Remember Remember The 5th Of November…

•November 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Why Occupy?

The Occupy Movement is primarily about the large corporations and global financial system which controls our economy in a disproportionate way, undermining democracy and creating an unstable world economy for us all. The Protests in the US began at Zuccotti Park in New York on 9/17/11 and less than a month later there were ongoing protests in over 95 cities, across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the US alone, and rarely a small mention was made on the news.

This November 5th was “Bank Transfer Day”. This had us marching to urge people to move their money from big corporate banks to small community credit unions. What we found was that these credit unions are non-profit which actually had lower fees and sometimes no fees, the board members are volunteers and do not make a profit they are being of service to the community, the money the Credit Union makes is pooled and goes back to the  “Shareholder” (that’s you) in forms of lower interest rates etc…, and yes they do have plenty of ATM’s.

It was reported that an estimated 600,000 people took their money out of major banks.

We were forced out of our house by a foreclosure and the economy. Big deal so was half the country. Now we live with no mortgage owed to a Bank, our property was an owner carry, no electricity bill we are all solar, no cable TV to tell us how to run our lives, we buy local and green whenever possible and all our needs and the dogs are met. I am so grateful that happened because I don’t plan on going back. And maybeeee someday when I am enlightened enough I will even be able to extricate the internet from my veins!

It takes a lot to get people out on the streets. Humans seem to have a real knack for putting up with crap for extended periods of time with a smile on our faces. But finally enough is enough for millions of people across the globe. Is it too late? All I know is that I can only do what is right for me and be an example of what that looks like (most days). Maybe it will help someone else do the same and not feel like they are alone. And BTW, I am that guy if you want to start a protest and no one else will go… I will. I will do it until the others catch up. I will sleep on the street with you to stand for what I believe in until people start asking questions. And when the organizers show up, they always do (we all have our jobs) then my work is done. I am not that guy… I will let the smart busy people take it from there and be in awe of their skills and brainpower as we go out and do amazing things together!!

So to the people who will soon be freezing in the December streets, looked down on, called names by the media…


And don’t believe everything you hear or DON’T hear on the news. Go outside and see for yourself. Ask questions. Be kind. And love each other through this whether you agree with it or not!


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A Penny Dreadful

•October 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls, and the bat in the moonlight flies,
And inky clouds, like funeral shrouds, sail over the midnight skies
When the footpads quail at the night-bird’s wail, and black dogs bay at the moon,
Then is the spectres’ holiday – then is the ghosts’ high-noon!

            William Schwenck Gilbert (Sir Roderic’s Song)

October’s mood & wolf dog howls harmonize with the global winds of change (…and the beautiful music of Arjuna)

Fortunately history shows us that the phoenix rises from the flames & that through chaos there emerges some peace. I try to remember this as I watch the wars rage on everywhere around me. My friend still battling her personal war with cancer at home. Environmentalists & activists battle hunters & farmers in the war on wolves in this country & seems scattered & hopeless. Large scale protests in major cities across the globe at war with their own countries. Pockets of smaller protests popping up everywhere across the US in solidarity of New York’s Occupy Wall Street that started September 17th. The world is a ghastly battleground of corruption & greed, yet so much uncelebrated beauty & compassion is taking center stage as we start on a new collective path.

On October 1st we went to the starting day of the Occupation of Los Angeles city hall in downtown LA & it was a beautiful sight to see everyone rising up against a common enemy. Suddenly we were a part of something big in spite of living so far off the beaten path. A movement was spreading across the states like wildfire. Each day a new city popped up on the Occupy Together map. The internet was now a way to spread the news the press wouldn’t print.

It is nice to see people relearning the lost art of a good protest & doing something they believe in no matter how inconvenient it may be. One of my favorites was Julia Butterfly Hill who lived in a giant redwood tree named Luna for two years. She brought the issue of old-growth logging our dinner tables & showed beyond a doubt, one person can make a difference.

