I grew up with dogs, but had never trained or had one solely under my care. When I was a kid, Hoka was my close friend and exploring buddy. There was no discipline or off-limits…That was moms to worry about.

Hoka died when I was 13, and we soon adopted a pretty 40lb collie mix. Her name was Honey because of her coloring. She was very sweet, but disappeared not long after we adopted her. Mom figured that Honey got taken down by coyotes.

We didn’t have another dog and I missed having that companion.

I adopted Alyosha doggie from a small run down shelter in southern Illinois when he was just a few months old in the Fall of 1999.

When he was two years old, a friend told me that my Border Collie mutt would probably start to mellow around age four or five. It wasn’t until he was in his double digits that I noticed any sign of him slowing down. He wouldn’t chase a ball all day – just half a day.

He’s getting old now. His eyes are getting cloudy and he has difficulty getting into the car.

He had a small seizure last month and it worried me, but it hasn’t happened again.

The other day he started to limp. It wasn’t a bad limp, but noticeable. I wondered if I should take him to the vet. But the limp seemed to resolve itself by the next morning, so I didn’t take him. That following evening, he started to limp again. And the next morning it was worse, so I called the vet.

Somehow, my 14-year-old dog managed to strain a ligament in his left front shoulder.
I am now tasked with keeping him on “bed rest” for at least two weeks.

Yeah, good luck with that.

I will do my best to keep him mellow.

When he was young, I could say with a decent amount of confidence, “oh, he’ll be fine.” But now, I don’t have that same confidence.

One of these days, and probably not too much longer, I will have to say goodbye to my dog. There is no way to prepare oneself for this eventuality. I can acknowledge it, and understand it, but only when he is gone will I feel the loss of my dear friend.

progress and sadness

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs.

It started off great: a buddy came by to help me and it was time to put the wheels with new tires on the KL.

While I was at it, I figured might as well change the sprockets and chain out for the new ones that came with the bike.

The old big sprocket was worn, and I assume the front one was too.

I greased up the wheel bearing and got ready to put it all back together.

One slight problem:

Well, bother.

It was getting too hot outside, so we got out my Ez-up. It was pretty easy. 😉
And installed the front wheel.

The KL is kick-start only, and I’d had no trouble getting it to run. However, I noticed that neither the headlight, nor tailight worked. Oh, neither did the horn. I realized that the battery was in the box ‘o spares. I had thought the seller gave me a spare battery. Nope, he gave me the battery.

I topped it off with some distilled water.

And got it wired into the bike. The neutral switch worked, but headlight and brake/tail light still weren’t working.

I didn’t want to worry about that: the bike is rideable (once I get my rear sprocket in the mail) and I wanted to get cracking on the RD.

On the way to another friend’s shop to use the lathe, the storm started. It’s monsoon season here in Arizona and that means thunder, lightning, and (hopefully) rain. I was excited for a real storm! Lightening! Thunder! Rain!

I saw at least two lightning strikes close to town where flames immediately jumped right up. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so excited about the lightening part of this equation…

There were a 50mph+ gusts of wind that pushed across the area, and then the sweet relief of a torrential downpour.

This rain quenched the two fires that I had witnessed and brought cool relief to the summer desert heat.

I got to make parts! That was so cool.
I’ve never made stuff on a lathe!

This little guy was hanging out.
I guess he’s the shop mascot.

There had been a break in the rain, and then while we were at the shop, it started to pour again.

The RD needs a spacer to line up the front brake caliper. Two little roundy discs, measured precisely to some measurement carefully taken and written down (now where’d I put that piece of paper?)

After a bit of instruction, I was machining like a pro! 😉

I made these!

Okay, just kidding. Those are just a by-product. This is actually the near-final product. (I had to do some sanding to smooth it down before it was really done)

Spacers were complete! Time to eat!

When I got home that night (Sunday), I sat down at the computer to check my Facebook feed.
What I read was devastating.

Lightening had started a fire near Yarnell, Az – a little town of about 650 people 30 miles south of Prescott.
Over 8,000 acres consumed, and 500 houses gone.

19 “Hot Shots” firefighters had died that afternoon.
One of whom was a friend of mine.

There was nothing I could do at the moment. My EMT and Red Cross certifications both expired recently, so I couldn’t volunteer. A friend of mine messaged me that she and her husband saw an alert and were taking a dog crate to the Red Cross Animal Shelter up the road. They came and picked me and my cat carrier up around 11:00pm and we delivered the items to the shelter.

When I finally fell asleep, I slept fitfully.

The Hot Shots crew is an elite group made up of 20 men.
All but one perished in those fiery woods.

Prescott is a small enough community that this tragedy touches us all in some way.
The out-pouring of donations and volunteers and help has been phenomenal, but I’d rather not know that everyone around me is so generous and caring if this is how I find out.

On my way to work this morning, I stopped at Watson Lake.
The morning sky was hazy, as if the sun didn’t want to perkily rise up on this sad morning.
The lake was serene and somber and reflected my mood.

Rest in Peace, Hot Shots.