Friday, June 26, 2015


I came out on New Year's Eve in 1980 in Pocatello, Id. I was scared to death and had been wrestling with self-knowledge for years. Once I was out, though, I was unapologetic for my sexual identity. That has not changed in the 35 years since that momentous moment in my life. I have never been comfortable in the closet, not even to protect a job, and once I had T, the idea of hiding who I was went out the window.

 In that first year out, I flunked out of college (spent all day of my finals sitting in the Student Union telling dirty jokes with the first woman I truly fell in love with), got fired from a job, kicked out of an apartment, run off the road in Rock Springs, WY by a couple of offended cowboys with a shotgun, almost beat to death in Rock Springs, WY getting out of the cowboy bar I was dancing in with a bunch of other women, lay with my first woman and had my heart broke for the first time.

That tumultuous year was followed by others, until I finally ran out of tumult. I settled into my life and my sexual identity, fell in love, had a child. During that time I worried about what would happen to our family if anything happened to J or myself. Living your life with your breath caught in your throat is a difficult way to live. I was worried they would take T away from J if something happened to me. I was afraid that T and I would be homeless if something happened to J. It's no way to live, but we had no choice. The cost to draw up legal documents to somewhat protect either of us in the case of something happening to the other was $20k and even with those documents, we had no legal standing for J to parent T without fighting the courts.

Then things began to change. Laws started being passed. Law suits began to be filed. Two years ago there was a civil union and last year a marriage. And now I am equal in the eyes of the law with every other person in the nation.

I'm not optimistic enough to believe this is over, since we are still fighting about whether the Confederate Battle Flag is racism personified, and Black men are in danger of being killed by the people who are supposed to Protect and Serve. But for today, this is enough.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Buffalo Creek

Saturday was the day we choose to try a new trail up in the mountains. Our hope was that it would be cooler than in the valley and I was up for a new adventure. K and Eddy were supposed to do the Heritage Ride (we opted out because I wasn't sure J would be welcome and I'm not excited about riding Greenland again), but her ride to the ride didn't happen due to a tire malfunction. I invited her to go with us instead.

We got a really late start due to an early morning vet visit for the cat, who needed a shot of depo for his allergies. It was almost 11:30 by the time we met K at Garbonzos for lunch, then headed for the barn. Ashke loaded easily and we headed to get Eddy. Eddy raced onto the trailer. I think he likes our adventures. It was about an hour and a half to the trail head, but it was a good thing it was late in the afternoon, since they had been running a century Mountain Bike race on the trails we wanted to ride.

The flies were horrible. I used all of the fly spray I had spraying the boy three times before we rode out.

Cute horse being cute.

J getting her gear on.

Tia trying to get her bike computer fixed.

We headed south on the Forest Service road from the parking lot.

Ashke moved out barefoot and sassy. His tail was up all ride.

You'd think the name "Nice Kitty" would be an easy trail. 
(We met a guy on trail that told us to try this trail because it was easy. We were so not ready for the complexity of this area.)

A lot of the Nice Kitty trail is soft gravel and sand, some of it over slick rock.

The horses did okay, but it was pretty rough on J and Tia on their bikes, both up and down.

Both horses were sweating freely by the time we had made it a quarter mile up the hill.

Eddy was very sure footed and K is not afraid of heights, which was a good thing.

There is a creek crossing just below the slab of granite.

This was the scariest part of the trail. The path dropped sharply about two and a half feet down to the water. The last five feet of the trail to the water was slick rock at a very steep angle. With encouragement and a lot of leg, Ashke managed the slick rock and the water at the bottom. Eddy was not as excited about it and at one point he swung around and tried to climb the side of the mountain. I thought of Saiph and Lily's ten foot leap up the bank at one of her rides, and really hoped Eddy wouldn't try to climb the thirty foot  then I saw Eddy overbalance and was terrified that K would lose her balance and pull him over on top of her. She managed to get him turned around and I got off to lead him across the creek. He did the expected and jumped, but was good about not coming down on top of me. I got back on and we continued on our adventure.

The trail was very beautiful and it was moderately warm in the trees, with enough shade to cool us off.

