Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cats, Dogs, and TV

It's 48 degrees out, and though the wind is pretty steady at 30 mph, I was out in my sweater just a bit ago.  The patio door is open, as usual; Lovey is on the top of the cat tree, looking out.  Nedi is in search of squirrels he can play with.  My neighbor across the hall is moving upstairs to the east side of the building, to escape the heat and dust.  That means that Lovey won't be able to terrorize Mollie any longer, as Mollie will be on the floor above us.   ....   Ooch was his usual loving self this morning.  I kept telling him that his person will be home this evening, so he could relax.  ....  When I went out to the store this morning, the wind gusted and blew me up against the side of one of the buildings.  Remy was blown over by the wind the last time we walked when it was windy, so the red kids' walk was canceled early.
  I have invited VT and his lady, Brenda, to bring Jack over to play with Finn Sunday afternoon.  The weather forecast is good, so it looks like we'll be playing out in the sun.  Sunday is also Mike's birthday, so we will all get together for dinner at a restaurant of his choice and celebrate his 31st.  I'm not sure when Annie will get out of boot camp, but I'm pretty sure she won't be here for this celebration.  We're hoping that Sarah and Michael will be able to attend. 
  I was freaked out to hear the announcer on TV say (last night) to be sure to watch the "Season Finale" of  A Gifted Man this Friday night.  I think I've seen maybe 14 episodes of the show - and it's already time for the season finale?   Then there was a preview for Blue Bloods and I was amazed to see Justin Deas' wife as the special guest star that's making eyes at Tom Selleck. Thirty years ago, she and her hubby were playing Margot and Tom Hughes on As The World Turns.  ...  And I hadn't remembered that on Rawhide Gil Favor was a widower with two daughters being raised by his sister-in-law in Philadelphia, either....  I think I'm starting to lose what few un-sloshed brain cells I have!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eric Fleming

... as Gil Favor, who was based on a real trail boss, who kept a daily diary during an 1866 cattle drive.

Eric Fleming

When I arose this morning, it was nice and bright outside.  I thought, boy, the forecasters are really screwing up the weather reports....  since they said we'd awake to snow flurries today.  I went to the store, chatted with Jake, Renee, Jaimie, and VT.  I got back home, opened the patio door for the kits to run for a few minutes, and sat down to check my e-mail.  Within 15 minutes, I had to turn on the overhead lights, as it was getting darker, and not lighter, outside.  When I went to spend time with Ooch this morning, I stepped out the front door and into a snow flurry.  So the flurries arrived a little later than expected; they also said we might get rain this afternoon.  We'll see.  It's barely 32 degrees right now.  Lovey is currently sitting on the corner of my desk, while Nedi is on the patio, watching the squirrels.
   I posted the Snow family paternal web site yesterday, and then I did some investigating of Eric Fleming.  I don't know why he has grabbed my attention so tightly, especially since he died when I was 10.  Anyway, I found out that he was born in Santa Paula, California.  His father was an oil rigger and, according to Eric, he was "very sadistic."  When he was 8 years old, his father beat him with the buckle of a belt so badly that he couldn't get out of bed for two days.  Once he was recovered, he waited until his father was passed out in a living room chair, and attempted to shoot his father in the temple, point blank, with a revolver.  The gun misfired, but awoke his father.  Eric felt he had no choice other than to run for his life.  At the age of 8, he hopped a freight train and traveled throughout the west, ending up in Chicago.  He said he was always very big for his age; he was born with a club foot and spent the first 6 years of his life wearing a brace on one leg to make him walk "correctly."  He also commented many times on the fact that not only was he a huge, hulking kid, he was also extremely ugly, with a nose that was designed for a face twice the size of his.  In any event, he became a runner for street gangs and the mob in Chicago, and spent more than a year as a runner for an exclusive, high-end madame.  He was involved in a gang fight in Chicago when he was 12, which ended up with Eric in the hospital with multiple broken bones - arms, legs, ribs, and his nose.  When the hospital found he was a "run away," he was escorted back to California.  But the police who took him to his father's house saw how terrified the boy was, and took him to his mother's house instead.  (During his absence, his mother had left his father and filed for divorce, citing mental and physical cruelty; the divorce was granted.)  His attendance at school was very piece meal; he spoke English and Spanish fluently; but due to his size and looks, he frequently just skipped out.  He worked multiple jobs to  have spending money - including being a soda jerk, short order cook, and being a hod-carrier on construction sites (which meant he carried large baskets of brick and mortar from place to place).  At the age of 15, he told the Navy he was 17 or 18, and joined up with the Merchant Marines.  He had picked up carpentry skills as a hod-carrier, and he applied those skills to his current employment.  He left the Merchant Marines and joined the Seabees as a Master Carpenter.  It was in 1947 that he was adjusting a 200-pound block of steel, when it slipped and crushed his face.  When he first awoke after the accident, and was told what happened, he says he thought, "I've been ugly all my life.  This isn't terrible - unless I lose my eyes."  Miraculously, he did manage to keep both eyes - and the Seabees paid for 20 different facial surgeries.  He returned to California, and went back to work on construction projects.  A boss loaned him $15 to join the Union, and he was suddenly employed working on Hollywood sets.  That's when he became interested in acting.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Canines and Fur

A red and white Irish Setter discovers honeybees

A red and white Irish Setter in snow

An Irish Setter

I have to say that "the Furminator" really does this type of job on shedding dogs...


