Sunday, May 31, 2015

Varied Scenes

Colorado urban coyotes

Glassy Atlantic

A Schlegel's Asity

Susi Sole s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s...

Black squirrel

American Pharoah with trainer Bob Baffert

Horses - Thoroughbreds in Particular

In six days, the world will know whether or not there is a new Triple Crown Champion in the United States.  It would be nice.  The last Triple Crown winner was chestnut, Florida-bred Affirmed in 1978, which was 37 years ago.  In those 37 years, there have been 13 colts who won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but could not win the one-and-a-half mile Belmont Stakes in New York.  American Pharoah is the current champion-in-waiting, and I would positively love it, if he wins.  He has the Hyperion breeding that I love very much.   And Fred Hooper was a Florida breeder, who started combining the Hyperion lines - my love to you and Hoop Jr., sir.  
  It seems that there will be nine opponents facing American Pahroah in the Belmont - and he has raced against eight of them in either the Derby or the Preakness.  The lone new horse next Saturday will be The Truth Or Else, whom American Pharaoh defeated earlier in the year.  Of course, American Pharaoh is the betting favorite.  Here are the names of the other contenders: Frosted, Tale of Verve, Carpe Diem, Frammento, Materiality, Madefromlucky, Keen Ice, Mubtaahij, and The Truth Or Else.  Post positions will be drawn on Wednesday for the race on 6  June.
  The other horses, who have achieved winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but not the Belmont (since 1978) are:  1979 - Spectacular Bid, 1981 - Pleasant Colony, 1987 - Alysheba, 1989 - Sunday Silence, 1997 - Silver Charm, 1998 - Real Quiet, 1999 - Charismatic, 2002 - War Emblem, 2003 - Funny Cide, 2004 - Smarty Jones, 2008 - Big Brown, 2012 - I'll Have Another (did not compete in the Belmont), and 2014 - California Chrome.
   Speaking of California Chrome, his owners have him stabled at Royal Ascot, where he is scheduled to run in the Prince of Wales Stakes on 17 June.  Jockey Frankie Dettori took Chrome out for a spin the other day, to see if he'd like to race him.  I heaven't yet heard Frankie's decision.
    Also, Zenyatta, the Queen of Racing,  is back in foal.  She has produced two colts and a filly, Cozmic One and Ziconic, and the ill-fated Z Princess, who died from a paddock accident at the age of one.  She wasn't bred last year; but this year, she was bred back to War Front, who sired her last foal, the filly.  According to the veterinarians, she is now 40 days pregnant.  Hip, hip, hooray!
     Besides the Belmont Stakes, the Epsom Derby is being run on 6 June, in England.  Their Derby race is 12 furlongs, plus 30 feet (1.5 miles plus 30 feet) - or 30 feet further than the Belmont Stakes; and their colts carry 126 pounds.  There are 17 colts that are currently registered for the run.  Alphabetically, they are:  Best of Times, Carbon Dating, Elm Park, Epicuris, Giovanni Canaletto, Gleneagles, Golden Horn, Great Glen, Hans Holbein, Jack Hobbs, Kilimanjaro, Moheet, Prince Gagarin, Rocky Rider, Rogue Runner, Storm the Stars, and Zawraq.  At the moment, Golden Horn is the betting favorite.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Assorted Photos

Osprey diving for flounder

Ocean City, Maryland car show

Dolphin (actually a porpoise) in the Assateague Channel

I see spots!

