Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Forgive me, I'm learning...

The strange letters next to Nikki's photo may be translated to: Nikki wasn't sure why I was pointing a silver box at her and talking to myself....

Nikki, German Short Haired Pointer

Nikki wasn't sure why I was pointing this silver box at her and talking to myself....

Trying new tech out...

Beautiful mornings, beautiful weather, beautiful views... what more could one ask for? Poor Suki and Boo - it turns out my sister and Jim didn't return home until well after midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning. Kathy left messages on both my home phone and Connie's the neighbors phone. I had a key but was in Brighton (and didn't check my messages); Connie was home, but did not have a way to get into the house to feed the dogs.... Other than being extremely hungry, no harm seems to have occurred.

Last night Nikki decided she was "my" dog, since her owner had left her with me. Even though she has a bed on the floor next to mine, she crawled into bed with me - so we slept the night away - one human, one canine and three of four felines all in one bed. Shadow, the fourth cat, slept on a corner of the bureau next to the bed. So we were all one big happy, sleepy family. And, I managed to get a few photos taken. I also took Nikki for a long walk around her neighborhood this morning - I thought Boo pulled hard on the leash; Nikki is an equal to Boo in that regard. The power went off after I went to bed last night - I had to reset clocks all over the house, but luckily the central heating and cooling system reset itself.

Lovey and Banichi are out baking in the sun - it's 62 degrees, so the heat feels good. The patio door is wide open, the bird feeders and chair seat are full of seed and peanuts. I can hear the birds chirping like mad, and one of the squirrels is talking from the top of the fence; crows are crying from about a block away... It's gorgeous. Well... I need to write a few letters, then I'll see if I can upload a couple of the photos I've taken.... Cross your fingers for me!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Topeka, Kansas or Bust!

It's a beautiful, cool morning - still at 48 degrees outside and expecting a high of only 72. I've taken Nikki for a walk, fed and walked Suki and Boo, and cleaned the litter boxes and fed my kits. Banichi is currently nibbling on canned food, while Lovey is stalking "her" pigeon. I'll need to head back to Brighton (and Nikki, Abby, Shadow, Boris and Natasha) in a little while. My hosts in Brighton have told me I can use their phone to make long-distance calls, so I'll probably call my family in Florida this week, as well as calling the lawyer who returned my call from the Spotsylvania County Court. (She called while I was at Kathy's Friday afternoon; I've already returned her call, and let her know I'd be at my home phone number until noon, her time; then I'd call again later with my contact number in Brighton, if I didn't hear from her before I left.)
Michelle Obama will be here in town on Wednesday - I don't know exactly where she'll appear on the CU campus, but I'm sure that if tickets have already been released, they are already gone.

I plan on practicing taking photos of my five Brighton charges today - it would be six, but Kohlbi is in Topeka with his family at the Samoyed National Show - and I do mean his family. Boo's sister Lexi (Kohlbi's mom) will be there, Kohlbi and two of his littermates, and Boo's baby boy will be there from Chicago, too. Kohlbi looked very impressive after his bath and grooming yesterday, and he was just like a baby getting his nails clipped last night (in the middle of the living room floor, with two of the cats taunting him). As soon as I get back to Brighton, I'm going to wash Nikki's ears and let them dry; they are constantly wet and gooey with Kohlbi around, as he sucks on her ears constantly.

On Thursday besides seeing my therapist, I get to meet Rosie and Remy's male owner. (Yes, it is Rosie, even though I erroneously called her Rita in a previous blog entry.) I met Nancy, their female owner last week; she wants me to meet her husband and take the Setters on a walk with both of them, so the dogs freak out the first time I walk them when their owners are gone on vacation. Not much more going on... I'm still in a hovering wait-and-see mode (which I detest). Have a great week!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Curlin makes history

Let's see... I've fed and walked the dogs around Wonderland Lake; I've fed Ooch and cleaned his litter box. I've had my meds, breakfast, and have looked at the Sunday newspaper; and watched 30 minutes of local news on the telly. I have to finish writing my report (covering this morning) for Ooch, and update the report for Suki and Boo; then I can go home to my kits and take care of them; and pack to go out the the Brighton gang's house. I hope to be able to fit a visit to the library in there somewhere - of course, I could indulge in an old favorite for a few days, too.

Curlin raced his way into the annals of thoroughbred history yesterday by winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park. It was a sloppy track and Curlin won by 3/4 length over Wanderin Boy - but Curlin was under a casual hand ride, while his opponent was under a vigorous ride and the whip. Curlin made history because he is the first horse to win over $10 million in his racing career; the previous high-earning mark belonged to Cigar, who retired with $9,999,000+ in his bank account. Curlin, a beautiful leggy chestnut with a small strip, is now being prepared for a much-anticipated face-off with Big Brown in the $5 million Breeder's Cup Classic in October. And if Curlin wins, it will take another superior horse to beat his money-winning record. (Curlin has won 11 of 15 races in his career.)

Don't want to talk about college football... 4 of my 7 teams lost, either by one point or by a landslide. It was embarrassing. At least the Hokies won on national TV last night - I guess that makes things OK. A lot of people were shaken by Virginia Tech beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers at home....

Well, I need to take some photos with my new camera - I've still only taken two. I tried to capture the image of RedBoa taking a peanut from the pile within an inch of Banichi's nose yesterday, but before I could get it, the squirrel took off (with the nut). Maybe I should just spend a few hours playing with the little sucker.... My biggest problem, I find, is that I want to pull the camera all the way up to my face and look through a view-finder - instead of holding it away from my face and looking at the LED screen.... It's tough to teach an old dog new tricks....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ooch and Suki and Boo

It rained , a little, yesterday afternoon. There was lightning over the Flatirons, and quite a bit of thunder during the evening. Suki does not like thunder. She squeezed into a tiny space between the wall and the end of the sofa where I was sitting, and wouldn't come out for several hours. Boo was oblivious to any noise - flat her back in the den - while I watched the first Presidential Debate. Ooch was happy to see me again yesterday and seemed surprised to see me again early this morning. He is such a neat cat. I walked from Kathy's house to my apartment this morning after walking the dogs - that made 6 miles today.

Ooch's owner was scheduled to return today, but she called yesterday and said she'd be back Sunday instead. I'll head back to North Boulder after the CU-FSU game; visit with, feed and love Ooch, and then head on to Suki and Boo's. I took the girls out to "go potty" at 8:45 and 11:00 p.m. last night - but it seems that Boo has decided that the first night I spend with them is her designated "crap in the crate" night. Yep, she did it again... and her crate is scrubbed out and sitting on the back patio to dry, while her blankies are hanging up on the line, after being hosed off. I'll have to wash and dry them this afternoon/evening, and hope she doesn't do it again.

Tomorrow should be pretty much like today - with the exception that I'll be spending tomorrow night in Brighton, and will have to drive back here Monday to take care of Suki and Boo and my kids. I might bring Nikki with me, so the cats in Brighton can have a breather - with NO dogs in the house. I'm going to try to take some photos with the new camera today - hopefully I'll have something I can share with you soon. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Reading myself to Sleep

Last night, I read myself to sleep - not with my usual history, science fiction or mystery book, but with the 140 page 2008 State Ballot Information Booklet for the state of Colorado. Besides the Presidential election on November 4, the folks in Colorado are also voting on Congressional members, State Legislature members, retention of Judges, and 14 Amendments and 4 Referendums to the state constitution and state statutes. This is really a lot of information to digest - and the TV ads each call the opposing point of view a lie... This guide explains, in plain American English, what each amendment and referendum means; it provides concise points both for and against each item; and it also lists an estimated fiscal impact upon the state. It then shows the amendments and referendums in their full government legalese - how they will appear in the state's constitution if they are approved. And, finally, the booklet shows how other members of the judiciary feel about retaining or un-seating currently sitting judges across the state. I feel as if I'm cramming for an exam in college! - It's 140 pages without any reference to any person running for an elected office - Whew!!!!

