Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Yesterday: Hail in Denver

Boulder had thunderstorms and rain yesterday afternoon.  Denver had hail.  All photos were taken yesterday, 29 September 2014 in the metropolitan Denver area.  One auto dealership lost 500 new cars to hail damage....
Shredded window screen

"New air conditioning" in Greenwood Village

New car at Denver dealership

Hail in Centennial

Hail in Aurora

Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch  bench

Various Photos

View of road from top of Trollstigen Pass in Norway


Huppe fasciee


Latte and herd, Assateague Island, Virginia

Mindless Trivia

I'm just going to let my mind float from item to item today, and not try for any true cohesive story or specific comments; get ready for a wild ride.  It was 42 degrees outside this morning, and I actually am wearing jeans, thanks to living in this little dip by Boulder Creek - and the humidity is at 87%.  The kits are running in and out, and seem to be quite invigorated by the temperature change.
  I monitor five spots to check and compare weather and I've been amazed at the results.  The places that I monitor, thanks to the National Weather Service, are (1) Boulder, Colorado where I live; (2) Chincoteague Island, Virginia where my heart is; (3) Vero Beach, Florida where two of my best friends live and work; (4) Gainesville, Florida where I went to school and lived for many years; and (5) Newton, Illinois where my "adopted sister" is currently living.  For some reason, I thought that Chincoteague, being an island, would always have the highest humidity; but it is usually Gainesville, or Newton, that has the highest humidity ratings.  Chincoteague usually has the lowest humidity, or second lowest, behind Boulder.  This morning, in regard to humidity, Chincoteague has the least, followed by Boulder, Vero Beach, Newton, and Gainesville has the highest - it just seems weird to me, even though I'm sure there's a good scientific reason for it.
  My hair has grown out to a length just below my shoulders - it really seems odd to have long hair after keeping it cut very short for forty years.  During hot weather, it's gathered up and pinned up to the back of my head; today, it's loose and is keeping my ears warm.  I'll have to get a friend to take a photo, so I can share it with friends.
  So much awful stuff seems to be going on in the world - or has it always happened, but the almost instantaneous media dispersion of today just seems to make the horrors more numerous?  I mean, the high school shooting in North Carolina this morning, ISIS in the Middle East,the murder of the missing real estate agent, the missing college student in Virginia, numbers of kids escaping juvenile detention centers after attacking a guard with rocks, the capture and beheading of journalists and observers, the spread of ebola, the uncertainty about this enterovirus 68 and muscle paralysis in the children afflicted with it,....  The list is seemingly endless, but I have the feeling that this is just an on-going product of our so-called civilization, and that I am only aware of it because of today's technology....
   If you are not offended by irreverence, I have two URLs to recommend. If you are easily offended by non-reverent references to God, Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, or the Buddha, please do not click on the following links.
   Comments on religious paintings (both are two or more pages long):


And these led me to:

Monday, September 29, 2014

New England Fall Foliage


A cool, damp morning in Boulder today.  Poor Nedi!  I hadn't seen him for a while, so before I left to pick up my medication refills, I stood at the patio door and called him.  Less than a minute later, I hear this drowsy "Mmmrrrrrwww?" and look down to see Nedi yawning mightily.  He'd been inside his padded cube bed, and I hadn't even seen him.  Woke the poor guy up for no reason.
   I got a lot of stares on my way to the pharmacy.  I was, and still am, wearing a pair of jersey cotton shorts, a T-shirt and sneakers.  Almost everyone else had on sweat pants, sweat shirts, hoodies, and/or multiple layers.  It's chilly out - but not cold - not by a long shot!  Cold is when it's -10 degrees, the wind is blowing at 35 mph, and snow is piled up.  And this is from a person who spent most of the year in Florida, while growing up.
   Horse racing.  Jockey Corey Nakatani, who's been riding for 28 years, was thrown by a two-year-old behind the gate before the start of a race yesterday.   Corey got up, and approached the filly to re-mount, and she swung her hindquarters and kicked Corey in the middle of the chest.  Gate workers said that Corey flew at least 10 feet through the air due to the impact.  He's being checked at a local hospital.    Jockey Rajiv Maragh is recovering after having two plates and several screws placed in his right arm, after a fall from Wicked Strong in the Jockey Gold Cup race on Saturday.  Wicked Strong almost fell after clipping heels with Moreno about half-way through the 1 and 1/4 mile race.  The colt managed to stay on his feet, but lost his jockey.  Moreno, who finished fourth in the race was disqualified and placed last, after stewards decided he caused the accident to Wicked Strong.  - By the way, Tonalist, the colt who won the Belmont Stakes this year, won the Gold Cup, easily defeating older horses and other three-year-olds.
   It doesn't seem possible that September is almost over.  I've been so busy that I've lost track of time and the seasons.  It seems like it should still be mid-August to me.  I'll have to look for my long sleeved shirts, sweat pants, and heavy jeans this week.  I know where my snow boots are.  And I'll need to buy some more thick wool socks.  Other than that, I'm ready for fall and winter...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meet the Fossa

