Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Photos: A Blast from the Past!

Return to Avalon and I at a horse show in Florida - he syas, "I know you have treats there somewhere!"

Who Dat Cat - my best buddy for 21 years

Court Jester and I at Sleepy Hollow

Ginger, Max and Sammy

The sun is shining, and it looks like some grass is trying to sprout in my back yard, where Banichi was rolling in dust 2 weeks ago. I walked in Longmont this morning, and had a good time, other than the fact that the area in which I'm staying is so built up... There are winding sidewalks for walking, but just a few birds, and I saw no other wildlife - not even a squirrel. The kits were excited to have me arrive home this morning - mainly because Lovey insisted she was starving, and that the can of special treat that she and Banichi received yesterday afternoon at 3 should not be considered as "food" at all....

I spent most of yesterday evening with a large black and white long-haired cat draped across my shoulders, and two fluffy little dogs in my lap. I read aloud to them, and we watched CSI: Miami, and I caught up on news with some friends via e-mail... having use of a lap-top on a side table was a big plus last night. Tonight I have a full CBS line-up to watch, as well as the computer, and my reading, to keep me entertained. Every two hours I take the dogs out - their house was built on a hill; the front door is one step up; their fenced back yard is accessed via a sliding-glass door, crossing the deck, and proceeding down 20 steps to the ground. The dogs are elderly, mostly deaf, partly blind, and can go down the stairs, but cannot climb back up... so I go down and scoop one up under each arm and bring them back inside after they've been out for 5 to 10 minutes (and if it's snowing, they get to "go" on the deck, so there won't be any slips or falls).

I will shortly be taking off to walk the Irish kids... I'm not sure about the next two days because the weather folks are predicting one to three inches of snow tomorrow... I'll need to see when and where and how it falls before deciding about taking the Rs out into it. Rosie has been doing exceedingly well in her walking program, strengthening her hind leg. Unfortunately, we over-did it last week, and she couldn't jump into bed one evening, so we are cutting back on the running and will just walk for the next couple of weeks, until her leg isn't giving her any problems once more. Enjoy this week! (We are expecting more snow this weekend! Oh boy!!!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cambridge Photos

King's college, Cambridge

The chapel of King's College, Cambridge

Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Magdalene College, Cambridge

This is the bridge Cambridge got name from

Punting on the River Cam, with the "Cam Bridge" directly ahead

It's Snowing!

Yesterday evening, when I drew the curtains, I was looking at a few patches of snow on the ground and a lot of wet dirt. This morning, I awoke to another light coating of snow over everything in sight. I managed to get in about 4 miles of my walk before my knee became too unhappy with me, during which time the light snowflakes had turned into grapple... it was like being bombarded with teeny styrofoam pellets. We're expecting two more days, or occasions, of snow by Saturday - so after being dry, we're now getting a little soggy. Believe me, I'm not complaining!

When I returned from my walk this morning, I filled the critter feeders outside, and let the two kits go out and play. Lovey had enjoyed herself in the mud yesterday afternoon and evening, as my shirt will attest, while Banichi confined himself to prowling the patios. Today, they both ran out, felt the snow hitting them, and ran right back inside. I don't blame them - they have a fantastic "ring-side seat" for watching the antics of the birds and squirrels. The squirrels went through a pound of nuts yesterday, and then a daring youngster climbed to the balcony above mine and dropped down to land on the sunflower seed house-shaped feeder. He was merrily stuffing himself when the flicker came to feed - they surprised each other - and the squirrel dropped to the ground, while the bird flew away.

