Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mustang sculpture at Denver International Airport

A close-up of Mustang's head, prior to the installation of the red LED eyes...

A photo of Mustang at night....


It's another beautiful day; bright blue, cloudless sky and warm temperatures without any wind. According to the weather-folks, it will be warmer here in Boulder than it will be in Orlando today - and that seems pretty weird to me. But Colorado weather, as usual, is going to turn around tonight, and we're expecting snow tomorrow; the weather team says that if we want to feel warm on Sunday, we should stay inside and watch TV (NBC, which means the Super Bowl), as we are expecting a cold, Arctic wind from the north. We are currently registering 38 degrees, but it's -13 in Gunnison.

The kits are running in and out... they awakened me by landing, one after the other, on my bladder, having launched their jump from 6 feet away. I got up in a hurry. I'm going to sweep the patio and refill the feeders, then settle down with a good book; that is my entire plan for all of today. Banichi is very optimistic today - he is sitting directly beneath one of the bird feeders and staring upwards - the birds won't come around with either of the kits in plain sight. Lovey is just charging around like a maniac - burbling for attention, and trying to leave black paw prints all over me.

One of the recent celebrated causes in this area is a drive to remove a statue from the entrance drive of Denver International Airport. The statue is a 32-foot tall fiberglass form of a rearing stallion, and is simply titled "Mustang". The horse is in several colors - the majority of it is bright, electric blue, with black, navy blue and red "highlights", (although the constant weathering of the elements has already bleached the fiberglass to a white color on the face, trachea, and chest); but the most note-worthy aspect of this creature is the fact that he was supplied with bright red, glowing LED eyes. To my eyes, the horse's stomach area is slightly larger than it should be; and the areas highlighted with different colors show engorged veins, in some very unusual places. In my opinion, the mustang is well-done, over-all, but I, personally, don't like the red eyes. The public feeling about the horse is 50/50 - according to a website. Some people want "the heinous blue horse" removed because it is "ugly", "frightening" and/or "demonic" in appearance - others feel that it exemplifies the true Mustang, "the Spirit of the West", and some just say it's appropriate because of the Broncos... If the horse had been given eyes of another color, I think that I would truly like and appreciate it - but the red LED eyes just turn me off....

Friday, January 30, 2009

Great Grandfather James Loren Nocks

Beautiful Weather!

I finished the Wilbur Smith book last night and have read the first 6 chapters of Sheri Tepper's book. I am enjoying it so far. I ended up grabbing 9 books from the library yesterday, none of them a W Smith... so I have quite a bit of reading to do. It was 30 degrees when I went out walking this morning - Lovey awakened me at 5:30, and once I had opened my eyes, she sat and talked to me and washed my eyebrows until I had to get up. It's now just over 32 outside, the sun is shining, and the wind is not blowing. It's gorgeous! The birds were out early, as were the squirrels,and I ran into a raccoon trundling along to its' lair a little late this morning. The kits are out playing in the sun and mud, and are having a ball.

I logically knew that ex-football player, and now TV commentator, Chris Collingsworth was near me in age. I remember him being celebrated as the walk-on receiving sensation at UF while I was there - but it was a surprise to hear that both he and Keith Olbermann had turned 50 on the 27th of January this week. I know Chris has a son playing high school football, and I was astonished to notice that he had grey at his temples the other day... but I guess because my mental set says I'm 12, I expected Chris to be 10. And I know I've been watching too much in the sports department, because when I was flipping channels a few weeks ago, I paused at a football game - and identified the commentators by their voices: Tom Hammond and Chris Collingsworth.

I felt creative and hungry yesterday afternoon, so I made saffron rice with green peas, lightly steamed some broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and baked a chicken breast stuffed with apricots and raisins. It was good, even if I say so, myself. I had it for a late lunch and an even later supper. What surprised me was that the kits ate a little of everything, except the raisins and apricots.... Lovey had to chase her peas across the floor before capturing and eating them, but Banichi just hunkered down and pretty much inhaled. - Have a great Friday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2002 Sailboat Race in Nantucket Sound

Sailboat - Nantucket Sound

Library Bound

It was 25 when I was out walking this morning - we reached 42 yesterday, but are hoping for only 35 today... But... tomorrow and Saturday we're expecting a balmy mid-50s temperature (before the return of snow on Sunday). The kits had a great time running in and out yesterday afternoon, playing in the sun and digging up mud; they are on the patio sunning this morning, but it's easy to see they miss the warmth of yesterday. I passed my apartment inspection visit yesterday, and found that it's a precursor to a City of Boulder inspection next month. Apparently it's time for the owner to get the City Rental License renewed, so each and every apartment will be inspected.

I am 2/3s through the 600+page A Sparrow Falls, and hope to finish it this afternoon/evening; it's another page-turner by Wilbur Smith. After I finish with the Irish kids this morning, I'm headed for the library to turn in the other 7 books I've read. And last night I received an e-mail that a copy of S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country is on the holding shelves for me - so I'll definitely get one more book to read - and possibly 5 to 10 more. That's not counting the 10 books I picked up at The Bookworm the other day...

