Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dirty Dan

On spring weekends like this Easter version, with temperatures in the mid 60’s and nary a cloud in the sky in any direction, ‘Hamsters fled outside on Saturday and Sunday and stayed there. We managed to hang out in Fairhaven, run errands downtown, hike the trails of the arboretum, and still get some spring cleaning and gardening done.

This quick break in the action was a photo op with Dirty Dan Harris, a local 19th century entrepreneur and Fairhaven’s founding father. His bronze likeness has been a fixture on the Southside, proudly overlooking the Fairhaven Village Green for as long as we can remember. 

And the way things are going weather-wise, his people-watching should continue non-stop for the next few days. 

Happy Easter

An Easter Sunday pose from Stella that radiates sweet contentment, with or without the Peeps or chocolate bunnies.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Music is definitely an integral part of Casey’s worlds, with his family having been raised on everything from rock to standards.  And tonight, even after a long, long day, with the volume amped for full effect, he seems to really be soaking up the new Stones release “Doom and Gloom” in his usual full-tilt boogie fashion.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hillside escape

Taking advantage of another sunny day, with temperatures pushing 60 degrees, Casey and I set out on a hike on Cedar Ridge. 

An area always free of traffic and heart-of-the-city hustle and bustle, where sounds are limited to the footfall of hidden wildlife, like black-tail deer, coyote, feral cats, along with the complaints of winged predators, meshing in a milieu of fauna and creeks untouched by development.

Soon mountain breezes will rustle new deciduous canopies to enhance this chorus found just a few blocks east and a couple of hundred feet above ordinary neighborhood humdrum.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weekend rehab

After a weekend with three precocious, legacy grandchildren, ages 7 through 4, Stella and Casey don’t even stir while rehabbing in the back bedroom. Definitely the favorite weekend photo.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Well worth the wait

For the first time in quite a while there was absolutely no chance of rain today – the first full day of spring, which is very un-spring like in the Pacific Northwest. Another 10-15 degrees would have been delightful but no one was complaining from what we could tell, least of all Casey.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some days are diamonds

A favorite 1981 John Denver song of mine, Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stones), written by Dick Feller back in the ‘70s, was posted on Facebook tonight by my son Joe. It’s amazing how well it holds up, transcending generations, and striking the right note, so to speak, more than thirty years later. Check out a recent cover by Amos Lee below and see if you agree that either version works its magic and the soothes the soul.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Them there eyes

You know what, it's apparent here that Casey is knowin' a lot more than he’s letting on. Whaddaya think?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Relaxation technique

A morning ritual that takes priority over breakfast, even nature’s call, is Casey's morning rubdown. If Vic or I get side-tracked with essentials like putting on the coffee, raising blinds, switching on the fireplace stove, he’ll pace anxiously by our sides until the magic words are uttered -  “Come on, kid, rubdown?” 

Then he’ll hop up on the couch for a quick dose of kneading – for our needy boy. You'd think our guy was love-starved. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 years after

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the US war on Iraq, the subsequent illegal invasion, and ultimately our involvement in the anti-war movement. The solace that Casey has provided during our preoccupation with Veterans For Peace, like our beautiful girl Molly before him, has been life sustaining, a gentle, four-legged reminder that beauty can be found in the midst of chaos or obsession. We just have to let him do his job.

And to honor one of the first Iraq anti-war veterans, I’m posting the “The Last Letter” of Tomas Young, who was wounded and paralyzed in Iraq in 2004. This dying vet deserves to be heard. It should be required reading. Please share.

The Last Letter
A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Paddy's Day smile

Casey’s beaming smile, even after a half-hour run and very necessary bath, is stiff competition for the first sunny day in almost a week.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


A week in County Clare, Ireland is not near enough time to acclimate to Greenwich Mean Time while taking care of business and pleasure, before returning to Washington State and readjusting to Pacific Daylight Time. At least that’s my excuse for missing nine posts, or at least my official story, and I’m sticking to it.

While visiting the Emerald Isle the first time almost fifteen years ago I was struck by not only its incredible beauty and charming inhabitants, but also the fact that Border collies were practically omnipresent. I counted over fifty in both rural and urban settings during a three-week stay. 

This time around, on my last day in Galway, I found two – one on a farm near Ennis, and George, obviously a distant relative of Casey's…near Shop Street.

As anyone can see, George wasn’t about to be going anywhere until his charges stopped browsing and headed home.

A side note: George ignored any distraction from the visiting Yanks, and when the objects of his affection and attention did come out, he gave us a high-five, as instructed. Gotta try that with Casey.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Won't be long now

It won't be long now, or at least that's what Casey's been thinking from the minute Vic disappeared inside the door of the Public Market. And he's here for the duration. It's his job you know.

(She went right in that door. The one with the espresso sign over it.)

(Are you sure the Public Market isn't "pet friendly?")

(Oooh...ooh...there she is. Now I gotta act cool. Can't let her think I missed her that much.)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just say the word

Not only my favorite picture of the weekend but solid evidence that our guy can remain focused, at least on the Frisbee, even when he taking a time-out. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pepe and Maggie

We know that there multitudes of cutesy animal YouTube videos out there, and we don’t usually post them, but this one we just had to share.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Out in droves

Bellingham Bay
The fleece and tuque draped locals were out in full force today, the first sun-drenched weekend day in a very long time. While Bellingham Bay glistened, droves of bundled ‘Hamsters took advantage of the clear skies and biting fresh air as they trekked across Taylor Dock to Boulevard Park, a well-earned espresso break at Tony's or Wood's on almost everyone's mind. So very northwest

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rasa girl

Our cul de sac lost Rasa, Casey’s girlfriend, a beautiful, aging golden shepherd, to failing health around Christmastime. Last week we checked the mail daily for Rasa’s vacationing “parents” and dropped it off at their house across the street. And all I would have to do each day is reach for our neighbor’s front door keys and Casey would immediately made a beeline for Rasa’s front yard, as if we were visiting or letting her outside, our ritual for years.

After letting ourselves in, and certain that he would get to socialize with his girl like in the old days, the kid would make his indoor rounds. The eventual idea was to try to get a napping Rasa’s attention by barking in the hallway and peering into her bedroom. Can’t help but wonder when and how it will hit him that Rasa’s actually gone, and why she never responded. He might not want to give her up just yet. And maybe it won’t be for a while. What’s the rush?

I know we’ll miss it when Casey’s faux search ends, if that’s what it is, and in his own way gives in to star shine, as if Rasa’s essence has finally drifted away. 

Then we’ll all grieve a little more, one more time.