It will soon be time for the Kentucky Derby, which will be run on May 2nd. NBC has been touting the fact that they will be covering the Derby this year - I just hope that Al Michaels is not one of the main hosts, because he makes me crazy when talking about horses ; everything, no matter the age or actual sex of the horse, is an "it." I'm hoping we'll get to see a lot of Tom Hammond as the host, instead. The Santa Anita Derby will be run next Saturday and will be televised on NBC. The reason I know this is because I became tired of March Madness on the TV and spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon watching Tiger Woods make his come-back win after having his left knee re-constructed. It was thrilling and was very enjoyable - I hadn't sat down and watched a couple of days of golf in several years - and I liked it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday's Shots

Scarlet Peacock Butterfly

A scarlet peacock butterfly

Hold infinity in the palms of your hand

An entry at the San Diego Orchid Show

swiss samoyed

An eight-week-old Samoyed puppy


I have sloshed my brain once more. I had a very nice walk this morning, and walked with care over the few icy patches that were on the sidewalks and pathway. There was a bank of clouds to the east, so the sun rose with stretches of orange and red 'flags' around it. It was above freezing, and so melting snow was running across roads and walkways. I finished my walk, and stepped into the grocery store about 6:30 - I chatted with my friends who work in the Deli and Bakery, grabbed some Coca-Cola, a bagel, and some kitty treats and left the store. I admit I was looking at the sky, and hitching my shopping bag further up onto my shoulder... I was not looking at the sidewalk there where the indoor-outdoor rug ends... next thing I knew, I was flat my back on the sidewalk, my left hand wedged under the permanent (welded in place) trash can, and my head was aching from crashing against the said trash can. Then I realized my left (bad) knee was also sore, and found that it was jammed up against the brick corner of the storefront. I think the worst thing was realizing that I had fallen onto the spot where everyone tosses their cigarette butts - I had to remove at least 10 from my jacket and jeans, once I was able to pull myself to my feet. And there were no witnesses - it was a quiet Sunday morning, there was no movement in the parking lot, and everyone inside was busy doing their jobs - so no one saw me slip, fall, and nearly knock myself out.... Hopefully the rest of the day will be better!

Thanks to the sun and warmth of yesterday, the 16+ inches of snow in the back yard has melted down to about 7 inches near the patio; and over by the aspens next to the privacy fence, there is actually about a square yard of wet dirt to be seen. We are expecting highs near 50 today, with lots of sun - but have another storm coming in tonight... Tomorrow is expected to be very chilly and windy and we're supposed to have light snow showers. We'll see.

I received a panic call this weekend - one of my clients has to travel for work, unexpectedly, so I'll be in Longmont Monday evening through Thursday afternoon. I'll come back to the kits for several hours each day, as well as walking the Irish kids, but otherwise, I'll be with Ginger, Max, and Sammy. - And I'll have the use of their mama's car! - I'll also have access to the internet, so I will be content... Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smiley, (left) at 6 months, with Silver

German Shorthaired Pointers

German Shorthaired Pointer - Geoffrey

Geoffrey, a German Shorthaired Pointer

Apolos Dam~BISS Ch.Fieldfine Topsfield Eternal Flame

Flame - aka BISS Champion Fieldfine Topsfield Eternal Flame at the Eukanuba Championships

Smiley needs a home!

The sun is brightly shining causing quite a bit of glare as it's reflecting off the snow. I stopped in the bakery for a warm bagel after my walk this morning, and ran into a group of two Moms and 7 children, who were seeking to purchase sunglasses before going out on the slopes to ski. I would have recommended that they go to McGuckin's for their purchase, but they didn't want to make another stop. With yesterday afternoon's sun, and this morning's, a slight crust has developed on the top of the snow that's in the back yard - squirrels and birds can now travel across it without sinking; Lovey, much to her disgust, still sinks (Banichi hasn't even attempted to try).
With the exception of towing companies, most businesses in the Boulder - Denver area suffered losses and/or just closed early due to the snow on Thursday. A lot of long-time Boulderites got out their cross-country skis if they had to go somewhere. I took about a three-mile walk this morning - even with my Yak Trax on I was slipping and sliding on the ice that had built up under the snow. Sledders, snowboarders and skiers were out in force yesterday and today - me, I'll stay at home with the kits and a good book and/or old movies. Thursday evening I enjoyed watching Leslie Howard in The Scarlet Pimpernel...
One of my friends is looking for a good home for a young, energetic dog... Smiley is currently 11 months old, weighs 54 pounds, and loves people and other dogs. She is spayed, and looks like a German Short-haired Pointer (but she has no papers). Her owner runs with her twice a day, and Smiley still has energy to spare... She is house-broken and crate-trained, and has passed puppy-school obedience classes. She will need a large yard and someone who is willing to spend a lot of time and energy working with her - she would be a great family dog, she loves kids - but she needs some way to expend her boundless energy. If any of you know of someone looking to give a nice dog a good home, please let me know!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photos for Friday