The Mayor of Boulder has accepted a position in Washington, DC, working for President Obama - so the city will be scrambling for a few weeks.... I have not yet had a response from the City regarding my idea of using Scoot Coupes ( in the transportation pool, and I still think it's a good idea for such a "green" city as Boulder.... The Rocky Mountain National Park is getting ready to use sharp-shooters to "thin" or "cull" the elk herds; while I and a lot of other proponents say there should be a release of wolves in the Park - they are a natural predator in that area....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Puffin in Summery Iceland - July 2008

51. natureza natureza natureza summer summer summer summer summer summer summer voyage voyage


Just a quick note this morning - I need to go walk the Irish kids and then get back to spruce up the apartment a bit: the maintenance man is coming by at 1:30 to inspect the plumbing, electrical system and smoke detector. It's nice and warm already - 37 degrees outside; and we're supposed to hit the low 50s on Friday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2006 Photos from Great Britain

the old town and arthur's seat, edinburgh, scotland

Arthur's Seat rising above Olde Towne Edinburgh - 2006

Llanrwst Tea Rooms, North Wales.

The Llanrwst Tea Rooms, by the River Conwy, in Northern Wales - 2006

The Laburnum Tunnel in the Wilderness Garden, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey UK.

The Laburnum Tunnel in the Wilderness Garden at Hampton Court Palace, County Surrey - 2006

Yikes! A Minus Fourteen Wind Chill

I only walked three miles this morning - at the time it was -2. Right now, it's 2, with a wind chill of -14... I walked until my chin and nose went numb, even through my wool scarf, and then I scurried back home. The kits ran out, Banichi chased a squirrel, and then both came back in; they're sitting next to the window in the sunshine. (I might be foolish, but my kits aren't!) We're hoping for a high of 25 today, with 30s tomorrow - and we might have a heat wave later and have temps in the 50s for Friday and Saturday! But right now, my wool-socked feet are sitting on my radiator... Yesterday it was grey and cloudy; today it's bright and sunny, and the mountains look like a painting on a post card!

I watched the second half of The Last Templar on NBC last night - it was OK, but I'd already figured out the ending, so I wasn't greatly impressed. But I did like looking at Scott Foley.
I have spoken to folks who live in both buildings here at Harvest Manor, but no one has been inspected thus far, nor do they know of any of their neighbors having been inspected; I have no idea of what's going on, but I hate to sit around waiting for something that might not happen... In the 3+ years I've been here, there has not been any such apartment inspection previously!
Since the ground is covered with snow, the bird feeders are being hit hard - I'm getting 5 kinds of sparrows, 3 kinds of finches, chickadees and nuthatches, one young woodpecker and the squirrels. The sparrows are also flocking on the ground under the feeders, as are the local flock of pigeons. I swear it sounds like the pigeons are cooing ,"loup garou!" and Lovey wants to grab her favorite pigeon, as always...

I'm due to walk the Irish kids today - but I'm going to cancel, I think. It's a little too chilly to go out and walk this morning - but it should be OK for tomorrow. I'll check to see if they'd like me to walk the kids on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week... I'll be cheering for the Steelers on Sunday - and I can't wait to see the new Budweiser Clydesdales commercials. ... Lovey decided last night that my watch is a great toy. Now, one needs to understand that my watch is actually a child's plastic watch on an elastic band. The watch case itself is green plastic, and the seconds are marked by a yellow and green gecko chasing each other; the watchband is blue, with yellow and green geckos. It's very lightweight, was quite inexpensive, and has been through the washer and dryer many times. Anyway, after two years Lovey has decided it's the best toy in the house; she spent over an hour tossing it and chasing it all over the apartment. I really don't know why it has such a sudden fascination for her.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Red Critters

Northern Cardinal (Cardinal rouge)

Quebec Cardinal

a Fox

Red Vixen

DSCF6082 Stompwijk - Red Bull jr - The Netherlands

A muscular chestnut calf in the Netherlands

Wind Chill of 6 Below 0

I've walked and returned home - it was 4 when I left and had risen 2 degrees by the time I returned; and it's still snowing. This morning, the flakes are tiny and crystalline, looking like granulated sugar when they land on your jacket or gloves. Then there's the wind chill... the weather folks say it feels like it's 6 below 0 outside now. All I know is that the kits ran out and ran right back in. Lovey used to go tunneling in the snow in the backyard, when it was light and fluffy and piled high - she hasn't done that in over a year. I don't know if it's because she dislikes me toweling her off, afterwards, or if, as she's gotten older, she's decided it's just too cold to enjoy.

I watched the first half of NBC's The Last Templar last night. The acting seemed fine, but the story seemed to drag... and I was puzzled for the longest time about the actor playing FBI Agent Sean whatever... I knew his eyes and eyebrows, I knew his lips, I knew his profile; then it hit me - he's Bob on The Unit! I have never seen him without a shaved pate - he's pretty good-looking! I will watch the second part tonight, just so I can look at actor Scott Foley with hair on his head! I've already figured out how the movie will end. I finished reading Breed to Come last night - will read a Wilbur Smith book until I can grab Sherry Tepper's.

