Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

The sun is shining brightly, there is 10 inches of new snow glistening in the sun, and it's 6 degrees (with a windchill of -8) outside. Gimpy did not appear yesterday, but he and his buddies have already eaten a quarter-pound of nuts today and are starting on their next helping. The kits had a mad chase and rumble-tumble at 6:30 this morning; one of them launched off the room divider and landed squarely on my left knee, which woke me up quickly. The kits ran outside, saw the snow drifted across half of the patio, and promptly returned inside after I fed them this morning. The local news has just ended, so I turned on the TV music channel, 924, and was greeted with The Trogs singing Wild Thing, which has just been replaced by The Classics IV singing Spooky.... Talk about a blast from the past! I suppose I should turn on the "Seasonal Song" Channel and listen to Christmas music... I did play two CDs of traditional music last night, along with Christopher Parkening playing Bach, and I ended with one of John Hartford's CDs, just for his voice and total irreverence. Speaking of which, have any of you seen the new Bob Dylan song video with him dressed as Santa Claus? It's just too weird for me... I am almost finished reading Spartan Gold, having read a lot yesterday afternoon and this morning - if you want an around-the-world adventure, this one is super! ... I need to finish wrapping family gifts for giving tomorrow, and I'm (heavens!) almost out of Coca Cola, so I'll be headed for the grocery store this afternoon - plus I need to pick up something special for the kits to eat for their dinner tomorrow. I was greatly surprised (and very happy) to receive a large gift card from the Rs' family - and it's a Barnes and Noble card, which combined with my B & N membership, will give me a lot of lasting pleasure. (Do I purchase books, CDs, or DVDs, or a combination?) I'll have to give it a lot of thought. And I want to thank my friend Kathryn, again, for the afghan; it's super warm, just the right size, and the kits seem to love it as much as I do! Finally, I hope that everyone has a wonderful, warm, and stress-less Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



Dr. Knisley Covered Bridge in Bedford County, Pennsylvania

POTD HOMEPAGE / MEMBERS CHOICE Christmas Kitties in Holiday Art Decor w/ Tree Lights & Bows

Di Milo & Venus are ready for Christmas.

Dreamin' of a White Christmas

Sienna knows she's going to have a white Christmas!

Good and Bad News

OK. It's the usual good news, bad news scenario. No broken bones, but soft tissue damage - possibly a ligament, possibly the meniscus. I was told to make a follow-up appointment with a Dr. Michael Repine, a knee orthopedic specialist, within the next 7 days. Dr. Repine's next available appointment is in the late afternoon on January 11. That's more than 7 days, isn't it? I'm to call this afternoon and tomorrow morning to see if they have had any cancellations.... I was awake most of the night because of the pain; it's pretty dull if the leg is straight and unmoving, but if I bend it by mistake, it'll take my breath away and make me cry. So I'm in a knee immobilizer until seen by Dr. Repine. - Keep it elevated, stay off it, and keep it iced. Dr. Meyers tried to give me pain pills this morning, but I declined. I guess I won't walk the Rs tomorrow, but I start house-sitting on Saturday - oh, boy.
The kids have been very cuddly, but since I'm even slower to get up, they keep climbing back onto me as I try to get out of the right side of the bed with a straight left leg. It's laughable! I finished reading Dick and Felix Francis' Even Money last night, and I'm more than half-way through Clive Cussler's Spartan Gold now. At the moment it looks like there's 6 inches of snow in the back yard, and it's still falling; it was 23 when I got out of bed this morning, and the temperature rose all of 3 degrees today. We hope to get into the lower 30s on Monday - before that, it's all sub-freezing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Danger: Ice!

...And Betty Went Ker-Splat!

I'm logging on and blogging tonight because I'll be at the MDs office tomorrow morning; so don't be surprised if there isn't a posting until late Wednesday. I went ker-splat on the way home walking the Rs this morning; the fall was in no way their fault, I just placed my right foot the wrong way on some ice. My right foot flew up in the air, and I somehow landed on the inside of my left knee and my right hip, and slid for about 15 feet. I admit I dropped the Rs' leashes - it wouldn't do any good to drag them with me. They immediately sat down and then came over to nuzzle my face, even though we were less than 100 yards from their front door. The knee hurt as soon as it made contact with the ground, and I was a little breathless after the slide, so I sat for a couple of moments and then used the wrought-iron gate of the Waldorf school to get back on my feet. The knee felt numb for the first few steps, but I could already feel the heat and swelling in it. I got the Rs home and then I came home. I've taken Tylenol, and iced the knee, and kept it propped up - but it's four inches larger around than my right knee, and it hurts like stink! It hurts when I move it, it hurts when I put weight on it, and if I try to bend it much, tears run down my face. So I'll go see Colleen first thing in the morning. The weather folks say we'll get 1 to 3 inches of snow overnight - there's already a good half-inch on the ground - and we'll end up with 8 to 12 inches through Thursday morning. They say our high on Christmas Day will be 21 degrees... (sigh)

This 'n' That

Cloudy harbor, POTD 2009, december 21th

Stormy day at the harbor in France

Pirates of the Caribbean Santa

Is Santa a pirate during his off season?

