Monday, August 17, 2020


 We don't know Taz's actual date of birth - but we adopted him on December 17th and the vet thought he was about 4 months old so we gave him the birthday day of August 17. For today's post, I am simply humoring myself and finding / posting favorite Taz photos from the past 9 years starting with the classic he ever going to grow into those ears?!

Approaching his first birthday (summer 2012), he showed us one of his favorite snacks.

Lots happening around his second birthday (2013): he helped us put up the Little Free Library that we built for the school/neighborhood, he glowed with his approaching birthday, and he just didn't know what was happening when our street turned into a river with the 2013 flood.

2014 - three years old and, yes, he did grow into those ears! He also discovered the joy of lounging in a pile of leaves after a run.

Four years old and such a good running companion.

And on the eve of the fourth anniversary of his adoption day, one of my very most favorite photos of happy happy Taz pup.

For his fifth birthday, a major celebration: Taz and the waves of Lake Michigan - his fave!

Did I mention how much he loves the waves of Lake Michigan - which he gets to play with whenever we travel back to my hometown of Petoskey? He had plenty of opportunities during his sixth year (2017).

We can't have a photo album of Taz without including photos of his new "brother." Taz's boy Paul adopted Barley on New Years Eve 2017, and Taz has had a major hand (paw?) in raising li'l Barley. Barley helped Taz celebrate his 7th birthday.







Just after his seventh birthday, we set off for a bunch of trail runs in the northeastern states - and Taz got to explore some new territory. Here he is in New Jersey on the Paulinskill Valley Trail.

Eight years old and living the good life - here with his boy Paul and buddy Barley, hangin' on Paul's back porch.

And that brings us to today, nine years old - celebrating with treats in the morning and demonstrating his uncanny ability to find shade while on a walk in the heat of the day.

And to finish off the day: Squirrel Watch!

Taz the amazing cattle dog!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

The Great Colorado Sign Challenge

The Great Colorado Sign Challenge is one of the virtual run challenges I've signed up for this summer. The challenge is to cover 305 miles - which happens to be the number of miles between the "Welcome to Colorado" signs on I-25 at the Wyoming and New Mexico borders. I have just completed that challenge and to cap the run, Kendall and I went to the Wyoming border this morning so I could run along the I-25 frontage road from the Wyoming border south into Colorado. Much to my delighted surprise, that frontage road happens to be dirt - and only one car (besides Kendall) passed me as I ran. If it were not for the traffic noise from the neighboring interstate, it would have been a truly idyllic run. Even so, it was quite the treat with no traffic worries, plenty of long views, and the company of antelope and buffalo!

Long views - the first with the iconic Wyoming/Colorado buffalo statue on the hill in the background.

...where the deer and the antelope roam!

And buffalo too! Taz must have smelled them (dark spots in the background of the first photo):
A closer look - hooray for camera zoom!

So! Great Colorado Sign challenge done! Now it's time to concentrate on The Great Run Across Michigan - from the Indiana border to Lake Superior/Whitefish Point!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Back out on quiet country roads

Running buddy, Connie, told me about a country road loop that her son has run. Being rather bored of the same-old-same-old around-town routes I've been running, I was intrigued. Kendall said he was quite willing to go out there with me and, having no other plans for today, we decided today was the day for our rural outing.

I must confess, on the eve of the run and during my early morning prep, I was rather appalled at my self-doubt.  Out on unknown roads running by myself. No shade and we've had blistering hot weather. What about loose dogs running rampant in the countryside. Oh dear Oh dear.
"What's with that?!" I ask myself. Do you not remember a 1400-mile run across the country, much of it solo running, much of it in unknown territory, take-the-weather-as-it-comes, and all loose dogs just wanting to lope along beside you? Where did this squeamy meamy timidness come from? Age? Pampered lazy retirement? "Well!" I said to myself as we drove out there, "It's time to put that aside and do some running!" And I am oh-so-glad I did. What a beautiful peaceful needed in these challenging times....

Spectacular views of the Continental Divide to the west throughout the run

The road beckons toward the sunrise

....just me and the horses out there - oh, and hawks - and birds chasing hawks, and a calf behind a sign that said "Beware of the dog"...
A view I never tire of - and clouds that kept the day delightfully cool

Glad I got my gumption back!

Monday, July 13, 2020


I woke up this morning suffering from a decided lack of Vim - much less Vigor and Vitality. I puttered around the house hoping for an upsurge in running desire...put out the recycle, went through the Sunday coupon inserts, updated the whiteboard to-do list, prepped my workspace for later-in-the-day report writing, blah blah blah. Still nuthin'.

Running out of time before the heat and crowds hit, I donned my sunglasses, buff (mask), hat, and run belt. As usual when I started wrapping newspaper bags (poop bags) around my belt, Taz dashed over to keep an eye on me. Doh! No wonder I was in the doldrums. I had not yet pet my pup!!!! Holy Cattle Dog! A massive petting and patting and scruffing extravaganza ensued and all was right with the world! Halter on! Leash attached! And out we danced as merry a pair as could be!