The final numbers are in from the National Western Stock Show - they had over 643,000 people attend (down 29,000 from last year), and considering the economy, the sponsors are happy with that turn-out. ... The Breckenridge Ice Sculpture show was judged yesterday - the 1st place piece was sculpted by a team from the Yukon, the 2nd place was awarded to a team from China, and the 3rd place went to a team from France. ... The annual Indian Art Show, held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Denver also reported a lower income and fewer guests than last year. ... We are expecting another 1 to 4 inches of snow today - at least it's supposed to stop before I walk the Irish kids on Tuesday morning!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


It's still snowing and it's now 11 outside. I'm half-way through reading Breed to Come - will have to grab Sherry Tepper's book as soon as my apartment is inspected tomorrow!

Buried in the Cliff door

A cave/cliff door in Chateauvieux

Winter friends

roo cayenne and sprite 1-17-09 101b7622sm

Left to right: Cayenne, Roo the sheep, & Sprite

01-10-09 Garden Birds0162

Winter chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee

irish Setter, Lake of Thun, Switzerland

Roy, an Irish Setter, at Lake of Thun, Switzerland

Snow, books, Templars

It's 14 degrees outside and the snow is gently falling. Lovey is sitting in my lap, while Banichi is sprawled on top of my pillow. I've had my walk, and Lovey and Banichi have been out chasing the squirrels that want peanuts. Last night I finally finished reading Dragonheart - and found myself disappointed... One of the major problems in the beginning of the book is that the dragons are dying, and that is never dealt with. A mysterious voice is heard by the new Queen rider, and, later, a mysterious rider on a golden queen assists those having problems; that is never explained. The characters were likeable - but the tale just didn't hold together well and there were NO resolutions to any of the problems or mysteries. Somehow, the book left me feeling "used"....

I have promised a friend that once I read Breed to Come by Andre Norton, I will read Sherry Tepper's Gate to Women's Country, so that we can discuss it. And I was excited to find a copy of Harvard University Press' Jacobean Pageant, as well as a history of the Anglo-Scots Border Reivers. I now have some interesting histories to read to the kids that I take care of. I also grabbed 7 other out-of-print books by authors that I like. I am so happy that The Bookworm, a used bookstore, is just a short trip away! I've just had breakfast, and am sitting at my deak wearing a T-shirt, sweatpants, and I have my bare feet propped up on the radiator - it keeps them nice and toasty.

I'm looking forward to seeing a made-for-TV movie tonight - NBC is showing The Last Templar and I want to see what it's like. From the ads I've seen for it, it looks exciting and fun - except for the closing scene of the ad where it shows a man in chain-mail and a helmet with the cross of a Crusader on his over-shirt yelling "I am the last Templar!" He yells this in English - a true Knight Templar would be speaking French... I know, I'm picky, picky, picky... In any event, it's something to check out tonight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cross coutry via coach and horseback (?...)

A four-in-hand hitch of Lippizaners - horse show in Switzerland - 2007

Ooops! - That black thing sticking straight up in the middle and top portion of the photo is this horse rider's boot....

Snow, freckles and Richard III

The faintest hint of white on the grass is the only sign of yesterday's dry, light snowfall. It's 22 outside, and the kits ran around for about 30 minutes in the backyard, then both came in and curled together on the bed. I've had my walk - wearing my longies for the first time this year - it's foggy and the tops of the foothills are wreathed in cloud; the Flatirons are invisible due to the clouds and fog. Grandma Anne Snow has had 6 inches of snowfall up on Sugarloaf Mountain since yesterday morning.

On Thursday, when I last walked the Irish kids, I was wearing my new Gator "National Chompions" T-shirt. A young man sat next to me on the bus, and after a few minutes, giggled. I glanced over at him, praying that I wasn't having a "wardrobe malfunction", and saw a person with dark red hair, green eyes with golden flecks in them, and a lot of freckles. I raised a brow and asked, "Yes?" and he giggled again and said he never thought he'd meet anyone with as many, or more, freckles than he had - but that I fit the bill. He had pale creamy skin and large freckles; I've got tons of little freckles. And I had to grin with him and agree - it did look like I had more freckles than he...

"We invite you to see the rise of one murderous man to the throne..." An invitation to see Shakespeare's Richard III - that is currently a frequent ad on the local TV stations. The story of Richard III was written by the Tudors, who overthrew Richard... most historians agree that Richard was not the ogre that history has made him. In reading several of his biographies, I have found that most people seem to like Richard up to a certain point... "and then it seems that he could not refuse evil any longer..." I just have to shake my head. There were so many currents, undercurrents, waves and ripples occurring in society, in the economy of England, and throughout Europe during those last 12 years of Richard's life, that, unless one actually lived and recorded things as they happened (which Richard did not - he kept his own counsel), one can only guess at the reasons that compelled Richard to take the throne....

