dutch lessons .01 (application through Anthropomorphism)

Let me begin by clarifying that these are lessons learned from the Weimaraner, named Dutch, at my house, not actual lessons in the Dutch language. If you need to move on to another blog due to the misunderstanding, please do so now. 

We have all heard that “the grass is always greener” and Dutch seemingly proves this over and over. The grass is greener on the other side for any number of reasons but the one I would like to highlight is contentment. Dutch will sit inside by our sliding glass door and look out over the backyard. Aside from bird activity (more on this in the next episode) and the occasional breeze blowing leave across the patio, there isn’t much to excitement. The backyard is a good place to entertain, just not entertaining on its own accord. 

Dutch is trained well enough to know to go to the bathroom outside. He does this mostly on a schedule so it is rare that he will randomly need to go. Should that time arise he will sit or lie down by the door – stay there – and even begin to whine if needed. If we call him away from the door, he will not budge when he needs to pee or poop. Sometimes he just really wants out though, in these cases he will lie by the door and whine or sigh (like a kid in timeout or teenager ready for this lame time with the parents to end). Naturally, it is up to us to let him out and as always, better safe than sorry. 

WITHOUT FAIL once he is outside, he will want back inside. Regardless of whether he goes out to do business or just to chase a bird, his desire to be outdoors is short-lived. That is until once he is back inside, where after getting a sip of water or taking a lap around the living room, he will immediately need to be outdoors again. I have yet to test it, because of the strain it would place on me and possibly my sliding door, but it might be fun to see how many times he would go out and come in and go out… consecutively. 

Application: What window am I looking out? Where do I want to be and then do I double back to the place I just was? For me I know that I am very “in the moment” but write this today because of how easy it is to want to be on the other side. 

Anthropomorphism: Dutch leaves the comforts of the indoors for the excitement and beauty of the outdoors but misses that beauty and excitement because he immediately wants back in. Once inside he is uncertain how comfortable and cozy it is because he once again desires to be somewhere else. 


april absence brings may abundance

As I return to blogging after over a month away, I decided to write this long hand. Of course, now I am typing what I had written on the legal pad. All too often I forget the therapy included in handwriting. For that matter, I forget the therapy incorporated with a number of things: long drives in the car, runs, hikes, spending time with others, the driving range, and yard work. Each of these has a therapeutic value that is taken for granted. The reason for my absence had some to do with motivation and some to do with the rest of life that seems to get in the way; for a while I was even flirting with potentially moving to Houston, but now that is less likely. 

Next week I will update you, at least those of you that do not follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, with my adventures from the past month or so. Instead of throwing it all into one bulk post, each day will feature one specific theme: soccer, music, running, something new and everything that I am looking forward to.  Following next week, I look to get back to blogging regularly. Remaining motivated, if for no other reason, because of the therapeutic aspect of writing. Constantly reminding myself of why I do what I do: Write, coach, and massage because I want to share my passion to allow others to enjoy a similar experience. 




where are you going, where have you been

I stole the title of Joyce Carol Oates’ beautiful short story to write a little about transition. The past three weeks I have been on a whirlwind of many mini-travels. Which may sound more exciting than the actual relaxing atmosphere they presented. During my trips to Arkansas, back to Texas, Florida, Arkansas again, Texas, then to North Carolina and finally back to Texas, I did some writing and reading, experienced some new places and feelings but neglected to report them here.

The first trip was to Arkansas for one of my youngest brothers’, Daniel, college graduation. I am proud of his journey into adulthood, which is maybe more of a fatherly or grandfatherly thing to say. My brothers and my sisters have all made me proud in their own way. Honestly, no two of them have shared a reason for me to think highly of them. Their uniqueness surely spawns from my unique upbringing, our one-of-a-kind relationships. 

The back to Texas portions of my trip were simply to regroup, repack, and reset in order to set out again. 

The Florida trip was to meet up my mom and step-dad, Flip. For mom’s 60th birthday, she would stop along the way at sewing and quilting shops. She has surely found her niche. The quilts in my living room are regularly enjoyed by roommates and myself. I enjoyed playing three rounds of golf with Flip, including twice at the beautiful yet challenging course at Magnolia Landing. These Florida courses played host to a number of amazing birds and few alligators. 

From Florida we drove, along scenic highways and busy interstates, back up to Arkansas. We made in time for a family Christmas that featured more children than ever. Even though we were missing a couple of the cast, we managed to have a good time catching up and may have begun a new tradition of driving to Haynesville, LA for a Rita or Pina Colada. I look forward to seeing everyone again at the end of January. 

The final portion of my trip, after another reset in Austin of course, was out to Charlotte, NC to spend Christmas with Lindsey and her family. Everyone has their own Holiday traditions, it was good to see Lindsey enjoying hers with her family. One of the things I personally liked best was that everyone put a little something in everyone else’s stocking. A manageable task since there were only 5 of them. 

That is where I have been, exploring without reporting. Where I am going constitutes keeping a better record of such travels as they occur. As I use the turn of the calendar to regroup, repack and reset, I also hope to be better about making sure these people in my life know how much I love them.

This Horse Wins Halloween



skeleton painted horse halloween (5)

Photograph by Knot Just Rope


When Sandy Cramer decided to paint a skeleton on her 10-year-old black mare named Raven, she had no idea how popular her ‘skeleton horse’ would become. She first painted Raven last year for her entry into a horse and rider Halloween costume contest. The overwhelming response convinced her to repeat the costume for 2013.

Below you will find more details on Raven and the process of transforming her into ‘skeleton horse’. All information and photographs are from Sandy’s Facebook page for her storefront Knot Just Rope.

Sandy Cramer is the owner of Knot Just Rope, a store specializing in handmade rope products for equine use and training. You can find them at the Hocking Hills Market in Rockbridge, Ohio.


skeleton painted horse halloween (6)

Photograph by Knot Just Rope


“All my horses are barefoot and bit-less as we do our own trimming and I…

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7 Songs You Really Should Listen to Right Now

Thought Catalog

The first time I was told that I had eclectic taste in music, I was in second or third grade on a long road trip with my family. I had my book of CDs and oh-so-cool walkman and was proudly singing some song off of …Baby One More Time when my father remarked that I was probably the only 8-year-old with everything from Britney Spears and the A*Teens and boy bands to the Olsen Twins’ Greatest Hits CD (yes, that did exist) to the Godspell soundtrack in my CD collection. I didn’t think anything of it and kept on singing along.

Recently though, I realized I do have the absolute strangest taste in music. I listen to Sutton Foster and Laura Osnes’s live albums recorded at the Café Carlyle as much as I listen to the new Luke Bryan CD. I know all of the words to “Monster” by Young…

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franklin barbecue

“This is most definitely the earliest I have ever been up for barbecue.”  – Me, this morning. Truth be told, it wasn’t really that early but seemed far earlier considering my late night out last night. It also would not have been so early had one of my fellow adventures not had to drop of her son at band practice. Regardless, I was thankful for the ride. We were in route to the world renowned Franklin Barbecue, which is open from 11 a.m. until they run out. Getting there early not only ensures you will be fed but it grants you a coveted place in the shade. We arrived at 8:30 and found ourselves safely secure beneath the building’s carport. There were 18 people in front of us. The guy right ahead of us had arrived at 8; recently concluding a time of service to our country, he had driven with his dad from San Diego on their way to New York. Franklin was their only mapped-out stop. Now that is barbecue enthusiasm!

Having brought lawn chairs and a cooler of beer & water, we were ready for the wait. I had also brought along a book and laptop but opted to visit with others instead. Many in line had their own refreshments, books, and chairs as well. The Chair Guy was set up across the street renting chairs with complimentary shade umbrella’s for $5 for all those who came without. By 9:30, the line ran past the length of the building and across the parking lot.

The people watching and conversations seemed to shorten the wait. They almost make up for the fact that you are overwhelmed by the smell of the smoking meats. Additionally, even though Franklin doesn’t open until 11, the bathrooms were open and a couple young ladies walked up & down the line selling beverages.  Local brew gets this place bonus points.

At 11:00 SHARP, the gates are open and all the children flood into  the chocolate factory. Wait, wrong dream come true. The door does open at exactly eleven though and the first 30 are allowed to file inside. It took us another 30 – 40 minutes to reach the front of the line. Here you give your order; ours included brisket, sausage, ribs and pulled pork. The cutter gives you samples to occupy your mouth while you watch him slices away. (most likely to keep you from drooling all over the restaurant) He even threw in some turkey, the one meat we weren’t ordering. Our plate looked like this:


BEST BRISKET EVER!!! There I have said it, the meat seriously lives up to the hype. We enjoyed both the fatty and lean portions. The fatty was so easy to eat we were almost drinking it. Each slice had a beautiful bark, smoke rings and other ideal coloration. I found the turkey to have a good balance of moist and smokey, The rib meat fell easily off the bone, as it should and was a wonderful combination of flavors. The sausage and pulled pork were good as well, but my eyes, stomach and mind kept wanting more brisket.

I tried each meat on its own and then with each of the three available sauces. The brisket went best with an Espresso BBQ Sauce while I preferred the Texas Style sauce for the other meats. Franklin doesn’t need me to advertise but their sauces are now available at H.E.B.

“Worth the wait!!” was my post on Instagram. I recommend embracing the wait – make a morning of it, enjoy some relaxing time with friends and some of the best brisket ever. If you don’t have that time, get a friend to bring you some home like I did for my roommates. Finally, in a whisper, if you go on in the middle of the week you can get away with arriving around 12:30. When we were leaving the end of the line was where we started and they had plenty of meat still to go. They do a pretty good job calculating the day’s needs so that no one has to read the “Sorry Sold Out” sign. If you do have the time, don’t chance it and be disappointed, chose your own destiny and make it an experience.

moving forward

The college world series is into the Super Regional stage of the competition and even though Arkansas is no longer participating I am still drawn to watch. It has become another excuse to keep me from this blog. Other excuses include but are not limited to rare opportunities to hang out with particular friends, work as a massage therapist at Lifetime Fitness, travel or simply not having my computer with me. Today my schedule at Lifetime is wide open so I thought ahead and brought in my computer. Not that I have had an everyday desk job but I think that managing a blog on a daily, or at least regular, basis would be easier for someone behind a desk all day. Clearly, I cannot blog while massaging or while coaching soccer or while driving. My blogging has to come before I get into all those things or after coming home tired from all of the above. I know that work better under pressure and better with a schedule or routine. I suppose waking – running – writing every day before 8:00 a.m. will be difficult but it is quite possibly the only thing that I can do to ensure the daily practice.

I write this not as an excuse but more to express my disappointment in my recent commitment. So moving forward, I hope to be better; remembering that sometimes, improvement is all one can hope for.

excuses, excuses

No excuse is a good excuse but, sometimes, bad excuses make for good writing material. My absence the past couple of weeks is due one of these bad excuses after another. The first of my first world problems came when my MacBook Pro was no longer working. The logic board had gone out because my overall treatment of the laptop over the last six years could be called less than gentle. By this I simply mean that I set by backpack down a little too carelessly, one too many times. I did in fact blog from my phone the #strongerthan post but “Fool me once…” The cost of repairing the logic board is significant; I felt it was worth it to put that cost toward with a new machine. I went with the MacBook air because of its size, weight, and the fact that it fits my every need. Certainly, I could have visited a library or borrowed a computer but clearly I did not. I would like to think that had I strongly felt the need to post something, as I did with the #strongerthan post, I would have made it happen. The second excuse for my absence was an amazing trip to scenic, nope better than that, breathtakingly beautiful Vancouver, B.C. Though I took extensive notes while there, I did not post them online.  There will be a later post about the trip and the marathon.  Finally, I have been helping a few friends with some of the things they were writing: letters, resumes and the like. I am happy to be back to the blog and apologize for missing for the time that I did.


Under the Shade Tree of Enlightenment

I sat down to write a poem for you today
One that would make you smile, touch your heart
I wanted to write the most beautiful thing
But I did not even know where to start.

I could write about your physical being
each part whether containing beauty or flaw
and that I loved you, not in part but whole
only to find it was not poetic at all.

I moved on to conquer the emotions
and how you always seem to make me melt
But then realized how I should write about
The thing itself and not just how I’d felt.

I put all poetic devises aside
what I guess I mean to say is this
I like your companionship and your touch
but mostly how your hugs feel like a kiss.

I wish though that I could fit you in a verse
and include everything you mean to me
but you’re too marvelous and I lack the skill
to put you into words, to put you into poetry.

Everything’s not lost (a hunt for hope)

beaten, tired, defeated __ sitting in the shadow

gravity affected lip corners __ heavier eyes

in a time she finds she dislikes this place, some people,

the long day

distressed by the difficult __ remembers when she was

challenged/encouraged by a troubling task

or a tasking trouble-r

closing her eyes __ she disappears to then

(almost forever ago)__ keeping her composure,

thinking on the strength of her mother

eyes open __ realizing she is still here (now)

here with demeaning dudes, worry stricken somewho’s

a young poet pretending to pick through her psyche

sigh __ her expression is greater than or equal to ( > )

the definition of sad __ like a well written tragedy

her mien evokes pity

she tries again __ she sees him, the man she once loved

loneliness and self-pity vanish in his presence

A Smile __ claims “Ollie Ollie oxen free” upon her face


turbulent jolt __ awakened

unexpectedly catching a break, one she feels

she has been chasing for half of an eternity


Opportunity to dream

Falling hard

Into a

Fabulous fiction

Even if only for a moment

the beginning

I want to write more.

I want to write more.

I want to write more.

This one-liner makes its way out of my mouth far more than it should. I’ve spent to last year writing more for someone else, as a ghost. Though I enjoyed the regular practice of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, I desired a more personal outlet. mohawkmoon is to be this new outlet, this regular practice… me – writing – more.