Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zenyatta Featured on 60 Minutes Tonight!

And don't miss tonight's edition of the iconic 60 Minutes on CBS. One of their profiles will be the undefeated and incomparable Zenyatta. She will be racing against the boys on Saturday, 6 November, in the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic - and, hopefully, to then be retired with a full 20 wins and no losses. She is one heck of a horse!

Samples of Steampunk Costumes


The Boulder Dome Fire is almost completely contained; almost 200 acres have burned, but there was no loss of life nor were any structures destroyed. All evacuees have returned home.
I just had to smile, as Tim Tebow made a touchdown for the Broncos in Wembley Stadium in London, putting Denver ahead of the 49ers. Go orange and blue! Gators and Broncos!

I was looking at costumes on-line yesterday, and was intrigued by the Steampunk section. I actually had to look the term "Steampunk" up, and was not greatly surprised by the results, having taken a good look at the costumes. "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" for such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical engine." I think my brother-in-law, niece and nephew would look fantastic in Steampunk costumes - I'm not sure about Kathy and I - we're almost too buxom for the look.
And some of the costumes make me think of the Borg in Victorian and/or Edwardian dress - it's really very interesting....

The kits and I were awakened by the barking of a dog in the apartment above us this morning - that was a surprise. It's cool out, with sun and high cirrus clouds, and I spent a good part of the morning out in the back yard with the kits. Since it is Halloween, they are not going out of my sight today or tonight. Since the kits have been inside and asleep for the past two hours, I closed the patio door, and I think I'll take a nap after this game is over. I was to have a follow-up visit with Dr. Zishka yesterday or today, but she called me yesterday afternoon and asked me to see her Tuesday morning instead. That's OK by me, as it is the last day of my vacation. On Wednesday, I begin taking care of all the other critters once more... Have a Happy Halloween! May all your treats be tasty, and I hope you don't receive any (or many) tricks!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vintage Halloween Costumes

A masked woman on roller skates in 1910

A ghost at a rural schoolhouse in 1905

Is she a witch, sorcerer, clown,
or jester? (1910)

Free Adoptions at Boulder Humane Society - And a Fire Update

The Boulder Dome Fire is currently 70% contained and evacuees have been allowed to return home since 9 a.m. this morning. The fire is still burning, and has crisped about 150 acres. Luckily, the winds have died down appreciably and it's overcast and cool. I turned some heads this morning, because it's in the upper 50s, with a high expected near 80, and I went out grocery shopping in my shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers. I was comfortable. Other folks out and about had sweatshirts and coats on over sweatpants. Maybe I'm still running hot from the infection - all I know is my shorts and T are very comfortable, with the window wide open and the patio door open for the kids to run in and out.
The Humane Society of Boulder Valley is having free adoptions today and tomorrow. Again, if you live in the area, and can afford the time, love, and expense of having a pet, please adopt one of the deserving critters from our local Humane Society - you will receive a spayed or neutered pet that is up-to-date on all it's vaccinations, and is micro-chipped for identification purposes. All you have to supply is a home, love, and food. There are plenty of puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and birds that are available for your love. If you can afford it, please get some free love from the Humane Society.
Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner, has been retired from racing. WinStar Farm, the colt's owner, says he has nothing more to prove as a Classic winner. He was removed from training several months ago, when it was discovered he had condylar bruising surrounding all four cannon bones. It is not certain that the colt's legs could have held up if he had continued in training for racing.
The 2010 Breeders Cup races will be run next Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs, outside of Louisville , Kentucky. One hundred and eighty-four horses have been pre-entered in the 14 races that will be run over two days. The first Breeders Cup race to be run will be the Marathon, run at a distance of one and three-quarters miles, with a purse of $500,000.00. There are currently 13 horses listed as participants in this Grade 3 event. This first Breeders Cup race is scheduled to leave the starting gate at 4:10 EDT on Friday, 5 November. ESPN2 will have live coverage of Friday's races, while ABC and ESPN will split Saturday's coverage.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Update on Boulder Dome Fire

The Boulder Dome Fire is now burning over 134 acres - the large slurry tanker has arrived from Grand Junction, and is making dispersal runs, but the winds are swirling and keep pushing the fire to the north and east. Fire companies from Boulder, Four Mile Canyon, Lefthand Canyon, Sunshine Canyon, Nederland, Jamestown, Sugarloaf, Gold Hill, Rocky Mountain, and the Boulder County Sheriff's Fire Rescue are deployed at the site, and more are joining from around the state. - What a thrilling way to start the weekend!

Today's Boulder Dome Fire

Boulder Dome Wildfire - 10 a.m.

