Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Closing out 2008

My Boy

Snow? What snow?!

Cabin Decorated for Christmas

A Cabin for the Holidays...

Our attack rabbit, "The Thumpinator" (cont)....

The Thumpinator, domestic attack rabbit. Being an attack rabbit requires constant training. In the top photo The Thumpinator is practicing his boxing and karate skills. One never knows when it may be needed. We believe in giving a good attack rabbit a little R&R every so often. The bottom photo shows him resting knowing he's got a long hard night ahead of him guarding against the forces of evil.

2008's Last Day

It doesn't seem possible that this is the last day of 2008. Time sure seems to pass faster now than when I was younger. Of course, my mind still sees me as being about 11 years old - even though my body grumbles that it's more like 111- and I hope to hold onto my curiosity for a good long while. History and wildlife continue to hold me tightly bound, and I have finally gotten to the stage that I accept my entire appearance - this is how my genes worked out, and I cannot change it, nor do I wish to try.

I managed to pick up most items in the back yard yesterday afternoon, after the wind blew itself out. And this morning I continued my cleaning by picking up all the trash that had blown into the front and side yards; Rosie and Remy helped in the backyard, but they watched me through windows while I worked in the front. I was the middle of a sandwich in bed last night - as far as I know, we all slept like logs. I read to the kids about the Zulu uprising against the Boers in 1876 in the evening - it was extremely interesting, and held both of the Irish kids' attention.

I'm currently at my place - the kits are out running like mad in the backyard. I need to sweep and bag about 3 bushels of leaves that are on the patio - and get rid of the few odds and ends left from yesterday's whirlwind. At least Boulder didn't get socked in by tumbleweeds! Up in Greeley, several homes were completely wrapped in tumbleweeds up to their roofs! Still planning a quiet, laid-back New Year's Eve... and a very quiet New Year's Day, too. Should I, or should I not, make Hoppin' John tomorrow? Hmmmm.... I'll have to think about it.

I can't guarantee that I'll blog tomorrow, so if I do not, hold this wish with you until morning: May the New Year be filled with love, laughter and luck for you and yours! Best wishes from Betty, Banichi and Leofgifu.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December photos

Keeping close watch on a squirrel that's trying to hide in this tree

Mister Squirrel, do you really want to climb closer?

winter wonderland 075

Self-portrayal in snow - short and round!

Mangust / Mongoose / Mungo

Vladimir is always irresistible...


Last night was ... interesting. I slept between Rosie and Remy, which was fine; what was odd was the high winds. The winds neatly folded Rosie's bed on the deck in half; it emptied out the toy bucket across the deck, and tossed the bucket into the middle of the pond; most of the lawn furniture ended up against the rear fence; and a metal rain spout, shaped like upside-down bells, tore loose from its mooring, and battered away at the side of the house, until I went out and tied it down. There were gusts in the 70s and 80s here in Boulder, and a few miles up north of us, at Carter Lake, they recorded a wind gust of 98 mph.

Banichi is sprawled on my lap while I'm typing this, and Lovey is coveting her favorite dove, who's on the patio, out of the wind, pecking at seeds and grain from the feeders. Neighbors' trash is mixed with a bunch of dead leaves and it's all dancing in a whirlwind at the edge of the patio. I can see an empty puppy chow bag, pieces of newspaper, what looks like a tan sheet (fitted, queen size), two empty beer cans and another clear plastic container, all dancing merrily in spirals and circles, just off my patio. It's weird. Am I in Kansas?

I received framed family photos from Mike, as well as a neat, old book on kitten care; cash, a shopping spree, and a wonderful book on local Indians from Kathy and Jim; a plethora of goodies to eat from the extended Snow clan; and some wonderful cards and enclosures from friends and family. Lovey and Banichi were treated to Lovey's favorite Midnight Madness Balls, courtesy of cousin Sarah. The fruit platter I carried over to the Snow gathering was demolished - it consisted of grape tomatoes (I said they were love-apples), blackberries, raspberries, and large green and small red seedless grapes.

Jim pulled a bot-fly larva out of his leg wound yesterday evening, and is going to see his MD today - to make sure that there aren't any more of them in his arm and leg. The bot-fly egg is passed to humans (usually) by the bite of a mosquito, which was infected/fertilized by a bot-fly.
They are gross enough in livestock.

I need to replenish my stock of bird seed and peanuts tomorrow - as well as picking up my meds from the pharmacy. I think I can handle that. I've invited Kathy and Jim to come watch the Rose Parade at the Irish kids' home... they haven't seen the HGTV version of the parade, and I think they would enjoy it. Here's hoping that the last day and a half of 2008 will be kind to all of you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holly Village in Highgate, London, England

holly village, london, highgate7

Holly Village was built in 1865 by a remarkable, but now little- known philanthropist, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who inherited the Coutts banking fortune from her grandfather's second wife, but who never forgot her own humble origins. In her time, Angela Burdett-Coutts was known as the "queen of the poor", building schools at her own expense - such as the Burdett-Coutts primary school in Westminster. She was also a great friend of Charles Dickens, with whom she collaborated on establishing a home for "fallen women" in Shepherd's Bush. - These tremendous photos were taken by Susan Gina Mackey, of London EC4A. Ms. Mackey owns the copyright of the photos I used in this posting of my blog.

holly village, london, highgate

Gorgeous Sunrise

Wow, I'm bushed! Having been rooting for a losing team for the entire game can be tiring! After the Broncos debacle last night, Remy and Rosie and I retired and read ourselves to sleep with a history of "Il Moro", the Duke of Milan's family, during the time of his patronage of Leonardo da Vinci. The book is very interesting, and almost goes hand-in-glove with the Leonardo murder mystery I'm also reading. In any event, the Irish kids and I had a quiet night, other than a raccoon fight at 5 this morning.