It's 48 degrees outside and clouds are building to the west.  Lovey is sitting on the corner of the desk, looking out onto the patio.  Nedi is out there, hoping to sucker a squirrel into coming close, so he can give chase.  It was pretty calm out this morning when I visited Ooch, then walked Rosie and Remy, and then groomed Oly, Annie and Bentley.  I had to remove my outer coat before I started to groom the kids, as it was getting warmer outside.  So I had on my red polartec fleece jacket/sweater when I started on the kids using "the Furminator" to remove loose hair.  It's now a light tan color.  Tomorrow I'll wash and dry it separately from the rest of my gear.  All I need to do tomorrow is give Ooch his morning visit; when I return I plan on doing laundry and making meatballs.  The winds have picked up this afternoon, and there was a 50 mph gust about an hour ago.  We have high wind warnings go into effect tomorrow through Wednesday, so I'll stay inside as much as possible.
   I was really saddened to hear, see, and read about the shootings at the high school in Ohio this morning.  I guess I was lucky in that I went from kindergarten through my senior year with about 85 other kids that I had known for all that time.  Certain friendships still remain, and are very tightly locked - others, I can remember names and faces - but I cannot grasp the idea of wanting to shoot any of my fellow students, nor any of the teachers.  There were a great many circles of friendship, many which over-lapped.  But even in high school, in a graduating class of almost 400, I never felt so alone or isolated that I wanted to strike out at my fellows.  One of my friends committed suicide in 10th grade, and I was terribly shocked.  I hadn't realized how despondent he was over the loss of his grandmother, and his brothers and sisters were just as shocked.  -  But taking another's life... that is something I just can not connect with.  I was miserable during my junior and senior high school years, but I would never have dreamed of hurting other people, or any living thing.  I really am worried about the younger generation, as a whole, that America is raising; they seem to be so completely isolated and unable to reach out and contact anyone for help.  They are tuned in, plugged in, and completely isolated by all their wiring and micro chips. It's frightening.
  I did learn a couple of interesting things from a gardening and birding buddy of mine.  I have always put out my dryer lint and excess cat hair for the birds to line their nests with.  I was informed that dog hair, feathers, and excelsior packing was a wonderful thing to place out for birds to use.  I had no idea that cat hair and lint hold moisture inside the nest, which is just what the birds do not want.  At least I'm continuing to learn, and my brain isn't going totally stagnant!  And, having groomed the 3 big kids today, I placed all the dog hair in a net and hung it in the back of Ooch's yard, since his yard is designated a bird sanctuary....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Critters - Again

A prize milk cow is readied for her portrait in the Netherlands.

A fox in suburban London, England

A "medicine hat" Gypsy Vanner


Speedy Taco is safe and sound, back at home with Jacky.  A couple of students in B building took him in, and managed not to see his "Lost" poster until yesterday.  They didn't try to call Jacky's number, which was also on his name tag.  So I'm guessing they really didn't interact with him much.  But he is home and safe, and that's what matters.  ...  Good old Ooch is his usual self.  I spent a couple of hours with him last night and again this morning.  At age 22, he's skinny and he doesn't clean his coat much - but his skin is also very thin and delicate now, so he just gets hand rubs and scissors get applied to any matted hair that happens.  He's still quite a talker, and loves to sit in your lap, with your hand resting lightly on him. ...  My kits are their usual selves - full of run, sass, and talk.  Nedi is starting to speak up more these days, and I sometimes can't get Lovey to stop talking.  But I brought it on myself; I started talking to them the moment I saw them at the Humane Society, and I frequently discuss any new situation with them, too.   I ask them questions, and both answer me more often than not.
  I have a full morning tomorrow - first, at least 90 minutes with Ooch, then walk Rosie and Remy for an hour, then bathe and groom Oly, Annie and Bentley. After that, I need to pick up my meds from the pharmacy, and return home to my babies.  Then I'll head back out for another session with Ooch before returning home to bed.  ...  Right now I have Burt Lancaster in Valdez Is Coming on the TV.  Lovey is curled up on the sofa, with her face turned towards the TV, but her eyes are shut, and she's listening to the keys of my keyboard.  I really don't know why she finds Rawhide so entrancing - is it the men's voices?  The music? The movement of the cattle and horses on the screen?  She seems to pay more attention when Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) is talking, so perhaps it's his voice?  - I have no idea.  But I know that Cyclone, one of my cats from long ago, loved to watch and listen to Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News.  One night, Mom was clearing the table, and stopped in front of Cyclone to listen to an interesting news item, and he bit her butt because she was blocking his view....  Does my talking to them make them more interested in the TV voices? I still don't know.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Colorado Views

Pointed at the sun

Painted Hand Pueblo, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Cortez, Colorado

