Monday, October 31, 2016

All Hallows' Day

Today is November 1, or All Saints' Day.  It is also known as the Feast of All Saints, the Solemnity of All Saints, All Hallows' Day, and Hallowmas; the day is a Christian festival (originally Catholic) that is celebrated in honor of all of the saints, known and unknown.  In New Orleans, Louisiana, it is the annual day to scrub and clean family gravestones and to place, or replant, fresh flowers.  It is a day of obligation to the church, family, deceased relatives, and all saints recognized by the church.  Extra masses are said in Catholic and Anglican churches.
   Christian churches began celebrating the lives and deaths of saints and martyrs in the second century.  Initially the calendars of saints and martyrs varied by location, with churches honoring local saints.  Gradually feast days became more universal.  The first reference to a general feast celebrating all saints occurs in St Ephrem the Syrian (died in 373).  St John Chrysostom (died in 407) assigned a day to this feast, the first Sunday after Pentecost, where, in the Eastern Churches, the feast is celebrated to this day.
   In the West, this date was probably originally used, but then the feast was moved to 13 May.  The current observance, 1 November, probably originates from the time of Pope Gregory III, and was likely first observed in Germany.
   The vigil of the Feast (the evening and night before) has grown up in the English speaking countries as a festival in itself, All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe'en.  While some Christians refuse to observe the holiday, considering it "pagan," as far as the Church is concerned, the date is simply the eve of All Saints.  In fact, many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast's vigils, we mock evil, because as Christians, it has no real power over us.
   Various customs have developed related to Halloween.  In the Middle Ages, poor people in the community begged for "soul cakes," and, upon receiving these doughnuts, they would agree to pray for departed souls.  This is the root of modern day's Trick or Treat.  The custom of masks and costumes developed to mock evil, or, perhaps, confuse the evil spirits by dressing as one of their own.
   (And I make a personal note here, that several people have insisted that since the first All Saints Day feast happened in Germany, that All Hallow's Eve can have nothing to do with the pagan festival Samhain.   The Church insists that Samhain was an Irish pagan festival, not a Celtic one, and therefore would never have been practiced in Germany.  -  I think there's a gap in logic there...)

Spooky (Eerie?) Hallowe'en Photos

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Island Views - Assateague and Chincoteague

Japanese elk

Ninka, Charmed, and colt - 3 generations

Chincoteague Channel sunset

Fall on the marsh

Tri-color heron

Delmarva fox squirrel

Monarch butterfly


Tomorrow is Hallowe'en in the Christian world - or All Hallows Eve(ning).   We have three metal owls with witches' hats and bat buddies on our balcony, plus a giant spider web (with purple lights on the strands) and a huge orange spider on it, five holographic bats with green eyes, and two strands of black and orange cobwebs that have silver and black spiders crawling up them.  We have four jack-o-lantern orange and black bells, and a green, purple, and black spider, hanging from the wreath holder.  We have a very large pumpkin outside the door, too.    We have a large bag of candy that Beatrice chose to hand out to anyone who comes to our door.  No one came last year.  Our friend Valerie might bring her daughter by, and Sonia might bring her grandsons over - so we're "kind of" expecting 4 to 6 small children to ring the bell tomorrow night.  
    And a client's daughter decided she needs to go out and party with her boy friend rather than stay at home and hand out candy tomorrow night, so while Bea stays home, I'll be two miles away with a dog, a young puppy, and two cats.  I'll probably take some candy over there, as I know there are usually 20 to 150 kids going through that neighborhood.  I'd much rather read quietly than have to answer the bell after calming down the dog and puppy!
   Tuesday is All Saints Day, and Wednesday is All Souls Day - or the Day of the Dead (again, in the Christian world).....   My rent is due on Thursday.
    Friday and Saturday are the 2017 Breeders Cup Horse races, held this year at Del Mar Racetrack - where the turf meets the surf.   Nyquist, the Kentucky Derby winner this year, was expected to run in the Classic on Saturday, but has been scratched due to swelling in one ankle.  Several other horses that were thought to be running this year have been retired - but California Chrome looks to run in the Classic again this year, and his owners have announced that he might continue his racing career next year, as well.
    Next Tuesday, 8 November, is the national election day in the United States of America.  There are seats in our Senate and Congress that will be on the ballot; seats for state representatives; judge approvals; amendments to state, county, and city laws; voting on taxes to be used for specific purposes; and, of course, the really important question for the world at large - who will be elected President of the United States?  Hillary Rodham Clinton or Donald John Trump?  Or will one of the other 20 parties win?  Or a write-in candidate?  It's pretty sure that either the Republicans or the Democrats will have the most votes, and not the others - but....   It's still making me very nervous.
    I voted, and I know my ballot has been accepted and counted.  Beatrice starts working for the Boulder County Elections Office on Tuesday, as a temporary information assistant.  She'll be employed six, possibly eight days, answering voters' questions regarding this years ballot - when and where they can turn it in, or where to go to vote, verifying that a ballot was sent, etc....   I've volunteered for one day of getting handed ballots for collection next Monday, at one of the drive-up locations.   'Twill be interesting, I'm sure!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Weird Happening

