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.

NM calling…

Today kicks off National Specialty week in Albuquerque. Agile Apsos. Fine friends. My own plans represent the transition I’ve previously blogged about.

There will be plenty of beautiful Lhasa Apsos, three different Specialties being judged, along with the premier of the Top Twenty competition. Stevie – Grand Champion FFT Take The Money and Run – will be the FFT representative in the conformation ring. Kaylee is flying in to show Stevie Monday and Tuesday. A video of award winning Lhasa Apsos for 2010 will be shown during the banquet, a fair number will be FFT dogs – from Champions to Register of Merits to one performance title.

Agile Apsos. Fine friends. My car is packed with jumps, weave poles, beer and wine. No tack box. No grooming equipment. I’m taking my agility dog, Ch. FFT Carpe Diem RN CGC. Julie will be there with her agility dogs – BIS BISS Ch. FFT Fernando and Ch. Timbers’ Confidentially Yours. For nearly two years we’ve been working towards this opportunity to exhibit in agility at the National. Edie, Fernando and Lily all have earned at least one Q (qualifying score) towards an agility title. Melissa will be there with Super Star Josie, her daughter Myth, Ella and Suds. I cannot wait to see all the Agile Apsos run!

A couple three weeks ago Kathy sent the following. I saved it for this blog entry…NM calling!

Colorado Red

The chiles are hung by the door

with care

Blessing our home with a love

so rare

Bringing food for our table

with plenty to share

Don’t be shy

pull up a chair!



Colorado Red Recipe

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 can (14 oz) Mild Red Enchilada Sauce (Old El Paso)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 3 1/2 lb bone-in pork shoulder roast, well trimmed
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Serve with: warm corn tortillas

Recipe Preparation

  1. Mix enchilada sauce and chiles in a 4-qt or larger slow-cooker. Add pork; spoon sauce over top. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours until pork is very tender.
  2. At least 20 minutes before serving, toss onion slices with lime juice in a medium bowl. Let stand, tossing once or twice until slightly wilted.
  3. Remove pork to a cutting board. Stir cilantro into mixture in slow-cooker. Break pork into bite-size chunks with a wooden spoon and return to cooker; stir to combine.
  4. Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas, smothered with the onion slices and grated sharp cheddar cheese.



Transition. The word has been in my head lately. Several friends commented – to me, not on the blog – about my End of an Era post, which followed Julie’s Saying Goodbye. Kathy thought End of an Era sounded like a final post for the blog. Vickie mentioned, “how does one comment on that post?” Perhaps Transition would have been a better title.

Transition; movement, passage, change from one position, subject, stage to another. I’ve been in a personal transition the past several years. Small transitions, but changes just the same. Adding another day to my work week really interferes with my creativity. Words used to come pouring out of my head. My fingers couldn’t wait to tap, tap, tap. Up by 4:30, coffee in hand, the keyboard lured me into the library. Fatigue seems to silence my fingers.

Other transitions pop into my head. Or are released from my head. Transition within the Gompa dog breeding program. Transition within my son’s life. My garden is in a perpetual state of transition, which is true of all things growing.

End of one era, beginning of another. We’d been talking about moving down a different path for years, a path with new challenges, something new to learn. Julie began her Judge’s Path some years ago. The Gompas have been my path for a decade, delivered to me August 31, 2001. While we share those paths with each other, it’s the ‘FFT Challenge’ path we’re walking together.

A couple three years ago we challenged each other to earn a performance title on one of our retired Champion. Julie chose a Connor daughter called Lily – Ch. Timbers’ She Tsabo Confidentially Yours. I chose Edie, a Connor granddaughter – Ch. FFT Carpe Diem RN. Note the RN at the end of Edie’s title. 🙂

Melissa upped the ante when she challenged us to have a dog ready to run agility at the upcoming ALAC National Specialty in October. Challenge accepted! Three of my last five FFT dogs have been in agility training for a year and a half. Julie has been working with Lily and Fernando for as long, along with her Gompa dog Rishi.

Looking at the list of agility FFT dogs (and one Gompa) – in training or in the ring – it seems appropriate that Victoria’s son Roman is on the list. Roman (and Mary). Lily (and Julie). Edie (and Debby). Rumor (and Judy). Fernando (and Julie). Rishi (and Julie). Elliot (and Debby). Chloe (and Ginny). Norma Jean (and Debby). And while we don’t deserve the credit, I’ll add Melissa’s dogs from FFT lineage to the list. Josie. Ella. Myth. Victoria is behind the majority of these dogs. As breeders, what better testimony is there? What more could we ask? What better way to make the transition? Champions Gone Agile!

