Monday, May 26, 2014

The Horse with White Eyelashes

 On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember a sweet old horse who served his state with honor, and in retirement touched many hearts. Old bones and a weak heart took Apache Kid from us Sunday 5/25/14.  We were with him and he was crunching carrots till the end

 When he became a part of my life I had no idea what an incredible personality he had.  He would bat those big while eyelashes and you would naturally give him a carrot or apple treat or lime flavored Dorito. He was curious about everything, he would roam the yard and put is nose in very pot & box & doghouse he came across. He was afraid of nothing and accepting of everyone.
             I know he was just an old horse, but he was my very best friend and a really great listener and I'm so

 honored he let me be a part of his life, even for just a little while.

"I once spent my days under saddle and spur
A good tool and companion we old cowponies were.
Now the campfires gone silent,
The days are lonely and long,
What's an old cowpony to do
When all the cowboys are gone."

Good-by Old Friend.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It takes a village

It takes a village…  I’ll admit when Hillary Clinton first published a book with that title about how it takes more than parents to raise children I thought it was kind of stupid.  My parents raised me just fine, all by themselves and without the benefit of all the life saving devices we have now, like helmets, seat belts and gluten free pizza dough.
Obviously, I wasn’t considering all the teachers, coaches, friends and grandparents who helped shape my life and, thanks to them and many more, my life has shaped up pretty well. As most of you know I’m the video production supervisor for Arizona Game and Fish and it’s a job that takes me all over the state in pursuit of stories about wildlife, habitat and fun outdoor recreation for the Arizona Wildlife Views television show.  Pretty cool gig, if I say so myself, but the only way I can travel for days at a time is with the help of my village of friends and caregivers.  As I begin to write this I’m in Lake Havasu City and good friend Linda is keeping Dixie, my beloved Golden Retriever,
my good neighbor Jerry is taking care of Harry, my beloved tabby
and New River friends Laura & Patti & Jim are caring for my latest beloved, an old horse named Apache Kid.

It’s only because of the exceptional care these people bestow on my animals that I have the peace of mind to travel as much as I do.  I consider my pets like my children and having their lives as uninterrupted as possible is very important to me. So I just want to say “thank you” even though you deserve words more grand and with much greater depth than those, they’ll have to do.  So, Thank You for letting us be part of such a really cool and caring village.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Those of you who share my Facebook postings know that I was lucky enough to travel to Alaska last month.  Yes, I know I went a little crazy with the photo album - over 100 pictures - but it was such an overwhelming experience I couldn’t cull the selections any further, so for those of you who plowed through them, I applaud your effort.  It could have been worse, I started with over 600 images.

So now that I’ve had some time to think about it, which shot best sums up what the trip meant to me?  It’s this one, that my friend and traveling companion Sharon took as our float plane was about to take off on our bear viewing trip.  Alaska’s considerable lack of roads makes flying and boating often the best or only way to get around and the float plane is a great choice. The idea that you aren’t bound by landing strips or control towers is very liberating. As a rule I hate to fly and my stomach hates it even more, but there was none of that on this flight, I felt at peace and free.  I flew.

This is all very much a metaphor for other things that have been going on in my life.  I came back from Alaska to a new job, a great outlook and a real excitement about the future.  If I could enjoy an airplane ride, then certainly I could give a presentation at the Outdoor Writer’s of America conference (public speaking, is another great mortifier). Was it a great presentation?  No, but it was a start and the crazy thing is, I want to try it again and will at the CINE film festival in Missoula in a couple of weeks.  

OK, who is this person and what have you done with Carol?

