Monday, February 28, 2011


I haven't watched the Oscar Awards in years. As I'm in my mid-50s, I think it's because the stars I grew up watching have died or are kept hidden. I haven't seen anyone new in the past 15 years, either on TV or at the movies, that has really moved me, acting. I did not even see all of the Oscar presentations last night... the book I was reading was much more entertaining. But. But ... I was watching when Kirk Douglas was introduced to present an award. I closed my book and I turned up the volume on the TV a tiny bit. Kirk Douglas is 94 years old; he has had a stroke; last night he became my hero while "hamming it up" during his presentation.
Kirk Douglas at 94 does not resemble the Kirk Douglas from Spartacus - nor should he. I have read over 300 comments from viewers of last night's awards show, and I have been saddened by the content of most of the messages. Most people have said that Kirk should have been kept at home, and that his appearance was appalling, shameful, and demeaning. I found it to be an extremely brave and grand gesture. I never knew any of my grandparents or great-grandparents, and I have longed to sit at an elder's knee and be told the truths of the world. Kirk Douglas has always been regarded as a handsome man, and last night he became my favorite leading man of all time. At the age of 94, he moves with a cane, and he had a handsome "assistant" to help him with his marks on stage - but he spoke clearly and showed that definite sense of humor that is his alone. - When my husband had his first stroke, his personality underwent a change. He continued to have multiple mini-stokes for several years, and each one changed him. I was astounded when his mother and siblings told me that I should place him in a nursing home and forget him. I am still amazed by their beliefs today, eight years after his death. - Once a stroke has killed brain cells, re-learning everything becomes a challenge. To have been able to see Kirk Douglas appear on stage and make an Oscar presentation at the age of 94 was the most incredible thing I have yet lived to see. The sight of Kirk Douglas, standing on that stage, in front of his peers, 'hamming it up' and seemingly having a ball doing so, was the most inspiring thing that I have ever seen during the Oscars. God bless you, Kirk. Thank you for being such a wonderful and enduring man.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beautiful Sunday!

It's a beautiful morning - the sun is shining brightly, almost all the snow has melted, and I had no problem convincing Finn to exchange the newspaper for the squeaky WallyGator out in the drive this morning. We will soon be headed out for our morning walk and Finn is excellent company on the leash. I had all three cats in bed with me last night; Lovey and Nedi still seem to be in awe of Skippy's size. Thanks to the kits, I slept well.
Eibar Coa had a second surgery to repair the C-4 break in his neck. He can now feel and move his feet. I hope that he continues to have a super recovery! ... The Fountain of Youth Stakes was run yesterday at Gulfstream Park, and Soldat was the wire-to-wire winner. His connections will point him next at the $1 million Florida Derby, and then, hopefully, on to Churchill Downs. ... The Canadian Turf Stakes will be run today at Gulfstream; the two horses drawing the most attention in this race are Nicanor (Barbaro's 5-year-old full brother), and 7-year-old Twilight Meteor. The older horse was retired to stud in 2009, but there was little interest in breeding to him, so he has returned to the races.
And, as a nonsensical aside, if you are interested in period costumes from say, 1800 onward, please indulge yourself by visiting - they have a super selection of all kinds of items!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Robbery

It didn't get much above 20 degrees here yesterday; and the fine, powdery snow fell almost all day. Today, the sun is shining brightly and I'm sweating from the sun through the windows in the study. Skippy is continuing to be an exemplary host, while Finn can still be a bit over the top, according to Lovey and Nedi. But we're all getting along well, and my kits are still having a ball with all the available space. I need to go to the library today and get more books to read, even though I just purchased two new books earlier this week. I've already read one and am half-way through the other.
And it seems that while I was taking care of Aiko and Yoshi last weekend, a house on the cul-de-sac (two doors down) was being systematically robbed. According to my source, the thief (or thieves) broke in through a recessed basement window and stole all the electronic equipment in the house, as well as other valuables. I walked the boys down through that cul-de-sac every morning, and I never noticed anything amiss. - Not that I am a super star, a real detective, or anything like that; but I think I might have noticed if I saw something that wasn't right.... Oh, well. ... Once I was told of the robbery, I sent news of it out to my clients who live in the neighborhood. It seems that no one else was aware of the robbery, either. So now I'm the Critter- and Crime-Watch person!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Snowy Day