I actually wore jeans and a long-sleeved T to go walking this morning - there was a very chilly wind from the north that did not cease blowing until after 8:30. Kathy and Jim are headed up to Durango and Silverton for the weekend - the narrow gauge steam-engine railroad has it's annual photographic trip this weekend, including a night shoot up in the mountains. Jim is really excited about this trip and the photo opportunities it will present.

I'll be heading off shortly to spend time with Ooch and get over to Suki and Boo's; there is a chance of thunderstorms today and for the next three days in the afternoon, and Suki and Boo get outrageously filthy in the rain, so I'll try to be at their house each afternoon. I'll have to check the TV listings to see when and where, or if, any of my college teams are on TV tomorrow. The CU Buffs are playing the FSU Seminoles in Florida; the Gators host Ole Miss; and South Carolina hosts UAB. Since the number-one ranked team lost last night to an un-ranked team, there might be a nice shake-up in national standings..... we'll see.

Banichi is stretched out across the foot of my bed. Lovey is basking in the sun in my reading chair. The patio door is still wide open, so I guess I'll be getting up and closing it as soon as I finish this blog. I need to buy more peanuts and no-waste bird seed - but there is plenty for today and tomorrow. The birds visit, but are not flocking here; and right now, there are only the two squirrels that are frequenting the peanut chair. Two raccoons visited at eleven last night; Lovey and Banichi went to the glass door and hissed and spat and attacked the door - so they did their duty in protecting their home and me. They are wonderful cats!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


First, thank you, cousin Sarah, for telling me that I could see NCIS on line! I had completely forgotten that ability, and I thoroughly enjoyed the episode. I took another leap forward into technology by purchasing a digital camera yesterday. It has auto-focus and anti-shake modes, and it will even record a video sequence - now, that's frightening! I'm still figuring out it's quirks and have taken all of two photos - one of Connie's pond, and one of Ooch drinking from the pond. And I've downloaded the software so I can share photos on the blog... Maybe I'll make it into the 21st century sometime - but I still do NOT want a cell phone.

It was below freezing in several towns on the western slope this morning - we were down to 45 and our high is expected to be in the low 90s today. I've been in my T-shirt and shorts and don't plan on changing outfits at all today - Ooch has been eating up the attention I've given him, and tomorrow I'll be taking care of Ooch, Suki and Boo. Ooch's mom is due back on Saturday; Kathy and Jim are due back Monday evening; and Monday morning I start taking care of the herd out in Brighton - Nikki, Abby, Shadow, Boris and Natasha. Kohlbi will be at the Samoyed Specialty Show in Kansas in Kansas, hopefully getting his final Championship points.

In mid-October, I'll have all of the Brighton herd, plus Suki and Boo, as both families go to see the space shuttle launch in Florida. Both families have folks who have worked for 30 years at Ball Aerospace, and this launch will be carrying the last of Ball's instrumentation up for the Hubble Telescope.

In the meantime, my kits are having a wonderful time out prowling in the early mornings and late evenings. Ooch, as I said before, is eating up the attention he's getting, and it's absolutely beautiful up here right now. The leaves are changing and the whole landscape is just gorgeous!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A "Play-House" Delivery

It is a cool, blue-skied morning here. When I started my walk it was 48 degrees outside; I saw several people in sweatsuits, but, as usual, I was in shorts and a T-shirt, and got several questioning looks back. It felt a little cool, but refreshing; and I did work up a good sweat while in the sunshine. Unfortunately, I forgot to put my lip balm in my pocket and my lips got burnt this morning....

The slide show and discussion of the Coast to Coast Path at Changes in Lattitudes last night was fun. I think I most enjoyed the fact that the presenter was NOT a polished speaker - and did not have a memorized travelogue commentary... She was fun and charming; a young lady from Rome, Georgia, who hiked the Coast to Coast this past July and August. Apparently her group of 7 walkers were also keenly appreciative of the pubs they passed along the way, which resulted in a few comedic photos. There was also a close-up of sheep poop and a cow pattie to show us the hazards of cross-country walking through privately owned fields - even though it is a national trail.

My kits and I slept well last night - Lovey had to be inside my nightgown again. I'm headed off to spend most of the day with Ooch and to see my sister's new "play-house" that is supposed to be delivered this morning. She's stated that since we moved around so much as Navy brats, she never got to have a play house in the backyard as she was growing up, and she has always felt deprived by that lack. So, here she is, at 58, getting a play house for her backyard... I just hope she can keep the dogs out of it - otherwise it will just be a big dog-house in the backyard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ecstatic Ooch

Ooch has been in heaven the last few days - I sit and love him and groom him for a couple of hours each day, sitting on the doorstep to the patio, with the door wide open. Ooch gets to run in and out as he desires, and I get to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and gorgeous backyard that his owner maintains - she is, after all, a certified Master Gardener. Ooch loves to go to the pond for a drink of fresh water - even though he gets fresh water twice daily - it's just not the same as when he's surrounded by plants and drinking next to the waterfall.

My kits have been cuddling close at night. I've been having a lot of dreams about Jeffrey after finding him listed as a co-owner of a condo in Florida. I have yet to hear from any family members about this oddity - I have contacted the Spotsylvania County (VA) Court system, and am under the advisement of an attorney... We'll have to see what happens.

I'm on the run - just got back home from Ooch's and am heading out to pick up a pizza (whole wheat crust, grilled chicken alfredo topping with sliced Roma tomatoes and spinach) for an odd party. I'm meeting Kathy and Jim and Grandma Anne for dinner and then we're going to a presentation about hiking the Coast to Coast Path in northern England. I'm going to miss the first new episode of NCIS (Rats!!!!) - but I suggested this before I knew that the new season would start tonight - oh, well.....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Curiouser and curiouser...

My kits had a wonderful time playing outside for most of yesterday. Other than one large grasshopper, I know of no kills of prey; certainly no birds were caught. Banichi spent a lot of time curled up with the peanuts and visiting with RedBoa and another squirrel - I think it was Gimpy.
Lovey caught the grasshopper and brought it to me; I praised and thanked her, and she purred mightily. She spent most of the day dozing in the sun.

My morning walk was rather dark, as I couldn't sleep and went out at 4 a.m. this morning; didn't see any birds, but did see a few bats and raccoons. I'm going to meet a potential new client this afternoon who has two Irish Setters - Rita and Remy. I'll stop by there after spending some time with Ooch today. I haven't seen much of Ooch recently because his owner had a boarder, who took care of him while the owner was gone. The boarder has moved on, and I get to care for Ooch again. I have no idea how he got such an unusual name - but he's an elderly grey and white long-haired cat with absolutely beautiful eyes and one ear that curls backward at the tip. He is a great big, clingy love.

I put a partial family tree online for my son, Kevin, yesterday; then decided to look up his father's siblings on the internet, just for the heck of it. I was extremely surprised to find out that my husband is a co-owner of a condo in Florida, purchased with his brother in 2005. This was curious because my husband passed away in 2003... Hmmmm. I will be looking into this.
And, on a completely different tangent, I saw a nice digital camera that's on sale this week - I may actually take the plunge and purchase it. But I'll have to remember to find out how much a memory card costs, too!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Three Chickadee-dee-dees

Yesterday was as exhausting as I thought it would be... helping set up the yard sale, staying from 7 until 3, and packing most things back up and putting them away. Kathy left for work at 10:30, and Jim returned from his run and office work at 11:45, at which time Sarah left. Only sold one "big" item - a wood table. Most of the rest that was sold was little odds and ends and books. Jim brought me home after we had put away 90% of the leftover stuff...