Sunday 21st October Calke Abbey 045

Red deer at Calke Abbey

 Cute Christmas Kitty Cat in Holiday Home Garden Art Decor w/ Ornaments, Presents & Tree Lights

Di Milo is ready to help trim the tree!

Cloudy Tuesday

It's 32 degrees outside and very cloudy, as we're expecting a cold front around noon, with snow commencing about 4 p.m. The kits have been out, but didn't spend much time; even though Lovey managed to get her toes muddy. So far there has been no sign of Gimpy and his crew, but I did replenish the nut pile. Rosie and Remy were fabulous yesterday! We met 8 other dogs and their walkers while out strolling, and even though a Cairn terrier got up their faces, barking away, the Rs ignored it. My friend Bill was driving the 204 bus yesterday morning, and he picked the Rs and I up and carried us down two stops, as he had no other riders, and he loves dogs. The Rs both barked near the end of our walk; a beautiful red fox trotted out of the woods to our right, crossed the road, and went into Olivier's yard. Both Remy and Rosie went on hunting alert, and while Rosie barked four times, Remy only barked once. Their manners seem to have improved considerably. I start house- and pet-sitting again on Boxing Day, and will return to my own bed on January 5th. As usual, I'll be spending at least 3 hours each day with my kits, and the time that I'm home with them will probably be the only time I have to access the internet, so don't be surprised if my blogs drop off drastically during those 10 days. - Let's see... odds and ends.... I was wrong last week, the flooded race track barns were at Gulfstream Park, not Hialeah. Calder, also in/near Miami, has dropped it's quarantine, as there have been no cases of equine herpes virus in the past two weeks. The Boulder Humane Society is accepting a selection of unwanted Chihuahuas from California societies; and they have also accepted quite a few starving/abused/neglected Husky and part-Husky sled dogs found in South Park. And the weather woman just said we'll be getting 4 to 8 inches of snow before Wednesday afternoon - I guess I'd better go walk the Rs before it starts coming down!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Arrives

Sheep Sheltering in one of the old living oak Trees of the Estate

Sheep and an ancient oak tree on the Calke Abbey estate

Newgrange, Ireland, 2007
Bru na Boinne, or Newgrange, in Ireland - a neolithic marker of the winter solstice

Father Christmas, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Father Christmas in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

The project is to give the countryfolk free native trees to plant around their crops

A patch-work countryside spead below...

The Shortest Day of the Year

In the northern hemisphere, the December solstice occurs during the coldest season of the year. Although winter was regarded as the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days after the winter solstice brought on a more festive mood. To many people, this return of the light was a reason to celebrate that nature’s cycle was continuing. In modern times Christian all over the world celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas, which falls on December 25. However, it is believed that this date was chosen to offset pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti. Some believe that celebrating the birth of the “true light of the world” was set in synchronization with the December solstice because from that point onwards, the days began to have more daylight in the northern hemisphere.
Christmas is also referred to as Yule, which may have derived from the Norse word jól, referring to the pre-Christian winter solstice festival. Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light. This took place annually around the time of the December solstice and lasted for 12 days. The Lesser Sabbats fall on the solstices and equinoxes. The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor. A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log. In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and/or as medicine. French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning. The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the feast of Juul.
In Ancient Rome the winter solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. It was held to honor Saturn, the father of the gods and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten while businesses, courts and schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. Masquerades often occurred during this time. It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the term saturnalia, meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry.
In Poland the ancient December solstice observance prior to Christianity involved people showing forgiveness and sharing food. It was a tradition that can still be seen in what is known as Gody. In the northwestern corner of Pakistan, a festival called Chaomos, takes place among the Kalasha or Kalash Kafir people. It lasts for at least seven days, including the day of the December solstice. It involves ritual baths as part of a purification process, as well as singing and chanting, a torchlight procession, dancing, bonfires and festive eating.
Many Christians celebrate St Thomas’ Day in honor of St Thomas the Apostle on December 21. In Guatemala on this day, Mayan Indians honor the sun god they worshipped long before they became Christians with a dangerous ritual known as the polo voladore, or “flying pole dance”. Three men climb on top of a 50-foot pole. As one of them beats a drum and plays a flute, the other two men wind a rope attached to the pole around one foot and jump. If they land on their feet, it is believed that the sun god will be pleased and that the days will start getting longer. Some churches celebrate St Thomas’ Day on other days in the year.
The ancient Incas celebrated a special festival to honor the sun god at the time of the December solstice. In the 16th century ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholics in their bid to convert the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival in the 1950s. It is now a major festival that begins in Cuzco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Various Shots

Solar Eclipse with Plane

Solar eclipse with plane

Gracie playing with her ball.