The world and nation's economy has certainly struck at the National Western Stock Show. Last night the Youth Livestock Sale was held, and the young man who raised the champion bull took home $50,000; last year the champion (30 pounds heavier) was purchased for $103,000. A similar down-turning affected all the other stock, as well. Several regular breeders of beef cattle found that they barely broke even on sales of their stock this year, but most were planning on raising more cattle and hoping for a better market next time around. There are only two days left of this annual event - and last week, with very favorable weather, the NWSS had a few days of extremely high attendance. Hopefully this weekend will be as profitable to all those concerned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Structures I find interesting

tower bridge

Tower Bridge, London

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

The Leaning Tower, Pisa

12-sided Inka stone, Hatunrumiyoc, Cuzco

Inca building techniques make for joins that are microscopic even today.... Cuzco

Sophie's Story

I received an odd telephone call yesterday - the monitoring section of credit cards called about "suspicious activity" with my account. I thought - OK, they're trying to figure out my Gator Shop purchase, and the fact that I used the card at the National Western Stock Show. Well, I was partially correct: they asked about that, but they also asked about 4 transactions with Frederick's of Hollywood and payments for use of certain unsavory websites. I acknowledged the Gator Shop and NWSS purchases, but was flabbergasted by the other charges. My card was immediately canceled, and I need to visit the bank once I finish my blog. I am really thankful that they called me!

I awoke this morning to a temperature of 30 and grey clouds outside; our high yesterday was 67 - quite a change. Up on Sugarloaf, where Grandma Anne Snow lives, they are expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow today. I've had my walk, and the kits have been running around outside for a bit, but both are back inside right now.

I met a man out walking his dog this morning; and Sophie wanted to greet me, so we allowed it all round. Sophie is a rescue dog and her new owner briefly shared her story with me: Sophie was dropped off at the animal shelter in Idaho Springs as a puppy - about 20 months ago - and was quickly adopted out. Ten weeks ago she was found in Phoenix, locked inside an empty house, and almost starved to death. In fact, the local shelter had already decided to put her down because she was in such a poor condition, and they did not think she had a chance of living. As is routine, nowadays, the shelter people ran the microchip wand over her, and found her original implant from Idaho Springs; and they contacted that shelter. The man who now has Sophie has a daughter who works at the IS shelter - and she remembered that batch of puppies. She contacted the Phoenix shelter and begged them not to put Sophie down; in two days she had arranged for a friend to pick Sophie up in Phoenix and deliver her to Albuquerque - and her father drove down to take over the transfer from there. After 18 hours in Sophie's company, he called his daughter and told her he wasn't returning Sophie to Idaho Springs - he was taking her home. The man has always had male Rottweilers in the past, so both he and his daughter were surprised by his decision to keep Sophie. She's definitely a female, and I'm not certain of her parentage, but she's large and looks mostly Malamute.... What a nice story!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


My, what big noses and teeth you have! Oh, I forgot my manners! Can we be friends?

Orange kitten? What orange kitten? Uhh... What is a kitten?

Ahhhhh... Relaxation!

Critters and Books

We broke the record for high temperatures yesterday - got up to 71; we're expecting to do the same again today, even though there are quite a few clouds out there right now. The clouds are a forerunner of a new cold system that (hopefully) will give us rain and/or snow tomorrow morning, Sunday and Monday. Yeah!!! I walked the Irish kids from their home over to Wonderland Lake yesterday, and then stopped by to see Suki and Boo on the loop back home; Rosie and Remy had a grand time running in the backyard with the girls, and Rosie took her usual snow-bath.

Lovey and Banichi are out prowling in the backyard - they are still chasing the younger squirrels around, but seem to have stopped trying to grab the smaller birds. Lovey is now stomping around on my chest, but I have a charcoal grey T on, so she isn't leaving a lot of paw prints. I will be heading over to the Irish kids again in about an hour - and then I'll have 4 days at home, other than the library. I awakened myself this morning: now I can't remember what the dream was, but I awoke to hear myself saying out loud, "Thank you, but no." and then giggling. It must have been a good/nice type of dream... And I'm still slogging through Dragonheart - Anne's books about Pern and its' residents have always caused me to devour her books; I couldn't put them down. This book by her son Todd is something that I can put down easily; I'm interested in the story, but it just doesn't have the gripping appeal that his Mother's writing has.

Not much else going on around here - a mountain lion grabbed another small terrier in North Boulder; a 30-year-old man rode his bicycle in the dark, wearing dark clothing and no helmet, and with no reflective items or lights on his bike - he was struck and critically injured - and his family wants to sue the driver for hitting him; and a woman claims that a cow knocked her down and stomped on her out in an Open Space area where livestock are communally grazed (she refused medical care at the site, so I don't think the cow really "stomped" on her!). And the City of Boulder is going to re-vamp their fleet of vehicles - and I'm e-mailing them to suggest they switch over to Scoot Coupes for all local driving... it will really save them money!! And I'm stopping by The Bookworm on the way home from the Irish kids - I hope I have luck in finding the books I'd like!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nephew Mike joining in the family nuttiness

What can I say? It runs in the family..... Mike Snow, Christmas 2008

The Day After...

