Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Fall Foliage in Colorado

The leaves are changing colors, and snow has fallen in high areas...

Berthoud Pass, yesterday

Eldorado Canyon State Park, just south of Boulder

Summit County, yesterday

Southwest Colorado, near Durango

Near Steamboat Springs,Thursday

Valley of colors, near Vail

Odds And Ends of Thoughts

I was amazed that I actually got a lot of cleaning done yesterday - I watched the Gamecocks, the Gators, and the Buckeyes play and win, and I listened to the Buffs lose.  But I also sorted through a bunch of things, and sent a lot of stuff to recycling, and had a huge pile of donations for the local ARC, Thrift, and Humane Society shops.  It felt good.  It was also chilly all day, and the kits and I spent a lot of time cuddling.  Lovey has been behaving herself, so I was a bit upset to have to call her in this morning because she was raising Cain on the neighbor's patio.  Her tail looked like a black-bristled bottle brush, instead of the normal black and white striped sea snake.  And while I was trying to take my meds this morning, Nedi came onto the desk and laid down on top of all 5 pills.  When he finally left, after a lot of petting and chin scratching and loving, he managed to take the two Aleve capsules with him... so I had to chase him down and pull them out of his fur.  As much as I love my kits, I didn't take those two capsules - they went into the trash, since there was so much black fur stuck to them.
  My nephew and niece are enjoying their honeymoon in Ireland, and have traveled from Dublin to Cork, where they both kissed the Blarney Stone.  Personally, I'd like to kiss the Blarney Stone, also - but I somehow don't think that it's really necessary, in my case.  I'm missing horses, so I've been looking for local shows to attend, but the closest ones are in Parker, and that's a bit far.  I was very excited to see that the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show was being held in Oklahoma City - I had looked up the weeks' events on their website calendar.  I found that the Show was taking place about a mile from my hotel, so I really got revved up...  Then I realized that the opening day of the show was the day after I depart the City.  I felt crushed - but there is still so much to see and do, that I could stay busy for 3 weeks, without seeing everything worthwhile.
  The flood clean up is still going apace here in Colorado and Boulder - at Crest View Elementary School, two blocks south of the Waldorf Pre-School and Kindergarten, people have been working around the clock for the past two weeks. Crest View had 90% of the school buildings flood, at four different times and at varying levels, during the high waters.  It's been amazing to watch the pros go in and clean up the mess. Also, the street my sister and brother-in-law live on, Topaz Drive, was a top priority in the county for repairs.  (I think it had to do with the natural gas line, that had been buried 4 to 6 feet below the road, being exposed by the flood waters.)  This past Thursday, there was a constant stream of trucks full of gravel and fill dirt pulling onto the street and dumping their loads.  While Topaz Drive is still missing an asphalt pavement, it is driveable once more. I wrote a letter of thanks, on Friday, to the County Transportation Department and the County Commissioners for their rapid and appreciated actions.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Colorado Fall Colors

Hinsdale County, Colorado  yesterday

Maroon Belles, Colorado  Thursday

Mapleton Avenue, Boulder, Colorado  Thursday

Mapleton Avenue fallen leaves

Mount Copeland, as seen from Allenspark, Colorado

Last Dollar Road, from Telluride to Ridgeway, Colorado

Cool College Football Saturday

It was 35 degrees outside at 7 this morning; at Leadville, a mile higher in elevation, it was 13 degrees.  I'm happy I woke up in Boulder.  The only problem here is that the apartment management has yet to turn on the heating system - but, on the other hand, the temperature inside my apartment is less than 80 degrees for the second day since June...   Since it is no longer raining, my kits have been running in and out like maniacs, chasing each other and just running for the heck of it.  I bet there are some horses and cattle kicking up their heels, as well.
  Me? I'll be cleaning my apartment in between football games today.  Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks play in Orlando at 10 a.m. on ABC, and the Gators play at 5 on ESPNU.  The CU Buffs have their first game in 3 three weeks,due to a bye week, and the flooding.  I don't think I can get them on TV, but I'll listen on the radio, as they play Oregon State at 1.  I actually root for about ten teams each season, but, at this time, these are the main three.  (And, of course, the Broncos face the Eagles in a professional game tomorrow, in Denver.)
  Doesn't seem possible that the end of September is near.  Next weekend, I'll be looking after Charlie and Tinkerbelle, and then I'll be flying to Oklahoma City.  It just doesn't seem real.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Has Definitely Arrived; Last Flood Photos

The high temperature for today was 50...  the low for the morning is listed as a projected 37 degrees.  The low in Steamboat Springs is forecast for 23...   And we've had a half-inch of rain so far, which was not needed.  Here are a few eye-opening photos from the 100-year flood of two weeks ago:
A sewage geyser on Canon Avenue in Manitou Springs during the flood

The only road through Jamestown, Colorado

US 34, outside of Loveland, Colorado

An over-turned, flooded Subaru at 4th and Evans in Lyons, Colorado

God's Country Cowboy Church near Loveland, Colorado


A nice napping spot

You want a picture of me?