Monday, July 06, 2020

An Uplifting Fourth

The blahs have been making way too frequent appearances in my life lately - but this past weekend did a find job of vanquishing them. The excitement started Friday at 6 a.m. when running buddy, Connie, and I - and Kendall and Taz - rendezvoused at Davidson Mesa for one trip around to complete the Buffs4Life Virtual 5k. Connie and I were to run it and Taz and Kendall would walk it. After the 5k run, Connie and I would reverse course, find Kendall, get Taz, and cool down a bit more. The plan worked beautifully - with just a bit of excitement after the Taz hand-off.
The venue for our 5k - Davidson Mesa
Connie - ready to run
Run done! (Me & Connie are the masked runners - Taz is standing guard)

The slithering excitement just after we got Taz from Kendall - slowing down Kendall's 5k walk considerably!
Me turning back around to get a photo of K and The Snake!
K reaching into his pocket to get his own photo of The Snake!
Saturday and the Fourth of July. For years and years our tradition has been to bake a cherry pie for the Fourth of July (if you say it right, it's a delightful little rhyme!). Usually the cherries are from our tree.
1990 cherry picking extravaganza
This year, Paul's tree provided the bounty and, once again, our Fourth of July back porch feast culminated with a hot-out-of-the-oven cherry pie!  The progression in photos:
Freshly picked & ready for pie cherries
Paul's loaded cherry tree

Pretty darned pleased we're going to have pie!

Happy Fourth!
Sunday evening of the Fourth of July weekend, Kendall and I watched Hamilton - now being broadcast on the Disney channel. Wow. ...still running it through my brain... Yes. Wow.

So, yes, it is possible to vanquish the blahs. And to have the kind of day / weekend / pick-your-time when it's perfect for bringing out the t-shirt Kendall gave me when I crossed the finish line of my run from Boulder to Petoskey.

Words to live by!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Zooming Extravaganza!

A few weeks back, Kendall's brother & wife (Steve & Kitty) & I decided a Family Zoom would be a grand idea - and to liven it up (as if the Millers need livening), we'd add a dessert decorating contest to the evening's entertainment. The big event was last night. What fun! Extraordinarily clever desserts and two hours of rapid fire chatting. Excellent!

The gang - a bit difficult to see in this photo but, from left to right / top to bottom:
  • The southern Oregon gang, K's sister Cheryl and husband Harry, Cheryl's younger daughter Shana and her husband Moudy and their sons Andrew and Tony. Andrew did the baking and, unfortunately, I did not get a photo when he first displayed it to the Zoom crowd - and then the Medford gang ate it all before the end of the zoom call!
  • Me and Kendall (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Paul (Boulder, Colorado) our younger child
  • Corinne calling in from North Carolina
  • The Fraser, Colorado mountain gang, K's middle brother Andy and our great-nieces Sage & Juniper - visiting for the summer / daughters of our Portland Oregon niece, Sara.
  • The Brooklyn contingent, Kersti Bryan - family friend and the person who first planted the seed of the Miller gang having a zoom call and godchild of Steve & Kitty (with whom she planted said seed). Also joining in on the frivolity, Kersti's partner Jonathan.
  • Tara (Arvada, Colorado) our niece, Steve & Kitty's elder child
  • Sara (Portland, Oregon) our niece, Cheryl's elder child
  • Sasha (Portland, Oregon) our elder child
  • Steve & Kitty (Westminster, Colorado) - Steve being the eldest of the Miller siblings

Now on to The Desserts:

Steve - a play on A Trip to the Moon. Steve said he was thinking of Kendall when he made this (the candle in the back of the rocket is actually lit!):

 Kitty - a combination of two favorite things - a cookie and pizza!!!

Tara - who proudly announced that the decorations all came from the Dollar Store. What a party cake they make!

Sage - who, speaking of party cakes, celebrated her Birthday Eve by concocting this beautiful creation (another yummy dessert that was disappearing quickly during our call).

Kendall - should have know that whatever he made would have at least somewhat of a science fiction twist - in this case, meet Oreobot!

Paul came up with some of his very most favorite things for his dessert: pancakes, cherries (from his tree) and blueberries - and, voila'! A volcano! With cherry lava pouring into a blueberry ocean!

And, lastly, mine - Michigan. As Kendall said: if we can't go visit Michigan this year, at least we can eat it. Bonus points to anyone who can find: lighthouses, Mackinac Bridge, Traverse City cherry, Michigan State University logo, Detroit 'rusty chevrolet' (borrowing from the Yoopers hit), ore boats, sailboats, and Isle Royal. (Mackinac Island is there too but is a bit hidden.) I'd also give bonus points to those who know what kind of stones those are along Lake Michigan, but anyone who knows me, know what those are :-).


This really made for a fun evening. I highly recommend it for those of you missing your favorite friends and family!