Yesterday's and today's sunrises were beautiful; all orange and blue. The temperature settled at 68 degrees in the afternoon, and we're expecting 70 or 71 today. It's a nice little bit of warmth, but we really need rain and/or snow. Lovey is sitting, as usual, between the keyboard and me. Banichi is sitting at the bottom of the privacy fence, trying to convince a squirrel that he is not on the hunt. I walked the Irish kids much later than usual yesterday - I got caught up in the pageantry of the Inauguration, of seeing places where Jeff and I used to wander - and I didn't take Rosie and Remy out until almost 2 in the afternoon. Then I had to go to DIA and pick up Kathy and Jim.

I'm halfway through Dragonheart, a new Pern novel, and I've one Wilbur Smith left to read - guess it's time to head for the library again. I'm still contemplating heading back to the Stock Show on Friday - but we'll see. I'm sure that Suki and Boo were happy to see Kathy and Jim last night - I walk them, but they are used to running with J & K. I actually jogged for 3 blocks the other day to catch the bus, and was amazed that I could actually talk to the driver when I got aboard; I guess walking the doggies is building up my wind (a little, anyway). At the moment, other than walking the Irish kids, I'm not booked for pet-sitting until next month - when the Irish kids have me for 10 days. So I plan on getting back into genealogy research for the Lancasters on my Dad's family, and to continue the Devine/Boyer research and get it posted, also. Plus I'm doing some digging into the Bowden's on Chincoteague for a cousin.

Not really much else to comment on... I'm exhausted, as if I had attended all the Inaugural functions held yesterday, myself. Maybe it's just because I want so much for this new administration to succeed in everything they try. Also, please remember Teddy Kennedy in your prayers, and add a sweeping inclusion for anyone suffering the ravages of cancer. I have quite a few friends battling that nasty monster. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20th - A Special Day for Special People

President Barack Obama and his family - today is a day the nation should celebrate!

Vice-President Joe Biden, getting a kiss from his Mother.

Today is Kevin's 28th birthday. My son, Kevin, surrendering to the bride and brides-maids....

44th President sworn in...

I awoke and fed Suki and Boo at 6:15 this morning, put on my robe and took the trash and recycling cans to the curb, and returned to the house to dress: black socks, black jeans, and a white Obama-Biden T-shirt. I took the girls for a walk, and then returned to watch the TV coverage of the Inauguration in DC. I cried during the Invocation, I smiled when Joe Biden took the Vice-President's oath of office, I cried with a smile on my face when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. I listened, almost breathlessly, during the new President's Inaugural Address - and I felt pleased and relieved. It is truly a wonderful time in history.

I noticed yesterday that Keith Olbermann had a new hair cut; this morning I saw that David Gregory had a new hair cut as well. I think they both used the same stylist - both cuts were just a shade too short for my taste... but then, I'm just an admirer of both men, not a fashion or hair specialist. And Teddy Kennedy, wearing a fedora in the stands, looked a heck of a lot like his father. Aretha Franklin's rendition of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" was a masterpiece; and I liked the way NBC spliced in views of the crowds from across the country.

The kits are inside even though the patio door is open. While DC is in the midst of a cold snap, it's expected to reach 70 degrees here today and tomorrow; the majority of the snow has melted in and around town. However, we are expecting more snow this weekend - and I'll be happy to get it. Boulder usually has had 24 inches of snow by this time in January; we're short by 12. Wolf Creek has had 242 inches of snow, and Vail has had 212". Our nearest ski resort, Eldora, up above Nederland, has no new snow and a "packed powder" base of 43 inches. But it's definitely shirt-sleeve weather outside (a nice change!). I hope to get back to the NWSS on Friday, but am not certain of it. The management have announced they will be inspecting apartments starting that day, and I'll have to be here so the kits don't run away or get frightened into biting (Banichi occasionally does that).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address

This photo was taken on March 4, 1861. Abraham Lincoln is standing, and delivering his First Inaugural Address, under the canvas-covered marquee on the steps of the as-yet-uncompleted Capitol Building.

Inaugural Memories

It was a chilly, blustery morning in Washington, DC on the 4th of March 1861. Luckily the winds died as the morning progressed, and a 40-year-old tailor was about to mount a rented livery-stable horse to participate in a parade. As an Assistant Marshall for the Inaugural Parade, he was designated to wear pink accessories; I honestly don't know how he felt about that, but he was probably very excited in participating in the Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. Hugh was a dedicated Republican, even though it was a new political party; Abe Lincoln was the first Republican to ever be elected to the Presidency of the United States, and he had campaigned for the tall man from Illinois. This appearance in the parade was probably the most recognition he would receive.