Grevy's zebra

Storks in flight

Red stag

More Rain; Flood Repair

Normally, I love rain and snow.  Colorado has a semi-arid climate and seems to always need rain.  But we don't need rain again today, after the 100-year flood that happened two weeks ago. It is, however, raining - a light rain, little heavier than a heavy mist, or a "nice soft day" in Scotland...  but enough to make the roads slick, and dampen the mud, and make outside activities seem unappealing.  The last weather forecast I heard said it would be cloudy this morning, but that the rain wouldn't arrive until late this afternoon; so I traveled over to Rosie's with my umbrella, but I returned home without walking her.  It was too wet and cold.  But I was able to deliver a large set of "flood photos" to Jim this morning - the majority of shots are of his yard, Four Mile Creek, and his immediate neighborhood.  He was able to see the Boulder Greenways display of flood maps yesterday, and was greatly surprised at what the water did, and did not, do.  Reconstruction work is going apace on Topaz Drive - I think the exposed natural gas pipeline that was 5 to 6 feet below the road surface (originally) had a lot to do with the Topaz work getting such a big jump-start.
  With the nasty weather, Nedi is curled up on the afghan on my bed, and Lovey is in my dirty clothes basket.  I have my rear window about half open, and can see the rain slanting down in front of the wooden fence.  I did fall down again yesterday - tripped over the roots of a cottonwood in Kathy and Jim's backyard.  I have walked over and through those roots a million times without tripping - I guess Wednesday and Thursday were my Fall days....  When I fell, I again landed on my left knee, which puffed up enormously, as well as onto my chest, knocking all of my breath out.  Rosie and Boo wanted to implement mouth-to-mouth, but I insisted that I was OK, so they finally sat down and wagged their tails at me as I climbed s-l-o-w-l-y to my feet.  Then they were off, chasing rubber bones and bouncing balls...
  I'm getting excited about my trip to Oklahoma City... there is such a wide variety of things to do and see that I haven't been able to decide where I want to spend my extra time.  The Stockyards is a definite yes, but there are also so many other extremely diverse areas to explore.  I'll probably end up deciding on the spur of the moment, once I arrive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beautiful Morning in Boulder

It was cool again this morning, but the morning has been truly gorgeous, weather-wise.  No clouds and lots of sunshine - with an expected high of 75 degrees.  I've walked Rosie, and checked all my usual web pages. Nedi is curled up in the afghan on my bed, while Lovey keeps trotting in and out; at least Lovey isn't terrorizing Baby, the black cat next door, this morning.  I took a bunch of photos before and during my walk with Rosie today, and I'll append a few at the bottom of this epistle.
   I am a klutz - or, I am clumsy, in other words.  On the way back to Rosie's house this morning, I stopped and spoke with the man who owns and runs "Mobile Screening", in which he goes to people's houses and replaces screening.  John and I were joking about watching "watching our steps" and falling down.  I left him with a big smile on my face.  Rosie and I crossed 19th Street, and approached the first entrance drive for Lucky's Market - and I tripped on a piece of uneven sidewalk.  Not only did I trip, but I fell, with great panache - beside 3 vehicles that were waiting to pull out of the parking lot.  I stubbed my left toe of my sneaker against the cement block, and I felt myself loose my balance.  I let go of Rosie, so I wouldn't jerk her and hurt her neck.  (She's been with me enough to know that when I drop her leash and start wind-milling my arms, she need to stop, sit and stay.)  I took two steps forward, but ended up falling onto my right breast and my left knee and thigh.  I saved my face by throwing both hands in front of me.  Thank goodness, I didn't break anything.  I took some skin off the palms of my hands, and I heard a very loud crack sound as I hit the ground.  I thought I had broken my new glasses, but then realized I could still see perfectly.  I started pushing myself up, when the three drivers of the three vehicles arrived and they all started asking questions at once - All you OK?  Do I need to call 911?  Do I need to call an ambulance?  Can you breathe?  Can you talk?  What about your dog?  While still lying on my belly, I told them, "I'm going to lie here and get my breath back.  Then I'll get up, grab Rosie, and walk on home.  I'm fine, thank you - other than being terribly embarrassed."
  As time has passed, I have found that my right breast is now red and purple.  My left knee, thigh, and shin are grossly bruised and very sore.  It hurts when I breathe deeply.  My neck is getting stiff, and my wrists hurt, too.  I took Alleve as soon as I got home, took a warm shower, and had a scrambled egg (to top off the pills)....  I think I might take it easy this afternoon....
   Here are the photos from walking by Wonderland Lake this morning:

By the way, the loud crack I heard was the crunch of my camera's battery door opening and ejecting batteries into my kangaroo pouch of my sweatshirt...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Snow on the Mountains

I felt chilly walking to the bakery this morning for my bagel; on the way home, I raised my eyes and saw snow on Mount Audubon and the Indian Peaks.  Got back home and checked the temperature - 43 degrees.  No wonder I felt a bit chilled.  I did wear a hoodie sweatshirt to walk Rosie during this mornings stroll.  We walked around Wonderland Lake, and I let her go in and play a bit - but not much, because it was chilly.  What was strange was to look at the foothills behind the lake and see multiple small mudslides caused by all the rain and flooding.  I'll take photos tomorrow.  Sump pumps were still working along Riverside Drive and Lane this morning, as well as along much of Sumac between 19th and Broadway - a lot of houses were flooded that I hadn't expected.  I really am lucky that there was no flooding at my apartment, or at Kathy and Jim's house.
  We've reached 60 degrees outside, and the sun is shining nicely.  Lovey and Nedi are trotting in and out, even though I've already had to speak with Lovey about intimidating the cat next door.  I think I'll move my lounge chair out onto the patio and sit there and read for a while today, in between doing some house cleaning.   ...   Nephew Mike and Erin arrived in Dublin and are having a wonderful time - they've already sent photos of their adventures.

This is the webcam view of the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 this morning...

Inside the Waldorf Pre-School and Kindergarten after 4 days of flooding

An elk in Grand County, Colorado this morning

Baby ocelot

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wild Critters

Tasmanian devil

Sea lions

Desert sand cat and kitten

Elk (Edward, the Mapleton elk)

A horned owl

Sump Pumps Running Again

It rained overnight here in Boulder - I haven't been able to find an accurate amount listed, but it was a little too much.  I did not enjoy walking through the neighborhoods this morning listening to sump pump motors growling in basements and having to avoid bursts of water from their hoses.  I seemed like a nasty kidney punch from Mother Nature.  But at least we didn't get the snow that fell overnight on the Continental Divide and areas along the Western Slope...  The forecast called for more rain this morning, and we had a furious wind blowing from the west - not quite a Chinook wind, but a growl-y, lashing one.  An oak leaf hit my face so hard that my nose was cut open by the leaf's edge.  That kind of wind...
  Rosie was very eager for her walk this morning, and we stopped by the Snow house to see if Jim had started putting up the new fence.  No new fence, but he had Mona on a leash in the back yard....  Erin and Mike left yesterday for Ireland (for a belated honeymoon) and so, Mona is staying with Boo.  Rosie will only play with Boo for a few minutes, so Boo is greatly excited to have  a dog that will play with her all the time. We'll have to see what happens when Boo gets tired and wants to rest, and Mona doesn't.  We wandered up Topaz and then south on 26th Street, took the red walk along Norwood and past Centennial Middle School, then back along 19th to Riverside.  They started stripping the interior of the Waldorf Pre-School yesterday, and it seemed pathetic to see a row of ten toilets completely covered in mud, sitting in a row outside the building.  Seeing the sofas and chairs and muddy cribs was even worse.  I hope they had flood insurance!
  I'm having a blast exploring all the things I can do in Oklahoma City - too bad I'll be there for such a short time...  I want to explore the Stockyards area, which is, luckily, close enough for me to walk to.  The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum looks like it would take a full five days to see most of their exhibits.  The Myriad Botanical Gardens and the City Zoo look interesting.  I'd also love to go to the Oklahoma History Center, the Red Earth Museum, and the Harn Homestead and 1889er Museum.  I guess I'll have to make another trip there and see all the things I miss the first time.  There's also the American Banjo Museum, the Museum of Osteology, the Orr Family Farm, the International Photography Museum, and the Science Museum.  Not to mention trolleys, water taxis around Bricktown, and plain old shopping. Can you tell I'm looking forward to the trip?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Critters and Krabi,Thailand

A variegated squirrel

Great blue heron at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Purple grenadier birds in Africa - doesn't it look like she's swooning from his attentions?

