Sunday, July 31, 2011


Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

Cabot's Trail, along the coastline of Nova Scotia, Canada

Notre Dame de la Lauze, found near Villarzel-Carbardes, France.  This was a church built by the Visigoths in the 6th century.

Hopefully, A Quiet Sunday

The kits and I spent a quiet Saturday: we all laid around, just trying to ignore the heat, and I read a good deal.  I have finished reading the series of the five Blending books by Sharon Green, and am halfway through the first of the Blending Enthroned books.  I need to do two loads of laundry today, and purchase my bus pass for August.  And since the Powerball lottery is up to $160 million, I'll probably buy a couple of chances on it.  If the government defaults, and I don't receive my Social Security check on Wednesday, I (at least) have enough money in the bank to pay my rent...  And Tuesday afternoon I see Dr. Pohlman for my surgery follow-up.  I'm still draining gunk from two distinct places, and my backside feels as if it's been scoured with a wire brush made for rust removal.  Ah, well....

After my trip to Florida, I'm going to start saving for a trip to Chincoteague.  I know that I spent most of my life living away from the island, but there is something in my blood, mind, and genetic makeup that insists that Chincoteague and Assateague are "home."  I hope to first visit during the off-season, and then to return again for a Pony Penning.  The sound of the surf, the feel of the humid sea breeze, the smell of saltwater and marsh mud, the sound of older voices speaking Elizabethan English - I miss all of those things in my very soul.  This week's monitoring of Chincoteague's Pony Penning brought back lots of joyous memories of wandering alone on both Chincoteague and Assateague when I was between the ages of 8 and 21.  I can go home again, and I plan to do so.  Of course, in the years since I've been on Chincoteague, there has been an influx of large luxury hotels and motels that have sprung up on the Chincoteague Channel (the west shore of the island), so I do realize there has been quite a change in the way Chincoteague looks.  And the biggest change for me will be that the old draw-bridge across the Channel is no longer in use, and the new bridge will spill me out onto Maddox Boulevard, instead of Main Street in the downtown area....  All that means is I'll arrive on the island just 5 blocks from my grandmother's parents and grandparents houses.

Stay Thirsty won yesterday's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, while Zagora won the Diana Stakes.  Today, 8 colts will contend in the Haskell Invitational, where Shackleford (the Preakness winner) is the betting favorite.  ....  And I'm starting to get excited about the beginning of football season!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Marvell, the Abused Kitten

Marvell, the kitten that was grossly abused in Denver earlier this week, seems to be recovering "normally" after his surgeries and trauma.

More Pony Penning and Chincoteague

Bringing the ponies south on Assateague Beach - Monday, 25 July
In the Carnival Ground Pens - Wednesday, 27 July
1910 postcard of Main Street on Chincoteague Island

Today is for Relaxation

I actually slept in this morning - 6:15 is when I got up because I couldn't lay in bed any longer. I took a cooling shower and then headed out to grab a bagel at the bakery.  Going out, I passed Choky, my neighbor, and asked if I was doing a good job of keeping the litter box odor under control (she constantly complains about it, and I can't smell a thing).  She said she hadn't smelled anything lately, but the sound of my fan blowing in my hallway now keeps her awake - is there anything I can do to quiet the "whi-i-i-i-ne?" She said she has found a new apartment, but she's taking the owner of Harvest Manor to court to make him pay the difference between the rents...  I really don't know about her.  Anyway, I got my bagel and came back home. The kits are playing in the yard and I've read my e-mail and all my usual news and interest sites, so it's time to sit down and blog.

Pony Penning 2011 is over, other than 3 more nights of the Fireman's Carnival (tonight and next Friday and Saturday nights).  All the foals purchased on Thursday during the Pony Auction had to leave the Carnival Grounds in an approved DOT trailer by 5 p.m. Friday.  All of the ponies returning to Assateague were herded back down the route they came up on Wednesday, to reach the Swim Point.  At slack tide, the ponies were herded back into the water to swim back to Assateague.  Once they reached the shore of Assateague, they were left to their own devices to separate into their herds and gradually graze their way back to their normal territories on that island.  -  The ponies will be rounded up again in October for the Fall Round-Up, at which time any foals too young to be separated from their mothers will be handed over to their buyers from Wednesday. (The ponies are actually rounded up three times each year for check-ups from the veterinarian, for foot checks by the farrier, and for any scheduled vaccinations. They are checked on daily by members of the Pony Committee to be sure they are all in good health, too.)