Got home, turned on the Gator game and found we were ahead 20 to 0; gave the kits a treat and then I let them out. About 15 minutes later I heard a thump and the screaming of a terrified bird. I popped out onto the patio to see Lovey, hanging by her front toes from the sunflower feeder, with a still screaming chickadee in her mouth. I went to her and unhooked her from the feeder, hoping she'd let the bird go. - No such luck. - Then two other chickadees flew in for a rescue mission; by that time I was carrying Lovey and her prey into the apartment, and the other two birds followed us inside, dive-bombing Lovey and me the whole time. I was able to shift Lovey and gently open her jaws, even though she growled at me - the bird flew out of her mouth and landed on the top of the curtain rail. It was joined there by it's two defenders, and then Banichi joined the fray - trying to climb the curtains to get to the birds, while Lovey was trying to launch herself from my shoulder.... After a few minutes of me trying to shoo the birds out the patio door, and trying to run interference on both kits, all three chickadees flew out the door and away. Whew! - I watched the rest of the Gator game and then collapsed in bed, sleeping for 14 hours. Does that make me a slug-a-bed?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keith Olberman's Donation

A late night post because I'll probably be too busy and/or tired to blog later. Am helping out at a garage sale this morning - with plans on leaving it at noon, so I can watch the Gators play on TV.

I did enjoy watching Keith Olberman writing a check for $3,700.00 to the charity of his choice tonight - he made a pledge last Friday that whenever he caught Sarah Palin repeating her lies about "the bridge to nowhere", about selling the governor's plane on e-bay, and about firing the governor's chef, he would pay $100 for each lie. His staff found 37 this week, so he happily wrote the check on the air and sealed the stamped envelope. If, however, Palin continues to talk the way she has this week, perhaps Mr. Olberman will be constrained to reduce the amount of his pledge - there are still quite a few more weeks before the actual election.

CU Football; a Dream

Well. It was an exciting night here in Boulder - CU Buffaloes against the West Virginia Montaineers. Tied at the end of the fourth quarter; WV got the ball first in over time - ran it down the field (thanks to Noel Devine, who is no relation); kicked a field goal - and it bounced back after hitting the left upright. Buffs got the ball, made a field goal, and won, 17-14. Partying was still going on at 3 this morning. My sister had parked in my space, here at the apartment building, and gone to work; she was asked to work extra, so she got to my place just as everyone was leaving the game. So she ended up in here, eating Oreos, while waiting for the traffic to clear so she could just get out of the parking lot. CU has had a pretty lousy football program for at least the past 10 years, so with a 3-0 record, and with the Mountaineers having been a nationally-ranked team, the students are very happy at the moment.

Folks are working on cleaning up the backyard after it's use last night as a parking lot and tail-gating area. Even though the patio door is open, my kits have retreated inside to avoid the unknown people and their rattling trash cans on wheels. One car is still left in the backyard - I don't know if the driver has forgotten where it's parked, or partied too hard after the game and has not yet awoken. I took a walk around and through the campus this morning - while the campus is working on a making ball games a "Zero Waste" event, it's evident that it's not a zero-waste event elsewhere. Saw lots of trash, lots and lots of beer cans and bottles, and lots of yucky vomit patches all over the sidewalks. Yuck. After the next home game I will walk in a very different direction!

I had the weirdest dream this morning - I was travelling on foot with three cats, and a war had been declared; vehicles full of gas/diesel were being flung by giant siege machines, and the cats and I were constantly in fear of having a vehicle either land on us, or being knocked down by the concussive forces of the explosions. And with all the noise and explosions, I could still hear the kits meow at me, and they could hear me talking to them....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back up and Virus Free!

I spent yesterday morning gamboling in my sister's backyard with Suki, Boo, and Smiley. Smiley has doubled in size and tripled in strength since I was last with her. She had a wonderful time exploring the yard and playing with Boo; Suki was being la Princessa yesterday and therefore was untouchable. Smiley chased Boo and pulled out mouthfuls of her fur, and boxed with her and knocked her down. That's what Boo has always done to her mother, Suki, and her siblings - and we thought it was just that she get the same treatment back. She could not keep up with the puppy's energy, and when she finally barked to complain about it, Suki came over to be the referee. It was a very tiring, fun, and insightful morning. Next week, I'll be taking care of Ooch; then Suki and Boo; then Nikki and her 4 cats.

No blog yesterday because I finally got my computer cleaned up.... Had several nasty Trojan viruses and a couple of mal cookies as well. It took 6 hours to scrub the system clean and be able to start again with all usual systems up and functioning. Now it's done and I can blog away...

Lovey is sitting in front of me on the desk, blocking my view of the keyboard and the monitor. The patio door is wide open; I want the kits to get their dose of outdoors well before noon today, as there is a nationally televised CU football game (against the West Virginia Mountaineers) here this evening. Most afternoon classes have been dismissed, and traffic on Folsom is heavy already. The kits have been happy to have me home - Banichi is spending a great deal of time pressed up against me, and, if the door is open, Lovey comes inside about every 5 minutes to assure herself that I'm sitting here at the computer.

Returning from my walk this morning, I fell in with a group of 3 ravens. By moving slowly and clucking, they allowed me to get within two feet of them. It was an odd feeling having this bird that, sitting on the ground came up to my mid-thigh, look me up and down, as if judging what size clothes I wear. The other two birds were smaller, and I'd guess were it's offspring. - You know that crows and ravens keep their young with them for at least 2 years before they leave the family nest, to insure that the youngsters know how to forage for themselves and also know how to raise their own young - since they have to help feed and raise younger siblings each year.
I hope I run into this family group again!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is this the "Cardiff Rose"?

Cousin Patti's Sunflower

This beautiful sunflower was raised and photographed by my distant cousin, Patti Martin, who lives in Idaho.
I'm glad you had the energy to plant and water these beauties, Patti!

A Huge Raven

Ah... a night in my own bed; Lovey insisting on sleeping inside my nightgown; Banichi bringing me his favorite shoestring.... Sheer heaven.

I've had my morning walk, cleaned the litter boxes, taken out trash, paid my bills, confirmed several pet-sitting dates, cleaned the bird feeders and filled them, and have three loads of laundry washing. It's time for a break! It's a beautiful day - we're expecting highs in the upper 70s for the rest of the week, with night time lows in the upper 40s.

I was startled yesterday afternoon by a sound from the patio. It sounded like something was running into the sliding glass doors, and then like an entire flock of birds was taking off. I edged back the curtains to find out what was going on. A huge raven was landing in the seat of the wicker chair, causing the chairback to hit the door, then it was grabbing a beak full of peanuts, turning around and flying off - causing the rush of feathers I kept hearing. I had wondered how RedBoa had been making all of the peanuts disappear... now I know he's had help from above.

Monday, September 15, 2008

One of My Nine Lives

Jeffrey, my husband, always said I was more cat than human. If so, I lost one of my nine lives yesterday. On my way back to Spike's house, in the little community of Niwot, I just missed being hit by a car. I had left the bus stop at the Diagonal, and was walking east on the north side of Niwot Road. I was walking on the sidewalk; I was wearing a fire-engine red T-shirt, faded jeans, and sneakers; I was highly visible in the sunshine.