And like a cheap cliffhanger, a penny dreadful, we wait on the edge of our seats, to see what internet tricks & treats are in store for tomorrows Halloween.


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Waves Become Wings

•September 19, 2011 • 1 Comment

This month was going to be about my new obsession & thing that keeps my mind off the heat, our new found 1973 Excella 500 Airstream Trailer. Beautiful!!

I am thrilled with the new temporary house for Oregon & it feels like we are moving forward again. Today though was one of the most horrible days I can remember having in a long time. This blog is about the wolf dogs, some strange desert stuff & people we encounter on the way to our new home, wherever that ends up being. It’s not a forum for politics but now the destruction of the economy has crept into every crevice of my life & those around me & it is definitely now part of this one. I have kept relatively quiet about losing everything we own, Noel losing more & more work, getting lower pay (having to work more hours for free), losing benefits, higher copay, insurance now not even paying their claims, every year things getting worse & worse (while the stockholders of his company continued to make a bigger profit every year – Eight million OVER their targeted profit this year), finally we lost our home & I guess this is really how this next chapter of wolf dog ownership happened… Living in the middle of nowhere, in a trailer, in a big dog pen, to keep us all together until we can get where we need to be. We were headed to Oregon before it all came tumbling down & we ended up here in Joshua Tree a few miles from our old house instead.

My workplace has been threatened plenty & we never know really if we can keep the doors open (being state funded) but they managed to keep pulling it off year after year until now. This month to stay afloat they had to cut everything in half & I was one of the few lucky people who got to stay. I was also one of the few that got to bare witness to those coworkers that weren’t so lucky, as they left. It was like being drugged & watching someone cut your arms off. Nothing you could do. Left with no way to help anyone else. Friends, people who had worked there for 10 years or more gone with one quick slice to the gut. Noel had already seen this happen at his work last year.

When this depression started here there was not much evidence. It is a community of people on welfare, desert people in hiding, artists, what’s left of the middle class & the self-contained military. Mostly things went along as usual until the glue, the workers that commuted to the lower desert started losing their homes & leaving. Then the small businesses started closing. Almost the only things left here are chain businesses, liquor stores & gas stations. One in every four houses are empty or for sale.

All this outside depression creates an inward depression but you keep going through the motions. While I was at work watching everyone get laid off, my beautiful amazing friend with breast cancer was having both her breasts removed. It was a hell-of-a day! I can’t remember ever crying so much for so many people. I cried for friends, the Ranch, the community & the future of this country that I suddenly felt more attached to than ever.

What seemed to happen as everyone drifted in despair, was that we finally found each other. We found a common bond & a drive to go the extra mile for one another like never before. Suddenly we all had a purpose bigger than ourselves that needed us to get up off our couches, turn off our televisions & be a part of this big beautiful change. It is evolution in the presence of chaos, like the forest fire frees the seeds of certain pines & clears the ground for new growth. It is the gift that comes from loss & change, giving us gratitude & a love for the simple & meaningful.

So it is on wings of courage & great aspiration to save the world that so many of us are caught up in this strange moment in time all of us connected but finally free.

And the wolf dogs? Happily oblivious, as it should be…

(sennnnnd meeeeeeeet)


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Blister in the Sun

•August 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

OK I’m not even going to pretend to like the heat. But we did get a little break with some major thunderstorms. If you’ve never experienced one of these in the desert it is quite frightening! There is nothing for miles to dampen the sound & seemingly nothing else around for it to hit but you. Many times it doesn’t even come with rain so it can appear without warning. Even though the animals are pretty used to the loud military planes, helicopters & bombs they shoot off at the nearby 29 Palms Military base, this was way too much for them & they all wanted inside the trailer at once. This meant I had to stay out in the downpour (this storm came with rain) with them watching the lightening all around us. I love weather! But I don’t like seeing them so freaked out. It was over with shortly & we just enjoyed the rain.

