Friday, April 24, 2009


People will sometimes ask me WHY I geocache. There are so many reasons! It boils down to some of us will love it, some will always wonder why in the world would you want to do to do such a thing as that?

Some of my reasons:

It’s a social activity if you want it to be. I rarely go alone. My friend and I enjoy not just caching but stopping for a meal at some bbq place in a small town perhaps, or Starbucks.

It’s a good clean family activity. Well, if you don’t get in the mud anyway.

I wouldn’t walk a mile for exercise alone very often but I will walk a mile for a cache. Or more. Or less. Getting to the waterfall below in the Big Bend was not easy but oh so worth it!

I enjoy nature. We see quite a bit of fauna on our excursions. Snakes are always fun and then there were the camels and the kangaroos. Imagine that. Longhorns I expect to see but I am still bemused by camels and kangaroos in a field in west Texas.

Earth caches (a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth) can take you to interesting sites. Also virtuals (example, a historical site) where there is no physical cache, just a location to visit and information to discover. I’ve been places I might have missed otherwise a few times. In the Bahamas while others visited stores close to the waterfront, the lure of a cache led me to the Queen’s Staircase. It’s on a tour true but I’d have missed it if I had not been going for a cache because no one else in my group was interested. So I hiked there alone!

Wherever you are, there are caches near by for you to find!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Goodbye Lolli-cat


I wasn’t here when it was time to say goodbye. A part of me will always regret that. Lolli was a rescue from the country living days, a sweet cat who in her mind belonged solely to my daughter. My son said she was not eating much to speak of and getting so thin. So it seemed time to say goodbye.

My preference is for them to die quietly in their sleep. I guess that is what we all hope for whether for ourselves or our beloved animals. Some can't stand the thought of 'putting down' a pet. Yet I hope that they too realize once in a while, it is the best choice for the animal. Consider quality of life, are they in pain? Is there any hope for recovery? I hate euthanasia. I want that beloved pet to be around as long as possible. Yet I also believe that sometimes the last good gift we can give to our animals is an easy, peaceful end.

Lolli was so frail at the last, wobbly on her feet. Then John said Mom, she's barely touching her food. So I made the choice from which there is no turning back. I can only hope it was the right one. I did so want to give her one last good summer in the sun. In any case, she did not lose many days we suspect. Goodbye Lollers – you were a good cat.

Weep Not for Me, In Memory of a Beloved Cat

by Constance Jenkins

and other writings (Rainbow Bridge)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Failure isn’t my fault

or is it? Failure of one sort or another happens to all of us. We try, fail, try again.. or make excuses! Failure in life itself, failure to achieve your goals and dreams because of ___ (fill in the blank) seems on the surface to be acceptable. At least, I know a few people who have good reasons for not ‘getting there’, wherever ‘there’ is for them. Their divorce, their children (having to care for them), their boss, their looks, the list goes on. I never felt this was quite sufficient an excuse but never had a handle on how to respond either. Once in a conversation with someone good at excuses for why not but many dreams, growing tired of listening to the dreams that would never happen, I said, Less talk! More action! And I walked away wondering, Why do some of us stop at talk? What issues are we not dealing with or what nice psychological reason is there for some of us to end up stalled out?

Now I can’t say a lot, not being a ‘getting there’ kind of person myself. However I never wanted to that much, being happy as a SAHM and not needing to work. Yet I admit at this point that I have excuses for not working that would all fall aside if I really needed to work. So what is the reason we just quit? We read about people who overcame odds that seemed insurmountable or at least very daunting. They did it and we tend to give them some marvelous characteristic uncommon in most men to say, Yeah, they are remarkable people. Meaning, I’m not don’t expect this of me.

Then my son handed me a book. (Some of you knew this was coming right? My children could count on it being a book.) The idea was that someone else needed it, and from the title I did not see much point in my reading it. Then I opened it and read the first chapter.

Oh my. This guy nails it. 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make And How You Can Avoid Them, by W. Steven Brown. Doesn’t really sound like a title for a book just anyone would want to read does it? It did not take many pages though for me to realize this could be a good one for any of us.

We’ve all heard the phrase, the buck stops here. Brown says there is a way to predict failure: People will fail in direct proportion to their willingness to accept socially acceptable excuses for failure. Ouch. There’s another term I’ve heard a lot lately: accountability. So we can have our excuses, uh I mean reasons, and accept failure as something beyond our ability to change, or we can be accountable and accept responsibility. I used to tell my children this very thing. We could blame it on someone (something) else, which meant it was out of our hands, we don’t have the power to do anything to fix this, change this, etc. Or take personal responsibility and then have the power to change things because it is ours. Ownership gives us power to have an effect. To change it, to overcome it, to do whatever is needed for a better outcome.