Bark wrinkles

Bark lines...


"Don't even think about it..."


Speaking of built-up areas....

Knee-deep snow!

Wheeee!!! The snow is above my knees in some places I walked this morning - but considering how short I am, that isn't really that much.... Anyway, the snow is still coming down in light flurries, and Boulder officially logged in 16+ inches of snow yesterday. I did most of my walk today on recently plowed roadways - as there was no traffic to be seen. It's 14 degrees outside, with a wind chill of 0. And yesterday there were snowboarders having fun on the hill in the front of the Governor's House in Denver. People are still driving too fast for the conditions, and there are lots of vehicles sliding all over the place.

The snow is deeper than the kits are tall, and neither has ventured out into the white stuff. The squirrels stopped visiting about mid-afternoon yesterday, but the birds kept coming for food until dark. I was enthralled, again, by the large red-shafted flicker, who came and had several helpings of sunflower seeds. I don't know if it was because of the snow backdrop, or what, but the black dots on its' sides and belly looked as if they were absolutely going to burst outwards... it was really neat!

Nothing else is going on - we're supposed to reach the low 30s today and the 50s for the weekend - I'll be heading to the library tomorrow to get some new books to read, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the series of The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew by Susanna Gregory. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photo taken today, after 6 hours of snowfall - LaSalle, CO

Snow, Glorious Snow!

Hehehehehehehehe!!! I am the Wicked Witch of Winter! There is 14 inches of snow piled up at the edge of my patio; we have experienced white-out conditions off and on all afternoon; the city of Denver closed at 2 p.m. (I'm not sure that Boulder - city or county - ever opened); the news team that started at 5 a.m. was broadcasting up until 2 p.m., when the evening news people replaced them at the desk - nothing but news on local stations all day. Unfortunately, the foul weather has caused a lot of accidents, including one 30 vehicle pile-up in northern Colorado, near Fort Collins and the Wyoming state line; and a 50 vehicle pile-up was just reported on I-76, closing it in both north and south directions, just outside of Denver. Most of the roads into and out of Boulder have been closed due to ice and blizzard conditions, and/or accidents blocking the road, throughout the day. Emergency centers have been set up in Boulder, Broomfield, and Denver for those people who are stuck and can't make it home....

I have just re-filled the feeders for a second time today; and there was a large flock of half-frozen robins in a corner of my patio, so I minced up a package of dried fruit for them - almost nothing is left, and as the snow has tapered off for a few minutes, most of my feathered visitors have departed...

These photos by Michel Lalonde

2008-04-20- Hare - © Michel Lalonde

A wild hare - March 2008

St-Andrew Scotland © Michel Lalonde

Reflections at St. Andrew, Scotland

Hermine © Michel Lalonde

An ermine in the wild

Blizzard Warning

Lovey and Banichi are not happy with our weather. Banichi has not even stepped out onto the patio, while Lovey went out into the snow and returned soaking wet, shaking herself like a dog while standing in front of the keyboard and monitor. Oh boy! - The late news last night said we'd have a minor snow shower around 7:30 this morning, another around 10, and then steady snow afternoon. Boulder has already received 3+ inches, and it's still falling heavily; according to NCAR, the snow is falling at a rate of one-half to one-and-a-quarter inches per hour, and the winds will pick up this afternoon and we'll have gusts of up to 50 mph. Result? Blizzard!! Whiteout!! I am not walking the dogs this morning - the feathers on their legs form huge snow and ice balls when they are out in stuff like this...