I admit I was looking at two bicyclists in the east-bound bike lane; I was not looking specifically at Franklin Street, which I began to cross. I could see with my peripheral vision that the way was clear; I could also hear the approaching sound of a vehicle's tires - but it didn't really concern me, because there was a stop sign on Franklin, before one turns onto Niwot Road. Stupid me! I expected the driver to obey the traffic laws. My eyes were still on the bicyclists on the other side of the road; I stepped into the street and was aware that the vehicle approaching me was slowing. I continued to cross the street, glancing at the on-coming vehicle - it was a large black SUV - that's all that registered. I looked back at the bike riders, continuing to cross Franklin. My brain registered the fact that the SUV was now accelerating, not slowing to stop. I looked over my shoulder, as I was more than half way across the lane, and realized that the driver was not going to stop, was, in fact, speeding up, and that if I didn't throw myself forward, I'd be struck full force by the bumper and grill. I yelled as I threw myself forward. The young blonde driver, wearing sunglasses, opened her mouth in an "O" shape, and hit the gas even harder. I landed just clear of the SUV's tires, on my hands and knees, in the middle of Franklin Street. I looked over my shoulder and watched the blonde drive through a red light to get across the Diagonal, and then run another red to turn towards Boulder.

I have a mild case of road rash and bruises on my knees; my hands were spared because I was carrying a Sunflower grocery bag, and I somehow managed to land with that under my hands.
Talk about an adrenaline rush!! I finally calmed down and started shaking about 8 pm - and the near-accident happened at 4:30. Spike got extra cuddling, snuggling, and loving last night. I head on home to my kits late this morning.

Gov. Palin is appearing at the JeffCo Fairgrounds this morning - the GOP just cancelled the Pancake Breakfast part of it. One local news station is reporting that a mother with a young special needs child arrived at the gates at 4 a.m., so she could get a seat. - Poor misguided creature!

Senator Obama is appearing this afternoon at the state Fairgrounds in Pueblo; tomorrow he'll give a speech at the School of Mines (which I think is in Golden). All I know is that the evening news casts are sponsored by nothing but political commercials right now - and the majority are from 527s (special interests groups). Some are laughable, some are funny, some are downright irritating - but if these folks want to pay for air-time, that's fine with me - I usually press the "Mute" button as soon as they start.

A Pet's Ten Commandments

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice, when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy, or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or, my heart might be getting old, or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.
Now please pass this on to other pet owners.
We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.... It is here on earth and has four legs!

(Many thanks, Kathryn, for sending this to me!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spike, Brandi, and my Kits

This morning it is grey and overcast, but doesn't smell like rain. I puttered around Spike's house this morning and had breakfast at the Garden Gate Cafe - a very nice little shop a half-block from the house that serves an excellent breakfast! Grabbed a Daily Camera at the Niwot Market, and went back to cuddle more with Spike. Caught the 9:26 bus into Boulder, and stopped at Safeway to get a bag of dry food that the kits like. Mary, the lady I've helped with using the internet, was there and informed me that Stacey, another employee, has a computer in her home and is helping Mary with her search for a part-time job as a baby sitter.

I got to my place, loved and fed the kits, cleaned their potty boxes, and wandered toward the desk. My phone was blinking, indicating a message; I checked the number, but don't know anyone in Englewood; I cautiously played the message. It was Chalkie's ex-owner. Her car had broken down, and she didn't have my sister's phone number, and I was to call Kathy and/or her husband and send them to pick her up. The call had been made to me at 8:20 in the morning; it was then 10:10, and I was supposed to instruct Jim or Kathy to pick her up at 9:20 somewhere in Superior. I called and left a message relaying this information to Kathy and Jim. Jim called me back about 30 minutes later and said that having Ellen stay at their house was... interesting. I am still outraged.

I then received a most welcome call from Brandi's owners - I'll be staying with her for the week of Thanksgiving. She'll be a wonderful quiet treat to stay with during what is usually a very hectic week. I leave Spike to his family tomorrow - I'll miss his snuggling on the sofa in the evening. Banichi and Lovey are out stalking pigeons this morning - they won't give up, even though the birds are as large as Lovey is; Banichi is just not fast enough, but he definitely has the drive to hunt for prey almost as big as he is.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wins and Losses

Big Brown won the Monmouth Stakes today. He has now won 7 of 8 races, and earned $3,614,500. He sprinted for the lead and was 6 lengths ahead of the pack; they caught up with him at the top of the stretch and Big Brown dueled it out with Proudinsky all the way to the finish, winning by a neck. Big Brown's next race is the Breeder's Cup Classic, worth $5 million, on October 25 at Santa Anita. Santa Anita is using a new synthetic track surface this year. I hope that BB likes it!

Bulldogs beat the Gamecocks, Hokies beat their opponents, Connecticut is putting a whipping on the Cavaliers... Auburn has a 3 point lead over Mississippi State. Looks like a day of both wins and losses - like life.

Big Brown is Racing Today

After being eased in the Belmont Stakes, Big Brown pretty much fell off the face of the earth. On 3 August, he easily won the Haskell Invitational, but got little press coverage. Today he will face 10 rivals in the Monmouth Stakes - a 1 1/8 mile turf race. His rivals run from 3 to 8 years in age, and several are turf specialists. Big Brown will carry 120 pounds, 6 less than in the Triple Crown races; other horses entered will carry 119 or 121 pounds. The race is set to begin at 4:30 EDT today. This is Big Brown's prep race for the Breeder's Cup.

Blue Skies

As soon as I typed that title, I started to hear Willie Nelson sing the song inside my head. It's currently in the mid-50s, with beautiful clear blue skies everywhere in sight. Nothing like the folks who are suffering through Ike - and, honestly, I'm glad I'm not there. We had much needed rain here yesterday, and this morning was crisp; the prairie dogs were zipping about, and so were the squirrels. The birds have been rather quiet so far - but I'm sure the crew at my apartment is singing merrily.

Spike and I slept well, after watching the Weather Channel's coverage of Ike last night. This morning the forecasters have Ike turning back to the northeast, so I'll have to worry about cousin Glenn and Sarah in Missouri. I'm looking forward to the Georgia - South Carolina college football game this afternoon - CU has a bye this weekend, but will host West Virginia on Thursday afternoon/evening; I don't know who I'll root for in the CU-WV game - probably both teams. Today I'll be rooting for the Gamecocks, the Hokies, and the Cavaliers. (Gators aren't playing.)

Spike has been doing very well - of course, his main meals are regulated, and I monitor him before and after his meals and shots. He doesn't really meow anymore - his cry sounds more like a hoarse and husky call of "Maaa!" He's already gone out to prowl the fence line this morning, but didn't get very far; he's not fond of wet feet, and the grass is still covered with droplets of rain from yesterday. Keystone Ski Resort got 5 inches of snow yesterday, and the Arapahoe Basis reported 2 to 3 inches of the white stuff. It will all be gone by noon tomorrow....

Oh, and Sarah Palin's Pancake Breakfast has already been cancelled - I haven't heard the reason behind the cancellation yet.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pancakes with Palin

Lovey is leaving muddy paw prints on the desk, on my shirt, and on my jeans. We've been watching coverage of Hurricane Ike - the waves crashing over the sea wall at Galveston, the folks who are stranded on a ship without power out in the Gulf, workers stranded at an oil facility... I hug Lovey and am thankful she survived Katrina.

I discovered last night that I'm no longer used to the sound of rain on a roof. I've been in my apartment for two and a half years; I'm on the ground floor, and there's an apartment above me with a balcony that provides shelter for my patio - I had no idea that I was no longer comfortable listening to rain fall. I kept waking up last night at Spike's - and the only thing I'd hear was the rain on the roof. I've always enjoyed rain and storms, and have loved listening to the rain tap on the roof and through the tree canopy - but I'm no longer used to it. There is snow up above 10,000 feet here in Colorado today - our local stations have been showing tape of it - and chain laws have been in effect for motorists at most passes today.

Pancakes with Palin - that is also one of the headlines in the local news. Gov. Sarah Palin will be attending a Pancake Breakfast/fund raiser for the GOP this coming Monday morning at the Jefferson County (Jeffco) Fair Grounds. Will I be going? I will not. I loved Charlie Gibson's question to her about the Bush Doctrine that came out in 2002 - she had no idea what it was.

Spike's family is due back Monday afternoon and I'll be back home for a few days... I need to get going on putting up my husband's family tree for our son, Kevin. Have a grand weekend, if the weather will let you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Grey Day

Today was grey and misty, with a high of 62 degrees. We might get to 60 tomorrow, and snow is falling above 10,000 feet, which means that Leadville will probably wear a white coat in the morning. I got up and walked early. It's very different walking in Niwot - I saw prairie dogs and squirrels and birds, horses, goats and cattle on my walk. Loved up on Spike, gave him breakfast, then gave him his insulin shot; loved him some more and then headed into Boulder to love my kits.

While walking from Spike's to the bus stop, my glasses misted over with incredibly small droplets of condensation - but I didn't really feel damp or wet, just cool. Walked from the bus stop in Boulder to my apartment, and was greeted by both kits at the door. I loved both of them, fed them, cleaned their potty boxes, and let them out while I refilled the bird feeders and put out nuts for RedBoa. It began to drizzle in a few minutes, and both kits got into my lap while I was on the computer. They started swatting one another to have sole possession of my lap, so I put both of them on floor. When I had finished answering a few genealogy queries, I then laid in my bed and both kits came and snuggled - Lovey wanted under the cover, of course.

I dropped off to sleep for a nice nap; awakened, had lunch, read to the kids for a while, gave them a treat, and then headed back to Niwot. I chose that time because it was in between rain showers - and I stopped in at Sunflower along the way because Kathy had picked up a package of raw unsalted almonds for me. Grabbed the bus, arrived in Niwot, checked in on Spike, and walked to the Niwot Market to pick up one of their fresh baugettes at 4 p.m. I picked up Spike's mail and then he and I snuggled on the sofa until it was supper time. We watched the "Comment on Service" show wherein both McCain and Obama answered questions from two journalists.
Will soon take Spike to bed. ... Let me amend that, I will soon join Spike in bed... he's already stretched out with his head on a pillow. 'Night all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 10, 1980; 9/11/2001

28 years ago, I was a teacher's aide in 2 Kindergarten classes. On Thursday afternoon, the 9th, Avery, our neighbor called to say there was a bald eagle perched in her pine tree - I went out and took a photo of it. The next day, as I drove down our street, (I was living in my parents' house, paying rent) I saw two ambulances parked in front of the house. As I drove down the street, a neighbor (not Avery) ran out into the road to flag me down... "Who is it?" I asked, "Mom or Dad?" The neighbor started saying calming things - but I wanted an up-front answer, so I started to drive on and park my car in it's usual spot. The neighbor thought I wouldn't be able to park my own car - but I did. I asked again, going across the front yard to the door - "Who? Mom or Dad?" She finally said, "It's your Dad."

I guess I had led a sheltered life - I had not gone to any funerals in my life, and the first dead person I saw was my father. It was a shock. It wasn't my father. It was an empty husk that had contained my father. Since that time, I've had to deal with the deaths of my parents-in-law, my mother, and my husband died in my arms. I've seen a free flying bald eagle, or one in a tree each day before each of those deaths. I think that the bald eagle is a wonderful symbol for America, but to me it means death is near.

Tomorrow is the seventh anniversary of September 11th - a very nasty day in our history. Jeff, my husband, and I were in a courthouse in Manassas, Virginia when we first got the news that a plane had flown into the New York Trade Towers. By the time we had finished our testifying duties, rumors were flying like mad - and we could only pick up an all-news radio station from downtown Washington, DC - they didn't know what was happening either. As we drove back to our home, the radio reported on the collapse of both towers, and the plane that had flown into the Pentagon. It also reported that there were explosions on the Capitol Mall, and that the entire Mall was on fire. Because of the trial that Jeff and I had to testify at, I had not gone to work that day - I did not take the subway underneath the Pentagon as I usually did, an I did not get trapped at work, 27 miles from home with no way to get home.
Some of my co-workers told me of their experiences trying to get to their homes that day - and I am blessed not to have been one of them. One man lived in Baltimore - it took him 16 hours to get since; several co-workers lived "across town" and usually took the subway or buses, both of which shut down - it took them 5 to 8 hours to make it through the panicked crowds in the streets and arrive home.

So, for me, both September 10th and 11th are days that will always fill me with sadness and regret. As with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, both days in September will be days "that live in infamy" to me.

Giardia and dogs

Since yesterday's information was about cats, here is information that is very important for dog owners in this area. Giardia can and will cause a lot of nastiness if your dog picks it up:

Your dog has diarrhea, is listless, and has lost weight...
The symptoms are typical of several diseases, but if your dog has had contact with dirty (or potentially contaminated) water or with dogs showing similar signs, Giardiasis should at least be suspected.
Giardia are protozoans, tiny, one-celled parasitic life forms with the potential to cause serious illness. Some dogs are carriers who show no symptoms, but others get sick and need treatment.
Like many disease organisms, Giardia mature in stages. Unlike many others, no time elapses between infestation with the dormant phase and activation of the disease. The cysts (the inactive form) are found in contaminated water and feces. Once ingested by the dog, the cysts open and discharge the mobile form known as the trophozoite, a pear-shaped critter with whip-like flagella that propel it through the intestine. If the dog is healthy, the trophozoites may live in the lower digestive tract for years. If the dog has an immature or overburdened immune system, the trophozoites continue to multiply by dividing and can cause the debilitating disease.

The life cycle of Giardia is still somewhat of a mystery. Scientists do know that the trophozoites encyst at some point, and that the cysts are passed into the environment when the dog defecates, but the exact timing and mechanism are not yet known. It is also unclear whether the protozoans are a single species or several species, each with a specific host. Suffice to say, however, that Giardia is an equal opportunity disease that infects several species of animals, including humans. Thus the presence of cysts in the environment can trigger an outbreak in people as well as pets. Cysts can remain viable for several weeks or months in cold, wet environments, so areas littered with feces should be avoided and piles should be removed from backyards.
In the mid 1990s, a guide dog school in England was hit by a severe outbreak of diarrhea. Dr. Maggie Fisher, a veterinarian with an interest in parasitology, helped devise a treatment and disinfection strategy to prevent recurrence. Fisher described the diagnosis and treatment of the disease as follows.

Symptoms: Large populations of Giardia can interfere with the absorption of food and produce feces that are soft, light-colored, and greasy. Mucus from the large intestine may also indicate that the large intestine is irritated even though the colony of active protozoa remains in the small intestine. Blood tests appear normal with the possible exception of an increase in a type of white blood cells and mild anemia.

Diagnosis: Since diarrhea is a common symptom of intestinal infection, causes such as Salmonella and Campylobacter are generally ruled out before testing for Giardia is done. Direct microscopic inspection of feces is necessary to determine the presence of the protozoan. Examination of soft feces may reveal the active trophozoites, and cysts may be found in firm excrement. The number of cysts can vary from day to day, so best chances of detecting this form of Giardia lies in collecting samples over three days for a fecal flotation test or conducting individual tests every two or three days until at least three tests have been done. A quicker test does exist, but it is more expensive and requires an experienced technician to run.