A very fine snow has been falling since 8 p.m. last night - maybe with a half-inch of accumulation so far - it is the powder that skiers dream of. But it makes normal driving torture, as people drive either like the snow isn't there and continuing to fall, or they ignore the fact that there is ice under the powder on the road. - I laughed myself silly yesterday; or I would have, if it hadn't caused a coughing fit... I left Finn's doggie-door open yesterday after Guillermo, the yard man, arrived. About mid-morning, I took a break from my computer research and went downstairs, to have Soledad, the house-keeper, point me at Finn's room with a giggle. Finn did not look like his usual self - starting at about the knee and hock, all four lower legs were black; and so were his beard, chin and neck. I rinsed the affected areas multiple times, until I could no longer see dirt going down the drain, and then I washed him and gave him a blow drying. He really is a very intelligent and eager-to-please animal - but he's also just a puppy, and needs to be allowed to have fun and play. Skippy and I play with each other, and I groom him twice a day; other than that, he just lords it over my kits, as he is three times their size. They occasionally hiss at each other, but don't fight, and Skippy allows Lovey and Nedi the freedom of the house.
Here are some odds and ends that caught my attention: ... In London, a six-month-old fox kit was trapped, vetted, and released after being spotted (and fed by) construction workers on the 72nd floor of a skyscraper. The only way the fox could have reached that floor was to have climbed 71 floors of stairs and then up a ladder. ... Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, is continuing to check it's old books. They knew they had 6 books that had belonged to Thomas Jefferson in the collection; a startling 68 more have been found, all with Jefferson's personalized initials and/or hand-written notes on the pages. They hope to find more. ... And in Alaska, the remains of an 11,500 year old housing structure have been found - it seems to have been a semi-permanent summer hunting "lodge" (for lack of a better term). The bones of fish and small hunted mammals have been found there, and carbon dating was used. They also found the cremated remains of a three-year-old child (this according to the teeth that remained in the ashes). Scientists are hopeful that they can find DNA in the teeth - and the First Chief of the local Inuit tribe is urging the tribal members to contribute their own DNA as a cross-reference check. I'm looking forward to the results!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The State of Everything

When Finn and I went to grab the newspaper this morning, there were snow flurries. Right now, the sky is an intense blue and there are just a few tiny cirrus clouds within view - and the sun is shining so brightly that I wish I had my sunglasses on, here in the study. The study is on the north end of the house, the top floor, and has windows on the east, north and west sides - none of which have blinds, curtains or screens. I think that even a screen would cut this light just a bit... Finn is used to playing with Skippy, who stands his ground, and boxes back - after all, he's a 25-pound Maine Coon Cat. My cats haven't been with Suki and Boo in a while, and when they and Finn met, it was an instant chase scene. Finn is about 75 to 80 pounds now, about twice the Sammies' size, and he needs a visit to the groomers. At the moment, he looks like an off-white bearded collie. Imagine being 6 to 8 pounds and having that behemoth running at you; I think I'd run, too. - Otherwise, the kits are really enjoying the house - two staircases, lots of hidey-holes, and lots of windows with extra-wide sills. The kits spent yesterday afternoon soaking up the rays in the southern windows of the den. .... Zenyatta has been bred to Bernardini this week, and Rachel Alexandra was bred to Curlin last week. We'll now have to wait to see who drops what when. I realize this is not a race! I'm just hoping for two beautiful, healthy foals. .... Gee, Peter Forsberg returned to the NHL and then left before I got to see him play. My two favorite basketball stars here in Denver are/were Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Now they are gone to play for the New York Knicks. The only good sports news I've heard recently is that John Elway put Champ Bailey's original contract offering (dated from during last season) back on the table, and Champ has re-signed to play for the Broncos for another 4 years. Hooray! At least there's something to cheer about!
Back in the mid-60s, and then again in the late 1960s, a very popular song was titled "The Eve of Destruction." With all of the civil unrest in the Middle East and Asia; the earthquake in New Zealand; the stagnation of rebuilding and health care in Haiti; the fires, floods, and cyclones in Australia; and the on-going "War" in Afghanistan, I'm beginning to feel as if "The Eve of Destruction" should be my generation's theme song. And my body feels like it is self-destructing, too. (I know... Whine, whine, whine.) Walking down the drive to get the newspaper caused me to cough for over an hour this morning, so I've cancelled walking any dogs until at least Monday of next week. I hate feeling poorly.
While sitting here, checking my e-mail, and looking at news reports, I have a great view of a large cottonwood tree, a handful of blue spruce, several aspens, and some pines. I've observed finches, sparrows, nuthatches, wrens, robins, magpies, crows and ravens making use of the trees. This morning, I was amazed to see, first, a large red-tailed hawk, sitting almost at my eye level in one of the aspens; then, a short while ago, a bald eagle alit in the cottonwood. That big bird totally made my day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Flu Attacks

Wow. I actually made it over to Finn and Skippy's yesterday, but spent most of the morning at the Urgent Care Center. I did have a temperature of 103, so I'm on antibiotics for the infection in my lungs and sinuses. I spent yesterday afternoon and evening on the sofa in the living room, being groomed by Skippy (who thinks that my ears need a serious cleaning), playing with Finn, and reading Crossfire, the last Dick Francis novel. I hadn't realized that what I was taught to call a "counter-canter" is what the British call a crossfire. It was cool to learn something new. I've been drinking the watered Gatorade, and eating chicken noodle soup, Jello, and ice cream... Hopefully, I'll feel better soon. In any event, I did not walk Rosie, Remy or Lucy yesterday or today. I think that I'll feel like doing so tomorrow (cross my fingers). Getting ready to pack up Lovey and Nedi, so they will have 6000+ square feet to play in...

Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm finally home with Lovey and Nedi. Of course, I'm due at Finn and Skippy's at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.... But I will be able to relax. I have picked up a cold somewhere - I have a scratchy throat; a little bit of mucus (so I'm constantly clearing my throat, and I hate that!); when I sit or lie down, I can hear myself wheeze, squeak and bubble; I've been running a low-grade fever; my chest hurts when I breathe and my ribs hurt when I cough. I am a completely miserable person - other than the fact that I'm at home with my kits. I've been drinking Gatorade cut with water, eating home-made chicken soup, sucking on Hall's throat lozenges, and taking Coricidrin HBP Cold and Flu medicine (because of my high blood pressure). I feel as if my sinuses and forehead are going to explode.... Gee, what a whiner I am!
I made double fudge brownies for my four regular bus drivers yesterday, and managed to deliver them all this morning, after walking Aiko and Yoshi. Then I took the Irish kids for a spin, and then Lucy. I also took brownies over to Nancy, Joel and Max, when I walked the red kids. All in all, a decent day, I guess.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cats & Dog

The Balinese

"Who? Me?" - A Siamese kitten

A Spitz

Eibar Coa, Critters & Savings

While catching up on my e-mail and what I consider to be news, I have the Encore Western channel playing on the TV. The Hills of Utah, an old Gene Autry film, is on, and I was surprised to see Pat Butram making a fool of Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright) in a mail robbery gone bad. I don't know why it surprised me; probably because I always think of Roberts as a "good guy." I had a great time with Tessa and the Thore kits yesterday, walked Aiko and Yoshi three times, and then spent an hour last evening with Remy and Rosie. I'll continue to stay with Aiko and Yoshi until late tomorrow evening, then come home and sleep with Lovey and Nedi. Tuesday morning, I start house- and pet-sitting at the Snitmans'. Their visas came through, and they will receive them tomorrow. So they'll leave for India on Tuesday, and I'll stay at their house until the 7th of March. It should be interesting.
I called my distant cousin, who works at Qwest, my telephone company, to find out how to check my messages while not at home. He was very happy I called, because my old promotional phone and computer package had expired. Frank was able to sign me up for my high speed DSL and unlimited long-distance service at a price that's $35 lower than what I'm now paying. Then he asked about my TV service, and I told him I had Comcast. I am paying $82+ each month for my cable; by bundling, and getting Direct TV service, I will be paying $29.99 per month for my TV service. For the first year, I'll be saving $65 per month, compared to what I'm paying now; and the second year, I'll still be saving $45 per month compared to my rates today. I can't wait until March, when my new contracts start! - I really suggest you call your phone company and check out a better billing bracket!
Eibar Coa, the veteran jockey, underwent 6 hours of surgery yesterday, trying to stabilize his C-4 vertebrae. Following the operation, he can move his hands! Eibar couldn't feel or move his arms, hands, and legs after the racing accident. His doctors are feeling confident that he will regain almost normal usage of his arms and legs again. However, he probably will not be able to ride in a race again. Eibar Coa has won over 4,000 races as a jockey. You have my prayers and best wishes, Eibar!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The Desert Lynx
The Scottish Deerhound

The Turkish Van

Horses, Dogs and Cats

Crazy days.... Yesterday I walked Rosie and Remy, played with the Thore kits and walked Tessa. Then I returned home, put my bag together and went back to Aiko and Yoshi's for the weekend. Lovey and Nedi were not happy. My friends' visas for India will not be arriving until Monday, which was the day the first business meeting was scheduled. They will try to reschedule the trip, shifting meetings and flights back a few days, and if that's not possible, will just go on a vacation trip. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Their visas have been returned five times already, but have always been incorrect. I hope they are right when they arrive on Monday! Usually Aiko and Yoshi's family leave a computer on for me to play with at their house, but it was forgotten this time around. I'm back at home this morning, the kits are running in and out, enjoying the sunshine (it's 34 degrees outside with a bright sun), and I'll do a little bit of research and fact checking before I head back to north Boulder. I also need to grab some Coca-Cola and tomato puree for me.
Jockey Eibar Coa was involved in a spill at Gulfstream Park yesterday. Neither horse in the pile-up was injured, but Eibar fractured his C-4 vertebrae. He has no feeling in, nor the use of, his arms and legs. He is scheduled to undergo surgery today. ... For the past 5 years, we've watched the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness on NBC, while ESPN covered the Belmont on the Triple Crown trail. ESPN has announced they will no longer cover the Belmont, but will continue with their Breeder's Cup coverage. It is assumed that NBC will pick up the Belmont coverage. ... Thoroughbred racing resumed today at Newbury Racecourse, following last week's cancellation of racing after two horses died from electrocution in the walking ring.
If you live in the Denver area, you have a couple of wonderful things to choose to do this President's Day weekend. In Brighton, at the Adams County Fairgrounds, the annual Front Range Cat Fanciers' CFA Cat Show will be held today and Sunday. Not only are a huge variety of breeds represented, but there are all sorts of cat specialty vendors there, as well. And, at the National Western Stock Show Arena, the Rocky Mountain Cluster Dog Show is running today through Monday. This is an AKC recognized show, and has over 2800 dogs registered for conformation classes, over 500 registered for the obedience classes, and over 1000 registered for the Agility Trials. There are also all kinds of canine vendors at the show. If you love your pets and have money to spend, be sure to visit these shows and their vendors!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Horses And a Bus

A rearing Friesian

A bridled Morgan

My usual Jump bus...