Here’s Julie and Lily – Ch. Timbers’ She Tsabo Confidentially Yours – running and qualifying in Novice Standard…

Ella – Grand Champion FFT Melou “Well Said” runs a nice serpentine…

Rishi – Kunza Rishi – graduates…

Ain’t life Grand!

A Grand weekend. Another Grand Champion, another off and running! And three Edmund kids picked up points toward their Championships.

Ella – Ch. FFT Melou “Well Said” – owned and shown by Melissa Torgerson, completed Grand Champion requirements several weeks ago at the Indianhead Kennel Club shows, topping it off with a Group 3 under breeder/judge Keke Kahn.

Stevie – Ch. FFT Take The Money and Run – finished her Grand with a Group 4 at the Fargo-Moorehead Kennel Club on Saturday. Sunday she was again awarded Best of Breed and a Group 3.

Ginny’s Ethan – Ch. FFT Midnight Flamenco Dancer – won Best of Breed at Flatirons Kennel Club, both Saturday and Sunday, the first time out in a year.

Edmund’s kids, Myth and Elliot, received 3 Best of Winners over the weekend; Myth’s was a major. And Norma Jean won her first point. Woo hoo!

Myth as a puppy…

Looking for a photo of Norma Jean and Elliot to share, I’m reminded of people with more than one kid. The first one has an awesome baby book. The second one, a few photos. Nothing for the rest. Actually had that real experience when going through my mom’s house. The baby photo of my youngest sister was priceless.

This photo of Elliot clearly demonstrates we’ve had our head up our arse when it comes to conformation classes. We’ve been busy with agility. I claim total responsibility for iffy performances in the conformation ring. But hey! You should see him tunnel these days! It doesn’t look like this.

Norma Jean’s name is FFT Purple Marble. It’s a long story I’ll share someday, but these autographs are dear to me…

Victoria…end of an era

In Saying Good-bye, Julie wrote about the timeline, Victoria being there for significant milestones in her life. Looking for a graphic to include with Julie’s moving tribute, I came upon this page from an old ad.

Ah. Victoria. The foundation for the future. Biopsy normal kidneys. Olivia’s daughter. Fourth generation tail female to my foundation bitch Jelly Bean. Renal Dysplasia. Not giving up or getting out. For me too memories came flooding back, memories marking the long and winding road Julie and I have walked together. Indeed Victoria was the foundation for the future. She produced five Champion offspring, including the best Lhasa Apso we’ve ever bred.

(Sorry, but I cannot figure out how to exclude the ad from this slideshow of her Champion offspring.)

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Champion FFT C’est La Vie
Champion FFT Sine Qua Non
Champion FFT Que Sais-je
Champion FFT Veni Vidi Vici RA NAP NJP CL3-R, CL3-F, CL3-H
Champion FFT Do U Wanna Dance

Each of these dogs had wonderful careers in the ring, including Specialty wins. C’est La Vie remains with Julie. After contributing to the breeding program, the other four moved on to forever homes.

Move on. We’ve talked about it off and on for years, including deep soul-searching in the mid-nineties. It wasn’t yet time. While enthusiasm waxed and wained there were still goals that excited us. Anticipation of a great puppy in the next litter. Another breeding dog achieving another Register of Merit as a producer. Kicking some a$$ at the next Specialty. Class dogs was my name and Best of Winners was my game. The group ring was Julie’s thing. She did it magnificently. We have bred and/or owned ??? 120 Champions. Our dogs have been consistent winners at Specialties, from Best in Sweepstakes to Best in Specialty Show. Many, many times. Fernando was a Best in Show dog. We’ve had dogs in the top twenty year after year. We still do, in spite of competing very little this past year. What more is there to do?

Tending garden sounds nice. Relaxing on the deck this summer sounds even nicer. Learning something new sounds grand. New challenges outside the conformation ring even grander.

Julie’s right. It is time to go forward on that new path. What’s grandest of all is that she and I continue to move along the dog path together. There’s nothing like old times and old friends, except perhaps, some old wine…shared, of course, with an old friend.

Here’s to us girlfriend! And to Victoria! Here’s to the end of an era! Here’s to our new path! Wherever that may lead us!