Peaceful harbor at Krabi, Thailand

Canadian lynx exchange head butts

First Day of Fall Equals More Rain After Flood

Today arrived sunny but cool - 47 degrees and a breath of breeze from the west.  But the clouds have begun to pile up in the west, and we're expecting more rain this afternoon and evening.  At least we didn't have the low that was forecast for one of the ski towns last night, which was 27!  I thoroughly enjoyed supper last night, as my friend Bea and I walked the 9 blocks to Turley's Kitchen, at the corner of Pearl Street and 28th Street (aka US 36).  Besides the the heavenly food, we had a good time observing other customers, and chatting with out server, a young lady from Alabama.  Then we strolled back home, stopping to pick up a few odds and ends at the grocery store.
  My kits wanted out immediately upon my arrival home, and I opened the patio door.  Then I visited the bathroom, and changed clothes.  By the time I approached the patio door, I could hear Lovey in full battle mode - howling, growling and hissing.  As I stepped onto the patio, the girl next door started yelling, "You!  You leave my cat alone!"  I immediately called Lovey and made both her and Nedi stay inside for the rest of the night.  When the girl next door adopted her cat, she told me that she'd never, ever let it run free in the back yard - apparently she started doing so while the kits and I were staying at Kathy and Jim's.  The problem is that after 7-plus years here, Lovey considers herself the queen of the complex.  She doesn't have upper teeth, but she has mighty claws, which move incredibly fast - and she feels the need to chasten anyone who strolls about without her permission.   I hope that Baby and Lovey, and the girl and I, can come to a less war-like understanding.
   I was able to cheer the Gators on yesterday, and am watching the Packers now.  Tomorrow night I'll watch the Broncos, but I also want to see the new TV show with James Spader - The Blacklist.   I have the feeling that James Spader will win in that contest.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Miscellaneous Photos

Desert lynx kittens

Sun and sand on Maui, Hawai'i

"The Mask"

Rainbow Springs State Park, Marion County, Florida

My philosophy, after our flood...

"Mudslingers" Very Welcome in Colorado

I'm not sure what happened to yesterday's written post...  I wrote it, and posted it, and then started putting together the photos for yesterday.  During that time, both of my cats walked across the keyboard - and when I posted the photos, I found that the written post was missing...  Oh, well...  It was mainly about several wonderful groups of people who call themselves "Mudslingers."  Not mudslingers in the traditional sense of the word, but literally, mudslingers.
   Wednesday, after walking Rosie, I was helping the Echols' clean out their house, which had survived four feet of flood waters surging through it.  Thehouse and yard had been underwater for three and a half days, and Four Mile Creek had left mud, silt, and sand in the house, and mud and debris covered the entire yard. There were four of us to help - and we figured that it would take two to three days to carry every single item out of the house, shovel out the mud, and pull up the carpeting and padding.  The biggest problem was how slippery the deposited mud was...  One had to step very carefully and hope that the footing would hold under each foot.  We had been working diligently for 2 and 1/2 hours, when a group of 20 people showed up, seemingly out of nowhere - they stated they were clean-up volunteers and asked for directions.  Our plan was explained to them, and sub-groups were formed.  The entire house was cleared out in another 3 hours.
   It seems that hardy souls, people who were not affected by the flooding, are coming into the flood areas each day, organizing themselves, and going to any home that needs help with a clean-up.  Yesterday, as I was walking home form the bus stop, I observed planning stations set up in four parking lots - where work groups were dispersing in small buses and large vans to go out and help those who need it.  It was a wonderful sight to see - and, believe me, their help is greatly appreciated!  The group that helped Wednesday had folks from Mead, Parker, Lafayette, Longmont, Denver, and Strasburg in the mix.  I am extremely grateful to each and every volunteer who is assisting anyone with flood recovery here in Colorado.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last Flood Photos For a Time...

The Coal Creek Canyon Road - no longer wide enough for even one car...

This SUV came to grief at Arapahoe Avenue and 3rd Street in Boulder

Aspen Grove Condominiums on Kalmia Avenue in Boulder

Boulder Creek on Thursday, 12 September, at the Public Library

The west end of Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder

The St. Vrain River near Lyons, Colorado