Well, a lot of things have been coming into focus for me this year; helping me to get unstuck from the comfortable rut I have been in for a while. The changes at work have been dramatic. Stuff’s happening, new people are coming onboard, I’m undaunted (well, pretty much) that I’ll be supervising people who are more creative than I’ll ever hope to be. Okay, so my new office is going to be an old closet, I really don’t care, it’s just not that important where I sit. Being unburdened by old claustrophobic relationships and a desire to stretch my wings a little further makes me want to fly even more. Forgive my exuberance, but I can’t wait to see where this portion of the journey will take me.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Last week I spent a few wonderful days visiting my friend Betty in California.  She lives up on a mountain that towers above Palm Springs in a picturesque & quirky little town.  One of the things I like best about where she lives is that you can take your dog almost everywhere, so Dixie accompanied us on all our treks. Dog-friendly towns are the best in my book.
I’ve known Betty since the late 80’s when we both worked at a TV station in Atlanta.  It was a start up news operation, Tribune Broadcasting had purchased a Christian station and decided to convert it to an independent commercial operation, complete with a news department.  We had a different format than anything else in town, we did one hour of news at 10pm (back East the late newscasts were a half hour starting at 11pm) and that’s all we did and we did it very well.  Most of the staff reveled in the format.  We had seasoned veterans and newbies who all wanted a chance to tell a better story than you could do in 1:10.  Although I do remember the producer, Hugh, wanting to kill me when I turned in a photo essay on the Georgia/Georgia Tech football rivalry that ran 3 and a half minutes, but he later forgave me and let me air a two minute music video on little league baseball that later won an Emmy.  We weren’t just fluff, by any means.  Betty covered the legislature and all the impacts it had on our daily lives better than anybody in town.  We sent a crew in with the Georgia National Guard to the first Gulf War, but only after spending weeks trying to secure visas.  By the time we got them I was on a first name basis with the clerk at the Saudi Embassy in DC.  
I it was a very special time in our lives, but that was then.  
The thing that keeps it alive and much more than just “glory days” memories are the wonderful people I worked with in that shop that I can still count as friends. Betty is certainly high among them.  Neither of us are still in TV news, in fact neither of us even care to watch local news anymore, but we have each pursued our own creative endeavors. Betty has also managed to raise three wonderful children while becoming a fabulous writer. 
Yes, WGNX-TV was a magical time, but the real magic has been how the people we knew then continue to touch each others lives today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I enrolled in ASU without ever talking to a guidance counselor (bad idea)....
When loved ones died or ran off I sought help from a personal counselor (good idea).
Now I am in the hands of a new kind of therapist.  A physical therapist.
I have been lucky in my career to not have suffered many injuries, but my recent surgery to repair a punctured rotator cuff and shave off some bone spurs in my right shoulder really laid me up.  I couldn’t do anything.  Getting dressed or undressed resembled some strange spastic dance.  More like I was trying to escape from a straight jacket than just pull a T-shirt over my head.  And that was only part of it.  I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t comb my hair, I couldn’t move a mouse.  The first 10 days of recovery were not pretty.  Then they sent me to Andrea.  A physical therapist who runs herd over a group of knee and shoulder surgery survivors.  She is amazing.  Strong and fit and not shy about showing off her ample figure, she looks like she should be in a Wagnerian opera - or the NFL.  She plays rugby in her spare time.  She and her two helpers run us through a series of electro stimulation, strenuous exercises and the dreaded hands-on treatment.  She is the only one who actually performs this particular torture.  As I lay helpless on her table she takes my right arm and pokes, pulls and pushes it into all types of positions it no longer has the flexibility to go.  As I bite my lip and look up at her with the biggest puppy eyes I can muster when it really gets to what feels like the breaking point and say “that really hurts” she replies in the most understanding voice, “I know.”  While it seems counter intuitive to put so much pressure on a fresh wound, guess what?  It’s working.  In a few short weeks I have regained most of my mobility. I’m still a little short on the lateral stuff, but it will come and I haven’t questioned her methods since the first couple of sessions. (When I wanted to run screaming from the building and never return).  I have a few more weeks to go and then I will be able to pick up my camera and get back in the field, doing what I love.  And I will owe more than a little bit of that to Andrea.  Queen of pain.  Thank You.   

