Friday, September 30, 2011

Good-Looking Kits!

Such good-looking kits can only be family!  Skooch is on the left, Rowdy on the right. They are Longmont kits, belonging to my sister-in-law, Kathy.

Rowdy lies across Skooch in their favorite chair...

The grey tabby is the stolen Beauty, the medicine-hat kit is Twinkle, her brother.  Beauty was stolen from her home by the wife of her lover's owner in Birmingham, England.  Beauty has been missing for 365 days.  The woman who took her was convicted of burglary (a five-year sentence) yesterday.

A Lazy Friday for Me

I have spent today idling about the apartment and at the public library.  When I got up, I checked my e-mail and found a message from Rosie and Remy's folks saying they were taking the red kids for a walk in the mountains this morning.  I admit I went back to bed for another 2 hours; then got up and answered the e-mail.  I loved and fed my kits, then wandered to the bakery and purchased an apricot danish for breakfast.  Got back home and let the kits outside to play.  But they wanted to stay near me, inside - so I sat on the sofa and read.  I went to the library at 10, when it opened, and came home with 11 new books to read.  I started to read one, and fell asleep, with Lovey in my lap and Nedi at my feet.  I didn't wake up again until almost 3 this afternoon, so I fixed scrambled eggs, toast, and sausage for an afternoon brunch.

I stopped by to fill Kathy in on some family things, but she was just too busy to have time to talk at Sunflower yesterday.  So I asked her to call me and came back home.  She called a little after 7, and I filled her in, and then went on to say that I was watching the British edition of Antiques Roadshow, and that I would highly recommend Person of Interest at 8 on CBS.  She watched  - and I was amazed when she called after the show to tell me how much she liked it.  We both missed the teaser for next week's episode because we were talking - but she hung up in time to see all of The Mentalist.  I watched a few minutes of it, then curled up with a book (and cats) in bed. 

And in Birmingham, England, a jury took five hours in deliberation to find a woman guilty of burglary.  The woman in question had separated from her husband three days previously. Her husband, John Hemming, a liberal Democrat MP, has had a relationship with Emily Cox, a researcher, since 2005.  Last September, closed circuit TV cameras show Christine Hemming crawling on her hands and knees below window sills at Emily Cox's home. She entered through the home's back door, and the CCTV cameras filmed her leaving  about three minutes later with a grey tabby kitten stashed under her arm.  Beauty, the kitten, has not been seen since. MP Hemming says that Twinkle, Beauty's brother still misses her, and searches the house several times daily, seeking his sister.  The accused says she has no idea how she came to be holding the kitten when she left.  She also said that she tried to place Beauty under and/or through the fence of a neighboring house when she realized she was carrying it.  Christine Hemming is now serving 5 years on a burglary sentence, for stealing the still-missing Beauty.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Missouri and Arkansas

Bluffs along the Big Piney River in Missouri

I-71 in the Ozark Mountains

A waterfall in the Ozarks

A barn in the Buffalo National River Park in Arkansas

Bye, Big Bob?

What to write about today.....  The acupuncturist visited Remy this morning, so I'll be walking him and Rosie about 2:30 this afternoon.  The cold front that was forecast came through; it's almost noon and it's not quite 60 degrees outside.    Mocha goes home with Coffeepot Sunday afternoon - then I'll head back to Sammie and Tuppurr, my charges until Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I head over to take care of Tessa, Lilly, Lyra, and Dhisana; and I'll be with Cloudy and Shady for Thanksgiving.  I need to double-check with the Snitmans to see if they still want me at Christmas for 10 days.  Lovey is curled up in the middle of my bed, Mocha is inside the foam kitty cube, and Nedi is sunning on the patio.

Since Chokie, my ex-neighbor, complained to the management about my feeding the birds and the squirrels, I have only put out a bit of nuts on cold and snowy days.  And I've made sure that I don't have food out that the raccoons can rummage for.  When I first moved in, there was one very large coon that had a bobbed tail that came by every night.  I called it Bob (very original, I know).  Three months later, I re-named her Bobbette, as she came through with two kits.  I called the kits Frankie and Bob.  Bobbette was around until the evil neighbor in building B started poisoning all the critters (including my Banichi); she disappeared.  I have assumed that either (a) the neighbor poisoned Bobbette, or (b), that Bobbette finally got hit by a car.  After several years of running through the backyard area on a nightly basis, I still call the kits Frankie and (Big) Bob.  They still climb up on my patio furniture and look in the windows, seeking a handout.  I still resist. 
This past Monday night, I was reading, as usual, and I heard three distinct pistol shots.  Since I didn't hear any police sirens afterwards, I convinced myself that it must have been something else that made the shot sounds.  (But I looked at my clock as soon as I heard the first and the two that followed were about 90 seconds apart.)  No ambulance sirens, no fire sirens, no police sirens.  I decided that I really was losing my mind.  Tuesday afternoon, a small write-up appeared in the local newspaper.  It was about a man who was dining late on the patio at the Millennium Harvest House Grill (which is directly east of me, with only the privacy fence and parking lot between us).  He stated that just before 10 p.m., he had been seated and while looking at the menu, realized that a very large raccoon was looking at him.  The raccoon wandered around nearby while the man ordered and awaited his food.  The raccoon did not seem to be afraid of people.  When the man was served his food, the raccoon reportedly climbed up the back of the man's chair and bit him on the back, "to make sure I got out of the way for him," the man said.  The manager of the grill was immediately  notified, and the raccoon was caught in a large metal trash can.  The police were called.  They arrived and shot the raccoon - hence the three shots I heard.  The coon's remains were sent to be tested for rabies.  I have the feeling that the test will come back negative  - and I haven't seen (nor heard) Frankie and Big Bob since.  I think that Big Bob's greediness finally caught up with him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Photos Tell the Story