Pine cones

Bunny and fawn

Misty morning pasture by lake

White-Knuckle Ride

Had another white-knuckled ride to DIA yesterday morning…  Lynn's plane was due to leave at 8:05, so she was asked to be there by 6:30.  She picked me up at 6:24, and it 's then a 50 mile drive to the airport.  She decided to go on the Express TollWay, where the speed limit is 75 mph.  Several times I made the comment, "Gee, seems like we're going awful fast…"  and each time Lynn looked at her speedometer, we were traveling at 95 mph…  We did manage to get her checked in by 7:05 for her flight, and she made it easily.  I drove back to Boulder, staying within 5 miles of the speed limits.
  I arrived at her place to find that Lyra was locked in the office, none of the critters had been fed, and there was a very pregnant couple (the lady is 10 days overdue) staying in the basement, who have full run of the house.  That was unexpected.  I fed the kids, including the koi, and then hung out the bird feeders that get taken in at night.  Brought Rosie over here for her walk-about, and she promptly (as usual) jumped into the koi pond and had a nice swim.  Tess stood on the top of the waterfall and watched Rosie swimming, again, as usual.  Tess doesn't like to swim….
  I have written twice on paper, and once via e-mail, to my apartment management since receiving the notice that they are not renewing my lease.  Even though I have specifically asked, each time, what date they want me moved out, they have yet to answer.  If I don't hear anything before the 3rd, when my rent is due, I'll pay them for the full month and stay until the end of June - whether they like it or not.  I've already asked a real estate lawyer about it, and he says I'm within my rights, if they don't respond by the 3rd of June.
  Have already been home and spent 2 1/2 hours with my kits - have fed and loved them, checked on my e-mail, fed the squirrels, and cleaned litter boxes.  The men who work on the koi pond are here at Lynn's - they set Tess off barking, with their arrival.  It sounds like the couple downstairs are getting up - water is being turned on in the bathroom.  Yesterday, I finished reading the latest Isaac Bell novel by Clive Cussler, and started the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child.  I also need to fill out the new apartment application and make copies of my retirement and Social Security  funding, to send with the application.  I plan on submitting it Monday morning - wish me luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Boulder, Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park - Photos

Black bear in Rocky Mountain National Park

Boulder's Flatirons

Abert's squirrel, RMNP

Dream Lake, RMNP

Mount Ida trail, RMNP - looking at the Continental Divide


Identification of some Front Range Peaks, along with their elevations (click to enlarge)

Avalanche Danger (in May!?!?)

With all the rain down here at the base of the mountains, causing flooding out in the plains, and down in Texas, it seems surreal to realize that, on 28 May, there are Avalanche Warnings posted throughout the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  While us folks below 6,000 feet have gotten rain, higher up, it's fallen as snow.  Arapahoe Basin, a ski resort, is staying open through 14 June, thanks to all the May snow.  And warnings are everywhere about the  High Avalanche Danger.  Loose, wet snow rolls, and takes hillsides with it in late spring.  It just seems strange to a kid raised mostly on the East coast of the United States...
  Nedi made his first catch of the day before 6 a.m. - he caught a young wren and brought it into the bath tub, to play with.  Of course, it kept flying out of the tub, and he'd catch it and take it back.  I caught it, and it fit easily inside of my left hand.  I took it out into the back yard, and examined it - nothing broken, no tooth piercings, just scared - so I turned it loose.  Both Nedi and Lovey had been watching me closely - and it was the first time I've seen Lovey scale the six-and-a half foot high privacy fence.  She was up on the top in two bounds... but the little bird had already flown.  (Thank goodness!)
   While returning the rental car yesterday morning, I drove by two new apartment buildings on 28th Street (US 36) - and I realized that they had "Open" advertising banners on them.  I stopped by, and was very surprised when the construction crew chief walked me through both the one and two-bedroom sites.  I then called the company, and found out that it's at a price that I can afford, sharing the apartment with Beatrice.  Actually, the cost is less for both of us, it's closer to where Bea works, it's closer to the houses I care for, it includes a washer and dryer inside the unit, and once tenants, we'll get a free bus pass.  I've got all the paperwork for applying, and will be turning it in on Monday.  I really hope we get this apartment - it's in Boulder, it's inexpensive, I can have the cats, it's two blocks away from shopping, a block from bus stops and the balconies look over the Goose Creek Greenway.  I want this place!  Cross your fingers for our application to be approved!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Assateague Island Views


