Us & Them…

when we see in terms of us & them; we only see half of it

eyes without vision are blind

when we are intolerant of them, we are a bigoted us

when we hate them, we hate us

when we kill them, we kill us

there is no us without them

our us & them are indivisible

…one life…

...The Pulse June 12, 2016

…The Pulse
June 12, 2016







 10,000+ feet above earth en route from Alaska to Maine; when an epiphany struck.

I am a big fan of the a-ha’s of life.




Perhaps I should not have been surprised that Rebecca Brandon came to mind as I was flying over the clouds…  After all, she is now of the ethereal world.


But there I was reading and reflecting when I realized something important.  …Soon after joining her handling class, Ms Brandon became hard on me.  In earnest I tried to absorb what she was teaching, but it felt like she kept changing the rules.  It seemed she was impossible to satisfy, and seldom did I ever get an attaboy.

But as painful as it was, I learned a lot.



I am answering you, not to answer but to simply destroy the questions. I am not a teacher. The teacher teaches you; the master does not teach you, he helps you unlearn.

IMG_2221-Book Of Wisdom OSHO commentary on Atisha’s work









Rebecca was a master.


Dear One, may you rest in peace.  You knew exactly what you were doing so well.




So many qualities to love about our dogs; and, two of my favorites are their in-the-moment consciousness and their resilience.  You can learn a lot from a dog when you quiet your thinker, watch, and take it to heart.  Obviously mental health leads physical health, at least quite a bit of the time.


8x10 IMG_2783


Aoife looks grand this morning, and even jumped off our bed herself.

Us monkeys could cry over our losses for days, weeks, months, or even years.  But that wouldn’t change anything, except for maybe how we get out of bed.




Until We Meet Again…


What strikes me most about the death of our loved ones, is that nothing prepares us for that moment.                       Nothing.


…Not the knowledge that death is pending.

…Not watching our loved one’s courageous journey through those later days.

…Not even that peaceful resignation of a body too frail to fight for another day.


All of that, faced with unsurpassed courage from the most certain knowledge of and acceptance for this loved one’s need to move on.



But with word that our dear one has indeed moved on ahead… now that takes my strength away and leaves my head pounding. Even though I have deep faith that our beloved is in a much better place; my heart and body pours forth a storm of sadness …reluctant to embrace our loss of her.



DSC_6009Dear One… be in peace



Whilst Waiting On Death… We Live.


life is fragile & robust
…a miracle
eludes our mind
life’s form separates
…do not overlook this
our souls entwine
give me your hand
…but loosen your hold
eternity awaits our sure decline





forever the birds will sing
…in time
 a tribute to our grand ‘ole lady of dogs

Rebecca Brandon – forever in our hearts



small”w”, small “p”


While in an attempt to share some common ground with a friend who aspires to be a published writer; I divulged that though I absolutely love to write, I am not much of a reader.  From there I learned from him there is protocol for such things.  I was informed that all successful writers are voluminous readers, because that is how one learns interesting new ways to develop plot, blah blah blah…

Now maybe it was the Margarita on board, as I seldom drink anymore.  But admittedly, I felt slammed.  And I found myself still pondering the conversation the next morning.




Later in the day I found myself discussing this further with my youngest son, who simply stated that a lot of people hold themselves just minutes away from true happiness.  Instead of being their authentic self indulging in what they enjoy; it seems people commonly overwork their achievements, discourage themselves with what they are unable to do, and eventually lament over what might have been…

Now my son is quite naturally artistic, but he went on to describe himself as an artist with a lower case “a”.  Although his artistic bent is reflected in everything he touches, my son is not compelled to sell it to anyone.  So, he reasoned, he will never be viewed as a big “A” artist.




Dirty DogsWhat a stroke of insight!  I can be satisfied to be a small “w” writer and small “p” photographer.  Mine may not be THE BEST, but it sure is FUN.

Why, just look at who we shared the trails with this weekend!…




Imagine the sound: clippety-clop…


These two are regulars in our neighborhood…


…Recognizable by the white legs.


…Still more horses readying for their day out of the barn.





Good For The Soul…



It is amazing how much beauty can be found in the simple little things.

 It is amazing how much beauty can be found in the simple little things.




Aoife is loving life on the throne, being queen of all she sees...

 Aoife is loving life on the throne, being queen of all she sees…




Stirling wonders how anyone can live without a daily dog walk.  …For him there is no greater joy.

Stirling wonders how anyone can live without a daily dog walk. …For him there is no greater joy.

…For me either.




Louis Armstrong“What we play is life.”

-Louis Armstrong














More Questions Than Answers…


A few weeks back while I was playing with the Kerries in a small high field at the edge of our neighborhood, a disinterested man tore by us on his bicycle.  What made that all the more odd was that he disappeared down over the far hill that led to the marsh.  Knowing the area well, I quickly presumed he had set up camp.  There could be no other reason for his decisive ride into the brush that skirted the field.  …The Kerries watched without opinion.  So without another thought our play took us in our own direction.

So once again weeks later we opted to explore close to home in our limited stomping grounds – seasonally restricted by lowland.  And with an eye on the termination dust frosting the tippy tops of the higher distant mountains, I decided to wander down over the far hill that led to the marsh for a chance at clear view…




There are a few obvious things that can be said about Alaska.  Alaska is big.  Alaska is cold most of the year.  Alaska is home to animals that can kill you.  Alaska is before all else beautiful.

But there are also things that may be a surprise about Alaska; One being the number of homeless folk, many of which survive largely outside year round.



DSC_9736…So there was the narrow foot trail muddied up by a frequent bike, and I recalled the aloof man of weeks before.  I glanced around the woods expecting to see a low lying shelter.  But what I found was quite different.









DSC_9734Just suppose for a moment we step inside another’s skin and see through their eyes.  Is there a more lovely morning view?  Though that first step out of bed could be a doozie.  But wait!  How did he get up in there the evening before?

Do we conclude a man is incompetent if he is homeless?  Why do we choose to live the way we do?…



Fascinated by Fungi…


DSC_9633I am not planning to say anything particularly intelligent about Fungi.  I will leave that to the experts:

We see a bunch of mushrooms on our daily dog walk, and I have observed that they do not seem to last long once they reach their prime.  In fact within a day of prime they can completely disappear…






I'm Looking at You; You're Looking at Me...

Truly there is a whole other world carrying on mostly unobserved right there in plain view if only we take the time to look very closely…



Little Bitty Ones...

Little Bitty ‘shrooms…


Large Ugly 'shroom in our front yard...

Large Ugly ‘shroom in our front yard…


An up-turned 'shroom…  Perhaps kicked over by a Kerry dog...

An up-turned ‘shroom… Perhaps kicked over by a Kerry dog…



My personal favorites…




DSC_9621Life-it’s-own-self has a way of distracting us from our simple needs.  So on occasions I have actually forgotten how much better life is with a regular daily dose of being outdoors.  The Kerries have a way of keeping me honest with that need…




Giving Thanks… aka ThanksGiving


It is always important to give thanks, and be mindful that there is a hidden treasure in every unexpected turn no matter how it looked when it first hit your radar.



Little Miss Can't-Be-Wrong

Little Miss Can’t-Be-Wrong

To be honest, when I first brought Aoife home, breeding was the furthest thing from my mind.  She was, after all, my first beloved Kerry Blue; before which, I had no prior experience.  So the fact that 5 years had rolled by was no surprise…


But now I had been seriously considering breeding Aoife at her next heat.  For no one can deny that Aoife had many desirable qualities.  And it was toward that end that I had all the important DNA tests done back in April.

For purposes of planning, the calendar remained a bit of a mystery.  Though Aoife’s seasons for mating had historically been spaced far apart, the last had come surprisingly early.  So I had my fingers crossed that Aoife would do her thing no sooner than October; a time I could be ready with the planning.  But when I returned from our recent quick-turn-around trip to Maine, my sweet-girl was in blood.

That would seem disappointment enough, but truth be told she has a distinctly palpable caudal mammary tumor.  My understanding is mammary tumors are extremely common in canines.  And although 50% are malignant, that statistic does not reflect on a mortality rate that is much less.  Problems tend to come about when people wait too long before seeking appropriate care.  And as a owner of an intact bitch, I cannot say that I did not realize there was a distinct possibility that she may over time develop one.  But it does rather squash the plan to breed at least at this time, and obviously none of us are getting any younger.


DSC_9102So why have I entitled this blog Giving Thanks… aka ThanksGiving?  It is strictly a matter of faith.  For I have learned and internalized that circumstance is seldom as it seems.  I have learned a treasure emerges from every hardship that has been fully trusted.







DSC_8897The Kenai Kennel Club hosts an annual all-breed dog show in Soldotna, Alaska.  This is an event we truly look forward to, as the commute between is a worthwhile adventure.  There are 150 miles of gorgeous that first pass by the Turnagain Arm before unwinding through the Chugach National Forest.   From there we pass by Cooper Landing where the water is a breathtaking azure blue.


This year our trip was made in the rain.  Within minutes of arrival we were greeted by our friend Wendy, who helped us set up our pop-up grooming tent in record time.  By the time we finished, we were drenched…

The iPhone weather forecast was certainly not optimistic.  The whole weekend was predicted in rain by 80-90% chance.  And that evening as I gave my last good look at Stirling, I comforted myself with the well-known wisdom fact that the exact experience you are having is the exact experience you need.  And that evening I closed my eyes at the Hooligan Lodge with no hope of sunshine the next morning.  …But there was no worry in my heart.

And as it were the morning was full of sunshine; as if in the better dream of life, we only needed to have faith…  OHM


But truly, there were lots of stories to be had and nothing was as easy as that.  The grounds were wet, and the bathtub at Hooligan’s was completely dysfunctional.  And if I have learned nothing else, it’s that a terrier needs to exercise.  So most of the weekend I spend retrieving a filthy dirty dog to show-shape.  But it was fun, albeit a lot of work.


But here’s the upside:

Judge Cecilia Ringstrom awarded Stirling O'Hanluan his very first Terrier Group 1 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 13, 2014!!!

Judge Cecilia Ringstrom awarded Stirling O’Hanluan his very first Terrier Group 1 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 13, 2014!!!


Judge F.M. (Butch) MacDonald awarded Stirling O'Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 12, 2014

Judge F.M. (Butch) MacDonald awarded Stirling O’Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 12, 2014


Judge Michael J Woods awarded Stirling O'Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 11, 2014

Judge Michael J Woods awarded Stirling O’Hanluan Terrier Group 2 at the Kenai Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in Soldotna, Alaska on July 11, 2014


…I am truly grateful to all of you who walk this life with me.  You inspire and encourage me, and you remain in my ceaseless prayers…  Always




The trip to Florida was worth every penny and minute expended.  I’ve learned to accept defeat with grace.  And I’ve seen how to win with humility; though I may not always choose to strictly abide by that knowledge.  Any little victory screech may be totally unnecessary; …or is it?!?  [wink]
…More importantly, I had the opportunity to meet some crazy awesome dogs & people.  And I took home a first-hand perspective that is unique, which I value beyond measure.
So here it is: About the biggest thing I can conclude is that everyone knows something.  And some know a lot.  But nobody knows everything.  …And I think that is good to keep in mind.
It’s good to embrace the challenge of learning all aspects of this wonderful sport for oneself; cause otherwise you are at the mercy of other’s opinions.  And it makes sense to continue to question oneself at a healthy frequency to make sure you haven’t become blind amidst your own obsession.


It Could Be No Other Way…


Let me pause and give thanks. The one thing I am sure about is this trip will give me exactly the experience I need, as this is the experience I’m having. It could be no other way…

A dog show that may seem to be a big deal (or simply a big ordeal) is really just a microcosm of the life it occurs within. Thus: “The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.” -Pierre de Coubertin

Thank YOU all for your abundant encouragement. …It is not lost on me.




There’s a lot of comfortable numb amongst the masses, but I honestly don’t think the young folks are comfortable enough to be comfortably numb.  Numb maybe, such as that derived from perhaps an inculcated pattern of behavior.  But not comfortably numb as in another generation of spoiled brats…  I believe there is a growing awareness, especially amongst the younger ones, of the need for sustainable living choices with a move towards intangible truths and away from materialism.

The evolution of our human society will not arise from old methods of revolt war and propagation of hate.  War against anything causes more resistance.  Resistance against anything causes more war.  To create something truly wholesome you must start with things truly whole.  “Occupy” was a good idea poorly executed, and it could be no other way.

If  you were to ask for my opinion on where we could begin, I’d dare share an answer: Turn off the television (and other media streams).  You do not need to subject yourself to this, and it has made nobody the stronger or wiser.  You can be intelligent outside the mental constructs of this ever present insanity that permeates our society today.  I know in my heart and soul that we are the world, and we make a difference; and I know that our every choice of every second of every day creates the world we have right now.  We needn’t worry of tomorrow, we must only be conscious of our choice right now.

If just one makes any difference; imagine intentional living coming from a whole neighborhood, a whole state, a whole country, the whole world!!?!!…

You may say I’m a dreamer; but I’m not the only one…

Imagine Lennon




Let It Be…

I love this simple life we lead.  Let us embrace every day with a knowledge of the gift we share, and thanksgiving…

The world is in a big struggle that can’t be denied; And, we do not have our heads buried in the sand.  In fact, in this life and in my youth I’ve shoved myself far into the face of it.  I’ve compelled myself to jump off the high bridge into the river below literally and figuratively; both at times when there was nothing especially compelling except the draw towards the experience, as well as when the choices seemed narrow by my own previous doing as we know karma.

The struggle is there simply for our awakening.  And in that way it is all so simple.  Let it be…


Let It Be Lennon-McCartney

Let It Be