Sunrise was stupendous - layers of clouds that were white, yellow, gold, and then orange and orangey-red - and in the west, the few single clouds above the mountains were stained pink and orange, too. It was beautiful. (And it was just above freezing, too!) I've already taken the kids for a quiet walk, and returned to my apartment; the patio door here is open, and the kits are running back and forth, leaving muddy prints over everything. Currently, Banichi is sitting on the top perch of the cat tree, looking out the open door, while Lovey is curled up under one of the squirrels' peanut chairs. Again, since the kits are in evidence, the little birds are staying away, but the squirrels sure aren't!

It turns out that brother-in-law Jim had a bot-fly larva in the "bite" on his forearm - he and Kathy pulled the little critter out of his arm this morning, and put it in a bottle to take it to the MD's... we are now assuming that that is what one of his "bites" on his left leg is, also. I knew bot-flies were nasty from their egg-laying on horses, cows, goats, etc. - having one eating you from the inside out is just gross!

It's pretty outside now, but we're expecting winds this afternoon - due to the placements of the pressure systems, we're expecting wind gusts of about 80 mph here in Boulder. I plan on being safely behind doors with the Irish kids before it really starts to blow! And, we'll spend New Year's Eve at home, inside, having home made spaghetti, and I'll start reading The Hobbit that evening.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Little Snow flakes

Nephew Mike Snow, the artist....

Niece Sarah Snow, the educator, and her beau, Mike Fleetwood, the programmer - 2008

A Day Off?

While I did not blog yesterday, in no way did I have a day off... Arising early, I loved and fed my kits, cleaned their potty boxes, and lavished special treats on them. Then I headed up to north Boulder with a stuffed-full backpack, two grocery bags of fruit, a tray for the fruit, and a large box of gift bags filled with booty for the extended family. I arrived at the Irish kids' house at 7:34, loved them, walked them, and then started washing and patting dry various fruits and veggies; then I had to label the gift bags; then it was 9:45 and the family brunch began at 10. I carried all the gift bags over and then had to return and carry back over the fruit tray... Our high yesterday was 34, with bright sun; we're hoping for 52 today and maybe 60 tomorrow... the snow that's been around since the 13th might actually melt!

The kits have been all over me since I got home - Lovey has placed muddy pawprints all over my jeans and long-sleeved T, and seems intent on adding more. Banichi is sun-bathing, the birds have made a few attacks on the feeders, but the kits are out there - which hasn't made any difference to the squirrels, they're just eating away. I'll only be posting my blog when I'm here visiting the kits, and the times might vary widely, but I'll be trying to get things done. My nephew Mike saw my blog for the first time yesterday, and has decided that he needs to have a blog for his tattoo business, in which he can also show his artistry and art work...

I had 2.5 guests at the party yesterday - Kathy and I "split" Mimi, as I know her as a client, and Kathy knows her from Meeting; and then I also invited a couple from County Surrey in England because (a) I enjoy speaking with the husband whenever I see him and (b) I thought Grandma Anne could use a "Brit pickup" for the holidays... it must be awful not having someone nearby who doesn't share some of the same memories... And Richard and Anne were a great hit with everyone, as was Mimi! So I guess I did well.... Kathy and Jim said I did, so it must be...

I ended up taking the Irish kids on 3 short walks and 1 long one yesterday; the last time we were joined by Kathy and Jim and Suki and Boo... The Irish kids seemed to get a kick out of being part of a pack, and all persons with four feet behaved exceptionally well; as did Silver and Smiley during their visit to the party. So I was finally able to relax about 5:30 yesterday evening; I read to both Remy and Rosie until I fell asleep - I think they were both sleeping, too - at least Remy had been snoring off and on for about an hour. We went upstairs to bed about 11, and Remy slept with me, while Rosie slept in her bed at the foot of the bed. It sounded like a pack of raccoons got into a fight about 3 this morning, but Rosie and Remy were too pooped to investigate the sounds...

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Devine Wedding Photo

Step-daughter Kristin; Charlotte Boyer, Sue's mother; Etoye Johnson Devine; Kevin James Devine; granddaughter Addison (Krissy's child); Sue Boyer Devine and John Cordner (left to right).

Will eating this carrot make us cannibals?

Who gets this one?

Boxing Day

It's quiet, grey and overcast today; the morning walk was spooky, as there were no other people out and about... I guess they were sleeping off yesterday's celebrations, or were out shopping to get post-Christmas bargains at the malls. The ravens and crows were out in force, but the smaller birds were out of sight; I did see squirrels, a couple of raccoons, two fox, and a feral cat. We're expecting a few snow showers this afternoon and evening - but the western mountains are experiencing blizzard conditions with winds up to 80 mph along with the snowfall.

Yesterday was a relaxed day. Sarah is in Santa Fe with her gentleman; so it was Kathy, Jim, Mike and I getting together for the family celebration. We had brunch at 1 in the afternoon, and what would normally have been lunch at 5:30. We walked the dogs as a family, and ran into Rosie and Remy and their folks out at the same time. Kathy acted as chauffeur and drove Mike and I back to our respective houses after dark. I curled up with my kits and fell asleep early in the evening.

Other than going out to have my thumb and wrist X-rayed this afternoon, I intend to spend all the time with my kits, as I begin my stay with the Irish kids tomorrow. And tomorrow is the Snow Clan gathering for Christmas brunch at Kathy's. Grandma Anne will come down from Sugarloaf Mountain, Laura and Jim will arrive from Fort Collins, Kathy and Rich will come in from Longmont, Dave and Tracie will bring the Niwot crew, and various and sundry friends and cousins will also be in attendance.