Once August 3 rolls around, I'll be very busy.  I'm scheduled to be at some one's home, pet- and house-sitting, through September 11.  It will be an interesting time.  I see Dr. Pohlman about  my bottom on Tuesday afternoon; at the moment, I'm dreading what he'll say.  I have the feeling I'm in for more surgery....  Two of the Broncos' new rookies were injured during practice yesterday.  Von Miller, the second draft pick, bruised his thigh and had to leave practice less than 24 hours after signing a $21 million deal.   And safety Quinton Carter, a fourth round draft pick from Oklahoma, collapsed from heat exhaustion less than 30 minutes after Miller was injured.  It's a great way to start training camp, guys!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pony Penning - and Anger in Denver

Today's Salisbury Daily Times says that 68 foals were auctioned yesterday for a total of $93,725 at the annual Pony Auction on Chincoteague.  (Having been there many years myself, and taking notes of foals and prices, my numbers have never added up to what the CVFC announces - I've always wondered about that.)  I do know that the purchase price of one of the buy back foals is being donated by the CVFC to the Ronald McDonald House charities.  I will post auction photos at the end of today's blog.  Today, again at slack tide, the stallions and mares, the buy back foals and the foals too young to be weaned from their mothers, will swim back across the Assateague Channel.  There will be very few people on hand to watch this swim, as opposed to Wednesday's.  Most gates on Assateague Island will be left open, and the herds will be allowed to drift and graze their way back to their usual territories.  Then the gates will be closed once more.  I'll continue to post Pony Penning photos from this year as I receive them from friends.

My kits and the doggies are all doing well.  We're on our 15th day (in a row) of temperatures in the 90s for Boulder, and I'm so happy that we haven't been as hot as Wichita, Kansas.  (My heart and love goes out to you, Sarah!)  ....  I am very upset with some children in Denver.  A 10-year-old girl saw some other children abusing a 4-month-old kitten (now named Marvell); she ran to the group, yelled and threatened them, and was able to rescue the little grey tabby.  She had observed the kitten being swung in circles by it's tail, as hard and fast as the other kids were able to spin it.  The kitten spent more than 4 hours in surgery - it had a broken tail, internal damages to it's lungs and kidneys, it was bleeding from the eyes, and has suffered some brain damage.  Marvell had also had his whiskers burnt off with a lighter, as well as having the tips of his ears burnt.  The vets don't know how well the kitten will recover from the brain damage, nor just how severe that damage is.  The kitten was named "Marvell" because the vets were so amazed that he was still alive after all the trauma that had been done to him.  -  The Denver and Aurora Police Departments are seeking the group of children that tortured the poor little guy.  -  The vets hope that Marvell will be able to be adopted into a loving home, once he recovers.

In the horse racing world, Versus TV will show The Diana Stakes and the Jim Dandy Stakes from Saratoga live tomorrow (5 -6 p.m. EDT).  ....  The $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds will be run Sunday at Monmouth Park.  There is a field of 8 running, and Shackleford, the only colt to run in all three Triple Crown races and come out without injury, is the betting favorite, breaking from post position 5.  The race is 1 and 1/8 miles on the dirt.  ....  Uncle Mo has now had two work-outs over the track at Saratoga for his return to racing.  Folks say that he is looking and running well.

Nick Raymond (l) and Tyler Marks  hold onto a rearing foal during it's auction
William Webb (l) and Bryce Hurry try to get this foal's feet on the ground
John Wayne Rhodes (l) and son Cody handle a bay foal
Justin Lappin (l) and Alex Tucker hold a palomino pinto foal

Shy foals huddle together before being put on the auction block

Sarah Sickels (r) pets the buy back foal that she purchased.  The monies from this foal will be given to the Ronald McDonald House charities.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nearly $100,000 Raised at Pony Auction

I hope to have many more photos from the Pony Auction when I blog tomorrow - This morning, 69 foals were auctioned at the Chincoteague Firemen's Carnival Grounds.  Sixty of the foals are going to leave for new homes with caring and loving families; nine of the foals were designated as "buy backs."  A buy back foal  is put up for auction with the announcement that due to it's markings, or bloodlines, or confirmation, the CVFC wants to keep the pony in the herd as a breeder.  A person can "purchase" the pony during the following bidding session; but that person cannot take the foal home.  It goes back to it's dam and continues living it's life on Assateague.  The buyer has the right to name the foal for the Chincoteague Pony Association registry, and can have their photo taken with the foal.  They can visit and see "their" pony running wild on Assateague for the rest of it's life.  But one cannot remove the buy back foal from the herds or take  it home.  It's essentially a giant donation to the CVFC - but it's a super way to be able to give: then you can go to Assateague and say, "See that pony?  I bought it from the Fire Company, but I gave it back!"  ....  In any event, the lowest bid on a foal this year was $450; the highest bid (which was for a buy back) was $6,700.  WBOC TV states that the CVFC raised nearly $100,000 through today's auction.  I have one photo from the auction at the moment - it's a buy back foal that sold for over $4,000.
If I'm not mistaken, it's the little guy that I have a photo of during the walk down the beach to Tom's Cove.  I believe that the photo is of the foal with the very Arab-type head.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pony Penning & Swim Photos 2011