This is so basic I think yet, something many of us tend to do. It isn’t my fault, I can’t help it – if only ___ then ___ (fill in the blanks, if only I’d had better chances and an education, I’d have a better lifestyle.) Well that might be true, but the question really is, so what are you going to do about it?

So now when someone tells me their dreams and their why nots, will I have the courage and tact to ask gracefully – so you know the problems and what you wish for, what are you going to DO about it? And sometimes, I will need to ask myself that very question.

Monday, April 06, 2009

the cats are out!

Usually this would be a problem, that cry would mean come help corral cats! (see the Fela up a tree post.) These days though I’ve given up. My son started letting them ‘do their own thing’ while I was out of town. No complaints from me. The cats are happy and stay in the yard. I am working on a total solution – cat pen/garage set up – so they can be out and we do not have to worry about them.

Meanwhile Fela enjoys the grass and hopes a bird will come close.
2009-03 DSC_2234

LBK, the rotten baby, even goes out to roll on the pavement and get all nice and dirty.
2009-03 DSC_2235

Amazingly even Angel, the rescue from the city park nearby, is overcoming her fears to venture outside on the rare occasion. She runs back inside fast though if anyone goes out to take a picture of her! No evidence no evidence! I can hear her cry.. I’m an inside cat only now! (yeah right)

I really advise not letting your cats run free. There are too many dangers outdoors for them, and I’ve lost enough to know better. With luck the handyman will get the cats fixed up with a safe alternative soon.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

click! good dog!

My dog Su has taught me so much over the years. Su was just a little puppy wandering along a country road when I found her. I've picked up a lot of dogs and cats, and this one was to be no exception. It did not take long though to realize she was an exception in her own right. Su came with attitude. So much attitude the vet thought it would be wisest to euthanize her. I don't know enough about dogs to say what the problem was (and to a degree still is) for certain sure but this was a puppy who wanted things her way or no way. And she had the teeth to back it up. All was fine until you made any effort to restrain her or in any other way physically direct her path. Those puppy teeth were sharp! I think she sank them to the hilt in more than one person. Looking back it is amazing when you consider the rabies issue in Texas that we got away with keeping her anyway. She was a puppy. She was cute. I could not believe it was hopeless or 'too much work'.

Today, a long/short eight years later, I look at Su lying quietly on the den floor and think about how well behaved she is in the house, how sweet she is and okay, yeah, she's still not a dog to push around but she's a good dog and I tell her so every day. It's also been a whole lotta work. Yet it was worth it not just for the results (a good dog) but for all that I learned.

Some people are good at teaching, at training, whether it is an animal or a child. Naturals we might say. Some have studied and learned how to do a good job. But some? We expect so much, want it now, make demands, complain about non-compliance, but rarely seek new 'tools' to use that would help both sides have an easier time along with a better outcome. But no one had ever threatened to bite me before so there you go - I didn't learn until I had to or else!

So this is my plug for clicker training - a gentle positive way to modify an animals behavior and shape it to get the end results you desire. Yes, if you followed those links (and my personal favorite clicker site here, Shirley Chong's) you will see this "clicker training" is a way to relate to your dog resulting from concepts that can be used with people as well. I use a form of this in schools where I substitute - it is called tag teach. It grieves me to sub a class where some young child says, "I'll never earn a sticker", because he is a 'behavior' problem and has had only negative feedback. Sit down. Be quiet. Do your work. Pull your tag/write your name/lose recess. Whatever method is used in the class. Certainly there must be consequences for some actions. Yet too often that becomes our main focus. My focus is going to be rewarding the actions I desire - even if there is only the slightest move towards doing that thing, whatever it might be. In time you gain the behavior you want, whether from a dog, a lion, or a child.

There's not room here to tell all of Su's story, the issues we had and how I handled them (and we still train!). This is just to encourage you to search the 'net for these subjects and use them yourself.

It's spring.. when the air makes you want to get out and go places

like the Palo Duro Canyon. Here are two of my three, enjoying a bike ride to the "Lighthouse" a year or so ago. Someone told me once it is one of Texas's best kept secrets. I don't know about that but it certainly is a great place to visit if you like the outdoors. Plenty of walking and biking trails, at different levels of terrain, cabins and camping sites, horseback riding and even a few geocaches! There's nothing quite like waking up in the morning to see the sun come over the canyon rim, while cooking breakfast on the grill.

And then a pic of the youngest, as we take a break climbing
one morning.

Check this one out for a great vacation at a good price. If you don't
like camping, there is a nearby town with plenty of hotels.

(I would post the snake picture but some people don't like those. However, we never saw but two snakes in all the times we were there so don't worry about it.)

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Carnival of Cats!

The blog carnival of cats is listed in the sidebar. If you like cats, check it out!
deleted widget but google it if you run across this post and are interested. it's out there, hosted on a different blog each week. or check out to see all the carnivals.