The birds and squirrels are hitting the feeders pretty heavily - and I've placed some seed on the patio for the ground-feeding birds, as well as doubling the amount of peanuts for the squirrels. The news stations are telling people to stay home, if possible; schools and day care centers are closed; and the snow originally melted upon hitting the pavement, causing black ice - and there are reports of over 50 vehicles having slid off the road, as well as there being multiple accidents throughout the area. The road between Denver and Boulder is currently reporting speeds in the single digits, when its not at a total standstill. Am I enjoying this? You bet!! Not that there are accidents - but that we're actually getting some precipitation!

Banichi is curled up in a ball on my pillow, Lovey is curled up in my lap; I've walked and had breakfast, and am about to settle down with a good book. I hope that you are enjoying the weather that you're experiencing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kyra playing in the snow

Kyra :

Winter Storm Watch

Gee, six days into Spring, and we are issued a Winter Storm Watch. Excuse me if I sound perturbed, but having missed my favorite weatherman for 6 weeks (thinking he was on vacation, a Sabbatical, or flying around the world), to my surprise I found he'd been laid off/let go without any fanfare - after 24 years. (Come to think of it, that's what happened to my hubby, too! - Sorry, Nick, maybe I shouldn't have said you were my favorite weatherman... I hope I didn't curse you!)

In any event, yesterday the forecasters said we'd get 5 to 8 inches of snow tomorrow. Today they are saying it will be a 36 to 48 hour event and we'll get 8 to 22 inches of snow between now and Friday night/Saturday morning. We really need the precipitation - I'm very happy to get it - if I could turn cartwheels, I would! They are currently saying we'll have a high of 33 tomorrow (just after midnight), and a high of 29 on Friday. Looks like I'll be staying home and not be out walking the dogs....

Yea!!! Snow!!!
Pphtttthhhwwww!!! KUSA! You let the best weatherman go!

A regal Leofgifu Glyndwr, who won't sit still...

Banichi playing in the dust bowl of our back yard.

Banichi (and Sales)

I managed to visit the grocery store at the right time yesterday - just after the meat department manager had marked down several items. I was able to purchase 1.5 pounds of extra-lean ground round for $1.75, and 3 huge boneless chicken breasts for $1.59. I really like to shop on days when I arrive soon after manager markdowns! I also purchased a new type of "all natural" dry cat food - Lovey thought it smelled good, and then spit the kibble back out once she took one chew of it; Banichi has eaten a small amount of it, and doesn't seem to mind whatever it is that Lovey finds objectionable.

In re-reading yesterday's blog, I feel as if I were mean when I described Banichi's hunting behavior. My poor 'Nichi-man! When I moved into this apartment almost 4 years ago, I found that he had been left behind by a previous tenant. I have no knowledge of his kittenhood, or the first 18 to 24 months of his life. I know that when he deigned to appear from behind the refrigerator, he was a skinny grey cat; I took him to the Humane Society and had him checked out and then brought him back home. He did not know how to jump onto things - he would grab the edge of the bed with his front claws and drag his body up onto the mattress - he didn't know how to run and play, nor how to climb a tree; and, even after 4 years with me, he is afraid of me when I am wearing any type of shoes. Because of these things, I feel that he was abused by his previous owners. He now jumps, but is still unsure of distances and exactly how much power to use; he's learned to run, but still has occasions when he bounces straight up and does not progress in a forward motion; he loves to chase string and play with toys of that sort (and he likes to keep his favorites inside the waterbowl); and after 3 years, he began climbing trees a year ago. I don't know if his mama ever had a chance to teach him to hunt, or if he was able to play with siblings. All I know is that he's a sweet boy, and that he gives his all to anything he undertakes. So, I was not making fun of him yesterday in his quest to catch a squirrel - honest!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Travel Photos