Have a happy Boxing Day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santas 'Round the World

Santa Claus Festival Mahone Bay 027

A Santa at the Santa Claus Festival in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008

Even the Lamposts Love Kris Kringle

Santa means LOVE, even to lamp posts, in Leavenworth, Kansas - 2007

Swedish Santa 2

In Sweden, gifts are given on Christmas Eve; after the meal, it is time for a visit from the Jultomte. He was believed to live under the the floor boards of the house or the barn. The Jultomte was credited with looking after the family and their livestock. Toward the turn of the past century a Swedish artist began producing greeting cards illustrated with gnomes. Her figures were a tremendous success and soon the Jultomte had assumed a role comparable to that of the various Santa Claus figures in other countries. He is believed to come with presents. In many households nowadays, someone disguised as a gnome comes on Christmas Eve with a large sack of presents to pass out to all the family members.

Swedish Christmas Traditions

Introduced in Sweden from Germany, the Christmas tree has been a part of Christmas in Sweden since the 1700s. It was not until the present century that the custom became general, however. The Christmas tree is traditionally put up a few days before Christmas Eve. Candles, apples, Swedish flags, small gnomes with red hats and straw ornaments are all common decorations on a Swedish Christmas tree. The tree is kept watered and many households keep their tree until the very end of the holiday, which falls on the twentieth day after Christmas.

Christmas Eve is the height of the festivities. Like many countries in Western Europe, Christmas Eve (Julaften) is the traditional day to exchange Christmas gifts. [Christmas Day is reserved more for religious observances.] Traditionally it is a day when no work should be done other than seeing to one's livestock. This is the day of the Christmas feast, which comprises a smörgåsbord including a few traditional dishes such as ham, jellied pigs feet, lutfisk and rice porridge. Risgrynsgröt is a rice porridge that is eaten at Christmas time. Inside one bowl is an almond. It was believed whoever gets the almond will marry in the coming year. Lutfisk (literally: lye-fish) is most likely a throwback to a period of fasting from pre-Reformation times. It is a dish prepared of ling that is dried and then boiled. The Christmas feast also includes a tradition called "dipping in the kettle" (dopp i grytan), in which the assembled family and guests dip bits of bread in the broth left over after boiling the ham. Both lutfisk and "dipping in the kettle" are actually a poor mans fare from olden days, but they live on thanks to their role in holiday festivities.

Following the Christmas Eve dinner, the candles on the Christmas tree are lit. Next, an adult will dress up as the Jultomten, Sweden's version of Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas. The Jultomten is believed to be a little gnome who lives under the floorboards of the house and rides a goat, called Julbocker. The goat is a reference to the Scandinavian god, Thor, whose chariot was pulled by two goats. The Jultomten will hand out gifts from a sack to the children. Even though this pagan tradition was outlawed by both church and state in the middle ages, it persisted in private.

By tradition Swedes attend church in the small hours (about 7 o'clock in the morning) Christmas morning. In older days it was a custom to have a race to the church in sleds or wagons for the services. The winner of the race was believed to have the best harvest the coming year. Otherwise, the day is spent quietly within the family circle, with Christmas parties and get-togethers the following day and on throughout the holidays until Knut's day a week after Twelfth Night. The Swedish Christmas season ends on January 13, Saint Knut's Day. During this final holiday party the Christmas tree is taken down and thrown outside, while singing a special song.

*** Having done this research, I'm happy to celebrate Christmas as an American! ***

Merry Christmas wishes from Betty, Lovey, and Banichi.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Irnakaoll, (Southern) Sweden - Christmas 2006

2854951140083734462HMutEZ_ph-Irnakaoll-Sothern Sweden,2006-M

Kathy & Jim "Papa Noel" Snow on their way to Peru

Santa Memories

Whilst in Peru, Jim Snow, my brother-in-law, was usually knee-deep in children calling him "Papa Noel." That reminded of the times children would visit our house, because they wanted Dad to play with them. And it sent me back to a trip we made when I was in grade school - we were travelling back from Chincoteague, and had stopped for the night in a very small town in Georgia (Dad always drove the back country roads as opposed to the interstates) - we checked into the motel, and walked two blocks down to the town diner. Small children ran out to peek at us, and we heard a lot a loud whispers of "Santa Claus!" While we were eating, a crowd of about 40 small children built up outside, watching us eat through the diner's windows. After our meal, Dad sat down on the bench outside and listened to each and every one of those kids tell him what they wanted for Christmas - even though it was August, and Dad was in shirt sleeves and trousers... That is one of my treasured memories of our family.

It's about 30 degrees outside now - I've finished my grocery shopping for the year (had to get cat food, kitty treats, kitty litter, and Coca-Cola). I walked to Target this morning and shopped - it was very quiet for the last day of shopping before Christmas.... there were only about 20 customers in the store... it was eerie. The kits have been running in and out, with Banichi menacing the young squirrels. He did that to one yesterday, and the squirrel jumped onto him - Banichi was so astonished that he just fell and rolled over.... and the youngster just hopped back up into the chair and continued to eat. I need to pack and wrap, which is going to take me forever without my right hand... have a nice, quiet Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

PFC Mathew Harris

This young man is my adopted soldier - he's 21, going through a divorce, is a Texas native, and is both a VIP escort and a haz-mat specialist stationed in Iraq. I write to him weekly, e-mail him twice a week, and send him care packages... he seems to be a very nice youngster.
If you're interested in "adopting" a US soldier, please visit the Adopt A US Soldier website at:

No snow!

We've received no snow yet today, and the forecasters are being razzed unmercifully. The snow has dumped on the western slope of the mountains, skipped over us, and then hit the eastern plains, about 40 to 50 miles east of the Front Range. But not a flake for us. I don't care...

