Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wildlife in Sweden

Young beaver

Wild boar sow with piglets

Red fox

Brown bear

What we Americans call moose, and Swedes call elk...

Fun - And the Gators

I had a great time this morning, first walking Rosie out in the cool, grey light before the sun rose, and then walking Cooper and Lola, and watching Cooper go into the "hunt" mode...  Tipsy and Pounce were very loving this morning, and all of us had a blast watering the plants, with the dogs playing duck and run from the water - and the cats trying to catch the dogs as they ran by...  It was a total circus, and i had to remember not to laugh too loudly - because it wasn't 7:30 yet, and I didn't want to disgruntle the neighbors on a Saturday morning.  We're supposed to be much cooler today, but with a higher than usual humidity - so I'm not really looking forward to the afternoon hours.
  I'm trying to remember how long ago, and who the Athletic Director and Head Coach was, when it was decided that the University of Florida Gators needed to play a non-SEC, much weaker team to begin their football season.  I suppose that when I was a child and teenager, the Gators played fewer games per season, but I know that we played the University of Miami, Florida State and Florida A & M - they were considered in-state rivals.  Since I was a student at UF, it seems that the Gators start off the season playing a much smaller, less-competitive school just to have an easy first game win.  To me, that is not sporting. That is like having me (age 57, with COPD, a bad back, bad hips and knees, bad ankles and feet) race against Usain Bolt - unless he drops dead in the middle of the race (which I do NOT wish upon him), there's no way I would win.  I easily remember playing LSU, Auburn and Alabama for Homecoming...  But then, college football wan't the big business then that it is now, either.  Oh, well.   I'm not yet 60, and I miss "the old days" in sports.  That's kinda sad.
  Speaking of which, the Gators will kick off the season in about an hour - and who are they facing?  The University of Toledo Rockets - the school was begun in 1871 in Ohio, and - this is amazing in this day and age - the UT regents have not raised tuition costs in two years.  That's almost enough to get me to root for them, in and of itself.  Of course I want the Gators to win, but I wish we were playing another SEC team, or a team that can be a contender in this game, today.
 -   Oh, and, just as an aside, former Gator Timmy Tebow was not caught in yesterday's first cut from the New England Patriots.  Right now, it's just "wait and see"...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Busy As a Bee

I am currently watching honey bees moving from blossom to blossom in bright sunshine.  It's hazy less than a mile away on the foothills, and was very overcast this morning.  I'm house-sitting at Rosie's, taking care of my kits at home, and have a new client that consists of two cats and two dogs.  The dogs were both rescue dogs; Cooper is a black and white English Springer Spaniel, Lola is a black mutt with rust points who has trust issues.  The cats are an older white and orange patched guy named Pounce, who takes thyroid medicine; and a brown tabby Maine Coon.  Tipsy, the second cat, has white paws, a white nose, and the extreme tip of his tail has a white spot of fur.  I feed and water all of the critters twice a day, medicate Pounce in the evening, walk the dogs twice, gather the mail and newspapers, and water the plants and garden...  So I'm staying busy.
   I also had an enjoyable day yesterday - besides doing all of the above, I had lunch at Mimi's Cafe with Bea, and then we went shopping for a new work wardrobe for her.  Bea has seniority in the grocery chain store where she works; as she earns more pay, the manager keeps her working short hours.  She finally started looking for another job early this summer - and starts next week.  But she now needs a new "working wardrobe," so we went out and got her a few new outfits.  Then we watched a bunch of mysteries and laughed ourselves silly making off-the-wall predictions.  It was pretty fun.
  I know that the South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Tar Heels yesterday; the Broncos lost; and Tim Tebow passed for two TDs to help win the game for the Patriots.  I hope that Mr. Kraft's liking of Tebow results in his being kept on the team, and results in some play for him!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photos From Around the World