Fossa baby

Fossa fore foot

Fossa hind foot

The Denver Zoo has just introduced baby Rico, the first fossa born here.  The fossa is a cat-like creature, Crytoprocta ferox, that is closely related to the mongoose, and is native only to the island of Madagascar.  They are predators and prefer to eat meat - when ranging free on Madagascar, their diet mainly consists of rodents and lemurs. Usually, they live solitary lives, but hunting areas occasionally overlap.  Kittens are born without teeth and with their eyes closed, in numbers from one to six per litter.  They are usually weaned at four and a half months, but are not considered independent and adults until they reach one year of age.  A full grown male can measure six feet from nose to tail-tip and weigh 26 pounds.

Winding Down

The sky this morning is about half blue and half clouds.  At 9 o'clock, it was 61 degrees outside, humidity was 70%, and there's a light breeze blowing.  A gorgeous day, but with rain expected this evening.  That's fine with me.  I had an excellent "wind down" yesterday - Beatrice and I wandered over to Turley's at 11, and found that two of our three favorite wait-persons were working, both Amy and Ashley.  We were seated with Amy, but Ashley also dropped by at the table for a quick chat, and was, unfortunately, reprimanded for it.  We spoke with the manager on the way out, and told her it was our fault, not Ashley's - hope that smooths things over for her.  Both of these young ladies are working their way through graduate school, and are delightfully personable.
   After our meal, we walked over to Barnes & Noble and looked at all the new books that were in, checked out the DVDs on sale (I purchased How to Tame Your Dragon, while Bea bought a copy of Tin-Tin), and then we checked out the huge selection of magazines on display.  I questioned the positioning of a "Comics" sign, as the magazines stationed above it were Hobby Farms, Antique Farm Machinery and Cowboys and Indians; below the sign was Photography Today, Vanity Fair, and Faerie World.  Then we returned home - I read and watched college football games, and finally went to bed.  Apparently I need to get used to apartment living again - at midnight, I stepped out onto the grass at the edge of my patio and asked the six people on the balcony above me to speak more quietly, so I could fall asleep.  Sleeping in large houses has spoiled my ability to sleep through anything, anywhere.  And I was flabbergasted that when I awoke this morning the alarm clock read 7:55 - the kits allowed me to sleep in without any complaint at all.  It was very nice.
  Since the Redskins played Thursday night,and the Broncos have a bye week, I don't have any specific teams to watch today.  I will probably just read and clean the apartment until The Good Wife is on this evening.  I am currently reading Maisie Dobbs, the first book in the series about her, written by Jacqueline Winspeak, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I also have two other recommended books on hand to peruse.  After those, I have two more Saint Germaine novels by C Q Yarbro to read.  I'll have to request more books soon - even though I saw six new ones (that I want) at Barnes & Noble yesterday.
  Most of my college teams won yesterday.  The CU Buffs were playing in California, and the score was tied at 56 at the end of the first Over Time; the second OT saw the Bears win by a field goal.  Poor Buffs.   ....  Then there was the Mizzou Tigers and Carolina Gamecocks match up.  I didn't want either team to lose.  I wanted both to win.  I had hoped for a tie that would hold.  Nope Mizzou won by a single point - 21 to 20.  I know that Steve Spurrier about had a conniption fit.  I almost did, and I was ambivalent about the final score....   Good for the Tigers, bad for the Cocks.
  Tomorrow I start back to work - and for the next week and a half, all I have to do is walk dogs and spend time with my kits.  I am content.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Varied Photos