Boulder Dome fire smoke -
from 12th St. parking garage

Smoke from the Boulder Dome fire
begins to settle in the Boulder Valley

Boulder Wildfire & Current Evacuations

Life is never dull in the city of Boulder, the county of Boulder, and along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We have another wildfire burning to the west of the city... The fire folks are having a live press conference as I blog, and they say there are over 25 acres involved in the two fires and that over 1600 residences and businesses are under a mandatory evacuation order. It's very close to the western city limits, and evacuations are in effect up to 7th Street on the east. (I live on Folsom, which is actually 26th St., and am one block south of Canyon Blvd., where the fire originated.) The fire started about 8 this morning at Elephant Buttress, which is near mile marker 40 in Boulder Canyon (about 4 miles from the city limits), and is being called the "Boulder Dome fire." Wind has curtailed air drops, as it's blowing at a pretty steady 20 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph. There is a large slurry air-tanker on it's way from Grand Junction, and a small fixed wing plane has made several drops of water. The wind is blowing to the north and northeast, right into Boulder. The road up Boulder Canyon toward Nederland is closed at 7th Street here in town. The Boulder Humane Society has opened its doors to all displaced small animals, and the Boulder County Fairgrounds are again open for all displaced livestock - horses, cattle, goats, llamas, etc. In the city of Boulder, the mandatory evacuation area is: Canyon Blvd on the south, North Street on the north, and 7th Street on the east. The western boundary is mile marker 40. - This means that Finn, the Golden Doodle, and Skippy, the Maine Coon cat, (clients of mine) are now evacuees.....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scenes at Alexy's

Tom and Tomasina are Alexy's resident
pumpkin carvers
Fall foliage - looking up

Protect Your Pets

It's the time of year when some really sick people start doing nasty things to cats, dogs, and horses. A few miles from my apartment, a man's 5-year-old orange tabby has a broken pelvis and is suffering from 3 pellet shots. The pellets are lodged against bones and the vets say it's best to just leave them in place - their removal could cause more harm. The cat's pelvis is broken in three places, and has been wired, screwed and plated back into its normal form. Why? Because it's Halloween. Orange tabbies and black cats are hurt most; black dogs are the next on the prey list. It's a very sad commentary on the world today.
Unsuspecting and trustful pets are shot, tortured and burned alive by people "out for a good time" in the few days surrounding Halloween. Horses have their tails and ears cut off. A few pitiful horses even have a hoof cut off - which means they are literally the walking dead. Such atrocities should never occur. Children need to be taught to respect all forms of life, and to honor those creatures who serve us as companions and friends, as well as those whose flesh we consume in our ultimate "human superiority."
Halloween is a contraction of All Hallow's Eve, and was given the name by the Catholic church. It is, however, the Celtic practice of Samhaim (pronounced Sow-in - sow rhymes with cow), a time to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on the night of Samhaim the air/space/time continuum was extremely thin and that the dead, both the good and evil, could visit between worlds. They had ritualistic bonfires to char the bones of their newest winter slaughter, and to keep the evil spirits away. Friendly spirits, such as relatives and neighbors, were very welcome, and food and drink was set out to assuage their thirst and hunger.
Unfortunately, throughout the ages, some twisted humans have used Halloween as an excuse to harm defenseless and trusting animals.

"The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot." ~Mark Twain, What Is Man, 1906

Please protect your pets during this Halloween season.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stewie and Fall Scenes

Stewie Henderson, a Maine Coon Cat, is the current
world record holder of "Longest Cat" - at 48.5 inches.

A fall scene in central England

A fall scene in Russia

A Real Find

Today is cool and breezy - the sun is shining brightly. Lovey has decided to lay across my bosom as I sit here and type and Neddy is wandering in and out of the patio door. I decided to venture into Boulder today and poke around the Red Letter Bookshop, a wonderful place crammed full of used books in every nook and cranny, on shelves and in boxes. They don't have a large selection of popular used paperbacks - they tend to have hardbacks and most of them are non-fiction, though they do have a good selection of literature. I wandered back into their children's section after about an hour of browsing - and was absolutely astounded to find a mint condition first edition of Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry with the original slip cover on it. I have to admit I whooped out loud back in that corner of book shelves. I purchased it. Now, I have the copy of Misty that Mom and Dad gave me when I was 6 - but it is a 22nd imprint edition - and I love it very dearly. It has my juvenile writing in the front identifying people that I'm related to and that my Mom knew, as well as clippings of the movie reviews for Misty, and a few still photographs from the film that Alma Beebe gave me. This first edition is just a vanity item - but one I shall always treasure!
When I look to the west these days, I see snow on the mountain tops. We've had a couple of freeze warnings, but I have yet to see frost on the ground this fall. My vacation will end a week from today - I'll be back walking Rosie and Remy on a daily basis and taking Lucy out at lunch time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Having been so ill every day since my vacation began, I can't, as yet, say that I've missed the dogs and the walks. But I have certainly enjoyed my snuggle and cuddle times with Lovey and Neddy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Vacation - Part 2

Yesterday, day number 8 of my vacation, I discovered an abcess within my body. This afternoon, it was surgically removed - with a follow-up on Tuesday. - What a way to spend one's vacation! At least the pain meds are leaving me with a good feeling... Heigh ho!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Meet the Tube-Nosed Fruit Bat

This cute fella was discovered last year (2009)
in Papua, New Guinea.