I was a little early for Rosie and Remy this morning, so I went and visited Brandi and Suki & Boo before heading over to their house. Rosie was so excited, she over-strained her hind leg, so we had a very slow stroll through the neighborhood, visiting Suki and Boo and Hila on our way around. I sat down with the kits when I got home, and apparently went right to sleep - we awoke to a very strange sound coming from our door; some guys from the cable company were checking for illegal cable hook-ups, and my door had a higher reading than anyone's - until they moved one door down, and it peaked. So I showed them my last paid bill and they went on by...

My newest client has already cancelled her first appointment; she says she'll definitely need me for the summer, but she's changed her mind about January. That's OK by me, because she wanted the weekend that K & J will be in Phoenix, so at least I'll have only Suki and Boo to care for. Lovey is staying in close contact with me today, as is Banichi. They'll have me for two more days before I'm rented out to the Irish kids...

Unfortunate happenings

Unfortunately for Lucy and Pepper's family, they became ill while in the mountains and had to return early yesterday. The kits and I celebrated by spending the afternoon in bed, snuggling, reading and napping (and Banichi decided my hair needed grooming, too). It's 23 outside and I've had my morning walk - we're expecting 3 to 7 inches of snow this afternoon/evening...

I'm about to bolt out the door to go to the bank and then go walk Rosie and Remy. Jim, Kathy's husband, is doing poorly. He had several small cuts and bites that seemed to be infected when he returned from Peru, but hadn't been to a doctor about them. A spot on his arm burst open yesterday and he finally conceded that he needed medical attention. The doctor believes it's a staph infection, and has ordered out the antibiotics; he also cultured the wounds to be sure. So Jimmy is not feeling well at all...

I'll blog more when I return!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holidays, football, kits

Happy Hanukkah! The rememberance of the miraculous holy oil that lasted for 8 days (when it should have burnt out in an hour or so) began at sunset last night. - And the Winter Solstice gathering was very nice, at Mimi's house. I saw several friends, and learned the names of people (whom I had only known by the names of their dogs, previously) I speak to regularly.

It's an overcast morning, and even though it's 12 outiside, it seems much colder since the sun is not shining off the snow. I got to root on Champ Bailey in the Denver defense yesterday, but saw them fall to Buffalo... now they have to win next Sunday to make the playoffs... But the Gators will face Oklahoma on January 8th - and I'm already more than ready for the kickoff!

The kits were extremely happy to see me yesterday - after eating their canned food, I was mobbed by them - Banichi ended up draped across my head and shoulders while I sat in my reading chair, while Lovey burrowed under my sweater, and then tried to get under the T-shirt as well. I told her she could snuggle like that when I get back home tonight. I also had to refill all the feeders, and I put out some kibble with canola oil on it for the fox. I gave the kits some Temptations when I left, so they were contentedly munching when I snuck out to get back out here. (Oh, and Sarah !- your package arrived on Saturday - the kits pushed it around on the floor last night and were intrigued by the sounds from within!)

Tonight I get to sleep with Lovey and Banichi in my bed; tomorrow morning, I'll walk Rosie and Remy around 10; then I have to get busy putting together and wrapping the Christmas gifts for the immediate family - I just hope I can remember where I've got stuff tucked away! My main problem is putting items where the cats won't demolish them - which usually leaves the bureau drawers as the only safe place... so I guess I can look over my wardrobe while I get gifts together.... Have a happy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Critters

Jake in the Mirror 1

Jake in the Mirror

Blk/Tan Dapple - aka - Silver Dapple

Dachshund puppy - a silver-dapple long-haired pup

QH Palomino Stallion 2002

Gotta Lotta Gold - a 2002 Palomino Quarter Horse Stallion

Winter Solstice

It was 3 degrees outside when I arose this morning - Lucy and Pepper don't have coats or sweaters to wear in extremely cold weather, so they'll have their walk a little later, when it warms up a bit outside. The weather folks are saying we'll stay below freezing until Christmas Day, when we might reach 42; and on Boxing Day we're expecting another Arctic front. - And on Boxing Day I start taking care of Rosie and Remy again.

The big news here is the Continental flight that slid off/flew-and-crashed at DIA yesterday evening. There were 110 passengers and 5 crew aboard; no fatalities, but 58 people have been treated and/or are in the hospital with "minor injuries." Investigations have just started; but the 737's nose apparently rose off the runway, but the plane only made it into a ravine just past the runway. The landing gear was sheared off, the right wing burst into flames (and the heat was so intense that it completely melted the overhead luggage bins on that side), and, also, apparently, the left engine sheared off its' wing, too (this is according to local newscasts). Most injuries, it seems, occurred when the escape slides deployed and people slid down them... because the landing gear was gone, and the because the plane was lying on its belly in the ravine, the slides stopped moving people about half-way down (due to lack of height at that angle), and the poor folks piled into one another - causing a lot of neck and back sprains. Again, all this is according to the local NBC news channel...

I didn't sleep well last night - the Wilbur Smith book, The Sunbird, is extremely fascinating and it seems my sleeping mind kept stirring the pot. If you like archaeology and historical exploration, as well as a bit of political intrigue, you will be enthralled with this book. It is set in Africa, mostly in Botswana, and it involves the finding of a site from 2000 years ago, that "proves" that there was a race of men (possibly Carthaginians) that established a kingdom in south-central Africa. - It has bits and pieces of true archaeology in it, and is very well written, taking a lot of native African myths and weaving them into a shining tapestry of history...

I'm looking forward to seeing my two kits today, and giving and receiving love. Then it's off to the Solstice gathering, and then back here to Lucy and Pepper. There was a beautiful cottontail in the garden this morning, and I had to convince Lucy not to chase it. Pepper never even noticed the critter. There are a lot of birds, squirrels, fox, skunk, and cottontails out here. They are gorgeous! - And today, at 5:04 this morning, the Winter Solstice occurred - it's the shortest day of the year, and we're celebrating with "light snacks," instead of fresh venison, roasted cattle and pigs, and baked roots and veggies, and barrels full of small ale.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy photos (again)

Tarantula steam locomotive crosses creek bridge.