Gracie loves her yellow ball...

The  Mayor and the Green Man

2005 - The Lord Mayor of London and The Green Man

Celtic Revels

It's in the low 20s again this morning - but we're projected to reach a high of 54. The sky is cloudless to the east and overhead, but just behind the mountain peaks you can see a mountain-wave cloud building. Since we've had a week of high temperatures in the 40s and 50s, sunny areas have no snow cover; shady areas have about an inch still on the ground; there are still piles of unmelted snow in parking lots; and streets and roads without high traffic still have up to 5 inches of ice caked on them - it makes walking an interesting exercise. There is one rocky peak a couple of blocks north and then due west of my apartment that has a really odd look to it today - with all of the sunshine, it looks as if some giant has taken a ruler and divided it with a straight line; the northern side of the peak is covered with snow, while the southern side is brown rock. It's a striking contrast. .... We attended the Christmas Revels presented by Celtic Roads last night. It was a two-and-a-half hour celebration of song and dance, with four areas of audience participation - and I had a superb time! The groups that brought us the show included the Wee Birds Children's Choir, the Rocky Mountain Revels Celtic Chorus, six marvelous Irish Step Dancers (both in soft shoes and tap clogs), the Flagstaff Brass Quintet, and the Irish Fiddle Band that was made up of pipes, tin whistle, concertina, bodhran, spoons, and (of course) fiddlers. Songs, poetry and music ranged from the Twenty-third Psalm (sung in Gaelic) to a 9th century poem to the working songs of the Scots, Irish, and Welsh women in the 15th century, to children's chants and games, and renditions of Amazing Grace, Auld Lang Syne, and a traditional Irish mummer's play. One of the young ladies in the Wee Birds Choir told me that if I enjoyed this show, I would really love the Summer Solstice show... I'm already looking forward to it! If you'd like to get a glimpse of the Revels, you can visit (and have a ball!). One young man stood out from the other performers, and I have a feeling that I had that same air of serious concentration when I appeared in school plays... He was a young man, I'd guess in his early-to-mid-teens; when he appeared in a group setting, singing and interacting with others, he was quite natural. But he had two dances in which he participated - and he was concentrating sooo hard, it just drew your attention. He danced in a Welsh country dance, paired with a young lady, and with three other couples - he made two missteps, but always caught himself and proceeded with aplomb. Then he was a participant in the Irish Mummer's play, where he was one of six young men doing a complicated dance with swords - he didn't make a mistake there, but he was concentrating so hard that I felt for him... It was a wonderful night of entertainment!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

American Scenes

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport has a unique shape...

Humpback  Covered  Bridge; Covington,  Va.  10-20-09 #102

The Humpback Covered Bridge over Dunlap Creek outside of Covington, Virginia (the bridge was built in 1857; the creek ran through our back yard in Crows - good trout fishing!)


Falling Spring Waterfalls, about 10 miles north of Covington; Thomas Jefferson said there was no waterfall more beautiful than Falling Spring...

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park ~ Cross Creek, Florida

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house at Cross Creek, Florida

Critters and Kids

The sunrise today was wonderful, and the light painted the snowy tops of the mountains in shades of rose. It's 24 degrees outside, but the sun is shining brightly. Banichi has been sitting about two inches away from the squirrels peanut pile, and it has been fun to watch the younger squirrels sneak up very slowly, grab a nut and run. Gimpy is just sitting stolidly opposite Banichi and stuffing his face without any urgency or any sign of duress. Lovey is sunning up in the cat tree with the window pane magnifying the sun's heat. Rosie and Remy were well-behaved on their walk yesterday - we ran into Brio and his lady, and Rosie started to growl, so I had both Rs sit and pay attention to me before I gave them and Brio a treat. Rosie did manage to get a single bark in, just as we turned to go around the corner, and Brio's owner laughed. We also ran into Sarah, who was walking her Bichons, and she said that she was the one who called the Rs "Betty's dogs" when she was speaking with Nancy and Joel. I just laughed, and told her to forget it - that Joel and Nancy are now used to people thinking that Remy and Rosie are mine, and they say I'm Aunt Betty, a part of the family.