Irish-bred Paco Boy

TV Ad Scares Neddy

Well, Chick-Fil-A does chicken well... enough so that I occasionally eat there, when I can get to one. (The closest is 16 miles away.) I have loved their cow commercials all along - and I really get a kick out of the new one: "Sound the alarm!" Cows are everywhere in this ad, and they are all mooing like mad. - And, it scares Neddy so badly he hides in the bathroom behind the door and under the shower curtain when it runs. Which is pretty sad, because they run a lot of Chik-Fil-A commercials during the SEC football games.... The crowd at the CU Homecoming game has been roaring loudly - CU was ahead until there were 10 minutes left in the fourth; now, with 2 minutes to play, they are down by 3. The Buffs deserve a win... But, they didn't get one.

The connections of Workforce, the winner of this year's Epsom Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, are planning on running at Churchill Downs in the Breeders Cup Turf on Saturday, 6 November. The race has a purse of $2 million and is run at 1.5 miles. That should spice things up a bit. - Also, Zenyatta worked a very nice 7 furlongs yesterday, in preparation for racing against the boys in the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic. Facing her will be Paddy O'Prado, First Dude, Gitano Hernando (an English-bred colt), Espoir City (a Japanese-bred colt), and several others. I have been searching in vain for the name of Rachel Alexandra, but she is not currently nominated for any of the Breeders Cup races. - And, Carolyn, you might want to take a look at the bay Irish colt, Paco Boy. He'll be running in the Mile Turf, with a post time of 4:40 (EDT).

Friday, October 22, 2010

More New England Fall Photos

The Essex Connecticut Steam Train

Tucked away in the Green Mountains of Vermont

Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts

Our First Snow/Rain Mix

A few minutes after 9 this morning, I was ready to walk over to the Credit Union to deposit a couple of checks; Lovey was sitting beside me at the desk, but Neddy was outside. As I stepped onto the patio the rain began. But it wasn't only rain - grapple was mixed in as well. As the little pieces of ice and snow that look like little styrofoam beads were pelting down, and bouncing off the grass and patio, Neddy came to me at a run. He had a curious expression on his face, as if he couldn't figure out why the sky was throwing things at him.... The grapple was gone in 5 minutes, leaving only rain, which we can definitely use. At 3 this afternoon, the fire level danger was finally dropped below the high, or red, level. Showers are forecast throughout tomorrow afternoon. And tomorrow, CU has a 1:30 kick-off for their Homecoming game against Texas Tech.
Ex-CU professor Ward Churchill has again approached the Court of Appeals seeking re-employment at the university. He was fired a few years ago for blatant plagiarism and creating his citations from his imagination. He claims he was fired because of a 2001 essay, in which he called those who died in the Twin Towers "little Eichmanns", who deserved their deaths. His suit against the University was not allowed, but he sued the Board of Regents in a civil court, claiming his views were what got him fired and that he wanted $1 million in compensation and his job back. At one point in time, he stated that CU had become "nothing more than a Vo-Tech college" and he didn't want to sully himself with an attachment to it. Now he is again seeking reinstatement as a tenured professor - and he wants the $1.00 (yes, one dollar) in damages the civil suit granted him. I hope the Judges tell him to go blow!
Let's see... All my critter friends are A-OK, and I'm just biding my time until the Breeder's Cup Races on Friday and Saturday, November 5th and 6th. As usual, the female races and the Marathon will be run on Friday, while the male and mixed races will be run on Saturday. - I still think the male and female races should be run alternately!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Bed "Toys"

A chipmunk

A field mouse on the patio

A thirteen-lined ground squirrel
in the back yard

Kits Bring "Toys"

Lovey and Neddy have known that I am ill - I don't usually lay in bed, getting up only to go to the bathroom. They have cuddled with me. They have groomed me. When I occasionally groaned or moaned the first two days, they replied with a calming burble. Tuesday, the kits decided I had laid abed long enough. In a period of 150 minutes, they brought me 3 young chipmunks, 5 field mice of various sizes and colors, and 6 young ground squirrels. All were alive and well, and all escaped the apartment alive and well - except a couple of the ground squirrels had shortened tails. Their escapades certainly brought me more into the land of the living!
I know that I had a fever of 103.2 at one time; and I guess that's when I had my hallucinations, or maybe they were just very real dreams.... I had an odd feeling that late Saturday night/ Sunday morning, there were about 100 little field mice outside my window on the grass, and they were all holding a tiny, lit candle. They were chanting, "Be better, Betty! Be better, Betty!", and when I looked to the right of them there were a bunch of squirrels and chipmunks rubbing their eyes with their hands. - Talk about maudlin!
I've gotten up and showered the past few days, which is a distinct improvement; and today I was out of cat food, so I had to walk down to the store and renew the kits' supplies. And I got more Gatorade for myself, too. I graduated to a peanut butter sandwich for lunch today, and am currently snacking on some thinly sliced mild cheddar cheese. I'll be happy when I feel better and can eat (and drink) things that aren't quite so bland.
And, having been pretty limp, I've turned on the TV and just watched. I had forgotten about the proliferation of political ads right now. There were 17 political ads in the first 14 minutes of the local news today - and all of them were negative. Yuck! At least the Denver Mayor running for Governor refuses to use negative ads. His ads are refreshing and silly; but they definitely make their point. I don't know if other states' news shows do a "Truth Test", as they do here, but I really rather enjoy watching each ads' statements being looked at for content. The investigator will state, "this is true," "this is simply not true," and my favorite, "this statement is not based on any economic reality." Today's issue of The Boulder Daily Camera endorsed my choice of gubernatorial candidate, and ended with this follow-up about his opponents: "This gubernatorial race will surely be on the memory of every party leader in Colorado for years -- maybe decades -- to come. The Republican candidate Dan Maes is wholly unfit to lead the state, ethically challenged and conspiracy minded. A vote siphon from the right, Tom Tancredo, is a one-trick anti-illegal immigrant pony with no solid ideas for the state, other than to play the same tune a lot of people are attempting these days: Dissatisfied with Washington? Vote for me!" - Yup, it's campaign time in Colorado!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Joke's On Me...

Saturday morning, the first day of my much-vaunted vacation... I transplanted my ivy and played with the kits in the back yard. I ate lunch at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. I had food poisoning - and this 5 minutes is the longest I've spent upright since then. The kits are being super - other than the fact that Lovey just caught a chipmunk and brought it inside to turn it loose....
More later.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New England Fall

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Church steeple in Maine fall foliage

Sorry, folks, but when I think of Vermont, I think
of Justin Morgan and his horse, "Figure."
This is a buckskin Morgan stallion.

Pemaquid Point at Bristol, Maine

Vacation Starts!!!

Neddy and Lovey have been quiet this afternoon - of course, I've only been home for 45 minutes, so everything could break loose at any moment. They are both lying in the sun in the back yard, soaking up vitamins A and D. I spent the morning and early afternoon with Rosie and Remy and Suki and Boo. All the dogs barked a few times at passers-by, but there were no alarms, and while the new neighbors' cat did yowl, it didn't draw Rosie as Ooch did yesterday. I had a scrumptious cinnamon roll from the Great Harvest Bakery for breakfast - nothing but whole wheat flour, eggs, milk, salt, butter, cinnamon and a little leavening. They are super!
And, please take note: I am now officially on vacation until the morning of Wednesday, 3 November. I won't guarantee that I will blog on a daily basis, nor that I will check on the frequent comments I receive. At the moment, I'm planning on watching football all weekend, and on Monday and Tuesday, when it's expected to be in the 50s and raining, I plan to rearrange my furniture. Other than that, I hope to do what I like when I feel like doing it, and the heck with time in the real world.... I want to read and nap and do some research, and take the kits on walks. Speaking of taking the kits on walks, today is the first of three days of CU's Parents' Weekend, so places will be crowded and busy for the next two plus days. (CU plays Baylor at home tomorrow, with a kickoff time of 5 p.m. MDT. And the following weekend is CU Homecoming, where the Buffs host Texas Tech, so the kits will be unhappy with their "imprisonment" during the games - but I'll get them high on catnip, and that will help.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Scenes

Fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch, near Denver

Part of the Oktoberfest Parade in Munich, Germany

Free Feline Friday at Boulder Valley Humane Society

If you have a place in your heart and home (and, most especially, in your budget) please adopt a cat or kitten from the Boulder Valley Humane Society tomorrow, October 15. All of tomorrow's adoptions are completely free - and you get a wonderful feline who is either spayed or neutered, and has received all of it's shots. It's a win-win situation - For both you and your new pet! There are currently 67 cats and kittens ready for a free adoption tomorrow, they range in age from 2 months to 12 years old, and you can even place one on hold via the internet, if you like the description and photo of the kitty. You can view all felines ready for adoption at:
I know that I receive great joy from my two adoptees, Lovey and Neddy.
Zenyatta worked five furlongs this morning, and her trainer has told reporters what her training schedule will be up until the running of the Breeders Cup Classic on Saturday, November 6. ... Rosie and Remy were very good all morning - even when the new neighbors' cat was screaming at the east fence-line. But about 1:15, the cat went into Connie's yard, and 20-year-old Ooch objected. Ooch has an extremely loud and carrying yowl. Rose shot over the fence between the two yards as if it didn't exist at all. Unfortunately, she chose to chase Ooch, and not the other cat; but Ooch made it up the pine tree and onto the roof with time to spare. I abjectly apologized to Connie for Rose's uncouth behavior. Remy, Suki and Boo were good kids all day.
When I arrived home, I opened my door and both kits ran out into the hallway and then the lobby. Neddy came back and scooted back inside the door. I chased Lovey through the lobby, out and down the parking lot, and around to the north side of the building - she always stayed just out of reach. So I went back inside the north door and walked down the hall... My, goodness! You should have heard Lovey wailing at the closed door. But when I opened it, she ran the other way. (It's a game, Mom!) So I returned to the apartment, unloaded my dog gear, and walked to the patio door - which Neddy ran through as soon as I had it opened. Then we walked up to the north end of the building, where Lovey was sitting, and looking up at the second floor, where Riley (the Shar Pei) lives. When she heard me, and saw me, and then saw Neddy, she came running like the wind. Then she trotted in front of us all the way back to the apartment, as if she was chiding me for leaving her at the north end of the building. She has since spent a great deal of time in my lap and headbutting my chin. - What a nut!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I'm pretty sure I've written before that the Irish Setters, for some unknown reason, dislike Golden Labs. This afternoon, they allowed Maisy, a 5-month-old Golden, to play with them and with Suki and (mostly) Boo. I've been talking with the pup's owner, and other than on the leash, Maisy has had no interaction with other dogs. I invited the owner to bring Maisy over to the Snow yard - and Maisy and Boo hit it off immediately, running, chasing, leaping and playing everywhere they could get to in the back yard. The Maisy discovered the irrigation ditch - it only has about 2 inches of water in it at the moment, but it's definitely muddy. Maisy was in heaven. Her owner and I wandered in the yard for 30 minutes while Maisy and Boo bounced off one another. I'm hoping that this will help change the Rs feelings about Goldens out walking.
I went searching for the kits a little bit ago - they were both hunkered down over a patio crack that's about 3/4 inch wide. I moved them aside, and saw what looks like the same field mouse that they played with for two nights in here. I called the kits in, shaking a bag of treats, and gave them both snacks, while shutting the door. Hopefully the little mouse will get the heck away from here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Views

Manchester Farm, outside of Lexington, Kentucky

A county road in West Virginia

Sunrise in an east Tennessee valley

Steady Rainfall

Steady rainfall is what occurred this morning - so I didn't go out to walk Rosie and Remy or Lucy. I stayed at home in bed with Lovey and Neddy. And we certainly slept! I laid down at 5 Monday afternoon, and woke up at 7:30 this morning. I checked the weather forecast on my PC, on the NBC local news, and even called and spoke to the meteorologist; then I sent two e-mails and curled up back in bed with the kits. I arose less than an hour ago to dry skies with a lot of clouds, and a temperature of 52 - and we have the Frost Advisory for tonight! I'll put another blanket on the bed. I spoke with the apartment maintenance man, and he informed me that even if I heard the heater the other night, he has yet to fire up the boiler and turn it on; that won't be done until the 21st of October... so I hope it doesn't snow between now and then.
All I can say about the kits is that we snuggled and slept well together - Lovey was under the covers and inside my nightgown most of the night and morning. And since I had both arms under the covers, Neddy couldn't nurse as he wanted to. I started to turn over late this morning, and one arm came out from under the covers - Neddy was immediately attached to it with all four feet, plus his mouth, making little grunting sounds of pleasure. It was very funny!
And the Breeders Cup has unveiled it's own Zenyatta website - if you're interested, it may be seen at:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stuff 2

Horses at Panmure Island

Belgians on Panmure Island, PEI, Canada

West Arlington bridge

The West Arlington Covered Bridge

dreams of a champion  ...