The railroad had a big impact on the history of Fort Worth, Texas. Today, you can take a trip back in time on the Tarantula Train at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. It makes excursions between Grapevine and the Stockyards National Historic District. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad's nickname is the Tarantula Train, because an early map of the tracks resembled a large spider.

From the summit of Monarch Pass, Colorado

View from the top of Monarch Pass, Colorado.

Back in snowy London: snow-cat in our backyard

A snow cat in London, England.

Lucy & Pepper

It's a gloriously beautiful day outside - the snow is shining on the snow, it's 25 degrees out, and I've just come back from a 5 mile walk-jog with Pepper and Lucy. Pepper's coat is getting lighter as he gets older - I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't a silver-smoke color within the next two years. Yesterday I was invited to a brunch to celebrate Laura's birthday up in Loveland - if I'd had more warning, I'd have accepted... but I didn't pack for it, nor did I have a card or gift, so I'm just here with the dogs.

I finished the Beatrix Potter mystery last night, and am about to embark on one of Wilbur Smith's adventures - Lucy spent the night under the covers with me, and about 2 a.m. I had to put Pepper in his crate; he wouldn't/couldn't stay still and sleep in bed , but he did in his crate - I had a hard time waking him up this morning to go out and potty before breakfast. Lucy decided to eat a small pinecone last night, before Pepper could even sniff it. Of course, she barfed it back up again before we went to bed...

I do miss my kits. I won't see them until tomorrow, when I'll have an hour to love them, feed them, feed the outside critters, and clean their litter boxes before hying off to a Winter Solstice gathering; then I'll be back here with Pepper and Lucy until Monday evening. Then I'll get to sleep with my kits again. I'll have four nights with them before I'm off to the Irish kids. Ah, Lovey and Banichi, I long to sleep with you again, soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

An impressive Fresian-Appaloosa cross colt

Weather, critters and books

It's not quite 9 a.m., and we're actually above the freezing mark - well, one degree above - but that's nice! The sun is shining, the kits are playing outside on the patios and in the snow, and the squirrels are scolding the kits because most of them are afraid to come eat with the kits out and about. Another Arctic cold front is due in tonight/tomorrow, so we'll have high temps around 10 (maybe) and they say the Saturday night low will be about -8. Oh boy!!

I'm heading out to Lucy and Pepper's this evening, and plan to take my camera, so I can get some pics of those two rascals. They are both so cute and so lively and just so loving. I'll get back to my place on Sunday to see to my kits' wants, and then I'll come back home Monday evening. I'm sure Lovey and Banichi will feel abandoned again - and stick to me like glue for Christmas week - and then I head over to the Irish kids for 8+ days.... The kits won't trust me on the "leaving them" front for a while (and I can't blame them!)...

I picked up four more books from the library - that ought to hold me through the weekend. I grabbed two Wilbur Smith's, a new Midnight Louie mystery, and a new book by Diane A. S. Stuckhart, which is touted as a "Leonardo da Vinci mystery." I know that I will thoroughly enjoy 3 of the 4, so I hope the Leonardo book keeps me entertained as well! And I have access to the internet at Lucy and Pepper's, so I know that I will not be bored in any way, shape , or form.
Have a grand weekend!! (Remember, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday; the Winter Solstice occurs Sunday morning; Saturnalia can't be far away!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sir Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael

One of my favorite British actors! He is irresistible in any role!

One of my favorite authors - Rita Mae Brown

Brandi, the Zen dog

Ken Salazar

Lovey and Banichi are sunning themselves on the patio, which is keeping the birds away from the feeders. But the kits need their vitamin A and D, also, so I can't complain. It's a bright 17 degrees out - and I wore my YakTrax out walking; snow had melted yesterday in the sun, and then refrozen last night, so I was happy to have them on. Foxie didn't visit last night, or least left no discernible prints on the patio... And I broke with my instructions, and removed my cast so I could shower in comfort this morning. There was so much dry skin on my hand and arm that it was quite disgusting!

I'll be visiting Lucy and Pepper a day earlier than originally planned - arriving Friday evening, instead of Saturday morning. And I've been invited to a Winter Solstice party on Sunday - my appearance will depend on transport from Kathy and Jim - so I don't know if I'll go or not (Jim said they had several places to go to on Sunday)...

We're expecting snow flurries this afternoon; I see Nancy, my therapist, at 11 a.m.; then I'll grab a bite for lunch and spend some time at the library - if I go there, I can use their connection for the 1850 Census - if I use HeritageQuest at home, there is no index for 1850, and I'd have to read through each and every list. And I've read two of my four new books, so I need to pick out a few more to read...

At the moment, I'm happy with Obama's proposed appointment of Kenneth Lee Salazar to head the Department of the Interior... Ken's ancestors first moved into New Mexico about 400 years ago, and they have gradually drifted from Santa Fe up to southeast Colorado. He has served as an environmentally-friendly and wildlife-friendly lawyer, and as the Attorney General of Colorado. He is a fourth generation rancher in Colorado, and knows the wants and needs of farmers, ranchers, and environmentalists. He and his brother, John, have worked to keep Colorado on an even keel, working with everyone's interests in sight. I hope he is confirmed; and I hope he'll continue his exemplary balancing act regarding everyone's interests! (I met both brothers at an open meeting in Boulder about 6 months ago - and they actually listened to me. - Of course, after I left, they probably both shook their heads and said, "An animal crazy.")

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fox prints on my patio - 17 Dec 2008

Remy at rest...

As you can tell, Remy was extremely wired and unable to unwind with me around - he was snoring when I took this photo!

Lovey playing in snow - 17 Dec 2008

40 today?