Snowy cabin near Pikes Peak

Dogs, Hearts and Brains, and Rawhide

Thursday afternoon, a retired military man heard the sounds of dogs growling and fighting in his back yard.  He was surprised, as he has a 6-foot high fence to keep his German Shepherd, Max, in.  When he stepped out, a pit bull and a boxer were inside the yard, attacking Max. The man went, out, yelling, and managed to drag Max back inside the house.  He had his wife begin to call the neighbors to warn them, because the dogs and leapt the fence once Max was inside.  The man hurried to the front door and saw a woman walking two small dogs on the sidewalk.  He yelled a warning, but at the same time the two larger dogs attacked.  The smaller dogs slipped their collars and ran.  The boxer and pit bull attacked the woman.  The man grabbed his Smith & Wesson, and went to help the lady.  The pit bull immediately attacked him, and he killed it; then the boxer turned on him, he shot at it, but missed, and the dog ran.  The man has scratches; the woman had several bites that needed to be treated; her two small dogs were found, and one was treated at the vet's for bite injuries; Max had some scratches.  The boxer was caught, and the female owner is now facing felony charges for allowing violent dogs to roam.
  I read with sorrow a follow-up story on Dutch Prince Johan Friso, who was caught in an avalanche in Austria.  The original story did not carry the news that the Prince's heart had been stopped for 50 minutes prior to his resuscitation.  He is brain dead, and will never recover consciousness.  That is a horrible thing.  My husband stopped breathing at 5:23 a.m.; I performed CPR until the ambulance arrived 5 minutes later.  Then the EMTs did their thing - they shocked him several times, and kept up the CPR and bagging until he arrived at the hospital nearly 30 minutes later.  When I arrived, I was put into a mini-waiting room.  About 8 a.m., the MDs came to me and told me Jeff was dead.  Then they went on to say that almost an hour after his arrival, they had managed to re-start his heart, but it stopped again within 5 minutes.  I was aghast.  Having been without blood circulation for at least 90 minutes, Jeff's brain would have been gone.  If his heart had managed to continue beating, he would have been a body on life support, with absolutely no mind.  I am still upset when I think of it.  The one thing that neither he nor I wanted/want is to be in a vegetative state.  I feel for the Dutch Royal Family, and the hard decisions that will now have to be made by them.
  It's 30 degrees and sunny out - both kits have been laying on the patio, soaking up the rays.  Speedy Taco, my visitor of last Sunday, is still missing.  Rawhide is back on TV, and as soon as Lovey heard the introductory music, she shot back inside and is curled up on the sofa, watching the TV.  I wonder what it is that makes her want to watch every episode?  In the past week, I was introduced to Rowdy's supposedly dead father, and to Pete Nolan's adopted Cheyenne family.  And in one episode, Pete (Sheb Wooley, aka Ben Colder) actually sang several songs.  I've had a blast watching this series lately.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Remy is still not doing well - bony growths on his spine are pinching nerves and his spinal cord.  His sessions with the chiropractor and acupuncturist are not producing any relief.  He really wants to go out on a walk, but I'm making sure he doesn't stay out any longer than 20 minutes with me.  Watching him walk is painful, and I can only imagine what it costs him.  But he's a sweet boy, and doesn't want to be left behind, either.  Poor guy.  Nedi just came in, covered with snow melt, and showered the keyboard, monitor and me with teensy mud splatters.  There are muddy prints on the desk top from both him and Lovey...  I guess I'll mop up once I finish blogging.
 There was a terrible fire in a thoroughbred barn in southern Michigan Tuesday.  Twenty-seven horses were lost in the blaze, and one groom received burns.  The horses lost include three stallions currently standing at stud, as well as a mix of yearlings and 2-year-olds that were headed for the sales ring.  ...  This Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the Fountain of Youth Stakes will be run, and three of the top colts will appear - Union Rags, Algorithms, and Discreet Dancer.  Also on Sunday, 10-year-old Musketier will make his 2012 debut in the Mac Diarmida Stakes, covering 1 and 3/8 miles on the Turf.
  It's 28 degrees outside and there's still quite a breeze blowing...  Have a super weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Large And Small

It's nice to belong to a loving family.

Can't Prove It By Me...

Supposedly, we reached a high in the low 60s yesterday - but you can't prove it by me.  The wind became more blustery yesterday afternoon and evening than it was yesterday morning.  We had several recorded gusts of 88 mph, plus one of 93 mph last night.  The wind tore apart signage, knocked down trees, and took down power lines.  Several business trucks, shaped like the Fed-Ex and UPS trucks, were overturned and blown across the highways, as were the 18-wheel big rigs.  I was walking in the wind yesterday afternoon, and I needed my hat (tied under my chin) and my polartec fleece jacket.  Even with those I was cold when the wind was blowing...  The downed power lines caused two fires yesterday afternoon and evening.  Luckily, the fire companies were able to contain the blazes rather quickly; the one near IBM on the Diagonal Highway burnt about 15 acres of grassland, and the one near Lyons, in Stone Creek Canyon, burned over 50 acres - and 1300 homes had to be evacuated.  It was an interesting evening.  Jim said that their power had been out for several hours yesterday afternoon.  Mine went out sometime after midnight, and the power wasn't restored until 5:45 this morning.  During that time, the temperature dropped into the 20s and we got 3 inches of snow.  The kits and I were all snug and warm in our bed.  I know when the power came back on because my telephone suddenly clicked, and a male voice announced, "Answer on."
  The other day I referred to my Russian friend as Viti - it's actually VT.  His name is Vakhtang Kvartskhava, and I am happy to say that he takes his job as Security seriously.  While we were speaking yesterday, he broke off to go knock on the door of an RV that had parked in a far corner of the parking lot.  I didn't go too near, but I heard him say, "OK - but no more than two hours."  We resumed our walk back to my apartment.  As we arrived, the same RV pulled up into the apartment parking lot.  I laughed and told VT that our building guy would make him leave when he arrived at 9.  As I walked into the building, a scuzzy-looking man got out of the RV and followed me to the front door.  (I didn't know it, but VT had stopped and was watching him, because (he said) he just felt weird vibes from the guy.)  In any event, when I left to walk Remy and Rosie yesterday, the RV wasn't there, so I forgot about it.  This morning, VT told me that he followed me into the building, but came back out very quickly, with a woman chasing him.  VT hung around the corner to see what was going on.  The woman apparently called the police, and as soon as the RV driver saw their car, he drove back over to the shopping center parking lot.  Then he got out of the RV, left it parked, and walked back to my apartment building.  For some reason, the police ended up arresting him.  VT flagged them down, and asked about the RV.  The police said it wasn't their problem.  The problem was that there was a German Shepherd inside the RV, so VT had to call Animal Control and help them remove the dog before he could get it towed.  Then, as the RV was getting hooked up, a scrawny guy crawled out of one of the cabinets and asked VT for money, since he no longer had a place to stay....  In way way, I wish I could have seen it all, and, at the same time, I'm happy I didn't see it.
  So.  We're expecting a high of 32 today, and snow flurries continue to fall.  Longmont got a bare dusting of snow, while Denver has gotten over 6 inches of it.  Then we're supposed to warm up again until Sunday, when there's a chance for more snow.   ....   We'll see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carousel Critters


