Friday, June 26, 2009

Things that start with "G" - Gerbera Daisies, Great Blue Heron, and Green Tomatoes

I am floating way back in the thicket on my kayak, fishing pole hanging off the end, toes dangling out either side.

I have a bottle of water, two cameras, a headlamp, and a pocket knife, just in case.

I hear a bull frog and hundreds of songbirds singing a last jovial refrain. I heard something rustling the underbrush; suddenly a small raccoon appears, trying to touch a deflated helium balloon lying next to the water.

Tiny bugs make zig zags across the water as a Great Blue Heron darts in with a splash, head under and out in two seconds.

The fish has no idea what hit him before he slides down the smooth muscle of the heron's throat in one swift gulp. A fish jumps. The sun sets, and a tired old moon makes her way over the horizon, sullen and sad-faced. Resurrected.

Other images from tonight:

Gerbera Daisy

Fruits of my labor ripening

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summertime Rolls

Fell into a sea of grass
and disappeared among the shady blades.

Children all ran over me
Screaming "Tag! You are the one!"

He trips her as
Her sandals fail
She says stop!
I'm a girl...
Whose fingernails are made
Of mother's pearl...

Yellow buttercup
Orange buttercat
Chasing after
The crazy bee
Mad about somebody...

Me and my girlfriend
Don't wear no shoes
Her nose is painted pepper

She loves me
I mean it's serious
As serious can be...

She sings a song and
I listen to what it says:
If you want a friend
Feed any animal...

There was so much space
I cut me a piece
With some fine wine
It brought peace to my mind
In the summertime...
And it rolled

Summer.... oh...
Oh.... the summertime rolls

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice

In many cultures, summer solstice is recognized by burning large bonfires. It's been raining so much here lately, unfortunately we couldn't have a bonfire. But we did have some respite from the rain today long enough to introduce our new pack member, Gwennie, to the rest of her teammates up close and personal.
Gwennie checks out Yeti's excavation work

Yeti and Gwennie took some time getting to know each other today.

They make a very cute couple! Here's to the brightest night of the year. And summer solstice means it's all downhill from here...toward fall! Happy Solstice! And here's a little video of Gwennie meeting her team mates up close for the first time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gwennie the Smiling Dog

During Gwennie's stay with Dr. Tim, he nicknamed her The Smiling Dog. He would give me regular updates on how she was adjusting to life in his kennel in Marquette, sending zen-like haiku-length emails: 'The Smiling Dog is well' like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. When I first contacted him, he said to me, "do you know this dog has no tail?" as if cautioning me about this anomoly.

Yes, it's true: Gwennie was conceived during the '07 Iditarod as a tryst between Gabby and a suspected Clumber, Jason's main man who also has a bobbed tail and throws bobbed tails in litters. Her pedigree includes Doug Swingley's Peppy and the famed Elmer. My Yeti is from similar lines, as well as Ruffian and Big Brown. I have high hopes already for this next winter season, and it's only June.

Gwennie is shy but coming around. She sits watching the rest of the pack during playtime inquisitively.

Gwennie watches the others quietly from the kennel

She's a very pensive little dog with an expressive face and keen, intelligent eyes. At first, when I let the other dogs out for play time, she looked pretty perplexed at the craziness of the rest of the pack (they get pretty wild). She did growl low quiet growls at the girls when they came up to check her out through the kennel. Tonight, however, she pawed at the sides of the kennel fence, whining at the other girls and wagging her little stump.

She's also bonding quite well with Elise.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Christmas in June

Today was the day: Gwennie finally arrived all the way from Montana! It was like Christmas in June for me, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. She has been living with Dr. Tim Hunt in Marquette, Michigan for the last three weeks since Jason Barron dropped her off there at the end of May. And I had been trying to figure out a way to get all the way up to Marquette in a weekend without killing myself.

After some plans falling through, Tim wrote to me a week ago saying we had a definite plan. His wife, Mary, was coming down to Lansing to pick up a stove and could meet me there with Gwennie!

Gwennie says goodbye to surrogate mom, Mary, in Lansing

After a quick 15 minute chat and exchange of paperwork, Gwennie nervously got into my truck and we headed back down south.

She is very shy and nervous, but adjusting and eating well. I have super high hopes for her, and know she is going to be an excellent addition to this upcoming season.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summertime Fun for Huskies

There's still loads to do for fun even though we're not running. The huskies demonstrate:

Click the video above to see Big Brown playing hide and seek inside one of Yeti's giant holes in our kennel area.

There are sandbox toys to chew on

Plastic dinosaurs to carry around

Plastic dinosaurs to steal from fellow dog friends

Play sand to eat

Food to beg cute five-year-old girls for

And containers of wet wipes to attempt to devour

Stay tuned for a big surprise tomorrow as we finally bring Gwennie home!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Bubbles" - what Facebook finds too offensive to publish

I belong to a group of photographers on Facebook who have regular photography themes and each of us submit photos according to the theme. This week's theme was "bubbles." I submitted the following photo:

Facebook censored it, removing it for "privacy violation."


Yes, seriously.

Censorship is alive and well, I see.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Summertime and the living is easy..."

I am a child of the 70's. I grew up dancing with my feet planted firmly on my older sister's while she danced to Alice Cooper and the Eagles. I remember my parents blasting Bob Seger's "Night Moves" and Rod Stuart's "Every Picture Tells a Story" and I distinctly remember the voice of Janis Joplin. Especially her cover of the Gershwin "Summertime."

"Summertime, /And the livin' is easy /Fish are jumpin'/And the cotton is high. /
Your daddy's rich / And your mamma's good lookin' / So hush little baby / Don't you cry. / One of these mornings / You're going to rise up singing / Then you'll spread your wings /And you'll take to the sky...

