Scrounges and Brothers

5.31.2010 | 2 Comments

Ladner May Days was in town this weekend, and although I missed out on it for the most part, my dogs Jenn and Luna seemed to really enjoy themselves with all the wonder that the Fair has to offer. This is my impression of what was going through my dogs’ brains as we walked through the park this morning…

Tree, tree, dirt – HOTDOG!? Score! Grass, grass, I know that dog, dirt, tree – NACHOS! With CHEESE! Dirt, dirt – MINI DONUT! Tree, grass – FRENCH FRIES! Dirt – HAMBURGER BUN?! This is AWESOME!

In an attempt to steer them away from all edible, rain-soaked and disgusting things, I walked them through town. Along the parade route…

Plant, flower, sidewalk, plant – CANDY!! Paper bag, plastic cup – CANDY!! Plant, plant – CANDY!! Dirt, weeds, plant – CANDY!!

Needless to say, our 40-minute walk took about 2 hours. In the rain.  Stupid greedy dogs.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway… Ali and I went back to hike the Brother’s Creek trail yesterday, and we had a lovely time. That really is a great trail, but it’s a bit short. It’s supposed to take 4 hours, but it takes us about 2.5 hours. We have decided to do it twice next time around. Well, that’s what we’ve decided now… given that we’ve forgotten about:


(yes, that’s water cascading down those steps)

However, it really is a beautiful and unique spot. Check out this weird pond we saw:

Cool, eh? Oh! And what about the big, honkin’ trees? Those are cool, too!

And then there are the weird, wonderful, wooly animals!

Ok, so it’s not the best photo, but still… it was a totally bizarre dog. Like a basset hound crossed with a yellow lab. Odd little bugger. Cute, but odd.

And of course, there is the view from between the trees…

It’s a great hike. Not too strenuous, and we did a whole lot better this time around than when we first attempted it. Oh, and no Nazi tree this time! It had been hacked up, splintered and rotted to within an inch of its life. Crazy what a difference 4 months can make in the forest.

And so, we finished our hike, and headed for home. We soon saw that the Lion’s Gate Bridge was at a crawl. We weren’t opposed to sitting in traffic, but as we discussed it, we realized that we shouldn’t sit in traffic because… ummm… all that idling would be bad for the environment. We needed to step up and do our part to keep the planet green! Proudly, we made the decision to turn off before the bridge and to do something for the good of mankind…

Muuuuuuuch better…

Happy beering hiking!


My Knees are My Friends

5.09.2010 | 1 Comment

First and foremost: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!  xo

I love you, mom!


Yesterday I had a scary thing happen. No, it wasn’t when I updated my iTunes and it promptly deleted my entire music library, although that too was scary. Although that was pretty gut-dropping-‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!‘-type scary, though…

Yesterday I was walking the dogs in the park, and having a fun ol’ time, when out of nowhere an uber-exctited dog came running up to play. This is not a problem, as the more the merrier, really. As the dogs were all running around in circles and acting like idiots (as dogs do so very, very well), the new uber-excited dog wasn’t looking where he was going, and ran right into me. He was going at top dog-speed and slammed right into my knees.

Now unfortunately for me, I wasn’t paying attention, and to make things worse, he hit me from the FRONT. My knees hyper-extended BACKWARD, and I fell to the ground with a stomach-lurching, nausea-inducing pain.

I was fine after a few minutes, but it got me thinking: what if I hurt myself before I get to even GO to Kilimanjaro? What if I’m hiking and I trip and sprain an ankle? What if I fall into some random cactus garden, and get infections from the bajillion little pokey-spikey things that jab into me? What if my toes explode off for no apparent reason? These are all valid concerns!

The really freaky thing is that I haven’t ever broken any major bone in my body, and I fear that the Law of Averages is catching up. I’m going to have to be very careful. Maybe I can make a deal with The Gods of Unbroken Bones…

Dear handsome, intelligent, all-knowing, fantastic Gods who are really, really cool,

Please don’t let me hurt myself before I go to Africa. I have a mountain to climb, and it would really suck if I hurt myself before I went. You can have me fall down a flight of stairs as soon as I get home in September if you like, just please, PLEASE let me make it to Kilimanjaro unscathed.

Thank you,


Hope that works.