Pedal bone on beach

Hide on beach

Ribs and pelvis on beach

Trees on Assateague




*** Yes, the bones and hide on the beach are from a pony - not Surfer Dude, but an old mare on the Maryland (northern end) of Assateague ***

A Great Book and Longmont

I finished reading Tracker late last night; it's the latest installment of C. J. Cherryh's atevi world Foreigner series.  I found the first book intriguing, but I found one of the main characters, Bren Cameron, to be an extremely anal-retentive and over-written character.  In the second book, I actually began to appreciate Ben's insights and started picking up on the nuances I had missed in the first book.  Tracker is the sixteenth book in the series, and I own a copy (or two) of all of them.  C. J. Cherryh has created a wonderfully nuanced alien world and culture with the atevi people, and, a few books ago, introduced another alien race, the kyo.  Then there are the humans that are tossed into the mix, with age-old politics, mistrusts, and prejudices.  It makes extremely satisfying reading - and, if, occasionally, there is some new "parallel" technology that is mentioned, that causes problems with all sections of the populace - well, that's even better.  I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who wants a good, lengthy escape from our reality!
  Beatrice and I looked at six different apartment complexes yesterday, in four different cities.  We drove to each complex, parked the car, and got out and wandered around, looking at the grounds, the apartments themselves, and speaking with any tenants we ran across.  We looked at one place here in Boulder, three in Longmont, one in Lafayette, and one in Louisville.  All have rents that we can afford, and all but one had two bathrooms - it had a shared shower and tub, with two separate toilet and sink spaces.  We liked the Victoria Inn Apartments best - but they are located in Longmont, which would mean an extra 45 minutes of RTD bus travel on the Bolt, from Longmont to Boulder.  The bus stops are across a street in either direction.  There is a large grocery store a block away; and, directly behind the apartments is a veterinarian's office, several restaurants, a small convenience store, and a place called "Daylight Doughnuts" that opens at five every morning and serves fresh pastries and coffee.  The grounds have lots of grass, large trees and shrubs, a lot of birds and squirrels, and friendly tenants.  It was very nice.
   My biggest question at the moment is when does my apartment manager want me moved out.  I left them a typed notice, saying I was preparing to move, but that I needed a definite move out date.  I asked whether they wanted me out on the 18th of June, 30 days after they notified me of the non-renewal of my lease; or if I could pay (and stay) through the last day of June.  I am still waiting for a written answer from them.  So - things are up in the sir for me and my cats.  We know we have to move, but not when.  We don't yet know where we'll move.  I dislike the feeling of "hanging in the air" but that's how I feel at the moment.  -  Oh, well... I'll know soon enough.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Seen at Assateague National Seashore, Maryland


Assateague Island, Maryland

Harbor seal

Uprooted tree


Crab in tidal pool

Seaweed in tidal pool

Bolder Boulder and Moving

I spent four hours in front of the apartment yesterday, alternately sitting in a chair and standing, cheering on the wheelchair racers and foot racers of the Bolder Boulder 10K  Memorial Day race.  It's the first time I've done it in five years, because I've been house-sitting and not at home.  Brother-in-law Jim ran yesterday, and sister Kathy walked over from the starting line.  We sat and chatted and yelled encouragement to the runners.  Almost directly across the street was the Centennial State Pipe and Drum Corps - so we had lovely bagpipe music from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.  I was out there from 6;30 until 10:30, by which time Jim had raced past us, finished, and returned to gather Kathy.  I came back inside, took more cold medicine, popped another cough drop, and climbed back into bed with Lovey and Nedi.  I have to admit that I spent most of yesterday in bed with the kits, reading and/or watching a John Wayne movie marathon on the Western channel.
   After walking Rosie this morning, I'll head over to Enterprise and pick up a car, so that Beatrice and I can go check out the five apartment complexes that we like. One is here in Boulder, two are in Longmont, one is in Lafayette, and one is in Louisville.  All are within a block of a bus stop, and all are also within a block (or two) of a grocery store.  Since I don't drive a stick, I have to rent a car for us to go looking - otherwise, I'd just borrow Kathy and Jim's car, as I did before they purchased their new car.  I am awaiting a response from my apartment manager as to whether he wants me moved out by June 19th, or June 30th.  (I'd prefer the 30th, myself.)  That will, of course, affect when and where Bea and I move, depending upon what is available where.  I keep telling Lovey and Nedi that we're moving, but I don't think it's sunk in, yet.  
   At least I have several financial backers.  Most of the apartments that I've looked at demand that you prove that the tenants have an income of at least three times the amount of the rent.  Well, there's no way that Beatrice and I can do that.  Thankfully, most of the places will accept the signature of a guarantor along with a higher than usual deposit.  I hope to keep the same phone number - and stay with the same carrier for my land-line and internet connection.  Living in Florida would be much more affordable, but I have client bookings through New Years 2016, and I've promised my sister to stay near her.  It's going to be an interesting summer....

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wandering Herd

One of the herds of Chincoteague ponies decided to wander over the bridge from Assateague and do some visiting and grazing on Chincoteague, itself, yesterday.  They ended up in the back yard of Jody Johnson Smith; she and her husband called the CVFC, and the Saltwater Cowboys arrived, with a stock trailer to take the ponies back to Assateague.

 These two photos were taken at Assateague National Seashore, in Maryland.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - skimmers at sunset


There is something very strange in my back yard - it's making things sparkle and casting a shadow.  It's bright and shiny and impossible to gaze at straightly.  The sky is blue and then there's this bright thing...  It must be the sun!  I haven't seen it in the early morning for almost twenty days.  It's amazing.   When I looked to the west this morning, I could actually see the Flatirons, the Devil's Thumb, and the tops of Flagstaff, Bear, and Green Mountains.  I can also see the snow covered Indian Peaks, and Mount Audubon, while Sugarloaf  has no snow visible from the east.
  Nedi spent a lot of time outdoors yesterday, while there was a drizzle coming down, but Lovey stayed inside most of the time.  Today, they are both basking in the sunlight on the concrete patio - absorbing the heat and the vitamins.  I guess I'll be sorting through my collection of belongings, deciding what to keep, what to recycle, and what to toss, since I'll be moving.  I'll try to keep all of my books, music, and art work.  Bea and I will need to compare kitchen items and see what we might need.
   Thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon, and we had two huge lightning storms pass over us yesterday.  Both kits hid as soon as they heard the first big crash.  Nedi dove into his hidey-hole in the closet, and Lovey got inside a box in the corner of the kitchen, under a chair.  We haven't had big thunderstorms in a while...  And the kids know that something is "up."  I've told them we're moving, but  Nedi has lived here since he was 9 weeks old, and Lovey and I moved here when she was eight months old.  I don't think the concept has sunk in.  They're used to spending a week or so at Kathy and Jim's - but then we've returned here.  It's going to be interesting.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Foals and a Scow

This is a new filly who was born recently on the Maryland (northern) end of Assateague Island in Maryland.  Her dam is known as Jojo.

If you're visiting Chincoteague and want to see ponies, be sure to take Captain Dan's Tours.  Three of the new foal photos shown today were taken by him.  This is Summer's Gentle Breeze and her new foal.

This is from a year or two ago - Clipper and Periwinkle

I would love to be reading, napping, watching birds and ponies - whatever - in this boat...

Another of Captain Dan's recent photos - Destiny and her new filly.

Captain Dan captured Galadrial's new filly standing at her rear, and a good view of Thetis's belly - yes, she is still pregnant.

One of Surfer Dude's favorite mares was  Surf Queen - this is the filly born this year.  She is a full sister to Surfer's Riptide.  Thanks to Deb Iddings Noll for the use of her photo.