Ah, summertime.

Over the last week, I've been thinking of this song a lot. Here are some images from the last week that hopefully capture summertime.

Sleeping mallards

Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad

A rare moment in sync

Until next time...enjoy the summertime!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Images from Deep Lock Quarry

Gortex, Johnny Cash, Molly Bloom and Douglas Fir...all on tonight's Daily Dog!

Kathleen, an oh-too-kind fellow blogger who responds frequently to my posts has "tagged" me on a blog tag. Fun!

Here's how it works:

respond and rework
answer questions on your blog
replace one question
tag eight other people.

Honestly I'm gonna have a real hard time coming up with eight other people to tag. So, if I don't tag eight people, tag yourself!

I'm tagging the following bloggers:

Chris Miller

Joann Fortier

Robert Pope

1. What is your current obsession?
Besides dogs and trying to ensure I am on the line-up for a competitive team in the 2010 Midnight Run, I’m obsessed with the general fragile physics of things: how photography is really just manipulation of light; how water is so fragile that it takes the tiniest touch of my paddle to completely change direction when I’m out on my kayak.

A lake by my house where I go kayaking often

Water should be a model to remind us how one tiny action can change the momentum and direction of so many other things. Photography a reminder that all things are really reflections, not only of light, but of our own perceptions of them.

The moon in the clouds last weekend

Okay, heavy. Sorry.

2. Which item of clothing do you wear most?
During the spring and summer: basic $2 flip flops, my Mountain Hardware hiking shorts and tie-dye t-shirts.

During the fall and winter: my Gortex bibs from Cabela’s, and my cozy Columbia socks.

3. What's the funniest knock-knock joke you know?
I seriously know no jokes – only because I can’t remember them. If it weren’t for my blogs, I couldn’t remember yesterday, which is the way I like it.

4. Last thing you bought?
A diet coke – another obsession.

5. What are you listening to?
“What I Got” by Sublime

6. If you were a God or Goddess, who would you be?
Isis - Isis is also known as the goddess of simplicity, from whom all beginnings arose, and was the Lady of bread, of beer, and of green fields. Also one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs.

7. Favorite holiday spots?
Jim Warren’s Sled Dog Lodge on County Road 500 outside of Newberry, Michigan – 40+ Alaskan huskies, plenty of mushers and dog people to “talk dog” with for hours, good beer and a warm fire in the wood stove, countless acres of hardwood forests, superior snow and dogsledding trails, and so remote you can't even get a cell phone signal there!

8. List all the places you've traveled
I've backpacked and visited the following: Glacier National Park, Montana; Crater Lake National Park, Oregon; Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona; Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming; Badlands, South Dakota; Tucson, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles, CA; Boston, Massechusetts; Salt Lake City, Sioux City, Idaho Orlando, Amarillo, Omaha, Naples, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, I've been everywhere man...crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

9. Okay . . . what were you thinking just then?
Thinking about Sled Dog Lodge and how I miss last season and about how much I miss the wanderlust

10. Who's your hero/heroine
Gretel Ehrlich

11. First spring thing?
Trapsing through mud cleaning up the dog yard.

13. Favorite film?
American Beauty and Alice in Wonderland

14. Share some wisdom?
I have no wisdom. But Bob Dylan said, "Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," which seems like just about the wisest thing to me.

15. If you could be a tree, what tree would you be and why?
A Douglas Fir in Wyoming, so I could be home to Magpie and Raven

16. Fictitious character who made a lasting impression on you?
Holden from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Molly Bloom from Ulysses by James Joyce
"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Develop Your Tic" - accepting submissions for the Akron Character Project

About ten years ago, as I entered graduate school and was still in the process of finding my voice as a writer and person, my thesis advisor and good friend, Robert Pope, told me some of the best advice in writing which ended up being some of the best advice in life.

Having traveled quite a bit with a military father, Bob has lived in many places including Germany and, even crazier, California. With shaggy salt and pepper hair and wild blue eyes, he is eccentric: a misplaced hipster akin to Kerouac and Ginsberg. When I first met him, he had long hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. He was a great influence on me, and is still a good friend to this day.

Bob Pope at a recent reading for John Bullock, fellow graduate school partner in crime

Gesturing passionately with his big hands, his intense blue eyes fixed on mine as he guided me in my 20-something search to find my voice.

“You must develop your tic,” he said.

I was confused – as most 20-somethings are. Did I have some unknown twitch or facial spasm I wasn’t aware of??

When I asked for clarification, he said simply, “Be who you are. Embrace who you are.”

This is difficult for some, I suppose. We are so dictated by societal norms and pressures. I welcomed his advice and have never forgotten it.

Enter Raul Umana and his six year old macaw, Bebe.

Many know I walk downtown with my camera bag about once a week scouting for interesting photo opportunities. And meeting Raul today as I walked downtown with my Canon reminded me of my friend Bob's advice to me long ago. Embrace who you are, however eccentric. Be true to yourself.

Bebe is an amazing bird. He knows how to "high five," how to spread his wings like an eagle, how to call like a Canadian goose, and how to hang from the pocket of a person's pants to imitate a purse.

I try to be true to myself, and always remember who I am and where I came from. And I value those who "develop their tic," and are true to themselves - just like Raul.

Therefore, to celebrate those characters who are true to themselves, I am beginning what I will call the Akron Character Project. Please submit photos to me for posting publicly on this blog. Photos should be portraits of characters who are true to themselves. Contact me, via this blog's comments section, to upload submissions.

Thanks and happy shooting!