View of courtyard

A courtyard at Bran Castle, Romania (home of Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula)


A stormy afternoon at Trogir, on the coast of Dalmatia

Room and Passage at Hacienda El Carmen, Jalisco, Mexico

Inside Hacienda el Carmen in Jalisco, Mexico


Banichi caused me to laugh myself silly this morning: he was lying, belly down, on the ground, intently watching a squirrel that was making its way to the peanut feeder. Then the squirrel realized that Banichi was watching him, and changed its direction, so it was headed directly at Banichi's face. The squirrel would make several jumps forward, the pause, stand up on its hind legs, give Banichi another appraising look, and then move closer. When the squirrel was about 18 inches away from him, Banichi ran forward to grab the squirrel. The squirrel casually jumped up in the air, landed where Banichi had been (essentially it vaulted over him) and continued on its way to the peanuts. Banichi was extremely confused and was looking all around trying to figure out where the squirrel has disappeared to - I had to go into the bathroom and laugh, so 'Nichi wouldn't see me laughing at him.

I received an offer from a group to place advertisements on my blog this morning. I read it, and filed it away. Advertising might run America, but if there is any way that I can continue to blog without advertising, I will. I would feel that, no matter what ads were placed on my site, it would imply that I was in support of whatever was advertised - as that is not the case, and I'm just blogging for fun (and therapy), I won't subject my readers to ads. I feel that they detract from the fun of the blog - and I don't want anyone to feel obligated in any way, shape, or form, to read my natterings, or to purchase products.

It's grey and overcast again this morning - we received no more precipitation yesterday, although the winds did pick up in the late afternoon. My walk this morning was interrupted by a stop to watch three herring gulls in a parking lot being strafed from the sky by two crows. - And I just had to pause in writing because Banichi chased a squirrel into the apartment; the squirrel doubled back quickly, and left 'Nichi spinning his wheels on the tile floor. - The winds are supposed to pick up again this afternoon, and the weather folks are forecasting "measurable" snow for Thursday and Friday. I'm still in the wait-and-see mode about that... Lovey is demanding attention, so I'll give her a bunch of love before heading out to walk the Irish Setters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday's Picks...

baby, animal, babies, animals,, cats, cat, kittens, kittens, kitty, kitties, feline, felines, fe

Kitty litter

cute ducklings

Make way for ducklings!

A two day old Lamb

A two-day-old lamb and its hay spangled mom

Some Kind of Precip Fell...

It's a nice cloudy morning. Our day's high was at 1 after midnight, and was 54; it's now 42, and with north and northwesterly winds blowing at 15 to 30 mph, this afternoon should be a little cooler. (Yesterday our high was 79 degrees.) When I turned out the light at 1 this morning, we had not had any type of precipitation; when I got up to walk at 5:30, the ground was wet, there were droplets on cars, and the pavement was puddled in some places. The radar loop this morning indicated what fell was a combination of rain and snow - but I'm right on the borderline (usually) between the two, so I don't know what fell - other than the fact that it was wet.

Lovey and Banichi seem to be enjoying the slightly cooler air, and Lovey has firmly placed muddy paw prints all across my chest and lap this morning. Since I didn't know exactly what the weather would do, I filled the bird feeders and put out nuts for the squirrels last night at dusk. The critters have been visiting in great numbers, and I've already had to replenish the peanuts. I was scheduled to visit Ooch through Saturday, but I contacted his Mom last night to verify the days, and there's been a change in their plans, so I'm not needed... I can stay at home all day today! Lovey and Banichi were happy to have me back last night - they both perched upon me and were not happy when I had to displace them to visit the bathroom. Lovey slept under the covers and inside my nightgown last night and this morning; while Banichi was stretched out and snuggled up to my side on top of the blanket.

