What's in a name? A yak by any other name might not be as fun...

I've been spelling this wrong a long time. Shocking from an old news editor. I know.

I’ve always liked the word “yak.” It feels like a breezy, short, unintimidating way to connect. A chat. But even the word “chat” can be intimidating. “I’d like to have a little chat with you, if you don’t mind,” said the PRINCIPAL. Loaded with ambush! Nobody ever uses “yak” that way. And even though I think it’s technically spelled Y-A-C-K, because a yak is a beast of burden in Nepal, I’ve always spelled my chatter kind of Y-A-K with a K, at least in my head. “Have time for a YAK?” I’ll text one of my sons, far away. Reassuring. I don’t have bad news. I don’t need money. I just want to touch base. Not in an annoying, “Mom won’t let me live my own life” way. Just – a yak.

When travel writer Pamela Roth brought her photos from the hike to Everest Base Camp to show us at one of our YakFest events in December, I was intrigued by the stoic, beautiful and gentle creatures carrying supplies. Not mules, not horses. Yaks! Beautiful image: strong, lovely creatures with broad shoulders. Social. Unphased by narrow trails and steep mountainsides. They can handle the cold with their shaggy long hair. They can subsist on a few bits of grass. Sure, I have issues with the whole beast-of-burden metaphor, but if we can set THAT aside - those babies are TOUGH. Get-that work-DONE. Productive. No wild-eyed water buffalo, or notoriously balky mules.



Suddenly, it made sense. A mascot for YakFest, perhaps?

According to, a yak can carry 150 pounds on their back. Native to the Himalayas, they are nicknamed “the boats of the plateau.”

In design mode (that’s a rabbit hole I can go down pretty easy) I toyed with a yak image I downloaded from Pixabay. I gave her glasses and eyelashes. A little blue friend, with a flowered headpiece and thick eyebrows – a nod to the amazing Frida Kahlo. A third friend wearing a cat-ears hat. Gave them both udders I trimmed from an image of a cow, assuming that since they’re bovine cousins to cows, the milk (yogurt, cheese, and Omega-3 rich butter sometimes mixed with Himalayan tea - yum?? Here's a recipe for Yak Butter Tea ) they’re valued for has to come from SOMEwhere. In Lhasa, Tibet, there is the Tibetan Butter Lamp Festival, an annual festival decorated with yak butter carvings. True story! Now THAT is a yak fest.

While I was tinkering on my yak art, it occurred to me that while we’re all often busy with our own tasks, we all need a herd. So the phrase “Have You Herd?” plays with that idea. Have you herd about our YakFests, held live via Zoom on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month at 5:30 Pacific time? And have you a herd? Because that’s what we do, here at Amazing Strong Inspired. We're a herd! A growing group on Facebook to celebrate amazing, strong and inspired women of the past AND the present. As our informal slogan says, Zoom events that are part book club, part girls' night out--an inclusive place to connect with a diverse bunch of interesting women in our Facebook group, and to chill with on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month at 5:30 pm. A place to see and be seen, to hear and to be heard. <3

Here's the link to the sign-up for Monday, Feb. 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm! Maybe we'll see you there <3 I'll bring the butter tea!

Have you herd? Come yak with us! Check out this rockin' yak photo from National Geographic.

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