A Windy Day

Here in Boulder, the wind started last night and continued throughout the day; winds blew between 25 and 40 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph. It made walking a chore. Add to that an accident in one of the local buses, and you've got a good idea of my day. I was on my way to walk the Irish kids: I took the Jump bus to the library and returned 4 books, then walked the 3 blocks to the bus station, and boarded the 204. The bus was parked in it's pick-up zone, with the engine turned off. Pete, the driver, waved me on and asked when I was baking more goodies for the drivers.... I answered as I sat down, and then Pete reached for the engine start button. Then the bus was nudged to the right. A new driver, on probation, did not turn wide enough from 14th Street onto Walnut. He clipped the left rear corner of the 204. It made a very small scratch on the rear of the bus that I was on, but the front of the other bus was crumpled, torn and broken. I know that today was the last day the new driver was employed by the First Transit company. Pete went into the bus station, as soon as he made sure all of the passengers were OK, and grabbed his supervisor. We had to wait until the next north-bound bus arrived to continue our travels. So Bill was my driver up to the Poplar stop... Pete was still filling out forms when we left, poor guy.
The kits have had a nice afternoon, and I enjoyed my short walks with Tessa and Lucy, and playing with Lyra, Dhisana and Lilly. With the wind so high, the Rs got a reprieve (as did I). ... Horse news.... It was confirmed this morning that the two horses who died in the Newbury walking ring died from electrocution. The electric cable has been turned off, disconnected, and physically removed from underneath the paddock. Racing will resume on Saturday. ... On the US Triple Crown trail, Tapizar is out with a chip in his knee; Boys at Toscanova has not been willing to run, and has been given a vacation at the farm. Uncle Mo is the current Derby favorite.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Three New AKC Breeds

The Icelandic Sheepdog

Bluetick Coonhound
Redbone Coonhound

Warmth! - And Westminster

It has been so warm that I have worn shorts in my apartment, out on the patio, and out in the yard yesterday afternoon and this afternoon. Temps have been in the mid-60s with a wonderful splash of sunshine. I have to admit I wore jeans while walking the dogs yesterday and today, though. The wind is picking up now, and we're expecting a high of 45 tomorrow, with wind all day long - I'll have to wear ear covers and a jacket! The kits have been enjoying the warmth - they were out for 90 minutes this morning, and I opened the patio door for them more than 2 hours ago. I'll have to round them up soon.
Last night, the last three Group Champions were named: in the Sporting Group, it was a Black Cocker Spaniel; in the Working Group, the Portuguese Water Dog; and in the Terrier Group, the winner was the Smooth-coated Fox Terrier. These three were shown against the other four Group winners - the Pekingese, Bearded Collie, Chinese Shar-Pei, and the Scottish Deerhound. The Best in Show was proclaimed to be Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound from Warrenton, Virginia. Hickory placed third in last year's Best in Show Group.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Three New AKC Breeds

The Boykin Spaniel, bred to be a gun dog

The Leonberger, a family guard dog and
general utility dog

The Cane Corso,
an Italian Mastiff

The Westminster Dog Show

Time is passing so quickly that I hadn't realized that it's time for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. This past weekend breeders and handlers have been busy trying to win a coveted Best in Breed award. This year there were six newly acknowledged breeds at the AKC show - two new hound breeds, the Bluetick Coonhound and the Redbone Coonhound; the Icelandic Sheepdog in the Herding Group; in the Sporting group, the Boykin Spaniel has been added; and two new Working dogs, the Cane Corso and the Leonberger. Last night, the Best of Breed in four different groups met head to head in the showdown for the Best in Group. Tonight, the Group winners for the Sporting, Working, and Terrier Groups will be decided. These top seven dogs will vie tonight in the Best of Show (shown on the USA TV network). Last night these breeds won their Group: in the Toy category, the Pekingese; in the Hound class, the Scottish Deerhound; in the Non-Sporting Group, the Chinese Shar-Pei; and, in the Herding Group, the Bearded Collie. I'm going to be torn - watch the dog show or watch NCIS. ... Help!
Lovey spent last night sleeping on top of me, and this morning she keeps running back inside and crying - as if that insures that I'll still be here. Nedi spent last night attached to my left arm - he was nursing and kneading all night long. Today all I have scheduled is walking Rosie and Remy, and walking Lucy. This afternoon/evening, I hope to speak with my friend Carolyn in Florida. I'll watch USA and/or CBS for a while tonight, then read, and snuggle with my kits. It's nice to be back home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Victorian Valentine Cards

All three of these cards are over 150 years old...
Valentine's Greetings to you!

NOOOO !!! Peter is Gone!

Peter Forsberg played Friday night for the Colorado Avalanche. He was scheduled to be on the ice tonight - but early this afternoon, Peter cried as he announced that his foot simply could not withstand the pressures exerted on it in a real game. He is retiring from playing ice hockey. I didn't get to see him in this return. I am upset. But if it is what's best for his body, then I will support his decision.

Valentine's Day 2011

It's odd how the addition of a word can completely change one's viewpoint. For me, Valentine's Day is the day to celebrate love; the idea which was first introduced by Chaucer and his circle at the English court, to promote the idea of romantic love, and not just sex. I can remember good and bad Valentine's Days - getting a card from someone who I had a crush on, getting messages from my girl friends, and, sometimes, not receiving a card from someone. My parents always made much of the day - Dad would always give Mom flowers and a gift, and Mom would cook one of Dad's favorite meals. My husband and I celebrated by doing a lot of little special things for each other...
But add the word "Saint" to Valentine's Day, and I think of several different things. There are 14 Saints named Valentine that the Catholics revere - the three main Saints named Valentine were all martyrs for the Church. Most people know of the "original" Saint Valentine, who was a Christian priest in Rome: he married Christian couples and preached God's love. He was brought before the Roman Emperor Claudius (II) Gothicus, who found that he actually liked the man. Valentine lived with the Emperor for some time, but then tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. He was sentenced to be stoned to death. When he failed to die from the public stoning, he was beheaded. This happened between 269 and 273 in Rome. - But what seems to immediately spring into my mind, when someone says Saint Valentine's Day, is the follow-up word of "Massacre." Eighty-two years ago today, the Massacre occurred in Chicago, on the North side of town. At that time, Prohibition was an on-going joke and the two main gangs in Chicago were Al Capone's South side Italians, and Bugs Moran's North side Irish gang. On the 14th of February, several witnesses saw 7 men being taken into a garage by a group of men. The men who seemed to be in charge were two men wearing Crestview Police uniforms, and several other men wearing long coats known as dusters. The seven men who were taken into the garage were five members of Bugs Moran's gang, plus two non-members. They were shot down in a hail of machine gun bullets. When others arrived, Frank Gusenberg, who had 14 bullet holes in his body, was asked, "Who shot you?" Gusenberg, a member of the Moran gang, said, "Nobody shot me." What an idiot!
In any event, today is a day to do something special for the one you love. I've spent the morning with Lucy, and will soon walk Rosie and Remy. After cleaning the house, to remove traces of my residence, I'll return home to Lovey and Nedi. My time with them this afternoon and evening will be my Valentine's gift to myself. (And watching IBM's Watson computer on Jeopardy! will also make the day.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Newbury Racecourse

Jockey Andrew Tinkler parts with Prince Du Beury
in the Novice's Handicap Steeplechase at Newbury.
On 10 June, Bolero B and two jockeys sport
the colors and cross of St. George, in
support of England's soccer team.
The walking ring at Newbury, where two horses
died, apparently from electrocution, yesterday.

Chinook Sunday

It's in the low 50s already, with partly cloudy skies, visibility of 70 miles, and a Chinook from the west is blowing at 35 to 45 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph. There are 8-foot high windows facing west here at Lucy's house... the wind is blowing melting snow and water sideways, so that when you look through those windows, it seems that it's raining and/or sleeting. Got up at 6:30, and fed Suki, Boo and Mona, and took them for a stroll. Returned to Lucy's, fed her, and then walked her, too. Finn and Skippy's people are going to stop by and drop off a vehicle for me, so I can run over there a couple of times this afternoon, as well as feeding them both supper. - Maya just ran in and out, grabbing her backpack for school tomorrow. Lucy surprised her by barking at her when she arrived...
If you've ever read a few of Dick Francis' English racing mysteries, it will seem that Newbury Racecourse is very familiar. Yesterday, just before the first race for maiden hurdlers, two of the horses scheduled to race died in the walking ring. They apparently died from electrocution - the current passing through the ground and the wet grass up through their racing plates. The first race was run, but the favorite was very "worked up", jumped poorly, and finished last. That horse was still in "an excited state" this morning. All following races were cancelled. It is thought that an underground electric cable in the walking ring is to blame... I am so happy that I wasn't there!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

January Deer Kill

The head of the buck killed in Connie's backyard

Fox and coyotes were still consuming ribs
a week later...

Fox, coyote and mountain lion prints beside the kill


It's a beautiful Saturday morning - 43 degrees out, wind from the northwest at 20 mph, and the humidity is only 23%. It's downright gorgeous! Of course, there is still 4 to 5 inches of snow covering the ground in most places, except the main roads, and snow is piled up in parking areas all around town. I still need to wear my Yak Trax when I'm outside walking the dogs, as the neighborhood roads are snow-packed with a layer of ice underneath.
Tonight, I end my care of Tessa, Dhisana, Lyra and Lilly; continue my care of Lucy (and move into her house); and I add the care of Suki, Boo and Mona for tonight and tomorrow morning. Mike will be back to care for the Snow dogs about noon Sunday, which is when I add the care of Finn and Skippy to Lucy. After Sunday dinner, it's just me and Lucy for the night. Monday, I'll be caring for Lucy until 2 p.m., walking the Irish kids, and then coming home to my kits. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed on Monday - with Lovey and Nedi. I take care of Aiko and Yoshi beginning Friday, and then go over to Finn and Skippy until 3 March. At least I have the internet available at Finn and Skippy's (and Lucy's, too)!
I've been looking forward to seeing #21 on the ice for the Avalanche... Yesterday, I heard on the news that Peter Forsberg's first game would be Monday. So I didn't watch the game last night. Peter played, but we lost. I'll have to watch tonight and Monday! - Oh, and Tim Tebow's first book will be released in April of this year - he'll having signing parties both here in Colorado and in Florida.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Just a quick note to say that all is well. All critters are doing fine and are accounted for, even though I didn't see Phoenix this morning (I think she was inside Brett's mattress). Need to go walk the Rs and let Lucy out to go potty, then return to Lynn's house. - I'm looking forward to the 15th, when all I'm scheduled to do is walk Rosie and Remy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


NCIS cast

Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo of NCIS -
I love this photo of Mark Harmon because it shows
the way my hair is greying, and it also shows
my usual summer haircut, too,
with about a half-inch in added length.

Early Start Today

Taasi is Lynn's house keeper, and she is scheduled to come every Friday. She arrived at 6:30 this morning, which set Tessa off, so I got up. She and I tag-teamed searching Lynn's bed room, under and behind the furniture, looking for Lynn's missing ring and bracelets. Then, while Taasi cleaned the upstairs areas, I put on gloves, grabbed the pooper scooper, and I sifted my way through all three bags of kitty litter combined with trash from last week. No ring, no bracelets. I think Lynn placed them "some where safe" and forgot where she put them - but I'm not positive. Taasi and I even went through the vacuum cleaners - but no luck. Taasi will be back tomorrow to clean the rest of the house.
Phoenix stayed under Brett's bed this morning, but I received lots of love and cuddling from Patches. Nedi is nursing on my left arm, as I type this, while Lovey is on the cat tree. Tessa, Dhisana, Lilly and Lyra slept with me last night, as usual. I've also stopped by to see Lucy, as I'm in charge of her through Monday afternoon. Next week, I'll care for Aiko and Yoshi over the weekend, and then switch over to Finn and Skippy's house. - And I need to remember to take my camera to take photos of Finn!
And, the more I think about it, the more I have a bone to pick with the NCIS episode that aired on Tuesday, 1 February. It started off with a young dog-walker going to a house to "pick up" another dog to walk. This dog-walker allowed one of the dogs she was walking to jump up on the house's front door and scratch at it, while waiting, I presume, for someone inside to hand her the dog to walk. When no one answered the door, and she called out for the dog, the dog appeared from the side of the house. The dog-walker handed the two leashed dogs over to her male friend and went around the house following the loose dog. Of course, the dog led her to it's murdered owner. As the dog-walker stares at the body, the male friend appears in the back yard without any dogs. My bones to pick? First, the dog-walker should never have allowed the leashed dog (and I think it was an Old English Sheepdog) to have jumped up and scratched at the door. Secondly, what happened to the two dogs that her male friend had in hand? Did he just drop their leashes? Did he, somehow, attach them to the front door? These are the kind of things that make me crazy about TV shows - what happened to the family dog? It had blood on it - was any of that blood tested by Abby? After the wife and child were found, there was not any further mention of the dog... Why? It's frustrating.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Indian Peaks Wilderness

Sunrise at Lake Isabelle in the
Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

Cold and Critters

Our snow and cold have caused Oaklawn Park, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to cancel racing for the day. And the state of Georgia is trying to get a bill passed to allow horse racing there. ... It was -5 when I got up this morning, with a wind chill of -27. Ouch. Last night I slept with Tessa at my feet on the bed, with Lilly on one side and Lyra and Dhisana on the other. I didn't need any covers, thanks to all the warm bodies snuggling with me. Lynn called me yesterday afternoon, concerned about her two bee hives and the spring water delivery scheduled for this morning. I've already dealt with the water delivery - the bees are something else entirely. We're supposed to have a gradual warm up and have temperatures in the mid-50s this weekend. Since Lynn is due back Saturday evening, she will be able to check the bees on Sunday - it's simply too cold for me to try and open the hives today.
My kits were very happy to see me this morning - both wanted lots of love, even before food. Then they both ran outside, realized how cold it is, and they both came and crawled into my lap. Nedi had to nurse on both of my arms, while Lovey just wanted to lay across my heart. They are such sweet things! And I've also been visiting Brett's kits - Patches and Phoenix. Both were a little skittish at first, but now they both greet me at the door, want loving and play, and, finally, food. They are super love bugs.
Yesterday, a man who works for the Boulder Community Hospital went out to check a building that is built on a slope. They seemed to be having plumbing problems; so the man climbed into the open space under the building to take a look. He heard a very loud growl, turned on his flashlight, and found that he was face-to-face with an adult black bear. The man left the vicinity quite rapidly. They drove the bear away by playing a loud recording of country music all night long, and the man was able to fix the pipes without the bear in attendance this morning.
And, it's now noon, 14 degrees out, with a wind chill of 5 degrees.... Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kits 'n' New Snow...

Nedi in new snow - 6 Feb 2011
Lovey bathing - 1 Feb 2011

New snow in the back yard - 6 Feb 2011

Nedi at War

Nedi is currently waging a war against anything that is enclosed within a "plastic" bag - this includes kitty treats, doggie treats, baking mixes, Zip-loc bags, and grocery bags. When I returned home this morning, I found a bag that I had pre-mixed several cobbler toppings inside ripped to shreds and flour, sugar, etc. was scattered all over the floor. When I paused to look at it, he even brought me the very holey Zip-loc bag! What a little fiend! Now I have to be certain that anything like that is inside the closed cabinet - and not on an open shelf.
It was 1 degree outside when I arose this morning. Our high might reach 10 today - it started snowing around 9 last night, and it's still coming down. Boulder has gotten another 3 inches so far, on top of the 6 or 7 that was already here... I woke up due to the wind about 1:30 this morning, and realized what "white out conditions" mean. The wind was blowing from the north at about 35 to 40 mph, the snow was falling, and the wind was blowing the snow already on the ground sideways. I could see nothing out the windows of the house except ... white. We were told to expect 6 to 12 inches by tonight, as the new total snowfall - and I think it will be in the lower range of those numbers, at this point in time. They say our low tonight will be about -10 degrees with a wind chill in the -30s....
Tessa, Lilly, Dhisana and Lyra seem to be happy to have me there. I give them treats, play with them, and read to them. I wrestle around the floor with Tessa, and when I'm sitting or sleeping I have one to three kits on top of, or beside, me. With the low temperature, the snow, and the wind, I won't be walking the Irish kids today. I will stop by and take Lucy out for a quick walk, so she can have a potty-break midday. Lovey and Nedi want to cuddle, since I wasn't home last night. They do have a tendency to go stir-crazy when they don't get outside to stretch their legs. ... I was looking forward to the Av's hockey game last night, and then I found out that Peter Forsberg is having visa problems, and can't play for the Avs until he exits the USA and then returns. It has to do with immigration laws and his visa and passport status - and I just want to see him back on the ice. (The Avs lost last night.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Peter Forsberg

Peter Forsberg ("Fozzie Bear") has returned to play
for the Avalanche
Peter Forsberg (left) and Joe Sakic (right) -
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche players

Peter the Great, Ads, & An Accident

I watched the Superbowl at Lynn's house, and was pleased that the Packers won the game, even though I was also rooting for two Steelers players (Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor). It was 12 degrees outside when I returned home. It's 18 outside now, the sun is shining and we're expecting a high around 40 degrees. Then another snow storm arrives tonight - the weather people say we're looking at 4 to 6 inches of snow overnight and during Tuesday, with a high in the low teens for Tuesday and Wednesday. Even though yesterday was Superbowl Sunday, the local sports news was all about hockey... and I'm excited about the news, too. Peter Forsberg was signed last night to play again with the Colorado Avalanche. He is handsome, Swedish, and plays the center position - he's been rehabilitating a crushed foot for the past 7 years, and is now back. Hooray for the Fozzie Bear!
While I thoroughly enjoyed the football game last night, I also watched to see the commercials. I won't comment on the trailers for new movies and TV shows that were introduced last night - but I will list my top 5 favorite ads. My favorite was the Coca-Cola ad with the fire-breathing dragon, whose fire turned into fire-works and confetti after drinking a Coke; my second favorite ad was for Bridgestone tires - the driver, the beaver and the washed-out bridge. My third choice was the western Anheiser-Busch Budweiser commercial featuring the rearing front hitch of Clydesdales, and the song "Tiny Dancer." Fourth would be the Coca-Cola border guards, and fifth would be the Bud Light ad with the dog-sitter using the dogs as "hired help" for a party. For me, the honorable mention would be the Doritos commercial where the guy suddenly starts sucking the other man's fingers to get the cheese residue off them. Anyway, those are my favorites...
And, just a reminder that a loose dog can cause an irreparable accident. A woman here in Boulder has a 4-year-old Airedale terrier; 99.9 percent of the time he is on a leash when outside, even just to walk to the car. The dog pushed out of the door when company arrived, and was out of the owners' sight, running free, for about a minute. An elderly neighbor, whom the woman had known all her life, was knocked down by the dog in the few seconds it was out of sight. The elderly neighbor broke her hip when she fell. The injured neighbor and her family had to choose between her being in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, or a hip replacement. They chose the hip replacement. But - the elderly woman was taking a blood thinner to prevent clotting, which could cause either a stroke or heart attack. Her doctors had to stop her blood-thinning medication to perform the hip surgery. The elderly neighbor died from a heart attack, caused by a blood clot a few days after her fall and before the surgery. - Please think about your neighbors of all ages before you allow your dog to run loose. I only turn my charges free when I am in a fenced-in area. Please do the same with your pet.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Shots

New snow on the Flatirons - Boulder, Colorado

Most adult cattle can stand the cold and snow,
but calves just can't cope unless sheltered.

Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers,
looking forward to today's Superbowl game...

Fresh Snow

Four inches of snow fell yesterday afternoon and evening - most of it after the sun set. Nedi and Lovey went out and played in it for 15 minutes this morning, before I called them back inside. And the kits have a new favorite toy - I donated blood yesterday, and afterwards, the tech plopped a sterile cotton pad in place over my vein, then did a quick figure 8 shaped wrap with what looked like VetWrap tape, in bright blue. When I removed the tape three hours later, both kits homed in on it, and for the past 17 hours, I can usually find the bright blue blob in either kit's mouth. Yesterday I walked Tessa and played with Lilly, Lyra, and Dhisana - and searched for some missing jewelry of Lynn's. It started to snow as I left her house and headed home. Since it was above freezing, the snow kept melting as it fell for most of the afternoon. But, of course, the temperatures dropped, and the snow started to "stick." We are expecting another 2 to 4 inches of snow throughout today - I'd love to be able to stay at home, enjoy the view of the snow, and watch the Superbowl. But I committed to taking care of Tessa and the kits, and feeding them supper tonight, so I'll watch the Superbowl at Lynn's. Then I'll have to get home. Plus I'll need to start visiting and caring for Brett's cats. Brett is a pastry chef, and I've known him for 2 or 3 years now. - And he's young enough to be my son. - Anyway, I remind him of his favorite "ditzy" aunt, and we both love cats... I get to meet Patches and Phoenix today. Since I've pulled the kits back in, Nedi is curled up on the cat tree and is looking out the window, while Lovey is sitting between me and the monitor, and purring up a storm. Her eyes are barely open, and she's vibrating back and forth with her purrs - almost as if she were hypnotizing herself. To end today, I'll just say: "Go, Packers!" ('Cause I don't like the Steelers' quarterback.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Canines, Cats & Soup

