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…

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!

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

And…’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? 🙂