Cocker Spaniel with Tennis Ball

Just Stuff

Yesterday was the first time since May that I got up and dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt. It was a grey rainy day, and the high temp for ten-ten-ten was 57. Last year, however, the high was 27, with the low being 17 - so I really can't complain. I returned home from Brighton just before midnight last night, greeted and fed my kits, then just fell into my bed until it was time to go take care of Rosie and Remy this morning. I've just returned home and the kits are running in and out through the patio door. A raven has been raising Cain for the last several minutes, and I think it's fussing at Neddy.
It was wonderful to spend time with Suki and Boo this morning after walking the Rs. The red kids had a quiet morning with us, but a little after noon several squirrels started taunting the Rs - and, of course, they responded. They barked and bayed and tried to climb the trees the squirrels were in. One little fella sat out on the only tree limb devoid of leaves, and shook his tail with each bark of his own at the dogs. I found it highly amusing. Suki was her usual laid-back self, and I had to knee Boo immediately after removing the Rs' harness, as she just had to jump up on me. I am just so happy to be back home with my kits in my apartment and my own bed.
I've read several more Linda Fairstein mysteries, as well as Alys Clare. I love both of them, and thoroughly enjoy the settings - one in current day New York City, and the other in Richard the Lionheart's reign in a market town near London. I am about half-way through the first of Katherine Hall Page's series of mysteries set in Maine, but am finding them hard to read. For some reason I'm not connecting with the main character... maybe it's because she's a city girl, and I'm definitely country. But the protagonist of Linda Fairstein's books is a New York City girl, and I have no problem at all connecting with and understanding her character.... Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for a caterer/Reverend's wife/mother-of-a-two-year-old protagonist - I just don't know. All I know is that I feel as if I'm wading through the Okefenokee in trying to complete this book. I don't know if I actually will finish it...
Pleasant Tap, the 23-year-old son of Pleasant Colony, was put down today due to uncontrollable laminitis. He has so far sired 53 stakes winners, who have won over $51.5 million. ... Devil May Care, the filly who ran in this year's Kentucky Derby, was pointed at the Breeders Cup Distaff as her next race. She has been diagnosed with hepatitis, and will be on a 60-day enforced vacation. ... And Wickedly Perfect, a beautiful grey daughter of Congrats, has a bone chip in her stifle, and has had to be scratched from the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies.
And I am still loving the South Carolina Gamecocks game this past Saturday - where they beat number one ranked Alabama - it was fantastic!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010




A male Nikki look-alike

What a View!

Driving from the house in Brighton to visit my kits this morning, I was struck by how beautiful the view was as I headed west. We have had the first snowfall on the Front Range peaks, and combined with the colors of fall, the view was spectacular! Here on the plains and in the valleys, we've had a couple of rip-roaring thunder and lightning storms, accompanied by a little rain. We're expecting rain again tomorrow and a high of 60, while snow will again fall above 9,000 feet. It's currently sunny, 61, and breezy. We might not reach 60 degrees on Tuesday.... Fall is here!
The cats in Brighton are a blast - Abby, Shadow, Boris, Natasha. and Honeybun - Abby usually stays in the basement, but since seeing me Tuesday evening, she's been spending most of her time upstairs with me. Shadow believes that anything anyone eats should be consumed by him, and not the other entity. Boris thinks he runs the house and is in charge of security; his litter mate Natasha is a little princess who is always scheming on how to get outside. Honeybun is a big, laid-back girl, who thinks she should always be in my room with no other critters anywhere near her. Thankfully, the owners took Charlie, the toy poodle, aged 13, and Lilly, the new young mini-Cocker Spaniel with them. So I have only Nikki, the German Short-haired Pointer, and Kohlbi, Suki's grandson, to deal with. And they are plenty. Both pull like locomotives when we walk twice a day. Kohlbi is overweight, so someone suggested that the owners feed him green beans with his regular food to act as a filler and roughage. That works a little too well - he's had diarrhea since I've arrived, so I'm washing his bottom multiple times each day - Arctic White shampoo and a blow dryer have become my constant companions. Nikki hasn't given me any trouble until last night, when I heard a squishy sound coming from her head area. Since Kohlbi was sucking on and chewing her ears, I thought it was him at first. Then I realized Nikki's jaw was working - she was eating the end of one of those hard rubber Kong toys, so I had to remove it from use.
My kits are having a ball outside, bouncing around in the wind, chasing leaves, and then running back to me, calling at the tops of their voices, yelling, "Momma! Momma!" Both kits have their new elasticized collars on, with their ID tags that list their names on one side, and my phone number and the word "Reward" on the other. Since I found Lovey on the Boulder Creek Path, the kits have had to get used to wearing ID - because I simply do not want to lose them. I love them too much; but I also realize they need room to run, which patently is not available in a 500 square-foot apartment. Have a super weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Super Horses

Kincsem, undefeated mare in 54 races

Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes with
Ron Turcotte riding.

Undefeated Zenyatta, with Mike Smith up,
is looking for her 20th win.

A Subject Dear to My Heart...

Horses. Thoroughbreds. Racing thoroughbreds. Champions. What names ran through your mind when you read the previous words? Secretariat? Seabiscuit? Black Gold? Northern Dancer? - Add the word undefeated. None of the horses named above were undefeated. There is only one undefeated horse running on the track in this month and this year, and her name is Zenyatta.
Secretariat was a super horse and an excellent stallion. He won the Triple Crown in 1973, ending a dry spell of 25 years. Overall, his race record was 21 races, 16 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third. The great Man o'War, who raced for only two seasons, and carried up to 142 pounds per race, ran 21 times, with 20 wins and 1 second. Seabiscuit, whose first trainer disliked him and raced him heavily, ran 89 times with 33 wins, 15 seconds, and 13 thirds.
Zenyatta will never beat Kincsem's record, though. Kincsem was a chestnut filly, born in Hungary in 1874. During her racing career, she raced 54 times in 5 different countries, and went to the farm undefeated. Zenyatta is currently 19 and 0 in her racing career; her final race will be in the Breeders Cup Classic, racing 1.25 miles on a dirt track against the best boys in the world. I hope she will end her racing time with a 20th win.
There is another undefeated mare out there in New Mexico... her name is Pepper's Pride, and she, too, is 19 and 0. She has retired to the farm and the breeding shed, however, and is not currently competing. She raced only in New Mexico and won all 19 of her races in her home state.
The great English race horse Eclipse (best known from the phrase: "Eclipse first and the rest no where"), born in 1674 was undefeated in 18 races; Personal Ensign retired with a distinguished 13 and 0 record in 1988, and was the first retired undefeated champion in over 80 years. Many great thoroughbreds lost only won race: Native Dancer, Ruffian, Alleged, Forli.... The list goes on and on.
I love horse racing. I love the ambiance, I love the horses, and I love the competition. I hate the injuries, breakdowns, and deaths. I wish we were actually back in the 1600s when horses were not raced until they had reached the age of 4 or 5 - then we would have a lot less wear and tear on legs and hooves. But it's not to be. The majority of people today want things (and horses) that go faster and more quickly. I think everyone needs to slow down. Smell the sweet feed. Chew on some hay. Amble down a barn aisle on a warm afternoon. Sit back and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of our large four-legged friends. Enjoy them while you can!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


A black swan

Somewhere in Scotland...

I think I'll use this as the graphic on my new
business card...
What do you think?

Books, Critters and Fall

Having just visited the public library, I decided I'd better check on some of my favorite authors to see if I've missed anything... I need to get a copy of Carolyn Haines' Bone Appetit, and Lillian Stewart Carl's The Blue Hackle; Blaize Clement's new Dixie Hemingway pet-sitting mystery is due out in January, but I don't know the title, as yet. I just finished Donna Andrews' Swan for the Money, and am looking forward to Stork Raving Mad... I also just finished the first two books in Clea Simon's series about Theda Krakow, a cat-loving free-lance reporter. I've greatly enjoyed all of them. I can't wait to get my hungry little paws on the newest books of these authors! It will be a literary feast for me and my kits! (I read aloud to them, you know... as well as all of the other critters I take care of.)
Lovey seems to realize that I was unhappy with her being down on the Boulder Creek Path last week. She's staying pretty close to home, and coming back inside to check on me at the desk every few minutes. Neddy still has a very high squeaky voice... I wonder if it will ever settle into a lower register. I sometimes think that the squeak I hear is Lovey, and then I turn and see that it's little Neddy talking to me. I'm still not quite sure how to describe his coat - it's definitely not short, but he has a ruff around his neck and ears, plus a tremendously plumed tail. The fur is extremely fine and where I'd think he would have highlights of red, he turns a blue-grey. I'll have to see what happens as he grows older. Today I'm getting ready to head for Brighton until Sunday morning. Thankfully, the family I'm sitting for always leaves me a vehicle, as it's a 45 minute drive to their house, and there are no bus connections for me. So I'll be able to run back home on a daily basis, take care of my kits, and walk both the Rs and Lucy each weekday. I'll miss sleeping with my kits, but will have four dogs and five cats as company where I'll be staying. It should be interesting!
I know that fall has arrived because I awakened Sunday morning to a strange sound. I laid there in bed and listened to it, trying to figure out exactly what that noise was... It was familiar, but I just couldn't place it. I turned over, and saw the curtains moving, and realized that the heater had kicked itself on. - That was the familiar, but not quite right, sound that I heard. So fall is finally upon us in the mountains and foothills. It was 38 degrees on the western slope at 10 p.m. last night. Sunday morning we had dropped down to 44, so I guess my heater had a very good reason to turn on. Even so, it's still very dry out there, and there is yet another wildfire burning to the west of Frazer and Tabernash, out on the east side of Sheep Mountain right now. The smoke is visible today here in Boulder. Usually, by the end of September, Boulder has had 2 inches of snow - but it doesn't look as though there's any in the forecast for the next 10 days or so, so I guess I'd better not count on it...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A thunder and lightning storm rolls over the stadium
at Manhattan, Kansas