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Long Good-bye

Life in it’s later stages, very often, is not pretty.  My next door neighbors are a wonderful old couple in their mid 80’s we’ll call “Mary and “John”.  They are great neighbors, we talk, sometimes go on walks together, one of their sons is a handyman who remodeled my bathroom and they love my Golden Retriever, Dixie. We are close as neighbors go.  But it has been obvious lately that Mary has not been herself and her son recently informed me that the family is putting her in a nursing home next week because her Alzheimer's has gotten to the point that she may be a danger to herself or to John.  It is heartbreaking.  So in the evenings Dixie and I go over and sit with them.  There are two things Mary always remembers, her great grandson Caleb and Dixie the dog.  So we go and sit and Mary loses herself in petting and talking to Dixie.  Once in a while she will look up and ask me how old Dixie is and if she just had a bath because she looks so good, for about the 100th time, and I respond and then she focuses her gaze back into Dixie’s deep brown eyes and stays there while the rest of her world crumbles around her.  John is trying to be brave, but tears are just a moment away because he knows he is losing the woman he has loved for more than 60 years and he isn’t going to get her back.  So he pets the dog, too and and together they share a moment about how old Dixie is and whether she has had a bath because she looks so good.  Her children are on the verge of tears as they do what needs to be done, I’m on the verge of tears with a big plastic smile stuck on my face because it’s the best I can muster.  Dixie, on the other hand, just sits calmly, accepting their attention, occasionally looking over at me for reassurance and I nod a silent “good dog” that she seems to understand. That’s all I can do, Dixie is doing all the heavy lifting here.
I know I’m going to reflect on all this later, as it sinks in.  There is just too much to absorb right now.  How do we make sure we get the most out of our lives while we can? What is the special connection we have with animals? Can you really prepare yourself for the long good-bye?  
It’s been a long week, at home and at work, with little solace except for a pair of amazing brown eyes who are more accepting of the world and people than I can ever hope to be.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Horses are amazing creatures and I have always felt I had a symbiotic relationship with them.  Even though they are big and strong and unpredictable, I have never felt fear around them.  So I like horses.  I am one of the millions of “girls” who really likes horses.  I haven’t own my own horse since I left Mesa for college, but I try to be around them as often as I can.  Today a new friend invited me to ride with a group that goes out every Sunday morning, of course I said yes immediately.  I didn’t know what horse I would be riding, how old or young, how well trained, if much at all, but I do know that I believe the best view of the world is from the back of a horse. So today I put on a brand new pair of boots that I had purchased with the idea of  dancing, not riding, but with no dance partner in sight it was waste not want not, so I showed up in my shiny new boots and goofy cowboy hat where I was escorted out to the barn to met Kelso.  He was calm enough as I brushed him out, he let me clean his feet just fine, “Hey want to put that big old saddle on me. No Problem”.  Kelso was a piece of cake.  We rode out into a nice piece of desert near Cave Creek Road and it was there that Kelso begin to resemble his namesake, a character created by Ashton Kutcher on That 70’s Show.  He was a big, good looking, airhead.
This meant that to keep me from doing a giant face plant off of him and completely ruining my coolness factor with these people, I needed to devote my full attention to riding him. You see, to Kelso the world is full of horse-eating fence posts, loose paper and, oh yeah, rocks.  A horse who wants to survive has to stay vigilant and be able to jump sideways at a moment's notice to avoid being devoured by such predators.  So as he danced all over the place I managed to stay with him and we made it safely back to the barn. it was an interesting, albeit tiring, few hours. 
Ironically when a coyote wandered by looking us over, Kelso could not have been less impressed, or concerned.  “Why get all worked up over that mangy thing when there’s a vicious looking candy wrapper lurking in those bushes?”  Still Im very glad Kelso let me share his world with him and if I’m invited back I would be honored to ride him again.  Now, that I look back over my life I realize I have always been a sucker for big, good looking, airheads.  Especially if they can dance.