Monday, December 31, 2012

Letting go on New Year's Eve

Somehow, this time around, it seems more fitting to let years like this one just go, wherever, and to just keep looking forward to something, like twelve months without a national election, a mass shooting, a fiscal cliff, or another war or iPad release.

Bring it on 2013. Let’s hope you’ve got nothing on last year.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shadows and light

It seemed like the “Great Big Light in the Sky” lured everyone out of their holiday doldrums today. It does show up every now and then in December.


It wouldn't be around for long, so we made the most of it by trudging after our long lost shadows for an hour on a different labyrinth of paths.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cool down pose

There are occasions when going outside is just not a sensible option, so we have to improvise with indoor dog sports – hall ball, fetching everything from stuffed animals to tennis balls, and an occasional tug on an expendable rag.  

Poor substitutes for romping, I know, but we gotta do what we gotta do. And frankly Casey seems grateful to be out of the elements, as long as he’s the center of attention.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


In a matter of just a few minutes tonight, Case went into total shutdown – from What’s next on the agenda? to suspended animation. What a skill set. If Mr Intensity hadn’t checked out, I wouldn't have been able to even think about reaching for the camera.

Avoiding festive feline fever

Perhaps nothing appears more serene than a domestic house cat performing a sleep cycle demonstration after a long day of, well, mostly sleeping. But don’t let this tranquil scene fool you, because down-deep Stella is a hardcore poinsettia addict, and the sole reason behind the last of our surviving red Yule plants being relegated to the Great Outdoors. 

The claims of this beauty's low grade toxicity, combined with Stella's nonstop craving for bract and leave munching, earned this Euphorbia a spot on the back porch. It was a hard call, but Christmas is just about over, and cat puke is not that festive

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas is so over

Not a single Yuletide chorus tonight, just the steady metronomics of the living room clock competing with an occasional dream whimper from Casey or a muffled snore from Stella. The relief for our charges is almost tangible tonight – truly peace on earth.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace on Earth a la 1939

Most visitors to Casey’s Worlds have probably caught on by now that our boy’s human charges are huge supporters of Veterans For Peace, an organization that strives to expose the true costs of war, seeking to abolish war as an instrument of national policy. Our mission is simple, peace on earth. So tonight, of all nights, why not take a few minutes to view an MGM cartoon from 1939, Peace on Earth, a film short that was way ahead of its time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festooned rain-delay

Look who's pulling all the stops for a little action. On days like these, Casey's ready for long as it's indoors and out of the elements - hall-ball, tug-o-war. We've done a lot of improvising. The kid though is easily the most adaptable, accommodating Border we've ever loved, and will patiently wait his turn for whatever we have in mind. Count him in.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peace on earth

Just when you think Casey had tested every possible sleep position…

A break in the inaction

Casey kept up a well-deserved quick pace today on our hike, drenched in sunshine for a change, after three days of more or less continuous rain. If I hadn’t whistled he’d have been out of sight, as if he was chasing the setting sun. Can't say that I blame him.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What a crap day

There’s not a lot of enthusiasm for going outdoors, with gusty winds and sideways blowing rain and ice. 

And what do you think this expression is trying to convey...besides "I've got your walk right here."



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hot shot

We’re convinced by now that the kid has a sixth sense for being photographed. Like tonight, besides wondering how he could avoid spontaneous combustion sleeping that close to the fireplace furnace, I attempted a silent shot.


Always a challenge to catch Casey napping, and tonight’s no exception. Check out that look. Now that some situational awareness.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Puff the magic mallow

Vic outdid herself today! Completely homemade marshmallows worth posting on any blog, a Border Collie’s World or not.

I know. Not that many people get worked up over marshmallows. And who knew that making them at home was even an option. I've always pictured a huge Kraft conveyor belt with thousands of air-puffed, dried-up meringue confections, ready to be scooped into plastic bags destined for landfills, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

But Vic's holiday  hot chocolate accoutrements from an Alton Brown recipe are very eco-friendly and totally tasty, and much too scrumptious to toast over a fire or even waste on s’mores.  
Actually drinking the hot chocolate is going to be now just an excuse to down an extra mallow, while the grandkids aren’t paying attention.

Sloppy today, with wind and slop tomorrow

Oh man, we almost didn’t venture out today. Even this fairly good percolating, greenbelt terrain is having trouble keeping up with the onslaught of precipitation.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The kid knows what he likes

After wrapping a few gifts, we made Casey’s day by letting him abscond with a gift wrap cardboard roll. Now he's traipsing around the house with his trophy, adjusting his head as he goes through doorways from room to room. 

