Saturday, February 28, 2015

Older Florida Houses - Photos

Cross Creek, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house


Jacksonville, Riverside area

Gainesville, the Hotel Thomas  (my riding instructor and friend grew up here)


Cedar Key

Suwanee Springs rental cabins

Slip-Sliding Away

Boulder is hoping to get up to freezing (32 degrees F) on Monday - we're having lows in the single digits, with wind chills well below 0.  Lots of snow still on the ground, and yesterday I kept getting angry with drivers while I stood at the bus stop.  It was a silly, useless anger and I talked myself out of it, but here's what happened.  The bus stop is on the side of the road, next to a ditch; it's set about 7 feet back from the edge of the 4-foot-wide bike path, which, in turn, is directly next to the road lane for vehicles.  Due to sunshine, travel, salt, dirt, and chemicals laid down on the road, there was both muddy water and slush in the vehicle lanes.  I was standing a good 11 to 12 feet back from the vehicle lanes - as far back as I could without falling down into the ditch - and I kept getting splash-back from the vehicles passing by splattered all over me.  Muddy water, slushy snow, pieces of ice and snow were thrown up and out and coated me from head to foot.  A few vehicles pulled slightly away from me, and their tires then missed the puddled ruts in the road, which meant no splash.  I was very grateful to the drivers who did so; at the same time, it seemed that some drivers delighted in pulling closer to me and making me that much muddier....   I think karma will get revenge on those folks.
   After doing all my running around yesterday, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  Emilio was just finishing topping some strawberry-swirl cheesecakes with huge piles of fresh strawberries; he convinced me to buy one since they were on sale for $5...  I picked up some food and crunchies for the kits, nuts for the squirrels, and more Parmesan cheese for me, plus a box of cereal.  I decided to walk back along the alley, as I knew the sidewalk behind Jo-Ann's was totally iced over, and I didn't want to have to walk up the 30 steps at Folsom Street with two bags of groceries - one in each hand.  I was about half-way down the alley when both of my feet slipped out from under me.  I slid on my butt for about 15 to 20 feet, before I slid into a wall with my left shoulder.  I was quite happy that I hadn't dropped either grocery bag, and had them firmly in my grasp.  I decided to sit and collect myself, and catch my breath, for a minute before getting up.  Then I realized that a car with two college girls had seen my debacle; they jumped out of their car, after putting on the emergency flashers, and ran over to see if they could help me.  They wanted to help me up to my feet, but I thanked them for their kindness, and told them I was afraid that I'd just pull both of them down on top of me, if they tried that.  They stood beside me, saw me up and on my feet, made sure nothing was broken and left.  I walked in teeeny, tiny baby steps the rest of the way home.  I had the pie sitting on top of the box of cereal in the bag, when I fell.  Getting home, I had to laugh because all of the crust edges had broken off the pie and were scattered artfully across and around the heaping pile of strawberries, while the berries looked as if they hadn't shifted a bit....   This morning, I'm stiff and achy, and I found that I had broken off several fingernails at the quick, but otherwise, I'm fine.
   My kits will be extremely happy when this snowy spell is over.  Nedi loves to run and chase things and act the fool for several hours each day.  Since it's so cold outside and snow is blanketing everything, he's turning his playing attention to Lovey, who is not happy about it.  Last night I gave them both new, freshly made catnip toys and that kept both of them occupied for several hours - but Nedi wants to run and leap, and there just isn't that much room in the apartment for his gymnastic escapades.  At least they'll be able to play outside for a few hours on Monday!
    Enjoy your weekend, my friends!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Boulder Winter Photos