Ziconic, yearling son of Zenyatta, on his way to Mayberry Farm for training

Riptide (left) and Skylark, Chincoteague ponies

Curl crested aracari

Fall foliage near Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Golden hay and hills, South Park, Colorado

Beautiful Saturday!

I got back to sleep a little after 3 this morning, and was heavily asleep when Lovey sat on my face, waking me up, at 7:30.  I've been up since then.  I've renewed my prescriptions, taken out the trash (after cleaning out the refrigerator), cleaned the litter boxes, fed and watered the cats and the squirrels, and taken out the recycling.  Both Lovey and Nedi have wanted a lot of attention this morning, and I don't blame them in the least.  Lovey slept on top of me all night, except my one hour date with the computer this morning, while Nedi slept with his "arms" wrapped around my right upper arm. Currently the sky here is a bright, cloudless blue, and we're expecting highs in the mid-80s.  The weather folks are calling for afternoon thunderstorms for the up-coming weekdays.
   I'm going out for a late brunch at Turley's Kitchens with Beatrice today.  Then I plan on kicking back until my 5 o'clock football game - Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks.  No Gator game today, and no Broncos game tomorrow...
   I have to admit that I've enjoyed the beginning of the "new season" on television so far this fall.  I've watched the first new episodes of my favorite TV show, and have been impressed.  They have all had interesting openings - I've seen The Good Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Blacklist, NCIS, Person of Interest, and Blue Bloods.  I have been happily surprised by the three new shows I've seen - Gotham is extremely interesting, NCIS: New Orleans was quirky, and How To Get Away With Murder really sparked my imagination.  And, of course, I'm waiting for the spring arrival of the third season of Vikings.
  And, to answer the question of "pansx" - Shagwa Lake is one of the Red Feather Lakes to the west of Fort Collins.  There is a link with the GPS coordinates in the comments section under your question.  Thanks for asking!

Home, But Not Sleeping

Well, here I am, at home.  It's 2:10 in the morning, and I thought I'd be sleeping peacefully, with Lovey and Nedi, in my own bed.  I went to bed at 10, having been up since 5 a.m.; I have not had more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep since then.  At first, I thought the screams, yells, and laughter were from a disbanding party at the Harvest House Hotel.  (They do big weddings and receptions and other "large events.")  Then I realized that the noise was bouncing off the privacy fence and coming back at me.  At 1:50, I finally got dressed and went out into the apartment hallway to investigate.  As I stepped into our lobby, I saw that the recycle box for mail and magazines was stuffed full of empty beer cans, which it hadn't been when I arrived home from Cooper and Lola's.  I could hear voices and laughter as I walked toward the stairs; upstairs, I easily identified the source of the party - A-215.
   I just called the police with a noise complaint, and they are on the way.  Maybe I can get some solid sleep soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Assorted Photos

White squirrel

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Blue Grosbeak

How is one supposed to read this vanity license plate?