It's bright and sunny out - snow melt is dripping off the balcony and roof above onto my patio - and it's a whole 17 degrees outside! It's a veritable heat wave! The weather folks say we might reach 40 today and tomorrow, with another Arctic front coming in on Saturday, so Sunday's high might be 3. I'll be with Lucy and Pepper over the weekend, and with the temps that are projected, I think the kits will have to make do with plenty of dry food and water - I really don't want to walk 7 miles round-trip from the bus stop to L&P's house on a daily basis. ... Or is that being selfish?

Our CBS station had the hiccups last night and showed a 3-minute segment of NCIS 3 times - the Director picked up and sat down his Christmas presents bag, spoke with Gibbs, and spoke with DC Metro all 3 times... it was weird. I'm enjoying an Edward Marston book, Murder on the Brighton Express, which is set in the 1850s and has a lot of English railway history within it's covers. Then I have a new Beatrix Potter mystery, as well as a new Wen Spencer sci-fi novel to explore.

There is a large flock of sparrows, mixed with both purple and house finches, vigorously attacking the feeders outside; and the fox came by again last night - I had a bowl of kibble waiting for him, so he fed nicely. I took a photo of his pawprints in the snow this morning, as well as one of Lovey chasing mini-snowballs. I hope everyone is staying warm!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Photos of Bonnie and Clyde...

Bonnie is the Irish Setter; Clyde is the Bengal kitten...

Clyde the bengal kitten gets comfy on Bonnie the Irish setter

Step three in face washing a bengal Kitten

Irish setter cleans her new baby the Bengal Kitten Clyde

Fox visit

I had a 3-mile walk this morning (2 degrees outside), and have fed the outside critters , as well as my kits. The one goal I have for today, besides watching NCIS, is to empty and scrub all three litter boxes. I just hope that my left hand will be coordinated to my brain well enough to get the job done!

The kits went outside on the patio while I filled the feeders this morning, but very quickly followed me back inside. The sun is trying to shine, but we have partly cloudy skies today. Lovey is once again in my lap, while Banichi is sitting on the top of the cat tree, looking out. There was a flock of little birds at the feeders when I went out this a.m., but they have not yet returned to actually feed...

The young fox came by yesterday evening, and peeked in the door. I did not let it inside, but I did place a bowl of kitty kibble out on the patio. It was empty this morning, so I guess I helped out in filling his belly. Both of my kits slept curled up close to me again last night. It was very comforting!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's snowy photos...

miao in the snow...her first snow fall  11-30-2005

Miao's first snow - Portland, OR - 2005

Snow Snow Snow

Zoe, Airedale, in British Columbia - 2008

Winter 2 - Whitetail deer in fresh snow

A young buck in Lewis County, NY

4 degrees is COLD!

I just got back inside from trudging to the grocery store... not for me, or the kits, but for the outdoors critters. After refilling everything this morning, I was out of seed, sunflowers and nuts. It was 4 degrees outside - and we had a breeze at 10 mph - I have no idea of the wind chill, but, take my word for it, it was cold! (Maybe, hope, hope, we will hit 25 tomorrow!) When I realized I had no more stashes of critter food, I decided to walk to the store this afternoon, in sunshine, rather than tomorrow morning when it's supposed to be below 0 again.

The kits are acting crazed - they have so much energy, but decline to go run outdoors - it's just too cold! They have better sense than I do, I guess. They are howling and growling and taking turns chasing each other, all fuzzed up, and banging against the hallway door. One neighbor has come over to see if I was OK - and it's hard to explain that all the banging and knocking is coming from two crazy kits....

I'm sitting here at my desk with my stockinged feet propped up on the radiator - at least my feet are warm! There is a small amount of nuts left outside, but the small birds have totally demolished the sunflower seeds and the no-waste seed blend. There have been a multitude of pigeons visiting, also, grabbing the seeds the smaller birds spill. It is beautiful outside - solid bright blue sky, a white carpet of snow everywhere - but there has been little foot- or vehicular traffic seen or heard out there.

Looking up Flagstaff Mountain prior to snow

We broke the Record for Low Temp!

Hello, folks! It was -18 degrees here last night... that broke the record set in 1901, which was -14. I did add another blanket onto my bed, and thankfully had two warm, furry, purring bodies with me under the covers. We had 4 inches of snow fall yesterday, and even though the sun is shining, it's still -5 outside, so the snow is not melting. We might reach 32 degrees on Friday, but the weather people are saying we'll be getting two more storms in over next weekend - I haven't seen any squirrels this morning, but large flocks of small birds have been visiting since 7 a.m. - And today I took a holiday from my 5 mile walk.

Banichi is curled up in the sun next to my new rosemary plant - a gift from Rosie and Remy's owners. Lovey is in my lap, talking away, and I just e-mailed my Texas soldier. Did you see the Iraqi reporter throw his shoes at President Bush in Baghdad? The reporter has lost a lot of family members, and was himself taken hostage and tortured for three days by anti-American factions in Iraq. Richard Engle says he wasn't surprised at the reporter's actions, but as an adamantly anti-American reporter, Engle was surprised that the reporter was allowed into the press conference with Bush.

When we went to Missouri to see cousins Sarah and Pam, both Kathy and I were intrigued by the lovely countryside - we saw numerous side-roads that we wanted to explore, but just didn't have the time to do so. That has been added to my list of things I'd like to do... Kathryn introduced me to a new (to me) author - Wilbur Smith. He has multiple books out, and the one I started with, Hungry As The Sea, has grabbed me and taken me inside the world of giant tugs and salvage ships. I'm looking forward to exploring more of his books!

Saturday, Sunday and Monday I'll be out between Boulder and Longmont taking care of Lucy and Pepper. They are wonderful little dogs and I'm really looking forward to spending time with them again. I did get a deal with the cable company - I'm getting double the channels at less cost than my usual 80 or so, and I get BBC America, Encore Westerns, and History International channels now. The Western channels shows series that I grew up with, from 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays: Maverick, The Big Valley, Bat Masterson, Cheyenne, etc.... I'm looking forward to seeing old friends again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crossing Rollins Pass, Colorado - 1902

Train Passengers in Deep Snow of Rollins Pass in 1902


I awoke to 3+ inches of snow this morning - and it has kept falling. Kathy called me from the Houston Airport at 7:30 to ask how the weather was... I told her cold and snowing, but fine. At that point, it was 0 degrees at DIA, with a wind chill of -21. Their kitchen thermometer was reading 6... at least they will get home to heat.

Sometimes being a critter sitter is embarrassing. Yesterday, a family member walked by with Rosie and Remy while I was out in the yard. I walked over and petted them, talked a minute or two, and left. Rosie refused to get up and leave; her owner finally convinced her to move, but she only walked about ten feet and then laid down in the snow and refused to leave. Talk about embarrassing! Here's a dog I've actually had in my care for less than 72 hours, and she'd rather stay with me than go home with her owner... It took her owner 5 minutes to convince her to leave.

Lovey has stuck to me like glue since Kathy and Jim dropped me off at home. She must be physically touching me or she's not happy. Banichi has crawled all over me, and I'm sure that when I lie down I'll have both of the kits attached like leeches. I did miss them! But apparently they missed me, too!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

These tickled my fancy this morning...

08 A walk by the light house, Sanibel 012

Sanibel Island osprey at sunset - July 2008

Piglet in - Baby animals picture collection

A piglet in hand...

Split Rock, Wind River Indian reservation,

Split rock, Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming

Warm before the freeze

Kathy and Jim's furnace is finally fixed! The blower control unit had to be replaced, and then Bill had to adjust the diaphragm... But it is working!

The kits are sticking close after having a quick run and sun-bath outside. The sunrise was beautiful this morning - mostly pale blue sky, with small broken bars of orange and pink cloud. We walked around Wonderland Lake this morning with a temperature in the low 30s; supposed to get up to the low 50s, and then get windy in front of the Arctic front late this afternoon. The weather folks are now saying the high tomorrow might reach 18, with a low of -3 Sunday night; we won't get above 30 for at least the next week. Hey, it's December in Colorado!

I do have to get blood drawn and fill out my financial info on Monday... other than that I plan on sticking at home for the rest of the week! I have books, and my cats, food, and the internet. I'm all set for nasty weather and hunkerin' down. Will get K & J at Denver International tomorrow morning and then disappear into my bolt-hole here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Woooo - Hoooo!

Desi at 2 yrs. and Dani

Desi and Dani


flying bird

A high-flying Birdie Mae, going after a decoy.

Steamboats, fox urine, and dried brains...

Well, Rosie over-did it, pulling on the leash yesterday. She and Remy and I took a short, slooooow walk this morning; this was after a brisk 5 mile walk with Suki and Boo. I'm at my place right now, with the patio door cracked open, and the kits running in and out. Lovey has tried to put her footprints on my bosom, but I have a dark sweater on, so she's been foiled in her attempts to brand me. Squirrels have already been raiding the nuts I've placed outside for them; small birds are coming in flocks to the feeders, but since Lovey and Banichi are out prowling, the pigeons have yet to arrive.

The heating company is due at Kathy's sometime this afternoon, so I'll be headed back there shortly. I hope they'll appreciate having the furnace fixed.... Our high Sunday is forecast to be 20, maybe, with snow, and a low Sunday night of 3; that's quite a difference from the 80s in Peru! The Arctic front that is coming in Saturday night/Sunday morning is supposed to sit on us for three days before moving on. The huge ice storm in the northeast is the storm that gave us 9 inches of snow in 36 hours... I hope to spend most of tomorrow's daylight hours here at my place; but I'll have to play it by ear, as usual...

Let's see: it's believed that the wreck of the Alligator, a paddle-wheel steamer has been found in Dead Lake, off the Saint John's River in Florida. The Alligator used to carry passengers and freight along the St. John's over a hundred years ago, until she sank after a fire.
*A man in Minnesota got tired of a group of teens repeatedly toilet-papering his house, so he laid in wait with a squirt-gun full of fox urine (which has a very powerful scent), and sprayed the kids when they came again, after he had warned them off. He is now being charged with misdemeanor assault, among other things. (I think the kids deserved it, personally.)
*And, in England, the University of York has found a skull (which they say was decapitated) in which something rattled. The finder looked up inside the spinal column opening, and saw a waxy, yellowish thing. The skull has been dated at 300 B.C.; the scientists believe the yellow mass is a dried up brain, as it has the same shape a normal brain would have. ...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Me, Boss; you, boss-ey...


Can't you tell that I am the boss?

Body Audit

Jed was running late today - his boss quit the Mental Health Center, and he's having to cover patients at a home, as well as his usual bunch. Boo has put muddy pawprints all over the lower part of my pink shirt, and Lovey has finished decorating the top. The patio door is open, but both kits are inside; even with temps in the 50s today, there's still plenty of snow left on the ground. Rosie and Remy were eager and pulling on their leashes this morning - there was something in the west wind that made them want to run all out in that direction (all I know is that it made my eyes tear up).

So, the kidney-shaped bone that connects my thumb and wrist is broken, as are two bones along the inside portion of the wrist. No wonder it hurts. (The hospital called to confirm this today - that the bones are broken, not that it hurts.) I showered at home last night, with a newspaper snow bag covering the cast, and three rubber bands keeping the elbow area water-proof. Gosh, my body looks weird! I couldn't figure out why I have scabs on my knees; then realized it was from falling in the parking lot the last Tuesday in November. Then there are garishly colored bruises from my most recent tumble - some are bright purple, some green, some yellow, and a few small spots are almost cranberry-color. Yiiiisssshhhh!!! No wonder I don't look too closely too often!