Not much else going on here.... Ward Churchill, the ex-CU professor, is expected to take the stand today in his civil trial against the U.... A wolverine has been spotted in the Sierras of California, and there is hope that they will re-introduce themselves to some of their old habitat... This past week, we've been treated to the sight of the International Space Station passing overhead between 8 and 9 p.m. ... And I'm having fun digging into the family's connection with John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford.... Have a good week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Horses of Color

Appaloosa x Irish Draught trot

Reuben, an Irish Draught and Appaloosa cross, trotting out nicely

3-4-08 Roaning out

Molly, a bay roan Quarter horse cross, grabbing some hay

sierra, buckskin mare with smokey, feathered

Sierra, a buckskin mare, with Smokey, her foal

Brandi and I

Brandi and I had a nice, quiet night, reading Susanna Gregory's first chronicle of Matthew Batholomew (set in 1438 in Cambridge). We also had a nice, quiet walk this morning, and I saw many deer, three fox, and large numbers of birds, including a great horned owl. I've traveled back home to blog and love, feed , and care for my kits - both are outside, convinced that the birds can't see them, flattened out on the concrete patio. They greeted me with tales of being starved, and after I fed them minced fish in gravy and they washed their whiskers, they were ready to go out and play... I'll be back late this afternoon/early evening for the night, and then this up-coming week I'll be stopping by to care for Ooch twice a day, but I'll sleep with my kits.

The storm that was supposed to bring us rain and/or snow tomorrow has stayed too much to the north, and will dump snow on Wyoming and Nebraska, instead of us. We have a chance of rain showers tonight and tomorrow night. I had purchased a latex dumbbell for Brandi, because she loves toys that squeak - but she also likes furry, fuzzy toys; she has ignored the dumbbell, so I'll be giving that to Suki and Boo, and getting her a furry toy that squeaks. Me?!? Spoil my pets? Spoil the pets I take care of? - Never! - I just love them a lot!

With this warm weather, the bears are out of hibernation; and when my brother-in-law went running in the mountains near Lyons yesterday, according to other people he passed on the trail, he just missed seeing a family of mountain lions taking a drink at the stream, as well as several bears who were out looking for berries. He was glad he did not encounter them, as his energy gel became uncapped and his running buddies informed him that he reeked of honey and raspberries. - The bears would definitely have loved to get hold of him - or, rather, his pack!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lancastrian Ties...

Postern gate outside the Keep

Postern Gate outside the main Keep of Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, where John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford lived after their marriage.

Lincoln Cathedral from another perspective.

Lincoln Cathedral, in Lincoln. Both Katherine Swynford and her daughter, Joan Beaufort, are entombed here.

john of gaunt, duke of lancaster_june 24_1340_feb 3_1399_was the third surviving son of king edw

A portrait of John of Gaunt, ascribed to Luca Cornelli; possibly painted from his death effigy and written descriptions.

Apples and a Buck

It was 32 here this morning; 35 when Brandi and I took our morning walk, and it's supposed to reach 72 by this afternoon. Walking through Brandi's neighborhood this morning, on the way to the bus stop, I was delighted to realize that every yard I passed had at least two mule deer grazing in it.... they are fun to watch. The trees were full of birds singing, and the charcoal grey and black cat that lives in an abandoned lot came out to greet me.

All the mule deer reminded me of one summer or early fall when I was house-sitting for my sister. I was awakened in the middle of the night by a knocking on the rear sliding glass door; the "knocking" was irregular and seemed to come from varied heights on the door. Both dogs were sound asleep, so I decided the noise was something that they were used to hearing. I tip-toed out to the dining room, and had to giggle when I realized the "knocking" was coming from the antlers of a big buck, who was greedily gobbling apples that had fallen from the tree and onto the patio. He was so intent on his goodies, that he never once took notice of me, staring at him through the glass.