Yesterday, I arrived at a regular clients' house to drive the car back from the airport - the client's daughter will be taking care of the pets while the client is gone, but she needed transport to and from the airport.  I stepped in and greeted all the critters when I arrived, and we left for the airport almost immediately.  The client asked me to let the dog out when I returned with the car, and then put her back into the office.
   When I arrived back at the house, I needed to use the bathroom badly.  The daughter's car was not visible, so I assumed I was alone in the house, other than the critters - two cats and a dog.  I walked quickly into the closest bathroom, dropped my jeans and underwear, and sighed as I began to "go."  Then I heard a male voice yell, "Oy!" just outside the bathroom door, which I had left open.  I slammed the door closed with my hand.  ...  After I was finished, re-attired, and had washed my hands, I stepped out into the hall - and saw Lyra's tail flash by.  There was no sign of the man I had heard.
     I walked into the kitchen and was joined by the dog.  I looked around, and realized that the basement door was open, the office door was open, and the rear door, leading to the back yard was wide open.  As I was questioning the dog, a young man came up the basement stairs.  He said he was a friend of Connor's, and that the family had allowed him to stay in the basement for two weeks.  He informed me he was waiting for his Uber ride to show up and take him to the airport.
    The young man told the dog and been crying, so he opened the door to the office, and then opened the back door, knowing the back yard was fenced.  I asked him about the cat, and he said he wasn't aware that a cat had been inside the office.  I asked where she was, and he guessed that the cat had gone upstairs...  I was looking out into the back yard, and saw both dog and cat.  Then I glanced into the office, and saw that the dog had pooped all over the floor.  I decided to leave the critters loose and outside while I cleaned up the office floor.  The young man, in the meantime started chasing the cat.  He managed to grab her by the neck scruff and the base of the tail.  Lyra has never been handled like that.  She was hissing and crying as the man brought her inside and closed the door.  Lyra took one look at me and ran.  I left the dog in the back yard, and finished cleaning the floor.  Then I cracked the windows in the office, made sure there was plenty of water, and went to gather Lyra.
   Poor kitty...  She hissed and hissed as I picked her up very carefully and placed her in her kitty tree in the office.  Then I rounded up Tess and put her inside the office.
    On my way back to Rosie, I called the client and told her what had happened.  It seems the young man was supposed to have left before the client and I went to the airport.  She called her daughter and made certain that the daughter would check up on the critters at lunch -
    Just another odd happening in the life of a pet-sitter.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Odd Assorted Photos

Trump - a leonine, silver-back gorilla

This clown scares ME!

Victorian illustration from a bed-time story...

HOW did he get situated on that stick/baton?


This is just disturbing....
Two females, I'm assuming, since I can see the edge of a shoulder...

Poor Old Rosie!