Last month, photographer Jean-Francois Lagrot was visiting the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.  He took the following series of photos; they show a mother lion's indecision when her cub falls over the edge of a ravine and cannot climb back up the steep face.  Other lions from the pride join the mother, but seem to regard the cub's plight as something they cannot help with.  The mother finally goes down the ravine wall, circles underneath the cub, then grabs him by the scruff, and has to climb back up the wall herself.  The last shot is of mother and cub, well away from the ravine's edge.

Mom! I've fallen, and I can't get up!

Yep, he's stuck down there, fer sure.

Just a minute longer, son.  I'm coming.

Hope we can make it back up to the top...

Momma's pride and joy is safe.

I honestly have no idea whether the cub is a male or female - but it seems like it's always the boys of the species who get into trouble in some shape, factor or form...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mayan Ruins

The Observatory at Chichen Itza, Mexico
The bump in the photo is El Tigre, the second-highest pyramid at El Mirador in Guatemala

Mayan ruins at Tulum, Mexico

A small part of Tikal, Mexico

Ancient Aliens and Mayans?!?!

It's a beautiful day here in Boulder.  I've walked the Irish Setters (and we ran into Sophie, the Jack Russell terrier, 3 times during our shortened outing), gone to the bank, and the bus drivers that I bake for managed to get $100 slipped into my pocket - just to say "Thanks!" for their brownies and Berry Uglies.  Lovey is in the cat tree, watching Nedi play in the sprinkler in the back yard, while Mocha is stretched out in front of the refrigerator.  I need to take my recycling out, and go grocery shopping for all of us.  They started working on the 7 lanes of Arapahoe Avenue between Folsom and 28th Street yesterday - supposedly the work will take 6 months.  Right now, they have one lane closed in each direction...

I was disappointed that both the Broncos and the Redskins lost this week.  The Broncos are beset by injuries on both offense and defense; and I just wanted to see the Redskins pound Tony Romo and the Cowboys last night.  It didn't happen.  At least the Redskins scored a touch down; the Cowboys won with six field goals. - And, boy, did their center mess up - it was fun to see the ball bounce off Romo when it was snapped before he expected it!

I did have to laugh a bit when I saw the headline that the Mexican and Guatemalan governments are going to release certain secret information.  "Mexico will release codices, artifacts and significant documents with evidence of Mayan and extraterrestrial contact, and all of their information will be corroborated by archaeologists," said producer Raul Julia-Levy, son of actor Raul Julia.  In a release to TheWrap, Luis Augusto Garcia Rosado, the minister of tourism for the Mexican state of Campeche, said new evidence has emerged "of contact between the Mayans and extraterrestrials, supported by translations of certain codices, which the government has kept secure in underground vaults for some time."  He also spoke, in a phone conversation, of "landing pads in the jungle that are 3,000 years old."
Raul-Julia claims there is proof that the Mayans had intended to lead the planet for thousands of years, but were forced to escape after an invasion by "men of dark intentions," leaving behind evidence of an advanced race.  "The Mexican government is not making this statement on their own -- everything we say, we're going to back it up," he said. Revelations of the Mayans-2012 and Beyond is currently under production.  -  Shades of Erich von Daniken and Chariots of the Gods ! -

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Got to See Sarah and Jeremy!

Sarah and Jeremy arrived late last night, and drove immediately to Kathy's house to go to bed, after 12+ hours in their car.  I took the bus over to Kathy's this morning, and we spent the morning chatting around Kathy's dining room table and walking a bit in the neighborhood.  Kathy left at 9:30 to do her volunteer work at the Community Food Share, while I continued to get to know Jeremy better.  He's just as critter crazy as Sarah and I are - so he's definitely a super addition to the family.  They were not looking forward to another 8 hours in the car to get home to Wichita, but around 11:30, we left Kathy and Jim's to have brunch together.  (Where was Jim?  He was off flying the Piper Cub, so he would have enough flight hours to keep his pilot's license.)  So we hugged and laughed and said good-bye with full and satisfied tummies.  Since we were at IHOP, 2 blocks from my place, I just walked home - and as they drove by me on their way home to Kansas, and beeped and waved as they went past.  - I can't get over how much Sarah looks like her Dad.  There's no way he could ever have denied her parentage (not that he ever would have wanted to).