This is the hottest, dustiest time of year & like the subzero temperatures in Colorado you do your best to stay indoors. However, indoors in a trailer is a bit like being inside a car in summer with the windows rolled half way up. Surviving in this kind of heat is something I never in a million years imagined priding myself on. But, some of the principals I learned backpacking in Colorado were helpful here in an “Opposite World” sort of way. The phrase “Cotton Kills” kept running through my mind, wishing it were true. In simple terms, in the cold cold if you wear cotton & it becomes damp or wet, it will never dry & you will die from hypothermia. Ah HA!! I was willing to give this a try. So, before going to bed I soaked my clothes & sheets, wrapped myself up in blankets so I wouldn’t dry out too fast & within 10-15 minutes I felt like I was freezing & could for the first time fall fast asleep & for the whole night! So here in “Opposite World” Cotton Cools!

Here is  a list of things we do for fun in this kind of heat:

Tug of War

Make more dust

Rat Tossing

Visit with our desert neighbor Coyote

…And our desert neighbors Maria & John. Maria has just started planting Jujubee trees to see how they do. I can hardly wait! The fruit is used medicinally in Australia & China mostly to help with stress & memory. This could be a similar climate to Australia. Hopefully they will do fine, I am going to need some! Hurry Maria! Give those suckers some miracle grow or something!!!


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M.O.O.N. that spells Tank!

•July 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Now the hungry lion roars, & the wolf behowls the moon…


As the sun dips down below the horizon the desert starts to awaken. This is the only time you are safe from the heat & everything comes out to forage & play. Snakes & tarantulas roam just outside the fence, making a trip out to the car an exciting event.

Yes, this is also when happy little wolf dogs run a muck in the yard tearing stuff up after hibernating out of the heat all day.  Mornings you are jolted awake as they stampede across the deck & splash around in the little pool playing chase. After coffee (don’t attempt this before coffee)… you go out of the house in the morning to find pieces of hose & electrical wiring that came from who knows what (to be found later), and more hay bales torn apart. Then you find half chewed parts from the grey water system strewn across the yard, which explains the bumping & banging of the wind you thought you heard last night. Every morning is an adventure in patience…

Arbus in his scrawny summer suit.

To keep them from being bored, this is a good time of year to make big ice block treats with bits of meat or fish (if you have a freezer that is). And to hide things (when they can’t see you) in the yard for them to tear up or play with. Sometimes a pizza box will do the trick in a emergency fit of boredom… “I’m going to tear up your plants if you don’t do something quick” moment. But mostly right now when they get restless we give them raw soup bones to keep them busy & away from other stuff.

Summer howling lessons. Kodiak is the Grand Master.

Tank can be very unpleasant to be around for weeks & then suddenly have a spurt of happy attitude when he feels like playing. This is mostly confusing & often ignored. Although once in a while they play a careful game of “get Tank”, but not too often because even then he will sometimes still do a Jekyll & Hyde in the middle of a game.

Just waiting for Tank to pass on through…

One day the three little wolves got tired of the big bad Tank, and beat him up pretty good. Tank crawled under the farthest part of the porch & growled all day & all night, at anyone who passed by. Just as his family was about to drug him & drag him out to see how bad he was hurt, he decided to come in the house for a snack. Even though he had a good size cut on his leg he was feeling pretty happy! His family gave him lots of treats though some he thought might have had pills hidden in them, he ate them because he loved cheese. Everyone mostly left him alone & he was a little nicer to the three little wolves. For a while…

When I began treating Tanks cut & giving him antibiotics a strange thing happened… We noticed his eyes & his mood were much better. For some reason the antibiotics (Fish Mox – available at pet stores for about &18-20) had started clearing up the Panus covering both Tanks eyes. He could see! I wish there was a quick pill fix like that, that would last, but as soon as we stopped the Amoxicillin the Panus came back immediately. Hopefully his eyes will do better in Oregon where there is less sun.