I dearly love this dog.  We lost her "brother" 4 years ago, and now her health is failing, also.  She's considered a medium- to large-sized dog, being an Irish Setter, and she's now 14 and 1/2 years old.  Her muzzle and face are almost - but not quite - white; her ears have streaks of blond; and the red of her coat is more orange  than red these days...  According to the veterinarians, and she sees four different vets, she no longer has any feeling in her hind legs.  She powers her way up from lying and sitting using her shoulders and forelegs.  If we get her hind legs under her, she can walk and trot normally.  Since her hind legs don't cooperate very well, she rarely runs any more.
  Her left hind foot turns inward, and then pivots out when she walks.  Her right hind leg frequently collapses on her.  The vets say she isn't in bad enough shape to put her into a wheelchair - yet.  This past week, she's been dragging her left foot with the tops of her toes - her "furry knuckles" - tucked under, and has rubbed the fur and skin off.  This morning we got a good, professional paw wrap from her vet, and, if we keep her off hard surfaces, she should be okay.  The problem is there are wooden and stone steps at both the front and back doors - and when she starts downstairs, her hind legs collapse and she drags her feet.  We have earthen ramps for her to use, but most of the time she chooses the steps.
   Today, I drove her over to my sister's for our hour in the back yard.  Had no problem getting Rosie into and out of the car, and she used the bathroom at my sister's (which I dutifully picked up) and enjoyed wandering around the grassy acre.  I loaded her into the car to go home, and we drove there without incident.  I had all the windows half-way open so Rosie could scent the wind as we rode.  When we got to her house, I grabbed my bag, and then opened the back door for the Rose.  I slipped my right arm in front of her hips to make sure she was standing square on all four feet in the garage.  An intense odor greeted me.  I thought she had farted when I pressed against her belly.  I took her inside, gave the owner the car keys, and left.  She caught me at the foot of the drive - Rosie had pooped all over the back seat of the car, apparently just as we pulled into the garage.
   The owner had to meet with patients at her office in 30 minutes, so she and I both wiped up, and washed down the back seat of the car, so she could leave.  We went back inside the house to wash our hands, and realized that Rosie had pooped again, while sitting down in the kitchen.  I sent the owner on to her meeting, and Rosie and I took a shower; then I blew her dry with her hair dryer.  Then I got to clean up the kitchen floor.
   The owner was on time to see her patient, and tonight she and her husband called me and announced they'd be doubling my usual wages staying with her over the next few days.  I told them that a raise wasn't necessary, because I consider Rosie a part of my family, and that we all need to accept the changes of growing old.   I do love that Rosie!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pub Signs

TV, Books and Rosie

I finished watching another episode of Gotham...  the latest episodes are much better than the first two of this season, but I still don't like the reporter, Valerie Vale.  Benedict Samuel was perfectly cast as Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter; and I am truly enjoying his performances.  Poor Penguin!  Finally deciding that he loves Ed Nygma, and then Ed meets a doppelganger of Kris Kringle - Penguin will be crushed, I'm sure...
   Also enjoying The Blacklist this season.  I want to know what happens to Mr Kaplan, since she is chained to the foot of her iron bedframe...  And I just wish they'd find Agnes and get her back to Elizabeth, so other stories will continue...  I have to admit that I don't care who Elizabeth's father really is - Red or Kirk.  I absolutely love James Spader, but the rest of the characters, other than Dembe, are becoming a real drag.
   Just finished reading Boar Island, Winter's Child, and The Obsidian Chamber.  Have started on The Legacy of Gird, then have three more Eight Kingdoms novels ready.  After that, I'll need to visit the library again.  -  I've lived at this address for over a year now, and have received books from every club that I'm a member of.  I was, therefore, quite surprised that my last order was, somehow, sent to my previous address.  I received confirmation that it was delivered, and declared it missing; then actually looked and saw that it had been dropped off at my old address.  Of course the new tenant and the management claim to have never seen the package of books.  I'll have to order them again, and pay for them again, since they were to be Christmas presents...   I can't believe that I was so stupid as to not be certain that my shipping address was correct.  Now I double-check it each time I order anything.
   And I move in with Rosie on Wednesday...  We'll have a blast together, and I'll make certain she's comfortable and happy...   She's such a wonderful girl.