The trail wound up by those rocks in the foreground and by the time we reached there I knew we needed to turn around. It wasn't going to be fun for J or Tia with the kind of climb we were doing and the trail just kept going up. K and I turned around and found the bike riders pushing their bikes up the trail.
It was time to head back down.

I was really happy that Ashke was barefoot, since his hooves are more grippy than the gloves. There was a lot of small patches and a couple of big patches of slick rock.

The Forest Service road was great. It had great footing and the elevation gain was not horrible.

There was a lot of private property on the left side of the service road.

Eddy was pretty happy. He has really become quite the trail pony. At least with Ashke.
K has had some issues with going into "scary" areas alone, but I think they will resolve as he keeps going out.

The trees are gorgeous.

J having fun on the trail.
This was about the time we met a guy who told us of an easy trail called "Nice Kitty".
We laughed.

The trail pretty much went up. Not steep and not hard, but up.

The Forest Service road went along the creek, which was high. We tried to get down to it once and Ashke sank almost to his hocks in the mud.
We turned around.

We did some trotting on the way out, and a couple of brief canters.

It really was a beautiful area. However, I killed four horseflies that landed on Ashke during our ride.

There was a fire in 1996, and the distant tree bones on the distant hill top are the burn area.

J enjoying the ride much more on this trail.


And Shade

Tia leading the way.

Access to the water

There was rock at the edge of the river, which allowed us access. 
Ashke drank and then wanted to walk out into the water.
I said no. It was too deep and running way to fast.

We got out of the way and Eddy went down.
All he wanted to do was splash though.

We took a break and ate some snacks.

The water was awesome.

We headed back.

The bikes liked the downhill. K and I alternated walking with an extended trot.
Both horses powered at the trot.

Ashke was headed back with his tail still flagged.

Some of the best slab climbing in Colorado, according to the website.

 We did eight miles or so.
Our next ride here, in three weeks, will be along the Forest Service road to Wellington Lake and back. K estimates it will be 18 to 20 miles, round trip.
On the map, it will be from the yellow arrow to the blue patch of water. 
There are also some of the side trails we want to try, that aren't as difficult as Nice Kitty.

It was an hour and forty minutes from loading on the trailer at the trailhead to being unhitched, with Ashke rinsed off and put away. It will make a nice place to ride when temps in  Denver are 90+.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Old Dog

August 11, 2004 to June 21, 2015

Named Guinness because she was Black and Tan.

Guinness was the most intrepid of the pups. She crawled out of the kennel bottom we had them in at three days old. She crawled up the three foot fence we had them in until they moved into kennels. Three times. And dropping onto her head. She was sweet, but not real smart.

She was the pup we went to court to keep. We knew when we went into the court room we would do whatever it took to keep our pack together. Guinness was so happy when we came home and told her we would be keeping her. She was J's from the very first and remained so for the entirety of her life.

She had a horrid underbite, but the sweetest face.

She was about nine months here. 

My Boxer Rainbow.
One of each color.

The three pups always laid together. Sometimes Joey would join them.

Guinness in the purple collar.

Xmas morning. Laying around.

Always touching.

Our sweet girl.

 She loved to camp.

 World's biggest tongue

She and Red were inseparable until Red passed.

Old Dogs camping.

Loved camping.

Guinness and Spike after Joey was gone.

 And then she was the Last Dog Standing.
She was riddled with cancer and we didn't think she had a lot of time, so we just waited.

Tumor above her eye.

She was really depressed when Spike died, so we got her two new puppies.
She wasn't real impressed.

Then she found her second wind. 

And she got older. An amazing amount of time older. 
Two and a half years after Spike died, she was still holding on.

Our last camping trip.

Sunday evening after dinner, Guinness got up and turned around on her bed. She whimpered as she laid down, which was the first time I heard her make any noise of pain. I watched her lay down and reach back for her butt. She was in pain and I could see the muscles under her skin twitch in her stomach. I called J and when she came down she said it was time. We loaded her into the car and headed for the hospital. 

While we waited for the vet to come and release Guinness, Guinness paced in circles moving between J, T and myself, trying to comfort. We got her laid down and the vet administered the sedative. Guinness laid her head on J's thigh as she laid down. In a few moments she was free. 

My boxer rainbow was gone. The Last Dog Standing joined her sister and her brother, who she really missed. 

We miss her so much.