The kits and Brandi are enjoying the continued warm and dry weather. Lovey is chasing birds; Banichi is chasing squirrels; Brandi is lying in the sun and soaking up vitamins A and D. Little birds are flocking to the feeders and the squirrels are chasing one another onto and off of their feeders chairs. We're still waiting to see exactly what the weather will do - we might just get a trace of rain and snow on Monday and Tuesday, or we could get a heavy wet snowfall. I want the heavy wet snowfall - the back yard isn't quite as bad as the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, but it's getting that way! Here's to wishing for a big snow storm to begin on Monday night!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cool, Clear Water...

Hector Falls in Western New York

The upper half of Hector Falls, Schuyler County, New York

095_Arcata 07-2008

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Raccoon in my birdbath

A raccoon washing up after dinner...

Happy Spring!

It's cloudy out this morning, and 46 degrees. We're expected to reach the 70s through Sunday, and then ... then, maybe, we'll get some rain and/or snow on Monday and Tuesday when the highs will be in the mid-40s (our normal high for this time of year). The kits had a bit of a scare this morning: apparently there is a small dog staying intermittently next door. Banichi and Lovey came roaring back inside this morning, with fur totally bushed; when I looked out, there was a small black dog on our patio. It also chased the squirrels around while I was watching.

I'll walk the Irish kids this morning and head over to Brandi's this evening. I don't have internet access at Brandi's so don't expect a lot of writing or e-mails from me - I'll only have access when I visit my kits here at home over the weekend. But it will be grand weather to stay with Brandi - and she is such a lovable dog (and she knows me well enough to cadge extra treats with just a sigh and a wrinkle of her eyebrows). Not much else going on out here... ex-CU professor Ward Churchill still has not taken the stand in his own defense in his civil suit against CU for unlawful firing; several professors from around the US and Canada have testified against him, and several have testified for him. It all boils down to plagiarism and falsification of sources charges: he claims he lost some of his notes for his sources and that he is a victim of a conspiracy that was headed by the previous Governor; colleagues at CU state (and have shown) that he copied sections of his books, word for word from other researchers' papers and that source citations did not/do not exist.... I find him an interesting man, but I believe that CU was correct in his firing.

At 5:44 this morning (MDST) Spring officially arrived with the vernal equinox - one of two days each year when light and darkness are in equal proportions. Today is also World Storytelling Day (in the northern hemisphere) and World Citizen Day. On this day, the Persian New Year (Nowruz) begins.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Critters

Ajax 003

Afbeelding 002


Darker Ears

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today would be my father's 86th birthday. He was, overall, a good man; brought up in Oklahoma and Kansas farming fields during the late 1920s and during the Depression and the Dust Bowl, he "escaped" the mid-west by joining the Navy, hoping to become a pilot. He became a qualified air mechanic and an instructor instead, once it was found he had no depth perception, which disqualified him from flying. He was a skinny, gawky kid with freckles and a gleam of red in his brown hair... he loved to read and enjoyed school. When he retired from the Navy, he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. I think he would have been an excellent one, but the realities of trying to go to college full-time, and support a wife and two kids while purchasing a house caused him to give up his dream.

Dad loved children and children loved Dad back. He used to take me out into the woods (scrub oak and pine) behind our house in Florida and point out all types of wildlife - not just the birds and deer, tortoises and rabbits, bear, bobcats, skunks and snakes, but the insects and plants, frogs and toads and types of fish in the creeks and lakes. If you asked him a question, and he didn't know the answer, we would look up the answer together in the encyclopedia or by visiting the library. He thought that all kids should be kids - digging in the dirt, playing with worms and bugs and frogs, loving puppies and kittens and any critter that could be easily kept in a suburban yard. Due to an accident with a grey mare named Nellie, Dad wasn't very appreciative of horses, but he loved mules, burros and donkeys and all other farm animals.

He found that he loved the sea, too, once he joined the Navy and was stationed at Vero Beach and then on the big flat-tops, the aircraft carriers. He had hoped to retire to Chincoteague Island, or one of his best-loved places, Puerto Rico. His carrier was stationed in the Caribbean for almost 18 months, and he came to love the people and the atmosphere of the island. Then he was stationed at Chincoteague NAS, where he met my Mother, and became enthralled with the lives of the watermen, including my Swedish Grandfather who was well-known and always welcome as a net-mender (in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida). Unfortunately, Dad didn't live until retirement, and so the majority of his dreams were never met. But he was greatly loved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday's Picks

Colorado Countryside

"Do you have anything munchable?" A grey and a chestnut in a Colorado pasture.