This long-tailed macaque has adopted this stray kitten,
feeding and protecting it. It even tried to hide the
kitten with a leaf from the photographer's camera.
The night lights of New York City from the
International Space Station.
Can you say light pollution?

Drop On Momma

My kits have a really wicked sense of humor, fun, whatever you want to call it. (Of course, they are mine, so I guess it's to be expected...) I rounded them up Monday night after 10, when it was time for me to go to bed. I did not see, nor had I realized, that one of the kits brought a very fat field mouse inside with them. All I know is that four times Monday night and Tuesday morning, and three times Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Lovey jumped onto my chest, and when I roused enough to stroke her fur, she dropped said mouse on my face and/or neck. I awoke very quickly the first time; turned the lights on and tried to capture the mouse in a jar to place it back outside. I tried three times the first night and twice the second night. When either cat had the mouse in it's mouth, the mouse went totally limp. But as soon as the cat let it go, it would run like mad - usually across my pillow, onto my bedside table, then hop onto the floor. It seemed to take its rests while under the refrigerator. Apparently neither Neddy nor Lovey harmed it, as I caught it Wednesday afternoon, while the kits were out in the back yard. It was very fit, very aware, and still very fast. I was able to corner it, place it in the jar, and take it out into the front yard, where (hopefully) the kits won't catch it again. - And two days ago, Neddy had his six month birthday; he's quite a little man!
Tomorrow, I'll walk and then sit with Rosie and Remy. Tuesday I'll be going to Brighton, to care for four dogs and five cats. Luckily, the family there leaves a car for me to travel back and forth, so I'll continue to see my kits daily, as well as walking the Rs and Lucy, on her three days. I'll return home late Saturday, or, most probably, Sunday morning. Then five more days of the Rs and Lucy, and I get my vacation. Yippee!!
In Europe today, Workforce, who won the Epsom Derby, returned to his winning ways for trainer Micahel Stoute by taking the Prix de l'Arc Triomphe. Goldikova, the mare who won last years Breeders Cup Mile on the Turf, won the Prix de la Foret, and will return to the US to defend her title at Churchill Downs in November. It certainly looks as if there will be a lot of top-notch thoroughbreds from around the world at the Breeders Cup this year!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Lovey Is Locked Up

It's halftime at the home field in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. My Gator team is down 3 to 24. *Sigh* But I'll continue to root for them. Meanwhile, two blocks from my apartment, I can hear everything happening at Folsom Field, where the Colorado Buffaloes are facing the Georgia Bulldogs. Currently, in the 3rd quarter, the Buffs are leading, 29 to 24. I haven't yet checked up on my other teams.
Lovey is under lock and key tonight, as we have the football game going on. I called her multiple times Thursday night, and finally went out searching for her. She was a block away, on the Boulder Creek Path, which is not lighted. Luckily, she called back to me as she ran in my direction, so I could figure out where she was. Neddy, in the meantime, was curled up quietly asleep in bed.
Zenyatta raced again today, winning by a half-length. She has now won all nineteen of her races. With her win in today's race, the Lady's Secret, she was automatically qualified for the Breeders Cup Distaff. Her owners and trainer, however, say if she recovers well from today's race, the final race of her career will be the Breeders Cup Classic, which she won last year, against the boys. Lookin at Lucky won the Indiana Derby this afternoon, and Haynesfield won an uncontested Jockey Club Gold Cup.
In 1998, we almost had a Triple Crown winner: Real Quiet won the Kentucky Derby by a half-length, won the Preakness Stakes by two-and-a-half lengths, and lost the Belmont Stakes by a nose. He has a a very decent record as a young and coming sire. Unfortunately, he died in a paddock accident earlier this week. Most people can't believe that a horse is a delicate creature. This is proof. Real Quiet was turned out in his paddock for his daily rest and recreation time. Once his lead was removed, he took a few steps, looked at some mares in an adjoining field, and reared. His groom said he usually reared and then ran around his paddock a few times before settling down and grazing. This time, his hind feet slipped as he reared. He fell heavily on his left shoulder, rolling onto his neck. His own shoulder broke five of his vertebrae, paralyzing him instantly. He was put down immediately. The thoroughbred scene has lost another good, young stallion.