And now, for the Kili Gala Raffle Prize reveal of the day: In honour of Mother’s Day, I happily tell you about this prize that is available to be won at the June 5th Kili Gala fundraiser for Delta Hospice*.

Bobs & Lolo are a super cute singing/dancing duo ‘who are dedicated to connecting kids to the natural world with music, movement and make-believe. Sharing musical stories that engage, inspire and educate, they teach kids to care about themselves, their neighbours and the planet’. They have graciously donated a wonderful DVD and CD set to the Kili Gala, and we have taken the opportunity to pair it with a $40 gift certificate to Buttercups Childrens’ Boutique in Ladner. This is a GREAT raffle prize for the mom who needs to get out and go shopping after getting a kids’ song stuck in her head at breakfast.

Best of luck at the Kili Gala Raffle Draw, and remember: I love you…

*To purchase tickets to the Kili Gala, just contact me through this site or go see Michael at Open Space Yoga, or Wade at Evolutions Hair Design!


Good. Better. BEST.

4.29.2010 | 1 Comment

Better than caramel and chocolate.

Better than peanut butter and bananas.

Better than french fries and milkshakes.

The greatest combination in MY world is THIS.  This video is so moving… just you wait until you get to the part about Rose…

Welcome to S.A.I.N.T.S. – a HOSPICE for DOGS. Greatest. Combo. EVER.

I have written about S.A.I.N.T.S. before, but thought that I’d bring them back to the blog due to some recent coolness. The Vancouver Foundation has created a short video about S.A.I.N.T.S., and I wanted to share it with you all. Aside from it being a really great video about a really great non-profit rescue organization, there’s something a little MORE special about this particular video.

The majority of the photos in the video were taken by my incredibly talented friend, Sheena (AKA – The Food Lady), who not only photographs rescued dogs, she actually rescues dogs herself!

Sheena has the most amazing knack for snapping a photo of an animal the most perfect moment. She has taken many photos of Luna and Jenn (mostly of Jenncheck out “Captain Icebeard”– because she’s mega jealous that *I* adopted her), and they always seem to portray EXACTLY who Jenn and Luna are.

Wanna’ know the REALLY cool thing about all this?

…Sheena has donated a pet photoshoot to the Kili Gala raffle!!  This is a seriously awesome prize, my friends. It usually costs about $250 to have Sheena “shoot your dogs”, and you may be able to get this photo shoot for a mere $22 at the Kili Gala. Something to think about if you’d love to have some professional photos of your bestest friend(s).

There are a lot of good people in this world, and I love that I am friends with one of the goodest (IT’S A WORD!). Sheena rocks. She gets all freaky when you try and compliment her, but she can suck it up today. She deserves some serious praise.

And to the rest of you, I say… HAPPY THURSDAY! May you be fortunate enough to meet some good people today.



The Best Part

4.16.2010 | 1 Comment

After a far-too-long hiatus, I went to yoga class on Tuesday at Open Space Yoga with Michael. It was a core yoga class, which I find easier than Hatha for some reason, so I knew I could take it easy. I have been genetically blessed with strong abdominal muscles, so I take to core work pretty well. In fact, it’s my favourite part of any type of training. I’m one of those weird people who actually looks forward to Boat Pose.  I think the fact that my mom put me in all sorts of sports when I was a kid really helped my body to create and maintain solid abdominal muscles. If all it took were strong abs to make it up a mountain, I’d be carrying Mt. Kilimanjaro up Mt. Everest!

… not really.

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway… in the core yoga classes, we do about an hour of conditioning work before Michael says the magic words: “It’s time for Savassana”. He dims the lights, puts on some soft music, and we all lay there like lumps of conscious brain matter. I do love my Savassana… it’s a personal space, one where you’re relaxing, but conscious of the fact that you’re relaxing. There’s no worrying about what to eat for dinner after class, or what you need to do at work the next day… it’s just your own time to honour the space and the time that you are in at that moment.

I’ll tell you what happens when I do Savassana – I imagine that I am in Dog Heaven. Really.  I have a rustic cabin there, with a lovely porch housing a gently swaying hammock. The porch overlooks a broad, green field that is gracefully cut through by a wide, slow, clear river. There is a tall, full, green forest beyond the river, and the whole field is in a valley, where snow-capped mountains ambitiously touch the sky. There are flowers in the field. And there are dogs.

Lots and lots of dogs. All they’re all happy, whole, healthy, well-fed and endlessly loved. They play together, and lap from the stream, they run up to me so that I can scratch their fluffy, soft ears and every so often, I imagine… a bacon tree! There are at least 3 dogs fat and happy under the bacon tree.

All of the dogs had a best friend on Earth, and they are waiting in dog heaven to see that friend again. And while they wait, they can look into the stream and see happy memories of their best friend. There are lots of wagging tails in my dog heaven.

Always beside me on my porch, swinging in the hammock and softly dozing with me is my dog Jake. Jake died in 2007, and it was a very sad time. So during Savassana, as I am laying comfortably on my mat in the Open Space studio, I am actually laying comfortable on my hammock, being nuzzled by a snoring, warm, fluffy, 4-legged version of love. It is Paradise.

I have finally learned that it is ok to say goodbye to Jake when it is time to return from Savassana, because I know that I can come back anytime. I give him a pat, slide off the hammock, and leave him there to sleep, and to drink the rest of the lemonade on the table.

But the best part is yet to come. After Savassana comes to an end, we all sit quietly on our mats and take a moment to reflect inward. We bring our hands together at Heart Centre. We exhale and lower our heads. And then, with our heads bowed, and with a sincerity so true, Michael gently says my very favourite phrase:

“Bring a smile into your heart”

I smile, and I feel it in my heart. My chest warms, and that warmth spreads through me like a waving colour. More often than not, bringing a smile into my heart brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for that moment. It is the best part of my yoga practice.

Yoga. For the good of the body, the peace of the mind, the memories of your dog, the warmth in the heart.


Yesterday… All my Pneumonia Seemed So Far Away…

4.11.2010 | 0 Comments

Yesterday I went around town approaching business owners for donations to the Kili Gala Raffle. I had a GREAT response! Everyone I approached was keen to help, and I was able to get some really neat things. THANK YOU!

I am going to get more posters copied and head into Tsawwassen today to try the same thing. Here’s hoping that business owners there as just as open to the idea!

I walked around Ladner for about 45 minutes yesterday, and by the time I got home, I was completely exhausted. It’s not until I try and actually *do* something that I realize how sick I actually am. I’m getting better, but I’m not necessarily getting smarter about taking it easy.

This morning I woke up and was feeling ok. A whole lot less coughing, and the rattle in my chest seems to have gone away. I decided to treat the dogs and go for our regular Weekend Morning Walk. I feel so bad that they’ve had to be kept to short walkies, so I was happy to oblige them today. We went out for 45 minutes, and it went really well for all of us (well, except for Luna who decided to go selectively deaf when she got near any garbage cans).

I’m going to relax, then take the girls to McDonald Beach at noon, so they can play with their Auntie Sheena and their cousins Tweed, Piper, Mr. Woo, Dexter and TWooie. It’ll be nice because all I have to do is sit on a log and throw sticks in the water. Nice job if you can get it, really.

Happy Jenn!

Happy Luna!

Happy Robyn!

*Ok, ok – so it’s not the same beach. Heck, it isn’t even the same continent! But you get the idea…



3.28.2010 | 4 Comments

I’ll admit it: I’m a law-breaker. I walk my two dogs without leash.

Call me in! Tell the cops! Have me tossed in the hoosegow!

I walk my two border collies each morning, happily sipping away at my mocha, as they gallivant through town, happy as waggy-tailed larks. They are well-trained beasts, and they listen to me. They can walk about 10 feet in front of me, but if I say “not so far, please”, they’ll come back a bit and walk closer.

To a dog, there is an entire world to sniff out there. Every day is a new day to them, and even though they’ve run their schnoz across the same ground 16 times in the past 4 days, it doesn’t matter – what is old is new again, thanks to the setting and the rising of the sun. My dogs are busy when they walk with with me; sniff here, run there, eat that thing, get yelled at for eating that thing, run over there, bring this thing here… it’s a never-ending Walk of Adventure.

So really, on walks, my dogs honestly don’t care much about anyone else but me. Unless you happen to be made of dog-cookie dough, Luna will ignore you. If you have a stick, Jenn would love to make your acquaintance. Otherwise, she’s got stuff to do, man. Border collies are known for being aloof and snobby. Even if Luna actually does stoop to approach a human, if you go to pet her, she’ll veer off to the left and leave you standing there looking like a fool.

Dude. You just got snubbed by a dog. Not cool. I feel really bad for people when Lu’ does this to them, and it’s so embarrassing to see them walk away nonchalantly as if they didn’t really want to pat that dumb dog anyway.

Generally when I come across people while walking my dogs, we exchange cordial greetings and carry on. Occasionally, I will get the impression that people are not keen on my having my dogs off-leash, and so I call Jenn and Lu’ to me and have them sit and wait until the passers-by have gone on. This usually invokes a ‘what well-trained dogs!’ or a ‘thank you’. But every once in a while, I get someone who is quite angry with me for walking my dogs off leash. Fair enough.

This morning, a lady who was walking her coat-bedecked cute fuzzball, quite angrily asked me where my leashes were. Then she lit into me, admonishing me for having my dogs off leash.

At least, I *think* that’s what she said. I couldn’t quite hear her over her precious little fuzzy angel’s incessant barking. The lady was having a difficult time yelling at me, as she needed to concentrate on holding her dog back as it was pulling and straining on its leash trying to sink its angel teeth into my leg. My dogs had long since passed this woman and her dog without even a sideways glance. There was grass to eat. There were things to pee on. That rock wasn’t there yesterday! OMG I THINK A SQUIRREL WAS HERE 14 HOURS AGO!

I listened to the lady for a short few seconds, but then as I was getting more annoyed at her dog’s YAPYAPYAP-ing, I realized that I needed to walk away before I said something I was going to regret. I wished her a happy day and walked on, leaving her words to bounce off my back as I carried on.

Here’s the deal: go ahead and get mad at me when you see me walking my dogs off leash. But if you can’t control your own dog while doing so, perhaps you should reconsider your rant.

This whole off-leash dog park business that’s been the hot topic of late is so simple to solve. It’s mind-blowing why it’s such a huge problem. Give dog owners a space. Just a small park where dogs can get the exercise they need, which ensures that non-dog people are comfortable in their own community.

I’m a law breaker. An evil, terrible, relentless criminal. I’m ok with that.

At least I know that I have the love of two very happy, well-trained, well-fed, much-exercised, dearly-loved dogs. To me, that’s all that matters. I offer no apologies.


WRF!? (Getting to knooooooow me…)

3.02.2010 | 0 Comments

Weird Robyn Facts

I was born “in the caul”. According to myth, this is a sign of good luck, and apparently I am destined for greatness. I am also immune to drowning, have a fairy accompanying me wherever I go, have the power to read palms, and can see into the future. It is also a sign that I may become a vampire.

I had my collar bone broken when I was a kid after SOMEONE tossed me under a spinning merry-go-round. Of course, I had just smacked that someone in the face with a tree branch, so I guess I got what I deserved. Sorry Steven.

I foster Border Collies for the That’ll Do Border Collie Rescue. Errr… well, I did. I keep adopting my foster dogs, so I kind of ran out of room. (But if YOU want to foster Border Collies, click HERE for more info) .

I cannot even THINK about the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron without tearing up. A “friend” of mine used to sneakily play the trailer just to see me cry. I CAN’T HELP IT! That poor horse… all tied up… and… and… *sniff*… oh god. I am really, really hoping that when I go on a safari in Tanzania that I don’t witness a lion mauling a zebra or something.

You know that sound when you remove the lid from a piece of unglazed pottery? Yah, I hate that sound. A lot. You know what kind of sounds like that? Walking on scree. Thaaaaat’s right. I get to climb an Unglazed Pottery sounding scree slope on Kili.



What Made Me Cry Today

2.28.2010 | 0 Comments


This is amazing.

S.A.I.N.T.S. is a rescue society that… you know what? I’ll let my amazing friend The Food Lady explain it to you, because she can do it way better than I can:


Dog Heaven’s Eagles.

2.20.2010 | 0 Comments

This morning I was hoping to walk the dogs at the Delta Watershed, but unfortunately my hip had other plans. “Level ground, please!” it said. I listened.

I went instead to the Super Secret Special Awesome park, known as the aptly named “Dog Heaven” to the astute of us. I won’t tell you where it is, so don’t even ask! Well… I’ll tell you if you make a donation, how about that?