University of Colorado and the Flatirons

Boulder Creek, near the Court House

Longs Peak and a bald eagle

Getting to your car can be a big production

Bobolink Trail

Light snow on the Flatirons

Clouds hugging the Flatirons, prior to more snow

Decisions, Decisions

The Grand Jury meeting was cancelled at the last minute yesterday due to the inclement weather.  So I stayed home and had to face the big dilemma of Thursday night - for me, anyway.  Which one of three programs was I going to watch?  They all began at 8 p.m. last night - The Blacklist, How To Get Away With Murder, and Vikings.   It was the last episode of the season for HTGAWM, and was a two-hour long program that was supposed to surprise and confound the viewers.  I really wanted to see it.  On the other hand, The Blacklist is not available to see (freely) on the internet until the next episode has aired; so one has to watch the following episode without knowing all that has occurred previously.  That was a large incentive for me to look at James Spader.  Then there is my Viking heritage that I have to combat.  I say I have to combat it because I've gotten to the point that I really admire the old Viking laws regarding the treatment of women - just like the ancient Irish laws - prior to the insidious teachings of the Christian church that women are chattel.  I was still trying to decide what to watch when it was 7:59, and my hand twitched on the television remote, punching in channel 269 - the History Channel - to see Vikings.   As always, the program was too short.  In the past, even last week, the History Channel has aired a second showing of the Vikings immediately after the first; last night the second showing was two hours later, at midnight.   (I did stay up and watch it a second time.)  But that meant that The Blacklist was over, and the second hour of HTGAWM was airing.  I looked at the news and then read a book until the next showing of Vikings.
   While walking back from Bop and Tico's yesterday, toward the bus stop, I slipped on the ice a bit.  My left foot skidded after I had planted it, and had all my weight on it - it made me windmill my arms, but it didn't hurt.  Until I got home and had been sitting for a few minutes.  I've damaged the knee cap multiple times, and the bursa above it; I've damaged the MCL to the inside of the knee.  Yesterday I apparently damaged a ligament on the outside of the knee - at least, that's where the pain is.  Oh, well...  I'll just wrap it and take Aleve and hope for the best.
   Boulder has had a record-breaking snow amount fall this month.  The old record was 32 inches, and we've had over 52 inches so far, mixed in with those 70 degree days back around Valentine's Day.  We're not expecting snow today, but there will be more measurable snow falling tomorrow afternoon, evening, and night, the last day of February.  It was all of 3 degrees (F) this morning, and it's risen to 8 degrees.  I need to go to the bank, go to the library, and return a key this morning, plus walk Tess.  Then I'll go back and walk Tess again this afternoon...   Going out for brunch tomorrow morning at Turley's Kitchen, again.  It's my favorite place for brunch, and their raspberry muffins are to die for...  Unfortunately, they haven't been available recently; they were listed on the menu board the last time I visited, and I ordered one.  When it arrived, I thought it was the wrong color, and, after I bit into it, I knew that the muffin was pumpkin, and not raspberry.  The server told me they'd already sold out of the raspberry ones, and wasn't the pumpkin a better choice?  I told him that it wasn't, but finished the muffin ,anyway, so it wouldn't go to waste.  I hope they have raspberry muffins tomorrow!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wildlife Photos (Mostly)