A little comic relief, when least expected, but just when you needed it most.
 You think they know? 

Friday, December 14, 2012

There are no words

In light of the tragedy this morning in Newtown, Connecticut, there is no post that would be suitable today, so I’m opting out. It's the right thing to do. No words, certainly no photos, seem to matter.

Be thankful if your kids are home in bed, even take an extra minute to watch them breath before you leave the room.

You might be lucky enough to catch a murmur that made it all the way back through the universe that only they can inhabit...until morning.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


The clip below of Whatcom Falls after days and days of downpours is as close as Whatcom Creek will get to a winter fury volume. Casey is never one to want to delay crossing the bridge, so I didn't push it - just a couple more quick shots before we headed out.

This shot of the kid is a keeper, but it was apparent to me right away that he was in no mood to be hanging around today.

Laying low

There are times when you realize that you haven’t had a Border Collie in your face, claiming your undivided attention, since the last time you tried to pick up where you left off in the middle of a chapter…after the last ball toss. But tonight...Casey didn’t go far.

Hey, he just needed his space OK. And anyway I was able to finish an entire chapter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A stop at the station

So many seasonal ales, so little time.

The nod so far has to go to a smooth, dark amber-brown ale from the Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, of all places (what a NW beer snob), called Hibernation Ale.  We sampled it last week in Seattle and found it this weekend at a great new pub that stocks virtually everything called Elizabeth Station. 


What makes this establishment extra special though is that it’s Border Collie-friendly. So we naturally stuck around for a while for a sample with son Joe.

Casey might have been a little unsettled though because of a nearby, overly friendly, female Lab-mix. The ladies easily intimitate him, or maybe she just was coming on a little too strong for our shy guy.

Or maybe he was just having an off day.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Feeder bandit

Ah Hah! So this is what Casey’s been barking at, nearly every morning lately. And all this time we’d been expecting FedEx, UPS, a neighbor drop-in, or a door-to-door sermon all this time, we spotted the root cause of all the excitement.
Still don't see it? 

Across the street, high in one of Erika’s winter bare trees, was a squirrel on stakeout, 15 feet above the bird feeders, and did he ever have staying power.
Obviously he was not going anywhere until he got his cut, no matter the ruckus. As we drove by several minutes later he was still "hanging out."

(Won't be long now.)


Christmas schmaltz

Call it a holiday tradition if you’d like, but once again we subjected Casey to another screening of a favorite dvd of ours, Love Actually. Every year around this time Vic and I break it out and watch this charming, schmaltzy feel-good movie from 2003. Back then Actually joined a short list of films that easily served as diversions during those rough times – the Bush years, war in Iraq, family separations and estrangements.

The highlight of our theatrical viewing was the verbal smack down during a press conference laid on the US President (played in arrogant “Bush-like” fashion by Billy Bob Thorton) by the Hugh Grant UK Prime Minister character. The full house audience at that showing broke out in applause…a vicarious thrill we all needed back in the day.

And we clapped again tonight.  

Other escape films that have worked for us and others include Big Fish, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, but none of these soundtracks include 10-year-old Olivia Olson singing Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You. Amazing still.

And now the real thing from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, just this week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Birthday wish and side-trip

7-months-old back on the farm

Can it really be five years since our guy arrived on the scene, just brimming with potential, as anyone can plainly see from this photo? Just look at that face.

Ignored for the most part, scrawny, and half-starved, we found Casey in 2008 in dire need of a happy home - the rest is history.
Lucky for us.
And today is our boy's birthday. The big number 5!
So naturally he got to drag us down to his favorite place, Fairhaven's Paws Awhile.

Just so he could do a face plant in our Humane Society consignment shop's treat bowl kept by the door. But first, a civilized sit-and-shake, thank you very much, for the volunteers.
He's so talented, and can he ever turn on the charm when he has to. 

Aw, that's a good boy.
Happy birthday, Case. Live it up.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just make yourself at home why dontcha

It doesn't take our boy long to acclimate when visiting, especially when it's his "other mom" Marsha's house.

And the red leather chair, along with a bundled blanket for a pillow...perfect.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.
From Vertical by Linda Pastan
Autumnal starkness won out today as we wrapped our way through a trailscape of flora survivors - and it appears that team conifer cleaned up earlier than usual this year. But the skeletal remains of the shedders - alders, poplars, maples, and so many others - seemed proud, even lofty, as we made our way through their bleak gauntlet, with Casey running down an occasional squirrel, with off road feints to make it interesting.