A colt and mare in the Holding Pens on Assateague Island yesterday

A view of the swim from one of the boats that line the Channel

A head-on shot  of the swim

This shot of today's swim is by Jay Diem

Arriving on the muddy shore of Chincoteague

Pony Swim 2011

What can I say?  No one has really come through with photos as of yet...  The ponies entered the Assateague Channel right around 1:30 EDT this afternoon.  From the time the first pony left the Assateague shore until the last pony stepped ashore at Chincoteague not quite 5 minutes had elapsed.  A lot of the folks waiting for the swim were unaware of having to wait for slack tide; a lot of adults turned into whiney children.  Most people came prepared for the wait and the heat.  About 140 ponies - mares,foals, and stallions - made the swim this afternoon.  After a 45 minute rest, the herds, surrounded by the local Saltwater Cowboys, moved out onto the paved streets of Chincoteague and proceeded to the Carnival Grounds.  As usual, a few adults and a handful of hard-headed foals, tried to go their own way, but the Round-Up men  brought them back with their mounts and the popping of their bull whips.  The Pony Auction will begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning and should end about noon.  -  People are encouraged to get to the Carnival Grounds and the Auction area at the rear of the grounds early, if they want a good place to sit and view the proceedings. (Speaking as a short person, believe me, it's sometimes very important.) 

A few odds and ends:  Tim Tebow was the second player to enter the gates of Dove Valley (the Bronco's practice place) yesterday for a non-required day of strength training.   One of his offensive line players beat him to the driveway.  The Denver Post reports that the number one quarterback in the depth charts, Kyle Orton, will be traded almost immediately, opening the way for Tim Tebow to lead the team (with Brady Quinn as his back-up).  ....  The kits and all of the pups continue to be great.  I'm walking all of the dogs very early due to our heat and humidity.  We stop frequently at creeks where the pups can drink and/or swim.  ....  The Rocky Mountain National Park had to send out a rescue team for a 68-year-old man who slipped and fell while climbing on Long's Peak, injuring his arm.  It took more than 8 hours to reach the  man, and almost 16 hours to get him down the mountain.  Guess what?  He was rescued from a trail on the western side of RMNP just three weeks ago, after supposedly injuring his ankle....  Hmmmmm.....

Ponies on Way to Old Dominion Point

The CVFC Saltwater Cowboys take the combined herds across Black Duck Drain, on their way to Old Domionion Point, where the ponies will rest.  The swim will start when the US Coast Guard determines that it is "slack tide" and shoots off a red flare.

Waiting for the Pony Swim... One Hour Ago

This is a photo taken of the crowds awaiting the 86th Annual Pony Penning Swim.  The TV station that took and posted this photo is WMDT, channel 47.

Today is Pony Penning Day!

No big storms have shown up off the coast of Virginia and Maryland, so it looks as though the Chincoteague ponies will be swimming the Assateague Channel between 12 noon and 1:30 this afternoon.  The ponies will then be rested, and then be herded down Beebe Road to Main Street, and then north to the pens on the Carnival Ground. As soon as I receive word and a few early photos, I'll blog again.  (I need to go walk two sets of dogs, myself.)
If you're interested, in 1876, American author and artist Howard Pyle visited Chincoteague at the age of 23.  An open letter, with drawings, was then sent to his local Delaware newspaper.  That letter and drawings were then re-printed in Scribner's Weekly Magazine in 1877.  The text and drawings may be found at:   It doesn't seem that things have changed much, and the families that Pyle wrote about are still on the island - and they are all relatives!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pony Penning 2011

The following photos were taken by Jay Diem for the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper.  These are shots of the northern Assateague herds being moved down (southward) the beach to the Holding Pens near Tom's Cove.
Assateague Island sunrise on the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department's Saltwater Cowboys
Keeping the herds moving south on the beach - cousin Wesley Bloxom is smack dab in the center of this photo, wearing a red and blue checked shirt, riding a Chincoteague-bred pinto with a blaze.
Mare and foal at the ocean's edge
A foal with interesting color and an Arab-type head
A stallion warns off a young bachelor
A foal trying to get away from the noise and excitement on the beach

Bits and Pieces

So much weirdness in the world....  My heart goes out to all those people who lost loved ones in Norway over the weekend.  I had gotten myself pretty calm about accepting the tragic loss of life when I happened to see that Glenn Beck was comparing the Norwegian youth camp to the Nazi Youth groups.  That sent my blood pressure sky-rocketing again. Is he a member of one of the other "cells" the killer claims to have on the loose?  ....  The kids being attacked by a mother grizzly bear in Alaska in Alaska was another odd story.  The teenagers were very lucky.  ....  Lightning struck a broodmare barn at Three Chimneys Farm on Sunday night.  The night watchman and a female groom were able to set the two stabled mares free, and help move other horses in the field next to the barn away from the conflagration.  ....  First Dude, one of four horses to run in all three Triple Crown races this year, finally won a Grade I stakes race a couple of weeks ago.  But in doing so, he ripped a tendon in one of his legs and has now been retired to stud.  ....  And, early this morning, the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory in Fort Collins burnt to the ground.  Fire officials were called at 1 a.m., to find flames shooting 20 feet above the top of the roof.  The roof collapsed, and the building is assumed to be a total loss. ....  The heat across our nation has been awe-inspiring this month.  I finally had to break down and purchase another fan for my studio apartment.  The new one now sits on the room divider and blows cooler air onto the desk and living room area.  I was so hot that I couldn't get to sleep until after 4 this morning (and the humidity has been higher than normal for Colorado).  I hope I can survive my trip to Florida in October!

The kits are all fine, and so are all my adopted pets that I care for.  Boo is actually staying with Jim's sister in Fort Collins (she works at CSU) and seems to be doing well, so far, in her radiation therapy.  She is still her bouncy, pulling self.  Jim will bring her home Thursday night and the take her back for another treatment on Friday.  I'll see her over the weekend and give her some loving.  And, if you are a sky watcher, this Friday night, when the moon is almost new, there will be a double meteor shower show (for those of you who live away from city lights).  The annual Perseid meteor shower will start tomorrow night, and the Aquarid meteor shower will join in the display on Friday night.  August 12 is the usual "best date" to see high numbers of meteors in the Perseid group, but this year, there will be a full moon competing with the shooting stars. -  And tomorrow is the 86th Annual Chincoteague Pony Penning Swim.  The mares, stallions and foals will swim the one-eighth mile distance of the Assateague Channel during slack tide.  The latest announcement states that slack tide should occur between 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.  If you go to the swim area early, please take plenty of liquids, bug spray, sunscreen, and wear old shoes (there will be lots of wonderful, stinky, smelly marsh mud exposed during low tide) and a hat.  Most of the EMT calls on Wednesdays of Pony Penning are for heat stroke and heat exhaustion in the crowd waiting for the ponies to swim - please don't be a statistic!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pony Penning

This year's Carnival Poster

Ponies on Assateague

Sweet Breeze, a registered Chincoteague Pony - look at her muscles!

Mocha, Regionals, "Late" Pony Penning Swim

When I returned from walking and reading to the red kids last night, I couldn't find Mocha.  I spent two hours turning my apartment upside down, and still couldn't find her.  During that time, I was calling her, both inside and outside in the back yard, with absolutely no response.  I finally sat down to eat a quick sandwich before making and posting signs about her disappearance, and then doing a thorough examination of the outside of the building, including two hidey-holes that I know Lovey and Nedi use.  I was half-way through the sandwich, when I heard the tinkle of Mocha's tags and collar.  It turns out she had made a hole in the underside of the box springs for the bed, and had been curled up in there, snoozing away while I was worrying myself into a migraine.  I gave all the kits treats and then went to bed, exhausted. ...  I've already walked the Rs this morning, and Nedi and Lovey are on the patio; Mocha is back under the bed. (At least I know where she is!)

One of my "adopted kids" has, with his baseball team, won the State Championship.  Now they all get to travel to Texas the first weekend of August to participate in the Regionals; if they win there, it's on to the Nationals in Pennsylvania.  The boys are totally pumped up with adrenaline about it, and so are their parents.  ( I'll be taking care of the critters - MeyToch, the baby goat; Hazel, his mom; Xena and Victor, the dogs; and the bees and the chickens and Topgallant Charlie - while the family is gone.)  I don't know if the boys are more excited about the possibility of going on to the Nationals, or if they are more excited that their games will be televised nationally - and their first game is on a Friday night, under the lights!  Go Aidan!!  Go, Wildcats!!

I'm afraid I might jinx myself, but I think that this last surgery is working. Most of the pain has gone, but I'm still oozing - from two distinct places, just like before.  Hmmm.  Maybe I'm just hopeful?  - At least it doesn't hurt much to walk anymore! And I don't feel like there's a watermelon-sized wedge of corncob attached to my bottom, either.

Today the CVFD veterinarians will be checking all the ponies in the herds.  The mares too close to foaling and foals under a week old (along with their dams) will be transported by trailer to the Pony Pens at the Carnival Grounds on South Main Street - and any other ponies felt to be too old, infirm, or otherwise unable to swim one-eighth of a mile at slack tide on Wednesday.  The Coast Guard, the Fire Department, and the Chamber of Commerce have all stated that it looks like a "late" swim - Slack tide is estimated to be between noon and 1 p.m., at the moment - but storms could change that guesstimate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Various Critters

A pilot whale calf swimming beside it's mother

Secretariat, with groom Eddie Sweat and jockey Ron Turcotte, after winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby
Ponies on Assateague Island

Pilot Whales, Secretariat, Pony Penning

Sylvain Cote is the owner and captain of the boat Espandor, which is generally fishing off the coast of Maryland, in the Atlantic.  Earlier this week, the captain was about 62 nautical miles off Ocean City, Md., when he saw a pilot whale supporting a calf on her head, holding it up in the air and trying to get the little one to breathe for a period of over 8 hours.  A group of 10 to 12 other pilot whales swam in a protective circle around the mother and dead calf.  Captain Cote and the captains of 8 other fishing vessels reported their sighting, while giving the whales a large area to swim in, so they wouldn't feel crowded.  All the boats stayed more than a quarter-mile away from the giant mammals, so they could grieve in peace.  A spokesman for the Marine Fisheries Foundation stated that she felt the calf was either still-born, or had died very shortly after birth.  Mother whales push their calf up into the air for their first breath, after giving birth.  This grieving mother did not want to accept the fact that her child was not alive.  The acceptance of death is difficult for all living creatures.

Mocha's owner came and visited her yesterday afternoon - Coffeepot  hopes to be in a new house by the middle of August.  And he was amazed at how fat Mocha has become in her 7 weeks' stay with me.  I told him that he'd have to play with her and exercise her a lot when he gets her to their new home.  My kits are great - Nedi is his quiet, loving little self; Lovey still has to swat at Mocha occasionally, but is otherwise OK with her presence.  ...  I finally saw the movie Secretariat last night - it was on a premium movie channel.  I had a super time seeing actors and actresses I recognize, and I liked the fact that the movie ended with the completion of the Belmont Stakes.  (I had forgotten that Secretariat had won the Triple Crown on my 17th birthday.)  There were a few things that I did not like about the movie - it did not show all the hard work and training that goes into making a race horse; there was an awful close-up of what were supposed to be Big Red's legs in the starting gate (and the clip was used several times), which anyone could tell was a chestnut horse with white oil-based paint on his legs; and the movie left several unresolved questions regarding the Chenery and Tweedy families, and about Secretariat himself.  I did enjoy the casting of the actors in their respective characters - and I knew that the real Penny Chenery Tweedy was in the movie, so I enjoyed looking for her - and she was very easy to spot.  More than 37 different horses portrayed Secretariat in the movie - I just wish they had found someone with a sock and stockings more like his than was used in that truly tacky shot of white paint on red legs.

If I were in Virginia, I'd be on Assateague, looking at the ponies in the Holding Pens near Tom's Cove.  Today the CVFD Saltwater Cowboys will be rounding up the herds on the southern portion of Assateague, and driving them to the Holding Pens with the northern herds.  Then the stallions will get rambunctious because they are all crowded together...  I know I'd be drinking water like an elephant, but I'd love to be there!  (Fifteen minutes ago the heat index in Ocean City, Md was 105 degrees.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Islands

Moonrise over an Assateague dune

CVFD bringing northern ponies down Assateague beach 2009 - photo by Patrick J. Hendrickson

Clamming near Chincoteague

Chincoteague Calls...

Lovey and I are having a continuing discussion about the keyboard and desk space, so if the blog gets a little weird today we all know that it's Lovey's fault!  For the next week you'll probably get tired of me writing and reminiscing about earlier times on Chincoteague and Assateague.  I simply can't help it - every fiber of my being wants to be on either one of those islands at the end of July and the beginning of August.  I guess it's like the salmon returning up-river to spawn (and, yes, I will mention pon-farr, for my fellow Trekkers, too)...  I just have this overwhelming urge to be there.  -  It was 70 degrees at 6 this morning, with 30% humidity; the sky to the west was blue, and there were a few scattered clouds to the east. The kits are all sacked out, as they played most of this early morning.

This weekend is the 24th Annual Blueberry Festival on Chincoteague.  You can purchase fresh blueberries and just about any kind of food made with blueberries.  There is local music and entertainment, and more than 100 juried artists are participating in the arts and crafts show.  This used to be a fund-raising event for the Deborah Hospital, but I haven't seen anything linking the two this year.  Of course, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department's Carnival is also taking place - last night and tonight, and will start up again after the Pony Swim on Wednesday.  This is the 86th year that the CVFD has sponsored Pony Penning - the tradition goes back to 1925, when more than half the town of Chincoteague burned to the ground in a devastating fire.  The monies brought in by Pony Penning, the Firemen's Carnival, and the proceeds of Pony Penning Enterprises goes directly to our Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service.  The closest hospitals are about 60 miles in either direction from the island - Nassawadox in Virginia, or Salisbury, Maryland. Other than EMT positions, all the folks who work at the Fire Department (and the carnival, and taking care of the ponies on Assateague) are non-salaried volunteers.  The money raised from the selling of the ponies, the profits from the carnival, all of it goes to out-fitting, equipping and training the volunteer fire men.

