Time to Leave

A bull elk calls out while looking directly at me on a rainy afternoon in the Madison area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in October 2006

I started the morning of the last day of my fall hiking trip in 2006 with snow in the higher elevations of Yellowstone. I didn’t stay long as I’m not used to driving in snow and spent the rest of the day in the lower elevations, finishing the trip watching an elk herd in the Madison area while a steady rain fell. It was October so the rut was winding down and the scene was rather tranquil, this bull nuzzled one of the nearby cows as the rest of the herd lingered nearby. Although it ignored me and the others who watched from near the road, the bull did glance in my direction once while calling out.

A bull elk turns his head to the side, showing six points on one antler and seven on the other, on a rainy afternoon in the Madison area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in October 2006

It looked like this bull had six points on one antler and seven on the other. There was a ranger there who said the elk in this drainage weren’t living as long as the others, based on analysis of wolf kills they suspected minerals in the Madison River were making their bones brittle. Fortunately I was ready for the picture up top as within a minute the bull laid down to rest. Ten minutes after taking the picture below, I had to say my goodbyes as it was time to start the long drive back to Oregon.

A bull elk lays down on a rainy afternoon in the Madison area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in October 2006

Bargaining With God

Our dog Ellie looks up while laying on her homemade dog bed in the living room of our house in Portland, Oregon on Halloween in October 2014

Our Heavenly Father,

Please let me live a long and happy life so I can look after my family no matter where they go. In return I promise I’ll be a good girl and not steal any pizza off the counter. Except I really like pizza and I know they want me to be happy and also someone needs to test it to make sure it hasn’t been poisoned. How about I promise not to steal any vegetables off the counter, they can cover it from one end to the other with broccoli and carrots and I won’t take a bite.

Also, I’m sorry I ate the entire batch of freshly baked cookies. And the tub of caramel. And …

Spread Eagle

Our dog Ellie lays on the kitchen tile with her legs splayed out to her side in July 2013

Ellie shows off her classic spread eagle pose on the floor of the kitchen of our house in 2013. It became her most common sleeping position late in life when getting up became more of a challenge as she could push off with her front legs to compensate for her weakening back legs, but it was always in her repertoire from when we first adopted her in 2009. On this particular morning we had adopted Boo the day before, he was staying with my wife in her office while Ellie and Sam and Emma were with me.

Of Views and Neighbors

Our cat Trixie snuggles in between our cat Sam and a backyard window in November 2019

Sam has taken to this south-facing window where he can lie with the sun warming his belly, all with a view of the quail and doves and woodpeckers in the backyard. As happens in life though, sometimes a neighbor moves in and blocks your view, or climbs into bed with you for a snuggle. C’est la vie.

The Handsome Fellow

Our cat Templeton looks into the camera with his green eyes while resting in our backyard in Portland, Oregon in the evening of August 1, 2003

I was editing this picture of Templeton from 2003 so I could bring its associated blog post back online only to discover there was no associated post, and it never even made it up onto my old site before then, but better late than never. Templeton was a handsome little fellow with his green eyes and gray tuxedo and had a charming personality to match. I wasn’t a cat person when I met him a decade prior when my wife and I started dating, how little I understood then of how he would change my life. I didn’t get my first camera until college or grad school, the most basic of point and shoots, with my first SLR in my last year of grad school, so I’m thankful I switched to digital in 2000 and began photographing him more often. This picture encapsulates a lot for me, I took it during our first full year in the house in Portland where we would live for sixteen years. I think of him every day as I do all the pets and am thankful for the pictures I have to remember him by, he was a little charmer!

The Collar

Our dog Ellie rests on her dog bed in my office a week after we adopted our cat Boo in July 2013

I was looking at this picture of Ellie in my office, taken a week after we adopted Boo in July 2013, and what struck me is that she is wearing her collar. I can’t remember when we started taking it off when she was at home, only putting it on when she went out or when someone like the cleaners would be coming to the house. When I was in bed Ellie wouldn’t wake me directly to get some love and attention, the only time I remember her doing it was when we moved this year and in her senility she was stressed from not knowing where she was. But in her younger years she had a couple of tricks she’d use to “accidentally” wake you, such as standing beside the bed and quickly shaking her head back and forth so her dog tags jingled, which we solved by taking off the collar. The one that made me laugh the most was when she’d jump up into the empty side of the bed after my wife got up and dance around and around and around and if that happened to wake me, well it couldn’t be helped could it? But say, now that you’re awake …