And what did Dog Heaven reward me with this time? Well, by the time I got out of the car and let the dogs out of their crates (safety first, people!) I had counted nine bald eagles. After walking into the park, I counted ten more. It was incredible. Not only were they sitting in the trees scoping out the buffet fields below, they were flying in the crisp air, chasing each other through the tangles of branches, dipping down and soaring up in a game that I can only ever dream of playing.

They flew so close overhead that I could see their eyes scanning us, disappointed perhaps that Jenn and Lu’ were not shivering teacup poodles but heavy, lithe Border Collies.

At one point I saw an eagle bring a piece of… something gross… to a branch high in a tree, and before he could even start breakfast, two more eagles landed on the same branch and made wholehearted attempts to steal the treasure. There was a loud *crack*, as the weight of the three incredibly beautiful birds of prey snapped the branch from the tree, sending all three spiraling off for a millisecond before catching themselves and soaring gracefully to another tree.

And after my walk through the sunshine of the cold morning, as I headed back to the car, in the distance I could make out another tree across the street from Dog Heaven that was all but laden down with the black forms of nearly two dozen eagles, like some surreal Christmas Tree, decorated by Edgar Allen Poe.

And so, with the dogs safely tucked in their crates, I drove us home to continue the day that started so uniquely. We live in a beautiful place, and mornings like this serve to remind me not to take it for granted. Home is where my heart is, that’s for sure.


5 Great Things about Ladner:

2.05.2010 | 0 Comments

1) The ever-changing window displays at Bryan’s Bookstore

2) People you pass on the street happily greet you with a smile and a ‘good morning!’, even at 6am

3) The number of businesses that put dog-water bowls out front of their stores

4) Hearing the coyotes howl and the owls hoot in Harbour Park late at night, while I am standing on the other side of the river

5) The fact that my dog can happily follow behind a trotting miniature pony in the Trenant Park parking lot at 9:30 on a Thursday night.


The Girls Break my Heart

1.16.2010 | 2 Comments

I am having a dilemma of the heart. It is as follows…

I have two dogs; Jenn, a two-and-a-half year old purebred Border Collie who I fostered (and then ultimately adopted from) the AWESOME That’ll Do Border Collie Rescue in Vancouver, and Luna my nine year old dog who was rescued from a trailer after her first owners moved away and left her locked in there to starve to death (nice, huh?).

This is Jenn:

She is goofy, energetic, playful, crazy, energetic, loving, happy, energetic, eternally puppy-esque, adorable and energetic. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to completely tire her out – she just goes and goes and goes…

And this is Luna:

Luna is my Old Soul Dog. She is a Border Collie cross (I have no idea what she’s crossed with – maybe something smart, like an astrophysicist, or a seal…), and she is the Greatest Dog Who Ever Lived. She is calm, stoic, grateful, loving, at times goofy, and always perfect.

I take these two everywhere I can (you may have seen them outside the grocery store, in the bank, or wandering around Ladner with me), but when I have to go to work or other places that dogs simply cannot be, then they get to go to “Grandma’s” (my awesome mom) for ‘daycare’. I walk Jenn and Lu’ at least 2x a day, and my mom walks them 2x a day, as well. They get a lot of exercise, and they are very happy.

My dilemma, though, is this: Luna was born and raised in the East Kootenays. She is an Outdoorsy Dog, and the forest is her favourite place to be. However, she is now quite old, and even a 40-minute walk around town is getting to be too much for her. She has a wacky liver, an arthritic spine and a bum leg. But she’s still a happy, mobile and life-enjoying dog.

Jenn, on the other hand, is somewhat more energetic (have I mentioned that?) than Lu’, and can run like a maniac for hours on end, stopping only to lap up water, dig holes, or bring a stick/tennis ball/piece of garbage to drop at my feet.

I can hike with Jenn, but not with Lu’.

Lu’ simply does not have the physical capacity anymore. Sure, she’ll push herself and love every minute, but the moment she stops, she is going to be in a lot of pain, and will be so very unhappy for a few days after the hike. Luna, the one who lives for the forest and the trees… has to stay home.

So, if I bring them both hiking, Luna will ultimately suffer. If I just bring Jenn, Luna will know that we’ve gone somewhere wonderful (oh, that canine nose!), and that she wasn’t invited. It’ll break her heart. If I go without either of them, I feel like a guilty, horrible schmuck, knowing that they would both love to be there, and that they should be there, instead of sitting at home waiting for my return.


So far, this has been the hardest part of my training. My poor heart.