It is cloudy and misting outside - and it's 40 degrees F. The kits have had a ball running in and out today - and I enjoyed my hour walk with Rosie and Remy, and then the shorter walk with Tessa. Lilly usually hides on Friday, because she hates the vacuum that the housekeeper uses. Today, she ran to me, and wanted love and attention - of course I gave it to her. I played with Lyra and Dhisana on their new cat tree, let Lilly outside for a few minutes, and rough-housed with Tessa. Stopped at the bakery on the way home, and picked up keys and instructions from Brett, as I'll be taking care of Patches and Phoenix while he's on vacation next week. I'd put beans in soak last night to make my bean, ham & potato soup, so I then set up the crock pot, rinsed the beans, added the potatoes, ham and a nice ham bone, and set it on high (after adding coarsely cracked black pepper). - Two hours later, it's starting to smell very enticing. - Even Nedi keeps getting on the counter top and sniffing around the pot.
I met the Chandler's new pups this morning, too. Xena is currently smaller than Victor, she is lighter in color, and she's very friendly and loving. Victor is larger, has a reddish tint to his coat and a white stripe on his chest, and, today, he learned how to bark at strangers. (After which he licked me all over.) They both look as if they have a golden Lab somewhere in their past few generations - even though Xena was described as a Boxer mix, and Victor as an Australian cattle dog mix. They both have white toes on their front paws, and they both appear to be very intelligent and willing to please. I think the Chandler family chose exceedingly well when they visited the Humane Society.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold Items

My Yak Trax in place on my snow boots

Oh, no! Two more feet of snow!

A polar bear - grizzly bear hybrid

Cold, Cold Air & Pizzly Bears

During the past few days I have learned several things that I didn't know previously. I walked out onto the patio on Tuesday, when it was -10 degrees, placed a handful of almonds in the squirrel chair, and returned inside, closing the door. Within 5 minutes, my throat tickled, and I coughed; then I had trouble breathing. I immediately grabbed my asthma inhaler and gave myself the prescribed "double shot." It took another hour before I could breathe normally again. Then, on the news, they announced that with the air temperature being so cold and dry, people who suffer from COPD (and I have the double burden of asthma and chronic bronchitis) should be very careful in exposing themselves to the frigid air, as it can cause asthma attacks and bronchial spasms. I guess that since I was originally diagnosed with this in Florida, my Doc did not advise me (or at least I don't remember it) that extreme cold would trigger an attack. On Wednesday, the GP that appears on our local news station announced that this extremely cold air could also bring on migraine headaches. I found out about that this morning. I headed out to walk Rosie and Remy, and became violently ill with a migraine before I made it to the bus station. Luckily, one of the female drivers was heading home, saw me, recognized me, and brought me back home in her car. Thank you!
My only other comment has to do with the positive DNA testing that showed that, in the Arctic Circle, polar bears and grizzly bears are breeding and producing hybrids. The one photo I saw of the resulting union called the bear a "pizzly." I hope that the naturalists and scientists that will end up deciding on a common name for this creature, will change it from "pizzly" to something else. Why? Because it is too close to the word pizzle, which is an ancient (12th through the 19th centuries) word for a man's penis. It is generally recognized that the term "pizzle" is used in reference to a bull - but in Elizabethan times, it became slang for a man's genitalia. My Mother was raised on Chincoteague Island, and I grew up with her using Elizabethan English and the slang that accompanies it. She frequently used the words "pizzle" and "pizzlin' strings" up until her death. Please, call the polar bear-grizzly bear cross something other than a pizzly!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Images of John Castle

Nedi Turns 10 Months Old

Today Nedi is bouncing off the walls. It's not because it's his birthday, it's because I'm not allowing him outside to run around. Why? It's -6 degrees outside, the wind chill is -24, and the humidity is 71% ... that feels mighty cold. Actually, I let the kits run out three times yesterday; and when I popped the door open this morning, Nedi ran out, stepped into the snow on the patio, danced for a few seconds and then high-tailed it back inside. Lovey just sniffed the air outside and retreated to the cat tree. - And the kits let me sleep in this morning! Usually Lovey wakes me up around 6; today she and Nedi snuggled with me until almost 9. The sleep and warmth was awesome - the dreams I had just before waking were awful.
I know the storm that brought us snow yesterday is massive - the TV folks are saying it covers 33 of the states, and is affecting over 100 million people. Because the wind chills are between 20 and 40 degrees below zero, the local public schools are closed, and the powers-that-be are asking everyone to stay at home if it isn't imperative to go out. That's why the kits and I are still snuggled up tight. - I have thoroughly enjoyed my reading time - yesterday, I read Preston and Child's latest novel about Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast, and, as usual, I want at least another four or five new novels available immediately.... And when I try to envision this fabulous FBI agent, the only body and face that comes to my mind is British actor John Castle. - In any event, I've read four books in the last 48 hours, and enjoyed them all...