The wind is nasty today.  I have walked the red kids, but a gust of wind nearly knocked poor Remy over, so his walk was cut short.  We have had a recorded wind gust of 74 mph while I was out walking the Irish kids, and under our high wind warning, we are told the wind speed could reach 80 to 100 mph.  Once I went out this morning, I saw a notice on our Mail Box bulletin board.  It seems that Speedy Taco does not belong to Nancy, my sister's friend, who moved into A-116.  Speedy Taco is now an officially LOST cat.  I called the number and left a message saying he had been in my house about 6 p.m. on Sunday, but that I had put him back outside and had then closed the door.  I hope he hasn't become a step in the local food chain...  I hope he turns up soon.
  I've had 4 days and 3 nights booked to be spent with Finn and Skippy early next month, and I'm going to be off feeding and walking the Thore group both tonight and tomorrow night.  Ooch turned 22 last month, and I'll start taking care of him Saturday afternoon; he'll be "mine" until the 1st of March. With the wind blowing and swirling like mad, my kits are quite happy to be inside.  Lovey is curled up on the top of the cat tree, watching everything blow by in the back yard.  Nedi is curled up under the bed covers - he usually emerges after about 3 hours, and he's so warm and drowsy that it takes him at least 45 minutes to wake up completely.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras

A Mardi Gras mask

A typical Swedish or Finnish semla

Danish Fastelavnsboller (made for Mardi Gras)

It's Fat Tuesday!

In New Orleans, and all around the world, it's mardi gras, or Fat Tuesday.  It's usually called Shrove Tuesday in England and Ireland.  It is, essentially, a Catholic celebration, in which one is supposed to eat fattening foods because the season of Lent begins tomorrow, with ritual fasting, on Ash Wednesday.  In New Orleans, it used to be the time that cooks opened their larders and used every bit of sweet and fattening food they had - so it became Fat Tuesday, for the fattening foods.  Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition.
  In Sweden and Finland, it was, traditionally, the only day one baked semlor. Today, the Swedish-Finnish semla consists of a cardamom-spiced wheat bun which has its top cut off and insides scooped out, and is then filled with a mix of the scooped-out bread crumbs, milk and almond paste, topped with whipped cream. The cut-off top serves as a lid and is dusted with powdered sugar. Today it is often eaten on its own, with coffee or tea. Some people still eat it in a bowl of hot milk. In Finland, the bun is sometimes filled with raspberry jam instead of almond paste, and bakeries in Finland usually offer both versions. (Many bakeries distinguish between the two by decorating the traditional bun with almonds on top, whereas the jam-filled version has powdered sugar on top).
  The kits have been clamoring for attention all morning.  Lovey doesn't want to stop touching me, which makes it had to type and do research.  Nedi keeps coming over for pets and rubs and scratches.  Joel is walking the red kids today, so I don't need to go out.  I have been to the store and spoken with Viti, my Russian friend, this morning.  He's decided I'm his adopted American mother, and escorts me to and from the store.  I feel funny with my own personal security guard; but it's kind of nice.  He carries my groceries, holds my arm when crossing icy spots, and loves to speak to me of Russia.  He seems to be a very nice man, and today he showed me a photo of his girlfriend.  It's like getting a new kid to look after.

Monday, February 20, 2012

European Views

The aurora borealis above Kraknes, Norway

View of Balatonfured, Hungary and Lake Balaton

Sochi, Russia on the Black Sea, surrounded by mountains

Dogs, Cats And a Book

We just hit the freezing mark, and I'm back from walking Rosie and Remy.  The wind today is a killer - it was getting behind my glasses, and I frequently had tears running down my face because of it.  And today is only described as "breezy" - tomorrow and Wednesday it will be "windy."  As I walked up to the Silverman house this morning, I was bemused to see three work vans parked in front already. As I walked up the steps and onto the porch, I could see men re-plastering the almost circular wall across from the front door.  As I reached for my keys, I realized there was a note on the door - for me.  It read: "Betty, Please use the back door today."  By the time I read that, Rosie had heard me, and was dancing all around, and ended up giving the wall several brushes with her tail.  When I got to the back door, I had to hold her while Joel cleaned all the wet plaster off her plume; it looked like it had been streaked with blond highlights.   Remy still isn't his normal self, so we took a short walk around the block for him.  Then we returned, gave treats, left Remy behind, and Rosie and I went out and walked and jogged for another 40 minutes.
  I have not seen my cats at such a loss as they were last night.  I had opened the door for Nedi and Lovey to run in and out, and it was dusk.  I came back to the desk and started researching.  I heard a hiss, and then another.  I figured it was just Lovey hissing at Nedi to let him know she was tired of being chased.  But the hissing continued.  I looked up, and Lovey was on the top of the cat tree.  Nedi was hissing in the direction of my feet.  I looked down and discovered a white cat with grey tabby splotches, and a collar, was under my desk.  The new cat boldly walked about the apartment, just totally ignoring both of my cats.  The cat's name tag read "Speedy Taco", so I picked him up, and he rubbed all over me.  I took him out onto the patio, set him down, and came back inside, closing the patio door behind me.  Lovey and Nedi spent the next 90 minutes carefully sniffing anything and everything that Speedy Taco had touched.  I don't think that Lovey and Nedi have ever encountered  another cat that completely ignored their presence.  It was an interesting experience.
  I am reading a very good novel that my niece gave me for Christmas. The title is The Book of Fathers and is written by Miklos Vamos, a Hungarian author.  It is extremely absorbing and very interesting.  It covers twelve generations of men in one family, covering a 400 year time span in Hungary's history.  It is full of ideas regarding music, nationality, astrology, Judaism, and a very interesting, almost looped, actual time relationship.  I can highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to step back and take a different viewpoint of life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pups At Play

Umm... One of these things is not like the others

This 'n' That

We have partly cloudy skies this morning, and it's already 30 degrees outside.  But... the temperature is supposed to drop this afternoon, and the weather folks are saying we'll have snow tonight and/or tomorrow morning.  Not a lot of snow - just an inch or so.  My kits are sitting on the patio in the sunshine right now - I've got the patio door cracked open, as usual.  The previous snows have melted down to the point that about half of the ground and grass in the back yard is visible, and both Nedi and Lovey are having a blast, digging in the mud.  Then they run back inside and leave muddy paw prints on my desk and my chest.  Sasquatch and Tugger's owners are both ill, and have decided to stay at home, so all I have to do today is take care of myself and the kits.  (And I'll continue on the Snow family double-check - I'm finally working on the Ts, so I hope to start the Sanborn family next week.)
  Axel Wessell wrestled in the State Championships this weekend.  He is a junior at Boulder High, and had a severe shoulder injury and surgery about 18 months ago.  His MDs told him he'd never be able to compete again.  Last night Axel lost his match - and ended up as the # 2 wrestler in the state in the 182 pound class.  His opponent was a senior, who has been undefeated this year.  Axel said that this year was good practice for next year, and he's already looking forward to the next season.  (His folks own the house and have Oly, Annie, and Bentley, which is where I've been the past few days.)
  I have an old Samsung TV - it's a flat screen, but it has the old "box case" behind it.  I get a wonderful picture, and have no complaints.  I've been staying at houses with large screen TVs, and TVs that are supposedly "high definition."  Until this past Thursday night, I've never really managed to see a difference in image quality.  I was watching Person of Interest, and I suddenly realized that the image was so clear that I felt I could reach out my hand and touch the characters on screen.  It was an enlightening and humbling experience.  Now I want a high definition TV - but I simply can't justify the expense, since my current TV works so well.  Last night I saw a different episode of Person of Interest and NCIS: Los Angeles on that high-def Samsung screen again.  I guess I have something to save for besides a trip to Chincoteague!
  I start walking the red kids again tomorrow.  It'll be nice to see Rosie and Remy and see their "happiness dance" (a version of Snoopy's) when I arrive in the morning.  I also need to check and see how Remy's back is doing, and if he is still on short walks, with Rosie getting a longer solitary one.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dog and Cats


Dirty toes


Dog Show in Denver

Once again, it's 25 degrees outside.  I have the patio door cracked open so my kits can run in and out, and Rawhide is on TV again.  Today's episode included June Lockhart and DeForrest Kelley as guest actors. The Denver AKC Dog Show is running through Monday, the 20th.  It's sponsored by the Colorado Kennel Club, the Plum Creek Kennel Club, and the Peak to Peak Working Dog Association.  Besides the normal judging classes, there are also loads of vendors, catering to the canine set.  The Show is taking place at the National Western Complex in Denver/Commerce City.
  Black Caviar won her 19th straight race yesterday in Australia.  Some sports writers are calling her a "freak" because she has recently been running frequently, but is still blowing away all of her competitors.  ....  The explosion of the equine hyperbaric chamber in Ocala has been determined to have been caused by the horse in the chamber.  It had metal shoes on, but the folks there said that since there was an insulating material on the inside of the chamber, the horse did not need to be barefoot, have the shoes covered with plastic tape, or wearing Easy-boots.  The horse became upset 20 minutes into the procedure, and began kicking the sides of the chamber.  It removed the insulating material with the first kick, and sparks began to fly with each ensuing kick.  There is still conflicting testimony as to whether the horse was given a sedative before the procedure; some say yes, others say no.
  Kyle Dyer, the local TV personality/reporter, who was bitten by Max, the Argentine Mastiff, placed the following on her Facebook page: “After a 4 hour surgery, I have 70 stitches in my upper lip, lower lip and nose,” Dyer wrote. “I am unable to talk because my mouth is stitched shut to allow for the skin graft to take and get the blood circulating in my lips again.”  She goes on to thank all of her fans and friends who have sent her well-wishes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shark Eating Shark

This is the head of the shark known as a tasseled wobbegong in Australia - the eyes are located slightly below and inwards from the larger two white spots

This is a tasseled wobbegong eating a brown striped bamboo shark whole - most sharks can dislocate their jaws in order to swallow large prey

Another view of a tasseled wobbegong; you can see how it also got the name "carpet shark."

Looking Forward

I awoke this morning, dreaming that a hot comb was being pressed into my scalp.  It wasn't a comb - it was Oly's teeth.  She had gotten in bed with me and was grooming my hair.  I've been licked by large dogs many times in the past - but this was the first time I've had one groom me.  I had put the kids in the doggie room last night, which has a pocket door; I guess I didn't close it completely, because when I awoke, Oly was in bed with me and Annie and Bentley were on either side of the bed.  Their owner said they like to lay on the velvet sofa when they are unsupervised, but I think they were looking for company and know that I'm a "soft touch."
  Yesterday, as I was packing to leave, Lovey saw me put my alarm clock in the bag, and immediately came and sat on my left shoulder, talking away about how I shouldn't leave her.  It was a little difficult to grab and pack the other items I needed, but I managed to accomplish it, without making Lovey dismount.  When I got home this morning, both Nedi and Lovey greeted me at the door, ate like they were starved, and then went out to play.  It's not yet above freezing, but the sun is shining, and we're expecting snow again either Sunday or Monday evening - depending on how fast a front moves.
  I was very happy to read that Allegiant Airlines is now flying a direct route between Orlando, Florida, and Salisbury, Maryland now.  It only flies twice a week, currently, but it's nice to know there's now a direct flight to Salisbury (it's the closest airport to Chincoteague Island - other than the NOAA station at Wallops and the old NAS Chincoteague airstrip).   ....  And I was sorry to read that Dutch Prince Johan Friso (the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands) was caught in an avalanche in Austria, and is now in stable, but critical, condition in a nearby hospital.  The Prince was buried by the snow, and was resuscitated by rescuers.  Johan Friso is not in line for the Dutch throne.
  The 2012 Summer Olympics are in London, England this year, and the Opening Night Ceremony will be shown live on Friday, July 27.  The equestrian events will be held at Greenwich Park, almost 200 acres of green space in southeast London.  One has fine views of the River Thames, the Isle of Dogs, and the City of London from higher points in the park. The park stretches along a hillside and is on two levels. The lower level (closest to the Museum, Queen's House and, beyond them, the Thames) lies to the north; after a steep walk uphill, there is a flat expanse that is, essentially, an enclosed extension of the plateau of Blackheath.  Roughly in the centre, on the top of the hill, is the Royal Observatory, where Greenwich Mean Time is measured. To the north is the National Maritime Museum and Queen's House, and beyond those Greenwich Hospital. To the east is Vanbrugh Castle. To the south is Blackheath and in the south western corner is the Ranger's House, looking out over the heath.  (And, yes, I've been there.)
  The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, on the Black Sea.  The citizens voted for a total of three mascots, one associated with each type of medal; they are the polar bear, the winter hare, and the snow leopard.  One will probably also see a snowflake and a golden ray of light used in association with the Winter Games.  I have made a new friend, who grew up in Sochi, and I look forward to hearing more about this city and it's people.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Did You See?

Achilles, the Broomfield ceiling kit

Four new teeny, tiny chameleons have been discovered in Madagascar.  This is an adult Brookesia micra standing on a match head. The photo below is a juvenile of the same species on a fingernail...
Aren't they amazing?

Horse, Cat, and Neighborhood News

It's once again 25 and sunny outside - the kits are running in and out, and I'll need to close the door soon, as it's getting chilly at my desk.  Nedi got a wild hair about 5:30 this morning, first, running through the apartment and tipping over the water bowl.  He ran several routes, then got Lovey involved in the running, and finally jumped on top of her, so the fur flew, very briefly.  Just as I was about to return to sleep, Nedi sat down by the water bowl, and started tipping it on its' side, sloshing the water everywhere.  When I got up, an hour later, I had to mop the floor because there was a giant lake on the tile.  ...  I'll be moving into Oly, Annie and Bentley's place late this afternoon, as their Mom says she is definitely staying overnight.
  For the first time ever, the 2012 American Youth Horse Council's annual symposium will be in Virginia.  The event is set for March 23-25 in Herndon and three members of the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team will be making their appearance at this national event. On Saturday afternoon, three special workshops and events are held as part of the symposium and one of those events is a special breed demonstration. And the breed that is featured this year, for the first time ever, is the Chincoteague pony.  The three ponies that will be shown include two wild-born ponies that made the swim over from Assateague before being purchased, and a black and white mare that has one blue and one brown eye.  She is a direct descendant of Misty, and her sire was Cezanne.
  Spread the word to all the kitty faithful, Achilles the cat is free. Employees at the Denver Air Center, a ground services provider for private pilots at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, are reporting today that Achilles, the young Bengal cat that this week spent more than a day and half stuck in the business's ceiling, has been safely coaxed out of hiding.  He came in on a private flight, and while his owner was using the restroom, she turned Achilles loose - not realizing that a ceiling tile was missing, due to repair.  Achilles leapt up, and disappeared into the ceiling.  His owner had to leave him behind, due to business.  Food, water, and a litter box were supplied for the youngster, first on the floor, then in the ceiling.  A new plate of tuna was placed out for him, and during the night, he came down and feasted - and decided to stay down.  The owner's relatives have already taken Achilles home, to stay until a return flight to California is arranged.
  And, locally -  An advisory group decided Wednesday night not to recommend a plan to build a bike path along Fourmile Canyon Creek in north Boulder amid concerns from nearby residents that the path would affect the environment and character of the neighborhood.  A measure to move forward the city staff's recommendation for the bike path failed before the Boulder Greenways Advisory Committee. The group suggested the city look into other possibilities in the future, such as paving an existing path nearby that connects Sumac Avenue to Riverside Lane.  The City Council is expected to take up the issue in March.
The recommended path would have connected 19th and 22nd streets between Tamarack Avenue and Riverside Lane, providing a bike route for students of nearby Crest View Elementary, 1897 Sumac Ave.  The board looked at four alternatives for helping connect 19th and 22nd streets. Two involved multi-use paths along the creek -- one concrete and one crushed gravel -- while the other two involved sidewalks along either Tamarack Avenue or Riverside Lane.
The city staff recommended a concrete bike path 10 feet wide for cyclists and pedestrians. They said the creek path would help provide a path for students who live in the area to bike to nearby Crest View Elementary without using the streets. (See: )
  Fourmile Creek is the seasonal creek that runs through Githens' Acres, the area where I do  most of my house-sitting and pet-walking.  The traffic is sparse enough that I walk Rosie and Remy in the middle of the streets (there are no streetlights, sidewalks, or bike paths in the residential areas), and only occasionally do I need to "curb them", so a vehicle can pass by.  And the neighborhoods were built piece-meal, with no true over all plan, so that the streets funnel all the wildlife traffic directly through the area that the city wants to make a 10-foot wide cement strip through....   I am so happy that the advisory committee decided not to endorse the City's plan!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


This momma duck has at least one nest of babies each year at the Canberra Memorial for War Dead

Two buddies in a China zoo - a doe and a ram

Snowy owls at a zoo in Gemany - the one on the right looks the way I feel this morning, slightly goofy

Dog "News"

In the final three Groups last night at Westminster, Emily, a 4-year-old Irish Setter (whose last litter consisted of 15 puppies) won the Sporting section; a black Doberman Pinscher won the Working Group; and a Kerry Blue Terrier was awarded the best Terrier.  The Best of all seven Groups then competed, under a new judge, for Best in Show.  The seven breeds were: Wire-Haired Dachshund, Pekingese, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Irish Setter, Doberman Pinscher, and Kerry Blue Terrier.  The spectators were very excited, as there had never been a Dalamatian in contention for Best in Show in the past 135 years.  Malachy, the Pekingese, won Best in Show last night.
  In Philadelphia yesterday, a 27-year-old man shot and killed a 47-year-old neighbor because the older neighbor allowed his two dogs, a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua, to run free and poop in his neighbors' yards.  Apparently the younger man "just snapped", and then stood in shock, looking at the body of his dead neighbor.  Police report there had been several complaints lodged against the dog owner.
  In Plantation, Florida, a man "did not feel safe" and has had three Pit Bull dogs "to protect his property"  for several years.  The man's 84-year-old mother lives with him, and they keep four more Pit Bulls for friends.  The police say that the house has huge fences and multiple signs warning of the dogs.  Last night, several of the dogs attacked each other, and the mother went into the melee, trying to break it up.  She was knocked down by one of the dogs, and the dogs were approaching the son/owner.  He shot a pistol in the general area of the dogs, and shot his mother in the leg.  He claims that he discharged the weapon in self-defense, and that his mother was shot accidentally.  Currently, no charges are pending.
  It's in the mid-20s and a very fine, ice crystal-type snow is falling.  The kits have been out and played in it, but they both returned inside quickly, to warm up their toes.  Remy's back is giving him a great deal of trouble - I'm only taking him around the block, and then going out for longer walks with Rosie.  Last night I visited, fed, and walked Tessa, and her three kitty companions, Lilly, Lyra, and Dhysana.  I'll feed those four again tonight.  Tomorrow through Saturday, I'll be with Oly, Annie, and Bentley; possibly over-night, possibly for just a few hours each day.  The time will depend upon the owner and whether she decides to stay overnight at her son's wrestling tournament...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aussie Birds

The common koel

The cassowary

The kookaburra

Westminster Best of Group (So Far)

I enjoyed watching the Westminster Dog Show last night...  and I was particularly pleased with 2 of the 4 Group Winners last night.  I loved the fact that the Wire Haired Dachshund won the Hound Group, and that the Dalmation won the Non-Sporting Group.  A Pekingese won the Toy Group, and a German Shepherd won the Herding Group.  Tonight, decisions will be made for the Sporting, Working, and Terrier Groups.  Then the top seven dogs will face off in the Best in Show Class.  There were six new breeds shown this year at Westminster - the American English Coonhound (in the Hounds, of course), the Cesky Terrier (in the Terriers), the Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Finnish Lapphund (in the Herding Group), and the Norwegian Lundehund and the Xoloitzcuintli (shoh-loh-eets-KWEEN'-tlee), formerly known as the Mexican hairless (in the Non-Sporting Group). Individuals of the last breed are called a "show low" for short, so we Americans won't be tripping all over our tongues.  I have to admit I like the Lundehund best of the new breeds; it's also known as the Puffin Dog.  It spent centuries on the rocky cliffs and high fields of arctic Norway hunting and retrieving puffin birds, an important meat and feather crop to local farmers. Uniquely equipped for their task, this little Spitz-type dog has at least six toes on each foot for stability in the near vertical environs where puffins nest. A flexible skeletal structure enables the dog to squirm out of tight spots or spread-eagle to prevent slips and falls. Lundehunds have a protective double coat, reddish-brown, often with white collar and feet and a white tip on the tail. Today puffin birds are protected and the puffin dog has taken up its new role as an alert, cheerful and somewhat mischievous companion.
  Also, if you live in or near Boulder, don't forget that today you can adopt any cat or kitten from the Boulder Valley Humane Society for absolutely free....  You may view the selection available at: 
   It's nice and warm again today.  The snow has compacted to a depth of two to four inches, and it has a nice crust on it.  The squirrels and birds can walk across it without any problems, but my kits crunch through the surface.  I received two Valentines today, the first ones since my husband died.  It was nice.  ..... But I also got ticked off because someone, this morning, stole my multi-colored heart that had been hanging on my door for this month's decoration.  It hadn't been touched since the first of the month - and it was there when I walked over to the store to purchase eggs this morning.  But it was gone when I returned.  Someone is a grinch, somewhere nearby....