Sailing under a full moon in the Caribbean Sea

Lightning strike at Tiahuanaco in the Andes Mountains

Falls at Eagle Creek, Oregon

Red squirrel in Sweden

Top of the World horseback riding in Australia

College Towns

Each August or September, I am reminded that I live in a college town - while in Gainesville, it was the University of Florida; here in Boulder, it's the University of Colorado.  I lived a couple of miles from campus in Gainesville; married housing here in Boulder is across a two-lane street.  We moved to Gainesville when I was 5, and I lived there until I was 39;  I moved to Boulder 9 years ago, when I was 48, and for the past 7 years have lived immediately across the street from the CU campus.  I ought to be used to new students arriving and acting like, well, new students - away from home and on their own for the first time.
  Maybe I expect a little more from college students than most people do.  Being a Navy brat, I was raised to respect my elders, and call them "Sir" or "Ma'am."  Being polite to everyone, including strangers, was a habit, or you stayed at home.  Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.  I know that I deplore the use of quite a few usual technological advances out in public, which I supposed makes me an old fuddy-duddy.
  Here are a few of my most disliked happenings that I've observed so far this year  (classes started three days ago, on Monday):
  1.  There are paved, clean, open bike paths beside the roadway.  Why must students ride their bikes on the sidewalk; they do not have a bell, nor do they ring it, as they approach pedestrians from behind.  (I've been hit 6 times in two days by handlebars.)
  2.  Stopping and talking while in a group of 4 or more people, blocking sidewalks, walk ways, aisles in grocery stores, parking spaces, etc.
  3.  Talking in their loudest speaking voice on cell phones or ear phone devices - everywhere.  In a park, in the library, in the bathroom, walking down the street, in the grocery store, on the bus...  There is no place where one can get away from people talking loudly at all times.
  4.   Texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving, putting on make-up while driving, reading while driving, flossing teeth while driving  -  no wonder there are so many accidents happening these days.  It used to be you'd only get distracted if you were searching for a good station on the radio....

Oh, well.  Enough grousing.  No.   Wait a minute.  I must tell you about the man, about my age, who stepped out of the automatic door at the grocery store, up-ended his soda bottle, and proceeded to stand there, drinking, until he had finished the drink.  He did not step aside, and I counted 16 people waiting for him to move aside so they could leave the store.  When he moved, he stepped in front of the "in" door, and stood there, while taking his time to toss the bottle in the can that was on the other side of the door railing.  He then turned around, to step into the parking area, and seemed surprised to find 6 people standing behind him, waiting to go inside.  (I was waiting for a friend to pick me up, so I was just observing.)  He stepped around the corner, leaned against the building, and belched loudly - not bothering to cover his mouth.  After another couple of minutes, a college boy came out of the store and joined the man.  They spoke for a moment, and then both of them headed back inside.  Curiosity made me follow them.  They took four steps inside the door, then stopped, blocking the entrance (because of the railing), while the son pulled out his phone - BlackBerry - whatever, and said, "Dad, you have to look at this great app!"  I finally tapped both of them on the shoulder, to ask them to move, so I could continue to enter the premises of the store....  Like father, like son...  I guess.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Liberty Puzzles in Boulder, Colorado

I had a great tour of Liberty Puzzles here in Boulder the other week.  They make wooden jigsaw puzzles that are cut by lasers on 1/4-inch maple boards.  Liberty Puzzles has a wide variety of puzzles available - square, round, rectangular, and fancy irregular cut-outs.  They make puzzles for children, puzzles for adults, and will even make a custom-photograph puzzle for you.  One of the most spectacular things about Liberty Puzzles is their use of whimsy pieces - in a puzzle titled "Cats and Doves," a lot of the pieces are made up of cats and birds; in an ocean oriented photo, there are pieces that include a man on a surfboard, many kinds of fish and sharks, a sea turtle, starfish, lobster, and different kinds of boats.  These pieces are fascinating - and they cause the puzzle to lock together.
  Besides your custom-made puzzle, they have over 300 puzzles available - paintings by the Old Masters, Americana, Currier & Ives, old advertising, Impressionists, maps, illustrations - you name it, and they seem to have it. Prices vary from $39 (plus shipping and handling) to $145.  They also sell a double-glassed frame, so that you can view the front work of art or photo, and the back, which is the intriguing laser-cut pattern. They look easy, but are difficult to put together - I spent over an hour playing with the pieces of two partially completed puzzles at the front of their store-office.  They have a great website that may be viewed at:

   Here are a few samples of the puzzles, the whimsy pieces, and a partial view of the back of one of the puzzles:

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh

This is less than a quarter of the back of "White Shadows in the South Seas"

Whimsy pieces used in "Water"

The Falcon and the Cherry Tree

Currier & Ives - The American Express Train

Whimsy pieces from "The Denver & Rio Grande Rail Road"

"Storm in the Rockies" with a cut-out western border

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seen in Sweden

The Accordion House in Glaskogen Nature Reserve

The Dal River

Roadway in Skane

Seals on the rocks at Kosterhavets National Park

Rainbow over Tjorn Island

Odds and Ends

It's gorgeous here in Boulder this morning!  We're at 61 degrees (F) and 65% humidity.  Cool and nice with partly cloudy skies - much different than the micro-burst winds and thunderstorms of yesterday evening. Seeing a bobcat is rare in Boulder, but it does happen:
This youngster was spotted on the east side of the city, near a hiking trail.
   I recently read that one of the ways to recognize the onset of Alzheimer's is the nonrecognition of current celebrities.  I guess that means I have it with a vengeance - I recognize a lot of the "old" stars , but have absolutely no idea who any of the new ones are, or what they look like.  I know a few actors from current television programs, but in the last ten years, I've only seen four movies at a theater, and, unless it's an actor or actress that I really admire, I have no idea of the person's name.  I have seen headlines about "Honey Boo Boo" for the past year or so, and don't know anything about her, except that she is a child.  Honestly, I don't want to know about her.  I could pick Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, or Morgan Freeman out of a line-up - throw in Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott, too.  But today's glamour boys? I have no idea.
   St Nicholas Abbey, the horse who broke his right fore, and then colicked, is doing very well at the equine hospital.  We've lost five thoroughbred breeding stallions in the last week, most due to the infirmities of old age.  Yesterday, in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, Will Take Charge won the classic race by a nostril edge over Moreno; Orb was third and Palace Malice was fourth.  So D Wayne Lukas struck again.  The 17+-hand colt, who ran in all three Triple Crown races, is finally racing to his potential - and he's handsome, too.
  At the beginning of January, I wrote several blogs about the killing of Edward the Elk in the city of Boulder by a police officer.  Friday, the ex-officer's attorney requested a change of venue, stating that the policeman would not be able to receive "a fair trial" in pet-centric Boulder.  I was somewhat amazed.  The ex-police officer, Sam Carter, says, through his attorney, that the citizens of the area have been "brain-washed" by the media, and he's been turned into an ogre.  Fact:  The elk was a long-time resident of Boulder County, and spent the winters on Mapleton Hill, whose residents enjoyed his presence.  Fact:  Sam Carter shot the elk in the private yard of a residence, while on duty, with a BPD shotgun, which he did not report to BPD.  Fact:  Carter then called fellow police-officer Brent Curnow (who had been scheduled to work, but called in sick for his shift) and had Curnow arrive at the site with his pick-up truck to remove the body.  Fact:  Curnow is a licensed taxidermist.  Fact:  Carter reported that he had killed the elk because it was "injured."  Fact:  The Department of Wildlife performed a necropsy on the elk, once it was recovered from Curnow.  The elk had no injuries or illness discernible, other than the fatal wound from Carter.  Fact:  Twenty hours before the elk was killed, Carter and Curnow had exchanged text messages regarding the short amount of time the elk had left to live.  Fact:  The elk was considered a "trophy" animal under the Samson Law.  Fact:  It was not elk hunting season.  -  Now Carter says he won't receive a fair trial in Boulder County.  I think that most people can look calmly at the number of laws that were broken - each man was accused of several felonies and attempting to influence a public official, plus the wildlife offenses - and decide whether or not these men were guilty or innocent.  How about you?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Photos From Liberty Puzzles

Wooden jigsaw puzzles made in Boulder with laser-cut pieces...