Depending on what position one held in the parade, one's accessories were red, white, blue, yellow, green, purple, pink, etc. Hugh's rented horse was wearing a pink browband to hold it's forelock in place,and a pink saddle blanket. He, himself, wore a pink cockade stuck jauntily into his hat, a pink sash diagonally across his chest, then tied about his waist, and pink leather gauntlets that reached to his elbows. He was also wearing his best blue serge suit - and as a tailor, he knew he cut a fine figure, even if he wasn't the best horseman in the world. He thought about the man who was about to become President, and wished him well. He thought about his family and he sighed.

His father, Aaron, was a luke-warm supporter of Lincoln. His two brothers were very adamant in their regard of States' Rights. One brother, James, had already told him that once the President was sworn in, he would be one of the first people to resign their post; he would return to Loudoun County and hope that the nation and the President would come to their senses. His other brother, William, was already in residence in Loudoun County, and was known as a rabble-rouser for Southern rights. Hugh heaved a larger sigh, and prepared to mount the rangy bay gelding that he had rented....

The Hugh in the above tale was my husband's great-great-grandfather, Hugh G. Divine. The War Between the States caused great ruptures in a great many families. My husbands' family was one of them. Half of the young men fought for the Union Army and the other half fought for Virginia's Rights. A lot of them lost their lives, on both sides. It was a tragic event in the history of our country.

I am happy to report that I am a supporter of Barack Obama; and my son, Kevin Devine, and his wife Etoye, are also supporters of Barack Obama. I am sure that if Jeff were still with us , he too would be an Obama supporter. So here we are, the day before a new Presidential Inauguration, almost 148 years after Abraham Lincoln's first Inauguration - and where do we stand in this, "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"? We face so many problems: the economy, the Iraq War, health care, insurance coverage, the homeless, the mentally ill,... the list seems endless.

But we have elected a new President with a "Yes we can" slogan. We cannot expect immediate miracles in our economy or with any of our other current problems. But we can all do all that we, individually, can do to help support this new President and his Cabinet in their quest to truly make the United States once again the leader of nations. I AM proud to be an American; and, "Yes We Can" prevail.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lucy & Pepper; Kevin; Halflingers

Lucy, at the bottom of the photo, is a Dachshund-Beagle cross; Pepper, who almost blends in completely with the leaves and snow (above Lucy) is a Yorkshire Terrier-Maltese cross.

It's hard to believe that this young man is my youngest!
A Halflinger mare and foal - I think that this breed, or the Gypsy Vanner, would be the best mount for me: we're both short and round types.

Damaging dream

I had a very strange dream this morning - there was a bug, or some type of insect, attached to my shoulder blade and I knew I had to remove it. In actuality, I created a bloody mess: somehow during my sleep, I used my nails to remove a rather large mole from my left shoulder. What a weird dream and what a bizarre outcome! The bed sheets and my nightgown are bleaching away right now...

I ended up reading The Eye of the Tiger in less than 24 hours... it was excellent! At first I disliked the main character, but I slowly came 'round to his way of thinking; the characters and plot were believable, gripping, and intense. I'll have to read a second time, savoring it, to see what nuances I missed the first time through - and the last 5 pages contained a unique twist. I highly recommend anything written by Wilbur Smith to readers who wish to become immersed in an adventure.

Got Kathy and Jim off to DIA pretty much on time yesterday. Then I came back home, read and loved the kits, and headed over to Suki and Boo late in the afternoon. The girls felt bereaved, so I took them for a nice 45 minute walk, gave them a treat, and then had to explain to Suki (once again) that I would not feed dinner early. She thinks she should have breakfast at 5 or 5:30 a.m. and I will not feed her until after 6 a.m.; then she starts asking for dinner at 4 p.m., but doesn't get it until 6:15 or 6:30... I guess that "hope springs eternal", even in canines. I took the girls for a nice 60-minute walk this morning before heading home to the kits... and I'll take them out for another walk this afternoon.

The kits were stalking pigeons and squirrels this morning in the backyard. They didn't catch anything - Thank goodness! Lovey is currently in her favorite position: between the keyboard and me, while Banichi is munching on some Temptations treats. I'll ask the Irish kids' owners if they mind me walking the kids either an hour earlier or an hour later than usual on Tuesday because I'd like to witness Barack Obama's Swearing-in and his Inaugural Address that day. It will be a moment to remember and to share with others. I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sand Sculptures

Leonardo da Vinci in contemplation...

Mercator, the cartographer, in sand....

A "sand dragon" devouring a sand sculptor...

Look at the size of this "Enchanted Castle"!

A Loud Night

It has been an interesting night and morning. One of the neighbors had a party that began about 8 p.m.; the police stopped by three times to get them to quiet down. Then, after the party broke up, there was a screaming match and fight between two women in the same apartment, which resulted in 3 more police visits between 1 and 5 a.m. - altogether, it was not a restful night. (And I was not the person who called the police - I'm pretty sure it was my neighbor, who does not like critters.... She's the one who says I should be living on a farm.) After having spent 9 hours at the NWSS yesterday, and then getting caught up in another thrilling adventure novel by Wilbur Smith (this one is The Eye of the Tiger) I did not get much sleep. I'm sure I'll sleep like a rock at Suki and Boo's tonight.

I met a very interesting lady at the NWSS yesterday - she studies chickens and her business card lists her as a "Chickenologist." She's looking for a couple of smaller-sized pigs to raise along with her chickens. The swine were not yet at the Stock Show, but will be arriving Sunday night, so we talked about chickens and breeds of pigs, and Chincoteague ponies. She was a very lovely person and we exchanged business cards.

I tried to sleep in this morning after the disturbed night, but Lovey and Banichi started serenading me at 6 a.m. - wanting their breakfast, and wondering why I wasn't up and dressed for walking. After spending yesterday on my feet, I decided not to walk this morning; but that is difficult to explain to a cat. I filled all the bird and squirrel feeders this morning, and the kits are currently lying inside the doorway, in the sun, watching for possible victims. Only Lovey's pigeon has shown up, and flew off when Lovey decided to chase it. I'll soon be driving Kathy and Jim to DIA for their flight to Phoenix; they're both running in the P F Chang Rock'n'Roll Marathon tomorrow. I'll be walking Suki and Boo on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; and the Irish kids Monday through Thursday, so I'll be staying busy. Have a good weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fotos

Tasmanian Devil at Taronga Zoo

Tasmanian Devil at the Taronga Zoo

Bengal Tigers Bengal Tigers 004. photo by Valerie Bastin.  Edited by Bill Byer. Memphis Tn.

White Bengal Tigers playing at the Memphis Zoo

2006 Diamondback Terrapin Holdbacks

Three baby Diamondback Terrapins

National Western Stock Show Visit

I left the house early this morning and took the Express bus into Denver, switched to the free Mall bus at Water Street, and then hopped on # 48 to be dropped off at the Coliseum. For the cost of $1.25, I was delivered to the front door of the Stock Show... and it was marvelous! I've just returned home and have only taken time to give the kits a shrimp and salmon treat and power up the computer. The general admission for the NWSS was $7.00 today; it was for two levels at the Coliseum, 4 levels in the center, and two levels in the Arena. Other than the fact that it was a school field trip day for 15 elementary schools, it was absolutely spectacular!

I got to see poultry and rabbits, cattle and horses, llamas and alpacas. The piggies come in Sunday night... I got to pet everything, and also ran into a horse and westerns-oriented old book shop. I have to admit I purchased three books. I also picked up all kinds of literature and brochures, a NWSS T-shirt, several free horse magazines, and I won a stuffed cow (maybe because I'm a stuffed cow?)... They had a timed contest where an English bridle and saddle were taken apart and the contestants had to put the equipment back together correctly and put it on a horse. I had an old buckskin gelding, who was the easiest guy I've ever bridled. Anyway, I had the fastest time out of 25 people, so I won a stuffed cow. I had my photo taken outside the stalls of an 8-horse hitch of Shires and with a 2-year-old Longhorn steer named Star Eclipse.

There were all sorts of booths with merchandise and arts and crafts, furniture, farm machinery, books, candies, popcorn, nuts, funnel cakes, food, even several of those "Infomercial" items with an announcer with a mike and a nice little seating area so you could be sold something... There was information available about all the different breeds of all the different critters that were in attendance. The hunter-jumper section of the horse show was scheduled for today, and I saw several amateur-owner hunter classes, as well as children's jumper classes. The jumper class had one spooky jump - a red brick jump with open arches in both the standards and under the top rail, and it was at the opposite end from the "in" gate - and a lot (about 75%) of the riders either had one refusal or were unseated during a refusal at that one fence. - More tomorrow!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Memoriam: Patrick McGoohan & Ricardo Montalban

A young Ricardo Montalban with Cyd Charisse in an early film.

Ricardo Montalban in a publicity still for his long-running series Fantasy Island.

Patrick McGoohan in one of his last films, as King Edward I (Longshanks) in Braveheart.

Patrick McGoohan portraying "Number 6" on The Prisoner. He originally played agent/spy John Drake in Danger Man and then on Secret Agent. He came up with the premise of The Prisoner and wrote and directed several episodes.

Thursday's Critter Picks

Little Feather a Southern Bobcat at Big Cat Rescue, Tamapa, Florida

Little Feather, bobcat, at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL

highland cattle looking at you

In the Cotswolds, a Highland cow!

No, this is NOT a horse- THAT is!

Grey coach horse, tri-color Bassett (left), and an Irish Wolfhound....

Foggy Thursday

OK, it's time to shut down the photo album posting. It's foggy out this morning - 25 degrees, 80% humidity and the ground is still warm from yesterday's high of 45. The forecast is for 50s tomorrow thru Tuesday - that's 10 degrees above average for this time of year... There's a master gardener on TV right now talking abut the advantages of using horse manure as fertilizer - it's a tie-in with the National Western Stock Show... There is still a thin crust of snow on the ground in the backyard - Lovey and Banichi were delighted this morning because their favorite outdoors potty-spot has re-appeared from it's cloak of white stuff. (You'd never know they have 3 litter boxes inside, which are scooped out daily!)