Wow, that storm in the mid-Atlantic is really causing some problems. Yesterday the rain had parts of Miami underwater, and Hialeah Racetrack had to move over 600 horses because their barns flooded. In southwest Virginia, the Highway Patrol reported 160 calls about separate accidents in a 135 minute period. The University of Maryland at Salisbury has cancelled today's Graduation exercises due to the weather. And, besides the snow, the Eastern Shore is expecting coastal flooding, as well. I did see one comforting item: Maryland has received a $400,000 grant to rebuild the sand dunes on the northern end of Assateague Island. I started reading Whisper To the Blood by Dana Stabenow last night; I didn't want to put it down, but had to give myself over to Morpheus when I dropped the book on my face the third time. Kathy is working until 6 tonight, so Jim and I will meet at Red Robin and order a meal for Kathy, who will join us as soon as she gets off work. Then we'll head over to the Boulder Theatre for the Celtic Christmas Revels show... it's supposed to be very good. And I stuck my nose into a weird situation at McDonald's yesterday - a Mom and her 8-year-old son were sitting across the aisle from me, the Mom had purchased two Happy Meals with Avatar toys inside them, and the boy was whiny and crying. Unabashedly eavesdropping, I learned that the boy was motion sick from his car ride from Denver (and Mom didn't help much by telling him they still had the long ride up the Canyon on "that twisting and turning mountain road" to get to Eldora), and he was upset because he is a big fan of Avatar - The Last Airbender, a cartoon on Nick Toons, and he felt that the new James Cameron movie was a rip-off of his favorite show. His Mom was trying to convince him to eat, but the boy just sipped his orange soda. So I made the comment that I still get motion sick, at my age, which made the boy, Sean, grin. Then I got him to tell me about the cartoon that he loves, and, suddenly, all of his food started going into his mouth. I told him what little bit I know about the movie, and we all agreed that he should look the word "avatar" up in the dictionary when he got home. When they left, he had eaten all of his lunch and was smiling. It made me feel good. Happy critters and happy kids - I guess I'm a push-over.

Friday, December 18, 2009

'Tis The Season...

German Christmas market, London (U.K.)

The German Christmas Market (located in London, England)

Old Truck turned flower garden

Colors of the season in Fredericksburg, Gillespie County, Texas

in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

Christmas wreath in Columbus, Ohio

Critters and Snow

It's a little cool outside this morning - 23 degrees, but the humidity is only 20%, so it's not bad. There is heavy cloud cover to the east, but the sky is open and blue to the west; and Lovey and Banichi have been playing outside for the last 30 minutes. Banichi is currently engaged in his after play ablutions, while Lovey is perched in the cat tree, watching the squirrels on the patio. I took the red kids walking east and west again yesterday - the streets in Githens Acres are still 75% under thick ice, so the kids and I walked west on Upland, around Wonderland Lake, back by Lucky's, and then west down Redwood, with a short excursion on the Goose Trail bicycle path. We met only one other set of dogs out: two dachshunds out in sweaters, one red, one black, with a very nice couple, who found it laughable that Rosie wanted to trail them down 15th Street. Rosie felt very out-going and personable yesterday - she wanted to enter every driveway and walkway to every house we passed, and appeared to pout whenever I voiced an audible, "No." The weather folks say that the storm that might have given us a white Christmas looks like it is going to dump it's load to the south of us.... Looking at the weather for Crows, where Jeffrey and I lived, I am happy to be here. They are expecting at least 18 inches of heavy, wet snow by tomorrow evening, with the coastal areas of Virginia expecting 2 to 4 inches. Tomorrow has been designated as a laundry day (by me), as I need clean undies and socks. I don't mind doing my laundry, but I like to do it when I feel like it. I used to do my laundry at 5:30 Sunday morning, when I lived in my apartment in Gainesville. Now I can only wash and dry between 9:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. - having to share 10 washers and 8 dryers with 79 other apartment renters. (I know, I'm whining. But it's just about the only thing I have to complain about... please excuse me.) Saturday evening, Kathy and Jim are taking me to see "The Celtic Revels" at the Boulder Theatre after dining out. Other than that, I plan on being at home, reading, researching, loving the kits, and watching football on Sunday for the weekend. - Please enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Views


Winter Wonderland


Pine reflections


Sunset through the roof's icicles

A Quickie...

The squirrels are squabbling like mad on the patio this morning - one is currently sitting on the window ledge (outside) and fussing at two others; they're cute. The kits have had a ball running in and out this morning. There was a heavy curtain of cloud to the east this morning that obscured the sunrise, but the sun is now brightly shining, and the kits are sunning in the cat tree. I'm getting ready to head out and walk the Rs - I'll take a quick peek at local streets before I decide on a walking route for us. I'd love for all of the ice to disappear from the streets and sidewalks, and, hopefully, with the current weather forecast, most will be gone by next week - but they are forecasting snow for the Tuesday or Wednesday before Christmas. Apparently Ooch had a bad spell yesterday, but seems to be much better this morning - Connie called to borrow one of the cat carriers yesterday, but Spike's people gave Ooch his carrier yesterday afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing the movie Avatar, but will probably wait to see it until the New Year. If you're interested, I highly recommend the 3.5 minute trailer that can be viewed at I also recommend viewing Keith Olbermann's Special Comment from last night's Countdown - it's a 12 minute comment on what has happened with the Health Care Bill, and may be seen at From what I have read on other news sites, as well as the White House's, I concur with Keith's observations and conclusions.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Golden Trio

A goldfinch trio

Raccoon eating from the pond

Raccoon at edge of pond

We're being chased!

A wild boar chasing a truck in the woods of a wildlife park in Germany

Black Wolf 2

A black wolf at Bad Mergentheim Wildlife Park, Germany


Sunrise was beautiful this morning: we had clouds, but the sky turned all sorts of pastel colors in the east, while the mountains to the west looked as if a giant pink spotlight was shining on them. It's cold enough at night for everything to re-freeze, so the sun and temperatures in the 50s cause snow to melt during the day, but then it turns to very slippery ice overnight. I was trying to decide how to walk across a large patch of ice this morning, when I realized that in the 5 years I have lived in Colorado, I have developed 5 types of walk strides: I have a normal walk; a hiking walk that I can maintain for 8 hours; a snow shuffle walk; a penguin on ice walk; and a snow-shoe waddle. I guess that if I skied much (and it would be cross country skiing, not down-hill), I'd also have a gliding walk. Of course, I used the penguin on ice walk to cross the ice this morning... I don't remember having developed so many types of a walk when I lived in Florida. Lovey has been absolutely delighted with our warmer weather - even though snow still covers two-thirds of the yard, she can dig in real dirt. She has made this plain by leaving, as usual, her muddy paw prints all over my shirt and the desk, and whatever I'm working on for the past two days. Banichi goes out, but he cleans his feet before he comes back inside.

I took the red kids on a westward walk yesterday, as the ice and snow was in less abundance on the east-west roads. I really had to laugh - we walked north on 19th, west on Sumac, then down around Wonderland Lake, south on Broadway, then east on Quince, walking through Lucky's Market parking lot. Two cars stopped on Sumac to comment about how gorgeous Rosie and Remy were; two separate couples stopped and wanted to pet the Rs at Lucky's; and, on the way back on Quince, three vehicles stopped while the driver exclaimed over the Irish Setters. I made certain that Nancy and Joel knew about it when I returned. On Saturday, when Joel and Nancy were walking the Rs, one of the ladies who walks her Bichon Frieses in the neighborhood, ran into them and exclaimed,"Oh! Are you walking Betty's dogs? Has she taken a vacation?" Nancy and Joel tried to explain that Rosie and Remy are their dogs, and that I walk them weekdays, but the lady (it was either Mary or Sarah, as they both have Bichons), kept insisting that Rosie and Remy "looked just like Betty's dogs." Boy, was I embarrassed! If people want to talk about the Rs, I'm always willing to, but I always preface it by saying I'm just the dog-walker, not the owner. Apparently my disclaimer has not sunk into some peoples' consciousness. Finally, I had to laugh when I read of the call to the Darmstadt police this past weekend: a group of four men decided to go walking in an open park at night, in that city south of Frankfurt. They were suddenly surrounded by a group of wild boars, and several of the males threatened the men with their tusks. The men jumped into a trash dumpster for protection, and then called for police help in getting out and returning to their home safely. Wildlife is wild life, wherever it may be!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sand Sculptures

Sculptures of sand at Amager Beach Copenhagen

A 2005 sand sculpture at Amager Beach, Copenhagen, Denmark

sand sculptures in Port Angeles 020

"Ride 'em, Cowgirl!" 2006 Port Angeles, Washington sand sculpture


2007 International Sand Sculpture Competition in Quebec, Canada


Trying to give a befriended homeless man some type of security and a sense of love, someone, two months ago, gave the man a Beagle puppy. The man named the puppy Vicious, and last month when the temperatures dropped so much, the man and puppy were offered shelter in the apartment of a friend. The puppy turned four months old last week; it was his last birthday. Being a puppy, he chewed on things, growled and barked - he was being a puppy and exploring this new world and trying to find his limits. He chewed on a charger for a cellular telephone last week, and then barked at a few inanimate objects in the apartment. The owner decided to teach the puppy a lesson. He taped its mouth shut and locked it in the bathroom. Vicious, the puppy, died from asphyxiation. The owner is being prosecuted for animal cruelty resulting in death.

I tried, yesterday, to investigate the attack on Remy that happened on Sunday afternoon. The lady of the house stated that one of her children must have left a door open, allowing the dogs to get out. Yes, there were two dogs. One returned to the house door when Nancy and Joel started yelling, but the pit bull went first for Remy's throat. The dog made a second attack on Remy's throat, and then started to attack Remy's hind legs, trying to sever the hamstring and cripple him. This house has three sets of lever-handled French doors on the front, besides the regular main entrance; there is at least one door that opens into the attached 3-car garage; and I presume there are also doors into the backyard. I do not know how many children the couple have other than a newborn - but I tried to explain why the neighborhood would be concerned. There are over 100 people who walk their dogs on a daily basis through the Githens Acres area; there are "kids", ranging in age from teens to newborns, scattered around, as well as a few elderly folk with medical problems who cannot move quickly; there are dogs who know their yard limits and do not go out of them, but will protect their homes; there are cats that live in the neighborhood and visit a diverse area on their wanderings; and there is all of the wildlife: fox families, skunks, raccoons, deer, bears and mountain lions. My only purpose in this is to assure that the entire area is safe for everyone who lives there, who walks there, and who loves the quiet beauty of the whole area. The lady said she would "try to keep the doors locked and closed." That's all I can do for now.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Just Spooling Around, Ontario, Canada

"Just Spooling Around" entry in the 2008 Breckenridge,CO Snow Sculpture Festival

P. E. I. Snow Sculpture (WINNER!) - (2005) - Sculpture de neige de l'Ile du Prince Edouard (GAGN

A snow dragon from the 2005 Quebec, Canada International Snow Sculpture Festival

Making a Sculpture

Working on a snow sculpture in Hokkaido, Japan in 2005

sand sculptures9

From the 2008 Melbourne, Australia Sand Sculpture Festival - How many nursery rhymes can you find in this photo?


Yesterday was quiet. The kits and I enjoyed the sun and warmth, read the newspaper, watched football, read, and snuggled. I headed over to the Rs house a little after 4 p.m., uncertain of making my bus connections - the RTD buses are not supposed to run early, but they sometimes do, and they also frequently run late. With the buses running only once an hour on Sundays, it can be a really long trip and/or layover at the main bus station. Luckily, the Jump was on time, and the 204 was running a little late, so I made it to Rosie and Remy's just before 5 p.m. Poor Remy had been attacked earlier in the afternoon while Joel and Nancy had been walking the Rs. Joel had both dogs on their leashes, and they were walking past the newly finished giant-sized house on Emerald, when a pit bull appeared from nowhere and attacked Remy three different times. Rosie, of course, tried to go to Remy's defense, but was restrained by her harness and leash. The attacker left several punctures in Remy's skin, and a long scratch on the top of his head. The apparent owner of the attacking dog stood on his porch and called his dog with a couple of "Here, boy! Come here!"s, but the dog did not respond. Finally, a woman came out and called to the dog, who promptly went to her. She called, "Sorry about that!" to the Rs owners, and closed the door behind her. - Now, I wasn't there to see what happened. I don't know if the dog snuck out of the house when the man went outside, or if the dog was loose, or if the dog had somehow gotten out of the fenced backyard. All I know is that Remy was bitten. I am also alarmed because small children live across the street, both straight and diagonally, from the big house. I am alarmed because I walk the Rs on that stretch of the neighborhood street on a daily basis, as do a lot of other people who live in the neighborhood and have dogs. Some of the other people out walking have their small (Bichon Frieses and terriers) dogs off leash and under voice command; and several houses across the street also have house cats that are allowed outdoors in their own yards. Was yesterday's attack on Remy a single, isolated incident? Or is the entire neighborhood going to have to visit the new owners' en masse to speak with them about having dangerous animals? And the Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch runs through the backyard of this house... Will volunteers who keep the ditch clean, open and running be able to have access to the yard to make sure the ditch is clear? Methinks that I shall walk very carefully on Emerald for the next few days... By the way, Remy spent over three hours lying on the sofa beside me with his head in my lap last night; Rosie changed places, but was usually in the leather chair beside the sofa, with her muzzle laying on the sofa arm beside me. We had a nice, quiet, uneventful evening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Help Those Who Cannot Help Themselves, Please

Just a reminder that there are animals and animal shelters in need throughout the world. If you have a moment, or minute or two, please visit these two websites that donate free food to animal shelters: and Many lost, abandoned, and neglected pets will be thankful to you for your clicks that provide their shelters free food.

Dog dog dog Ginger puppy dog

Why was I left at the Humane Society?

cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat

A street-wise stray

Three Little Rex Rabbit Babies

Three baby Rex bunnies

the Mice

Mice, hamsters, and rats are abandoned, too

Odds and Ends

It's already 40 degrees outside -wow! The sun is shining, and I have the patio door open since the wind is from the west. I walked over to Sunflower Market this morning and picked up a fresh loaf of bread, two chicken breasts, and some ground buffalo (it's leaner than ground beef). Gimpy was at the door when I returned, so I refilled the nut bowl and left the door open so the kits can run in and out a bit. Which reminds me, if any of you find odd smudges on your Christmas cards, it's thanks to Lovey and Banichi - they love to "help" me write. I have all sorts of odds and ends to write about today, most of them completely unrelated; since my brain is so disconnected, that shouldn't be a surprise. ... Ball Aerospace's WISE satellite will be launched into space tomorrow, and Joan Howard knows how to put things in terms anyone can understand. "We're MapQuesting the universe in infrared," Howard said when asked to explain the mission of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. ... Mark Ingram, a tailback from Alabama's Crimson Tide, won that university's first Heisman trophy yesterday. Having watched Ingram run over and through the Gators' defense, I will not contest his victory. It is well deserved. ... Our local sports announcers are having a Tom Swift field day stating that Tiger Woods "is being shaved from Gillette commercials." ... And last nights Denver Nuggets game was truly superb; they played the Phoenix Suns, and even though they trailed by 17 at one point, they won the game. It was a wonderful team effort. ... Today the Denver Broncos will play the (so-far this season) undefeated Indianapolis Colts. I love Peyton Manning, and I love my Broncos, so I'll be cheering on both teams, knowing that only one can win. ... And I was able to find several new books at the library by some of my favorite authors, so I'm happy to read for the next few days. The new books are by Terry Brooks (a Landover novel), Dick and Felix Francis, Dana Stabenow (a new Kate Shugat novel), Clive Cussler ( a novel based in the Great Pocomoke Swamp, about a 20-minute drive from Chincoteague Island), Diane Mott Davidson, Nevada Barr, and a new non-fiction by Rita Mae Brown titled Animal Magnetism. And I have never read Cross Creek by M. K. Rawlings, so I grabbed a copy of that, too. ... I'll be off to pet-sit and read to Rosie and Remy tonight; their folks are going out for dinner and a show in Denver, so I'll go keep the Rs company for 4 hours. I'll probably read to them... Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


June's Menorah on 2nd day of Hanukkah

The second day of Chanukkah began at sunset today. The second miracle of Hanukkah occured when a single cruse of holy oil, which should have lasted less than 24 hours, burned for 8 days.

Go, Navy!!

Woo-hoo! Navy beat Army 17 to 3 this afternoon... what a blast!! Other than that, I'm blogging later than usual because I woke up full of mucous this morning - I had to cough for 45 minutes so I could actually feel air get into my lungs, then I started sneezing, and I had to blow de noz quite a bit, as well. So I decided that if I was going to get sick, I'd better get a move on and get all my shopping and library visiting done. I had Cheerios with blueberries for breakfast, and also had a mug of hot chocolate; at 9 a.m. I walked around the corner to PetCo and got 3 weeks' worth of canned and dry cat food and treats. Then I went to the grocery store and loaded up on canned soup just in case I really do become worse. After that, I visited the public library, returning 6 books, and getting 9 new ones. I got home, had half a sandwich and conked out in the reading chair with both kits on top of me. Consumed a couple of turkey sausages in a pita for dinner, and had a bowl of fresh fruit, making sure I also took some vitamin C. Hopefully, I'll kill this bug before it gets full grown (or full blown). The kits really enjoyed going out in the sunshine today - as did I. Gimpy brought his crew by this afternoon and wiped out the nut supply. The wind has picked up now, and is occasionally howling around the building. The high country to the west of us is picking up lots of snow, but we've been treated to sunshine. It's a nice change.

Friday, December 11, 2009

European Scenes

P1050720 - Passo di San Pellegrino

San Pellegrino Pass in the Italian Dolomites

U1.Windsor and Windsor Castle 2006 1036

The moat garden surrounding the Round Tower at Windsor Castle (where Prince Rupert conducted his scientific experiments)

047 Viking Burial Mound, Gamla Uppsala, Sweden

A Viking burial mound outside of Gamla, Uppsala, Sweden

denmark 20050424 img_4143 mindelunden copenhagen

A bench for contemplation at the War Victims' Memorial in Copenhagen, Denmark


It's bright with sunshine outside - especially with the sun refracting off the still crystalline snow that's in the backyard. The weatherman just said that Boulder should reach 35 degrees today... while on the Eastern Shore, the expected high is 28. Hurrah for warmth and sunshine! Both kits took a quick stroll this morning (after all, it is 11 degrees outside) and then quickly returned to the warmth of Kathryn's afghan. Gimpy is sitting up against the patio door, soaking up the sun and stuffing himself with nuts. I've got my presents ready to send, as well as my Christmas cards; all I have left to do is grab a couple of stocking stuffers for the family for Christmas morning, and I'll do that next week. (And I need to replenish the kits supply of catnip, too.) There were no birds visible or calling when I walked this morning, but a large group of crows and ravens just flew over - I guess it's warm enough for them now.