"The Marriage of Jenny Wren" -  this puzzle is available in both adult and children versions

"Dragon" - this puzzle has irregular edges and a negative space between the head and neck

Whimsy pieces from the "Cats and Doves" puzzle

Whimsy pieces from "The Tree of Life" puzzle

"Foxy" - this print/puzzle is by local Boulder artist Phil Lewis

If you like what you see, please visit the Liberty Puzzles website at:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Scenic Photos

Aurora borealis above Assateague Island, Maryland

Hot air balloon and full moon at Byers Peak, near Winter Park, Colorado

An orchid

Stormy morning at the beach

Trail riding in Lappland, Sweden

Bear Attack

Gee, all I seem to be writing about is big critters attacking smaller critters.  Yesterday morning, a black bear attacked a dog that was using the bathroom in it's own yard.  The dog had cuts and bruises, and he survived - although the owner is still recuperating from the shock of having his 14-year-old Labrador retriever mauled  in their own back yard.  I'm still keeping Cloudy and Shady inside, which isn't making them happy with me.  Lovey and Nedi, on the other hand, are outside right now, while the trash truck is emptying the dumpster - but I know that unless a dog gets free, they won't be hunted right now.
  I'm still turning over the fact (in my mind) that Ocean City, Maryland was a part of Assateague Island up until 80 years ago.  I know that I've always heard stories about the different storms cutting guts and inlets  into Assateague, and that it's Assateague's bulk that protects Chincotegue from the same fate - but, for some reason, my mind doesn't want to accept that Ocean City was on Assateague.  Maybe it's because I've always been so careful to be correct about the differences between the Virginia and Maryland parts of Assateague.  Perhaps it's because Mom was a Chincoteaguer, and, therefore, I'm egocentric about Chincoteague and Assateague.  I think that it's something wonderful, now that I know about it - but I still have the feeling that it is wrong.  And I know that's very silly.
  Tomorrow I'm going to blog about Liberty Puzzles.  I love them, and I hope you will, also.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Photos from the 1933 Hurricane

Ocean City   24 August 1933

Ocean City, showing causeway at left bottom of photo

Ocean City causeway on 19 September 1933

The new inlet - 24 August 1933

24 August 1933 - car buried in beach sand from hurricane

October 1933 - the Ocean City Boardwalk

The new inlet cutting Ocean City from Assateague Island - all of the buildings in this photo eventually fell were consumed by the ocean waves, as the inlet grew

Citizens of Ocean City investigate the inlet, late August 1933

Mountain Lion, Skunk, & an Anniversary

Cloudy and Shady are not happy with me.  I have not allowed them outside to play, as usual, since I arrived to care for them.  The first day, it was because a coyote had attacked Bandit, the cat next door, just before I got there.  Yesterday, it was still due to coyote anxiety.  Last night, a neighbor spotted a mountain lion running through her yard at about 6 p.m. - she contacted me, and I sent out a Wildlife Warning immediately. About 9 last night, I kept thinking I smelled something rotten, but convinced myself otherwise.  I received a note this morning stating that one of the neighbors, and his dog, had "an incident" with a skunk while out for a walk...  Peter says he wishes he'd run into the mountain lion instead of the skunk.
   Rosie was very happy to see me this morning, as were my kits, when I got back to the apartment.  Lovey has rubbed all over me, and Nedi keeps coming back for a rub, but then trots back outside.  Yesterday, Bea and I visited the Olive Garden for lunch, then wandered to the library, and then over to Alfalfa's.  Alfalfa's is the all-natural, all organic, no GMOs grocery store that had Bea and I followed when we had stepped in to see what they were offering.  I wrote a letter of complaint to the store's website, and, finally, Bea and I agreed to revisit the store.  The general manager, assistant manager, and the manager of the wine department all met with us, and gave us $25 gift cards.  They still claim that the employee was just wandering on his break, and he unintentionally ended up drifting in our wake...
  I have to admit a huge gap in my knowledge.  I had seen older maps showing Ocean City and Assateague Island in Maryland on the same piece of land.  I had always thought that was just a mistake.  It wasn't, and I was just made aware of it.   Sinepuxent Bay runs between the mainland and Assateague Island up to Ocean City, Maryland.  Before the great hurricane of 22 August 1933, 80 years ago today, Assategue Island and Ocean City were the same land mass.  The hurricane cut what is now the Ocean City Inlet, and destroyed many homes that were built upon that stretch of land.  A few were swept away immediately, but most succumbed to to the repeated washing of the tides over several months.  Men had tried to make an inlet between the Bay and the Atlantic, but the Atlantic end always sealed up with sand... this time, the sand continued to wash away. I feel silly for not having known this.  For much more information, if interested, please see:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mostly Wild Things - & An Island Rainbow

A leopard seal responds to a saxophone player

Two week old zebra foal and dam

A prickly-looking spider

Rufus hummingbird

Rainbow over Maui

Eye-to-eye with a pelican

California ground squirrel

Coyote Attack, Apology

Yesterday morning, at 9:30, a single coyote sneaked into a back yard and tried to grab a cat.  Bandit is an older fellow, a big, fluffy, cuddly fellow, who is going blind because of cataracts.  He suddenly yowled, which is extremely unusual for him, and his human was able to run out and chase the coyote out of the yard.  Bandit was frightened, but unhurt, as was his owner, Leslie.  I'm staying next door at Alexy's, and have not allowed Shady and Cloudy outside - yesterday or today.  So Cloudy and Shady are unhappy with me, but I don't want to tell Alexy that they disappeared and a coyote was next door...
   When I got up this morning, I fed Cloudy and Shady, and then walked the 1 1/2 miles to the grocery store; got my breakfast and supper, and walked back to Alexy's.  After eating, I walked Rosie, and then came home to see my kits.  Was surprised to see Dinah's door open in the hall, but then saw a Boulder police officer inside, and realized they were there to enforce her eviction notice.  Poor Dinah.  She needs help.  I know I'm depressed, but at least I take my meds and get counseling.  Dinah swears that there's a man living in "the crawl space above the ceiling" and that he keeps coming into her apartment through the ceiling, and stealing her belongings and food.  The ceilings in our apartments are concrete over iron girders, with a bit of spackley plaster over the cement.  She called the police and reported this so many times, that they got her permission to set up cameras in her apartment and film for 36 hours.  The only living thing seen in the apartment was Dinah - but she called the BPD, while the filming was going on, declaring that the man had come out of the ceiling and stolen food from her refrigerator.  She was arrested for making a false police report.  Now she's being evicted because she hasn't paid her rent since she first moved in...  Poor thing.
  Bea, my friend, has a third job interview with the same company today - afterwards, we're to have lunch at the Olive Garden, and then go to the public library, and over to Alfalfa's.  The store manager has reviewed the security tapes from the Saturday we visited, and tells us that the manager of the beverage department was on break, and that it just seemed that he was following Bea and me around.  The general manager and the beverage manager want to meet with us and apologize.  How refreshing!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jim's Marathon

Poor Jim!  I reported Sunday that he had finished 10th in his age group (of 25) in Saturday's Pikes Peak Ascension race, a half-marathon.  I had no idea that he was horribly ill Saturday night and Sunday morning, and that an RN told him not to run in the race Sunday.  Jim was committed to running, however, and run he did.  Only ten men in his age group ran in the marathon, and, besides Jim, only one of these men had run the Ascension the day before.  Jim had to stop multiple times to throw-up during his run Sunday.  He finished ninth out of ten -  and the other man who was a Doubler finished only 9 minutes ahead of him in the marathon.  So Jim was second in his age group for the Doubler contestants.  We still don't know what made him so ill.  He was about 90% yesterday, and seems to be fine today.
  Lovey and Nedi were very happy when I returned home yesterday afternoon and had no problems coming inside for the night at 10.  When I was ready to leave this morning, to walk Rosie, and head over to Alexy's, it was another story.  I'd get one of the kits inside, and go out to catch the other.     Once I caught the second kit, I had to open the door to get us both back inside with the first kit.  Whichever kit was inside managed to escape outdoors when I brought the other kit inside.  I felt like I was in a Keystone Kops short film...  I finally managed to carry Lovey in, while keeping Nedi in at the same time.
  Met one of the new bus drivers on my route this morning.  His name is Steve, and he's a third generation Boulderite.  He's driving an RTD bus as a stop-gap measure; he was in advertising, but his company outsourced the entire office to the Philippines, so he's still on the job trail.

Monday, August 19, 2013