I did finish all my Christmas shopping, except for the fresh fruit for the Snow family brunch on Saturday, Dec. 27th. I pick up Kathy and Jim from DIA late Sunday morning, and want them to drop me off at home ASAP. For once they won't get a written report of what happened - I simply will not put myself through the pain and hardship of writing. Do I sound anxious for their return? Right you are! And for purely personal reasons.

New Orleans snow

Yesterday ended up sunny and bright and that's the way today has started. I've taken the girls, Suki and Boo, for their walk, then had to run home to collect my watch, as I left it here last night when I showered. I'll walk Rosie and Remy at 9, then I have an appointment with Jed at 11:30. I plan on spending this afternoon at home.

Our public library decided that since the VHS tape collection wasn't being checked out very much anymore, they would sell the tapes to the public for $1 each. They had quite a few that I have liked to possess, so I was looking forward to the sale, which started at 10 a.m. Monday. Of course, I saw Colleen at 10:10 - or was supposed to; I actually was seen at 11:40, and got to the library at 12:15 - all that was left were taped copies of the County Commission meetings! Neel, a neighbor who works at the library, said it was mayhem for 35 minutes - and then everything was gone. I definitely believe it! I had hoped to pick up copies of Poldark, Flambards, I, Claudius, and Brother Cadfael. No way.

It's currently snowing in New Orleans, according to our weatherman - it used to be a really big event when it snowed in Florida. A tornado tore through the town of Windsor, to our northeast, several months ago; the high school band was just informed that they were selected to march and play at President-elect Obama's Inaugural Parade. They are sky-high right now, as are a group of drill-team horseback riders from Fort Collins, who will also participate in the Parade.
Will write more later! Have to hit the road to get to Rosie and Remy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cherry Creek near Denver, Colorado

Some snow photos taken near Denver, Colorado

It was 9 inches of snow!

The weather folks said that Boulder got 9.1 inches of snow over the past 36 hours... Currently it's cloudy outside, but the sun is shining, and it's 27 degrees; supposed to go up to the mid-40s through Sunday, when our high might be freezing and the forecast calls for more snow. We need the snow, rain, or whatever.... I am definitely not complaining!

The squirrels stayed home yesterday - I've had two here this morning, eating. Lovey and Banichi have decided it's not their kind of weather and, after one quick foray onto the patio, came right back inside. We had a very good nap together yesterday afternoon, and I fell asleep on the sofa in Kathy's den last night, and spent 30 minutes frantically searching for my glasses, with both Suki and Boo trying to help. The ache of a broken bone is finally setting in; the ER docs wanted to give me some painkillers, but I declined the offer. My biggest problem is getting the truck shifted out of park and into drive (and vice versa) - it takes both of my hands.

Since I told the heating company that they didn't have to worry about the pipes freezing at K & J's house, they are coming back to fix the furnace on Friday. Bill, the man who worked on it last Friday, had written a note on the change of the igniter that he thought the problem might also be tied into a fouled burner, so Sally, the office manager, had one already on order for me. They really are a nice company! So if you're in the Boulder area, please support Meyers Heating Co.! I pick Kathy and Jim up at the Denver Airport on Sunday morning - that guarantees a late post for the blog.... but then I'll be home with my kits for 5 whole days! Neither they nor I will know what to do with ourselves.

I had planned on getting Christmas cards out this year - but since I can't write, that is now out the window. And I'll be e-mailing my soldier in Iraq until I can actually put pen to paper (legibly) again. I mean, I could sign and address cards, but I'm not sure the PO could deliver them, or that folks would be able to decipher the signature...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Historic Sites in Scotland, Wales & England

Bridge - Stirling, Scotland, Europe

Old Stirling Bridge, Scotland - Scotland's Old Stirling Bridge was built of sandstone in about 1400, replacing a previous wooden span made famous by its critical role in the Battle of Stirling in 1297.

The hill fort from the lane that is part of the Offa's Dyke Path.

A hill fort in Llangollen, Wales - it was a part of Offa's Dyke.

Windsor Castle, Round Tower, Middle Ward

The Round Tower, Middle Ward, Windsor Castle is the oldest part of the castle, being a traditional motte and bailey started during the reign of William the Conqueror. Prince Rupert had apartments here for many years, conducting scientific experiments on the upper floors during the Restoration.

Colleen Ryan is special!

Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from my GP. She said she knew I didn't want a cast on my right wrist and thumb, but to please listen to her. I did. She explained that the bone I had broken was kidney shaped, and that there's a vein that loops around it; when the wrist and thumb aren't cast, usually half of the broken bone dies - and 6 months down the road you need surgery to remove the dead bone. She then said it was up to me, but she'd recommend a cast over surgery any day... Would your GP call and explain the choices you'd face several months down the road? That's why I feel that Colleen is a very special doctor!

What did I do? I now have a cast that goes half-way up my right arm, and has quadrupled the sized of my thumb. Ladies: if you want to try something difficult, go to the restroom, and then try to dry/wipe/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, with your opposing hand. That's how I'm doing.

There's about 5 inches of snow on the ground this morning - Suki and Boo were up to their bellies in it when I let them out in the backyard for a run and potty-time. We're expecting a high of 30 today, but 50 tomorrow, so the snow should melt quickly in the sun. The heater is still not putting out heat into the house, so I've got the space heaters and oven on again - the wind chill outside is currently 7 degrees.

I'll be headed home for my kits shortly, and, having slept poorly last night, I'll probably curl up in my own bed with them, after filling the bird feeders and putting out peanuts. Will probably add more later, including some photos...

Monday, December 8, 2008