In Florida, Black Mambo has been put down at Bridlewood Farm, where I used to work. He became infected with EPM, equine protozoic myleoencephalitis, and was immediately put under a strong regimen of treatment. The attending vet said he had never seen EPM attack and ravage a horse so fast. Ten days after diagnosis, the Mambo was gone. ... In 2007 the Breeders Cup Mile champion was Kip Deville, a very handsome grey/roan colt. He has continued his race career and his winning ways, but in August he had to have colic surgery; while recovering from the surgery, he developed laminitis in his left fore. He is currently in critical condition at one of the top equine medical centers in the country. Please send healing thoughts toward this gorgeous creature. ... And, finally, Joanne Chandler, a 79-year-old trainer who maintains a small racing stable, made a long-awaited return to the winner's circle Dec. 9 at Golden Gate Fields when her filly Beau Tiful Slew scored a 30-to-1 upset in the second race. Beau Tiful Slew gave Chandler her first victory since Nov. 18, 2006, when her mare Award Winning won at Bay Meadows and paid $18. Chandler went 2-for-19 in 2006 and Award Winning accounted for both victories. Ms. Chandler also owns the 4-year-old Beau Tiful Slew. Keep on training and winning, Joanne!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowy Critters

Elk in the White River Elk Habitat

In the White River Elk Habitat, Washington

The Moose bull calf is more wary and always watching his mother, browsing near by in the forest

A moose bull calf keeps his eye on his Mom (outside of view)

Snowshoe hare visitor

Visit from a snowshoe hare

Fox crossing Lakeshore Dr.

A red vixen crossing Lakeshore Drive in Colorado


I am angry this morning. I am angry with Abby Toll and her attorney. Abby Toll is the 20-year-old ex-CU student (now attending college in Chicago) who got angry with her boyfriend, and when he went into the bathroom, she attacked his dog. Rex, the dog, was wrapped in duct tape; his legs, paws, tail, ears, and muzzle were encircled with tight rubber bands; and he was then taped, upside down, on the refrigerator door for more than 2 hours before being rescued by the police and animal welfare workers. Yesterday Toll pleaded in court that she suffered from an “impaired mental condition” that excuses her behavior. Toll's defense attorney, George Kokus, has argued that his client should be allowed to use the mental defense at trial because she was an “ongoing victim of domestic violence,” putting her in a mental state that either justifies, excuses or mitigates her actions. For someone to plead an impaired mental condition means, in essence, that the person admits to doing the criminal act but was incapable of knowing what he or she was doing at the time of an alleged crime, according to deputy district attorney David Cheval. Cheval asked the judge not to allow any testimony at trial related to Toll's mental health because the defense has not shown “good cause” for the argument. “If the defendant intends to plead insanity as a defense, or introduce any evidence in the nature of expert opinion regarding her mental health ... the people request that the defendant show good cause for not raising the issue when entering her plea on June 26,” Cheval wrote in his motion. Toll will be undergoing psychological testing, with the results due back to the court in February. - Why am I angry? I think it's because of the "impaired mental condition" plea. I have been treated for my depression and seen (albeit by Psych students writing papers for their PhDs while I was in high school) since 1972 for my "troubled mind." I admit that the original reports in the local newspaper about Rex and his ordeal included neighbors stating that Toll and her boyfriend frequently shouted abuse at each other. But I really feel that they are reaching for an excuse - any excuse - to allow her to escape punishment for torturing this poor dog.

We were under another Wind Chill Warning last night - we had winds with gusts up to 62 mph. One such gust wrapped around the apartment building, rattling all the windows and shaking the patio door a few minutes before 1 this morning. It was strong enough to wake me up, and to move the screen door more than a foot in its tracks. Of course, it also completely covered the patio with snow again. We hope to be in the mid-20s today, and to reach freezing tomorrow. The good news is that we should be in the 40s (our normal high temperatures for this time of year) over the weekend and into next week. Banichi declined to even poke his head out of the patio door this morning, while Lovey vocalized quite a bit (complaining, I'm sure) before going out and prowling the patio perimeter, before returning to bed and cleaning her tootsies. The Wind Chill Warning runs through 11 this morning, and we have a Blowing Snow Advisory in effect, as well. I plan on taking the Rs out around 1 this afternoon for a short romp with Suki and Boo. - I've read 5 of the 6 new books I have, so I'll need to visit the library again soon. And I have most of my "to be sent" Christmas items wrapped and in their boxes for shipping. Now I just have to get them either to the P. O. or to PacMail, while I put my cards into the out-going mail box in the lobby.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Ahh, what an English Vision!

The village church at Winsford, Exmoor

Winchester Common after the snowstorm

Winchester (Massachusetts) Common after a snowstorm in 2003

The colourful houses of the city of Valparaiso, Chile

The colorful houses of Valparaiso, Chile