning this past week it hit me. The transition really is happening. Five females ran to the gate to the outer dog yard, four Gompas and one FFT. Norma Jean – FFT Purple Marble – is the only intact FFT female in the kennel. OMG!! I sure as $h!t better have meant it! I took note of the males. Eight males; two neutered, two FFT (father and son), three Gompas and one Tibetan import. Yep, I sure as $h!t better have meant it!

Frank Sinatra’s I Did It My Way just popped into my head. I’ll try not to get sidetracked because there’s at least one story I can tell you about that song.

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes there were times I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes it was my way

Yep, it was. My way. Rebel with a cause. Or two. I saw them through. The record shows.

The final curtain…sounds like I’m done. Ah! Not quite yet! Eve? Grand Champion FFT Melou’s “Well Said” is her name. Ella is here to be bred to Kunza Tigle. This is a first – FFT x Gompa dog. How fitting that she also has an agility title or two! This upcoming breeding represents a fusion, a fusion of past work and successes, current learning and a new path for the future.


It’s early. It’s still dark outside. The time changed yesterday. It’s even darker now this time of day. I’m wide awake, ready to write. Coffee in hand. I’ve been waiting for this for months, maybe longer, wondering if the inspiration would come back. Enveloped by silence and darkness, a warm cup of coffee – and a handful of Apsos – for company.

Day before yesterday Marla wrote an essay about noise. This particular section spoke to me:

Now, how can I get you to turn down the volume so you can hear yourself think? This is very hard. I want you to imagine getting up very early in the morning to watch the sun rise. All the family is still sleeping in their warm beds; you are the only person that is stirring. Fix yourself an imaginary cup of coffee and go sit on your porch and watch the sun peak through the clouds and trees. What do you hear? When was the last time you enjoyed a sunrise? Are the birds singing yet? There is a time just before sunrise when one bird will start its morning solo serenade. Then you will hear another bird answer for a sweet duo. I just love this time of morning. The earth is so peaceful with a gentle rustling of the leaves. Then the orange glow starts to fill the picture. As the sun comes up, so does the volume level. 

I’m not going to try sitting out on the deck this cold morning…

I remember an evening, a summer evening, several years ago sitting in this chair. Quietly. Sitting. Rocking. Feeling the summer air on my skin. Waiting for darkness to fall. Such a simple thing, yet so memorable. Why? Was it because I stopped the noise and simply sat with myself?

One of the things I really like about this time of day, this time of year is the silence. Snow absorbs sound, a quiet beauty. Another thing I like is the darkness, the early morning darkness. The call to the keyboard.

Hello again.


Last night I was really missing my mom. She’s been gone since 1997. Her cat Laura is still with me.

My home is filled with things I love, most remind me of someone I love. In the background of this photo I see Dante, Fernando, Julie, Ron. When I stop and observe my surroundings the people – and a dog or four – of my life are there with me. Last night sitting in the chair with Laura, across the room was the rubber tree mom sent me on Mountain Pet Grooming’s opening day in our new location. July 1995.

It sits behind my reading chair in the living room.

After mom died a friend told me after 14 years there were still times she started to pick up the phone, wanting to talk to her mom. Mom’s now been gone for 14 years. Oh! To have a phone call with her! I have so many things to tell her!

Mom exposed me to dog shows, allowing me several show dogs, a Miniature Poodle and a Shetland Sheepdog. A Standard Poodle person herself, she never understood my infatuation with the Lhasa Apso. She thought they were ‘stupid’. The things I could have shared with her along my own path! After Edie earned her Rally title, my sister Lori told me mom would have been proud of me. Obedience was one of mom’s passions. She taught obedience class right up until she went into the hospital. She had to sit on a stool to do it, but she taught. Mom was still old school. How fun it would have been to share c/t with her! To see Edie sail over the jumps this morning, doing a hard serpentine sequence… mom would see Lhasas aren’t stupid.

Julie and I discovered RD (renal dysplasia) in our breeding program in 1996, so mom was aware of that. I don’t remember if she knew about the initial research project or if that happened after her death. She gave me a love of reading and always had the latest dog magazines. Back in a time when magazines were full of articles, ads full of information rather than glitz. I devoured them. To be able to show her the research paper…she would be proud of me.

How I would have loved her to be along my side as I navigated the Gompa dog path. Not that she would have understood my infatuation – as I mentioned earlier. But she would have listened and encouraged me. I would love to tell her that I achieved something huge for my breed, the opening of the AKC gene pool. And that Haba is coming May 29th.

When I was in Vet Tech school, she’d phone every Thursday morning at 7am. Sometimes I begrudged those phone calls, stumbling down the dorm hallway to answer the phone. What I wouldn’t give today for that phone to ring and hear her voice on the other end!

Put the pen to the paper

I need your help with the spring makeover. Tomorrow I have a conference call scheduled with Kirsten Wright of Wright Creativity.

After hearing her in a couple of interviews, I checked out her website. It was just what I needed! She is giving with knowledge and information about blogging, integrating social media and a lot more. My current homework, so to speak, is streamlining this site’s categories. Categories are different than the pages you see listed at the top of the site. About Us. About Our Lhasa Apsos. Those pages lay the foundation and, you’ll notice, have been pruned down. Categories provide the backbone for blogging. When it’s all said and done only six or so categories will show in the sidebar. And tags will be utilized for specifics.