Red Kangaroo

My favorite past time? Taking a nap in the sun. (Red kangaroo at LA Zoo)

murphy & peanut waiting for dinner 10-05

Murphy, a Collie pup, and Peanut, a Shetland Sheepdog

Weather, Ward Churchill

The mountain peaks in the front range that were snow-capped and glistening on Sunday are now dark rock with a few areas of snow left in the shadows. While we haven't had record high temperatures, it's been 15 to 20 degrees warmer than usual so far this week, and the temps are expected to stay this way (60s and 70s) through the weekend - with no rain in sight. It's beautiful, it's gorgeous, it's very welcome; but it is just too dry for me. The kits had a field day yesterday - I had the patio door open all afternoon and into the evening - and each time they returned to my lap and/or desk for love, they were covered in dust, dirt, dead leaves, and grass roots. (I had to clean the keyboard three times yesterday to remove the grit.) And we're under a fire watch all the rest of the week; the county has also placed a ban on open burning into effect.

Not much else going on around here - I did get a weekend job taking care of Brandi for this Friday thru Sunday. ... The civil trial for Ward Churchill, previously a professor at CU, is in its second week - he was dismissed for plagiarism and falsifying research; he's suing the U stating that they fired him due to his opinion piece (written in 2002) that compared the people who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 to Nazis. He is a very polarizing person - you either love him or hate him. I just find him an interesting study; I can see why some find him charismatic, and I can also see why some people can't stand him. I must admit that his sources and notes in several of his books are lacking in substance set beside other studies. ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Look at Ireland

St. Patrick's Grave in Down Patrick, Northern Ireland

The tombstone of Saint Patrick in Downpatrick, County Down, Ireland

Horse cops on St. Patrick's Day, Dublin, Ireland

Unfortunately, "The Troubles" continue... Mounted police in Dublin for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

Stone church, Ireland, Co Wicklow

An old stone church near the east coast in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Saint Patrick

Today is a day when most of the world will say they're a little bit Irish - Saint Patrick's Day. I am still amazed how the Catholic church has become so well - advertised? known? -around the globe. March 17 is believed to be his death date and is the date celebrated as his feast day. The day became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford -born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary in the early part of the 17th century. For most of Christianity's first thousand years, canonisations were done on the diocesan or regional level. Relatively soon after the death of people considered to be very holy people, the local Church affirmed that they could be liturgically celebrated as saints. As a result, St. Patrick has never been formally canonised by a Pope; nevertheless, various Christian churches declare that he is a Saint in Heaven (and he is in the List of Saints). He is still widely venerated in Ireland and elsewhere today. St. Patrick is also venerated in the Orthodox Church, especially among English-speaking Orthodox Christians living in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and in North America.
*Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes; one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul, or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolized as “serpents”. Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God' (as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick's time).
*Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on. The 12th century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. The two were once members of Fionn mac Cumhaill's warrior band the Fianna, and somehow survived to Patrick's time. They traveled with the saint and told him their stories.

On March 17, 1776, the day that British forces under General Sir William Howe evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War, the password of the day at General George Washington's Continental Army encampment was "Saint Patrick". The date is observed as Evacuation Day, an official holiday in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA. Massachusetts has the most Irish ancestry of the United States in terms of percentage of total population.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beautiful Ireland


St. Gobban's Church, Portbraddon, County Antrim, Ireland

Sheep in front of Old Crom Castle in Northern Ireland

Sheep at the Crom Castle, Crom Estate, County Fermanagh, Ireland

Ha'penny Bridge at night, Dublin, Ireland

Ha'penny Bridge at night, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland