Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghoulies and Ghosties and Things That Go Bump in the Night...

Dr. Halloween's Decorations 2008 (11)

All Hallow's Eve

I received a phone call from Grand Junction at 9:55 last night; it was from the Democratic Party informing me that I am to work at my Precinct, 101, as a Poll Watcher from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and that I need to pick up my credentials (certifications and verifications) from the Boulder Obama headquarters on Saturday. If Obama wins, I guess I can say that I participated for the party out in the field.... I haven't been able to find out whom the Obama crew put in charge of the precinct - so I'll hopefully find out on Saturday.

The kits are back inside at the moment - CU has an away game tomorrow, but the company just drove through the backyard to pump out the Porta-Potties that are installed for the crowds on home game days. Lovey and Banichi are fascinated by loud noises and always want to investigate them, but, luckily, they have enough sense to be afraid of large things that move. They are leery of small things that squeal, too - several afternoons each week there are three small girls (I would guess aged between 7 and 3) that run around in the backyard and scream and squeal. As soon as either kit hears this crew out and about, they retire indoors.

It was a beautiful morning for a walk - the leaves are falling, there are still a few bright spots of color, it was in the 40s, and not windy. I did my usual 5+ miles and, since I've been with Smiley and Silver recently, I was not winded at all - even though my quads were sore. Birds are feasting at both feeders and the squirrels have made several forays for nuts so far. I'm planning on staying at home and reading tonight - don't think I'll venture to the Pearl Street Mall for the Naked Pumpkin Run. I haven't had anyone come to the door on Halloween night so far, but I do have a small bag of candy, just in case.

Originally, jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips. Think how small and intricate the carving must have been - or did they just cut a couple of slits in the sides and shove a small candle in?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vladimir says, "Oh...My...God!"


Highland cattle near Peterborough, England

Quintessential England

Bird Catching

Over the past several years, I have become adept at catching mice, voles, snakes, and baby rabbits. Since both of my kits believe they should present and share their prey with me, and since 95% of the time, the prey is still very much alive and unharmed, I've gotten pretty good at capturing them, inspecting them for damage, and setting them free again (well away from the kits). Yesterday afternoon I spent 20 minutes trying to capture a female (or, possibly a juvenile)English sparrow - Lovey brought it to me and turned it loose inside the apartment.

The sparrow was completely freaked out and kept up a shrill cry; it landed first on Fred, my ivy plant, then visited the bookcases, the bathroom, and back to Fred. Then it went down into the corner where I keep the birdseed and nuts; of course, both Lovey and Banichi were following the poor little bird around the house and trying to catch it, even as I was, so it was a wild and crazy period of time. The bird finally flew back up into Fred, where I was able to capture it. It lay, panting, in my hands, and let me examine it for tooth holes and missing feathers. I could not find anything wrong with the little thing, so I cupped my hands together and let it sit quietly for about five minutes - then I went outside and let it fly away.

I was a slug-abed this morning. I did not take my long walk, even though I did visit the new French Bakery that is two blocks over. The kits were wonderful sleeping companions last night - Lovey slept under the covers by my knees and Banichi sprawled out along my ribs. It was nice. I received a call and will be working, taking care of Ooch, the second weekend in November... it's nice to be home, but it's also nice knowing that people and their pets like me....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I fell face first last night. It was no one's fault but my own. I went to my class at the Outlook Hotel; they were un-prepared for the turn-out they had and I ended up sitting on the somewhat spongy floor of the rock-climbing area. I hate to say it, but I did not learn anything at the class. And I doubt now that they'll use me, as I do not own a cell phone. Walking back from the bus stop into Wonderland Hills was when I tripped - luckily my face-plant was into grass and flowers, though my left knee did take a good whack.

Silver and Smiley have been wonderful kids! Their Mom returned this afternoon and said I did a good job with them. I know I stretched myself - but that's good for me and the dogs. We visited Boo and Suki this morning and it was loads of fun to watch the dogs interact.

Returned home a little while ago; the kits were extremely happy to get out and go play in the sunshine - it's 75 here. The squirrels made a mad dash for the peanuts and have taken almost all of them, and I had to fill the no-waste feeder so the birds would have some munchies. The weather just ended and they said it's gonna be 16 tonight in Alamosa and 18 in Gunnison. I'm happy with our forecast 38. Supposedly we will have a week's worth of Indian Summer that began yesterday... that means temperatures in the 50s or so for the Naked Pumpkin Run Friday night. Plan on cuddling with my kits tonight - will write more tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Silver (approaching camera), Boo and Smiley

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Cats and Dogs

I just read a very enlightening article about OCD and your pet. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves their animal! It may be found at:

I am pooped!

Silver and Smiley certainly have a high energy level - We walked/jogged for 90 minutes this morning and I'll take them to Kathy and Jim's this afternoon for free play in their backyard. Then we'll take another walk before dinner. I know I'll have lost weight by the time their Mom returns tomorrow afternoon. I was the middle of a sandwich again last night, which was fine with me. Smiley didn't snore as much last night, but she kept having "running dreams" and was twitching a good deal. Silver is just a big, quiet love.

The kits were extremely happy to see me, as usual. Lovey is sitting at the base of the aspen tree/s by the fence and one of the smaller squirrels is cussing her out loudly. Banichi has come back inside and is taking another few bites of his favorite crunchy food. Since I got home later than I usually get up, the squirrels had raided the sunflower feeder, so I had to refill it when I got home today; I also topped off the no-waste seed and put out the peanuts.

The Democratic County Headquarters got hold of me yesterday, and I'll be in a poll-watchers class tonight from 6 to 8, so I will be registered and approved by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
The newspaper reports that 25% of registered voters in Boulder County have already voted early - either by mail-in ballot (like me) or at one of the open early polls.

And, something to look forward to, maybe (?), is the 10th Annual Boulder Naked Pumpkin Run
on Friday, Halloween, night. Right now I can't remember if it's on Pearl Street or on Broadway - but I can look it up if I really care. I will be back home after 1 tomorrow to be with my kits and continue my genealogy research... Unless something comes up, I'll be here until the 22nd of November when I begin 8 solid weeks of house/pet-sitting. Take care of yourselves!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Silver and Smiley

Smiley and Silver kept me warm and toasty last night - it was 25 degrees with a good frost when we got up this morning. Apparently Silver hasn't been sleeping with his owner for a while, but he certainly hopped up on the bed last night after Smiley did. My only comment? Smiley snores - of course, I do, too. The above photo was taken in Kathy and Jim's backyard this morning, and the kids tussled over that stick for over an hour.

Made it home for a short visit - the kits were happy to see me, ate like they were starving, and then ran outside to play. Banichi is now curled up in my lap, and Lovey is sitting on the cat tree, looking out the open patio door. We're supposed to hit 60 today, and 70 tomorrow. It'll be nice. Well, I need to hit the road for north Boulder, so... adios....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wind-Crazed Cats

My two kits are flying around the backyard and in and out of the apartment like whirling dervishes - yesterday we had a west to northwest wind and this morning it's from the northeast, bringing a splash of coolness. Banichi is having fun chasing leaves and his sister; Lovey is just running in circles and chasing her brother in return. They seem quite happy. That will change when they see me start to pack my overnight bag, headed off for Wonderland Lake. The camera has been residing in the center desk drawer for the last week, so I guess I'll pull it out and take a few scenic photos, as well as shots of Smiley and Silver.

I swept my patio yesterday morning, but with the wind swirling around, there were quite a few leaves on it in the afternoon, when my neighbor looked at it and pulled a face.... I have swept it again this morning, but it's already covered with leaves again... But the bird feeders are filled and there are peanuts in the squirrel chair, so I can relax. My neighbor told our complex manager that I should live on a farm, or in a house with my own yard - that feeding the birds and squirrels was not urbane. Well, I've never claimed to be urbane - I think of myself as a country girl, and if I could live on a farm, I would!

Football yesterday for the colleges was full of ups and downs - but at least the Breeder's Cup ran their 25th Anniversary set of races without any nasty injuries! That's what I'll be celebrating this week - up until All Hallow's Eve, anyway. Take care, and have a good Sunday!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Breeder's Cup Races, Day 2

Today's Breeder Cup Races were for the boys -but girls could race against the boys, if their owners and trainers so desired. And a little girl beat a bunch of big boys in the Breeder's Cup Mile - she just flew - she didn't gallop or run, she flew.
Several races were very close over the past two days, and of the 9 races of today, 5 of them were won by European bred and trained horses. As next year's Breeder's Cup is to be held at the same venue, I think this bodes well for international entries, and since there were no injuries over the past two days, I think we might see even more of a truly international day of racing.

Garrett Gomez won four of the 14 races and walked away with the Shoemaker Award.

As usual, I made $2 bets at home, and would have won a little, had I actually placed the bets at a track... This year, also as usual, I chose my horses by bloodline and how they looked in the paddock prior to the race - and this is my 20th year in a row that I chose the winner of the Sprint! Today's races, winners and my comments:

BC Marathon (1 1/2 miles on main track) - winner is Mukhannak, bred in Ireland

Turf Sprint (about 6 1/2 furlongs) - winner is Desert Code, the longest shot on the board, ridden by Richard Migliore who was going to retire earlier this year; there were 2 fillies in the race

BC Mile (on the main track) - winner is Albertus Maximus in a very hard-fought race

BC Mile (on turf) - winner is Goldnikova, bred in Ireland, a very small 3-year-old filly, who sprouted wings and flew past the rest of the field to win.

BC Juvenile (1 1/8 miles on main track; 2 year-olds only) - winner is Midshipman, a son of Unbridled's Song (son of Unbridled) - I always root for an Unbridled relative!

BC Juvie Turf (1 mile; 2-year-olds only) - winner is Donativum, bred in Great Britain, a very handsome grey; second is Westphalia, bred in Ireland; third is Coronet of a Baron - I couldn't choose between the three, and they all appeared on the board!

BC Sprint (3/4 mile on main track) - Midnight Lute won this race; he won it last year in the slop at Monmouth Park; 6 furlongs in 1 minute, 7 seconds, and 8/100 today. He was scorching!!!

BC Turf (1 1/2 miles) - Conduit, bred in Ireland, won this race and set a course record, running 12 furlongs in 2 minutes, 23 sconds, and 42/100ths.

BC Classic (1 1/4 miles) - Raven's Pass is the winner of the $5 million Classic; he was bred in Kentucky, is owned by HRH Princess Haya of Jordan, trained in Ireland, and was ridden today by Frankie Detorri, the famous Italian jockey. Today most people thought that Curlin would be the winner - originally the race was viewed as a face-off between Big Brown and Curlin, until Big Brown's last injury. But Jerry Bailey kept bringing up how much mileage Curlin had this year, not just racing, but traveling to Dubai, etc. Jerry was not certain that Curlin could continue to be as brilliant as he had been - so I looked past Curlin and picked Raven's Pass. Thanks for the big tip, Jerry!!


A local reporter for the Weather Bureau has made it known that she recorded a gust of wind at 63 mph this morning up in Nederland. We are supposed to be windy most of the day, and the trees around here will support that prognosis. I walked wearing my jacket with the hood up this morning - my worst problem was the way my eyes kept tearing up due to the wind...

I do have the patio door open at this time - the wind is not from the east or northeast, so I can have the door open without having all the leaves from outside blown in. It's cool, and the heat has come on, but the kits are running in and out, chasing one another and acting the fool. I've seen very few birds at the feeders, but Gimpy and RedBoa have been here. Banichi is looking at Gimpy right now, but if Banichi goes after Gimpy, Gimpy will turn and fight - and Banichi is a lover, not a fighter, so he'll back down and walk away.

Tomorrow morning I'm walking 5k to earn money for Diabetes research, and then I'll head over to Silver and Smiley's. Will write more later - after the Breeder's Cup races of today!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ladies Day at the Breeders Cup Races

There were no injuries in today's 5 Breeders Cup Races. This is the first time the races have been run on a synthetic track surface, which has been proven to incur less catastophic injuries for both horses and jockeys than the traditional American dirt racing surface. Some of the races were run in record time due to this new surface. Jerry Bailey, the retired jockey, says that the synthetic surface is like crumpled confetti. But here are the results:
The Fillies and Mares Sprint - won by Ventura
The Fillies Juvenile - won by Stardom Bound (with Mike Smith)
The Fillies Juvenile Turf - won by Maram
The Fillies and Mares Mile (Turf) - won by Forever Together
The Fillies and Mare Turf - won by Zenyatta (with Mike Smith)

The jockeys are competing for the Shoemaker Award during these two days of racing; Mike Smith has now won two races and is in the lead with 20 points.

Poor Little Bobo!

I suffer from clinical depression and I feel sorry for others who must live with mental illness. Recently, one of the horror news stories has been about Bobo, an 8-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, who, according to friends and family of the owner, was "the apple of her eye." Poor little Bobo died yesterday after spending the past 4 days in a critical care unit with burns over 80% of his body. The owner has admitted to doing this to her dog. The owner's father says she should not be prosecuted or blamed for the death of the dog because she suffers from mental illness. The owner admitted to tying the dog's legs together and setting it on fire on top of an electric stove burner that was turned on to the high setting.
Neighbors called 911 to report a fire, and firefighters found Bobo in flames on top of the stove, along with several match sticks that were not yet consumed in flame. The owner was sitting in the kitchen watching her dog die. The dog was rushed to an Emergency Care Center for Pets; luckily he was kept on a morphine drip to deal with the pain until he passed away yesterday. The owner has been charged with felony arson and with felony animal abuse.

Anyone who can do such a thing to any animal is NOT suffering from a mental illness. They are plain psychotic! My kits keep me on an even keel, give me love and companionship, and give me reason to continue in this existence. If I should ever kill an animal by choice (other than to prevent further suffering) - particularly by such a long drawn-out method - I hope that I am locked away from all living things for the rest of my life!
Never, ever let anyone use mental illness as an excuse for outright depravity.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Isabella the Fair

I've spent most of the day in 1325 France, traveling to the court of Charles IV with a group escorting Queen Isabella the Fair from her husband Edward II in England. A sighting of Roger Mortimer has just been made....

The kits have been very warm and cuddly today - Lovey wanted out at 6 pm, so I opened the patio door; she and Banichi were both back inside within 5 minutes. We've been listening to the birds and watching the squirrels, reading, and doing some follow-up research. I'll need to visit either the main public or the genealogy library tomorrow to follow up on the 1930 Census.

We're supposed to be in the upper 20s tonight, with highs in the upper 50s or low 60s tomorrow, and with a high, hopefully, of about 70 Saturday. I know that I'll be watching the Breeders Cup races both afternoons/evening here. UF's Homecoming is this weekend, and their kick-off is at 12:30 (mid-morning for me at 10:30). Maybe the Democratic Party has forgotten me - I've received no communications from the county, or the district, since I attended that meeting back on the 11th... Good night, all!

Freezing this morning

I waited until it warmed up to 25 degrees to take my morning walk today, and while Boulder itself had no snow yesterday, the high peaks are certainly covered! Banichi is talking to himself while he plays in the dressing room and Lovey is sitting on top of the cat tree watching Gimpy through the window. I did open the patio door to fill the feeders and put out peanuts, but the kits came right back inside with me. I think they need to get used to the idea that winter is coming!

My next pet-sitting job is this Sunday - I'll be with Smiley and Silver for 4 days in northwest Boulder. Their owner is willing to leave me her vehicle, but I had to tell her that I don't drive a stick shift, so she'll drive it to the airport. I now have pet jobs booked through February, as well as working on various genealogies...

Chris Matthews' response to Bill Maher's reply the other day made me laugh out loud!
Chris had asked where the McCain/Palin group got the information to call Obama a socialist and/or a communist. Maher replied that it came from Joe the Plumber's crack. Of course, they were on opposite coasts and their was a time lag between their hearing each other's responses - but I thought Chris was going to choke; then he asked Maher what he meant, and Maher said, "You know about plumbers' and their cracks.... Let's not go there."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hail, but no snow

Sometime during NCIS last night we had a good shower of pea-sized hail, but we never got the inch-plus of snow that was forecast. I'm not quite sure what the real temperature was, but at noon it was announced that the wind-chill outside made it feel like 28 degrees.

I was awakened this morning by the placement of a soaking wet miniature dream-catcher being placed gently on my face. Banichi has had it soaking in the water bowl for the past three days - and then he followed it up with his shoestring. I wonder what he got into last night that I don't know about? Lovey has been all over me today - I don't know if it's the windy weather or what...
I have two new young squirrels that are visiting me for food - one boy and one girl. Their bodies are not as large as my hand, and they haven't quite figured out that they can get food out of the peanut chair. They sit to one side and then grab whatever RedBoa and Gimpy bury. This morning the little girl first tried to climb the glass window, then climbed the window screen, and demanded inside. Even Lovey and Banichi chittering at her was not a deterrent.

The surname I couldn't make out in the Census was "Gaver" - and they had a large family. There are now over 1000 entries for Kevin's family tree and I've just been double-checking on the Devine surname!!!

From the AP: Combat Dogs

'Walter Reed' for combat dogs opens
$15 million facility in Texas offers advanced treatment for military canines

SAN ANTONIO - A new $15 million veterinary hospital for four-legged military personnel opened Tuesday at Lackland Air Force Base, offering a long overdue facility that gives advanced medical treatment for combat-wounded dogs.
Dogs working for all branches of the military and the Transportation Safety Administration are trained at the base to find explosive devices, drugs and land mines. Some 2,500 dogs are working with military units.
Like soldiers and Marines in combat, military dogs suffer from war wounds and routine health issues that need to be treated to ensure they can continue working.
Dogs injured in Iraq or Afghanistan get emergency medical treatment on the battlefield and are flown to Germany for care. If necessary, they'll fly on to San Antonio for more advanced treatment — much like wounded human personnel.
"We act as the Walter Reed of the veterinary world," said Army Col. Bob Vogelsang, hospital director, referring to the Washington military medical center that treats troops returning severely wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The dogs can usually return to combat areas if they recover at the Military Working Dog Center, he said.
Before the center opened, veterinarians treated and rehabilitated dogs in a cramped building that opened in 1968, when the military trained dogs for work in Vietnam.
The hospital was already overloaded by Sept. 11, 2001, but since then, demand for military working dogs has jumped dramatically. They're so short on dog breeds such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Belgian Malinoises that Lackland officials have begun breeding puppies at the base.
Lackland is training 750 dogs, which is nearly double the number of dogs there before the Sept. 11 attacks, Vogelsang said.
To treat the trainees and injured working dogs, the new hospital has operating rooms, digital radiography, CT scanning equipment, an intensive care unit and rehab rooms with an underwater treadmill and exercise balls, among other features. A behavioral specialist has an office near the lobby.
"This investment made sense ... and somehow, we were able to convince others," said retired Col. Larry Carpenter, who first heard complaints about the poor facilities in 1994 and later helped to launch the project.
Training a military working dog takes about four months. With demand outstripping the number of dogs available, hospital and veterinary workers were trying to keep them healthy and working as long as possible, Vogelsang said.
Working dogs usually enter training at 1 1/2- to 3-years-old, and most can work until they're about 10, he said.
Then, the military tries to adopt them out and "station them at Fort Living Room," Vogelsang said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Talk about Change!

Wow! I checked the thermometer outside and looked at the local 24-hour weather channel. It was 60 degrees and calm outside. I walked the block-and-a-half to a grocery store in jeans, T-shirt and sneakers. I knew exactly what I wanted, grabbed the 3 items and immediately paid and/or checked out. When I walked over, it was grey and overcast like it had been all day; the wind was calm, as it had been most of the day.

When I came out to walk back home, the wind was blowing at gale force, and sleet was stinging my face as I walked home. Getting inside, I looked at the thermometer and the local weather channel again - 45 degrees outside, wind blowing at 35 to 45 mph, and precipitation. It's just the latest cold front crossing over the Flatirons, but I did not expect such a change within a 10 minute stretch!

Cool air, snow

It was cool and damp last night - we had 90% humidity and 40 degrees. It was the same for my morning walk; but we expect a high in the low 60s, followed by snow tomorrow morning. I'll be heading off to my usual 3 hours at the genealogy library tomorrow - I've found another family that the Devine's married into, but I can't make out what the husband's surname is.... will check it out on Ancestry in the morning.

When I returned from my walk today, I found RedBoa hanging upside down on the sunflower feeder and Gimpy waiting patiently in the peanut chair. I gave Gimpy some nuts and re-filled both feeders, then swept the patio while Gimpy was away burying a peanut. The heater came on while I was sweeping, so since both kits were back inside, I closed the door. Lovey is sitting on the corner of my desk, watching birds and squirrels; Banchi has curled up in the loveseat and is settling down for a morning nap.

Almost all of my favorite football teams, both collegiate and pro, lost this past weekend. I think it's my support - so maybe I'll drop football. The Broncos last night were downright pathetic. I currently have MSNBC on and I'm listening to Barack Obama, live, giving a stump speech from Florida. I really like the way he tells his crowds not to boo, catcall, etc at /or about his opponents and their policies. I wish that the Republicans did the same - each time Gov. Palin speaks, I feel as if she were inciting a lynch mob.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shopping and cooler weather

I walked out to 95th Street this morning (on Arapaho), then took the bus the rest of the way into Lafayette - why? To go grocery shopping. I grew up eating and using certain brands of foods - most of which are not available in Boulder, but are available at Wal-Mart in Lafayette and Longmont. Our bus system recently added a new route to Erie, and the Wal-Mart in Lafayette is one of the stops along the way.

I was able to get canned cat food for half the price I pay in Boulder; I was able to purchase a Post brand cereal that I cannot get in Boulder, and I was able to purchase 28-ounce cans of tomato puree for half the cost I pay in Boulder. I spent $29.+, but in Boulder, I would have spent $70.+.... So I combined my morning walk with a saving shopping trip, and had a good time doing both.

It's foggy and overcast this morning - a front is coming through, and instead of highs in the 70s, we'll be having highs in the 40s and 50s, with a slight chance of snow. I'm ready for it! The kits are charging back and forth through the patio door, there are several birds at the feeders, and Gimpy is enthroned on the peanut chair. I finished reading The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh last night and started Michael Jecks' The Templar, The Queen and Her Lover - the first was intriguing, as all of Pat's books are, and the second is casting Jecks' usual spell over me.... I find myself more at home in 15th-century Glasgow and 14th-century England and France than I am going about in Boulder today.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't be a Pumpkin-head!

Breeder's Cup TV Coverage

This week coverage of the Breeder's Cup World Championship Thoroughbred Races comes in 4 chunks - all times listed are EDST:

Breeder's Cup Selection Show - Wednesday, Oct. 22 on ESPN2 from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Breeder's Cup Distaff Races - Friday, Oct. 24 on ESPN2 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Breeder's Cup Races - Saturday, Oct. 25 on ABC from 1 to 3:30 p.m.; on ESPN from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

Kits, kids, and politics

As I blogged yesterday, it was a home football game here in Boulder. I got my kits back inside before 11:30, gave them a treat, and settled down to read a new release by Pat McIntosh. Vehicular traffic began in the backyard at noon. By three, the backyard was more than three-quarters full, and several families with kids aged four to twelve were tail-gating directly opposite my patio. I had my window open, but the curtains closed; soon there were youngsters on the patio trying to play with the kits through the door and window.... people outside were making so much noise that the kids couldn't hear Lovey meowing at them through the door, and decided she was hissing at them, so they started banging on the door. I got them to stop. About ten minutes later, I heard a young voice say, "It's a bird house!" There was silence for a few moments (from the kids) and then there were a few strange sounds and one of the kids yelled "Hey!" I peeked out again and two youngsters were using my bird feeders for pinatas, hitting them with plastic baseball bats. That time I went out onto the patio and asked the kids if they were going to pay me for the spilled birdseed - which finally got their parents attention. My patio was placed "out of bounds" for them - of course, they kept coming back and bugging the kits.... so I went out and sat on the patio to keep the kids away from the kits.

I am both happy and surprised to see (and hear) that Gen. Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama - he is currently on Meet the Press explaining why he supports Obama and not McCain. I really enjoy listening to Colin Powell... so I'm signing off....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gimpy, the spoiled rotten squirrel

Gimpy again

Since there is a home CU football game today, the first thing I did after feeding the kits was sweep and clean up the patio. There were plenty of sunflower seeds in the house feeder, and the no waste feeder was 3/4 full, but, of course, there were no peanuts left. I stepped inside the house, grabbed the nuts, and stepped back out to find Gimpy waiting in the chair for me. I poured out the remainder of the peanuts right in front of him, and came back inside. Gimpy sat down to stuff himself.

This is also "Family Weekend" at CU, and while waiting in line at Safeway with my fresh bagel and kitty treats, a couple in front of me purchased over $1100 of non-perishables to stock up their child's pantry; in the line next to me, a couple bought $687.+ of groceries for their son. My total? $2.17. The kits are running in and out this morning - the backyard will become a parking lot for the game (against Kansas State) around 1 this afternoon - so they'll be inside for most of the day. Kickoff is at 5, and it's being broadcast on FSN. I'll watch them for the first hour and then have to flip back and forth between South Carolina on ESPN, Virginia Tech on ESPN2, and the CU game.

While reading through the Monongalia County (Virginia) 1850 Census, I was struck by the name of a child - a 2-year-old boy named Amphenemus Smith. His father was named Samuel, his mother was named Sarah, his siblings were Stephen, Mary, Martha, John, etc. Where did the name Amphenemus come from? Of course, I really can't say anything - one of my grandmother's first cousins was named Eight-One Mobley....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kohlbi is an AKC Champion!!

This is an update from my friend (and client) in Brighton:
"My friend/breeder took our dog Kohlbi to Rapid City, SD for a three-day dog show. Today he got his championship by getting winner's dog, best of winners, and then best of breed. He went on to show in groups and made the cut, which is great. WOOHOO! They will come home after the show tomorrow."

Kohlbi's owner was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, after dealing with MS for 20+ years... Her blog may be read at She does not update it regularly, but her additions are always worth reading.

Gimpy wants inside, too!

After last night's encounter with the raccoons, I shouldn't be surprised that Gimpy wanted inside this afternoon... I fed the critters later than usual this morning, and Gimpy had already come and gone. RedBoa ate his fill of peanuts and then buried the rest, which left none for Gimpy. I was sitting in my reading chair, safely tucked away on another planet, when the Sliding glass door began to rattle in its' tracks. I looked toward it and saw Gimpy sitting on his haunches and shaking the door with his front paws. A minute or two later, he climbed the bricks between the door and the window and tried to get through the screen. A few minutes after that, I heard my neighbor's door open, and there was a light knocking at my sliding glass door - I thought Massoud wanted to practice his English, so I flipped the lock and opened the door without looking. Gimpy came in and ran to the corner where I keep the peanuts and birdfeed - I had to give him a handful - Of course, I opened the bag and poured them out in the peanut chair for him, and did not feed him inside. Lovey and Banichi were pretty miffed, so I gave them a treat as well.

I did figure out, last night, why certain people did not have a last name listed in the 1850 US Census - it was the Census of free persons, and apparently that particular census-taker did not believe that African-Americans could possess a surname... Every person who was of color and worked as a servant was listed by their first name only in that one Ward - luckily it wasn't done in every Ward for Washington.

Lovey and Banichi in bed

Lovey has taken Banichi's favorite shoelace.

Looking NNE (and down) from top of Flagstaff

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Get out!

I was sitting here at my desk, scrolling through the 1850 US Census for Washington, DC. The back door was open for the kits to do a little night prowling because Lovey had made such a fuss about 9 p.m. Both kits had been in and out several times, visiting me, visiting the water bowl, visiting the dry kitty food bowls about a yard inside the back door under the window - no big deal.

I was puzzling over why a group of people had no last names listed, when the Census taker had written out every single surname on every row, when i heard a crunching at the food bowl less than a foot away from my desk chair. I glanced down, and wondered why Banichi had his tail fluffed out so big... and went back to my puzzle in the Census. Then an odd chirping, squeaky cry came from beside my chair.. I looked down again and realized it was a raccoon calling its' pal inside to eat up. Without thinking, I jumped up and said, "What are you doing in here? You belong outside! Get out!" As I stood, the raccoon fled, and its' buddy, who was cleaning the peanuts out of the cracks in the squirrel chair, left as well. They paused at the base of the aspen next to the fence, then shimmied up the tree with an agility that I'd like to have.

Banichi was sitting on the next door patio and came in immediately when I called. Lovey took her time, but eventually came in at full speed and had to skid to a stop against the front door.
Personally, I think she likes to skid on the hall rug. Banichi now has a wild hair and is running like mad, skidding everywhere and howling at the ceiling. I think I'll give them some catnip to mellow them out a bit before bed....

Banichi with squirrels peanuts - Nov 2007

Jeffrey Devine, Volunteer Fireman

Gimpy, kits, and new family on the tree

Kathy and Jim got their own internet connection yesterday. Since Kathy was going to be in the neighborhood, I asked if I could borrow a Phillips-head screwdriver to fix my window lock; she was very obliging and I had the window lock repaired in less than 3 minutes... I hate to contact building maintenance when I know I can fix something myself.

Gimpy has been a cooperative photo subject the past two days - so I'll upload a photo or two of the fearless squirrel into the blog soon. The scabs have pretty much disappeared from his nose, but it is now lacking any fur, so he looks rather odd. Lovey has been chasing her favorite pigeon this morning, and Banichi is sitting up in the oak tree, trying to catch something... anything! He took quite a tumble yesterday chasing a butterfly (on the flat in the grass), and it took him almost 30 minutes of grooming to regain his composure. Both kits have been snuggling close at night with the cooler temperatures, and I've loved it.

Lovey has just come back inside - her fur is very warm where she's been sitting in the sun, and she is very regally stretched out in the center of the bed. I can still see Banichi's tail in the tree, so I know where he is. I read through the 1850 US Census for Monongalia County in Virginia last night - before and after the Presidential debate.... and I found another branch of Jeffrey and Kevin's family... now I have to follow them up (a husband, wife, and nine children...) - I wonder how many relatives I'll find from that family branch?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cougars and Ski Resorts

Two ski resorts are opening today at 8:30 a.m. - Arapaho Basin and Loveland. Loveland has a snow base of 15 inches and has 3 runs open; A-Basin has a base of 8 inches and has 2 runs open. There is usually a race to see who will open first to start the "season"; Loveland announced earlier this week that they would open at 9 today - A-Basin then announced 8:30, and Loveland moved their opening back 30 minutes so the opening day title would be shared.

Monday morning, a full grown mountain lion/cougar/puma was spotted on a patio four blocks from my apartment... The residents decided the big cat was interested in their small dog, and after the cougar snarled at the man through a glass door, the man called the Department of Wildlife. DoW baited a trap for the cougar, the trap was sprung, but the cougar was not caught. (Yeah!!!) A lot of people living nearby are upset about this. Personally, I rejoice that a big cat can use the greenways to travel about this growing urban area.
Worried about my cats? Yes, I am. But the address where the cougar was spotted is in a heavily treed area; and while the Boulder Creek Path is at the south end of my apartment building, the backyard is 98% open grass with a couple of trees growing next to the privacy fence, and we live near the north end of the building... so I'm not really terribly concerned about the kits or myself going out and about.

Actually, I totally enjoyed my walk this morning - it was 32 degrees outside, the sun was rising, and (as usual, lately) very few others were out and about. I walked the Boulder Creek Path (in hopes of catching a glimpse of the cougar) and then along 9th Street and back up historic Mapleton, rounding the corner at 30th and back to Arapaho... I saw birds, squirrels, a few runners, two bicyclers, but no big cat. I guess (know) I can't be lucky all the time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Brown Retired

Big Brown, who was being pointed at the Breeder's Cup Classic, and would have raced Curlin for the first time has been retired after suffering an injury during a workout yesterday. Big Brown worked well in his run with a stablemate on the turf, and his trainer was happy with the time. - But as Big Brown came off the track, it was noticed that he had "grabbed a quarter" - in other words, his hind foot had over-reached, and that marvelous racing shoe had torn off the rear part of a front foot, along with a part of his hoof.

"Big Brown has been retired," said Michael Iavarone, co-owner of IEAH Stables. "He not only tore the bulb off his foot, but half the foot was torn off. We did everything we could to get to the Breeders' Cup. It's devastating. And what makes it even worse is that he worked great."

“We are disappointed that Big Brown will not be able to compete in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic but are glad to hear that he is expected to make a full recovery from the injury he sustained earlier today," Greg Avioli, president and CEO of the Breeders' Cup, said in a statement.

"My family and I are saddened to learn of Big Brown’s career ending injury during his morning workout," said Jess Jackson, majority owner of Curlin, said in a statement. "I have always said what an incredible horse Big Brown is and that the bay colt brought energy and excitement to our industry, especially during his run at the Triple Crown. I am equally disappointed that Big Brown and Curlin will never compete against each other. It was a dream of mine and thousands of other fans of the sport. Now, we all join together in wishing Big Brown a speedy recovery."

Leofgifu Glyndwr Devine - Hurricane Katrina Survivor

My famous/infamous patio (and Banichi)

Banichi Leofric Devine - giving me the cold shoulder


It's a nice, bright morning, but clouds are moving in. My walk was quiet and brisk this morning - very few people or critters out and about. It wasn't until 9 that the squirrels and birds arrived - and my kits were already back inside.

Not much going on - I'll be going out to work with new clients and get to know their critters better later this week... there is a home (CU) football game this Saturday... and don't forget the Breeder's Cup races next Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25! Currently I'm going through the US Census (Censuses? Censi?) trying to track down a few loose ends in Jeff's Devine family genealogy prior to starting on the Boyer family; then I'll head for the Gardinier's branch....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nederland Oktoberfest 2007 - CritterSitter and Jim & Kathy Snow

First Freeze

I'm watching steam rise from the sidewalk behind the privacy fence that marks my backyard. There are no birds nor any squirrels out and about; my kits are indoors, sitting on the desk. Both kits have been out, and decided to come right back inside. I saw black ice on the roadways while I was walking earlier. Denver is reporting over 20 spin-outs at one intersection due to black ice, along with a lot of crunch accidents, where a spinning vehicle hit aother. The sun is shining brightly, and we expect a high in the mid-40s, with lows tonight in the 20s. We'll start warming up tomorrow.

The kits snuggled with me in bed all night. And I got a kick that Lovey decided she needed to be inside my nightgown, under the covers, to be comfortable. Banichi was happy to be either beside me, or on top of my head on the pillow... Either way, I was nice and warm.

I went to the Democratic meeting Saturday, where I had been asked to go, to learn how to be a poll-watcher on Election Day. Surprise!! I was the only person from my precinct to show up, so guess who has been named the Precinct Chairperson? I've had a nasty headache ever since I was informed of this, and I'm about to let them know that I can't/won't be the Chairperson. I don't mind donating 3 to 6 hours on Election Day, working as a poll-watcher - but I don't think I can handle getting at least 10 other volunteers to help with poll-watching, calling voter lists, and running info back to Democratic Headquarters.... Kathy has volunteered to help, but other than that I'm pretty much lost.... And the poll-watching certification won't occur until the 24th through the 28th.... Trapped? Tricked? Desperate!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Suki (l) and Boo (r) Speak Up

Jeffrey, my hubby, and Babe


It's a cold grey day; I've walked and disturbed birds with my early perambulations. No snow that I saw last night or this morning, but we're expecting freezing temperatures tonight and tomorrow night. There is a crow (as large as Lovey) sitting 6 inches away from the edge of the patio, and he is complaining vigorously about the fact that Lovey is sitting in the open doorway looking at him. RedBoa is grabbing nuts as fast as he can, and Banichi is sitting directly under the no-waste bird feeder, hoping to grab something.

Attended the Democratic meeting yesterday; more on that later. Even with the loses yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed the football games. - There are now 6 crows sitting on the fence, staring at Lovey and Banichi. - Chalkie's owner is still forecasting doom and gloom; she called me Friday, as she couldn't get my sister, and informed me that President Bush was going to close down all financial institutions a 9pm Friday, and put the country under martial law, and I needed to withdraw at least $1,000 in cash to have on hand for necessities due to this government crackdown. The woman really is a little off. I mean, it seems as if she's trying to cause a run on the bank system!

Just closed the patio door and now have about 20 small birds at both feeders and on the ground. I gave the kits a treat (some turkey breast) for coming inside without a quarrel. They are very special felines.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Animals and Personalities

Animals have personalities, too
Mathematical model helps explain how and why temperaments develop

by: Mahesh Kumar (From the AP; see copyright info at bottom.)

Science has revealed that personalities aren't limited to humans — they also extend to the animal kingdom. We know our siblings and in-laws have personalities — sometimes to a fault. But science recently has revealed that such individual differences are widespread in the animal kingdom, even reaching to spiders, birds, mice, squid, rats and pigs. Now a new mathematical model helps to explain how and why such animal temperaments develop over time. The model explains a central question of both animal and human personality — why certain individuals are more rigid or flexible than others, and why some change their behavior in response to changes in their environment while others do not.

The answer, says Franz Weissing of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, comes down to costs and benefits. A group in which both rigid and flexible personality types co-exist makes for an optimal system, his model shows. The field of animal-personality study is starting to gain some substance and credibility, said University of Texas psychologist Sam Gosling, who does research in this field. "When I started doing this, like 10 years ago, things were really different. I remember people thought it was anthropomorphic [to use the term animal personality]," said Gosling, who was not involved in the recent study.

Prestigious scientific journals are publishing research articles explicitly on the topic of animal personality, he said. "I think it does reflect a new sense of respect in the field and I think it's opening up all kinds of important opportunities and allowing us to test questions we simply couldn't test without animal studies," Gosling said. Weissing and his colleagues ran various model simulations of scenarios that included a resource as well as responsive and unresponsive animals. He said the new model shows, for example, when it's optimal for animals to react to a change in food and when it's not. It turns out that competing personalities help to keep a healthy balance in a group.

Say you have a duck pond in which, every day, twice as much food is scattered along the right side of the pond, leaving the left side sparse, Weissing said. The ducks learn to paddle to the right side to forage. Then one day, say, more food shows up on the left side of the pond, leaving the right with a dearth. Experiments have shown that some of the ducks were checking out the left side of the pond all along and will notice and swim to the food on the left. Other ducks, however, will stick to their routine and continue about their business of scarfing up the little bit of food still on the right side. The responsive ducks benefit from their quick move to the big pile of food, while the unresponsive ducks could starve, or at the very least, not get a bellyful. The tables turn if too many ducks were to respond and head over to the left side of the pond. In this model scenario, the competition on that side of the pond would skyrocket, leaving some of these seeming smarty pants with little food. Meanwhile, the unresponsive ducks would benefit in this scenario, because while they would be left with a smaller portion of food, there would be hardly any competition for it.

In some of the model simulations, responsiveness could also be a waste of energy. If say the food never moves to the other side of the pond, the proactive ducks could exhaust themselves to no avail. In the end, a balance between ducks that scan for change and ducks that stick with the routine would benefit the overall population.

The researchers also found animal personalities tend to persist. That's because, as the adage goes, practice makes perfect. Individuals who are responsive gain experience, so it behooves them to continue such behavior in the future. "Individuals that have been responsive before have a slight advantage in collecting or interpreting environmental cues," Weissing told LiveScience. "This is a plausible assumption, since the performance of individuals generally improves with the experience they have."

Similar personality types also exist in humans. "Some humans behave rather routine, in a rigid way. And others behave in a rather flexible way," Weissing said. "The first type is rather traditional, conservative, always following the trodden path of the past, whereas the other type is more interested in change, interested in the environment, always sampling the environment."
While the model simulations didn't directly analyze human behavior, Weissing said there is a crossover between non-human animals and the rest of the animal kingdom.
The research, detailed online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

© 2008 All rights reserved.

Lots of Birds and Squirrels

I did not take my walk this morning - a group of younger residents brought their party home with them at midnight, and kept it going until after 4 am, even with 5 police interruptions. And I was "good"; I didn't make a single call to anyone about the noise.

I awoke at 7:30; it was 34 degrees outside, with a heavy fog and drizzle. We've got 100% humidity and the high today might be 44. Snow is expected tonight - more than 3 feet of it over the weekend in the Montana and Wyoming Rockies; 6 to 8 inches in Rocky Mountain National Park. Boulder might see some accumulation on grassy areas, but we're just expecting the roads and sidewalks to be wet.

After dressing and feeding the kits, I opened the door for the kits to go outside. Both went outside for about 90 seconds and retreated into the dryness and warmth of indoors. Lovey is sitting in the cat tree complaining that the door is not open - just in case she decides to go try to grab a squirrel, bird, or pigeon. "Her" pigeon is on the patio, along with four squirrels, and a flock of about 20 birds - mostly sparrows, house finches and chickadees. I suppose that since it is the first cold, rainy day of fall they are all coming here for the free goodies in a dry area.

I had a good time with Silver and Smiley yesterday afternoon - we tested whether they would respond to my voice commands in an off-leash situation, and had a grand (but short) walk at dusk. Today I'm going off to be certified as a Democratic poll-watcher for the November 4th elections. Then I can snuggle in with the kits, watch UF football and eat pizza this evening...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chilly Willy

I'm posting a little later than usual, but I was up until 4 this morning working on Kevin's family tree and posting new info on the web. I've had my walk - it's definitely cooler today - and I've taken care of my kits. They've been out and both are curled up together in the bed. I cleaned my apartment and washed dishes yesterday, received my new furniture, and paid all my monthly bills.

We are expecting snow mixed with rain over the weekend - it feels cold and damp outside today. Both Lovey and Banichi disappeared under the bed yesterday while I was cleaning; they new something was up. I didn't see Banichi until 6 pm - furniture was delivered at 3 - and he promptly decided the new loveseat/sofa is the perfect place for him to sleep. He deserted me last night! (Sob, sob.) Maybe he just liked the scent of the new king-sized spread that I put over the sofa to try to protect it a bit. Lovey decided she was chilly and slept (in bed with me) under one blanket, but on top of the other...

Have to get ready for lunch and heading out to see Smiley and Silver's owner; tomorrow is college football!! I can watch two of my top three teams on TV, and one will be streamed on the internet.... Yeahhhh!!! - But I do have to remember to go to Walnut for my training tomorrow, too.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two of Boulder's Reservoirs

Odds and Ends

I received my official mail-in ballot for November 4th - I knew that I'd see at least six names under the President/Vice President race, but I wasn't prepared for a list of 32 names - yep, there are 16 groups registered for the Presidential race in Colorado. The ballot itself is 2 legal-size pages, front and back, and makes a pretty hefty packet.

Gimpy has new cuts on his nose - we were within a foot of each other yesterday afternoon, and he's got new parallel scabs running across his snout. Banichi thought it would be fun to chase Gimpy yesterday; Gimpy ended up chasing him around the yard. Lovey leaves Gimpy alone. Late yesterday afternoon Lovey brought a mouse inside and turned it loose - just before 9 last night the mouse ran over my foot, so I grabbed the mouse jar, caught it, and put it back out into the backyard.

Kathy and Jim are headed for Peru - they purchased their tickets and travel package this morning. Jim has until end of business tomorrow to finish cleaning out his office at Ball; Kathy says he's brought home a garage-full of boxes and models already, and he's barely half-way finished in clearing his space out.

I'm cleaning and straightening for my new sofa/sleeper, end table and CD player; and I have a large stack of dishes to wash, as well. Kathy is supposed to deliver my stuff sometime between 1 and 7 pm today.... I'll probably be researching while I'm awaiting her arrival. Tomorrow I meet with Smiley's owner and Saturday afternoon is my hour-long training session to be a Democratic Party poll-watcher... I'm going to go finish clearing the hallway! Have a good day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

(Grandma) Grace Pauline Lancaster Nocks

Lovey is on the prowl

Gimpy's Payment?

Cousin Sarah sent more photos to me yesterday - fifteen of them, with thirteen being ones I had never seen before. She is finding all sorts of wonderful items as she browses her Grandmother's collections, and I am very grateful that she is willing to share them with Kathy and I.

My usual morning walk was quiet today - most birds were still in their nests, I saw only a few squirrels, and very few people out. I walked west on the Boulder Creek Path, then over to Chautauqua, east on Baseline, north on 30th, and back down Arapaho. I had a lovely time and thought about how I've been feeling and what I'll say to my psychiatrist today...

Banichi and Lovey have been running in and out via the patio door since I returned home, but 'Nichi-ji is now sprawled in the door chair watching the birds and squirrels. lovey just ran in and is sitting on the side of my desk, occasionally giving me a head-butt to mark me as her territory. The kits stayed out during the majority of the Presidential Debate last night - Banichi came back in about every fifteen minutes to see if I was still talking back to the TV, and Lovey just left. I suspect she was over at the tennis courts at Millennium Harvest House, but I have no proof.

I saw Gimpy (the squirrel) approach the patio this morning and wondered what other troubles he had gotten into, as he looked deformed. It turns out he was bringing a part of a mowed tennis ball to place on the patio next to the peanut chair. I don't know if he was trying to pay me for the food or if he just forgot it, because he left the piece of ball behind when he left. If it's still there in the morning, I'll place it in the trash.

On Friday I'll be meeting with Smiley and Silver's person - seeing their favorite walks and where they are allowed to run off leash, as well as going over their daily routines. Saturday, between football games, I have to report to Boulder County Democratic Headquarters and take a one hour course to be certified by the Clerk of Circuit Courts as a "poll watcher" at my voting precinct. I will be provided with materials and have to fill out a report after my time in the Good Sam Nursing Home - but I think it will will probably be worth it. - I was contacted by the Colorado House District 10 representative about doing this.... and I guess I feel it's my patriotic duty.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Flatirons and Boulder Valley from Legion Park Hill

Charlie Nocks at Pony Penning 1948

Cool this morning...

It's a good thing that my sister and brother-in-law have been discussing an early retirement for Jim; he was laid off from Ball Aerospace yesterday afternoon, and told to clear his office after 29+ years. He'll get a nice termination/layoff package, but it's still a surprise....

It was 35 when I went out walking this morning - it's now 42... Another front is due in Friday with a high in the low 60s, with highs over the weekend in the 40s and possible snow. The kits went out and had a good run in the backyard this morning, then they both came in and curled up together on a flannel blanket. I went ahead and closed the patio door; and Gimpy arrived early to get some peanuts.

My cousin Sarah sent me 17 photos from our family's past... several photos of my parents were ones that I had never seen before, and there were a few of me as a child, but a lot of the photos were of Kathy. I sent the photos on to Kathy and Jim, Sarah and Michael. Jim was astounded at how much Kathy looks like Mom... I was astounded by a photo of Dad in a short-sleeved sweater/knit shirt at Pony Penning on Chincotague in the late 1940s - talk about a blast from the past!

I also just found out that if you click on any of the photos I posted on this blog, you can get a much larger photo on your monitor - if you want to look at any details, that is. I hope to take some photos of my kits and possibly a self-portrait within the next few days... I'm also cleaning up the apartment for a new chair, a new end table, and a CD player. I already have a cover for the chair - the cats and I are both hard on furniture - The cats with scratching and their fur, me just because I have oily skin, and then add lotion because my skin dries and cracks in this dry air... *sigh* ... I can't win, skin-wise. Pimples as a kid, teen, and an adult... dry skin because of the altitude and aridness of the area... lotion to keep the skin from cracking and peeling... and my elbows always look like they've been hit with sandpaper.... Oh, well. (No real boo-hoos from me!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Natasha, the Mysterious Spy

Frost Advisory

Wow - we have a frost advisory on for tonight on the entire east slope of the Rockies here in Colorado. Kathy Sabine says, "Temperatures will drop like a rock tonight." Temperatures are expected to be a little above freezing tonight - but then we'll be 10 degrees warmer tomorrow than we were today; the long range forecast says we might have snow next weekend... but we'll have highs in the low 70s in early afternoons between now and then.

I've re-potted my poor little English ivy plant. I got Fred for 50 cents; 3 little leaves on a stem in a teeny, tiny pot. He's four+ feet long if you straighten out his vines right now, and just graduated to a 5 gallon pot.

I slipped up. I said yes without thinking. I am going to be a Democratic Party observer for my Precinct on November 4th..... (maybe they'll lock me up before then?) Hey! How are my photos with the new camera? If they show up without a red "Webshots" frame from now on - I took the photo! If someone else takes the photo, like the sunflower by cousin Patti, I'll let ou know!

Boris the Bath Cat

View from Halfway up Flagstaff Mountain

Back in Boulder

Back at home... *sigh* Lots of snow fell in the high country; most high peaks are now snow-capped. It was a brisk walk this morning - lots of squirrels and birds in evidence here in Boulder. The kids were attached to me like a second skin last night, which helped keep me warm, as I sleep with the window cracked open. Lovey, however, decided that 5:30 was an acceptable time for breakfast - I stayed in bed until 6:15, then finally got up and fed her and Banichi and took my walk.

Nikki, the German Short Haired Pointer, surprised me yesterday by using her forearm as a sponge - you know how cats wash their faces with their forearms - well, that's what Nikki did. I shouldn't really be that surprised, but I was. All of the Brighton gang were very excited when their "real" family arrived home from the show yesterday. I had understood that they were bringing a new rescue Sammie home, and they did - but not to their home. And since it seems that Kohlbi did not like the other male dog, even though he had impeccable manners, so it's good that he didn't join the family.

My kits ran out for a short while yesterday evening, but trash from the CU-Texas game is still piled all over the backyard; and I found 5 bottles with cigarette butts stuffed into them on my patio... The door is, as usual, open and the kits are running in and out this morning. I need to get more peanuts and sunflower seeds for the outside critters - I heard a loud scrabbling in the peanut chair this morning, and Gimpy was sitting on the arm, while RedBoa was trying to decide if it would be safe to jump up and grab a peanut (I had just placed the last of my stock out there for them).

I guess all the walking is doing something - I stocked up with canned goods and kitty litter, etc at the store while I had the Prius, and jeans were on sale. I had to purchase a size smaller than my last ones to get them to stay up; I probably could have gone another size smaller, but I like to have roomy slacks. - As I've gotten older and my skin has become baggier, so have my comfortable clothes.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Abby rules "her" recliner


Football didn't go too badly yesterday - 6 of my 7 teams won; the Buffs Homecoming was spoiled by the Texas Longhorns, but that was somewhat expected. The mountains have quite a bit more snow on them this morning than yesterday, and I expect they will all be snow-capped after tonight.

I don't think Natasha and Boris have ever watched someone take a bath - they watched me yesterday afternoon... and I was enchanted by their reactions. Natasha just sat on the edge of the tub and watched the water, watched me, and watched her brother. Boris got himself situated on a corner and started patting the water with his right paw; he then switched to his left paw; he was fascinated with both the sound and the movement of the water. Soon he was dipping his forelegs in up to his elbow and making the water boil with his paw and arm motions; after he had tried this with first one, then the other forelegs, he settled his haunches well and stuck both arms in - and was apparently extremely pleased with the effects he created. Finally, without my coaxing him at all, he slid slowly into the tub, walked all the way around me (up to his belly in warm water)and then sat and played "splash" like any young child would do. I need to warn his people that he has a new hobby.

My kits are sitting on either end of my desk - even though the patio door is wide open. They've both been out, and apparently do not appreciate the several large piles of trash left by the CU-Texas tailgaters in the backyard. I've got to run back to Brighton, but will be returning home for a couple of weeks this evening.... Yeah!!! My own bed and kits to sleep with!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ooch drinking from his pond


Today is the Colorado Buffaloes Homecoming football game. I came home early from Brighton, have fed my kits, let them out to roam a little bit, and cleaned their potties. Banichi has opted to lay on my forearms while I'm typing this blog, burrowing his head into my chest and purring away. Lovey is sitting in the patio doorway, observing the loud trucks and buses at the Millennium Harvest House.

I might need to rethink my acclimatization ideas... I am, again, wearing a T shirt and shorts, but driving back from Brighton, I passed a field of horses that were all wearing their blankets. Maybe I'm getting too used to the coolness? I went to the top of Flagstaff Mountain yesterday and tried taking "scenic" shots with the new camera... you can judge them next week.

Kohlbi did not get any points toward his Championship at Topeka this week. He was in a class of 57, and made the cut of the top 10; but that was as far as he progressed. I don't know how his relatives fared in the judging. I had to call Michael yesterday afternoon - they have DirecTV satellite and while I could get the TV screen to show the guide and what was supposed to be on the channels I entered, the TV screen stayed a pale grey; I tried all the tricks I knew, and finally decided I need to reboot the satellite system, but thought I'd better check with Michael first. He had me press a few buttons, and then decided it needed a reboot - especially since he was planning on recording "Sanctuary", the new series with Amanda Tapping. I was able to reboot the system, which made Michael happy. Then I watched Sanctuary. It was an enjoyable 2-hour premiere, but it's not something I'd go about screaming how special or tremendous it was.

Probably won't blog until late tomorrow evening.... I'm unsure when I'll get home tomorrow - that is, I'm unsure when Michael and Jane will return tomorrow (from Kansas)to bring me home again. Banichi has gone to cover the food dish and Lovey has decided to come keep me company on the desk. It's supposed to snow above 9,000 feet tonight, and they're expecting 10 or more inches of snow on the western slope around the Vail area. I know that 2 resorts already have their snow machines going and hope to open to the public on October 10. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wet Earlobe

Nikki and I had a wonderfully brisk walk this morning; we saw 3 fox and 8 coyotes in the development. Nikki wanted to chase each and every fox and coyote, so my right shoulder is a little sore from her pulling on her lead. She is very well trained, and if I pull the lead in and keep her "in position" she will heel, sit, top, and stay - but in the mornings, I pretty much give her 30 feet of line and just let her explore and romp. Therefore my sore shoulder is my own fault.

Boris didn't mean to wake me up this morning, but I awoke to my right earlobe being alternately licked and then sucked on.... He was lying curled across my throat, and his purr seemed incredibly loud - but then, his nose was directly over my eardrum... When I first got up this morning, Nikki decided that she would take over my space in the bed; she seemed quite put out that I made her get off the bed and go out into the living room with me.

Banichi and Lovey are both outside on the patio. Yesterday, when I was leaving to visit Rosie and Remy, I had to call the kits inside. The kits were nowhere in sight - Lovey came running from under the fence; she had been visiting the Alumni Homecoming tents, lunch and concert at the Millenium Harvest House. She ran right up to me, and I hugged and praised her and then put her inside and closed the patio door. While I was calling Banichi, she presented me with a concert of her own pitiful meows. When I began to make my second call for 'Nichi-ji, I saw a slight movement out of the left corner of my eye; there was the man... sitting behind the silver-grey bark of a twisted oak in the far corner of the yard. I asked, "Nichi - are you going to make me come to you?" and he sprang out from behind the tree and ran up to my feet. Of course, he promptly dropped down and rolled in the dirt - but I was happy with his response.

I watched the Vice-presidential debate last night with great interest. I tried to watch the debate with an open mind - as if I did not know anything about either Senator Biden or Governor Palin. The first thing I noticed was that Gov. Palin was not answering the questions she was asked; that she seemed awfully "folksy" when speaking directly to the camera; that she never laid out or explained any plans for the government during a McCain-Palin administration. Senator Biden answered the questions; he laid out plans for the Obama-Biden administration; he seemed to be a little stiff at the beginning of the debate, but loosened up during the last half of it.
In looking for a winner, personally, I think Biden made better points and a better over-all impression. It seemed to me that Palin was putting on an act - the "folksy" sayings were a bit too much over the top; the use of "Darn right!" and "Darn it!" made me want to find a pair of socks, a knitting egg, and some wool and my darning hooks; she had certain doctrines of the GOP down pat and recited them well. She did not ramble or have a public melt-down , so I guess she did well. But she did not leave me with the impression that she truly understood what she was saying/parroting - and I still dislike the fact that she did not answer the questions she was asked.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Indian Summer Ending

The weather forecasters are saying that our Indian Summer will be ending soon; it's been in the 70s, 80s and 90s since the autumnal equinox. A front from the Pacific Northwest is headed this way, and snow is predicted above 10,000 feet for Saturday night. CU's Homecoming football game is this Saturday, and the forecasters are saying we'll have a high of 75, but it will be very windy, which will play hell with Folsom Field's air currents. Sunday we'll have afternoon showers with highs in the mid-60s and Monday our high might reach 60, with rain. We need the rain. I will not complain about rain or snow... it is desperately needed.

I'm looking forward to the scheduled debate tonight between the VP candidates. I laughed heartily at SNL's opening skit with, supposedly, Katie Couric interviewing Gov. Palin - what has been made painfully clear, however, is that Gov. Palin's lines were copied, almost verbatim, from real interviews. That's scary. (I also laughed at the footage of a black bear pulling the door open and letting itself into a Subway Sandwich Shop in Canada - apparently it didn't find anything appetizing, and let itself back out the front door - all this while the manager was hiding in the restroom.)

Still in Brighton this morning - have fed all the critters and taken Nikki for a long walk. Am getting ready to head back to Boulder - to see and love my kits, to see Nancy (my therapist), and to meet with Rosie and Remy's owners. As Nikki has to stay in her crate while I'm gone, I'm putting off leaving for as long as possible. I awakened early this morning as the cats were sorting out who was sleeping where, and thought that the power was out again - but Shadow was immediately in front of the bright, bedside LED clock. I just nestled deeper and let the cats arrange their own sleeping spots.

I am looking forward to spending next week at home - sleeping, loving and cuddling my kits, listening to and watching the birds and squirrels outside, and, hopefully, getting a few more good photos that I can share with you on the blog.... Enjoy yourselves!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shadow & Abby in Brighton

Boulder Valley

Since I arrived here, I've always known that I live in "the Boulder Valley." It was very apparent this morning, when I left Brighton, out on the eastern plains and it was 52 degrees outside; 45 minutes later, as I pulled into my parking lot, it was 45 degrees outside. There is a spot on Colorado Highway 7 that shows this to be true - I'll try to take a photo from this view point before Sunday, when I'll be without a car again. Yes, I have the Brighton gang's Toyota Prius again. And I still think it's a wonderful car.

I awakened sometime early this morning, swimming up from a deep sleep, and heard the soft rhythmic snoring of my bed-partner. My first thought was that Jeff's snoring had gotten to a very comforting level; then I remembered that Jeff was no longer alive, and that my bed partner was a German Short Haired Pointer named Nikki. She was asleep with her head on the pillow and her back toward me; Abby was between my ankles, Natasha was along my right side and Boris was curled up, and partially on, my right side; Shadow was, again, on the bureau. Three of the four cats there react to catnip , Abby, the female orange tabby, is the only one who doesn't. So I got the kits a couple of toys and they are having a great time playing with them in their part of the basement.
"Their part of the basement?" All cats and dogs have full run of the house - except in the daylight basement. There, the cats have three-quarters of the floor for their own use, behind a chain-link fence the dogs can't cross (unless one lets the dogs through the gate). That way, the cats can have their own area if they don't want to put up with dog play and/or doggy drool. Both Kohlbi and Nikki use the cats as head pillows while they're in shared spaces, and the cats usually don't mind it. Of course, the dogs have an acre-plus sized yard to play in that the cats do not. I think it pretty much evens out.

My kits are chasing each other in this cooler weather. They come tearing in from outside, Lovey meowing at the top of her lung capacity, and Banichi in a quiet, determined rush. They seem to play a form of "Tag" - one chases one for a while, and then they switch. Banichi is getting much better at running - he moves forward a lot faster, and doesn't jump up so much any longer - and sometimes when he's able to stay close on Lovey's heels, she hisses at him. They are both sitting in the sun now, trying to convince a flock of birds to leave the tree and approach the bird feeders.

The space shuttle launch for the Hubble Telescope has been postponed until next year, due to unexplained equipment failure on Hubble itself. That means I'll be home for 5 more nights this month. (Yeah! - I think.... this is when I get my Christmas gift money together...)