Here are the categories I’ve come up with:

Apso Aficionados
Art and Photography
FFT Lhasa Apsos
Gompa Lhasa Apsos
Lotsa Lhasa Info


..here’s where I need your help. A name for my ramblings, my soap box. The site is about Lhasa Apsos, ours in particular, but part of its personality, part of the reason I like blogging is I get to write. I was never a big Guns ‘n Roses fan, but have loved this part from Don’t Damn Me:

Don’t damn me
When I speak a piece of my mind
‘Cause silence isn’t golden
When I’m holding it inside
‘Cause I’ve been where I have been
An I’ve seen what I have seen
I put the pen to the paper
‘Cause it’s all a part of me

That really speaks to me. But I don’t know if Put the Pen to the Paper is a good category name. Debby Puts Pen to Paper? Ideas? Comments?

Funny thing… One of the links Kirsten provided in her Wright Creativity post this morning is titled Are you creative for you or your readers?

I know that everyone has a different reason for reading my blog, or for writing their own. But, after spending the last 6 months working on this one, I have figured out that there is one main point that I have to think about: Am I creative for me or my readers? The answer is, and must be, both!

Whew! Was I glad to read that! I was almost afraid to read the entry. My creative juices started flowing again. I didn’t want to damn them up, putting my own creativity to the side!

Against the Wind

Unbelievable. I’m sitting here this morning looking out my library window at falling snow. Until several days ago that would mean a reprieve from the unsettledness of the extreme fire season. Not so anymore. Thursday it snowed. Thursday afternoon the Meyer Ranch fire started.

All this week Bob Seger’s Against The Wind has played over and over in my head. Running against the wind. That’s what we – Animal Evac Volunteers – were doing last Sunday morning, some of us that maintain red card certification. We weren’t really running. That isn’t allowed during pack tests. The three levels of pack tests are arduous, moderate and light. Arduous pack test = 3-mile hike with 45 lb pack in 45 minutes. Moderate field test = 2-mile hike with 25 lb pack in 30 minutes. Light walk test = 1-mile hike with no pack in 16 minutes. No jogging or running in any of them. Still, it was against the wind.

Walking against the wind. It was so freakin’ windy last Sunday. Head down, against the wind. You’d think the wind would push you along on the opposite side of the track, but nope. The track sits in a hillside, which kept the wind away on one side of the track. The side where the wind would have pushed us along.

Our fearless leader Chuck did the arduous. Ken and Laurel did the moderate. I did the light. They wore vests containing the appropriate amount of weight. The vests are weighed before the test begins…

AEV was formed in 2002 during another extreme fire season. It was the year my family, including all the dogs and Laura the cat, spent three days away from home. Fortunately we were home the afternoon the Black Mountain Fire started. We live on Black Mountain. Nate had his driver’s licence. We had three vehicles and several hours warning before mandatory evacuation. There was time to prepare. But what if we hadn’t been home? Once an area is sealed off by the authorities, there’s no getting in.

People have told me, “there’s no way they could have kept me out.” Ya. Right. Then you’ve never been in that situation. It was eerie. Ash was falling. The sky was orange.

So, each year I fulfill the requirements for red card certification and volunteer for Animal Evac.

I googled the lyrics for Against the Wind this morning. Yep, the song is a love song, a long lost love. But the first verse creeped me out!

It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely, she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playlng low
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
Till there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove

Blues by twos

I love these photos…


One is Lama Gyen Yeshe with two Gompa dogs. The other is a book cover. There are reasons I like each of these. Composition, particularly with the women at the counter. Texture, the peeling paint. The untold, yet richly vibrant story each beckons the viewer to discover. The foreignness of each, a far away country. Most of all I love the blues, from royal blue to blue-green to turquoise green.

Listening to the Wall Street Journal This Morning on my way to work last week one of the stories was about a cool app. I’m not an app person. My cell phone is old school and wouldn’t recognize an app if it ran into one. And that’s mostly fine with me. I hate phones. I don’t much like talking on phones. I prefer the written word (and that doesn’t mean text messaging). With this app, when you see a color you love – whether it be on a shirt or a wall – you take a photo of that color. With your smart phone of course. (Don’t tell my trust-worthy old-school phone it’s not smart!) The app then uses that photo to determine the color and connect you with paint companies that can stir up a sample and send it to you. How fun is that?!

Did I mention I hate phones? On the very same day I learned about this awesome app, my son brought Buckley up for grooming. I look forward to this because we usually go to lunch afterward. And it’s usually just the two of us. I enjoy this special time. Our conversations are different when it’s just the two of us. Often I’m reminded of the many years we spent together driving back and forth from swim practice, a 20-minute drive one-way. Like I said, I enjoy this special time with Nate.

He has a smart phone. And he text messages. And he takes phone calls. He is usually polite about doing this when we’re together. While he did apologize, his interaction with that phone interrupted lunch and conversation. I finally asked him if he could post Out To Lunch on the damn thing!

I have watched people exiting the movie theater or a ball game, looking like extras from Night Of The Living Dead. Crowds glued to their phone screen, walking unaware of their surroundings, disconnected with the people they’re with, apparently unable to embrace the moment that envelops them. Is there anything that important? It seems me – possibly an old fuddy-duddy – but, it seems to me like the ability to be instantly connected is robbing people of connection with the here and now. It’s an interesting dichotomy from a sociological point of view.

One day, as technology continues to catapult us forward, I will forced to get a smart phone. I may even take a photo of something simply because I love the color. However, I will be Out To Lunch when I’m with people, the real people, in my life. And next time I might pull the trump card with my kid and take his phone away when we’re having lunch. Can one do that if the son is married, 26 years old, head coach and director of Colorado School of Mines Aquatics? 🙂