Mutts, by Patrick McDonnell


I am disappointed in my two canine charges this morning.  Cooper and Lola are both rescue dogs - an English Springer Spaniel and a German Shepherd-hound mix.  I've taken care of them for almost two years now, and haven't had many problems.  I walk them both at the same time, twice a day, for an hour.  They have a third of an acre for their backyard, and, while they do't have a "doggie door," in good weather the patio door stands open during the daylight hours, so the dogs can always go out to relieve themselves.  Lola also patrols the yard, barking at any incursions, and Cooper amuses himself chasing any airplanes that fly over (and we're near a small airport).  I haven't had any trouble with the dogs since my first visit.  (The three cats, while not angels, don't cause problems, either - other than getting Tipsi inside at dusk.)
   Last night, 30 minutes before the dogs' dinner time, Lola (the mixed breed) licked my arm, made eye contact with me, and promptly shat on the floor next to my chair.  I was amazed.  As soon as I realized what her position indicated, I yelled, "Lola! No! Bad dog!" - by the time I was on my feet, she had dumped everything.  It easily filled a 12-inch pizza box.  What infuriated, concerned, and amazed me was that the open door to the patio was less than ten feet away - she could very easily have walked outside, and relieved herself in the yard.  I picked everything up, and used Pine-Sol on the wood floor, then Lysol.  The doggies acted as if everything was fine and normal.  I took them out for their after dinner walk, and then took them out in the back yard every 90 minutes after dark, until I went to bed at midnight.
   I got up this morning, dressed, and went down to feed all the critters - this was at 5:20 this morning, I had taken the dogs out for 5 minutes at midnight - normally, I would just turn them out, but we've had a mountain lion in the area, so I went out, also.  I stepped into the kitchen and gagged.  There were two more huge piles of dog poop - one beside each of the food bowls, on opposite sides of the kitchen.  I turned the dogs out, cleaned up the mess, and then fed and watered everyone.
  I'm just trying to figure out why the dog(s) are suddenly having "accidents."  I'm their usual pet sitter.  Their food, treats and schedule has not changed.  Yes, Len and Susan were gone, but that's when I come to care for them...  Ah.  I just had the light bulb turn on over my head.  -  Shirley isn't there.  Susan's Mom lived in the downstairs apartment, and the dogs always ran down and visited her several times a day.  Shirley passed away in July, and this family trip was to take her cremains back to New York.  -  That's the big change...  I'll have to let Len and Susan know,,,  I wonder if they've been "having accidents" with their parents there?   I'll inquire when they return tonight.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Colorado Fall Foliage

All photos taken this week in Colorado:
Copper Mountain

Four Mile Creek

Grand County

Kenosha Pass


Shagwa Lake

Costs and Critters

Ouch!  The bill for Lynn's cistern pump fix was $2,222; the estimate to repair the scrape on the passenger side of the Lexus is $2,400...  I am so happy that I do not own Lynn's home or car.  We did agree, however, that I'll drive the Prius (instead of the Lexus) when she's out of town in the future.  She's trying to find out if it will be less expensive to pay for the repairs out-of-pocket, or, if she reports it to her insurance company, if her rates will rise,and, if so, by how much.  In other words, which will be less expensive in the long run.  She thinks her coverage rates will rise, and stay up, for 3 to 5 years if she reports the damage as an "accident."  I am so happy I'm not to blame for the scrape in the parking lot, or for the failure of her old water pump.  (It's one nice thing about being an employee, and living in an apartment.)
   Lovey is sticking to me like glue this morning - Nedi has had several loving sessions, but he's back outside again.  Pounce slept with me last night, and was quite a nice bed companion.  I'm trying to spend at least an hour each day giving love and attention to Belle.  I thinks she's not been getting her affection needs met since Shirley passed away 6 weeks ago.  She's very shy, but eats up the attention once she realizes that I'm gentle and not going "to do anything" to her.  Poor girl; she really misses her "Mommy" - and so do I.  Shirley and I had great conversations about books and poetry, old movies, travel, and history.  Tipsi is his usual, saucy self, and demands food service on his own schedule.  Cooper and Lola are always so excited to go for our twice a day walks that it's almost frightening.  The ABC's family will return about 9 Friday night, and then I'll have two weeks at home with the kits before I'm off, house-sitting, again.  And, I'm also walking Rosie and Lucy each weekday; Lucy had an ultrasound on Tuesday, so I need to find out the results, and what her owners want to do about her exercise.
  The Breeders Cup races are approaching, and I'm getting excited to see the best of the best race.  And the Jockey Gold Cup race is this weekend - a very deep field of 12 horses are entered.  It should be an excellent contest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Various Photos

Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Nephew Mike working at Liberty Puzzles

Nephew Mike and co-worker check a puzzle piece for quality control

Moon trail dream

Interesting bathroom

Really.    Diet water?