Since I spent the morning with Sarah and Jeremy, I didn't walk the red kids today; but I'll be there in the morning.  Lovey and Nedi have been quite clingy this afternoon - I don't know if it was because I was gone the whole morning, or if it was because I smelled like Suki, Boo, Mona and Shama when I got back home.  Mocha has come out for several bouts of loving - and my message to Coffeepot got through.  He called me twice (while I was gone) to see about picking Mocha up.  I'll have to leave a message for him, and let him set a time and day for Mocha to pick up Mocha so she can move back in with him.  I'll have her ready to go, with food.  She is a sweet darling little cat, but there just isn't enough room in this apartment for 3 kits - especially when one doesn't get along with the other two....  But Mocha will be back with her human.  And that's what matters.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Independence Pass & Utah Views

"The Narrows" on Highway 82 near the top of Independence Pass in Pitkin County, Colorado

A view of Independence Pass, Highway 82

Mount Timpanogos (11,750 ' elevation) in the Wasatch Range in Utah

Rock formation known as "The Devil's Postpile" in Utah

Area known as "The Blues" near Escalante National Monument, Utah

Wild mustangs at a water hole in Utah

The Pine Valley Mountains, as seen from St. George, Utah

Slow Sunday

I guess I'm mean....  I had hoped to see Alabama and LSU lose their games yesterday, but they didn't.  The majority of my teams won yesterday, with the exceptions of Colorado, Missouri and West Virginia.  Ah, well...   Today the Broncos play the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, and tomorrow night I'll be cheering for the Redskins and against the Cowboys.

We all had a pretty quiet day yesterday.  I read and watched football and played with the kits.  That means I need to clean and do laundry today. Yuck.   - But my cousin Sarah and her husband Jeremy are due to arrive tonight.  So I'm excited about that.  I don't know how long they plan on staying, but I hope to be able to take them to Ted's Montana Grill and feed them bison (or anything else they'd prefer), and let them try some of the local micro-brew beers.  They'll miss the Fall Festival, as it ends at 5 this afternoon - arts and crafts booths, free music (5 stages), and tons of things for children to do.  Of course Sarah and Jeremy are adults, and they don't have the girls with them, but they enjoy outdoorsy things, as well as museums.  I know; I'm blathering.  Mocha is on the sofa, Lovey is on the bed, and Nedi is in the sunshine on the patio.  I'm here at my desk, having had breakfast and taken my morning 5 mile walk.  We're having beautiful weather, but it might be a trifle warm tomorrow - the weather folks say it'll be 84.  Not much going on, so I'll just be quiet...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Albuquerque Snow Leopards

Mom Kachina with sons Kiran and Kalmali

One of the boys...

Widdle black toe-toes!


I watched two new TV shows this week - both on CBS - and enjoyed them.  I must admit that I liked Person of Interest better than A Gifted Man; I wasn't crazy about "Ghost Whisperer," and I have the feeling that my interest in A Gifted Man might well drift away quickly.  But Person of Interest has several little quirks written into it that will probably manage to keep my mind piqued.  We'll have to see.  -  And I was able to find pints of Schweddy Balls at Sunflower Farmers Market, where Kathy works.  Ummm-mmmmmm!  Tastes great!

The kits are all outside on the patio; Mocha is in a corner, under a chair, while Lovey and Nedi are sprawled out on the concrete in the sunshine.  I really love my kits.  They keep me going even when I get upset with the rest of the world.  Lovey has slept on top of me all week, and Nedi and spent quite a bit of time in bed with me, also.  Mocha gets her love on the sofa, and, occasionally, on the desk, when Lovey and Nedi are outside.  ....  Six of my colleges are having their games broadcast today, so I'll be enjoying myself watching football from just after lunch until almost midnight - what a way to relax!

Horse headlines haven't been great recently, other than reports of good prices at the yearling sales.  Rahy, a superior stallion at Three Chimneys Farm, has died.  ....  Awesome Again, the 17-year-old stallion at Adena Springs Farm, has just returned home from colic surgery earlier this month.  The vets say that his outlook is "cautiously optimistic."  ....  Banned, a handsome bay colt by Kitten's Joy, has recently won three graded stakes on the turf.  He went out to the track, worked a half-mile, and broke two sesamoids in his right ankle.  He is having surgery today, but the vets say he has only a 20% chance of surviving after the surgery.   ....  Tizway was the expected betting favorite for next week's Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday.  He has spiked a fever, and will not run.  Now, he's being trained specifically to race in the Breeders Cup.  ....  And a four-year-old filly was working in the early morning at Penn National Raceway earlier this month.  She broke down, shattering her foreleg.  She was immediately removed from the track via a horse ambulance.  But there was not a veterinarian anywhere near the race track.  The poor thing had to suffer for almost an hour until a vet arrived to put her to sleep.  Due to this, having a vet at the track any time horses are being worked is being looked into.  (Personally, I thought there was always a vet at the tracks.  I was definitely wrong.)  I feel for that poor filly....

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Should NOT Laugh, But ...

For the past two days, I meant to write about the fact that mountain lions are attacking and killing llamas and alpacas in neighboring Larimer County.  I got carried away by my enthusiasms for other topics.  The loss of a pet is heart breaking, and not something to make fun of.  I feel for the lady I'm going to mention, but the headline is another typo from The Denver Post....  A woman on the western slope, near one of the ski resorts, had her 14-year-old poodle-shih tzu mix killed and carried away by a mountain lion.  The lady had turned both of her dogs out for their before-bed relief, when she heard one dog yelp. Turning on her deck lights, she saw the pet clamped in the jaws of a mountain lion, who then jumped the fence with it's prey.  I do feel badly for the owner.  But the newspaper screwed up the headline by leaving a word out :  "Fresh mountain lion issued after Carbondale dog attack" reads the header.  They left out the word  "warning"....

Harper and Zenyatta

Harper, the puppy, dog paddling in hydrotherapy

Harper actually locomoting on the ground!

Zenyatta, 11 August 2011

No Schweddy Balls at Local Stores!

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by 5 different grocery stores that carry Ben & Jerry's ice cream here in Boulder.  Not a one had any Schweddy Balls; they were carrying Red Velvet Cake and several other new flavors, but no Schweddy Balls.  I was disappointed.  But then I stopped by the Ben & Jerry's Store on the Pearl Street Mall - and had a wonderful, delicious scoop of Schweddy Balls...  I enjoyed it very much.

In reading the news on-line today, I couldn't help but laugh...  A headline reads: "Loveland Man Bitten by Rapid Bat."  I am very sorry that the man was bitten by a bat - and by a rabid bat, at that - but, the typo made it hysterically funny to me.  The man was in his yard Tuesday night, and thought he heard or sensed a big moth nearby; a little later he thought he was bitten on the neck, behind his ear, by a mosquito.  The next day, his dog was tossing a dead bat around in the yard.  He took the bat in to be tested, and found out it was rabid, and found that his "mosquito bite" exactly matched the bats' teeth.  He is now undergoing that nasty, painful series of rabies shots.

Zenyatta is doing well at Lanes End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.  She is turned out with another maiden mare, Tasty Temptations - and her sides are beginning to show her pregnancy.  Yippee!!  ....  The Albuquerque Zoo has a new pair of twin boy snow leopard cubs; the mother is Kachina, and the boys are Kiran and Kalmala.  ....  And I fell in love with a poor little pit bull puppy in Florida this morning.  Her name is Harper and she is 11 weeks old.  She was born with swimmer puppy syndrome (or disorder) - her chest wall was flattened and had no muscle mass, so she could not hold her head up or even move - she was like a splayed frog.  Her breeder had put her in a trash bag and placed her in a dumpster.  A good Samaritan picked up the puppy and had it evaluated at a local Humane Society.  She was told the best thing to do was put the puppy to sleep.  She wanted the puppy to experience some love and caring before it died, so she took it home for the night.  She spent most of her time massaging the puppies' legs, neck and chest, and she was rewarded by the puppy holding it's head up to follow her with it's eyes.  It was the first time the puppy had done so in her short (8 week) life.  The good Samaritan then took the puppy to the UF Veterinary School in Gainesville the next day, instead of taking her to be killed.  The prognosis was not good - but Harper, the puppy, has surprised everyone.  She goes to hydrotherapy to swim and gets massaged each and every day - and she is now walking on her own, at the age of 11 weeks.  Three weeks ago she could not make any movement.  This little puppy, Harper, is a true scrapper - If I didn't have my cats and my pet-sitting business, I'd adopt her in a heartbeat!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A scoop of Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls ice cream

Jayheart, a tabby with mittens

A red husky puppy

Schweddy Balls? - They Sound Delicious!

Keith Olbermann made me laugh out loud last night during his "Worst Persons in the World" segment.  The gold medal winner yesterday was the American Family Association, a non-profit conservative Christian group, that promotes "traditional moral values" in the media.  They have called for activists to protest against a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor called Schweddy Balls.  Schweddy Balls is Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls.  Keith suggested that the AFA might be more happy with a flavor called "Rick Perry's Nuts."

It's beautiful here.  We were under a frost warning this morning, but the temperature didn't drop as low as expected.  We had lightning, thunder, and showers for 90  minutes last night - and the weather folks were sure we'd see frost this morning - but I only saw wet grass, sidewalks, and asphalt.  Rosie and Remy were great today.  We met a youngster named Kinsey, who is being trained to walk correctly with her new owner; and Kinsey just get soooo excited (but also afraid) when she sees other dogs.  Our paths crossed twice this morning, and I stopped and allowed her to sniff the red kids, who just completely ignored her.  This is helping with her confidence level when she meets other dogs out walking.  The first time we met her, she ran behind her walker's legs and did not want to expose herself to either me or the dogs.  Now she licks Remy's nose and bounces on Rosie.  It's fun to be able to help train younger dogs, as well as convince the red kids that all other dogs are not out to attack them.  ....   Mocha is laying on the floor in front of the 'fridge, while Lovey and Nedi are running in and out.  I'm enjoying the latest Charlie Moon mystery (based in Colorado), and after it, I have three new (for me) authors to try out.  I hope that I like them all.

This weekend, CU plays away, so I don't have to worry about crowds, nor about fans coming into the building looking for free bathroom usage.  The management allows people to park in our unused parking spaces (one of them is mine) and charges $25 per car for parking so close to the stadium.  That's well and good, and I realize it helps keep our costs down.  But then we have these people looking for bathrooms and wandering throughout the building.  There are no public restrooms here - just our laundry room, and a couple of drink vending machines.  But folks seem to think that if we allow them to park in our lot, and picnic and tailgate and party, then we should also allow them bathroom privileges inside.  -  Nope.  It don't work that way. (And, yes, I do know that my grammar wasn't correct for that sentence - but I don't care!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Mish-Mash of Thoughts

Rosie and Remy were absolutely super during their walk this morning - but Remy started barking as soon as he saw me, and I had to hasten through harnessing and getting out of the door, so that he would stop.  Other than that, everything was fine; we even increased our walking speed a bit today, as Remy was not showing any signs of soreness.  Both Lovey and Nedi slept on top of me last night - it got down to 43 degrees, and I had left the window slightly open for fresh air.  ...  It looks like Gibbs and his team will be hounding the steps of the Navy's "Watcher Fleet"  this season on NCIS.  I didn't like SecNav Jarvis when he was first introduced in the last episode last season, and I find him despicable after last night's season premiere.

In nearby Broomfield, a three-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote last evening.  It's the third attack on a child in less than 8 weeks.  Luckily, she escaped with punctures to her leg and knee only.  And Broomfield has already shot and killed 9 coyotes that they felt were too unafraid of humans.   ....  And I'd like to smack a 29-year-old acupuncturist and yoga teacher, who also hires herself out as a pet sitter.  She was hired to take care of a Chihuahua for 8 days, feeding, watering, playing with, and walking it 3 miles a day.  She did the "walking" by driving her car with the dog running beside it on a leash at 10 to 15 mph.  She was seen by several people, photos were taken, and the police were called.  When two citizens approached the person and commented negatively about her "walking" the dog in such a way, the woman claimed to have a gun in her car, and asked if the two citizens wanted to see it.  (She told police she felt "trapped" by the two ladies.)  She was arrested on animal cruelty charges and felony menacing, but is out on bail, and says she "can't wait to clear my name."  She told police that the owner knew that was how she walked the dog.  The owner claims differently, and says she is horrified to hear that her dog was drug by the collar down an asphalt street.  The Chihuahua in question has been examined by the Humane Society, and other than having minor cuts around it's neck, from the collar, it seems to be in good condition.

Congress was presented with a bill on September 19th to banish the slaughter of horses for human consumption here in the US.  The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was introduced by a Senator from Indiana, and has the backing of 56 co-sponsors.  The bill creates a fund of $5 million per year to enforce what I hope becomes law.   ....  Tropical Storm Lee  did some serious damage near Fultonham, New York - Leland Neff had 22 horses out in pasture when the flooding hit - all 22 horses (stallions, mares and foals, all racing bred thoroughbreds) are still missing after the August 28th flood waters hit their home pastures.  There are hopes that the horses survived the flood waters and are roaming free in a State Forest nearby.  ....  And the American Jockey Club has also announced that  the number of live foals born to thoroughbred mares declined by 13.5% in 2011, compared to 2010.  They also announced that they feel the down-trend will continue.  ....  However, the yearling sales in Kentucky, at Keeneland and by Fasig-Tipton, have produced much higher bidding than was expected.  Several youngsters sold for $1 million or more - including an A.P. Indy son that sold for $1.4 million.  The fall yearling sales in Kentucky will end on September 25.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chesapeake Bay and Black Caviar

It was fantastic outside while I was walking Rosie and Remy this morning.  The temperature was about 60 degrees, there was the faintest hint of a breeze, and the sky was almost cloudless.  It got up to 82 yesterday, and the weather folks say the high today will be around 70.  It's nice fall weather, that the NWS says will continue through the weekend.  My cousin Sarah is due here either Sunday night, or Monday - it depends on what route she and Jeremy will take, and how often they stop and look and take photos on the way here from Las Vegas.  I hope all the passes are clear, as I know she wanted to scatter her father's ashes at the top of Independence Pass.  It will be good to see blood relatives again.

The new season begins for NCIS tonight, so you can bet I'll be sitting in front of the TV, ready and waiting to see Mark Harmon and David McCallum.  Mocha is currently stretched out under Lovey's chair, Lovey is curled up at the foot of my bed, and Nedi is outside somewhere.  I read all of Revenger yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I need to go grocery shopping for myself and the cats today - I need Coca-Cola and munchies, and I need to get canned food and kitty litter for the kids (I bought crunchies yesterday).   ....  A very pretty mare named Black Caviar has been named Australia's Horse of the Year and Sprint Champion.  She is by Bel Esprit (a grandson of Nijinsky, by Northern Dancer) and out of the mare Helsinge (a great-grand daughter of Danzig, by Northern Dancer).  I've seen video of her, and she is beautiful in motion!  She is eligible to run in, and has qualified for, the Breeders Cup in November at Churchill Downs.  Whether or not she'll run in the US is the question.  She is 13 for 13, at age 5, and it has been announced that she will run at Royal Ascot during the 2012 season.
Black Caviar

There were several earthquakes last night in Guatemala, with no reports as yet on damages.  But the flooding from Hurricane Irene and TS Lee has done a lot of things to the Chesapeake Bay, where all the water returns.  More than two miles from the mouths of several rivers that flow into the Bay, the sediment levels cause a bright white disc to disappear at less than 4 inches under the water.  The scientist conducting these checks says he hasn't seen the water this muddy in his 15 years of experience.  All of the extra sand, mud, trees, housing timbers, asphalt pieces, etc.  have been washed down to the Bay.  Scientists are afraid that all the sediment will cover the bottom grasses, which will kill the fish and crabs in the shallow waters, and that it will also cover oyster beds, destroying them, as well.  Sandy Point State Park is a place I've driven past many times - it's right beside the Bay Bridge.  It has always looked pristine (except at the very end of the summer, when there is a little bit of trash scattered about) - this is what it looks like today:
Sandy Point State Park, Maryland

It will take quite some time for both the flooded towns, and the Chesapeake Bay, to recover from these two extremely wet storms.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Maturation of the Horse

Newly born foal - all legs

Yearling colt sired by Birdstone

Dearly Precious, a 2-year-old champion at age 3

Gun Power, a 12-year-old mature stallion, son of Unbridled

Happy Birthday, David McCallum!

It's currently in the mid-60s, and it's gloriously clear outside.  For the first time in almost a week, I can see the Indian Peaks - and they have added some snow to their crests since I last saw them.  I'm back at home until October, unless someone has an emergency; it's nice to be able to relax.  Lovey is stretched out in her chair; Mocha is on the sofa; and Nedi is laying in the open patio doorway.  I have my Pandora country station playing on the PC and I feel pretty good.  ....  The Tebow fan contingent of the Broncos got to see Tim play yesterday afternoon; not as quarterback, but as a wide receiver.  The Broncos are being decimated by injuries in both the offense and defense - and folks watching the pre-game warm ups thought that Tebow was out on the field as a lark, running patterns and receiving passes from both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn.  Coach Fox had to put him in as a wide receiver in the second quarter.  Orton never threw a pass to Tebow during the game, but Tebow ran his routes and did his blocking jobs.  (I had fun watching it....)  And the Broncos managed to hang on for a win against Cincinnati.

I had a wide-ranging variety of crushes on TV and movie stars as I was growing up.  But I generally liked the quiet, understated character actor - and not the really flamboyant guy.  When The Man from U.N.C.L.E. appeared on TV, I fell for David McCallum, not Robert Vaughn (who always seemed too slick and snide for my tastes).  I saw every movie that he was in, and tried to see every TV appearance.  I still do that, today.  But, of course, I get to see him almost weekly on NCIS now.  Today is his 78th birthday, according to his biography, although I've also seen a date that says he's 86 today.  I honestly don't care how old the man is.  I just know that I have enjoyed watching him act for almost 50 years - and I raise my glass to him in a toast, for the years of enjoyment he has brought me.  And I still snicker every time I think of a few lines from an NCIS episode:  Abby, the forensics specialist, says to Gibbs, "I wonder what Ducky [McCallum's character] looked like when he was younger...", and Gibbs says, "Illya Kuryakin."

Mother Nature still seems to be somewhat upset.  Besides the flooding in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and the drought and wildfires in Texas, Montana, Wyoming, and Michigan, she's kicking up her heels with earthquakes in Japan, Nepal, India, and a few tremblors along the New Mexico and Colorado border, as well as volcanic eruptions in Indonesia - Mount Tambora.  I think she needs a giant Alka-Seltzer...  or maybe a few maidens thrown into one of the calderas around the world.  

PETA has now delivered a list of complaints to Ocala Breeders Sales, Keeneland, and Fasig-Tipton regarding the sales of two-year-olds in training.  The young horses are shown under saddle, on the track, "working"  a short distance at high speed.  The times that the youngsters run are posted, so the possible buyers can see what the horse is capable of at that time.  This year, a horse broke down on the track at Keeneland, and, at OBS, another had a fatal heart attack (the aorta burst).  The people at PETA are saying that the running under saddle, in a timed event is detrimental to young horses, and they wish to have it eliminated from Sales meetings.  -  If you know me, you know that I am of two minds about horse racing.  I thoroughly enjoy seeing horses race - there's no question of that.  But...  A horse does not reach physical maturity until it is between 5 and 8 years of age.  I am still with the old school thinking that a horse shouldn't be ridden until it's at least three (or until it's knees have closed), and it shouldn't be raced until the age of four or five.  What "old school?"  The thinking of the original breeders of the thoroughbred race horse - back in the late 1600s - that old school.  I know that today's economics, and racing systems around the world, do not allow for that.  Younger horses have less bulk, and can move faster.  Breeders/owners are looking for track records and for big prize money.  It's a circular argument, and there is no end.  If racing were done just for the horses' benefit - there would be none.  But humans put their noses in it, and their money in it, and created the racing industry.  I do like the thrill of the races - but I wish the horses would be allowed to mature prior to their undergoing such strenuous regimens and actual racing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Variety

Buddies - canine and feline

A colorful mass of garden flowers

Rapid Redux, winning his 15th straight race.   Photo by JJ Zamaiko (from The Bloodhorse)

Crisp, Cool Morning

I had to wear a sweatshirt to the bus stop this morning in order to stay warm; it was 47 degrees out, and it took a while for the sun to start warming up the area.  My kits are out, playing in the crisp, sunlit morning.  I know I'll have to sweep the floor tonight - The grass was cut Friday, and it's just starting to dry out and stick to the kits' fur.  I had a great time watching college football yesterday - all but one of the teams I was rooting for won their contests.  There was a very brief period of hard, driving rain yesterday afternoon, but we had a lot of micro-bursts of wind.  I picked up quite a few branches this morning when I stepped out to retrieve the newspaper, and was happy not to find any injured squirrels or birds.  I did pause to take a second look at a set of muddy footprints that wandered along the drive - they belonged to a large raccoon (or a raccoon with very large feet...).  Maggie wasn't satisfied with sleeping with me last night - she wandered through the house, meowing, searching for her usual family, most of the night.  I'm happy for her that they will return this evening.

I just watched a very strange Old Spice commercial, where a man in a white captain's suit was walking along, constantly punching an octopus that was perched on his left shoulder.  It was weird.  I just hope that I don't see the new Fabian commercials for Old Spice - I might gag.  Nothing against Old Spice - my Dad wore it, and I grew up loving the scent...  But, please....  Fabian?  Old Spice?  - No. Please. 

I'm making brownies for my bus drivers this afternoon, while watching the Broncos play.  Tonight, before I leave the Barrera home, I'll stop by the Silverman-Portnoy home, to make my appearance at Nancy and Joel's Garden Party.  It's to show off the finally complete remodeling that began over a year ago.  If Rosie and Remy get too wound up, I'll probably take them back to the Barreras' or over to the Snows', until the party is done.  Both dogs want to be in the middle of things, and if Remy starts barking, it will impossible to get him to stop...  so I'll probably end up with the red kids in my care for a couple of hours.  ....  A five-year-old gelding, Rapid Redux, the son of Pleasantly Perfect, won the Hollywood Casino Stakes at Charles Town.  This was his 17th win in a row; he needs two more wins to equal the winning streak of Zenyatta.  (All in all, Rapid Redux has raced 37 times with 23 wins.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Views of Assateague Island Beach

Sea oats on a dune near the Virginia and Maryland state border

A lot of Assateague Island in Maryland is a true sand-bar-type barrier island

A tranquil sea laps Assateague Beach in February of 2010 (a Virginia view)

Assateague Beach Plans - Please Comment!

After agreeing to go out with the family to celebrate Jim's birthday a night early, a migraine attacked my left eye and temple.  I took meds and tried to cocoon myself in bed, but it got worse, so I had to call and cancel going out to dinner.  Then my tummy got upset - and it's still upset this morning.  I hate it when my whole body system decides to run amuck.   I spent last night with Miss Maggie May, and she slept at my feet.  She really does miss her "Mommy."  I keep telling her that Darcie will be back to love her Sunday night....   As soon as Lovey heard my key in the door this morning, she was talking at the top of her lungs.  I squeaked in through the door, and immediately picked her up and loved her, then Nedi, and then Mocha.  Then I fed them, opened the patio door, cleaned their potties, and gave them all fresh water.  They are all outside on the patio at the moment....

CU and CSU butt heads today at 11:30 in the Broncos' stadium in Denver.  UF is on CBS, and the Gamecocks are on ESPN2.  ....  A fan in Kentucky got ticked off that Coach Fox (of the Broncos) claimed not to have heard the chants of "Tebow" from the stands on Monday night.  He facebooked a bunch of buddies and raised $10,000 for two billboards in Denver, urging Fox to "Play Tebow!"  Fox claims he doesn't read billboards.  Tebow said he'd rather the fans give their money to a charity of their choice; and that he is content with Coach Fox's decisions.  Tebow said that he respects Coach Fox, and knows that he makes decisions for the good of the team as a whole.  He thanks the folks who support him, but said it's rather distracting when he's on the field and trying to learn the game that Fox coaches.

Ocean City, Maryland has certainly had a wild week.  They had a tornado run across 75th Street on Wednesday, and yesterday they had several water spouts, plus reports of two other tornadoes.  .... After Hurricane Irene redistributed the sands on Assateague, the US Government is looking for more citizen in-put on their long-term (General Management Plan) plans for Assateague and it's beaches.  Their plans may be seen, and commented upon, at:   The comment period has been extended to October 1, 2011.  If you have ever visited either the Maryland or Virginia section of Assateague Island, please give the government your thoughts on their future plans for this beautiful barrier island.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Willow disappeared in Broomfield, Colorado and was found 5 years later, and 1,600 miles away, in the Manhattan section of New York City, New York.


Well, the rain began around 7:30 last night - and it's grey and overcast this morning.  Both yesterday and today, the Flatirons are being hugged by low-level clouds, and one can't even see the top of Mount Sanitas.  I've been enjoying my time playing with the kits and giving them extra love - they are sweet things, if occasionally demanding.  Tomorrow is brother-in-law Jim's birthday, and I need to check with Kathy to see if there is anything planned for supper, or to celebrate.  I have a card and a gift-card for him.  I can drop them off tomorrow, when I walk the Rs, or I can give it to him if we go out to eat.  We'll see....   Nedi and Lovey are crouched about 4 feet apart, and are glaring at each other.  I don't know what they are up to.  Mocha is on the sofa, as usual.

Willow is a calico cat that was adopted from the Humane Society by a family in Broomfield 7 years ago.  Five years ago, during some remodeling of the house, Willow disappeared.  It was assumed that one of the contractors had let her out, and Broomfield was plastered with "Missing Cat" posters.  As you know, we do have predators out here - coyotes, cougars, dogs, motorized vehicles, etc.  After a year had gone by, the family gave up hope of getting Willow back.  This week, five years after her disappearance, Willow has shown up in Manhattan, down town New York City.  She was identified by her microchip, and her family here in Colorado was notified.  She'll be back home soon - even though her family has now moved to Boulder.  One of my friends doesn't like microchipping animals - she says it's like putting bar codes on humans - but my feeling is that microchipping allows some very happy reunions - and I'm definitely for it!  (And all of the Chincoteague ponies are microchipped for security and breeding purposes.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Boundary Waters Wilderness & Boulder

A small backwater cove in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

A view of the smoke from the BWCAW fire yesterday

The Mapleton Hill neighborhhood in Boulder, where I frequently walk

Books, Wildfires and Critters

It was 83 degrees at this time yesterday; it's now 55 degrees.  The kits are having a ball running in and out of the patio door, as it's not started to rain yet (as forecast) - even Mocha is going out onto the patio and playing in the grass.  Remy and Rosie went to see the groomers this morning, so I slept in.  Yes, Lovey actually let me sleep in until after 8 this morning.  She and Nedi were curled up in bed with me for most of the night, and I guess they were comfortable enough not to stir.  I got up, fed the kits, let them out, showered, dressed, and then went to the bank and the library, once I had re-secured the kits inside.  I found a new author that looks interesting - Rory Clements.  His first book is titled Martyr, and his second is RevengerMartyr, his first book, won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award - both books are set in Tudor England.  I'm looking forward to reading his books!

One of my favorite writers is William Kent Krueger, who has a mystery series with Cork O'Connor as the part Native American protagonist; the series is set in Minnesota and usually incorporates part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  I hadn't realized that a wildfire has been raging in the BWCAW area since August 18th.  The fire is still uncontrolled, and has burnt over 100,000 acres - or 156 square miles.  I have never been privileged to visit the Great Lakes region, but I feel awe for the Wilderness as Krueger describes it.  It is heart-breaking to realize that drought and lightning strikes are causing so much fire damage across our country.  We had a small wildfire start  Monday afternoon near the (abandoned) Blue Jay mine, close to Jamestown.  It's 95% contained, and firefighters and and rangers are hoping that today's (forecasted) rain will put it out completely.

It's cool and overcast out, and I just had to laugh, because even though the patio door is wide open, Lovey is asleep in her black chair, Nedi is asleep on the top of the cat tree, and Mocha is stretched out asleep on the sofa.  I'm the only thing awake in the apartment - other than the PC.  I guess I should spend the afternoon getting my fall wardrobe out, and seeing what needs to be washed again because I packed it up in a wrinkled state....  Supposedly, our high temperature tomorrow will be 65, and then it will range back into the 70s for the weekend.  -  Thank goodness the CU-CSU football  game will take place in Denver on Saturday, and not here in Boulder.  I'll be staying with Maggie May for the weekend, but at least I won't have to fight game-day traffic to see my kits and get back to Maggs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cliff Robertson & Andy Whitfield

Cliff Robertson (9 Sept. 1923 - 10 Sept. 2011) laughs with Harrison Ford in 2008

Andy Whitfield  (17 July 1972 - 11 Sept. 2011)