I’ll huff & I’ll puff… Dharma got a visitor IN her house! OMG she looks happy!!! Only Shanna would squash herself in that tiny dusty hay bale house with Dharma. Shanna has a beautiful way with animals. Obviously…


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Roadside Attractions

•June 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

How can anyone ever get tired of Road Trips? Bugs in your teeth, the wind in your hair & all that… everything you own in a couple of bags hurling 80 miles an hour down the asphalt in an aluminum can on wheels that can go almost anywhere!! Unknown destinations ahead, secret places to find, strange people to meet, untold stories to unravel, driving fast & eating aerosol cheese!

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A few places on the way…

The beautiful grasses in Tehachapi that go from a stunning bright spring green to a summer tanned gold, Astro Burger in Borax, a sign missing it’s Cafe near Edwards Air force Base (hmmmm), the last honest bakery in California, a dragon outside of Weed, Coffee Heaven in Cave Junction, the Worlds Largest Fly in O’Brien, & our new house in Selma… Just kidding. Our bus is a couple of years newer… hahaha


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•June 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Over the last month I made two trips up to Oregon in search of property & like always stopped at Patti’s house which is one of the few spots I go where the only goal is to hang out, spend time, & just be with my BFF. Occasionally I get to spend a few minutes with Patti’s Beth when she’s  not working. Patti & her family have an easygoing air about them that puts you instantly at ease & makes you feel welcome. Like you have just gotten home from a long vacation. Maybe they just like having people breeze in from out of town, I don’t know but I feel like they are my “other” family. And not in the creepy way like in Coraline… No buttons on their eyes… hahaha Love you Patti & Peeps!!

This is Amber the newest girl. Petite & beautiful. Her & Kenai make a very pretty pair! Amber was a little shy & kept her distance but circled ever closer the second day. Better than Arbus is with new people. Beth got her out of her shell a bit with a nice big rope toy.

THE handsome Kenai!!! He is so sweet & always happy like Arbus, a perpetual optimist! Patti used to take him swimming in the lake all the time when he was growing up. She also uses him in her wolf dog education program she does. Patti did a great job socializing him, & he LOVES people almost as much as Rowdy ;0)

Amber & Kenai

One of the trips up the map, I got to hook up with my sweet friend Petri & her daughter Aki at Patti’s. The boys in Colorado at Petri’s house, Ole & Mars came out to Joshua Tree to visit & I was thrilled to get to spend a little time with Petri too after about a hundred years… and meet their totally cool daughter Aki. We had an awesome slumber party, hung out, played with Patti’s fur kids, ate a smorgasbord of food & then when we couldn’t eat anymore,we ended the evening with movies & ice cream poisoning furnished by Patti’s comedian husband…

Petri & Aki were on the way back to Colorado from a trip to the California coast at Harbin Hot Springs, where Petri goes for workshops on Watsu. Know what that is??? I didn’t either hahaha… Watsu (or water shiatsu) is a form of therapeutic water bodywork & the hottest new spa treatment world wide! “Benefits include increased mobility and flexibility, muscle relaxation, fuller deeper breathing, reduction in anxiety and stress levels, decreased pain, improved sleep and digestion and a general sense of well-being”. If you live in Colorado Petri can hook you up. Otherwise check around, I did find someone here in Palm Springs so I can give it a try.

And then there’s Rowdy! OK, Rowdy is sooo funny!! He is a super freak about people! He loves to roll around in the grass with anyone that will play with him. THAT is a social guy!! Check out his amazing eyes too!

Petri & Aki with Rowdy RAWWR!!


Did I mention Rowdy was a lap woof?? Noel doesn’t mind…

This is my sister Hilarey’s dog/husband Hoss. What a funny guy. He is a homebody & doesn’t like to go out much. He keeps her on schedule, & at home in time for dinner. He also takes up most of the bed & snores… Hoss can also dissect  any chew toy as fast as some of the most determined wolf dogs.


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