Treatment:There are several options of treatment , some with two- or three-day protocols and others needing seven-to-10 days to complete the job. Flagyl (Metronidazole) is an old stand-by treatment for bacterial infestations that cause diarrhea and is about 60-70 percent effective in curing giardiasis. However, Flagyl has potentially serious side-effects in some animals, including vomiting, anorexia, liver toxicity, and some neurological signs, and it cannot be used in pregnant dogs. In a recent study, Panacur (Fenbendazole), which is approved for use in treating dogs with roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm, has been shown to be effective in treating canine giardiasis. Panacur is safe to use in puppies at least six weeks of age.
In large kennels, mass treatment of all dogs is preferable, and the kennel and exercise areas should be thoroughly disinfected. Kennel runs should be steam-cleaned and left to dry for several days before dogs are reintroduced. Lysol, ammonia, and bleach are effective decontamination agents.
Because Giardia crosses species and can infect people, sanitation is important when caring for dogs. Kennel workers and pet owners alike should be sure to wash hands after cleaning dog runs or removing feces from yards, and babies and toddlers should be kept away from dogs that have diarrhea. When traveling with a dog, owners should prevent him from drinking potentially infected water in streams, ponds, or swamps and, if possible, avoid public areas polluted with feces.

1. Giardia in Dogs by Maggie Fisher, BVetMed, MRCVS; at Vet On-Line, a service of Priory Lodge Education Limited.
2. Treatment information is a blend of information from Dr. Fisher and from “Giardia,” an article by Dr. Holly Frisby, Drs. Foster and Smith Veterinary Services Department,(http://www.drsfostersmith.com).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Symptoms of Feline Diabetes

*The following information may be found on numerous websites and in various forms. This info is from the Becton, Dickinson and Company website about diabetes. They produce very fine one-use insulin syringes (my husband used them and Spike uses them) - and I like their information on all types of diabetes.*

Signs of diabetes in cats are subtle and may build over a period of months to years. The cat may not show any classic diabetes symptoms until chronic high blood glucose leads to sugar in the urine. By then, the cat is always thirsty and urinates very large amounts of liquid, seen as big clumps in the litter box. The cat may act sad and mopey. Because its body is using up fat and muscle protein for energy, the cat might lose weight quickly even though it may have a ravenous appetite.
A cat with diabetes often develops muscle weakness due to nerve damage (neuropathy). It may have trouble climbing stairs, jumping, and getting into and out of the litter box. This might cause it to urinate in places other than the litter box. A classic sign of nerve damage is a ‘plantigrade’ position. The cat walks on its entire back hocks instead of just walking on its back toes. The hocks are the joints that look like elbows on the back legs. A cat with this problem often has ‘frosty paws’, because cat litter sticks to its hind legs and paws.

Symptoms of Diabetes - Although obesity is a risk factor for feline diabetes, by the time the cat shows symptoms it can be either obese or very thin, depending on how much insulin the cat's beta cells are still able to produce. The most common symptoms of diabetes in cats include:
Extreme thirst
Lethargy, mopey attitude
Excessive urination
Weight loss
Usually, a ravenous appetite
Unkempt hair and coat
Difficulty climbing and jumping
Abnormal walking position (plantigrade stance)

Symptoms of Ketoacidosis - Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition that happens when a severe lack of insulin cause the cat’s body to break down fat to use as energy. The breakdown of fat creates chemicals called ketones, which build up in the blood and urine. Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency. If your cat shows several symptoms of DKA, it should be rushed to a veterinarian for treatment. Untreated, ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can happen if a cat has not yet been diagnosed or treated for its diabetes, or if it is not responding to its diabetes treatment. DKA can also happen in a cat that has a serious medical condition in addition to the diabetes, such as a severe infection. The most common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are:
Extreme lethargy
Reduced appetite or complete refusal to eat
Fruity breath
Rapid breathing

*My husband's ex-wife was able to home-diagnose one of her cat's diabetes due to his fruity-smelling breath. Her veterinarian was surprised that she knew what was wrong with the cat, and she explained she'd had plenty of experience with her husband's fruity breath when he was "running sugar." **

Spike, and a Special dog

It was 40 degrees outside this morning - a little cool for a walk in a t-shirt, so I added a sweater. Our high yesterday was 51; for today, the forecasters are predicting 79, so while I started the day in jeans, T, and sweater, I'll probably end up in shorts and a T. I am still heart-sick over the useless euthanasia of Chalkie - I feel like I want to vomit, it gets me so upset...

The Spike-meister and I have been getting on like gangbusters - for a 20-year-old cat who has diabetes, he's very spry - and loves to wander in the yard when it's not raining. I spend a lot of time on his patio, watching him prowl the fence line in the sun. As an older cat, and with his diabetes, his immune response is lowered - the main reason I watch him in the yard is to be certain that other outside cats don't come into the yard while he is out. Spike would fight to defend his territory, but he can't fight infections well, so his owners and I try to protect him from skirmishes with other critters.

I'll be heading home to Lovey and Banichi in a few minutes - it will be nice to be back in their loving warmth and be around their "Mama - look!" attitudes. I made a new contact for pet-sitting this past weekend - a man who attended UF owns a business not far from my apartment and he has three dogs; the youngest, Hobbes, is the offspring of the other two and Hobbes was born without eyes or even the formation of eye sockets. She doesn't realize that she's "special" and has a very full life - I'll be interested in taking care of her and her parents in the future.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stupid deaths upset me!

I wrote in the blog this past Friday about Chalkie, who was taken to the local Humane Society at the age of 17. Chalkie had some dental issues and the folks at the Humane Society felt that he would not survive anesthesia for the dental work he would need before they felt comfortable in sending him on to another family. Chalkie was euthanized on Friday, less than 24 hours after his arrival at the Humane Society.

I am not upset with the people at the Humane Society. I am very angry at Chalkie's former owner. She had decided to sell her home in Boulder and move to another state (I had understood that she was moving into a retirement home, due to her age and a physical disability) to be near her children and grandchildren. Chalkie was taken to the Humane Society on Thursday afternoon; his owner left late Friday night to drive to her new home in another state - not knowing that the Humane Society had tried to contact her Friday morning, to pick Chalkie up, if she did not want him killed. I was outraged to find out that she has returned to Boulder - she arrived back here Sunday afternoon, because she decided she couldn't live near her son after being in his home for less than an hour for a "welcoming" visit. She has decided to stay in Boulder.

Chalkie died for no reason other than her sheer stupidity and stubborness. She apparently had decided to move because "she felt her time for dying was near"; she "moved" to another state without having a place to move to; and after spending less than 60 minutes in her son's company decided that moving was a "bad idea" and she really did like Boulder. A cuddly, warm, loving lap cat was killed because a woman didn't look ahead to what might happen when she appeared on her son's doorstep, informing him that she was moving nearby to spend "her last time" with him and his family. Stupid, ignorant, unthinking.... I would add many more words, but they would not be nice. And I want this to be a "G" rated blog at all times, so I can't really express myself. At least she did not just turn him loose and hope he would survive on his own outside. At least he died (somewhat) peacefully - but without a known and loving presence there. He did not starve, was not crippled, was not eaten by a wild animal.... but he is irrevocably dead. Nothing can bring back his spirited, playful company. His death was wasteful and stupid!

Mistaken about "Branded"

Ooooppss! Made a classic mistake - wrote what I thought I knew, without doing the necessary research. Branded was about a massacre at Bitter Creek, not at Sand Creek. My mistake. Chuck Connors portrayed a character named Jason McCord. The series was on the air in 1964, 1965, and ended in 1966. Again, I apologize for incorrect information.

About Niwot

I awoke both yesterday and this morning to see an intense gaze from blue eyes - located about 4 inches from my nose. I swear that Spike performs some kind of magic or wishing that awakens me 5 minutes before the alarm - or maybe my subconscious is reacting to "the stare" while I'm asleep. Yesterday morning, I heard a familiar, but still unfamiliar, sound in the yard. It was a bird, and I knew I should know the sound it was making and know what kind of bird it was without even looking... I had to look - and was disheartened to see it was a common blue jay. Of course, blue jays are not common (yet) in Colorado - but I grew up with multiple blue jay nests in our yard in Florida, so I felt I should have recognized the call. Maybe I'm getting old and forgetful.

As I got off the bus at the Niwot stop yesterday afternoon, the bus driver muttered, "Niwot... weird name." So before taking the last step, I turned and told him it was from the Arapahoe language and that it meant left hand... my good deed and teaching bit was done for the day. I find it odd that people have no curiosity about local history and how places and/or things got their names. Niwot was a local Arapahoe , who became a leader (chief) of his people; he spoke 5 languages, including English; nearby Neva Road is named for his brother. Niwot was left-handed, which earned him his name - and there is Left Hand Canyon, Left Hand Creek, and several other places with his name in English or Arapahoe nearby. He and his brother died in the Sand Creek Massacre in eastern Colorado; their sister, Snake Woman, two other adults and 6 children were the only survivors... You say the Sand Creek Masscre sounds familiar? After Chuck Connors starred as Lucas McCain in The Rifleman, he followed it up with a series named Branded - about a US Army officer stripped of his rank "for cowardice" at the Sand Creek Massacre.

I'll be headed home for Lovey and Banichi in a few minutes... besides loving them to pieces, I need to give their litter boxes another scrub today. And I think I'll probably need to refill the bird feeders again - yesterday I had the pleasure of watching RedBoa, the squirrel, enjoy several peanuts while sitting in the patio chair. Spike is a wonderful companion, but he isn't either of my kids. I miss Lovey burbling to get attention, and Banichi's odd cries as he brings me his shoestring (tastefully dipped in clean drinking water, of course!). I finished the book on voodoo and obeah in the Islands, and started a new book about small communities in the Highlands of Scotland last night. Spike seems to be enjoying the information.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Welcome, Zoe Zettlemoyer!

Losing a beloved animal is heartbreaking. The Zettlemoyer family lost DeJa last month, and had lost Marvin, another dog, the year before to bladder cancer. I sat with both dogs, and loved both of them.

Jessie and Chris are entering a new type of parenthood as of this afternoon. Zoe, their daughter, was born in Fort Collins. Dad Chris was there, as was grandmother Connie - and I can guarantee you this is one critter I won't be sitting for. Don't get me wrong - I love babies, all kinds of babies - but I no longer have the urge to mother a small human, and I'm much more comfortable being me - the Critter Sitter.

Congratulations to Christopher and Jessica Redak Zettlemoyer, on the birth of their first child, Zoe! If she inherits all her her parents good genes and traits, she will provide love and comfort to all kinds of pets in her life. Welcome to the world, Zoe.

Loud music in Niwot

It was loud at Spike's last night. One neighbor started playing Roy Orbison and Jimmy Buffett at 5 p.m., the one on the other side of the house cranked up their choice - acid rock that I didn't recognize; I turned up the volume on the TV to be able to hear it between the two stereos, and then the band on the square had it's amplifiers turned up so loud, I had to turn up the volume again. (I could follow the action of the Gator game - after all, I did stats for my high school team - but I wanted to hear names and the info the announcers decided to share about the players...) This weekend was good to the college teams I support - they all won.

The kits are happy to have me home again for a bit. Actually, when I walked in this morning, Banichi ran in the opposite direction - I was wearing my sneakers; I don't know what his previous owners did to him, but if I'm wearing sneakers, he doesn't trust me. I quickly kicked the sneakers off and loved both of my kits; gave them breakfast, cleaned the litter boxes, fed the birds and let the kits outside to explore the strange scents left from the tail-gaters from the CU game. It got up to 68 yesterday; expecting mid-70s today, but another cold front is coming through tonight and tomorrow is expected to be rainy and cool like Friday.

I realized last night, as I was driving back to Niwot after putting Suki & Boo to bed, that I have no idea where my sister and brother-in-law are this weekend. For once, they left me no contact numbers, nor even the name of the town they went to. I'm comfortable with it, but I usually have some idea of where my clients are and how to contact them when I'm in charge of their critters. Kathy and Jim are due back this evening, so I'll be leaving their truck in their drive and hopping the bus out to Niwot, as usual. It's felt strange to have the truck and to be traveling in a triangle - Spike's, Suki & Boo's, and my place.

Also while driving last night, I had a Twilight Zone moment, when I suddenly realized that I was driving on automatic pilot - there were no other vehicles in sight, there were lights in houses about a mile off the road in either direction, and I had no idea where I was. I must have been thinking very hard about something! I finally saw a fire-truck warning sign up ahead and recognized my position... I'm currently reading about voodoo and obeah and some of the beliefs on the Islands - maybe I thought I was cursed?!? In any event, I was not off course and made it back to Spike's with no problem. It will be nice not to have to worry about three households after this evening.

For those of you who had a scare with Gustav, and Hanna, I feel with you. Those bracing to see what Ike (and possibly Josephine) will do - I feel for you, too. I wish all of you could have the information and support that those who watch George Winterling on WJXT get. George is the very best of all weather people/meteorologists!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kits and Niwot Nostalgia Day

Well, I'm definitely having problems with my PC at home. I'll continue this blog from Spike's house and try to get my PC cleared up during this upcoming week. I missed cousin Pete from Indiana yesterday - while I did get to speak with him on the phone, I didn't get to actually see him and his wife. Ah, well... Our high here yesterday was 54 degrees; it's supposed to be in the low 70s today, but if these afternoon clouds don't break up, I doubt it will get that warm. Today is the first home game for the CU Buffs, so I swept my patio and made certain things were "nice" as soon as I arrived home (and let the kits out for 90 minutes). Before I left to return here, the backyard was almost full of parked vehicles for the game; and several children had commented on Banichi and Lovey watching them through the window.

Spike had a grand time marking my face and hands with his chin and lips last night - I know the routine he has, so I wasn't surprised that as soon as I was in bed, he was on my chest, purring. He is extremely thorough, beginning with my chin and working up, and then tackling each of my hands. Lovey and Banichi know that I belong to them, and so there is no big deal about another animals' scent on me. I did shower this morning, but Spike marked most of my face again before I left to go home...

Today is Niwot Nostalgia Day, with events planned from 7:30 in the morning until 10 tonight. It opens with a pancake breakfast, and a parade through Old Town at 10 a.m. From 11 to 2, there are rides and games specifically for the kids, as well as two different magic shows; there will be a quilt show going on, and the Niwot Timberline Symphony Orchestra will perform for 90 minutes. Later, there's a duck race in the creek; and, of course, there are food and arts and crafts booths open, as well as the local stores. The Community Band will perform during dinner time, and the Fab 4 will play in the square from 7 until 10 tonight. The Dapper Dog Day Spa will be taking free photos of man's best friend, giving away doggie treats, and will have both an animal communicator and a pet massage therapist on hand - it's a good day to be a canine in Niwot!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Spike-meister

Cold rain & Spike

Writing from Spike's house... it's cool and rainy outside and his family left at 5:30 this morning. I'm here to cuddle and read and blog. The RNC was certainly exciting - less than 130 people were arrested during the DNC, but over 300 on one day at the RNC. I don't know if choosing Gov. Palin as a running-mate was a good move for McCain or not - I listened to all their speeches, but nothing could make me like any of them. They are just spouting the same old stuff the Republican Party has been preaching since before Reagan - and look where the past 7+ years of a Republican Presidency has gotten our country...

I cuddled with Spike and gave him a tiny treat when I arrived; he is now curled up in my lap and talking to me. I'll need to run back over to my sister's and feed Suki and Boo tonight, then I'll be back with the Spike-meister. Lovey and Banichi were not very happy with me when they saw me pack my over-night bag after I fed them breakfast this morning. I let them run outside, but it began to rain, so Nichi-ji curled up in the middle of the bed and Lovey sat in my lap and cried. She can be a real heart-breaker when she wants to be.

I think I became more myself yesterday evening - I got to pick between a pro football game and a college game, while skittering back over to the final night of the RNC.... The pro game went as expected, and Vandy beat South Carolina, which was a surprise... And my shrink has decided to just up my dosage of meds instead of trying to change what I take...

The local Humane Society has just received over 30 cats that were re-located by Gustav - another bunch of bayou kitties in Colorado - and I know of one 17-year-old that I would have taken in in a heartbeat, if I had more room. I hope someone adopts Chalkie soon - he's been a one-owner indoor cat since he was 12 weeks old, and his owner couldn't take him with her into the nursing home. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mouse in House; Breeder's Cup

While speaking to my friend Kathryn in Florida last night, I was interrupted by the arrival of Lovey - she wanted attention, but (I could tell from her demeanor) she didn't want me to see what she had. It was a little field mouse, not even as big as my thumb. I quickly finished my conversation and went to the bathroom to collect the mouse jar. Lovey had, by that time, taken the mouse to the entrance hallway; she'd hold it still with a paw on its' tail, and then let it run... then stop it with a paw on its' tail again. Banichi was sitting less than a yard away and watching intently. After about three minutes I got the mouse in the jar, and, keeping the kits inside, I turned the little guy/gal loose back in the grass. I want to make it clear that Lovey did not catch the mouse inside the apartment; she caught it outside in the yard and brought it in.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I can't leave horses alone for any length of time; so, here goes: The Breeder's Cup has expanded. Horse racing's multi-million dollar race day has now become two days of racing. This year the event will be on Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th. With the expansion of the race-card (there are now 14 BC races on the schedule), I can see and agree with the spread of the races over two days; being a feminist, I'm not sure that I like the fact that all the Distaff Races are now on Friday, and all the races for males are on Saturday (with, of course, the exception of any female that wishes to tackle the males in the highest echelon of the races). Five races for the fillies and mares on October 24th; 9 races for the colts, geldings, and stallions on October 25th. It should be an exciting race weekend - but I'm still not sure how I feel about splitting the sexes into separate days... And speaking of girls that race against boys, we lost Genuine Risk on August 18th at age 31- she beat the boys in the 1980 Kentucky Derby. She was a gorgeous chestnut with a big blaze. More information on the Breeder's Cup races and a photographic tribute to "Gennie" may be found on The Bloodhorse website at: www.bloodhorse.com

I will head off to Niwot tomorrow to take care of Spike. And I need to find my long pants to wear tomorrow - the high is expected to be only 58, with rain. It's supposed to bounce back into the mid-70s for the weekend, though. And walking this morning was brisk - it was 47 outside, and I still had on shorts and a T.... silly me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

1 a.m. Visit

After my walk this morning, I stopped in at the local bakery - but nothing appealed, so I got a large tangelo instead of a pastry for breakfast. Then I added a bunch of grapes and a goblet of juice. It was quite satisfactory. Lovey is sitting in the patio door, watching RedBoa, a squirrel help himself to a bunch of peanuts. I currently have "No Waste" seed in one feeder, raw unshelled sunflower seeds in the other, and am placing roasted un-salted peanuts in the chairs. I'm sure that Chokie, my neighbor, has noticed, but so far she hasn't made any comment to me.

I toddled off to the public library yesterday afternoon, and was stared at by a student - it was 64 degrees outside and very nice; I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and sneakers. This poor kid was wearing a long-sleeved button-cuffed shirt, a hoodie sweatshirt, a zipped vest and another open jacket over the rest - and he still looked cold and miserable. (Of course, he also had on sweatpants and sneakers.) He stared at me and I stared at him. Finally I said, "It's a matter of acclimation. I've been here for 4 years." I feel pretty sure he was a CU freshman from Florida or south Texas... he'll learn.

I'm having some problems with my PC - when I try to place a photo in the blog, I get a "Done with errors on page" message, and the photos won't post. So I apologize for not sharing the photos I love with you, and I will continue to figure out what bugs I have in my system - even though the Spy and Virus Sweeper swear I'm clean... I see my shrink tomorrow, and I guess we'll discuss changing meds again; spoke with my therapist this morning and will see her the first week of October.

I was awakened by Banichi and Lovey launching off the bed at 1 a.m. earlier. They paraded and hissed in front of the patio door and window, and I occasionally heard a thump against the glass. It was the raccoon family - and I don't know if it was the 'coons or the cats who were thumping the glass. I do know that I'll pick up any extra peanuts tonight before I go to bed - not because I want to starve the raccoons, but just so they won't be encouraged to hang around here - they make for a very wakeful night!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

50 Degrees at 9 a.m.

Leofgifu has decided the best place for herself is between me and the keyboard this morning. I have moved her multiple times, but this is her chosen place. Banichi is sprawled under one of the bird feeders, even though it's not occupied. A big change in the weather for today - yesterday it was 85 with lots of sunshine, right now it's 50, overcast, and breezy. There were a few brief showers last night; I have the patio door and the window wide open for cool fresh air.

Gustav is dissipating, Hanna is moving toward the Carolina Coast, Ike is headed north, and Josephine has formed out in the Atlantic. I love the fact that I'm now living in Colorado, but I miss seeing George Winterling's hurricane coverage from WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida. I understand that George is the meteorologist emeritus at WJXT now, but he is always there for hurricane coverage. Bravo for George!!! He's the only weatherman my father really trusted.

One of the local ravens was "clicking" at me most of yesterday evening, and he's back in the tree next to the privacy fence again this morning - and he's still clicking at me, too. Several sparrows have now visited the bird feeder and discovered that there is food there; and a chickadee and a nuthatch have visited the shell-less sunflower feeder and seem to be satisfied. A driver in south Denver has collided with an elk, and one of the major roads into Denver is now closed down. The elk did not survive - no report as yet on the driver.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Poor New Orleans!

I really feel for the folks who live in and around New Orleans... Katrina three years ago and Gustav today... OUCH. The last I heard, the levees are holding, but the levee at the Industrial Canal was over-flowing (the folks keep emphasizing that the levee is not breached, it's just not high enough). Lovey is a Hurricane Katrina orphan and refugee, and I'm sure she can't figure out why I keep hugging and loving her as I watch the news.

Most of my college football teams won this past weekend, other than the two in Virginia. And CU at Boulder defeated CSU at Fort Collins in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Invesco Field (or, Mile High Stadium) in Denver last night. As I was walking back to my apartment this morning, I was stopped by the owner of the Berry Best Smoothie shop, and he wanted to know where I had purchased my UF T-shirt. It turns out that he's a Gator grad from 1980.

Chokie, my neighbor, has yet to complain about the re-filling of the bird feeders and the placement of unshelled peanuts in the squirrel chairs. Several friends of hers have knocked on my door today by mistake, and I have directed them next door. My kits have had a grand time running out and about yesterday evening and this morning... it's cooler and there is supposed to be rain this afternoon. Our high tomorrow should be in the upper 60s or low 70s, according to the weather forecasters, and we should build back up to the lower 80s through next weekend.

I will be spending 10 nights and 11 days with the Spike-meister in Niwot, and close to the end of that time, our cousin Pete Nocks from Aurora, IN and his family will be stopping by for a visit on the way back from Yellowstone. It will be the first time we've met this cousin; our great-great-grandfather's were brothers - Benjamin and William Nocks. At the end of the month I have 2 weeks in Brighton with Nikki, Boris & Natasha, Abby & Shadow. Kohlbi will be at a Specialty Show for the first week, and the second will be back home with all the rest of the family. As I wrote yesterday: life goes on...