Twelve inches of snow yesterday and another seven to ten inches expected by midnight.  Gee, it's starting to look like winter in Colorado!  Rosie and I had a great time yesterday morning, while the sun was out and there were only a few clouds in the sky.  She caught the scent of the neighborhood coyote and had a good run along the back fence line,  then made doggie snow angels for awhile, and finally settled down to hunting squirrels.  She really enjoys the cold weather and snow, but with her arthritis, I sometimes have to cut her chases rather short.  It started to snow in North Boulder just around noon.  By the time I walked from the ABCs over to Bop and Tiko's house, there was five inches of new snow on the ground, and it was coming down so fast that I had to stop twice to clear my glasses, so I could see my way...  I might have to invest in ski goggles - they don't scratch as much as my glasses do.
   I've already been back to Bop and Tiko's house this morning, walking through snow up to my knees in some places.  I asked Lee's assistant to feed the cats their dry food tonight, as I have to report for the Grand Jury again tonight, and I want to be on time.  I've also e-mailed Jill, and let her know of that switch in plans.  Jill is supposed to fly in from Boston tonight, but with the cold and snow both here and there, I don't know if she'll make it back to Denver tonight.  I'll have no problem feeding Bop and Tiko again tomorrow morning, and/or through the weekend.  I'll be walking Tess twice a day for those three days, and those two schedules would mesh nicely.
  After writing about insanity pleas for both the American Sniper killer and the Aurora theater shooter yesterday, I found and read an article in the Christian Science Monitor regarding America, American citizens, and the use of the insanity plea. The article did nothing to change my feelings in any way - it said that Americans always want a quick outcome, and, generally, dismiss an insanity plea.  I don't agree with that.  I've had my own mental problems - at the worst of that period, I was convinced that everyone was in collusion to cause my failure, I had hallucinations, and breaks with reality.  But I always knew right from wrong.  I was always mentally aware of my surroundings and how other people might interact with me, if I told them what I was feeling and seeing.  I just withdrew more into myself, and avoided people as much as possible.
    In a way, I still do that, as I interact with animals more than I do with humans - but I've also had more than 20 years of psychiatric care and therapy - and I take my three "happy pills" every morning.  If I don't take my medications, then, in two days, or so, I become Sad Sack and extremely paranoid.  I'm nearly 60 years old, and I'm finally understanding what makes me tick...  It's kind of frightening.     I think, that with my experience, I can listen to psychiatric and medical testimony, and understand, from my own personal mental break, what is happening to someone, and whether or not they have truly lost their grasp of reality.  I'm lucky that I never did.  I'm lucky that I got help.  I'm lucky that medication can help keep me stable....   But I am still convinced that both of the men I wrote about yesterday were not, and are not, insane, and that they did not shoot their victims in a moment of insanity.  I believe the man convicted in Texas lost his temper and shot in rage.  I believe the man in Aurora was just plain evil and wanted notoriety.   Now I've said my piece....     Period.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Animal Views

Insane?!?! Ha!

I'm not surprised that the man on trial for killing "the American Sniper" was found guilty last night by a jury in Texas.  Having seen reports on the trial, and having seen clips from the accused man's video-taped confession to the police, I, too, would have had a problem believing that the accused was "insane" at that moment.  That's my problem with the Aurora theater shooting trial in Denver - having read in the papers, and seen on the news, the amount of preparation and planning that went into that one night of terror, as well as the perpetrator's booby-trapping of his apartment, I could not find that the man is "insane."  He was (and is, in my opinion) a sly, conniving, meticulous planner of death for innocent people in the theater, and of the people who were supposed to investigate his apartment.  Buying all of the items that he did, and having them delivered to different places, shows a sharp cognizance;  planning everything so meticulously proves his devious (or deviant) mental condition; actually perpetrating the act in the theater proves his evil.  He clearly understood the line between right and wrong during the planning and practice of his attack.  I've been told the Aurora killer is "crazy like a fox" - fox are sly, cunning creatures that can surprise you, if you're not aware of their innate intelligence.  This man is just some who wanted to attain notoriety as a mass murderer.  I hope the Aurora killer is locked up and the key tossed into a volcano - or, if you believe in the death penalty, toss the killer into the volcano.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photo Assortment

Surprise on Gotham

Jada Pinkett-Smith's character, Fish Mooney, completely freaked me out last night on Gotham.  Knowing how Fish refuses to back down, I should have been expecting the outcome that occurred, but it certainly was shocking.  I did not, in any way, think she would scoop her own eye out with a spoon and then step on it, to prevent it from being transplanted,  It took my breath away.  Wow.  That is one determined woman!
   Am home for a few minutes - the kits have been outside and are back in, now - it's 18 degrees outside.  I'm on my way over to Bop and Tiko's, then to Rosie's and then on to the ABCs for the rest of the day.  Halfway through reading Ruler of the Realm, and am taking the two following books along.  Then I have one more Pendergast novel and I'm caught up again.  I am very happy that the library will begin opening at 9 in the morning, instead of 10, next week.  Of course, if I had my way, public libraries would be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...  Even though they would need to be patrolled to keep folks from camping inside....
   More tomorrow!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowy Colorado Scenes

Elk at rest

Boulder's second Flatiron

The Maroon Bells

Stream in the Rocky Mountains

People do ride their bikes in the snow here...

St. Elmo, Colorado: population 3, in the winter

Majestic rock outcroppings

It's Still Snowing...

Light snow has been falling since dawn this morning, but we actually had 5 minutes of sunshine pierce the cloud cover a few minutes ago.  I've been over to the Sumac house, fed and loved Bop and Tiko, cleaned their litter boxes, and taken the trash and recycling up the hill to be picked up.  Then I wasn't sure I was going to be able to catch a bus back home - I'd waited for 45 minutes without seeing a bus travel in either direction, and then, at 3 minute intervals, a bus headed by, north-bound.  It took another 15 minutes for the first bus to complete the circuit, and return to pick me up...  I just spoke with Len, and he and Susan are heading up for their ski trip, so I'll be at the ABCs until late afternoon Wednesday.
   I did get to sleep in my own bed last night, with both Lovey and Nedi curled up close and snuggling.  Both Camilla and Lynn returned to the house last night without calling, so it was quite a surprise.  Tess and I had a blast playing outside in the snow yesterday - Tess had the best time "chasing" sleds being pulled by parents up and down the road.  She didn't bark, or frighten the kids, she just had a fantastic time running in circles and bounding through the deep snow around the moving sleds.  Thankfully, all the neighbors' dogs were out playing, too, so it was almost a block party for adults, kids, and dogs.
   The bands of snowfall varied widely over Boulder and the metro Denver area.  About 14 inches accumulated in Lynn's back yard; about 12 inches in my back yard; 27 inches up in Nederland; only 9.5 inches in downtown Denver; 10 inches at DIA; Eldorado Springs had 23 inches; but Westminster, between  Boulder and Denver, got whacked with 32 inches of snow.  It was 7 degrees (F) when I arose this morning - and now, at 10:30, it's 14 degrees.  The Boulder forecast calls for sunshine tomorrow, with a high of 40, and then snow through the weekend.  If one is a ski enthusiast, one is delighted; if one is a commuter, one is disgusted.  I'm neither, and I feel OK about it.
   Thank goodness our public library is open again, with all book areas available!  I've almost re-read all the Special Agent Pendergast books, and I now have three Faerie Wars to read...  Then I can go and browse the shelves to my hearts content again.  It will be a blissful experience.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Assorted Photos

Snow, Beautiful Snow

Yesterday morning's snow was damp and crystalline; it paused for a few hours and then came back light and fluffy for another 5 or 6 hours.  I didn't see any new signs of snow late last night, but we had that tiny, crystalline snow again this morning, beginning about five.  Then it turned light and fluffy, and now it's falling, once again, as a fine powder.  I'll take photos around town today, as I have several houses to visit, and multiple pets to see, along with dogs to walk.  At least it's 14 degrees out, and the wind is at 3 mph.   There was an accumulation of  about seven inches yesterday, and it's expected to snow throughout the day and night, slowly tapering off Monday morning.  I ran into the ABCs yesterday, and Len stated that Susan had a cold, but he was certain they'd be heading up to Snow Mountain Ranch on Monday, as planned.  I hope that either Camilla or Lynn can return home today or tomorrow, so I can come back home, before going over to stay at the ABCs for three nights.
   The squirrels have been feeding ravenously this morning - they've already zipped through a pound of walnuts and Brazil nuts, but aren't touching the sunflower seeds out for the birds.  Guess  I'll put out another pound and a half of nuts before heading back to Tess's.  And I'll stop by Bop and Tiko's on the way back, so I can get that morning stop completed.  My kits ran outside this morning, took one good long look, and came right back in.  Lovey is curled up on my fleece vest on the bed, and Nedi is nestling in the dirty clothes basket.  I'll leave the heat lamp on in the bathroom for them, too.
   Elaine Clevenger, who lived down the street from our house from 1961 until she was married in 1977, sent a surprise gift to me this week.  She and her husband, Russ, have just completed sailing "The Loop," up the Intercoastal Waterway, through the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, then back down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.  When they reached Fort Myers, they arrived in time for an Arts and Crafts Festival - and what was the first thing Elaine saw?  A whole display of photos of Chincoteague ponies!  She immediately purchased two of her favorites and sent me one.  What a wonderful surprise!   -    Much better than snow!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow Views and My Kits

Chincoteague pony yesterday on Assateague Island

Snow geese

Aerial view of Tom's Cove, Assateague Island, and Chincoteague above it

Snow this morning at my apartment