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Forgot! Westminster Dog Show and Free Cats and Kittens

I guess my fingers and brain get going down one certain path and just numb my memory. the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is being broadcast LIVE tonight and tomorrow night on the USA Network, followed by coverage on CNBC.  And, throughout tomorrow, our local Boulder Valley Humane Society had Free Adoptions of all cats and kittens for a Furry Valentine.  All cats and kittens have current vaccinations, are spayed or neutered, have micro-chips, and are very loveable...

Down Under Critters

A pair of napping Tasmanian Devils

A tree kangaroo

The platypus, too, of course

Brownies and Laughter

Gee, it's above freezing - actually, it's 37 degrees outside and the sun is shining.  The snow is still melting and evaporating away (there are still 5 inches in the back yard); and the weather folks are calling for partly sunny skies until the weekend, with highs in the upper-30s and low-40s.  I've got a head-cold, but am otherwise OK.  I handed out 20 packages of brownies this morning - and I only missed one person that I'm aware of.  And last night, after I went to bed, I was reading and I ended up laughing out loud - a huge belly laugh - sometime after midnight.  Lovey sat up from her position on my knees and gave me a dirty look, while Nedi came to investigate.  It was the description of a poor sea-sick man in extremely rough seas, below decks with quite a few people, and a loose crate of chickens that kept sliding, as the ship was tossed (this was in 1760).  In any event, I easily identified with the nauseated character, and having groaned a few times in commiseration, I ended up laughing when he fell onto the chicken crate, which broke, and the ensuing havoc the chickens caused in the cabin.  It was hysterical.
  And, I have to ask others, did I miss out on knowing something?  I had no idea that actor Eric Fleming had a completely "rebuilt" face - I always thought that his skin looked tight and stretched on his face, but I had no idea that he had a 200-pound lead weight smash into his face while he was working with the Seabees in World War II.  Of course, he had multiple reconstructive surgeries....  so now I wonder what Edward Heddy looked like before his accident and his taking the name Eric Fleming.  I always loved him on Rawhide and in The Glass-Bottom Boat - and he was one of Mom's favorite actors.  And I guess the circumstances of his death are still a mystery, too - he went out of a canoe just before extremely rocky rapids on a river in Peru.  He was due to be married in two days, and filming had been going well.  One of the photographers said that he "dove" into the rocks....  All I know is that Mom was devastated when it was announced he was dead.   (And I think they didn't find his body until two days later?....   Guess I need to read up on it.)
  Not much else going on here.  I am sorry that Whitney Houston passed away at the age of 48, but I am already tired of hearing about it.  Last night, I checked the "Entertainment News" section before going to bed, and all 10 headlines had her name in them.  It's overkill, as usual, with the press.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sledding and Critters

Folks with sleds and inner tubes head up one of the sledding hills at Chautauqua Park, here in Boulder.

Both Annie and Oly's tails are larger in circumference than my wrist...

This is a sika deer (or Japanese elk) doe... does she really look like this...
Bay pony mare, who was shot and killed by a hunter?

Cold, Singing, and Punishment

It didn't get above 13 degrees yesterday - and it's 10 outside, at the moment.  I just called Nedi back inside and closed the patio door because I was getting cold; Lovey had been inside for quite a while.  At least the sun is shining, and there's no more snow in the forecast until Wednesday.  I had to laugh at the today's weather page for Boulder - it's 10 degrees outside, and the weather page reads: "High: 34, Low: 29."  I realize that the 29 is tonight's forecasted low, but it just strikes me funny....   Just like the signs in the Mental Health Center for the Schizophrenic Group meetings that begin by saying: "You are not alone..." - It just makes me laugh.
  I made brownies while taking care of Oly, Annie and Bentley yesterday; and at the same time, the musical, Oklahoma!, was playing.  I generally just lip-synched with all the songs, until the rousing, full chorus finale of the song "Oklahoma!", when I let loose and sang along, as loud and as best I could...  I have to admit it set all the dogs off.  First they barked and then they howled, and I let all of them outside (still singing), and the dogs all split up and ran up and down the fence lines, barking.  I guess I shouldn't do that to the dogs again.  Ooops.  I know that Lovey and Nedi think it's peculiar when I sing along with things, so maybe my tune carrying skills aren't what they used to be....  Oh, well; I enjoy singing, and I try not to disturb neighbors.
  Last year, during the sika deer hunt on the north end of Assateague Island (in Maryland), a man in his 20s, along with his father, came back to the station, and showed their tagged deer.  (This was hunting with a rifle, not bow-hunting.)  They asked the ranger an odd question - had anyone ever shot a pony, and, if so, what was the penalty?  The next day, a 28-year-old bay mare was found dead, having been shot through the lungs and heart.  The ranger remembered the men and their question; the men were questioned and released after denying any knowledge of the event.  This past Friday, the two were sentenced for killing a protected wild animal, for lying to the rangers, for lying in their original depositions to the court, and for trying to cover up a felony.  They are now both banned from hunting on any government-owned land; they each have to serve 1,600 hours of community service; the son who shot the mare must pay a $3,000 fine, and his father, who helped in the cover-up, must pay $2,000.  Both men agree the ban from hunting on government lands make sense.  But both of them object to the hours of public service, and both strongly object to the fines.  They say they will appeal.  I hope they lose their appeal, and have the added court costs added to their original fines.
  I just finished reading the latest Judge Deborah Knott book by Margaret Maron, Three-Day Town, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I started on Diana Gabaldon's The Scottish Prisoner last night....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Miscellaneous 2

Peter Breck (left) and Pernell Roberts in a Big Valley episode

Black Caviar, unbeaten in 18 straight races

An equine hyperbaric chamber