I had a very cryptic conversation yesterday afternoon with the owner of 'The Berry Best Smoothies" store. I walked in with a smile on my face and Dave said, "Ain't it great?" I replied, "Oh, yeah." Dave said, "If you're ordering, I want one." So I then asked the following questions: "Short or long?", "White, orange or blue?", and "What size?" As I walked out the door, I think he startled his 10 customers by yelling, "Go Gators!" at me. Yes, he, too, is a transplanted Gator, and we usually talk every couple of weeks about the various sports teams. So I ordered two 2008 National Champions T's from the Gator Shop.

It still looks as if the sun hasn't risen yet, but the little birds, pigeons, and squirrels are here and feeding. I'm headed out soon to walk the Irish kids - I'll have to see which way they choose to head this morning before deciding on a walk route. Tuesday we walked around Centennial Middle School, while yesterday we walked over to Wonderland Lake. We might walk around Winding Trail today - or over to Shining Mountain... Only the dogs and I will know when we start out.... And I thoroughly enjoyed watching Big Red last Saturday morning (of course I cried!)

I did catch another episode of Cheyenne earlier this week - There was the actor who played Sheriff Roy Coffee on Bonanza as an alcoholic Army Major, James Garner was the upstanding Army Lieutenant who was in love with a girl on a wagon train, and I almost missed a walk-on non-speaking part by Michael Landon, as an Army private. Talk about an episode loaded with talent!! Nowadays, I watch these old Westerns and try to see how the strong, silent cowboy stars were supposed to express feeling by gritting their teeth, opening or narrowing their eyes, and using body language. It almost seems like a lost art... Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photo Album - Colorado, Florida & Virginia

The Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado

Snow covered Flatirons on the west side of Boulder - 2005

Rainbow - Boulder Flatirons

Rainbow over the Boulder Flatirons - 2005

Soloist on First Flatiron

An intrepid solo rock climber on the first Flatiron - 2008

Downtown Boulder view from Flatirons

Boulder from he summit of the first Flatiron; the buildings in the middle are the UC campus - 2006

Boulder Co - April 2004

Looking east on the Pearl Street Mall; a few blocks from my apartment and all types of shops! Boulder - 2004

Autumn in South Meadow Park, Boulder, CO

Autumn colors in Boulder - 2007

Baseline Reservoir, Boulder, CO

Baseline Reservoir, Boulder, and the Flatirons - 2007

Elk in the Golf Course, Estes Park, CO

Elk bedding down on the golf course in Estes Park, CO - 2007

Estes Lake in Estes Park, Colorado

Lake Estes park in Estes Park, CO - 2008

Niwot Inn, CO

The Niwot Inn, a Bed and Breakfast, in downtown Niwot, CO - 2006

LakeH13 - Chaos Canyon Cascades6

Chaos Canyon Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park, Lake Haiyaha hike - 2008

Purgatory, Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado

Purgatory, a Durango Mountain resort in western Colorado - 2007

Mesa Verde National Park  - Colorado - Cliff Palace

View of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park, CO - 2008

Sunday Silence

This is Sunday Silence, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and finished second in the Belmont. I had the great pleasure of cheering him and jockey Jerry Bailey to victory in the Breeder's Cup Classic at Hollywood Park in Florida.


I'd recognize this sign anywhere! We visited NAS Jax on at least a once-a-month basis for over 20 years.... Jacksonville, FL

Blue Angels number one rolls onto flightline at NAS Jax

Blue Angels at NAS Jax - Dad was their head mechanic when he was stationed in Pensacola...

Bahia Mar Marina in Ft. Lauderdale

The Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale, where Travis McGee tied up The Busted Flush at spot F-13 for many, many years

The Famous Glass Bottom Boats @ Silver Springs Fl.

Two of the glass-bottomed boats at Silver Springs; Mom and Dad loved to go there and just watch the visitors. It's where I had my first taste of rattlesnake and alligator.

Silver Springs Theme Park December 27th 2004 028

A 'gator seen thru a glass-bottomed boat at Silver Springs. This is where the Johnny Weismueller Tarzan movies were filmed.

4038 View of Southbound Boat Activity

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland

chesapeake bridge&tunnel 38

Arial view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia. No matter how many hundreds of times I've crossed it, I still try to duck when entering one of the tunnels!

Norfolk, VA from Portsmouth, VA

Norfolk, VA seen from Portsmouth, VA - I was born in Norfolk, on the way from Oceana to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.

The Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, VA

The Raleigh Tavern, established in 1717, in Williamsburg

Williamsburg - Bruton Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg; established in the 17th century, it is still a functioning Episcopal parish.

Williamsburg Fifes and Drums

The Williamsburg Militia Fife and Drum Corps


Saddlemaker and apprentice in Williamsburg

Stone House Manassas battlefield N P - 91806b

The Stone House at Manassas (or, at Bull Run, for you Yanks) - Prince William County, VA