The real Pony Penning began late in the 1700s, when the farmers and ranchers who ran stock on Assateague and Chincoteague Islands needed to herd together, identify the young stock, and brand them (for tax purposes).  The cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses were allowed to run free on Assateague.  There was a small settlement of houses on Assateague, and a few more on Chincoteague. Penning the stock became a day for all the islanders to band together, work together and eat together - almost like a summer Thanksgiving.  The time was chosen when there was no crop to be harvested for the market, and when most people could enjoy a day of "just doing something different" from their every day chores.  Originally, the critters belonged to specific individuals - and if you could catch and tame one of the wild horses, it was yours.  Now the ponies are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department; they are allowed to run free and breed on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge via a  lease agreement with the U.S. Government.

Since I'm not there, I don't know if the sunrise ride down the beach occurred today, or if it will happen tomorrow.  The Saltwater Cowboys (CVFD horsemen) will have gathered the herds on the northern end of Assateague (there is a fence dividing Virginia and Maryland) and will move them down the beach, moving at the edge of the sand, to the Holding Pens near Tom's Cove. - I can smell the sea, the fly spray, the DEET, the odor of sweaty horses and warm leather....  I want to be there!  I want to see the ponies with my own eyes!  Chincoteague Forever!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Island Scenes

Aerial view of Chincoteague Channel and the old draw bridge

Full moon over the Assateague lighthouse

Abandoned boat and heron in a Chincoteague gut

Not All Here Yet

Being completely unconnected to the real world yesterday, I didn't blog.  I don't feel that much more connected with reality today, but I'll try to write something coherent.  Yesterday morning I met a nice woman who is now living in Delaware - and we had a good talk about visiting Chincoteague and Assateague.  I spent most of yesterday either reading in bed, or sleeping in bed. I haven't yet taken a pain pill this morning, and hope to be able to hold off doing so until after I've gone to the bank and the public library.  At 6 a.m. today, it was 55 degrees out, with 83% humidity; and we're expected to reach the mid-90s this afternoon.  All the kits are stretched out on the tile floor, keeping cool.  And I'm having trouble keeping my eyes focused.

I think I'll just revert to my normal self, and start yelling that "I wanna go home to Chincoteague!" at the top of my lungs - but that probably wouldn't help anything, either.   Since I'm heading to Florida in October, I guess I'd better start saving for Chincoteague for my next trip!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chincoteague Ponies (What Else?)

A herd of Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island

A palomino and a buckskin paint on Assateague Island

Cezanne, a Chincoteague stallion, at age 17 - I have photos I took of him the summer he was born, 1989, when he was "wild" on Assateague

A Sore Backside

Thanks to yesterday's surgery, I have a very sore butt.  Dr. Pohlman did not perform the Seton cutting stitch procedure he had discussed with me.  He found that the fistula involved very little muscle, so what he essentially did was fillet the fistula, cauterize it, and then sew everything back flat and closed.  It is bleeding and draining, and sitting is not my favorite thing to do at the moment.  I have a Percocet (hydro-codone) prescription saying take one or two pills as needed every 6 hours.  So far, I took one last night at 9, and one this morning at 7:10.  It does take the edge off the pain. -  One nice thing is that Dr. Pohlman says that the operation he used yesterday has a 98% success rate. - and I know that my recovery time was a little weird yesterday - the alarms kept going off because my temperature, the oxygen content of my blood, and my blood pressure kept dropping.  Kathy said it seemed that she had to wait a much longer time before they brought her to the recovery room. Usually, they leave me in bed and just have me dress and leave.  Yesterday, they put me in a recliner and wrapped me up with warm blankets before allowing Kathy to come back.

Once we were allowed to leave, Kathy asked if I wanted to go straight home and get in bed, but I told her I wanted to go to the Dairy Queen and get a soft-serve vanilla cone first.  We both enjoyed one.  As soon as we got home, Nedi went under the bed; Mocha came out for loving; and Lovey took a good whiff of Kathy, and shrugged.  I guess she was thinking - it's the Auntie who visits occasionally.  We looked at the kitten and pit bull video set to "Live and Let Die", then I laid down, and Kathy settled in the reading chair.  She started reading the book she brought over, and I went to sleep.  When I woke up and went to the bathroom, Kathy was asleep.  We had "lunch" about 2 p.m., and I asked about travelling the airways (since I haven't flown since 1990).  Then we both read some more, and I handed her my copy of The Devil Colony  - she started reading it, and it went home with her.

Boo starts her 18 days of radiation therapy at CSU in Fort Collins today.  ...  Lynn, who adopted Dhisana, the kitten in Ohio , for $10 and who has since spent over $7,000 on getting her well, called me and said she has a new dog - a Havanese named Riley, whose previous owner abused him.  She wanted me to start caring for Riley yesterday, stopping by 3 times a day to give him love and affection and a human playmate.  I might start doing that on Monday, but not this week.  ...  Joel is playing the Wizard of Oz  in Louisville.  Nancy is directing Titanic: The Musical  here in Boulder at the Dairy Center.  Their son Max has two roles in Titanic, as the Captain and as Isadore Strauss.  I plan on seeing that this weekend.  ...   NBC will start showing Saratoga Springs thoroughbred racing beginning this Saturday, 23 July on weekend afternoons.  ...  And, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department Saltwater Cowboys will start rounding up the herds of ponies on the northern Virginia side of Assateague Island.  On Saturday, they will be herded down the beach at sunrise, and delivered to the Holding Pens, so that the veterinarians can check all the ponies, they can get their shots, hooves trimmed, and parents of foals identified for the auction.  All ponies will have a Coggins' test done, to insure there are no transmittable diseases in the foals that will be sold.  (I miss the smell of ponies, sweat, salt water, and the wonderful awful smell of Assateague and Chincoteague marsh mud!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Reprise

I enjoyed watching Masterpiece Theater on PBS last night.  First I watched a program about Gregory Peck and his movies - then Rufus Sewell came on.  I knew that I had watched this actor frequently in a US television series; but I couldn't figure out what.  So I turned on the PC....  I watched him play Dr. Jacob Hood in the series Eleventh Hour.  Last night was the first of three weeks of mystery stories surrounding Detective Aurillio Zen, a Venetian-bred policeman, living in Rome.  The character is separated  from his wife, and is living with his mother.  His superior in the police department wants everything done by the  book, and the end result must make the police look good.  His contact with the government Ministry is always sending him a crooked ball to hit, always expecting a home run that pleases the government.  Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place!  I'm now going to have to find the books this series is based on...
No blog tomorrow.  Have a super Tuesday!

Boulder Scenes

Low clouds above the Flatirons and Folsom Field

The Foothills, looking west from Garnet Road

Pretty tulips

Odds And Ends

What a weird day in the news....   Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian Antiquities Minister, has been fired because of his ties to the Mubarak government.  I know that he liked to do a bit of grand-standing, but both he and the subjects were deserving of attention (at least, in my poor opinion).  ...  A former News of the World reporter, who first blew the whistle on that newspaper's phone hacking scandal, has been found dead in his apartment.  Police are investigating. ...  The head of New Scotland Yard has resigned due to the phone hacking scandal.  ...  In Coronado, California a six-year-old boy fell down the grand staircase of his father's mansion (two days previous); and has now died.  The father's girlfriend has hung herself at the mansion.  ...  A 77-year-old Congressman was visiting his daughter and grandson on their farm in Iowa, when the daughter was attacked by an armed robber inside the home.  The Congressman fought with the gunman, who ran when the grandson grabbed a shotgun.  ...  A 17-year-old in Florida beat his parents to death with a hammer, covered them with towels, locked their bedroom door, and then invited 40 to 60 friends to come over.  They had an all-night party.  ...  One of my neighbors hung himself in his upstairs apartment because the grocery store where he works fired him and he couldn't pay his rent.  ...  Chokie, my next door neighbor, has been informed that her lease will not be renewed (she was given no explanation as to why, when she asked), and has to find a new place by 15 August.  (Does that mean I should start looking around?  My lease ends on 31 December, and Chokie moved in 18 months after I did....)   ...  At least the two-year-old boy who disappeared into a South Dakota corn field showed up unharmed this morning.  His Mom called his name over a loud speaker, and the boy came out into the open, with no apparent harm done.  ...  And a "new study" shows that brain injuries lead to increased dementia as one grows older. Gee, anyone who knows me knows that I sloshed my brain on a regular basis for years - how am I supposed to tell if I'm getting any stranger?

Lovey, Nedi and Mocha are doing very well.  The heat and humidity has been bad, but not as bad as in Wichita, where my cousin Sarah is.  I have the fan running non-stop in the hallway and that helps create a nice movement of air, without it blowing directly upon us.  The kits are spending their nap times on the tile or in the tub.  I walked the red kids this morning, making certain that most of our route was in the shade - plus stopping three times for them to drink water as we trundled along.  We saw Yoshi and Aiko out walking this morning, and Aiko (the Shih Tzu) attacked Remy, just because I was walking with them.  I have to admit that Remy fell over in surprise, rather than barking or snapping back at Aiko. (It was rather funny, actually.)  So now all I have to do is prepare myself for surgery tomorrow, and tidy up the apartment a bit for Kathy.   Then I'm going to finish Mary Stewart's My Brother Michael  and start reading book two of "The Blending."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

National Ice Cream Day

Today is National Ice Cream Day in the US.  I remember, as a child, being out in the yard on a hot day and enjoying eating freshly made ice cream - usually vanilla, but also peach and strawberry.  Sweet, smooth, creamy... and cold. Mmmm-mmmmm.  Please enjoy your favorite type of ice cream today!  I also remember that Mom used to purchase a box of Neopolitan ice cream, and to be certain that everyone got the same amount, she'd use a knife and cut a slice for each person from the end of the carton.  Good memories of good times.

We are expecting highs near 100 through Thursday, and with high humidity - or at least high for Colorado. (I know that our humidity is laughable to to those folks in Florida and along the coasts.)  I have had the fan running since Friday afternoon - pulling cooler air from the hallway out into the living area.  The kits seem to like it.  -  And I finally saw where Nedi is "hiding": When Banichi first joined our family, he couldn't jump very well, so I always left a lower dresser drawer open a few inches, so he could use that as a "stepping stone" to jump higher.  Even though the Nich-mon has been gone for over a year, I haven't closed that drawer.  Nedi is sleeping inside the drawer, at the very back.  There's that mystery solved!   Today I will spend at home, do a load of laundry, and "straighten up" the apartment prior to Tuesday (since Kathy will bring me home from the hospital and stay for a couple of hours).  All I have to do tomorrow is walk the Rs.  Then vegetate until Tuesday...  What a nice, quiet time!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kitty Clients

Shady Pendle in his sleeping bowl (no flash, evening)

Cloudy Pendle, on her nest  (no flash, evening)

Rascal Stucka; the flash shows off his interesting coat colors

Boo Cancer Update

Boo Snow (aka Princess Suki's Peek-A-Boo) will begin undergoing an 18-day stretch of radiation therapy to be certain that the cancerous growth on her left hind leg is "kaput."  This comes after an all-day consultation with the canine oncology vets at Colorado State University.  Boo is her usual irrepressible, incorrigible self - squealing with delight when she sees someone she knows, jumping up onto people's chests, and licking any human skin that is exposed, plus barking for attention...  I'm happy that she is feeling normal!  The vets say that this low-level radiation therapy has had an 85% success rate over the past 20 years, and that they feel certain that Boo will respond to it.  Boo will have weekends off from the treatment, to allow her body to recover.  She starts therapy on Wednesday, 20 July, and will have finished the entire course on Friday, 12 August.  That also means that Jim and Boo will be spending a lot of time on the roads, driving back and forth from Fort Collins every weekday.   -   And now Suki, Boo's Mom, has developed a nodule/lump on the same leg as Boo originally had.  The local vets will remove that on Monday, and send it away to the pathologist.  Cross your fingers for Suki, please!

I traveled out to north Boulder early (at 6 a.m.) this morning - took the bus, had a nice walk, and then spent 90 minutes with Rascal.  (This evening is my last visit to him, as his family returns around 9 p.m.)  Then I snuck into the Rs' house and took them out for a walk.  Since last night was "Opening Night" for the three plays that the three family members are in, I left them a note saying I'd slip in as quietly as possible to take the Irish kids out.  I was totally amazed, but it worked!  I unlocked the front door, and I could hear Remy snoring upstairs, so on my way into the den (to grab harnesses and leashes), I whispered over my shoulder, "Rosie! Remy! Come on down!  Walk time!"  Before I was half-way to the den, both dogs were dancing and prancing around me.  I am still astounded that they didn't bark.  Anyway, we took a leisurely one hour walk - the temperature was 67, and the humidity was 85% - I was totally drenched in sweat by the time we got back home.  The dogs were panting like mad, even though we'd stopped twice for water.  Joel was up when we slipped back in - he said he never heard us depart.  He had drifted awake, and suddenly realized that the dogs weren't in the master bedroom, so he set off in search of them.

Lovey, Nedi and Mocha are doing well. Lovey had a "wet" eye yesterday, but I couldn't see anything wrong with it.  I put in some opthalmalic ointment and today she is her normal self.  Nedi has found himself a "hidey-hole" in the closet somewhere - I haven't been able to see him, but he appears from that door, casually waving his plumed tail.  Mocha.  Poor little Mocha.  I give her as much love as I am able, but I always know that (a) I'm not her person, and (b) my cats and she are not friendly.  I'm sure it's very stressful for her to live like this.  But her owner really wants her back, as soon as he can afford a place of his own.  -  Tomorrow, all I have to do is clean my kits' litter boxes, do some laundry, and cook for myself.  What an easy, relaxing day!  (And I'll probably finish the 12th Foreigner book tonight... Then I'll start on The Blending books again!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Boulder - 13 July 2011

Remy, the day after a trip to the groomer

6 a.m. sunshine on Boulder Creek

7 a.m. clouds hugging the mountains behind the Flatirons