Body paint is art...

House-Sitter's Nightmare

Several years ago, the water pump failed at the house I was staying at and the dog and I had no running water for 7 days.  I was easily able to fill buckets from the house across the street, and the dog and I had no trouble.  It happened in November, when watering flowers and the yard was not an issue.  I just finished more time at Lynn's house.  I had her permission to drive her car during her absence, and of course, I was looking after the critters and the house and yard.  On Monday, I drove to the gas station and filled the gas tank, then drove to the library and picked up the books I had requested.  I returned to Lynn's, took the books inside, and left the car in the garage.
  Monday evening, I ate a quick meal, and was going to wash the plate and utensils that I had used.  I had a surprise when no water flowed from the tap - anywhere in the house, kitchen or bathrooms.  I looked in the basement, in the area of the water heater, but didn't find a circuit breaker box.  I checked all the walls inside the house, and on the outside of the garage, where the solar panels have their connections and all the irrigation systems are located.  No circuit breakers.  So I called Lynn, and contacted her while she was walking on a street in New York City.  I described the problem, and asked where the circuit breaker box was - she directed me to check on five other things and to call her back.  Everything was negative, so I called her back, and asked again about the circuit breakers.  They were located behind a fitted wall in the garage - and the switch had popped...  So I reset it, listened to the sound of water running in the pipes in the adobe house, and called Lynn back to assure her things were OK.
   Late yesterday morning, I turned on the water in the kitchen, to wash my brunch dishes before leaving to pick Lynn up from the airport. No water.  I checked the pump circuit breaker, and it was still on.  I checked the water level in the cistern, which was fine.  But none of the outside hoses had water, nor did anything inside. I flipped the water pump circuit breaker in hopes that would do the trick.  Still no water, and Lynn was in flight.  The irrigation system had watered the yard and garden in the morning, but I went ahead and turned the systems off, so the pump wouldn't burn out (just in case).
   I double-checked that Lynn's flight was on time, and I stepped out into the garage to drive to Denver.  I stopped on the steps - there was a scrape running down the entire side of the Lexus.  It hadn't been there when I drove to the gas station and library the day before.  I had left the car parked only when I went into the library, so it could only have happened there.  I went back inside and called the library, and asked if they had camera surveillance on their parking lot - hoping we could see and identify who had scraped the car.  No cameras, no surveillance, no evidence.  Crap.  I left to pick Lynn up and felt sick to my stomach - she had no water, and the car had been damaged without my noticing it.
  Lynn was so excited and happy to be home that I had to point out the damage on the car to her.  I told her when and where I believed the scrape had happened, and that the library had been contacted, but they didn't have film of the lot.  Then I told her about the water situation - she called three water pump companies immediately - and only one could send someone over to check out what was wrong.
  The regular water pump was fine - the water pump in the cistern was shot and needed to be replaced.  The cistern holds 3,600 gallons; it had 2,400 gallons in it yesterday afternoon; the cistern pump is located on the bottom of the cistern; we had to pump out and dump 2,400 gallons of water.  The pump was replaced and water was running in the house again at 9 p.m. - but since the man had to walk on the bottom of the cistern to replace the pump, the water had to have a chlorine shock to kill anything that might have been on the man's booties.  Oh, boy.....
   At least I wasn't responsible for any of the troubles - the cistern pump was 12 years old, and they usually have a life of 7 to 10 years.  And, unfortunately, here in Boulder, people have a habit of having minor accidents and not reporting them - like scraping down the side of the car.  Thankfully it's a well-known fact of life that folks in Boulder leave "minor" accidents - even though it's not legal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Foliage in Colorado

These photos were taken over the past five days here in Colorado:
Winter Park, Colorado

Berthoud Pass, Colorado

View from the Peak to Peak Highway, west of Boulder

The Maroon Bells, Colorado

Fairplay, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado